Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big Dreams

My boy has decided he wants to be a writer. So he has just been writing away for a while now. He has written three book in a series, and is now starting on the fifth chapter to something entirely different. It is science fiction and in limited first person. He has immediately identified the challenges of writing in first person and is enjoying the limitations and finding creative ways to get information to the reader.

He has a great sense for dialog. He has created this world with its own vocabulary and vernacular. His main character speaks oddly, and he communicates that well. He was elated--E-lated--today when his mom, aunt AND dad all took turns reading the book. He couldn't keep his feet on the floor or wipe the smile from his face. All this from a boy who couldn't speak! :)

I want to give him plenty of tastes and even giant bites of these rewards for his efforts. Any dream worth pursuing will have obstacles in the roads. The size of those obstacles, I believe, are largely about perception or perspective. If you've already invested and spent time walking the road and experimenting some benefits, a few rocks won't deter you. If you've been able to dream and visualize the road around some of the bends, even boulders won't slow you down.

I have had many dreams in my life that never came to fruition for any number of reasons. Fear and inertia are at the top of the list and fully my problem. But lack of encouragement is another. Not being pointed in any direction at all or given any latitude to pursue interests are some more. I think these gave rise to my own fear and inertia problems. If I ever had an interest, the general response was that it was neat, but time or money wouldn't allow for any real exploration and if we take a little time, the interest will wane.

I still have big dreams, and never does the tiny voice in the back of my head not say, 'it will never happen.'

I fear I will fail big time as a mom in this same area. Will I have the time, money and wherewithal to help my kids really go after something they are interested in? I pray so. I don't want them rising to mediocrity because I have trained them to expect less of themselves. My son loves writing and wants this right now. I want him to have plenty of positive experiences to make it worth CHOOSING challenges to further his goals. If he bores of it, that will be OK, but I sure don't want it to be from my lacking!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Memories

My kids have been so sweet to me on this sad day. My girl has been most interested in hearing about who my grandpa was to me. My aunt posted old pictures of Grandpa with his sons and the first set of grandkids. I got to tell them about that magical time when the mommas were having babies one after the other. After me, I think there was a baby born every year for another good 5 to 7 years.

There was also a picture of Granddad holding a cranky cousin in a rocking chair. I got to tell the kids about how this scene happened time and again for at least a decade: Grandpa rockin' a fussy baby. He sang this song: bee-dee-dee-dee-de-de-bee-de-deee. Made up southern nasal noise. And we all fell asleep to it.

While we may have been too young to remember our own turn falling asleep, we saw every kid after us, so we knew it had been the same when we were small. And that song! We all know it. We'd all pressed our ears to his chest to feel the song as we gave in to sleep.

My grandpa died last night

I feel pretty lonely. It is so hackneyed to consider mortality, family, the past and future when someone dies. I guess I am not unusual. Family trials are nothing new to anyone. My family has had it share, and the death of my grandpa has called on the new and old.

Another human oddity is how we fall back to old habits, old relationships that we have far outgrown when we go back to family. We heard my grandpa was in the hospital last week. I was ready to go. My husband drove us to our friend's, who drove us to my sister, who was to take us the final leg to see family. In that two hour trip to my sister, I can't explain what happened other than to just say, 'family.'

Things were brought up that seemed so old, so irrelevant. But the fabled memory of an elephant is nothing to that of family. It all comes gushing out. We are trapped in old roles, unforgiven, unallowed to grow or change.

I am sad. My grandpa died last night. I don't want to think about all the other stuff. I don't want to hear about failings--mine or anyone else's. I want to remember and grieve with peace. I guess it is easier to be angry than just plain old sad. Maybe that is why family gets like family during the hardest times...

I pray to learn from my past and present as my husband and I grow a new family. I don't want this baggage to fall on them.

So I will grieve. Last night, Stan Muncy died. He had four sons, twenty grand kids and 14 great-grand kids. If my numbers are wrong, they are low. He headed a family of people who loved the Lord. Flawed people who loved perfection the best way flawed people can. With all that family, how can so few of them feel they actually belong? How can that be? I don't know, but I am thankful for the times I did feel I belonged. I am thankful for the silly jokes and silly songs my grandpa told me. I didn't believe him when he told me people ate snails and frog legs. It was the perfect thing for him to make up. I am thankful for the Bible readings he did with Grandma every morning. I am thankful for letting Grandma 'scream' her hymns all day long.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I like the show Lost. I don't write down clues or watch the episodes in slow motion. But I think I have seen every episode, and while I certainly have opinions about a season or two, overall, I have really enjoyed the ride of the show.

Generally speaking, while I enjoy nitpicking, I can't really enjoy a show if I know 'whodunnit.' My DH can't stand my nitpicking--'she didn't close the door when she came into the house,' 'In this camera his hand is on her left shoulder, but when they switch angles, his hand pops over to her right!' But when it comes to guessing the end, it is he who just can't resist himself. He also shakes wrapped presents. The horror!

