Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bell Ringers...

This past fall our church made the decision to hire one of our own as a full time children's minister.  I'm thrilled about the decision since my two are at the magical age where they are EXCITED to learn about God's love.

Along with her main goal of teaching about The Fruits of the Spirit, one goal she has had is to really make the children comfortable with the church service.  Right off the bat each Sunday school class learned The Lord's Prayer and I just LOVE how each week Jay peeps up and me and grins because when we say it he can join in.  I'm sure memorization of the Apostle's Creed and some of the short songs within the service will be coming up next.

I say all of this to share another new way she has incorporated the children...the ringing of the bell to start service.

This past Sunday was Jay and Betsy's turn and let me tell you they were EXCITED.  They talked about it ALL week!  Typically when the bell rings it is a background noise.  It is rang by one of the ushers...methodically and seriously.  I'm usually talking to someone when it rings and I hear it, but it doesn't typically GRAB me.

When the kids ring it the TONE of the service is different.  The doors to outside are swung open wide and the bell rings fervently, unabashedly.  You hear giggling and you can FEEL the excitement.  It's almost as the tone/voice of the bell is she is crying out how HAPPY she is to be rung by children.

It reminds me of Luke 18:17  Remember this!  Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.

After the service several people came up to me and said, "We could hear your two giggling as they rang the bell.  It was a beautiful sound, so joyous!"  The bell made this so clear to me:  Aren't we reminded in Luke to approach God's house...and God's a child?...  Giggling...Fervently...Unabashedly...with JOY!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's a "sunroof day"!

After 4 days of is gorgeous!!! 

My sunroof broke a couple weeks ago.  I had left it on "tilt" in the garage and one of my little monkeys climbed up and sat on it. 

"Why was your child climbing on your car?" you may ask.

I asked the same question.

While my car was in the shop I found out that use of the sunroof is not common.  Justin's boss asked him, "She uses her sunroof?...You are actually paying to repair it?"...A coworker said, "I opened mine when I bought my car to see if it worked, but not since."...My dad said "I don't think I've ever opened my sunroof.  I wouldn't even know if it worked."


One of my simple JOYs in life is riding around on a pretty day with my music up, my windows down and my sunroof OPEN!

It takes me back to when I first started driving...wind in my hair...back roads...singing "One Week" with friends at the top of my lungs...not a worry in my head!

Today it is the same effect.  A calming, FREE, feeling.  The only difference is that instead of a car full of friends...I'm singing "Colder Weather" with a 3 year old...her curls blowing in the wind...not a worry in our heads!
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I pick her up from school and she says, "Let's open the windows Mommy.  It's a sunroof day!"

That's my girl!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A funny from CL...

This post from Catalog Living really hit home...especially since the last two nights there have been two heads waking up on my pillow!

Elaine, I say we lower those butterflies another foot. Then at least she’ll have to work for it if she wants to come into our bedroom in the middle of the night.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year (Part 2)...

Interestingly enough...these descriptions are very close...

Sweet Jay was born in the Year of the Dog.
Occupying the 11th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dog symbolizes character traits such as loyalty, compatibility and kindness. Dogs frequently offer kind words and useful advice, always listening and lending a shoulder when necessary. Dogs often become deeply involved in others’ lives and are sometimes perceived as nosy. Ensuring others are happy is more important to the Dog than wealth, money or success.

Chatty Betsy was born in the Year of the Rat.
Occupying the 1st and most prominent position on the Chinese Zodiac, the Rat symbolizes such character traits as wit, imagination and curiosity. Rats have keen observation skills and with those skills they’re able to deduce much about other people and other situations. Overall, Rats are full of energy, talkative and charming but they have a tendency to become aggressive.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is the Chinese New Year, China's biggest holiday.  This is an especially exciting year because it is the year of the DRAGON!

Occupying the 5th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons feeling exhausted and interestingly, unfulfilled.

Chinese Zodiac paper cuts framed in my guest room.
Hospitals across Asia are bracing for the baby boom that comes every 12 years.  Hospitals are booked and nannies hike up their rates.  Women are known to even freeze their eggs to attempt to conceive in the Year of the Dragon.

