Monday, July 23, 2012

Who Is Going To Change the World? Maybe Not Me.

Every community (or family or relationship) has its frustrations and downfalls.  Worldwide or next-door, we'd all agree that change is needed.  Some days you can't help but grow overwhelmed by it all.  Maybe it's the world you're trying to change or maybe it's that close friend, crazy family member or everyone in-between.  Someone (my mother) wisely advised me that when I couldn't change things, maybe Jude could.  I'd never thought about him and my role as a mother quite like that.  The thought instantly broadened my hope.  As an eldest, strong-willed child, I'm used to feeling as though everything's up to me.  My responsibility to perpetuate good things in the world is still there, but it's not solely based on me.

There is sometimes an immediacy to wanting to change things and people.  To impatient folk like myself, it feels like if it's not changing soon, then change will never come.  When people disappoint  and nothing I do helps, maybe I'm not the person for the job.  Or maybe I'm just approaching the job from the wrong place.  I think there is enormous value in nurturing relationships that I've consistently overlooked.  The good (or bad) we do is often from a distance, 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon-style.   Our relationship with our children, how they grow and develop isn't just a box to be checked with "acceptable" or "unacceptable", but potential lives to be changed by how I parent.  What kind of people will my children be?  What opportunities will they have to touch people's lives and will they accept them with open arms?  What am I teaching my child that is preparing her to change her world?

Think of the last frustrating conversation you had where you just wished you could change someone.  If you can't change someone, then maybe someone you're loving right now can.  Today let's try to remember that every relationship is important and exponentially life changing!

Before we give up on anything,  just think of what God can do with willing hearts!

Friday, July 20, 2012

ABCs & Me

Sometimes people disagree about public vs homeschool, but as a parent, no matter what direction you go, you will still be teaching and guiding your child.  It's an awesome privilidge that can grow into a burden if we let it.  So, it's always nice to find something that is truly a helper and not just an occupier.  I try to limit the amount of screen time we get around our house, but I recently found something I love recommending to those with toddlers.  A good friend shared with me a great app, ABCs & Me for iPhone, iTouch and iPad "aimed at teaching small children skills they need for kindergarten."

ABCs & Me by 5pumpkins is essentially 6 fun flashcard sets (Letters, Numbers, On the Go, Colors, Shapes & Food) in English and Chinese.  I would LOVE a Spanish version, if anyone knows of one.  Each card can be clicked on to hear a corresponding audio, which my son loves! It's a great teaching tool and a great supplement when you need to focus on something else.

Do you have any really useful apps that help your children learn?  I'd love for you to share them!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Great Things: Adopting a Shelter Pet

There are some things/people/ideas/causes in this world that I think are great.  Periodically, I'll be adding them to the Great Things page.  Come back soon for more great things!

Adopting a shelter pet:  The reasons to adopt a shelter pet are convicting and numerous!  The realities of most designer dogs and puppy mills are too awful to ignore.  The next time you start looking for a new pet, try local shelters, online search engines like Petfinder or simply ask friends and neighbors - isn't their always someone trying to find a dog a new home?

Our shelter of choice is Pets & People Humane Society in Yukon, OK because we have volunteered there and we found our Lizzie there.  Maybe you're not in the market for a pet, but are looking for a good cause to help or donate to.  Or perhaps you're looking for a place to do good volunteer work?  Animal shelters are always in need and always organizing new ways you can help! 

Our two beautiful dogs, Grace (black & white) and Lizzie (tan) are strong, healthy dogs who have blessed our family for 5+ years.  We have never regretted our choice in them and are thankful we were able to spare their lives!

Monday, July 16, 2012

When Failures Come

The moment life blows up in your face presents a whirlwind of options.  How do you react?  Where is the next step?  What keeps you from quitting altogether? I don't exactly know.  But Mahatma Ghandi had something helpful to say:

"My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet."

Whatever the hurt, whatever the consequence, if it results in seeking God in more humility and more sincerity then it can all be called a blessing.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Finding Balance Through Simplicity

Balance is what I'm always striving for, but sometimes there's so much going on, so many priorities, so many to do's that I don't even know what balance is supposed to look like anymore.  For me, when I reflect on where to go next and feel pulled in a dozen directions, that is a sign that I need to simplify somehow.  Here are a few ways that we can seek balance through simplifying today.

-Just because I live in an American society doesn't mean I have to have, get or do more. Not today anyway.  Today, be content with what you have.  And think of how you would live if you lost it.

-Sometimes we glorify the exciting, the rarity, the extra special things.  Today, put that excitement and enjoyment into an every day task, as though it were a royal celebration.  My attitude towards my day is all in my perspective of it.

-We all like to multi-task, especially when it gets more done quicker, but sometimes that heavily decreases the quality and intrinsic value of the task.  Today, do one task at a time.  Take out the television or ipod as a friendly distraction.  Stop typing when you're having a conversation.  Give undivided attention or don't give attention at all.  Try it and see what's different.