Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another One Leaves the Nest....

When our oldest three were young, we would go to Walmart a lot, it seemed (now I avoid it and drive extra miles and spend a little more, just to go to Target or Sams instead!).  I usually had two shopping carts for groceries and the three kids until they were older or I didn't need as much, then I would let them walk in front of or behind me.  I would tell them they were like little ducks in a row and I was the momma duck, keeping them in line.  Oh, those were the days! I miss those days.  We call them "B.T." because it was before the youngest, Tyler, was born.  I would love to go back to those days, but have Tyler little then, too!  I absolutely loved those days!

Now we have great days, too, but they are different. This summer was a different summer because our daughter was gone the majority of it, but it was nice because our oldest son wasn't gone much at all and neither were the younger two.  Since the oldest was gone a lot, though, we really didn't have a lot of "whole family" times. When we did have it, we made the most of it.  This past weekend we requested no cell phones, no computers, no plans - just family time.  We cooked, ate good meals together, played games, watched a few movies....just spent time together before the oldest two packed up and moved to college.

Tears came during the lead up to the morning they left.  Thankfully our whole family was able to go, unexpectedly.  The middle son ended up needing an appointment in Oklahoma City and the only day open was moving day, unless we wanted to wait until the end of September.  Since five of us were going, the youngest thought he needed to go, too.  Some people would think it was bad to get him out of school for that.  We don't.  Family time is special to us, even more important than other important things, at times.  We wouldn't make a habit of it, but for that day, it was worth it.

My husband wrote about our oldest boy leaving for college (posted below).  For two years it's been just the three boys here together with us.  It's hard with him gone.  The youngest one misses him terribly.  I've been okay, surprisingly.  I think it's because I know that it's best for Zachary. He's 19. He's been "grown up" for several years.  When he writes that he's going with friends up there already, I am thankful.  He met some of them on his trip to Vienna and it was time for him to be away from home.  In school, he had lots of friends, but he spent his time, for the most part, with his brothers and all of us. He will enjoy making life-long friends at college.  I'm excited for him, even though seeing his empty room across from ours is tough.

Zachary,
We love you very, very much. We are proud of who you are, what you stand for, who you live for, and most of all, for allowing God to direct your path as you follow the example of Jesus.  We look forward to seeing what He has in store for your life!
Mom and Dad

***

Written by Joe...
Two years ago I wrote of our daughter, Lauren, going off to college and how we would miss her and that we would be praying for her. Now she is a junior, and I still miss her. I still pray for her daily and often throughout the day. But now there is a new twist to life, my oldest son, Zachary, left home yesterday for college.

Dads think differently of their boys than they do their girls. They always have and always will. Our daughters are the ones we want to protect and we want to be their heroes. I believe we try to make our sons an extension of us. We don't want them to do the same as we did, but we want them to do better. We want them to treat people better than we did. We want them to succeed in areas we didn't. So many of us get caught up in trying to live our lives through them, that it sometimes it causes a strain in our relationships.

I can honestly say that God blessed me with three very special sons, and I will miss all of them when they leave, I do hope it will get easier to let them go, but I don't think it will.

As far as Zachary is concerned, he passed me years ago in the character department. He's so mature. We have felt like we were raising an adult for the past several years. He has been a Christian example to me for the past few years. Watching him grow as a Christian and not give in to peer pressure has not only been an example to others, but also an encouragement to me. I know he will do well, and I know God has great plans for him. Men have a hard time talking to each other about how we really feel. And it's hard for me to express the love and pride I have for Zachary.

When I come home from work or from speaking about the Tipton Children's Home somewhere, or preaching, the first thing I notice is the cars in the driveway. (From Lori: It looks like a used car lot. A very USED car lot!) Coming home at noon today and not seeing Zachary or Lauren's car in the driveway reminded me that life is short and our the time with our kids is even shorter.

Let me encourage all of you who are reading this to spend time with your children, talk to them, love them.

I will pray for each of my kids every day, but I will say a special prayer for Lauren and Zachary. It's so much easier when they're at home. I do hope it gets easier....I miss them....

