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Archive for October, 2012

Praying in our family has always been a part of routine.  We routinely pray at each meal. We routinely pray every night.  We pray at every car accident that we pass by.  We pray at church. We pray when we are in need.  But our prayers are “routine.” More rote than meaningful.  We even throw in some Lutheran indoctrination by having the kids say the Apostle’s creed every night as part of our routine.  I thought that we were doing good.  When the kids were little, we use to let them lead the prayers but they tended to get really lengthy . . . and I mean they went on for-ev-er.  We didn’t want to discourage their prayers so we wouldn’t stop them, but the meal was cold by the time they would get done.  It almost felt like a competition each night to see who could go the longest.  So we turned to rote prayers to help us move through prayers and to get to the next part of our schedule.

This all sounds terrible. I know that contrary to all of this that our kids are comfortable praying in front of friends and can lead groups in prayer.  I’ve seen it happen.  But I don’t know that they know “how” to pray.  Of course, do any of us?  As Lutherans we often struggle with this.  Too often we leave it up to the pastor to lead us.  But we need to be better at it.  I owe it  my children to teach them to pray meaningfully. And to give myself credit . . . I know that we have taught our children the importance of prayer and have built it into our daily routine. Now it is time to take it to the next level.

With a huge sigh, I realize that it must start with me.  I need to focus on my own prayer life and build from there.  I realized that I needed to do better a few weeks ago when Ainsley had a friend spend the night.  When it was time to tuck the kids into bed, we were praying and I asked her what she prayed at night expecting her to tell us a rote prayer.  She told us that she prays for something that she is thankful for, then she prays for those who are hurting or in need, and finally she blesses everyone in her family.  Then she lead us in prayer. So cool.  And I thought . . . and a little child will lead us.  That is a great outline for nighttime prayers!  We are not telling them what to say.  We are just setting an outline and then the kids can fill in the blanks.

So we have been trying this out for the last few weeks.  Some nights are better than others.  The kids can get stuck on what to pray for.  But it is a start.  The kids seem empowered by the outline.  So our prayers are more meaningful than before. Of course, the kids want to do the new prayer and then add the rest of our normal prayers at the end.  So I think prayers took 10 minutes last night.  New prayer, “Now I lay me” prayer, Lord’s prayer, and Apostle’s creed can take some time.  It’s too bad that the amount of time spent in prayer doesn’t get you to the front of the line in heaven! I am grateful for this new change.  The kids want me to participate too, so we are all doing it together.  Each sharing what we are thankful for, each sharing something/someone in need who we must lift up in prayer, and then asking God to bless all of those closest to us.  It can be very powerful at times.  It is certainly bringing us closer to each other and making prayer about others and gratefulness and less about what we want from God.  Eventually we will get there, so that this becomes natural to them and helps them to have a closer relationship to God.

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Friday Night Musings

Hank escaped from the backyard this week, so Chris spent a good part of the day fixing that issue in the backyard.  Hank is a smart dog and I know that he will eventually figure another way out.  I frankly blame myself.  Our days get so busy that we don’t spend nearly enough time with him, so he gets bored and finds a hole in the fence.  Hank is looking for adventures on the “outside!”  I can’t say I blame him!!

The kids come home during Chris’ project.  I took the opportunity of Chris being outside to force my children outside for outside time.  No chores. Backpacks left in middle of floor. Snacks feed hurriedly while standing. Then a quick shove . . . and out they went.  I walked outside at one point to find the neighbor kids over and they were all playing foursquare in the driveway.  Fun!!  The kids love unscripted time and they needed after the kind of week we have had.

Now the kids are inside and I’m fixing dinner.  To keep them out from under my feet, I sent them into the living room.  Now Madie has her yoga video on and they are all working on it . . . including Chris and the dog (Chris is trying to get the dog to cooperate with him.  Good luck with that.).  They are all quite the sight.  At least they are all smiling.

Ben walks into the dinning room and sees the table that I’ve set and declares, “we are eating like kings tonight!!”  Ainsley comes running into the room to see what “eating like kings” looks like and she sees that all I’ve done is set the table with a tablecloth and cloth napkins.  Wow, it is amazing how little it takes to make amaze my children.  I realized lately that I am resorting too often to disposable dinnerware to help make the clean up process go faster.  I had a nightmare that my children had grown up and were telling their children how to set a proper table by pulling out the paper plates. Ugh.  Not that paper plates are a bad thing on occasion, but I’m becoming lazy and using them more than I should.  So we ate like kings tonight!!

At the end of the day, the kids and I headed upstairs to finish up the books we have been reading together.  After reading to the kids for an hour, we still have a little bit to go in Little House in the Big Woods.  But I had to finally call it quits, Ainsley had nearly fallen asleep, so it was time to tuck everyone in.  It was a good night, and a nice ending to a very busy week.

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Quote of the Day

“My day was horrible.  I got in trouble at school because everyone kept complimenting me about my suit.  Well . . . I had to respond and tell them thank you.  And then I would get in trouble for talking! People should just be quiet.  I should be able to wear my suit without all of the comments!”

That was the answer to my question, “How was your day?”  Poor kid had it rough.  The sad part is that the boy loves his suit and he especially loves the compliments.  But after today, he doesn’t want to wear his suit anymore because the teacher told him that his suit is a distraction and that he probably shouldn’t wear it anymore.  I think more people should wear them.  It is sad when a child in a suit is such a rare anomaly. 

