Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Needs and Wants

Many adults still do not know the difference between a need and a want. If we sat down and really looked at the venn diagram, I'm sure we could all agree on the vastly different categories included in the two groups, but in a quick verbal match, we blurt out fallacies like children. I am consistently explaining this discrepancy to my oldest son.
I believe strongly in knowing your people. For instance, Silas is a strong-willed first born that needs to be pushed or he will push back. I know this about him, so we let him endure things we wouldn't for little Levi who doesn't push too hard.  I am fighting for their hearts right now when the stacks are low so that (Lord willing) it's not as difficult during adolescence. This means we let Silas scream and cry at the top of his lungs for hours sometimes regarding his NEED for things like water, food, or love. Now most people would be ready to call DEFAX on us because these (my smart, sly son has learned) are all considered actual "needs," yet he manipulatively has chosen to request these items when he's being punished or in a particularly foul mood. Thus, we need to show him Who's the Boss (pun intended). We have reassured Si-man that he will always get what he actually "needs," but he will not always get what he wants. A lesson we could all stand to relearn. That means sometimes he'll like his food, clothes, and activities and other times he will not, but the sooner he realizes how to trust and obey joyfully, the sooner his life will feel less like a punishment and more like a gift. Don't read your own story into this though, Silas is a beautiful first-born, but we all have our moments, and despite the beauty of our fall pictures, we all had our moments where we weren't receiving what we wanted, but we always got what we needed, so to me, this fall adventure to New England was a HUGE success. I just miss the gorgeous colors. I NEED more fall here in the south! My soul's nourishment depends on it! (Not sure where Silas gets a flare for the dramatic, but I'm looking into it.)

Happy Fall Y'all!

~Need Buster

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oh Canada!

Wow.... what a whirlwind the last two weeks has been. There is so much that we've enjoyed, endured, and experienced that I wish I could have recorded it all, but alas, we get to hold our memories and share simple life lessons with each other. It felt like a trip of a lifetime! After flying separately to Canada because of falsified information regarding passports (all I can say, is have one for everyone regardless of age or destination), we were all prepared to learn a great deal on this family road trip. I knew that God could take us through any hurdle as I flew by myself with Levi and Roman to Burlington Vermont and waited to be picked up to cross the border with the big boys.
After we returned, I was asked the best and worst part of the trip. I have to say, I think the hardest part was being in such close proximity during nap and sleep times. Since all three of our children need various hours of slumber right now, it was difficult that everyone was somewhat sleep-deprived the entire trip. However, I'd say one of the best parts (aside from the incredible beauty of God's fall grandeur) was getting to see how each child learned to cope with uncomfortable situations and enjoy each other despite our exhaustion. There's nothing better for a strong-willed child, a developmentally-delayed child, or an infant child than to take him out of his comfort zone and show him new perspectives. I think any kind of "inconvenient travel" will aid in this process! Here's the first leg of our trip to Montreal for work purposes:

My view after my hubby and eldest child left. With a child strapped to me, I was in for a long night of travel.

It ended up being a sweet day with these cuties. Answered prayer for sure!

After multiple strangers aided in our hotel arrival, I got a chance to see my little ones play quietly together. 

But they were very happy to see their big brother again in Canada!

The "Notre Dame" of Montreal

Reunion felt great!

A hysterical science museum in Montreal. A MUST visit!

Let your imagination tell you the sound coming out of this picture. Learning all about the human body! :D

None of these boys will ever understand what this really feels like!

We are having twins! (Thank the Lord this was just a test.)

The struggle with big cities and daddies working is boys with pent-up energy. 

Thank goodness for small green space. Boys just need to be outside. Period. 

It was pretty amazing to see the old city though. 

How we felt sometimes during the trip. Good thing we love each other a lot!

More to come... but we already miss our trip a little.... but thankful to have our beds back!

~Canada Buster

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Joining the military

It goes without saying: we don't know what we don't know. Right? We can't seem to see things in ourselves that are clearly visible in others. Why do we assume that the plank in someone's eye is only a little sawdust in our own? If we just rub our eyes once or twice, we are extremely certain we'll be able to clearly navigate others in excavating their own mammoth-sized dig. When in actuality, our vision is still completely unfocused. We are missing our own planks while simultaneously issuing unwarranted judgment.
I have felt the sting of such judgement; I've also neglected my own planks.

I'm reading a book right now about the complexities of commitment, and there's a great comparison between the military and relational problems. Tim Keller writes:

     "Therefore, when facing any problem in marriage, the first thing you look for at the base of it is, in some measure, self-centeredness and unwillingness to serve or minister to the other. The word "submit" that Paul uses has its origin in the military, and in Greek it denoted a soldier submitting to an officer. Why? Because when you join the military, you lose control over your schedule, over when you can take a holiday, over when you're going to eat, and even over what you eat. To be part of a whole, to become part of a greater unity, you have to surrender your independence.
     This sounds oppressive, but that's just the way relationships work. Indeed, it has been argued that that is how everything works. You must be willing to give something up before it can be truly yours. Fulfillment is on the far side of sustained unselfish service, not the near side" (The Meaning of Marriage 58-59).

