So, last night as I was happily teaching my 2 year olds in Bible class the weather outside was turning very nasty. So much so that when we gathered in the auditorium the elders opted to cut services short so we could get home and take cover. It's Texas you know and we have tornadoes here. Well, since I was teaching Bible class my husband and I drove separately to services (he likes to primp and I hate to be late....bad combo). Bad move on my part. I hate driving in general. I especially hate driving in the middle of storm. I really really hate not being able to keep my eyes on the horizon when there is a tornado warning out. But...it is what it is....and it let to some enlightening conversations for my six year old.
As we were pulling out of the church parking lot, Hunter noticed someone had opted to drive their motorcycle to church. He was very concerned about this person's well-being and prayed for whomever it was to get home safely. (Turns out it was one of my good friends' dad, and Hunter was so excited to hear that he had made it home safe and sound....so much so that he cheered!)
As we are driving, I was asked what we would do if we saw a tornado while we were in the car. So, he got an education as to how a tornado works and what you are supposed to do. And then there was the point where he was very adamant about staying close to Daddy's car because if a tornado is going to get us, he wants us all to die together. Why is that? Cuz Papa and Granna live too far away and wouldn't know to come get him if something happened to him. So...we spent some time learning Papa, Granna, and Aunt Crystal's full names in case something were to happen to Mommy and Daddy one day. He has now been ASSURED that they will come and get him if such an occasion were to rise. He also learned the full names of a couple of church members "just in case". He's quite the planner and NEEDS to know everything.
The there was this conversation to top it all off...
H: Does God have a remote in heaven?
M: What does he need a remote for? (Had no idea where this was going)
H: For the weather. Does he use a remote for the weather?
M: I kinda think He just tells the weather what to do and it does it. Like in Genesis when He said "Let there be light" and there was.
H: I think He uses signs.
M: You mean like sign language?
H: Yeah. He does a big circle for the sun and then wiggles his fingers in the air for rain.
M: What about lightening?
H: (After thinking for a bit and not coming up with anything) I think that just comes with rain
M: Ok, well what about a tornado?
H: I think He just does His hand it fast circles.
So there you have it. God controls the weather through sign language :)
Why do we teach our children it is unacceptable to run in Walmart (Kroger, Target, you pick the store) but it is fine to run in the church building? Why do we teach our children to say excuse me to people we do not know, but ignore the fact that twice a week they shove their way through crowds of people with no acknoledgement what so ever? Why is it we always want our children within sight when we are out on the town but dozens of children go unattended after Sunday morning services? Why is it we seem to teach our children to respect total strangers but not our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Yes, some of these questions can be answered with security reasons...we don't feel it necessary to watch our child's every move after services because we are among brethren and don't have a fear of them being snatched. But...can they not also get in to other trouble even when among those they know? Every congregation I have ever worshiped with has this issue, and it is concerning for me. It was annoying before I had children when a kid would just shove past us without a word, but now after having my own children I find it quite unacceptable. "Well, they have been sitting still for an hour and need to get some of that energy out." Nonsense! They are able to sing and stand during that hour so an hour is a stretch even during a long sermon. But even if it it an hour, so what? That makes it okay for parents to turn their children loose in the building, free to mow down the elderly and the babies simply because they "need" to let off some energy. Really? Come on! They are perfectly capable of waiting 10-15 more minutes til they get home to run wild.
My kid is far from perfect. He is a typical, never-sit-still, 6 year old. We have our moments where he has to be taken out for discipline issues. But I bet you won't see my child running around after services. He stands right by his mother and will continue to do so until he is old enough to control his urges. He has been given trial runs (while I watch from a distance) where he is allowed to go hang out with his friends, but in the end his friends decide to run through the building and leave him in the dust. He tries very hard to obey but eventually his friends' urgings and his lack of self control get the best of him and he runs. So with me he remains. He is allowed to visit with his friends but if he wishes to play, he must wait until we get home or until we get to our friends' house.
And it does not matter how many times the elders make an announcement from the pulpit to WATCH YOUR CHILDREN, it never works. And it always makes me wonder....what is wrong with parents??
