Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For the Love of.....Animals?!?!?!

Recently, "we" acquired a horse. Well, my daughter and husband got the horse. I have been roped into helping occasionally (ex. picking up 50# bags of sweet feed grain). I had made it quite clear to both of them that I wanted little if nothing to do with the horse, clean up, etc. This is mainly my own selfishness. We already have too many cats. Did we really need one more thing to take care of and further drain our dwindling financial resources? Did we really need one more BIG thing that would dwindle financial stuff even further?

Now that the horse is a done deal and grazing happily in the back yard, I have had to reluctantly rethink a few of my previous thoughts.  I have noticed a change not only in her, but in others that have come to visit. There is something very relaxing about petting animals. If they are fed and watered, animals are usually pretty content.

And our daughter, who sometimes has a very hard time dealing with life, is learning some great skills and opening up more. She has been learning more responsibility....with less complaining/whining. She has talked to others about her horse that she probably would not have spoken to otherwise or very little if she did talk. She gets outside and moving around. She has a new buddy that listens unconditionally when she's had one of her bad days.

She is like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon of teenager. It is exciting to watch.

Will my love of animals ever be as strong as our daughter's? More than likely not. Is the additional expense worth it? How do you put a price on something priceless like a smile and increased self confidence?

Genesis 1:24 (NIV) And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Snuggle Saturdays

This Saturday, I stayed laying in bed for a few extra minutes. I usually do not have this luxury because I stay up too late and when I do wake up in the AM I need to rush around and get ready to do whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing for the day. It's worse in the summer because most of the time we don't "have" to be anywhere at a certain time.

So on Saturday, my mind drifted back to many years ago when our kids were little. We would have "snuggle Saturdays". They would come in our room when they woke up and all 4 of us would snuggle and talk and tickle and laugh. I REALLY miss that. I'm getting teary just remembering. Now, our kids are teens. They are getting to the point they talk to us if they have to (especially in public or in front of their friends).....or if they need something.

People - you know "older" people - like in their 40's (gasp!) when we were young parents would tell us that time goes by quickly. ENJOY time with our kids. They'll be out of the house before you know it. We listened....kind in one ear and out the other. Those precious minutes became days and months and years of seemingly mundane everyday life.

You know what? Now that I am an "older" person, they were right. Some of those times were wasted because of frustration on our part....trying to make THEM "hurry up". We don't need to look at every bug, cloud, _____ fill in the blank when we're trying to get somewhere. BUT some of those minutes were Snuggle Saturdays. A time when we slowed down enough to realize how important those times are.

The other timely bonus of this past Saturday was getting to spend the day with our nephews and niece. I was there at nap time and bed time.  I got the privilege of holding them as they drifted off to sleep. I held on a little longer realizing that time is already flying by with them. 

It is a lot easier not to get frustrated when the kids are not your own. It is unfortunate that the time we usually have children is in the middle of our income earning potential. A time when we have places to go and people to see. Sometimes our kids seem like they are in the way during those times.  A time that seems like they will never get out of diapers or sleep through the night or get up for school or come home on time from that date.

Even if your kids are grown or you have not been a parent, you are still important in the life of a child. Find a kid to snuggle....even if it is not literally snuggling. If you have the advantage of being at a different stage of life than an overwhelmed parent, offer to give them a break. A time to get away briefly to come back refreshed and ready for the next round of stopping to look at a bug when they need to get somewhere. Time to get a little of that wonder back for them....and you. It really does go by faster than we think.

Matthew 19:13-14 (NIV) The Little Children and Jesus 13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The illusion of control

JJ Heller - Control

(Click above for video) Waiting to start hearing this on the radio. Clicked on a side link on YouTube when looking at another song. Oh so glad I found this one. Needed to share. I only have a few minutes but wanted to put it on here before I forget....that seems to be happening more frequently lately!

I pray that you are having a blessed day where you can let go and see where grace takes you....and not stress. I needed a reminder that life is good. I always (well, almost always) know it in my heart.....when my head/logic doesn't try to get in the way!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grateful for the "Reachers"

A few months ago, I attended a day conference about teens and mental health. Both play a pivotal role in my life currently so I dragged myself out of bed and out the door to get there in a timely fashion. The plan was to go with someone else, but at the last minute it didn't work out.

There was a time in my life when I could not (would not?) do things by myself. I actually remember the first time I went to a movie (gasp) by myself! I'm pretty sure this must have been a pre-children issue because now I have reached the point of appreciating some "me" time.

Back to the conference. It got to be lunchtime. I had made my way around the vendor tables and was preparing to sit by myself and look through some of the materials. As I was looking down, I heard someone say, "I noticed you were sitting here by yourself. There are a couple of us at that table if you would like to join us." I was pleased that she asked. I was pleased that I didn't politely decline as I still have a tendency to do. We had a very nice lunch and a pleasant afternoon as we went to some of the same break-out sessions after lunch.

She was a "reacher". "Reachers" go out of their way to make someone feel included. Even if they are least they made an effort. I wonder how many God-moment opportunities I have missed because I didn't reach or accept the reaching of another.

I am a great reacher to kids. I still have issues reaching out or making the first effort with adults. It is something I still struggle with. There are some days I do really well...probably too well if you ask my kids because they tend to get frustrated if I talk to strangers after telling them not to. Our kids are getting old enough to be able to tell when someone needs some extra care and concern.

Unfortunately, it has become a fine line in today's society. The line between reaching out or being considered the weird stranger that talks to people they don't know. Even if we can't make it all the way to asking someone to sit with us at lunch, we can offer a smile. Reaching out does not have to be some huge, planned undertaking. Making yourself available to reach or be reached out to could open the door to some wonderful opportunities to join God in His reaching us.....and others. It allows us to show Jesus' love to others. After all, He is the ultimate "reacher"!

Matthew 14:30-32 (NIV) 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 

Acts 17:27-28 (NIV) 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.