PICTURES FROM THE WEST …

I spent the past four days running my  own “amazing race.”  Ok, it wasn’t technically a race, but whatever you call it, I was moving fast and everything was rather amazing. (Which is why any picture you see of scenery were taken “on the move” and with my cheap camera.)

My adventure started Wednesday morning at 7:30 or so when my wonderful daughter Kelli and her three entertaining children picked me up and took me to the airport where I hurried to my gate and discovered the flight was delayed a half hour because “even though it’s sunny here,  it’s raining in San Francisco.” (The “sunny here, but raining there” was a refrain I was to hear again with even more frightening results, but I didn’t know that then.)  

The lady next to me, crammed in the middle seat for a five hour flight (we were in the air an hour longer than normal because of strong headwinds) was not a happy camper. She was missing a meeting in which a vendor was attempting to interest her in gardening equipment. She did not like the airline we were on.  (The vendor had purchased the tickets.) She had already missed her meeting. She would have to stay an extra night … I’ll sum it up by saying I heard five hours of sighs.  

I curled up next to the window (as I like to do), read my book and occasionally took pictures out the window.

Here we have the crop circles of the plains. Which are fascinating to see from the sky.

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I read for awhile and then captured the Rocky-Moutain fly over.

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 I arrived at the San Francisco Airport at around 3:00 where Dawn and two of her children were waiting for me. Dawn (for those of you who are from CBC) is Ruth H.’s sister. We got my luggage to the car and headed north through the city, down curvy Lombard Street to the Bay.

 

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FUN FRIDAY – FIVE BABY SHOWER GAMES

110_03051. The Name Game – Write out the name of both the dad and mom of the baby. Guests see how many names they can find for the baby – formed from Dad and Mom’s names.

2. Write down the first two lines of several nursery rhymes. Guests must finish the rhymes.

3. Do a parent/child match game with Bible characters.

4. Place several  “somethings” around the room (like teddy bears). Guests must see how many they can find. Hide some that aren’t obvious.

5. Put baby “things” such as a rattle or pacifier each in a separate brown lunch bag. Guests must guess what’s in the bag by feeling the object through the bag.

MORE UNRULY KIDS AT YOUR HOUSE STUFF

dsc_0233I remember reading a hint in a parenting magazine when my kids were young. When kids come over to play (especially younger children who aren’t necessarily friends of your own children), allow your own children to put away toys that are particularly meaningful or breakable.  That way, the guests can freely play with anything that is out without your child being panicky.

On the other hand, as good hosts and hostesses, we need to put people before things and that’s also what we need to teach our kids. “Jenny, I’m allowing you to put away the art set that Grandma bought you for Christmas. I know you only use it for special pictures, but offer to allow the guests to color in your coloring book with the colored pencils.”  

Even as adults, we sometimes have those “moments.”  I remember showing a houseguest an old book I own which is autographed by a U.S. President. The person looked at it, then tossed it on the floor next to his chair – and next to his coffee.

Times like this I remind myself that it’s people not things (which I truly do believe).  So, we remained calm, but Ken quickly picked up the book “since I’m going in the other room anyhow, I can put it away.”

Another time, Ken had someone break a beak off of one of his duck carvings (because they wanted to see how strong it was).  They didn’t even react to the fact that they had broken something on which Ken had spent hours.

That’s when you need to put it in perspective. Things are temporary. People are important. Your grace toward someone can go along way toward that person responding to Christ.

That’s how we should live and that’s how we need to teach our kids to live, too.

By the way, Kristy’s comment on the last post is good. Do some garage sales this summer and purchase a supply of kids’ books and toys and put them in a corner where you can direct visiting children.

WHAT TO SAY WEDNESDAY – CAN I TELL THE KIDS TO STOP WHATEVER IT IS THEY’RE DOING?

dsc_0262Yes, I think so.

Of course, you need to do it kindly, but firmly.

“I’m sorry, I have some important things in that drawer/closet/under my bed and I don’t want to take the chance that you’ll mess them up/break them/tear them. I know you would feel sorry if something like that happened, so please don’t get into those things.”

And yes, that would challenge some kids to mess around even more. Tell them to stay out of the room if they don’t listen to you. Or designate a place where children can color or put a pre-planned DVD on TV. You aren’t being mean. You truly shouldn’t have kids rummaging through your tax returns or jumping on Aunt Matilda’s antique bed.

When you tell a child what you don’t want him to do, always add something that he can do. “You can’t jump on that bed. It’s very old and might break, but I do need some help serving cookies.”  Or, “Please don’t open the drawers of the desk, but over here I have a table with some coloring books and crayons.”

I know. Sometimes even all the suggestions in the world don’t work.

You could talk to the parents, but put the emphasis on not wanting the child to be hurt or to do damage, rather than the misbehavior. “Jane, I told Johnny I didn’t want him jumping on the guest room bed. That bed belonged to my Aunt Matilda and it’s very old. I would dread seeing Johnny get hurt.”  Or, “Jane, Johnny was going through some papers on my desk. Our accountant has those in a specific order, so I have asked Johnny to leave them alone.”

Even then you could have trouble …

Do what you can, but remember that the families are guests in your home and you making them welcome is what’s important.

 

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Sidenote about the day.

This is L’eiffel Bistrol and Creperie in South Barrington.

110_03152Where my wonderful department took me for my birthday.

The food was excellent.

I had a crepe with panchetta, spinach and mushrooms and cheese.

And creme brulee (which I have whenever I can).

