Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Encouragement

From "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

When you're in school (seminary or middle school) there is a crushing load filled with slow steps leading up to Christmas. So these last two lines, "Oh rest beside the weary road/ And hear the angels sing" are my song of hope today.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

WHAT IF # 457

What if I was stuck inside a top forever?

What if I had 8 arms?

Both said by Isaiah tonight.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Milestones


Some people run a marathon.
Others lose 100 pounds.
Children learn to walk or crawl.
I throw away a 7 year old baby monitor.
I woke up this morning to a strange breathing in the room. After determining that it wasn't Eric, I noticed a small lump on the couch and yes, it was the source of the raspy breathing. Isaiah must have gotten up sometime in the night, come into our room, and snuggled onto our couch. He even made himself a pillow out of a blanket and covered up with another one. I had no idea.
It was an obvious sign that he has grown. I'm sure he'll still yell for his mommy another time or two in his life, but basically it occurred to me that he now knows how to get what he needs without much help from me. And when he needs help he'll ask, but for the most part, he's pretty independent. The youngest. The baby.
And the monitor has been struggling for a while now, buzzing, zapping, barely picking up sounds anymore, yet every time I've tried to cease its use, I couldn't sleep well.
But tonight, I believe its gone for good.
Milestone.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Thanksgiving in IN

The boys with their great-grandma! She's such an amazing lady! We love you Grandma!

Christmas in Wilmore






Isaiah preparing to blow out his candle. He held this pose for a good 2 minutes. Eric thought he was having a seizure. :)

We sat in the balcony, AKA kids' area. Pretty sure kids outnumbered adults up there, but everyone was great. Advent service was tonight, and the next pictures are from Saturday night at the annual Christmas event downtown in Wilmore.
Too Many Drummers, our band friends, totally rocked it at Solomon's. Love those guys!
On our way back to the van after a very short visit to Main St. for Old Fashioned Christmas this year. Either we're getting softer, or it was colder than usual.

Halloween Costumes



(I'm catching up since I just now downloaded pictures.) Isaiah can be such an enigma. I'm still not sure about that kid- just who he will be or how to best to handle him. But I know one thing for sure. He LOVES to be in control. I know all toddler/preschoolers like to control whatever aspects of their environment that they can, but Isaiah takes this game to a whole new level. Halloween was a perfect example. He had wanted a wizard costume for weeks. We picked out fabric together, made it together, hot-glued beads on the cape together, and he even wore it around the house all day a few times. Then, the big day comes around and all of a sudden he decides he no longer wants the wizard costume. He has no idea what he wants. It wasn't a battle worth fighting, so I just let it go, let him wear whatever he wanted and painted his face for him at his request. I still have no idea what happened, and no one really asked about his interesting "costume". Oh well.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Coming Home

I love coming home to my family these days. There is a song in my heart the whole way. I love it that Micah helps me cook or set the table. I love it that Isaiah usually has his shirt off- man that kid loves his bare chest. I love it that Elijah is exercising his creativity- literally monkeying around. I just have to stop, take a breath and freeze frames every now and then, and tonight was one of those nights. We played Scene It Disney after dinner, together, all five of us. Everyone's personality contributed uniquely and beautifully. Elijah found that he was especially good at the game and was in heaven. Micah showed more maturity than I've ever seen from him when he didn't win every turn, and Isaiah was happy to be included even though he didn't know the answers to hardly any of the questions. I'd whisper in his ear and he'd happily contribute.

Bedtime was quick and easy and I'm looking forward to our day tomorrow. These are the kinds of days that I want to slow down and live in for years instead of hours.

Wilmore Old fashioned Christmas, Basketball for Micah and a Too Many Drummers concert tomorrow. Maybe some decorating in there too. Can't wait!

Blurb

We turned our blog from the beginning until July 2009 into a book through www.blurb.com software. It turned out beautifully. If you have a family blog, I highly recommend it. It takes a lot of time to reformat the posts, but the finished product looks great. Ours is a 240 page softcover, full color book and the total cost was about $40. The best scrapbooking I've ever done. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Song for Today

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

[Chorus:]
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

I was drawn to confess my lack of faith this morning during the worship service. I have not been seeing my world through faith filled eyes. I confessed my faithless worry to my Father and He filled my heart with peace and the comfort that His love is better and more sure than anything I can concoct or scheme. He spoke to me through the image of me falling on my knees before Him in humility and Him bringing me in and up toward Him in love. How could I doubt a God who has always taken care of me so well. Thank you Lord for your presence and message today. On this Thanksgiving weekend, it is You I am most thankful for.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blogging Break

Eric reminded me tonight that it's been a long time since I've blogged. Well, you know the old, "when you don't have anything good to say..."
Yeah, that's been me lately.
It's not that life isn't great. It really is. We are so blessed. Healthy kids. Amazing kids. Jobs that provide what we need. Loving family and friends. A beautiful thriving marriage and a peaceful home. Meaningful ministry experiences etc. So why the blogging drought?

