Friday, December 6, 2013

November Quotes

Sp: "I can't wait til we get a new president."
Si: "Yeah, AND a new PRESENT!" -Nov. 1

G: "Is Pennsylvania where pencils be made?" -Nov. 4

G: "When I look into your eyes I feel like I'll grow up all at once." -Nov. 4

Sp: "I think wailing is a little better than failing. ...Actually, they're kind of related."
me: "How so?"
Sp: "Because wailing is what you do when you fail sometimes. ...AND they rhyme." -Nov. 9

Silas, on the drive home from the apple orchard: "I'm gonna pray that Daddy gets some apples with his hummus, And he will be SO excited. ...PLease, God, that Daddy would get some apples with his hummus. Please, God...Please, God...Please, God...Amen." -Nov. 8

Sp (still getting the hang of this reading thing: "Does that say a FAIRY CARROT?" (amazed, cause it was in the Bible.)
me, laughing: "No, a FIERY CHARIOT." -Nov. 27

G: "At Traja Joe's, I didn't find the chesure chest but the guy gave me a lollipop anyways, and it didn't taste like a lollipop to me."
Sp: "What did it taste like?"
G: "A hot—gross—tomato stick." -Nov. 27

Pippa, pointing to an elephant in a book, says, "All of 'em!" (And she thinks any exotic animal is called an "all of 'em." LOL) -Nov. 29

While eating ice cream recently, Silas was introduced to the concept of "brain freeze," but the only part that stuck with him was the word "brain." So he comes up to me later, and says, happily,
"I don't have a brain!"
me: "Oh I think you have a brain."
Si: "No, I don't have a brain! Cause it doesn't hurt in my MOUTH!" -Nov. 30

me, finishing the morning Bible reading: "Sparrow, what was that passage about?"
Sp: "King Herod was having a meeting with some people, who made friends with...blasphemy." (LOL! Blastus, the King's secretary, from Acts 12:20) -Nov. 30

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Thing about Money and Babies

I was thinking about the phenomenon of people who decide to stop having children on their own timeline, decide to "shut it down." To me, it's like shutting down streams of income. As I was thinking about this, a whole conversation came into my brain. And it goes like this: No one ever said...

"We gotta shut this down. We have all the money we can handle.

I am getting too old to run after this money. I wanna focus my time and energy on the money I already have.

Money is stressful, I'll stick with two dollars, that way I know I can keep an eye on it and still have time for other things.

Whoa--you have your hands FULL of money! How do you handle it? Money wears me out. It is so draining.

I want to enjoy my summer before I have any more.

This is wearing on my body. I've got wrinkles and stress marks from making too much money. The world is already too full of money, we'd better not add to that.

I can get this money that's being neglected over here, and it probably wouldn't be wise to make my own at the same time.

Before we make any more money, we'd better be able to prove we are able to manage it and take care of it all well.

What, Lord? You want to bless me by giving me more money? Noooooo, people with too much money lose their identity. I don't think I'm cut out for this. That life is just not for me.

I just don't want any more, and I don't like people who say I should have more. They are being legalistic and pushing their personal beliefs on others. I know you give me freedom, Lord, so, thanks but no thanks. Besides, I can better serve the kingdom and all these awesome ministries if I'm not bogged down taking care of so much cash.

Don't bless me any more, Lord. I'm maxed out. I'm done."

 LOL, you can tell I was having fun with all the excuses I've heard (or said myself in the past!) So, to run with this idea, of course the analogy is not perfect, it breaks down at some point, but here's another scenario:

Someone asks you how many children you would like to have. Why that's like asking someone how much money they'd like to have; how many jewels. I want to say, "Uhh....All of it? ...As much as God wants to give me." That is safe to say, right?

But then, here's the thing: do we hold out a giant bucket when God is wanting to give us treasure? Or do we hold out a small espresso cup, or even hold our bucket upside down? A friend of mine, while discussing this topic, said very humorously that in money's defense, her money never spilled the coffee beans all over the grocery store floor while she was trying to get its brother's foot unstuck from the cart. Haha. Good point. But:

Lots of money and lots of children both come with their share of stigmas, challenges, and responsibility.

And—here's something to ponder—there are MANY warnings in the Bible about the dangers of having too much money, but how many about the danger of having too many children? NONE. So why do we hear so much about that in the world—and church? So much worry, so much fear. So much self-serving, right-sounding, worldly wisdom. Our humanistic self has it backwards.

And by the same token, why is it considered OK to ask God for children, but not really holy to ask Him for money? We have to learn righteousness through poverty, right?

I want to challenge all these things that have become christianese norms. Where do the ideas stem from? Are they really Biblically sound? Are they truly Spirit-led? I want to REALLY examine God's heart on parenthood, why it exists, His BEST for marriage and society and Kingdom. They may make us uncomfortable, but we haven't really made an educated decision about family, and even finances, unless we've also looked into the possibility that God's desire wants to lead us down paths other than the current church-crowd way... Will you look?

Pippa, Pippa, Pippa

I have to write Pippa's progress report! I did this every couple of months with the older girls, and a little bit with Silas, but have hardly done it at all with Pippa. Ah, to be the 4th child.

Pippa is 19 months old now and...a go-getter. (Are there ANY 4th children that just sit around like blobs doing nothing?)

She has a handful of solid words now. The other day she pointed to a book and said "All of 'em." I thought, "What?! All of what?" When I realized she was saying "elephant." How cute! Every time you admonish her or tell her to do something or not to do something, she says, "Okay," or "Awipe." (all right.) Or "I won't." But she is just saying it cause it's the THING to say! She STILL climbs onto my desk despite all the Okays.

The other day, on our shopping day, I had all 4 children with me. Pippa, in one short day, accomplished all of the following:

Tried to get off of a play structure from a really high ledge, scooting forward. Her bum and legs were off, and she was holding on to the bars behind her with all her strength, shouting "Mama! Mama!" until I ran over and rescued her.

Ran off and climbed up the gigantic ladder in the aisle at Michaels giving me a heart attack.

Learned how to climb down from a shopping cart without getting hurt.

Climbed up AND down the big bunk bed that doesn't even have a ladder on it.

Got called "Pippi Longstocking" twice by random strangers.

