Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Heard The Ice Cream Truck Today

I hear the ice cream truck coasting down the street and playing that unmistakable music. Every time I hear an ice cream truck I'm instantly transported to the cul-de-sac where I spent many of my formative years. Today was one of those days that reminded me of that time too.

After nap time all three children were ready to play outside. It was a glorious day and I was so glad the rain held off. There is a vacant lot next door and the builders left a huge sand pile there for the children to play in. And there were a lot of children playing in the sand pile this afternoon!
I can remember spending hours in the court, playing kick the can, riding our bikes, playing mother-may-I and I don't really remember what all we did except that we played every summer day all day long until long after dark! I'm sure we were called in for dinner at some point, but surely we wolfed down whatever was on the menu to rush back out.

My three little ones did really well playing in the sand until "the neighbor kids" came over. I say "neighbor kids" with a tone of exasperation and dismay because of how the neighbor kids are. One mom sends her girls, ages 4, 7, 10 out to play for hours, never checking on them, leaving the task, I imagine to me - because I do stay out there every second the children are in the yard. They're not bad girls, they're just used to being allowed to run a bit wild - no bike helmets, bare feet and shorts when it's 70 degrees, etc. When all three of them come over to play it's like an invading army.

The other "neighbor kids" who came over included a dad and his two boys. I had noticed him playing with them for quite a while in the yard and playing with sidewalk chalk, etc., His boys weren't bad either. Except the older one, who I think is six, who is hyperactive and never speaks below a bellow! He ran down the boys a couple of times and made me really tense. The little brother, who is probably 2 1/2, also screams, (go figure) and he ran into the street several times. Once he got almost to the end of the cul-de-sac and dad never even got up out of the sand pile! I ran and grabbed him and carried him back to his dad when I saw a car coming.

I know . . . I'm a real stick-in-the-mud. I'm the "mean old lady" even to the couple for whom I nanny I'm pretty sure. But this is my point: my children turned out to be amazing, bright, polite, generous, gracious and just generally decent human beings (when they're at their best:-)

They did not run wild. They did not scream or bellow. They did not even cross the street until they were probably 8 or 9 and then only with parent watching them. We could take them out to eat and they were well-behaved. When they were older my kids never tried drugs. They are good friends to their friends. They don't judge others and they don't say mean things about other people.

They got spanked when they needed a spanking (not often) and they never questioned who was in charge. My daughter was 22 years old before she told me she didn't like squash even though she ate it her entire life because I fixed it often in the summer time. No they're not perfect. Far from it. But I couldn't be more proud of them. We made plenty of mistakes, but I think the kind of people they are today speaks for itself.

What's my point? Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. [Proverbs 22:6 NKJ]

Chilren are a gift from God. If we don't teach them right from wrong, if we don't teach them limits, if we don't guard them and ensure they are safe, we are squandering our gift. My "parenting" style is clearly different than that of those in the neighborhood where my employers live. I hope and pray all those children will grow up happy and healthy, wise and good.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dance for Joy

One of the twins loves to dance. He 'dances' at every opportunity. If characters on one of his television shows dances, he announces "I dance." If he likes the music playing during a commercial, he declares, "I dance." Sometimes, he dances just because he feels like dancing! On more than one occasion he and sister, and subsequently the other twin decide they're going to "dance" just for something to do!

Of course, at two years, the 'dancing twin' actually gallops and gallops around and around in a circle until he's dizzy. The other brother isn't as coordinated as even that and simply runs behind his brother in the circle. When all three of them get going it really is something to see! Let me put it this way: these children are more likely to appear on Battle of the Brains than Dancing with the Stars!

There is one thing, though, that stands out in their dancing. It is the sheer joy and abandon with which they move. Bright-eyed, faces aglow, around and around they go until they are breathless and ultimately collapse in a heap. It is a sheer joy to watch them.

At 4 and 2 (and 2) life is still full of joy and laughter, moving for the sheer delight of it, experiencing music in its most basic form - as a language that speaks to the soul.

Every time the dancing twin announces he's going to dance, I think about how my life would be so different if I were to dance the dance of my life with that same "reckless abandon." I realize, too how my sheer joy at living would impact the others in my life and in my world. They would surely respond to me as I do to the little dancing children who teach me so much about life.

Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in theLORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. (1 Samuel 2:1-3 NIV)

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (Luke 1:47 NIV)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fabulous Blog Award!

Yippee!! My fellow blogger, Sitka the Therapy Dog, just awarded me this wonderful award!

I hope you'll visit All God's Creatures where Sitka shares his experiences as a therapy dog and family member of the "Perdue Zoo."

His mom is pretty amazing, too and I think she may have influenced Sitka in my favor:-)

Two rules accompany this award:

1. Confess 5 things you are addicted to
2. Pass the award on to 5 deserving bloggers

Five addictions:

1. Coffee
2. Coffee
3. Blogging
4. Jesus
5. Writing

Not necessarily in that order. Yes, I know I listed coffee twice. I'll let that speak for itself:-)

Now . . . 5 bloggy friends:

1) Truth 4 The Journey. Sonya is not your typical stay at home mom! She homeschools her six children, writes prolifically, has a business, teaches and preaches and . . . well, I think you get the idea. She has a powerful message that she generously shares with the world.

2) Chatty Kelly. Kelly has a special way about her. I love her self-effacing humor, her transparency and her joy in living her life. Stop by to find out what word the Lord has put on her heart.

3) Rich Gifts. Edie is one of the most generous and thoughtful people I have known. She shares her gifts, graces, talents and abilities freely and with joy! She is very creative and God is using her in some beautiful ways. Check out her blog and see some of her handiwork.

4) Joanne Sher at An Open Book is such an inspiration! She shares not only her writing journey, her creativity and joy, but also offers us insights into her world. Her blog is bright and cheery and you'll be glad you stopped by.

5) Princess and the King is the blog where Spring shares her Love Letters to the King, Mary's Journal and other inspired writings. I often cry when I read either of these two but it is because they are so beautiful, not because I'm sad:-)

It was very challenging to select only 5 bloggers! I am blessed to follow many wonderful Christians who generously share their journey. But that was the rule!

I hope you'll stop by these 5 blogs and be enriched and encouraged.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blameless and Harmless

About three years ago I worked as a lead teacher in an area preschool. My class was for the "older threes." These were the 3-year olds who would be going to kindergarten several months after their 5th birthdays.

I was quite a puzzle to these children when I became their teacher. You see, it is apparent that I love children. I mean most 3-5 year olds are drawn to me--I think they sense my passion and genuine love for them! I'm also, though, very no-nonsense. In my world, adults are in charge. Period. Also, in my world, when an adult gives you an instruction or tells you to do something, if you're under the age of 21: you DO IT! Yes, I'm really old fashioned like that:-) Yet my class was a place of fun and learning, comfortable and inviting and full of hugs and positive vibes.

Eventually I ended up with many of the "problem" children. By the time I left that day care my class consisted of ages ranging from 2 1/2 to 4! The two assistant teachers and I potty trained a couple who continually wet their pants for other teachers (not for us!) I converted a couple of hard core drama kings and queens into reasonably pleasant children when they were in my room.

We three teachers really clicked and we were all definitely on the same page. I generally found that the "problem children" were not the problem. Rather, the problems were the parents! One day after I had left for day and the assistant teacher who worked in the afternoons stayed on the playground with several of the children from our class she overheard a conversation between two of "our" boys. Apparently one of these two and another boy had exchanged words. Feelings were hurt, harsh words exchanged. The boys separated and went their separate ways.

The boy who was conversing with the other classmate told his friend about the incident. The other boy told him, "that's why we only hang around with people like this." (He pulled up his shirt sleeve and pointed to his arm.) These two boys were white. The other boy was black. My co-teacher was mortified! I was livid when she told me!

My tirade involved disbelief and abject horror that a three year old child's mind could already be filled with such thoughts and ideas. The child never even had a chance to learn any other way than one of prejudice and hatred. It cut me to my core. The boy who made that remark is one to whom I had devoted a great deal of attention that year. He had been difficult and uncooperative at first. It took a while for him to warm up to me and to begin to participate appropriately in class activities. Now I understood all too well the source of his behavioral issues!

