Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Saturdays with Stella

Mia is adapting well to kindergarten. The long days are a little hard on her though. The bus driver has to wake her up to get her off of the bus in the afternoon. Yesterday when I picked her up from the bus, she was so tired, I carried her to the van and buckled her in her seat. She hugged me tightly and said that she had something to tell me when we were driving.

I had just turned the van around and was heading down the road when I heard her say, just above a whisper, "Mommy, I got an orange light today." Mia's teacher uses colored lights for discipline. Every kid starts out at green. If they break a rule, they are moved to orange light and lose 5 minutes of their recess or free time. If they break another rule, they are moved to red light which takes away their entire recess, and I think involves a call to the parents. I turned around to see her face, and she had tears running down her face. I asked her to explain why, and she said that she had laughed at someone else's joke and ended up dropping her pencil. I'm not exactly clear on the details, but I trust that somehow Mia broke a rule. I told her that as long as she had learned her lesson from it, it was ok. She wailed, "But I missed part of my recess, and now I'm never going to have a green light again." I reached back with one hand to hold hers (while keeping the other on the wheel), and explained that once she had taken her punishment of the lost time, she was immediately back at green light. I told her that it was just like when she sins and asks God for forgiveness. As soon as she asks, He erases that sin and doesn't hold it against her. Mrs. Clausen, her teacher, does the same thing. She was so relieved to know that her crime wouldn't be held against her for the rest of the year. We're blessed the same way. When we tell God how sorry we are for our sins and turn away from them, Psalm 103:12 tells us: as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. So we don't have to keep beating ourselves up with regrets and recriminations, because we are forgiven, we're back to green light.

Saturdays with Stella by Allison Pittman is the humorous non-fiction tale of Pittman's struggle to teach her timid dog, Stella, how to obey, and in turn learned lessons about how to obey God herself. Pittman adopted a female puppy of unidentifiable breed, fell in love, and named her Stella. Not necessarily in that order. But Stella had a tendency to piddle all over the house and chew anything and everything she could get her little paws on. Stella's troubles were soon causing stress within the house, so when Pittman saw a sign advertising obedience classes at her local pet store, she signed right up. As Stella learns to sit, stay, and come, so Pittman learns that God tries to teach us similar lessons about trusting in and obeying Him. The chapters are perfect for nightly devotional reading, and Pittman's lessons are perfect for dogs and their owners. Our dog, Charlie, also has trouble piddling and listening, and I can't wait to use Pittman's easy to understand lessons. Her instructions about God are equally valuable, especially the lesson about keeping our eyes on Him. She takes a simple subject and makes it remarkably profound, all while keeping a sense of humor.

If you'd like to win one of two copies (I have two, not one!) of Saturdays with Stella, drop me an email before 10 pm on Thursday. Good luck!