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This morning (Monday), Levi was looking for a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty gun that goes with his Star Wars creature.  Now the deal was, on Friday as he was cleaning up, I told him to put ALL the little guns in the box so he would not lose one.  Really, they are so tiny, you could easily think it was a piece of trash!  And when he wants me to find one…not fun!  When he went to the box this morning, that one particular gun was not there.  CRISIS

I asked him if he put it up on Friday.  He said that he did but he got it out again when his mother and I were talking.  He showed me where he thought it was…but, alas, no gun there.  We looked and looked…in several places.  But no gun.  TEARS

Don had come into the kitchen to fix breakfast…as he does every morning.  It is a tradition that he and Levi started long ago and no one can fix the breakfast now, but Pa!  Which is ever so fine by me.  Of course,  I do the getting dressed and combing hair and brushing teeth and driving to school part!  (And, we all know how fun it is to wrestle a pair of jeans and boots on a four year old who would rather be doing anything else!!!)

Well, my dear hubby usually has a word or two or ten to interject into how I can do life better or more efficient or faster or like him.  So, he told me that I should have gotten a specific place for Levi to keep all his Star Wars things, so they could all stay together.  It did my heart good to tell him that I did that. ( Nah! Nah! Nah-Nah! Boo-Boo!)  SMUG

Levi walked into the kitchen and I reminded him that he had the big box to put all his Star Wars things in and if he would just do that every day when he left, they would not get lost!

Don was looking at me like a goon and said, “Lulu is right, Levi.  That’s why she can always find what she’s looking for and never loses anything.”  SARCASM A MILE LONG  He did say it with a smile, but …you understand!

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So, I sang, to the room at large..a strange, little silly song….”LuLu is not perfect. She loses things. She makes messes. She forgets where things are!    Oh, well, Big deal….Lulu is not perfect!”

Sweet, innocent, angelic Levi then took me by the hand and looked into my eyes with all the seriousness in the world  and said, “Why did you not tell me that before now?”
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UH OH…slipped a little off that pedestal…

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“Sorry, Levi.  I’m not perfect.  I mess up big time…lots of times.  But, one thing’s for sure…Messes can be fixed or cleaned up or done over.  And, I don’t mind doing that.  Believe it or not, some of the best lessons you will learn in this life come from when you really mess up bad!  We just clean it up and start over!  Besides, aren’t messes the most fun, sometimes! And, in the grand scheme of things…what’s a few messes?  I don’t put things away like I should.  I know I need to, but I get so busy.   I lose things.  And, they may stay lost for a while.  But, it’s so exciting when I find them again!  Oh, well, this is me. I love you.   I love your messes.  I love seeing you so involved in a project that everything else fades away! We can always clean up after…and we do!  And, we’ll try to do better keeping up with the Star Wars guns.  OK?   Your Not Quite Perfect Lulu”

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MAMA SANG

My mother loved to sing. She sang all the time.  She sang in the car.  She sang at the kitchen sink.  She sang while dusting and vacuuming.  She had music in her and it had to come out!  I think that’s a wonderful thing, because all she ever sang was hymns or other Christian music….but hymns mostly or songs they were working on in choir.

Our family was a church going family.  Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, every revival, every associational meeting, ever Week of Prayer (twice a year), every committee meeting, every choir meeting, every Sunbeams, GA’s, Acteens, Every social, every special missionary speaker,   every winter Bible study, every VBS early bird clinic, every association wide sing, every youth meeting on Saturday night,every circle meeting, every class meeting, every BYW, every children’s choir, every Mission Friends, every Sunday night after church fellowship, every dinner on the grounds after service on Sunday morning.  Every single thing that was made available to us, we were there and on the front row!  The only exception to this  rule was the one night a year that The Wizard of Oz came on TV.  That night Daddy and Joy and I were allowed to stay home and watch the movie.  Mother fixed us snacks and settled the three of us in front of the TV…before she went on to church.  And, we watched.  And, Joy cried at the same spot every year!  Ahhh! Those monkeys were not that scary!

