Monday, December 31, 2012

The world before them!


Stunning.

Absolutely stunning.

There is no other way to describe the way she looked.

From the top of her head to the tips of her toes every inch of her was perfect.  Every hair carefully and deliberately placed, the makeup (not that she needed any) accentuated her already beautiful features.

Everywhere she went, her smile lit up the room as if the sun had just come out from behind the clouds.

Her dress, perfectly flawless, fit like a glove.

The moment she appeared in the doorway of the sanctuary every eye was upon her.

So beautiful...

(sigh)


...but enough about me.


If you thought I looked good, you should have seen the bride!

She was my sister.

(She still is.)  But now she's a married woman standing on the threshold of life.

The last twenty years have been spent in preparation for this day: The presentation of the bride.  

As a baby rocking her to sleep, comforting her when she cried, spoon feeding, wiping, hugging, talking to, smiling at, reading to, playing with...  As she got older, there was the homework help, shoe shopping, the play dates, the making lunches and the curfews. 

The smiles and the "No's" both had their place.   It was all to prepare Chrissy for this life now before her.  God only knows what her life will hold.  All we know for sure is that she is to be the helper and biggest fan of Joseph Killgore. 

Weddings make me remember. 

I remember back to mine, 10 years ago.  My groom was still wet behind the ears.  Me?  Two weeks prior I'd been a teenager!  But we loved each other and had a source of income so nothing could stop us. 

And it hasn't.

Now, ten years into the gig, I look down and see four little men eyes wide with wonder looking for the next adventure.  This is my life.  Who had any idea it would look like this?

Chrissy, who knows what your life will look like.  So many possibilities!  So many roads in front of you.  Choices galore!  I remember being newly married and thinking how mind blowing it was that Mike and I could do anything we wanted.  Anything.  We could get in the car and drive to California if we wanted to.  We could go to the mall and play arcade games (yes, that was an age appropriate activity).  We could lie on the couch while dishes piled up around us if we wanted to.

So many choices not yet made.

Don't get overwhelmed thinking about them.

You've already made the biggest one.

And now that you've made that one, you have beside you another voice.  You've got another perspective.  Double the wisdom --that means half the risk right?  Together you two will think through, pray over discuss any decision that seems bigger than you.  You will give council and advice to Joe.  Joe will need it.  He's going to make the call.

I have no doubt that Joe is going to love you and take care of you, that he will do his best to lead your family and will eat most all of your cooking (just take my advice and don't sneak onions into his  bean burrito).

We only get to choose one family member in life, the rest are handed to us without even so much as a: "You think you can make this work?"   We can't chose our grandparents, our parents, siblings, or children.    We only choose our spouse.

I think you made a good choice.


And Joe?

You made a FABULOUS choice.



P.S.  The next major choice you two are going to need to make is when to come visit us.  I'll let you get home from your honeymoon before we compare schedules... unless you are bored over there and want to give me a call. 

I'll be waiting.




Saturday, December 22, 2012

Potato soup


I made another Winner Dinner the other day.   It was the second one in six months.  I'm trying to decide whether this is an accomplishment or  if maybe they should be coming more frequently.  A winner dinner has to be healthy and a big hit with the majority of the family.  Considering the less than mature taste buds I have to work with, twice in six months may not be that bad.

It was potato soup.  In the middle of dinner Ty asked me for the recipe.  Then he and Jack started imagining the response they would get in their own homes when they were men if they served this meal. 

Jack:  "I think when I'm a man and if I'm not in the air force (what does that have to do with it?) and I have a wife.... if I made this for her she would say: "Jack --I interrupt with: "Do you think she will call you Jack?  Or will she call you Sweetie pie?"

There was a pause, then he responds:  "Or she might call me 'Jackson.'"

True.  Go on.

"If I make it for her, she might say: "Jackson, this is good."

Yes. She might. 

Ty,  You wanted the recipe for the soup, so I'll give it to you.  You have to follow it to a t or it won't taste the same.  I've made potato soup more times than you've brushed your teeth and I've never had such rave reviews, so pay attention.  I'll try to be as specific as possible.

Jack and Ty's potato soup

Why am I titling it this?  Because you two helped make it.  and "no, I do not think that is the secret to my recent culinary breakthrough." Don't get too big for your britches.  You guys were just the prep staff.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. country sausage
1/2 onion
2 cans chicken broth
5 potatoes
2 C milk
1/3 C flour
1/2 stick of butter
2 thick slices of ham cubed

Wait to begin dinner till 5:00.  It creates a since of urgency to get dinner out before everyones blood sugar falls so low that all body functions shut down with the exception of the voice box. 

Find a bored 6 year-old and a bored 4 year-old.  Hand them both knives.  Your goal is to provide the children with an activity, avoid sliced fingers, prepare a healthy meal and teach said children to love cooking and feel a sense of accomplishment at their work.  I guess I should have listed the first ingredient as "pressure".

1.  Apply pressure (to oneself)

2. Put a large pot on the stove and turn it on high.  Immediately forget about the pot.

3. Get out 5 medium potatoes and 4 carrots.  Hand them to the children wielding knives.  Show them how to peal the vegetables.  Exchange the knives with potato peelers.

4.   Take out the country sausage.  Cut open packaging to reveal the weirdest looking sausage you've ever seen.  White/pink instead of pink/red.  Call your Arkansasan friend (who you make fun of on a regular basis for being from Arkansas) and ask them what kind of meat Arkansasans use to make country sausage.  She doesn't answer --could you blame her?  Call your other friend.  She doesn't answer either.  Question whether they are really your friends.  Use meat anyway.

5.  Put the mystery meat in your wanna be non-stick skillet.  Cook meat.  Try not to burn.

6.  Check on prep chefs.  Discard the pealed to obliteration carrot.  Show the four-year-old how to peal around the carrot, only getting rid of the outside.

7.  Chop half an onion.

8.  Remember the pot you put on the stove and turned on high.  Turn it down to medium, but don't give it time to cool off before pouring in your two cans of chicken broth.

9.  Watch the chicken broth sizzle and evaporate.  (who knows how much was actually left)

10.  Pour off the sausage grease, then saute the onion with the practically done sausage.

11.  Chop up what is left of the carrots after being pealed.

12.  Hand the four-year-old a knife and tell him to slice the potatoes.  Tell the six-year-old he is doing great.  Explain to him how important his job of pealing potatoes is --people join the army just so they can do this.

13.  This is an unlucky step.  We practically have a recipe for disaster already so let's just move on to step 14.

14.  Put chopped potatoes and carrots in the chicken broth.  Put lid on pot.  Let cook for 15 minutes.

15.  Melt butter in a small sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.  In a separate dish mix milk and flour.  Pour the mixture in with the butter.   Have the six-year-old stir constantly while the four-year-old puts spoons and napkins on the table.

16.  When thick (5 minutes later) pour into the big pot full of cooked potatoes. 

17.  Mash (or smash as they say in Arkansas) the potatoes by using the little wand mixer.

18.  Add in the sausage and onion.  Cube some ham and add it too.

19.  Salt and pepper to taste

Now your soup is ready to go.

Sit back and enjoy with oyster crackers and a glass of water. 






Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jack's Kindergarten Christmas party

"Now you've just got to get it together.  Just get it together Becca!"

That was the pep talk I was giving to myself at 10:59 this morning as I drove home from Jack's school.  I had arrived an hour early for the party I was trying to attend.

"Learn how to read the handouts.  Is it that hard?  No.  It's not.  But clearly you are having trouble."

Yes.  I was.  I'd been excited about going to this Christmas party for weeks.  I'd talked to a friend about keeping my little ones, but then we all got sick.  Then as a last resort I asked Mike if he could watch them and he could!  I couldn't believe it.  He was scheduled to fly a night flight tonight so he didn't have to go in to work till 3:00.  He didn't mind staying home with the kids while I went to the party.

"But I could have sworn that both handouts we got last week said the party would start at 10:50.  Right, sure you could.  But you were wrong.  Wrong.  Just like with last month's party when you sent the pumpkin pie on the wrong day.  That teacher must think Jack gets all his cognitive ability from his dad.  Actually, he probably does."

Now I was headed home for 45 minutes to fix the kids lunch and check on the baby.  Mike came down with the man flu yesterday --worst case I'd ever seen.  He was useless.  I had intended on leaving the kids with Mike.  What I actually did was leave Mike with the kids.  I felt they could take care of him for 45 minutes.  I'd already given him his vitamin C and a heating pad.  He'd survive while I was gone.

"I wonder if she bought it.  Does she actually think I dropped by just to check and make sure the party is today?  Or does she know I came at the wrong time because I can't keep anything straight?  What again did I say when I walked in?  Oh yes... 'Is the party today?  Cause I'm always afraid I'll get the days mixed up.'   Ha!  I'll bet she was thinking: 'Girl, you DO always get the days mixed up.'  Whatever.  I'm raising four boys.  Give me a break....   Maybe she did actually buy it.  I mean, she responded with: 'Ohh! You can always text me if you want.'  (As if the FOUR handouts weren't enough).  Oh well."

I got home.  The boys were fine.  Ty's eyes blurry from the amount of TV he had watched this morning.  Austin had helped himself to the Danish Butter Cookies and had the tin sitting on the tray of Brady's walker --which he had confiscated.  That kid is a genius.  He knew this was the day to help himself to a box full of sugary goodness.  Who would stop him?   Brady was still napping and  Mike was up and dressed!  What?  He was on death's doorstep when I left him.  Crazy what a vitamin C can do for you.  I made some lunches then left again 25 minutes later.  I'm glad we only live 4 minutes from the school.

"Oh great.  Now I have to walk back in and act like everything is going according to the plans.  Don't blow it Becca.  If you can't get it together, then at least learn to act.  I hope I'm not the only one not in my PJs.  What?  Why are you so nervous?  It's a Kindergarten party.  For your son.  How is this scary?  Now, park here and go on in.  Wait.  Is that Jack's class out playing?  Yes it is.  Why aren't they inside getting ready for the parents?  Is this the right day?"

Yes it was.  A few minutes later the kids filed into the classroom for the party.  I went on in and stood near Jack's table and waited. 

"Well here I am.  Now what do I do with my hands?  And my purse.  Should I put it down?  Should I sit down?  Can we talk in here?  No one's talking.  This is awkward.  Wait, that kid is.  He's talking to me.  Never mind.  He's just telling on the girl next to him for touching the supplies on the table.  Apparently this is a no touching, no talking, stand still and hold your purse type of party....  Oh good, one of the moms is about to get this thing moving."

Jack and the kids were soon busy putting together a foam picture frame.  I got to help Jack's tablemates.  Yay! My hands had something to do!  The kids photos were sweet.  Jack's, however, looked like a surprise picture.  You know what a surprise picture is.  It's when you turn around and "poof!" someone takes a picture of you. "Surprise!  I just took your picture!"  We will be laughing at this one for quite a while.  I need to make sure it always gets returned to the Christmas box each year.

"Speaking of photos.  Take some.  It doesn't seem to be uncool.  Who really knows though.  I'll just pull my phone out and look like I'm checking facebook or something.  No one will ever know I'm taking a picture.  ...except that the flash was turned on.  hmm.  That's par for the day no doubt." 




The party was great.  There were crafts, the kids put together their own mix of munchies, and they each brought a book for the book exchange.  I nearly teared up when the sweet little boy sitting to Jack's left looked at his present and exclaimed, "Mine is from 'Emma!'  Emma!  Thank you!  Thank you for the present!"  It was so so sweet.  True thankfulness.  He thanked her even before he opened it. 

We walked down to the cafeteria for lunch.  I sat with Jack while he ate.  I made him eat the green beans.  He likes green beans, but this was school and Mom's not usually at school so it didn't occur to him to eat them. 

I think Jack was glad I came.  He better have been after the stress it caused me!  But that raised eyebrow grin says it all. 

 

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say



"Austin.  Get me a kleenex. 

No!  Don't wipe your nose with the box!"


Monday, December 17, 2012

Hope


"Music is medicine for the soul."  That's what they say.

So this morning I turned on Pandora right after Mike and Jack left for school and work.  Christmas music would cheer me up and help my grieving soul, I thought. 

Our normally healthy home has had sickness work it's way through for the last two weeks.  RSV and the flu (I think) have pounded us.  I've logged hours of baby holding.  Every time I would get up, Austin would say: "I need you.  Mama I need you."  The look in Brady's matted eyes told me the same thing.

Sickness has made my body weary.  Friday's tragedy made my soul weary.

I turned on the music. It began to play.   As I clean the kitchen, I hear lines like:
 "Christmas won't be Christmas without you"
and "I'll be home for Christmas"
and "It's a beautiful sight, we're happy tonight."

I stop.

This isn't working.

My mind cannot get away from the families whose babies "won't be home for Christmas."  The families who aren't "Happy tonight."

For the first time, I am able to see a huge contrast between the happy, fun, "merry" Christmas songs and the ones that sing about the birth of Jesus.

Right now, I don't want to hear about winter wonderlands, because winter wonderlands don't comfort.   The holidays are only merry and bright when everything around us is right.  When the finances are stable, when the body is healthy, when the ones we love are close...

But what about when they aren't?

What about when someone takes your baby from you?  What about when your marriage is falling apart?  What about when your husband is deployed?

Sleigh rides and a crackling fire can't fix it.

I walked over and changed the music.

I want real hope.

A couple weeks ago an idea popped into my head. I had just about finished decorating the house for Christmas.  The wreath was over the mantle, the lights on the house, the nutcrackers standing guard and the mistletoe hung.   I was excited to decorate this year as we had spent the last two Decembers moving.  Instead of twinkle lights, our walls had been lined with boxes labeled "attic" or "hall closet" or "extra blankets."   Our late nights were the result of organizing and cleaning instead of fun holiday parties .  This year we would be in the same home for the entire month of December.  I was excited.

Everything was going up.  Along with the decorations we'd had for years, I wanted something else.  I wanted words on our wall.  Words that meant something.

A phrase came to mind and stayed there for several days before I knew what to do with it.

The words?

"Hope has come"

Then came the idea.  I'll buy a jigsaw and cut the words out of a sheet of some sort of plywood!  I excitedly shared my plan with a couple people who I didn't think would discourage it.

