Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Grace Ceiling

Yesterday Renae wrote about God's unbelievable Grace and the pure and simple fact that He offers us Grace simply because He made us and He loves us. If you missed that post you can read it here: or just scroll down.

There are no conditions on God's Grace, yet we clearly put conditions on what we are willing to forgive. Why is that? Even though I don't belong to a denomination that rates sins on a scale of 0-100 or venial to mortal or whatever, I would be kidding myself and lying to you if I claimed that I didn't order sins. Some sins just seem worse than others. And those "worse" ones are much, much harder to forgive. At least, they're harder for me, or for us humans, anyway. They are no harder for God to forgive, in case you were wondering. A sin is a sin is a sin to God.

So as Renae pointed out, there are a multitude of situations throughout your daily life during which we, as humans, have to choose to be granters of Grace. And we probably don't even realize how often we are granting grace. If you have kids (umm...or a husband) I promise you it's a bunch.

But what about those "worse" sins? How do you go about forgiving those? Why would you even want to offer Grace to someone who has abused you? Where do you even begin? Often after a murder trial you will hear about the family of the victim publicly stating that they have forgiven the killer. WHAT?! I mean HOW?! And WHY would you even need to?!

The answer to WHY is painfully simple. BECAUSE HE FIRST FORGAVE US. We forgive because God forgave us. It's right smack in the B-I-B-L-E. There are SO many verses about forgiveness. I love this one:

Matthew 18:21-22        
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

What the heck? By my math (which is awesome these days because I teach it to 3rd graders...oh yeah...don't be jealous)that is 490 times. Ok, so He's not saying that's the exact number of times you should forgive. There's no Grace ceiling. But He's saying, you need to forgive as many times as someone sins against you. AS MANY TIMES. ALL OF THEM. He says it right smack in the BIBLE!

Ok, so now you're saying to yourself, "I get this. I know it's right. I can forgive people who do daily dumba$$ stuff that affects me or my family. But my human heart just can't offer Grace to an abuser or a murderer or a rapist. That's just unthinkable."

Well...I'm here to tell you that you can if you believe it's right. It all starts with a prayer...asking God to help you forgive. You have to understand from the beginning that you do this for YOU and not necessarily for the person who committed the act against you or your loved one. You have to forgive in order to heal and be a whole, healthy person.


I know this because I lived it. There's no reason for me to go into details right now, maybe some other time if I feel it could be of help to someone, but suffice it to say that I have experienced having a dad who was not 100% of the father I needed. I also went through a first marriage that was extremely abusive, more on the verbal and emotional abuse side rather than physical, but get the point. I had some of that "worse" stuff to deal with.

I can write those sentences without guilt, pain, anger, or hate because finally, after years of hurting, I chose to give it to God and offered them Grace. Only through asking Jesus to HELP ME get through this, He did. When I forgave, when I let it go, something in me changed. It was almost like a black cloud inside the middle of my body was blown through and out of me like a strong wind. And then it was gone and light just poured out of my soul and I was free again!

Does this mean that you continue to let someone hurt you? No, it does not. I could write a book for you on how to stay away from toxic relationships. But once the damage has been done, the key to healing is, I promise you, GRACE.

So what does this long, serious, not even one bit funny post have to do with training up hearts? Offering Grace is one of the most important pieces of character education we can ever teach our children. I can only hope and pray that my kids see me day by day offering the not-so-tough Grace in everyday situations. We talk about forgiveness and Grace and God's love and I hope and pray that it sticks. In the years ahead, there will be time for very serious talks on boundaries, respect, choices, and more. I will have many experiences to pull from, both good and bad. But what I know is this:


Praise God! He knows me! He loves me! And he works it all out in the end. My job is to try, TRY, to be a little more Christ-like each day and a little more of who HE wants me to be.

So go ahead, just start with a prayer. Let God have it. Let His Grace flow down until it washes over you and flows right over the person who has offended you, whether it was a 1 or a 10 or a 999. Let it go. Let your heart be free.

Matthew 5:43-48
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grace. And I'm not talking about your great aunt.

I woke up this morning with these lyrics in my head going over & over...

