Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lap Time

Amelia crawls up and sits in the center of my lap. I belong to her. Emerson grabs hold of my PJ's and puts one leg over mine, pushing Amelia with his foot and fussing at her for taking his space.

Then Wyatt comes in: "Can I sit in your lap, mommy?"

What else can a mother say but "yes" and "Daddy, get the camera"?

No makeup. No hair fixed. PJ top and bottoms don't even match because I can't find where one of the children took the pink pants.

But this is what real, everyday life looks like around here--three children meeting with mommy on the kitchen floor.

This lap has enough love for all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Celebrating Fall

You can call it celebrating Halloween if you'd like--I'm not offended. But I don't consider October 31 to be the huge holiday that it seems to have become. To me, Halloween is just merely one day in my family's celebration of fall.

This celebration starts in early September and goes through Thanksgiving when my mind turns to celebrating Christmas. Pulling out a stack of fall-themed children's books is the first hint that I've had enough with the heat of summer. Then comes decorating the house as I long for the beauty of fall days spent outdoors.

With the first hints of cooler weather, Wyatt's mini Christmas tree sheds its summer sunflower garland and adorns itself with mottled red, orange, and yellow leaves, dried mini corn with the husks still attached, and a plush turkey that rests precariously on top. On the end tables, toddler-sized plush Pilgrims and Indians surround an overflowing cornucopia for little hands to sneakily touch when mommy isn't looking.

Then come the vases full of little-boy-picked yellow daisies that grow wild at the edge of our hay fields. And the tulip-poplar leaf piles that make the perfect crunching sound for jumping in (and that my poor husband has finally learned to mow around).
With Wyatt growing up, this year, we added some new aspects to our celebration of the season: Pumpkin decorating at the library.
Visiting a pumpkin patch with some friends from church.And attending our church's Fall Festival (yes, that's my little daredevil atop the huge inflatable slide).
As we celebrate the transition from summer to fall and from fall to winter, I am reminded that God alone effects all these changes in the world around me--breathtaking, beautiful changes to prepare the earth for the blossoms of spring to come:

"He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning" (Daniel 2:21).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calgon, Take Me Away !!

Today was one of those days where I wished God had granted me the ability to split myself into two separate mommies. Not forever, but just for a few moments each day, having my own clone would come in handy.

My mom always comes along to help me out with the 3 children on doctor-visit days. But somehow, the twins' one-year-checkup didn't make it on her calendar, so I flew solo this morning.

The stress headache started the moment I hit the interstate and found 9:30 am traffic at a total standstill. As usual when the wheels stop turning, Amelia loudly let her displeasure be known.

75 minutes after we left home (for a 40 minute trip), we wheeled into the parking lot...late. And then the fun really began.

Back in the room, I undressed two squirmy munchkins so the nurse could weigh and measure them. No surprises there--all three of my children are going to be taller than their 5'3" mommy. Emerson is continuing to measure in the 90th percentile for height, and even Amelia is measuring in the 74th percentile for height.

As the twins impatiently waited on the paper-clad examination table for the doctor, Wyatt discovered they had a window view of a train track. So he, too, joined them on the table for a paper-shredding good time.

Then, "I need to pee pee, mommy."

Oh no. Not now. "Can you wait a few minutes?"

"I need to pee pee."

I took that as a "no."

What could I do? The twins were merely clad in diapers. And I could just envision the stares of the other mothers with their cute, single babies dressed to the nines for a simple doctor visit. So, I did the only thing I knew how--I strapped two naked babies back in their stroller, told the nurse my predicament, and marched Wyatt down the hall to the potty while the babies sat alone in the exam room.

Minutes later when it was time for the shots, I comforted one baby in my left arm while holding still the other baby's flailing hands with my right arm. By this time, my headache was full-blown and I fussed a bit at Wyatt's incessant mouth and at the twins' squirminess as I tried to redress them.

It seemed longer than an hour and a half when I dropped into the lobby chair to wait the required 15 minutes after the shots. Then Wyatt upped the ante once again: "My hiney hurts."

