Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Note to self. . .

1.  The front porch is a nice place to check e-mail and write on the blog.

2.  Being "stuck" at home without a car is lovely.  Having a son who can drive himself to the orthodontist in my car is even lovelyer.

3.  "90 degrees is NOT hot."  I've said it five times in the last five minutes.  That and, "Just wait until it's 110 every day and THEN you'll be asking for this weather."

4.  I'm not a very compassionate mom.

5.  Little Man is not as coordinated at his older sister (who is seven, now, but was riding a scooter like a maniac at 4).  I'm OK with it - it's less scary.

6.  Having a clean house makes me happy.  At least for the 10 minutes it lasts.  But the rest of the minutes I can choose to be happy, anyway.

7.  I should spend more time working in our flower beds.  Instead of writing.  But I like writing more.

8.  The kids look cute with flushed red cheeks.

9.  Hedges do not appreciate volleyballs.  But I think we'll keep the volleyballs.  And the kids.

10.  Having a yard that is 99% shade makes it hard to grow grass, but cooler to play outside when it's 90 degrees.

11.  Next time the wind is gusting at 50 miles per hour, I'll remember that when it's still, there are more bugs.

12.  Five kids = easy peasy.  When I'm not having to remind them that it's NOT too hot and to quit hitting the volleyball into the hedge.

13.  With "only" five kids here, there is "no one to play with".  I'm guessing it's the choice of playmates, not the number?

14.  Need to have the boys mow the lawn.  Later.  When I'm not on the porch.

15.  Chalk writing all over the porch, driveway, and sidewalk is precious.  And it's "art".  And someday I'll miss it.

16.  My kids are WAY better artists than I am.

17.  A porch swing is therapeutic.  Especially when it's the same porch swing that we were sitting on when the Coach asked me to marry him.

18.  Remind the Coach, more often, how much I love him.  And that I still think he's soveryhandsome.  And that I would say YES, again, today, if he asked.

19.  Conversations between 5 and 7 year olds are funny.

20.  Swinging on the porch swing makes the porch a poor choice for bike riding.  I almost lost a foot.

21.  I love this house.  And this yard.  And this neighborhood.

22.  Clean the windows.  Soon.  But not right now.

23.  Stop making lists.  And procrastinating.  And letting my kids whine.

Think I'll head inside.  It's hot out here.

Happy Wednesday!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A little of this and that. . .

It's been busy at the troops.  The last big HURRAH to the end of the school year.  There hasn't been much time for writing.  Except in my head at night while I'm trying to go to sleep.  Fortunately, most of that doesn't make it to the blog.

Since the weather has been SO beautiful, The younger kids and I have been going for a walk/bike ride sometime after school and before dinner every day.  We've loved it.  It's added so much FUN to our busy afternoons, even if it makes the rest of the evening a bit rushed (and let me give you a hint . . . even "quiet" kids talk on a walk!).

Little Man whined the whole way the first two days ("You are all going over the SPEED LIMIT!").  But when I offered to let him stay home with one of the big kids on Wednesday?  He would have NONE of it!  He's just learning to ride his bike, so sometimes he just walks with me, instead.  Or rides his bike to Papa's house and leaves it there for awhile until we come back by.

He notices everything!  EVERY. THING.  Every flower.  Every leaf.  Every rock.  Every squirrel.  Every dog. 

And the dogs?  He "talks" to them. 

One day. . . I hear him beside me, "Woof, Woof, Woof-woof, Woof!"

"Mom!  I just told that dog that mac and cheese is really cheesy!"

Then yesterday. . . he was paying particular attention to a dog who was barking at us as we walked by his yard.

"Mom!  That dog just said, 'YOU WALK LIKE A GRANDMA!'"

Perhaps this should concern me.  Especially since I don't know if the dog was insulting me or Little Man.  Except that I remember as a young girl that his grandmother used to talk to the birds and squirrels.  She probably still does.

