Saturday, October 8, 2011

He welcomed them

"When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.  Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him.  He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing."  Luke 9: 10-11

I can imagine Jesus and his disciples being tired, exhausted, in need of a break.  Jesus is God, but during his ministry on earth he was also human.  He often sought time and solitude for talking to his Father.  He often had crowds of thousands following him, seeking understanding, seeking healing, seeking love.  And I can imagine him exhausted, but full of spiritual energy, welcoming and teaching and healing.

I don't have crowds of thousands following me.  Most days I just have a crowd of two (or eight) following me.  Two busy, talkative kids.  (Plus two cats and four chickens.)  But I'm human, and some days that is quite enough to exhaust me and leave me in need of a break.

This past week I sat down on the kitchen floor to read the newspaper.  Kind of strange, I know, but it was quiet in there and the counter kept me hidden.  And sometimes that is what this super introverted mom needs.  After a few minutes, I heard my daughter say calmly to my son, "We have a big problem.  I can't find Mommy."

Jesus "welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing."  When I withdraw to a quiet place, do I welcome my children when they follow me?  Do I use those opportunities to speak to them about the kingdom of God?  Do I take the opportunity to speak words of encouragement and healing to their sensitive hearts?  Well, sometimes I do, but sometimes I don't.

This week I'm going to focus on welcoming my little followers.  And I'm going to focus on being Jesus' follower.  He always welcomes me, he speaks to me, and he heals me.  Want to join me in this pursuit?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My holey sheets

A year or two ago, my husband and I were working together to make our bed.  We looked closely at our sheets, sheets that used to be green flannel.  We noticed that after 3 or so years of using only that one set of sheets, they were becoming extremely thin and discolored.  We mentioned that maybe we should purchase some new sheets.  When I consider buying something, I tend to think in terms of what that amount of money could accomplish at Save the Children Orphanage.  I could have new flannel sheets or I could help provide almost a month's worth of formula for a baby.  New sheets?  Or provide a month's salary for an extra "mama" to care for the kids?

We're still using those sheets.  Every time my husband and I make the bed we look at our sheets and laugh.  They are full of small holes, the elastic on the bottom sheet is gone, and this week Joel asked me what color they used to be.  Those holey sheets remind me to be thankful for what I have, and thankful for what I don't have.  I love my old sheets and the laughter they bring.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Encouraging my young artists

My kids are very interested in art.  They love to study art and artists.  They spend hours creating masterpieces.  They plan to be artists when they grow up.  My daughter says, "I'm going to be an artist, a house builder, and a mommy.  I'll be very busy!"  And my son says, "I'm going to be an artist and a super hero!"

Did your parents ever discourage you from doing what you truly wanted to do?  Stories of parents directing their kids away from certain careers, especially those in the arts, are certainly common.  I vividly remember stating some of my aspirations as a child and instantly being told why such and such was not a good career choice, or not a good idea for me to attempt.  I'm trying not to do that with my kids.  I'd rather help them explore various careers and gain further information and skills.  Whether they become professional artists, enjoy art as a hobby, or leave it behind as they get older, I plan to cheer them on.

At the moment, we are enjoying learning about various famous artists.  We learn about their history, the country they came from, their style of art, etc.  I think it is pretty neat that my kids are able to recognize the works of a number of artists.  And I love how our studies lead to fun art projects.

These paintings were inspired as we read the book "Math-terpieces"  by Greg Tang.  (A great book, by the way.)  My daughter's favorite painting in the book was by Georges Seurat.  We learned about Pointillism and how Seurat's ideas as an artist were based on science.  We tried it out.  Such fun!  And the concepts we learned are now firmly imprinted in our minds.