Saturday, June 11, 2011

Answered Prayer for Compassion

Last night Liliana told me she was ready for bed so we laid down. Ezabella wanted to stay up, but said she'd snuggle with us until Liliana fell asleep. Liliana was tired and cranky and started intentionally falling off the bed. "Help! Help! I'm ffffaaaallllliiiinnnnggggggg!" she whined while scooting herself further and further down. She sometimes does that while she's sitting on our laps and it usually means she's tired, needs our attention and is trying to meet that need by having us "rescue" her. I understand all that and try to take the message with that intent in mind, but honestly it about drives me up the wall. Fake pleas of helplessness is defiantly one of my triggers- there's something else to explore in counseling!

Anyway, I knew that the kindest and most effective way to handle it would be to remind her that my arms were waiting to snuggle her right here on the bed when she was ready to come back and then just wait. (Yes, I could have also "rescued" her, but sometimes a rescue attempt turns into her throwing herself back down and with my patience already worn thin, I knew I would not respond well to that). So, did I do that? No. Instead I let my impatience win and hoisted her back onto the bed, plunked her down in her spot and roughly said "If you don't make yourself fall, you won't fall!"

Her feelings were hurt and she started crying. Her crying is a high pitched squeal that I have a very hard time listening to. Then she threw the blanket off and said "I'm cold!" and I yelled "You won't be cold if you don't throw the blanket off!" She started crying harder. I plugged my ears and buried my head under the covers and gave myself a quick counseling session a la Non-violent Communication. I thought "When I listen to her cry, I feel frustrated and guilty, because I need to treat her with kindness and compassion." I took a few deep breaths and did a quick meditation on compassion, focusing on empathizing with her. Then I prayed out loud, so I could model it for both girls, "Abba help me to have compassion and to treat Liliana with kindness." I said it a few times and took a few more deep breaths.

Then Ezabella touched my arm and said, "Mom, you could rock her." At first I thanked her for her suggestion, but said no. I didn't want to get up. It took me about 30 seconds to realize Abba had just sent the answer to my prayer through Ezabella. I felt stuck and if I laid there just trying to be compassionate, listening to her crying, I was going to go nuts. This was something I could DO that would be kind, reconnect us, help her feel better and hopefully fall asleep. So I asked Liliana if she wanted me to rock her and she did. She snuggled her face into my neck while I rocked her and all was right with the world again.

It only took a few minutes after that for both girls to fall asleep. When I got up, I realized I was really hungry! No wonder I had been so cranky!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A few days ago, we got the movie Hercules at the library. I thought it was going to be like the Disney cartoon, which is mostly about Hercules' life on earth and his antics with a silly side kick. It turned out to be VERY much about him trying to become a god and the gods controlling things happening on earth and arguing about what to do with him. I made a few comments as we watched it, but I was also busy with other things. So tonight, E wanted to watch it again. I said yes, but that first we needed to talk about the beliefs portrayed in the movie.

I showed her Greece on the globe and told her that some people believed that there were many gods who acted the way the gods act in the movie, but that there is really only one God. While talking about that, I mentioned that Greece used to be a lot bigger than what we see on the globe. She asked questions about that and I told her about the Greeks and the Romans having large empires. I showed her how the country that we now call America used to belong to various other countries. The globe has a little picture of Columbus on it and she asked about that, so I told her about Columbus trying to find India and finding America instead.

Besides this being a chance to talk about different religions and it leading to other ideas and facts, the movie was also a great representation of Greek thought and reminded me just how different it is from Hebraic thought. Many of the modern church's ideas about God, how he treats us, and how we should relate to each other, come from Greek thought, because the church tried to eliminate anything that looked Jewish. They forbade the Messianic Jews and Torah Observant non-Jews to celebrate the feasts and festivals, killed Jews who refused to eat pork and changed the observance of the sabbath to Sunday. Then they mixed Christianity with pagan practices like Christmas and Easter. To top it off, the American government system is based somewhat on the Roman Republic. So the typical American Christian is brought up, in church and in culture, with a Greek-type mindset, thought patterns, beliefs and priorities.

