Monday, June 30, 2008

Colossians 1:5-14

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and

asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

And we pray this in order that you
may live a life worthy of the Lord and
may please Him in every way:

bearing fruit in every good work,

growing in the knowledge of God,

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and

joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Paul's writing style presents these verses as 3 sentences including 23 prepositional phrases. Ugh. My brain works best in bulleted form, so I have to break up his passages to "see" the patterns. I'm enjoying a fresh look. I've swiped it, and I'm voicing this prayer for myself, my husband, my family, my friends, my classmates & my church. Thank You, Father.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


James comes in this morning (and I use the term "morning" loosely) and wants to know what time we're leaving for Luke's all-star game. I am distracted by how much of his physical appearance is consumed by his "bed-head".
"When are you getting a hair cut?"
"I was going to today...but..."
"Today would be GREAT!"

First, he didn't really want to call any place to see how late they were open.
So I got the phonebook and a phone and began to dial a number.
Then, he didn't really want to go anywhere that only took cash.
So I hung up and dialed a different number.
Then, he remembered a friend of his gets his hair cut at the feed store.
So I (are you kidding me?) so I thumbed to the "F" page to find the number for "Feed Store, The".
Then he realized he didn't really know the NAME of the feed store.
So I thumbed through the yellow pages under "feed".

He called Hayne's Feed Store just 'cause that sounded pretty good. (and this is actually what he said:)
"Yes sir, do y'all have a hair cut place there?"
(Landen and I were DYING in muffled laughter: "yeah, I need 30 pounds of oats and a perm") Barely able to maintain composure, and with only one little break in his voice, James ends the call, "Ok, Thanks." click "pshtshsshsh-ya-ha-ha!" All three of us burst into an explosion of rolling laughter.

"He said Marshall Feed Store has a hair cut place."
(but of course!...What has our town come to?)
After calling the correct feed store, he found out they DO close early on Saturday.
We're back to calling hair salons.
He finally found a suitable establishment that is open and accepts debit transactions so he headed out. "You don't sell rye grass seed? Ok, just a little off the top, then."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

31 Poser

In complete immaturity, I’ve often approached Proverbs 31 like a checklist of attainable accomplishments. (And I haven’t walked away too shabbily)

Her husband has full confidence in her… check.
She brings him good all the days of her life…15 years: so far, so good, check.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…fall festival costumes, hello? check
She brings her food from afar…sometimes I go to the W*lm*rt in Longview! Check
She gets up while it is still dark…duh…check
She provides food for her family…check,check,check,check,check,check
She portions for her servant girls. (servant girls? I can have servant girls???)
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks…guns, the girl got cannons…check
She sees that her trading is profitable…ebay?…check
And her lamp does not go out at night…ahh, the subtle, blue glow from the computer screen…check
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy….meals on wheels…check.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet…I claim the Texas exemption on this one, but I do buy a lot of red stuff at the consignment shop…check
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple…bedspreads: check…FINE linen?…purple! yes, purple!…check
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land….I know he takes a seat with some old guys at Wh*t*burger every morning….check
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue…most of the time: check
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness…double-check.
Her children rise up and call her blessed…uhm…

When my children are grown, and we’ve just enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal…do you really think some of them might say, “Mom, you’re so good at what you do.”? “Mom, it’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished!” At my funeral, will they talk about the costumes, clothing, and casseroles? Or will they be comforted by my love for Jesus that was absolutely undeniable throughout their lives?

You see, I’ve been a poser. My pride has been stroked by outsiders ooh-ing and ah-ing over my skill and productivity. And that would be great if my family knew me as a woman who fears the Lord. I’ve been checking off a list knowing that the proverbial woman who accomplishes these tasks will be praised at the city gate. I’ve been stacking surface stuff in order to prove what’s at the core of my being. I’m getting city praise and my family knows how stressed and fussy and harried I am in the midst of such achievement.

