Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are You Teachable?

I have been deeply challenged by a recent post from one of my favorite blogs, Press Toward the Mark (www.press-toward-the-mark.blogspot.com ).  The post featured the story of King Uzziah and can be found in 2 Chronicles 26 (I am learning to LOVE Old Testament history). Like many of us, Uzziah started out doing what was right in God's sight and he prospered greatly.  But later in life, he lifted up his heart and sinned against the Lord.  We can all relate to that, sadly, but what is really compelling about this story is what Uzziah did when he was confronted by the chief priest Azariah concerning his sin.  He had the chance to repent and make things right, but the Bible says Uzziah became "wroth," or angry, with the priest who had the courage to withstand his king.  At that moment of anger, Uzziah became leprous and remained so for the rest of his life.  He had to live apart from everyone and his son Jotham had to take over his reign.  My friend David Brown, who writes the Press Toward the Mark blog, challenges us to look at our reaction to godly correction.  Do we allow God's word to change us?  Do we heed the preaching of God's word? And, ladies, may I add a word - do we receive correction graciously from our dear husbands?  Or do we become angry like King Uzziah and reject godly instruction?

This Bible says in I Corinthians 10 that the lessons learned by Israel in the Old Testament are given to us for our admonition.  We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, as we are reminded in James 1:22.  I have been thinking about this story and my own heart, which is painful enough, but the real heartbreak is for my children.  I cannot think of this whole topic of teachability and correctability without the certain knowledge that I have provided a poor example for my precious sons.

If I am to be a help at all to my younger readers, whose babies are still little, I must be honest enough to share my mistakes and bad choices.  I have written of these things before, but the Bible says we must be reminded of some things. As I contemplate the notion of being teachable, I am reminded of my role as a teacher to my children.  Not in the homeschooling way, necessarily, but as one who is in the position of training them up in the way they should go.  I am reminded of the importance of clear communication on the part of the teacher.  How can my children learn from me if my words all sound the same?  What do I mean by that?  One of the worst things I have done as a mother, over and over again, is to allow myself to become peevish and irritated over very trivial things, and to speak sharply to my children.  My way of communicating has masked the fact that some things are vitally important and some things are not.  I have not "picked my battles" well, so to speak.  Some of the things your children will do that irritate you are not important at all in the long run.  But disrespect or angry reactions to your correction is a serious matter indeed.  It doesn't matter so much what you are making an issue of as your child's reaction to your authority.  If I could go back and re-do so many situations, I would temper my voice and I would make the main thing the main thing.  I would separate childish carelessness from disrespect and rebellion.  Oh, may the Lord cover a multitude of my errors!

King Uzziah transgressed the law of God, and his priests withstood him.  He had a chance to make things right, but he allowed his anger and rebellious heart to doom himself to life as a leper instead of a king.  As born-again believers, we have the word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide us.  May we learn from the fall of King Uzziah to receive godly correction with a humble spirit, and may we be careful and diligent to require the same from our dear children.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Back from My HECTIC Spring

I apologize for being MIA (missing in action) for so long, but it's been one hectic spring here.  The highlight was my older son's graduation from high school. What a great event in a young person's life!  He is planning to study Criminal Justice at a local state university and we are just so proud of him.

I have been more seriously decluttering these past few months, and I was able to host my mother-in-law here for a few days and even open our home for a graduation cook-out! Naturally, my beloved husband was absolutely a prince among men during all these goings-on.  He is so patient and good and is just such a hard worker.  I love you, my darling man!

