Thursday, 27 November 2014

Children Are NOT a Distraction

Children are not a distraction from more important work.
They are the most important workC.S. Lewis
They are the most important workC.S. Lewis

Friday, 21 November 2014

Human Love Will Never Be Enough

As Christians we are often surprised to discover that we are not as Christian as we suppose. Many attitudes from secular society lurk deep in our minds and hearts. Our attitudes to love and friendship are no exception.
Do you find yourself waiting secretly for your knight in shining armour to whisk you off your feet so you can live happily ever after?
Or for a wonderful woman to lift off your depression and sense of aimlessness?
Although we laugh at such ridiculous fantasies as the stuff of naïve, lovesick teenagers, we all must face the deep temptation within ourselves to ask our partner to fulfill all of our needs.
Most of us are not conscious of this tendency which propels us to seek out our soul mate, someone to complete us and make us whole. The stark truth is that nothing outside of ourselves will ever fill that hollow place within us, not money, not cars, nor beautiful homes, nor relaxing vacations. Nothing outside of ourselves can complete us.
Depending on someone else to complete or make you happy just doesn’t work.
When someone puts unrealistic demands on us, even if we love them and desperately want to fill their emptiness, we will always fail. A natural instinct of survival is to pull back. If we force ourselves to comply, we become suffering victims, scapegoats, resentful and bitter.
You cannot save anybody who passively expects you to fulfill the role of savior. Period. The most loving thing is an AA kind of response to addictive behavior, and let them fall down. Then, there is hope that they will face themselves, take themselves on and begin that inner journey.
I will leave you with this image. One partner is at the bottom of a well, sitting passively. The other partner is leaning down the well as far as they can, dangling a rope in front of their beloved. Only problem is that this particular loved one has vaseline on their hands.
Only God can save any of us. Only Christ can save us from ourselves, from wounding each other, and only the Holy Spirit, living deep in our souls, can satisfy our hearts craving for love.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Celebrating Individuality Not Conformity

Grace was a unique child with amazing concentration. While four-year-old little boys were struggling to print or draw, my second youngest daughter would cover sheets of paper with tiny intricate drawings at 18 months old. Once she drew at least fifty tiny “eyes” while she stood on a chair and leaned over a piece of paper, for half an hour. We bought her a chalkboard for Christmas, just before she turned two. Grace was so oblivious to everything but her art that she kept drawing her little designs off the chalkboard in a line on the wall and kept going around the corner. We laughed so hard at that example of her quiet passion.
How did this toddler fall asleep?
Why by cutting tiny triangles out of magazines until she passed out, child proof plastic scissors still in her hand. I’d gently remove the scissors and cover her with a baby quilt. Once a week I’d sweep up a whole overflowing dustpan of tiny triangles! When I called Grace to help around the house when she was a little older, she’d be so absorbed in a craft or art work that she would not even hear me.
When Grace was a newborn, her hair was thick, black and stood straight up on end. Her eyes were huge and very dark brown. Actually, Grace was comical looking because her eyes literally popped out in a constant look of surprise. Those eyes seemed to study everyone and everything. Her hair became brown with gorgeous blond highlights that looked like she had streaked her hair but she still has those big, brown eyes that study everything. One day at a store, she caught a glimpse of a girl and thought,
“Wow, does she ever have huge eyes!”
A second later, Gracie realized that she was looking at her own reflection.
My daughter really marched to her own tune as a child. I am grateful that our lack of extra cash gave her the freedom and opportunity to discover and develop her talents on her own. We did not force her to join team sports or go to brownies; we let her enjoy what she loved to do, read and draw. As a result , she is a philosophy/religious studies major and a gifted artist who still wears a tiny smile of contentment as she draws and paints.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Those Bothersome Bugs

Once again the school had sent notes home about another outbreak of head lice but of course I was confident that we had never had and never would get lice. Over the phone, the school secretary asked me to check Rachel’s head. Since she was in morning kindergarten, Rachel had missed the head check that afternoon. It seems that lice epidemics thrive in the younger grades and slowly spread through the entire school.
I laughed and said, “I just washed her hair last night; I really don’t think she has any but I’ll check anyway.”
I called Rachel over to a bright window, parted her hair and peered closely at her scalp. Her head was literally crawling with bugs! After screaming shrilly, I picked up the phone again only to hear the secretary say,
“I guess that is a ‘yes’, Mrs. Juneau.”
I was mortified; Rachel’s head was covered and another daughter saw a bug crawling on her forehead in a mirror at school!! I get itchy just remembering Lice Week. Of course, the school assured me that lice like clean hair but that did not reassure me at all. In the end, all Rachel’s siblings had at least a couple of nits. No one could return to school until they were completely lice and nit free.
Do you have any idea the work that faced us?
In those days health nurses and doctors told us to wash all bedding, favourite stuffed animals, throw pillows, afghans, towels, combs, hair brushes and hair accessories, hats, mitts, scarves, sweaters, clothes, pyjamas and house coats and finally both sets of snowsuits (the good set and the farm set). In addition, it was necessary to vacuum Chesterfields, chairs, rugs and anything touched by a head of hair. Those directions amounted to almost 60 loads of laundry! I filled a bathtub almost to the ceiling with stuff I had to wash. I solemnly swear, I do not exaggerate but that was not the hardest job in the next few days.
I had to wash ten heads of hair with awful smelling shampoo, then comb out every nit with vinegar and a special fine-tooted steal comb. Are you familiar with the saying, ‘oh quit nit -picking’? Well, it takes on a whole new meaning after you’ve tried to pull every sticky nit off single strands of hair on eleven heads.
So what does a slightly paranoid, overwhelmed mother do? She arranges everyone according to age and size to simultaneously check each others’ head. At least that helped with the more obvious eggs.
However, I was given a wonderful gift. A couple of my kids became expert nit pickers. The best nit pickers were the detail oriented offspring, who were slightly obsessive-compulsive; I grew to treasure that particular weakness during the next couple of weeks because one overlooked nit could explode into hundreds of offspring in a matter of days. Now that could cause a nightmare!
I wished I could say that this episode was the one and only “Battle of the Bugs” our family endured but kindergarten classes are notorious hotbeds for lice; the kids are always head to head examining something utterly fascinating with friends.
At least the next time lice hopped on a Juneau head we were battle ready.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Curiosity, Entertainment and Learning

Walt Disney was a refreshing  philosopher who expressed wonderful wisdom with a touch of whimsy.
  • I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.
  • When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do

    I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversify and never miss an angle

    Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty

All you’ve got to do is own up to your ignorance honestly, and you’ll find people who are eager to fill your head with information.

The American child is a highly intelligent human being characteristically sensitive, humorous, open-minded, eager to learn, and has a strong sense of excitement, energy, and healthy curiosity about the world in which he lives. Lucky indeed is the grown-up who manages to carry these same characteristics into adult life. It usually makes for a happy and successful individual.