Giving Thanks (inspired by)

Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Spirit, for the abundance of good things he pours on His children.
We are but few, but His blessings are many.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Relaxation and snuggles

We had a fantastic time in Florida!
I think little Petie really is the easiest baby we have ever had.
He was great in the car, great by the poolside, great relaxing in the hotel, great going for walks, and of course great getting attention from his mommy and daddy!

Here he is working on his tan!
Not really of course.
He was just waiting for me to take his picture before I brought him in the pool.
Swimming turns out to be yet another thing he loves!

Little Petie, passed out on his daddy's shoulder.
This is what happens when you spend a day relaxing in the sun
only to go back to the room to relax some more.
In fact, I fell asleep on this man's shoulder a couple times myself.
Ah, I love vacation.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Get well soon

"Mommy! The pukes are coming!"

My son runs towards me yelling these words. Towards me, and away from the bathroom.

Few words get me moving so quickly as these. Immediately I switch from relaxing on the couch mode to super-ultra multi-tasking mode. I leap towards my son, scoop him up in my arms, and begin my lecture, "Honey! If you have to throw up---" toilet seat up, kid in position, "go to the bathroom first, don't---" Lysol, paper towels, "come running to me first--- Oh, honey." The lecture is silenced by compassion. The child looks up at me in between heaves. His world has utterly changed. He has come face to face with pure evil, and its name is "stomach flu."

One by one, the six children succumbed to stomach flu last month. Each one insisted that mommy be present and involved when the heaving was happening. So there I stood, time and again, next to the toilet, rubbing backs and murmuring words of compassion.

I hate sick eyes. Sad, sick eyes looking up at me, begging me to make it stop, or at the very least to explain why it is happening. I could do neither, so I sighed, prayed, and rubbed backs. My ineffective, weak hand could not stop the violence that attacked my babies' small bodies. I gently encouraged,, patted, and assured the little ones that it would be over soon.

What was the point of that, really? Why in the world was it necessary for me to be there with them every time? Why did they want to hear those words that I could not fulfill, those mere wishes that they would get better soon? Why was it necessary for me to crawl from underneath my warm covers, stand with them through the heaving and the crying, and maintain some sort of hopeful and comforting attitude through it all? Why did they want my powerless hands to comfort them when they could not take away the sickness? Yet they insisted on it, adamantly, making clear that messy consequences would follow if I even hesitated for a moment.

It made me think of another situation I hate even more than I hate stomach flu: when evil, the kind worse than stomach flu, attacks me or people I know. I hate when I know of someone facing an enormous trial that I can do nothing about. I hate when my heart breaks with theirs, and when I feel so utterly powerless to do anything about it. I hate the helplessness so much that sometimes I am tempted to say nothing, do nothing, and ignore it if I can; to stay under my warm covers and simply comfort myself with denial.

I remember when Aggie's brain tumor was making her terribly sick and nobody knew what was going to happen. I hated being the person that reminded everyone of this huge, sad thing, the family that was suffering so much that anyone who knew about it couldn't help but wonder, "Where is God and why isn't He helping?"

Yet I also remember being comforted. I remember those who allowed their own hearts to be pierced as they shared the burden with us. Those who let themselves love Aggie, and us, even though it hurt. Those who were there with a meal or a hug or an offer of help. Those who dared speak a word of encouragement. I remember, through those seemingly small things, I was comforted.

I was comforted because what was given to me was not simply a cheerful pep-talk or unfounded optimism. I was encouraged by those actions that reminded me of Him, by the words of encouragement that were echoes of the Truth of God's love for us in Christ. It is all too easy to forget the love God has shown us in Jesus, the peace and forgiveness and grace we have in Him, when we are suffering. God knows this about us, and in His mercy, He sends people into our lives during times of suffering to remind us of these things.

Mere words cannot take away the sadness of this life. They cannot turn heavy boulders into feathers, they cannot make the sun shine in the pit of hell. But God can do all of these things! In Christ we have a hope that will not put us to shame; even if the worst should happen, our God will be victorious, and we will be OK.

Because we are in Christ, we can join with those who are facing hardship that we cannot relieve. We join with them by bringing them in prayer to God, and bringing the encouragement we receive from God back to them. We can take the hands that tremble into our own, and look together to the God that steadies them both.

Even though we suffer, we are not forsaken. God is with us, and because of Christ, we will get well soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

some of the best advice I have ever been given..

"When you have had a rough day with the kids... remember to look at them while they are sleeping."

I don't remember who said that to me or if I read it somewhere, but I found it good advice this week. Funny how the child who is making my teeth grind and my fists clench one minute can melt my heart the next!

Marcus, sometimes a sweet kid...

Just like when he was a baby...


As I tried to sweep the dining room, Eldon toddled cheerfully through the pile of filth, dragging his blanket behind him.

When he heard my frustrated sigh, he looked up at me as if to say,

"What? I wanted that half-of-a-chip! YOU obviously weren't going to eat it."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

wanna fight?

Never out of reasons to argue; the boys decided to take on the cheerful oldies on the radio today:
Radio: I don't know but I've been told, you keep on dancing you'll never grow old...
Seth snorts at this. "Mommy, that is really not true you know. You WILL grow old even if you do dance all the time."
(Did he think his mother was going to try this?)

Radio: That's one thing you'll never do... You'll never stop me loving you...
Marcus sticks his chest out, and declares, "I can too stop him."
I smile, asking, "Oh really, how?"
"I can TELL him to STOP IT." Marcus declares, lifting his chin and looking tough.
"What if he doesn't?"
"Then I'll MAKE HIM." (scowl, clenched fists.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chaos, chaos!

