Archives for March 2011

Stirrings :: Friends

Jen
I have had a couple of interesting weeks.  My daughter is hitting one of her first big lessons on friendships. We have touched on so many topics in the last few weeks.  What do you do when someone doesn’t want you around?  What do you say to others?  What is gossip?  Then there are the questions that I face: “Do I get involved?  What do I say to encourage her?  What do I do about the blame game?  How do I build for her a foundation of identity and security?”  Here are a few of the conclusions that I have drawn with a little help from my friends.

Friendships are essential in our lives.  There are seasons to our friendships.  Each friendship is unique.  We can’t be friends with everyone.  Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like us.

I have been preoccupied with several things lately, but parenting seems to be on the forefront.

What to do when someone doesn’t want you around?
This is some of the best advice I have gotten from my dear friend and mentor, Muriel.  She has raised 3 amazing girls and has had her share of challenges in raising them.  I often call her when I feel I am in a drought for wisdom and ask for advice, “What do I do?  There are girls saying they don’t want to be friends with her, in several hurtful ways.”  “Jen, you tell her that there is always someone who needs someone to play with.  Tell her to go and find that person and play with them.” she calmly reminds me.  This advice is really simple and really good.  Here is Muriel and her daughters.  I love all of them!

Muriel also shared a story about her oldest daughter who was often picked on in school.  She said to look at her now.  I must admit she is one of the best people I know.  My mentor went on to say it taught her daughter compassion and character.  Could it be true, that being picked on in school is not always a bad thing?
Our pediatrician told us a story about his son who was made fun of in school.  They encouraged him to find someone who needed help and to help them, to be their friend.  He ended up helping the special needs kids in his class and he was happy doing it.  He has grown into a man full of compassion.  As a high school student, he became a teen with many friends and was well liked; he had an amazing heart towards special needs kids.  He would go to special events like dances and races supporting and encouraging his special needs friends.  This heart grew from not being liked by a few kids in grade school accompanied with good parenting.  As a high schooler he could be well liked and move outside of the norm and exercise kindness.  I think that takes a ton of character for a teenager!  Now he is excelling as a man of integrity and courage at the Naval Academy.

What do you say to others?  What is gossip?

Even if something may be true, it is not always prudent to say it.  I have been teaching my daughter that home is a safe place where she can tell me anything.  It is hard to teach an 8 year old about gossip.  Okay, it’s hard to train myself to have self-control in my speech.  My daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter books together.  We are on book 2.  I have been using the characters as lessons.  Draco Malfoy says mean things to Ron Weasly.  Draco reminds Ron that his family is poor and all the things he has are second hand.  Are these things true? Yes.  Is it nice to say? No.  We don’t want to be a Draco Malfoy.  When you go and find another friend to play with, don’t gossip about those who rejected you.  You will be tempted to say things that may seem true or even be true, but saying them is not kind.

I did it.  I said it.

There will be times when you say something mean, or when you do something mean.  You will hurt people.  I used the example of siblings and even our marriage.  Scott and I can say and do mean things to each other.  We are human.  We are going to make big messes and hurt people.  I know in this case that my daughter is not the victim, nor is she perfect.  She is a person in a relationship.  There are always two sides to a story and all of us make mistakes.  My advice to her is to own it.  Maybe she did say something mean about that girl, so admit it and apologize.  We are going to be a family who believes in the power of forgiveness in our own lives and the lives of others.  We know that we have been forgiven much by God, so we will forgive and we will be humble and ask for forgiveness.  We will admit when we are wrong.  We will work on our stuff!

What do I do about the blame game?

He said, she said, they are…  I am taking this one back to Harry Potter.  Harry doesn’t go around moping and blaming others, saying, ‘Draco is being mean to me.  Poor me, my parents are dead.  No fair, Snape is picking on me!’  What he does is acknowledge his circumstances and then he lives his life.  He is thankful for his buddies Ron and Harmonie.  He can’t wait to play quidditch and he fights for what is right and what is good.  Put your energy into the good and positive things in life.

Do I get involved?
My mentor and those close to me with older kids whom I trust say, “You will be tempted to call the parent of the other kids.  You will want to, but don’t.”  I keep hearing it; it’s really hard, but the theme is don’t talk to the parents about your kids issues with each other.  First try and let the kids work on it.  If it needs to be brought up to a teacher or a coach, try to encourage them to talk to the teacher or the coach.  I am not saying that there are NEVER times when parents should intervene.  If you are anything like me I would do it often!  I am trying to teach them character and courage in tough situations.

