Friday, November 3, 2006

Amen?

Isaiah often prays very sincerely, "Jesus, please help us to not sin. We don't want to be sinners anymore. We want to do right things. Please help us to do what is right."

Elisa's prayer before bed one night included the following request: "And Jesus, please help the battery in Isaiah's new fishing game not to die. Help it to work. We don't want it to die. In Jesus' name, amen."

Am I supposed to say 'amen' to that? She was so earnest, and it was all I could do not to laugh.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Mama Envy

One day Isaiah said to me, "Mom, I wish I was a woman."

Thinking it was an odd wish to express, I asked why.

"Because I wish I could have a baby and push it out."

"Well, Isaiah, it is a pretty amazing thing. But it does hurt very much, and most men are glad they don't have to push babies out."

"Well, I just wish I could."

"There are also advantages to being a man, though."

As strange a desire as that is for a little boy, I'm glad to know that in spite of having had difficult deliveries, the attitude he's gotten from me about having babies is that it's awesome.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Poor Are Always With You

We went to my mom's house one day to hang out with my sister, who was there with her kids. While we were getting ready to head home for lunch, Lani was beginning to feed hers. Isaiah hungrily watched Lani feeding cheese to Caleb. I overheard the conversation from the other room, where I was changing the baby's diaper.

"Lani, did you bring any more of that?"

"No, honey - I only brought enough for my kids. I'm sorry, I didn't know you were going to be here today."

Silently, he watched a little longer. Then, in a persuasive tone, he said, "But Lani... the Bible says you are supposed to help poor people."

Holding back her laughter, she said, "That's true: the Bible does say we are supposed to help poor people." And my soft-hearted sister let the little beggar influence her into breaking off a piece of cheese and giving it to him. I walked in just in time to see him take it with a smile.

"We aren't that poor, Isaiah," I said, laughing.

He must take after his dad, who used to sit outside the video arcade crying until some stranger would hand him money and pat him on the head.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Minding Our Manners

Not long ago, Isaiah was playing Barbie dolls on the floor with Talia (who mainly kisses them on the mouth and puts them to bed). Elisa played near them but alone, with an armored, camouflaged Hummer that makes machine gun noises. As she drove it around machine-gunning, she said in a ladylike high-pitched voice to the toys that were in the Hummer's path, "Extuse me! Extuse me, please."

Friday, June 2, 2006

Of Modesty and Men

My sister Lani and her three children were at my house last month. Her son Seth, who is 4, was hot. I told him that if his mama said it was okay, he could take his shirt off. Abby, his almost 3-year-old sister, asked if she could take her shirt off.

Trying to instill modesty early, Lani and I said simultaneously, "No. Seth is a boy, and you are a girl."

Seth said, "Why can't girls take their shirts off?"

I answered, "Because girls are special, and they have to keep themselves covered." Lani told him that girls grow into women with breasts, and breasts are private.

A little while later, Seth turned to his mom and said, "Boys aren't special."

At once, we both said, "Boys are very special - they're just special in a different way than girls."

"But boys aren't as special as girls - and we can take our shirts off," he insisted.

"Boys are just as special as girls. But they're different," I said. "Boys usually grow bigger muscles than girls, and can lift much heavier things." Finally, a smile.

Isaiah listened quietly to this whole conversation, and apparently thought about it for 12 days. Then in class at church one night, he pulled up his shirt to expose his navel to the class. When the teacher had persuaded him to put his shirt back down, he stated very loudly, "I can take my shirt off because I'm a boy. But girls have to keep their shirts on 'cause they have breast-es."

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Looking Beautiful

Elisa was prancing around in her princess things the other day, and said, "Do I look beautiful, Mom?"

"You do look beautiful, Elisa. Do you want to know what God thinks is beautiful?"

She looked curiously at me. "Does He think headbands are beautiful?"

"I don't know. But in the Bible it says that He thinks a gentle and quiet spirit is beautiful."

"Oh. But I don't want one of those."

(That's precisely the problem, isn't it?)

Monday, May 1, 2006

Questions From a Five Year Old

Isaiah came to me one day, a little bit anxiously, and asked me, "Mom, what if God talks to me, and I don't hear Him?"

"Isaiah, usually when God talks to someone, and that person doesn't hear Him, God speaks again until he does hear Him." Then I told him the story of Samuel. He seemed relieved.

Later, I was snuggling him as I put him down for a nap, and I asked him if he wanted to pray for the Holy Spirit to make him strong to do what God wants him to do.

He said, "But what if God wants me to go in a war to fight the bad guys? I'm just little, and I can't shoot those bad guys."

"Isaiah," I said, "God is not going to ask you to go fight in that kind of a war when you are just a little boy. You don't have to shoot bad guys. But you can be a mighty warrior for God in a different way. By praying and learning God's Word, you can fight spiritual battles, even when you're very little. God can make you very strong to do it."

He smiled hugely, and said he did want to pray. "Jesus? Will you give me help from your Holy Spirit to do what God wants me to do? In Jesus' name, amen."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood to me is a fulfilling, frustrating, fruitful endeavor. I am engaged in a desperate attempt to bring order out of chaos. It is often forced servitude. It's exhausting. It's exhilarating. It's 'hello' and 'goodbye' every day. Every day a new accomplishment, a new skill learned, another personality trait revealed. And every day 'goodbye'. The endless 'goodbyes' caught me by surprise. I didn't realize how many there would be. It's most pronounced in baby and toddlerhood. Every new accomplishment is a glaring reminder that my baby will leave me soon. I see their lives going on and on until they are parents themselves and are gone from me. They begin their lives with everything before them, and one by one, they pass the markers of time. I am so aware of my own mortality even as I watch them, so full of life. I pray I can get it all in in the time that I have. That they are well-equipped for eternity before I have to leave them.
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