Smarts

This past Friday was parent/teacher conference day for us, and Lil Man is excelling in everything except knowing when to keep his mouth closed and listen. (Our social little guy often distracts his classmates!) His teacher will be giving him more challenging work to do, and she praised his ability to think outside of the box. While we need to help him focus on doing his best work as opposed to hurrying through everything, he comprehends the work needed and the results are correct…albeit sloppy.

But how does one teach focus when it comes to mundane tasks or distant goals? We’ve talked about it many times, about schoolwork and soccer and numerous daily tasks. He has the mental idea of “focus”, but struggles to put it into practice as he flits from one activity to the other.

“The world,” he says, “is just too interesting!”

The battle has been to show him that focusing on one task right now will help him learn and grow, so that he can reach any goal in the future and explore all the world over! It’s a foreign concept for him to think about – that if he learns focus with this little step, he will have focus on the ultimate goal even when distractions come.

But, I think it’s starting to make sense to him.

This last soccer game didn’t go too well. The boys worked hard in the first half, and then almost gave up in the second. The opposing team played tough! But we lost our will to keep fighting, and you could see it in their poor, tired faces. After some discussion, I asked Lil Man, “How could you become a better teammate?”

He thought for a minute before answering, “By trusting my team, and having more focus on the ball.”

And there it was! One of the moments today that made my heart swell with pride for my six-almost-seven-year-old boy, who wants so badly to be the best at everything, all on his own! In that small sentence, he acknowledged the need to rely on others, and showed me that he figured out how to put into practice those lessons about focus.

Now, I need to work on my own trust and focus issues so that I can be a good example for him to follow…

 

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

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Just Hold Me

“I’m not strong. I’m tired of being told I’m strong. Just for once, I would like to be as weak as I feel.”  – Unknown

“Maybe home is just two arms, holding you tight when you’re at your worst.”  – Unknown

“The Lord is my strength and my shield.” – Psalm 28:7

I was leaving town. I had, in most parts of my life, given up. I no longer wanted to struggle through each day in this small city with nowhere to go but deeper into my despair and loneliness. I didn’t have any desire to work those twelve hour shifts to keep a roof over my young son’s head or food in his mouth, providing for his most basic needs but unable to give him my time. I was becoming more cynical and angry as each day passed. I was tired. And I didn’t like the “me” I was turning into.

So, I was running away from here to there. To the place where my mama lived, where the trees were green and water was abundant. I had a flight scheduled, house hunting planned, and a career opportunity all lined up.

And then, there he was.

A conversation, a smile, a quiet strength. An acknowledgement and acceptance of who I was as a whole, not just one aspect. A sense of humor that lifted my spirits and a persistence that told me, “You are worth it.”  An example of the Father who loves me more deeply than I will ever be able to realize.

 My husband is the perfect human for me. He’s the man I am meant to walk beside, through the good, bad and ugly in life. We have arguments, we have laughter, we have pain…and then healing. Life has thrown us a few curve balls in the journey we began together, not so very long ago in the grand scheme of our story, but he’s been my constant and we are learning to move as one. He’s my partner, he has my back.

With him, I am able to let my guard down and “give up” for a bit because I can trust him to keep our family on track while I breathe. I can have my moments of weakness without fear of losing it all, because he shows me the One who has control when the world is overwhelming. He is my example of the One who shields me in His love.

I can relax in his embrace, lay my head on his chest, listen to his heartbeat, and know that I am home.

Needless to say, I stayed where I was so I could get to know this amazing man. And I’m so glad I did.

Oh, The Pumpkins!

I know, I know.

You’ve seen the memes, you’ve heard the stories, you’ve muddled through all the pictures of tiny humans next to pumpkins and hay bales and scarecrows…But you haven’t seen or heard from me about it yet!!

My dearly beloved husband is a big pumpkin spice latte fan. I know, I know – again!
You read that and gasped, thinking, ‘Not him! He’s so…manly!” It’s true, my wonderful husband has a weak spot for the same rich coffee drink that has the “white-girl-in-yoga-pants” stereotype attached to it. But we are all about confidently breaking stereotypes and thoroughly enjoying what we like around here!
He’s been giddy about the weather becoming cooler so he can drink them while wearing a comfortable hoodie and talking with his sweet, peppermint-mocha-drinking wife. Unfortunately, we live in a warmer climate and the cool-down is going a bit slower than in some places. But! That certainly hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the pumpkin-pie-in-a-cup. He just orders them cold!

