Sunday, March 29, 2009

Relaxed Parenting?

The difference between first and third children....

If C was playing outside when he was little we would hover and watch every moment.
As he got a little older and played with kids down the hill, we would make up chores outside or sit outside and read to be near just in case ..
If C got a scrape or a cut we would wash it out, clean him up, give a bandaid and lots of hugs. He grew to love the Bactin Bottle and would ask for it right away. I think he loved the cold feel on his skin.
When M got to the playing outside stage, we would send her out only with us or if C was going too. We'd hover a little further away, have her friends come to our yard, or sit outside and watch.
If she got a cut or fell down, we'd either have witnessed it or gotten first hand account from big brother. Wearing glasses since she was two, we were always worried she would hurt herself or them while playing.
We were a little more relaxed but would still santitize, bandage and hug and kiss.
Poor A gets lot less hovering. She runs with the big kids as if she is one. She goes down the hill and plays on her bike, scotter and swingset and just has a grand time.
Sure when the weather is nice, I'm outside too, but with two older siblings watching her I am a lot more relaxed. She knows the rules about the street, and stays where we can see and hear her. She never goes alone. I can usually mop the kitchen floor, do a little laundary or picking up while she and M are outside riding bikes. I can sit in the silence and enjoy! I love being outside with them too, but realize that this what it means to be a kid. Playing outside.
Where A is really getting the short end of the stick is with injuries and booboos. Last fall, she fell at a neighbor's house and cut her knee a little bit. There was blood and tears. I was at the store for 10 minutes and the neighbors and siblings were in control. C the BoyScout, put his First Aid lesson to full use, and got her as good as new in minutes. My neighbor commented that if she has an injury in the future, she's coming to C first for help.
Today, she was out with M riding her bike and A scrapped her leg a little. With no blood and few tears, M decided to handle this herself and got A a bandage from the first aid kit, put it on and off they went. We didn't even realize the injury had occured.
Of course a few minutes later A came in and wanted some hugs and kisses from Mom and Dad. While she loved M's help, she needed just a little more that only we could offer. Good to know some things never change.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Funny Girls. Cold Boy. Tired Momma

Overheard in the car this week....

We celebrated Ava's Birthday in preschool today. That's not fair!
I just went to her party last week and that was not her birthday, today was. That's not right!
What's not right?
Having a party when's its not your birthday. That's not right!
You can celebrate your birthday on more than one day.
No, you can't. That's wrong. Tomorrow, she's celebrating with her cousins, too and didn't invite me. That's all wrong.

Let's just say if there was a Birthday Patrol, little A would be a member. However, she makes exceptions for herself in this party planning rule. She is planning her own "surprise birthday party" for her birthday some 5 months away. I told her you can't plan your own surprise party, and most 5 year old parties are not surprises. She promises to be "surprised" by the party. She said she'll forget all about it and act surprised when it happens. On top of that, she's wanting an overnight party at the lake this summer and the guest list is co-ed. Not gonna happen sweatheart.

Cold Boy....

C is camping this weekend with his Boy Scout Troop. Not thrilled to be camping. Certainly not thrilled with the temp. Remember it's March. The temp is a.m. was 17 degrees wind chill. BRRR. We told him his sleeping bag was warm to -10 degrees; so if he got cold, just walk around in his mummy bag.

Now, I know why I'm a Girl Scout Leader and not a Boy Scout Parent. I'm planning a Log Cabin Lodge sleepover camp with my girls this summer, but need to figure out if the pool is available first. My kind of camping.

C was in charge of bringing the food for his patrol (7 boys) for the entire weekend. We went shopping on Friday. They had made their list in advance of meals. Let's say you could tell a 12 year old had planned the food. Saturday A.M. Pancakes, Bacon, Juice; Lunch: Ham and Cheese Melts, Kool Aid. Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Milk, Birthday Cake for Dessert. Sunday A.M. Poptarts.
Let's just say there was not a fruit, veggie or side item on the list. Boys!
Of course. they now have Bananas and Oranges on the menu. I am a mother!

