Friday, August 31, 2007

Precious Little Katrina

"Katrina, Katrina, precious little Katrina!" That's the little diddy Eric has sung to Katrina since she was a baby. She is precious. She is different!

I just came back from a trip to the store with our Katrina. We had a really nice time on this quick trip. Picked up some flowers for the piano teacher, I got a frozen frappe (YUM), and I bought her a strawberry smoothie. The weather is beautiful and it's perfect for drinking your cold drink and swinging the hand of a 5 year old little girl!

On the way home, I couldn't help but remember another trip to the store I took with Katrina about 3 years ago. Katrina has always been extremely quiet. In fact, she didn't really begin talking until she was close to 4 years old. Katrina THINKS, she doesn't talk. Until Katrina was 4, she tolerated people. She enjoys them more now, but she is just as happy to be alone. She likes to snuggle a little more now, but when she was really little, she didn't want much of that at all. Of all our children, Katrina is the most like her father.

Anyway, about that outing 3 years ago. I was getting frustrated that I could not seem to get close to Katrina. She was quiet and forever getting into trouble. She tends to get into things. She loves to figure out how things work, so she used to get into a ton of trouble when she would take things apart. She could get things apart that no one else could! So, between feeling like I was always punishing her and the fact that she didn't want anyone around, I was having a hard time "bonding" with my fourth child. So, I took her out. Just her and I. Though she stayed quiet, I talked with her in the car and while she rode the shopping cart. I even bought her ice cream to eat when we got home. I sat her in the front seat on the way home (I know, major crime), but when I went to hold her hand that day, she pulled away. She did not like physical affection. We ate ice cream together (all the others were in bed), but she said nothing.

Where I come from, if you don't like affection, something must be HORRIBLY wrong! If any of my older 3 children seemed distant from us, all it took was an outing like this to get us back into smiley and snuggling mode! Katrina was, and still is, much harder to read. But, we kept at it. We continued to talk with her, love her, and hug her. As a result of our persistence and prayers, we have been blessed to see her blossom into a friendly and happy little girl.

Katrina IS precious. And, today, she was happy to talk and hold my hand!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Daily Life

My cousin's wife recently e-mailed me asking about how our day runs and how we fit in activities for the kids, company for dinner, and life with a newborn. This was my reply, for anyone who cares. You may find somethings that will help you or you may just be able to relate. Or, for my single friends, you may find reasons to rejoice in this stage of your life! Either way, feel free to criticize or make suggestions. The comment line is always open!

As you know, organization is the key with a large family. If I don't have some sort of schedule - we might as well chuck the whole day!

6:30 - up, dress, chores, read Bible for 15 minutes

7:30 - breakfast - if a child does not have their chores done or their room isn't cleaned up by this time they don't get breakfast - just a cup of milk so there is something in their stomach

8:00 - by this time, they are washed up from breakfast and teeth are brushed. If not, discipline action is taken (so far, this year, so good). We sing some songs from the hymnal. What we normally do is have each of the 3 oldest pick a song on Monday that they don't know real well and we sing it all week long. Makes it easier for them to join the worship on Sundays and Wednesdays. Katrina and Seth also get to pick a different song each day (usually a Sunday School type - B-I-B-L-E, "the Goliath one", Jesus Loves Me, etc). After that, we read one chapter in the NT together - currently we're in II Corinthians. We go around the room reading out loud. Some days we pray and some we go over the memory verse for church.

8:30 - school begins. Each child begins with Bible and then they are allowed to decide from there what classes they'll watch and when. I do have class assignments for each day, but they can determine what order they'll do them. Once they finish a class, they have to show me their finished assignment before they go on to the next class. If there are any corrections to be made, they do them immediately. They are then COMPLETELY done with the lesson and go on to the next subject. Works better for us that way.

12:00 - lunch and clean-up. I've found, lately, that I'VE been spending MUCH of the day cleaning up from meals. We are now sharing the load. I get the meals and they need to wash down the table and sweep - they're the ones that make the mess.

After lunch - finish school. As it's early in the year, I'm not sure when school will normally finish. But, I'm thinking 2 or 3:00 is reasonable. Don't ask about today - I'm hoping to get amnesia!

My only and continuous complaint is the lack of time with the little ones. I feel like they're constantly being shushed and moved out of the way. It is the beginning of the school year, so we're still working out the kinks. Video school makes it easier, but with a child who has his learning challenges, a lot of my time is taken with him. However, if this year is like last, he'll get the hang of it and then the days that he requires 90% of my time will be fewer and farther between. This next week or 2 (or 3...) - just pray for us!!!

With Zane, having a newborn is not too big a deal. He's so easy going. Having him at the end of June and having time to adjust before school started was a HUGE help! He now eats every 3 1/2 hours instead of every 3 (for the most part) which also frees up some time. I try to make it so he won't need to eat during critical points of our day (i.e. Breakfast, Bible time, lunch).

Laundry is my life. I have a TON of that. Washing and drying is a cinch. Someone needs to invent a machine that will iron and fold it. I have kids who put their own stuff away (I hesitate to open their drawers, however), so that's ok.

My bill paying has taken a back seat.

I love Menu 4 Moms - that is a weekly e-mail I get that gives a menu for every day of the upcoming week along with a grocery list. Even if I don't use their exact menu, it's a starting point for me. That whole site is helpful!

You will often find me doing my grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday nights. I don't necessarily enjoy taking 7 kids to the store with me, so Eric takes care of them and I get a couple of hours of "peace." Sometimes, he's still up when I come home to help unload. Otherwise...well...he's not. Oh well.

Having people over for dinner - that rarely happens. I feel like we often have people here, but it's rarely PLANNED! With the little ones and Eric's schedule, it's all we can do to make sure WE eat! Then there's the issue of how I LOVE to have people and Eric isn't quite as sociable. However, when we do have company, he is a tremendous help and loves it as much as I do. It's usually just the thought of the preparation and finding time that hinders us from this. We do MUCH better with people who "pop in" than we do in planning. Even when we plan for people to come over - it's very informal. The fellowship is good, though.

Kids activities - I try to get the kids to the library at least every other week during the school year. We have a great local library and the kids love going there. We also try to get to local museums, science centers, zoos, etc. about once/month. It's always a fun time and we all need the time out. I usually bring a young lady with us to help keep an eye on the little ones in these crowded places.

