Saturday, January 29, 2011

Garments of Praise

This mountain of clothes came to me slowly over time.

First, they arrived from a Greyhound bus from my older sister. She was passing down all the special clothes her girls wore.
Then my sister-in-law sent suitcases full of little girl clothes with family members. She was passing down all the special clothes her girls wore.
Surrounded by such abundant love, it was a year and a half before I had to purchase my first article of clothing for my daughter.

And the clothes kept arriving.
Because kids grow and they need special clothes that are filled with love.

These garments have been held close as I thanked the One who takes care of all my needs.
These garments have been washed and made clean reminding me of how God does that with my heart.
These garments have heard every prayer I've murmured over my babies, every supplication for their health, every whispered promise of trust for their future.

And today these garments were once again prayed over.
Garments of Praise, they are.
Garments filled with thankfulness for being so blessed and so loved. To have clothes and more importantly, to have someone to put into these clothes.

As I said "Amen," I wondered about the young mothers at the pregnancy crisis center who would be getting them.
Would there daughters take their first steps in the purple outfit or the soft pink jumper?
Would they gather their child in their arms and pause and give thanks that they had made the decision to keep their child?
Would these clothes once again become garments of praise for someone else?

I pray so.

The Power of "When I was Little"...

We've been working on empathy at our house lately.

We're having some discussions on thinking about others and learning tact.
One thing that I've found really helpful is telling stories about when I was little.
I marvel at how much my kids want to hear about mistakes I made, how I felt when someone said or did something to me, and any kind of crazy story about childhood.
So, my little ML tip for today is to include stories of your history to your children.

ML Criteria focus: sense of belonging

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Battling Conflict the Mediated Way

Blocking Attitude

There have been a few issues in our house this week that have led to conflict.
My eldest is very expressive in her anger and it's not always demur, to say the least. While we're teaching her new ways to handle her anger and how to self-regulate, here is a scenario that might encourage you in your home.

Explosion of anger hits me in the heart and I'm staring into the hardened eyes of my eight year old.
I take a calming breath. This is the behaviour we are working through as a family.
I've modelled it and now it's out performing me.
Sow to to wind, reap the whirlwind, so to speak.

"Calm down and tell me why you are so angry."
"No." The angst in the eyebrows tells me she means it.
I remember to employ a few things some counselor friends have taught me:

I sit down BESIDE my child. We sit shoulder to shoulder to talk together, not across from each other on different sides.

I take my child's hand.
This is sending an important message. It says," I care more about our relationship, than I do about this argument."

She tries to pull free.
"Please talk to me," I ask softly. "Why are you so angry?"
Her chest heaves a few times, and I pray that she will open her heart to me.
She starts slowly, "You aren't listening to me. That's why I'm yelling at you and talking rude. You aren't listening to me." (Intentionality and Reciprocity)

I know what that feels like. I think through our morning. I have been a bit demanding. I've made two changes in her sphere of living and didn't give her time to adjust. This isn't about obedience--this is about truly caring about what is important to her.

I pull her close and tenderly say, "I know what that feels like. It's hard isn't it when no one seems to be listening. I felt like that this morning during chore time. Do you remember me sayng, 'You guys aren't listening.' " (Bridging)
She nods against my chest.
"I am sorry for not listening to you. Will you forgive me? I really value what you have to say. Your ideas matter to me. Your thoughts are important to me. Why don't you tell me what you wanted to say about this change."
She relays her concerns. Concerns that I had written off as unimportant because I was hurrying to get through the task. Concerns that I brushed to the side and labelled as "stalling."

She apologizes for her negative behaviour and tries hard not to roll her eyes when she hears her consequence.

"Well, we do need to finish this task, and I think we can come up with a way to work together to solve it. Do you have any different ideas?" (Optimistic Alternative)

We think things through and come up with three possible solutions. I whittle away one of them for time sake and let her pick between the two. I talk about the MEANING of our task and how it will help us function more efficiently in our home.

