The Therapeutic Value of Touch

The old saw rings true, “Once a nurse, always a nurse.”  I learned as a youngster the value of touch.  My mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis before I ever entered the world, and a rough touch left skin slips or bruises on her fragile skin.  I learned early on the art of grasping without leaving a mark.  I learned as a student in pediatrics that babies denied a loving touch develop a syndrome known as failure to thrive and die without intervention.  A gentle touch became ingrained as a way of life.

I now home school a sweet red-headed grand with freckles and a lovable chuckle.  In almost every way she is a delight.  She’s just…messy!  Very, very messy.  I often wonder how a little girl who loves Fancy Nancy and all things pretty, especially all things that sparkle, can present me such ugly work.

Do overs, extended bouts of penmanship, scolding, praising, nothing fazes her.  Every day I see her becoming more and more entrenched in habits of messiness. Thus I decided one day, after receiving yet another page of abominable handwriting, that radical action be taken immediately.  A campaign was in order.  A gentle undertaking to touch her soul.

pensI added a summer course of calligraphy.  We find character building scriptures on relevant topics and letter them in fancy styles, adding flourishes and swirls, and on her paper, that means a lot of swirls everywhere.  She loves it.  Her calligraphy requires a loving eye in order to offer any praise, but here’s the point:  She invests almost an hour in one line or sentence, which is 59 more minutes normally occupied in writing the same line on any given day.  I offer hope for improvement.

Every parent or grandparent possesses the opportunity to touch the life of a child, and every child needs those loving touches.  This sweetie just lost her daddy, so every hug, every word of encouragement, every smile wrenched out of her situation equals a weighted touch.  So I’m learning to be generous.  Touch a child, your own or another’s, and offer an imprint on a little growing soul.  The soul you bless may one day legislate your Social Security, save your life in an ambulance, or just eat family dinner with you…but trust me, two lives reap the benefit, both now and later.  I encourage you, gentle reader, touch a little life.  You’ll find it therapeutic for everyone involved.

Why My DIL is a Bad Influence

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the girl to pieces.  Yet the fact remains…she taught me a bad habit.  A very bad habit.

Because they live on our property, we share a mailbox.  I collect their mail, meaning, all of her packages.  The UPS man stops here so regularly we’re on a first name basis, so you can see where I’m going with this.  Yes, she shops online.  A lot.  It started me wondering.  Why?  Does she get good deals?  Does she save time or gas?  What’s the attraction?

My first forays began so innocently.  Amazon, so naturally Amazon Prime, meaning free shipping!  What’s not to love, right?  Who could argue with that?  Do you realize just how quickly a person can rack up money spent online?  A single click and boom!  Suddenly I’m a proud owner of…more stuff.

I quickly banned trips to Amazon to once a week, and only with list in hand.  Then I discovered…you might want to cover this piece of information with your hand, it’s that explosive in nature… (and if you’re reading aloud, just whisper here) Tophatter–the most decadent and deceiving app of them all. You see the picture.  They tell you the retail price.  They show you the instantaneous savings.  The bidding lasts just two minutes, so you dare not contemplate on whether or not you need it or where in the world you would put it…hurry up!  Bid already!  Bid again!  Boom!  Now you really own more stuff, especially if you check it out several times a day, just to see what’s there, of course.

mailWhen I started adding up what I spent (as opposed to what I supposedly saved), I quickly realized yet another site needed banning.  I blame all this on my DIL, whom I love dearly and who, I am sure, buys only what she needs, because she is amazing.  But I ask you, is she worth her weight in stuff?  Because that’s what my unbridled obsession stacks up to equal or exceed.  Yes, she’s a very bad influence.  And, I repeat, I love her dearly.

For All the Princesses

princess1I’ve written a book and am in the process of figuring out how to publish it…but in light of yesterday’s blog, I thought I’d post a chapter for you to critique.  The book is for all our daughters, helping them find a right path, a good self-concept, a right relationship to God.  Experts say to write what you feel passionate about.  This is it for me!  What do you think about this chapter?

 

Let Your Mind Be Transformed

Chris awoke to a bright sky, the sun gleamed through her window.  A smile spread across her face as she threw back her covers and jumped out of bed.  She hastily pulled on her clothes and tiptoed out her bedroom door.

“Good!” she thought, no one’s up but me.  A spark of decision settled it—she was going outside to explore the garden before anyone had the chance to stop her.  “And after all, I am the princess.  I should be able to command my breakfast whenever I want it!  And everyone else can wait for me!”

