Monday, March 31, 2008

you're blessed...

As homework for my Bible Study class, we were asked to read from Matthew 5. Some times I struggle with the Beatitudes; what they mean exactly or how I'm supposed to apply it to my life. So as I was reading them, I decided to see how they were written in The Message. As you may or may not know, The Message isn't a literal translation of the Bible, but more of a para-phrasing. But sometimes I just love the wording and the way it gets me to look at scripture. Here's how The Message phrases verses 3-10.

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

There is so much here that I love and that I could write about. I have taken an individual verse and taken the time to focus on it. Each one has touched me in the last week and a half and I have felt God's personal assurance through His words.

My favorite, or the one that speaks loudest to me right now, is verse 8 (with vs. 9 coming in a close second). Even when I think my inside world is right, God gently reminds me that there's still work to be done there. And when I do see God in the outside world, I feel like my heart and head is in the right place. I love that feeling.

Which one is speaking to you today? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

More of HIM Monday can be found at Not A DIY Life.

link of the day:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

saturday reflections

I'm tired and I'm sore. I feel old. Yesterday, Don and I traveled south to move Danielle into a new house. All we had to move was her bedroom stuff; bed, dresser, shelves, desk, tv, clothes, and various other miscellaneous items. We also had to put together a couple new items and clean her old room. Needless to say, when we left late last night, we were all exhausted. We were both up early this morning for different reasons and the tiredness has carried over into today. And we're thinking we're just too old to be moving furniture anymore. Here's what her room looked like when we left last night.

Karen, of Write From Karen, has an open mike, um... I mean, blog, the last Saturday of each month. She literally lets you sign in to her blog and write a post. I think that's so cool. So, I took her up on her offer and posted the following. Thank you Karen for such an opportunity.

There's a lot I like about blogging.

I enjoy writing. I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head so I enjoy the process of freeing them from their confines and putting them in a forum where other people will read them. I like it even more when I hear other people’s opinions on something I write. So I love comments.

I enjoy reading other blogs. I learn so much about life through other people and their personal experiences. I like exercising my voice by putting in my two cents, or lending what little support and encouragement I can through a simple comment.

I like having blogging friends. Those who visit my blog, and I visit theirs, on a regular basis. Even though I don’t know these people in person, I have got to know who they are, what their lives look like, their joys and their struggles. I’m a relational person and I enjoy the blogging relationships that have been formed.

But what I love about blogging is reading about amazing people – and there are a lot of them out there. A person’s blog is usually their personal voice. Everyone has a voice; a story to tell or a cause to promote. Many blogs are specifically designed to raise that voice. In other blogs, you can hear the blogger’s voice more in their regular posts. You can hear their challenges, passions, desires, and wounds through their everyday living. Either way, the blogging world affords me to meet (in a blogging sense) some awesome people and to hear their voices.

I came across one such voice just this morning. It’s the voice of a 12 year old young lady who has started blogging about the loss of her brother, who died from a heart defect after only a few weeks of living. Even though he lived for a short time, he had a great impact on Hailey, who is now performing random acts of kindness and paying it forward in his name. I think you will find her story inspiring. You can visit her blog

I know blogging takes time. Time to write, time to visit other blogs, and time to comment. But for me, the time is worth it because my life is changed by the voices of so many wonderful people.

I encourge you to visit Hailey at her blog. She truly is an amazing girl.

link of the day:
(thanks Spilt Milk)

Friday, March 28, 2008

here are my honest answers

I love Fridays here in the blogging world. If I don't have something timely or earth shattering to write about, then I can turn to any one of three different options; Show & Tell Friday, Aloha Friday, and Friday's Feast.

I wish I had something to share for Show & Tell, but sadly, I don't. So I started thinking which of the other two I wanted to use this week. And you know what, I'm going to do both - just because I want to.

Appetizer - What does the color dark green make you think of?
The deep forest - trees, moss, and such.

Soup - How many cousins do you have?
None! No aunts or uncles either. Both mom and dad were only children. I really wish I had some cousins.

Salad - On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how honest are you?
This question cracks me up. I could give you a high number but not be honest about it, thus my honest rating would be low, maybe very low. So now it doesn't matter what number I put here. You will wonder if I'm being honest. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Main Course - Name something that is truly free.
The first thing that came to mind was LOVE. I'm sure some could argue with that but I'm sticking with it.