After some consideration, she picks a solution and we work together on it...side by side.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday January 10 2011

We played the reading game
And we quickly devoured freshly baked cookies

Read some books, read poetry by Riley

Made grocery lists and food menus and planned for a hamburger feast night
costumes were in high demand after a reading of Fancy Nancy stories.
Followed by tea. I got to be Mrs.Oliphant.(Not to be confused with Bette Midler's Miss Otis Regrets)
The Tales of Canterbury inspired us and made us laugh

Pente strategizing
Word games--gotta love the FAT RAT rhyming games
We read Jennie's hat and then tried to create some hats
played cars
listened to Hadyn
And started work on our two-day snowmen

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Broken and Spilled Out

The woman with the alabaster box has always been a story that has connected with me.

I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I hope that, if I lived in the day and the hour that she lived in, I would be her. I would come to Jesus with oil that cost so very much and I would pour it on Him.

The Bible says she broke open the box and washed the Lord's feet with her hair. How intimate-how worshipful.

I think about when my hair was long I would wash it with flavored shampoo so that at night when I would go to sleep, my hair by my face, I would go to sleep smelling the wonderful smells of wildflowers or exotic fruit. And now, I think about this woman who washed the smelliest, dirtiest part of Jesus' body with this fragrant perfume-how did her hair smell that evening?

Did it smell to her like the picture of her life--smelly and dirty mistakes overwhelmed by the scent of His majesty?

She committed herself to the act of worship when she broke that box. The oil spilled out, never to be recaptured or contained again--it now had the purpose of serving the King of Kings.

How I long to live my life this way...broken and spilled out for the purpose of serving the King of Kings. I long to never be contained again with the way that I passionately love my Saviour. Never again to be afraid to share His name or the power and truth of His cross. Never to back down from giving Him glory...all the glory.

Lord, I commit my life to You. There is nothing You can't have. There is nothing that You ask for that I won't give You. There is nothing that I will withhold from the One I love with my life. Ask for any of it. Ask for all of it. I will freely give it to the One who is so kind and accepts all gifts.

Even those gifts that are broken and spilled.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday January 6 2011

Today was spend all day at a friend's house day
bring cookies for a snack day
tea and tears day
great discussion on books day
beat young boy on a Wii game only to be beaten by him at Wii bowling day
"stop fighting little boys" day
the princess dress up day
the spin around in our friend's chair day
enjoy the long drive their and back day
sing in the car to the radio day
make more cookies day
tickle and tumbles day
Link In Logs Extreme Makeover House Day!!!!

What a great day!

Wednesday January 5 2011

Dinosaur play to start things off!
Jungle drawings
An idea from my gang: Let's make egg nog into whipped cream. Turns out it only gets frothy. Nothing like an experiment for figuring things out
George and Martha teach us about true friendship and the importance of not putting split pea soup into your slippers
Surreal collages
Using symbols to communicate
Uh-oh! A fashion show with clothing made by Mischief Man
A model shows off the impressive 2 ply ensemble
WEdnesday night is Game Night (Our new year resolution--a family game night) Break out the Uno cards
And cookies that were baked for the occassion
Followed by an intense game of crokinole
And checkers
This last photo is for my sister, Amy, who is living in la belle France.
Ames, I had to run across the street to my neighbour's for a quick moment. While I was in her living room I looked across the road and saw my kids jumping on the couches and somersaulting off the furniture (oh, when the cat's away the mice will play).
Anyway, just wanted to remind you of the time we were jumping on our beds and Dad called us from Grandma's house across the field and told us he could see our silhouettes through the window and could tell that we were jumping on the beds, and could we please stop that right away! Remember?!

Tuesday January 5 2011

The day dawned and we got busy with devotions, reading and somersaulting on the couch.

|Mosaics and snuggling on the couch

Then off to the neighbours--because guess what? We got new neighbours and guess what??? They homeschool!
As they are settling in and painting rooms, we go over for a few hours to homeschool together so their Mom can get two hours of "work" down followed by great conversations with yours truly ;)
The adventures begin!

