Sunday, May 13, 2012

Changing diapers 7,300 times...per child!

Happy Mother's Day to those of you who have reared a child in the past, present, and the future!  I wish it could be called "Happy Woman's Day" instead because really, all women do some mothering, here and there...or every day!  There are physical children, spiritual children, children of the heart, etc.  If you are a woman and you touch a young life POSITIVELY, then you are nurturing and mothering someone!

Here are some interesting and very fun facts or statistics or whatever you want to call them...anyways, things I found out this week about mothering and having kiddos around!
1.  By the 2nd birthday, a child will have his or her diaper changed 7,300 times.
2.  It takes a woman 2 min. and 5 seconds on average to change a diaper (it takes men less time which is not necessarily a good thing..but can be, I guess)....the point is this: that is three 40 hour work weeks filled with changing diapers per year if you added up all of the time spent changing diapers!
3.  There are 4.3 babies born worldwide every second!
4.  72% of moms with children over the age of 1 work outside of the home which is about the same percent of women who work outside of the home who do not have any children at home...31% of moms with children over the age of 1 worked outside of the home in 1976.
5.  Moms with full time jobs spend 13 hours per day working at the job and doing family chores.
6.  68% of people plan to call their mom on Mother's Day.
7.  The largest recorded birth was in Italy in 1955...22 lbs. and 5 ounces. (Italy uses metric, so I am not sure why I found this statistic in English measure)
8.  Women who give birth later in life, live longer.  (They always say that kids keep you must be true)
9.  A woman in Russia gave birth to 69 children between the years of 1725-1765...I believe she must hold the record for that!
10.  It takes $242,070 to raise one average child in the U.S., that does not include college!
11.  The average household has 2 kids today...3.5 in the 1950's (that statistic is the average, not someone having 3 and a half kids), and 7-10 children in the 1700's.  Times have changed!
12.  One time every 4 seconds, a preschool-aged child needs their mom...that's 210 times each day (waking hours).
13.  Mother's Day is the 2nd Sunday in May and was established as a holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson; the first Mother's Day was observed in 1908 though.
14.  The ratio of girls to boys born is 100 girls to 105 boys.
15.  Mother's Day is the 3rd most popular holiday around the world losing in holiday popularity only to Christmas and Easter!

I hope your Mother's Day is great, whether you are being honored by your kiddos and/or honoring your mother.  This day, in my opinion, is for all the women who impact children.  Teachers, Aunts, Grandmas, Small Group Leaders, Friends' Moms, and so many other women impact my Happy Mother's Day to takes more than me to raise them properly!  You have filled in the mothering gaps where I am not strong.  God put you in our lives, so thank you for mothering my kids along with me!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bad Stuff, Take 4: My attention span AND Loss

Finally back to the "bad stuff" list.  I have been dwelling and thinking about Mother's Day which will be here in 3 days, but I also had a bit of time to write on "using everything," even the less than flattering things in my life in hopes that something I say could reach one person who can find another voice out there who is going through the same thing as them.  I appreciate all of your time in reading the Acorns In My Dryer blessed today!

 I have a 2-3 year attention span for a job before it gets boring, unfulfilling, or unchallenging to me...
Well, it is true that I cannot do the same thing very long before I get distracted, bored, unfulfilled, or unchallenged; I do not thrive doing the same thing over and over and over again.  I get bored easily, and I enjoy change VERY much!  Career wise, I taught first in Independence for 2 years right after I finished college.  After that, I worked at a teacher's supply store for a little over 3 years; I LOVED that actually...but the store didn't make any money.  After selling our beautiful sports car and depleting our savings to pay the store bills off, I worked at a preschool for 2 years.  After that, I went back to teaching full time with every intention of sticking with it for good....but, 3 months after I signed my contract to teach in Blue Springs, I had a very big surprise....a positive pregnancy test.  I stayed in the teaching game for (you guessed it)  2 years.  My young daughter had numerous health problems, so "staying home" with her was partly because I needed to.  I helped at church as an interim children's minister for 10 months, but after "staying home" for 2 years (minus the children's minister work)...I went back to teaching.  After 2 years of teaching 5th grade, my youngest was ready to go to kindergarten.  Because she had a severe speech delay, we sent her to a different school than the other 2 girls, and I wanted to be available to volunteer and be present at her school too. (I taught where my other girls went to school.)  My friend, April, said to me, "please just stay somewhere more than 2 years so you'll break your pattern."  That got me thinking...if other people noticed my "attention span" or "pattern" or whatever you wanted to call it.....should I do something to change?  I stayed at the same school but moved to teach part time which worked for us; I taught T-F and had Mondays off.  The next year, my oldest daughter went to a different school, and her high school got out much earlier than us, so I went to even less time as a teacher.  This year, I am only teaching until 4th hour at school; I teach 7th grade Bible, and it is my DREAM job!!!!  I have not loved any other job more...ever!  

