A few days ago while I was fixing Tate's porridge, Griffin decided to serve himself another bowl of Cheerios. As you can tell, he wanted to feed every creature that is trying to make it inside our house due to the hot weather. We were able to salvage quite a few cheerios, but more importantly, I am learning to enjoy his growing independence even if it does include a few cheerios to the trash. You would be amazed, I just chuckled versus the alternative.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The last few weeks Owen has been really interested in animals, what they eat and what eats them. So that started our "hunt". The first food chain we created was from his memory of "Finding Nemo." IT amazes me as to what they learn from observation of a movie 3 years ago. We got out the movie and watched parts of it again to make sure we had our facts straight. (Besides the whale eating the shark..I think we are on target) .
Today he wanted to check out other habitiats and different chains within those biomes. He decided on his own creation. Rodent eats plants, fox eats rodent, and cougar eats fox. We learned that most chains aren't longer than 4-5 cycles (animals). Is this the beginning of homeschool? I don't know, but I do know we didn't even realize the learning. It was natural, comfortable, and fun to meet Owen where he is interested. Just a glimpse of our afternoons!
Friday, September 14, 2007
Tonight our family went to a local favorite, Mellow Mushroom, for dinner. As always we enjoy the energy and enthusiaism that restuarant creates, but tonight was different. Owen and Griffin had brought books in to read and were drawing some pictures while Chad and I talked. Owen turned to me and said, "Mommy, is this music honoring to God?" Hummm, I thought for a moment and had to respond. "I can't hear the words, but more than likely it's not buddy. So although we can't personally turn it off like we could our T.V. or radio, we need to always be aware of what we are listening to." Can't say I ever thought about that at 4, much less at 30. Now, with all that said, trust me, Chad and I love all kinds of music and Owen has learned a few lines to some popular hip hop, but I just thought it was challenging to me to always be ready to defend the gospel and respond to those moments.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and t he mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going. She’s going... she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because Go d sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've bake d, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because the re are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals.
We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I have been meaning to put these pictures up for a couple of days. Our family spent Labor Day afternoon at Barfield Park. We all attempted to play frisbee golf together and then go for a short hike/stroll. It was so fun to see Owen and Griffin get really excited about making it in the goal. Granted we had a par of 20 versus the suggested 4. All the while, it was fun being together.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Laughing at his new "Give a Mouse a Cookie" friend.
Checking out all the excitement!
Griffin checking out his "new" tricycle that friends brought over for him. NOw he can pedal on our walks at night. He is super stoaked!
Own counted down the hours to Tate's party. He was definately the most excited to celebrate!
Friday, September 7, 2007
We have had such a great day celebrating Tate! I got up a little earlier than normal to surprise the boys with their favorite muffins, Banana Chocolate Chip, for Tate's birthday. We all love these muffins, so it was fun to watch Tate join us in indulging. At lunch we packed a picnic and went to a neighborhood park. All the boys enjoyed the swings and Owen and Griffin tried out the climbing wall. It actually backs up to a friend's house, so we were able to get out of the hot summer for a little while. Then tonight when Daddy got home, we went out to eat and came home for a walk. It was such a restful day enjoying Tate!
Tate loves to babble, crawl like crazy, pull up, try to destroy his brother's creations, chew on anything, laugh a hearty giggle, and be our human vaccuum. He brings so much laughter and pure joy to our lives. I must say, my favorite part of the day was when the boys were all dancing to Daddy's ipod music "Bad to the Bones" and Griffin reaches down and kisses Tate on the head. Impromptu! Precious! Unforgettable! Frequently I will find Griffin doing that just to remind Tate that he loves him.
I am so thrilled to see all three of the boys showing some kind of endearment to one another. That is what our life is about. Celebrating each other, learning from each other, challenging each other, refining each other, and loving each other.
Precious Creator of Life, thank you for blessing our family with Tate Landry. Help us to guide his tender roots to a need for you and a desire to live wholeheartly for you. We need your love and grace in nurturing this little, tender warrior for battle. Teach us all!
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I am always amazed at what God is doing in all of our lives and what we need to learn. For some, including our family, it is a repeated pattern, and the last few weeks has been no exception. Life can be messy, tiring, joyful, and rich, but we all were created to share each of those moments with others. Sometimes with immediate family and sometimes with other family God puts in our lives.
A few weeks ago, Chad fell victim to a violent stomach bug and within the same week my back locked up. When I say violent, I mean, stuff coming from every direction leaving him quite a few pounds lighter(not needed on his physique). For me, it meant I could not walk the first day and could not lift anything, my precious little ones included. Days have passed and I am grateful for our doctors' wisdom, rest, and most vitally, our community of family and friends.
Chad's mom flew in on a moments notice and my mom came the day she left. Knowing that we were not back to 100% when mom had to leave, , we were a little nervous about being "on our own." Amazingly, God had already orchestrated the whole event. Since Wed., mom's departure, the boys have a picnic at the park, our lawn has been mowed, meals have been brought over, and today the boys are hanging at one of our youth family's house. Talk about rich blessings! God was already stirring in the hearts of these servants as to how they could be blessed. That is how God works, but we as humans, myself included, don't like to FEEL needy. Hello, we are all needy, why else do Christ die! But so often we get comfortable and complacent to always "help" others that we don't recognize our own need for community. I am so grateful that Christ continues to teach me my need for others.
No it is not always easy to say you need help, but the more honest I am, and less sanitized I am, the more approachable and real God makes you.
P.S. Take a chance, and don't act like you have it all together, because if you did, then you don't really need a Savior.
Just recently, our church videoed some couples on their experience of real community. Check it out!