Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Introvert vs. extrovert

This introvert thinks they hit the nail on the head with this one!

And I sobbed all the way through this wonderful, rich, Biblical article:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Impromptu learning

One of the things I love about being my children's first teacher is watching them learn and master new things!  This learning happened entirely by accident, which is sometimes the best kind.

Tucker and I were having a pretty laid-back day at home.  He had spent the morning watching cartoons while I folded laundry nearby.

I took a quick shower, and then tried to think of something he could do while I blew my hair dry and put my makeup on.  Something besides watching tv.  :)

So I filled my big tub up with warm water and bubbles, and he climbed in.  He played with his toys for a few minutes, and then got bored and asked to get out.  I gave him a popsicle to buy myself a few more minutes.  He finished, licked the drips, and asked to get out again.  I needed a few more minutes.

think, think, think.

Oh!  I told him some of his cars had been driving in the mud and needed to be washed.  He loved that idea!  I gave him a few vehicles and a toothbrush to scrub them with.  As an afterthought, I grabbed a medicine dropper for him to use to wash them off.

And then he got to work!  My buddy spent over one hour in the tub washing and rinsing his vehicles, making up elaborate stories about who got dirty and how.

I loved watching him operate the medicine dispenser - it was perfect fine motor practice!  Fine motor skills come slowly to most boys, and 3 year olds are at the age that they need to be mastering some of those skills, in preparation for learning prewriting skills.  I'm not nearly as deliberate about this with Tucker as I was with Lana, so was super pleased that this just happened by accident!

And I was also very happy that I got to dry my hair and put my makeup on.  It was a win/win!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our family's gifts.

We are reading through the The Gospel Story Bible with Lana, and are loving it.  It is perfect for her level of understanding right now.  Tonight we were reading Paul's letter to the Corinthians, and how he taught them (and us!) that the church is like a Body.  We read about all the different parts, and how they are supposed to work together, not against each other, and how every part is necessary for a healthy Body.  So rich, truly.

One of the questions after the reading was to discuss the "gifts" that each member of our family has been given by God.

Lana's responses, with no hesitation:
"Mommy has the gift of kindness.
Daddy has the gift of strongness.
Tucker has the gift of happiness."

She had a harder time thinking of her own gifts, which was interesting.  I gave her a few minutes to think, and she said:
"I have the gift of smartness?  But that's not really what Paul was talking about.  Let me think.......gentleness?  And courage.  Yeah.  Kindness and courage."

I love hearing from her little heart.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our children.

 Lana, 6 years 9 months
Tucker, 3 years 7 months

*Watch Tucker balancing - he is so silly.

*Lana is still a voracious reader.  She is loving the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary right now.  She & I are reading A Tale of Despereaux together at night.

*Tucker recently discovered the Tag reader he got for Christmas, and has been very interested in it.  This is the system that I truly believe helped Lana learn to read early, but Tucker seems to be more interested in the games.  :)

*There is nothing but love for Pepper these days.  Both of the children want to see her as soon as they wake up in the morning, love to be outside playing with her, and fight over who gets to snuggle with her when she's curled up on the couch.

 *Lana shows lots of responsibility, particularly when it comes to Pepper.  She is the one who feeds her twice a day, makes sure she has fresh water in her bowl, and scoops up the poop in the yard without being asked.  She is showing great responsibility, too, in things like making her bed in the morning without being asked, looking for ways to help around the house, and keeping her room picked up.

*Tucker's personality has been described as "large and in charge" and we find that is an accurate description!  He loves to make people laugh, feels things very intensely, and wants to be the leader in everything.  As long as we are careful to instill a sense of self-control in him, Tucker will make an excellent leader in his home one day!

*Lana calls a scrimmage game a "scrabble" or a "scrap."  Pretty accurate, I'd say.  I don't correct her.  Tucker calls marshmallows "mushrooms."

*Even if his feet are ice-cold, Tucker can't stand for them to be covered.  They are always poking out of the blanket:

 *Lana just finished reading Dr. Doolittle, and said "I think I'd like to be Dr. Doolittle's sister, mom.  He & I would make a great team."

