Saturday, February 28, 2009

I took this photo at Sleeping Giant State Park in January '06.

Winter speaks
to the surfeited heart,
weary of heat
and weeds
and leaves,
longing to breathe
cold, bracing air,
explore the hillsides
swept and bare;
to revel each bush,
each tree
stripped to stark
original etchings
and You,
who etched them,
with me there.

-Ruth Bell Graham

Friday, February 27, 2009

P is for Painting, too.

Dwayne's painting Norah's room, which used to be the guest room, pink. She's supervising.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

P is for Palm Tree

This is the view looking up at a palm in front of Dwayne's mom and dad's house.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Disclaimer: This is as raunchy as I'll ever get on this blog. I apologize in advance if anyone's delicate sensibilities are offended by this post. But, I think this story, even though it represents one of the most embarrassing situations I've ever found myself in, is just too funny not to share.

I was reading another mom's blog and found this video. It reminded me of something that happened when I was teaching school before I had Norah.

Let me set the scene for you. The setting, I think, is what makes this whole thing so funny.

I was a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. I taught at a small, fundamental Christian school for parents who wanted their children to be educated in a private institution where they'd be somewhat... sheltered.

My classroom was actually a large modular building that was placed on a more remote piece of the property to handle overflow. On three sides, our metal building was surrounded by woods, and while the students and I heard nuts dropping onto the metal roof from the trees that towered over us and the squirrels chasing the nuts down to the ground all day, we had a pretty bleak view for being so close to nature.

The one and only row of windows in the room actually looked out onto the back of the school's main building. Each classroom in that building had a back door used as an emergency exit. And, each of those doors had its own porch with railings and stairs leading down to a sidewalk in between the main building and ours. So, while my students were often distracted by the what was outside the windows, they usually had very little to see.

I started every morning with our Bible lesson. The kids were supposed to look at me while I was telling the story and this was supposed to help keep their minds from wandering off topic. I started telling the story as usual. But, after several minutes, I noticed that one student was staring intently out the window. I can't say how I knew that he was looking at something out of the ordinary, but I suppose his face showed that this wasn't any common distraction. I started to remind him to keep his eyes on me and I planned to just go on teaching, but as I started to speak, I glanced out the window in the direction he was looking, just to see...

That must have been when my mouth dropped open in horror and when I lost control of my countenance long enough to cause the entire class of ten year olds to look out the window in that direction, too. I looked back at my class just in time to see all their heads turning in synchronized slow motion towards the x-rated scene outside. But, it was too late for me to do anything.

Two squirrels were perched on one of the porch railings outside the classroom building across from us. Because of all the windows we had on that side of the room, the squirrels were in plain view of all my students' desks and... they were mating. The male squirrel had a death grip on the female's shoulders and... that is where I will stop the description for the sake of modesty.

For a brief moment, I thought I could pass of the two of them off as "playing." But, the scene was so graphic there was no question about what they were doing, absolutely no way of dodging the issue for the kids. And, what made it so bad was that the squirrels weren't being sweet to each other. In fact, it was the most pornographic thing I had ever even seen and have still seen to date.

I had to say something, do something... The first thing that came to my mind.

"Well, class, it looks like those squirrels are mating."

"What is mating?" a few of the kids asked in unison.

Oh Jeez.

I think as fast as I can.

"That means the two of them are making baby squirrels."

Most of the kids looked up and got quiet, processing that information. But, one child looked down and to the side, snickering mischievously. He knew more about the ways of the world than most of the other kids in my class anyway. He was that kid, the one who had to stifle laughter when another student read, "I am not even worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."

You've got to love the old translations of the Bible.

Then, another child spoke up. He was no where near as devious as the first kid, probably the most ignorant of all. He said, "Well, it looks like the one squirrel doesn't like it very much." He looked at me, troubled, seeking some explanation.

I didn't know what to say to that. So, I said nothing.

But, I agreed with him on the inside. The scene was violent.

At that point, they were all looking at me for more explanation. I was praying hard. "God help me." and saying to myself things like, "This is bad. This is really bad." And, I was sweating and my eyes were darting around in my head.

The Bible lesson I had planned for that morning was shot, I knew that. But, I couldn't let the students just go home and tell their parents I had defined the word mating for them and during the Bible lesson, no less!

