Archive for March, 2009

Readers

March 31, 2009

“Readers are leaders and leaders are readers”.  I like that quote.  :)

Ignore the messy room.  :)   Last week I went looking for Tori and Ty before school started and I found them like this.  It was definitely a “picture worthy” moment.  Not exactly sure why Tanner chose Tori’s room to read his book but obviously she liked it.

Due to a busy couple of weeks, I am behind on scheduling blog posts.  It’s after midnight now and I need to go to bed.  Maybe tomorrow I will get a few zoo pictures from this weekend posted.

 

Smiles

March 26, 2009

After yesterday’s angry baby pictures, I thought I would share happy baby.

I won’t be posting again until Mondayish because Jim took tomorrow and Friday off and Friday is my BIRTHDAY so we plan on partyin’ through the rest of the week and weekend.  :)

Self Sacrifice? Really?

March 25, 2009

 

When Tori’s circle of influence is not acting in accordance with her agenda, the following expressions ensue…

I admit.  She learned that from Mama.  :)   Neither of us can camouflage our emotion.  We feel what we feel and we don’t bother pretending.

As a general rule…we’d rather not sacrifice our agenda and if we are going to have to bite the bullet, there better be a big pay off for it.

Recently I had a conversation with someone that caused me to reflect on the topic of self sacrifice.  When is it motivated by the Spirit and when is it simply being a martyr for no good earthly reason save point scoring?

In this week’s example, a woman was discussing her alternatives to a hard life situation.  She knew what she wanted but so far it seemed that her plan and God’s weren’t lining up.  She wondered if she should surrender to it, take the self sacrificial path in an effort to bring some sort of “good” out of the situation, and swallow her agenda by doing something to benefit someone else.  Maybe that was what God wanted all along?  Was it?  Hmmmmm….got me thinking.  Was it?

In the specific scenario we were discussing I have a strong opinion on the matter.  My answer (had she asked) was absolutely not – it wasn’t.

It seemed to me that if the choice was self sacrificial, it ultimately wasn’t going to benefit the
sacrificer and especially wasn’t going to benefit the sacrificee over the long haul.  People tend to know when someone else has sacrificed on their behalf and our human natures don’t lend themselves to being “grateful” for that for long. 

But Jim and I talked about it later and we both agreed that sometimes God does ask us to pick up our crosses.  He does ask us to do the “hard” thing.  How do we differentiate though between it being God’s agenda or our own flesh making that choice?

There are big dangers to self sacrificing out of the flesh.  I know this because I lean towards the martyr type personality.  This is where my Dad would say “And Doni how is that working out for you?”.  It doesn’t work.  Not at all.  I think that is why I spot it so easily when someone else is playing that card.  I know this game all too well (and the house wins by the way ;) .

Here is how it works (and I’ll personalize this so I don’t make anyone sweat lol).

I get an agenda in my head of how I think something should go.  It goes south in a big way.  I am not happy about it.  God does not appear to be rescuing the situation and I feel like a victim (and sometimes that is in fact the case in the technical sense).  I then decide to surrender to worst case scenario – accept it – and “sacrifice”.  Someone else may benefit from my sacrifice.  That grates on me.  I am pacified though by the comfort that comes from believing that I am taking one for “God’s” team.  I am going to do the “right” thing and I realize I will pay a price for it…but God will get glory when I stand down.

Sound familiar to you?  Playing this out further – here are some downline consequences to that.

1.  I may be surrendering to what I think is inevitable because I am making false assumptions about God’s plan.  I jump to the conclusion that He isn’t going to “fix” it for me so I jump ahead of the game and bite the bitter pill.  This isn’t living loved.

2.  Once I have “sacrificied”, I write it down on a little note that gets carried in my heart.  I remember it when I need it.  I need it when I see other people who are not making similar sacrifices.  Builds up my self esteem to weigh myself against them and find them wanting.  I need it when I am failing.  I can remind myself of the times when I chose to bleed on things for the sake of doing “right” when the cost to pay for it was mine.  That helps balance the scales.  I need it when God is not adhering to my plan (again).  I use it to remind Him of what I already gave up for “His sake”.  This isn’t living loved.

3.  I start believing that my self sacrificial behavior has “earned” me something with God.  This isn’t living loved.

4.  I get bitter when I am no better off.  This isn’t living loved.

5.  I start expecting to always be in the situation to be the one to “suffer” while someone else gets rescued.  Now folks, that’s full scale character assassination against God and certainly isn’t living loved but I use my list of personal sacrifices to justify my case.

Some mighty big problems here don’t you think?

As I was thinking through the situation that served as a catalyst for this mental rabbit trail, the Lord spoke to my heart on the global issue as it applied in my life.  He told me that when I believe I am having to sacrifice it’s because I am not believing Him.  I am settling into a lie that He isn’t going to really work it out for my good.  For someone else’s good?  Maybe.  For mine?  No – He is just going to take from me and ask me to cowgirl up. 

