Sunday, November 23, 2008

Grace happens

We joined the church today. Actually, I guess we should say we "transferred our membership"--I have been Methodist since birth, Danny since marriage. We had to take a 7 week New Member class that consisted of STEP training. Spiritual gifts, Traits, Experiences, and Passions=STEP. It is a curriculum designed to help members "plug into" the church, discovering what makes them CRAZY for God and how they can serve within the church. It is a great class, and Danny and I learned a lot...about ourselves and about each other. For instance, I put down that I LOVE to organize and decorate, and just this week I got a call from the ladies who are planning to decorate the church for Christmas. They had seen my "passion" listed on the sheet I turned in and wanted to invite me to help! Very cool! Sooooooo...we took this class and have now joined the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd on 96th and N. Oak in Kansas City, MO. We had to stand up in front of the congregation and said some "I wills" and I dos"...promising to support the ministries of the church with "our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service". We brought the kids along for the ride, figured they outta get in on this commitment too. Grace was dressed in the most darling black velvet dress, Sam in a little blue button up shirt and some blue dress pants--very cute, very darling, what a lovely family we have...BUT WAIT...as we stood before some 200-odd people and BOTH pastors, pledging to support the church and confirming that we do, in fact, believe that Jesus Christ not only takes our sins away, but is ruler of our lives--GRACE happened. And I'm not talking about the grace that God gives....no, no, no...I'm talking about Grace Ellen Farris. She put her liddle fingers up on either side of her face, in a sort of "horn-ish" fashion, and began to make crazy faces. Ah, yes...this congregation has NO idea what they've gotten into...let's just start praying for her youth pastor RIGHT NOW.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Delight

I was making dinner earlier this week and started to sing something?--I can't remember what exactly I was singing...just that I was singing. Grace was in the living room being 3 (you know when you tell someone your child is a "3 year old", this is NOT an adjective...it is a verb, children work VERY hard at being 3) and she began to make requests "MOM! Sing MY song" ("Amazing Grace"...she has deemed it HER song....) So I did. "MOM! Sing 'Caroline'" (A Nancy Griffith song we have sung to her since she was a baby) So I did. And the list went on. Baby brother stopped his curiosity and crawling to listen. The dogs stopped asking to be fed. Grace listened intently, quietly sitting on the coffee table (her favorite perch). Eventually her requests stopped, but I continued to sing...Christmas carols, hymns, "Little Surfer Girl" (by the Beach Boys...we sing this to Sam, but sing "little surfer boy" because his initials are SRF)...I love to sing, it brings me MUCH delight. But then I began to notice that a little voice had joined me. In the living room, atop her perch, Grace was singing along. Even if she didn't know the words...she sang along. My very own little back-up singer. I stopped singing and began to listen. She carried on. She makes up her own songs. It is amazing to me to hear her creativity at such a young age. I can't express the delight I find in hearing her sing. It makes my heart swell with joy, it brings a smile to my face. To hear MY daughter singing. Her tiny voice rising within her. Her eyes in some far off place. It is truly amazing to me. She is VERY 3 and somedays it's all I can do not to lose my mind, but there are moments such as these that bring me great joy as a parent. And then I thought...."If I find this much joy in hearing my daughter sing, I can only imagine the delight the Lord finds in MY singing. The pleasure it brings Him to hear my voice rising to heaven, prasing Him with song." We are the children of God and He finds much delight in us, even if we sometimes act like a 3 year old.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above thee heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost...Amen

video

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is what happens when you're the baby brother and your big sister has an extensive imagination...

There is a plastic bucket that holds our wooden blocks. The Parents as Teachers educator that comes to our house 4 times a year to "enhance" my children's education told me that if I were to have only ONE toy in the house, blocks should be that toy. Appropriate for ALL ages, hours of fun and imaginative play...so I pulled out the blocks, sat the children in the floor together, and slipped off down the hall to throw a load of laundry in the washing machine....all the while never realizing the plastic container fit nicely over Sam's head. Big sister realized this "fun" fact however and made short work of accessorizing her baby brother. I left the room for 5 MINUTES when I heard Grace giggle and Sam whimper...here is what I found upon my return.
He was very worried about the WHOLE situation and not entirely sure if he trusted me to safely remove the plastic bucket from his head. Grace was laughing throughout the ordeal and squealing with delight that Sam was, in fact, a "spaceman"...
It was a bit tricky to remove and I sorta panicked for a few minutes. I tried to pull the bucket up and off--it would NOT budge...I wiggled it a little, moved it forward and backward but still nothing....Grace thought my efforts to free her brother were simply hilarious and she danced and twirled around while I planned his escape, so I sent her off to time out while I very carefully released Sam of his "spaceman helmet"
Turns out "spacemen" don't suck on binkys because if they did they would not be able to remove their helmets. Took Momma a bit of manipulating to figure out this very handy fact. Here is our little "spaceman" free of his plastic bucket helmet and once again smiling...confident in his mommy's powers to do any and all task placed before her. And yes, there is a new rule when playing with the blocks: "Don't put the plastic bucket on baby brother's head"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Honesty...a child's eye view

