Category Archives: Parenthood

Thoughts on Motherhood

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My friend had a baby yesterday and I could not be more excited.  I have been a mother myself for 21 years and lots of thoughts are coming to mind that I want to share for her benefit and as a reminder for all of us not-so-newbies.

  1. The focus is on the baby now that she’s here, but you are important too. You are a CHAMPION WARRIOR QUEEN and I hope you remind yourself of that truth often. YOU DID IT. You (and your husband) ((and God)) made a WHOLE NEW HUMAN BEING! Thank you for doing the very challenging work of bringing hope and joy and sweetness into this world! And thank your mom for bringing YOU into the world. Take a second and realize that all this hype over your new baby is similar to the celebration over you when YOU came into this world. Though mom gets lost in the shuffle of caretaking BIG TIME, know that you are special, important, a miracle yourself and ALSO worthy of care, swaddling, and drinking every two hours if you cry hard enough.new-baby-feet
  2. Parenting is selfless and unconditional and rewarding and also SO VERY HARD. You will be shocked at how hard it is. I mean, you already know it will be “demanding” and “overwhelming” and “a challenge” and that you’ll “never be the same.” But dude. You are about to KNOW it. Please allow yourself to admit that it is hard. Remember that mistakes are OK and we all make them and none of them will be a deal-breaker—not even if she loves musicals and hates snow. You will make this parenting thing look easy but it’s okay if it turns out to be harder than you imagined. It was/is hard for EVERYONE at times. And if it’s not hard now, then it’s about to be.mother baby bird
  3. When you are tired and he is tired and you both need sleep and there’s none happening, and we are done with all the celebrating and excitement and joy and there’s just mess and stuff and needs and sickness and responsibility, do this: breathe in & breathe out and remind yourself that you can do this. If you are feeling defeated and alone and worn and done, remember there are others who feel and have felt how you do. Tell someone, take a nap and treat yourself. bethparkerartEvery day is Mother’s Day.
  4. Reality is the most creative, beautiful, original life there is—not Pinterest. Not Facebook. Not Instagram. As addicted as we all are to the “money shots” don’t forget that it is only a fraction of what is happening in anyone’s world. In my day we only had to deal with Family Fun magazine and Woman’s Day with the smiling perfection beaming with a perfect meal on the table and a spotless home. All I had to do was not look at the magazine and/or throw it away. Now we are bombarded with perfection and its easy to lull yourself into thinking this is what everyone is experiencing except you.  Remember that Life Online has been heavily edited.  As a friend once told me, “Lift Any Roof.” Inside every. Single. Home. you will find some non-postable issue with each and every man/woman/child/family. We are all struggling but are blessed with sharable moments. Great momsKeep sharing yours, but keep others’ in perspective.
  5. Let life change. It will not be what you expected. Repeat after me: IT. WILL NOT. BE LIKE I EXPECTED. Not the outfits, not the holidays, not the photo ops, not the meals, not the body shape, not the Sunday mornings. Nothing will be like you envisioned. Let it be. It will still be great…just a different great. nailed it nails
  6. Remember how loved you are. Take the love you have for that baby every moment of every day and bask in the brand new awareness that you were created by your Creator to help Him create. He gazes over you as you gaze over that sweetie. He has big plans for you and for her but it almost doesn’t matter at the moment because of all the love. Virginia LoveFeel it. Know it. Rest in it.
  7. Congratulations and welcome to the Crazy Fun Exciting Amazing Adventurous Parenthood Club! May the force be ever in your favor as you ease on down the road. December 1, 2015 is a great day to be a family!

HOW TO SUCCEED AT THANKSGIVING DINNER

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There are a million references for how to COOK Thanksgiving dinner, but not as much can be found on how to be an excellent guest-slash-consumer.  Most people know to ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” This is just the beginning.  For the love of peace and harmony, if they say “No, I’ve got it,” then leave them be.  If they want your help, they’ll ask for it again so don’t get too entrenched in what you are doing instead.

