The Time My Kid Took Up INTERIOR Landscaping…. Yeah….

The Time My Kid Took Up INTERIOR Landscaping…. Yeah….

(Photo credit: Deva Williamson)

One Easter when my son was about three, he received a basket from the Easter Bunny. It was filled with the usual things- candy, small toys, and plenty of loose strips of fake green grass. Now he has always been very content to entertain himself, but one day I realized that he and his new basket had been particularly quiet in his room.

Quiet. The “Q” word. In the parenting dictionary this is defined as one of two things:

1. an indication of sleep

..or, (and more likely)..

2. an indication of trouble

Any gamblers out there want to take a guess which one applied in this case?

.

.

.

.

.

Yep. Option #2 gets it.

(Photo credit: Debby Hudson)

Once I realized that he had been so uncharacteristically quiet, I crept down the hall and peeked into his room. What I saw can only be described as the beginnings of the most unsuccessful clean up effort of which I’d ever partake.

I caught his eye and he looked back at me, beaming with pride, and declared, “Mommy! Grass!”

He had taken each strip of plastic grass from his Easter basket, almost individually, and carefully placed each one in between the strands of the expanse of carpeting in his room. Hundreds.. perhaps thousands (probably not thousands, but it seemed so,) of bright green strips lay meticulously matted into the carpeting. He looked to me for a reaction, smile still spread across his innocent face as he admired both his new pretend lawn and me. I paused, then resigned in that moment to let him have his happiness.

“Looks great, buddy,” I said, a stiff smile stationed painfully on my face, silently dreading the cleanup to come. I vowed to myself in that moment that this Easter bunny would never again use the fake plastic grass.

That memory is still laughed over in our family. Even now, after nearly six years and a move to a new house I still, on occasion, find a strip of bright green plastic grass. It may be lurking in a storage container, the corner of a rarely used closet, or may have snuck its way in clinging to an old stuffed animal or wrapped up in an unused blanket. I don’t know how it’s managed to do it, but still it finds me from time to time. It has permeated my life in some strange way and I’ve forfeited trying to escape it.

– • – • – • – • –

(Photo credit: Debby Hudson)

I’m sure we’ve all heard that we’re to love the sinner and hate the sin. (#Goals.) But what happens when we end up being influenced by another sinner, rather than that person being encouraged by us?

Easter grass.

In our all important mission to bring others to all the good we experience by following Christ, sometimes we get too comfortable in the middle ground. Each and every one of us is also a sinner, so it can be easy to relate to a person who doesn’t know Christ. That’s where we have to be careful not to start making exceptions in our faith.

When we love people it becomes natural to accept each one as a person- but then it can get messy. Do we accept their sins, too? Do we let things slide because we know “her heart is in the right place,” or “he’s a good person underneath it all”? The next step then becomes that our loved one rubs off on us, permeating our habits and bents with their own. If you need some examples of the habits we pick up in friendship, let me assure you that I never really thrift store shopped, used cheesecake as a means of emotional therapy, considered contacting my pastor for guidance, or listened to 90s rock before my two closest friends came along. Some practices are good, some are questionable, but both became a part of my life at some point nonetheless. People permeate people. The grass gets wrapped around the fibers of the carpet. It all meshes together until you’re not sure if the carpet is green and the grass is tan, or if your opinion is yours or your friend’s.

The book of Jude was pretty eye opening on this for me:

“They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:18-19‬ ‭NLT

I don’t think all non-believers purposely try to derail you from a life of faith. As Jude says, “they follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

Sometimes we hold on to old habits because we are still trying to navigate a new life with God’s Spirit in us. For me, bad language can be difficult to let go of. It was normal in my “B.C.” life, and it was normal around certain friends. Now when I slip, I feel an instant uncomfortable twinge- a guiding instinct of the Spirit living in me, directing me toward godliness and eternal life. This is my hope for my loved ones- that they may experience that guidance and eventually, eternal life in Heaven.

(Photo credit: Aaron Burden)

To help our friends and family get there, and to preserve our own faith in the process, Jude says:

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:20-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Build each other up, pray, and wait as God works. Show love to every person who crosses your path, and especially those close to your heart. Just take care in building relationships- and let your relationship with God be above all. After all, He is the only one uncontaminated by sin, the only one not tangled up in the messy plastic grass that clings to the rest of us.

A very Happy Easter to you all!

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Things My Kids Say Thursday #10

Things My Kids Say Thursday #10

Son (8 yrs.): What is tofu?

Me: It’s a food people eat instead of meat, why?

Son: I always thought it was food made from toes.

– • – • – • – • –

I was a good mom and corrected him.. BUT if I’d had more presence of mind through the laughter I could have let him go on thinking that and had a pretty fun surprise meal waiting for him later…. 😂

Things My Kids Say Thursday #8

Things My Kids Say Thursday #8

My 8-year-old son is such a trooper!

Early last month he broke his arm (his left arm- and he’s a lefty, of course.) There were no tears in the ER or even at the office when he was having his cast put on. The weekly X-rays he had done afterward were looking good for a short time- but then one revealed healing wasn’t happening quite as it should and so we scheduled a procedure to have the issue corrected.

He kept his cool as the medical team prepped him, but I could see that the IV was nerve wracking for him. After all was said and done, (and the procedure went well,) he recapped his experience with his dad. Since I was the only one able to be with him in the prep area before his procedure, he was telling Dad all about what they did to get him ready. He then explained his stress at having the IV started:

Son: When they started talking about an “IV” the first thing I thought of was poison IVY!