*Tucker just figured out this week how to pump himself on the swings.  It's a work in progress, but it's exciting.

*Lately, we have been working with Lana on her tone of voice - not what she's saying, but how she's saying it.  If we look over at her in the car, just admiring how absolutely adorable she is - she might look up and say "WHAT?!"

*Tucker's behavior issue right now is obedience.  If I tell him to sit on a step while I am finishing up a conversation with someone in the church parking lot, he might sit for a minute, but then he might get up and wander away.  We are being very consistent and spanking every time, and are seeing progress.  The other day we were celebrating how quickly he was obeying, and he said, very fervently, "Mommy, I'm just gonna obey you ALL THE TIME!"  I challenge him in the mornings when I am taking him to preschool to be the very first to obey his teachers.  Boys like to be first at anything.  :)

*The other thing we are having to work with Tucker on is not.eating.food.off.of.the.floor.  Unbelievable! A few Wednesday nights ago, I left after church to have coffee with a friend, and Dan was taking the children home to bed.  They were playing in the student building as he was locking up, and Tucker came walking up with a green apple.  I often pack snacks for them to eat on the way home, so Dan didn't think much of it at first, but then he remembered I only had red apples at home just then, not green ones.  He asked Tucker where he got the apple: "on the floor of the student building."  GAG.

*Lana tells us that she "has a good remembery."

*Tucker will only do #2 at home, or on a small, child-sized potty.

*Lana does all of her homework for the week on Monday nights before soccer, so Tuesday afternoons are hers to do whatever she'd like.  She almost always chooses a combination of playing with Pepper outside, watching cartoons, and reading books.  Sometimes she'll play with her Barbies.

*Tucker starts most of his stories with "Last week, when I was 10....."  It goes without saying that you can't take the majority of his stories for truth.
Here's a story he told us recently:
Tucker: When I grow up, I want to marry a beautiful girl.
Dan: We will pray for God to send you just the right girl, Tucker.
T: Yeah, a beautiful girl.  I want to marry a beautiful girl and bring her to our family.
Rachael: Tucker, you know God tells us in the Bible that a girl's beauty isn't what she looks like on the outside, but what's on her inside.  Her beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit.
Tucker: Yeah, mommy, and the beautiful girl is gonna kiss.
(Dan & Lana die laughing.)
Rachael: Yes, she can kiss you when she is married to you.  But ONLY then.
Dan (choking back laughter): Tucker, where did you learn that beautiful girls kiss?
Tucker: Mrs. Laura & Ms Carla taught me that at school.

*Lana is the youngest and most inexperienced on her soccer team this season.  We are so proud of how hard she is working.  Although she doesn't get much playing time, she really is putting in 110% effort at practice and at the games.

*Most embarrassing Tucker moment: we were eating crawfish at the Gumbo Shack, and a man walked in the door in front of us. He happened to be very round - almost perfectly round, in fact. Tucker looked up at him and gasped: "BOB!! BOB!! Hi, Bob!!!" At first I thought he must know him (from where, I had no idea), but the man didn't respond and kept walking. Tucker looks up at me with the biggest eyes and said "MOMMY! It was BOB THE TOMATO!!!! Where's Larry?!"

Monday, April 15, 2013

3rd quarter report card

Lana had another great report card this quarter, and she's making great progress with taking AR tests.  She has earned the most points in first grade, which is kind of cool.  More importantly, we're seeing her learn more and more how to love others, how to follow God's way when it's not the way of those around her, and how to be brave and kind.  This is the reason we send her to public school.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

May they pollute the shadows.

"Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous...when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows." -N.D. Wilson

This made me catch my breath when I read it.
Never have I read anything that so accurately describes what I want to do as a mother.
Raising children is the greatest privilege of my life, and it is also the weightiest thing I have ever 
attempted to do.  
It is sanctifying in a way that I couldn't have imagined.
I fail every single day.
Truly - not a day goes by that I don't have to apologize to my children, often with tears in my eyes.
I am so inadequate to this task, such a failure in so many ways.....and yet.
The God of Heaven has chosen me to raise Lana and Tucker.
It is a sacred calling.  Holy.
And so, there is nothing to do but throw myself fully on His grace and mercy, trusting Him to guide me as I guide them.  It's not the blind leading the blind....rather, it is a sinner raising sinners, completely dependent on my Father to show me the way.
In His great kindness, when I choose to grasp onto the hem of His garment, He gives me just enough light for the path, just enough strength for the day, just enough wisdom for the moment.

