Monday, May 22, 2017

He's 12

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It's just down right crazy how fast the years are going by. This boy of mine has plans. Big plans. And if he follows through with them like I think he will, then I really only have four more years homeschooling the boy. When he's 16, he wants to test out of high school and get a job, save his money, build a tiny house, and buy some land. It's really quite glorious how focused and driven he is at age twelve.
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This boy of ours is the first one out of bed in the morning. He gets up, does his morning chores, fixes himself breakfast, cleans up after himself, and usually starts school by 6:30am. He knows what needs doing and he does it all well, and to the glory of God. The other day, a woman from a local ranch called and asked if she could hire him for the summer to come work her land. She heard from another neighbor that he was a hard worker. This makes my mama-heart BEAM!
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He shares a birthday with 2 of his closest friends and they had a joint party this year at an indoor go-cart track. Then they came back to the farm and built a track here and did timed races with each other. I think they had a blast.






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This boy of mine is a gem! Truly. I'm not sure why the Lord blessed me with such a trustworthy, honest, hard-working, humble, kind & Jesus-loving little man. He's a gift to me. And every year when his birthday rolls around, I find myself full of gratitude  for the privilege of living life with this kid.
Happy 12th little man! You bless me and I love you to the moon and back.

My Man-Boy

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I took this picture of my Siah the other day. He was at a ranch down the road helping Jeff and Debbie brand and vaccinate this year's yearlings.
My boy is growing into a man before my very eyes.
Look at him.
He's getting so strong and tall. There is so much going on in his amazing heart. He longs to be grown up, but he's fighting through so many boyhood things. He's a control freak like his mom. I am praying with all my might that the Lord works that out in him now and he doesn't have to spend a huge portion of his adult life trying to lay that need for control down, like his mom has been battling since the day he was born.
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This boy struggles.
But I see him willing to fight.
I see him humbling himself when he's wrong. I see him tense up when I'm correcting him (because he doesn't like the feeling of being wrong, he's kind of a perfectionist in that sense), and then softening his heart to my correction after I've given him a few minutes to process.
I see him pouring over the Bible first thing in the morning and the last thing before he turns out the light at night. I see him thinking ahead and overflowing with a willingness to work hard to achieve his goals. I have this wonderful privilege of listening to all his questions about life and God and friends and hard things. I feel grateful that I get to talk with him through all his "why" questions. I rarely have brilliant answers, but I'm thinking that maybe the conversations are more important than the answers.
My boy is in between boy and man and some days him and I both find ourselves at a loss at how to walk through life together. There are days when he feels like I don't understand him and there are days when I feel like he doesn't really understand me and my heart towards him. I don't blame him. I'm not always the best communicator and my tone can sometimes be the very thing that turns him away.
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It's so strange how easy it is to write about crazy toddlers and their  fit-pitching, drawing on the walls, peeing on a brother's pillow just because you felt like it years.
But the preteen/teen years?
Nobody write about those.
In some ways I understand why. As my kids grow, their stories are becoming their own, and they are stories that can be told at a later time when the hardest days have been conquered and their growing hearts have become comfortable with who God has made them to be. There will be a day when they discover their nitch and they begin to use their gifts for God's glory. Someday we'll get over the awkward bump in the road that these preteen years bring and my boy-man will be a full grown MAN and I believe with all my heart that the hard work it is taking to walk through these years will be worth every tear shed, every discussion had, and every prayer prayed.
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In the meantime, I really am grateful for the privilege of walking alongside this incredible gift of mine.

