Thursday, June 29, 2017

Analogy

When I was preparing to take the SAT for the second time my junior year of high school, I was a bit anxious about the section on analogies. Now I'm not sure if the current standardized college preparatory exam still incorporates this section or not, but I always dreaded these uncommon comparisons. I figured if I was going to claim a greater appreciation for English and potentially hold a degree in the practice, I needed to uphold a certain level of analogical intelligence. I couldn't help but criticize the questions back in the day because I felt they were irrelevant and subjective. Like most things though, my gratitude grew with my age.
There are certainly many issues with our constant desire to compare, but analogies bridge a gap between generational concepts, cultural norms, and language variations. Comparing two seemingly unrelated topics while highlighting their similarities helps depict a more vivid point. I personally create analogies on a semi-regular basis in order to effectively communicate with my husband. Finding common ground is helpful in all effective communication!
I recently heard an a great sermon by Tim Keller, found here, and loved his borrowed analogy explaining why Christians hold a certain amount of responsibility for the level of joy in their lives. He quoted someone else's analogy saying, "It's like giving a child a toy at a party and then telling him he can't play with it until later when the party is over. The child proceeds to throw a fit on the ground, and you say 'honey listen, I can understand, but you can't let this little thing overshadow this wonderful thing you have.'" In other words, if I let the problems in my life cast a shadow on the amazing gift I have in eternal life, I completely lose sight of the point. True Christians should look different from the rest of the world because of ever-present joy. Do we have a bad days? Yes because we are humans living in a flawed and broken world. But are we faking our continuous joy? Are we just putting on a facade to look happier than we are or trying not to show face? No. When you taste and see, it really does change your perspective. You have joy in the midst of sorrow because you get a glimpse at the big picture. That little party will end pretty quickly, and your treasured toy will be waiting for you to enjoy forever.

My boys are enjoying time together this summer and growing like the weeds in our yard. Well, Levi grows more at the pace of our magnolia tree, but I'll take him just as he is right now (because I know it won't last forever).

Early Saturday wake up calls don't change in the summer.

Summo wrestling days won't always be this soft with big boys running around.




I love when Roman gets up before everyone else to have a little one-on-one mommy time.

Gotta teach um about coffee early!


We usually get one "big" harvest picking from the garden and  then just let the tomatoes and herbs hang out the rest of the season. 

Just a few different colored carrots, some sweet pea pods, an eager green tomato and lots of yummy red potatoes this year.

Enjoyed checking out the new Suntrust Stadium with the boys!

Silas LOVED watching the game. Levi wasn't sold yet. 


But I did sell him on the importance of helping out our neighbors.  Sweet boy bringing our elderly friend her paper. 

Best part of summer!

Best gift in the world is watching this boy enjoy delicious treats. 

Even with his cold and current ear infection, Levi seems to be handling his food well! Thank you for continued prayers for his growth this summer! 

~Analogical Buster

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Messy Order

Besides making sure coffee has begun its aromatic brewing process, one of the first things I do in the morning is put the dishes away that have sat overnight in the drying rack, which happens to be right next to the coffee pot.  I can't help it, they are in my line of site as I pour my gift into a cup. As a human being, I thrive best when I can start the day with a little order. In my home, everything has a place, and even if things get crazily out of order throughout the day, I at least like to start and end the day with organization. I was genetically predisposed to love categories, definitions, and metaphoric boxes. I hate clutter and love neatness. Thanks momma. There may be cobwebs on all my baseboards and sticky crumbs scattered in kitchen corners, but as long as it looks relatively neat, I feel a little more peaceful.
Yet, this love of boxes limits me when it comes to understanding the creativity of my Creator. God doesn't fit into a box or a mold. God chooses things that seem messy sometimes, but He is a God of order. We cannot comprehend His order and creative neatness. How is it that He is aware of every leaf that blows in the wind? How does He love me every moment while simultaneously loving those people who are currently crying in hospitals, or tragically killed and persecuted, or those lost to addiction or fear at this very moment? I can't fathom this kind of omniscient love that maintains no bias. Without even realizing it, we all have some sort of definition or mental image for God. We place parameters around the one who invented parameters. Job 38 gives a voice to God who asks mere man, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?"  Humbly, Job realizes how little we know as human beings. We were made in his image, which gives explanation to our desire to define, our desire to create, and our desire to give order, but we must be careful when we  start giving God orders or believing we somehow know the ways of the world. As Ecclesiastes states, "Even if the wise claim they understand [what happens under the sun], they cannot really comprehend it" (8:17). I am thankful we can't understand everything because then we would all think we were God (which many already do).

Summer is giving way to beautiful creativity on the part of the Smith boys too. Never under estimate the power of boredom. That's when the real genius is put to the test.

Silas decided to make his own kite, and he informed me that measurement MUST be perfect for a perfect kite to fly perfectly.



