Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Camp

This week Dan is with our students at a mission camp.
In honor of that, here's my Throwback Thursday picture:
My youth pastor, who I loved so much, took us to Memphis, TN for a week to work in an socio-economically depressed area.  You know.  The poor part of town.  So we did a Backyard Bible Club and fed them lunch and I sat on those milk crates and (very inexpertly) painted faces for hours and it changed me.  Completely.

We went to Centrifuge every year also - love it so much!
Here are a couple of pictures from Fuge with my Woolmarket Baptist Church youth group -
this must have been the summer of 1994 or 1995.
Trey, Clayton, April, me, Britney

Clayton, April, me, Trey

Here's a group picture from Centrifuge with my Eastern Shore Baptist Church youth group.
I think this was the summer between our junior and senior year, so summer of 1998:
Mrs. Donna, Sheryl, Falyn, Shawn, Wes, Doug, Joseph, me & Kim, Aaron, Mackenzie, Samantha, Brandi, Nelson, and more...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Overcoming shyness

When my Lana was Tucker's age, she only would talk to people she was familiar with - our family, her teachers, etc.  If someone spoke to her who wasn't someone she interacted with regularly, she would duck her head down and kind of slide behind me.  No eye contact, no smiles, and surely no response.

It was embarrassing for me - that behavior was perceived as rudeness or disrespect, especially in the deep South - , but I had to put my personal feelings aside and just embrace the way God created her, even if it is different than how He created me.

And then, instead of trying to "fix" her, I was able to find ways to encourage her to let her light shine.  We prayed often for her to be "brave and kind."  I didn't ask a lot of her at first.  Our very first goal was not to even respond with words or eye contact - just to respond with a smile.  We talked about how if she was too scared to speak, she could just use her smile so at least the person understood that she wasn't mad or angry or rude.

We even worked toward a reward for doing it the "right" way: paper chain

She got better and better about this as she got older, and when she started school, she really took off in this area.  Although she is still more of an observer by nature, I don't think anyone would call her shy these days.

And then this afternoon, Tucker's preschool director posted this on my Facebook wall:

  • I overheard the following conversation yesterday. Laura, Lana & Kaylin are walking by my door. Apparently, Lana had just asked Laura if she and Kaylin would be in class together. Laura-"No, I think you will be with kids your age." Lana-full of excitement-"that's ok. I love meeting new people!"
    What a great attitude! She I was ready to face any challenge with a willing spirit. That girl is going to do great things for Christ! Now do you think you can teach the rest of us how to give our kids the spirit of excitement and openness to make new friends?

I hadn't thought about her shyness in years, but when I read this, I just had to praise God for the work He's done in her heart!

School has been such an instrumental part of this for her.
I remember her 4 year old preschool teacher really driving home the concept of being "inclusive" and not "exclusive" - hand movements included.  She got that.
I remember really wanting to homeschool, and Dan pointing out this part of her personality as something to consider about public school.  That was SUCH a big piece of this!
She grew so much in this area in kindergarten, and in first grade, we saw her flourish.

These days, she's the one who looks around to make sure no one's left out, she's the one who says that everyone can play, she's the one who scoots over to make sure there's room for all.  Even when her pesky little brother is interrupting her playdate with friends, she comes up with solutions like this: "I'll set a timer for 5 minutes to play with my friend, and when the timer goes off, we'll come out there and play with you."

Her heart is tender and open towards others, and I could not be more amazed....or proud....or thankful.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I'm not sure what the Lord is preparing me for, but I am sure it is something.

From the time Lana was born, we have been blessed enough to walk alongside mamas and daddies who have exhorted us to walk closely with the Lord and tune out of the noise of this world for our parenting advice.  They've warned us that it's not easy and it's sometimes lonely and it's a long haul, but that 10 years from now, we'll be so so glad we did.  We've watched them parent and learned so much and realized how desperately we need the Lord to guide us as we guide Lana and Tucker.

So this idea of parenting making us "different" than those around us isn't new to us.

But you know how sometimes the Lord speaks so clearly that you know He's warning you, or preparing you, or drawing you gently to His side?  That there's something coming that He knows and you don't and that it's this really scary and thrilling thing to walk with this Lord this way?  And He keeps repeating Himself so that you can't miss it at all?

That's what has happened lately.