Dessert - Using the letters in the word SPRING, write a sentence.
Sunshine's Powerful Rays Ignites New Gratitude
whew! That was harder than you think (you try it). As I sat here trying to come up with a sentence, I challenged Jake (who is up way too late doing homework) to come up with something. He thought for about 15 seconds (I kid you not) and blurted out this one; Stupid People Retire in New Guinea (no offense to New Guinea).

And my question for this week's Aloha Friday is one that we asked our youth group kids as an introduction to a lesson on our purpose in life.

Besides your name and pertinent dates, what would you want written on your tombstone?

My answer is:
She lived well, laughed often, and loved much

link of the day:
(This is a video in which my son, Jake, had a hand in. Silly, but fun)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

spring fever

I think I'm coming down with something. The last couple of days have been spring-like warm here in the Denver area. So I think I have what is commonly called, 'spring fever.' And I found out today that it's a real condition.

I heard a story on the news stating that this fever is both a mental and physical condition. That our body's chemistry changes with the seasons and for spring, it happens two to three weeks after we change our clocks. The symptoms are more energy, a better mood, and an overwhelming desire to kick back and play hooky for real life.

Longer days and more sunshine trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that not only give us a mental pick me up, but also cause a number of positive physical changes:

-> Cholesterol levels in the body are almost always lower in the spring than they are in the winter, even when diet or exercise habits haven't been changed.

-> Bones get thicker and the body gets thinner. There's a big shift in body composition come spring. People lose a little body fat, gain a little muscle and bones thicken up. That may help explain why there are fewer hip fractures in older people during the spring than during the winter.

-> People need less sleep. Not only do people require less sleep in the spring, but they have more energy despite sleeping less.

and here's something to get excited about...

-> With the exception of ice cream, most people will also find that they crave fewer carbohydrates and fats in the spring as compared to the winter. That, along with a natural speed-up in metabolism, makes losing weight a little easier in the spring. [yippee!]

Being sick with spring fever is something I don't mind... at all.

**source: Dr. Dave Hnida, Denver CBS4

link of the day:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

oh, the places i'll go

Okay, maybe I spend too much time on my computer. But there is such fun stuff out there on the internet. Here are a few examples.

Disney Fairies
My blogging friend Melissa, of Mejojac's Memos, introduced me to this one. It's definitely for the younger girls, but this girl loves fairies so I've spent more time here than you would think. It's a wonderful site for young girls to use their imagination in designing their own fairies, design their fairies' homes, and exploring the fairy world available to them. Disney has made this a very safe and fun place to play. And, yes, this is one of my fairies.

I don't remember how I came across this one and once again, it's more for the younger crowd. Hmm... what does that say about me? Well, for one, I'm a sucker for good animation. This is a game on a BBC educational site. You advance to new levels by answering questions in different subjects, such as math, science, and english. But before you are given the questions, you must figure out how the animation works for that particular level. Even though this game is for the younger ones, I found both the animation puzzle and some of the questions challenging. If you have kids, definitely check this one out.

Jib Jab
I've seen this around the blogging world but just went and played around with it this past weekend. Oh how fun - and funny! I made a couple of their videos and laughed out loud as I watched them. There's more on this site as I'm still exploring.

Don't send a lame eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

link of the day:
haven't I given you enough links today!?

Monday, March 24, 2008

it's about people

Well, Easter is over. We had a nice Easter where after church, I actually made a nice dinner for the family. This doesn't always happen. Because we don't have family here, there have been many years where we go out to dinner. But this year I decided to cook, and it was very nice.

And Lent is over. This year's Lent period was different than previous years, where I have usually given up something for the 40+ days. This year I tried something new and I'm not really sure it worked out to the degree I had wished.

I wanted to give more of myself in some tangible way. My idea was to do some kind of good deed or interact with someone in a personal way - every day! I can safely say that I did not do this every day. But there were days that God showed me things I could do and people He wanted me to come in contact with.

About half way through Lent, I adopted the theme, it's about people. I wanted to feel like my thoughts and actions should be about other people and not about me, about my wants, or about material things. And it was usually something that stretched me a bit or where I had to sacrifice my time or comfort.

