Monthly Archives: August 2012

Back To School

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It’s that time of year when around the world children are returning to or have already returned to school.  Maybe you have seen this, maybe you haven’t, but a friend of mine on Facebook shared this:

 

People liked it, mothers agreed with it, I spoke out against it.  When did it become ok to treat our children as an inconvenience in our lives to be tolerated til the next time we could offload them onto somebody else so that we can get on with the more important things in our lives?  I saw this picture, and it broke my heart.  It broke my heart because so many parents are failing to see the real blessings children can be and how much they can add to their lives.  They are failing to see the big picture.  Their “me time” while the kids are at school and not “getting in the way” will mean nothing when the kids are gone and they are left with more “me time” than anyone would know what to do with.  Their chasing after success instead of chasing their child round in a park or letting their child chase them, will mean nothing beyond the grave when they leave all that stored up wealth behind along with children who feel insignificant and resentful.   It broke my heart for the children who pick up on the fact that they are a burden to their parents and something their parents would rather not have around.  Is this really the legacy we want to pass on to our children? Do we really want them to see themselves as a burden in our lives, do we want to be giving off the vibe that we can’t wait to get rid of them so we can get on with making more money or spending more time at the gym working out or whatever it is we do for “me time”.  No one said parenting was easy.  It’s a tough job.  Yes, our children frustrate us, and yes, at times we need just a little time out to collect ourselves before coming back to do it all over again.  But do we really want to leave this earth having left nothing but a legacy of selfishness and how burdensome children are behind, chasing what really doesn’t matter?  When we invest in our children instead of our fitness, our relaxation our bank account etc, it is the wisest investment we can make.  We need to start seeing our children as a great investment plan, and not buy into the fact they are a mere drain on all our resources and something to be offloaded at the first opportunity.

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Toothpaste

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Many years ago in my Bible Studies class at school our teacher split us into pairs and gave us all a tube of toothpaste.  The task? To squeeze out the entire contents of the tube and then to get all that toothpaste back into the tube.  The conclusion?  It was impossible to get it all back in and extremely messy.  He used this hands on task as an analogy of the words we speak.  Often our words come out before we’ve taken time to think.  They’re harsh, hurtful, and can leave a bit of a mess.  Just like the toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube, so we can’t take our words back once spoken.  An apology can clear up some of the damage, but it’s still not a pretty sight.  I was reminded of this lesson at the weekend when once again I fell short of speaking words that were uplifting, gentle and kind.  It bothers me when people try to dictate to me how I should raise my daughter or think they know best what we need to be buying for her (the power of advertising is a wonderful thing!), and, on this particular occasion, I lost my patience and my cool.  I spoke words that were unkind and sharp and disrespectful.  It’s been messy ever since as I deal with the aftermath of regret and guilt in my heart.  And suddenly I was taken back about 13 or 14 years to that lesson and the toothpaste.  From here on out, I will try and keep that in my mind as a reminder to keep my words soft and friendly…life is much more pleasant that way!  May we all remember the analogy every day as we pick up the toothpaste to clean our teeth….nasty words cannot be taken back, and we’d all rather hear kindness than rudeness.  Let’s go bless someone’s life today with kindness and love from our mouths.

Exactly As It Should Be….

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Change

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Change

Change is like the wind.

It can come gently, almost silently like the whisper of a breeze; creeping up on us.  We are barely aware.

Change

It can come at us loudly like the roar of thunder and turn our lives upside down in an instant like a tornado.

Change

Are we ever ready?

Change

It causes us to examine how flexible we are.  Do we accept it?  Do we fight it?

Change

However it comes, and whatever our response, it comes to us all in some form or another.