Then I went to Home Depot, bought the thinnest sheet of wood I could find.  My Christmas money from my Grandmother bought the jig.

The next few nights, after the children went to bed, I found the font I wanted to copy, sketched the letters on my canvas and carefully cut them out.  

 
I finished the three words, but felt something was missing. "Of course!" An exclamation point was needed. These words aren't words you mumble under your breath as you finally make it out of the line at the post office. They aren't words you casually bring up in the middle of a conversation about the recent rain. These are words that burst out of the mouths of the angels.  These are exciting words  --they need an exclamation point.
 
I finally got them on the wall.  Projects take a while when your babies are sick.

 
 
Now the words are there.  Words that I had no idea would mean so much to me on December 17, 2012.  I turn and look at them moments after sending my oldest son out the door to go to school.  I am sad.  I am so sad for the families who lost their babies and, for most of them, have lost their hope.  In those homes there will be no excited faces opening presents this year --maybe there will never be joy at Christmas time again for them. 
 
How do you keep going when you have no hope?
 
I have no answer.
 
How wonderful it is, in the midst of tragedy, to know there is hope.  Sadness surrounds, but there is hope.  People waited with expectation for hundreds of years for something to happen or someone to come to bring peace, contentment, love, fulfillment to their lives.  Someone to fix our messes.  
 
Then it came.  It came as God in the form of a baby.  "His name is Emmanuel."  --God with us. 
 
Hope has come. He came to give life to the fullest.  He came to heal.  He came to offer help.  He came to rescue.   And he does. 
 
Maybe music is medicine for the soul.  If so, right now I want the kind that isn't conditional of your circumstances.  I want music that speaks of the hope for all mankind.
 
 
 
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
--"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
 
Light and life to all He brings,
risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give them second birth
--"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" by Charles Wesley
 
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
--"I heard the Bells on Christmas Day"  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
 
O ye, beneath life's crushing load
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.
--"It Came Upon The Midnight Clear"  by Edmund H. Sears
  
 
Hope has come!
 
 
 
 
 
 


I'm very sorry

I'd like to say, my timing is impeccable.

wow.

I put pictures on here of my boys pretending to play with guns and the next day there is a horrible tragedy involving guns.

I sincerely apologize.  The post is gone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I like about you


 
Ross McClain
(photo stolen from Facebook)
 
 
On my way upstairs to tuck the boys in, I walked over to the small bookshelf beside my bed.  I scanned the titles, looking for one in particular: Cosmic Christmas.  My eyes stop at the sight of it, I reach for it, open the cover and smile.  I remember who gave me this copy.  I wondered if he wrote in it?  He did:
 
To Rebecca, Michael, and Jackson,
 
Rebecca, I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed "Cosmic Christmas."  I have read it to my Sunday School and Choirs every year.  I have given others copies as gifts.  This year to a new believer who is recently divorced (with 3 little ones).  Did not know if you still had a copy.  But you read it to Michael and Jackson.  And Michael you read it to Rebecca and Jackson.  And some day Jackson, you read it to your mom and dad.
 
Merry Cosmic Christmas
Ross McClain
2007
 
 
I smiled.  I felt thankful, blessed and encouraged just by the fact that Ross is my friend.  There are some people who warm my heart with just the thought of them.  I know what Paul meant when he said: " I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with JOY." (emphasis mine).
 
The main platform for my relationship with Ross was the three years pre-marriage that Mike and I worked alongside him in the 5th and 6th grade Sunday School room.  Mike and I got married, moved off and have been working with kids every chance we get since then.  Ross, I'm pretty sure, is still with the 5th and 6th graders.  At least he was for years and years after we left.  He's recently been working an "I can't tell you what I do or where I do it" job for the government.  So he may have had to step down. --However, that's not the point...
 
I began teaching Sunday school with Ross and Mike because of people like Karen Bench --who happened to by my 5th and 6th grade teacher, Kent Pride (3rd grade), Joan Lynch (Kinder), Cinda Boshart and Sherry Way-crazy (11th and 12th) and Julie Robinson (9th).  
 
These people taught me much, but mainly conveyed to me two things:
 
1.  I was important.
2.  This following Jesus thing? It is worth it. It's valuable.  It's worth the work.
 
Not one of them had the perfect teaching method, not many of them were flashy or amazingly cool.  They, like Ross, saw value in the little people.  They obeyed God when He said, to teach His Laws diligently to the children.  They chose not to ignore this command.  They didn't pretend discipling was only for people with certain gifting.  They didn't look away when it was mentioned that a teacher was needed for the 3-year-olds, hoping no one would ask them point blank.  They stepped up, saying, if there is a need and I can meet it, I'm your guy.
 
Ross has been the guy for years. 
 
I've recently been saddened and frustrated when I look at our kids ministries in our churches and see needs failing to be met.  In our churches.  Let me say it again.  IN OUR CHURCHES.  I'm embarrassed to write this.  We have nursery directors whose main job is not to plan curriculum, but to beg people to fill empty slots.  Often times on a weekly basis.  No one will commit to serving for a whole year in a class so weekly our nursery leaders are making phone calls, stopping people in the halls, pulling youth out of the service to work the classes.   This is not just our current church, I'm not hating on anyone here, I'm just so sadded that people who speak of following Jesus won't obey him in the most obvious and most tangible way:  Loving the least. 
 
My intent with this post was to honor a man who doesn't ask for honor.  As I think about how clearly he gets what is important to Jesus, I am frustrated inside that I can't figure out how to get across to people that this "kids ministry" thing is for everybody.  Everybody.  It's not just for me because I am a mom.  It's not just for Ross because he enjoys it.  It's not just for Julie because she is gifted in it.  Its for all of us because if we get what Jesus is about, then we understand it is about serving the weak, the helpless, the poor, the needy, the ones who can't help themselves.  Isn't this what Jesus came to earth to do?  If we model our behavior after His then shouldn't we be about taking care of the weak?  The nursery at church isn't the only place kids can be cared for.  There are lots of opportunities for teaching and mentoring.  Right now I'm praying for a man to take Ty out to Lowe's one Saturday a month starting next year.  Mike will be busy busy with the AF and I want Ty to have some man time.  It's things like this.  You were called to do things like this.
 
The older I get, I am becoming more and more convinced that there is something we can learn from everybody.  What I hope we all learn from Ross is this:
 
  • Serving the least of these brings joy.  --He smiles every time he talks about his kids.   
  • Loving Jesus through loving kids is worth your time.  --So make it.
  • Blessings always follow obedience.
 
Thanks Ross.  You made my night.  And I'm pretty sure there are a couple hundred kids who would say you made their year.  And one day, when you get home, God's going to say, "Well done.  You made it."
 
