Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Esther’s Special Day

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Esther turned three on November 12th. She LOVED her cake!

She also loved her birthday banner!

On Esther’s special day, all the big sisters had a five hour ballet practice to run through Emmanuel, The Promise. Even Esther attended the practice for about 45 minutes, during which all fifty or so dancers sang “Happy Birthday” to her. While big sisters continued to dance, I took Esther and two of her very special friends to Chick-fil-A and the park! This was huge fun for Esther. When you are child number six and have big siblings who’ve outgrown the park, extended swing time is hard to come by. The weather was so beautiful… a rarity for mid-November.

After picking up the dancing sisters, we continued the party at our house with cake, presents and more outside play.

Big siblings had a frog dissection lab in the late afternoon so the party was limited to about an hour at the house. So, between a huge ballet rehearsal and a science lab, we squeezed in a very sweet party for our little princess!

Happy birthday dear sweet Esther! You are a blessing!

Fifteen

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Anna is fifteen! I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming. She is beautiful… inside and out.

For Anna (written two years ago on her 13th birthday but truer than ever now!)

October 29th, 1995
After a long long long long wait for me
You arrived not a bit late…
But first thing in the morning on your due date!

After two missed nights of sleep
My eyelids would hardly lift
But upon my first glance of our baby girl
I was in awe of God’s precious gift!

That first year was precious-
Each day sweeter than the day before.
As you become aware of your surroundings
You became more and more adored.

Before you reached the age of two
You became big sissy to – guess who?

Then a few weeks before turning four,
Big sissy again –

TWINS! Yes, two more!

And around the age of seven…
Sarah arrived – another little piece of heaven!

Puzzles, baby dolls, coloring, lots of stories, helping me with everything, play-doh, patty cake, hide and seek, princesses, tea parties,

You and Daddy playing at the pool. You are five and already a dare devil!

pretending, playing outside, fresh air, picking flowers, dress up, sew toys, nap time everyday, baking cookies, bringing me diapers, peek-a-boo with babies, playing with siblings, dinner together, staying home most of the time, school work in the morning but learning always, church on Sunday mornings, Bible time with Dad, sewing doll clothes with me, making birthday cakes, looking forward to visits from grandparents, holidays, and in all these things thanking God for the gifts that they are. Living life together and learning to love Him more through it all. These are the things that defined those years when you were small (and much of it these years as well…)

Lots of work
But lots of joy

Sometimes, I’d hear from nay-sayers,
“Just wait”
It’s easy now, but it won’t stay that way!!!

Once you have a teenager
Things will change.
She’ll think you haven’t a clue!
It’s easy now-
Just wait… you won’t know what to do!

That time has come
Yes, you are 13!
And sometimes I wonder
“What did those “just waiters” mean?”

My 13 year old…
Loves God, her parents and her siblings. She adores our baby, Esther. She makes pizza for our family (and pancakes, cookies, cakes, and other yummy things). She is my right hand. She gives great hugs. She has a very funny sense of humor and makes us laugh. She loves people. She plays games with everyone. She is fun! She is a wonderful knitter and has a gift of teaching others that skill and a heart for blessing others with her work. She is a beautiful dancer and uses her talent to worship the Lord. She recognizes that all her gifts come from Him. She is kind. She blesses me daily. She is learning to think Biblicaly and often has insight during our Bible time that encourages me. She is also learning to give her days to the Lord and do what is right. She is on her way to becoming a godly woman. She is my daughter and I am so thankful for her.

Happy birthday, Anna
I love you!!!

Love,
Mom

Someone Else’s Law

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A few years ago, Bethany, then about seven, asked me at the dinner table, “Mommy, do you think I’m not a very good person because I wear jeans and shorts?” I had absolutely no idea how to answer her question but I knew I needed to say something. She was distraught. Obviously, she’d  been thinking about the modesty issue even though at the time she didn’t even know the meaning of the word. After asking her some questions, it became clear that she’d been told by a friend that girls should  not wear pants or show their legs past a certain point because it wasn’t ladylike.

