Monday, June 30, 2008

Perseverance or Stubborness

After accidentally knocking the paper guard off our printer, my daughter asked me to fix it. When it did not immediately slide into place, Pumpkin suggested, "Let's get Daddy to do it."

Since Daddy was busy, I thought I could do it faster.

As I struggled with the tray, she exclaimed, "Just let Daddy do it!"

Me, "Why do you think Daddy can do it and Mommy can't?"

Pumpkin, "Daddy is better at fixing things."

Oh did those words spur my determination.

After several more attempts, I shoved it in, scraping my finger.

Did I persevere over difficulty, or did I stubbornly adhere to my opinion, I can fix things just as well as Daddy?

Am I this hard-headed with God?

How often do I insist on "fixing" things better left to Him because I think I can do it faster? Probably, more often than I'd like to admit.

How many times could I have been spared a little pain if only I waited for God to work in His time?

As I give up my need to control, I must fix my eyes on God. I apply persistent patience and trust in God's perfect timing.

How about you? Instead of waiting, are you tempted to try to do it yourself? How do you fix your eyes on God?

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Safety Saturdays #17 - More Summer Safety Tips

Summer frequently involves trips to theme parks and relative's homes. The links below highlight NCMEC publications with details on keeping kids safe at amusement parks and if traveling alone.

Know the Rules...Amusement or Theme Parks
Steps for parents and children to take when in an amusement or theme park

Know the Rules...Flying Unaccompanied
Rules to help make the flying experience for your child (under 18-years-old) safer

Know the Rules...Traveling Unaccompanied Bus/Train
Rules to help make travel by bus or train safer for your child

Check out NCMEC's free publications on safety issues, including the Know the Rules series.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post.

If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.

Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Relaxing Spa at Home with Kids?

I decided to share a spa like experience at home with my daughter. I knew I could create a relaxing atmosphere with a four-year-old.

Okay, I love sharing adventures with my daughter, but in all honesty, I just did not have the time or money to spend the afternoon at the spa.

After cleaning two years worth of dust off the foot bath, we filled it with warm water and put in our feet. Pumpkin, "Ahhhh, this feels so good." What four-year-old does not have tired feet in need of a whirlpool?

Pumpkin insisted we put our feet in together. I wanted to take a picture of this cute mother/daughter moment, but my feet in a footbath on the internet. No way!

We dried our feet. Put on lotion, and painted our toenails. I persuaded Pumkin to let me paint my own nails. Next, we did a hand treatment, which consisted of applying a scrub and gel, washing it off, and putting on lotion.

Pumpkin ran to show her Daddy her newly painted toenails. She told him, "Feel my hands. They've never been so soft." Coloring is hard on the hands.

As Pumpkin's bedtime drew near, her portion of the experience ended. After she's asleep, the real relaxation begins, so I thought.

Oh, the warm steam facial sauna... I pour in the water and turn it on. A few moments later I hear the machine gurgling. I don't remember it making this sound. Luckily, I jumped out of the way before being covered with hot water and black goop.

Determined to complete my spa experience, I cleaned up the mess spewed across the room and attempted to flush out the machine two more times. If I could just get only steam to come out, it would be fine.

After pouring in water for the third time, I sat with a flashlight shining into the machine to see if the steam might turn to goop, perched like a cat ready to leap.

What could be more relaxing than cleaning a bathroom and sitting on edge to get a facial. Maybe I should use the devices more than every couple years. If I don't, Pumpkin probably will.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

She Speaks Out of the Shadows

She Speaks exceeded my expectations. The staff of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the speakers, volunteers and new friends, all blessed me. Let me share how the faith over fear journey, leading to She Speaks, culminated this weekend.

Despite knowing God brought me to the conference, I found myself asking Him on Saturday evening why I was there. He answered me through Renee Swope's message. Renee spoke of her battle with fear, doubt, and discouragement. When she asked God why the shadow of doubt was so big, He revealed she could only see the shadow because she turned away from the light.

Last week, doubt disheartened me. How could God use me if I had doubts? Not until Renee's message did I fully understand doubt does not disqualify you from being used by God. He sees beyond who we are to who we can become, as Renee said.

At the end of her message, Renee invited us to write down whatever was casting a shadow over us and trade it for a card with a word behind scripture. Overwhelmed by the revelation of how I blocked God's light by looking at the shadows, I wanted to flee from the truth. Instead, I watched woman after woman go to a cross in the room to lay down her doubts.

I exchanged my doubts for God's truth. The word on my card is "CHOSEN," and the verse reads, "For you are a chosen (woman). You are a royal priest, a holy (daughter). God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

How fitting for God to call me out of the darkness of fear, doubt, discouragement and self-criticism at She Speaks. For whatever purpose, I am chosen. Whether through a book, magazine article, blog, note, or journal entry, I will use my writing to share the blessing of this weekend. "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:21


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Monday, June 16, 2008

She Speaks Soon

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others. - Marianne Williamson

Encouraging words as I mentally, spiritually, and logistically prepare myself to attend my first writer's conference, She Speaks, this weekend. My posting will remain sparse until next week. I look forward to sharing my experience with you. Safety Saturdays will resume in a couple weeks.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Roller Coaster Life Lesson

At 2-years-old, Pumpkin rode her first kiddie roller coaster with me. She squealed in delight. I screamed in fear. Even then, her excitement grew at the sight of speeding, looping, twisting cars of terror on giant rides.

