“Stormy, however, is into delayed gratification. If on Monday she thirsts for a
root-beer float, she’ll wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to treat herself to
one. She insists that the wait makes the float taste better.”
-Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
The Old Testament is always exploring this theme: Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised and not David but his son Solomon fulfilled the promise of building the temple of the Lord.
As parents of little ones, we experience delayed gratification as well. A few times a day I catch myself looking with longing at what home life will be like a decade from now. I would like less tears, more sleep at night, and to be able to get the kids in the car without worrying about second degree burns from their car seats (am I right?!) I also look forward to the emotional maturity that will come to my children as they age, I’m excited to be able to share my favorite chapter books with them and sit on the couch and talk about their day. I want to see them love Jesus and be inspired by His love to love others.
This is where the delayed gratification part comes in. Wanting all of those thing is all well and good as dreaming is part of hope, but I can’t expect to have those things in the future without showing my kids love now. And not just hugs and kisses but love through patience, love through discipline, love through kindness. Actually, all the fruits of the spirit go here. Oh yeah, fruit, that’s how Jesus described it. What we water and tend to will grow (Matthew 13). So I need to remember that being an example of love through the little things like late night wake-up calls, temper tantrums, and hot car seats is like a deposit that hopefully I will see the interest on in their future.
I’m starting to think that this also works in the reverse: perhaps I am learning patience and kindness now so I’m prepared for the blessing of my family in the future. Every day I’m being pruned and refined for what God has next. Just when I think I’m the one doing the teaching, I learn a lesson. But then, isn’t that how parenthood always works?
I’m taking a break from my recent heavy posts on this blog to express some joy: there are new, awesome, and supernatural TV shows on primetime! And they are getting great ratings!
Let me explain. I love fiction, fantasy and the supernatural. Buffy and Angel are my favorite TV shows of all time. Why? Because anything can exist in their world. They take normal creativity and put it on crack cocaine and then see what happens. The reason I veg out and do anything whether its read a book, watch a TV show or watch a movie is to leave my real world and go someplace else. Even if it’s a non-fiction book or documentary I want it to transport me from where I am to someplace new, and often I judge how much I like something by its ability to do that.
As Chad and I were catching up on our DVR’d shows last night (DVR is the best thing, we can watch primetime shows after our little ones go to bed) we watched both the new show Grimm (NBC) and Once Upon A Time (ABC). We love them! And correct me if I’m wrong, but these are the first supernatural shows in a long time. Yes, I know The Vampire Diaries is in its third season on the CW and Supernatural has been on for who knows how long, but seeing complete fantasy shows on the big networks (like ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) is really cool for this entertainment fan. And apparently a lot of other people are happy about it too, because the shows are rocking the ratings.
I think part of the reason the networks have been afraid to put shows like these are their schedules in the past is because they’re worried that the shows will seem juvenile and be unrelatable because they’re so fictitious. But as an avid fan of Buffy and Angel I can say that this is not true, the characters in those shows are some of the richest I’ve ever seen. I think the paradox of having characters you can connect with who are set in a world you’ve never experienced brings depth to a show, separating it from other shows. Don’t get me wrong, I like ‘normal’ shows too. I loved House before it jumped the shark (come on, writing off Cameron like that?), I like Criminal Minds and Law & Order:SVU, and I love Ringer on the CW. But I can only watch cop and doctor shows for so long before I want something new. And for the first time in a long time I think we have something new! And I can’t wait to watch more.
This morning I was doing my normal blog-reading routine when something grabbed me and I had to share it. I love it when you’re floating through a normal day and then something simple smacks you, throws ice-cold water on you, and then puts a megaphone to your ear to get its message through. It shined a light on a dark thing inside me that I’ve battled, and I know it’s a common struggle so I’m voicing it here too.
It’s a blog entry at Femina. Have I mentioned how much I love this blog? I feel so inspired when I read it, especially when I read entries like this one. Nancy talks about worrying. And I am a Worrier with a capital W! I always have been, but recently it’s gotten worse and Chad and I have had many conversations about it. In the most recent one, I was complaining about a new issue that was giving me stress. At least once a week, I’ll get a letter in the mail that requires a phone call (or two, or three, or four) to sort out or an unexpected bill or something else that I let worry me. I was telling Chad that I find myself thanking God when I don’t have an unresolved issue because I know that it’s only a matter of time until another one comes. He pointed out to me that this way of thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy: I’m expecting something to come that will cause me anxiety. So not only will that thing come (because that’s life, stressful things happen) but I’m ready to worry about it. Wow!
I had convinced myself that this mindset was good. I was praising God in the good times and the bad times, right? But really I was reassuring myself that when something else arises, I will worry myself with handling it instead of trusting God. That’s what Nancy’s blog entry addresses: the “uglifying sin” of worrying. Ouch. That’s a loaded phrase. See what I mean about the smack across the face and the ice-cold water?
