Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Mystery.

Yesterday evening there was a beautiful sunset.  And, as I drove I couldn't help thinking that he wasn't here to see it.  He woke up yesterday morning expecting to see it, but at the end of the day he saw God's face instead.  We never know.  Each moment is a gift.

I was reading aloud from a science book with my two students following along, filling out their study guides, as I read when the phone rang.  It was Erik, but it wasn't his usual voice, and I knew something was wrong.  A friend of ours, a husband and father of 3, had been hit by a car, and Erik was asking me to pray hard.  He said that Jason had a pulse but was unconscious, and that was all he knew.  So, we stopped science and prayed right there at the school table.  It wasn't long after that Erik called back to let me know he had passed, passed over, from life on earth to life in it's fullest sense, life with the Creator face to face.

You see, Jason was special.  And, I know people always say that about people after they pass, but I would have said the same thing last week.  He did great things.  He was a teacher, a coach, a visionary, and a school administrator.  He was a catalyst of positive change in the county school system.  He made a difference.  But, that is not why he was special.  Lots of people are good teachers.  Lots of people are good coaches.  Lots of people are visionaries and administrators.  He worked very hard, but lots of people do that.  But, there was one thing that set him apart from about 98% of the rest of us living here on planet earth....

He did it with a smile, always a big old friendly smile.  He was positive from the inside out, laid back and easy.  Now most of us "happy people" are moody.  And, most work horse administrators are hard on themselves and not always so fun to be around because they push themselves and others so hard.  But, somehow his personality merged these two with the positive attributes of both.  I don't remember ever seeing him without a smile and a laugh rolling off so many of his words.  He was a special man.  He was a faithful husband, a fun dad, and a great son ~ just ask Erik's nurse (Nana Kim).  She is his mama.   Say a prayer for them all if you will.  I really cannot think of anyone else just like him.  He will be missed by so many.

As I was straightening up yesterday evening, I was fighting back all the questions, the "why" kind of questions.  And, then singing to me in the background was Christa Wells ~ "Glory to God.  Glory to God. Fullness of wisdom.  He writes His story into my song.  My life for the glory of God."  And, in that moment He reminded me gently that He is the fullness of wisdom.  He knows all things, understands all things ~ things my finite mind can never grasp.  And, all we can do is trust and walk on.

Earlier this week I read a biography of Augustine to my boys for their history class.  So many things in this book touched me.  But, one of the things that will stick with me for a long time is a legend of Augustine taking a walk along the beach.  Augustine desperately wanted to understand God.  He wanted to be able to grasp Him, but over and over He was unable to do so.  Augustine was a learned man, very bright, but this he could not fathom, and so it bothered him, a constant nagging.  He just couldn't let it go.  He stood on the beach looking out at the waves rolling in, the vastness of the ocean.  And as he stared, he cried out, "This is an image of the space in which my searching mind wanders and repeatedly gets lost.  My spirit floats across the immeasurable surface of which it can see neither beginning nor end. Yet soon the bird returns to its nest as I must go home, weary with fatigue from thinking but never clearly understanding who and what God is!"    And, as he stood there, he suddenly noticed a young boy playing near him without anyone looking after him.  So, he walked up to the boy and asked the boy what he was doing.  The boy answered simply...

"I have dug a hole and now I am going to put the whole ocean into it."

This made Augustine laugh.  "Come now, do you really think you can put the whole ocean in this little hole?"

And, legend says that this little boy looked up at Augustine and said, "Do you really believe that your limited mind can ever understand the eternal God?  How could you ever hope to transfer the eternal God to your small world of thought?  You had better stop trying.  It is all in vain.  Go home, my lord bishop, learn to believe like a child and never seek understanding beyond that of which you are able!"


Sometimes it feels as if He dropped us here to journey this journey, we who are clay, made of earth.  He dropped us here, with traces of the supernatural here and there...  He has woven Himself into all existence.  The eternal, mysteriously woven into the feeble broken fabric of flesh.  He is a mystery our minds cannot wrap around.  And, He weaves this mystery of Himself into all of our temporal life.  The journey itself is paradox, a confusing, amazing, perplexing adventure.  And, because we are flesh, we cannot completely grasp the depth and breadth of that which is spiritual.