Pulled a big tall dresser down on top of herself like it was nothing. (Yes, I sprang over like superwoman and saved her from true injury.)

Screamed like crazy when put to bed, then took matters into her own hands, climbed out of her crib, open the bathroom door, and hung out with me nonchalantly while I was showering. (I thought she was Silas for like 5 minutes, til I asked him to close door and he DID, but I heard teeny tiny footsteps, not Silas-sized ones, and poked my wet head out to find Pippa!)

Child is voracious. She also says crouton, apple, raisin, milk, cheese, i don't know (I nu no), Sparrow (wa-woah), bye bye, hello, baby, doggy (goggy), cuppy, bubble, bum bum, night night, milk, cream, knock knock, and her super famous, "I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO!" LOL, this one cracks me up, it is SO fourth child. When mom asks who wants food or whatever, all the older ones assert themselves and fall upon the goods. Pippa has learned survival: to yell " I DO!!!" really fast over and over, or she won't get any! She does it immediately when she hears the older ones saying "I do," even though most of the time she has no idea what they're saying it about! Hahahaha.

We call her Lee-lee. And Big Baby. And beanie. And jelly bean. Here she is in all her glory.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Thing About Cages and Courage

"Courage is about refusing to build cages." -Chris Guillebeau
"Faith is how you see." -Paul Manwaring

He was not a very special guy. But he was completely in love with my beautiful best friend. He would follow her around like a puppy. And it bugged the crazies out of me. Not because he was annoying, no, but because I couldn't understand and couldn't accept that my friend should have so many devotees grovelling at her feet (for so it seemed) while I was stuck being boring and unalluring. IT—WAS—JUST—NOT—FAIR. I was in high school, and on one of those summer nights at youth group, on which Floyd was again pursuing my blithe bombshell friend who cared nothing for him, I sat under the fluoresent lights of the church youth room and CRIED.  Other friends were even trying to comfort me; it was embarrassing. I had a boyfriend, for crying outloud! "Isn't it better to have one who loves just you, and whom you love, than to have a hundred pursuing you that you don't care about?" Yes, yes, I agreed in theory. But then—why was this eating away at me like poison? It was a matter of constructing cages, and a matter of being a prisoner inside my own negative vision of the world. I had built a cage around myself: multiple cages: insecurity, measuring myself against others, labeling myself negatively, "I will never have...," and the cages were being built up in my mind against others too: Bitterness against my friend, who seemed to find life so effortless, and who was endowed with a natural beauty I craved. Segregating "others" into the cages where they belonged, because I didn't want those people or need them anyways: The Beautiful. The Successful. The Savvy. The Multi-talented. The Courageous. Yes, I even had a cage for them. 

People, I am here to say that Jesus has liberated us of cages. When I was constructing cages for people as a self-protective mechanism (and let's face it, I sometimes still do), I was really building myself into a stronger and stronger cage. It was how I saw myself. Unable. Unblessed. And always, always poor. And since God wanted this for me, had made me this way, as a good Christian I'd better find a way to resign myself to my humble state, make the best of my cold cell, and try to be grateful He allowed me to live at all. It was really a hate crime against God. Though I didn't realize it, of course. The God of the Universe, who created me to shine and wanted nothing more than to see me sparkly, prosperous, happy, and free. Who had special and exciting adventures ahead just for my particular taste and excitement, and who was there to shower blessings on me if I would turn my cup up to receive them.You can't be truly thankful for the water in your prison cell unless you also have hope for experiencing streams of water in lush meadows, outside the prison walls.

More than ever, I am seeing that the thinking that shuts us up in cages of impotence is begun to be woven into us by Satan in early childhood, and as parents we need to be vigilant against the enemy in this area, and practice with our families true, powerful, and positive thinking, as God calls us to do in Philippians 4:8.

     Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is 
     pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if 
    anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

If I had only gotten into the habit of Philippians 4:8 as a young child, much grief could have been avoided. But I won't dwell on that for too long either, because as the song says, "It's never too late, it's not too late, it's not too late for you." Now is the time for courageous and freedom-based thinking. To promote others with a hearty yes and a good will, without the reserved little scrooge voice in there that would say, "but what if it hinders me in some way?" No. Now is the time to have the heart of Jesus for the good of every person. How could I have a goodwill toward others when I felt that God's will for me was not good, that it was something dreary and hard that I had to find acceptance for?  It starts with believing God is good, and that His goodness is not hard to define. It is not reverse psychology. It starts with knowing He is good toward you. This is why God says the greatest thing is love. Because love is the most freeing thing of all and will unlock our hearts toward the life of abundance that God wants us to experience, in this life and the next. 

 So, courage this week for me has meant taking a leap and stepping outside of the safe zone of knowing where our physical provisions are going to come from. It was between living extraordinarily, and taking action on our true calling, or... staying in the safe zone and knowing we would have enough for rent and food and Christmas presents for the little ones, staying in a safe life that was yet killing me with fatigue and meaninglessness. Does any of this sound familiar to you? ...What does courage mean for you?

I have started to unravel the normal life and begun (what is to me) a crazy journey of faith with my family. Doubters be silenced, because it is happening. It is happening because of love, and God's continually pursuing me (and my husband) (and us ALL) with thousands of hints of the greatness of His affection toward us, like Hosea, with love for a Gomer who would not believe that she was worthy of good, and therefore kept rejecting it and weaving her own heartache. We are on the road to home-based careers doing things that God has put into our hearts to do, things we love to do, things that are of value to others and will make a difference in people. We are changing our vision, and our entire framework of speech and thinking, and are called to help people change theirs. We are to become a spring in the wilderness, and not just continue to beg for a ration of rain like ever-parched desert ground. We have followed. Now it is time to lead.  

What is your vision? What is your passion? What do courage and faith mean for you? What cages do you need to step out of? Because I have a feeling you've been given all the keys, and that God is just waiting on you now, dreamer. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

August, September, October Quotes

Sp. (G, age 7) "I can't wait to get my very own horse."
Go. (G, age 5): "I can't wait to get my very own dog."
Si. (B, age 3): "I can't wait to get my very own truck."  Typical! -Sept.18

Sparrow was asking me about trucks, and she said, "What was the first truck ever built?" I said, "I'm not sure, maybe it was a military truck." She says, "No, I mean what species?" (said like someone who watches nature shows or something!) -Sept. 18

me: "Are you going to do helpful things for your wife when you grow up?"
Si: "When I grow up to be a big motorcycle rider." -Sept.

