Monday, July 22, 2013

July update on the kiddos: Brought to you by the iphone

Can you believe it's nearly the end of July? The summer is flying by! I had these grand dreams of taking the kiddos out to lots of fun places. We have definitely gone out but have spent lots of time simply being at home and with eachother.  Let me show you a little of our world.

Who doesn't like to paint on a sheet in the kitchen? Bella loved it. JT just wanted to step in it, throw it, eat it, clap his hands in it, wipe his hands on his get the picture.  There was a LOT to clean up that day. But it was a fun memory, nonetheless!
This one is blurry but I thought it was so cute. They were singing a song for my dad.

I taught Bella how to make Challah bread. It's the traditional bread for the Sabbath that we make nearly every Saturday night. She did a great job kneading. And we only dropped a cup of flour. I would call that a success!

We have spent lots of time playing in the sprinkler or the water or with chalk in the water. You get the idea. This was right after coming inside to eat and watch a cartoon. They were wiped out that day!

Look to the right of the picture. Do you see two cute kiddos in the pack n play? They both crawled in without me knowing it. I found them there with tons of books Bella was "reading" to Jonathan. It was hilarious listening to her make up the stories! Some of the books she even has memorized from Mike and I reading them to her at night.

These next two are some of my favorites. They are not the best quality but definitely depict what we do nearly every afternoon. After the kiddos wake up from their naps, they are still a little sleepy...and cuddly! Hence, they both will sit beside me (without fighting) and we read or color or just sit.

Happy summer y'all!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Running in the rain

I want my children to experience life. All of life. Not the safe part of it. Or the easy part of it. But the hard parts and the scary parts and the parts where they feel like they can't do it. I think, as a parent, it is so easy to shelter our kids. We move into the suburbs, enroll them in a private school for umpteen amounts of money, won't let them go to certain parts of town, don't talk to certain types of people, make sure they look and smell and dress a certain way, insulate them from what is going on in 90% of the world...It's like we try to put an emotional, spiritual, physical giant toilet paper roll of cushion around their ears, hearts, minds, and emotions. But do we end of squelching maybe a part of who they are to be? These are the questions we have asked ourselves as parents over the course of 4 years.

Don't get me wrong. There is wisdom in guarding and protecting our children. There is wisdom in not giving them more than they are ready for - emotionally and physically. There is a wisdom in shepherding them in a safe environment. As long as it's not too safe.

Daily in my degree program, I am thrown into conversations of poverty, racism, homophobia, rape, HIV, malnutrition, food insecurity, global wealth inequity, babies dying from diarrhea, and mothers dying from preeclampsia. I want my children to know about these things before they are in their late 20s. And I don't want them to be scared of it. I want them to feel thankfulness for what we have and a gnawing to do something with it that reflects and is worthy of the gospel. I don't want to be the type of parent that keeps them insulated in a American-dream world.

I want them to not be scared. I want to nurture their hearts of trying new things. I want them to not care if they win or lose but know that if they tried, that is all that matters. I want them to be fearless. Again, with wisdom and time and maturity.

We live in a struggle of how to develop a home of thankfulness and generosity and love. Thankfulness in all circumstances, generosity that hurts, and love that is inconvenient. Not in a glass castle or in an American home. But as a family that tries to see our neighbors in a global context? How do you live that out? More importantly, how do you model that for your children and develop that in them? I have no idea. But we certainly are trying and praying against complacency and greed and pride and the pursuit of happiness. Praying against things that make us too comfortable or safe. And, are asking for a family heart that beats compassion and empathy and acceptance and love that is shown more than simply throwing money at charities while not changing who we are, how we spend our money, or who we love.

A few weeks ago, we had a huge thunderstorm here in North Carolina. I LOVE thunderstorms and running in the rain. Bella, however, is scared of thunder and will get in one of our laps during these times. That day  I asked if she wanted to go running in the rain. After a little hesitation, she said yes. And, what did we do? We took off jumping in the rain in the courtyard. Her daddy also joined in the fun.

And then I and my little, beautiful, girl went running in the grass. Barefoot with our good church clothes on in the pouring rain.

Around the front yard several times until we were soaked.

Big smiles and hearts and achy legs. We went running.
Together. Now, instead of fear of thunderstorms...
               she asks to go running.

Fearlessness, thankfulness, generosity, and love. Perhaps some of these qualities are cultivated in the mundane thunderstorms, overcoming our fears. And deciding to let my little girl get soaked in the rain. That which once was fearful becomes a joy.

We hope that these times will become deeper as they get older. And cultivate their hearts toward thankfulness, generosity, love and hope that goes beyond our house, our neighborhood, our nation, to the world.
Until then, we will run in the rain.

"Wherever you all, be all there" - Jim Elliott.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Neena and Granddad: Part 4

Here's the final installment of Neena and Granddad's visit. We had one of the best times with them, as always.

Granddad and Bella made these two art projects together. The butterfly is now hanging above her bed. This is so special! Mom and dad, thank you for coming. And for loving on us so dearly. We love y'all!