I must shift my focus. I should spend more energy on my heart. Praying for the Father to cultivate in me a tremendous fear for Him, a consuming hunger for His Word, and Spirit-driven passion for sharing His love. My family’s gonna know what’s up. They’ll see it, feel it, be changed by it. I think the “family manager” stuff will continue to bloom. But the flower will be alive and springing forth from healthy, nurtured soil; not some plastic sprig of pansies shoved in a wad of dried moss. And do you know what comes from a flower? Fruit! And what comes from fruit? Seeds for MORE fruit! My daughters will not have to be posers! My sons will not marry posers! Yay God!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Personal Body Language

This was day #12 of Mari Alice's new lifestyle called "I only poo-poo on the potty".

At 22 months, she came up with it on her own and we just jumped at the chance to see if she was "for real". She has taken two road trips, and logged five mornings of VBS in addition to her customary church attendance --never soiling a diaper. She is a regular princess...literally: "Her Royal Regularity".

Today we let her try wearing big girl panties since we planned to stay home all day. She did it with a little group effort. We set the timer and every half hour somebody took her running to the bathroom. Her siblings are very pleased with her overall commitment to the program.

In the beginning, she was flushing with such excitement that I worried the little brute would yank the handle off, so now I insist that she flush with her thumb with a calm, downward motion. When Philip came in this afternoon, she proudly hoisted up her shirt to babble something about pretty pink panties. Then she walked him through the whole process: "Tee-tee, plop, yay, shroo, bye-bye, fosh, tum." Translation: "I went tee-tee then plop! Yay! When I was through, I said good-bye and flushed the toilet with my thumb."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekend Update

VBS came to an end Friday at noon. We high-tailed it outa there in order to drive to the Gulf for Ardyn's drama camp production. We had a fun, safe trip and "Peter Pan" was impressive. We pulled back in our driveway just before midnight. Mari Alice was in major meltdown mode, but we quickly got her into bed with her purple blanket and all was well.

On Saturday, Philip worked all day and then held baseball practice until dark. The remaining folks cleaned the house and prepared for Sabbath. After their baths, the girls wanted to watch a Disney movie on ABC. Rock Camp? I was finishing up chores, but caught most of the plot. I took a break from ironing and stretched out on the bed. Ardyn hopped up to cuddle. As the movie was wrapping up, she offered what I found both sensitive and insightful. The antagonist was a snobby rich girl who bossed everybody around. Her absentee mother came to a performance but took a cell phone call during the girl's big number. It brought the girl to tears. Ardyn hugged me tight and whispered, "You know, that mean girl just needs her momma."

After eating some REALLY good "Southwest Roast" from E-mealz, the adults concluded the day with a very late viewing of "National Treasure 2". Good flick.

Today we went to early service, then to Bible Study. The college students came over for lunch. After we visited, a couple of them stayed the afternoon. We watched NT2 again. (The boys wanted to see it.) We returned to the church house this evening and then home again, home again, jiggity jog. Luke played lego with the girls while Landen escorted Mari and I around the block on his bike.

Tomorrow we shall begin yet another school year. Slow and steady will get the job done. Tomorrow is also the final weigh-in for biggest loser. We are not the biggest losers this time, but Philip has pretty much reached his goal weight (-51 lb) and I have lost 29 pounds. I still want a pound a week for the rest of the year. We'll see.

Thank You, Lord for family and friends. Give us a hunger and thirst for You this day. Bless J-dub at Jr. High Camp. Thank You for all that You are. I love You.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bec!

I remember Tim calling me one day in 1992 and saying that he wanted me to meet "a girl". I could take you to the exact seam line of cobblestone walkway at ETBU where I smiled and said "hi" to Rebecca for the first time. My first thought: Wow, she's cute and seems so quiet and sweet...I wonder what she sees in my brother." I glanced over at Tim: his weight shifting from one cowboy boot to the other; hands in his Wrangler pockets; smiling broadly. The other half of my first thoughts: Wow, some of her quiet sweetness seems to have already rubbed off on him!