Piano lessons occur weekly. Tomorrow will be our last lesson with this particular teacher as she is expecting her 2nd baby in November and it's just going to be a bit much for her with 2 little ones of her own. We'll miss her, but now her sister, who is just as gifted, will be COMING TO OUR HOUSE to teach the oldest 4 every Friday. Unfortunately, finding time to practice is a bit difficult as it's distracting to the kids doing school when someone is banging the piano. We're working that kink out (or in?) at this point of the school year, also. Practice will probably begin at 3:00 as that is a reasonable time for everyone to be done with school and life MUST go on!

So, you're probably wondering about MY spiritual well being. Where do I find time to spend with God? I try to make sure I'm up around 5:00 in order to get myself ready for the day - spiritually and physically. I find it much easier to maintain control and have things go smoothly if I'm up and ready BEFORE the children. I'm not always successful, but it is a daily goal that I often accomplish. Unfortunately, I'm not as good about it on the weekends! If I get up too late, I try to read my Bible in the afternoon (as I did today). Just because I miss my quiet time in the morning doesn't mean I should just throw in the towel and hope for the best tomorrow. I try to find time later in the day. But, I think we all know that it's much better to meet with the Lord before the trials than it is to find time in the midst of them!

I hope this gives you a fairly clear look at our day. I would imagine it's pretty close to your reality as well. I don't usually schedule my times of tears, nagging, and frustration because they fit in our day without even trying. I'm hoping to replace more of those times with times of laughter, smiles, and play with my children.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Day in History

August 29, 1991 - The first time I say "I love you" to Eric.

We had been together for over a year and friends for almost 3 years. I had known I loved Eric for quite a long time, but, as I don't believe it's a phrase you just throw around, I took a while to let him know the depth of my feelings.

I was about to leave for college in less than a month. Eric was starting his classes within the week. So, we had set aside an entire day to spend together. I'm not even sure I remember how we spent the day - I just know he picked me up in the morning and it was after 10:00 that night when I got home. Anyway, I wanted Eric to know how I really felt before I went away to college and knew this would be my opportunity.

The day went by without me saying the words. Then, he was about to take me home. I knew I had to tell him. I told him I had something I wanted to tell him, but I was afraid he might laugh. He promised me he wouldn't. Looking back, I think he must have known what I was about to say.

I'm a girl that fears rejection in the worst way. It is not easy for me to share my feelings with others in words. I'm much better with a pen or a keyboard. I'd never even thought about saying these words to another guy. Telling Eric I loved him would make me open to rejection if he didn't feel quite the same way about me. Knowing he didn't love me would crush me beyond belief. I had a good feeling he did love me, but what about that chance that he did not? What if he wasn't ready for that?

With all of these thoughts in my mind, it took me close to half an hour to finally get the words out. "I love you," I whispered. There it was. My heart in the open - for him to hold and treasure or to rip it in two. He smiled and laughed softly. He wasn't laughing a malicious laugh, but an understanding and compassionate laugh. He then said the most wonderful words I'd ever heard. "I love you, too."

What joy! What relief! He didn't reject me. He accepted my love and declared his love in return.

We have said those words so many times since that summer evening. He told me those words when he proposed and I said them back when I accepted. We said "I love you" on our wedding day. When we've argued, we've said those words while asking forgiveness, just to reassure each other that our love will never change. Those words have been uttered at the birth of each of our children. We say "I love you" at the end of 99% of our phone calls, no matter how short they may be. "I love you" is said most every time we part ways, even if it's just for a couple of hours. I often say "I love you" in passing - just to let him know I'm aware of his presence and glad that he's sharing life with me. He does the same for me.

August 29, 1991. I tell Eric I love him. I hear those words from his lips for the first time, also. I share my heart and he takes it and holds it and treasures it.

He keeps it till this day. And I keep his.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

GASP! I'm NOT Perfect!

News flash...I am NOT June Cleaver. My house is not always in order. I do not wear my Sunday best to sweep my floors. When my children do wrong, I don't have the knack of just responding with grave disappointment.

I also am not Carol Brady. I don't have an Alice (though I do have an Elianna who comes about once a month). I, therefore, don't have time to be involved in community service or, for that matter, too many church ministries.

I am not Caroline Ingalls. I don't live for hard work or have endless patience. Somehow, she looks great when she's been working hard and her face is smeared with dirt. When I've been working hard, I, dirty. I do have chickens, but, that's where the likeness ends.

I am far from being the Proverbs 31 woman. I haven't purchased land since...well...ever. I don't sew well. My clothes are not made of silk. As far as working willingly with my hands or speaking kindness, I'm working on it.

I am ME. My life is not a TV show. My life is REALITY. Often, I think of the idealistic woman and get frustrated that I am missing the mark. Sometimes I compare myself with other ladies in the church who seem to have it all together and I get depressed.

But, then the Lord gives me a blessing. Women that I think never get irritated, never raise their voice, etc - these women are honest and they'll tell me about the bad day they had yesterday or last week. I'm amazed at the fact they struggle with the same things that I struggle with! Somehow, it comforts me knowing that I am not alone in my imperfections.

Therefore, I can just relax and accept myself for what I am, right? WRONG! Knowing I'm not alone is comforting, but it should help me to grow along with my sisters in Christ. They are still saved and God has forgiven them. He's done the same for me. This realization gives me the strength to get back up and go on.

"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again..."

The women portrayed in books, tv, movies, etc. are usually unattainable ideals. The Proverbs 31 woman is also an ideal. My husband says he doesn't believe God intends for women to be everything she is. I won't go into a commentary on this woman, but was she even a real person or was she just an imaginary woman given to us to exemplify some of the character qualities wives and mothers should strive for? An ideal given by God. Not a taskmaster.

We have some clear ideas of what God expects from a Christian woman. But, He also made it clear that He is loving, longsuffering, and merciful to us in our weaknesses. For that I am grateful. I will continue to learn and grow and "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

I am not June, Carol, or Caroline. I am Vicki - a sinner saved by grace and a daughter of the King!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Don't Believe in Homeschooling!

No, it wasn't a bad first day of school. It actually went quite well. I just don't believe in homeschooling.