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  • Ainsley woke up this morning and only grunted for the first 10 minutes. No words. None.  Then she got upset because we were running late and thought it all had to due with the fact that Ben came in her room to wish her good morning and had nothing to do with the fact that she refused too wake up and only grunted for a good part of the morning.
  • Ben insisted on wearing his suit for school pictures today.  Love it!!
  • Madie invited a friend over on Sunday and they celebrated the new Percy Jackson book by making matching t-shirts.  One was orange with “Camp Half-Blood” on the front, and the other was purple with “Camp Jupiter ” on it.  Then they spent the next two hours outside playing a war game of “The Greeks vs The Romans.” Madie has been looking forward to the new installment in the Percy Jackson series.  We even made a shirt for Ainsley that said “Camp Fairy” so she would be included.
  • We all went to the pediatricians office for flu shots on Saturday.  Ben got upset because he had to get a shot (the girls received flumist, but Ben can’t because of his heart condition).  He started crying that it wasn’t fair that he has to have heart issues, he had to have open heart surgery, he has to take all of those pills, etc. etc. When we get to the shot clinic, Ben did great, but Ainsley melted and covered her nose like her life depended on it.  I stopped everything, looked her in the eye and said, “Seriously?”  She stopped.  Geez.
  • We took two friends home from church.  We had to run a quick errand afterwards. Going to Walmart with five kids is always an experiment.  Luckily this one was good fun.
  • My birthday was Monday.  Ainsley cried because I got another year older.  I didn’t cry. Ainsley did. She is worried I am going to die soon.  I wasn’t worried about dying and getting older until the 7 year old started crying.  Now I feel old!
  • I offered to take the kids to the movies on Saturday night, and they actually turned me down.  They would rather just stay home.  I think it is a sign that we are doing too much.  There is certainly a need to slow down in the Lake house.
  • I volunteered in Madie’s 5th grade class yesterday while they made duct tape wallets.  I learned that sarcasm is a skill developed by most 5th graders and not just Madie.  That is good to know.  It made me feel like my perfect little Madie is just like a lot of other kids her age!
  • Yesterday when the kids got off the bus, I met them with Hank in tow. I’m not sure who loved it more . . . Hank or the kids.  They have requested that Hank and I meet them every day.

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Quote of the Day

“It’s as slow as a sleeping sloth with a bunch of anchors tied to its ankles,” declares Ben. 

I can’t remember what this was in reference too, because I was laughing so hard.

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Such as . . . 

Chris just came back recently from a gathering of his college friends and other TLU alum last weekend.  When he came home and started telling me all about his weekend and filling me in on all of our friends’ life updates, there was a sense of deep satisfaction. I had known some of these people for 20 years and been lucky enough to be a part of their life journey.  So even though we may move around the country and our day to day friends may change, there were deep ties to many people in our lives that cannot be severed by miles. That was a deep satisfying feeling.  It made me realize that the blessings are never ending and thank goodness for that.  These deep ties are one of the bonuses of getting older.  Ties that are tested and true.

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When the negative side of humanity rears its ugly head at events starring Girl Scouts or the church, people (especially myself) are often surprised. You would think that at event sponsored by organization that have such wonderful values as part of their core teachings that everyone at every time would exhibit those values. But people are people and they still behave poorly on occasion.

We (myself, Grandma G., Ainsley, and Madie) attended the BIG event yesterday. It was awesome (pictures to be posted later). All day the girls kept seeing girls with colored stripes in their hair. We couldn’t figure out which booth this was. By the afternoon, the girls started asking around to see where these girls had their hair colored. Finally 45 minutes before the end of the day, we found the booth. We got in line and Madie and her buddy started chatting with the mother/daughter in front of us. At 10 minutes before the end of the day, four girls cut in line in front of the mother/daughter team. The mother told the girls that they can’t cut in line. This group of girls spoke disrespectfully to the mother and said something about that those girls were from their troop and that they could join them if they wanted too. I am thinking that those girls are being awfully rude, but it is the end of the day and I’m trying not to make a ruckus. Right when Madie and her buddy get to the table . . . the troop leader running the booth tells us that they are shutting the booth down because it is the end of the day. I go to the booth leader and tell her about the girls cutting in line and that if they hadn’t my girls would have had their hair done. We had been waiting 45 minutes and the girl cut in line 10 minutes ago. The leader says that it is not her problem and that she didn’t see the girls cut, so there was nothing she could do. I asked her to please just do my girls hair and help them out. She refused. There was one girl left from that troop and I asked her where her leader was. She said she didn’t know (yeah right). But I was not willing to bully a teenager and really wanted to take up my issue with the troop leader of the girls who cut in line. I never did find that troop. I was furious. My girls are devastated and I just want someone to show some humanity for this situation and put a smile back on my girls’ faces. (After we walked away, the booth kept doing other girls hair and one of my troop moms saw it. She went over to the booth to see if they would do my girls hair and they STILL refused.)

So I could either let this situation ruin our day which would be a shame, or I could find those evil teenagers and take my fury out on them which would bring me down to their level, or I could look for the positive and set a good example for my girls. I chose option 3. So even though the girls were so upset, we talked about the good of the event. 1. if we hadn’t stood in line, we never would have met the mother/daughter duo in front of us. They were really awesome and we made some new friends. 2. We now know what it feels like to have someone’s callous actions hurt us tremendously, and we can vow to never do that to anyone else.

So at the end of the day, the girls and I didn’t let this event define us or our day. And since all of the girls in my group spent the night with us last night, we stopped at the drug store on the way home and bought pink and purple hair dye (washable). And I streaked all of their hair. We ended up having a really great time and the girls all wore their “Rocker Chick” look to church today. In the end, only we can let someone ruin our day and we decided we weren’t going to let them. We had a really good day.

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