Thursday, April 26, 2012
The weekend we fly a photographer up to Little Rock to do our family pictures is the week I decide to try to trim my hair. I don't care that I've been giving men hair cuts for fifteen years. That doesn't mean I know how to do side bangs. There are some things that a woman who lives with 5 men shouldn't do. My whole life I've never had to trim my own hair, nor have I had to shop for my own clothes, nor have I had to decorate my own house. Why not? Because I have 5 super talented sisters and an awesome mom. That's why.
And now, here I am, ignorant in many of the skills most women consider basic. I know what I need to know. I know how to cook meat and how to wash poop out of things. I know how to take off training wheels and bait a hook.
I don't do girl hair. Next time I'll go to a salon, sit down in the chair and pay $25 for 12 seconds worth of work.
...then we'll book Hannah another flight.
On the bright side, maybe she'll have time to do more decorating for me.
It was Brady! It was so gross. A tick on my baby. It made me shiver.
Only a few people got it right. Way to go Sarah, good test taking skills. I'll bet you aced the SAT. Glenna, he hasn't touched the ground! Not on a blanket or anything. He did sit outside in the stroller while I dug in the flower bed the day before. Maybe that was it.
We will be applying sulfur to the yard very very soon. That should help with ticks, chiggers AND snakes! (Dad did you know about the snakes?) At least that's what the guy at Wood's Feed Store told me. I believe them. I don't think they'd lie. Any store who sells deer skin leather work gloves in size 3 (yes, think three-year-old) obviously believes in hard work taught at an early age. They believe in values. I'll bet they don't lie either.
And yes, Jack and Ty feel pretty manly working in their new gloves.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tonight, like every Wednesday night, I took the big boys to AWANA. We were part of AWANA club in Abilene, Greenville and now, in Cabot, we have found a church where the boys go every week. They work through a book in which they memorize God's Word. For every verse they memorize (or section that gets completed), they get AWANA "bucks." At the end of the quarter they take their bucks and go into the AWANA store where they buy stuff that clutters up our house. Jack had earned 17 bucks.
Tonight, Brady, Austin, Ty and I went to pick up Jack from his class. A huge grin appeared on Jack's face as he saw us in the doorway. Up he hopped and right over to Ty he went. "Ty! It was store night and I bought you things you have wanted your whole life!" He begins showing Ty what he bought for him. Pure joy. Remember that verse: "It's more blessed to give than to receive." Yeah, it's true. Jack couldn't have been happier. "It looks like you picked out some good things Jack." I tell him. "We gave him a few bucks to spend." His teacher explains. Now that is odd. Usually they only do that for the kids who don't have any bucks. "Did you get out all the ones in your bag?" I ask. I get a blank stare from both Jack and his elderly lady teacher. His AWANA bag holds his AWANA book in the main pouch, then there is a zipper pouch where we keep the bucks. It's the most obvious place to keep the bucks. Apparently it hadn't occurred to them to check there.
I walk over to his bag, open the zipper. Amazing! (I know that's what you're thinking) holding a newborn, a one-year-old and tackling a zipper. Thank you, but that's more credit than I deserve, the one-year-old was running the halls at this point. So I open that zipper, and there, stuffed into a paper envelope was a wad of bucks. It looked like something you'd find hidden in a great depression survivors home. I pull out the envelope and Jack's teacher reaches for it. "Oh, there they are!" She takes them from my hand. Jack turns his attention back to Ty. He is showering him with gifts. Everything in that bag is for Ty. He got him a boomerang, a tiny pumpkin eraser, two mini Frisbees and a paper airplane. "Ty! You've been wanting these your whole life! You've been wanting these for 100 years and I got them for you!" Joy spilling out of his heart. I think it got on my shoes.
I look back at his teacher who is looking through Jack's stash. Should we give you some of the bucks back that he borrowed? I ask.