  1. As the meal is being prepared, please stay far, far away from the prep area, but close enough to materialize immediately when summoned for random tasks such as stirring, fetching, tossing carcasses and Stove Top boxes, and carrying irreplaceable delicate breakables to the table without dropping. Be sure to ask EXACTLY where they go.
  2. Do not under any circumstances throw anything away such as: butter wrappers, gently used paper towels, empty jelly jars, egg shells or banana peels. These deceptively crucial items WILL BE USED. Where and when are classified– on a Need To Know basis.
  3. If you get hungry, thirsty, rowdy, clumsy or bored at any time during the meal prep, enter the Meal Prep Zone with all your affairs in order and at your own peril. It is wise to have a trusted advisor or professional counselor on speed dial for follow up after the inevitable verbal assault.
  4. Once the meal is fully ready and on display, guests should materialize from thin air with clean hands and heart for Genuine Family Fellowship.
  5. Fill your plate and return at least once until all food is consumed. If any leftovers are present, lots will be cast along with sideways glances to determine who takes home the good stuff for Black Friday lunch.
  6. Children leaving “perfectly good food” on their plates shall receive a timely lecture on gratitude, world poverty, and may potentially be force fed, for which it is understood there will be a high level of amazement and wondrous awe for the trouble and expense the cook went to for the family. This also applies to grandchildren.
  7. Dinner commentary must at some point include the following:

~Specific “thank you” to the cook or preparer of each dish along with meaningful specific original complement.

~Moaning and other sounds of pleasure during consumption—but not exaggerated, sarcastic or creepy.

~Random comments about the taste (positive)

WARNING:  Do NOT under ANY circumstances follow a “thank you” with a barrage of compliments from around the table.  The timing of the gratitude is of the utmost importance.  Sincerity is of epic significance but must be appropriately spaced throughout the meal.  Use the following simple mathematical equation to quickly determine when to thank your Thanksgiving cook(s). 

Original Primary Thankful Response = Prayer + 2 minutes after 1st bite consumed

Subsequent Affirmations = Number of People at the Table / divided by ½ distance between each guest x :30 second intervals alternating +/- :12 sec to show spontaneity.

It is most polite to wait and let the newest guest offer their Grateful Comment first, then begin the pattern outlined above.  A helpful foot nudge under the table can assist those who struggle with math or  eat too fast.

The Kids Table should be encouraged to follow this modified equation:

Oldest and/or The One Who Ate The Most = Primary Feedback Presenter

Then gratitude expressions continue in no particular order and should end with the youngest mobile child who talks (for cuteness purposes).

8. Under no circumstances can a grandchild take only one kind of food offered (i.e. mac & cheese). This will render gratitude Null & Void and cause The Greatest Generation to question the child’s patriotism. Thanks offered from The Child Who Only Took One Food Item will render all remaining Expressions of Gratitude for the rest of the grandchildren as empty and not applicable and may result in subsequent meals with increased undesirable stewed vegetables and the unavoidable parental lecture on the drive home.

9.  There shall be no less than 93 minutes AFTER the last dish is cleaned, dried and put away before anyone can utter any of the following words: hungry, thirsty, dessert, breakfast, snack, plate, cup, ice, starving, cereal, Goldfish crackers, chips, salsa. It is strongly encouraged that you nap or vacate the premises during this time period.

Thanksgiving success is not an exact science, but these timely tips can be applied to gatherings of any size.    May we all be the kind of guests that we would welcome into our own homes—gracious, thoughtful, refined & sincere.

Hey Nineteen

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Nineteen year olds are plentiful in my life right now.  First of all, there’s my oldest son.  Although he is away at college he sometimes delights me with random texts and Snapchats providing about 12% of the information about his life that I am craving.

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Another example is the boyfriend of my oldest daughter.  Him I see constantly.  He knows a lot of things.  He is a respectful guy, nice to our daughter, and would rather be at our house than anywhere else, so he is.  A lot.

Another one unexpectedly crossed my path yesterday.  I was leaving a friend’s house walking towards my car when my son’s high school teammate pulled into the driveway directly across the street.  He waved at me all friendly-like, probably remembering that I made a poster with his name on it last year.  “JUSTIN TIME” was waved proudly last spring at OLHS every time he hit the back of the soccer net.

