Twenty touches

Each night my children and I spend anywhere between fifteen minutes and two hours together. Most of that time is spent reading before bedtime, but that time is also used to reconnect.

Many years ago, my wife and I attended a Gary Smalley seminar where he briefly mentioned the importance of touch. It’s something we all need to live. So I thought to myself that if I don’t supply my children with enough positive words and touches each day then there may come a time in their teen years that they look for that need elsewhere and end up experimenting with touch in ways that isn’t allowed outside of marriage.

So I asked my kids, “Do you get enough loving touches throughout the day: pats on the head, pats on the back, hugs, kisses… stuff like that?” They all answered “no”. So I wondered – how much do they need? Then came the question. “How many times do you feel you would need to know you are loved?” The eldest child only thought briefly before saying her answer: “Twenty times!”.

That’s quite a bit of touching to take place over the two to three hours I have available for them during the week days. With the size of my family, if everyone got 20 touches a day that would add up to 100 touches a day – not including our dog.

If that were spread throughout a three-hour-twenty-minute period it comes out to touching someone every 2 minutes.

I only remember getting a meaningful touch about once every other week growing up, which was still more than most of the kids I knew. I’ll bet our society has even pulled back to the point that children are only given a meaningful touch once a month, and that’s reserved for when the child initiates the hug.

One last thought – giving my children that access to my personal space makes me a tangible figure for them. I become more real and more accessible in ways beyond the physical. Hopefully they’ll learn that and come to their real accessible Dad during the more trying years ahead.

Meditation

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise-worthy — meditate on these things.” – PHIL 4:8

I am very lured to talk about the incessant corruption evident in the current events. From companies that treat people like cattle to government corruption to the media that amplifies it.

I hate to admit, but when there’s a bad accident I’m drawn to see what happened. When work becomes stressful, I begin to concentrate on how stressful work is. This clouds my judgment from seeing obvious solutions to the problem.

I’ve been called a worry-wort and a wet-blanket amongst other things. There are many others out there who also mount worry and complaining in the halls of their daily living. They are like trophies. That’s not what God calls me to be.

We could ask why and go into some Freudian explanation just to explain it away, but that still focuses on problems.

In Disney’s movie “Pollyanna”, Philippians 4:8 becomes a pivotal element several times. The pastor is discouraged and dis-enlightened, a man is frustrated with the political corruption, one woman has a fixation on death, another on sadness, another on herself, and finally Pollyanna becomes fixated on her crippled condition.

Taking the lesson from the Bible, when I’m discouraged I should look for something to be glad about rather than complain.

I shouldn’t let discouragement build to the point of anxiety. The verses leading up to Philippians 4:8 explain how we should deal with anxiety – by bringing it to God. God is then said to bring peace – not solutions.

Like any good doctor a prognosis is mentioned with the cure to go with the medicine. Am I anxious? Bring it to God and get some peace. Chances are I’m anxious because there’s a focus on the wrong things. Change the focus and my condition will change with it.

Organic Pick-Your-Own Farms

A large windmill spun overhead as we pulled in past the gate. Parking our van we quickly spied over the metal bar fence. Picnic tables adorned the lawn to the side of a large red barn. Nestled on the barn’s porch were white rocking chairs and a table with a box of freshly pulled garlic stalks resting in it.

Paula took some of the family to ask about the process at this farm. I followed up with some equipment and water.

“There’s a ‘train’ that picks up here and takes us to the berries.”, she said.

We didn’t wait long when a green John Deer tractor pulled up with a large red and white bench seat wagon rolling behind. The driver showed us where to pick the red currents and where to pick the black raspberries then slowed to a stop to let us out.

We spent some time picking currents. After pulling together two pints worth, we began picking the raspberries. The combination of mid-90 degree heat and thorny bushes was difficult for the children to bear so they headed back to the barn for shade when the next ‘train’ came by. “Get the black ones!” cried out the driver over the tractor engine. I nodded as she pointed in an area “These are more ripe here!” she called out again.

I continued to pick berries for some time longer before heading back to the barn area myself. My girls picked flowers and dug up carrots during that time. Once we were all together again we drank water and sat on the shaded porch in rocking chairs. Then Claudia came by.

Claudia and Tim are the owners of Berry Patch Farm. Her tan face and energetic smile display a level of passion she has for her farm. She kindly answered questions Paula had about organic farming. She mentioned that the Colorado State University was invaluable as a resource – that the university even takes classes to her farm to study organic farming techniques in practice. She talked some about the expenses related to this type of farming, but also related the benefits to it.

A few minutes later we were joined by Tim. He waved to us as he stepped off the tractor. A few minutes later he was showing the children a medium sized rock that had been split by lightning.

When I asked if I could get a picture of him and his wife together he asked if I were from the media. “No”, I replied, “but it might end up on my blog, though nobody really reads it.” He and Claudia looked at each other and chuckled.

“A few weeks ago we were visited by some Microsoft bloggers. They called ahead and made arrangements then took some nice pictures, too.” He was talking about the Eco-Trippers who were making a journey from San Francisco to D.C. for the “Live Earth” concert and stopped by on the way.

We perused the barn some more. They have a variety of fresh vegetables of course, but they also have honey, eggs and some great tasting almost-natural candy. It isn’t quite completely natural since it uses non-organic corn syrup amongst some other purist taboo ingredients. One of the girls and I went out and picked some fresh basil then checked out.

That night we had a fantastic Margaretta pizza with the basil. As for the currents and raspberries, I plan to make some fantastic jelly with them. The rest of the family can hardly wait.