Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Thoughts on The Shack

There's so much controversy with this book and I really don't get it. If you understand that William P. Young wrote it for his children, if you understand that he makes no claim to be a theologian, if you understand that it's fiction, why all the fuss? There are lots of criticisms but I want to focus on the one thing that seems to bother people the most. Much of the talk and outrage seems to be over the way God is characterized. This afternoon I was lying down with Little Sister, trying to get her to nap, and I don't know what got me thinking about it but I wrote this blog in my here it is.

Big Sister asked me yesterday, "Mom, why can't we see God?" What a question. I wasn't really sure what the five-year-old answer is supposed to be. I think I said, "I don't know, but He's always with us and one day we will see Him and it will be great!" But as I lay there this afternoon with Little Sister I thought some more about my answer. The truth is, in a way, we do see God. All the time. It occurred to me that I ought to point Him out. Kind of like this:

Remember when you hurt yourself today and Daddy held you in his arms and kissed away your tears? That's what God looks like.

Today when your friend gave you her toy to take home just because she wanted to and she didn't ask for anything from you? That's what God looks like.

In fact, I ought not just point Him out, I ought to show her myself. We always talk about wanting people to see Jesus in us. What does God look like? When someone forgives...that's what God looks like. When someone makes a sacrifice for someone else...that's what God looks like. When someone gives to the poor...that's what God looks like. When someone adopts...that's what God looks like. I'm sure you could add many more and I'm sure you could think of at least one person in your life that in at least one moment, showed you what God looks like. And those people are men, women, young, old, black, white, rich, poor.

Is it really so terrible that a regular guy used the characters that he did to show a little bit of what God looks like in a story for his children? Why is it okay that C.S. Lewis portrays Him as a lion? Why is it okay that Evan Almighty portrays Him as an African-American man? 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "Man looks at the outward appearance but the LORD looks at the heart." I guess I think the critics of The Shack should look at the hearts of the characters. After all, we are all made in His image. And while no one on the planet could personify or even describe God completely, He is always there. And we can know Him. And like I told Big Sister, one day we will see Him and it will be great!

Friday, July 25, 2008

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Or did I? Sometimes I think all I really need to know got ruined in Kindergarten.

A lot of my friends have first time kindergartners this year and a couple have written about it. You can read those posts below.


I've had thoughts about this new phase of life as well. Big Sister couldn't be more excited about going to school. If she were apprehensive it would be really tough but she can't wait. She's definitely ready. For her birthday, she received a computer game called Jump Start Kindergarten and she's all over it. She loves to learn and can't wait to really start reading. She can't wait to play on the playground, eat lunch in the cafeteria and make new friends. And there are things I look forward to as well. Big Sister got good one on one time with me on the front end. Now it's Little Sister's turn. I'm looking forward to some special times with just me and her. I'm looking forward to getting to know some other people in our neighborhood. I'm looking forward to getting involved in her class, school, and ultimately, our community. I love school. I was a teacher, I'm married to a teacher, I'm the daughter of former teachers. WE LOVE all things SCHOOL.

But I worry...a little. Is she really supposed to go in that big building ALL BY HERSELF every day? What will happen after she walks through those doors? How will I know she made it to her room? We live right near the school and will walk most days. What if she gets in there and I leave and then she thinks she left something at home and then she tries to walk home and you see where I'm going with this? I mean, the child still can't wipe her butt all that well. How's that going to work? Is she going to sit on the toilet yelling, "Teacher! TEACHER! CAN YOU COME WIPE MY BOTTOM?!?!"

But the thing that really gets me...the thing that makes me tear up when I look at her is this.

She's entering the real world.

Right now she believes that she's beautiful. She believes that she is smart. She believes that she is special. She likes what she likes and she has great enthusiasm about it. Right now she loves her little sister. Right now she wants to please her mom and dad more than anybody. But what will she learn in kindergarten? What will happen when another mean kid calls her ugly or stupid? What will happen when someone tells her Dora isn't cool anymore? And Little Sister is an annoying baby? And moms and dads don't know anything and are to be rebelled against? What if she's the mean kid and I just don't know it? Will I be one of those parents? Up until now I've been there to protect her. And I want to protect her from all that heartbreak and dysfunction that you learn in the real world. I want her to go on forever believing she is beautiful and smart and special. I want her to pave her own way and find her own passions and follow them despite what her peers think. I want her to want to be with her family more than anyone else in the world. But...

