12-05-18 Forever

“I’m scared to go to heaven forever,” Big E earnestly said to me as we sat at our classroom table this morning. “Forever.” He turned the word over on his tongue several times before continuing. “It’s never going to end. That scares me.”

I get it, kid.

In so many ways, Big E is me. I was that child staring at eternity, terrified of its neverending-ness. It seemed so vast and expansive, and I seemed so small and helpless in its shadow. Forever was scary. Forever doesn’t end.

If I’m honest, sometimes I’m that adult too. The past few months have forced me to wrestle with my own mortality, to meet it on its own turf, and acknowledge that life is entirely too fleeting and something bigger awaits each of us.

Then I look past the time and I see the person. I see God turn his back on his son hanging on the cross. I see Jesus bearing the full brunt of the wrath of God. I shudder at the thought of Christ feeling complete and utter separation from God the Father, their connection blemished, an eternity of perfect union smudged by my sin in order for me to have eternal life and have it completely. And then I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving, for I am surely unworthy, and yet I long for my inheritance. Eternity with Jesus will be a beautiful thing indeed.

I turned my attention to Big E. “Think about all the things you love about being alive,” I said to him. “What are those things?”

“My family. My friends. Playing,” he responded.

“Think about all the best parts about life. Eternity in heaven will be like that. Only the good parts. None of the bad parts!”

And then we talked about heaven and about Jesus and how eternity with Him is far, far better than eternity without him.

12-04-18 The Performance

The most recent book we have been reading together is called Tolliver’s Secret. The story takes place during the American revolution. In it, a young girl is given the task of delivering a loaf of bread with a message baked inside to a courier that will pass it along to George Washington. She dresses as a boy in order to slip though enemy lines unnoticed, and naturally every part of her journey is met with difficulty.

We finished the book last night before bedtime, however hours before then the kids had called me down to the basement to see their performance of the book. Granted they didn’t know how it was going to end, but they managed all the major plot points and even ended their play with the exact same scene that ended the book.

I enjoyed watching their energy and excitement as they put on their play. They had clearly rehearsed. They even worked Baby E into their performance, bless them.

It was a wonderful reminder that all our family book time is paying off. The kids beg for books now and will spend literally hours listening.

12-03-18 Things you should never do…

You should never take your four year old out in public when his time would be better spent napping. If you do, you may experience a few… ahem… unfortunate situations…

Like when you are in a craft store and said four year old plops himself into a pile of Christmas glitter on the floor near the check out lane and wallows around in it like a pig…

You should probably also avoid the grocery store, when said tired four year old decides to help by opening the egg refrigerator, helps himself to a dozen eggs, and drops then on the floor as he hands them to you.

You might also want to keep an eye on him in the refrigerated meat department so he doesn’t leave little fingerprints in every single package of ground beef.

In fact, it’s probably just safer to stay home when you have a sleepy four year old. He may not nap, but at least he won’t embarrass you…

Photo intentionally blurry to protect four year old’s identity. 😏

12-02-18 Lights

Christmas lights are one of my favorite things about winter. I was excited to see a huge display being assembled on the way to the shop weeks before Thanksgiving.

I did some research and learned that it was an elaborate art display that would be running for over a month. Thinking the kids would love it, I looked into the pricing for it and realized it was way out of our budget. Even so, I wanted them to see it. This evening, on our way home we took a back road around it so the kids could get a closer view of it. We weren’t disappointment! It was simply wonderful!

11-30-18 Tomorrow

Eleven years ago tonight I was tired and a little bit terrified. We had had our rehearsal dinner. My sister, my friend, and I were printing out the last of the programs and putting finishing touches on last minute details. We needed to be up early the next morning to get our hair done and get to the church to get dressed. I was getting married!!

Eleven years later, with the wisdom of hindsight, I’d tell myself to stop worrying, enjoy your day, and get ready for an amazing, crazy, challenging and unexpected life with your best friend.

Sure he might be banished to the couch right now because of his cold, but I love this guy to the moon and back!

So happy early anniversary to my favorite guy in the world. May your couch sleeping be peaceful and may my snoring not wake you up!

11-29-18 The Cure For Crankiness

Lately I’ve been cranky. I think most of it comes down to the fact that I haven’t gotten much sleep the past week or so. One night the kids had me up throughout the night. Another evening there was a massive windstorm that shook our room and howled past the windows. Another night my mind wouldn’t shut down. As the restless nights have piled on top of each other, my patience level has worn thin. I’ve noticed myself snapping at the kids and being short tempered. I hate that.

This evening the kids wanted to play with me. My gut reaction was to say no, on the basis of my foul mood, but I stopped myself and said yes. I grabbed the dry erase markers and we headed for the board.

Together we sat on the ground and I taught them a few childhood games. They caught on quickly and we really enjoyed our time together.

