Where Did September Go . . .
| ||October slow down! Comments are on today because someone asked if I'd consider leaving it open every blue moon. Well, the moon isn't blue, but okay |
This is a mega picture post because I haven't posted one in a while and I love taking pictures in the fall more than any other time of year. Summer is my favorite season, but when it comes to picture taking, fall wins hands down. I love the soft and muted colors, the harvest sunsets that don't seem to ever get really dark at the end - leaving kind of a haze in the sky.
We've had some awesome times together. September was so focused on school but October I am determined to make the most of the cooler weather and spend afternoons now and then away from the house and out in nature. Arts and crafts too. Fall arts and crafts are a blast. The kids are already talking about what we should do with pumpkins. Morgan has spotted the fairytale pumpkins this year and is enthralled.
I like the white pumpkins. Last year I saw how someone took those little paper doilies and pressed one on the top of a white pumpkin then spray painted gold. Then the doily was removed and it left a beautiful pattern on the top of the pumpkins. They looked awesome. I might give it a try, if I get a chance. Feel free to beat me to it because this month is looking pretty crazy. I'll be pleased enough to know someone did it somewhere and it looked beautiful~
I like hay bales. They are everywhere around here. I wish I had a reason to have some dumped all over our yard. Tall corn stocks would be nice too, in long rows. Ah, maybe not, I might have a harder time keeping track of the kiddos. Maybe a dog instead because we still miss Gracie.
Scott is a hunter. It's somewhere deep down inside of him and it has to come out especially in the fall. When I told him he couldn't shoot doves out of the back yard (no, he's not violent, there is dove hunting season ya know?) He settled for crawfishing the creek and roasting them over a fire and eating them with the brothers. I was offered a piece and though I thought about how that might be an initiation of sorts into the brotherhood, I turned down the offering and offered them something of my own cooking instead.
You know what I think is cool about this picture? That the leaves at the top look like a bird. But it's not - just leaves with the sun shining just so...
Saturday was a rollercoaster of emotions. Granted, we've chosen this rollercoaster and it's been a good one, but still, here's an example:
Left out at 6:30 am for Christian's game. Christian probably played his best game ever. I screamed until I was hoarse. It was one of those games where you have these stupid thoughts as a mom like, "Ya know, maybe he's cut out for the NFL. . ." LOL. Aren't we parents silly. I have no desire in the world for any of mine to play for the NFL. I'd like them to live longer hehe!
Next was Bub's game where there were several plays that were so funny I was laughing outloud nearly to tears. I needed a laugh after last week, and I got a really good one. I'm thrilled he's having such a grand time. He is by far my most laid back son.
Then there was Shelton's game. Out of ALL the games in ALL the sports my boys have played, (I know, sounds rather dramatic) this one was hardest to watch. I'm no pro at football rules and such, but even I knew things weren't right. No calls by refs resulted in lots of pictures like this -- and the holding was never called.
First time ever I've seen that particular son cry after a game. I was trying to find the balance between compassion and talking it through with him and letting him just be a man about it, whatever that means. Robert wasn't there to have a man to man talk, so I treaded lightly, seeking the Lord's wisdom on how to take his hand and lead him to Jesus through it all and still let him know I wasn't there to baby him or embarrass him.
I am truly amazed at my son's perseverance. He played well and was in the game the whole game. No one likes to get beat, but 34 to 0 hurts, especially when you're giving everything you've got and it doesn't help a bit.
And his team has also lost all their games all season.
Shelton has tried to be tough through the defeats. He's shown little emotion over them though I can read his eyes like a book and I could see the pain. He would highlight what they did do right, the runs that were made, or the passes caught.
At times I've thought, "Wow, so good that he is thinking on the positive and not the negative." And I've added my positive outlook as well, hoping to keep his spirits high. I know my competitive second born son and I knew inside emotions were hurting and that watching his other brother's teams do so well wasn't a piece of cake.
