Grow Up, Child Of Mine

We live in a world that extends childhood too far on one end by shirking responsibility and shortens it to much on the other by pushing children into a hyper sexualized behave like an adult world they are not ready for.

The response oftentimes to the too soon extreme is the battle cry, “Let them be children!” and while I certainly do not argue or disagree with that sentiment I want to address it from a slightly different perspective. Usually when we say “just let them be kids” we are only focusing on those things like the overly suggestive clothing, social media usage, and boy/girl relationship issues while still neglecting the teaching of responsibility at the other end of the spectrum.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately mainly because my Claire, the baby of the family, turns thirteen today and it’s weird to have my last one entering into those teenage years. There is a definite sense of the closing of one era in the life of our family.

Here, in no particular order, are some things I have been thinking about with regard to this topic.

Grow up, child of mine.

Give thought to the woman you want to be and practice today becoming her.

Grow up, child of mine.

Set aside silliness and learn what joy and contentment look like. It’s the difference between cotton candy and a four course meal. Only one of those will nourish your soul.

Grow up, child of mine.

Forsake foolishness and pursue wisdom, she is indeed your sister. Wisdom will keep you safe from the damaging effects of bad decisions and foolish choices.

Grow up, child of mine.

Reject the world’s idea of beauty and find out what God says is beautiful and be that. It’s two very different things, one of which fades and becomes less and less and one that becomes more glorious over time.

Grow up, child of mine.

Don’t mistake sarcasm for wit. Let your words be apples of gold in settings of silver. Relying on sarcasm all the time only makes you dull and unkind.

Grow up, child of mine.

Be willing to slow down and wait for the right things at the right time. Your enjoyment and pleasure in good things is directly connected to your maturity and ability to appreciate it.

Grow up, child of mine.

Put aside doing only the easy things and choose the hard things. It will make you strong and able to handle with grace and dignity the difficult things that come to us all in life.

Grow up, child of mine.

Put away laziness. Laziness will ultimately create more work for yourself and will also cause much dissension with those around you who are adversely affected by your idleness.

Grow up, child of mine.

Learn to not take yourself too seriously. It will make you much more pleasant to be around if you are able to laugh at yourself.

Grow up, child of mine.

Value the things and people that have come before you. Nothing that is now existed without the help and assistance of the past.

Grow up, child of mine.

Embrace the truth that while everything is lawful not everything is needful. Just because you can does not mean you should.

Grow up, child of mine.

Own your sin and mistakes. It is not always someone else’s fault. Remember that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Grown up, child of mine.

Be quick to forgive and always assume the best of others. Don’t expect something from others that you are unwilling to give.

Grow up, child of mine.

Choose to love others more than yourself. A self-centered person exhausts those around them rather than being a source of comfort and rest.

Grow up, child of mine.

Seek knowledge more than entertainment. There is untold value in feeding your soul.

Grow up, child of mine.

For in this way you may be an example to others in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

Grow up, daughter of mine.

For you are called to be a polished corner stone cut for the structure of the palace, made to be a pillar that will support and uplift the house that God is building for His name out of living stones.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

~Hebrews 13:20–21

Happy birthday, sweet Claire.

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Repeating The Good Stuff

In the past ten years or so I have had Alice in front of my camera in family pictures multiple times (including the first time when she and her siblings agreed to sneak off with me to do pictures as a surprise Mother’s Day present.) She was also in the first class of senior pictures I ever did  and most notably as a bride when I photographed her wedding about a year and a half ago.

A couple of months ago I not only got to meet her sweet little baby boy while she was down visiting from Idaho but I also got to take his pictures. I love taking anybody’s pictures but there is something extra sweet about getting to record some of the biggest milestones in a person’s life.
Especially when they are as adorable as this little guy.
I mean just look at that face…is it cute or what? Even when he wasn’t real sure he liked the Florida heat, our humidity, the gnats, or my camera.

His expressions were all adorable but for some reason it’s his toes that I just love in this picture.

Sweet mama.

Beautiful mama.

I don’t know how often she’ll make the trip down here but over the next ten years I hope I can get her and hers in front of my camera again.

DPP ~ Day 5

It has been a very soggy day. It’s as if all of the rain we’ve been missing lately all came at once. With gusto. And lightening. Boy, has the light show been impressive.

My mother has come down with some sort of bug and needed to be resting today so I got to take my dad to a doctor’s appointment. The days can get so busy tending my kids and all the stuff that comes with life in general that time to visit with my parents apart from the daily phone call doesn’t come easily. While I am not happy my mother is sick it was nice to have to put everything else aside and go spend time with my dad.

