Thursday, June 20, 2013

It is cold

I do believe that it is officially cold in NZ at the moment.  Not that we haven't had it cold before.  Or that we won't have it cold again.  But it is a bit of a shock to the system, all the same.  The autumn was almost non-existent, and winter thus far has for the most part been quite tame.  The occassional chilly day to remind us that it is no longer autumn, but nothing terribly cold.  Which of course makes this feel even colder than it actually is.  I think my hands are in shock.  So is my nose.  And my feet.  Oh, that's right.  They were like that last week anyway!  Doesn't take much cold to send this bod reaching for the blankets and extra clothes.

Coldest place in my house?
Right here, in front of my laptop.  The office is a fridge.  Doesn't get any sun, left the window open this morning to air it out and came home around lunch time to find the driving wind (and a bit of rain) helping itself to my desk.  Ugh.  Window was promptly shut.  Office has failed to warm more than marginally since.

Okay, so maybe I am exagerating about the temperature.  I had to go into the garage a few minutes ago.  Definitely colder out there.  Decided that the building project can wait until morning (do you think I will feel more like being in the freezing garage in the morning?? I guess I can hope?).  The office is a better bet, even if it does feel decidedly fridge-like.  Grin.

Warmest place in my house?
Top of the stairs.  Ah.  Perhaps that's where I should be then? I could always perch my laptop on my knees?  Seriously, all the warm air from the heater in the lounge piles up there in a heap, pushing and shoving, trying to be the first to the top of the house, the first to escape out the bathroom window.  So I may as well make the most of it before it all disappears.

Nah.  Bed will be warmer, I'm sure.  Hot water bottle, duvet, mink blanket (doubled over), woolen tops,  flannelette pj pants.  Two pairs of socks, beanie on my head.  Toasty.  And I haven't even aired out the winter weight wool duvet yet.  Boyo probably wouldn't talk to me for months...he did however, decide that tonight he will use the feather duvet.  The mink blanket might not be quite enough tonight, so hopefully he won't sweat his way through the wee smalls under the feather duvet (talk about chalk and cheese - the two of us!).

Air temp (in the bedroom)?  Probably around 14.  Not bad at all, when you consider it's under 5 outside. 
Ah, the joys of insulation.

I'll see you lot in the morning.  Well, actually I probably won't.  I'm off galavanting.  A day and a half of recharging and girls-only banter.  Definitely taking my hot water bottle and my wool coat though!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Branching Out

We are fond playdough users in our house.

Munchkin can get his own playdough out of the fridge door, unwrap it, and set to with diggers, dumptrucks, and rollers.  He frequently does.

There are, of course, the frequent requests for Mummy to "Make a road," as Munchkin's three year old rolling and flattening abilities are still not up to his road-making standards.  Grin.

We tried putting lentils in our playdough last time, after reading about offering different tactile feels on The Imagination Tree.

Don't think I'll be doing that again.

Love the look.  Bright orange in the blue playdough.  (Blue that later got mixed up with the green batch!)

Do not love finding lentils over my carpet, in my kitchen, scattered over tables, and lurking in corners.

Something smaller would work well, I think.  Something that doesn't have the exuberant need to leap from the playdough at every opportunity. Something like glitter.  Current lot of playdough is yellow with blue glitter.  Mummy's choice of colour, Munchkin's choice of glitter.  It also smells of oranges.  Yum.  He doesn't seem to notice, but I sure enjoy the smell when the playdough is out.

But back to our spotted alien invention.  It was used for many purposes.  Cars, mostly.  (Seen here before being mixed with green - in a mostly-blue state!)

But we also had some birthday cakes, and a friend really enjoyed chopping.  He chopped cakes, he chopped sausages, he chopped, and he chopped, and he chopped.  Interesting.  My boy is not into chopping.  He rolls.  He squashes.  He digs, and he digs, and he digs.  Hehe.  I love seeing how different children can take the same material (like playdough) and put their own personality and interests into it, to give it a totally different slant.

