Thursday, September 02, 2010

Embracing the craziness...

1. The other day Eden and I went to school to eat lunch with Benjamin (eats at 10:53) and then we stayed to eat lunch with Payton (eats at 11:27). It was a bit too long to ask Eden to sit. She did great through Benjamin's lunch but by the time Payton arrived she was ready to be on the move. I did my best to keep her entertained but she was up and moving the last 10 minutes....until we finally excused ourselves. That night Payton said, "mom, I loved you being at lunch today and I liked having Eden there. Please do not bring her back." I said, "Payton, I totally understand, she was a bit wild there at the end. Next time I will eat with Benjamin on one day and you another so Eden will be fresh and able to sit still the entire time." He said, "No her not sitting still was fine. What bothered me was everyone looking at her and thinking she was cute. I know she's cute but when people start talking about her something in my heart feels like I want them to stop. She is my baby sister. I think it is a good idea if you leave her at home where she is safe and no one looks at her from now on." Protective older brother in full force. So sweet.

2. Benjamin is also protective of Eden. However, there is something in him that recognizes after he has been at school , she has had 7 hours of uninterrupted peace. He has to somehow make up for that 7 hours of pester free living in the short time he has before he goes to bed and he aims to do it each and every day. From about 2:30 -7 Eden has a constant flow of adrenaline. We are working on this.

3. Eden is precious...but she can dish it out. More than once I have caught her walking up behind Benjamin with a bat, a stick, some type of weapon ready to get him good on the back of the head. Sometimes I do not catch her in time and Benjamin glimpses the reality that if you are going to pester, you are going to be pestered. It's a life lesson. One that I am anxious for everyone to learn so we can move on to the next stage.

4. Eden would be fully potty trained if she could go out her belly button. She has obviously observed from an early age her brothers going the bathroom. (We now have a closed door policy, so that no longer occurs.) She has successfully used her potty a few times in the proper way. Many other times, she has taken off her diaper, stood in front of her toilet, stuck her belly out over it and peed all over the floor. Have mercy.

5. The other day Payton said he had a few questions on heaven....which really turned in to he had a few tangents about heaven.

Tangent 1..." I have heard that you do not sleep in heaven. While that sounds nice, I have been a lot of places that have been a lot of fun but I always get tired. Reference : Seaworld, Six Flags. While the idea of never sleeping is nice, what happens if I want to lay down and take a nap and there is no bed. Am I just supposed to stand there or sit there for forever miserable. Does God understand how that could get irritating quick?

Tangent 2..."Do you guys think your new heavenly body will be able to fart? I wonder about this. Most of the times when I laugh the hardest is when someone farts. I think I could not help but be sad if I got to heaven and our new bodies do not do that. What would everyone laugh about?

Deep thoughts from Payton Brooks.

6. The other day Eden and I were out walking when our new neighbor (moved in a couple months back, but we had not met him) came out. I introduced myself and then he introduced himself. The he said, "you know I witnessed one of your worst moments." My heart immediately sank as my mind began to race about the (Countless) times I have been trying to load the kids and for one reason or another it has resulted in spankings for one or the other...or even worse, no spanking, just me totally losing my mind. He then said, "I was out here one day letting my dog out when I saw you come running out and hop in your suburban. Then I saw you throw it in reverse and slam in to your husband's new truck. When you got out to look at the truck I could tell you were upset. When I saw the paper tags on that truck I thought I was about to see your husband lose it. I stayed outside curious to see what would happen. I watched while you went to get him and then I watched him walk out, look at the truck, take a deep breath, hug you and then walk back in. I've never met your husband, but he's a good man. I know that." Tony and I have been so challenged by that conversation. First because neither of us had any idea that man was watching. Next because we have thought about all the times we have reacted differently than that and not known any one was watching. Yikes...We both want to be more consistent in who we are as Christ followers. By the way, Tony is a great man. So thankful he is mine.

7. Tony has been reading Tony Dungy's book Uncommon. I have to say it is a great parenting book even though that is not what it is intended to be. One of the quotes in it is, "Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." We have seen this come to light in our family more than ever as of late. Some of the qualities that Tony and I wish so badly were not a part of our personalities are rearing their heads in our kids. It makes us want to to be different now.

