Categories
Family Health

Friday Night Frights

My 7 yo and her calamities will be the reason I’m completely gray by January of next year. No kidding.

Busy day today. Friday mornings are reserved for Bible study and lunch, usually here at my house, with my parents. Our recent six inch snowfall, and the slippery hill up to our home made an easy excuse for me to pack up the girls and my half of our lunch and go over to Mom and Dad’s. Main reason, we have four-wheel drive. They don’t!

We had a great time with them, and afterward headed North to one of my favorite shopping towns…hoping to find the “perfect gift” for my nephew, in time for tonight’s birthday party. Mission accomplished, and in time to swing by Baskin Robbins for ice creams all around. (You would have thought I was Santa Claus, btw, my girls were that excited about single dips!)

We arrive home with just enough time to put away groceries and get everyone changed into party clothes and while I’m in the shower I hear those words every parent hopes they never hear while they’re in the shower…or anywhere else, for that matter: “MOM! Come quick, (7 yo) is hurt, BAD!”

Argh! What does BAD mean anyway? That I still have time to rinse the soap off, or that I need to wear bubbles to the ER?  

The high-pitched wailing soon answers my question. I’m toweling off as my daughter stumbles into the bathroom, blood all over her chin and running out her mouth. Immediately I do what all parents do when faced with a crisis. Pray. Actually, it was more of a yelp for help. I hollered to 10 yo to look up the dentist’s phone number in the phone book and got an instant migraine when I saw two of my 7yo’s upper middle teeth hanging sideways and shoved back in her mouth.

Why is it, when things like this happen, you can’t remember ANYTHING? I honestly think that is why husbands are so necessary. Yes. Anyway. I could NOT remember if my dear girl had lost BOTH upper front teeth! I knew she’d lost one, and thought she’d lost both, I mean, don’t most kids lose their two front uppers and bottoms early on in their tooth loss journey? I knew one of the ones dangling was a primary tooth, but the other one looked dangerously adult!

I know something about myself now. When it comes to my children, I am not good in a crisis. I managed to get myself dressed and OF COURSE, it’s after dentist hours, so I bother mine at home, only one problem, he’s not home, not even near our fair city. OF course. But his wife is a gem and gives me all of his dentist friends’ phone numbers. Hee hee. Only they’re not home either, nor at their offices, nor answering their tellies. Maybe they know better on Friday nights. A-hem.

So hubby FINALLY gets home. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you what happened while I was in the shower. Evidently in their excitement over aforementioned birthday party, and possibly still high on Jamoca Oreo ice cream cones, my two oldest girls were wrestling around (yes, girls rough-house too, amazing isn’t it?) and oldest kicked middle in the mouth. So oldest is weeping the whole time, heartsick that she’s left her dear sis maimed for life. Because mother dear (that’d be me) was absolutely sure that it was a permanent tooth hanging half in and half out of 7yo’s mouth. And I’m really praying by now, because when I ran out of dentist numbers to harass, I tried calling my parents, and both sisters and couldn’t get through to ANY of them to have them pray!

Hubby and his parents are all here by now and having a pow-wow crouch around 7 yo’s open mouth. Of course, all the bleeding has subsided and it’s easier to see that the duo teeth are both primary. THANK YOU, Lord! Our dentist’s wife called around that time and said her hubby would be back in town in an hour and a half, and would meet us at his office. So we sent our 10 yo and our 3.5 yo along to the birthday party with their grandparents, and sweet-talked 7 yo into yanking the looser of the teeth out herself. The dentist easily got the other one out, and pronounced it good to go.

When we got to the birthday party, 7 yo ran up to big sis and said, “Thank you for knocking out my teeth!” Seriously, it was a blessing, because 7 yo has a tooth condition in which her primary roots don’t dissolve, so her loose baby teeth take FOREVER to fall out. She usually has to have them removed by our dentist, so that her permanent ones have a shot at coming in straight. So, yes, “all things do work together for good.”

