No Ordinary Sunday

A few weeks ago, we had one of those Sundays that happens every so often; the kind where everyone wakes up late and groggy, when little ones are hard to motivate to get dressed and Mom and Dad don’t feel so motivated themselves, the baby won’t nurse and keeps crying and it just seems like every thing we normally do is this hard, up-hill battle for some reason. It feels like chaos and it makes you ask “why are we doing this?” with hesitant sighs.

My husband had wrangled our restless little sheep into the van that morning. We were already 15 minutes late for church and I was still trying to soothe the baby. The doors to the van were open in the garage and my husband stood at the door with his shoulders hung and a look of defeat all over his face. I said, “honey, this is supposed to be a day of rest and this doesn’t feel very restful. Let’s call a spade a spade and do something else all together.” He relaxed and agreed. We unloaded the van, changed into our comfy clothes and relaxed. I finally got the baby to eat.

Then we decided to get out and about. We needed some fresh air to clear the yuck hanging over us all. We piled into the van and headed to a newly opened donut shop. We smiled and giggled as we crowded around a tiny cafe table and binged on sweet treats. My husband and I leaned way back in our chairs and clung to our warm coffee mugs we had brought in with us. Sigh…this was better. We smiled and laughed with each other. We ran into neighbors and I even saw a gal who I had gone to high school with way back when.

After our sugar coma, we loaded back into the van and went for a drive. We have a favorite neighborhood here in town. The kind you dream of living in one day…So we lazily drove the streets of our favorite neighborhood looking for houses for sale and dreaming of what could be one day. We decided to begin the trek home after our little dream session, but there was one more neighborhood we wanted to drive through.

We pulled into it with groans of opposition rumbling from the back seats. We assured them we wouldn’t take long this time.

Suddenly, my husband gasped and stopped the car in the middle of the street. He looked at me and smiled as I grabbed my chest to calm my racing heart. He didn’t say a word but slowly put the car in reverse and pointed out the front windshield. There in the street was a little box turtle booking it across the street for dear life. I squealed with excitement, jumped out of the van and grabbed it, then hopped back in the car. The boys were ELATED.

“Can we keep it?!” “Can I hold it?” “What should we name it?”

We all giggled and talked about this little guy. My sweet husband made the split decision to drive to the pet store and get the lo-down on whether this would be a good decision. We decided to name the turtle “George” as we went into the pet store. The hubby and I distracted the kids with fish (so shiny!) while he asked the lady at the pet store about our new found gem.

Hmmm…not such good news. Apparently, wild turtles carry disease and have about a 5% survival rate if you bring them in from outside. Additionally, we would need to spend roughly $150 to get all the “stuff” needed to keep our little “George” alive. Boo…those weren’t good odds. I envisioned my highly emotional 7-year-old melting into a ball of tears at the discovery of one dead George in a few weeks…ugh. So we decided it was time to free George and relocate him. Maybe we could even find a lesson in this too. But um, not in the store. We again distracted the boys until we could get back in the van and break the news to them. Weeping and gnashing of teeth goes over so much better in the privacy of your minivan….

And, oh, the tears. Well, one child cried. The other cheerily complied and was excited for the next adventure we were about to embark upon. (Mostly because he knew it would annoy his brother to be so compliant and not side with him on the matter.) Through blubbering and wails, weeping and gnashing of teeth, we talked with our broken-hearted boy about how important it was to do what was best for the reptile. It was a great time to be just like the Kratt Brothers! We had a “wild” animal in our possession that would die if we kept it. So the “best” thing to do, the most loving thing to do, was to relocate George.

We brainstormed together. Where have we seen other turtles? Where is there lots of space and nature, lots of options and things for him to eat and not a lot of busy streets? LAUREL PARK! We drove to the park not far from our house that had a big pond FULL of turtles. And, there was also a creek and lots of other places George could go if he didn’t like the big pond.

Our tender-hearted, tear-jerking boy carried him from the car to the pond. We gently laid the bag down (we didn’t want to touch the potentially disease ridden creature!) and let George walk out on his own. He was a little tentative at first, but seemed happy once he was in the grass. He stayed still at the waters edge for a long time just taking everything in. We all said our good byes and we were off.

Home it was. We had a very un-ordinary Sunday. It was time for lunch, time for naps. As we drove home, we discussed where we had seen God that day. We talked together and appreciated the opportunity to play, rest and be with one another in reprieve. The boys missed their usual Sunday morning experience and let us know. But we appreciated that they noticed the difference.  We aren’t a perfect family, but hopefully that day, our boys saw us struggle well together. I pray it was a chance for them to see that sometimes it isn’t black and white, it’s not either, or.  Sometimes it’s both, and. Does that makes sense?