 

Changes around here have been subtle recently, creeping in gently, but with enough force to make my heart pay attention.  Shifts are taking place once again in my relationship with my daughter.  Slow, miniscule changes, but changes none the less.  She no longer needs my comfort for day time naps.  She quite happily falls asleep on the bed after a lunchtime feed and sleeps for 3 hours. The wrap lies redundant in the daytime right now.  There are positives to this change, of course, I have 3 hours in which I can speed round the house doing chores I didn’t get done when she was awake, I can have my lunch and relax over it, I can have a few moments to myself to be still, to quiet my heart, to read, to rest.  But these positives come tinged with hint of sadness, that my baby girl has taken yet another step on the road to becoming more independant, to becoming her own person outside of me.  Other changes are that she will happily play for at least 30 minutes sometimes longer out of my presence while I do chores elsewhere in the house which was unheard of in the past.  She had to know I was nearby or else she let the whole world know she felt very much alone.  And today she managed to crawl…backwards, but she crawled.  Little changes, little steps on her road to becoming independant from mummy and daddy, but sometimes it’s the little things, the quiet, subtle changes that resonate deeply in our hearts and give us cause for joy and wonder mixed a little hint of sadness as once again we come face to face with the reality that the time on this side of our babies flying the nest solo for the first time is really so short.  We must make the most of now.

Unexpected Visitor

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Last night, we had a very unexpected visitor to our home.  One of my dogs was barking incessantly in the garden.  This is not unusual, so I went out to tell her to be quiet, but I found her barking at a hedge near the bottom of the garden in such a way that I knew there was something in there she wasn’t quite sure of but that she wanted me to see.  Down I went with baby to find the cause of all the commotion.  I saw nothing, nothing but a grey something that could possibly be a football come over from the neighbours’ kids.  Again, that is quite a regular occurrence, and I thought she had just scared herself by seeing the ball in the hedge.  So I laughed, told her to be quiet and walked off.  She continued to bark, and then I turned around to find her pulling a pigeon out from the hedge.  I assumed it was dead at first, and my dog, being a Flat Coat is quite partial to finding a dead bird or two, though she usually doesn’t bark and go crazy.  I thought I knew the drill, she’d hold it expecting me to chase after her like she normally does upon finding a dead bird.  But, wait, she’s carrying it up the garden and setting it down and looking at me expectantly waiting for me to come join her.  So I trek back down the garden and she backs off from the bird, not her usual game.  I take a closer look and find the bird is alive but looks like a cat has tried to attack it.  I take baby inside and ask my husband to come down and put the dogs in their bed as I felt the poor pigeon had had enough commotion.  I got an old towel and gently draped it over the bird and scooped it up.  It was still alive, but quite frightened.  My husband found a box and we punched loads of air holes in it and lined it with newspaper put a dish of water in and some bird seed.  I carefully placed the bird in the box, we set the box somewhere quiet and called the RSPCA.  They had told us they would be out soon to fetch the bird.  Two hours later, we had heard nothing, so we called again, and someone called us back to say they were very sorry, but it would now have to wait til the morning, but we had done all the right things and the pigeon would be fine like that til they got there.

I checked on the pigeon twice before going to bed and it had moved a bit and on the last occasion it seemed more relaxed and its breathing had steadied.  This morning, my husband went to check on it, and, sadly, it had passed away.  We weren’t able to keep the bird alive, but we were able to create a safe haven for it to pass away in without the risk of further attack from any animals in such vulnerable state.  It got me thinking of a verse in the Bible in Matthew 10:29-31, where we are told that God cares for each and every bird.  He ensures they have food, He knows when one dies and He cares.  But oh, how much more He cares for us!  And just liked I provided the bird with a safe haven, a shelter in its time of need, so God does the same for me.  When life wounds me in some way, which it does, He is there to gently swoop me up, and He holds me in His arms, a safe haven against the storms of life, He comforts me and nurtures me and gives me the time and space to recover from whatever trial came my way, the same way I comfort and care for my daughter.  How awesome a God we have.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Refrain

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Teaching A Child To Love Who They Are

