Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cultivating Character

Encouraging the cultivation of character is exactly what wise parents do, nudging, urging their children toward maturity. As a parent, you have occasions in your life, brief vignettes, little windows of time, where you can step forward and help your children to understand the value of being brave. As they grow up and those hands-on occasions change to a more distant relationship, you must call upon your children to stand for what they believe, even if they must stand alone---and then trust them to do it without you alongside.
~ Swindoll

We had an eventful morning in the Vaughn household. My girls are playing basketball. We are playing in the area that we will be living in when our house sells. We began playing ball in this area this past spring. We received a phone call this morning that our girls would not be allowed to continue to play due to our current address. 

Oh I was heartbroke.

You see my girls missed basketball season last year because they spent it in the hospital and at my mom's helping take care of their Aunt Tracy. My girls were wonderful if I do say so myself. They spent many days doing school in the STICU waiting room and then willingly were drug to my mom's to do school in her kitchen while I cared for my sister. They got to see how a family takes care of each other and they loved being a part of it, even if it was just running up stairs to get a towel or holding a drink for my sister. They were not bitter at all, they understood when I explained how Aunt Tracy needed us now and basketball would be there next season.

So they were so excited to be playing this year. They had met there coach, their team, ordered uniforms, and had a practice... they were crushed when I delivered the news...

Now my first response in feelings was anger, then hurt, then deception. I thought, no I said, just let me refill out the paperwork I will put my parent's address. I was ready to reach into my roledex and pull out whatever names I needed to in order to keep my girls on that team.

Then I knew that the only name I needed to pull out was Jesus Christ.

So I went to my girls and we stood in the middle of our living room and we held hands and we prayed. We prayed that God would open the doors for them to be able to play if it was His will. We prayed that He would do it according to the rules with no manipulation on my part. We prayed also that He would sell our house so we wouldn't have to go through this again. We prayed that His will be done, and we said in Jesus name, and amen, and we began school.

Not even an hour later the phone rings.

Guess what? There is no 9-10 yr old girls basketball team in our current area so according to the rules Shelby could play any where she wanted! And also according to the rules Bekah could play up on Shelby's team!!

I could not wait to tell my girls. I cried and looked up to my God and told Him, Thank You!!!

I came in and shared the God-news with my girls and Shelby ran and jumped in my arms and Bekah joyfully exclaimed, "Momma, God answered us quick!"

Oh how good He is!!

How thankful I am that God convicted my heart to turn this over to Him and trust Him with it. In doing so He used it as an awesome opportunity to display His glory, His love, His concern, and His realness to His girls!

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Ugh Nightmares!

When I was younger I used to be able to handle the "scary movie" or at least I thought I was handling them anyway. I remember one that I used to watch that was called Nightmare on Elm Street. These "nightmares" centered around blood and gore and other just really gross stuff. This was Hollywood's idea of a nightmare.

As a grown woman and a mother of three I learned along time ago that real life was scary enough, I did not need Hollywood helping me out in the nightmare area. My own mind was sufficient enough to scare me to death. I certainly did not need to visit Freddie, Michael, Jason, or the Candyman to have the snot scared out of me. I also know there are demons, they are real, the Bible tells me that plainly. I don't need Hollywood's depiction of them, I'll just take God's word and I'll learn from those who have been a part of casting them out, not glorifying them for money.

Last night I had one of my scariest nightmares, this is a repeated one, but it comes in different forms, but it's the same theme. I am in a busy place with my girls, last night it reminded me of New Orleans, but it was a festival time, there were acrobats and those people that juggle while walking on really tall stilts, and people everywhere. I had both my girls and we were trying to find something or someone, I don't remember, all I remember is looking down and Bekah was gone.

I then hit panic. I take a death grip on Shelby as I look frantically for Bekah, then I turn around and I now have my nieces and nephews and even some of the kids from our church with me. I want to run to find Bekah, but I can't now because the rest of the children with me wouldn't be able to keep up and I fear losing one of them. I finally begin to scream Bekah's name and the place just seems to magnify in size and the crowd of people multiplies, my heart is pounding, and I can't breathe, and at the same time I don't want to scare or lose the other children.

