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Food for Thought for Busy Parents

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Love: Variation on a Theme

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place but have not love, I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and dishwashing but have not love, my children learn of cleanliness, not Godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.

Loves smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly-cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love is present through the trials.

Love reprimands, reproves and is responsive.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.

Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God's perfection in my child.

As a mother there is much I must teach my child but the greatest of all is Love.

--Pennington Bend Herald

Nashville, TN

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God i love this place,

  please be patient

i only work here

  beacause i am too old

  for a paper route,

  too young for social security,

and too tired  to have an affair.

author unknown

this little tale is on the wall at work to remind us that even tho life drags us down we push through and prevail with all our morals and dignity in tact... may you all push through what life brings you....

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  • 4 months later...

I always smile when I read this........

Good thoughts to live by in our busy worlds!!!!!


Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry and

Pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and

Let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the

Computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny

Grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be

When you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and

I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us

both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my

favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening, when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest giftever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms,

and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their  children suffer senselessly and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him

for nothing, except one more day.............

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I thought this was great!

Somebody Said :

> Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get

> back to normal after you've had a

> baby......"somebody" doesn't know that once

> you're a mother, normal is

> history.


> Somebody said a mother's job consists of wiping

> noses and changing diapers......  "somebody"

> doesn't know that a child is much more than the

> shell he lives in.


> Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by

> instinct......"somebody" never took a

> three-year-old shopping.


> Somebody said being a mother is

> boring......"somebody" never rode in a car

> driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.


> Somebody said teachers, psychologists, and

> pediatricians know more about children than

> their mothers......"somebody" hasn't invested

> her heart in

> another human being.


> Somebody said being a mother is what you do in

> your spare time......"somebody" doesn't know

> that when you're a mother, you're a mother ALL

> the time.


> Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their

> voices......"somebody" never came out the back

> door just in time to see her child wind up a

> golf ball into the neighbor's kitchen window.


> Somebody said you don't need an education to be

> a mother......"somebody" never helped a fourth

> grader with his math.


> Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as

> much as you love the first......"somebody"

> doesn't have five children.


> Somebody said a mother can find all the answers

> to her childbearing questions in the

> books...."somebody" never had a child stuff

> beans up his nose.


> Somebody said the hardest part of being a

> mother is labor and delivery...... "somebody"

> never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the

> first day of

> kindergarten.


> Somebody said a mother can do her job with her

> eyes closed and one hand tied behind her

> back...."somebody" never organized seven

> giggling Brownies to sell cookies.


> Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after

> her child gets married......"somebody" doesn't

> know that marriage adds a new son or

> daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.


> Somebody said a mother's job is done when her

> last child leaves home ......"somebody" never

> had grandchildren.


> Somebody said being a mother is a side dish on

> the plate of life ......"somebody" doesn't know

> what fills you up.


> Somebody said your mother knows you love her,

> so you don't need to tell her......"somebody"

> isn't a mother.


> Pass this along to all the "mothers" in your

> life!!!!!!


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  • 1 year later...

I received this e-mail from a mom in my Mother's Enrichment Group, and I thought I'd pass it on as "food for thought."


After Sept 11th, one company  invited the remaining members of other companies who had lost their offices in the attack on the Twin Towers to share their available office space.  At a morning meeting, the head of security told stories of why these people were alive....and all the stories were just "the little things."

>>The head of the company got in late that day because his son started kindergarten...

>>Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts...

>>One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time...

>>One was stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident...

>>One of them missed his bus...

>>One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change...

>>One's car wouldn't start...

>>One went back to answer the telephone...

>>One had a child who dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have...

>>One couldn't get a taxi...

>>Another man put on a new pair of shoes that morning, and took the various means to get to work on time. But, before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot.  He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.  That is why he is alive today.

    Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone...all the ' little things ' that annoy me... I think to myself  "This is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment."

    Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can't seem to find the car keys, you hit every red light, don't get mad or frustrated.  God is at work watching over you!

    May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

To My Precious Children (and all the children of our world)

by Gary Neuman

I know what's important now.

I haven't used a bathroom in peace for years.

I've taxied children to violin, swimming, baseball, hockey, piano, parties.

I've run through the streets drenched with sweat, holding the back of a child's bicycle.