 
 

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving morning.  It’s 9:50 and I’ve just snuck upstairs to get out of my cooking clothes.  I’m going to look cute I decide.  Hair is done and make up is next –I hope someone has a camera out today.  From room #4, the one assigned to the Ellis’ this weekend, I can hear the sounds familiar to my family.  The eight grandchildren are all outside playing in the backyard.  There are four men supervising them.  The kitchen has been a hub of activity since 5:30 A.M.  One person constantly cleaning, another reading off directions from recipe cards while another bustles about gathering ingredients, measuring and stirring.   Right now I can hear Chrissy, the seventh born into our family of ten, telling those who have just arrived that she is not the one responsible for her fiancĂ©’s bad haircut. She normally cuts his hair, but was busy the day he wanted a trim.  He went to the barber. “I told him it didn’t look good when they cut the back that way.  But He didn’t listen to me…”  She goes on.  As a woman who also cuts the guy’s hair in my family I can understand her frustration.  When Mike spends money on a haircut and it looks bad… I’m not a happy camper either.    I hear Emily, the oldest, speak up:  “Now you don’t tell him how to do his hair.  It’s his hair.  Don’t go bossing him around.”  She’s been married 12 years. 
Later Mom yells out to Grant, the sixth in the birth order, “Grant!  We don’t want any trips to the doctor today.  That’s too high.”  No wonder all the boys like him.  He pushes the swing fast.

I look out the window and see two men with babies, slowly walking around with their face toward the ground.   Austin had thrown a shoe. 
Mom just called me.  She’s cutting dad’s hair and wants advice on a style.  If you know anything about the Bosharts, then you know that they go big.  “A simple family Thanksgiving[C1] ?” That phrase sounds like Greek to me.  We try to pack as much into the weekend as possible.  Apparently there was unscheduled time between 9:55 and 9:59 this morning. Something had to go there.  Oh!  How about we give dad a haircut? Perfect.   A haircut… probably be a ten minute job so we will need to put a rush on the sweet potatoes in order to get them in the oven on time.  And… go.

Back from the haircut.  I don’t think Mom will call me for fashion advice again.  She didn’t seem to be on board with the messy hair look.   I think Dad will have no problem pulling it off. 

Stan (#3) is the only one who couldn’t make it home this year.  He is out of state working.  He is good at what he does and well, people like him, so they gave him a four month project working almost nonstop at a Nuclear power plant.  It won’t be the same here without him.  He is probably the most pleasant one of us to be around.  And I’ll miss seeing the wide-eyed smile on his face as he takes in all the chaos that accompanies the 21 people busily going about this house.  It’s like he goes back to his bachelor pad and instantly forgets, every gathering amazed, as if for the first time, at how we can all function in such noise and discord. 
Thanks to this huge house I’ve been left relatively alone for the last hour while I write this.  (Yes, I was interrupted several times by things like haircuts and nursing babies and stopping toddlers from climbing up the stairs.)  People are about to arrive, my mom’s extended family will be here --at least some of them.  It will be a small crowd this year due to my cousin, Mark, getting married in Nebraska this weekend.

It’s amazing how there can by so many things within 100 feet of me to be thankful for  --two of them just walked in (Grace and Chris).  Not just one day, but every day we must train our eyes to focus on our blessings and when we see them, give thanks.  One thing I read recently said something to the extent of “How can we keep asking God for more blessings when we haven’t stopped to thank him for the ones he’s already given us.”   
I love coming home.  That’s something I’m thankful for this year.  The 100,000 things that went into making this crazy house a place of encouragement, safety, correction, fun, and refreshment.  Thank you Lord for people who teach and strive to live by your Statutes.  What could be more of a gift than to grow up in a family who believed Your Word.  Posted behind me are the Words: “Let all that you do be done in love.”

And that has made all the difference


 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jack's prayer


A couple mornings ago, this was the conversation during Jack's ride to school.  Right after turning off of our road he asked me to pray for him and "Zone". The background on that is that Zone, from day one has had a hard time obeying the teacher. Jack looked down on him a little I think, so we began praying for him. Hopefully compassion will take the place of judgment for Jack. Anyway, our conversation went something like this:

"Mom, can you go ahead and pray for Me and Zone? I don't want you to forget." (I always pray for the two boys as well as the teachers on the ride to school. Lately there had been some last minute prayers.)

I say "Sure." And begin to pray. I thank God for the weather, and the school and the morning, I pray for the boys and the other normal stuff. I end as we pull into the school.

"Jack, is there anything else you want me to talk to God about?" I look back in the rear view and see him with his head down and his eyes squeezed shut.

He opens them, looks up at me and says: "Mom. I prayed for Zone too. Yesterday he had a hard time sitting on the carpet. So I prayed that God would give him wisdom to do criss-cross-applesauce."

I was anxious to see what God's answer was to that one. I mean, he tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask and God will give generously. I expected Zone to do well today.



-------------------------------------------------

We got home from school and Jack told me that Zone had done very well during carpet time today.  "He even got a crayon."

(Crayons are given out to the students when the teachers sees them going above and beyond or responding quickly and correctly.  If you have five at the end of the week you get to pick out something from the treasure box.)

It's just like God to not only grant Zone the wisdom but to give it so generously that it cannot be overlooked by the teacher.  Thank you Lord for strengthening Jack's faith by the very visible way you granted his request.

------------------------------------------------

Jack says, "Zone did well, and it was all because of me."    Talk about another good visual of how we try to take the credit away from God thus minimizing his goodness.

I tell him, "Wasn't it great that God used you to do His work?  It's pretty awesome to be used by God huh?"

Friday, November 16, 2012

An average day.


Yesterday was a good day.  But when trying to recall where the time was spent I struggle.  So I'm going to sit here and best I can, recount my day.  Surely it will come to me as I type.  Get ready, there will probably be more details than the average person has time for.  I'm planning on printing this off in a size 24 font so that I can sit and read it when I am old.  I'll have nothing much else to do other than read about what crazy things used to fill my days.  Things like this:

Dear Diary,

My day started off at 5:00 A.M.

During my morning reading I came across this quote and wrote it down:

"Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible.  Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don't have." 

ouch.  I stared it: *need to remember not to hurry*

I also read:  Be interruptible.  Which means, "be willing to be inconvenienced."

That one got another star and a line in my notebook full of things I need to remember.  Those came from a book I'm reading on neighboring.  So far it's good.  They told me to go meet my neighbors and then are giving me all kinds of reasons why it's important.  I think they are right.  Today I will attempt to meet one family I don't know.  Maybe bake them a pie?

I took Jack to school.  Then we headed to Home Depot and bought a dryer.  Our dryer went out a couple days ago.  This guy had been repaired twice already in the last two years (remember the deployment of '11, concurrent to the ice storm of '11?)  and since the black Friday sales were already starting, we thought it best just to get a new one.  I bought the five year warranty.  I'll bet money we use it.

Since Mike flew the night before and was home sleeping we went over to play at some friends house for an hour.  I walked in with a load of wet laundry and sure enough, my friend was gracious enough to let us use her dryer.  The kids played, the clothes dried and I drank coffee. By and by, (yes, I'm bringing the phrase back)  Austin fell off their slide.  My friend went to get a wet rag for the blood then asked: "Does he have all his teeth?"  --she's funny isn't she?  She made up for her "funny" joke by giving him some Gatorade.  He liked it.  He asked for more --twice.

