Sunday, September 24, 2006

"Not Me" Poems

Juanita recently included a poem called "Mr. Nobody" in a post about poetry. The poem inspired us to try a hand at writing our own poems. I've decided to share them here, starting with the poem Juanita shared and then sharing our poems. We're not great poets but we had fun coming up with these.

Mr. Nobody [who is definitely alive and well at our house!]

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
in everybody's house!
There's no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.

'Tis he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For, prithee, don't you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying 'round you see
Are not our boots - they all belong
To Mr. Nobody.

Not Me! (a relative of Mr. Nobody) by Jacqueline

Whenever Mom asks "Who did...?"
About something that should not be
You're sure to heard a quick response
As everyone shouts "Not Me!"

Or if she asks "Who forgot...?"
About something that should be done
Once again "Not Me" get the blame
From each and every one.

Miss Not Me by Sarah

So this is how the story goes
in our house everyone knows
anything done that should not be
we always blame on Miss Not Me.

If Mom's tweezers go missing
and Mom she goes growling and hissing
there's no on else that it could be
we always blame Not Me.

The mud foot prints in the hall
the fist that punched right through the wall
it wasn't anyone else you see
it is always Miss Not Me.

Everything that is done wrong
who else could it be
but Miss Not Me.

Not Me by Jonathan

I have a friend
not a better friend could be
there is no other friend like
Not Me

He will take the blame
He won't complain
Oh what a friend
Not Me

Who left the dishes
asks Mom as she wishes
that it wouldn't get blamed on
Not Me.

And what but a bottle
left for her to waddle
around and see
that yet again it was
Not Me.

Oh I really am sorry
but I do think even
the baby's first words
could be....
Not Me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Victorious and Honorable Retreat?

I'm reading through a book called Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict by Sam Horn. This is my second time through the book. The first time I read it myself, this time I'm reading it to my two middle children - teenagers - they need to learn Tongue Fu. :-)

Yesterday while reading the book a quote from Norman Vincent Peale stood out to me: "Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself victory." We often think of retreating as a conceding of defeat - a result of losing or failing - but it doesn't have to be that way. I like the idea that retreating can be a victory in itself.

One of my favorite verses to quote to my children is Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We need that reminder almost daily in our house. :-) I usually follow that up the first part of Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers".

I like to take the Romans verse phrase by phrase and think it through. "If it is possible". That to me shows that sometimes it isn't possible, but it is important to take the time to see if it may be possible. "As far as it depends on you" It is important to be sure that you do your part. Don't worry whether someone else is doing their part or not just be sure that you are doing all you can. "Live at peace with everyone" Even your family. Even your friend that drives you crazy. Even your enemies. Even your neighbors. Even strangers. Everyone.

Last night while reading a chapter of Proverbs I noticed another verse that went along with this strain of thought. "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3" It is honorable to avoid strife. I like that thought.

Help me today, Lord, to be wise and honorable, not foolish, in my dealings with everyone I come into contact with.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Parenting - A Daily Routine with Lasting Rewards

I came across this great quote in a book I'm reading - Baby Games by Elaine Clow-Martin - "Most daily routines have no lasting rewards, but parenting and playing with your child do."

I like that. I'm having a great time right now parenting my three teenagers and playing with my 9 month old. Playing with my 9 month old is bringing back so many memories of playing with my other children. I see the fruits of my time spent with them and I'm fairly pleased with the results. The rewards of parenting are sometimes immediate in the shared smiles and hugs, but the lasting rewards are the memories and relationships that develop. There's no greater treasure in all the world.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wholeheartedness = perfection?

My searching for some information about wholeheartedness in the Bible had me checking out Asa King of Judah. You can read about him in 1 Kings 15:9-24 and 2 Chronicles 14-16. Asa was a good king. 2 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 both say "Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life".

When you read that don't you get the feeling that Asa must have been perfect, or at least as close to perfect as a person can be. He must have done everything right and nothing wrong. Wrong!

The verses that I quoted above start with these words "Although he did not..." Asa didn't do all that you would think he would have done, but yet he still is recorded as having been fully committed to the Lord. There's hope for me yet. :-)

Reading the story of Asa in 2 Chronicles you see some of the good things Asa did but you also see where he fell short. Verse 11 of chapter 14 records a powerful prayer that he prayed asking for God's help in a battle. "Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you..." After winning the battle Asa was met by a prophet that told him "The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you." (15:2) He also said "Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." Asa took courage from these words and led the people into "a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul." (15:12) About 15 years later, however, Asa took a different path. Chapter sixteen tells about a time when he turned to a human king for help rather than to the Lord. This time he received a message from a seer that he did not like. God was not pleased with him having relied on a human king rather than on God himself. Rather than respond with humbleness and repentance to this message Asa became angry and had the seer put in prison and "brutally oppressed some of the people." (16:10)

Inspite of this downfall the Bible records that Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. Isn't that amazing! If only Asa had remembered the words of the first prophet when he said "be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded" and then listened to the words of the seer when he said "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." How differently his life could have ended if he had responded differently.

Hopefully I will learn a lesson from Asa. Asa's life proves that wholehearted devotion to God is not easy and doesn't have to be perfect. I can't rely on my own strength or the strength of those around me - I must rely only on God. He is with me if I am with Him. He is looking to strengthen me if my heart is fully committed to Him. If I depend on Him, stay strong, and don't give up my work will be rewarded.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Right, but not wholeheartedly

Once again I haven't been able to get away from something that jumped out at me in my Bible study this week. I was reading about Amaziah, King of Judah in 2 Chronicles 25 and verse 2 jumped out at me. "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly." (NIV) The New King James Version says "but not with a loyal heart."

How often am I guilty of doing something right but not wholeheartedly? More often than I care to admit, especially when it comes to housecleaning. I often remind my children that it's okay to do what is right but if you don't do it with the right attitude it's not as good as it can be. Reading Kim's recent blog entry "Before you start looking for birds..." was a good reminder to me to make sure I'm doing right before I harp on them. I need to be sure that I am doing things wholeheartedly, and not just doing what is right while grumbling the whole time that I'm doing it.

The story of Amaziah is also told in 2 Kings 14. Verse 3 says "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash." My last post, Look at me and do likewise, talked about the importance of striving to be a good example for others but the story of Amaziah shows that following good examples are not enough.

Amaziah followed the example of his father Joash (you can read about him in 2 Kings 11-12 and 2 Chronicles 23-24). Joash was good but only as long as he had the guidance of Jehoiada. 2 Chronicles 24:2 says "Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest." When Jehoiada wasn't around to guide him anymore Joash didn't know how to do right on his own. He was doing what was right because he was told what was right and not because he knew it in his heart. Amaziah learned how to do what was right from watching his father do what was right but he didn't know how to do it from the heart.

How important it is, especially as parent's, that we go beyond being a good example and show the importance of the heart being right. I'm off on a bunny trail of studying scriptures that talk about wholeheartedness in an attempt to learn how to do this. I'm sure you'll be hearing about what I learn eventually. :-)