Second chances are kind of special things. I have a friend who lives the next town over who has been divorced for a while now, and I simply do not know how she does it. She works and has four kids. Two of the four are angels, but the other two are, well, hmm, I think “brats” is the nicest way I can think of to put it. She struggles all the time and is constantly at her wits end. Yes, they are that bad.
I just found out that she got engaged over the holidays. I can’t even fathom how she had time to meet anyone, but I am glad she did. I can’t imagine what type of a person is willing to take on the challenge of rebuilding that home. Wow. All I can say is wow.
I can’t think of a word better than “miracle” to describe what a father and husband will do for that home. The hand of the Lord is most definitely at work here. I wish them the best.
Yesterday we had a true snow day. It was a Sunday, so everything was canceled for everyone. (One observation is that we got more snow the 24 hours before than we had gotten for the last 7 years combined!) It was so peaceful not to have any scheduled activities, and no chores. We spent the entire day relaxing, building snowmen, preparing for Christmas, and spending time with the kids. It was almost as good as Christmas Day itself. My kids summed everything up with the observation, it is like a snow day you don’t need to make up at the end of the year. My daughter did feel like making some homemade bread and we relaxed to a warm pot of soup, warm potatoes, and fresh from the oven bread.
I appreciate life throwing in a good day now and then!
One of the most common miracles I see around me involve growth. Growth of plants from seeds into food and trees and flowers. Growth of individuals to learn and adapt. Growth of infants, etc. My 14 year old son is now as tall as I am. It is amazing that something I gave birth to will soon be taller than I am!
Yesterday I saw God work in a very mysterious way. My middle child needed some help, but he had it in his mind that a specific someone would come and help him in a specific way. He refused to allow anyone else to help. His refusal to let other people help has caused some serious problems both for my son and others involved in the activity. The person that my son wanted to help him was not available, and even if that person suddenly became available, he no longer did that type of work and was not inclined to help anyone else out either. He had been asked before and could no longer do the work properly. We had asked before and he had tried before but could not do what needed to be done. (Vague intentionally. Sorry.)
Yesterday another activity was coming up and my boy had to get the project done. The exact person that he had been hoping for stopped by for a visit, unannounced, and found himself at our home while his vehicle was being repaired with nothing to do. I was a little hesitant to ask for the help because it was so difficult for our visitor. Instead he just stepped right in and went to work in a way I have not seen him work in years. It was as if he had never stopped doing that work, and was able to help my boy out and satisfy the desire my middle child had been holding out for. My boy is very happy, and I don’t know if the visitor was even aware of the impact that his actions had. The fact that he was able to do the work so well was an obvious miracle, but the timing and the arrival to our home were also miracles.
My 7 year old gave me a lesson this week. We were at an exhibit about the life of Jesus Christ. You walked around the room and saw chronological photos from his birth to his resurrection and ascension. I was trying to teach my 5 year old about the resurrection. We paused at the picture of the crucifixion and I asked him why he thought Christ had allowed them to put him on the cross and kill him. The answer I was looking for was so that he could die and be resurrected. He suggested that the men were bad people. I nodded my head and started to agree with him. It was then that my daughter stepped in and corrected the both of us. No, she informed us. It was because they didn’t know what they were doing and they needed to be forgiven.
She was of course correct. I guess I need to be a whole lot more careful who I judge to be evil, and how often I forget everyone’s need for a Savior. There are many things we all do wrong because we don’t fully understand how evil we all really are. It took a child to remind me of that. Why is it that children seem to understand these things more clearly sometimes?
This last week I think every one of my children has surprised me in one way or another. Most of my surprises were with how much they are growing up and asking for new responsibilities, or admitting they are ready to move forward.
Quick example. I picked up my second grader from school the first day, and she surprised me by asking if she could walk home by herself this year. It isn’t a big problem for me to pick her up as I am getting her sister from another school about that time, but this was something she wanted to do herself. She has walked before, but with older siblings. She is only 5 blocks away, and there are sufficient crossing guards and she just wanted to do it herself. It made her happy to be so grown up.
As a parent, I sometimes wonder how often our children are preserved from harm without our even realizing or acknowledging it.
Yesterday my 5 year old swallowed a hard candy and actually started choking on it. I must admit I panicked a little bit as he had his hands up near his throat, started jerking, and I heard a faint “I’m choking.” I knew enough to understand that if he could say anything he wasn’t completely out of air, but I also knew that this kid wouldn’t whisper the word “choking” just for fun. I didn’t want to use any drastic measures if he could still get some air in, but he had a look of sheer terror on his face and was definitely having some difficulty breathing. Fortunately his gag reflex was alive and well and he also looked like he was trying to throw up. I brought him over to the sink and told him to go ahead and try to throw up. He started to turn pale, then suddenly out popped a life saver candy he had stolen from his sister. Thank goodness for gag reflexes! I suspect that for a while he was only breathing through the hole in the middle of the candy, which was also a blessing. First thing he said is “I won’t do that again!”
I was a little extra on edge because I had just heard about a local 10 year old who had a peanut allergy, and had accidentally eaten something with peanut oil in it. The parents had to make the decision to take him off of life support and he had not made it. One day he was running in the local track meet, the next day he was gone. It can be that quick. I’m so glad it was not my turn to go through that.
Last night my 5 year old fell asleep on the couch. We had to wake him up a little to get him ready for bed, then we put him in bed. He was missing his blanket, and while I went to go find it, he curled up in a ball and was fast asleep again. I came back, looked at his cuteness, and then placed his blanket on top of him. Across his sleeping face emerged one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Even fast asleep he could feel the love, comfort, and security of his favorite blanket. He was so far asleep I didn’t think he would even notice, but he did. If only we all knew how much we are loved.
Today’s miracle involves the miracle of individuality.
As a private music teacher I love cultivating each student’s individuality. This last week has been our area’s equivalent of solo festival. One young student, barely 8 years old, had a piece that he had been working on for a while. After he had learned it and registered to perform it, he had gotten a little lazy, and let some errors creep in. He panicked when he realized how far downhill he had let the piece get and how hard it would be to change the errors.
When I checked in on him after his performance he had an interesting story to tell. He had performed the piece perfectly and received a Superior (I) rating, with a rant review from the judge. He actually felt a little guilty because he knew he had not prepared to that level, but he learned something about himself. He told me that under the pressure of performing for the judge, something kicked in and he was able to perform flawlessly. He begged me not to make him play it again because he just wanted to remember the perfect performance.
This little 8 year old has found an individual strength and gift that many adults covet. I see it as evidence of a gift from God in a young individual.
2. My teenage son was also a great example of appropriate technology last week. He has some favorite multi-player games where he is allowed to cautiously interact with people he meets. Despite the obvious need for extreme caution, I believe he needs to learn how to appropriately interact with others online. While playing he made two new friends. He told us all about them, first because he was excited, and second because one of them used a casual swear word and he felt the need to report that to me and discuss how that may affect his interaction. He already knew what to do, but I appreciated the communication.
Anyhow, one of the new friends was a little confused about some of what was going on. He told this new group of friends that he had aspergers and my son and the other boy jumped right in and gave him a lot of support and positive reinforcement. My son came away with a new appreciation of the power of positive friends. It was interesting because just the week before we had interacted with a group of special needs children. My son schooled me because he instinctively realized “Mom, they just want to have friends like everyone else. Maybe they may even need friends more than everyone else, because not everyone may be as friendly towards them. But they are just a little different, that’s all. They just want friends Mom.” How cool that the internet may be another place where they can find some good friends. There are good people out there too.