Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hair Branches

"Mom, my hair branches are kinda freakin' me out." 
I love this kid.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Have Mercy

About a month or two ago I decided to flex my creativity muscle (it's a small one that doesn't get out much) and wanted to figure out a good solution for Eileigh's piggy bank. Up to this point she had gleefully been dropping all of our spare change into an adorable piggy bank from Great-Grandma Mary. Problem was, it was almost full. Sure, we could deposit the money into the college savings fund and start over again but I've realized that Eileigh is ready for a little more training in money-handling. And I'm not just referring to not putting pennies in her mouth or washing her hands after touching any amount of loose change. More along the lines of Giving, Saving and Spending. I remember from somewhere that the best banks for kids are ones that they can see through and literally watch their money grow (or disappear). I had two more requirements: I did not want to spend money to buy something for this purpose and I wanted it to not be hideously ugly. This third requirement meant I could not use various plastic jars with lids I scrounged up around the house. Enter: the Mason jar. An all-purpose item that lends itself to simplicity and beauty all in one. So, in keeping with the plan, I scrounged up three pint-sized jars from my stash. I also grabbed lids and three different colored rings. Since I didn't want Eileigh to have to unscrew the lid and ring every time (and because it's way more fun to actually drop the coins through the slot) I had to figure out how to get a coin-sized slot into the lid of the jar. My first thought was to wait until Mike got home. My second thought was, nah, let's see what I can rustle up for tools to do the job. Fortuitously, Mike had just received some passed-on tools that were still sitting out and a small chisel caught my eye. At least I think that's what it was... beveled on one side... tap on the top of the handle with a hammer. That's how I used it anyway. It was the perfect size to make the perfect quarter-sized space in the lid. (I put the lid on the jar securely with the ring and then two quick taps made for the ideal slot). Only one side of the newly-minted hole was sharp and even though I figured there was minimal risk I carefully applied a small amount of high-class duct tape to the sharp edge to protect little fingers. My creativity muscle was exhausted by then so I just Sharpie'd the tops with Give, Save and Spend. Eileigh and I went upstairs and I explained what each jar was for. She then joyfully started to redistribute the wealth of her piggy bank amongst the three jars, calling out in a sing-song voice, "Some to give for others, some to save for later, and money for Eileigh to buy." So far she's loaded up her little pink purse twice and hit up the Dollar Tree for a jump rope and Walmart for some stick-on earrings. Today, in keeping with the theme of Mercy (see my prior blog post on praying for our kids here) I decided to do something a little different in regards to giving. We've been talking a lot about giving to other people who don't have money or food or clothing. Samaritan's Purse is an incredible organization and they have a Gift Catalog that you can browse and choose different areas to give. This morning as I read through some of the different options,  Eileigh sat on my lap and was able to see pictures of babies and children that are blessed and helped by the ministry. She was quite excited as she chose to help feed a hungry baby and nursing mom for a week, some baby chicks for a family, and a couple weeks' worth of milk and hot meals for children. She unzipped her purse and started to get her money out as I tried to explain the whole 'nother realm of debit cards... and decided to save that for another day. She seemed content to just hold my debit card while I clicked away. Gotta start 'em young, right? Have mercy!! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Shiner

Eileigh received her first shiner. She's enjoyed watching it go from black and blue to purple and green and yellow. It's actually a great educational tool. However I think I'm going to stick with the no-standing-on-the-couch rule. She was standing on our patio furniture outside and somehow fell off and landed on the table on her way down. She's kind of been a collection of bumps and bruises lately. Last night she went to lick a strawberry popsicle that was so cold (as in dry ice cold) that her tongue literally stuck to it. I looked down and she was freaking out and couldn't pull it off. Sure I could've grabbed the water bottle in my diaper bag to loosen the popsicle's grip on her tongue but with my quick (dare I say cat-like) Mom-reflex I bent down and literally licked her tongue off the popsicle. Well, most of it- she/we pulled at the end a little too soon and part of her tongue was left remaining on the popsicle. Needless to say that got dumped in the trash and she happily munched Daddy's strawberry ice cream bar instead. Who would've thought a strawberry fruit bar could be so dangerous? But just to reassure you, Eileigh is really okay and not even the shiner or minimal tongue loss is enough to keep her from standing on the furniture or away from icy treats. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children

Today I decided to challenge Mike's assertion that his Love Language is a clean house and therefore focused most of my day's efforts on wading through the Pit, aka the office. If he's correct on the Love Language then I will be loved for life and if he's incorrect then we will enjoy having an office with actual surfaces (As in ones you can see. Not covered by all manner of items.) Going through the very, ahem, small *cough* stack(s) of papers I was pleased to find several months worth of "inserts". We receive little inserts with our giving receipts from one of the ministries we support and I'm always amazed at how relevant and insightful they are. They're super short but always leave me with something to mull over. The one that caught my eye was titled Parents' Prayer Program. In it author Bob Hostetler shares his desire to pray more intentionally and effectively for his children. He wanted to get beyond repetitive "God bless the kids" type of prayer and developed this Parents' Prayer Program. Each day of the month, in addition to prayers for his children's safety and concerns of that day, Bob prays for a specific character trait, virtue or fruit of the Spirit to be planted and nurtured in his children. The following list is a guideline that you can adapt for use with your own children, grandchildren, kids in the neighborhood or missionary kids around the world. I'm going to be praying these for myself as well!! :)

Pray specifically for the children on your heart- that they experience and evidence:

1. Salvation (Isaiah 45:8, 2 Timothy 2:10)
2. Growth in grace (2 Peter 3:18)
3. Love (Ephesians 5:2, Galatians 5:22)
4. Honesty and integrity (Psalm 25:21)
5. Self-control (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
6. A love for God's Word (Psalm 19:10)
7. Justice (Psalm 11:7, Micah 6:8)
8. Mercy (Luke 6:36)
9. Respect (for self, others, authority) (Luke 6:36)
10. Strong, Biblical self-esteem (Ephesians 2:10)
11. Faithfulness (Proverbs 3:3)
12. Courage (Deuteronomy 31:6)
13. Purity (Psalm 51:10)
14. Kindness (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
15. Generosity (1 Timothy 6:18-19)
16. Peace (Romans 14:19)
17. Joy (1 Thessalonians 1:16)
18. Perseverance (Hebrews 12:1)
19. Humility (Titus 3:2)
20. Compassion (Colossians 3:12)
21. Responsibility (Galatians 6:5)
22. Contentment (Philippians 4:12-13)
23. Faith (Luke 17:5-6, Hebrews 11:1-40)
24. A servant's heart (Ephesians 6:7)
25. Hope (Romans 15:13)
26. The willingness and ability to work hard (Colossians 3:23)
27. A passion for God (Psalm 63:8)
28. Self-discipline (Proverbs 1:3)
29. Prayerfulness (Ephesians 6:18)
30. Gratitude (Colossians 2:7, Ephesians 5:20)
31. A heart for missions (Psalm 96:3)