eye to eye ~ the importance of showing love with your eyes

a cheerful look brings joy to the heart – Proverbs 13:30

braylon (5) was walking around a corner & decided he’d belly-push angel to the ground. ricky & i both just looked at him for 6 sec.s as angel cried. we were shocked he’d try this stunt after so many reminders. but i suppose we also did it as a way of showing our disappointment. what followed was interesting:

braylon’s look turned from satisfied to almost angry, ‘what. why are you staring at me? why is everybody staring at me?!’ he inquired. his lip started quivering. we looked a couple seconds longer & he exclaimed w/a tear dropping down his cheek, “why did you yell at me?!”

ricky & i exchanged a glance of revelation. we never said a word to him. it got me thinkin’.

an area in which i think i harbor a ton of pride, is my parenting. i think moms want to believe deep down that they’re the best. to be complimented as such by another mom is the ultimate up-lifter. conversely, to be called a bad mom or even if someone criticizes our discipling, this seems like the lowest, most degrading insult!

i had to face a weakness. i’m not the ‘bestest mom in the whole earth’ as bray would have me believe. there are things i can & should take more time to work on, but don’t. each day presents with it a new way to improve. it’s discouraging and challenging. i pray for the determination & the strength & the wisdom to become the best mom i can. like the wisdom my brain has soaked up from reading “how to really love your child’. dr. campbell wrote a whole chapter explaining ‘how to show love through eye contact’. with statements that seem so simple, i wonder why i need reminding. just take a look at a few excerpts:

The more a parent makes eye contact with his/her child as a means of expressing love, the more a child is nourished with love and the fuller is his emotional tank.

It is easy for parents to develop the terrible habit of using eye contact primarily when they want to make a strong point to a child, especially a negative one. We find that a child is most attentive when we look at him straight in the eye. We may do this mainly to give instructions or for reprimanding or criticizing. This is a disastrous mistake.

Remember that eye contact is one of the main sources of a child’s emotional nurturing. When a parent uses this powerful means of control at his disposal in a primarily negative way, a child cannot but see his parent in a primarily negative way. And though this may seem to have good results when a child is young, this child is obedient & docile because of fear. As he grows older, the fear gives way to anger, resentment, and depression.

An even worse habit parents may fall into is actually using the avoidance of eye contact as a punishment device. Consciously refusing to make eye contact with a child is usually more painful than corporal punishment. It can be devastating.

What we must understand at this point is that parents must use eye contact as a continuous love-giving route, and not merely as a means of discipline.

the Lord has gently shown me this week that I may not be the ‘most’ beautiful woman or the ‘bestest’ mom on the whole earth, but in me ~ is God’s image. in me ~ is the power to do all things. in me ~ resides beauty & strength (insert my girl, christina‘s song, ‘beautiful’ here).

seriously…i want God to help me use my eyes to communicate love, not disappointment! even yesterday, i started a new phrase to be a better example ~ i get up in my son’s face when i want to say something in love & i start with, ‘eye to eye’.

Lord, look at me in the eye & work out the kinks (psalm 139:23). forgive me. i need grace; new opportunities. show me how to show them that my love, too, is unconditional.

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shoplift a heavy burden

it was a rush. my mind would go a hundred miles an hour (to keep up with my heart) as i walked the isles of the store. it could be any store…or house. it could be any thing. lipstick, underwear, a toy for my son, a ring, a birthday gift, a grape, a coke…you get the idea. my objective was to try & find a way to get out of that store without paying for it…without a soul noticing it was gone. it was kind of a ‘lets see how far i can push the limits’ game i played. the anxiety was actually exciting while i shopped. maybe since i never really went thru a drinkin’ & druggin’ phase, this was my version of a “high” i missed out on. the pinnacle was always at checkout. i thought if i got past checkout, i’d probably be safe…beyond suspicion. sometimes i’d use coy conversation & flattery to distract the cashier. i was dang good.

