Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Keeps Me Laughing...

These boys....

Just to warn you up front, this might be a post for grandmas or those who know the boys super've been warned.

Some days I get so caught up in the mundane...the laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting....wait... no, not dusting.  That never seems to occupy too much of my time.  But I digress...the mundane.  And I forget to take some time to really enjoy my boys for who they are and the blessings they are to me.  So I thought I'd take a few minutes to record how they've been making me smile these days, and sometimes even laugh out loud (that's lol for all you who learned to read by texting).  Anyway.....

- Their sweet faces and snuggles (mostly the senior one...junior doesn't sit still for long enough).

- The ice skating parties they have in their slippers on our kitchen floor that usually ends with someone bawling because they were bowled over.

- My orthodontic retainers found in the toaster oven.  (Thanks, Micah!)

- To go with that theme...the matchbox cars found inside the cover to our couch cushions or his used milk cups back in the cupboard. 

- These ridiculous hats they got from "da bery nice man at da Bwew Store" (aka Walmart).  Even a few days later I'm hearing from the big boy, "You know, mom, he sure was nice!"  And now they're wondering when we're going to visit the Statue of Liberty.  Think I can dodge this one by going back to visit the Liberty Tax Service guys?

- Micah, seemingly in an effort to be more efficient, trying to feed himself by pushing his food through his belly and directly into his stomach...gotta wonder what's going on in that little head.

- Will freaked out that anyone would eat a cucumber..."Moooom, Larry Boy's a cucumber!" (Currently the favorite super hero of the Schmidt house.)

- How I find half eaten waffles all over the house because the little one steals them and eats them...frozen.

- This scene I happened to walk in on with the suspect nowhere to be found...I have a pretty good guess, though.

- The incredibly detailed descriptions I get of each type of Angry Bird with what they look like and what their special powers are from the eldest...just a testament to this boy's memory.  (Don't worry, he gets no greater than 30 minutes of screen time each day!)

- Micah telling me in his sweet raspy voice that, "I'm oh-kaaay..." after every tumble he other words 30 times a day.

- Even Micah, for reasons completely unbeknown to me, yelling down the stairs while I'm doing the dreaded laundry, "Momma, if you don't wisten, you're gonna get a spankin'!"  I didn't let him see me smile at this one...we had a talk about things you don't say to momma.

Ahhhh, life with two little ones.  Just taking time to stop and smell these roses, because they'll be grown before I know it!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Me? A Teacher? Me?

Whew, it's been a while.  Haven't had much to write about lately...or at least nothing I'd consider worthy enough to take the time to write.  On the other hand, that's never stopped me before.  Hmmm...  Well anyway, I finally decided to crawl out of my hole to give an update on what's going on around here. Sitting on the edge of your seat, weren't you?  I know.

Well, it's official.  This past week was the grand opening of the Schmidt Academy for Boys (a borrowed, adapted title from a friend - thanks!).  Yup.  We did it.  We took Will out of the school he was in and started homeschooling.  Did I just write that?  Now it's really official if it wasn't before.  **Gulp.**  Me.  A teacher.  Me.  Ummmm...did we really think this through?

Truth is we've been praying a long time about Will's school situation. Public school?  Private school?  Me?  A teacher?  Me?  What were the other options again? 

Well, after a lot of praying and anxiety and considering Will and his needs (that I'm sure I've blogged about...check the archives), we decided to go with public school.  With his special needs, we felt that would probably be best for him because of the access to services like speech and such.  So after a lot of worrying...a lot...he started kindergarten and guess what...he did just fine.  But as the year went on I started to recognize some things about both he and I.  Things that weren't completely apparent before we started the year.  Woah, woah.  Wait.  Let me back up a little bit.  Back to the the only parenting manual we have.  Back to the Bible.

What does God tell us about how we are to raise our children?  About how we are to teach our children?  What is our role as "parent" supposed to look like?  You don't have to do a deep and thorough study of the Bible to figure out that God thinks it's important to teach His Word to our children.