I don't quite remember how it all went down, but soon Rebecca and tiny Justin had moved into my apartment to keep me company. Then we moved to a bigger apartment. Then we moved into a duplex. Then her sister joined us. My memories of those years are disjointed, but vivid. Rebecca liked Spring breezes and wanted to let them in the house. I like cold, compressed air. Once the climate control issues were settled we would lounge and watch 90210. One time - no three times - Justin made the bath water "BLUUUUE!" with the bottle of Selson I left in the tub. I took him to INNERVIEW rehearsal a couple times. He was awsome. When he was hurt he would grit his teeth, squint his eyes, and say "Eees Gonna Be Beh-tah!" I loved watching her be a mom. She was so mature and selfless. And I loved watching her interact with Tim. They were completely cute in the kitchen....making the first batches of "Sexy Bean Dip". I asked why they had to call it that. Tim, in total 90's jargon, explained, "It's so hot. It's just totally FINE." (whatev)

In December 1993 she married Tim and I got totally kicked out of my own room. I moved into Tim's room at the parents' and Tim....well....he started sleeping with my friend. Yuck. A month later Rebecca was my bridesmaid, and I got me one of them sleeping buddies :)

I LOVED the Sunday afternoons when their family would come snooze at our house. That was total coziness! At Tim's ETBU graduation party, I was sitting next to Gramma Billie. As we watched Rebecca from across the room, Gramma leaned over and whispered to me, "I can't quite figure it out, but that girl LOVES Tim, doesn't she." Smile and and nod.

Rebecca is one of the strongest women I know. She possesses the best aspects of both capability and dependency. She has faced terrible grief with tremendous grace. She faces each day with a peaceful, easy feeling (and the possibility of a practical joke or spontaneous goofy spell). She knows the balance of duty and delight. I love that. (Can't do it, but love it) Her children already rise up and call her blessed, and I'm sure the response will continue and grow. Her husband is fortunate to be loved so well.

Well, there's my blog about my hero, I mean, my sister-in-law. Happy Birthday, Friend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Other JW

I have a very fun friend,
Who doesn't read my blog.
Literacy's not her problem,
Her dial-up tends to bog.

Her husband keeps her posted,
And we thank him for that.
But he finds my prose misleading,
Which forces us to chat.

That's all I want to say about
My running, thinning pal.
Except her hair - have you seen of late?
She IS a stylish gal.

I pray she'll find some restful sleep
Before the night is done.
(And as for her hubbie...)
Should I ever want an editor
I'll simply hire one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good Things

I am doing something new for VBS this year. I'm am NOT a lead teacher. I stepped down from that position a few weeks ago when I knew in my "gizzard" -as my dad would have said- that I shouldn't lead out. I am helping one of my dear friends with the 5-yr-olds. She offers brilliant decorations, skillful preparation, and undeniable love for the kids. My only job, it seems, is to show up and be cute and obedient. She says I'm accomplishing my task beautifully. I provide a delicate balance of behavioral guidance and comedic relief. Did you know that when I'm not in charge of something I can be downright sweet?? A very fun girl, indeed.

J-dub gave me the afternoon/evening off! Woo-hoo. I had lunch with a friend, then dropped by the consignment shop. A thunderstorm and a Gateway worship CD accompanied me to Sonic where I sipped ice water and fine-tuned my grocery list. I drove by the ballpark to see if the fields were too wet for Philip to have practice. They were. In one brief moment, the entire evening opened up. Then in the next brief moment, he was called out to work and that evening slammed right back down. We miss him, but the overtime will surely help finance this weekend's trip to pick up Ardyn and next week's all-star travels.

