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It’s Random Time!

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Today I want to take a leaf from Derek Mansker’s Lego Jar posts.   It’s random time!  My 4 and 2 yo grandchildren were here for a week recently.    The older one (boy) had the green-eyed monster taking over all week.  You see, he has a fractured clavicle, and had to sleep in another bed and not with Grandma and Marilyn.  He was so not happy.  So all week if she hugged, he hugged; if she wanted something, he wanted it.  What a week it was!!!  We all survived though.

 

Today was go home day.  Grandson has decided his family needs to move here and become my neighbors.  Then he could come and see me every day like he does my dad right now.  At lunch, he spent about 15 minutes making a very detailed map.  As we headed toward the meeting place to give them back to the parents, he was peering closely at his map.  I went a different way to the interstate, and he said, “Grandma, you’re going the wrong way.  You have to go that way (pointing).  I explained the different route.  He kept looking at the map all the way and pointing out when we reached certain places.  He’d say something like, “Yup, that’s it.  You gotta go this way to get to my house, Grandma.”  If you can make anything out of this map, let me know.  It looks like a mess to me, but he was very serious about following it.  I hope he’ll be that serious about following God’s map for his life!

 

Marilyn (2) didn’t want to go home today.  She kept taking my face and saying, “You MY gramma!” before kissing me.  So sweet!  Wouldn’t it be great if we loved God so much that we grabbed ahold of Him and said, “You MY God!” on a regular basis?  We’re always wanting a blessing from Him, but how often do we seek to bless Him?

 

Last week, when we went down to pick up the kids (and work on Son’s trailer), Marilyn kept trying to sneak off with a honey packet my Dad had on his tray.  She finally stomped her foot and said, “It’s fo my mouth!”   She didn’t get it, but that was so hard to resist!  Do we long for the temporary “sweetness” of sin?

 

When we arrived to pick them up, I was met at the van by the two youngest.  Roland was jumping around and excited for about 10 feet.  Then he suddenly remembered his fractured clavicle.  He stopped, bent the hurt shoulder down and put his hand on it, moaned, and walked like that the rest of the way.  Hmmm.   All week he would suddenly remember his injury when it was convenient.  Do we have ‘convenient’ injuries we use as an excuse not to do something for God or others?

 

I have no doubt that my youngest granddaughter is the smartest of the 4.  Why?  She’s very good at flying under the radar.  When Marilyn gets quiet, it’s time to PANIC!  You can be certain she’s doing something she’s not supposed to do.  The picture shows one incidence that happened this week.

 

She took the inside out of a marker.  Fortunately, soaking in soapy water returned all but under her nails to the right color.  Grandma had a few blue spots though.  What do we do when we think no one is looking?  Do we think it’s ok to do what we want as long as we don’t get caught?

 

Welcome to a glimpse into my world!

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A Day of Rememberance

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Today is a mixed bag of feelings for me.  I remember hearing about the twin towers and then watching television for several days with tears flowing.  I learned some things that day I’d like to share.

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1.  People will come together and help one another in crisis.

2.  People care!

3.  Some things are more important than politics and petty concerns.

4.  It does matter what you believe.

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The first two were obvious as we watched first responders and others take their life in their hands to help others.  People across the country stepped up to the plate in a big way, then and on down the road.  In fact, we still remember and honor those who died that day.  We still follow the lives of some of those who lost parts of themselves or their loved ones in that building.

The third reminds us that all those things we worry about and argue about won’t really matter if we lose our country.  We need to stop snarking at one another and come together in an effort to save this land.  Many of us are coming together on our knees.

Fourth, we are reminded that not every belief is valid.  In the USA (and I suspect elsewhere) we’ve come to the point where we want truth to mean whatever someone wants it to.  In this case, several young men believed that they were doing a service to their god by flying those planes into buildings full of people.  In fact, they willingly martyred themselves for this belief.  I believe they had a rude awakening seconds after the planes hit or went down.  How sad.

They weren’t the only ones with a rude awakening that day.  We learned how vulnerable we are.  We learned many things, good and bad, that have changed how we view the world around us.  I hope we will all choose today to remember those lessons and seek God for the restoration of our country.  These lessons were not just those of the people of the US either.  Everyone everywhere needs to learn what we learned that day.  Their life and their eternity may depend upon it.

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 What were you doing on this day?  What lessons did you learn?  How do you remember?

