Sunday, January 23, 2011

David and Goliath

Here's the back story...My oldest daughter was nominated for the Reading Bowl at her school. Over the Winter break she was given two books to read, and her teacher asked me to make sure she did a brief chapter summary (to help keep it fresh). Well begrudgingly she did these things. I thought maybe she didn't like the books, but they were actually very interesting. Come to find out (Wednesday) she doesn't want to all.

So Friday I'm at the school to drop of money for a field trip, and (I was really trying to just slip in and out the school) daughter sees me and is mopey, but instantly ecstatic. Mopey because I didn't arrive when she wanted me to and ecstatic because she believed I would tell the Reading bowl coach that she didn't have to participate. Um..."no way Jose", I am a believer in encouraging gently, and if need be out right decrying "this is how it shall be". Well I'm learning that is not always right (sensibly read "in the best interest of the child"). Bleh.

Welcome to today, where I'm teaching Bible study, and really looking for a lesson that will reinforce my opinion (and the teachers) that my child should indeed participate in the aforementioned activity. However what I find isn't quite in line with my hopes, but I go along with it anyway, because as I told the girls "this is as much a lesson for me, as it is for you".

I realize that my children are not me. Though they are smart and beautiful and generally kind they are not simply copies of me. They are individuals with their own personalities and interests, though some of those interests are in line with things I like to do, which may be why I push them to do some things they might not necessarily be totally interested in (mother guilt, - I hope I'm not the only one). But I really want to be better, so today's lesson unfolded with my children hearing that they are able to make some of their own decisions based on the gifts/abilities/talents that they have.

Before entering into any lessons, I pray for guidance. These are my revelations.

Letting Them Be Themselves
1 Samuel 17:19-51 Key Verses 38-40

In this particular lesson, David goes to visit his brothers on the front lines, as Israel is preparing the go to battle with the Philistines. Goliath of course taunts the Israelites, and Saul has offered the hand of one of his daughters, and tax-free living for the victor and his entire family (not bad). Well, after David (a young boy at this time) pleads his case, Saul gives his blessing for David to try to slay the giant. He also offers David his armor, but the young boy declines the offer because the armor of course doesn't fit him, it is very large and cumbersome. He can't really move in it, and using the sword is difficult. Instead the David chooses 5 smooth stones, and goes out with his staff, sling and most importantly his faith. We all know in the end he is victorious, but what many of us may fail to see is that it was with David's own talents and skills and his weapon of choice that he was successful. Not with something that was forced upon him.

Through prayer I could see it is my job to lead them and guide them in the ways of God, not my ways. If I guide them properly and realize they cannot do things the same way I did, (nor do I want them to), they will be fine. God is always with them, and they must use the talents they have. They must be their own person, (and I cannot live vicariously through them).

Until next time,
Be Blessed

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have A Dream

....Actually, I have lots of dreams. I am filled with hopes and desires for a gloriously bright future. I am truly filled with so much love and joy and enthusiasm for all the possibilities that are available to me, my children, prayerfully (my grandchildren), my husband, todo mi familia (all my family).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not just a day of service, and reflection, but a chance to engage in a dialogue on how to move this country forward without infringing the rights of others, in a non-violent way. I can only imagine what my life may have been like were it not for the efforts of people like Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers, Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King, etc... They gave so much of themselves; their families paid such high prices, and because of their sacrifices I can dream AND achieve so many things.

We must continue to work for equality in this country though. As a woman, (though I don't work outside the home), it pains me that women make .70 on the dollar that every man makes. It's a horrible notion that I am telling my daughters to do their very best so their male counterparts can earn more for the same work. However still I dream that they will soar to heights yet unseen (if that is their choice). I'm just happy they have the opportunity to do either.

Please continue to engage in a discourse that will help elevate the status of all citizens of this country.

Be Blessed

Friday, January 14, 2011

Icelandic Vacation

No I didn't go to Iceland, but it sure felt like it here in the Metro-Atlanta area. All it takes is a little snow to shut this city down for a day or two. But mix that snow with freezing rain, and you've shut the whole of northern Georgia down.

Normally I scoff at the people scurrying to the stores stripping the shelves bare at the very hint of snow. This time I shook my head at myself, because for once it was merited. I went to the store last Friday, (and it was nice and sunny), to get a few things, with the plan to shop on Sunday. I picked up milk, orange juice, potatoes and some other small things. Saturday I went to an orientation at my husband's school and had a lovely evening out afterward. By Sunday I could see the clouds coming and I said, "let me pick up some more milk, (the kids will want cocoa), and orange juice (Michael has had a horrible cold, and the juice from Friday was almost all gone). Why was the store nearly cleared out at 7:00 p.m.?

