Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't answer a fool...

Dang, I'm still mad.
You see, yesterday Christian was in the 3rd grade spelling bee. This was shocking to me because I think we spent Christian's entire 1st grade year trying to get a decent grade on a spelling test. Spelling was stressful to him and he hated it. I hated it too! So two years later you can imagine my surprise when he's a finalist in the spelling bee.
The top 30 kids in the third grade (10 classes) were chosen. Monday was the spelling bee. My hope and prayer was that he wouldn't embarrass himself by misspelling an easy word. I just really didn't want him to be the first one out.
He did well and made it to round three and then misspelled the word "complain." The student before him had the word "inning," too bad he didn't get that word, he definitely would have spelled it right!
Christian sat down and kids gave him high-fives and told him "good job."
I left feeling very proud of him.
But yesterday afternoon a kid walked up to Christian and said, "Hey Christian. I saw you in the spelling bee. You did terrible."
AHHHH.... what?? Oh no he didn't.
So I asked Christian how he responded and he told this kid, "Thanks for the compliment" and he walked off.
Here's comes the part when I cried...
Christian told me that he thought about pointing out the fact that this bully didn't even make it to the final competition. He thought about reminding him that he wouldn't have been able to spell any of those words correctly. He thought about telling on him... but he didn't.
Christian said, "That kid is a loser at everything he does. He was just trying to make himself look good and feel better. He probably knows that was a stupid thing to say. I don't care at all what he thinks of me because I know I tried hard."
Christian actually thought it was kind-of funny.
Several hours later, I still didn't think it was funny and I told Christian that I was probably going to talk to this kid's parents (we see them all the time at baseball). Christian just about had a heart attack and said, "Why would you do that when I already handled it?" In other words...back off mom!
I am soooooo proud of him. He handled it. Getting "justice" wasn't important. Proving to this kid that he was wrong, didn't matter to Christian.

Proverbs 26:4 "Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My dad was right

I'm learning a hard lesson right now. My dad always told me not to mow in flip flops. But who wants a farmer's tan around their ankles? 
Last Friday I whacked the top of my foot on a piece of metal on our tractor. The cut looked gross but it wasn't deep. I got a lot of sympathy from my kids, washed it, put a bandaid on it and carried on. On Sunday it started hurting. On Monday it started swelling & looking oozy. It was so painful I couldn't keep a bandaid on it. My foot was hot & red & swollen. Being tough wasn't working out for me.
On Tuesday afternoon I finally went to the doctor.
The diagnosis: cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection) and possibly some early tetanus symptoms. My neck is stiff & I have a headache in the back of my head. So I got a tetanus shot & an antibiotic.  

If I'm being honest, I'll probably mow in flip flops again, but I will never wait it out again. Anytime I come in contact with a piece of metal that draws blood I'm heading to the doctor. I thought it would be an overreaction to go to the doctor for this, but I was wrong. This is a mess that I do not have time for.
I know...super gross.
So consider this my public service announcement to keep your tetanus shot up to date & go to the doctor if a cut or sore starts swelling or hurting! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sharing grief with kids

On Sunday morning McKenna's Sunday school teacher was tragically killed in a car accident. Beth was a friend and partner in children's ministry. She came to church every single Sunday morning to love kids and teach them about Jesus. My face hurt yesterday from crying so hard. This is a tremendous loss for her family and for our students at Otterbein Church. Beth was only 32 years old but she spent years serving in our church.

In the 2012-2013 school year she taught our Kindergarten -  2nd grade class. In the 2013-2014 school year Beth served as a small group leader for 4th grade girls. Beth was currently teaching our kindergarten, 1st and second graders every Sunday morning. Beth also taught during VBS last year and she was Esther at our Hero’s Unmasked event in the fall. She knew how to have fun!!  Beth loved kids and she loved Jesus. She participated in a mission trip to Haiti and was very active in many areas of our church. My heart is broken to lose such an amazing friend and partner in ministry.

