Thursday, December 29, 2011

Me, four!!

 Yesterday, Eli and I were all alone playing grocery store when I said "I'm getting hungry" Eli stood up, raised his hand, jumped up and down and yelled "ME FOUR!!!" I thought it was kind of funny and very cute but couldn't figure out why he said "me four" but just went on to make lunch.

 The four of us (Brian was at work) sat down to eat lunch and when we were finished cleaning up I said "I think I'd like a cookie" to which Jake said "me, too" Luke said "me, three" and (you guessed it) Eli yelled "ME, FOUR!!" I realized then why he had said "me, four" even when it was just the two of us.

 At first I was sad about it. I repeatedly looked for opportunities throughout the day to get him to say it again, each time hoping I'd hear him say "me, too" instead of him saying what I heard as "me, last and least important". Each and every time he said "me, four" and each and every time I felt a little bit worse about it.

 I kept thinking about all the things that my sweet little Eli (who isn't even two years old) doesn't get to do. I even started listing them off in my head. He has to sit and watch while the big boys do karate. He isn't old enough to play soccer or baseball. He can't take Spanish or piano lessons. He doesn't get to have friends spend the night or go over to play with other friends without mommy. He has to go to bed first. He has to use a potty seat insert when he sits on the potty. He doesn't get to play big boy games... The list of all Eli misses out on (for now) could go on and on and on.

 I thought, "man life kind of sucks when you are the baby in the family". I worried that he didn't understand how important he was to our family, if he knew that our family would be totally incomplete without him and how much love and joy he gives each one of us every day. I worried about the time he doesn't get alone with me and how he has to be toted with us to and from school and activities and how he has to color by himself while we do homework time every night.

I was feeling pretty bad about it all when I heard him in the other room... "uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve..." he paused and Jake piped up "diez" and then the continued counting "once, doce, trese..." I smiled and thought "I guess he does get to take Spanish" the other two boys couldn't count to 15 in Spanish at 22 months old because they didn't have big brothers that were in Spanish class. After that I started thinking about things differently.

 While Jake plays the guitar or piano, Eli sings. He sings so well and so many songs because he hears us sing them. He can kick a soccer ball hard and knows exactly what the goal of the game is. He will put his own baseball on the tee and hit it off with his bat all by himself and then run the bases and yell "Yay! Homerun!". He has two big brothers who ask him if he wants a piggy-back ride multiple times a day. He always has a lap to sit in. There is always someone who will read or look at a book with him. All he has to do is look at his brothers a certain way and they will drop everything to play Little People or Imaginext with him. His brothers almost always ask him what HE wants to watch when it's TV time and 95% of the time they let him watch what he suggests without argument (which is not always the case when Jacob and Luke are trying to decide between the two of them).

 I realized that the list of wonderful things that comes along with being the third of three boys is just as long and probably longer than the list of not so good things.

 Now when I think about it I see a sweet little boy who is blessed to have a big family and who blesses us even more! If Eli heard someone say "I sure do love having a big family!" I'm certain he would respond with a huge smile and yell "Me, four!!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Every little thing...

 Tonight as bedtime approached I looked around the house and saw toy after toy after book after stuffed animal strewn all around and felt extremely overwhelmed. It had been a long couple of days and I was tired and cranky and the last thing I wanted to do was convince my boys they needed to help me pick up. But at the thought of having to do it all by myself I asked all three boys to start picking up and putting away their things before we needed to go upstairs to get ready for bed. After a bit of prompting they got up and started toward their pile of misplaced loot.

 Right away it was very obvious that they didn't want to do what was asked of them, at all. In fact looking at them you would think these children were walking slowly toward certain doom. I braced myself for the complaining and waited to see what ailment would suddenly overtake them and keep them from cleaning up. (I think last night Jake had a cramp inside his right pinkie that was so bad he thought he would surely die- funny thing is 30 seconds before he was asked to pick up he was playing the Wii.) I felt myself tense up as I waited for them to begin their debate about why they shouldn't have to do it right then. Thinking "I'm to tired to come up with clever rebuttals" I leaned my head against the wall to wait for them to start.

 Then I heard my sweet, sweet seven year old boy humming. I recognized the song but hadn't put the words with it yet. Then my sweet, sweet five year old boy joined in singing "do everything thing you do to the glory of the One who made you" then they both started singing very loudly "cause he made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face and tell the story of grace with every move that you make and every little thing you do" by this time I was humbled. Almost brought to my knees by their little hearts and positive attitudes. Silently I listened and prayed that God would renew my heart and attitude and help me to be like them. Before long all four of us were laying on the floor singing at the top of our lungs in a clean room! We must have sung the song 10- 15 times together- even Eli was singing as loud as he could.