I shall step down off my soap box now :)
**Edit** The Prodical cat is a bit further down in the post now. Today I am feeling quite chatty....lucky you! :)
Lately I have been counting my blessings more and more. As some know, at this time in my life I have found myself providing lowcost childcare services to single/low income families. While this is not what I feel I will be doing for the rest of my life, I do believe this is God's will at this time. I have learned so many things during my time as a babysitter, but the two biggest things I have come to value is the teachings I learned growning up and the fabulous son I was blessed to have. I don't have many issues with "my kids" while they are here, but the stories I hear from their moms (and sometimes the children themselves) simply blow me away. You see, Mrs. Ellen has specific rules at her house. These rules are to be followed. Period. Last summer is when I began this venture of caring for children whose parents I did not personally know beforehand. It's often a dangerous thing to undertake such a position as it leaves you liable for issues that may arise. However, this is something that I feel I am meant to do right now, and so that risk is worth it for me. Last summer I reached out to a mom that was left high and dry without a babysitter the day before she was to move and start a new job. Her son was 5, the same age as mine. She brought him over during the summer and the boys happily played together. Because the boys would be entering Kindergarten in August, towards the end of the summer we began working on numbers and letters. First actually learning them and then learning how to write them. It was a rather simple task for Hunter, as he had already been taught these things and it was simply a review for him. However, the other child knew perhaps 1/5 of the alphebet and knew his numbers up to five. That's fine. I totally understand that some children learn at a different pace than others and having a mom that works long hours and isn't there to teach him often leaves a gap in education. What struck me as....odd, I suppose...is a conversation I had with his mom. I shared with her what the boys had been working on (and the boy often excitedly showed her his writing) and she was a bit dumbfounded. She told me that she is unable to get him to sit down and even color without having him cry and throw a fit. This is also the same child that did not know what praying was. Hunter prayed for their food before lunch and the child had no clue what he was doing. He asked me what prayer was and then asked me who God was. Hmmm....
I keep a two year old girl part time. Really I just fill in the gap between her parents. Often times Mom has to go to work before Dad gets home so she stays with me during that overlap. Usually she is here for lunch. I sit her on the couch (yes, I let the children eat on the couch!) with her food and she always eats every bite. Mom and Dad are amazed. "She never eats like that for us." They also have an issue with naptime/bedtime at home. She refuses to go to sleep without being rocked.
Towards the end of last year, I kept a one year old little girl. Her mom often asked when picking her up if she had been mean today. You see, at home she likes to hit Mommy.
I keep a 15 month old little boy right now. He refuses to sleep unless he is being held. He sits down in the floor and throws a hissy fit if the word 'No' is spoken to him. I do have a bit of trouble with him as I am not allowed to discipline the way I would if it were my own child (i.e. The rod) but as he is getting older he is learning that he does not get away with such things at Mrs. Ellen's house.
And finally, I watch a 6 year old girl from Hunter's class after school each day. We have quite a few enlightening conversations while she is here. Last Friday we talked about how she needs to be helping her mom clean the house. Mom is VERY pregnant and has a fulltime job. She needs help. She came over yesterday and excitedly told me that she helped her mom clean on Sunday. This was followed by, "I'm not allowed to do anything when I get home except sit in my room and read my books." Why's is that, you ask....well, because she SPIT medicine in her mother's face on Sunday night. "YOU DID WHAT?!" She just giggles and tells me that it was nasty, as if that made it okay. We talked a little bit and I explained that we don't do that kind of thing to our mom. She gets it....she's a very smart kid. But it makes me wonder what she is learning at home....other than the fact that beer tastes nasty. Yes, her GRANDMOTHER allowed her to try beer one time, but it's okay cuz she didn't like it.
Sometimes watching these kids makes me sad. Sad about where they come from. Sad about the things they are learning is "okay". Sad that Mom seemingly has blinders on where her children are concerned. I hope that in some little way I am making an impact on these children's lives. Perhaps that 5 year old boy will one day remember our talk about God. Perhaps the 6 year old girl will remember the time we talked about how nasty beer is and will choose not to partake in that lifestyle. Perhaps that 2 year old will make the words "yes ma'am" a part of her every day vocabulary and not just something she says at Ms. Ellen's. Perhaps.
But all of these children make me so grateful. Grateful for my dad who raised me in the way of the Lord. Grateful for a dad that taught me the PROPER way to be a Godly parent. Grateful for a son that yearns to obey his parents. Grateful for a husband that is helping me raise him to do God's will. Grateful to be able to help these kids in some tiny way. Just grateful to be a child of God.
