Pie Night Eve

Twas the day before Pie Night and all through the town

The Kirklands were stirring and making crusts brown.

With Mama in her apron and Papa in his shoes

They know full well this is no time to snooze

The ingredients were ready, the fruit was all ripe

The Pie Chart was finished, posting every pie type.

The kids were geared up for the great sugar rush. 

Heck, the adults were too, it's a great night to lush.

We'll have our ham sandwiches and a chip or two

Then we'll fill our plates up with pie out the wazoo.

So throw out that diet, make a trip to the gym

Put your turtleneck on to make your chin look more slim.

Pie night is coming, this Wednesday and then

We'll eat till we're roughly the size of three men.

We'll all get together and smile ear to ear

Tomorrow is Pie Night, it's practically here!

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Backwards

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As a parent, I try to give my kids a godly example of how God loves them.  My love for my boys is as unconditional as human love can be.  There is nothing, NOTHING, that my boys can do to ever separate them from my love.  As much as they may break my heart, my love for them is unchanging.  As much as they pull my heartstrings, they will never have to earn my love.  They have had it from before their time began.

My unchanging love being confirmed, they do get on my nerves.  Asher has been doing this thing lately:  I'll tell him to finish his lunch, to clean up his toys, and to put his clothes away over and over.  And instead of obeying, he'll run over to me and give me a big hug and tell me he loves me.  It drives me crazy.  Lately, I've been telling him, "Jesus says that we'll know you love him if you obey."  I just looked it up and the correct quote is in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." 

I've actually been telling Asher that it angers me when you hug me and do not obey me.  "SHOW me you love me by obeying!  I do not want your hugs unless you obey!"

I said that…  And I thought I was backing it up with scripture.

Then in a conversation this week, I told someone that story and it clicked… That's opposite of what God wants from us.  God says he doesn't want your blind obedience.  He wants your heart!  In Psalm 51:16-17 David laments to God.  He has been caught in a tangle of sins that broke God's heart.  And the law that God gave his ancestors says that he should make up for that sin by sacrificing in a specific way.  But David, a man after God's own heart, knows what God really wants from him:

"You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.

You do not want a burnt offering.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God."

 

The truth is, God wants us to obey, but he wants our hearts first!  Obedience, without love, is meaningless.  God hit me in that conversation.  I am rejecting my son's love and telling him to obey instead.  How much longer is Asher going to give me hugs, because Isaac already only hugs me out of obedience!  I do not have much longer of this precious time with my boys and their childlike hearts.

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God, I know it's a both/and situation when it comes to love and obedience.  Our love for you should be reflected in our obedience, but what you want from us first is our hearts!  May I reflect You in the lives of my boys.  May they look at Randall and me and know a fragment of how You love them.  May I never again gloss over their hugs and require them to obey first!  May the boys forget the times that I got your love backwards.  Thank you for your patience and forgiveness.  Keep sending your wisdom and revelations and may I not keep them to myself, but write them on my forehead and pass them on to my children.

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Every year we take a bunch of photos at Rombach's Pumpkin Patch.  They are always my favorite.  Here are a few from this year's visit.

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I think I took over 50 shots trying to get the next picture.  This was the best one:

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This was the runner up:

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I have more respect for people that work at Olan Mills now.

Here's the annual family shot that we, and hundreds of other families, take in front of the pumpkin pyramid:

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I'm thinking of redoing the decor of my house so I can frame some of these pictures…

Boys Will Be Boys…

My boys are boys.  They fight, they wrestle, they pretend everything is a weapon.  Asher's teacher told me that he had a problem pushing others last week.  He pushed a boy, we'll call him John, to the floor because he got in front of him in line.  Isaac told a little girl at school, we'll call her Jane, that she was mean and "No one likes you."

These are unacceptable behaviors at school or at home.  My boys are boys but I will not allow a "boys will be boys" attitude.  I am not raising a boy, I'm raising little gentlemen and some day they will need to know how to behave like one.

In Asher's situation I told him that it was unacceptable to push or shove anyone anytime.  I asked him how he could use his words instead of his hands when he got pushed back in line.  We came up with an acceptable response and he hasn't had a problem since.  He still complains about this boy's behavior after school a lot. We've been trying to get him to speak nicely about this difficult kid and find positive things to say about him and care less about unimportant things like line placement.

In Isaac's situation we talked to him about how we never tell someone what they're like unless it's a compliment.  You can always tell someone they are nice, or beautiful.  We talked about how many bullies don't have anyone in their life showing them how to be nice.  Asher fully participated in this conversation, "Does she have any friends?" he asked.  Isaac said she didn't have any friends and no one liked her because she was mean!  I told him I'd like him to work hard at being nice to her and to look for ways that he could include her in his play time. We also discussed what to do if someone is picking on you, (walk away, ask them to stop, tell the teacher…).

We went to bed after Isaac's incident and prayed for my boys to make wise decisions and to love people that are hard to love.  The next morning, we kissed Isaac and sent him out to his bus stop.  Asher yelled out the door to Isaac as he was walking across the street, "Be nice to Jane!"

I thought it was cute and was glad that he remembered the conversation and took it to heart.  After school that day we greeted Isaac as he stepped off of the bus.  "Were you nice to Jane today?" Asher asked.  Isaac said that they didn't really have any time together and she didn't bother him but he didn't really talk to her.

The pattern continued for days.  I said nothing to Isaac at all about the situation, but Asher seemed very concerned about Isaac's school relationships.  He kept reminding Isaac to be kind and asking how it went every day after school.

One day that week, Isaac came home and excitedly told us that he had found an opportunity to choose Jane when the teacher asked him to choose the next person to get to write on the smart board.  It was something small, but I was so proud of my boy making an effort to change.  Asher told Isaac that he was proud of him but didn't stop checking in on Isaac and Jane's relationship.

In the meantime, Asher did not seem to be applying the lesson he was trying to teach Isaac to his own situation.  Though he would never touch the kid again, he couldn't stop talking negatively about him.  Then we were invited to a play date with John.  Asher was very excited to go, but continued even on the way to meet him, to speak negatively about John.  I almost pulled a mom moment and pulled the car over to talk with him face to face.  I told him that if he was going to continue to speak negatively about John then he couldn't play with him.  He promised to stop.  And he did.  I haven't heard a negative word from Asher in weeks.

Recently we talked about loving your enemies at church.  I had forgotten that this was a biblical concept.  In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  I opened up my Bible and read the verse to my kids paraphrasing as I read, "Love those who hate you, pray for those who are mean to you."  I reminded them that we can pray for John and Jane to 1) be nicer to Isaac and Asher, 2) be surrounded by love and kind people, and 3) for Isaac and Asher to have the strength to always be loving towards them.  I asked my kids to pray for their classmates.  They both decided to just pray in their heads, but I was in awe of the way my kids were handling these tough situations.

 

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God, give me wisdom as a parent.  Sometimes I feel like nothing is getting through to my kids.  They still won't clean their room, I can't make Asher finish a healthy meal, and Isaac can't focus long enough to tie a shoe, much less listen to my lectures…  But there is hope.  Some things are seeping in.  May the important lessons of life change these boys and embed themselves deep in their hearts.  Remind me that the best advice has already been written out for us in Your Word.  Remind me to keep going back to it and teaching it to my kids.  God, help me to raise these boys into godly men who love You and others more than themselves.  May they continue to help each other through these difficult situations and be there for each other in every turn of life.  Thank you for my two boys.  Thank you that they have each other and they love each other.  Keep that bond strong for the rest of their lives.