Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Once Upon A Time, 11 Years Ago This Very Day....

Aidan, 5th Grade
This guy is amazing.  I am so proud and blessed and humbled to be his mommy.

He loves sports.  He loves his brothers.  He loves church.

He hates giving me kisses, which is understandable. I settle for an occasional hug, but I am not happy about it.  He hates math, though he is very good at it.  English is more his thing. He hates squash, but he will try most any food and keep an open mind about it.  

I couldn't love him more.  

He's very smart.  He loves to learn.  I hope his craving, interest, desire to know things doesn't stop.  I hope he realizes that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, as he continues to grow.

A letter for my boy.


Dear Aidan,

I love you.  I'm sorry when you don't feel like I do, like when I yell about your dirty clothes all over your room.  But never doubt that I love you.  The reason I correct you, share Scripture with you, bug you about hugging me, ask you about your day, etc. is because I love you.

Never allow a girl to have power over you.  Women can be manipulative, using their feminine ways to get what they want.  Don't fall for it.  If a girl acts stupid around you, walk away.  Either she is stupid, so you should avoid her anyway, or she is faking stupid to get your attention.  Which is stupid, so see my previous point.  I know it seems like you are too young for this advice, but the advice about girls needs to be given before you are "ready" so you can be prepared.  And don't be ready until you are 30.

Always be kind, especially to those who mistreat you.  But don't be a victim.  This is a difficult balance.  There will always be "bullies" and no amount of education or school policies or government interference will change that.  So you need to know what to do if you are mistreated.  Remember our go-to policy when you are mistreated through words:  1.  Ask, "Is it true?"  2.  If the answer is yes, thank the person for informing you.  3.  If the answer is no, you can ignore it because it's a lie.  Remember what to do if you are mistreated physically.  #1.  Try to turn the other cheek.  Sometimes, this will cause your attacker to feel surprised and guilty about hurting someone who is kind to them.  But, I know this is not always the case.  So, #2.  Punch back.  You may get kicked out of school, but you won't get in trouble at home.  

Laugh at yourself.  If you take yourself too seriously, you will be disappointed.  You will trip in front of others, you will say something (unintentionally) silly, you will not know something others think you should know.  Laugh along with others who are laughing.  

I am looking forward to our dinner.  One of my favorite things is taking you out to eat every year for your birthday, just the two of us.  I can't wait to talk to you, listen to you, and be amazed by you.  

I love you,
Mom






Lytle Lodge: No Vacancy

We have been without an empty room now since January.  Our foster son arrived exactly 10 weeks ago today.  He's 14 years old.  He's doing very well.  

But "doing well" does NOT mean:
  • Fostering is easy.  This is never true.  I am very inexperienced compared to other foster parents.  We have only been certified for about a year, and he is only our second guest.  Still, the system is a broken one. Systematic improvements have been made, but it's simply not enough.  Sometimes I don't think it's possible to fix it, because there's no easy answer to helping kids who are victims of such trauma.
  • There are no relationship issues.  This is ridiculous when you think about it.  Even newly married couples who choose to live life together have problems as they adjust to getting used to another (imperfect) human in their home.  New (sleep-deprived, overwhelmed) parents have to adjust when a new baby comes into the family, often causing some stress in the marital relationship.  So imagine bringing in a teenager who has been through hell.  Imagine an entire new culture of relationships. Imagine the child depending on strangers to provide basic needs, which includes love. Now, imagine it's your child.  
  • I never think about him leaving.  I hate admitting that his is false.  Sometimes, I imagine our lives after he goes home.  The more space we will have in our house.  (Who cares?  How shallow of me!)  The smaller grocery bill. (Really?  Like I don't serve a God who provides beyond our needs!)  The less complicated, simpler life. (Unacceptable! Serving others involves sacrificing of the easy life, and all Christ-followers are called to serve.)  
"Doing well" does mean:
  • He's an easy child to like.  The first child who was placed with us was not easy to like.  It's hard to explain, but he could be very difficult.  We loved him anyway.  We hugged, we praised, we laughed, we had fun, etc.  But it was a deliberate choice, because loving someone means you choose to treat him how you would want to be treated, even if you don't feel like it.  Our teenager is more likable.  He's a moody, 14-year-old, who gets irrationally angry.  But this is what most boys his age are like, from what I have seen as a middle school teacher and what my parenting-of-teens friends say. This guest of ours is fun and independent.  (Extra bonus:  He is neater than my other three boys!)
  • We don't have any horror stories.  The ones that "they" tell you about during training.  The ones that may make you change your mind if you are considering fostering.  The ones that you expect to happen if you say "yes" to a teenager being placed in your home.  For example, destroying their room by breaking windows and punching holes in walls.  Sneaking out and running away.  Getting drugs at school and bringing them into your home.  Terrifying defiance.  None of this has happened, and I thank God for it.

