Sweet Shore

….After denying it for days, Rep Anthony Weiner (D) of New York has admitted sending lewd pictures of himself to women on  Twitter. But he’s refusing to resign, as he says he did something “regrettable,” not illegal. (Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor)

Now, I don’t know about you, but…this sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?  Yet another prominent person (politician, clergyman, athlete) holding forth his innocence for days before finally giving in and admitting guilt–usually less  than he is actually guilty of–until that too is stripped away (if you’ll pardon the expression).  It’s the same pattern, over and over–why do we act surprised?  Why do we always say, “Well, maybe he didn’t do it…maybe someone really is out to get him…”  Haven’t we seen this too many times to keep falling for it?

If I seem cynical, it’s based on life experience…I have personally known and advised women and been in marriage support groups where this comes out and so it really hits home with me.

I’m curious, though…on several news programs and radio talk shows today, I heard the same question:  “Well, it’s not the same as being unfaithful, is it?”  “I mean, it’s not as if he actually cheated on his wife or anything…just sent some lewd photos on the internet…”  “Every man out there gets this–it’s not committing adultery.”

Well…what do you think?  I can’t figure out how to do it or I’d post a survey asking the following question from men and women:  Is engaging in sexual activity with someone on the internet a breach of your marital vows?

I’d love to see some of your opinions in the comments.  Let’s have a discussion about it and then I’ll draw some of my own conclusions (which I get to do since I’m the blogger).




Originally published on 9-12-10…at 4 a.m…

Actually have been up since around 3 off-and-on…chalk it up to my Lucy who has been very restless tonight.  So…since I’m up, you might as well know what’s going on in my head…

Lucy is a funny dog.  She has taught herself a trick that seems to only apply when I pick up my cellphone.  In her toy box are a couple of aluminum food dishes that we gave up using for food because she would pick them up and spill food and water all over.  Now, whenever I even just pick up my cellphone, she grabs one of those dishes and chases it around on the floor, making all sorts of racket.  She also seems to enjoy just lying there and licking it–not sure what that’s about.  It’s really funny because I don’t even have to be talking on the phone–all I have to do is pick it up and she starts with the dish and doesn’t stop until I put the phone down again.  Totally self-taught…

So, Ive been thinking about what habits I have that are on auto-pilot:  I automatically close the garage door when I leave–so automatic is this that I find myself not remembering having done it and have been known to turn my car around and drive back to verify that, indeed, I did do it.  Same thing with my computer at work–we’re never supposed to leave our computers unlocked if we walk away from our desks.  At first this was really hard for me to do, but now, it’s so automatic that I (once again) have to go back to my desk to see if I locked it.

I’m trying to think if I have any habits that are programmed responses to some outward stimuli.  Could probably come up with something if it wasn’t so early in the morning, but am at a loss at the moment.

However, it occurs to me that I should put some other practices into place so that they become automatic…

Reading my Bible…                                                                                                                                                              Exercise… Blogging… Putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher… Clearing off my dining room table at least once every day…

I’m sure there are many others, but sleep is coming back and I’ve got another hour before I REALLY have to get up.

5. Allow your children to resolve their own struggles as long as it is safe (physically or emotionally). When you give your child tools and encourage him to work things out on his own, you will be giving him an enormous boost of confidence and the ability to face life “situations” as they come up. Whether it’s dealing with a difficult playmate, learning how to function in the classroom under a teacher who is more strict that the one he had last year or figuring out how to put something together without help, help him see the various aspects of the situation.  Make sure he’s viewing it realistically and turn him loose to handle it. It’s not always necessary to charge in like a mama bear defending her young. Let your child know that you are there to back him up and intervene if necessary, but for the most part, let him learn to deal with challenges as they come up. There is a tremendous life lesson here and your children need to learn it.

6. Always provide encouragement and motivation to excel in the areas where your child has a special ability or talent. It doesn’t matter whether she’s a talented musician, can play basketball really well or loves to draw; be a realistic “encourager”. Make sure she has the necessary tools to do the things she loves: an instrument, a good basketball and a hoop, or pencils, pens and paint.

By the same token, don’t continually try to push a square peg into a round hole by trying to make her become something she’s not. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your child really hates piano or is just going through a phase where she just doesn’t want to practice–you’ll have to use your judgment on that. And (I know, I’m not supposed to start a sentence with “and”), please, please develop the ability to view your child’s abilities with honesty. All of us have seen the auditions on American Idol, where the person can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but his mommy has told him all his life that he has a beautiful voice and will someday have a great singing career. You don’t do your children any favors if you tell them they are good at something they aren’t capable of doing.

7. Listen, listen, listen! Listen even when your child is going on and on about something that you don’t think is very important. Just when you have given up on the meaningless conversation, your child will slip in a gem that tells you what’s really going on in his life–good things, bad things, fearful things.  You won’t get your child to confide in you if you try to force the issue in a formal way.  You may get some information out of him, but he won’t fully open up.

An important aspect of listening is letting the other person get his complete thought out before you start thinking of ways to “fix” whatever’s going on.  If you are non-judgmental, and don’t react too strongly when you hear something upsetting, you will get more information. When it’s your turn to respond, you can ask questions, voice concerns and help him determine a plan of action if one is necessary.  Be careful not to invalidate his feelings even if you think he is wrong.  Instead, try to draw him out and help him sort through things.

