Monday, August 29, 2011

Eco-Dent Floss

When we moved into our current home about thirteen years ago, the surrounding area looked very different.  I joke that quite often we want to buy a place and then say, "Now stop!  No more building!"  If we only had the power.  I was encouraged, however, when our town called a nine-month-moratorium on building about ten years ago, taking a breath to consider how development should take place going forward.  Since then, we've seen an additional neighborhood, three shopping complexes, and a hospital built on our exit.  A fourth shopping complex was laid out as well, bareness beyond its streets and curbs as it awaited further construction.  I wrote Trader Joe's and personally invited them to set up shop.

Recently, a decision was made and Earth Fare decided to set down roots here.  I still favor TJ's, but EF is an ok second.  It'll do.  While making my maiden trip to the store recently, I discovered a wonderful alternate choice for dental floss.  The plastic containers of my current options pain me to toss away after each usage.  Eco-Dent to the rescue!  The outside is an environmentally friendly option made of cardboard, so I was quite happy to give this a go.  I have been 100% pleased and will not go back to the others.  The price is highly comparable to the other flosses on my neighborhood drug store shelves, and I can feel a whole lot better about the aftermath of my need to floss for good dental care.  It was so nifty!  Everything is contained within the box.  Once I brought it home and opened the top, I simply pulled a bit of the floss out, slipped the spool back inside, and closed the top while leaving the floss to run through a small opening.  Just like "real" floss!  The following is a list of further benefits of this product: 

• Vegan waxed using rice bran – light and smooth to glide easily between teeth
• Nylon, not silk – silk production involves chemical sterilization
• Refreshing, long-lasting clean mint taste
• Economical – 100 yards per package, up to 300% more floss per package than other brands
• Ecological – plastic-free, paper-fiber packaging is recyclable and bio-degradable
• Just double it up and use as dental tape – same action, less costly

Evidently, Eco-Dent offers a number of other products as well.  I will most certainly search them out and try them.  Good for me + Good for the planet = A Good Choice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Rise In the Night's Hours

When my kids were younger, I would sometimes find myself in conversation with an older mother who foreshadowed the days ahead with words of warning.  "It only gets harder." "You have no idea the things you will come up against." "This season cannot last." 
And my personal favorite, "You can count on at least one of them breaking your heart."

Don't say that! I shouted in my head as I looked back into eyes that seemed to possess a knowing that I could not completely discount.  Their story need NOT be mine.  They didn't know all of this as a fact.  And even if it were to be (and I wasn't convinced of this,) I did not want to 'go there' until that day came.  

I am here to tell you with all gentleness and love.  It is true.

It does get harder.  How little did I appreciate the fullness held within my own feeble frame to soothe a tired child, being able to run my hand up and down a back receptive to my ministrations, the proverbial kiss and band-aid that was able to speed the healing of all things.  I thought I did, at least; but oh how much more there was in those small things.  I wish to wring out every drop of sweetness in even one of those precious moments and sip of it again.  The days pass, weaving intricate complexities and variations into our children's once unadulterated character while they learn to navigate the entanglements and convolutions of this world we walk in.

You will not be able to predict or envision all you will come up against in the days to come.  While we all begin our roles in parenting as babes ourselves, eyes wide with surprise or bleary from lack of sleep, we enter this realm with a definitive upper hand.  We at least come prepared with the experiences of our childhoods to draw from in a not-so-distant past.  And with the passing of years, our confidence and hopefully wisdom grows with steadily acquired familiarity. That is a good thing, because you will need it in order to navigate the wilds that no other person knows - only that there will be these uncharted wilds.

This season of story books and nursery rhymes, strollers and wagons, jump ropes and jacks, simple adding and subtracting of gummy bears and grapes, dishing out plates and teaching them to clean up after themselves,  listening to the simple wisdom and foolishness of a child, knowing that you hold the keys to so, so much and are their doorway to it all.  This can not last forever. You know the fleetingness of it even as you hold them in your arms, but you can not know how it will feel for it to actually be 'the past'; even as you know it will be.  This is a bittersweet truth.  I know you know this one probably more than all the others, but still - treasure it while it is the day.  If you do so, another deeper season can arise to replace it.

That last one, yes, it is true as well.  I attest to you that if you love them well, each and every one of them will break your heart.  If you share in their burdens and sorrows, their struggles and failures, their learning to reconcile their childhood hopes and dreams with the realities of a life and death struggle on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual plane we call adulthood - your heart will be broken and you will know your powerlessness in a way that you never knew it before.  However, you will also know your Savior in a way that only comes through this long-suffering passage of time and trust.  

You can still be the one who whispers words of assurance and consolation, sharing tears of pain and applying succor for healing.  As portended devils and calamities strike, you can meet them with the confidence that comes from knowing the One to whom they could never sneak up on unawares, and who assures with confidence that His strength is mightier than any monster. Your season can be one of valiant courage whereby every drop of your knee in stumbling helpless aid results in prayer, and rising comes by a strength greater than that you fell with.  You will know the broken-heartedness of those who love with eternal hope.

For some time now, He has woken me in the night's hours to deepen my experience of this season.  I rise to spend time with my Lord, Master, King, Provider, Guide, Enabler, Comforter, Teacher, Example, Lover, Savior, Redeemer.  I join Him in a quiet hour or so, doing battle for, pouring my heart out for, and loving my children: in this harder, unpredictable season of heartbreaking love.  Yesterday we sang these words of an old song, and I'd like to share them with you.  All the warnings the mothers gave are true; but I am here to tell you - He's here and true as well.