Usually, when I write, it has to be about what is occupying my head, heart and hands at the core. When I try to write about the periphery of my being, it ends up sounding fake and contrived- write, read, press delete, go to bed.
Such has been the routine for the past month.
So what is at the core these days? Just my own impatience. That's all. Its God working on me during our early morning jogs together. It sounds something like this, plodding along in the chilly, fall darkness.

"Less of me God, more of You. Less of me God, more of You. Teach me to love God, let them see You. Less of me God, more of You." Over and over and over. I've tried other words, and they don't seem right.
The rhythm of my feet, my breath, these thoughts, my heart, the fading stars, the growing dawn, it all seems to fit.

Then throughout my day... when I've tried to give the same set of 5 minute directions to a group of 30, 13 year olds 5 times in a row and they can't seem to close their mouths long enough to listen to one simple set of directions, when the multitude of their voices drowns out any hope of us getting through the carefully planned and prepared lesson, when the 15th person asks me 'what page?' and it's written on the board behind me. "Less of me God, more of You."

When yet another teeny girl looks at me with her naive brown eyes and snaps, "I'm not doin this. Its dumb" and she's the 4th one that day... "Less of me God, more of You."

When a gangsta-wanna-be who had been doing so well suddenly stops coming to school then returns and has as much interest in school work as I have in earthworms and I just want to cry for him... "Less of me God, more of You."

That's it. For a whole month, that's all I've had to say that wouldn't be pride, impatience, whining, groaning, or fake.
Prayers are always appreciated. :)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Adventures of a Stay-at-Home Dad

I wanted to post some pictures I have captured in my time staying at home with the boys the last couple of months. The boys are getting big and do and say SO many funny things. It always keeps life interesting and I can't imagine loving three boys any more than I love my boys!

Here is Isaiah's costume before he insisted on being the "White Shadow." You can't really see the tears beginning to smear his face paint but he is DEFINITELY NOT happy.

If you look carefully you can see that Elijah is laying on the floor with the phone resting on his ear. He must have gotten tired of holding it while he was talking to his Nana. I didn't think this long term talking innovation happened until adolescence. He must be advanced.

But this is where I found him talking on the phone with it resting on his ear. He is laying under Micah's bed.

Would you ever think that THIS homework page would be the incentive? These are the pages we have to save until last for Micah because these are the pages he wants to do. Who is this child!?

This is Micah suffering through the pages he has to color and paste.

The boys spend most of their free time jumping on the trampoline and this time of year the static electricity is hair-raising. We have had a great summer, they are growing up and seeming so old this fall, and the I'm sure the winter has a lot of fun in store!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Micah Sings Gospel ABCs

video
Love love love. Lotsa love in the Crisp house these days. We're in a good groove. Quality time with each little boy daily, opportunity for the occasional date, reading nightly, homework after dinner, great conversations, and reasonable levels of stress for both Mommy and Daddy.

I love it when Micah sings because he is so intense. He wants to get it all just right!
In other news, Elijah's soccer team is about to play their championship game next weekend. They are undefeated. I haven't posted much about it because he has only chosen to play a handful of times. He actually had one really good game, but he hasn't played again since (by his choice, not the coach's). He's a tough cookie to figure out- he wants to be there but doesn't want to play. You gotta love him.

Its report card season and everyone is doing well in school. Micah's strengths seem to be just about everything except for gym. Elijah's strengths are definitely in math and problem solving. Isaiah's strengths are everything except for the occasional potty accident. Hopefully that'll clear up before junior high. We love the young men that these boys are becoming. Micah broke down in tears when I jokingly pretended to cry recently, Elijah thanked me for forgiving him after he disobeyed recently, and Isaiah sits on my lap and chats about his day for as long as I'll have him. Home life is good... and we want to see the rest of our families soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Education Rant

Today in a meeting at school with all of the 8th grade teachers and our fearless leaders, we were asked to watch a 10 minute clip of General McChrystal being interviewed by Dan Rather. The general was expressing that the war in Afghanistan was progressing, but just much too slowly. At every post he visits, he hears, "We're making progress," but when he delves into, "What progress," it is a very small step toward the end goals. There were numerous shots of McChrystal pep talking his men on the dangers of becoming complacent with small gains. "We must see more progress or we'll be here a hundred years."

