My Heart's Home

June 19, 2011

Daddy’s #1

Filed under: Faith,Love,Parenting,Thankfulness — My Heart's Home @ 1:51 am

June 19th being Father’s Day, I asked our six-year-old son what he loves most about his Daddy:

#1) He plays with me.

#2) He likes me.

#3) He never hates me.

#4) He’s in my heart.

#5) He’s nice.

#6) He plays games with me.

#7) He gets excited when I win ‘Minute to Win It’ challenges.

#8) He watches my TV shows and relaxes with me.

#9) He kisses and hugs me.

#10) He tells me jokes to make me laugh a lot.

I interpreted his answers to mean Austin feels: ‘Daddy’s my friend; he’s my encourager; he unconditionally loves me; I cherish him; he enjoys my company; he spends time with me; he gives me attention; he’s affectionate; and he’s funny.’

What Bob gives our son cannot be bought or sold in a store.

It’s his heart, which is priceless.

That’s the Number One reason I love Austin’s Daddy.

~ Happy Father’s Day! ~

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“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a Father’s protection.” – Sigmund Freud

“Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” – Anne Geddes

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into Fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” – David M. Gottesman

“The greatest thing a Father can do to his children, is to love their mother.” – Anjaneth Garcia Untalen

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”  – Pope John XXIII

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”

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June 4, 2011

Let Them Be Little

Filed under: Humor,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 2:16 am

Today my son reached a milestone. Not the first and won’t be the last. But it was exciting nonetheless.

He graduated kindergarten (sniff sniff.)

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t one of those blubbering moms, frantic for my tissue, passing it covertly to other weepers wearing high heels, painted toenails and mascara streaks. No, not me! Never. I’m not one of those moms.

At least I wasn’t until they played that darn video. And that darn song. The kind my mind heeds a warning as soon as that heart-tugging music starts: don’t-listen-to-the-lyrics-or-waterworks-will-spurt! But it was too late. The words tempted and seduced the wordsmith in me and before I knew it she was sucked into the lyrics like dust through a vacuum. The song was Let Them Be Little and it didn’t waste any time plucking my heartstrings.

What made matters worse was that darn video was chockfull of candid Kodak moments. Kindergartners: smiling toothless grins; hanging upside down from monkey bars; sitting cross-legged on chalk-covered concrete; waving blue painted handprints; eating icing-all-over-chin cupcakes; holding newborn chicks, Easter baskets, slimy toads and each others’ hands (sniff, sniff)–a year’s worth of documented memories of my little boy’s kindergarten experience–as that darn song played!

Let Them Be Little.

I was ambushed, I tell you!

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you’re changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

I’ve never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
Now that you’re teaching me things only a child can see
Every night while we’re on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around
It’s time to let them go

So let them be little ’cause they’re only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

Let them be little.

Ok, so I’m one of those moms. But you better not tell anybody.

I’ll just deny it.

(I don’t have the actual video, but here’s one from YouTube that plays the song. Grab the Kleenex:)

Here’s my little boy when he was three:

May 21, 2011

Bitter Pills

Filed under: Freedom,Grace,Healing,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 1:18 pm

I recognize her gray hair and cringe. We share the neighborhood. She walks shoulders hunched clasping toddler’s hand. They cross pavement. She is silent, but her voice is familiar. Her rages penetrate walls and echo down quiet streets. Too often.

School buses arrive to transport students home. I park as the two draw closer. I pray for courage to approach, if led, but hope I’m not. I close car door as they walk in front. I am brave. “Do you remember me?” I smile and rub the toddler’s shiny ebony bangs. She grins and nods. I tell her, “You’re so sweet.”

The grandma mutters, “No she’s not.”

Her words hit me like a rubber band. Did I hear correctly? “What?” I ask, staring at the lady’s wrinkled face. “No she’s not,” she snaps matter of fact, confirming my hearing’s intact. Gobsmacked, I keep smiling and rub the toddler’s bangs again, “Oh, yes you are. You’re sweet, aren’t you?” Grandma speaks as if sharing a secret, her pupils shift to the right corner sockets, “Looks can be deceiving.” I want to cover the girl’s ears.

No child’s heart deserves poisonous darts.

I focus on the one who has no voice, “You’ve always been nice to me, haven’t you?” She nods then her head hangs low like her bangs. I hope she clings to my affirmative words like a buoy when that tight grasp is released. The grandma retorts, “You don’t have to live with her.” I look straight in her squinted eyes and say as lovingly as possible, “That’s MEAN!” She continues without blinking, “She can be SPITEFUL.” (Without pointing fingers I know who the spiteful one is.)

Her lips stiffen. My skin crawls.

This bitter pill is hard to swallow.

“But she eats stuff like that up whenever anyone says it.” I sense the urge to inquire about Susie Sunshine’s childhood, but refrain. Her actions speak louder than words.

I extend grace. “Must be a handful taking care of all these kids, huh?” There are four others under her ominous cloud whose wings are being clipped. “Yes, and then they want their mommy who’s at work all day.” She continues avoiding eye contact. “You love your grandma, huh?” The child nods and smiles. Grandma watches, then scowls. “No, she doesn’t. Her brothers don’t either, but that’s OK.”

 I focus again on the one who’s never heard, who’s been silent for too long. 

I see my reflection.

