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After writing my last post, I tried to think of what my parents wanted to pass on to me.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but here are a few of the good things that they taught me:

1. God is in control (and he is good)-This has been proven over and over again in my family.

2. Make wise choices-I think both of my parents taught me this in different ways, from my dad reading me Psalm 1 to my mom teaching me about what it means to be a woman.  I probably also got the luxury of seeing my older brothers make mistakes and cause my parents grief over it.

3. We are blessed to be a blessing-my dad drilled this into my head, and always showed by example that people are more important than money.

4. When cleaning, always be thorough.  (Thanks mom…if only I had learned to do it more frequently!)

5. Have fun when competing.  I think my dad passed this along, because he always played games for fun.

6.  Eat your vegetables.  (But a treat is okay sometimes, too.)

7.  My parents are always there  for me, even if our family was a little broken.

8.  Work is secondary to enjoying life.  I think I learned this because dad was always free to take vacation days for whatever, and mom tried to keep me as young as possible by not letting me get a job until I was over 16.  “She has her whole life to work,” I believe is what she said.

I know there are many other things, but these were the things that popped into my head.  I’d be interested, Ben, Becky…anyone else in the family, to see what you would say???

What did your parents teach you?

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Well, I’m trying to do a post a week, so today I’m going to write out something I’m a little excited about.  Matt and I started a parenting class last night at Bannockburn church called the Legacy Breakthrough class.   It’s only four weeks but the premise is how to raise your children with intention.  One of the first things that the pastor mentioned last night was that good parenting doesn’t just happen-it takes being intentional and purposeful in how you want to raise your kid.  I don’t know from experience, but I agree that is probably true.  It’s definitely easy to be a bad parent, that’s for sure!

What really excites me is that this class is kind of like setting goals and planning, two of the things I’m pretty lousy at but really want to improve in.  I think that if I improve in these two areas, it will pave the way for me to improve in a lot of other areas of life (discipline, follow through, finishing things, challenging myself, etc). How can I accomplish anything if I don’t have a plan?  Exactly.

Growing up so quickly!

Last night our homework was to think of some things that we really want to pass on to our kids.  When Caleb leaves for college, what do Matt and I really want him to know?  Here are some of the things we came up with:

1. How to have a close personal relationship with Jesus

2. That we love him no matter what

3. How to live with integrity

4. How to make wise decisions

5. How to manage money well

6. How to care for others

There were more we wrote down, but I can’t remember at the moment.  I think this is definitely a challenge, because I’m (and probably Matt) still learning how to do these things myself.  I’m no expert.  It will be interesting to look back in 18 years and evaluate if we were able to do these things or not.   My thought is that it will probably take me learning how to do #1 well along with a lot of prayer.

What would you want to pass on to your kids?

A few weeks back, I wrote a few words about how I often struggle with doubt.  I’ve been wanting to follow up with one about faith, but it just wasn’t right until now.

Last night in small group, one of our discussion questions was asked: What has God been teaching you?   I admit I didn’t answer, because my answer was “I don’t know.”  I feel ashamed to say this, because it means either (1.) I’m not listening, or (2.) God’s not trying to teach me anything.  I don’t think it’s #2.

I’ve been reading through the Psalms (slowly), and each day I pick one verse from the Psalm that really speaks to me.  This morning I was amazed to go back and see all of the verses I’ve written down.  Most of them say things about how good God is to us, how great He is, and how right it is for us to follow Him.

I’m not sure if I could verbalize what God wants me to learn (there is probably alot),but one thing I want to learn was summed up nicely in the verse I picked for Psalm 37:

Psalm 37:3  “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

In the sub notes in my Bible, it said that “cultivate faithfulness” could also be translated as “feed on His faithfulness”.  I like this verse because of it’s simplicity.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the things I have to do and be, and when I clearly don’t measure up, I doubt that God would still love me.  But He does!  Jesus is the perfect example of His love for us, not to mention all the blessings he gives us now.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I really think about how good God is.  I don’t understand His love.  It is above me.

When deciding names to name our son, Caleb was the first one we agreed on.  It was important to me that his name have a special meaning.  Caleb means “faithful”.  I hope that he is a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, a reminder to me to strive to remain faithful, and something to teach Caleb about as well.

Matthew 17:20 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In another part of the Bible, Jesus also compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, “which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:31-32)

I think faith might be like that.  Small at first, but able to grow.  So, I guess what I really want to learn is how to grow in my faith.  It just might be that this is also what God wants to teach me about, and that would be a good thing.

About 3 years ago, my school participated in a pilot program for AISD.  I was one of 10 teachers to help pilot this program, called A Legacy of Giving (ALOG).  ALOG is a non-profit organization started by Linda Brucker after watching her son give back to the community for part of a school assignment.  The assignment that the kindergarten teacher gave her students was to observe the homeless in our community, find out what they need, and then act on that.

