My oldest daughter Rachel has one amazing, yet sorrowful story of her prior life back in Ukraine. Despite her past, she is defying the odds and growing up to be one very sweet, thoughtful, helpful, and loving daughter. Her desire to have a baby sibling has not grown old. She is still very much in awe of Dennis and loves him very much. It is obvious that she will one day grow up to be an amazing daughter. Yes she had a very rough start and saw way more than anyone should ever see in a lifetime, yet she has truly forgiven all the people that have hurt her in the past and has been able to look forward and make sure that she doesn't repeat those mistakes. Early on I told her that she could do one of two things. She could wallow in self-pity and blame the rest of her depressing life on her past, or she could choose to forgive those that hurt her because they didn't have the family, money, support and or love of God to carry them through the very hard times, and learn from her past and make sure to never be what they were. She has chosen to live---- and not just live---- but LIVE! This picture doesn't do Rachel justice. She is helpful to everyone-- even her obnoxious, bugging older brother who she made a sandwich for his lunch this morning.
A staple in our house is baked potatoes baked in the oven not microwave. They are so versatile. Yesterday after church we had leftover baked potatoes topped with chili, cheese, sour cream, and butter. We had cut up broccoli, carrots, radishes, and cucumbers dipped in ranch dressing. Simple, cheap, delicious, and filling.
We went to an afternoon bible study at our friend's house. They are the ones that live out in the country. On the way there, the girls kept saying,
"Their apples are delicious."
"I hope they let us pick some more pomegranates."
"Even their nuts are yummy."
Needless to say, the visit was very nice.
If the kids were good there, we promised to take them out to a restaurant. It wasn't a bribe but by holding them accountable to shine their light and knowing that as a family they all had to help each other to be their best, it was a great incentive for them. Sadly, William got a little wild and threw a boot, angrily yelled at a llama, and knocked over a chair. Admittedly, he knew that he had not been on his best behavior. This is something that we have struggled with for a very long time with William, it is a huge factor as to why we started the evaluation process for him back in kindergarten. Anyway, while driving home we made very clear to William that he had made some bad decisions and we weren't sure whether or not we should go to a restaurant. At the very least he may be eating crackers and water if we did go. This got him to thinking and finally we got the right response out of him instead of the huge grin that he normally can't wipe off of his face.
All the other kids had been really good, and William did seem sorry for his behavior, so we drove to IHOP. Before we were seated, John had another talk with William. John was going to give him grace as long as William promised to try even harder next time. William's face was one of genuine thankfulness mixed with seriousness. We want William not to fear discipline and punishment but we want him to want to be behave because he knows that we love him and will forgive him when he messes up. Exactly like God wants of us. If God was all about us behaving perfectly or else we go straight to hell, He would not be someone that I would to entrust my life too. I think our children need to always know that we are also always ready to forgive when we see that they are truly sorry for what they did.
Here are some pictures from the restaurant.
Most of us had breakfast for dinner. After we all gorged ourselves, there was still tons of food left over. Sveta and Caleb decided to bring the rest of their grub home to eat after school today.
I had to save the best for last this morning! Lately Annalyn has been doing so well that I had to take a moment to brag! I'm sure you already knew this when I posted here, but ever since I blogged about her two year anniversary, I have been waiting for the day where I can finally boast about her progress! And progress she has made.