Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dirt?

I’ve been thinking a lot about germs and dirt recently. Maybe it’s because every where I go there’s disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer available. Perhaps it’s because the H1N1 virus has been headline news for months. Maybe it’s because I have a two year old who touches EVERYTHING and a mobile seven month old who wants to taste everything he touches. Maybe it’s also because there are eight people living in one house and I get to thinking about how we are exposing each other to a myriad of germs from all the places each individual has been.

Kris gets pretty bad allergies each year. Though they are nothing like what he experienced in Oregon (reinforcing his theory that he’s allergic to rain) they are frustrating to him. He was recently reading up on why allergies are becoming so common place in 1st world countries. One interesting theory he read said that that our bodies are made to fight off germs and illnesses. However in our ultra clean environment there is less for our bodies to legitimately fight. So it goes looking for a fight and becomes ultra sensitive to silly things like pollen and grass. The article argued that allergies such as hay fever show up  significantly less in second and third world countries, where there are real germs to fight. Interesting.

A couple months ago I made the mistake of letting one of those vacuum cleaner salespeople into my home. She said she would clean one of my carpets for free…which is how they get in the door. What she didn’t tell me, while standing on the door step, that she had a two hour presentation and a $2500 vacuum! Yikes! Anyway, her main sales tactic was to try and scare that $2500 out of my pocket by showing me all the dirt that’s in my house, even after I use my cheap vacuum cleaner. She would lay out these black squares of fabric with piles of icky dust and fiber on the coffee table for me to stare at while she demonstrated all the amazing elements of this vacuum. The worst part was when she vacuumed a mattress and showed us what was picked up…what we sleep on every night. ICK! And then came the punchline, “Your vacuum is not picking this dirt up. Isn’t your goal to have a clean house and have a vacuum cleaner that picks up all the dirt, not just some of it?” I didn’t say this, but in my mind I thought, no, not really. If I really was trying to get all the dirt off of everything in our house I would never stop cleaning because there is dirt and germs everywhere.  We live with them and it really doesn’t bother me that much.

We do a lot of hiking and living out of doors when the weather allows. I am sure that on our hikes we inhale LOTS of dust and that when we stop to eat our lunch our hand are dirty and sweaty. If we drop some of our food on the ground we usually just pick it up and eat it. Yet I’ve never gotten sick after a day hiking. I think our cultural fear of dirt has been taken a little bit too far.

Have you ever noticed that the families who slather on the hand sanitizer, eat only food from the health food store and avoid places (like the library, zoo, and playground) because of the germs are the ones that seem to be always getting sick or getting over something? Hmmm.

Life to the Fullest

I’ve written about this before but I think I just need to get this out for my own good.

I recently was in Texas visiting my grandparents. They are in their late 80s and had never met my son, thus our visit. As I puttered around their house, removing porcelain figurines and the 100th pair of reading glasses from my daughter’s mischievous hands I was struck with bittersweet emotions. I have so many memories in this house and of these two people. I am sad that they will soon be leaving this house, with the address I have memorized, for an easier living situation. But I’m also relieved for them.

They are old. My gramma forgets things. So far it’s been little things, like whether I’ve met my cousin or if she’s already told me about the birthday party they are going to on Saturday. But soon it may be big things, like why she turned the oven on and if she turned it off. Or when she last took her medication. My grandpa’s mind is still sharp as a tack but his physical health is declining. He weighs less than me and there were several times that he lost his balance and nearly fell. It makes me sad to see them like this and I find myself thinking, is this what I have to look forward to?

There is silverware (real silver) under my gramma’s bed that hasn’t been used in 20 years. There are Get Well Soon cards from a surgery my grandpa had nearly three years ago. There is stuff, just stuff everywhere. And as my grandparents begin to mentally and physically process this move they will be making, this stuff weighs heavily on their minds. My gramma had piles of things she wanted to know if I wanted to take home with me. Some things are family heirlooms, some things are trivial, like a sample package of paper towels. She opened a bag packed full of crocheted doilies, made by my great grandmother and great aunt. Gramma was going to make something out of them but never got around to it.

