May 22, 2013

Bennettism

5/22/2013 — cori


Bennett, Bennett, Bennett....what are we going to do with you?!

This silly, crazy, funny kid has yet again brought us to tears with laugher.  How he does it, I'll never know.  But I certainly don't want to forget his latest antics.

Along with all his wonderful qualities, he also has a few, shall we say 'sub-par' qualities.  He is well aware of these.  One of them is his ability to totally not pay attention to what someone is saying.  He completely blanks out.  He could be looking right at you and not hear a word you're saying.  He is far, far away.  It's like he has his hearing aid off (and he doesn't even wear a hearing aid).  He just lets his mind wander when we are talking with him evidently.

So, we're sitting at the table talking about our day.  Of course everything happens around the table in this house.  From what I've gathered, Bennett pays attention for a few seconds to our conversations and then he tunes back out again.  It appears that he's only getting about 40% of what we say, just enough to be dangerous.   We'll be talking about something and Bennett will jump in with, "So...wait....you want me to do what?"  

Everytime he tries to join in a conversation it starts with, "So...wait....".  So much so that we all go around mimicking him all the time now.  Chuck could have just told me he wanted to have some tea and cookies with me.  And then I will aptly respond with our dear Bennettism, "So...wait, you're saying you wanted to play chess with me, right?"

Don't you just love inside jokes?!

So....wait....were you just saying you wanted me to tell you another joke?

May 10, 2013

On Being A Mom

5/10/2013 — cori


Oh how I wish I could wax eloquent like Ann Voskamp!  She who writes with prose and poetry as beautifully as Yoyo Ma performs Bach's Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1.  Both are a delight to the ears and to the soul.  If you haven't already, take a moment to read Ann's honest thoughts on motherhood and let Mr. Ma soothe your soul with his peaceful repertoire.

Before I sat down to blog today I headed over to Ann's site to see what she had to share.  And what do you know, she was writing about the very same thing that was on my heart.  Well, maybe not exactly the same thing, but if we were painting with broad strokes, we'd call it the same thing....motherhood.  I always learn so much from her in the simplicity yet profoundness of her words.

In all honesty, sometimes I actually feel intimidated by her.  I feel she sets the bar so high.  She's a genuine, authentic person who lives fully, loves deeply and learns from her own mistakes.  Have I mentioned that she's an amazing writer?  I feel like I'm stumbling all over myself when I write and here she is a homeschooling mom of six, living on a farm, yet still finds time day in and day out to take perfect pictures, blog, write a book and do a sundry other things.  If ever someone was to take a snap shot of a 'perfect mom' she seems like she could fit the bill.

Yet in her humility and love for Jesus, she will be the first to admit that (and did in her blog) that ideal is an illusion.  She states it perfectly (of course) "what messes our life up most is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like".  How true that is.

I love having the opportunity to share in her joys, carry her burdens in prayer before the Lord, learn from her mistakes and teachings and relate to her challenges as I read her daily journals of mommyhood and life.  It is precisely this that I appreciate about her.

She finds the beauty in the ugly, the grace in the struggle and the perfect in the imperfect.  She doesn't bemoan, grumble, complain and lament her children or the ton of stuff on her plate.  She is gracious and real.  She makes mommyhood dignified.  Thank you Ann.

May 9, 2013

Back In Time

5/09/2013 — cori
This morning I was looking for a picture to show the kids from years ago.  On my quest, I came upon this one instead and laughed out loud.


My....where have the years gone.  What is hilarious about this picture is Chloe and the disgusted look she is giving my hand that is laying peaceably upon her beloved stroller.  How dare I touch it!  She is even taking the precaution of pulling her arm away from my grip of death upon her stroller.  Oh the memories.  Chloe was, shall we say, very "particular".  She wanted what she wanted and nothing besides that would do.  She was two afterall.   There was never any coercion of our daughter.  We couldn't make her smile, say 'hi', hold our hand - nothing.  There was no parenting manual out there that was written with our daughter in mind.  The only thing that worked was, "HELP God, HELP!"  And He did.  He showed us exactly what Chloe needed and graciously kept me dependent upon Him every moment of the day.  Thank you Chloe for that gift.

