Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Article Published by Mops Website....

Take Time for Ribbons this Christmas!

December 18, 2010 at 3:34pm

Yesterday Z got off the bus with tear filled eyes. Our seven year old, who never cries, had been struggling with something major. I asked him what was wrong. He said that his lollipop was broken to bits. Knowing that there must be more to the story, I probed deeper. "What else is wrong honey?" Z replied, "When the principal handed out lolipops to the whole class, my lolipop was the only one without a ribbon." "Oh honey,"I said. "Aren't you glad that you spared another child from being the one without the ribbon?" Realizing that this did absolutely nothing for his pain, and that I was not seeing how much this hurt him, I asked if there was anything else. He replied that the day before, when the teacher was handing out treats, another child distracted her and she completely forgot to give him one. Yet, he said nothing.
My son's pain was completely real to him.

In that moment I felt like God cleared a path for me to minister to my child. Usually when my children get off the bus, we have choas. At 4 pm in the afternoon I have a baby and a very grumpy and demanding four year old waking up from nap. At 4:10 I have two elementary aged sons getting off the bus wanting to tell me everything at the same time, foraging to find snacks, and trying to do homework amidst everything else. Needless to say, I do not usually get a chance to spend time with any of them at 4:15.

B had no homework and went downstairs to play, C woke up happy and followed B, and A kept sleeping.

Z, my sweet son needed ribbons. I asked him if I could put some ribbons on his lollipop. "Sure mommy!" "OH, but could we make another lolipop out of pipecleaners and then put ribbons all over that? Becuase I want to give it to my stuffed dog, Nanook." "Of course sweetie, I replied" So, we spent ten minutes together fussing over pipecleaners and ribbons. He wrapped his arms around me so tightly, my child who never cries, and whispered, "thank you mommy." And because I had time to feel his pain he seemed at peace.

I don't know what prompted me to write out this story. I just feel like God wants me to. Maybe we all need to make time for ribbons in our life, to stop, and take a moment to feel our child's pain as it were our own.

I am sending this out to friends who, like me, have young children in their lives. We all have our good days and bad days with our kids. This was just a moment in time that happened to be good. Be encouraged and enjoy this wild ride called parenting!

Denise Craig

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Off the Deep End

This whole Zero tolerance thing has been taken WAY too far.  C (7 years old) was freaking out on Friday morning as the bus pulled up. He was  truly panicked.  He said two little girls were trying to kill him on the bus.  Obviously, my common sense told me that a Kindergarten and Second grade girl were not trying to kill him.

Because this all happened as the bus was coming, I didn't want to shove him on there without knowing what was going on.  Therefore,  I drove him to school and we talked about what was transpiring. He replied that the girls were growling at him and scratching him- I later found out that they're pretending to be wolves.  This has been happening for some time though.

As I waved the bus along, earlier that morning, the bus driver expressed concern for Caleb.  He informed me that he would not be driving the bus in the afternoon. This is a long weekend (no school till Tuesday) so I wanted to let him know now so that he can have a few days to figure out the situation.  I called the bus garage to leave a message for the bus driver to call me so that he could know how C is doing and to let him know what the problem was.

The receptionist was happy to take down my number.  She was going to give my number to the bus driver to call me back.  But then she said, "hold just a minute please."  When she got back on the phone, she commented that she can not give any of the drivers a personal message and that she needs to know what is happening on the bus.  I told her with reservation...because I wanted to speak to the bus driver first.  Maybe the girls hadn't been spoken to about this situation.

She informed me that what the girls were doing is considered bullying and that they need to look through all the videotapes to catch them doing it.  The "videotape girl" will then call the school and let the parents know.