Home again, home again.  Mike was up now.  We walk in and Austin immediately pees his pants even though I had taken him potty right before putting him in the car for the 6 minute drive home.  We change him.  He pees again 4 minutes later.  We change him, he does it again.  This time I told him to get upstairs in the bathtub.  I text my friend and thank her for her generosity with the Gatorade.

Austin gets a bath, but now we are out of pants and the dryer doesn't work.  It will be several hours before the clean clothes line dry.  Two shirts, undies and socks, maybe that will keep you warm enough.  "Stay indoors."  I tell him.

My next big accomplishment of the day was to organize some cords behind the entertainment system (no one make fun of me).  Brady spends most of his awake time chewing on cords and I've been trying to come up with another pastime for him.  In my digging and pulling I discover that White Phone Line (Brady's best friend) is actually not connected to anything.  It runs along our living room wall for no reason at all.  I pull that sucker out and get rid of him.  Poor Brady didn't even get to say "Goodbye."   For a moment there I felt like a really good mom.  But who am I kidding?  White Phone Line was just a gateway cord.  I'm sure he'll move up to the hard stuff like coaxial or even HDMI.  sigh...  I'm imagining I know how moms of crack addicts feel.  "Where did I go wrong?"  We all ask.

Next I vacuumed under the table.  I think I need to accept that this will be a daily chore, I used to think I could go two, maybe three days without doing it (assuming company isn't coming over).  It's so nasty under there that I think this needs to be priority #1 in my housecleaning duties.  This is my punishment for getting rid of the dogs.

During nap time Ty and I make a pie for the neighbors.  We are going to be pro-active and live out this faith.  Next stop meeting a neighbor.  Yes!

Last chore/spend time with Ty and make him think we are having fun was filling up the lawn mower cart full of the leaves we raked last week.  They have been jumped in, driven through, rolled over and  now they were good and ready for the compost pile.  Ty and I piled into our 12 cubic ft. cart three loads full.  There were still two loads left!  We will have to finish those later. 

The pie burned.

Even with foil the middle wasn't done until the edges were burned. 

I pull it out of the oven, but now it's time to get Jack.

I drive up to his school, as I get closer I see that the place is crawling with Pilgrims and Indians, all of them somewhat wild.  He climbed into my van looking like this:


 
Don't worry about the grumpy looking kid in the background.  He was scooped up in the middle of his nap and placed in a car seat without any pants.  I'd say he has every right to wear that face.
 
Back to my little pilgrim.  I ask if he was William Bradford.  I got a blank look.  He said his teacher decided who would be Pilgrims and who would be Indians.  He would have liked to be an Indian and if so he would have been Squanto.  "Did you know he went to England several times?"  I'd forgotten.  What few brain cells I have left have been dedicated to remembering where I last saw the magic eraser not Squanto's transatlantic adventures.
 
I asked if he had eaten a Thanksgiving feast.  He said, "Yes!  I had pumpkin pie, cheddar cheese and 100% juice."
 
Sounds good to me.
 
Back home again we changed some diapers then hauled a couple loads of leaves to the compost pile before cleaning up and heading over to some friends home for dinner.  The drive over was spent singing Jesus songs, yelling, telling on people for yelling:  "Ty, we are singing songs about Jesus.  God wants us to be serious."  The heavy metal screaming of the lyrics continues.  "Mom!!!  Make him stop!  God doesn't want us to be rude when we are worshiping him!!"   --oh the irony*.
 
*Remember to teach them what hypocrisy is
 
I turned off the music we devoted the rest of the ride to manners rehearsal.
 
 "Ty,  What do you say when you are given your dinner?"  I ask.
 
"Thank you."  Ty correctly responds.
 
"Ty, what do you say when you are given your dinner and you don't like any of it?"  Let's see how he handles this one.
 
Without skipping a beat he responds with: "Thank you." 
 
He nailed.  I'm so proud. 
 
However, right before we ate, when I was filling his plate he loudly exclaims, "Mom, I don't like any of those vegetables!"
 
Oh well.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What would be left?

I say I love Jesus.

I say I want to follow Him.

I say I believe God's Word is completely true and trustworthy.

I say I would give up everything to follow Jesus.

It's easy to say those things.  I live in luxury.  It's easy to align myself with a God who promises blessings to the righteous when the blessings are glaringly obvious. 


If I really would give up anything in order to follow God more closely, then what if I asked Him to take things away?

What if I asked God to take away anything that makes it harder to follow Him and He did.

He came down to my home and took out all that caused us to stumble.

What would be left in my home?

Let's say I am gone when God does the big purge.  I return home, what would be left?

Would my 2600 sq. ft. home be reduced to 200 sq. ft.? 

Would I have a TV? Would I have a computer?  Would I have any books?  Would the kids have toys?  If so, which ones?  Would my garden still be here?

As I sit here typing, I'm looking around the room.  What steals my time?  What grabs my attention when I sit down to read his Word?  What thing am I really thinking about when Ty talks to me about how tall the tallest monster truck in the world is?  What fills up our time so much that when we have to cut short our Bible study?  When we sit down to read God's Word with our children discussion are born.   Last night Jack thought through aloud how Jacob could have avoided the scary meeting with Esau by going home by another route.  He wanted to talk through what it would be like to wrestle with God.    Of all the things to spend time doing, shouldn't this be first priority?

What about the new coffee table?  Does it make it harder for me to be loving to my boys?  "Get off!"  "Don't drive trucks on there!"  Although not a bad thing, do I value it more than I value gentle speech?  Is it a tool for good or a stumbling block?

What food would be in our pantry?

What clothes in our closets and how many of them?

And what would stay?  The soccer ball?  The Word of God? (yes, duh) The rake?  The dining room table?  What has God blessed us with that are tools for His work?  

This post isn't going to be tied up nice and neatly at the end.  Because I don't know what conclusion to draw.  But I will be looking at my home with new eyes.  I will be evaluating things, seeing if they bring peace and growth or if they cause conflict.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not our first indoor basketball goal

See our new-to-us wall mounted indoor cabinet basketball goal?   To quote Ty:  "It. Is. AWESOME!"

We are lovin' it.  The goal was given to us without the hardware needed to mount it on the wall.  I called the company to order it, they said a package would be on our doorstep in 7-10 business days. 

Day 4 I started watching for it.  I was like the 5 year old a week before my birthday.  Every day we were watching for the mail man, waiting for for our package.  Every day we did this --for a month.  Then I called them.  They had no record of the order.  No problem.  We reorder.  5 days later it arrives!

It was on the wall that night.

Mike and I now have no reason to go on dates.  Why leave?  Just the other night we put the kids to bed, hung out for a bit and played some basketball.  We started out with the regular game of see how many points you can score in 30 seconds which morphed into a game of horse played all over the living room.  (Don't worry, we moved the lamps.)

I was totally schooling him when he makes this comment:

"Well... you're a stay at home mom.  No wonder you're winning.  This is home court advantage for you."

He continues...

"Why don't you fold some clothes instead of trick shotting all day?"


--that folks is why I love this guy. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

excerpt from Motherhood is Application

Excerpt from "Motherhood is Application"


The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations.  Dirty children become clean, the hungry child is fed, the tired child sleeping.  Almost every task a mother performs in the course of a normal day could be considered a transformation.  Disorder to order, dirty clothes to clean, unhappy children to peaceful, empty fridge to full.  Every day we fight against disorder, filth, starvation and lawlessness, and some days we might almost succeed.  And then, while we sleep, everything unravels and we start again in the morning --transforming.

