Emma - this is a bit harder for me. I can't say there is any one moment that stands out to me. I do remember one time when she was maybe Ethan's age. She was playing outside and we told her not to do something. Next thing we know, she's sitting on the steps with her chubby little hands folded and her eyes screwed up tight, earnestly praying that God would help her not to do whatever it was we had told her. My mother-in-law almost cried, it was so cute!
Sometimes when Emma prays, she says pretty much the same thing she does every other night. Thank you for today, please help me get a good sleep and help me not have any bad dreams, etc. But, it's what I don't hear that stands out to me. Emma loves Jesus wholeheartedly. I remember when she asked Jesus into her heart - we were at Disney on Ice, and she was not quite 3. Emma remembers, too! (More on her amazing memory another day!!) Since then, God is her main motivation when she does things. Usually. I mean, she is 7!
Emma has her daddy's love of information. So, rather than sit through "baby Bible stories", as she puts it, she likes reading her "grown-up" Bible on her own. And instead of praying what's really on her heart when it's family prayer time, she'd rather pour her heart out to God when she's alone.
This made an impression on me, because Emma is generally our attention-grabber. Being the oldest, she expects everyone to pay attention to her at all times! I just assumed that she would kind of want to show off during prayer time, but I was wrong (shocking, I know!) Emma already realizes that that intimacy with God is special, and not about showing off. It's about Him, and not so much about her.
In the Bible, Jesus warns about praying for show. Instead, he advises us to shut ourselves in a private place, and let our prayers be for God's ears alone. We have an old story book with that message in it that we used to read to Emma - I'm so thankful that she has put it into action.
So, that's what I've learned from Emma - prayer is my special alone time with God. It is my time where I can pour out everything on my heart and know God is not judging me for it. Rather, He is using that quiet time to speak volumes to me, to teach me, and to guide me in His ways.
I guess I learned something from my kids afterall!
Her newest friend is named Annabelle. Hannah and Annabelle first met at the library one morning, and that same week discovered they are in the same preschool class. They've been inseparable since. I'm told Hannah always refers to Annabelle at preschool as "Annabelle, my best friend." I'm glad her friend reciprocates this loyalty - sometimes I worry for Hannah. I don't want to see her get hurt by disappointment!
Recently Hannah told me that Annabelle was in her Sunday School class at church a few times. I thought this was odd, seeing as how I had never seen her mom at our church, and I was pretty sure they attended in our small town instead of in the city. But Emma backed her up, telling me she saw her name tag, and giving me a brief description of Hannah's friend. I was pretty excited for Hannah!
I mentioned it to my friends the other night, and one of them, who just happens to be the Children's Ministry director said to me "Are you sure it wasn't Annabelle ______?" (I know her dad, and she is NOT the same girl!) It never occurred to me that Hannah could be wrong - I mean this WAS her best friend we were talking about!
So today I was talking to Kevin about it after Hannah mentioned seeing Annabelle again this morning. Kevin said to her "Are you sure it was Annabelle from preschool?" Emma replied, "Well, Daddy, that's what her nametag said!" (Emma has never actually met Hannah's preschool friend, which didn't occur to me until this moment! How would she know?!) Kevin looks at me and says "I'm pretty sure it's not the same girl - this one is part Native." Right then I knew who he was talking about - and it was definitely NOT preschool Annabelle. She's very Mennonite!
Kevin turns to Hannah and says again "Are you sure it was your friend, Annabelle?" to which Hannah replies "I don't know!"
I love that my daughter befriended a new girl because of her name. She just automatically assumed that if her name was Annabelle, she had to be her friend. The good thing that has come out of this, is Hannah is genuinely friends with "church Annabelle", too. Today they hugged goodbye before leaving for home. And this makes me glad, too, because Hannah's new friend is someone the other kids don't really play with. She comes from a family where her dad has kids with a few women and doesn't have all the things most kids do. Who knows - maybe Hannah wouldn't have connected with her if it hadn't of been for her name.
I talked to Hannah later about how glad I am she has a new friend to show Jesus' love to. She just came back and told me "I've never had two friends the SAME, Mommy!"