Beth’s best friend was her sister Lori. Beth and Lori led the 4th grade girls group together last year and they both served together in our Main Street class this year. Lori is currently one of our kindergarten small group leaders. Please pray for Lori and the rest of their family in the weeks and months to come.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down with McKenna and explained to her what happened to Miss. Beth. It took a while for McKenna to process what I was telling her. At first she asked a lot of questions about exactly what happened. She didn't cry, she was just curious. Three hours later she got out of the shower and crawled up in my lap and said, "I just can't stop thinking about it." And then she said, "I feel like I need to cry, but I hate crying." The sadness of losing Miss Beth had begun to sink in. On the way to school this morning McKenna said, "I feel sad. Do you think Miss Lori is sad today?" I cried and said, "Yes. She's very sad." And McKenna and I prayed. We will probably pray a lot over the next few weeks because that is what you do! It made my heart so happy when McKenna told me that she prayed for Miss Lori all by herself at bedtime last night.

If your child attends Sunday School at Otterbein during the 9:20 service it is my hope that you will talk to your child this week about Miss Beth’s death. This will be very sad news for your child and it is best if they hear this news from their mom or dad. Kids need a lot of time to process the information when they hear sad or tragic news. This might be the first time your child has known someone young who has died. When you decide to talk to your child, here are a few pointers:

  1. Choose a time when you are alone with your child. If they feel sad they might not want to cry in front of a sibling. They need to have the opportunity to express their feelings.

  2. DON’T talk about someone dying right before bedtime. Talk about it in the morning or afternoon so that they can think and process and come back to you with questions as the day goes on.

  3. Kids are very concrete. Don’t expect an emotional reaction. They might not have one. They might simply have lots of questions.

  4. Kids are typically worried about themselves (that’s normal and it’s okay). They want to know how this is going to affect them. They might ask: “Who is going to teach my class now?” or they might be worried about you dying. You can tell the kids that Miss Judy is going to teach their class for a while.

  5. Be HONEST and give FACTS. Explain that Miss Beth was in a bad car accident. We don’t know why, but her car went off the road and hit a hill and then it hit a tree. (If you look up this accident up online you will also find that the car burst into flames. I would NOT give children this information. They do not need to be fearful of their car catching on fire). Miss Beth was the only person in the car. The police men and firemen tried to help Miss Beth but when they got there she had already died.

  6. Be ready for questions. My daughter McKenna (age 7) asked 2 very hard questions: “Was Miss Beth scared?” and “Did it hurt Miss Beth when she died?”  I was honest and told her that Miss Beth was probably scared for a minute and it probably hurt for a minute BUT Miss Beth is in Heaven with Jesus right now and in Heaven there is no sadness or pain. Miss Beth is not hurt anymore and she’s not sad at all!

  7. Keep pointing the conversation back to Jesus. We don’t need to feel sad about Miss Beth because she is having a great time in Heaven with Jesus! We can feel sad for her family.

  8. Talk about Heaven. (Randy Alcorn’s book “Heaven” is a great source of information about what the Bible teaches about Heaven. It’s a rather long book but I’ve found it to be a fantastic resource over the years).

    1. It’s a real place with time and space and concrete objects.

    2. The Bible tells us that it will be “familiar” not some strange otherworldly experience.

    3. You will see people that you know and you will look like a person with a body.

    4. People do not turn into angels. God created man and he created angels and they are two different things.

    5. The Bible describes Heaven as “HOME” so you will be as comfortable and happy in Heaven as you are at your home.

    6. People in Heaven can see some things that are happening on the Earth.

    7. There are lots of things to do in Heaven.

  9. Pray. Your child will feel better if they feel like they can do something to help Miss Lori and her family. Pray with your child. Ask God to comfort Miss Lori and her family and thank God for giving us such a special teacher.