I can relate to that. I have many little knick knacks in my guest room closet. Things that I’m saving for a project that I haven’t gotten around to yet. This trip was a wake up call for me. Because I don’t want 80 years of stuff that I’ve saved because I’ve not gotten around to doing them. I don’t want to save the good china for special events anymore. I don’t want to save the pretty cards for special notes. I don’t want my kids to out grow their nice shoes before they get to wear them. I guess I  just want to be generous with my stuff and adventurous with my daily plans. I hope that when I’m 80+ years old I will have few things and lots of good memories.

Accepting Praise

Recently I overheard a conversation between two of my friends. One is a mama whose daughters are healthy, well adjusted adults. The other is a mama who is in the midst of toddlerhood. The conversation went something like this,

Older Mama: You are doing such a good job with your daughter. She is a delightful, caring little girl!

Younger Mama: (A little embarassed) Oh well, it’s not anything we are doing, it’s all God.

Now, I can totally relate to this younger mama’s response. In fact I’ve probably said something very similar to this before but the fact is, what she said is simply not true. It’s nice to give God credit for creating a child who is naturally sensitive and caring, but she didn’t get that way on his own. I KNOW that her parents work hard to train her and encourage her to care for others. I’ve seen this mama relate to her daughter and she takes great care in the words she selects in communicating with her. Both parents work to communicate immense love for and to their child. In short, they have worked hard and done a great job with their little girl.  So what’s wrong with accepting a little pat on the back when another mother recognizes all your hard work?

As a parent of young children, I’ve found that my job is never done and often times very difficult and frustrating. When my mom, the one I always call when I feel like I’m about to pull out my hair, tells me that I’m doing a good job and to keep it up I feel so refreshed and encouraged. She is telling me what I know, but need to hear in that moment.

I’ve been told that in Chinese culture when receiving a complement it is appropriate, polite even,  to argue with the complementer. For example if a man tells another man, “Your wife is very beautiful” or “Your son is so smart” the receiver of the complement should say something like, “Oh no, she is quite ugly. Look at how fat she is.” or “He’s really very average.” I don’t think our American culture is quite to this point, but I do think it’s very common to poo-poo or negate praise when we receive it. Maybe it’s false humility, maybe it’s embarrassment, maybe it’s an attempt at true humility. Whatever the reason I think it’s silly and maybe even harmful for us to deny well earned praise. We need to be reminded that our hard work is noticed and will pay off.

So I encourage you, the next time you receive a complement, whether it be about your cute hairstyle, well behaved child, or a job well done, don’t downplay it. Simply smile, say “thank you” and enjoy that feeling of satisfaction. You deserve it.

Behind the Scenes

I’ll admit I’ve always loved recognition and praise. I’m sure most of you would agree that it’s nice when people notice that you’re doing something great and then tell you that.

My problem is that sometimes I think my motivation for doing that great thing switches from the good in doing it to the good I feel in getting praised for it. Not only is that ugly, it also backfires on me when I don’t get praised. Then I feel like I just invested my time and effort into something for nothing.

Recently I’ve had opportunity to practice just enjoying that fact that I’m doing something good without getting any recognition. In one case, I spent hours working on a report that was to be presented to a large group of people. I did a good job on this report, it was interesting, complete, and even included illustrations. At the presentation, through some mix up, my husband got credited for creating the report! Now my first desire would have been to make a correction and make sure I got the credit due to me. But then I stopped and thought, what’s the harm in letting people think my husband did a great job on this report? I guess it harmed my pride a bit, but nothing else.
My husband  and I are currently coordinating a college level extra curricular class for nearly forty people in our valley. Planning and carrying out this class has been a LOT of work for us over the past 9 months. It’s a fifteen week course and we are through over half of it (Yeah!). This class has been phenomenal and something Kris and I are so glad that we are part of, however most of my work on this class has been behind the scenes. Because of our kids and my fantastic organizational skills I’ve been the one who makes sure everything runs smoothly but isn’t in front of the class actually carrying out the details. This has been hard for me. I know that I am doing a good job (most of the time) but I’m not usually the one the people say, “Hey, you’re doing a great job!”, to because they don’t see me actually doing the work. A couple times I’ve tried to put myself in the spotlight, volunteering to lead activities or make announcements in class. Each time I’ve been completely humiliated for one reason or another (screaming son, miscommunications, etc). So I’ve decided that I’ll happily sit behind the scenes and play my role. This has been a good reminder for me about doing good work simply for the sake of the good work…I guess my head must have been getting too big. 🙂