That is when I got (or was granted by Providence) the most brilliant idea. I told the kids,

"Take out your Bible readers and turn to Genesis 1."

Then, after the pages stopped turning, I started reading,

"And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, each according to their kinds...' and He said, 'Be fruitful and multiply...'

The effect of that passage was like a load of flour thrown on a grease fire.

To my unbelief, I never heard another word about that scene, even in whispers, from the kids or their parents. And, I am pretty proud of that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

is for Orange Buds

We visited Dwayne's parents at their home in Florida not too long ago. This is a photo of the buds on the orange tree in their backyard.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My future's so bright I gotta wear shades.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's crunch time. Avril is due to arrive this day next month, so we're getting the nursery ready for her. Dwayne taught Norah how to use a screw driver while he was putting the crib back together.
The doctor measured my stomach then tore the strip and gave it to Norah with an assignment: "Go home and see what baby doll or stuffed animal you can find that is the same length as your sister." So, after many unsuccessful tries on frogs and bears and puppy dogs, Norah found Avril at the bottom of her toy box.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

N is for Norah

I couldn't pick just one, so I made a short slide show of some of my favorite old photos for this post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

25 Things About Me

I did this on Facebook first, but I thought I'd also use it as a post on my blog. If you like the idea and do it on your blog, too, please comment on the bottom of this post, so I can read your list.

1. In the summer after sixth grade, I locked myself in my brother's room, sat on the floor in front of the only book shelf in our house and I taught myself to read with books my older sister had collected for school: Wuthering Heights, Alas Babylon, etc. We also had this old, incomplete set of children's encyclopedia. (Before that, I couldn't read words I wasn't already familiar with. I was taught to read by sight and was never taught any phonics besides the initial sounds letters make.)

2. I have always dreamed of being a writer. I always thought “If I can write a book, I can do anything.” I guess I still feel that way.

3. I'd rather write than speak, email than make a phone call, etc.

4. I used to smile constantly. I don't smile as much now, but I laugh more and I am much more content than I ever was.

5. I cry almost anytime I hear Scripture being read out loud.

6. Dwayne and I both went to college to be in Christian ministry, but we felt lead away from that.

7. I never want to live in the south again.

8. I am more politically conservative living in the north than I ever was in the south.

9. But, I am much more liberal in matters of faith and conscience. I read and studied the book of Galatians when Norah was an infant. That book will mess with what you think you know.

10. I didn't get my driver's license till I was nineteen, after my freshman year in college.

11. I accepted Christ when I was fifteen. More than any other event, that has defined my life and charted its course.

12. Dwayne and I met at the end of June, went on our first date in July, were engaged in August, and were married in April, but only because our parents said “No” to December.

13. I cheered for seven years, from middle school through two years of college.

14. I taught school for two years after college, now I home school my daughter.

15. I like to set goals for myself with time limits and work toward them.

16. I hate doing laundry.

17. I have a deep mistrust of law enforcement because guys I knew in school are now cops.

18. I enjoy shooting a handgun at the range.

19. I mooned a window once and my friend took a picture of my butt from the other side. I'm often glad we didn't have MySpace or You Tube when I was growing up.

20. I'd lived to learn and regret plenty by the time I was a freshman in high school. Before then, I had a toxic combination of way too little judgment and way too much freedom.

21. My relationship with Christ started by reading Scripture in secret. I cherish the verse 2 Timothy 3:15, "Scripture is able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" because Scripture did just that for me.

22. I love to jump rope, by myself or with a group. I am glad I'll have two little girls, so we can turn the rope for each other.

23. I can listen to the same CD for months and months. I think I've been listening to “Coco” by Colbie Calliat for almost a year now.

24. I can watch the same movie, if I like it, hundreds of times.

25. After almost eight years of marriage, Dwayne's still my best friend. I think he's awesome.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Let them keep a calendar.

This picture was taken on the first of this month, when Norah's calendar was still blank, before she'd labeled any of her activities with symbols or crossed off any days with the red marker she's designated for that purpose.

I purchased this in January because I was sick and tired of answering Norah's whinny questions of "How many days till we go to swim lessons?" or "What day is it?" or "What day do we go to church?" This way, Norah would have to go find out for herself. And, it's working really well. If she ever goes to her calendar, but still has trouble with "What does T-u-e-s. stand for?!" that is where I chime in with an explanation.

