Thursday, September 25, 2008

Compassion and Mercy: Spiritual Gifts

Most every mother and father has cared for her sick child or children at one time or another. Middle of the night fevers, upset tummies, coughs and sniffles are the common colds and flu that make their rounds through families.
And most parents take several personal days off from work each year to stay home with their kids when sick. For some it seems like a burden and just makes one feel more 'behind at work.' For others it is an opportunity to show a different kind of caring and love. So this week, while I'm home with my two sick children, I'm reminded what a blessing it is to show them a special kind of compassion and that helps them rest, heal, and recover. Extra love and kindness helps the medicine go down (even if the song says sugar). (Even as I type, both kids are in my bed and we're watching cartoons while taking our medicine...this is a treat since we never get to do this!) I remember how attentive and caring my own mother was when I was sick. And even now when she hears me sniffle over the phone I can feel her love when she says, "I wish I was there to take care of you."
Some might think there is nothing spiritual about wiping runny noses or cooling fevers. Yet, caring for the sick is one of the things Jesus commands his disciples to do. While the Holy Spirit gives us power to heal, there is also great healing in compassionate and merciful presence with those who are ill. Staying home with our children when they are sick and being a compassionate parent who serves up extra love with the applesauce or toast is a gift of the Spirit and a gift to our children.
My prayer today is two fold: I thank God that my children have simple colds that I am able to care for, but I am mindful of the many children and parents around the world who battle serious and life-threatening diseases. My husband and I are blessed with the kind of jobs that allow us to work from home when needed, and to take the time to be home with our children. But I'm well aware that this is a luxury for so many people who cannot take time from work for fear of being fired.
This fall as you care for those who are sick (it's bound to happen at some point) may you be blessed by showing compassion and mercy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"I Swallowed A Penny"

That's a direct quote from our soon-to-be three year old son this morning. Apparently while I was upstairs getting dressed for the day, and my husband was getting sports updates online, and our daughter was watching cartoons, my son found a penny and ate it.
So when you're done laughing...I had a few reflections on the whole thing.
First, I immediately assumed he was fine and that he'd pass it eventually. But just to be safe I checked online. My suspicians were confirmed that if he didn't pass it within about 48 hours, then it would be time to take him to the pediatrician. My next thought did our mothers check their assumptions when they ran into those situations...did they call their mothers, sisters, or friends for advice? The internet sure is handy...I think.
Second, as I read a few articles on the matter I learned that pennies made before 1982 are actually safer to swallow in terms of their metal composition than pennies made after 1982. Pennies made after 1982 can react toxically with chemicals in the stomach and burn holes in the penny as well as cause ulcers or other serious medical problems (especially in children). Did not know that until today. So now I'm curious...did he actually swallow a penny, and if he did, what vintage is it?
Third, I read about the importance of 'sifting' through [you guessed it] for the next few days to watch for the penny to pass. I even read one article where the parent (had to be a dad) not only found, but then cleaned and kept the penny the daughter passed for future blackmail when she went on dates. Yikes! I'm so not going there!
So what's so sacred about swallowing a penny? Well, nothing really but I did offer a prayer of thanks for how my parents kept themselves from laughing out loud in front of us when we did things like that and how they preserved our dignity when they cared for us in those types of situations. I was also thankful for the kind of technology that allows me as a parent to quickly access medical information and for the bit of wisdom I do have to not over-react to a lot of what's 'out there.' Finally I'm blessed to take care of such beautiful children...pennies and all!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ten Things We Should Never Say To Our Kids (click here)

I will be the first to admit that I make my share of mistakes as a parent. I know so little about early childhood development that I feel like I'm at a loss when it comes to knowing how to raise two toddlers. But I have come accross a few great resources as I've tried to read and learn along the way. This book actually came to my attention through a youth ministry site, but these apply to parenting at all stages. Thankfully, I have only used one or two on this list with my own kids...and I've already re-adjusted my words as a result. This reads more like an go to the website and download each's worth the read and it's free!
1. "Do you have your ..."
2. "What were you thinking!"
3. "Because I said so."
You'll have to see the rest by clicking the title link above!

More Important Things...Rescue Me

The blogosphere is inundated with the political news of the last two days. But I'm not joining the fray. Instead, if you've ever thought about rescuing or adopting a pet, now might be a great time to get started. If you rescue or adopt many local organizations require applications so leave yourself ample time to complete the process. Hurricane Gustav may have been an excuse for some people to leave their pets behind for good (which I can't fathom, but I know it happens). There are many wonderful animals waiting for loving homes. If you start now, you might just be able to complete any house-training and transitioning by wintertime so that you and your new friend can enjoy snuggling up in front of a cozy fireplace. Contact your local ASPCA or local animal shelters or rescue shelters to find out more. Or visit or
Baxter a rescued pup, mixed breed.

Lived Up to the Hype

Over the weekend I read The Shack which several had recommended to me. I started and couldn't put it down. I read until wee hours of the morning to finish the story...which is something I haven't done in years because no book has compelled me to give up my sleep.

Like most who have read it, I too cried through it. Like most folks who work in churches I found the images refreshing (although not new). Many in churches are tired of 'church' and 'religion' and want to get back to powerful experiences of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit especially because they are life-changing and life-giving as opposed to the endless monotony of 'the institution.'

For many of us the book affirms our own experiences of a God who richly dwells within us, who speaks to us, who loves us, and who compels us to surrender our lives to Christ.

Some will find the concepts of the Trinity completely new and eye-opening. But for me it was much more of a reminder to work at mastering what I have yet to work on in my relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Read the book, have tissues ready and be prepared to finish it in one sitting. A long time ago, I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. This book is very different, yet I left it feeling uplifted and wanting more in my relationship with God. And again, I'm seeing myself and the world a little differently.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

My daughter asked at dinner tonight, "Why do adults work all the time instead of play like kids do?" Good question! My answer was all about adults earning money for the things we need like a house, food, clothing, education and such. Now I remember that's the wrong answer. We work because we've been called to contribute, not to receive. We work because we are connected to one another and as such we are to help one another. Money was our invention...not God's.

So we'll have another discussion tomorrow night and we'll talk about what work and play really are...infact isn't that part of what we're supposed to remember on Labor Day?

Roll Call Please...(click to see ABC video)

I've often felt uneasy about the political conventions, regardless of the party. I know that it is part of the process to gather all the delegates and formally nominate a party's candidate, but why do they continue to be such black holes for boozing and schmoozing? The DNC's pyrotechnics and staging in Denver were great, but was all that really necessary? I'm glad the GOP asked delegates and lobbyists to scale back their parties in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, and that they used their platform to spend some time asking people to donate, but apparently some people didn't get the memo.

I have no problem with people celebrating and coming together around a candidate, but isn't it time for us...human beings to say enough? Why do we allow our political leaders to squander our money, credibility and ethics? I could go on for days...but I won't.