Sp., speculating on a lost Amazon order: "Mom—maybe the mail guy got confused, or he found something that rhymes with 'The United States,' and he doesn't hear very good, and he put it there instead." -Oct. 10

Silas calls robots "Ro-butts." Hahahaha. -Oct. 2013

G: "And then if something dirty got in the bread dough and we would accidentally bake it, and then Jeannie would eat it. All-timer Jeannie."
me: "What? Why do you call her all-timer Jeannie? Do you mean old-timer?"
G: "No, because she has that thing!"
Sp: "It's called Alz-heimers, Golden." -Oct. 17

Silas: "I want to sit in Pippa's chair!"
Me: "Well that's her chair and she is going to have to sit there."
Silas starts fake-crying.
Me: "Hey! You're too big to be crying over a high chair!"
Silas: "But I wanna be LITTLE!"  -Oct. 13
(Awww..I want you to be little too, little man. But soon you will be off to college. Or ice fishing in Alaska or something. For now, we have to figure out how to stop whining over the seating arrangement.)

Sparrow: "How could you EVER, EVER tell if the number said one-dee-eight, or eighteen?"
Deep thoughts always happen on car rides. -Oct. 20

My son found a slingshot and called it a "screen shot." Oh boy.-Oct. 23

I asked Sparrow to give me a narration of Genesis 30. She says, "Well, basically, there was a birth contest, and then Jacob wanted to go home. " LOL. Well said. -Oct. 24

I turned the light off after saying goodnight.
Silas: "I have a black eye! In the dark! I have two black eyes! There's black in my eyes!" -Oct. 26

me: "Silas, do you like dressing up?"
Si: "No."
me: "I mean,do you want a costume for when we go to the harvest festival?"

Si: "No, I wanna go to the harvesters because I wanna see the wheels."  -Oct. 27

Silas: "Me and Golden and Silas are sitting on the table!" -Oct. 28

Silas, praying: "Thank you God, for Daddy. And that when he comes home we'll all run over and shout, DADDYYYYYYY!"
Golden, aside, mumbles, "That's the first time he hasn't prayed about trucks."
Silas: "And for cars." -Oct. 28

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Thing About Texas, Day #19

Today my children once again proved that they are autonomous: they threw about 70 fire pit lava rocks into the pool at the house where we are staying, while I was getting ready to swim with them. When I came out and saw the pool, I had no words! Mortified, I marched them inside to apologize to our host and in the middle of Sparrow's confession, Golden pipes up, "My nail just came off! I need a band-aid!" Sure enough, the nail she had slammed in the car door 13 days ago finally came all the way off and her pinkie was stark nekked! Our poor hosts have been so kind  and so generous, and this situation embarrassed me deeply, but I had to calm down and remember that they are only children, and while Sparrow certainly knew better, she wasn't really trying to be rebellious. She was just—not thinking. She made a childish mistake, imagine that! So I said, "No more playing outside by yourselves," (besides a volley of other admonishing and teaching words), and they had to help me get all the rocks out, but since it was not a malicious crime, there was not much more I could do. Believe ME, I need to look more at families who have been able to raise children who treat people and things with respect, and see what they did. I am already getting really re-inspired by this book by Trumbull that I picked up at the Vaughns' house.

One thing I've gleaned from this book is to always give them a choice, even if it is, "Do what I say or get a spanking." You should never BREAK their will by saying "Do what I say and if not, then you will get a spanking UNTIL you do what I say." They choose obedience, or punishment. But it is laid out in advance, and they can choose, they are not left without any choice whatever. They are being pressured to choose good, over and over, until it becomes habit, and that is the difference between that and modern parenting tactics, where they are hardly "pressured" at all, but rather are praised to the roof for breathing, and left alone even when making very bad choices that will shape their view of the world in a wrong way, at a time when the parent should actually still be there, shaping the view. The leaving alone part can come later, if you ask me.

Thomas just came home from the store, and Silas was excited to tell me, "Daddy got diapers for Pippa." I said, "Isn't he sweet? Are you going to do helpful things for your wife when you get married?" He said, "Yeah, when I grow up like a motorcycle rider." ...Of course. It's all about the motorcycle.

Besides the lava rock/ fingernail fiasco of today, I also had this emotional realization that Sparrow has surpassed me in swimming skills! OK, I was never that hard to surpass in that area anyways, but seriously, she is SEVEN, and I think that was a first in our relationship. Milestone! I have tried over and over to learn how to go underwater without manually plugging my nose, but I am starting to suspect a nasal passage problem of sorts, because I have NEVER been able to succeed, no matter what method I used. And yet Sparrow is out there swimming around like a little dolphin underwater. It was pretty crazy to watch, knowing that she had outswum me. Good for her. My ceiling is her floor. Hahaha!

Anyways, I have been reflecting much over the last couple of months, and there are some new things to break into, break out of, and activate in my life that will make a huge difference toward kingdom destiny. I've been thinking a lot about identity and destiny, actually, these subjects are nearly endless in depth, and as for destiny, I believe that God does choose a destiny for us, (a path we should take on this earth, besides our eternal resting place), but then He leaves it up to us whether we will we will find that destiny, take it seriously, and go get it; or whether we will just sleep and be comfortable in the reality that we see. So more on that later, but this vacation has been really good for reflection and remembering who I am.

Our first weekend in Texas we drove to Brenham and spent time with my college roommate and her family. It was very relaxing and so good to laugh with her in the late hours again. The children and I stayed through Wednesday to spend more time with her while Thomas went back to Feldenkrais classes on Monday morning.  We even got to go to the fair with our Brenham friends and tour the Blue Bell ice cream factory!

The 2nd weekend, we drove to Austin to visit more friends from back in the day—their daughter was our flower girl 8 years ago, and now she is eleven! That was relaxing and fun as well. Besides Pippa screaming til 2 AM because her nose was clogged. When we got back to the Houston area and she did it again the next night, Thomas and I just had to put in earplugs, we were so exhausted! About an hour later, I woke up and realized she had managed to go to sleep after all. I couldn't believe I had slept through the screaming right next to me—I am now a truly a seasoned parent.

