Time for Work, Time for Play

Hard at Work

Time for Work

We had three of our grandsons spend two nights with us this past week.

NO parents!

We had a great time and I tried not to spoil them TOO much. We always have our grandchildren do “jobs” when they stay with us, before they get to play.

It has worked so far…they keep coming back.

Their job this time was picking up weeds after I pulled the weeds up. (I pull the weeds because I want the flowers to remain.) They did it very well and then they got to play.

We have a very small creek (it should really be refered to as a “branch”) that is overflow from our spring. It is a boy magnet! After their job, they love playing in the water which is not very deep, but it is wet and muddy. Just right for young boys. They also rode bikes, played baseball, and ran around on the old logging trails that criscross through the woods.

We are so blessed to have a place where our grandchildren can play. But it is also important that they know how to work. Their parents all require them to do certain chores at home. Yet we also want them to realize that work is important, even when away from home.

If we don’t require our children to help with chores, we send a very dangerous message – “someone ELSE will do it for you.”

We required our own children to weed a row in the garden before we went swimming in the summer. They did not always like it – but it helped them learn the importance of work.

(Is this why none of them raise their own gardens now?)

It is important to balance work with play. Some helpful ideas are –

  • work first, then play….that way children won’t be “too tired” to work, or it may get dark
  • make sure the job fits the age of the child…. painting the house may be too much for a 5 year old
  • work along with the children…..don’t send them off to do it alone
  • don’t give them a job to do you wouldn’t do yourself….there are child labor laws in the USA
  • brag on their positive efforts…..encourage follow through until the job is complete
  • take pictures of them working…..just like you take pictures of their play
  • celebrate the end result!

Ephesians 6:6-8 (NLT)

6 Try to please them (your master/boss/parents) all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

Our grandsons were very proud of the work they did and we were pleased that they genuinely helped us. Helping our children and grandchildren learn the satisfaction of a job well done is a blessing that will benefit them their whole lives.

Time for Play

Time for Play

 

 

Birthday Blessings

4 generations

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is 88 years old.

We have a grandson, Daniel, who is 5 and the first thing he asks someone after he meets them is “How old are you?” He will then analyze this newly acquired data. He looks very serious as he is pondering a person’s age.

I was thinking about the fact that in our culture, people are proud of their age when they are young, NOT so proud of their age during their middle-aged years, and then proud once again as they reach their 80’s and beyond.

Why is this?

  • children want to get older, be bigger, so each birthday is a milestone
  • our culture values youth, so a person in middle age may not want their age known
  • after 80, people are proud or thankful they have lived that long so their age is something to be pleased about

The women in my family live long lives. When I was in high school in the 1960’s I had three great-grandmothers living, each who were in their 90’s. My mother’s mother lived to be 95.

I knew each of these great-grandmothers and grandmothers except for my maternal grandmother’s mother who lived in Sweden. I never met her.

Of all the many wonderful qualities that my mother, my grandmothers, and my great-grandmothers had – their love for God and their faith in Jesus Christ is the quality that means the most to me. I knew the love they had for me came from the love they had received from the Lord.

What a legacy of faith!

Of all the many things my mother and grandmothers did for me – praying for me is of the utmost value. I am so thankful to have a mother that STILL prays for me.

Paul says to Timothy who he was discipling the faith – II Timothy 1:3-6 NLT

3 Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.

Paul mentions the spiritual heritage that Timothy had from his mother and grandmother.

This is the legacy we can leave as well – one of praying for our children and grandchildren. I am so thankful for my praying grandmothers.

Thank you , Mom, for continuing to pray for me even as you reach your 88th year.

This is the legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren – one of faith and prayer.

My friend Janice recently gave me the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. It shares the powerful impact that serious, specific, and strategic prayer can have.

May we build a legacy of faith.

5 Years…really?

Beautiful Daughters

Beautiful Daughters

I saw the date on my first blog post the other day and it hit me…

I have been writing this blog for 5 years!
(plus two weeks)

I started “blogging” because I was challenged by a Bible teacher and friend with Jesus’ mandate to His disciples…go make disciples.

“Who are you discipling?” I was asked.

I had to think a bit and I realized that I was sharing what I hoped was Godly insight with several young mothers, including our three daughters.

