Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spelling Bee

Both of my kids were in the top three in their class when the grades of their past spelling tests were reviewed and averaged out.  Because of this, they were both told they would be one of three representing their class in their grade spelling bee.  They were given a list of words to practice and told that the spelling bee would be on January 20th.

We practiced and practiced some more. 

My Princess was thrilled and told me that she was going to win.  She exuded confidence and determination...fitting first born personality. 

My Middle Man, on the other hand, dreaded the day, hated to practice, and told me that he knew he wasn't going to win.  He was so unsure of himself and lacked the confidence that he could do this...but his Mama knew he could.

One the morning of the 20th, both of my spellers woke and were not in good spirits. 

My Princess said that her throat, head, and stomach hurt...all signs that she has strep.  I was so concerned for her...not only because she wasn't feeling well, but also because I knew the goal she had set before her.  I asked her if she still wanted to go to school.  She told me yes.  I explained to her (since I knew her bee would be right when she got to school) that when she was finished winning, she could go straight to the nurses office and call me and I would go to the school and get her.  She liked the idea so I gave her a dose of Motrin and sent her on her way with a prayer and a hug.

My Middle Man was so scared.  His stomach hurt, but for a different reason than my Princess.  Before it was time to get coats and shoes on he started to cry and told me he didn't want to be in the spelling bee.  I held him and tried to comfort him.  Ever since seeing The Help, I have been taking my kids' faces in my hands (or whispering in their ears) and saying, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important."  It always brings a smile to their faces.  So, I took his face in my hands, looked him in the eyes, and told him those words.  He giggled a little bit.  I told him that I knew he could do this and it didn't matter to me if he won or not, I was so proud of him for making it in the top three of his class.  So, I sent him off with a prayer and a hug...and Mama had a bit of a stomach ache herself.

I was watching the clock and at 8:45, I began to pray for them.  I was expecting to hear from my Princess anytime after 9:30 or so.  The phone didn't ring.  At around 11:30, I checked my email and there was an email from Landon's teacher telling me that Landon did so well, she was so proud of him, and he won for his grade level!  She said that he actually looked like he enjoyed himself and was excited.  Then, a few minutes later, I got a message from another 2nd grade teacher that I know saying that both of my kids were grade level winners.  Tears filled my eyes and I whispered prayers of thanks...and Mama was so proud.

Around noon, I got a call from the school office saying that Kaitlyn was running a temp of 100.4 and I needed to come get her.  I hurried to pick her up.  I got her in the car and she said she needed to go straight to the doctor because she felt so terrible.  I was so proud of her strong will and determination to hang in there long enough to win.  I asked her if she felt so sick while she was spelling and she said, "I didn't feel any pain while I was spelling.  It felt like there were angels all around me," and I knew that it was because of the many people that were praying for her that morning.  She also mentioned how big her brain must be...so big that it was getting squished inside her skull...maybe we shouldn't tell her how smart she is anymore.  I got her right in to her pediatrician and sure enough, she tested positive for strep.  My poor baby.

Landon came home from school later that afternoon and was all smiles.  I was so happy for him and hoped that this would help build his confidence.  Unlike my Princess, he has no idea just how smart he is...even though we tell him all of the time.  He told his story to all of us and said, "I was so scared to start, but then when I was spelling I thought, 'this is pretty easy!'"  He makes me laugh.

Tomorrow is the school wide spelling bee and no matter what place they come in I couldn't be any more proud. 

I think this calls for more cake pops.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I can still picture it...rusty orange pews, head bowed, eyes closed...an alter call and the song "I Surrender All" sung in it's entirety, sometimes two times over.  My lips are moving.  I know this song by heart by now.  The words meaning almost nothing to me.  I've sung them too many times...it's become routine.  It's just another thing between me and lunch.  Three words and I have not a clue just what I am giving breath to.

Surrender - To yield to any influence, emotion, passion, or power. To give up one's self into the power of another.

Fast forward twenty years.  I am running a distance I never thought I would run.  I am at mile ten and the song comes on : "And I Surrender all to You, all to You." is playing in my ears.  Tears fill my eyes and for once in my life, I get a glimpse of what that means.  Pain is rushing through my body, filling up my lungs...my current circumstances flash before me.  My husband is unemployed and has been for over a year, benefits have run out, I am consumed with worry, overtaken with the need to control and fix everything...the weight is heavy.  And in this moment, at mile ten, all I can think about is surrender...not only to this race I am running, but also to The One that has set this path before me. 

This surrender is something I have to fight with every single long run, every single race.  When I am fighting with myself in my head...when I want to quit, when my body is done...I have to surrender.

Just as on the road, daily I must surrender to Him.  When I am wrestling with my own desires and what I know He wants from or for me...when life has me beat down and tired....when I want to throw in the towel and take the easier path...I must surrender.  I must take all that is weighing heavy on me...I must take my need to control....I must take my worry and doubt...just take all of it, and lay it at His feet.

A song, that comes with such negative memories...jaded...is as if I am hearing them with new ears.  My prayer is that these three words, "I. Surrender. All." would be ever so powerful in my life.  I have felt the weight of life on my shoulders when I shouldn't have been shouldering it in the first place...His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30)...Surrender All.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Celebration of Days

I was putting my little men to bed on Saturday night.  When I kissed my littlest good night he looked at me and said, "Mama, can tomorrow night we have a celebration?"  He cracks me up...he's always looking for a reason to celebrate because whenever there are sweets involved, Collin is there.  I asked him what we would be celebrating.  He told me that we could celebrate the "many years" that we have all lived...mind you that he's only four.  It brought a smile to my face and I began to think of what we could do for our little celebration :

My first attempt at cake pops.  They didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but they tasted good.  The kids were thrilled with their little bites of cake on a stick.

What's a celebration without pizza, of course.  It's usually a $1 Totinos or a $5 hot n ready in this house...but I splurged for our Celebration of Days.

Before anyone could dig in, I handed every one their sign with how many days they have been alive.  Dan was a good sport...even though I think this kinds looks like a mug shot.

I feel so blessed to have been given this many days on this earth...and I am so thankful for the reminder that my littlest man has given us, that every day is a celebration.

My Princess with her number that she decorated.  Blessed to have been given a daughter here on this earth and for her thoughtfulness, smarts, and creativity she brings to our family.

My Middle Man with his grand total.  So thankful for him and his kindness and gentleness that he brings to our family.

And last, but not least (well, I guess his number is the least), my Littlest Man and his "many days".  So thankful for the fun and laughter he brings.

LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is. - Psalms 39:4