Crossing the street to greet him with a motherly hug, I saw immediately that he was distressed.

“I’m trying to get to the dentist and I have a flat tire.”

I couldn’t help but offer, “I’ll haul you to the dentist if you can get a ride home.”

“Aw, SWEET!”  He said as he texted his mom not to cancel the appointment.

I asked by way of conversation how he got the flat.

He put me on hold while he was fiddling with his phone.

“Hold on.  I’ll tell you in a second.”

He tapped and sent and tuned back in to his surroundings.

“OK–the flat tire story…it’s funny.  You know that truck is Goldstein’s, right?”

“No.  I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah.  He’s letting me use it.  Anyway, another buddy of mine asked to borrow it so I said, sure OK but it’s not mine, right?  So then I gave him the whole nine:  Drive safe.  Don’t drink.  No weed.  Don’t text.  You know, because it’s not my truck and also it’s not insured.”

“Very responsible.”

“Right?  I know.  You would think.  So not 7 minutes after he took off, he was in the parking lot, you know, goofing around on the ice and snow, and he hit a curb doing donuts.  Busted the tire.”

“Woah.  Bummer.”  (this is the only lingo I’m allowed to use at my age)

“So, yeah.  So I went to try and put more air in it, but dude.  It’s the spare.  So I couldn’t find the valve on it.  Crazy, right?”

“Well, it sure is grown up of you to make your dentist appointment.”

“Yeah thanks for the ride.”

“All I ask is a selfie.   Wait a minute…why isn’t it working?”

“I think you turned the camera back around.”

*click*

“Take care Mrs. H.”

“You take care too, Justin.”

Remind me not to let you borrow my car.

Remind me not to let you borrow my car.

He thinks I’m crazy, but I’m just growin’ old

The Beautiful Sand

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“Abraham was past the time when he could have children.

But many children came from that one man.

They were as many as the stars in the sky.

They were as many as the sand on the seashore.

No one could count them.”  Hebrews 11:12

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“If each sand grain is unique imagine how unique each person is?”

Irritating though they sometimes be, grains of sand are a thing of beauty.

Sometimes we feel we are surrounded by them.

Sometimes we choose to avoid the joy just beyond them because it gets too messy.

Sometimes we can become covered in them.

But they are beautiful.  If you look close enough.

Unique and beautiful.

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Children’s Minister’s Pledge

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I was an Early Childhood major so I soared through my early years of parenting.  Even with 4 kids in 5 years, I remember feeling knowledgeable about milestones, maintaining proper boundaries, experiencing success with behavior modification, and participating in all manner of educational field trips, musical exposure, all while managing effective sleep schedules.

Now mine teenagers.  All four of them.  And all bets are off.

However, in God’s remarkable love, care and concern for me He has called me to remain surrounded by kids through serving families at my church.  It’s quite different though, caring for other people’s kids.  So I’ve been inspired by my pal Julie to adapt her Pledge to be Awesome to Other People’s Kids and make it work for myself and my team of Ministry Leaders.

  • I will be kind and understanding to our CCC kids, even if they are late, cranky, or both.
  • I will find balance between making them sing with gusto and letting them stay seated during worship.
  • I will not warn other leaders that a child “always does that.”  God is in the New & Improved business–exhibit A = you and me!
  • I will ignore that which is not my business and counsel others to do the same.
  • I will not think less of a kid who is doing normal kid things like laying all the way down on the floor during the Bible story, taking off their shoes repeatedly, making faces at each other during prayer, finding other uses for craft supplies, etc.
  • If a kid says an inappropriate word, I will love them anyway and help them find a better choice for what they are attempting to communicate.
  • Even if a kid smells like they forgot to shower this month, if they want a hug from me, they will get one.
  • If the time ever comes when I have to tell a parent something difficult about a child, I will do so as gently as possible.  I will not be Piers Morgan.  I will be Katie Couric.  We may not see each other for a while, but I will still have a smile for you.
  • I will remind you how amazing your kids are on their worst days, how thankful I am to be a part of their world, and to celebrate with you on their best days.  Beach baptism plug:  August 11, 2013 at Little Island.  Call me maybe.
  • I will remind you and myself often that all those things that make them difficult will also help them be wonderfully successful adults and that those same challenging qualities are ones God gave them ON PURPOSE, for a purpose.  Hang in there.
  • We are all in this together.  Love, understanding, strength and hope are just a conversation and a prayer away.  YOU CAN DO IT!
  • I have cell phone numbers for both our Middle School Pastor and my counselor if/when you need them.  And you will.

