Shhhhh….


Yesterday seemed to be the day for screaming kids in our store.  I am continually amazed at parents disrespect for others’ places of work (and even other customers).  I work in a bookstore.  People are trying to read, select books and study materials.  I am not talking about a sudden outburst, but an out-and-out continual loud crying tantrum.  The kind where you cannot hear yourself think.   The mom’s idea was to ignore the kid.  That is fine, but only if it is at her expense, not that of the store’s employees and other customers.  Take the kid to the car, let them scream and sit and ignore them all you want.  Never let your kid scream or carry on, run around, etc. in another person’s place of work.  Could you or your husband work under that condition?  Of course not.  Remember, stores and restaurants are somebody’s place of work.  Respect that.  Let others hear themselves think as they shop and/or work.

So I have vented.  Now to my point.  Quiet time.  For us, for kids.  Learning to be quiet, so you can hear… not just all that is around you, but the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice leading you.  Teaching you and giving you discernment.

My husband has always thought I have bionic ears when it comes to children.   He swears I would hear our daughters change breathing patterns during the night.  I am a light sleeper.  I treasure my quiet, quiet is a valuable thing.  The least little sound wakes me.  Quiet time, something to treasure.  Any mom can tell you that.  Unfortunately, through the years of multimedia, we have grown accustomed to…

LOUD

Is it any wonder when we feel we have not heard from God?   We never slow down, we never get quiet … we are on the go … over stimulated with noise and sights … leaving no room for His

 still, quiet voice.

I could always hear when my children awoke, when they breathed differently, coughed … I was tuned into my girls.  I hear my grandchildren during the night when they visit.  The house is still, all asleep, and I am in tune to the changes of my quiet.

Would it not be wonderful to be so still in my spirit and so attuned to Him that I could hear His still quiet voice anytime day or night?  If only we could hear His voice no matter the clamor all around us.  It is so important to find a quiet time in the day to keep that open line of communication so we KNOW His voice.  It is important for our children to know we have that quiet time as well.

Does He always have to get our attention the hard way?  If only I felt His breath on me … He’s there.  I just need to listen.  Be still.   Shhhhhhhhhh.

1 Kings 19:11b-12  “…And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”

“I’m Becoming My Mom >:-O!”


~ or your dad … or you’re “just like Aunt …’ or maybe you “act like uncle …”

"OMG! You're just like ...."

We all hear it sometime.  I worked in a mall while in college.  During my lunch break I would go out to eat at the Chic-Fil-A.  There were these three ladies that came out every week to eat there.  One was 20ish, one was 40ish and one 60ish.  They looked, dressed and acted like the same woman in three different decades.  The youngest was fast on her way to becoming her mother (and grandmother).

That is not a bad thing, to be like one’s mom or dad … grandmother, etc.  My girls like to tease me about becoming ‘grandmother’.    Many  would love to be 1/2 the person we might be ‘likened’ to by others.  On the flip side though is the negative.  When we’re young we see things in others and say, “I will never do that.”  Yet, the liar begets a liar, the thief a thief, the verbal abuser … the yeller … the drunk … the angry … the impatient … the stubborn ….

Why?  Because it is generational and someone has to break the chain.  As parents we want to set patterns and behaviors, lifestyles and habits that children need to become.  Unfortunately, kids zero in on the negative.  It’s the nature of them?  It’s satan’s* dirty little tricks in life?  It really doesn’t matter, it happens.  Look at toddlers that have picked up cuss words … why one bad word when so many good ones are spoken?  Or pinching, hitting, etc.  The negative sticks out more?  Whatever it is we have to focus on teaching them the positive.  If a child emulates you, if they become you, hopefully it is all the positive and none of the negative.  I know I had negative times I am not proud of that I hope my kids never become.  Frustration, anger, hard times … they come out and those moments stick out in memories and outweigh the good sometimes.

So it is two fold … you work on making positive memories and they work on remembering only the positive when they are older.  The scriptures says in Philippians 4:8 , “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

We guard their ears, eyes and minds from what the world throws at them through the various mediums, yet our own mouths sometimes does more damage.   Ephesians 4: 29 “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” (NCV)  You know yourself that in your memory the harsh words spoken stand out more.  ALWAYS, go and undo what you say in anger or frustration … when you’re too tired, etc.  Don’t let that apology and that ‘rebuilding’ go undone.

