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  • In His Image
    Written by

    In his image….

    Song of Solomon 4:7 You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

    My children like most are skilled in many areas.  One of these areas is their ability to point out my imperfections on a daily basis.  “Mom, you forgot my folder.”  “Mom, are you really going to wear that?”  “Mom, dad really is better at pitching.  Can you find him?”  My standard line, “You mean I’m not perfect again today???”  This line is then followed by jokes and laughter about all of our imperfections. However, behind this laughter lies my greatest fear as a parent….holding my children to such high standards that they believe they must always achieve perfection, that mistakes are unacceptable.  I remember all too well the constant struggle to take pride in my accomplishments, to feel good about my strengths, to appreciate the glory of being made in God’s image.  It is far easier to focus on our imperfections, to hold on to our mistakes, to perseverate on how others view us.  Sadly, this is not just a memory but a current reality not just for me but for many.  We watch and we listen constantly to what others are saying and doing, wondering if we match up.    Are we “good” enough, strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough?  Of course we are, because God made us and he doesn’t make mistakes. 

    I have heard this innumerable times.  I continue to share this with my children, reminding them of their talents and their beauty, reminding them that their journey is not about researching some impossible standard at the end of the road but instead enjoying the twists and turns along the way.

    I worry how they will pick this message out of all of the messages they are bombarded with on a daily basis.  How often do we tell our children that the grade they received on their paper wasn’t quite good enough?   If they had “really” tried they could have done “better.”  How often do we watch them on the soccer field or at the dance studio and remind them that they could have run just a little faster or pointed their toes just a little bit more?  How often do we pick at them for the untucked shirt or uncombed hair?   What happens to their spirit when we break little pieces of it on a daily basis?

     “It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
    L.R. Knost,Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

    Being made in God’s image should be good enough.  It should be the message that plays over and over again in our minds and the minds of our children.  I would guess it is not.  I would guess that too often they are competing against the same enemy that we are…. Ourselves.  We forget that at every given moment we are the best moms, dads, teachers, homework helpers, coaches and every other role in between that we can be at that moment…..and that is enough.  It is enough because we too are not mistakes.  We are wonderful, beautiful flawless gifts made in God’s image.  And, as such, we are truly blessed to hold in our hands the opportunity to make this the repetitive message all of our children hear and respond too.  I may fear a little less about my children’s ability to overcome their insecurities, to learn from their mistakes, and to recognize the imperfections that make all of us perfect if I knew we were all on this journey together.  If we were all judging our children, friends and acquaintances a little less and supporting one another much more the journey might be filled with a few less tears and an abundance of joy and laughter ~

    You are a child of God

    Written on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 20:15 in Blogette Read 91 times
  • Talking To God
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    God and I talked A LOT yesterday!  Yesterday marked the return to my Doctoral Program and the start of a new semester complete with homework, projects and papers.  At 6:00 a.m. Monday morning while rousing 3 sleeping children, packing snacks and afterschool bags God and I had a long, heartfelt conversation.  Was this truly the best plan?  Was this the best way to honor my family, career and faith?  By 6:30 a.m. firmly immersed in traffic, and deep in thought about the day's schedule our conversation had come to a rapid close. This semester's course work came complete with a class entitled, "Leading a Culture of Change."  I believe we will have much more to converse about!

    I wonder how often any, or all of us take seconds, moments out of our day to talk to God... to share our thoughts, feelings, worries, fears, joys, questions, wonders.  Do we truly talk to God or do we ask God for solutions, answers, and quick fixes to problems and struggles?  I suspect the latter.  It is quite easy to seek help when it is needed ask for guidance when solutions elude us.  The problem with this format becomes the nature of the relationship.  Who wants to be friends with someone whose only outlook on life is a half empty glass and the worries and problems they have settled on for the day?

    We teach our children daily that God is our friend.  We want them to believe in him, trust in him and follow in his footsteps. We provide them with prayers, lessons and ceremonies to guide their conversations and develop this relationship.  The problem is the script.  My children can recite GRACE said over meals, the prayer said at bedtime, the Our Father and most recently The Act of Contrition.  Do they know that God is a friend?  Do they know that conversations with true friends do not require a script?  Recently, I noticed one of my personal children closing his eyes and folding his hands at various times throughout the day. His eyes close briefly, he becomes quiet and shortly after resumes his previous activity.  I have yet to ask him what he is doing, thinking, or who he is talking or listening to....

    I am hopeful that he is making up his own script; that in his own way he is forming a friendship with the longest lasting friend he will know.  We will continue to work diliegently this year to grow the children left in our care care academically, emotionally and spiritually.  We know that you will help us in our efforts by assisting with nightly reading, math facts practice and homework completion.  Will you also show them how you talk to God?  Perhaps instead of the mealtime tradition or the "Before I lay me down to sleep...."  you could talk together to the friend we would like them to know.  Invite them to tell God about their day, to tell him about their successess, to ask for courage to overcome their challenges, and guidance to solve new problems.  Invite them to be still and to listen.  We cannot promise our children that God will answer every prayer in the manner they wish it to be answered.  We can promise that he cannot listen to what he cannot hear. We promise that we cannot hear what we are not listening for....







    Written on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 02:48 in Blogette Read 149 times
  • Being Mindful
    Written by

    This week the "Summer Bucket List" has been ever present in my mind.  What did we accomplish?  What events, places, activities were we able to check off our list?  My daughter will tell be quick to tell you about the noticeable absence of the check next to Six Flags.  One of my sons will be just as quick to comment on the shortage of tally marks next to mini golf, ten was not nearly enough.   Then we have our youngest son, who does not notice the absence of items checked off the list but rather the presence of events, times and memories made and shared together.  He delights in the visit with the elephants at Grant's Farm and the souvenir shark tooth from his trip to the beach.

    It takes very little effort to focus on the could haves, would haves or should haves.  Who doesn't look at their "To Do" list at the end of the day and worry about all the tasks that will slide easily into the top position of tomorrow's list....In the midst of this ever growing list and the shrinking days of summer I wonder if the five year old does not hold the better perspective.  What if instead of focusing on the never ending list we took the time to truly engage in our experiences and interactions?  How mindful are we really when walking around the zoo with family, or taking in the latest movie in the suite seats?  How often are we truly engaged in our experiences with our children, friends and colleagues rather than composing our latest text message or responding to our latest email?

     Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as,"the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis."

    The Bible speaks to it in the following passage from quietness and in trust shall be your strength. ... (Is 30:15)

    This time of year it is hard to quiet the mind.  Sitting amidst the summer bucket list is the school supply list, the impending sport's schedule and the plan for complete organization and routine once school resumes.  Preparing for the impending arrival of a new group of eager and energetic Bobcats does not help to quiet the mind.  It has become common routine to remind visitors to the office that despite looking at the computer screen I really am listening to their message.  As I, and most of us prepare to say good-bye to summer I wonder if we cannot do better.   At the end of the day will it be another check on the list or a meaningful interaction with family or friends that matters most.  I worry, about the list, the to-do's, the incompletes....But I know that it is relationships, and laughter and tears and conversations had while making eye contact that at the end of the day will move us forward more than any item on a list.  The following is a beautiful reminder ~

    ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

    ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Mt 6:25-34)

    As we embark on the school year ahead I invite you to join me on this journey of mindfulness and relationship building.  Our to-do lists may never quite be finished but we will come to know and enjoy one another. ~

    Written on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 04:11 in Blogette Read 371 times

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