Proverbs 22:6 says: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. 

Or from the new testament: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Okay, so teach the Word of the Lord to your children.  When?  Sunday morning?  At Wednesday night Awana?  Well, that would make things a whole lot easier, but I don't think that's really what He had in mind.  Right after Moses finished presenting the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, he gives further instruction on what are to be done with them.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6: 6-7)

So not just Sunday morning, Lord?  This looks like...well, all the time.  Hmmmm.  This is going to take some intentionality.

Intentionality.  Do you know Gregg and I?  We can be passive.  Procrastinators.  Uh....lazy.  We've had to do a lot of backpedaling in the area of intentional parenting.  Because of this, the significance of this role has weighed on our hearts with seemingly greater intensity.  Our eyes were opened and we were given a burden for the hearts of our children.  Sound stupid?  Are you asking yourself, "How can you not have this burden the day you become a parent?"  Did I also mention we're selfish?

So back to the present...Will...public school.  Fine.  We'll just continue to teach him the ways of the Lord around that time.  No big deal.  Or so I thought.  Here's where I began to learn a little more about my first born.  Will in all day kindergarten = mentally exhausted every evening.  No time for math games.  No time for reading, and that includes the Bible, folks.  And here's where I begin to learn a little more about me.  Martha with a wiped kid who doesn't want to do anything at night = okay, we don't do anything at night.  The Bible is saved for Sunday and Wednesday.

Over the past few months, the Lord has laid this on my heart with increasing measure to the point where there wasn't a day that went by without me thinking about it.  In fact it was coming to mind several times a day.  Lord, what do I do?  The answer seemed so clear...homeschool.  This was such a foreign thought to me because anytime it had ever come up before I immediately dismissed the notion.  Me?  A teacher?  Me?  Uh, no.  But nonetheless, here I was considering it.  I brought this to Gregg really without knowing what he'd think about it.  We'd never been die-hard homeschool-minded.  Both of us went to public school...there's nothing wrong with us. (Keep your comments to yourselves.)  To my slight surprise he wasn't outright opposed.  So we prayed about it and decided at this point in time we should give it a try.

So that's where we're at.  Me.  A teacher.  Me.  We have one week under our belts and we haven't killed each other yet.  We did come close the other night when he told me I was a bad teacher because I made him write his "4's" over and over to get the correct formation down (I wrote it like 10 times...geesh, mom!!!).  One thing I've learned this past week is you ask for patience before your feet hit the floor in the morning, and then several (hundred?) times throughout the day.  But we're also learning about Jesus and how He's the center of our lives.  And not only of our lives, but of all of history.  We're learning that "Bible Time" isn't the only time you can learn about God.  He's all around you and everything can be used to point back to Him.  Take it from this girl who always said "never" when it came to homeschooling, it's pretty stinkin' cool to see the lightbulb come on in your kid's head.  It's even cooler when that lightbulb reflects him learning a truth about Jesus.  And I get to be there for that!  I'm completely overwhelmed with gratitude (that's another post)!

The nice thing about homeschooling is little bro can get in on some of the fun. The other nice thing?  You don't have to wear pants.
I feel I do need to say that I don't necessarily think homeschooling is the only way to go.  Kids are wired differently.  Mommies and daddies are wired differently.  A Christian family may well be able to bring their kids up in the ways of the Lord while sending their kids to public school.  We have just come to the conclusion that this is the best way we can carry out our God-given task of Biblical parenting at this point in time.  This may change in a few years as we all grow.  We're just doing what we can to make sure the direction of that growth is closer to Jesus.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Okay, so I know Halloween can be a gray area for Christians...lots of people on both sides of the fence and some who can't decide which side to be on so they ride in the middle. Personally, I love the holiday.  Love the origins?  Not so much.  But like many holidays, the origins have been convoluted and what we celebrate leaves barely a shadow of the original intentions visible.  So what I'm saying is...I love to dress up!  Actually, now that I have kids I love to dress them up.  Little, little kids are the best because they don't have an opinion on what they should be, so you can come up with a clever costume scheme and force them to be a part of it.  Hee, hee, hee. (You can't see me, but I'm rubbing my hands together sinisterly.)

