Wednesday, May 25, 2011

created in His image

 today is the first day in ten years that i wore shorts. can i get a hallelujah for restored body image here? ...or is it a lack of caring? ... either way... HALLELUJAH!
 no, it's definitely not a lack of caring. i do care. because even now i am quick to pick apart my legs. my whole entire body for that matter. so maybe it's not even a restored body image?
 as a young girl i hated my legs. one time while sharing with an older, very kind friend, she pointed out to me, in a very wise way, "well see you're a dancer. dancers are very blessed with strong, muscular legs." wow. she said my legs were strong and muscular! what about that jiggle? we talked about walking more and dancing more and making sure we were looking at our bodies in a healthy manner.
 years later i would obsessively walk my dog, swim laps in the pool and practice many kicks for kung fu class all the while secretly wishing for legs that would make gwen stefani look twice.
 yuck! dare i remember she that she gets paid to look that fabulous? and poor gwen stanfi anyway!
 i am now a mommy of two. a boy and girl. both of which i need to nurture in them a better body image then the one i have.
  enough with the jiggle! i ran through the sprinkler today in a pair of jeans! i can't always garden in a skirt! some skirts are too nice for dirt! i need to get these jeans off!
 when i bought these shorts my exact thought was, "oooh! these are pretty! i have enough time to use the treadmill between now and shorts weather to get my legs in shape. if not? i have to wear them with a cute pair of wedges and then my legs would look elongated and fine." how sad for me!
 here's is what i must remind myself. stop complaining, even if only to myself, and do something about it. my body was given to me by the Most High to hand back to Him as a temple. i need to treat it as such.
 am i healthy? is this a temple that the Lord can be pleased with? of coarse their is always room for improvement and so i will make a list of reasonable goals and i will set the list out so i can see it, so as to stick with it. but i can't help but wonder, did eve have jiggle in the garden? did it come before the fall, or after? this is funny, no doubt but muscular dancer's legs have sat long in rockers holding babies and long on the floor at play - yes. that is my way of pointing the finger.
 so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (genesis 1:27 niv) am i doing God justice with my image? perhaps it is time to dust off the treadmill? not for my sake and the sake of the jiggle, but for the sake of taking better care of the Lord's temple. the only one i've got. about shaving......something tells me that eve did not shave.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

raising royalty

   while growing up i was not big into princesses. of course i did have princess diana paper dolls but i was told early on that we didn't have kings and queens in america. that i wasn't going to be a princess. ever. we didn't have the disney channel so i hadn't seen cinderella, snow white or even sleeping beauty. at least not until i was old enough to be embarrassed for actually wanting to watch them. i had heard of the story of cinderella as a young girl but thought it all highly unlikely to be true, so i just didn't buy into it.
  as  i grew i met a feminist who spoke of the "great dangers" of teaching your daughters that they were princesses. that waiting for "prince charming" to come and "save" them was not teaching our daughters independence and so on and so forth. i thought it was interesting but it was never a big deal to me either way.
   i am now 32 years of age and on a daily basis i remind myself, my husband and our children that we are children of the King. having "officially" invited King Jesus to come and live in my heart 14 years ago, i am only now grasping the brevity of it all.
   romans 8:15-17 for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of son ship. and by him we cry, "Abba, Father." the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
   their it is. we are, in fact royalty. this sits heavy on my shoulders. looking deep into the eyes of my children i cry, 'Abba, Father! how can i do this Your way? how can i purposely NOT mess this up? not mess them up?'
   i didn't have an example of what raising Godly children looked like in my own home. i rode to church with the neighbors and really liked the way the parents parented. i saw in my grandparents a difference, a patience that wasn't displayed at home. home on the weekends was a playground for the enemy and often i hide out in my room, pen or paint brush in hand. my wordy, colorful escape.
   i fear that my children are teaching me how to be a better parent. a Godly parent. they are my trial and my error. i am thankful they are young and quick to forgive. 
   royalty. i am to train up royalty?
   proverbs 22:6 train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
   really? is it just that easy? no! i am finding that my children learn all my behaviors that i'm not purposely training them. i am inadvertently training them when  even my guard is down. when my teacher hat has been taken off and i let my gut out. when my deep breathing is more of a huff of exasperation. when i am shouting. (yes i shout) when i am impatient and i do for them because "we don't have time for this."  
   they are showing me all the many places that i have to grown in Christ. these little mocking birds. my monkeys see and my monkeys do. unfortunately this momma still has so much growing and all the while i am to be teaching. training up royalty in the way that they should go? all the while i am still learning and practicing myself. and might i add, i make mistakes on a daily basis. an hourly basis. sometimes quarters of an hour. on the 15 minute mark just simply because i know i'm trying so hard and why don't i get a break to just shout a little? that deathly flesh of mine.
   raising royalty....isn't there someone better qualified for this job? i know i have been hand picked for these two precious souls, but Lord! Abba, Father! can't you download all that i have to learn before it's too late and they are out the door and the book has been written? information download please? 
   raising royalty. it's heavy.  it's enough to make me wanna give up before the day even starts and i am messing up every day, i am sure of it. 
   matthew 11:28-30 come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
   not that raising my children is a burden but the thought of doing it right the first time, all the time is a burden. ......a lie. i am not perfect. never ever will be. i have to be kind with myself and remind myself that my best, at any given part of the day, is acceptable. that my best right now may not be the same as my best 24 hours ago, or 24 seconds ago. and maybe that's okay?
   raising royalty. i can always rest assure that my flaws are character building not only in me but my children too. right? raising royalty. why is there not classes i can take for this? like after the kids go to bed? no, i guess i go to bed soon after them. maybe while they nap? no, that's when i'm catching up on making my home. maybe before they wake in the morning? ......ah-yes. my quiet time with the King. coffee with my Father. this is the time i can ask Him for council. for grace. for abounding love and joy in all that is placed before me.
   when my heart is heavy with the task of raising royalty, and doing a job the King would be pleased with, i guess the only thing i can do is ask of my Father the King, "please, gently guide me in my training today? please teach me my error before i pass them on to my- to Your children? show me my example before i show it and teach it to them?  Abba, Father! i pray i am all that you need me to be so that they will be all that they can be in Your son. and please Holy Father, remind me, often, that i too am royalty, a child of the king.'

