Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Remember the Way Home

We piled six bikes onto the back of her truck...

her bike
my bike
her son's bike
my son's bike
her daughter's bike
my daughter's bike

Since our hubbies had to work (and school was closed)   

it didn't take a mathematician to figure out that...
bikes + kids + holiday in Southern CA = the perfect beach day

She came to pick us up
and once all of our bikes were strategically placed onto the back of her truck

we climbed in

my daughter
her daughter
her son
my son
me
her

and we set out for another family field trip adventure...
  
Once at the beach

we found parking
unloaded the bikes and
took off

We were riding along the way when the children noticed a sand dune

so they...

veered off the trail
hopped off their bikes and
ran across the sandy slopes to explore

She and I stayed back to chat,
but when we looked up a moment later, our boys were gone

"Where are your brothers?"

we shouted over to the girls and they pointed down the other side of the hill toward the ocean

Well it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that...
two boys + sand + water = a muddy mess

"Tell the boys to come back up"

and with that the girls also disappeared

And for a moment
in the silence...

we wondered
we watched
we waited

with only remnants of childhood still visible

a deserted bike
an empty hill 

  
until one...


two...




three...
and finally all four...
 

children were back

And in that moment I realized that this is what motherhood
is about...

Allowing your children the freedom to explore

the other side of the hill
the ocean side of the hill

without you

and it can be scary

not being able to

see them
reach them
touch them

and knowing that there is a great big ocean over there ready to swallow them whole
(just as would life itself)

but you remind yourself that...

they know not to go in the water
they can still hear your voice
they have each other

So you stand and wait there alone in silence

watching the hill in faith that 
they are mature enough to handle this

and you are sure that
they will make their way back safely

because

you also know
that they know 

that the only way home 
is on this side of the hill

Monday, April 21, 2014

What We Have Really Learned from the Resurrection


I was standing in the hallway sorting laundry when my son, half asleep,
started talking before even opening his eyes...

"I just had the most amazing dream, Mom..."

he said as he proceeded to tell me about his dream of a

seemingly awesome,
yet impossible task

for an 11-year old to accomplish

I only listened, but he also believed...

he said

"and I know that it is possible because
I've seen people do things even harder than that"

and as I finished sorting

the laundry
his comments
my thoughts

It occurred to me...

This is the real lesson from the Resurrection!

Jesus died and rose again

a seemingly awesome,
yet impossible task

but when we embrace His Gospel

His death
His burial
His resurrection

with

our death (repentance)
our burial (water baptism)
our resurrection (the indwelling of His Spirit)

we come to understand that through Him we can also accomplish the seemingly impossible
we come to understand that what we have really learned from the Resurrection

is that

when life knocks you down...

get up

when friends

doubt you...
betray you...
deny you...

get up

and even if your enemies

capture you...
beat you...
and surround to watch as you slowly die...

look to heaven
pray their forgiveness
close your eyes to rest a while

and then...

GET UP!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"APFLH" Children's Art Studio... Adult Session

Last month I cancelled our children's art studio session...
 
The reason?
 
I was asked to present a play-inspired workshop for a group of English and Spanish speaking 
family child care providers and preschool teachers in the Los Angeles area!!
 
So I... 
 
put a closed sign on our door
packed up my materials
and took the show on the road!
 


Resource and Idea Table

A Chinese Dramatic Play Activity


w/ Asian inspired restaurant props and
chopsticks (for fine motor development)
 
inspired by the book
"Lion Dancer"
by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low


Play Dough Monster Creations


Homemade Play Dough (not pictured)
Play Dough tools
 
inspired by the book
"Go Away Big Green Monster"
by Ed Emberley


Dinosaur Babies


Repurposed Box- (with a trash bag liner)
Bird Seed- (used as a substitute for sand)
Cups for scooping
Toy Dinosaurs
 
inspired by the read-along
"Dinosaur Babies"
by Lucille Recht Penner

The Music Box


Paint Dot Art on Paper Towels


and a...

