Don’t Feel Sorry For Me

We were visiting family recently and I was standing in the kitchen chatting with my relative when she made a comment about my

“not having a life”

because I was at home with the children.   And I just stood there, momentarily stunned.   And I felt so sad for her, because the comment was indicator of how much she just doesn’t get it.    She really does not see her child as a blessing and so just cannot conceive of how someoone might actually enjoy being with their children.

 

You know, from the time I was a little girl, all I really wanted to do was to be married and be a stay-at-home Mom to a whole lot of little kids.  If someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I rarely said that, because I had already picked up the fact that this was not a culturally acceptable answer for a little girl to give.   I knew I was supposed to say I wanted to be a doctor or a teacher or some sort of career.   But in my heart of hearts, I really wanted to be a Mom and to stay at home.    When Kip & I had our second date, I told him that he should know upfront that I wanted to be a stay at home Mom and I wanted a lot of kids and if he wasn’t interested in those things then we might as well not waste our time with further dates.   I had dated a guy in college that I really liked but after about four months of dating it came up in conversation that he expected his wife to work and I knew right then it was over for us.    Even if he agreed for me to stay home, he would always resent the financial setbacks that come with it & I didn’t want that hanging over my head.    And so I told Kip right away because I didn’t want to become emotionally entangled again with someone who had such different goals.     All that to say- staying at home with my kids has *always* been important to me, even from a very young age.    I cannot fathom doing anything else.  Really, I’m living my dream life- how in the world could someone possibly feel sorry for me??  I do not mean to convey that everything is fairy tale perfect, all sunshine-and-roses.   For sure, there are times that money is tight or kids that need discipling, etc. but every job has parts that we don’t like to do or aren’t fun.  I wouldn’t trade this for all the money in the world.

 

I wonder why it is that people feel sorry for the stay-at-home Mom and wife?   I get to be home with my kids all day- it’s not some hardship that I am enduring!

Creativity

An excellent tidbit from Amy at Raising Arrows:

When you begin to live on whims and unbridled impulses, you lose true creativity.  Most people assume those who live in the moment, who are footloose, fancy free-spirits are somehow more creative than the woman who diligently creates a meal plan, crafts a homeschool schedule that meets the needs of 4 different children, and knows exactly what time baths need to begin in order to have everyone bathed, jammied, and in bed before nine.

But true creativity has a component of crisis.

I read this amazing post today- this is exactly what we are trying to avoid with our children.     If you are a Christian parent, trying to raise Christian children, then this is a must read.

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From this blog:   Letter From a Christian College Student

I recieved this letter from a young lady last week—a Bible college student who grew up in a Christian home and Christian school. I believe it’s the saddest letter I’ve ever read and right on the mark for so detailing the experiences of so many young Christians. I asked her permission to post it. Please read. Her words will greatly challenge you as a parent or pastor:

Dear Pastor Schmidt,

A few years ago, I read your books Hook, Line, and Sinker, Discover Your Destiny, and Life Quest. I found them to be extremely encouraging and instructive. These books showed me that not only do you have a real heart for young people, but you also understand us well. I am writing to ask you to consider writing a book to our parents and youth workers. Let me explain.

I am a junior at a well-known Christian college. I grew up in highly respected “fundamental independent Baptist” churches, and went to excellent Christian schools. My father has been a Christian worker since before I was born. One would think that my testimony would go something like this:

“I was saved when I was about 5 and I had dedicated my life to God and I have been growing a lot and serving Him and now I’m studying to serve Him full time.” But that isn’t my story. Actually, though I did make a profession of faith when I was very young, I didn’t get saved until I was 17. Since I was 12 and now on into college I have struggled with “serious” issues. And I found out when I went to college that I am not the only “good kid” who is or has struggled with or is still struggling with serious stuff. We struggle with issues like eating disorders, depression and suicide, cutting, pornography, gender identity, homosexuality, drugs, drinking, immorality, and the list could go on. We listen to “wild” music, we idolize pop culture’s heroes, we watch dirty sitcoms. We have no discrimination in our entertainment, dress, or any aspect of our lifestyle. Obviously, I’m generalizing our problems—you would not find that every Christian young person from a conservative background struggles with all of these issues, and praise God, some of us do not struggle with any of these issues.

