Tag Archives: children

Sweet Nine Month Old

I haven’t shared many photography sessions lately. I love taking the photos and getting them to the clients, but then things like writing and being a wife and mom and friend take up my time so sharing new sessions goes by the way side. I’m okay with that really. Today though I thought I’d share this cutie with you. Hasn’t he grown? I’m excited about his one year old session in a few months.

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Timid

As the children work quietly at their desks I notice him. The quietest among in the room of sixteen little souls. I search for his name on the roll. Forgotten amidst the chaos of the morning. His movements timid. Almost fearful. Eyes darting up and around. Avoidance of being called upon? Perhaps.

I wonder. What experiences has his little life seen? What is home for him? Who is home for him? What makes a child almost cower like this one in front of my eyes?

So many possible reasons. Reasons I will never know. We may never know how or why someone is hurting.

How do you infuse a fearfully timid child with confidence? How do you show them how precious they are? How they have gifts and abilities? That they are fearfully and wonderfully made?

How do you speak truth into their little spirits? Make them believe in their abilities? How do you encourage them?

Just by loving them.

I will never know the background or home life of the little guy whose path I crossed. Most likely our paths will cross again, but my role is not meant to be a daily one.

Outside that sphere I will remain. Wondering. And when I pass him in the hall I’ll simply say a prayer. Not only a prayer for him, but also a prayer of thanks. Thanks for what God taught me through a timid little boy.

It’s time to jump.

As I mentioned in this post a couple of months ago, I was approached by a friend to consider beginning a Backpack Buddies program in our schools.

To be honest when she approached me I wasn’t exactly sure what she was thinking asking me. At the time I had enough going on with family that I really didn’t think much more about it.

Fast forward a few months. Summer begins. And well……God started changing my heart about it.

Could I really do this? Could God really use little me to begin this here in our small town? I have no experience in beginning a program like this. I have never liked being in charge of anything. (Okay there is that exception of bossing my sister around when we were young.)

I really wasn’t sure. But again and again this need kept coming to my mind.

And then this verse:

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place……………And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14.

Maybe. Just maybe.

So I began. Ever so slowly I began. Researching. Contacting a program like this in the Birmingham area. Speaking with the principle and superintendent.  Asking a friend with more experience in volunteer work to help me. Prayerfully approaching my Sunday school class to ask them to consider taking it on as a mission project.

I’m a turtle when it comes to beginning projects without a real deadline.

So here I am. I will be introducing the program next week to the teachers at the school where we plan to begin. Making contacts to get donations. Waiting to see how many children will need this. And I’m sure many other things I have no idea about yet.

It’s all a bit overwhelming really, but here I am. Wondering where this part of my journey will take me. And with prayerful steps…..I jump.  

What about you? Have you had to say a prayer and take that jump?

Hungry Children

A few months ago I was approached by a teacher at my son's school. I consider this teacher a friend so when she approached me I know it wasn't about something she randomly thought to talk to me. We'll call her B.

B told me about a program she saw featured on the news or in a newspaper. I can't remember which. and that's not important.

The program? It's called Backpack Buddies. Basically it's an organization that collects food to send home with children whose main nourishment comes from their meals at school. As a substitute I've witnessed children taking up uneaten apples and prepackaged foods from the children who didn't eat them and then putting them in their backpack to take home.

When B talked with me about it she told me she thought I'd be a good person to start something like this in our schools. I have to be honest and admit I slid the conversation on a shelf in the back of my mind and only thought about it occasionally. We all have those things we say we'll get to when we have time.

Well, the truth is I don't have anymore time now than I did when B approached me. And let's face it I'm not going to have more time for the next 10 years or so. But the past month or so it's been weighing heavy on my heart. Our system has a high percentage of children on free and reduced lunches so it's not surprising that some probably go home needing food.

So I'm beginning to research and trying to find similar programs not too far away that I can contact to learn more about beginning a program like this.

I take this step with some trepidation.

I don't have a clue how to begin.

The thought of beginning and perhaps heading up a program like this is more than intimidating for me. (If you know me and my personality this isn't a surprise. I'm not a leader by nature unless you put me in the room with humans under the age of 10.)

