How ‘Bout Them Apples

Yahoo! I am shouting for joy today because something wonderful happened when my son Colin came home! He didn’t tell me about his apple. Now some of you are squinching your eyebrows together. And some of you are nodding your head because you know all about apples. In my son’s class there is an apple tree. If you have a great day, your apple stays on the tree. If after a warning you are still rule-challenged, your apples begins its descent downward. It can barely fall (1), fall half-way(2), or fall to the ground(3).

Colin is all boy. Those of you who are mothers of boys know exactly what I’m talking about. He can often be found testing balancing skills on the top of the swing set (yes, the very top), sneaking around corners with the Dollar Tree’s best ninja sword tucked down the back of his shirt, or putting Barbie in jail with no chance for bail. Life with Colin is never, I mean NEVER, boring! Last year in Kindergarten, Colin’s class had a color chart for behavior. He would bound off the school bus each afternoon calling out his color for that day. Each day I would nervously walk to the bus stop in anticipation of what that day’s color would be. Being a former teacher, I expected purple and blue days every day. Instead, I could have painted a beautiful sunset with all the red, yellow, and oranges he brought home.

This was a time of great trial for me. I cried and asked God why he couldn’t behave. God reminded me that he made Colin for a purpose, and he showed me all the other things my precious first born was good at. He was smart. He could ride a bike without training wheels. He loved Jesus. He was my baby.

Summer came and with it some relief over not worrying about behavior every day. At the end of the summer, Jerry Pipes came to our church and preached a sermon called “What Makes Families Work.” It was incredible. (Click on the link and scroll down to that sermon and click to view the sermon.) He said some things that really made me think. I decided that I was expecting too much from Colin, and I needed to back off a little. Alan and I had discussed that we wanted Colin to be excited about the learning and not so focused on the behavior.

First grade started; with it came the apple tree. With my new attitude, I waited on the school bus to arrive. When Colin hopped off, he was holding up his number one finger telling me “One time down, ” referring to his apple. “That’s ok, tell me what you did fun today,” was my response. I wanted to take the focus off of the behavior and on to the learning and fun of school. Each day the same, he would tell me his apple came down once (which translates as just beginning to fall off the tree). Each day, I responded the same. As days went by, he began to tell me more and more of the things he was excited about learning. I heard about all kinds of fun things he did and even what he had for lunch. I found myself excited to go to the bus stop instead of anxious.

He has kept his apple on the tree a handful of days. But today was the greatest. He got off the bus and came running, only stopping to grab a leftover birthday cupcake from our neighbor. He told me he went to art today and to the computer lab. We had hardly got in the house before he threw down his backpack and emptied the contents. He had a drawing from art, which I oohed and ahhed over. Then he pulls out a blank paper and says, “If I draw a bus and bring it back, I’ll get $100!” I assured him that it was probably fun money to use in the classroom. Then he grabs a gallon zip-loc with a book and paper inside and yanks it open. “Sit down, Mommy. I am going to read you this. I am really good at it. Then you have to sign the paper.” He read me the book and then went to wash his sticky cupcake hands. I came to give a little help, since the 2 seconds his hands were under the water didn’t really get the icing off.

That was when I noticed it. He had THE smiley face stamp on his hand. THE stamp that you only get if your apple stays on the tree all day. I asked him about it and he said, “Oh yeah, I had a great day today. My apple stayed up.” I was so proud. I was proud that his apple stayed up, but I was most excited about him not telling me that first. I was excited that his school bus drawing and his new book won out over the apple tree. I was excited that finally, he was focused on the learning. I was excited that I had forgotten to ask about the apple. And finally, I was focused on him. I hugged him a little harder. This is what being a mom feels like. It’s a good feeling.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Carol

Carol

This is the Day

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Don’t you just love the energy of kids. They live each day to the fullest. I was working on writing a devotion this morning when my daughter Faith woke up. Yesterday, I was feeling horrible! My husband had to stay home, and I stayed in bed for most of the day. Today, I feel like a new woman. Faith had her daddy’s undivided attention all day yesterday. They played doll house, tea party, club house, hair dresser…the list goes on. So this morning when she woke up, the first thing she said was, “Are you feeling better? Well, I’m going to play with you the way I played with Daddy the last day (yesterday).”

