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Posts Tagged ‘Eucharisteo’

I love November. I love the weather, the warmer clothes, the leaves, the anticipation of our yearly trip to Mamaw’s, and I love being reminded everywhere I look to be thankful for all the things we take for granted. Being a blogger (albeit, an inconsistent one), I was eager to join the ranks of all my other blogging, instagramming, pinning, flickring friends and post pictures of my thanksgiving advent tree. Us crafty types take pride in our creative, usually all-natural ways of inspiring our children to act out gratefulness during this season. Verses learned, goodies baked, moments remembered, simple acts of kindness, all done by little angelic faces and hands, make perfect blog fodder in this season of thanksgiving.

I mean really . . . .

      

Melt your heart, right? Moments like this make you say, “ah, that’s why we had kids!”

So naturally, I’ve been attempting to fashion moments where the gratefulness in their little hearts can pour right out.

Well, there isn’t any.

Today was day four and not once have we had an advent tree activity that hasn’t involved, whining, arguing, crying, complaining or pouting. Yesterday’s was so bad, we didn’t do it. We were supposed to do something nice for daddy to show how thankful we are for him. We couldn’t settle on something and we didn’t have a TON of time, so I suggested we drag the trash can back up from the curb for him because he always does that. It’s a tiny little thing, but when he sees it done, he’ll feel special, etc. Nothing doing. They weren’t going to buy it and thought that it was a “lame,” “not very good,” “how the heck is that thankful?” idea. How the heck indeed. After many long, exasperated moments, I guilted them into doing it, but every inch of the way was riddled with complaints and grunts and groans of difficulty and dissent. It didn’t end well. I sort of got mad and told them to forget it and get in the house while I not so patiently dragged the trash can up the drive, stormed into the house and declared that clearly no one was really thankful for daddy and some other guilt inducing, law infused, grace bereft remarks that ended with everyone in a crying heap.

SIGH.

Maybe my advent tree is broken.

Honestly, ever since I read Ann’s book last year, I’ve seen so much more clearly the lack of thankfulness in my home both in myself and in my children. I did my 1000 gifts and went through this really great season of genuine gratitude, but once the rush of all that died down, it’s been so hard to get that momentum back. There’s ungratefulness everywhere and I know that I can only teach it to my children by demonstrating it in my own life, but it seems the harder I try to do it, the more I fail at it. It’s so discouraging to be trying to teach thankfulness and end up angry (clearly, unthankful myself). How confusing it must be for them to see me flounder so much in this area. I don’t know how to get out of it. I can’t just generate thankfulness in this broken heart.

On a lighter note, I really am thankful in this moment that the Thanksgiving advent tree is still standing (even though Gillian suggested tossing it out the window). Tomorrow’s another day.

 

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Best. Day. Ever.

One of the greatest things about little kids is that after a day when you’ve all been sick and grumpy, a day you’ve made them do school anyway, a day you also made them clean their playroom and probably snapped at them more than once, you can simply offer to make cookies and they run screaming through the house . . .

BEST. DAY.  EVER!!!!

(contented) Sigh.

Little kids can be awesome. Umbrellas are just a bonus.

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We’re well into week four of our school year and starting to settle into a bit of a routine. The scariness of teaching two separate grades at the same time is wearing off, but the reality of trying to do so with a needy toddler underfoot is sinking in. As I reach the end of the day I find myself often looking at the whole as a failure, noticing mostly the times I got frustrated, the times I was short with the kids or didn’t give Eliot enough attention, the things I didn’t get done, the gifts I didn’t give thanks for, and all the ways I lived “no” rather than “yes.”   Well, that obviously won’t do with 32 weeks to go will it?

I’m finding it helps if I can take it one moment at a time. Looking back just isn’t a good idea at this point in life. I have to take the moment as it comes, ask for just enough grace to get through that one. It goes back to naming the gifts. Each moment is a gift and I have to notice it as that, live in it, take it in and know that it’s good because He is a giver of only good gifts. Moments of NOISE, when all three of them have things to say at the same time, moments of exasperation when the four year old is having a break down over her spelling, moments of laughter when I inadvertently make silly noises as I’m teaching them how to form letters, moments of pride when Gill cranks out the number ‘8’ correctly the very first time, moments of blessed peace when something soft is playing and they’re working on their own, moments of jealousy when I lay Eliot down for a nice cozy nap,  and moments of bedlam when I’m trying to get them all out the door to make it to a gym class on time. Oh, and also moments of disgust when I’m sitting on the edge of the tub washing out Eliot’s stinky diapers and asking whose fool idea it was to use cloth (geez, I’m trying to save the kid’s butt and planet at the same time, the least he could do is poop just once a day for me!) Anyway, they’re all gifts. I have  to be reminded so often. I had to be reminded today. I’m writing about it because I figure maybe someone else out there needs to be reminded as well.            