My point is that the problems that are supposed to be bad kid’s problems belong to us too. Unfortunately, our parents and youth workers don’t know that we struggle with these things and they don’t know what to do with us when they find out. Quite frankly, I believe that if you grabbed the average Christian school teacher or youth worker and asked them, “What would you do if you found out that one of the kids you work with was a homosexual?” they wouldn’t know what to say.

My point is not simply that they don’t know what we struggle with or how to deal with it. I think there is a pretty simple reason why “good” kids struggle with such serious stuff. And that there is a solution. At the risk of being blunt, I’m going to be blunt.

Our parents did not spend time teaching us to love God. Our parents put us in Sunday Schools since K4. Our parents took us to church every time the doors opened, and sent us to every youth activity. They made sure we went to good Christian colleges. They had us sing in the choir, help in the nursery, be ushers, go soulwinning. We did teen devotionals, and prayed over every meal. We did everything right. And they made sure that we did.

But they forgot about our hearts. They forgot that the Bible never commanded the church to teach children about God and His ways. That responsibility was laid at the feet of our fathers. Unfortunately, our fathers don’t have time for us. They put us where we are surrounded by the Bible. But they didn’t take time to show us that God was important enough to them to tell us personally about Him. So to us, Christianity has become a religion of externals. Do all the right stuff, and you’re a good Christian. So, some of us walk away from church. Some of us stay in church and fill a pew. Many of us struggle with stuff that our parents have no idea about because they hardly know us.

I think these problems stem from first, our detachment from our parents, and second from our misunderstandings about the essence of Christianity—a relationship, not a list of rules. I worry that many young people like me are not even saved because of their misunderstandings about Christianity.

I know that this has not been a well articulated treatise, but it comes from my heart. If you are able to help us and our families, we would be so grateful. I realize that probably, there is no way to fix the fact that kids my age are detached from our parents or to straighten out the crazy stuff that we struggle with. The alienation is fixed, the scars are permanent. I know our situation is not hopeless. God is at work in my life and my generation, among those of us who have struggled and are struggling. But maybe our younger siblings can have some help that we never had. Maybe you can write a book for our parents that will grab their attention and help them see that this is serious—that their kids need them, desperately.

I guess I’ve run out of things to say. I must say I’m a little hesitant to share my name with you because that attaches me with my parents, who are, by the way, good people. Thanks for everything you have already done to help Christian teens and their families. I’m eager to see what else God will do through you.

Sincerely,

(Name Removed to Protect Anonymity)

All I could say when I read this letter was, “WOW! She nailed it!” This is the battle I’ve been fighting for twenty one years. I’m planning to write a couple of follow up articles to this letter, but for now, let this insightful young lady’s words sink in, and let God help you evaluate your own parenting and influence.

Are we teaching kids to simply appear and act right? Or are we teaching them to LOVE God and KNOW Him personally?

What are your thoughts?

Quote


You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
– Rick Warren

Random Bits- Beach, Birthday…

Savannah Marie, 22 months old.   6/5/2009- We bought this antique school desk for $20 last winter.   It’s in the study, fully stocked with paper, crayons, markers and the like.  Savannah LOVES to copy her big sister and sit in this desk and color.  Look at her little crossed feet and her tiny toes- I know I say it all the time but oh, my- she is so stinkin’ cute!

On My Mind Lately…

1. I am *SO* excited about this summer!  The last couple of years we haven’t had much fun.

Summer of 2006- we were selling a house, buying a house, doing major renovations on the new house and, the most devastating thing, we had a miscarriage.