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Today is also my anniversary.  30 years!  I don’t know where the time goes, but I thank God that He knew better than I did who I needed and put us together.  I thank Him that He has kept us together through all the ups and downs.  I thank Him for teaching me some of those life lessons through my marriage.  I thank Him for teaching us what real love is through the hard times.  On September 11 of the tower tragedy, we did not celebrate.  We cried.   Today we celebrate the wonder of 30 years of life!

Brian’s mother (Ginny), the happy couple, My mother and father (Marilyn and Phil), and my son (Jason). My how life has changed 😀

Birthday Bash

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! (Photo credit: jo-h)

Saturday was my birthday.  I was born on my parent’s first wedding anniversary, so it would have been their 55th.  The birthday was great.  My mother-in-law was here and she was able to sing Happy Birthday to me, even though she said “dear lady” instead of Angie.  The thing is that for many years, my mother-in-law was always the first one to sing to me on my birthday.  She called in the morning, and it was something to look forward to.  It’s been a few years now since I’ve heard that song from her, and it made my day!  It’s important to remember that, sometimes, it’s the little things that really make an impact.

Sunday was the big day, however.  My husband’s birthday was last Tuesday.  He was away for work, so we couldn’t celebrate.  So, Sunday was celebration day for both of us.  My request to my middle-born was for him to come and go to church with me, and he did 😀  He came in and sat by Grandma Ginny and we had a hard time keeping her quiet because she wanted to talk to him and talk to us about him:)  My oldest and family did not make it till after church, because my daughter-in-law had to work in the morning.  The oldest grandkids were with their dad this weekend, so we missed them:(  They sent me some beautiful hand-made cards though!

So, we had all our kids, two grandkids, Grandma Ginny, and a family friend here for steak on the grill and lots of other goodies.  We had a great time.  One The middle child :Dof my favorite things {TMI warning} is when I’m in the bathroom, which shares a wall with the dining room, and I hear all the laughter and talking going on out there.  I just love to listen to it and feel blessed 😀  [and for my writer friends-I know 😀 is not a punctuation mark, but it expresses how I feel.]  About 4pm, the middle son had left for work and friend gone to work too.  I tried to lay down for a minute when I hear this voice.  Hmmm, that sounds like Glenna.  Couldn’t be!  Eventually, I went out to investigate and my Uncle Dave and his wife, Glenna had come down!  I didn’t get my nap, but naps don’t matter in the scheme of things.  The important thing is family and friends and spending time together.  That’s what I wanted for my birthday, and that’s what I got!  What could be better?

Building MemoriesPart of the backbone of communication is building memories by spending time together.  My Uncle and I tell people we are twins.  I am one month older than he is, but we are a LOT alike!  We can make a half statement and the other knows exactly what’s coming.  We know each other so well that communication doesn’t even have to involve words.  It’s an intuitive thing based on years of memory building and time spent together.  It is built and maintained on connection.

The same is true of communication with God.  We build our relationship with Him by spending time with Him, listening to Him, sharing experiences with Him, and just getting to know Him.  Trust is built.  An intuitive knowing of Him is built.  The ability to truly communicate at a deeper level is built.   He attempts to communicate with us from the beginning, but it is only as we begin to walk with Him and learn of Him that we find that inner joy and peace that comes from truly knowing Him.

Learning about Him is kind of like learning new facets of a multi-faceted diamond (infinitely faceted).  If you’ve ever studied the names of God (Jesus/Holy Spirit), you know that he often has names that express some aspect of His personality.  We could not bear to see Him all at once, so He reveals Himself to us slowly, building that relationship in much the same way as we build them horizontally with others by building memories and learning about one another.

Sometimes that “knowing” can backfire in the realm of horizontal communication, especially with family.  It’s never that way with God though.  Each new thing we learn about Him makes us thirsty to learn more.  We will spend eternity learning about Him and never get to the end.

In the meantime (before that eternity) building connections with others is heaven on earth!

What do you have to say?

But I need you!

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Tonight, I sit here just resting from the quiet and the stress of the week with my #2 granddaughter.  I get a few days off before I get my grandson, so I will be working on VBS and writing, writing, writing.  This week I did not get any writing done at all.  I did more the week I had the Mother-in-law and the #1 granddaughter at the same time.   I adore my #2 (my Rissa Roo).  She is, however, extremely needy.  She is #2 of 4, and often gets the short end of the stick.  Since the advent of her 2 yo sister, she has taken up baby talk.  This is one of many annoying habits, but it is one that compares to Chinese water torture nails on a chalk board.