8. This summer Benjamin said he wanted a hair cut just like his dads. Tony was more than happy to give him a buzz. The next day he was looking in the mirror and said, "Dad, you know I wanted to have a haircut just like yours. Why did you not give me one." Tony said, "I did Benjamin, your hair looks exactly like mine." Benjamin said, " I wanted a little bit of my skin to show on the top back of my head. Then I would really look like you." It was the most insulting, sweetest compliment Tony has ever received. Our boys want to be just like their dad.
9. One of Eden's favorite song to dance to is Uncle Kracker's Smile. At different points she will grab her brother's hands and pull them into her dances. I was watching the three of them the other day and started to cry. Huge thankful tears to the Lord...I would be willing to bet many people don't look at Uncle Kracker as a praise leader, but that day, in our home, that's exactly what he was.
"even when your gone
somehow you come along and just like
a flower poking through a sidewalk crack
and just like that
you steal away the rain, and just like that
you make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
sing like a bird, dizzy in my head
just the thought of you can drive me wild
oh you make me smile."

10. Last year we spent labor day weekend with Tony's dad. We celebrated my birthday, we spent a lot of time talking, a lot of time visiting Tony's mom (she's in a nursing home), laughing and enjoying a great labor day weekend. We have relived every moment of that weekend a thousand different times in our heads...willing ourselves in our memories to notice more details, to hug a little longer, to soak up the moments of togetherness that we passed over in the moment assuming we would have more. None of us knew it was the last time we would have together. We hugged Tony's dad and told him goodbye on Monday, September 7th. He went to be with the Lord 9 days later. We miss him terribly. This weekend we are looking forward to another great Labor day weekend but we will live a little more fully in the moment because of the life we have lived in the past year. The Lord is very clear that our lives are but a breath...but it takes seeing up close how short that breath can be before it starts making you live differently. If you've read this far...bless you- (most likely I am just speaking to my blood relatives now:)) Soak up every moment and pour out everything you have. The Lord invites us to leave a legacy that will last in the people He surrounds us with...He is so good. May you and your family experience more of what He has to offer in deeper ways in these coming days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Secret Code of Tears...

This past Monday we took our boys for their first day of school. Pate's first day of second grade and Benjamin's first day of kindergarten. It was a day filled with sweet tears.

The day before our whole family had gone up to the school, walked around the school (the outside), and had our family prayer time over the school year, teachers, friends, all the things the year would hold. Listening to the boys hearts in prayers is always a gift. Their prayers so simple and yet profound. Eden walked around in circles with her hands raised talking in a language only the Lord could understand. She brought quite a bit of laughter and distraction to our time but we loved it...because we entered the school year as a family united before the Lord.

Later that night, our ever observant Payton said, "Mom I could tell you were about to cry during your prayer. Are you going to cry on the first day of school? That might make me sad." I told Payton that I would try not to cry and then thought better and told him I wanted to tell him about a secret code the Lord and I speak that he should know about....I let him know that a lot of times tears come from hearts that are breaking but there are days as well, that tears come from hearts that are overflowing. A long time ago I realized that my tears spoke to the Lord in a way my mouth could not.

We talked about how sweet his 8 years of life had been. How precious each moment was to me. We relived favorite parts of our summer, moments that made us laugh, made us frustrated, and moments where we were so hot we thought we might explode. Each a precious memory I cherish in my heart. I then told him, Payton, the Lord knows how thankful I am for each one of those moments...but my tears are telling Him again. So each time you see one fall, I don't want you to be sad. I want you to know mom is thinking about time I had with you and I am thanking the Lord that He gave you to me. So this tear, it's saying, "thank you Lord for this precious boy." and this one is me saying, "I am so glad he is mine." and this one is me saying, "I could not be more proud." and this one is, "if we both live to be 200 I will never have enough time with him." He was nodding the entire time taking in every word. (love that boy). Then I said, "the Lord hears every thankful tear as a praise but if you would like I could always just walk into your classroom, raise my hands and yell "Hallelujah! Payton Brooks is mine! He is my son and I am so thankful." Maybe that would help me not cry...He smiled, said "thanks for telling me about you and God's just go ahead and cry all you want. I like your silent thank yous."