My lips tightened into a line and my brow furrowed in irritation. Why couldn't he have done all his business 20 minutes ago!? I'm still not sure how a double stroller fit in that one-person bathroom, but it did.

By the time everybody was loaded back into the safety of the car seats, my head was throbbing. My neck hurt. I wanted to go home. But I went, instead, to the mall to meet my parents for lunch....and to let the children run off some steam at the playground.

And what a joy it was. Really. Truly. Joyful.
Listening to Amelia and Emerson squeal with delight as they crawled through the tunnels; listening to Wyatt bark like a dog as he jumped off the top of the alligator--my headache just disappeared. Yes, I was still exhausted. But I was able to enjoy my children playing together.
And I got to watch as Emerson took his first two steps and as Amelia started to really walk. She took 18 steps to her Grandmama and has been doing the Frankenstein walk the rest of the day.Happy giggles and laughter--the best medicine for this mommy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Surprise in the Mailbox

Every semester in my freshman composition classes, I have students write an essay about the culture of American advertising. While the magazine advertisements constantly change, they all still seek to manipulate consumers into buying not merely the product or service, but also the dream or desire portrayed in the ad.

I tell my students I've seen it all...but that doesn't mean my jaw still doesn't drop in outrage when I see an ad laced with sexual imagery that has been placed in a magazine for teenage girls.

And this week, it happened again, although this jaw-dropping moment came courtesy of a weekly circular placed in my own mailbox rather than of a student's paper.

Tucked inconspicuously between the Dollar Tree and Winn Dixie circulars was an over sized ad for Halloween ad that just so happened to unfold like a Playboy centerfold. But this fold-out didn't show merely one scantily clad woman. Instead, it was covered with row upon row of 2" rectangle photos containing women who were modeling the various costumes one could buy.

Sexy Witch. Sexy Bar Maid. Sexy Indian Princess. Sexy Nurse. Sexy Woman Firefighter. Sexy Woman Gangster.

Sexy Little Bo Peep!?

The outfits for children were cute. Most of the outfits for men were not worthy of comment. But for women, there was not one outfit that wasn't skin-tight or that didn't have a plunging neckline and a skirt well-suited for the days preceding Noah's flood!

Honestly, if it weren't for the children and men pictured in the ad, too, I might have thought I had just received an advertisement from a sex fantasies shop where a wife could buy sexy little outfits to fulfill her husband's dreams behind closed doors!

But there's obviously nothing private about going to a costume party in one of these costumes.

I know I've been out of the loop for the last year while raising the twins, but I don't think I've had my head buried that deep in a hole.

When did this happen? When did Halloween become equated with demeaning women by flaunting their anatomy about in jest?

Or is this another stab at female empowerment? If so, then where are the costumes that empower me as a woman to keep my secrets that God says are for my husband's eyes only?

Yes, the costumes appall me. But I'm more appalled that I've heard nobody say anything about this trend! And I'm even more appalled that just this week, I've seen Halloween party photos of women I know, women who didn't balk at this sexy dress code.

Oh for a little modesty. For a little more respect for our husbands, letting some parts of our female bodies belong to our men and to them only.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Made It !!!

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate" (Psalm 127:3-5).

Although we celebrated on Sunday, today is Amelia and Emerson's first birthday. The biggest deal about any party in our family isn't activities or location--it's all about the cake. And like my mother before me, I make the cake, myself, as a way to express my love. But this time, I was crazy enough to undertake the behemoth task of transforming two sheet cakes into two 3-D block cakes myself, a task that has permanently cured me of any desire to be a professional cake decorator.

Looking back, many of the last 365 days haven't felt "blessed" while I lived through the chaos that is raising twin babies and a two-year-old. But I know in my heart that each day has been a blessing because I was allowed the chance to live and watch my little babies grow into little people. One year ago today, I didn't know if I would get that chance.

My quiver is full...and when all three arrows are placed inside, it's too heavy to carry anymore.