I believe in God. I believe in love.

Homeschooling does not guarantee that our children will grow up to love and serve our Lord with all of their hearts. Homeschooling does not guarantee that our children will always honor and respect their daddy and me. Homeschooling is not the answer.

I can keep my children home and make sure they are educated. I can make sure they are nicely groomed and respectful. However, without God's word and showing them God's love, I have little hope of raising godly children who will love us when we are older. Without God, it is all in vain.

Children who go to (gasp!) public school CAN feel completely loved by their parents and become spiritual giants. It takes more work, but it IS possible. In fact, a public school child who comes home to parents who obviously love the Lord, teach him the words of Christ, and express their love for him, will excel further in life - spiritually and socially - than the homeschooled kid who has been programmed like a robot but has not seen true love for God or for himself. (For an example of a public school graduate who came from a godly, loving home, see destination zambia)

Back in the day, homeschooling was practically unheard of. Christian school was the answer.
I went to a Christian school. Some of the kids I went to school with are serving Christ with a passion (i.e. lunch-time thoughts). Some are going to church, but their growth has halted. Some of them have walked away from Christ or are not even saved. There are some who seemed to care little for the things of God back in high school but are now heading for the mission field (i.e. declaring His glory).

GOD will make our children worthwhile. LOVE will make them want to come home, even when life takes them far away. SEEING their parents serving God and LOVING it will encourage them to do the same. KNOWING that their parents accept them, love them, and forgive them unconditionally will go far in their decision to make their parents' God Lord of their own lives. Our children believe what they see, hear, and feel. They don't believe in a method.

I homeschool my children and plan on always doing so. Homeschooling gives us more opportunities to share God and reaffirm our love for our children than if we sent them to school. We need to make the most of it, but it is not the answer.

Don't just homeschool the children. Love them!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What Did YOU Talk About in Church Today?

Last night, my girls were watching an Andy Griffith video. You gotta love Andy Griffith. Personally, Barney's my guy - he kills me! But, I digress.

In this particular episode, there was a scene in which a bunch of ladies had congregated and were chatting. Because of the number in the group, the chatter was pretty loud. When Andy needed to get their attention, they were so busy talking, they couldn't hear the man.

Then, my 8-year old daughter made an interesting comment. "That sounds just like church!"

I thought about that. What is all that noise before church? Is it true fellowship - people speaking of God's goodness to us throughout the week? Sharing what we've read in the scriptures that morning? Sharing prayer requests? Or, is it empty conversation - like a bunch of chatty (dare I say, gossipy) women?

I have often thought about these before and after church conversations. Do they prepare me for worship? When I sit down at the beginning of service with these conversations fresh in my mind, am I ready to focus on Christ and worship the One who died for me or am I completely distracted and thinking on the things of this world?

Should I only have deep theological discussions in church? I don't believe so. However, our discussions should bring glory to God and allow us to focus on Him. If someone brings their new baby to church, we can ooh and ahh and praise the Lord for bringing another life into our midst. If someone spreads word of a young lady's engagement - praise God for His blessings upon that couple and speak of the wonderful ways they can be used by Him. If I am struggling with my children, asking for prayer will definately cause hearts to focus on Christ. (BEWARE lest prayer requests turn into gossip sessions.) Rejoicing with those that do rejoice and weeping with them that weep (Romans 12:15) are duties for the body of Christ in the church. We are to share our lives, hearts, and thoughts with others.

There are things that we talk about that do not glorify God. They may not be sinful - just empty. For instance - that new hairstyle Susie has. It's nice. Complimenting her may edify her, but spending any length of time discussing it brings NO glory to God. There is no realistic way of centering a conversation like that on Christ. Same with ball games, dress, even homeschool choices. There's nothing wrong with conversations such as these, they just may not belong in a church house before a service in which we are to worship the God of this world or after a service in which we were just reminded of His great love for us and our purpose to serve Him.

Andy Griffith couldn't be heard above the chatter of these silly women. Can the man of God be heard above our chatter in the church house? Does vain babbling get us out of focus?

What did you talk about in church today?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Life in Pictures

The only thing of interest that I could even write about today involves a 3 year old boy and a bathroom. So, I think I'm better off just posting some recent pictures.

Our 3 older girls had lunch out with Grandma yesterday. Grandma loves to dress up and go out, therefore, so do my girls!

Days spent with Grandma are always something to look forward to. When our children grow older, these will be cherished memories. I hope to be a grandma like the grandmas our children have!

Here she is - Milanni Noelle. I knew she would be beautiful, but I was still amazed at just how beautiful she is.

Not a great picture of Milanni, but what a precious picture of a mommy treasuring her newborn baby girl! Salinna is doing extremely well and we are so happy for their whole family!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This Day in History

August 23, 2006 - The last day I saw my father.

My father had moved to South Carolina back in 2001. A couple of times a year, he would come up to visit my brothers and I and our families. In May of 2006, he came to visit in order to tell us that he had cirrhosis of the liver. His doctor told him that if he stopped drinking completely, he would have 10 years. My father wasn't about to stop - he'd just drink when he travelled. We talked about his wishes, etc.

In August, my dad made another trip up before the weather got too cold for him. Looking back on the pictures later, his health had obviously deteriorated and he had lost a ton of weight. Both my brothers had noticed this, but I didn't. Both Lyle and Nathan were sure this would be the last time they saw him.

Me? I knew his doctor had lessened his life expectancy to 5 years. I knew he was moving slower. But, I "knew" I'd see him again. Not to worry.

I spend most of my life being wrong about things. This was the worst thing to be wrong about.

August 23, 2006 was a hectic day. My kids were beginning school that week. I was, in fact, at the store when dad came to the house. I arrived a few minutes after he did. I did take time to take a few pictures of him and the kids together - pictures that he wanted copies of as soon as I had the chance. Pictures he never got.

As always, when he left, we hugged and said "I love you!" He was hoping to make another trip in October or November. We'd be looking forward to it.

I talked with dad on the phone 3 or 4 more times after that visit. He died a couple of days before making the autumn trip.

August 23, 2006. I didn't know that would be the last time I'd ever see my father. If I had known, I'm sure I would have savored every moment, took more pictures, and asked more questions about his life. I was glad to see my dad that day, but I took the visit for granted.