Rachel Jankovic 
-author of Loving the Little Years


The rest of the article can be read here 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clean?

You'll never believe this.

I'm still in shock myself.

Today, a friend of mine came over to my house.  Walked in through my garage, then through my kitchen, and entered the living room.  She looked around and then said:

"Thank you.  This makes me feel better.  Just one time your house looks just as messy as mine."

I stared at her for several seconds, trying to understand what she had just said.  Finally I said, "What?"

She went on about how nice it was that for once my house was messy.

I was too shocked to burst out into laughter or I would have.  I would have laughed so hard I'd peed my pants.  Speechless, that's what I was. 

Speechless.

I mean, I spend 30% of my life cleaning, so you'd think I had a clean house.  But it never is.  This friend?  She's not smoking crack.  She had a baby less than a week ago and is sleep deprived, that's what it was.  I hate to totally rip her credibility on here, so we'll just say she's "delusional from lack of sleep."

The TRUTH is that my house is never clean.

I gave up "clean" a long time ago.  I no longer buy into the lie that I must keep a perfectly clean house at all times in order to be a good wife.

Aunt Nancy helped me with that one day when I called her tired and frustrated. (I was the one tired and frusterated. I did not refer to her as "tired and frusterated.") She told me that I didn't have to have everything clean at the same time.  She gave me some tips: Wipe a section of baseboards if there is a tub of wipes close and you have a few extra seconds.  If there are some crumbs in the silverware drawer, pick them up by pressing your finger on top of them and dust them off onto the floor --cause sooner or later it's going to get swept up.   A little bit here, a little there.  It won't ever be "clean" but it won't be nasty.

Those words changed my life.  No longer do I strive for clean.  My new goal is "not as nasty."  As in:  "not as nasty as it was a few minutes ago."  Most days I reach that goal. I'm happier now, I feel less like a failure.  I mean, I know what I did today and I know my house is not as nasty as it was before I swept up the muffin crumbs or before I wiped the splattered milk off of the cabinet.  So I alone can give myself a high-five and say, "You did it! It's 'not as nasty!'"

Last weekend we had guests, Aunt Kay and Uncle David came to see us as part of their vacation (I love it when people do this!!)  I set aside the afternoon before and the morning of their arrival to do my house cleaning.  There's no point in doing it any earlier than this as long as there are children living here.   ...and there are.

So I begin to clean.  and clean.  and clean.   Then I look around and think.  You know what?  Aunt Kay and Uncle David are going to think I forgot they were coming today.  The floor has spots on it, the dusting sure as heck hasn't happened, the bathroom still isn't clean and the front porch hasn't been swept.

No one was going to walk into this house and say, "Wow!  Everything looks so great!  You look like you've been cleaning all day."  No one knew (or knows) what crazy things I have to scrape up and off of things.  Like spaghetti stuck to the table legs or sticky grime off of door knobs.  They don't know the work that has to be done. But if they did, wouldn't it be great?   Wouldn't you feel so rewarded if someone walked into your house and said things like:

"Wow! What happened to the table?  There's no dried on cereal!"  or "Whoa, no spider webs above your kitchen window.  Nice!"  or "Don't tell me you vacuumed out the shoe cubbie again!  No sand?!"  or even "I can't find any of the seventeen puffs go that Brady strategically scattered all over the downstairs.  You are quite the finder. Have you ever considered trying out for the amazing race?" 

but they never do.

They don't know how many magic erasers it takes to make the place look livable. 

But now you know.

Next time you walk into a home with preschoolers, if your hand doesn't stick to the door knob, you tell that mama. 

You tell her:  "Whoa!  Clean door knobs!  Way to go!"

then high-five her.  Tell her that one's from me.    

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall decor


This sweet little guy lives just outside our garage in the corner of the garage door opening.  He's been there several weeks.  I've decided he is our Halloween decoration.  The house down the street on the corner has gone all out for Halloween.  They have some gigantic eyes peering out at you from their upstairs window.  It looks like a giant cat is trapped in their house.  Every time we drive by Austin says:  "SCARY!  LOOK TY, BACK DER!  SCARY!"    They also have a coffin on their front porch --which totally creeps me out.  I don't understand why people like to be scared, but then, you probably don't understand why I am letting this huge spider live in a place where I could walk right into his web.  I guess it's because Hannah comes to mine every time I think about messing with him.  I wonder though if I'm going to regret it.   Hmm..  would I rather have the absence of guilt or the peace of mind that I will not be running headlong into a spider and his web.

That's a toughie.

For now he stays.

A few days ago we were on our way out.  It seems I'm always the last one out to the van.  Probably because I sit around till the last minute playing and then I can't find my shoes and have to comb my hair and change my shirt because I've gotten food on it... then I forget and leave the lights on all over the house so now I've got to go turn them all off...  whatever the reason, I'm always last.

 I hop in and witness the following discussion going on in the back of the van: 

What to name the spider.

Ty's nomination was:  "Scary."  I was definitely catching what he was throwing.  Scary seemed like the perfect name.  Jack, however,  said he wanted to name it Jeremiah. 

Me, being the second born natural peacemaker said:  "Why don't we call him Scary Jeremiah?"

My Camp-David-like tactics had the same affect they usually have on the kids:  "Nawww... they both respond."

Not even Mike was with me.  His response?

"Well, we can't name it Jeremiah."

"Why not?" I ask.

"Because.  Jeremiah was a bullfrog."


Ba-dum-tish!




Monday, October 1, 2012

Death by Austin


I know how I will die.

It's bound to be Austin. 

I know, it seems every few months I announce that a different child "will be the death of me."  But this time I'm sure of it.

He's two.  I don't know if we'll both make it to his third birthday.  It's not me that is going to try and take him out.  It's him.   He's got more zeal than brains and is constantly doing things that end up disfiguing himself in some way.  Take the last 8 days for example, Austin has:  run through a window, landing on the concrete of the front porch.  Busted his eyebrow on a piece of playground equipment, walked right in front of a fast swing (my friend scooped him up and saved his life), intentionally ejected from a swing while still going at full speed (same friend caught him before he hit the ground).  Caught a stomach bug, sliced the end of his thum with Mike's razor, fell off the edge of the couch and sliced his bottom lip --talk about a lot of blood.  It was a deep cut!    We won't even try to count the times he whacked his head on the coffee table or ran into chairs or tripped over rugs...

I can't keep up with any of my other jobs for trying to keep this child alive!  (at least that's what I'm blaming my dirty floor on).

Then there's the flooding of the bathroom that happened yesterday.  The child locks himself (intentionally) in the bathroom, stops up the drain, turns the water on and sits on the counter and plays.  I'm not sure how long he was in there before I broke through and grabbed every towel in sight to try and save the walls and floors...

Then there's Brady.  Lord help that boy.  If I turn my back, Austin will be on Brady's head, or will be riding him like a horse or his favorite jumping over him, pretending to trip and landing on the poor child.

Brady may not make it to Austin's third birthday either.