When I look past the diapers, the crying, the poo, the laundry, the arguments, the lack of sleep and the rock-eating, I know for sure--I am blessed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Determining True Value

Any silence for more than a few minutes sets my mommy radar to flashing. I've learned the hard way. Usually, silence means somebody is eating something she shouldn't or going somewhere he knows I've already labelled as forbidden.

With twins clawing at my legs, I peek around the corner, sure Wyatt is getting into mischief in the green barn. Instead, I find him skipping from one spot to another in the grass, stooping down at seemingly random intervals to pluck another onion flower and add it to his growing handful. His face reflects the seriousness of his task.

Sometimes, stooping isn't sufficient, and blue jean knees kneel on wet earth to give him a better grasp of another slender stem.

I understand his serious contemplation. These are springtime flowers who are not supposed to be peeking their heads through the soil until next year. A humid, hot, and wet October has seemingly confused even God's creation as to what season it is.

Suddenly, Wyatt's head pops up and he barrels towards the house, obviously content with the size of his small bouquet.

"Mommy! I brought you some flowers!! I brought you flowers, mommy!! You put them in a vase?"

That excited face. How could this mother not smile in returned excitement?

He watches me put the flowers in an old cup, making certain that I'm not discarding his offering. And as I sit the "vase" atop the back bench, he comes closer to hug me and raise his face for a kiss. "I love you mommy." Then, off he runs to find more flowers.

To him, these are not just worthless onion flowers that most city folk would seek to eliminate from their lawns with weed killer. In his eyes, he's just brought me a handful of precious jewels.

And in a way, he has.

The value isn't in the object itself but in his giving heart and sacrificial attitude. The knees bent, giving his full attention to the task as he labours to offer the best he can find.

It's a lesson my Father has been trying to teach me this past week as I've been putting together the packets to hand out to the needy at red lights--the monetary value of the sacrifice isn't the point. Neither are any other tangible results that I will probably never see from my sacrifice.

It's the heart and attitude that matter the most. It's my knees bent in prayer, my heart bent in submissive obedience to His Word.

It's my love for God as the answer to the "why" of my everyday actions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Loving the Unwanted

Even before he was born, I didn't want him.

His mother kept him hidden at the neighbor's workshop, far away from the love of human hands. She was barely social herself, wandering in and out of our lives, sometimes disappearing for days at a time before materializing on the back steps. Just another pregnant unwanted one that someone had made my problem instead of theirs. And as expected, her son was wild, untouchable, unlovable.

With a 6-month-old son, myself, I didn't have any time to spare on a cat like that.

And so when we moved up to the family farm, I left him, his two siblings, and his mother to swipe a meal from other neighborhood food bowls.

But a month later, I still felt remorse for leaving them to struggle, so I returned to catch the mother and bring her to our new home. And he was there--one son sticking close to his mother's side. Lanky. Colored like an orange and cream dreamsicle. Too many ribs showing.

Just one month of August heat and irregular meals had taken its toll in another way, too. This time, he accepted a hand of kindness stroking his head and back. This time, he purred as he ate. Hunger had made him docile, even clingy.

I promised to return for him next. And I did.

Only then did we name him Jonah, after the reluctant Biblical prophet, because he was quite reluctant to stay in a cage during the 30 minute ride to a better life.

Now? I can't imagine my son without this cat. They're inseparable. We laughingly refer to Jonah as our cat-dog because he acts more canine than feline. If I "lose" Wyatt, I look for the pumpkin-colored splotch on the green landscape of our backyard.

I've seen Wyatt cover this poor cat with rocks and leaves, try to open the cat's mouth and insert some cat food because "he need some food." And still, Jonah sticks closer than a brother.

The cat I did not want has turned into a most faithful companion for a little boy who needs just that kind of friend.

Jonah is just one of the many things has God sent to my life that I didn't think I needed at the time. But now? I can't imagine life without any of them: My husband. The twins. Living a stone's throw from my mother in law.