I really questioned what I was doing there. I wondered how I could possibly make a difference in the lives of these children against such formidable odds. Now I understand I was placed in their lives for a purpose - a divine purpose. I was to be their light; I was to be blameless and harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Hmm. That's a lot to expect of one so flawed and broken, sin-filled and imperfect.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 9Philippians 2:15 KJV)

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV)

The Company We Keep

The boys are now at the age where they are like little sponges. They don't miss a word, a look or a deed! They watch each other, too, to see how brother is doing something, to learn but also to file away the information.

When sister enters into the picture, even more information is processed and stored for later reference! One brother turns his sippy cup upside down, probably the other one does too. Sister dumps her dry Cheerios out of her bowl and eats them off the table, out go two more bowls of Cheerios onto two trays.

The boys watch to see what the other one will eat, too. It's kind of funny because the "littler" twin who used to be so picky now eats everything--I mean everyting--placed in front of him. The other, larger, stockier twin has become quite picky - mainly due to issues with texture:-)

Big sister has taught them a lot about how to be nice, how to share, how to sit at the table correctly. She's also taught them how to "raid the pantry" for snacks when no one is looking and how to claim a particular spot on the couch (middle cushion) as hers and only hers -- always. The boys consequently are quite territorial when they have a spot staked out, either on the floor, on the couch or on my lap! They also try to open every door, drawer, cabinet, container throughout the house!

The only other real influences in their lives right now are their family, me, and a few companions at 2-day-a-week daycare. So far, most of what they've been exposed to has been closely controlled and tightly guarded. But they're growing up. They're beginning to watch other people and file away information about their actions and their words. Soon, the world will firmly have a claim on them. I pray already for a hedge of protection around them and their sister.

Who we associate with has a direct relationship to how we act, how we think and how we live. If we surround ourselves with people who gossip, cheat, envy others, are judgmental, who lie, who mistreat others, etc., we begin to act and think and live as they do. If I don't guard my identity as a Christian, before I know it, I begin to act and live less and less like a Christian!

Sometimes we need to let go of people and relationships. Sometimes we have to take a stand about our faith. We need someone to whom we are accountable. I need Jesus. Every day. Every hour. I'm not strong enough or wise enough to stay in His presence without help. I need friends and family who know me and love me and help me stay on the path.

I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. (Job 27:6 NIV)

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:21-23 NIV)

Friday, March 6, 2009


I'm so pleased that Andrea agreed to be a guest blogger here at Crayon Chronicles. This is a duplicate of her post at one of her blogs, Arise 2 Write. This post is based upon a recent experience with Andrea's precious grandbaby. When your done reading this post, why not stop by Andrea's other post, All God's Creatures where she writes in the voice of Sitka, one of her amazing therapy dogs.


Help Me, I'm Scared!!

God made each of us unique. Some of us love snow and some of us prefer the security of warm weather. There are also those of us who love both the beautiful ocean and as summer closes we can not wait until the first snow covers the ground. I am one who cherishes every aspect of God's creation. My heart leaps at the thought of tiptoeing through the warm sand, yet I eagerly dream of the cold winter day when GOD in all His glory spills forth snow from the heavens and surrounds me in a peaceful winter wonderland.

Sharing GODS creation is exhilarating and exciting. God graced us with a beautiful winter wonderland this week. Each of us celebrated His creation in our own unique way. My furry children are no different; three of them loved the snow, yet my 15 year old Cocker Spaniel, Macy said, "Please Mom....get me out of this stuff and let me back inside." My human children gathered their parka's gloves, boots, and raced to the garage to get the sled. They were eager to share this beautiful and amazing snow with our 20 month old granddaughter, Savannah.

Excited to see Savannah as she partook of her first snow, I grabbed my gear and raced outside to find a little girl unsure of her surroundings. From the windows of our home she had watched the snow fall with amazement saying, "WOW" over and over again. Savannah's "WOW" disappeared when she was placed in the snow. She was unsure of her footing and definitely not interested in being pulled around on a big red sled.

I wondered how many of us admire with amazement GODS gifts until they are given to us. We then become unsure and afraid. Can we do this? Are we really on the right track? How can we be sure?

When faced with fear, Savannah lifted her arms toward those she loves and trusts. She knew where to find safety, security, and love. With eyes filling with tears, her little arms reached toward the heavens past her earthly security.

Today, Savannah and I encourage you to seek your Heavenly Father when you are unsure, scared, or faced with uncertainty.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

By His mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,