I've jumped with sheer joy when I let go and saw that bike continue on its own!

I've had children's songs race through my mind for hours at a time

I've romantically danced with my spouse to Barney tunes

I've built castles, pizza, tunnels and mud pies at the beach

I've pushed a swing a million times

I've cupped the small, warm fingers of my child in my hand

I've crept into my children's rooms to watch them sleep.

I've found my shoes fifty feet from where I left them, filled with little men, pennies and tissues

I've made my children cry and have cried for them

I've dressed moving targets

I've checked for monsters under beds and in closets

I've spent nights with bottles, medicines, sheet changes after accidents, diapers and hugging scared children after nightmares.

I've changed over three thousand diapers

I've gotten goose bumps while watching the smiling faces of my children

I've stayed in the most luxurious hotels alone, anxious to get back home

I've prayed....a lot.

Now, don't get me wrong. There have been moments I've dreamt of luxuriating baths and exquisite sleep with a quiet, long breakfast while reading a whole dry newspaper.

I've remembered having money in my pocket

I've longed to be bored

I've wished that kid would stop poking me in my sleep.

But I am a parent, see, and I know what's important now.

(As printed in "Viewpoints on Parenting" Vol. 3, Issue No. 1)

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This one is a classic! It is truly timeless, providing wisdom for all generations!


If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.

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  • 1 year later...

From a FlyLady testimonial:

One of my pet peeves is hearing people say, "I don't have time to make dinner." I took a survey once and to my astonishment found out that a

lot of people fend for themselves for dinner on days that they're not going through the drive-thru. There is no set time to sit down and eat and there is no plan.

I think this is sad. To have "no time to make dinner" is the same as

not having the time to invest in your family's health and well-being.

Taking the time to make dinner is an opportunity to just stop for a

moment and connect. I'm not trying to guilt trip anyone here. Nor am I

so out of touch that I think we need to go back to the days of June

Cleaver and have pot roast every night and fresh baked pie.

The concept of being able to turn your stressors into blessers really

gave me a chance to think about this in my own life: When there is "no

time" to connect, and I'm rushing the kids from one activity to another, and I'm overbooked too, those are the days when the kids are snapping at each other, I'm cranky, and that's when those horrid words leave my mouth, "I don't have time for (fill in the blank)." It's usually a statement smacking of martyrdom, too.

The truth is what we truly don't have time for is allowing our relationships within our family go by the wayside. I am dead serious when I say dinner is ministry. Those faces across the dinner table from you are God-ordained to be there — why not invest your time wisely in them, give them something good and nutritious to eat, and spend a half-hour at the table silently blessing them and thanking God for

them as you remind them to close their mouths when they chew?

You HAVE the time; the question is will you INVEST the time in the

most important people of your life?

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I love dinner time with Nathan. We talk, share a book, eat, and laugh. It's one of my favorite times of the day even if it's only with a sandwich and fruit sometimes.

Edited by Garden of Hope
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I am in total agreement with the dinner time philosophy. We always have dinner together as a family unless mummy and daddy have a date night, or on the rare occasion one of us has late night work commitments.

We love dinner together. Nathan loves to say grace. We talk and laugh. Mary Alice is learning how to feed herself. We are teaching her sign language at the table. Nathan is learning how not to interrupt when someone else is talking. We share our day's experiences, sucesses, and regrets.

And, we don't always have a "home made, cooked from scratch, slaved in the kitchen all day" - meal. Meals are very simple at times, grilled cheese sandwiches (on whole wheat), salad, and fruit; even some of the more healthy frozen dinners are a great option; and leftovers are just fine too.

Yes, it would be nice to always have the time to cook fresh meals but rather than lamenting the obvious, we just do the best we can and enjoy every bite and every "together" moment.


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I hate to say it but, dinner time at our house is often rushed. Not that I am proud to say it. I try to stay on top of things however as a single mom ...I am a bit rushed. There are some nights that we may not get home until 6 or 6:30. Now I am not sayring that we are away from the dinner table 5 nights a week but, maybe two. I try to make it home to cook but, lets face it I get tired. Grilled cheese and soup are a staple at our house. So I may not be able to cook those homecooked meals like Pam said but, I do enjoy every meal we eat and share together. I feel blessed to have these beautiful faces sitting across from me even if it is at McDonalds.


