A Prayer for Change

This week, Pastor Sherry closed the adult Sunday school class on discernment with a beautiful and powerful prayer.  The prayer, written by 12-year-old Mary Katherine Lidle the day before a car accident that would claim her life, can be found in the book, Open the Door, by Joyce Rupp.  Many of us were moved by these words and wanted to continue to reflect on their meaning.

Look at me—
I’m walking through a door
My life is changing and it’s just perfect now
No more doors for me
They’re too hard to get through
I’m staying here where it’s safe—

No, child,
Those doors are a part of you
You can’t ignore them
‘Cause they’re there
You’ve got to go through them
Who knows what you’ll find
You’ve got to meet their trial
If you don’t, you won’t be what you should become
There are always gonna be doors and you
Can’t stop ‘em from comin’
You’ve got to go through them to grow
It’s called change
Look at the wildflower; it changes all the time
Always blossoming or closing up, sprouting or withering
You’re scared to go through those doors
Into the unknowing, “into change”
You don’t know what’s going to happen
You don’t know what change is going to bring
Listen to me
Go through those doors with hope
Go through those doors knowing change is the future
And you’re part of it
You don’t know what change is, that’s why
You’re scared
Change is the sun booming over the horizon
Scattering rays of hope to a new day
Change is a baby lamb meeting the world for its first time
Change is growing from a young child to a young woman
Change is beautiful; you will learn to love it.

Maybe It will Do the Trick

Often I am scrolling through the endless Facebook conversation and I come across someone’s status that reads something like this:

“Maybe this fitness challenge will do the trick…” or “Maybe this squat challenge will do the trick.”

There is no trick.  There is no fast track to health and fitness. There is no fitness challenge, nor any number of squats that will make you skinny for the rest of your life.

There is only choice.

You must choose to make the person you want to be, the person that you are. If you want to be fit and healthy, that is a daily choice. Every day you wake up and you choose to brush your teeth, you choose to wear a specific outfit, and you choose to apply makeup in a certain way. When you get to the kitchen – the choice to be healthy that day begins. Every day is the same. We make the choices to take care of ourselves and give our bodies what they need – or we make unhealthy choices.

I have a dessert issue. I think about chocolate every day. I go on stretches of not buying it. Then I’ll make brownies “for the kids” and eat one a day until they are gone. I beat myself up about chocolate: The love of chocolate vs. the hate of cellulite. It’s my little internal, daily, debate. I want to let it go. I want to get control of the debate. Of course, I could make it easier on myself and stop buying chocolate entirely. Every night when my chocolate clock goes off, I could easily say, “Too bad. Nothing here to eat made of chocolate.”

Like everyone, I have to make these choices, too. Therefore, I know these are not easy choices, every day and every meal. When I am defeated at night, and I eat ice cream, I know tomorrow I can try again. The next meal is another opportunity for a good choice. But I have stopped hoping for a miracle fitness challenge to change me, and I have accepted my role on my path toward health and fitness. I think of it as the biggest fitness challenge of all: daily healthy choice.

In good health,
Mel

The Giving Game

Following the sermon on generosity Sunday, I found myself reflecting quite a bit on how we are called as parents to give.  Without ceasing.  Every day.  How often do we feel drained at the end of the day because we have given and given and given. We often feel that there is not enough to go around.

Anyone else feel like it’s a continuous game of “zone” defense?   You know, when the giver is often outnumbered by the takers?

What…you don’t have little takers running around the house?

Mama, I need milk.
Mama, up?
Mama, need napkin.
Mama, need ‘nuggles? (Ok, so this one doesn’t count as “taking”…am I right?)
Mama….waaaawaawaw!!!!  I got ooowwie!!!
Mama, brother needs time out!
Mama, do puzzles?
Mama, I like watch songs?
Mama, let’s do “Happy Day” again?
Mama, I tired.
Mama…

…and the list goes on.

One morning this week, it felt like an hour from the time I got the boys up, changed their diaper, negotiated clothing options, put on chosen attire, loaded up the cadre of stuffed animal friends and blankies, carried our seriously tough looking posse down the stairs, flipped on Curious George, cut up the bananas, toasted the waffles, chose the correct colored plates and character-themed milk cups, rinsed the blueberries, selected the yogurt flavor of the day, called the crew up to the breakfast table, snapped them in, pushed them in, presented 3 different spoon options…to the time I finally sat down to a quick bite of banana for myself.

Of course, the exact moment my rear hit the seat…

Mama, I need more milk?

Deep breath.

You need more milk _____ ? 

Peees. Definitive nod.

Ok, sweetie. Just a minute.

How often do we give so much of ourselves as parents that we forget to nourish ourselves.  I will be the first to admit I do not always give with joy and gratitude in my heart every.single.minute.  It is hard.  I’m often exhausted.  I often want to throw a pity party for myself.

I remember talking to a dear friend shortly after my boys were born.  She had just had her third child, and I had just gone from exactly zero to two.  I was overwhelmed and trying to pick her brain to see how she managed with three.  She told me something that still resonates with me…

The first child is the hardest.  That is when you learn to become a parent.  You learn to be selfless.  The rest are a piece of cake after that.

Two-and-a-half years later, I think it’s safe to say I’m still working on that selfless thing.

