Thursday, 7 November 2013

Paper Snowflakes

In an effort to make some sense of being a "For-the-moment-stay-at-home-Mom," I devised a bit of a schedule in order to keep me on track, give me a sense of the job that I am doing, and give me purpose during the day.  With M off to school, and O blossoming with bucketfuls of two-year old charm and charisma one scheduled activity that seemed to be of significant importance for all of us was the short hour after dinner poorly designated "family time". 

It's a time of night that I try to come up with a simple activity that we can all do together as a family. Being that winter is indeed here, in Edmonton, and the fact that my precious M needs to build some fine motor skills through scissor use, I thought - why not snowflakes? Knowing that Miss O would likely make significant improvements to both her clothes and her hair, if granted the opportunity to wield scissors, I decided that she and I would run the glue-n'-glitter department. 

The cutting commenced, and in a blizzard of tiny bits of paper, drifts of glue, and showers of glitter about twenty unique creations emerged to be hung in the place of honor, our front window.  As each one was cut, I was struck again by the intricate uniqueness and subsequent beauty of each piece.  Not only that, it was lots of fun to watch M's amazement as to him, he made seemingly random cuts, and when each snowflake opened it was different from the last.  It reminded me about something, that every now and then I forget as a Mom.  I feel like I have it all figured out, that I have my kids pegged, and ultimately I hit a situation I didn't see coming, and I find myself up against the curve ball called "parenting".  What works with one, should theoretically work with the other, shouldn't it? But, it doesn't .

I think I've finally learned that being a parent doesn't exist as a formulaic response, instead my children, and even me are reflected within the uniqueness of the snowflake. Each of us unique and beautiful, and we each require a unique response to the delicate situations that arise in our lives. When we come together, our own strengths compliment each other. There have been countless times, as parents, when one of us, either Brad, or myself finally reach the very end of our rope in dealing with the kids, and as seamlessly as if the other is not even affected, we tag team each other and the other steps in with some kind of other-worldly wisdom, and a problem with the kids comes to a solution.

Just after we were finished breathing in the uniqueness of one another with our snowflakes, Brad and I faced that very situation with M. He has fought us on an issue since he was three years old, the battles were becoming more frequent, and we were in danger of losing the war.  No, not the war as in, the fight, but instead the war that all parents fight to keep the values of family, the cohesiveness of uniqueness working together. When our individual strength was depleted and Brad and I were able to use our own strengths to support one another, to calm down and work with our bright, interesting, little boy, to bring about a new focus on Shalom. But, it required all three of us, a recognition of our created uniqueness, to bring an answer about.  In fact, Brad answered M's questions by showing him the picture below. He found it, when I never could have - and the problem we'd faced as a family, as battle after battle, became something much more simple.
To you, remember your own uniqueness.  Take time to recognize it in others - especially for those who are closest to you.  I think now, that sometimes in recognizing who we are created to be, it helps us get through the little battles that we are presented with daily. 

God Bless You.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Parachute Packing and Other Odd Jobs

I thought of this post this past week, when I was in between a job interview - and finding out that the job went to someone else. I was thinking it would work well with the theme of what I was hoping to be my new job, but it didn't quite turn out that way. 

When I was young, my Dad introduced us to the story of Captain Charlie Plumb. He was a fighter pilot on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, and his plane was shot down over Vietnam where he remained a prisoner of war for several years.  He was released and eventually returned to the United States, where one evening several years later he had a conversation with a man, a sailor, also stationed on the Kitty Hawk and worked aboard as a parachute packer - incidentally he had packed Captain Plumb's parachute, which had saved the pilot's life.  Captain Charlie Plumb is now a motivational speaker with a strong message that he uses to impact people's lives.

This concept has been floating around in my head as I try to follow God's leading toward new employment.  Metaphorically, the parachute packer is someone who works behind the scenes, someone who is diligent in the tasks that they have been given in order to see others well protected, and advance in their own lives.  I equated getting this new job to be something like that, I would be a parachute packer for university students wanting to become teachers.  But, hearing that another person has been chosen for the job, gave me pause.  What am I supposed to do now? Then it occurred to me, that this blog post idea is still ideal, no matter if I had this new job, or not.

I'm not famous, nor do I desire to be. I've always been comfortable working in the background. I think it's part of the reason I became a teacher.  I like the background work and preparation, thinking about the lessons I plan in order to impact students lives.  Interestingly the place that I am in right now lends itself very well to parachute packing, working behind the scenes to build others up, to speak into their lives and offer love, help and support wherever I can. For my kids, it means being the Mom that they need for right now.  These things that I consider to be so little, and of no great importance are instead the critical things that matter the most, or will matter the most one day. The first thing you want to know after you jump out of a burning plane, is that your parachute will open, no matter what.  

So, it's a question I've been asking myself lately...who's parachute are you packing?

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