Friday, January 17, 2014

25 Things to do with Your Son Before He Turns 13
Just look at him – He’s officially taller than I am. His feet have been bigger than mine for years. He weighs more than I do. He has football and basketball practice before and after school. He has pep rallies. He has homework. Suddenly, his dad is much more interesting than I am. He has to shower daily and use deodorant. He has to wash his face so he doesn’t get zits. His dad’s phrases are constantly coming out of his mouth. Sportscenter is his favorite show. He doesn’t watch cartoons anymore; he doesn’t color anymore; he doesn’t play with toys anymore.
And right now as I’m writing this, I’m a mess.
I’m emotional about my son growing up too fast at the moment, but I must admit, I do love who he is growing up to be. I’m proud of him. I love his sweet spirit, his kind heart, how he tries so hard at school and at sports, how he is respectful of adults. Don’t get me wrong. He definitely has his faults that we need to work on. He still aggravates his brothers and fights with them on a daily basis. But, I know that God is shaping him into the man that He wants my son to be.
As I’m becoming more and more aware of how fast time is passing, I keep thinking of things that I can’t do anymore with my son, or things that I wish I would have done more of with my son, or things that I did with my son that I am so glad I did.
So, to moms of boys, here’s a list of 25 things to make sure you do a lot of with your son before he turns 13:
1.       Kiss him
2.       Hug him
3.       Pray for him every day
4.       Let him hear your praying for him
5.       Cuddle with him on the couch
6.       Teach him Bible stories
7.       Get in the floor and play with him
8.       Dress up and play pretend
9.       Make lots and lots of videos of him
10.   Take lots of pictures
11.   Turn on fun music and dance with him
12.   Take him to the zoo and enjoy his reaction to the animals
13.   Let him get dirty
14.   Let him try new things
15.   Introduce him to new foods
16.   Teach him to clean
17.   Encourage him to sing with you
18.   Sit next to him and color
19.   Listen to his stories
20.   Save the notes he writes to you
21.   Save some of his artwork from school – (I know this is a sentimental list, but there is no way you can save ALL of that crap.)
22.   Let him help you decorate the Christmas tree
23.   Make time for him to get to know his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents
24.   Hold him in your lap and read to him
25.   Make sure he knows that he is loved

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Four Lessons I’ve Learned as an Adult with Braces on My Teeth

Last February I was complaining about my crooked teeth and flabby belly. My normally laid-back, kind husband uncharacteristically said, “I’m so sick of you griping about the same things you’ve been griping about for eighteen years. If you’re so annoyed by those things, then change them!”
His words struck a chord. I think they made a huge impression on me, because he rarely talks to me like that. He usually says things like, “Aw honey, you look great.” Also, I realized that he was right. I had been griping about these same two things our whole marriage, and they weren’t going to change until I did something about them.
It took me a while to figure out how to fix the flabby belly. After a few months I discovered how I needed to eat and exercise to get in shape. My flabby belly isn’t totally gone yet, but it’s slowly leaving!
As for the crooked teeth, I made an appointment with my dentist for the next day, and about a month later I had a set of shiny new braces on my teeth that my dentist said I would need to wear for at least eighteen months.
I am a thirty-eight year old woman with braces on my teeth.
I have currently had these lovely metal brackets on my teeth for nine months. I knew that this experience would change the appearance of my teeth, but I had no idea that this experience would affect me in deeper ways as well. I have learned so much from wearing these braces. So far, there are four lessons I’ve learned as an adult with braces on my teeth:

1 1.)  It Doesn’t Matter What Other People Say – Here are some things people have said to me since I’ve had braces – “You know you ruined your looks with those things on your teeth.” (I’m not kidding, someone really said that to me.) “Why would you get braces? At your age?” I have had a lot of people say this to me. “I can’t believe you did that. Why would you spend money on that?” As if it’s any of their business. I have learned to flash my braces in a big smile at someone who says something like this to me and walk away. It’s liberating to not care what people say.

1 2.)  Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously – When your smile looks like a seventh grader’s, when you are wearing colored rubber bands on your teeth, when you discover you’ve had bits of food stuck in your teeth all day, it’s a great reminder not to take yourself so seriously. Sometimes as a grown-up you can start to forget that you are a CHILD of God. HE is our Father. He is in control. These braces have made me remember what it’s like to be a kid and to recognize that I have no reason to worry, because my Father God has it all under control!

1 3.)  It’s Never Too Late – To those people who’ve said, “Why would you get braces at your age?” I say, I got braces because I’m not dead yet. I want to make myself better in the time I have. There are so many things I still want to do. I refuse to die before I die!

1 4.)  A Little Change Makes a Big Difference – When you change one thing and prove to yourself that you can make a change, it is addictive. You convince yourself that more change and improvement is possible.

Of course these little silly braces are quite unimportant in the light of eternity. Our bodies are temporary. One of these days we will shed these bodies altogether, but I think we can learn something even from something as insignificant as braces. Do you need to make a change? Then do it! Think you can’t? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away, and new things have come!” This year, I encourage you to seek lasting change in Jesus. It’s never too late to become who you want to be!