I believe with my whole heart that one of the ways we actually do this, one of the ways we make our children dangerous for the kingdom, one of the ways that we walk fully dependent on the Father for developing that in them - is prayer.  We must pray for our children!

I have found myself exhorting two different mothers just in the past week to pray for their children.  They are going through some hard circumstances, battling some hard things, and while I wish I had some good, common-sense, 4 steps-to-fixing-it kind of advice for them, I just don't.  So I did the only thing I knew to deal, and appealed to them in the strongest terms to pray for their babies.

I told them to pray Scripture over their children.
Out loud.
With their hands on their heads,
taking full authority over them through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Hear me on this....I'm not going into weird territory here when I tell you to put your hands on their heads and pray Scripture out loud in the name of Jesus.  I'm not talking hocus-pocus.  I'm saying this: there is power in the name of Jesus.  there is power when we pray the Word of God back to Him.

One of the songs I often sing to my children at night when I'm tucking them in is an old hymn, and the part that I remember and sing goes like this:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....there's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain
Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away
But there's something about that name.

As I've encouraged my friends this week to pray for our children, and as I've prayed for my own, I have become even more deeply convinced that the most important, life-giving thing we can do for our children other than teaching them the Word of God, teaching them the gospel, is to pray Scripture 
for and over them.

Here is a blog post from my friend Whitney with some ideas.

Here are some of the Scriptures and prayers that I have on index cards to pray for Lana & Tucker:
  • Pray that they will come to know Christ at an early age.  (1 Timothy 3:15)
  • Pray that they will recognize their sin and have a hatred for it.  (Psalm 97:10)
  • Pray that they will be caught when guilty.  (Psalm 119:71)
  • Pray that they will be protected from Satan in each area of their life: spiritually, emotionally, physically.  (John 17:15)
  • Pray that they will have a responsible attitude in all their relationships with others.  (Daniel 6:3)
  • Pray that they will respect those in authority over them.  (Romans 13:1)
  • Pray that they will desire the right kind of friends and be protected from the wrong ones.  (Proverbs 1:10-11)
  • Pray that they will be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one.  (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
  • Pray that they will learn to submit totally to God and resist Satan in all circumstances.  (James 4:7)
  • Pray that they will be willing to be sold out totally to Jesus Christ.  (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Pray that they will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or wrong places, and that the wrong people cannot find them.  (Hosea 2:6)
Here are some more prayers that may be helpful to you as you pray for your children and your family.  When I first began praying Scripture over my children, I liked having these written out on index cards this way and displayed all over the house so I could literally read them out as prayers. 

I pray that you would call insert child's name into your Kingdom. I pray that no one and nothing would stop them from answering Your call. Matthew 19:14-15 “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’. And He laid His hands on them and went away.”

I pray that insert child's name would respond in faith to Jesus’ faithful, persistent call. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

I pray that each member of our family will individually experience sanctification through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and will desire more and more to fulfill the greatest commandments. Matthew 22:37-39 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.”

I pray that, as insert child's name grows, we are able to train insert child's name’s heart well, instead of just changing their behavior. Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you…you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean!”

I pray that we will boldly share the gospel. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

I pray that when the time is right, insert child's name will GO. Matthew 28:18-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I pray that our thoughts and conversations as a family will be pure. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things.”

I pray that insert child's name will not be entangled in intimate relationships with unbelievers, especially in marriage. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

I pray that for all our days, our family will seek the TRUE treasures of knowing Christ & following hard after Him. Colossians 2:2b-3 “…resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Monday, April 8, 2013


because the Lourcey's were in Pensacola!  At our house!  We felt like it was a holiday.

We have been friends with Rob and Emily since the summer of 2007.  We lived in campus housing at seminary together, and spent many nights around our little kitchen table, playing games and laughing and talking while Lana slept upstairs.  