  1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
    Of those whose anxious spirits burn
    With strong desires for thy return!
    With such I hasten to the place
    Where God my Savior shows His face,
    And gladly take my station there,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
  2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    Thy wings shall my petition bear
    To Him whose truth and faithfulness
    Engage the waiting soul to bless.
    And since He bids me seek His face,
    Believe His Word and trust His grace,
    I’ll cast on Him my every care,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Week Of School 2011

I've been waiting for this week for months now.  I'm usually the kind of mom who sort of whips my plans out of thin air just weeks prior to the start of the school year.  Yes, even after sixteen years.  Every March the wind seems to blow in with a great creative impetus for other mothers, causing them to begin ruminating over books and subjects.  As one turns to me and asks what I am doing next year, I am routinely caught by surprise.  July is absolutely the earliest you can expect me to even broach contemplation of the next year's academic endeavors.

However, for some reason ideas for this year began percolating back in March for me too!  I did my best to keep things on the back burner so we could finish out the year well and have a real summer, but I kept stirring those pots and checking on them as time went by.  I actually had at least half of it planned by July and felt quite satisfied with myself.  At least, I thought I did. Suddenly, one scenario evaporated, another boiled over, still others just tasted off and clearly needed seasoning adjustments.  And I was back to my old game plan of praying and pulling it together per usual.  Still, I came to it feeling a bit deflated after such a visionary start.

As a solid plan began taking shape, I remained non-plussed.  It didn't feel quite like the picture I had earlier imaginations of.  This would be fine, I contented myself.  What I found emerging was a certainty that although this was not my plan, it was His; and as such, it would be good.  GOOD in the way He makes things.  Of this I was sure, regardless of my misgivings.

We began this week.  The first day... well, although the girls enjoyed it, I know that they too felt something was different.  For myself, I can only describe it as spiritually oppressive.  At one point I actually went into my room and told Him, "I don't want to do this.  I don't mean just today.  I don't want to do this at all.  I really just want out."  I don't think I've ever felt quite like this in all my years of schooling - especially not on the first day!  Yet, I returned to my tasks and carried on.  He had my back.

I'm not sure just when, but at some point late in the day the darkness under which I'd stepped out and walked was gone.  As the light was fading outside in our unusually cool summer late afternoon, in our home it was the obscurity of my heart and mind that was giving way. He is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.’*   

I don't understand all that is going on, but I do know this.  I wouldn't change a thing.

* II Samuel 23:4

Shared at Far Above Rubies, We Are That Family

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lessons in Prayer: The Table

I had an evening out with some fellow Homeschool-Mamas recently.  The purpose was to evaluate the past year and prepare for the one that lies ahead.  We meet as a group on a monthly basis, mothers and daughters, to encourage one another in our relationships with eachother, to have fellowship, and to grow deeper in our walk.  We come from different places, have different family dynamics, and are facing different challenges.  What we have in common is a deep and intense desire to do right by our kids in the full light of our God.

It was an enjoyable evening of stories, commiserating, laughing, and caring.  Don't we all need that?  I always wind up coming away from times like these with a variety of "special somethings."  This time there was an expression that one of the Moms shared of something she has with her family on a regular basis.  They have an evening called, "Bring It To The Table."  I just love that!  It's a time set aside most especially for sharing those things that might easily never see the light of day, let alone our family - confessions and confidences given within the safety of the circle of the home's heart.

At the table eyes meet, conversation begins, we are nourished and refreshed.  From across our tables conflicts are resolved, accords are agreed upon, issues are debated, lives are knit together.

It made me think of prayer.  When you come before God in prayer, do you do this?  As I see it, there are two distinct counterparts to the balance of prayer.  One is this open, honest, pull it ALL out aspect of our time spent with Him.  Really, what is the point of communing with the Almighty if you're just going to play mind games with Him?  He already knows what you're hiding behind your back, or tucked away in a drawer, or shoved deep, deep, deep away in a cabinet somewhere so far away that you're not even sure you did it.  You did, and He knows. Say the words. Cover your own eyes if you must.  But drag it forth and plunk it down.  Bring it.

The correlation is the time given to listening.  A preliminary caution: if what you hear often sounds very like you, be careful.  It probably is.  What He has to say will always line up with His word, and many times you will find what He has to say right within its pages!  (yes, a little bit of sarcasm there ;D)

Some things we just seem to take eternity to really get, don't we?  I don't know how many moments there have been where I have prevailed upon Him with this same routine.  (He is so patient.)  I come with all my dark worries and troubles, like smashed toys and tattered clothes - I am one of those children who has very little hesitation in spilling all my broken-ness before my Abba.  With regret, I unwillingly admit to Him what comes with all this publication of my problems.  What is there within these pages that will speak to this mess?  I don't really think its there, not this time.

But with a tiny sliver of hope, I turn through the thin sheets, allowing my eyes to fall upon His words to me. And He speaks; in amazing, thrilling directness He responds to me.  He knew it all before I even laid it down, and this is what He has to say.  I am truly astonished every time.  A grateful smile spreads across my face as the knots loosen, replaced by the comfort and assurance I was so hoping would be there despite my doubts.

Don't you know He smiles too.

Shared with Works For Me WednesdaysSimple Lives Thursday and Far Above Rubies