Summer of 2007- Kip’s Mom was dying.   She was in the hospital and then hospice from June until she passed away on August 1.  I was 7,8,9 months pregnant and home alone 18 hours a day, 7 days a week with a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old.    It was pretty terrible.  Sweet Savvy was born on 8/13- just 13 days after Kip lost his Mom.

Summer of 2008 was a little better- we didn’t have any tragedies but we just didn’t do much at all.   Which was fine- but I’m looking forward to doing more fun things this summer.

This summer we are:

1. Renting a “mountain villa” at Bear Den Campground. I am loving the playgrounds, lake and sandy beach, waterfalls.  It looks so fun.  One of our vacation days will be spent at Tweetsie Railroad- I’ve never been but Kip says the kids will love the train ride, etc.   The rest of the time we are going to putter around the campground and relax.

2. The kids are taking swim lessons at the pool in our town every other week, all summer long.   We don’t have a pool and last summer I felt so bad- our kids got to go swimming ONCE between June and August.

3.  I think we are going to go to Raccoon Holler for the 4th of July.   We had so much fun last year!   This year I’m going to enter Nathan in the Watermelon eating contest because that boy loves some watermelon- he ate 10 pieces at lunch on Friday!   They also have a dog costume contest, a golf cart parade complete with throwing candy and Santa,  a live Bluegrass Concert down by the lake and really good fireworks.

4. We’re renting THIS HOUSE for a week at the beach- this will be our 3rd time there.   We’re going to go to Shackelford Shores again this year and Kip wants to go the Maritime Museum in Beaufort.    I can’t wait- this was one of our favorite vacations ever.

5. Kip is putting in a fire pit in our backyard so that we can start having campfires and roasting marshmallows at home.

6.  There is an ice cream store that just opened up a few minutes from our house- we’ll definitely be doing more “ice cream runs”.  (I was going to post the link to this but now I can’t find it.  Anyway- what we do is, like any regular night put the kids in their pajamas, brush their teeth, put them to bed.   Then we wait 5 or 10 minutes and Kip and I go running up the stairs shouting “HEY!  WHO WANTS TO GO GET ICECREAM???”   Of course, the kids come tumbling and running out of their beds and off we go.   THIS is the kind of thing that they remember as adults and look back on.   So.MUCH.FUN.

2. Savannah’s birthday- she’ll be 2 years old!!!- is coming up in August and I haven’t got one clue in the world what to get her.    If you’ve got an idea, email me or leave me a note in the comments.

3. I’ve been reading The Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family and gleaning quite a few good ideas.    (Not that I have a large family- I’ve been reading her blog off and on for several years so decided to get the book)

My favorite idea for a family tradition is to celebrate “half birthdays”. Each kid, on their half birthday (the day 6 months between their last birthday and the next birthday) gets to go out for a special evening with their opposite-sex parent.   So,  on 7/3 just Nathan and I would go out to dinner and then maybe get ice cream or visit the used book store or the toy store.    Kip will take Mary on 8/3 and Savvy on 2/13.  We both love this idea and I’ve marked the calender to do this.

4.  I just finished “Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss and loved it. I can’t believe I haven’t read this before.  This is definitely a book for underlining and re-reading.

I plan to go back over it with a red pen, maybe this weekend.  One thing she suggested was to focus on reading deeply as opposed to widely.    To really read and re-read something until the ideas in the book are a part of you.   I applied that idea to this sermon (more on that in a minute) and have listened to it three times in the last two days and will probably listen to it a few more times over the coming weekend.

5. Speaking of sermons, I just listened to  THIS SERMON (scroll down and choose “March Voddie Baucham”) and like Amy said, “I can’t believe he got away with it!”

(hat tip to Generation Cedar)

“We despise children in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

-Voddie Baucham

Can I say, “AMEN!” to this?!!!    In my opinion, EVERY WORD of what he said is TRUE and I admire his courage to say so.

