Something So Big

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cute Things They Say, part 3

"I quick!!" (which means, "I quit" or anything related to "I don't like what you are doing or telling me one bit!")--Wynne, almost 3

"Mom, you should get some of that." --Ally, age 10, referring to a commercial for anti-wrinkle facial cream

"Here Mom, why don't you eat some tuna? It's good for you!" --Cy, age 8, using my own words against me in his fight to eat white bread instead of wheat (Tuna is gagged upon by everyone in our house except Dad.)

"No Mom, wear the BLUE pants!" --Wynne, almost 3, showing her disappointment in my choice to wear sweat pants and not jeans (translation = we're not going anywhere today)

"I'm taking a diet." --Cy, age 8 (Isn't it sad that we have a child already using that word?)

"You were gone a long long long long time!" --Paige, almost 6, referring to my post-bedtime arrival back home after a 2-hour trip to my uncle's funeral last night

"Even I got my doll, Mom! But I won't bring it into church with me." --Shae, almost 6 (It isn't that funny until you hear her start every sentence with "Even".)

"Off my boots"..."Off my hat"...(translation = I took off my boots, Mom)--Wynne, almost 3

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Old People"...The Blessings They Give Us

Our pastor has a great gift for making everyone feel special and loved in Christ. I know that sounds silly - shouldn't every pastor have that ability? But I mean it; I mean everyone ...from the littlest the oldest senior citizen...and everyone in between. And it's not just a "feeling" that you are special when you talk with Pastor Mark...he gives you solid proof. The first thing being, of course, that Jesus died for you and has given you the Keys to the Kingdom. All you have to do is recognize that Jesus is your personal Savior and have a relationship with Him. The relationship part is not easy--and a lot of Christians (myself included) do not put much time or effort into the relationship. It's not just about going to church, punching in your card for an hour or so per week. It's more. As with any good relationship, there are ups and downs and it takes TIME. It takes time to read His Word, to talk to Him, and especially to LISTEN to what God is saying. (I know I do a lot of talking, but not enough listening. I tend to be that way with a lot of people--and that is something I am consciously working on...being a better LISTENER.)

As I was saying (before I started rambling), Pastor Mark upholds the value in each person. One group of people who especially need that are the elderly. Pastor Mark is wonderful with older people and often comments on the WISDOM found in each older person. "There is so much wisdom in their faces...their stories..." And he considers it a blessing to be among the elderly. What some people would think is scary, tiresome, or depressing--he sees as a beautiful blessing. I love his take on this. And I am starting to really "see" what he is seeing. Here are a few examples of my recent experiences with older folks...

*I've been interviewing Hank to make a sample life story book/CD for my business. Hank is 85 and, as owner-operator of a local historic site, is a fountain of knowledge. His house looks like a museum, as he has lived all over the world and worked for universities, the United Nations, and on the family farm. The thing that most impresses me about Hank is his humility --here is this man who, as his middle son told me, has "dined with kings" but doesn't brag about it. He has awards all over the walls, but the first thing he is proud to point out are his family pictures and the artwork of his beloved late wife. Hank welcomed me and my baby girl into his home with warmth and kindness, even letting Wynne play with a bronze tea set from Africa. What some would consider priceless antiques or collectibles, Hank treats as what they really are...just things. Hank realizes what's important in life and he finds joy in the little things, like the squirrels that feed outside his kitchen window, or the smile of a little child. True wisdom.

*My Uncle Dale passed away late last week. Although I hadn't seen him for a few years (he lived hours away in an Alzheimer's facility), I fondly remember his great sense of humor, the jokes he made, and his amazing woodcarving ability. He loved his family, his horses, and stories of childhood growing up on a Dakota prairie with Native Americans as neighbors. Like Hank, a hardworking, salt-of-the-earth fellow. He lived in simpler times, and even after owning a successful flooring business, in what did he find the most joy and pride? Not in things, but in experiences. Loved ones and memories. Simple wisdom.

*My prayer partner at church is a gal who's probably in her mid- to late-70s. She called me last week to update me on prayer concerns, and we talk a lot about our families. As an older, wiser mother/grandmother, I consider her a mentor and friend. She has felt great sorrow in the trials endured by herself and her family members, but through it all, she remains steadfast in her faith. Enduring wisdom.

These "old people" are among the many treasures God has placed on this earth for us to learn from, relate to, and bless. They have figured out what really matters, and the irony is that they aren't really "old people"....they have been made NEW. Look through their eyes and see life in a new light!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! --2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Weekend

It took me a while to get our house gussied up for Valentine's Day (if you can call putting the kids' decorations in the front window "gussied up"), so I'm not ready to let it go yet. Happy Valentine's Day to one and all! (Oh yeah, Happy President's Day too. May all of our presidents be united in Love in our hearts... Or something like that.)

We started out the weekend by making heart-shaped popcorn balls on Thursday night, and Wynne helped me bag them up on Friday.

I can't remember why Woots was looking like that, but I'm sure it was cute. She's my baby so it HAS to be cute.

After school, the whole family loaded up the Suburban (transmission was going on the old van; that's a post for another time) and delivered our corny Valentines to aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Some weren't home, but we did enjoy visiting Mark's brother Joe and my parents.
Then we had our traditional "Valentine's Day Fancy Dinner" on Saturday night. The kids made placemats like this...

and Ally set out our china, while Cy put the menu on my favorite toy, the Crayola Glowboard. (Pictures just don't do it justice.)