Here is another great example of 'we couldn't make Chloe do anything".  In this picture we told her to simply smile.  This is what we got instead:


This was snapped as she was vehemently explaining, without words, why she didn't want to smile.  Gaping and acting shocked seemed more appropriate to her.

Now I can look back and laugh and remember the fun parts of the day.  But I'm sure on that day I was exasperated, frustrated and fed up.  I'm sure the only thing I wanted was for her to do what I wanted her to do.  It has always been a struggle of wills with us.  The boys were normally always very obliging and sensitive to what I wanted.  They lived to please me and still do.  I have to always make sure never to take advantage of that.  But with Chloe, God had something new to teach me.  The whole 'free-will' thing.

He gave us free will.  That was probably one of the hardest things to give (besides his life).  When you give someone their own choices, you risk that they might not do what you want or love you in return the way you want or act the way you desire.  I realized very early on that I could snuff out Chloe's free, stubborn will and force her to be my minion and obey out of fear or I could love her enough to give her the choice to fail over and over again.  It's never any parent's desire to see their children fail, but the fruit of that failure teaches them more than the parent's words ever could.  Some people are just wired like that. And I know one of them.

And I love that personality to pieces.  She is so much like me in so many ways and then in other ways she is a mystery to me.  I do not possess her stubborn quality, let's call it 'persistence' instead, that's the beautiful side of the coin.   She knows who she is, what she likes and wants and no one can manipulate her otherwise.  I LOVE that about my daughter.  She sets her mind on a course and sees it through to the end.  When she was two, that wasn't such an endearing quality, but now I'm ever so thankful for it. 

As we parent we must keep in my mind that we are raising little people who will eventually become adults who will have to survive without us.  We can't only worry about controlling them in the here and now.  Control is so damaging to a little heart.  It sucks the life out of it.  It leaves them without hope and/or confidence.  It makes them think they can do nothing without someone else telling them what and how to do it.  Our immediate will is not as important as training their little wills.  Training - not controlling.  Teaching them how to make good choices is hard.  It's easier to make them make the choices we want.  But that's not how God parents me and that's not how I want to train my little people.

Parenting is the hardest, funnest, saddest, happiest thing I've ever done.  It was never meant to be easy.  Character, joy, thankfulness and heart changes are born out of conflict.  We need to see these parenting challenges as the gift they are not the inconvenience to our day that we often do. 

When the doctor handed me my newborn on the day he/she was born, I could hardly breathe.  I couldn't believe I was holding the most precious gift in the world at that very moment.  Awe blanketed my face.  Now that they are 14, 11, and 9 I pray I still look at them in awe with a heart bursting with gratitude as I did the day they were born and not take for granted one single day with my most precious gifts in this life.


May 2, 2013

Forgiveness

5/02/2013 — cori
The other day Bennett was struggling through an issue.  He was angry with someone and felt justified in his anger and attitude.  Justifiable or not, it was eating at him and controlling him.  After trying for a few hours to deal with it on his own, he asked me in his sweet, typical way, "Mom, can we go talk on your bed?"

He shared the situation with me and asked me what to do.  We had such a neat time of talking and sharing our feelings and hearts with each other.  I explained to him that forgiving someone is more for you than for them.  That when you hold on to that anger, it's only affecting you and growing bitterness in your heart.  That bitterness ends up controlling you and discolors everything and everyone you see.  It leaves a sour taste in your mouth and everyone who comes in contact with you.

It's hard to remember that we were forgiven by Jesus before we even knew to ask forgiveness.  If He can do that for us, how can we with-hold forgiveness from others.  We are underserving and in need of mercy - just like the person who wronged us.

I told him how I really love the song by Matthew West with the aptly named title "Forgiveness".  We turned the song up real loud, sat and listened to it, let the truth of the words fill our souls and just enjoyed the moment of learning together.  God knows I needed it as much as he did.  A while after the song was over he came up to me sporting a huge grin and announced, "Mom, I let it go.  I feel better now."





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