Sunday, July 31, 2011

Avoiding Redundancy

I posted about something that has been on my heart this week over at my photography blog.  Rather than post it all again here, I'll just direct you over to Our View....if, indeed, you are curious.  :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened at the USMC Museum

Last weekend, my oldest son and I had a great mother/son trip down to Virginia to attend events surrounding the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).  We saw over 8,000 re-enactors on a field as they fought for 2-hours.  I think this is the first time I've really even come remotely close to getting just a small taste of what that war must have been like.  It's truly incomprehensible, but that re-enactment made it more real.

On Sunday, we went to Manassas Battlefield Park.  There, of course, were more re-enactors with tents set up, etc.  Also there, was a display for the National United States Marine Corps Museum.  Seeing that it was close by and FREE, I knew this was an opportunity not to be passed up.  So, that afternoon found us at the museum of the greatest branch in the military!  (Ok, so that's MY opinion.)

We ate at the Mess Hall (complete with camo-lunch trays!), went through most of the amazing displays, and were impressed by the sacrifices so many have made throughout the years.  So many battles, so many lives lost, so much freedom gained!  Most poignant for me, was seeing the Marines who were touring the museum with their families.  There's something about that short hair, straight walk, and look of determination on each of their faces that commands respect and honor.

All of that said, I must say one of my favorite things at the museum was what occurred in the gift shop before we left.  There were many people browsing in the large store, including a young boy of 4 or 5 with his mother.  He was adorable and well behaved.  Well, up until the end.  While looking at some books, I suddenly hear this child having a temper tantrum.  He was yelling that he wanted a toy helmet.  However, while most temper tantrums result in my blood boiling, this one actually made me smile.  This child was not screaming in the stereotypical mad, high-pitched way.  He was actually pleading, begging, very loudly and...very politely.  "PLEASE!!!!  Mommy, I want the helmet.  PLEASE!!!  If I don't have it I won't have a helmet to play with.  PLEASE!!!!!!!!"  I'm telling you, if the kid was not being carried out (mighty quickly) by his mother, I truly think he would have fallen to his knees in front of her, clasped his hands, and continued his pleading in that position of humility.

As I said, the mom was taking the child out of the store - as well she should.  Polite or not, sad or mad, a temper tantrum is a temper tantrum.  A minute later, she returned - still carrying her distraught son and in a bit of a loud voice says to her husband, "I need the"  There was no messing with this mom.  But, this is where I had to refrain from laughing out loud.  The boy now screams (in that sad way), "PLEASE!  Don't lock me in!!!!!!!!!"    HA HA HA!!!  That poor mother had to be mortified and immediately said, "I'm not going to lock you in!"  I think she was trying to convince all of the customers more than her son.  :)

Truly, the reason I think this is humorous is because any child who throws a temper tantrum over a toy is obviously not abused.  I laughed in compassion of the mother - knowing how she must have felt.  I laughed because one day soon she will look back on that incident and laugh.  I laughed - my blood didn't boil - because, for once, a mom was doing the right thing.

I think she was married to a Marine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cherishing Everyday Moments

I just watched my youngest child walk out to the barn.  He just turned 4, so it's not the first time he's done this.  But, this morning, five of my children are at VBS so just my oldest and youngest are home.  Both boys - bookends.

Anyway, Zane (the 4 yr old), was at the barn most of the morning.  Shortly after his siblings left for VBS, he came in to wash his hands.  When he came out, he looked at me with his smile and said in his little boy way, "Mommy, I was working at the barn!"  He was so proud of himself.  He was one of the guys.

When he looks at me with that face - the glasses, the missing tooth, the blonde hair - I wish I could just keep him this way forever.  I decided to send him back out with the mail - a real responsibility around here.  "Don't lose it," I advised as he went out the door.  "I won't," my little man said.

I decided not to rush off to do my own thing.  Instead, I stood for a minute or two and watched my little guy walk to the barn carrying out his important duty.  His blonde cowlick bopped along with him as he walked with a determined step.  I remembered watching his oldest brother do the same thing almost 10 years ago.  How is it that time flies by so very quickly?  I guess I've learned that it does, which is why I stood there watching. No, I didn't have my camera - just like I remember his brother doing the same thing, I'll have this image in my mind forever.

The best sight was seeing his daddy & grandpa come out of the barn just as Zane arrived with the mail.  Three generations (& the dog) stood briefly in a circle while daddy bent over to get the mail from his little boy's up-reached hands.

Mission accomplished.  Life goes on.  Now I have another moment of it to cherish.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A letter to my son

Our son is at our church's Boy's Camp this week.  The theme of the week is "Under Construction."  They are staying about 45 minutes away from here in a house that they are remodeling.  Along with this project, the boys are having personal time with God and preaching 2-3 times a day.  This is Mike's first year at camp and, while I'm excited for him, I miss him.

