"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘happy’

My daughter, the huntress

She caught another one!

This child is obsessed with birds, and has become quite adept at catching them…with her bare hands. (Remember this?)  It’s actually quite impressive when she manages to nab an adult. Today’s capture was young, and didn’t seem to mind the girls holding and petting it.

Of course it’s a catch-and-release situation (much to her dismay). And yes, I do make them wash their hands afterward!

I guess Addy figures that since we won’t let her have a bird in her room as a pet, she’ll just have to keep catching wild ones to play with. I, on the other hand, will just keep praying that we don’t contract any diseases in the process…

I suppose it’s worth that proud, happy face to let her enjoy her hunts and their results…

…and I have to admit that those little birds are good reminders for me. Maybe you need the reminder, too?

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matt. 6:26)

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The secret of the night-night

Before our first son was born, I read of the benefits for babies and toddlers of having attachments to special toys or blankets which can provide comfort for them when parents aren’t available or sleep won’t come. It seemed like a fine idea and we tried everything we could think of to make it happen, but apparently Chandler didn’t feel the need to be attached to anything besides us.

When our second son came along we tried again, but it didn’t take with Connor, either. By the time our first daughter was born, we’d abandoned the idea altogether. After all, our kids just weren’t among those who formed attachments to inanimate objects, right?

WRONG.

It happened quite by accident. Our friends Margie and Lorene had given us a soft, purple blanket for Addison before she was born, and while it was just one of many that we used with her, it became her very special blankie…or, as she called it, her “night-night.” (A fitting name, that, since she couldn’t go night-night without it.)

The more attached she got, the more I wondered how I could ever have TRIED to do that to the boys. What a hassle to be constantly looking for that worn, ratty blanket! It was so hard to pry out of her chubby little fists that it didn’t get laundered nearly as often as I’d have liked, so it was always a little embarrassing taking it out in public. It was getting quite tattered around the edges and always looked a little grimy. But, it made Addy happy, and that made us happy. (Some of you have been there. You know just what I’m talking about.)

The night-night went everywhere Addison went. EVERYWHERE.

On two different occasions, the night-night accidentally went home with other families after our Wednesday night Bible class. Neither family lived in our town. Yet, both times, late-night phone calls and late night-meetings ensued. (My apologies to those friends, but I like my sleep and it wasn’t going to happen without that precious piece of frayed, smelly cloth in my daughter’s crib.)

Then, finally, the unthinkable happened. The night-night disappeared. It was really, truly lost, and to say it was a nightmare for our whole family would be a gross understatement.  While I’m sure it was a matter of nights, it seemed like it took Addy months to get over that silly, icky blanket. One sweet friend even ordered her a brand new one exactly like it (only not so gross), but it met with instant rejection.

Fast forward several months. I was rearranging furniture and sending some old toys packing, and lo and behold, I found the night-night, lovingly stuffed in the microwave of Addy’s toy kitchen. Of course, by then she was over her obsession, so I should have tossed the blanket out, but—Can you keep a secret?—I still have the night-night! (And Addy is NINE years old!)

I know that might sound a little silly. Or a lot silly. (Ridiculous, even?) But though I’ve become pretty ruthless about tossing out what we no longer need, this is one scrap of sentimental clutter I just can’t bear to get rid of.

Because after all, that would be like giving my big girl permission to no longer be my baby.

And I’m just not ready for that.

(This blast from the past was inspired by this post.)

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Teaching beyond the lesson

Our little one had her first promotion today, moving up from the nursery to the 2-year-olds’ Bible class. If I were at all concerned about her making that transition, I needn’t have worried. Ms. Debbie met her at the door and welcomed her in with a big smile. And Ms. Cindy, already seated at the teaching table, looked up and beamed, “Remington! I’ve been waiting for this day for two years!”

What a welcome! Now, I’m not completely delusional…Ms. Cindy loves children and she probably said that to every toddler who darkened the door. But the point is, how could you not be excited to be in a class where you were so warmly welcomed ?

Good teachers present quality instruction. But with great teachers, there’s a whole lot of teaching that goes on outside “the lesson.” I know the 2-year-olds received some excellent Bible teaching once that bell rang, but I also believe Remi had been taught several lessons before she ever made it to her wee, colorful chair:

I am loved.

I am wanted here.

I am in a safe, happy place.

Learning about God will be fun.

(Add in a story, snacks, songs, and stickers, and this was a very happy morning for these newly-promoted toddlers.)

Thinking about this experience reminded me of another special teacher…

We were visiting our dear friends in Kentucky and were excited about worshiping all together Sunday morning, but when we pulled into the parking lot of the church building, Addy started to get nervous. Four years old at the time, she wanted to know where we were and what we were doing.

We explained that we were on our way to worship, just like every Sunday morning, but she became more agitated and cried out, “No, this is the wrong church!” We continued reassuring her that there are places all around the world where the Bible is taught and that we can worship wherever we happen to be and not just while we’re in Texas.

By this point she was in tears. We continued to try to figure out the reason for her distress, and eventually we were able to coax an explanation out of her.  With round, wide eyes and a voice filled with panic, Addy exclaimed, “I CAN’T go to this church! I need to go to OUR church! Mrs. Vickers is WAITING for me. If I’m not there, Mrs. Vickers will MISS ME!”

That was it. Addy wasn’t worried about doctrine, and she wasn’t worried about geography. She simply knew that she had a teacher back home who loved her, was expecting her, and would miss her if she didn’t show up. I want to be that kind of teacher.

I’m pretty sure Mrs. Vickers didn’t have those things in her lesson notes. She just exudes a sweet friendliness that lets her students know she’s glad they came. She shows them a glimpse of what it means to experience God’s love. And even at four years of age, they get it.