rolling cameras, electronic machines, magnetic strips, return policies ~ i thought i could beat them all. for example, if i got hungry, i’d head over to the protein bar section, open one up, eat it slowly while i ‘shopped’, as to not seem paranoid & then leave the wrapper on the bottom of the cart at check out. if they asked, i’d say, ‘oh, that’s just garbage’. a thief and a liar.

sometimes i’d be at home, bored w/an overdrawn bank account & have an intense desire to shop…or should i say, attain something new. once the urge got in my brain, it was like nothin’ could stop me. i’d take little items easy to hide in my purse. if i didn’t have the money (i read shoplifting rarely has to do with the lack of money), i’d think, ‘there’s got to be somethin’ around the house i can return. then w/that cash or credit, i can buy something else.’ i’d frantically search the house for items or search my purse for a good receipt & then look for an item listed on it. in essence, i used the socially acceptable & legal right to return things, so as to justify it. i’d take back all kinds of things i’d had for up to 9 months, clothes worn & washed countless times…i’d literally break things, un-stitch a hem to make it seem defective, even hot-glue a plastic price-tag loop back onto a garment so it looked never worn.

one time i even returned a dress jacket i gave to my husband for his birthday. it had a small rip in the armpit & i made it bigger, stating it was defective. originally i paid $29. @ fred meyer…& i got credit for it, but not before several cashiers looked at it with an ‘oh my god.’ examining me & then the botched receipt (another trick i was fond of ~ i’d make the purchase date illegible w/water stains or just just rip it). they had a small debate team meeting as i stood there with a long line of people behind me. yeah, it was embarrassing. am i really writing all this? my gosh, it still is. but at the time, all that was worth a $13. gift card to me so i could get something new. to this day i can’t believe it ‘worked’. in fact, to this day, i can’t believe i was never caught.

i watched a dr. phil called, ‘can’t stop stealing’. i completely related to this woman. only she’d been arrested 4 or 5 times & was still addicted. he basically used her kids’ innocence & the threat of prison to scare & shame her into accepting the gift of cognitive therapy he offered to pay for “in her own home town”.

it was far from a message of grace & forgiveness. now that’s a real gift.

i thought getting caught just one time would break me. the sheer humiliation of being hauled off in from of my toddler while he waits for his daddy to come for him…or the thought of being handcuffed in public…it still scares me. but that’s not what helped me stop. dr. phil’s guest made me feel less alone in my addiction, but that wasn’t it either.

i read that confessing something to God with your mouth – it cleanses & saves you. confessing it to someone close you can trust is what starts the healing process. i believed that. i finally told my husband last year, then later my mom, that i had struggled with this compulsion for several years. like food addicts who have to eat to live & are therefore continually faced w/temptation to overeat as they stand in front of their fridge, i had to shop for necessities & groceries weekly. the temptation was always there.

but after confessing to God & someone who could hold me immediately accountable, my urges to “lift” started…lifting. when i’m tempted to steal (yeah, i’m still tempted), i ask myself, ‘self, why!?! do u need that? what kind of example are u setting? would it be worth getting caught? do u think you’re more special or entitled than others who actually pay? get over your…self.’ or i’ll just say a simple prayer for the strength i need; recalling that there’s One who promises to supply all my needs, when i need them. sometimes i don’t do either, & end up taking something anyway. the last thing i can remember lifting was a birthday card that played ‘who let the dogs out’ when you opened it. angel had used it as entertainment while @ wal mart, even during self-check out. that was 3 or 4 months ago.

i’ve been thinkin’ about it lately. my reasons for doin’ it & for me, it comes down to three things ~ not trusting God nearly enough, refusing to die to my selfish desires, & clutching a perverted sense of self-entitlement.

today as i type this, i am nearly free of that issue. not because i tried hard, faithfully attended a 12-step klepto program, or was caught in the act. instead, thank God grace was poured out on me.

before it got worse, i was shown in my heart how confession & reliance {on strength greater than my own} can join forces to really change a person ~ from the inside out.