Sunday, May 1, 2011

mommy and son date success!

    i had practiced my "better listening" the rest of the week. i was again exhausted by saturday. my fluish daughter in for a nap i asked my husband, "would you like for me to take mikey to the yarn store with me?" i cringed thinking of all the yarn he would be tempted to touch and how loud he would probably be. my husband said, "yes, it will be good for him to get out of the house." i agreed and felt a little guilty for wanting to go alone. i asked mikey if he wanted to come with me to the yarn store, secretly hoping he would say no. "of course i want to go with you mommy," was his proclamation with much gusto.
*i was washed with guilt for wanting to go alone* 
   this particular saturday rained a cats and dogs type of rain most of the day and we drove while listening to a folk style c.d. with wonderfully sung promises from God. mikey and i chewed spearmint gum and talked only a little. he told me that the music reminded him of a renaissance veggie tales movies called pistachio. i thought that was cute.
   we first stopped at a consignment shop where mikey played in a toy room right by my dressing room. he found himself a church shirt and a book while i found his sister a pink valor sweat shirt with an gigantic apple on the front. he. was. the apitamony. of wonderful. at the register he charmed the owner of the shop who gave him a one sided gold coin. she told him he could exchange it for a cookie in the cafe upstairs. he was beyond excited to have a coin like the super villain two face.
    in the yarn store he charmed yet another shop owner and the two of them waxed philosophic about batman while i, giving in to temptation, touched all the yarn. he was gentle with the bunnies that hopped around the shop and even asked the owner's daughter questions about her life, as if they were long lost friends and that the 7-8 year age gap didn't exist. 
   in the cafe he asked if he could leave the cookie and keep the coin and the barissta was so charmed by this that she gave him both. while my cupcake flavored steamer was being steamed i showed mikey a grand picture of workmen having lunch perched high above a city on an I beam. we talked about those men and the dangerous job they did while i noted in my head that every single person mikey came in contact with today, he asked them, "do you know Jesus?" 
   what a testimony he is to me. every night i pray over this boy that he will grow to be strong and courageous and go boldly into the world speaking the name of Jesus and at four the Lord is showing me answered prayer already. mikey shows me it's as easy as asking, "Hey! do you know Jesus?" without fear. in a charming sing-song voice. smiling with even his eyes. and so what if people are a little put off, "because i know Jesus and if you don't you'll be thrown into the lake of fire," very matter-of-fact. 
   in the car, wet yet very contented i hear him from the back seat. "mommy? this was sort of like a mommy and me date hugh?"
   i smile wondering if he was a mind reader. "yeah buddy it kind of was like a mommy and mikey date."
   "i had fun! maybe we could do it again?" he asked with hope in his voice.
   "i think we should buddy," i turn back and smile warmly at him.  our time together wasn't forced but just sort of happened. when even i hadn't originally wanted it to. i really enjoyed standing back and watching him interact with others while i shopped here and there. we had good conversation and we both felt good about it. both of us really relaxed, like we used to be. yes. i'd say this was a mommy and son date success! preceded by my better listening was a good week and this was the perfect relaxing way to end it. just being together, out and about. and seeing God work through this little boy and being blessed oh so much by it. thank you Lord!!!  =)

mommy and son date fail?