"Things that Grow" Food Collage


Grocery store ads or cooking magazines
Play Dough scissors
Construction Paper
Glue
 
inspired by the book
"Growing Vegetable Soup"
by Lois Ehlert
 

My take-away message to the group was to...
 
keep it "hands-on"
follow the children's lead
and learn to use what you have!
 
I decided to show them exactly what I meant by repurposing school fundraiser boxes for...
 
Before...
 
 
After...
 
Marble Painting/Waffle Ball Painting



Marbles or Waffle Balls- (depending on the ages of the children)
Box- (repurposed box or small pencil box)
Paper
Paint
 
inspired by the story
"Little Blue and Little Yellow"
by Leo Lionni
 
 
I received such positive feedback from the group
and I have found that not only do I enjoy inspiring children...
 
I also enjoy inspiring the adults who work with them!
 
And so as we collectively celebrate April as "Month of the Young Child"
 
let us all try to
 
recognize
realize
remember
 
The best way to make a difference in the world
is through the life of a child!

(Up next are... "Bubbles")


Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Gift of Tears

I walked up the hill to the library to check out a few books,
and on my way back down, I met up with a familiar face

We stopped and

smiled
embraced
exchanged greetings and salutations

and just as I turned to depart, she surprised me by saying...

"I never returned your call because I was embarrassed"

I turned back around and the puzzled look on my face led her to continue...

"Don't you remember?  The last time we spoke, I cried"

And I did remember...

I remembered that she had teared up as she spoke of Breast Cancer

treatment
therapy
remission

and I marveled to hear that she had been embarrassed by that,
and had been avoiding me for over 6 months

all because

she had viewed her tears as weakness,
while I had viewed them as strength

For the rest of the afternoon I could not stop thinking about her words and wondered...

Why do we breathe a sigh of relief when newborn babies cry,
but spend the rest of their lives trying to get them to stop crying?

After all, don't we celebrate a newborn's cry because we know that it means they are alive?

And so, in following that same logic, as long as we are alive,
shouldn't we celebrate that our hearts still

pump
live
feel?

And that tears are a gift

an expression
a release

a way to share the...

frustration
disappointment
joy
pain

that this life brings?

I think so...

and although I may feel differently about it tomorrow,
today I am embracing the tears that fall

because it means that

I am human
I am alive
I can still feel

and even though I don't always like to cry

I can
I will
I do

understand that in this moment

these tears
are a gift

(Revelation 21:4)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Get Naked (A Mature Thought)

I had gone to the mall alone with my two babies...



one in pull-ups
one in diapers

one with a sippy-cup
one with a bottle

both asleep

and strapped safely into their double-stroller

My dilemma?

I had to use the bathroom...
and it could NOT wait until I got home

So I did what I had to do...

I pushed my double stroller into the restroom
entered the stall
pulled my sleeping babies in as close as possible
and proceeded to use the bathroom

...with the door wide open!

Complete strangers walked by, noticing, and no one said a word

I had never imagined that becoming a mother would change my perspective so much, but in that moment, my children's safety was more important than my pride

Mothers do what they have to do...

and several years later, as my cousin prepared for the birth of her first child
I remembered that day

and shared with her my thought,
that for mothers,

perhaps the real purpose of delivery
is to deliver you

from the burden of what other people

say
do
think

because once you're a parent, you can't let those things move you

Your body

changes
grows
stretches beyond recognition

and then

just when you think you've had enough you must find new strength to

release
push and
deliver

that which has grown

And so using the bathroom with the door open is brought into perspective, because after all,

Nobody gives birth fully clothed...

you have to first get naked!

Once to conceive
and again
to deliver

And in that very act
of getting naked

lies the vulnerability
the humility
the gracefulness

that opens the door to intimacy

Our Lord showed us that as He allowed them to

strip Him
torture Him
mock Him

as He willingly bore the shame

to deliver me
to rescue me

because in that moment my safety was more important than His pride

His act of

vulnerability
humility
humanity

opened the door to our intimacy...

And when we fully realize this

we have no other choice but to come to Him

sincerely
respectfully
repent fully

and allow our hearts to get naked before Him

knowing that He

sees it all
flaws and all

and loves us anyway
and has taken away all of that shame

since He...
when He...

decided to first
get naked