I think yesterday’s post may have been the grossest thing I’ve ever written. I couldn’t wait to get something new up here to replace it.So this is Thursday’s post, even though technically it’s still Wednesday, and here’s the topic:We survived this year’s AWANA Grand Prix.This year, The Boy was not a big winner. Unlike last year, he received no trophy. No creative award. Just a blue participation ribbon.They give trophies to first, second, and third place. He missed it by no more than an inch in the semi-finals, when his “e-racer” car came in fourth.He was pretty brave. He didn’t break into tears like so many disappointed clubbers around us. He retrieved his e-racer car with the participation ribbon and headed back to us…slowly.As he came around a row of chairs, a boy leaped out of his chair, off his father’s lap, and got right up in The Boy’s face and shouted, “I beat you, Rocket Boy! I beat you!”The Boy looked at him, looked at us, looked down at the floor, and kept walking.”Hey!” the little boy continued, running in front of him to force The Boy to look him in the face. “I said I beat you!“We didn’t know how The Boy would respond.He just looked at him, shuffled past, and then, after a brief glance in our direction, trudged up the stairs to retrieve his book and bag.He didn’t yell back.He didn’t break down weeping.He just acknowledged with a look that he heard the taunt. And that was it.These are the times that try men’s souls…well, it’s not that big.But these are the times that test a boy’s manhood. These are moments that deepen our faith, as well.I thought of the proverb about overlooking an offense. I plan to read it to The Boy tomorrow at breakfast. I think he’ll be encouraged: A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11)
Archives for February 2008
Our household of six includes four females who wear their hair long.Both of our showers have drain covers that should catch the hair and prevent it from going down the drain, but some hair has inevitably slipped through. We’ve dealt with our share of clogged drains over the years, so we’ve been concerned about those renegade strands.Well, we now have a little trick to capture the lost hair, but it might seem a little gross to somebody who doesn’t like thinking about bathrooms and hair, and for that I apologize in advance.When we shampoo and condition, it’s normal for us to lose a few hairs in the process–having been through great hormonal flux through four pregnancies, I have lost a lot of hair over the years.Here’s the trick: as we run our fingers through our hair, we make an effort to hang onto the stray strands and then stick them on the wall of the shower–we just unwind the strands from our fingers and press them right onto the wall. They magically cling.Okay, so it’s not magic. It’s rudimentary science. The moisture of the hair, steam, and water itself is adequate to hold the lightweight hairs up there until we’re done showering.Anyway, when we’re done, we just swoosh our fingers along the shower wall to swirl together all the strands. They form a little wad of hair. After drying off, we just toss the wad in the trash can.Very few hairs escape.And no clogged shower drains.I suspect that the older two girls who have been taking extra-long showers have been undertaking creative, artistic ventures, forming little line drawings by positioning the hair on the white canvas of our shower tiles, but I’m not 100 percent sure of this, because the hairs are all in the trash by the time I can inspect.This hair-on-the-wall containment trick has worked for us. The Belgian Wonder is super-supportive, pleased to minimize potential plumbing issues.For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, hop on over to Rocks In My Dryer.Or, before heading back to Shannon, you can check out my own collection of odd and assorted WFMW ideas.
Well, hello there!Guess what? It’s that time again:
Monday FunDay is a carnival dedicated to swapping simple, amusing–maybe even silly–everyday ways you enjoy good, clean fun.Just post a story, idea, or explanation at your blog of how you and/or your family has livened up Mondays (or any day).Then link up via Mr. Linky below (if you don’t have a blog, simply explain your idea in the comments) and we’ll collect all the ideas in one place. Again, please remember: ideas must be squeaky-clean, family-friendly fun.Last week for Monday FunDay, Hen and Chicks posted some great photos of her son blowing bubbles while doing the dishes. What a fun fellow! He added some levity to a not-so-fun task.And that’s exactly the principle I had in mind to post this week for my own Monday FunDay–figuring out how to insert some fun into otherwise boring, dull, un-fun tasks.1. First, take a look at your long Monday to-do list (or make it now).2. Pinpoint the one task that makes you sigh the heaviest–the one that you dread or even avoid diving into.3. Think of something that would make it more fun:
Can you phone a friend, stick on a headset, and talk with her while completing the task?