She loves keeping her own calendar. It makes her feel empowered, I guess. She started drawing X's at the end each day, right before bed, but now she is writing letters instead. The letters will, eventually, spell her name. "N for Monday, O for Tuesday..." she explains, looking up into the sky and listing the letters on her fingers. "Whatever she wants," I think. It's her calendar.

Right now she is supposed to be practicing days of the week, months of the years, etc. anyway. And, I love hearing her flip the pages and say to herself "...March, April, May..." or seeing her point to the boxes "...Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday! Mom! We're going to the park on Saturday!"

So, consider letting your little ones keep a calendar of their own. For my little one, it is going along way towards teaching her the things she needs to know anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We finished reading The Little House in the Big Woods out loud, so now we've started reading the next book in the series, Farmer Boy.

In one chapter, the main character, Almanzo, is sitting around with his family eating corn popped over the fire. He says to himself:

"You can fill a glass to the brim with milk, and fill another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk and the milk will not run over. You cannot do this with bread. Popcorn and milk are the only two things that will go into the same place."

We were intrigued by Almanzo's claim, so Norah and I tried it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Try scribble art.

I had a lot of fun making scribble art with Norah and she's been doing this on her own since I showed her how. You take blank piece of copy paper and a black marker, start drawing loops and don't pick up the marker till you cover the page with designs. Then, you fill in the spaces with color. This is very easy for youngsters and I bet older kids could make these look really cool.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My two favorite people.

I think it harder,
Lord, to cast
the cares of those I love
on You,
than to cast mine.
We, growing older,
learn at last
that You
are merciful
and kind.
Not one time
have you failed me, Lord-
why fear that you'll fail mine?

-Ruth Bell Graham

Sunday, February 15, 2009

M is for Memories

I've been going through our old photos. It must be a pregnancy thing. I found some pictures of Norah and Dwayne in his Coleman chair from our annual camping trips over the years.

Dwayne pokes fun of me for holding so fast to our family traditions, like this annual camping trip. But, I am a firm believer that repetition builds memories and doing some of the same things as a family is one way to be deliberate about building Norah's perception of her past. For example, I know she won't really care what our kitchen looked like, but she will remember whether or not her mom faithfully used that outdated space to serve dinner every night, etc.

I love going camping, sleeping in the night air, seeing the stars, sitting around the camp fire, living right out in the open, exploring nature. And, I don't think I'm the only one! Two out of three of Norah's drawings right now show us in a tent. Below are two of the pictures she's drawn in the just the last few days.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, Daddy.

Norah and I got our Valentine's Day cards from Dwayne this morning. Dwayne always gets me two cards: one sweet, one sexy. I guess it is his way of covering his bases. If I'm not in the mood for one, I am bound to like the other. But, the cashiers at Hallmark must think he's buying cards for his wife and his mistress.

Norah's busy making her dad a card while he naps. I snapped a picture in the middle of her efforts. The design escaped me for a while, but I noticed her card (on the left) is a version of the one he gave her (on the right). She is phonetically spelling all the words herself.

"Luv U, DaD-E. Frm NorAh."
Happy Valentine's Day, Dwayne.
You are the man I prayed for long ago.

Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we're inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulder's straight, whate'er his state,
whate'er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I'll understand that he's the man
I prayed for long ago.

-Ruth Bell Graham wrote this poem in college not long before she met her husband Billy Graham. Billy ended up being all Ruth asked for and more, as Dwayne is for me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dinner, the last three nights in a row. No kidding. Dwayne picks it up for me on his way home. Last night, when he said he ordered "Extra Vegetables," the man smiled and said, "I know. I remember yesterday." The steamed vegetables, rice, chicken are all just secondary, really. It's the hot sauce I crave.
Our daughter has never been to Disney World.

I hadn't thought about this much until I was almost assaulted by a flight attendant who found out we didn't take her to the parks on our recent visit to Florida. It all played out like a scene in a bad comedy.

