Just Look...

Just Look...

Friday, May 31, 2013

She Shines Her King

I saw a little saying on Pinterest over a year ago that arrested me:

"Don't be so busy trying to raise a good kid that you forget you already have one."

Um, YES. I'm sure every parent worries and struggles equally, but as a perfectionist myself, I have noticed that parenting is maybe not the easiest journey for those of us who are type A personalities with maybe just a tad bit of a control issue. I am very much a "I would rather do it myself so that it will either be right or I can only blame myself if it's wrong" kind of gal. I expect a lot out of myself and I expect a lot out of those around me. I am very hung up on the way things look to other people and I am not fond of mistakes. (I am also not proud of any of this. However, it's who I am and I have learned to compensate for these things somewhat so that people actually like me.)

See, sometimes my kids say things that make me cringe. I'm pretty sensitive to fair treatment of people and social justice and the power of words... I spend half of my school year teaching the lessons of the Holocaust to an entire elective class. It's a job hazard, I guess. The other day, one of my girls started a statement with, "Not to be racist, but..." I had to stop her and explain that pretty much ten times out of ten, if you start a statement with those words-- it IS going to be racist and you need to rethink. I heard one of mine say to the other yesterday, "That's a stereotype for you to say that." We fall down, we get up. I try to model and teach and correct and explain and pray that they will be empathetic people. The problem is that empathy can't be taught.

But then sometimes, there are those moments .... those beautiful moments when you see it... you see the person they are going to be... you get to taste the fruit of the little lessons and the hard talks and the bitter tears and the prayers... because you see what had been a glimmer of that empathy become a shining cascade.

I had that moment with Emma recently. We were discussing her tenth birthday and I really wanted to make it big and meaningful for her. We are party people, but we wanted this one to be even better. We got around to presents and I mentioned that sometimes you just get lots of stuff at parties that you don't really need... more stuff to have to put somewhere (we are doing Jen Hatmaker's Seven experiment, so this was a timely conversation). I knew what I wanted to suggest but wanted to be very careful that she didn't feel like it was something I pushed her into doing. I mentioned that she might want to have people do something in lieu of gifts for her, maybe something connected to RFKC since her party theme was Camp X. She immediately agreed and suggested presents for the kids, so we settled on beach towels since we buy them for the campers every year. Now, lest you think the halo dazzled us all from her head at every turn, she did have a few moments in the interim when she reconsidered this, but by then it was too late because the invitations had gone out. Even still, she was excited about doing it for the kids. On party day, I wondered what the whole "nothing to open" part would look like and how she would take it. I needn't have worried. Presents would have just distracted from the good time! :) I asked her the other day, as we bagged up the towels to send to camp, if she missed having presents or felt like she lost out at all. She answered confidently with, "Not a bit."

See, she gets it. She cares. It got through to her. This kid of mine-- she's awesome. She loves people and she loves her God and she has picked up in her ten years on this earth that we aren't here for ourselves-- we're here to serve. I am so proud of her and her decision to forego her gifts this year to provide beach towels to kids, many of whom will bring their few belongings in trash bags to camp.

"Children of God shine like stars." ~Philippians 2:15

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Slingshots and Flying Birds, Taunting Pigs... That's MY God.

I can't believe I haven't blogged in a month. It's not that there haven't been things to say... there have been things a'plenty to say. Part of my resistance is that I know that there is a period of time in May in which I come across as desperate for counseling and/or chemical intervention, and I do purposely try not to write during that time, lest anyone think I am emotionally unfit for normal life. I do have one thing in particular to say of that time and I intend to do a separate post on that topic. For now, I just need to ease back in a little, sort of prime the pump for the blogging I want to do next week of Royal Family Kids' Camp.

