Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's in the Translation

Well, here we are at our 200th post! I feel like I should ring a big bell or set off some hefty fireworks (Fourth of July is right around the corner). 200 posts. I love to write and this is a perfect forum to feed my random stream of consciousness. Though, lately finding the time to put into words all the many lifes' lessons I desire to share has become a task. So, I am committing myself to writing at least twice a week (more if the opportunity arises:) AND I am seeking to get back to reading others' blogs again. I miss y'all. I miss seeing the lovely faces of your children, trying new recipes, seeing the newest paint chips and hiding in my heart the treasures of God's word that you share so eloquently and diligently.

***In honor of writing and sharing, I have chosen to center this entire post around the translation of a message and am hosting my very first giveaway (details below!)***

A few weeks ago, when Hannah and my mother were spending a lot of quality time together, Hannah spat out a sentence undistingusihable to my mother but very clear to Miss Thing and her attitude. My mother gave her a look that cried out, "HUH?", to which Hannah again responded with the same verbage she had previously used, and still, that one word was eluding my sweet mother. "Yook, Nan I see da vewwy cute buuuuuud." Bud, bead, bug, bulb, bird, bag...any of them could have been the one and quite honestly my mother wasn't seeing any of those items. Hannah's frustration mounted and my mother sheepishly requested her to somehow try again. So, Hannah in the infinite wisdom of a two year old took my mother's face in her hands and very, very sternly said, "TWEET, TWEET, TWEET." Ahhh, bird.

I have to admit, this is very indicative of Hannah's personality. When she cannot get us to understand, she finds an alternative route to get to the same place. But, it got me to thinking about communication in general. My own marriage, in fact, many days needs a communication tune-up...I think of the desperate need for Rob and I to not just share information, but to truly understand one another. We recently attended a video marriage conference entitled, "Love and Respect" hosted by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah.

I could write for hours on the principles that Dr. Eggerichs presents and the incredibly funny way he presents them. Yes, you do walk away feeling you can call him by his first name and I felt every ounce of passion he has for helping couples to literally love and respect one another. My only advice, if you can do this series, go to see them, have a book they have penned, do it. Live it. It has been life changing for us. My first bloggy giveaway will be

The book and cd set of Motivating Your Man to Love God's Way!! Just leave a comment and for every comment left, you will have a chance to win the 2 book and cd series. One of the ladybugs will choose a winner July 15

Our generation should be some of the best communicators, constantly plugged in and forever clicking away on blackberries and mini laptops. I must admit though, with all of this technology and immediate gratification, some things may be getting lost in the translation. Just maybe, I think, it may have been our parents' generation that had better information sharing methods. My parents have always had a pretty consistent manner of communicating with one another. There were many years my father travelled extensively for work and they had to have a system. However, it is important to note, when my father was very young and in the service, he worked on airplanes. Very NOISY airplanes. So, he is virtually deaf in one ear. Now, I am no expert, but I would venture a guess that the other ear is not so hot either :) This little tidbit has wreaked havoc on my dear old dad for years. Why does he not get a hearing aid, you ask? Well, we are still scratching our heads about that.

At any rate, many things have been lost in the translation with my dad, orders in restaurants, questions from his students, the grandchildren speaking to him. But, make no mistake, my father is a good willed and fine man. He has more integrity in his little toe than most men acquire in a lifetime. As far as his faith and his ability to share his love with us, that has certainly never slipped from our radar. But, the following encounter has rendered me hysterical numerous times over the years.

I was in college at the time. I still lived at home. My mother worked at a local department store and my father picked her up after her shift on the weekends. That Saturday night, my dad asked if I wanted to ride over with him. Sure. It was very late and my mother got into the car. She innocently asked him a simple question,
"Did you kill the wasps?" (A wasp's nest was overtaking a tree in our side yard) to which he replied,
"Yeah, yeah, I did a load of white." My mother chuckled and I all out lost it.
She clarified for him, "No, no the bugs, did you get the bugs?" Still, the ears were not with him,
"Rugs, why would I wash the rugs?" We laughed until we cried. I know it is one of those moments you had to have been there to understand, however almost twenty years later, we still have those moments.

Consequently, my dad had sprayed the wasp's nest in addition to the other tasks he performed that day. But, I always find it noteworthy it takes so little to misunderstand the intentions of those around us. Dr. Eggerichs pointed out in our marriage encounter that people are generally good-willed, most of those around us are good willed people. My father was certainly good-willed that day, however his ears failed him. So, how often is our translation of a conversation vastly different than how the other person interpreted it? It amazes me how one single glance can speak volumes, while a fifteen minute dissertation to my children on loving one another can result in two defiant mini-me's casting blame from themselves and to each other, just wanting to "win". After all, they are incredibly good willed people, right? Right.

It's all in the translation. As I deeper study the Bible, I am fascinated by the translations of the written word of God. It becomes abundantly clear that there is very little wiggle room in translating the hard and fast facts presented in the ultimate book of all books. Yet, we attend bible studies and many times we take away different things, perhaps it meets us where we are in that moment. There is one verse that speaks to me when I may be sunken in my human spirit. There are those moments I misunderstand, when my heart is hardened or angry. I try to find a place that will renew my good-willed-ness :)

"I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

It is simple, no translation needed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mama Drama

Drama. I feel like I have heard that word so much lately. I am self admittedly a drama-phobe. It goes along nicely with my fear of germs and my fear of snakes. I am fully aware of God's assurances about fear, yet amazingly, my human self still becomes a bit unkept when in the presence of these three issues.

