Friday, November 22, 2013


       It's all around us.  It's on our television sets, in our neighborhoods, at our grocery stores and at the local park.  It's the town we live in,  the bumper stickers on the back of the car in front of you and the people who surround us, both virtually and in person.  What is it?  The world we live in and the opinions and views of others, whether we agree with them or not and their influence over us.  You can go certain places and not go others, you can throw out your tv, get "unplugged" from facebook, and become anti-social - but you can't get away from it.  And neither can your children. 
     As Mikaiah gets older I am becoming increasingly aware of it's influence over her.  We do not own a television, but we do have netflix on our computer.  Even in the kids section of netflix I don't let Mikaiah watch most of the shows out there.  The ones she does watch seem pretty innocent (from Curious George to Angelina Ballerina) and for the most part they are, but even so I see how they affect her.  She expresses fears she never has before, talking about ghosts and things like that.  She watches their whinny behavior and they way they sometimes manipulate situations.  She sees tantrums and fits (even though they may be talking about how to deal wtih them) they still influence her.  Not just television, but everything. The behavior of other children and their parents, the way I interact with others, every little thing she observes, both good and bad is being soaked up by this little sponge of mine.
       So, what do I do about it? We could run away into the hills and hide, but not only would that just be a bad idea but that would be motivated out of fear.  I don't want to do anything big or little motivated by fear, but rather  by love.  We could burn all electronics and go completely "off  grid" but it wouldn't really fix the problem.  We still need to (and are called to) live with and be in relationship with people, and as long as we are doing that we are going to be surrounded by others opinions.  We are called to live in the world (not on the side of the world) and yet not be of the world.  I think this is key.  I do not want my children to be afraid of people who believe differently than they do.  I want them to love and accept them as the people that our father made and loves so much!
       So, as I see my daughter rapidly absorbing everything around her, from dance moves to slang speech, I think the best thing I can do,
is to commit her to prayer and ask the Lord to give me (and Seth) guidance as we raise her, and Sequoia as well.  I want my children to know how to love and serve the people around them without absorbing into the darkness.  I want them to learn to be light, treating others with respect and loving them as they would love themselves.  I want them to know the Lord and his love, and I believe all these things are integrated and that they need to start learning it now.
       As I was driving in the car the other day Mikaiah announced to me "Mama, I love Jesus. He loves me!"  This put a huge smile on my face, not because she has been "indoctrinated" and is reciting from memory things she has heard said, but because she is learning to see and receive the love of the father, even at this young age of two.  I can already see the compassionate, loving, caring, helpful side of her come out as she interacts with those around her.  Seth and I are not perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination, but we must have done something right, and I think that something right starts with Love.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Overcoming myself

       It was cold outside, rain drizzling randomly throughout the day with a seemingly permanent sheath of clouds covering the sky and camping was the last thing I wanted to do.  It was November and our camping weekend had rolled around once again.  We had put it off one week due to sickness, but it was inevitable and as I putted around the house packing things at random and trying to get myself in the mood I lamented the warm summer days we had spent camping so recently, but which seemed at the moment far off.  
       Still though, our family hadn't spent good quality time together in a while, and I knew we needed it.  Staying around the house usually leads to both Seth and I working on projects from the never ending to do list.  So as Seth and I went through the motions of getting ready and setting off (late in the afternoon, as I knew it would be) I tried to remind myself of this, and not think of being cold and miserable.  
        We had picked out a campground along the Alsea Highway, but did not see it, and with the daylight fading we  continued on toward Waldport and down the 101.  We ended up staying at Tillicum Campground, a place I had never been to before, but will definitely go again.   Our campsite (#30) was surrounded on the outside by a thick hedge which literally had a 15 foot tunnel though it and then opened up to the private little campsite sitting 20 feet up off of the beach with a clear view of the Ocean.  Simply fantastic!   There was a trail down to the beach 100 yards away and though a little chilly, we had no rain.  As we ran about quickly setting up camp before dark fell, my spirits were starting to lift.
            The next day as I soaked in the little sun to be had and sat next to Mikaiah on the beach, looking on as she destroyed the lovely little sand castle I had made, I was so grateful we had come.  As I continued to  watch her throughout the weekend, digging in the dirt, laughing with Papa as we sat by the fire, or sneaking treats from the tub when she thought we weren't watching, I knew that was what she would remember about this trip.  Maybe not all the details, but the feeling of being together, of exploring, playing in the sand and enjoying the outdoors as a family.  She will not remember Mama being stressed about the weather, or not wanting to go.  She won't sense the tension as Mama and Papa tried not to mention to one another the possibility of cancelling this one trip or see their tired faces as they went to heat water for a bottle for Sequoia at 4 am over the camp stove.  And that's how it should be.  
            That day as I sat on the beach enjoying my little girl playing in the sand, it reminded me of my childhood and many happy days spent on the beach or camping in the woods, or visiting an aquarium or playing in the snow.  I could not help but smile at these memories, and then I pondered to myself "How is it that my parents never got stressed on these trips?  Why did everything go as planned for them?" And then I realized, it didn't.  I am sure the were planned trips we never actually went on, and stressful things that they chose to just deal with and not let overcome the experience.  I have memories of forgetting the poles to our tent and sleeping under a tarp, but not the feeling of frustration that must surely have come with the realization that there were no poles.  Many people cannot say the same, but my hope is one day that my children can.  That they can look back and think of all the good times we had, the lessons that were learned and the joy that was experienced and not see the sometimes frustrating and challenging obstacles we all face. 
             Maybe when they grow up, and even along the way they will be able roll with the punches and accept the challenges that come there way as an opportunity to grow instead of an invitation to give up.  Hopefully they too will remember Romans 8:28 and bring it mind as often as necessary.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love the Lord, who have been called according to his purpose."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Mother!

Today is my mother's 63rd Birthday.  She is a wonderful woman.  I could take 100 pages and not say all the wonderful things that make up my mother, and there would still be more to say.  I could tell you how generous, caring, loyal, encouraging, thoughtful, self-sacraficing she is, but today as I was looking at my lovely daughter Mikaiah and marveling at what an amazing little girl she is turning out to be, I realized that without my mom and all she's done, she would not be here.  Not just physically, though of course that's true too, but if my mom had not poured into me for years and years (and still continues to) what it means to be a good parent, I would not be able to (unperfectly as I am) do that for my daughter.  So today I just want to say thanks.  And also a thanks to my grandmother who poured that into my mother as well. I'm really, truly blessed.  Happy Birthday Mother! You are loved!