I am thankful God knows my every need far in advance of my knowing it myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn's Arrival

This past weekend, autumn finally arrived to south Louisiana. My house smelled the burn of dust on heaters unused since last year. The bed rested again beneath the heat of an electric blanket. And my mother's potted plants moved to their winter resting place. With what our friends in the midwest and north have been experiencing, a frost could be right around the corner.

But today, we did not think of the winter to come, of the preparations that still need to be made. We simply enjoyed the wonders of autumn God had displayed before us. We supped at His table and were filled by his beautiful creation. The beauty.

Of running in the warm afternoon sun without breaking a sweat. Of moss hanging from the evergreen tree.Of the first chrysanthemum blossom opening its petals.Of summer's promised fruit turning from solid green to hues of orange. Of seeds forming new life within for the spring to come."He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Face Behind the Cardboard

Since my family expanded from 2 to 5 members, it seems my watch has started to run faster. What used to be one 2-minute bathroom break per weekly shopping trip has turned into at least one 15-minute detour, sometimes two. And whereas I used to skip lunch, now the brood insists taking time for food is mandatory.

Each time I venture into town, I struggle to get the children home for 2:00 nap time. Sometimes on the 30 minute drive home, I sing loud, goofy songs with Wyatt or reach back to shake little legs and feet in hopes of keeping the twins awake just a few more minutes.

Yesterday was no different. But traffic wasn't cooperating, and the twins had already drifted off. If I didn't get them home soon, there would be no napping in cribs, no quiet time for me to decompress.

As I drove at full speed onto the exit ramp, I saw it 100 yards in front of me--a green light. I pushed down the gas pedal.

And then I saw her--a woman standing with a cardboard sign beside the white line that told cars where to stop. I sighed. It seems there's always someone at this particular intersection...and it seems the light always turns red so I have to sit there as I face stoically forward, pretending to ignore the person's sign, the shabby clothes, the weather-worn face, the need.

As I drove, I kept my eyes firmly on the light, as if my willing it to stay green would do just that. And this time, it did.

But as I whizzed toward the intersection, I glanced her way and gasped. It wasn't her sign that said "Traveling. Need Help. God Bless."

It was the knowledge that this wasn't an anonymous face. I knew this woman's name. I knew part of her story. I knew she had family.

My heart immediately felt the crush of God's convicting Spirit. I was shamed by my own rush to get through the green light just so I could avoid her.

Could I change my mind? Stop to offer help? No. The light remained bright green. And traffic behind me wasn't too thrilled that my sudden braking might make them have to sit at a red light and avoid her silent request for help.

Each time I ignore the anonymous face, my conscience burns within me. When with my husband, I will sometimes give a ready-to-eat food item to ensure they at least have something to eat. But most of the time, I do nothing.

Each weekend, I have a "to do" list. Since I know it's just a matter of days before I see another face behind the cardboard, this weekend's list includes a plan to create small packages that will minister to the body and soul of those I encounter at red lights.

My Lord and Savior said, "For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes" (Matt. 25:35).

Without the help of others and God's grace, I could be the one standing there feeling others' disdain and scorn.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Divided Heart

Do you know what it's like to speak out for a cause even when it means standing against friends and loved-ones?

To speak your heart, knowing those words will divide you from another and quite possibly will draw hatred and resentment toward you?

I do.

In the wee hours of Monday morning while the whole house slept, God spoke to me. He told me I must stand and speak even though He knew I would rather sit in silence. But He also warned the consequences of standing for His Word: "They hate him who reproves in the gate, And they abhor him who speaks with integrity" (Amos 5:10).

I must stand. But obedience would have a cost.

This is the reason my blog this week has been uncommonly silent. My spiritual family has been heavy on my heart. Several times throughout each day, only tears would come along with halting prayers to God for my family's healing.

I've been waiting for words. Waiting for God to speak. And grieving the heartache within my spiritual family.