I hope to be adding some great posts on a regular basis.  For now I will leave you with a website that has just fascinated me since I found it:  www.instructables.com
It has just oooooodles of cool stuff that DIY types have shared for us clueless ones.  Hope you enjoy!
Happy Summer!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Remember to Pray for the Parfitts

It has been just over three months since Ken Parfitt of Geneseo, New York, passed from this life into eternal life with his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  On December 14, 2010, Ken stopped to assist a stranded motorist on a snowy New York interstate.  Another car lost control and Ken was fatally injured in the crash, passing into glory the next morning.  Brother Parfitt left behind his loving wife, Jamie, and their eight precious children.  I keep their picture on my refrigerator to help me remember to pray for this dear Christian family. You may want to do the same.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Loving Memory of Elijah "Weeble" Eckhardt

On Sunday, February 27, at 10:46 AM, little Elijah Eckhardt, known to his loving family as "Weeble," passed into eternity, into the loving arms of the Lord Jesus.  The day before there had been a tragic swimming pool accident.  There are no words to describe the grief and pain of this dear family and those who love them. Yesterday we gathered to remember Weeble and were blessed with a joyous, tearful service that helped us to get to know this dear boy who lived here with us only 1,015 days.  Weeble would have turned three in May.

His Aunt Tricia said, "Everyone loved Weeble, and Weeble loved everyone."  Oh, how he loved, and how he was loved and will always be loved!  He was such a happy boy who loved Mommy and Daddy and his grandparents and his aunts, uncles, and cousins.  He loved playing with his brothers Kaj, Japheth, and Silas and with his sisters Heike and baby Katie, and with his cousins. They were his best friends.  He loved to climb "monkey trees" (this is what he called the ones he could climb; the others he called "monster trees"); he loved cookies and caterpillars and he loved life.

His mommy Jennifer and daddy Troy bravely shared some of their precious memories of Weeble with all of us yesterday.  His Aunt Tricia and his "Poppy" also shared from the heart their love for this beautiful child.  We laughed and we cried and we marveled at the depth of their loss, and the depth of our loss.

We were so very blessed to hear each say with absolute certainty that they will see Weeble again in heaven, where Jesus is now rocking him in his arms.  They will have a grand reunion one day because each one who spoke had placed their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  They had received the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of everlasting life that Jesus won for them on the cross of Calvary.  Weeble's daddy Troy told us how Weeble's short earth-life is already bearing fruit, as one of Troy's dearest friends has come to Christ and been born again as a result of this tragedy.  Praise the Lord!  May he be the first of many, many souls to come to the Saviour as this faithful family lifts up the name of Jesus.

I wish I had known little Elijah better in this life.  He is a part of a family I have been blessed to know and love and fellowship with for thirteen years.  Troy was my boys' Boy Scout Leader for several years.  Poppy Sam is vitally involved in all things Scouting as well and has prepared our taxes for many years.  He and "Nanny" Betty have become our friends as well.  We have also been blessed to know and fellowship with Aunt Tricia and her family and Aunt Susan and her family, as well as dear "Granny" Betty Gunter.  The past few years I allowed myself to become overly busy when I took a job outside the home.  I gave up my Sunday School Nursery Teacher position and even stopped working in the church nursery.  I struggle to remember if I held Elijah in my arms even once.  This is my personal loss, one that I truly regret.  But God is good all the time.  As a believer, I, too, look forward to that great day the Lord will call me home, or that even grander day when the trump shall sound and the Lord's body, the church, will be caught up together with Him in the clouds, "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

Until we meet again in heaven, I will remember little Weeble with love and affection and with a greater appreciation for this life and my loved ones.

Jennifer and Troy, I love you so much.  You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly and I pray the Lord will continue to comfort you and your children and the whole family as only He can.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Relationship Is King

As I look back over the years and contemplate the ups and downs of motherhood, I am more and more convinced that what really matters in the long run is the quality of the relationship I enjoy with my sons.  Even if I don't always say the right thing in exactly the right way, it helps tremendously for them to know I love them, I like them, and I truly have their best interests in view when we discusss this or when I say "no" to that.  I must regularly check in with them and see how we're doing.  When I mess up, the faster I apologize the better it goes.  It's amazing how sensitive a teenage boy can be.  I have come to realize they are young men - my boys! - and they are growing daily into their roles as future husbands and fathers, Lord willing.

O Christian mother, your babies may be young now, but they won't be for long.  Cherish the moments you have with them.  Step back and realize you are their primary model for behavior, both righteous and unrighteous.  The teachable moments come fast and furiously, and you may be overwhelmed and exhausted A LOT.  But take care to protect and nurture your relationship with each child. 