Am I crazy, or has this public school gone off the deep end? I love C and don't want him to get hurt but, there are several steps to consider before labeling this as bullying and sending the task off to the videotape girl.  If I were the parent of the girls, I would want a chance to speak to my kids before it went to the videotape girl and the school.  But, sadly, these parents don't have that choice.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Singing Praise to God

I am very thankful for the love of music that God has given me.  Singing is one of the things that I have put on the back burner because of my four wonderful children.  This morning I was blessed to be able to sing "The Lord's Prayer" in church.  I am so accustomed to singing contemporary music at our church that it was a welcome change to sing in the Operatic style that I was trained to do.  Thank you God for your Grace!!!! He took the nervousness away and let His glory shine through.  Here it is:

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Unlikely Messenger

He plodded along with his head down, gazing at the path he takes a thousand times a day.  A man doing his work diligently, with purpose.  Hundreds of people see him but take no notice.  Without a glance to see who's listening, he speaks in a unwavering voice, "Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords."  He continues on to collect the grocery carts in the Wegman's parking lot.
I don't remember ever seeing this man before, but today, he got my attention.  To many he's just a face in the crowd, but to me, he is an inspiration.  Without fear, he said what so many are afraid to share.  I do not know why it is so hard for me to share my Faith.  Fear of rejection is probably the main reason.  But, this man was not afraid.
When I was in the car, just prior to hearing this, I heard a story about churches that hold a special "bring a friend to church day."  They were quoting statistics that only a small percentage of Christian share their faith. Now I know I am not alone.
So here I sit, blogging about everything under the sun, concerning kids yet fail to give you the one thing that matters, the one thing that can literally save your life.

Jesus, He loves you.  He made you.  Every little detail about you, He did that.

Life sometimes stinks....sometimes it really stinks! Those stinky things, those things that Satan is doing for evil, God is weaving together for your good.  I know it doesn't all make sense, but it's true.

We stink, we make bad choices all the time.  God is perfect- He can't co-exist with stinky things, so He sent Jesus (who is perfect) to die.  To die in our place.  That should've been us....but it wasn't.  He did it for us because HE loves us.  We just need to confess that "darn it we stink- we are flawed, we sin", we can't do this thing called life on our own.  And ask God to help us and seek His will for our lives.  So that we can change the way we live our lives and LIVE for Him.  Which allows us to be in Heaven with HIM someday.

Please forgive me for being a wimp and scared to share with you the things that truly, really matter.  And thank you God, for giving me the courage.  May we all be bold like the Wegman's employee.  If you have any questions about what I said above, feel free to comment or find a local church to help you out.  We have no idea when our lives will end (I just lost a sweet friend- age 52 last week).  Where will you go? Do you know?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Encouraging Children-

Our son Z, 9 years old, has got to be the slowest child on the planet when it comes to doing anything mundane.  In fact, he does everything slowly.  For example, when taking a bath last night, he disappeared for an hour while his three siblings watched two TV shows.  When he came out, it was no skin off his back, he was finally ready for bed.

Our extremely laid-back son can really get under my skin, especially in the mornings.  When he's getting ready for school, it's like pushing a snail through quicksand! He gets distracted by toys and pieces of dirt on the carpet.  He's very intelligent and he's not being belligerent, he's just being Z.

This morning was particularly rough for both of us.  He was going slowly and in my frazzled state of hurrying him, I made some statements to him that were not encouraging at all.  I said things like, "Come on Z, you always go slow- speed it up!"  I try to avoid absolutes (words like always, never, etc...) with my kids because, most of the time, they're used to hurt people, not help.  This morning, I was failing on this front.

When we were waiting for the bus, he told me that he wasn't distracted this morning, he actually had to try on 3 pairs of pants to find a pair that fit him. ( He puts away his own laundry and has two brothers- the clothes often get confused)  I felt about as tall as the snail I mentioned earlier.

I apologized and asked my sweet Z to forgive me.  He happily did so.

The bus rolled away and he waved as they went out of sight.  But, I stood there wondering what he's taking with him today.  What kind of burden is he bearing?  What words are repeating over and over in his head?

I went into the house and checked my Facebook account.  There was a message from my Aunt Wendy. She has been a real encouragement to me when it comes to my writing and encouraging others.  When I would write a funny Christmas letter, she'd be the first to say, "You need to be a writer!"  She has been a model to me in encouragement.

I sat there and cried because I realized that everything out of my mouth this morning had been negative and nagging.  I showed my son no signs of encouragement.  Tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully, I can be that encouraging voice to him, like my Aunt Wendy has been to me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ghost Hunting- I wrote this 2 years ago as an article submission.

