Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Children and Cemeteries

            Visiting a cemetery as a child can be a very valuable experience.   I remember every year on Memorial Day or thereabouts I would accompany my mother to the cemeteries where our relatives were buried. There we would clean off the headstones, pull weeds near the graves and replace them with vases (old coffee cans) filled with flowers from our garden. While my grandmother was alive she would accompany us as well and we would take lots of flowers from her abundant garden. I particularly remember the fragrant white snow ball blossoms from my grandmother's garden.
             We have carried on this Memorial Day tradition with our own children and have for years accompanied my husband's mother to the old pioneer cemetery to decorate the graves of the relatives.  After searching for and then decorating the various graves scattered here and there we wander around reading the tombstones, reverently commenting on the names and ages of the deceased.
             When we read the tombstone of a baby, a four year-old child, a teenager or any "young" person, whether it was a recent death or from 1888,  I feel a  glimmer of the pain of those the deceased left behind.  All of us come face to face with the harsh reality that none of us are guaranteed a long life here on this earth, which is good for all of us to remember.
              I don't remember my children ever being terribly haunted or scared after visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day and I know I never was scared by it as a child.  I remember my children asking questions about why someone may have died and it did open up opportunities to talk about death, heaven and spiritual things which is always good.
              Focus on the Family has resources for teaching children about death . Check this link for a short article about how to talk to a child about death:  http://family.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25600

Sunday, May 29, 2011


          My three sisters, my mother, and I get together every couple years or so for some female bonding that's organized to be filled with laughter and fun. It takes some forethought and effort to plan an event bringing five or more individuals together from our varied geographical areas, not to mention the differences in our lifestyles.
          A few years ago we met at "Seattle Skedaddle" a well planned event concocted by my sisters and I. One sister flew in from Texas, rented a car and the rest of us drove to Seattle meeting at our hotel where we set up in the lobby at a table with a convention-type sign-in, convention packets, including name-badges (goofy assumed names only) and a big sign welcoming all to "Seattle Skedaddle." And so the fun began.
           The weekend included such events as a mock seminar on "How to Apply Make Up", a scavenger hunt,  shopping, a lyrics/singing contest, cheer contest, talent contest and of course eating.  The main purpose was to laugh and have fun.  We had a few ground rules and each of us was equipped with a bottle of "chill pills," (chocolate chips), so if someone got cranky they were told to take a "chill pill." One of the other rules was "no talking about our kids."
          We spent three days and two nights together and had a barrel of laughs. Everywhere we went people read our name badges and wanted to know about our event. When we told them we were sisters spending time together with our mother having fun, 90% of the comments we got were like this: "I could never do that with my sisters/mother....we don't speak to each other," or "I haven't spoken to my sister(s) for 10 years,"or "My sisters and I don't get along." At the same time they expressed regret and wished they could have fun with their sisters or mother. Many told us how unique we were and quite frankly we were dumbfounded to learn how "unusual" our family is, simply because we "get along." How sad!
           My advice if you don't  "get along" with your siblings or parents: 1.Learn to forgive 2.  Develop a sense of humor. 3.  Don't take yourself too seriously. 4.  Remember, life is not all about you.
          Advice to young children and teens:  learn to get a long with your siblings because in the future you will be spending holidays together. You may not always have friends but you will always have your brothers and sisters. In the future you will regret it if you don't learn how to get along with your siblings.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

10 Death-Bed Regrets I Don't Want to Have

1. I wish I had spent more time with my kids and spouse.

2.  I wish I had hugged my kids more.

3.  I wish I had held my tongue more.

4.  I wish I could take back all the hurtful things I have said to my spouse and my kids.

5.  I wish I had said "I love you," to my spouse/kids more.

6.  I wish I had forgiven my siblings/parents and maintained a good relationship with them.

7.  I wish I would have planned better, stayed in school longer and did something significant with my life.

8.  I wish I would have prayed more and worried less.

9.  I wish I would have totally lived for Jesus and less for myself.

10.  I wish I would have heeded  good advice instead of depending on my own ideas.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Children Behave Like Children

          I was under the false impression as an idealistic new mother that if I "did everything right" with my children, they  would be obedient, respectful, responsible, God-fearing and generally morally upright citizens. I was going to do it "right" and not make the same mistakes MY parents made.  I was going to impart my wisdom and God's wisdom into their very beings and naturally they would heed it. (Are you laughing yet?)
          Of course many a wise older mother told me differently advising me to do my best but most importantly I needed to pray for my children. Children are born with a sin nature and with a will of their own. "Yeah, yeah," I thought, "but, if I do everything right, blah, blah, blah...."
          Those older wiser women were right, of course, not that my older children are psychopaths or drug dealers or anything like that.
           The Bible has a lot to say about children and the nature of people in general. One of the verses most profoundly simple in summing up a child's behavior is Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him." Another simple explanatory verse is 1 Corinthians 13:11 "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I understand as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." This verse implies that children behave childishly and do not think, speak or act like adults.  Delightfully, there are always exceptions...but not in my house.

          The best advice I could give to new moms is to say, "As precious as your children are, they do have a  sin nature and are childish in thought and behavior and you can not change this nature;  what you can do is do your best in lovingly training  and disciplining them, and all the while putting them into God's loving hands, praying for them consistently.
           Let's get one important thing straight: NOBODY is perfect, not even moms and you cannot be a perfect mom. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes, apologize to your kids when you blow it and remember children behave like CHILDREN.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

10 Reasons to be Thankful for the Rain

1.  We don't have to irrigate the yard or garden.

2.  We don't have to worry about dust storms or our top-soil blowing away.

3.  Wild fire and forest fire danger is extremely low.

4.  No worries of drought.

5.  The reservoirs are filling up for our summer supply of water and for our lake recreational opportunities.

6.  It decreases the pollen count in the air.

7.  The plants love it. Which leads to #8

8.  It makes the plants turn green which is a calming color, and don't we all want that? http://psychology.about.com/od/sensationandperception/a/color_green.htm

9.  We are not fighting a heat wave.

And the best is:

10.  Dad won't make us do yard and garden work when it's rainy.