Saturday, January 28, 2012

James Christofer Truett's Baptism....

Sweet boy...

With Pop just before...

After the service we invited over those who have influenced James spiritually.  I'll never forget the day. It was cool, overcast, and foggy.  JCT's special day...

We ate soup and cake and took time to encourage our little man.  Joshua read some scripture to his little brother, and Erik gave him a charge that left many of us a bit teary.

It was a sweet, peaceful afternoon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

JCT's Decision

He has always been his own little man.  He does his own thing, in his own time, and in his own way.  His hair has always been long.  He likes it that way, and he doesn't care if he is the only one with hair like his.  It takes him 30 minutes to eat a meal.  Everyone else finishes and begins their chores, their play, or their schoolwork, but it doesn't phase him a bit.  He will eat every bite as slowly as he desires and let all the world get ahead of him.  He does not care.  And, he is independent.  He can do it himself.  He is full of confidence.  He thinks he should be teaching me math, and somedays, he is so convincing that I almost believe him myself!

I began praying for his salvation before he was born.  But, about a year and a half ago, I really started praying for his unique, individual relationship with God to be cultivated, to begin to grow.  I began to pray specifically that God would "speak sweetly to his heart."

James Christofer Truett has never been a follower.  When Joshua was four, he heard about giving his heart to Jesus, and he immediately looked up to heaven, sitting criss cross applesauce on his bed, and yelled to heaven, "Jesus, come into my heart!!"  But, JCT is different.  He is analytical, thinking, a processor of information.  After Joshua grew and really began to understand having a relationship with Christ, he began to witness to JCT.  It really bothered him that his little brother had not accepted Christ yet.  I have vivid memories of the two of them sitting in the 3rd row seats of our van.  Joshua exasperated crying out to JCT, "Don't you realize James, if you don't ask Jesus into your heart, you will go to hell when you die!!!!  Do you want to go to hell????"  And, JCT would just stare out the window like he couldn't even hear his big brother talking.

At a parenting conference years ago, Erik and I heard Tim Kimmel suggest that parents should not ask their children, point blank, if they want to accept Christ.  He said kids are by nature pleasers and will say yes.  He suggested presenting the gospel but letting them come to the decision on their own.  Erik is really good about sharing Christ and His love with the boys, but leaving the ball in their court making them come to Him on their own, making it their decision and not anything we have placed upon them or coerced them into doing.  They walk the aisle alone, when they are ready, when Christ stirs their hearts in His own unique way.

The way Jesus spoke sweetly to my JCT's heart tickles me every time I think of it because it is so Him and so him!!!!  JCT began asking probing questions out of the blue this summer.  "Why do you have to be bap-it-tized?"  "If it doesn't save you why do we do it?"  "Why did Jesus have to die?"  Our little processor of information was beginning to put the pieces together for himself.  Several times late at night I would think he was about to ask me if I would pray the prayer of salvation with him.  But, he didn't ask, and I kept quiet, just answering questions when he asked.

But, finally, one night several months ago the most interesting thing happened!  I was tucking him in just as I always do.  Expecting him to say what he always says, "Peace, good night, I love you, and tell Daddy and Jack that I said it, too."  But, that isn't what he said.  As I leaned down to kiss him, a sweet smile erupted on his little lips, and he said, "I have something to tell you."

My heart began to beat quickly, "What is it?"

"Today when you were doing First Language Lessons (our grammar curriculum) with Josh, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and live in me."

"You did?"

"Yes"(big smile).

I asked him to go downstairs and tell his Daddy what he had done and talk to Daddy about it.  He did.  Erik listened as JCT told both of us how he asked Jesus, on his own, while sitting under our schoolroom table, to forgive his sins and live in him.  We talked for a while with him, and then we sent him up to bed asking him to share his news with Joshua.

