"Mommy, Chalsey’s taking all the Lego land."

“Well, Davin always gets the best pieces.” My nine and 10 year olds came whining to me again.

Kristy, my five year old was crying. "It's not fair.  I want to build an airplane, but they don't want to."
This had been going on all afternoon.  It was one thing after another. No matter how many toys they had, they couldn't have fun.  Something was missing.  I shot up a quick prayer for a good illustration that would help us to get a grip on the problem.

"Who likes plain, dry pancakes?"  I said.  The kids froze and looked surprised at my sudden change of subject.  "Who likes plain pancakes with nothing on it, just dry, get stuck in your throat, pancakes?"

"Not me."  They all cried in unison.

"I see.  So when you asked me to make pancakes yesterday, you didn't really want just pancakes.  You wanted pancakes and pudding."  It was the day after Father's Day. We had had a special breakfast of hot pancakes smothered in creamy, cold, white chocolate milk pudding.  It was a melt-in-your-mouth treat.

"So when you say you want to play with toys, you don't really mean you want just plain toys, -any more than you want just plain pancakes.  It was the pudding that made it special.  The pudding is like your friendship.  Without the friendship the game is no fun. Even if you got every Lego piece you wanted, it would still be dry.  No fun.  What makes it special is when you all play the game together.  That's when you really have a good time. You need pancakes and pudding."

The children understood the illustration perfectly and decided to play a game together.  It worked like a miracle.  We were stuck in the house for the next few days due to bad weather, but no one seemed to mind.  The children played with every game and toy in the house.  Any time tempers ran hot I'd remind the kids that the pancakes were getting a little dry and needed some more pudding.

As I thought more about it later, I realized how often we try to eat our pancakes dry.  "I need to do this!  I have to get that done!"  We put such an importance on things we need to do that we forget that pancakes aren't really pancakes without a topping.  We can't let our work, or our play, crowd out the friendships around us that make our lives complete.

I learned a good lesson from my children that rainy weekend.  I sometimes work so hard to accomplish the goals I set for myself, and view everything else as a distraction.  I want plain, uninterrupted work time.  Then I wonder why my work feels so dry and unenjoyable.

So if you find that your day is crowded with worries, stress, or work.  If you feel you have lost that spark in your life, or are just feeling a little dry; perhaps all you need is a heaping scoop of sweet, fresh pudding to make your day complete. 

Posted by Marie Morrow 

Research Report
            Scientists have recently made a fascinating discovery about an unseen and little understood parasite called the neggabugger. It is too small to be seen by the naked eye, yet the symptoms of infestation are plainly evident. It lives by attaching itself to the soft membrane of the inner-ear of its human host. Its tiny buzzing wings vibrate at a frequency unheard by the human ear, yet interfere with brain waves and leave the victim feeling confused and depressed.
            These negative vibrations can be difficult to distinguish from one’s own thoughts. If great care is not taken, one may be easily mislead to believe the buzz of negative self-talk that he or she hears. In more serious cases of infestation the neggabugger can move into the brain of its host to lay its young, breeding thousands of mini neggabuggers, which can quickly become air-borne via the voice of negative words that can then infect others.
            The neggabugger is a serious parasite to be treated immediately at the first sign of infestation. The neggabugger must be dislodged and shaken out of the victim’s ear. This treatment must be administered by a skilled adult. First, pick the victim up by the feet, lift up-side-down and shake firmly. If this does not work, repeat step one while simultaneously applying a firm smack to the victim’s backside.
            For larger victims: If the infected person is too large to safely lift up-side-down by their feet, then take a pillow and firmly wallop the victim over the side of the head. If you are unsure which ear the neggabugger is residing in, wallop both sides of the head, just to be safe. If you suspect more than one neggabugger may be present, strike a third time for good measure.
            If this process is ineffective in removing the parasite then it may be necessary to shock it out of hiding. A water balloon filled with ice-cold water dropped directly on the victim’s head may be effective.
            To prevent re-infestation, take two small earphones and place them firmly in the ears. Play positive, faith building music at all times. Practice positive self-talk.
            Warning: The neggabugger treatment should only be administered by a skilled adult. Children attempting to use this life-saving, pillow-whacking technique may cause injury to the victim or damage to other household objects.

