20 March 2016

posted 17 Mar 2016, 22:42 by C S Paul
20 March 2016

Quotes to Inspire
  • "Giving is the greatest way to receive." – Rick Beneteau
  • "It is easy to be wise after the event." – Proverb
  • "The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment." – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • When we ask of the Lord cooly, and not fervently, we do as it were, stop His hand, and restrain Him from giving us the very blessing we "pretend" that we are seeking. - Charles Spurgeon
  • When we get full of this grace we want to see every one blessed--we want to see all the churches blessed, not only all the churches here, but in the whole country. That was the trouble with Christ's disciples. He had hard work to make them understand that His gospel was for every one, that it was a stream to flow out to all nations of the earth. They wanted to confine it to the Jews, and He had to convince them that it was for every living being. - D.L. Moody
  • The Lord has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast. - John Calvin
  • Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." – Robert F. Kennedy
  • "The worlds of thought and action overlap. What you think has a way of becoming true." – Roger von Oech
  • "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting." – Brian Tracy
  • "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." – Norman MacEwan
If I Could Do It All Over Again 

Raising kids is an on-the-job education. Too bad we don't start out with half the expertise we pick up along the way.
I started writing about parenting 19 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, Audrey. Last June, she graduated from high school. Charlie, my middle child, recently entered high school. Willy, the baby, will be joining his brother next year.

None of this means my days of parenting are over. I remember when my kids were six, two, and two weeks old, and how I'd sometimes took with envy at mothers and fathers whose children were the same Age as mine are now. But I've since learned that my presence is just as necessary to my teenagers these days as it was when I was changing their diapers and getting up in the middle of the night.

I wasn't mistaken that life with older kids is physically less taxing and filled with more freedom and independence for the parent-not to mention the child. What I hadn’'t realized was that it would still be emotionally and intellectually demanding to have these three people, whose expanded world had become so interesting and complex, in my life. I hadn't anticipated what it would feet like to have my three beloved children reach the age where their heartbreaks could no longer be repaired with a hug and five minutes on my lap or their desires satisfied by a $2.99 plaything from Toys "R" Us.

For most of you who read these pages, the stage of parenthood I've reached is still a long way off. But be advised: You'll get here sooner than you think. As endless as the days seem now when you're rereading for the millionth time the page where Curious George gets a new bicycle-you'll wake up one morning wishing you could relive them.

Because I can't revisit those days, this will be my last reflection on parenting for this column. And because my kids have either left or are leaving childhood, it seems appropriate to look back and assess the long term implications of all the little short-term choices I've made as a parent.

One thing that stands out about raising young children is how little opportunity there is to step back to examine the big picture. A parent rarely has the luxury of taking the time to make sense of what worked and what didn't. In many cases, those things that we once considered so incredibly important now seem, with the benefit of hindsight, equally insignificant.

And although I'm certainly proud of the job my children's father and I have done raising them, you can't help but recognize what you might have done better. So how would I have done things differently if I were just now beginning to raise my first child instead of seeing her off to college?

Maybe it was because my husband and I had so little money the year Audrey was born, but back then I cared an inordinate amount about the trappings that go along with having a baby. I used to walk through fancy stores stocked with baby layettes and tiny smocked dresses, wishing I could buy them. When my mother sent me a birthday check, I raced right out and bought an expensive mobile to hang over our not-yet born infant's crib.

These days, I'd have less difficulty coming up with the money for baby clothes and toys. Oddly enough, though, I'd be far less interested in buying them. And I'm not just talking about the baby stuff. Most of us buy much more for our children than they need. More, even, than is good for them. I know I did. My newborn daughter would have been just as delighted with a bunch of measuring spoons and interesting scarves over her crib. I could have played her my favorite Irish folk records instead of buying a half dozen lullaby tapes.

Not that any of these purchases caused my children emotional distress down the line. Toys made them happy, and that made me happy, too. But, in effect, I was establishing a pattern, modeling a way of life. And that model was based on consumption and acquisition.

