Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Great Puzzler

Isaiah has proved himself and the most distinguished puzzler of the household lately. His patience and determination far surpass that of his brothers at his age (and even now) and today, as he was putting this puzzle together beside me, he was also a great teacher.

"Mommy, see how dis piece has a fwat side right heew? Dat means it goes on da siiiiide."

-Oh really?

"Yeah. And see dis one has Spiderman's foot on it... see mommy... right heeew?"

-Yup, I see it.

"Dat means we haf to wook for da west of Spiderman....hmmmm....oh! Heew i-dizzzz. I did it! I did it! Wook Mommy! I did it!"

We celebrate together; he dumps the puzzle and starts over.

Meanwhile, I have to take the marbles away from Elijah because he keeps putting whole handfuls in his mouth (they give him 'fire power' apparently), and Micah has pulled every book out of the living room bookshelf to use on his tent. Ahhh, it's a good day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I am a word lover. Not just THE Word, but words in general. And, I love discovering the meanings of words from other languages because to me, a new word that is full of meaning to me unlocks a whole new set of connections in my brain.

Example. Last Sunday's sermon was about Worship, and the point was that worship is not only what we do when we sing on Sunday morning. Proskuneo is the Greek word for worship. I've heard sermons before about worship being something we do all the time and not just in singing, but for me, giving it a new name made the teaching penetrate my being.

One particular definition given stuck with me- proskuneo (literally, to kiss toward) means to empty out all of me and open up to all of Him. So every morning this thought has been with me- emptying and opening- my spiritual act of worship, and it has taken some effort to get to these thoughts. Something like... "what was it I am trying to meditate on this week? Oh yeah, worship, .... but not just with music... like the kind that is all day long,... with everything I breathing... oh yeah, breathing out the self nature of me and breathing in a Christ-like nature.... Right, so I need to try that now... um God, ... take the pride of me and replace it with you today, OK? all day.... help me remember that God, thanks. Amen."

This morning, something amazing happened. When the alarm clock went off (and I turned it off), before my head even left the pillow, my first thought was, "proskuneo." Just that one word. And because that word has developed such meaning for me, I immediately was drawn to a moment of emptying and opening to whatever God would have for me today. Several times, throughout the day, just that word resonating in my head, "proskuneo" conjured images of lying prostrate before my Lord, of kissing His feet, of confessing my sins to him, of thanking him for mercy, "proskuneo." It means all of this to me. It is my prayer in the empty moments between here and there. It reminds me of my place in my relationship with God. It evokes wonder, awe and gratitude.


It just doesn't convey the same messages to me right now.

Now, don't go and start using my word though... If proskuneo starts showing up in every book, song and CD title, I may have to resort to Arabic or something crazy like that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Shabbat- Part Deux

So, a while back (longer than I expected) I wrote about some ideas related to celebrating Sabbath as a family. Lots of other people have already written in depth about the theology related to Sabbath, and I'm certainly no expert where that is concerned. JD has a great book chapter here if your interested in some good, easy reading on the subject. It was good reading, and now I'm interested in what this looks like in our own family. Where does the rubber meet the road for us?

Eric and I had a good chance to talk about what this looks like for our family on the way home last night, and here's what we came up with.

First, for me personally, Sabbath needs to be about abandoning the need to accomplish. I like to get things done and I have a tendency to get pretty proud of myself for all of the things that I have accomplished all on my own. So what does that mean? Does that mean I have to sit around all day Sunday and do nothing in order to honor my Sabbath? Some of the times when I've connected and communed with God most closely have been in the midst of activity- walking, biking, sewing, scrapbooking, gardening, making bread etc. I needed a question or two to ask myself, concerning what I do on God's day.
- Would I be willing to abandon this activity mid-stream without completing it?
- Does it either provide opportunity to build relationship with God or with people?
These 2 questions should guide my activity.

Second, what will committing to honoring Sabbath mean to our family? Aside from the usual taking time to worship in a community, it should mean a break from daily routine. It is all too tempting to abandon routine during the week because of a particularly stressful day or whatever. I'll frequently overlook boys' chores that don't get done and do it myself. So we really end up with very little routine at all, and when we all of a sudden do try to do the "routine" the boys have forgotten what it is. How will Sabbath ever seem like the break from routine that it's supposed to if we avoid real routine all week?