Play beat the clock–time yourself and try to set a PR for the dreaded activity.
Like blowing detergent-bubbles while doing the dishes, try to find fun directly associated with the task at hand. For example, write a happy message and draw smiley faces in the dust before swiping it all away with Pledge and a soft cloth.
Reward yourself afterwards. If you finish sorting the papers stacked on your desk, let yourself write an e-mail to a friend. After you clear the kitchen counter, mop the tile, and vacuum the carpet, invite a friend over for coffee. Or…put the kettle on, pull out some Girl Scout cookies, and enjoy tea-for-one. It’s fun!
Borrow ideas from professional organizers on TV shows–if you need to declutter, insert a game. For example, if you have too many shoes and need to eliminate, have the kids set up a shoe-toss using a laundry basket and a representative shoe from each pair. Toss from a challenging distance. You get to keep the number of shoes that make it in the basket. Donate the rest. Personally? I need to declutter my bookshelves. Here’s how I’ve made it fun in the past and plan to again during our next vacation.
Now…what’s your fun for the day?
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
[credit: photos by Ann; flowers by God]
This link takes you to the Writer’s Almanac for the week of February 11.Monday’s poem that week stuck with me. Somebody that the poet cared about challenged him with this: “Who do you think you are?”After carefully reviewing the list of possibilities and concluding that he couldn’t identify a plausible possibility, the poet concludes that it was the first time he knew who, in fact, he wasn’t.I thought about this for a while. So much of my young life was spent trying to figure out who I was.Probably a lot of my adult life, as well.Who do you think you are?Recently, I thought about it relation to blogging.Who do you think you are?Like the poet, I carefully consider the list of possibilities…Pioneer Woman? Heavens, no. She’s got that little zing that I don’t have. And wow, I wish I could take photos like those, but I don’t have the equipment, know-how, or the livestock to pull it off.Boomama? Nope. Don’t have the comic timing, southern accent, or interest in college football.Rocks In My Dryer? I don’t have the energy to review all those products and manage all those giveaways. So, no, I’m not her, either.Holyexperience? Sigh. No, despite having written a book called The Contemplative Mom, I don’t write in that poetic, reflective, contemplative tone.FiddleDeeDee? I’m not in Florida, though I sure wish I were. Not only would I be warm–I might be lucky enough to be plagued by frogs and have some great material to write about! Yes, she’s got that magic comic timing, too, along with the ability to insert an italicized phrase that adds just the right punch.Who do I think I am?Sometimes I still wonder who I am, at least as a blogger.But I do think I have figured out who, in fact, I am not.If I may ask–not in a challenging, snippy way, but out of curiosity–who do you think you are?
The Boy came up to me just minutes ago and said, “I’m going to start praying about the girl I’m supposed to marry. My future wife. I’m going to start praying now for her, so that I’ll know her when I see her.”
I affirmed his plan. “I think that’s a great idea. That’s exactly the thing to do. If you start praying now, when you’re young, you’ll have prayed about her all those years when you finally meet her. That would be amazing. I’ll pray for her, too.”
He nodded. “I’ll ask God to show her to me. If He tells me to go this way…” (a step to the left) “then I’ll go this way, and if He tells me to go that way…” (a step to the right) “I’ll know to go that way.”
“That’s exactly the thing to do,” I said, thinking of it more abstractly, as the verse in Isaiah suggests (“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”).
“Because then,” he continued, taking a couple of steps forward by way of illustration, “if I’m walking along and God stops me right in front of a girl…”
He stopped abruptly and looked up with wide, earnest eyes. “Then I’ll know,” he said. “She’s the one.”
“That’s powerful,” I said.
He nodded and walked off to get his snowsuit on and play in the snow.
As I sat here thinking about it, I remembered a Wayne Watson song that came out back in the early ’90s, called “Somewhere in the World.”
