In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sacred Moment of Imperfection

Ian's unforgettable smile

Two days ago I held my dear friend, Renee, as she grieved the death of her 13-year-old son, Ian.

My husband Rob and I walked alongside Renee and her husband, David, for the past 14 months as Ian fought valiantly against an aggressive form of cancer. Last February, the doctors declared Ian cured. Two weeks later, the cancer invaded his brain.

We joined thousands of others around the world who prayed for Ian's healing. Since we live in the same town--and since Rob is Ian's physician--we had an intimate involvement with Ian's battle.

Christa walked with us as we prayed for Ian. She is close friends with Ian's younger brother. Several weeks ago, she visited Ian at home. I wasn't certain how she'd respond to Ian in a hospital bed, set up in the family's dining room.

Christa walked over to Ian, who was mostly non-responsive at the time, and held his hand. She talked with him quietly, letting him know that her class of second-graders were praying for him.

This past Saturday, Rob and I brought Christa to the hospital to visit with Ian again. Once again, I wondered if the oxygen mask and the monitors would bother her. She walked over to Ian's bed and again held his hand.

And then Christa and Ian and I shared a sacred moment in the midst of cancer's imperfection.

I'd brought my iPod with me. I asked Christa if she wanted to sing "Ian's song" for him. For the past 14 months, since the day Ian was diagnosed with cancer, Chris Tomlin's song "How Great is Our God" has been Ian's song. She said yes.

So, I hooked one of the earbuds in Christa's ear. Then I hooked one in my ear. We moved closer to Ian's bedside and leaned in so he could hear our whispered song. Together, we sang:

The splendor of a King,
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
All the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at his voice,
And trembles at his voice

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Age to age he stands
And time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, Three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb,
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Name above all names
You are Worthy of all praise
and My heart will sing how great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Somehow, the memory of that moment eases the ache in my heart. To join with my daughter as she offered a gift to her friend ... it doesn't take the pain of losing Ian away.

It just makes it a little easier to bear.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Author Anne Jackson Speaks Out On Porn Addiction

Anne Jackson on Battling Porn Addiction from Url Scaramanga on Vimeo.

I enjoy Anne Jackson's blog It was first recommended to me because Anne had written about girls addicted to porn. You can read the article here.

Anne has traveled all over the world using online media to tell stories of those living in poverty. Anyone wielding a computer and an internet connection can contribute something to make the world a better place, yet so many stories are unfinished, just waiting for you to enter the scene.

She is an author, speaker, and transformational activist who lives in the Nashville area with her husband, Chris. Her highly-anticipated book, Mad Church Disease - Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan) released in February 2009. Her next book is due to be out in Fall 2010.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Perfection Not Required--At Any Age

Christa played piano in "Sharing Chapel" last week.

Rest assured, my caboose kiddo likes to be center stage, so her piano teacher didn't have to cajole her into playing "God Bless America." Christa's a good pianist, too--but she still needed to practice.

And practice.

And practice.

And during the days leading up to Sharing Chapel, I had to keep myself under control.

Christa handles being in the limelight much better than I do. For her, it's fun. Yes, she gets a little nervous. You'd never know it though. The girl looks as calm as the Queen of England greeting her royal subjects.

I, however, get very nervous. Why? Because I want Christa to play the piano perfectly--no missed notes, no skipping back a bar or two. And I wasn't hearing perfection during Christa's practices.

If you look closely at the line underneath my name on this blog you'll see that it says something about Perfection Not Required. I don't believe we have to be perfect moms. And I also don't believe our kids have to be perfect either.

That doesn't mean that I don't get tripped up by perfectionism.

What's a mom to do?

I encouraged my daughter--and reminded myself of a few truths at the same time.

"I am so proud of you for playing during Sharing Chapel," I said as I hugged her after one frustrating practice. "Playing a song is just another way to pray to God. He's pleased with you for doing that."

Another time I told her, "I can't wait to hear you play this song. Remember, during Sharing Chapel it's really just between you and God. Don't worry about anyone else."

And all the time I hoped she wasn't picking up on my underlying battle with perfectionism.

The day of Sharing Chapel, Christa selected a favorite dress and submitted to me styling her hair. She was more excited that her big sister, Katie Beth, was going to be there than that I was there--and I'm okay with that.

And she played "God Bless America" beautifully.

I didn't hear a single mistake--but that wasn't the point.

The point is she wanted to share her talent with God and with others--and she did. She wasn't afraid to get up and do it just because she might miss a note.

I think she's got the Perfection Not Required truth down a lot sooner than I did.


Monday, April 20, 2009

News of Interest to Moms: April 20, 2009

News to know:

1 in 10 video gaming youths could be addicted
A new article in Psychological Science suggests that nearly one in 10 children and teens who play video games showed signs of addiction.

The article highlights research from a January 2007 Harris poll of 1,178 U.S. kids and teens aged 8 to 18.