Sometimes just being all positive can be a way to cover the feelings that are hiding deep inside.
Saturday's loss hit deep enough to crack the tough shell he's been trying to develop all season. Since then there has been some great heart to heart talks with both Robert and myself.
When I think back on the years the boys have played football there hasn't been a single season we haven't walked through some really valuable lessons that apply to all of life. I've seen God use it to grow them amidst all the enjoyment they have playing the sport. I'm glad to be here, even if it's raw on the emotions at times, to walk with them through it.
Okay, so Shelton's wasn't the last game of the day though -
Then my emotions and I got to Scott's game. His team won 32 to 0. As much as I was so glad they won and proud of Scott's involvement in the score, I was feeling rather sorry for the other team. . . after all, I'd just been in their shoes during Shelton's game.
Here is the best way to explain my Saturday:
My face was sun burnt and when we got home I wanted a long hot shower and a good bowl of cereal before putting my head under the pillow.
Riding on the trailer to go down to the river. . .
We roasted hot dogs for lunch -- it smelled and felt like fall.
(wearing big brothers pants after coming out of the cold river.)
Rubber boots in the river!
But then came Sunday and it was a very relaxing and restful day. My emotions were calm and Saturday now seems like a crazy day that I happen to know will turn into a great memory -- in fact, it already has.
I was up early, lots of people to get ready for church. I walked into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. Robert was there already. There we stood side by side. It's strange but it was kind of a surreal moment, like a pause. Like my mind took a mental picture. Things froze, just for a few seconds.
I had the biggest baddest bed head I've seen in a long while. My hair was everywhere and in all the wrong ways. I must have been playing football in my sleep. Robert's hair stood on end in some wacky places too so at least I was in good company. I love that we love each other with sticking up hair.
I'm kind of just staring at my refection when I hear Robert say, "What if we went to church just as we are?"
What a concept, eh?
We had to smile at each other. I joke with the family on Sundays, "It's not quite fair, guys, I get all of you lookin' clean and fine, and then I just have to go as I am."
I kind of let my mind rabbit trail a bit on church after Robert's comment. . .
Are we for real at church? Are we for real with others, period?
I don't mean going to church with bed head.
I mean, do we "put on" our "nice person" when we get out of the car doors in the church parking lot?
If so, I promise, our kids will call us a hypocrite one day, if not to our face, then behind our backs. I think it might be better to go to church with bed head then go to church and act different then we really are at home.
Or maybe if we're different at church than home, we shouldn't go to church at all.
How do I know this? Because I know for a fact that if my parents had been different at home than they were at church and around others, I would have called them hypocrites. But they weren't. I watched, I waited, I observed. To this day I respect them so much for their consistency they showed inside our home and outside.
That probably made more of an impact on my life and who I am today then I even realize. It's probably a huge reason why I wanted what my parents had: relationship with God.
Authenticity. No putting on. I am constantly, weekly motivated to do the same. I am convicted. I ask my children, 'cause they're old enough to know, "Hey guys, do you see me act different with others than I do with you guys and daddy?"
I have asked the Lord to convict me and show me when I am living hypocritically before my children.
It is never worth impressing others and making them think we are something we are not. We may gain other's approval, people might think we are really great, we could even appear so great that we are in the ministry or serve many other people, but we will forfeit our children ~ because they know better, they know the real us.
We can't save our kids. We can't make them give us their hearts. More importantly, we can't make them give their hearts to God. We can't force them to follow, and we should not. . . control is never the answer.
But we do give them good reason to run from us by our life of hypocrisy, or we can, by our authentic life and our unconditional love, give them good reason to want to know the God we love and serve.
Am I interested in my children knowing God and living their life for Him? Well, there is something I can do to encourage that: don't be a hypocrite.
It's not going to cut it just to know all the right answers, read my Bible, talk the talk, make all the "right" commitments, blog good stuff or do all the "right things." There is not one tiny bit of eternal value in looking like the "perfect" family. Nope, don't even get an extra half of a point for that.
