Monthly Archives: January 2012

When the Principal Calls—Helping a Good Kid get Back on Track

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When Good Kids Make Mistakes

The best toy in the toy store–a broom.

Last week I was standing in line at a toy store and I saw a little boy about three years old very excited about the present his dad was buying for him.  You might imagine it was a car or truck, maybe a building set, or even a sword or light saber.  Any of these would have been expected for a little boy to be excited about, but to my surprise this boy was delighted to have a kid sized broom and dustpan.  Like many kids, he wanted to hold his new toy while standing in line.  He took the broom and began sweeping the floor and singing…”Clean up, clean up, every body do you share. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.”  I was amazed by the sheer enthusiasm this child had for doing his share and getting to work cleaning up messes on the floor.  Generally speaking kids and adults alike do not like cleaning up messes.

Give your kid the best chance for success and  plan for failure.

One of the best pieces of advice I got as a mom of toddlers was to give them the best chance of success and plan for failure.  What do I mean?  When we bought our new home the dining room was carpeted.  The highchair sat on carpet and three times a day our son would throw food on the floor and we would have to get down on our knees and dig the food and crumbs out of the fibers.  The carpet was never really clean and so we were upset every time our kid did what kids do, make messes.  We decided to pull up the carpet and put in a hardwood floor.

When the floor was installed, I was as excited as that little boy in the toy store was to sweep up the messes my kids made.  What once was a headache and chore became easier to manage and my attitude was much happier.  The broom was always close by.  We planned for failure when they were learning how to drink as well.  We gave our kids tiny steel cups to drink from and put about a tablespoon of liquid in the bottom.  If they spilled it, it was no big deal to wipe up.  If they drank it quickly, we would give them a refill.  When my son fought to hold the spoon I was feeding him with, I gave him his own spoon too.  Two spoons allowed for us to be successful.  Two spoons changed my relationship with my son.  No more fights…for now. Read the rest of this entry

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Losing my Voice and Finding it Again

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I lost my voice last week. It turned out to be bronchitis.

These past two weeks I have been battling bronchitis. 

One morning when I was very sick I woke up with no voice.  I had but a whisper to talk, and that too was strained.  The morning routine with our 13 year old and 11 year old is an intense schedule.  They each have to move through showers, breakfast, backpacks, packed lunches, and chores all in the space of 1 hour.  The last 10 minutes are especially rushed with me yelling, “don’t forget your lunch!” and “hurry up you’ll miss the bus!” or “practice piano before breakfast.”   Suddenly with no voice and no energy the “mom voice” did not exist and my children were on their own.  Fortunately they made it to school on time with all their stuff in tow.

The urgency of needing my voice back was compounded by the fact I had to teach a class on the book of Nehemiah that evening.  I was trying to imagine teaching the class without talking much.  It wasn’t going to work.  I realized that without my voice, I had no profession.  No voice meant no ministry.

For a brief moment I realized how dependent I was on my voice.  Without a voice pastors cannot provide counseling, we cannot teach, we certainly cannot preach.  Our work is based on the art of communication and building relationships.

Fortunately, my friend Swati came by and took me to the clinic where they gave me a breathing treatment and diagnosed me with bronchitis.  Within 5 minutes my voice returned.  I had thought that my voice was gone, but what was actually gone was my breath.

In Hebrew the word for “breath” ruah is the same word for “Spirit” (to learn more click here).  It is the Spirit of God who dwells within us that is found within our own breath.  We breathe in the breath of life and the Spirit of our Creator with each breath.  When our breath leaves us at the time of death, then we say that our Spirit is gone.  While I still could breathe, I had not the strength to speak.  My voice was weak because the breath flowing through me was not strong enough to speak.  My air pathways were constricted—too tight for the ruah to flow.  Thus, my spiritual power as I understood it was certainly weakened.

What about those who have no voice? Read the rest of this entry

A Child’s Memory of the Farm, before I was Vegetarian

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A day's harvest from our garden.

“Why are you vegetarian?”  

I get this question all the time.  Long after I became vegetarian, a memory from my childhood surfaced.  It is a surprising story about Sundays on my grandfather’s farm.  I know that my love of vegetable gardens comes from my dad and grandpa.  Every year we plant a garden at my home.  This past year, during the heat of August when the tomatoes were fresh off the vine, I wrote this short story at a Spiritual Women’s Writing Retreat.  I share it to you below.

A Green Pepper on the vine from our garden.

Some of my progressive pastor friends may think I am vegetarian because of the original commandment from God to Adam and Eve in the garden--“God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”  Genesis 1:29.  Much to people’s dismay, I wanted to marry someone who was vegetarian.  At the time I was vegan, until I was introduced to paneer–indian cheese often served with spinach and an amazing blend of spices.  Yum.  I became vegetarian because my friend Adrienne shared with me health statistics of cancer rates among those eat meat and those who don’t.  The vegans had the lowest rates of cancer, and so I gave up meat and dairy at that time.  So that is why I became vegetarian.  It’s because of my husband being Indian that I gave up being vegan…the paneer and ghee was just too delicious.  

This year I grew many varieties of tomatoes, including this orange one!

A better question is why I stayed vegetarian.  As I learned how to prepare a vast repertoire of international vegetarian dishes, I craved less and less the dishes of my childhood.  When I did crave them, the vegetarian market for protein substitutes worked well with traditional recipes.  Then, when I met others who chose to be vegetarian for religious, health, or animal rights reasons, it just seemed to continue to be the right decision for me.  

Yes, our kids are veggie too.  I still believe it is a better health choice overall and I hope that our children are more compassionate and conscious of what they eat because of it.  

Whether you eat your veggies or not, I hope you enjoy my short story below!  Be warned, there is a surprising ending…

God Bless,

Pastor Tanya

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Silver Buttons, Pink Pigs, & Innocence Lost

by Rev. Tanya Sadagopan

The car didn’t seem to go fast enough down that country road lined east to west with corn taller than the station wagon my dad was driving.  I did not like that corn—it was too high to see around.  I was afraid that someone would steal me away if I wandered in between the corn-rows, so I stayed clear.  Nose pressed up against the window, I watch for the corn to end and the farm-houses to begin.  Sunday’s at Grandpa’s farm were the best!  Grandpa lives on county road J.  A funny name for a road, just a letter of the alphabet, but there is a K and L road too.  I wonder if roads A, B, and C start in some other county.  But I only care about county road J and how long it would take to get past this corn.  Read the rest of this entry