Happy Birthday, Miles!

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Today we celebrate one year with our Peter Miles.  I feel like I am on a merry-go-round and I keep trying to grab onto things that are stationary, but life just keeps spinning.  Time is flying, but here we are with another one-year-old.  Here we are, blessed again.

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Whenever I look at this chubby little guy, I remember seeing his tiny beating heart on the ultrasound screen for the first time.  The technician was very quiet during the exam.  She told me there was a problem and my doctor would explain when I saw her.  My doctor showed me the pictures of the ultrasound, and the large portion of the placenta that didn’t seem to be functioning.  She told me that she expected this pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

Days and weeks passed by.  Daily I offered up this little life to the Lord, slowly learning to open my hands and let go of what I wanted.

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At my twelve week appointment, we heard another strong heartbeat.  My doctor was surprised to see me and to see my son so strong.  She sent me to  a specialist in another part of the city, who talked to me about my high risk for a repeat placenta abruption, about accreta, about preemie baby care and at what gestational age he would be able to survive.  On the ultrasound we saw a strong, healthy boy, squirming and growing and heart pumping.  She said I must have many praying for him, because his situation almost always prevented healthy growth in utero.

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Each appointment continued to be a surprise.  Each time our boy measured bigger than expected, and each time the doctors were baffled by his ability to continue growing.   They made sure that I knew that at any moment the placenta could detach and I would need medical care immediately.  They made sure I knew that the risk to my baby’s life would be high if this were to happen.  They made sure I knew that it was likely he would be nutritionally deficient.  I told them I understood.  I understood that this life was entirely dependent on the Lord sustaining my body each day, and I understood there was nothing left in my hands.

Each week brought more peace as each week meant my son was a little bit stronger, and we made it all the way to 38 weeks before labor started.  Peter Miles Taylor was born at 9:00 pm on a warm October Tuesday, weighing in at 7 lbs 11 oz.  My biggest baby, and my earliest.  We named him Peter after my father, Taylor after Jon’s grandfather (who entered the presence of the Father just this week) and Miles because he has been a strong soldier and fighter since his first heartbeat.

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Miles has been such a wonderful addition to our family.  He gives the tightest hugs and eats more than I do.  He weighs as much as his three-year-old sister.  He is strong and doesn’t give smiles easily.  There were so many months last year when I did not know if he would be healthy, when I would get into my car after every appointment and whisper “this life belongs to You, Lord, sustain me to do Your will without fear.”  Every time I hold my son I remember that it is it Lord who formed this strong young boy despite all the dangerous appearances, and I am thankful every moment.

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Confessing Their Sins

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Sin is contagious.  I’m sure you have heard the saying, “bad company corrupts good morals”.  Sometimes we think we are strong enough to be salt and light, to be the good example, and a witness to those in sin.  Many times the Lord uses our faithfulness to lead others to himself.  But if we are dragging sin around with us, our saltiness can lose its flavor.  Remember the first time a woman sinned and how easily, how quickly, her husband jumped in after her.   It isn’t just the visible sin that is contagious, it is also the secret sin.  Sin clouds and confuses and creates all sorts of blindness, not only for us but for those around us.

We have had a seriously rainy season here in Louisville.  I can only remember five or six sunny days since February.  Maybe there have been more, but my point is that we have had days upon days of rain.  In this area of the country we also have thunder and lightning with our rain.  Being a Georgia born girl, I love a good, loud thunderstorm.  I love the smell of the rain, the rumbling thunder through the clouds, the sudden black cloud cover as the storm rolls in, and the freshness in the air as it rolls out.  My daughter does not feel the same way.  She is terrified.  It started with a fear of the being struck by lightning.  We never ventured out in storms.  Her fear escalated over the months to the point where she would close the curtains if she saw a cloud, or refuse to go to the park if she saw a thunderstorm warning on my weather app.  We prayed, we talked about being brave, we read books about weather, and researched how to stay safe.  But still, if a cloud appeared the poor girl was curled up in the corner of the house afraid to move too close to a window.

It became apparent to me that things were getting a little ridiculous, and the issue was far beyond thunderstorms.  Her fear was very real to her and she was fighting with learning to trust in the midst of fear.