I probably need to set a word limit for myself because there is a lot piling up inside me. I am teaching that Seven Bible Study at church and this week is Media Week. What does that mean, you ask (all two of you who read this blog)? Well, each week contains a different focus for a fast. So far, we have done food, clothing, and possessions. This week is media, and you can do as much or as little as you feel led. The limitations I have set for myself (and let me tell you, today has TRIED AND TESTED THEM) are essentially silent screens with a few exceptions... No fb, twitter, or ig unless it is necessarily and related to Royal Family (had to put up a status tonight asking for some things and intend to post pics from camp), no Pinterest except what I had to do for the camp birthday party and our Cambodia planning meeting today, no Internet surfing (confession: I broke and read Jen Hatmaker's post about the end of school-- I read it twice. Once in my head and once aloud to Kraig. I love it. And her. It was perfection.), no tv or movies, and no texting or email other than necessary (I am trying to forget that I apparently deemed "necessary" texts today to tell Tina that we watched a comedy DVD last night and to share a hilarious comment Emma made about him to Pastor Lance). I have neglected this blog so miserably this past month that I purposely left it "on" for myself this week in the hopes that it would drive me back here. I also intend to blog camp, so this site is exempt from my experiment.

I would like to point out that you have the wittiest, most insightful, most moving things to share with the world when you are restraining from the (social media) world and the absolute best screenshot of a (necessary) text I have ever taken happened today and I couldn't even ig it. Y'all, I have a problem. I am addicted to connections on social media.

The upshot? I was present today, all day. I talked to cashiers in sundry stores and other patrons of McDonald's, I sat through a meeting without checking my phone, my driving was safer than it has been since I got my iPhone, I enjoyed meaningful conversations at supper with my girls and tonight with my husband. After supper, the girls and I enjoyed ice cream cones outside and I watched the sun set while they played. Then we came in and played a good old-fashioned game of Sorry, at which Emma whipped Kelsey and me. I also got an insane amount of work done tonight. The girls are participating as well and I think the most marked difference in just the one day is in their attitudes and how they treated each other (and how Emma treated me). They got along beautifully, making up games and being so good to each other. We decided today that we are going to maintain a modified version of this week for the summer (note: very modified for mommy). ;)

A cool thing happened today, too. A little background, we are doing an Angry Bird theme for the birthday party at camp this year. Kraig and another guy have created a life-size Angry Bird game, complete with 300 lb pole bases, a truck cargo net/bungee slingshot, giant boxes and green lantern pigs, and exercise ball birds with half a Nerf football for the beaks. I'm making birdseed cone snacks and tonight Emma, Kelsey, and I drew a face on 70 red cups. I am working on a backdrop and table decoration set up as well.

Back to today and our cool thing-- we had our Cambodia meeting (which really deserves its own post-- oh my word-- I can't express how excited I am about this trip and how ridiculously amazing it's going to be) today and, in the process of discussing crafts and games and such, Jake said (and mind you, nothing had been mentioned about Royal Family or the game), "I don't know if yall could work it in, but I'll tell you what they are obsessed with for some reason... Angry Birds." We all just sort of looked at each other. Lance said, "Well.... we have actually made a life-size game for the camp we are doing this week... wonder if it would be transportable?" Jake said they would love that. WHAT ARE EVEN THE ODDS??? Seriously??? Kids halfway around the world happen to not only know about, but are obsessed with the very game (out of ALLLLL the rages and games and so on) that we are using for Royal Family??? Do you know what that tells me? I serve a God who cares enough about his babies that he ordained the construction of a game with giant birds that fly through the air in an assault on green pigs.... for such a time as this. I reiterated one of Jen Hatmaker's points last night in my Seven class that it's really easy to become overwhelmed when you look at this world around us and feel like you can't possibly do enough to affect it. She pointed out that one simple bag of clothes that you donate to a foster child is doing something... a couch to a family whose house burned down... books to soldiers far from home... an alarm clock to a struggling, poverty-stricken teenager who needs to finish her senior year... It doesn't take a ton of money or a giant act. All it takes is an ear and an eye and a heart. How utterly insane that my God of the details planted it in Kraig's mind to make this game, knowing all along that it was not only going to bring birthday party joy to almost 60 foster kids, but that it was also going to fly 21 hours away to bring joy to 400 children in orphanages in Cambodia???

Slingshots and flying birds, taunting pigs... that's MY God.