Friendships are life long lessons.  I still have people who would rather be friends with someone else than me.  I have things I say to hurt people.  I have been left out and I leave out.  I have been kind and I have been a dagger.  My friendships have brought me hope, adventure and life, and they have left me empty.  If I got my security and identity from how I am fairing in my relationships with my friends I would be like a bottle tossed at sea.  I would be at the whim of many things that are out of my control.   I know that the most important thing for me in working on issues in my life, is knowing who I am, knowing that my identity is in Christ.

Building a Foundation

I can honestly say the only way I get through the ups and downs of my life is because of my foundation in Christ and what the Bible says.  I want this for my girl and for my family and my friends.  Here are some core truths about us from the Bible put together by Priscilla Shirer.  I hope that these will be the firm foundation on which my daughter will stand.  This is round one of a life time of relational challenges.  You won’t believe who Christ says we are in HIM, it’s pretty awesome.  This is a long list!  As I was typing it I found a few that I really needed to hear today.  I am doing a GREAT Bible Study of Priscilla Shirer’s called Can We Talk?
Identity In Christ
I am a child of God (John 1:12).
I have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)
The Holy Spirit lives in me (1 Cor. 3:16)
I have access to God’s wisdom (James 1:5)
I am helped by God (Hebrews 4:16)
I am reconciled to God (Romans 5:11)
I am not condemned by God (Romans 8:1)
I am justified (Romans 5:1)
I have Christ’s righteousness (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
I am Christ’s ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20)
I am completely forgiven (Colossians 1:13-14)
I am tenderly loved by God (Jeremiah 31:3)
I am the sweet fragrance of Christ to God (2 Corinthians 2:15)
I am a temple in which God dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am blameless beyond reproach (Colossians 1:22)
I am the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)
I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)
I am a branch on Christ’s vine (John 15:15)
I am God’s friend (Proverbs 3:32)
I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit (John 15:6)
I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Romans 8:17)
I am united to the Lord, one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17)
I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
I am a saint (Romans 1:7)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
I am chosen by God, holy, and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
I am a child of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
I am holy, and I share in God’s heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1)
I am sanctified (Hebrews 2:11)
I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)
I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people of God’s own possession and created to sing His praises (1 Peter 2:9-10)
I am firmly rooted an built up in Christ (Colossians 2:7)
I am born of God, and the Evil One cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)
I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13)
I have been made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
I have been given great and precious promises by God (2 Peter 1:4)
God meets my needs (Philippians 4:19)
I am a princess in God’s kingdom (John 1:12; 1 Timothy 6:15)
I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I have been adopted as God’s child (Ephesians 1:5)
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)
I am  assured that all things are working together for good (Romans 8:28)
I am free for any condemning charges against me (Romans 8:31)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35)
I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected (Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
I am a personal witness of Christ’s (Acts 1:8)
I am God’s coworker (1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6)
I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need (Philippians 4:13)


Which one of these is your favorite today?

Parenting: Advice from Maddie

What a Child Needs,

    Hi my name is Maddie!  My mom is Amy Hayes.  I asked my mom this morning if I could write in her blog and she said yes!!!  Anyway I titled this post “What a Child Needs” because I want all of you parents out there to know some things that your child may need:

1. Be able to be silly with your kids
2. Kindness
3. Help from their parents to know what is right and what is wrong
4. Patience when we are still learning how to make good decisions
5. Teach us proper manners
6. Lots of love, hugs, kisses, tickles
7. Remember to slow down on work and spend time with your kids (I just told my mom and dad to do this the other day when they were busy working! 🙂

    All of those ideas can help every parent to remember what kids hope to receive from a mom and dad.  And help both you and your child to have a great relationship!  Because I have a a fantabulous relationship with my parents!!!  Thanks for reading my opinion on how to parent!!!