So much more to say--it's been wonderful here. We love the people we are staying with. They are clowns, yes clowns! And they have a pet pig, yes, pig! Jesus is all over them. That is the most beautiful thing, though there are MANY beautiful things about their home. It's just lovely. But now it is 10, and time to work! Two more days here, then back to taking the LAND in my real life! Bring it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The thing about Texas, Day #6

Our 6th day away from home and I am feeling beautiful! Here are my FB posts, to give a little taste of our day.

10:02 AM--I got 8 hours of sleep last night--for the first time in probably a year! Now I am enjoying extended quiet time while my children run around in the back yard catching teeny tiny frogs and minnows with newfound friends. I wholly repent for any and all negative things I have ever spoken about the great state of Texas.

11:30 PM--My children kept averring that Houston was not really a very big city. So today I drove them to the smack dab middle of downtown and took them in the glass elevator all the way up to the 32nd floor! Hah! That showed THEM!

I guess I really have missed big cities. I really wanted to go downtown. I knew one of those big buildings had to be a really fancy hotel! Sure enough, just driving around in between skyscrapers, we found a Hyatt, and parking right next to it, too! OK, it cost me $5 for an hour, but the whole experience was awesome. The concierge at the front asked me if we wanted to ride the elevators, and I said, "Can we?" "Yes! You can go all the way up!" Was his reply. He was so nice and friendly even though it was clear we were not staying there. Silas saw the glass elevators going up and down and became timid, and kept telling me, "I don't want to go in the alligator!" But after the bathroom (yes, we used the bathroom for free too!) I told him we would go in, and he could close his eyes. I ended up having to hold him, but I thought it was super fun! You could choose the elevator facing the street or the one facing the lobby. Sparrow discovered she is afraid of heights. Golden is not.

Then I got a vat of beef at Freebirds for lunch and took--it--to--Chick-Fil-A to eat while my children ate their fare. Halfway through, I realized I was committing a chick-fil-a crime: eating beef on the premises. So I had Sparrow take a picture. 

I can't post pictures yet because I need a cable or a card reader!

Later we went to Trader Joe's and I ran into Kerry Sawyer and all her children. We were going to hang out tomorrow anyways, how funny! Then I cooked dinner for the Vaughns. Have I mentioned that they are awesome?

Golden had a hard day. She slammed her pinkie in the car door and the nail turned all purple. Then she kept hurting herself in other little ways. Poor girl.

Sparrow is fast friends with Lana, age 8. Love to see them run around together.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Thing About Anita Go'dabed

My friend's mom told me this joke about a lady named Anita who married someone whose last name sounded like "go to bed." Anita Go'dabed. Yeah, that's how a linguist's daughter would spell it. And, see, that is just the essence of my life right now. I mean, here it is, after midnight—but when was the last time I went to bed before midnight? I don't know—and I have worked as wife and homeschooling mother, worked as Head Chef for Elite Eldercare, and worked as freelance Administrative Assistant all morning, all afternoon, and all evening, and that brings me to tomorrow, but I feel incomplete going to bed without doing ONE thing dream-related, ykwim?

I am beginning to come into a season of my life where I am believing that crazy big dreams CAN be achieved. I have had amazing fulfillment in marriage, and am flourishing in all of the wonders of being a Titus 2 woman, and in the unparallelled miracle of being a mother of children. It is my all-time favorite job. But I am realizing that 1) God has placed even more dreams in my heart! 2) We need to eat and sleep someplace, and it is (can it be?) within God's heart and purpose for us that we turn our dreams and greatest strengths into bread and butter. NOT doing so would be "burying the talents" and wasting life to some degree. 3) We have benefited so much from the help of others. Now it's time to step up and become leaders, believing in our ability to help others instead of staying in the "takers" realm. 4) I am created to be my husband's help-meet. What have I done lately to move my husband's dreams forward and further HIS career and loves? God obviously put us together for amazing reasons of multiplication and kingdom-impact. I know He is the author of our marriage. So if we are not doing amazing things together--kingdom and big-dream-things we could not do on our own, then we are falling short of our united potential. We cannot allow the One Who Casts-Between to hamper our creative together-powers. I mean, we have the two matching rings! 

All that to say—I have to sit down and write, do something, every day, and though Anita Go'dabed is becoming my very best friend, here's to late nights of waking-dreams, here's to all my friends who are sitting up in the wee hours DOING SOMETHING. Believe your King, daughter. The land is there for the taking for those who are not afraid of big grapes. Er, I mean, giants. Hehe. Yup. With an Ally such as ours, victory is guaranteed—to—those—who—fight.

Friday, August 16, 2013

July quotes

Golden: "We know how to make crackers! You get a piece of cheese, and you put it in your car until tomorrow, and it turns crunchy!" -July 2
(Yeah. side note, I found a crunchy half of a cheese stick in my bag the other day...)

Sp: "Mom! Why haven't we ever seen a giant stomping by yet? You SAID they were still alive!" -July 3

Sp: "Do people turn into giraffes when they get older, just like tadpoles turn into frogs?"
me: "Well,... is your grandma a giraffe?" -July 8

(talking about one of our friends, who has very simple tastes)
Thomas: "It doesn't take much to float her boat."
G: "Mom, if I were a teenager, I would sneak out, to the park, to the pond, if ------------ was there, and I would float my boat, and surprise her!" -July 10

G, while helping me make muffins,
"Pretend—that you're the mom and I'm the little girl who is being teached how to make muffins."
me: "I am the mom, and you are the little girl being taught how to make muffins."
G: "Oh." -July 17

G, doing a fish drawing,
"what do fish eat?"
me: "Algae."
G: "Oh. I don't know how to draw allergy." -July 17

G, opens her Bible and 'reads,' "The disciples... were going off to play." -July 19

Silas and mommy reading  a book,
Si: "Oh, it's a bird!"
me: "Yes, and that one is called a Cactus Wren."
Si: "No, it's  BIRD!"
me: "Yes, but that bird is called a cactus wren, It's a KIND of bird."
Si: "No, it's  BIRD."
me, thinking of a brilliant way to explain it to him:
"For example, are you a BOY?"
Si: "No, I'm a GARBAGE TRUCK!"
me: smiling, then, "Well, OK. Is mommy a lady?"
Si: "No, you're a GARBAGE TRUCK!"
-July 20

Silas, cutting food in the kitchen with me, cut his thumb, it's gushing blood. he says, calmly to his sisters, "it is ketchup." Then I told him I had to wash the blood off the board. He says, "I'm sorry that I got bloody." -July 21

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sparrow is Seven

My pretty Sparrow turned seven recently! She is so full of ideas, so full of potential, and so smart.