As I stared deep into the sunset last night the word that I could not get out of my mind was "flesh."  I never feel so mortal, so fragile as when I hear of someone my own age or younger dying.  It is then that I must come face to face with the fact that every moment is a gift, and I do not know that when I hold Erik close before work, feel his soft breath in my ear, I do not know that it might be the last time...  That holding his hand today is a gift, a true gift.  Our bodies were made to be temporary.  They will not last no matter how great our efforts to take care of them.  Every body will eventually cease to work.  We are flesh.  But, the spirit, it is eternal.  C.S. Lewis said that we should not say we have a soul.  Instead we should say we are a soul ~ we have a body.

The spiritual woven into the flesh ~ the greatest mystery this earth will ever know.

Flesh on flesh, a mystery that connects souls. Some try to say it is just an act, but we know deep in our souls that it is spiritual, the uniting of the two, the two becoming one... one "flesh."  We can't explain it.  We can't see it with our eyes.  But, at the same time we cannot deny it, there is something supernatural there.  And, it is in this deep hidden place that the spiritual weaves within us and creates a soul. The spiritual intermingling with the flesh.  The Creator weaving deep inside his creation in the secret places that we, made of flesh, know nothing about. And, for months we carry this mystery. The flesh fills and the skin stretches, a mystery woven within, deep below the skin's surface. We feel the flesh within us move and kick, and we marvel at the beauty of the mystery. Then, one day through pain, sweat, and tears, the flesh gives way through a gush of water and blood, and flesh gives birth to flesh. The moment the lungs fill with air, this moment, it is spiritual.  Praise is on the tip of the tongue, because this, this engineering of a soul, this is far above the abilities of mere flesh.  So, we are in awe of the Creator.  But, no matter how much flesh cares for flesh, no matter how much flesh loves flesh, flesh is helpless to save flesh.  It is only through the breathing of a prayer, that the Spirit enters the empty hollow of the walking dead, and fills the flesh full of life.  And, the flesh walks born again.  Except this time not born of water and blood, but born of the spirit. And, the mystery exudes imagination... Christ in us! The eternal living within the mortal!  The Master Weaver has woven eternity into mortal flesh.  And, one day, the flesh will die, and the spirit will live on.  The flesh decays, the spirit soars...

And, what is a mystery to me is no longer a mystery to Jason because he sees Him face to face.

How great a God we have, Who stoops to look down upon us.  Who wrapped Himself in our flesh, and then allowed his flesh to be torn for us.

Please keep our friends in your prayers.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Eriky!

I LOVE this kid!!!  He has personality oozing out of his cute little ears!  And, he has this sweetness about him that I just can't explain.  He is precious, and I am thankful that he is mine to love!


I've seen his Daddy give me this same look....


Just plain cute...


Silly boy...


Can hearts explode?  It is simply too much for one mama to take in...


I started asking me a month or so ago what kind of birthday he wanted.  He kept telling me that he wanted an "elephant birthday."  I have to say this was not the easiest of themes to work with, but I did my best.  We ate a lot of peanut related foods.  It was the best I could come up with!  This was his cake...


He loved it!  And, these were the happies I forgot to hand out...


The happy birthday boy...


Ready to blow out his candles...


Birthday boy...


Blowing out the candles...


Erik Daniel Manning you add so much to our family!  Your Daddy and I are so thankful for the huge blessing that you are to us.  We are thankful that we get to watch you grow year by year.  You are as unique as the cute little cowlick God crowned you with, and we love every inch of you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School 2012-2013

First Day of School pictures with the tie-dye shirts we made...






Joshua...


James Christofer Truett...


Elijah...


And, Erik Daniel...


We had a good first day.  Things are a little crazy due to the renovation.  Note the table smack dab in the middle of our kitchen!  But, hey, it works!  Every year has a different feel to it.  This year, at least until the remodel is done, we will be doing school in the kitchen.  We've never done this before!  It has been fun to change things up a bit!


Everybody is really in the mood for school...


Even baby Jack!