Bethany is a rule follower. She keeps us all on track and she didn’t want herself, her mother or sisters breaking any dress codes! She questioned our family’s standard of modesty that night which resulted in a very thought-provoking conversation with the children. How thankful I was for my husband’s perspective. He said, “Bethany, *Susie’s daddy likes the little girls in his family to wear dresses, and that is fine. There is nothing wrong with dresses. However, wearing a dress doesn’t make you a better Christian. That is *Mr. Smith’s rule for his daughters. It is not my rule for mine. I promise, if you ever wear anything that I find inappropriate, I will tell you. Trust me. I want you to be a lady, and you are!”

“What if she asks me why I still wear jeans?” Bethany inquired. “You just smile and tell her that our family doesn’t have that rule,” Daniel replied.

“Should I wear a dress when I’m around her just so she doesn’t feel bad?” Bethany continued. “You may wear a dress anytime you wish, but don’t pretend you follow her family’s rules,” answered Daniel.

“What if she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore?” was Bethany’s last question. “Honey, that would be her loss.  Love her and I’m sure she will love you too. If she isn’t kind because you don’t have the same rules as she, there is nothing you can or should do.”

Relief swept over Bethany’s sweet little face. She left the table that night, happy that she could hang upside down on our monkey bars in her jeans!

Recently, I listened to Sally Clarkson, one of my favorite authors and speakers, talk to writers. She said, “Why would you allow someone else’s law to put you under guilt? Jesus felt compassion for the multitudes. Compassion is better than passion.” She went on to challenge writers not to “put women under the pile of legalism.”

Can I just say “A-men?”

The story of Bethany and her seven-year-old modesty dilemma immediately came to mind. Females start early looking around to see what the “rules” are. Little girls who look to their friends for life’s rules grow up to be women who look to other families or authors or speakers. We are prone to taking notes on how others “do life.”

She homeschools. Should I?

He says I should always spank for that offense. Should I?

I wonder if I should let my baby “cry it out.” This family says it’s the only way to get any rest.

She doesn’t wear make-up and has beautiful long hair. Am I too worldly because I won’t go in public without lipstick and I keep my hair short?

She is having such good results with her Classical education curriculum. I ought to be more structured too.

She doesn’t use the church nursery. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

Their family doesn’t do sports. Am I too worldly because I love them?

Their family doesn’t watch any tv. Maybe we shouldn’t either.

She bakes her own bread and cooks everything from scratch. What is wrong with me?

Will my girls go to college? This family says “no way!”

… And the list could go on forever.

Ladies, take it to your father. Very often, the Lord uses others to teach us. I’ve learned to cook, sew, make bread and I’ve been challenged in my parenting and walk with the Lord by dear friends who do things differently than I. However, I’ve also been presented with many ideas that just weren’t for our family. There have been times when, like Bethany, I wondered if I was wrong. I felt insecure. That feeling means it’s time to pray and seek answers.

Sally went on to encourage women to use their words to encourage others. “God may one day say, ‘I gave you the gift of communication. How did you use it for the glory of my kingdom.”‘ Again, I say “A-men!”

Bethany’s daddy, with a smile and a wise word, set her free from guilt she shouldn’t carry from a law she wasn’t asked to follow. Our father can and will do the same for us. We only have to ask.

Lord, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to pleasing in your sight. May I seek you and you alone for direction for my life. Help me to encourage my sisters in Christ to seek after you in all things as well. A-men.

*Susie and Mr. Smith are not their real names. And… this family would never impose their family rules for modesty on another. Often, we assume folks are judging us when in fact, they are not. (A topic for another day! 🙂

Pink Puppy PJ’s and Pretty Paint

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Christina recently bought face paint at our new Michael’s store. Christina is an artist. Christina is thirteen and a wonderful, big sister.

Esther likes paint. Esther was thrilled to be Christina’s palette. Esther is two and is very blessed to have big sisters who love her. Some children her age only receive such color at once-a-year Fall festivals, ya know!

