Monday, March 22, 2010

The lump in Hope's throat

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours was asked to go to Haiti to document the devastation there with pictures and video. My heart had already been softened toward that country, but this gave me a personal reason to follow a blog by World Orphans. One of those nights, I was telling Brian about a scare of aftershocks that the team had experienced and Hope was in the room.

I feel strongly about bringing my girls on whatever journey God has me on, but I also want to protect their eyes and ears. We had talked about Haiti as a family, so she was aware of the earthquake, but I hadn't really shared the details of it with her. As she listened to Brian and I talking, she asked several questions about the kids over there. After a while, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I'm scared for those kids. I have a lump in my throat."

We talked about that "lump" and how God sometimes gives us physical reactions to make our hearts soft for others. Brian asked her, "So, when you feel that lump, what can you do?" She, of course, said, "I don't know--I can't go there to help." So we talked about how she could pray every time she felt that lump. And we did that. Then, I shared a story of another girl from our church who was giving a violin recital to raise money for the orphans of Haiti and she became excited. "I could make potholders for them" she exclaimed! We tried to tread lightly here--we loved her heart, but knew the Haitians really had no need for potholders and there was no way of getting those to them--even if they did need them. So we talked about how she could make potholders, sell them and give the money to an organization that would help the Haitian orphans. She was very excited and started working on a new potholder right away.

As the weeks have gone by, I have tried to back off and let her lead in this. While I would love for her to go crazy making and selling potholders, I would rather her do it in her own time and really own the process. I don't want her to do it because her parents want her to--I want her to do it out of an overflow of compassion in her heart. She's made a couple of them, we've set a price, I bought her more material, but that's been about it. Until today.

She came home from school with $10 from her teacher and one less potholder (I didn't even know she had put them in her backpack). She even recruited a friend who wants to help with them. So, it looks like she is in the potholder business. She has 3 made and is working on her 4th. I told her I would send an email out to my friends when she had 5 made to show, but I wanted to document it here before I forget more details of how her business came to be.

When she added her own change and dollar to the cash envelope tonight, it hit me that she really has gotten the bigger picture of this. She is typically a child who saves every last dime and spends it on things she wants--it's not that she has a hard heart, she's just very focused on her own wants. So, if today's potholder is the only one she sells, I'm great with this. Seeing her give of her own money and knowing how huge that is for her, has put a smile in my heart.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hope's Art

One of the things I struggle with as a mom is the desire for my girls to be the best at everything they do. This is hard for an over-achiever like me--I want them to be at the top of everything in which they are involved. I have been slowly giving this up--esp. over the past year.

Hope is an extremely well-rounded child. She truly is good at almost everything she does, but she has developed a fear of trying something new because she might not be the best at it. This, of course, stems from the messages I have sent her over the past 8 years. I'm working at changing that. I truly am at a place where I would rather her enjoy what she is doing and only be okay at it than to be the best at something she doesn't really care about. I know, as a mom, this is what I SHOULD do, but it's not always reality for most of us. I can now say it is my reality.

It's been freeing. I no longer compare her to the girls she plays soccer with or the LEAP kids at school or even her friends' kindness. I've learned to accept her talents and gifts and rejoice in the things she enjoys.

Art is one of those things. As her mom, I think she is incredibly talented in it, but more than that, she LOVES it. So, it was so rewarding to her a few weeks ago when her artwork was chosen to be displayed in a district-wide art show. It was so fun to see the joy she had on her face and the way she was trying to be humble about it ("Mom, I didn't even think that piece was very good, but Ms. Griffen did.")It was fun to celebrate with her and wait in the 30 minute line to get in to see her work, as well as have a fun dinner and get a new shirt.

What I hope she will remember from this is not the fact that her work was chosen to be one of the best, but that she enjoyed putting the detail into the project and did her best work. And that her family celebrated her.