Content Amidst the Chaos

Just another weblog

Why it’s worth it February 27, 2010

Filed under: S1 — jps23 @ 9:58 pm

I wanted to share an email with you that I received on the Sunday Picasso was baptized.  It makes the days I posted about most recently so worth it in the end, even when I think I can’t get to the end!  Picasso had called Preacher that morning, which I told you about already, but this is what that experience moved her to share with the Children’s committee and our senior minister.  She has such a way with words (names have been changed for privacy purposes, although I think the only ones reading this blog know us personally anyway!)…

At 7:30 this morning I was rummaging through my bottom drawer where all the stuff I don’t really need this time of year is. I was looking for my swimsuit. “Who else is tearing-up-jack looking for their swimsuit in February so that can wear it to church?! For crying out loud!” I mumbled as I heard my cell phone buzz in the next room.

“Well, that’s just great – another teacher calling in absent for the morning!” I thought as I finally laid hand on the elusive black tankini that I wear under my robe when I baptize. Stumbling out of my closet and around the corner I find a new voicemail on my phone. Determined to be fully filled with the Spirit, by way of coffee, I grab my mug and settle myself at the kitchen island to listen to the message. After the automated voice that pleasantly informs me of my new message (“What’s she got to be so happy about!” I grouched), here is what I heard a small voice say:

“[Preacher], this is [Picasso] and I’m calling to tell you I am so excited that I didn’t even sleep! I am just so excited that today Jesus will become my forever friend. Being baptized is all I thought about for days and days. Today Jesus and I will be friends for ever and ever and I am just so excited I had to call you and tell you that I can’t wait until you baptize me this morning. I’ve got my swimsuit and I’ll see you at church.”
When I had cleared my vision of the tears that welled up in my eyes I had no choice but to hit the floor of my kitchen, right in front of the dishwasher, and thank God for reminding me what today is all about – what EVERYDAY is all about. There is nothing as precious as the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus Christ. Introducing people to the Lord of all creation as their personal Savior is all that is eternal.
This morning, as all church leaders do on Sunday morning, I had my mind appropriately focused on the details of our worship experience. Were all of my volunteers in place? Would I have enough substitutes to cover my volunteer positions? Factoring in the holiday weekend, three church retreats that will call people out of town and the conjunctivitis that is going around, how many kids will I average today anyway? Then there is the worship: Do I have all the songs I need loaded and ready? Is my media for the lesson in place? How about this lesson on Ezekiel – will it come off the way I wanted it to? Then there is the CPR training after church. I wonder if someone will be there to let them in before the class? I guess I’ll need to do lock-up today? So that means no lunch…well I guess I’ll have to eat breakfast then….
All of these necessary, but tedious details, had completely eclipsed what was really the main event of the morning – immersing a child into the Kingdom of God. Taking her small hand and placing it into the nail scarred hand of her Savior who has been watching and waiting for her to announce to the world that she believes in him for 8 little years. All this time he has been waiting to hear what I heard on that message this morning. A small, sweet voice say: I’m so excited about Jesus that I can’t even sleep until I tell everyone what I know!
If you got this email, you are a church leader and someone who I think might also get caught up, unintentionally, in the temporal details of Sundays. Well, really, of everyday. Everyday is an opportunity to acknowledge the eternal as we navigate through the temporal and determine that we will remain focused on matters of the Kingdom. A Kingdom we will relentlessly pursue until the day Christ comes back to take us, and all those we’ve told about him, to worship God forever.
So I’m suited up and ready to go. All I can think about as I maniacally try to finish this email so I can load my laptop in my bag is: I’m so excited today that someone will come to know their Savior1 I’m pretty sure all of heaven is waiting with baited breath for me to walk a nervous, shaking little 8 year old girl down the aisle to confess her love for Jesus Christ. It really is the Main Event of the day.