I am thankful for these sweet ladies. I am thankful for all those who motivate us to be better teachers and role models.  And I am thankful for those who share their time and energy to help our kids follow the Greatest Teacher who ever walked the earth.

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Looking for little reasons

Ideally, we’d automatically spend each day noticing myriad little reasons to smile. We’d immediately recognize all kinds of blessings as we go throughout the day, and we’d dwell on how much we have to be happy about. But if you’re like me, some days that comes more naturally than others. One thing I’ve decided: Sometimes it’s  easier to look back and find reasons to smile, even when you aren’t seeing them today.

Today I have a lot on my mind. I am concerned for a number of different friends and family members who have big things going on in their lives. So, to keep from walking around being somber all day long, I’ve decided to think back on some of the things that have made me smile in the last month or so.

Things like making s’mores with the kiddos over the gas flames of our kitchen stove…

…and things like spending the end of Memorial Day with our family at the beach, after everyone else headed home.

Some were big things, like riding rides with the family at Six Flags Homeschool Day last month.

(Riding roller coasters–the bigger and  faster, the better–is at the very top of my most-fun-activities-ever list, and the fact that my oldest three children have learned to love them, too, makes me crazy happy.)

Some were small things, like the way Remington became so smitten with this 99-Cent Store hat.

(Talk about cheap entertainment!)

Some of the things I smiled about are things I don’t have pictures of…..like a fun girls’ night out or the 3-page, handwritten letter I received from an old friend I don’t see or talk with often enough.

Some I do, like this picture Addy drew and painted for me:

(I love that she’s not only getting into artistic expression, but turning her masterpieces into gifts for others.)

Something else that made me smile? I found this board game I’ve been wanting (which is $25 at Target) at a garage sale for TWO BUCKS, still in the unopened, shrink-wrapped packaging! (Game night, anyone?)

Coming up with reasons to smile doesn’t take long once you’re looking for them.  So, how have you been blessed this month? What things–big OR small–have made you smile?  Spend some time reminiscing, and I bet you’ll come up with oodles before you know it.  (I’d love to hear about them!)

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Now we are six

I’m a HUGE fan of A. A. Milne.  His Winnie-the-Pooh books contain so many quotable lines, like “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” and  “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

If you, too, are a fan of his works, you’ll recognize the title of this scrapbook page as the title of one of Milne’s books of poetry. It’s what popped into my head as I looked at our bowling shoes in all different sizes, and it reminded me how much I love being part of a family of six. (I made this page just before Christmas. Journaling is below.)

Journaling reads:

I love having a family of six. I grew up in a family of six myself, and always wanted to have a big family some day. It makes me happy whenever I see signs of 6…Six plates at the table, six stockings hung, or—today—six colorful bowling balls and six pair of bowling shoes in a wide variety of sizes! 🙂 I thank God for making us six.

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A living smiley face

We all need people in our lives who make us smile.  Wouldn’t you agree?

My daughter, Addison, has a knack for making me smile multiple times a day. Many times it’s the funny things she says and does, but often it’s simply because she usually has a smile on her own face. Even when she’s washing dishes, or cleaning her room, or some other task most people would consider unpleasant, she smiles while she works (and usually sings, too.)

A couple of Saturdays ago, at the conclusion of  her last baseball game of the season, her wonderful coach and his wife decorated a picnic table and stacked it up with pizza and drinks for the team to enjoy while he presented the players with their trophies and bragged on each of them. I loved that when he talked about Addy, he mentioned the fact that she always had a smile on her face. It’s true–even when she was running laps, she was smiling. And for this mom, that’s more reason to be proud and happy than if she’d hit a home run every game.

When her coach was done with his little speech, Addison happily took her trophy and went back to her pizza and her friends. As we walked through our front door that afternoon, the first thing I said was, “Addy, let’s get a picture of you with your cool, new trophy!”

She picked it up and immediately dropped it–right on the floor, right on its point–breaking it into two pieces. At nine years old, I’d have been crushed. I’d probably have cried, or at least felt sorry for myself that I’d broken it before I’d even gotten a picture. But, not Addy. She picked it up, looked the pieces over, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “Oh, well.” Then she proudly held it up for me to photograph.

And, as usual, she smiled.

If you look closely, you can see the crack where the two pieces are being held together. If you look closely, you can see she’s not having to fake her smile. She’s just happy…broken trophy and all.

I want to be like Addy. I want to smile so much–so sincerely–that others around me just can’t help but smile, too. How thankful I am for her example. How grateful I am to be the recipient of so many of those sweet, bright smiles.

Have you been smiling today? Are you smiling regardless of what kind of day it is?

That’s what I’ll be working on today.  Join me?

You have put gladness in my heart…”     ~Psalm 4:7

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Smiling at the future

I have to ask: Am I the only person in the world who gets REALLY excited about buying a new planner? Since I think and plan in terms of school years, that’s how I buy my planners. The one I purchased last week is making me so happy!

It’s not because it’s my favorite color (although it is). It isn’t just because it fits in my purse (YEA!) or because I love the layout (which is perfect for me). There’s something else about it that makes me happy.

Maybe part of it is that I’ve been looking at pages that look like this for so long…

…that it just makes me happy to gaze on all that white space.

Maybe another part of it is the idea of a wide-open future full of possibilities. What will we accomplish with God’s help this year? How fun it is to imagine what will take place.

And then, there’s another aspect that makes me happy: Needing a new planner brings about the realization that we have made it through another year. And with that comes a reminder to look back on all our blessings and be thankful for each of the opportunities we’ve been given.

Are you looking forward to the future? I am! I am so thankful for second chances…and third chances…and six thousandth chances.

I know my new planner will fill up quickly…but I’m thankful for that, too.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
   and he will establish your plans.  (Proverbs 16:3)

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