Friday, August 21, 2015

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IS WHAT YOU'LL SEE!

I heard a really sad story this week.  Someone needed a "positive, feel good" story about someone, but the people who could have told one, couldn't think of one. Their stories weren't positive, only negative.  It made me think about my own live and my own attitudes.  And here is what I got to thinking: If you look for good, you'll see good. If you look for bad, you'll see bad.  What you look for is what you'll see.

It sounds simple, and it is simple, but the hard part is learning to look for the good....training your mind and heart to look for good....expecting to see good.

I don't know about you, but I tend to be optimistic.  And even though I 'tend' to be that way, too often I'm looking for the bad instead of the good.  It's something I need to work on and work on it daily.  Maybe you do, too.

So for today, I'm going to look for the good. I'm going to expect the good.  I see good, often, but I want to look for the good in everything.  I want to be optimistic. I want to be positive.  I want to rid my mind and heart of the negative.  How about you?  Want to join me?

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. Matthew 12:35

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

You Have a Choice!

This post is from our "Parents After God's Own Heart" Facebook page:

Parents After God's Own Heart, are you concerned with what you allow into your hearts and in your children's hearts? The world we live in bombards us with negativity, immorality, and sin, but we can control a lot of that if we make wise choices about things we allow in our lives.

In the entertainment world, we have a choice. We can say yes to the world and the things in and of the world, or we can say no. We can watch, see, read, listen to filth or we can choose not to do so.
There's a movie coming out that we, personally, have no knowledge about, but because of some memes going around FB, we asked about it. The movie is "Straight Outta Compton". A friend of ours, who also is a youth minister and striving to direct the minds and hearts of kids along with parents, posted this about the movie: "Straight Outta Compton: 300 F bombs, 170 S words, and 50 N words (via Plugged In online, not from my own experience)."  One of his family members even made the truthful comment:  Straight Outta Potty Mouth"!  Sad, but true.

When you see everything that movie has in it from the pluggin.com website, how does that make you feel about the movie? If you had seen it, would you have sat there counting each of them? No. Would you have even noticed that many? Chances are, no....unless you're not used to watching movies like that and then they would smack you in the face. But, if you weren't used to watching movies with that type of language, maybe...hopefully....you would have checked it out in advance on sites like Plugged In.

Take the time to find out what your kids are watching. Their minds are being filled with all kinds of things. It needs to be filled with good things, not filth. But as in all things, you have to be the example for them. You have to make wise choices, as well.

Why would you deliberately choose to allow your own mind and your children's minds to be filled with filth? Not just this movie, but in all things? Some things you just hear. You can't totally get away from the world unless you live in seclusion and hibernation. Your kids are hearing it at school, anyway. BUT, where you CAN prevent it, please do. Only YOU can make a difference for you and your family. Make the choice to say no to the world. Make the choice to raise your children differently than what the world says is okay. Raise your children according to God's Word.

A common question went around many years ago, "What Would Jesus Do?" An even better question is, "What DID Jesus do?" We know what He did by reading the Bible. Would Jesus listen to, watch, see, read, hear what you are watching, seeing, listening to and doing? He may have been around things, but it wasn't for His pleasure. It was to serve and to do good and to love others. It wasn't to fill His mind with filth. Let's imitate Him.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Be Interested, Not Interesting

Last Monday, the day before school started, we went with the Tipton Children's Home family to a water park to celebrate the last day of summer vacation.  That evening my husband did a "Back to School" devotional and one of the things he said has really stuck with me.  "Be interested, not interesting."  In other words, care about learning more about someone else than you do about telling about yourself.

This past weekend, my husband and oldest son were gone to Colorado.  Our daughter was out of town visiting her grandparents.  I took the youngest two to a Texas Rangers' baseball game, then they played golf.  Since they were a twosome, they paired them up with two other guys who were playing as singles.  During the course of that 18 holes, we learned so much about those two guys.  One of them was a retired Navy man who had spent his time on submarines.  The submarines were two football fields long, five stories high, and he was out three months at a time.  The other guy's son was drafted by the Pittsburg Steelers and played college football at Missouri.  He knew an acquaintance of ours and his son even roomed with that guy's son and played with him at college.

