Saturday, January 25, 2014

the humbled parent

Way back when, I had begun a grocery shopping trip when a totally obnoxious toddler came bounding in with his harried parents. He was told to stay in the grocery cart, only to climb out within seconds. His parents then told him to hold onto their hand and that never happened. The little guy provided entertainment to other shoppers as he randomly threw items in their cart. Me, I am embarrassed to say that I  shook my head with much judgement. This boy needed some good firm disciplining. At the check out this family was hurriedly packing their groceries and failed to notice that their toddler slipped out the doors as I was exiting. I grabbed the little guy and very firmly grasped his shoulder, the pressure spot that makes your knees fold. In a low voice I forcefully told him to listen to his mom and dad and not to run away again. The boy didn't flinch. I turned around and smiled as I passed him to his parents explaining that he tried to get out of the store and I caught him. They thanked me and off I went, shaking my head once again. 
And then.... a few years later we had a boy. A boy that caused me to eat my words and taught me a lesson of humility. From the time of infancy, I had grocery tellers close their lanes and help me pack my groceries just to get me and my screaming bundle out of the store. After a year the screaming stopped and he showed his incredible talent of undoing any latch, lock, or belt that he was strapped into. Since he had no fear, taking a leaping jump out of a cart was totally possible. Buying groceries became sort of nightmarish. I was at a point that I was ready to have the rest of the family starve then bring him into the store with me. Something had to change so I managed to do groceries and other errands around Adam's schedule. We held onto hope that he would outgrow this stage and we could have some fun outings as a family. Fast forward two years and we are still hoping that he will outgrow this stage. A few weeks ago, Adam took him on errands and this little guy with fast feet took off when Adam was paying the cashier. Adam could see the clothes racks moving and knew that he had to move fast to catch him. Soon numerous people were helping Adam and calling our little guy's name. Finally a kind lady caught him and passed him back to Adam. When Adam was relating this story, I said "he could of been kidnapped!" The older boys were quick to respond that whoever kidnapped him, would spend one day with him and then return him...they have had too many of their crafts, legos, and toys broken or stolen.
We have decided that the best thing to do is keep him at home. Adam and I take turns going to social events, bazaars, breakfasts. It just works better. It is sort of like glorified-house arrest. Going to church is manageable, he does well at his cousin's homes, and thankfully we have lots of stop-in company that makes it all very doable. He is most content here at home and that is a good thing.
In the midst of raising him,we have learned many valuable lessons (besides wanting to invent a leash and a muzzle for little boys that take off).
A man from our church who had a difficult child to raise told me to remember two things. God has created him. He knows him and cares for him. And another thought, a terrifying thought, that God saw it best for us to be his parents. God ordained this before creation! As I pondered these two statements, I felt very reassured and hopeful.
Since that conversation I have also realized that God is continually stretching us and making us dependent on Him. That gives Him glory. I have learned that raising this little guy is an opportunity to glorify God. God has humbled me and has given me much empathy for struggling parents. I get it. All of the way.
We are blessed that we have grandparents and great-grandparents who love him and pray for him. Aunts and uncles and friends (especially those who have older children - thank you Christine!) are a huge help to us. Extra eyes are always welcomed!
Our curious, fun-loving guy loves being at home and is content to stay at home (with the exception of taking off to grandma and grandpa's). We stand amazed at the obstacles that he overcomes when he wants something. His determination and creativity will go a long ways some day. Out of all of our children, he has the most tender heart and shows the most remorse when in trouble. That is encouraging. He loves books and can play on his own for hours. In that way we have it really easy with him. He especially loves being with his little brother and tells everyone that his little brother is his friend. He adds a lot of zest to our lives with the mischievous glint in his eyes and his endearing smile.
His colourful character has been carefully crafted by God.  