So with that in mind, you can see I am not one who would spend a lot of time piecing together clues in Lost to figure out the big ending. I really do enjoy the ride.

This last season has been most interesting with the introduction of the Man in Black. We met him at the end of last season as a long-time (and the term long means several hundred years at least) companion/nemesis/neighbor of Jacob. We saw in the scene of his introduction that it is Jacob who draws people to the island, and the batch of people we see now is hardly the first. We also see that the Man in Black sees Jacob as foolish and would love to kill him, but cannot. We do not know what stops him, but he speaks openly to Jacob about his burning desire to end Jacob's life.

This season, the Man in Black has found a loop hole to the law that keeps him from killing Jacob; he kills him by proxy. He is able to take on the image and memories of John Locke and convince Ben Linus to kill Jacob. He expertly manipulates Ben to his own will.

He is a liar, a painter of pictures, and a menacing killer. But he is still containable. The Man in Black is not all powerful. The Others have managed ways of keeping out the Black Cloud (another form our illustrious Man in Black can take.)

Like I said, I don't know how Lost will end. But from what I have seen so far of this season, I think it is a success for believers of Jesus Christ. Why? This show, if not the story, has become a compelling testimony to God's Sovereignty.

If the writers are intentionally telling a story of Christ, then what an amazing thing to have kept the attention of the public for 6 years! In our society, attention is a hot and depleting commodity. Couple that with the fact that most of the entertainment industry is hotly liberal and against many of the tenets of the Christian faith. It would be an astounding phenomena if this is the intended route of the writers.

On the other hand, if the Roman Road was not on the writers' minds in the making of this season and show, there is something just as compelling to be found. I believe this is proof that God truly does write Truth on the heart of every man. Even if they didn't plan for the Gospel to be shared, the Gospel is there. This battle for good and evil, the willing sacrifice of the One Who draws us close, the calling on our lives to serve and protect His creation, the pride and jealousy that perverts beauty into homicidal deceit. It is all there.

This story of good versus evil is told by believers and non-believers alike ad infinitum because it is the most important notion in all the world, throughout all time.

So, I am a fan, along for the ride to the end of Lost. I don't know the ending, and I don't want to know it until the credits begin to roll. I want to savor it in the days following, enjoying the nuances of intricate story lines. If the final reveal shows the glory of God in an obvious way, whew! What a remarkable thing that will be! But if not, I can already see--without having to shake any gift boxes--His sovereignty reigning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's too soon!

My girl is only eight. I had lulled myself into the comfort of thinking that homeschooling would keep her innocent longer. Unfortunately, the best laid plans and all...

I can't guard her from everything. She's got friends who love to talk 'love and marriage,' and--worse--my daughter seems to be the subject of most of the talk! Crushes, kissing, engagements, dating...ugh! I wanted avoid the silly, squeal-ly, gossipy garbage that girlies do. It seems I am not successful.

Now I have to figure out how to handle it. My daughter happens to have the personality type that keeps things buried. I find out about hurts literally months after the incident. That drives me crazy. This time, I have overheard the talk going on myself, and I need to figure out what to do. She mulls, dwells, stews. She only shares with me AFTER she has taken time to assimilate information on her own--usually tangled with all sorts of falsehoods and negative identities.

So, I have to decide if I start talking about stuff I don't want her to talk about, or just let it go. If she isn't thinking about it, and I start pushing, I might fulfill my own dread of having a girl who thinks in terms of who 'likes' whom. If I don't talk about it, but she IS, in fact, dwelling on these things, I could have a bigger mess to clean up later on.

What to do! Gosh, it is too soon! Lord, give me wisdom and patience!

The Moving of the Spirit

Last night my son came to us. He was very serious and said that he had just spent some time with God. It seems he had a dream last night and couldn't get it out of his head. He figured there were three options for what it meant. First, it could mean nothing. Second, it could be an inspiration for a book. And third, it could mean that God was calling him to be closer to him.

My poor boy could barely get the words out on the third option. We talked a long time with him, trying to hear him, and not add our own interpretation or preconceptions. He was feeling that he had let the minutia of life get in the way of having a close relationship with the Lord and he was really beating himself up over it.

How do we instill the surety of salvation in our kids? I am always surprised to hear their too-frequent worries or desires to ask for salvation, to secure their place in heaven, and their fear that they aren't being good enough to really be in good standing with God. How many times to I have to tell them that they were never good enough to get to heaven on their own? How do I transfer that knowledge from their heads with security to their hearts and souls? It breaks my heart to see the keen over their failings. Am I too condemning? Lord, save them from me!

Our conversation last night was good. Very good. We talked about how we all fall short. We told him that if he heard God calling to him, it is a sign that he DOES hear. He knows the Good Shepherd's voice. We reminded about the story of Samuel as a child. We told him to just say, 'here I am, Lord.'

