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Editorial: Thoughts from Jan's Desk

     Reluctance becomes procrastination in the world of writing. News becomes stale while the writer determines whether it is newsworthy. Life continues out of the depths of humanity and this writer prefers to share conceptual thoughts rather than a particular opinion of the days events.     

     Focus on Humanity offers an interpretation of life that intercepts the day to day fact with perceptions of reality that search into the emotional reasoning of those who affect life in general, the public, the politician, the preacher, the man on the street corner begging for his meals, or those who are readily available to compete in every day life. Life continues in one form or another - while I believe evolution is not the source of man - I believe we evolve constantly to meet the needs that become part of us every day.

~ Jan Verhoeff

 

" Say only what you mean. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
~ Don Miguel Ruiz ~

 

Photo by: Terry White 

Cost of Freedom

By: Jan Verhoeff

Shattered silence

The force of terror

People falling through the air

Not the sound of rich success

Just the doom of hatefulness.

How can it be that we've aspired

Hate of others for what we've acquired.

Is this the price of our hard work

Having terrorists around us lurk?

How can we suffer silently,

When our endeavor is just to be free.

Is there no justice here on earth,

What can freedom really be worth?

The terrorists must be caught

Their lives taken now for naught.

They do not value life at all

So it is now our judgment call.

They must give their life

For causing such strife.

This poem was submitted to Poetry.Com in 2002 by Jan Verhoeff.

 

" Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success."
~ Stephen Covey ~

Impacting my life

By: Jan Verhoeff

     There is another cup of cold coffee sitting on the back of my desk, and yet another page of math waiting before me to grade. The phone just rang with another job to be completed day before yesterday and here I sit with writer's block, again. While I can think of many things I could write about - none of them fit within the realm of business topic - or even home office information that would serve as an article for one of the trade magazines I write for regularly. My deadline is tomorrow. Of the list of topics that I keep at the ready (in the event of writer's block), none of them seem particularly appealing on this day, because I'm more interested in writing about something close to my heart. I have this unbidden desire to write about someone or something that will change the course of my life, or at the very least have a significant impact.

      As I watch my sons play WCW on the trampoline outside my front window - it slowly dawns on me, that what I really want to do is record this moment in time. I want to share the joy that wells up inside of me when one of my children accomplishes something. I want to scream to the mountain tops that I have somehow accomplished something wonderful - through God's gentle blessing, I have created a child that is providing for me mountains of joyful moments.

      It isn't the big - purple ribbon award - moments that I get the most out of. It is the unusual moments that just kind of happen, like the spelling test that was passed with all the words except one correct, and that was Really hard, Mom. It's the moment when my four-year-old first ties his shoes and gives everyone else a hug because he is so thrilled. It's the moment that my fourteen-year-old realizes that it is okay if she doesn't dress just like all the other kids, because she looks better in another style. It's the moment that my kids realize they are individuals and capable of the next step toward maturity.

      A conversation that gives me insight into the mind of a five-year-old child, and understanding that he actually did comprehend the meaning of a story told in Sunday School, or during our weekly history lessons becomes one of the most joyful moments of my day. It is amazing how these moments are even more critical to my esteem than a purple ribbon award moment in my career.

      It is significant that this realization happened while I was sitting in front of the computer attempting to pound out a required article, that may further my career as a business writer. The simple fact that I was in career mode when I had the realization says to me that, as important as my career is - my family is more important, on a baser level. It says that even if I'm at work, it is my family that motivates me on to greater things. It implies that there is hope of turning around what is becoming the song of loss in America - the LOSS of the FAMILY.

     I believe that as parents it is our responsibility to maintain a relationship with our children, the kind of relationship that allows them freedom to choose within limitations that we provide. We should give our children honor, and honor our parents, so that our children see honorable relationships working for the good of all concerned. I choose to home school my children, because I want them to enjoy the time we spend together and to enjoy the time they spend with each other. I commend the education system for the job they are doing with students. I realize that home education would not work in every family, nor should it, this is America and we have a choice.

     Is there someone or something out there that will change my life or impact my life? The answer is a resounding YES!!! There are four little some bodies out there who impact and change my life daily. I call them by name, scream at them, yell at them, encourage them, love them, and guide them, sometimes right and sometimes wrong - but always with the realization that I am building the future leaders of my country, members of the next generation. As a parent, it gives me great pleasure, and even greater honor, to see my children solve their own problems and grow slowly, daily, and much too quickly toward the independence of adulthood. I'm not alone in this realization, parents everywhere realize that all too soon their children are no longer within their control or influence.