Amazing Grace 
How sweet the sound 
Amazing Love 
Now flowing down 
From hands and feet 
That were nailed to the tree 
As Grace flows down and covers me 
It covers me 
It covers me 
It covers me 
And covers me

Here's the link to the song. It's pretty simple but the words will resonate in your soul.

Fully understanding His grace is complicated. 

Why would our God love us despite all of our short comings? Why would He never leave us? How can He still have hope for our actions when we are constantly failing?


Plain & simple.


{We have gradually come to speak of grace as an inherent quality in man, just as we talk of gifts; whereas it is in reality the communication of Divine goodness by the inworking of the Spirit, and through the medium of Him who is ‘full of grace and truth.’” — Robert Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1871), p. 179.}

Communication of Divine goodness by the Holy Spirit. 

I like it. 

A lot.

It's interesting how perspectives change once you have kids. I had always tried to understand His love for me. I knew He did(does) & always will. But when I had kids it suddenly dawned on me.

The way I love my kids is the closest thing on this side of eternity to compare Christ's love for me. 
(Compare is a relative term because we can never really compare His love, humanly speaking)..

But think of it!!! You love your children unconditionally, yes?!? (Even when your daughter says, 'you're the most horrible mom EVER!! Or your son says 'I know you said not to poke my brother in the eye but I did anyway because his breath smells & it made me gag').

We still love 'em. No matter what.

Flip it around...

God still loves us when we yell 'why is this happening?' Or 'I disobeyed your calling even though I knew better!'

His love will never change or move or have conditions attached to it.

Grace. His grace covers me.

It flows down & covers my failures. 

Grace covers my tired body as I slip into bed and leave dinner dishes on the kitchen table.

His grace covers me when I lose my temper.

My sarcastic tongue is slathered in His grace & so are my judging thoughts.

And because I know this TRUTH I am held accountable.

To do better.
To try harder.
To love more.
Judge less.

You see these faces?!?

They remind me to be held accountable. 

Every word I speak that their ears can hear are absorbed somewhere in their souls.

Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24 CEB)

Every night before bed I (or K-dog) sing Amazing Grace with our kids as we tuck them in. 

Every night. 

After we pray over our children they ask for that song. 

I'm not sure when or how that started?!? But I'm so very thankful it did. It helps remind us to be doers of the Word. Giving grace to others.

'Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.' (James 1:23-25 NIV)


That friend who you were once close with but has pulled away and you aren't sure why. Give her grace.

The people at Lowes who put out witches near the front entrance who screech & scare your kids at Halloween (causing you to punch that thing silly to calm down your 3 year old). Give them grace too.

The rude guy in Kroger who jumped in front of you at the checkout line while your three year olds head was spinning (& you were thinking of grabbing your bible & performing an exorcism). Give him grace.

That early 20-something dude who dropped an F-bomb practically in your 8 year olds face at a football game. Give him grace too. (Then politely tell him to watch his language And REFRAIN from busting his mouth up with a left cross for the love of Jesus).


Jesus woke me up this morning straight up slapping me in the face with Grace!! 

He put that song in my brain. He gave me these words. 

And I'm praying I gain more understanding of His grace each & everyday.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's Just a Tight Rope and We All Gotta Balance!

Every day I wake up thankful I am able to stay home with my children. And then my mind ALWAYS wanders to the moms who work outside of the home. And I instantly want to high five them & kiss their faces because I admire them SO MUCH. I do NOT feel sorry for them or pity them or anything else that might come to mind. I firmly believe that there is no reason to judge a MOM in any circumstance. We are all individual women whom Christ created to be different & have different ways to raise a family. 

Ever since I was fresh out of the womb myself, I've wanted to become a mom. It really is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have four kids. I worked as a physical therapist assistant for 10 years before throwing in the towel to stay home full time. It was a transition, for sure!

My mindset  has changed drastically over the past few years as I've learned how to balance being a SAHM and still have an identity. Being home with your kids ALL DAY can be lonely. It can be isolating & frustrating. BUT, it is the most rewarding job I've ever had (most days... on occasion I announce early retirement but everyone usually ignores me).