I am LOVING E-mealz. James frowns upon my enthusiastic lack of creativity. Yesterday he asked, "What was that meat stuff?" I couldn't remember the official title, so I walked to my printed menu on the front of the fridge. "Hmmm, Meal #5: Hashbrown 'n' Beef Bake" I proudly announced. He just rolled his eyes. Apparently, since I don't spend hours dreaming up these dishes and compiling grocery lists, the meals are perceived as cold and heartless. Alrighty, then. Cold and heartless, it is...because Hashbrown 'n' Beef Bake is warm and wonderful, and James knows it.

We watched "Stranger Than Fiction" last night. VERY good flick. cons: one scene of spirited kissing and one ridiculous men's locker room hairy hiney scene. also occasional misuse of God's name. pros: Wonderfully unique idea, smart script, great actors. Though probably not intended by the director, I noticed deep hints of parallel truths concerning God's role as the "Author and Perfecter of our faith", presenting oneself as a living sacrifice, and the tension between destiny and freedom to choose abundant life.

Thank You, God, for today. I pray for each child in our class. Reveal a tiny glimpse of Your Glory. Give them each a hunger for Your Presence and for Your Word. Thank You for Tina, Sarah, Diane, and Pam. Give them perfect strength this week. I pray for the ladies in Bible Study who met without us today. May we continue to learn contentment. Thank You for James. What a wonderful gift. Thank You for Philip. Shelter him as he works tonight. Bless Ardyn's time with Abby. Thank You for KJS. He shines so brightly for You. Thank You for letting us see You all nature and movies and people. I love YOU more than anything.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trivial Pursuit

I have 5 year olds in VBS this week. This morning's Bible story opened with a probing question: "Who knows who MOSES was?". The room buzzed with an enthusiastic rush of "I do - I do!" As we narrowed down the information, we discovered that Moses had 10 fingers, he had a family, and his hair was not real.

That last comment came from a Johnson. I shot Ashli a puzzled look. She whispered, "Luke said that guy who held up his stick so the people could cross the river...when that guy came down from the mountain with the rules, Luke said his white hair was NOT real!" Thank you, Charlton Heston!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Smokin' Hot

Luke made the all-star team, so the Johnson baseball season has been extended for several more weeks. Since Philip coached Luke's regular season team into winning their division, Philip is the all-star coach. (We'll haven't we known THAT for a while? I just go around the house calling for him: "Hey, 'All-star Coach'!") I really do feel sorry for the guy I was dating when I saw Philip play softball (in cut-off baseball pants) for the first time....that other poor fella is happily married now, but I had to say 'adios' and go get me somodat left field.

I'm in a tacky mood, huh? (I already knew Philip was a nice Christian guy and had talked with him several times, but the wardrobe...and the skills....the deal was sealed!)

ALL that to say: the boys are at practice. The girls and I are previewing children's musicals. I got bored and came to blog. They are still dancing and singing along to music they've never heard before. Bedtime is moments away.

We swam at our next door neighbors' all afternoon. For dinner I made my almost-famous "kitchen sink eggs". They have everything in them except the k.s....onions, peppers, mushrooms, turkey sausage, spinach, jalapenos, and just a few hash brown potatoes. They are EXCELLENTE'! I made whole wheat pancakes, but before I put the last round on the griddle, I tossed in some rolled oats, honey, some dark chocolate chips, and a big, sloppy spoonful of natural peanut butter. Yeah baby!

Wish you coulda been here.

Thank You, Lord, for tasty food and sunny weather. Thank You for my very handsome husband. Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, may we do it all for Your Glory!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Bible Study

Last Tuesday was our first Summer Bible Study meeting. The Study is "Calm My Anxious Heart". We went around the room and shared "who we are", "what we did before we had kids", and "one thing you probably don't know about me". Two ladies had grown up in our town, but everyone else seemed to have a "I didn't mean to end up here" story. There was a general consensus that our fair city leaves much to be desired.

After everyone had shared, the leader opened the book to give an introduction to the study. She got as far as the subtitle: "A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment". The irony distracted me. With gentle sarcasm I said, "We don't need contentment; we just live in a crummy town." We all giggled shy, guilty giggles.