We recently took our coffee-date on a road trip with the kiddos to a pumpkin patch, continuing a tradition that makes memories for years to come. And, naturally, there were some photos taken to document the memory-making. My phone’s camera stopped working, however, and saved y’all from a plethora of photos filled with pumpkins, latte’s, and adorable faces. (Thanks, I guess…)

One tiny human ran around the plot covered in pallets of orange gourds, put those deemed worthy onto his green wagon before rushing off to another pallet to attempt to pick up the biggest one he thought he could manage. (Yes, pallets of pumpkins on a plot of land. That’s how it’s done here, alright??)
And the tiniest human in our clan was busy knocking a little pumpkin off the shelf on which they both were sitting. Supervised, of course. Although, we were too impressed with his hand/eye coordination to worry about the other little guy getting multiple head injuries due to falls, and kept putting it back on the shelf next to Bubby…

Now that I think about it, our boys were probably trying to make some of that pumpkin pie filling for later. Hmmm.

   

   

Butt-Pains

I knew from the beginning that Lil Man would be an awesome big brother, but I wasn’t totally prepared for how my heart would swell with love and pride as I watched him interact with his Bubby.

He’s been amazingly patient with Bubby, rarely mentioning the crying and enduring the sudden drop in attention gracefully. Lil Man always wants to read to his baby brother, hunts down pacifiers and comforts him, tells his friends to hush up so they don’t wake him. He asks if Bubby could please sleep in his bed…just in case there are monsters under the crib. (He likes to throw out logical reasons as to why we should agree to whatever it is he’s wanting. Its one of his things.)

Recently, however, Lil Man hesitantly told me, “Mommy, baby brothers are kind of a pain in the butt. And sometimes in the head…when he cries so much.” I laughed, and then told him, “You can be kind of a pain in the butt, too, and so can I!” (Maybe not the best thing to say, but it became a teachable moment!)

This prompted a discussion about how we can ALL be “butt-pains” at times, especially on our bad days. And while he was almost certain he’d never been one of those, he agreed that being hungry..or tired..or grumpy-without-reason..or hurt…can make you feel badly and it shows when you act out. Lil Man’s eyes lit up as he realized his frustration was understood and totally normal. He felt the acceptance he needed in that moment, and was able to take the lesson to heart.

We talked about how people, especially babies, don’t usually mean to be butt-pains. Sometimes it just happens in life as we react to the situations we are in or as a result of our needs going unmet. Sometimes, people act like butt-pains because they never learned a different way to handle what they’re going through. I explained that we can’t really change the person who is being a butt-pain, we can only change the way we respond to them in those moments.

This conversation was a good reminder for me to allow God’s grace to guide my response to others instead of acting out of my own hurt and pride. I realize that some butt-pains won’t ever be resolved as the unhealthy behaviors in others continue and escalate into forms of abuse and/or manipulation. But, while I don’t need to allow these things to keep repeating in my life, I can let go of the anger and allow healing to take place so that I can become a healthier version of myself and reflect God’s mercy and love instead of my own bitterness.

My sweet boys are teaching me that there is usually more to learn in every butt-pain moment than there is in the perfectly happy times, and that we should be grateful for both as we walk through our days. Lil Man really loves his Bubby.

Standing

So Much Love 

Peace and Quiet

I’ve recently decided to deactivate my Facebook account in order to calm some of the chaotic background noise that it seems to add to my life. Friends are a wonderful thing, and I’ve made many lasting connections with others through Facebook! But I can no longer stand the levels of negativity, falseness, and self-centered attitudes it fosters.

I do, however, want to maintain those connections which were uplifting and healthy. I realize that many of them are with others who live all over the world and meeting up for a chat over tea is pert-near impossible. Thus! I have created this lovely little corner in the realm of the internet and set up shop. It’s my very own tea room of sorts, where you may join me, should you so desire.

Sooo, whether you are family wishing to see photos of the boys and keep up with their latest antics, friends wanting to take a moment to browse the latest Biter news, or the merely curious who have no idea who I am and what I’m about – but suddenly want to find out more…

Welcome!! Let us begin a most wonderful journey together! May we take a time-out from the chaos, connect more deeply, and heal through relationship – regardless of the distance that seems to be between us.

Bethany

Tea