I'll be honest, there were times it would have been easier to look beyond the need, to ignore that small voice of God asking me to do something, to stay sitting on my couch playing Scrabulous on Facebook. But it got easier because I realized I was the one that was always blessed.

making it about people = blessings for all

Even though Lent didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, I feel like it was a good and a blessed time with God. I will continue my personal campaign, it's about people, and continue to look for the small ways in which I can serve others. That's one more way of having more of Him in my life.

visit Heather at Not a DIY Life for more More of HIM

link of the day:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! —1 Corinthians 15:17

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without it we have no hope for this life nor the life to come. That's why it is important to recognize that our belief in Christ's resurrection is not based on a religious feeling or unfounded rumor, but on historical fact with solid evidence to support it.

A century ago, a group of lawyers met in England to discuss the biblical accounts of Jesus' resurrection. They wanted to see if enough information was available to make a case that would hold up in a court of law. They concluded that Christ's resurrection was one of the most well-established facts of history.

In his book Countdown, G. B. Hardy offers some thought-provoking questions about the resurrection: "There are but two essential requirements: (1) Has anyone cheated death and proved it? (2) Is it available to me?" Hardy goes on to declare that only the tomb of Jesus is empty. And because Jesus conquered sin and death, we who put our faith in Him will share in His resurrection.

"If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile," Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17. Historical evidence and countless changed lives testify that the resurrection of Jesus is a fact. Have you put your hope in the risen Christ? — David C. Egner

Yes, Christ the Lord is risen,
Has come forth from the grave;
He breaks the chains of death for you
And now has power to save. —Woodruff

Christ's resurrection is more than a fact of history—it's the proof of our salvation.

devotional taken from Our Daily Bread

Thursday, March 20, 2008

good bye old friends

I collect snowmen. The whole collection comes out for Christmas decorating and then most of them get put away after the holidays. But I keep few of my favorites out the rest of the winter. My family starts asking this time of year, "how long are you going to keep those snowmen out?" And I tell them, "until Spring." Well... today is the first day of Spring, so I guess it's time to say good bye to my old friends.

and hello to SPRING!

link of the day:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

track season has started

I love taking live action shots. At a track meet, there are a few events that make for good pictures. I decided to step away from snapping pictures of my son [running] and look at some of those events from different perspectives. For the above picture and the ones below (different angle), I actually laid on the ground, as near to the mat as the officials would let me, and pointed my camera up towards the pole vaulting bar.

Wordless Wednesday HQ

link of the day:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

modern day miracle

Who says miracles aren't performed anymore? Here's an amazing story about a doctor who prayed over a man that was clinically dead, cried out for him to be raised up, and then insisted that the staff shock him again.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall: "So that doctor came over with those paddles and blasted that man and, all of a sudden, instantly a perfect heartbeat came up on the monitor. The stomach started moving, the chest started moving. This man started breathing on his own, and I said, 'This man has been prayed for, he has been brought back from the dead by prayer in the name of Jesus.'"

Amazing! Be sure you read the full story to hear the dead man's perspective and what kind of impact his death experience has had on him.

link of the day:

Monday, March 17, 2008

happy st. patrick's day

A friend of mine gave me a Happy St. Patrick's Day card with the following Irish blessing in it.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

This made me remember a blessing that the Pastor of a previous church used to say at the end of each service.

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor

and give you His peace.
~Numbers 6:24-26 NLT

I heard this so many times that I know I started to not hear it (you know what I mean). But now as I read it again and think about the words, it was a nice thing to be said over the congregation each week. It was a way to remind us that God is with us and wants to bless us.

I went on-line to see what I could find out about this blessing or blessings in general. Here's what I found in the commentary on

The priests were solemnly to bless the people in the name of the Lord. To be under the almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving Father, or as the cheering beams of the sun; while he mercifully forgives our sins, supplies our wants, consoles the heart, and prepares us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings.

I just love this picture of God and the purpose of blessings. I love the part of the description above that says 'enjoying his favor as the cheering beams of the sun.' That's describes my personal connection with God and the sun. That's the meaning behind the name of my blog. That's why I love the John Denver song, Sunshine On My Shoulders. I can feel God's face smiling upon me as the sun warms me and brightens the day.

May His face shine on you today.

Heather @ Not A DIY Life hosts More of HIM. I encourage you to visit all the participants or contribute your own post.

link of the day:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

the next 20 years

I remember it like it was yesterday. Don and I sitting at a picnic table in a campground after taking a drive through the mountains. We sat there eating our lunch, enjoying the scenery, and chatting about nothing special. Then the subject turned to having babies, to starting a family.