Tired Momma

At the Blood Drive today, A and M commented that giving blood must not be fun. Why I asked? People sure make faces when it's happening. The girls were perfect today, waiting almost all day at the school selling Girl Scout Cookies, and watching a movie while I volunteered/organized. Guess they were watching a little too!!

I said, it's not the easiest thing to give blood. It can hurt and I don't love it; but I sure do love knowing that my gift is helping others. I also like knowing there is no heavy lifting and rest required after giving. Could I just say more women might give blood if that rest and heavy lifting rule was for 5 to 7 days following blood donation!!

M said she thought the people liked the Canteen best with its juice and cookies. I said I think it was she and her sister who liked the Canteen!! Let's just say we had a run on Apple Juice and Oreos.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blood Drives, Hospital Visits, Gratitude

For the past three years, I have been blessed to organize a blood drive for the Red Cross to honor a little girl, who in second grade, lost her battle with cancer. Together with the PTA at our school, we have this annual blood drive to Be Brave like Brooke. We do this to honor her courage, her strength, and to give hope to others who are need of lifesaving blood.

I figure that, if a little girl can endure cancer treatments, I can endure a few moments of pain to give lifesaving blood. I really hate needles. I really, really do. On top of that, I have bad veins which are practically non-existent. Flubotomists have cried over my arms. At each of my three deliveries, they called in the best of the best to start my IV.

However, I now give blood regularly. I go knowing that it will be hard, that I will have to be deliberate in asking for the best "stick," and that I might have a few rolling needles before the blood flows into the donor bag. That's OK.

In actuality, it's really not that bad in comparison. I have nothing to complain about. I've never needed blood, but someday I might.

For now, I consider it an honor to bleed for others. The big bruise I get for days afterwards are a reminder to pray for those who need my blood because of trauma, illness, or cancer. To think that I might be saving their life seems like such a big reward for such a small price.

Today, a young man, my sons age, is in the Pediatric ICU recovering from double pneumonia and strep A. He has had a very rough few days and has a long road ahead of him to recover. His parents are spending hours in a hospital on pins and needles while our family for the most part is going on with our lives. Beyond praying and lifting them up there is little we can do for them right now. Of course, Chocolate Chip Cookies always seem to help!

When we visited the family on Sunday, I told them that they were in the best place getting the best care . While we would never wish them to get to know the hospital that well, we are glad it's there for them.

When A was two and had her tonsils and adenoids removed at that same Children's Hospital, we fell in love with the staff, the facility, and care we received. However, it was our fervent prayer we would never need to get to know them too well. During our short visit, it was obvious that some kids spent alot of their childhood there and knew the hospital frontwards and backwards. It's one of those places you are happy to have little or no knowledge of because being there means that someone is sick or hurt or suffering.

My friend whose daughter we hold this annual blood drive in honor of has walked those halls. Today she carries on with a strength and grace that only God could give a mother who has said goodbye to her daughter. Her grief, while still a part of her life now, has joy mixed along side it.

She is Brave Like Brooke.

Giving up a Saturday to organize a blood drive, shedding my own blood regardless of the pain or fear, it's the least that I can do.

Maybe in more accurate terms it's something I desire to do to show gratitude to God for all he's done for me. Gratitude that for now I have three healthy children and a healthy husband. That's more than enough God. Thank You.

Friday, March 20, 2009

No Longer A Little Boy

C at 3 months old wearing shades for his first baseball game (June 1997)

My oldest child and only son turns 12 today.

How can this be?

I remember the moment so clearly.

It was when the doctor, at 6:13 p.m. on the first day of spring 1997, said the words, "It's A Boy" and forever changed my life.

The long awaited baby was finally in my arms. The answer to many prayers.

I remember when we took him home a few days later wondering when the real parents would show up. You know the ones who knew what to do with a baby. My husband and I thought for sure we'd be pulled over on the way home from the hospital by the "parent police" saying we were ill prepared.

He has always been a joy. He is easy going, funny, smart as a whip, compassionate, and kind hearted. C is confident, fun, happy, focused, and lazy. He's known what he wants to do for the rest of his life since early childhood, but can't remember how to pick up his room or make his bed.

His heart for God and others can bring me to tears in an instant. He gets it. He loves Jesus with everything he has.