Despite my attempts to explain my disdain for roller coasters, her determination to get me on one never weakens. While discussing plans to visit an amusement park this summer, Pumpkin, 4-years-old now, clapped her hands and declared, "Mommy and I will ride a roller coaster."

Me, "Oh, I don't think Mommy will ride a roller coaster."

Pumpkin, "Mommy, it's okay. I will be right beside you."

Me, "Thank you, but you know Mommy doesn't like roller coasters. Why do you think you want to ride a roller coaster but Mommy is scared?"

Pumpkin, "Because it is fun. You just don't know how fun it will be."

Me, "It does not look fun to me. It looks frightening."

Pumpkin took my hand and looked me right in the eyes, "Mommy, I will hold you hand. You'll be okay. It will be soooo fun."

Another life lesson from my little one. Aren't situations more frightening when we focus on our fear? Doesn't someone beside us, holding our hand, calm our fears?

For I hold you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I
say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.' Isaiah 41:13 (NLT)

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Safety Saturdays #16 - Summer Safety Tips

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides several free publications on safety issues, including the Know the Rules series.

Know the Rules...Summer Safety Tips for Parents and Guardians*

  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they may visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.

  • Make sure children know their full names, address, and telephone numbers and how to use the telephone. Be sure they know what to do in case of an emergency and how to reach you using cellular or pager numbers. Children should have a neighbor or trusted adult they may call if they’re scared or there’s an emergency.

  • Caution children to keep the door locked and not to open the door or talk to anyone who comes to the door when they are home alone. If you have arranged for a family friend or relative to stop by, make sure your children feel comfortable being alone with that person. Make certain they understand not to tell anyone who calls they are home alone.

  • Don’t drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades, or parks. These are not safe places for children to be alone. Make certain a responsible adult supervises your younger children at all times when they are outside and away from home.

  • Teach your children in whose vehicle they may ride. Children should be cautioned to never approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.

  • Make sure your children know to stay away from pools, canals, or other bodies of water without adult supervision.

  • Since daylight lasts longer during the summer months, be sure your children know their curfew and to check in with you if they are going to be late. If you allow your children to play outside after dark, make sure they wear reflective clothing and stay close to home.

  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Many states now have registries for public access to check criminal history or sex-offender status. Observe the babysitter’s interaction with your children, and ask your children how they feel about the babysitter.

  • Check out camp and other summer programs before enrolling your children. See if a background screening check is completed on the individuals working with the children. Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times, and make sure you are made aware of all activities and field trips offered by the camp or program.

  • Investigate daycare settings thoroughly before placing your children. Make certain the center or family-daycare home is licensed; completes full background screening for all employees at, volunteers of, and others affiliated with the facility; and allows parents and guardians to freely come and go as they wish. Observe the personnel and activities several times before making your decision and visit unannounced after placement.

  • Be sure all custody documents are in order and certified copies are available in case your children are not returned from a scheduled summer visit.

  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Your children are your best source for determining if everything is okay. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away and practice basic safety skills with them. Make sure they know they are able to tell you about anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.

*Copyright © 1993 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). All rights reserved.

Resources for additional information:

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post. (If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.) Check out all the Safety Saturdays posts for more safety tips.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Journey Through Ireland West

These images offer a glimpse into my travel through Ireland West.

View from my room in Galway

Canals winding through parts of Galway City

Scenes around Galway Bay and an old fishing village

Dungaire Castle, built in 1520, in Kinvara, County Galway

Cliffs of Moher, sea-cliffs, approximately 656 feet high and 5 miles long
The tiny figures in the top left corner are people.

Countryside, County Mayo

Cong Abbey, founded in early 12th century

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, 13th Century Castle

As I explored the beautiful countryside, calm enveloped me. I focused on my surroundings each moment of each day. As this week progressed, the tranquility I found in Ireland began slipping away.

My circumstances are the same as before I left. I do not know when my office will close, and I do not have another job. I am no more in control now than I was a few weeks ago. In Ireland, I did not need to be in control. Once home, my desire to feel in control increased as I shifted my thoughts from the present to the future.

Although the amazing scenery in Ireland influenced my mood, my peace came from another source. Today, God reminded me He will bring me the same peace I had in Ireland, if I let Him. As I transition my focus back to each moment of each day, I know God is in control. I find delightful evidence of His presence in my daughter's laughter and my husband's reassuring smile.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
Thank you God for the perfect souvenir.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back to Reality

For seven days, I lived another life, only responsible for myself. I existed in the mellow, timeless dreamworld of Ireland. I explored cities, castles, and the beautiful countryside with old and new friends.

Overall, the trip included more vacation than business. Despite taking hundreds of pictures, I'm not sure I captured all the breathtaking scenery. Narrowing down the images to a reasonable amount to share is a daunting task. Here is one of my favorite images from the past week.

I took this photo at my daughter's recital this weekend, not in Ireland. Welcome me back to reality, where a hectic day ends with hugs, kisses, and "I love you, Mommy." Although I could become accustomed to having a chef, maid, and driver, the "dreamworld" cannot measure up to my real life.

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