Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review: The Blessing

I recently had the opportunity to read and review the revised and updated edition of The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley.  The Blessing is a parenting book unlike any other parenting book I have bought or read before.  I didn't find any chapter titles to turn to that address my whining child, my disobedient toddler or my over-achieving firstborn child.  Instead I found myself evaluating my words and actions toward my children.  The lessons I found within the pages of this book are far more practical and valuable than anything I have read previously.  The lessons within this book are lessons for a lifetime. The steps within this book can help me to create a lasting legacy for my children and the generations to follow.

John Trent and Gary Smalley describe their perceptions of the importance of the blessing based on biblical examples of the blessing.  They describe in detail the five elements of the blessing which include: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching high value, picturing a special future and an active commitment.  They provide help and healing for those who may have missed the blessing and offer a challenge to their readers to begin living the blessing challenge and pouring into our children's hearts our blessing over them.  The book offers additional resources and online tools to assist readers in living the blessing challenge.

I am excited to recommend this book to friends.  The information contained in this book is hopeful, helpful and encouraging along the often daunting task of parenthood.  

I received this book for free from for the purpose of this review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Little Princess and the "Pea"...Now Known Hazards of Lip Gloss

Occasionally we start to believe that after 9 years of parenting we are prepared for most circumstances, then something happens that once again teaches us how little we understand the mind of a child.  

Little Princess has a huge fascination and love for lip gloss and chap-stick.  Sometimes her sisters are so kind to share some of their lip gloss with her.  Little Princess has been known to somehow remove the little roller ball from a lip gloss in the past.  This usually results in the the end of that lip gloss.  

Last night after Little Princess was tucked into bed, I was at my computer watching some Cardinal baseball.  Little Princess shows up at the top of the stairs and tells me she has something in her nose.  Being the kind, sensitive, understanding mom that I am, I was a few words away from telling her to go back to bed when I motioned her to come down the stairs and let me have a look. When she gets close to me and I start to look, I realize that she does indeed have something in her nose.  It is a small, round, hard object lodged very neatly and tightly in her right nostril.  I waste no time in calling for Daddy's assistance.  Daddy picks her up and places the ever-so-calm Little Princess onto the kitchen table.  At this point I am about 90 percent certain that one of us is headed to the ER for the removal of this tightly placed object.  Daddy makes his assessment and tells Little Princess to hold still and within seconds the little round ball is rolling around on the kitchen floor at my feet.  Little Princess begins talking about her "lips" again and I immediately understand where this little pea-sized ball came from...I took Little Princess back to bed, kissed her goodnight and disposed of the now empty lip gloss tube.  Three children, nine years of parenting, a new first and hopefully a last.

Entertaining Strangers

There is a rich history of hospitality in our nation.  As people were traveling, they would knock on a homeowner's door and ask to stay for the night.  Often times, they found housing for the night in the home of total strangers.  During this era, people were even known to have unknowingly housed infamous criminals for the night as they were passing through town.  As years have passed and Motel 6's, Super 8's and Comfort Inns have emerged the tradition of hospitality has changed as well.  Hospitality as we know it today often involves opening our homes to close friends and family, inviting church members over for Sunday lunch or even to a restaurant.  It might include taking a sick or recovering friend a meal or offering to babysit for them.  All of these things are good, even great.  

I had never had the opportunity, to my knowledge, present itself to entertain strangers in my home - until this past Monday evening.  Sunday morning, I was passing the church office on the way to the sanctuary and the phone began to ring.  I knew no one was available to answer the phone so I took it upon myself to do so.  I figured if someone was calling a church on Sunday morning, it might be important.  I answered the phone and was introduced to Adam Clark.  At first I thought Adam was calling to sell me something, and I was beginning to feel sorry I had taken the initiative to answer the phone.  However, as Adam continued I realized he did have a need, a need that we would likely be able to meet.  I took Adam's information and passed it on to Preacherman that afternoon.  Adam is running from New York to California to raise money and awareness for rare cancers and an organization called Shannon's Fight.  The organization is named for Adam's 15 year old cousin, Shannon, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.  Adam was calling ahead to request permission for he and his friend to pitch a tent on our church property on Monday night. 

Now on to the really cool part of the story...

I felt very strongly about inviting them to dinner Monday night, even before hearing Preacherman's sermon on serving others.  I could only imagine that if you were running across the country you might not see too many home cooked meals along the way.  Monday morning I set out to the grocery store to purchase some tater tots for my family's favorite tater tot casserole.  Our local store was out of the tater tots I usually buy so I decided to look further.  In the meat case I found some boneless pork loins on manager's special and decided that would work nicely in the crock pot and we would have BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.  I met Adam and James that evening to give them keys to an empty apartment a church member had generously offered for them to stay in overnight.  I told them that Preacherman would pick them up for dinner after football practice.  I told them that the menu was BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, cream cheese corn and baked potatoes and that they could back out if that didn't interest them.  One would think that in all my "grocery store" moments, I should come to expect God's intervention...I could not help but smile and give God the credit when James smiled and laughed and said that is one of Adam's favorite meals.

Late that evening they arrived for dinner.  While they were here they were also able to do some laundry and connect to the internet to check out the rest of their journey.  Upon arriving in Augusta they had recently passed the half-way mark.  Adam was feeling good and said that he was running at a comfortable pace and was looking forward to completing this journey 2 days before Thanksgiving and flying home to be with family for the holiday.

I am so thankful that God presented us the opportunity to open our home to two unknown young men from Long Island and share His love and encouragement for a few hours on a Monday night.  Were they angels? I don't know, but what I do know is this: God is good, all the time.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 
~Hebrews 13:2