Thursday, April 30, 2009

God and the Potty

How many times can I say "Thank you, God, that I'm not 25 or 30 years old and raising kids?" If it takes a million, I'll say it. I have to admit there are times when I get tired of the "getting old" stuff, but it's nothing compared to having to raise children. That's the hardest job of all.

When my girls got close to the age of two, I started the potty training bit. Time smooths out all memories, so all I remember about it was that it worked well. We got rid of the diapers, expect at night for a time, and put on training pants that allowed them to feel the wetness and poop. Learning to go to the bathroom in the potty was the way life worked.

I read my favorite columnist, John Rosemond, this morning. His column was about potty training and how many parents aren't doing it early--which is causing havoc when they get tired of changing their four year-old's diaper. Yuk! Evidently parents today--some parents--are into the "readiness signs." Come on now. How many two or three year-olds know when they're ready? Answer: Very few if any.

When my grandson was nearing two, he wanted to stop using a diaper. One morning when he was about 22 months old, he ran into his mother's room and asked her to take off his diaper so he could go poop. Still half asleep, she said, "Do it in your diaper."
He raised a stink (pardon the pun) and refused. That was the last time he wore a diaper, even at night. He was one of the few who knew he was ready.

God is like a parent. Sometimes we don't want to get out of our diapers, but God knows when the time is right. "Time to stop acting like a baby," He tells us. "Time to grow up." I can't tell you the ways you may have been wanting to stay a baby, but I remember the time when He made me grow up. (Nope. Not going to tell.)

I'm probably still in diapers in some ways, but when the time is right, I trust God will help me out of them. I'm not sure He looks for "readiness" as much as He looks AT us with love and leads us toward the potty to get rid of whatever it is we need to eliminate. Another pun. I'm full of them today. (:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Such A Time As This

Chances are I will never be able to adequately put into words the revelation I had Sunday morning, but I'll try.

Our preacher, Wyatt, spoke on love and mentioned Reid and me. We opened our home and our casita to him and his family for several weeks when he had no place to hang his hat. We grew to love having him, of course, because he's really quite lovable. He even started calling me "Mom."

Here's where the revelation began. I saw my life going back through the years---marrying Reid, buying this house with the casita, living alone for six years in Oklahoma, husband dying, moving to Oklahoma, marrying husband, several really hard, horrible, years with some major missteps in Beaumont, divorce...all the way back to my childhood. I attended a class on Esther this past winter and spring, and just as she was in a certain place "for such a time as this," I saw how God had led me to this town and this house for Wyatt. With Wyatt's help God is bringing our church family into a huge new place with Him--of that I'm certain.

And God let us play a small part in it by having a place for Wyatt to call home until he found one of his own.

The greater blessing for me was seeing how, even with my missteps, God was able to get me where He wanted me to be. I saw it in Beaumont when I met my husband there, and I saw it again Sunday. God is truly sovereign. We think we are in total control, don't we?

How He must smile at us while He covers us with His love and leads us where He wants us to go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mothers, Daughters, Games, School and Fun

Two of the blogs I read this morning are about mothers and their daughters. In one the mother is homeschooling her daughter. She's discussing testing. Should a student know the answer without multiple choices? One of the commenters on her blog writes that a person should be able to recognize an answer as well.

As a teacher in mid school, I gave different types of tests. Mostly, however, I had to give clues or the kids just didn't get it. When I tried essay, I got one sentence answers that sometimes didn't make any sense at all. I always liked oral better because most students were able to tell me the answer but couldn't put the answer into the written word. Maybe it was the age. Maybe it was the way they'd been taught forever. Maybe it was the way I taught.

The other blog is written by a mom who coaches her daughter's T-ball team. She's found a way to make playing ball fun. It takes a special coach to make learning fun. Those little girls will remember this season all their lives. The sad part will be if they continue playing and they get coaches who only want to win. Winning is good, too, but not when it trumps fun.