Here are a few things I've gathered from being home all day:
1. I will never poop alone. For at least another 10 years. Good bye modesty.
2. The house will never be straight as long as we are home all day. Toys in the basket yell out to my children  & tiny tornados destroy my 'tidy-ness'. Get over it, eventually there won't be toys in the floor & I'll miss it!
3. Laundry multiplies in the washing machine, socks disappear, & then clothes vomit themselves  all over my bedroom. Which is helped along by tiny hands & giggling siblings who sling my underwear all over the house. (I'm not laughing). 
4. When I try & sit on the couch to eat my Bon bons (bc I thought that's how it would be?!!) there are all of these tiny little hands & feet climbing all over me asking me for some?! And someone usually has pooped & needs their butt wiped or has filled a diaper. 
5. The directv person or exterminator ALWAYS comes to ring the doorbell when you 'hop in the shower really fast'. Always. (Sending you in a frenzy of DONT YOU DARE ANSWER THAT DOOR, JUNIOR!!! As you half wash off the soap & throw some clothes on).

I've really tried to make sure I schedule time to interact with other adults. Seriously. Sometimes I go a few days and the only other adult I've talked to for a lengthy conversation is Kdog. Woah. THAT is unacceptable. 

I start my day corralling children to get dressed & eat breakfast just like every other mom. And I take kids to school & preschool. I pick them all up & in between I balance their naps, help with homework & make sure I feed them.  I am frazzled. I am happy! I am TRYING. 

It is a balancing act to be at home. It is a balancing act to have a career. But what we all have in common is the love we feel for our family. And that is what matters most. 

So next time I'm staring at you with a dazed look, I'm not judging you. I'm thinking how you probably peed alone today. And wishing I did too. On the flip side, don't want to punch me in the face because I made cupcakes today. You should know the baby was crying at my feet & my preschooler sprinkled napkins all over the kitchen. But,it's all good. 

It really is ALL good. He works all things together for our good...

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 NIV)

For me personally, I know I am right where I belong. I don't do any of it perfectly. Never will. And I'm ok with that. I TRY. And I LOVE. Really, I do. 

I am thankful. Very very thankful.  Thankful for a husband that does this:

So that I can sit down. For a minute. And silently pray for the energy to tuck in sweet faces while he washes the 'littles' stinky cracks & crevices.

I know one thing for sure. With The Lord at the center of your life you can do anything. And you can find JOY even if you wish your circumstances were different. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2, 3 NIV)

p.s. even when I find boogers smeared all over my van window beside my 5 year olds window, I'll have pure joy. Yes. Yes, I will!! (Bc it means he didn't eat them!!). Success.

It's 11:30pm. My husband and I just finished cleaning pee of our six-year-old's dresser. If you have children or if you've ever been a child yourself, I don't have to explain what happened. So far during these nighttime debacles we've caught him at the chair in his room and at the bathtub. This time we didn't make it in time to drag him to the potty. I walked in to find my husband on his knees, staring open-mouthed at a half naked boy peeing in the middle of his room. Poor guy never even fully woke up. He's sleeping peacefully at the moment while I type away on this laptop.

I don't have to be sitting here writing. It's been a long day and I probably should be in bed. But this is something that I want to do. This is something I get to do for me...and for you. I hope you find some comfort or some joy or some "thank goodness it's not just me" in my writing.

Today was long. It started at 6:30am with getting ready for work. Not to far from normal for most people. The morning continued with getting a five and six-year-old ready for school. (Actually, my morning starts the night before when we lay out clothes, sign homework folders, pack lunches and snacks, and make sure all is ready for tomorrow. I could not survive if I did not get most everything done the night before!!)

On a good day we are out the door at 7:45. Today it was 8:03. Still enough time to get to work on time, but not early enough to get anything done before my students arrive. (Praise Jesus that I only work three miles from home!! I cannot emphasize enough how much that has changed our lives!!)

As the three of us scurry into school I notice that Lauren's shorts pockets look funny. On closer inspection I realize her pants are on backwards.
Me: Who put on your pants?
Her: Me!
Me: Ok, as long as Daddy didn't do that. When we get inside, go to the bathroom and fix your pants.
Her: Ok!
We rush inside with a few minutes to spare. I wish I could remember the funny thing Evan did but it has slipped my memory for now. They walked down the hall, hand in hand, at 8:25 to the arms of their "other moms" until later this afternoon.