He asked me the other day if I'd like to be around for the second coming and see Jesus' triumphant return or be in heaven when it happens. I said heaven. He said he's still deciding. While he'd like to know what it's like to take your final breath on earth, he'd love to see Jesus in the sky too! That's some heavy thinking.

I love that his favorite radio station is K-LOVE and that he asks me to turn up Chris Tomlin or Sanctus Real so he can sing along. I love that he's taught our 4 year old to sing Toby Mac songs.

I love that, on his birthday, he is participating in a 30 Hour Fast for World Vision. Today at 12 noon, he had his last bite of food until tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.

We had a birthday lunch at Arby's today at 11:30 to celebrate and then this evening, he was off to church to get a little taste of what hunger feels like.

We talked today that the difference between him giving up food for 30 hours and hungry children in Africa or America is that he knows when his hunger will be satisfied. They don't. He knows that he will be breaking his fast with a huge Spaghetti dinner tomorrow night while they don't know when they will eat again or what it will be.

C told his grandparents that he was a little bummed that it was his birthday and he was fasting, but it was too important and he cared too much about it not to participate. He asked people to support the fast with as little as $1 which is enough to feed 1 person for a whole day. He gave enough out of his own pocket to feed 10 and raised enough to feed 142 people today or 1 person for 3 months and 12 days.

Poor C, he's been our test case and our first attempt at parenting. We are still learning this job and he's had to be patient with us as we figure it out. How thankful I am that's he's so forgiving and easy mannered.

What a kid. I love you C. I'm so proud of the young man you are becoming. You might not be that cute little baby anymore, but you'll always be my favorite boy in the whole wide world.

C at Diversity Day Speech 09/ First Day of Sixth Grade Fall 08

Monday, March 16, 2009

You Know It Might Be Spring When...

The Midwest is notorious for long winters. Winters that keep coming back long after they should be dead. But this week we have a few signs that Spring might actually be around the corner. So. you know it might be Spring when......

1. Garage Doors are open
We laugh that in the winter we never see our neighbors. They pull in their garages, close the door before they get out of their car, and are not seen for months. It's too cold to stand around in the driveway and talk. This weekend, we saw a lot of our neighbors with open garage doors. Cleaning out the sand and gunk from the floor of the garage, washing cars, and moving bikes. Hello Neighbors, glad we all survived another winter!

2. Coats are taking over my laundry room
You never actually know what the weather is going to be like around here on any given day. We have winter coats, dressy winter coats, fleece coats, and jean jacket/spring coats for every child in my house filling every peg and crevices of the room. I've been foolish in the past and put snow pants and coats away before April and had to dig them out again for that last 12 inches of snow.

3. The Door Bell Rings A Lot
Kids are outside playing basketball, riding bikes, running around in all types of clothing. They are constantly coming over to see if C, M, A can come out. The dinner hour is the most frequent time the door bell rings. I wish everyone had the same dinnertime. My favorite ring, however, is when A is in the backyard and she rings the bell over and over again. That doorbell already rings double so you can identify it, so the over ringing can be a little much.

4. We wear a lot of different clothes
Because it can be 30 in the morning and 70 after school, there is a lot of changing of clothes to play outside, lots of baths and showers to rinse of the allergens, and lots of laundry for the mom. With baseball/softball practices starting up soon, even more is on the way.

5. Our backyard has toys and sports equipment all over it.
Between the swing set and the pickup game of baseball with Frisbee bases, soccer balls are now finding their way outside again. I'm hoping that child #3 will be my soccer player. The first two thought there was too much running. I think tomorrow, we'll cancel PJ Day and call it soccer practice day. In addition to the kid stuff, tonight, we used our grill for the first time this season and we'll be putting out patio furniture out soon.

6. Birthday Season has hit our house.
I'll have more on this later this week as the two males in our house are celebrating their new numbers days apart from each other. Lots of celebrations to come. No wonder both boys love spring so much. It's the presents!!

I love Spring! It is the promise of new growth, fresh cut grass, and flowers blooming. I'm willing to put up with a little more laundry, more shoes, and more coats everywhere I look. Goodbye Old Man Winter, I'm excited to see you go.

