Writers are Readers

  
 I turn in my bed, open my eyes, and lay on my pillow for another minute. There is no beeping alarm and I smile at the thought. (I do not usually smile in the morning). I grab my phone off my night stand and take a quick look at the clock. Just after 8. Fall break is great for sleeping in. 

I stretch open my eyes and pop in my contacts, fill a glass with water and quickly swallow my morning medication. I head straight to one of the most important things in life:  coffee. I grab my extra large homemade coffee mug and sort of smile when I remember that I paid ridiculously too much to paint this mug one day on a play date with my girl and some friends. But the mug says, “Caroline’s Coffee” and I like that.  Fall breaks are the best for drinking coffee. 

The house is quiet. James has already left for work. (He does not get to observe Fall break with us). Conner has already left for college. (My niece lives with us and I love her to pieces!  Her college break is not even as long as my third grader’s). And Madison is still asleep. I will let her sleep just a little bit longer and give myself a little time to read. Fall break is made to have a little extra time to read. 

Over Fall Break, I completed Ben Carson’s “One Nation” (AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL), started “Teresa of Calcutta” by D. Jeanene Watson (wow!  I want to be this woman!), and read a few more chapters of “12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid” by Tim Elmore.

I am a parent. I make mistakes. I want to avoid mistakes. This is the book for me. My daughter is eight years old. This is a great time to read this book. He says things like “let your kids fail” and my heart has this little battle with Tim and I say, “WHAT?!” And he says “yes” and I scream “no” and he says “It is the best thing for Madison” and I say “ouch!” And grab my heart and I don’t want my little girl to hurt but he walks through the benefits of letting our children fail and learn from their mistakes and what unbeneficial adults our kids will grow up to be if Momma is always coming to the rescue. And I want my daughter to be an aide to society, so I read on. 

I do want what is best for my girl, even if it is hard for me to loosen my grip and let go of one, maybe two fingers.  But as I do this, something absolutely spiritual happens.  Every finger that I release is replaced by one of God’s fingers!

Ya see, I am not throwing my eight year old into the hands of this world. Hell no!  I am releasing her into the hands of loving God, that believe it or not, loves her even more than I do!  He has plans for her, plans to prosper her!

So, this book has helped me with some very practical ways of knowing how to appropriately give an eight year old independence and what are some ways that I can let an eight year old take responsibility and feel some natural consequences and some natural benefits!  

And do you know what, she amazes me!  And when that girl works hard and gets things accomplished and when she is not entitled to sweets and playing and when she earns a trip out to get frozen yogurt with her cousin and a family night of Uno, she loves me all the more for it and I see that, as Tim Elmore says it, that “I am not raising a child. I am raising an adult.”  And Fall Break is the best time to raise my future adult. 

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My Dog and I

Today, our home underwent a little renovation. The screened in porch was knocked down, opening up a patio to the backyard. I am pleased with the change. James and I sat rocking on the patio and complementing the recent change, Madison and a friend giggled while they jumped on the trampoline, and Tucker ran around the trampoline barking, believing he is one of the children. 

Suddenly from the bright blue sky, an intense boom of thunder shook our world. The girls screamed and began their sprint to the safety of the house. But with a look that he had just been spanked with a bolt of lightning, Tucker took off with the fastest hot lap that I have seen performed, running for his life. 

The hilarity was in watching his determined face as he passed the open patio…open patio…open patio, where he could have entered with ease, as he high tailed it to the spot where the old screened in door used to hang and he entered where that creature of habit has entered since he was a wee puppy and he first became house trained. 

And I realize that doggie and I have something in common. WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. I like a BBQ sandwich with cole slaw on top, because that’s the way I’ve always eaten it. Don’t try to keep me from my Sunday afternoon nap. Christmas decorations are hung the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Don’t even think about straying from the traditional turkey and dressing on that day of ī¸thanks. And if my side of the bed gets switched, I am bound to wake up on the wrong side, if you know what I mean. There is a certain way that our culture talks and acts and does life and if you get too weird on us…well, we don’t like it. Why?  WE ARE CREATURES OF HABIT. That’s not how we do it. 

And then there is the part I like to keep a secret. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. When my house is messy, I am grumpy. When I get mad at my husband, I get quiet. When I mess up, it is hard for me to let go and move on. I value comfort much too much. And I judge people that judge people. (Hmmm)  I am a creature of habit even when it comes to my sins. 

I AM FREE FROM SIN!  Jesus paid the debt. The chain is broken. Satan is defeated. I do not have to worry about this world and comfort and what others think of me!  I am a blink away from eternity. The movers are called and I’m packing for my mansion in glory!

I am like a prisoner with the prison door open and I still sit upon my cot. I am holding the shackles that have been cut off my arms. I am eating the crumbs under the table when the feast was prepared for me. And I am dressing in old rags when a designer dress was ordered and the party was planned for me!

Sinner of habit, the whole patio is open!  Stop running from the storm and chasing my old habits!  The race is won!  The price is paid!  Jesus loves me. NOW LIVE!

An Important Reminder

Do. Do. Do. 

Do not ever, to the negative, the opposite of positive. 

Do not for the month of showers, the month before the flowers. 

Dunce. Idiot. Clown. Twit. Sucker. Fool. Stooge. 

Do

Not

Forget

To

Not

Be 

The 

Twit

Do not forget to play April Fools jokes. 

Do it ALL and Let it ALL Go

There is so much I want to do and so much to be done. There is a philosophy of “how to be perfect” and a religion of “let it go.”  The judgemental wars commence, if your home is clean then you must not have played with your children and if you don’t pack a Pinterest lunch then you must not care about their little body’s health. 

LETTING IT GO TURNS INTO ONE MORE THING THAT I HAVE TO GET DONE!

Do I make the bed or have breakfast with the fam?  Do we go for a lazy walk around the pond or cut a fruit salad?  Will the ironing stack disappear or will the new puzzle be opened?  Is it more important to linger at bedtime and cuddle with my daughter or just sit on the couch and be with my husband that has been at work all day?  Will the floor get mopped or Shepherding a Child’s Heart be reread?

And I believe the answer is this: YES. Hmmm, rephrased:  Do it all, every bit of it. Clarified:  Don’t do any of it. Meaning:  none of it is important. Spelled out:  this is what life is all about. 

OK. OK. funny, funny. How do we know what to do and what not to do?  

Yes!  Spending time with our children playing SORRY  or Legos is crucially important but so is having dishes clean for dinner and clothes to put on in the morning. 

There are lots of little practical tips: Do it together. Invent cleaning games. Take double the time washing sudsy dishes with your two year old playing in the soap and “helping.” Be together. Do together. Include them in the things you have to do vs the games they want to play. Then they are learning and will soon be able to take over some of the chores. 

And there are the facts of life:  Work hard!  Life is not easy!

But still, HOW, WHY, and WHEN?  

And here is what I myself am still trying to learn and apply, the real answer is:  LOVE.  Make a perfect cookie cutter shaped sandwich and homemade cookies for a school lunch if it is showing love, scrub the floor and wash and iron the clothes to welcome your husband into a restful home, turn off the TV and play Monopoly, learn together, do together, DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY AND WHEN YOU GET JUDGEMENTAL EYES FROM THAT FREAKIN PHARISEE, LET IT ALL GO!