Thursday, October 31, 2013

This War That We Are Waging

What if the Church stopped pointing fingers? What if we stopped forcing our convictions on each other and got our minds and hearts transfixed on Jesus?
What would happen if we stopped counting tattoos and piercings? What if we stopped condemning personal preferences of what constitutes as a joyful noises? What if we didn't measure others skirt length, hair length, beverage choices, sermon topics, holiday observances, and education?
What if we stopped fighting ourselves and the Church actually engaged the real enemy? What if Satan's Battle of Distraction from what we are even here for succeeds? What if my boys don't get the war we are to be waging because they see one from within the Body instead? 
What if we lay aside personal differences, unite ourselves in Christ and get involved in the real battle? What if we all took to the streets, for a full frontal attack using the name of Jesus over our neighborhoods? What if we prayed over the lives living right next door?
What if we forget about whether you trick-or-treat, get your fall festival on, or turn the front porch light off? What if we remember that there is evil out there that doesn't care about innocence, that doesn't care about how you spend October 31, that doesn't care period? 
What if we pray for safety for the families out on this night? What if we claim these streets for Christ? What if we fight and lift the name of Jesus? What if we realize the Church cannot begin to do the fighting it should because it's so worn out fighting itself?
What if these men in the making get focused on the real battle? The one taking place in the spiritual realm. The very real one waging war on souls. What if these soldiers get trained to fight the actual enemy?
What if my boys grow up engaged in the war God intended them to be in, fighting over souls for Christ? What if the things of earth that so easily entangle us were actually identified as what they are and cut loose? What if we win the battle of distraction and get on our knees praising God for the day He made and ready to do His work?
What if....?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Don't Put Boys In A Pinterest Box

Every now and then I get some wild hairbrained idea that some of those amazingly educational, creatively posed photographs, or simple 3-step DIY projects would be fun to try.
Like the Father's Day fail, or like the homemade dishwashing detergent, or the spicy chicken pasta. Now don't get me wrong...
I've found a few good ideas on there and some of them actually worked and get utilized around here, but others go down in the, "Remember the time we bombed the....(fill-in-the-blank)?
So when crazy ideas like, "I love those adorable laying in the leaves headshots! The boys will have a blast taking them!" pop into my head, I know there's a 50/50 success rate.
And sure enough, leaves are for jumping in, for throwing, and in some cases for eating, but certainly not for just laying in and taking pictures. Go ahead, ask any of my boys and they will emphatically agree.
And you know what? That's actually ok with me. I don't know what kinds of kids are in those pinterest posts who calmly sit with dried rice and bean sensory trays, and neatly trace letters in shaving cream, or cooperate by laying in piles of dead leaves.
But my boys are three wildly unpredictable, energetic spit fires that keep me guessing, running, and messy. They probably aren't ever going to be contained to a neat little sensory box at the kitchen table.
And I'm more than ok with that. There's a whole world of riddles to solve and messes to make. I'll probably keep trying some of those inspiring pins, and I'll probably have more Pinterest fail stories. But those will be the best stories because they involved my 3 silly boys learning life outside a box.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Messes of Happiness

Evolution of a Mess:
Let's paint...outside...on large sheets of paper. Wise choices, I thought.
They'll wear bummy clothes...it's washable paint...they'll stay on the paper, I thought.
The paint spread to hands...and feet...and noses. The paintbrushes got replaced by toy cars, and trucks, and sticks.
The paint got replaced by mud...the paper got replaced by bodies...the mud turned into "dirt bombs".
The boys were now blue and red...and muddy...and wet. Because there was now a hose involved.
And a broom, a shovel, and dump truck joined in somewhere in there as well...and the mud took over what wasn't covered in paint.
And the paint...the matchbox cars...the dirt bombs...the hose...the mud...the sticks, rocks, wet paper, destroyed clothing, black fingernails, filthy heads, crusty feet, and sticky fingers were all wrapped in utter happiness.
Because the bigger the mess, the happier the boy...it's a fact. And the evolution of a mess at this house is...there will always be one, and it will be large, because this is a house full of happy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Apple to Apples

We've been apple picking with the boys before. We've been with a baby in a back pack carrier.
We've been with an "I-can-do-it-myself" toddler and baby in the front pack carrier.
We've been in the sunshine, the cold, the morning, and the afternoon.
But we've never done apple picking like we did this past weekend.
This time we had a 4 year old thrill seeker climbing to the highest heights in search of the perfect apple.
We had a two year old insistent on keeping up with big brother, tree branch for tree branch.
In the midst of climbing, tasting, apple bomb throwing big boys, we also had a 6 month old grabbing handfuls of leaves.
We had pocket knife lessons for cutting taste test slices, we played hide-and-seek in the fujis.
We had boys "surfing" on apple crates, playing football with over-ripe fruit, and sword fighting with branches.
We had a car full of apple filled bellies on our way home and quiet laughs over our fast asleep sticky boys.
This apple picking day was long awaited and our beloved Virginia tradition continues with three times the antics and memories.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Revisiting Maryland and 2nd