The Prodical Cat
The day we were to leave town to go to Grandma's house to help clean everything out, disaster struck. One of our three cats simply vanished. My husband and I searched high and low for "that darn cat" (did you ever see that movie??) but she was nowhere to be found. To be clear, we have three indoor cats. We have two that stay inside 24/7 and we have one that likes to run out when we open the door but within 2 or 3 minutes decides life indoors is MUCH better than the great outdoors so she runs back in fairly quickly. They have all been indoor cats since they were babies. They don't wander off and are very much lap cat. Well, somehow one of the exclusively indoor cats pulled a magic trick and escaped. All we can figure is there is a small crack at the top of the garage door and she must have squeezed out through there. All we knew was she was gone, nowhere in sight. My boys were pretty bummed. She was the favorite of the house. While we were gone, we had a friend from church stop by to check on the dogs. While he was over, he would look for the cat (at that time we were not 100% positive she was outside because it was SOOO unlike her and it was possible she was curled up somewhere in the house sound asleep). He never saw her. He set food out on the porch for her just in case she came back. While we were gone, as far as we know, she never came back, but the night we got back I set some more food on the porch. The next morning it was gone. Interesting. We were excited to know that she was still around and that nothing had happened to her. Although we couldn't say for sure it was her that was eating the food, we were fairly certain. The other stray cats don't often come near the house. A couple of days later I glanced out the window and there she was! She was just sitting on the porch steps like it was a normal thing. I quickly went to the door and opened it. She bolted. Vanished. How odd. I excitedly told my husband that I had actually SEEN her.
A few days later, we get home after dark and there she is sitting on the porch. She sees the car and takes off again. A few days later my husband and I are sitting in the living room and he bolts out the door. She was out enjoying the sunshine, blissfully chasing a bird! But, she spots my husband and takes off running yet again. However, it's daytime this time so we can better see her (she has a very dark coat so she is hard to see at night unless you catch her eyes in the light). He somehow manages to corner her in the shed outside. She climbed under the floor. So we start taking the floor boards out one by one. She jets out of the shed and in to the woods. The fear in her eyes was obvious. It is the stangest thing. I have had cats my entire life, most being outdoor cats, and I have never expereienced this before. It was like she had not spent the first year and a half of her life in the house. It was as if she had never had any contact with people.
My husband is bound and determined that he is going to catch her. Problem #1: she is quick....you know, cat like reflexes....yeah. Problem #2: She has claws. They hurt. Problem #3: She can go many places humans can not...like under the road by way of a man hole. Problem #4: Typically the only time she comes to the house is at night after the living room light has been turned off and the porch light is no longer on....yes, smart cat. He called animal control to see about borrowing a live trap, but there was a $100 deposit. I'm not real crazy about that idea. Lately, we have noticed that she hadn't been as quick to take off lately when she saw us. She would hang around for a few seconds more each night. He read on the internet that tuna is irresistable to cats. Well, we know our cats love it. Any time they hear the can opener they come running because maybe, just maybe Mama is opening some tuna and we will get the juice :) So on Sunday night (going on three weeks of her being outside) my husband decides to put a can of tuna out on the porch. Well, guess what. Every stray cat within 4 blocks of us came for a visit. Ha! Not the best plan. We ran the other cats off but it was gone the next morning and we really had no way of knowing which cat actually ate it. We decided we probably would not be doing that again. Well, during the week I typically stay up until my husband gets home around 1 a.m. Last night was no different except that last night I neglicted to put any food out for her. Around 9:00 I glance out the window and see her sitting on the porch, looking dead at me....much like an unhappy child :) Mom forgot to feed me. I'm certain this is what she was thinking. I sat very still on the couch, unsure of what to do. I was certain she would run if I got up and went to the door, but I had to try right? So I got up and off she went....but it looked as if she just ran to the driveway and hid under the car. So I went and got some catfood and poured it in her bowl to be sure she heard it. I left the wooden door open so I could see out the glass door. It took her about an hour and a half to come back, but she did. And then she spotted her sister....she ran up to the door and started talking to her sister that was going nuts at the door. The third cat (who is actually her littermate) quickly joined them at the door and they continued to chat. I slowly got up and walked to the door, hoping not to spook her. I let her littermate outside with her. They went round and round a bit, hissing at each other and then they both happily walked in to the house together. And it's like she was never gone. She is sound asleep right beside me (I kicked her out of my lap) on the couch.