Why Did I Even Get Dressed Today

Have you ever had this thought? If you’re a mom, I’m sure you have. Today was my day to ponder this. Actually, I was more wondering why I even bothered getting my kids dressed today. Here’s the story….

My two year old daughter is a little bit shy and withdrawn in larger social settings. On her own or in small familiar groups she does great but whenever I take her to a public place, with lots of kids (playground, zoo, library, etc.) she pulls into a shell. She stares at the other kids like they are freaky aliens and refuses to leave my side/lap/arms. In an effort to help her break out of this shell I’ve been trying to expose her to more activities. Last week we went to the library’s story time. I loved it, I loved the books, the silly songs, and watching the other kids–she didn’t. Oh no, I will not sit on the rug with the other kids! Oh no, I will not do the hand motions to the songs. Oh no, I will not take a shaker and shake it with the song…okay I will take a shaker but I will NOT put it back when the song is over. I’m sure you can picture how our story time went. All the while my adorable, laid back four month old sat sweetly in the stroller, never making a peep.

I was not deterred, however by last week’s theatrics. And so this morning I got us up and dressed and with books in bag we returned to the library. I had studied my enemy (newness) and prepared a strategy this time. We arrived early, perused the books and got comfortable with the surroundings and the other kids. Jennika was doing great! I was so excited as story time approached.

Then, it happened.

Not two minutes before story time started, my little man filled his pants…man style. I didn’t have time to check out our books, run out to the car with both kids in tow,  and change him. So I made the fatal error of hoping his diaper would hold until story time was over. Thirty minutes, just thirty minutes, please God!?! In we strolled to story time, Jennika still smiling, though a little uncertainly. She didn’t sit on the rug and didn’t do most of the hand motions, but she did listen to the stories and was having fun. Somewhere into the second story Korban started fussing. I tried distractions and movement but he wanted out of that stroller (who wouldn’t when they are sitting in their own poop?). I undid the buckles and scooped him up…then I almost dropped him as my hands felt icky, sticky poop all over his pants.

What to do? I glanced at the clock on the wall, still a good 15 minutes before story time was over. I glanced at the exit door and all the children and moms I’d have to weave through to get out. What to do, what to do. Well, some of you may frown and shake your head and I know I’m not going to get nominated for any Mother of the Year awards after this admission; I put him back in his stroller. For the next several minutes I distracted him any way I could, short of holding him. Korban handled his poopy pants like a champ…for about five minutes and then he was done. There was nothing I could do in that little library room to make him happy. So I apologetically pushed my stroller with screaming, offensive-odor-emitting child and carried my disappointed daughter through the sea of little hands, feet, and big mormon mama purses.

In the car, as I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned all that was poop-covered I wondered, why do I even bother? Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t we go to the library for an easy relaxing story hour? Had any experienced mother sat me down before kids and told me just how hard, exasperating, and humiliating being a mother would be, if she had really and truly told me all, not sparing any of the gory details, I think I would have signed up sterilization that day. But no wise mother did, because she knew that the joys and the love wash over those moments when we want to pull out all our hair and scream. That those moments when we think we would willingly sign up for chinese water torture in exchange for just a few minutes of a normal life without food on our clothes and sleep-deprived circles under our eyes are really just one bitter drop in the bucket of all the sweet experiences we have with our children.

So though I am frustrated and discouraged, I will not give up. Next week we will go back to the library. And next week I’ll have better studied my new enemy (poop) and will have a strategy for victory (pants fashioned from plastic bags:-) ).