Passing on the bad from generation to generation will happen if someone does not make an effort to stop the chain.  If you have  alcoholics, liars … suicides, etc.  Don’t pass it on … stop the cycle.  It is not a heritage you want.  When children are old enough to know about what was in their family’s history is when they are grounded in why it is wrong.  I cannot tell you the number of young people I have counseled that say, “well what can I do, I’m just like … and you know I was always told they did ….”.  Your kids do not need to know the details of your past until they are young adults (if ever).   We had a youth pastor come through once that told of his wild and sinful days … laughingly … almost with … “yeah it was fun … but, then I had to settled down so I got saved.”  This teaches that you can have your fun and repent later.  No one has a ‘later’ promised to them.

You have no later … work on what needs changing today.  Teach your children the positive part of you they need to become and forget the negative part of your own past that your parents were … forget and forgive.  Decide today that you want to be the good part of that person and pass along only the good part of them and the good part of you.

Always go back to the Beatitudes … attitudes to be.  Then you are passing on a heritage of being Christ like.

“I’m becoming ….the good part of…”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Green Eyed Monster


Jealousy

It is so interesting to watch children at the beach.   While playing with my granddaughters this week, I have noticed several times when the ‘green-eyed’ monster came to play.  Jealousy, it is only natural in humans.  It is our response to it that can be sad.  When the green-eyed monster rears its head with the grandchildren their parents teach them to share toys and attention.  Not every parent heeds the onset of the monster and because it is allowed to grow, it becomes a true monster that follows them throughout life.  My four-year old granddaughter was playing with a raft in the pool and when she got off to get back on a different way, another child took it away from her.  The child’s parent immediately talked with her daughter and had her give it back and apologize.  Good parenting.  Too many parents ignore what their children are doing and/or pass it off as ‘kids will be kids’.  To which I respond, “only if you let them”.  Parenting means you are constantly raising them to be adults.  Too many parents step in during the teenage years to make them young adults after ignoring them over the previous 12 or so years.  That is a little late.  Everything our children need to know we teach in the first few years of life along with how to walk, feed themselves and potty training.

One of the first words children learn is ‘mine’.  Many parents typically respond with teaching them to share.   But, then they stop.  Every truth you teach your child about getting along with others need to be continued in their spiritual life as they are learning about God.  Otherwise, as they grow up, they will deal with the problem over and over.  I think if we are honest, most of us in retrospect will realize that as adults we still deal with the issue of ‘mine’ in some areas.

As my husband and I have gone unemployed during these hard economic times, we face the reality of loosing everything we own.  I will be honest, it has been hard to look at my ‘treasures’ and realize they may have to go.  Not just the house, but furniture, great-grandmother’s china, etc.  When people lose their house in a flood or fire they lose all the photos, heirlooms, etc.  As I think through all the memories and realize I may have no place to store them I had to be honest with myself and admit that I was still in the ‘mine’ mode as an adult.  Of course satan wants to jump right in and try to make you be angry and jealous of those who are doing so well and seem to have no struggles.    In truth, everything I have is from God above and His to take.  We often hear you cannot take it with you, but the truth is, there is no guarantee you’ll keep it while you are here either.  Job 1:21

Your children will have this same problem as they lose things or see other children get their ‘wants’ while your child does not.   It is important they learn that God gives us what we need when we need it and not our wants.  The desires of our heart are given to us when we delight ourselves in Him, but only He knows what the true desires of our heart are.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

As you are teaching your child the concept of ‘mine’, sharing, and about the green-eyed monster of jealousy, teach them along the way that God is giving them everything and He has the right to give and take as He sees fit to mold us into His image, not our idea of what that image should be.

Nobody’s Business


No Body's Business

What Are You Telling Your World?