Finally something in me begins to register and I think "Oh God let this be a dream, please let it be a dream!" I manage to wake myself up and look and my Bekah and my Shelby are safe in the bed asleep.

Deep sigh of relief...

Yes, I still had to look at them before my heart stopped pounding. Just waking and discovering I was in a dream was not enough. I wanted physical evidence that they were safe under my wing.

As a wife and mother, this is my nightmare.

I do not fear to the point of nightmares about my child being sick or hurt, I do not want them sick or hurt, but this does not cause me to wake up in a heart pounding cold sweat. However, losing my children, having someone steal my children, this is my nightmare. I can't stand the thought of it. This indeed gives me nights filled with sheer terror.

When David arose in the morning,
the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad,
David’s seer, saying,  “Go and speak to David,
‘Thus the LORD says, “I am offering you three things;
choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”’
So Gad came to David and told him,
and said to him,
“Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land?
Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you?
Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land?
Now consider and see
what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.” 
Then David said to Gad,
“I am in great distress.
Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD
for His mercies are great,
but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
2 Samuel 24:11-14

This is one of my prayers to my God. "Father, please let my children fall into Your hands, for Your mercy is great, please do not let them fall into the hands of man." For me there is no worse thing than to not know where my children are or who has them.

It's just not natural for a mother to not have all her chicks under her wing. This is why the hen will peck your eyes out and the dog bite your hand off and the bear knock your head off. Don't mess with the babies! 

Ecclesiastes 3:3 says...
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

I joke that this momma will have a prison ministry if anyone ever lays a hand on one of my babies... but then again not so sure I am really joking. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

One Fine Day

Oh me... it's ball season again.

Two kids on two different teams... two new different schedules to add to an already crazy calendar.

This is life.

You know there are those days that flow wonderfully and I look back on those days and I think, if I could do this that day why can't I manage it everyday?

I should have known today would be "one fine day" when the strange dog started barking right outside our front door before daylight, which started our inside dog barking before daylight, which woke up our 7 yr old before daylight.

I put the 7 year old back to bed, let the inside dog out to run off the strange outside dog then brought the inside dog back in and locked the doors and tried to be still for my quiet time with God before... well... my "quiet time before the house wakes up" just wasn't going to happen on this fine day.   

Monday is co-op day. Love, love it! But it also means having me and my girls dressed and ready and packed and loaded down with whatever we need for the day and out the door by hopefully 8am. This usually is not that big of an issue, but today we added basketball season to our calendar.

Of course, my girls have to go and grow on us so we needed basketball shoes... and we needed a cop costume, because my Bekah had decided she must be a cop.

So after co-op set-up, co-op classes, and co-op break-down, we head out for shoes and costumes, finishing in just enough time to get to the first ball practice that ended at 6pm, then literally run out when it's over to get across town to another gym for the second ball practice that had started at 6pm.

Of course we get there and can't find the team... and why not? Well because this one's practice is tomorrow night... and now I clearly remember writing that on the calendar at home... oh well.  

Did I mention the husband left to go out of town this morning for the week as well...
Oh and yeh... it's hell week... again, ugh... so my temperament and patience... well lots of deep breaths today.

Yep, one fine day.

I think I might have managed to get through it without scarring my children too much with all the "pick a costume already!" and the "Look we'll leave without one, I really am not all that excited about spending money on a costume you are going to wear maybe one time anyway, it'll suit me just fine to walk out with nadda."    

I mean good grief have you seen these costumes??? Fish-net stocking fire women for an 8-10 yr old little girl??? Really? And the nurse? My goodness, I looked at my Shelby and said, "You can be a real fireman, but sorry not a fish-net stocking one and ummm as for the nurse, does Aunt Tracy wear that to work? Yeh, I didn't think so."

So we left with one cop and one dragon slaying dazzling ninja.  
Made it to one ball practice.
Made it late to the other, to find out we didn't have it all.

Then as I am still contemplating on whether to pout about my time mismanagement skills or just be glad I am going to get home an hour and half earlier than I expected, we had a momma deer and her spotted fawn step out of the woods into the road and stop right in front of our car. I had to come to a complete stop and my girls and I just watched this doe and her fawn and we all just giggled and smiled all the rest of the way home.

Yep, one fine day :-)