Category Archives: Healthy Relationships

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves!

After seven years in Estes Park, where we were surrounded by ponderosa pines, we are again experiencing the joys of living among deciduous trees down here in the south Denver area.

We’ve had a beautiful fall and it’s been wonderful to walk along tree-lined streets and hear the crunch of the leaves underfoot. Reminds me of my childhood.

But now comes the part I dread. Raking up the leaves and stuffing them inside big black plastic bags.

Actually, I can’t do that job because my back has been acting up.

So it’s Bruce’s job. We have a leafblower/leafsucker machine. He goes every day and sucks about two or three bag-fulls of the orange leaves.

Then the next day, he has to start all over again.

One of the mundane things we all must face. Like doing dishes, cooking meals, cleaning the toilets, commuting to work.

Day after day after day.

Remember the movie “Click”?

The main character gets so sick of doing the same things every day that he finds a way to use a clicker to fast-forward past all the boring stuff. But then, before he knows it, his kids have grown up, his wife has gotten a divorce and remarried, and he realizes that he’s missed most of the truly valuable times in his life.

The little things, like massaging his wife’s back, listening to his children, spending average, ordinary minutes doing ordinary things.

The movie had a great message. Live in the now. Enjoy ordinary moments. Because years from now you’ll wish you could re-live those times.

There are times when I wish I could go back in time, just for one day, and re-live being a mom to my three kids. Just sitting at the dining room table, playing cards, or talking about school. Tucking them into bed. Reading them a story. Saturday morning pancakes. The Sunday rush to get ready for church.

Such wonderful moments. I was grateful for those times. But if I’d known how much I would miss those moments now, I think I would have savored them even more.

I hope you truly live in the now.

Most of us are in such a rush to more on to the next big exciting event in our lives.

Don’t “click” past the now.

Savor the “leaves.”


Building Connections

When my children were very young I had the opportunity to talk to my older cousin, Ingrid, whose three boys were teenagers and young adults.

I was impressed by how affectionate and close all of the family members were. So I asked her:

“How do you do it?”

She said, “Just talk. Them talking, me listening. Me talking, them listening.

Talk about your day,

talk about what bothered you,

what delighted you, what you learned,

what you’re currently reading, what you wonder about,

what you long for.

Ingrid also said, “Do stuff together: projects, games, sports, trips, etc.

She gave me this sage advice nearly thirty years ago. I’m sure she hadn’t envisioned a day when techy stuff would take over this culture.

Sometimes I long for the good old days when the only form of communication in the house was the phone on the wall, and a pen and stationery.

Not that cell phones and  ipads are bad. It’s wonderful to have so much info at one’s fingertips. And to have the safety and convenience of reaching our loved ones by phone where ever we are.

But these blessings sure insulate us from others.

Here are a ten suggestions for young families raising kids:

1. Have meals together, and talk. No Tech stuff or TV allowed.

2. Have your kids’ friends over and let them play in and outside the house.

3. Read to your kids. Talk about the story.

4. Play with your kids, and tell funny jokes. Talk.

5. Pick one after-school activity a week per child. One. Your child will be less stressed, and so will you. Talk about why you’re doing this.

6. Limit your children’s time on cell phones and TV. Talk about why you’re doing this.

7. Bring your kids along with you during your activities. Everything you do is a chance for them to learn about the world and about civilized community. Talk about why you’re doing this.

8. Do volunteer activities together. (This includes chores around the house.)Talk about why you’re doing this.

9. Get to know your child’s teacher(s) and stay informed about EVERYTHING he/she is learning. Talk about why you’re doing this.

10. Pray together. Talk about what the Lord means to you.

You’ll be glad you did these things early on, because once your child’s a teenager, the habit of communication is likely to continue.

It’s easy to let other influences take over your child’s life. But bear in mind that most of our culture’s problems can be boiled down to this:

1. No relationship with God

2.  bad or no relationships with others.

Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. God is all about relationships, and we should be, too.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.” (Col. 3:15, 16 The Message)