How did we get to this place in life where everything has to be so hard? Learning, playing, just living? With all the sickness (We know so many people with cancer) and corruption (Just read the paper. Every day there's one more politician or government official who has broken the law) and name-calling (A Miss U.S.A contestant who is asked if she supports gay marriage is called names by one of the gay judges and misses her chance to win the title because she doesn't give the P.C. answer--and that's only one example)and bleak economic future of our country, we could use a little fun.

One of our favorite TV newspeople thinks watching Dancing With the Stars is a waste of time. He says we need to be aware of what is going on in the world instead. We KNOW what is going on in the world. How can you miss it if you are living and breathing? But we need a break from it.

Jesus said He came to give us the abundant life. I don't think He was talking about money, prestige or happiness. I think He might have been talking about peace and security in Him and maybe even fun.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Signs of Love

We have a lady who signs for the deaf during the church service. She stands on the platform not far from the preacher. We've heard complaints about where she stands, and I kind of agreed that she didn't need to be up there, but what I saw this morning changed my mind.

I looked across the way and saw a little kindergartner sitting on her daddy's lap and following the signing the best she could. Amazing how close she came to the right signs. I loved watching her. Not only was she learning something invaluable, it was probably helping her listen to what was being said.

Sometimes we don't know what kids are picking up. I know I'm really bad at making snap judgements, but watching this child made me realize (again), that the world doesn't revolve around me.

Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Self-esteem or Humility?

My favorite family psychologist, John Rosemond, gave me something to think about last week. His syndicated column last Thursday was titled "High-self esteem makes for manipulative children." When I taught school, many of the workshops we had to attend were about ways we should give our students high self-esteem. I never totally understood what that meant, nor how I could give anyone self-esteem.

Dr. Rosemond writes that psychologists had no empirical evidence to support the claim that parents should do all in their power to make sure their children acquired high self-esteem. The evidence, he goes on to write, is now in and says that people with high self-esteem possess low regard for others. "Instead of seeking opportunities to serve others, they seek to manipulate others. Furthermore, people with high self-regard tend to antisocial behavior. For example, people incarcerated in maximum-security prisons have very high self-regard."

"Pre-psychological parenting (like the kind my parents used on me and I used on my children)emphasized respect for others. . .seek opportunities to serve. . .pay attention to other people." Parents confuse self-esteem with confidence. Dr. Rosemond says "there is no evidence that people who are humble, modest and possess high regard for others lack the belief they are capable of dealing with life's challenges."

I believe I'd rather be employed by, work with or be married to someone who is humble and modest rather than someone who has high self-esteem and is more interested in serving themselves than others. I believe, as does the good doctor, that we have damaged children, families, school and culture with this psychobabble.

Along with this kind of skewed parenting is doublespeak, as in George Orwell's novel "1984." The new Homeland Security Department chief no long calls terrorist attacks by that name. Instead she calls them man-caused disasters. The Albuquerque School District has stopped calling kids who play hooky from school "truant." They are to be termed "students in need of early intervention."

All this goes together. Instead of telling their children they can't hit another child or they must share what they have because that is the kind thing to do, parents give in to their tyrannical children by trying to "distract" them with something good--a lollipop, a bird in the sky, whatever is around so their little darling won't be damaged by being told "no" or by being paddled on their soft little bottoms when they are rude and selfish. Those are the kids teachers are trying to teach today in out-of-control classrooms. Those are the adults that shoot or abuse others when they "don't get their way." Can't you just hear them now? "It's not my fault." And the parent's only response is "He's a good boy. It was those other kids that made him do it."

Seems to me that very often high self-esteem equals selfishness. What is it God says in Isaiah 57? "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit. . ." Come to think about it, I don't find anywhere in scripture where we are told to have high self-esteem.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Relaxing Monday

A part of me thinks I should be "doing" more than I've done today. But the other part doesn't care.