Do I have a problem sticking with something, or do my life's circumstances dictate my career pattern?  I can have a different answer to that question each day.  What I do know is that I have been where I am supposed to be each year; there are specific children who I can say for sure have impacted me and vice-versa.  I am okay to take life one year at a time or one day at a time.  That used to stress me out a little, the not knowing or the "limbo" of changing directions frequently.  Yet, every time, I can SEE the "WHY" during or shortly after a change.  

I will change again....actually next year.  :)  I am going back to school to get a counseling masters degree to do another job that my life has led me to: counseling/therapy.  I just want to help kids, and helping them academically is just a stepping stone to what is in store.  While I go to school...I plan to either substitute teach or watch a couple of kiddos at my house during the daytime while playing and learning with them!  Will I change in 2 years, probably....but, I will seek to always do what I am supposed to do.  

Funny, I used to say that the perfect job for me would be a writer because every 1-2 years you were expected to "change" and move on to write another novel, research different settings and topics,, maybe someday....

I know the pain of losing people I love, losing them to death or desertion...
This one is hard to "use" even though truthfully, everyone goes through this....everyone!  I was fortunate to have 3 of my 4 grandparents around for most of my life and my 2 grandmas until just the last 2 years.  My parents are still living, but I have aunts and uncles who have passed on.  Death is so final in the realm of the physical earth we live in, so it is difficult for loved ones left behind to move on in a way that doesn't leave them feeling guilty every time they laugh, smile, or have fun.  We do not usually have the outward signs of a mourning period anymore in this country (time of isolation, mournful clothing, etc.), but it might be healthier if we did.  We might give ourselves permission and TIME to mope around and feel sad openly instead of trying to hide our pain and go about our lives as if we are so STRONG.  It is like we have to prove that we are mentally stable by getting back to work or taking our kids to soccer practice as soon as possible.  

I have not been left by a spouse or had a parent turn their back on me, but I have seen people who are close to me have had this happen to them.  The closest I have been to someone who left a relationship was probably my brother-in-law when he and my sister separated.  That was hard because I really liked him and loved him as part of our family; my kids were really close to him.  Somehow, it is harder to explain to my daughters how someone who is still alive will not longer be part of their lives.  If he had passed on, then there would've been some sort of middle child did not understand this.  She saw her relationship with her uncle as completely separate from the relationship he had with my sister; in my daughter's mind...her aunt and uncle could separate, but she was going to choose to still have him as an uncle.  SO hard...  

How do we use this pain from losing people?  Well, if we know everyone goes through either the pain of losing someone through death or desertion, we need to share our stories with others so that when they are in pain from losing someone dear to them, they do not feel so alone in their pain.  Sharing pain will lessen it, and listening to someone share a story of loss can inspire others to go on living.  Also, spread the word that it is OKAY to take TIME to mourn losses.

Remember to USE EVERYTHING, even your "bad stuff"......

Friday, May 4, 2012

Becoming A Radical, Personal Christian Who WILL Cross the Road to Get to the OTHER SIDE

Yes, it is true...I am taking a break from writing about my confessions, somewhat ironically at the one in which I write about how I switch around from directions in life easily.  I am switching to a tangent today, but I will get back to using my "bad stuff" in a few days...

