Five Steps to Raising Kind Children

I can no longer read the daily news. Every morning I press the handy-dandy news app on my phone to educate myself on world, national and local news happenings. Lately, the news is extremely depressing. Racial tension, violence, political dramas and gossip. Headlines from this morning include deaths of an 18-year old and a 2-week old baby, a man standing trial for an ax killing and an ex-school clerk gets jail for stealing students’ meds. Then the political drama is crazy!

Social media is worse. I love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s great to share pictures and updates with my family who live all over the place, it keeps us in-touch with each other. In the United States, we have freedom of speech and I am writing this blog because of that liberty. When I view my Facebook account I read about everyone’s religious and political viewpoints. It’s great! It’s a freedom to speak your mind; however, I also discover people whom I thought were loving and understanding reveal a very ugly side of their persona.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. -Ecclesiastes 5:10

On a daily basis the news reminds me that I am not prepared for retirement, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. There’s no money to fix the roads. There’s no money to fix the schools. There’s no money to fix the public water system. There’s not enough food to feed everyone. Society’s wants and needs are driven by greed. The news headlines are driven by greed. Politicians are driven by greed. Greed is the evil. Greed leads to jealousy, which leads to hate.

We love because God first loved us. Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar. The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen. -1 John 4:19-20

How do you raise children in such a greedy and hateful world?

I am not an expert. From my observations, children thrive on interactions and hands-on experiences (both negative and positive). Children learn behaviors from others around them. Ever notice you can raise three kids the same way and all three grow-up into totally different adults? I believe some behaviors are in our DNA. All I know is I am going to give it my all and do the best job I can in raising my kids into independent and caring adults.

Here are my Five Steps to Raising Kind Children:  Love, Time, Compassion, Responsibility and Prayer:

Love:  Hugs for everyone! Hugging children relieves stress, encourages trust, boosts self-esteem and gives a child a sense of security. How many hugs? As many as you can. My mother, whom I love dearly, likes to remind me that I spoil my babies by holding them so much – WHATEVER! I hug when I say good-bye, when I say hello, in the morning, at night-time and “just because” times. Hugging and saying, “I love you,” instantly brings on smiles and starts to heal any boo-boo’s. No matter how old your children are, give them a hug.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Time:  Put the phones down. Turn off the TV. The laundry can wait. Children need our time. Make dinners together, eat together and clean-up together. Get outside and run around together. After working all day, I really want to just relax in my favorite chair but I can do that after the kids are sleeping. I notice I’m happier when I’m doing activities with the kids instead of trying to get some alone time. When I spend more time with my kids, they seem to listen better and appear to be less hyper-active.

Every work-night, before dinner, all the kids and I spend time together doing an activity (puzzles, art, outside play – anything we can do together). After dinner, I spend some alone time with the baby before she falls to sleep for the night. Then I spend some alone time with the toddler before her bedtime. After that, I try to squeeze in a few moments with our teenager – lately we’ve been walking about a mile at night trying to catch Pokemon together. I’m exhausted at the end of the day but happy.

Compassion:  My two daughters are opposites. One is a drama queen, the other is tougher than nails. The drama queen will just lightly brush her leg on something and crying ensues. I used to tell her to suck it up but I noticed she was losing her compassion for others around her. Now I take a moment, give her a hug, and kiss it better – no matter how miniscule the boo-boo is. She is, by nature, a very sensitive child. I need to be more compassionate to her feelings or a rift will slowing build between us.

The baby has a different need. She will get a scrap or bruise and not shed a tear. She’s tough and very adventurous. No mountain or stairway is too high for her to climb. She does have a hard time going to sleep at night. I tried the whole cry-it-out technique but it seemed to cause a lot of trauma for her. Now I take time with a compassionate, soothing voice and rock her to sleep and cuddle. I may need some headache meds afterward, but she’s going to sleep faster every night and also seems to be showing more love to others around her.

Every time our teenager talks, I can barely understand what he is saying. I once downplayed all the stupid, little things that bugged him. But to him these situations were BIG. Now, I take time and show more compassion by listening and sorting out how to handle these delicate circumstances as they arise. I forget teens need to learn coping skills and how to deal with adult-like situations. I’m finding by lending a compassionate ear makes a tremendous difference for him, plus strengthens trust between the two of us.

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. – Mark 6:34

Teach your kids how to display compassion. For instance, the baby loves to take her doll and throw it. At first, it was a fun game but then I got to thinking this is not a good way of learning how to care for others. So we play “Love the baby.” When she displays a more aggressive play towards the doll, I pick the doll up and say, “Oh we must love the baby.” Then give the baby hugs, kisses and rock back-and-forth in my arms. We do the same thing with stuffed animals. She has become this wonderful, loving tot. She’s even nicer to the pets in the house. We still crash the toy cars together…hopefully that doesn’t carry over when she turns sixteen.