Clinical Studies Report
            In clinical studies, I have so far found this treatment to be quite effective with my children and young teens. A comical whack on the head with a pillow seems to pull them out of their emotional bouts of self-pity much faster than a lecture or discussion. A shocking splash of cold water worked even better.
            I came into the kitchen to see my 13 year old sobbing like a baby over a sink of dirty dishes. I sympathized, “I am so sorry you’re not happy. I want you to know how much I love you. In fact I love you so much that I have to do this…” Producing a pillow from behind my back I went to work. She laughed as she tried to ward off the attack. After a thorough treatment the patient had miraculously recovered.
             It seemed to be working well as she went back to her work on the dishes, but to my dismay her condition quickly relapsed. Within a few minutes I could hear her crying again. Time for step two; I went for the ice water in the freezer. She never thought I’d really do it. After a brief chase around the house I had her cornered and, splash…! Now even she thought that was funny. A few more rounds of laughs and the dishes were almost done.
            “What’s that I hear? A whimper again?” I reach for the freezer with not a moment’s waste, followed by more hearty laughs and pleas for mercy.
            As the mother of an emotional preteen girl, I had spent many a long nights coaxing, comforting, praying, disciplining, and threatening; in an attempt to pull her out of a hormonal bout of gloom. Yet I discovered the neggabugger treatment to be more effective and work faster than any other technique.  
             Once made aware of the dangerous effects of the neggabugger they can learn to recognize it and take steps to protect themselves from it. Our children need to learn to not take themselves so seriously, and to not entertain negative or destructive self-talk. Beware of the neggabugger.

Posted by Marie Morrow 

My husband and I live with our four children on the thirteenth floor of a nice apartment building in Taichung City, Taiwan. Needless to say, the elevator is a common part of our daily lives.

It was just a normal, busy day, in the midst of Christmas rush. I don’t even remember where we were coming home from, as our family stepped into the elevator and pressed the button. The number 13 lit up on the panel and the doors closed…

“Children, your mother and I have an important announcement we would like to make.” Daniel said in a way that commanded everyone’s full attention.

I had no idea what this was about. Daniel is a spontaneous man, full of surprises, and I never know what to expect from him. In a quick impulse I decided to play along. I moved next to him and put my arm in his to add authority to whatever he was going to say.

“Your mother and I want you to know that after fourteen years of marriage, we are still totally and emphatically in-love.” Then he turned and kissed me like a bride.

Wow! I hadn’t seen that coming.

The kids laughed a little and said, “Why is that an important announcement?”

Daniel replied that with so many marriage problems in the world and divorce so common, children need to know that their parents love each other. Then he looked at our son eye to eye and said, “When you have your own wife, you treat her right.”

With a loud ding our elevator arrived. When we walked in the door of our apartment the kids chattered between themselves with little giggles, while Daniel and I slipped into our room to enjoy a private moment together.

In 36 seconds between the first and thirteenth floor, Daniel had brought our family closer, put smiles on our faces, taught our son a life lesson, and put warmth in my heart that filled my whole being.

How much can you accomplish in 36 seconds? 

My little seven year old was sick and miserable. She had a cold: stuffy nose, cough and sore throat. She cried as I tried to get her to bed early. As an active kid, she hates bedtime. “Today is the worst day EVER!” She murmured.

“Oh really?” I replied. “Actually, today was a very special day. Do you want to know what wonderful things happened today?”

I caught a little flicker of interest and continued. “It all started when the last stars were fading away and the first beams of sunlight peeked its way into the sky. Then the golden sun shined its smile on the world. The trees waved their branches in the wind and the mommy birds flew off to get breakfast for their babies.” Now she showed a little smile as we talked about all the different animals.

“All over the world today people had a wonderful day. Do you know what they are doing on the south side of the world? People are swimming on the beach enjoying a hot summer day. Somewhere in the world a little boy just got a brand new shiny bicycle for his birthday. Some little girl brought home a new puppy. Today a woman who really wanted to have a baby, just found out she is pregnant. A little girl your age is flying on an airplane for the first time.”

The list kept getting longer… the mother who delivered a 6.8 pound baby boy named David, the kids playing in a moon walk at a birthday party, the farmer harvesting a good crop, the handsome man who knelt down to propose to his girlfriend under the moonlight, the little African kid fishing barefoot with his toes wiggling in the sand. By now Kristy was bubbling with excitement and the other kids had come in to join the fun as well, each adding their own touch of imagination.

While my intent had been to cheer up my grumpy girl, this little exercise had an unexpected effect on me. My own troubles seemed to melt away as I suddenly felt myself a part of this great and wonderful world, connected to all these people, sharing in the joy and wonder of “today”. And just imagine all the hundreds of millions of people who will be having a great day tomorrow.

So the next time you are having a bummer day, try taking a moment to share in the joy of the world around you. Today is really a wonderful day.

This is the day which the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

I arrived home at eight o'clock that summer evening.  I had been out for several hours. As I arrived home, a friend met me at the door.

“Did you meet Daniel at the hospital yet?"  She said.