I have to go now…Jennika is standing on Korban’s tummy. 🙂

It’s the Little Things

I recently wrote about my husband being away and how I recognized the incredible blessing in that he’s usually home. Continuing in that same thread, I have to share with you all the little amazing things that stood out to me about him this week.
First, I noticed how incredibly good looking he is. This took about five seconds to notice but for days after he got home I’d be overwhelmed by it. I’ve always known my husband was hot, but wow, when did his hair turn so blonde and his skin get that beautiful shade of brown that compliments his blue eyes so well? Has he always been so muscular? (Yes, he has.)  But somehow, being gone four days made me forget just how easy on the eyes he really is.
The next thing I noticed was what a fantastic dad he is. I mentioned this in my other post but I just have to reiterate, Kris is a GREAT dad. He delights in sharing experiences with Jennika. Countless times this week I was brought to tears listening to them laugh together or hear him laugh in delight at something she said or did. I was also reminded of how wonderful it is to have a partner who shares responsibilities as Kris got up early with Jennika and got her breakfast while I slept in. I reminded of that same thing again yesterday when our three week old son had a huge diaper blow-out. I wasn’t even aware of it, I was outside with Jennika, until after Kris had changed and bathed him. Wow.
I noticed how nice it is to have an adult to talk to, or not talk to just to be with. Because Kris is home all day there are times while at the dinner table or in the evening when we don’t have anything to say to each other. We talk throughout the day, sharing thoughts and experiences. There have been times when I’ve wished I could think of something to say, just for the sake of filling the silence. However I’m learning that it’s nice to just be quiet with somebody. There’s a comfortable silence that doesn’t need filling. On the other hand, it is so nice to have a coherent conversation with a grownup. I realized after Kris got home that other than phone conversations with my mom and Kris, I really hadn’t spoken to another grown-up since he left.
The old saying wisely states that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and I guess in a way that’s what I learned this last week. It was the little tiny things that I forgot about or had grown accustomed to that increased my love for my wonderful husband.

Korban: The Birth Story

I know this won’t interest all of you, but some have asked for Korban’s birth story.

My first baby didn’t come quickly. I really wanted to have a natural birth but after thirty hours of intense contractions about every four minutes, regular vomiting, and no sleep, I opted for an epidural. She was born about four hours later. I’ve been told that your second delivery should take about half as long as your first. So I figured I’d be in labor for 16 to 18 hours with Korban…which sounded doable compared to 34 hours. Nevertheless I was encouraged in the birthing class (I took hypnobirthing) to visualize and focus on my ideal birth. So I focused on and prayed for an early birth date, he was due on the 25th and I asked for the 17th, about 8 hours of labor, and that he weigh between seven and seven and a half pounds.
Well, the 17th and the 25th came and went without any signs of labor. I was frustrated and discouraged by the first of June and trying really hard to have a good attitude. On the second of June, my brother called to say their baby would probably be born that day. Their baby was due May 29, four days after my due date. I prayed and cried a lot that day. I asked for a good attitude and joy for my brother and sister-in-law. I asked for my baby to be born. I asked for grace and that I wouldn’t be jealous. Then I cried and just felt sorry for myself. My mom, who was staying with us, awaiting Korban’s arrival, was wonderful. She listened, she encouraged, she took Jennika so I could sleep and she told me it was okay to have a breakdown once in a while.
On the 2nd I had another appointment with my midwife’s assistant. These were the routine weekly check-ups since I was overdue. I knew that after this appointment I would have one more and then face induction…which terrified me. At this appointment my NP recommended that I try taking an herb call Black Cohosh to see if that might move things along. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick it up. All that day I alternated taking that herb as well as a supplement that had red raspberry leaves in it, and evening primrose oil pills, all are supposed to help start labor. That evening we took a long walk down and then I took a warm bath.
At about one in the morning on the 3rd I woke with strong contractions, but this wasn’t new. Every night for the last three I’d have good strong contractions for about an hour and then they would just go away. So when they started on this night I was just too tired to get my hopes up. I didn’t time them, I just tried to sleep. They gradually got stronger and closer together and continued longer than an hour! A couple hours later, when I couldn’t comfortably lie down through a contraction I got up and entertain the possibility that I was in labor for real this time. For the next couple hours I tried to relax, listened to the relaxation cds I had from my class, threw up regularly, and tried to stay hydrated. At about 5:30 Kris woke up and asked, “Are you having labor?” I told him I was, that my contractions were about six minutes apart. His response, “Can I sleep a little bit longer?” I don’t’ think he was very awake! 🙂 I told him I’d wake him when they got closer together. I was thinking I still had a long way to go before anything serious happened.
By 8:00 a.m. my contractions were taking all my concentration and were about three minutes apart. We decided to head to the hospital. As we drove, I prepared myself for the check-in and what we’d learn. When we got to the hospital with Jennika’s birth I was only dilated to a two even though I’d been having contractions for nearly twelve hours. I knew, from my last dr. appointment that I was dilated to a two so I told myself I’d be happy if  I was a three or a four when we checked in. I also calculated how many hours I had been in labor and told myself we’d be doing well if we had a baby by seven that night.
At the hospital they decided to see how far along I was before calling my midwife, who would head right over when I was in active labor. The nurse’s eyes got big when she checked me and she excitedly told me I was a 6! I was so delighted I could hardly believe I was that far along. The nurses quickly called the midwife and started to get ready for the baby. My nurse said I’d be through the transition phase quickly and then be able to start pushing, but I didn’t really believe her. I was thinking I still had at least four more hours. As the nurses checked me in, Kris ran back down to the car to park and bring up our bags. By the time he got back up to our room I was feeling the need to push, actually it really wasn’t a need or anything I could really control, I’d have a contraction and just be pushing. The nurse checked me again and I was fully dilated! She encouraged me to not push until my midwife was there, but I really couldn’t not push. My midwife walked in a couple minutes later and I was relieved to not have to try to fight what my body was doing. I pushed for about five minutes and Korban came out, blue and tiny. Once he took a breath and started crying he colored up normally. He weighed just six pounds, three ounces and measured nineteen inches long.
As I stared at my little boy I could hardly believe he was in my arms already, at 10:10 in the morning, hours before I expected. Twenty minutes later I walked to my recovery room