These past six weeks I was blessed to take a long term sub position with Emily's school. I was assigned to a wonderful kindergarten class. I fell head over heels in love with twenty beautiful children. I honed skills I have not used in several years and I saw a fair share of drama over those weeks. Personally and professionally. The teacher, who was attending to her husband's medical issues at home was in and out of the classroom to tie up loose ends. She happened to mention drama and I advised somewhat in jest, "I don't do drama."

In all truthfulness, whether we like or not some amount of drama will likely enter our bubbles at some point. We both knew I was not mocking her current situation, quite the opposite, I was encouraging her and offering any and every support I could. The reality is drama happens. Sometimes it is the very essence of a certain relationship, sometimes it comes in the form of health-related curveballs that throw us into trenches we would rather not visit, sometimes it is the necessary evil when we choose to abandon what we know is right. Whatever drama enters our lives, my prayer is that we gain something significant from the experience, that we grow from the trial and broaden our scope.

I happened to catch award -winning drama, "Good Will Hunting" on tv a few days ago. I was ironing and used the tv as a companion while Rowenta worked her special brand of magic. I first saw this movie in the theater. As a psychology buff, I envisioned sitting rapt with attention as the drama played out on the screen. That was not to be...I was so disgusted with the language in this movie that I could not remotely enjoy it. I saw the dilemma of the young man pushing a broom for MIT when he should have been sitting in the classes himself. I absolutely understood the baggage he carried from years of abuse and abandonment, yet I could not get past the blatent disregard for his character; to make him sound so incredibly idiotic with language that undermined the true gifts this young man had been blessed with. In my twenties, I was judgemental, a bit fundamental and when I saw this movie, I was still married for the first time, with very little experience in drama.

When I viewed this movie last week, I am still fundamental, though less judgemental than I used to be. I was able to clearly view the movie without the added annoyance of bad was on a regular station and all of the vulgarity had been removed. But, this time, it was not the movie that had changed, I am different. I am twelve years older and hopefully wiser. I have seen more drama than I care to mention. Deaths, sicknesses, lost friendships, infidelities, break-ups, many things, not necessarily my battles but battles I have seen and prayers I have lifted over the years. I am deeper in my spiritual walk and seeking the Lord on a very different level, as a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter. It is not time that grows us, it is the way we handle the drama that encroaches our small, little space.

As relationships go, I am honest when I say I don't do drama. I don't like potstirring and I certainly don't like conflict. I won't engage. I am slow to anger and quick to forgive. I am passionate about being an encourager and even with all that said, sometimes drama still has a way of niggling it's way in.

I am not a panic button mommy. I can be over protective and I do take very seriously my role. I trust the Lord to protect us and to guide us, however, I am fully aware that He will expect me to do my share as well. With Emily's most recent health issues, I clearly see my need to lean not to my own understanding. As we slog through her batteries of tests, I am reflective, prayerful and quiet. I recognize my need to do this.

These weeks have rendered me a bit motion sick, up and down, up and down. I find great comfort and truth in this passage from Isaiah 42:16,

" I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them."

Do you have some Mama Drama? How can I pray for you today?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yea for Three, Hannah Leigh

"Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow." James 1:17

I shared today with my kindergarten class what it means to be patient. We were discussing the fruits of the spirit and I wanted to help them understand the concept of waiting. And there it deepest desire fulfilled not in a traditional sense or quite the way I expected, but fulfilled none the less in a beautiful little girl we chose to name Hannah Leigh. For you, Hannah we waited and rejoiced. For you, Hannah, we know the Lord specifically chose for us to be a family.

I wish I could tell you so much more about this wonderful day three years ago, but I will be content in knowing that two years ago, we celebrated your very first birthday. Ladybugs were everywhere. You, our sweet little ladybug, were a bit overwhelmed. I am in awe of all that these two years have taught us as a family.

I love that you stroke my arm and tell me how much you love me.

I love that you wake in the morning just waiting for Daddy to come get you. You have your morning date, eating cereal together and talking. It makes Mommy's heart happy to see you enjoy this special time with your daddy.

When you do anything, you do it with your whole heart and you tell everyone all about it. There are no secrets with you Hannah. Your tenacity can be completely mind-boggling for us, but we know without doubt that the Lord made you just this way for a reason. Regardless of what His reasons may be, we trust His plan and see the beauty in your persistence.

You are not crazy about toys. We know some of your friends are not either. I think sometimes you are just ahead of your time.

As much as you and Emily may disagree or vie for attention, you love one another. You look up to her. You want to be like her and you are convinced you are a big girl just like Emily.

You LOVE Jesus. You will sing with great abandon and share with others how much Jesus loves us. You remind us to pray and love when it is your turn.

It takes a long time to gain your trust, but I love this quality about you. You are thoughtful and discerning.

You know your story by heart and with each milestone you reach, you understand a bit more the significance of your big airplane ride. You think it is completely cool and we pray you will always feel that way.

Your smile lights up a room and most definitely illuminates our lives. You smile so much now, it is hard for me to remember those first months together and the sadness that once touched all of our hearts. Our prayers have been answered in your joy.

Hannah, we cannot wait to see what is ahead of us with "3". Have a wonderful birthday sweetheart and a beautiful year. We love you.


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