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Archive for August 2008

Time Out

It’s always funny and refreshing to see the world through the eyes of a 3-year-old.  Tonight at bedtime we were reading in our Rhyme Bible about Daniel and the lion’s den.  It’s one of Little Drummer Boy’s personal favorites, and therefore, I’ve pretty much committed the cadence to memory.

In case you’re not familiar with the story…  

Daniel was a Hebrew taken into captivity by the Babylonians.  He proved his character in such a way that King Darius, ruler of the Persian Empire later appointed him to supervise the governors of all his territorial provinces.  Obviously, that didn’t go over well with the actual Persians in King Darius’ court who were bumped over.  They knew of Daniel’s faith in God and commitment to daily prayer.  So, they tricked King Darius into making a law that would outlaw the prayer, knowing Daniel would not abide by the law.

That’s the point in the story where our story book includes a picture of several of the court officials spying on Daniel outside his window.  Little Drummer Boy leaned up from his pillow and pointed to one of the men.

“He’s about to be in trouble.  He’s probably going to be in time out.”

I’ll say.  As a result of the law he was tricked into signing, King Darius had to send Daniel to the lion’s den for the night, which greatly grieved him.  Our story stops the next day after the king saw that God had protected Daniel and announced that the kingdom should honor the God of Israel.  However, I have a feeling King Darius subjected the court officials that targeted Daniel to a time out of a more permanent kind that usually seen on Nanny 911.

Nevertheless, Little Drummer Boy’s take on the situation gave me an inner giggle and an appreciation of his keen sense of what was kind and unkind.  Sometimes I envy the clarity of the 3-year-old perspective.  If only we had the same understanding of kind and unkind as adults.  I don’t know about you, but I encounter people and situations every day that could benefit from a time out.  A pause.  A little separation from a volatile situation.  Time to consider our actions and their consequences.  Time to learn how to make a different choice.

 

By the way, I highly recommend the Rhyme Bible by Linda Sattgast. It offers stories in rhyme from both the Old and New Testaments along with great (and sometimes humorous) pen, ink and watercolor illustrations. lt communicates many Bible stories and concepts effectively in a way that has appealed to my Little Drummer Boy since he was probably no more than 18 months.  We haven’t quite started it with Squiggle Man yet–mainly because we can’t get him to sit still long enough–but I am sure he will be just as enamored by it at bedtime.  Get this one.  It’s well worth it!

tiny messages . Mommy’s Lap

My little Drummer Boy did not get a nap today.  It was day 7 in one of those weeks.  There has been a lot of excitement around our house.  Last Monday I went for my weekly doctor visit to check on Miss Baby M, and he decided it would be time to induce us at 38 weeks.  That means that when I go to the doctor tomorrow, we’ll find out what day THIS week our baby “seester” will make her arrival.

We’ve been scrambling around, getting all manner of pink baby items, and putting the semi-finishing touches on the nursery.  Mommy’s been working from home instead of going to the office, and getting more uncomfortable by the minute.  Daddy’s been taking over a few more parts of the daily routine than he had already taken over.  Little Drummer Boy and Baby Squiqqle Man have been slam dancing between spontaneous tears, random throwing of toys, mini tantrums and the sweetest blown kisses, slobbered kisses and hugs they’ve been holding in their pockets all day you’ve ever seen.  We know that confusion and insecurity are running rampant.  We know that even though Little Drummer Boy has an amazing vocabulary for which we can take no credit and Squiggle Man knows way more words than we give him credit for, they can rarely articulate what is really going on inside.  We’ve been watching, asking questions, guessing, soul-searching, and giving it a try for quite a few months now–go back to watching and repeat ad infinitum.  Change is hard, no matter how many years you have under your belt.

My Little Drummer Boy has had an extra dose of change lately.  Two weeks ago, he moved up to a new preschool class–new teachers, new schedules, still not wanting to put his tee tee in the potty, but everybody talking about it.  One week ago, he started his first “extra-curricular” activity–an AWANA “Cubbies” club where he’s meeting new friends, more new teachers, and learning Bible verses (doing a great job, I might add!)  Plus, he actually knows what it means to anticipate being a new big brother.  He’s already done it once.

So, he didn’t get a nap today.  That means he was practically falling asleep at dinner, and I was putting him in bed early.  We read our books, found our blanket and puppy, turned on the music and listened to Mommy sing.  I thought he would fall asleep while I rubbed his back, but then it began:

Drummer: “Mommy…”

Me: “Mmmm Hmmm?”