I'm looking forward to a fun and challenging year - chock full of happy memories!  

Prep Day!

Last Monday was our prep day for this school year!  We did our annual back to school treasure hunt, so the boys could find all their fun new school supplies!

Here they are with the first clue...


I think I did 16 clues this year?  It was a long hunt, but they loved it!!  My clues don't rhyme, and they are fairly simple!


Reading another clue...


The treasure at the end...


 The first thing we did after the treasure hunt was tie-dye t-shirts!  This was a first for me!  It was so easy and fun!  You cannot mess it up!  Love that!


The boys had so much fun doing it that they are begging me to let them do it again!


 Everybody made their own, and they are all unique.  I love how they turned out!  I even made one for myself and for Jack!


After we finished our t-shirts, I took turns meeting with each boy individually.  We discussed what the schedule for our schooldays would be this year, and we discussed their various classes and what was going to be expected of them.  All these wonderful ideas came from my sweet friend and homeschool mentor Roan.  It was a fun day!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Emery is 4 months old!



Okay, so Emery is almost 5 months old!  Have I mentioned that I stay a bit behind these days!  But, I try, really, I do!  Emery is wonderful and precious!  I can't say enough about her.  She is such a sweet baby with such a happy disposition.  I'm very thankful for her, my little red-headed baby girl!

Sweet girl, you found your toes this month, and they keep you so entertained!  You are absolutely fascinated by them.  And, I must agree with you ~ they are quite cute!!  You have big eyes, and they are always searching, looking, taking it all in.  You love any excuse to smile.  If anyone looks at you and talks to you, you immediately flash your big toothless grin at them!  So sweet!


Your big brothers adore you.  They are constantly jumping and dancing in front of you trying to make you laugh.  They kiss and hug you all the live long day!  It is sweet, but, to tell you the truth, it kind of drives me crazy!!!  But, I can't blame them!  You are so fun!

We love you Miss Em, yes ma'm, we do!!!



Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Lately...


I've been taking a lot of pictures of sunsets lately.  Maybe they are prettier toward the end of summer?  Or, maybe I have just been noticing them lately?  I cannot believe the sun has set on summer vacation.  Where did time go?  I had so many plans, so many things that I hoped to accomplish....

But, time has moved too quickly, and I have been too busy.  I'm afraid if it wasn't for this blog I might not remember one single thing about this summer ~ except the chaos...

Due to the renovation, we have a lot of extra stuff everywhere!  Our dining/school room is filled to the brim.  We are not able to do school in there this fall!  And, our foyer is our temporary playroom! (cringe!!)  Here is James reading in our very cluttered foyer...


And, that picture alone shows that even amidst the craziness we have been able to maintain some sort of routine and flow to our days.  But, all in all, this summer has been a challenge for this mama in so many ways.

The boys, however do not seem to notice the challenges.  They are having a fun summer just being little boys!

 Slipping and Sliding in the MUD...
 Squish, squish between the toes...

One day things like this...


And, this....



will be distant memories. :-(  I love finding their toys in odd places.  Makes me smile :-)

I also love watching them play...


A stack of favorite books!  I love Children's literature!


Joshua put his hand in an ant bed!!! Ouch!


And, I don't have a picture, but JCT got stung by a red wasp while we were playing at the park with friends.  This was our first sting!  None of the boys have been stung before this.  I'm sure there will be many more!

In other news the addition is coming along, bit by bit...


Nana came for a quick visit before we began school...



JCT loves to do experiments with freezing things.  This time he froze soapy water.  I'm not sure where he comes up with this stuff!  The frozen soapy water had the consistency of snow!  He was very pleased with his results!


Due to some unfortunate circumstances involving our sewer system, our contractor had to blaze a trail through several acres of our woods.  The boys love the trail he created! Fun for them, not for us!


I looked out the window one day last week and saw this...


I had to laugh out loud!!!!  They are too cute, and they don't even know it!

James likes to freeze his toys in water.  After he does this, and he does it quite often, he either takes the frozen toys outside and throws them on the ground until the ice all breaks off, or he puts them in hot water and watches the ice melt off of them.  He is a funny kid!


And, one more sunset to say goodbye...



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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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