Now, our church attendance was not a bad thing.  Actually, it was a good thing….though I didn’t realize it at the time.  Our life existed in learning about our Lord.  Our dearest friends were right there in those meetings with us.  This is what we put our time and talent into.  And, we were very happy.  My parents had wonderful friends, and their children were our friends.  They liked to get together when we weren’t at church, and so we got together with them.  And, so at almost all times of my life I was surrounded by people who thought like us, and talked like us and worshipped like us.  My parents friends became extended family to us.  (Ours all lived far away)  They were Aunt Katherine and Uncle Allison and Aunt Eunice and Uncle Robert…and others.

My Mom always sang in the choir and occasionally would sing solos.  My Aunt Eunice Williams was my piano teacher for 12 years (,,,I’m sorry Aunt Eunice, for not practicing more…)  She was also our church organist.  And, our Youth Choir director for a while!  I can still recall an anthem she taught us in choir some 45 years ago.  Joy and I can still do a pretty good rendition of it when we are together…in the car…by ourselves.

But, though my Mom was forever singing…I could not remember a song she taught me to sing.  Now she had a couple of fun songs she always liked to sing…like Shoo Fly Pie, Gonna Dance By the Light of the Moon.  And, she had a few poems she would recite…The Moo Cow Moo.   But, as far as a song she taught me the words and how to sing, I could not remember a single one.

What brought this up is I found a file of songs I have taught to Levi.  Some you would know and some came straight out this convoluted mind of mine…and only Levi and I would understand.  We’ve been making up our own songs since he was a baby!  All along he will ask me to sing the song about the chicken or the Hands Song, etc.

Because I am such a stickler for him listening to the right kind of music, I have several CDs and DVDs that we listen to in the car.  He knows them all by heart now!  But, I purchased a new one a few weeks ago and this week, we played on the way to school.  A song came on that was vaguely familiar to me.  I knew it was a song I had learned long ago…but the words were a little different.  They were alike enough that I knew it was the song.  After Levi got out of the car at school, I sat and listened to the song a few times…rewinding and listening again.  And, then I had the most beautiful remembrance.

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It was a song my Mother had taught me.  I can see us sitting together and her singing a line, then me repeating it. Then changing up the words and singing it again.  You may even know it…with slightly different words.  But this is the way Mom taught me.

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

Our heavenly Father made the BIRDS, He showed them what to do

If God so loves the little BIRDS, I know He loves me, too.

He loves me , too.  He loves me, too.   I know He loves me, too.

If God so loves the little BIRDS,   I know He loves me, too!

Wow!  what a sweet memory I had sitting in the car, in the cold, in the parking lot at FPP.  That’s the great thing about memories, isn’t it?  They pop up out of nowhere, but take you right back to a moment in time long ago.  I just wanted to be still and revel in it!  I was thinking of that as I drove home, and to my surprise, I remembered another song Mom taught me.  I have not heard this song in forever, but there it was seared into my memory bank.

WHO CAN MAKE A FLOWER?

O who can make a FLOWER?

I’m sure I can’t, can you?

O, who can make a FLOWER?

No one but God; It’s true!

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Yes, there she was singing that song and teaching me the word and motions to it!  So sweet! So comforting!  I remember it vividly…now!

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Don’t ever think that the things you teach your children are for naught.  What goes in this brain of ours, is there.  And, at some time, it’ll just rise to the surface.  Perhaps at a time when we need a lift.  Or maybe at a time God just wants to give us a little wink and say “Remember this?”

Oh the responsibility it is on us as parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles,teachers, friends.  Someone… sometime… somewhere… will recall a memory of us.  Will we be pleased with what they remember?  Will we be ashamed?  Will it be a memory that is worth sharing with others?

Well those decisions are all up to you.  But as for me…I am thrilled when I can share such happiness and remembrance with you!

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‘TIS SO SWEET…

I think those of you that know me well know how I feel about the way music is presented in the modern church.  I miss the hymns.  (Our present minister of music does a great mix of both).  I miss singing hymns and those familiar words that are seared in my memory from years of attending a Southern Baptist Church.

I love the theology of hymns.  So many times, the right hymn can be like a mini sermon.  It can say in a few lines and a chorus just what you need to hear.