I keep thinking of something one of my mentors, Peggy, once told me. If I could be the perfect parent and if I could protect her from the troubles of this world, she would never know she needed Jesus. These things have to be faced. And I must point her to Jesus. She needs to know that, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30" She needs to know that smart is good but wisdom that comes from the Lord is what she really needs. She needs to know that Mom and Dad love her but we will fail her and no one can love her like Jesus. She needs to know that her life is not about her but about God and his glory. She needs to have her heart broken over sin. Lord, help me! I'm not ready for this! I know I'm being a bit melodramatic. Maybe she'll love her teacher. Maybe she'll make some great friends. Maybe she'll thrive. And maybe she'll learn to wipe her own butt in the next two weeks.

I don't know what the future holds but it reminds me of my own need for Jesus. It reminds me of all He's taught me and how he's brought me through difficult times. It reminds me how blessed I am in my life. It reminds me that He is in control. It reminds me that the difficult times have driven me to His Word and to my knees. It has been the difficult times that have taught me the most. I had difficult times in school and magical times in school. I'm sure there were times my mom thought we'd never survive it. But we did. And so will Big Sister by the grace of God. I guess it's best to just take it one day at a time, pray like crazy, and savor every moment. And God grant me grace if on the first day I stalk her on the playground.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Secret Life of a Toddler

It was 11:00p.m. when I finally got in the bed. I knew my alarm would go off at 4:00a.m. I was leaving town for 4 days to visit with my dad and sister in North Carolina and I had stayed up late making sure everything was in order and easy before I left. My plane was leaving at 6:20a.m. so I had to allow time to look decent, get to the airport, park in economy and check a bag. 4:00a.m. was the goal. I lay there thinking of how I needed to fall asleep in the next 30 seconds or I was going to be exhausted. I lay there thinking that I really should check the answering machine before I left. I lay there thinking there was one more book I left in the van that I wanted to be sure and grab to take with me. I lay there worrying about our babysitter taking the girls to the pool on Friday while my husband was at work. At 12:30a.m. I knew I was in trouble.

About the same time, little sister began to cough...and cough...and just when I'd begin to drift...she'd cough. At 1:38a.m. my husband got up and went upstairs. When he came back down about five minutes later I knew I had my next blog post.

Me: What did you DO up there?

Him: I gave her some cough medicine. (with a slight "duh" tone to his voice)

Me: WHAT cough medicine?

Him: There's a whole bottle of PediaCare cough medicine in their medicine box. It said for ages 2-6 give 1 tsp.

Me: The non-drowsy cough medicine?

Him: (Hesitating) I don't know, I didn't look.

Me: The last time we gave her that medicine, she was down here an hour later and tortured me for the next 5 hours.

Him: (Long pause for effect)...She'll be fine.

Great, I thought. She'll be fine. I have 2 1/2 hours left to sleep and he just gave Little Sister the kiddie cocaine. And I'm leaving town. So she'll torture me and then he has to deal with her in the morning. And then he's taking her to Danielle's while he has football practice so she can torture Danielle. Oy. I thought about this for the next 58 minutes...while he slept. That's when she arrived, almost on cue. I picked her up, took her upstairs and put her back in her bed ready to wait for the next time. By now I was down to 1 1/2 hours and so I just prayed, "Lord, let me fall asleep in 30 seconds and let that 1 hour and 29 minutes feel like 8." But alas, I lay there listening to Little Sister tossing and turning and doing who knows what, hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and not sleeping. At 3:30a.m. I didn't even want to fall asleep anymore for fear that I wouldn't wake up and would miss my plane completely. So I turned off the alarm and began to mentally write a list for my husband.

1. Don't forget to take a diaper bag to Danielle's.

2. Let Little Sister sleep until you're ready to take her.

3. Take her in her pajamas and have Danielle put her in a bed.

4. Don't forget the passie!

5. Don't let the babysitter take them to the pool.

6. If you do let the babysitter take them to the pool, don't tell me.


8. Be patient. This is our fault after all. (Notice the use of the word "our"?)

At 4:00a.m. I went up to check on Little Sister. As I climbed the stairs, I heard voices. It took me a minute to figure it out. I began to realize that despite the dark, I could see remarkably well. Then I noticed a soft glow coming from the bonus room. There sat Little Sister, watching TV, at 4:00a.m. Wow. She very matter-of-factly informed me that she had a "poo-poo diaper". I changed her and put her back to bed, explained that we don't watch TV in the middle of the night and it was time to sleep. I went downstairs to get ready. My husband woke up long enough to ask, "Is she asleep?" "Nope," I said, "she was watching TV in the bonus room. I put her back in her bed."