My hair is my big splurge. I'm kind of embarrassed by how much I pay, but it looks so nice, that I can justify it! Plus, I'm more apt to spend on my kids than me, so this is the one thing I make sure I do every so often. Today was the big splurge - cut and colour. Thank goodness my honey never sees those bills! He might have a heart attack!
I just realized, though, that I have almost the exact same hair as the writer of my fav blog - she posted her own hair makeover earlier this week. We could be sisters! I just want to assure anyone familiar with her blog, and especially she herself, that I am not stalking her!! It was just one of those weird coincidences - and we both have fabulous stylists!
My blog is getting a makeover pretty quick, too. Like my hair, I won't know what it looks like until its all done. But I'm so excited! It's like getting the house redecorated - but cheaper!
Now if I could just convince Kevin my wardrobe needs a makeover to match my hair, I'd be happy! But he's not buying it - literally!
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Emma grabbed her notebook - they're the thing to have in our house these days! - and eagerly began the task of searching for clues. But first things first - Emma informed Hannah they had to pick out their names. I love that they have their priorities straight!
Once they decided to be Detective Emma and Detective Hannah (hey, no one said they had to be great names!), the girls were on the case. They scoured the living room, picking up toys to make their job easier (man, I love this game!), they searched the bedrooms, and they looked all over the basement, but to no avail, although Hannah did find some other odds and ends she herself had misplaced. Emma even questioned Ethan as to when he last saw his notebook, but as she said to me, "You can't really get much out of a two year old!"
They never did find it - in fact I discovered it after lunch today in a dark corner of the basement. But I loved how wholeheartedly they threw themselves into their search. And for a few minutes, there was peace in the house as the two sisters worked together. And my kitchen is actually clean. Gotta love that!
It's a month into the Fall into Reading challenge (if you've forgotten what I'm talking about, go here.) I've read three of the books I planned to, added two more and finished them, and have totally neglected all but one of my non-fiction picks. But that's no surprise - I'd rather read a good novel anyday!
The two books I added, and read, to my list are worth noting. All the Way Home by Anna Tatlock and Divine by Karen Kingsbury .
These were both books I couldn't put down - in fact last night my honey called me boring because I spent the whole evening reading!
All the Way Home was a great book for me to read after finishing the series I read on the Civil War. It began right around the time of the bombing of Pearl Habour, telling the story of a Japanese girl who wanted to be identified as American, and an American girl hungry for the love of family. They were torn apart when the Japanese were sent to interment camps after the overreaction of the American government. When they meet up again, it's 1965, the time when Black Americans were finally beginning to to break free from the bonds of racism.
Divine is probably one of my favourite Kingsbury books, besides the September 11th series she did. I have to admit, the last few books of hers I've read have just made me impatient, so I was glad to read this one! It's a modern day story of Mary Magdalene, following a young girl through the horror of abuse and her eventual redemption through Jesus.
Both books deal with bondage, with discrimination, and end with hope. Both books made me think beyond my happy little life, and both books made me so thankful for how easy we really have it. It's so easy to get caught up in the dailyness of life, and start feeling sorry for yourself because of the little things. Being forced to look at REAL suffering sure makes you forget about those little bothersome things, let me tell you!
So if you're looking for something to read this weekend, grab one of these! Happy reading!
Last week was Store Night at Awana. Emma loves Store Night. She works really hard to memorize all her verses so she can get her shares to spend at the "store". She even begins counting all her shares two weeks ahead of time, dreaming of all the treasures she can buy.
Because she does all the hard work for her shares, we expect Emma will spend them all on herself. Besides, Hannah gets a goodie bag in Cubbies on the same night, and Ethan doesn't really notice what's going on. The only thing Emma hears from us on these nights is "good for you for working so hard!"
Well, this past week, Emma really made me proud. Yes, she spent the majority of her shares on a puppy for herself. But then she did the totally unselfish. She went ahead and picked something out special for her sister, and even got her brother a little box of Smarties. Emma could have used the rest of her shares for candy for herself, or even saved them for next time. But no, Emma thought of her siblings and decided to show her love for them that night.
I was so proud of her! And I made sure I told her. This was one of those instances I wanted to reinforce her awesome behaviour. What's really cool is it carried over to Hannah, who the next week after coming home from a birthday party, unselfishly divided up the candy in her goody bag with Emma and Ethan. I'm telling you, I was feeling like a pretty good Mom that day!
