Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lying vs. Pretending

Before I even begin trying to explain my thoughts on this issue, let me just start with the facts:

1. I don't have all the answers. (Duh!)
2. It's none of my business (in other words, it is not for me to judge) what other parents do or not do with their children in regard to this (or any other topic).
3. You may be utterly confused by the end of this, or any other post I have written.
4. My clothes do not match today.

Lying is obviously a serious no-no and Seth and I have tried to be very clear and strict in our intolerance of it with our children. Our approach has always been that lying in itself is far worse than whatever misdeed the child is trying to conceal.

Pretty cut and dry. Black and white.

Well.... yesterday, my girls were perched by the living room window, watching for their Nana to arrive for dinner. In their excitement, they had set up their surveillance very prematurely and had a good half hour to wait and watch for Nana. As I went about cooking dinner and picking up around the house, I would hear one of them gleefully announce that Nana had arrived. Hmm. She's early. And I came to the door to unlock it. But my Mom wasn't there. And the girls looked up at me with mischievous happy expressions.

"Is Nana here or not?" I asked.

"I was just joking."

Hmmmm. I'm not sure I like this "joke". I asked if they were lying. "No... just being tricky". Well, I for sure don't like "tricky". So, I said "You may pretend but when I ask, I would like the real answer". So for the next 20 minutes, "Nana's here!" was exclaimed while the other cheered, then they both laughed and the other took their turn with the false advertisement.

This is what poor kids do for entertainment. ;)

I was not, and am not, completely satisfied with my response. But I made a point to mention it to Seth and asked him what he thought. We both agree that malicious lying is always met with punishment. But we also agree that we like the girls to pretend and use their imaginations. So here is my question, which I hope others can add input to, provided it's done in a polite way:

How do you distinguish the line between children pretending vs. lying?

I'm imagining some have a scowl on their face by now because they think we're being too petty. But maybe to some, we're far too lenient. But although I would like to hear from friends on what has worked for them, the bottom line is that I want please God, and be careful in this responsibility of child rearing. This same logic is what has formed our family's stance on Santa. We don't tell our girls that he is real or brings them their presents, because this feels like lying to us. Neither do we cover their eyes every time we walk by him in the mall in December and chant "Santa is Satan with the letters mixed around!" We just see him as a fun, make believe character like Charlie Brown or the Easter Bunny. They can watch Christmas movies with Santa or have a chocolate Santa in their stocking. We're just not going to try to convince them he is real. I think Eden may think he is, but finally, at 3 yrs. old, Maddie demanded to know one way or the other: what's the deal on this Santa guy and why does the one on TV look different than the one at the mall? So we told her: he's just a fun character lots of people dress up as.

Though Santa is just an example I'm  using to demonstrate pretending vs. lying, even growing up in a home that wasn't exactly Christain, I don't remember ever really believing in Santa. Presents said "From Santa" on on the tags but Santa's writing looked remarkably like my mom's, and you bet your biscuits we thanked Mom and Dad, not Santa. And there is a horrible but true story of me, as an 8 yr. old girl, sitting an adamant Santa believing friend down one day and letting him know it was all a fraud. The reindeer, the red suit, the half eaten cookies and half drunken milk... all an elaborate scam. He was literally devastated. I've never seen an 8 yr. old boy cry harder. Even ones with broken arms did not wail as this poor kid did. And (how sick was I), I remember feeling like I had done him a great service in bursting his bubble now and sparing him to pain of finding out as a middle aged man. Yes, I was a cynical kid in every way.

But if Santa is "real" at your house or not, no biggie to me. I know lots of good folk who have a grand family time with Santa at the center. And if you make delicious Santa shaped treats, you may share with me and I will gladly eat them. I'd like one right now, in fact.

The real point, which somehow I have completely deviated from, is making a clear distinction with children about pretend play and being deceitful. How does one do that? I'm definitely nixing the "tricky" or "sneaky" stuff. But imaginative play of the non-sneaky/non-tricky nature seems like a good thing to me.

For the time being, we continue to just say "Stop pretending and give me the correct answer" when we want the girls to return to reality for a moment. Maybe that will be sufficient. I just thought Hmmm... maybe some other moms have experience with this and wanted to open up the (hopefully gracious) conversation.


Leila {10 Mo.s}



On second thought...

Sometimes, something seems like a really great idea at first.

 But after we try it for a while...

we change our mind.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Extending Grace

I came across a verse today that smote my heart. I feel so convicted by it and wanted to share it you.