What makes a "Christian" a real Christian?  Can I just say I am one because I live in a country that is "more Christian" than any other religion?  Can I say that I am a Christian because I believe that Jesus Christ existed?  What if I throw in that I believe He is the Son of God who died and came back from the dead?  Am I a Christian if I get baptized?  What if I say I believe all of the above, more or less, AND I go to church EVERY Sunday morning unless I am sick?  Okay, I've got it...I said some "magic words" that a pastor told me to say so that I wouldn't have to go to hell, a place of "fire and brimstone," that would do it...right?  I could be a Christian because my parents grandparents are....their parents before them...and even my aunts and uncles...  

I heard something the other day on the radio that 93% of people in America say they are a "Christian."  Interesting statistic I think...I wasn't paying attention to the report until I heard that statistic.  I thought, "What? Seriously? That Many?"  I am imagining a poll with fill in the bubble answers for a question like, "Which of these 4 religions/faiths/beliefs do you consider yourself most aligned with?" with answers like.... A) Voodoo; B) Satanist; C) Christian; and D) Neo-Nazis.  How else could you get 93%?  That statistic got me thinking that my definition of "Christian" is probably not the same as some people.  

There is a song by a Christian artist named Matthew West that starts out like this, "I don't wanna go through the motions.  I don't wanna go one more day without Your all-consuming passion inside of me."  Do the words in that song sound like you?  What about a song by my favorite band, Third Day, with words that go like this, "Please take from me my life when I don't have the strength to give it away to You, Jesus," does that sound like your heart's cry?  Or what about the words from Phil Wickham's song, "Cannons," that go like this, "It's falling from the clouds, a strange and lovely sound, I hear it in the thunder and the rain. It's ringing in the skies like cannons in the night, the music of the universe plays. You are holy, great, and mighty; the moon and the stars declare who You are. I'm so unworthy, but still You love me...forever my heart will sing of how great You are."  Do the lyrics from this song stir your heart to think about God?

I asked my daughter, Sophie, what it meant to be a Christian, and she first said, "having faith in God."  Upon further probing into her generic answer, she finally told me, "well, it means that God lives through you."  She didn't even realize how profound her words were; I think that I couldn't really describe it better than that.  If God isn't living through you, then you might not have surrendered your life to Him.  SURRENDER is the key, and that involves giving  yourself back to God.  

God created man for a relationship with him...go back to before the Garden of Eden when God said, "Let us make man in our image." That implies a likeness to God in order to have a relationship with Him.  You know about Adam and Eve sinning by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which made them realize (have knowledge) that their disobedience in eating from the tree was sin.  That separated us, mankind, from a face to face relationship with God; we were not going to be taking walks side-by-side with God like Adam and Eve did.  Fast forward thousands of years to Jesus's birth and the need for a perfect man to live and then make a sacrifice for sin so that a relationship with God could be restored. we go...a person has to accept the restored relationship with God by believing that Jesus is THE way to do that...AND...surrender their life for God to use and guide.  To have a relationship with THE GOD of universe directly infers submission to Him.  The Bible says that even demons believe, and they tremble...they do not have a personal, eternal, healthy relationship with God because they are not submitted to His will for their lives.

Let's go back to the questions above and ponder the following resolutions.  I cannot say I am a Christian solely based on my country of origin; that's like saying I am "more of a Christian" than someone from China or Iceland based on the geography of my birth.  I am not a Christian just because I believe Jesus existed; if He existed but was not the perfect sacrifice, 100% God while 100% man, it would be the same as someone being a "Justinian" because they believe some guy named Justin existed. One would most likely say that if you believe that Jesus was God's son who died and came back to life and conquered death, that you'd be a Christian....make sure you took part in surrendering your life too.  Going to church is good for learning about God and the Bible and for being with other Christians, but without the personal relationship with is just "going through the motions."  Repeating words without knowing what you are doing or because you want some insurance from going to hell is not authentic faith unless you couple your words with your heart, submitting to God's direction and guidance and lordship over your life.  Same with baptism...without the heart change to seek God, the water does not possess power in and of itself.  (I do think baptism is very important though.)     Lastly, a Christian heritage and legacy are valuable and worth so much more than we can imagine, but a "personal" relationship is just that....personal, between you and God...not you, your parents, your Christian heritage, and God.  