I was just thinking about how much we learned about those two guys, and while they probably asked my boys questions that I didn't hear, for myself, I was just interested in their stories instead of worrying about telling my own.  It's easy to get caught up in talking about "us", but it is best to listen to others tell about themselves, isn't it?  My mom and I used to laugh that when we went to the mall, we always heard at least one person's "life story".  I guess we just took the time to listen and the person needed to tell it!

We would all do well to listen more and talk less. I know for certain that I would. In fact, I'm striving to do so, and that's hard to do for a "talker" like me!  I don't care always about talking about myself, but I just like to talk!  I'm just being careful to channel the talking gene into learning more about others and being more careful to make sure it's not about me all of the time.

When listening to others, we will find out about their needs.  We will be better equipped to serve them and help them.  We will learn about their struggles, their pain, their joys, and their interests.  We may become friends.  We may be able to share the gospel with them.  In doing so, we will be interested, not interesting.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015


Every time I think, "This may be the last time."  And this time was no different, except this one really probably was the last time. The last time we will go on a "big" family vacation with just the six of us. Most likely next summer, at least one of the six won't be going.  Change is coming.  And though I may not like it, I know it will be okay.
So for this summer vacation, we went to Florissant, Colorado, which is just west of Colorado Springs.  We stayed up a mountain in this beautiful home found on vrbo.com.
When we look for a house to rent, price matters, but since we booked later than usual, we didn't have as many options.  This one cost a little more than we usually pay, but had everything else we/I wanted. I like a nice kitchen. It's fun to cook in and clean up a beautiful kitchen, for me, anyway!
It was especially helpful to have a nice, well organized kitchen because we are getting ready to remodel our own, and it gave me some ideas.
We also want plenty of comfy seating.  One house we rented was skimpy on the comfy furniture.  This one had tons of space and comfy places to sit!  This basement room was our favorite.  It was a basement, but also opened out in the front part to look like the lower level of the three stories!  It was a "rec" room, they call it.  We enjoyed it, immensely!
Another requirement is a place to eat outside.  We ate some evening meals out on the patio.  So nice!
We like outdoor things to do, but being on a mountain limits the things to do.  The homeowners did have a horseshoe place that Joe and the boys really enjoyed.  If it was our own house, we would put in a basketball goal!  But, for little ones, there was a baby swing and tire swing hanging from a tree, plus they had a few other outdoor games to play.  Our family enjoyed running and walking the roads and exploring the mountain a little.
The only thing we did as an activity was go up Pike's Peak on the Cog Railway.  This little marmot is the only animal that lives that high on the mountain.  They remind me of prairie dogs.
There was quite a bit of snow/ice on the road near the top at at the Summit this year.  And it was windy!!  Fifty-five mile per hour winds and 27 degree wind chill.
But we made it! And had their delicious donuts and hot chocolate!
On the way down the mountain, I was alone. The rest of my family hiked back down.  The youngest vows to NEVER, EVER do that again!!!  We thought he would decide to ride down, but he didn't.  Now he wishes he had, but some day (hopefully), he will look back and be proud of that HUGE accomplishment!  They were SORE for a few days!!  They didn't even want to look at the mountain the next day when we drove into town to eat! Ha ha!
This wasn't our cog. Ours was double, but I like this picture. It reminds me of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood". :)
This was the morning we left Florissant.  We were ready to get home, ready to not climb stairs, and the boys were ready to hit golf balls out in our wide open field (can't do that on a mountain unless you want to spend a lot of money on golf balls!), but wow! What a great vacation home!  There were five bedrooms, two living areas, an office, four bathrooms, and much more.  The last night we played the hide and seek game, "Sardines".  It was so much fun and there were lots of places to hide!!!
My kids doing the obligatory picture.  They were okay with it :).
We hiked this long (not showing the whole thing) road and Joe and the boys ran it a lot.  It was 2.5 miles just down the mountain to the main road!  I can't imagine this in the winter, but would love to be there to see it some day!
Joe and the boys played golf here one day. It was a beautiful course!
Colorado sunset....
One of my favorite things about vacation was that Wednesday night Joe had each of the boys come up with a short Bible lesson.  He did one, too.  We sang, we listened to each of their lessons, we read the Bible, and then talked about what they each chose.  Interestingly, they all went together.  I think that's because the Bible is meant to go together. It DOES go together.  That evening, plus the other devotional times we shared, singing in the car on the way....those are some of my favorite memories.
The hiking group!  The two oldest boys made it down the mountain in 2 hours and 51 minutes!  They RAN because they wanted it to be over!! :)  Joe and the other two made it in a little less than six hours.  They ran a little, but mostly walked.  They were all tired, very thirsty and hungry when they came down!  I'm so proud of them!  And guess what? My husband runs the Pike's Peak Ascent and Marathon this weekend!  He's CRAZY! Ha ha!!  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