Job 24:12b "and the soul of the wounded crieth out; yet God layeth not folly to them.

I see in this verse an important element of God's character. For me, it reveals an attitude that can only be a result of God's great love and mercy toward us.

In this chapter of Job, we read a description of some very bad practices. And right smack in the middle of a long list of awful behavior is this statement about God's reaction to a wounded soul crying out.

What I find so convicting in this verse is that I'm afraid that if it were me, I probably would "lay folly to them". My attitude might be:

That's what they get.

They should have known better.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Could have seen that coming.

They brought it on themselves.

But not our God. He hears the wounded... even if their wounds may be self inflicted.... and He lays not folly to them. After all, crying out to Him is the wisest thing they could possibly be doing. Our Father hears the cries of His children and doesn't think them foolish. He is always ready and eager to help us when when call upon Him.

How about me? When wounded souls cry for help, is my first reaction to just want to help, wherever they are? Or do I first have to think of all the failures they have done to deserve what they're suffering and think they are fools to want help now that all the damage has been done.

Because if the latter, I have surely forgotten what is written just a few chapters earlier:

Job 13:23 "How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.

Do I offer a helping hand, or a turned up nose?

As people who have been blessed so abundantly with God's grace, let us not be reluctant to extend grace to others.

A partial retraction: A few hours after posting this, my husband came home. I, still excited over what God had shown me in my quiet time with Him, shared these verses with Seth. Instead of his usual positive comment, he took my Bible and read that chapter of Job. Then he read the one preceeding it. And, in the nicest of ways, told me I was a heretic. ;) Not really. But he did say he thought the verse didn't exactly say what I had taken it to say. I had been thinking of the word "folly" in the same way as foolishness. Like "oh you silly head to be crying out". But Seth said he believed that word folly was referring to the people's sin. And sure enough, the actual concordance agreed with my human concordance.

Folly in this verse comes from the word tiphlah: unsavouriness, unseemliness (moral).

So in light of this correct defining of "folly", I think Job 24:12 might be saying that God did not, at that time, hold them responsible for their folly, or moral unseemliness. But in verse 24 of that chapter it says "They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn." In other words, they got the spanking they deserved.

I'm leaving this post on, since I really spoke more of what the verse had made me feel rather than form a position of hard and fast "Thus saith the Lord". If anyone feels it would be a stumbling block, please say so and I'll remove it entirely.

Delicious Summertime Dinner: Chicken Club Sandwhiches and Corn Salad

The secret to great food pictures contines to elude me =)
With the changes of seasons, our lives change as well. Sheets, clothes, smoke alarm batteries, shoes, hairstyles, even scented candles seem to be a reflection of the weather outside. Just like a "Clean Cotton" candle suits summer better than a musky cinnamon, we don't usually crave a piping hot pot roast on the hottest days of August. The dinner pictured above hit the summer craving spot perfectly.

I made this chicken recipe. I used Monterrey jack cheese instead of cheddar, and then I plopped them on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato (and mayo for me, but no one else in the hohousehold!). As we've learned from experience, wrap these sandwiches up in foil to take them to-go (or to just wait for the rest of dinner to be ready), and the few minutes spent warming and meshing in the foil seem to cultivate wonderful yumminess. Or just eat them right away. Whatever.

For the corn salad (which I know, sounds weird but just trust me... I love this corn salad. I make it giant batches and fill half of my plate with it. I really really like it a LOT) I make a variation of this recipe. My changes: I don't use any hot peppers (because I want other people in the family besides myself to like it) but instead I throw in a bit of chopped green pepper (which I roast with the corn) and red onion, which I stir in raw. And I've personally never run into shredded coconut that was NOT sweetened, so I just use the regular sweet stuff. Sounds strange, I agree. But if people married salads, I marry this one.

Let me know if you try either one, but ya better hurry: Summer is rapidly coming to it's end! {Sadness perices my heart.}


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Turn a pair of jeans into a skirt

 A successful sewing project? From ME?

 Perfect? No. It's better than perfect. It's done. ☺
A friend of mine (hi, Korina!) makes these and we've been wanting to get together for a little tutorial sewing session but... pregnancy (hers, not mine), kiddos, sickness, trips, LIFE seems to be keeping us from being able to do that. I had the materials (no cost!) so I thought why not try it on my own. So I did.

And I think I like it! Maddie really likes it. Woo-hoo!