ALOG’s primary purpose is to expose and educate young children about philanthropy so they will grow up giving back to their communities.  Sounds great, right?  To be completely honest (and expose just how selfish I am), I was NOT excited about being part of this pilot program.  Like many programs that get thrown at teachers, this program required us to attend trainings, integrate yet more curriculum, and organize comminity service projects for our school-in other words, more work.  In the three years I taught this program, my effort was probably half-hearted.  Sure, there were things that I liked about what we did, but I wouldn’t have felt bad if the district cut the program.

The last training I went to was in May.  At this training, Linda Brucker told us the story of why she started ALOG and described the project that her kindergarten son was assigned several years ago.  Through his observation and research, he concluded that homeless people really needed clean socks.  So, that day at the training, we replicated what that 6 year old had done several years before: we made tube sock gifts to give out to the homeless we saw on the street.  Inside one tube sock we placed a juice box, crackers, candy, etc, along with the other sock.  We each made two and were given the instruction to hand these out when we passed a homeless person in our cars.

I went along with the project, but I doubted I would ever hand out the sock.  Something about it made me uncomfortable.

Well, weeks went by and the socks sat on my desk.  Then I moved out of my classroom, and the socks made it to the back of my car. I wasn’t thrilled about handing these out, but I couldn’t just throw them away either.  One day a few weeks ago I was at a stoplight on 290 and saw a homeless woman asking for money.  With my heart pounding, I reached back behind me and grabbed the sock.  Waving at the woman, I hesitantly asked her, “Would you like a sock?”  I didn’t expect the response I got: smiling, she said, “Sure! I could always use clean socks!  God bless you!”

Needless to say, I was humbled.  And happy.  And surprised.  I’m not sure what was holding me back (pride, fear, shame, disdain, selfishness?), but once I got over it and did this kind deed (though small), I felt good.  In that moment, I connected with her, and we were equals.

Last week I gave out my second sock to another homeless man who was equally as grateful.  Do you ever feel guilty when you drive past a homeless person on the side of the road?  I think that perhaps I feel this as I look away and pretend they’re not there.  Something about such a small act changed that.  It’s hardly anything tangible that I’m giving, but maybe there’s more to it.  I’m giving kindness? respect? care?  acknowledgment? And in return I’m getting peace. satisfaction. gratitude. thanks.

After three years of teaching children about philanthropy, I think I’m finally learning about it myself.  All it took was a couple of juice boxes, some tube socks, and a few people who care about our community.  Thanks, ALOG.  You’re reaching more than you know.

So, this is a few days late of one month, but it’s close enough.  Here are my thoughts of being a mom so far:

  • When I first gave birth to Caleb, and the nurse handed him to me, it was not love at first sight.  I don’t know about other moms, but it took quite a few days for me to feel some attachment to him; breastfeeding really helped with this.
  • I think I was a walking Zombie for the first two weeks; I had no idea that babies needed to be fed at least every 3 hours…that’s no more than 2 hours of sleep at a time!  I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, but it was amazing that I was able to wake up for every feeding.  I guess I do have mom instincts.
  • Recovering from birth takes a lot longer than I expected as well.  This may have something to do with the lack of sleep…
  • Breastfeeding is difficult-it definitely takes some getting used to, by mom and baby.  Talking with a lactation consultant helped immensely.
  • Though a bit on the pricey side, Special Addition, in N. Austin, is the best store I’ve been to.  I highly recommend checking it out.  The staff helped me find a great nursing bra that fits perfectly, and gave me lots of tips as well.
  • Caleb pretty much just sleeps, eats, and dirties his diapers.  Oh, and cries (I hear him now).  I love the times when he just curls against my shoulder after eating, but I’m also looking forward to him being a little older and able to interact with him more.
  • I am very grateful for the people who brought us food the first two weeks.  I think I may have starved if not for them. ❤
  • I really enjoy watching Matt interact with Caleb.  It makes me happy.
  • A marriage is definitely challenged by a baby.  There are already things that Matt and I have disagreed on, which is tough and will take working on.
  • Our marriage is also enriched by having a baby;  it’s a pretty special thing to become a parent with your spouse.  I wouldn’t have picked anyone else to share this with.
  • Matt and I are reading BabyWise, and trying out this method of organizing the insane task of feeding and getting Caleb to sleep.  There have been some challenges, but we’ll see where it goes.  There’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book, so the jury is still out on it.
  • I love cuddling with Caleb.  It is very satisfying to have a little baby sleep in your arms.
  • Even though having a baby is hard, I have this feeling that it’s only going to get more challenging as he gets older.  Someday I may think back to when Caleb was a baby and relish these early baby moments.