Her heart is full of dreams.

Her birthday came 2 days after we moved houses, so our life was still very crazy at the time and since the move came suddenly, I was unable to plan a party or anything, but we decided to go to the circus. She loved it!!

Here are a few photos of the special day.

Morning of the birthday. Breakfst at Chick fil A!

And yes I DID buy them ice cream at 9 am!

Informal presents on the porch

The next day we had cake at home. 

You are growing into your destiny. You are getting braver. You are getting stronger. You are getting so thoughtful and conscientious and helpful and I love having you around. I get lesson after lesson when I watch you. The way you play with Golden is amazing--your friendship will last forever. The way you appreciate Silas and love Pippa is beautiful to behold. You are free. You are filled with the songs of God. I love you more dearly every day. You are funny, intelligent, a thinker and a girl who loves to laugh all rolled into one. You love beauty. I love that about you. Your excitement in God's creation. Your sense of justice. Your quickness to obey. Sometimes I give you a lot to handle, firstborn, and you handle it all so gorgeously, I am amazed. May all your paths be love. May you feel God's presence strong this next year. You are beloved. You have nothing to fear. Love, your Mom

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rainy Day Shenanigans

Baby was hot and fussy with a fever all day; I was holding her in the wrap and trying to cook with my little boy clinging to my leg for dear life during today's thunderstorms. He wouldn't let go! ("I'm scared of the blunder.") So there I was like a car with a boot, galumphing around the kitchen while shouting cleaning instructions down the hall to the girls; the lightning was cracking and the lights were flickering threateningly, and the rain was coming down with record speed and fury. And thus I burned the vat of creamed spinach for the elderly. It is now smoked spinach. I wonder if they will notice.

Actually, the little koalas were not at fault for the demise of the spinach. I had decided to take a little break while the frozen spinach cooked down, to watch a rainy-day puppet show that Sparrow and Golden had prepared for me, and I was immensely enjoying myself while the spinach died a miserable death in a fiery inferno. 

Here is that show, for better or worse:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lives will be changed!

 Here is the project for this afternoon. Which I have wanted to get done for four months.

It is a master schedule for the family. I will be making about 7 of these, one for each day. Just kidding. But probably 2 or 3.

This is the schedule half completed--each color represents a different member of the family--yellow is me, and pink and purple are the older girls. (Most crucial to be scheduled gets scheduled first.)

Note that I bought a neat little foam poster board for this. And the schedule ran way off the board onto the table and down the side of it. That is my baby trying to get her sticky little fingers on my bedtime routine.

I eventually transferred it to the wall. It is an ugly wall piece but it is beautiful on the inside. Beautiful. All the possibilities of how it's going to transform our life are going through my brain right now.

Yes, that post-it scrap has a bite out of it. My baby likes to eat paper products. My, look at how dirty my floor is. And I am strangely unembarrassed by that.

Check out what I have in my schedule: Child Training! Most EVERY DAY!!! Update: I have been doing this for one day now and I had an AWESOME day. There was time for everything!!! Cleaning, child training, everything!! Nevermind that it is 2 am now. My computer play time doesn't really count.


Later we made these. Twix. Seriously. Without all the preservatives and chemicals. TJ's animal cookies with TJ's fleur de sel caramel and melted tj's semisweet choc chips. Put on a dirty old cookie sheet with a bunch of glitter stuck in the corner, (optional added effects contributed by children), and freeze. You will thank me. I apologize that they are about as ugly as sin, or is that my prehistoric cookie sheet? Thankfully it does not affect their taste either way.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Smiling Family Project

Today's QTiS (Quiet-Time in Shower) revelations:

1) Recording the smiling journey on this blog. Because joy is a thing that must infect the whole family. And I have failed so many times in the past at transmitting infectious joy... hang on, I think I have NEVER done this. My personality is in the natural more skeptical/ cynical. It is time to bring my children something concrete that we can all work on together. And that means letting go of some of that old identity (witty sarcasm) and putting on new things. The fruit of the spirit is love and joy. Oh I have love! I love Jesus, I love my family. But how is that translating to my little children when I mope around, shout, or complain? It must translate in JOY and all of the rest of the fruits of the spirit. (We will to go into all of these in-depth on later posts.) What if I don't wait for the feeling of joy to come? What if I start acting it out at every opportunity? Just yesterday I was asking the Lord for creative ideas, and for more of a joy breakthrough, and today He gives me this. So these are the pages where we will record this experiment. And invite others to join the smiling journey as well.

2) Simplicity. There are soooooo many things pressing in on us all the time. But instead of feeling guilty and overwhelmed about everything, ...I need to pare down. I need to focus on the simple things. No, I can't quit my obligations, but simplicity means no more feeling guilty that I have not yet dug up my ground for the organic garden, after 2 1/2 months of living here (and now it is midsummer and a lil too late for that anyway),or that the beautiful porch is a crazy mix of husband's tools, sticky, dried-up bubble dishes and broken kites, and latent garden supplies, oh and SHOES. No more guilt that though being a native German speaker, I have not managed to transfer this ability to any of my children, despite lofty intentions. No more feeling frantic that I am going to miss the deadlines for summer gymnastics and VBS, and guilty that my children have not yet had any sort of pet, oh yeah, and it is 11:15 and I have not started home school yet for the day; who cares if they don't get to take gymnastics classes THIS summer? At least they will have a smiling mother. Just smile. And breathe. It's OK to stay home. Just smile. And everything else will also fall into line, and also come more more Spirit-breathed, and simpler, einfacher. (See, I'm speaking German again already!) Take this journey in faith with me?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pippa is One

Our littlest turned one the other day...