How do I do this and keep a balance with work and family?

I don't want children in my town going home without food at home.

How do I get volunteers that will stick with it for the long haul? There's no way I can do this alone.

And this is the big one: What if it fails?

So here's what I'm asking my friends and blog readers: First, please pray. Second, if you know of a program like this, especially in the northern half of Alabama, the Atlanta area of even the Nashville area could you please let me know? I'm hoping to find one within a few hours that I can visit to get an idea of how one is run and how to begin.

The Moments You Know You Are Doing Something Right as a Parent

Let's face it. Parenting is a roller coaster.  And there are moments where you are just tired of the up and down motion of it all. Come on. Admit it. Parenting is exhausting. But then that feeling, that affirmation that it is all worth it, hits you.

Children don't come with a handbook. That first year is amazing. The sweet baby smell, precious coos and smiles and laughs and snuggles. The chubby cheeks and giggles. Precious.

Then something happens and you wonder what happened to your sweet precious baby whose only issue was not sleeping through the night. They start walking and  talking and not just talking, but asserting their will and independence.

As a parent you have to find that balance of enjoying their amazing personalities and discoveries while disciplining them and training them. It's not always an easy balance.

And let's face it. It's the disciplining that takes all the fun out of it. Now if you are a parent who has an easy going, always follows the rules child then my hat's off to you. I myself do not have this child.

My son is amazing, talented, intelligent, talkative and a lot of times the most downright stubborn thing on the planet. Can anyone identify? He's either going to become a talented architect or one of the best lawyers you'll ever meet. The kid can argue for hours on end.

And guiding all that is a challenge. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there are times when the shear mental game of it all is about more than I can handle. I know some of you can relate.

But then there are days when something happens and you realize that all your effort, all your mental exhaustion, is paying off. 

Yesterday was one of those days.

As I walked out of school after substituting all day with Squirt by my side I asked how his day was. "Fine" he tells me. "But something happened that I'm really upset about."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Joe (name has been changed) had told us he would be checking out. When the office called for him to check out most of the class yelled 'Yay!' "  My Squirt was so upset that most of his classmates had cheered when this child was being checked out.

Sad, right? It certainly doesn't surprise me that children can treat each other that way. We've all done something like that at one time or another. But it is disheartening for the child who gets hurt.

At the beginning of the school year Squirt had a hard time adjusting to Joe. He calls him a friend, but will admit that there are times when he finds it difficult to deal with Joe's behavior. Joe is a unique child. He's smart and sometimes funny, but he has some special needs and sometimes the other children have a difficult time dealing with his behavior.

As he relaying the story a few tears fell from Squirt's eyes.

"Squirt I know you feel bad for Joe."

"Mama I don't just feel bad for him. I can't describe how I feel for him," he told me trying to hold back the tears.

"And you know Mama, tomorrow Joe will probably come back in with a big smile on his face."

I asked Squirt what that said about Joe's character? That if he could come back in smiling what did that say about his personality; did he think that being able to come back in not worrying what someone did to him was a good characteristic to have? Would that be something to admire in Joe?

He said it was, but he also voiced his worry that Joe might just stuff it back down inside him. Sometimes his insight astounds me. Remember this post?  I told him I prayed that Joe didn't "stuff it back down inside."

I HATE, HATE, HATE that Joe was treated this way. I wish the incident had never occured.  My heart hurt for Joe too.

But it was one of those conversations that made me think, "Okay. We must be doing something right."  I'm a proud mama for how his heart hurt for his friend.  I hope he carries that on into his teenage years. That ability to hurt for those who aren't always the easiest to love.

I don't want this post to come across in a prideful way. I am certainly no where near the perfect parent, but there are days when you struggle and struggle with this whole thing called parenting and you wonder if anything is getting through to their little minds and souls.

It was definitely an affirmation I needed. I just wish it hadn't come in the circumstances it did.

Have you had any of those affirming parent moments lately? Do you sometimes wonder if anything you are doing is getting through? If you do don't give up. When you least expect it you'll get a glimpse into their little soul and realize that everything you do is getting through after all.