I pray for my children often, for their futures and for their present struggles.  I prayed for my daughter to have courage and to learn trust.  But what I kept realizing was that I was making the same request for myself.  My own struggle with worry and fear and forgetting to trust a God who has always cared for me is constant.  My sin, although silent, was contagious and contaminating my daughter.  Instead of praying that she would have courage, I began confessing my own lack of courage.  Instead of praying that she would learn not to be afraid, I began confessing my own fear.  I cringe when I realize how many thoughts I have wasted in being afraid of things that are not happening, of being worried about possibilities.  If I do not confess my own fears and worries, my children will not be able to conquer their own.  I will keep infecting them.

We opened the front door to watch the lightning last week. She sat next to me on the stair, squeezing my hand, but she did not cry.   She hasn’t checked the weather app in days.  Her courage is growing.  The root of the struggle is being uprooted, beginning with the uprooting of my struggle.  The speck in her eye is coming out, beginning with the plank in mine. In the spiral of confusion as I tried to lead through this struggle, I found my foothold in confession.  People say that children are like mirrors, and people are right.  They do not just mimic our outward personality traits and our open struggles, they also mirror our inward sins, our fear, our discontent, our silent disobedience, our dishonesty, our worry, our disrespect, our ingratitude, our envy, our bitterness.  Sin is contagious even in silence.

We have been talking a lot about the Israelites on their first visit to Canaan.  They peared over the wall and were afraid of what they saw.  Their fear was legitimate.  The Canaanites were strong, they were many, and they were powerful.  In comparison the Israelites were like tiny grasshoppers.  From a practical standpoint, the odds were against them.  But they forgot how full of power their God is, and that He can make a city fall with only the sound of a trumpet.  THe Lord was not happy with their fear and He sent them back into the wilderness to live the rest of their days.

“Do not be afraid” I tell my daughter every day.  “Do not be afraid.” I tell myself.  I could spend a long time explaining that the fear of a thunderstorm is unfounded, but that is not the point.  She will eventually find something to fear that is real, something that can actually hurt her.  So I tell her not to let fear control her actions, to have courage, and to believe that the God who has crushed enemies with their own city walls holds her in His hand and we are very safe.

Grandma Leithart

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She would have turned 96 on Monday, but she has been with the Lord for almost eight years. Although we never lived close, our annual visits engraved their way on my childhood. She always told me that she wished she was a boy, and that when I grew up she hoped I only had boys. I told her that was crazy and asked to paint her nails, and she always let me. She would never allow the bright colors, usually it was clear polish, and always something muted and sensible. She would let me “style” her fuzzy gray hair, and I loved standing in front of her vanity in her maroon tiled bathroom. It was like stepping back in time. She never threw anything away.  People always told me I looked like her, and I hated it. She had a big German nose and very long arms and kind of a crooked smile. They were right though- I look just like her.

I can’t shake the memory of her old hands and exactly the way it felt to hold them as I sat on her bed while she gave me things. She was always trying to give me her jewelry from around the world (what was left of it) and old funny things, because she said she was going to die soon. I never remember a visit where she didn’t say she was about to die, and I remember 18 years of visits. The Lord kept giving her more years and she kept playing organ at her church and making spaghetti when we visited and serving breakfast on the screen porch and refusing to buy new clothes and giving away anything fancy and clapping for our silly plays and faithfully walking through life when she knew she was ready to be finished. She always told me to stay close to the Lord, and that you can’t serve God and money, and that being a wife and mother is a full time job and I should treat it like one when the time comes.

On my last visit before she died she sang for me, as she always did before we left, “God be with you ’til we meet again, ’til we meet at Jesus’ feet“. But that time I knew it was really true, it was really the last time we would see each other until we are both with Jesus. When I visited again a few months later, I cried when I saw her hands. Those were not the hands that I loved and the hands that I remembered- those hands had no life and were not serving. But my grief was short and the sadness overshadowed by the hope in her words to me. When she passed on I felt more pride than sadness, pride that she had lived a faithful life, relief for her that she was finished with her race, proud of what she left behind and proud to hold the memories, proud of the boy she raised into my father, and most of all I felt privileged to live a life in the shadow of her faith.