As soon as his little feet hit the steps, Erik and I smiled at each other.  "It is just like him," Erik said, "to do it all on his own ~ just between himself and Jesus."  We giggled that our little independent son, at six years old had gone to the throne room of heaven all by himself.  He knew what to do.  He didn't need us to hold his hand.  He walked boldly forward making the most important decision of his life all by himself.

And, it was with that same boldness that he walked the aisle two Sunday nights ago.

I love, love, love how my sweet Jesus draws each of us uniquely.  He knows our very innermost make up, He knows our bent.  He created us, formed us, and He draws us accordingly.  He speaks sweetly to each of us if only we will open our hearts and listen.  How beautiful and sweet He is!

A sweet side note: After the service sweet Lije looked up at Dr. Jones, our pastor, and said, "When I get older, can I ask Jesus into my heart, too???"

Dr. Jones assured him he could. :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Strength for the Weak Days

He needed to leave early this morning to do charts, so he kissed me goodbye through a small opening in the shower door.  I turned off the water and instantly heard it, the crying... My baby was awake, crying loudly, and I was simply not mentally ready to begin the day. I dressed, pulled my hair back, placed baby now smiling on my hip, and made my way to the kitchen.  Boys were playing wildly, no morning chores had been done, pjs still on, teeth unbrushed, breakfast half eaten, and school to begin in 15 minutes.  But, still there is a baby to be fed, and books to be sorted and work from yesterday not yet corrected, and my head spins.  Some days are like this.  Thankfully, everyday is not like this.  And, I feel the tightening, the elephant that some days comes and takes residence on my chest alloting me only small bits of air to breath and never a good deep breath.

I press on.  Get boys on task, feed baby, check work, do circle time, pray, and start laundry.  I touch something on laundry room counter and set an avalanche in motion, and I pause, frustrated. Why today?  Why?  Texts come in, but I ignore them, attempting to get caught up.  I go through the motions.  I teach, but today I am absent, not really present with them.  I am merely going through the motions, doing the day, trying just to catch my breath.  If I could just breathe....

Joshua and I work on his scripture recitiation due Friday ~ Mary's song.  And, though it speaks not directly to my day or my situation, it is the only time all day that my chest breathes easy if only for a moment.  And, I notice how His living word works wonders just in hearing my sweet son speak it to me.

But, on goes the day, the responsibilities.  The noise.  The laughter.  The loud talking.  The stress.  The crying.  The dog barking.  The tornado threatening.  The rain pouring.  And, at one point I step backwards awkwardly and hit my foot on the boy's castle.  My foot throbs only slightly, but still a single tear falls and the dam threatens to break, but thankfully holds strong.  Just do the next thing.  Just do the next thing.  Just do the next thing.  Change the dirty diaper, fill the milk cup, read over the paragraph, wipe the bottom, clean the spilled juice, check the math, rock the baby to sleep, read the history lesson, take the dog out, change the laundry over, boil some water, stir in the noodles, just do the next thing, then the next, and on and on...

Finally, a moment of semi-quiet, the boys engrossed in a movie, I sit down at the table.  I put my face in my hands, "Why am I so weak?  I never used to be so weak?"  I ask myself as the tears begin to fall.  I look down and see them, little drops on the wood table.  And, then I hear Him cutting through my selfishness, my weariness, my pride...

"Strong.  When did you get so strong!"

The tears fall harder, faster now.  "Me, strong?" I ask Him.  "Just look at me, Lord, I'm a mess.  I've been a mess all day."

