"Mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them." ~Charlotte Mason

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Tree by the Water

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

I came across this passage in my Bible study this week. It is reminiscent of Psalm 1, which I have always loved, and the image of the luscious, green tree planted near the cool, refreshing water keeps returning to my mind.

What does it mean to trust in the Lord, to have confidence in him? How do I send my roots towards the water? How do I face the blazing heat without fear? How do I withstand the drought without worry? How do I continue, without fail, to bear fruit, when all around me is drought and heat and despair?

Jesus referred to Himself as the Living Water, who permanently quenches all thirst. My confidence comes in Him. If I remain in Christ, I do not fear when the drought and the heat come. I know he will give me all I need, regardless of my circumstances. He does not change, and he does not fail. He will never leave me or forsake me, and he loves me with an everlasting love. So I can trust him. He is in control, so I can be confident in him.

Who are you trusting today? Where have you planted your tree? What nourishment do your roots chase after? Follow hard after Christ, the only one who can quench your thirst and help you grow.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: The Fight of Our Lives

I received this book from www.booksneeze.com just before our twenty-three hour drive across country to take my son to college. I read the book aloud to my husband on the way home, and it sparked such great discussion!

The book is written by William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education under President George Bush, and Seth Leibsohn. The subtitle reads, Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam. This book is a real eye-opener about what Radical Islamists are doing, and have been doing for many years, around the world. We could not put this book down!

While it was released during Obama's administration, it is by no means a diatribe against his dealings with Islamic Radicals. Addressing difficult issues that none of us like to think about, the authors deal honestly and fairly with the terrorist actions of Islamic terrorists in the past decades, through several administrations. From the introduction:

This is not a book intended to detail every mistake, error, and lapse of judgment we have made against the war that Radical Islam has declared on America and the West. Nor is it a book that can describe every threat against us. Nor is this book merely a criticism of President Barack Obama. The truth is that we have criticisms of both this and the previous administration, as we have certain praise for both as well.

According to the authors, the threat from Radical Islam is calculated, long-standing, and very real. The authors explain the thread of Radical Islam attacks on America and the West through recent decades, connecting dots and explaining background information I otherwise may not have pieced together. Then, the book moves forward with a plan to win this war against Radical Islam, suggesting policies to maintain U.S. sovereignty and prominence.

This is not a book that you finish reading and then move on with your life. It will change the way you think, the way you hear the news and the way you understand the threat of Radical Islam.

Tread Softly

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

W.B. Yeats

I have been blessed to volunteer in my church preschool department for the past 25 years or so, and I have led my fair share of preschool classes down the hall. Before we leave, I always tell them, "Put a bubble in your mouth, put your hands behind your back to make a ducky tail, and put marshmallows on your feet!"

(Translation: Close your mouth, keep your hands to yourself and don't stomp down the hall!)

This poem by W.B. Yeats reminds me of those marshmallow feet.

Children are dreamers. For them, life is full of wonder and possibilities. Anything is possible, for they have not yet learned the List of Things Impossible to which adults silently adhere. Moment to moment, their eager minds question and ponder and dream. And, sometimes, they trust us with those dreams.

...dreams of who I am and who I might become.

...dreams of my ideas becoming reality.

...dreams of mountains I know I can climb and victories not yet seen.

...dreams of big things I can do for Jesus.

So often, it's not until they are gone that we treasure those dreams entrusted to us by Small Ones. Busy with the details of life, we fail to listen as they whisper the secrets of their hearts. But these dreams and hopes reflect the face of the Living God, who places them on their young hearts. Don't miss the joy of those moments! Encourage those dreams. Dream with them!

Take the time, Sweet Momma, to listen to the dreams your children spread under your feet. There will always be dinners to cook, crafts to work on and tv shows to watch. Set them aside, and put on your marshmallow shoes.

And tread softly, Momma. Tread softly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Top Ten List, Part 3

For the past two days I shared the first half of my Top Ten Things I Learned to Say as a Momma. Those five were things I have learned to say to my children.

The remainder is a list of things I say to myself. Sometimes, out loud. So, without further adieu:

#5. "This, too, shall pass."
Whether it's a baby who keeps you up all night crying, or a high schooler who keeps you up all night talking, just remember....This, too, shall pass. This applies to good moments as well as difficult ones! Whatever the stage, they will only be in it for the briefest moment. Then, that moment will be gone and it will be too late to enjoy it. So, whatever the stage, take a bird's eye view and enjoy the ride!

#4. "They are not out to get me!"
I'm actually serious about this one. No matter how much it might seem that everyone in the house has plotted against you to maintain a messy home with peanut butter-stained windows and an obstacle course on the stairs, they are NOT out to get you!

Most of the time, they really want to please you.
But, they get tired.
And they get sad.
And they get busy.
And they forget.
Just like we do.

When I realized they aren't doing this "to me," I am able to step back, breathe, and focus on training, rather than take offense and get angry.

#3. "There's a time for that."
This is most helpful to me with regard to messes. I have learned that having a housekeeping schedule maintains peace and order in our home. If I know that there is a time later today that's already set aside for someone to address that mess, I am able to ignore it for now, and enjoy the moment. Which leads me to #2....

#2. "Let it go."
Not every mistake needs to be corrected. Not every lesson has to be taught verbally. I have six children. If I point out every mistake, every mess, made by every one of them, I will be griping all day long. If I'm fussing at them all day, they just learn to ignore me. And they learn that raising children isn't fun. And they learn to avoid me and our home. This is not what I want; I want my children to see what a joy they are to me, and what a joy it is to raise them. I want them to enjoy our family and our home.

I am learning to just let things go. This is difficult for me, but I have noticed that, when I do, our home has an atmosphere of peace. The rest of the home mirrors my mood.

And the #1 I say to myself, as a Momma?

"God isn
't finished, yet!"
God is not finished with my children, yet. He is saving them, daily, from the bondage of sin. He is training them in righteousness, conforming them to His image. But, He isn't finished, yet. And He isn't finished with me, either! We have to teach our children to understand this concept, and show them grace as they learn to be like Christ. In turn, they will learn to extend grace to the unfinished works around them.

Keep these thoughts in mind as you snuggle your children today.
And pray.
A lot.