(There are three candles.  I do hope you noticed them!)



And in honour of the pleasures of reading (having just completed an entire paper about the wonderful world of good literature), I would like to share that reading can take many forms.

Boyo and Munchkin peruse the Toy World flyer.

Boyo likes reading the junk mail and Munchkin looks set to follow in his footsteps.  Just as long as he doesn't start asking for things from it, I am fine with that!

Munchkin notices cars from the "Cars Movie, Mummy."  The one he watched on "The Big Plane" when we went to his uncle's wedding late last year.  It has been imprinted on his memory.  He spent days going back to this flyer, finding all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and machines in it.

Really, if you think about it, this form of reading is just as valid as reading a good picture book or novel.  Okay, so maybe not quite as enlightening.  It probably won't present new understandings of the world and it's level of vocabulary might be a little limited.  BUT, it's another way for children to access print, to realise that reading has many benefits (such as knowing how much a toy you want costs on special, for instance!!), and to gain appreciation for their own ability to decipher and understand.  It's good for Munchkin to see how many different uses print has, so the Toy World flyer had it's day in the limelight.  It's since been replaced by a paper, some cards...the list goes on.  Reading is a wonderful thing!


The Exam

It was the kind of exam where you only have one sip of water.  At the beginning.  While you are trying like a mad-woman to gather your scattered thoughts and tie them into some semblance of order, like trying to catch feathers on the winds of a hurricane.

The sort of exam where you get writers cramp before you've written even a quarter of what you need to...maybe even only an eighth, and you're wondering if the marker is going to be able to read the rambling scrawl that you dare to call writing.  You've used shorthand while working out what you will write, but will they realise if you keep writing MN for Miss Nancy?  Probably better not.  Probably isn't good exam form.  So you write it all out in full form, painstakingly, trying to keep it legible but succeeding less and less as the minutes tick remorselessly past and you try to write faster, faster, faster, frenetically trying to finish before you're told you have to put down your pen.

The kind of exam that you read the questions at the beginning, then read them again.  And again.  And again. Each time hoping that maybe you read them wrong and they really are simpler than you thought at first.

But despite this fervent wish and vigorous rubbing of eyes you discover that no, you read right.  The questions really ARE that hard.  They really ARE wanting that much detail.

Good thing you didn't know last night.  You might not have slept.  Good thing you didn't know this afternoon.  You might not have gone on that walk.  And let's be frank.  You needed the sleep and you needed the walk.  And studying instead of doing either of those was not going to make that much difference.

Because the real issue, the crucial point, is not how hard the exam is.  Sure, it's THAT kind of exam.  But the real issue is that you are in THAT kind of state.  The state now known as PPE.  A term known only to teacher education students: Post-Practicum-Exhaustion.  Those students who throw themselves full-tilt into teaching placements (as all good teachers should) survive the experience (by the skin of their teeth) only to find themselves, two weeks later, so exhausted that they have trouble putting food on the table or remembering what day of the week it is.  They hand in their essay and then wonder what on earth they should study for their upcoming exam.  What were we reading about before Placement?  Where are my books?  What is my name?  (seriously - PPE can be that bad!)  It's really not fair.  Expecting poor students to survive Prac, hand in the related essay, and then a week later sit a monster exam.

So this is what you get when you combine an open book exam with PPE?  And by open book, you really should be saying "open books" seeing as there were so many of them.  The combination of poetry, rhymes, as many as 8 picture books, Grimms fairy tales, 4 compulsory chapter books, and 4 optional ones makes for some serious reading material and a rather large pile to accompany you into the exam room.  No wonder the ladies saw you coming and said, "You must be doing that open book exam!"