Once a week we try to go to the beach to enjoy peace and quiet and unwind a little.  We choose a beach that is ‘smoke free’, has a life-guard (keeps the noise down of wild partying) and one that has great fishing and shelling.  Yesterday when we arrived there were less than 1/2 dozen people on the beach.  We settled in about 10 feet from shoreline for the view.  The birds were singing, waves lapping and a nice gentle breeze had the trees whispering.  That lasted maybe an hour before a woman settled in between us and the shore.  I never have understood why when there is a whole couple of football fields of beach to choose from, people set right down on top of you.  She not only was blocking the view, but she proceeded to light up (smoke free beach) which meant we had to ask her to put it out.  The signs are everywhere, however, we are the bad guys?   Then her friends showed up to give her some beers.  They did not stay long so she was left with her beer and nothing to do with her hands but use the cell phone.  She  pulled out her cell phone and began to talk and drink her beer.  The more she drank the louder she became.  The beach had added a few more families by this time but, she did not mind her conversations or language around these small children.  Her business became everyone’s as we had no choice but to listen to all her personal calls to her friends.  I do not understand why people forget that when they are in public talking on their phone, others are listening, even if they do not want to.  Her first call began with her congratulating her friend on being added to the list of  ‘his exes’.   Evidently children were involved because she continued to tell her to explain to them they were a ‘dysfunctional family’.   The details she exposed us all to were unbelievable.  She continued down her list of friends to call and went over a myriad of soap opera scenarios.  This woman was probably in her late 50’s or early 60’s.  You would think she would know better than to ‘air the dirty linen’ as our generation was supposedly taught.  I am sure I will be accused of stereotyping, but you can just see this woman in her living room with her beers, cigarettes and tabloids while watching her soaps.  All of these reference materials make her highly qualified to be handing out advice it seems.

There is a time and place to discuss situations and none of those involve strangers.  Talk shows and yellow journalism have done away with any sense of discretion.  They have coined phrases to use as crutches like “dysfunctional” and “ex”.  The generation being raised in the shadows of all these public disclosures are being so conditioned and desensitized to sinful lives that they are not going to know sin when it slaps them.  God says we are to guard our speech and our minds.  (Colossians 3:2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”) As parents we need to teach our children as we raise them about guarding their minds and their speech so that when they are grown it will be automatic.   We have become a world of gossiping and everyone believes they have the right to know each others business as well as share theirs.   The Bible says in Matthew 12:35-37, 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

What ‘business’ are you sharing?

Look at me! Look at Me!


Dressing Up In Mom's Hat

LOOK AT ME!  LOOK AT ME!

The whole world seems to be screaming for attention.  Children learn this concept early on in life.  Unfortunately, too many of today’s children are in competition with their parents and/or their parents living vicariously through them.  You do not have to look far to see examples.

1) Teen mother at the mall with small infant in her arms.

The infant is in a diaper and diaper shirt.  The mother’s arm has inadvertently pushed the shirt up exposing the child’s back.  From the waist up is what I presume (and HOPE) is a temporary henna tattoo.  The mother, herself highly decorated in tattoos, is screaming for everyone to look at her … to the point of decorating her small infant and using him to draw attention to herself.

2)  Young mother at the mall pushing a little boy who is too small to walk in stroller.

The baby has a Mohawk.  I am not talking a combed with mousse Mohawk. I am describing a SHAVED head Mohawk.   Would you take a razor to your infant’s head?  She is using her small son to scream, “look at me, look at me”.

3)  Three different expectant women at the beach in bikinis.

Now you know they KNOW they are being controversial.  But, they do not care about the discomfort of the families with small children and young boys or even the men on the beach that are totally uncomfortable with their ‘look at me’ attitude.  I heard several men use terms, the politest being ‘disgusting’, ’embarrassing’ and ‘gross’.    How sad these women put their own ‘rights’ ahead of others and scream for attention by ‘putting it out there’.

The same is said of course of the thongs, bikini Speedos on men and overweight women shoved into two pieces.  Each of these people are screaming LOOK AT ME!  It’s a ME generation.  They scream about protecting their environment and keeping it ‘green’.  They will be the first to cry foul over endangered species, yet when it comes to their fellow-man it’s LOOK AT ME.  Hollywood fuels this fire and the eager masses pick up on the latest trends.  They never look at the consequences of these celebrated lives.  They simple want the attention, to be famous; that illusive ’15 minutes of fame’.

A true claim to ‘fame’ is coming.  When the selfless in Christ arise to meet the Lord.  Teach your children that in all things their lives should give testimony to God and not to themselves.  They will sometimes be in the limelight because of what God is doing in them.  They need to know to show humility no matter if they are famous or obscure.  They should not seek to be in the limelight as their goal.  God says in 1 Peter 5:5b “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Why Modesty?


Modesty and decorum have gone out the window.

