Mugs & Muffins Saturdays
“FATHERS & DAUGHTERS"
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV)
We are thrilled to honour the fathers in our church family with this special blog featuring answers to a series of questions we posed to one of our dad’s. As a father of a daughter (and two sons), two daughters-in-law and four granddaughters, Neil understands the father-daughter bond. Here he shares some of his insights and experiences.
Where did you get your parenting ideas from?
How unaware was I of the amazing experiences or the huge responsibility that awaited me as I held our first child for the first time! Born to Pat and me, on November 16,1983 was a beautiful and healthy baby girl, we named Noriko. Pat and I were both dentists trained at university to pursue this career however we received no formal training to be parents.
My parents were both second generation Japanese-Canadians, and raised us with a goal of providing lots of opportunities to succeed. My dad worked hard to support us and was involved in our sports activities by coaching or just being there. He was loyal to his family, didn’t verbally teach us but we learned from his example. My mom, well, she was always there meeting all our needs by her actions in a gentle way. That experience in my family was the basis of the idea that one day I wanted to get a job, get married and be a father.
Pat and I both became Christians while at dental school. For me that was in 1976 and from that moment on I became very aware that God had a plan for my life which initially confirmed I was to be a dentist. I was so relieved that I began to turn to Him for guidance on other areas of life like getting married, where to live, where to go to church, when to have kids. When Noriko came, I had already experienced a dental situation where I was afraid. I was desperate and turned to God and He was there for me. I was also involved as a leader in our church’s youth group and was becoming aware of the responsibility parents have in providing an environment where God is first. I was burdened by the desire to see our kids come to faith as I believed that a sincere faith in God would be their best chance of navigating through life successfully and making good choices.
How did you see your role as dad influence them in that regard?
Somehow, I knew that to be Noriko’s dad, I would need all the help I could get. I realized that I had to be intentional in my role as a father and found books, tapes and, courses on raising children. As well, we hung out with other families who shared our concerns. As I grew as a Christian, the Bible became central in my life and verses such as Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (quoted above) and Proverbs 22:6 (NET) “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. “had huge impacts.
I knew that if our children were to see the importance of faith, my faith had to be sincere and I had to share with them how much I needed God. I couldn’t rely on the church to do it all. I recall reading something that said something along the line of, “what you learn in the first six years of life lays a deep foundation” and I recognized that our impact, as parents was definite.
We began to have nightly devotions, we supported our kids in all their activities and with Noriko, I started to have “daddy-daughter dates”. During our family times, we talked about their behaviour, their attitudes and related them to pleasing God. Teaching about forgiveness as a life time activity was important. It was while doing this that I realized I couldn’t teach what I didn’t do myself. Hey, I wasn’t a perfect parent and at times, I had to say I was sorry and ask for their forgiveness, sometimes to a 3-year-old.
The reality is that there is a freedom in knowing what’s the right thing to do, even if it is difficult to do. There is an even greater freedom when you do it! Another reality is that your kids will eventually see what you really believe is important. It begins when they see how we are spending our time. Are we spending enough time with them?
I became very intentional about being organized so I could be home to participate in our kids’ activities and to just be there. I even sacrificed some of my own activities. Something significant happened as a result: I learned more about our kids as I observed how they responded to the situations that arose in their activities. For example, I witnessed their discovery of fairness, their fulfilment of doing something they didn’t think they could, their disappointments, giving up, selfishness, selflessness, etc.
How do you think the “father-daughter” relationship affect the daughter as she walks into adulthood?
May I share my story to help answer this question?
When Pat was pregnant with our first child, deep down I really wanted a girl and God blessed us with Noriko. She became special for many reasons as we watched her blossom. She loved being a little girl; so, dresses, dolls and, playing house were parts of her world of imagination. At the same time, she was right in the middle of a ball hockey game. She loved being the big sister to her two brothers who would do anything with her. As she grew older, she traded in her ballet costume for hockey equipment getting tired of just watching her brothers. She always had friends but her family was important. We shared special “father-daughter dates.” Somehow, I was aware when Noriko was a child that I was the first man to take her seriously and that my attention to her would someday influence who her choice of the second man would be. How I responded to situations was therefore influenced by that awareness.
Case in point: Piano practice at age 8. It was a daily struggle to encourage, push and yet know when to stop and not exasperate Noriko. I certainly didn’t have all the answers. So much seemed to depend on her mood, her state of fatigue, what else was on her mind etc. She seemed to think she was right when sometimes she wasn’t and when I corrected her she often disagreed.