I just didn't know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Milanni Noelle

That's (mill-ah-nee). She's my newest niece. Born today at 3:08 p.m. via c-section. She is 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 22 1/2 inches long. Can we say "lo-o-0ng and skinny"? She is probably just as beautiful as her mother. She is the 4th child of my brother Lyle and his wife Salinna. Last I knew, all were doing well, though a bit tired.

We are blessed by the news of this new little baby. She is joining 2 brothers and 1 sister - all of whom are anxiously awaiting to meet her. Her parents will, no doubt, raise her up to love and serve the Lord with all of her heart. I know this because they are already doing a great job with the older children.

God is so good to us. In the midst of chaotic lives, filled with stress and distress, a sweet little child enters the world allowing us to take a moment to realize how precious life really is. Holding a baby in my arms is one of the most amazing parts of life. I hold my little baby boy every day. I will hold my niece, for the first time, tomorrow. From experience, I know that moment will bring such joy and peace. I may feel a bit of fear mixed with excitement just thinking of what the future of this little one may be. Finally, tears will well up in my eyes for the miracle is overwhelming.

A baby. My niece. A precious gift.

Welcome, Millani Noelle!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

6 Days and Counting

School begins in 6 days. Books. Paper. Pens. DVDs (we do BJU home satellite).

I will get all these things together and organized this week (I hope). School will begin Monday. By Tuesday, 30 pencils will be MIA, someone won't be able to find their Math book, and paper will be scattered on the floor.

Many moms send their children on that yellow school bus. Some moms condemn them. I understand, and sometimes, envy them. Think of it - six to eight hours to enjoy a peaceful home! When you clean it, it has a chance to stay clean for longer than 5 minutes. I could throw a load of laundry in the washing machine without having to come out to screaming children. I could actually vacuum my upstairs and not worry about what catastrophe I will be met with when I'm finished.

Some days, I see that yellow bus go by and it's all I can do to restrain myself from running down the driveway and calling it back.

But, then I think of the REASON we homeschool. Not for the great education that will, no doubt, make them world leaders. Not for the family time spent that will result in each of them building houses and raising families within 5 yards of our house. Not for the flexibility it brings allowing us to sleep in until 11 and do school in our pjs (seriously, we DON'T do that. That's a topic for another day).

The reason we homeschool is to instill in our children God's word, doctrine, and principles in a way no other school will do for them. It's to help them grow in Christ and become Christians who will serve God.

Am I accomplishing this goal? Some days, all we do is school work. Some days, we take field trips. Some days, we survive. But, with each day, do my children learn something that will help them in their walk with Christ? We begin the day with devotions, but kids who go to public or private school can do that.

This year, my goal is to make sure my children learn or are encouraged in at least one biblical principle each day that will make them better Christians. THAT'S what homeschooling is all about. That's what Christian parenting is all about.

The next question is, how am I teaching them these Christian principles? Sometimes, I have opportunity to tell stories or impart wisdom with my words. There are times when I can show them scripture to help them through a problem. However, most times, it's my actions and behavior that teach. Raising my voice to get them to sit down. Getting frustrated over the clutter. Being impatient with the slow learners. My kids would be better off in public school with attitudes and actions such as these. I must behave in a godly manner in order for my children to know how a Christian is to live.

Furthering my children's walk with God along with my own - that is my goal this year. We may lose a bus-load of pencils along the way, but if the mission is accomplished, it will be worth it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Our Boy Sleeps - Inside!

Our boy talked all day of sleeping outside tonight in the tent he and his siblings made this morning. It's constructed of old sheets, a tablecloth, and a tarp that daddy put up when it began to rain.

Our boy couldn't wait to have his first camp out - just like the Civil War days. Daddy said it was fine with him. The excitement mounted and, for the first time ever, he looked forward to bedtime.

But, then, bedtime came. Now that the big moment was upon our boy, he was no longer sure he wanted to sleep out in the dark. For the next 20 minutes, he leaned on the kitchen table trying to figure out where he was going to sleep tonight. He finally decided, he'd go outside. He left the house armed with a flashlight, pillow, and sleeping bag.

He was gone just long enough to settle everything in the tent, pick it all up, and come back inside insisting it was too cold! The tears in his eyes revealed his disappointment in the change of plans, in the cold, but, most of all, in himself.

It's all part of growing up. Big plans. Big dreams. Big talk.

Then, the moment comes.

Big fear.

As children, many times the fear wins out and the dreams are put aside. But, sometimes, like tonight, a child may step out and attempt to reach his goal. He's afraid, but brave. For a time. Then, just when he's earned the right to say he tried, he runs back to safety. To his warm home. To his mom and dad. One day, however, he will walk right into the face of fear and achieve his dream. He will not turn back.

Tonight, though, our boy is sleeping upstairs. Just where I like him!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Precious Memories, How They Linger!

Tonight, our children were playing their favorite game outside - Civil War. Our oldest son has been extremely interested in that part of history for a year and a half and, naturally, the other children have followed.

Anyway, we were going to call them in to get ready for bed. Once we noticed how well they were getting along and what a great time they were having, we changed our minds. We wanted to enjoy the moment and the harmony.

Summer evenings playing together. Running, laughing, falling in the grass. These are the memories they'll always cherish. These are the memories we will hold close in our hearts as our little ones grow.

Watching our children create memories like these make us nostalgic for our own childhood. I remember many summer evenings in which we played late into the night. Riding bike, playing basketball with my brothers, just having fun. Good memories. So, as we watch our children do similar things, we hate to put a stop to the moment they are unknowingly capturing forever.

These days of childhood summers are fleeting. Spend them laughing and loving. Allow the children to run, laugh, and play until dusk falls and the stars begin to appear. Take lots of pictures. Bask in the glow of their smiles. Take in the squeals of childish joy and delight.

These are the memories that will last a lifetime!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

This Day in History

August 18, 1990 - Eric and I have our first date.

Eric and I had talked earlier in the month and decided that after a year and a half of friendship we wanted to be a "couple." We first became friends when I was 15 and he was 18. I had fallen in love with him somewhere in my 16th year and now I was 17 and he finally "saw the light."