"We need to keep them all. That was the last store night of the year." Was her reply.
hmm... this is not my first rodeo. I know this AWANA stuff. I've been a leader for 6 years, two of those years serving as director for the 3rd-6th grade girls. Since this church uses actual paper bucks and not a point system, then I don't see any reason why we can't tuck those puppies back into his bag till next fall. I didn't give her my resume. I just sort of thought about it as she was explaining why he needed to turn in his hard-earned bucks. No. Be kind Becca. Use words that communicate love.
"Well, do you think we can keep them for next year?" I ask.
She looks at me, shakes her head and answers, "I think it would probably be best if you don't."
You are going to take up this child's reward? Does it make any difference if you let him keep them? Why does this even MATTER to you???
I didn't know what to say. So I just said, "Well... Ok... ok." Then, like I do every night, I thanked her for teaching him and we left.
On the way to the van all I could think about was how Jack deserved those bucks. How they were his and he should get to use them. What would make this woman think she needed them? Should I go find another teacher, explain what happened and ask that justice be done? I'm sure the director could make this right.
I try to work through this problem in my mind and in between every line, every question I hear:
"Ty! Do you like what I got you?" "Mom! I was wanting to put Ty first!" "Mom! I gave my very best to Ty!" "Ty, do you like the airplane?" "I can't wait for you to try it!"
Jack = Full of joy.
Me = Bitter
Jack = Selfless
Me = Wanting what was owed us
Jack = Loving
Me = Irritated
Jack = Generous
Me = Greedy
Jack = Promoting unity
Me = wanting that old woman fired
I knew I needed to get over it. I didn't let on to the kids that something was wrong. I didn't tell Jack he'd just been gypped. But in my heart, at that moment, I wanted justice more than mercy.
I did get over it. It didn't take that long. Just long enough for me to be reminded of my own sinful heart. "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it." For the last six years I have helped young girls memorize this verse. Hoping that they will realize their own depravity and see their need for Jesus --their rescuer.
I need that rescuer. I need him to rescue me every day. I need him to help me kill my selfish "I should get what I deserve" attitude and replace it with a heart full and overflowing with love for others.
What does He tell us? "This is how they will know that you are my disciple: If you love one another."
Christ follower, we must see our differences with people as opportunities to show a world who Jesus is. We must use these opportunities correctly. We cannot have a church filled with people who have open disagreements about policy, about procedures, about non-essential doctrine.
If we do.
People won't see Jesus.
And if people don't see Jesus in us, we must ask ourselves the question:
Is Jesus in us?
Beware of divisions. One thing the children of the world can always understand, if they do not understand doctrine; that thing is angry quarrelling and controversy. Be at peace among yourselves.
-John Charles Ryle
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Melene, Thank you for encouraging me toward righteousness.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
I'm flying out my photographer, Hannah Boshart, who will use creativity and an expensive camera to make us look amazing. We are getting some family pictures along with portraits of the boys. I'll put Brady's picture on the right column with the others. Can't wait!
Today was a day of training, encouraging, warning, disciplining, head-shaking, cleaning, laundry, feeding and on and on and on and on.
Jack decided to pick up the can of spray paint that the contractor (wait till I get ahold of him!) left outside yesterday. He thought it would be a good idea to spray the thing... all over the railing of the deck we have been power washing for the last month in preparation to stain...
I put Austin in bed while I work in the attic next to his room. I am organizing the boxes of kids clothes that will be stored in there. I work for a bit while Austin is playing in bed. I decide the bed shouldn't be a place of play so I invite him to get our and play on the floor till I'm done. I keep working, he wanders off. In comes Ty:
"MOM!!" (he was crying) "My gum is stuck in my hair!"
"OK, it's ok. Calm down. (I wonder how this can be. He hasn't slept. How else does gum get in your hair?)
"How did your gum get in your hair?" I ask.
"I put it in there." he moans.
"Why did you put it in there?" (this will be interesting.)
