Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hands are for helping, not hurting

When I was doing my student teaching in college, I heard a sweet, patient kindergarten teacher say to her students, "Hands are for helping, not for hurting." 

It was such a simple statement, easy to say and remember, and it has stayed with me throughout the years.

In our house, I've used that statement many times, but let's be honest. There are only so many times that you can say it calmly or sweetly, unless you're medicated.  And most of the time, their hands are used for hurting when the sweet cherubs are in an enclosed environment....say, the van.
What's a mom to do, when she's flying driving down the interstate going 80 70 and the four kids in the back are doing God knows what to each other????

Tell them to sit on their hands.

You heard me.  I tell those kids to sit on their hands.  Yes they whine and complain saying things like, "it hurts", but that's when I calmy say, "Hands are for helping, not for hurting, right?"
Bam.  Got 'em.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I have a 'shpiel' for everything!

I wish I could explain how I feel about some of my friends. The world likes to take people's expressions and contort them and twist them into mutations of the original thought.

I was on Facebook just a few minutes ago looking through some pictures that an old college friend posted. They were of her, her partner, and their triplets. As I commented and "liked" a few of them, I thought, "I wish the world could see that a conservative Christian can wholeheartedly and truthfully 'like' and even 'love' a friend and their pictures, even if they are gay." That doesn't mean that I am a hypocrite or don't stand for my beliefs or anything besides the fact that I like my friend and think her kids are adorable.

As the mother of 4, 1 of which is in high school and another just a breath away from being a teenager, I have to have my "shpiel" ready when the kids have questions about topics that are touchy in the world's eyes. Being gay just happens to be one of them. It's touchy in the worldy world, the Christian world, the churchy world, and the home world. So here's my 'shpiel'.

I don't believe that people are born "gay". But, I do believe that every person is born with tendencies, talents, gifts, things to overcome, and personal temptations.
I believe that any kind of sexual or sensual involvement with the same gender is a sin. But so is lying to someone about what their butt looks like in that awful pair of jeans, sharing answers on a test, talking badly about someone else behind their back, taking office supplies from work, not claiming all of your income on your taxes, etc. And I'll be honest, I've done many sins in my life, today, this hour and will continue to sin throughout my whole life. The good news is that as a Christian, I know that I am forgiven and I will always continue to try to sin less and less.

I don't believe that the guy I saw at Kroger the other day, with the feminine mannerisms and lisp, is gay. I don't believe that the guy who likes to cut or play with hair, design clothes, arrange furniture, cook, or dance ballet is gay either. I do believe that he might have feminine characteristics, or enjoy doing something that the world might consider a feminine occupation, but that doesn't mean that he wants to have sex with another man. I also believe that if that guy feels unaccepted by the heterosexual or even so called Christian world and is consistently called "gay" or taunted, teased, etc, that he might feel like he fits in with the gay community and is finally accepted there. Therefore taking on the traits of that lifestyle.

I also believe that girls can love each other so strongly in the teen and young 20s years that they can be tempted by the world to assume that their love for each other must be sexual/sensual. Not so. Girls at that age, just truly rely on each other so much for advice on their life, their hair, their choice in boys, their choice in clothes, their feelings about that dragonfly they just saw, etc. Sometimes that friendly love can even become territorial or possessive and can become dangerous, I totally agree. But girls need to know that they CAN love another girl-friend whole heartedly, want to hold hands and skip together through Kroger, hug each other and be there for each other without feeling like the world is telling them just to "experiment" and "see if they like it". Would we want our kids to just "experiment" with stealing to "see if they like it" if they were curious what it would feel like to steal that beautiful and expensive sweater in their favorite store? No. If they did would that make them thieves for life? No. Is it okay to dabble in sin? No.

So. That's the short version of my 'shpiel'. I'm sure my kids would tell you it was much, much, much longer than that. :)

Listen. No one likes to be told that they are doing something wrong. No one likes to be criticized. I get it. But shouldn't that be a red flag that what you are doing just 'might' be wrong? Just an opinion. Just a thought.

For the record, I love my friends. I love to see pictures of my friends smiling, having fun; pictures of their beautiful kids, pictures of them happy.
If they can forgive me when I do things that are wrong, and still love me...then I can do the same. But I expect and hope that if they see me do something wrong, that they would love me enough to point it out lovingly and help me do the right thing.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Um...did he just say "douche-bag"?

