To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Time for "Happy Cupcake"

"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." 
~Matt. 10:30

I've been doing some organizing, purging and cleaning the past couple of weeks because it was desperately needed. I just did this in the fall and yet we still seem to be over run with STUFF! I came across a few things that needed to be put into the kids memory boxes and as I was looking through Tess' something struck me as funny. Her first phrase awhile back was, "Happy cupcake!" Don't ask me why, other than the girl is obsessed with food. The first thing she says when she wakes up in the morning is, "food?" and it's what she says upon getting up from her nap, and what she says riding in the get the point. In her memory box I found the knitted hat that she was given at the hospital the day she was born. Our hospital has dear ladies who knit hats for the babies and make blankets for them. Tess' hat looks like a cupcake! I had forgotten about that and just started laughing when I saw how perfect it was for her. We could never have known then that her first phrase would be "happy cupcake" and yet the Lord knew. I love how he cares about details like that. Those little, seemingly insignificant things really make me smile. It's easy to see God when he's doing big things in our lives and think, "Wow, I'm so blessed". The big things are great and I am thankful for how God works them out but I am especially thankful when I see God in the smallest of things.
It's hard to see God in the smallest of things when we are too busy to stop and recognize it. I know He's there always, in every detail and yet so many times I miss the blessing He is trying to give me because I'm so focused on a task or my plan. How many times have I missed the blessing? I'm afraid to say, too many times. The God who cares about every hair on my head, certainly cares about the little things in my life and too often I forget about that. The simple task of putting something away in my daughter's memory box reminded me that I need to stop and see God in the little things because I'm missing out on too many blessings! I'm thankful that God can use the mundane in my life, like cleaning, to speak to me. He really does meet us right where we are at and if the only place He can get my attention is at the kitchen sink or in the attic as I sort clothes then that is where He'll meet me. I suspect though, that He would prefer to meet me in a place that is less busy and hectic and I'm thankful for this reminder today. To slow down and stop and really HEAR God. I needed to be reminded to consult God and let Him lead my day, not in the big things, that's easy to do but in the little, mundane things...because it's HIS plan and not mine that I should be focused on.

On the subject of keeping memories for our kids I thought I would share what I do. I'm not overly sentimental. I don't save every scrap of paper my kids doodle on or every word they write. I have heard the idea of taking digital photos of your kids work and then saving it on a disk. I think that is such a great idea and if I was a sentimental person, I would totally do this! What I do is I buy a photo box (the kind you can get for $2 at a craft store) when my child is born. In it I keep things I think will be cool to have in the future and cool for them to look at like the hat they are given at birth from the hospital, their hospital band (to show them just how small they really were) and school papers. My favorite things to save from school are the Kindergarten and 1st grade writing papers. The progression is so neat to see and the sentence topics usually crack us up! Class pictures and report cards are another thing I save. Sometimes I will keep drawings or something written but really I don't keep a ton of that stuff because the way my kids draw and write I'd need two storage bins a piece to contain it all! As it is I'm running out of room to store my little shoe box sized memory boxes (a high shelf in one of the closets has worked well for this). Also I keep a journal. I was never good at filling in baby books...not
even with my first one. So shortly after Noah was born and I realized this about myself I decided to instead buy a journal and write about his progress every few months. Little did I know then that I'd have 7 books to write in so the "every few months" part is more like once or twice a year but it still keeps a good record of the major things and I think it's something they will look forward to reading! I plan to give them their book on their 16th birthday.

What do you do to preserve memories without the memories overtaking your space?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Time for Distracted Driving

Since April is Distracted Driving Month I decided to spend a little time talking about it. This topic is one of my "don't get me started" topics. We all have one or seven of those and this is one of mine, especially cell phone use and driving.

