This Week: Faith

Bedtime Bible reading, circa 9/08

Antonella: You started a quiet time journal, and on the first page you explain that in the journal you will write about your day, what Bible passage you read, and your prayer. After the brief explanation it says, “If you are reading this, enjoy!” I was caught off guard by this statement because journals are usually private and sometimes secretive. I had never thought about “faith like a child” being open, without secrets, without shame. I’m not sure how much longer I will be welcomed to read your journals, but I have a feeling that I will learn a lot in the time that I am.

Jeremiah and Samuel: We were in the car the other day, and out of the blue, Jeremiah, you said, “Mama, I’m not sure if Jesus lives in my heart or not… I asked Him to come into my heart, but I don’t feel anything.” Samuel, you have been discussing salvation with us quite a bit, and your quick response was, “No, Jeremiah, you don’t ask Him IN your heart, you have to ask Him for a NEW heart!” What followed was a conversation that I will always remember. Explaining the gospel to you boys was like giving you water when you are so thirsty. You both listened and asked and prayed. I wondered if I was planting a seed or watching a sprout grow.

August: You shrug your shoulders and declare, “God loves me. Jesus loves me. Mama and Dada love me.”  So simple and sure. The joy of knowing that you know without a doubt that you are loved helps me understand the heart of God toward His children a little better.

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Excuses, excuses

I am struggling to find time to post for several reasons, friends. We began a small kitchen “make over” that, as is the case with all such things, is taking more time than anticipated. We went to a few antique stores around town to look for light fixtures and the one I picked was was deemed “the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen” by the shop owner. Hm. You’ll have to decide when I post pictures when we are done.

Also, the kids have been passing around a little virus, one by one. Thankfully it only lasts for about a day, and we seem to be on the tail end of it. All that to say, I hope to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon, and hopefully show you guys the kitchen!

The kids eating breakfast in the living room while the kitchen and dining room are upside down!

Valentine’s Day Tea

When Antonella was three years old, we hosted a small tea party for Valentine’s Day. It really had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day apart for the decorations, but any excuse for a tea party, right? It has become a tradition for us, increasingly important over the years as I realized two things.

I want to make sure that I am intentional in discipling Antonella in the way she views love from a young age. The tea parties started as an excuse to have a play date, but the last couple of years, as she has gotten older, we have used the time to talk about the love of God, and how she will be able to really celebrate Valentine’s Day when she is married. We don’t make a big deal about the actual meaning of the holiday, but as she grows it will be increasingly important to be able to talk about cultural expectations, feelings, and courtship.

The other realization I had was that over the years, boys were added to our family and no more girls. So anything to balance out the guns and tools and trucks is welcomed in our household!

This is the first tea party! Antonella was three and a half- the girls decorated cookies and played dress up after the tea party while the moms chatted. I had to dig through our harddrive to find these pictures and oh my, could I have spent some time down memory lane! Unfortunately I could not find 2007 or 2008- we moved three times in those years and who knows where those files are stashed.

In 2009 I made her a little flower shop out of an old table, a Japanese umbrella and some buckets. I filled the buckets with fake flowers and stocked it with twine, wrapping paper, pots and scissors. The girls played flower shop all afternoon, making bouquets and arranging centerpieces. They also planted flowers outside!

In 2010 we had all the girls in our family gather at grandma’s for tea. I’m sure there was a reason why I could not pull off a friend party, but I don’t remember!

This year, the tea party was very last minute- thankfully most of our guests live across the street! We served store bought cupcakes, popcorn, and peach tea. The girls brought over their dolls and had fun playing with each other’s dolls.

I was so impressed by their conversations. All the heart decorations led to a discussion about our words, and how they are the overflow of our hearts! Then they took turns encouraging each other one by one. The girls were so cute with reactions like, “I was hoping you’d say that!” and “Really?? Thanks!”

Every year we buy an antique tea cup and write the year on the bottom. We haven’t bought this year’s yet, but I hope that the tradition continues. And I hope that as the collection grows and she matures, Valentine’s Day will be filled with fun memories.

This Week : Eyes

I’ve mentioned before that people often ask me if my kids are all mine. I have to admit that they all look different, with only a couple resembling each other. One of the ways that they are all different is their eyes. I was noticing this week that they vary and are unique, each in their own way.

Antonella: When I got glasses when I was your age, my dad told me that it was because my eyes were so pretty they had to be put in display windows. And I think he said the same thing to you!

Jeremiah: Your eyes are green, or “camouflage green” as you like to say. However, it was hard to find a picture that shows the color because they disappear when you smile. Another way that you are like your daddy!

Samuel: You have the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. And they smile before your lips do.

August: You are starting to pick up on the fact that your eyes are two different colors. While standing in line at a store the other day, someone said, “His eyes are two different colors!” and you responded, “Yup, one blue and one orange!”

Worker man

 

I do not want to assume that the characteristics that my children display at such a young age define who they will be as adults. However, my first born son has certain qualities that I would be surprised if he didn’t carry them into his adult years. He has always loved to work with his hands. He got his first tool set when he turned three, and we hesitated because they were real tools, just miniature. By the time he was five he was using Neil’s tools, never mind the miniatures. Neighbors walk by and see our boy in the garage with a power drill and they slowly offer, “Your son… has a… drill…” We know. Yes, we let him.

I wonder sometimes if we ruined him for toys. He doesn’t play with toys much. Who would want to build a Lego castle when you can build one out of wood in the garage? Don’t get me wrong, he does play and build things indoors with his brothers, but he is always thinking and planning his next project. I found a notebook labeled “My Invention Book.” The first drawing was a machine, complete with remote control, that makes your bed.  I could use that.

His number one frustration is not having the parts he needs to make the things that are floating in his head, so this week we let him take a part a few things in order to accumulate motors and gears and whatnot. And also because he is entertained for hours on end with a screwdriver in his hand. He took apart an old remote control car, the game “Operation”, an old blender, and a television.

I am not sure what he is learning or how it benefits him exactly to see the insides of electronic gadgets. What I am sure about is how absolutely happy he is while doing so. And how quiet the house is.

Tonight Neil and I were working on a project in the garage, and I asked him if he thought home renovation would be part of new creation. He told me that he thought that art and carpentry and design would be. And I thought of Jeremiah, who moments earlier had exclaimed, “Isn’t it wonderful to wake up in the morning and have a clean workshop!?” And I thought that for such a young boy, to have this joy, this gift, running through his veins… yes, I would be very surprised if he didn’t carry it into adulthood. Or maybe it will carry him.