You might have felt like boosting your confidence walking in that open books exams are easy.  But you'd be lying.  Lying, lying, lying.  Open book exams are hard.  The level of application, the depth of understanding, the volume of sheer words required, these things are horrifically hard.  Even for someone who usually does exams pretty well, having to come up with all that in a three hour session, on the spot, is tough.  No pressure.  No pressure.  Just three hours and three questions, screeds and screeds of extra note paper, a cramped hand, an even more cramped brain, and post-it-notes left, right, and centre.  Thank God for post-it-notes and being allowed to have ANY form of memory assistance in an exam!

The exam is done.  You survived it.  Pat on the back.  Chocolate fish award.  You should pass.  You do know your stuff, even if it didn't come out of that tired ole brain of yours all that well.  So what if one question only got fifteen minutes?!!  At least you answered it!  So what if there were quite a few crossing-outs and it didn't flow really well.  It's not an essay, after all.  It's an exam.  A three hour exam in which you could have spent all three hours answering one question.  You answered three.  That's gotta count for some marks at least!

And now you can give in to PPE for two and a half blissful weeks.  Well, sort of.  There is that to-do list lurking somewhere or other.


ps - this exam was the culmination of a semester of EXCELLENT inquiry.  The material covered, the lecturer's enthusiasm and dedication, the discussion of differing viewpoints, and some SERIOUSLY good children's books, all made for a fabulous paper.  I will really miss this paper (Children's Literature), but I will NOT miss the exam.  This I will probably tell my lovely lecturer.  Grin.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I should be studying for next week's exam.

Obviously I am not.

As I only handed in an essay late this morning and am feeling a little more than brain dead, I think the exam prep will just have to wait until tomorrow.

I am eating lunch.

Then I might have a short nap, or hold a piggie before it's time for the afternoon kindy run.

But I thought that while I eat my delicious salmon, hummus, and lettuce sandwich I would tell you all about Foodbox.

It all started with a carrot.

Not a real one!

This one:

Boyo found it in our letterbox.  I duly inspected and was subsequently duly impressed.

Foodbox delivers fresh NZ produce to your door weekly.

I asked a few more questions.

A Foodbox rep called me at 8:35am on Monday morning in regards to the email I'd sent over the weekend.  Now I'm a sucker for good service!
I ordered a trial box.  And was impressed some more.

I will be getting boxes regularly from them, it's now just a matter of deciding how often (have to see how long it takes us to go through our vege horde!).  This winter, particularly I think they will be great value for us as our vege gardens are not producing much of anything and I've been finding myself skimping on the veges (I buy fruit at really good prices, but veges are not on special much at all lately which meant I was avoiding buying them - silly me, not good for us, so I figure that a regular box of nice veges at a good price will encourage me to use more veges again!).

The perks?
FRESH.  I haven't seen a store-bought celery this fresh.
FREE DELIVERY.  Seriously!  Paying for delivery is one thing that puts people off getting stuff delivered, but with Foodbox it is free!
Here is our box, just unpacked.

Mmmm, yum.  Where do we start, Mum?!

For $39, it contains:
small grey pumpkin
4 tomatoes
6 parsnips
4 stems rhubbarb
1 large leek
large celery
large bunch silverbeet
2 small romaine lettuces
1 pack alfalfa sprouts
bag of pak choy (about 6 in there?)
2 bags mushrooms (500g each I think!)
gourmet potatoes

More perks?
FLEXIBILITY.  I haven't had fruit and veg boxes before because I really don't like the 'like it or lump it' philosophy.  I don't want to receive food we won't eat.  That wastes money, which means a box of food is not economical.  Foodbox gets around that by allowing you to set up your Foodbox account with a 'banned' list.  Things you never, ever, ever want to receive in your Foodbox (but it looks like you can update it as you remember other things you don't like!).  Plus, you can choose to 'take a holiday' from a couple of items each box if you don't want them...they will happily replace with other items from this week's list so you don't lose value at all.  While it's still not completely flexible (there were no kumara this week, for instance), it is flexible enough to make it fun, enjoyable, and economical!  The wide range of veges is really good for us too!
So for my box this week, I banned garlic and broccoli ('cos we grow them) and brussel sprouts ('cos I hate them!).  I asked for either more salad or roasting veges.  Then I said I don't want onions or carrots this week because we have them already.  Instead of these items I ended up with extra parsnips, lettuce, and mushrooms.  Awesome!
PLUS of course they have different sized boxes for different sized families.  I got the Vege Patch box because I don't want any fruit.  But you could get the Appetiser box each week (half fruit, half veg for two people) and add on a Fruit Bag if you want lots of fruit.  You can add Fairtrade bananas, free range eggs, or fresh herbs too.  You can order weekly, fortnightly, or once-off.
You can even do a box as a gift!