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Being  a preschool teacher for 40 years, and a preschool music teacher for 20 of them, I know that what we put into the minds of our little ones, is what they will pull up throughout their lives.  I see these videos on TV of kids dancing  to and singing ungodly songs, and people comment how cute it is.  To me it is sad that this is the kind of music they are exposed to.  How will these songs help them in later life?

Last night our family had a medical emergency.  The patient was 200 miles away, and in great distress.  We were helpless.  Trying to get him to the hospital and speaking to emergency personnel, making sure he was safe and getting proper care, we were up all night…worried as could be.  But, there was no time for us to get there and take care of things.  All we could do was pray.  We prayed separately.  We prayed on the phone.  We prayed together.  And, then we tried to lay back down and wait…and trust…and believe…that God would step in and do what He said He would.  As I lay in the dark…alternately praying and trying to figure out a way to get there NOW,  the sweetest words started flowing through my mind.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,       

Just to take Him at His Word;

Just to rest upon His promise,    

And, to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

 

*Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;

*Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus!      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

 

Yes, tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;

Just from Jesus simply taking

Life and rest and joy and peace.

 

*Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!    How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;

*Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

 

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;

And, I know that Thou art with me,

Wilt be with me to the end.

 

*Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!     How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;

*Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!       Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

 

It was as if Jesus was speaking to me and saying, “That’s right, Tonja.  It IS sweet to trust in me.  You HAVE proved me many times.  Now, do it again…trust in Me.”  And, that’s when the peace came.  Whatever was going on with our loved one was being controlled by the one who loves him more than we ever could.  Friends, let me tell you an absolute truth…there is no peace like the peace God gives.  His peace is perfect, and it is always available!

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How many times have I sung that song through the years?  It was a favorite as I grew up.  But, in all honesty, I can not remember the last time I sang it…or even thought about it.  But, there it was when I needed comfort and a gentle reminder.

(I must confess, I did not remember the second verse printed here.  But when I looked up the lyrics to be sure I got them right, I just had to share them with you, too.)  Isn’t that a beautiful thought…“Just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace.”

 

Well, all is well this morning.  4 kidney stones are nothing to breeze through…I know I’ve been there.  Actually, now that he’s been initiated into the club…we can all commiserate with one another…he’s the last of the family circle to experience this ailment.  I’m betting about now he’s wishing he’d never joined!

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THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS…2016

This was a big day in the Owens’ family….A rite of passage…A symbol of continuity.  Today, Levi got his first motorcycle.

Motorcycles have been a part of my life since I was born.  I actually have a picture of Pop holding me in his arms with one hand and driving a motorcycle in the yard with the other.  Mother, obviously, was taking a nap!  Anyway, Joy and I grew up riding, and I rode to high school some.  Don and I had a motorcycle while we were in college at Samford in Birmingham.  Then our children came along…and as soon as they could hold one up…they were riding, and loving every minute of it.  My boys and Joy’s girls both rode.  Sure, they had falls and broke bones and cuts and scrapes.  They hit trees and the backs of parked cars.  But, they learned the right way to ride. *** Never without a helmet. *** Never with a passenger.  ***Always with an adult present.  And always knowing misbehavior while riding would warrant losing the privilege.  Ask Adam if we stuck to that.

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***Adam on his first motorcycle…***

They rode most often off the road or only on a quiet cul de sac where my parents lived…until my boys got older.  The motorcycles were always kept at their house.  Then Adam began to ride to school, and out to Wallace Community College…and then his Pop took him on a two week trip from Dothan through Atlanta to North Carolina and on to West Virginia.  Wow..they made some great memories.  I think Adam was 17.

Ian was also quite a rider and rode frequently in school and while he was in college in Birmingham and back and forth to Birmingham.   I would ride anywhere with those two, they are such careful, skilled operators.  But, that doesn’t mean I did not worry.  I sure did.  Not so much about their skills as the fact that cars do not respect motorcycle riders and don’t look for them on the road.