What does this have to do with education? Our superintendent of schools, Stu, knows what he's doing. He has transformed under-performing schools into top-achieving schools in record time. The video was his way of pep-talking us I suppose. I think we were supposed to walk away with a renewed sense of purpose, with energy and determination to "wage war on the achievement gap." (Stu's words) And for some teachers in the room, maybe it worked.

But for me, I'm left dissatisfied and aching in the pit of my stomach. After the video, we were given color printouts listing students we are to target. This is our battle plan. We're not to stop teaching everyone else, but we are to hone in on this group of students, carefully grouped for us, color coded and graphed. It makes sense right? If your troops are overwhelmed and making small amounts of progress, you zero in on key areas where you need to gain control; get the job done there, and then spread out. I get it. Maybe I'm just not wired for this kind of thing because here's all I can think about.

I have 18 kids on my 'target' list. They aren't the 18 lowest performing kids or the 18 kids who have the poorest reading scores. They are students who are just a few points away from making it to the magic number on the state test and their subgroup information couldn't be clearer.

It is suggested that our time would be best spent on the kids who fit more than one and preferably more than two subgroup populations. For example, a student who is Hispanic, receives special education services and is on free and reduced lunch should receive more of my focus than another student of the same reading level who is white, has no identified disability and is not on free and reduced lunch.

Of course, no administrator would ever admit that their intention is to provide better educational opportunities to some kids based on their belonging to a subgroup population- but the message is none-the-less clear. 1) We're expected to somehow pull aside low performing students into small groups for specialized instruction that meets their needs while maintaining high levels of instruction overall. 2) There are too many needy students to be effective with all of them all at once. Ergo- maximize your efforts on the students that "count" in closing the achievement gap. And with Stu's track record of success, this is probably the best way. I'm just not made for this.

It's not that I don't enjoy the low performing kids. I love them. And I love the subgroup kids and the gifted kids and the creative thinkers and the linear thinkers. I want to teach them all, and I can't. That's what makes me crazy. If I'm focused on the subgroup kids, my lesson planning for the large group suffers, and my lessons are good but not great. And if I'm planning great lessons for everyone (large group and subgroup), my grading suffers and students aren't getting timely feedback on their work. And let's say by some miracle that I get caught up on grading, and my lesson planning is still great, then I'm certainly not having time to spend with my own family or participate in any extra curricular activities myself. (Like writing this blog for example)

So to Stu, I appreciate him and I think he is a valiant and courageous leader, but I'd just like to remind him of one thing. General McChrystal's ultimate solution is 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan.

OK, rant over. More pictures and video of kids to come soon.

Isaiah sings

video
I've been trying to record video of each of the boys singing. So far I've been successful with Zay and Micah. Elijah's is hardest to catch because he doesn't like an audience to his vocal talent and it usually involves lots of crazy dancing. Isaiah learned this song at school and sings it around the house often. And I love the paradox of cute songs while playing with potentially dangerous fake plastic weapons. Zay and I are the only 2 people in this house looking forward to snowy weather. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lauren Winners

Amberly introduced me to her (Lauren Winners), and I've been doing some reading up on her. What an accomplished and thoughtful lady she seems to be. I found this list from a recent conference where she spoke, and I thought it was interesting.
---------------------------------------

Twenty-One Things the World Will Say About Christians

Lauren Winner shares her vision during the Christianity21 conference.

Friends, I'm up late in a hotel room writing what is too good not to share, just like any good live-blogger does. Day One of the Christianity21 conference in Minneapolis has been full of provocative ideas, revelations, and creativity. I spent the chilly afternoon sipping Peace Coffee (I stepped on an ICE patch in the parking lot, thank you very much), listening to 21-minute sessions, and limping under the weight of my computer bag as I interviewed greats like Phyllis Tickle and Mimi Haddad (more reasons to stay tuned to Kyria in the months ahead!). While I can't describe every way the Lord is working in one late-night blog post, I'd like to share Lauren Winner's 21 characteristics that - if we all are faithful now - the world will say about Christians by the end of this century. In other words, she hopes that the average person on the street in the year 2092 might think of these qualities when asked what Christians are like.