a must watch

http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/habakkuk/2

the word ‘dip’ has been on my brain this week. my daughter’s been really into dipping things, odd combinations like grahm crackers in ketchup or pretzels in yogurt. i’m callin’ her my ‘little dipper’.

this 35min. msg speaks of (& illustrates like an upside-down bell-curve) when we find ourselves in a ‘dip’ ~ a struggle, trial or source of pain that just seems unfair. craig groeschel tells us 3 things we need to do @ that low point, in faith. important. pls watch it & share it w/a friend in need

http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/habakkuk/2

a bray say…for mother’s day

i was putting my 5 yr. old in my bed for a short nap; it was kind of a tender moment. braylon laid on his tummy & said, ‘mommy?’  (-yeah?)  then he stuck his hind quarters up in the air & let out a big ‘ol stink-bomb…& says w/a grin, ‘that was your mother’s day present’

here’s a shot of us i came across, when he was around angel’s present age (’04)…before the world corrupted his lil mind!

raise ’em high…but why?

a way of expression…to open & raise your hands.

why? well, here’s a few why-nots to get things rollin’- nobody should be doin’ it if they feel pressured to or they’re just mindlessly complying with a worship leader, or if it feels extremely awkward or inappropriate. but it’s sure not a good idea to make a habit of  ‘following your feelings’. sometimes i know that i personally have to go against my feelings & raise my hands in times of worship. worship & praise is often a sacrifice, after all. i was thinking today while driving home from a dentist app’t, why i sometimes raise my hand while worshiping in the car. i figure, well, i do it @ church & @ home; why not the car? so people might think i’m weird. Jesus was weird. what i got ta thinkin’ today was:  why do people do it in the first place?

so i did a short study in the Word for some examples of raised or open hands & here’s what i found!

Aaron dedicated the Levites to the Lord as a “special offering“.  later, he raised them to bless his people. solomon prayed in this way w/dedication & sanctification (setting israel apart from all nations, as God’s special possession). One man raised his hands to heaven as he took a solemn oath,  ezra worshipped the Lord as a huge crowd joined in bowing w/hands raised & faces down. the psalms didn’t let me down w/references as a cry for mercy, an offering of praise, & my favorite passage in this study, ps.145:14-17, refers actually to His open hands (rather than raised); it is a beautiful mentioning of 3 ways He satisfies our needs, only possible w/an open hand (italics added):

14 The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.

so that’s some of what the Word reads. everyone, if they choose to express themselves this way, may do it for different reasons.  if i do, it’s usually…

  • as a symbol of surrender. in battle, when you give up your rights, when you give up fighting, & surrender to someone’s authority, that is what you do.
  • as a way of saying ‘i give all i have’. everything ~ inside & out. you cannot give w/closed fists.
  • to show outwardly that i want to rec’v (His blessings, forgiveness & mercy). again, you cannot receive gifts tangibly w/closed fists down at your side. i’m realizing again that these are all gifts, unearned, that i need to symbolically grab a hold of & accept as my own.

i guess some more reasons also could be to:

  • physically change posture, helping you to focus & to humble yourself
  • show as a response, “i know the Answer!” or “I agree!”
  • show to God “here i am, i’m Yours! i am set apart & special…use all of me”… & in saying & displaying this, my grudges, my insecurities & my own agenda are pushed aside.

i’m gr8ful for…

  • how my daughter’s eyes are turning blue-er
  • how i was able to buy like $200 of food yesterday @ my favorite grocery store, & now have all the food our family needs. we used to rely on the state of oregon to help us w/food, but are now still God-sufficient, but also self-sufficient (as defined by the gov’mnt), and it feels wonderful
  • the mild weather here in austin – a sunny & breezy spring
  • how my skin is getting healthier
  • how my husb. is secure, (us’ly) loves comin’ home to us after work & is growing spiritually
  • our new bbq – we’re using like 4 times/wk!
  • my one-on-one time i get every morning w/angel

happy with no make up