Even though the boys won't be able to put it into words for a while, the rhythm of our Sundays should feel different and different in a positive sense. So what will we be doing differently?
- Establish AM and PM routines for all of us that are reasonable and consistent and include chores for all 3 boys every day.
- It will start with Saturday night bath time and family prayer time.
- We'll wake up with more than adequate time to get ready for church to avoid the hurry-up-and-get-ready mantra that happens every Sunday morning.
- We'll eat out for breakfast. This will give the boys something to look forward to while getting ready, and it lets us all enjoy a meal together where no one is working. We won't eat out for breakfast on any other day of the week.
- We'll go to church together, sometimes eat lunch with friends or sometimes not, but the overall approach to the day is relaxed and easy, not rushed.
- This is the one day of the week where the boys will not hear us respond, "No, I can't play ____ with you until I'm finished with _____." If Eric and I have nothing that we really need to accomplish on our Sabbath, then we are available for them- to play hide and seek, do puzzles, color, build with blocks, and whatever else. Not because we're catering to their every whim but because they should notice a difference in the way our family approaches life on this one whole day every week.

So, we'll start with that and see how it goes.
How does your family honor the Sabbath?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Bus

Along with preschool open house, parents and kids were given the opportunity to take a short bus ride all together. The bus driver gave all kinds of information while he drove, most of it intended more for parents as motorists than for our the kids. Things like, "women are the most dangerous drivers because they try to drive, put on make-up and talk on the phone at the same time. You laugh, but I see it every morning." He was entertaining and informative, and Micah seems ready and confident for his first school bus ride next week.
Here is Micah with his teacher, Mrs. Isaacs. She did a home visit today, so we got to know her a little better. I think Micah will really like her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First Day Report

Some numbers:
300ish- # of cars waiting to drop kids off this morning
10 - # of minutes we waited in line to drop Elijah off
0- # of tears shed by Elijah
several- # of tears shed by Mommy
2,000- # of tears shed by Micah (he wanted to go too, and next week is way too far away apparently)
4- # of days of daycare left for Micah. He and I are both counting down in excitement.

Quote of the day:
Me: How was your first day?
Elijah: It was awesome!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's the 1st day of the 1st grade...

Elijah's first day is tomorrow morning. We're ready. Open house was great. His teacher's name is Ms. Lowe and she is young, enthusiastic and friendly. He found all of the important classroom essentials- clock, pencil sharpener, trash cans, coat cubby and of course, his desk. He already knows several of the kids in his class from Kindergarten or day care, and that really helped him get excited. The picture was taken in his classroom, at his desk. He's looking WAY too grown up!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Random Stuff

Since the last time I posted-

* All 5 of us had the stomach flu this week- Micah a week ago Saturday, Eric Monday afternoon, Isaiah and Elijah Monday evening and finally me Tuesday morning. It took a few days for us all to feel normal again, but we're good now.

* Spouse and Family had a luau for new and returning families Monday night. It was our first event of the year and went really well.

* Eric's birthday was Friday and we had a party for him and another friend who's birthday was Wednesday.

* We are LOVING the Olympics!

* Cassie's mom was here this week and made dinner for all of us one night- YUM!

* We got lots of calls on the rental house and we're headed to IN next weekend to hopefully rent it out to new folks.

* Elijah is ready to head to school on Wednesday, but he is- in his own words, "A little nervous."

* Micah's teacher comes for the home visit Thursday.

I'd love to post about church this morning, but I'm not sure how to put it into words yet. Eric and I have both been moved by services lately... now sure how to describe the movement, but it is good- very good.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Words have been on my mind a lot this week. Pastor Jon is preaching from James chapter 3, I'm reading lots of interesting stuff right now, and I hear about a billion words a day from the boys. And my thoughts tonight stemmed from this last point.

Elijah in particular loves to talk... to anyone, but especially to Eric and I and since I'm home more, I am usually on the receiving end of his constant chatter. I'll be honest, it's cute at first, but by about 4pm every day, it gets REALLY OLD. I think it would be different if we were actually having a conversation, but we're really not. He talks and I listen and regardless of how I respond, his chatter remains the same. He is usually in some pretend world making up characters and a story about someone getting rescued or a huge battle or what powers the hero has or what the villain's name will be. He insists on my response and usually tells me what to say and when to say it. This has been going on for years- literally. The stories have changed over time, but the basic concept of pretend play with mommy as a character is still the main idea.