My students begin to arrive, handing me fundraiser booklets that will hopefully help our school to add new computers and other technological devices to our school. We need them. Collect lunch money. Take attendance. Answer emails. Crane our necks to try to hear the morning announcements from the class next door because our tv is broken and we can't watch the closed circuit news show. Say the pledge. Moment of silence. I pray.

We greet our friends in morning meeting. We learn about making predictions in reading. We start writing autobiographies. We read to ourselves and read to someone. Number bonds in math. Chip flip game. A tiny bit of computer time. Remediation for those who need it. Reading assessments.

Finally, we head to lunch. I greet 14 grandparents who have joined us for Grandparents Day festivities. I get trapped in the hallway trying to go to the restroom. Peek into the music room to make sure there are at least two adults taking care of a kindergartener who is completely melting down. There are three. Whew. I head back to the cafeteria. We eat. We say goodbye to our grandparents. Three students go home for the day. Wait...I need to count you again. Oh, one was already out sick. Ok. We're good.

PE time for kids equals planning time for me. Time to get ready for tonight's PTA open house. But...what? The prizes from the fundraiser are backwards? Who gets the bracelet and who gets the glow in the dark ring? Go to release something from the copier. Talk to a friend. Make copies. Fill out behavior logs and stuff Tuesday folders. Answer emails. Write down a few ideas for writing for next week.

Sprint down the hallway to pick up kids. Get to the classroom, line back up, head outside. Breathe. Kid with fire ant bites. Scout for fire ants. Kid squashes caterpillar. Other kids are upset. Observe Evan with his class playing on the other side of the playground. <3
Read text from my sister: I am in awe of you all (working moms). I don't know how u do it. I'm a mess without my mind being pulled elsewhere. (I'm bowing to you...) You can curtsy if you'd like. You don't have to tell people why you are curtsying if they stare...

I curtsied. Nobody stared. I giggled.

Assigned math homework (because we forgot during math). Started a social studies lesson. Ended early to get the room ready for PTA open house. That means we have to figure out how to catch up on social studies tomorrow. Put personal collages on the white board. Put writing samples and a math game on our desks. Tidied up. Passed out Tuesday folders. Tidied up some more. FORGOT to pass out the fundraiser prizes. Evan and Lauren arrived. Send carpoolers out. Tidied up some more. Realized it's impossible to tidy up with kids still in the room. Walked kids to busses. Cleaned up the mess my own personal kids made. Taped down conference schedule and fall carnival volunteer sign-ups to the table. Tidied one more time.

Evan says: Mom, on the bottom of my mouth, sort of under my tongue, it feels like I have an extra tooth. I looked. He does. At least, he has a dot of a new one super wiggly one! His first one! I say: The tooth fairy will be visiting soon! He smiles and lights up the room.

Text from church asking if I'm available to sing this Sunday. Have to check on that.

Head out to the car. Drive through Snoopy's for $0.99 hot dogs. Take them home and devour them. Grandma and Grandpa arrive. It's the first time I've seen them today, but not the kids. They had a nice visit at lunch. I find out that Grandma had taken both kids' lunchboxes home due to a ketchup explosion. I am thankful that I did not have to clean up a ketchup explosion right this minute.

I put on nicer pants and nicer earrings and say my goodbyes. Hop in the car. Have a nice chat with my friend who works with me on our way to open house. Go back out to my car because I left my phone. I have ten minutes to breathe so I read Renae's part of this blog. It's FUNNY! :)

One hour of parent visits. Good folks. Good kids. I am thankful. I feel at home. I say goodnight to the beta fish, the hermit crab, the aquatic frog, and the ant farm that will soon have residents. Lock up and head down the hall. Happy for five more minutes of grownup talk. Chatting about coffee, our kids, doughnuts, cancer, and out of town guests.