Who knows maybe PJ Days will be go out the window. Instead, we'll be ready a little earlier to walk the big kids to school and stop at the park on the way home. However, we might have to wait a week or two though as the 30 degree temp at 8:30 is not what I would call Spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Don't Just Pass By: Do Someting

My husband and I watched ABC Television's Primetime: What Would You Do show this week. I must say what I saw disturbed me. It stirred emotions and feelings that I didn't know I held so close or so dear.

The show had a few different "scenarios" that showed individuals involved in activities that were either dangerous, cruel, or in need of rescue. The question posed was "what would you do" and either get involved or not. Either out of moral conviction or a desire to help out, would people step up to the plate and get in the middle of something that did not directly impact them?

The first case study involved College Age Fraternity Members hazing "pledges." There was "alcohol" along with name calling and general hazing happening on a public square in a small town. A group of boys were shown first and then a group of girls. The hazing with the boys was more dangerous looking, strapping someone to a pool with little clothes and pouring vodka (water) down their throats.

Most people walked by, took pictures or gawked at this "tradition," but a few got involved. Those that did started calling 911. They released the boy from the pole. They got into the faces of the older boys and said this was torture and was wrong.

The girls in the hazing "incident" were much meaner. They called the girls names, they wrote profanity on their clothes and, while there was alcohol involved, the attacks were much more personal and provocative.

Cameras were flying out of purses, people gave ideas for names to call the girls, one teenager even participated in the hazing at the "girls" suggestions. Men and young boys gawked and watched in utter amusement. My husband thought it was like watching mud wrestling and most of the men thought it was funny.

We were appalled at how few got involved; How few women got angry. I almost cried when a father step up and stopped the hazing. He was stern and forceful with a big heart to stop it all. I might have applauded him, too!!

The "WWYD" incident that really got me was the "Aiding the Fallen" scenario in which a wealthy attractive young women who is nicely dressed suddenly collapsed in the middle of a sidewalk in suburban NJ. Within 3 or 4 seconds, people are attending to her, calling for help, and talking calmly to her. She falls and people come to her aid. They are compassionate, touching her hair, reassuring her help is on the way. They are quick to react; Helpful; Concerned.

This was not the case in "Aiding the Fallen Part Two" where the person in need of help is a homeless looking man holding a beer can. When he collapsed, the minutes ticked away with no one coming to his rescue, no one seeing if they could help. It was like he was a trash bag on the sidewalk and they walked around to get to their next thing.

My heart was breaking. I held back tears thinking of how heartless and judgemental our society has become. Where is compassion? Where is empathy? That man is a Child of God no matter the condition of his clothing, his home life or his social economic status. He is a person.

The only person who really came to his rescue was a women much in need of help herself. She is scruffy looking with a can and without a cell phone. She asks each passerby to help her help him. She is a real "Good Samaritan." She gets in close to the man and gives him a name as he is unresponsive. She talks calmly and soothing to him. She offers him hope. She had little to give herself, but she gave all she had.

How many times have I read the Good Samaritan story in the Bible or in a child's story book and thought that wouldn't happen today. It wouldn't be the last person on the road that would stop. We live in America. No one would walk right by a needy person and not offer help. I'm wrong. We do. I'm sure I have. What has become of us?

My husband and I talked about what makes a person stop and what makes a person go on like it's someone else' job. For me it's a sense of justice; of right and wrong. I can't stand to see someone being treated unfairly. Does that mean I get involved in every social cause or champion every downtrodden person? No, I can't. However, if I can do something, I will.

I remember when I was a teenager, my parents and I were at an ice cream store on a summer night. A bar/restaurant was a few doors down. I watched an obviously drunk man get into a car. I started to freak out wanting my dad to go stop the man. He could kill people. We called the police with a description of the car, the driver and direction the man was traveling. We followed him at a safe distance until help arrived.

Why? Because I knew I couldn't sleep if we didn't get him stopped. Is this a learned skill, a heart tug or God's urging? I think it's a little of each. It is the Holy Spirit leading us to act with compassion, empathy, and faith that doing something will result in a much better outcome than doing nothing.

