As a mom, I feel a huge part of my job is to be an A+ student of my kids.  And this isn't my original idea, I'm copying my heavenly Father as the best parent out there.  He knows every detail of every kid of His (Psalm 139).  So as I study my kids, I find it helpful to find a Biblical character to match them up to, and then see how God deals with them.  

Stephen is a "Paul type".  :)  He's a by the book kind of kid.  Type A, competitive, spirited, quick to learn, quick to speak - and will push, push, push.  As an example, I asked him to set the table the other day.  

Stephen:  Mom, what do we need?
Me:  Forks.  Just forks tonight.
Stephen:  I think that the adults might need knives.
Me:  Yeah.  Ok.  2 knives.
Stephen:  And the kids will need spoons.
Me: No.  We don't need spoons.
Stephen:  Well, I'll just set them out.
Me:  I said no spoons.  
Stephen (after a while):  Spoons would be just right for this dinner.
Me:  No!  Stop asking about the spoons!
(a while into dinner)
Clara:  Mom, I really like to eat my rice with a spoon.  Can I get one.
Me:  *sigh*  Go ahead.

So when I look at how God dealt with Paul, it is spectacular.  He hit the guy with a blinding light, spoke to him with conviction, sent him to one he might have persecuted before to be healed.  Sheesh!  But look at Paul.  He got it.  In a major way, he got it.  He turned his life around completely - in 3 days! 

Since God has not given me the power to make a blinding light, we use flashlights.  Just kidding.  It is apparent that Stephen needs quick, decisive, reasoned answers to his questions.  That the right parenting for him would be to directly assess his heart issue and speak to it clearly and with purpose.  Anything else frustrates him and he swiftly looses his sweet and tender spirit.  

The other parenting tip Brian and I have gotten from God's dealing with Paul is to be sure that Stephen is being taught truth.  When Paul was Saul, he was taught truth with a twist.  All the truth of God, and the elimination of Jesus as the fulfillment.  Saul seized the twist and became one the most eager persecutor of Christians ever ... to the point of watching and ordaining stonings.  Saul makes me tremble in fear as a parent.  Brian and I are diligent watchers of what Stephen *thinks* he knows, helping him to process the millions of pieces of information thrown at him every day.  

Of course there is not a 1 to 1 match up for our kids with biblical characters.  It's just a tool we like and helps our story orientated minds.  We're still learning ... and as soon as we get it, they change!  Here's to trying!

Coming next ... Clara.


Dandelion Wine

A friend of mine recommended the book "Dandelion Wine" by Ray Bradbury.  I'm finding it an absolutely beautiful book.

Today, as we hung out inside because it's SNOWING - yes, snowing - I found a passage that brought me some hope.  
Who was the fool who made January first New Year's Day?  No, they should set a man to watch the grasses across a million Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa lawns, and on that morning when it was long enough for cutting, instead of rachets and horns and yelling, there should be a great swelling symphony of lawn mowers reaping fresh grass upon the prairie lands.  Instead of serpentine, people should throw grass spray at each other on the one day each year that really represents the Beginning.
In our Precepts class we've moved into Hosea.  As I long for the beautiful weather of summer, I find I'm looking at the nature verses a little harder.  A few years ago in a conversation with my brother Scott, I remember him saying something like "there's just something about the land.  I don't exactly know what, why, or how, but there's something about the way God loves the land."  He's totally right.  

Therefore the land mourns, 
And everyone who lives in it languishes
Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky,
And also the fish of the sea disappear.
Oh the land.  Sometimes it's the lack of something (in this case sunshine!) that makes me really appreciate it.  I love the relationship that we have with the land - and I'm sad that the relationship has resulted in its downfall.  I can't wait to see how wonderful it will be when it's back to it's original form.  Until then, I'm certainly convicted to be a better steward, and to be truly thankful for the sun when it shines, and the precipitation (let's just call it that) that helps the grass grow to mowing length.


Deer Ticks

Poor Clara has the worst luck.  

Last year in July she started having very weird symptoms.  It started with a rash, led to a constant low-grade temp, irritability, lethargy, and eventually joint pain.  It took about 6 weeks, but she was finally diagnosed via blood tests with Lyme Disease.  

It all seemed like a bad dream - a blip in her medical history, when we found another deer tick on her this morning.  Brian and I tried to get it out of her and only succeeded in beheading the bug.  We ended up at the pediatricians office where they extracted the head and gave us a prescription for antibiotics.

