Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I'm a mama. I have a mama's heart, and my mama's heart is breaking as the "homeless" cease to be easily dismissed nameless, faceless old men with signs on the side of the road and become people with names, and faces, and stories. This transformation has come as a result of serving lunch at the local Union Gospel Mission twice a month with my children. Everyone of the people I've see at in the lunch line were tiny newborn babies once, just as precious the babies I've held in my arms.

Homelessness is a hot topic. Many people have strong opinions on what the causes are and what should be done about "the problem." Most everyone in America has driven past a homeless beggar holding a sign, usually on a freeway on-ramp or off-ramp. And the problem seems to be getting worse.

We struggle with the question; should we give homeless people money, or not? If we do, how do we know they won't use it to buy drugs or alcohol? If we don't, how do we deal with that nagging voice in our head? A few years ago, the local news station did an investigative report on street beggars, revealing that they can actually make hundreds of dollars a day. So, do they really need the money or are we being scammed?!

Picture holding a precious baby in your arms. Now, picture that baby all grown up, hungry, cold, and alone in a very dangerous and hostile world, homeless. Is that a life you want for your children? Is it the life their mamas wanted for them?

The way I look at Scripture, the homeless are our neighbors. We're supposed to love them as we love ourselves, and I doubt anyone reading this blog would choose to be homeless and hungry if they had an option. How will you answer the question, "If I were homeless, how would I want to be treated?" For me, it means packing up my kids and driving down to the mission to devote some time to serve lunch with a smile and kind word. I don't know what it means to you, but my challenge to you is; think about it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Power of Example, part II

I only have one three year old son. As the only son, he is very interested in copying his daddy, which I totally understand and appreciate. He wants to be with his daddy; he wants to do what his daddy does.

Tonight, as I was helping him get ready for bed, I noticed that my son had a certain faintly familiar aroma. It smelled vaguely like my husband's deodorant. When I asked my son if he'd used his daddy's deodorant, it was obvious that my question made no sense. So, I investigated.

Sure enough, my son's armpits smelled just like his daddy's deodorant! My son, though no where near old enough to need deodorant, had copied his daddy by putting it on. Obviously there is a little something lacking in the copying, because Daddy doesn't usually put deodorant on at night, but who pays attention to such things when you are only three?

It was so cute and I, of course, burst out laughing. My son responded appropriately, grinning and looking shy (like he does whenever he isn't sure what is going on but definitely likes the attention) but obviously pleased with himself and my response. I'm afraid I've created a monster; as the sixth of seven children, he'll do just about anything for attention! But, whatever happens, I'm pretty sure he'll smell good =>

Saturday, April 10, 2010

World-Class Juggling

I reluctantly joined the ranks of soccer moms today, to an extreme degree. Somehow I managed to enroll three girls in a spring soccer program. We figured out soccer practice. But, we didn't figure out games.

For everyone's first game, wouldn't you know, my husband was out of town. Three girls were playing soccer on different fields at different times. It required me to figure out how to be two places at the same time. The game start times were staggered, and two girls were playing on the same field, though at different times. If that wasn't bad enough, all three girls needed shin-guards.

So, I drove the first girl to the soccer field, dropping her off while I ran to the store to pick up shin guards. Unfortunately, the store was having a huge sale and the door we went through (normally the quietest part of the store) was crazy busy!! Wouldn't you know it!

Though slowed down a bit, we were able to get the shin guards, drive home, load the remaining children into our van, drop the youngest and oldest girls off at the second field, drive back to the first field, leave the last girl with her coach, catch a glimpse of the first girl running up and down the field before rushing back to the second field to watch the youngest girl chase up and down the field, though she didn't have a clue what she was doing.

In the end, my baptism into soccer mommyhood was actually not too bad. Everyone made it to their respective games on time, someone was at each game to watch children play (even if it wasn't necessarily me), and we didn't forget anyone anywhere. I think we've figured out a pretty good game plan for future Soccer Saturdays, and my kids had a fantastic time. In the final analysis, that is what truly matters.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Intrinsic Value

I have a 14 year old daughter. So, suddenly, I know nothing.

Recently, we were in a situation where my daughter was in desperate pain. She didn't know for sure what she'd done or how, but she knew she was in pain. It just so happened we were away from home, out having fun with some friends. It also just so happened that one of our friends is a medical provider who has worked in family practice and knows how to treat backs.

But, remember, this young lady is 14 years old. So, of course, no one knows anything. All the advice we gave, all the ways we tried to help, all our attempts to get her comfortable were of no avail. She refused our suggestions, fought our efforts, resisted our attempts. I was so frustrated at that point that a comment I've heard before made total sense - I now understand why some creatures eat their own young.

Well, my daughter's back pain did not improve much between Saturday and today. So, we took her to the doctor. I was totally prepared to force her to cooperate with the doctor, based on my experience with her over the weekend. I didn't know what it would look like to force her, but she was going to listen to the doctor and do what he recommended.

Wouldn't you know it - I didn't have to force her at all!! She was very cooperative, even submissive and compliant. I was amazed. When I asked about it afterwards, expressing my surprise, do you know what she said?! She told me that "I knew you were right, but I didn't want to do what you said because I was afraid it would hurt." Then she said, "I knew you were paying for the doctor." Can you believe it? Even though she had a medical professional, who knows just as much as the doctor, telling her the same thing as her very own mother, she didn't listen to us because it didn't cost anyone anything!! Oh my goodness!

You know what will really be funny? When this 14 year old daughter grows up and has a 14 year old daughter of her own. She'll (hopefully) remember this experience when she is expressing her frustration. If she doesn't, I'll be sure to remind her.