   i have really been struggling with my 4 1/2 year old son lately. always talking. always making noise. always jumping or throwing himself from another object. always at a ready for a fight with swords, guns or sling shots. always good guys vrs. bad guys. always. non. stop. it's just simply exhausting!
 now don't get me wrong here. i am still as much in love with him today as the day he was born, but seriously? all action? all the time? my knee jerk reaction to this all rough and tumbleness is to flee. not like forever run away and never return kind of flee! sheesh! no. but the kind where i take my knitting to a local coffee shop and try to find some solice in a hot cup of tea while keeping both my eyes on my knitting (and not one on my air born son). sure i would enjoy an hour out much like the one i just described, but i read in another blog about the importance of actually being closer with the child that you feel the need to get a break from. this tired mother of six explained it in such a way that made me think, huummm. i should give this a try.
   so a few sunday's ago, my mind made up, i told my boy we'd be going on a mommy and son date after he took a nap. mistake number one. questions of where we'd be going and why wasn't daddy also coming kept him up from any nap. finally i let him get out of bed and we headed to the local twin kiss for ice cream. my heart already bruised by his "i wish daddy were taking me" comment i decided we were gonna enjoy this even if it did feel forced. he ordered a vanilla soft serve twist with rainbow sprinkles. the sprinkles were my add on feeling the need to inject excitement and enthusiasm. i order a hot fudge sunday. the ice cream was cold and so was the inside of the twin kiss and as it turns out my son doesn't like sprinkles and neither do i.
  the best part of our date out was the old juke box. i scrounged for a quarter only to find that the juke box didn't play "blessed be the name" mikey's favorite song. in fact i read the titles to my small boy with very red checks forgetting that we live in a predominately secular world. we settled on the theme song to alvin and the chipmunks even though i felt the movie was inappropriate for small children.
 i handed him the quarter and held him up to push the buttons. my hope was for him to watch the record be selected and dropped onto the turn table. his face light up with the drop of the quarter and the juke box light up like a Christmas tree. he push in the numbers. one thirty eight. nothing happened. the lights blinked a few times and went out like some one pulled the plug. we waited. i pushed the coin return button. we waited some more.
   "what's gonna happen?" he asked filled with anticipation.
   "i don't think it works buddy." i set him back down on his feet and walked over to our table. he stood in front of the juke box waiting. poor little guy. he didn't even know what he was missing. i called to him and motioned for him to sit with me. he came to the table and told me he was done with his ice cream. he wasn't even to the cone yet. i had eaten my whipped cream, already given him the cherry while reading song titles to him, and the hot fudge had started to harden. i decided i was done too. we left tossing our not even half eaten ice cream in the trash can.
   feeling defeated i thought we'd never connect again and that my boy was gonna always slightly bug me with nonstop chatter about death of the swords or sling shots. on the way home i shared a piece of spearmint chewing gum. the same flavor i was given in church on sunday evenings by my nana years ago. the car ride was quiet with chewing.
   i thought to myself. the silence is strange. nice but strange. suddenly i wondered if my asking him to go play quietly without reporting back to me all the details of his war with plastic guys was my setting us up for a distance. shouldn't i be eager to listen to his play? shouldn't i at least be pretending to enjoy hearing about how one guy stabbed another guy in the birdy? (uuugh, that's the worst one! although i must admit funny ) aren't these the times that are nurturing in him the knowledge that he can come to mom and dad and tell them everything and they will listen or guide him gently? if i start telling him now, at four years of age, that i didn't need to hear his every thought, who will he go tell things to when he's older? when his thoughts are more real rather then pretend? who will tell him then that it's not nice for one guy to be stabbing another in the birdy?
   while practicing silence a few times each day is healthy and yes mommy does need a break every now and then, i had made up my mind. when my boy wanted to tell me something. i wanted to listen. when my boy wanted to share with me i would be more glad and feel more appreciative of it. longing for silence now is foolish for i know one day the house will be quiet, kids long gone and i'll be a mess crying on the couch wishing only to hear my boy running at the mouth and making crazy sounds and telling all the gory details of the battle that just took place in the playroom.
  i made up my mind to practice a better kind of listening. a more-present kind of attention-to-him kind of being-right-there-more-involved-in-the-play kind of listening. the kind of listening that doesn't require him to come into another room to tell me what's going on 'cuz i'm gonna be right there with him, in the mix and running around and hurling myself from objects (really? yikes!) making sounds that most adults shouldn't be making. and maybe, just maybe when it is time to practice silence it won't be so forced. like our first date was. it will just simply happen. and peace will accompany the silence and the next date, making it all the more sweeter.