Saturday, April 30, 2011

Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading?

I came across a blog post the other day that was asking readers to weigh in on kids and teens reading books originally targeted for adults.

My first thought was a memory, long forgotten. The library we used when I was a kid had different cards for kids and grown-ups. But parents could sign a portion of the card so their child could read anything in the library. I was so proud of that signature. I felt so empowered because I could check out anything I wanted.

In principle, I still love the idea and would probably sign something for my own child if I had to. But, as the parent, I have to live with the questions or the nightmares that can come up if I don't pay attention to what my son reads. That's why I have added some sections to my book reviews where I note if there is foul language or adult situations in the book and where I give my opinion about the appropriate reader for the book.

To me, the responsibility ultimately falls to the parents to know what their kids are reading. One of my favorite things to do is to talk to kids about books. One of my fears, though, is that a parent will come back to me, appalled that I recommended one book or another because of something the student found inside it. I can only do the best I can, sharing my opinions and cautions. Sometimes a story is so good, I get caught up and don't notice the swear words, etc. My hope is that parents will engage WITH their kids about what they are reading.

Let me share a personal example. My family has read the Harry Potter series together. We have gotten through book five (with some editing) with my son who is in second grade. He has a friend at school who reportedly has read the whole series (and has seen the movies out to date). I know my son is frustrated that we won't read the rest; he wants to know how everything works out. And it is tempting to give in and read the last two books. But I am his parent, not his buddy. I have to use my best judgment to decide where the line falls. And I think there are parts of the final two books which are too dark for a second grader - or at least my second grader. I take my role as a parent - and as a book advocate - seriously.

So, what do YOU think? Do you know what your kids are reading? Do you care if they are reading things written for an older audience?

Thursday, April 28, 2011


"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

I ran across this verse this morning in a devotional in my inbox. The devotional was a great one, but the verse caught my attention completely on its own merit.

I am in a season of waiting. I feel like I am always saying something like, "Well, after Thursday we might have more information" or "Well, there's a meeting next week and some decisions might be made then." For someone who routinely thinks and plans three months ahead, this can be very frustrating. I can't really make plans for summer until certain decisions are made and events are set in motion. My father has been sick, and I feel like I am always waiting for someone to offer a concrete piece of information about his health.

In some small ways, though, the waiting brings freedom. It forces me to live in the moment because I don't know what is coming next. I don't have much of a to do list because today is taking care of itself. Other than the anxiety that comes when a future planner can't plan for the future, or because a family member is sick, waiting can be okay.

When I teach Bible lessons or write curriculum, I always try to point out when the writer repeats himself. This verse, as a piece of writing, might sound redundant, but that repetition is usually a sign that the author really wants you to pay attention.

This particular verse comes at the end of Psalm 27. The rest of the psalm references not living in fear because the Lord is with us and seeking the Lord. Then, at the end, it says wait. It is almost as if the writer is saying, "Fear is part of life, and seeking is part of faith. When you are fearful and when you are seeking, don't forget to wait. Wait for the Lord - he will come through. Maybe not in the way you expect. But don't rush off. Don't get discouraged and feel abandoned. Wait for the Lord. Be strong. Take Heart. Wait."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lessons of Lent

During Lent this year, I noticed two things.

1) I am terrible with silence. I was supposed to set aside 15 minutes a day to spend in silence with God. I was surprised at how hard it was. I lost what little rhythm I had with the process over Spring Break and never went back. I remembered that I was supposed to be setting the time aside, but I gave it up as too hard. I may have to try to work it into my post-Easter life just to prove to myself that I can. I am a perfectionist which means I either get ridiculously driven to do something, or I quit on it because I can't do it right. I don't like to be a quitter.

2) I am also terrible at telling myself, "no." I felt immense freedom Sunday morning when I woke up. Lent was over. I could once again buy books whenever I want. Telling myself "no" for seven weeks was good discipline, but also felt oppressive. Even though there was no book I wanted to buy Sunday, I felt elated relief because I could. The relief seemed out of proportion to the denial. It would have made more sense if there was something I wanted that I could finally have, but there wasn't. It was just the principle that I could make my own choices and do whatever I wanted.

Freedom is good.

But another phrase keeps coming to mind: Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

Freedom feels better than denial. But freedom comes with great responsibility. I am hopeful that the lessons of Lent will linger beyond Easter morning this year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week

I'm looking forward to some family time this weekend as we focus on Holy Week and Easter. I'll be back to blogging on Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Annoyed Was Lazarus?

"And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'" ~ Luke 23:43

Easter is just a week away. Luke's version of the crucifixion of Christ is my favorite, precisely because of this interchange - this conversation Jesus has with a repentent criminal on an adjacent cross.

I love the grace and forgiveness offered. I love the comforting assurance.

I am no Bible scholar. I cannot go back to the original text and tell you about the nuances present in the words chosen - the ones that don't translate well. I only know what is here. And what's here says to me that this criminal and Jesus were going to Heaven, together, that very day.

This fits with my hopes about Heaven. I trust that God will sort out the details of who and how and all that. I can only do what I can do to put my faith in Christ and live a life that attempts to honor him and to honor his sacrifice. But in my simple thinking, when a person in relationship with Christ dies, he or she goes immediately into Heaven.

Okay, with my theology out of the way, let me share a question that has been on my mind for years:

How annoyed was Lazarus?

He's been dead for four days when Jesus arrives and calls him forth. I don't know how time passes in Heaven, but regardless, assuming Lazarus goes straight there when he dies, how annoyed must he have been to be called back?