I enter the school and wait for my son’s kindergarten class to be excused. He runs toward me, “Mommy, look what I did today?” He hands me a crayoned picture I can’t wait to hang on fridge. I smile and give him the biggest hug. We spend the afternoon playing games, giggling and eating ice cream.

As sun descends, I swoop up my son and his favorite froggy. I place them gently on our bed. “You can sleep with us tonight.” He grins and shouts ‘Wahoo!’ Bouncing to his feet, he throws arms around mommy’s neck and kisses cheek hard.

We rest on shared pillow as moonlight cascades.

I cherish these moments. Before I know it the sun will rise and he’ll sprout wings leaving mama bird’s nest…

To soar beyond. 

With my unconditional love always within reach.

I pray all children learn to soar, despite life’s bitter pills.

The view is so much better from above.

“No other success in life—not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college, or writing a book, or anything else—comes up to the success of the man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and that their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed.” President Theodore Roosevelt.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24

“Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18

“These little ones believe in me. It would be best for the person who causes one of them to lose faith to be drowned in the sea with a large stone hung around his neck.” Matthew 18:6

“Provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

May 6, 2011

Mother of Pearls

Filed under: Encouragement,Grace,Parenting — My Heart's Home @ 1:44 pm

Nacre pronounced /ˈneɪkər/[1] or “NAY-kər”, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up pearls. It is very strong, resilient, and iridescent.
Let’s be honest, mothering is a thankless job. There are no promotions, no holiday bonuses, no end-of-the-week paychecks, no raises, no Going the Extra Mile awards, no sick days, no vacations and no leave of absences. There is no thunderous applause at the end of the day for a performance well done. We wipe noses, tears and butts day after day, month after month, year after year. We comfort, cook, clean, cater, chaperone, chauffeur, calm, chase, cleanse, challenge, cajole, compliment, congratulate and once a year get a card on that mother of all days.

If our kids don’t forget.

Hyperbole, perhaps, but similar to Bad Hair days motherhood can dish up some harried bad days! We’ve all been there: Leggos lodged between toes, Cheerios scattered on floors and chocolate pudding smeared on doors. Tempers, tongues and tears can’t be tamed. We ride the ups and downs of child rearing (and potty training) like a never-ending seesaw. Sometimes we need a Time Out. But overall motherhood is the best job in the world and we wouldn’t switch titles with anyone! The hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the laughter, the joy our children bring to our lives is priceless. We wouldn’t trade these bountiful benefits for all the world’s accolades and applause! (Do I hear an amen?)

I’ve only been a mommy for six years, but I’ll never forget the day that title was bestowed on me: April 2, 2005. As I held my newborn in my arms I promised to take good care of him, protect and unconditionally love him for the rest of his life.

And I meant every word.

That doesn’t mean he never irritates the heck out of me. Sometimes he does.

That doesn’t mean I don’t lose my patience with him. Sometimes I do.

That doesn’t mean he’s perfect. He’s not.

Neither am I.

Show me a perfect parent and I’ll show you the Holy Grail. Not happening. Like mothers everywhere, I will make mistakes, fail and wish I had a gazillion do over make-up days accrued on my timecard. But I don’t. That’s why grace and forgiveness are so vital to our relationship. I must be an example of God’s unfailing love and be willing to ask his forgiveness when I fall short.
I must treat him with respect and dignity, as I would want to be treated. I must be willing to let him grow into the individual God created him and not try to stuff him into some preconceived mold. I mustn’t clip his wings, so he’s fearful to fly. I must become his greatest fan, cheerleader and advocate, so when life’s blows try to knock the wind out of him, he’ll know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—someone stands in his corner, offers him a refreshing drink and won’t let him fall. A little voice inside will whisper silencing all others, “Stand steadfast with your slingshot, son, and slay Goliath!”

If I want my precious boy to sprout wings soaring confidently into the unknown one day, I cannot do this alone. I must seek wisdom, discernment and guidance from my Heavenly Father daily. I need God’s strength, grace and mercy. Some mornings I can barely open my eyes, let alone my Bible, so I’m grateful God covers me with His merciful blanket and doesn’t expect perfectionism. I just do the best I can leaning on His strength. Parenting is a huge responsibility. My most important job on earth will be:

To point my son to the One who will forever wrap him in His loving arms, long after he’s outgrown mine.

And I don’t want to be caught sleeping on the job.

My child is bound to get under my skin and irritate the heck out of me like a nasty splinter. And sometimes I’ll crawl beneath his flesh and poke and prod like nobody’s business. Living within close proximity year after year it’s inevitable we’ll grate on each other’s nerves.

As his mother I must remember my character is being shaped, molded and refined just as I am trying to shape, mold and refine his character. I need to model Christ at all times, so he will grow to reflect and mirror Christ to his family one day. This can only be accomplished on my knees in humility and reverence before my Maker and by reading and obeying His Word.

Otherwise, as an imperfect person living in a fallen world, I am bound to make a mess out of motherhood.

So next time your little one (or big one) gets under your skin (or you get under theirs), remember you are both pearls in the making:

Unlike gems that are mined from the earth, pearls are formed from living organisms.
And no pearl is ever formed without a little irritant.

May we all display shimmering iridescence, luster and a soft inner glow so we become unlike any other gem on earth.

And our children have the freedom to grow likewise.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18


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