31 Days of Praying God's Heart for my Children. Day 1.

 
(Welcome to post 1 of the 31 day series.... if you are looking for the next posts, go to the top tab on my home page labeled 31 days.  All links will be in there.)



So if you know me... or have read any of my Facebook or blog posts, you may have noticed I like to quote a good country song every now and then.  Thanks to my dad, who I believe is in Heaven right now listening to Willie on 8 track and smoking a cigar.  (And also thanks to my dad, I can drive down the road listening to the country oldies station and belt out the entire Charlie Rich repertoire,... and break out into a good Waylon Jennings when the mood strikes.)  And speaking of Waylon... here's one perfectly fitting for what I'm about to tell you....

"Ive always been crazy.  But it's kept me from going insane."  The man spoke wisdom.  Volumes upon volumes of wisdom. 

Starting October 1, for 31 days, I am joining lots of other bloggers in a writing challenge - to write on any topic of my choice.  For 31 days.  31 gigantically long days.  31 being the magic number here.  It's the number that will drive me right past Waylon Jennings's crazy and straight into the arms of insanity.  I'll wave to him as I pass by.  It's the number of additional wrinkles it will put on my face.  And it's the number that will leave my kids hungry and my home a wreck.  But probably only a smidge more than usual.  

And I'm kinda scared.  Because I can talk... ask anyone,..... but about the same subject for 31 days? Totally don't know what to expect here.   In fact I am so scared that I'm sitting here eating chocolate chips straight from the bag for moral support and strength.  Because chocolate chips are the ultimate power food.    But it all comes down to this... this is a writing CHALLENGE.  To remind myself that I like to write.  Not just doing it because I have to.  Like my kids complain about EVERY SINGLE DAY in school.  And it's okay to be scared, in a challenging way, not a haunted house way... and to walk thru that fire.  So I'm doing it.   

And my topic?  I was totally gonna choose something easy like 31 days of fitness.  Because I can write that in my sleep.  But in the last few days I had the opportunity to change my plan.  And it all came about because of a missed opportunity with my kids.  And in looking for the beauty in a failure of any kind, I choose to see an opportunity to do better with the next. An opportunity to learn and improve and focus.  So for 31 days I will be writing about praying for my children.  Yours, mine and ours.  But ultimately, HIS.  The children of God that I have been, somehow, found  worthy of raising and teaching and loving.  

I'm calling it "31 days of praying God's heart for my children."  A super lofty title.  Because I'm not an expert in mothering or praying or anything, really.  But I have a heart willing to try and fail.  Again and again till it turns out the way that just may make God proud.  So I hope that you will join me in the month of October.  As we baby step our way around this topic.  Let's talk about prayer in general, how to pray with our kids,  and why.  

I treasure your support and input throughout these days.  On this page, in the comments section, or on Facebook.... see the little button over to the right?  Like it -  and you can get the daily posts the easy way.  And we can Facebook chat which is awesomeness. 

Day 2..... my missed opportunity that led to this topic. 

http://angelspiratesthieves.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-missed-opportunity-31-days-of-praying.html 

Kristi

May you allow yourself to be found.

 
 
Embarrassed the you know what out of my oldest today. Shoe shopping for little brother, Sam.  Because little guy would have to go barefoot to school tomorrow if we didn't.  And I had a coupon for 15% off that expires today.... so we decided to make it a family trip.  Forced as it was.    

And true to form for Sam, as in every store, every time... we lose him.  He runs away, hides, gets lost or kidnapped by something far more interesting than us.  And after a while when we notice he hasn't made an appearance, we all spread out to look.  But my shameless technique always, always finds him.  And embarrasses my other two. Maybe my husband,too. But he doesn't dare say it. 

Anyway, Sam knows the search and scream.  So does everyone else in the store.  The mom voice yelling SAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!! And he comes running.  From wherever. It's always good to be found.   

For your week... may you hear the voice of God calling you by name.  Telling you that you belong. 

May you allow yourself to be found.   

I've always been crazy, but it's helped me from going insane.



