Friday, November 26, 2010

Bright Blue Friday

Forget Black Friday. When you're in the country, the lure of the shopping mall is small. Instead, we had crisp weather, bright blue skies, and a big red tractor. Friday Fun!

Today I learned how to drive a tractor. I'm always up for an adventure, and I'll admit, I was scared I would crash. Which is funny since we were in the middle of a field, ha!

Grandpa telling me what to do. I was standing on the clutch, because I'm too light to hold it down and sit, and he was standing right in front of the big tire. And he told me if I let go of the clutch it would run him over and "kill your old Grandpa." No pressure!!


"Wait, you're leaving?! what do I do? Eeeks!"


I did it! I think I drove about half a snail's pace, but only because he didn't tell me how to go faster. Or where the brakes were. But I didn't crash, and no one got injured. I'd call that a success!

Meanwhile, Melody perched, and looked very pretty doing it!

Caleb's turn. This is the reason we come to Grandma and Grandpa's house according to Caleb!

Daddy and his girl

Carly's first tractor ride. She's never wanted to go before today. In fact, last time we put her on the tractor, this happened. And it was just parked in the field.

Cracking a smile!

I love this one. So much.

Giving thanks in a big way

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving celebration this year. We went west to Boyd, to my grandparents house, and gathered with aunts, uncles, and cousins for a Thanksgiving meal that of course included singing, picture-taking, and football-commentating, ahem, football-watching.

Caleb and I planned ahead and made the fruit salad the day before. He loved helping stir the pistachio pudding into the cool whip and watching it turn green.

Here are a few of the highlights from photo-overload-time. Seriously, there were *at least* five cameras snapping pictures all at once.

These are my cute and sweet Grandparents. One thing I love most about these two people is that after 54 years together, they still laugh. A lot. And flirt with each other, and giggle, and poke fun. Such role models of how a marriage should work. I think the subject of laughter in this picture was a slapped behind... I won't say who did the slapping.. *gasp*

This is my mama and all of her kids. The last time we'll all be together for a long time! Mom's about to start a missionary assignment in Africa for two years, and Melody and Naeole are moving to Hawaii in December.

Our little family.. it would've been a great picture.. if only Carly had smiled.

Here's an actual picture.. again, Carly wouldn't smile. She's two, you know.

These are all but three of the grandkids and great-grandkids of those two cute old people. 13 grandkids, 2 married-ins, and 2 great-grandkids in all!

Sweet times with my fun and huge family! 23 people in all for Thanksgiving dinner, and great memories to take home and treasure.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's like she knew....

... that I had devoted an entire blog post to her brother. In fact, that very night she proved that she will not be outdone. As the baby of the family, she craves the attention. Must be in the spotlight. Must return to center stage any way she can. Apparently her wit and charm didn't do the trick that day, so when all else fails, self-mutilation works.

3 am Thursday morning. Screaming from Carly's room. Greg ran in, I was about 10 paces behind. (It takes me longer to wake up and sprint across the house..) Baby standing in the middle of the floor, scream-crying, covered in blood -- mouth, cheeks, arms, hands. Shocking for all involved.

The poor child had fallen out of her bed and bit her bottom lip on the way down. Why she was that close to that edge of the bed, I don't know. She normally sleeps in the corner by the wall. What she was even doing awake, if she even was, is also a mystery. But I do know one thing. She has now raised the bar quite high as far as attention-getters go. Caleb better study up 'cause he's 'bout to get hisself showed flat up!

*Disclaimer: No children were actually injured due to attention-grabbing schemes. That was a joke. Just in case you have no sense of humor.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The heart of a child

I have a lot of things I need to doing during this, my "free" time, while both kids nap. But today I'm blogging about my boy. Caleb has been growing up spiritually and emotionally a lot lately. Physically, he is now a "big kid," meaning I have to shop for clothes in the BOYS section. NOT in the Baby/Toddler Section. No more "T"s on the tags (3T, 4T, etc.). His baby fat cheeks are slimming down. His legs and thighs are skinny and muscular. And his brain is exploding in size and depth! (His feet are still huge and flat, poor kid. But God made us all special, didn't He? And Caleb has special-sized feet.)