P.S. Regarding my requests to God, I got one out of three…Korban’s labor was almost exactly eight hours long! 🙂

Weeding, Planting, Weeding, & Harvesting Part 2

Last week I started discussing the analogy between child raising and gardening. Here’s part two of that series. 

After you have your little seeds in the ground you get to enjoy the next phase of gardening, weeding & watering. This phase seems so much easier than the previous two phases, but if these simple tasks are neglected, your garden can be ruined.
Water is essential for a garden to grow and though it seems like watering a garden is a pretty simple task, it takes more planning and foresight than you might think. You cannot wait until the sun is out and beating down on your tender shoots to bring out the sprinkler. Those plants needs their roots to be soaked in water before the sun even hits them. I remember my dad, who taught me everything I know about gardening, would go out to his garden each morning before the sun came up to make sure his plants got the water they needed for the day. For our children, water equals love and nurturing. We have to make sure that their roots are soaked in our love and in the knowledge of the love of the Father. This is done is so many ways daily that’s there’s too many to mention. However I will say that just saying, “I love you” does not cut it. Your kids must know beyond a doubt that you love them so that even when you are disciplining them they know you still love them. Like with the garden, this is where the strategic part comes in. It’s easy to cuddle with and demonstrate love to my daughter when she’s cute and well behaved. It is more difficult, however, when she’s throwing a fit in front of the checkout lady at Target, or when she refuses to go to sleep at four in the morning! But when I love her at these times by not lashing out in frustration and anger I am speaking volumes to her about how much I love her. 
As we pour love into our children they will flourish in their personalities and talents and be confident in who they are. This is so vital to their growth and healthy development. When times of challenge, frustration, and questioning arise in their lives, as is normal and healthy, they will do well because of the love they know. That’s not to say there won’t be challenging times when they struggle, but that in the end they will come out stronger and healthier instead of weak and wilted. 
Our garden sprouts are not the only ones that will take advantage of the good soil and water we’ve provided for them. Weeds are terrible at quickly sprouting up and taking over an entire garden plot.  Weeding is a labor-some and irritating task, but if neglected those weeds can quickly choke out the life of our little plants. Until our plants are big enough to no longer be threatened by weeds, we must fight these irritations for them. As a kid one of my summer chores was to weed the garden. I HATED this task because it took so long to do right, and my dad insisted that we do it right. It was easy to rush through the rows and pull the weeds, most of which just broke off at the top, leaving the roots still in the ground. This was the wrong way to weed because though it looked okay from above ground, the roots, the real source of the problem, still lay below, just waiting to sprout again. My dad taught us to loosen the soil, use a spade if necessary, and get the tops and the roots out. You can imagine how much longer this took for a twelve-year-old whose aching to go climb a tree! Another important lesson my dad taught us was that it’s so much easier to get a weed out when it is little than waiting until it gets bigger. 
Weeding is rich with analogies to raising our kids, I’m sure you’ve already connect most of them. In our children’s lives weeds can be thought patterns, behaviours, and external influences that, if left untended, can choke the life from our kids. At first they don’t seem that threatening, maybe even cute. What harm can such a little behaviour have? But if we fall into that thinking and don’t stop those actions when they are small, we’ll have so much more work when they have grown and gathered strength. Often a behaviour is the top of the plant and the roots are a thought pattern that a child has developed. It is vital that we not only treat the behaviour, but address the thought pattern and remove or change it so that the behaviour doesn’t just sprout up at another time. As with my childhood weeding experiences, this takes so much more work and often times I’m tempted to just deal with the current behavior. 
