Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Birds and the Bees

Last year Amari asked me a dreaded question. “What is sex, Mommy?” I literally panicked. I know my face was beet red. In the 30 seconds it took me to answer, I wondered where the question had come from. Was it that blasted television? Had her friends mentioned it at school? Had she happened across an inappropriate website? What should I say to her? How much does she really need to know? How much does she already know? Do I take the sex is BAAAAD approach? Do I take the good when done in God’s order approach? Do I give a light answer and hope she forgets about it? What should I do?!?!?

My response—“Why do you ask?” She said that she had watched an episode of “My Wife and Kids” that was about sex (and pregnancy). I decided to give her the simple answer…the easiest answer…and then I hoped she wouldn’t have any follow-up questions. She didn’t. Whew.

Flash forward. My family and I headed to L.A. last Friday and I had the radio tuned to KFWB where a story about 2nd graders having sex in an Oakland classroom made it across the sound waves before I could change the station. I panicked. SECOND graders? What? In a classroom? What? Did Amari hear the story as well or had the book she was reading distracted her? My face was beet red, once again. I was floored.

When Amari first asked me about sex she was in the 2nd Grade. Was my answer actually good enough last year? I had given the easy answer and didn’t really explain too much, reasoning she was too young to know—but obviously that might not have been the best decision since there are second graders who were documented having sex in a CLASSROOM…I thought back and remembered that kids talked about sex ALL the time when I was in the 2nd and 3rd grades.  I don't remember what was said, but I know it was discussed on recess and lunch.

Hmmm…I decided I would have to tackle the subject in a little more detail. I would rather tell her what it’s all about before she hears the wrong things from her peers, television, etc.

A few nights ago I sat her down. I drew pictures and everything and tried to explain how it all works, the purpose of it, and why it is intended for marriage. I told her what could happen if one engages in the act before marriage—STDs, pregnancy, etc. I explained that it is a beautiful act when done with your husband but if done before marriage a piece of yourself is left with every partner you share yourself with. I pointed out the body parts, once again, that are off limits to anyone other than herself at this time in her life. I went on to tell her the mental and emotional rollercoaster that can come about when one engages before marriage. I used myself as an example, where applicable.

I told her all the things I had never been told by my parents—who I assume just hoped I wouldn’t do it. My sex talk with my mom growing up was her commenting on the guests on Maury Povich. We never discussed what leads a person to have sex outside of marriage. We never explored the scriptures to find out what was written about fornication. Everything I learned, I learned from friends and television. I learned warped ideology…and I made decisions based on warped ideology—decisions that affect so many people other than just me all these years later.

I ended my talk by encouraging my daughter to ask me any questions she may have about sex. I told her that she shouldn’t be embarrassed and although I may seem a little uncomfortable initially, I promised to always be honest with my responses.

As she gets a little older I’ll give her scriptures that coincide with the things we discuss. After all, what matters more than what I say is what God says.  His word is true. It’s imperative that she knows His wishes and intentions for her life. For now, the basics about the birds and the bees have been covered.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Palate Exposure

I’ve been considered a “picky eater” my entire life. When I was a little girl I only REALLY liked steak, mashed potatoes, pizza and corn. (Oddly, the pizza had to be pepperoni, but I would pick off all the pepperoni and cheese before it touched my tongue. I still can’t explain that one.) I spent countless hours in front of the kitchen table crying while my mom made threats about what would happen if I even thought about gagging. It was awful.

Years later, there are many foods that I have never tried. Although I am still considered picky, I am actually more open to new tastes now. One of my goals for 2011 is to expose my palate to new flavors and I’m already on it.

Last night, for the first time ever, I tried (and actually enjoyed) Brussels sprouts. If you had mentioned them to me 4 years ago, I would have turned my nose up and said, “I don’t DO Brussels sprouts” even though I had never tried them. I didn’t even know what Brussels sprouts looked like until a few days ago when a recipe found its way to my inbox and piqued my interest.

Weeks of the same 4 dinners (spaghetti, tacos, fried chicken, and hamburgers) can be quite mundane, so I’m excited about all the new foods I will try this year—and I’m proud to say that I have already added a new veggie to my repertoire.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fear Not!

Walking around fearing what could happen is a horrible way to live. Fear leads to worry, anxiety, stress, and a host of other dangerous emotions and physical manifestations of those emotions. I was so afraid of my greatest fears that I talked about them all the time, hoping they never happened. I gave them so much power and attention that before I knew it they had become my reality. It’s like I spoke them into existence. In the latter part of 2010 I was forced to come face to face with a few of my greatest fears—I was summoned to court for issues concerning Amari, I was audited by the IRS, I received a red light camera ticket, my big, big sister took sick and almost died…the list goes on.

It was all a huge eye opener for me. Now I truly UNDERSTAND that fear and faith cannot co-exist. I feel like God allowed my greatest fears to happen for a number of reasons—He wanted me to learn the importance of choosing faith over fear and fully trusting in Him. He wanted me to experience first hand why I should refuse to entertain negative thoughts and why I shouldn’t worry about ANYTHING. He wanted to show me that He is bigger than all my circumstances and better equipped than I am to work everything out.

F.E.A.R. is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. I have decided that when a fearful thought enters my mind, I will not entertain it. Instead, I will trust in the Lord and remind myself of the following scriptures:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Psalms 118:6)

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me. (Heb 13:6)

In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me. (Psalms 56:4)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21a)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

Whatsoever is not faith is sin. (Romans 14:23b)

But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This is the Day

Psalms 118: 24 says it plainly, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." My goal for 2011 is simple. I want to bask in the beauty of EACH and EVERY day that the Lord allows me to see.

I want to be glad and rejoice in this day TODAY. I want to live more in the moment...and enjoy right now...and put my total and unconditional faith and trust in God. He is in control. The past is behind me. There's no need to dwell on it. Likewise, there is no need for me to stress about tomorrow because tomorrow is exactly where it needs to be--in the Master's hands. There is no need for me to worry about anything. I am His child. He loves me...and He has already worked it all out in my favor.

Here's to a FABULOUS New Year filled with powerful thoughts, powerful words and actions, continued growth and discovery, and blessings and prosperity beyond measure on this journey called LIFE!