Friday, 15 November 2013

Weekend Reading {vol. 105}

Learning from Beauty @ A Deeper Story
We have so many opportunities to consume beauty: To capture it on our phones and hoard it in the cloud. To sneak an episode of an epic story between washing dishes and finishing emails from work. To listen to a well mastered album through head phones while walking through the airport past hundreds of thousands of others. To listen to poetry being read over podcasts while mowing the lawn. To taste a hand crafted cocktail or cappuccino or grab a day-long-smoked pork sandwich while meeting a colleague for lunch.

Is this much ode to beauty defeating the purpose by only creating deeper pining within me? Am I becoming a beauty voyeur?

What Seems To Be @ Story Warren
When I reread that passage to the kids, I realized that Tolkien doesn’t really give much visual information about some of his villains. There is plenty of detail about the hobbits, elves, dwarves, and other heroes, but some of the bad guys get talked about in very abstract terms. It’s genius. They stay in the shadows.

Imagination is a powerful tool, and it can work against us sometimes. I’ve been thinking lately about my tendency to make anticipated things worse than they really are. Tolkien creatures are worthy of dread; most of the things I fear are not — or at least not as worthy of dread as I make them out to be. I look at situations in my life and make them out to be far worse than they are in reality, because the details are hidden. I am like the little hero facing down an unknown monster, and for some reason I sketch in the missing details in the bleakest way possible. All those things I don’t know must certainly be the worst.

Some things are harder than algebra @ Oh, That's Simple
The hard part is getting along. The hard part is the relationships. The hard part is being a grown up at all the right times, like when things are falling apart.

The hard part is the good part.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The spider that fought back

We live in a basement suite and spiders are simply an ever-present fact of life here. They hide in corners and under blankets and inside every roll of wrapping paper I ever go to use. I've come to terms with them; sometimes I even let them live out their quiet lives in whatever corner they've made their home.

A few weeks ago, however, I nearly turned the whole house over to a spider.

I was quite innocently vacuuming my bedroom when I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I glanced that way, didn't see anything, and continued to vacuum in what I thought was blissful safety.

Then. THEN. The biggest spider I have ever seen (tarantulas aside) runs out from underneath my dresser, smacks my vacuum cleaner with its leg, and runs back to safety.


I sent my husband a text.

(The ceiling comment was because we were having some repairs done to leaky pipes above our bathroom.)

I then told him the rest of the story, so that he would know that I wasn't at all kidding about having to move.

The brave husband came home that evening and shone a flashlight under the dresser. He didn't see any sign of a monster spider, so I reluctantly agreed that we could go to sleep in our bedroom that night. Weeks went by and I didn't see leg nor huge hide of him, so I told myself the vacuum must have been the victor in that particular sparring match.

Yeah. Turns out not so much.

I rediscovered the monster spider a few days ago when another (smaller, spindly, not even a little bit terrifying) spider walked by the dresser, and monster spider ran out and chased him off. I You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

Well, this morning I stepped into the bedroom and saw monster spider lurking just outside his home. I grabbed my phone because this just needs to be documented and shared with the world. That's right, I risked life and limb just to get this photo of the spider that lives under my dresser. I only wish it could better convey the sheer size and utter terror of this beast, but alas, 'twas only a cellphone camera and low light and a short opportunity before he retreated.

And now you know why we're moving on Saturday.*

* Okay, fine, so we're not actually moving because of the spider. But we really are moving on Saturday, so wish us luck - and, also, a spider-free new home.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Weekend Reading {vol. 104}

When your temper scares you @ Lisa-Jo Baker
There’s no rage like the exhausted rage of motherhood.

These aren’t the things they don’t talk about in the parenting books, or play groups, or coffee dates. How you will one day lose your ever-loving mind because two boys sat and watched their sister pour an entire bottle of purple Motrin all over the beige carpet and didn’t think to stop her.

More than the battle of sleeplessness or figuring out how to make broccoli appealing or mastering potty training for the third time, this full out war against my own angry, shouty spirit will be the biggest victory I am determined to win through motherhood.

“I don’t want to disappoint you.” @ Brave Writer
If a child could risk showing her vulnerable side, she might say something like, “I hate that I don’t know what to write, right now. It makes me feel dumb. You look so disappointed in me and I hate being a disappointment. I want you to be proud of me. Maybe if I just don’t write, we can stop writing all together so I can make you proud of me in another way.”

If you can hear the subtext to the complaints and bravado, the defensiveness and listlessness—you can meet your child in the center of his or her weakness.

Thinking thoughtfully about Doug Phillips’ resignation, Part V: Praise where praise is due @ That Mom
This has been a difficult week for many moms. Doug Phillips is the man the Lord used to inspire their husbands to consider the value of being a dad. He is the one who painted a picture of motherhood for them that resonated with the God-given desire most women have to nurture and love children. He gave them hope for their families in a world that most Christians realize is increasingly post-modern if not downright pagan. He inspired families to love America and to see God’s sovereignty in many places we had forgotten it existed. And those messages are true and good ones.

