Sweet and Salty Prayers

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Have you tried it?  We are offered all kinds of tastes and treats.  The candies, snacks, pops and beverages, and treats for a Pre-K student, elementary, high school or adult goes through each week are rich and draw the taste buds for more.  Looking back at this week, the tastes were just as important for the younger as they were for the older.  In Pre-K the Moms and Muffins day brought the delight of  muffins, mini cinnamon rolls, and orange juice.  The older we got, we moved to baseball snacks from the concessions like the saltier ones and more energetic kinds like popcorn and sports drinks.  The high school  youngster made his own salty snack of choice with half a bag of tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, torn tortillas, and all mixed in to be microwaved for a minute or so to melt the cheese.  He had to also take a bottle of pop with him to school also for some of the caramel colors and sweeteners as well!   On a day out, we parents didn’t fail to choose coffee, excellent chocolate, and a chai tea latte to end our afternoon lunch experience.  Each of these treats were momentary delights all worth the temporary indulgence.

Prayer, like these tastes and treats, has a delight that may seem to last for only that moment of prayer, but if we could think for a moment of the expanse of the prayer world, as well as the life long lasting effect, we would be going to God in prayer as often or more often like we would our favorite snacks.  Caring about another, our world, our country, our own families, and our very own friends could be shared more from the heart.  God and Jesus the Savior,  act in kindness, goodness, and faithfulness seeking that all may come to the knowledge of the saving grace offered but also the delight and expanse of the offer.  The action of one asking and caring already has an effect because of the compassion and love it already holds.  Even more powerful than that is to carry that prayer to the All knowing and All powerful creator who can take as many requests at a time as He wills.

What if we went to God the Father, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, with a different attitude, so maybe we have disappointment, and we shared that with him.  Wouldn’t he want to hear his child’s cry for help or one in need of a Savior?  It seems there is no need to cover up our requests and take them to the one who cares.

“You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.  You do not have because you do not ask God.”  James 4:2 (N.I.V.)

Truly,

FAITH

 

 

Halfway at Forty

 

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While one daydreams about turning that magic age of 40, one wants to celebrate what appears to be a life half lived.  This year new thoughts come to mind, but it is by this time that maybe college is far off in the past, the children are all growing and taking their own journeys, and the thought of the last decades of lasting life impact and meaning are strung out on the horizon.

Each passing day, it is funny how new personal and family expectations come to mind.  There is a point that even though I think about the daily expectations that sometimes I want to remind myself not to think of those, but instead the day doesn’t really allow that for anyone unless of course you find yourself taking a really great nap.  Thankfully, this week I had one of those days.  I am sounding older already.  I have also begun to think about what a much more condensed life might look like and what I really need in my life.  When my oldest was growing up, we would tag a lot of agenda items onto our day all for the sheer effort of trying new sports, new clubs, new experiences, to help our family develop into what was our thought of “well rounded,” and as you are constantly re-evaluating your year to year experiences, there can be a place for that, but at 40, I am sure some of these scheduled efforts are not always worth the daily consumption.

In the center of the home, I desire to look deeply for the joy and the faithfulness to a vision not merely for me arriving at my dreams in my family relationship to satisfy perhaps all of the educational, familial, and spiritual aims, which I seem to enjoy like most, but to align and realign to the growing needs and desires of my family.  In the last fifteen years, with children I see how the family runs freely.  It also trickles out into many channels in the oceans of life.

I am beginning to see, as many can relate to; it never is all about us as parents, and eventually those fifteen-year-old sons and daughters will be changing and adapting to satisfy there own relational needs with corsages, boutonnieres, new music with wireless speakers, driving lessons and much more challenging course work.  Some way, all that you thought was easy to manage for your children’s life becomes their inertia that propels your living forward.

