Just Heard Thursday

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It’s Thursday again and we have been collecting some of the funny things we heard our kids say this week.  We would also love to read about what your kids are saying too.  We just get such a kick out of posts like these.  Here is some of what made us smile this week:

(A Conversation at night tucking Rylee in for bed…often the best times for talking with her)

Rylee: “Mama, tell me what things you love about me”

Mama: “Wow, a lot of things…(I go on to list about 15 things I love about you)”.

Rylee: “Okay, now tell me some things you don’t like about me.”

Mama: “Well, I don’t like it when you talk back to me or when you-“

Rylee: “Nevermind, I don’t think this was a good idea, it might make me sad.  Can you guess who my girl friends are?”

Mama: “Thera and Chloe and Payton.”

Rylee: “Yes, and can you guess who my boy friends are?”

Mama: “Yes, Thomas, Aidan, Jake, Tommy, Zack, Adam, Aydin, Cole, Reese-“

Rylee: “That’s enough. But what about my best boy friend?”

Mama: “I don’t know. Who?”

Rylee: “I’ll give you a clue. He’s big, so big. He made the whole world. He’s everywhere.”

Mama: “God?”

Rylee: “Yep. It’s him.”

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Caleb:  Why is there hair in the shower?

Rylee:  Because mommy is losing her hair.  It’s falling out all over.

Caleb:  Why is that?

Rylee:  She’s just losing it!

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Rylee:  When people try to escape from prison, what happens?

Mama:  There are guards at the gates of the prison to keep them in

Rylee:  Do they have guns?

Mama:  Yes.

Rylee:  So if people leave they shoot at them?

Mama:  Well, maybe they might.

Rylee:  What do the guns shoot?  Do they shoot out labels?

(you might be wondering why Rylee thinks guns would shoot labels…around here, every once in a while there is one label gun that gets used extensively…click here for more details)

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Rylee:  Caleb guess what?  It’s dinner time and I’m still wearing my jammies and I’m not wearing any pull ups or panties!

Hysterical laughter ensues.

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Mama:  Why does the food that’s bad for us taste good?

Caleb:  Salt.  Lots of salt.

(this following a dinner trip to McDonalds in desperation)

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What have your kids been saying lately?  Leave some quotes in the comments below, or post them on your own blog and link back here.

Happy Thursday!

Pj’s and hats

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What's that? Did I shave the middle section of my bangs with my dad's shaver? Um, no-why do you ask?
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Our friend KT brought this fun hat back from Central Asia, the kids are all loving it-thank you K!

The girls in their ballet jammies-Rylee makes sure they wear them on the same nights!
The girls in their ballet jammies-Rylee makes sure they wear them on the same nights!

A book review: The Mom Walk

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Sally Clarkson is one of my favorite mom-ish writers.  In moments of desperation I have bought many kinds of parenting books.  I probably have 15 or 20 at this point.  Most of them have been started but not finished.  It is a rare day for me to finish a book.   My friend Kim gave me a one to read several years back called The Mission of Motherhood. I read it, skimmed it, didn’t really get all of it.  I knew there was a great deal of rich truth in it, I just was so new to the journey and was quite possibly fairly overwhelmed with a firstborn who had significant health problems and a new baby who was extremely challenging in other ways.

About two years ago I read another one of Sally’s books, The Ministry of Motherhood.  I finished it in two weeks.  It resonated so much with the heart that God was beginning to develop in me for this new task of parenting. About that time  someone very close to me, whose opinion mattered greatly to me, told me something I’ve not been able to forget.  We were talking about a family member and another woman in our lives.  She said the same thing about them both.

“They have poured themselves so much into raising their children. They have given everything they have.  They haven’t made time for themselves to do other things.  I wonder if they even know who they are anymore. ”  But it was said with such a disapproving tone.  One that communicated volumes to me.  It told me that the investment they made was somehow not enough.  That they needed to be also working at a ‘real job’, volunteering at church, taking up hobbies for fun, signing up for graduate school, something more.  It left me feeling like I didn’t measure up to her standard and that somehow I should be able to have both worlds.  Hobbies, work, volunteering, school and mothering too.