Another consequence of giving our kids too much is that-it raises their expectations. The more a child has, the more she wants. Carried to an extreme, a parent's overzealous buying habits can actually inhibit a child's ability to entertain herself or make her feel as though life just isn't worth living without that coveted item of the minute.

If I had the past 19 years to do over, I'd focus on a very different lesson: You can get by with very little. The most important thing is what's inside yourself.

Some of the times that I feel best about as a parent have been those my children spent with me, and with their father, exploring the natural world-camping, hiking, riding bikes. Likewise, I realize that some of our very best adventures centered around making our own toys building forts, sewing doll clothes, constructing doll house furniture. All these things taught our kids valuable lessons about finding joy in simple ways.

In retrospect, I'd also spend less time with my vacuum cleaner and more time with my children. It's so easy to continuously pick up after kids-and feel frazzled as a result. When Charlie was in second grade, his teacher had the class put together a little book for Mother's Day, titled My Mom, in which each child was asked to write a description of his mother. When I opened the book to Charlie's page, I read: "My mom cleans our house a lot."

This was not, in fact, the whole story of Charlie's life with me. But for my son to perceive me this way, I couldn't avoid the conclusion that my priorities were off base. "Do you realize," my daughter asked me a while back, "that the majority of our worst fights have been about housework?"
She was right. But some of those arguments were important, because they dealt with respecting a parent's time and energy and learning personal responsibility. Children need to learn to look after themselves, to take care of the house and pets, and make their own meals at times. It's not good for parents-or our children-when we do their work for them.
And I might go so far as to keep television out of the house completely. Or keep one around only for watching movies on video. Not as a baby sitter but as an occasional family event. To me, the politicians are dead wrong when they cite violent or explicit television programming as the main culprit in corrupting today's youth. The fundamental problem with television isn't what kids are viewing but how much. When a child is watching TV, she's disengaged from the world instead of involved in it.
In the spiritual realm, I didn't raise my children within a particular religion, and not having grown up with a clear set of religious convictions of my own, I don't know how it could have been otherwise. What I tried to do, and wish that Id done more of, was to make room in our lives for spiritual exploration.
In recent years, we started observing the Jewish holidays whenever we could. (My mother was a nonpracticing Jew.) Likewise, the small act of pausing to say grace before eating our dinner every night became important to my kids. I should have taken this one step further and established a pattern of prayer (whatever form it might take), which offers comfort to a child. Id also set up a routine of contributing, regularly and consistently, to our community and the world beyond, and not just, during the holiday season.

Our family was fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling together over the years-sometimes to distant and exotic places, more often a simple road trip a few miles from home. And although the places we visited were important, even more significant were the lessons we learned about each other. Leaving home-getting away from familiar territory and the distractions of work, friends, television, and ringing phones-focuses our lives. In just two weeks on the road, I'd see my children grow more than I might in a full two months at home. And because of that, I wish we'd gone even more places together.

Like most parents, I think I've done a decent job of meeting my kids' needs. On the other hand, recognizing the importance of balancing my needs with theirs was much harder. For years I was so preoccupied with taking care of them that I neglected myself. From the age of 23 to nearly 35, 1 drove my children to their sporting events, then sat on a bench waiting for them, without ever playing tennis or taking a dance lesson or going to a gym myself. And because of those small deficits, accumulated over long periods of time, I constantly carried around a sense of martyrdom and frustration.

If I were to name my single greatest regret about my approach to parenthood, it would be that I tried to be perfect. Needless to say, I didn't succeed. But the sheer effort of trying was enough to take away a lot of the fun. And fun is something it's easy for parents to lose sight of. Which is a shame, because raising young children should be tons of fun.

Having grown up in a family where way too much anxiety existed, I brought to my own mothering the desire to spare my children that feeling. I didn't want them to have to experience even the small disappointments of birthday party invitations that didn't arrive, not winning the baseball game, not getting to wear the prettiest dress.