So, that's the latest Lodge Event!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lytle Lodge: Vacancy

The Lytle Lodge has a vacancy.  Our foster son was reunified with his family.  This has been a difficult journey to mentally process, so I am struggling with how to put the trip into words. Perhaps it would be best to mention some snapshots about it.  Maybe, once I see a bulleted list of feelings, observations, etc., I will be able to see some pattern that will make a beautiful picture of what I am supposed to learn and think.

  • I was ready for him to go home.  Things were getting better.  His attitude, his work ethic at school, his relationships with others, his desire to please, etc.  Then, all of a sudden, he was to get unsupervised phone calls.  Then it seemed he traveled miles back for every forward inch of victory we had experienced.  It was difficult, and I confessed to an understanding and trustworthy friend that I was ready for him to go home.
  • That readiness made me feel guilty.  Most of the time.  Guilt is a beast.  Did I disappoint God, my Adopted Father, because I wanted him to go back to his parents?  Was I suppose to feel like he was my child?  How many opportunities of truth-teaching did I pass up because I was tired or he was annoying or I was apathetic or I was giving up or....?
  • Though I felt "ready" I really wasn't.  How he was reunified was very shocking.  I am certain that the way he was sent back home was not healthy for him.  (I do feel like his mom loves him; I don't think he was being sent back to a family who did not love him, which is more than what hundreds of thousands of kids in our world get.  But, that doesn't mean the WAY it happened was best for him.)
  • My boys do not want another foster child.  This makes me sad.  But, I also understand why they feel this way.  (See bullet point 1.)  I am very proud of them, though.  They handled this adventure like champs, and I am confident they will learn more about God's love and how we should love others through this experience. 
  • What next?  Our agency does not have young ones, and my boys are not willing to take a teenager.  (We think we should respect the kids' voices in this ministry because it is an entire family commitment, not just one for me and my husband.)  I would love to have a toddler or even an infant.  Do we switch agencies, though?  I feel a very strong sense of loyalty to our current agency; they have invested time and money into our training.  It seems wrong to leave them.
Not a portrait that is obvious.  Maybe after some more processing of what has taken place, this random list will become some impressionist painting or something beautiful for me to see.  As of now, it's just spilled on the canvas.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Spoken Unspoken

Caution:  This may be offensive.  Read with caution, or don't read at all if you are sensitive.  This is my opinion.


The only way I can think of how to begin this topic is by sounding like a bad, stand-up comic. And it's not even close to funny. I apologize in advance.

So what's the deal with the unspoken prayer request?

I have a problem with this.  If it is such a sensitive, secretive topic, then pray for it without the announcement that you have one.  If you honestly do not think you can share it with a group of people, then don't.  If it is a request that is burdensome enough to share with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, then actually say what it is.

I liken this to a child who is supposed to keep a secret.  A true secret-keeper will act as if he or she has no knowledge of the secret.  But as all parents have experienced, the first time you tell your child a secret, he has to advertise that he knows something that others do not know.  This advertisement, this announcement of the secret knowledge, is too revealing.  In essence, it is no longer a complete secret once people know that there is one being kept.

In both examples, I think it boils down to the same root issue.  The child who is announcing he has the secret and the person who has to speak about the unspoken request are both doing so out of pride.