So if you know me... or have read any of my Facebook or blog posts, you may have noticed I like to quote a good country song every now and then.  Thanks to my dad, who I believe is in Heaven right now listening to Willie on 8 track and smoking a cigar.  (And also thanks to my dad, I can drive down the road listening to the oldies station and belt out the entire Charlie Rich repertoire, and break out into a good Waylon Jennings when the mood strikes.)  And speaking of Waylon... here's one perfectly fitting for what I'm about to tell you....

"Ive always been crazy.  But it's kept me from going insane."  The man spoke wisdom.  Volumes upon volumes of wisdom. 

Starting October 1, for 31 days, I have accepted a writing challenge from a fellow blogger.  To write on any topic of my choice.  For 31 days.  31 gigantically long days.  31 being the magic number here.  It's the number that will drive me right past Waylon Jennings's crazy and straight into the arms of insanity.  I'll wave to him as I pass by.  It is the number of additional wrinkles it will put on my face.  And it is the number that will leave my kids hungry and my home a wreck.  But probably only a smidge more than usual. 

And my topic?  I was totally gonna choose something easy like 31 days of fitness.  Because I can write that in my sleep.  But in the last few days I had the opportunity to change my plan.  And it all came about because of a missed opportunity with my kids.  And in looking for the beauty in a failure of any kind, I choose to see an opportunity to do better with the next. An opportunity to learn and improve and focus.  So for 31 days I will be writing about praying for my children.  Yours, mine and ours.  But ultimately, HIS.  The children of God that I have been, somehow, found  worthy of raising and teaching and loving.  

I am calling it "31 days of praying God's heart for my children."  A super lofty title.  Because I'm not an expert in mothering or praying or anything, really.  But I have a heart willing to try and fail.  Again and again till it turns out the way that just may make God proud.  So I hope that you will join me in the month of October.  As we discuss how to pray with our kids,  and why to pray for our kids. 

See you here next week.  

Kristi


For your week.....

May you know the peace of a God that loves you like no one else.  May you feel his comfort as you travel through your  week - even on a Monday morning.  May you find moments of joy in the every day and someone to share those moments with.  

Thank you for sharing your time with me.  I am honored and blessed.  

Kristi  









I take pictures and my kids complain.

This weekend we had a picnic.  I like to call it the " It dropped below 1000 degrees so let's have a picnic" picnic.  

And yesterday we ate breakfast on the patio.  See gorgeous picture of muffins in a basket.   Totally Pinterest worthy pic, minus the plastic cups, I think.  But I am who I am, ... plastic cups and all.  

 And I took a picture of this tree in our backyard.  



And I took a picture of Ethan practicing guitar in the backyard.  This is his "stop taking my picture or I'll break your camera with my guitar" look.  

And we accidentally dropped Sam off for scouts at the wrong house.  But didn't drive off and leave him there.

And we went to the batting cages.  Where I spent about a million dollars to have Sam complain that something was wrong with the ball machine because he couldn't get any hits.  That is exactly why I never take them to the batting cages.... it's a man's job. I just sat there writing my grocery list and let the despair pass me by. 

Then we went to see daddy at the fire station where I sat beside the meat smoker all loaded up with a meat medley for dinner.  And left smelling like pork. 
And the boys played fire station football and had the best time ever. 


And of course their regular trip to the fire station roof.  They love it up there. Took a picture of that. Again. 

And the theme of this post is... I take pictures.  And my kids complain.  And they either pose for each pic, .. or they hide.... or make a threatening I'm going to kill you in your sleep face.  Never fear, they're very sweet actually.  Just camera shy.  And preteen and teen awkward that way. 

But when Ethan complained about me taking pictures of trees and muffins and HIM... I tried once again in my sweetest mom way to explain that these are moments I never want to forget. And I don't want them to forget either.  These are pictures that go in our family albums... our history book.  Pictures that will remind them of their basketball goal in the driveway, and the patio table where we eat so many meals, and of the bits and pieces of their childhood.  And to me those are giant bits and pieces. 

So I type this with curlers in my hair.  And I know my kids wish I would take a picture of that and stick it in the album.  Or on Facebook.  But I would tell them that what I share with the world is a truer picture of myself than any photo could show.  (That, and I'm very vain.)  Instead, I  tell people about my days, my family, my thoughts, hopes and disappointments.  And I invite them to share in the little moments that make up who we are.  To me... that is the picture worth sharing.