A month or so ago, a mother with two wonderful adult children who love the Lord and follow Him closely encouraged me to ask the Lord to "make up the difference."  I was talking with her about the gut-wrenching fear I have as a mother that I might miss it, mess it up, not be enough even if I do the best I can.  And she assured me that I will miss it and mess it and that it's the beauty of walking with the Lord as we mother - that we're not enough and HE is, and that I should pray daily for Him to make up the difference.

About 2 weeks ago I had a private Facebook conversation with a mother I admire more than I can say.  She loves the Lord wildly and has 5 children, with the youngest being a couple of years older than Lana, and the oldest a senior in high school.  And they are the kind of kids who make me want to tuck in close to this mama and learn her secrets.  And in these messages we were exchanging, she told me about how even her children recognize that they are different, and how they recognize people who are the same.  And how it's lonely to make some choices, but it's good.

And then another mama, who also has 5 children, who lives in Tennessee and makes me want to move right next door to her and watch every single thing she does, she posted this:

If you want kids who are absolutely extraordinary, you're going to have to raise them differently than other kids are being raised.  (Andy Andrews)

And then Lysa TerKeurst posted this:
Parenting is hard.  Really hard.  But God shows us what to do and fills in the gaps if we ask Him.  Don't listen to the world's answers.  And don't fall into the trap of trying to be like other moms.  Just saturate yourself in God's Truth and trust the gut instincts He gives you.

Yes, Lord.  Yes.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
1 Samuel 3

Friday, June 21, 2013

Date night

Dan surprised me tonight with a really super date night!  He will be gone all next week with our students, so in an effort for he & I to have some time together before he's gone, he planned a night for us.  He arranged the sitter, made the date plans, and even imposed a "no talking about work" rule.

 He took me to a sunset tour of the Pensacola Lighthouse called "Toast at the Top."
I was so excited and surprised!  I've wanted to visit this lighthouse since I heard of it, and this was a really neat way to do it.  The tour started at 7:00, and we made our way to the top of the lighthouse just in time for sunset with hor d'oeuvres and sparkling grape juice.  Only 5 couples are allowed to do this tour at a time so it has a really neat, intimate feel as opposed to a big touristy feel.

Being silly in the gift shop, waiting on the tour to start....

up up up the 177 steps to the tippy top of the lighthouse

made it!

the view of the sound and gulf was spectacular from this height:

and the sunset over the naval air station was breathtaking:

 We got to sit for almost an hour in the breeze at the top of the lighthouse, 
watching the sun set and just talking.

We stayed up there until after dark, watched the moon come up over the water, met another couple who moved to Pensacola from the east coast the exact same weekend we did, watched the light at the top of the lighthouse come on, and just really had a lovely time.

We picked up sushi on the way home for dinner, and arrived home to happy kids having spent the evening with one of the best babysitters we've ever had:

Perfect date night!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No power

When the power's out and the sound machines won't come on and the kids are overtired and hot and grumpy (and so are the parents), you sometimes fall asleep wherever you can:

Throwback Thursday: Father's Day

Father's Day 2012

Father's Day 2011

Father's Day 2010

Father's Day 2009

Father's Day 2008

Father's Day 2007

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lana's new summer haircut!

Lana decided on the spur of the moment today that she'd like to cut her hair short for summer.  Now that I think about it, she may have been hinting at it for a while, but only today was I willing to let her try it.  I've noticed lately that her hair has been kind of straggly, and we fight with tangles quite a bit, and the curl just hasn't been holding its bounce.  So when she mentioned it today, we went for it:

It's shoulder length, and she is completely giddy over it.
Loves it so much.
I expected the hair to ringlet up a bit more once the weight was off, so I wasn't as thrilled as she was, but it really does look more healthy and I bet it's going to be easier to deal with.  It's still long enough for a ponytail, too!

Liquid gold

I came across this pin a few weeks ago, and thought it sounded perfect for summer.  The reviews mentioned that it had actual little flecks of shimmery gold in it, and that it made blonde hair so shiny.  

I couldn't find it at Target or Walmart, but finally just ordered it from Amazon at a very reasonable price, and got free shipping because I was ordering it with a few other things.

Here's the verdict:
I like it for my hair.  I didn't notice any increase in shine necessarily, but my hair was super soft after using it.
However, I LOVE IT for Lana's hair!  Her fine curly has is always a mess of tangles, and I've spent many nights with conditioner and a comb sitting on the edge of the tub, trying to get her truly untangled.  This stuff is DREAMY - I put it in her hair, leave it for 3 or 4 minutes, and rinse it out.  No tangles at all!  We have tried lots of different detanglers and conditioners, and nothing has ever worked this well.  It really is liquid gold!