So there you go.  Foodbox.  Currently available in Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga.

Tonight I will be making a silverbeet pie.  Recipe courtesy of my Foodbox.  Leek and silverbeet also courtesy of my Foodbox.  My sandwich is finished.  My bed is calling.  Catch you all later!


ps - if you decide to set up a regular order, please put my email address in as a referral on their friend promotion link (we both get to choose a gift if you do!).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's The Little Things

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Take birthdays, for instance.
Balloons.  $2 per packet.
Favourite drink?  A couple of dollars.

A vivid is a very useful tool to turn an ordinary thing into a  special message!

Favourite chocolate bar (crunchie)?  $1 on special.
Favourite lollies on table at dinner time $5.  Roast chicken and veges for dinner.  Candles and tablecloth fished out of cupboards.  Did have a moment of panic when I wondered where on earth the matches were...very hard to light candles without them, and even harder to light the 'bonfire!'

The birthday 'boy' - a pretty typical pose (very rarely get serious ones out of him!)
Handmade card with printed voucher.  The voucher is the really expensive part of Boyo’s birthday – a fishing license come October.  Most of the family chipped in!  He is looking forward to using it, just has to relocate his assorted collection of fishing gear.  Grin.

Bonfire?  Borrowed brazier from my parents.  Wood from them too (thank you!!!).  Fished out wooden seat from under a few climbers in a corner of the garden.  Re-purposed a few old tomato stakes as roasting stakes.

Roasting marshmellows which were thoughtfully included in a present from my parents.

Damper: flour, water, and baking powder slow roasted on a stick then filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter filling.

First time to try damper for Munchkin - Mmmm Yum.  First time for Daddy and he liked it too!
Equals: a fun birthday that says, “You are special to us!”

Cost?  About $10 for the little extras.  Some time and thought, the use of a vivid, the car boot, and our love.  Like I said, sometimes little things can make a big difference and birthdays are one time when that is definitely so!

I’m finding too that it is the little things that are helping me feel more at home in our new place.  It’s a nice place.  But to be really honest, I’ve struggled with the enforced move, the changes, the trying-to-find-places-for-everything, the increased neighbourhood noise (thank GOD we didn’t have to move to a louder neighbourhood!).  I’ve struggled with the design flaws (more about that another time).  But mostly I think I’ve struggled because it was sudden.  Ten days is not a long time to get your head around the fact that you are moving.  We literally walked through this house, talked to the agent, and signed the paperwork once she’d checked our details.  So we moved in trying to remember where things were and what could fit where.  Then I headed out on teaching placement and everything just had to be at a standstill at home.  For someone who likes order, routine, and everything to be in it’s rightful place, that was a really hard thing to do.  I felt flustered.  I wanted to run round and set things to rights but I didn’t have the time or energy (or money!).  So now that placement is over, the two birthday celebrations duly celebrated, and I am in a mostly sane mind (hahaha!), I have been pottering away trying to organise my house. Boyo thinks I am just a little bit mad, but then Boyo hardly ever needs the glue, or the cardboard, or cares about whether the bag tubes are hanging or not, or whether the bathroom vanity looks pretty.  He’s pretty cruisy, which is probably a good thing.  Two of us like me, well, that would be insane!  Grin.

