Wednesday, May 26, 2010

fireflies and freedom

It's that time of year when, at dusk, the lawn lights up with little yellow flashes that can't help but catch one's attention...and maybe even stir up some excitement.  They do for Alex and me, anyway, and out we go with a "bug jar" in hand to see how many lightning bugs we can catch. 
Let me just say, I find it harder to track them these days, but they always let me know where they are with their little lights...usually just out of my reach.  Alex, being able to look up at them and see them from a different angle, follows a lightning bug for a long time in comparison to my tracking record.  He walks around with arms held high, reaching out and even jumping at times to get them.  He is determined, but so are they to be safely out of range of those little hands.
God spoke to my heart tonight on my firefly hunt with Alex. 
As I watched him go across the yard with eyes upward and hands held high, I was reminded of this: I am to follow Christ in such a manner.  My focus is to be on Him and my hands raised high in praise to my Maker and Sustainer. 
No matter where my feet may take me, looking up is the way to go.   
Sometimes, the path we are to take is hard to find.  On my knees in prayer, looking at things from a different angle, I find my way.
Observing Alex, he moved freely wherever, whenever.  He moved as the firefly moved and nothing hindered him.  Following God brings freedom that is unmatchable. 
Praise God for fireflies to chase...and the lessons learned while doing so!             

Saturday, May 22, 2010

school days

Friends are like flowers, beautiful flowers.
Friends are like flowers in the garden of life.
Are you a Daisy? Are you a Rose? Are you a Dandilion?
You can be what you are and I'll be what I am.
We can be friends in the garden of life.

Something brought this song to mind and it has been since the 4th grade that our school sang it for our closing program.  By closing program, I do mean closing...the school system consolidated and shut the doors of our elementary school that year. 
I have some wonderful memories from the four years spent there...I loved the playground -the swings, slide, hopscotch, teeter-totters...pretty much everything but the monkey bars.  Still not a fan.  During recess, I remember the 5th-6th grade teacher would always have a bottle of Tab with her as stood out there monitoring us. Yes, I know, some reading this have no idea what that is...ask your mom. :) 
We had this huge field to play in too...loved going back to the edge of the field by the woods.  Found an inch worm one day and my best friend and I kept it until it died.  We then wrapped it in a papertowel and buried it back there by the woods - I know we named it, but right now it escapes me.  There was always a "field day" at the end of the year, too, where we'd play softball and do all sorts of outside activities.  I know I got hit with the ball one year...softballs are anything but soft when they hit you. :)  I remember everyone making kites and attempting to fly them in the field, too...not for sure anymore if that was part of field day or another special day for us.
Inside the school was just as year we had a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs painted down the hallway wall.  Yes, there was only one hall...three classrooms and an office in that hallway with the cafeteria at the end.  That cafeteria served many purposes from eating to indoor PE, plays, meetings, IOWA testing, and special events.  A fellow once came and had a tarantula with him...our lady principal held that spider and I'll never forget it.  Still gives me chills thinking about it.  My best friend's grandma worked in the favorite thing ever served were the cinnamon rolls.  Every time we had chili, we had cinnamon rolls.  To this day, when I eat chili I wish I had a cinnamon roll for dessert.
As for school itself, I loved it...maybe except for when I was told I should learn how to write with my right hand instead of my left.  That was pretty crazy.  And, a couple of years later, I won a handwriting contest in middle school in spite of my lefthandedness.  I was pretty proud at that moment, I must say.  One of the other silly things I remember is the smell of the purple ink from the hand cranked copier.  You could always tell when someone was making copies.  The aroma would linger down the hallway.  I won an ice cream treat for a picture of a pumpkin I colored for a classroom contest once.  That made for a good day.
Lots of good memories of my school days at Rutherford Elementary...everyone should have been so fortunate to have gone to school there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

'Tis the Season

A friend of mine once told me in their family they celebrate birthdays as a season...meaning that the month of your birthday is your birthday season.  Gifts or special outings can be attributed as birthday gifts throughout your season.  I like that idea...alot.
I have always liked my birthday being in May.  Best month to have a birthday if you ask me.  Pretty flowers blooming, warmer weather, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, beginning of summer vacation...and me.  At the end of this beautiful month came my time to enter this world.  I dare say the world has never been the same, either. :)
Thinking about seasons always brings my mind to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Everything has a season.  All things, from life to death, have their moment in our lives.  In those moments between our first and last breaths, are the moments that bring joy and sorrow, pride and humility, excitment and depression...things we want to always remember and those that we wish we could forget. 
Moments have a way of getting away from us...let's make our moments count.         