800px-BathingMachineDontBeAfraid.jpgModesty is not only not valued, it is simply not thought of or taught.  Living in FL in the hot months is a veritable onslaught to the eyes.  For some reason women do not care anymore what they wear or how they are viewed by others.  I guess we can thank Hollywood and supposedly the ‘rich and famous’ for the general attitudes.

*I counted no less than three pregnant women in bikinis.  First of all, why do they think they have the right to put their ‘comfortable with their bodies’ attitude on display at a public venue and force families with small children and boys and men of all ages to ‘deal with it’?  Every parent has the right to decide what TV and movies their children see, what books they read, yet these women think they have the right to force the same parents to deal with information about motherhood because they want to make a statement.  This is wrong on so many levels. Secondly, when did the beauty and sacredness of becoming a mother become a public side-show?  I will not deal with photo shops in the mall that place expectant mothers revealing photos on display.  I am appalled at Godly women even having them made.  That is a special time in their lives, so why have they reduced it to worldly standards and display.  I know of women who work with young girls and try to convince them to maintain modesty yet, they display photos of their pregnant stomach.  What a mixed message they are sending.  Think about how God feels about such displays; He who valued Mary’s womanhood so much that He chose her as the mother of Jesus, and cautioned Joseph about protecting her reputation by not putting her away.

*Bikinis – My girls and I always have covered ourselves in tankini’s that meet in the middle and/or one piece swimsuits. From an early age I taught them their modesty was a gift and that I gift wrapped them at birth with no peeking under the papers until their wedding night.  Were they dressed dowdy? No, they wore one piece swimsuits, no crop tops, plunging necklines or booty shorts.  They did not wear words blazed on their backside inviting people’s attention to that part of their body.  Were they fashionable?  Yes.  It is possible to be in the world and not of the world.  In fact it is your responsibility to raise them that way according to scripture.  John 17 tells us we are to be IN the world not OF the world.

* There is a running joke in FL about 2 piece swimsuits should not be larger than a size 2.  Unfortunately, women of all sizes, 30#’s, 50#’s, and sometimes even 100#’s over weight, are cramming themselves in a bikini for public display.  It is sickening that we are glorifying unhealthy bodies.  Fat is NOT beautiful, it is unhealthy.  I am overweight and I fight it daily.  I do not accept it and put myself on display.  It is not a joke, it is not funny and it certainly is not pretty.  I am amazed that on the flip side, guys are wearing more clothes than ever.  Their swim-trunks are usually below their knees with big baggy shirts.  Their shorts are big, baggy and dragging in the rear.   They look very much like a toddler’s full diaper.

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995) I Timothy 2:9
“I want women to show their beauty by dressing in appropriate clothes that are modest and respectable. Their beauty will be shown by what they do, not by their hair styles or the gold jewelry, pearls, or expensive clothes they wear”

Your Child, Your Treasure


One of my all time favorite pastimes is shelling.  You meet all kinds of people combing the beach.  Most are looking for the obvious, the big shell sitting at the surf’s edge.  But, shells are like children … you have to look for the not so obvious in them and dig a little deeper to reveal the true treasures. There are some areas on the beach that wash in ‘coffee dregs’, bits and pieces of grasses that are broken up and resemble coffee grinds.  Amongst this ‘dirt’ I find my favorite treasure, the Angulated Wentletrap.  My husband had several of the ones I have collected added to a chain.

shell-info0.gifTiny and bright white, they go unnoticed by the casual beach comber.  Yet God detailed them perfectly with their spiral and twisting form.  When people see them on my necklace they find them beautiful like pearls.  Yet most people ignore their beauty as they walk on them at the beach.

angelwings.jpg A similar find is the Angel Wings which are bivalve mollusc similar to a clam.  Occasionally washed ashore, they are usually found while digging and can be as much as 3 feet deep in mud and clay.  They are very fragile, yet with correct handling are a true treasure.

Children are many times like these shoreline treasures.  Small and lost in the dirt of the world, unnoticed by so many walking around them; you must pick them up and clean them, care for them, and treasure them.  Some are mired deep in ‘mud’ and need careful handling and care.  All produce treasures to behold.  Time, patience and love for what you are doing produce the most valued of all treasures.  Go slowly, take the time.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  (This is a proverb – not a promise – they still have free will – you are responsible for training them and giving them the tools to make good choices.)