Matt and I have been talking a lot lately about how to learn to trust God and rely on Him. It's one of those times in our lives where God has shown us something, spoken to our hearts, and continues to teach us the lesson in ways big and small. I know He is always trying to teach us something, but sometimes it is so OBVIOUS. It is EVERYWHERE. We recognize it, we keep learning it, and yet, there is still more to learn because we are not perfect humans and we need to learn things as a process sometimes. It's been an enjoyable experience overall, because we are able to look at our lives and easily see how God has guided and protected us as He moves us along, so we have learned to look at even the disappointments as bumps along His path for us.
And yet, many times we find ourselves having to "come to terms" with something that He clearly wants for us. We have to talk ourselves through it. Our wills are in the right place -- we want what He wants for us. And yet, there is still that small hesitation sometimes; that instance where we have to weigh both sides and remind ourselves that He is in control. Why is that? Why don't we just JUMP in, without the so much as blinking when we always know He's looking out for us?
Matt is known for his analogies -- and especially the fact that they are almost alway related to sports. This is how He put it:
It's like this ... we KNOW God always wins the Superbowl every year. Always. Not in doubt. Foregone conclusion that happens every year. And yet we, the feeble ones with the losing record, are always questioning His play calls all season long and are worried about implementing them.
On the way home from dinner last night, someone started singing “I See the Moon.”This song has so much sentimental meaning with our family
It is the song Matt sang to Julia in my tummy for 9 months, and then soon after birth in the recovery room.She stopped her screaming and opened her little newborn peepers, and stared right at him as he sang it to her.Hello, Daddy.
As Julia grew through her first two years, we sang it to her often and made up new words to it to create a second verse which included the announcement to her that we were expecting Hope.Welcome, Hope.It’s your song too.
It is the song Matt has sung to and with all of our children.It is the song that they probably first heard him harmonize with me.
It is the song that Matt’s father, “Grampa,” sang to his children and our children through the years until he died.He gave us these simple words:
I see the moon, and the moon sees me.
The moon sees somebody I like to see.
God bless the moon, and God bless me
And God bless the somebody I’d like to see.
Matt started telling the kids a story …
"Imagine a scene very similar to this.Riding home late at night in the family station wagon, on our way home from Uncle Ralph’s house.It’s dark, and we’re all tired, and the family is singing this exact song, harmonizing.There I was, 13 years old, tired but content from a night of fun.And as I was there in that station wagon, singing this song, the moon was indeed shining on my special Somebody.It was shining on 5 year old little Natalee, down in Louisiana.I never could have known.I was asking God to bless your mom.Girls, right now, some of you who will get married someday …. The moon might be shining on your husband."
Which got me started on a story …
"When I was still in Louisiana, a girl of about 10, I remember being worried about finding a good husband.I remember asking my Mom if I would be able to find a husband as good as my Daddy.She must have told somebody at church that I was concerned about it, because a woman gave me a prayer to St. Raphael.The prayer asked the saint to watch over my future spouse and keep him for me, until it was time for us to be together.So I too, was praying for your dad, and I didn’t even know him.See how God has blessed us?"
As I sit here tonight, I am blown away by the realization that God has taken such good care of us, and that He does indeed answer prayers.Just ask, and wait, and believe.
Well, now that the rain has finally excused itself, I am like a kid at Christmas looking forward to the pool and sun, sun, sun.No sun = depressed spirits around here, so I’m definitely not the only one.
We are going to Chicago at the end of the week, and everyone is so excited about it.Long weekend away, a new city … what’s not to love?Please let me know if you’re a Chicago expert, and tell us what we MUST see while we are there.
I’ve got another recession challenge coming your way.Matt and I had a night out at Dee Felice’s Café the other night, and since I was getting dressed up I was sure to put together another $20 outfit.Otherwise, who knows when I would get around to it.
Julia made a delicious Coconut cake this weekend, complete with a complicated icing.It involved cream of tartar and egg whites … need I say more?It actually didn’t turn out so well at first, so Matt jumped in and helped her make her mistake into a totally different kind of frosting.The results were wonderful, and she is quite proud of herself. (And so was Matt, who is quite the cook when he does it.)Ahhh … I love having older kids in the house!
Last night was THE fireworks party of our subdivision.Apparently this happens annually.Lots of money, lots of grown up little boys getting their kicks (including my hubby), and lots of new faces.We met a few nice people who are our neighbors, some who were not (relatives of the party-throwers), and everyone dutifully gave their unoriginal but still amusing reaction to the fact that we have SEVEN KIDS!!!!(Raise your eyebrows, drop your jaw, and step back … there, now you’ve got it down.)
My new bookshelves are still not up.I may tackle them today, and then I’ll put up some photos.Organized office = peace of mind.
Following is a lesson in the difference between boys and girls that I'm just now learning, since it took me so long to have boys. I just LOVE little boys.
Owen: Mom, an I gonna die? (pointing to himself) Me: Well, we're all going to die someday, but you'll probably be old. Owen: But if I ate five sugars, will I die? Me: No. Sugar can make you sick if you eat too much, but you're not going to die. Why? Who told you that? Where did you hear about it? Owen: Nowhere. I just went in the pantry and I stealed some sugar, and I want to know if I'n gonna die. Me: You did? Can you show me? Owen: Sure. Here. An' I sweeped all these crumbs away so you wouldn't see them.
Now, in my experience, most girls wouldn't be quiiiiite this forthright. They have so many good qualities, but in this particular category (that being "candor"), there probably would have been a lot more song and dance. Makes me want to hug my big sweetie, because he so much the same way about admitting his faults. He's just a grown up little boy. There really are so many good things about guys, aren't there?
