Sunday, December 30, 2007


My severely shy youngest son spoke up in church yesterday! It is a reason to celebrate. It was during a special program where all the children's divisions come up and share with the adults things they've been doing all year long. Matthew's teacher would ask questions about what they had been studying and he answered! I was thrilled. Normally he gets so shy he won't do a thing.

Greta also participated and both she and Matthew sang when the teacher led them in "This Little Light of Mine." Greta actually kept looking at the microphone and edging a little closer. She' s not usually shy when you pit a mic in front of her!

Matthew has a lot of musical ability, it seems to be one of the gifts God bestowed on him. My prayer is that he will be able to use his gift to honor God. Matthew's first composition (at four years of age) was pretty simple, but he played it at his recital and it was in a minor key and appropriately named "Jesus Dying on the Cross."

I've also seen a lot of progress in my oldest son, Michael as well. He's starting to come out of his shell a little and even ran for a class office at school. That totally blew me away.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my kids always have to be active in everything and always up front. Please! But when it matters most, when God has a job for them to do using the talents He gave them, it's not the time to be shy. It's the time to do for God as He has done for us. And I personally believe they don't have to be married and 21 years of age or older before God can use them. God uses willing hearts, no matter what their age.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I do bribe my children. Our church has prayer meetings on Tuesday nights and tonight after the meeting was over, I wanted the children to get to bed right away, so I bribed them.

Last night, I didn't get home until 6:30, which made it difficult for my husband to get to a meeting he was supposed to be at precisely at 7:00. Tonight was a similar story. Although I work from 8 to 5, I rarely leave on time. I rarely get my full one hour lunch break. Often I'm sitting in the break room with the door open so I can hear when the patient is done so I can go and set up their next appointment and then get back to my lunch. Of course after two days of late nights I'm tired and just want to have the kids get to bed. After all, I barely made it home in time to even go to prayer meeting in the first place.

So, how did I bribe my children? As soon as we walked in the door, I announced there would be a prize for the child who was first to get into their pajamas. Michael, the oldest, ran off immediately to his room to get busy. He must have forgotten that one other time I had given a prize and it was a hug and kiss from mommy. Greta also went straight to her room, as fast as her little four year old legs would carry her.

Matthew was the interesting one. Immediately he sat down on the floor and complained that races aren't fair and he doesn't want to race and he never wins so he doesn't like them. I didn't budge. I didn't change my mind. He had to get going. Michael and Greta actually tied for being the first in their pajamas, and they were each allowed a special treat out of their "goody bags." These are candies and sweets that have been collected the past few weeks that we allow them to dip into once in a while. It would be too much mayhem to let them have it all at once and it's a funny thing that neither Karl nor I want to deal with that.

By the time the two winners are picking out their prizes, Matthew's heaving sobs are unmistakably growing louder by the second. He worked himself into a good cry and we had a talk about how his whining and complaining didn't help him get in pajamas.

This is not the first time Matthew has struggled with similar issues. If he doesn't think he can "win" a particular situation or event, he immediately begins to whine and complain and slow down and not participate. Well, he's right, he never wins. Not at this rate! His younger sister nearly beat their older brother, solely because she got busy, she didn't murmur and complain.

Now before a lot of people start saying I'm not fair to my children, Matthew does manage to get special treats and things. There are other things he is very good at, other than prompt obedience at times.

I've dealt with some patients, supposedly adults, who remind me a lot of what Matthew just did tonight. When they can tell they aren't going to "win" they immediately put on the brakes and start the grumbling process. Fortunately, the doctor I work for doesn't put up with that mess. Rules of protocol are clearly posted in the waiting room and there is no excuse for patients not behaving in a courteous and respectful manner. I've noticed that I don't enjoy checking in the patients who are eager to complain and murmur if things aren't going their way. I suppose to some degree we all would prefer to be around those who take responsibility for their actions and admit when they didn't do their best and so they didn't "win" the prize.

I'm hoping and praying that Matthew eventually grows out of the murmuring phase. I'm hoping and praying that I grow out of it too. Yep, it's made me think tonight about how many times I haven't been willing to accept God's will, because it just wasn't what I was expecting. I murmured and complained and even put on the brakes and threw a fit a few times. Watching Matthew, I realize that I have two choices. I can act, or I can whine and complain. In the end, action requires a lot less effort and I have greater fulfillment for getting the task accomplished. Whining and complaining wears me out, puts me in a state of depression and then I'm overwhelmed by all the other things that piled up while I was busy with my pity party. It sure seems like it's a far better choice to go for the action instead of the whining. Maybe Matthew and I will grow out of this murmuring phase together.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

That's Obvious

Michael is in that stage where it is just gross to see his parents affectionate toward one another. I'm sure he'll get used to it one of these days, but in the meantime he runs when Karl gives me a kiss.
One day, Karl said, Michael do you know that I love your mother? Michael's response was "That's obvious." I was so happy to know that it was obvious to our children that we loved each other. Karl asks me on a regular basis if I like surprises and it's been wonderful to come home and be surprised by his thoughtfulness. The children are practically jumping up and down waiting for me to find the surprise.

As I deal with situations at work and elsewhere, I find myself wondering if it's obvious that I love people and want to help them. Is it obvious that I'm a Christian? Is it obvious that I'm someone who keeps my promises?

Yep, I've decided, I want it to be obvious.