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Here, here, Sabrina!! Nathan and I are often still at the dinner table when he really should be in bed. It's hard as a single, working mom to juggle it all and have a reasonable schedule. Thank goodness McDonald's has added healthier options like apple slices instead of fries and apple juice instead of soda.

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Dinner time was always special me when I was growing up and I really would like to continue the tradition. Unfortunantly we are not always home at the same time or one of us has a late meeting. Since I am a teacher most of my meeting are something that we can go as a family so that makes it nice. We also set aside Thursday night as family night and we go out to eat as a family. I like this because we get to spend time together without having to spend time preparing a meal and cleaning up the kitchen. It works for us!!


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To echo what many of you have said...Dinner time is SO important! There have been studies done that show that children who eat a sit down meal with their family more than 3 times a week do better in school and are much less likely to try drugs, alcohol, and smoking at early ages. I have heard about studies like this time and time again. Family dinner time is important-even if it's grilled cheese, soup, and apple slices, which just happens to be one of my favorite meals! tongue.gif


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On the simple meal thread, it is so great that infants and toddlers like simple foods. In our "DINK" days, Tom and I were great gourmet chefs and we cooked a multi-cultural food fare that would make Julia hungry and even Emeril want to stop by for dinner.

We are so over that right now and so greatful for their simple palates. So I thought I'd share a couple of easy options.

1. cottage cheese - Nathan and Mary Alice both love it and eat it up. Combined with some fruit and whole wheat toast works great.

2. peanut butter - wholesome protein and multiple ways to offer it

3. vege pizza - most pizza shops will make it and Nathan is less likely to pick off bits of veges he eyes with suspicion if you have them chop the veges fine and imbed them in the cheese.

4. vegetable lasagne - I make two batches on Sunday. We have one Sunday night and the extra one goes in the freezer for some other time.

5. haystacks - a layer of corn chips, a layer of beans (Bush's chili beans), a layer of shredded cheese, topped with chopped lettuce and tomatoes and olives, then some sour cream (if your toddler is too suspicious of this creation----break it apart and give him the individual components instead)

6. oh yes, cereal.....it's not just for breakfast you know!! biggrin.gif

anyone else have any other quick dinner ideas to share. I am always looking for a few.


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A variation of grilled cheese that sandwiches that has become one of my new favorites: Use mozzarella cheese, fresh slices of tomato, and a few dashes of basil. Put it all between the bread and grill. It is so yummy! It's sort of like a grilled cheese pizza sandwich! It is a bit healthier too since part skim mozzarella is lower in fat than most other cheese. biggrin.gif


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The grilled cheese option is popular in our house. We have this great electrical kitchen gaget for grilling sandwiches...does both sides at the same time. We generally use cheddar cheese but like the jack, colby, or mozarella options or combinations also. Adding anything else sometimes raises the suspicions of our toddler though.

Here's another quick idea.

cook up some potatoes in the microwave. Steam up some veges in the microwave. Then create a sourcream/butter mixture with chopped-up veges and mix it into the baked potatoe for a semi-baked-semi mashed potatoe dish. Instead of sourcream you can also use cottage cheese.

Quick and easy and my two love it.


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  • 1 year later...

“In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history,

there has never been another day just like today,

and there will never be another just like it again.

Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading

since the hour of your birth.

It is the point from which all your tomorrows

will proceed until the hour of your death.

If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it.

Unless you are aware of how precious it is,

you can hardly be said to be living at all.”

--Frederick Buechner

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  • 10 months later...

From the front of the yesterday's church bulletin at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago comes this thought-provoking pearl of wisdom for any Christian parent at Christmastime:

"The most disturbing quality of the Baby Jesus, this mystery of his advent that scandalizes even as it inexorably beckons, is the vulnerability of his incarnation. Nothing is so helpless, so dependent, so fragile, so frail, as a baby. I know of no other religion so bold as to admit the possibility of its God appearing in so vulnerable a form. How scandalously condescending is the love of god who deems to meet us first as a baby. How threatening is this God to my human desire for an aloof, Platonic deity who lives in the realm of the abstract, self-contained ideal, rather than in the stable out back, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

--William H. Willimon, "Unto Us a Child" from On a Wild and Windy Mountain

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  • 3 months later...