By the end of the 21st century, Christians will...
1. Be peacemakers.
2. Be expected to be the first ones to show up when disaster strikes.
3. Rest, because they know they're not the ones in charge.
4. While resting, reconfigure their work.
5. Live well in their bodies, whether by their diet, their sex lives, or the clothes they wear.
6. Practice boredom. They will not succumb to the "fetish of the new or the cult of novelty" when it comes to their faith.

7. Be truth-tellers, even if the answer is "I don't know." Even "authenticity" and confession can be a pose.
8. Practice silence in small and big ways, including in solitude.
9. Live in communities where everyone has access to power, and everyone can and will share it with others.
10. Live in communities where women can do anything.
11. Go to church with the people they live near.
12. Persist in making Kingdom demands. This means taking the same request to God, over and over!
13. When we think about God, we think about what needs to change next. This is largely informed by Tozer: what we think about when we think about God is the most important thing about ourselves.
14. Eat fewer strawberries. We will tread lightly on the planet and not risk the energy and harm to our planet just so we can have strawberries in January.
15. See ourselves as small characters in a larger story. As Winner's colleagues at Duke suggest, a "saint" can fail in a way that a "hero" cannot, which opens the doors to ideas like forgiveness and new possibilities of God.
16. Lament. ("We don't do this well. Jews do it a bit better.")
17. Throw good parties. Afterall, we're here to practice for the heavenly banquet!
18. Not gossip. This means talking about someone who is not present. Period.
19. Have unity without obliterating diversity, and that's because of the Trinity.
20. Understand something about grace (despite our 19 wonderful attributes above).
21. Describe reality and the spiritual sacraments in such a way as to "make mouths water and hearts hunger."

Many thanks to Lauren Winner for these prophetic words."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Micah

Micah laughs at the Cosby Show- hard. I love that about him since it is one of my most favoritest shows of all time!
This has nothing to do with the Cosby Show really. We were just watching it tonight, he was lying next to me on the bed and I heard him murmuring just under his breath- "Levit, itic, iticus. Lev... it... ic... us. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy." I said, "Do you know the books of the Bible?" He said, "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth." Then he smiled one of those huge accomplished smiles. :)
I'm so thankful for caring teachers at church.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Idiosyncrasies

We all have them right? Micah and Isaiah love to color, paint, draw etc. If Eric or I are sitting with them, they'll do it all day long. Elijah on the other hand, not so much. Lately though, he has been coloring large portions with us. He talks incessantly the entire time, making up stories about the character he is coloring, but he needs the fine motor skills practice, so I encourage the storytelling even though... let's just say they're NOT linear. So today, we were all painting or coloring at the table.
Elijah was coloring a storm trooper, chattering away about how you kill storm troopers, what they do, who they are, what color they can or can't be, where they live and a thousand other details. I've learned the fine art of, "oh yeah? Really. Huh," responses while thinking other thoughts. I'm glad I caught this nugget though.
Elijah: I really hate coloring the background.
Me: That's OK. Just color the parts you like.
Elijah: OK. I'm done with the storm trooper. I'm going to cut him out.
Me: OK.
Elijah gets the scissors and starts cutting around the storm trooper.
Elijah: Mommy, it feels good to cut him out because I feel like I'm setting him free from his background.

Ahh the places we could go with this.

Isaiah-isms

Kroger = Krogert
Black olives= Black Ol-O's

His brothers correct him, but he says he likes his way better.
I love that about him, but only when this stubborn confidence isn't enacted against me. Selfish but true.

Elijah on Love

I made a pillow for Elijah when he was a baby. It is blue checked fabric with white satin ribbon around the outside edges and a giant E sewed into the middle. Micah and Isaiah started asking a few months ago why they don't have pillows with an M and an I on them, so I told them I'd make them one.

Friday evening, Elijah has soccer practice so I took the other two to Hobby Lobby to pick out their own fabrics for their pillows. Micah chose McQueen and Isaiah chose race cars. On the way back to the field to pick up Elijah, Micah started the following conversation.
Micah: Mommy, won't Elijah feel bad that he didn't get new fabric for a pillow.
Me: I don't think so. Elijah already has his E pillow, and he loves it.
Micah: But our fabrics are cool and his is just all blue.
Me: I think Elijah will be happy for you, but it would probably be best not to brag to him OK?
Micah: OK, can I show it to him?
Me: Sure, just don't brag about it being better than his or anything like that.
----- Elijah gets in the van.
Micah: Look Elijah, we got fabric from Hobby Lobby to make our own M and I pillows like your E pillow.
Elijah: Cool. Can I see it?
Micah hands it back to him.
Elijah: I like it. What did you pick Isaiah?
Zay: Race cars
Micah: Elijah, sorry but we didn't get you anything.
Elijah: That's OK. I already have my E pillow that Mommy made me.
Micah: But don't you like our new fabrics better than your plain old E pillow?
Elijah: (pauses for a second) mmmmm.... No, not really. Cause my pillow is full of LOVE. Right Mommy?
Me: That's right Lij.
Elijah: Mommy made it special just for me, so I love it.