One year olds are so fun to have a party for. They have no precedent, so they are not opinionated about how it's going to go!

We invited a few people we know, made sugarless black-bean-chocolate cupcakes, and decorated them with flowers.

Pippa ate her cupcake with a spoon.

She is adorable.

Pippa--You are a fearless princess, a smiling sunflower, making people laugh with the openness of your countenance, the unassuming lilt of your voice. You have delighted and amazed us every day of your life. You have the power of slowing down time. Because you are lovely. Holding you, breathing you in, is a retreat from the busyness and stress of the world. You add so much to our family. We are not perfect. Sometimes there are moments when everybody is looking out for their own interests and it's all going crazy. Then you do something hilarious and we all look at you and laugh, remembering the important things. You are important. You have the God-breath in you. YOU will change this world. You will go forth in confidence and in the authority of the Lord. Your song is fearlessness. Your song is freedom. Your song is of a heavenly kingdom.

Happy birthday, little one.

Silas the big brother, prepared with balloons!

Neighbors, friends, and the older folks, of course!
Lovely Lily holding Pippa--she is so sweet and amazing that way. All the Carter girls are! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

March and April...Say What?

Silas (age 2) had a taste of Daddy's beer, and then walked around all proud of himself, saying, "Daddy--gave 'em--BAER." -March 1

Silas is obsessed with motorcycles, and has several small play ones. For some reason he has taken to calling them "Mr. Motorcycle." The other day he lost one, and said to me, "Mr. MO-cycle is GONE." Then he walked around the house, calling softly, "Where AH you, yellow mo-cycle, where AH you?" -March 1st

Golden (age 4): "There's not only one children in the world. ...There's HUNDREDS." -March 1st

I was trying to put Silas down for a nap, and as he snuggled in, he said, "Sing Daddy's song."
me: "How does it go?"
Silas: "Daddy Daddy Daddy song, Daddy Daddy Daddy--I can't!"
me: Singing "Daddy Daddy" to the tune of "twinkle twinkle little star." When I finish, Silas, without missing a beat, says,
"Sing Go-den song." -March 2

Silas: "I'm munster" (monster)
me: "Munster cheese."
Sparrow: "Monster cheese, or cheese monster?"
Silas: "Monster hot dog." -March 5

Sparrow (age 6): "Bulls are addicted to red." -March 12

Talking about different creation theories, I told Sparrow that some people believe God made the world in millions of years. She says,
"Do some people believe God is only as big as this house, and that's why it took Him a long time to make a tree?" -March 12

Golden: "I know what 'blending in' is. If you're pink, and something else is pink, you can blend in." -March 13

Sp: "I can't find the tooth rinser." (cup) -March 16

It was the night of our move, and Silas had skipped his nap and it was late, and he was obviously overtired and feeling a little crazy with all the moving action. I put him to bed, and he was crying.
Silas: "I wanna go home."
me: "We are home."
Si: "Oh WHY?"
me: "Because God gave us a new home."
Si: "Oh WHY?"
me: "Because He loves us."
Si: "Oh WHY?"
He cried a bit more, then remembered something very important, "Oh wha- 'bout our CAR?" booohooohooo! me: "It's right outside, Silas. It's really OK." -Apr. 16 (LOL, so sensitive and cute!)

Si: "Mommy, guess what?"
me: "What?"
Si: "Car." -March 18

Me, working on computer.
Si: "Mommy, weee--going---to--beach."
Me: "We are?"
Si: "Mommy, turn 'puter off." -March 18 (Awwww! Single tear!)

Silas, mad about something, puts hands on his hips and says, "Who's--kidding--me!" -March 21

I was listing off the 5 love languages. Golden adds, "AND the YMCA!" -March 21

Si: "I LOVE Deutsch!" -March 21

Sp: "It'd be cool to have a cooker thing, cause you can make corn bread and you can wash dishes in it."
me: "What, you can make corn bread AND wash dishes in it?"
Sp: "Yeah."
me: "What the heck are you talking about?"
Sp: "A thing!" -March 24

Silas calls pancakes "Bake-bakes and flip-flops "foot-lops." Heeeheeeheee! -March 24

Si: "Mom, I'm coloring a snail AND a big, scary boy." -March 26

Sp: "I don't like going to sleep. I just don't like laying there, not knowing that I'm alive." April 8

G: "Mom, remember that 'yogurt' monster... uh... I mean, ogre." -Apr. 12

We went to Trader Joe's for the first time after moving out to Gloucester. When we entered the parking lot, Silas, said, "OH! We're HOME!" -Apr. 19

Si: "I wanna watch the um-cuter (computer) and I wanna watch dump trucks." -Apr. 21

Silas, to Golden: "We're to-lly best friends." -Apr. 25

Silas, to Daddy: "Guess what? ...You love me." -Apr. 25

Si: "Was trying to get a peanut butter sandwich, and then I want it." -Apr. 28 (and all the time!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

January and February Funny Thoughts

While I was getting everyone buckled into the car, Sparrow said,
"This would be a lot quicker if we had ONE child with four heads." -Jan. 6

Sp: "Oh my goodness! You're almost a hundred! ...I mean, I know you're only 30, but that really IS close to 99!" -Jan. 15

Golden and Sparrow singing,
"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her courage awaaaaayyyyyy...." (Oh dear.) -Jan. 18

Sp: "Mom, if we call Silas 'I, I' a lot, and then a pirate comes and says 'aye, aye, captain,' Silas will go RUNNING over, with a naked booty." (She wanted to name him II, because he's 2 years old. She was learning about Roman numerals.) -Jan. 19

me: "So the word 'erbse,' guess what it means? it means 'pea.'"
Sp: "Well I'm going erbse." (Runs off to the bathroom.) -Jan 19

Golden, very sick and wailing
me: "What's bothering you the most?"
G: "The crying."
me: "Oh! Good! Cause that's what's bothering me the most too." -Jan. 22

G: "Mom, God isn't afraid when He's by himself in the night. He always gives himself light. ...And to us." -Jan. 25 (age 4)

G: "Mom, I don't WANT to grow up and move away and make you wipe the table by yourself!" (crying) -Jan. 28