Somewhere in the World
Somewhere in the world today
A little girl will go out to play
All dressed up in mama’s clothes
At least the way that I suppose it goes
Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She’ll be prayin’ from a tender heart
A simple prayer that’s a work of art
And I don’t even know her name
But I’m prayin’ for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby, wherever you are
Somewhere in the world out there
That little girl’s learnin’ how to care
She’s pickin’ up her mama’s charms
Or maybe, swingin’ ’round in her daddy’s arms
Somewhere in the world to be
Though the future’s not real clear to me
Theirs could be a tender love
Grounded in eternal love above
And I don’t even know her name
But I’m prayin’ for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart’
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby, wherever you are
I don’t know her name, but wherever she is in the world, a little girl should know that two grownups are praying that the Lord will write His name upon her heart…that she’ll hold onto Jesus.
And she should know that there’s a six-year-old Boy tromping around in the snow wearing purple boots and a blue snowsuit praying that at just the right time, the Lord will direct his steps and stop him directly in front of her.
So that he’ll know: She’s the one.
* * * * *
Watch on YouTube: Somewhere in the World-Wayne Watson
Our youngest is extremely verbal. He listens, remembers, and repeats. He thinks about things a lot. He asks questions and when we’re not expecting it, our own words will come back to us via his sweet, thoughtful, six-year-old voice. And when we state our intentions and commitments out loud, we’re sure to be held accountable:”But, Mom, didn’t you say you wanted to spend less so that you can save for another mosquito net?””Wait! We forgot to pray for the people of Bangladesh!””Are we going to support a child through Compassion International soon?””Have you read the psalms for today?””Here’s the Bible story book. We just read about Saul. What’s next?””It’s Saturday–didn’t you say you’d clip my fingernails every Saturday morning?”This can be a little annoying when I’m “caught,” when I haven’t followed through. But I think that’s the point of having an accountability partner:
to help me hold to the things I resolve to do;
or, to remind me to stop doing the things that I don’t want to do.
I realized that The Boy’s super-verbal personality is a gift. He can remind me to follow-through with things and be true to my word.Sometimes it happens naturally, because he listens to everything I say and simply asks out of curiosity if I’m doing what I said I’d be doing.Sometimes, however, I can be more intentional and actually ask him to bring it up. “I’m going to try to memorize this passage of Scripture. Can you ask me to repeat it to you later?”He agrees to it. And he does ask later.When he’s able to type, I’m thinking I can set him up with a website so that he can start his own accountability ministry.In the meantime, I get to benefit most of all. A simple thing he’s helped with lately is reminding me of my blog commitments:”It’s Sunday night, Mama–you need to write your Monday FunDay post!” or “It’s Tuesday. What are you going to write for Works For Me Wednesday?”So, when I need some accountability, I just ask my most verbal child for help. He may only be six years old, but it works for me.Before you go, feel free to browse my previously published WFMW posts, or return to Rocks In My Dryer for more great ideas.
I’d like to say happy Presidents’ Day to my fellow Americans.No matter what country you’re from, however, you’re invited to join us every Monday to read and post good, clean, everyday ideas for making the day more fun.Because “fun” is subjective, go ahead and write up what you think is fun and let us enjoy getting to know you better.Write up a post at your blog with a story, idea, or explanation of how you and/or your family has livened up Mondays (or any day), then link back (using Mr. Linky below), so that we can collect some great fun ideas in one place.If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your FunDay ideas in the comments. Ideas, as I already said, must be squeaky-clean, family-friendly fun.In keeping with the holiday, my Monday FunDay ideas have a presidential theme:QUIZZESThink you know your presidents? Take this quiz. It lets you guess until you get the right answer.Another Presidential trivia quiz (submit your answer, then use “back” to return to the questions).Here’s one from AOL. It presents quirky habits and unusual traits of our presidents.TOUR THE WHITE HOUSEThen take a video tour of the White House. Click on one of the rooms to watch. Sometimes the video simply uses a voiceover explaining the details. A few rooms have a special host walking us through. The host for the Oval Office? None other than President Bush himself!Fun!Click here to see previous Monday FunDay posts.