How could I tell her that Daddy didn’t need to write a devotion or catch up on five loads of laundry or call our Sunday School group? Or that he didn’t need to dust or plan the menu for next week? I couldn’t. I didn’t. So, here I am now to tell you I’ve just returned from an adventure with Faith, Minnie Mouse, teddy, and the mini cat from the dollhouse. We rode in Dora’s van to go camping in our igloo tent. We feasted on a breakfast of french fries, chicken nuggets, and ice cream sundaes. We slept briefly in the tent, and then woke up to watch the “TV” on the roof of the tent and eat again. No matter how much you ate, the food never disappeared. I have to say it is the best trip I’ve been on in a while.
Lord, help me to slow down and live each day to the fullest. Help me to enjoy each day you’ve given me with my precious children. Help me to focus on the things that are important, not neccesarily on the things that are pressing. Thank you for my adventure. Thank you for the lessons we can learn from our children. Amen.

Here are some pictures of the kids living life to the fullest!

Faith loved running through the sprinkler.

My little man punching the water! Boys will be boys!
Carol

Carol

God is Good

Have you ever heard the song, “God is good, all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine”? It is one of my favorites! I love praise music. This song has a particular memory for me. Sit a spell, and I’ll share it.

My old neighbor Marla and I were headed down a busy Highway doing some shopping in her husband’s little, white Chevy S10. I had just gotten the WOW praise CD, and we were jamming out to some praise music. Now if you’ve ever really jammed out to some praise music, you can understand that the gas tank was the last thing on our minds. There was no fancy ding to let us know that the tank was getting low (not that we could have heard it anyway over the music).

Well, we hit a stoplight. Then as we started to take off again, the truck sputtered. We looked at each other with big eyes and both glanced at the gas tank. A BIG fat E stared us both in the face. We looked up and saw we were about 200 yards from a gas station. This highway was 6 lanes wide, and we were in the far left lane. With all the traffic, we couldn’t get over to the right, so we pulled in the turn lane. There was a little space in the oncoming traffic, so we pulled into an empty parking lot, and Marla turned off the truck.

She asked what we should do. I was still juiced up on Jesus from the praise music, so I told her we were going to pray over the truck. And we did. We prayed that old thing would start and get us safely back across all 6 lanes and to the gas station up ahead. Amen. She cranked it once, and it sputtered. Nothing. She cranked it again, and it started — barely. By this time, we had turned off the music and the a/c. In silence, we found a spot in traffic to pull out and were able to go across all six lanes at once (a miracle in itself considering what time of day it was). The truck sputtered once but kept going. We were going to make it.

Marla pulled in the gas station and up to a pump as the truck sputtered and cut off. Talk about cutting it close! We were pumped! Not only with gas for the truck but with the goodness and grace of Jesus.

We often think about praying for the big things, but how much do we pray over the everyday stuff? Like having enough gas to get across traffic or being able to find your keys that you lost for the hundredth time or finding the right school shoes for your son. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

That didn’t say in most things or in big things make your requests known. It said in everything! My prayer is that I remember to take everything to him in prayer.

By the way, we sang God is Good along with the CD all the way home!

Now to the reason I’m singing God is Good! I have felt for a while now that God has been calling me to write. God’s hand has been evident in some things that have happened recently that have led me here. Today, I got an email from a really neat website that I had submitted a couple of devotions to. They told me that they liked my stuff and my first devotion will be featured this Friday, August 31. I will be featured as a guest contributor, but they have asked if I would like to do it more regular. Isn’t God good? I am really excited about this opportunity and hope God will use me to minister to others. Please check out the website, Faith Lifts. You can use the link on the right of my post to take you there. Don’t forget to look for me there this coming Friday. I believe it will be under devotions. Thanks! 🙂
Carol

Carol