When I was in the fifth grade my elementary school teacher used to ask me to clean the naughty words off the bathroom walls during lunch sometimes.  She asked me because she knew I would.  She knew I aimed to please and would be DELIGHTED to GET to do something for her.  My mother would get furious.  As a child, I didn’t understand why my mom would get so upset by this.  It was my choice and I was flattered that my teacher would ask for help.  See martyrs like abuse on some scale because it makes them feel a tiny bit special.  Suffering for the “greater good” is right up their alley.  It gives them something to be proud of.  When martyrs grow up though, they start realizing that cleaning up everyone else’s….bad words ;) – is for the birds.  They need a bigger pay off to do it.  They expect a bigger payoff.

Why do I believe that God uses me this way?  Does God need a “good girl” on His team to go around cleaning the painful stuff up because “I can” and someone else “can’t” or “won’t”?  Does He allow losses and griefs in my life soley for the purpose of comforting someone else?  Does He ask me to stand down continually because He knows I can take it and He is busy directing His efforts towards healing someone else? 

Ouch…starts sounding bitter after awhile doesn’t it?  That’s where martyrs end up if their ultimate reward isn’t in line with their sense of justice – very bitter.

Are you a martyr?  Do you have your own list of stuff that you sacrificed “for God”?  Do you keep reminding Him and others of it in one form of the other?  Do you struggle to live loved?

I don’t write this intending to say that God never asks for sacrifice.  I think He does.  What I am saying though is that God promises to work ALL things out for His good purpose in His kid’s lives.  He promises that His love has no limits.  I love to hear my kids recite Zephaniah 3:17.  The Lord your God is in your midst.  A mighty one who will save.  He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.   Sounds like a God who stands with His arms wide open at the front door when you run home doesn’t it?  Who tucks you into bed at night
and whispers words of love in your ear.  Who loves to see you move forward in faith and is patient when you fall off the wagon.  He isn’t afraid of your sin.  He knows every portion of your life story from beginning to end and He embraces the entire YOU – the You that you really haven’t met yet.  You are not who you are going to be.

When I live believing I am loved, His plans don’t look so self sacrificial.  Even when the short term looks grim, I am learning to look expectantly down the road because He made a promise to me and He means to keep it.  He isn’t going to ask me to do anything that He won’t work for GOOD purpose in my life.  If it starts feeling like a “sacrifice”, I need to start questioning who really is doing the asking.   There are plenty of reasons that may motivate me to “sacrifice” but God doesn’t get any glory when my sacrifices result in my own record keeping of what that act earned me.  He gets glory when I trust Him.  When I assume His good in all things.  When I choose to lay self down – yes sometimes in a self sacrificing manner – but without bitterness with the hope and belief that comes from knowing my Abba loves me… and when He directs my path in a way I find painful… I can trust that the end of the story will not be about MY sacrifice.  It will be about HIS. 

Better than Fine

March 24, 2009

 

This is one of Sweetie’s favorites of Papa and Tanner.  I came across it recently and wanted to post since it’s one of my hall of famers too.  :)

I have not taken any pictures of my kids in the last couple weeks – NONE.  Can you believe it?  I have been so busy lately.   Last week was one of those weeks that I don’t care to repeat.  ONE of the downers of the week was Tori getting roseolla (at least I think that is what she had).  She was C R A N K Y! 

One night she was crying in her crib and I decided to bring her in with Jim and I for awhile.  She woke right up when she got in our bed and decided she wanted to kiss her daddy.  She kept pointing at him, and making kissing sounds at me.  Her non verbal language is quite good.  She was asking me if she could crawl on Daddy and kiss him to which I kept saying no (he was asleep).  She would give me her pouty lips and start to cry and then ask again.  (Jim actually doesn’t mind being awakened by kisses hee hee but he had to work and I didn’t figure he wanted to play with the baby at 2 AM).

She learned to crawl into her swing but can’t get out without flipping herself onto the floor face down.  Not good.  Wish she would quit climbing stuff.  She is starting to play with her dolls more now.  It’s so cute.  She pats them, and pushes them in her doll stroller.  I saw her trying to give her baby a bottle yesterday and when Daddy got off work, she met daddy with a doll in her hand.  I think she wanted Dad to kiss her doll too.  She often insists that we kiss her baby.  She loves to give kisses but it’s on HER agenda.

Ty had his meeting with the Developmental Psychologist last week too.  Jim and I were not a bit surprised to hear a ADHD diagnosis.  Duh.  Anyone who has spent five minutes with our darling knows that one.  I was thankful that the Dr. made the comment that Ty clearly did NOT have behavioral issues.  Sometimes people blame behavior on ADHD and sometimes kids with true ADHD get labeled with behavioral issues.  I was glad that the Dr. recognized early on that Ty is a sweet little boy – not defiant.  Also quite charming.  He (copied me) and shook her hand and told her it was “nice to meet her” without any prompting when we left.  He makes me smile.

