Archive for Family

A Christmas Story

Merry Christmas, and bless you loyal follower!

Walking around the house today, I had time to look at the various manger scenes we have collected through the years.

My children had their favorites, but when I was a little girl, we only had one nativity.

Placing the Christ Child and Mary and Joseph, and all of the animals and kings and shepherds in the manger was a special Christmas tradition. I wondered about the star, the angels, but especially about Mary and Joseph. Your children may be doing some wondering as well, so let’s think about what some of those questions might be and how you might answer them.

Children are so practical, that it may not be the spiritually rich questions that they are wondering about. At least not at first. With new words to consider like frankincense, and swaddling, and sore afraid, and…

“Mommy, what does virgin mean?”  Your daughter asks as she is arranging the nativity on the coffee table.

You, however, are focused on untangling the tree lights and can’t really hear her over the high volume of Elf in the background.

“VIRGIN MARY” she asks again, but in equal volume….”What does VIRGIN mean?”

“OH!” looking up, “MARY! Yes, she is called the Virgin Mary because she wasn’t married yet.”

After a pause, you start again.

“She had never been close to a man, like a wife and husband are.”

You wonder if it’s easier to untangle the lights or the words you are tossing out.

“Huh??”Her 6-year-old eyes are squinting.

You put down the tree lights, find the remote to turn down the volume, and cross your legs to sit on the floor next to her at the coffee table.

As you pick up the Virgin Mary, you tell her sweetly, “Mary was a young lady engaged to Joseph….that means that they were intending to get married, but were not yet married, so they did not live together or sleep together. She had kept herself pure for her husband, which meant that she had not shared her body with any man.  The Bible tells us all of this. God chose her to give birth to His son, Jesus. God sent an angel to tell Mary all about it, and at first Mary was a little scared, but more than anything she was honored to be Jesus’ mother, because she loved God.”

Now you pick up Joseph.

Actually you accidentally pick up a shepherd, but your daughter corrects you and hands you Joseph.

“Joseph loved Mary, but when he found out that Mary was pregnant with the baby Jesus, he could not understand how that could have happened. God had never done anything like this before, and Joseph was thinking that perhaps Mary had become pregnant by being with some other man. An angel from God came to Joseph and reassured him that indeed God had placed his Only Son in Mary’s womb and that they were to name the baby Jesus because He would save His people from their sins.”

“From that time on, Joseph took very good care of both Mary and the Christ Child that she was carrying. He was probably the first to see Jesus when He was born! He and Mary knew from the beginning that Jesus was fully God and fully man, and they were amazed!”

By this time she is reaching for the remote because this is now her favorite part of Elf.

But you look on in wonder…. again. And someday, she will, too!

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What about Adoption?

Almost every time I speak, I am asked how to explain conception and birth to adopted children. There are particular issues that come up both for the parents (explaining birth when you haven’t experienced it can be emotional), and for the children as they grow up understanding their story of origin.

It has been my honor to be associated with Tapestry…a wonderful group that addresses all of the adoption and foster family issues in such an encouraging way.

The 2011 Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Conference will be held on Saturday, October 29, from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm in Irving, Texas. You can visit www.tapestryconference.org and take a look at the various sessions and speakers that are lined up. I’ll be one of the break-out speakers, and I’d love to meet you there!

Even though nearly 1,000 people have signed up, there is still room for more, and the folks at Tapestry want to make sure that every adoptive and foster family who wants to is able to come, so here is some really good news…the conference is FREE!! It is important to register, however, so please get to that website today!

You also might want to check out the 10 great reasons that people should join us for the 2011 Tapestry Conference. You can see the list at http://tapestryministry.org/?p=2136

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Father-Son Feast

In my programs, I have joked about my husband Dave taking our then-12-year-old son Davis out for hunting trips and having some rather intense ….Father-Son-Pre-Teen-Talks!!!

I wondered if that had somehow traumatized either Dave or Davis??

Well, yesterday was the opening of dove season here in Texas, and it looks likes they handled it pretty well.

We will be having a delicious feast tomorrow night at a gathering of Davis’ friends and their parents with grilled dove,  chile cheese grits, salad, and I’m suppose to bring dessert…. any suggestions?

Many thanks to Neil Harris for treating all of the fathers and sons to a great hunt at their farm in Sanger, Texas.

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Good Old Summertime

It’s Hot Hot Hot here in Dallas, but we are  having a cool  summer so far!  We began May with our last trip to Clemson University to celebrate Davis’ graduation. Here are a few words to sum up everybody’s feeling’s about closing the chapter of life on Clemson: happy, proud, and most simply, DONE.

Fortunately, Clemson and Greenville are about thirty minutes from each other. So, we got to visit Meg, Travis, and our granddaughter, Ridley! What a JOY she is!!! And one happy baby, I might add.

After Greenville, we made the easy hour and a half drive up to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit our middle daughter, Jill and her husband Ryan. Pretty cute couple, wouldn’t you say?

