Friday, September 24, 2010

Grandma's Rules

When my grandchildren spend the night I try to keep a few simple rules in mind.

1. Have plenty of snacks on hand.
 Leave the nutrition to the parents. Kids want Popcorn, Oreos, Popsicles, Chips and Coke, and chocolate milk when they go to Grandma's house. I also keep apples on hand, because my grandchildren love apples, so I don't feel so bad about the sugary snacks and drinks.

2. My motto is "Don't let the kids starve."
Therefore, I will give in whenever they open the refrigerator door and pull out the yogurt, or string cheese, or yesterday's spaghetti. All they have to say is "I'm hungry," and Grandma jumps. The only other rule is that they have to eat a few bites.

3. Have lots of activities on hand.
They have the attention spans of a flea, so be prepared to buzz from activity to the next. I stock up at the Dollar General for coloring books, Play Do, Bubbles, and have lots of books to read, and videos for them to watch when I am ready to fall down from exhaustion.

4. Lower my housekeeping standards while the kids visit.
Treat sticky floors like a crime scene. Just walk around it and don't touch anything. "A messy house is a lived in house" is another saying of mine. This is not a museum, and kids are allowed to touch things.

5. Be prepared for lots of questions.
Kids love to ask questions and most of them start with "Why?" such as "Why is your desk so messy, Grandma?" "Because I'm baby-sitting," is my reply. Sometimes the questions are hard. The three-year old has been asking me, "Why did Grandpa die?" I don't know where she came up with that one.

6. Be prepared for crankiness, especially after 10 o'clock.
I know, I know...their normal bedtime is 8 o'clock, but remember, they are at Grandma's house and these rules don't count.

7. Take time out for each grandchild.
Be prepared for a little jealousy. With three young children there can be competition for my attention. Reading stories are great for dividing attention because I let them each pick out a book to read.

8. Make bathtime fun.
Towels are supposed to be absorbant. You can mop up the water later.

9. Don't scare them into going to bed.
Don't tell them about the 'boogie-man' or what will happen when their parents pick them up. They know that Mommy and Daddy are not coming "in a few minutes." Just pretend your house is a frontier fort and you have guard duty for the night to protect against Indian raids. You'll sleep tomorrow night.

10. Give them lots of hugs and kisses.
That's what grandmothers do best.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ordinary Faith; Extraordinary God

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet."
I've been thinking a lot about God lately. Have you ever noticed how you can find God in the most ordinary way, and how he will make an appearance, out of the blue, and surprise you with a dose of grace when you least expected it? And then I remember how my faith can be as small as a mustard seed and it is enough for God. That gives me great comfort, because there have been times that my faith has dangled from a thin thread and yet God gave me the strength to hold on, and guess what, the longer I held on, the stronger that thread became.

I talked to a friend yesterday. She is going through a difficult time, and is scheduled for back surgery for the third time this upcoming week. Her husband is also having health problems and his position at work is at stake. He's worried that he'll lose his job and his health insurance, and possibly, their house. But after church yesterday, he felt renewed hope and felt his faith restored. "I can live without a job and without insurance, but I can't live without God," he said.

Children, too, think about God and surprise us with their innocent reflections. My granddaughter, Teka, saw a picture of 'The Last Supper" at her other grandparent's house and asked her mother, "Mommy, is that God and his friends?"

A few days later, Little Sister was playing with the miniature manger that she found in the bedroom. Teka scolded her, "No, you can't play with that. That belongs to Jesus."

My oldest daughter has been having severe neck and shoulder problems. On her way to the doctor she stopped at Burger King to grab a bite to eat. When she arrived for her doctor's appointment and checked her purse she realized that the cashier had given her too much money back, so on the way home she stopped and returned the cash. The manager stated that the cashier was short in her drawer and she'd already left work. She was genuinely surprised that someone would return the money.  My daughter thought that the employee might be in trouble, or she might be new and need her job, but now the employee can return to work tomorrow knowing that there are still honest people in this world. Little things do matter to God.

And one more...At work we gather in a huddle each morning to start our day on a positive note. This week we are discussing positive experiences we have had in the workplace. There are too many to list here. but I think of all the little things we do for one another to lift each other up. It may be a hug or a prayer when a co-worker is going through a rough time, or it may be simply sticking around to help a fellow employee during a busy time without looking at the clock. Ordinary faith; extraordinary God.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13


Friday, September 17, 2010

Yellow Days

"Do you get to take naps in 1st grade?" I asked my granddaughter, 'Teka.'

"No, you only take naps in Kindergarten. I think that's why I got on 'Yellow', because I was so-o-o tired."

"Oh," I said, "What other colors do you have?"

"There's green, of course, and orange and pink, because we don't have a red card."

"Does anyone ever get on Orange?"

"Not really. 'Orange' means you miss 10 minutes of Recess. 'Yellow 'means you miss 5 minutes of Recess."

"What happens when you get into trouble?"

"I have to pull my card."

"Would you get upset and cry?"

"No, then everyone would look at me and say, 'Look at that little girl...she's crying."

Do you ever have days when you stay on 'Yellow'? I do. Sometimes, like my granddaughter, I have 'Yellow' days. Days when I just can't seem to get going. Days when my brain is in a fog or when I just can't seem to get things right and I don't feel like reading the instructions, because even the instructions are hard to understand. Days when I can't seem to tackle that mental 'things to do' list. It's hard staying on 'Green' all the time, and occasionally I slip and have to pull my card and land on 'Yellow'. I just hope that no one is watching and says, "Look at her... I can't believe she did that....because I might be on 'Yellow.'

But fortunately we get to start fresh tomorrow. No marks against us. No unhappy faces. A clean slate. And if I stay on 'Green' all day, it's a good day:)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday at the Park

I spent Sunday with my grandchildren. We ate a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

We took the kids to the local state park, where they played on the neat playground. They wouldn't be still long enough to get any good pictures.

They did like playing in the dirt...

And taking a short hike with their 'walking sticks.'

Here's another scenic view...

And one more.

After our visit to the park, we stopped at Earth Fare, a gourmet grocery store with lots of organic foods, and I couldn't resist the deserts, so I bought a sampling.  I just ate a bite of each, honestly!

The kids still had energy left over to jump on the trampoline. Whew! I was tired.