The Beauty Mark

beauty_mark

My six-year-old granddaughter, Caitlynd, discovered a small freckle on her upper left arm and tried to scratch it off. When I asked her what she was doing, she burst out crying, “I have a thing on my arm and I can’t get if off.”

“Oh sweetheart,” I replied, scooping her up in my arms. “That’s a beauty mark. Don’t pick at it. You’re making your skin all red and it’s going to be sore.”

She stopped crying long enough to take another look at it. “It’s not a beauty mark. It’s weird and I want it off,” she replied with a huff and another outburst of tears.

I dried her tears and rocked her and did what Grammy’s often do, fly by the seat of their pants and hope they sound wise. “Each of us are born with special marks. Some of them can be seen and some of them are invisible.”

“What kind of mark is invisible?” she asked.

“Well…. a mark of kindness, a mark of generosity, even the mark of a loving heart. We can’t see them, but they are all very special marks.”

“Why can’t mine all be invisible? I don’t want one you can see,” she said, sounding very put out.

“I can see many of your special marks. Not just that one. The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, the sound of your laughter. Nobody else in the whole world has those exact things. Only you. Special marks, inside and out, are the things that make each of us different and special people.”

She didn’t buy my explanation completely, but she stopped worrying about her ‘beauty mark’ for the moment and promised to stop scratching at it. She jumped of my lap, pulled the book ‘Pinnochio’ out of her overnight bag and asked me to read it to her.

The next morning, Caitlynd came running into the kitchen. “I LIKE my beauty mark Grammy!” I was delighted by her change of heart and relished the feeling of having a ‘proud Grammy’ moment. She jumped into my husband’s lap. “I have a beauty mark Papa. Want to see it?”

“I sure do,” my husband laughed.

“I didn’t like it before, but now I do.”

“Grammy told me how sad you were when you found your beauty mark. What changed your mind?” my husband asked, giving me a wink.

“I had a dream that I was telling a whole bunch of lies and every time I told a lie my beauty mark would grow. And it growed and growed and growed all the way down to the ground and I stepped on it by accident and it hurt really bad and Grammy said, “I told you not to pick at it”.”

Ousted by a little wooden puppet!

My puffed-up ‘Grammy moment’ disappeared and a kitchen full of laughter took its place.
1 Pet 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

 

Is 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

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Tablecloth Stains

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“I was four for a second, but now I am five,” my friend Cathie’s 5-year-old told a new friend a few days after his fifth birthday.

Those words express the feelings of so many parents, especially at this time of year. We had a wide-eyed baby for a second. We blinked and had a little girl who wanted to be a princess when she grew up. Faster than the wave of a wand our princess was a student and a tennis player and, oh my, she walked into the gymnasium last night with her high school classmates, wearing a mortarboard.

On the morning after our daughter’s graduation and her party I’m up early, gingerly walking on a kitchen floor sticky with cake crumbs and bits of frosting. Trash bags are overflowing. But the serving platters are washed, and, surrounded by several unopened presents, I see the beginnings of her thank you list on the kitchen table. After I had collapsed into bed, I heard her, working late, trying to put some semblance of order into a house that showed all the after effects of celebration.

I turn towards the dining room. Then I wince — not because of the crumpled blue and gold napkins and a few dirty plates — but because I see a kitchen towel attempting to blot a seeping red punch stain on my beige lace tablecloth. My heart sinks. Will I ever be able to use my favorite tablecloth again?

I regret the loss.

But then another part of me says wait a minute… take comfort in the fact that the stain will be a reminder of a very happy night. A time when the house was bursting with proud adults and lively kids.

The stain, I tell myself, will be a reminder of laughter and good times. And it will be a silent testimony to the fact that kids leave their mark on the world, in more ways than one! They mean well, and they’ll do well.

Every bit of common sense says hurry, get that tablecloth soaking. Try to get rid of the red so we can use it again at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Carefully, I take the tablecloth upstairs and soak it with Biz, the way my mother-in-law taught me. While making suds I review the things I have saved over the years. The things I cherish are not without stain or blemish. I gave away most of the party perfect dresses and suits. I have saved threadbare blankets and favorite T-shirts and sundresses. The books I treasure are the ones with tattered pages and worn out spines. The three dolls I tucked away look ready for toy heaven.

The rest of the family sleeps while the tablecloth soaks and I write. We have two graduates and two more to come. Time is going fast. I can’t stop the clock, but I can put my thoughts on paper so that these moments don’t slip away forever.

After about an hour I check the tablecloth. The red is fading. In fact, it is almost gone, and it looks like the tablecloth will be perfect again.