As she got older she did start to grow up. At 14 she wrote me this note: “I want you to know that I am trying to accept the fact you won’t always be there for me because of baseball. I love you in spite of everything. Love Noriko ps. Please don’t coach summer baseball. HaHa”
Noriko reflected on the value of life including the people in her life; this she expressed well on Hallmark cards and I always looked forward to Father’s Day. On Father’s Day in the year she was to be married she wrote: “You were the best daddy in the world, a great friend and now tied for # 1 in important men in her life.”
I do believe how we treat our daughters influences the kind of person they look for in a husband. They want to be loved and cared for unconditionally and, to be in a secure relationship. This fact is mentioned often in some of those parenting books I used to read and those that dealt with the importance of the father–daughter relationship. As well, a healthy marriage influences the security of our daughters as they begin their own adult lives.
At some point, we have all messed up as parents. What do you say to parents who are struggling in their relationships; is there hope?
I want to emphasize that there is hope, no matter how badly we have messed up. We all have weaknesses which also show up while we parent. This lets everyone down; therefore, the challenges in parenting will give us opportunities to see something about ourselves.
To begin, harmonious relationships within a family are one of God’s richest blessings. Think about that statement. How strongly you believe that will influence how you respond to your situation. I have read this to be true from those older than me, believed it and desired it especially when we faced our challenges.
Secondly, believe God knows the situation so, cast that care upon Him because He cares about you and is waiting with open arms. (1 Peter 5:7) Acknowledge that you are helpless and need help, His help. This is a good place to start because you are also acknowledging responsibility in the relationship and that you are in part responsible for it’s present condition.
God has a plan for you as He did for me. Apologize and ask for forgiveness without expectation. This is unconditional love. Be on a journey of asking God to reveal how He wants to change you. Our personal growth gives us teaching opportunities to share how we need God to help us be better parents. Then, commit more time to your relationship so you can get to know your kids better. I understand that depending on the age and situation this can be easier or more difficult. Finally turn to a friend who shares your concern, to trusted and godly parents within your church family, or otherwise, or turn to your pastor.
Finally consider this: you are giving your daughter a process for dealing with struggles that she will face both now and in the future and perhaps even the confidence to enter one. I’d say that is a gift; don’t you?
By: Neil Fukumoto
“MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS"
For this week’s post, we asked some of our mothers and daughters to finish a simple sentiment: “I value my mom/(in-law) or daughter/(in-law) because _____.” We are thrilled to share these beautifully expressed sentiments with you.
We are also featuring a glimpse into a mother-daughter relationship from Pastor Lynda.
First, here’s what some of our moms and daughters had to say:
"I value my daughter-in-law (Leslie) because she has such a zest for life, puts God first and has an attitude of gratitude.” ~ Bev C
“I value my daughter-in-law (Jen) because she’s an incredible mom and her children are loving, brave and independent. She has taught them to love the world and to learn and explore.” ~ Bev C
"I value (love) my mother-in-law (Bev) because she has the biggest heart and is always thinking of others". ~ Leslie C
“I value my mom because of her selflessness, generosity and supportive nature. I truly admire her unwavering faith in the good of all people.” ~ Jen C
Bev, Leslie & Jen
“I value my daughters because - well I looked up the definition of what it means to value a person and synonyms of value. There is so much I could say why I value my daughters… I value how they have always, from a young age, shown no partiality to people around them, they have always been caring and there for their friends. They have stood for what they believe in and have grown into caring, giving, beautiful young ladies. God has blessed me with two wonderful daughters.” ~ Carol W
"I value my mom because she selflessly cares for my sister and myself as well is a person who is always available for advice even for the little things like finding Oxo in the grocery store." ~ Amanda W
Carol & Amanda
“I value my daughter because she is continuously determined to strive to be the best person she can be.” ~ Lisa J
“I value my mom because her strength with mental illness and everyday living is tremendous! She is the most loving person, always giving unknown people a chance. She inspires me to continue on with my own life journeys no matter the struggle!” ~ Sheena T
Lisa & Sheena
“I value my daughter because - Pamela is caring, conscientious and thoughtful and she is raising two lovely 'grand'children.” ~ Myrna S
“I value my mother because she is caring and attentive to all of her children. She is especially interested in each of her grandchildren, near and far. She is available when anyone needs her.” ~ Pam S
Myrna & Pam