I have tried many tactics to eliminate this habit (at least around me), but to no avail.  We did make progress this week, but it got to the point where I had to turn away from her and tell her she could choose to talk baby talk somewhere else or choose to play with Grandma.  The point was to show her that her choices are her choices – a habit if you will – and she has the ability, at 8, to make better ones.  We had a few hour long sessions with tears and more, but in the end, she was doing much better.  The thing is that this child is so needy.  She is also bossy.  Along with that and some other quirks she has picked up as a bid to get attention (unconsciously), something has gone wrong.

So what? you may say.  The point here is that the child is desperate for attention.  However, the things she does to get attention work against her bringing negative attention instead of good attention.  Of course, all children will choose negative attention over no attention.  In my little Rissa Roo’s case, I have to worry about her because the attention getting behaviors are so bad and so hard to take, even for her grandma who adores her!  I want to help her learn how to 1) entertain herself, 2) accept that she doesn’t need attention 24/7 (it’s never enough) and 3) learn that the negative behaviors are choices that do not work, and so teach her better choices.  She also talks a blue streak and needs to learn that it’s ok to be quiet sometimes, but that’s another story and may have help from her ADHD. 😀

Horizontal communication, that between us and others cannot happen in this kind of environment.  It may take an 8 year old a while to understand, but I know adults who have this issue as well.  They are overly needy and seek to have that need filled in ways that push others away instead of drawing them.  Sometimes, these behaviors are habits, learned early and left over from childhood.  Some of us outgrow these behaviors as we grow.  Others, either because they do not see them or because they don’t know any better, continue in behaviors that effectively cut off their ability to truly communicate with others and thus get their attention needs met.

Vertical communication, that between us and God, can look like this at times too.  We may not see it as ‘attention getting behavior’ (and neither does the child or the adult in the above paragraphs) but it works the same.  Let’s say God does something for you.  You say thank you (sometimes), but not much time lapses before you want something else.  Some people get upset if God doesn’t do what they want in the time they want, forgetting all that God has already done for them.  It’s like God has to prove His love over, and over, and over, and over.  Jesus death on the cross is proof enough, and if we get nothing else, it’s more than we deserve.  Yet we can act like a young child who loves mommy when she’s happy, but tells mommy she’s a ‘bad’ mommy when angry.

The Israelites displayed this behavior, and I believe God used their stories to show us how we do this too–so no judging allowed.  God would do miraculous things for them and as soon as life got a little tough, they would turn away from Him or whine because they are unhappy with the now.  They forgot the big things God did!  We may wonder how they could march across a sea/river on dry land, among other miracles, and ever gripe to God again, but they did.  And so do we if we do not watch out.  I sometimes wonder if it breaks God’s heart as much as it breaks this Grandma’s to see a child hurting and doing all the wrong things to deal with it.  I’m sure this is something He sees way more than I do:  People looking for love in all the wrong places. . . 😦

Do you have attention getting habits that interfere with your horizontal and vertical communication?  How do you keep a grateful heart, appreciating what you get, while not griping when things don’t go that well?  Anyone have advice for teaching this to an 8 year old?  I’d love to hear what you have to say about this topic.  

BTW–the other kids have wrong behaviors too, but they are just a bit easier to deal with and more amenable to correction.  AND I l♥ve my Rissa Roo no matter what she does or doesn’t do.  😀

Time with Grandma!

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Grandma and her Rissaroo ♥

We’re going light today.  This is week three in the go-to-grandma’s-alone-for-a-week saga.  I love this one-on-one time!  Well, I love it most of the time.  You wouldn’t think it would be so exhausting.

Week 1:  Marilyn, age 2.

Week 2:  Kerstin, age 10

Week 3:  Klarissa, age 8

Week 4:  Roland, age 4

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So far, Klarissa has made >20 necklaces, bracelets or rings.  Most of them are with yarn and straw

Chevron bead and Indian glass bead strings

Chevron bead and Indian glass bead strings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

beads, but still.  If the kids had their way, they would go through every craft item I own in 3 days.  This week, Klar, who is now old enough, is learning how to “create” instead of slapping a paper full of items she likes.  She’s not happy with the concept, but she’s doing well so far.  Grandma is VERY anal about my craft stuff.  She spends hours cutting pictures out of magazines and gathering various other components.  That equates to hours for  a few minutes of joy.  Is it worth it?  You betcha!