It was a huge success on a rainy day. Couldn't have come up with a better activity if I tried. 

Sweet boys chilling with their baby brother.


Levi update below!

After all our road travels, we've discover this great gem to help with nap time in the car. 

Roman enjoyed meeting his extended family at the beach. 

Gibby was the best sand digger in the family!


Thanks for a great time Gibby! We love you!

It's been such a blessing that Levi can travel more this year. We had a good doctor appointment last week before we left for the beach. When he first walked in, our GI doctor wasn't thrilled with the nutritionist's positive notes on Levi's progress. His job is to get Levi on the growth curve (currently he's not even in the first percentile unless you look at the world curve where he sits around the 8th percent), but after much conversation about why Levi shouldn't be forced to use the feeding tube at night to increase weight gain (because I reminded him of all the vomit), he was actually pleasantly surprised that I don't care if Levi is smaller than his friends for the next five years. He said most parents stress over the growth curve and simply want their child to "catch up." Because Levi is "nutritionally sound" and getting what he needs to at least gain an ounce every few days, we actually discussed taking out Levi's feeding tube this fall! I didn't do any cartwheels at the mention of a tubal extraction because I've learned to wait patiently for things to come to fruition. I'm just thankful Levi isn't losing weight even if he is just "holding his own" right now. For now, he's doing great trying new foods, and I will definitely let you know when we have a G-tube removal party! :)

Thank you for all your prayers. We will head to the orthopedic doc in a couple weeks to check on his bones! For now, we will keep on with all our efforts trusting in the creativity of God's perfect plan for Levi and our family.

~OrderBuster

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Foggy Breath

"It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do" (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility). 

Recently I was preparing a wonderfully warm bubble bath for two of my three dirty boys when my eldest walked up with his matter-of-fact face and asserted, "mommy, I'm tired of you and daddy always saying things to me." Before I let out the laughter bubbling up in my belly, I calmly asked, "What sort of things?" Silas said, "I don't know, but you tell me a lot of things, and I just want to play and do what I want." Ohhhhhhhh..... I'm glad we got that straightened out! I proceeded to explain that his daddy and I were equally as tired of repeating ourselves and "talking" to him all the time, so if he would simply learn to obey our requests the first time they are stated, then he wouldn't have to hear us  "say things" all the time.
After the laughter stopped ringing in my own ears, I realized that my son sounded a lot like my husband. Maybe it wasn't just the apple falling too close to the tree, and maybe I can't attribute the lack of listening to a stubborn gender gene. Maybe I really need to think about the broken record that I play through my constant love of words. When you are naturally extraverted and also love language, sometimes words pile on top of words until your audience stops listening and starts thinking about their next meal. As an English teacher though, I teach the importance of using words sparingly. I remember lessons in my classroom that I taught to prove "less is more."  Too often students wanted to fill up pages with meaningless words in order to hit their required page length. Thus, editing was a constant process, not a one time skim. (Please don't judge this blog on those same standards. A full-time mommy loses her editing time and talent.)
I must begin to see the correlation between my high school teaching and my own life. (Don't we all see things more clearly in others than in ourselves?) If I want my son to practice self-control or speak in a quiet voice, I think modeling that behavior has a longer lasting impression than repeating the requests. Think about it: the things we saw our parents do tend to stay in our memory longer than the things they said. Unless of course the things they said and the things they did lined up with each other. Then there's an honest long-lasting lesson.
Regardless of whether you have children or not, we are all going to leave behind a legacy when we leave this world. Whether it's the people around your cubicle, the people on the golf green, or the people following your social feeds, everyone will be remembered in a certain light. Instead of wasting so much of my breath trying to impart "wisdom" on my children that I hope they remember when I'm gone, I really could live a much quieter life, being "slow to speak" (as I long to be), if I exemplified the behavior I want to see in my little pupils. I completely negate all my requests when I start barking them and then mumble to myself like a crazed maniac. Too much breath simply fogs up the message anyway. It's much clearer when there aren't words in the way, says the word-lover.

Here's to a quiet, yet loud-moving summer! Speaking of quiet- this big boy still doesn't say much, but his actions speak so much louder than words!  Show me how big you are now Levi...

Wow!  That's pretty big bubba!

Oh man, I'll let the other kids know that Levi is back in town!


Boys club- holding the first fruits of our garden in case they get hungry.

Homemade carwash!


When there's a swim meet at the pool and everyone's pumped to get wet, water balloons are the perfect fix.

This kid is doing great with eating! No day is the same in terms of his tolerance and  texture. Sometimes he does great with something and then the next day gags on it, but at least he is always up for a challenge, like the chicken leg challenge of 2017!

This was huge! He hasn't really done stairs this big by himself before, but he's been working hard in therapy! We are so thankful for our awesome therapists! And Levi! Go Levi Joe!

~Breath Buster