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I was reading over at Nurshable this morning and came across this fabulous post which I had to share.  It is definitely a must read!  Oh, how we  forget as adults the little eyes and ears that are watching our every move and taking in our every word.  How we forget that every negative comment we dish out to ourselves is being internalised by this clean slate who in turn starts to magnify the “negative” he or she sees.  We need to be careful; careful to ensure we build each other up and not tear each other down.  We need to be careful with the comments we dish out to children as well such as, “wow, what big feet you have” or “aren’t you tall/small for your age?” or “isn’t she a big baby?”.  They may seem harmless words as you spout them off, but it might just be enough to make someone dislike themselves.  There are parts of me that I dislike for the simple fact that people have pointed them out to me, like my big feet for instance.  I have a nephew who is really conscious about his height because he’s the smallest in his class and hates people talking about his height.  I dislike it when people stare at my baby and say, “wow, she’s a big girl!!”  By whose standards are we measuring the length of feet, or the height or weight of a child?  In God’s eyes, my feet aren’t big; they are exactly how He wanted them to be for the purpose He placed on my life, same with my nephew’s height, same with my daughter’s size, same with each of us.  We are how we are, because He has deemed it to be so, and He sees each of us as beautiful.  Don’t measure your beauty by man’s warped standards, because will all be doomed to a life of never measuring up.  Look to the one true mirror and see that we have been made in the likeness of God; beautifully hand crafted, each and every one of us.  Let’s start to magnify all the great stuff about ourselves, because it’s there, and let’s start to have a healthy, positive attitude towards ourselves and others.  Nurshable’s post also reminded me of the great Casting Crowns song, Slow Fade.  Remember, all around us are little eyes and ears who are hanging on our every word and action as an example of how they ought to be as they grow up, and little feet who will follow in our footsteps.  Let’s be sure those footsteps are leading to positive behaviours, thoughts, actions etc.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

A Gift From Above

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That’s what good news is.  It breaks through the mundane, the worry, the despair, the frustration and gives us a lift and reminds us that God’s still in our corner and still seeking the best for us in our lives.  This past week has brought a few nuggets of good news my way.  I posted back in July about how it looked like I wouldn’t get to finish my Diploma in Reflexology (you can read about it here) and that I also stood to lose all the money I had invested.  I had no idea why God allowed things to work out as they did, but I had to trust that He knew best and that either I’d get to finish the diploma somehow or that He just didn’t want me to do it.  I decided the best course of action was to write a letter to the college expressing my disappointment and noting the ways in which I felt they had breeched their contract with me etc.  On Monday I got the news that I could either defer another year until September 2013 and start all over again and not pay a single penny extra.  It sounds like a great plan, because my daughter will be older and less dependant on me, but at the same time, who knows where we will be by 2013 location wise and I may have another cherub to care for which would complicate the whole situation further.  His second solution was that he contacted the old awarding body(the one I was studying under til he switched for this academic year)and they are happy to allow me to continue working on the syllabus I was on and at my own time to receive the diploma I should have received this June.  He has said that as I pick things up easily I don’t even need to attend any classes.  I can work from all the class material and podcasts at home and just come to the bits of the new course that interest me and for the practical bits if I want to brush up my skills.  This works brilliantly with my current situation.  I can work from home, in my own time.  It doesn’t impinge upon time with my baby girl, and if I do go to some of the sessions I won’t be gone from early morning til late at night.  Also, it’s up to me how slowly or quickly I complete the course.  I am so thrilled I can continue, and now I see that God wasn’t saying no…He was just fixing the situation that should have been to make it suit me even better.  Praise Him!  I am already thinking about which direction to take my CPD training in once I’m finished as I want to focus on certain areas such as fertility/maternity and babies/young children.  The excitement is making me get carried away.

Another bit of good news that came to me is that my best friend and her family will be moving to within 2 hours of where I live.  Since 2004 we have lived in separate countries and it’s been tough as neither of us has found another friend who hears our heart in quite the same way (besides our husbands obviously, but there are times when you just need a female to talk to!).  She and her husband were due to move to another area a few years back and came to look for housing and we met up with them thrilled at the prospect that they might be nearer, but then God said no at that time.  It looked like they may not get this time as my friend has been so ill since the birth of her daughter, baby number 2, but she started making dietry changes like I had to do and is improving, so they have just signed on a house over here and will be moving in a few weeks.  I am delighted to have a dear friend living so close by, as I have felt quite isolated at times.  Sure, I have friends and am friendly with people, but you cannot bare your sole to everyone; for that you need a special friend.  I’m also excited to see our daughters playing together as they are only a few weeks apart age wise, so it’ll be great fun to have play dates.

All in all, a great week for good news and the balm my heart needed to lift it and make it lighter.  Thank you, Lord for your goodness to us.