Today we went to Wal-mart...if you have ever been to Wal-mart on a Saturday afternoon (and I'm thinking most of you have, after all this is America) you can raise your right hand with me when I ask "Who wants to run SCREAMING from the store?" We all went--Danny, Grace, Sam, me--the entire crew. It was fun...until we pushed fun a little too far (meaning I forgot Cool Whip and had to send Danny back to get it while I waited in a checkout lane that was much too loooooonnnnng)...it was about this point in our "fun" little venture that Grace's "listening ears" fell RIGHT off the sides of her teeny tiny face. Now, I didn't witness the "event"...it was reported to me by Daddy (with a capital "D"). I sent Danny and Grace back for cool whip (a staple in our house) and I waited, waited, waited in line. As I waited I heard WAILS coming from the "cool whip section" and I thought SURELY that can't be MY sweet baby girl. But it was and she was coming STRAIGHT toward me, crying REAL tears...weeping....then I heard Danny say "There she is...go see your mother" (GREAT..it's never good when he says "mother"). Apparently Grace "lost it" while looking for dessert topping with her Daddy. She stopped in the middle of the aisle, wouldn't move...lagged behind...just plain drove her Daddy crazy. And so, she lost the privilege of watching a movie in the car on the way home--she is currently watching the newest Little Mermaid movie, the loss of this privilege was devastating in her 3 year old world. I scooped her up, got the story from Danny, and then took her to the bathroom so she could "gather herself", while Danny finished the grocery transaction at the register. We all met back outside at the car, and Danny and I began to do the "parent" thing--he loaded groceries, I loaded kids...then Danny started the car and began the drive home. It was at this point we heard a very small voice from the backseat--"Daddy, my movie is still on...my movie is not off...you didn't turn my movie off"...It was music to this mother's ears. My daughter was REMINDING us that we forgot to inforce a punishment, she was being HONEST--no matter WHAT resulted of that honesty. We turned the movie off, then turned to each other mouths hanging open in shock...she IS hearing us, we ARE doing a good job. Oh that we could be that honest with God, with each other, with ourselves. So much of our lives is spent "getting around the system" and "sticking it to the man"...we forget that in being honest with God and with those we interact with everyday, we are--in turn--being honest to ourselves. Grace Ellen constantly reminds me that I must become like a child before God...I must humble myself at the feet of my heavenly Father...even if it means losing my movie in the car.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I have decided...

...that I am going to listen more and say less. So if you find me on the quiet side of life, this is why. God is revealing Himself to me in many ways. He is calling to me in the quiet places of my heart, and I feel it is only reasonable to still myself before Him in order that I might hear His call on my life more clearly. I have a servant's heart--did you KNOW that?--I sure as heck didn't and it is baffling to me. Never in my life have I felt the pull to give more of myself and take less from others. And I'm not talking about serving my family--I've done that for years, that's easy. No, I'm talking about the urge to SHOW people--perfect strangers--the God of all creation, to show them the unending, glorious joy of God...God is revealing Himself to others THROUGH me....Wow. Above all things God wants us to KNOW and BELIEVE in Him. That is His heart's desire...the rest that follows is simply gravy. I hear Him whispering to me "Make me known so that they might believe"...and you can only hear a whisper if you stop talking and start listening.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Well...


...the sky was not orange, but the girl had a blast anyway. She quickly got the hang of "real" trick-or-treating and learned a few valuable lessons:
1) If the porch light is on...there are people there that want to give you FREE candy
2) You must knock (with ALL your three year old might) and knock and knock and then ring the bell...If the resident inside the house comes to the door then *Tada* "IT WORKED"!!! (She was SO cute...her liddle eyes lit up and she grinned her liddle smile and actually said "IT WORKED"!)
3) You must look the candy giver in the eyes and say "thank you"...otherwise Momma makes you go back UP the step and stand there until you say it.
4) You MUST NOT eat the candy...NO MATTER WHAT...Daddy however can eat all the candy he wants (cheers to being a grown-up)
5) The mermaid wig is VERY "scratchy"
6) Glitter makeup wears off...there is no need to be sad about this fact of life, you can still be a great mermaid with no glitter
7) You eventually get to eat ONE piece of candy and this makes the entire night well worth the effort