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Graduate

Timothy Steven has graduated from Kindergarten!  He and his nine classmates had their graduation ceremony Friday night.  What a great evening for us all to see our children enjoying the celebration and getting ready to move on into 1st grade next year.  This wasn't easy for Tim, though...he has his mama's soft heart and has a hard time with good-byes.  He's been with some of his classmates for three years now and they are the best of friends.  
Before I could warn his teachers that the end of the year would be hard for him, I was told that Tim broke down the first day of graduation practice.  This was about two weeks before it was even going to happen.  He made it through all the practices, forcing himself to smile through it instead of cry...his teacher told me he would just keep saying "It's not today!" and go on smiling.  Bless his heart, he saved the crying for me on the way to school each morning of the last week of school.  
Tim did so well at graduation.  There were tears, but he kept on singing and saying his parts.  I am so proud of him!  He had lots of smiles inbetween the tears to let me know he was enjoying his big day.  Saying goodbye as we were leaving, seemed to overwhelm him and he couldn't look his teachers in the eye to say goodbye, so he just have them a hug and said goodbye without looking at them.  Denial starts at a really young age, apparently. :)  
On our way out to the car we passed by the playground and we let Tim and Alex play for awhile before going home.  Tim climbed up on the slide and sat and cried for a minute or broke my heart, but I know it will get better with time.  Sometimes a good cry is the only thing that helps.  By the time we got home, he was excited about figuring out when he could get together with some friends again over the summer.
Tim had great teachers in PreK and Kindergarten, did well in school, and made some great friends over the years.
God is so good! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Plan

Alex is always thinking ahead.  He is rarely without a plan, and can come up with a "Plan B" pretty quickly, too, when need be.  Some of my favorite times with Alex are at bedtime, discussing the Bible stories we read each night.  His way of looking at things is refreshing...and often amusing as well.
Just last night we read in Genesis 24 the story of Abraham sending his chief servant out to find a wife for his son, Isaac.  The servant prayed for God to lead him to the bride for his master's son.  (It's a beautiful story of faith, trust, obedience, prayer, faithfulness and thankfulness...but, just before bed isn't a time to go over all of those points.)  The boys and I talked about how the servant prayed for God to lead him to the chosen girl for Isaac and how God answered that prayer with Rebekah.
We then talked about beginning now to pray for the girl that God has for them to marry one day.  Praying for their future wife to grow up loving God and wanting to obey Him in all areas of her life is an important thing for them to do. (I've been doing it since they were born.)
Tim said okay and prepared for prayer time.  Alex had a plan.
Alex said he'd pray...but also when he's 13 he's going to make a poster to hang up saying "I need a girl who loves God." to find his wife.
Never hurts to have a "Plan B", I guess.  :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

a boy & his worms

Tim loves to go fishing...but not necessarily to fish.  He will throw a line in the water, and has been known to reel in a fish or two...and even throw them back all by himself.  His favorite thing about fishing, however, is the worms!  
His love of worms started very young...he's never been afraid of them that I remember.  Thankfully he's never eaten any of them either (not that I've seen anyway).  Helping me plant flowers each spring, he is always looking in the shovels full of dirt I turn over for a worm sighting.  Tim gets a container of some kind and puts a little loose dirt in the bottom and scoops up the worms we find.  He almost always names them or gives them a day we had a whole family of worms from Grandpa Worm to Baby Worm in the container.  Their title is based on their size and squirmy-ness.  When he's through playing with them, he frees them back into the dirt and wishes them well with a sweet "Good-bye, Wormies!" 
When it rains, Tim is quick to spot one on the sidewalk or driveway, too, and attempt to "save" it by placing it in the grass or flower garden nearby.  Yes, I am proud!  We have both been known to get sopping wet in order to see the worms to safety.   
I see Tim's love of worms and it reminds me of myself with Grandpa Miller in the garden each spring.  I'm sure Grandpa could have finished his work alot faster without me shouting "Worm!" and grabbing for it to put it in the cleaned out soup can with a little dirt in the bottom of it.  But, Grandpa was always kind and willing to allow me to pick them up.  I did love to go fishing with the worms, but hunting and gathering them was just as much fun. 
These pictures were taken on our camping trip to John Tanner State Park in Carrollton, GA.  The fish were stealing the bait, but avoiding being caught.  Tim retired from fishing to be the worm proved to be more interesting for him.  He charged 5 pretend dollars for each worm...when we asked how much the crickets were, he said they were 5 pretend dollars and the worms went up to 10.  We had to get our own crickets, so the worms cost more since he was getting them out of the container for us.  He's quite the businessman at 6, don't you agree?   
I do love my little worm wrangler!