Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fishing and Jumping and a Lean-to

 We went fishing at an awesome place that had a catfish pond just for kids. The rule was that the parents could help them cast but the kids had to all the work of reeling the fish in by themselves.

Well, Claire caught something.

It was a (nearly) 10 pound catfish.

She couldn't believe how big it was.

Neither could Averi Kate.

A congratulatory hug.

AK decided she could match what her sister did.

(With a little help from Papa, of course.)

But, you know, AK gets distracted kind of easily.

So she decided to play on Dobby's phone instead.

Claire was really pumped about her fish.

But she admitted it was very hard work to reel it in. We were so proud of her for not giving up even when she wanted to!

In other news, Papa and Spencer built a lean-to on the back of the shed last week.

 And the girls jumped off the coffee table a lot.

 The end!

Quotes and Such

One of the books I used to read to AK at night was a book of lullabies and nursery rhymes, the last of which was the song "All through the Night." Well, the illustration on that particular page is a whimsical drawing of a baby sleeping in his cradle in the middle of a field with rolling hills and trees. Every single time we would get to that song, AK would start to cry. It took me a while to figure it out, but finally I realized that she was troubled because the baby's mommy was not in the picture. I would start to sing, and AK's lip would tremble and she would whisper, "Where's his mommy?" So I started trying to skip that last page, but she would not let me. I would put the book down before we turned to the last page and she would pick it right back up and say, "No, sing the last one," and then proceed to cry and worry about that lonely baby in the field. Anyway, it's been a while since we have read that book, but the other day I was singing to AK in bed and she asked for one more song, so I started singing "All through the Night" AK's face got serious for a moment, and then she smiled at me and said, "His mommy's in the kitchen cooking oatmeal." Then she rolled over, put her thumb in her mouth, and went to sleep as I finished the song.

Recently the girls and I have been going through a devotional book called "Long Story Short." At the end of each day's devotional, the readers are encouraged to pray and thank God for whatever the Scripture was about that day. My girls love to sing so much, that I always tell them, "You can either say your prayer or sing your prayer." Most of the time they choose to sing it. Well, the other day the lesson was about creation and Claire prayed first. She made up a beautiful song about how God made all things and how sad it would be if He didn't make the trees and how thankful she was, etc. Then it was Averi Kate's turn. She sang these words: "God made the world...God made me...And then He fell off the stage but He did not cry..."

Claire has come up with some pretty heavy questions lately. Like this: "Does God know what choice we make before we make it? Did He already knew we would choose to listen to Him?" My sweet, curious, logical, wheels-always-turning child! She is keeping us on our toes for sure!

Claire has been involved in a program called Classical Conversations this year. It is a homeschool program that follows the classical model of education, focusing heavily on memorization in the early years. Anyway, this semester she is studying human anatomy in the science portion. It has made for some humorous moments for me...

For example, a couple of weeks ago Claire and AK were getting in the van when Averi Kate apparently hit or pushed Claire. When I got in the van Claire was crying. I asked her what was wrong. She patted her chest and said, "Averi Kate hit cardiac!"

And then this weekend as I was walking and Claire was riding her bike, she looked up at me and said, "Mom, I am really using my connective tissue!"

I like this conversation I had the other day...
AK: One time I ate a little tiny grape.
Me: You did?
AK: Yeah and she had her mama with her.
Me: She did? Did you eat her mama too?
AK: Mmm hmm.

And another one...
C: Do you like sour apples?
Me: I like pretty much any apple, as long as it's really crispy.
C: Oh. I don't know about sour apples. They freak me out a little bit.

We are working through a catechism for kids, and the question we were working on last week was this: Can you see God? Answer: No, God is a Spirit, and He doesn't have a body like man's. But here was AK's version.
Me: Can you see God?
AK: No, God is a Spirit, and He doesn't have a body like Nan's.

Speaking of my free-spirited, unpredictable but always entertaining 2 year old, the other day we were running late to get somewhere (as usual) and I put AK's clothes on and then said, "Here, Averi Kate, put your shoes on." Then I went to fix Claire's hair. When I got back, Averi Kate had one shoe on, and was working on getting the other one on. Oh, but she had taken all of her other clothes off.

(When did, "Put your shoes on" turn into "Put your shoes on and take everything else off"?)

On Sunday at church we were singing "He is Exalted." Claire heard the first few measures of the song and then turned around excitedly to me and whispered, "Mom, it's 'He is Exhausted'!!!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

To My Young Warrior

Son, I want you to know that a name is not just a name.

A name represents who you are. It reveals the dreams and desires and prayers that your parents have for you. Your sisters both have names that mean something, that represent the desires of our hearts for their lives. And you are no different.

So, Owen.

Your name means “young warrior.” And let me tell you what it means to me.

You have a dad who is a warrior. You haven’t met him yet but one day you will recognize what a gift God is giving you, to be born into his family and to share his name. And one day you will see what I have seen over the past decade and especially over the past month.

You have a dad who is not afraid to fight the good fight. He fights for people’s souls. He prays and he challenges and he doesn’t let the darkness win if he can help it. He doesn’t give up on people; even when he is exhausted and at the end of himself, he will do whatever it takes to fight. He knows what is at stake.

And there is a lot at stake, Owen. You are a gift from the Lord, a precious blessing, innocent in many ways – but you are being born into a world that is under a heavy curse. In fact, it groans under the weight of that curse, and many times it may seem that the darkness is winning.

But it’s not.

There is a Savior, son. A Savior who is the greatest warrior, who came to fight and do battle with a snake who thought he could win. A Savior who, when we thought He should pick up a sword, instead laid down His life. And in doing so, He won. He drank the wrath and became the curse so that men could be freed. And then He rose from the grave in victory and let us taste what hope really is, hope for a world that seems so crushed and bruised.

But the problem is, people don’t know it. They don’t see it or understand it. They still live in the curse, Owen, the curse that Jesus drank, and they don’t understand the freedom that He offers. And that is what is worth fighting for. Truth. Justice. Freedom. Let those words ring out in your heart and feed your courage and drive you to fight like a warrior for the kingdom of light.

Owen Spencer Shugart, I cannot wait to meet you. You are loved and prayed over and appreciated already. You will be a baby and a boy and a man, unique and wonderfully made. In so many ways you will be different than your father, but in the ways that matter – I hope you are just like him.

You are our precious gift from God. I’ll see you soon.