I would highly recommend this restaurant.

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QUESTION – UNRULY KIDS

dsc_0041QUESTION – We like to have our church family over to our house and we love children, but sometimes the children don’t know how to behave – at all. We recently had some kids that touched the food and then put it back in the plate, ate a ton and grabbed entire handfuls of the cookies, carried multiple drinks through the house, putting one down and then getting another one., jumping on the beds, going through drawers, etc. What can we do?

ANSWER – I don’t have a definitive answer, because we’ve also been in this situation. (By the way, this picture isn’t where I live or anything, it’s just a random house.) The difficulty arises because sometimes when we invite the entire church family to the house, we are inviting some people who don’t often get invited out and they truly have never been taught how to be a polite guest or to make sure their children are polite guests.

I remember a lady (when I was a kid) who used to show up at my parents’ house every Wednesday about an hour before church started. My parents would welcome her, she would sit down in the living room and read the evening paper, ripping out any coupons she wanted. My mom never said to her, “Why not look at our paper and rip out coupons.”  She just did it.

Sometimes people see the pastor’s house as an extension of the church so that everything that belongs to the pastor belongs to them.

Once when Ken was my dad’s associate at Des Plaines, my brother was babysitting our kids. (We lived next to the church.) Roger was upstairs putting the kids to bed when he heard a noise downstairs. He hurried down and found a lady in my kitchen looking for a can opener. Seems that something was happening at church and they needed a can opener so decided to come over to our house, walk right in and get mine. Roger was a little stunned.

Here’s one idea – Recently I was at a gathering where about 40 people were invited, some of whom, the host and hostess didn’t know very well. They literally put yellow police tape across their stairs. Everyone got the hint that they weren’t supposed to go up the stairs, that was for sure. Actually this worked because it was funny AND got the point across.

Some more ideas tomorrow.

MONDAY MORNING MOTIVATOR – PHILIPPIANIZING MY LIFE AND STANDING FAST

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! (Philippians 4:1)dsc_0319

At work, we often talk about verbing words. That is, to take a noun and verb it (as I’m doing with the word verb in this sentence).

Two examples are journal (We often hear people make statements like, “I journal every day.”) Another word that can be used as a verb but is much disliked as a verb (seriously – even my dictionary says people detest it) is “impact.” “The chart impacted the results.”

Last week when I taught the Bible study, I verbed Philippians 4.  Not that any of the words I talked about weren’t verbs in the first place, but I emphasized how many great verbs there are in that chapter that should be part of our everyday lives.

When I talked, I was talking to myself as much as everyone else in the room because I needed the reminder as much as anyone. (Because, to be completely honest here, after I had finished writing down my notes for my lesson, I had a complete meltdown, forgetting everything I had just studied. Fortunately, I was by myself and only the Lord was aware of  my feelings and fortunately, He’s into extreme patience – but it’s interesting how quickly we can forget what we should do.)

I thought I’d go over the verbs in my MONDAY MORNING posts.

#1 STAND FIRM. We often talk about standing firm as in sticking up for what we believe in and know is correct, and that IS a vital aspect of standing firm.

But I think it can also mean staying on track with all the other verbs in the chapter (like rejoicing, guarding our minds, being content), etc. Paul began his instructions with the admonition to stand firm and then he continues by telling us all the ways we need to do so.

Ok, I wasn’t standing this week, I was driving, but I went through an experience where I certainly needed to stay on track.

On one of my myriad routes home from work, I go through a tiny town that is an interesting combination of old houses built in the 1800s and new million dollar horse farms. The town is quaint and the people living in the town are proud of their quaintness in the midst of the Home Depot-and-Wal-Mart bordered towns around them. To help you appreciate the quaintness, they have a 25 mile an hour speed limit on all their roads and that includes the main highway that goes through the middle  of their town.  Because not much crime happens in their quaintness, their policeman (or maybe they have two or three) don’t really have much to do but catch people who ignore the 25 mph. I have driven through there every day during a week and have seen a police with a speeding car each one of the days.

The thing is most drivers don’t mind when you slow down because anyone who drives through the town regularly knows the importance of following the speed limit.

But this week, the driver of the red sports car that zoomed up behind me obviously hadn’t gotten the message. He did not like my speed. He decided to lean on his horn and get so close that I’m sure he bumped my fender once. (Where are those ever-watching police when you need them?) I looked ahead and kept going at the same speed.

Oh, he was angry. Again he came alarmingly close and then decided to pull up next to me and see what he could do about running me off the road.

I simply kept driving, slow, steady and straight. I didn’t even look at him (which I’m sure angered him even more because I’m guessing he had some gestures he wanted to show me).

He then pulled in front of me with about an inch to spare and took off down the road. Amazingly he didn’t get caught and other than being a little shaken, I was ok.  (By the way, this experience had nothing to do with my car being scratched as I mentioned in my last post – it wasn’t a great week for my car.)

But the guy in the sports car reminded me of “standing firm.”  He wanted me to go over the speed limit and when I wouldn’t do that, he wanted me off the road altogether. I simply kept saying to myself: Slow and steady, straight ahead.

And sometimes in life we need to remember that,too.  When discouragement, discontent or some other nagging problem is in danger of pushing us off  the path, we need to remember to stand firm, stay on track and slowly, steadily move straight ahead within the boundaries God has set for us.  

(Oh, wait a minute, I’ve heard someone else say “Stay straight with the Lord.) 

I need to Philippianize my life and STAND FIRM.