25 / 52 – Too Big
Jun
26

25 / 52 – Too Big

I’ve had several people lately, tell me how big Silas is looking.  That he’s growing out of his little kid features, looking more like a teenager.  “Sure,” I thought.  “He’s growing.  But ‘teenager?'”  I’m not sure about that.  Then as I was going through my phone pictures the other day, I saw this one I snapped of him at nap time.  Um…why does my eight year old look like a teenager?!?!

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Okay, not like an actual teenager yet (he was actually holding a little toy that I’d crocheted for him during this nap.  I removed it because it was positioned funky).  But for reals!  Look at his arms.  Like there’s some muscle definition going on.  And his face!  I can almost see facial hair on it right now!

Speaking of hair, this kid has a lot of it!

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I guess when both your parents have crazy thick hair, it’s bound to happen.  Although, it may have something to do with the fact that we shaved this boy’s head five times before his first birthday.  Back then his locks resembled Golem from the Lord of the Rings.  Yikes!  Not anymore :)

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I guess babies grow.  That’s just what happens if you keep feeding them!  And right now this kid can out eat me at every meal!  He’s an eight year old boy, so sometimes he’s careless and annoying (his brothers words.  And mine sometimes.) and some days he pushes the boundaries.  But he’s also sensitive and independent, willing to try just about anything, great with babies, kind, and has a heart to serve.  He’s in a funny stage I guess.  Still holds my hand and wants to cuddle, but eats all his food and then mine.  He’s pretty fun to be around almost all of the time, and I’m thankful we get to be the ones watching him get muscle-ly arms :)

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24 / 52 – Scribbler
Jun
18

24 / 52 – Scribbler

Hi All!  This is sort of a ministry update/Project 52 post.  So it doesn’t look like we’ll be heading to Ireland in July like we were originally planning/hoping.  We had a meeting with some of the missions leadership from our sending church a few weeks ago, and there are some things that are just not it place yet for us to be able to go.  I know the Lord is working out everything in His own time and way, but that was a really difficult meeting.

When you are called to the mission field (or maybe anything the Lord calls you to) there’s so much you don’t know.  There are people that can help you, be there for you, share their experiences maybe.  But you’re kind of walking your own path with the Lord, and I think that’s how He means it to be.

There’s so much in this journey that has been incredible, miraculous even.  We have seen God do impossible things, show up and take care of us in crazy unexpected ways.  And I trust (most days at least!) that He will continue to be God and remind me of my frailty, that He’ll show us He delights in doing for us what we cannot (and don’t have to) do for ourselves!  What kind of a Father would He be if He didn’t take care of His own?  It’s His heart to, and I’m learning that in deeper ways in this season.

All that to say, life feels like a game of red light, green light right now.  So much is up in the air, and yet there is so much to be faithful in.  The Lord has definitely been encouraging us, showing us things that we need to give attention to.  The process right now is day to day, and I’m learning to be okay with that.

I know this sentiment is true for Branden and I, and it’s true for the boys.  This general feeling of moving forward while having to sit still.  It’s not always an easy place to be, and yet it’s where Jesus calls us to be right now.

Ethan, my always sweet, easy, funny little boy has had a few rough days as of late.  He’s also just truly at this in between stage of baby and big boy.  He still wants to cuddle, still cries when he gets scared at night.  But he talks like a big kid, plays like a big kid, and for the most part, keeps up with his older brother.

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Lately I’ve noticed he can be easily agitated.  Instead of coming to us for help when Silas upsets/messes with/tackles him, he reacts quickly and often with some force.  Now I know, he’s a boy.  Boys can be rough. But it’s been a definite change for him.

The other day, we were at a park.  Silas, true to his people loving personality, quickly found another boy his age and started to play a round of tag.  It wasn’t long before Ethan came to me whining and frustrated.

“I hate tag!”

The word “hate” has recently been blacklisted in our house.  Thoughtless use of it earns a consequence.