The stewardess kept hitting my arm saying things like "Bad girl!" and "Shame on you!" I thought she was kidding, at first, but after the tenth smack, when I wanted to rub my arm because of the throbbing pain, I realized she was trying to communicate something deeper... disappointment. I think she felt that it was
very important for a little girl like ours to meet Mickey Mouse and neglectful, even abusive, that we wouldn't have taken her.

To make the scene all the more comedic, while this exchange was going on, at least ten children, some even younger than Norah, escorted by their travel weary parents, squeezed past us in the isle of the plane.
Every single one of them was wearing Mickey Mouse ears and colorful Disney T-shirts. And, Norah didn't help the matter. When the attendant thinly veiled her accusations with upbeat questions directed towards her about what she did on vacation, Norah said absurd things like, "Well... I went to the fair!" and "I rode on a train!"

Those answers were funny to Dwayne and I, but as soon as we dared to snicker, we only got more smacks and scoldings from the attendant. (By the way, that trip to the fair Norah was talking about and the train ride took place over a year ago in a small town here in Connecticut. But, I didn't see how I could begin to explain this to the attendant. She wasn't interested in hearing my explanations anyway.)

And, for some reason, instead of being angry, which I think might have been my typical response to a stranger trying to lecture me about something that is none of her business, the incident got me to thinking,
hard, about our family priorities.

I'm still not sure I will be able to articulate the ideas that are forming in my mind as I think about this lady's chastisement of us, but I want to try. I happened to read a post by another mom who blogs and homeschools her kids. In it, she quotes part of an article called
“If We Are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy?” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that explores why wealth and the material blessing it brings doesn't always produce contentment, doesn't always ensure that children will be engaged, won't always allow students to experience what the author calls "flow..."

"The prerequisite for happiness is the ability to get fully involved in life. If the material conditions are abundant, so much the better, but lack of wealth or health need not prevent one from finding flow in whatever circumstances one finds at hand. In fact, our studies suggest that children from the most affluent families find it more difficult to be in flow — compared with less well-to-do teenagers, they tend to be more bored, less involved, less enthusiastic, less excited.

...Our research suggests, for instance, that more affluent teenagers experience flow less often because, although they dispose of more material possessions,
they spend less time with their parents, and they do fewer interesting things with them. "

I know Norah isn't a teenager, but I believe this article applies to her as well. For me, the last bit of it helped explain why we have never missed visiting the theme parks, even though we've been close enough to go on several occasions while we stay with Dwayne's family in Florida.

Visiting the parks isn't out of the question for us financially, even though we are "less affluent" than many families. We
would just have had to decide in plenty of time to set aside the money we need to cover the expense. We simply must budget spending of that kind. But, it wasn't a lack of money that prevented us from visiting the theme parks. It was a real lack of time. We were just way too busy doing other things as a family.

Norah was never bored on our trip, not even once. She had a look of sheer delight on her face all week, as she whizzed by me, always busy doing something new. And, we were doing so many "interesting things" that our trip never lacked "flow," not even once. It wasn't until that fateful plane ride that I realized we had missed Disney.

But, we
hadn't missed Disney. And I think that is my point!

Below are several photos taken on our trip. Please read the captions. They explain some of the simple ways Norah stayed engaged.

Don't mistake her face or body language for boredom. Oh no. Norah found this neck pillow, put it on her head and was pretending to be "a statue... from the Museum of Natural History." She sat like this for several minutes, taking her act very seriously.

Norah would press his ear and this horse would whinny and you'd hear his feet clop. Norah galloped him all around the house, fed him this stuffed carrot and used a baby doll brush to care for his mane.

The puppy dog would come out and grab the penny when you put it at the door of this penny bank. The ducks, in the background, would climb the ladder and slide down, one by one. These are just two of the toys from a suitcase full of special goodies Grandma pulls out anytime her grandchildren visit. Dwayne actually played with many of the same toys when he was a boy.

There were button books at her finger tips all week and Norah loves button books.

This is one of a dozen singing dolls Grandma had out for Norah to play with as often as she wanted. This angel sang "Silent Night" when Norah pressed a button. Norah would ask to shut herself in Grandma's walk-in closet and we could hear her singing her heart out from inside her "house."

Norah made friends with one of Great Grandma's peers at the nursing home where she lives. I watched them in wonder from my chair next to the sofa. The two of them had such a sweet time together.