"To see if it would stick."
Ty lost some hair today. No way was I going to try to get it out by holding an ice cube on it to try to freeze up the gum. I remember my mom doing that to me. Back then it never occurred to me that maybe she had something else to do besides sit and try to pick gum out of my hair. Call me crazy, but I'll bet she had other things going on.
I go up to go through shoes. Oh the shoes... I bring down four pair that had to be thrown away. I had saved them after Jack, but now decided they were just too far worn out to pass on to another boy.
Time to find Austin to put him down for a nap. I look everywhere and finally find him on the construction zone side of the house... bare foot. muddy. holding a sharp object.
And I see Jack, well the top half of Jack. He is down in the moat that will be our foundation. It rained last night and like a siren calling the sailors, Jack was drawn to the mud pit.
I thought about leaving everyone as is and going inside to make the necessary arrangements for the honorary parade that is due the woman who victoriously made it through 30+ years of raising double the children I have. Wowsers.
One of these days Mom, one of these days... you just wait. You'll get your parade. In the meantime enjoy the new recliners.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
We won't be going back.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Brady in his new-to-him Easter outfit! Mike and I kept him with us during church and several people asked us if he was our first child. I'm blaming it totally on the fact that he was dressed up. Not the normal outfit a fourth born wears ;-)
Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Now here's our topic: What kind of character traits do we want our children to have?
Well, let's see... first thing that comes to mind is confident. I don't want to raise wimpy timid men. I want boys who will be up for the challenge if God calls them to Africa. I want men who will step up and lead their families, who will be brave enough to ask someone where they stand with God. Confidence.
What else, well... wisdom. This means Mike and I need to teach them the value of being wise (right?) I've found this is hard to teach. And it means we need to exhibit wisdom in our choices (how we eat, how we spend money, how we follow God, how we set our schedules). We need to continually introduce them to the author of wisdom. We need to teach them humility, because with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). Your turn, what am I missing?
Next, this is a big one and the one that currently stumps me the most. Hardworking. What should we be doing now to help our boys (ages 5,4,1.9 and zero), to learn to love to work, 0r at least to work joyfully? I could work them all the time, but I don't see Scripture backing that one and I'm pretty sure that wouldn't turn out well. I could not work them at all, but the Bible does disagree with that method. And I've seen many many children who go into adulthood crippled because of this thinking on their parents part. What about age appropriate jobs? Seems good. But they are done with complaining. How do I teach them to work and get the whining to stop?
The last we will talk about for now is: Contentment. I want my boys to be content, now and when they are grown. I want them to praise God whether well-fed or hungry, with plenty or in want. How do you encourage contentment? I don't know, but I do know how to not encourage contentment. Right after we moved here I suggested we buy a Wii. The weather was bad, the house was a wreck and we needed something the kids could do while Mike and I worked on the house. Our PlayStation (which served as our DVD player) was missing, after two weeks of living here we still hadn't found it. We assumed it was stolen. We weren't going to get cable so DVDs or Netflicks were the only options. We bought a Wii and the kids have loved it. It served it's purpose for the next couple weeks and we got the house done. And really, that thing was cheaper than childcare would have been for 5 days worth of kid watching. Like I mentioned earlier the kids love the thing. The problem is, they love it. They love it so much that it's all Jack can think of. First thing in the morning, he wants to play. As soon as Austin goes down for a nap, he wants to play. He wants to show Mike how good he is getting when he gets home in the afternoon. All day long.
I knew bringing a game system into the home (our PlayStation didn't play games) would invite a little conflict. I knew it could tempt me to let them just sit and play instead of having them do more productive things. Everyone knows how easy it is to let media babysit your kids. Makes life easier --for now. But I felt like I'd be able to say "no." The issue I wasn't expecting was this: I wasn't expecting it to consume their thoughts. When I say, "What should we do?" All they can think of is play the Wii. No other option is as fun or enthralling as playing the game. Suddenly Lego's aren't fun, riding bikes isn't fun, puzzles aren't fun, reading isn't fun, balls aren't fun... when compared to a video game.