Responsibility:  You want it, then you have to earn it. When my children want a new gadget, video game or toy they have to earn it. For the teen it’s pretty simple – just amp up on the chores for extra money or get a job. For the toddler it’s a bit more creative. We make a chart with thirty squares. She receives a sticker to put on the squares when she cleans up, does a random act of kindness or goes to sleep by herself. We give her a dollar here and there so she has an instant reward for good work. Once the squares are filled with stickers she can shop for the item she was working for. The smile on her face when she buys the toy herself with her hard-earned money is priceless!

This process is tedious for the kids but I have very rarely had to deal with meltdowns while shopping because he or she wasn’t able to get a toy that very moment. Before we enter the store I make it very clear we are not buying any toys. Now when we shop, the three-year old looks for what toy she is going to save for next.

Once you have all these wonderful toys and gadgets, you must take care of them. If you don’t, they are taken away. Kids seem to learn this lesson quick. When my son was five he refused to pick up all his toys. I simply told him if he didn’t pick them up then the toys will be gone. I loaded the toys into a bin and hid them in the basement. The next day a meltdown happened but he moved on and picked up after that. I forgot about hiding the toys and when we moved from the house a few years later, I found them. Oops! My plan was for him to eventually earn the toys back but instead I donated them charity. It’s been two years…he was obviously not missing them. I’m hoping if the kids learn to take care of their belongings now that it’s a habit that will carry-over into adulthood.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Responsibility for your actions. My son got into trouble at school when he was younger. It was something really stupid, climbing over bathroom stalls. The school went all bonkers over it and blew it out of proportion. No one was even using the stalls at the time! I immediately want to protect and defend my child but the fact is he broke school rules. As far as punishment went, the school didn’t do anything other than a phone call to me. At home, my son wrote an apology to his teacher and the janitor. He also lost TV privileges for the night. He took responsibility for his actions. From that point on I incorporated a new rule in the house: if you get a bad grade or do something wrong, it’s best to tell mom first before I hear from someone else – otherwise your punishment will be worse.

Prayer:  Three different children equals three different prayers. Again, not all children are the same so perhaps our prayers should be customized more to fit the needs of each child. For the baby I pray she learns to love and accept Jesus into her heart as she grows-up and maybe restrain the vivacious temper she has when she doesn’t get her way. For my over-achieving three-year old I pray she finds strength to accept, while coloring, it’s ok for the picture to have a mistake on it and I pray she sings her song about Jesus loving her every day for the rest of her life. For my teen, I pray for strong mental strength and that he walks down a God approved path of life. Then for me, as always, a prayer of thanks for all the wonderful blessings He has given me, even though I certainly do not deserve them…and for patience…after all I am a mother.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:12

The Truth

Ever wanted to relieve your mind of all the thoughts, memories and opinions you have? I have a lot of cloudiness in my brain. The clouds are created by anger, things from my past and how I currently view the world. I let it all build up inside and sometimes I just want to scream. Some days are more frustrating than others. With social media there seems to be two types of people: the perfect-lives and always happy or the always complaining and nothing ever goes right. Why not display the truth?

I don’t have a bad life. My life is filled with many blessings but I don’t appreciate them. That’s the truth. The other truth is I have yet to put God first in my life. When I at least try to put Him first, I have a sense of happiness and direction in my life. The issue is I fall off the wagon with this concept. I also feel that I am underserving of His love. I started this blog to help me in the right direction but I rarely blog. I’m tired of the religious fighting going on in the media. I’m tired of my redundant life. I’m just tired. These are my truths.

I’m a working mom of three and my mind never gets to rest. Wake up in the morning and get ready with two little ones wanting attention. Instead of twenty minutes, it takes an hour to just apply make-up and my hair presentable. Then I have to get the little ones dressed, fed and out the door to daycare. Finally I’m on the road to work only to encounter construction and an accident back-up. I grab my latte at the coffee shop and I’m in the office by 8:30 a.m. Not too shabby.

The boss comes in whenever he feels like, usually about 9:30 a.m., and announces, “We have to do this project.” When he says “we” he means me. After barking out orders, he leaves the office with no notice of when he may return. Lunch time is not really time to eat, it’s time to grocery shop or pick things up the kids may need. I catch-up on the latest news but it’s all disturbing. Christians attacking others, Christians being attacked and other crazy drama. I have no clue who half the celebrities are in People magazine – I must be getting old. I leave about 4:00 p.m. and grab another latte on the way to pick the kids up from daycare.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:35)

Upon arriving home with tired, whining and hungry children, I have to let the dogs out and feed them first. Then I try to play with the little ones as long as they are in the mood. I try to incorporate their world into the dinner preparations – sometimes it’s successful but most of the time it results in at least one of the little ones having a meltdown. Even on the weekends, the time between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. is what I call the “witching hour” when the little ones are just crabby for no reason.

