I look on, my gaze resting on her smiling face. She reaches her hand for the stem before her and gently plucks it, her smiling eyes turning around to meet mine. I have watched her harvest the dandelions of the field on many occasions, but this time was different. Like iron lead, so was the lump that I found resting in my throat. I worked to etch the soft tendrils framing her face full of wonder and glee, this moment, I wanted to freeze in my mind. I listened even closer to the sound of her giggle, burning its melody into my memory. The escalator of time that she was standing on was weighing heavy on me. I watched her blow the seeds into the wind. I drop another memory into my motherhood time-capsule. The words are swishing around in my heart, “The days are long, but the years are short”. The sunlight dances on her hair; and I ask for not a moment to be wasted.
Before the bloom
These are the years where the soft buds of our children are forming. We only have so long, or rather so little time, before the blossom appears. If we are not careful, the blossom will have taken place and left us missing out on the joy and wonder of the bloom. A blossom never returns to the bud, time does not allow for such wishes.
The days of growth are crucial – they are the slow days of tending. If we are so focused on the task, we miss the joy of who it is we are caring. Sometimes we look so forward to seeing the blossom, that we forget about the wonder of the bud in-waiting. Tending the tender buds, guarding for the day of its blossom – it is a task of patience, resilience, and attentiveness. But then the bloom… and the years of attending the bud are but a memory. While the blossom will be beautiful and we will love its new season of growth, I imagine there will be an ache in the remembrance of caring for the bud.
So, as the laughter flows, let us give thanks for the years before the bloom. In the stormy seasons, let us ask for wisdom where we have to guard and tend buds carefully. When joy falls like rain, let us tuck away those memories and store them for when seasons of drought come along.
The years before the bloom are hard, but they are also glorious.
As we sit here, let us remember the gift of time-present. Laundry will eventually lessen, the messes will gradually stop showing up in various spaces of our home, and sleep will find its way back to us again. But what we have right now…we will never be able to recapture. It happens and it is over, just like that. The winds of change blowing through can not be sucked back in and held.
We cannot pretend that everyday will be perfect. But we can pray for every day to be captured for God’s glory and our good. We can begin by asking for a shift in our mindset and attitude. Let us be the ones who take the little time we have with our children and cultivate it well. The time-capsule of motherhood is before us, may we fill it well.
Ideas to nourish time with your children
Spending time in God’s Word together.
This is about enjoying God with your children. We can easily turn this into a lesson for them or we may approach this dryly…Enter into this time with reverence and awe. Point to the holiness of God and His goodness. Be in wonder of Him ALONG with your children. Make this time about worshiping Him.
Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
As a wife, daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin of preachers, I have been blessed in many respects with a rich spiritual legacy. It is really a blessing to have grown up and watched men and women in my blood family as well as my blood-bought family serve God with fervor, throughout trials, and despite unbelievable odds.
But I have a very special place in my heart for those “first generation” converts–the ones who came to Christ later in life, perhaps not knowing God from childhood. Not being blessed to be raised in a Christian home. They seem to have a special spark, and I love to see it.
Later converts tend to have a better understanding of how close to the precipice of death we all stand.
Having come to Christ at a later (and perhaps more drastic point) in their lives, they have a higher sense of urgency to reach the lost. Realizing how close they came to being eternally lost, they understand and see the world around them with compassionate eyes for lost souls.
They have a special empathy for those in the “muck” of the world.
Let’s be real here. Sin makes life messy, whether in the Christian’s life or the unbeliever’s life. Sin makes things complicated, awkward, hard, tearful, and exhausting. The difference? In the Christian’s life, we have the hope of better things. The later convert really understands the unbeliever’s struggle–and the fact that they do so without the hope of heaven afterward.
They have truly counted the cost.
Later converts came from a life centered around self and sin and move to a life submerged in the blood of Christ. They “gave up” their free time on Sundays and Wednesday nights. They “gave up” their previous pastimes for service and Christian fellowship. And they also realize what a precious gift we have received in return.
They spark joy, energy, and life into the church.
Having been convicted by the Spirit to conversion, they have an incredible, burning zeal, and it is contagious. That joy spills into all parts of their lives–at work, among non-Christian family, in the community. They are a breath of fresh air and a stirring up among us.
Later converts have an incredible sense of loyalty and gratitude to their church family.
When you are converted later in life (especially as an adult), you are often left without your blood family. But in return you gain a precious gift–a blood-bought family stretching across countries, borders, and cultures. You are granted the gift of people who, like you, have an understanding of their own great debt to the One who paid it all.
I am so grateful to those “late” converted Christians in my life. You inspire me, you push me, and you humble me. I am often drawn into complacency or weariness, and you urge me to realize again the great gift God has given us, simply by your lives, steeped in the service and grace and love of God. I am thankful you are a part of my “real” blood-bought family.
Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
This month I had the privilege of doing a lesson about delayed gratification from Family Time Training. Can I just tell you how much my kids loved this little activity? They were so excited that we were going to do something new and fun that we’ve never tried before. When I mentioned the plan, they speculated what it might be. As I filled our bucket with ice, water, and marbles, they threw out all sorts of crazy ideas. They marveled at how very cold the water was while I gathered my camera and bible.
(Click here to get this activity for free during the month of September. )
Princess Ballerina and Iron Man are feeling a little unsure about sticking a foot in this icy cold water.
Learning about Delayed Gratification
My kids took their best guesses on what they thought delayed gratification meant and then I read the definition from the lesson. We discussed a few good examples that they would be able to relate to and then we read our verses from the bible. I always enjoy reading from the bible with my children because Iron Man can read very well, however his comprehension of what he just read lines right up with his age and life experience. Princess Ballerina still lives in la-la land a lot of the time so she’s kind of hit or miss on comprehension as well. I find that it’s always beneficial to make sure they understand the meaning of the words they are reading and then wrap the whole concept up for them after we’ve read it through a couple of times.
Lessons for Adults and Kids Alike
This verse really blessed me when we read it. If you want a conversation starter just read this verse with your kiddos and let the questions fly. It was such a gentle reminder to me as I explained to my children that this world is not our home. The world may be against us but we count ourselves as blessed! After reading through Matthew 16:19-21 (another excellent opportunity to explore our worldly tendencies against our heavenly purpose) we got ourselves psyched up to get chilly!
My little Princess Ballerina struggled a bit with the discomfort of this activity. She did get some marbles but not nearly as many as her brother. That’s to be expected as she’s just 5! Iron Man is 7 and really took this challenge seriously. I guarantee you they won’t forget what delayed gratification is after this frigid lesson!
Are you looking for exciting faith training lessons for the whole family? I encourage you to check out Family Time Training and all the awesome stuff on their website. I hope it blesses your family as it has mine!
Be sure to click on over to Family Time Training and check out the free activity for the month! Each month they offer a free, downloadable lesson, or you can browse the many options available for purchase. There are options for all different age levels!
Connect with them on Facebook as well.
Enjoy other great posts…
I’m Lana, a native Oklahoman. Married 17 years to the first boy I ever dated. Mama to two amazing, darling girls. I’m a coffee-drinking, book-reading, home-educating night owl! An accountant in my life B.C. (Before Children), my dream job would be getting paid to read all day.And if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I’m an ISTJ. Most important of all, I’m a follower of Christ.
This past week, a terrible tragedy struck the congregation where I grew up. A young mother of two suddenly passed away from complications of a rare blood disorder. Waves of shock and grief quickly rippled through her circle of family and friends. But in the midst of this horrible event, I have been witnessing the church living out their calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
When the news first came out that this woman was fighting for her life, I saw a call to prayer go out all across social media. I saw Christians immediately respond, both with written and spoken prayers. I saw people drop what they were doing and drop to their knees, pleading with the Father on behalf of someone they didn’t even know.
When word came that she had lost her physical battle, again I saw many praying. Anguished prayers of hurt and sorrow. Intercessory prayers for comfort for her loved ones. Joyful prayers of thanksgiving that she would receive her heavenly reward. Hopeful prayers that God would be glorified through this trial.
I witnessed her friends comforting each other. Older women encouraging and mothering the younger women. Acquaintances sharing memories of how she had touched their lives.
And I saw the church spring into action, stepping in to help care for her children, to bring meals, to provide for whatever the family might need immediately and in the days to come.
On Sunday morning, I sat in the pew, surrounded by fellow Christians. As we sang, prayed, and worshiped our God, I saw the pain on faces around me. But once again, I witnessed what it means to live in community, to let Christ shine through their compassion on each other.
Men prayed for this family. Tissues were passed to wipe tears away. Scriptures were read, reminding us all of the hope we have of heaven. Friends shared hugs, husbands tenderly consoled their wives, and parents cuddled their children just a little longer that morning.
Later, I witnessed elders and other men of the congregation surrounding this young man who had just lost his wife. They laid their hands on him, prayed over him, and wept with him.
Perhaps the most touching sight was a young teen who left her pew and went to where the children sat. As tears streaked their faces, she hugged them, wiped away their tears, and stayed with them for the rest of the service. At that moment, the authenticity of these Christians’ faith struck me. Their compassion was evident to all, from the oldest members to the youngest.
In the midst of a terrible situation, I have witnessed the church, both near and far, act as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. From physical needs to emotional support to spiritual comfort, these people made manifest the true work of the church. As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT) says:
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Spur One Another On
Although I did not personally know this young mother, her passing has impacted and influenced my faith. By witnessing how the local church stepped up and ministered to her family and friends, it has given me a greater desire to likewise minister to those around me who are hurting.
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
BLACK FRIDAY! Those two words either bring fear or joy to your heart. You are either one of them or one of them. Everyone has a strong opinion on it one way or the other. There is no in-between.