As I gently stretch the fabric and lay it out to dry, I see no evidence of punch, no sign of a party in the intricate lace design. But I know that when I get the tablecloth out next Thanksgiving, I’ll search again for the stain’s dim outline.

And I’ll remember… these precious seconds.

 
Ps 25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy Remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.
Ps 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. (Count: 2)

 

Remember, We’re Raising Children, Not Flowers!

kids_not_flowers

David, my next-door neighbor, has two young kids ages five and seven. One day he was teaching his seven-year-old son Kelly how to push the gas-powered lawn mower around the yard. As he was teaching him how to turn the mower around at the end of the lawn, his wife, Jan, called to him to ask a question. As David turned to answer the question, Kelly pushed the lawn mower right through the flower bed at the edge of the lawn – leaving a two-foot wide path leveled to the ground!

When David turned back around and saw what had happened, he began to lose control. David had put a lot of time and effort into making those flower beds the envy of the neighborhood. As he began to raise his voice to his son, Jan walked quickly over to him, put her hand on his shoulder and said, “David, please remember, we’re raising children, not flowers!”

Jan reminded me how important it is as a parent to remember our priorities. Kids and their self-esteem are more important than any physical object they might break or destroy. The window pane shattered by a baseball, a lamp knocked over by a careless child, or a plate dropped in the kitchen are already broken. The flowers are already dead. I must remember not to add to the destruction by breaking a child’s spirit and deadening his sense of liveliness.

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Only One Childhood

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I stopped to watch my little girl busy playing in her room. In one hand was a plastic phone; in the other a toy broom. I listened as she was speaking to her make believe little friend And I’ll never forget the words she said, even though it was pretend.

She said, “Suzie’s in the corner cuz she’s not been very good. She didn’t listen to a word I said or do the things she should.” In the corner I saw her baby doll all dressed in lace and pink. It was obvious she’d been put there to sit alone and think.

My daughter continued her “conversation,” as I sat down on the floor. She said, “I’m all fed up, I just don’t know what to do with her anymore? She whines whenever I have to work and wants to play games, too. She never lets me do the things that I just have to do?

She tries to help me with the dishes, but her arms just cannot reach… And she doesn’t know how to fold towels. I don’t have the time to teach. I have a lot of work to do and a big house to keep clean. I don’t have the time to sit and play — don’t you know what I mean?”

And that day I thought a lot about making some changes in my life; As I listened to her innocent words that cut me like a knife. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to what I hold most dear. I’d been caught up in responsibilities that increased throughout the year.

But now my attitude has changed, because, in my heart, I realize… I’ve seen the world in a different light through my little darling’s eyes. So, let the cobwebs have the corners and the dustbunnies rule the floor, I’m not going to worry about keeping up with them anymore.

I’m going to fill the house with memories of a child and her mother… For we are granted only one childhood, and we will never get another.

Credit: Unknown

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Memos from Your Child

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*This one is for the kids…or should I say, the kid in all of us….? -Moraldiplomat

Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for … I’m only testing you….sorta 🙂

Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it .. it makes me feel more secure.

Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk to me in private.

Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are unforgivable sins. It upsets my sense of values.

Don’t be too upset if I say “I hate you.” It isn’t that I hate you, but only that I need your attention.

Don’t protect me from consequence. Sometimes I need to learn the hard way.

Don’t take too much notice of my small ailment. Sometimes they get me the attention I want- LOL. 🙂

Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf. :p

Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.

Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always accurate.

Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.

Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose my faith in you.

Don’t put me off when I ask you questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.

Don’t tell me my fears are stupid. They are terribly real to me and you can encourage me to be brave.

Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.

Don’t ever think it beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm to you.

Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me but please try. 🙂

Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t get along without it, so please put up with it.

Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of love. But I don’t need to tell you all the time, do I?

Sorry, no news today…..maybe later 😉

 

I Want to be Possible

possible

The teacher asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up. A chorus of responses came from all over the room.

“A football player,” “A doctor,” “An astronaut,” “The president,” “A fireman,” “A teacher,” “A race car driver.”

Everyone that is, except Tommy.

The teacher noticed he was sitting there quiet and still.

So she said to him, “Tommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Possible” Tommy replied.

“Possible?” asked the teacher.

“Yes,” Tommy said. “My mom is always telling me I’m impossible. So when I get to be big, I want to be possible.”

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I Took a Piece of Plastic Clay (Poem)

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I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day-
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past
The bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it, still it bore,
And I could change that form no more!

I took a piece of living clay,
And gently fashioned it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone:
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could fashion it never more.

There are several things to be gleaned from this…what does it mean for you?
Ps 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Is 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Job 33:6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.