Wow oh wow the Thanksgiving holiday is over. We survived. We actually thrived despite all that life and Satan threw our way. Though I was obviously tired through most of it, I enjoyed it with all my heart. We celebrated with friends and family, new and old. The laughter and love that filled our home on Thanksgiving will always ring in my heart. We are blessed. That morning while I sauteed veggies for the stuffing I remembered my Dad when a certain song came on the radio. It was the song that played in the car on the drive to the hospital to see him 3 years ago before he passed away. It still feels different knowing that he is not here. I miss you Dad.
Lately, the days have been filled with organized chaos. Mostly good, but definitely some new parenting challenges. Though I can't really share the intimate details because I want to respect my children's privacy on these matters, I can share how fragile, naive, and easily influenced our children are. It only takes exposure to one person, one movie, or one event to send your child down a wrong path. Believe me, we have experienced this more than once in the past week.
A lot of our children carry around this unseen baggage of hurt and pain from their past that they have slowly unpacked over the years. This past week makes me think they are completely moved in. It has been overwhelming. Only by the grace of God do we find the words, the patience, and the perseverance to press on. In my own strength, I seriously can't do it.
It brings comfort to know that He is with us always. He brings a lull in the midst of a storm and I will sing his praises. Yes I will.
Just as there are sure to be trials, there are always smiles. Spending an hour teaching Paul all about heaven as he asks questions about his sins, his special room in heaven, and his future wife. Oh, what a moment to treasure. Praising Annalyn for using some old fabric to cover a chest and seeing her eyes light up.... priceless. Watching Nolan play with his big brothers outside as he learns how to hang a towel over a window in the play place.... just as priceless. Watching Adam read stories to Dennis and Alex as a favor to me while I make dinner.... little things like this that make life so incredibly wonderful despite all the trials that try to bring us down.
I am constantly reminded to take a deep breath. Whatever seems overwhelming at the moment can be tackled later. I promise. And when later comes, it doesn't seem quite so big.
Take the garage for instance. It has been a mess for months. It seems like the kids were adding trash to the giveaway pile everyday. I was overwhelmed as I literally wished the mess away every time I saw it. Well believe it or not-- my daughter confessing to sneaking sodas in the garage got me to finally tackle it today. If she was able to take a chance and confess this along with a slew of other things, I could certainly tackle the garage and live to tell about it.
As I made my way to the trash to throw a handful of papers away I saw that this plant's leaves had been hacked with a stick by one of our kids. This plant had sprung up unexpectedly months before and John and I both had decided to let it grow. But it was time to pull it. Imagine my surprise when I saw all of these little jalapenos growing on it! It tickled me pink-- and Julia too. We both like to imagine that we are amazing gardeners and for a split second, holding up this plant, I felt like one. This is what I call grace. A simple pleasure that filled me right up. If one little jalapeno seed could fall out of the trash and make its way to the dirt and actually grow into this without any extra watering except the rain, I can only imagine how much greater our children will grow as we sow into their hearts and minds the Word of God.
After getting the boys ready for bed, I turned on an episode of Little Bear. While my four littlest watched Little Bear, I watched them. I am blessed.