Then, His whispers penetrate deep, "When you are weak, then you are strong....  Do not forget, child, from whence your strength comes.  You are not strong on your own strength, but only when you rest in me, then you are strong.  When have you been so strong, My little one?  When before have you shouldered so much?  So much responsibility?  Little lives I have placed in your care, and they have many needs, I know. Little souls I have trusted you to nurture. I ask you again, when, my child, have you been more strong?  But, not strong of your strength, strong from learning, year after year, child after child to rely more and more on my strength.  But, when you forget, when you try to control, try to do it all, try to be perfect, try in all your pride to be and do what I have not called you to, then you smother yourself in self, and you find it hard even to breathe.  But, when you rest in Me, in what I have called you to, not looking to the left or the right, when you trust in Me, when you rest here against My chest, not pushing and pulling and working and running and trying and straining, but simply resting in Me... Here you find your strength, here in this quiet place of trust. Breathe deep of Me, child, I am your strength, your very life's breath.  Just slow and breathe and trust and rest in This your strength."

I do love Him so...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Just a Few Reasons Why I LOVE being a Boy Mama!!!!!

All these things happened within the last 2 weeks, and all of them made me love life all the more!!  Boys are soooo fun!  So, here are a few reasons that I love my job!

#1  Boys are affectionate....  I was teaching JCT something new in math.  And, as per my usual teaching method, I was explaining my heart out!!!  And, all the while I am explaining how to add and carry, he is kissing my arms.... constantly.  Think Adams family.  I kept saying, "James stop! Listen to me! You aren't paying attention!!!"  And, he would just smile, giggle, and keep kissing up and down my arms!!  Silly, silly!! :-)  I thought of his future wife.  One day she will be sitting there, pouring her heart out to him about something that is truly bothering her, and he will just be smiling silly and kissing her! Ha!

#2  They say things that are completely unexpected!!!!  On Tuesday I was teaching Joshua something, when I leaned down to pick something up, my hair spilling over my shoulders.  Joshua jumped up, eyes all alight, and said, "Mom, stay right there like that!"  He came over, played with a few of my curls, placed them just so over my shoulders, stood back, looked at me approvingly, and with great excitement said, "Now, there, that is perfect!!  You look just like...."

Like what, I'm wondering, a supermodel, maybe, Wonder woman.... A girl can hope!

But, no, he said...

"You look just like Troy Polamalu!!!!"

Like, seriously, I didn't even know what to say to that.  I mean what do you say?? "Thanks" just didn't seem right.  I mean my 8 year old son just told me that I look like a 200+ pound professional football player.  :-0

#3 Their creativity never ceases to amaze me...  I took Eriky up for our naptime routine of books and singing, and when I came down I found this....

Two wisemen on a camel, and in the back there, that is the little drummer boy!!!  And, they even created their very own manger using Jack's superyard and a Christmas ornament...

So, when Erik came home, we had to act out the manger scene.  I was Mary. Erik was Joseph, and Jack was baby Jesus!!  Erik Daniel was a shepherd.  Joshua and James were wisemen, and Elijah was the little drummer boy!  James Christofer had to memorize a portion of Luke 2 for his Bible class, so he quoted that as we all acted out what he said.  When he got to the part about the shepherds being so afraid, he looked over at Erik Daniel and cued him.  Erik Daniel took his cue and let out a huge and unexpected (to us) scream!!!  Erik and I laughed so hard!  It was sooo cute!! Love it!!!

#4  Sometimes they get things a cutely confused....  Lije and I were discussing the sweet baby inside me when all of the sudden he blurted out, "Well, maybe Uncle Sean's idea was wrong!!"  So, I asked, "What idea?"  To which he answered, "Sean's idea about the baby being a girl.  You know his pink cakes he brought us.  Maybe his idea was wrong.  Maybe it is a boy after all!!  Only God knows for sure."  Deana B made the cakes, and Sean led the boys in doing the cutting, so I guess Elijah just assumed that this was all just Sean's idea! :-)

#4 Sports somehow makes its way into everything we do...  We do school every single day from 8 until we finish.  If I am deep into teaching, I ignore my phone, leaving it in another room.  But, if the boys are doing work on their own, and I am just monitoring them and being present in order to answer questions and assist, then I will leave my cell phone on and answer texts as they come.  This particular day a friend and I were making plans for a Mom's Night Out coming up later in the week, so my phone was going off displaying texts with her name on them over and over.  The boys took notice of this.  Some of her texts would come in four at a time.  So, the boys would hear "ding, ding, ding, ding," and they would look and see her name.  Finally, Joshua announced, "Mom, she really likes to text! I'm going to call her Texter McCluster!!!!!"  This is after Dexter McCluster a very fast football player from Ole Miss who now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.  I laughed so hard I nearly wept!  And, from then on when the cell phone went "ding," JCT would yell, "Textdown, Mom!!  It's Texter McCluster again!!"  Oh, these are fun days!