Pride.  "This is so important, this information I am privy to, that I can't share it with anyone."  "This very personal issue is so private, that I can't tell you about it."  "But that doesn't mean you can't 'pray' about this thing you don't know about.  Because God knows."

It's true that God knows.  It's also true that none of the rest of us have to know about it.  If it is wise to not share specifics about the request, then don't.  But don't tell me that you have something that can't be shared.  It's childish.  It's prideful.  It's unwise.

Is it really God-honoring to share an unspoken request?  Request sharing is not a time for gossip, pride, etc.  It's a time that "me toos" can be shared, to use an idea from Clive Staples.  It should be a time of honesty, authenticity, and brokenness between like-minded, sinning disciples of Christ.  Perhaps the sinning saints are hurting because we are sojourners, and living in a hostile world brings trouble. ("In this world you will have trouble," Jesus warned.)  Perhaps the purpose is based in praise (alliteration not intentional), and we see a piece of home here on earth because loving God and loving others will bring blessing.  Perhaps we share to adore the One who is redeeming us for a greater purpose.

But if you feel it's best not to share, and sometimes I think that is wise, then shut-up.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lytle Lodge: Vacancy

Well, we just completed our first foster care placement experience.  It. Was. Crazy.  Our simple little life we had carved out  turned complicated, messy, difficult, and exhausting.

Though God is a God of order and He does not ordain chaos, living in a fallen world makes chaos inevitable.  Living in a world who rejects our very foundation for existing makes life chaotic.  Sometimes, to live a simple, easy life is to ignore our God-given responsibility to share the Gospel with people who are enemies of the very One who Created them to be worshipers of Himself.

And so, to be obedient, life became crazy.

Our foster son was abruptly removed from our home yesterday to be reunified with his bio parents.  We had no warning.  We had no idea.  We didn't even know there was a court hearing.  Got a call at 1:45.  He was gone by 3.

There are many emotions that are difficult to verbalize.  But, I am reminded of my mission as a mother to my three kids.  I am reminded of how this experience made God, His Word, His Son become a more concrete, tangible, and authentic way to worship and serve and love.

Because I am convinced our love for our Creator and Redeemer only goes as deep as how we love the "least of these."

Monday, September 2, 2013

PSL Rant

By PSL I do NOT mean:

  • Personal Seat License, though it is football season and I could write a post about this quite easily
  • Party of Socialism and Liberation.  I certainly do not think socialism is a liberating way of governing, by the way.  Good in theory.  Disaster in practice.  History is on my side on this one.
  • Physical Science Laboratory.  I know this was the first thing that popped in your mind when reading the title.
  • Pretty, Solid, Liar.  Yes,  I just made that up.  

By PSL, I am referring to the overrated, overpriced, and overloved hot drink that many people consider the ushering of the fabulous season of autumn:  the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  