Lately I've been answering -- or attempting my best guess -- at a lot of questions. Deep questions. Since we lost Tracy in January, he's become aware of death. That is still the hardest talk I've ever had. Trying to explain to an innocent child why we die and where we go and why we are sad but joyful at the same time. Since I stumbled my way through that conversation, it seems his little mind has been tirelessly pondering the unknown. His sense of time is developing. His sense of self is developing. And I truly believe his heart is turning toward Jesus.

Some of the recent questions and conversations we've had are centered on this. This very morning he was asking me, "How old will I be when I die?" I told him only God knows that, and we just live for Him everyday and wait. Then, "Why doesn't God tell us? I think He should!" I honestly didn't have an answer for that one.

The things that he knows already astound me. He knows that Jesus is a man. He knows that Jesus is God. He knows that God is big. So big He can hold the world, and "a whole waterfall" in his hands. That concept in itself is enough to baffle most.

He knows that he sins. He knows it is wrong. (He doesn't know why he keeps doing it... do you? Me either.) He knows how to love others. He knows that it hurts Jesus when he hurts others.

Frequently, we talk about Heaven and Hell. I have told him that when a person chooses to love Jesus, and have Him in their heart, they get to go to Heaven. The alternative is Hell, which we've talked about in appropriate language for his age. We talk about who we KNOW will be there. Jesus, Tracy, I'm going, Daddy's going, etc., So of course, he says he is going to choose Jesus. (And I almost always hear Carly chime in that she is going to choose Jesus too!) We've talked about praying to ask Jesus to come in his heart, but he's not quite ready to do that yet.

These are sweet, sweet times I love getting to share with my boy as he grows into a man. My heart yearns for him to understand and grasp the things he's thinking about. I truly believe that the Lord puts these things in a child's mind at a young age, before their surroundings can spoil their perspectives. How wonderful that I've been given the opportunity to grow this child up in the ways of the Lord, and nurture what comes naturally to him. It is surely the greatest blessing and responsibility I've ever been given. Thank you, Lord!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Favorite Song

Lately I've been "studying" the Christmas CD for our church's Christmas program. It's been playing in the car so I can listen to the parts and just get to know the music. It's a great lineup of music and I'm super excited to be a part of the music ministry at my church. There is one particular song, which is not a Christmas song, but is a huge bombastic finale song that serves as a proclamation of Who we sing about and all the names for God.. well, this song is Caleb and Carly's FAVORITE song in the world! Can't blame them, actually. It's a powerful song. And every time we get in the car they beg for me to skip to their favorite part of the song-- the end, of course. I LOVE to watch their reactions when the massive choir starts (basically) shouting out the names of God! Caleb literally starts jumping up and down as much as he can in his car seat and laughing and giggling. It touches my heart to see such a sweet and innocent outflow of joy. Just thinking about it makes my eyes water! I've gotten to where I can't look in the mirror while I drive because my eyes get so cloudy I can't see to drive! Carly grins the entire time too. She is such a funny girl-- wants to be just like big brother. The words of that part of the song are below:

Wonderful, Glorious!
Holy and righteous!

Victorious conqueror!
Triumphant and Mighty!
Healer, deliverer!
Shield and Defense!
Strong Tower and my Best Friend!

Omnipotent, Omnipresent Soon-Coming King!
Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything!

Holy, Holy, HOLY is your name!

Great words, huh? Now, listen to it put to music:

"Lord, You're Holy" sung by the Prestonwood Baptist Choir and Orchestra

(the kids' favorite part starts at 3:10ish)

Can you see why I get emotional at the fact that my four-year-old son goes crazy at this song?! It's IN.CRED.I.BLE!!!

And if you want to see it performed live by a choir and orchestra almost as big as this one, make plans to come to the Green Acres Baptist Church Christmas program this December 12th and 13th. I'll be trying my best to play my French Horn and not cry through this one. :)