“Nana, I just overcame the Green-eyed Monster!” Amélie announced with bright-eyed pleasure. “Sophie’s present is bigger than mine, but I don’t mind.” Since the girls have been with us, I’ve probably read through all the Berenstain Bear books multiple times (as has Uncle Joel and other doting adults). The books date back to the years my kids were growing up, and they tell stories about children grappling with all the common challenges kids face, such as the importance of telling the truth and learning good manners, dealing with friends (and not so friendly kids), going to school, the dentist, church, etc. The authors (and those of us caregivers who read them) are definitely trying to instill good habits and moral values into our kids, but you never really know seriously kids are taking the lessons. The Green-eyed Monster is about learning to overcome envy, and what a joy to see Amélie’s excitement over understanding the problem and implementing the solution in her own life! Weary caregivers, take heart! Little ones do hear. I think most people hear. May we be faithful to keep planting seeds of Truth into the lives of those we love!
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6). “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness”
“Show a little bit of love and kindness,
Never go around with hatred’s blindness,
Take a little time to reach for joy, and wear a happy face!
Sing a little bit when the days are dreary!
Give a little help to a friend that’s weary!
That’s the way to make the world a happy place!
“Sing a song! Spread some cheer!
There are sad and lonely people everywhere!
Be a friend. Show some love.
It will lift them from the dungeons of despair.
“Offer help! Bring some hope!
Through the fainting and discourage on life’s road!
See a need! Lend a hand!
There are many who are crushed beneath life’s load!”
(—I don’t know who composed this children’s chorus; do you?)
Posted in Around home, Book Reviews, Bringing up kids, Family News, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Reading Materials for Kids
Tagged Ecclesiastes 11:6, Instilling wisdom into your children's hearts, Learning to overcome envy, Reading to your children, Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness Lyrics, Teaching moral truths through stories, The Berenstain Bear Books, The Green-eyed Monster
I am the youngest in a family of five children, and when we were growing up—in the spirit of Cheaper By the Dozen—my father used to remind us fairly often that we needed to “keep it down to a dull roar.” If he can see what’s going on down here from his heavenly porch swing, I suspect he’s shaking his head every once in a while, wondering what all the hubbub’s about around our house.Elanor is the youngest of our 16 grand children, and things can get very chaotic when we have a quorum together for the holidays! However, I’ve noticed that when she’s sitting on her mother’s lap, staring into her mother’s eyes, she is usually the picture of contentment!
Oh, to be like that with my heavenly Father—oblivious of everything around me and able to take delight in Him, simply resting in His love and care!
“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child (Psalm 131:1-2).
Posted in A Patchwork of Little Thoughts, Around home, Bringing up kids, Family News, Grandchildren, Holidays, Meditations and reflections, Relationships, Simple Pleasures, Thoughts on God
Tagged Babies content in their mothers' arms, Cheaper by the Dozen, Keep it down to a dull roar, Psalm 131:1-2, Resting content in my Father's arms
My grandson Reid asked his mother for a watermelon cake for his birthday. Apparently they’d seen a picture on Pinterest. Carlie says it tastes like a cold wedge of fruit salad, and everybody who tried it liked it, although there was some dissension over whether or not it really qualified as a “cake.” So, I think this might make the perfect “wedge salad” to serve for the Fourth of July. If you bill it that way, don’t you think the kids will love it? Think how (relatively) healthy it is as a dessert, too…just watermelon frosted with sweetened whipped cream. I’m definitely going to try it on my grand kids. If you try it, let me know what you think, and I’ll do the same!BTW, here’s an earlier fruit extravaganza that Carlie made some years ago to help feed our youth group! Talk about talent and good taste! 🙂 Thanks for being such a stellar daughter-in-law, Carlie! You’re a doll. (Actually, I have to say, I’ve got five of the best son and daughter-in-laws in the world!!! No prejudice!!!)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Cooking Can Be Fun!, Family News, Grandchildren, Health Issues, Recipes, Simple Pleasures, Those Wonderful Special Occasions, Weight Loss Journey
Tagged PInterest, Proverbs 31:30, Serving watermelon with whipped cream as a wedge salad, Summer wedge salad: Watermelon and whipped cream, Watermelon cake
It seemed like it should be a snap to get that last fastener hooked under the seat, but Linda spent about 15 minutes trying to get our three car seats fastened into the back seat of our car properly, and then I tried for another 5. Where were our husbands when we needed them? (On the road, being heroes, of course, but sadly not at home at the moment.) How in the world do women without husbands manage?? Thankfully, I had a stroke of brilliance: Joel works just a few minutes from our home! I drove over, and in about 30 seconds, he was able to fasten the last latch for me…first try…no groaning, straining, or having Amelie grab our legs and try to help by adding her little 5-year-0ld frame on our side of the tug of war with the strap. There are just a lot of things that men can do easily that a woman really can’t do!