One of my biggest regrets is that I have often allowed myself an irritated and impatient manner of speaking to my boys.  If I am tired, running late, not feeling well, I just let them have it.  Afterward have come the shame and the apologies.  I have felt like such a failure and have bought book after book, searching for the magic bullet to fix myself.  I realize now I should have spent more time in the Book of Books and with its gracious Author.  Romans 12:2 really is true: "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" - only God's word can accomplish this.

May I encourage you today to watch your tone with your babies?  Your voice should be a source of blessing and assurance.  "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness," we read in Proverbs 31:26.  I used to hate the Proverbs 31 woman, but I realize now that was just foolishness.  She is my Biblical example and I have learned to embrace her and love her.  I have a LONG way to go to be anything like her, but I am working on it.  Join me, won't you, and don't forget to practice kindness when you speak to yourself as well.  We can replace those old bad habits with new ones that will strengthen our relationships with our children, day by day.  It just takes mindful attention and perseverance.  We can do this, with our Lord's help, and we must do it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fight Back When Sickness Beats Up the Schedule

If your family is like mine, you have experienced your fair share of sickness already this winter.  Sickness tends to put the daily schedule into the tank, even if some of the family is still well.  The past few weeks have been quite rough around here, and everyone is still in some form of dis-ease.  What to do? My instinct is to crawl under my snuggly blankets and hide, but I dare not as the piles are mounting around me:  piles of paper, piles of laundry, piles of dishes, piles of piles! 

One of the tendencies I have when sick or well is to focus on only one task for an excessive amount of time, while everything else falls into ruin.  Enter my version of FlyLady's Crisis Cleaning technique (http://flylady.net/pages/FLYingLessons_CrisisCleaning.asp). Gather three simple tools: a piece of paper, a pencil, and a timer.  Fold the paper in half; fold that half in half; and fold that half in half again.  Unfold the paper and you will have eight equal boxes in which to write tasks.  If eight seems like too many, stop at four.  (You can always turn the paper over when you finish and you will have four new blanks.) 

Now think about what is screaming for your attention.  Write one chore (or even the name of a room) in each box.  Now set your timer for fifteen minutes and tackle what is in the first box.  When the timer goes off, go on to the next box, even if you aren't finished with the first box. (Who ever finishes laundry anyway?) After three boxes have been given attention for fifteen minutes each, use the next block of time to take a break.

Now one hour has gone by, you've just had a break, and hopefully you should be refreshed to begin the next box.  When you finish the first page of boxes, you can start again at the first box or you can flip your paper over and add new chores in the blanks on the back.

Here are my boxes' labels for today: Read Bible; Laundry; Dishes; Shower; Sweep Floors; Help with Algebra; Work on Financial Aid Forms; Plan Menu.  Changing tasks when the timer goes off is key for me.  I also have to use the timer whenever I get on the computer or pick up the phone.  Sometimes I set it for only ten minutes or extend it to twenty minutes, but fifteen minutes is FlyLady's magic number (http://flylady.net/pages/FlyShop_UTimer.asp), as in "You can do ANYTHING for fifteen minutes!"

When the day is done, feel free to throw your paper away, or save it for tomorrow.  Do what you can, and get the kids involved, especially if you feel under the weather.  When you all do a little, it makes a huge difference.  Your children will thank you one day for giving them the tools they need to lead a simple, organized, contented life.  Thank you, dear Lord, for health and strength to do what we can for even fifteen minutes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Read Through the Bible This Year

There is only one God, and He wrote only one book.  Have you read it yet?  Let's purpose in our hearts to be in God's word every day, all year long.  There are many Bible reading plans out there.  Here are a  couple of links to help you find a plan: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/readingplans/index.php/today?plan=1&version=9

This link even has a "Listen" button!  You can listen to God's word while you work!  http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/kjv/ojan01.htm


King James Bible
Happy 400th Birthday!