So my clever costume scheme this year?  Well, you can't call it my clever scheme, because this year my idea (like most of my ideas lately) came from the wonderful world of Pinterest.  Despicable Me has been an all-time favorite at our house for the past few years, and with the second one coming out I thought minions would be the perfect costume for these boys.  After all, most of their antics are strangely similar to those of the little yellow dudes from the movie.  And don't worry...I wasn't going to leave Gregg out.  We needed a Gru.  I mean, c'mon...doesn't this look like my crew?

Please don't think me a horrible person when I confess this next part, but when I found out Halloween fell on a Wednesday I was a little bit bummed.  "Why?" you ask.  Wednesday is AWANA night.  Most churches offer some sort of trick-or-treating alternative on Halloween and our church is no different.  We planned on doing our AWANA Family Fun night on Halloween complete with carnival games and candy.  Sounds fun, yeah, I know.  But there was one catch...costume restrictions.  The deal was you had to come as either a Bible character or one of God's creatures (ie. an animal of some sort), so herein lies my minions for us this year.  Normally this wouldn't phase us too much...we'd just skip the church scene and go trick-or-treating.  (Seriously, I'm not a horrible person.)  But since G and I are in AWANA leadership this year, we didn't even see not going as on option.  So on to new costume ideas.

Cupcakes before the party?  Gosh, we're horrible parents.
We had a few old costumes lying around.  Will was a lion for Halloween a few years ago, so I figured that would work for Micah.  Easy.  Done.  But a Bible character for Will?  All I could think of was a former pastor who told us about their boys' take on Bible character costumes.  Over the years they had a few interesting ones...John the Baptist.  Not so weird, right?  Oh, wait...after he was beheaded.  And Jonah.  Again not so weird, unless it was after he was puked up by the whale.  Oh, I miss you guys (you know who you are)!  Gregg did have another idea. "Let's put a sandwich board on him with 'Repent! The End is Near!' on it."  Another John the Baptist idea.  Funny, but I didn't figure anyone else would appreciate it as much as we did.  So back to the drawing board...or Pinterest, I mean.  (I'm beginning to think I really do have a problem.)  Now I love Pinterest...obviously, but it failed me on the Bible character costume front.  I had to use regular Google.  Pssh, honestly...after how far we've come.  Either way, we found this cute costume that had a kid with a cardboard Ark attached to him.  Yay, Noah!  One problem...I was trying to come up with this idea on Halloween time to make an Ark.  Then another brilliant idea from the engineer.  "Why don't you just tie a bunch of stuffed animals to him and he can still be Noah?"  Hmm.  I knew I married you for a reason.

So, Noah it was!  Unfortunately getting Will to go along with it was a whole other issue.  All his buds at school were Captain America or Spiderman or something else really cool that I don't even know about.  Noah?  To a five year old...not so cool.  He whined the whole time he had it on.  "This isn't my favorite."  I once heard there was a study that concluded people found the sound of a child whining something like ten times more annoying than fingernails on a chalkboard.  I completely concur.  So after about ten minutes of that I asked him, "You wanna be the lion instead?"  YES!!!!!  Fine, costume swap.  Thankfully the lion was a little big on Micah and actually still fit Will really well.  And since most of the stuffed animals were Micah's, it wasn't too hard to convince him either.  So here's what we came up with.

Noah and a few of his animal friends

Will with his best scary lion face
Will got these vampire teeth from his school party which actually worked perfectly for lion teeth.  The bling? I have no clue where that idea came from...that's all him.  Noah didn't turn out half-bad, either.  Gregg actually said it was the cutest costume we've ever come up with.  (Pat on the back, Team Schmidt!)  Best part about it?  FREE!!!  Mom's scarf and sweater, Dad's old white tee, some flippy flops and you got yourself a pretty adorable Noah.  Huh, who knows...maybe we'll be Bible characters every year. 