This evening I got a call from a good friend and we talked for hours (something I hardly ever do!) And it was such a refreshing conversation. What I love so much about this friend is her willingness to tell me things in love and truth. She helps me talk through situations and circumstances. She gives me strong biblical insight and wisdom. When I talk to her I feel refreshed and I hope she feels the same. It’s a blessing to have a friendship like that and I thank God for bringing her into my life years ago! ♥️♥️

I have no idea what this game is called, but we used to play it in school all the time when we were kids.

Playing Pictionary… Clearly this is Starbucks. I even drew a cake pop. 🤤

C drew a city with some pretty impressive forced perspective.

11-28-18 Finally Caught Up!

After weeks of feeling like we are ‘behind’ in school, we have finally caught up. Considering everything we’ve been through, we are pretty proud of it. Our curriculum is four days a week, but we have been putting in a little overtime on it and we are finally where we want to be. I’m so grateful for the flexibility of homeschooling and the opportunity we have for school to work seamlessly with our lifestyle.

One of the things we have worked into our schooltime is excessive reading. Since we read our curriculum provided book in one day instead of two and a half weeks, we have been filling the other days with additional books. Yesterday we read “A Lion to Guard Us.” It was 115 pages and the kids were the ones that insisted we keep reading. My voice hurts today, but I loved experiencing their enthusiasm for the story.

By reading the extra stories, the kids are gleaning more about the history we are studying, and hopefully getting a more well rounded education.

11-27-18 The Tooth

A few weeks ago, Big E came rushing up to me to tell me that one of his teeth was loose. Upon closer examination it was confirmed. Sure enough, one of his bottom teeth was wiggly.

One morning last week he had a perplexed look on his face. “Mommy? Didn’t I lose my tooth yesterday? I don’t understand. It’s still there.”

“Maybe you had a dream you lost your tooth.” I replied.

“Yes! I had a dream. I lost my tooth and I showed it to you and you put it in a bag on the counter.”

Since that morning I’ve noticed him playing with his teeth more.

This afternoon he came running into the classroom where I was working. “I lost my tooth!!!” I turned to see him sporting a huge, gapped grin with a streak of blood along his cheek. In his hand was a small tooth. “It only stung a little. I didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. I pushed it over too far and it popped.” The words jumbled out in his excitement.

A few minutes later he let me put it in a baggie and label it. This evening he put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy to find. (My kids have never believed in the tooth fairy, but I always make a charade of it when they lose a tooth.) I’ve already snuck in and swapped out his tooth for a dollar. The bag is resting now in the drawer beside my bed.

When did my Handsome Pants get so big? How did that happen so quickly? I already miss his perfect baby smile, but I’m happy for him and his exciting new milestone!

11-26-18 The Prayer

Today I had a difficult day with my children. It was one of those days when I couldn’t wait for Tim to walk in the door and I could disappear with a book and a few moments of silence. So imagine my disappointment, as I was sprawled on my bed, book open, mid sentence, when Baby E crawled up next to me and plopped himself down on my pillow. Didn’t he know I just wanted to be alone!

He looked at my book. “Let’s read when Jesus died on the cross.”

“Um… This isn’t the Bible, buddy. This is a different book.” I replied, hoping the conversation would end there, but I wasn’t about to get off that easy.

“Let’s pretend it’s the Bible. Let’s read about Jesus died on the cross.” He pressed his finger on the page and started moving it slowly down the lines. “And Jesus died on the cross. And we love him. And we love him. And… We… Love… Him.”

He paused and looked at me, his big eyes boring conviction right into me. I spent most of my day being annoyed at this child, and in mere seconds it melted away.

“Let’s pray!” He continued and folded his hands in front of him. “Dear God, thank you for this day. Please help Daddy feel all better. Please help GP get stronger. Help him get stronger like Daddy. Help Naona’s body get fixed. The End!”

I sat there speechless. Baby E has a standard mealtime prayer that he will beg to say (and hurry through). It’s always the same, and recited in haste so he can begin to eat. I’ve never heard him volunteer a prayer away from the table, and certainty not one that’s in his own words, asking for help for people he loves.

It reminded me that all of our teaching and trying isn’t in vain. We struggle each day to be imitators of Christ, and we fail so often, and yet God is faithful to grow the seeds we are planting.

My kids don’t need perfect parents. They need broken parents that recognize their weaknesses, acknowledge their failures for what they are, ask for forgiveness when they need to, and repent of their sins. They need parents that are open and honest about their spiritual struggles and don’t try to hide behind a disingenuous faith. They need to see parents that not just read from their Bibles, but live by them and teach by them and love by them. God uses my imperfections and shortcomings to teach my children grace and reconciliation. What an awesome privilege that is.

So I’ll continue teaching as I can. I’ll pray without ceasing and I’ll remember they are watching and learning every day what a Christian life looks like. I’ll trust my Father in heaven to use even my bad days for His glory in my children’s lives. ♥️♥️

Today my parents have been married for 41 years, so Happy Anniversary to two of my favorite people in the whole world!! I know these past few months have been hard, but they’ve been there for each other and supported and loved each other. No life is perfect and no marriage is easy, but they’ve demonstrated and taught me so much, and I am eternally grateful! Love you both!