Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

Finishing Well

My six year old is done with kindergarten. The only problem is there are three weeks left. Everyday he ask if I can check him out early. For the first time all year he cried today and said he didn’t want to go. I know this is all normal. He’s had a great school year and I’m proud of how well he has done. He is just ready for a nice long break.
I have to admit I am right there with him. I am done too. I don’t want to pack any more lunches, oversee anymore lame kindergarten homework assignments, or get three kids out the door first thing in the morning, I want to spend our days jumping on the trampoline and playing in the pool. I want to spend our evenings watching Braves games and catching fire flies. However, that is not an option. For three more weeks we must get up, go to school and do our best. The last part is what I am hoping to help him learn ( even if it is just a little). I want him to learn the importance of not quitting when there is still work to be done. I want him to learn to finish well. I have to admit I struggle with this. I am an excellent starter, not always such a great finisher. So it is my hope over the next three weeks to help him learn the joy in finishing a job well. The pride that comes with knowing you gave your all until the task was finished. He job is kindergarten and I want him to finish it strong not because I am worried about his academic standing but because I want him to know that he persevered. Then come May 22 at 3:20 in the afternoon we will party like crazy!

How do you help your kids finish well?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

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What Not to Say to a Parent of A Child With A Chronic Condition

I have seen and read a lot of articles/list on “Things not to say to…” mother of an only child, parents of biracial children, etc. I have found these list at time humors (because who would say some of these things ) and often insightful because they remind me that I’m not walking anyone else’s parenting journey and they are not walking mine. So here is my contribution:

Things not to say to a parent of a child with a chronic illness or condition:

1. Have you tried..,,
We know you mean well and that you are just trying to help, but when dealing with a chronic condition your head is swimming. There is so much information out there that it becomes overwhelming. Now, that being said if you or your child has the same or a similar condition and have found something that works then yes I want to hear from you!

2. Are you sure all of that medicine is good for her?
Trust me when I tell you that something inside of me sinks with every time I give my daughter her medicines. I see the immediate side effects of her albuterol when she is standing on the entertainment center hugging the television. I have sat through many prednisone induced meltdowns. I have also though watched her sit down on the playground because she can no longer play because her coughing is so strong. My husband and I have held her for countless nights while she is unable to sleep because of her coughing. We made the very hard decision to remover her from the preschool she loved because she could not stay healthy. So for now I will keep a watchful eye on her medicines but give them to her with hopes of improving her quality of life.

3.It’s just a cold…
For a child with asthma (and I would imagine other chronic illnesses) there is no such thing as just a cold. A “cold” for us last two-three weeks. It involves breathing treatment 4-6 times a day for a week after all symptoms are gone. It means not sleeping.

Which brings us to the last one:

4 You know you can’t insulate her forever….
I think this one stings the most for a couple of reasons. First, I know I’ve said it and thought it before I was parenting a child with asthma. Parenting is nothing if not a lesson in humility. Second, I am an extrovert and so is my daughter. We thrive on being out with people. We like to make friends and go places. Staying home does not come home easy to us. We have had to learn to stay home more. We have had to learn that for now there are some places that just don’t work for us because the germ factor is high. We found an amazing indoor play place last winter that we all loved. However after about 4 visits I realized she was sick and the asthma would flare up within 48 hours of being there. So if you plan a birthday party at one of these places I am sorry but Maggie and I won’t be there.

So what can you say or do?
Be understanding when we have to cancel plans. Asthma can flare up without notice and sometimes we have to cancel at the last minute. Trust us we do not want to. Keep asking us though because it can feel very isolating being home with a sick child and it s nice to know people care about us. Winter is over and the pollen will be gone soon, so hopefully we will re enter the world for the summer and we will be looking for playdates. Not at indoor bouncy places though.

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I Can’t Get It Out Of My Head

Have you ever had the experience where you find yourself running into the same thing over and over. Maybe a quote, or a song, or a passage of scripture? It becomes something you can’t get out of your head. For the last year there has been a verse of the Bible that has come up again and again. Honestly before last spring I don’t ever remember reading or hearing the verse. Now I seem to be coming across it on a regular basis. Here is the verse:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Wow, what a verse! Now, I have to admit I do not know a lot about Micah, his book, or exactly what was going on with the people of Israel at this time. I know that at one point in my many Old Testament classes in college I probably did but 15 years and 3 children later that information is gone. So I have decide to study this book of the Old Testament for awhile. I also want to unpack what the words in this verse mean. What does it mean to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”? I am hoping studying the rest of the book will give me more context on how to fit these actions together.

I would love to know what this verse says to you. What do you think it means to do those three things.

Here are a few other translations of the verse. I especially like The Message’s translation.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. (Micah 6:8 MSG)

He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 CEB)

The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” (Micah 6:8 CEVUK00)

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