This week we read about a woman named Ella. She is characterized by the "holy habit" of contentment. In her journal, she indicated her prescription for contentment she adapted from the writings of E.B. Pusey:
*never allow yourself to complain about anything - not even the weather.
*never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
*never compare your lot with an other's
*never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
*never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.

Upon reading the first one, several of us felt like our only options were to give the book back and try this study another time or take a vow of silence. Today we met in the youth game room. Do you know what I said the first nanosecond I was in the building? "Wow, something in here smells really bad!" Yep, that's me: Happy Henrietta.

I'm not sure how to process our group time. During the course of the discussion today complaints were voiced concerning husbands, children, childbirth, nursing, cleaning, and tardiness. Even our resident "Pollyanna" was mildly bummed out. I know I need to pray more...for myself and for others who apparently struggle with the same mindset I do. I want to be an encourager. I want to be encouraged.

The most comforting thing about this study is that Paul reveals contentment can/must be learned.

"...for I have LEARNED to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have LEARNED the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." --Philippians 4:11-13

I'm trusting God to teach me. Sharlene said something wonderful today. She said "we need to stop chasing after what we think would be ideal and just understand that this is God's deal." I think that is completely catchy: 'I'-deal vs. God's deal, me vs God, which will it be? I suppose maturity comes when we realize that God's deal IS indeed ideal!

To all my Merry Marshallites, I'm blessed to be studying God's word with you. Pray for me, I'm praying for you.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ain't No Hidin' Under No Bushel

The pastor spoke about "shining" in the dark world. I was convicted once more of pursuing the life of a cave-dweller: my light shines but doesn't benefit many folks outside my modestly decorated cave. The rest of today was different.

One of Landen's baseball buddies' mom called this afternoon to invite our family to a birthday party. She said she was also planning to take the boys to see a movie. She spoke hesitantly, "I know you guys probably have some it be ok if Landen went to see a son wants to see the new Adam Sandler movie." With my most optimistic voice, I calmly replied, "You know, I don't know much about that one. I usually look stuff up on to see if it's something that would be a good choice." She hadn't heard of the site, but agreed that she didn't know much about it either. I told her we were looking forward to coming to the party, and she said she'd call me later about the movie.

I looked up the movie and let Philip read the review. He gave a definitive "No ma'am" and went back outside. I called the mom back and told her. She was grateful for the information and then began a lengthy monologue on the difficulties of raising children "these days". She explained that she and her husband had recently renewed their commitment to attending church following his decision to accept Christ. "The boys don't wanna go, and it's nobody's fault but ours". She seemed sad and disheartened. I assured her that boys their age don't want to do a lot of stuff that's she should just stick with it. I told her she's doing the right thing. I mentioned scripture that we had studied at home. After she shared some more, she ended the conversation with, "Having friends like you is gonna be a huge help." I'm not sure if she was still talking about the boys or the adults.

This evening I took Mari for our daily jaunt. The first mile didn't really count because we stopped and talked to so many neighbors. I usually just smile and wave, but I felt compelled to at least offer one positive greeting as I passed. I don't know why I assume I'll bother someone if I initiate a conversation. "Insecurity" Philip would diagnose. Today: Security. One lady was watering her yard and on my second time around asked, "Are you going again?" I said yes. She asked if she could go get her shoes and go with me. Okie-dokie. We walked another 2 miles together. She talked. I just listened (and perspired) and encouraged her when I could. Some stuff she's going through, I just cannot relate with. All I could say was, "I'm so sorry that you're going through this." When we were through, she said to call her when I walk again. I guess I didn't bother her, huh?