Maybe it runs in the family.

Son (#1) is going to JSB, tonight, as a Sophomore to "observe".  This makes me feel old.  And we bought a suit coat this week.
Daughter (#2) is finishing up club volleyball season and getting ready to be an orphan in our school's production of "Annie Jr." next weekend.
Son (#3) is also in "Annie Jr."  Can't wait to see them!  And he takes care of all of my flower beds.  Hopefully we can get all of the containers and pots planted this weekend.
Son (#4) turned 12 a couple of weeks ago and is the lawn guy extraordinaire.  Such a hard worker.

(I told you they all like to sit together on the couch!)

Daughter (#5) went to school dressed for the Oklahoma Land Run reenactment with her 4th grade class, today.  I'm supposed to pack (another) pioneer lunch.  It has to be food they would have had in the pioneer days.

I cheat.

Daughter (#6) is flying through 3rd grade.  Laughing loudly and keeping us all on our toes.  If it weren't for her, the house would NEVER be clean.  But it would certainly be quieter!
Daughter (#7) just passed the 200,000 word mark at school in her 1st grade reading.  Last week she had two pieces in our local Christian school art festival.  And she didn't want her picture taken.

And Son (#8)?  Well. . . he talks to me. all. day. long.  And to anyone (or anything) else who will listen. 

Off to have lunch with my little homesteader.  Think we'll throw in some hard-boiled eggs and butter/jelly sandwiches, too.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The good stuff. . .

After seeing a rare and wonderful post on the Elisabeth Elliot Facebook page last week (we all know that SHE doesn't post these things, but it was a quote from a much loved book), I picked up "Keep a Quiet Heart" and began to read.  I don't know what made me do it, besides the quote, itself.  

"[Christ] is my model. This means a different set of ambitions, a different definition of happiness, a different standard of judgment altogether. Behavior will change, and very likely it will change enough to make me appear rather odd--but then my Master was thought very odd."

The oddness is something I know about

In my high school/college days (which were, of course, not the typical, since I was at home or 
working for all of them) I read everything EE wrote.  I heard her speak countless times, I've even had the privilege of knowing her personally.  But what has struck me as I have been re-reading this fabulous book (I highly recommend it!) is how deeply her writings (and others, I know) formed in me the basic truths of life.






In these days of blogging and Facebook and Twitter. . . online articles and magazines. . . Hunger Games and Karen Kingsbury (which I've read a lot of). . . 

THIS is what I miss.  

The kind of writing that feeds your SOUL.  That challenges your thoughts and requires a response.  "Will I?"  

Will I trust the Lord in my circumstances?

Will I submit to these trials. . . this husband. . . the LORD?

Will I REST in the Lord?

Will I serve others without thought for SELF?

Will I be thankful in ALL things?

These are basic, daily, LIFE struggles.  I know I have them.  I assume you to do, too, if you seek to follow Christ.  And going back to this old, favorite book. . . it's reminded me that I've missed this.

Good writing.

I know so many of you, my blogging friends, enjoy good writing, just as I do.

You won't find it, here. 

But I would encourage you to seek it out.  Go back to those classic Elisabeth Elliot books (and pray for her, along the way, as she struggles in the sunset years of her life).  Find GOOD literature and biographies to share with your kids.  Read "Evidence Not Seen" and "A Chance to Die" and with me, keep plugging away at "Bonhoffer" (even though I'm about six months into it and only 1/3 of the way through).  And let me just say. . . THAT book?  Makes me feel really stupid.  But WOW it's good!

Leave the "easy" on the table, for today, and read something that will challenge your heart and mind and cause you to trust the Lord in a deeper way.

And yes, I know that this humble blog isn't on the list.

But thanks for reading it, anyway.  For encouraging me by YOUR lives and YOUR trust in the Lord.  For letting me use this modern day forum to collect me thoughts and chronicle what goes on here at the troops, so I don't forget.