Btw, if your child does happen to lose one of their permanent teeth, don’t put it in milk (The ER told us to do that if it finished coming out–this was when I was convinced it was permanent). Our dentist said that the best thing to do, as long as you aren’t worried about it being swallowed, is to have them tuck it in their bottom lip. The saliva protects it and keeps it till the dentist can put it back. Getting them in quickly guarantees it will bond better and heal as good as new.

Well, my tooth fairy duties are calling me. How much do you think these two teeth should be worth?

Categories
Christianity

How Does God See Us?

Do you feel guilty when you think of God? It’s easy to get in a pattern of blaming ourselves…to immediately think, I don’t spend enough time reading God’s word or Every time I pray, I’m full of me and my needs and wants, and they’re all physical things–health, finances. How about, I don’t do enough for God. Or, I know this is a sin, I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t. I have too many things to confess to ever get caught up… Etcetera. We convince ourselves that we’re failures. That we’re letting Him down.

These inner whisperings work away at us, creating a distance between us and God that is wholly one-sided.

Here’s the truth.

Our sin has been dealt with. God, our Father, has removed it from us who believe, through His Son’s work on the cross. Psalm 103:12 says that He’s removed it from us, “as far as the east is from the west”. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “Your sins have been washed away.”

He holds no condemnation against you, dear friend. (Romans 8:1).

Here’s His promise, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekial 36:26-27

Wait a minute.

Don’t misunderstand me here. We are all sinners. Sin is an attitude of wanting our way over God’s way. Sins exist in our past, our present, and some are ongoing struggles we strive against.

1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Why confess sins if Jesus already paid the price?

Confessing sin is simply agreeing with God that you’ve done something wrong. The above verses are actually encouraging to believers, in fact, if you read 1 John 5:13, you see that John wrote this book so that we believers may know that we have eternal life. One way to know God is in our lives–to *know* we’re in the faith, is to experience His forgiveness, His faithfulness and mercy. We are human and fallible, He is God, and He loves us anyway.

That second part, verse 9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” is our promise. God won’t count our sins against us. He will remove them from us. And He does this to affirm His faithfulness. Look at these following two verses:

Jeremiah 31:34, “…for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

If you follow the link to this Jeremiah passage, and start in verse 31, you’ll see that God is foretelling the New Covenant, the one Jesus bought and paid for with His death on the cross. That’s our promise to claim!

Colossians 2:13-14, “When you were dead in your transgressions…He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Italics mine)

I’m still confused. Confessing a list of sins is intimidating. If God doesn’t see sin when He looks at me, why bother? 

As a teenager and young person, I worried that I’d forget a sin when confessing. I mean, who can remember every single selfish or unkind thought or action? I’m sure there have been and are sins in my life that I’m not even aware of, perhaps I haven’t been convicted of them yet. But here’s the thing: It’s NOT about confessing a list of sins.

We know our sins have been forgiven by Jesus on the cross, not by our ongoing list of items to confess, right? That’s what Colossians 2:13-14 say above. That God canceled our record of sin and nailed it on the cross. We know we have no hope of ever being able to confess EVERYTHING, right?  

So when we “confess” we are doing so for this reason: We are repentant. We desire change. We love God and want a right relationship with Him–friendship aka “fellowship”. This is a humble heart seeking forgiveness, removal of guilt, and God’s assurance that Jesus’ sacrifice paid for it all.

In conclusion…

Jesus covered our sins. When God looks down from Heaven and sees us, He sees us through the filter of His Son in us. Yes, when we sin, when we get caught in the trap of worry or anger or whatever, we need to confess/acknowledge our sins to Him, to restore fellowship. Just as we make things right with our husbands or wives or children after hurting them, rather than letting pride keep us from admitting we’re wrong, and subsequently put its walls up between us and our loved ones. We are God’s bride. And God is ever faithful.

Ask God to show you what He thinks of you. And don’t believe Satan’s lies, because you can be sure, the last thing the great deceiver wants is for you to believe that God can love you. Sin is not the deepest thing about you.

You have a new heart. Believe that.

All scripture references are linked to the full passages at blueletterbible.org, and are taken from the New American Standard Bible.