Please don’t put one more straw on my back! February 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 12:02 pm

Or this camel’s back might break!  I think I have found the place where I can’t do ONE MORE THING.  I’m not referring to number of kids here, either.  I’m simply referring to the demands that are piled upon me.  Today, while looking for the girls Fourth of July shirts for USA day at school, I realized how much I have still to do in my clothes sorting department.  I really think we have too many clothes, but I can’t get a moment to sort through them all.  Maybe today during rest time, if Tipper doesn’t decide to nurse or just need me to hold him during that time.  We are already skipping playgroup today.  I’ve decided that if the kids can’t pick up after themselves or speak kindly to their siblings or obey simple requests from mom and dad, then they don’t really deserve to go.  That’s not too unreasonable, is it?  And while my director has offered only two days for me to come back to work, as opposed to the four I was originally working, I don’t know if I can even juggle that!  Taking care of the baby and all the extra he brings is a lot harder than just being an incubator for him.  I’m just so overwhelmed.  This counts as a great chaos clip for today.  Just a random ramble to you since I am currently home alone with the baby and hubby is in an important meeting at work (so I can’t call or text him frantically today).  Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So you aren’t homeschooling anymore? February 23, 2010

Filed under: family size,Superman,The Siblings — jps23 @ 10:31 pm

As I type this, I am frustrated at the keys on my right hand sticking from the Coke that got spilled on my computer by my sweet little Smiley.  Of course, it was my drink, so it is truly my fault.  And, as I pop off the key covers to attempt to clean my keyboard and the backs of the keys, I misplaced my period key cover, so this post may be one big run on sentence!  Either that, or it will be posted with great impact and enthusiasm!  Or as a question?  Either way, we’ve got to figure out where that key cover is, unless of course I just use my ring finger to press down the little rubber circular thing that sits under the key.  Ah, not too bad.  It may just take me a tiny bit more time to post this since it takes me a little more than a split of a second to find the little spot as I type.

So, you aren’t homeschooling anymore?  A frequently asked question to us lately.  And the answer?  Yes and no.  Yes, we are still homeschooling, but not in the traditional way that most would envision.  To be quite honest, we don’t take a traditional approach to homeschooling anyway, and this set up is closer to traditional than anything I’ve ever done, or will do, in regards to homeschooling.  This year, we are participating in a homeschool co-op, sort of.  Our church started a preschool three years ago, and the first year of the preschool, I taught the three’s class, which was attended by my sweet Mary Lou.  I don’t remember the logic in deciding to teach with six kids of my own.  I think I remember hearing that they needed a teacher, and I do love to teach, and it was only two days a week.  I had the grandmothers help us take care of Picasso while I was teaching (since she was too old for the preschool), and everyone else was enrolled in either the preschool or the Mother’s Morning Out program.  It was fun, and the kids I taught were just precious.  But it was hard.  Earnhart, Smiley, and Dozer were little, and getting in and out of the building successfully required me bringing along the double stroller on a daily basis, plus whatever equipment or supplies I needed to teach my curious kids each day.  I was a sight, I’m sure.  We decided I wouldn’t return the next year, and I would just teach at home exclusively, especially since I would have two kids of age for homeschooling.

That year and the following one are a blur.  Maybe it was so many people in such a little house, maybe it was because of the financial crisis we found ourselves in, maybe it was the lack of contentment we were buried under.  Take your pick.  It was tough.  So, Superman and I started to brainstorm.  How could we increase our incoming funds to keep up with our outgoing?  How could we make a substantial dent in our mountain of debt (another story for another post, but it boils down to sheer stupidity)?  Where could I work and still take care of our six kids during the day?  How could he pick up a second job when his first one didn’t allow it?  And then I got wind of the fact that the preschool was starting a homeschool co-op class, and my director wanted me to come back and teach it.  Woo-hoo!  An answer to prayers!!!  I met with her and explained that I would need to be able to bring Picasso with me, and it was a done deal.  Just a few weeks later, we learned that my grandmother had agreed to let us rent her house (five minutes from church/school, as opposed to the 25 minutes we currently had to drive).  This gave us the financial confidence I needed to rent this house and run the risk of no tenant in our other house and having to pay two house payments.  What a sweet deal!  Just a few weeks after that, while preparing our “new” house for our move, we learned we were pregnant with Tipper.  It was a whirlwind.

We moved in Memorial Day weekend, and just three short weeks later, my grandmother suddenly passed away.  I found out that my due date was somewhere in December, which is great timing when you are a teacher.  Perfect timing would have been along with all the other late spring and early summer births of all the other children.  My director was understanding, as she is very business minded and doesn’t take anything too personally.  School year, let’s begin.

