Friday, June 24, 2011

The Key To Change

"The key to to let go of fear." --Rosanne Cash
How is it that most humans hate change and yet God made it so that change is inevitable? From birth to death we are changing. Every choice we make effects us and often those around us. Some of the changes are so slow we can't see them day to day, but we know they are happening. Of course there are big changes that are hard to miss. Going from being single to married, having a child (or two or three), a new job, a new school, theses changes can make a huge impact on our lives and often there is much thought and discussion involved in making them.

I agree that fear holds us back from making changes and trying new things, but our fears also keep us from growing. I'm not sure that making changes means the absence of fear as much as it means pushing through our fear. I have yet to encounter a big decision that did not carry with it a basket full of questions, doubts, and fears. But I believe the blessing comes in embracing our inadequacies and self-doubts and trusting God to meet us there. Pushing through when we are afraid, facing our anxiety, and knowing that it's going to be okay.

My husband started a new job this week. He's been a remodeler for 12 years and this will the 4th company he has worked for. He left a company he'd been with nearly 5 years. Comfort and predictability had most assuredly set in and it was hard to contemplate "starting all over" at a new place. I'll save you the gory details of why exactly he decided to leave and suffice it to say God was leading and it was time. I'm proud of him for being willing to make that change and enter "the unknown".

The unknown...definitely the source of a lot of anxiety. People like to know what's going to happen. We like to know what to expect. It makes us feel secure. And yet God wants us to put ourselves out there. He wants us to reach beyond our comfort zones because it's in that place that we grow. No better way to learn about yourself. No better test of trust. No better opportunity to push past our fears and insecurities.

Perhaps the hardest changes of all are the ones made inside ourselves. It's a common theory that once we get to a certain age we are no longer capable of changing who we are, how we react, or what we think. I could not disagree more. But in order to change we have to want to change. It has to be a desire within our hearts. Change can take a lot of effort. It may mean breaking old stereotypes, accepting fault within ourselves, and dealing with issues we may not really want to confront. It may require figuring out why we do what we do. It almost always means seeing things from a new perspective, from someone else's shoes.

So maybe the "key to change" is more about where your heart is, whether you want to change, and whether your desire for change is enough to overcome your fear. The courage and desire comes from knowing and trusting God and having the faith to do what you have been called to do, irregardless of your fears.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (JOSHUA 1:9)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Awesome Dad Admired Man (A.D.A.M.)

When my nine year old was asked to describe something that is most precious to him he wrote "a LEGO ship that my Dad made". Sometimes we think we need to do something epic to get our children's attention and admiration, but it's truly the little things, the every day moments that our kids carry with them and treasure.

There is a struggle within me to fight the idea that achieving "the goal" makes me special, worthwhile, lovable. That if I work hard to "fix myself" that once I achieve "perfect" I will be valued (well, that will never happen). When I have something tangible to offer someone then I will find acceptance. The truth is that we all have an important role just as we are. God doesn't make mistakes. You are who you are for a reason. We are loved because we are, not because of who we are or what we have done.

Kids just want a Dad. They aren't looking for Superman or a father that has it all figured out. You don't need to be the strongest, smartest, most athletic. Kids want time. Real time. One-on-one, "I matter to my Dad" time. Because whether you like it or not, you are their hero.

Thank you, Adam, for being a great father. For making our family a priority. Thank you for being a silly, fun, engaged Dad. For loving and supporting our kids in their many endeavors. For being "Coach", "Teacher", and "Cheerleader". Thank you, Adam, for actively spending time with them, for your many sacrifices, and for your heartfelt desire to be the best Dad you can be for them. Thank you for putting Jesus first in your life and teaching and modeling Christ to them everywhere you go and in everything you do. We love you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh My, Summer Is Here

Last Friday was my kids' last day of school. I always sort of look forward to summer and days spent with my kids. After all, it's been a long school year and they deserve a break. Inevitably, the excitement of summer fades and is often replaced with drones of "I'm bored". The day becomes a challenge of survival instead of adventure. This year I'm looking to change all of that. I don't know how it will work longterm, but you never know if you don't try, right?

At the risk of looking too rigid, I wanted to share with you something we are going to try this summer to make our days more structured. I don't know many people who don't appreciate a little structure, even if they are not very good at creating it. I am definitely a planner, but even my ADHD husband appreciates (even needs) a good plan.

The kids and I came up with a daily schedule/routine that could be flexibly followed each day. When we are home we break down the morning and afternoon into 30 minute and 1 hour blocks. We decided together what activities fit into the blocks. Here is an example:

7-7:30am Read
7:30-8am practice piano
8-8:30am eat breakfast
8:30-9:30am free play
9:30-10am math practice/summer homework packet
10-11am Wii/DS/or computer game
11-noon chores (clean up toys/room, collect trash/recycling, etc.)
noon-1pm Lunch

The afternoon is similar in structure. Two times a day (right before mealtimes) they are to pick up around the house. I am hoping this will keep the house from becoming a disaster area (a girl can hope anyway). This isn't a rigid schedule. There will be days when we have to run errands like to the grocery store or other appointments, but this schedule gives us a rough outline of how our day can go. And I'm hoping it eliminates the "I'm bored" comments since they can refer to the schedule for ideas of what to do.

I also want to encourage the kids to read this summer and I found 2 free incentive programs for reading. One is through TD Bank where kids have to read 10 books and will receive $10 in a young saver bank account. The other is through Barnes & Noble where they have to read 8 books and will receive a free book (from a list). I found these links, along with several others at Spoiled but not Rotten.

So here's to the beginning of another long summer filled with fun and adventure and a great balance of doing stuff we want to do and have to do. Hope we make it to August with smiles still on our faces!

If you have any tips, ideas, free stuff to do with kids this summer, feel free to share! I'm always looking for good ideas!
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