6.  This GORGEOUS Red Tailed Hawk and his mate have a nest in our neighbors tree. (picture from Google Images)  We see him several times a week.  I see at least one of them almost every morning that I go out for a walk.   This morning he was in the middle of the road, just sitting there, as I came back up our street.   He flew up to a low-hanging branch when he saw me coming.  I walked up and stood right under him- we just stared at each other for a minute or two before he flew away.   It was neat to get such a good look at him.  I *wish* I could see in their nest.  I keep meaning to take my binoculars and try to see them some afternoon during naptime.

7.  As I was driving into town yesterday, I drove past a small lake and this Great White Egret flew RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY CAR. It was so, so cool.  He was just beautiful.  (picture from Google Images)

gg

Great Quote by Smith Wigglesworth

The most trying time is the most helpful time. Beloved, if you read the Scriptures you will never find anything about an easy time, and if you are really reconstructed it will be in a hard time. It will not be in a singing meeting, but at a time when you think all things are dried up and that there is no hope for you. Then is the time that God makes the man or woman.

When we are tried by fire, God purges us, takes the dross away, and brings forth the pure gold. Only melted gold is useful. Only moistened clay receives the mold. Only softened wax receives the seal. Only broken, contrite hearts receive the mark as the Potter turns us on his wheel. We must have the stamp of our blessed Lord who was marred more than any other human being. He was truly the Son of God with power, with blessing, with life. He could take the weakest and make them strong.

God is here this morning in power, in blessing, and saying to you, “What is your request?” Oh, he is so precious! He never fails. Jesus is so gentle that he never breaks the bruised reed. He is so rich in his mighty benevolence that he makes the smoking flax to flame. Beloved, let me entreat you to pay any price. Never mind what it costs; it is worth all to have his smile, to have his presence.

-Smith Wigglesworth

March 20-21, 2009

Before I forget this one…

Last week it rained from Thursday (3/12) through Monday night (3/16).   As we were eating dinner Monday night it was our fifth day of rain.  Mary looked out the window at the steady downpair and remarked, “we need to build an ark“.   She was quite serious too- Kip and I got a good laugh out of that one.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My cousins brought us apples from NY when they were here a few weeks ago so Mary and I spent Friday afternoon baking an apple pie.  Mary had her own little rolling pin and pie plates- you can see she is ready to go.   In addition to apple pie, we also made a lemon pie.   (Notice cute little puddin’ peeking at the camera from her spot at the table).

Mary, measuring the flour out for the pie crust.    She’s a good little baker for being only 5 years old!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I’d been wanting to do something special with her for a while.  Nathan gets to go to work and out to lunch with his Dad on Saturdays and on Wednesday  nights I take him to piano and then afterwards to Subway for a cookie of his choice and a juice box.    Kip takes Mary out to breakfast, just the two of them, quite often but I don’t get as much one-on-one time with her as I’d like to.    So, on Saturday, while Kip and Nathan were at work, I took Mary to Build-A-Bear.

Mary, out front of the Build-A-Bear store.

She picked a pink unicorn- here she is getting ready to stuff it.

“Washing” her new unicorn, named “Sparkle”.

She picked out an outfit…

Getting “Sparkle” dressed and getting the birth certificate.

Mary and Sparkle driving a firetruck at the front of the store.

NATHAN’S FIRST DRAWING!!!!

We have an art table set up in the kitchen and it’s kept stocked with paper, colored pencils and crayons.   Markers are available but kept up higher because of Savannah.  Still, while Mary and Savannah are at the art table ALL the time, Nathan has never been interested.    Then, yesterday, all of a sudden he decided he wanted to draw a picture.   He drew these four snowmen.  This is his first picture- everything prior to this has just been scribbling.

Favorite art works on the side of the kitchen hutch.  Nathan’s new drawing at the top.  Mary’s rendition of a submarine is the next one down.  Third, a water color by Mary from last summer.   On the bottom, Mary’s drawing of snowmen from earlier in the day- quite possibly this is what inspired Nathan to give it a try.