Well, Levi has been riding with his Pa for a good while, off road only.  He is already developing a love for the sport just like his dad and uncles.  We decided to get him this tiny machine for Christmas…with his parent’s blessing.  But, it’s for off road use only.  As you see in these pics, he is riding on the little lane we live on.  But, there is very, very little traffic here.  He will never be allowed to ride without his Pa or his Daddy here with him.  And most of his riding will be in our wooded lot.  And you’ll see it has training wheels on it, and it will for a while.  He’s learning to balance, but this will give him more stabilization for a while.  Since Adam was working on Christmas Day, we made the day after Christmas the day of the big reveal!

 

“What’s in this box, Pa? Another Christmas present?”

 

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“Wow!  it’s a real motorcycle helmet!  A real one!  Like you wear!”

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“Look! It fits!  I like it!  And, it has a face shield, too!”

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Don then told Levi there may be one more package under the tree for him!  He got the paper off that thing in a hurry,  “It’s a motorcycle!  A real motorcycle!”

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“It fits me! It’s my size!”

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Adam had some words of wisdom for Levi…

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…they both had things to tell him…

 

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…and some more things to tell him…Like where the BRAKES are!!!

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Finally, he gives it a little gas…and off he goes…down the front path.

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Eyes on the road…always look ahead…

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Big turn here…Pa and Daddy close beside.

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A few more words from Adam…and a little reassurance.

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And there he goes!  Like a pro!

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Now Uncle Ian is helping watch!

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And Uncle Alex is close by, too!

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“I did it Pa!  By myself!  I love it!”

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“Thanks, Pa.  I’m going to ride some more, now!”

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“Don’t worry Mommy and Lulu.  All is well!  I’ll be careful!  I’m a big boy now!”

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It was a day for family and a day for fun.  Cherishing the beautiful gift of this little boy, and his Daddy and Uncles and Grandpa and Great Grandfather in whose footsteps he follows.  And Suzanne and I along to watch over it all…and shed a few tears.  Not sad ones…just wistful ones.  Time moves so quickly……and little boys become big boys and men right before your eyes.  Way before you’re ready for it!  Oh, that we remain wise in the leading!

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“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children…”   Psalm 103:17

CHRISTMAS DAY…2015

Christmas Day…2016

We gathered at my house to eat and play and exchange gifts with one another.  Mostly to just be together. We were all together with the exception of Adam.  He is a paramedic and was on duty.  We sure did miss him…but thank him for his willingness to be available for those in need.

Here is a selection of the fun we had!  Around the table…

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Trying to get a good picture of Levi and John Thomas in their Christmas pajamas…

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Posing for posterity…

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And some candids of the day…

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And once again, we have celebrated the day.  But, more than that…we have celebrated the gifts He has given us.  The gift of love, the gift of family, the gift of togetherness and joy and happiness.  And, we have all of that because of the Gift He gave so long ago.  The gift of Jesus!  That is what makes all this possible.  And, for Him, we are most grateful!

 

ARTS AND CRAFTS AND DECORATING…OH! MY!

PART ONE…Thanksgiving Day…

Thanksgiving Day in our family is full of good food, wonderful family, and furious decorating!  We always have lunch at Pop’s with Joy in charge of the kitchen.  Due to the effects of the past few weeks, we had a lot catered this year, and paper plates were in order.  It was delicious!  Our Birmingham Boy, Ian, came bearing two delightful deserts…one made by his own hand!  Yummy!

While Lori slaved cleaning up the kitchen, all by herself, with a joyous attitude, Tara, Joy, Suzanne, Ian and I were busy seeing to the decorating of Pop’s house.   It has been our tradition since Mom moved to Heaven to spend the hours after Thanksgiving dinner getting Pop’s house into a Christmas mood.  Ian made 65 trips into the attic since he was the only male with young enough legs and strong enough arms to tackle the job.  The other men were all a ‘few’ years his elder. His 3 peers were needed elsewhere…. onewas urgently needed to help control the deer population…out in the wilds of Abbeville.  One was needed to sew and patch and transfer those who chose Thanksgiving and big sales as their clue to begin partying And, the last one was helping watch the youngest of the male members of our clan as they were showing their mad skills to each other and their grandfathers on various athletic equipment consisting of 2, 3, or 4 wheels!  (But, if you notice, in the pics below, one of the little boys has a busted lip, chipped tooth and skinned nose…Way to Watch, guys!)

