Thursday, April 26, 2012


Awesome.  Just.... AWESOME.

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.

The nasty quiz results

Oh yes, about the tick....

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

Jack's bucks

Funny story.  It goes like this:

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

It's what we do.

Dear Friends,
The other day I asked you to please help me with a parenting problem we were having. Several of you have either left comments on the post or have called me directly and shared helpful ideas.
My friend, Melene, shared this with me:

I saw this quote recently and I think it goes along with the thoughts you are having. "Your children will become what you are. So be what you want them to be."

I've really been thinking about that.

I've been thinking of it in regard to my failures. I asked God to show me where I was leaving a poor example for my children. And, as He always does, He responded when asked for help. He loves me too much to let me stay miserable in my sins. He wants to help me have victory over them. He told me:

"Patience. Patience, Becca. It could use some improvement, wouldn't you say?"

"Yes Lord, I'd say so."

How many times a day do I say, "Hurry up." "Come on." "Let's go."

I rush these little guys from activity to activity. "Hurry up and set the table." "Eat your food." "Clean up the table quickly." "Hurry up to nap time." "Hurry out to play." "Clean your room, I'm coming to check it in 5 minutes."

I want our boys to be quick workers. All the time I tell them, "Let's do our work fast so we don't have to spend all day working. The quicker it's done, the quicker we can go play." I don't think this is a bad concept, but I must consider how much I am hurrying them along with their whole life.

Their daddy is patient. He doesn't rush me. He never asks me to hurry (unless I'm running errands and leave a nursing baby at home).

I want our boys to be patient fathers and husbands as is their dad. I get to reap the blessing of having a patient husband. It's good. It promotes peace in our home. It's always a more relaxed atmosphere with Mike here. I'd hate for them to grow up and end up where I currently am. What a stressful environment their homes would be. I know their wives wouldn't appreciate it.

I'm now working hard at working slower :-)

I'm going through my mental list of all I want accomplished and cutting it in half for the day. I'm going to do less. I'm going to stop my hands and turn my face to my children when they ask me questions. I'm going to listen better and give better answers. I'm going to deviate from my plans when I see moments that can be used to serve or teach them.

Like Melene said, "Your children will become what you are. So be what you want them to be."

I want there to be undeniable evidence of my sons' love for God shown through the way they treat people.

If I rush around all the time I will be training them to rush around all the time.

If I train them to rush around all the time, they will miss opportunities to serve.

Yesterday, right off the bat, God allowed me to see an opportunity to help my children learn to serve.

We had three men here, framing the foundation of the addition we are putting on our home. It was 11:15 so I asked the men if I could make them lunch. They allowed it :-) The boys excitedly wanted to help. I allowed it. --Which is a big deal for me, because I hate chaos in the kitchen.

Ty sliced cheese, Jack made lemonade, and washed the fruit. I pulled out the ham from last night and sliced the fresh bread. We made them a feast! The boys washed the table on the deck and then set it with plates, napkins, plastic ware, butter, fruit, a pitcher of lemonade and their plates full of food.

As guys got to serve these men, we talked about loving like Jesus. We didn't have much cheese and we gave it all to the guys. We talked about sharing everything you have. We talked about giving your best, not your leftovers (I didn't bring up the fact that the ham we all ate was a left-over.)

I wonder how many opportunities I have missed in my haste? My to do list should not be the first thing on my mind. His commandments are to be. We are to impress them on our children. Talking about them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road. If God tells us to do this, how many opportunities will he provide?

The point of this post is not to tell you how bad I am at patience, nor is it to brag about the strides I am taking to have victory over this sin, the point is this: Encouragement.

I am to encourage my children. I am to encourage you. You are to encourage me.

Melene could have sat at her computer, read my blog post and thought, "this reminds me of that quote..." And done nothing more. BUT! Her choice to share those words with me encouraged me. They encouraged me to encourage my children...

and to encourage you... to encourage others.


Melene, Thank you for encouraging me toward righteousness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

That was nasty

We pulled off our first tick of the season! Which boy did we pull it off of?

A. Jack
B. Ty
C. Austin
D. Brady

Monday, April 16, 2012

Say cheeeeeesssseeee!!!!

For those of you wondering when I will put a picture of Boy #4 on my page:


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!
It's been another one of those days, the kind that make me want to build a float out of flower pedals, rent a band and a street in downtown N.Y.C. and throw my mom a ticker tape parade. Airplanes towing banners, people waving handkerchiefs out of open windows and balloons, plenty of balloons. What a woman! She held it together long enough to see us eight kids raised (well, Laura will be in a couple of years, and I think she's going to make it.)

