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Moms, Stop the Anxiety!

12 May

Billy and Bobby were talking to each other. Billy was suddenly quiet.

“I’m really worried,” Billy said. “My dad works twelve hours a day to give me a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for me. I’m worried sick!”

“Sounds to me like you’ve got it made. You’ve got great parents!” Bobby said. “What have you got to worry about?”

Billy replied: “What if they try to escape?” (1)

Raising kids is always an adventure, and as we approach Mother’s Day, I want to share a post from my young friend, Deedra Scherm. I wrote about Deedra in LOL with God in the devotional, “Lemon Vision” (p. 84). She has energy, passion, and most of all, wisdom. Young, busy moms will instantly identify with her opening words ….

I WORK FROM SON UP TO SON DOWN!

I am the sole female in my household, and three of the four males that live here with me are age seven and under. Being a Mother of All Boys (or MOAB, if you want to be trendy) can wear a Mama out. I read somewhere that toddler boys have 50% more energy than girls. I think I might believe it. 

I see my friends with their darling little princess daughters all dressed up with their pillowcase dresses, adorable striped leggings and matching bows on their heads. I just sigh as I scramble to pull the boogers out of the hair of one ~ how’d it get up there? ~ and spray the antibacterial pain relief on the bleeding knee of the other while the third tries to “take down” booger boy with his cardboard sword. 

I keep telling myself that in about 12 years, while my friends with all girls will be dealing with a toxic fireball of female teenage hormones, I’ll be sipping lemonade while my boys are mowing the grass, planting my spring flowers, and picking up dinner from my favorite restaurant “so Mama doesn’t have to cook.”  One can hope, right?

There are days that I feel like my heart and my brain are about to explode. 

The level of stress that sometimes creeps into my life as I take on the role of Mom is exhausting. I sometimes feel I should know every answer, fix every problem, plan for every single possible scenario, and make sure absolutely nothing ever goes wrong. (OK, maybe this is just a mom issue, regardless of the gender of your kids!) I start to feel like my whole life is about running around taking care of everyone else, and no one is taking care of me!

That feeling is the cue that I’ve missed something very important.

There is a little “rule” we learned in Kindergarten:  “Put things back where they belong.”  I Peter 5:7 says, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” You see, when I start feeling stress about completing the MILLION tasks of the day, dealing with running a business from home, the outcome of a medical test, the future of our family’s finances… I realize that I have kept anxiety with me rather than putting it back where it belongs.

I have to stop anxiety, refuse to carry it, and pass it over to Jesus. When my anxiety is extreme, I will even imagine, as I pray, that I’m holding the problem in my hands and laying it down before the throne of our Lord.

Now, this is not a call to apathy… to just flop around without a single emotion, never caring what happens in life. This is a call to action!  The verse says you are to cast!  And not just cast “some” but to cast “ALL” of your anxiety on Him for a very good reason: He cares for you! This is a determined choice for a very sound reason. God will never leave us, forsake us or fail us.

As I learned to recognize my anxiety, I could see opportunities to say, “Lord, I don’t know the outcome of this situation, but I know you have a plan for me. I trust you to help me with each step and give me the comfort and peace to deal with anything that may come my way.” That’s how I make it to the end of the day with peace and joy… even if I’m constantly surrounded by a bunch of crazy boys.

Deedra Scherm  is married to Kris and they have three active little boys. Between building forts, bandaging skinned knees, and acting out Bible Stories, she is the President and CEO of Lemon Vision Productions which provides inspired media for kids, like Little Buds 123’s DVD. Check out her books and DVDs at www.littlebuds.com.

(1) Adapted from http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/jokes/parentingjokes.html

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Courage from Erma

18 May

With another Mother’s Day under our belts, we can’t resist some humor from Erma BombeckAmerican humorist Erma Bombeck, who often wrote about mothers.

To singles:  “Spend at least one Mother’s Day with your respective mothers before you decide on marriage. If a man gives his mother a gift certificate for a flu shot, dump him.”

And to anyone who has a mother (or mother-in-law) … “When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality,” Erma said. “It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” *

One of our girlfriends, Maria Keckler, shares our love of this adorable humorist. We asked her to share as a guest blogger. Wise and funny herself, we know you’ll enjoy Maria’s words.

I love Erma Bombeck.  Before Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, and the entire canon of British and American writers I had to read in my English programs, Erma Bombeck singlehandedly opened for me a window into the world of real American English.  She may have, in fact, helped me prove the critics wrong when they said that anyone attempting to learn English past the age of 15 can’t approximate native proficiency.