      Besides the fact that our children have an impact on our lives, it is our responsibility to make an impact on their lives. We must first give our children the strength of a foundation to build upon, then with unwavering joy, we must set them free to fly independently into the future. We must realize that we are influencing the choices of the next generation and set out in faith and love to do justice to the opportunity we have been given.

 

 

 

 

Focus on Humanity

Parenting: The Road I Choose

Tripping over the shoes and toys that seem to clutter my living room floor on a constant basis, just seems to be part of the game of parenting. I realize it doesn't have to be that way. I could spend my time picking up after the little hon-yocks, and screaming at them to do their chores, but it's more fun my way. (I never know where I'm going to land.)

A night of walking over hot wheels and leggos has special meaning for me, and I doubt I will ever forget the night of the little tykes tractor story, but life does have a purpose - and for me that purpose is in the form of children. It's the loving, the kisses, the hugging, the owies, and all the problems and hassles of parenthood, as well as the joys of being a mother. Nothing else compares.

I can't imagine life without my *treasures* or living without the fun of parenting teenagers, toddlers, and tweens, and yet somehow I can imagine that life without them, for someone who never had children is pretty much the same as mine - FULL and SATISFYING. My friends who don't have children seem to find ways to utilize the spirit of nurturing that God gave them, and it seems to give them pleasure in the same way.

I meet people throughout life who have children who do not feel the need or desire to be fully involved parents and I wonder if they realize what they are missing. But, when I share the joys of parenting with them, they just don't understand. So, I suppose there are those among us who just don't get it, but for those, I'm sure God has a plan somewhere in his massive order of life to satisfy. I just really wonder what that plan could be.