I tried to protect them and was often successful, but no parent can ever succeed in shielding her children from the real sorrows life delivers. And recently, I've realized that as much as I love my children, I wouldn't want them to experience life without disappointment or hardship or grief. I've come to realize that adversity actually makes a person compassionate and strong. I now understand that there's no avoiding disappointment, no way to control your child's universe. And it's just as well.

These days, when I watch my son get defeated at a tennis tournament or tell my daughter that we can't afford a college that doesn't provide scholarships, what seems most important is not to make my children's lives perfect or spare them pain but to raise them to be strong in the face of life's inevitable roadblocks.

I believe my three children are happy people today, because they carry an internal sense of well-being that's dependent on no person or thing but only on their own strong identity. I plan to be around to mother my kids for many years to come. But it's reassuring to know that they could get along without me. And that, of course, is what all parents are trying to accomplish.
Joyce MAYNARD is a contributing editor of PARENTING and the publisher of the quarterly newsletter Domestic Affairs (P.O. Box 1135, Keene, NH 03431;
A foot has no nose
 "African Wisdom" by Ellen K. Kuzwayo

Of the many interactions I had with my mother those many years ago, one stands out with clarity. I remember the occasion when mother sent me to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed me to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. I was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.

The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. I did not manage to conceal my feelings from my mother and, after serving the group, she called me to the veranda where she usually sat to attend to her sewing and knitting.

Looking straight into my eyes, she said "Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?" Despite my attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for my alleged behaviour, mother, giving me a firm look, said ""Lonao ga lo na nko" - "A foot has no nose". It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.

Had I denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in my travels some time in the future, I found myself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame me, mother continued: "Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe". The literal meaning: "A person is a person because of another person".

Faith of the Apostles

The disciples of Jesus gave their lives for the preaching of the gospel.


This will serve as a reminder that our personal and business sufferings are minor... compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty the Apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ faced in those times... because of their undying Faith.

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Died in  Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic "Book of Revelation" on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa  in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

Just "The Leader" of the church in Jerusalem, he was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during "The Temptation."

James the Great 
Son of Zebedee, James was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Also known as Nathaniel, he was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

He was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at  Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

This is an important message for all Christians, and a testament of faith for all others. Through out  history, Christianity has proven to be the most loving, giving and profoundly devout religion known to man.

Did you know ?
  • The human body has less muscles in it than a caterpillar.
  • As the earth turns, the stars come back to the same place in the night sky every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds. This is a sidereal day (star day).
  • When Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon for the first time, he said these famous words: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
  • From the moon, astronauts brought back 380 kg of Moon rock.
  • During the moon landing, a mirror was left on the Moon’s surface to reflect a laser beam which measured the Moon’s distance from the Earth with amazing accuracy.
  • The stars in each constellation are named after a Greek alphabet.
  • The brightest star in each constellation is called the Alpha Star, the next brightest Beta, and so on.
  • The distance to the planets is measured by bouncing radar signals off them and timinghow long the signals take to get there and back.
  • Your body contains enough iron to make a spike strong enough to hold your weight.
  • The surface area of a human lung is equal to that of a tennis court.
  • Most people have lost fifty per cent of their taste buds by the time they reach the age of sixty.
  • The amount of carbon in the human body is enough to fill about 9,000 'lead' pencils.
  • One square inch of human skin contains 625 sweat glands.
  • When you blush, your stomach lining also reddens.
Not Just for laughs

Appropriate Attire 

One Sunday morning an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were very worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn out old hat and an equally worn out Bible. 

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and accessories. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled at his appearance and did not attempt to hide it. 

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would. The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. 

The preacher approached the man and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church." "I did," replied the old cowboy. "If you spoke to God, what did he tell you the proper attire should be for worshiping in here?" asked the preacher. "Well, sir, God told me that He didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said He'd never been in here before."