Friday, September 30, 2011

What is Truth?

Sometimes I marvel at my kids' ideas of "truth".

Occasionally, one of them will insist they're telling the truth, when, in reality, they are totally lying to my face.  Thankfully, that's a rare occasion.

Usually, they tell their version of 'truth' with either a different slant or from a different perspective.  These are generally the times when they make me laugh.

For instance, just this morning at the bus stop, Markos was acting up.  No matter what I told him to do (or not do), he did the opposite - with an ornery grin on his face.

"Markos, stop touching that trash can.  It's dirty.".... touch. touch. touch.
"Markos, get back here.".... run. run. run.
"Markos, don't knock on the neighbor's door at 8:30 in the morning."... knock. knock. knock.

The bus finally came and Daniel hopped on.  I grabbed Markos' hand to keep him from running out into the street to be flattened by a different bus coming the other direction.  He didn't want to hold my hand, but I insisted.  For the first time all morning, he relented and nicely held my hand as we walked back to the house.  As we walked, I asked, "Markos, what's going on today?  Why aren't you listening to me?"

He got all defensive and shot back, "I listen!".  I explained that no, he hadn't been listening.  He explained, "Yes, I did!  A second ago, I listened!"  Well, he had me there.  He HAD listened that ONE TIME a few seconds before, just not the other 87 times before that.

Then after school, Daniel and Markos were downstairs and I could hear some commotion starting.  Before long, Markos came running up the stairs crying to me about Daniel changing the TV channel when he was watching something and that Daniel had pushed him.  Eventually, I talked to Daniel about it and asked very non-chalantly, "hey Dan, what happened downstairs with the TV?"  After a few seconds of well-spun bologna, I asked, "Well, did you push him?".

With a very thoughtful expression on his face, he said, "I...uh...I...hugged him."
(yeahhhh, right.)  I gave him the look of 'Oh, come on!  You can do better than THAT!' and he relented and laughed, saying, "OK.  I'm going to tell you the truth.  I did.  I pushed him."  (short pause) "Hey!  I told you the truth!  I promise. I'm going to tell the truth now....for a whole year!" 

Awesome.  A whole year.  Wow.

Then there's Mackenzie who totally cracks me up.  She will say something that she and I both know is completely false, but she will stand by it, even though she totally knows that I know it's not true.  Usually these are ridiculous things, like today.  She came home from tennis practice in the rain, on clay courts.  She didn't take her shoes off before walking onto the living room carpet.  Dark footprints marked her path, and were all around where she stood.  (Side note: I JUST scrubbed the carpets 2 days ago.)

I said, "oh, Kenz!!  You didn't take your shoes off!"  She said, "oh, sorry!" as she headed for the tile entryway.  But, she was playing with the dog and didn't take her shoes off then either.  Before long, she was standing on the carpet beside the tile again!  I said, "KENZ!  You're on the carpet again!  Take your shoes off!"  She said, "no, I'm not."  (knowing full well that she was)  I said, "yes, you are!" as she scooted over onto the tile.  (The footprints marking where she had stood were a dead giveaway!)  She said, with a little smile on her face (giving away her complete knowledge that she was full of it), "no, I wasn't". 

As funny/ridiculous/pathetic as these situations were, I will admit, figuring out the 'truth' is often a tricky thing.  Truth according to whom? From whose perspective?  What is true and what isn't?  Is there really such a thing as a half-truth?  Half true, half...false??

Like the situation with Daniel today, sometimes acknowledging truth requires that we humble ourselves and admit we were wrong.  Or, with Markos, sometimes we are telling some truth, but we just weren't clear about the question.  Or, with Kenz, sometimes we know the truth, we just don't want to admit it or accept it. 

The Bible has much to say about Truth.
Jesus is the truth:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:6 - 7

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth: 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17

 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13

The Word of God is Truth:

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17
 The Truth will set us free:
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

Here's the thing.  The Truth isn't something to be determined.  The Truth is a Person.  Someone to get to know.  Someone with whom to have a relationship.  A relationship that will end with His Spirit taking up residence inside you, guiding you, and helping you to know, to speak, and to understand truth.

Do you know the Truth?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Apologies to all the Dolphins...

...and other marine animals that are negatively affected by the releasing of helium-filled balloons into the atmosphere.

Marine Biologists everywhere, if you find this:

in the blow hole of some dead whale somewhere, it's my fault.