Planning Ahead

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This might seem silly, and it’s okay if you laugh at me, but I actually rehearse conversations with my kids before they happen.  When the house is quiet in the late evening, and I’m standing in front of a pile of soapy dishes, I think about what I am going to say to them in certain situations.  When I am driving in the car, and it is the rare moment that everyone has fallen asleep, I rehearse what I will do when they fall into certain sins.  When I am reading the Word in the early morning, I jot down verses that I want to bring up with them later.  If I am going to be a good trainer of these little troops, I have to have a plan.  If I am going to be able to withstand the surprising stressful moments with patience and kindness, I have to think ahead.  Because when you have any children under the age of six, nothing should surprise you.  I love little ones.  Their behavior is sweet and cute and funny, but they have only been in the world a few years.  Should I really be surprised when they are overtaken with jealousy or when they can’t control their tiredness?  I’m called to train them, which means they are going to need training!  I can’t expect them to know how to live without years of correction and practice and training

If you have spent any time with your children, you probably know what kinds of sins they are easily ensnared by.  Generally speaking little boys struggle with controlling themselves physically, and they are prone to hit, punch, wrestle or run where they shouldn’t.  Little girls seem to struggle more with controlling their emotions.  They tend to cry when they shouldn’t, whine, sulk, and envy.  I find it extremely helpful to watch for and notice what sins my particular children are more prone to, and to make a plan for how I am going to handle the situation when they start to slip.

I have put together a list of verses that I memorize with my girls.  These have helped me in many situations.  Have you ever seen your child in sin, and in the moment you can’t think of anything to say other than “Stop it!  Just stop whatever it is that you are doing!”?  The frustrating thing for them is that most of the time they don’t even understand what is wrong with whatever they are doing.  Instead I find it so much more effective to say something like “I can see that you are grumpy right now.  What does the Bible say about being grumpy?  A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.  Can we pray together for a joyful heart. Now you need to stop being grumpy.”  Or “I just told you not to jump on the couch.  What does the Bible say about obeying my words? Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  You need to listen to my words and obey them.”

I know there are many, many more verses that can be used for training children, but these are some of the ones that I seem to use the most frequently.  I try to use the same ones over and over again in my correction so that they remember it.  I hope these can be helpful to you, and that you can add your own verses for whatever your children need

For when they need to be reminded to obey:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

For when they need to remember to speak respectfully:
“Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God if giving you.” Ex. 20:12

For when they are throwing fits:
“A man without self control is like city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 I explain this one by telling them that that if they throw a fit, their heart has no walls and it makes it very easy for sin to get in and control them, but if they control themselves, then their heart is strong like a city with tall walls.

For when they are afraid:
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust” Psalm 56:3

For when they need to forgive or be kind to others:
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

For when others are unkind to them:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

For when they need to be reminded to be cheerful:
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

For when they notice how beautiful they are:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:30

For when they make crass jokes:
“Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talk, nor crude joking, which is out of place, instead let there be thanksgiving.” Eph. 5:4

For when they are complaining:
“Do all things without complaining or arguing, so that you may become children of God, blameless and pure.” Philippians 2:14

For when they forget the rules:
“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands.” Deuteronomy 8:11

For when they are feeling shy:
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

For when they are jealous or envious:
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with the things that you have, for God has said, ‘I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

For when they need to be reminded of God’s forgiveness:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Forgive Us

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To my daughters, when you are correcting your small ones,

We have our little routine down, don’t we?  You know it well: infraction, discipline, forgiveness.  You know that I never discipline you, not even with the tiniest flick on the hand, without praying with you afterwards.  Our prayer is usually very short and simple.

You say, often through sobs and tears, “Father in Heaven, please forgive me for disobeying my mom” or “Father in Heaven, please forgive me for not being joyful” or “Father in Heaven, please forgive me for not loving my sister as You commanded”.

And then it is my turn to remind you that He is faithful and just, that He forgives us of all of our sins.  I hold you and say “Now, repeat after me, ‘all forgiven’!”  More often than not, those two words clear the tears and I can see the relief in your eyes.  On a good day, I even get an extra hug, and you are off again to play.

When you are playing my role, when God has given you your own children to train, do not ever miss that last step, no matter how busy or distracted you are, no matter what  else is happening in the background.  Hold up your child’s chin and say to them “You are all forgiven!”

