Sunday, May 26, 2013


The other day, my husband turned on a Batman cartoon for my older son.  "It's rated G," he said.  I watched it for a couple of minutes was astounded by the violence.  I couldn't believe it was rated G and turned it off.  Granted, my son has been watching Disney Junior up to this point (sigh), but I realized that parents who are willing to actively censor have an uphill journey ahead of them. 

I found myself reflecting upon my childhood.  Remember the eighties and early nineties, friends?  I remember the neon tee-shirts, high bangs, the spectacular movie The Goonies, and the introduction of MTV.  I still recall those early music videos. 

I had a thing for MC Hammer music for a while there.  Before you laugh, who wasn't swept up in the magic of MC Hammer or even Vanilla Ice?  You might roll your eyes now, but I bet you were busting a move back then.  You can't touch this.

All the while that I was discovering, my Mom was censoring.  She admittedly enjoyed some of Hammer's hits, but there was a particular song on a hit album that she forbade me to play in the house.  I didn't get it then, but I see the song's inappropriateness now.  She told me that she would take the album away if she caught me playing it.

I marvel at the importance of following through when you tell your child that you are going to do something.  It is important when we promise things that they look forward to, and it is important in our discipline so that they take us seriously.  I wonder if my Mom ever thought she was going to have to follow through with her claim.

The forbidden MC Hammer song played in my room one day.  I was not in my room to monitor, but the music was up loudly.  My Mom came into my room, took the tape, and (I kid you not) smashed the tape on our porch with a hammer in a fit of frustration.  The irony.  Hammertime.

At the time, I thought her actions were harsh.  But looking back, I appreciate the fact that she cared so much about what I was listening to and was willing to follow through.  I think about the importance of censorship today for our children, and to be honest, it's overwhelming.  The radio, smartphones, the web - there are just so many avenues to master and monitor as parents. 

I hear cursing and lewd lyrics when I simply turn on a hit radio station.  The television isn't any better with its espoused values and desensitization to violence of any kind.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy media, but I find that I have to be increasingly selective as an adult, let alone bringing children into the equation.

It is important to consider what we are doing to monitor our media exposure.  If we want our children to evade the trappings and lies of our broken culture, we need to be aware of how they are seeping into its fabric.  We need to be conscious of the fact that what we feed grows.

Are we the kind of mom who can take a stand despite our kids' anger at censorship?  Are we willing to make decisions that distinguishes us from other parents in an effort to foster healthy values in our children?  My kids are still small, so I cannot claim to have successfully maneuvered this challenge.  But my hope is that I will have the support and conviction to do so, for I want my children to steer clear of avoidable pitfalls and celebrate the good in the world - eighties bad hair and all.

Jesus taught, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV).

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for calling us apart and the blessings that you promise to bestow therein.  Help us to protect our children from what culture would have them believe.  May we preserve our saltiness and reflect upon your ways.  May your ways be ours.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jugglers Extraordinaire

Last Sunday was Mother's Day.  I hope you enjoyed my post and follow up one with the baby animal pictures.  For some reason, those pictures take a long time to load and view on my PC.  They are adorable though!  Because Mother's Day is about appreciating our work, I thought a devotion about appreciation would be timely.

Recently, I had one of those days when I was just off of my game, you know?  I forgot that it was Show and Tell at preschool for my older son.  That sent us back out to the car to forage for something to save the day while he cried.  Thank God mommy cars hold the promise of all kinds of surprises tucked into their crevices.  I sent him to school with a little plastic car, and just as I was exhaling, I realized that I had forgotten his lunch bunch ticket.  Shoot.  Later that morning, I attended a gym class with my younger son that has been meeting weekly for several months now.  I arrived early I thought, only to realize that I had actually arrived 15 minutes into a 45 minute class.  Ugh.

I am usually relatively punctual and organized, but I could not pull it together.  I am lucky to have good friends who quickly told me not to beat myself up about it.  They shared stories of similar experiences.  And really, if we are not to sweat the small stuff, that really was small stuff.

Have you been carrying something around, beating yourself up about it?  Has there been a day recently when you dropped the ball?  Although that ball might have made a big splash, have you allowed yourself the chance to step back and put the situation in perspective? 

Moms, we juggle so much on a daily basis.  God does not demand that we are perfect.  Just like we tell our kids, what we need to do is try our best.  That is enough.  Remember that the small stuff is just icing on the cake.

This link is a must-read for appreciation.  Please read it now:

Take credit for all of the good you do everyday.  Your work is not unnoticed.  Even if you do not feel appreciated, even if those littler voices do not express their thanks in poignant moments yet, know that your Heavenly Father sees all that you are doing and smiles. 

And thank God that my house on its roughest days is not that bad - yet!

Prayer:  Dear God, We approach you humbly and in need of your love.  Please accept all that we do for our children as an offering to you.  May you be pleased, and may you use our efforts to further your excellent plan.  May we hear you say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"  And just as you are smiling, grant us occasion for our hearts to smile too.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

"But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you"  (Matthew 6:3-4, NRSV).  Secret offerings to God do not go unnoticed in heaven, Moms.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate" (Proverbs 31:30-31, NIV).

In his preschool class, my older son is watching caterpillars.  Every day when I drop him off at school his teacher asks, "Do they look bigger today?"  The caterpillars are positioned on a central table.  My son explains that the once tiny caterpillars are getting bigger and bigger as they keep eating.  Once they are big enough, they will spin cocoons.

An older class apparently started the project earlier, and they released their butterflies the other day.  My son found two right outside of the school.  They were surrounded by children.  The butterflies were steadily flapping their wings but could not fly yet.  One girl explained that they were still too new, but that they would be able to fly soon.  The children were cautiously petting their wings, eager for their first flight.

It made me think about motherhood.  Our children grow bigger and bigger under our care.  We can watch them mature, but sometimes they do so to our surprise right under our noses.  Our work is to help craft their transformations - their journey from dependent children to thriving, independent adults...And one day, we will let them go.  We will watch eagerly as they spread their wings too.

I honor you today, Moms, as guides of your children's transformations.  Happy Mother's Day!  I celebrate your work and its goal.  I wish your children a marvelous flight trajectory.  And I also hope that you will have the opportunity to spread your wings anew along the way.

I'm closing with a special prayer in honor of the holiday.  It offers poignant petitions as we work to serve as those guides:

A Mother's Prayer

Help me dear Lord, as a mother, I pray
And bless these hands folded in prayer today;
May they be ever strong as they guide, as they teach,
Beings never too far for a child to reach.
May they never, with selfishness, try to dissuade,
Nor too quickly punish, nor too slowly aid.
May they point out the pleasures in laughter and song,
And may they show, wisely, the right from the wrong,
So that one day I’ll know that I’ve helped all I can
To make her a woman, to make him a man.

By Mary A. Loberg

TODAY Video Clip