I try to have family meals but my husband comes home too late and I must feed the little ones or “witching hour” becomes more than an hour long. While the little ones eat, I either make dinner for the adults or catch up on housework. My hubby is good at pitching in and making dinner when he gets home. I wish I could cook all the time but I feel that my fast and furious cooking of simple recipes are not good enough for my hubby. I hope he doesn’t really feel that way and I am probably making it worse thinking that way but I can’t help it – it’s just how women think sometimes.

After the little ones are done eating, it’s bath time for them, mainly because they are messy eaters. Now the battle of the minds takes place. I have to read how the three-year old is and determine the best words to say to get her into the bath tub. Usually, I just have to make it into a competition – she hates to lose. The baby loves the bath so putting her into the tub is no issue; however, taking her out the tub ignites a scream-fest which usually lasts until the pajamas are on. Then the three-year old who didn’t want to get into the tub now doesn’t want to get out of the tub. I coax her out with a warning, “If you don’t get out now, then your TV time will be cut down.” Works like a charm.

Now it’s 6:30 p.m. and I’m hungry, sometimes a headache has started by now. The hubby watches the baby so I can eat my dinner, which is now cold. I clean up the kitchen, the dishes, the table and the high chair. About 7:00 p.m. the baby is ready for bed, this takes about thirty minutes to do. After she’s asleep, it’s time for books and games with the other child. At 8:30 p.m. she is tucked into bed. Lately, she’s been staying there and not getting up or calling out for juice or asking for her back to be rubbed. Fingers-crossed this continues to happen.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

So one may think my hubby and I have time to relax and talk now. Wrong. Laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Last night, I watched my hubby water the garden and flowers thinking how I wish he paid as much attention to me as he does to those plants. I look in the mirror and think why he would want me anyway. I’m older, wrinkles setting in, I cut my hair short for easy care and my body is pathetic looking naked – it’s completely un-toned. Plus, I smell of baby spit-up and I need to brush my teeth. I have bags under eyes because of lack of sleep. If I can’t stand to look at myself, then how can he? This is my truth.

I take a shower and start planning for the next day. I take showers at night since the morning is crazy busy and I am not sure how to find time for a shower. Afterwards, I play a few games on my phone, say my prayers and then lights outs. I lay in the dark hoping this will be the night I get at least six hours nonstop sleep.

There is life all around me. I’m surround by family and people all day but yet I’ve never felt so alone.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Some may say this is depression but I don’t feel sad. I just feel nothing. The truth is I need to suck it up and start appreciating things or I will lose them. The truth is I’m failing at putting God first. The truth is I’m doubting – I’m upset at the notion of so many so-called Christians publicly displaying so much hate. How can anyone call him/herself a Christian and have so much hate? I don’t understand it.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)

This my truth right now.

Cheers!

I’ve been searching for a devotional book for working mothers.  I found several self-help books and a few devotional books, but nothing that jumped out at me.  I did a library search and very few choices emerged.  We supposedly live in a modern world.  Why are there very few devotional books for working mothers?  During my search, a disturbing fact appeared over and over again.  It seems when you search for a devotional book about motherhood you are directed to books that deal with depression, anger and self-medication.  This was a sad find that angered me, so I poured myself a glass of wine.  The search also conquered up the debate about putting kids first or moms making themselves happy first…yada, yada, yada.  I needed one more glass of wine.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Where is the support for working mothers?  I want to say you can find it in the church but the MOPS groups only meet during the weekday, when I’m working.  I guess we have chat boards but I find those depressing and nothing more than an arena for constant complaining about spouses and children.  Then I think, “How would I even have time?”

Time…it seems I just go through the same emotionless routine every day.  Get up, get ready, get kids ready, drop-off kids, go to work, stop at the grocery store, pick up kids, deal with initial chaos upon entering the house, eat, bath, books, bed.  Then start over the next day.  I’ve become a robot.  I feel like a punching bag, ATM, and a tired old lady all rolled-up into one.  I am a very unappreciative human being.  Yes, I do believe I have stated this before but it’s a hole I slowly dig myself into when I fall away from my faith.  The more I wish for a bigger house and more money, the further drift away from God.