After being married for nearly seven years, we were excited to realize that we both were ready for the next stage in our life. We even started dreaming about what our kids would look like and what our life would look like with kids in it. It was pure speculation because we didn't have a clue as to what all of that would look like.

It seems like yesterday, but it was 21 years ago.
My first born will be 20 years old next month.

As we sat there that day, we could never have imagined how the next 20 years would have gone. The ups and the downs, the joys and the sorrows, the challenges, and the rewards. And in the same way, as I sit here today, I cannot really imagine what the next 20 years will look like. But I can speculate.

We are entering the next stage of our life under the term empty-nesters. No kids! That is... no kids in the house. Of course, we will still have kids and for the next few years, I'm assuming that they will still need their parents in one form or another. And I'm hoping that within the next 20 years, there will be grandchildren for me to lavish with love and attention.

Since we won't be tied down to the house or kids, we want to travel a bit more. Not only around the country but within our own state. We've lived here seventeen years and there are many places we still haven't visited.

I've been thinking about taking on a part-time job, and that would certainly change the way my life looks. Don may change his job and we're open to moving some place new. We're retiring from Youth Ministry here in a few months so our service to God and our church will look different and to tell you the truth, I don't have a clue of what that might look like. It's a little bit scary, but also, exciting.

So, as with the last 20 years, I'm sure the next 20 years will be full of changes, yet full of life. I look forward to them and see them as an adventure. The next 20 years are not to be looked at as a destination, but merely a part of my journey.

This post was written for Scribbit's March's Write-Away Contest with the prompt, The Next 20 Years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

pi anyone?

Did you know that today was Pi Day? Pi = 3.14 blah blah blah. Today is 3-14, March 14th. I actually never heard of this designated day before but evidentally it's a big deal in our local schools. They have different Pi activities to participate in, the most fun being... eating pie.

So my question for this Aloha Friday is:

What is your favorite pie?

Mine, hands down, is Marie Calendars fresh stawberry pie with, of course, whipped cream. It was a sad day, a couple of years ago, when they closed down most of our Marie Calendars' restaurants. Now the only way for me to get a piece of this scrumptious pie is to travel half way across town. But I do it, because it's worth it. And on Mother's Day, I get a whole pie!

link of the day:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

i was the alien

I entered an alien world today. A foreign land. A place where I felt like I didn't fit in. It was the gym.

I was surrounded by all sorts of strange creatures. There were perky little housewives that come in groups of two or three. They stay mostly on the treadmills or ellipticals and don't stop talking to each other the whole time.

There are both males and females that know they have great looking bodies and parade around wanting others to notice. There was some mild flirting going on. There are the lone bodies who for the most part keep their eyes trained on the TV above them or a book or magazine in front of them. There are the super fit and those who obviously have a love affair with food - and everything in between.

As I am a people watcher, I walked on the treadmill and observed all that was going on around me. I felt out of place because I didn't have an I-Pod stapped to my bicep. I'm thinking that most people put those there because it draws attention to their well defined arm muscles.

I watched the weight machines in front of me in hopes that some day I would know how to use them. But I'll be honest, I'm intimidated by the group of large muscle men that seem to have claimed that area as their own.

I would have enjoyed watching one of the many TVs that hung in front of me but all that was on was sports. What's up with that? Maybe it's the time of day that I went, but there were plenty of women there and you'd think they would have something other than basketball, hockey, and CNN on. How about Regis and Kelly, or The View, or even the Price Is Right. Something to keep my mind off the exercise that I don't really want to be doing.

I haven't been to the gym for some time but am planning to make it a regular part of my life. I'm thinking I'll have to experiment with different times to go and I'll definitely be trying out different machines. There's more available now than there was a couple of years ago. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go buy an I-Pod arm band.

link of the day:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

nighty night and sweet dreams

Did you know there's a National Sleep Foundation, complete with their own website? Did you know that last week was National Sleep Awareness Week? I always miss these kinds of something national awareness day - or week - or month - or whatever. But I'm not sure there was any tangible way to celebrate such a week. And it's kinda ironic that there's such a week and it hits right before daylight savings time when we lose an hour of sleep.

I'm a night owl. As I write this, it's nearing midnight and I don't feel tired in the least. I did earlier this evening - why don't I feel it now? I usually stay up until midnight or even 1:00. And then I get up at 7:15 when Jake is getting ready for school. Don has already left by then.