Thanks to Joel’s rescue, we were able to take the girls to the cherry orchard for a lovely time picking cherries! I know there are also things that—no matter how much I stress and strain—I cannot do! But, God can! Godpower is beyond manpower. Needing help? If you just can’t get it done “by self” (as my kids would say when they were little), why not ask God? He’s just a prayer away, and He promises to help us if we’ll ask!
“Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.” (Psalm 89:13)
PS—God doesn’t always give us everything we want, but He promises to give us what we need and to provide grace to accomplish his good and perfect will: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
PSS—If you feel like God isn’t answering your prayers, you might also consider the condition of your heart: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
Posted in A Patchwork of Little Thoughts, Around home, Encouragements for Living, Family News, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Prayer, Simple Pleasures
Tagged 2 Corinthians 12:9, God is so much stronger than we are!, God power, Manpower, Picking cherries with children at Robinette's Orchard, Psalm 66:18, Psalm 89:13
I’m not exactly sure what the laws are in Michigan, but I do know children have to ride in car seats, so I (quietly) freaked out when I discovered that my three little grand daughters arrived at the airport without car seats. Several options flashed through my mind: A. Smuggle them home riding low and loose in the backseat B. Buy three new car seats at a store and rush back to the airport while they waited, or C. Try to rent some car seats at the airport. Option A was illegal and unsafe, so that was out. Option B was too costly and time consuming. That only left Option C, which we decided to do. Of course, none of the car rental agencies would rent me car seats without renting a car for 24 hours, but I saved $50 for insurance by leaving the car parked on the lot and just using the car seats in my car.
This morning bright and early I returned the car seats to the rental agency at the airport while the children slept, and all was well! (We had some car seats in our attic, which Joel got down for me last night, but he had been at work when the girls arrived, and I don’t have the arm strength to climb into our attic.) In a way, it seemed like a big expense (over $100) for a 20-minute trip home, but it was the right decision, even though it was costly.
I’ve never been in a serious accident, but what if yesterday I had been, and one of the children got injured? I would never forgive myself! What if I’d been stopped by the police? I have no clue what would have happened, but I’m sure the fine would have exceeded $100, and I might have ended up in jail…definitely an ignominious way to end a family vacation!!
There are times in life when for some reason (maybe even a simple misunderstanding) we end up in a tight spot and are tempted to cut some corner or take some risk we know we shouldn’t. Our well being, integrity, and reputation are worth more than our money. May we always remember that!
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
This morning at 4:30 am I sent my husband off on a grand adventure to Spokane, Washington, where he’s going to be helping our son Jonathan drive all his “worldly goods” in a moving van (with his car on a dolly) back to GR. Jon has just been appointed as the director for Moody Bible Institute’s new Center for Global Theological Education, so his family is moving from the West Coast to Chicago (but via Grand Rapids and Germany, where they’ll be spending his sabbatical between now and January 1, 2017). Meanwhile, back at Tanglewood Cottage (our house), all Jon’s “worldly treasures” (i.e. his wife, Gerlinde, and their three darling, preschool-age daughters) are in the air flying eastward to Grand Rapids. Sooooo, I’m rushing about stocking the fridge and freshening up the house in preparation for Gerlinde’s arrival this afternoon. We will all be together here for the month of July before they head to Germany for the fall semester. I am super excited to see them, but I’m sharing all this to say that—although my head is swimming with things I want to share from the past weeks— such as how impressive Venice looks sailing through the Grand Canal, or how much fun we had on our last birthday club outing to the Living History Museum in White Hall, Michigan, or how amazing the new Cypress Unit is at Pine Rest, where we attended the dedication and reception last night… As happy and exciting as life is right now, I am anticipating being a full-time grandma (“Nana”) and mother for the next weeks, and as such, my blogging time will be reduced to little bits and pieces. Therefore, if I don’t post often, or if my posts have approximately zero to one photos attached, know that this is “the best” I have to offer at this point…perhaps just a patchwork of little thoughts. It reminds me of something I learned as a young mother, when my personal quiet times of meditation and prayer were often interrupted by needy infants. I read somewhere that our prayers to our beloved heavenly father don’t have to be a like a big, ornate blanket. God knows our hearts and our needs, and He appreciates quilts too…simple moments of time when we lift our hearts to praise while nursing an infant…or when we send up little (or HUGE) requests for grace while struggling to keep calm and mother on in the midst of messes. Whatever you’re doing this July, I pray that you’ll be busy practicing the presence of God, as I also hope to be doing. May we find peace and rest in His presence, and may God bless you on your spiritual journey!
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits,
even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19). “O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows” (Psalm 61:7-8).
Posted in Around home, Birthday Club, Family News, Life with Toddlers, Prayer
Tagged Dedication of new wing in PRCH Van Andel Center, Grand Canal of Venice, Igniting Hope through the new Cypress Unit at PRCH, Jonathan Armstrong moves to Chicago, Living History Museum in White Hall MI, Moody Bible Institute's new Center for Global Theological Education, Patchwork Prayers, Patchwork Quilts, Psalm 61:7-8, Psalm 68:19