I am thankful that he is so sensitive to the Spirit. But I do pray that they both could rest more securely in their salvation.

Baby Crazy

We just love babies. And babies are being had all around us. It is wonderful to see them so small and snugly. I have enjoyed to the fullest talking to my kids about babies and their development. They have enjoyed to the fullest hearing stories from their own baby-hood.

We were at a friend's doing a big 30 meal cook on Sunday. She has an 11 month old whose been walking a while now. She is at that stage where her body can do so much more than her brain can keep up with. She needs lots of eyes watching her when the single pair of momma eyes aren't available.

My son told me after we came home that he found the baby stuck in the bathroom. She had straddled the door and couldn't get out and was crying. My monkey-boy said he couldn't get the door to open further to help her out, so he just climbed on the bathroom counter, crawled across it past the baby, hopped down, pulled her away from the door--which closed temporarily to her increased protest--and finally got her out. He was laughing because he said she'd been fussing the entire time, but stopped immediately as the door opened to her freedom.

I never pass up a teaching moment, so I got to explain about why a baby could seem so fussy and so instantly 'fixed,' but mostly I was proud of my son to be sensitive to the cries and confident and caring enough to do what he felt he had to do to get her 'all better.'


After book time, just before bed, my son shared with me that he thinks God doesn't want him to be a video game designer when he grows up. For a while now he has talked about being either a video game designer or a film writer/movie director. I was intrigued and asked why.

He said he thinks God wants him to be a writer. He says he thinks about writing all the time, and when he watches TV shows or movies, he is always imagining how the show would be written as a novel.

His excitement was infectious. I told him I thought that it was a great idea and drew some mental pictures of how he could do that as a family man.

My daughter, our 'me-too-girl,' wasn't going to be left behind. She announced that God told her what He wants her to be, too. I asked, dutifully, what that was. She said a police officer. Hmmm.. lol I responded, but obviously not as enthusiastically. She said, 'tell me, tell me!!' I didn't know what she was talking about. She said, 'tell me how it will be, like you did with brother! Will I go to work with Daddy?'

Poor girl got a civics lesson! I told her the difference between a police officer and corrections officer, taught her about the legislative, executive and judicial branches. I gave her a brief scenario about a police officer's hours--here it is 6 to 6, and I don't know about other places. Before I was done with my impromptu lecture, she decided she didn't want to be a police officer.

I was ashamed. I don't know how to handle this aspect of parenting. How much to instill. I know about the area of faith. I have explored that issue thoroughly. It is silly to me to suggest that you tell them nothing of faith and let them figure it out and make their own decisions regarding our Creator.

But how hard do I work to mold in the area of career and family life style? I don't want to be the stereotypical New Jersey Jewish mom, directing the lives of her put-upon children. Although, in my personal experience, it was my paternal grandma who was neither Jewish nor from New Jersey. She pulled it off as a staunch Southern Baptist from Arkansas. I also don't want to leave them listless in the wind, falling into jobs that are only convenient.

My other issue is my extreme respect for the nuclear family. I want my kids to homeschool. I even want them to church Biblically. And I want a slew of grandkids! But I don't want to push these issues to the point that I would cause marital strife for my kids. I want my daughter to be a Godly wife, joyfully submitting to his headship of her family. If she has ideas instilled by me about how a good family functions, I will be planting seeds of discontent that could plague their marriage. Oh! Lord, save them from me!

On top of this, I have believed from before conception that I am privileged to know this children of my Master, but have no delusions about them being made for me. I get them a short time, but God has a master-plan (wasn't that a nice piece of literary play?) for them separate from any plans I may have. If the Lord is going to lead them into careers or lives of service far from here, I want to be fully supportive of that--without having to deal with missing them AND grieving over the death of MY dreams for them.

The principles behind telling my children about God include the fact that it is of dire importance to their lives. There is a lot of competition out there to steal Truth from us. I just need to figure out if keeping my family close, and guiding them to careers that would afford them the luxury of living a life-style that emphasizes being in-but-not-of-the-world are goals on the same plane as salvation!

So, was I wrong to not show enthusiasm to my girl for wanting to work 12 hour days, when I envision her being a homeschooling homemaker? Was I equally wrong to push the image of family on my boy who just was wanting to write? I DON'T KNOW!

Kid Stuff

I was taking out my contacts before bed one night and both kids wanted to watch. I knew my queasy boy wouldn't' really enjoy the show, and that my gooey gal would get a kick out of it. I called it right! lol Daugther was fascinated, watching both extractions with full concentration. I am sure she feels ready to pull contacts out of my eye in case of some weird emergency.

My boy, on the other hand--and true to form--saw me touch one eye and began shivering convulsively. He announced, 'All right!! If I ever get bad eyes when I grow up, I am NOT wearing contacts!'

My girl quipped in response, 'OK, so you will use glasses that break and get lost? I will wear contacts!'

It is always a little funny to hear conversations I have had with my dh reanimated on the lips of our offspring!