8.  Play with your children. Play formal games, play make-believe…teach them how to use their imaginations by using yours.  My daughters and I used to play “Little House on the Prairie.”  I was Ma (naturally) and they were Mary and Laura.  It worked really well, because I could keep on doing “mommy” things while we played and they came in and out and pretended different scenarios.

Last night I was at my son’s house and his 3 little girls were running around pretending to be super heroes.  As soon as I walked in, they told me I had to be a superhero too.  The funniest thing, though was the middle child who said, “When I spin around, I become invisible,” and then proceeded to run around banging into all the furniture.  (If you’re invisible, you apparently can’t see anything.)

9.  Teach them about God. From their earliest memories, they should be able to remember expressions of your faith.  I used to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to my babies when they were tiny.  My granddaughters all love the song “In the Sweet By-and-By, because I’ve sung it to each of them from the time they were just brought home.  I also sang it at the Memorial Celebration we had for our granddaughter, Faith, who is at home with Jesus.  They’ve all fallen asleep to the words of that song.  Tell them about God’s love.  Read them simple Bible stories.  Help them to incorporate Him into their every day thoughts by sharing simple truths appropriate to their age levels.

It’s enough to just TELL them about God, you have to live out your faith where your children can see it.  Every day, let them see you trusting God, being grateful to Him for what you have, having an attitude of faith and not a spirit of complaining.  Show them how to live contentedly and teach them to share with those whose lives may not be as easy.  Even when everything is not going the best, show them your faith.  It’s also okay to let them see that when you’re discouraged or not feeling well, your relationship with your Heavenly Father remains strong–including times when you don’t understand what is going on or why.  As you live out your faith on a daily basis, you serve as a flesh-and-blood model for them of how to live in God’s presence.

10.  Love them unconditionally. Your children need to know that you will always love them, whether they do everything exactly as you hope they will.  Unconditional love doesn’t mean that you accept naughty or immoral behaviour, but that, even in the midst of correction and discipline, they remain secure in the fact that your love is constant.  Model God’s love to them.  He always loves, always forgives and assures us that when discipline is needed, it is because we are his kids.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post.  I’d love to hear from you.


(I’m on the right)

(Originally published on Mother’s Day 2011)

 I thought that since today is Mother’s Day, I’d let you in on a few things I’ve discovered about “mothering.”  Some of these I learned by actually practicing them when I had children at home and the others are things I wish I’d been better at:

A little about myself:  I’ve been married for almost 40 years (yep, all of them to the same man).  We’ve been blessed with four children (a term I have to use lightly these days)–two boys and two girls, in exactly that order.  All of them are safely married to people we truly love and get along with, and we are the proud grandparents of 8 granddaughters and a new one is coming later this year.

I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know a few things that work, as well as a couple of things I wish I’d known about when I was having babies and bringing up my family.  So, in no particular order, here they are…

1.  Always remember that whatever stage you are going through with your child is not going to last forever. You need to remind yourself of this when you are up at 2, 3, 4, 5 a.m. with a crying newborn or a baby that has an ear infection.  You also should think about this when you have “terrible toddlers” who want to say “No!” to everything and throw occasional screaming-on-the-floor temper tantrums.  Also, when your son or daughter enters the uncertain time of junior high, and the breaking away period that is known as high school.  As traumatic as these may seem, if you can just say, “It’s not going to last forever…”, it helps to give it a little perspective.

While I’m on the subject, this also applies to those times when your tiny one is asleep on your chest and you have a house that needs cleaning…when you are the 911 for any injuries, hurt feelings or other traumas that are endured during childhood.  These days are, in fact, so fleeting that if you don’t take time to consciously note them, they are gone and you’re left standing there wishing for some of it back…

2.  Keep your SENSE of HUMOR!!! I can’t stress this one enough.  Enjoy the humor that can be found all around you…your 8-month-old eating spaghetti with her raincoat on, the 2-year-old that poops in the bathtub, an 8-year-old saying something funny on purpose! If you teach your children to handle life with the ability to laugh at themselves, shake it off and go on, they will be able to keep things in the proper perspective and not be so serious about everything.

3.  Read to your children. Spending this quiet time is so important.  It slows down the world, gives you a special time of interaction with your child(ren) and opens their eyes to worlds they haven’t seen. The ability to read and understand starts very early…

4.  Teach your children some common courtesy. They will be easier to live with and a joy to take out in public.  I have to say, this is missing in so many households right now, and when these kids are unleashed on an unsuspecting world…watch out!  When you’re in a store like “Hobby Lobby” with all of it’s beautiful, breakable things, and a group of 7th-8th graders are chasing each other around the store.  Then there’s always the screaming child whose mom just keeps ignoring the noise while everyone else in the store or restaurant is muttering “Take that kid out of here NOW and get him straightened out.”  Teach your children to let others go first in line at the church potluck and that taking no more than two cookies, etc. at a time is considered polite.  Make sure that when they are in stores with you they are not touching everything in the store.  My mom drilled it into us that we were to “look but not touch” and boy, did we get it.

5.  Pick your battles. If your toddler wants to dress herself for the day and wear a pink frilly tutu with her turquoise-colored pajama top and red cowboy boots, let her be creative.  There are many guidelines and moral issues that are not negotiable, but before you go to war with your child over something, determine if “it’s a bridge you want to die on.”  Where leniency can be allowed without physical harm or loss of moral integrity, be flexible.

I’ll post the rest tomorrow…tune in for more.