The last couple years people have asked me how I felt about having a game system in the house. I told them I didn't know, but thought that the kids would be better off without one. I never thought we'd have the issue we are having. No one ever told me how it would breed discontentment with other activities. So, I'm telling you. Consider this before you get a game system. Mike and I don't know what we are going to do about the situation. I'm really counting on his wisdom. If anyone has any suggestions about how to have a Wii in the home and still encourage contentment, I'd like to hear them. Or any suggestions about any of the topics discussed here.
Thanks for being serious with me.
Now you can smile again. :-)
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Jack is a thinker. I love hearing the things that come out of his mouth. For the last week at dinner, the conversation has not been dominated by Ty, our little talker, but by Jack. He says, "Dad, which state is larger: Kentucky or Louisiana?" or "Dad, how did Russia get all that land?" or "Which state is in the middle of the country?"
He loves learning. Loves it. He asks so many questions. So many. I can't wait till he learns to read so he can research the answers to his questions himself. :-) I enjoy hearing his questions, It's so special to get a glimpse of what his little mind is trying to learn and understand. This boy is going to do big things with life. I hope he never loses his love for knowledge.
Here are some of the things he has asked me or observations he has made:
"Mom, Is America bigger than Iceland? People from Norway discovered Iceland right?"
"Mom! I found Abilene!!! (Looking at my iPhone map). Abilene is in between a city and town [bigger than a town, smaller than a city]. If the new baby was an Abilenian then maybe it would get closer to being a city. Cause they'd count him and then there would be one more and they'd have to change the sign."
"An island is a country that is all alone."
Caroline: "Do you trust me?"
Jack: "Yeah, but...."
"If Alaska were it's own country would it have more land than India?"
"Are the north pole and south pole countries?"
"Mom, how many seconds are in 25 hours?"
Jack was really wanting to wake Austin up from his nap.
Me: "Can you just not stand to live life without him?"
"Mom, the milky way is like a big smoothie that is blue that has never been drunk."
This conversation Ty and Jack had really cracked me up:
Ty: "When I'm a man I hope I can play tennis."
Jack: "It's prolly a girl's game."
Ty: "No, it's not."
Jack: "Well... it should be."
Sunday, April 1, 2012
75 Things to Love About Arkansas
I thought, "Awesome. I can't wait to read this article about all the cool things to do here." Apparently there are 75 counties in Arkansas and they picked something to love from every county. I turn a few pages in and read the Editor's Letter. She writes: "I know I'm not supposed to play favorites, but I'm just going to come right out and say it: This issue is fantastic. Quite possibly my favorite ever."
Now I can't wait to read it! I mean, I'm expecting fireworks and funnel cakes here. Big exciting happenings. I mean, I'm from Texas and in Texas if someone says, "Hey this is awesome." Then it is. It is awesome.
I turn to page 24 and begin reading the article:
Did they just put that in print? Braggart neighbors? That's not very nice. Don't they know that some of us Texans might just subscribe to this magazine? Even if we don't, (Because we already get "Texas Monthly" and who needs anything else) should they say that? How rude.
Honestly. I was shocked. I stopped reading and just sat there. Are we really like that? I mean, yeah, to some extent we are, but is this reputation so well known that you can put things like this in print and no one bats an eye?
I have decided to write a letter to the editor telling her that we Texans do not appreciate an inferior state making such statements about us. That we are not braggarts, we are just honest hard working people who don't go around publishing ugly things about Arkansans or Nevadans or any of those other people.
And I might also tell her that I can hardly wait to visit "Arkansas Life's" choice as the top attraction in Lonoke county: Marlsgate and the former Dortch plantation.
Really folks, is bragging really bragging if it's true?