Rob and Emily are the real deal, and we are so thankful that the Lord allowed our paths to cross those years ago - they are one of our favorite "seminary souvenirs."

The Lourcey's stopped by today on their way to Texas, where they will begin full-time ministry.  Please pray for them as they serve the Lord in this new capacity!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Humility, delivered by C.S. Lewis.

There is someone I love even though I don't approve of what he does.
There is someone I accept even though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me.
There is someone I forgive though he hurts the people I love most.
That person is......me.

- C.S. Lewis

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mealtime battles?

Lana was our "easy eater."  She ate widely and well from an early age, rarely gave us any trouble at the dinner table, and at nearly 7 years old, declares her favorite foods to be sushi, cooked cabbage, boiled crawfish, and broccoli.  The only food we've come across that she truly dislikes are raw oysters.

Tucker was the opposite.  He has terrible feeding difficulties from birth, and was in feeding therapy at a few months old.  He resisted every stage of eating.  He was the kid who refused to even try new foods.  And this was all before he even had words.  However, now, at 3 and a half, he's a great eater and while he still refuses sandwiches, he eats almost anything and everything else.  Just like week he tried fresh pineapple which he has always disliked (his reflux made him resistant to acidic foods from an earlya ge), and now he loves it.  

I was talking with some mommies recently about dinnertime difficulties, and someone asked for any suggestions on getting your kids to eat their dinner without making it a huge fight.  

For what it's worth, here's where we have fallen out with it on our two, very different eaters.

We decided early on that we weren't going to make food a battleground, mostly because we wanted the dinner table to be a happy place, that the kids associated even from an early age with laughter and enjoyment of each other. Also, Dan expressed when we were talking about it when Lana was just a baby that he didn't want to come home from work and have a significant block of his time with our children turn into a "fight" over food.  At the time, he was working 60-70 hour weeks, and he just already cherished the tiny windows of time he got to spend with her.   

That being said, here's the strategy we've used with both kids:

When I'm choosing what to prepare, I make sure there is at least one thing on the plate that I know they'll eat. I give several healthy options. I avoid things that I know gross them out: casseroles, for example, are not a favorite with my two. They simply prefer their food separate and identifiable, you know? If a casserole is unavoidable, I make a side or two to go with it. 

If they want more of the item on their plate that they favor, we require them to at least take a "thank you bite" of everything else. One bite is manageable for them, and the reward is immediate. My very strong willed 2 year old quickly learned the art of the thank-you bite. He's also discovered several foods that he thought he didn't like were good to him!  Just this week, red beans and rice, for example.  (He definitely eats around the sausage, but I pick my battles.)

We teach them good manners - we tell them that they don't have to like everything they try, but they MAY NOT say "ewwww, gross!!! That's disgusting!" etc. If they do, their dinner is over and they go to bed. They MAY say "It's not my favorite" after taking their thank you bite.

When I'm portioning out their dinner, I give very small portions. I would much rather get more for them than have them be overwhelmed with too much food on their plate.

We want them to listen to their body's "hungry/full" signals so that they eat to fullness, and then stop. So we don't require them to clean their plates - I don't want someone to force me to keep eating when I'm full!

However, we also don't want them to get into the habit of not eating during mealtime, and then snacking throughout the day. So I'm always mindful of what they ate at mealtime when I'm giving snacks. If they don't eat well, I don't give a snack until the next meal because I want them to come to the table hungry and ready to eat.

I don't save food until the next meal and make them eat it. Again, I don't want food or mealtime to become a battleground. I give them a fresh start because let's face it: I want one, too. And I've just decided that I don't want to provoke them to anger in this area. I think we have to remember that toddler appetites, especially, vary a lot. Some days they are starving and growth spurting and will eat anything, and then other days, their bodies are focusing on developing something different, and food becomes secondary to them. That's ok. They won't starve to death.

However, I never ever ever make a separate meal. We're having what we're having, and that's that.
Also, when we are going to eat at someone's house, I prep them as to the appropriate responses to what's on their plate. They know that if they don't care for something, they are to eat at least a thank you bite, thank the host for cooking, and not say a word else about it. If they handle it appropriately, I tell them that they can eat something else at home.