On the menu were barbecued pork chops (AKA cheapest thing on sale at the meat department), cheesy potatoes, vegetable soup, corn, crescents and Ho-Ho cake. Oh, and punch in champagne glasses; we can't forget that!

I don't know what this says about my cooking, but the most popular, gobbled-up menu item was the one that came in a tube. You guess!

Oh well, it was a delightful evening with all of my favorite Valentines!

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.--1 Corinthians 13:7

Thursday, February 12, 2009

100 Day Party

Today is actually the 99th day of school for my little kindergarteners, but they're having their 100th Day Party today because tomorrow is their Valentine's Day party. (Speaking from my past life as a classroom teacher, you can't have 2 parties in one day with 5-year-olds...unless you're bonko.)

So Paige got to try out her new chef's hat, apron, cookie cutters, and cookbook which were a Christmas gift from her godmother (thanks Aunt Debby!). We used the recipe for Fortune Cookies and made "100 Day Fortune Cookies".

I had Shae and Paige tell me things they liked about school, and I wrote them on slips of paper. (Things like, "I love getting books at the library" "Recess is fun" "We sing songs and do a dancy-dance to clean up" "Our teacher is the BEST" "We get to chew gum" (Okay, I just threw that last one in there to see if you were really paying attention.) The recipe was pretty simple because it used ready-made pie crust and cornstarch...I've never used cornstarch to roll out cookies before, but hey it worked pretty slick! (And it makes a pretty nice blush too, don't you think?)

I was wondering when I would use this rubber pastry brush I got for my birthday...

The cookies were supposed to take 20-25 minutes, but I checked them after 10 and they were about done (we'll say 15 minutes total; I'm such a stickler aren't I). Mid-way through baking, I noticed that sprinkles weren't the prettiest things melted, so I re-wet the cookies and sprinkled them with colored sugar. (The recipe called for colored sugar, but we thought we'd be creative and colorful and use colored sprinkles. It turns out that colored sprinkles melt into messy blobs, so FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS in this case. I know--sometimes you have to conform. Sigh.)
They turned out pretty cute, and Paige was especially proud. The best part is they are not too sweet, so they will make a nice snack for school.

Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy. --Psalm 33:3

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Moment

Last year my husband gave me a beautiful plaque that says, "Enjoy this moment...for this moment is your life." It is up on our dining room wall, and I look at it every day to try and remind myself to do what it says. Because sometimes I just get fed up in "this moment"...this moment of household preparation...dishes...etc.

This is what I do about 78% of the day:

Okay, maybe not 78% of the day, but it feels like it. (I had no idea that Mark was taking this picture - he was just testing to see if our new rechargeable batteries were working.) I should have taken a picture of my awesome husband cleaning the kitchen/dining room floor. He has some Mad Swiffer Skills. We grump and fume about cleaning up after supper, when we have five able-bodied children (two of them 8 and 10) who could do what we are doing. But we like having the water in the SINK (not on the floor) and getting the floor cleaned without someone getting a broom stick to their head. We delegate the chores of cleaning off the table, feeding the scraps to the dog, and putting things back in the fridge to the kids. Plus, the older kids play and keep the younger kids occupied, which is worth a lot in my book.

"Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life." I have a great partner who lives that out every day. After helping me clean the floors/counters/tabletop, this is the kind of thing Mark does:

Now THAT'S enjoying the moment!

And shouldn't I be thankful...for the blessing of children and family to eat at my table? for a table to eat on? for a kitchen/dining room? for a sink with running water? for clothes to wash and a house to clean?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. --Colossians 3:17

Monday, February 9, 2009

Six Minutes of Fame

Our 4th grade daughter and 2nd grade son spent the past 4 Saturdays learning and playing basketball as "The Little Chieftains". Last Thursday and Friday nights, the Little Chieftains took the court at halftime of the varsity games.

This is a bad picture, but it's the only close-up I have of Ally doing her ball-handling drills.

Here she is, the only time she got the ball! She made a nice pass inside to a "post" player (AKA taller girl--I don't know much about basketball. My junior high bb coach told me to NOT go out for the sport in high school!)

And then it was Cy's turn. He's the one in orange shorts not running because his pull-on sneakers are WAY TOO BIG (although he insists to the contrary).

Here he is on the bench. Six minutes of fame really means about 2 minutes of playing time (remember, this is a varsity half-time).

Needless to say, his physical education teacher father took him to an athletic shoe store the very next day to have his feet sized. We bought him a pair of TIE shoes that actually fit. The only thing we all agreed upon was the color. Mask-the-dirt Black!

I'm not sure what kind of a Sports Mom I will be. I have had several years practice of being the Coach's Wife, which is nerveracking/adrenaline-rushing in itself. But now we're talking our own kids. That adds an element of intensity. I was glad it was just 4 weeks and 6 minutes. I wasn't too stressed out; in fact, I really enjoyed it, laughing sometimes. I wonder, am I not "into it" enough? I look over at my husband, the coach/athletic director/phys. ed teacher and see his calm, happy manner. Shouldn't he be yelling at the kids, telling them what to do and encouraging their every move? No, we are not like that. We put it in perspective and have fun with it. They're just kids, and sports are meant to be fun. Of course we want them to try their hardest and do their best. But in the end, it is a game and what it teaches is process, not product.

Now if I can just remember that when we hit middle school...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Friends Go Shopping

Astrid and Ava came over for a playdate last week. It was wonderful! Wynne and Ava hit it right off ...

They even shared the scanner!!

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. --Ecclesiastes 4:9