Savannah, after dinner on Saturday night.   For such a tiny, petite little thing, she sure can eat.  On Thursday night she ate more than the rest of us, even Kip.  She ate TWO entire plates of goulash, garlic bread, some fruit and I don’t remember what for dessert.  She must have a high metabolism because I don’t see any other way she can eat the way she does and still have problems keeping weight on her (she continues to be in the 5% for weight).

A guest posting…

This excellent post is by Chautona over at Paradoxology.   She very graciously allowed me to post it here.   I have my own little anecdote at the end.   (I bolded certain parts of the text.)

Do Parents a Favor~

There is nothing (ok, so there is probably something but it feels, at this particular moment as though there is nothing)  more insulting than to hear, “It must be nice to have easy kids.”

Let me give you a news flash.  I’ve never seen an “easy” kid. Even those who don’t challenge you directly, have their own quirks and problems that result in much work on the part of parents.  Just take note, right now, there are no “easy kids”.   There might be kids who pull wool over their parents’ eyes, kids who are hard for a time and then easy, kids who are easy for a time and then hard, but every person at some point in their life, must confront their own sinfulness and conquer it and it’s the job of parents to do their part.

But back to insults.  There is nothing more frustrating to a parent who has put hundreds or thousands of hours investing in their child, working through character flaws, training in obedience and godliness, only to have that effort tossed in the garbage with a thoughtless, “it must be nice to have easy kids.”

I’ve heard it, and I have friends who have heard it and I guarantee, we all have shortened tongues from where we’ve bitten the ends off trying not to make snarky retorts to the inaccurate and annoying comments of people who have no clue what we go through to “produce” those “easy kids.”

  • I’ve put a child’s entire birthday cake/meal back on the shelves and left the store with nothing for a bad attitude.
  • A friend has crawled in between bouts of vomiting to deal with a child who refused to obey before crawling back to that toilet.
  • Everyone of my babies (except the eldest obviously) has been put down mid-feeding while I dealt with an errant child who thought they could get away with murder while mom was latched to the infant.
  • I’ve held fake conversations on the phone, for hours, in order to train my children that it doesn’t matter WHAT I am doing,  I will stop any conversation and deal with misbehavior.
  • I’ve dragged sobbing children back to stores and made them return stolen items, pay for said items, and leave without said items.
  • I’ve spent four hours, at a friend’s house, working with a stubborn toddler, until she obeyed.  During pregnancy, while contracting, and wanting nothing but a long nap… for all of us!
  • I have a friend who has spent twice that time doing the same thing with her “easy kid”.

I could go on for hours, but the fact is, I don’t  have to prove to anyone that my kid is just as sinful as the next.  That really isn’t even my point.  My point is that when I say, “My kid wouldn’t ever try that in my home,” it isn’t because he wouldn’t have at one point.  It is because I worked hard, every day of their lives, from the day they were born until they leaned that mom and dad’s word was like the law of the Medes and the Persians.  It will not waver.  Yes I failed.  Often.  I will tell you, however, that I succeeded often enough to make a lasting impression.

Why do people recognize all the work that goes into an exquisite painting, a masterfully played sonata, or a hand stitched quilt but if a child is well behaved, it must be because  he’s “easy”.  Why do people think that “good kids” just “happen” to run in families?  Wouldn’t it make more sense that they’d be sprinkled a bit more evenly through the population?

Do hard working moms everywhere a favor.  Next time you see a well behaved child, make a positive comment about the child or their behavior.  Please don’t tell the mom how nice it must be to have an “easy child”.  It would truly be kinder if you slapped her in the face.

It’s me again….I remember once when Nathan was at the cardiologist for his 2 year (I think) checkup- the cardiologist kept going on and on about how good Nathan was, how he just couldn’t believe that we could have a 2yo that would lie still for an echocardiogram and an EKG without having to be put to sleep, yada yada yada.

So, I said- “thanks, we work really hard at teaching good behavior at home”.

The cardio looked at me and said “oh no, you can’t teach them good behavior this young. He’s just a naturally easy child.” eek eek

My word did I just have to restrain myself.