Micah was baffled, but it was the end of the conversation. :)

Pumpkin painting



2009 is the year of the white pumpkin apparently. We thought it looked ghostly... and fun to paint. I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. It is a colorful cornucopia!

Arts and Crafts





Can I just reiterate how much I love this little town? Wilmore arts and crafts festival was today. It is tiny- little booths line the 2 block main street, and there are no rides or parades- not even any elephant ears or funnel cakes. The food includes some hotdog and chili booths, lots of homemade goods like jellies, honey, bread and pickles. And there is the kettle corn tent. I love kettle corn. All three boys and I split a bag kettle corn and 2 IBC rootbeers- $5. We all rode our bicycles to the festival, Isaiah on the trail a bike behind mine.

A man from the art department at Asbury College was sculpting vases and bowls out of clay. The boys all sat on the ground and watched him, start to finish, enthralled. Isaiah kept asking, "How's he doing that?" No crowds. No pushing and shoving. Where else can you have this much fun for free?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Church Today






On a recommendation from a friend and mostly becuase of the fantastic weather this weekend, we decided to go camping one last time before rainy cool weather. We had family church next to the lake this morning. I won't lie. The kids were exhausted after staying awake in the tent way too late, Mommy and Daddy didn't sleep well which probably made our tempers a little shorter than usual, all three boys were struggling to listen and obey which meant that our intentions of having family church seemed out of the question.

Elijah had gotten in major trouble; I admittedly almost totally lost it with him. Micah was nearly asleep eating lunch, and Isaiah was crying over every little thing, but our window of opportunity surfaced during picnic lunch, and Eric seized the moment. He told the story of Jesus calling the fishermen to him (since we'd been fishing), teaching them to fish anew and giving them a new purpose in life, to be fishers of men. Eric asked the boys, "How can we become fishers of men?" The obvious answer came out first, "Tell people about Jesus." We said yes, but what else? Elijah said, "Show them." We asked, "How can we show people Jesus?" What followed was a great little conversation where each boy (maybe with the exception of a VERY tired Micah) thought of ways that they could SHOW the love of Jesus. We talked about showing love at school, at home, with our family and to others. When we talked about prayer requests, Elijah requested that we pray for a kid at his school that he says is a bully. I don't think it's any coincidence that after talking about showing love to people, the person Elijah requests to pray for is a bully. Kids get it! We didn't even talk about loving your enemies.

We all connected today- better than we have in weeks. Even though I was more angry at Elijah today for a few moments than I can remember being maybe ever... the reconciliation was sweet and because of it, our relationship is better. Before bed tonight, he hugged me tight. Really tight. It was a hug that said, "I know you were mad at me today. I'm sorry and I understand and I'm so glad that you forgive me and I'll do better." I hugged him back- tightly, and I know we are in a good place.

Anyway, Cave Run Lake is beautiful and the place we camped was great too.. secluded little campsites and helpful, kind staff members-highly recommend it. The place is called Zilpo Recreation Area in Daniel Boone National Forest.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Friends





Preheat the day to a perfect 78 degrees.
Combine 5 families for one evening
Add burgers, hashbrown casserole and fruit salad
Mix 7 happy children on a trampoline with
3 completely kissable babies.
Simmer in the sweet evening for 3 hours and add
the soft red rays of the setting sun.
Fold in layer upon layer of beautiful conversation late into the night,
Sprinkle stars on top and enjoy
the masterpiece
that is relationship.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Our Kenyan Friend





Father Paul had his last dinner with us Tuesday night. He brought some gifts from Kenya for all of us. His generosity and love for us has been a huge blessing. The skirt and beads I'm wearing were from him, Eric got a beaded belt and the boys all got keychains. Paul and his family are loving, generous people. We're glad to know him.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Beauty of Woman


My husband gave me a gift yesterday- a day of spiritual retreat. It is a practice we've wanted to instill regularly for a long time. We'll take turns, him one month, me the next. So on my day (I only took a morning this month), I went to the Arboretum and spent some time listening and reading. I learned what a sycamore tree looks like, that sassafrass trees have random mitten shaped leaves, and I watched flowers literally turn their budded heads to face the warm sun from under the shade of a tree.