So tonight, we're in the van on the way to evening church- just Elijah and I and he starts. It is a story about police officers and robbers and catching the bad guys. We're about 3 minutes out of town when the story suddenly ends and he says something like, "You know, if a robber tried to steal from me, I'd just tie him up so he couldn't get me."

I said, "You know what Jesus said about people who steal from you?"
"He said that if someone takes your coat, you should give him your shirt too."
"What if he already has 167 coats and 485 shirts?"
"You should still be willing to give him yours. That's showing him love."
"So would Jesus make me give away my plane, cause I really like my new plane."
"Jesus might want you to be willing to give it away. He wants to know that He's still more important to you than that plane."
"I want to have my plane and Jesus."
"Don't we all buddy. But we can always know that Jesus knows what's best for us and he loves us, so even if he does ask us to give up something we love, we know that he has an amazing purpose for that, even if we never see it. He wants us to trust. That's a big lesson for a 6 year old huh."
"Hey, can we talk about something else?"
And we were back to talking about airplanes for the rest of the ride.

Later, after church, I realized that if I'm not long-suffering and patient during all of the random talk about his own thoughts, I'll miss or discourage the really important talks like this one. What if I had told him last week, "Hey, can we just have a quiet car ride to church with no talking, just thinking?" (and trust me the thought has crossed my mind) would I have missed our talk today. Would he have started to speak and then stuffed it down assuming it wouldn't matter to me? I don't want to risk missing these talks.

So, I'll try to remember this little conversation snippet this week when he's been rambling on about Pokemon for an hour and my mind is numb. There is a bigger purpose at work.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Our digital camera has stopped working. When the lens cover opens, the screen is black and you can't take any pictures. When the cover is closed, the screen comes on and you can look at previously taken pictures, but you can't take new pictures because- the lens cover is closed! It's like the camera is confused or something- I'm open... I'm closed... I'm off, ... no I'm on... I don't know!

Anyway, my mind is spinning this week.

The over-riding thought is I'm-not-ready, I'm-not-ready, I'm-not-ready and capturing any one thought for more than a fleeting moment has been impossible.

Not ready for what you ask?

We've gotten really comfortable in our little summer routine. I take the boys to day care every morning for a few hours while I go in to work, I pick them up at noon, we head home for lunch and play time, reading, field trips etc. in the afternoons, they watch TV for a bit while I make dinner, Eric gets home, we eat together, we play for a little while, they take baths and go to bed. Eric and I have evenings together, and life is good.

What will change?
* Elijah starts 1st grade, full-day school August 13th. My first child to go to elementary school- emotionally stressful for mom. Throw in an open house, meet the teacher, arranging after school care, to bus-ride or not to bus-ride, and a birthday party and you've got practical kinds of stress too.
* Micah starts 1/2 day 4 days a week preschool, but not the same week as Elijah. That would make life too easy. He goes August 20th, stays home the 21st and then goes every day after the 22nd. His first school experience- again, emotionally stressful for mommy and him (a little), teacher home visit, open house at school for him (different school from Elijah's so different dates and times) and arranging after school care for him 4 days a week.
* Isaiah will be switching from morning day care to afternoons. Since Micah will be in school in the afternoons, it makes sense for these to be my working hours, thus Isaiah needs some childcare in the afternoons. His teacher, Ms Amy, who he loves, adores, worships, will not be his teacher after Friday as she is going on maternity leave, so even what should be an easy transition for him is not going to be.
* Eric goes back to class at the end of the month. Ugh! This means much less time chatting with my sweetie on a nightly basis. I'll have to make notes and reserve conversation for weekends. :)
* My job gets much more hectic throughout all of this as school start dates loom nearer.
* I feel like I barely stay on top of house work as it is, and life is about to get busier.
* AND, we're headed up to Indiana the weekend of the 16th to do something with our rental house and soon-to-be former renters. That might actually be a welcome break though as we'll be at nana and papa's for a few days, but there's always the financial stress of time between renters.

OK, somehow I thought that writing it all out would make me feel less stressed. Sometimes when I see a list of things that are bugging me, it doesn't bug me quite so much anymore.



Nope.... didn't work this time. Still tense. In fact, I thought of a new one.

* How am I going to remember teacher and friend names for two kids in different schools?

Maybe I need to sleep on it. :) ahhhh sleep. no matter how stressed I get, I can always sleep. It's my gift.

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.