Dearest Michael,

I write this note to let you know that beneath my Drill Sergeant exterior lies a mommy's heart.  A few weeks ago, I told you that you were going to Boy's Camp.  I knew you didn't want to go.  You were nervous about having back pain.  You were nervous about being gone for a whole week - you even said you were going to miss me!! You were worried about keeping up with the older guys.   But, your dad and I told you that it would be good for you.  That you needed to be under the influence of godly men who would direct you.  You needed to be among some of the young men who are closer to manhood than boyhood.  We told you that you can do anything they can do with diligence and that you need to learn to listen to authority other than your parents and that you need to learn to follow their instruction.

Once you realized that you had no choice, you turned your attitude around and began to look forward to camp.  I so appreciate your ability and your decision to do that.  You could have grumbled and complained about it, but you realized that you needed to make the best of this situation and that you would be better off if you got excited about it.  You have grown a lot in this area in the last few months and it is a blessing to see.

So, we packed you up.  I went into Drill Sergeant mode, again, when I didn't think you had packed enough of certain items.  But, the General stepped in saying that the Private needed to make some decisions on his own - even if they were not the best.  You need to learn, he said.  So, the Drill Sergeant reluctantly backed off.

I said good-bye to you on Sunday morning as you headed off to help at the Air Show.  After that, you would head to camp.  I told you to behave, listen and obey, and smiled & waved.  I succeeded in getting you to this important event.

While you may think that I was unfeeling towards your original hesitations, I am a master of hiding my true feelings.
     -You don't know that I cried myself to sleep on Friday night worried that my "baby" might not be able to hold his own among the older guys and that some of the men running the project would be harsh and you would feel bad.
     -While others have already forged their way into the teen crowd, you have to begin that process. You don't know that I worry how that will go.
     -You may not know that I have prayed for you every night at 10:00, knowing that your back requires comfort in order for you to sleep and wake without pain.  I have prayed these past three days that you are happy and feeling well.
     -You may know that I worry that you aren't listening. I am praying fervently that your heart is soft and that you are allowing the Lord to work in your life.
     -You don't know that I worry that people won't see your potential and what a great kid you are.
     -I looked forward to seeing you at CHOICE all day on Tuesday, but you were busy working on the house you all are remodeling.  I was sad I couldn't see you - to see if you were happy & well rested & pain-free - but I was thrilled that you were hard at work and needed!

I can't wait to see you tonight at church - to see how my "baby" is doing.  I won't call you my baby in front of your friends.  I won't even hug you in front of them, if you don't want me to.  I will smile and enthusiastically ask you about your week.  I will ask you if you are behaving and, if you are, I will admonish you to continue.  If you are feeling down, I will tell you that it's going to be ok, to cheer up and send you on to finish your week.  If you are happy, I will be happy for you and send you on your way with a wave & smile.  I'm pretty sure, no matter what, that there will be tears when I get home.

I've come to realize that though we have our challenges,  you add so much spice, energy, & fun to our family.  There is a hole here without you.  I realize that this hole will make it's appearance more and more as you speed towards manhood and that gives me mixed emotions. The Drill-Sargeant in me will continue to push you to do things you don't want to do.  The Mommy in me will continue to worry if you are really ready.

At the end of this week, whether or not you've been "accepted" by the bigger guys, whether or not you've mastered construction, whether or not you had everything you needed, you succeeded.  You obeyed with a smile.  You tried enthusiastically.  Your absence made me realize how precious you are to me.  You may not know this, but I will tell you - I am very proud of you!


Friday, July 8, 2011


So, it's officially happened - my husband & I are giving our children nightmares

The other day, my 10 year old daughter tells me that she had a dream that she had a scrape on her knee and had to have her leg amputated.

While far from being an interpreter of dreams, I quickly realized WHY she had this dream.

For as long as our kids can remember, whenever they complain of a scratch or minor pain on one of their appendages, their dad or I will sarcastically say, "Do we need to amputate?!"

There goes "Parent of the Year."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pea Harvest 2011

Yesterday, the pea combines were in our fields harvesting the peas.  This is always a highlight here on the farm.  The kids & I, along with my niece & nephew, walked over and enjoyed our donut-breakfast while watching the large machines do their thing.

While my husband plants and cares for the peas, he grows them for a particular company and they are the people who decide when to harvest and who does the harvesting.  I'm not even sure if my husband was in the field at all yesterday.

Here is a short video of the happenings with a bit of commentary by yours truly.  It's definitely something you don't see everyday.  Enjoy!