#5  From the biggest to the 2nd littlest, they love to help out!!!

Eriky loves to help me feed Jack stars...

He is so focused and has so much fun doing it...

Part of growing up in a big family is learning how you can chip in and help!  I love watching my boys grow up and learn to take pride in the fact that they are helpful and very much needed!!  I can use all the helping hands that I can find ~ no matter how small!!! :-)

#6  Boys love their mamas!!!  Someone once told me this, and it is so true!!!  Joshua had to read the first third of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths for his literature this week.  He had two pages of questions due this past Friday.  He finished his work, and I wanted to check over it.  There were several that I had to look up, and there was a 70 page span with which I had to search to make sure he had chosen the correct answers.  All the while I was checking his answers, he was hanging on me.  HANGING on my shoulders, hugging me, his face, cheek to cheek, against mine.  I was so smothered that I was having trouble turning pages.  So, I would ask him nicely, "Please, give me just a little space, so I can turn pages."  And, he would say, "But, mommmm, I love you!!"  And, then he would continue to hang on my shoulders. So sweet!!  Does he have to grow up???

#7  They just might be more impatient than I am...  Look at the progress on Erik's gym...

We are getting there little by little.  I took Rain out the other day while holding Eriky on my hip.  Eriky looked over at the men working on preparing the dirt for the concrete foundation.  He said with his eyes wide, "Mommy, why are they just standing there talking?  They need to be working!!  They are just standing around talking, Mommy!! You need to go tell them to stop talking and work!!" :-)

#8  Watching friendships grow....The other night Erik had Joshua and James Christofer at their Upwards Basketball practice.  So, I was home alone with the little 3, and I fixed us a little dinner.  As we sat at the table and ate, these two put their arms around each other and began chanting, "We're the best buddies!  We're the bestest buddies!" So sweet...

#9  They have pure hearts that see black and white...  Joshua and I were discussing Tim Tebow last night.  He was asking me about when Tim's mom was pregnant with him, so I explained it to him, my son who has never heard the "ab" word.  I told him that when Mrs. Tebow was pregnant with Tim she had Malaria and was very ill.  I pointed to my belly for emphasis.  The doctors told her that the baby in her tummy would not be a normal healthy baby due to her being sick during the pregnancy.  They told her that since the baby would not be healthy and normal that she should just let them go ahead and take the baby out of her belly before it was time...."  I put my hands on my belly, and looked up to see Joshua's sweet face turn as white as a sheet.  He didn't say anything he just looked at me like he was trying to fathom what I had just said. It was a brand new thought to him. Then, quickly, I asked, "But, what did they do?  Did they do what the doctors said?"  He answered, "No!"  I agreed, "No, they didn't.  They said that they would take whatever baby God chose to give them.  And, he gave them a perfectly healthy, normal baby boy."  Joshua added, "And, if they had done what the doctors said, then I wouldn't have a good football player to look up to."  Pure hearts, pure understanding.

#10  I just do!!  I just love the fact that I am able to get up each morning and spend my days with our little men!  The other day at school day's end, I sat at the kitchen table and watched my four older boys walk out the backdoor to go play.  And, I watched them run to the trampoline.  Oh, joy!  To see them playing all together, enjoying each other, laughing, talking, and chasing.  It makes a mama's heart so happy!! :-)
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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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