I pity the woman who has to raise this child's babies.  Remind me to send her flowers and bandaid coupons often.
 
 
 

 



Friday, September 28, 2012

For mom.

Another definition by Jack

Feast:  Means I ate more than I normally eat.




Just when I think I've got Ty's love language figured out we have a conversation like this:

Ty:  I know why Brady loves you so much.  It's because you say so many nice things about him.

(Exactly.  Just what I thought.  Ty's a "Words of affirmation" guy.)

But I wanted to see what his response would be when I proposed that Brady loved me because of the physical touch I give him.

Me:  Maybe Brady loves me because I kiss him lots.

Ty:   No he likes you because you give him milk  (hmm.. acts of service? receiving gifts?)  and because he gets to hang out with you when you feed him (No question, that is "Quality time".)


So... who knows.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apparently he can do math



Me:  "Ty.  I'm going to ask you a question." 

Ty:  "Ok."

Me:  "If I have four boys and then I get two more, how many do I have?"

Ty: "Six."

Me:  "Wow.  Good job!  Who taught you that?"

Ty: "Nobody, I just knowed it."

Me:  "Ok, how about this one:  I have six kids but then two go to the store.  How many are left?"

Ty: "Four."

Me:  "Great!  Now I'm going to give you a harder one.  Let's see if you can get this one.   There are ten rolls.  Daddy eats two and Ty eats two.  How many are left?"

Ty:  "six."

Me:  "Amazing!  Now here's a really hard one there's no way you'll get it:  There are twelve grandchildren.   Two leave and go play baseball.  Two leave and go get suckers.  Where is Ty?"

Without missing a beat Ty answers,  "Getting a sucker."

He's so smart.

I asked him one last question to further test his knowledge:  "Ty there were ten boys.  One went to the mailbox.  Two went to the pumpkin patch.  Three went to the swing set and four were watching TV.  How many were at the pumpkin patch?"

Ty: Two.


This from the boy who talks nonstop.  We've always assumed he hasn't heard a word we've said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Smarter than yesterday


We've come off a weekend with no washing machine, awesome house guests, and a stomach bug  --I just realized it's Tuesday and we are still "Coming off the weekend."

So... it's been laundry day around here.  You might think this would be an uneventful sort of day.  You'd be wrong.   It's been work alright, but far from monotonous.  The interuptions were numerous.  But I'm learning that "the interuptions are my work."  --Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God.  -Good book.  I'd recommend it to you folks who have a hard time sitting down, want to follow Jesus and don't see the point in sabathing.  That books going to change my life one day. (I'm working on it).

Today has been a tiring day, but it seems to me, you learn the most on days like this.  Sometimes you learn you don't want to repeat the day.  Sometimes it's more.  Today it is more:

I learned:

A friend of mine is going to have another baby (You were right Rachel, I didn't know about that one.)

The 40lbs. of organic fruit I ordered for the month won't begin to cut it.  Maybe 80 pounds next month??

Jack's lunch was cheesy triangles that weren't as good as pizza.

Arkansasan's aren't that good at making quesadillas.

How to load and run a high efficiency washer.

That YouTube has some good videos on these "fancy" washers.

That Mike got selected to go to the weapons school!  Woo Woo!  Go Mike!

That I'll be single for at least 6 months next year.  More if he does the deployment he's slated for.

That it is possible to do laundry ALL DAY LONG and still go to bed with laundry piled all over the living room.  Good thing I don't mind doing laundry (serious).

And most importantly, James 1:18-20.  Let's see if I can quote it....

"My dear Brothers, take note of this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God requires.  Therefore let us flea from... no maybe... throw off every sin that... no.  Hold on.  Let us fix our eyes... that's not it....................... I don't know.  But it ends up with something about a "Word" that can save us.  Then it continues with the part about how we need to  not be deceived that just listening to the Word will save us, but instead listen and do what the Word says because if we don't, we are like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and then walks away and immediately forgets what he looks like...

Maybe I need to work on that a little more before bed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ty's first soccer practice


Sporting his Nike (breathable) shorts, his Nike shin guards and his Nike cleats, Ty showed up at his first ever soccer practice looking like a hundred bucks.  In reality his garage sale purchased gear cost about... $8.   Nobody tell Ty.  I want him to look back at these pictures and say, "What?  Am I wearing name brand clothing?  Wow.  They did love me!" 

Ty, rest assured the clothes are not the sacrifice.  The sacrifice is the THREE days a week this commitment is going to require.  We are all loading up, driving over, lugging equipment, entertaining brother so that you can play four-year-old style soccer.  Let's just say it's not real competitive.  It's pretty much a play date at an inconvenient time that costs money.  But yes, we love you.  That's why we are doing it.

The first practice was interesting.  We were the first ones there.  20 minutes early.  We can't ever seem to be anywhere on time.  Either early or late.  Just like this morning at school.  We were shooting for 7:45.  We walked in at 7:30.  

Ty met a teammate right off the bat. 

"Mom!!  A boy told me his name!  His name's Tennessee!"

"Are you sure?  Is it 'Timothy?'"

"No.  It's TEN-NES-SEEEE!"

"Oh.  Ok.  Great."

You can't argue with this kid.

The coaches daughter (bless her heart) peed her pants on the first drill but couldn't go home because mom was the coach.  She cried or hung on mom's leg for most of the practice.  I tried to get her to "help" me with Brady, but that only lasted so long.

The boys on the team protested if they were asked to kick a pink ball during a drill.   One resourceful girl didn't bring a ball so she confiscated Austin's.  That boy's no fool.  He knew he'd been taken.  Every chance he got he would run onto the field and try to steal it back.  Finally I convinced him to "give" the girl his ball for the night.  Once he had done that, he was at peace with the situation.  Dad showed up halfway through bringing sonic burgers.  What a guy.

Over all, it was a good time.  Watching four-year-old's play soccer, not many things are more entertaining.  And most importantly, Ty had a good time.

 This is what he told his dad:

"I've got lots of new friends!  Even one who kept saying: "Hey!!  That's MY ball!"


 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jack's first day of school


You remember when you were little and had to go get vaccinated at the doctor's office?  Your mom would try to prep you for what was coming while at the same time try not to freak you out.  But once the word "shot" was mentioned it was over. There's really no way to sugar coat it.  Your mother has basically just said: "You are going to get stabbed by a piece of sharp metal, injected with small amounts of live viruses.  It will be painful, it will be bloody you will cry and I will be standing by  holding the coats of the ones who do this to you"

You are fearful.  You try to protest.  You fake a fever.  She doesn't buy it.  There's nothing you can do.  It's coming.  The needle is coming. 

The worst moment of the whole ordeal is when they ask you to "Hop up on the table."  They wipe your arm with the alcohol pad.  There is nothing left to do but panic.  So you wiggle, you cry.  Your mother holds you down. 

Then. 

Before you know it, it's over.  And you can relax.  It turns out, it wasn't really that bad.  Now you get an awesome Garfield bandaid and maybe a sticker.