Ghost Hunting
and the Art of Finding a Discipline to fit the crime
by: Denise Craig

 I am sure that my 8 year old did not start the day intending to get in trouble with his teacher.   But, as any parent knows, what a child intends and what really happens can be a completely different thing.
The sun was streaming through the window, Z was hard at work, and he realized that he needed to use the restroom.   He knew that this visit was not going to be a quick one, so he informed the teacher and went on his jaunt.  When he reached the bathroom, he saw that the "wet floor" sign was directing him to the uninhabited third floor.  Z was washing his hands when he realized that his classmate C was behind him.  C told the teacher that he also needed the facilities.   But, he had no intent in using them. 
Z was readying himself to go down the stairs when the voice of C entered his mind like a thick fog.  “Why go back downstairs when they’re just going to make you do work?”  Well that was a very interesting question indeed for an 8 year old boy. 
The boys turned around and saw the deserted hallways as a labyrinth of ghostly adventure.  “Ghost hunt!” declared C.  Z, tempted beyond reason, could not help but join in.  Eventually, the teacher, being quite the hunter herself, figured out what went on in the dusty, dimly lit, hallways of the third floor. 
Needless to say, Z’s head hung low as he descended the bus steps and headed toward me.  Z said, “Mom there’s a note in my folder from the teacher.  But, C made me do it!”  “What did he make you do?” I asked.   It was then that Z gave me details of the deception, the trickery of his friend.  “But, what was your choice?”  I asked.  “I chose to follow my friend,” he mumbled.  I questioned further, “Did you know it was wrong ?”  “Yes,” he squeaked.  “Well, I guess you also chose a discipline for yourself then didn't you.” I stated.   
I don’t know about other parents, but I know that I sometimes struggle with what to assign as my child’s punishment.   This time was no different.  I have read several books that suggest to “make the punishment fit the crime.”  So I quietly went to my stash of workbooks, made a photocopy of a couple worksheets and added it to the stack of worksheets that he had before him. 
Yes, it took him almost the whole evening to finish the pile in front of him.  But, with each passing moment, it reminded him of the decision he made and his trying to get out of doing work at school. 
It has always been beneficial for us to make the punishment fit the crime.  When the discipline fits the crime, the discipline usually only has to happen a couple times to learn that lesson.  When all is said and done, I hope that he’ll remember the work he had to do and not repeat that mistake again.  Hopefully, if C should ever convince him to slide down another slippery slope, he’ll remember that an appropriate and fitting discipline will be waiting in the wings.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Helpless 20 Somethings...

Tonight as I was cashing out at Wegman's, I was chatting with the cashier.  This is normal for me.  I am not sure how or why, but I usually end up learning quite a bit about them, as they do me, from the short amount of time we spend together.

The lady looked down at my items as she hurried the them along.  She said, "Oh, I need to figure out what to make for my kids' breakfast tomorrow morning."  She continued, "I made them pancakes yesterday and french toast today."  I quickly realized that these were school days that she was talking about.  After I pondered about asking for her address so I can join them in the morning, I collected my thoughts and said, "How about some cereal?"  For that matter, yogurt, granola, fruit, etc....would also work just as well.  She said, "Oh no, my kids have a late-block lunch, they need a hot breakfast."  "Maybe I can give them oatmeal if they don't turn their noses up at it."  I said, "Maybe they can take turns making their own hot breakfast?"  I suggested this because I realized that they must be middle school or high school kids (she later told me that they are 8th grade twins).  "They couldn't do that, I think I've spoiled them", she replied.  I then preceded to tell her (this is where my friend K would say, "oh no, you didn't say that!), that my son who is 6 made his own scrambled eggs this morning and that she could offer that info to her girls for motivation.  Yes, he put in too much milk and we had to strain off the liquid, but, he did it himself.  She then told me that she works all day at one of the schools, and all night at Wegmans.  The poor lady needs them to help.

Now, I realize that this woman may be suffering from the guilt of always working.  But, that  shouldn't give people an excuse to hinder their children's ability to care for themselves by spoiling them.

Maybe our kids have become more independent because there are four of them, or maybe it's because it is our hearts desire for our kids to be self-sufficient. Maybe it's a combination of the two.  But as a couple, I know, we have been mindful of this and try to guide our kids toward independence.