Let me give you some solid reasons for my dislike of this drink.
  1. It is overpriced.  Everything at Starbucks is.  I used to love the Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks.  So when my students' parents give me a gift card for Christmas or Teacher Appreciation Week, I always take advantage of buying the drink.  I will not stop using my gift cards for this drink.  I will think of the sweet support of the parent and his/her sweet child with every bittersweet sip. BUT, have you ever had Panera's caramel latte?  No comparison.  So much better, and so much cheaper.  Do yourself a favor and compare them.  (Or contrast them.)  You are welcome.
  2. Autumn is way too fabulous, way too beautiful, and way too wonderful to consider it "here" by the serving of this one drink. It takes considerably more to introduce this joyful time of year.  Autumn, or "fall" as it is termed by those who do not embrace its grace and beauty as much as I, deserves a myriad of usherings.  If you love PSL from Starbucks and want to include it as a tiny part of the Great Awakening of this time of year, then go for it.  But please do not diminish Autumn through simplifying it by the serving of this drink.  
  3. In conjunction with number 2, PSLs make an appearance when it's still really hot.  The calendar may trick the unobservant, the simple-minded of us who say it's "fall", but the Great Season of Autumn has not arrived until the air conditioner can be turned off and windows can be opened.  Fresh, outdoor air gives the house a comfy feeling during the day, and a brisk feeling at night.  Autumn can even be smelled.  Geography affects the Great Arrival more than the calendar, so if you live in an area of the country where PSLs are served at the same time as the Arrival, then this one does not apply to you.  (However, refer to #1 and #2 above.)  
  4. Pumpkin Spice is gross.  I know this is a matter of opinion. But, if I had three hot drinks for a taste test, and one had pumpkin spice, one had all spice, and one had just chocolate or caramel, I think people would prefer the ones without that "spice" flavor.  People like the idea of this drink.  They may even develop a taste for it, much like alcohol. (Rarely do people like the taste of a beer their first time drinking one.)  But, overall, this is being purchased because it's for a limited time, and people feel like they must have it while they can.  It's kind of like the McRib.  They are really gross. People would stop buying them if they were served all year.  The "limited time" thing sucks them in like a fish on a hook with a piece of McRib that smells like pumpkin spice.  Beware, my friends.  Don't bite it.  Don't bite.
  5. Finally, Autumn's Arrival includes all the senses, not just taste.  And each sense has to be experienced on a multitude of levels.  So, if you insist on using PSLs as a part of the Autumn Experience, then go ahead.  Please do not post a tweet or status update that punches Autumn in the face like:  "Got my PSL from Starbucks!  Fall is here!"  Respect Autumn more than that.  It deserves it.

Time for a milkshake, because it's 95 degrees, and my AC is on.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I HATE Video Games

Ok, so I said it.  I hate video games.  If I could take all the video gaming systems of the world and eliminate them from the face of the planet, I wouldn't even hesitate.  What could possibly be negative implications of removing them?  That's right.  Nothing.

"Oh, crap.  Now that I can't play video games,  I guess I will go outside and get some exercise."
"Let's play with Lego's, since the PlayStation is broken," a child sighed heavily.
The husband thought, "Well, since Xbox is broken, I guess I will spend quality time with my wife and kids."
"Maybe I can talk to some people I know in person and spend time with my actual friends than the virtual friends I pretend to shoot on the (whatever game)."

My foster son told me a secret, one he was not supposed to share.  Before he was placed with me, he said he played rated "M" games.  That's right.  The parents are allowing him to play such games, and their parenting strategy was to just keep it a secret.  They know better.  This is not a result of ignorance, or they would not have felt the need to keep it from other people. So even those who love video games would support  the notion that a small, young child playing rated "M" games is inappropriate.

If you look at children who bully others in school, and even most of the kids who are bullied, their list of favorite activities would NOT include:  a variety of sports, hiking, biking, hunting, (anything that would be in nature), etc.

But, overwhelmingly, my unscientific guess based on my years as a teacher, bullies AND EVEN THEIR VICTIMS would probably have a common interest....you guessed it, video games.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lytle Lodge: No Vacancy

Friday, we received a phone call.  Then before we knew it, we welcomed a 7-year old boy to live with us. Exhaustion is the first word that comes to mind.  This is our first placement, and this is his first time to be "in the system."  So we will learn how to do this together.  Court date is Wednesday, and I will try to update how things are going.  But there is a good chance I won't have time.  Or energy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lytle Lodge: Vacancy

After about 7 months, we are finally open.  Certified.  Ready. (At least legally.)  We can now accept foster children into our home.  We can get a call at any time being asked to take a waiting child.  So, the Lodge has a vacancy.

I have been asked several times if our purpose of being foster parents is to adopt.  Are you planning on adopting?  Are you open to adopting?  Will you adopt?  How will you not adopt someone you have become attached to?  These are valid questions albeit difficult ones to answer.

Adoption is wonderful.  I have adopted family members.  I will have more adopted family members, from both sides of the family tree.  Adoption is a key theme of the gospel itself.  I am adopted into God's family through Jesus.  BUT....

