Thursday, December 13, 2007

"And He shall be called......"

I love Christmas. The celebration of our Lord's birth. The decorations, the special twinkle in the eyes of my boys and, well, everything. One of the great joys is spending some time several nights a week venturing out to see the beautiful Christmas lights. We love to snake our way through neighborhoods in the area as we ooh and ahh over the twinkling lights. The boys talk almost nonstop as they share what they are seeing and make sure that everyone else is also looking in that direction. As you can imagine, it gets pretty loud in our car. Three boys 8, 6 and 4 in kind of a verbal race to the finish. Each talking louder and faster as they try to draw attention to their favorite lights of the moment.

So it was tonite. After eating dinner out we ventured into some nearby neighborhoods and had been roaming up and down the streets when all of the sudden the boys began to tell us they were ready to go home. I would have questioned whether my hearing were going at this point or even if something were wrong but they all insisted they were tired, even the youngest.

We were turning our car down the final street when my youngest blurted out, "Hey look, there's baby God." Of course he was referring to a nativity scene someone had put in their yard. But after a brief chuckle I began to mull over his statement.

It occurred to me that despite his preschool age, he had uttered what struck me as more profound than much of my own teaching about the subject of Christ's birth to him. In that brief sentence, he had rightfully labeled the God of the Universe incarnate. It seems, sometimes, that the term "baby Jesus" gets used frequently and almost a little loosely. Perhaps not by you or me but in labeling God's son and God himself, "baby Jesus" it seems to slightly diminish who He was/is and what His mission was. He was indeed a baby and Jesus but He was so much more and for people who don't understand that, it may not communicate to true meaning of CHRISTmas. As my small son spoke, it occurred to me that as Mary and Joseph looked down on their newborn, they were indeed looking at God. He was before time began. He and the Father are one. And yet, here He was coming to this earth, in the flesh, to walk among us and talk and teach us and to demonstrate the unfailing love of God.

May the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus be with you as you celebrate His birth. And may you experience the joy and wonder of that beautiful night nearly 2000 years ago as the God of the Universe descended to us.

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be
on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Everything is negotiable...

Or so it seems in the world of my boys. My oldest was in speech therapy yesterday and so it was our regular Wednesday Target trip as we waited for him. We had combed the store looking at all of the wonderful decorations and what toys were must-haves for Christmas when the call of the potty was heard loud and clear. So off we went and found the restroom. My boys are now wanting their own stall (in the women's of course) so we entered and they promptly took the first stall they saw.

I stood outside the door giving them their privacy but thankful for the little crack between the door and the frame as I monitored their progress. All was well until it came time to flush. It is the most coveted moment in bathroom activites. The complete joy my boys can derive from moving that small stainless steel handle and the loud roar of water is amazing. And so, the negotiations began. I heard my 6 year old say that it was his turn and his younger brother (4) said it was his and so they were at a stalemate when my older pulled out the idea of using "rock, paper, scissors" to decide.

As I peaked through the crack, I could see my two sweet boys, standing across the toilet from one another, pants still down (getting the flushing done first is a must) and discussing the game. I heard the older ask the younger what he was going to be and then the older chose based on the answer. It went something like this, " what are you going to be?" "I'm going to be rock." " then I'm going to be paper because paper covers rock."

It wasn't a fair competition but somehow the little one was satisfied that he had lost the game and his brother promptly flushed and looks of pure joy crossed both of their faces. I found myself trying not to laugh and marveling at how two small children can navigate the world of negotiation with such skill (though perhaps not fairness).

My boys bring me such joy and frustration and a million other things but suffice it to say that I am more grateful than I can say for the opportunity to be home with them. There was a time in my adult life when I wasn't sure I wanted to stay home with my children. I grew up with a mom who worked and who was always present and available and so I had a great rolemodel in the realm of working moms.

But, there came a time when I sensed that the award I received at Girl Scout camp when I was ten, "Little Mother award", was more than just a coincidence. I was made for this. I cannot imagine being anywhere else or doing any other job. And, for that matter, this is more than a job. It's one of the most important decisions I've ever made in my life.

I often hear people comment that they cannot believe that they get paid to do their job. Most of them have glamorous lives or amazing jobs and they love what they do. Well, I don't have a lot of glamour in my life, or what many would consider to be an "amazing" job and the pay isn't very good, but I cannot believe that I get to live my life doing this. I am so thankful that God lead me to this career and that my husband and I were of a like mind about it. Everything is negotiable, but my career surely isn't. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finding Joy in the Unexpected

We just finished our history from 1st grade about a month ago and we ended with Ancient Rome. How great it was, then, when my husband heard and advertisement for an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art for "From the Ashes of Vesuvius". We thought it would be great to take the boys and let them see the artifacts that were uncovered in the ruins. What a perfect way to end our year and to usher in our study of the Middle Ages.