Interestingly enough, we are a homeschooling family.  That often gets the glares and comments about "sheltering our kids".  We are very social and busy people- involved in many activities.  But, more than that, we are training our kids not holding them back by spoiling them.  We are training them to fly someday.  In the past year and a half our twelve year old has made $600 mowing neighbor's yards and he has been taught the proper way to manage that money. Our kids can cook, clean, do laundry (the way their mother does it- which is the wrong way :-)), and basic home maintenance (redoing a deck, painting, gardening etc).  We love our kids and spend time with them but honestly, if I didn't get any assistance and was bending over backwards to overly pamper them, I'd be 6 feet in the ground by now.  We are simply outnumbered with four children running around.

So I implore all of us, myself included, to continue to assess what we are trying to teach our children.  When they are 20 and about to strike out on their own, will they feel trained and empowered or a bit impish?  It is up to us.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Wonderful Discovery!

Some of you may or may not have read about my stomach problems and everything that was going on with me physically for so long.  I had probably about 30 symptoms that were making me gradually feel like I was a 55 year old in a constant brain fog.  I had symptoms ranging from post nasal drip to stomach issues, to neurological issues.  Walking into a doctor's office with a list of 30 things wrong with you is enough to make any doctor think you're nuts.  And, I was starting to wonder myself.  How can any one person have so many nagging little things wrong?

I had some tests done, and most everything came back normal.  I did however, have some stomach problems show up in the endoscopy.  So, the doctors declared me somewhat normal and prescribed medication.  There, done!   Well, not quite.  I still felt terrible!

After many months of struggling not only physically but now emotionally, I wondered what can I do???

I am a researcher by nature, so I found myself reading up on things online.  I was already on a quest to make our family's diet better.  So, my hubby bought a book for me called the UNHEALTHY TRUTH. Let me say this now: My husband always sees these kind of books as "Health Nut Conspiracy Theories".  So, it was an absolute miracle that he bought it for me (from my Amazon wish list). I was shocked to see what's been happening to our food supply.  I was appalled at how these foods can affect our body.  Consider reading it for yourself.  He actually is starting to see some of these things for himself too.  See this article too.

Because I was so interested in these things, I was visiting one of my favorite websites called 100 Days of Real Food.  I was trying to find a specific article pertaining to food items that day when I became distracted by an article on SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  I will never be able to tell you why I was so interested in that article but to say that God must have lead me there.  I don't personally know anyone with the disorder yet it intrigued me.  It was definitely confirming what I had already learned through the book.

The article spoke about the fact that children with SPD can have great success and a lot fewer symptoms when on a gluten free diet.  I continued reading the article to the end....and there is where I saw it.  I saw a comprehensive list of the symptoms that a gluten intolerant person would endure.  They were symptoms ranging from postnasal drip, to stomach issues, to neurological issues and everything in-between.   God had lead me to answers that I had been desperately seeking for so long.

After that, I was determined to cut gluten from my diet completely.  I also chose to cut out dairy at the same time.  (Which I found out later, you should never cut out 2 things at the same time.  If you do, you won't know which one gives you trouble.)  I felt the same for two days, then REALLY tired for two days.  After that, one by one, my symptoms started to go away.  The constant fluid in the ears left, the post nasal drip was gone , the stomach things (many) started to ease, the brain fog gone, the tiredness lifted, the twitches in muscles lessened etc...  I can stay up till midnight almost every night again without feeling exhausted!!!

I have been completely gluten and mostly dairy free (a girl has to have some ice cream every once in a while) for 6 months now.  I feel awesome!!!

Why am I sharing this?  Well first of all I am not a doctor, so see your doctor if you're having problems.   I can only attest to what worked for me.  It may not be the same for you.  But, I am reminding you to be steadfast, continue to do your research.  Don't just take the doctor's word that you are fine....if you're really not.  Pray and seek God's provision for an answer!  I did not just happen to read that article by chance.  I am convinced that it was placed before me.  And, don't forget to give God the GLORY!


Long Time No Write.

Life has been so busy this year teaching music and homeschooling that I have fallen off the writing wagon.  But, I certainly have some things that I have learned that I would love to share with you if you care to read them.