Speaking of Don, we are both wondering if he has sleep apnea. I noticed on the above mentioned site that they have a section on sleep apnea. I guess I need to go read it. He doesn't sleep well and he knows he wakes himself up quite a bit. He snores [loudly] and I think that wakes him up most of the time, but there's been a few times when it seems like he has stopped breathing for a few seconds. He'll be going to the doctor soon.

Once I'm in bed, I sleep pretty well. But I am a light sleeper, so if any noise is made, I'm awake. Most of the time I fall right back asleep. And I'm a dreamer. I'm sure I dream every night and some of them are pretty intense. But I hardly remember much about them once I wake up.

I found this little quiz (which I don't normally take, but hey... what the heck) and here's what it says about my sleeping position, which is on my stomach.
What Your Sleeping Position Says

You have a passion for everything - including sleeping.

Outgoing and brash, you tend to still shock those who know you well.

You tend to be selfish. You are the most likely type to take over the whole bed.

You gravitate toward comfort and don't like extreme situations.

If you don't get enough sleep, you are: In a very bad mood

It's hard to sleep next to you because: You hog the covers.

I'm not sure I agree with most of this. If I'm needing sleep, I can be cranky - but not in a "very bad mood." And I DON'T hog the covers :]

I'll leave you with this joke...
What do you call a sleepwalking nun?
A roamin' Catholic.

link of the day:

Monday, March 10, 2008

i love a good story

In our youth class yesterday, we played a little game where we ask each other questions from a book we have. The question that I received was: name five Bible stories that I would like to have personally been a witness to. I gave some quick answers but then I thought about it later in the day. There are so many that would be cool to witness, but if I had to pick only five, these would be them.

><> The creation. How awesome would it be to see everything on the earth being formed? Since I love nature, I would enjoy being a part of the beautiful garden. And I would have loved sitting there with Adam as he went through the long line of animals, naming each one. (Genesis 1)

><> Noah's ark and the flood. Again, the animals. I think it would be neat to be on a big boat, with all the animals, watching it pour day after day and watching the world as I knew it filling with water. It would be kinda scary to think that I would be among the few that would be the only ones left on earth, but it would be an adventure. I bet the rainbow was a sight to behold, too. (Genesis 6-8)

><> David and Goliath. I'm such a sucker for the underdog, and that was definitely what David was in this story. Plus, I've always wondered what that Goliath looked like. He was over 9 feet tall - a giant. And then to watch David put a stone in his sling, swing it, throw it, and hit that giant warrior dead center in the forehead right before he hit the ground with a thud. I would have been jumping up and down, cheering loudly. (1 Samuel 17)

><> The birth of Jesus. What a holy night that was. Not only to be in the presence of my Lord and Savior as He made His entrance into this world, but I'm sure the there was a "feel" to the night that was indescribable. Like an eletrical charge to the air or something of that nature. It would have been a night to stay up until dawn because you wouldn't want to miss a thing. (Luke 2:1-15)

><> Feeding of the 5,000+. I would want to witness at least one miracle and picked this one because I would also get to hear Jesus speak to a large crowd. That would be pretty exciting. If I was truly witnessing the entire story, I would know that there was originally only five loaves of bread and two fish to feed a huge crowd. I can only imagine that I'd be sitting there in awe, wanting to share what I had just experienced with someone - with anyone. (Matthew 14:13-21)

I do love a good story, but the Bible isn't just a bunch of fictitious stories. They are true, and they are history. And when you put them all together, you understand who God is, why He loves us so much, and everything He wants to give us.

So, what Bible story would you most want to experience?

Visit all the MORE OR HIM participants here.

link of the day:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

the hope in it

Thank you to everyone who commented to my last two posts. You all brought some good stuff to the table. Not only do I appreciate hearing the different views, but I think it benefits all who read them. Here are the rest of my thoughts on this subject.

Yesterday I wrote about the reality of middle school and the kids who attend. I believe most of the girlfriend-boyfriend relationships are in name only. And even though they're in name only, they can turn out bad.

Many times a boy and girl who were friends and then decided to become a boyfriend-girlfriend find themselves not talking to each other at all because they don't know how to handle the expectations of having this status. They "break-up" quickly and unfortunately, their friendship can't withstand the fallout.

Even though I believe most of these relationships (and I obviously use that term loosely), there are those kids who take it to a deeper level. Since they are so young, most of it is experimenting and doing what they think is expected of them, since being in a "relationship." But as all adults know, that usually leads to trouble. The facts is; there are sexually active kids in middle school.