I spent my today fasting and praying intermixed with my duties as a mother. Only tonight did God give me the words. I spoke. And in doing so, I have probably permanently severed at least one relationship.

Tonight, my spiritual family divided. It breaks me to think of the loss.

Women and men who have rocked my babies and kissed their little foreheads. Women whom I have held hands with and prayed in small, intimate circles of fellowship. Women whom I looked up to for mature spiritual leadership.

Unreconciled. Angry. Hurt, themselves. Believing in their hearts that they had the best interests of the spiritual family in mind.

My spiritual family needs healing. I need healing.

This road my Savior asks me to walk is not an easy one. It requires me to give without reservation my heart in loving relationships and in friendships. And then it requires me to choose to honor Scripture over my heart and those relationships when the two are in conflict.

A grieving, tender that hopefully my Savior can use as He heals my brokenness.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Mouth

This precious little boy who loves the comfort of a blanket even in 101 degree heat, who adores "nature walks," and who doesn't think flowers are too girly to be fascinated by their petals or to carry in a bouquet back to the house so he can put them in a peanut butter jar vase
This same beautiful boy is going through a phase that is trying his mommy's patience. It started with the crocodile tears over everything, and I do mean everything: my sweeping his newest "special" rocks back in the driveway, Amelia pulling one of his puzzles off the shelf, Jonah the cat playing with his blanket.

I have become one of those mothers I never before understood--you know, the ones who totally ignore their children's tears in the checkout line at Wal-mart? The ones whose faces show serene calm as if they're listening to a calming Mozart piece rather than the fevered-pitch of an angry child in their buggy?

Wyatt knows I refuse to watch a tantrum. It's a well-defined rule--if you want to cry, pitch a fit, or yell, that's perfectly your room. Mommy has sent herself to her room more than once over the past three years. And sometimes, Wyatt sends himself to his room, too, before I even have to say a word.

But now the phase has morphed again. To keep my cool, it is taking everything I have in me (and then some Godly grace along with many, many sentence prayers sent heavenward). Along with the tears, Wyatt has added what I call "the mouth."

It's not like I didn't expect this. With his love of books, he has unusual control of an expansive vocabulary for a child his age. The problem is that same vocabulary is exploding into out-loud, powerful words of defiance.

Tonight, he spent over an hour in his room because, as he put it, "I not sorry! I not sorry!" And later, when daddy told him to pick up his toys, he said, "I not have to listen!" a stance he quickly changed to "I not have time to!" when he saw me enter the room.

And yet, as aggravated as I was with him this evening, moments before his defiant hiney stomped down the hall for the night, he redeemed himself. As his daddy sat down to read Amelia her night time book, he walked over and started reciting it to her. So precious. Such an expression of brotherly love.

There's hope for him yet.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One Little Lost Book

If each book were a soldier, our living room would be one of the safest places in the state.

When I sit in the middle of the room, I'm literally surrounded by an army of books. A squadron of school books takes up one of three cushions of the couch. A teetering stack of fall-themed books guards the end table. Three bookshelves of "don't touch" mommy and daddy books hide stealthily behind a La-z-boy. Wyatt's books flank the gas fireplace. Baby board books divide their forces between the hearth and small shelves beneath the TV. And a bag of library books stands at attention beside the train table.

This room won't appear in your next edition of Better Homes and Gardens. Too many books are still scattered across the floor as I sit and write this post. Too much energy and imagination remain in the air even though the little ones have long since been tucked in bed down the hall.

On a regular day, the twins regularly grab a chunky board book in pudgy fingers to wave in my face until I stop to read it. Emerson has even learned to say "baa" for book and smilingly squeals with happy delight when I respond, "Do you want me to read it?"

Long ago, I gave up counting how many books I read each day. All three kids know many of them by heart. Sometimes, though, Wyatt remembers one part of the book and not the title like when he asked for Pooh and the echo. Hmmm....took me two weeks to realize he was talking about Pooh's Best Place, complete with the requested echoing cave.