Most days we totally forget about hiding under Matt's desk while gunfire ripped through the air out his window. But there are a few moments every now and then when uncertainty and fear try to make an appearance.
Moments usually seen in the form of nightmares and praying in the darkness for God's peace. Moments of Harrison expressing fear that someone may try shooting us at our house or while in church.
Moments the boys don't want to go back into the city. And it's these moments we use to teach God is Lord of all! We need to be on our knees for His protection, peace, healing, and for His work to be unhindered by Satan.
Listening to the radio, "God of this City" came on and Harrison excitedly connected the dots, "This is what y'all are talking about! Greater things are still to be done in this city, like Washington DC! And God can use us to do that!"
In my own excitement to watch him make that connection I wrote the radio station our story and my thanks for their ministry. The general manager wrote me back asking if he could share my letter with the staff and I assured him he could. Days later I received a phone call.
It was the general manager of the Christian radio station. The staff was moved with Harrison's testimony and wanted to make a video of his story and how God used their ministry in the aftermath. So this Wednesday a film crew is coming to interview Harrison about the shooting, the fear, the fight, and the victory in Christ.
If you think about it, please be praying especially for Harrison. Pray God gives him the words to say and takes away the words not to say, like a song he wrote and desperately wants to sing on camera titled, "Mr. President Obama, Here is the Truth About God." Anything could come out of the little mouth of his, but I'm just handing the interview over to God and standing back like the proud Momma I am as I watch my son become a man bold for Christ.
It is my prayer God will use this amazing 4 year old for His glory. Harrison is already being used by his Heavenly Father and I can't wait to see how God continues to work in and through this little man's life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

All the Money in the World Can't Buy This

Right now is a time for creativity and learning a whole new way to live life to the fullest.
Budgets are a little on the slim side and "extras" are not in our vocabulary.
And to be honest, this has been a wonderful time for all of us learning the true meaning of value and worth.
Enjoying the little moments and making the most of a dollar has only sharpened our skills in contentment and joy.
My goal has been to find ways to celebrate the little bits of life with minimum outgo and maximum fun! If you know me, you know I love any excuse for a party or celebration. I got the laundry washed and folded in one afternoon? Bring out the balloons! Matt beat rush hour traffic! It's cupcake time!
So when boys are excelling in school and baby brother turns 6 months a party was more than called for! Our local bakery boasts colossal donuts for a handful of change.
Excited little boys dug into sweet goodness and the following giggles, sticky fingers, and sugar coated memories couldn't be bought with any amount of money. I'm the richest momma in the world with these little men!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Few of His Favorite Things...

Blue blanket
bow ties
bananas
and baseball
The word, "No"
the word, "funny"
words that sound like noises
and noises that sound loud.
Cheese and chicken
fruit snacks and fruit
pop tarts and pretzels
water with ice and Poppa's tea.
Crayons, paint, and markers 
not necessarily just on paper.
Play-Doh, pirates,
and playing catch.
Singing 
smiling
Showing off your muscles
And you, my Jeff-Baby, are one of my favorite things!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

6 Month Wils

My Handsome 6 Month Wils,
Today is your half birthday! I hope you like celebrations, because I look for any excuse to have a party and half birthdays definitely count around here!
This half year with you has only served to confirm how much our family has been blessed having you here with us. You are a smiley, laid back addition that every single one of us adore.
At your check-up 2 weeks ago you were 17 1/2 lbs and 28" long. You are in 9-12 month clothes though I find you aren't a fan of clothes in general. You and winter coats may have an issue.
But you and food do not have any issues at all! If it's edible you like it. This has made homemade baby food a breeze as you chow down on everything from baked apples to olive oil roasted carrots.
You've been working on finger foods but you keep a sharp eye on everyone else's dinner plate. You have been known to attack your Daddy's piece of apple pie, and coerce chicken nuggets from your brothers (who Mommy had to teach that no matter how cute you looked at them you can't eat chicken nuggets yet.)
You take two 3-4 hour naps a day and you had been sleeping a solid 12-13 hour nights, until this week. I'll blame the 6 month growth spurt for your 5AM parties and starvation protests.
You are sitting up, rolling everywhere, and possess a growing motivation towards crawling since your big brothers torture you with amazing matchbox cars and army men within a few feet of your grasp.
Wils, you have the best sunshine smile that melts anyone who catches it. You create joy all around you. You are so easy going and are always game to be snuggled in a sling or wrap for a hike, a shopping trip, or a day in the city.
I love when your little fingers grab my face and pull me in for a kiss. I love the way you wrap onto my shoulder and bury your sweet face for a cuddle. I love your excited kicks when I come to get you from your crib. I love your pudgy rolls, your 2 tiny teeth, your fuzzy head of hair, and heart stopping baby blues. You have my heart. I am so blessed to be the momma chosen for you little man! Happy 6 months my handsome Wils! We love you!