Gettin’ in the way

The Bump is sufficiently big enough to get in my way now:

  • Putting on pants or socks or shoes – I can’t just lift my leg up and put things on…I have to lift my knees out to the side else my foot can’t come close enough to my short arms for me to put pants/socks on. With shoes I have to squat/kneel down and put my shoe on beside me instead of in front of me. Because I also can’t see over my bump.
  • Bending over bathroom sinks – I have to stand farther away from the sink when I brush my teeth because the bump is awkwardly in the way when I bend forward. Makes my back quite tired.
  • Reaching for things on counters – Again…the bump probably shortens my reach by about eight inches. Sometimes I turn sideways so that my waist is against the counter instead of the bump but I still can’t bend as well as before. Good thing Skywalker has long arms. And there’s always step stools.
  • Squeezing out of my car in a tightly parked spot – It used to be that if my head could make it through the space, the rest of me would too. Well…no longer. I have to re-park the car if I find I can’t get out.
  • Squeezing past people or things – Yup, can’t do it. I just stand there and let people move around me first.
  • Closing the door in front of my face – I’ve accidentally hit the bump a couple times because I forgot it was there. Sorry Baby! I know to stand an arm’s length away from swinging doors now.

Half Full or Empty, it’s still only half

(Image not mine)

Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10-12 NIV

I was having a philosophical conversation with Skywalker on the expectations we have for our lives. Some imagine life turning out a certain way and are dragged down when they can’t seem to get a break. Some believe life/fate/higher powers that be just have it out for them, destined to forever be held down. I believe life is meant to be enjoyed but there will always be times of trial and sorrow and struggle.

From the passage above, the best of our years are but trouble and sorrow. Basically, the majority of our life isn’t going to be so dreamy….over 50% of it.  And that sets my expectations for how life will turn out. Life in this fallen and broken world will never be totally full. Whether we see the glass half full or half empty, we only get half a glass. So for me, whatever set back or tragedy or wrench thrown in will be attributed to the empty half of my glass….and I pray it will not prevent me from recognizing and enjoying or making the most of every drop of the full half of my glass. Our days are numbered…yes Lord help me live it wisely and fully.

“Be Good”

I recently read “Bringing Up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman and found it a very enlightening and entertaining read. She’s an American woman bringing up babies in Paris and notes the differences between parenting styles as well as the resulting child’s behavior. Where North American children tend to behave like tyrannical kings and queens, the French children seem to be functionally integrated into the adult world around them. I love it.

One of the points she brought out was in the diverse vocabulary French parents use with their infants and children. Here, we hear a lot of “Be good!” spoken to our kiddies. Even the Chinese have the equivalent with asking the child to be “guai”. Or if they do something pleasant, we heap on the praises of “Oh you’re so good” or “You’re so guai”. And once you’ve praised them for “being good”….well, are they not apt to think that everything they do is “good”? We haven’t exactly addressed what was so praise worthy in the first place. What does “good” mean anyways? It’s so ambiguous.

The French on the other hand, tell or praise their children for being “sage” …which is like saying “being calm.” Think about it…there’s a whole lot more going on for a child to be calm. That’s asking the child to quiet down their hearts and minds. To deal with the inner frustration of not getting their way or their timing. To be master over their impulses instead of being mastered by it. And that they are PART of a bigger world, and not THE world.

Yes I think we under-estimate what our infants and children can understand. The more diversity in the words we use with them, the more tools they’re given to understand and choose behavior. With ALL children in my life, I’m trying, even now, to change my words to build up good character and good behavior and specifically address negative behavior. Saying “You’re a good girl/boy” or “that’s bad” really doesn’t say much at all. I would much rather my child hear “What you did was very kind” or “Thanks for being patient” or “That attitude is selfish” or “Don’t be rude“. Even from infancy.

So in four months…this social experiment will start. haha. I invite you to join in. =)

2013: A quick look back

Just like that, 2013 came and went.

Jan:: Whining about food restrictions  Feb:: I am INTJ | First time on a bike since Gr 8 | Training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer | No king crab for me  Mar:: Brokenness series  Apr:: Second Anniversary | Trying ballroom dancing and liking it (Skywalker that is) | Sonoma Valley and C&C’s wedding  May:: (honestly can’t remember what happened in May….probably just more training rides)  June:: Hawaii with Skywalker’s family | Ride to Conquer Cancer | The “How We Met” series  Jul:: Lots and lots of friends visiting | becoming “open to God”  Aug:: First and only camping trip of the year | More friends visiting | We’re expecting!  Sept:: Nausea sucks | First look at Baby  Oct:: Eastern Europe trip turn Babymoon | Skywalker’s Dad’s 80th | Going to be an Aunt!  Nov:: Listing the condo | Listing the car | Cleaning like mad  Dec:: Second look at Baby | Waiting on God | one year no thyroid meds! | the Flu | Goodbye Sage and Hello Skye

I feel like more has happened than what’s been recorded in a few phrases. And well…time doesn’t stop and we’re moving into 2014 steadily. It’ll be a big year….Lord help us to number our days rightly! Looking forward to it!

“Christian morals are for Christians only”

That was the view presented at our discipleship group a few Sundays ago. And I think I agree with it….that people who claim to be followers of Christ should quite naturally be the ones compelled to follow His commands, example and teaching. Because only those who have the Holy Spirit will be capable of recognizing what is in line with His teaching or not, and only they have the power to live it out as God transform them from the inside out. So the ones who aren’t followers, who don’t have the Holy Spirit, well why should they be held to Christ’s standard?

The Western world developed on Judeo-Christian principles and back then, it can safely be assumed that everyone believed in God and followed Biblical teaching. Encouraging, upholding, rebuking each other in accordance to the Word was part of the community norm. Times have definitely changed and believers are in the minority…but somehow, we keep trying to push the “Christian way” onto everyone else…and it comes across as judgmental, unloving and ungracious. Which is totally not lined up with who Jesus or God is.

I don’t believe Biblical principles and instructions are to be blindly followed by Christians just for the sake of following them though. I believe most Biblical principles have very solid reasons to be followed for our own physiological, emotional and spiritual well-being. Granted some of those benefits primarily applied to that period of history or that area of the world….but many are still relevant and applicable today. Taking the time to look deeper into why God may have laid down certain boundaries will result in a deeper understanding and appreciation for those boundaries. While we look at our decisions and actions within the tiny context of the world immediately around us (i.e. “I’m not hurting anyone that immediately comes to mind), God sees the WHOLE PICTURE and works His boundaries for the benefit of all, the environment included. So I think those principles that benefit us physiologically and emotionally CAN be shared even with those who do not follow Christ. Spiritual boundaries/benefits are harder to express and share….even though a lot of physical/emotional boundaries are tied to spiritual well-being too. But hey, if asked, be prepared to answer in gentleness and respect!

So, my take-away from that discussion…be loving, compassionate and gracious to all. Celebrate what’s meaningful in the lives of all whom we care about; mourn with each other; walk with and talk with them for as long as you are welcomed. If asked your opinion on something, then share honestly and openly, have discussion, but don’t expect any kind of compliance to your thoughts, and respect each other regardless. If someone won’t accept you then just shake the dust off your feet and move on. (And I might add, this goes both ways…those who are secular shouldn’t be forcing their values onto others who seek to live as Christ taught either.)

Thoughts on this? I know I’ve just scratched the surface.