For me, the oatmeal kisses, band aide covered knees, broken trophies of my past, and scattered clutter are all made worth it by the years of love and honor that my children bestow up on me in the single moment when they proudly introduce me as mom.

~~~~

The cravings and the nights of unrest and worry, fears of creating a life. God must have had a heart of iron to know what would come later, and still do creation. Makes one wonder if the big boom theory might be fact?

The irony of doing it alone and the reality of being alone after the joy of the union of creation.

It's understandable why the female praying mantis eats the male after conception, he'd just leave anyway.

Precious Seconds and Baby Cries...

They go so fast. Life is created, born, grown, and gone in such few short moments in the span of all eternity.

Baby eyes, sleeping peacefully and angelic memories of quiet times, the baby drifts off to sleep in your arms at the sound of a peaceful lullaby, and life goes on Then the baby cries. You work hard for moments that seem like hours to quiet a fussy baby, only to coo and croon at them once they drift into peaceful sleep. A sigh of thanks and gratefulness escapes an exhausted mom when her child finally rests peacefully on her breast, though she knows any noise might bring recurrence of the restless night.

Patented Lullabies - remember that one. (to no tune in particular - in a very soft loving voice)

Oh my peanut butter baby
You're the one I love
Oh how I wish you'd close
Your eyes
Your mommies coming undone.
I'm so tired sweetheart
And I want to go to bed
Oh how I wish
You were a sleepyhead.


Or this one's always a favorite...


Ain't cha ever gonna close your eyes
You little sleepy head
I told you it was bedtime long before the sun went down
But you don't really listen
You just cry and scream a lot
Now I'm getting sleepy and the dawn is coming up.
But I bet you will be dreaming
When I have to go to work.
What a brat you are - I love you
Anyways, but my boss won't like me sleeping
For my weekly pays.


Or maybe something more taxing...

I've been up for days
And all the nights between
Now there's a gloss upon my eyes
No soul has ever seen
You won't let me get a shower
There's not a moment in between
But my darling baby I love you
Even though I stink.

(Just think Elvis and blue suede shoes - only softer.)

Interspersing moments of teen life with memories of quieter days, would seem to be pleasant and expected.

Youre "psycho Mom". My daughter laughed as we hung up the phones. Our new matching cellular Nokias - used to stay in touch during her first weeks of college. Little did I know they would be our lifesavers through those first weeks. Slowly we learned to use email, and spare the phone bill, but we needed that contact with each other as she went her way to become an independent woman.

 

My daughter- my friend.

Life had happened as she grew up, and she grew up as life happened. The reality was, I had enjoyed every moment, though they were far too few and flew by too fast, but I remembered them all. Most of them happy moments to treasure and think about as the days dwindled into weeks and months of sharing her life - as a friend, and my daughter. She is a special part of my life - and I want to share the experience.

Born at the break of dawn on a summer morning, in the golden glow of the delivery room, Brenna Joy became the light of my life. Don't want to take anything away from God, or Jesus - the son of God and my Savior, but that little girl lit up my world! I thanked God for her, dedicated her to His service, and loved every moment of being a mother.

I never expected to have more children. My marriage ended shortly after she was conceived. And I never looked back, I had been given the most precious gift, a baby girl with big heather colored eyes, and a smile that lifted my heart. Brenna Joy was true to her name --- the joy of my life.

Pregnancy was remarkably easy, I loved being pregnant. I loved every moment of feeling her move and squirm inside as she grew. I was a glowing mom, walking in the sunshine and feeling the moment all winter long, I just enjoyed being pregnant. Come spring, I was content to plan the nursery and start collecting supplies for the baby. I enjoyed the season and the opportunities I had for learning and growing.

I craved banana milk shakes from Dairy Queen, and since we didn't have one in our community, I had to drive at least two hours to get one. I drove it as often as I dared - by myself, until my parents found out. Then I had to take someone along. I so enjoyed those moments alone. Hours of me and the highway just cruising along and enjoying the day. There was something about the prospects of being a single mother, that felt good. It hadn't been my plan, but it was my reality, and I grew comfortable with the idea that spring.

More parenting views, ideas and thoughts of life and living as we move along...
Just a few thoughts on teaching children - as a home school mom, these concepts are part of our daily lives. I believe they are actually part of the lives of people everywhere, but often are unrecognized as teaching tools.

If I drop it someone will pick it up.

How long did it take your child to learn during a ride, or a church service, while you held them, that if they dropped the toy they were playing with, you would pick it up and hand it to them?

If your child asks you a question, and you have an answer, do you ignore the question, or answer it? If you don't have an answer, do you make an attempt? How difficult do you find it to say to your child, "You know, I never thought of that, let's go find out why the grass grows from the ground up?"

I pulled a tuft of grass out of my yard to show my son the root system on it we were discussing how a tree grows and what a tap root is. Not sure where he heard of a tap root but the question came up and we endeavored to find an answer. We finally found it by pulling a dandelion out of the grass... That ominous root that reaches down to bedrock to hold the plant solidly in the soil and maintain its constant supply of nutrients and water is the proverbial tap root. His understanding of plant life grew and his appreciation of my ability to help him find answers grew a bit, as well. Will he remember in twenty years, what the purpose of the tap root is? Probably.

Will he know that the answer to the question doesn't have to be readily available? More than likely. Will he know that if you can't find the answer in all the probable places (we couldn't pull up a tree) there are other sources to find the answer? I think he will. When we study about tap roots in our annual horticulture class, and do the research in our study manual, and at the library, will he remember his hands on experience at finding a tap root and specifically what it does? I'm sure he will.

By simplifying the experiences children have, responding to them in a natural manner - honestly, and participating in their experience of life in a manner that will encourage them to find answers to their questions, we are teaching our children.

Morning Abounds

By Jan Verhoeff

 In the light of the early morning

Cooing in the trees above

A morning dove is calling

Longing for some bird to love.

 There in the mist of dawning

As darkness lingers from the night

Love may leave you wanting

But it will eventually be all right.

For though the hours turn to days

And the beauty of youth slowly fades

All of life is a yearning heart

Singing a melody of love accolades.

Troubles do surround us

Trials at every turn

And yet His love abounds us

And we are yet to learn.

When life presents her troubles

And toils serve rightly snares

We have someone to turn to

With all our worldly cares.

For God sent down His only Son

To lift our hurts away

He took upon His shoulders

All our burdens on that day.

So when you search the dawning

For one who wants your love

Lift your eyes t’ward heaven

He’s waiting there above…

Don’t seek to find just solace

Comfort and reprieve

Seek to find a redeemer

And to him let your heart cleave.

 Copyright © 2004 – Jan Verhoeff  

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