  • But was I discipling?
  • Was I being intentional?
  • Was I prayerfully, thoughtfully sharing what God had deposited in me over the years?
  • Was I just “shooting from the hip” so to speak – sharing whatever popped in my head.

 

I realized that God wanted me to be VERY intentional – that if my daughters and other young mothers were going to be drawn to be like Jesus through me, I must take this role prayerfully and seriously.

So, through the help and encouragement of our daughters, I started blogging.

I am an artist and teacher.

I am not a writer.

But with the gracious editing of my husband, Phil, also known as Mr. Spellcheck, Mr. Grammar, Mr. Punctuation, Mr. Proof Reader…need I go on?  – I have written once a week (almost) for 5 years.

I must say in all truthfulness that God has shown me so much about myself through this journey – the main point being that in my weakness – He is made STRONG!

God is faithful.

I thought I would share that very first post from April 23, 2011.

Dear Beautiful Daughters,

We often hear young women who stay at home with their children say things like,

  • “I’m just a mom.”
  • “I just stay home with my kids .”

Using the word “just” seems to minimize the value of the most important responsibility you will ever have. As women of God we are to serve Him first and foremost. Once He blesses us with children, God has entrusted us with those He loves with an everlasting love and He wants us to be faithful in our service as mothers.

If we ever doubt the absolute importance of our ministry as mothers we must read Matthew 19:14. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

If our Lord thought that children were so important, shouldn’t we?

In Matthew 18:2-4 we read “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I love this next part – it blessed me so much when my children were little – verse 5 ” And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

Amazing! Every time I welcome my child into my arms, snotty nose and all, I am welcoming Jesus!

Being a mother to your children is the GREATEST job you can have at this time in your life. It is more important then working on Capitol Hill, as an RN, teaching special needs children, or any other career.

Be thankful if your husband supports you in staying home with your children while you are able. Tell your husband how much it blesses you and do that often. Men feel great pressure to provide for their families and your appreciation will mean so much.
…with love and thankfulness for the blessings you are in my life.

So, I will continue to write as long as I sense that God has given me something to share. I still have so much to learn, I invite you to join me on this journey.

As women, we are all our Father’s daughters.

 

Like Mother Like Daughter

Three Generations - Four Mothers

Three Generations – Four Mothers

“You must be Esther’s daughter.”

I have heard that comment, or something similar all my life.

I have heard that phrase most recently while visiting my mother. Many of the people who live at the retirement community where my parents have lived the past two years have never met me.

They recognize me anyway!

My father passed on to his heavenly home on February 10.

My mother has rejoiced in the fact that Dad was ready to die, he was alert until the very end, and we were all able to share our love and say goodby at the end of Dad’s life on this earth.

Yet, that is not the end of the story.

I traveled to Wheaton to visit Mom in March. She was ready to sort through Dad’s things and distribute them. His clothes were given to a ministry for refugees and immigrants, which would have pleased Dad. We also rearranged some things in her apartment and had time to share many wonderful memories.

I returned to North Carolina on March 24th and on the 25th, Mom suffered a broken femur in a car accident upon arriving at church for the Good Friday service.

My mother’s attitude since these two situations occurred has been inspirational. She has expressed gratitude to God in each case because she has seen something to be genuinely thankful for.

What has Mom been thankful for?

  •  that Dad did not suffer long
  • that they had a chance to share their love and say goodby
  • that Dad was at peace
  • that she did not get hurt worse
  • that she has good care and loving caregivers
  • that my brother and sister-in-law have been so helpful

It has certainly been a blessing for me to see. I planned on comforting Mom during my visits and she has helped me to see the blessings.

“What do you expect, Gayle? God is answering everyone’s prayers for me.” Mom said recently.

Last Sunday morning Mom called me at 7:00 (6:00 in Wheaton). She said, “I know you are going to church today and that you will praise God. I want you to praise Him for how well I am doing.”

You can imagine how easy it was to praise God after that call!

James 1:2-4

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

This Mother’s Day I am so thankful for a mother who is an example of living those verses.

I not only want to look like my mother, I want to have faith like her.

May God bless each of you who are mothers….

Happy Mother’s Day!