I go into the house to find happy children, homework done, and my husband walks in two minutes behind me. He's home at his usual time. We are led by the hands of our little ones to the breakfast nook table where we see this:

 Thoughtful in-laws gave us a celebration that we never would have had otherwise. :) Lauren cries because she thought the cake was for her matter that it was a month ago. Then Paw-Paw presents her with a Taylor Swift t-shirt that he and Grandma stood in line for hours to get from a radio promotion. The Grands say their goodnights and we thank them one more time. For everything. But one more thing...Did you know that Lauren's pants were on backwards when we came for lunch today? Ummm...
Text to worship pastor: Yes, I can sing on Sunday.
Text from friend who had job interview today: Yes, it went well.
Text from Renae: How are you still standing at this point?
Baths. Getting clothes ready. We're buying lunch tomorrow, kids.  Too tired to pack and nothing left in the fridge anyway. Looking through folders and double-checking homework. What does this note "bring slippers tomorrow" mean? We'll have to ask Lauren when she gets up in the morning. Oops, Evan erased his math homework. He'll have to do that in the morning too. And then there it was. Four "tests" stapled together. All 100%. All "S+". How is he this big? How does he have his first wiggly tooth and bring home his first spelling test on the same day? How did we get here?
The husband and I sit down at the dining room table together. I order the groceries online. (Praise Jesus for Lowes Foods to Go! Seriously.) Almost done...ready for bed...11:00. And we hear footsteps. We didn't make it in time. So we clean up pee from the dresser and the carpeted floor below, tuck a little boy back into bed. And we do this:
And I praise God for every second of today. We have worked hard and lived fully.
I am exhausted, but my rest lies in Him.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Do you have a Rathma?

In light of Grandparents' Day this past Sunday, we feel like you should know something. We have a Rathma.

What exactly is a Rathma, you ask yourself?

A Rathma is a white haired, loud, loving, inappropriate, free spirit, baking, cooking, non-compliant diabetic, 86 year old Granny.  

THAT is a Rathma. 

She's our maternal Grandmother. And you'll never get her confused with our Mom. They are night and day. Although they look A LOT alike, their personalities are NOT! 

That's her up there in that picture...aggravating Renae's 5 day old infant son last October. Hey there, five day old baby...wave at the camera. That looks perfectly natural.

Granny is flat out the most honest person we've ever known. And we're never really sure how we feel about that!!
(As in, "Honey, you've put on some weight, haven't you?" or "What did you do to your hair?" or "I never liked your dad anyway.")

She's the oldest of nine children. She had to be loud to survive!

She can, ehrrmmm, could (?) cook like nobody's business. We say 'could' because there was this incident about 'stinky macncheese' that happened once with one of Renae's kids. Apparently the Rathma used some rancid old cheese in her made from scratch recipe. (Why look at an expiration date? Who has time?)  And we do recall a chocolate pie that tasted like salt & dirty dish rags...I mean, she's 86. 

But all of our lives Granny, aka 'the Rathma-nator' fed us some of the most amazing home cooked food that she made from her soul. She FEELS food. She is passionate about food and feeding people. It makes her spirit sing. It's how she loves others.

SHE makes OUR spirits sing.
RENAE: When I think back to my childhood I remember her making me laugh a lot (by farting really loud in grocery stores), taking us shopping, teaching me how to properly slice a loaf of bread (DON'T smash it, honey. Don't be angry at it. Just gently press & saw away with a SERRATED knife, honey. Serrated. Go get one at Sam's club. They have the best deal.). 
DENYSE: I spent a lot of time with Granny while I was growing up. The oldest of three kids, I often needed the extra attention that only grandparents could provide. Granny worked as a chef in a hotel restaurant. She was up at 2:30am daily in order to be at the restaurant by 4:30. She never complained once about a seven year old who would call her at work and ask to be picked up to spend the night later. As long as she had the next day off she would say yes. And I called her a lot. Those were some of the best days that I can remember. I will never forget those times, sliding into the front seat bench of her enormous brown sedan with no seatbelt, headed down the highway with the mountains in view.

RENAE: She also goes to church with us on occasion. She loves Jesus. But you know what she also loves? 

She loves to pinch people's butts as they cross in front of you getting out to the aisle. IN CHURCH. She barely had met one of my good girlfriends. Pinched her tookus during prayer as my friend was getting up to go sing a special.