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Believe it or not, Davis brought home a lady friend from college. That is, he brought home his dog named Lady. She is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and we have absolutely fallen for her!

For the Fourth of July weekend, we all gathered again in North Carolina and had a wonderful time in the charming town of Linville. We did hiking, swimming, golfing, biking, and of course plenty of time playing with Ridley. (Our new favorite pastime.)

Ridley’s First Fourth of July!!

Pops and Grandmommy just ate her up!

So grateful that even though our children live far away from us, they are close to each other, and they live in WONDERFUL places to visit!

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Summer Time Homework

Ahhh…it’s summer!

A change of seasons brings a change of schedules and routines. Maybe you can sleep a little later, maybe you have to get up earlier to beat the heat and make swimming lessons on time. But whatever the case, summer is usually a change for young children and their parents. If you have school age children, then it’s nice to know you can stop asking  them if they have any homework to do.

That question gets so old.

YOU, however, are not off the hook, and as your friend I may need to remind you of a few homework assignments that are due by Labor Day!

1. We’ll start with your writing assignment. Some of you have already turned yours in, but a few of you still need to write your “message”.  You need to answer  the question, “What do I want my children to know about sex if they are growing up in my family?” One sentence only. Memorize for future conversations with your children.

2. There will be a vocabulary quiz each Friday. Be sure you are using respectful words when you talk about bodies, and minus ten if you only use “wingy-wangy-words” for body parts. I’m sure you will all get A’s on this.

3.  Take your children to Farmer’s Market and find something you have never eaten before…give it a try. While you’re at it you can get extra credit for finding time to talk about the seeds of that fruit or vegggie, and if you actually plant the seeds and grow something in the back yard you can go to the head of the class. Make keen observations about the fact that there are seeds and eggs inside of all living things.

Don’t you love Field Trips? Good, because here’s  another one.

4.  Visit a family with a newborn baby (they will let you come if you bring them dinner!), then engage your child in a conversation about babies as you drive home. Topics can range from why we wash our hands before we touch babies to who the baby looks like, but you will get bonus points if you talk about birth or conception in any way. Remember, just the most basic biology and your values.

5.  Speaking of biology…you might want to check out a resource at www.maryflo.org. The book is Questions Kids Ask About Sex, and it will meet your Biology requirement for all the information you will need to answer those questions. My Simple Truths resources are also available on that website, and they will suite every learning style.

That just about does it, but  let’s review:

Your message, vocabulary, birth, reproduction, conception.  It’s going to be quite a summer!

Just don’t let the dog eat your homework.

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A strong foundation

On my walk this morning, I came across some men laying the foundation for a new house in our neighborhood. It made me think about this important but completely un-glamorous part of a home.

Cement, wood frames, steel rods.

Not too exciting, but if you mess up the foundation, all of the pretty decorative tiles in the bathroom might come tumbling down. The expensive curtains don’t hang straight either.

Whenever we begin something important, we must start with a solid foundation.

That is the purpose of the “Message”. If you have been to one of my talks you hear me stress the importance of your message to your kids. Your message is the one sentence answer to this question, “What DO I want my children to know about sex if they grow up in my home?”  The answer to that question is foundational to all of the conversations that you have with your children. Not only your conversations, but your actions and reactions to this subject.

When our children were growing up, we wanted them to know this: Sex is a Gift from God for Marriage. They are now 29, 26, and 22 years old, and we still hope they understand this as they go through the rest of their life.

Consider carefully what message you send. Will it stand the test of time? Is it positive? Where will it lead your children? Do you believe it?

As you set the forms to pour the cement, as you place the iron rods in the wet cement, you may not feel as if you are doing anything very important….but what you are doing is far more important than the fellow hanging the beautiful chandelier. 

The security of that fragile thing of beauty is hanging on your work.

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A hard life.

Earlier this year I met a single mom with 6 young children. None of their dads are around.

I think about her a lot.

 Her life is hard, and will continue to be hard.

She came up to me after my workshop, looking tired but hopeful for some morsel of advice about how to point her children in the right direction. She wants something different and better for them than what she has experienced. I wanted to hug her and wished I could somehow fix things, but instead I asked her to sit down, and listened to her story for a while. Among  MANY other things she is frightened by the messages she is finding on her 6th grade daughter’s phone.

All I could say was:  Pray. Keep talking. Keep listening. Stay involved.

When we are frightened, when our children seem out of control, when the concerns of our hearts seem overwhelming, there is no other remedy that I know of but to turn to the Lord. He is the only One who has Light and Hope and is able to redeem these situations.

Talk to God about your kids, talk to your kids about God. Point to His design.

I can’t give you her name, but I ask for your prayers for her and her family tonight.

She  sheepishly asked if it was OK that she had looked at her daughter’s text messages.

I put my arm around her and said that it was.

Don’t we need to know what our children are facing?

Tough stuff.

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