Researchers found that 8.5% of those who played video games exhibited at least six of 11 addiction symptoms such as:
  • skipping household chores or homework to play games
  • poor performance on tests of homework because of playing
  • playing games to escape problems

Exhibiting six of 11 such symptoms can lead to being diagnosed with an addiction

Mother's sun exposure may affect kids' bone growth
Research suggests women who get some sun during the last trimester of pregnancy may have children with stronger bones.

It's possible that mothers' vitamin D levels late in pregnancy have lasting effects on their children's later bone development, according to the report published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin after sun exposure and plays a key role in bone health.

Study: Vitamin D deficiency may raise Caesarean Risk
Pregnant women with insufficient vitamin D intake during pregnancy may be at increased risk for birth by Caesarean section, according to a study of 253 women.

Women deficient in vitamin D, which is critically important for muscle function, were nearly 4-times more likely to deliver by cesarean section than women with higher levels of vitamin D, reseachers reported.

Study: School obesity prevention programs work
An obesity-prevention program tested in several Dutch schools cut down teenagers' consumption of sugary sodas and curb body-fat gain, according to a new study.

The program aimed to:

  • boost students' exercise levels,
  • steer them away from junk food and sugar-sweetened drinks

Students had 11 lessons on the topics and schools were encouraged to increase gym classes and make cafeteria changes.

Researchers reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that positive results decreased over time.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Dr. Phil: When Sexting Hits Home Broadcast

In his April 16th Scary Trends: Is Your Child at Risk segment, Dr. Phil addressed teens and sexting. A relatively new trend, sexting involves middleschoolers or teens sending sexual photos or e-mails to one another on their cell phones.

Dr. Phil's guests included:

  • a mom whose 13-year-old daughter sent a provocative photo of herself to a boy, who then forwarded it to other boys. Dr. Phil also talked to the daughter, who attempted suicide after classmates harassed her.

  • attorney Lisa Bloom, a correspondent for, who discussed the legal debate surrounding sexting.

  • a 13-year-old boy who forwarded a nude photo of a female classmate to another boy. The boy's father also discussed his views.

Overall, I think Dr. Phil did an excellent job of covering the varied problems caused by sexting. However, I'd like you to consider a few things with me:

  1. Dr. Phil said girls who send indecent photos of themselves are victims. “(Boys) can get these girls to do something that they wouldn’t do in a rational moment, and to me, those girls are victims. For some guy to leverage them into doing that, they are victims. They are not perpetrators." Peer pressure is a very real influence in our children's lives. However, peer pressure or not, we need to talk with our daughters about the choices they make--and help them respect themselves. And sometimes they have to face the consequences of a wrong choice. This doesn't mean I think a girl should have to deal with classmates calling her a slut. This doesn't give a boy the right to forward the photo to other classmates. I don't think sexting is the unforgivable sin. Even when a girl is facing consequences, she should be treated compassionately.

  2. Attorney Lisa Bloom downplayed the seriousness of sexting. Talking to the mother of the 13-year-old girl who sexted an inappropriate photo to a boy, Bloom said, "What she did was not out of the mainstream. It’s just that the technology is there now to preserve it and humiliate her.” Please, let's not take an "Everybody's doing it so don't get so upset" approach to sexting. Just because lots of people are making unwise choices doesn't make something less ill-advised, immature or dangerous. The fact that technology can preserve a teen's indiscretion ups the risk factor. Other people--including child pornographers--can potentially gain access to a minor's nude photo. I agree with Bloom that we need to be compassionate with our kids--but that doesn't mean we downplay the seriousness of their actions.

  3. I laughed when the dad said he grounded his son for sharing a sexual text photo with his buddies--but I wasn't amused. Grounded? That's it? Maybe he's grounded for life--okay then. Did the kid lose the privilege of his cell phone? Did he apologize to the girl he embarrassed? I applaud the boy for coming on national television and admitting his wrong choice. I understand why the dad didn't want his son prosecuted as a child pornographer. Check out Bloom's thoughts on that topic here. She had some good thoughts on the dangers of registering teens as sex offenders for sexting. I did like the dad's idea that cell phones come with warnings about sexting and that kids have to tell their parents they understand the issue. Good idea.

As long as kids have cell phones and free will, sexting will be a problem. We need to come up with some appropriate consequences when teens forward sexual photos to classmates because there's no agreement on what to do and sometimes nothing's done. Suggestions, anyone?

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Monday, April 13, 2009

News of Interest for Moms April 13, 2009

News to know:

Swimming lessons for very young children reduces risk of drowning

Swimming lessons for very young children can reduce the risk of drowning, according to a study published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers hope the findings will ease pediatricians' concerns that swimming lessons for children ages 1 to 4 increases their drowning risk. Some doctors fear parents will be less vigilant when children are near the water and that early swimming lessons will decrease children's natural - and healthy - fear of the water.