When I think of her I always giggle.

My kids ADORE her. We live 5 minutes from her house. She fixes them stinky cheese meals & homemade waffles (which are still amazing). She bosses them around & tickles their tummies. 

DENYSE: The biggest lesson I've learned from her is generosity. She would never keep found money. If she came across a five dollar bill in her house or in her car, she would hand it to the nearest person to her. This was to our delight of course. She was forever buying things for others. Once in college I dated a boy who was obviously struggling to make ends meet. Out of nowhere appeared shoes and clothes for him. To this day she will hand me a wad of ones and fives when I visit whether I need it or not. "Just a little gas money," she says. Just a little extra Rathma love, I think.
And never will she send you away without a loaf of homemade bread. But NEVER, I say, NEVER INSULT HER BREAD WITH MARGERINE!! Real SALTED butter, only, please.


She surely played a big part in training up OUR hearts. Helping us see there is a silver lining. Giving more than anyone we've ever known. Preaching to us, 'you have GOT to LAUGH, honey!!' 

We are thankful for those qualities. 

Granny is a mess. 

A bold, honest, jovial, wobbling, feisty, mess.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother (sister), because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7 ESV)

And so, THAT is a Rathma. Do you have one? In the South we tend to parade our crazy folks around with pride. We submit that there is no crazy here...but by all means some very lovable eccentricity to be enjoyed and from which to learn.

We feel like everyone has at least a little Rathma in them. We know we do. And for that we are thankful.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Fairest of Them All

I may as well introduce you to Lauren first, because if I don't, she'll introduce herself anyway. Everywhere we go it's the same thing, "Hi, I'm Lauren. What's your name?" It doesn't matter your age, your color, or your gender. She is an equal opportunity greeter. I think I taught her that, but deep down I'm pretty sure she was made that way.

This child literally kicked herself into this world. I kid you not. The doctor said they don't see that too often. It's certainly not something they mention in the mom books you read while you're pregnant. It was surely a sign of things to come. This child, at 39 weeks and one day gestation, commandeered her own delivery. Clearly, she is predisposed toward leadership. Or dictatorship.

The beautiful thing about Lauren is that she is all of my best qualities times ten. She's personable, she loves to sing and dance, she reads like a first grader, and her perception about everything in life is unbelievable. Then take all that wonder and wrap it in enough sixteen-year-old drama and angst to make your mama faint. That's my girl.

And she is going to change the world.

I love her questions:
"Mom, how do smells travel through the air?"
"When we die and go to heaven, then where do we go after that?"
"Why do cats poop in a litter box?"

I love the way she can make any words into a song. As in:
Little girl from the pool: Ariel does not have a tail. She's the one with the yellow dress.
Lauren: Yes, she IS the one with a tail. She's a MERMAID.
Little girl from the pool: No. She's not.
Me (to avoid blows): Yep, I think she actually is a mermaid. The pretty one is the yellow dress is named Belle.
Lauren (bustin' out in song and finger snaps in front of the girl's face): Listen to my mom cause she knows what she's talkin' about! Yeah she knows what she's talkin' about! Yeah! Yeah!
Little girl from the pool: *swims away*

I love the way she walks on her toes and dances EVERYWHERE. I love the way she can change into a dress-up outfit in under two seconds. And I love that she always, always wants me to sit in her chair for a few minutes while she falls asleep. I know I don't have much more time on that one.

The way that my husband and I came to the decision to send our children to public school was much different than my sister and brother-in-law's decision. Quite frankly, we weren't nearly as brave. My children go to public school simply because I have to work.  The financial aspect and the logistics of it all make it a no-brainer for us. Of course, when I step back and look at this from heaven's perspective, I can see that it's just part of God's plan for our family. Were finances not a piece of the puzzle, I would most likely opt to homeschool my kids. But the catch is, I don't work just anywhere. I work AT MY KIDS' SCHOOL! I have one of the best privileges in the mommy world as far as the work-home connection goes. My kids walk into the building with me at 8:00am and walk out with me at 5:00pm...or 5:30...or 6:00 or whatever it needs to be. They are there and they are never further than a walk down the hallway.