I realize that I can't take ALL the credit. I mean, in the same day these were the same kids fighting over a piece of paper and a box of crayons! But it sure made me thankful for just how wonderful my kids really are. Sometimes I need moments like these to remember that.
Okay, it's not THE question, thank goodness!! Although I anticipate that one any day now! No, Emma asked the other question I've been dreading. She asked how long my parents have been married.
Now, on the surface, that doesn't seem like such a bad question, does it?! But I've never told Emma that I actually have a biological father out there (and who happens to live only 20 mins away, at that) who doesn't have anything to do with us. She's always assumed my step-dad is my real dad.
She's really not that far off. He IS my "real" dad. He's the one who has been there for me since I was a little girl. He's the one who gave me away at my wedding, and he's the one who gets the honour of being called "Grandpa". He spent time with me, encouraged me, and even disciplined me. He's the one I think of as my Dad.
So, Emma got the Coles notes version. My parents have been married for 26ish years, and my mom was married to my "real" dad before that. Kevin explained that just like her one aunty is adopted, so, in a way, am I. And then we waited. I didn't really want to get into why I think we never hear from my biological father. And thankfully, she didn't ask. But she will. I know she will, because she's Emma and every bit her daddy's girl. She's going to want to know why she's never met him. As painful as it will be for me to share that with her, I know it's going to hurt her more. She has such a sweet, loving heart, that to have the knowledge that someone doesn't want to know us is going to hurt.
Hmmm, maybe that other question isn't so bad after all!
Wednesdays are my day to work all day. That means that my husband and two youngest are home all day without me telling, I mean asking, them to pick up after themselves. You can imagine the mess I come home to! Unfortunately, because we rush out the door an hour after I get home, nothing actually gets done about the mess until Thursday afternoon, when I am done work for the week. Did I mention it's all pretty much on the floor? That's why you'll probably never be invited to my house for a visit until Friday! Thus, this week's theme:
Thirteen Things I Picked-Up Today.
There's more, but I'm out of numbers! Don't worry - my house is all ready for you to come over now. I even washed the floor. But my family really shouldn't wonder why Mommy is so stressed when she comes home Wednesday night anymore!
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Can you please pray for my friend? Pray for peace and healing. Pray for her husband, and her baby. And pray we get to keep her around for a good while, because she's definitely someone special. Thank you.
If I had 5 minutes to myself, I'd:
- I'd jump up and down for joy.
- I'd eat all the chocolate I want, where I want, and not have to justify WHY I'm eating it.
- I'd play my favourite internet game.
- I'd just sit.
- I'd watch a daytime show that actually has adults in it!
If I had $5 to spend, I'd:
- Buy chocolate.
- Buy chocolate.
- Buy chocolate.
- Buy chocolate.
- Buy chocolate. (what else can you buy for $5?!!)
5 items I'd love to get rid of:
- Our storage room (and everything in it!).
- All those teeny toys no one plays with.
- The boxes in our garage.
- The spiders in our garage (yuck!).
5 items I wouldn't part with:
- Chocolate. (okay, yes, I'm having serious cravings today!)
- My blistex - especially now.
- My kitchen island.
- My coffee maker.
- Okay, and my kids!
5 words or phrases I'd love to hear:
- Spend as much as you want, honey...
- ...and why don't you buy a new couch while you're at it!
- Yes, Mommy.
- I'll clean the house for you. No problem!
- Honey, I'm cleaning out the garage today...and the storage room...and I'm getting the roof fixed! And it will all be done by the end of today!
"Look Mommy, pa-corn (popcorn)!"
My kids were so good this weekend - not that that should surprise you. They are perfect after all! But when all you can do for a full day is sit around in either a cramped apartment or hotel room, you'd be perfectly within your rights to get cranky. But they didn't! They were really little angels! In fact, we were so proud of them, that on our way home yesterday we decided to take the kids to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. Never been? Well, let me share!
When you walk in, you are stamped with a number unique to your family, so that you can only leave with the kids you came with (although, I think they need to make sure you also leave with all your kids, too!). Then the fun begins. The kids were so excited to see all the games they could play - and they all cost one token each. You can pretty much spend all 38 tokens and be done - I like that! Afterwards we ate lunch there. Whereas the tokens are inexpensive, the food is where they make their money! Who ever heard of spending $35 on hotdogs and pizza?! But it was worth it - our kids' deserved it!