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

Our Church Search

We've been here for six Sundays. We have visited four different churches. We have enjoyed getting to see how the different church bodies organize their children's classes, outreach to potential members and do small group ministry. It's fun to visit, but it's even more fun to go to a church and leave with the Holy Spirit saying "This is your new home."

That's the best.

I'm planning to be patient while we do our church search and I've also prayed that we wouldn't waste weeks wandering around but God would quickly direct us to our new place of service.

Mike and I individually felt that this place would be different from the rest. That we would be looking, not for a strong healthy church where we and our children would learn, but for a church with good bones that was struggling and we could jump in and work. One day we talked about our expectations for our time in Little Rock and it was a wonderful time where we felt God had communicated the exact same thing to both of us. How sweet it is the way the Holy Spirit unifies hearts.

We have visited BIG churches, small churches, churches with emphasis on outreach, on family, on reaching the neighborhood. We don't know where God will have us. We just know we are not looking for a place with a great kids ministry or the best music. In fact, if the music is too good, it is automatically disqualified. (Just kidding)

Mainly, we want a church with a solid foundation of beliefs, that isn't perfect, but a place where we can love the body, reach out to the lost and one close to our home so we can use it as a place of fellowship.

We have found the best way to gauge how serious the church is about the Word of God is how they teach it to the little children. So every Sunday after the service, we get into the van and we ask the kids what their lesson was about and to please tell us what they learned.

Today my conversation with Ty went like this:

Me: "What was your lesson about today Ty?"

Ty: "It was about a man who couldn't walk and his friends wanted to take him to Jesus so they carried him on a blanket..."

So far so good. He continued:

Ty: "...They took him to a house but there were so many people in the house that they couldn't get in..."

Excellent. The teacher must have done a great job keeping their attention.

Ty: "...So the friends carried him up to the roof and dug a hole in it and then let the man down to where Jesus was..."

I'm about ready to join at this point. This is the most detailed story Ty has come home with yet.

Ty: "And then Jesus told him to go home.

Yes, yes... go on!"

Ty: "...but the man couldn't, because he didn't have any legs."

hmmm.... I'm pretty sure the man had legs...

Me: "What happened next Ty?"

Ty: "That's the end."

We won't be going back.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

We appreciate your feedback

"Boys, is my oatmeal as good as Pop makes it?"


Finally Jack speaks.

"Well, it's... it's... a little bit nastier than Pop's. But just a little bit."

"So I almost made it as good as Pop's?"


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection day!

Mike snapped a picture (Is it still "snapping" pictures if it is done with an iPhone?) of me and the boys after church. We had to wake Austin up for this one. Those boys were heavy, I need to start lifting weights.

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 ;-)

After lunch Ty asked if he could hold Brady. He asks every day to hold him. Turns out he is in love with the boy as I expected him to be. I don't know what it is, but four-year-olds love babies.

They were so cute I couldn't stop taking pictures. Don't worry, I've only posted 1/3 of them on here.

Attention California Residents:

Hey California, is there something you want to share with the rest of the states?

the uh ...United States?

As in "We're all in this together" states?

"One for all and all for one" --right?



Thanks for thinking of us Cali.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What are we encouraging?

Alright guys, let's get serious for a few minutes. Everyone take off your smiley face and put your game face on. It's 3:10 in the afternoon, I have all four boys down for a nap. I've put my broom away and instead of using these precious moments for power washing the back porch (I REALLY want to get that project finished) we are going to talk. We'd talk tonight after the kids are in bed, but I've been staying up too late for the last month and I am determined to get to bed at a more reasonable time so that I will be alert and awake early tomorrow. Lying in bed while the kids watch net flicks first thing in the morning is not ok. It has to stop. I have to be more disciplined.

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 quotes

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:
"Prolly the people who used to think the world was flat didn't live near any hills."

"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?"
Jack: "Yeah..."

"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."

Oh Arkansas... you make this too easy.

Mike brought this in with the mail today.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Arkansas Life

I was tickled when I check the mail one day and found two magazines about Arkansas: "Arkansas Life" and "Arkansas Living." Wow. What creative names... nevertheless, I thought it would be nice to read to see what cool things were happening in our new home. "Arkansas Life" has this big headline on their cover:

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:

Excuse me?

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.

Awesome. Not!

Really folks, is bragging really bragging if it's true?

Egg hunt

The base threw a really fun Easter party yesterday. We all had a great time. There was a large crowd but the support squadron accommodated them all. Thanks to the tons of volunteers it took to put this shindig on.