Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Just for Fun . . .

The job description for moms and grandmas is a long one, and includes things like “inspire-er” or “encourager” or “resource person.”
Resource person? Well, yes – even the inspire-er and the encourager need inspiration and encouragement now and then. We need to know where about resources that inspire and encourage us, so that we can inspire and encourage our families.
Here’s a fun, inspiring, encouraging site for those of us who enjoy being outdoors, who enjoy the natural world, and who want to encourage our families to enjoy those things, too.
Sharon Lovejoy has written a number of books , including Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars, that encourage exploring the natural world. Her blogsite, Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island, does the same thing on a regular basis.
Make time to visit – you’ll be inspired, encouraged, and challenged to learn and do more, and to have fun in the meantime!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Work Worth Doing . . .

Most of the work we do as wives, as moms and grandmas, is the work of a support staff.
It’s not particularly glamorous. It’s not always exciting or stimulating. It’s not usually financially rewarding.
But it is extremely satisfying.
It’s satisfying to see the long-term reward for your effort.
It can be hard in the day-to-day to see that keeping the counters wiped up and the floors vacuumed and mopped is creating a place that is clean, that smells fresh and inviting, that feels like a place your family wants to come home to.
It can be difficult in the moment-to-moment to realize that kind words, thoughtful deeds, and beautiful touches are crucial in creating the kind of home where your family feels safe and nurtured.
It can be exhausting in the long term to consider how often you will set the table for a meal, or make the beds, or load the dishwasher or the clothes washer or give the kids a bath, even though those are the things that make up the rhythms of family life, and create a foundation for your family’s health and stability.
Creating a home and family life together involves its fair share of drudgery, but it is also a work of faithfulness, a work of art, and a work of significance, and it is work worth doing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Ways to Share Your Love for Music

How do you share your love for music with your children and grandchildren?
Here are five ideas:
** Play a variety of music for your family to listen to. Change up pop and rock with a little bit of country, a little bit of classical, a little bit of sacred music.
** Experiment: be willing to listen to music you’re not familiar with. Try music your family likes. Occasionally try some music none of you have tried. Make use of radio; with internet radio stations, you can find almost any kind of music you’d like to try.
** Make music together. Sing together in the car. Have age-appropriate instruments to play – even a small child can practice rhythm with two pan lids, and older children will have fun with harmonicas, recorders, or finger cymbals. Don’t forget to join in the fun!
** Go to concerts, even if you don’t know any of the performers. From school concerts to concerts in the park, to a local concert hall – experience live music.
** Connect the music you listen to with stories of the musicians and their lives and times. Music is an integral part of history, and affects everything from the evolution of instruments to costumes and clothing. Knowing the background can enrich the music.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And Now -- This Week's Top Ten . . .

Music is multi-purpose. It moves us, it motivates us, it makes us happy.
If you had to choose the songs that would give your kids or grandkids a sense of who you are, which songs would you choose? And why?
Here are some of the songs I’d be choosing from:
** Be Thou My Vision . . . because it’s become our family hymn.
** Rocky, Rock . . . a lullaby I sang to my kids and now, sing to my grandkids; it’s a tune I made up, woven into Jesus Loves Me and Tura Lura Lura.
** Handel’s Messiah . . . yes, the whole thing, because how can you just choose one part?
** Sheep May Safely Graze, a song of home, and Home
** Beach Boys, Fun, Fun, Fun
** Holden’s Evening Prayer, especially “Let My Prayer Rise Up” . . . a foretaste of heaven when sung with people you love
** Star Spangled Banner, because I love being a citizen of this country
** Bali Hai, from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, because I always wanted to go there
** Moonlight in Vermont, because I always wanted to go there, too
** Cape Cod Bay, because I always thought I would go there
That’s just ten pieces of music, and that’s just a start. It doesn’t include anything by Johnny Cash, or Garth Brooks, or Trisha Yearwood or Alison Krause. There’s no Huey Lewis or Stevie Ray Vaughn in there, and no Yo Yo Ma. No Beatles, no Tom Petty, no Bonnie Raitt. And no Frank or Dean or Ella or Tony.
And it leaves out most of the hymnal, which is almost a category to itself.
So what would be on your list? How would you choose the music that identifies you?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ten Things for Spring . . .

We’ve been rushing the season at our house: the sidewalk chalk has already been in use. Giggling grandkids created a welcoming mural on the front sidewalk the first warm afternoon of the wishing-it-were-spring season. While a wet snow erased most of their hard work, a rainbow survived to remind us that spring really will come soon, and with it, the chance to get outside and play.

As spring warms up and family members head outdoors to play, it’s good to have some “tools” for the work of childhood: play.

Here are ten things you might want to have on hand to facilitate outdoor fun:

** sidewalk chalk.

** bubbles

** jump ropes

** jacks

** a bucket for water play, with sponges, old measuring cups, butter
tubs, or other dipping containers

** balls of all kinds and sizes

** a wagon, trikes and bikes, scooters

** outdoor games like badminton, croquet, or whiffleball

** a sandbox with sandbox toys

** a blanket or two for tent-making or star-gazing

Throw in a sense of humor and a big dash of curiosity, and everyone involved will enjoy the new season.

What's your favorite thing for spring?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Come to Dinner . . .

The front hall needs to be scrubbed, and I’m pretty sure there is an extended dust-bunny family living behind the dining room buffet. Someone – me? – needs to clean up the backyard where the dog has been. There are probably cobwebs in the corners of the living room. And while the basement certainly looks better than it did last fall, it’s also not entirely ready for guests.
Still, most of the family will be here for dinner tomorrow evening, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them.
The house won’t be perfectly in order, but then, it hardly ever is. If I waited for that to happen, no one would ever come to our house.
It’s a funny thing about hospitality – it sounds fun, at least until we begin thinking about all the getting-ready part. If we’re going to have guests, we think, we’d probably better clean up this, sort out that -- and before we know it, we’ve talked ourselves out of the whole thing.
Even – and sometimes, especially -- when it’s “just family,” we can be intimidated by what we think we need to do before we offer an invitation. And while it’s lovely to be invited into a well-kept house, it’s even lovelier to be welcomed with warmth and love.
That we can do.
Oh, I’m sure I’ll be picking up and polishing tomorrow, in between the cooking. Because I love my guests, I want to offer them the best hospitality I’m capable of.
It’s just that I know all too well it won’t be perfect. That’s all right. What will be perfect will be the laughter, the visiting, the sharing of an evening.
And that will be enough for me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Investment Advice

Although we've had a little bit of family time these past two months, it hasn't quite been the family time we'd hoped for.
Weather, flu, and extended family obligations kept us from getting together as often as we'd hoped. And while there's a lot to be said for planning, scheduling, and being pro-active, sometimes life simply doesn't cooperate, and our plans and schedules must bow to other realities.
In times like that, it's important to communicate to family members that we love them, even if we can't spend a lot of time with them at the moment. Whether it's a text, an online note or tweet, a postcard, or a quick phone call, just letting a child or grandchild -- or parent -- know we're thinking of them helps keep the connection between us in good working order.
So make that call. Write that text, or that note. Send that card.
Let them know that you love them, and that you are thinking of them.
It's one of the best investments you'll ever make.