SO MANY thing are affected by this! For example, many of the beliefs that the church holds about women and children are derived from the teachings of Augustine, who had help interpreting the Bible from Plato (a misogynist and not even a Christian). This is where some churches get such beliefs as babies being born evil little sinners, women being made in the image of man (not God), etc. In ancient Judaism, children were not accountable for their own sins until the age of 20 and women were equals to men.

One thing that was brought up several times in the movie was "head over heart" and "never let your heart rule, always be ruled by your head." This is so VERY Greek! From this thought the church derived stereotypes about men being ruled by their heads and women being ruled by their hearts, thus the belief that men are more fit to lead because women are too "emotional." Ancient Judaism teaches that the heart rules the body, not the head, but they do not extrapolate this to mean that the woman should rule over the man, but rather that they should work together in Echad, because in Hebraic thought, all things are circular. This circular thought means that all things are connected, intertwined, come from one another and answers lead into questions. This is in direct contrast to Greek thought, which is linear and must have hierarchy and definite answers. This is where the church gets the linear hierarchy of God, Jesus, man, woman, child, dog. Ancient Judaism focuses Echad, which is plural unity. When combined with the teachings of Jesus and Paul, we get a beautiful picture of the unity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the unity of husband and wife.

Greek thought also affects beliefs about hell. If you just read the words of the Bible, it doesn't say much about the afterlife. Most of the places that have the English word "hell" have the Hebrew or Greek word for grave and if you read the context, it is often obviously talking about physical death. The concept of hell and the devil comes from Greek beliefs about Hades and the gods of the underworld. Modern Christian thought about the afterlife much more closely resembles Greek mythology than Ancient Judaism.

The difference in Greek and Hebraic thought makes such a difference when reading the Bible! I strongly recommend learning about Hebraic thought and reading the Bible through that lens. After all, this is the thought pattern of the authors of the Bible, the thought pattern that God spoke to them through, the thought pattern that Jesus and Paul and the other NT authors had when they referred back to "the Scriptures" and the only scriptures they had to refer to was the Old Testament!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A letter for Grandpa

When I told E that it is her grandpa's birthday today, she said she wanted to write a letter to put in his card. She told me what she wanted to say, I told her how to spell the words and she wrote it by herself. There were about 6 letters she didn't remember how to make, so I wrote them on a different piece of paper and she copied them.


There was free archery for kids today sponsored by a wildlife preservation foundation. A bit ironic. I didn't quite get what their mission was since they guy talked so fast and was trying to get us to be members for $60, but it had something to do with Elk. We were just there for the free archery.

Time with Daddy

I hardly have any pictures of D with the girls, but I got some today. And that's not to say that he doesn't spend much time with them. In fact he is one of the most involved dads I've ever seen.

They are reading a book about trapdoor spiders. L was busy playing and didn't want to read. I love that Z looks like she is intently reading the book too!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Almost Crawling

Isn't she cute?!

More Numbers

I think it was last week that I posted the link to the addition game E has been playing. After that we started talking about fractions while cooking and I showed her the fractions game on that site. She's been enjoying the games there and has been doing math problems in a workbook. She gets a bit frustrated, but she just keeps pushing herself to do it. A few days ago, she wrote out 10 or so addition problems for herself on a piece of paper. It's like she wants to master it right NOW. I've been using blocks to give her a visual of the problems, which has helped for the problems where the answer is greater than 10 (can't use her fingers).

Today, we were at the breastfeeding support group and there is a blackboard in the room. I drew a line down the middle so she could draw on one side and L could draw on the other and I said something like "there now you each have your own half." She said, "Mom! That's half, like on the game!" so I wrote 1/2 for her and we added 1/2 plus 1/2. Then I erased that line and divided the board into thirds, wrote 1/3 and we added 1/3 plus 1/3 plus 1/3.

For a while, I thought she was so close to reading, and she is still learning how to write more letters and learning more sounds all the time, but lately her interest has been more geared towards math.

I talk so much about E because she is older and doing more, but L has been counting to 10 for a while now, memorized, and also counting objects up to about 4. She learns so much just by listening to E and I!