An Out of Stock Horse and Good Gifts

My daughters LOVE Christmas!  They start making lists in August and they look forward to the holidays with GREAT anticipation.




We don’t buy a lot of gifts.  We do birthday celebrations and big (to us) Christmas celebrations.  Other than a few small things sprinkled in here and there, this is the only times that we give gifts.  They do earn chore money so that they can buy themselves things that they see but it takes quite a while to earn enough for big things.   Other than that, we take a quick photo of the items that they see and wish for and tell them we will “put it on their list.”  I am so thankful that they are not spoiled or demanding.

So the holidays are very exciting for them!  They are also exciting for my husband and I because we love to give them gifts.

My ten year old started making her list (seriously) two weeks ago.  She’s been playing around with MS word so her list includes pictures and prices of her items this year!  Ha!  She wants to make sure that there is no mistaking what she wants.  Smart girl!

She fell in love with a Clydesdale horse from the Our Generation doll collection.  These horses can normally be found at Target for $45.  Except for this particular horse because he was part of last year’s holiday collection.  So…..now he can be found on Ebay for about $100.

Now this is my frugal minded child who decided that she wouldn’t ask for an American Girl because she could get an Our Generation for about 1/5 of the price.  But she searched and searched out this horse from every source possible.  She realized that he was very expensive and more than once I caught her at the computer with misty eyes while she processed that she might not be getting this one particular horse.

I told my husband and we did a little searching of our own and found him for $75 through a third party vendor with Walmart.  Ahhh….he arrived yesterday and I just can’t wait to see her open him on Christmas morning.

I started thinking about this gift…..this $75 piece of plastic that my daughter will delight over for such a brief time.  That’s not why I bought the horse.   We know that her desire to play with him will be short lived in the big picture. I bought him because I love the girl that desired the horse and I want to give her good gifts.

In a much greater way, this reminded me of God’s love.  The Bible tells us that he loves to give us good gifts.  It is hard for me to process that He loves us more than I love my children, yet I know it’s true.  Thank you, Lord, for delighting in us and giving us your good and perfect gifts!

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

 

 

 

Parenting the Tweens

It’s been ten years since I’ve had a tween.  My first two tweens were boys.  I think the greatest challenge might have been keeping them in pants that were long enough and shoes that still fit.




Helloooo….10 year old little girl!  Wow.  The mood swings, the crying, the drama.   It is not for the faint of heart.  What happened to my kind, caring, cuddly little girl?  She does show up every now and then but you can’t be certain when those times will be.  The hormonal version shows up suddenly and without warning.  She might jump into a board game, hop into the backseat, or reveal herself in the middle of a math problem.  There are a few things that calm her a bit.  Sometimes food settles her.  A hot bath can help.  Usually it’s only sleep that makes her flee.

She can certainly cause turmoil in what was a normal day.  She blows in like a hurricane and exits behind a locked door.  To everyone’s relief, “she” usually doesn’t hang around for an entire day and the loving, kind version of her returns.

Sometimes it is a challenge to accept this phase for what it is.  A phase.  This, too, shall pass.

But what to do?  Are these years simply to be survived?  Should we just buckle up and hang on, hoping that this is similar to a roller coaster ride that we will soon step away from, still intact?

Working with middle school students for so many years as a teacher has given me a little bit of insight.  Strangely enough, I’ve had to remember how I dealt with other people’s tumultuous children in order to deal with my own.

It is good to remember these things (preaching to me here):

  1. As much as it upsets the household for out of control tween girl to enter the scene, it upsets that little growing girl more.  Having mood swings and dealing with such confusing thoughts and emotions is a tough job.  It’s tiring for everyone involved.
  2. It is a confusing time.  Yesterday she was playing with Barbie dolls and today she’s noticing underarm hair.  She’s in this body that’s changing and it’s hard to know exactly where all of those things fit into “who” she is.
  3. Remind her of her worth.  We haven’t reached the acne and oily skin phase yet but I know that it’s coming.  My husband has done a great job of always reminding the kids that their most beautiful feature is their heart.  That might be tough for her to remember when she glances in the mirror but plant those seeds anyway. Daily.
  4. Cheer her on.  Sometimes you can’t cheer her up.  You just can’t.  If I’ve learned one thing in parenting (or in any other relationship), it is that you can’t make other people happy.  Encourage her through the rough patches and tell her that soon enough, she’ll come out on the other side of this stronger and more capable.
  5.  Teach her.  In my opinion, one of the most uncertain times of a girl’s life is when she just doesn’t know what or how to do something.  It is hard to be the person who “just doesn’t know.”  Don’t let her find out about how her body will change during PE or gym class.  Spend some time talking with her about it.  Hopefully, she fully trusts you to have her best interest at heart.  If you don’t have that bond already, it is not too late.  Start talking. If she wants to know how to do something like shave her legs, don’t let her be the bandaid wearing girl who butchered her knees.  Show her.  Not in a big deal, weirded out kind of way but in a simple, lighthearted way. This helps it not to feel so awkward.

I know that I could go on with this list.  There is so much that I still don’t know and that I’m learning.  Mostly learning by doing it wrong and then trying to fix it.   🙂

As always, I’m a work in progress.

What about you?  How are you making these transition years   tolerable   wonderful?

 

 

Gaga Ball and Jesus- What’s the Connection?

The pledge of allegiance to the flag




The pledge to the Bible

A song from the hymnal – probably Stand up, Stand up for Jesus or Standing on the Promises.

Rotations through crafts which probably included some type of string art or finger-painting.

The preacher preached from the Bible

Prayer dismissed you and you took the 10 things you’d created with you and looked forward to coming back the next night.

 

I’m reminiscing about Vacation Bible School, now shortened to VBS.  Those good days in the summer when you went to church at strange times and all the little old ladies made as much kool-aid and as many cupcakes as you could possibly consume.

 

I dropped my children off tonight at our church’s version of VBS.  We have amazing leaders and volunteers who work very hard to make this happen.  There are HUNDREDS of kids who are coming to the church for this event.  The amount of work that is put into it is not to be taken lightly.  It’s a heroic effort.

However, I left sad.  I also left with a headache.  During the five minutes that it took for me to drop my kids into their respective color and number groups, the noise level was mind boggling. There were no less than fifty kids screaming just to be screaming.  There was NOTHING peaceful in this place at the moment.

Two and a half hours later, I picked them up.  One of my daughters has a bit of trouble processing things when she is overstimulated.  She was literally staring ahead and didn’t even seem to notice me when I went to her group.  I jokingly said “Hey…do you recognize me?” She teared up to cry.  She was obviously overwhelmed.

One of the three could tell me that there was  a short story given about Jacob.  No details, but Jacob was the subject.

The other two were sad that they had forgotten their crazy socks and wanted me to turn on the interior lights of the van so that they could read the flyer to see what was coming after crazy hair night.

Now, I know I’m not young.  But I am struggling just a little bit.

I feel like I might be promoting the idea that we might need to be loud, chaotic, wild and crazy to learn about Jesus.  I’m not saying there is anything “wrong” with that.  I’m just struggling a bit with it.

Be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

I think that the mission is to get children to enjoy coming to church so that they might want to return to hear about Jesus.  That’s a noble mission.

What about the children who are already coming?

I know that it is not the sole responsibility of the church to teach my children about God. I am thankful that I have that privilege.  However, I desire to have the support in a corporate setting.

Maybe that is my take away.  Maybe the church is there to initiate the conversation and then the work is mine.

Either way…..there’s a lot of Gagaball being played in the southern states this summer.

I’m going to trust that Jesus is in there too!