“I value my daughters-in-law because they are truly a gift from God, not blood related but so very special to me in such a way that I can talk freely to them about anything and everything ... they have helped me cultivate the most amazing bond that I have with my 5 grandchildren. I love them dearly.” ~ Sue B
“I value my mother- in-law because she always promotes, models and values love and acceptance. There are ways that we are so similar and ways that we are so different and she goes out of her way to show her love in both aspects. I feel so blessed to have such an incredible role model and support in Sue. 🌸❤️🌸” ~ Emily B
“I value my mother-in-law because she is the true definition of a mother, she is always there to give advice, love, support, encouragement, strength, kindness, and warmth to myself, and to her entire family.” ~ Vanessa B
Sue, Emily & Vanessa
“I value my daughter because of her authentic inner beauty, her honesty, strength of character, perseverance, support and passion for living a whole and healthy life. Every day, I thank God for gifting her to me.” ~ Yolande K
“I value my mom because she’s always there for me. Whether it’s a listening ear, for a movie night, or for just a hug in silence when I’m sad, my mom is always there. I’m so blessed to have my mommy – she’s truly amazing! ~ Yelena K
Yolande & Yelena
“WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE A DAUGHTER”
All I ever wanted as a child was to be a wife and mother. The birth of our first son brought more joy and satisfaction to me than I ever thought possible. I felt my life was complete but it wasn’t long after that I knew I wanted another child. I really believed that no child should have to be an only child as I had been. I was certain that our second baby would be a girl; my mother even began knitting in pink. Nine months passed quickly with joyful anticipation. Surprise, surprise—our second son was born.
Several years went by and I dreamed of a little girl but thought it was never to be. November 30th arrived very early at the Sinclair household. By 5 a.m., for the first time I was witnessing birth from very close quarters. The joy and astonishment of our daughter’s arrival still leaves me in awe.
So, what did it mean to have a daughter?
It meant a closet full of tiny dresses. Very quickly it meant someone to giggle with over cute kittens and cuter babies, cute bugs, and soon cute boys.
Our daughter wanted to wear my clothes, use my makeup, she ruined my nylons and shared in my baths and wanted to marry my husband, and live forever with her big brothers!
Having a daughter meant trying to master French braids (which I never did manage to do with any level of proficiency), and pony tails, and big bows on frilly dresses.
At 8 years of age that daughter began going out on “dates” with her father. She wore all her best clothes, dad ordered flowers, made “reservations” and held car doors and off they’d go to a fancy restaurant where Dad had told the staff the circumstances so they would make a great fuss over the “young lady”. We hoped that Dad was setting a high standard for the young men yet to come.
As a teen, she agonized over what to wear on a date and begged for my approval and then changed her mind because if mom liked it then it must be all wrong!
Our daughter begged to be taught how to use the sewing machine. She wanted to be taught how to cook. Poor pity me who tried to teach her how to put in a zipper, make cream sauce or boil a potato.
By the time she became a teenager, our daughter wanted very little to do with mom or dad; we had become old fashioned and out-of-date. Family outings were only tolerated and very little enjoyment was ever admitted unless the outing involved shopping and money being spent on her.
She wanted to go to school in England and Europe and hardly looked back once she boarded the airplane. However, she called home often and talked for hours with an openness not seen since Junior High. She even asked me to come to Europe and travel with her for Spring Break. On that trip, one experience showed me just how much she needed mom as she chose to sleep in a single bed with me, though her own bed was a mere foot away, when we spent time in a particularly seedy budget hotel in Paris. It didn’t completely stop her from wanting her own space and regularly going off on her own, but it was reassuring to be needed.
Years went by and our daughter married and moved to Seattle. In the beginning, there were constant phone calls asking how to make cream sauce and how to cook potatoes. “Do I remove those pointy things? (Where was she when I was trying to show her these things?) How do I thread the sewing machine? How do I know if I have chicken pox? What should I wear to the party? What do I say to the landlord? What do I say to my boss?”
The years are going by. Our daughter is an amazing homemaker and wonderful cook. I regularly call to ask her for recipes. She can do more with potatoes than I ever dreamed. Her many sauces and dressings leave me salivating. She has managed to teach her children to navigate the kitchen with more expertise than I ever thought possible. Her 12-year-old son, our grandson, is even a whiz in the kitchen. She gives me advice on what I should wear. She is a great source of suggestions for home decorating. She is so organized! I wish I could be like her. I cherish her advice on so many things and it was our daughter who came from Seattle and sat with me as we watched my own mother dying and cried with me as I got the call that my mom had gone.