These things I hereby promise this day to begin/continue to do to the best of my ability,

Shannon Hendrix

Unintentional Grandma

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As a Bible Study Fellowship graduate, I was placed in late September in a discussion group with lots of new babies and expectant mommies. After being one of the youngest in my group last year, this year I was shockingly one of the oldest!

In November Lesson 10 mentioned Jesus as our Restorer. In that week’s lecture, Lily highlighted the process of restoration–comparing it to the process of making new a thrift store treasure. Just days before that lesson, my husband and I had discovered that our teen age daughter was 11 weeks pregnant. She is 14 and in the 8th grade. We began trusting Jesus immediately as our Restorer—for our daughter and our family.

In December we studied the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews & were reminded in one of the principles that faith doesn’t always mean immediate deliverance. We were asked the thought provoking questions, “Do you see an unknown future? Unexpected and unexplained? Have you experienced disappointment?” We were challenged to look beyond our immediate circumstances and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter—the creator of Faith.

In January, lesson 16 asked us to pray Paul’s prayer from 2 Thess 3:1-5 in our current circumstances. Sharing my answer outloud in my discussion group allowed me to share our devastating news with these grace-filled, lovely ladies through tears. Here was my prayer that week, from Paul’s example: “That each family member will hear, know and share Gods word, be delivered from evil men, That our faithful God will strengthen and guard us from temptation. That we will do God’s tasks, guard our hearts & experience Christ’s perseverance.” Then dropping down to vs 16 which was especially meaningful to me: “That the Lord of Peace Himself will give us peace at all times in every way.”   He has done this!
In February, as we studied 2 Cor 2:15 we had the opportunity to experience and witness the fragrance of life vs the stench of death as my daughter was counseled more than once to terminate the pregnancy and she chose life. We were able to provide the aroma of Christ .

In March we went to court to testify against the baby’s father as he was convicted of a felony and added to the Sex Offender registry. I wrote 2 Cor 2:10 on a note card and carried it with me that day: We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every though to make it obedient to Christ.”

That same week we had a positive verse as well which delighted me from Luke 13:17 “…the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” I had been surprised and delighted to bump into Sheila from my discussion group at a class for young moms to be and she helped my daughter and me adapt to our new reality through her devotions and care for the girls (and their moms) in this predicament. My own cousin gave my daughter her first ultrasound in South Carolina and prayed with us both. God placed lots of support for us in many surprising ways—a soccer mom, the tour guide at the hospital, sometimes just acquaintances and new stories from old friends.

In April as my daughter got bigger and bigger and it was emotionally draining to deal with the public glances and judgements, one week we sang “sin/despair like sea waves cold threaten the soul with infinite loss, Grace that is greater yes grace untold points to the refuge the mighty cross.”

And now, as my group has prayed us through by ASK prayer requests week after week, even that I would be able to be here to share today, I stand here as a brand new grandmother. This child was born at noon yesterday, is beautiful and healthy and wanted by 3 mommies. God’s choice of the best mommy for him will be taking him home on Saturday—it is my younger sister and her husband from Louisville, KY and a big brother 18 months and a big sister who’s 8.

A principle in May was “God arranges things so we can fulfill our calling.” Part of my calling is PEACE WITHIN no matter what it is God chooses to do with me and my family. I pray we each cling to the PEACE WITHIN as we each look to our new beginnings.

Shannon Hendrix
May 24, 2012