Keller is speaking specifically to spousal commitment here, but I think it shows our problem with pointing out flaws in others because we've become accepting of self-centeredness. Our culture has sought to justify and promote the "me" in us all. But I believe this is only fanning the flame that already naturally exists. We fear submission, we fear selflessness, and we fear service because we worry that if we aren't looking out for ourselves, our wounds tell us that no one will. Unless you realize that someone else took on terrible wounds to heal yours and participated in the greatest act of selflessness, you'll always find a reason to be unhappy. You will always point out how others are adding to the problem, rather than focusing on your own role in it.
It can feel relatively simple to point out the problems in those closest to us.

During a recent nap/quiet time, I allowed my eldest child to read in my room so that he wasn't disturbing his little brother. Unbeknownst to me, Silas excitedly emerged to let me know that he'd done something "very nice for me." He had recently learned that I owned a small travel bag for jewelry, so Silas took it upon himself  to help me "pack" for our upcoming trip. He stuffed every piece of jewelry I own in the three small zippers. My first instinct was to get upset that he was not only neglecting the point of "reading" time, but he had tangled all of my necklaces and disorganized my entire dresser.
Luckily, something in me saw his innocent motives because he sincerely thought he had acted selflessly. Whereas I thought he was selfishly avoiding nap time. (Both were probably true.) Thus, as only God could do through me, I thanked him and began to explain an analogy to express my discontent. Silas, you know how you build those great lego towers that take so much time and effort? And you know how Levi thinks he's helping you clean up by knocking them down? Well, that's very similar to this situation. In other words, thank you, but no thank you. The look on his four year-old face was priceless. His deep thought was utterly confused, yet extremely understanding. If only we could stop and see that we all quickly react to other's from our own selfish motives.

We should all join the military and put some of their practices to the test in submissive relationships, or we must pause long enough to reflect on our natural instincts and ask a great God for His Spirit to change us like only He can do.

I'm watching these boys change daily!

Thank you for praying! Levi's feet looked GREAT!  No leg braces and six month leave from orthopedic doctor! Praise the Lord for continued growth.

~Military Buster

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

French Toast Tuesday

Two and a half years ago, Matthew and I were under a relatively stressful season in our lives, and unchartered dramatic scenarios were quickly becoming commonplace. For this reason, something prompted us to let go of normal routine and find joy in spontaneous simplicity. That's when French Toast Tuesday was born. Now, whenever we feel ourselves getting sucked into the cycle of life or the ebb and flow of exhaustive routine, we stop and say, we need a French Toast Tuesday.  While the name originated around 11:00 pm and included late-night syrup spilling over freshly cooked egg-bread, it now holds significance for all opportunities to stop looking at the clock, stop looking at the calories, stop looking at the concerns on the schedule and just look to live in simplicity.
When life begins to feel a bit heavy, maybe your French Toast Tuesday will include a solo car ride singing and dancing at the top of your lungs (picture Jerry McGuire singing "Free Falling"), or maybe it will just include a quiet afternoon nap without any screens available to beep or interrupt your REM sleep. Maybe your French Toast Tuesday is staying up late to finish a novel when everyone else is asleep in your time zone. Whatever is outside of your routine and outside the realm of your "to-do" list, we all need those moments of spontaneity and simplicity.

In the spirit of FTT, we are excited to see what adventures (both thrilling and exhausting) occur on our upcoming fall trip to New England. As an autumn enthusiast, visiting all the north eastern states during prime-foliage season has been on my "bucket list" since I can remember, and we are about to make the dream a reality (even if it includes three little ones and a flight to Montreal to work first)! I can't wait to share my love of traveling and fall with these boys!

If these boys are excited about collecting these leaves and acorns, I can't fathom what they'll want to bring home from our trip!

Eating some PB and oil... had a good GI trip this week!

Levi is dying to ride like big brother and Ro Ro is ready to cruise too!

Getting ready for the RV trip

I'm just a little excited about fall.

And they are too!

Look who's helping pack!

Levi had a great GI visit and gained a whole pound in a month! Now he's at the 1st percentile for his own weight-height ratio. The doctor said we can see him in December after we see nutrition again in November. If Levi moves to the 5-10th percentile, we'll get his tube out! Either way, we were just happy for peace and progress. Levi also got a new hand splint made this week (because he actually grew!). Please pray that he'll keep his splint on at night so we can continue to strengthen his hand, and he can learn to do more daily skills independently (i.e. dress himself, potty-train, etc.) Finally, we have our follow-up Ortho appointment on Monday before we leave to check Levi's feet. Please pray that his feet look good and straight for the doctor so we do not have to put and braces back on his legs!

Thank you so much for prayers and love!  I hope you get some French Toast Tuesday time this week!

~FTT Buster