I really didn't know what to expect from this day, so I decided to expect nothing. In the car on the way out, I simply prayed, "Jesus, I just want to hang out with you today. What do you want to do? No agendas. No burning questions for you to answer for me. Just me and you, chillin with the trees and shrubs." He seemed fine with that.

So we walked for a while, around the paths, my Savior and I. I listened. I held my thoughts captive and wondered what my friend, my Lord might want to make of our time together.

I read some CS Lewis and ran across this section on beauty that blew me away. I can't do it justice, but I'll quote one short part. He writes:
"To desire the desiring of her own beauty is the vanity of Lillith, but to desire the enjoying of her own beauty is the obedience of Eve, and to both, it is in the lover that the beloved tastes her own delightfulness." Almost immediately an image of a calm, cool pool of water, completely still, surrounded by trees, came to mind along with the message, "This is you." This is the beauty that is me. It is Him in me- this calm stillness. This is His purpose for me. I am at my best when I am bringing peace. All of the hopes and dreams and joys of my life are connected to this still water in some way. I love to bring peace-
Peace to a college dorm full of girls struggling to find themselves
Peace to a Kenyan man far from home in the form of a meal
Peace to an insecure middle school child
Peace to a tired new mom or dad
Peace to my children after a long day at school
Peace to a missionary in Haiti who runs marathons to feed children
Peace to two little orphaned girls someday
Peace to friends and family who want a place to call home for a while
Peace to a Korean mom who wants to learn English
Peace to a new neighbor or to complete strangers.
I'm not flashy or wild. I'm not the surf crashing on a shore or a majestic Hawaiin waterfall. When I'm at my best, living into who I'm created to be, I'm that still pool that invites you to come, dip your toes, sit a while and feel the presence of my friend Jesus with me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brotherly Love

On Friday nights the boys look forward to switching beds. Its a tradition. They never forget. Last night Micah slept in the spare room, Elijah in Micah's bed and Isaiah in Elijah's bed. Isaiah was having a hard time staying in bed. After several warnings, I moved Isaiah back to his own bed. As I was leaving the room, Isaiah wimpering in the background, Elijah whispered to me, "Mommy, I'm really sad for Isaiah. I think I might cry." I said, "I know, I'm sad for him too, but he knew what would happen if he kept getting out of bed. He can try again next week." Elijah tearfully chokes out, "Next Friday is really kind of far away. Can I let Isaiah have my bed tomorrow night and I'll sleep in his?" Such a sympathetic little guy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preschool- Isaiah




Isaiah's first day was terrific as expected. He fell asleep on the bus on the way home. A friend from my school looked after my class so that I could come home and put the baby of the family on the bus with Eric. The highlights of school, according to Isaiah, are that he gets to eat pizza and chicken nuggets for lunch every day (2 days of school so far). He also loves the "Quiet Place" station in his classroom. It is a little tent with a sleeping bag and stuffed animals inside.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gift


Me to Isaiah at bedtime tonight: "Good night sweet-pea."
Pause from Zay and a grin as he replies: "Good night mac and cheese."
He keeps a smile on our faces with his quick witty responses and reactions. I was reminded today from a sermon I listened to that every ounce of joy, grace, and love we experience is a gift. So, thank you Lord for the gift of Isaiah tonight.
He's holding up his favorite PJs in the picture- blue checked boxers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Micah's First Day


No problem! Kindergarten is a walk in the park for this middle child. He shrugs it all off with ease. Even after 20 questions about what it was like, what he did, who he sat with, what he learned etc., almost every answer was something similar to, "Good. Just stuff." I haven't downloaded pictures yet so we'll post one with Isaiah's first day pics next week. Micah was excited to sit with our neighbor friend on his bus, and he didn't seem to have any bad experiences, so I guess that's a good first week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Elijah's First Day


Elijah is officially a second grader. He had a great first day. He came home excited about compost, pumpkin seeds and Mr. Madill. We are all thanking the Lord for a science lesson on the first day (his favorite subject), a teacher that made him laugh, a friend (thanks Shawn) who sat with him on the bus, no homework, and no difficulties that we're aware of. Thank you friends and family for your prayers for him. He seemed calm and confident- miraculous indeed.


Micah's first day is tomorrow. We'll keep you posted.