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We’re halfway through our second week. It has been utter chaos. It’s honestly been pretty hard for me not to get overwhelmed. Eliot is running about the house at a mile a minute, climbing in and on everything and tearing apart anything that comes in, or can be torn into pieces. After he does all of that, he starts crying for attention. Not that cute little, “aren’t I sweet and pathetic” cry, but that piercing, annoying shrieking cry–and that starts when I still have an hour till lunch. This has been the soundtrack to which Liam has had to crawl out of the lethargy while straining to restart his brain. In the meantime, Gillian balks at the idea of actually having to sit still in her chair and not being allowed to say, “this isn’t fun, I don’t want to do this,” and we’ve had more “disciplinary incidents” between all three of them in the last few days then we did most of the summer. They’ve very quickly gotten back into the habit of praying at mealtimes for mommy to be patient. (That part really is pretty funny to me.)

On a personal front, I’m trying to cling to a few truths to get me through.

For the anger of man produces not the righteousness of God.

James 1:20

Why is there so much anger in me when they don’t act the way I want them to? When they don’t learn as quickly or as easily as I expect, when they don’t enjoy the parts that are meant to be fun? My kingdom is build so much on these tiny, constantly moving, never settled little creatures, no wonder it so easily topples. The other day I sent them to the couches and ran to my room to breathe, to cry, to pray, to feel like a crappy parent and a worse teacher. I wanted to stay, to lock the door and crawl into my covers where there are no flash cards, no glitter, no half completed handwriting worksheets and no fighting over who gets which musical instrument. You can’t do that though, can you? Eventually they come to the door, they get hungry, the baby wakes up. Eventually you have to go back to it and get back at it . And as I lift myself off the bed, begging for more grace,  I feel someone else’s arms lifting me a little too. “For me,” a voice inside says and I remember. Remember the thing I always forget. The thing we all forget. The gospel.

 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

1Cor. 13:7

Love bears all things, endures all things. All these little things that are so hard for a mama to bear. All these noises, all these messes, all these tears and arguments, these disobediences and self-revealing opportunities to teach and learn at the same time. This is when I remember that I can bear all these things because Love is what I have. It’s what I’ve been given and it doesn’t matter that I can’t always feel it. Love is what He is and I have Him. Love endures a trashed house, a whining kid and days not working out as planned.

“The state of my space doesn’t reflect the state of my soul.” and “God doesn’t ask me to be perfect, he asks me to praise”

Ann Voskamp

How much was endured for me? And how ungrateful am I? All I’m asked to do is praise . . . . and love. I can do the latter because it’s Him IN me and I can do the former because I have the latter in HIM

I don’t suppose that has much to do with Back to School, does it? This post didn’t go exactly in the direction I’d intended. Maybe it does have something to do with school. Maybe all that is my lesson plan for the year.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 

James 1:12

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I’m sort of reeling right now. I had a lovely week of rest and relaxing, alone time and one on one with Ando. I’m kinda bummed that I didn’t take pictures, but do you really want to see pictures of me lounging around my hotel room? I think not. It was a week of EASY Eurcharisteo. So easy, I forgot to write down gifts, sort of figuring that I was thankful for it all, right? There was nothing to complain about, nothing to stress over, no messes to clean up, no meals to cook. Glorious and restful, yes, but my heart sort of went to autopilot.

This is bad because . . . . . ?