She's 11

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There was a time when I thought I might be sad when the kids started growing up. There has been such a long season of our hands being full of many small children that I'm not sure it even crossed my mind that the y wouldn't stay small forever. When you're in the thick of something it's hard to see anywhere but right where you are.
My turned eleven in the bank of an eye. And as I've pondered her little life this week, I have found myself so grateful for this season with her. She was for certain one of the most precious little girls on the planet, but this growing up thing looks stunning on her just the same. She's mature and nurturing, tender-hearted, and wise for her years. She loves the Lord in the way that she lives and that just might be my favorite thing about her. She's eleven and somedays I'm certain that she knows how to pour into the souls of her siblings better than I do. She's filled to the brim with the fruits of the Holy Spirit and it's this daily, beautiful testimony to me of the Lord's patience and compassion.
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This past weekend we had a tie-dye party for her with a few of her favorite friends. According to her sister, it was epic. :)
Not all the girls knew each other very well so we played a round of Two Truths & A Lie to help them get to know one another a bit.
I found a lady on Pinterest who had a bunch of brilliant ideas to help our tie-dye portion of the party run smoothly. Hal and I did a test run on a shirt earlier in the week. The directions said to let the shirts sit for 6-8 hours but we clearly didn't have that much time we only let them sit for 25 minutes. They turned out fine, but I think if I did it again, I would put the wet shirts in a plastic bag and let the girls take them home and let them sit so that the colors would remain bright and the designs more pronounced. I was also SUPER grateful for that most of the moms stayed for the party. It was a HUGE help having extra adult hands to help the girls with their designs.
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A tie-dye party wouldn't be complete without a few rounds of Twister.
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Hal wanted pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza, Caesar Salad, Shirley Temples, and an Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cake.
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Us Mamas forgot to wear our gloves...
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We had the party in our One Room Schoolhouse. And outside, it was a winter wonderland. At the end of the party the girls went sledding and the Papa took them for a ride on his rhino through the falling snow. It was beautiful!
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I'm not sure when it started, but I am certain that it has now become tradition... On the morning of their actual birthdays, we have a birthday breakfast for the birthday kid. The kids get to pick the meal and Gramps and Nana come over and we open presents, light candles, and sing Happy Birthday. It's one of my favorite things about birthdays. This year Aunt Meg and her boys were able to join us.
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I have loved the little years with this girl of mine, but I must confess that I am really looking forward to these growing up years, to the privilege of witnessing my girl growing into a stunningly beautiful woman after God's own heart.
Happy 11th sweet girl!

Nothing Can Separate Us...

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Standing at the chalk board next to the farmhouse table. I'm writing scripture on the wall. There's worship music playing in the background.
One kid takes from another kid and I glance over at the kid who took. And without warning my mouth spouts out harsh words.  Why can't they just get it together and get along? The expectations are laid out clearly in this place. There's accountability, grace and love. And yet every morning is the same. Every morning I wake up to fits and tension and bickering.
I go back to the chalk board, continue to write out the Word...
"If the One, The Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through the Spirit that dwells in you..."
"Will give life to your mortal bodies..." If that's really true then how do I know Christ and still feel so run by my flesh?
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I'm asking the Lord these questions with earnest as I write.
Another brawl breaks out.
My heart doesn't soften, it rages and I want put the fighting kids in their room and ignore the heart work that I know needs doing in ALL of us. I rudely grab the toy from the kid who keeps stealing the toys for himself and I harshly instruct, "STOP TAKING FROM YOUR SISTER!!! For goodness sake, BE KIND!" I walk away.
Ironic. I know.
To expect the fruits of the Spirit in them, all the whileI'm choosing the flesh.
I go back to the chalkboard and continue to write...
"So brothers. We__are__debtors. But not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die..."
That's how I feel. Dead. Far from God. Unable to say a kind word to the treasures that I'm longing to minister to each day. I'm constantly preaching His Word to them... Reminding them to put themselves aside (Phil. 2), to speak words that make souls stronger (Eph. 4:29),
It is one thing to preach... it is another to LIVE what one preaches.
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I keep writing on the wall...
"BUT, if by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you__will__live!"
"If by the Spirit." That's the thing, in my own flesh, I'm failing. I'm not living what I long to live. I keep forgetting that, "Apart from Christ, I can do nothing." (John 15:5)
We live in a world that makes so many choices based on feelings. And what I'm coming to realize is that Christ is a constant choice (not a feeling) that I have to continue to choose, despite what I may be feeling on any given day. The steadfastness and truth of His Word doesn't change because of what I feel.
Christ is either good, or He's not. He's either faithful or He's not. And His Word is either true or it's not.
None of these things shift simply because I'm struggling through a day.
Today as we began another week, I feel far from the Lord, entangled in my own sin, feeding the flesh more often than I'm listening to the Spirit.
My eyes keep scanning the pages and they fall on these glorious words...
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8)
On the hardest of days, there is always, always truth to stand on. For nothing, can separate us from the unfathomable love of Christ. Nothing. Not one thing. Not my mistakes or my short temper. Not even my yuckiest sin days. Nothing.
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I put down my chalk and walk over to the kid who's sitting heart-broken over his Mama's tone on the step leading into the sunroom. I get down low, look into his eyes, apologize for my harsh words. I ask the boy for forgiveness.
Confession and humility bring a fresh start and him and I, we begin the day again, and move forward with the help of the One who promises to always be our help in time of need..
Which in this house__ is all_day_long.