Putting your firstborn in school is pretty much exactly like getting a shot.  Except the process was about a year and a half long for me.  Without going into tons of detail, we began asking God what to do about Jack's school when he was four about to turn five.  Although Jack seemed plenty capable of entering kindergarten last year, we felt it would benefit him in the long run if we waited one more year.  I can't tell you how much he's grown and matured in the last year.  As of today, I'm so glad we had him wait.

Here are the beginning of the day pictures:






Jack, you cannot blame the goofiness of these pictures on my inability to dress you.  It was all you man.

He was smiling as we headed out to the van at 7:30.  The brothers and I walked him to his class. His teacher met us at the door and gave Jack some directions.  We waved goodbye and told him we'd be back later.  I dropped off a confident excited young man.   Nobody cried.

Ty and Austie and I ate Little Debbie donuts in the parking lot (our try-not-to-be-sad treat).  Then we went home and had a really nice day.  It was strange not having a big boy around.  I felt like I'd gone back in time to when I only had three and my oldest was 4.  It was weird.  We did chores, played outside, watched an episode of Mighty Machines and then met friends at the park.   We came home, everyone fell asleep.  The alarm told us to wake up and go get Jack. 

It was over.  Whew.  We had made it.  It turns out, it wasn't really that bad. 


Jack, oh yes, he also had a good day.  He was eager to tell us about the science lab, about the discipline procedures, about the kid who broke the rules and about lunch.  Let me tell you about his lunch...

To preface this, I want to remind you of the effort that went into making sure everything was just so for this special day.  It wasn't just Jack's reputation on the line here.  This was my chance to make a good first impression at this school.  His lunch, first off, needed to contain food.  I broke the sabbath by grocery shopping on Sunday to make this possible.  Second, it needed to be healthy.  Surely spinach and carrots would do the trick. (Who do I need to see about getting my gold star?)  Third, it needed to be filling.  I layered a generous portion of turkey on his sandwich.  Fourth, not messy.  He wore a white shirt.  See also my concern from yesterday involving ketchup.  I did not put any ketchup or mustard on the sandwich just a very tiny amount of dressing.

I pretty much nailed lunch.  You can understand then, why one of my questions on the way home was:


Me: "Jack, did you like lunch time?"

Jack (grins): "uh-huh."

Me: "Did you like the cafeteria?"

Jack: "Yes!  It had a place where you could get in line and wait and get a hamburger and french fries and something I didn't like and something else that looked like..."  (You could see his little brain trying to figure out how to describe this dish.  He gave up and moved on.)  "...and they would ask you what you wanted."

Now I'm grinning.  It was so fun to get to hear him tell of his experiences.  Since I couldn't be there with him, this was the next best thing.

Me: "Oh, cool.  Did you eat all the lunch I sent you?"

Jack:  "Yes, and a hamburger."

Me: "What?"

Jack: "Well, when I got in there, the line was so long.  It was all the way to the door.  But after I got done eating there were only two people in line so I got in line and got a hamburger."

Me: "Really?... Did they ask you for money?"

Jack:  "No."

Me: "What did you tell them?"

Jack:  "I told them that I only had two things* in my lunch and that I was still hungry so they gave me a tray.

Thanks Jack.  Thanks for that.

Sure enough, I opened his folder and there was a note from his teacher.


Tomorrow we are sending money to pay his tab.  And we discussed saving hot lunch for special days or days when we don't have any food in the house.

Jack's first day artwork: 




So there ya have it.  And just so you know.  I'm attributing everyone's good day to the fact that several people prayed for us.  Today had a totally different feeling than yesterday and think it had something to do with hope.


*That was a lie.  He had four things in his lunch.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

School starting.

I don't want to talk about it.

I don't even want to think about it.

So don't bring it up.  Ok?

I'd intended to write a humorous post about all the silly, sentimental, over the top things I was doing to make sure Jack's first day of Kindergarten was a success.  Things like making him homemade granola bars full of protein for his morning snack --empty calories will leave him hungry.  Or the way I planned out his hair cut schedule --hair cut two weeks before school started (just in case it was a bad one, it would have time to grow in.)  Or me forcing him to learn how and practice buttoning and unbuttoning his shorts.  Mike has told me stories about some weird kid in Kindergarten who peed with his pants around his ankles. I didn't want Jack to be the weird kid.  Or the trip down to Little Rock (with four preschoolers) to shop at the Container Store to find the perfect lunch box accessories.  Or the three shopping trips to make sure Jack had clothes that would look good.   Do you realize how much pressure there is to dress a child for his first day of kindergarten????  There will be 129 pictures taken and they WILL live forever.  Yes, if you called her right now, your mom could put her finger on your first day of school picture.  And when you saw it you'd look at it and laugh and say --you know what you'd say, you'd say:  "I can't believe my mom dressed me in that!"   Shame on you!  She did the best she could.  Don't mock!  Because of you I'm feeling all kinds of pressure over here!  (sorry, didn't mean to take it out on you.)

Anyway.  That was the post I was going to write.

But I'm not in the mood. 

I'm just a wee bit emotional about my baby growing up, my little friend moving on, my helper not being here. 

Five years I invested my entire being into this little one, work, frustration, disappointment then... results! 

Now I have a boy in my house who is one to be proud of.  I could list you a million reasons why I'm so proud of Jack.  I'll just give you one. Tonight, Ty fell out of the hammock.  He cried and cried.  He complained of a hurt back. After we had done our best to meet all of his hypocondratic needs, Jack sat there on the couch next to him and rubbed Ty's sore back.  He values the little ones in our home.
Our babies feel cherished because of the way Jack gets on the floor, smiles and talks baby talk to them.
They benefit.

We benefit.

Now I have to send him away?!?! 

We prayed about homeschooling.  God said no.  Even though I know God knows all the factors concerning this decision and is working our story out for His glory, I am tempted to make it all about me.  I put words in God's mouth and tell myself things like:  "God doesn't want you to home school because He knows you couldn't hack it.  You wouldn't be disciplined enough, strong enough, patient enough... good enough."

Isn't it interesting that when we begin to make things about us we either end up prideful or discouraged?

We have the option to trust or to worry:  "What if Jack gets lost?"  "What if he talks at the wrong time, gets chastised by the teacher and his feelings get hurt?"  "What if he gets rejected by a classmate?"  "What if he gets ketchup on his face at lunch and doesn't know it and someone laughs at him?"  --note to self, no condiments in the lunch for the first six weeks*

Or.  I can trust.

Just trust.
(Wow, my to do list got a lot shorter.)  I can trust that I have tried to be faithful to my calling as a parent, that I have taught him sufficiently and that God, his true father, will take even better care of him than I have.

I'll leave it at that.

I won't post the picture I took looking out my kitchen window at my three little boys playing in the backyard.  I won't talk about how much I'll miss him.  I won't talk about how much Ty will miss him.   Scratch that, yes I will.  This is how addicted Ty is to Jack.  Today Jack was in the bathroom.  He'd been in there long enough according to Ty.  So Ty went over, laid down on the floor, propped his feet up on the door and talked to Jack while he was ... um... taking care of business.  Not ten minutes can Ty be away from his big brother (heaven help him tomorrow!)

I'll take some of the 129 pictures and post a few on here tomorrow.  We are going to try to not be too bored or sad.  We've got plans to play at the park. 
We'll make it.
I think.