After we finally got the tree fluffed, and plugged in, we set about finding and hanging the 586 ornaments Mother had on her ‘family tree’.  She also had a ‘Fancy Nancy tree’ elsewhere in the house, but the family tree has every single ornament any of her children or 5 grandchildren had ever made, or that anyone had given her.  Oh, my!  So many…and every one of them dear to her and Pop’s heart.  We did away with the fancy tree, but still put this one up right in the den where he sees it.  If Mother decorated something in years past…it must still be decorated now, according to our patriarch.  Oh, and it makes him so happy to know she would be so happy to see it still done so.  This means that 6 wreaths get hung, 3 light posts get adorned, arrangements on a dining room table, a kitchen table,  the island, and two tables in the hall.  AND the old ceramic tree with those tiny plastic bulbs that is as old as I, am goes in Pop’s study.  We had fun, as we always do when we are together.  Even Lori’s grumbling about people still using forks and glasses couldn’t stop our fun!  (just kidding…well not really, but she did say it with a smile in her eyes!)

Someone may or may not have fallen off a step stool, onto a 3 foot tree lying on the couch and continued rolling until he/she hit the floor.  And, the little tree may have been permanently altered.  However, it sits proudly in its spot…propped up by 2 books that are hidden by some burlap around the base…looking to all the world as if it is intended to be that way.  There can be beauty in the broken.  Mom would be so proud!

Anyway, back to the purpose of my post today.  John Thomas and Levi were so excited at the prospect of having another tree to decorate!  Oh, the ornaments were shiny and bright and wherever they put them was perfection!  John Thomas called the right to put up the star, with Uncle Ian’s help.

Let me just interject this observation.  John Thomas is most cooperative and gracious to anyone who may even think they want to make his picture.  He waits.  He poses.  He makes the most adorable smiles that make you just want to pitch his little cheeks!  In fact he wants to be in every picture made!

Sweet Levi, on the other hand, does not have the patience nor the ‘want to’ to smile sweetly for just a quick second while you try and catch a cute picture.  Pose?  Are you kidding?  You have to sneak around and usually the best I can do is get something from the side.  If you ever do get him from the front…his eyes are looking around furiously to see what he can do the minute he is released.  They are NEVER looking at the camera!!!  (Unless he is being threatened by someone whom he knows really means it!)  I always take 10 or 25 pictures of him in hopes of getting a good one!

 

 

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You can not imagine what it took to get a good one of these 3 below…

 

 

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Spot the difference in the two little boys?  God love ’em both!

All kidding aside, with this tradition, we honor the sweet memory of our Mother and Granny and take great pleasure in making the house as festive as she did, knowing what pleasure it gives to Pop.  And, he is so gracious and appreciative.

 

PART TWO…The Day After…

I ask for trouble.  I know it’s true.  Don’t mean to…but it happens.

Last year John Thomas was visiting me and asked me if we could paint a Christmas tree.  I told him that I did not have one but I would look around and see what I could do.  Well, things happened and people happened and life happened…and I did not get to carry out my plans. But, I told John Thomas that if I was able we would do it this year.  And I was…and we did.

The day after Thanksgiving John Thomas and Sweet Levi showed up at my house at 10:00 sharp.  And, I was ready and waiting on them!  Time for our morning of fun to begin!  I had a huge sheet spread out on the floor.  Both boys had the same supplies…a bare tree, a palette of paint, brushes, an empty snow globe, two empty glass ornaments, a tiny truck, and a tiny tree.  I kept control of the paint bottles, and the supplies for the snow globe.

We began by swirling different colors of paint inside the glass ornaments…these turned out very pretty…but was not a hit with the boys. It took too long for the paint to run down the sides.  They needed fast results!

Then we started the trees.  Now this, they loved.  They discussed  which colors they would use.  Levi told John Thomas that he should copy him because he does art everyday.  John Thomas told Levi that he already decided which colors and not to copy him!  I think that ended all discussion of paint colors.  They both went to work and let their creative spirits soar.  I guess they didn’t notice they both had the same 4 colors.

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The trees are hinged on the back so they will stand up.  They did a great job!  Then we washed up and sang a few Christmas carols to liven us up!