Sp: "Pippa is the champion of toothbrush-taking." -Jan. 29

G: "God has even more powers than Goliath." -Jan. 29

I am taking Golden to the bathroom at church and she sees a lady in the kitchen area setting out cookies. When I have to tell her that they are not for us, she responds, "Are they for the people who are hungry?" LOL--the connection: the congregation is singing, "we are hungry, we are hungry, we are hungry for more of you..." -Feb. 2nd

me: "Silas, you're such a pleasure."
Si: "No. I not eshr."
me: "No? What are you, then?"
Si: "I'm cuckoo bird." -Feb. 10

Sp: "Mom, I bet Ivy would be a very common name in Roman." (still learning about Roman numerals... IV. Haha.) -Feb. 15

G: "Mom, if I blow away with the wind all day, I would really miss you." -Feb. 20

G: "We don't want to become rich."
me: "Yes, we do."
G: "But then you will become a fatty."
Sp: "No, we won't... Only if we ATE all the money."
G: "Ew, but we can't crunch it."
Sp: "We wouldn't have to crunch it, only swallow it. ...But that would be fairly gross." -Feb. 23

Jeannie (Alias of one of our dear little Alzheimers ladies) says about Pippa, "She's so beautiful."
Silas, irritated: "No, he not! He's PIPPA!" -Feb. 23

I was telling the children that Daddy and I were going on a date the next day. Silas says,
"Yeah! Go Daddy on date! I LOVE Daddy on date!" -Feb. 24 (You should hear how he talks too. It's very halting, but he tries so hard to be sure to pronounce everything correctly. There should almost be dashes in between all the words. SO proud of him for suddenly saying just about everything!)

Sp: "Mom, in Felicity's time... Was it... unnecessary for a man to kiss a woman who wasn't married to him?"
me: "What do you mean by 'unnecessary'?"
Sp: "Not...polite."
me: "Yes. It was not polite."
Sp: "Is it still not polite?"
me: "...YES." -Feb. 28

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Silas the color king

I feel like my life is so crazy, busy, and disorganized right now that I don't have time to post nearly as much as I would like. Here is a sweet snippet from my yesterday. Silas is suddenly saying everything. He was saying not very much at all, and what he was saying was pretty badly mispronounced (only the last syllable of a word, usually--leaving out beginning and middle consonants). I knew he's get it eventually. And he did! He is so adorable now because he tries so hard to perfectly pronounce every sound. One day I was in the pantry with him and He was looking at the cans. Suddenly, he said very slowly and deliberately, "Beeeeeeeaaaaaaannnnnnns." Well it has just taken off from there!

One of my other favorite things he says right now? "Okay, Mom." He is just so sweet!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recently in the East

Sparrow informed me she wants to marry Zeke (Mahnken) and live next door to Golden when she grows up (after I explained to her that she can't, in fact, marry Golden. Or Silas. Or Daddy.) O.o.

The girls started swimming lessons at the YMCA (one of their Christmas presents) and they are both loving it! They are in separate classes due to different ages, but the time coincides, so they are usually in adjoining lanes! LOL. I even managed to work out during their 2nd week, for like a whole 20 minutes, in the GYM! I don't remember the last time I was in a gym. Probably when I was pregnant with Sparrow. Or before I was married. It was short-lived, however. That evening I slipped on our den stairs, and broke my coccyx! OW! ...OK, it's not really broken. I was trying to quote Napoleon Dynamite. Anyways, my tailbone hit the other stair right on the corner. I lay there and wailed like a bebe. And then I just lay there some more. I had spilled a cup of milk all over and Sparrow had to run and get a cloth to get it off the carpet. And go find the arnica gel. She was very worried about me, and Silas cried to see that happen to his mama! Cried! Then I got a bit grumpy, I hate to admit, and made them clean the floor since I couldn't move (awful, but the mess was adding to my stress.) Finally Thomas arrived home from work and life went on. Slowly. Golden had fallen asleep on the couch after swimming and had missed the whole thing and my husband was so helpful, even washing the food processor of his own initiative! Now there is a good man for you! It was painful even sleeping that night, but several days and several prayers later, it is feeling soooooooooo much better.

This morning, in fact, based on what we "caught" at church last night from Kevin Dedmon, the girls both laid hands on me and said the sweetest prayers! Sparrow prayed for no more pain and for the presence of God to come--such sincere, big words, and Golden prayed in the Holy name of Jesus, it made me so glad. And I DID feel a little better, I told them I felt about 20% better, and Sparrow was SO excited, she cheered! Now THAT is the kind of enthusiasm we need for healing!

Silas knows all his colors (or almost all)--finally! He may have known them for a long time, but the gift of language is finally coming to him, so now we know it. =) He says "uhp-ul." for "purple. So cute. He still usually leaves out the beginning consonants and puts glottal stops in between syllables, but we can understand him, and it's adorable! It's finally taking off. He is at this point like the girls were around 18 months. Every day I catch him saying something new. He says "Addy" and "Ammy" without the middle stop, as well as "Angy," which, as everyone knows, means "daddy," "mommy," and "monkey." =) He LOVES books and I enjoy my special time with him before his nap every day, when we read some "boy" books together.

Pippa sprouted her first tooth on New Years' Day, after I'd been singing this to her over and over the day before:

On the last day of the year you were born
On the last day of the year you were born
Are you gonna get a tooth?
Are you gonna get a tooth,
On the last day of the year you were born?

The 2nd tooth also quickly followed. WOW. 9 months. AND with it came more of an interest in eating. No baby food for this one, though, she prefers cheese sandwiches! Loves 'em. Can't stand baby cereal. Though she does appreciate butternut squash, avocado, banana. Round about the 9th of January she also learned to clap her hands! I absolutely LOVE this baby stage. Every time she hears anyone say "Yay!" she claps her hands! Toothy, clappy, and chappy-cheeky.

