Another week gone by! Life doesn't get any slower these days; I want to always redeem each day the Lord gives me, and there is just so much for which to be thankful!
Last week, Daniel took 3 of our kiddos and 13 others from our church to La Paz on a mission's outreach to help a young Baptist church there. Anytime Daniel's gone, I always plan something to clean/organize. Daniel and the older boys had just finished phase 1 of building the boy's closet. I love it! They now each (well, the oldest 8 of them....Samuel has everything in a dresser) have their own individual area to hang their clothes and put their shoes/belts/ties etc.... And the amount of hanging space in the closet just tripled!! What a blessing!!! The younger one's have their section below where they can easily get to and hang up their clothes and so no more waiting for mommy or a big brother to help them get something down and no more broken hangers from them trying to pull something down themselves!
Timothy had been begging me to help him clean the storage area above their closet, so I thought I'd work in the boy's room as my special project. Of our 9 boys, so far, 2 of them are major pack rats! Everything is "useful", "a valuable treasure", "a precious commodity", "sentimental", "you never know when it might come in handy" etc... I am the opposite of a pack rat...I like to keep things as simple as possible...less to clean and organize :). Timothy is like mommy in that way, too. Every boy is different and that is why while I am so grateful they are growing up in a big family, naturally learning to share and wait your turn and yield, I also like for them to have their own personal area/space...their own desk, backpacks, shelf in their room, now their own closet section, hopefully their own toothbrush :). I am always trying to teach my "pack rats" to see what is truly valuable or useful and what is simply a mess all the while letting them be themselves.
Well, as I began to clean the closet storage area and then began to pull out boxes from under the beds...wow. One child in particular had soooo much stuff. And really, it was very interesting stuff...wires tied to string with crayons on the end, broken dissected electrical devices, tons of ripped up paper, ribbon, wax, pieces of metal, bags of dried leaves, misc. pieces of games ect... I sorted out everything that was good and truly useful, anything that I knew was truly special or sentimental to the child, and all letters he'd saved from his pen-pals. I was left with a pile of stuff in front of me. I so wanted to get rid of it. I knew there was no use to try to go through the things with that child...everything is "good". About a year ago, I tried "the box" idea. I gave him a decent size box and told him he could fill it to the brim and everything else had to go. Somehow, over the year, that box multiplied by 4.
I've been praying especially for wisdom the past few weeks. Two, almost 3, teenagers, older children, young children...unique personalities, needs, strengths, weaknesses. And how many times a day do we mommy's have to "judge" or "decide" something. As I stared at all the "stuff", I had an idea. I called the child into his room and said I wanted to do business with him. I showed him that big pile and asked him how much he would sell it to me for. He sat down and I told him how I'd sorted everything out and showed him the "good" pile. I again talked about how we can't and shouldn't keep everything we find and how to decide what to keep and what to toss. I let him go through the "junk" pile and pull a couple things out that held special meaning to him (a piece of broken dog leash that his cousin had given him two years ago...who knew? :) ), and then we made a deal. I bought my first pile of junk! And that boy has a MUCH cleaner room.
I was helping Abigail clean her room up that night and as I was organizing one of her shelves, I found a letter she'd written last year to Rebekah. It was beautifully decorated with drawings made with her colored pencils. It said what a wonderful sister Rebekah was, how thankful Abi was for her, how she prays Rebekah has much love and joy in her heart etc... Sooo sweet. But there was one part that totally made me laugh.
"I have been trying to heap coals of fire on your head but it is really hard".
Abigail and I were both laughing so hard as I read that. Apparently, I'd read her a story about being loving and kind and blessing those who are unkind to you; that the Bible says it is like heaping coals of fire on their head. And apparently, Beka was being a bit difficult then. :) I told the girls they need to save that letter and show it to their children some day :)
Last week, I had read a story to the children and it talked about how one appears on the outside doesn't necessarily show what is on the inside. How someone can be very handsome or pretty but have a mean or selfish heart. And another may not be very beautiful but have a sweet, beautiful heart.
So this weekend, I went shopping and took some of the children along with me. We'd finished shopping at the main store and on the way home, I pulled over to another little store to get some candy for my Sunday School class. The kids wanted to wait in the van for me and when I got back out, Noah was laying down under the seat. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me that he saw a kidnapper so he hid. He was so very serious, so trying not to smile, I asked him how he knew he saw a kidnapper. He said, "Oh, because I saw a man and he had a very nice face, so I knew he must be very bad." :) Ha! Sometimes they don't listen at all and sometimes they listen too well!
Hope you all have a wonderful new week! Isn't each day such a wonderful gift from our Lord?! Start each day with Him and live each day for Him. He is so good!