And now here is the hardest part: you actually have to mean that!  You have to forgive them!  Forgive them for embarrassing you, forgive them for forgetting, forgive them for offending our Heavenly Father.  If He has put their sins as far as the East is from the West, then so must you.  You may not hold on to the tiniest bit of bitterness or anger.  You say they are forgiven, you have to forgive them.

You have to forgive them because it is highly likely that they will leave the room and hit their sister again…within 10 minutes!  You have to forgive them because they will probably throw another big fit…that same afternoon!  And when you gently take their hand and lead them back to your room for more correction, you are the one who has  to have a clean heart.  Their past sin (from 30 seconds ago) is forgiven, and that means mom doesn’t remember it.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Their sin is gone, washed away.  If Christ’s blood is sufficient for the Father then it must be sufficient for you.

What do you think will happen if you are not forgiving your children all day, every day? If you are counting the times they have needed correction for the same offense? If you are keeping tabs on their infractions?  You will pile their sin up, where Christ has already washed it clean.  Your voice will get louder, your grip tighter, your tone shorter.  Your patience will be chiseled away.  Your long-suffering will not be long, only suffering.  And worst of all, they will not believe that they are forgiven.

“You are all forgiven!” Say it for them, and say it for yourself.  Say it to yourself if that helps, “they are all forgiven”!  And when you are talking to them for the fourteenth time about jumping on the couch, you will be able to speak to them as if it were the first time.  Practice memory loss when it comes to their sins.  Forgive.  Forget.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

Gratitude From Easter Sunday

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It’s Easter and the sun is bright in Kentucky.  It is the first warm day we have had in a while.  I rush around in the early morning, cinnamon rolls and ham and deviled eggs on the table, mimosas bubbling, baskets full of toys and chocolate for the children.  The time is never slow enough on Sundays.  I have hair to braid, sashes to tie, earrings, bows, tights.  Where is the other shoe?  Then there is the little man in his spring plaid, watching me throw on makeup with a skeptical eye.  I gather my babies together for a picture on the couch, while my husband rushes around, clearing the table in between photos.  Nobody will be still.  “Smile at the camera!”  I say about 50 times and give up, laughing.  We load the children in the car and rush back in the house to find the baskets and candy filled eggs.  I notice a spot on my dress. Oh well, the baby will be on my lap.  We are finally off, maybe we can make it on time today.

I glance at my beauties in the back seat. Thank You, Lord, for these people You have given me to spend my days with.  Thank You that You are with us, through these busy days and quieter ones that will eventually come, through the days of rejoicing and the days of struggle.  There is no trouble that can come our way that You have not overcome. You guide us with your counsel, and afterward You will take us into glory.  That’s the whole story.  You have given us the greatest gift: life now and life after death.  I am so often tempted to worry.  Why?! There are no days without You! There are no trials that You will not guide us through!  You are life.  There are no battles that we will fight alone, not even death.  Thank You for this Easter, for this resurrection day.

I reach over and grab my husband’s hand.  Thank You, Lord, for him.  Three times you have breathed life into our lives, through my broken body.  A man at church asks if this will be our last baby.  I smile.  Every day I wonder how we were so lucky to have any at all!  I count the number I have, not the number I imagine.  You have been good and You have been generous.

I stand on a hillside of fresh grass while a cute girl in pink gathers plastic eggs beside me.  We celebrate a Man who walked out of a grave.  A gruesome death spun a cute tradition.  You are life, You are new life.  How many mothers wept over their slaughtered sons in the year of Herod when You were born?  And now Your Spirit has spread across the world and I can spend today wiping chocolate from fat faces. This blessing, because You have risen.  This life, because You are alive.

The Compassion Of Christ

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I love Holy Week.  Ever since my oldest was two, I have read the resurrection story to my children every day of holy week, and every year I learn more than they do.  The student teaches the teacher, again. This year as we were reading about the Garden of Gethsemane, Darcy asked me why Jesus was so scared.  Why was he sweating drops of blood and asking God to find another way?  He knew he would be alive again soon.  He knew that His job had a definite end, and it was only going to be a few days.  Even though there was joy set before Him, and He knew He would make all things new through this death, He was still afraid.