Dreams of baseball greatness.

(Linking up with lots of other bloggers with this one.  For 5 minute Friday.  A weekly writing prompt - just for the beauty of the written word.  Five minutes to see what the heart has to say and how fast the fingers can type.  Today's prompt is the word, SHE.)


  
Last night he cried after his baseball game.  Discouraged, tired, and just wanting something good to happen in the game.  And something good for him.  Something that matches his imagination.  But that's always the way with this guy.  He dreams big.  And then he sees the reality, and .... it just doesn't match up with his mind's pictures. He's 10.  And the world in his mind is full of big opportunity and promise.  And dreams of baseball greatness. 

She got a note from his teacher last week that made her cry.  Because she was afraid to read it.  Years of discouraging school experiences brought out her fears of the simplest things.  Like teacher notes, and picking him up after school - waiting for what the daily report may be.  And every day, she tells them that she knows. She knows that he struggles.  She knows that he wants to do better.  And she knows that after months of educational tests and doctor visits, there is finally a diagnosis.  A name to put on all the doubts and worries and frustrations.  And in naming it, they joined countless other families who deal with learning differences. 

And the note from the teacher did make her cry... but mom tears.  Tears of joy.  Because it was encouraging and surprising and so very needed.  And with that thoughtful note, she made the mom's day.  And she gave the mom encouragement to keep hoping that this year might be different.  

And the mom loved the little boy just the same.  Maybe even more.  And she told him that he is beautifully and wonderfully made.  Made to dream of greatness.  And made for the beauty of the every day promises that God has placed in his heart.  And she told him that his wonderful imagination is a gift and a talent.  That his loving heart is more beautiful than anything the eye can see.  That his giving nature is a blessing to others and his thoughtfulness is a picture of his soul.


open my eyes to the things that matter.

Mondays in middle school are always current events homework for my kids.  So they search the news for something interesting... and most of the time I hate for them to do that.  Because I don't even watch the news.  Except for the weather.  Because I'm of the thought that there's enough bad just waiting to happen without me searching it out on my TV or computer. 

But I know the current events homework for my 2 oldest will today focus on the tragedy in DC.  And my thoughts keep going back to the idea that we were just there a few weeks ago on vacation - at the Navy yard - as guests at a Marine Corps function.  As odd as this sounds to some... like my husband... I've always had a time and space issue - confusion, really.... kind of like I missed one of the key childhood developmental steps required to be fully functional.  I have great trouble picturing and feeling the reality of things that are out of my view.  Like tragedies in other places.  But maybe that comes down to my natural selfishness.  Cue my post from yesterday about mercy and grace - and really, I just can't get enough. 

I've spent a lifetime trying to keep my kids from bad news.  And bad in general,... but it still comes. It seeps, it crawls, it finds.  And sometimes seeing the bad is easier than trying to manipulate and dig and find something good.  So we take it all in.  Like with the middle school current events social studies homework.  
And I don't know all the facts of the DC situation today.  And I'm not saying there's even one good thing to be found.  Bad is bad.  And we need to feel that  - on occasion - just as much as we need to feel the good - so the good actually means something to us. 

Yesterday Sam was given 2 stuffed bears at the estate sale next door.  He offered to pay, but the lady gave them to him.  I guess because he had been such a regular and loyal customer over the last 3 days.  But when she gave him the bears, I wanted to say.... lady, you have no idea what my boys are gonna do to those things.  (And there was at least one game of bear exterminator going on that I overheard.)  But I walked in the boys room this morning and sweet mother of Jesus, Sam had made up his bed.  And tucked in his new friends for the day.  And I fell in love with that little boy all over again. 

I fussed at David today for too often pointing out the negatives about our kids... for example, how our kids don't eat vegetables on their hamburgers - and other kids do.  Other kids also curse, and disrespect their elders.  So I think we actually got lucky with ours up to this point.  If anti-vegetable is the worse they ever do... I can live with no lettuce, onion and tomato. 

