Category Archives: parenting

Sharefest

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Quite frankly, I was not particularly interested in attending the city-wide church outreach Sharefest.  I really didn’t know much about what we were going to do or where we were going to go.  However, we have always wanted to do ministry alongside our kids and they promised the kids could work with us.  Since my friend was one of the people in charge I volunteered to help.  We traveled to the far north of town to a project development.  The apartments were neat, but barren.  I was glad to find out we were assisting a woman who runs a full-time ministry there.  Our volunteer hours help her get grants and are an encouragement to her workers.  The group of about 130 scraped, painted, served food and built a bench.  My friend asked me to take charge of the GA girls planting flowers.  We had a wonderful time planting hundreds of begonias up and down the street.  I was amazed at how hard the kids worked without stopping or complaining.   We got to meet some of the kids who lived there and one dear woman was so very happy to have some “real flowers.”  As we left, we drove up and down the street to see our work.  The flowers did make the houses look more cheerful.  I know enough to realize that changing the lives of these people takes more pain than the few blisters I brought home with me, but I was glad to have a chance to serve alongside of my kids to do the “good work that God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(Ephesians 2:10)

(layout:Dg a Friendship qp, joyful heart designs evoking damask pinkred paper, red scalloped edge embracelife sande krieger memoroy makers, CFR HDI DazzleknotborderEdwardheart)

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Help! I’m Stuck

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Sometimes, I’m not a very good mother.  Steffi had been yelling, “Help” for quite a while before I actually left my computer to come and see what was the problem.  Somehow, she had gotten stuck in the couch.  All she had to do was to pull her arms out, but somehow her little muscles couldn’t quite do that.

We’ve all been feeling a bit stuck since Nicole’s death.  Steffi has been acting up in a way we are not at all accustomed to experiencing.  She has slammed doors, shouted, scratched and hit.  She disobeys.  She won’t follow directions.  Actually, those are all normal activities for pretty much all kids, it is just that Steffi has never done any of those things.  Is it because she is dealing with her own emotions about seeing Meme for so many weeks and then not having her there any more?  Or is it that she is just ready for school and more activities?  Maybe she is just finally safe enough with us to act out?

I’m trying to act on all fronts.  I want to spend more time with her and give her extra attention.  I’m trying to notice her right away when she asks me something and to hold her on my lap even more than usual.  However, I’m also going to have her spend a second day each week with her friends at Mothers Day Out. 

Chris and I are just now getting out of our fog of feeling down and deeply sad.  The strangest part is that we both have been focusing on our own last five years of life a lot–as if we suddenly were facing our own deaths.  We’ve both thought about death a lot.  Just this week, we both had a revelation–we aren’t 85 yet.  We actually probably have 35-40 years of busy living ahead.  I think we are getting ready to live it.

(layout: freebie paper from Scrapgirls-Florid overlay paper special, frame: SPcom Festival_Swirly Frame.  I had not used this frame before–it doesn’t look like much, but I applied pink glass effect to the frame and also bevels.  I like the way it makes the picture fit the paper but also brings out the pink. I love using the plastic and glass effects with bevels for titles too.)

Mural

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Maggie's mural

Maggie's mural

Mixing the old and new.

Mixing the old and new.

My oldest daughter Maggie turned 13 this month, and she will start Junior High School next week.  Over the past year, I have focused my time and energy on learning to know her better and appreciate her more.  Maggie is an obedient child at home and at school.  She wants to do the right thing and will take action to make sure others do the right thing too.  She can be bossy, but she is also a very hard worker who willingly looks after people neglected by others.  Her passions are reading, drawing and playing with her little sisters.  She is very affectionate and loves to hug.  She needs to be hugged back.  Sometimes, she is rather lazy and will not complete a task to the best of her ability; however, she will always get the task done, and she will do it on time.  Maggie does not like to be late.  I am often just a little bit late.

To get to know her better, I started to listen to her more.  I asked more questions.  Frequently, I offered advice or stories about my own growing up, especially in Junior High.  I’ve tried to be honest about my own faults and how they hurt me.  Especially, I’ve encouraged her to trust other people and give them second chances.  Even if someone snubs you today or says something mean, don’t assume they don’t want to be your friend anymore (as I always did).  Always leave room for them to change their mind, to repent, to start again.  Be like Jesus that way.

I’ve tried to trust her more.  To give her jobs to do that she doesn’t realize she can do alone.  I let her pick out the colors and design for re-doing her room last summer.  This summer, her sisters wanted to re-do their room as a “sea life” mural.  Maggie volunteered to design it for them.  At first, this was entirely beyond my comfort zone.  I am an artist in spirit if not in training and I pride myself on creatively putting together my children’s rooms.  Besides, I had just re-decorated that room a couple of years ago in pink and green, my favorite color combination (for rooms, not fashion–I can’t wear pink).

Yet…I could sense this was an important challenge of motherhood.  Was it time to relenquish my control over the decoration of the room in order to allow my girls the freedom to experiment, to create, to try and maybe even to fail (as I had with Maggie’s previous room–a disasterous olive/gold/maroon creation). 

Before we had children, my husband and I ruminated while on a hike on how we could raise children who would grow up to be responsible, capable adults.  I remember he startled me with his comment that part of that process would involve handing over various responsiblities to the children as they grew up. 

    So–I let Maggie re-do the room with the help of her sisters.  But I also walked along side of her by helping her finish the project.  I did some of the painting and I did most of the rather boring outlining.  In the end, I am surprised to find I rather like the room.  Kids who come to see it want a room just like it, although I think their moms are horrified at the idea.  It has mermaids, castles, fish, treasure (with jewels and coins actually stuck to the wall) and even Shamu (Steffi’s favorite!).  A room filled with fantasy, dreams and a mom’s belief that her daughter is more important than anything else.