Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Value of a Wedge

We have a saying in our family, "Don't be a wedge."
Granted, it's said mostly to one child.
He has a gift for provoking, dividing us in anger or frustration.
One day in school, we studied the wedge as a tool. I explained to the kids that a family is like a piece of wood. We have cracks, but we're a solid unit. When one child acts as a wedge in a family, they stick in the crack, and their actions and words hammer and split apart something that was whole.
"Don't be a wedge."

We walk this Christian walk with others and we learn from each other. We've been close to a family for years, and this family also harbors a wedge. And as their wedge got older, the consequences, the frustration, the crack in the family veneer, deepened. But what dawned on me the other day is this family is not falling apart. God is using this child to provoke things deep within themselves, things that never would have come to light if it hadn't been for the struggles with this child. And the way they handle the situation brings glory to God and brings others closer to God.
And their child, with wedge tendencies, is a tool used by God to bring light into dark places.

Jesus was a wedge. Everywhere he went He caused division. Because God didn't care about what people looked like on the outside. God cared about their hearts. God is in the business of cracking people wide open, healing, and binding up again. Jesus blatantly stated that He came to divide, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division....They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter..." * You get the idea.
To God, no whole is worth more than the Spiritual whole.
He knows that we can put up a good facade while we put our faith in a whole lot of other things, but by His Grace, He cracks the facade asunder, shows the rotten core of our faith, exposes the heart.
Jesus brings light into dark places.

The family who's wounds are bound by God, who's fissures and cracks prompt repentance, confession, change and growth, will be used by God.

We have a wedge, and we have to acknowledge that for some reason, God wanted us to have him. We need him in our family.
Just because something is whole, doesn't mean it's healthy.
The core of our family could be rotting, but as long as we're keeping it together on the outside, we resist help. Jesus refers to this as "whitewashed tombs."*
So my thinking evolves. And I thank God that the son who provokes has a purpose. And I pray that I stop resisting the wedge and let it do it's God-given work in our lives. Even when that's painful. Even when it cracks the veneer. Because I want light more than I want a glossy exterior.
And I thank God for friends who let me see into their crevasses and who say in the dark places, "God is good to allow this."
Because He is.

I need to alter the family saying,
because any tool in the hand of God can wield good.

*Luke 12:51-53 NIV
*Matt. 23:27 NIV

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Life We Eat or This Food We Live

I used to eat ice cream for breakfast.
Mint chocolate chip or
Peanut butter chocolate in a pinch.

I didn't just have a sweet tooth, but a whole sweet mouth.
I ate what I wanted and didn't really care what was in it, as long as it was yummy.

I could make cookies by myself without a recipe by the time I was 7.
When Avonlea was 7 she was well on her way to such heights of accomplishment, when it hit.
Gluten. Dairy. Eggs. Sugar.

Avonlea sat in the doctor's office and described her allergic reactions.
She kept saying, "But that's not allergies because my Daddy does it, too."
And as I sat there and her words worked their way through my brain I realized what I later told her in the car, "Life as we know it is over."

Dave did indeed have the same allergies as she did. So did Grant. And Rowan. Rosy's reaction to egg produced an emergency room visit.

To make a long story short, I no longer eat ice cream for breakfast.
We now eat very differently and I've come to terms with it all.
Soaking grains can be fun. Really.
Raw milk is yummy and the cream on top can be made into ice cream. With honey.

I know how this all has affected me but sometimes I forget that my children also have been affected by these limitations and food awareness.
And then I'm reminded.

Dave took Grant hunting this month. Dave had grabbed a bunch of food at the store before they left. He later told me that Grant refused to eat the canned chili that he made for dinner. Why? Grant read the label, spotted "Trans fat" in the nutritional information, and wanted nothing to do with it. He wouldn't eat it. Dave scoffed at him, ate it, and was later sick. Grant had a moment of "I told you so."

So my ten year old checks labels and won't eat it if it's not healthy...it gets worse.