My first day with students was today and it went well. I wish I could share details but alas confidentiality is an issue. I'll just share that I have 2 very easy classes, 1 moderately difficult class and 1 class that will require all of my patience and more toughness than I've been accustomed to showing over the past 2 years.


Off to day two tomorrow!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

At the Heartbeat


I don't have any affiliation with this church, but Jeremiah posted this promo on his blog, and I had to respond. It makes my heart pitter pat. It brings a lump to my throat and makes me want to stand up and cheer, YES! They nailed it. This is at the heart of what I want in a church, in my church, in THE church. So many of us want this. Then the more rational me takes over. What are the implications? What sacred cows get tipped? Should we be concerned?

I want to say, Heck No! Go. do. be! But I do want to be prepared to avoid a pendulum swing that can, and often does swing off course in the opposite direction when momumental change takes place. And many people think we are on the cusp of monumental church change in our generation. So what prevents people (us) from being the church 7 days a week traditionally, and what does it look like when this "ideation" goes bad or good for that matter? I don't know. But its worth finding out.


Elijah's Prayer tonight

God thank you for daytime and dark
Thank you for old days and new days
Thank you for rainy days and sunny days
Thank you for birds that fly
Thank you for animals that I can pet
Thank you for stars and the moon
Thank you for my brothers
Thank you for the Bible
Amen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Prayer for Boys

My prayer for my boys today:

I thank my God every time I remember you, even when you're driving me crazy.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (Lord help me) because of your partnership with the gospel from the first day until now. Your partnership with the gospel currently results from your connection to your family, but I pray that someday it will become your own.

I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. He will carry on the good work in you, not me.
I have you in my heart.
All of you share in God's grace with me. Thank you Lord!
And this is my prayer:
that your love may abound more and more
in knowledge and depth of insight,
so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be
pure
and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-
to the glory and praise of God.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Stage

video
Our park has an unused loading dock next to the playground that the boys have claimed for a stage. Micah wanted to help be the "camera guy" instead of being in the band this time. Every rocker writes a song for his mom right?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bike rides and play today

Elijah playing with John Wesley.
Feet in the fountain on campus.
Life size statue of John Wesley. Can you believe how short he was?
Relaxing by the fountain after our bike ride.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rx for Mommy-crazies= Solitude

I read a little bit of Richard Foster's chapter on solitude the other day without any huge 'ah ha' moments. Then today, I was a little on edge for my own reasons, and it was my day to be home with the boys. Overall, we had a great day- played outside lots, didn't watch TV or play computer, no fights, no time-outs, but I was just grouchy most of the day. We were in the van on the way home from Lex and I finally had to say, "OK, Mommy will not be answering any more questions until we get home."

The previous 45 minutes had sounded something like:
E: "Mommy, when can I get my motorcycle driver's license."
Me: I don't know. When you're not living at home anymore.
E: But when am I allowed to...
I: (interrupting him) Um, Mommy?!? Where are we going?
E: Hey, Isaiah interrupted me.
Me: Yes, Isaiah, you interrupted. Elijah go ahead and finish.
E: Um, yeah so, I forget, but Mommy?...
Me: Yeah, ...
I: Mommy? Can we go to McDonalds
Me: No we're not going to McDonalds
E: Hey, Isaiah interrupted me again. You guys keep ignoring me.
M: Hey Mommy!
Me: Yes.
M: That was Toys R Us. Can we get a Nintendo DS?
Me: No
M: When can we get a DS? How much does it cost?
E: Mommy? How much money will you and Daddy give me to buy my first car?
Me: What?
I: Can I buy that car right there?
Me: (Silence- ignoring them)
I: (louder) Mommy! That red one right there beside us... look now... you're going to miss it... (crying now!!!) Mommy, you missed it. It was the car I really want!

So yeah, replay that for 45 mintues and I'd had enough. Our day continued much the same- we played on the trampoline, Eric got home, we ate dinner, and he took the boys outside to play for the last 45 mintues of the day. I did dishes and swept the floor... and I felt it- the beauty of solitude. The 45 minutes I spent cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor were my best moments all day. I prayed, hummed a tune, had a complete thought or two without interruption, I savored the laughter of children outside, I smelled dish soap, washed fresh garden veggies and marveled at the perfection of a red ripe tomato.