Just a friendly reminder for each of us to really "live in the day" ...


Have you ever watched kids

On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain

Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's

Erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun

Into the fading night?

You better slow down.

Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won't last.

Do you run through each day

On the fly?

When you ask, "How are you?"

Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,

Do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores

Running through your head?

You better slow down.

Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won't last.

Ever told your child,

"We'll do it tomorrow,"

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch?

Let a good friendship die?

Cause you never had time

To call and say,"Hi."

You better slow down.

Don't dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won't last.

When you run so fast

To get somewhere,

You miss half the fun

Of getting there.

When you worry and hurry

Through your day,

It is like an unopened gift ...

Thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower.

Hear the music

Before the song is over.

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  • 7 months later...

This sweet anecdote was sent to us by our good friend and former staffer Mona... (thanks, Mo!)

A Newborn's Conversation with God

A baby-about-to-be-born asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

God answered "Not to worry-- I'll have an angel waiting for you there who will take care of you."

The child protested. "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel on earth will sing for you and will smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again, the child asked "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.''

"But what am I going to do when I want to talk to You?" the child asked God

God lovingly responded "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."

The child then asked, "Who will protect me?"

"Your angel," God promised, "will defend you always.''

"But I will always be sad because I will not see You anymore," the child pouted.

God smiled, and said "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked: "God, if I am to leave now, please, tell me my angel's name?"

God replied "Simply call her... Mom."

Here's to all the earthly angels we've been blest to know since Abrazo first opened!

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Amen! What a wonderful reading.

Bless all the Angels.


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  • 5 months later...

I found this on Huffington Post and thought it was so wonderful, I wanted to share it here in case the link goes bad:

Posted April 16, 2009 | 08:56 AM (EST)

Ten Ways To Be A More Light-Hearted Parent by Gretchen Rubin

One of my Twelve Commandments is "Lighten up," and I have a lot of resolutions aimed at trying to be a more light-hearted parent: less nagging, more laughing. We all want a peaceful, cheerful, even joyous, atmosphere at home -- but we can't nag and yell our way to get there. Here are some strategies that help me:

1. At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter.

2. Sing in the morning. It's hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone--particularly in my case, because I'm tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.

3. Get enough sleep yourself. It's so tempting to stay up late, to enjoy the peace and quiet. But morning comes fast. Along the same lines...

4. Wake up before your kids. We were so rushed in the morning that I started getting up half an hour earlier than my children. That means I can get myself organized, check my email, post to Slate, and get my bag packed before they get up. It's tough to wake up earlier, but it has made a huge difference in the quality of our mornings.

5. I've been researching the hedonic treadmill: people quickly adapt to new pleasures or luxuries, so it takes a new pleasure to give them a jolt of gratification. As a result, I've cut back on treats and impulse buys for my kids. The ice-cream sandwich or the Polly Pockets set won't be an exciting treat if it isn't rare.

6. Most messages to kids are negative: "stop," "don't," "no." So I try to cast my answers as "yes." "Yes, we'll go as soon as you've finished eating," not "We're not leaving until you've finished eating." It's not easy to remember to do this, but I'm trying.

7. Look for little ways to celebrate. I haven't been doing holiday breakfasts long, but they're a huge source of happiness. They're quick, fun, and everyone gets a big kick out of them.

8. Repetition works. A friend told me he was yelling at his kids too much, so he distilled all rules of behavior into four key phrases: "keep your hands to yourself"; "answer the first time you're asked"; "ask first"; and "stay with us" (his kids tended to bolt). You can also use the school mantras: "Sit square in your chair;" "accidents will happen," "you get what you get, and you don't get upset" (i.e., when cupcakes are handed out, you don't keep trying to switch).

9. Say "no" only when it really matters. Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? Okay. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed? Fine. Samuel Johnson said, "All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle."

10. When I find myself thinking, "Yippee, soon we won't have to deal with a stroller," I remind myself how fleeting this is. All too soon the age of Cheerios and the Tooth Fairy will be over. The days are long, but the years are short.

Have you found any good strategies to cut back on the shouting and to add moments of laughing, singing, and saying "yes"?

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