The girls now had an “official” first day of school.  They were making friends and learning new things.  But with new friends, we noticed a weakened dependence on each other.  We also noticed outright ill behavior with one another.  I can tell you, you will not be as quick to hurt the feelings of your primary playmates if you think you will be lonely without them.  However, if you have other friends to entertain you, then you suddenly don’t need want your sisters around anymore.  And man, has Earnhart picked up some interesting phrases and attitudes at school with other rambunctious three year olds!  Needless to say, it has been a strain on our family structure and relatability to be a part of this situation.  On top of this, my class isn’t a true co-op.  It isn’t a bunch of parents with a heart for homeschooling looking for enrichment for their kids.  It’s a group of parents waiting on a charter to pass in this area so they have better options in public education.  So, they needed a way to keep their kids at our preschool for their kindergarten and first grade years while they wait on the charter to pass.  Let’s have a class for them four days a week, covering all subject matter plus art, music, and spanish, and call it a homeschool co-op.  I want to teach with a more relaxed approach, as I do homeschooling, and I have parents asking for more reading assignments and homework.  It just isn’t exactly what I had in mind.  Add to that packing seven lunches four days a week (7 x 4 = 28), picking out clothes and socks for everyone each day (7 outfits + 14 socks x 4 = a whole lot of clothes!), getting all of us out of bed, dressed, teeth and hair brushed, and into car seats by 8:15, and it just doesn’t work.  Now, I know what some people would say (none of you, of course).  (1)”Don’t have that many kids if you don’t want to do that work!”  OR  (2)”Would they stay in pajamas all day if you were home?  Would you not dress them every day?”  Well, to that I say (1) I never intended to send them to school.  We’ve had a heart for homeschooling since we first discussed having children, and especially so since we’ve had seven of them!  and (2) Sometimes.  Sometimes they would stay in pajamas, for a little bit.  Yes, they would get dressed, but more likely in a costume of some sort.  Dressing is overrated!  It’s just a lot.  So we’re doing the best we can to get through this year, and then next year we will be home again, hopefully for good.  Not just because doing it the other way was so hard, but because we have a heart for homeschooling.  I could list all the reasons why, but for the sake of your eyes, I’ll save that for another post.  Reading much more than this will wear you out.

So now you see why we are, but are not, homeschooling right now.  The school is great,  my coworkers are wonderful, and our kids have had fun, but it just isn’t our thing.  Home is great, my coworker is my best friend and my love, and our kids have fun.  It will be nice to get back to “normal” next year.

By the way, we are ALWAYS homeschooling around here.  Every chance we get, we jump on learning opportunities, whether they involve setting the table, doing yard work, making dinner, etc.  Homeschooling is not always creating school at home, but I’ll share more on that in that other post.


A new kind of birth to celebrate February 21, 2010

Filed under: S1 — jps23 @ 9:06 pm

That’s our first born with our children’s minister and dear friend, whom I’ll refer to as ‘Preacher’.  There’s a story behind her name, but I’ll go into that another time.  She baptized our sweet little girl into the kingdom this morning!

I told you previously that Picasso was ready.  She made this decision a couple of weeks ago, and we didn’t do it last week because my friend was guest preaching at a church for her professor (which is part of the story, but not all of it).  Anywho, Picasso decided that the next Sunday would be the day, which is today.  She was so excited that she called all of our family members to invite them to attend.  All I have thought about this week is that old song I remember from childhood- I’ll shout it from the mountain top.  I want the world to know, the Lord of love, has come to me.  I want to pass it on. Remember that one?  Yeah, she wanted to shout it from the mountian top, and spread it throughout the valley, too!  She went to bed last night around 8:30 or 9:00, and then woke up at 10:30 asking if it was morning yet.  She complained of her stomach hurting (nerves, I guess) and just couldn’t sleep.  The next morning, she was up in the 6:00 hour (I don’t like to look at a clock that early), and around 7:00, she asked if she could call Preacher and tell her how excited she was about being baptized.  I allowed her to call because I knew Preacher would be up early enough, and she got her voice mail and left her a message.  Preacher called right back and talked with her for a bit, sharing in her excitement.

When Picasso got to church, she went straight to the baptismal bathroom to drop off her bathing suit and hairbrush.  She was ready!  She got to practice sharing her confession in her worship service (our children’s department does a service with a format similar to “big people” church), and then she walked down with Preacher to share her confession with the adult congregation.  She was nervous, but she did such a great job!  It was so touching to have our sweet friend take our daughter’s confession and baptize her.  She shared that Picasso called her so early with such excitement and that she was really the reason we were at our church.  You see, we were visiting when we were pregnant with Picasso, and even though we had never attended our age-group Sunday school class, they brought us a week’s worth of meals when she was born.  We were so touched by their outpouring of love to us when they didn’t even know us.  They were loving like Jesus would love, so that got our attention and we gave them a chance.  Our life has been so blessed in the almost eight years since we’ve been there.  In addition to our obvious joy today, the sermon was amazing.  All of our family attended and joined us at home for lunch afterwards.  The weather was beautiful, the kids were well-behaved, and our precious first born celebrated with absolute joy and excitement her birth into the kingdom of God.