Since I knew the snow would have schools closed the next day I figured I'd let the girls stay up and watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" but they couldn't get themselves together so they headed to bed at 8:30. Next thing you know its Monday morning, and there's a lovely 3" blanket of snow on the ground. However it was quickly followed by freezing rain so my yard turned into an ice rink. When the girls finally made it out to play, they sounded like the icebreakers in the Arctic. The ice was a half inch thick and my girls were eating it like Popsicles. There was no leaving the house. So each day we watched the news in the evening waiting for the list of school closures to scroll across the bottom. Never did I expect it to last the whole week.
I ran out of eggs on Wednesday. So who's the real _____ (insert your word here)? My husband braved the icy conditions and made it to work and the store. I was very grateful, but also very concerned. There were reports of accidents all over the news (although that's not really new to Atlanta). I just didn't want him to get stuck out there, especially since he was sick.

All the other days we were shut in were pretty uneventful. I'm that mom that knows how to make a snow week "no fun". My seven year old practiced piano twice a day everyday, and went over her weekly review sheet from school. My nine year old finished her science project of the planets and read. The 4 year old got over easy; she didn't do much except whine about how bored she was, and bang on the piano (not really, I'd never allow banging, was more like peck ferociously). I managed to finish my lesson plans for my Knitting Instructor Certification, as well as two patterns and projects for beginners. Now don't let me fool you, I wasn't totally anal. We watched our fair share of Netflix and yesterday watched the marathon of "Selling New York". It was actually relaxing to do nothing, and not really have a list of things to do.

I enjoyed this week. It was relaxing and fun and easy. There was no stress of rushing to get anywhere or get anything done. I worked so we wouldn't get behind, but we enjoyed just being together as well. It was a nice extended break and I really appreciated it. As for making up the days, I'm not looking forward to that.

Until next time,
Be Blessed

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings: What I'm Doing Different

Happy New Year All! Yeah it's a few days late, but I was living it up. My anniversary is New Year's Eve, so we had fun. Then we watched the Gator Bowl with the kids, and prayed that RichRod would be getting the old heave-ho.

I have been enjoying these last few weeks with family, just being in each others company and having fun. As you all know, I do not make resolutions, I set goals, and in that vein, here is an update on how 2010 went.
I did NOT read 52 books last year, no where near that many (adult titles that is, if we include children's literature I am at 100+). I read about 12 books, roughly one per month, sadly though I didn't enjoy many of them; I just finished because I had started and they were one closer to the goal. Now mind you, when I picked them up, I really thought I would like them, however most of them left me wanting more. There were so many slow starts (Jane Eyre was one), too much longing and not enough "do something already". A lot of bad advice (sorry Dr. Laura, just didn't do it for me). And some really just "too much going on" science fiction. So the reading goal for this year, drum roll please, 13+ books. Simple and doable.

It was my goal last year also to do 2 community service projects with the girls. Mission accomplished. We did a river clean-up day, made a blanket for a foster child, and a voter awareness project ( i.e. standing out in the cold on November 2, holding up signs for people to vote (we weren't affiliated with any candidate)). Oh yeah, we're working on a quilt now :) This year we'll have to do at least as much, so let's say 3+ community service projects with the girls this year.

Let's see, I've started looking for self-publishing tips so I can get the story done, and a book of poems. Hopefully by my birthday I'll have it all ready to release. I'm also working on my knitting certification, and that should be done by the end of March (because I don't want to pay an extension fee). I'm also working on a secret project which I will fill you in on later ;-)

So I've set my goals, that's the same ole, same ole. So "what's different?" you ask. Well this year, for the first time in a very long time, I am actually believing that "I" can "it". "It" being anything I put my mind to. Honestly, it's one thing to think, "oh yeah, I can do that", but trust me, it's a whole other to say "I can DO that". I might also help that I realize, a little focus isn't a bad thing, and skittering around like a squirrel on caffeine is cute for a second, but then it gets really SCARY. Focus is good, so this year, I'm making a plan to do things in an orderly fashion and get what I know I can DONE, and leave all the rest behind. I'm focusing on the possible and not the "I don't know".

This year my status is:
"Shanta Is removing "fear" and "doubt" from her vocabulary and using any possible "failures" as stepping stones to SUCCESS! Be Blessed"

That's it, I refuse to let myself be the harbinger of bad news for my future. I believe I can, and I know I will. I encourage you to do the same.

Happy New Year,
And as always,
Be Blessed.