Seventeen years ago yesterday, I wore my hair in the same layered-and-permed style I maintained throughout the ’80s.My bridesmaids wore plum. I’m protecting their identities, so that they aren’t forever associated with those dresses.I didn’t want a train.And 17 years ago yesterday, I told The Belgian Wonder that I’d have him and hold him, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from that day forward, till death us do part, which it almost did ten years ago, when he had emergency heart surgery.We had this passage, from Philippians 2, read during the ceremony:If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.And then, to celebrate the multicultural life represented in our marriage, we had his youngest sister, one of the bridesmaids, read the same passage in French, from a translation called Parole Vivante (pardon the missing accents, s’il vous plait):Si donc, en tant que chretiens, vous attaches du prix a un appel donne dans l’esprit de Christ, si les encouragements et les conseils d’un frere qui vous aime ont quelque valeur et quelque force de persuasion pour vous, si, enfin, il existe entre nous une communion spirituelle vivante et tout ce que cela implique d’affection et de sympathie mutuelles, oui, si les mots de tendresse et de compassion ont pour vous un sens, comblez la mesure de ma joie en vivant ensemble en bonne entente: soyez un dans la pensee comme dans l’amour. Accordez vos sentiments et vos facons de voir. Aspirez au meme but. Travaillez comme si vous aviez un seul coeur, une seule ame, un seul esprit.N’agissez pas en vue de la satisfaction de vos desirs particuliers. Laissez tomber tout esprit de rivalite. Que ni la vanite, ni le desir de faire bonne impression ne commande vos actions. Que chacun considere son frere comme meilleur et plus important que lui-meme. Apprenez a reconnaitre la superiorite des autres. Ne pensez pas seulement a vos interets personnels ou a l’avantage que vous pouvez tirer des autres, desirez au contraire le bien de votre prochain et prenez ses progres a coeur.Ayez, pour tous, l’estime que l’on se doit en Christ et que votre attitude envers les autres procede de votre vie en lui. Prenez modele sur Jesus-Christ. Ayez en vous les pensees et les sentiments qui l’animaient jadis: Le Christ, des l’origine, Fut d’essence divine, Un avec le Dieu saint. Il avait sa nature, Sa gloire sans mesure, Ses attributs divins. Loin de mettre sa joie A trouver une proie Dans son egalite Avec le Dieu supreme, Il s’abaissa lui-meme, Avec humilite. Le Roi de tous les etres Ici-bas voulut naitre En simple serviteur. Esclave volontaire, Il a vecu sur terre Sans eclat, sans honneur. Homme parmi les hommes, Il fut ce que nous sommes, En tout semblable a nous. Humble et sans apparence, Dans son obeissance Il alla jusqu’au bout. Il humilia son ame Jusqu’a la mort infame D’un criminel en croix. Au trone de lumiere, Il fut, par Dieu son Pere, Eleve Roi des rois. A lui honneur supreme, Couronne, diademe, Et sceptre tout-puissant. Jesus, nom qui surpasse, Dans le temps et l’espace, Tous les noms existants. Devant Jesus le Maitre, Un jour devront paraitre Hommes, anges, demons. Dans les cieux, dans ce monde, Sous la terre et sous l’onde, Tous genoux flechiront. En Maitre, tous l’acclament, Toute bouche proclame: Jesus-Christ est Seigneur. A la gloire du Pere, Le ciel, l’enfer, la terre, Exaltent le vainqueur.If, in our marriage, we were like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose and did nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility considered each other and others better than ourselves…if we looked not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others, if our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus….We figured we could stick to those vows.Apart from Him, though, we can do nothing. We depend upon Him, even as we follow and obey Him.