Eldon, and siblings: I wonder what would happen if I took stuff from this room and dragged it to that room, and took stuff from that room and dragged it to another room.... left my stuff on the floor, threw my stuff in the air, dumped my stuff out of boxes, danced with my stuff through the house...

This is my home! Chaos, chaos everywhere!

What to do with all this chaos? Is it containable? The way I see it, I have three options:

A. Fight it constantly, lose the battle, and lose my sanity
B. Give up the fight, and let the clutter consume my home, and also, my sanity
C. Fight it part-time, strategically, and imperfectly, and set aside time to ignore it for the sake of more important things.

I choose C.

I am ignoring it today. So please keep your shoes on, and pretend you do not notice the Rice Krispies on the floor.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

There must be a better way

The boys love to ride their little tykes bikes noisily in circles in the basement. Apparently their usual game of "Bash the Brother" was getting old, because today they invented a new twist. Seth took a jump rope and tied Marcus' bike to his. Then, he pedaled as fast as he could, Marcus with his feet of the pedals giggling behind him. He took a sharp turn around the corner and Marcus flew around the corner behind him. It is almost like he's tubing behind Seth's boat! Meanwhile, Eldon ran as fast as he could behind them both, yelling and laughing his head off.

There are times when I just pretend I don't see and let them have their fun... I go upstairs and make sure I have plenty of first aid supplies.

There must be a better way to parent boys, then just waiting for the next broken something or injured something.

I remember reading in a dog training manual that dogs have certain needs... They need to chew, they need to dig, they need to run sometimes. The book advised the owner instead of trying to eradicate these behaviors in your dog, provide him with acceptable outlets for these things.

Now, as an owner of boys that remind me of dogs, I ponder the acceptable outlet I might provide for their need to bash stuff.

Ah ha! I cheerfully gather the empty diaper boxes and bring them downstairs. As they yell, "Wow mom! that's awesome!" I build a tower and tell them to drive into it with their bikes. I head upstairs smiling, leaving them to yell and destroy in peace.

After a happy fifteen minutes of this, the fun devolved into Brother Bashing again, and they come upstairs with injuries. Sigh.

There's got to be a way to direct these boy energies!

Dear reader, if you have anything that needs to be broken or destroyed, I will lend you my boys to do the job!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eldon wonders what would happen if he...

Eldon is cheerfully following after his older brothers, performing daily "I-wonder-what-would-happen-if-I" science experiments.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I threw my plate on the floor?
Answer: Corner.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I threw myself on the floor in anger?
Answer: Corner.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I threw toys in anger?
Answer: Corner, but if done too often or at daddy, spanking.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I sneak up on Marcus from behind, then tackle him with screaming and pinching of his shoulders?
Answer: If mom doesn't see, a fantastic wrestling match! If she does, corner.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I surfed on the rocking chair?
Answer: I entertain the family. Sometimes this leads to falling and pain, but I am undaunted.

Eldon: They say only diamond can scratch glass, but I wonder what would happen if I tried to scratch daddy's IPAD?
Answer: It gets scratched. Don't bring it up. I think I owe him some money when I grow up.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I took stuff from this room and dragged it to that room, and took stuff from that room and dragged it to another room....
Answer: Siblings can't find stuff, mommy gets increasingly frazzled, everybody trips on stuff. Tee hee.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I ate snow?
Answer: I get a refreshing drink. Mommy says nothing. Big kids do it too.

Eldon: I wonder what would happen if I ate brown, melty, nasty playground snow?
Answer: I get a gritty drink, and a free piece of gum: snowball surprise! It is taken from me. Mommy gags.

I wonder why mommy seems to like naptime and bedtime so much?

serving the multitude

Solomon's words (1 Kings 3:7-9) resonated with me today, as I consider the enormity of the task of motherhood, how often I fail at it, and how utterly unequipped I am for it. (My modifications in italics)

And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant a mother ...although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. (It feels that way!) Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?

These dear children are Your people, Lord, and you have made me their mother though I do not have what they need. Because of the grace You have shown to me in Jesus, I am bold to ask for what I do not deserve: Let me borrow it all from you. Loan me your patience, energy, strength, compassion, wisdom and love, that your dear children may have what they need from me. In His name, Amen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

wagon time

Oh, the aftermath of vacation! The aftermath of traveling, the wreckage that is my house after these two crazy weeks! There was a Christmas hurricane, and it blew my routines and systems away, filled my kids with junk food, and trashed my house!

I think these thoughts, sitting on the couch with coffee and no makeup, being climbed on by hyper children with no boundaries, and I sigh at the piles of Christmas stuff that needs to be incorporated into my system-less, routine-less house.

That's it. After all this stuff gets taken care of, we are ALL going back on the wagon!

There they are in my closet, those wonderful wagons that keep things running more smoothly. For the kids I get out the obey-your-mama wagon, the be-kind-to-your-siblings wagon, the remember-your-manners wagon, and the pick-up-your-stuff-or-else wagon.

For myself there is the flywagon, the exercise wagon, the be-consistent-with-the-kids wagon, the read-the-Bible-and-pray wagon, and the eat-healthy-foods wagon. But I can't seem to find that last one.. I know I used it last year... where IS that dumb thing?

Oh that's right, I covered it with cheese and I ate it.

Lord, have mercy on your weak children! As you have blessed us once again with another year, bless us also with wisdom in how we live it, and strength to do what we know we ought. Make us stronger in the most important things: love of You, love of our neighbor. And thank you that Your faithfulness to us is unchanging; Your resolve to show us your mercy, unwavering. May Your faithfulness and love that you show us in Jesus guard us throughout this year. Amen.