“Why don’t you have a conversation about it?”

“Silas always wants to play things I don’t like!  I know he won’t listen!

More extreme statements.

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“Well, I think you should talk to him.  Or is there something you want to play by yourself?”  I meant it as an encouragement, but there was no reasoning with him.  He had decided the situation was unfair and there was no solution.  He spent the next twenty minutes moping/arguing with his brother.  Silas offered to play other, more Ethan centered games, but in the end, Ethan’s mind was made up.  He wasn’t going to play.

Eventually he came back to the park bench I was sitting at, exasperated.  No encouragement would sway him.  Silas came over to help but to no avail.  Ethan looked down and found a piece of white sidewalk chalk someone had left behind.  He bent down and picked it up.

“Do you want to draw?” I asked.

He nodded.

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Silas quickly found a purple piece of chalk nearby.  “Here you go; now you have two!”  Ethan seemed satisfied, and big brother went back to climbing the playground equipment.

Ethan put the chalk to the sidewalk.  He began moving it back and forth with quick, sharp movements.  No pattern, no picture.  Just broad, forceful strokes.

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“Why don’t you draw a picture Ethan?” I suggested.

“I just feel like scribbling Mom.”  He wasn’t being disrespectful.  He was being honest.

Ethan scribbled on the pavement for another ten minutes.  He noticed that his hands had taken on the periwinkle hue of the chalk he’d been eroding.  He held up his palms to show me.  A few more quiet minutes of coloring passed, and his mood had changed.  I guess some scribbling time is what he needed.

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Some days I feel like that too.  Frustrated, discouraged, unreasonable.  As if life itself might swallow me whole.  The solution for me isn’t scribbling.  Sometimes is crying or talking.  Or maybe the more accurate combo of blubbering!  Eventually, it’s praying.  And Jesus is always waiting.  He understands us, leaves room for us to be upset, to let it out, to learn.  If I’ll listen, I can hear Him speaking.  And somehow the sound of His voice is the difference.

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Sometimes He means for us to be weak, not so that we are overwhelmed, but that we come to know His heart to carry us.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   – Isaiah 41:10

23 / 52 – Teachers
Jun
12

23 / 52 – Teachers

Branden has this memory about his dad from when he was a little kid.  He tells the boys about how Papa would wake him up early in the morning, when the rest of the house was still asleep.  His dad would take out his Bible and read.  Branden would wrap himself up in a big blanket and sit on top of a heating vent to keep warm, enjoying this quiet time with his dad before the day began.

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These days, the boys ask Branden to wake them up before he leaves for work too.  When the sun is just taking the horizon, before the day really begins, they sit with him at the breakfast table, Bibles open.  Branden usually reads aloud to them, then there are a few minutes of discussion, questions, even laughter.  Teaching.

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Last week we got to drive up to Wyoming and visit with Branden’s parents.  The time at Grammy and Papa’s house is always both full and relaxed.  One of the days, we went fishing, which is a normal activity during our trips up to see them.  Warm, fresh air, lots of sunshine, quiet waters, and family.

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When the kids were really little, fishing was still exciting, but sometimes it was more chasing and playing than actually fishing.  This trip, Papa taught Silas how to cast his own rod.  He listened and tried to follow as Papa gave directions and showed him how to reel, cast, and hold the line.  Papa helped him, gently repeated instructions, and encouraged progress.  And Silas learned how to do something he’s wanted to on his own for a long time.

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We’re learning right now that so much of the richness God has for us to enjoy is in people.

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I’m grateful that teaching happens not only at desks with books and pencils, but also on docks with fishing poles and at the breakfast table while the sun rises.  We learn much more than what we actually hear or read.  In these moments, our boys are learning about patience and kindness and character.

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And fishing :)

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A few other pics from our time at the pond

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Aunts and little cousins

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And turtles who take bait meant for fish :)

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“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”   – Psalm 90:12

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