I'll let you in a funny little secret though: the pink insert you see there... it's the legs of my old PJ pants. Cute ruffle action, huh? The waistband on these pants were stretched beyond usefulness, which is what happens when one wears non-maternity PJ pants through 3 pregnancies. Or just keeps any PJ pants for that long. But snip snip snip and viola: jean skirt insert. My friend had let me know that I should use a material for the insert that had a bit of stretch to it, so this was perfect-o!

I'm sure there are very helpful online tutorials or videos. Just a basic run down of what I did:

Ripped the inseam out. Continued ripping out the seam to the belt loop in back, and the zipper on front.

With the skirt/jeans inside out, sew the back together first, using a ruler to make a semi straight line from the waistband to the existing hem. This leaves excess material where the crotch was formally; this gets cut off after sewing. I then put a zip zag stitch along the inside of this seam to help make it more sturdy as my little tom boy plays. I will admit to you that this step had to be ripped out and redone, as this was an experiment. I've since done another pair with an elastic waistband and no back pocket and it was very very easy. This pictured skirt needed a little bit of tinkering to get the pockets to look normal and to have a gradual, A-line shape but the end product looks fine to my unprofessional, non perfectionist eyes.

With skirt turned right side out, sew the pink material into the upside down V. The front of the skirt had  retained a hemmed appearance along the upside down V (though the hem was ripped out, the fold was still there). I placed my pink material inside where it looked good to me. I pinned the two bottom hems together first, then worked my way up the V. Then I used a zip zag stitch and put 'er together.

Maybe it looks totally dorky to some people. I think it's rather cute, and Maddie is a big fan! ☺ Since the jeans were hand me downs, and the pink material was salvage, it was FREE. ☺☺That gets TWO smiley faces!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Simple thoughts and books

In these busy last days of summer, I have much on my mind. Some things are heavy in my heart. Some disappointments, concerns, regrets, wishes. But the practicality of life ~ the daily grind ~ leave me with limited time to dwell on all of it. Which is probably a good thing. So instead of the messy issues of life being put neatly into well thought through boxes, all I have these days is a random smattering of  philosophies and ponder worthy thoughts. In no particular order:

The God of the work is more important than the work of God.

Self inflicted wounds hurt just as much as any other kind.

Happiness is the result of doing right.

I'm also reading through about 4 books right now! I never start books with some still unfinished! But I had several beckoning to me, so now I'm in a constant state of craving more time to read them. =) Oh well. They will all get read through sometime.

This one I came across while cleaning the church office (which I will post "after" pics of eventually):

I am about half way through it. It's a simple approach. Probably common sense to those who already have a handle on the subject. I am so far finding it helpful and a good reminder of what real obedience actually is, and is not.

This sobering book:
A Biblical Perspective of what to do when you are abused by Your Husband

has me ever so grateful for the kind and godly man that I have for a husband. I do feel that it is perhaps the best material from a Christian, Biblical perspective on this heart wrenching subject available, at least from what I have encountered.

And I'm picking out a few stories from:

Some of these short stories and poems are beloved favorites, others I don't care for at all and we simply skip them.

What is on your side table these days? =)


Monday, August 1, 2011


So... we've returned from our trip. Now we're getting ready for a youth conference next week! ☺ Love the summer....

We had a really encouraging time. I feel soooo challenged to be a better student of the Bible. How in the world can I expect to be useful to God and helpful to others without knowing God's Word?!?! I had some very special moments in which God did some personal work in my heart. I may share later, or may not. I have bunches to do and these days I tend to spend my "free time" (whatever THAT means!) doing things other than blogging. I'm learning to knit with the Knifty Knitter, which is super easy. I've also gotten my hands on some fantastic ladies' Bible studies that I am eager to read. AND, on the drive home from our trip we received a call from one of the deacons at church. The home improvement store where he works allowed him to take a BEAUTIFUL office display home so long as he donated it to a not-for-profit. Wouldn't you know that the dimensions are PERFECT for the church office!?! So Seth and I are clearing out about 2 decades worth of paperwork and warranties and all sorts of STUFF that accumulates in an office for the finances and school of a church. I'm hoping to get before and after pictures to show you the transformation. We're really excited about this project though we are time crunched to get it done before leaving for the youth conference. Oh AND... I started "mystery shopping". Very fun.

Boring post. Not a single picture. Or even a joke. But I did want to let you know I am not still in New Jersey. That would no doubt be cause for concern. Because New Jersery is only for visiting.... not staying.