Thursday, March 10, 2011

Poetic Post

 I have been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp with a wonderful group of ladies and I am really enjoying it.  I love the prose style that she writes in, so as a tribute I thought I would show you what my writing style is like when I am not working so hard to be concise and coherent.

Some days it is easier to get held down in my failure, to give in to the incompetence, and chalk it all up as lost.  Failed.  Human.  Incapable of the task.  I forget that it isn’t about me and my ability.  I forget that I was not made to accomplish glory on my own.  So I lose myself in the long list of my short-comings and bemoan my poor children’s luck.  Back luck in genetics (they never had a chance with my genes).  I take the blame.  I swallow the lie and Satan reels me in.  Not good enough.  Not faithful enough.  Not enough.  It sits in my stomach and festers.  The lie of self; independence.
            But I am not self-sufficient.  I do not need to claim independence as my mantra.  I am dependent on God.  I was made incomplete.  I was made insufficient in patience, mercy, and knowledge.  I will not ever be wise enough on my own power.
            Strangely, the truth is harder to swallow than the lie.  I am tentative to taste it.  I even choke a bit as it slides down my throat; my body’s natural reaction of rejection.  But it soothes my stomach as it settles into me.  The truth is calming.  This is a center.  It gives me a new focal point for balancing my life.  Stop focusing on myself and focus on Him.  I am not the center.
            I am exactly as God made me to be.  I can not do this without Him.  The truth that I am not good enough is a release.  I can let go of guilt, luck, pity, insecurities, shame.  I can continue knowing that I will fall, but never fail.  Falling will only bring me to my knees.  I can risk giving because I know the truth.  My role is to partner with God; to ask, and listen, and receive.
            I can risk loving and trying because I know God is capable of anything, even using me to raise these wonderful children.

And a poem I wrote for my mom when my eldest was about a year old.

This is a whole new kind of love.
It is unlike any other type of love I have ever felt.
And how do I express this love to her?
How can I impress upon her young mind the depth and height of my love?
The words, as of yet, hold no tangible meaning to her
My gifts, my sacrifices she cannot yet appreciate.
Somehow, in the depths of her nature, she knows.
She desires my smiles, hangs on my words, and revels in my physical presence.
One day I will hold her close and whisper to her that I love her so much I would do anything for her.
And she will still not grasp the entirety of my love.
She will only understand when one day she holds her own child tightly in her arms.

Thank you Mom, I think I am beginning to understand.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Twilight Tuesday 3

I have been using the Twilight books as an example, but honestly, these same issues can relate to so many books out there.  Romance is not a topic exclusive to the Twilight series.  We have discussed how romance is portrayed in these books and have talked briefly about why God gave young girls that craving for romance; now what can we, as moms, do with that?  How does that effect our parenting?  What questions can we be asking to draw our daughters into the conversation?

            We can start by reading the same books, occasionally listening to the same music (heavy metal might be hard to take on a regular basis), and basically knowing what other forms of media your daughter is taking in.  I have a hard time keeping up with my eldest’s reading list but I do my best, and I rely on good review websites to help me out.  I really like the TeenLitReview blog and Focus on the Family has some decent reviews on books as well. is wonderful for a detailed analysis of movies; scary scenes, smoking and drug use, swearing, jump scenes, etc.  The site is not Christian, but my husband and I use it before we go to movies now too. 

            Music gets a bit trickier for our family.  We love a wide variety of music and sometimes it is hard to find reviews of secular music that include the kind of information we would want to know before buying it.  I am stuck with listening to it online if I can find it and then we tend to buy songs individually instead of whole albums.  I would be happy to hear of any resources you have in this area.

            We have software on all our computers to block unwanted websites and it even blocks most ads that we would find inappropriate.  It helps that my husband is a computer guy so there is no way our kids could become proficient at hiding their internet history from us.   Let your kids know the standards you set for yourself, especially if they are the same you would set for them.  Because I have a website I get a fair amount of junk email that makes it through the spam filter.  My daughters know that when I am checking my email I don’t want them looking over my shoulder.  I don’t want to see some of the titles of the emails I get, so I definitely don’t want them to see it either.

            So now that we know what our daughters are consuming from the media, what do we do with that information?  Lock them away!  Ok, that won’t work.  I would suggest finding ways to talk about the books, music, whatever in a way that allows your daughter to share her thoughts and feeling with you.  If you don’t have a relationship with your daughter where you actually talk to each other, that might be a better place to start, but I am going to assume that we all have at least that much.  Your daughter doesn’t have to be an official teen to start these conversations.  The Disney Princesses will give you all the fodder, oops, material you need to discuss romance with a younger girl. 

            What kinds of questions?  I would suggest questions where your daughter can’t answer “yes” or “no.”  You will start to get some great insight into your daughter’s preferred love language that way.

  • How is [insert character’s name here] being romanced?  How would you respond if you were being wooed this way?
  • If you could put yourself in any relationship in the book, which one would you pick?  Why?
  • Is there a beauty who tames the beast in this story?  If so, who is it and how do they tame the beast?  Is this possible in real life? (i.e. a person’s smell can not be realistically described as being addictive unless you are a vampire)
  • (For a younger girl)  Do you think [character’s name] feels loved by [prince what’s his name]?  Would you feel loved if you were them?
  • (For a younger girl) Which character would you like to be?  Why?

Knowing your daughter’s preferred love language would definitely be helpful.  Not only does it give you the opportunity to demonstrate positive expressions of love that she will be drawn to; but it will also help you to see how she is expressing her love to you.  Perhaps her way of showing love is to give gifts and she makes you all kinds of crafts that litter the house.  Heaven forbid you should ever throw one away!  You now realize you need a plan to accept her gifts in a way that doesn’t make her feel rejected but also keeps your house uncluttered.  Our love languages for giving and receiving can be very different.  It helps to know how to reach your daughter’s heart in order to direct it in paths of discernment.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.    Song of Solomon 3:5

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.    Song of Solomon 8:4