So here are a few of my little household things:

Pictures up.  I put them up and smiled.  I smiled nearly all day.  For me, a house simply isn’t home until there are pictures up.  We are privileged to be allowed up to 2 picture hooks per room…and we can choose where.  So I have chosen.  I’ve culled the pictures, and will store the rest (with those that are already stored), but managed to keep the family ones on display as well as a few treasured ones.  Enough to feel at home and really, that's all I needed.

Shells in the bathroom.  These were from our wedding cake, and some I have collected on our beaches.  Been in a box for years, but I just wanted to be able to see them.  One day they will have a nice basket or something but this is okay for now.

Bag tubes finally up on hooks in the cupboard.  Oven mitts hung beside oven (the kitchen seriously had no hooks and/or rails!).  Hand towel rail up in bathroom (after getting a new one from the landlords, we actually discovered the old one hanging up beside the hot water cylinder so I have put that back up instead!).

A garage that is organised well enough that we can get a cupboard in there to repair.  Yup, this is the ORGANISED and TIDY garage.  You don’t want to know what it looked like before I biffed, culled, rearranged, stacked, and sorted!  Loads of stuff to go on Trademe sometime soon.

The shelf I re-made in the kitchen. It’s more hickory than the old one (which wasn't exactly flash to start with but was too low and too long for this bench).   But regardless of looks, it's just what we need to turn a very overcrowded corner in a tiny kitchen into something usable.  Just need to paint it now so it is sealed from water damage.  I am VERY proud of my accomplishment.  Me and my drill, we get along fine. 

That my parsley plants survived being transplanted.  A little thing, but in a garden that has nothing much usable, that means a lot.

Kiwifruit that mysteriously appeared on our car while Boyo was working this week.  Yum, such a blessing!

Little things.  Little by little, I am slowly feeling more at home.


Friday, June 7, 2013

A Bug's Life

I found this little beauty while out adventuring with preschoolers last month.

It's a Two-Spined Spider.  Very original name!

Isn't she incredible???

We thought she was just a funny growth on the plant originally, till she moved.  With her legs all tucked up, all you see is her funny looking back.  I had to go back later and capture a few pictures to share.

Such exquisite beauty.

Now, I know for those of you who are a little less than keen on spiders, that sentence may sound a bit over the top, a little corny, or just plain weird.  Well, I freely admit to being weird.  And I am a bit on the 'green' side.  But I don't wear hemp skirts or hug trees.  At least not much.  My husband actually hugs trees a lot more than I do.  And I do NOT like all spiders.  Spiders that bite, for instance, are not listed in Amy's favourite things.  Spiders that jump at me, or spiders that are big, black, and hairy are similarly avoided (whether or not they actually pose a threat to my physical well-being or not!).  But some spiders, you have to admit, are beautiful.

When we take the time to look.

This little lady was on the underside of a leaf, quietly minding her own business. Each day she weaves a very fine film of web over that leaf, hoping to catch tiny insects.  We just happened to be looking at the right time, in the right place.  And we were inquisitive enough to look closer.  And closer.  Really, really close.  And for our efforts we got to see a truly amazing creature.

She's beautiful.  In a weird, spidery kind of way.  And yes, she is a she.  The boys are small and fluffy!  Library books can tell you a lot of very useful things, it turns out.

I missed out on seeing this one in person...

But Boyo and Munchkin caught in on camera for me.  A Mummy praying mantis laying her egg sack.  We find them everywhere around our place in Autumn.  They've been on the conservatory windows, the front step railings, on our duvet, even inside a pair of trousers drying on the washing line!  But I don't think we've ever seen them actually CREATE it before.  Not your usual photo, I know.  But it tells a little story all of it's own.  And again, sometimes there are things happening all around us that we are simply too busy, or too 'big' to notice.  Life is happening, people, and sometimes it isn't all about people either!  We might tend to think of insects as bothersome, or not think about them at all, but they play a valuable place in our ecosystem and are truly amazing if we stop and take the time to look.  Thanks to my husband (spider-lover), and son (bug-lover) we notice quite a lot of God's smaller creatures around our place.  Okay, so I admit that I also have a delight in taking photos of intricate detail from time to time.