                 Love,

                     Maddie

Our Life : Staycation

Amy

Hi Friends!  It’s Spring Break around here and Jon and I decided that we were going to stay local for the week since I was working (a new change for me!) and he would be home with the kids.  We wanted, however, to do something fun with the kids at some point, so yesterday we had a “family day Staycation.”
Here’s what our day looked like:

First, we went to Hammond’s Candy Factory in Denver for a free tour:

 It’s a great place!  It was packed with folks taking the tour, and at the end we browsed through a wonderful candy store.  Here is a list of factory tours in the US if you are interested:

The next stop on our Staycation was the mall to buy the college shirts Jen has been talking about on our blog.  Each of the kids picked out a shirt to give to the students at Sanchez Elementary.  This was a great time to talk to our children about college opportunites for everyone.  I know from teaching in a low-income school for several years that the idea of college is not much more than a passing thought for many of these kids, filed under “that’s for other people, not me.”  I spent many hours talking to my fourth and fifth graders about college and the door to their future that it will open.   My hope was to persuade them that college was not just for a select group of society, but in America, it was available to all.  Even if their parents never attended college, they could. They needed to pursue scholarships, financial aid, and the resources available to them in high school to make it happen.
I love now when I am “friended” on Facebook by my former students who are so excited to share their college experiences and successes with me.  It can happen!  So, I hope purchasing t-shirts for these kiddos provides one more small step in that direction.  Ok, off of that soapbox and on to our next Staycation event:

Gnomeo and Juliett!  Super cute movie….and a great but slightly wierd introduction to Shakespeare for our kids!  We munched on the candy we bought at the factory tour. 🙂 After the movie we headed to RED LOBSTER for dinner…it’s our family favorite and a special treat. 

So…, we had a great day.  Sometimes my expectations soar for our family time together and we end up with bickering kids or bad food, or indecision about what to do.  This day actually was fun, funny, bonding and went as planned!  Let us know if you’ve had any great Staycation ideas lately!!

Sharing The Good Stuff : God’s Thoughts

Amy
I loved this little devotional I came across by Shelia Walsh.  I wanted to share it with you:

How precious are your thoughts to me oh God—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. —Psalm 139:17–18 MS

Did you know that the God of the universe, the sovereign ruler over all the earth is thinking about you? Our president has the people of the United States of America on his mind on a daily basis. Occasionally, some are granted the privilege of a personal meeting and a few exchanged words; then, it is time to move on. He probably doesn’t go to sleep each night thinking of everyone he met that day, never mind the millions he has never met.

But God our Father is thinking about us every day, and his thoughts are one hundred percent accurate. He doesn’t think we are smarter or less able than we are. He doesn’t think we are as godly as the image we try to present at times or dismiss us as hopeless wretches when that is how we feel. God knows all that is true and loves us totally.

God always sees us as beautiful and amazing; it is we who change as the world around us changes. Our challenge is to keep the image of the woman God sees more prominent than the image of the woman we see with our human eyes. The new hat that God offers for our wardrobe represents putting on his truth every time we look in our human mirror.
—Sheila Walsh

Give Back : College Shirts Update

Jen
 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

   “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

Happy Friday everyone!  A few weeks ago we posted about helping children in a local school set their eyes on college.  On a sunny Sunday afternoon, my family headed up the highway to Old Navy.  We set the vision for our kids, explaining how there are families who have never been to college.  Most of the children in these families come from broken homes and it is not likely that they will graduate from high school.  We want to be part of encouraging children from these families and giving them hope.  There are great people involved in this school who are helping the families and the children.  This is a small way we can support their efforts.  Honestly, my family gives because God has given so much to us.  We give because we want to participate in loving and giving hope to all of God’s children.  We trust that as we give, God is celebrated!

If you would like to give a shirt you can drop them off at my house anytime before April 1st or, you can mail them to Tawni Mansur by April 15th, TAX day!

Tawni Mansur
620 Lotus Way

Broomfield, CO 80020

A HUGE Thank You to all of you who have already sent your shirts in!!!

You might not want to give a shirt and that’s okay! I encourage you to look around and do ONE act of kindness this week. It can be as small as bringing your neighbors paper in. Give a homeless person some socks. Work at a shelter. Donate to Japan! Even $5. Giving is good for our hearts. If you do something, or someone does something for you, will you PLEASE come back and leave a comment here. Not because you are boasting, but because it’s encouraging to all of us. It’s the good news that is not often reported. As you read stories of what others have done, I think, we will all celebrate!

Have a great weekend!

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