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We made our little truck ornament for the tree, and then came time for the snow globe.  Oh my!

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I found the neatest snow globes at Michael’s this year.  They are plastic and are in 3 pieces…the globe, a little platform for the characters you choose, and a twist on cap.  And, they are large enough that you can put more than one thing in it.  I had a snowman, a deer, trees, 2 elves, a house, a bicycle and two signs to the North Pole. And two bags of snow!  John Thomas chose first cause he said he was older.  Levi said, “Don’t you know I’m 4 now?”  JT told him it didn’t matter, he was still older.  Levi told him that he went to his birthday and he was four, too!  John Thomas just rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, two years ago, Levi”  I didn’t stop at 4!”  Not sure Levi gets it yet, but we let JT go first.  He tried out several and decided on an elf and a tree and a sign.  So, I hot glued and then we opened the snow. OH! THE! SNOW!  I bought some somewhere that was teeny little styrofoam like balls.  BIG MISTAKE!  They immediately attach themselves to your hands and clothes and face and everything!  And, they are so very lightweight that every time you breath out or say a word the weight of your breath sends them into orbit.  They fall where they will and refuse to let themselves be picked up again!  I learned a lesson, for sure.

Levi and John Thomas were sure troopers though.  They got down on the floor and tried their best to corral the lost snow.  Oh if only it would really melt!  Needless to say, we grabbed what we could and dumped it in a bag and decided Levi would use the flaky snow!  He had been studying the pieces and finally decided that he would take the other elf and a tree and a sign…just like John Thomas!  I glued.  And told him to wait for me to open the bag of that lighter than air flaky stuff.  Somehow, his brain did not comprehend what those words meant and he bit a hole in the top of the bag and proceeded to pull it apart with all his might.  And he did…pull it apart.  And it really truly snowed in my studio.  A whole bag full.  I couldn’t speak.  John Thomas stared at me.  Levi laughed and said, “Come on, John Thomas, help me put it back in the bag and lets do it again!”  JT didn’t move.  He knew.   He’s 6.  The bag was quickly then removed from Levi’s hands and cleanup began.  OH ! My!  What Fun!  Here’s the two other ones we did.  See those little demon balls in the snowman?  NEVER buy them!

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We finished up with the projects and put everything away.  They played with cars for a while, then John Thomas chose a book for me to read.    But, no.  Levi decided he would read to John Thomas.  He ‘read’ him a photo album of his K3 year of school.  I don’t think JT was particularly enthralled.  But, the dear boy was kind, and let Levi finish.

And this is the only bad picture of John Thomas known to be in existence!

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And our fun morning came to an end.  The boys gathered their treasures together to take home and soon their Moms came to pick them up.  I tried everything to remove snow from my studio, and finally hit on a lint roller as the best tool for the job.  Used up all the sheets on the roll…but there’s very little snow left!

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JT looked the the pics I took before he left and he told me I messed up on this one.  “You don’t have anything in this picture, Aunt Tonja, “he said.  “Oh yes, I do, Little Man!  There’s a little hand reaching into to a beautiful palette of paint!  He can paint anything he wants.  He can create a blue sky or a dark storm, or a truck or an airplane or even a family.   It’s all up to the artist.  I think it’s beautiful!”  He said it still looked like a wrong picture to him.  That’s OK.  He’s 6!

“…work with your own hands…” 1 Thessalonians4:11

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And, it’s now nap time for the grown-up!

WHERE WOULD IT HIDE?

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I first have to admit something.  I am an indulgent Lulu.  I have bought many toys for Levi…many…from the time he was an infant.  But, I am very particular in what I buy.  It has to be quality and it has to be used to teach …whether it’s learning about shapes in puzzle work, or cars that depict actual vehicles he may encounter…even to a baby doll that teaches the things daddies need to do for a little one.  And, of course, we have a plethora of art supplies.  I can’t even tell you how I love to buy art supplies to feed his creative mind!  Those things just jump in my cart without me even noticing!

I have, from the time he was old enough to understand, insisted that he take care of his toys.  We only throw those things intended to be thrown.  Every thing is put away in it correct container.  And, it is put gently in its box…NEVER thrown.  This has been an important lesson to him that things cost money and if he does not care for them they break and are gone forever.  We only replace broken things if it was truly an accident!  And, that’s MY call!