And the most important part of the night...the boys had a blast and ate too much candy.  In fact Will is home sick today with an upset tummy.  Not sure if it's an actual stomach bug or sugar gut, but I'm not chancing sending him to school and puking in the middle of his classroom.  I've already been that mom this year and it's only the beginning of November.  We'll hunker down today and hope it passes. 

Our cute little Noah on his way to the party
The lion at the end of the night already looking pretty sick

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the Throes of Chronic Disease

Disease?  I swear I'm not infectious...well...maybe I could pass this sniffle along to you, but that's not what I'm talking about here.  It's been just about a year now since I started down this road that is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and like it or not I've got to come to terms with this word.  Illness?  Syndrome?  Disorder?  None sound particularly appealing or something I want to be associated with, but I guess I have no choice, right? 

I've had a few people lately ask me how I'm doing (thank you!) and it made me realize I haven't really given an update lately.  Not that you all need one, but I sometimes just need to get this stuff out.  Maybe more to help me come to terms with some of these thoughts rolling around in my head.  Truth is, I don't know how to respond to the question, "How are you doing?" with a concise, honest answer.  Quick and easy (and maybe what some people are hoping to hear), "I'm fine."  And that's true most of the time.  Long answer and the one some people really don't have time for (and please believe when I say I'm not trying to be cynical here, but regrettably I have been that person before), "Some days I want to stay in bed because I know when my feet hit the floor it will feel like someone was whacking them all night with a baseball bat.  Some days I can barely work a computer mouse because of pain in my fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Some days I'm so tired I could fall asleep in two seconds even if sitting straight up on a hard rock.  Some days I feel completely 100% normal.  So how are you?"  Smile. So how do I answer that question?  I find myself saying things that don't really mean anything like, "It is what it is."  Well, isn't it?

When I first got diagnosed with this...disease, my mind went straight to the long term 'what if's.'  What if I develop pulmonary fibrosis? Heart failure? Vascular insufficiency? And on and on and on.  I don't think I ever really thought about the day to day issues that come with a chronic illness like RA.  Honestly (and here's the cynic in me), whenever I heard other people talk about chronic conditions that dealt with subjective issues such as pain or fatigue (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc) I just wanted to tell them to suck it up.  Get some more sleep, take an ibuprofen, and get over it.  We all have our issues.  These thoughts intensified after Eric died. (For those that don't know Eric is Gregg's brother that died a few years ago from cancer.)  It could be a lot worse, people...a lot worse.  And while I know that's true, I have to stop and apologize here to anyone I've ever had this thought toward (you probably didn't even know it).  These things, although not as scary, not as painful, not as tortuous as something like I perceive cancer to be...they are real.  And as I've come to realize from personal experience, the psychological warfare that goes along with these types of conditions can be pretty deep and dark and scary.

For some reason, as I was getting ready to go to bed a few nights ago, the thought hit me, "This is going to be your life for the rest of your life."  The thought of being on this roller coaster ride of pain and fatigue and not really knowing what's going to happen next for the rest of my life is seriously too much for me to take in.  It's too big.  Too overwhelming.  It's gotten to the point where when I'm on the top of a hill I can't even enjoy it because I'm just anticipating the next drop.  It seems like it's almost inevitable. 

The term 'new normal' is one that's become all too familiar since Eric's passing.  It's a reality that most of us have to deal is an ever dynamic entity that often does not go the way we planned or hoped it would.  This is my new normal that I have to get used to.  And taking it even further, there are going to be many more 'new normals' to come...and I will have to get used to each one of them.  I guess this is me saying to myself, "Self, suck it up!"  Because if I don't...if I just keep on with this "this is my life" crap, then I will quickly slip into the next battle of that psychological warfare I was talking about...maybe you're familiar with it...self pity?  If I don't suck it up, my focus turns inward and it becomes all about me and what I'm feeling and what I don't get to do anymore and the plans I had for my life that will probably never come to fruition.  Sound like a very healthy place to be?  I think not.