And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.  Luke 8:13

Faith keeps me grounded.  It keeps me from opening the door to a self-pity party.  Faith is like the roots of a tree.  If you tend to the tree the roots will grow strong and the tree will sway when the wind fiercely blows.  If you neglect the tree, the roots weaken and when the wind blows the tree falls.  You need to keep feeding your faith by going to church, prayer and devotion.

Another ingredient to growing your faith and maintaining a peaceful mind is friendship.  Society paints a picture of the perfect working mom – fearless, a supermodel, cook, wife, homemaker, housekeeper, smart, caring, etc.  How foolish we are to forget about our friendships and how much women need them!  Once you drop the idea of being perfect – you never will be – you can open up and depend on your friends.  Make it a point to nourish these relationships.  Women need other women in order to stay sane!  You’ll be amazed of how much you have in common once you drop the curtain of perfectionism.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Make the time to spend with friends!  Once a week or once a month, make some time.  Leave the kids with dad for a few hours, call grandma or hire a babysitter.  Then go grab a latte with you bestie, or drink some wine with your circle of moms, or go resale shopping with your cousins.  Be sure to carve out some “girl-time.”  It’s therapy for your mind and soul.

Cheers!

I suck at this!

Well it’s official…I’m suck at this 30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge.  It seems every time I attempt to write, I get side tracked or I’m exhausted at the end of the day and finally remember when I’m drifting off to dreamland.  Life is busy and I wouldn’t want it any other way right now.  Running kids around from practices to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, juggling a newborn and a preschooler and working can make for a crazy life. 

I started this blog to help me put priorities in order.  Previously, my career always seemed to take away from my family.  Perhaps not by actual work but by setting my moods when I would get home in the evening.  I prayed and took a leap of faith and started a new career in a different field, and my family and I are reaping the benefits of a happier home and more time together.  I’m so thankful for my job.  I get to work with a wonderful group of caring and intelligent men who understand that family comes first before the job.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. -Ecclesiastes 5:10

It’s a tough thing to negotiate – the want to have more money.  Do I have my family sacrifice so I make more money?  Will more money bring more happiness?  It might but it probably won’t.  Sure it will produce more toys for kids and vacations where you maybe have a few days of quality time.  I’m guilty of buying the “I feel terrible I’m not around cause I work gifts” for the kids.  Since changing careers and taking a pay cut, I have more time with the family and the happiness level has skyrocketed – not just for me but for the kids too!  And, believe it or not, I don’t miss the money.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. -Proverbs 20:5

Now I wonder what else I can accomplish.  The person who is standing in my way of doing these goals is me!  I will pray for guidance as I pursue my next adventure.  What do you want to accomplish?  Are you happy with your job?  If not, what is stopping you from finding a job you’ll love?

Tonight I will pray for those unhappy in their current careers and ask for God to give them the courage to take that leap of faith and I will thank Him for guiding me to the wonderful job I have today.

Give Thanks to the Lord for Hope!

November 17th:  Today I give thanks to the Lord for hope.  When everything around you is crumbling down, there’s always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

This life can beat us down with trials, sorrows and debilitating worries. When it seems hopeless, God’s messages about our future hope can deeply encourage us. – Isaiah 9:7

Every time God grants you another day of life, He also gives you another day of hope.  A hope for a new beginning.  A hope for the kids to all be in a good mood all day long.  A hope for peace.  A hope for an accomplishment.  A hope for a free latte!  Hope is the feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Tonight I will pray for those who are suffering to feel a sense of hope and thank the Lord for blessing me with life.

Give Thanks to the Lord for Comfort – Days 13-16

November 14th-16th:  I was having a hard time thinking of something to be thankful for over the past few days.  I know that’s a terrible thing to say.  When the terrorist attacks happened Friday, I was taken aback on what to be thankful for.  When events like these happen, I question why.  Why does God allow this?  Perhaps it is just as simple as saying these events weren’t created by God but by evil brought on by Satan.  At that moment on Friday when I first heard about the attacks, I was immediately thankful for the safety of my family at that particular moment – a bit of a selfish thought but as a mom it’s the first you think about – where are my babies?  Are they safe?

