29 January 2015

Of Our Little Princess

Hananiah suffers from what I like to call "Tony Stark syndrome" - she does not like being handed things. Except she forgets that she doesn't own her own skyscraper or pay for Pepper Potts to accept things her behalf. Yet she gets away with it anyway.

If we have a toy for her, it must be set in front of her - not placed in her hands. And the same is true for food.

The majority of her non-milk food lately has been some form of pureed something packed into a Little Green Pouch, taking away the mealtime stress of trying to force a spoon into a baby mouth that turns around and spits it back out. She holds her pouch, sucks down her food and everyone is happy. But she will NOT allow us to hand her the pouch.

I often forget this as she cries angrily for any kind of food and I rush to get it into her hands as quickly as possible. Those hands, though, are immediately tucked back - in the air in anger, but also tight behind her ears, refusing the pouch held in front her. At this moment I realize, oh yes, my princess does not allow her servants to put things in her hand - that, as every aristocrat knows, is strictly bad etiquette. And so I set the pouch on the tray in front her. She immediately turns off the tears, greedily picks up her pouch and guzzles her pureed goodness.

It's a good thing she's not spoiled or anything.

Wouldn't you let that cute face get away with it, too?

28 January 2015

Of Their Fork

Our kids share a fork.

And it's not because we have any lack of silverware or because we are trying to teach them some important lesson. No. It's because this is their compromise.

In a world where there are many floral-handled silverware, which, by the way, are way better than the white-handled silverware, either option being the rejected hand-me-downs from dad's and mom's (respectively) college days, there is only one fork with a solitary rose adorning the smooth silver handle. And there is one little girl who appreciated the beauty of that simple rose. And there is one little brother who just always has to have what his sister wants.

So, at some point, after much fighting and a long fork time out, they struck a compromise - they could share it. Now, at breakfast, one hurries to eat their eggs before passing the fork along to the other. For other, more fork-intensive meals, I have to draw the line and either one person gets to have it (which almost never happens) or they agree to save the precious fork until morning. And when they see their fork, gleaming, all freshly-washed in the dishwasher, they squeal with delight, "We can share today!"

And this is their preferred method of eating. Like Laura and Mary sharing a tin cup back on the prairie.

Except, you know, they actually have a choice.

You know, whatever keeps the peace.

This is it. The Holy Grail of Forks. And, yes, I had to retrieve it from its eternal home, the dishwasher, for this photo.

19 January 2015

Of the Daily Battle

I was reading a book last week - one that had sat on and in and around my dresser for months (oh the perks of being the church librarian) with the bookmark stuck halfway through and me finding many other things to do (and read) rather than finishing that one book. But I finally trudged my way back to it, as an item on the checklist that just needed to be done (because oh how it hurts me to declare a book unfinished).

I wondered later if it hadn't been so delayed because the message I ran across, the token spiritual lesson in the cliche Christian Fiction genre, was so timely for one facing a New Year not knowing what will come.

As the main character faced a situation from which she saw little hope of escape, she was inspired to read of Jehoshaphat. As a king of Judah his story is found in 2 Chronicles. When Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah saw a great army, outnumbering them many times over, rising against them, they had little hope for escape - little hope, that is, apart from God - who is the greatest Hope there is. His response to them, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . You will not need to fight in this battle" (2 Chronicles 20:15-16).

For the main character of this particular book, there was great hope that in her weariness this battle was not hers to fight, but the Lord's. In the grand tradition of many a work of fiction, of course, the battle was won, and all worked out in the end.

But I do believe there is great truth here.

As we have firmly settled ourselves into this New Year, we still can't imagine what is to come. I looked over faces this past Christmas, in my church and my newsfeed, and my heart broke knowing that at that time last year, one woman did not know she would wake up in the middle of the night to a nightmare and her husband gone before she could say good-bye, another woman had not known her husband would kiss her good-bye on his way to work and never return home. A mother didn't know she would lay down for a nap and wake to find her baby taken in his sleep. These aren't the things people imagine would ever happen to them. And so often we don't know when it is the last Christmas or last day or last hour we will have with someone we love.

And then the New Year turns, and who imagines, at that great precipice of a whole shining New Year, possibly bidding farewell to a year that didn't look so great in our eyes, or simply hoping for more of the same, just a little improved, that only two weeks in those goals and plans we've set for ourselves are wiped away by a cancer diagnosis and a new battlefield of the unkown laid before them, of doctor's visits, treatments, hospital stays, bills. Who planned for that when they kissed their husband at midnight? I'm sure she didn't.

But these battles - even those which already seem lost or maybe just too hard to fight - belong to the Lord. And this year, this week, this day of unknowns, it all belongs to Him.

Let us have the minds of Jehoshaphat who humbly declared to the Lord, he and "all of Judah, with their little ones, their wives and their children" standing before the Lord (oh how it makes my heart happy to see them standing, even with their little ones - not one heart looking away), "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chronicles 20:12-13). How often do we feel that - powerless, not knowing what to do? Yet, let us keep our eyes upon Him.

There are many battles we will face, some of which He will ask us to fight and some of which, like Jehoshaphat, we will come upon and find they were already fought for us, but in either case, with our eyes upon Him, the Battle belongs to the Lord. His victory may not look as we imagined, but His glory will shine.

Le us face this day, what mountain or molehill may come, with our eyes upon Him.