Saturday, April 30, 2011

Childhood Traditions & Memories

I was thinking about childhood memories the other day on my run and since I have a young daughter, I reminisced specifically about memories with my mom.  Two stand out to me, both of which involve traditions. My parents used to take me to the fair every year.  One year in particular, while I was still pretty young, I must have either been feeling brave or got a wild streak, but I saw a ride that looked like a kid's ride.  It was higher and bigger than the other kids' rides, but it was colored in primary colors.  It looked like fun, although I didn't take the time or exhibit enough patience to see it run through one time before I got on. Like most children, I made an impulsive decision to ride it.  I am over five feet tall as an adult, so it makes sense that I met the height requirements on a lot of rides that I probably wasn't old enough to handle.  My mom, though, was a trooper, and, after asking me several times if I was sure I wanted to ride the 'roller coaster,' that she would ride with me just in case.  I had no idea what a roller coaster was, so I was excited to go on a new adventure. My mom had anticipated that I would not enjoy the ride because she knew I was a very timid child. As the coaster car climbed up the hill, I got scared; I probably even started to cry a little. In an effort to make me feel better, Mom threw her arms up in the air as we flew down the first hill and shouted, "whee!" and "Isn't this fun?!" Of course, I did not think it was fun at all, but I still keep that memory of my mother because it was a sacrifice she made for me just so I would feel better.

Similarly, my mom and I had a summer tradition of visiting the public library on a regular basis.  She taught me to love reading and to make it a part of my daily routine.  Consequently, I always looked forward to our trips to check out books.  I learned to get lost in the make believe of fictional works.

What kind of traditions did you share with your parents growing up, and which ones would you want to pass on or begin with your children?  Please leave comments about your favorite childhood traditions and/or memories.  I'm excited about what I can learn from your favorites!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Speaking Life

I love it when God teaches me new lessons from my old struggles.  I have always had a problem taming my tongue, which I know is a struggle that everyone shares because God's Word says that "no man can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).  I have always, in my Christian life, prayed that God would help me tame my tongue and help me speak words of life and not death, but man, is it a battle!  I can testify to Paul's words in Romans chapter 7 when he says that "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing" (v. 18-19).  I have always desired to speak life, but it seemed like something beyond myself had control over my tongue and the words that came out of my mouth.  Because I have always struggled with that sin, it has always been a thought of mine to just give up on winning that battle.  However, I refuse to let Satan win.  Since I know that I still have sin in that area of my life, I will continue to strive toward renewal until I'm perfect or until I die.  It is definitely a battle worth fighting!  Even if I feel like I will never be successful in always speaking life and never speaking death, I know I will not go down without a fight in this spiritual war.  Our words are powerful; they can change a person's mood, attitude, day, lifetime, or eternity!

These are some verses that I have prayed or are currently praying through that God has used to change my speech and really think about the words I say.

"For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks...But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."  Matthew 12:34b & 36

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be." James 3:9-10

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

"A man of knowledge uses word with restraint..." Proverbs 17:27a

"The tongue has the power of life and death..." Proverbs 18:21a

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Wife's Plea

So close, yet worlds apart,
Nothing so hurts my heart.
Different goals, different priorities
Is all I can’t help but see.

A love that started out so grand
Is now slipping through my fingers like sand.
Quality time is what I need,
But it can’t be your only deed.
Your daughter wants your attention, too;
It’s important that she knows you.

We are proud of you & your musical skill,
But I want my husband to do God’s will.
When we get your time, it’s only for a bit.
At the end of your life, I hope it was worth it.
Pursuing your dreams is my desire,
But please don’t leave your family in the fire.

We’re both tired working full time jobs
And I can’t help but sob.
For if I lose you now,
I don’t know how
I could go on, remembering the chances
We had to continue our romances.

I miss your hugs and kisses, too,
And all of the memories I have of you.
I miss the fun we used to share;
I miss you playing in my hair.
The times we talked and joked,
The times you made me laugh until I choked.

I know you care,
But would you dare
Ever surrender your dreams for the sake of your family?
I do not desire that in any way,
But be careful what you say.
This love is delicate, like a rose
For God only knows

How special you are to me,
My wonderful hubby.
Please don’t think it’s the music I resent;
It’s just that I feel spent.
With so much to do,
I really need you.

You calm my fears and help me stand
When you’re by my side to hold my hand.
I miss our dates and time for us;
Every second is a plus.
I treasure moments with my man;
I pray for God to reveal His plan.

Can this be what He wants from us?
Or are all these things on our plates a must?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Parenting and Boundaries

I am a new mom, but I have been an educator in the public school system for 5 years.  The jobs are similar.  I have always said that becoming a teacher before I became a mom helped prepare me for parenthood. Similar to my feelings in the classroom, I am not going to like the reactions my daughter will exhibit when her dad and I discipline her negative behavior, but we feel it is vital to help her become a positive and effective citizen.  I don't want my daughter thinking that this world revolves around her, because it doesn't.  We are on this earth to serve others, not the other way around, which is still a concept I am trying to grasp in my own life.  If we don't set boundaries and limits for our kids, then we are doing them an injustice and giving them a false sense of reality.  If we allow them to do whatever they feel is right, or do whatever makes them feel good at the moment, then they will never learn that the world has consequences to wrong decisions.  They will also never learn how to make the right ones.

Today on my run as I was pouring out to God about some current trials I am facing, He gently reminded me that discipline is necessary for instruction.  I don't always look forward to or enjoy running, but it's good for me.  I don't enjoy disciplining my students, but I know that it is necessary if I want to present the information to everyone in the classroom.  Not always, but more often than not, I can distinguish hands down the students who are the parents in their homes (the ones who run the show) and the ones who are parented.  The ones who are the parents try to ruin the class for everyone by trying to call the shots.  Because they want something their way and can't get it, they ruin the activity for everyone.  They have been allowed to believe that everything revolves around them & if they have a bad day, everyone must suffer with them.

Rules are put into effect to make the world a better place for everyone, not to hinder anyone.  They are a good thing.  It is my husband's and my priority to create a safe and enjoyable environment at home for our children, but they must learn that their actions ultimately and always affect other people and that they must learn to make the wise ones.