I was left alone in the examination room for a few minutes while they took him back for an x-ray. While I was holding his things I breathed in the familiar scent that is my father. I can’t describe it really. It’s a mix of him, his aftershave, the laundry detergent my mother uses, and just their house, their smell. It’s the smell of comfort.

My parents are getting older. They’re having to adjust to a new season of life and it’s one that I imagine is kind of uncomfortable. Limitations and the reality of not being able to keep doing all the things they’ve always done they way they’ve done them is not a whole lot of fun. Not wanting to be a burden on me and my sisters also weighs on them.

But as I buried my nose in my Dad’s vest and smelled deeply the smell that is him, I realized what a privilege it is to care for our parents as they grow older. And, more importantly, I wish for them to see it as an honor. My Dad has earned every ache and pain he feels now because for years his body has faithfully done what he asked of it whether it was jumping 255 times out of an airplane with the 82nd airborne division during his time in Vietnam, or slinging a hammer or any of the other physical labor he did most of our lives to provide for our family. My Mother is moving slower but all of my life I have seen her go from one act of service to another, always helping wherever there was a need.

My parents are still pretty young. There is still much that God has for them to do. But they also will be learning the art of receiving gracefully that which they have always been the ones to do. And while there are some small things that are changing it’s not like it’s anything too drastic. But there is change happening and probably more in the years ahead.

So to my precious parents I say, you may not like this new season of life…you may find the limitations a great big pain in your backside…you may be frustrated by needing help when before you didn’t. But trust me when I tell you that we, and I know I speak for all of us girls, are beyond thankful that God has given you to us and it is our great joy to love you and do things for you.

It’s how you raised us. So, please don’t begrudge our obedience to what you taught us as we seek to show you the honor due you as our parents. Honestly, we don’t mind.

A Throw Back Thursday Post In Which I am Amazed By How Quickly My Children Have Grown Up

Seriously, they were babies yesterday! Now I have a grown child juggling work and making college plans, another with her learner’s permit and…and…and…

I’m a little horrified with the post processing job that includes a fuzzy pink vignette on the edges but she looked so pretty on her 13th birthday.

Still has the same sweet smile…

Look at his smile! So contagious.

At twelve years old she stands eye to eye with me now.

Her first, and quite possibly her only, camping trip.

I had no idea what life would bring when I held each one of them in my arms as newborns but these memories of days that have passed cause my breath to catch and heart to squeeze.  And there are days when I wonder why He gave me five when I fill so insufficient for even one.

But mine they are and He shows me each and every day that He is more than sufficient for us all.

So This Happened Last Night

Dad decided it was time. We crowded into the bathroom and there was much looking and talking and more looking and funny face making and then a clean shaven upper lip face. (And a little chin action.) Rob pretty much did the shaving while talking Sam through what he’ll need to do the next time.

shaving_right _of_passage

Best Shot Friday     Friday Photo Journal

Knowing The Difference

Her blue eyes were shining with delight.

“Mama! Mama! I picked these flowers for you!”

Clutched in little girl fingers was a bouquet of lovely spring like purple…weeds. Old-field toad flax to be exact.

But she didn’t care about the name. Her seven year old eyes had been captivated by the lovely color and delicate petals.

“Aren’t they pretty?”

If one is feeling charitable one could look at them as a sort of wild flower and place them in a  tiny vase to
set on the ledge. I guess I was feeling charitable since they are now in a tiny vase sitting on the ledge in my dining room.

Of course no matter how benevolent I might be feeling toward my weeds wildflowers they are still indeed weeds.

Looking at that little vase today made me think how old-field toad flax is a perfect visual metaphor for sin.

The father of lies doesn’t typically approach us with bold ugly weeds that we know instinctively will clutter up and choke the life out of us. He doesn’t come and offer us big clunky clangy weights. Instead, he comes offering the “almost the same” and “not all that different” and we want what we want so we’re willing to take it, to settle and before you know it we have a garden of weeds growing in our hearts.

Digging them up is painful hard work. The roots can sink in deep and twine themselves around all manner of things that we never intended to be a part of the bouquet we thought we were getting.
It can damage and destroy relationships if left on it’s own.

But confession is the ultimate weed killer. True repentance cuts them off and they shrivel up and die.

And forgiveness waters the ground for restoration, allowing true flowers to blossom in an array of beauty and color that can only come from The true Gardener.

Soli Deo Gloria