What tiny things might you notice today that delight, thrill you with beauty, or intrigue you with complexity?


Are you SURE it's not Saturday?

My mind and body are both convinced that today MUST be Saturday.

Yet I KNOW that it is only Friday.  If it was Saturday, I would have cleaned my parent's house today.  I have spent the better part of the day reminding myself that no, it is not the weekend.  Today is FRIDAY Amy, get that in your head!

Today is Friday, today is Friday, today is Friday.

Nope, still not working!

Ah, I suddenly realise why.

I have just spent four weeks working full time.  The only days of the week where we didn't have to be up and out of our house by 8:10am was Saturday and Sunday (and they were 9am and 9:40am respectively)!  As today we got up and pottered around at home until 10am, of course I am feeling a little confused. 

It does feel so nice though, not having to be anywhere.  We were going to see friends, but they are sick.  I'm really sorry, we miss them and they miss us and I feel so for them not feeling well.  But today I must admit I didn't mind as much as usual that we missed out on our social time.  Munchkin is talking about this friend and that friend at Preschool, so it's not like he is desperate to see people.  Mummy could do with a natter with a friend, but I can also do with some down time.  So down time it is.

So today is Friday.  A cruisy, laid back Friday.  Boyo has returned to work.  Not that he'd stopped work, but he had to take leave from his usual Friday afternoon shift.  It's a good thing he remembered he had to start back today, 'cos I sure didn't!  It just seems all out of whack, that he's out working this afternoon.  And yet, this has been our routine for ages.  Moving and teaching placement have just thrown everything out of kilter and left me in a fuddle.

But the good news?  If today ISN'T Saturday, that means I STILL GET TO ENJOY IT TOMORROW!

Ahhhhh.  Now that's a nice thought.  Grin.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Come to This

My mother is horrified.

So too, am I.

That we have had to stoop to such lows is inconceivable, unthinkable.

Yet we have.

We are buying eggs.

We who, between us, own six feathered egg producers.

We are buying eggs.  Not just occasionally, but weekly.

Our chooks are in mutiny.  They are on strike.  All production has ceased.  Yet they still require our attention daily.  Food, water, greens, and more are still demanded by birds who have not laid for weeks, and by the looks of things will not do so until spring has fully fledged.  That's a long time away.  It's a good thing for my girls that I am not the sort to shorten a life due to poor productivity.  They will survive to see the warm spring sun, and give us eggs once more.  At least they aren't scoffing bucket loads of grit any more.  I guess they don't need it: moulting doesn't require grit.  Grin.

So while we wait our way through the rest of winter, and ration our eggs, Mum and I will commiserate with each other over the negligent state of our chickens.  And console ourselves with the hope that at least we will get good gardening in those beds when the chook cages move come spring.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Too Much of A Good Thing?

As an eldest born, raised by two eldest borns, I have more than my ‘fair share’ of responsibility engrained into my personality.  Combine this with a gift-giving nature, someone who likes to work in a team, help others, and contribute in meaningful ways, and you get a person (ME!) who gives out a lot. 

It’s just how I am.

And sometimes it can be really useful.  I’m the teacher that remembers to ask kids if they need to use the bathroom before we get on the bus!  I’m the friend you can usually rely on to help with a meal or vacuuming if you have a baby.  You can rely on me to sacrifice my own time in order to help you.

But sometimes it’s not helpful.

I just want to help.  It is my nature.  If I care about you, I want to be involved in your life and you in mine.  I want you to help me move, but on the other side, I also want to help you with meals when you have a baby.  I lend clothes, I ask if you’ve thought of trying this nappy cream or that alternative medication.  Most of the time I don’t even realise I’m doing it.