I have had a similar conundrum when reading the story of Lazarus.  When Jesus arrived at his house, Lazarus had already been dead for days.  Jesus knew He could raise him from the dead.  But still, he wept.  He knew resurrection was in his power, but He still felt the sting of the death of His dear friend.  He could have come to Lazarus sooner and healed him while he was sick, but Jesus chose to wait.  He chose to subject himself to the pain of loosing a loved one.  He says it is the best way for God’s glory to be shown in that circumstance.

I don’t want to pretend like I know why Jesus did everything the way he did, but I do know that it shows us something about Himself.  Our Lord is compassionate.  He subjected himself to feel what we do when confronted with strong temptation, with terrifying situations, and even with death.  He did not just rush through these experiences, knowing that He was an omnipotent God.  He knew that he could heal and reverse death and call a legion of angels to His side at any moment.  But He chose not to.  He chose to feel what we are feeling, to withstand temptation, to endure his own death, to weep at the side of his friend’s grave.  His power is made perfect in weakness.  This is a mystery.  His love is compassion.  His love is allowing himself to be in the same kinds of situations that we face all through this life.  His love is kindness.  His love is reversing our deaths by subjecting himself to death.

On a much (much!) smaller scale, this kindness and compassion can teach me about how I lead my own children in their small, daily struggles. How many times have I been in a situation where I know everything is going to be fine but my children don’t?  They are worried, they are freaking out, and it is probably over something that I know I can fix.  How many times do children just cry because they are hungry, as if they will never get another meal?  How many times do children fall limp on the floor because my command to clean up the toys seems impossible?  Can I be like Jesus when He gently told Martha and Mary that their brother was only asleep?  Can I have the compassion of Jesus and understand what they are feeling?  Jesus cries along side them, and then comforts them with his words that Lazarus will rise.  Jesus doesn’t tell us not to worry as someone who has never faced worry. He sweats blood in a garden and pleads with the Father over his situation.  He knows the temptation to worry, and He tells us to cast it off.  He knows the weight of hunger, and He feeds 5000 people.  Can I be a compassionate mother like that?  Can I look into my child’s eyes and tell her not to fuss about dinner, but with the same compassion of one who knows how hard it is to wait? Can I hold them when they have a bad dream, and tell them none of it is real, but with the kindness of someone who knows what it feels like to be afraid?  Or do I dismiss their fears and their worries and their struggles because I know they won’t last long?  Can I find a more compassionate way to exercise my authority and abandon the answer “because I told you so”?  Am I the kind of mother who tells my children to “get over it” because I know that a scratch on their knee isn’t going to kill them?  Or am I the kind of mother who can, like Jesus, compassionately kiss their hurts, understanding that their fears are real to them, and kindly tell them that they will heal?  Can I be kind like Jesus on the stormy waters when He asked His disciples be calm while He gently calmed the waves?  Can I be kind when nobody in the house is being calm?  Can I bring the calm?

Jesus knows the end of the Easter story when He rides into Jerusalem.  He knows that He will soon be with His Father again, and He will soon conquer death.  But it does not stop Him from being afraid.  It does not stop the pain from being very real.  Knowing the end will be good, doesn’t mean the story won’t be hard.  I want to understand this in the most minuscule circumstances, in the smallest little stories that happen in our little daily lives.  Just because I know that everything will be fine, doesn’t mean I should treat my children’s experiences and fears like they don’t matter.  As they grow, their troubles will get bigger.  Can I be like Jesus?  Can they come to me with any hurts, no matter how small or how big, and find compassion even when I know they will be fine in the end?  I don’t want to raise children who are tough and independent, I want to raise children who are strong in Christ and rely completely on Him to heal their troubles.

Jesus turned to the criminal who hung beside him and said “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  This is not a comfort coming from someone who doesn’t understand the pain that is currently happening.  This is a comfort coming from a man who is hanging, dying for the sins of the world.  A man in the midst of pain, understanding the pain of the man beside him, becomes the comforter.  He gives hope, but He also gives great compassion.  He know this hurts. He knows it will be over soon.  He knows what it feels like.  And he knows everything will soon be healed.

Soul-Colds

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I have very limited experience as a parent.  My oldest child is only five, and I have yet to deal with disciplining a boy.  So far my boy is practically perfect.  I am quite sure that all of the seasoned parents reading this will chuckle at my naivety and inexperience.  But if this is helpful to even one floundering mom, then I have accomplished my goal.