Erma Bombeck PassportI’ll never forget one of her books, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home, specially her tale on the perils of trying to speak a foreign language. She tells the story about the time when she would introduce “Pope John Paul II, who was to preside over a papal Mass in Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona” in September 1987.  She was so honored by the invitation that she desperately wanted to do something special, so she asked her seamstress, the only Pole she knew, to teach her how to welcome the Pope in his own language. 

On the night before the grand day, she decided to rehearse her speech before two priests in charge of the event.  She took a deep breath before her big finish, “Arizona vita oitsasven-tegoyanapawwadruuuugeggo.”

Confused, one of the priests said, “Why would you want to tell the Pope his luggage is lost?”

“I am not good with language,” she responded. **

“OMG…” That’s what Erma would have texted her husband had that incident happened today.

What I loved about Erma and her story is that both exemplified the spirit of fearlessness I learned from reading her many years ago. She taught me not to worrying about looking or sounding foolish—a lesson that served me well since I would spend many years making a fool of myself with my very broken English.  But if Erma was willing to try… and look foolish—so could I!  Imagine, not only did she look foolish (very often) in private, but she built a publishing career out of sharing her faux pas with the world! 

I love that God’s Word makes a distinction between healthy fear (a required reverence for God – Psalm 111:10) versus unhealthy fear (fear of others—including what others may think of me).  Galatians 1:10 reminds me of this principle: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (NIV).

I’m glad I got to meet Erma through her words years before I dared to enter a classroom to teach—English, of all things. It helped me stand before my native English speaking students on the first day of class and say, “You may hear me say “chick” when I mean “cheek” and “bald” when I mean “bold,” but don’t let that fool you—I’m a pretty smart cookie…. And I will push you to learn and tell you when you mess up—just as I expect you to do the same for me!”

Thank you, Erma, for the lesson in courage.  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that only You I shall fear!

Maria Keckler is the Director of the Ezra Center for Excellence and Instructional Technology for Shadow Mountain Ministries. When she’s not writing—or teaching English—she’s helping others publish their stories at Stories from the Vine  or blogging.

* http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/erma-bombeck-quotes.html

** Erma Bombeck, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home,  (Harper Collins Publishers, New York. 1991), pp.112-113.

Moms Know Best

8 May

Ham in a PanA young wife was in the kitchen cooking her first Easter meal.  Before placing the ham in a large roasting pan, she cut off an ample section from one of the ends.

“Why did you do that?” her husband asked.

“Well, I really don’t know why but that’s the way my mother did it.”

Determined to get an answer for her husband, the young wife called her mother who said, “That’s the way my mother did it.”

A call to Grandma revealed the answer. “My dear, the reason I cut the end off of the ham was because I didn’t have a pan big enough to hold it.” 

That has always been a favorite story of mine, and it’s often used to illustrate why we shouldn’t use unfounded traditions of the past.   But now, as a mom of three young boys, I’m starting to see the great importance of building meaningful traditions.

My own mother was a pro at creating meaningful traditions!  The evening meal, where our family sat together at the dinner table, was a tradition in our home.  Mom worked hard to make each mealtime a ministry.

Whether it was a Texas-themed table setting to celebrate our roots on “Alamo Day,” green milk on St. Patrick’s day, heart-shaped meatloaf and mashed potatoes for Valentine’s Day, or just the calm assurance that at the end of the school day I knew our family would stop everything to sit down and eat together… mealtime was a good time for me.  It was a time I listened to my dad’s prayers, laughed and shared, learned life’s lessons, and felt heard and loved and cared for.

These are the times I know helped shape my godly understanding, build strength of character, and bind  our family tightly together like no other time. Before we left the table, we participated in a short devotional time that I now realize was specifically child-centered. Mom took cooking and serving from being routine chores to being an avenue for ministry through her planning, preparation, presentation, and prayers.  Every time she served us, she was also serving the Lord (Col. 3:23).

I haven’t quite mastered the art of preparing the gourmet meals each evening as my mother did, but I haven’t lost the concepts she showed me … creating time each day to show my family a deep love not only by meeting a need of satisfying a physical hunger for food, but creating time to show love, care, understanding, and talking about God’s truth.  Whether it’s picking a dinner that my child knows was made especially because it is his favorite, or everyone sharing a favorite memory for each piece of pizza they eat, I hope my children will feel the same sense of security of family that those times created for me.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank my mom for helping me to see the importance of making mealtime a ministry.  I raise my glass of green milk to you!

DeedraDeedra Scherm has been married for 14 years to Kris and Mom to David (6), Keifer (4), and Charlie (21 months.)

Deedra is an author, producer, inventor, and President and CEO of Lemon Vision Productions (www.lemonvision.com) a company that creates inspired media for kids.  Deedra loves fun games, great food, and fantastic movies, but her most cherished times are those surrounded by family.

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