Foster writes, "These tiny snatches of time are often lost to us. What a pity! They can and should be redeemed. They are times for inner quiet, for reorienting our lives like a compass needle. They are little moments that help us to be genuinely present where we are." Capturing little moments of 'silence' helps us to be genuinely present. I can not imagine the crazy person I would be if these pockets of time didn't avail themselves regularly- with the help of Eric of course who knows better than anyone that without a few minutes to myself, you'll get nothing but sarcasm out of me. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Knock Knock Joke- Zay Zay

Knock Knock. from Erin Crisp on Vimeo.

Phoebe's Song

Phoebe's Song from Erin Crisp on Vimeo.



Elijah made up this song for Phoebe Saturday. She smiled and laughed and laughed the whole time he was singing to her. There were several more verses during the live performance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

School's not cool

We have made a new friend, Paul, from Kenya. He eats with us frequently and shares many stories of his country and home. He has already become such a blessing to our family- enlarging our hearts and opening our eyes to a world beyond our own trivial worries.

Last night he was sharing about school in Kenya. Students have to pay for uniforms, books and school fees to attend school. It is a great privilege to attend school. Children cry if they have to stay home from school for any reason and walk many miles sometimes to get an education.

I shared that overall, the perspective of US school children is disappointingly different. Most don't want to go to school. Teenagers work hard to skip school and many drop out as soon as they are old enough in favor of going their own way.

He was not surprised, just shook his head and said wisely, as he often seems to do, "They do not understand that 'I am because we are, and we are because I am. (from Desmund Tutu I think he said)'" He went on to explain that in Kenya, children know and understand that their entire existence is dependant on the "we" and the fate of the "we" is dependant on the responsibility (or lack thereof) of the individual. So if I am successful in school, I can help my whole family and whole community. If I squander my chances, I may indirectly or directly cause the death of my family members, friends and community because I become a burden to them, a mouth to feed that can not contribute as effectively as one who pursues his opportunities- whatever they may be- farming, education, etc.

So, short of exposing our children to the travesites of poverty and death, how do our children learn a sense of "we." How do they come to the important realization that their actions, even as young adolescents, will have far reaching effects for their children, their husbands and wives and even their grandchildren? From teaching this age for a few years, I would assert that they have little to NO understanding of cause and effect that transcends their own lives. Psychologists say this is a normal phase of their development- that adolescents are trapped in a "me" world that is healthy and normal until they move onto the next phase of their development. But is that entirely true? It may help us understand them but should we let them languish there? What can we do to broaden their perspectives? And in so doing broaden our own as adults.

I am because we are, and we are because I am.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Being a Teacher

"This is the fundamental message of the teacher:
You can change your life. Wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, the teacher invites you to build on all that you are, and to begin again. There is always something more to do, more to learn and know, more to experience and accomplish. You must change your life, and if you will, you can change your world.

This sense of opportunity and renewal—for individuals, for whole communities and societies—is at the heart of all teaching; it constitutes the ineffable magic drawing us back to the classroom and into the school again and again. Education, no matter where or when it takes place, enables people to become more powerfully and self-consciously alive; it embraces as principle and overarching purpose the aspiration of people to become more fully human; it impels us toward further knowledge, enlightenment, and human community, toward liberation. Education, at its best, is an enterprise that helps human beings reach the full measure of their humanity."

-William Ayers

So how and when is education at its best? And is reaching the full measure of our humanity really the ultimate goal?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

CSA


Community supported agriculture. We are enjoying farm fresh produce, organically grown, every week this growing season (20 weeks in KY). At the commencement of the season, we agree to purchase a share in the farm's crops, whether it be a good year or bad year for produce, we pay for our share. Together with 8 other Wilmore families, we take turns traveling to the farmer's market each week to pick up everyone's boxes of produce. We meet at one location in Wilmore to pick up our boxes and give empty boxes to the pick up person for the following week. It all works very nicely, and the best part is eating the fresh produce every week.
A few things we've all noticed:
1. Fresh vegetables, straight from the farm, taste better. Even Tom and Isaiah think so.
2. We eat more vegetables because we know we're getting more in a few days so we have to eat what we have to make room.
3. I get to try recipes using ingredients that I would not normally buy, so we all get to be a bit more adventurous. Some of our adventures? Kohlrabi, kale, rainbow carrots and beets (not pickled).
4. It feels good to help a local farm, knowing that our money is being used in wise ways and not being used to put a small local farm somewhere out of business.
5. Two families share our box each week and I've still had enough left over to freeze 3 small bags of kale and give away a gallon size bag of lettuce greens.
So, I'd highly recommend the experience. I found our CSA in a Green Living newsletter at our local library. Do some looking and you might find one in your neighborhood.

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.