My dream of motherhood has been fulfilled. It has had many challenges but also delights beyond measure. I praise the Lord for granting me my childish longing. All of our children are the joy of our lives. Their spouses and children are wonderful miracles that we have been granted. We thank the Lord continually for placing all these amazing people in our lives.
By: Lynda Sinclair
At our Mugs & Muffins Saturdays, women are encouraged to share the stories behind their mugs with the group of women where they sit. Each grouping of women select the name of one mug story-teller to be placed in a draw for a prize.
Here are their stories:
APRIL'S WINNER - Charlane MacKenzie
"The prize really belongs to my friend, Shirley Bolduc, who insisted that no matter how boring my mug story actually was, I would make up a good story if my name was drawn. That tells you something about how well we know each other. Now that I think about it, we've been friends since 1990, encouraging each other to take courses and attend Bible studies. One evening, when we were meeting at a home Bible Study, we had sneaked into the kitchen to chat and another member caught us in the kitchen and commented that we must be friends outside of Bible Study and probably didn't see each other often. We broke into laughter because we actually worked together five days a week (which is how we had first become friends) and had just come from work!
This is just a "Second Cup" travel mug that a friend of mine pressed into service for his mother when we took her out for weekly drives. She is now 93 years old and a water or tea drinker, but back then, she "needed" an hourly coffee fix. Now that she doesn't need it, I have reacquired this travel mug. It reminds me of her. " - Charlane MacKenzie
“THOUGHTS ON THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN”
'Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised'. (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)
I love that picture of the Proverbs 31 Woman. However, the P31 woman also is married, cooks a lot, sews and has big arm muscles. I'm sure these are all tremendous assets in an agrarian society.
My question is this...how did the P31 woman become the standard-bearer of what a Christian woman should be? We have books, sermons and a P31 ministry. Why isn't there a Song Of Songs 6 ministry (Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing...)? It doesn't seem any less arbitrary than praising a woman who spins flax.
We need to be very cautious about over emphasizing individual parts of Scripture, and here's why...
- All Scripture is God-breathed. That is foundational to our faith, yet most women I know just roll their eyes when you mention 'P31', because of the way it has been elevated.
- Homemaking is a real gift. If you've met someone with this gift, it is VERY obvious. Many of us are homemakers, but not all of us have the gift. To expect otherwise is to reduce the value of the gift.
- We are PART of the body of Christ. If we already had all the gifts, we wouldn't need each other.
Here's my idea...the next time someone tries to pigeon hole you into a stereotype of a Christian woman, tell them that you are a “2 Corinthians 5 Woman” - Christ's ambassador, or an “ Isaiah 61 Woman” - anointed to proclaim good news to the poor, or find a verse that speaks especially to you.
The Proverbs 31 woman is 'honoured for all that her hands have done', which is a good thing. Even better will be the 'well done, good and faithful servant' that we receive from the Lord.
In case you are unfamiliar with this theoretical woman, or need a recap, read it here.
I do not believe that it was ever God’s intent for us, as women, to try to fit the mold of the so-called “Proverbs 31 Woman”. I submit that this model woman came about as a result of the western church's and culture's attempts at establishing rules around what it perceived as the ideal Christian woman. In Jewish culture, men actually memorize Proverbs 31 as a song of praise to the women in their lives; it is not an expectation that they become one. In our culture, women believe that if they are not measuring up to this standard, they are somehow a failure.
Rather than focusing on Jesus, who is our standard, the modern church adapted Proverbs 31 into a set of rules and turned it into a religious checklist.
Understanding Scripture is largely about culture and context and the interpretation of Proverbs 31 as commonly held by many is not universal. For starters, most scholars believe that the Proverbs 31 Woman is not a real woman. In fact, some scholars have suggested that the “Proverbs 31 Woman” is a combination of the commendable qualities of several different women. (Read about that here) Still others believe that she is the epitome of wisdom. (Read about that view here) It is worth noting that throughout the book of Proverbs, wisdom is referred to as “she” and Proverbs 31 is seen as the culmination of all the wisdom that its main writer, King Solomon, was passing on to his son.