I couldn't resist Markos' pleas any longer.  He got this balloon at Daniel's birthday party yesterday.  Everytime he moved it from building to car or car to building, he received numerous reminders, "Don't let go of that, Markos, or it will float away and you won't get it back."

Today, he decided to take it outside with him to play.  Again, I started with the warnings.  Except this time, his curiosity got the best of him and he proceeded to start begging if he could let it go.  Initially, I said no, that it wasn't good for the environment.  That if he did, he wouldn't get it back.  He insisted that he didn't care, that he really wanted to watch it float to the sky.

So, doing what every exhausted, annoyed, frustrated, defeated, supportive mother would do, I finally decided to let him see what a helium-filled balloon floating to the sky looked like.

He loved it!  That huge, light-up-his-whole-face smile of his shined more than the gold mylar balloon!  He pointed.  He kept yelling for me to look at it.  He chased it around to the other side of the house and up the driveway so he could watch it float up into the sky. 

Sometimes I forget that he's never experienced simple little things like that.

When the balloon was out of sight, he whipped around and with a huge grin on his face, he asked, "balloon up in sky?". 

I said, "yes - way up in the sky".

He asked, "far, far, away?".

I said, "yep".

And, he asked, "Jesus play with it?"

Now, with a smile on my face, I answered, "I don't know, buddy.  Maybe."

Who knows.  Jesus might like that shiny gold mylar balloon.  He surely loved Markos' delight in watching it!  I know I did!

Boys, Bouncy Balls, Boiling Points and Balloons

We finally had Daniel's 8th birthday party with his friends on Sunday.

A few weeks back, when he and I talked about what he wanted to do for his party this year, he said he wanted a "science" party.  He suggested the Carnegie Science Center, but he wanted to invite all his friends from school and hockey.  The thought of being responsible for 15 seven to eight year old boys in the Science Center was more than I could bear; so I was happy to discover on their website that they do "Science on the Go" birthday parties at your home or other location.  Additionally, the thought of 15 seven to eight year old boys in my home was more than I could bear; so I was also happy to discover that the Bethel Park Community Center rents out rooms for a fairly reasonable rate.

Oh, how happy I was with the choices I made!  :-)   
Boys are LOUD!  Really, really loud!
Boys are also active!  Really, really active!

(In fact, I was pleased to receive a call 
from the Community Center 
yesterday that they'd be sending me 
my deposit check back.  
Shooo!  That's a relief!)



In all seriousness, it wasn't too bad.  The boys were, for the most part, very well behaved for a bunch of young boys, many of whom, hadn't seen each other all summer and were moved to different schools this year due to the redistricting in Bethel Park.
Julie, from the Science Center, seemed completely unfazed by the boys' loudness.  She helped them all to make their own bouncy balls - explaining about polymers.
Markos making his bouncy ball
Daniel (with crazy hair after running around like a maniac) and David making their bouncy balls.
Max and Caeden making their balls

She let Daniel help her make play-doh. 

Each kid made their own "slime" (which I secretly advised all parents at pick-up to throw away that night after their children were asleep).

Making slime
More slime
And then, the most exciting part of the party -- she used liquid nitrogen to make ice cream for the kids to eat.  Nothing excites a bunch of boys more than hearing about how if they stick their finger or tongue into the liquid nitrogen, it will freeze and break off!  Throw some instant fog and boiling in and you've definitely got yourself a party!!

Daniel adding the ingredients to make ice cream



I have to tell you - it was seriously some of the best ice cream that I think I've ever had!  And, Daniel could actually eat it!  No allergens.  Just cream, sugar, salt, vanilla and some liquid nitrogen!  Woo hoo! 

Yum!  Liquid Nitrogen ice cream

Markos even ate his!
Of course, it had to be a hockey cake (even though Daniel couldn't eat that cake).  Yes, his nice Mommy made a special cake that he could eat.  It just wasn't pretty. Or decorated. Or appealing to the rest of the kids.



He got some great gifts and gift cards (which are burning a hole in his pocket)! 

More hockey stuff

More Penguins stuff

Surprisingly, Markos was actually pretty well behaved (for Markos).  He was a little confused about the gifts at first and was a tad irritated that they were all for Daniel with none for him, but he handled it ok.

Awww.  The sweet, innocent boys (and poor Kylee, the only girl).

Yea.  That's more like it!

Happy birthday, Daniel!

(Hallelujah!!  All kid's birthdays are finished until next year!  
Now, I just have to get through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas....)