If we adopt, we can't foster.  Bottom line.  Our small, less than 1400 sq. ft. house would not be certifiable for fostering if we add a permanent child, giving us 4. We wouldn't be able to provide this child with his/her own bedroom (a requirement).  Adoption would end this ministry until we either bought a bigger house (which we can't afford), or one of my children moved out.  BUT...

Is adopting "better" than fostering?  Is giving one child a permanent mommy, daddy, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, a sense of belonging, etc. better than being a temporary advocate for a child who needs help?

Though I have no clear-cut answers for these questions, here are some thoughts:

  • When fostering, one of the goals is reunification.  I hope to see the families of these foster children grow, learn, and accept Jesus then reconcile with the child God blessed them with.  
  • When fostering, a goal is that a negative parenting cycle can be broken.  This can change the entire life course for these families and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.  
  • When fostering, a goal is to stay open to the idea of adoption and follow the Holy Spirit's leading.  He knows if adopting one child is the correct path for the Lytle Lodge, or if keeping the Lodge open for fostering is more fruitful for His Kingdom.  
So, because I don't know for certain and because I serve an omniscient God, I can rest in the fact that I don't know which is "better".

But I know both are good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Remembrance, February 2013

The boys are so fun.  If I could bottle up our conversations and pull them out when I've had a bad day, I would never be in a bad mood. (Don't over-analyze this.  I KNOW bad moods are a matter of choice, and I can always choose a better mood, even without my magic bottle-conversations.)

Here's what has happened lately, but mostly today during the car ride after school:

1.  Aidan told me that I should start asking him "What did you accomplish today?" Upon further investigation, I realized his motive.  I told him that when I ask him "How was your day?", his answer can include his accomplishments.  I don't have to ask specifically in order for him to share anything with me.  However, I also wanted to ask him the question since he particularly asked me to.  I thought maybe his teachers had had a discussion with him about this, and he had been convinced that this is an important question.  But, upon more questioning (including the question he asked me to ask), he wanted me to know that he made 2 paper airplanes in a new way that he personally discovered.  He was super excited about it.

2.  I don't want to forget Ethan's desire to use big words or phrases.  He really loves to pick up new ways of saying things, then he uses it. Not always correctly.  I wish I had specific examples to share right now, but none come to mind.  It may be more of a tone and way of delivery than the actual words.

3.  Wesley has been disrobing in the middle of night, removing his underwear, putting his pants back on, and putting his underwear on his head.  We find him the morning with his underwear on his head as a night cap.  I am not making this up.  He's sound asleep...with underwear on his head.

4.  We are one class away and one make-up session away from completing our foster parenting training.  Still much to do, but the classes are about to be checked off the list.  Yay!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So Much To Read, So Little Time

Books I am currently reading, and what I will do as a result:

1.  "Hebrews"--learn more about Christ's role as priest, and old vs. new covenant

2.  Knowledge of the Holy--develop a more accurate view of God; He's BIGGER than I act

3.  Orphanology--not really sure what to do, but I will do something.  Fostering is my first step.  Adoption?  Move to another country and adopt an entire village of unwanted, unloved, mommy-less and daddy-less children?  Perhaps.  BUT, regardless.  One.  Must. Do. Something.  NOTHING is not an option.

4.  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes--pretty sure I am going to solve some major crime spree as a result of my amazing observational skills; or just reading it to give my blown mind a rest from reading small portions of any of the works listed above.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Fostering 101

Don't let the title fool you; this is not a post meant to inform you on how to be a foster parent, or what it's like to be foster parent.  I am highly unqualified for such a class.  However, Phillip and I are currently enrolled in such a class.  Here are some general impressions:

  • If paperwork could kill you, we'd be dead. (Sorry for the cliche.)
  • If being highly unorganized makes someone qualified, the organization through which we are receiving training is the best.  Ever.
  • If you sit through the first two classes as we have, and you don't imagine the most delinquent child you can think of coming into your home, a home which you have tried to keep very safe for your own children, then your classes are being taught very differently than ours.
  • If once you sit in such classes, you decide that you can't wait to get a child from the system to love unconditionally and to teach Truth and its Author, then you should go to class three.  This is where we are.