There’s more. She says, “Worry is antithetical to biblical femininity. It is never pretty. It sucks the joy out of our lives, disturbs our peace, and disrupts a gentle and quiet spirit.” If I could list the things that I don’t want in my home, in my family, and in my life, it would be those things. I often try to think about the legacy my kid’s childhood years will leave on the rest of their lives. When they grow up and start lives of their own (I’m trying not to tear up), what will they remember of life in our house? I definitely don’t want them to remember a mother who worried constantly and never trusted God with her troubles. What kind of example does that set for what I believe about my Savior? That He can’t handle the piece of paper I get in the mail? That He isn’t bigger than a hospital bill? He is bigger than all of those things, and it’s about time that I start acting that way.
She quoted a bible verse that I’m going to post somewhere in my house where I can look at it often:
The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.
This is something I love about motherhood. It’s so humbling. Realizing how responsible you are for showing your children who God is makes your rough spots neon-bright, they glow in the darkest spaces. She ended her entry with a few beautiful sentences that I couldn’t word any better, so it’s going to close my blog entry as well:
“Trust is lovely. Peace is beautiful. Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you, and He cares for your kids. Don’t worry over them. Pray over them. This will cause them to draw near. Worry sets them up to pull away.”
I’ve realized that I haven’t been keeping up with my “Book Thoughts” posts for some time now. I’ve gotten quite a bit of time to read lately and I’ve loved taking advantage of it. Here are some of the books I’ve been reading lately and some thoughts on them:
This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. I finished it in one day, that’s how quickly I got into it. The mystery of what was going on propelled me to keep reading, but the development of the mystery was so thoughtfully written. You don’t find everything out all at once, it’s a kind of gentle realization that actually makes it much more dramatic, in my opinion. Tip: definitely read this book before the movie, this is a book that is much better than the movie and you don’t want the movie to spoil the mystery of the book!
I referenced her book in an earlier post and I still hope to give this book its own post soon when I have the time… it definitely deserves it! This would be my most highly recommended book to any mom out there. I want to buy this book for some of my favorite momma friends and read it all together. I haven’t read very many books on parenting other than baby books that are more for medical advice, but this is by far my favorite book I’ve read on parenting. There will (hopefully) be more to come on this one…
The Passage by Justin Cronin, fiction
I just finished this book last week, I think it’s the longest book I’ve read in a while (over 700 pages). It’s got a lot of different elements: post-apocalyptic, government conspiracy, monsters, and a little religion. My only complaint about this book isn’t even really a fair one; I had found this book on multiple “Best Horror books of 2010″ lists and so I went into it thinking it would be really scary, but I didn’t think it was. Perhaps it is and I’ve been desensitized but I was hoping for something really scary to keep me up at night (yes I’m a crazy person that loves to be scared. It’s a rush!) Something to know going into this book is that it’s best to look at it as two acts… I didn’t know that and so I was disappointed going into the second act because it was weird to go from the climax of the first act back to exposition of the second one. A great read though, creative and well-written.
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley, non-fiction
This is another book that deserves its own post, and hopefully I’ll get to that someday soon. My pastor reviewed this book on his blog, interviewed the author and said that this book would raise some huge questions about faith… and he was so right. I think this will end up being one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read. As I was reading, I was already reflecting on ways this could influence my parenting, marriage, and life for the better. This is a book I want to re-read at least every few years to soak in the wisdom. Read it with an open mind… it will challenge everything you’ve ever though about Christianity, especially if you grew up in the Church.
Bossypants by Tina Fey, non-fiction
This book was hilarious. Just a tip: read it by yourself because you will laugh out loud and people will stare at you if you’re in public. A lot of the jokes are inappropriate, so don’t read it if you don’t want something in the PG-13/R range. What made me really like this book is that it wasn’t just a funny book with some jokes, Tina Fey threads through the book some really interesting stories about being a female comedienne in a world where men usually rule. She has a lot of worthwhile things to say on feminism and women in entertainment. And she has the creepiest cover ever.
This is my least favorite book that I’ve read lately but that really doesn’t mean it’s bad, I’ve just been reading some really good books! I remember this book being really popular while I was in high school but I never read it and so I decided to read it now in my 20s, which is probably a mistake. I think this is a book written for high-schoolers that is best read by high-schoolers. It’s told entirely in a first-person format in the form of letters, which I found kind of annoying by the end. I got tired of hearing everything from the same perspective and in the same voice throughout the entire story. The voice is purposely child-like and very personal, but at the risk of sounding pretentious, I think it’s lazy writing.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, non-fiction
This is a wonderfully told memoir of growing up in poverty, but it’s not always what you’d think. What is so different about this story is how she tells it. When she is telling stories from when she was a little girl, you can’t help but feel the childlike awe and innocence towards her parents, but as she grows up you do too and you start to see the alcoholism and neglect that was there. She is a very strong person with a great story to tell. This would be great for a book club, I definitely recommend this one!
Some other books I’ve read and loved lately are The Millenium trilogy (the first book is the future film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), The Hunger Games trilogy(also future movies!), Odd Thomas (again, another future movie), and I’m currently reading The Haunting of Hill House because it’s October and I love scary stories!!
What have you been reading? I LOVE recommendations!