Now I'm not saying that if you suddenly find yourself in a similar situation to completely ignore these push them to the very backs of your minds with no intention of ever digging them back out again.  There is a fine line between going full on into battle (and trust me, self pity is a self-perpetuating, never-ending, hopeless battle) and crowning yourself the Queen of Denial with the "Problem? There's no problem here" mindset.  No, this stuff isn't to be ignored, either. 

So here's a lesson that I learned from my late brother-in-law.  It's one that he taught by example...through how he lived when he was sicker than sick.  He took his concerns, issues, and fears (and yes, he had them) to the only place that promises true rest.  He took them straight to the feet of Jesus and laid them down.  Even though he was going through what were most likely the most difficult moments of his life, Eric gave it back to God and kept James 1:2 close to his heart (and often recited it out loud in the throes of his battle). "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds..."  I personally never once heard Eric complain or bask in self pity...and if ever there was someone who you could called justified to do so, it was him...young wife, new baby, great career.  I'm sure those "Why me?" thoughts crossed his mind, but he seldom if ever let you know it.  In fact, in his last few months when he was too weak to get out and do much, he called other people...not to ask them to pray for him, but ask how he could pray for them.  Uh...that's not normal, folks.  That's pretty much completely contrary to our human nature.  That's evidence of the Holy Spirit that resided in him. 

So, yes these subjective issues that I used to roll my eyes at and that I now find myself in the thick of are entirely real, but they are not invitations to sit back and wallow in my own little world and worry about what's going to happen to me in the future.  But there is an invitation to lay these thoughts and fears down with my Savior.  And once they're there, then I can finally look outward and see there are other people that need their burdens lifted too.  Maybe then, instead of wallowing I can use the constant (and often more than annoying) presence of this disease to be a constant reminder to me to lift someone else and their need up in prayer.  Lord knows we all need it. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fishin' with Papa

A few weeks ago G and I packed up the boys and boarded a jet plane to make our way across the country to visit my grandparents in Virginia.  The only thing on the agenda (besides getting out there after nine long years) was to take the boys fishing.  Will discovered the patience-requiring, slimy past time this past summer and he loved it...when he was catching something, that is.  (Good thing we found a super secret spot that seems to be loaded with blue gills!)  And since fishing is something that's always been near and dear to my grandpa's (aka. Papa's) heart, I thought it would be just the thing to make out visit perfect. After waiting on the rain for two days, we finally got to go and of course I brought along the camera to capture our picture-perfect outing. :)  The pics I got were too sweet not to share. I'll apologize in advance for most of them being back shots but since I can't walk on water and I didn't trust the weather-worn boats at the dock, it was pretty unfeasible to get their faces!

First steps out on the dock to fish with Papa

Just two dudes on a dock waitin' for a fish
Fishing with of the best places to be
Trouble shooting
Preppin' the worm
 And my all-time favorite...

Just steals your heart, doesn't it?  Even though you can only see a fraction of this kid's gigantic head (seriously, I've had to pass on some of his shirts because they don't fit over his noggin), the way he's snuggled into my grandpa just makes me smile.  

Picture-perfect, right?  Ha!  Most of these were taken in the first fifteen minutes of the fishing adventure. Then we got a lot of this...

"I wanna hode da powe!  I wanna hode da powe!!!"  Yes, Micah, but if we give you the pole there's a good chance either you or the pole (or both) will end up in the pond and I don't want to go swimming today.

And then boredom set in..."you're supposed to catch fish on a fishing trip, right mom?"  So we got a lot of this...

Mucky pond grass is much more fun to fling around than an empty fishing line.  Oh, please don't let him fall in...not swimming today, remember?

