Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Truly Thankful

This has been our project for the month of November, counting down the days until Thanksgiving. Everyday we each write down what we are thankful for. My hope was that when Thanksgiving came, the kids would have a grasp on what we were celebrating. It has been a great exercise for all of us! However there have been days where I sit and stare at my note card frustrated with the disobedience, fights between siblings, dirty laundry, dirty diapers, lack of sleep, and strain to think of something that I am thankful for that day. Then I heard a story shared at MOPS about being thankful. This mother was frustrated with her son. They lived on a farm and every day he came in, took his shoes off, and left a pile of hay where he striped off his jacket and shoes from working on the farm. Every day she scolded him to clean up his pile of hay and wondered why he could never take the initiative to do it. Then her son went on a church youth group outing to Kings Island. 64 Children/teenagers, 3 chaperons, and a bus driver. Coming back late that night, a drunk driver crossed the median and crashed into the gas tank of the bus setting it on fire. The door to the bus jammed. All adults and 24 children died that day, but that woman's son did not. It was devastating to that church and all their families. That mother came in to her house later that week, saw the pile of hay on the floor, and fell to her knees thanking God for her pile of hay because it could have ended differently for her. I left that MOPS meeting truly changed at my outlook of thankfulness. I am thankful for the 2am interruptions, dirty diapers, laundry that never ends, snotty noses, shoes and clothes not put away, and constant need for my attention because I am thankful for each of my children and what they have added to my life. I will take the good with the bad and praise God each day he gives them to me! I pray that you too have truly found a heart of thanksgiving as we celebrate this wonderful holiday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


New Swimsuit: $27, Monthly Swim Team Fee: $60
Yearly Membership Fees: $300
Watching Asher compete in his 1st swim meet with such joy and confidence:
I would pay it all over again. Many of you know that Asher doesn't have the competitive spirit that Joel and I have...it has been a long road for Joel and I in learning how to parent him without "exasperating" him, to accept him for who is is and let go of our expectations of what we thought every boy would be like. Asher break danced in the corner of the field during soccer games, drew in the sand during tee-ball games, ran the opposite direction during football-every time just wanting to sit on the side and cheer. So we decided to take a break from sports until he pointed us in the direction he wanted to go. Since he was a fish in Hawaii, we thought "hey, maybe he would like a swim team". He LOVES his swim team. We have been so blessed with patient and encouraging coaches, a sport that builds Asher up every time he goes to practice, and a whole new family for Asher. We joined with he commitment not to force him to compete...when he was ready, he was ready, and the coaches were OK with that too. The first time he dove off the block and swam the length of the pool without touching the lane lines (in a practice), the entire team (even the high school kids) stopped their practice and chanted Asher's name until his hand touched the other side. I have never seen him so proud and a team so unified. Asher isn't focused on beating the kid in the lane next to him. He is focused on getting better every time he gets in the pool. Well, the 1st swim meet arrived and he didn't want to compete. Fine. We just wanted to take him so he could see what a swim meet even was. The 1st night he saw kids his age competing and said to me "I want to swim. I want to do this. I can do this. Please let me swim." I was dumbfounded and both Joel and I thought about talking him out of it, thinking he isn't ready! But his coaches encouraged us to let him do it if he wanted to try. So we signed him up last minute and all rallied by the pool as he went out to swim his 1st competition in the 25 meter freestyle for ages 6 and under. That morning he ran out the door at 7am like he was going to see Santa Claus. I have never seen such joy and anticipation, and confidence, in Asher's face. And he did it! He dove in, swam his heart out, and reach the other side in 39 seconds. He finished 9th of 13 kids and is so proud. I get tears in my eyes every time I think about it. Next time he says he will be faster and I believe it!

Asher on the left listening for the starting whistle.

Half way there!

Finishing strong!

I said "Asher I took pictures of you to show everyone."
Asher: "Probably not very many because I swam so fast!"
GO ASHER! We are so proud of you.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Here we are in Ohio enjoying a fall like we haven't done in years. It has been fun going on hayrides, pumpkin picking, tackling corn mazes, and experiencing the change in weather. However with fall always comes the Halloween holiday. Neither Joel nor I celebrated Halloween growing up and every year I find myself struggling with the holiday-to celebrate or not to celebrate. I pray and pray and have never felt the conviction not to celebrate but this year was at a loss for words on why we choose to celebrate. Every other holiday points to Christ in our traditions, but what does Halloween point to? I know it is a super fun holiday, but it can be intended for evil. So how do we still enjoy it and point our kids in the right direction? My amazing husband was filled with wisdom this year and did a wonderful job of answering the "why" questions, and now I feel we have a footing on our Halloween traditions. Every night at bedtime as the harvest festivals came, and costume shopping and anticipation built, Joel would talk to them about how fun it was to dress up and imitate characters we love but we do this once a year...every day we should be imitators of God and live a life of love. We do this because of Christ's example and it is the bible's instruction for us to do so. Ephesians 5:1-2 says "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." As we carved pumpkins, we talked about how we resemble the pumpkins, needing our insides scraped clean of all the messy stuff. Then Jesus gave us a light inside and a new face so others could see the light. So as we followed our toy story characters through the neighborhood, I know why Halloween originated, and that it is not a "holy" holiday, but I believe we can still use it to point our kids to Him.

Our Toy Story family ready to trick or treat.

Carving Pumpkins.

Then going to the Grafton Hill Pumpkin Glow...450 jack-0-lanterns lit at dusk.

It was super cool!