Well, today is Monday. It’s back to work day. Back to mess day. Back to everything out of control and learning to let go of the need to control while holding on to the moments that are really worth something day And I’m reeling from how quickly my heart stops giving thanks and starts feeling entitled to rest and peace and everything done for me and life being easy. If you’d asked me, I of course would have said that you can’t live there. You can’t spend your life in hotels and restaurants, only talking to the kids on the phone. Of course I knew that–I know that, so why am I so quickly back to living like I don’t? After a week in places where everything was neat and tidy and in it’s place, coming home to the paint stains on carpets, the cheerios in corners, the last four years of little girl clothes stuffed into every nook and cranny of the closet, you know, just the general lived in-ness of having three children all kind of smacked me right in the face. So after my one wonderful day of “look at me, I’m so refreshed from my week away!”, I woke up to a cloud that kept getting bigger and darker as the day progressed.

Talk about a wake up call. Talk about a reminder to start my day on my knees, giving thanks, rather than waiting until I’m feeling crushed by it all, being forced to be beg for the strength to simply survive it. It’s just sort of shocking how quickly we forget. Forget who we are. Forget what we have. Forget why we’re here. Forget what’s to come. Forget Eucharisteo!

Sigh.

Can I start over? Can I re-do my settling back in and give thanks for the mundane, the frustrating and the overwhelming?

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1053. Rest

1054. Reunions

1055. Taylor making home safe after 10 days in Nicaragua

1056. Receiving strength if I’ll just humble myself and ask for it 

1057. Bean’s Mark home safely after 3 weeks in Utah

1058. Gillian pushing the same button on this annoying musical toy over and over and over and over

1059. Friends coming over and fixing a feast

1060. Liam’s delight at figuring out a new game

1061. Making careless text typos that completely insulted my mom in law, who graciously didn’t get too offended at me

1062. Liam sharing his candy willingly

1063. Cool breezes on days too hot for May



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. . . when grace pours down, unexpected, unsolicited even and I am covered in His love. Feeding babies, dancing the hokey pokey, scrounging up a lunch, admonishing my children for the HUNDREDTH time to get their room clean, right in the middle of an ordinary day and Father says, “stop and feel my presence. Know that I love you.” These moments are among the sweetest of the gifts. Joy flowing from nowhere inside my self, only from Jesus in me.
Assurance.

Affirmation.

Affection.

My love bucket being filled and then flowing out into those of the kidlets around me. Not in church, where the words of truth pour down on me and I’m surrounded by hundreds of other faith-fighters, not in the middle of sweeping and swelling melodies that massage the tension from my life wearied emotions.

Real.

Right here on my dirty kitchen floor, where my only commrades are squabling little ones and the only music is the skipping of the scratched Beatles album replaying over and over again, “Help! I need somebody!” The song’s even telling me that I can’t do it alone and I don’t get it. I trust in my own strength, but He won’t let me. Not for this special moment. In this special moment He turns my face toward him with the force of His own hand and tells me to look at him and I do and I see beauty.

And I give thanks.

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Yesterday was our church’s annual outdoor service. One day a year we get to all meet as a single body to worship together outside, as we don’t all fit inside during one service. There were 51 baptisms! Some of these were friends of mine or children of friends of mine. So much rejoicing. It was an awesome service.

At least, that’s what I heard. 😦

I wasn’t there. I was home with a silly cough and a sick baby, trying not to feel sorry for myself. I really was trying! I must admit that I started to give in a little when Eliot began throwing his banana at me, but then I was gifted the most special morning time with him. I laid him down on our bed with me and we cuddled and snuggled, played peek-a-boo and tickles for about thirty minutes before he snuggled himself to sleep. Then we both got some much needed nap time. It was very special time with just him that I don’t get very often. Most days he goes right from the high chair to the play pen to nap then the cycle repeats–poor third baby. I was struck with much thankfulness as I lay there rubbing his back, him stroking my arm with his chubby little fingers, knowing that even though I missed out on a really great service, I wasn’t forgotten by our Father who gives such good gifts.

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940. Only two stitches

941. Gillian cleaning up her dishes without being asked

942. More affection than usual from a growing up to fast little man

943. Spring sunshine bringing out freckles on the kidlet’s cheeks and noses

944. Training wheels coming off

945. Arms wrapped around Eliot and the way he melts into me

946. Gillian telling Daddy how cute he looks in his hat

947. Liam trying to be tough and not cry when he gets hit in the head with a soccer ball

948. Gifts in Eliot sized packages

949. Breakfast with Liam

950. Security not being in the deliverance of man’s justice or the death of tyrants

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