How I pray that in my daily life I'm modeling this Good Samaritan attitude to my children. In the little and the big, I hope I'm showing them that they can make a difference. It is our job to help our fellow man. God does call us to love the unlovable, to serve the downtrodden, and the widow. We can do that by opening our homes, our wallets, and our hearts to those we see every day and to those half way around the world.

God give me the wisdom, the ability and the desire to be your hands and feet today and everyday. Don't let me be a passerby. I want to be one of those who steps up and does something. Let it be so!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Plan B Sometimes Is Just As Good

Saturday, I arrived at the mall at 8:10 a.m. with M ready to greet 13 eager Brownies for a field trip to the Pretzel Shop. Our tour was suppose to start around 8:15. Learning to make Soft Pretzels was reason enough for these girls to get up early.

By the time most of the girls had arrived shortly after 8:15, the Pretzel Store's lights were still off and no one had arrived. I figured they were running late and that maybe I was a little off with the time. When I called the store on Thursday afternoon to remind them of our arrival and give them the final number, I had not specified the time. I knew the owner wanted the Tour/Baking to be done by about 9:30 so she'd have time to get ready for a busy Saturday so maybe the start time was really 8:30.

The girls found the Playzone around the corner in the mall and were having a fabulous time running, jumping, and playing tag. Other than our group and the regular "mall walkers," the place was quiet and I am not really sure that "14 Brownies" and "quiet" should ever be used in the same sentence.

I started to get nervous when the lights were still out at 8:30. I asked the Starbucks employee in the mall center court if they knew what time the Pretzel Store opened. His response was 10. I ask about what time did they arrive? 9:30.

I had planned to surprise the girls after our Pretzel field trip with a backstage tour of a fabulous "Girls Store." A wonderful store Manager had agreed to open up early at 9;40 for a tour to see the workings of a store. We'd have 20 minutes of fun.

By 8:45, I'd decided the Pretzel Lady had forgotten all about our little group. I pulled the Justice Store tour out of my hat and said it was now time for plan B. We'd take a little walk around the mall; talking about the stores and available Career Options. We were finishing up our Careers Try It. They were happy and cooperative. They were over the top thrilled with the backstage tour later.

At 9:00, the lights went on at the Pretzel Store. It was a young employee. She called the manager. She had written down on the wrong week. She thought she had two weekends of field trips. It was too late to start anything, no supplies were ready, and the employee was not prepared.

Still in great spirits, we went to the Food Court. The Cookie Company was open. Cookies for All and Free Water. The Girls were in seventh heaven. We talked about Careers and wrote our dream list. This Spring, I'm going to give the girls their little list of "What I want to be when I grow up" when they bridge over to Juniors.

The Tour of Justice was all I had hoped. Melissa, the manager, was so warm and friendly. The girls excited about the clothes. They got to see the backroom and how merchandise is displayed. She told them all about what she looks for in employees; Friendly, Outgoing, Good Students, etc.

The girls got to practice a "price check" on the cash register and every girl won a prize. Everyone left with big smiles. It was a wonderful Field Trip and they loved it.

We got some Pretzels as we walked out thanks to a troop mother. I don't think they minded Plan B. M said it was great playing tag in the playzone, the cookies were yummy, and Justice was a dream come true.

Lesson Learned: Having a Plan B in your pocket and learning to be flexible and thankful for whatever comes your way is something that will always come in handy. That is a Brownie Lesson worth getting up early on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Library Days: Not Just for Looking

Today, I took A to the Public Library to pick up some new American Girl Books for us to read at rest/bedtime. We are now focused on Molly, the World War Two Historical Doll. We have the Meet Molly book and finished reading it days ago so we were ready for the next adventure.

Thinking it would be a fun outing this morning after errands; off we went. A kept asking, "why the library mom? Why not Borders so we can buy a drink and sit and read." I explained that we had lunch plans and would be getting a drink there. However, first, I wanted to pick up a few books at the Library that we needed.

She didn't seem completely convinced. We walked in and she said, "So,we are just looking and not buying." I said no we'll take the books home with us to borrow for a few weeks. Still not sure, A said, "So we are not buying or touching anything just looking with our eyes?"