Did he just say "douche-bag"? Yep, sure did. Here's the story:

One night on the way home from soccer practice, it was just #1 and I in the car. He had hopped in after practice and was awfully quiet. That usually means it was a rough practice. So I said nothing. A few miles down the road he blurts out, "_______ is such a douchebag!"
I think I choked on my own spit, I was so caught off guard! After regaining my composure, I asked him why this was so? He went on to say that one of the team members would say not-so-nice things about him just to make the other team members laugh.
What I said next might be controversial. I said, "yep, he sure is a douchebag."   Now hang on, I do redeem myself...a little. :)
"...but you really shouldn't call him that." was my follow on response. We went on to have a lengthy conversation about the kid and why he might be saying those things, what #1 might have done to prompt those things (because he sure isn't innocent), and what #1 wanted to do about this predicament. Thankfully, he didn't want to give up and quit the team. But he did want to punch him in the face, hard. I told him that maybe we could come up with something different, although part of me wanted to punch the kid in the face too!!
I started to tell him about a lady at my work last year. (Inside my head I knew that the last thing he wanted to hear was a long lecture about 30-40 year old women at a school, but he needed to hear the end of the story.) Here's the gist of the story:
        Last year there was a lady at my school that I just didn't click with. She didn't seem to like me much and threw me under the bus once. I didn't like her. But, I knew that I as a Christian, my job was to 'love my neighbor'. That sounds so much better coming out of my mouth to my kids than from the Holy Spirit in a convicting way.....   Anywhooo. With a not-so-happy heart, I started to pray for her last year--nothing too eloquent or in depth, but still prayed for her. Throughout the year, I intentionally was polite to her when I didn't have to be. And by the end of the year, my heart had softened towards her. We now aren't best friends or anything, but there was no festering sore or drama. That's what I wanted him to hear.
So I simply told him that even if he didn't want to hear it, my advice to him was simply to pray for the kid.
So after the next practice, he hopped in the car and I gently asked how practice had gone. He replied that it went much better and had decided to try taking a different approach with the kid--to laugh along with him and take his comments in a lighter manner than taking it so sensitively. I'm hoping he is praying for the kid too. I am.
Mom of the best 14 year old in the world (and 12 year old, 9 year old and 6 year old, too!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

"I don't want to be part of this family!"

I think every kid has said it--"I'm running away!" or "I don't want to be part of this family!"

Well yesterday was #4's turn to say it.

Thursday is the day of being tired, in this house. At that point, we've made it through 4 days of school and 3 days of after school activities, which makes us all tired.

Yesterday was no exception. After 3 agonizing tries, 9 +9 was still = 20, on his math homework paper....and then he lost it.  I tried to calm him down, redirect, give him a minute to settle down, and threatened. That led to getting a spanking, at which point he screams, "I don't want to be part of this family!!"several times.
My response? I told him that since he didn't want to be part of the family, he needed to remove the clothes and shoes that I bought. As he headed upstairs, I gently reminded him that our family lives upstairs, so he would need to leave. Well, he did. Walked right out the front door butt-naked. I peeked out the front window, and there he was sitting on my chair on the front porch peeing.
I opened the door and gently reminded him, that the porch and lawn belonged to our family, so only we were allowed to pee on it.
He then ran to the van. I walked around the van and found him standing there, naked and crying. I asked him, if he felt a little silly standing outside naked. He said yes. I told him that even though he didn't want to be part of our family, I would be glad to share some of our family's clothes with him, so that he didn't have to be naked anymore.
So we walked inside. I started asking him if he needed to borrow anything else, like a pillow or a blanket, or maybe some money, since he didn't have any.
He sighed really loud, frowned, and said, "nevermind. I do want to be part of this family. I'm sorry."

I still can't believe he peed on my front porch.
What's a mom to do?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summertime...and the livin' is easy?

So it's summer: the kids are home, I'm home. That means-togetherness...lots and lots of togetherness.

So far, it hasn't been too bad. They are beginning to get on each other's nerves a little, but so far so good. It is helpful that #1 sleeps until noon. :)  But since we know that we only have about 8 weeks until school starts back and dad deploys, we are going to do our best to spend these weeks well.

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm so sneaky!

I'm so sneaky, oh so sneaky.