Have you considered that if this was truly God’s standard for women, He probably would have ensured that Mary (Jesus’s mother) was clearly identified as such. Or He would have chosen a few “Proverbs 31 Women” to be in Jesus’ lineage rather than pagan Ruth or Rahab, the harlot. I’m just saying…
The Bottom line: both men and women can apply the wisdom listed in Proverbs 31 to our daily lives. For instance, we can be earnestly:
- Seeking God first such as waking up early and beginning our day with God.
- Loving others, being kind, truthful and loyal.
- Working diligently as unto God.
- Seeking ways to enrich our lives and growing in God’s Word rather than remaining stagnant.
- Not giving up when we encounter difficulties and learning to trust God to direct our paths.
- Seizing opportunities that are before us rather than waiting for perfection.
- Having respect for ourselves in the way we behave, dress, and conduct ourselves as image-bearers of God.
In the end, we can have the assurance that God loves each one of us exactly as we are; that He rejoices over us with singing and there is nothing we can do to make Him love us more.
Rest in the assurance that no matter how you see yourself, God sees you as His Beloved Daughter and He knows your name. Enjoy these stories of women experiencing redemption shared through Francesca Battistelli’s song, He Knows My Name.
By Bethany Breault & Yolande Knight
“WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DIFF
For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14a ESV)
Let’s face it; there is no anxiety like people anxiety! Strained or broken relationships can be the source of great hurt in our lives as relationships can either put the wind in our sails or they can suck the wind out of our sails. It is often a challenge trying to successfully navigate our various networks of human relationships which is perhaps why we end up concluding that people are difficult.
Admit it; you have made that comment a time or two in your life. It’s such a popular human issue that hundreds of books have been written on the topic with almost no variation to the titles; if you don’t believe me, conduct a Google search and see for yourself.
What if we didn’t view people as difficult but simply different?
God created us uniquely and that means that we are different. Speaking to Jeremiah, God said; “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” (Jeremiah 1:5a NLT) Most of us are familiar with Psalm 139: 13-14 , those verses that speak of us being “fearfully and wonderfully” made. If we believe that to be true for ourselves; then it must also be true for everyone else.
So how might a constant awareness of that fact change the way you treat others?
Scripture has much to say about our differences, in terms of religion, ethnicity, gender, culture, tribe, politics, society, and economics. Moreover, Paul, in the New Testament talks at length about our differences as individuals, urging us to use those differences for the sake of the body of Christ. Paul says that we are what we are and that we have been given specific gifts with measured amounts of grace. (Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 15:10)
It’s no wonder that scientists have found human dynamics to be such a fascinating field of study and why they have developed models of human behaviour and categories of personalities. These studies assist us, laypeople, in getting to know ourselves better, providing useful tools for us to achieve the most effective results with others.
Though not scientific, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the similarities in the people we know and the main characters from the Winnie the Pooh series. Won’t you play along?
Christopher Robin is the “human” in the story with a wonderful imagination (vision) that brings this cast of characters to life. Though he is not always available, he is the one who has all the answers when the animals are unable to figure things out and guides them out of some tricky situations.
Pooh Bear is the star of the show and rather absentminded, focused on one thing -honey - at the expense of everything and everyone else. But he is such a pleasant "person" to be around with the most reassuring voice.
Piglet is the worrier but he is loving and thoughtful, frequently finding ways to demonstrate his consideration for others. All he needs is a reassurance that things will turn out alright.
Though Eeyore is known for being negative and gloomy, if you observe his "personality", you find that he is very kind and places a high value on friendships.
We can’t forget Rabbit whom I call “Mr. Know-it-all”. Rabbit thinks that he has the best solution to any problem the gang may have created but they can definitely count on him to come up with a plan and fix things.
Yet my favourite character is Tigger (that’s T-I-Double Guh-Er) because of his optimism and the fact that he is always in a great mood but we all know that he often acts without thinking which lands him into some dicey predicaments.
Although they are very different, together, the variety of their personalities allows us to enjoy the many adventures of Winne the Pooh and see things from different perspectives. How dull the show would be if they were all the same!
How dull life would be if we were all the same and did things in the same way!
I believe that God expects us to celebrate our differences (Ephesians 2:13-22). That’s why He made you to be you and not an imitation of someone else. You were given the specific makeup and limitations that He gave you (Psalm 139:13), you were born at the time and place that He determined and you live where He has planted you (Acts 17:26) with a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10). Rather than dwell on the differences around us, let us live in harmony with one another as the Bible instructs us – Romans 12:16.
Enjoy this throwback by Acapella Kids – Living in Harmony.
Yolande Knight – email@example.com