Actually, afterwards Kevin and I emphasized how proud we were of them this weekend, and that is why we decided to take them out for a special treat. As the realization dawned on them that yes, good behavior does get rewarded, you could see how they were already deciding to be good next time we go visit great-grandma. Hopefully it carries over to other things, too!
It gave Kev and I great joy to be able to do something nice for our kids. It made me glad that we reserve the big rewards for special occasions. I love giving my kids things, but this was different. This is something they actually will remember. It made me think about how God must feel when we do something really good and He gets to bless us for our obedience. He must feel pride over His children, but even more, joy that they did what He asked. I don't expect my kids to make that connection just yet, but I hope one day when they think back to this weekend, they get it. And I look forward to many more days of being able to bless my kids for their goodness.
...sort of. We're off to see my grandma for the weekend, and I will be without a computer for THREE whole days!!!! I don't know how I will survive!
See ya Monday!
With the counter, I get a traffic report once a week. It shows me how many page hits I get, how long people stay, and what days and times are the busiest. Did you know that on average, you visit me around 2 o'clock in the afternoon? And that most of you come see me on Thursdays, usually to see my Thursday list (of which I do not have today. Sorry to disappoint!). Most of you linger for your visit less than 5 minutes, which tells me that you're all quick readers, too!
But most of all my counter tells me that you keep coming back, which makes me happy. Because I am using this as a way to keep you updated on the happenings of my family, and for some reason, you actually want to know. So thank you for stopping by. I enjoy our time together!
Okay, so I'm still in holiday mode from the weekend. I can't help it! I sat down at my computer today and realized I had nothing to say!!! Shocking, I know! But then I remembered this and I decided to do it a day early - because tomorrow I will be at the office working hard all day and without any time to chat with my friends.
This isn't exactly the most profound tip in the universe, but I like it. I credit a friend from church who shared this "cheesy" tidbit with me. My kids love pizza (okay, I should clarify. Hannah and Ethan love pizza. Emma does not!). Sometimes I buy pizza from Sobey's, but when I am hit by the happy homemaker bug, I actually make pizza for the kids. Yes, this IS possible! I buy whole wheat pizza crust (and it comes with sauce) because I am the Healthy Snack lady, and that's what Healthy Snack ladies do, and part skim mozzerella cheese. Then I throw all the cheese in my food processor to shred it up so I don't skin my pretty little hands. I never do use all the cheese for one pizza, so (and this is where the tip comes in, so pay attention!) I divide it in half and put half on the pizza, and the other half in a zipper bag and throw it in the freezer so it doesn't go bad. It's good for a few months, and all ready for whenever our next pizza craving/homemaker bug hits.
It works for me! For more handy tips on just about anything, visit Rocks in My Dryer
Ethan has a repetoire of favourites - Veggie Tales (of course!), Dora, Zacchaeus (you know "Zacchaeus was a wee little man...") Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. But his current favourite (that only Mommy can sing, thank you very much!) is Wobbley Whoopsy from the Doodlebops. He likes it because it's an action song, and Mommy makes it pretty silly.
I suppose I should be encouraging my son to prefer his Sunday School songs over TV ones, but really, when I see him shaking his hair and turning in a circle, in the dark, mind you!, I can't help it. After all, he'll only be like this for so long. In another year or so, I'm going to miss shaking our bodies like we just don't care!
Hannah usually goes first. It started when she was old enough to pray with us, and only because as the younger sister, she sometimes feels the need to go first. I can understand that! At any rate, I love Hannah's prayers. They're usually short and to the point, but almost always from the depths of her sweet, little heart.
Over the summer, Hannah had a couple of warts on her toes. We have no idea where she got them from, but in order to save her from mortification, we just explained it was like her toes having a cold. They'd go away, but she had to be careful so that no one else would get the "cold". It meant wearing socks, bathing alone, etc., but she was a trooper. I was so proud of her!
Kevin shared with Hannah how he had had warts on his hands when he was a little boy. After months of his mom trying everything she could think of, they just suddenly disappeared. When his mom asked where they went, Kev explained to her that he had asked Jesus to take them away, and He did.