Last night, I jumped in the van with my family to deliver our kids to AWANA.The Belgian Wonder walked them in, while I sat in the car pondering where we could go for cheap coffee. I was thinking about the tiny white cups of sample coffee at Trader Joe’s when I heard an unearthly howl. I remembered seeing some young people walking down the main road, just before we turned into the church. I thought maybe they were near the church now, making crazy noises just to draw attention to themselves, and didn’t really think much about it.Then I saw The Belgian Wonder step out of the church. He looked straight ahead, concerned. Puzzled. He quickened his step and headed straight ahead instead of turning down the sidewalk toward our van. Then I realized that the howling was a cry coming from the parking lot and jumped out of the car.A woman had slipped on the ice and was lying on her side, her arm bent around awkwardly to clutch her head. The Belgian Wonder and another man had come to her side to see if she needed help getting up, but she didn’t want to be moved.”Can you move your legs?” somebody asked.”I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m in a lot of pain. I don’t know.””Can you feel your feet?””Yes. I can feel them. Am I bleeding?” She pulled her hand away from her head, slowly pulling her arm down to look at it. Blood. “Blood! I’m bleeding, oh God help me, I’m bleeding!”I ran back to the car and got my cell phone. I came back, “Do you want us to call for an ambulance? Should we phone for help?”Nobody answered right away. “I’m going to phone,” I said. “Okay? Are you okay with that?”Somebody nodded that I should go ahead and phone. More people were gathering around her. Somebody brought a blanket and slipped it under her head. Someone brought another blanket and placed it over her. The Belgian Wonder started directing traffic away to another part of the lot.I called 911. I tried to explain what happened. As I was talking, somebody else slipped and fell, but they weren’t hurt.A woman in scrubs came out of the church–I guess she’s one of the moms–and leaned down and swept the hair from the lady’s eyes.”Are you a nurse?” I asked.She said, “Believe it or not, I’m an EMT.” She spoke softly to the woman. More blankets were set gently on her. We phoned her husband, and the EMT held the phone to her ear while she spoke to him.The fire truck came. The Belgian Wonder waved his arms in the air and directed them to the site of the accident. One of the firemen hopped out and skidded across the sheet of ice and almost fell. “Careful!” he called to the next one, but the next one slipped, too. None was hurt. “Well,” they laughed, moving more gingerly, “now we know how it happened!”The ambulance came, and the EMTs both slid a bit as they moved toward us.We called out to everybody who was coming and going with their kids to watch out for the ice. Be careful! Move slowly! People are falling!The husband showed up. The emergency workers wheeled her to the ambulance.I don’t know what happened after that.The Belgian Wonder and I stood for a while, watching the shadows of the workers move across the window of the ambulance as they worked.We don’t know the family. We didn’t even know the woman until that night, and we only knew her as “Mindy,” the woman who lay on the ice-coated asphalt, too hurt and too scared to move.We stood in the bitter cold. My pants were too thin for that temperature, but I thought I was going to be sitting and having coffee somewhere, or shopping for Jasmine rice at Trader Joe’s and mooching off their samples. I didn’t dress for an emergency. We didn’t say much, The Belgian Wonder and I, as we stood there. My teeth were chattering so dramatically, I looked like I was faking it. Eventually he nodded and gestured toward the car. We leaned against each other, arm-in-arm, and walked slowly, knees bent, alert to each place where our feet landed, each step.
I’m posting twice today.The first one links to Monday FunDay’s folding fun, as I participated in today’s WFMW. But I’m compelled to post a second time, tying in once again with the Compassion International bloggers’ plea for us to help. Boomama wrote about the personal impact the trip is having on her. And I appreciated Anne’s call to action.Following the Uganda bloggers has taken me right back to an ongoing, unresolved, personal struggle:I want to do more….What more can I do?What can our whole family do?Could we save up money and support another child?How many mosquito nets can we buy?How can we help with the Imuhira village in Burundi that our Belgian friends and family are helping to build from scratch?Yesterday I was reminded that it doesn’t necessarily take much to make a difference…and several small things can add up to make a big difference.Like the video in my post pointed out, if I forgo two Starbucks coffees this week, I can direct that money toward malaria prevention–about two coffees add up to one mosquito net.If we would eat in one night a month that we might otherwise eat out (the video cited $35), we could support a child with Compassion International. I thought about this week’s grocery bill and the extra “luxury” items we bought…The unnecessary errands that use up gasoline…The ideas for how I could save go on and on.And then we can inspire the kids, too, if we have a little extra to work with. In the comments yesterday, Julia at Hooked On