[I’m feeling slightly ashamed of myself but, I’m going to post anyway … this blog post was originally written in March so although I’m talking about frogs and frogspawn, it was entirely relevant at the time. I’m not going to completely write something new just to save face … I have to accept the reality that I will probably never be a reliably consistent blogger … but those of you who know me probably know that already! So … here goes …]
Mum, Mum, Mum we found frogs in Grandad’s garden … Mum, Mum, Mum I accidentally stood on one, but it was OK and hopped away … Mum, Mum, Mum we’re going to get some frogspawn and have our own pet frogs … Mum, Mum, Mum isn’t it great we’re going to get frogs … Mum, Mum, Mum I’m so happy to tell you about the frogs cos I just know you’re going to be so excited … Mum, Mum, Mum when is Grandad bringing us the frogspawn, is it today? … Mum, Mum, Mum I’m so excited, aren’t you?
This was my welcome home the other day, everyone talking, getting louder striving to be heard! However, it appears that the boys have not grasped that frogs, toads, slugs, snails, anything like that, absolutely give me the heebies. Not all that long ago I picked up the lid of one of the (many) recycling bins in our garden and inadvertently touched a slug … I screamed, danced about in horror, screamed some more, cried a little, washed my hands several times trying to wash off the feeling. And, anyone who knows me may want to ask my Mum about the time she asked me to wash leeks picked from her garden that came with added protein!
Truth is though, I was really pleased for the boys, they were so completely delighted to have discovered the frogs … it was lovely to see them so excited and chattering away about the anticipation of watching frogspawn hatch eventually and later that evening, frogs and frogspawn featured significantly when we prayed together.
My last post was quite raw and open for me and I was truly humbled by the number of people who sent me messages or stopped and spoke to me about it. Maybe the post was more honest and vulnerable than others have been, I don’t know, but I want to thank everyone who got in touch, it meant so much to me and, even now, months later I still often think about it and feel touched by the encouragement I was given.
For some reason I often find it hard to sit down and write … I tend to read the Love Dare challenge and think about it for a few days before I start a post … OK, maybe even five months. There are only twelve days left after today’s and I’ve started thinking about what to write about next. At the moment I’m thinking about blogging my way through ‘Desperate’ by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson but I may change my mind before then … after all, who knows how long it will take me to get through the next twelve dares!
So, Day 28 in The Love Dare for Parents is entitled ‘Love is God’s Word’. This Dare is to think about family devotions, spending time reading God’s word and talking about it as a family. Over the years we’ve done different things with the boys. When they were tiny we used to read a story Bible with the boys … I have lovely memories of sitting on a rocking chair in Son No1’s bedroom when he was only months old, looking at pictures and reading to him. I know I did the same with the following Junior GGs but the pictures aren’t so vivid in my mind.
Mr GG and I have adapted our devotional times as the boys have grown older. Currently we are working our way through a wee book on Proverbs called Wise Up (Marty Machowski, New Growth Press, 2016) and have some interesting chats with the boys about what we read. They’re enjoying working their way through Proverbs and from time to time mention what we’ve talked about during the day.
These days we find that morning is the best time to read the Bible and pray together and it’s one of my favourite times of the day. We have a ‘big breakfast’ (the menu often depends on whether it’s a day Mr GG works at home or not), sitting around our lovely big kitchen table chatting about our plans for the day ahead and, for those of us who find sleep harder to leave behind, slowly coming to with a lovely big mug of tea. Often I set the table the night before and fuss about making sure the plates etc are all colour co-ordinated … Mr GG fears that our boys pick up some of the quirks and traits from me … I’ve no idea why!
We also spend time individually with the Junior GGs praying together, reading and chatting at different times of the day … for me, one of my favourite places to talk with the boys is on my bed … it’s the place where we have the most honest discussions, where fears are admitted, where confidences are shared and where we just enjoy talking together. One Junior GG in particular often wants to talk to me about things that worry him so we go up to my bedroom and he makes sure the door is firmly closed so no one else can hear. I can tell the level of his anxiety by how carefully he shuts the door and makes sure it’s secure … once he’s satisfied the door is closed, and only then, his fears and worries will come tumbling out and he’ll ask me to pray. It’s a most precious time for me but, quite honestly, it breaks my heart to know just how much my lad worries and frets over things.
The boys all enjoy too going out to Mr GG’s mancave and talking with him there. The mancave is a ‘mum-free zone’ … it’s cold and a bit too outdoorsy for me … and I’m never fully convinced I’ll not encounter a slug on my way there so it’s a place where they can safely have man-to-man chats.
One of the most important things is that the boys will always feel they can talk to us … I’m sure there will be things they don’t want to share but we have tried, over the years, to listen to the boys, to encourage them to talk with us, and to make them feel that what they have to say is important. [I don’t always find that easy, especially when one or other of the Junior GGs is talking about gaming … I just don’t understand it … there I’ve admitted it!]
I’ve quite enjoyed this dare … I found it challenging at first but it’s been encouraging to look back over the years and reminisce about the times we’ve talked with and taught the boys. We fondly remembered the summer we studied The Christian Armour, in Ephesians 6 and had an outline of one of the boys (I think maybe Son No2) on the wall complete with armour and memory verses. He was affectionately known as Ryan for some reason and was definitely a topic of conversation for visitors who came over the months he resided in our kitchen.
So, I would like to have the Love Dare for Parents completed by the end of this year … it’s certainly possible but who knows … I like to keep you all guessing!
Mr GG thinks it might be helpful for me to point out that it’s not all roses, glitter and unicorns in our home … not everything goes to plan … this morning, for example, as we had our family devotional time ‘someone’ sat clutching her cup of tea with barely open eyes, one son sat staring off into the distance and couldn’t have told his dad anything that was mentioned, another son sat picking a scab on his leg and yet another sat making faces as he fought imaginary enemies. Yes, we have some lovely conversations and discussions and talk about things happening around the world and Christians we know and love in other countries but there are days like today when no one seems particularly focussed or cooperative (and yes, that’s me with the tea … I don’t like mornings!!) …