“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
There’s no end of excitement when you have little ones running about, and this week has been no exception…except it was unique in that poor Sophie (age three) ended up with a dislocated elbow! My first experience was forty-one years ago when Alan was playing with our first-born son and made the mistake of trying to lift him off the floor by his hands. Aaron screamed in pain, and we had no idea what was wrong, but we quickly learned (at the emergency room) that children (probably of all ages) should be lifted under their arms with a firm hold on their chests, since all their joints are weak and shouldn’t be stressed by pulling.
Gerlinde and I guessed what was wrong, but even though Alan talked us through what to do (he was at work) and we watched a youtube video on how to pop the joint back into place, we couldn’t seem to do the trick. After two unsuccessful attempts, we flew off to the closest emergency room. There an understanding pediatrician deftly popped it back into place in about five seconds, leaving Sophie all smiles again through her tears. WHEW!!
Scary times! Even as adults, sometimes something happens—and it can be an accidental injury—yet we’re so out of joint that we’re debilitated by the pain. Even if we know what we’re “supposed” to do, there are times when we can’t seem to fix the problem. Ever happen to you? I’m thankful for a merciful heavenly Father, to whom I can run with my pain. He can straighten things out (at least in my attitudes, if not in my circumstances) and pop me back into shape in the twinkling of an eye if I’ll let him. It’s all in the know-how, and He knows how!
“The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.“
Posted in A Patchwork of Little Thoughts, Around home, Bringing up kids, Grandchildren, Health Issues, Life with Toddlers, Relationships, Thoughts on God
Tagged Feeling out of joint, God can help us when we're out of joint!, How to lift babies and small children, Psalm 25:17-18, Small children and weak joints, What to do if you dislocate a joint
I think sweet teeth are genetically transmitted…or at least our grand daughters seem to have inherited the Armstrong family’s love of all things chocolate. I used to make chocolate cake from scratch, but I can’t compete with the moist, tender, lightness of commercial cake mixes, and so I have given up trying. However, my family still likes homemade chocolate frosting better than what you can buy at the store, and it’s simple. Here’s how:
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (can melt 12 oz chocolate chips, but that costs more and isn’t necessary)
1 stick softened butter (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons of milk (depending on how soft you like it; experiment)
Start on the slowest setting, but whip all the ingredients together in a blender until they form a creamy, smooth frosting with a sheen. Frost immediately, and if you have any little helpers, let them lick the spatula when they’re done!“For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” (1 Timothy 5:18).
Posted in A Patchwork of Little Thoughts, Around home, Bringing up kids, Cooking Can Be Fun!, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Memoirs, Recipes, Simple Pleasures
Tagged 1 Timothy 5:18, Creamy homemade chocolate frosting, Letting your children and grandchildren help you cook, Simple recipe for wonderful chocolate frosting
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)