– • – • – • – • –

In all my careful explanation before taking him in for his procedure, I had apparently failed to explain just what an IV actually is. This poor kid- no wonder he was stressed about it!

What are things your kids have misheard or misunderstood that have made you laugh?

Things My Kids Say Thursday #7

Things My Kids Say Thursday #7

Sometimes my son says things that come out of left field and make me laugh. But sometimes he speaks wisdom without even realizing it.

The other day he had taken note of all the long hours my husband had been putting in at work, and his observation really showed his heart.

Son: “(Dad) works so hard everyday and all he gets is money.”

– • – • – • – • –

When we work hard we think, ‘yes! What will my paycheck look like?!’ But my young son reminded me with this one comment that money of any amount is of minimal value. I love how he looks at his dad and sees a man he believes should be rewarded with so much more than money, and also that he sees there is greater reward to be had in life than money.

Thanks for the fresh perspective, Bubby!

(Photo credit: NeONBRAND)

Guard Your Chocolate

Guard Your Chocolate

In my house, I have a secret, hidden stash. The chocolate kind. I cannot even speak its coordinates to you all because there are blog readers in this house who may or may not be trusted. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Photo credit: Jennifer Pallian

Let’s just say I have my reasons for keeping my stash undercover. You know- there are a million things I have and share in a day: my time, my resources, the food off my plate. And even though I would probably share my chocolate too if my kids gave me the puppy dog eyes, it’s better if I don’t. Those little pieces of Heaven create a moment in my day. It means more to me than it does to my kids and it’s something that keeps me going on long days (not to mention I’m avoiding sugared up kiddos.) I keep the location protected so my supply doesn’t dwindle, or get stolen away. Yes, it’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference for me, and so I do what I can to guard it.

But my chocolate stash isn’t the only thing in my life that is small and needs protecting. There is something else worth defending- (and it’s oddly synonymous with chocolate, if you ask me)- my heart.

We give so much from our hearts, and it’s easy at some point to find ourselves in a position where we’re giving too much, or giving to the wrong people or situations.

Proverbs cautions against wrongly depleting this precious resource:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have been guilty of an unguarded heart. I have at times felt that if God is leading me somewhere I need to sacrifice all of my energy and resources into that one place. Sometimes that is what’s asked of us, but sometimes we’re not being asked to tend and harvest the whole field- only to plant a seed. While it’s imperative that we act when God calls us to, the way we approach the situation is also very important and needs to be accomplished with wisdom and tact.

As it’s said, “everything you do” flows from your heart. What would that look like if you’ve poured out the last drop of that resource because you’d been trying to replenish what God never asked you to repair? An unbeliever who isn’t ready to hear the truth, a casual listener who refutes your every point, or a relationship not based on good moral ground could all be examples of heart-draining situations if God has not personally called you to those people for a purpose. Of course we will be led to encourage those who are distant from Him, but ‘who’, ‘when’, and ‘where’ are all details best left to the Lord. When we try to make up the details on our own without first seeking His will and guidance, we’re always left feeling drained.

I’ll put it like this: Have you ever left the lid open on the diaper wipes container? It doesn’t seem like a big deal. There’s a whole container of them so what does it matter if you get distracted and leave that top wipe free to dry out? If you leave them for a few minutes, no big deal. You pitch the top wipe. But if you keep leaving them unattended in that compromising situation, then before you know it the whole pack has gone bad.

Not guarding your heart dries you out.Little by little, when we devote our time and attention to the wrong things- or even when we are investing too much in the “right” things when we haven’t been led to do so- we end up feeling empty.

I can’t say I’m always an expert on the art of balance, but I can certainly admit I’ve left my heart unguarded and been drained a time or ten. In my experience, these are some things I’ve found to be helpful in that self-protection I believe Proverbs talks about:

Helpful Hints To Guarding Your Heart

1. Protect your time with the Lord. The task lists, the dirty dishes, the stack of paperwork- it will all still be there when you’re done. Don’t let those things steal you away from this time.

2. Make time for the Lord. Let’s backtrack a little. If you’re going to protect something, it has to be in existence first. One on one time with God in prayer is imperative to a God-filled, God-led life. Set apart time to be still and seek Him, and use this time to ask God for wisdom on all matters- big and small.

3. Take a step back and ask yourself- “Is this leading me closer to or farther away from relationship with God?” And act accordingly.

4. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Listen to Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis added):

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

While we can expect hard work ahead in our mission to be a light to others, I hope it encourages you to know that we are all equipped with God’s peace to guard our hearts along the way. I hope if you are feeling depleted today that your spirit will be renewed through Him and you will stay steadfast on the path He’s set before you.

Happy Monday, friends!

Things My Kids Say Thursday #6

Things My Kids Say Thursday #6

I am a homemaker and I take pride in that! I enjoy the tasks that come along with it, but sometimes I also enjoy giving my family a hard time.

Apparently, they have their own ideas about what it takes to keep things running smoothly in the kitchen….

Me (to husband): When was the last time you cooked?

Son: It was May! He cooked you cereal for Mother’s Day.

– • – • – • –

Good to know this is all the culinary skill it takes to impress my child! 😂

(In fairness, my husband is the man of the grill because to be honest, I cannot be trusted there. 🙅🏻)

What are some of your kids’ ideas of a lavish home cooked meal?