Monday, April 18, 2011

God Loves these people

Has the Holy Spirit ever convicted you right in the middle of your thoughts in a strange place? Today we went to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a fascinating place to me. I see pictures online of "Wal-Martians" and sometimes I do have to giggle. Or wonder, "Are these real?" In our Wal-Marts, though, I see all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds running the full spectrum of skin tones. It's pretty common here to hear at least 2 languages at any place. Sometimes at Wally World you can find even more. Today seemed to be "Sunday go to town" day. I thought these folks must have come into town from the country and assumed most weren't terribly bright that fit that category. Here's my first conviction (by God, not the law officer): It may be true, but I knew somewhere in my heart was the other part of that, the one that says, "I'm glad I'm not like that." ouch.

Then we went to the Dollar Store. I thought, "This is for those who haven't quite reached Wal-Mart level yet." Mind you, I am right there with them in the store. Maybe they were thinking the same thing about me! I walked down the aisle & passed yet another mullet-wearing-tatooed-all-over-his-body-in-his-wife-beater-shirt-guy and THAT is when the Holy Spirit really convicted me. I guess you could say He spoke to me, but it wasn't over the P.A. system or anything. It was inside of me. My next thought was, "These are the people Jesus loves."

Amazing that I could sit in church and listen to God's Word taught and sing praises to my Lord then so quickly want to turn my nose up at anyone who isn't like me. I should be shouting, "Hallelujah no one else is just like I am!" It would be a sad world if we were all the same.

Easter is coming. Good Friday has to come first. That dark day Jesus died on a cross to bear my sins. He wasn't guilty of anything. I was. He also died for the Wal-Martians and the Dollar Store shoppers. Praise to Him, Easter came soon after and He ROSE from the grave conquering death and separation from God if we just trust in Him as our Savior. Maybe I should spend this week praying that if any of those shoppers don't know Jesus that this Easter that will all change.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Girls part 2 & my non-conforming child

I really have to say that the group of girls my girls have as friends are the best. I truly think of them like my "other daughters." Just seeing them interact at co-op today reminded me that any frustrations they may have with each other are so minimal compared to what we'd be experiencing in other situations. And I have to say that while Natalie still have some "rough edges" when dealing with people, she has come SUCH a long way. I'm listening to her interact with a younger girl right now. A few years ago Natalie had a really hard time having this particular child around, mainly because she (Nat) is very jealous (meaning protective) of her time with her friends and this child is a little sister, which means she (child) takes her sister's time. Nat would also be upset if any neighbor friends came over when she was at these girls' house. While N. still can get frustrated with the younger girl, she treats her more like a little sister & can be very kind to her. Today in the car the little one fell asleep on Natalie's arm. Natalie just adjusted to make them both more comfortable!

Then there is my non-conforming older child. I suppose being Autism Awareness Month it is only fitting that she chose to wear her hair in a "special" way today. She thinks it looks nice to wear a headband as if it were a wreath on her head. It's not straight around like a crown or sweatband, but tilted the way fair maidens wore garlands of flowers upon their hair. Except hers is a stretchy navy blue headband. I did tell her it looked odd, but that if she was okay with it, that was okay. I don't want her to get out in the world & have people tell her she looks weird and come home saying, "You said it looked fine!" I asked where she saw this style. Her answer was, "On a random person." As I put in my former posts about conformity, she's not doing anything sinful, just different. If she's okay with it, then I guess I will be, too. I just don't think I'll be wearing my hair like that any time soon! LOL!

Natalie, on the other hand, made sure to tell my friend Kathy, who among her many talents can cut hair and is the new stylist for my girls, "I parted my hair today!" I'm not big on making hair look "just so" and have always just brushed their hair or pulled it up into a ponytail. Last night Nat came in & asked me to part her hair because she couldn't get it right. She came in this morning and asked me to make sure it was right. She is quite happy with her straight part in her hair! Thank you Miss Kathy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Maybe it was easier then.

When your kids are little you are so very physically exhausted. At least I was. I'd see women just loving to play with their little ones and wonder how they had that energy. I had a child who didn't sleep through the night until she was 5 years old & another who decided she didn't like to fall asleep until about 2 a.m. some nights. That coupled with extreme anemia that I didn't know about just left me tired. A lot.

When my kids were little people did not encourage me with words like, "Oh, it's so much easier when they are older." I guess that's a good thing because they would have been lying. They told me that it wasn't as physically draining, but it was more emotionally and mentally draining when they were pre-teens & teens. Maybe they did lie, as I am still tired a lot! But the other part is true. I'm not sure if it's a roller coaster, a merry-go-round or bumper cars. Maybe it's just one big amusement park.

When Natalie was little, from the time she was old enough to do so, she was the child I'd pick up from church nursery with a little greeting from the helpers. Sometimes it was in the middle of the service and I'd get "paged" or it might be after the service if they kept her the whole time. The greeting was usually, "Today Natalie was hitting (insert any child's name in the room)," or "Natalie had to sit in the time out chair for biting (child's name)." The child was consistent: at home she'd also hit people. I recently learned she even hit kids in their houses. She cannot understand why she was so mean, but praise God she has grown up to the point that she no longer hits kids or bites people. She typically doesn't take toys away from others, either. LOL!

Now, though, there is a new issue. It isn't abnormal. In fact, I'm quite sure it's par for the course. It's something I recall as a girl about her age and it's something I know to be true from teaching. It starts when girls are around 9 or 10 and continues on until, well, I'll let you know. It's called having friends. I don't know if it is because hormones are starting to bounce around in their bodies or because they are trying to assert themselves (again, NOT new here) or exactly what happens, but girls hit a stage where they can be best friends then something happens and they are bickering. From my experience, there is rarely a right person and a wrong person. Often it is a perception issue. Sometimes it is a sleep deprivation issue. I am convinced that every girl born in the year 1998 was born with strong leadership skills, too. I can recall birthday parties for Natalie with about 7 girls all born that year & every single one being a leader! Apparently, other years have had this issue as well. I've seen this happen between girls over & over. Truth is I see it happen in my OWN house with the two girls who live here daily! Each girl is convinced she is right.

From an outside perspective, and as a Mom/teacher, I have to say that usually both girls are wrong and both girls are right. I'm remembering the year I had 14 boys in a class and 3 girls. One of the girls was smart. She just hung out with the boys! LOL! The other two, oh, my. They would go round & round from best friend to worst enemy. I must say with my girls & friends it has never been that bad. Maybe because they are under our watchful eyes so often we've had opportunities to use these times as teachable moments. Maybe because they have learned Scripture from a young age they're able to move through these times more easily. Or maybe I just take enough naps that I can pretend it's better than with some of my students or even my friends & me at that age! After the fussing, they typically will still chat and give each other a hug. It may be a few weeks before they are buddies again, but they are friendly. I MIGHT have not been as nice after fussing with a friend at that age. Just maybe. 

As I'm typing this I'm reliving memories of my own. I'm picturing Jo Carol and Lee Ann and Beverly and Denise. It's giving me hope that we will survive this roller coaster ride. While I lost track of Jo Carol when we moved away from the Houston area when I was in high school, my parents have stayed in contact with Lee Ann's parents over the years, and Beverly & Denise and I are in touch occasionally. Bev lives in a nearby town and is busy with her two teenagers and Denise lives out of state. I haven't seen them in awhile but they are the kind of friends that if we did get together with our kids (as we did a few times when they were young) we could laugh about those days in our youth. I'm trusting that as my girls & their friends go through this part of life they will be able to look back one day and laugh, too.

Look out. In the year 2038 you might find the first 40 year old pair of women as President and VP in the White House!