Sometimes, especially when I’m tired, I’m tempted to let a behavior in my daughter slide. She’s little and I can easily find an explanation for her bad behavior. This is similar to letting a weed stay in the ground because it’s small and then fighting to get it out when it’s grown huge. I would much rather deal with a screaming one year old than a screaming, tantrum-throwing five year old. I have to remind myself of this when I’m tempted to look the other way or offer excuses for my daughter.   

Wow! There’s so much more here than I anticipated when I first started writing that I am going to save the best, the harvest, for the next post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Weeding, Planting, Weeding, and Harvesting

 A long time ago, at least before I was even thinking about having children of my own, I heard a great illustration on raising children. Now that I have a daughter and a son on the way I have been thinking a lot about the wisdom and insight of this illustration. I don’t remember where I heard it so I hope I’m not stealing some body’s unique and patented analogy. 

Raising children is like planting a crop, or for me since I can relate better, planting a garden. During certain seasons there are appropriate actions to be taken. The first phase, done in late winter and early spring, is ground preparation. The weeds must be removed, the ground tilled up and softened, and the necessary fertilizer and nutrients added if the soil is lacking. This can be related to the early training we do with our kids, the phase I’m currently in. There’s lots of action/consequences lessons, lots of no’s said, and sometimes it’s exhausting. Some days there’s very little reward, just lots of hard work. There are days when I long for my daughter to just say, “Yes, Mama.” when I want her to, to just go potty on the toilet, and to just be willing to share her toys without a fight. I know (hope) that we will get there someday, but for now I feel like I’m doing lots of pulling of the weeds of selfishness and disobedience. There is also the ground softening and preparation. This is all the quality time we spend snuggled up together, all the cheers I give her when she demonstrates a talent or good attitude. It is also saying and demonstrating that I love her, and praying for her. Her mind and spirit must be confident in the love her mommy and daddy have for her and in who she was created to be so that when the weeds are pulled up from her life it doesn’t damage the her personality or confidence. 

The next phase of gardening is one of my favorites, the planting. This is done with excitement and care since the way we plant determines our crop. There is lots of room to dream and hope in this phase and while it’s hard work, bending over or crawling in the dirt on your hands and knees, the hope that goes into the ground with each little seed makes it all seem like child’s play. In a child’s life this is what we as parents are constantly doing by the way we train, the way we live our lives, and the lessons we verbally and non-verbally communicate to our kids. The best time to plant is when the soil is soft and well fertilized, so it makes sense that the most planting we will do is when our kids are young. The outside conditions also must be just right so that our little seedlings won’t freeze at night or wither in the mid-day sun. In the same way we, as parents, must determine which seeds our children are ready for and which ones must wait a while. I would never dream of trying to teach my toddler about sexual purity, she’s way to young for that seed. She is, however,  ready to learn about honesty, trust, and generosity-all in toddler terms, of course. These little lessons will develop into bigger lessons as she grows. I believe that teaching a toddler to share her toys can directly turn into teaching a young child to give of what she has to others in need.

