Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Quote for Today

Following is a quote from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird on why books are so important. I liked it and thought I'd share it!

"Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of all the things that you don't get in real life--wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I'm grateful for it the way I'm grateful for the ocean."

I gotta say. I LOVE books. I love gaining new perspective on life and seeing life through someone else's eyes. It really is amazing what you can gain from these small parcels of paper bound together, filled with words. So, have you read any good books lately?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Interview with a Mom - Holly

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I've been married to John, my high school sweetheart, for 37 years. He is a second career pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Glasford Illinois. We have eight children, six of whom are married, and nine grandchildren. We're so proud of our kids and grandkids!!! I've mostly been an at-home mom, but I've also worked as a legal secretary, for a small town weekly newspaper as a reporter and columnist, and volunteered at church, at our children's schools, and with Hearts at Home. Now, with our kids grown, I work as a free-lancer.

Why do you love being a mom?
I love being a mom because it feels like partnering with God in very creative work. I love making love practical -- making a home for people I care about. I love being surrounded by family and friends.

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?
The most challenging thing is to set aside other things I might want to do in order to meet the needs of my family. Sometimes those sacrifices are really hard. And sometimes it's hard to discern when something is really a “need of my family” and when it's an excuse for me not to try something new.

What advice do you have for moms in the preschool years?
Have fun, and focus on building a sound foundation for your children's lives. Honor your husband – your kids need to see from your attitude and behavior that he is a man worth loving and honoring – and treat your kids with courtesy. Don't take on so much outside your home and family that you don't have the time and energy to instill good habits in your kids, to read or play silly games together, to learn to know and enjoy each other, or to help your kids learn to know and love God. And cultivate your sense of humor!

As a mom, watching your children become moms – what kind of parenting challenges do you see (maybe some you didn’t have to deal with as a mom) and what advice do you have for them?
There are so many good things for kids/families to do – choosing what to say “yes” to and what to turn down is very difficult, I think. We tend to think the more we do for our kids, the more stuff we give them or the more activities and lessons we arrange, the better parents we are. That's not necessarily true. Allowing time for kids to play on their own, or even just have nothing to do is important for them.

It's also important to remember that the thing our kids want most is us – our time and attention, our interest, our help in learning how to grow up, in figuring out what the world is about, learning how to master necessary skills and how to do fun stuff like roller skate or bake cookies . . .

I also think our culture can be poisonous for kids (and adults) so protecting them from the worst of it, and training them to discern “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious . . . any excellence, anything worthy of praise” - that's a real priority in my opinion.

What is your favorite lunchtime meal?
A grilled cheese sandwich, a crisp apple, a peanut butter cookie and a glass of milk – at least that's one favorite lunch . . . I like to eat!

Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.
Lean hard on God, and don't be overwhelmed by the big picture – just do the next necessary thing, then the next necessary thing, then the next necesary thing faithfully and you'll get through. And don't forget that "a cheerful heart does good, like medicine" -- so "sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord." Creating a cheerful mood in your home helps everyone!

What book (if any) are you reading right now?
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson. Peterson talks about why keeping house well matters. She is affirming and encouraging to women who want to make a warm and loving home for their family, writing about how to accomplish this in practical ways.

Do you have any parting advice for young moms?
Don't exchange this time in your family's life for things with less lasting value. Focus on what's right in front of you in all its repetitive, boring, glorious daily-ness. Let it create in you the ability to endure what is routine or difficult. What you are doing – making a home for your family, providing shelter and love for your husband, your children, your friends and extended family – is of great value and importance.

Thanks Holly for sharing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Quote for Today

I've been reading Mary DeMuth's Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture. It is a great book - very relevant to parenting today. Anyway, I thought I'd share a quote with you which was a good reminder for me.

"We must remember that to pour life into the souls of our children, our own souls must be filled up first. You simply can't pour life and encouragement into your children if you are empty.

I'm reminded of the analogy of the starving baker. From morning to night, the baker busied himself with baking bread to feed hungry villagers. He saw only the night sky as he traveled to and from work. But he never took time to eat. So enmeshed in his task of feeding others, he forgot to take care of himself, eventually starving to death.

The American dream lures us to be starving bakers, but our need isn't bread, it's deep connection with Jesus. We run around all our lives, never stopping for refreshment. We wonder why our kids are stressed, why they aren't passionate about Jesus Christ. Perhaps we have lost our connection with God in our busyness, and they are simply mimicking us. Of course, they are responsible for their own relationships with Jesus. Of course, God is sovereign and can fill them despite our weariness. But as parents, we set the tone for our home. Constantly flurrying shows our children that life is more about running, running, running than it is about slowing down enough to hear the still quiet voice of God in the midst of life's chaos."

May you make time today to connect to the vine of Jesus and find refreshment for your soul.

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Loubetine is the Place to Be...

Kory is singing a song he created to entertain our friends at Loubetine (the orphanage) the day we left. The chorus goes something like... "Loubetine is the place to be; come with me to Loubetine" and the verses are comprised of everyone's name he can think of! It was very moving! :)