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Hello Kitty (TV series)

Hello Kitty (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, Klar let me sleep in a bit.  We then made some items with my “real” beads.  Next Fiesta Brava for lunch.  This is the favorite restaurant of all time for both of my oldest grandchildren.  Why?  Who knows, but Gma likes it too, so we’re good.  She chose Fiesta Brava over McDonalds and the play land!!!  Then we took off to shop at Joanne’s Fabrics.  We spent an hour ‘shopping’.  We didn’t buy much and I thought maybe she wasn’t having a good time, but we got in the car and she said, “That was fuuuuuuuun!”   Ok, Grandma, quit assuming and just be!

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We got a Hello Kitty fleece for her “Gma’s house” blanket.  I tried to talk her into something else, because this will be her forever blanket.  She insists she will never stop loving Hello Kitty 😀  She does have some competition with the 2 yo, however.  We also got stuff from the dollar bin to keep her busy for the evening so I can do some things????  We’ll see.  Not looking good so far.

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Ok, back to that highlighted phrase up there.   Why do I have so much trouble just being and just letting things be?  I think it’s about people pleasing.  I do like to make people happy, but at times I set myself up because no one can maintain that forever.  I am learning slowly.  I tell the gks that I am not the entertainment committee.  I do plan to do things with them, but I don’t have to be paying attention to them every minute of every day.  This is true even on their alone week.

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I want to teach them how to entertain themselves.  I also want to teach them about boundaries.  The red head (Klar) has a habit of coming up to me and

Things the Grandchildren Should Know

Things the Grandchildren Should Know (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dancing and singing for me without waiting to see if I want to do that at the moment or not.  It doesn’t work out well for her because I am trying to teach her to ask people instead of telling them what to do or what she is going to do.  As I type this, she has not stopped talking to me.  I have not once answered her or even looked up, but she keeps right on going.  She has fixed me food, danced and just talked (her nickname is jabber jaws).  Not sure what that’s all about, but it’s not something that will make her life easier for her in the long run.  She’s much better at entertaining herself than most of her siblings, but she’s also very bossy.

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I took a break to get her to find something else to do.  It’s really hard to write with other words pouring over me at the same time as mine are trying to form coherent sentences and ideas.

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My grandchildren are not the only ones who behave this way.  Remember when children were seen and not heard?  That was a long time ago.  Now children seem to often be the center of the world.  A product of the self-esteem movement?   Probably that and more.  It makes me sad, however, because these children are in for a world of hurt when they get into the big bad world and find out it’s not all about them any more.  Then they whine.  Oh yes they do!!!   I don’t want to work those hours (or I don’t want to work at all).  I can’t afford food (as they pull their cell phone out of their pocket….)   TV, Computer, electronics ad nauseum are necessities.    You get the point.  I’m sure you have come across this.

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That’s one reason I try so hard to invest into the lives of my grandchildren (and others).  I want them to learn these lessons now, before it’s too late.  I have a great time with them during their week, but it’s about so much more than that.  This time with them gives me an opportunity to mold them and teach them, as I love them.

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I’m sorry if this seems a bit random; it is.  It is me thinking ‘aloud’.  And sometimes, that’s OK.  So back I go to my overarching purpose:  planting seeds into my grandchildren.

What do you think?

You Matter!

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As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have a now defunct blog from a year or two ago that I’m deciding what to do with.  Rather than cause issues until I can make that decision, I am going to share this post in part here with a link to the post.  It is a beautiful story and part of a larger, even more beautiful story that I will probably share as we go.

 
“My friend’s funeral was amazing, as expected. I knew it would be a glorious uplifting, not only of Melissa, but of the God she so faithfully served. During the open mike period, I stood to give a shortened version of a poem I wrote for my mother and then adapted for my friend. Later, her pastor read a testimony she had given in service, and in it she talked about what I had said. Truly a kiss from God.

 
I thought I might retell that story here. I won’t tell it as well as Melissa would have, but here goes. My mother had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive uterine cancer. After a surgery and several chemo treatments (short version) she was given six months to live and placed on hospice. I spent as much of that time as I could with Mom, helping her physically and emotionally to prepare for the end. During part of that time, Mom kept worrying about her relationship with God and if she had done enough and if she really mattered.”