Another delight in the planting phase is deciding what you want in your garden. Some of this is determined for us, based on where we live, our soil type, and some of it is left up to us and how adventurous we are (I love trying out new vegetables like soybeans in my garden). In the same way there are some seeds that are already determined in our children. I may wish that one of my children becomes a concert pianist, but if the love for music and desire is not in that child, I cannot make it happen and planting those seeds year after year can not only be a frustrating experience, it can also be a waste of resources. That child may instead have an incredible gift with organizing or leadership. It is important to find seeds that will grow well in that soil.

There are always the basic and essentials we all want planted in our garden, like carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes–our children will seem incomplete if we don’t plant love, selflessness, obedience, trust, and compassion in them. After that however it’s so fun to dream about what our children will become, where their talents and interests will lie and what we get to expose them to. For example, we regularly expose our daughter to outdoor adventures because that’s what my husband and I love. We go camping, back packing, rock climbing, and boating often and I love that this is a normal part of our daughter’s life. My hope is that as an adult she will love being outdoors and be careful with our precious resources and environment. While I cannot make these seeds grow, I can plant them and hope that they will be nurtured by memorable experience and her parents’ example. You may be planting seeds of good study habits and a love for reading by regularly reading aloud to your little ones and allowing them to see you enjoy a good book. Your relationship with your spouse is another seed that is being planted in your little ones. They way they watch you two relate and love each other will grow into a thought pattern about relationships in their minds. This is a great motiviation to make sure your relationship with your spouse is healthy and happy. 

Stay posted for the next two phases, watering & weeding, and harvesting.

When Plans Change

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I am a devoted list maker and love the feeling of getting lots of things crossed off my list. I have the occasional “lazy” day but most days I’m up and running with a mental to do list in my head. 
Last night I was talking with some friends about being flexible. We were talking specifically about being in situations where you’re not comfortable because things are different than what you expected. We discussed how this often causes stress. Somebody pointed out that  he was learning if he could look at the situation as just different than what he expected but not bad then he noticed he wouldn’t become as stressed. This led us to conclude that it’s always best to be flexible. Having plans and expectations are great but plans don’t usually turn out like we, well, plan. I’ve written about this before.
Today, I had the opportunity to put this into practice. Every other week I get together with other moms in the area for breakfast and encouragement while somebody else watches our kids. It’s a great time to connect with other women and just be women, not necessarily moms, for a couple hours. This week my table was responsible for providing breakfast so late last night I was making a yummy egg casserole for this morning. My mouth was watering as I layered the cheese, bread, and crumbled veggie burgers and my mind and soul were watering for a sweet time of fellowship with other ladies. 
This morning all my plans changed at 6:00 a.m. when our daughter came wandering into our room (she usually doesn’t get up until 8:00) coughing and crying. I held her, wiping her nose about every minute and refused to recognize what she was telling me. No! She can’t be sick, not today! I want to go! I decided to give her an hour. Maybe she’d perk up after breakfast. So for the next hour I fanned this hope, baking my yummy egg casserole and getting ready for the day. But after barely eating any breakfast and denying hot coca I knew this kid was pretty sick…what toddler says no to cocoa?! Sadly I called my friend and told her I’d be dropping off my casserole but not staying. 😦
So today, I’m holding my daughter while she dozes. I’m doing lots of things, like typing, with just one hand and giving up on my to-do list for the day. I know for some moms this time of just sitting and holding their child would be precious, absolute gold. Not so much for me, I do love holding her, but it’s hard to know that I’m really not going to get anything done today. I guess this is my chance to practice what we discussed last night and just be flexible…I’m sure those dishes will still be in the sink tomorrow. 🙂