At 4:45a.m. I was ready to go. I put my things in the car and came back in to say goodbye. I checked her one last time and when I opened the door she sat up and looked me right in the eye. Poor Daddy. Poor Danielle. I'm outta here. I said goodbye and left it in Daddy's hands and prayed all the way to the airport.

Turns out the Lord came through. The kiddie cocaine actually sustained her throughout the day. She was still her perky little self when I called to check on them last night at 7:15p.m. (I might need to try some of this stuff) I think we all slept pretty good last night. And I'd bet the house Daddy went to Walgreen's at some point yesterday...just in case.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kids Meal Deals

I recently wrote a post for on Kid's Meal Deals. To find a list of weekly deals for eating out with kids, check it out HERE. Please feel free to add any additional deals you know about in the comments section. I'm going to print out the list and keep a copy on my fridge and in my car. Today, we were all in the car at lunchtime and Jeff said, "Hey, let's go eat where the kids are free." Turns out Tuesday is a big day for kid's meal deals. We ended up at Dos Margaritas where kids eat free all day. I was so glad I had done the research and thanks to all those who helped compile the list! Check it out!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wedded Bliss

On Saturday, June 28th, my brother-in-law FINALLY got married. The best part? He waited all those years for the RIGHT one. Just love her. The wedding was held at a beautiful home in Mt. Juliet right on the river. My dad did the service so it really was a family affair. So sweet. I thought I'd post some pictures for you. Montee also posted on the wedding here.
The happy couple

My husband, my mother-in-law, and my girls.

Big Sister

Little Sister

Little Sister shaking her "booden" (bootie)

Little Sister shaking her "booden" after confiscating and eating as many custom M&M favors as she could find.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Love Camping

At least I thought I did. We bought a tent, sleeping bags, a lantern, a Coleman cooking stove, all the best stuff years ago with the intention that we would be campers. We wanted to retreat to the quiet of nature and explore with our daughters all the wonders there are to be found.

We went camping this past week (yes, I said "week") in South Carolina at Hartwell Lake. We met my sister and her husband and several of their friends who have huge, plush RV's so I was excited that we had some backup for our first camping venture. I love my sister, her husband, her baby and her friends. You wouldn't believe the food they cook and eat when camping. Smoked chicken, ribs, wings, pancakes, eggs, biscuits and sausage every morning. My sister and her husband took great care of us. But camping wasn't quite the romantic ideal I had in my mind. The sites were tight and we barely had room for our tent. Now I will say that Big Sister LOVED camping. She can't stop talking about it. Little Sister, on the other hand, heard the word "NO!" all day, every day. As in, "No! Don't eat that!" or "No, don't touch that!" or "No, don't stick that in the fire!" We had a lot of laughs but there were some challenges along the way. I learned a few things over the course of those few days. Here are just 10 of them...

1. Camping is not fun when you have a fever.
2. When you have a fever, an air conditioned RV comes in handy.
3. When you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, an air conditioned RV comes in handy.
4. When the kids are bored, an air conditioned RV with Direct TV (no, I'm not kidding) comes in handy.
5. When your 2 year old is begging for a nap at noon, an air conditioned RV comes in handy.
6. When your 2 year old is begging for a nap at noon, mama has to stay behind while everyone else goes out on the boat swimming, fishing, and exploring...every day.
7. When your 2 year old is begging for a nap at noon and mama stays behind while everyone else goes out, it's the only time there is actually quiet.
8. In the dark of night, lying in a tent, nature is LOUD!
9. When you go camping, you must embrace the dirt. Thank God for it, because it will cover your children, your clothes, your food...everything. Uncle Pete really embraced it by wearing the same outfit every day. I'm pretty sure we will end up throwing away Big Sister's bathing suit.
10. They don't allow fireworks at state parks, not even on the 4th of July.

I learned so much more but I'll stop there. Notice there are no pictures from this trip. Remember what I said about the dirt? And the fever? We'll do it again though...someday.