Categories
Farm Life

Tempting Me

Is anyone else longing for Spring?

I’m so fickle! I love the cozy, house bound days of winter. Snow outside, me and mine inside. Good times. But yesterday as the temperature inched into the 60’s, a part of me flung itself open wide and got drunk on fresh air!

I actually lugged our TV/VCR out onto the deck and did aerobics with an old tape of the Fitness Beach ladies while the girls frolicked in the mud yard, resurrecting last fall’s sandpile toys and leaping for joy on the lonely trampoline.

Two days before, our most recent snow fall had just melted into oblivion. Last night we had the grand mafia of thunderstorms. Today the snow is supposed to fly again. I look around me and see a house in need of Spring airing. Children in need of vigorous, rousing outdoor fun. A husband getting too old to work outside in single digit temps for weeks at a time. And then there’s me, craving an outdoor living room.

Winter, my friend, have mercy on me. Till next December.

Categories
Writing

Heroes–What Makes Them Great?

Guess what? My hubby took our older girls out to set and check traps with him during three year old’s nap yesterday, and meanwhile, I got in almost three hours of work on my WIP (work-in-progress)! It’s a contemporary women’s fiction novel, with two point of views, the hero’s and the heroine’s.

It’s been forever, so I spent some time gathering my hastily jotted notes–yes, even when I’m not writing, I have great dialog and ideas for scenes flashing through my ever busy brain–and fleshed out an already started GMC chart for hero and heroine. GMC stands for goals-motivation-conflict, in case you’re wondering. 🙂

My hero needed some help. He’s a nice guy, despite his inner turmoil. Too nice, probably. So I was pleased to find these blog articles by Susan May Warren (author of Chill Out, Josey!) over at Book Therapy. The one I’ve linked to is the first in the series, and even if you don’t play around at writing like I do, you might enjoy checking them out. Writers evaluate everything. It feeds our creativity, lol. I can’t even watch a movie anymore without getting to the heart of every little detail…things that I love or hate, what makes the main characters tick.

So Susan’s articles on heroes and their “Noble Causes, Flaws and Fears” really hooked me. Especially as one of her examples is spot on for what I’ve written. My fictional hero’s dad died in the line of duty when he was 9 years old, and hero grew up wanting to be just like him (not dead, you know what I mean *wink*). He served in the military police, and came home to work in a small town police department near his childhood community. He has a “protector complex”, but I wasn’t sure what other flaws I should give the poor man.

He’s already made “his stunning mistake”, he is atoning for it, but I have yet to figure out how to have him betray one of his “deepest values” for the sake of the more important one. Have I lost you? Maybe Susan’s explanation using Mel Gibson’s struggle in The Patriot will help:

“Well, here’s why…because at some point in your story, your hero is going to have to choose between the two values. He’ll have to betray the one, and choose the other.

But why can’t he just have both?

Because, the best tension is INNER tension…and competing values are what makes a story take a reader’s breath away. It’s why we’ll cry at Sommersby, and why Mr. Darcy’s confession of love gets us in the heart every time, and why it’s so darn heroic when Mel Gibson comes riding up with the mended American flag after his son is killed in the Patriot. Every character has had to grapple with their inner values, and find the one that pushes them forward. The one that is most Noble.”

I should say that I’m on the fourth draft of this particular novel…yeah…so I still have a lot to learn and am using this story to hone my craft! May it someday see the light of day, one can always hope!Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger - The Patriot

My favorite movie heroes include Tom Hanks (You’ve Got Mail), Keanu Reeves (Lake House), and Mel Gibson (The Patriot). As far as book heroes go, I really loved Trevor in Deb Raney’s Remember to Forget, Landon in Denise Hunter’s Surrender Bay, and Jamie in Liz Curtis Higg’s Lowlands of Scotland series.

All my favorite heroes have one thing in common, they all make me swoon! They’re courteous to a fault, protective and committed. And usually tormented by their past, or the heroine’s past.

What do you look for in a hero, and what are some of your fictional/movie favorites? If you can think of their flaws/fears/noble causes, will you share them in comments?