Monday, January 26, 2009

Dented Armor

Last week I had a bit of food poisoning and was flat on the couch not wanting to move. Our living room is at the back of the house, and from the living room you can look into the front room, where there is a floor to ceiling built-in bookshelf. As I was laying there waiting for the pain to go away, I looked up into the front room to find Grace scaling the bookshelf. She was about two feet from the ceiling, hanging there like Spiderman.

"Get down from there!" I panicked. Grace scrambled down as I continued my lecture. "You could fall and break your head open! You could break the bookshelf! Don't ever let me catch you doing that again!"

Grace was upset because she had thrown her Polly Pocket doll up into the bookshelf, and she was trying to climb up to get it. I told her that I was very sick and she would have to wait for her dad to come home from work to climb up to retrieve it.

About 15 minutes later, Emma came over to me looking VERY sympathetic. "I'm sorry you are hurting, Mama," she said, as she hugged me tightly and patted my back. I was struck by the incredible compassion from my selfless daughter, and turned to kiss her cheek, when I saw- the horror!- that she was signaling to her sister that the coast was clear to climb up the bookshelf. Emma was a decoy, there to distract me, as her sneaky sister began her treacherous climb up the shelf!

Of course, I let them have it. "How DARE you try to trick your poor, sick mama! You disobyed, and snuck, and lied!"

I sent them to their rooms for a time out.

Ten minutes later, I called them back so they could apologize. Emma was inconsolable.

"I have a dent!" she wailed.


"You have a zit?" I asked.

"A dent! I have a dent!"

We went back and forth, until she finally cried, "I have a DENT in my armor!"

Grace had to explain the rest. "Mr. Fairchild (their vice principal) told us that whenever we do something bad, we put a dent into our good armor."

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at these two naughty ladies who had tried to tag team me only moments before.

I think a lot of us wish we could scream at the world, "I have a dent!" Imagine seeing our past mistakes as dented armor. :) I know mine would look pretty awful. Although I love the analogy of dents in our armor, I am grateful that we can buff out the dents with good behavior and forgiveness so that our armor is shiny and new. Best of all- God doesn't see the dents, only the hearts behind them, awash in His son's grace. :)

The gals would be MORTIFIED if they knew I shared this with you. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January=Change, Hope, Redemption

I know I haven't posted much lately...I've been so busy at school and here at home.

I always do some serious reflecting in January. This January, like the rest of the country, I'm feeling the change in the air. Barrack Obama's inauguration is on Tuesday. For the first time I can remember, they're encouraging us to watch it at school. My girls wrote letters to President-Elect Obama for a homework assignment. They were entered into a contest to be published in a children's book. Emma's letter asked him to "please help every animal and person of this land find a home...and eat your fruits and vegetables and get plenty of sleep." Grace told him she thought he would make a great president, and she drew a picture of her and President Obama standing next to each other holding hands. She said, "He's not black, mama" as she was coloring him, and then chose a lovely coffee shade of brown to shade his face. That moment almost made me cry. As it was when he was elected, I felt so inspired to see my daughters witness such an amazing moment of history.

Back to back with Obama's election is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and holiday. For the first assignment back at school, I had my class read his final speech, "I've Seen the Promised Land." It's such an ironic and inspiring speech since he died the day after giving it. It echoed many themes of today and was so relevant for our students. In the speech, King compares his struggle to that of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. During the last lines of his speech, King states, "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"

I think Martin Luther King would be so proud to witness what is coming on Tuesday. It is such a giant step toward the Promised Land of equal rights that he spoke of. Step by step, we will get there.

In other news:

My girls will be 8 years old in a week. As usual around their birthday, I get a bit melancholy. Just moments ago I held them on my lap for stories in the rocking chair. We all fit on the chair, but now Emma's height keeps creeping up...she'll be to my shoulders before you know it! Grace's feet just keep growing longer and longer. We just bought her new shoes and now she needs them again. I told them both them must STOP growing for a few years. No more birthdays, no more growing. 7 and 8 are wonderful, fun, inquisitive ages and I want to enjoy this as much as I can while it lasts. They are so beautiful, both inside and out.

Emma (L), friend Kylie (middle) and Grace (L) at Kylie's 8th birthday party

Finally- Jeff and I just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. In one way, I can't believe 14 years have flown by so quickly, but in another way, I can't imagine my life without him. It just seems like he's always been there. :) I just adore that sweet man.

January is a month for changes. It is a month for reflection. It is a month for renewed goals.

My goals:
  • To lose my Christmas weight (and a bit more.) I was eating pumpkin pie like it was its own food group!
  • To be on time in the morning. I'm always rushing out the door for school. I am a definite snooze button hitter. I arrive at school on time, but in the midst of the most horrifying parent traffic. I end up frustrated and disgruntled, and it's only 7:30 am. Not a great way to start my day. I know I should move my alarm across the room and GET UP to turn it off, and then not get back in bed. I should...

  • To schedule in time for ME. During school, I run at a maximum speed, going-going-going, and often don't schedule "me" time. Time to exercise, or even stretch. Time to take a hot bath. Time to have a massage. Time to get coffee with my girlfriends, or even to call them on the phone just to chat. Time to go on a date with my husband. I feel like I live at such a rapid pace that I end up plopping in front of the television and tuning out the world- just to recuperate. I need that, but I also need scheduled time for me. Part of that will be learning to say "No." Part of that will be getting more organized and using my time more wisely. Part of that will be spending less time doing things that aren't productive toward anyone or anything. (Myspace?)

Those are my three goals. After writing them down, I realized that they are really all tied together.

I leave with with a few of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."

"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Don't they just give you goosebumps?