Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Monday, June 18, 2007

Return From Hollygrove

The place where we stayed is in the center of this picture, below the interstate.

Sweet home.
Early Bird and I returned home from a missions trip to Hollygrove, New Orleans on Saturday night. What a wonderful time we had! Challenging, rewarding, eye-opening, loving, funny, crazy, sad, would be a few adjectives to describe the trip. As I thought about what I'd blog about so many things came to mind that none made it to paper. My brain was on overload.

I could tell you about the people of Hollygrove. The stories. The loss. The recovery. The God sightings.

I could tell you about the water lines on the homes, the mold, the blue roof tarps, the large X's decorating the fronts of the homes showing when the home was inspected, by whom and how many dead bodies were found.

I could tell you about the major difference in levee heights separating the have from the have not's, the closed up businesses, the local Voodoo mart that sells chips, beer and soda.

I could tell you about the love from a group of middle schoolers from Florida that changed the countenance of a cook.

Then there was the effort, the lack of sleep, the prayer and the friendships.

I could tell you how to entertain 16 kids on a 14 hour car ride.

What not to play with highly competitive kids.

I could tell you about a man who didn't quite get why he was being helped, but he smiled and took it anyway.

I saw a school in sad shape, busing kids from all over, doing their best to keep peace.

I could tell you what it was like to shovel through someone's life, throwing it into a wheel barrel and then dumping it on the side of the road.

I could tell you about a young man who struggled to put self-control and patience into practice- but did it!

I saw a group of kids who weren't crazy about doing yardwork, not only do it, but laugh while doing it and work past quitting time.

My eyes were opened to middle school girls. I had a chance to visit, ask questions and call some out on their behavior. A tenderness grew in my heart for these girls. Being a mother of boys I've found it hard to "get" girls. For the most part I didn't care for middle school girls when I was one, so it has been hard for me even as an adult. That's what cool about God- he can take something that makes no sense and change it. He took me to another level in this area on this trip. This past year I prayed for love, simply love for these girls. Now my prayer is to take that love and come along side them and help them love one another and themselves. I began to call them out on their behavior as the year ended and it wasn't taken all too kindly, but this trip showed me that it needs to be done in these girls lives. They need to hear the truth, many times they know it but when it's not pointed out they stay in the lie. The girls on this trip rock! I saw them wanting to know what God says, making an effort to not participate in drama, to step out of it when they got sucked in. It's tough being a middle schooler today but it doesn't mean it's an excuse to give up or fall into the crowd, the world. This group was a little easier to get because by coming on this trip they were showing that they had a desire to be more Christ-like, to grow, to serve. (although there are others with this same desire that didn't attend this trip) Now I pray this fall when I head back to the trenches this glimpse and insight I got will help me, through Christ, serve these girls.

I made a friend on this trip. Someone I'd known and liked but we went to a new level in our friendship, we bonded, we have so many similarities yet are so different. That's what I like about God's people- the diversity and the love. She inspired me to love more, to be honest, to do what we don't want when it's right, to drink more caffeine when the trip home was not even half over.

So I head back to the real world this week, with kids and meals and dishes and laundry and survival. I still look at my own situation and it doesn't make sense, it doesn't add up. I've already wanted to quit and return to Hollygrove, to TCC; but this is my life, as tough and hard as it is right now, it's where I'm at, and I will face it with a smile, a positive attitude and a belief that God's got me covered.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4


Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Thought I Had

This is a story of two families I know.
One has 3 boys- ages 20, 17, 13
the other girls- ages 17 and 12.
They make the same money each week and they are both good stewards with it.
The family with girls has saved more than the family with boys.

Here's why:
Boys are eating machines!
Yes girls can eat, I am one and I remember my eating prime around age 15/16, but it does not compare to the appetite of a growing boy.

Boys are eating machines. Who else eats a pizza for a snack or 2 sandwiches, a sleeve of crackers, a banana, a pan of brownies and 3 glasses of milk for lunch and then says "I'm hungry" 15 minutes later? A Boy does.

So my friends with the girls have hair ribbons and shoes and make-up and girly things to buy; my friends with the boys have been feeding eating machines for the last 20 years!
Just an observation.


Summer 2007- Week One

Week 1 of summer is done!

Here's an overview: looks like I will have 3 extra boys and then every other Thursday a 4th, add in the neighbor boy- my 3 son, and that brings our boy count to 6.5 this summer!!

We had our beach day and then being the first week I let the boys have at it; I put no restrictions on screen time, had no scheduled quiet time or reading time, they bounced from activity to activity. They had a blast!

Let's see, we've already eaten:
2 containers of Pringles
10 hot dogs
2 boxes of mac-n-cheese
a case of Sam's brand sprite
a gallon of milk
sandwiches, sandwiches and sandwiches
2 batches of blueberry muffins
3 batches of homemade pretzels (made by my cousin and the 1 girl who made her way here this week)
a batch of brownies
a pizza (for a snack mind you)
pancakes and syrup, pancakes and syrup...
and that's just what's coming to mind

Videos have been made, and very creative ones this time around- I'll post when they're up. The shopping carts have been pulled out- don't ask. Heroscape was a centerpiece all week on my dinning table, cowboy and indians fought battles in my living room, the kittens were nicely held captive sleeping under a laundry basket and the trampoline may have already logged in more hours this week than the previous 3 months!

The woods have been explored, we've captured a legless lizard, IN. MY. HOUSE! The dog has busted through the screen and I even managed to have my devotions!

Week 1 is gone and as week 2 approaches I've nailed down our daily plan. My summer schedule is still in the works and I won't finalize that until this week, but here's our daily plan of attack:

8:00 Boys arrive
8:15/8:30: EAT
Free time, screen time allowed
Noon thirty: Quiet time, 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes drawing or more reading
No screen time all afternoon
3:00: SNACK
4:00 Screen time
5:30 All boys gone!

I've pulled out the pay-doh for the little one and plan on making play-doh this week with him (I'll post recipe when we do)

FYI: Screen time is anything that involves a screen: Gameboy DS, computer, playstation, TV, movies... you get it.



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