As she reached the lower level, she heard servants at work in the kitchen, so she stealthily crossed the hall.  “They won’t even know I’m gone,” she thought.  With that she ever so quietly opened the side door, slipped out, and carefully closed it without even a click to give away her presence.

She quickly crossed the courtyard with the fountain and benches she enjoyed each afternoon, and proceeded to a walk through stately elms along the opening path to the garden.  Once again she reached a juncture where the path divided into three sections.

Looking at them, she saw with dismay that through the night each path had changed dramatically.  The path on her right, which had seemed so appealing yesterday, looked grim and foreboding.  The daisies she had picked from a frothy bank of golden sunshine yesterday afternoon had vanished, as if they had never grown there.  Instead, the edges of the path were overgrown with thistles and dandelions.  “How is that even possible?” she wondered.

Tentatively, she reached out to pull a yellow flower from the nearest dandelion, but the moment she touched its stem, her fingers burned as a toxic film oozed out.

“Ow! Stop that!” she cried, and instantly, her father’s image appeared before her.  “Give me your hand,” he said quietly.

Chris held out her hand.  He grasped it gently, and in a flash, the ooze disappeared, the pain with it.  She stared wonderingly at her hand, rubbing it in disbelief.  “How did this happen?” she asked.

“Christine,” He said quietly, “what are you supposed to do each morning?”

She looked down, contrite, ashamed.  “I am supposed to present myself each morning and receive my work for the day,” she responded.

“There is a reason for that,” He replied.  “I know this garden in all its forms—joyous and deadly, wild and groomed, pleasant and frightful.  Indeed, I planted it here for your protection.  That means I know how to direct you and protect you.”

A spark of defiance lit her countenance, and she placed her hands on hips and argued, “But I am the princess!  I should be able to explore and map out the garden all on my own!”

“Your tone, little one,” He chided her.  His eyes gazed at her, full of love, piercing her soul.  “You are the princess, and while this garden is yours, and while it can please you, it also separates you from the outside world.  You will have dominion over it in time, but you are not yet ready.  When you slip out of the castle on your own, you are also out from under the protection of the guard I have posted here for the express purpose of seeing that no harm comes to you.”

Christine felt His sorrow deep in her soul, and a tear or two brimmed her eyes.  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.  As she had learned before, she added, “Will you forgive me?”

In a trace her Father’s image vanished and peace flooded her soul.  She turned and retraced her steps.  Entering the castle through the side door, she saw servants setting out breakfast for her and her retinue.

“My lady,” Kelsey said.  “Your Father asked me to prepare your favorite breakfast.  He wants you to present yourself right after breakfast.”

“Thank you, Kelsey.  Are any of my ladies ready for breakfast?” she asked.

“No, my lady.  You are alone this morning.”

Good, she thought.  I need this time to settle myself.  Christine happily sat down to a plate of waffles, which she generously doused with syrup, remembering the bountiful harvest of sap the trees in the garden had provided this year.  “Kelsey, these are delicious!  Please give my compliments to Cook this morning,” she exclaimed.

“I will my lady.  She will be most pleased,” Kelsey replied.

It was some time later when Christine left the table, ready to enter the throne room.  She entered reverently.  Awe, as always filled her senses.  The ornate carvings depicting her Father’s realm reminded her of how little of the world she had really seen.  This castle, these grounds, these servants, these guards, and her ladies-in-waiting were all she had ever known.

As she reached the empty throne, her Father’s image appeared.  “Christine.  How good to see you again this morning.”  His smile gladdened her heart, and she marvelled that she couldn’t detect even a hint of reproach.

“Your majesty,” she answered, as she bowed before Him.  “What are your instructions for this day?”

“It is my will that you begin a course of study to prepare you for your work in life.  Listen to your instructor.  Let the words you hear transform you into the handmaiden I need at my side,”  He said.

A smile broke across her face, and she bowed in acceptance.

 

Study:   Read Romans 12: 1-2.

  1. What does the word transform mean? Look it up in dictionary, and write its meaning in the space below.

 

  1. How does God renew your mind?

 

  1. How would your life be different if you actually imagined presenting yourself to the King of your life each and every morning…and did it? Try imagining it now.  What might the throne room of God look like?  Would trumpets blare when you enter the room, or would it be quiet and serene?  When you kneel before the Lord, how would you feel?  Try it and see.

 

  1. What are your orders for today?