                                      We have some teeth issues going on here!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

focus on the family rediscovered

Last winter I rediscovered the Focus on the family Radio broadcasts. During the quiet, cold nights I would nurse our little newborn and listen to the day's broadcasts. It made for some cozy winter nights.
 This winter, our little guy has grown into a busy one year old and I have heaps of laundry around me as I listen (the difference that twelve months makes!) The broadcasts are wonderful! They are meant to make your family grow in God's way. The broadcasts equip, educate, and encourage your family.

I highly recommend listening to Part 1 and 2 on Thanksgiving Stories of gratefulness from listeners who called in to share. (November 2013) The Christmas Memories that aired were equally as good. (December 2013) Before the broadcasts, the hosts warn their listeners to have a tissue on hand. I am warning you to have a handful of tissues ready!

Monday, January 13, 2014

the new church library - part 2

Welcome to our new church library! When planning the new church building, the library was given a key location near the entrance of the church with extra big windows looking into the room. This glass window and door are great for drawing people in, and allows for a quick look to see if any of your missing children are in the library. Here is a picture of the drop off box that collects all of the returned books.


Each section of the library is clearly labeled.

We had a blank wall beside the door and this picture from etsy of the "fruits of the spirit" suits the spot.

The garden bench fit perfectly under the window.

We have lots of young, energetic readers in our church:)

In the middle of the library we have a big cubby. On one side we have bins for the wee little children books, along with a step stool, and a box for all of the books that need to be catalogued.

This is the other side of the cubby where we shelf the older children books.

Our library committee consists of five members from our church. The congregation is generous and we are budgeted for $2,800 per year for buying new books and DVDs. As for buying books, it has worked well within the committee to take care of the areas of our interests. I tend to buy the real life stories and biographies. The other committee members purchase Christian Counselling books, children's books and DVDs. We read blogs that recommend good, wholesome books that are edifying. Blogger Tim Challies posted a list of his top favourite books from 2013 and we had already bought seven out of the eight that he recommended. That confirmed to me that we were on the right track. We have audio CDs for all ages. Our DVDs deal mostly with Creation, but we also have tours through Israel, a series called "Dispatches from the Front" and much more. The DVDs have all been well received. We have a section of novels but have been careful not to buy non-fiction that is over the top. We are in charge of proof reading the books that we order. When I have a big box of books to go through I pass them out to others - usually my sisters and friends -  to proof read and I love their responses.They take this job very seriously and I love hearing their enthusiasm when they have just read a great book. I have had an elder come up to me and tell me that a senior that he visited wanted to do something useful for the church but felt limited. She loved reading so he asked me to send some books her way. I thought that that was a wonderful suggestion.
 I like to think that our library is well balanced in terms of what is allowed in the book shelves. A few months ago I came across a fantastic book that clearly showed God's working in this young man's life. The problem was that in a few parts it was explicit. Three different people read the book and they all expressed some doubt. Our library has an official policy and mandate but I summarize it by saying, "when in doubt - leave it out" and that seems to work just fine.
As far as how our committee runs, the two men on the committee take care of the computer and scanner. We do not send out renewal notices and forms to the congregation when there are over due books but we will from time to time put notices in the bulletin asking everyone to do a spring cleaning and return books so that other people can enjoy them as well. Our librarians sign out books and return books after the morning or afternoon service. They do this for a month at a time; twice a year.
We do not mind if there is a book dealing with something like addictions, or some other private matter that goes missing. This can be a personal, private issue, so as long as the "borrower" is reading it and is getting help, we will order another book. The committee members take turns writing a seasonal newsletter four times a year highlighting a topic or an author.
We have great resources so we are in the process of making a list available to the consistory members if they happen to come across a special case, they can find some help or recommend a book on that issue.
In a nutshell, this is how our library works and it is a very rewarding committee to be on. It is an absolute delight to hear a reader tell you that a certain book really impacted his or her life, encouraged them to grow in their Christian walk, or equipped them in an area of life. We are very thankful to our congregation and consistory for their support. That goes a long ways!