Thank You, God, for our pastor. Thank You for our church. Thank You for our neighborhood. Thank You for our home. I want to shine for You. Help me come out of my cave often enough to have an impact on those You have placed in my path. Help me keep our home hospitably approachable --that beautiful balance of spiritual and physical peace-- so that we can shine for You as a family.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Out of Sight

I visited a new eye doctor for my annual exam the other day. My eye health is stable and my vision poor. He gave me a prescription for new lenses; I'll have to go back on another day to deal with frames. I used to wear contacts during high school and college. At that point it was discovered that in addition to severe near-sightedness, I have a substantial muscle imbalance that causes double vision unless my brain quickly compensates - which it does skillfully. I was given prism lenses in my glasses that compensates for the imbalance - in those few centimeters between the lens and my eye. The first time I put the new glasses on, the network of nerves and muscles along the side of my face just melted away into overwhelming relaxation. Point being: I must wear glasses. However, when I sing or speak in public, the glare of the lights off my rims is distracting to me and makes me feel pinned in. Then there are datenites when I just want to gaze across the table at Philip and not see blurry ovals surrounding our gaze. Or (prophetically speaking) my frequent trips to water parks... Anyway, my previous requests for occasional contact use have fallen on deaf ears. (eye doctors with hearing impairment??) THIS doctor heard my request, sympathized with my reasoning, and trusted me to be wise. He ordered a sample of daily contacts. Ironically, they are not intended for daily use at all, but for special occasions.

I'm a tiny bit excited. The BEST part will be to slip a pair in for the visit to the frame shop. Hello? I think this should be a standard operation procedure. How are you supposed to select frames when you can't see the mirror???? I've experienced this countless times since that first time in 9th grade. You put these dud glasses on, turn toward the mirror on the wall, and the attendant asks, "What do you think?" hmmm. I'm not sure, since I CAN'T SEE! I usually just sit down with my top 5 and use the magnified mirror at the desk. I always approve of how my glasses look from eight inches away with my neck jutted out -- in order to get my eyes closer to the mirror without getting my face any closer. No more. I'll slap a couple "dailies" in, put on a chic pair of frames, and peer into the mirror across the room to get that "first impression" ruling. Who am I kidding? It will still be a ridiculously stressful decision: "We need you to pick something to stick on your face everyday for the next two years...for every outfit, every activity, every mood...and we have over three thousand frames to choose from!"

I had left my sunglass clip on the kitchen table, so driving home with my pupils dilated was painful and probably dangerous (woops). Squinting helped with the painful brightness, but not so much with seeing. After I made it home, I made lunch and checked email: two activities I won't take for granted in the future. I typed a reply "by faith" just like my 6th grade keyboarding teacher would have wished. And my kitchen is simply annoying when blurry. I had a cranky lunch. To myself, but aloud, I kept saying, "I can't see and it's tickin' me off".

Oh, I have to share this. When you take an imaginary photo with Ardyn's Tinkerbell camera, a recorded voice proclaims, "Seeing is believing!". Rest assured, Luke has already preached against such heresy. "Ardyn, the Bible says we walk by FAITH, not by sight. NOT SEEING is believing!" Ardyn goes to drama camp next week where they are producing "Peter Pan"...I apologize in advance for any apologia that may occur...may she speak the truth in love.

I stole this one off Rebecca's blog: Helen Keller was asked if there was anything worse than blindness. She replied, "Oh, yes! A person with sight and no vision."

Thank You, Lord for my eyes AND my glasses. Help me have Your perspective on life, and when I "can't see and it's tickin' me off"...thank You for being near. Increase my faith. Give me vision, not just sight. Help me accomplish that for which You've set me apart. I love YOU.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


"Spelling is a pain in the neck. I do my best with it, but I figger if a guy has tremendous gifts as a writer, his audience will forgive a few slip-ups in the spelling department.
I mean, it doesn't take any brains to open a dickshunary and look up a word. Anybody can do that. The real test of a writer comes in the creative process. I try to attend to the big picture, don't you see, and let the spelling take care of itself." - Hank the Cowdog

Things of Which We Do Not Speak

For months, when someone asks what grade my oldest is going into, my response has been, "He's finishing up the sixth grade." Over the weekend, a friend asked me if Landen was going into the seventh grade. I sharply corrected her with my pet sentence: "No, He's finishing up the sixth grade." She just smiled and squinted at me in her loving way. I'm in four kinds of denial, folks.