On this particular day, Saturday, August 18, 1990, we both happened to be at a friend's wedding and I was thrilled that he sat with my family at the reception.

Eric was a member of our church's "College & Career" class. I, being so much younger, was not. However, because of my older brother's involvement with the class, I was aware of the fact that there was to be a cookout and bonfire that night. I can't remember exactly, but knowing me, I probably hinted about the evening's activities.

Then, the wonderful moment came. He asked me to go with him to the cookout!! I was on cloud nine!

I recall bits and pieces of that evening, but I do remember that being the evening when many of his friends really realized that we were finally "going out." (Is that a term of the 90's or do they still use that today?) That night, I was honored to be known as "Eric's girlfriend." I now have the honor to be his wife and, sometimes, I have to refrain from feeling prideful about my "catch!"

I used to talk to everyone about my wonderful boyfriend. Now, I tell everyone about my wonderful husband. Unfortunately, I still struggle with telling everyone about my wonderful Jesus. Why is that? I am comforted that the apostle Paul himself asked for boldness in telling the gospel . However, I know I should be more in love with Christ than with any one here on earth, including Eric. If I really love Christ, I should share my relationship with him more readily than I proclaim my love for my husband. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..."

I remember the first day I spent as a new child of God. I was almost 6 years old. I told everyone I saw in school that I had gotten saved the night before. I was not ashamed. I was so happy to be a part of God's family! What made me lose my delight in telling others of my relationship with God?

What if I ever lost my delight in speaking of my husband? If I never spoke of him to anyone - if I kept him a "secret" - I know that would eventually hurt Eric. "Oh, I love you honey. I'm just afraid to tell others about you. Why? Oh, because they might think I'm weird for loving you!" What an encouragement that would be!

I have a wonderful husband. I am Eric's wife. But, I have a more wonderful Father. I am God's child! Oh, that I would not only have the desire to share His love, but the boldness, also. May I not grieve Him by being ashamed to speak His holy name.

Eric loves me. However, my Father loves me more. Eric is truly wonderful and the perfect choice for me. Yet, he still fails. My Father is perfect and never fails me! I fell in love with Eric before he fell in love with me. God loved me first! I must tell others of His great love!

I love Him because He first loved me!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Sunshine Returns!

What a wonderful thing it is to have caring family and friends!! So many have called or e-mailed asking how Cassia is doing and we've been humbled and blessed to be in their prayers!

So, what's the diagnosis? E. coli. Oh joy! Most likely, this is a result of not washing her hands immediately after dealing with the cow or the chickens. Hard lesson learned.

Cassia is doing MUCH better, praise the Lord!!!! She didn't sleep much for 2 nights, but she was blessed with a full night's sleep last night. Today, she's back to her happy self - smiling, talking, even making an e-card for her daddy and I thanking us for helping her through her sickness.

Eric has been great through this whole thing. Cassia absolutely adores her daddy and he's even more of a hero in her eyes now that he's stayed with her at the hospital and showered her with all sorts of love and attention to make things as easy as possible.

As mentioned in a previous post, there was little we could do for her. Cassia seemed to know this and would only want us to hold her hand or pray for her during the times of pain. Praise the Lord, God heard our prayers and He held our hand through this whole ordeal.

We're praying that she will not have a relapse and that the rest of us will not get sick. Most of all, we are praising God for His healing.

Cassia is our sunshine and she's beginning to shine again!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pray for Cassia

Helpless. That's how I felt each time our daughter cried, "My tummy hurts, Mommy! It hurts! I don't want to be sick anymore!" Waves of intense pain came every 15 minutes or so yesterday from 7:30 A.M. until 11:30 P.M. At that point, Eric took Cassia to the ER.

They were home by 5:30 this morning. Cassia had been given fluids, as she was dehydrated, and pain medicine. She felt great at the hospital.

Half an hour after returning home, the pain started back up. For the 3rd time in 24 hours, Eric took Cassia to the pediatrician. He sent them back to the ER for a bunch of tests. At the time of this posting, they've been there for 3 hours and the tests have not begun.

It's going to be a long day.

The most frustrating thing about this illness is that there is NOTHING I can do to help my daughter. Nothing to make her pain or other symptoms go away. Usually, Tylenol or cold medicine or something helps. This time, we were completely helpless - except for prayer.

I prayed hard. I asked for her pain to go away. I prayed for the doctors to have wisdom. I even cried out to God that this wasn't right or fair. Then I felt lower than dirt for insinuating that God was doing things wrong.

Then, in the midst of it all, I felt grateful. I was so thankful that the Lord placed us in a point of history where medical attention and intervention are readily available. Listening to my child's cries was heart-rending. But, I knew there would be help when we needed it. How many mothers in ages past, listened to their child's cries only for them to stop - forever?

So, though my heart breaks for my daughter, my heart rejoices in the mercies of the Lord.

"My Great Physician heals the sick..."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reality Check

Some days are more real than others. In my case, real means mundane! I have spent an exciting day thoroughly cleaning out my kitchen cupboards in response to the double mouse sighting we had yesterday. Now I'm having a thrilling time listening to 2 of my children argue as they play a game. Soon, I will be making a delicious dinner fit for "Taste of Home" - I just wish I knew what it's going to be. To top it all off, my 8 year old is having pretty intense abdominal pains sending her into wails of anguish every five minutes.

Not glamorous. Not especially serene. Just real.

As I listen to the arguing and wailing and look at my house with toys scattered about, I wish I could say I feel completely at peace with joy overflowing my heart. Truth is, I feel a bit annoyed, overwhelmed, and a bit helpless.

Yet, I do see God's hand. I know He's in control. I know He uses everyday life to teach us life lessons. Like patience. Like loving the unlovely. Like the realization that I'm far from Christ in my actions. The lesson of being content where I'm at.

My house isn't ready for the photographers of "Better Homes and Gardens." Martha Stewart's job is secure. Our family is not going to win "Family of the Year."

Maybe tomorrow.

Today, God's still working on me!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dream Date

Saturday night, Eric and I went out for the first time since Zane was born six weeks ago. We'd been looking forward to our date for several days. We tested a bottle on Zane Saturday afternoon and were pleased that he would take it. A night ALONE!!!!