So for the current events of today.... my heart hurts for another terrible loss that can't be explained or excused.  My heart hurts that every time something like this happens, we either get more afraid and add another level of anger to what we already naturally have.   Or we become more and more used to it.  And it becomes our new normal.  And my heart hurts for the ones who are today dealing with a tremendous hurt that I can't even imagine. And no one should have to. 

So I think nothing good can be said for the events of the day in DC. But I can say that each time something like this happens, it opens my eyes to see the little things that matter.  To look past all the picky things that occupy my heart and mind.  And to purposely look for the good.  Just for today.  And get up and try it all again tomorrow.  So thank you little Sam, for being the good in my day.  For showing a heart of love for no other reason than to show love.   

Mercy and grace. I can't get enough.



I dreamed that I had a new baby.  A girl.  But I don't think she was really mine.  She just showed up and was mine.  Get it?  And I have no idea who her real parents were or how I got her... and why I was on a train with her.  But that didn't occur to me till after I woke up.  The real theme of the dream was that I was unprepared.  And frantic.  And in the dream I cried because we got rid of the stroller and the baby bed long ago.  And the thought of diaper costs made me panic.  Then in the dream I lost baby girl on the train.  And I don't even ride trains.  Much like poor Nippy the hamster, my dream baby girl didn't stand a chance with us. 

Maybe it's the start of school and the return to scheduling our every day.  And the insecurity of change and new things and places as my son has felt in his new adventure of middle school.  Bringing on the crazy dreams.  And moms have a direct line to our kids' feelings.  Our hearts are just crazy connected that way. 

This weekend was our garage sale.  Held in our front yard in between 2 houses holding estate sales.  So we didn't even have to put up a single sign which was the very best thing EVER.  And the boys did well with their lemonade and bake sale stand.  The world loves a good brownie so they totally won with that. 

It has been a weekend of neighbors and traffic, of hard work and periods of waiting, of boys re-discovering the love of a skate board just in time to keep it from being sold.  Of bake sales and lemonade stands and friendly faces buying from little boys. 

A weekend of sunshine and a light breeze to hint that change is coming.  A time of cleaning out the old and making room for new.  Making room for space. Space to more fully enjoy our home and to feel a little less cluttered and rushed.  Space for our souls to breathe and wait for what is next. 

Transition, change, redirection.  Things I've always struggled with.  Hanging on to today for fear of nothing better for tomorrow, and I have been so many times willing to accept less than God had planned for me all along. And in considering plans...then comes the true picture of mercy.  The gift of God NOT giving me what I truly deserve.  But instead making me the grateful receiver of more good gifts than I can name or count. 

But I really should do that sometime - count them, name them... one by one... like the song says.  God does, after all, inhabit the praises of his people. And in counting those blessings - and joyfully giving praise to the giver of all good and perfect gifts - I am at that moment being handed his mercy.  Mercy that has forgiven me what I truly deserve with all my human flaws and failures - and instead, being handed the beauty of God's grace that allows me to move forward toward his higher hopes for me.

Mercy and grace.  I can't get enough.

A man and his thoughts.

 
 
The only thing I've ever really enjoyed about doing laundry is going through the boys' pockets.  Because after they started school and I was no longer their constant companion and guide, I never really had a full picture of their days.  And that's a huge step for both mom and kid.  And as they get older, that step gets bigger and wider.  And the mysteries increase.  So I dig in pockets, unashamed.  Not trying to find out anything in particular - maybe just a souvenir of their travels.  So I can be informed, yes,... and so I can be a part of it, too.   

Playground wood chips in the shoes and treasures of the day.  Stuff that we - adults - ME - would call trash, usually.  But it's a little map, a story of a day in the life. And yesterday I thought it so interesting that even my 13 year old again collected a treasure - A piece of wood found in the school yard.  And maybe I thought it so interesting because I also thought it beautiful.  I saw a spark of interest, and creativity, and a memory of a little boy that used to fill his pockets with crazy things.  I miss that little boy.  

And he came home and set out with his plan.  I love that he found something - and had a vision.  Interesting what that turned out to be, actually...   And I snapped this picture without him knowing.  A man and his thoughts.  Every now and then a man has to come home and whittle a stick. 

