Monday, June 17, 2013

24 !

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband.  God has been so faithful to us, and has blessed our marriage in so many ways.

I am thankful for you, my dear!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father "No's" Best!

A tribute to my very special dad...

First of all, let me preface this post by saying this:  my dad will never read this.  There is no computer/internet access in their home.  I don't think he has ever even touched a computer, unless he was helping move one.

Having said that, I want to honor him. 

I am the youngest of 4 girls.  I'm sure Dad would have loved to have a son.  I'm sure my sisters can attest to the fact, though, that he never showed it.  Each of us has a very special relationship with Dad, and we know he loves us so much.

Being the youngest, I have to admit that I learned the ways of a little girl with her daddy.  Batting the eyes, sticking out the bottom lip, and just a bit of whining...sometimes worked!  I especially remember being on vacation in Colorado one summer.  I had my eyes on a cap gun.  It had the whole Old West sheriff's gun look, and came with a roll of caps.  I have no idea why I wanted it, but knew I just "had" to have it.  I went straight to my daddy...and returned to our camp site with a white-handled cap gun!  I'm sure all the other campers really enjoyed hearing that for the next several days.

Something even more important I learned at a young age:  when Daddy said "No," he meant it!  Back in the late 60's and early 70's, at least in our home, respect for your elders was simply not questioned.  Our dad built that into us from the beginning.  I only remember telling him "no" once as a child.  The one, quick swat across my posterior was all the convincing I needed to change that habit!

Dad has always been a hard-working Kansas farmer.  His love of the land and the God who created it are something I cannot even put into words.  He has agonized over lack of rain/too much rain, snow/lack of snow, weeds, coyotes eating calves, mama cows having a hard time birthing, and the just-right time to plant a crop/harvest a crop pretty much his entire life. Though I haven't lived on the farm for over 23 years, I still have a peaceful feeling in my heart whenever I step outside the city limits and see rolling hills of farmland.  It's just a part of who I am.

Most important of all, my dad has a deep and personal relationship with God.  He was born at the beginning of the Great Depression, served in the Korean War, has gone through cancer treatments, has struggled through the lean years of farming, and still, his faith in God is intact.  He was also my favorite Sunday school teacher.  He took the words from the teacher's guide, and made God's Word come alive for me.  For many years, he shared stories with the children at church--stories with a cute story-line and always a great practical application.

Daddy will celebrate his 83rd birthday this year.  He and my mom just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary.  What an amazing legacy he has given to all of us.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Parenting 101

Today's post is more of a rant than any theological- or devotional-type message.  Just so you know!

I have been a parent for about 18 years now (counting the pregnancy, because that is definitely a stage of parenting).  I have learned a lot in the past 18 years--some good, some bad.  I have heard a lot of parenting advice over those years, too--some good, some bad.

You know how it goes:  as soon as anyone finds out you're expecting a child, they have tons of free advice to share on how you should parent.

"Don't spoil them.  Let them cry sometimes."

"Never let them cry.  It's a sign of need.  Pick them up."

"Never let a child sleep in bed with you."

"The best parents allow their kids to share their bed."

"Put them on a strict schedule."

"A baby sets its own schedule."

"Never use a pacifier.  Thumb-sucking is more natural, and an easier habit to break."

"Use a pacifier.  Thumb-sucking is a harder habit to break."

I could go on, but if you're a parent, you totally understand.  If you're not a parent, this is one part of friendly advice you can be glad to have avoided!

As my kids have grown, the advice has changed.  There were the comments about when to start (or not!) solid foods.  Then there was the bountiful information on teething, tantrums, tooth brushing, and discipline (when/if that should begin and how it should be administered).

Now I am getting all the "teen-years-are-terrible-but-you'll-survive-it-somehow" input. 

Don't get me wrong.  The counsel has really been helpful in many, many ways.  However, the best guidance I've ever received has been that which I sought out, not that which was doled out. 

It's easy to judge others' parenting skills, isn't it?  You see an unruly child in a store and automatically think, "What is that parent doing?  That child needs a nap/spanking/good talking to..."  You hear a mom yelling at her toddler in public and surmise, "She wants attention for herself more than she wants her child to obey." 

Yes, I've done this, too.  And I'm pretty sure others have looked at me and wondered at my actions (or lack thereof) in any given situation.

So what is the point of any of this?  Oh, I don't know.  I guess mostly that we should give each other a break, maybe?  Realize that our experience is never exactly like what someone else is going through?  Remember days when we've been at our wit's end with our kids, and know that others have days like that, too? 

From the other side of it, don't take others' opinions quite so seriously.  Remember they are looking at your situation from the outside.  Truly,  no one knows your children like you do.  Of course, there is still really good advice out there.  But don't take it personally.  Weigh it, pray over it, and let the Holy Spirit show you if there are some needed changes in your parenting.  Then, let the rest of it go.

Our children are a gift from God.  The time we have with them passes so quickly.  Let's make the most of that time, and pray for our kids.

Because if you want my best parenting advice, it is this:  Pray.  A lot.