Family Home

Washing Dishes

Monday mornings are always a bit slow around here.

Sunday evenings blur as we rush to leave for Awanas by 4:45 P.M. (too early to eat supper–see my latestThis is the Way We Wash Our Clothes sidebar survey), and we return home by 8:30-ish just famished! Thankfully, my dear husband always has his special dish prepared for us: peanut butter and scrambled egg sandwiches on toast, plus whatever he can scrounge up for a side. Still, we all get to bed after ten o’clock, nothing unusual for me and hubby, but it’s enough of a late night that my two older girls sleep in a bit on Monday morning. (Another plus to homeschooling!)

I normally am the chief dishwasher on weekend nights, while the girls do them on weeknights, but lately toddler has been champing at the bit to finish her supper, dump her plate in the sink and begin the washing all by herself. She just LOVES to wash dishes, usually with 7 yo by her side. Since it was wa-ay too late for such a long drawn out process last night, I promised her I’d save them for her to do this morning while we started school.

Up early (of course, when are toddlers not, I ask you?) she dragged me out of bed, slurped down a carton of strawberry yogurt and protested at me filling the sink with hot, soapy water.

“Don’t wash without me!” (wish you could have seen her yogurt besmeared mug!)

“I’m not, I’m just filling it up for you.” (and discreetly pre- scrubbing all the silverware and cups–just in case…)

We pushed two chairs up to the sink and tied her Winnie the Pooh halter-apron on, and got to work. Two chairs? One for the soapy sink, and one for the rinsing sink–this way she could walk her way to the dish drainer. By the way, this is a great way to ensure your kitchen floor a clean start for the day…

Anyway, children even as young as 3 love to help, don’t they? And when it comes to washing dishes, I don’t know if any toy compares, at least not currently, to my three year old.

Well, excepting maybe “Frog”, our four-week-old fluffy Border Collie…


The Coal-Diamond Transformation

Words to Live By, HopeThis past Sunday found us seated in a cozy Baptist adult Sunday school class. We visited hubby’s aunt’s church, as she’d recently returned from a mission trip to Africa and would share about it during the morning service.

So there we were, seated around a table with five other people…a scented candle in our midst and coffee perking in the background. Perfect small group setting, even if one no longer drinks coffee (my loss). Our study: Matthew 8:1-13 on faith. Quick recap–Jesus heals a leper and tells him to tell no one, but to present himself to tWords to Live By: Faithhe priest for a testimony. Of course, we kept reading on into the incredible story of the Roman centurion whose faith believed that Jesus could speak healing and his servant miles away would be healed, but my thoughts were still with the leper.

Leprosy. Probably the worst disease ever as anyone afflicted was socially and physically cast out of society and made to live apart until death. Think of the faith it took for thWords to Live By: Believeis leper to come out of hiding and near enough to Jesus to request healing. Consider what he’d gone through, the suffering and cruelty and loneliness that brought him to that kind of faith.

Into my musings, the Sunday school teacher, a humble and soft-spoken man, responded to someone elses’ thoughts (again, I was wool-gathering so I didn’t catch what prompted this gem). He said,

“My mother always said she was just a lump of coal and the hardships and difficult people that crossed her path were just helping her to more quickly become a diamond.”

What a gracious response to trials, right? And again I thought of the leper and his afflictions. Bitterness could have poisoned his inner man but instead he chose to hope, to keep the faith, and look at his reward! Healing. Another chance at an abundant life.

But don’t leave me yet, the best is yet to come. We next flipped back in our Bibles to Zechariah 4:6-7:

Then he answered and said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.

What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!'”

Most of us stop and ponder verse six: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit…” but also grasp tWords to Live By, Strengthhe import of verse seven’s “Grace, grace to it!”

Grace to the mountains (obstacles) in our lives. Grace to endure the trials, the ugliness. Grace to keep hoping. Grace to obey God’s command to “Consider it all joy concerning the fiery trials among you”

Grace, grace, God’s grace.

The Gaither Vocal Band sings a song entitled, “Love Can Turn the World”, here’s a snippet:

“If coal can turn to diamonds, And sand can turn to pearls; If a worm can turn into a butterfly– Then Love can turn the World…”

Family Ties

Children: Our Mirrors

Mary here: MIntheGap kindly agreed to guest post here today! I’ve missed you all here in blogland, but between church, family, homeschooling and now jury duty my life is running away with me…but enough about me, read on!

Children: Our Mirrors

One of the most humbling things about being a parent that I have found was how much my children are me. My oldest child is like me in so many ways:

  • He has the physical build I had when I was young (my wife feeds me too well now!)
  • He has the same set of interests that I had (I was always the indoors child)
  • He has the same type of memory– that can tell you where something is even though you don’t believe he could possibly remember.
  • He tends to want to be the third parent– what first child doesn’t?

What’s humbling is the times where you can see yourself in your children. I’m not simply talking about the word choices (I mean, what child knows truly what a chrysalis is– to them, it’s a Christmas) or their tastes, I’m talking about they react to the world– what they deem important.

I’m blessed that my children like to hear Bible stories, they like to memorize Scripture. My wife told me that the other day they were out in the yard enacting a scene from David and Goliath. The trouble was that they were using real stones!

And then there are the times that they reflect the poor character traits that we have. How we respond to frustration they do as well. If we raise our voices, so do they. They reflect and parrot us because they look up to us. We’re their world to them– especially when they are young.

How’s your reflection in the “mirror?” Do you like what you see?

MInTheGap has been commenting on the culture at large and current events from his blog since 2004. He enjoys spending time with his family, writing, and being active in his local church.