But we had to take his project away from him because it looked like a dagger, and he could get suspended from school with that thing.  But I know if he's ever stranded on an island or lost in the wilderness - like their hero, Survivor Man, this kid will be just fine.
 

Firemen do not regard themselves as heroes.

Was talking to my fireman husband a while back about so many recent firefighter deaths.  And it bothers him about all the talk of dying as a hero.  So I thought it fitting to mention this today as we remember the huge number of lives lost on 9/11/01.  Not just those of firefighters.  Though 343 lives in one fell swoop is extreme.  But of all the deaths on and related to that day.  And I think anyone who lost someone on that day would consider their loved one a hero.  So many heroes, most just not wearing a uniform. 

So here is what my husband says best expresses his thoughts on the job of a fireman, and being considered a hero. 

“Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.”
-- Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY,
speaking upon the death of a deputy chief and
four firefighters in February of 1908

Firemen enter this job knowing what is ahead.  And they stay in this job because it calls their names.  It's not only what they love, but it's who they are.

And I have to think that all 343 of our lost firefighters on 9/11 might have agreed.
Today my oldest decided he would like a new mother.  One who doesn't make him do things he doesn't want to do.  Like sweep up the mountain of broken pecans the squirrels have enjoyed all over our driveway. I miss the day when our now deceased neighbor would pay the boys $1 per tail to kill those things with a BB gun.  Now they just run amok - much like my kids.

So Ethan saw the task as insurmountable, impossible to complete or even start for that matter so he tried to make deals.  And I told him that making a deal with his mama is like making one with the devil.  Trade your soul and you never know what you'll get in return.  I did suggest, however, that he go online and find a want list of nice families looking for stubborn teens and I would put in a good word for  him. 

End of story... he wanted to go swimming with his friend so he tackled the pecan sweeping like a man.  Which is all I wanted in the first place.  I'm raising men here.... and if we ever get through these teen years, I'm gonna love to see how it turns out.

5 minute Friday writing - topic RED

Joining other bloggers today for 5 minute Friday - a quick, unrehearsed, thoughtful speed project on a given topic.  Today the prompt was the word RED.  

Red.... the color of love, and the color in this mom's heart as I think about my little guy today.

And red, to me, is the color of our home. The outside bricks, the pretty things inside, and the first piece of furniture I ever really owned.  And one of the things I most love.  An antique pie safe, that, before I was born, my grandfather found, rebuilt and painted it a gorgeous shade of barn red.  So much history and so much future all started with this piece of furniture and the love that a man poured into it. And I've built our home around it.

Red is the color of our fireplace bricks, the color of the heart over our entry door, and the color of a sign announcing, "HOME" on our kitchen wall.  Our house is run over with a giant dog and 3 big boys and all their dirty clothes and ... well, just stuff.  And so much of the time it looks like a bomb went off - but a bomb that exploded cozy blankets, plenty of socks, and what looks to have been a darn good time.

Red is the color of my husband's fire engine and ambulance - the color of rescue. The color of a much needed response.  Red is the color of the blood shed for me - despite it all - by a savior that chose me, - again, despite it all...

And red is the color of love.  The color of the fullness of my heart today as I took the second call in a week from my son having a difficult transition to middle school. Feeling the distance between where he used to be and where he is now.    It is the fiery love a mom feels when her kids are hurt, sick or sad.  It's the rush we feel to get to them no matter how far away. Because a mom's heart feels right along with her children - both hurt and happiness.



Over the weekend I woke at 4am to the smells of a sick dog and immediately called my husband at the fire station and begged him to come home and clean it up. Because at 4am I absolutely consider doggy diarrhea to be a life threatening emergency.

And this morning in the before school chaos, the dog did another big no no on the rug to cover up the scent of her doggy cousins that visited this weekend. And moving the couch and chairs and hauling rugs out before breakfast just makes me grumpy. And I hate it when grocery stores play super sad songs that make me want to cry in the cereal aisle. And the lady at the Office Depot called me Ma'am and said she'd see me again next week... because she just knew. Because this has been our dance - about 5 times in the last week for school supplies. And just so you know, there are no turquoise folders in the city of Dallas for 5th period language arts. I settled on a blue folder and a roll of turquoise duck tape and just gonna tell Christopher to go to town with it. And yesterday I relayed a kindness to someone... you know... because it's just the right thing to do. But sometimes people are - just people, like me - or maybe this one is just an arse.