Golden can write her own name! It seemed s huge different after just a few weeks! Now she knows all the letters and is even doing them curly-style, like her sister. O.o. She signed her name in all the Christmas thank-you cards! I guess my work here is done. =)

On the evening of the coccyx event, it snowed. Our first East Coast Snow!!! Of course, the children missed it cause they were sleeping in bed, and I missed it cause I was staring at a computer screen doing work for my contractor job with MDB Media--which I love. Nonetheless, the way we find out things in our own backyards nowadays is via the internet (alas, modern world!) and I realized it had snowed when I read someone's post on Facebook that night! Doh!!! I looked out the window, and sure enough! Hahahahahaha! I had a magical window moment all by myself at about 12:30 a.m. There were about 2 inches of snow on the grass. The snow was heavily preceded by rain (days worth) and also followed by rain, so the girls informed me the next day that it was "crunchy," but hey. It was SNOW! And their excitement the next morning was beautiful. "I KNEW it would snow!" Sparrow gushed. She said she had kept trying to wake Golden to tell her in the morning, but Golden kept mumbling that it was only "jackfrost," and didn't want to get up. Finally she was convinced to look, and then you can bet she was WIDE awake! I love those little snow fairies. Now let's have a foot or so! I want to see it come down and I want to say, as in "Despicable Me," *IT'S SO FLUFFY!* ...Though in that movie, she was referring to a unicorn. =) My magic will be snow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

November and December Quotes

 Sp: "If someone tried to buy God, He'd cost more than the highest number anyone could count to!" -Nov. 14

G: "Mom, Jesus dies on a tree. But not the kind with leaves." -Nov. 15

Sp: "It would be horrible to not be alive. You can't even think when you're dead. The only thing I would know is that I was not alive." -Nov. 17

Sp: "Mom, I know the devil's not my dad, but if he were somebody's dad, he would be the most horrible dad ever, to his child." -Nov. 17

me: "Goodnight, Silas."
Silas: "'Ight, Mom."
me: "I love you."
Silas: "No." -Nov. 17
(I thought this was soooooo funny, because he barely talks at all. His dry "no." I wonder what he really meant. LOL.)

G: "Mom, there's more than one dad in the world."
me: "Oh yeah?"
Sp: "Yeah--there's more than 100!"
G: "Even there's one hundred and 99." -November 19

Sp: "Ugh, I feel car sick and I don't want to go over the really bumpely part."
me: "Well, it's only really bumpely if Dad's not looking at the road."
G: "Dad, please don't look at the road." -Nov. 23

G: "Daddy a little bit doesn't fit in the car with his hat on." -Nov. 25

G: "Not the food kind of chicken. The animal kind." -Nov. 27

S: "Mom, are the cells in my body waterproof?" -Nov. 27

me: "...So 'green' is just a way to say 'good for the earth.'"
Sp: "Worms are definitely very green." -Nov. 27

Sp, pretending to be reading a newspaper: "Golden! This is so sad! It says here that a police officer was killing a caterpillar, just because he was fuzzy. Says here, in this section. That's the caterpillar. Going to heaven." -Nov. 27

G: "She's being in the hidey-est place she can find, Mom!" -Nov. 28

G: "I can't walk over there, cause my feet might get pikely."(she meat "poked by pine needles." LOL!) -Nov. 29

G: "Mom, I want a pegasus named Vanilla." -Nov. 29

G: "I want that dress, remember?"
me: "What dress?"
G: " Remember? It was ugly, but I didn't think so, but you put it on me." -Nov. 29

Sp: "Mom, there have been *some* moments when I've forgotten all about my troubles. Until I remember that I've forgotten about them." -December 1

me: "Pippa is so cute! We are so lucky to have more babies than you can shake a stick at."
Sp: "Mom, if we had a MILLION twins at the same time, I would shake a rattle at one of them, and they would ALL try to attack me." -Dec. 2

Golden's poem, early December:
I will as I won't
I will as I will
I will as I won't as I will

"Mom, my favorite present in all the world, would be a dog and a cat. with mothers and brothers and sisters and babies." O.o. -Golden, Dec. 22

Sp: "When I was little I used to think that hell was like a gray room in a basement, and you went down the hall and then turned left and then went straight and turned right and turned left and turned right and went through a door, and there was the devil, sitting on a pile of trash." -Dec. 22

Sp: "My favorite present in all the world would be to be healthy."
me: "You ARE healthy. Let's praise God for your health. Thank you Lord that this girl is healthy!"
Sp: "I'm glad that's an early Christmas present." -Dec. 22

Sp: "Mom, winter is the time when things cost the most money, because the store workers need to buy presents, so they need high prices. –Dec. 23

G: "Daddy, when you grow up, are you going to be a great artist?" -Dec. 26

(I was sick and Silas was grumpy.)
Sp: "Mom, this life wasn't supposed to turn out like this, with our mama sick and our little brother screaming." -Nov. 26

"G: "Mom, I'm gonna tell everyone in the whole world what an idiot is. I mean, not everyone, but all our friends who don't know what idiots are." -Dec. 28

Sp: “Isn’t it amazing that there are millions of tiny cells in my body? And God is so big, his cells are THIS BIG." (holds up fingers to indicate the size of an olive) –Dec. 29

Silas: Silas is almost 2 1/2 and doesn't seem to feel the need to speak very much. His mind is mystifying me, cause he normally pronounces the ends of words instead of the beginnings. He is a cuddle BUG and usually wakes up with a huge smile, and comes in trailing his blankie in the morning. He loves to eat carbs and to follow his sisters around in their games. He loves reading, pointing out and saying the names of colors (the ends of them, anyways), and gets excited about all kinds of machines and trucks, of course. He is very conscientious about cleaning messes, always running for a towel when he spills something. He even empties his own potty and rinses it out!!! When we finally get him to go #2 in it, we'll have to discourage that, I suppose! Here he is on New Years' Eve, enjoying his bubble water.

Pippa: Pippa is 9 months old and just got her 1st tooth. She is a superfast crawler, sometimes stands up without holding on to anything, and has learned about CLIFFS of the stairs and beds variety--what a relief! Now she just perches patiently on the landing, if she's crawled up the 3 stairs in our living room--I don't have to emergency-dash to catch her so much anymore! She is a good sleeper and takes several long naps per day. Her cheeks are very round and rosy (or irritated, but it makes them red!) and we are all forever kissing her. She does some pretty good imitations already and loves to play  "flip" on our bed. It's fun to see her sense of humor come out. She definitely has her "mama" word down but also says "dada" and "baba" (for pippa). She frequently eats paper, and I have to do the heimlich on her like twice a day, man! Here she is eating my dress, trying to get me to stop making snowflakes of a Sunday morning.