So, today was the day and we arrived at the museum around 11:15 ready to see the exhibit. Each boy was armed with a notecard with approx. 6 words that I thought would be easily found in the signage and pamphlets about the exhibit. They were told that upon finding all of the words, they would be able to get a dessert at the end of the trip. How cool for them!! (I was patting myself on the back for the idea)

We entered the exhibit with each of them feeling a little antsy (not a good thing for an exhibit displaying ancient antiquities) We looked for words and were finding them and moving along. We came upon some urns that would have been in existence around the time of Christ. What an amazing thing to ponder!!! The boys weren't that impressed (they feigned a little interest) and we moved on.

We then happened upon a small room where a video was being shown. I smelled trouble but apparently the video was a simulated walk through towns surrounding Vesuvius before the eruption. It had captured their attention and they were sitting nicely.

After the movie and awhile later my husband shared with me that my oldest son was very impressed that the Roman Villas had pools in them. Here we were looking at pieces in existence from first century AD, some from around the time of Paul and even Jesus and my son was impressed with the pools in the villas. Perspective is everything!!

Here's hoping you find your joy in unexpected places!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Here I am to Worship...

My youngest son at 4.5 yrs old has the most wonderful desire to sing. He hums to himself throughout the day and love to sing songs he hears on cd's in the car and that he learns via Sesame Street and such. My favorite singing though, comes at night after we've prayed and I'm laying in his bed and he's trying to prolong my leaving his room. It is then that he asks me to sing praise songs with him. His favorite song, by far, is "Lord I Lift Your Name on High". He has been singing that earnestly for many months and is happy to burst into song for others and share is rendition. It is wonderful!!

Tonite, he was pulling out more songs than usual because we have been listening to some of our kids praise cd's in the car. He asked me to sing, "You are Holy". We started the song together and he was singing clearly and sincerely. It was so sweet. Here I was laying in bed with my 4yr old singing praise to God and my heart was melting and the special moment that we were experiencing.

Then it happened. One of those moments that as a mom you love and dread at the same time. Your child is being very sincere and they say something but don't use the exact words that should be used and you find yourself trying to maintain your composure.

The words go like this:

"You are Holy"
(You are Holy)
"You are Mighty"
(You are Mighty)
"You are Worthy"
(You are Worthy)
"Worthy of Praise"
(Worthy of Praise)

We were singing our voices rising together and then we got to the line about being worthy. Well, at 4 my sweet son isn't capable of the "th" sound in words and so it becomes, "You are Wormie". What makes that so sweet and funny is that not only was it not the right word, but "Wormie" is a character, specifically a caterpillar, in a childrens video by Max Lucado. My boys love them and to add to that, #3 has a stuffed "wormie" on his bed each night. So as my son told the Lord of the universe that He is "wormie", I smiled and kept right on singing.

I'm a little envious of my children. Not for anything that they have done but for the pure joy and innocence and clean slate they have right now. They worship without preconceived ideas about how it should be done, what they should sing or worries about singing the wrong words or the wrong notes. Their focus is on singing to God. That's it. I wonder how different things would be in our churches and our lives if we lived more like that. What if, we forgot all of our preconceived ideas and just focused on God. I cannot begin to imagine the changes in the world, but I certainly can see what it does for my boys. Pure Joy!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Devil made me do it.....

Ok. Before anyone thinks we really believe this, I will dispell it and tell you we don't. However, we have been talking with our middle son lately about Satan. Specifically who he is and what his role is in the world (because he asked us).

We were at a store recently and son #2 was having a hard time staying where he needed to be. We had a conversation about temptation and I explained that with Christ, we have His power to resist temptation but on our own, we fail miserably. I explained that I needed #2 to stay near me and asked him to do his best. A few minutes later, he looked up at me and said, " momma, Satan is tempting me and telling my feet that they need to go over there and look around, but I'm resisting him and staying here." I, of course, commended him on his self-control and continued what I was doing. A few minutes later, #2 said, "Mom, he's at it again and I just feel like my feet need to move but, I'm resisting and staying here." I thanked him for his self-control and commended him on knowing the right thing to do and with a silent chuckle (you can't let him know this is amusing to you), I continued my work.

My second child is so funny and his struggles really give me insight into my own walk with the Lord. How many times do I have a situation where temptation is right there and I give in and barely even acknowledge that I have done it. Here he is, very concious of his struggle and trying to pray and ask for God's strength. How amazing it is for my 6 yr old to be showing such maturity (too convicting for his much older mom!!). God really does teach us through our children. How thankful I am to live daily with such a vibrant example!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


and so far the day is moving along. 1/2 of my homeschooled boys has finished his work while the other asked to do it after some outdoor play. So many times before today, I would have made him wait and it would have been miserable. Anger, tears and fussing. Not to mention my little one's behavior.

I love homeschooling for many reasons but this is probably in the top three. I can make a decision as my boys mom/teacher that he just might need to climb some trees and dig in some dirt before he does his schoolwork. He will ultimately do better, more willingly and it will be a much better experience than if I sat him in the chair like a taskmaster. I know, as the mom of three boys, that getting some movement in early in the day can make everything better.

