An Unusual Thing Happened

An unusual thing happened this morning when I checked my email. A blogger friend, Fi, from Welcome to the Mad House, gave me a totally unexpected award, called The Versatile Blogger Award!

What a surprise that was! And what a great way to start the day!

As part of the deal of accepting such an award, I am to reveal 7 things about myself, and also pass this on to 7 other blogs for this wonderful, inspiring award.

So, here is the breaking news about myself:

1) I always have loved animals, and have been the proud owner of the typical household pets, but also exotic onces such as sugar gliders and hedgehogs!

2) I can not stand it when people put mustard and mayonnaise on the same side of a sandwich. There are two pieces of bread for a reason! Oh, and the cheese always goes on the side of the mustard. It’s only right!

3) I don’t do mornings.

4) I have super powers in the coffee drinking department…but it has to be good coffee!

5) I love to make fermented foods, and currently have a continuous brew of Kombucha in the basement!

6) Crackers are to be eaten only one way…salty side down, toppings on top of the unsalted other side–sometimes referred to as the “bottom” of the cracker. This way you get to enjoy the full sensory experience of the salted tops!

7) People who think they know me say that I have something they call “Merri logic”. I have no idea what they are referring to. I think I am perfectly logical!

Now that all 7 cats are out of their bags, I will move on to the 7 blogs that I enjoy and follow. There are actually only 4 blogs that I can pass this award on to right now (the others have already received it!). So, basically that means that instead of each blogger receiving 1 award, they will each qualify for 1.75 awards so that it add up to 7. See, that is perfectly logical!

1) Christa Wells

2) Treasured Season

3) Between the Lines

4) From the Mango Tree

One more thought before I close this post. When I woke up this morning and saw this award in my inbox, I had the nicest warm and fuzzy feeling that someone had thought of me for this award. Imagine how warm and fuzzy we’d feel every morning if we woke up fully aware of the fact that the God of the Universe is head-over-heals rejoicing over us? How awesome and incomprehensible is that?

Zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Can You Give Me a Hint?

All things considered, Dash has really transitioned from homeschooling into public school very nicely.  A few bumps and kinks here and there but nothing major…that is, until this Monday.

Monday started out as a relatively quiet day.  I was homeschooling Sketch while Princess Buttercup and Dash were at school. Sketch was just starting to practice writing his numbers when the phone rang.

“Hello, Mrs. Incredible?  I was wondering if you could come and pick up Dash at school. He is having a hard time on the bus.”

“What is he doing?”

“Well, he is screaming loudly on the bus and he won’t calm down.”

I rushed Sketch and myself off to the school.  There haven’t been any problems on the bus so far…what in the world is going on?

As I pull into the parking space and open my door, I see Mrs. Teacher and the twins walking toward me.  Dash seems fine…  Princess Buttercup on the other hand seemed pretty annoyed that she didn’t get to ride the bus with her friends.

Mrs. Teacher said Dash was screaming a high pitched scream that was totally distracting to everyone on the bus, especially Mr. Kent, the driver.

“If you scream on the bus, you ride home in the car!” Dash says, as if he has been trying to set the “rule” in motion as a screen play to sit back and watch.

And this time, the rule played out as he expected.

So how do I get him to understand what he has done?  How do I help him understand how many people were effected by his “bad choice”?  How do I not let him have so much fun “playing out the rules”?

I decide to get a large pad of paper, and started a diagram to explain it.  I emphasized how his one bad choice took away the choice of all the other people.  Princess Buttercup lost her choice to ride the bus because I had to drive to school to get him.  Sketch and I had to stop working on Kindergarten stuff to come and get him.  The kids on the bus lost their choice to have a relaxing drive home on the bus.  Mrs. Teacher had to stay late to make sure Dash and Princess Buttercup were safely waiting for me to arrive, etc.  We talked about the consequence of making that bad choice, how it effected other peoples choices, and how the result is that he is not going to be able to make choices tonight.

It looked something like this:

Dash seemed to “get” it…that he upset a lot of people that he really enjoys and likes.

But, he was still reciting the rule…”If you scream on the bus, you come home in the car”.  So, I decided to try to deflate some of the reward of watching the rule play out.  I said, “Dash, If you are good on the bus, you get to ride with Mr. Kent, you get to be on the bus that you enjoy riding on, and you get to be with the other kids on the bus.  You know what will happen if you make good choices.  If you don’t behave on the bus, well… you don’t know what will happen to you!”  He thought about that for a minute, a little uncertain about it.

Maybe this is it?  Maybe the fear of the unknown can override the fun of the rules?  And really, we don’t know what will happen to him….He could be permanently kicked off the bus, he could be switched to a special ed bus, he could end up distracting the driver so much there is an accident!  Really, we don’t know.

But what I really wanted to know, was WHY.  Why did he do it?  The only thing I could come up with was about playing out the rules to see them work, but I don’t really know the why.

So, I ask Dash, “Why did you scream on the bus?”

“Because you take the car home.” he replies.

No, I that is what happened, I want to know why did you do it?

“You upset Mr. Kent.”

“That is who you upset. I want to know why you did it!”

In his innocent boyish voice, he replies, “Can you give me a hint?”

I answer, “No, only you know why you did it, Dash.”

But, as I said those words, I knew there was someone else who knows why, someone else who knows the motivation behind it.

There are times when we all do things that we don’t understand.  We baffle ourselves with our own behavior, our own reactions to things.  Why do we do the things we do?

Most kids (and many adults) answer questions like “Why?”  with the standard, “I don’t know!”

Dash answered the questions a bit like the psalmist, David would have answered it.  “Can you give me a hint?” is very much like,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

David also instructed his son, Solomon in I Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (italics added)

It is a comfort to know that God knows us that well…better than any parent can understand their children.  He knows the whys, the motives and the hearts of each of us and loves us nonetheless.

So next time we find ourselves wondering why we do what we do, we can take a lesson from Dash, and simply call upon our forgiving, all knowing–yet all loving Creator, our Father, and ask him, “Can you give me a hint?” and then “serve him with whole hearted devotion and with a willing mind.”

New Identities

I have been tossing about the idea for a while, and now have come to the conclusion that it is time to change the names of the people involved in my posts. Since the twins have started school, and more and more people have contact with them that I do not know, I want to make sure they are safe. I want to protect them from strangers knowing who they are because of my blog. So, they are being given a new identity throughout my blog and over time I will have previous posts edited to reflect their new names.

So without further adieu , I’d like to introduce you to my husband, Mr. Incredible, and my kids: Dash, Princess Buttercup and Sketch.  I think this picture best illustrates who we really are:

Misplaced Car Seats

On Saturday we went to a really cool kids-carnival at our really cool church.  There were bounce houses and volcanoes exploding with candy.  There was mini-golf, pony rides, face painting, food, etc.  It was really fun!

There is no way I would go to something like this alone with the three kids, but Sketch’s pre-school teacher just really missed Sketch and so she wanted to come that day and help.

Rachel, the teacher  (not her real name) happens to drive a silver car.

Daddy, or Mr. Incredible, also drives a silver car.  Mr. Incredible used to drive Sketch to school in the “silver car” every day and Sketch would sit in his car seat behind the drivers seat.

On this day, Rachel drove all 3 kids in her car to the kids carnival at the church, and I drove the empty Red Van (yes, I’m smiling and remembering the silence of that drive!)

Mr. Incredible was planning to meet us at the carnival (he had to work.  The “smile” is now upside down) and help with the kids but it turned out he had to stay at work (note the tears streaming down my face!)

So, we had fun at the carnival for about an hour & a half (pretty good, considering!), and the only reason we made it that long was because of  Rachel’s help and the help of the awesome people at our awesome church!  One person took Princess Buttercup on the pony ride, that she desperately wanted, another helped watch Dash, and I am sure there were countless eyes watching out for my reputable run-aways.

But, about 90 minutes into it, Sketch seemed a bit “edgy”.  The tell-tale signs of  a melt down were appearing…such as wanting to go to the Red Van, wanting me to enter all the bounce-houses with him, wanting to lay down on the floor of the bounce house instead of jumping around, and wanted to go to “church” or wanting to go to “sunday school”, etc.  Pretty much wanting to do anything but what we actually were doing. So, I gave the 5 minute warning that we would be going to the Red Van to go home.

“In 5 more minutes, we are going to go to the Red Van, and we are going home!” I make sure each child hears and acknowledges they understand.

I thought that was pretty clear.

Once the 5 minutes were up, Mr. “Wanting To Do Something Different” decided he didn’t want to leave after all.  (I smell a power struggle brewing!) and down he flops to the ground.  “All done, No Thanks!”

“Sketch, it is time to go to the Red Van, it is time to go home” (Note the sweat starting to drop on my forehead as I imagine Sketch digging in his heels and letting loose one of his incredible high-pitched screams that I am sure would even be heard over the sound of the airplanes taking off and arriving next door to us.)

But, thankfully, Sketch just got up and walked out with us.  Phew!  (note the premature relief in my “phew”!)

We walk by the church building, and Sketch again says “Church? Sunday School?”  and I tell him there is no church, that it is Saturday, and church is tomorrow, on Sunday.  Sketch attempts to pull me to the building in the off-chance that maybe that would sway my decision.

But no, we went to the typically beloved Red Van, just like I said.

“Silver car!” Sketch screams as he sees the car seats being moved from Rachel’s car to the Red Van.

“Sketch, we are going home in the Red Van.  Rachel is driving the silver car.”

“Daddy?  Silver car?  All done Red Van, no thanks!” He cries.

We take Sketch to the Red Van in hopes to persuade him to sit in his car seat. All attempts fail!

“Sketch doesn’t want to go in the Red Van” Dash starts fussing.  “Sketch is too loud! Sketch is screaming!”

Princess Buttercup starts complaining too, and pretty much we have 3 meltdowns instead of one, all winding eachother up a little bit more.

It seemed like several never-ending hours, but it was really only about 30 minutes, that Sketch threw his tantrum and refused to get in the van or car seat.  He kept asking for Daddy, and silver car, and sometimes even white car, which I think was the car on the other side of the van.  I tried explaining that Sunday School is tomorrow, and today is Saturday, and Daddy’s at work, etc.  Finally, I called Mr. Incredible and told him what was going on, and that I think he’s waiting for him to come to church and he won’t get in the van.

He talks to Sketch on the phone and Sketch relaxed a little.  (This is the appropriate time for that “PHEW!”)  He hadn’t seen his Daddy in a while because he had to work Friday night late, and left early Saturday morning.  Sketch agreed to get in the van and to go see Daddy at his office.

Now, we have another problem.  Mr. Incredible’s office JUST moved, which is why he was working all weekend!  So I get Sketch in the car and try to explain that we are going to his NEW office.  The poor kid just can’t get a break.

But, we make it, with only a little confusion and when Mr. Incredible walked out of the New Office, Sketch painted his face with a big flappy smile!

Once we got home and started unloading the Red Van, I look back and notice that Sketch’s car seat is in the WRONG spot!  In the Red Van he sits to the right of the drivers seat. In the Silver Car he sits on the drivers side!  Probably reminding him of  his confusion of where Daddy has been.

“Oh my goodness, look at that!  I bet Sketch was upset because his car seat was on the wong side of the van!”

Princess Buttercup replies with words of wisdom of a child of God, “Really?  Sketch just worries about things he doesn’t even need to worry about!” (Notice the surprised and proud look on my face for my 7 year old daughter!)

And there we have it… the tie in to the scriptures yet again.  I mean, is there really anything that we need to worry about?  I know that we will worry about many things, but I am thinking that ultimately, they either won’t matter, won’t happen or will be taken care of (as always) by our ever-loving, all knowing, always there, Provider.

1 Peter 5:7  “Cast all your anxiety on him, for he cares for you”

Matt 6:25-26  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?”

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