Drowning is the second-leading cause of death of infants and young children in the United States, with roughly 4,000 dying each year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics' website states: Children are generally not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday. Also, swimming lessons for infants and toddlers do not necessarily make them safer in or around the water and are not a recommended means of drowning prevention at these ages.

Standardized testing tips

My daughter finished her standardized testing last week. For those of you parents still staring down the process with your kiddos, here are some tips for helping your child get ready for the standardized tests in any state.

Vermont considers legalizing teen "sexting"

The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would legalize "sexting" between teenagers--exchanging explicit photos and videos via cell phones.

Under current laws,teens can be charged with child pornography. Lawwmakers are considering a bill to legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing along such images to others would remain a crime.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

News of Interest to Moms: April 8, 2009

News to know:

Among preschoolers, 1 in 5 is obese
Almost 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese, according to a new study. Based on the research, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese.

Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black youngsters, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites.

Multiple births increase risk of postpartum depression

Women who give birth to twins or triplets are at higher risk of postpartum depression, according to a study in Pediatrics.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins looked at data from more than 8,000 mothers who gave birth in 2001. The study found that nine months after delivery, mothers of multiple births had 43 percent greater odds of having moderate or severe postpartum depressive symptoms compared with mothers of single babies.

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

Here are some links with additional information about autism:
Ian's Walk: A Story About Autism -- a picture book about autism

Autism Society of America

Autism Speaks

National Autism Association

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Running to keep up with my caboose kiddo

"Good morning, Runner Girl!"

I tugged the blankets away from Christa's face. Even as she smiled, she squeezed her eyes shut and snuggled deeper into the bed.
A few minutes later, Christa headed to the shower, ready to start the day. A reminder of the new pair of sweat pants waiting for her lured her from the comfort of her covers.

Ah, Monday. First day of the week--and the first day of a new adventure for my caboose kiddo. Today is the first day of running club. Like any mom, I'm along for the ride--er, run.

Christa can't wait for practice this afternoon. She spent the weekend getting ready. Saturday included a trip with her dad to buy a good pair of running shoes. We added the sweat pants because four of the last five days have included snow. Ah, springtime in the Rockies!

I've paid the team fee and ordered the team t-shirt. Now all that's left to do is show up after school and enjoy the experience.

As the mom, I am invited into Christa's experience--but only so far. I can help get her ready: Pay the fee, purchase the right clothes, make sure she has a water bottle. But once she hits the field, she's on her own. I'll stand on the sidelines and cheer her on while she practices. Her dad and I will attend her races and cheer at those too.

Motherhood: that strange blend of holding on and letting go. I'm discovering it all over again as I help my eight-year-old daughter line up at the starting line and encourage her to "Get on her mark, get set, go!"

I'm experiencing just how far my children can run as I watch my twenty-something daughter, Amy, live life in Nicaragua. I never imagined Amy running quite that far when she was a little girl. But, when the time came, and she set her sights on nine months in a foreign country, I helped her get ready. I walked with her to the security area in the airport. And then I hugged her, stepped back and said, "Go!"--admittedly with a few tears.

As a mom, we have our years when we run alongside our children. We have our years when we run to keep up. And then we have our years when we watch our children run.

And all along we cheer them on.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sexting: What's a mom to do?

Life as a mom keeps getting more and more complicated.

Back when my first three were teens, there was no such thing as "sexting"--sending sexual messages or photos via cell phones. They couldn't text at all.

Now a 14-year-old girl in New Jersey has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on -- putting a whole new spin on the sexting debate.

According to a news story, the girl posted the photos because she wanted her boyfriend to see them.

Have mercy.

This much-too-young girl could become a registered sex offender if convicted.

Meanwhile, the debate rages on: Should teens be prosecuted for child pornography for sending racy text messages or posting illicit photos of themselves on the internet? Are people overreacting?

In my previous Cell phones and your kids: Sexting, anyone post, I mentioned the case involving three teenage girls who allegedly took nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. The photos were then shared on classmates' cell phones.

Earlier this week, a federal judge temporarily blocked a prosecutor from filing child pornography charges against thre girls. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said the teens didn't consent to having the picture distributed and that the images are not pornographic.

Even moms are divided on how to handle teens sexting. Some parents think prosecuting teens with child pornography laws is too harsh--that we are holding teens to an adult standard. Yet, the mom of Jesse Logan thinks differently. Jesse was an 18-year-old high school student who killed herself after her ex-boyfriend sent nude pictures of her to other girls in her school. Jesse's mom wants teens to understand the dangers of sexting--and realize that they could become registered sex offenders.

Parents should be involved with their teens long before they discover racy photos on their cell phones. Parenting means relationship--and that means involvement. Yeah, sometimes our teens aren't gonna' like that. Oh, well. Who's the adult and who's the teen?

Parents need to call it straight with their teens, too. What you did--sexting to your boyfriend? That was wrong. I still love you even though you did something wrong, but I'm not going to cover for you.

We love our kids when they live less then perfect lives. We don't try to make their lives perfect for them.


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