Once during every visit, Norah will water the plants around Grandma's house that the rain can't reach. She loves to do this because she's totally in charge and gets to fill the bucket herself.

Norah, Grandma and I played on the beach while Dwayne and his dad took a long walk along the shore so they could talk man to man.

Grandpa took us to the neighborhood pool. After a few hours of swimming, the two of them had ice cream treats from the pool's cafe. Grandpa let Norah pick her own.

Grandma played different songs on her old music box while Norah danced. Norah's favorite song was "The Magic Flute." She'd ask for it by name and twirl around till the song was over.

Norah fed the birds at the zoo.

"Grandpa Herb? Can I use your hairbrush? I'll put it back when I am done..."
The dog sat with Norah while she brushed her hair with Grandpa's brush over and over and over...

Norah picked ripe grapefruit off the tree in Grandma's backyard.

She played in a park near Great Grandmom Gerda's nursing home.

Norah fed the seagulls off the dock with bread rolls that Grandma saved for us in the months leading up to our visit.

I found Norah and her Grandma on the bedroom floor once, exploring a case of what looks like office supplies.

Grandma Karen can turn the simplest things into an adventure and keep Norah engaged like this for hours...
Who needs Disney anyway?!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dwayne was watching an episode of 24 on Netflixs the other night. It's an entertaining show, if you can get past the unrealistic plot. How is it that one man is always in the right place at the right time to save the world again and again and again? I wasn't all that interested in watching, so I was blogging instead. But, I looked up from my laptop when I heard Dwayne start ranting.

“Women! We're at work! Jack may be saving the world... I design boilers. But, we're at work!”

He was talking to the TV, so I looked in that direction.

The screen was flashing back and forth between Audrey in the office and Jack in his truck. (The two have had an on going romance during the last few seasons.) In this particular scene, Jack was waiting to meet with the President's Chief of Staff about something. I'm guessing it was important, had less to do with a round of golf and more to do with saving millions from the threat of terrorists armed with nerve gas. But, Audrey had just found out Jack was alive after thinking he'd been shot at the end of last season and she had just been confronted by the woman Jack had been living with for six months while he was pretending to be dead. So, she felt compelled to call him, for some reason. But, Jack never does have a lot of time, the clock is always ticking, as you know, so he couldn't stop what he was doing to talk about their relationship right then.

The scene I was watching ended this way.

Jack - “I really have to go.”

Audrey - “Yeah, I know. I know. Okay.”

Then they both hung up. And that is when Dwayne and I looked at each other and after a brief moment, busted out laughing.

I can't tell you how often I used to call Dwayne at work, eager to talk about something very serious or personal. But, he's always busy there, for some reason, so he was never focused or caring enough in his tone. There was always a suspicious delay before he gave vague responses to what I said and I had to repeat things, a lot. That always made me mad, so I'd say something inflammatory, accusing him of not listening to what was important to me or putting his family first or something like that. He'd usually take my bait and we'd end up fighting.

Well, it's been months, maybe closer to a year since I've called Dwayne at work for anything other than, “When will you be home?” because “I need to know when to have dinner ready.” He always responds clearly to that question. I save everything else for another time, everything.

I guess I've taken the approach the woman in the Old Testament did when her son died of heat stroke. She didn't even bother to tell her husband the truth when he asked why she was saddling up her horse to go get the prophet of God. She knew her husband had plenty to do in the fields harvesting their crops. She just handled the entire thing herself. I guess I've been inspired by her faith and "can do" attitude.

And, while it may seem like handling things myself is a means of maintaining control, for me, it is actually a matter of submission. Dwayne always encouraged me to handle things myself, always wished I respected the responsibilities he had at work enough not to bother him with matters he left me at home to handle anyway. So these days, I try and handle everything that happens "on my shift" by myself. Though, I may actually draw the line at following that woman's example and go ahead and call Dwayne at a death or even a less-than-fatal trip to the emergency room.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Grown-Up's Guide to Visiting New York City with Kids

"If we had millions, we'd use it to travel the world, educating our kids as we actually experience the places we are talking about..."

Do you and your husband daydream like this, too?

Well, realistically, I doubt we will never have our millions, but we do live here in Connecticut, close enough to travel (somewhat inexpensively) to a place where the whole world comes together, a place where modern society and history mix by the second: New York City.