So, we get dressed up. I'm in the mood for quiet and romantic. Mr. Practical is in the mood to spend the gift certificate we received at the local Chinese Buffet. I know I can get an actual menu at this particular Chinese place, but, it's not exactly romantic. And, it's about 3 minutes from home. Call me weird, but if we get a night out alone, I want to get OUT of town!

So, we compromise. There's another Chinese place about an half-hour away. It has a buffet, also, but though I've only been there once, I recalled that the surroundings were nicer. Plus, I should still be able to order off a menu and get waited on.

So, off we go. We arrive at the aforementioned restaurant. It's crowded. We are not seated in the formerly recalled "nice area." We are led to the back - not so nice. Our drink orders are taken; then we are told to "help yourselves." No menu. No relaxation. No soft music. No romantic atmosphere.

There were tears. Not many. I tried hard not to just break down and sob. I knew it was silly. But, I felt a bit silly dressing up to go to a buffet - a place where little kids add their special touch to all the food by sneezing and coughing all over it. Just like home.

If we had gone to the restaurant Eric originally suggested, we would have at least had a menu and it would have been free! But, my sweet husband was kind enough not to mention that.

There's a missionary lady in Africa reading this right now thinking that she'd give anything to go on a date with her husband. I do realize how blessed I am. That's why on Saturday night, I realized how ridiculous I was being and knew that the most important thing was that I was spending time with my beloved. Did I want to gripe about not getting my way or have a wonderful time talking and laughing with my husband?

We talked. We laughed. We had a pretty tasty dinner, too.

We then went to a media store and had fun looking at cameras. Next, it was on to the grocery store to get a couple of things for the fellowship we were having Sunday. I know it's crazy, but I LOVE going to the grocery store with Eric. We always have such a great time laughing at silly things. I love for people to see how much in love we are and that old married people can still have a good time.

On to the coffee shop he promised to take me to. On the way, our car started to make weird noises and acting in a way a car ought not to act! We got to the parking lot of my favorite coffee shop. That's as far as we got. We never went in. Nope. Once we turned off the car, it wouldn't turn back on. Long story short, we got someone to jump the battery, figured it would be smarter to head right home, got on the road and had trouble again. We prayed our way down the busy 4 lane street on which we were "blessed" to hit EVERY red light! Had to turn into a parking lot and the car immediately quit on us. Went to an auto store and paid $alot.00 for a new battery, just hoping it would get us home.

Again, if we had followed Eric's original plans, we would have been 3 minutes from home and could have taken care of things a lot more easily and inexpensively. But, again, my darling didn't mention this.

An hour or more later, we started for home. We decided to go to the Tim Horton's in town - that way we could have our coffee, but not be far from home if the car gave us trouble again. Eric was feeling bad about the "poor" date it turned out to be. I had already been thinking about it. I did not have a terrible time. I had fun. I told him that when we were dating, I didn't care where we were, as long as I was with him. I feel the same now. We were together. We had no children to interrupt us (though we love our kids). It was memorable, and isn't marriage about making memories?

"In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I'm thankful that I have a husband who wants to take me out. I'm thankful that the car died while we were together instead of on me when I was alone. I'm thankful that we could laugh through the whole thing!

However, I think the next time, we'll go to the local chinese restaurant!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

August 12, 2006 - My "sister's" wedding day! Becky, as you can see, was a beautiful bride. Everyone who knows this couple can't help but love them. They can't help but love each other!

Becky and I adopted each other years ago as neither one of us has a biological sister. We've been through so much together. Becky waited 30 years to meet the man of her dreams. It was a long wait, however, she will now tell you it was worth every day and every year. David is the man of her dreams.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Becky and David! I love you!!

...and they lived happily ever after!

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Heart Still Skips!

Thursday night, as Brother James Knox was preaching, he used an example that made me relive part of my courtship experience with Eric. He mentioned that when a young lady is interested in a certain young man she will wait at the door of the church looking for him, but when he comes, she pretends that she wasn't looking for him.

I was shocked! I thought I was the only one in the world who played that game. I remember vividly waiting for Eric to come to church. I remember acting so calm when he said "hello" yet, my heart was racing. My heart always skipped a beat when I saw him enter the church building. Sometimes, he would arrive late. I would give up hope of seeing him. Then, I'd turn and there he would be. Oh my heart!

Do you want to know something? The few times that Eric has to work late on a Wednesday night and comes into church late, I look for him. When he finally comes in, my heart gives that familiar skip. I love that feeling!

I love Eric!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Love as Brethren

*Note: The following does not refer to any situation in my immediate family!

When Christians insult other Christians or the lost world, we are being a lousy testimony. Why do I bring this up? For reasons I won't go into, I have been made aware, once again (unfortunately), of the fact that not all Christians treat one another with love. At times, it is needful for a person to admonish a brother in the Lord. Some will receive the instruction. Some may feel that the admonishment is incorrect and will respectfully discuss it with the admonisher. However, there are those who will not humbly receive the reproach. Instead, they will pridefully argue their side of the issue. They will insult the one who respectfully asked them to examine themselves. In justifying his position, the admonished tries to belittle his brother. In the meantime, how does it make God look to the lost world?

If a man feels justified in insulting, arguing, and demeaning a brother with whom he shares a bond in Christ, how much more will he feel comfortable doing the same to a lost man with whom he shares no such bond? This type of man will not speak the truth in love. He will not love his enemies. He will not bless those that curse him. He will not show Christ to the lost. The lost will not want Christ from such a man.

Further, a child will not want Christ from such a man. With many words, we attempt to teach our children to be kind to one another. We teach them the Bible. However, they learn more by our actions. If they see or hear men insulting brothers or the lost, they will learn to behave in the same manner. They will call their siblings names and argue with them constantly. They will refuse instruction from their parents, pastors, elders, and friends. In so doing, they become fools. (Proverbs 1:7) They will never make an impact on the lost world, because the lost will see them as unkind, uncaring, and hypocritical.

Ironically, I have little patience with those who have such hard exteriors; those whose love is not evident in their actions. However, I need to be Christ-like and love them. He loves them and He loves me. We're all sinners.

We need to examine our own hearts. How do we show love to the brethren? All of them. How do we show love to the lost? Be truthful. Admonish both brothers and the unsaved when needed. Do not back down from what is right. But, in so doing, don't forget to fill our words (and actions) with grace. (Col. 4:6)*

For the sake of our children.

*Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:5-6 (Remember, too much salt makes something good absolutely awful!)

Daddy's Turn

"And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." - Genesis 21:8

Interesting. Why would Abraham have made a "great feast," a party, if you will, "the same day that Isaac was weaned"? I came across this verse in my reading yesterday and I contemplated on it most of the day. Here are some thoughts.

First of all, we're not real sure how old Isaac is in this verse. Speculation has it that children, in those days, were weaned from 2-5 years of age. So, Isaac is definately walking, talking, showing personality. Why would Abraham make such a big deal about his son no longer relying on Sarah for his food?

Genesis 18:19 - "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken of him."

This was said before Isaac's birth. Abraham already had the promise from God that he would be made a great nation. He had waited 100 years for his heir. For the first 2 - 5 years of Isaac's life, Abraham's impact and influence was limited.

"Sarah, I'm taking Isaac to show him the new baby calf."

"Ok, lord," (see I Peter 3:6) "but please bring him back when he gets hungry."

Then, the day came when Isaac was no longer tied to his mother. Now, Abraham could take him for a few days' journey to show him all the land he would one day inherit. Abraham could now really begin to fulfill the promise and responsibility God gave him to raise Isaac in the ways of God. He had already begun to tell his young son stories of his Friend - the visits he made, the promise He gave him, even the story of how He destroyed the city Uncle Lot lived in. But now, Abraham would have his son the majority of the time. He no longer had to leave him behind in the tent with Sarah. While his mother provided for Isaac's physical needs those first few years, he would now rely on his father for his spiritual needs. Abraham would be the one to teach him how to be a man.

Abraham had a son. His son really became his the day he was weaned. This is the cause for the celebration!

However, what were Sarah's thoughts? I'm sure she feasted as well. She wanted her son to be a great man who loved the Lord. She, too, was excited about the promise God had made to Abraham and knew that it would be fulfilled through Isaac. However, she had waited 90 years to become a mother. Isaac was the only child she would ever be able to nurse. Every time she fed him, she was aware of this great miracle and thankful for the experience of motherhood. The day she weaned him, she knew she would never have another baby to hold and nurse. Her baby was no longer. Isaac was on the road to manhood. Her heart, though excited about the future, was probably also sad about what she would never have again.

As a mother, I have to be sure I don't keep my little boys, well, little boys. They need to become MEN. The other day, the children needed to do some cleaning up in the house. I called Eric to find out if Michael was with him. He was. What was our 9 year old boy doing? Helping daddy and the guys fix the grain bin. What does a mother do? Make him come in and help his sisters clean up the house or let him continue having fun helping his father?

He continued to do the MAN'S work. Did he help create the mess in the house? Yes. However, he needs to learn how to work like a man by working with a man. He needs to see how a Christian man reacts when a job doesn't go as planned. He needs to feel sweaty. He has many opportunities to clean up after himself. That's a good trait to learn. But, it's needful for him to learn to be a man. Michael was in such good spirits the rest of the day because he got to work with the guys. I don't believe he would have been happy to have been called in to do the domestic work. Because he's spoiled and wants his way? No. Because God created him with a need to do hard, physical labor. God created him so that his fulfillment comes from doing a man's work - not from hanging out with and helping mommy.

When Sarah weaned Isaac, Abraham took over. Isaac was now his responsibility. She didn't try to tell Abraham how to do things or that he was pushing Isaac too hard. She may have been a bit fearful seeing little Isaac among the big animals. She may have wondered if he was getting too tired. But, she let him grow under his daddy's leading. She knew the only way he'd become a man worth anything was if daddy showed him the way.

Abraham held a feast and rejoiced when Isaac was weaned. Sarah rejoiced along with him and let Isaac go. It was daddy's turn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fighting, Screaming...LOVING?

My younger brother stopped by this afternoon. He just returned last night from finalizing my father's estate. All that remained was for me and my older brother to sign a paper. So, he stopped by.

There was no name calling. We didn't fight over the pen. There was no arguing and screaming over how the money was divided. I didn't whine. He didn't yell.

We've come a long way in the past 32 years. In fact, we haven't argued in at least 15 years. Disagree? At times. But, no arguing. No fighting. No silent treatments.

I frequently try to remember what my brothers and I were like growing up and how we get along now. I remember so as not to get discouraged with the young ones in my home fighting, yelling, pinching, etc. Do I have horrible children? I don't think so. I just have children. Does this mean I should tolerate the fighting? Absolutely not. Our parents didn't. That's why we have good relationships now.

How many siblings argue and hire lawyers while dealing with the estate left behind by their parents? How many haven't talked to each other in years because one offended the other? These siblings never got over being children.

Expecting arguments and childish behavior among my children is one thing. Tolerating and ignoring it is another. They will not grow out of it on their own. It is our job (Eric's and mine) to teach them how to better handle disagreements.

Without the word of God and teaching them the fear of the Lord, this task is next to impossible.
My parents disliked hearing the arguing as much as I do. They liked peace in their home. We were taught that siblings are to love each other. Strife wasn't God's way. They disciplined us, for sure. But they also took time to reiterate what a gift from God siblings are. Eric and I try to teach our children in the same manner.

Once is a while, my husband and I are encouraged as we see our children really try to get along. It blesses our hearts when one walks away from an argument or catches themselves before saying or doing something in retaliation of a wrongdoing. We see rays of hope in moments like that.

However, most days I get to play referee. Some days, I have to intervene here and there. Other days, preventing murder and maiming is my only accomplishment.

Our children are still learning. The discipline and the lectures don't stick the first time. Or the second. Or the fiftieth. They didn't stick the first time with their parents, aunts, and uncles, either. But, we grew up.

So will they.

"Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Psalm 119:165

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." I John 4:20-21

Monday, August 6, 2007

What are YOU doing today?

As I go about my busy day, there is a lady planning her husband's funeral. As I drive to various appointments, there are people walking in and out of her home with meals, with love, with tears. While I'm wondering what we're going to have for dinner, a lady wonders what's she's going to do. As I fall asleep beside my husband this night, there is a lady who will get very little sleep between her tears.