Houses told about how she had her kids do simple household tasks to earn money for an animal that supports a family or community through heifer.org (flock of geese=$20; honeybees=$30; or pay for a share in the gift of a water buffalo=$25. To give an entire water buffalo=$250, which would be fun to save for, because, as we know, everybody needs a water buffalo….). Samaritan’s Purse has a similar catalog at Christmas.Talking together as a family after dinner last night, I told the kids how much I struggle. To help them try to understand how I’m feeling, I told them a little bit about “Schindler’s List” and described the closing scene…and Schindler’s slow realization that he could have done more…”I could have gotten more. If I just got more money…I threw away so much money, you have no idea…the car, it would have been ten people….this pin…two people…” Just retelling it, just typing it out here, is having the same effect.I know it was the Holocaust, which isn’t exactly the same thing…but the principles, the realization that we could do more, I keep thinking about it….I keep thinking I could do more….If you have time, watch it. It’s under 10 minutes long. If you only have four minutes, forward to 5:45 and watch it to the end.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMLpET9Ddcc]The ring’s inscription, he’s told, is in Hebrew:”Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
On Monday, I shared two fun ideas that involve paper folding for my Monday FunDay themed post. It was so much fun, I decided to share it again for this week’s Works For Me Wednesday.The kids recently learned to fold paper hats and also “fun catchers,” which is my recently coined renaming of those old “cootie catchers” that I used to make in grade school.Here are two photos to whet your appetite. First, the hat:And then, the “Fun Catcher” (a.k.a., “cootie catcher” or even “fortune teller”):For the actual instructions and some creative variations, hop over to my Monday FunDay. Pop straight over to WFMW from there, or come back here, where you can also conveniently link back to Works For Me Wednesday!Or, if you’re curious, you can browse my archives for more random Ann Kroeker Works For Me Wednesday ideas.(If you didn’t catch it the first time around, several people enjoyed my list of 10 Ways to Class Up One’s Act a Notch)
In an attempt to complement the great work that Sophie (Boomama) and Shannon (Rocks In My Dryer) are called to at this very moment in Africa, I wanted to point people to a website that my friend Susan posted in her blog, Good Grief:globalrichlist.comAfter selecting dollars, pounds, yen, can, or euro, type in your annual income. Then click on “Show me the money” and you’ll see how rich you are compared to the rest of the world. Take a minute to read the little paragraph under the second heading…a little goes a long way.I typed in a variety of annual incomes, just to see how where they would fall on the continuum. I already pretty much knew where our family’s income would put us. What was even more interesting was to experiment and see what it took to bring it down. Play around and see what you learn.It’s just a little tool to get some perspective.Speaking of perspective, if you haven’t yet, be sure to read Shannon’s and Sophie’s descriptions of their first day in Uganda.Also, if you aren’t regular readers of those two bloggers, read this personal reflection on Shaun Groves’ blog that they pointed to a few days ago. He’s on the same Compassion International team as our mama-bloggers and posted it just before they left.And then, to top it off, if you haven’t yet watched this video, take a gander.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtOF8c_lFFw]As the globalrichlist website and video point out, it doesn’t take much to make a big difference.I got a little carried away in the comment section at Flourishing Mother after I read her post about Small Things with Great Love. This is my extremely long response:
And you know, I got to thinking about the thoughts you’ve presented through the story, and I recalled something a friend of mine told me. She described a cartoon–she didn’t have it to show me–that showed a person standing in front of what appeared to be ten thousand other people. The person in the foreground was saying, “But I’m just one person. What difference could I possibly make?” But then, stretching out behind her, the same thought balloon was popping up over the heads of all those thousands of other people.The point being, of course, that if enough of us went ahead and faithfully did one, small thing, it truly would add up and make a difference.Mother Teresa is an excellent example of that. She was faithful to get off the train and obey the voice or vision that came to her from God to help the one homeless person slumped in the sidewalk. She cleaned him up and helped relieve his suffering and die with dignity. It was the beginning of the Sisters of Charity that has stretched around the globe. One day, one woman helped one man. Even if it *didn’t* add up, that is a very good thing.Even those piggy bank pennies add up. The original idea behind the March of Dimes was to collect dimes–that’s small–but those dimes really added up!And the joy on your girls’ faces as they worked for Jesus will add up in their hearts toward their future.Thanks for the inspiration. What one, small thing shall I do today? Hm…..
