Count Your Fruits.

augs

It was a sunny Monday, the forecast taunting of heavy rains for the entire remainder of the week. As a parent, this puts me in total panic mode: if it rains, my kids cannot go outside. If they cannot go outside, they cannot burn energy. If they cannot burn energy, they go crazy, I go crazy, and the house is almost burned down. But not from energy. Because that is all pent up.

So I knew what I had to do: TAKE MY KIDS AND STAY OUTSIDE FOR 12 HOURS. Nah, I’m only kidding. But seriously. Take the day and seize that sunlight. So, I decided to do this park outing a little differently. This wasn’t going to be some magical event where we invited a bunch of friends, bought Lunchables, and learned something.

I don’t even think I put sunscreen on them that day. They all had shoes on both feet so that’s a total win.

My entire purpose in this trip was to count the fruits. I am growing so bone tired of counting the losses. I don’t want my children to grow up remembering a mother that was plagued with anxiety, worry, a sorry attitude, and coffee breath.

I just wanted to count the fruits. To count all the growth we’ve made as a family over the past few years. That there are things calming down and making sense. I wanted to play with my kids and and take a loaf of bread and a butter knife from a drawer in the kitchen and just slap some peanut butter on wheat and talk about all of their favorite things and not worry about if they are sitting still or being loud or not. Just counting all the good in them.

So that is exactly what we did. And they ate every single bite of those dry sandwiches and now I know that if we got a cow they would name her Clarabelle, and a bull, Billy. I know that boys can like the color purple and that no one should ever be allergic to sugar. I discovered what a Lego ninja is, that I worry too much, and I forgot to pack extra clothes “just in case” someone splashed in the creek at the park. Because someone did. And someone else forgot to restock the van with extra clothes. But we had a beach towel in the back. I remember that because I am counting my fruits.

Maybe counting all the good is too much. Maybe it is easier to complain. Maybe you are like me, and making lists overwhelm you, because when you see all that has to be done in a day, you crumble it up in a ball and decide the only thing you can do that day is PUT ON PANTS AND RUN TO GET DOG FOOD.

But what if I told you that we are supposed to be counting? How are we reporting to our people the goodness and grace and mercy of God? Are we counting the fruits? Are we testifying?

By the time I drove from my home to the park that day, I had several prayer requests answered. And now, looking back, I wondered if I would have even noticed the brevity of answered prayer if I had been clouded with self-focus.

So, here’s a bushel of fruits:

Three kids. Healthy ones. Fun ones. The BEST ones for us.

A strong, crazy amazing marriage. What you see is what you get with us. We really are this happy all the time.

A vehicle that has taken us to every doctor appointment, dance recital, family trip over the past five years. I always said I would never own a minivan. But man, it’s been such a great one.

A town with fantastic law enforcement that keep our area safe and their authority is still respected. You don’t think that’s a fruit? Turn on the news.

A church home that has been a well of fresh water for us the past year. We are in a season of rest and that congregation has been so warm. We are grateful.

Our little farm that the Lord just keeps expanding the borders. I am starting to think we have half the county in our backyard. And I do things like MAINTAIN SWINE HEALTHCARE. That’s code for “our pig had hemorrhoids and HOW DID SOMEONE WHO USED TO GET WEEKLY MANICURES END UP ON A FARM?”

Date nights on the couch. I know that this makes me sound old, but I look forward to that more than any of the times that we have been to the theater. Except our first date in 1999 when we saw “The Sixth Sense”. MIND BLOWN.

Family that is there for us whenever we need anything. And lifelong friends that are doing exactly the same thing.

Go home to your people + report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, + how He had mercy on you. //Mark 5:19

Friends? Start counting. We are at the good part.

Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom

This is a chart that I ran across a while back online that totally puts things in perspective for me. I think I really strive to be that “Super Mom”, but fail by leaps and bounds. And it is no wonder. If you notice, it is not what the Super Mom “does” that is necessarily wrong, it is that her focus is skewed. She is concerned more about herself and what she thinks a good mother should be than the truth that her Creator offers of the high calling of motherhood. Guilty. As. Charged.

Feel free to share this with mamas that may need the encouragement today!! The website from which I borrowed it isĀ {here}. I know I need to read this after we arrived home from the park today and I listened to a 20 minute tantrum about a lime popscicle. Really. And when is lime anyone’s first choice anyways??

Nature Journals for Kids.

nature journals for kids 5

A few weeks back, I helped out with a Botany class, and the assignment was to make a nature journal from recycled materials, then fill it with findings from the outdoors and journal thoughts, observations, and scriptures. Since I had a little bit of the supplies left over, and we live on what seems like endless acreage full of nature (AND POISON IVY, WHICH I APPARENTLY PICKED UP), the kids got to work and quickly created journals of their very own.

What You Need:
* Cardboard pieces (we used cereal boxes)
* white copy paper cut into half
* a hole punch and glue
* cloth to cover the cardboard
* ribbon or twine to bind the book together

nature journals for kids 2

First we created the journals using the tools above. It required a LOT of glue, so heads up. Next, we took brown paper bags and ran outside while the journals were drying to find blooms and plants to glue on the pages.

nature journals for kids 1

nature journals for kids 3

nature journals for kids 4

It was a great way to spend the afternoon and help us further identify plants. What is your favorite way to teach children about nature?

PS: If you want to read about summer in the 1990s South, that post is (here).