And while I'm recommending hair products, let me share something that I do LOVE for my own hair!  I'm not usually a big fan of Suave products, but occasionally I'll find one that hits pay dirt and this is it:
 It's Suave Moroccan Infusion, and it is soooo good.  Organix makes a line of Moroccan Oil products, and I have that in my shower along with the Suave - I'll pick the Suave every time.  It leaves my hair super silky and shiny.  They also make a Shine Mask that I love:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Our kids.

Lana, 6 years and 11 months
     54 pounds, size 7 clothes, size 2 shoes
Tucker, 3 years and 9 months
     38 pounds, size 4 or 5 clothes, size 12 shoes

Tucker, talking to me when he woke up to potty in the middle of the night: "Hey mommy!  Do you know boogers grow faster than fingernails or hair?"

Lana, after talking about the fruit of good works in our lives - "it's like this, mom: God loves us, so we do good things.  NOT we do good things so God will love us."

Tucker will not get into the water of a pool without crying, and after a minute or two of us holding him, will float around in his floatie by himself.  He is nowhere near ready to swim.  

Lana set herself a goal to read 500 pages this summer, and met her goal in 2 weeks.  Her new goal is 2,000 pages.

Tucker loves all things "electronic," and would play on them all day if we'd let him.  He also loves books, and would read them all day if we'd let him.  Although he is fascinated with things like iphones and innotabs, he loves books as much as his sister did at his age, and we are so glad.

Lana had a quarter in her hand as we were walking into a store - she planned to use it for a gumball just inside the entrance.  On the way in, we passed a gentleman collecting money for his church.  Lana thought about it for just a second, then dropped the quarter in his bucket and kept walking.  A few minutes later, she broke our silence by saying "Giving away my money felt way better than eating a gumball."

Tucker's fine motor skills have come slower than Lana's, but just this week he wrote his name and Lana's all by himself:

Things Lana is doing independently these days: vacuuming the floors, dusting the baseboards, cooking her own waffle, pouring her own milk, cutting up vegetables and fruit.  She is so proud!

Tucker told me a few days ago: "I don't LIKE doing what you say all the time."  He feels everything so intensely.  For example: singing his favorite song.  I love how passionate he is about whatever he is doing.

Lana and just started reading Old Yeller together this week at bedtime.

Tucker memorized a "Hey Diddle Diddle" board book, and loves it when I sit on the floor of his bedroom, he sits in his rocker, and he "reads" it to me.  He says "I'm just like a teacher!"

Things Tucker is doing independently these days: putting on his own shoes, counting to 39, getting undressed for bathtime, getting Pepper in and out of her kennel, putting on his swim floatie, brushing his teeth before mama, getting his own cup and filling it with water from the fridge.  He is so proud!

Lana was at a friend's house for a party, and we were not there.  They had juice boxes and Diet Coke to drink.  (We have a rule that she doesn't drink diet drinks - if she wants to have an occasional soda, that's fine, but we want her to drink the real thing.)  As soon as Dan arrived to pick her up, she immediately came to him to confess drinking a Diet Coke, even as a friend was cautioning her "You better not tell him, you're going to get in trouble!"  Such a great moment of teaching and affirming to her that it's always best to tell the truth, and to not lie with your silence.

Tucker gives me what he calls "beautiful kisses" these days.  He holds my face with both his hands, turns his head just a little, and very gently kisses my lips.  He regularly tells Lana & I that he wants to marry us.  Both of us are wrapped around the little stinker's finger.

Lana is still one of the most adventurous kids we've ever known.  Just this past week, she attempted a backflip off the edge of a friend's swimming pool.  It ended up being a backflip onto the concrete, but I just love that she's brave enough to try almost anything.  This applies to eating, too.  We went to a Chinese buffet at her request on the last day of school, and the first thing she wanted to try was this squid:

Tucker was telling us a story in the car about "the man with the really long neck."  He was so annoyed that we didn't know who he was talking about, and kept insisting that we did.  He said the man with the really long neck had a bomb for bad guys.  Finally Lana thought of it: "It's Inspector Gadget!!"

Life with Team Davis is never, ever dull.