Normally I am not a food-sneaker. That being said...there are 3 things that I make that I do sneak food into.
1)Chili. Whether the kids like it or not, I make chili. It's cheap, it's wholesome, it's easy to make, it's versatile. My chili is special in one more way....pumpkin. Yep, a whole can of pumpkin. Why? Well...why not? You can't taste the pumpkin. It adds a whole other layer of fiber and beta-carotene to the already good for you chili, so really it's a win-win situation.
2) Fettucini Alfredo. #2 LOVES fettucini alfredo or any other kind of alfredo. Now, while I do know how to make alfredo sauce and have made it before, it is one of the only jarred sauces I buy. Mostly because anything alfredo is a last minute meal idea here around our house. However....*cue the sneaky alfredo sauce has pureed great northern beans in it. I take my handy dandy wand mixer and puree up a can of great northern beans and add it right to the Alfredo sauce. Why? Fiber. Lots of fiber. We've got to keep these kids regular!!
3) The infamous weight watchers chocolate muffins. 1 box Devil's food cake mix. 1 can pumpkin, 1/2 cup chocolate chips (who are we's more like 1/2 the bag!) Mix first two, add the chips, bake in either a 9x13 pan to make brownies or muffin tin for muffins. Why? Fiber, baby!!

Make sure you've stocked up on toilet paper and then get to cookin'!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Sex Bad?

Last night at youth group, they had the last talk in a series on Love and Dating.  It was concluded by a time of Q & A. Questions that the youth had anonymously turned in over the course of the month. As I was talking to #2 (my only girl-11years old and in 6th grade) this was our conversation:
Me: Were there any questions that you want to talk about with me?
#2: No, they really explained everything well.
Me: ok.
#2: Well, there was this one. It was, "Is sex bad?"
Me: What do you think?
#2: Well, they said it was created by God, so it can't be bad, but Satan has twisted it to make it seem bad.
Me: Yeah. They are right. Think about when Adam and Eve were in the garden, and God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. If he wanted there to be lots of people on the earth, and the only way to make a person was through sex, then do you think he would make it un-fun, like getting a root canal, or donating your left kidney??
#2:*giggles* no...
Me: Right! So sex has to be fun and feel good, so that people will do it and fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
#2:*gross face*
Me: It's like ice cream.
#2: *huh??? face*
Me: Ice cream is great, right? Is eating ice cream ever wrong??
#2: yeah if you're on a diet.
Me: ha-ha. But seriously, is it every wrong?
#2: only if you tell us not to.
Me: exactly. If I buy ice cream and tell you that it's for your birthday, so please don't eat it until then, and you eat it before your birthday, then it's wrong. It's a sin, because you disobeyed, right?
#2: right.
Me: but if you wait until your bday to eat the ice cream, then it's not a sin, right?
#2: right.
Me: now, if you eat the ice cream before your bday, you will still probably get ice cream on your bday too, but it won't be special anymore. It would just be ice cream again. But if you wait until your bday for the ice cream, then it's special. You've obeyed too, so you can enjoy your ice cream without any guilt or shame. Sex is the same. If you wait until your married, then you can have sex without guilt or shame. But if you don't wait to be married, then you have disobeyed and it's wrong. You'll still have sex when you get married, but it won't be as special as if you had waited. Does that make sense?
#2: yeah.
Me: Let's keep going with the ice cream is one of my favorite foods! Let's say we were really poor and had never had ice cream before. But we saved and saved and eventually bought some vanilla ice cream. You loved that vanilla ice cream. And that was the only kind you ever tried...Well, until the day you died, anytime someone mentioned ice cream, you would always think about that vanilla ice cream and it would be the best ever. But....let's say you had vanilla, but then you also tried rocky road, then a gross sorbet thing, and then chocolate cookie dough. Then if someone talked about ice cream, your mind would go to all those different kinds that you had tried. AND each time you tried a new flavor, you would be comparing it to the other kinds you had tried. It's kind of like sex. If the only person you are ever with is your husband, then sex with him will be the only thing you think about and same about you. But if you have sex with more people than your spouse, then your mind will go to all those other people you had been with. That is why sex was designed to be with only your spouse when you get married. Does that make sense?
#2: Yes. Why do all your analogies go back to ice cream??
Me: I'm hungry. :)