The fact that his sisters want him back is understandable, though a bit selfish. And most of their conversation with Jesus is about the fact that if he had come sooner, none of this would have been necessary. 

Jesus seems to know all along what is going to happen and what he's going to do. I can only hope someone pulled Lazarus aside and told him not to get too comfy in Heaven because he wasn't going to be staying. Otherwise, I think it would have been annoying, if not downright cruel, to be in the presence of God and then get yanked back again....

We don't get to hear much from Lazarus in John's gospel about his experience, but his resurrection from the dead put a target on him almost as large as the one on Jesus (John 12:9-11). Jesus did say in order to follow him we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses. Lazarus lived this - he gave up Heaven in exchange for persecution in order for Christ to reveal himself in a spectacular way to the world around him.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trust, Delight, Commit

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:3-6

I'm doing a lot of wondering these days. I am waiting for some decisions to be made at work and the implications of those decisions to start falling into place.

Until that happens, I feel stuck. Trapped. That leads to wake-in-the-night-stomach-twisting stress.

I'm trying to do what I can to be prepared for whatever will come. I run alternate scenarios through my mind. I plot out budgets based on different criteria. I imagine various outcomes and check my "gut" response to each.

But the answers are on someone else's time table, so I wait.

I found this devotional thought in my inbox the other day. It stopped me in my tracks. It felt like God poked me on the shoulder and told me to pay attention.

In all my wonderings and scenarios, it comes to this:

I have no control over the choices being made. I can only "roll my burdens on the Lord." And I've known that all along. But here was the part that got me - "letting Him take what you want and exchange it for what He wants for you instead."

Trust - trust that God will sort things out and will help me make wise choices in light of the outcomes

Delight - focus more on HIm and less on me or on the circumstances I can't control

Commit - commit, yield, roll my questions/scenarios/wonderings to Him and wait.... And trust.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Though Jesus Loved Them

Our pastor spoke on John 11 this week, about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The pastor said, early in the message that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were like family to Jesus. Closer than his own family of origin at times. Then he said, "Though Jesus loved them, he waited two days to go to them" after hearing Lazarus was very sick.

If you read the passage, I think you'll see that Jesus had an agenda. That agenda directed every decision including the one to wait.

I often wonder how to reconcile the love of Christ with suffering and sickness. I wonder why some experience a miraculous healing while others journey through debilitating sickness and death. If you think I found some revelation in this sermon to resolve my wondering, I am sorry to disappoint you. I still wonder.

"Though Jesus loved them, he waited."

The other part of the sermon that caught my attention was, "If we were to write the gospels ourselves, we would likely write this differently. We would have Jesus drop everything and go." I definitely would want to re-write it that way. I want the happy ending. I want the heroic Savior, swooping in to fix everything for those whom he loves.

Sometimes God's purposes are not our purposes. Sometimes His ways seem to stand in contrast to our understanding of His love, grace and compassion. But I have to cling to the love - Christ's love for Mary, Martha and Lazarus was clear and palpable, even if his actions seem, from our perspective, to be at odds with that love.

"Though Jesus loved them, he waited."

Are you asking Jesus to swoop in and save the day? Do you find that he seems to be waiting? Remember his love is constant, even in the waiting....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Did you know?

I find blogs all the time that I want to read, but I have never gotten the hang of an RSS feed to keep track of them all, and my bookmarks are completely out of hand. If I want to read a blog regularly, the best method, for me, is to have each post emailed to me. When I am checking my email, I can read the new material, save it if I like it, tweet it if I really like it, and can move on from there.

Did you know you can do that with this blog? Right under the Amazon disclaimer is a place to enter your email address and get posts by email. Hope that is a feature that would be helpful to my few but faithful readers!  =-)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


A co-worker started a new job this week. Put together a little something to wish her well on her new endeavor. 

Just some blank cards and a tin to put them in. Hoping she liked them!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Break

Enjoying some "spring break" this week. I'll be back Saturday or next Tuesday. 

Happy April!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twitter Love

I tried twitter awhile back. 


I couldn't keep up with everything and didn't know what to tweet. So, I avoided twitter for awhile. Facebook was enough social media for me. I could post links, notes,pictures, status updates, etc. Why would I need Twitter?

My husband, on the other hand LOVES twitter. (@ccqscott) He follows all sorts of NFL folks. Football is his hobby. He gets tweets from football players and even had his blog noticed by the folks at NFLLockout for this blog entry. He sorts the people he follows into lists so he can track TV things (@HumanTargetFOX, @TheDailyShow, @DuleHill, @ZacharyLevi), sports (like my personal favorite @aaronrodgers12), and friends.

This past week, I cleaned out my twitter account and started tweeting again to see if I could kickstart my account (@justjaymied). 

I love it. I had no idea I could enjoy Twitter. I think it helps that so many sites have "tweet" buttons now. It makes it easy to share articles and other tweets that I find interesting or amusing (I was one of the hundreds of thousands who followed @BronxZoosCobra).

I haven't done much direct tweeting at others, or many original posts, but I love sharing things with my "followers" that I find online. There is SOOO much information on the web that no one could possibly keep up with it all. Tweeting interesting things I find in the areas of books, writing, and life in general might help someone else find something fun or interesting or encouraging.

I never expected to love twitter - sometimes I even like it more than Facebook.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I love coming home to find treats in the mail, even if I have to pay for/order the treats for myself.

I love these kits for so many reasons. They are a fairly small, quick project to finish. Everything is included so I don't have to fuss around to see if I have the thread I need. They are colorful. They are sassy. Can't wait to start stitching these up!

Next, I am going to need a wall to hang them all on!