That is why it's important to be in touch with what's happening in your child's environment and lay a foundation of communication, discipline, respect and trust - and all this has to happen before your child goes into his/her middle school years.

I'm a firm believer in communication - mutual communication. I needed to know what my kids were thinking and feeling and experiencing in order to know why they reacted in a certain way or how to help them with something. Likewise, I wanted my kids to know why we made certain decisions, why we had to say no, and what we expected from them. If you have this foundation already in place when your child gets to middle school, it helps to navigate through this turbulent and bewildering period.

If you have guidelines for dating, you should communicate that as early as possible. I have a friend whose kids knew, from the time they learned to talk, that they were not allowed to date one on one until they were 16. There was never any need to try to negotiate. That's just the way it was. It worked because that rule wasn't all of a sudden sprung on them when they were at the age when they were watching their peers have boyfriends and girlfriends. They also communicated to their children why they had this policy and why it was important to them. They didn't just say, "because I'm the parent and I say so." They did it will love and logic.

My son had a girlfriend when he was 13, but we did a lot of talking about what it meant to be a boyfriend and was was expected from him. We met her family and got to know them very well (luckily, we liked them a lot). He and his girlfriend only did things in a group setting, most of the time with other friends and then other times with one of the families. I truly believe he learned personal, relational, and social skills during this time. They were allowed some freedom within a closely watched and regulated environment.

Did I know everything that went on - no. Did he tell me everything that was on his mind - I'm sure not. But we were able to talk about a lot that I think helped him understand relationships. I honestly don't think we would have had some of those same conversations if he were in high school. By that time, kids think they know it all and don't need their parents.

What I didn't address here, but what I feel is true, is that there is a difference between boys and girls when it comes to this subject. How much self esteem a girl has, and how empowered she feels, will play a role when it comes to wanting the acceptance and fitting in, thus having a boy friend. I could write another post on this subject, so I'm not going to go on. This post is long enough =)

I wouldn't presume to tell anyone how to parent their children. And I sincerely hope no one feels that way by what I've written. I recognize that we all parent differently and no one knows our kids better than we do, as parents. These are just my thoughts, personal opinions, and experience. Thank you again for your input. I enjoy reading each and every comment.

Friday, March 7, 2008

the reality of it

My question today is the same one I posed in my post yesterday. I didn't get much feedback (where is everyone?), so I thought I'd post it again today under the Aloha Friday meme.

Is it appropriate for a 13 year old to have a boyfriend or girlfriend? and At what age is it appropriate for your child to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

Here's my two cents on the subject and let me preface it by saying that this is just my opinion but it comes with experience and some knowledge as a parent of two teenagers and a youthworker who has worked with middle school students for eight years.

I remember being flabbergasted when I first started working with middle schoolers and realized that boys and girls were calling each other boyfriends and girlfriends. The concept was not only hard for me to grasp but I had strong feelings that these kids were just too young to be in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. But by hanging out with these kids, I learned some things.

Let me first say this; the preadolescence and adolescent years of a kid today is different than when the parents experienced these same years, no matter what the age of the parents. Children are developing at a younger age than ever before, and this includes hormonal changes. This means there is a natural attraction to the opposite sex at a younger age, most of the time starting in elementary school.

By the time a child turns 13 (or younger), he/she has already been dealing with these attractions for some time. Middle School gives a child the opportunity to be social and experiment a little with the emotions they are feeling. The name of the game in middle school is fitting in, and if most kids are being social with the opposite sex and then having a boyfriend or girlfriend, believe me, that's what your kid will want to do, too.

A middle school student is trying to figure out who they are and where and how they fit in. They don't want to be different. They want to do and be like their friends, or worse - those popular kids. Add to that the fact that they have a natural attraction to those of the opposite sex, and you get boyfriends and girlfriends.

BUT WAIT! ...having a boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't necessarily mean what you think it does. It's been my experience that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is an 'in name only' status for most kids. Of course, there are the exceptions, but most kids don't know what a relationship of that magnitude is supposed to look or feel like. Because of this, and other reasons, most boyfriend-girlfriend combinations don't last more than a week or so. That's because they don't know what they're supposed to do.