 So, as we walk forward into the new year, 2012, I pray that we will all find it in our hearts to live to glorify our Father in Heaven with every move we make- no matter how big or small! I pray our steps are steps of faith and love and grace. God bless your 2012!

Never heard this song? Check out Stephen Curtis Chapman's song "Do Everything"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Magic Tricks

 I know we've all had those weeks that drag on and on and on... The ones where a couple of times a day you think "really, Lord? REALLY!?!". Where it's hard to find the strength to do what needs to be done and even harder to find the will. This week had me bouncing between wanting to stick my head in the sand and having complete laughing fits. Between two sick kids, fraudulent bank charges, extremely busy schedules, FIVE seperate trips to the doctors office and/or E.R., having to wake up one son to give him breathing treatments every two hours through the night for two consecutive nights, being up for three days and nights straight with another very sick son, helping my oldest study for a spelling test, math test and an Ancient Egypt test and trying to just do the required daily living-- I thought I would go batty for sure.

  Because of this insane week I thought it appropriate to share the hightlights of not only today but this week. Hopefully these are the things I will remember. Enjoy!

Today's highlights...

 I opened the freezer this morning to find a stuffed dinosaur wrapped in a white karate belt. Funny thing is I just closed the door and went on with my business. Later I asked why there was a dino in the freezer. Jake said in a very matter-of-fact way "I have to keep the mummysaur in there until I finish building his sarcophagus" I made a comment along the lines of "oh, okay that explains the white karate belt" and Luke said "Don't worry! We already pulled it's brain out it's nose."- NICE.

 For tonight's entertainment Jacob and Luke decide they wanted to put on a magic show for me! They each did some "never seen before" "amazing, unbelievable" tricks and were very "professional" and "hold your eyes open" good. About the time it was over I noticed Eli wasn't in the room with us anymore. Then he appeared in front of me holding a brand new box of Cheerios (we had just opened it this morning). He must have been feeling left out because he raised it high and turned the whole thing upside down. He looked absolutely delighted as all the Cheerios poured out onto the floor. Then he dropped the box, raised his hands high in the air and yelled "TAAADDDAAAA!!". - Too bad he can't make the Cheerios disappear, too;-)


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A David moment...

  A woman standing next to us in line commented on how patient and well behaved my boys were being and then asked me how old they were. I told her 6, 4, and 10 months as I gestured to each boy. She pointed at Luke and gasped “he’s four!?!” I told her he was and with a shocked look on her face she looked at Luke and said “wow, you sure are a teeny-tiny little thing, aren’t you!”

  Just so you'll understand where I'm coming from let me interject here with a bit more information about my four year old. Luke has a different sort of personality. He is my shy guy but if he allowed you to penetrate his cocoon of personal comfort you would see right away that he is hilarious and witty and very quick on his feet. Yet, he is… well… let’s just say unpredictable, at the same time. That being said let me continue...

  Knowing how unpredictable Luke can be I braced myself for his reaction/response to the woman’s… ummm, honesty??

  I wasn't surprised when Jacob piped up first but was a little surprised at how he responded to the woman. He became defensive of his little brother and uncharacteristically chastised the woman’s comment. He said “you should use your manners and not say things that hurt my brother’s feelings” then, feeling a little guilt, added, “please”.

  That is when my shy little Luke stepped forward with his chest puffed up; standing as tall as he possibly could and smiled at the woman. I wondered if she could see my obvious uneasiness, and I might even have been squirming a bit; as I waited for Luke’s response. I was happy to hear what he had to say. He looked at her but said to Jacob “No, Jacob, its okay. She just doesn’t know that God can make little guys do big things too.”

  I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at her. I felt badly that the boys had brought her unintentional rudeness to her attention but was thankful for Jacob’s concern for his brother and proud of Luke’s ability to see himself through God’s eyes and realize his value and potential in the eyes of the Lord.

  We did discuss the whole situation in the car. We talked about different ways we could have handled the situation but we mostly spoke about how God gives us talents and we prayed for God to reveal our talents to us and give us the courage to welcome them no matter what they are or what they require of us because we know that He will guide us.