I will be teaching the Main Street class (K-2nd) this coming Sunday, May 10th  at 9:20am and I will also be teaching The Avenue class (3rd-5th) on Sunday morning at 10:00am. We are going to have a lesson about Heaven and about the HOPE we have in Jesus that we will see Miss Beth again one day in Heaven. I am planning on being very honest on Sunday but we are going to keep it very upbeat. We are going to talk about what Miss Beth is doing in Heaven….worshiping Jesus! And then we are going to sing some of Miss Beth’s favorite songs and we are going to worship Jesus! I’m going to show the kids some crazy picture of Miss Beth dressed up like Moses and we are going to remember happy times that we had with her. Our lesson will mainly focus on what Heaven is like. Most kids think that Heaven is scary because they don’t know what it will be like and they are scared to think about going to a place without their mom or dad. I’ve told my own kids lots of times that I know for sure that I will be in Heaven. It’s their job to make sure that they get to join me one day. I can’t bring them to Heaven with me. They have to choose to be a follower of Jesus (Romans 10:9&10). If you have questions about how to talk to your child about Heaven, death or asking Jesus into their hearts ….please call me or send me an email. My greatest desire is for Jesus Christ to be honored and glorified through Miss Beth’s death. My greatest joy in life is helping kids learn to trust Jesus and this is a tragic but timely opportunity to point your child to Jesus.


Judy Chatterton


Monday, March 2, 2015

Aunt Betty

My sweet Aunt Betty is with Jesus tonight. She was 92 and was more than ready to leave this world, but there still an ache whenever someone you've known & loved your whole life is gone. My thoughts have been consumed with sweet memories of our times together.
In December Christian and I went to visit her. I hate what dementia robs you of… Your memories and recognition of the people you love. Aunt Betty didn't know who I was but that was beside the point. I just wanted her to have a moment where she knew, deep in her heart how loved she was. I knew this would be the last time I would see her... We talked about how she always made great fried chicken and then the few moments of clarity that I had prayed for began to happen... We started talking about her home and how much I always loved visiting and how my kids loved to visit her home too. I started talking about how fun it would be when we zipped lined out into the water of Middle River. And she said, "The kids always loved the slide too when we would turn the hose on" and I realized that she knew exactly what I was talking about. 

That's me on "Aunt Betty's Beach."
I held her hands and thanked her for all the great memories she gave us at her home. That's a place I always loved exploring as a child. She had collected all kinds of interesting things from all of her travels. 
I thanked her for the priceless memories she gave our family when she let us stay in her house in Florida for our vacations.

I hugged and hugged her on that last visit and started telling her about all the people who loved her. And then we talked about Jesus and His great love for her and I wrapped my arms around her and prayed that He would give her peace and comfort in her final days. 

Psalm 139 talks about how God has ordained all of our days. He knows us before we're born and he has a purpose for each and every day of our lives. I believe with all of my heart that Aunt Betty's life served a great purpose until the time she took her final breath.

I will never forget the first time I went to a real mall. Aunt Betty took me to the mall for my birthday and it was a big mall, the kind with escalators. She bought me a Mylar balloon and a brand-new outfit (Not the outfit pictured above. That's my "Little House on the Prairie" outfit). That was a really big deal when I was seven years old. That was the first Mylar balloon I had ever had and I do believe there were some siblings who were just a little jealous.

When I was in college I actually went and spent a spring break in Daytona Beach with some of my friends and then I spent part of the week with Aunt Betty and Uncle John. How many college students do you know who want to spend spring break with their aunt and uncle? Well this girl did!

I loved being with Aunt Betty because she knew how to love people well.

On Aunt Betty's 84th birthday she was riding in the passenger seat of my car when an SUV slid into our lane and hit us head on. It was a serious accident but I remember how calm Aunt Betty was. She was so worried about my car and I was in a complete panic when she told me she was having chest pains. That's an adventure I could have done without. Thankfully she wasn't having a heart attack, as I feared, but her sternum was cracked. Oh gracious I was stressed out and she just patted my hand and told me over and over that it wasn't my fault and that it was all just fine! Here she was reassuring me as they strapped her onto a stretcher. That's how she lived her life...putting others first. 
I adored her and know with complete certainty that her JOY is now complete as she baskes in the presence of Jesus.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Sports

Christian and McKenna both played basketball this winter. We also tried ice skating for the first time!

Snowy Winter

The kids still went to school on some snowy days!

Sledding party with friends.

That's Will. Our little ninja! 

Christmas Evening 2014

Christmas Moments 2014