10 Great Things That Happened in 2012

New Arm1. I got a new prosthetic arm. It is a process that I only tackle once every ten years or so. It involves much research, many decisions, a huge financial commitment, lots of trips to the prosthetics facility, and a challenging adjustment period. But it’s done and I am pleased with the results. I’m glad I did it in 2012 and don’t have it to look forward to in 2013. 🙂

 

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I Now Pronounce You Husband and Wife

2012 has been the Year of Weddings for me. I’ve had the privilege of performing three wedding ceremonies and being the mother of the bride once. Each was unique and each was special to me.

The wedding of Megan Dearman and Scotty Porter was the first I had ever officiated. I was Megan’s children’s minister fifteen years ago when she was a preschooler. To get to say ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife’ at her wedding was the icing on the wedding cake!

Dearman-Porter Wedding

I loved Dr. Don Beach and Susan Basden the first time I met them at Crosspoint Church. I knew we were destined to be great friends. When they asked me to perform their wedding, I couldn’t have been more excited.

Sabrina Stroud and Cameron Roberson said their vows in the quaint chapel at Point Mallard Park. One very important guest made His presence known by directing the sun to hit the window at exactly the right moment during the ceremony, projecting a cross in front of the couple.

Roberson Wedding

My own baby girl walked the aisle in a white satin dress in August. When I offered to perform the ceremony, she said, “No, Mom. I want you to just be my mom at my wedding.” So that’s what I did. I helped her put on her dress, her 5″ black heels, and her veil. Then I took my seat and watched with joy as Cassie and Chris began their life together. She said I would cry, but I proved her wrong.

As I place this ring on your finger,
Its perfect symmetry
Is a symbol of our perfect love.
It has no beginning and no end,
A symbol of the eternal commitment
We have made today.
 I came to this place today
As a woman standing alone;
I will walk from it by your side
And enter into a new and lasting commitment,
Knowing that we can accomplish more together
Than we ever could have alone.
 

Pinocchio: What’s a Parent to Do When the Nose Begins to Grow?

Lying is a funny topic in the movies. In Big Fat Liar, lying Hollywood producer Marty Wolf ends up with blue skin and orange hair. In Liar Liar, 6-year-old Max makes a birthday wish that his dad can’t lie for an entire day, creating a hilarious stream of embarrassing incidents. And, of course, in the classic movie Pinocchio, a wooden puppet’s nose grows long when he lies. But outside the movies, lying is not so funny.

So what’s a parent to do when their child’s nose begins to grow? I did some research on lying for an article I wrote for Parent Life magazine. I also conducted a 21-year controlled laboratory study about lying involving thousands of participants. (Well, not really, but I have been a mom and children’s pastor that long.) Maybe these simple steps will help.

STEP 1: Recognize the problem.

I discovered that all lies fall into one of three categories.

  • UN-Truth is outright deceit.
  • HALF-Truth is leaving out information that might be incriminating.
  • Truth-PLUS is embellishing the truth.

Armed with this revelation, parents can quickly recognize a lie and even categorize it!

STEP 2: Start young or start now.

Parents often wonder at what age kids really understand the concept of lying. Research reveals that kids as young as four years old are beginning to distinguish truth from untruth. They are developing a conscience and will express guilt. They also can respond to reason, so start requiring truth and explain why. You can make this step engaging by telling or reading the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” You remember that one, right? Every day the little boy yelled, “Wolf! Wolf!” Everyone ran to help him and then he laughed at them. One day, however, there actually was a wolf. When he cried for help, no one came running.

STEP 3: Determine the consequences for lying and then follow through.

I adapted an old school method—writing sentences. The sentences were Bible verses about lying. I let my kids choose from this list:

  • Keep your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
  • Do not lie to each other. Colossians 3:9
  • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6
  • The devil is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

One note of caution here: Be careful to not punish imagination. What children imagine can be vivid, making it difficult for them to separate fantasy from fact, pretend from real. Use teachable moments throughout your week to explain the difference.

STEP 4: Reward truthfulness.

Think of something fun. One mom said she drops a quarter in a jar for each episode of good behavior. When the quarters add up, she takes her child to buy a special toy or game he’s been wanting.

STEP 5: Set a good example.

Jasper, a first grader, said her dad got stopped by a police officer for speeding. Her dad told the police officer that he was diabetic and was rushing home to get his insulin shot because he was feeling bad. He got out of paying a speeding ticket, but his daughter knew he lied.

Raising truthful kids is a long-term commitment, but it is worth it. It offers kids a life of integrity and prepares them to stand firm in an untruthful world.

Parents, what steps might you add to this list that have worked for you?

This picture hangs proudly in the Alexander home