Friday, May 22, 2015

On Pretending to be a Waffle

You've heard the saying before, haven't you?  "Men are waffles.  Women are pancakes."  I am a perfect pancake.  

I have a list of posts I’ve wanted to write for many months.  My big two graduated from 2nd and 3rd grade homeschool last night (we hosted a very fun Chinese performance and graduation celebration at home) and this morning is finally a morning off, extended time for me to write.   But my pancake heart is spread all over with the news of the evil of the IS (I don't even want to give them the honor of naming these two countries they're devouring as "theirs").  I'm going to devote most of this morning to that topic, but I will try to waffle off just a few tiny bits of me to scribble down a few other thoughts and things that have been happening on the homefront too.  

For a tiny recap of our 2nd and 3rd grade graduation celebration, you can check our homeschool blog post.  

For some words that are helpful and challenging for being the kind of woman that will care boldly for both my home full of little loves and for the world full of so many, so needy for love, (and what of the IS who need some discipline to clamp down on them!?), here's more from Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in Gift From the Sea.  

"If we stop to think about it, are not the real casualties in modern life just these centers...the here, the now, the individual and his relationships.  The present is passed over in the race for the future; the here is neglected for the there; and the individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass.  America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future...  The here, the now, and the individual, have always been the special concern of the saint, the artist, the poet, and- from time immortal- the woman.  In the small circle of the home she has never quite forgotten the particular uniqueness of each member of the family; the spontaneity of now; the vividness of here.  This is the basic substance of life.  These are the individual elements that form the bigger entities like mass, future, world.  We may neglect these elements, but we cannot dispense with them.  They are the drops that make up the stream.  It may be our special function to emphasize again these neglected realitites, not as a retreat from greater responsibilities but as a first real step toward a deeper understanding and solution of them. " (p 126-127)

And here's a little load of photos of the girls...  (my sweetheart boys are less excited by photo opps.  I'm going to keep working on them though!)

their flower girl dresses for early next month... they could. not. be. more. excited.

we got to babysit this cutie!  Such a treat for our whole crew to get to enjoy this sweetie pie!

I love how Marian's doing the mom thing of opening her mouth to try to get the baby to open up.  

Vivi's best friend.  This little girl has charmed all of our hearts....  just love her!  

and her dress twirls... I mean it really twirls.  Her mama told her that she went right home after getting picked up from school so she could get her twirliest dress on to wear over to our house for dinner.  No wonder Vivi's so devoted to this sweet pal!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Aiming high

Be Peacemakers... not Problem Makers.  

It's been plastered on our fridge for many moons of their lives.

But it took Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to help me finally realize that our little crayoned phrase just doesn't pack the punch.

When Nicholas Semicolon's mother called the woman who knows children best, to ask how to help her son who was bullying all the kids in the neighborhood, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle shared with her the wonder of Leadership Pills.

Now to be sure, the kids and I debrief after almost every chapter of Mrs. PW.  She doesn't deal with the heart one bit and the Gospel isn't what she's preaching and we are aiming and praying desperately to do both those things well.  But she's witty and the kids in the stories with her are Haaaa-larious and there've been quite a number of good discussions about issues she's brought out for us.

So these magic Leadership Pills hit the spot for Nicholas.   Turned him into the neighborhood fix it guy, who transformed a shed in the backyard to a kids' clubhouse where he got to host and teach and work with all the kids to serve and bless their community... and have loads of cheer and goodies.

Well, it's turned out at our home too...  the lesson of leadership sparks these hearts that are prone to bickering and complaining and fussing with a compelling vision of honor and excellence and virtue.  To me, being a peace maker sounds heavenly, but I guess it might sound a little limp in the hearts of my adventure seekers?  Leader...  now that's the stuff of dreams.

(Maybe being a peace maker will motivate them somewhere around the time that they want to practice piano simply for the joy of making more creative, excellent beauty?  May it be soon, Lord!)

This week we've talked more about what it means to lead others with kindness, to bless others, to be the kind of helper-servant-leaders that put other's needs above your own.  We talk about these character traits every day... but I don't think I've talked long about being leader... just never have emphasized that.   It's been a joyful shift for both me and the kids this week.  Our big guy took my little talk at the breakfast table like rocket fuel and set out on a course of helping and blessing his mama and little siblings for such joy.

Matt's been gone this week and it's been sweet to see our kids come alive with my need and their responsibility in our home, to care for each other and help me while daddy's gone.

I've also adjusted my ordinary aim for a clean home, ready for hospitality.  I've known we won't be as busy as normal hosting guests so this week I planned on the house getting messier... staying a bit messier.   We've aimed for some extra intentional joy seeking.... and it's been found.  All this "lowering" of standards has meant for high joys and happy hearts in simple places, simply being together.

(so it was quite a squeeze of a hug from the adoring stranger lady)
always after a dandelion
picnic bliss
(and his mama is almost speechless... lost between smitten and embarrassed for that wagging tongue!)
Has there ever been a lovelier bed of weeds?

speed // together
He grew (what seems like) at least an inch last week.  And he's been eating 4 times normal portions for the past month...  we knew it was coming!

We've gained a high reward as we've gotten to practice embracing the mess and seeking to serve and enjoy each other rather than attend our energies to more pesky stuff like shinier floors, nicer meals and taller stacks of dishes.    I'm liking the idea of more days off like this in our normal routine!  

So grateful for grace this week...  from our abundant King of Grace, for us needy, weary ones.    We've made it through 4.5 of the 5.5 days Matt's been gone and it will be an even happier home tomorrow night when daddy's back with us!