There is nothing lasting that is going to come out of anything I can do to try to "perfect" anything in or with my children except me being in right relationship, true relationship, with Jesus Christ.
Don't fall in love with those things you think will make your family a better family. Don't fall in love with the image. Don't fall in love with those people who seem to have all the right answers. Fall in love with Jesus.
Then our children will know our God is for real - when we are for real.
(The following are pictures of a game that Robert was playing with the children. He starts at the bottom of the hill with the ball. The childrens' goal is to make sure he doesn't make it to the top. It's kids against dad -- all except for Bub. I noticed that somehow when Robert gets down, suddenly Bub is on his team and then Robert hands it off to Bub and Bub takes it up the rest of the hill. So cute. I love watching.)
(the sneak hand off to Bub!)
Another favorite game is hide and seek tag ~ I like joining this game too when the little ones fall asleep in the stroller.
Robert and Morgan are "it."
Sometimes Morgan gets distracted from her tagging when the boys are hard to find and don't come out of their hiding places. . .
Here she told me she was "guarding base" - I thought she was the prettiest guard of base ever.
"Team Captain" on the left - and on the right, his trusty sidekick.
Itty had gotten so wet in the river that she didn't join in the games - instead she curled up in a towel and sucked her thumb.
Not fair when brothers hide way up in trees.
Baby has been teething lots lately - getting in those back teeth. On top of fighting an on going cold. We've been having lots of holding times together. She is a snuggle bear.
(My favorite fall "flower.")
Go to http://www.adisciplesnotebook.com/ and you'll find this today:
“Our human perspective on current events is naturally low-centered. We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our cherished hopes and convenience, and we shape our decisions and reactions accordingly. . .
When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek His perspective, but to ask Him to deflect the trouble.
Our self-concern takes priority over whatever it is that God might be trying to do through the trouble. One of the harder lessons of life is to learn that our low-centered, sense-oriented subjectivism militates against our effective cooperation with God in His purpose for us in a given trial.” R. Arthur Mathews
So it was interesting that I read this this morning because it kind of goes along with some notes that I have been looking over after Sunday's sermon. We've been going through 1 Peter.
Sufferings, sorrows, unjustice -- yeah, all the "good stuff." The stuff that tests our faith. The stuff that cuts to the chase
of whether someone is just a fake christian or a the real deal. When the heat gets turned up in our lives, it shows what's inside. . . because it starts coming out.
The question I have to ask myself is, "Am I so satisfied with God that it really matters not what this life brings?"
I mean, am I always trying to change my circumstances - instead of allowing my circumstances to change me?
I think I will type that again because I want to get hung up on that.
Do I despise my circumstances (circumstances in relationship, position, situation, etc.) instead of looking to see what it is God intends and desires to do through my circumstances to change my heart and draw me closer to Himself?
It is not the ease of the circumstances in our life but the trials in the circumstances that grow us. As humans we are like escape artists. As our pastor said yesterday, "escapology." I think we major in that - always trying to escape the suffering.
Truth is, if I haven't learned to love God right where I am, in the circumstances I find myself, in the relationships, in the trials, I will never love God anywhere else either. No change in my circumstances, no fix in my life, is going to make me love Him.
Finding perfect contentment in the midst of my circumstances - that is what God is after. That is the test of my faith. That divides the fake from the real. Again, He is about us falling in love with Him. So often we don't "feel" loved by God because we feel our circumstances are difficult. We see love as only we want to see it.
"...For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)
Fall in love with Jesus. Then our eyes will be open to see how our circumstances are exactly His love for us. Instead of striving to fix our circumstances to take away all suffering, we will see how our circumstances are there to change us and make us more like Christ.
(A fall evening walk with the girls.)
| ||Posted 10/4/2010 10:12 PM - 2368 Views - 74 eProps - 55 comments|
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