Drummer: “I want to sit in your lap.”

Ok, I’m paying attention now.  Requesting to sit in my lap is uncommon these days now that he’s such a BIG 3-year-old– usually reserved for “bo bo” comfort or coersion (read bribery) from Mommy.  I knew this did not bode well for a speedy bedtime, but it was a treat I couldn’t pass up.

He climbed over in my lap, which Miss Baby M has shrunk considerably at this point.  Aside from some of my mandatory hugs, he didn’t cuddle or put his head on my shoulder.  He was content just to sit.  Then, he looked at me and smiled–a couple of times.

Me: “Why are you smiling?”

Drummer: “I’m happy.”

Me: “Why are you happy?”

Drummer: “I’m happy for you, Mommy.”

Me: “Why are you happy for me?”

Drummer: “I’m sitting in your lap.”

It was a crystal clear moment.  I saw deep into his heart, and was dumbfounded by how little it took to get there.  I knew he meant he was happy ABOUT being in my lap.  It was instantaneous security, peace, clarification, and love for him.  I told him how proud I was of him, how thankful we were on the day he was born, what a good big brother he was, and how much bigger Mommy’s lap would be in just a few more days.  And, just as quickly, the moment was gone. My Little Drummer Boy “wasn’t tired” anymore, and we would live to convince him otherwise in another hour or so.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (psalm 90:12)

Yes, it was a crystal clear moment.  One that underscored a realization that there is no better barometer of wise priorities than to center ourselves in this moment in this place to do what counts most–even if it’s just postponing bedtime for a little laptime.  Although, my Little Drummer Boy misused his preposition, I was actually happy FOR me.  It was instantaneous peace, clarification and love.  I saw deep into my own heart, and was dumbfounded again by the recognition that the best of my whole world can be found in the space of just a few rooms.

The tiny messages God continues to include with our gifts — 2 little boys and the anticipation of 1 little girl, each with open eyes, open ears, open hearts, and much to teach. “Behold children are a gift of the Lord…” (psalm 127:1)

Thinking About Thanksgiving

My children have a collection of Peanuts movies that sometimes rotate to the top of their favorite requests–requests that send us flying through the calendar celebrating various holidays at crazy times.  Last week we were celebrating Thanksgiving with repeated viewings of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “The Mayflower Voyages.”  I like Peanuts.  Mr. Schulz was not above using the words “God” or “blockhead” in a children’s program when appropriate.  I like that.

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is the story of how Peppermint Patty invites herself and several friends over to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s a celebration of how fast Snoopy can make buttered toast, how “wishy-washy” Charlie Brown can be and how bulldozer-like Peppermint Patty can be.  In the immortal words of our wishy-washy friend in the striped shirt, “You can’t explain anything to Peppermint Patty because you never get to say anything.”  

In the end, Marcie reminds us that, “thanksgiving is more than eating… we should just be thankful for being together.  I think that’s what they mean by thanksgiving, Charlie Brown.”  How true.  

In looking back through some of my past journals, reviewing signposts on my inner journey that may have been forgotten, I’ve been reminded that a thankful attitude is one way to right our view of others and usher in intimacy–with one another and with God.  When difficult times, discouragement or my own wrong attitudes take a toll on my closeness with God, thanksgiving becomes the key to being together again.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him; bless His name.  For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.” (psalm 100:4-5)

Thanksgiving helps us to enter God’s presence.  It is the gateway that leads to His courts.  It is the starting point in setting our attitude and vision of God straight when it may have gotten off track.  When we approach God with thanksgiving, we acknowledge Who is responsible for our blessings, our salvation, our life.  Thanking God for the things He has done for us and for Who He is to us silences a complaining and questioning spirit.  It makes communion with Him possible.

Thanksgiving helps to dispel doubts about God that may have crept in because it focuses our attention on how His true character has been manifested in our lives in tangible ways.  In recognizing His true character, we are able to enter His courts with praise.  By developing a heart of gratitude toward God, we give Him credit for His goodness in our lives.  If I choose to thank God, I choose to recognize His faithfulness.  I can see that He proves His own character by his goodness, lovingkindness and faithfulness in my life.

Thanksgiving opens the gate to praise, which leads me to the place where God resides.  Complaints are forsaken.  Doubts are put to rest.  Closeness is restored.  And, it’s not even November.

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