Of the twelve zodiac animals, the dragon is the only one that is a mythical character.  It is a symbol of royalty and, of all the zodiac animals, it is the mightiest...thought to be a bringer of wealth, wisdom, courage and power.

In the Chinese culture, it is a great honor to have a baby in the Year of the Dragon...which I'm excited about since these two will have a baby brother or sister in August!!!

Jay and Betsy this morning eating with chopsticks at Jay's Chinese New Year celebration.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Big Brother...

Betsy is enthralled with babies.  She is SO sweet and helpful with them.

But she's not the only one!

Whether it be with friends or siblings, one of my top 10 simple JOYS in life is to see children interact sweetly with each other.  Don't you agree?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's easy to get wrapped up in all of the problems our generation of kids will deal with.  But there are positives too...Are we not blessed that our kids are growing up in a generation with examples of love, not hate?

Last Wednesday after school...

Jay:  Mommy, today we learned about a man who was a "leader for the right" like you tell us to be.

Me:  Oh really?  What did you learn?

Jay:  We learned about Martin Luther King, Jr.  He told people not to fight, but to love each other, and he got shot for it.

Me:  Sometimes when you are a "leader for the right" not everyone agrees.

Jay:  Yeah, but he was right.  Even though people are different on the outside, they are the same on the inside.  We are like eggs.

Me:  Eggs?

Jay:  Our teacher showed us a brown egg and a white egg and we had to vote if we thought they were the same or different on the inside.

Me:  That was a great example!  How did you vote?

Jay:  I won!  I said that even though they are different on the outside, they are the same on the inside...just like people.  When she broke the eggs I was right!

Me:  Very good!  Wow!  You learned a lot today and you are exactly right.  God made us all very different on the outside, but, inside, we are all very special to Him.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do we LOVE? (even in the morning)

Our new commandment:  LOVE one another. (John 13:34)

Between the time JB and Jay kiss me goodbye and the time I force my feet to hit the floor there is a 30 minute window...In my opinion it is my "very best sleep" period and I'm determined each morning to enjoy it. 

The problem with this is...10 minutes in, Betsy gets up to see the boys leave.  She likes to stand at our bedroom window and see them off...smiling and waving.  (I'm sure it MAKES their morning, but it doesn't do much for mine.)

In this one 20 minute period (The first 20 minutes of my day)...I'm not as joyful as my little angel.  After I hear her "send-off" the boys, my eyes still closed, I hear her little feet coming toward me.  I feel her staring at me.  She turns on my bedside lamp.  I thrash around like a teen being woke up early on a Saturday.  Gruffly, I ask her to please turn off the light and invite her to lay down with me quietly for 17 min (Yes, now we are down to 17 precious min).  She starts in with the chatter.  "I'm not tired.", "Will you read me a book?", "I'm ready for my bath.", "What are we having for breakfast?"

This morning, still gruff, I told her (as I do most mornings) to "Please leave my room until my alarm goes off!"  She doesn't like my tone.  I hear her little feet leaving the room.  The hall light goes on...she sets up camp right outside my door doing something...singing while she plays.  I roll over least she's not right by my bed.

When my alarm goes off I slowly sit up, rubbing my eyes...rummaging for my glasses. When I open my eyes, she's there...with a BIG smile, "Look what I drew for you while you were sleeping!"  I pause and take it all in.

I thank her, hug her and ask her to get that book she wanted me to read so we can cuddle up and read it...

That simple picture made me feel so loved and also filled me with questions.  I took it as a "God moment" that I could be doing better. 

When and how do I show love? 
Do I show love first thing in the morning? 
How do I show love to my family throughout my day? 
How can I be better?

A twist on 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7  Do we LOVE?

I am patient and kind (even in the morning).
I am not jealous or conceited or proud.
I am not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable (even in the morning).
I do not keep a record of wrongs.
I am not happy with evil, but am happy with the truth.
I never give up; and my faith hope and patience never fail.

I'm going to do better.  I need to frame that little heart picture by my bed as a daily reminder...because I'm sure tomorrow, when I live my "Groundhog Day" morning over again, I'll need a reminder.