I hope to blog about our experiences; perhaps I will make it a series as I have with other topics on this blog. Perhaps I will be too busy. We are adding a third job to our schedule to help make ends meet.  We need another vehicle. (The van is currently in the shop, and we are a one-car family using a vehicle with no heater during the coldest week of the season so far.)  Are we doing the right thing?  Why are things not working out perfectly?

Because we are doing the right thing.

And I can't wait.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Remembrance: July 7th, 2012

1.  W:  "I smell some-ting, Momma!"
      Me:  "Really?  What do you smell?"
      W:  "I smell He-Man!"

Found the old 1983 series of "He-Man" on Netflix that I watched as a child, and Wesley has decided he loves watching it.  It's ridiculously cheese-y, but were not most things in the '80s?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Remembrance: June 21, 2012

1.  Wesley is going through a phase.  Kids go through phases often.  The good ones seem to go by really fast, while the bad phases drag.  I guess I would label this as a bad phase, but it's stinkin' hilarious.  He is mooning us.  Yes.  That is not a typo.  His older brothers should be spanked...I mean thanked for this.  He likes to drop his drawers walk through the room and yell "BUTT CHEEKS" to those willing to give him an audience.  It's, of course, not encouraged by the parentals, but we can't help but find it amusing.  Hopefully he doesn't recognize that we find it amusing and sees our serious faces.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Remembrance: June 13, 2012

1.  A and E at the pool today.  Not being able to swim, and the water being too cold for E to enjoy it, they found a way to entertain themselves while W enjoyed splashing around.  Aidan was Poseidon and Ethan was Zeus.  It was awesome to hear them pretend using Greek mythology.

2.  This afternoon, while Wesley was napping, the older two watched some TV.  They watched an episode or two of "The Electric Company" on Netflix, and Aidan exclaimed, "Francine [an antagonist on the show] has only read books she was assigned for school!  She doesn't know the pleasure of reading!"  He was very appalled at such an idea.

Introducing Remembrance Series

Kids at Marathon Spring 2012
Introducing Remembrances Series.  In this series I will post occurrences that I want to remember and they may not be long enough to warrant an entire paragraph or further observation by moi.  These will mostly be about my kids, I am certain.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pretty Little Changes

I am in the process of making things in my house prettier, though the changes are not drastic.  I am super excited.  I am taking a break because painting with Wesley awake makes a quick job last much longer.  I will probably stay up until it's done, because the thing I dislike about painting is cleaning up to paint again to clean up to paint again.  One room should be completely done once started, even if you stay up all night to do it.  My friend, JS, is amazing at painting something a little at a time, not getting in too big of a rush, and it looking great.  To each her own.

So, both bathrooms will be completely different by week's end, hopefully.  Both are getting new paint, one is getting totally new decor, while one is getting the better decor of the old one.  Make sense?  I should have taken before pics.  Oh well.

Time to get on the old painting clothes and get to work.  Fun!  I love summer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Summer

Maybe, perhaps, possibly, I will write more during this time of year.

Updates about the Lodge:

1.  My baby is three today.  THREE!  If it weren't for surgery, I would be pregnant again.  Adoption?
2.  My eldest two have decided this week to no more call me "mommy" but "mom" which is a little heartbreaking, actually.  Did they discuss this in the privacy of their bedroom?  Was this a conscious choice?  If it weren't for surgery, I would be pregnant again.  (Did I already say this?)
3.  We just returned from a week in Missouri with family.  Interesting as always.  Silver Dollar City and first roller coaster rides, Grandpa's massive mud puddle, and kids able to see every single MO cousin were among the highlights of the trip.  Also, A and E won 20 bucks by catching a punt.  Interesting story, especially the process of negotiating the splitting of their winnings.  Perhaps I will write it out another time so I won't forget.
4.  We joined the Y before we left to go to the pool more often this summer.  We'll see.
5.  I am thinking about deleting my Facebook page.  Phill has one now.  I could use this blog to post pics of the kids for my family who really wants to see any.  Still thinking on this one.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Perspective

As you get older, there are moments in your life that hit you right in the face and remind you of reality such as my perspective of my age.  Being young is very relative.  For instance, some couples I know have been married for 60 years, which means I have lived barely over 50% of their married lives. That means I am young.  Yet a few of my middle school students were born in the year 2000.  That makes me feel old.  (Also, several of them have never heard of Chuck Norris or "Walker, Texas Ranger" which not only makes me feel old but also really surprises me.  Not one of the students in my English class had heard of Chris Farley, either.  Crazy, right?)