So today I am a little frustrated. And still wearing the same sweaty clothes I taught 3 classes in this morning. But now they're dry. I'm a ball of emotion today.

But my goal is always to find the story - maybe one of those beauty in the everyday ones I like to write. Because I've been on a regular search for those moments lately. And by looking with both eyes and heart, it's amazing what I find.

So I looked past the obvious and saw a husband that ran home to save me from one of life's uglier jobs. And I remembered other times that firemen friends have come over - to rescue a kid from a locked room, and even to test me for heart palpitations. Because at that very moment I swore my life was flashing before my eyes. Turns out that's just a symptom of motherhood and they suggested I drink a glass of wine.

And I know that in the end, it's the response that matters. That's the good stuff. The security of having a network of family and friends to call upon and fall upon. Those substitute moms that are there when I can't be. The neighbors that see my kids shooting each other with air soft guns in the yard and call to tell me about it.

I have a friend that may be calling upon her network. As she plows ahead of me in the years of parenting teens. Showing me the hidden doors and dangers - and while doing so, showing me how to respond when I walk through the same.

And the good in all the other day to day stuff? Well,.. I love that I'm free during the day to be home to care for my family. But not to clean up doggy accidents. And free to run all over town looking for ONE single turquoise folder, because there are plenty of people who would love to be out and about like that. And I can consider rudeness as, well, just rudeness... and maybe the mark of the true person. Maybe a door I need to see closed for my good. Because there has to be something better on the other side.

Little mishaps, adventures and stories along the way.

Yesterday was Christopher's first day of middle school and he came home exhausted and starving and worried about the next day's bus ride because apparently the school bus broke down first thing in the morning. "For an HOUR... AN HOUR!!!! We waited in someone's yard."  He has a great flair for drama and likes to spin a tale a bit.... and I love that boy.... because he reminds me of, well, ... ME. 

So I told him the bus thing was just a thing  - one of life's adventures that make it fun - and asked if the lady of the house -  the one where all 30 kids were hangin' in her yard - offered them refreshments for the wait.  No southern hospitality there because no lemonade or cookies or kind words were offered to encourage the young ones along their way.  But they drove off with a story to tell, and that's definitely worth something.

This morning in class - a lady came up to me and said, "You've got a feather on your butt."  Not like a Las Vegas showgirl kind of feather - just something stuck there which obviously didn't belong. And it wasn't really a feather, it was just dirt from our dirty YMCA floor that looked like tail feathers, I suppose.  But a friend loves at all times... even when they have to tell you that you have something on your rear end.  Another adventure and another story to tell. 

Which brought me to this... a collection of thoughts and lessons from the past couple of months.  Kind of a "Things I Know" story.  They are in no particular order, and most of these I already knew, but got reminded of again in some way.  So here ya go. Kristi's life lessons. Volume 1. 

I know that sometimes people are mean.  Sometimes people are nice.  I think I'm a mix of both.  Hopefully more nice than mean.

I know that people care.  And most want to care. They just have to be given the opportunity and the open door to make the offer.

I know that plans change. 

I know not to wear flip flops to climb stairs.  Just don't.

I know that if I forget or choose not to take time to pray, I stand a good chance of all hell breaking loose and having a generally sucky day.

I know that a trip to summer camp brings with it lots of memories, new skills, and in our experience,  nearly severed fingers, lice or diarrhea.  Every time. Every year.

I know that if someone hurts one of our kids.... it hurts the mom just the same.  And we get mad,too.  Like poking a bear with a stick.

Hell hath no fury like a 6th grade girl scorned... be warned.

And sometimes people say one thing and do another.  Actions speak louder than words.  If it looks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it's probably a duck.

I know strong bodies still get injured.  And strong hearts still break.

But like I told Christopher about his school bus, it's a story to tell. The every day stories that make up who we are.    And I want to be a great story teller.
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