But we finally did achieve success.  Even though it was only a little guy, it made for two happy fishermen. He even reeled him in himself...mostly. :)  Pretty proud five-year-old.

"Touch him, mom.  He's soft!"  No thanks, buddy. I'll pass.
So all-in-all a successful trip with some good memories.  I'll try to mostly remember the ones from the pictures and not the ones of Micah running and tripping over the water-warped boards of the dock and almost falling into the water on numerous occasions.  Ugh, that boy makes my stomach jump into my throat on a daily (sometimes the minute?) basis.  

Ahhh...there are their faces.  Good times.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gripped By Fear

I have flown all my life.  My dad was in the Air Force (yes, I'm a military brat and unfortunately I live up to the latter part of that title more often than I'd like to admit).  He did multiple tours overseas which means I am no rookie when it comes to checking my bags.  I don't remember ever being afraid to fly when I was a kid, or a teenager, or even when I was in college, but over the past few years I have developed the most intense, crazy, and unwarranted fear of those winged metal beasts.  I think it originated with the first plane ride I took without Will.  Being away from my baby was just too much for me to handle.  What if the landing gear fails? Or the cabin becomes depressurized? Or the tail breaks off? Or...or...what if we fly over some weird time warp, disappearing island thing and we go to this scary purgatory, limbo place where we're dead but we all think we're still alive and there's some smoke monster trying to get us?  What if?!?!?!?!?!?  Hold on...let me calm down.  I'm getting a little worked up here just thinking about it.  ***************Dramatic pause**************  Ah, there.

So I was saying, or had I gotten there yet?  Anyway, a few months ago my paternal grandpa died and when that sort of thing happens, it kind of makes you stop and reevaluate.  So Gregg and I decided it was time to make a trip out to see my mom's parents in Virginia since we hadn't been there since we first got married nine years ago and the boys had never been.  They so selflessly drive out to see us every year, but we hadn't made the effort to make the trip ourselves.  Yes, it was time.  None of us are getting any younger, right? 

So last week I asked Will if he was getting excited about our upcoming trip to see Nannie and Papa to which he answered with an uninhibited, "YES!!"  Then the real question I was wondering about...the one I needed to answer for myself..."Are you afraid to fly on the airplane?"  He looked at me like I was crazy, "No."  As in, "Duh, mom.  Why would I be afraid of that?"  And he wasn't kidding.  Does this look like the face of someone who's afraid to speed down the runway at 300 miles per hour then do what is completely unnatural for us two-legged, upright-walking folk and actually leave the ground thousands of feet behind?  Judge for yourselves.

He actually looks a little wild-haired and crazy-eyed here, but not afraid. No, not afraid.  Almost the whole time we were in the air he was talking about how cool it was to be up there above the clouds.  In fact, on one of our last flights (we rode a total of five planes...stupid small airports that don't fly anywhere useful) we had quite a bit of turbulence.  Gregg assured me it was normal but I knew he was just trying to console me before we plummeted to our horrible death.  As we're being tossed (I swear I'm not being dramatic...much) by the winds and air currents or whatever it is that causes the "unexpected rough air," I'm holding onto the arm rests with the grip of death just praying we would live through this.  All the while Will is sitting next to me, "Woah, woah! We're flying all crazy! This is fun...isn't this fun, mom?"  Me through gritted teeth, "Not so much, buddy.  Not so much."  When we finally landed, he asked, "Are we on the ground again?"  Yes, bud (do you feel the relief?).  "Awwww, maaaaan!!!"  Me on the other hand?  I said a little prayer of thanks.

Now here's a kid that speaks my heart language a little more closely than my first born.  His excitement toward the plane ride went only as far as the idea.  He didn't echo the fear that was seeping from my pores, but his nervousness shone through on our first take off.  As soon as we started speeding toward flight I could hear his little voice from behind me, "Oooo, I'm okay. I'm okaaaaay.  Too sca-wee.  I'm okay."  Yes, Micah.  Keep talking. Convince me too.  And he again spoke my mind today as we landed for the final time on this trip, "Yay! We made it!  It's not too sca-wee!"  Nope, not that we're on the ground now.