I love Black Friday! Some of you may think I’m crazy. I may be, but I love it. There is just something about getting out early and braving the weather and the lines to get that incredible deal. I am a bargain shopper! I also love the rush of getting in the crowds and trying to get that last box of Legos for $10.00 or that new digital camera for $50.00. Several years ago, I got up at 3:00 a.m. to drive 30 miles to stand in line to get a dual portable DVD player for our van. (Yes, I know I’m showing my age because nobody buys those things anymore.) Three in the morning is nothing now. We get going at midnight!
Well, we actually get started before midnight. This exciting event now takes place at my sister-in-law’s house. Thanksgiving is spent there in Tulsa, almost three hours away from where we live. We awaken early Thanksgiving morning and travel to their house. As all of our families have grown, it has been wonderful to have to add so many tables. I know that is the true meaning of this holiday: to be thankful for what God has given us and to be with loved ones–but we all love Black Friday!
After our incredible meal, the “girls” all sit around the table with the newspaper. This is a sight to behold. I am not going to give away all of our secrets, but I will share an overview of what transpires. Needless to say, we are very organized. We start with the first ad, circle what we want with bright markers and initial it, then pass it around the table. When everyone has finished, we go through and put them in order of store opening times. Then we check for duplicate items and find the best prices and make our list. We then make sure we have our shirts ready or make our new ones. Yes, we print up matching shirts for all of us! We don’t make new ones every year. We’ve even had strangers stop us and even take pictures with us in our shirts.
Most recent T-shirts
Back side of T-shirt
We try to take a nap! This does not always happen–most of the time it doesn’t. Okay, that may be wishful thinking. But, we do try to get things ready. There have always been four of us. This consists of my sister-in-law, niece, niece’s husband, and me. The niece’s husband is a 300+ pound former college football linebacker (you should see him in a bright pink shirt) so he is there for “protection” – and comedy relief. The last couple of years, we have started adding to our group. My sister-in-law’s granddaughter (She is not my great-niece because I am not that old. Only old people are “great” whatevers.) was allowed to go because she had turned sixteen. And now my daughter is counting down the years until she can go.
We all have our respective jobs! I am the “Bargain Hunter”. I search out the the items that we did not find quickly. I also pick up things for a friend who hates Black Friday shopping but wants some of the bargains. She even calls to check in with me to see how things are going. I will admit that Black Friday shopping is much easier with the invention of the cell phone. I often wonder what the increase in usage of cell phones is on that day.
We have a great time! We go from store to store. We also make several pit stops. I do not know if you have a Quik Trip where you live (I don’t), but I believe that it is the best place while Black Friday shopping. They have giant drinks, the best hot snacks (regular or breakfast), and of course clean restrooms (women’s and men’s, and women do go to the men’s when no one is around). I also get very “punchy” when I get tired. Around two or three in the morning, I start laughing at everything. This is where the nephew-in-law comes in. He starts with all the dumb jokes to see how much he can get me laughing. My favorite is still, “Two men walked into a bar; the third one ducked.” Think about that one. I also learned about YouTube from him. My favorite is “Dumb Ways To Die”. Apparently, this is an actual public service announcement from Australia. That makes it even funnier.
Sometimes we take a nap in the car! This we actually do. If there is a store that only one person needs something from, two go in and the rest of us take our nap. Somehow, we make it through the night and finish up by no later than 10:00 a.m. We then go home, take a nap, then go out for pizza. This is as good as Thanksgiving dinner. We go to a buffet. Yes, Thanksgiving dinner one day followed by pizza buffet the next day!
I missed this event last year. Our van broke down one hour from our house. By the time we got towed back home it was late. Our other vehicle had bad tires so it could not make the trip. My son’s car only seated four and we are a family of five. We were stuck at home with nothing but the desserts. Have you ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in two hours? I did, and it was actually good and completely gluten-free (my husband has a true gluten allergy).
I did take my kids shopping around 9:00 a.m. when my friend called to see how it was going. Of course, I got a lecture of why I did not call and tell her we were broke down and didn’t make it to Tulsa. They would have towed us home and we could have come over for dinner, etc. I had several of those offers and that overwhelmed me. My niece even called and said that it was not as much fun without me. My sister-in-law told me that they even discussed meeting me in Oklahoma City to do our shopping. Our nephew offered to come and try to fix our van. For Christmas, my niece gave me one of the gifts that we would always go to the mall for. She had picked up an extra one for me. We were truly missed! Of course, we did learn a lesson: when you miss Thanksgiving, they plot against you. That is another story for another post. I will get even with at least our nephew.
Our traditions have evolved over the years, but last year reminded me just how great my family and friends are. We get out in all the craziness, but we enjoy being together and being there for each other. I would not trade that part of our family for anything.
Do you have a Black Friday story to share?
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?