But somehow hearing criticism of the man and his philosophies has translated to these wonderful moms that their choices have not been valid ones. And this is the real sadness of it all. Because God HAS used Vision Forum for good in many ways IN SPITE OF the bad theology, IN SPITE OF the dangerous teachings, IN SPITE OF the damage done to so many. But rather than minimize or ignore the false teachings and pretend it is genuine Biblical truth, now is the time to say, “God is good, He has led our family, not because of what Doug Phillips said but because God showed us these things by His grace alone!”

Now is also the time for families who have been caught up in the patriarchy paradigm to ask hard questions. It is time to put away the big red manuals, the endless CD’s of “encouragement,” the books and programs and conference paraphernalia and pick up the Bible. It is time for parents to humble themselves and seek forgiveness from their children, some of them long-estranged because the paradigm taught that they should be. It is time to repent of the pride of who has a larger family, who is interning where, who is courting whom, who has the most modest clothes, who God is blessing, who He is cursing, etc. Have you been blessed? Rejoice and be grateful! Are you struggling? Rejoice and be grateful! Reject the idolatry of the paradigm, embrace the relationships around you. Pull out one of the one anothering verses every single day, over and over again, and live them! Love God, love your children, love your neighbors. Welcome God’s grace and be thankful for how God alone, not Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, a patriarchal leader, radio teacher, or any man, has brought you to this point!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

"The Gentle Parent" Book Review

This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for the launch of L.R.Knost's newest release, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline. Click here if you’d like to check out the other stops on the tour!

"It is in the ordinary moments of life itself that you are building your relationship with your child, and it is in those moments that you decide whether your relationship will be built on control and correction or built on trust and connection."

From the author of Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle parenting through the ages and stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication through the ages and stages of childhood comes a third book in the Little Hearts Handbook series: The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline.

Like its predecessors, The Gentle Parent is concise and to-the-point. This slim book contains 30 short chapters, making it an easy read for busy parents.

Don't mistake its brevity for lack of content, however. The Gentle Parent is filled with practical steps, tips, and scripts to round out the "why's" of gentle discipline with nice solid "how's".

This comprehensive look at gentle discipline carries the reader from the beginning stages through to the teenage years and beyond. Following an introduction on the problem with punishment, the next five chapters look at the importance of setting a solid foundation in the baby years. The author then moves on to the toddler stage, with eight chapters covering everything from tantrums to biting to boundary testing. This section also explores the consequences of spanking, shaming, threatening, manipulating, and yelling at children.

The next six chapters cover the preschool years, including a chapter on parenting strong-willed children. This is followed by five chapters on middle childhood. The book concludes with five chapters the discuss the adolescent years, including some insight into the root of violence and bullying in our society.

There are also three appendices, covering lying, backtalk, and a twelve-step approach for parents who wish to work toward a more gentle style of parenting.

The entirety of this book is girded with the three C's of gentle discipline: Connection, Communication, and Cooperation. Both new and seasoned gentle parents will find it a worthy resource.

Gentle Parenting Workshop (and a freebie!)

The author of the Little Hearts Handbook series has also just released the first in a new Gentle Parenting Workshop series. The Gentle Parenting Workshops are companions to her Little Hearts Handbook series. The first workshop in the series, Gentle Parenting Workshop 1: Getting Started on Your Gentle Journey, will help you set your gentle parenting goals, identify specific parenting problems, and target practical solutions to help you along on your journey to gentle parenting.

This workshop will be free to download on Kindle on the last day of the book tour, Sunday, November 10th, so be prepared to snap up that offer tomorrow!

About the Author

Best-selling parenting and children’s book author and mother of six, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood are the first in her Little Hearts Handbooks series of parenting guides. The newest book in the series, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline was just released on November 1, 2013. Other works by this award-winning author include the children's picture books Petey’s Listening Ears, and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series for ages 2 to 6, which are humorous and engaging tools for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools.

Monday, 4 November 2013

I Well Remember

My recent insomnia followed me into the early hours of the morning. I gave in, got up, closed the doors on three still sleeping children, then settled myself in my chair beside the fireplace.

I opened my soft grey Bible from the place where it sits, too often undisturbed and neglected, on the shelf next to me. I turned to Lamentations; it's a Lamentations sort of season, you know? Woe and despair and tears, verse after verse. My eyes fail from weeping; my heart is poured out on the ground, oh yes, mine too.

And then, bright jewel among ashes, I remember my afflictions, I well remember them, yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope...

I well remember.

Oh, how very many things I well remember. Things from recent times, things from years long past, dark times and hard times, things that lie silently in my heart and come to mind in the quiet hours, I well remember.

And yet.

And yet this I call to mind, that your compassion never fails, Lord. Great is your faithfulness, and your love has no end. Yet this I call to mind, that you are near to the brokenhearted. You desire not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his wickedness and live - live! - and this too I remember, that I am that sinner, day after day I am that sinner. Fall down, try again. Turn and live.

And because of these things, I have hope.