This is a girl who needs to go to the Library more often. She thought we were just window shopping.

I know she gets this from our frequent trips to the bookstore where she gets a stack of books and wants all of them and I say no we are just looking. In the end, I normally buy her just one or two knowing we have stacks of books at home. But today, here we are in a Library where she can get all the books she wants for free, no limit, and she's not sure.

We found the Molly books and a few new Dora Books for A. I then started looking at the books for M and wished that I had done a better job of remembering my favorite books from childhood. I use to read all the time and still do. However, I am one of those readers who gets really into the book, but a week later could not tell you the title or the author. I could recount all the characters just not the book jacket details.

The Library we went to is one that I frequented as a child. It is in a nice, older neighborhood and the books on the shelves reflect its age a little. Asking the Children's Librarian for a suggestion for M, she lead me a series she said was great. It is the Trixie Belden Mysteries by Julie Campbell and dates from the 1950's. The girl on the front cover looks alot like Gidget to me, but with blonde hair. I think M will love it and I love the fact that there are 38 books in the series.

Reintroducing myself and my family to the Public Library is exciting. Who knows what we might find on those shelves. Maybe, I'll even find a few of the books that I checked out 30 plus years ago. Good thing it's all on computer these days as I'd hate to see my name on the Library Card in the back of a book.

On our way to lunch with our stack of Library Books on the seat, A asked how long we get to keep these books. I told her about 3 weeks. Thinking she was having a great idea she said, "Maybe we should come again and look at books. I bet C and M might want to use their Library Cards too." I think she might be right.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Public School Christians

My kids go to our neighborhood public school, though we did not start out there. Our oldest goes to a middle school and the middle one goes to the elementary school just blocks from our home.

C started his Kindergarten at a small Christian School, but by Spring Break we had changed our minds. The teacher and the school did not work for us. Thus far, not realizing this problem sooner is one of my biggest parenting regrets. C was miserable and hated school. It is a rule, Kindergartners don't hate school!

We moved to our neighborhood elementary school in March of that year. The first day I could tell all was redeemed. C was a little evangelist at school. The first day he asked to pray before the snack. He was told he'd have to do it silently.

In First Grade, he started a Jesus club. He invited all his friends to join as long as they knew about Jesus. If they didn't know, he'd tell them all about Him. While the Jesus Club was shut down due to "rules" about non inclusive clubs (of course, C said anyone could join), it didn't stop his mother from starting a Bible Study with school moms that is still going strong some 5 years later.

Our family did not go into a Public School with the plan to revolt against the "worldly" view often expounded at the school. We didn't protest the fact that Christmas was not celebrated. We just continued to sign our cards "Merry Christmas" when we brought gifts for the teachers.

I decided the best way to make sure I wasn't offended by the Halloween party in the classroom would be to volunteer to be the room mother and watch the festivities up close and personal.

Yes, there have been times when I've been tempted to protest things taught about Holidays we don't celebrate, while they omit anything that might be considered "Christian" which is offensive to the PC crowd. Instead, I've learned to pick my battles and build relationships with teachers and administrators. This way, I can make my views known in a non confrontational way.

Through this, my kids have seen a world that does not always share our beliefs. They have learned that talking about God to others is always allowed, but that talking one-on-one and having a relationship with someone first is probably the best way to share our faith. They've learned to be bold and to stand up for their faith while still having a mom and dad watching their every move and making sure they are supported.

In many ways, I've found more Christian Friends for myself and my kids at the Public School than I did in 6 months at a Christian School. I've been bolder about seeking out like minded friends and so have my kids. I've found that there are a lot of Christians in the public school systems including many teachers, administrators, parents, and kids. They are being salt and light in a world often dark and abandoned.

Our family has been able to minister with other parents/families to hurting families in our school environment. Not boldly about Christ, but by being Jesus with skin on in today's world. Our kids have had opportunities to invite non-churched friends to youth group activities, summer VBS, and events at our church that otherwise they would not have been so exposed.