Yesterday, Esther stood perfectly still while Christina painted her face to match her pretty, pink puppy pj’s. Esther was so happy with herself that she wore her “make-up” go “Gaggle-cwub.” Gavel club is a high-school speech club. Families attend and serve as the audience. It meets twice a month and is an event our whole family enjoys. Yesterday, it was merely an opportunity for our nearly three-year old to show everyone high-fashion Esther-style!

Yes, we love this child. She makes us smile… a lot!

Thoughtful Thursdays

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Esther takes pre-ballet!

Thoughtful Thursdays… I am not sure how our home school co-op came up with such an alliterative name for our weekly classes, but I do know that for me, surviving Thursdays takes thought – and a great deal of it!

These little darlings are going to be sheep in the Christmas recital!

The packing alone is a monumental task! Thursday mornings I assemble my classroom materials for the two writing classes I teach, get Esther dressed for ballet, and then proceed to feed everyone breakfast and pack seven lunches and two dinners. The children must remember their notebooks for writing, dance clothes (which include multiple shoes, leotards, tights and hair pins), and their music for band as well as their instruments. Christina teaches a few little girls a hand- sewing class so she brings her supplies for that.  Bethany, Nathan and Sarah take track after ballet while the older girls go to Appalachian State University and participate in a science lab. Thus track clothes and lab notebooks must be remembered as well.  Track ends at 7:00. Lab ends at 8:00.  It is a full day that includes writing, art, dance, band, track and a science lab! Our 12- passenger van is packed as if we are taking a trip off the mountain!

While I teach my first writing class, Anna and Christina babysit Esther for me. During my second class, Esther takes pre-ballet and she just loves it! I am so thankful she can participate in an enjoyable activity while I am away from her. All week long she talks about “my baway cwass with Miss Webecca!”. I’m so proud of her for paying attention and learning because she is the youngest little dancer in the group. I’ve never had one of my toddlers take a class so this is a new experience for me too! After my second writing class, I take Esther home while my other children take either band or art. She is able to get a much needed one- hour nap before I must chauffeur dancers from one church to another. My vehicle has been named “The Ballet Bus” because it is full to the max at 3:30 on Thursdays, transporting ballerinas!

Dinner on Thursdays is squeezed into the hour most of us wait for lab to end. Thankfully, it’s family night at Earth Fare so for just ten dollars, I can feed Daniel and me and all my track stars eat free! You can’t beat that for organic and healthy food for eight!

I won’t lie. By Thursday evenings, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. I am seriously tired.  The thought occurs to me, “Maybe next year we’ll give Thoughtful Thursdays a rest!” We unload the van. The children put their things away and they smile. “Thank you, Mama. Thursdays are so special. We love taking classes and seeing our friends,” I hear as I tuck tired dancers, runners, artists and musicians in bed.

The children are right. Thursdays are special. As I put my feet up and breath a sigh of relief, I make a mental note to go to bed a little earlier next Wednesday night. Thursdays require thought for sure, but the effort is well worth it!

My Twins Are 11!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bethany and Nathan!

Beach Picture

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Locks of Love

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Sarah and her long hair. It took her three years to grow it this long after her previous bob.

Sarah has had quite a week! She had a tonsillectomy on Tuesday morning making the tonsil-less Jobe count 5. Yes, her mother and her three older sisters have had the procedure too. After spending two days resting and watching movies, she requested a hair appointment. While she wanted to cut her hair short, I preferred she trim it and keep it long. However, I changed my mind when her stylist informed me that she had enough hair to donate to Locks of Love. This is a wonderful program that provides opportunity for people to donate at least 10″ of hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Sarah eagerly desired to donate her hair, so I agreed to let her have a short hair style. As her stylist cut, I was so thrilled with her new look! The bob looks so sweet on her. I am more than proud of my girl who, with a sore throat, went to have her hair trimmed and ended up giving it away to help someone else.

Smiling - even though her throat still hurt.

Sarah holding her "locks of love."