Tag Archive | Matthew 7

Hello, I love you

Here’s the song reference.

Taking kids to vote

We voted as a bloc, as it were, yesterday.

Before we disembarked from Fran the Van, I reminded Bugaboo, Beanie, Mr. Man, and Baby Guy that we would greet each and every person we met with a warm, “Good morning, sir,” or, “Good morning, ma’am,” and an honest smile.  We spent the drive to our precinct singing selections from “Wee Sing America” and talking about how the Lord gives us free will.  We had talked about choices earlier in the day, and even took a vote on what we would have for breakfast (President Pancakes and Vice President Sausage were the victors).

As we walked the gauntlet of electioneers, Bugaboo, Beanie, Mr. Man and I greeted every poll worker for every candidate exactly as we had discussed.  Baby Guy chimed in with giggles and waves.  Each man and woman returned our greeting warmly and offered us sample ballots, which we politely declined.  Mr. Man hopefully extended his hand to each one, and was rewarded by at least a dozen smiling handshakes.

Inside the precinct, we continued greeting the people we met, from the election judges to the other voters.  People smiled, and told the tiny people what nice children they were, and commended me on their good manners.  With the exception of a minor Beanie meltdown, they weathered the 45 minute wait to cast our ballot beautifully, and made a couple of new little friends along the way.  After we voted, one of the electioneers was kind enough to take our picture.  Once we returned home, we taped a sign to the door of our little house in a swing neighborhood of a swing state so some very weary children could take their afternoon nap.

Deterring doorknockers

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for little blessings who rejoice in being salt and light to the world.  Help me teach them always, in my words, in my deeds, and in my silences, that we owe our first allegiance always to You, Who sacrificed Your life for ours.  Let my words and deeds also show them that we render unto our temporal leaders the respect they are due, and we love all of our neighbors, not just the ones who agree with us.  Lord, we serve You first, and we serve You best by being Your face to this world, in hopes of bringing others into the warm embrace of Your friendship.  We do this because we love You; grant us the strength, the courage, and the grace to share that authentic love, which does not fall into easy, feel-good gestures, but which daringly passes through the narrow gate.

All we need is just a little patience

Here’s the song reference.

No specific tales of the tribe today, but I wanted to share something I’ve learned from this particular political season, a lesson I’m incorporating into every formal subject we study and the rest of life, too.  I have been terribly discouraged by the willingness of so many people to rely on soundbites for information, and assume the information thus presented is accurate simply because it confirms their own opinion.  With only a minor amount of diligence, and an Internet connection, it’s pretty easy to separate fact from fiction.  This is basic research of a type my generation conducted in the library, looking up periodicals on microfilm or microfiche.  The technique and its utility transcend time and technology.

Unfortunately, the whole story usually doesn’t fit neatly into 140 characters.  Thought, logic, and reason are required to find out what is true, and a humble acknowledgement of one’s own biases is a prerequisite for recognizing truths that may be unpleasant or disagreeable, that contradict what we desperately want to believe.

In the end, this is a thoroughly Christian concept; Christ Himself admonished us, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

I desperately want to teach my children to enter through the narrow gate in all things.  Everywhere from Scripture to Alcoholics Anonymous, the folly of choosing the easier, softer way is decried.  No matter where their hearts or political leanings may lead them, I want them to hold and defend their convictions with rigorous honesty and humility, and with the deepest respect for the humanity and dignity of all their interlocutors.  Sometimes, even following Christ’s commandment to love one another as He loved us is a part of that narrow gate.

Peace be with you.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, create humble hearts in us, and grant us the grace of understanding the difference between intelligence and wisdom.  Please help us teach Your blessings that it pleases You when we are diligent in every endeavor, but never more so than when we are in pursuit of truth.  Lord, You are all-good and all-knowing, and You never lie.  Help us to walk in Your paths in all things, and when we have choices to make, let us look first to Your guidance.