In a book titled Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, I appreciate her explanation of the family and marriage according to Hannah More, “A happy marriage was a channel for allowing the individual to satisfactorily employ whatever gifts and talents had been bestowed on him or her by God for the benefit of all, within the family and without.”  I like this because the design of “for the benefit of all” resonates that turning forty with a family is a beneficial relationship to hold onto with joy and love.  It is also one that needs to be cherished realizing that eventually the family choices set in motion will be continued with their own inertia.

Doesn’t the family life develop and change in ways that are new and exciting and sometimes rather unexpectedly?  During those times, we can draw strength knowing that a happy life is God’s love for each member of the family and always seeking to have more of His love and joy.

“A new command I give you; love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34 (N.I.V.)

 

Truly,

 

 

FAITH

 

 

 

Math that needs a rescue

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The young man sat and listened to the math teacher explain the geometric concepts that were new to the ninth grade experience.  He had always been a boy interested in math.  His bathroom reader in PreK was a game of figuring out which number was on the page.  “What is the number he would say?”  Was is five hundred eighty five or another like one thousand two hundred and twelve?  He would point, give his guesses, and go on to another number.

Math came easy for him until about the seventh grade, and then it was time to learn more than just sixty to seventy percent of what he was learning in his mostly pre-algebra class.  The numbers and new formulas didn’t make as much sense to him as they used to and his parents couldn’t explain it well enough.  In this well meaning age of technology, he had new instructors, online ones that were useful even if they were not the preferred way of learning.  It didn’t seem necessary for him to need a tutor that early on in school.  Technology became his new way of learning that year.  The online resources helped him like homework helpers.  He saw his grades improve not tremendously, but as an example, before getting D’s on a test now he actually understood most of the concepts and had raised his D’s to more solid C’s.  He had learned to teach himself concepts that could not be explained to him by other means.

The following year, his learning experience seemed better sought at a private school as the teaching environment would facilitate more one on one instruction especially in his developing areas of mathematics.  Coming into class the first day, he was greeted by the principal and several teachers who wanted to know more about him.  We learned that day conveniently that he would need to come back for……you guessed it, a math test!  The math test and the use of a calculator that day began to rebuild not only his interest but confidence in math all over again.  He placed well for his studies that year in math and benefited from a smaller class size of around ten students.  This year his teacher offered help for students that were having difficulty and other ways to improve his grade throughout the year.  Mostly C’s in math the previous year were now B’s.

Geometry now holds it’s own keys to several mysteries and hidden mazes to be unlocked.  The classroom size has gotten larger, the need for more you tube learning is on the increase again, but he is not afraid or inexperienced with a challenge.  At the end of a semester final, the need to find a tutor became evident, and fortunately, he found one at the start of the second semester.  Sometimes you think that what looks like it will get more comprehensible for you does not, and a timely intervention keeps you from drowning.

via Daily Prompt: Timely

Power of the backyard

 

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via Daily Prompt: Hideout

The yard was modestly arrayed with a busy street out front hosting a large walnut tree in the front yard with crab apple trees lining the side of the drive way.  The backyard, the hideout, was a place for a young child to search and find adventure.  Growing up with three younger brothers in this small fenced in backyard, we had everything.  We had a hideout that was a place for us to find our wild side and be louder than our parents could tolerate.  There we could even get away with throwing sand which later became a problem in the swimming pool.

Blue Spruce trees guard the entrance to my children’s yard.  Our yard is not fenced in but partially wooded.  They play football there, and there is not a weekend that they would not wish their hideout to be filled with a new game going.  With the cousins playing, they can create the bare bones of their favorite rival football teams.  They are crazed Madden players, and in their hideout, they do their best to try not to tackle during their game.  When they were younger, they would also stretch the boundaries in their free zone.  The age gaps between them, were so large that a stolen tackle would leave someone in emotional alligator tears only to quickly resume their dearly loved game.