Monday night we watched Sound of Music as a family. At the opening of the film it is announced that the movie is modified to fit the screen.
Avonlea turned to me gaping, "They modified the movie!" Yes my daughter knows about genetically modified foods, which we avoid at all costs, and thought that they somehow did something unhealthy to the movie. I had to assure that it was perfectly safe to watch.
I was still reeling from this when the part in the movie comes where the kids and Maria buy fruit at the stand and take it up into the mountains to have a picnic. During this charming scene, where the boys are playing ball and the girls are lounging while they eat their fruit, Rosy turned to me in consternation and said, "They didn't wash that fruit!"
I explained lamely that they probably did but just didn't show it and I toyed with the idea of explaining to her that they probably didn't use harmful pesticides at that time, but I let it pass.

I think I'm going to go make some ice cream for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Birthday Babies, Fairyland, and Pigs

Today is my mother's birthday.
Happy Happy Birthday Ma Glo!
This morning at 5am she got a phone call.
There was a birthday present on the way....
Another call confirmed it's arrival....
Mom got a great-granddaughter for her birthday!
My sister's daughter had her baby two weeks early!

Rowan and Rose spent the entire day making presents for Ma Glo.
I commented at one point that life would be much easier for me if she had a birthday every week.
Everyone was so occupied.

She finally opened Rowan and Rose's gifts after dinner.
They gave her lavender in a bunch (picked from her garden), a handmade placemat, a crown and necklace made from paper (see above), and Rowan gave her $5 (see below).

In other news, three of my children have begun taking regular trips to fairyland.
Avonlea made up the game in the basement, I thought it sounded charming.
I came down and saw this....

Apparently, only girls can get into fairyland and so Rowan needed a disguise.
I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS, even though it gave me a very needed laugh.
Rowan is henceforth banned from fairyland unless they can accept him as he is, masculine.
I'm thinking these pictures will one day be worth a whole lot of money.
I'm expecting a little more than $5 in my birthday card.

Rowan spent the night at Ma Glo's house last weekend. He came up in the morning, with his holster and gun over one shoulder and a metal bucket of puppy food in one hand. "Well," he said, "I didn't get any sleep last night. Ma Glo snored SO loud."
I had warned him. "Well Rowan, I told you..."
He interrupted, "No Mom, I'm not complaining, I loved it!"
Later when Ma Glo apologized for the nocturnal chorus he re-emphasized his delight, "Oh it was fine Ma Glo. I loved it. It was like sleeping with a pig."

I think maybe Ma Glo should have gotten more than $5 in her card, too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I Hesitate to Leave the House

I have an incredible husband.

Contrary to my first opinion of him, he is very creative.

Almost...dare I say it....artistic.
He took this picture.

Need I say more?

He calls rugs, "floor blankets".
He is amazing at mixing cliches and says things like:
"We'll cross that bridge when we burn it."
He unconsciously created an incredible mental image when he grafted "You're trying to get my goat" and "Get off my back" into,
"Get off my goat."

He melded "Don't boast" and "Don't toot your own horn" when he told Grant,
"Don't boast your toot."
Which being a male, also was applicable.

So, I am used to these kind of things.
I know, that if I send him out for ice cream, he is very likely to come home with 19 half gallons.
This my friends, is the honest truth, I am not exaggerating,
He is just rather incredible.

because of this.....
I always hesitate just a little to leave home.
NOT because I don't trust him....
but because of that crazy creative streak.

I came home from harp last night pleased to see that the younger kids had been bathed.
I commented on their wet hair and Rowan replied,
"Yeah, Dad let us take a bath with Gypsy! He took pictures!"
This was a blow.
It never crossed my mind that Dave might be tempted to bathe children and puppy together.
I turned on the camera with trepidation.
It was all too true. There was Rowan in a washrag loincloth and his puppy. In the bathtub.
Dave told me the loincloth was not as much for modesty as to protect the goods from a hungry pup.   
When I questioned him on the wisdom of this arrangement, he brushed it off with a,
"Well I needed to do a flea shampoo...."
I walked away.

Really between my Jewish Mother and my Creative Husband,

I feel normal.


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