First Day of School 2015






The first day of school.  The day some look forward to and some dread.

Today was very different.  Only our two youngest headed out the door for school today.  That's just weird!  It was different when our daughter graduated, but with the three boys together, it was still okay. Today was weird.  Only two were even awake!  The other two were still asleep, even though the mommy in me would have liked for them to get up and see their younger brothers off to school, the younger two didn't seem to mind at all.

This year the youngest is officially in Junior High.  He was in the building last year, but this year there are the fun ballgames that go along with it!  He's growing up - and quickly.  The next youngest is a Junior in High School. He reminded me several times yesterday and this morning that next year he'll be a Senior.  He's always been the "baby", so it's really hard to imagine, though he's matured so much that I know it's going just the way it's supposed to go. He's gonna fly the coop, too! Imagine that from the boy who used to say he was going to live next door to us and be close forever!  (P.S. That's when we said that at the "end of college" age - for him 23 - that he HAD to be out of the house. We didn't want him to think he could mooch forever! Ha ha!)  But, he is excited about his future, even though he's not sure of what it holds.  And so are we.....even though I certainly don't want these two years to fly by.

As I prayed with the boys this morning (my husband had to pick up donuts for two different groups), I prayed that they will be good examples to others and show the example of Jesus in their words and actions.  That prayer should be for each of God's children, each and every day.  The youngest informed me that he was going to take some advice his dad gave during a devo last night.  "Be interested, not interesting."  In other words, care more about others than you do yourself.  I was really proud of him for going into this new school year with that on his mind.  Wouldn't it be good if we all kept that in mind each and every day?  It sums up the greatest and second greatest commands in the Bible: Love God. Love others.

Happy first day of school, boys! I love you forever and always! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED

Each year since I wrote it, I post this when school starts. It starts tomorrow. We're not ready! (Never would be! 😂)

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED 

'Twas the night before school started and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse (thankfully).

The backpacks were hung on the laundry room hooks,
They would soon be loaded down with papers and books.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of homework danced in their heads.

And Dad in the bedroom had just begun snoring,
And I was still cooking and might be 'til morning.

When out of a bedroom I heard such a clatter,
I sprang down the hallway to see what was the matter.

Away to the bedroom I made a mad dash,
And opened the door, my toe I did smash.

The night light plugged in shone brightly in the night,
One of the children had yelled out in a fright.

When what to my wondering ears did I hear,
But children exclaiming, “It's finally here!”

With a kiss and a hug I calmed down their spirits,
And told them I loved them – they needed to hear it.

More rapid than TIGERS, the prayers for them came,
And I spoke to God softly and called them by name.

Be with Lauren and Zachary, Jacob and Tyler,
And guide them all safely - my prayers lifted higher.

To the kitchen I then wandered all calm and sincere,
That God would be with them throughout the school year.

I rushed through the cooking and baking with ease,
And got to bed early – I was certainly pleased.

But before my tired eyelids ever closed for the night,
I prayed for my children one more time – it seemed right.

In the morning they'll awaken, mixed emotions galore,
I'll miss them and think of them and pray for them more.

But I won't need to worry for my Father knows best,
That He is still with them when they're out of the nest.

Written by Lori Waugh
August 18, 2010
 
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