But yesterday, we had a book problem. As Wyatt unloaded his stack of ready-to-be-checked-out books onto the counter, the librarian informed me that we hadn't returned Pickles to Pittsburgh. Ok. "I know I returned 13 of them. But, if you say so, it must still be at home. I'll check."

A library book was missing. An it's-not-ours-so-don't-chew-on-it book.

So while the children napped, I frantically turned the house upside down. An army of one, I took my choice weapon--a Maglite flashlight--and moved every piece of furniture that I couldn't see under (including the couch). I then went through every book on every shelf, which was no small task.

Still no book.

Hours later, I called the library to see if they'd made a mistake, if perhaps the computer had malfunctioned and not scanned in the book properly. Could they please check the shelf?

If I had heard the panic in my voice, I'd have checked the shelf. But the lady looked at my account and said there was no need. The librarian had already figured out the computer's error when she went to place the "returns" back on the shelf. The lost book was found--at the library, where it belonged.

Thankfully, I was too relieved to be irritated with the woman on the phone. But it wasn't too long before I realized I had just given up an entire two hours hunting a lost book when I should have been working or napping.

And as I grumbled to myself, God immediately brought to my mind the Bible story about the lost coin. I looked it up:

"Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!' In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15: 8-10).

Ooh. That hit hard. I'm in the middle of a training course about doing evangelism the way Jesus modeled in Scripture. The first step is not to go out witnessing but to work on my own heart. I must first develop a compassionate heart for each lost person, a heart that would rather risk personal embarrassment or rejection rather than see one person go to hell.

A lost book. A lost coin. A lost soul. Each one important to God.

A computer malfunction?

I think not.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Messy to the Power of Three

I haven't quite figured out how they do it. But they're masters of messiness.

Three powder-smelling, snugly children wake up each morning and put on clean outfits, lovingly washed, dried, and folded by yours truly.

But sometimes, the trio doesn't even make it thirty minutes before managing to coat their outfits in dirt, poo, or gummed-to-death Cheerios.

Today's culprits were the puddles from last night's rain. Tomorrow...who knows?

But what I do know is that whatever substance manages to spot and stain each little outfit means more work for me on Mondays.

Spray a little Shout or Awesome here. Rub in some Cheer or Tide there. Heat some boiling hot water on the stove to activate the Oxi Clean for soaking those really stubborn stains. Whatever it takes to scrub away the grime so tomorrow I can clothe my children in the same outfits again to see what stain they can get on them this time!

Today's wash contained one of Emerson's outfits coated in some undetermined substance he wallered in outside. It's soaked in my bathroom sink for a week, but the stain still isn't budging.

My standing over the washer and scrubbing on stains as I grumble about messy children really bothers my husband. His logic? If one scrubbing session doesn't get out the stain, throw the outfit in the trash and buy another one. It bothers him even more when he knows I'm scrubbing on a shirt the kids only wear at home on the farm...or a shirt he knows I bought for 59 cents at the thrift store.

But there's something in me that just doesn't want to give up and admit defeat. Something in me that wants to keep trying to save that outfit.

Maybe that's because I know what it's like to be stained, myself. And I'm glad my heavenly Father didn't give up on me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Christmas in October?

Half of my yesterday was spent checking off a mental To Do list, which included waiting with dozens of other impatient youngsters to get the twins' second dose of the flu shot. Not on that list (but of equal importance, as I learned) was changing umpteen poopy diapers without my container of wet wipes, which had vanished from the diaper bag! At one point, I told a newly-outfitted Emerson if he had another accident like that, he'd be wearing pink for the rest of the day. Apparently, that threat worked.

But amidst the normal chaos of taking three small children anywhere, we took a short detour to the mall for food and a little playground time.

And there they were! Christmas trees! Right by the elevator in Dillards, a whole row of fully-decorated-been-there-for-at-least-a-few-days TREES!

Wyatt saw them first. Twinkling lights, tree-top winged-angels, furry snowmen, brightly-colored balls, and shiny silver stars that shimmered with every bounce as Wyatt dragged me closer to the trees.