Almost 8 years ago Ben and I were out in Washington State for 4 months for his job. We had our 3 boys at the time and I was expecting boy #4. I still remember where I was sitting when I received an email from a family member informing me that a girl who I had grown up with was killed in a car accident in my home state. She was on her cell phone with a client and when she bent down to pick it up she lost control of her car and crashed. I had not had the opportunity to know Heather as an adult. I still remembered her as the little girl who lived across the street and who I would see in the summers swimming in the lake and playing on the beach because our families' camps were next to each other. I remember feeling so sad that her sweet life was cut so short and I remember the heartache I felt for her parents and brother, who I knew had to be devastated. Since her death her mother has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for distracted driving. While the awareness that has been created because of Heather's accident is good, it could never replace having Heather here, which of course is what anyone would prefer. Because of Heather's story and because of her mother, Judy, I have learned to never have my phone out when I am driving. I shared with Judy once that every time I hear my phone ring or the ding of a text coming in I always, always think of Heather and pray for her family. In order to be sure that the curiosity of who is trying to get a hold of me doesn't get the better of me I keep my cell phone in a small, zippered pouch inside my purse. This way there is no way I can easily fish it out. If I want to see who is calling that badly I force myself to pull over and stop the vehicle before even looking at my phone. I don't just do this for the safety of me and my children, I do it for the safety of those around me. I wholeheartedly repeat Judy's message, "Please put your cell phones away while driving"!

We all know that there are so many other ways we can be distracted behind the wheel. Before cell phones we'd often hear of someone loosing control of their car because they were fiddling with the radio station buttons. There will always be something there to distract us while driving, which is why we have to train ourselves to be vigilant drivers. One of the main distractions I have is the kids. It's a rare day I am driving and don't have the kids with me and I can't tell you how many times they ask me to look at something they are doing while I'm driving. It takes kids awhile to grasp the concept that when a parent is driving they can't be catering to their needs!  A simple thing like training your children to amuse themselves in the car, and not need you to meet a million needs while you are driving is helpful. I am always saying to my kids, "guys, mom is driving and I can't help you right now. You need to wait patiently until I park the car." If your child absolutely needs your help right away then pull over. Those extra minutes added onto your trip because you have to pull over could not only save you and your children's lives but those of the drivers around you.

I often wonder what is going through the minds of people who allow themselves to be distracted while they are driving whether it is because they are on their cell phones or because a woman is putting her make-up on (believe it or not there are enough accidents caused by this that it's a statistic!). Does it ever cross their minds that they could seriously hurt themselves or someone else? I realize we all wish we had a few extra hours in the day and we feel the need to multi-task but multi-tasking behind the wheel comes with risks so high I wonder why anyone takes them. I could not live with myself if I caused harm to someone or their loved one because I made a choice to be distracted rather than mindful when I was behind the wheel. We hear so much about teenagers getting into accidents because they were driving carelessly and we wonder why? If the adults aren't even setting the right example before them how can we expect them to perform any better? I can only be responsible for myself and I know that it is important to me that my children see me driving as carefully as I can, eliminating all the distractions that are within my control because this is the kind of drivers I want them to be.

So in light of April being Distracted Driving month, please help raise awareness and help save lives. If you are on the phone with someone and you know they are driving while they are talking to you, hang up with them and tell them to call you when they are no longer behind the wheel or pulled over and parked. One thing Heather's mom always says is how thankful she is it wasn't her Heather was speaking to on the phone when she crashed. Judy and her husband Rick, long before Heather's accident had taught their children to not be on their phones while driving and would refuse to talk to them if they knew they were driving. Teach your teens that if they are in the car with someone who is driving distracted to ask them to stop whatever it is they are doing because they don't feel safe. If the friend refuses tell your kids to get out of that vehicle and call you or someone they trust for a ride.  I don't know about you but I'd rather be sore with aching legs from walking 5 miles than end up dead. Think I'm exaggerating or overreacting? Watch a few distracted driving videos on YouTube....but not on your phone....while driving! I keep my "Maine Remembers Heather" magnet on my fridge to be reminded of what can happen if we don't drive carefully. It has also opened up dialogue with our children about who Heather was, why Maine remembers her and how important it is to drive responsibly.

****April 2nd is also Autism Awareness Day. Light it up blue for Autism. Heather Dawn was on the phone with a client's mother when she had her accident. Her client was Liam and he had Autism. Because of this Judy has created the The Heather and Liam Connection to help raise awareness and help for Autism. Take a minute to click on the link and see all the work they are doing and if you feel so led, make a donation!***