As silly as this may sound, this is something I've been struggling with for weeks.  I laid in bed at night struggling to sleep because I was thinking of how I was putting my babies at risk by putting them on an airplane.  I know they say you're safer in the air. Well, whoever "they" is, I sure don't feel safer....especially not when it comes to my boys.  It's the total lack of control.  I'm not driving.  I can't get out.  I have absolutely no way to influence the outcome of this plane ride.  No control.  And that, my friends is really the source of the fear.

I prayed long and hard about this because I know this fear is not of God.  He tells us over and over again in His Word not to fear, yet I couldn't let it go.  I kept justifying it with, "But it's my boys, Lord.  It's not me I'm worried's my boys."  Now without getting into a topic that I am completely unqualified to debate, I believe there is an age (or maybe point is a better word) of accountability.  In the later verses of John 9 Jesus speaks of spiritual blindness after he heals a man's physical blindness.  In verse 41 He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."  Many have suggested that this implies there is a point up to which we will not be held accountable for the sin we are all guilty of.  It seems from this verse that He shows mercy to those that lack understanding with regards to right, wrong, sin, and the hopeless need for Jesus as Savior.  Be careful to use this as an excuse to sin...Jesus knows your heart and an insincere and dishonest "I didn't know" won't work for Him.  I believe children fall into this a certain extent.  Anyone who's been a momma for a while knows there is a point at which even a child knows and can no longer claim to be "blind."  

Anyway, my whole point in going off on this tangent is that I'm not sure how close Will is to this point and I am fearful of him, uh well, dying and being held accountable.  So all this...lack of control, uncertainty of Will's eternal security...all these thoughts clouded my mind and allowed fear to creep in and take over to the point where I felt almost paralyzed by it.  This type of fear, this paralyzing fear renders us completely ineffective to carry out the tasks God has set before us.  In my giving into fear for Will's salvation, I am useless in helping him toward it.  The Bible has given Gregg and I the command to bring Will and Micah up to know God's love, His commands, His know Him.  But me spending all my time worrying about it accomplishes absolutely nothing for Christ and His kingdom.  My worry takes the focus off of Him and His work.  Even Jesus points to the futility of worry of this kind when He said, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matt 6:27)  In this same chapter of Matthew Jesus assures us He'll take care of us because of how much He loves us.  This doesn't ensure that we'll live through every plane ride, or car ride, or walk down the street, but it does say to us that He knows what He's doing.  He's got this and whatever happens it will be according to His will and we can trust that it will be what's best for us and more importantly His kingdom because He loves and cares for us.  

So my job is to be obedient to His command to bring my children up in a home that teaches of this love with parents that exemplify His character.  I can't do that gripped by fear so my prayer is for Him to take it away...completely. And while I admit I still let fear take over on bits of that plane ride (I'm sorry, turbulence will never be normal to me), there were multiple times I got the opportunity to talk with Will about the beauty of God's creation that we don't get to see every the sunrise above the clouds on a gloomy day.  It was breath-taking, so much so that even my five year old recognized God's glory in it.  He did that for us so we could in turn give Him the glory that only He deserves.  In the words of Micah Moo, "God made....da woyd." (That's "world," folks.)  Pretty awesome that God gives us these reminders about who He is.  I'm thankful for that today...and for living through the plane ride. :)

Just wanted to note that the idea of Age of Accountability is not something that's spelled out black and white in the Scriptures. There are differing views on this (I shared mine) and I encourage you to dig into the Word if it's something you're curious about.  It's important to point out though, that whichever side of this concept you fall on, it doesn't change the message of the gospel: that Christ died for our sins and we can have everlasting life with Him if we turn from our sin and recognize Him as the only way to salvation.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Super Heroes!