There is a wonderful phenomenon that happens at our house, more and more. It has a lot to do with the kids getting older, but homeschooling has certainly encouraged it. It's the simple wonders of dinnertime conversations.
Matt is the guy who usually gets things started. His family homeschooled, and are all geniuses, so it's not hard to visualize their dinnertime conversations. You had kindergarten aged children talking about how the price of peanut butter had risen (true story), and 5th graders talking about a community issue that he read about in the local paper. At first it intimidated me, going to dinner at their house, until I realized I could just be a lurker, sitting quietly and just absorbing. Over the years, I think I've actually gotten smarter, being married to Matt (balanced out by the fact that all the pregnancies have made me dumber), and I'm glad to know that he will be doing the same for my kids. It's too much pressure knowing that all their learning is on your shoulders!
These great conversations often come up because Matt asked someone what they are learning in Science or History, or because someone's questioning mind wonders out loud. One question always leads to another, and another, and either Matt or I will explain. Most of the time, their curiosity exceeds the time that it takes for eating, or the span of attention of the boys, so sometimes "class" is abruptly stopped. But it's a beautiful thing to see a thought germinate and sprout into a tiny plant of of an idea. It's so rewarding to see that they comprehend and appreciate the explanation, prompting more questions, but it's also beneficial when we have to stop the conversation and they are encouraged to go find more information on their own. It always does my heart proud.
Last night dinnertime was a little more dull at first -- energy was flagging and some of the tweens (and the mom) had been cranky during the day. Julia finished eating early and asked to be excused before the rest of us were finished, but I jokingly told her that if she left I would miss her. Matt woke up from Blackberry Land at this point, and drew her in. He was asking her about her day and trying to get her to talk, which she wasn't too much in the mood for. So Matt really turned on the charm and started talking about extemporaneous speeches. (Hey, I never said the man was normal.) He explained to the girls that many, many people that he works with cannot do it, and would really benefit themselves if they could. So he went first, and each of the older kids had a turn giving a 2 minute extemporaneous speech on the topic of her choice.
Not only was I amazed at their speeches, but I was amazed that there were speeches. Would you have done this as a child? I certainly would not! But Matt was able to work his usual magic, and suddenly I heard a speech on Hope's love of all aspects of horses, included a brief description of their care and tack. Julia spoke about what lead her to start writing her novel. Elena, who is the only girl in both Tennis and Taekwondo in our house, spoke about the similiarities between the two sports, and Noelle spoke about her love of Taekwondo, using the phrase "a 'form' is a pattern of movements that help you learn different techniques in TaeKwondo." (She's only 8!) Unbelievable!
I know my face was smiling, and was probably beaming. But here's one thing Matt probably didn't suspect, however .... he doesn't know that the whole time, this teacher/mom was hoping the that he wouldn't call on her next! :-)
Valentine's Day is one day that my husband can completely ignore, and I would never hold it against him. It holds no meaning for me, save for the fact that it is the feastday of a Catholic Saint.
But to continue the trend of his insanity, he came home with a present for me yesterday. He claims it was for Valentine's Day, but I suspect that he's been looking around for something since my birthday. (He doesn't always consider it necessary to buy my something on the other days either.)
I don't know that I needed it so much, except an extra computer has been considered for some time since I use mine for school. And why not a laptop? I could blog from the pool this summer. I could do Quicken on the couch as we watch Food Network at night. I could blog at the park! Life is going to be sweet this summer ...
Cabin fever is at an all-time high around here. Maybe we have no excuse, since we just went on vacation, but it takes more than one week in SC to make you not notice that the windchill is -1 outside. It doesn't help that I was sick for a day and a half -- and I do mean sick. In bed. Kids running the house.
Mom being sick around here is harder on them than it is on me. (Well, maybe.) People get crabby, people fight, people get depressed, husbands start to wonder if he's going to lose you ... (36 hours!!!) It's a good exercise, I guess. Lying in bed motionless, aching in every cell makes you appreciate you ability to do housework (which is always a mood-lifter for me, strangely). It makes your kids appreciate your presence -- even if you're crabby, it's better than "not there." And your husband tells you over and over again how great it is to have you back, and not just for the work aspect. He's very sad without me ... is it wrong that I think that's just great? :-)
Today I am back to my old self, except now there's a serious cramp in my neck from lying abed for too long. I know you don't care about that, but it's keeping me from thinking of anything else to write! My neck hurts, my neck hurts, my neck hurts ... isn't that what you're supposed to do when you have writer's block? OK, ok ... I'll end your misery. I have stuff to do anyway. Just wanted to stop in so you don't stop stopping in.
Oh, and in case you're wondering ... yes, the end of Julia's poem was about death but she wasn't in a suicidal mood. :-) She handed it to me quite cheerfully and proud. It's just that she's really got a poet's soul. She was lying in bed with her face buried in a pillow, and noticed that her breath got very hot ... which led to the cool breaths, which led to a diversion into the different roles of breath, including the breaths of a dying person. She's deep, but she's not macabre. Thanks for the compliments.
I wrote the next four posts on napkins at a restaurant tonight; proof to you that I do indeed blog a lot – it’s getting it on a computer that’s the problem.I NEED A LAPTOP!(I just showed that to Matt.)
OK, so tell me how sad is this?My man LOVES football (though he’d deny it), but can no longer even watch football “through the snowflakes” on our one fuzzy channel.Our old TV is broken.It would be like watching Midnight football, only without the lights.So we’ve gotten into this habit of going to a nearby sports bar, paying money to watch their TV, eat their food, and only watch part of a game because if we stayed for the whole thing our babysittin’ daughter would be up too late.
Do ya’ think we need a TV?
But I’m not really complaining.I’m getting’ a night out!