"No.  Why?  Am I supposed to?"

"Didn't you hear what happened?!"

Those are the words every mother dreads to hear.  I immediately thought of Chalsey, my eight year old.  She's the accident prone one in our family that seems to frequent the emergency room.

"Chalsey was bitten by a copperhead snake!  Daniel rushed her to the hospital an hour ago.  We haven't heard from him since." 

My heart froze.  We had killed copperheads on our property before and knew how dangerous they were.  We had been told that a copperhead snake bite could kill a child.

I later learned that she had been catching bugs to feed the pet iguana.  Bugs always collected around the porch light after dark.  We had a small wooden walkway in front of the side door.  She had decided to lift the walkway to check for bugs underneath.  As soon as she reached under it, she screamed out in pain. 

Daniel, my husband later said, "Her scream was more than a normal hurt cry.  I knew she was really hurt."

She managed to tell them that something bit her.  Immediately they checked under the walkway and found the snake.  They killed it and took it with him to the hospital so the doctors could identify the bite.

I quickly jumped back in my car.  The hospital was 15 minutes away.  That was probably the longest 15 minutes of my life.  I had no idea what to expect, or if she would even be alive.  It had been over an hour already, would she be conscious?  Would she be able to hear me?  Could this be my last chance to speak with her?  Or would she recover? Would it be a long recovery? Would she be in a lot of pain?  How could this have happened?  A million questions raced through my mind.

I prayed from the depths of a mother's heart.  It was just between me and God now.  My hands trembled on the wheel as I cried out to him for mercy and healing for my little girl. Flying down the freeway that night my desperate heart made definite connection with His.

Jesus reminded me of the story in the Bible of the Woman of Shunam.  Her son had died. She laid him in the prophet’s room. Then she went to find the prophet Elijah for help.

 When she approached him, he said, "Is it well with you?  Is it well with the child?"

She replied, "It is well."  Then she went on to tell him that the boy had died, and pleaded with him for a miracle.

How could she say, "It is well”?  Obviously it was not well with the child.  But her faith was strong in God, who had given her that child by a miracle, as a result of the prophet’s prayers, although she had been barren. She knew that God was able, even after he was dead, to restore her son to her.  Because of her faith, the boy was raised from the dead, and fully healed.

The message of this story was clear to me.  Jesus wanted me to trust him.  I had to believe that he had already heard my prayers.  Now I needed to thank him for answering and stand on my faith.

It was very emotional for me.  I went from desperate tears of pleading, to soul cleansing tears of full surrender; then to the passionate tears of praise and thankfulness to my loving God.  He would do what is best.  He had seen and heard my heart's plea.  His love and His wisdom are so far above our limited human understanding.  He would not fail me now.  I said aloud, in an affirmation of faith, It is well with the child.

The highway exit for the hospital was closed for construction, and with all that was going on in my head,  I had forgotten to make an earlier exit.  Now I had to go well out of my way to turn around at the next overpass, adding more time to my already suspenseful trip.  But by now, I had found a strong and steady arm supporting me.  I was staring down my fears, singing songs of faith. Every word I sang carried even more meaning now.

When I arrived at the hospital I was greatly relieved to find Chalsey awake and talking. Her hand was swollen her fingers were purple and green and she was in a lot of pain.The doctor said that if the swelling continued to spread, the destructive venom could go further into the body and more drastic measures would be needed.

For hours, we watched as her hand got bigger and her fingers changed colors.  She was sick and cried in pain.  We called friends and family to join us in prayer vigil for her. We claimed in prayer that the venom would spread no further.  I sang songs with Chalsey and quoted her Bible verses.  To our joyful relief, the swelling stopped right at her wrist and didn't go any further.  

By the next morning she was starting to smile again. During the next few days that she stayed at the hospital, she was delighted to have friends and family come to visit, bringing her gifts and and cards.  Chalsey is such a resilient child. She quickly forgot about the pain and thrived on all the attention. No matter what happens she bounces back with a big smile and loves to boast of her adventures and show off her scars.  I wish we could all have the faith of a child.

As I came back from the hospital I felt somehow stronger, with a quiet inner peace that I could not explain.  In the car that night, I had faced down my fears.  I had proved to Satan, and to myself, that my faith was stronger than circumstances.  It was a good feeling. My faith had been tested, stretched, and strengthened.

In order for faith to grow it must be tested, stretched, and pushed beyond the usual limits.  This growing is not something we do of ourselves. It is something God does in us. When our human strength and faith is not sufficient to meet the need at hand, we draw on Divine Grace and take on a part of Himself.  Then it is His strength in us.

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.

Posted by Marie Morrow