I was seriously thinking about quitting working my part time job at the time.   I didn’t do it for a long time.  I wanted to be able to ‘maintain my own self and life’ to ‘earn money and contribue to our finances’ and to ‘get another degree behind my name’.  My marriage suffered.  My kids suffered.  My heart was split down the middle.  Working with a needy population as a social worker.  Taking care of 3 kids 4 and under.  A husband in a challenging ministry position that meant our life was observed by a lot of people all the time.

I finally did quit working.  When I did I felt like I let so many people down.  I could not do it all.  I could not have this great job and raise these sweet kids and serve at church and support my husband the way he needed me.  I simply couldn’t do it.  In those overwhelmed, trying-so-hard-to-live-up-to-it-all months I heard God whisper to my heart over and over…they need your whole heart, you have to let it go, trust me to provide for you, let go.  This job was something I adored.  It was fulfilling, I saw people’s lives changed, I could provide tangible help for them.  I was proud of the 7 years I spent doing it.  It broke my heart to move on.

This may seem like a big tangent from the book, but all this to say that Sally’s perspective on mothering is unique and bold in that she is not afraid to speak to the issue of mom’s being at home and raising their children.  I am quite sure it has cost her, it isn’t a popular opinion.  But it’s what God has spoken to her heart and it is powerful.  The Mom Walk was refreshing and just the reminder my heart needed for where I am at.

If there is one area almost all mothers I have ever talked to complain about, it is how inadequate they feel to fulfill their roles as good mothers…There are so many standards they feel they must live up to….Our teeth should be white, our bodies tight and sleek, our clothes ever hip.  Our house must be straight, organized and decorated as perfectly as a Pottery Barn catalog home.  Nutritious homemade meals should be an every night affair.  Reading to our intellectual children should be a daily habit after we’ve hosted stimulating devotionals….this is a recipe for discouragement and depression.

When I am accepting the limitations of my life and learning to dance through each day because of the joy I have from being accepted by God, my attitude helps fill their cups and make them feel that they are a part of a happy home…it sets a tone of love and joy in my home that feeds their own hearts with life and love.

Goodness, this has gotten too long.  All this to say, it’s taken four children but I am learning to let go and to walk confidently in the role God’s given me for this season.  I didn’t apply for grad school, I didn’t keep working at the job I loved, I didn’t keep giving of my time at church, I didn’t limit God’s plan for our family to include two children like I thought I wanted to, I didn’t pursue new hobbies or even keep up with old ones,  I didn’t keep slaving away in efforts at top notch cleanliness, I didn’t do a lot of things I felt great pressure to do.

But I am doing the things I’m supposed to be doing right now.  I am spending my days with four energetic little loves that amaze me and bless me and exhaust me.  I am loving my husband the best I know how.  I am trying to simply love and bring life to whatever people cross my path every day.

The books I’ve read of Sally’s are the most written in, loved ones on my shelf.  They speak deeply to my heart.  They have encouraged and equipped me to do what I am doing right now…trying to get wild crazy boys to sleep without biting their heads off in the process.  Choosing relationships with my children over rigid rules is a overriding theme in her books and it’s one that is continually shaping the way I interact with my kids.

Sally’s blog is always a blessing too, it can be found here.

Just Heard Thursday

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It’s Thursday again and we have been collecting some of the funny things we heard our kids say this week.  We would also love to read about what your kids are saying too.  We just get such a kick out of posts like these.  Here is some of what made us smile this week:

Kyler – “Mama, put Audrey in here.  I wear Audrey.” (as he was putting Caleb’s Thomas the Train backpack on his front, like a frontpack for babies).  Karissa is certainly proud of this one.

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Rylee – While she was playing outside in the setting sun, I can hear her singing to her herself…”My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save.  Jesus conquered the grave, He is mighty to save.”

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Kyler – “I go couch-I hold Audrey.”  This was maybe the fourth time that we have ever heard Kyler audibly tell us  that he wanted to hold Audrey…so it had to make the list!