We learned some interesting things at this meeting about some learning issues that I not only had never heard of, but wasn’t aware Ty had.  One example is verbal retrieval.  I told the Dr. that Ty was a great communicator so I was really surprised when he he struggled with communciation testing.   The most difficult for him was verbal retrieval.  Here are some examples – easier than trying to explain this.

*  Ty was asked what is wet and falls from the sky.  He said a rainbow.

*  Ty was asked what he chews with.  He said a fork.

*  Ty was asked what he sees with.  He said his glasses.

*  Ty was asked what is on his head that he hears with.  He said noise.

Also several times he would answer “I can’t find it”.

According to the Dr., children with neurological issues often KNOW what word they want but they literally “can’t find it” – therefore, Ty’s answer was quite accurate.  She said children with verbal retrieval issues often say that.  It’s like he knows what isle the word is on but grabs something associated.  Ty has given me answers like this a lot but I always chalked it up to not paying attention and didn’t make the connection until it was pointed out to me.

His OT skills are way behind (but we knew this already).  I am going to look into “Handwriting without Tears” because I seriously have NO idea how I am going to teach him to write his letters.  Due to either CP, or maybe dispraxia, he still struggles to even draw a straight line or circle. 

Without going into any more detail about that appointment, I will close with two points that need to be highlighted.

First…the Dr. said she had been following NICU babies for 17 years and considering Ty’s early birth story (25 weeker with bilateral brain hemorrages and PVL), she told us that he is an absolute MIRACLE.  Yes he has struggles and is going to have to work harder but considering the circumstances, pretty amazing!

Second…Ty always beats the odds.  He may take longer to reach developmental milestones but he does get there.   Ty and I both realize that there is more than one way to do things and he and I will do our best to find the work around.  The cool thing about the brain is that even when some parts have been injured, other parts have the ability to take over.  You just have to direct the brain to work around the injury.  I can’t say that I know how to do that right now but, you know me.  I’ll do my homework and when I get stuck…I’ll ask you.  :)   Ty is going to be just fine.  Better than fine.  I wouldn’t change him for all the world.

 

Green Day

March 20, 2009

Green Day is what the kids call St. Patrick’s Day.  I love St. Patrick’s Day and now that I have an Irish child, it’s all the more fun.  When I was a child, my mom loved to dye our food green and always made corned beef.  Carrying on her tradition, I dyed their milk green, made green egg sandwiches for lunch, dyed their lemon chicken and rice green at dinner and made green peanut butter balls.  Of course they all woke up to pinches and had to hurry to find green in their closets.  They always hate it when green day ends – Tanner said it will take too long to get here again.  :)

Now that I am teaching, Green Day has all new significance as I have invested the time in teaching my kids about why we celebrate it.  I bet this story would surprise some.

First of all, Patrick was not Irish.  Surprised?  :)   He was English born in 389.  He was the grandson of a preacher and his father was a deacon.  He, was not known for being particularly devout however.  When he was a 16, he was captured on the English shores by Irish pirates.  They took him to Ireland and he served as a slave for six years.  Eventually, he made it back to England.  He came home with a brand new lease on life and an entirely different outlook.  Patrick has been quoted as saying:

“I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God; but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and, altogether late, I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children.”

God used slavery to introduce himself as “Daddy”.

 Patrick then went to France and received a biblical education.  When He felt the Lord call him to the Irish…he went.  He was possibly the most effective Irish missionary of the early ages.  The Irish were known for their superstitious ways and those who had tried to minister to them before had trouble breaking through the cultural barriers.  Because Patrick had lived amongst them for six years, he understood their cultural and could speak their “language”. 

Patrick was most well known for using the the three leaf shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   Funny how much spiritual relevance there is in the holidays Americans celebrate – even when they do get secularly hijacked.  :)   He started at least 300 churches and baptized 120,000. 

Legends grew about him (including the story of him leading the snakes out of Ireland as well as several others). 

After 30 years of ministry, he left the church in Ireland in the capable hands of those he had trained and the Irish abbots diligently went about the task of copying the Scriptures by hand and ministering to the poor.

I love this story because it reminds me of one of my favorite bible stories – the story of Joseph.   Joseph, like Patrick, was captured and forced into slavery for many years but, God used horrific circumstances to bring about HIS purpose.  His purpose in both of these stories was nothing short of incredible. 

Knowing this story gives me all new appreciation for Green Day.  It’s a celebration of more than just the spiritual heritage of Ireland.  It’s a celebration of living loved by a God who longs to be our Papa.  Even Patrick said while alone in slavery “he consoled me as a father consoles his children”.   God could have prevented Patrick from being taken prisoner – no doubt.  But He chose not to.  Because He loved Patrick.  He loves Ireland.

*Source:  Mystery of History Volume II The Early Church and Middle Ages