I've been doing laundry all day and have cleaned two bathrooms. I talked to a friend on the phone (high priority), read the paper, looked at few emails, cooked some beans for lunch, made the bed, brushed my teeth, put on clothes, exercised for about 25 minutes, had a conversation with Direct TV and found out it is more expensive than what we already have, but it was a chore getting that out of the woman on the phone, read a couple of blogs...When I see it like that, it looks like I've done a lot.

But I haven't written. And that's what I think I need to be doing. I even want to, but not enough to put out the effort to do it.

Why do some of us think we have to be busy all the time? What made us this way? Our ancestors? Just because they lived on farms and had to make their own clothes, till the soil, cook from morning til night---all those things we've heard they had to do in order to survive, why do I think I still need to be as busy as they were?

If I'm alone and no one sees me goofing off, I can kill a day channel surfing or reading a book, and when I do, I feel guilty. But I really do enjoy doing those things.

So, I'm going to go read my book, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" an excellent read, by the way. Then, about 2:00 I'll tune into to a couple of old episodes of "Little People, Big World." I might even take a chair nap while I'm at it.

And hopefully I won't suffer guilt because of it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Morning

Snow fell on the Sandias yesterday, last night and may still be falling this morning. It's overcast and rainy here in the foothills. For those hardy souls who made it to a sunrise service somewhere outside, they won't see the sun. Maybe they had a place inside to "celebrate."

When we lived in El Paso, we went to every sunrise service our little church held on top of Mount Franklin. It was always cold, and I hated going. My whole family hated going. At that time of our lives we thought we had to be wherever the church was meeting every time it met. After leaving El Paso I vowed I'd never go to another sunrise service, and I haven't.

This year our church held a last supper meal on Thursday, a Good Friday service and this morning's service is at 9:00, and we went and are going to those. They having a sunrise service right now, a breakfast and after class will have an Easter egg hunt. We missed the SSS, the breakfast and will miss the hunt.

I've been disappointed on how much of the content of the services so far have been pointing at my sins and the sins of the world that put Jesus on the cross. Somehow I felt Easter was becoming about me more than Him. And I disagree that sin alone is what put Jesus on the cross.

Adam and Eve were sinless and had a great place to live and a wonderful relationship with God. When God said it was not good for man to be alone, He knew that because He'd experienced it. God wanted relationship with mankind. When Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to disobey, that relationship had to be changed because God is holy and man wasn't holy any longer.

This is the way I see it. Jesus came to re-establish man's relationship with God. To do that He had to take the sinful nature of man into his body--my sinful nature, yours, everyones--so God could have relationship with us again. Relationship is what Easter is all about. I now have the opportunity, without a High Priest and without an animal sacrifice, to have relationship with God. I hope the preacher talks about that this morning. Even if he doesn't, that's what I'll be thinking about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still Working On "Copper Penny"

For the last week I've been making changes to "Copper Penny"--and I thought I was finished! I sent the first 55 pages to Melody Groves, a local published author, to critique. For the most part she said it was good, but one of the first scenes where I introduce the three main characters, she called "painful." Ouch!

When she explained it to me, I can see it. But changing it means I have to totally change that scene and search through the book to be sure I delete some threads that come from it. Fortunately I've dropped out of Critique group #3 and only have group #1 to attend every other week. I'm submitting pages from "Plugged Nickel" to them, but I'm far enough ahead that all I have to do is read over about 10 or 12 pages and give that to them.

When I wrote "Bobby Mac", it took me seven years of making numerous changes, adding characters and scenes until I had a book of over 300 pages. I didn't think my second book would take so long, but it may. I think I've been on this one for about 2 years now. If I ever get a publisher and they want a book a year, I'm in trouble.

With Melody's help, maybe Penny will be ready soon. And should I live long enough, I might get "Plugged Nickel" written, too!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Some Stuff

Down comes the Mother picture and up comes something else. I haven't decided yet.

