Parenting

On the Way to Meet Isaac

Isaac

 

The full moon called you

You answered and came to us

Leaving the warm secure

for the adventure of life and love

We are so glad you are here

No one like you has ever been

or ever will be

Unique beautiful creation

You

I love how I can see both your parents

in your beautiful face

I cannot wait

to hold you

breathe in your fresh scent

straight from heaven

 

© 2015 Julie Clark

 

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Categories: beauty, borderlands, Life, Love, Parenting, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Family Gatherings

Our 1,750 square foot home did not feel very big when we gathered as a small clan for an extended time in mid wet winter.  There were a few days when 9 of us were together.  I am grateful for dear friends who let us use their “cabin”, which was bigger than our house, for those few days. Mix in a small dog with a toddler to liven things up and you can imagine the chaos at times. On the whole the 1,750 square feet were big enough, everyone had a bed or at least a mattress, enough bathrooms to share and room to cook in the kitchen to keep all of the above fed.

Compared to some parts of the world where we have traversed, our square footage is enormous. Many families in Hong Kong live in very small flats where gathering as a clan takes creativity. When we lived there, hospitality was often shared in a favorite restaurant. We were grateful for the rare opportunities to visit friends in their homes.  The refugees (boat people), who were our students, had one tier of a double sized bunk bed to call home. Yet, they still practiced hospitality and invited us to sit on low plastic stools to share a meal. Our Central Asian friends don’t worry about tables and chairs, they sit on colorful mats on the floor with a tablecloth spread out on the carpet for piles of food to share.  That way more people can squeeze into a room. Later they spread those same mats and more for sleeping.

I have been thinking this morning about how good it was to gather as a growing family.  It’s good to move our stuff and make room for each other. Our bonds were strengthened with each other. Our grandson will not remember the details of this visit in his long-term memory, but I believe he bonded with each of us in a special way that will continue through his life.  I’m smiling as I think of him singing “Teo, Teo, Teo”, (Uncle in Spanish) as he headed upstairs looking for his very fun Uncle. Or the report from his Mama that he woke up saying “Nana” a morning or two while he was here.

Another way it was good, was to see where love still needs to grow.  We don’t always know unless we are in a situation where it is challenged.  Say, tired and in need of a shower and both of the showers are in use.  Or, not quite enough of that fresh french pressed coffee to go around.  Or, whose on the dish duty, not me again? Or just trying to figure out what to do together. Things like that can help us see where our attitudes need adjusting.  If we live isolated lives we never really know where we need to grow. When the children were young and we all lived together,  there were daily lessons to be learned by all of us. Now I need my family to keep showing up for visits to keep that process going in my life. It’s not just knowing where I need to grow that is important, but also turning those needs into prayers and inviting the help of Heaven to bring about change on earth, in me.

I am tired and need to put my house back together again.  I need to get back into my regular schedule of writing and meeting with people, but above all I am so grateful for the sacrifices my kids and their spouses made to come home, travel from far away for the holidays.

Categories: Hospitality, Life, Love, Marriage and Family, Parenting, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Advent: Musings of a Mother

He’s a puzzle, a mystery, a riddle

This person I know so well yet not at all

I only see a part not the whole

I can’t get inside his head, his heart

his skin for that matter

I don’t know why he does this or that

Says it that way instead of this way

I admit I am perplexed and mystified

I wonder at times if his mind is overloaded

Some what imbalanced

Yet, he is the one the angel

called me to bear

The one we have been waiting for

I know

I said yes, and I did what I was asked

I was not ashamed

I knew where he came from

But what kind of deliverer will he be?

How is he going to save us from our enemies?

He is so gentle and kind

This babe I once wrapped in rags

Where were the angels when I writhed in pain?

I heard later they were off singing to some shepherds

who came in awe to see him

I will continue my daily watch

Pack up and move with him

He is so weary and spent

He may need me again

Before this day is through

© 2013 Julie Clark

Categories: Advent, Faith, God, Parenting, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother Guilt

Let me go here once in a while

Not often or too long

Only we mothers know

What we could have been

Had we been whole

What we missed

When we weren’t there

Spoke too soon

Or not enough

Over protected

Or neglected

Too harsh

Too lax

Too busy

Too tired

We know

So let us alone

To grieve for a while

I promise

I won’t stay too long

Or I might drown

I won’t medicate it

Numb it or

Meditate it away

Instead it’s good

To face it

Then super grace it

With God’s love

Move on

There are more

Children, teens or

Young adults

To love and care for

If not my own

Then another mother’s

We need each other

We mothers

We don’t have enough

Of all we need

For this job

© 2013 Julie Clark

Categories: Love, Parenting, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

For All My Girls

Cause a raucous

Cause a stir

Stand up and let your voice be heard

No more low maintenance girls here!

 

Cause some drama

Shake us up

You have every right to be heard

No more low maintenance girls here!

 

Your thoughts are important

Your feelings count

Stand up tall and straight

Your gifts are needed

The world cannot wait

You too bear the image of God

Not just your brother or your mate

 

Brothers hear this cry:

“When you squish me

You are less

Than you are meant to be!”

 

© 2013 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Faith, God, Life, Parenting, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Disciple or Discipline?

Recently I read a blog that took an excerpt from the book Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting by Scott Turansky, D.Min. and Joanne Miller, R.N., B.S.N. The passage compared running to disciplining children. The writers emphasize the primary goal of parenting to be teaching children to obey.  This doesn’t sit right with me, even though at one time in my young parenting I might have agreed with them.  They refer back to the Biblical 5th commandment of “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God will give you.” (Exodus 20:12) The Apostle Paul also writes  “Children obey your parents”.  He also speaks to fathers and says:  “Do not exasperate your children.”  I propose that when we make obedience our goal in raising children we can very easily exasperate them, and even wound them, which would lead to all sorts of trouble for these children as well as trouble in our relationship with them.

If we look to the founder of our faith, Jesus, whose example Christians are meant to follow, I believe the goal of our parenting is love.  We are to teach and train our children to receive love and give love. Jesus emphasizes the two greatest commandments in which we are instructed to love God, others and ourselves. (Matthew 22:38-40) Jesus’ example in the gospels of receiving and blessing children, even rebuking his disciples when they harshly tried to keep them away from him, is the one I want to follow.  He delighted in them, blessed them and affirmed them.  He even honored them by teaching his disciples to become like them.  Jesus also taught us that if we love him, we will obey him.  So obedience flows from a heart full of love.  When I know him and love him, of course I want to please him and do what he asks of me.  I want to make his heart glad, put a smile on his face and make him proud of me.

As a Pastor, Healing Prayer Counselor and Parent Coach I have seen too many children and adults who have been wounded by this kind of harsh obedience orientated parenting, my own children included.  (Thank God they have forgiven me!) Instead I propose that we let love be our goal.  I am not saying this is easy or promoting a wishy-washy kind of permissive parenting where anything goes.  I am promoting engaged, creative parenting where we are committed to disciple our children, rather than merely discipline them.  As we teach and train with the long-term goal of raising loving children, they will become loving adults who respond to God’s love as well as love themselves and those around them.

Categories: Faith, God, Love, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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