I realize that our family is blessed to be in a city and a school district that has conservative educational values. Textbooks and teaching subject for the most part are non offensive. I know that this could change and as we go up in grades I know that the Science curriculum and literature books might cause some further discussions. I'm OK with that. We know what we believe, we talk about it at home and our kids are equipped to stand up for what they believe or ask for help from us.

For now, I feel that we are like Esther. In the Public School for Such A Time as This....

C gave a speech this month in front of the entire 5/6 grade student body for Cultural Awareness Week. At first, I was surprised that my son, a white middle class suburban boy, would have any knowledge of Cultural Diversity. Yet, his speech was chosen from among his classmates by the teachers as the one that stood out. Amazingly, his speech mentions God and was not edited.

Here's an excerpt of the speech. I've changed a few words to protect people's identity.

At my years at ***, I have had many cultural experiences including a very special one, when I met Mrs. ****. Many of you probably know her, but what you might not know is that she is a missionary. When I heard about her orphanage in ****something inside me clicked. I started to think more about what I have to offer as opposed to what others have to offer me. I was very disappointed at the beginning of 5th grade because many of my elementary friends were on the opposite team as me. I have made many new friends and I have no regrets. Don’t get me wrong I still like my elementary friends, but I know that God put me on the “A” team instead of the “B” team for a special purpose. Part of that reason was to meet Mrs. ****.

When I heard this speech, tears rolled down my face. Not for how wonderful my son was, which he is, but for how wonderful God is that he uses a Public School teacher who just happens to be an Christian Missionary and FCA advisor in my son's life. God did put C in a certain teachers' classroom last year for a reason.

I think C is wondering now if you can you be a missionary and an Aeronautical Engineer at the same time? Who knows. Only God.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore: Family Movie Time

I have to confess something here. I love old Walt Disney Movies. Not the animated kind like Steamboat Willy, but the ones from the late 60's and early 70's that had real Disney actors with cheesy store lines and great laughs.

These are kind of movies you are not embarrassed to watch with your entire family and, in today's culture, there is something to be said for that.

Most of these movies were made in the years before I was born or when I was still too young to see them as new releases at the movie theater. I got to watch them when I was a little older during the Wonderful World of Disney each Sunday night on television. I remember waiting for the Disneyland Castle to show up on the screen each week and little Tinkerbell there with her magic dust.

Through this show, I was introduced to movies like the Parent Trap, Snowball Express,and of course their original Love Bug movies. It had stars like Dean Jeans, Kurt Russell and Tommy Kirk along with Haley Mills, Suzanne Pleshette and others became familiar faces. The story lines were a little predicable but the laugh lines were huge, the suspense kept you on the edge of your seats but scare the pants off of you and the characters were so lovable.

I loved the Medfield College movies like the Absent Minded Professor and the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes . I would dream about going to college just like Medfield students. Who doesn't play a round of golf with the college president and visiting dignitaries between classes?

The neighborhood kids I babysat used to grow weary of Swiss Family Robinson, but I would often bring the movie along for the night and we'd have movie night on a big blanket on in the family room with popcorn and pop. They even brought a copy of the Swiss Family Robinson to my baby shower 12 years ago before C was born. I guess they figured I'd subject my own kids to the same "torture" that they so endured.

A few years ago, a family owned video store opened close to our house and we joined up for a monthly membership. Their shelves were stocked with Disney Classics and I was able to show off some of my favorite to my own family. Movies like the Shaggy DA and That Darn Cat provided us with hours of family movie fun.

When the store closed last year, there were tears from everyone in our house. Over Christmas break, we were flipping through the Pay Per View Movie listing and were thrilled to find a section of Classic Movies with most for about $1.99. Less than a box of popcorn at the theater! Among the listings, we've found a few classic Disney Movies. So far we have watched Blackbeard's Ghost and, last night, we watched Monkeys Go Home.

The only problem I've noticed with these movies is a theme with animals. In particular, the idea of have chimpanzees as pets. A might or might not have asked when we could have a monkey come live with us. My answer might have been when dogs talk. Oh yeah, that happens a lot in Disney movies, too.
If you have a favorite Classic Disney Movie, let me know. We are always looking for new favorites.