I really believe that we swing towards extremes both ways in life; both in too much freedom and in too much obedience. It’s legalism creeping into our hearts. We aren’t saved by what we do or by our actions. It’s by who we know (Jesus) and who we are (His followers and children). That Sunday, we needed a break to be human beings, not human “doings”. We felt like all we were doing was going through meaningless motions and for what? It’s a fine line really. I don’t want my kids to bail on church “just ’cause”.  But I also want them to be able to recognize that if you are doing something just to do it, if it has lost it’s meaning, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you are doing and rediscover the meaning that was lost. (I.e. seek it out actively, not ignore it) At the end of our un-ordinary Sunday, I felt that way. I felt that we had sought out a new thing in order to refresh our hearts.

We are back to our ordinary Sundays these days. But that break was a blessing for us in so many ways. I’m so grateful for the funny memory of togetherness, playfulness and rest. We don’t do those things enough.

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Writing Through Writers’ Block

It’s been so long since I’ve posted. Here we are, entering the “busy” holiday season and I haven’t even been blogging before now consistently. How can I keep up?

Well, my friend Kara Butte over at His Story to Tell  is inspiring me. She has been blogging for 31 days straight! Even if it’s just a little something, she’s blogging it. I love that because I’ve started a bazillion posts, deleted them, over edited them, etc. Now I’m just saying “whatever!” and I’m going to write on through my writer’s block and my frustrations with trying to come up with a cohesive post.

Are you ready for the incohesiveness?

Ok, well first we went from this little house project:

How the Master Bath shower looked when we bought the house in April of ’11

to this little finished house project!

What the shower looks like now, all fixed! And useful!

We also bought some stain (Minwax’s “Ebony”) in a dark expresso color to change the color of the vanity in the master bath. Then I decided to get all Pinterest crazy on the den and did this above the fireplace:

Chevron love!

I actually did a bit more than that too. The picture of my baby daughter on the mantel? I spray painted the frame brushed nickel and I touched up the white on the boys’ picture frames. It really ties it all together. Now I’m on the hunt for bright yellow candles for those pillars….

I am so excited to be doing house projects! The roof got replaced last week and we changed the color from a light brown to black. Eventually/prayerfully this spring we will be able to paint the house and fix up some trouble spots. It’ll go from hunter green and a pale yellow (BLECH!) to grey with white trim and black shutters! YAY!

Now that the weather has finally decided to be cool/cold, we are thinking we will stay inside with our projects till spring. We might get out to the yard to clear some brush/yucky plants like honeysuckle out from the unkept corners of the back yard on the occasional unseasonably warm days that St. Louis brings us now and then. But otherwise, that’s it.

In people news, Cecelia is getting so big!

Sweet girl

She is eating food very regularly now. Her first taste of food was sweet potatoes. I tried and tried with that girl. But she just wasn’t ready until about two weeks ago. I was trying several times a week and getting no response from her. Now she is quite insistent that she get 3 meals in addition to still nursing every 4 hours or so. We’ve tried sweet potatoes, peas and a concoction of apples, plums and banana thus far. She is eating cereal and that was a surprise to me too. The boys never liked baby cereal!

Cecelia is rolling to get to things and moving all over the place too. She can go from back to tummy or tummy to back. She sticks her chubby little knees up under her tummy and scoots when something is out of her reach. It’s so cute! She is beginning to see how hilarious her brothers are too. She laughs at them on a regular basis and they are tickled pink that she will do so just by them talking to her or being silly with her. The boys love to play peek-a-boo with her and they usually argue over holding her. I try to let them as much as possible because I know once she’s mobile she will NOT want anyone to hold her, let alone her big brothers!

Cooper has lost a ton of teeth in the last few weeks. He’s the toothless wonder! I can’t believe he can still eat apples…somehow he manages. He also just learned to tie his shoes! Hallelujah! Jeremy taught him because I have no.idea. how to do that sort of thing. In fact, come to think of it, Jeremy taught all our children how to dress themselves….huh. (He’s the best!)

Chase is telling hilarious stories these days. He tells some tall tales though, beware. I have warned many a teacher that his imagination is quite active and just because he said something happened doesn’t exactly mean it’s 100% accurate. He just likes to talk….He does not however, like the change in temperature. He’s giving me all sorts of fits about his pants/shirts not being “soft” and “itching” him. GRRRR! I’ve had to just take certain items out of his closet because it’s not worth fighting with him over a stupid shirt. I’m grateful to hear from other Moms whose children have struggled with this that the kids do grow out of it and learn to handle it better eventually.

the boys, with a girl

I’m floored that next week is Thanksgiving. In fact, someone on FB said that their goal was to finish their Christmas shopping by December 1 so that they can truly enjoy Advent rather than feeling stressed. That jarred my memory of last year…ick! I went way overboard. So I’m hoping that a little craziness this month will help me have a more relaxed December. I want to enjoy it rather than be stressed about all that is on my list of things to do.

So there you have it, incohesive cohesiveness.