After writing last Thursday's blog, I went to the final Esther class. I'm not sure about everything Beth Moore said, but I knew I was hearing from God and He was saying, "Change your stinkin' thinkin'!"

Let me give some quotes that spoke to me last Thursday.
"All these stabs in the dark (when we pray and don't know what to do next) come together in His beauty." Which means to me--He's hearing my prayers and although I can't see anything happening, they will come together eventually.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Even me.) In man's realm Time diminishes beauty. In God's realm where we will spend forever, time perfects beauty. Beauty in God's realm is not a treatment. It's a destiny." Imagine that! Our destinies are beautiful.

"My life story is still being written." So is yours.

When I'm overshadowed, underrated, overwrought, under qualified, under attack, over- anxious and over-responsible, God will turn it around. Thank goodness!

It's tough being a woman, isn't it? We want to look good, feel good, smell good and be loved. Men? They know they look good, feel good, smell good and are lovers. (At least that's what they tell themselves and they never obsess about whether or not that's true.)

Psalm 91--God is never more there than when you cannot see Him. Lately that's been where I am. I've been asking God for something for a long time, but nothing is happening. I can't see Him, but I have to believe He's listening and working this problem out.

It's much later in the day since I began this. I've been on the phone with my brother, both of my daughters, an adopted grandson, Comcast, two doctors' offices and three friends. I've written two letters. I've washed so many loads of clothes that I've lost count. Still have two more loads to dry. I've dusted my house, cleaned bathrooms and eaten lunch. But I haven't been on the elliptical yet. Whew! I'm not sure I'll make it.

I don't know if what I've written makes any sense at all but here it is. I hope your day has gone well. Until I get back on this again, know that God is with you even if you can't see or hear Him.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obsessing About Obsessing

I may not take my mother's picture down for awhile. She inspires me--like today.

My mother cooked like a master chef so I grew up thinking every meal had to have bread, potatoes and dessert--particularly chocolate cake. When we would come home for a holiday (or just for a visit), she had gingersnaps, peanut brittle, divinity, always something chocolate--everything delicious. You ask my kids who they remember fed them the best--their mom or their grandma--and you'll get Grandma every time.

But Mother was on a perpetual diet. She wasn't ever obese, but off and on during her life she was overweight--and she was skinny many times, too. I don't know if it was because she talked about it or why, but when I entered that adolescent stage when girls usually have skinny legs, I thought I was fat because my legs weren't skinny. As I look back now, I see that they were shapely for a pre-teen. I was about 11 or 12in the picture at the right. I took tap and ballet from Dixie Dice in Amarillo. The three of us in the picture did a routine where we were called The Babysitters. I remember when that picture was taken. I deliberately put weight on my foot so my thighs wouldn't look so big. How I got that idea is beyond me. My thighs are no larger than the other girls' and none of us could be considered overweight.

All my life I thought I was too fat. Now that I really am fatter, I wish I had some of those skinny days back. Last night, as I looked at my once flat stomach which isn't any more, I thought about how obsessive we women are. We obsess about our bodies and we obsess about our hair. I didn't start obsessing about my hair until I started turning grey. Now I obsess about my hair and my body.

While thinking (obsessing) about obsessing, I thought about men, and asked Reid what men obsess about. He looked confused and thought for a little while then said, "I can't think of anything." Good Grief! Surely men obsess. I bet Donald Trump obsesses about his hair. But what else? Their "privates." Maybe some of them do. I don't know since that's not something I've ever discussed with men.

What is it about women that makes them (us) think about these things? It's definitely a waste of good thinking time. And why don't men obsess? Could it be because women have such huge brains that we have to think of things to keep our brains busy? If that's so, what does that say about men's brains? Maybe men are smarter than women and don't waste their time thinking about things they have no control over.

When I was little I remember wishing I was a boy because I thought it was easier than being a girl. I think I was right.