I knew this would happen February 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jps23 @ 10:28 pm

I realized that keeping up with daily posts was easy when I was preparing to have a baby and then recovering from it.  It was when life got back to normal and I had to step back into Mommy-mode that those opportunities to blog would fall quickly to the wayside.  Oh well.  That’s life, I guess.  I also realize that even when I make time now, there is always something else to be done and this is just my way of avoiding it!  So I’ve decided to take the pressure off of myself and just blog when I can.  If it falls on a Monday, I’ll tell you how I manage something.  If it falls on a Friday, I’ll tell you how I fix something.  Any other time is open to free rambling.  I’m sure you understand.

Not much to say today, but I did want to post pictures from our fun in the snow.  Twice in one year is a bonus in Georgia!  We had so much fun with it, especially since this time around was better suited for making snowballs and snowmen!


She’s ready for Him February 9, 2010

Filed under: S1,S2,S3 — jps23 @ 9:31 pm

Our sweet firstborn daughter has made the biggest decision of her life.  She is ready for Christian baptism.  Honestly, I have felt this decision was made by her even before she could say Jesus.  Picasso has always loved Jesus.  She once wanted a Jesus-themed birthday party.  She has loved Him all her life.  She is now just two months shy of turning eight years old.  She has been asking about baptism for the past couple of months, here and there, but we have been talking about it a bit more in the past few weeks.  The conversation about a week ago went a bit like this…

Me:  So, are you ready to consider being baptized?  (Remember, we’ve had a dialogue going on about his over the past few months.)

Picasso:  But Jesus already lives in my heart.

Me:  Yes, but the Bible tells us that He wants us to follow that decision in Christian baptism, telling others of our love for him.

Picasso:  I just don’t want to be baptized yet.

Me:  Why not? (she makes a face)  Do you not want to get up in front of everyone? (she is terrible shy outside of this family)

Picasso:  (Shakes her head)  No, I don’t want to do that yet.

Me:  That’s okay.  Just keep praying about it, and you will know when you are ready.

I really felt like God would give her the confidence she needed to get up in front of the church when it was time.  I didn’t know she would find that from Him so quickly.  She looks at me two nights ago and almost whispers to me, “Mommy, I’m ready to be baptised.”  I wanted to jump up, shout for joy, and squeeze my sweet little girl, but I held back a bit and calmly asked, “What changed your mind?”  She went on to tell me that our children’s minister said some things that morning in worship hour that made her think.  Since our children’s minister likes to talk to them before they walk down before the church, and since she is one of my very best friends, I sent her an email letting her know what was going on.  She’ll be talking to Picasso tomorrow evening.  I’m so excited that she has made this decision to live life for her precious Jesus!

On a side note, Mary Lou piped in to say that she was also ready.  Now, she is five, so I am a little hesitant.  However, she has also loved Jesus with all her heart, and she doesn’t hesitate about much that she wants to do.  She’s learned way more than I did about God at that age, and she has always acted about a year ahead of her true age.  Part of that is the two older sisters, but the other part is simply her personality.  Our children’s minister will also be talking to her this week to see what she thinks.  When I asked her if she understood what being baptized means, she said that it means “My sins are all washed away and Jesus lives in my heart as my forever friend.”  Even if she doesn’t move forth with Christian baptism just yet, living with this frame of mind is a great start!

As for Cowgirl, she didn’t hesitate to say, “I’m not ready to be baptized yet!”  Don’t worry sweet girl, we’ll get there.


Fix-it Friday February 6, 2010

Filed under: Fix-it Friday — jps23 @ 9:07 pm

I didn’t post a fix-it Friday because I didn’t really have time to concentrate on what to type.  I know you can create posts on any ol’ day and schedule them for the given day, but I’m doing good to catch and keep up.  Getting ahead of the game is out of the question right now!  What was I distracted with, you ask?  Besides the obvious, our mini-van cut out on me in mid-turn in downtown Atlanta.  The one from the chaos clip.  So we’ll be figuring out how to fix that over the next few days.  I know you love me anyway, even though I can’t keep to my schedule.  And those of you that really know me know that just having a schedule is an accomplishment for me!