So when that little Lauren walks into kindergarten today, it will be into a classroom with two ladies that I already know and love. And they already know and love her. And at the end of the day her brother will pick her up from the kindergarten room that he just graduated from last year and will walk her down the hall to my classroom. And the tears will come anyway. Not so much tears of sadness because my baby is so big. My last baby is starting kindergarten today. But tears of THANKS for the miracles along a long, winding road that led our family to our school.

God knows what He is doing, even if we don't. And if we try our best to listen and follow his plan, the reward is tenfold. I got this one right and I praise Him for my blessing!

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:5-8



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kindergarten Crazies

This week my sister & I send our second borns to kindergarten. Both whom happen to be heavily spirited & gifted in song & dance at inappropriate times. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Benny P.

Benny P is my second born. He is starting kindergarten today. He came in to this world three days before Christmas.  And quite frankly he is a GIFT. He was the easiest baby. Fit right into our family like he had always been here. It was dreamy. And whimsical. 

Then he started to talk.

And well, he has never shut up. Seriously. 

He talks to doorknobs, flowers, his siblings (to their dismay), & complete strangers at the check out line in the store...."HEY!!! My dad is out of town until Thursday!! And my FULL name is B-E-..." <----- so please come and steal my children in the night & egg my house. (that is one of a few times I've contemplated selling him to gypsies)

He is the funniest kid. The family comedian. He inserts the word poot in to any sentence he can & is so inappropriate sometimes that it's hard to keep a straight face. He's notorious for making up words if he doesn't know the answer (I feel like this trait comes from his father. Kdog.). He told the teacher at his Kindergarten interview when showed a rectangle....'oooh. I know that. That's a Rectile."  I'm sorry if you didn't find that funny. You can stop reading if you need to. The other day he was trying to remember my friends name (who also happens to be my best friend from elementary school. Huh?! That's completely weird.). Anyway, he says, "Oh, yeah...Panera is coming over." (her name is Tara). 

I can't believe Benny P is starting school. 

I somehow just don't understand how much time has passed & he can't possibly be old enough for school. Wait, that may be due to me having four kids. Or something. I may have been in a few mini comas after each baby was born. (and I don't say that to make fun of comas. Because anyone that knows me RIGHT after having a child knows that I am straight up delirious & slightly frightening for a good three months).

Ok, now I need to really lay it out there. 

Having children in public schools is frightening. But it is also important. Kdog & I went round and round about homeschooling. And these words have stuck in my head like no other words I've ever heard:

"Renae, there are lots of things we want to protect our children from in this life. And they are going to see & hear many things that we don't do or say in our home.  But these other kids need our children. Our children are a LIGHT in a dark world. Our children are going to be the hands & feet of Christ. It is our job as parents to instill in them AT HOME the love of CHRIST. It is our job to teach them right from wrong. It is our job to equip them with the knowledge that Jesus is the way, the truth & the life. And then we pray. We pray LONG & HARD and never ceasing that they stay on the path that Christ created just for them & that they teach other children how to follow Him too."

Oh dear heavens. That right there sent me on a romantic spiral. I went from seeing red to seeing silly hearts & giggling like I did when I was 15 and falling in love with him all over again. 

He was on to something. And as much as I wanted to fight it...I knew that Kdog was right. (yeah yeah yeah...kdog. you WERE right. pfssssssst.) blah blah blah blah. 

I mean, these are words FROM JESUS. 

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Now, let me clarify. This is OUR family's choice. I have no problem with homeschool.  Love it. And if for some reason one of our children needed to be home schooled because of various circumstances then we would do so. But, for our family, and our children currently, we choose public education. (until Benny P gets kicked out for talking too much & using the word poot in too many sentences. "hey, Merry Pootmas"). 

Seriously, there are going to come many trials from our children. And Benny P, our Christmas gift, is on the top of the list for causing me ulcers & a glass of red wine in the evening. WHAT?!?! Oh my word. I love JESUS & I drink wine. (and beer). Or whatever. The catch is...I don't abuse it. But, that's an entirely different Loooooong wonderful post that will happen eventually. 

I have a case of the Kindergarten Crazies.