Hannah was impressed by this tidbit of information, so she, too, prayed about her warts. But it wasn't so much that she prayed that impressed me - it was what she said when she did. Hannah prayed "Thank you, Jesus, for taking away my warts. Amen."
Now, you could argue she's only 4, and it was simply a mistake in grammar that led her to thank Jesus for something he hadn't done yet. But I looked at it a little differently. I saw a child's pure and simple faith, believing 100% that Jesus would heal her toes. And you know what, He did. And she didn't get any more than the 2 small ones we dealt with. And boy, was she ever filled with joy when she saw how Jesus answered her prayer!
So today's lesson is this: when you ask Jesus to do something, do you believe He will, or do you just ask because it's the thing to do? Do you fully believe that God can do anything, even those little things that we assume aren't important to Him? And are you filled with joy and awe when He answers? I know this is something I can work on, and I'm thankful I have three great kids to learn from!
"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" ~ Matthew 18:3-4
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Don't leave yet - I'm not about to launch into some deep, theological lesson. I'm hardly qualified! I am going to share with you the prayers of my sweet, perfect, little children (ahem!), and the lessons I am learning from them. And since I have three of these little angels, I'm doing it in three parts. Understand?!
Let's look at my son, Ethan, first. If you haven't figured it out yet, Ethan is very much the baby of our family. And because he's the only boy, he's even more of a novelty. So he tends to get a little spoiled. No, not spoiled. Overindulged. (Okay, okay, I realize they both mean pretty much the same thing!)
Ethan's prayers are probably the most repetitive of the bunch. But you know exactly what's important to him when you listen in on Mitchell Prayer time. His prayers usually go something like this:
"Thank you, Jesus, for this food. Amen. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Emma and Hannah and Ethan and Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Shauna and Auntie Donna and Mommy and Daddy and MOMMY! Amen. Thank you we go church today and get new Veggie Tales. Amen."
First of all, I want to point out that Mommy appears most often in this prayer, thank you very much. Of course, he does mention food before me, but I'll overlook that for his sake! But these are the things Ethan treasures most in his little life - food, family, and a good movie.
Actually, my appreciation list isn't too different than his! But just stop for a sec and reflect on the simplicity of his prayers. He has identified two very important aspects of all our lives - and things I know I often overlook when I am praying. God supplies us with all we need (for Ethan, it's food!), and He blesses us with excellent support systems (for Ethan, it's family). As for the Veggie Tales thing, well, God does let us have fun once in awhile!
So I am going to take a lesson from my little buddy and remember to thank God for the "basics" today. And I'll make sure to add you, my friends, to the list as well. Although Ethan might be mentioned first. I hope that's okay!
The other night was one of those blissful moments. The nice thing about these, is I get to finish cleaning up from supper in peace. Don't panic - I do pop my head in every minute or two, and I keep an ear open for trouble! I'm a little paranoid, still!
Anyways, as I said, Hannah and Ethan were actually getting along for five consecutive minutes, and in this time, they invented a new game. I wasn't really paying that close attention to what they were saying - I heard laughing and splashing, and was happy. But then the words "big bum!" floated into my subconscious, and I had to see what was happening.
I'm not sure who thought up the game (could have been either, really!), but it consisted of one of them sitting on the little ledge inside the tub, sliding down as hard as they could and yelling "big bum!" at the resulting splash. They thought this was hilarious!
Only kids could think of a game like that - I mean, really, what would you think if your friends decided to start a rousing game of "big bum"! (Get your mind out of the gutter - this is a G-rated blog!) Okay, I could probably see guys thinking it was funny, but do you honestly think women would play this game?! We are so sensitive about the size of our posterior, are we not? We'd probably end up crying because someone called our butts big!
And so, I learned from my kids, once again, that anything can be fun if you have a mind to make it so. Which leads me to question all the toys in my basement - but that's another thing altogether!
I only know one person who has had breast cancer - but what scared me was she was my age. So today I am using my little ol' blog to remind you, my dearest friends, to do yourself and those who love you a favour. Do a self-exam. Please. I want to keep you around for a long time. And remind someone else you love to do the same.
Let's be like our little girls and think pink!