So I struggled with something to be thankful for.  Sure I’m thankful for my family and safety but I feel incredibly selfish for writing about that when so many in world have lost family due to terrorism.  As far as feeling safe goes…I’m not sure about that anymore.  We are never completely safe.  We can die at any moment, whether from terrorism or an accident.  These events can also inspire.  One thing happened after the event was the worldwide support of sympathy for France.  Buildings and monuments displaying the French colors of blue, white & red and sporting events displaying the French flag were everywhere over the weekend.  Even Facebook gave you a profile transparency to show your support for the French people.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

Sympathy is displayed to help comfort those who are suffering.  What comforts you?  I love the comfort of a nice hot chai latte.  Something about it makes all the tension in my neck go away and I am able to re-center my soul.  Thanksgiving dinner offers a lot of my “comfort” foods like mash potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie.  I give thanks to the Lord for comfort.  The comfort of a hug from a child or loved one.  The comfort of knowing we have a place to call home after we leave this world.  Comfort in knowing He will bring peace to us.  Bring your troubles to the Lord and He will comfort you.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. – Romans 15:4

Day 12 Give Thanks to the Lord

November 12th:  Give thanks to the Lord for His artwork.  God provides so much natural beauty to us.  I stepped outside for a walk this week and noticed how clear the night sky was.  It’s hard to even comprehend the massive size space really is.  I was in awe at the sight of all the stars and even witnessed a shooting one.  Every sunset, every sunrise reminds us of the beauty that surrounds us.  If you don’t already, just take some time in the next few weeks and watch a sunset.  Turn off the phone and grab a latte while you do it.  For me, it relaxes me and helps me realize the important things in life.

sunset

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:13

God uses beauty to remind us that He is always present in our lives.  He is always there when we need Him.  He shows us His strength in the power of the waves.  He shows us His kindness in the form of light and dainty snowflakes.  He shows us His grace in the regrowth of the forest floor after a fire.  Nature shows us that life is always living and God loves us.  Thank you Lord for providing us with the constant reminder that we are surrounded by your love.

fire

Day 11 Give Thanks to the Lord

November 11th:  I hate coming home to a messy house.  You walk in from a day of work and low and behold there’s toast crumbs on the counter-top, dishes in the sink, pet hair on the floor, and someone needs a particular piece of clothing laundered for tomorrow.  All the cleaning you did on Saturday morning isn’t visible and it’s only Wednesday.  It’s so tiring and a constant battle.  Me versus the sinister Mr. Dust-Man.  The chores are endless.  I give thanks to the Lord for a messy house to clean!

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. – Proverbs 14:1

The picture below of a “grateful” list really sums it up.  It is going up on my fridge tonight.  Make your own “grateful” list and display it in your kitchen for a reminder that the barbecue sauce that is all over your white cabinets is a total blessing to have.

Grateful list

I am truly thankful to have a home and adequate shelter.  On this Veteran’s Day, please remember those veterans who are homeless and pray for them.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night.  If you feel the call to help, please give to a local shelter or food bank.  Feeding America has a great online tool to help you find one:  http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/?referrer=https://www.google.com/.

Day 10 Give Thanks to the Lord

November 10th:  Today I give thanks to the Lord for compassion.  It’s easy to get upset in today’s world.  There are so many things around us that can trigger our emotions from a happy medium to anger in a matter of seconds.  Your boss talks down to you like you know nothing.  The lady driving the SUV takes your parking spot.  Your teenager just failed a test in school.  You see a mom with a daughter who looks like she needs a bath and new shoes.  It’s easy just to pass these events with hostilities than with compassion.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. – Colossians 3:12-13

Next time you feel anger building up inside because of someone else’s doing, put yourself in his or her shoes.  That boss of yours may have a boss above him who is threatening his job.  That lady driving the SUV who just took your parking spot has three young children in the backseat that are fighting and screaming – she didn’t even notice you.  The teenager who failed the test, may need glasses or just some time with mom or dad to talk and figure out a plan together on how to accomplish better grades.  The woman with a young daughter in need of decent clothing and a bath is dealing with an extremely stubborn and strong-willed daughter who refuses to bath every night and is in love with her dirty shoes – maybe the mom picks and chooses her battles in order to keep her sanity in-tack.

Tonight I pray to the Lord to help me have more compassion and love towards others and to look at the world with no discrimination.

Day 8 & 9 Give Thanks to the Lord

November 8th & 9th:  I’ve been trying to write a thankful blog for two days but I keep getting interrupted by my young daughters. It frustrates me. Then I realize that I’m being interrupted by love. So today I give thanks to the Lord for love. I pray that I see the world, the people and things around me with love. When I’m on the sofa at 3 a.m. feeding the baby and the three-old comes downstairs to join me, I will look at it as if I’m being covered by a big blanket of love. Some believe that in order to be loved, you must give love. I reflect on the verses of I Corinthians 13 to understand love and what it’s all about:

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

As parents we can show our children love through patience, like when one child is crying and the other is arguing about the latest food she hates. We can show love through protecting our children from harm and teaching them right and wrong in the world. Sometimes all it takes is a hug to make them secure. In other words, just love them!