What would it be like if 93% of our country really were authentic Christians?  Some might be saying to their computer screen "terrible" at the thought of more "Christians" than there are right now.  Those attitudes are understandable considering the reputation Christians have for being judgmental and hypocritical.  I don't want any more Pharisaical do-gooders around me either.  If someone doesn't really want to live like Jesus and be like Jesus to others...why do so many people want to be a Christian?  Do they really want to be one, or do they just want to "fit in" somewhere?  Has Christianity become so benign that we cannot spot a poser or an impostor?  Can you see the fruit of Christian principles or virtues coming from a life of a "Christian"?  Look around you...93 out of every 100?

If you know me well, you are probably asking yourself, "what on earth happened to get Kari off on this tangent with such determined words?"  Well, you'd be right...something did happen within my spirit this week when I overheard a conversation between 2 parents at the school where my kids go, a Christian school that I LOVE and appreciate.  Nonetheless, one parent said, "I got my request granted so 'Susie' doesn't have to be in class with 'Bert' next year; he is such a troubled boy.  I want her to have a wonderful #th grade year, far away from him and his inappropriate outbursts."  To which the other parent replied, " you think if I went in and asked for the same thing, the principal would figure out that we talked?  I want 'Bonnie' to have a great year too, and I am tired of hearing that kid every morning when I walk 'Bonnie' to class.  Our kids deserve a calm year.  They behave, and we pay enough to get what we want.  Do you think I should wait a few days or longer before going into 'Mrs. Smith' to ask to be away from 'Bert' next year?"   My mind was at a loss for words.  I found my face contorting into a look of astonishment, slightly shaking my head as I walked behind the 2 parents.  Shameful...I am so, so tired of this attitude in Christian schools, churches, Bible studies, outreaches, etc.  Martin Luther says it very well, "the curses of the ungodly are more pleasing to God's ears than the hallelujahs of the pious."  

What better place for "Susie" and "Bonnie" to practice being radical in their Christian faith and being like Jesus than in a Christian school where they would have other students and teachers to support and encourage them as they reach out and love a troubled student, one of "the least of these"??????  Those parents' conversation bothered me, still bothers me.  I just never think of Jesus acting or talking like that. 

Bruce Main in Why Jesus Crossed the Road:

"Beyond Rules and Toward becomes like any other social group- providing identity within a community of peers with certain expectations and rules. Whenever we cross the road to someone who doesn't live by our group's standards- like a foulmouthed exotic dancer- our place in the group is questioned. Some might say, 'These people are dangerous. They could corrupt you.'  But before we pretend she doesn't exist and hide behind our newspapers or keep our eyes glued to the games on our iPhones, perhaps we need to look more closely at Jesus. Jesus was never stopped in his tracks by what those who maintained the moral and religious codes in his community thought. Whether Jesus was deemed in or out with the religious establishment was of little consequence to him. Jesus' primary motivation was to demonstrate the love and acceptance of God t all people. His identity was defined by his relationship to God, not by the reactions of his peers. His freedom allowed him to challenge the teaching and beliefs that many held to be sacred. It allowed Him to cross the road." P.65 
*My thought: Jesus chose the repentant foulmouthed, thieves, and adulterers for company over the religious leaders.

"The Danger of Indifference...Weisel (a Romanian Jew, Holocaust survivor) believes 'that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it is indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it is indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it is indifference. Indifference is the enemy.' Indifference for Weisel means living in a state of not caring. Sometimes we have to cross the road to break our habits of callous indifference" P.122
*My interpretation: Don't be indifferent to little boys who have problems.

What makes a "Christian" a real Christian? Wanting a personal relationship with God, believing that can only happen because of Jesus, trusting in that saving grace, and letting God help you live like Jesus did by submitting to let Him guide you.  Christianity isn't following rules or living in a "spiritual bubble."  Christianity will cost something, and it could be hard.  Remember not to build walls to close yourself off in a "box of Christianity-free Christianity."  Remember Jesus standing by the woman in the Bible who was caught in adultry...John 8:6-7 says, "But Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, 'All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!'"  Let's NOT throw stones at each other; instead let us show we are Christians by the LOVE that comes out of us toward others, even others who cause "problems."