Though life in NYC is usually unapologetic for it's fast pace and varied flavors, if you look closer, you can see that so much of what is going on there is linked to the past. Each neighborhood has a story and character that was shaped by events that we will cover in our studies. Harlem, for example, was brought to life with African American's from the south who were seeking a place to enjoy freedom. Chinese immigrants filled what is now called Chinatown after the transcontinental railroad was complete, in the wake of intense discrimination. The city is full of unique, rich, educational activities and sites that bring the whole world, quite literally, right out onto the streets of NYC.

And, it looks like more and more NYC locals are taking advantage of these resources and using what the city offers to home school their children. You can read an interesting article about the growth of homeschooling among the city's residents. One homeschooling resident said, simply, "“This is New York...There is so much to do.”

I think this is one of my new favorite books. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to visit NYC, useful for those who will or will not have children in tow. Honestly, it is one of the most interesting things I'm reading right now, even though it's actually a travel guide.

The book gives a short profile of each area in NYC, right down to Soho, making it possible for even the biggest bumpkin to feel less intimidated by the size, sites and action he will encounter during his visit. And, the book lists hundreds of places, events and stores that only locals may ever find out about, also equipping the reader with plenty of practical information that will get her where she wants to go and even allow her to bring her kids along, too.

So, I think this book has become my unofficial guide for future field trips. With it, the internet and my telephone, I'll be unstoppable!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creativity = Messes.

I've often read about the importance of buying Norah toys that will promote her creativity: play dough, crayons, construction paper, building blocks. But, letting her use these things unfettered is a challenge for me sometimes. It's hard for me to see past the messes she makes: the Lego she will miss while cleaning-up that I will, no doubt, step on later, the globs of glue stick that dry to the top of the dinner table, the play dough that falls on the kitchen floor then gets stuck to the bottom of my sock. But, when I let her play freely, let her make those busy messes, she has much more fun and always creates unique things we're both proud of.

Monday, February 9, 2009

L is for Levi

Our old puppy Levi. The last pet we will ever "try." We just aren't pet people. Look at that face, if that puppy won't make you a pet person, nothing will. No, seriously. We were having a very hard time training him, he was cooped up way too much while we were out, so we offered him to Grandma Karen when she came to visit in August, knowing he'd be well cared for at her house. She loves dogs like they are people and Levi took to her, following her everywhere she went for the length of her stay here. We talked Dad into letting him go home with them and even though he talks tough, we all know he loves Levi, too. I took this picture on our recent trip to their house in Florida.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Norah and her friend Providence from church.

"Apart from academic concerns, many parents ask, 'What about my child's social development? Doesn't he need peers?' Children need friends. Children do not need to be surrounded by large groups of peers who inevitably follow the strongest personality in the crowd. The question for any parent is: Do I want my child to be like his peers? Or do I want my child to rise above them?"

-Jessie and Susan Wise Bauer, The Well-Trained Mind

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The beach we visited near Grandma's house in Florida.

God's gracious gifts
of sun and sea,
of gentle weather,
within reach
of each
poor or rich.
Yet at times I wonder-
which is which?

-Ruth Bell Graham

Friday, February 6, 2009

Norah borrowing Grandma's visor at Brevard Zoo.

K is for Kids

Parents of young children should realize that few people, and maybe no one, will find their children as enchanting as they do.
-Barbara Walters

When I read this quote and then saw who said it, my first thought was "Old Hag." But, then I realized ol' Barbara is probably right. I joke about it, but I think God gives parents "a special dispensation of grace" for their own children. How else could we help our potty trainers wipe their bottoms and then go right on with cooking dinner... after washing our hands, of course? I've changed other kids' diapers in the church nursery and they always smell so terrible.

No really. If another kid behaved as Norah does, I'd most likely want to string them up. But, to me, nearly everything she does is charming. Sometimes I even have to turn my head to hide my laughter when she is bad, particularly when she is being brilliant in her mischief. I always handle it and she is disciplined and instructed, but I don't think she has any doubt that I love her even when she is naughty. And, I am okay with that. Why should I use my love or lack of it to manipulate her behavior? That has never been the way God deals with me.

I think there may not be another experience available on earth that can offer more insights into God's nature than being a parent.