As bizarre as this is, it is what life looks like for a middle school student in a public or private school. Obviously, home schooled kids have a different environment. And as much as we, as parents, probably don't approve of this, there are social skills that they are learning through this process. I don't know as much about this aspect, but I'd venture to say that these skills are useful as they go into high school and are thrown deeper into the world of boy-girl relationships and "real" dating.

This has become a lot longer than I could have imagined and I still have more to say; my personal experience with my son when he was 13 and had a girlfriend and what I think parents can and should be doing, no matter what age their kids are. I will continue with these thoughts in tomorrow's post. Please come back to get my full answer to the original question. And thank you for all your comments on this subject. I truly believe we can all learn from each other with an open and respectful conversation.

link of the day:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

another weigh in

As I was perusing blogs today, I came across Is It Just Me?, a well written blog by JustRandi. A week ago or so, she posted a question that generated much conversation and has kept me reflecting on it the rest of the day. So I thought I'd pose the question here as I'm curious as to what you think about the issue.

So here's the question JustRandi posed: Is it appropriate for a 13 year old to have a boyfriend or girlfriend? And I'll add; at what age is it appropriate for your child to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

I'd encourage you to read the comments left for JustRandi's post and then JustRandi's followup post explaining her feelings. It's interesting and thought provoking reading. As with the other weigh-ins, I ask that you be considerate and respectful in your comments.

link of the day:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

post potpourri

I just need to post a disclaimer about yesterday's post. I thank everyone for their kind comments but as I was reading them, I felt like maybe you thought I was fishing for compliments. I wasn't. I wrote the post right after getting home from the band's gig and I guess you could say I was on a little bit of a high.

I was a little euphoric because I almost didn't go to their concert but then so glad I did. It had been snowing most of the day and I didn't want to drive nearly an hour to get into downtown. Don was out of town and I didn't want to go alone. Plain and simple - I didn't want to go. I wanted to sit home in my pj's and watch Extreme Home Makeover and Oprah's Big Give. But I just couldn't get comfortable with that choice. I felt like I should drive Jake and I should be there as probably the only adult for his band.

As it turned out, it was a fun evening. It was low key without too many responsibilities. The snow stopped and the roads were pretty clear. And I had fun. It's amazing what a difference your attitude makes. So, I just wanted to clear that up. I am far from the rockin' mom that the post implies. I'm a rockin' mom because I can rock to the music my son and his band mates play.

I wanted to acknowledge the fact that the Blogging With A Purpose award was passed on to me by two wonderful blogging friends. Both Mary of Not Before 7 and Ma Kettle (Jen) of Double Nickel Farm honored me with such a nice award, each mentioning the meme I started; More Of Him. Thank you very much, Mary and Jen.

This award was created by Eric Novak at Blogging With A Purpose. He started awarding christian bloggers who blogged with a specific purpose and I am supposed to pass it on to five other blogs who do the same.

I would like to pass it on to Heather of Not A DIY Life as she has graciously taken over the reins of More Of Him. She has a wonderful blog where she regularly shares how God is working in her life. For those of you who participated in More Of Him, either through your posts or comments, I hope you continue to support this meme over at Heather's place.

I feel like most bloggers have a purpose for their blog. As for me, I have a few "purposes." Although I understand the spirit of the award, I once again am going to decline to pass it on because I feel like everyone is worthy of it. Sorry to disappoint.


And here's an encouraging story. A 14 year old boy in California, who founded a 'no cussing club,' has designated this week as NO CUSSING WEEK. I hope he gets a lot of support for his efforts. There's even a website (of course there is) dedicated to the cause. I have included it as my link of the day.

link of the day:

Monday, March 3, 2008

rockin' mom

It's been a busy few days. Jake's band, I, Riot, performed on Thursday night, Friday night, and Sunday night. And in the same order, they had a bad night, a good night, and a fun night.

Don and I have always supported our kids, in whatever they were involved in at the time, by attending their events. Whether it was soccer games, band concerts, dance recitals, or classroom field trips, we were there. I never dreamed that my future would hold days where we'd be following my son's band from one venue to the next.

And support doesn't just mean sitting in the audience and listening. We've transported drums and fans, loaded and unloaded equipment, helped with the sound system, provided food, played amateur photographer, and the list goes on. But I wouldn't change a thing.

I'm experiencing a part of life that most people don't. We get to be involved in kid's lives in a very gratifying way. I know more about the independent music scene than I could have ever imagined. And most importantly, Jake [hopefully] knows how much his mom and dad care about him and will always support him in anything he chooses to do.

link of the day: