Am I good, or what?

I feel compelled to give the complicated back story about how I came across this, instead of just saying, “I came across this…”

My parents are moving up to where we live. My sister and her three chittlin’s live in the area too, so they’ll be near all five of their grandbabies, and no further from my brother who lives about 90 miles away. My dad is retiring from his current job, and they both plan to find work here.

They are sorting through, and most importantly, PURGING, all the stuff they have stored in their rather large house in which they’ve lived and been storing stuff since ’91.

The drawback to that is, every time they come visit, they bring me several boxes of stuff for me to sort through! I didn’t even know they saved all that! For instance, included in the last batch of boxes were all my childhood stuffed animals, a wooden piano with my sixth grade picture on it, several bales of flannel to use for making blankets, my set of Little House books (sigh, I love my Little House books) and a magnetic photo album engraved in my childish nine year old handwriting: This is the book mark collection of Jessica Dawn!!!! DO not take!!! replete with lots of underscores and exclamation points and chock full of the free kind of bookmarks the library gives out–

Among these treasures too however, were some poems I had written. I used to be quite the prolific poetess. Time and brain cells don’t lend themselves much to poetry these days.

Anyway, and here is finally the point of my post, I wrote an untitled poem in seventh grade that seems a rather uncanny prediction, in light of the Farm Fresh life I now lead:

My work is never done,
You see, I’m a farmer’s son
Up at dawn, I start my day
I do my chores, then go to school
I hear my friends talk
of their dates
Girls don’t want to go out with
a shy farmer’s son
who smells like barns
and sheep and hay
So I don’t ask

I am a farmer’s son
We watch the sky
and pray for rain
and good crops
and good profit
I work hard
and don’t get paid

When we have a good season
or a healthy lamb or newborn calf
or she smiles at me
I’m glad that
I am a farmer’s son

Even 20 years ago, God was cultivating my heart to marry a farmer’s son.

Ya think?

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Friday Five or Fewer

How spoiled am I?? I cannot live without: (besides God, my sweet man, and my girls)

1– Aquaphor–perfect for dry lips, hands, cuticles
2– wraps
3– storage totes and baskets–right now I’m going through the totes everyday it seems like because both girls are changing sizes and we’re changing seasons to boot and most days my idea of cleaning up is tossing everything in a tote or a basket 🙂
4– my appliances–dishwasher, laundry machines, coffee maker, stove, computer w/ Internet
5– books books and more books–right now I’m reading House by Frank Peretti, the Underground Guide to Compulsory Schooling in the U.S. or something like that by John Taylor Gatto, and The Plug-in Drug (about TV and it’s uselessness)

I don’t have time to get links cuz Aviana is bringing my my underwear and clothes and urging urging urging me to get dressed so we can go outside and see the new calf.

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Avianese: A Handy Pocket Guide

A- Adin–do it over and over and over, and over. And over.
Amanul- tows, tittens, tats, birwds
Aids- what you eat for breakfast; fwied or strambled
Ativity–any project that allows for cutting and glue stick-ing

B- Bwee-elle- her sista
Bidder–When she gets bidder and bidder, she’ll be able to drive and be a mama!
Bastet–She has an Easter bastet
Bwotlee–A green wummy wechtable that looks like widdle twees.

D- Dod–He made me and you too and stars, moon, toffee, seep–everything!
Deezus–Dod’s son. Not to be confused with Daniel, Moses, Zatteeus, David, Donah, Doseph, Dada, Opa or any other man, who were just men and not God’s son and do not live in your heart
Doe–the opposite of tum
Deegee–That wonderful lady who likes to “doe for walks wif Tassy and doe upstaiwrs and tate a naap.”
Dwama–That wonderful lady who makes tuttees with her and woks her to sweep
Dessita–Mama’s first name
Delwee beans–yummy treats she gets as a bribe
Dood– Delwee beans are dood, wettuce is not
Dist– merely- “I was dist twying to reach the delwee beans.”

E- Elwa- her tousin

F- Fwowas–the yellow and purple pretties you shouldn’t pick that grow at Grandma’s but not at our house.
Faveret–toddwer fings wike pink, watewr, baths, tarrots, teese, torn, ativities, doe to a wibwary
Fwee–how many she’s gonna be on her nest birfday.
Fwo– to toss into a bastet, or onto the bed

H- Holla–A loud voice you’re supposed to use outside
Heawrt–where Dod wivs

I- Ice Tweam–another fave-ret

M- Marters– better for coloring than crayons
Mits– what you do with cookie dough before you eat some
Melt–She likes it from a “tow, not from a bweast wike Bwee-elle”
We buy special melt for Opa when he tums.

N- Nest–what comes after now. see Fwee

O- On-wine–1. We check to see if anyone’s onwine so we can send winks.
2. Mama thinks the day would be easier to get through if she were always on-wine, or rum & coke, or … JUST KIDDING!

P- Pids–the pinkish animal that oinks–when we IM with Opa, he always sends us a dancing pid wink.
Pwease–1. What your Mama makes you say to get something you want
2. What you say twice without being reminded when you want a brownie

S- Snuddow–to be really really close to Mama for extended periods of time; especially wanted in the morning, right after a nap, and when she’s trying to work in the kitchen
Sweep–1. What she likes to do in the kitchen, but not with her own toddler sized bwoom, wif Mama’s bwoom when Mama’s trying to use it
2. What she doesn’t like to do in her bed, or any bed
Seep– The amanul that has white fleece and baaa’s, and has baby wams. Not to be confused with sweep.
Seet– 1. The lightweight covers on the bed
2. What she rides in in the car
Sorwee– What Mama makes her say after she hurts someone or is rude

T- Toffee–That light brown liquid in mugs the Grown-ups in our house drink
Tubhouse–Any large cardboard box in which she hides and puts her teddies down for a nap
Twy– 1. What Brielle does when upset, and she does almost as much 2. To attempt to do “I was dist twying to weach the delwee beans”
Twit–To stop “Mate Bwee-elle twit twying!”
Tuttee–what she gets lots of when she goes to Dwama’s
Taandawoo- an amanul you can wide
Tows–make melt and wiv in the bawrn
Tittens–1. Way aids and wiv in the titten house
2. Baby tats
Tats–they dwink and you tan pet them
Tarrots– orange wechtables
Torn–dood for eating and it’s yellow
Tan- able to do –Somedays she tan go peepee all by herself, somedays she “dist tan’t!”
Teese–the best way to eat dairy
Totta teese–White curded dairy you eat with a spoon
Tora–her tousin
Titus–her tousin
U- Unbwella– “We have two unbwellas, a puple one and a wed one, one for you and one for meeeeeeee. You need it when it wains.”

W- Wapyoom–the noisy machine Mama uses to twean the tarpets
Wiv– We wiv in the tountry, but some people wiv in town.
Wun– To get somewhere fast, you have to wun!
Wok–1. The opposite of wun
2. To comfort in a woking chair. “I dist want to walk for a widdle bit”
Wechtable– bwotlee, wettuce (I don’t wike wettuce)tarrots, torn
Wettuce– like in salad
Widdle– 1. Small “Bwee-elle is widdle, I’m bid”
2. What you’re not supposed to do in church
Wubbawee– When you’re wet (I don’t know where this one came from!)
Wap–1. The best wap, apparently is Mama’s, but Dada’s and Dwama’s will do
2. How Mama often carries Bwee-elle, but she sometimes needs to be in the wap for comfort and closeness too
Wibwary–That glorious place with all the books

Y- yunyun–the wechtable that makes her twy.

Z- Zatteeus–da wee widdle man who twimbed a twee to see Deezus

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Today I saw four wild turkeys cross the street in the middle of town, a gorgeous cloud bleeding an orange and pink sunset, grass turning green and the eagerness of my toddler to please me and at the same time be her own person.

Today I heard arguing way too many times, the rhythmic breathing of a sleeping suckling baby, delighted shrieks of children playing, too much whining, and the love in my husband’s voice.

Today I made two desserts, one of which was incredibly over baked, but which I frosted and ate some of anyway, two adorable hair bows which I forgot to have the girls wear with the outfits they matched, a chatty call to a college friend, a phone call to my Grandma and the hospital OnCall to see if I should go in about the finger I burned, a grocery list and a meal plan.

Today I read several blogs, My Many Colored Days and I can’t even keep count of how many other children’s books, from Joseph to Moses in one of the children’s Bibles, the comics, the Aldi ad, and the Celebration section in the Sunday paper, the recipes for the desserts, part of a Quick Cooking magazine, and my 7-Ups that I recently taped to the kitchen cabinet.

Today I furrowed my brow in consternation and concentration, I raised my voice in praise and frustration, and I sighed in exasperation and contentment.

Today I repeated myself calmly and irritably more times than one would have thought possible, I disciplined in love and out of annoyance, and I prayed in desperation and satisfaction.

Today I loved and was loved, I kissed and hugged and was kissed and hugged, I helped and was helped.

Today I tried to be fully in the moment, to enjoy each moment, and to make each moment matter. I tried to make it my business to love and delight myself in God and my family and to be honest when I failed.

Today I just lived.

Now I’m tired and going to bed.

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Ummm…so the Bible?

So not appropriate for all ages! If it were a movie, it would definately be rated R.

But that’s probably why I love it so much–it’s full of action and adventure, mistakes and mishaps that God uses anyway, murder and mayhem, jealousy and joy, love and loss–people just like you and me, who give in to our selfish nature time and time again, who screw up, time and time again, and who still love God in the midst of their mess, and whom God loves despite all that!

I was reading to Aviana out of A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories–a beautifully illustrated and scripture filled book published in 1948. Our copy was a gift to my mom for her third Christmas from her grandma, Aviana’s great-great-grandmother.

I love the story of Samuel–how his mom prays for a child and God gives her a son, and she dedicates his life to Him. We held these verses tightly when we were trying to get pregnant with Aviana. I love how when Samuel is living with the priest Eli, he first hears from God, and even the priest doesn’t realize it’s God calling until after three tries. Isn’t God cool how He doesn’t give up on us?

I love how, once the bumbling priest figures out it’s GOD, Samuel’s answer to God’s call is “Speak Lord, I will listen to you,” just as mine should always be. So I was reading the “children’s” version of this story to Aviana.

I forgot about this part: The next morning Samuel told Eli all that God said.

“It is the Lord,” Eli said. “Let Him do what seems good.”

Soon after this there was a war. Both sons of Eli were killed in battle.

A man from the battlefield ran to Eli and told him that his sons were dead. When Eli heard the bad news, he fell off his chair, broke his neck, and died, for he was old and very fat.

The next story in the book is “David, the Shepherd Boy”, one of our favorites. Miss A especially likes to sing Only a Boy Named David. Now I know how this story goes: David, a young boy of 12-16 years, knows that God will help him defeat the giant Goliath, just like He helped him beat the lion and bear who were after his sheep. I wasn’t surprised that the giant dies, I just forgot about this: “The stone sank into his head. The giant fell down. David ran to him. He took the giant’s sword and cut off his head.”

When the Philistines saw that their giant was dead, they ran away. Saul’s men ran after them and beat them…(and the actual Bible concludes thusly: The bodies of the dead and wounded Philistines were strewn all along the road from Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron.)

Hmmm…bodies strewn far and wide. Now that is definately NOT a monotone, humdrum, wishy washy, organ playing, hard bench under His bottom, sit still, be quiet kind of God!

I love the Bible. I think it’s funny how I feel so weird about reading these stories to my daughter. God put it all in there–every bit is God-breathed. I know that Aviana doesn’t understand everything, and I should protect her mind from a lot of the sordidness of this world, but I also know that it’s never too early to show her God’s indefatigable power, His tremendous truths and His wild heart.

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What should a 4 year old know?

I received this as an email today and it is beautiful! I am so thankful to the friend who thought of me and sent it, especially since I am reknowned for being a “automatic forward deleter”. I don’t know the author, but I sure wish I had written it!

What should a 4 year old know?

I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only 3. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know:

1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations.

3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.

4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that—it’s way more worthy.

But more importantly, here’s what parents need to know.

1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and
that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.

2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.

3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.

5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.

They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the 0.1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

… and the most important:

6. They need to know God.

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Play Dates are fun!

We went to story hour this morning, which is held in a preK classroom at Kevin’s elementary school. Kevin got a kick out of walking into the past today, and I got a great idea for a craft to do with our little friends. We had some friends over for lunch and made rainbows–which were fitting since it rained all the live long day. We took the rim of half a paper plate, glued on cotton balls for clouds, different colored tissue paper and some sparkles. Then the kiddos played for a nice long time while the mamas had some grown-up time.

Kaitlyn’s rainbow


Our sweet sillies –Aviana, Aaron and Isaac

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Friday Five or Fewer

Sure signs of spring:

1**Taking a shower without the bathroom heater on

2**Pregnant wobbly bellied farm cats

3**Playing outside in the greening up grass, emergent flowers and budding trees

4** Flip flops and sandals and painted toenails

5**A sudden and inexplicable urge (which I quickly surpressed) to get crazy and wash windows, floors and rugs!

Goldilocks and the Little Bear

We three swingers of Iowa are

Jeepers creepers, where’dja get those peepers?!

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