He's twelve. He's going to a youth group welcome rally with James tomorrow night. He'll be adding more and more "youth" activities to his schedule as the next months and years unfold. His shoulders are broadening, his boundaries are mind: not so much. I can hear Robin Williams' voice as the genie in Aladdin. "HUGE COLOSSAL POWER....itty bitty living space." My poor, poor brain.

He's so excited. He's kept up with his "May" responsibilities (regular and punitive) with a super attitude. This youth group stuff has hit a motivation button that until this point had been dreadfully elusive.

I'm reading "A Mind at a Time" by Mel Levine. His primary focus is to discover each child's mode of mental operation. He capitalizes the strengths and modifies the learning process to avoid exploiting the weaknesses. God is using this completely positive approach to go beyond my normal conviction of selling LP short. He's inspiring me to turn the corner with Landen and "name it and claim it" so to speak. Landen has many strengths. I pray that I can train him up into those strengths. I want to equip him to accomplish tasks despite weaknesses. And in all that training and equipping, I want him to be encouraged by me. wow. Lord, keep working on me.

Landen has always been an encourager. When he was three, he would regularly smile at the WalMart stockers and say, "Yoh do-ning a gwate job!" He has a divine demeanor with older folks. He will sit and chat...asking questions about pictures on their wall, pets they used to have, and tons of other questions that many might think too mundane or awkward. People love to talk about themselves, and Landen listens with very little commentary, just a steady, interested smile. He is an absolute work horse. His muscles and mindset allow endless joy to be found in an outdoor project. Also, he can remember sequential facts or numbers like a stinking Rolodex. He may not be able to put into words the central theme of a narrative, but he can tell you what page he was on when the phone rang....and what number showed up on CID. When I've asked him what happened in a particular chapter of a book, instead of giving a summary, he begins to recite the first several sentences from 11 pages ago...then gets frustrated that he can't remember any further. In the past I've been sure to see the comprehension issues as weakness (and have been verbal about it). And in the past I would fail to see the memory skill as a strength (and thus refrain from being verbal about it) Do you see how I've screwed up my kid? Perhaps this turning season will provide a turning leaf.

A new leaf. Se...Sev....SEVEN..TH gr...ade leaf. There. I said it.

Thank You, Lord, for new leaves. I guess they're all old leaves to You, but you allow us to learn and grow and discover while You patiently guide and illuminate our way. Forgive my impatience. It is not of You. Help me love & teach Landen the way you love & teach me. Gently, purposefully, patiently. Keep him and hold him as he ventures off (with baby steps) into some new arenas. Help me be open-minded and approachable...and encouraging. Open my lips to speak love.

Monday, June 02, 2008

More Cool Pool Pix

Ardyn's favorite part was diving for rings.

Ashli jumped off the edge 638 times!

After gulping half a gallon of pool water, Mari Alice decided to chill -- poolside.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

No Sweat

Ashlin & Sean

The girls and I had a great adventure helping the Thompsons move to Ft. Worth. Heavy furniture and faulty tarping brought about much perspiration throughout the day on Thursday. But we made it! After we unloaded the trailer, we headed for Flannery-ville. Their backyard is so wonderful, it took an extra day just to soak in the fun. We returned in time to lay out church clothes and come to grips with the mountain of laundry on the living room sofa - a literal mountain. (At present, we've only come to one has actually folded any of it) Philip is running taxi service for the older children's activities this evening. Mari Alice and I are about to hit the streets...just one street...our street...and it's really a road...We're going for a walk! Thursday's sweat-a-thon started a landslide of weight loss. I'm gonna see what fresh, new "number" we can come up with in the morning. Toodles.