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Caleb – (to Audrey this morning in a very sweet voice) “Don’t bite my toes.  You know better than to bite my toes Audrey.  This cheerio is good to bite.  You can bite this but toes are not good for biting.  You know better than to do that.  This heater is off limits Audrey.  It will burn you.  You can go here or here but not here.”  I am so tickled to hear him looking out for her like this.  He still doesn’t interact very much with her.  It was darling.

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It has been a long week already and I can only think of a few to share with you.  You guys will have to pick up the slack…what have your kids been saying lately?  Leave some quotes in the comments below, or post them on your own blog and link back here.

Happy Thursday!

House church-take one

Here are my observations from our first night of our house church:

My kids waited expectantly to ‘sing the songs together’ and I loved watching them observe, take it all it, sit on Chris’ lap as we worshipped.  So different than sending them to children’s ‘church’ and picking them up later.

I didn’t have to wear shoes.  My son took his shirt off.  And that was okay.

My husband was functioning in the gifts God gave him.  He was happy.  He is happy.  More so than he’s been in many years.  That is one of the best things in the whole world to me.

We shared a meal.  I like this.  I always like food and food+people I especially love.

When Chris is sharing some thoughts (and recording them) and Caleb goes to the bathroom without shutting the door it is loud.  And it is on tape too.

I got to act out a Bible story with the kids, my kids tried to drag me across the floor to get me to Jesus, slightly painful but fun.

Also during my time with the kids, we built a big fort.  Called it a church.  Talked and hung out in there for quite a while.  It was hot.

I asked “where are the people?”

They said “what people?”

I said “the people who don’t know Jesus’ love and hope.”

The kids said “not here.  nobody else is here.”

I asked if our little neighbor friend was here.

“Nope” they told me.

“Well, then what are we doing here?  Let’s take Jesus out of the building and share His love with everybody we know.”

This is the reason I am excited about what we’re doing.  The spilled root beer all over my carpet, I can deal with that.  The mess of dishes in my kitchen right now, also okay.  The mini-meltdown from my son during singing, made me sweat a bit but that’s okay.

What I can’t deal with is people all over the place who are broken, hurting and hopeless.  I can’t ignore that.  I can’t pass that by.  I want my life to be given to others in such a way that compassion and encouragement flow continually from my mouth.  I want to share life and hope.

The tricky part for me is doing that at home.  It’s easier for me to lift up others, share kind words.  But when it comes to the home front, it’s so much harder.

I complain rudely about what’s not done around the house instead of giving thanks for what has been done.  I cry about not seeing my husband instead of appreciating how hard he’s working to provide for me and our children.  I snap at my sister about something stupid like pop cans instead of being grateful she shared her soda with us.  I blow my top in the middle of Fred Meyer when my son says a bad word (that he learned from a little friend) instead of taking a deep breath and realizing he has no idea what he’s actually saying.  He is 4.

Life, real life totally gets in the way of me being the person I want to be.  Poop, dirt, tantrums, mean words, whining, lack of sleep, not having a daddy around as much as we’re used to, rainy days inside, spilled food, the wrong food….all these things make it so much harder to be nice.  To offer hope.  To share compassion and a soft word.  That is so very lame but it’s true.

I actually have been putting on my to do list each day, things like laugh more or hug the kids 4 times today or smile. Why?  Because life is darn hard.  I can hear you now “Crazy lady, you’re the one who had the four kids!” or “At least your husband HAS a job.”  or  “Quit complaining, someone always has it worse than you.”  None of those are my point though they are all true indeed.

Life is just hard but somehow in the midst of it all, I am so desperate to enter in to the peace that only comes from one place.  The peace that calms my days that should be out of control.  The peace that allows my heart to rest when it’s still hurting and grieving the many losses as we’ve moved on from our old church home.  The hope that I’ve begged God for and He’s been faithful to pour out even when I didn’t believe that He could.  The grace to get out of bed and cook another breakfast when all I want to do is sleep.  For three days.

All this to say, I want to share the real, hard, this-is-the-real-me life with some people.  Not 2, 000 people like where we’ve been.  A houseful of people that can see my dirty toilet and still call me their friend.  That is what I’m excited about.