Who am I speaking of? Mrs. Gomar. She, her husband and three children attend Antioch Bible Baptist Church. Her husband was killed suddenly as a result of a car accident late Friday night. His 3oth birthday would have been today.

Mrs. Gomar is left alone, with her three small children, without her best friend and husband. As my children complain today of being bored, there are three children trying to comprehend why their daddy does not come home.

Mrs. Gomar bought a Bible last week to give to her husband - most likely for his birthday. Instead of presenting him the Bible, she receives sprays of flowers. Instead of a little party with children singing "Happy Birthday," this family grieves. Instead of growing old together, Mrs. Gomar will walk away from her husband's grave tomorrow, without her husband's hand to hold during the most difficult time in her life. She will now lean on the arm of God.

What are my complaints this day?

Pray for Mrs. Gomar, her children, and the family at Antioch Bible Baptist Church.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

True Romance

As Eric works outdoors, he often comes upon something special or unexpected - a pretty flower, a baby animal, a peaceful spot. On such occasions, he will rush home and get me so I may share these experiences with him. He did this last night.

After the children were in bed, Eric went out to enjoy the night air. Once he saw the moon and the stars, he came back to get the camera. He later returned and showed me the really cool pictures he had taken. His appreciation and love for nature once again fueled my desire to experience it for myself. So, we then went out together to look at the moon and gaze at the stars.

Star-gazing is usually thought of as an activity for stuffy scientists or for young, wildly in-love couples. We are not stuffy scientists. Young - that's debatable. We are, however, wildly in love! We've enjoyed the stars together countless times. There are few things more wonderful than enjoying the peace of the evening and gazing at the splendor of the night sky hand in hand with the man I adore.

Some believe romance exists only in fairy tales. Some believe romance is money spent on gifts of flowers or jewelry. I've even met a guy that believed romance was a lie of the world and it was wrong for Christians to seek it!

True romance does exist. It costs nothing - just a little bit of time. Ignoring, for a few minutes, the cares of life to share in the God-given beauty of everyday...

This is romance.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Best Friends

My best friend, Heather. came over today with her three children. Heather and I were born 14 hours apart (I won't say who's older as I'm such a good friend). We were in the nursery at church together, went to the same school together (K-12), we both got engaged in May of '94, planned our weddings and showers together, her wedding was 7 weeks after mine, and we've been pregnant together twice with the babies being delivered within 6 weeks of each other. As Heather once stated, we don't know life without each other.

Though we now go months without seeing one another due to the demands of our families and separate churches, whenever we get a chance to chat on the phone or go out for a few hours, we pick up right where we left off. Why is that? Because of our lifetime of memories. We've shared tears and a ton of laughs. We crossed the country together (with her family) when we were sixteen. Hey, we've dissected a pig together in biology class!

I have friends that I may talk with more often. I may get together with a couple of ladies more frequently. I may worship with a different group of women. However, none of these women, no matter how dear they are to me, will ever receive the title of "best friend." Not one of them has grown up with me. They haven't seen my childhood silliness. They haven't shared my adolescent tears. They haven't giggled with me as only teenage girls can do. They haven't walked with me through my parents' divorce. They haven't held my hand when I had to speak to hundreds of people. They haven't straightened the train of my wedding gown.

God has truly blessed my life with many friends. Each one had and has a purpose. Each one has a special spot in my heart and memories. However, they come and they go. Some stay longer than others, but one has stayed a lifetime.

So, today I pay tribute to my best friend. "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Flying Years, Growing Children

This afternoon, our 4 oldest children were outside while I was in the house feeding the baby and watching Seth (3 1/2) and Gloria (2) play together. It made me think of when my oldest 3 were little. Michael had just turned 3 one month before Anna was born and Cassia was only 14 months old. I know I thought it was difficult "way" back then, but today I was sad that I could barely remember that period of time. Why didn't I enjoy it more?

I constantly hear people say, "Enjoy them now. The years fly by and before you know it, they're grown." I'm already beginning to see that. I look at pictures of my oldest children. It doesn't seem like it's been that many years, but I see the baby fat in the picture and then look at the boy who's almost as tall as I am. I realize the sad truth - time is flying by.

Michael is going to be 10 in a month. It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that my time with him is probably about half over. In 10 more years, he may be on his own. In 5-6 years, he'll be working and involved in a lot of things outside the home. At best, I have 10 years to make up for all the mistakes I've made so far. Only 10 years to do a better job. Only 10 years to make sure I haven't warped him forever. Only 10 years to train him and constantly remind him of my love for him. Only 10 years. And each year passes more quickly than the one before.

I can't get the years back. But, I can ENJOY today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This morning, I rode my bike down our dirt lane which opens up to a beautiful field - this year planted with wheat and soybeans. Now that I've had the baby, I can ride my bike again and have been doing so for the past several days. No, I don't go far. In fact, I was impressed with the 7 year old girl mentioned in yesterday's Lunch-Time Thoughts who rode her bike along the canal for 30 miles! Not me -no time, no endurance.

Anyway, I quickly got in touch with my inner-child. You see, as I was approaching the field, a large bug flew into my hair. Of course, like any blonde on a bike, I shook my head to get rid of it. Now I'm a woman in my 30's with scraped and bruised knees because I fell off my bike! I felt a bit childish. Actually, I felt a lot of pain and wondered how in the world I was going to get all the way back to the house if I had smashed my knee. Praise the Lord, I was able to pedal slowly home and didn't have to lay in the field with the turkey vultures circling me.

Then I realized - my kids do this kind of thing a lot. I tell them to brush it off and go on. I do that because life is full of pain and we can't just sit and cry about it. However, when I first landed on the ground, the first thing I wanted was someone to come running to see if I was ok and show me some compassion. Yes, I got up and went on - after a minute or two. But, seeking compassion is something I don't believe we ever grow out of. In fact, the next time Eric came to the house, I was sure to show him what had happened just to get the compassion I knew he'd give.

Compassion is important to Christ - that's the reason He died for us. He wants us to be "strong and of good courage" but the mighty King David ran to Him for protection and comfort.

I've decided that the next time a child gets banged-up, I'll be a little more kind instead of trying to toughen them up. Showing Christ-like compassion will not make my children wimps, it will make them compassionate. Like Christ. Like their Daddy.

Some lessons are painful to learn!