 

Read the rest of the story here:     Please make any comments here instead of at the other blog. 🙂    AND —

*****The poem included in the post has helped several people since its inception.  Feel free to use it, changing the name of the person.  I would like attribution, but as long as you don’t take credit for it, use your own discretion.  Maybe you needed reminded that you matter to God today.  Maybe you know someone who needs this reminder.  That’s what this poem was written for, so pass it on as a legacy to my beautiful mother and my best friend who now rest in the arms of Jesus.    Thanks, Angie

Do you have a blender family?

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I chose the lesson in Ministry, even though it was the midweek lesson, because I wanted to get them talking about ministering to one another.  As a group of 7th – 8th graders (no 9th at this time),  you can imagine what they can be like at times.  Everyone is fair game, and they often think it’s funny to trash one another.  When we have newer people come in, it really becomes a problem.  Each year we work on this and make progress.  Then the year turns over and new students come up while others leave and the whole process starts over again.  I expect that, but I want them to learn to love and minister to one another.  I want them to look beyond certain behaviors and recognize that the disruptive student may have all kinds of things going on in his life.  I want them to welcome even the unlovely into the class.  I want them to become aware of ministry opportunities right at home, and I want them to see others as Jesus sees them.  I want them to get that vertical relationship going so they can better their horizontal ones.  I want….  I think God wants this too, but, like God, I recognize that it’s all a process.  I am content with baby steps at this stage, but I always want to be pushing for more growth while I have them.  They are the ‘plants’ I am responsible for watering and feeding once a week (and beyond).

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever put that in words quite that way before.  As I said, this is a goal, but I would love to see progress in their spiritual (and other) lives before they move on to the next stage of the game – those high school years — gulp!

 

That said, my overarching thing was this:   Why is it so difficult to minister to family (or “family”)? 

 

Now for a short leap into a different aspect of the topic.  My daughter and I took my husband out for dinner tonight for Father’s Day.  As we’re all sitting there, family stuff happens.  You know what I mean, the tongues come out and feelings get hurt.  We don’t mean to hurt one another, but how often we do!!!  We are so kind to strangers, but not those we are close to.  What’s up with that?  {Anne and Ron over at Freedomborn posted a great poem on this subject:  Our Family)

 

Step into my parlor. . .
(original image from morguefile.com)

This is the image that popped in my mind as I listened to the chatter at our table (and of a family sitting near us).  Our families are dumped in the blender.  Our tongues are the blades.  We get together and start slicing, often in the name of “just kidding” or trying to get a laugh, and soon there’s blood and hurt feelings everywhere.  Of course that leaves us with open wounds, maybe not even caused by the person in question, and we add defensiveness to the mix.  I hope your family is not like this, but I’m guessing there are moments (or certain members) when this happens.  It leads to more than hurt feelings.  It leads to broken relationships (horizontal and vertical).  We often justify it or pass it off as just family, but it is wrong.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue:

  • James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. James 1:25-27 (in Context)
  • James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! James 3:4-6 (in Context)
  • James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:5-7 (in Context)
  • James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-9 (in Context)

 

 

I found this on facebook, and thought it fit well with this topic. 

Back to our original topic.  While my students may jostle each other and things like that at times (esp. boys), the real problem is in the tongue.  My own tongue is not innocent either.  No matter how hard I try to bridle it (or surrender it to God to bridle), it still sometimes slips out of it’s harness and strikes.

 

My point:

Part of ministry is in learning to minister kindness in our words to others.  It’s allowing God to control our tongues and thinking before we speak.  It’s remembering that it’s pretty hard to meet someone’s need when we’re stabbing them with the blade of our tongue.  Kindness is something we should use EVERYWHERE.  Not just with strangers, kindness, encouragement, healing words work with those we are familiar with and love too.

 

Do you minister with kindness even to your family or those you are close to?  Is your tongue a run-a-way blender blade, wreaking havoc on those in it’s path?  Do you have ways that help you remember to be kind to all others?  Anyone have any good teaching ideas for this age group?        For those who write – do your words spread healing and ministry or is your pen like a double edged sword?  Have you struggled with this in the past and found success in learning to minister with kindness, even in your speech or written word?

 

I know none of my readers have problems with this issue, but I’m guessing you all know people who do, so you can understand this post 😀

Blessings and a healing tongue to all of you  .  .   .

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