Kids

More than our Presents

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More than our presents, our kids need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

 

Photo Credit: A Christmas Gift Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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Home Alone

If stacking up gifts under the tree means racking up debt that will consign us to overtime labor in the coming year, it’s not worth it. Deep down, our kids don’t want to be home alone with things while we slave away at the office just to pay it all off.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: House, Home, Structure – Free Image on Pixabay – 2595330

Our Greatest Opportunity

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If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Star, Winter, Family – Free Image on …

Important Things: A Tribute

Blog_KidHoldingFlowersI’ve heard horror stories of families broken up over material possessions when it came time for their parents to move on and let go of their stuff. Sibling relationships, irreparably damaged, because they could not agree upon who should get what thing. Once treasured bonds permanently broken on account of greed and selfishness.

My parents recently moved from their home to a small apartment. In the process, they released many things that had been in the family for years. Over the weeks following, my sisters and I worked together to sort through furniture, décor, and other items. We donated many things to charity, sold others at a garage sale, and kept the most treasured things among ourselves. I can say with gratitude that not once did we fight over who should get what. And that says a lot about my parents.

DSCN7538_2055The most sentimental of items were a decorative plate with the phrase “love is the little things you do” etched beneath a picture of a girl passing a flower to her sister, and a plastic bowl with a picture of a mama bunny tucking her baby bunny in bed. These treasures symbolize what I most value about my mom. They remind me of those things in her character I want to emulate.

My mom has always been quiet and gentle. When I was little, my favorite thing was cuddling in her lap and listening to her heartbeat. She’s a person who loves deeply, and it’s always been evident in her actions. Kind words, thoughtful gifts, and tender hugs have always been her way of communicating her love to us. She’s always been selfless and generous, and she’s passed that on to us.

DSCN7541_2056Among the many things I’ve learned from my mom is that life is not measured in the amount of things we possess, but in the degree of love we offer. Her life has been an offering to us. That’s why a simple piece of art depicting true love and a little bowl representing the nurturing heart of a mother so accurately represent who my mom is. Love is the little things you do. It’s the only worthy investment. It’s the only thing that will outlast us. And it will outlive every earthly possession.

P.S. Mom, if you’re reading this…I hope there aren’t any typos because good “grammer” is something else you passed down to us.

Photo Credit: Hand, Giving – Free images on Pixabay

The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Blog_CactusFlowerMother’s Day is not a bouquet of fragrant flowers for everyone. For some, it feels more like a fistful of pain-inducing thorns—an unwelcome reminder of things lost. A day meant for honoring mothers becomes a time of remembering the one who was never there, or the one who left to soon. Or it maybe it awakens the droning ache of unfulfilled longing for motherhood.

For many years, that ache was my Mother’s Day companion. Though I was blessed with a good mom who inspired in me the certainty there was no greater calling than motherhood, I was unable to have children in the biological sense. Adoption was always something my husband and I had desired to pursue, so it was no hard decision to journey in that direction. The process, however, was another story.

While the outcome of adoption is always beautiful and miraculous, the process is the emotional equivalent of the pain and exhaustion involved in pregnancy and labor multiplied exponentially and drawn out for years. Despite all the toil and sacrifice, there were times when I wondered if it was ever going to happen. And more times than that I was tempted to give up.

My daughter turns nine this month. Her favorite past-time is playing with her four year-old brother. I sit here now, laptop on the kitchen counter, surrounded by bags of clothes they’ve outgrown. Exhaustion is setting in after a full morning at the laundromat and an even fuller afternoon of dishes, potty training and more. I spent the evening cuddling my son and reveling in my daughter’s smile, knowing God turned all my tears in to songs of joy. My children were worth the wait.

Through all my waiting, I learned that every tear sowed waters the ground for joy to spring forth. And that is my prayer for those who suffer on the painful side of Mother’s Day. May God give you eyes to see through your sorrow, and ears to hear him speak peace to your storms. May you know that our God is the lifter of heavy burdens and the comforter of all who mourn. He is able to sustain the weary, uphold the weak, and repair the broken, turning tears of sorrow into seeds of hope.

Source: The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Photo Credit: Crown of Thorns, white spiked cactus with little red flower http://www.flickr.com

Eye Level

I never imagined there’d be so many work-related hazards involved in motherhood. It’s for good reason I sit with caution when playing with my son on the floor. He doesn’t realize how strong he is. I’m usually not prepared for his impromptu body-slams and NFL-worthy tackle-hugs, not to mention all the times he’s nailed me smack between the eyes with a whiffle ball or some other unidentified flying plastic object.

Sometimes, I think it would be easier just to keep my distance. Sitting in the corner on a tall kitchen stool would be safer. Locking myself behind a child safety gate might offer some protection. Or maybe I should just invest in some football gear. A good helmet and some thick padding might lessen the potential for severe injury.

As much as I might want to shelter myself from my son’s innocent though dangerous playtime antics, I’m learning how important it is to play on his level. Sitting eye to eye with him is one small way of expressing my love. It requires humbling myself—even at the risk of getting hurt. Most often, when I engage him in this way, I’m rewarded with at least one of those tackle-hugs and a few ugga-muggas.

As I sit on the floor, eye-level with my son, I think of how God humbled himself for us. He didn’t spin the world in to motion only to leave us as orphans. He came and lived among us, dwelling among the outcasts of society—loving those the world had rejected and touching those others refused to touch. He understands our sufferings because he suffered as we do, and more—humbling himself to the point of death. And all so he could be eye-level with us…all so he could show us what true love is.

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8)

Source: Eye Level

Time, Precious Time

beyond_meltingsnowIt’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

 

Photo Credit: File:Звуки тающего снега.jpg – Wikimedia Commons