It was in my backyard that I began a love with my three brothers for softball.  We threw, batted, and ran the bases like pros in our own minds.  Even though, none of us would ever grow to become baseball players.  We all thought we were José Canseco and loved the game more and more together.  In remembering this hideout, I remember my dad even joining our sport and having him help us in our pitching and our aim.  I could tell he must have enjoyed a space like ours and that being a catcher younger grew his love of the game.

The closer I come to my children’s backyard, I remember my own backyard not smaller but just as big.  There I see like my own life that the rules, expectations, and responsibilities seem to roll off my children’s frames.  It is almost as if outside you are allowed to be as youthful and energetic as you want to be.  The warm energy of the sun and the beauty of nature beg of you to be yourself and to enjoy what is there.

The developing masterpiece

 

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Everyday we are challenged with feats of courage for ourselves and others.   I know we are able to gain understanding from each other during the process.  One of the greatest feats of life is to determine and continue to determine which way to raise the blessed little ones that are given to us for our instructing.  The reality that one strategy does not work for all children haunts even the most well-informed parents.  Always the question comes did I try enough with this little one, elementary child, and eventually high school masterpiece?

One of the strategies that I seek to encourage more and even more at night is prayer and reading.  Yes, the children have spent most of their days in school, but they have read about what their schools and their teachers are interested in.  It is the parent that influences much of the children’s own personal interests, their priority to read, their developing psychology, theology, and common everyday habits.

It is during our evening conversations and readings together that the parent begins to cut past the surface of the routine.  Each evening there are general tasks that have to be done that weigh heavily on the events of the parent and children’s evening.  Homework is to be accomplished usually taking at least twenty minutes or more to complete, showers, dinner, and if there aren’t any other sports or extracurricular events, some reading to do before bedtime.  When the parent accounts for the children’s free-time after school, he and she notices there really isn’t very much.

During my prayer time and Bible reading with my children, I have begun to notice what takes place that I would not have mysteriously uncovered any other way.  It is during our reading of the the Bible, discussion, and prayer, that most quiet, concentrated time I have to hear their thoughts.  One conversation was really very special.  In one of my children’s prayers after talking about faith he said that he wanted to be better about living out his faith.  He said how happy he was that he did not have to have a faith in God that is found all at once so to speak, but that he prayed to have “faith ablaze.”

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (N.I.V.)

As parents, we have the joy of mysteriously “cracking the code” and discovering who our children are becoming each day through our interactions with them.  Praying and reading the Holy word of God brings up discussions that test the integrity of the their development and ours.  What will we discover about our children over this year that would not been revealed without that quiet space built into our routines?

 

Truly,

 

FAITH

Parenting Awareness

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In life I have been amazed by the creation, I think that most people that know me realize how much my family has lauded the miracle of a child’s birth and the priority of raising a child. There was such wonder at the initial birth of it all. I can remember when I brought my baby home the first few days and my hesitations.  I remember hesitating to give my son, now fourteen, his first bath.

At the time, my husband and I were staying with my mother and father-in-law in their duplex, I realized my own ill-preparedness and that I needed an awareness.  I was very much in awe of my sweet baby.  How was I to give that little one a bath?  I  had thought of everything from the weekly to monthly development of the child before he was born, but I had not thought deeply enough about the basic act of a bath after he was born.  Having my mother-in-law there, giving a bath to an infant had not been forgotten by her so I had my own success with this basic necessity of his life.

I needed my family’s guidance and leadership, and I knew that what had been created was more advanced than my ability to understand his needs all on my own.  I knew I could not put him in a tub!  I didn’t want that little remaining cord to get wet!  Mothers and fathers, yes, we know our children, we are amazed by what they do and what they need. Looking back on those years, I remember falling in love with my curious, strong willed son and falling in love with God at the same time.  By getting to know my son, like other children, I am most amazed by God because you see God’s most endearing qualities in nature and leadership there is.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

I wonder about my own investment in understanding God’s own ways of child rearing.  How about you: do you enjoy watching the development of your own children and wonder if I became more aware of how God describes life, that I may parent even better this next year?

 

Truly,

 

FAITH