But it can be a problem.  So I’ve been thinking about what makes it a problem, because of course it is a gift, this desire to help others (much better than having to scrounge around for motivation to get out there and help others, I think!).  It’s just that I take it too far to the extreme and then feel really bummed about it, and start viewing it really negatively.  Hence the thinking about what makes it a problem instead of being helpful.  Because of course I just want to help!  Identifying when my helping is not helpful, will, I hope, enable me to stand back sometimes instead of irritating people.  Grin.

So when is helping a problem?
A         When it isn’t wanted
Especially if the person on the receiving end isn’t confident enough to tell me to back off, that they don’t want my help or my advise, that they’re doing just fine thank you very much.  Because of course most of the time I can’t tell that I’m doing something ‘wrong’ if someone doesn’t tell me.  So I blithely carry on, trying to be helpful, trying to show love to my friends or family in ways that to me say ‘I love you, I care’ but to them might actually be saying something more like ‘You should be doing something differently’ or ‘I’m being a nosey pain in the you-know-what.’

B          When I end up feeling used
You know, when you do things for people but then feel like they just took advantage of your generosity.  I need to learn to read people better sometimes, and be a bit more picky who I help and who I don’t, and what specifics that helping entails.  Because sometimes I end up feeling used.  That someone might not have wanted my friendship as much as I thought, but maybe wanted my gardening skills or whatever.  Or that they don’t want to give back to me…now that’s a tricky one as for some people, they simply aren’t givers by nature.  And I can have expectations that because I helped them they should now help me, but that’s not always how life works.  And sometimes it might be more about ‘paying it forward’ rather than ‘paying it back’ and after all, I should probably be giving without expectation of return.  So sometimes, especially if those feelings of being ‘used’ start to creep in and cause me to feel bitter or resentful, I have to remind myself that it is always my choice to give. Or not to give.  And that at the end of the day, I choose to give to honour God and he sees that regardless of what the other person does with it.  At least God sees my heart, even if others don’t always.

C         When it gets in the way of their own growth
Yup, it can be very easy to jump on in and ‘rescue’ people.  And sometimes that is not what they need.  Sometimes, they might need me to just let them work out their own mistakes or hear from God on their own, or just do life their own way because that might be what they want to do. I  find this in the ECE setting too – my desire to protect and nurture every child means that I am loathe to see them take risks.  I will automatically put a child on a swing, instead of watching to see if they can get on it by themselves.  Not really helpful in encouraging them to learn skills and competence, so something I am working on recognising when I teach.  I still want to hold my son’s hand every time he approaches a step on a walk.  He is three.  He is very competent.  And it probably wouldn’t hurt him that much if he did got splat on the path.  Fortunately for Munchkin, he is pretty independent so simply refuses the hand if he doesn’t want it!  And I’m learning to keep them behind my back a bit more and take my cues from his ability instead of automatically offering.

D         When giving to others means my family suffers
Sometimes I can give too much.  A friend needs a meal because they’ve been unwell, then someone else moves house so I make one for them too, then another, and another…
Sometimes, my giving to friends or even strangers can cut out my own family.  I might sometimes spend too much money or time on others and that means there’s not enough for those closest to me.  It’s a balancing act.  I gain fulfilment through giving, and believe that God made us to give.  I believe it’s good for my family to realise that I don’t exist solely to be their servant either.  I just need a reminder sometimes that giving includes those closest to us – the ones that we live with!  I need to have balance between being outward focused and inward focused.  That’s not to say that I’m going to start spending three hours doing my housework every day all of a sudden!  I still believe there are more important things than housework.  I do try to keep my house clean (an area I’ve had to work on), but I figure that mostly clean will do.  Time for friends, family, and other pursuits is important too.

So there you go.  Do you have any thoughts on other times when helping can be more of a hindrance?  I’m hoping that now I’ve thought through some of this, next time I am tempted to help someone out, I will do a quick check… “Will they want this/need this?”  “Will I feel used if I help this person right now?”  “Am I possibly getting in the way of their growth?” and “How will my family feel about this?”