He’s really very good about following my rules on these things, and we have very little trouble with it! One of the things I have learned through out my 40 some years teaching and raising children is this…the RULES need to be shared first!  It’s exciting to have something new to play with or experiment with.  And, in the excitement, it is so hard to listen and remember the rules.  But, BEFORE the toy or art supply is in the child’s hand…he must hear the rules!  ***In the house, the balls stay on the floor.***  Play Doh is used only at the little table and can never leave!***Crayons are only for paper.***Caps go on markers immediately after using and before using another one.***Toys that are not treated gently or used properly are put in Toy Time Out for a week…in full few of the perpetrator, I might add!

Enough about that.  Last week, I discovered that my sweet boy had taken about 25 of his little cars into the pantry.  He said they were having a picnic.  That was fine.  I actually think a pantry is a pretty clever place to have a picnic, don’t you?  After playing around the food for a while, I suppose the smells got to him, and he decided it was time for him to picnic as well.

Lulu, I need a snack.

OK, Babe, pick up your cars and we’ll have something.

But, they are having a picnic and they are not finished.

Oh, OK, well when they finish, then I’ll get you a snack.

But, I’m really hungry now.

I understand.  Just take the cars back and put them away, and we’ll find something to eat.

OK.

He said OK…but he didn’t mean OK.  He was just kinda stuck there and couldn’t get going.  (Been there myself)  So, I went and got his grocery cart and wheeled it into the pantry.

Why don’t you put all your cars in the cart and then roll them back into the studio, that will be easier!  

He thought that was a good idea and set about the task at hand.  Then, I heard the sounds of two of his biggest trucks being thrown with great force into the cart.  They slammed together with a great crash! I walked into the pantry with a shocked look on my face.

Have you lost your mind?

Looking up at me in all innocence,   I don’t think so.

Did I?  Where did it go?

I was trying so hard not to laugh.  Did you forget about throwing your cars?  That’s not following the rules.  Put them away correctly.

In a minute or two I heard him call…Did you find it yet, Lulu?

I had moved on and thought he was talking about his snack.  Find what, Levi?

My mind…I don’t know where it is.

Well, what does it look like?  I’ll help you look.

It’s clear.  It’s shaped like a head.  It has all the things I think about in it.

OK, finish the cars, and I’ll find it.

He took the cars back to their place.

Did you get it yet, Lulu?

Come here, Little Man.

He came over to me and, I laid my ear on the top of his head.

Everything’s fine!  It’s in there.  I can hear it thinking!

Whew!  I’m glad.  Cause I don’t know where minds like to hide!  And, I want to keep all my ‘thinks’.

1a

Now why I ever asked him a question like that, I’m not sure.  I’ve never said that to him before.  And, I won’t again.  I wasn’t using my mind…I forgot that preschoolers think literally.  What we use as an expression, is not understood in that way by a little one.

The next morning, I asked him to tell Pa and Uncle Alex about what happened to his mind.  He did and, his wise Pa reminded him of a very important Bible truth.

“…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Phillipians 4:8 NLT

Pa reminded him that he had a wonderful mind and these are the kinds of things God wants us to think about with our minds!  Levi told Pa that when his friends were hurt or sad it made unhappy ‘thinks’ in his mind.  Pa explained to him that that happens to all of us, but that’s the time we pray for God to take care of the things that make us sad.

What a sweet talk the four of us had together that morning.  It is such a blessing for us to have the opportunity to spend time with this sweet boy.  His other grandparents feel the same as his Pa and I.   It is such a privilege to share in his “training up”.   We do not take this responsibility lightly.  His parents do such a wonderful job of raising him in the knowledge of our Lord, he attends a church with a wonderful children’s program and he is in a terrific Christian preschool.  I thank God that this young man is surrounded by those who love him, cherish him, and continually point him toward Jesus!  ”

“Thank you, God, for sharing the gift of this delightful boy with all of us who love him!  Never let us fall down or be neglectful in our responsibilities to him.”

“I could have no greater joy than  to hear that my children are following the truth.”   3 John 4