When people say that three children is hard, they are not joking.  Suddenly I went from being just busy to being stretched way too thin.  And the thinner mom is stretched, the more each child needs.    The less I felt I could give, the more they wanted.  I really began noticing this about a month ago, when some strange behavior started showing up.  Most of the time, the sin around here is pretty cut and dry and can easily be turned from with some firm correction and redirection.  But I was hitting a point where I felt like nothing was working. The bad attitudes and mean spirits were popping up all over the place at weird times and I felt like I was playing whack-a-mole parenting.  I needed to redirect myself.

When my children are sick, I cancel our plans and set aside some time to specially focus on them.  Most of the time during these seasons, many things (like the laundry and the dishes and play-dates) take the back burner and I am 100% focused on what that child needs.  So why wasn’t I doing this with our attitude sickness that kept showing itself?

I decided to set aside an entire week for attitude re-training.  I canceled all our plans, even moved appointments, and made a plan of attack.  I did all my errands over weekend and stocked up on plenty of crafting supplies.  I made sure I was dressed and coffeed by the time the children were up every morning.  I turned off my phone.  I set aside my to-do lists.  I planned very simple meals that the kids could help me prepare.  And I did everything with the kids that week.  No alone time!  My full attention was on them.  When they were playing with blocks, I got on the floor and built with them without texting friends while we played.  When we worked on letters and numbers, I refrained from folding the laundry and gave them my full attention.  When they were going to bed, I got in the bed and snuggled and told stories.  When we sat down to work on crafts, I did crafts too instead of using the time to place Amazon orders.  I saved all my chores for the evening after the kids were asleep.  When we were outside I threw the ball with them.  When we went to the park, I raced them down the slide and went on the swings with them.  When I was nursing the baby, I read stories out loud instead of reading my own books.  When we ate lunch together, i had joke competitions with them instead of menu planning.

And do you know what happened?  Within two days the girls were playing sweeter, obeying quicker, sharing better, whining less, and staying focused on a task longer.  Obviously this intensity can’t be constant.  The laundry does need to be folded and errands need to be accomplished.  It is good for children to learn to wait and not have the world centered around them constantly.  But that week was the perfect dosage of vitamin C that they needed for the soul-colds.  They just needed an intense reminder that they are my top priority and I am always willing to set aside everything else if they are struggling.

Things are getting back to a normal pace now, but I am so thankful for this experience.  I certainly plan to do this again if I see their love-tanks starting to run low.  Cut back on multi-tasking and pour out a joyful heart, which is the best medicine.

Five Year Old Stuff

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As it turns out, having a five year old around is pretty fun.  She is always saying the funniest, cutest things, and I’m really enjoying these days with her.  She is learning so much about the world and doesn’t ever stop asking questions.  Here are some cute moments from this last week…

I was getting ready to take Miles to his doctor appointment and I hear overhear Darcy telling him, “Now Miles, if they have to give you a shot don’t be afraid!  I will be right there and I will count to 10.  When I am done counting, the shot will be over and you will be okay!”

Darcy was pretending to be a neighbor who came over for a tea party and she told me this: “I got married a very long time ago.  But my wedding dress got eaten by those moth bugs!!  I knew I should get it boxed up after the wedding, but I kept having all these babies and they kept crying and crying and I just never had the time.”

After preschool lessons ones day – Me:”Darcy, your letters look amazing!!”  Darcy: “Aw, shucks! Is my face turning pink?”

As we were packing up to leave our hotel last Sunday, Darcy kept asking me how to spell “machine”.  Absentmindedly I spelled it out for her from the next room.  When I walked past the desk on my way to check out I saw in huge capital letters on the hotel information booklet “JUNE TOLLEFSON TOOT MACHINE”

In a conversation about how hard it is to live far away from friends, Darcy’s suggestion was this: “What if we put Idaho right there and Kentucky right next to it and California in the middle!  Then we could live in California and be warm and be close to all our friends.”

During my cousin’s wedding last Saturday, Darcy saw all the groomsmen file out and line up at the front of the church.  When my cousin started walking down the aisle, Darcy leaned over to me and whispered “I wonder which man she will choose!”