My two younger kids are participating in a church program to raise money for mosquito nets for kids in Bangladesh. The nets are only $6 each, and by sleeping under them, the children (not only in Bangladesh, but in countries around the world) greatly reduce their exposure to malaria. A six dollar mosquito net can save lives.My kids actually have some white mosquito-like netting that we draped over their beds, princess-like. It’s nothing more than a decorative touch for us and cost way more than six dollars.Sometimes we just need perspective.We don’t have to tear down the netting in our kids’ rooms. But we can look at them each night, and as we tuck our kids into bed, we can try not to forget……one small thing….
** Works For Me Wednesday visitors get in on the fun by reading below. Find your way back to “Don’t Try This at Home” here. **It’s Monday. Again. Strange how it comes around with such amazing regularity…Are you feeling a little down? A little dreary? A little blue?
Join us every Monday and find out how to make it a Fun Day–we can encourage each other with some good, clean, simple, everyday fun.Write up a post at your blog with a story, idea, or explanation of how you and/or your family has livened up Mondays (or any day), then link back (using Mr. Linky below), so that we can collect some great fun ideas in one place. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your FunDay ideas in the comments. Ideas, by the way, must be squeaky-clean, family-friendly fun.Here’s what we did last week. I think the fun started on Tuesday and lasted all week long.One of my daughters was reading a Curious George collection and came across the story where he folds a bunch of paper hats and boats with the newspapers he was supposed to deliver–naughty monkey! She was inspired. Digging out newspapers from the recycling stack, she proceeded to fold numerous hats and wore them all around town. Now let me tell you, that’s fun. People just loved seeing a sweet girl confidently wearing an oversized paper hat! She brought smiles everywhere she went.
Well, before long, all the kids got into the act. They followed the instructions in the Curious George book and made hat after hat. For a few minutes, they were Robin Hood, and other times they were navy admirals. The main folder modeled one of her hats, sliding it around this way and that. I suggested she might resemble Napoleon, and she struck a pose something like this.So all that folding reminded me of a recent conversation with some moms about “cootie catchers.” Remember those? We used to fold and design those all the time in school when I was a kid.My kids hadn’t seen them, so we looked for folding instructions online. This site explains how to fold them and gives ideas for silly “fortunes” that you can write under the flaps. In spite of all the laughter generated by those goofy predictions (“You will eat nothing but corndogs for a year” or, “You will have all the pets you ever wanted”), I preferred encouraged conversation starters or story-starters under the flaps, instead. Here are eight conversation starters you can use if you and your kids want to try folding them–I think that’s the right number for a “conversation catcher”:
Describe your perfect day.
Name three places you hope to visit one day.
Tell about an embarrassing moment.
What are your top three favorite foods?
How would you like to change the world?
What’s your favorite day of the week…and why?
Who’s your hero…and why?
Would you ever go skydiving? Why or why not?
You could do anything with them. A Fun Day idea would be to write out crazy things to do:
Sing a few lines from your favorite song.
Flip on the radio and dance like a robot.
Hold your breath for as long as you can.
Spin around 7 times and then try to walk a straight line.
You get the idea.A fun side benefit? Early readers get practice spelling if you use colors or shapes in your designs. If they are holding the “Fun Catcher” (I just renamed it), and colored dots are on the outside, they have to spell the color as part of the process. “G-R-E-E-N.” Draw shapes and they have to spell those. “C-I-R-C-L-E.” You could draw anything you’d like them to practice spelling on those outside flaps. “D-O-G” or “H-O-U-S-E.”Here’s a simple sample of one of the dozens that brought a lot of hilarity to our household.Instructions for Mr. Linky:1. After you’ve typed up your Monday FunDay edition for this week and posted it at your blog, come back here and click on Mr. Linky to add your link.2. A window will prompt you to type in your name. Type in your name or blog name, and in parenthesis, include a two- or three-word “teaser” for your idea. Something like this:Ann K (folding fun)3. Below that is a spot for you to paste in the url of your post. Copy the url for your own Monday FunDay idea and paste it in (including the http:// part of it).That’s it! It should be saved by Mr. Linky and appear back at this post. To see what others have posted, click on Mr. Linky and pay a visit to the fun bloggers who have joined in!Next time your coworkers or neighbors complain about how depressing Mondays are, send them here, to discover ways that they can make their Mondays…funner.It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how!