My oldest, who happens to be recovering from autism, completed his work first. We are still lighter in our load as we prepare for the beginning of Sept. to get it all in gear, so today's work was Math and copywork/spelling. I was having to handle some issues with my youngest so I left my oldest to his math. In the past, I would have come back to the table to find him either stalled in his place or moving at a snails pace. Today was a different story. I approached the table and he was waiting patiently for me. I said to him, " I need you to keep going please." He simply sat there and as I got closer to his book, I noticed that all of the problems were done and all of them correct. I looked at him to find a smile slowly spreading across his face as I exclaimed, "you finished the page." He was extremely happy about my discovery and excitement. All of this is more remarkable when I reflect on how this exchange could have gone. You see, when I told him that he needed to keep going, he could have, and in the past probably would have, responded with, " I did keep going, I'm all DONE". He would have been frustrated at my request because he had done it all. He showed great self-control and an obvious understanding of the timing of this situation. Autism is slowly disappearing.

I was reflecting to someone recently that the old adage of one step forward, two steps backward was not really our experience on this road to recovery. I feel so much more like it's continuing to move forward but that sometimes we have the privilege of being on the smooth path and sometimes our trip forward takes us uphill, through the rocky terrain and even the dark valley. We are still moving forward but sometimes it isn't nearly as smooth as I would like.

Here's where autism has helped a great deal. Autism has given me great perspective as I mother/teach my two other boys. The understanding of the rocky terrain is just as important for my "typical" boys as it is for my child on the autism spectrum. Life is full of bumps in the road. What a blessing to be able to see the progress in the midst of the rocky times.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Come on in, the waters fine....

We spent part of our day Saturday with family from San Antonio and Toronto at the local community pool. I love to swim and on most days, so do my boys. Today, as has every swimming day this summer, yielded a 4 year old who is newly fearful of the water. Nevermind that he is a fish in the bathtub and shower and prior to this summer, loved to be in the water. Now, he wants very little to do with it and, as his loving, kind, patient parent, what can you do.

I've had many suggestions sent my way like, "just make him get in, throw him in and he will be fine once he's in the water." All well meaning (perhaps) but nonetheless misguided. You see, if I were to do any of the above, I know him well enough to know that he would be very afraid and it would take the better part of the rest of the summer to undue what I had done. My approach is to let him get used to the water, go at his own pace and eventually, as he did today, he will get in and realize how much he loves it and how safe he really is. My words of reassurance and promises of complete safety along with some gentle nudging did the trick.

I realized, as I do most days, how much this characterizes my relationship with God. How many times have I been in a situation and had faith, trusted His promises and gentle coaxing and made it through having experienced the joy that comes from trusting Him and following Him? Everytime.

It's amazing, then, how the same situation a time later can yield a reluctant fearful me, unsure of placing my trust in Him. Standing at the edge of the "water" much like my 4 year old waiting and unsure as He gently nudges me and reminds of the same promises I know to be true. Gently coaxing me in to experience and enjoy the refreshment and freedom that comes from faith in the one who saves.

Wishing you much joy and refreshment today and everyday.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pure joy...

Sometimes I envy my boys. At 7, 6 and 4 they have the rare ability to really appreciate and experience pure joy at life's simple pleasures.

We decided to ride bikes early (after tackling a little copywork, math and history) and had the pleasure of seeing the garbage truck that picks up yard waste. Here they were, my boys, standing at the end of the driveway in bike helmets and one perched on his bike waiting for the garbage truck to pass by. Once it passed, my 6 yr old came running to me shaking with excitement because the man who rides on the back of the truck waved at them. This was major!!

Later, we were at Sprouts (grocery) and upon coming out to the parking lot, our conversation went something like this, "it looks like it rained (#2)." "I feel raindrops (#1)." "It's raining!!! (#3)."

After looking both ways, we made a mad dash to the car. The entire distance from store to car was met with screams and squeals of delight as we got wet. Once at the car it sounded as if we had 20 kids chattering away rather than the 3 we do.

I loved every minute of it!! It's in moments like these that I realize how little time we as adults take time to enjoy the little things. It seems, rather, that those little things become more annoying than endearing. Why is that?

God has blessed us with breath another day. That is reason enough for celebration and praise and yet, at times, I can only see the "to do list" and the negatives. Today I will be try to enjoy those moments remembering that God delights in even the smallest details of our lives.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Day one

Ok. Life in the midst. In the midst of what? When I thought about a blog it was to help our family who is far away know what is happening with our lives. We have 3 incredibly energetic boys and homeschool and then there is everything else.

So, life in the midst is simply what things seem like day to day. There's appointments, bills, laundry and the like but in the midst of all of that are the moments that seem to make it all worthwhile. The glimmers of God working in the hearts of our boys and God teaching me through those same boys. Glimmers of moving forward and recovery for our son with autism and love in abundance.

So, welcome to Life in the midst. I hope it lets you in on our corner of Texas and helps you remember all of the ways that life is truly beautiful.