The doctor said "where do you live that she keeps getting these ticks?"  The crazy thing is that we've moved between episodes!  It ticks can have an attraction to anyone, it must be this girl.  This summer we'll have to be on the lookout.   


5 year old boys

Me:  Stephen, do you want to stay up and play with your legos for awhile?

Stephen:  Mooooom.  You don't play with legos ... you build with them.

Oh.  I see.  


Ode to Pajamas

Clara got a small hole in her favorite princess pajamas.  She was devastated.  So sad.  Fortunately, she got some princess Ariel pj's for her birthday from Noni.  Noni to the rescue!

I have to say that I completely understand her sadness.  My 'jammers' aren't as cute as Clara's, though.  In fact, every summer as I look forward to bringing out my comfy pj's, and my dear husband threatens to hide them permanently.  Why is it that the most comfortable clothes are the ones that are the least flattering?  I agree with him that these are pretty gross, but I can't go without them.  They go hand in hand with my exhale at the end of the day.

Anyway ...  comfortable clothes will always be close to me.  Unless Brian has his way .  Or they make the cute stuff out of cotton.  


Clara Beara Boo

To my sweet girl who turned 4 last weekend ...

We love you!  We love your beautiful smile, your beautiful heart, and your beautiful mind.  Not only are you outwardly such a pretty girl, it's amazing to us how you put effort on having a
n attractive spirit.  "Mom, I shared, that makes me beautiful, right?"  "Mom!  I know a kind word I could say!"

We love your thoughtful nature.  Your literal acceptance of everything.  "Mom, it must be Sunday.  The sun is out."  "Mom, that wasn't a bad dream.  It was an awful dream."
And we love having you in our family.  You get along with your brother and your sister so well.  Your gentle and non-competitive spirit have kept peace in our house, and kept your dad and I proud.

As you grow in so many ways, our prayer for you is that Jesus continues to "opens the eyes of your heart so that you can know the hope He has called you to" (Ephesians 1:18).  And we want you to know that "we thank God every time we remember you." (Ephesians 1:16).


What ails me

One of the little things that God is constantly teaching me about is comparison.  It's a little habit I found myself engaging in and it spread like a wild fire.  Pretty soon it became second nature.  

I think it started with my first baby.  Oh how difficult it is to not compare notes on first smile, first time sitting, first word, first tooth ...  how long did you nurse ... when will you loose that baby fat... on and on.  Then it moved to behavior.  Does he obey?  Is he kind?  Will he share?  Why is that mother so put together?  Why is that baby so easy?  Why does this seem to come naturally to everyone but me?

It was mostly about children at first.  Then, as I relaxed (a little) about that, the comparison spread to other areas.  Houses.  Time management.  Cleanliness.  Clothes.  Body image.  Talk about a nasty cycle.  And here I sit, typing this list, shaking my head at my own stupidity.

As the effects rippled through my family, my thought life, my friendships, I knew something had to give.  But how?  Changing a thought pattern is so difficult!  

When I went on a retreat for moms last fall, something finally clicked.  One of the speakers said, over and over, 

Comparison kills contentment.
Comparison kills contentment.
Comparison kills contentment.

And it has become my mantra.  As I occasionally slip, ok - not so occasionally, I have found help in this saying.  Then I turn it over to my good shepherd, Jesus, he helps me back to my feet, and gives me victory.  Hallelujah.  Contentment in the gifts I have - the many many blessings.  


Lions and Lambs

I'm going to miss out on the church baby shower this Saturday (it's Clara's birthday and Stephen's school carnival), so I volunteered to make the corsages.  Lots of times these include cute things like pacifiers, baby socks, little candies.  Since there are some kids who are adopted and a little older, I thought it'd be fun to make little finger puppets.  And I guess I've been a little saturated by the books I'm reading lately (Amos for Precepts, and A shepherd looks at Psalm 23) because they ended up being Lions for the mom's of the boys, and Lambs for the mom's of the girls.  

Turned out pretty cute, right?  The Lambs were a wreck until I called my super talented artist friend Melissa.  She gave me some GREAT suggestions and it helped a ton.  The absolute best part of this project was the smile on my husbands face when I told him that I did the entire thing from scraps and therefore cost NADA.  :)  I hope that the ladies like them!


My hunk of a husband, Brian, loves to get "word of the day" emails.  Occasionally he forwards one to me.  When I was studying to give a history lesson on Kings and Chronicles, I got this one ...