Perspective is very important.  My wild man, Jesus, was always changing people's perspectives by demonstrating and teaching a kingdom-mindedness. "You have heard it . . .but I tell you" could be heard as he taught. The last shall be first and the first last. You have to die to yourself to live.  True freedom is found in serving.  Treasures here, meaningless; but treasures in heaven make you wealthy.  Happy are those who mourn.  Seriously, God Incarnate shook things up!

Today, I found out a second grade student at the school where I teach has been diagnosed with a very rare disease I have never heard of.  It's even rarer when it occurs in children.  There is no treatment, no cure, but it is terminal.  Unless God heals her, this 7 year old girl will not see her 8th birthday.  Guess what?  All of a sudden, the 400 dollar bill at the mechanic doesn't matter.  My messy house?  Who cares.  The stack of papers I need to grade?  It'll get done, eventually.  

Perspective.

LORD, help me to be kingdom-minded.  I want to see, love, care, and serve people with your eyes.  Forgive me of my complaining about temporal things. Holy Spirit, convict me when I allow the culture to affect my worldview.  Give me an eternal perspective.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reduce, Re-use and Recycle: Going Green on Easter

Easter just ended, and I have some stellar tips on going green during Easter.

First, REDUCE.  Be late for the church-wide, huge egg hunt your kids have been looking forward to.  Sure, they were able to hunt a few at school and at home, but the huge church-sponsored hunt is where the kids find so many that they require a plastic (gasp!) grocery bag to carry the extras that don't fit in their baskets.  However, if you are under the impression that the entire, several hour celebration will culminate with this hunt, and you decide to go about 30 minutes past the start time, you will drive up as all the other children are emptying out their treasured candies.  Ignore the big tears and sobs of disappointment because, dear ones, we are reducing this year...for the earth.

Second, RE-USE.  I have found plastic Easter eggs to be very useful for other things. 
1.  Bath toys.  Wesley loves to take a bath with them, and they pop up rather entertainingly from the bottom of the water since they float.  And since they come apart, they can be filled, and water streams out the little holes that are poked in them.
2.  Tops, or the "poor man's Bey Blades."  If you don't know what a Bey Blade is, feel free to google it.  A big fad the boys are into right now, but can't afford to get them all one.  Easter egg tops it is.
3.  Dodge Egg.  Who needs a ball?  Eggs are less damaging when playing indoors, and April showers make outdoor playtime limited.  Boys need as much gross motor as possible.
4.  Learning games.  That's right, the possibilities here are endless.  Math example:  number on 1/2 the egg and a number on the other 1/2.  Multiply (or add) and answers are in the middle.  Language Arts:  setting in one egg, character in the other, and a conflict in another.  BAM!  Write a story with the ones chosen.
5.  Resurrection eggs.  Another item worth googling if you don't know what I mean.  Who wants to pay for these at a Christian bookstore, when you can make your own.  There's not much to it.

Third, RECYCLE.  I am proud to say the boys have used the same Easter egg basket for 3 years in a row!  (Wait, this is Re-use.  Oh, well. We pay for recycling service, so I am feeling fine with this in general. And I use the re-usable grocery bags for small trips...dang, that's re-use again...but I can't use them for all my trips, because I use the plastic bags for trash can liners so I don't have to pay for other plastic bags.) Oh, all the Easter worksheets they do at school are recycled.  There!

If you failed at going green this Easter, there's always next year.  Now, I am humming "Was It a Morning Like This" (a great Easter song).  Google it if you've never heard of it.