We had two super heroes move into our house today.  I feel so much safer with these two watch dogs under my roof!  

Truth is these capes have been a long time coming.  A friend made some capes for her kids a while back and when Will saw the pictures he freaked!  "I need one!"  He actually forgot about it for a long time then for some reason all of a sudden capes were all the rage again.  He didn't mention the super cool capes he had seen online, though...just started making a cape out of his blanket or jacket or anything else that remotely resembled one.  It was me who decided that I needed to make him one.  "Why not just buy him one?" you ask.  Psssh.  Why make things easy?

You may recall that I don't sew.  I've always wanted to...just never had the time or patience to learn.  Oh, and I didn't have the extra cash lying around to just go out and buy a machine.  Enter my mother-in-law.  It was either Gregg or I who mentioned to her in passing that I might want to learn at some point.  Well, this was apparently her cue.  Sewing...well, quilting really is something near and dear to her heart.  So long story short, within six months she had me set up with not only my own machine but also most of the tools I needed to begin my career as a seamstress.  (Totally not what I expected nor was this my ever my intent, but thanks, Rita!)

Of course that one small detail still remained unaddressed.  I didn't know the first thing about sewing...seriously...what's a bobbin?  She offered to give me a tutorial but we were in the middle of a move and it fell by the wayside.  Okay, this is only half true.  I wanted to actually learn a little about sewing before I sat down with her because I didn't want to look completely lost...or really completely stupid.  We're being honest here, right?  Kind of like giving yourself a mini-pedicure before going to the salon to get your full-blown, pamper yourself pedicure.  You don't want the lady giving you a foot massage and painting your toes to know how dry and neglected your feet really are...right? I'm not the only one, am I?

So I found this basic and pretty thorough tutorial guessed it...Pinterest!!!  It was supposed to be a four week tutorial but as soon as Will found out what I was doing the game changed a bit.  Now I don't know how well you know Will, but he can be pretty persistent.  I was constantly being asked when I'm going to learn to make his cape and it was always in this incredibly sweet and innocent sounding "what's so hard about it?" tone.  Okay, buddy...but only 'cuz I love ya!

So I sped up my lesson schedule and maybe even skipped a few (*cough*- half) of the lessons I thought might be irrelevant to my project.  And then to buy fabric.  Holy cow that's a whole different world!  I knew they had to be shiny because what self-respecting super hero has a felt cape, right?  No offense if you wear a felt cape...I'm sure you're totally legit.  Anyway, as I was shopping all these satiny materials were slipping out of my arms and I knew I was in waaaay over my head.  First sewing project AND satin.  Idiot.  But I'm stubborn, I mean, determined, so I pressed on.  And finally after a lot of hours of pressing and cutting (the material and my fingers...ouch!) and stitching (I can thread my own machine...yay!...and take it apart...long story) and well, (still being honest?) a few not so choice words (under my breath...I've got a couple of parrots in the house...super hero parrots, that is) the capes were born!!!

And they are a HUGE hit!  Well, not so much with Micah at first.  It took some coaxing to get him to put it on.  There was a lot of high pitched squealing and screeching (ugh, all too common lately), but I finally told him he could fly off the couch and that sold him.

And this is how we spent our night.  Super T-Bone (aka Will - he gave himself this name...what?) and The Incredible Crotch-Grabbing Nose Picker (aka Micah...scroll through the pics and you'll see what I'm talking about).  Jumping, oh sorry, flying off the couch over and over and over and overandoverandoverandover again.  This house hasn't been full of that many giggles in a long time, and giggles are pretty frequent around here.

So all this hard work was worth it.  Two crazy boys running around in capes is just reassurance to me that I'd do it all over again if they asked me...or maybe even it they don't.  So I'll sleep peacefully tonight knowing that in the other room there are two crime-fighting, bad-guy stopping, booger-flicking (sorry, I'll stop) supers ready to take on the world.  In the words of Will...I mean Super T-Bone, "Super heroes to the rescue!!!"