I had to laugh at his exuberance because I know where it comes from. Me.

I LOVE Christmas. It is my absolute favorite holiday. The smells, the lights, the music, the decorations, the once-a-year spirit of communal joy I feel electrifying the crisp fall and winter air.

When people complain about Christmas being so commercialized or taking over the stores earlier and earlier each year, I just have to bite my tongue.

Secretly, I don't mind the Christmas trees sitting next to the fall pumpkins and turkeys. Secretly, I love another reminder of Christ's sacrifice when He left His throne in heaven to become a small baby here on earth. From the trees to the music, it all points me to Jesus.

When a student called me this spring, in the middle of the conversation, he suddenly stopped: " that Christmas music in the background?" Yes. You mean it's not playing in your house, too? And just this past week, one of my new bloggy friends Deb at Heavenly Humor laughingly asked, "Wow, you're playing Christmas music already?"

Drop unexpectedly by my house any time of the year, and you'll likely find me singing with my soul to the sounds of "O Holy Night" or another familiar (and not so familiar) favorite. We don't limit our playing Christmas music to one month of the year just like we don't limit our worship of God to Sundays only.

The YouTube video here is of Todd Agnew's "God With Us," the Christmas story told from the Magi's point of view. Turn up the volume, close your eyes, and really listen to the words. It's amazing.

God is with Us. Not just at Christmas-time, but 365 days a year.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Give Him Wings

The deep conversations with my almost three-year-old happen at seemingly random moments. Like earthquakes in the ocean. Still blue water for miles around. Then a great shift of the earth’s tectonic plates and a tidal wave rises from the water's surface.

One minute Wyatt is a little boy playing in the rocks, getting dirty, reading Curious George books, and driving me crazy with his crying tantrums. The next, he’s asking the deep philosophical questions that leave me wondering, “Where did that come from!?”

While he’s sitting on the potty. On the drive home from Wal-Mart. Moments before bath time. It’s always at a time when my brain is hibernating.

And considering I spend most of my day in a “Don’t stick your fingers in that!!!” defensive mode of conversation, the all-too-abrupt return to the world of intelligent thought leaves me stumbling over my words and wishing I had some crib notes in front of me.

And so it went this evening. The changing of the guard had already taken place as my husband took charge of the children’s bath time routine. I was already on the computer, working on student papers.

Then came the pounding across the kitchen floor as little feet ran my direction. But before I could tell Wyatt to get back in the bathroom, his words stopped my lips.

“Is Jesus love me?”

No time to think of an answer. Short, halting sentences as I weave my way through the truth. Yes, he loves you very much. He died on the cross for you. But Jesus is alive. Remember? And he flew up into heaven where he now lives with God. And one day he’s coming back to get us and we’ll fly up in the air with him to heaven.”

“But I not have wings.”

Ok…didn’t see that one coming. Quick. Think 3-year-old lingo. “Well, when Jesus comes back, he’ll give us wings to fly up to heaven with him.”

“And he come back for me?”

“Yes, and he’ll take us home to heaven to live with him if we’ve obeyed him.”

He pauses. I hesitate, too, wondering if I should just leave it with the “obey” part since that’s been the main lesson lately. But he’s not finished.

He leans one shoulder hard against the chair and ducks his head. “But I not want to die.”

I stumble over my words again. “Well, you’re not going to die today.” Oh gosh, I just lied to my kid. But I don’t know how to explain all that to a child this young!

He doesn’t give me any time for more thoughts. “But I not want go to heaven.”

This one, I’ve got in the bag. “Oh, yes you do! Because that’s where Jesus lives and we want to live with him forever.”

He smiles. “And he give me wings to fly up in the air? Like an airplane? And a helicopter?”

Content with my, “Yes,” this grown-up conversationalist takes flight to his bath, hands flying through the air like a plane.

Oh Jesus. Please give me the right words to teach this little boy to love you so that one day, he can fly home to you.