So, I’m grateful for the current sermon series on generosity.  I know I need this reminder of the connection between a parent’s love for a child and God’s love for all of us.  Maybe for some of us, it is when we constantly give of ourselves to our children that we come closest to mirroring God’s love for us.  (Talk about zone defense. I think two-on-one at times is tough!) 

And, while my kids are just toddlers and rarely sit me down to express their most sincere thanks for a perfectly toasted waffle, I imagine that, for most of us, our generosity goes without thanks many days.  Perhaps we, as adults, can do a better job of being grateful for the constant giving we receive.   Maybe that gets us one step closer to that “selfless” thing.  One step at a time.

Dear Lord, Thank you for always giving.  Help us to pass along your Gift to others in our life.  Amen. 

~Holli

How Far Would You Go??

The latest selection of the PUMC Women’s Book Club is “Defending Jacob” by William Landay and it was a GREAT read in my opinion!  Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I love whodunnits.  I often don’t even care how badly they are written or even what they are written about.  I am a terrible guesser of endings and I love surprises.  And a surprise is what you get with this book (if you guessed how this one would end, please leave me a message without spoiling it for others)!

“Defending Jacob” is a story of a family of three; a devoted mother, an assistant DA father, and a 14 year old son named Jacob.  A classmate of Jacob has been murdered and the circumstantial evidence is pointing to Jacob even though he insists he is innocent.  I was drawn to the reactions of the parents and found myself imagining what would I do.  How much evidence would it take to make me believe my child guilty?  How far would I go to defend my child in the face of that evidence?  How much do we overlook in our kids?  What do other people think about my kids – right or wrong?

This is a story of family relationships and how they can be put to the test.  How everything can change in the blink of an eye.  How we can be crippled by scrutiny or we can rise to the challenge of it.  How we can put blinders on in our single minded devotion, but it is nearly impossible to know the absolute truth.  How as parents, we do the best we can to make the right choices.  It makes you think!  Put it on your summer reading list and enjoy!

For the Love of Candy

My children got a lot of candy this past Easter.

A. lot.

They got candy at the church Easter egg hunt. They got candy from the Easter Bunny. They got candy from their uncle and from loved ones we consider family. They got candy from their grandparents. To be honest, it’s way too much candy.

After the Easter festivities, I caught a glimpse into the secret world of grandmothers. My mother was recalling a telephone conversation she had with a fellow grandmother and friend. The friend asked my mom, “Does Kathy allow you to give your granddaughters candy?” While I inwardly cringed every time my kids came home with more candy, I realized there’s a bigger picture to be seen.

When it is not Easter, Christmas, or their birthdays, I monitor how much candy my children eat. Before they get dessert, they know they have to finish the vegetables and protein on their plate. They get plenty of exercise and drink water or milk. I’m trying to teach and model for the kids about balance, moderation, and being strong and healthy.

But in those special moments when my girls get boat loads of candy from family and friends, I remember that this is how they show my kids that they are loved. It’s not that candy = love. It’s in the giving of the candy that my girls are being shown that they are loved.

In fact, eating is the first way a baby learns to be loved, nurtured, and cared for. Feeding a child is the first way the parents show their love. The baby learns to trust from the simple act of being fed. Gayle Felton writes, “For [a baby], the connection between being loved and being given food and drink is real.”[1]

We, too, experience that connection between being loved and being given food and drink when we take communion. We participate in a sacred tradition in which we remember Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. We experience God’s grace and forgiveness. We are nourished by the bread and wine and sent out into the world to share God’s transforming love with our neighbors. In the United Methodist tradition we celebrate an open communion table. ALL are invited and that includes children! They might not understand what communion is all about, and to be honest, I don’t exactly either; it is a holy mystery! But what children can understand is the connection between the breaking of the bread, the drinking of the wine, and the experience of love.

So back to my mom’s friend’s question: “Does Kathy allow you to give your granddaughters candy?” My answer is a big, loud YES because I know that is how our extended family and loved ones show their love to my two biggest blessings. And I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of that.

Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato SoupThis year I have committed to changing the way I eat.  No more (or at least not much) processed food, cutting way back on the grains, and trying to slow down on dairy.  I feel like a million bucks and I’m staring 40 right in the eye and smiling.  I have to say that it can be hard to always make food from scratch, especially with two young children.  So my new favorite website is  PaleoPot!  Delicious recipes that I can make in the morning and have ready and waiting whenever dinnertime needs to be.  Here is my favorite…

Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup

The simple ingredients…

  • 6 cups of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed – this is usually about 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 14 oz. jar of roasted red peppers in water, drained
  • 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tstp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Put all the ingredients in your slow cooker and 4-6 hours later you have soup!  Puree it with a stick blender or food processor and enjoy!

Monday Morning Meditation ~ A Look Back

As we enter a new season, a new month, and a new week, this Monday morning, we’ll look back at our first quarter year of Monday Morning Meditations.  We hope you can use this morning to catch up on any you may have missed, or re-read one that spoke to you.Monday Morning Meditation ~ A Look Back

Will the expert in the room please raise her hand?

Internet ~ Friend or Foe?

 Extremes of Motherhood

Teachable Moments in the Everyday

Slow Down and Smell the Roses

Lord Give Me Strength

Becoming Soccer Mom

Go Ahead, Be Grumpy

We Are Never Alone

Perfection is My Enemy

Sing like {Your Kids} are Listening

Do you like Surprises?

Already read them all?  Leave a comment on one that has been particularly meaningful to you this year.