  When the prayer ended I told Luke how proud I was of him. I told him that he was very wise to acknowledged that even though he isn’t as big as other kids his age (yet) he could do great things through God. He smiled ear to ear and said “yeah, you shoulda named me David” I asked him why and he said “because David was a little guy and God used him to fight Goliath… and he was a GIANT!!”  All I could do was hug him and say, “yes God will use you in big ways just like he used David but you are our Luke!”

  What a great reminder of the importance of seeing our potential through the eyes of our creator rather than through the eyes of the world. It’s nice to be reminded of our endless possibilities when we give ourselves to God and allow Him to use us like He sees fit.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just Follow the Cheerios...

  While shopping with my boys at a very crowded grocery store one day I suddenly realized my oldest son, Jacob, was no longer with us. Immediately I felt the color drain from my face, I got all sweaty and panicked. I searched the aisle where we were standing for any sign of that green sweatshirt that he was wearing- nothing. I turned to my middle son, Luke, and said, “where is your brother?” he, picking up on my haste and apprehension started to cry as he looked at me with those huge blue, tear filled eyes and said “I don’t know, mama.”   It all happened so fast. All I could do was stand there… frozen.
  Then my youngest son’s, Eli's, cries for more Cheerios snapped me out of it. I took a breath, which I must have been holding for a while because that breath of air kicked me into mama mode. I looked straight at the people beside me and said “my son is missing, I need you to help me find him” before long we had a search party. All these strangers banded together, description in hand, to find my lost little guy.

  As I tried to hold it together, I continued to give Eli cheerios as I frantically searched for any sign of that green sweatshirt. Up and down, in and out. I could imagine the store going into lock down mode (you know where they don’t let anyone in or out of the store for fear that an abductor will be able to escape with my son)...

  It seemed like a nightmare, a very LONG nightmare, but it had only been 5 or so minutes. At my breaking point, with a death grip on Luke and still feeding Eli Cheerios to keep him from crying, I thought I might collapse.

  Then, all of the sudden I turn around and there was Jacob; Looking at me with a huge smile of relief. I must have looked like a deer in headlights to him as he tackled me right there in the store. I of course began to cry as I knelt down to hug him uncontrollably kissing every inch of that precious little face. He wrapped himself around me and I enveloped him in an embrace I will NEVER forget. There was such sweet relief and joy that we were in each other’s arms again. He lifted his head and commented about all the people starring and I was brought back to the real world. I thanked everyone immensely for helping and everyone rejoiced with me that we had found him.

  When everyone returned to their shopping I turned to talk to him. I began, “I’m so sorry; I didn’t realize you weren’t with us. I was trying so hard to find you. Were you scared?” He very casually looked at me and said “I was at first but then I wasn’t because I knew I could find you” and somehow I managed a weak, whispery “how?”

  Jacob bent down and picked up a Cheerio that Eli had dropped on the floor, stood up and smiled at me and as he held that Cheerio up he said… “I just followed the Cheerios”

  That’s it, that’s all he said. As we left the store his words kept repeating in my head over and over. I kept thinking, what if I hadn’t had Cheerios? What if I had realized we they were being dropped? What if someone had swept up the Cheerios?

  As soon as I had kissed, hugged and safely buckled each little, precious boy into their car seat, I sat down in the driver's seat and thanked God with every breath that I had for bringing my boy safely back to me.

  After composing myself we drove home and although life went on like normal that night I just couldn’t stop thinking about how my sweet Jacob had, had the presence of mind to follow his baby brother's Cheerio trail. He had such faith that it would lead him back to me.

  Then I started thinking about my faith in God. Is it that strong? If I was lost would I totally and completely trust that God would bring me through it with His own “trail”? Or would I stand there crying without a plan, without knowing what to do or who to turn to?

  There are days in my life when I feel so totally swamped, in over my head, out of control and well…. Lost! But the thing is, I can never really be lost. Not as long as I follow the little “cheerios” that God has left for me.

 If I can draw from God’s word and recall the lessons the bible teaches me then I will always be able to find my way back to Him, back to rest, back to the safety that His arms give me. My six year old trusted those Cheerios and didn’t have a doubt in his mind that at the end of that Cheerio trail I would be there waiting, wanting and begging him to come to the safety of my arms.
  If I can only have the faith that God is with me, that he has left a trail of scripture, knowledge and wisdom all the time whether I’m tried, stretched to the breaking point, just fed up or… lost. God is with me… all I have to do is have faith in His Cheerio trail.

*Just a little Cheerio to leave you with: Isaiah 40:31 "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."