Tanagram Tales--a great story book that has you tell a story using tanagrams to make the characters. Pictured here is the Bossy Rooster.
We then spent a great deal of time with water
floating,sinking,pouring, splashing

making waves and learning about energy and reflection
An Egyptian water clock
Back home where Link In Log mania continues
And Link In log house is demolished!
A quick game of Uno before ...
driving in the drifting snow
But it leads to the library and a bag full of book goodies

Monday January 4 2011

The day begins with apple pie for breakfast--it's a new year, after all. We need to celebrate with a little panache.
There's all sorts of learning happening--like remote control truck driving from inside the house
using our new Link In Logs--thanks Nemeth family!
Reading, sorting, organizing
Enjoying the lingering scents of sugar cookie oils
Many games of Apples to apples

Apples to start the day--apples to end the day: bliss

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marriage--The Bitter Truth

I've been re-reading the book the Excellent Wife and just had to share this selection from Chapter 3. It is a favourite and never grows old for me.

A chapter from the Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Principle #3 Bitterness Hinders Love ( don't let the title deter you!)

Many of the wives I have counseled have told me they were not bitter, they were however "hurt". Gently, I explain to them that the emotions of feeling "hurt" or "resentful" are usually how you feel when you are bitter. There are several common signs of bitterness. As you read through the following list, ask yourself if you are manifesting any of these signs:


Common Signs of Bitterness
1. Gossip and slander
In the process of complaining, the wife gossips about him and slanders her husband, thereby defiling others.She has either nothing or very little that is good to say about him.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled...
Hebrews 12:15-17

2.Ungrateful and Complaining
The wife is not grateful to her husband.She murmurs to herself and complains to others about him

Do all things without grumbling or disputing...Phil. 2:14

3.Judges Motives
Whatever he does is suspect in her eyes. Even if he does something nice, she thinks his motive must be off. For example, "He only did that to look good to his parents." "I know it seemed like a nice gesture, but he didn't really mean it."

Therefore do not go one passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5

The wife spends a lot of time thinking about herself. She is very self-absorbed. Her focus is fixed on herself and the hurts done against her. not merely look out for your own personal interests...Phil. 2:4

5.Excessive Sorrow
Grief and hurt has crowded out any joy, peace or love that she used to have. It has, in fact, filled up her heart. It may, at times, overwhelm her.

But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. John 16:6

6. Vengeful
The wife looks for ways to avoid her husband. Perhaps she leaves when he is home, pouts or gives him the cold shoulder. she is paying him back for what he has done to her.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone...Never take your own personal revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God... Romans 12:17,19

7. Brooding
The wife broods about what her husband has done. She thinks about it often and plays it over and over in her mind.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. 1 Cor. 13:5

8.Loss of Joy
Lately, the wife has little or no delight in her relationship with the Lord. Because of her sin, instead of God's peace and joy, she is experiencing intense emotional pain and misery.

And I shall delight in Thy commandments which I love. Psalm 119:47

9. A Critical, Judgmental Attitude
It is difficult for the wife to take her focus off what her husband has done wrong and foucs instead on what she is doing wrong.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Matt. 7:5

If your husband has hurt you, it will help if you take a moment and think about what percentage of the problems in your marriage are his responsibility and what are your fault. For example, suppose you believe that the problems in your marriage are 40% your fault and 60% his responsibility.

God wants you to begin biblcally dealing with your bitterness by taking 100% responsibility for your 40%.

Back in Action

hello world! (or smallish portion of the world that reads this blog)

Just a note to say that I'll be posting again later on this week. January requires a few days of tidying, tucking,dusting and ordering so that I can function well in the areas of hobbies (like this one).

Shalom New Year blessings to all and watch for more posts coming soon!