Orange crush

We definitely painted the town – or at least the hall closet – orange yesterday.  While breakfast was devoid of citrus hues, as soon as the girls had finished eating, we grabbed a stack of old magazines and began looking for any orange objects we could find.  The girls were amazed to discover how many different things could be one color; before we started, I asked them what they could tell me was orange.  Beanie responded with “oranges, because that’s why they’re oranges,” while Bugaboo offered, “carrots, and sometimes the sun.”

As the girls pored over pages looking for images containing the color of the day, I cut out leaves and oranges from construction paper, and taped the skeleton of a tree to the hall closet door.  By the time I returned to the table, the girls had assembled an impressive pile of pictures and were chattering about all the things that could be orange, from dresses and butterflies to Easter eggs and book covers.  Anything, it seemed, could be orange — even carrots and oranges.  While I was explaining to the girls that the next step in our project would be to glue the pictures to the leaves so we could make an “orange tree,”  Bugaboo excitedly exclaimed, “Mommy!  Mr. Man will be so excited when he sees this!  You know orange is his favorite color!”

Orange is, in fact, Mr. Man’s favorite color.

The girls broke out their glue sticks and set to work.  As is usually the case, Bugaboo finished first, and thus was given the task of composing a prayer about orange.  She went with the simple, but effective, “Thank You, God, for orange.”  With a piece of leftover packing paper and some foam letters, she set about putting her words to paper, and we crowned our orange tree with her words of praise before decking the tree skeleton with rich paper foliage.

After we had leafed our tree, Mr. Man and Baby Guy awoke, in dire need of milk and Cheerios.  We are still attempting to convince our youngest that cereal is intended for ingestion, not decoration, but since we’re not making much headway with it, it’s fun to see where he’ll attach one.  Yesterday morning, it was his cheek, and Mr. Man kept pointing at his little brother and hollering, “Camwa! Camwa!”

While the boys were making breakfast a multisensory experience, the girls and I scattered throughout the house to find any and all books that had orange covers, orange letters on their covers, or orange spines.  We actually assembled too many to read in a single day, but each time we read one, we wrote the name of the story on an orange and attached it to the tree.  Mr. Man was very enthusiastic about this particular aspect of the  project; one of our biggest challenges was keeping the teetering pile of books on the loveseat from falling over when he spied one of his favorites in the stack and attempted to winkle it out.

I had hoped to look at some orange peel under the microscope, break out a bottle of orange tempera paint, and teach the kids the “O-R-I-O-L-E-S” chant, but we ran out of hours in the day.  In a way, that’s a blessing, because it means the next time the skies are cloudy and we decided to add vividness to our world by having another “orange day,” we still have plenty of different options to celebrate the color of late afternoon sunshine.

We did, however, manage to work in apricots and macaroni and cheese for lunch and carrots with our dinner.

The girls, upon hearing the news of Maurice Sendak’s death, have decided that tomorrow should be “wild things” day.  I approve.

Actually, Bugaboo brought a little mist to my eye when she saw the tidings.  My oldest brother gave the tribe a copy of Where the Wild Things Are for Christmas last year, and it is a favorite of all four tiny people.  We had explained to them that their uncles and their parents all loved the book as children, and we were happy to be able to share this piece of our childhood with them.  Bugaboo ran to the shelf, hunted furiously until she found the book, and brought it to me with the admonition, “Mommy, you need to email Uncle and make sure he’s not too sad, and please tell him his book is safe with me.”

Here’s the song reference.

Today’s prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for orange, for afternoon sunlight, apricots, carrots, butterflies, and everything else You thought to color with so cheerful a hue.  Thank You for the abundance of books, good food, and craft supplies with which our house is blessed, and thank You for little blessings who see You in all things bright and beautiful.  You advised us that Your people will be known by their fruits; please, Lord, grow our family tree into a beacon of love to nourish the hearts of those who seek Your kingdom.  Thank You for eyes to see the brightness and beauty of the days You grant us, and tongues to taste and proclaim Your goodness.