Hunter has been so worried about his Christmas kitty (Santa brought her to him two christmases ago) that he prayed for her every night. This morning when I went to wake him up, she followed me in his room. I laid down in bed with him (I am SOOOOO not a morning person) and woke him up. He heard her meow (how he can tell the difference between the three of them I will never know) and sat straight up in bed. "SPARKLE! Oh, Mommy you found her!!!" He ran (and this is truly my son that typically takes 5-10 minutes to actually wake up) over to where she was to hug her. It was the sweetest. While I personally was enjoying having less of the animal kingdom in my home, I'm always excited to be able to put a smile on my little dude's face :)
Im sure many of you have heard that the small town of West, Texas was ROCKED by a fertilizer factory explosion last night. Had we not been in Bible class in the northern part of the city, we likely would have felt the blast here in our home in east Fort Worth. I grew up in a small town. I cannot even begin to imagine the impact this is having on so many people in that small community. I learned from my mom today that the factory is owned by members of the church. Many church members were among those that lost their homes. It has been a rough week here in the United States. How much worse it would be if we did not have that hope of Heaven that some do not currently have.
Conversation with my 6 year old before our bike ride. My bike tires were flat. We have a pump that hooks up to the cigarette lighter in the car.
H: "Oh, so that's how it works. You take air out of those tires (my car) and put it in these (the bike)."
Me: "Yeah, sure." more than a little sarcastic....he usually "gets it". Apparently not this time. Cuz several hours later we get in the car to go to the store...
H: "WAIT! We have to put the air back in your tires!!"
For his birthday, my son got a nerf basketball hoop that hooks over the door in the house. He has been playing with in NON STOP since the day he got it. I have been spending a few hours here and there teaching him the PROPER way to shoot a ball and it has been a little difficult for him. For one, he's never had to be TAUGHT the proper technique for a sport. He is a natural in baseball with a near perfect swing. I've only had to change which foot he steps with to throw a ball...so this was a new experience. The second problem is the way I teach it, is the way I was taught....and it sounds a bit goofy (but it works). The third problem is he is just not real sure that Mom knows what she is talking about. Dad is the one that takes him to the gym. Everyone knows Mom does not run unless a bear is after her. And it's been a while since I have joined them at the gym. So, he has a hard time believing that Mom REALLY knows what she is talking about. Next door there is a vacant house that has a regular sized hoop out front that he goes and plays on daily. So, this weekend we splurged and bought him a goal for the back yard. He LOVES it. Since I usually have kids until late in the day, I hadn't gotten a chance to go out with him and play. Until Tuesday. Wow. Mommy can shoot. REALLY FAR AWAY. This, of course, is relative to what a 6 year old can do. But the following conversation followed our time outside together.
Me: "So now do you believe Mommy knows what she is talking about?'
H: "Yes" (while giggling because he hadn't actually TOLD me that he thought I was just full of it but he knew his secret was out)
Me: "Now are you going to listen to me when I tell you how to shoot"
H: "Oh, YES MA'AM! All the time."
As I said previously, we made the journey to Alabama to basically settle Grandma's estate. I haven't worked THAT hard in a very very VERY long time. Thank goodness for sweet (and strong) husbands, for slave driving sisters, for laid back daddies, and for OCD moms. Apparently, we all compliment each other and were able to get almost everything taken care of. Despite the rain. And exhaustion. And soreness.
We all brought various items home with us. Some simply because they were useful. Others because they reminded us of Grandma. Today I finished unpacking a large portion of the things I brought home. Now every time I walk into the office, I will have fond memories of her. I now have a craft section in the office. It's something I've been meaning to do for some time and finally got around to doing it. I brought some of her sewing things home and they now are scattered amongst other things but the thing i am most fond of is her portfolio. It was made years ago and just happened to be among the items I was packing up from her office. There were dozens of dress designs in the portfolio and I fell in live. So now, along with a picture of her are 4 sketches of dresses she drew. It was really the perfect finishing touch on the room.