Because I forget a lot.  Like how much I love EE's writing!

Happy Wednesday!

And did I mention that we celebrated Son's (#4) TWELFTH birthday last night?  Yikes!  Time is a flyin', I tell you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Stupid things people say: "What's One More?"

So after spending almost an entire week with only six kids (ha!), I have something to say about this.  I really try not to be easily annoyed.  But sometimes people are so SILLY!

"Yeah, I guess after three or four, it doesn't really matter.  What's one more?  You probably don't even notice they are there!"

I guess having two less bodies, two less mouths, two less sets of clothes to wash each day, two less showers of hot water, etc.  really made me think.

It DOES matter.

Each little (or big) person DOES make a difference.

It's why I have the utmost respect for my m-i-l who raised TEN children.  My s-i-l who still has SEVEN of her TWELVE children still living at home.   And another s-i-l with TEN.  I also have sisters-in-law with six kids (2), five kids, four kids (3), three kids (2), and two kids.

Yikes.  That's a lot of cousins.

I would have loved to have ten kids.  Or twelve.  Maybe not 19.  But I would have loved to have MORE.  But I am not silly enough to think that it wouldn't be that much different than my eight.

Here's the thing.  There is a big difference between one child and two children.  Or three.  Or four.  And it doesn't change being a BIG difference just because you have six or eight.

The problem with that "what's one more?" mentality is that these people look at my family as a "herd".  A group of kids.  Sweet little "stair-steps" in ages, but a UNIT of eight.

Sure, fixing a bit more food isn't a big deal.  Doing more laundry, even.  Adding bed and lockers and a bigger pantry is NOT the hard part about having eight kids.

The hard part is that they ARE NOT a "herd".

They are eight individuals.

And you know what?

The are all very different.

Yes, they eat the same meal together at night around our table.  Yes, I wash their laundry together and they can all use the same shampoo bottle in the shower.  There certainly are some ways in which once you are doing things, doing them for a bunch of kids isn't much different than doing them for a BIG bunch of kids.

But each one of them has a different personality.  Different likes and dislikes.  Different strengths and weaknesses.  Different temperaments, different mental abilities, different EVERYTHING.

Yes, we are a family.  We share a lot.  We enjoy things together.  But I try very hard to NOT parent with the assembly line approach (although I did it a lot when they were all so little!).  What works with one may or may not work with another (probably won't!).

I'm learning a lot as a mom of eight.  I'm learning to push them TOWARD their strengths instead of being so very concerned about their weaknesses.  I'm learning to relax more and ENJOY them more.  To laugh instead of getting frustrated.  To be consistent even when it's horribly inconvenient (because it's never convenient, is it?).

In spite of some similarities, we are all different.  Some are hard workers, some would rather read a book - well, they would ALL rather read a book, thankfully.  But some love to work in the flower beds, some love to bake, some love to clean or organize.  Some need time by themselves every now and then, others want to be in the middle of the chaos at all times.  Some are musically inclined, some aren't (don't ask!).  Some enjoy playing sports, some enjoy watching sports (you won't, however, get OUT of sports in this house - ha!).  Some naturally keep their stuff neat and organized and some need more help.  Some are out-going, some are more quiet.  Some are more reserved and some are fearless.

So while having your three or four or six kids hang out with us for the day WILL NOT bother me one bit - it's only because they aren't my responsibility to parent.  If it's about playing and snacks and laughing . . . I can handle 100 kids.

But when it comes to being accountable to GOD to teach, train, and most of all LOVE them without anger or impatience?

I'll stick with my eight.

I love them with all of my heart.  But sometimes eight feels like. . . well. . . a lot.

One more is just that. . . one more.  One more soul.  One more heart.  One more mind.  One more LIFE.

Not just one more little body to feed and clothe.

Which is precisely why I desperately need the leading of the Holy Spirit and the discernment of the Lord and God's perfect wisdom.  Every moment.  Every day.

Happy Monday!