My brother and I were remembering the other day all the times in our lives that our parents said, "Your life has gone so fast." with tears running down their face. We always looked at them like they were crazy. I understand now. They were speaking in code to the Lord. I speak it now as well. My heart is so thankful to the giver of these three precious gifts of Payton, Benjamin and Eden. My heart and my eyes overflow with gratitude.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Catching up...

I thought I was being so intentional with this blog...trying to keep it caught up with all of our memories...and I have not updated since April...Mercy. I am sure it is no coincidence that right around then our boys started baseball (translation: Our family began living on a baseball diamond). Our spring baseball turned into summer baseball. It has not stopped. The other day when it started to rain both of our boys practices were cancelled. They both started to cry, I started to cry...The difference was that they had tears of sadness, mine: pure joy. We love baseball...We just also love nights at home and those have been few and far between as of late.

Next week we enter the Brooks season of birthdays: Benjamin turns 6, Payton turns 8 and Eden turns 2. In our family this is cause for great celebration...because of their birthdays of course, but the boys will tell you even more so, it is the week of sugar cereal. As many of you know Tony (who abstains from almost every food that brings pure joy:)), believes you start your day with protein. So we do, nearly 365....There are certain sugar landmarks in our year. The one day our family gets donuts is the last official day of school. The boys count it down every year. And many moons ago we decided that on the Sunday of their birthday week they get to go and pick out the biggest box of their favorite sugar cereal and eat it every morning for breakfast until their box runs out. (One of our friends told us recently, when everyone elses kids go off to college and go wild...ours will too, just on the sugar cereal aisle.) They talk about their box of sugar cereal for months...and every time we walk down the aisle they have the most animated conversations about what a dream their birthday week will be. Benjamin has already decided that this Sunday we will go pick up his box of Lucky Charms. Payton has asked for a private viewing of the cereal aisle...his selection is something he takes serious. Payton makes our hearts feel like they are going to burst we love him and his mind so much.

So about that catching up, here's the Brooks top ten for May and June...

1. The other night at dinner the boys were talking marriage. No idea what brought this up, Tony, Eden and I were bystanders in this conversation. Benjamin is currently of the opinion that he never wants to marry anyone. Payton says he definitely will. Benjamin wanted to know why. Payton's classic response was, "Benjamin the facts are, every man needs someone to love on."

2. Our boys are big baseball dreamers. The other night Benjamin was telling me that someday he is going to play for the Rangers and before we drive home after the games (he is, I think, assuming I will still be there helping him get buckled, which I am totally OK with :)) we will stop at Applebees where they have half price appetizers after ten. He told me we can get as many as I want and he will pay. Here's hoping all his dreams come true.

3. Eden is growing into the sweetest, toughest little cookie. We are crazy over her. She is a tiger in a dress. Her favorite things to say right now is "sorry" and "stop it". She will also throw in a "God bless me" every once in awhile in a way that sounds alot like she is ordering the Lord around. Her favorite movie is "Meow and Jerry" (Tom and Jerry) She loves to play hide and seek with her brothers. She blows kisses to Tony as he drives away. We could eat her up.

4. Tattling has reached a fever pitch over at the Brooks house...But the other day I came up with a solution that has brought it to a screeching halt. I told the boys that from now on I wanted them to make sure that when they tattle they really feel like their brother should get a spanking, because when they tattle they will both 100% for sure receive one. Payton immediately began to cry and asked me "So you really want to live in a world where Benjamin gets away with everything?" Because he knows for a fact he cannot. I explained that Tony and I do a decent job of keeping up with both of them on our own. He still remains unsure.

And just for the record, Tony and I both agree a world where Benjamin gets away with everything is not a world we want to live in either. :) The boy is a complete delight with a bit of a wild streak.

5. Benjamin has the sweetest heart. Even on the days he does not want to obey he will still be the one at the end of the day to say, "mom, I love you even more than you love me." His bright blue eyes dance 24 hours a day with mischief but he has his entire family in his corner. We love him so.

6. On the way to Benjamin's baseball game the other night Benjamin asked where his lucky arm band was. Payton responded, "Benjamin, there is no such thing as luck. There is talent and the power of God at work in you. It appears you have both, you don't need an armband." Benjamin hasn't worn it since.

7. The other day Eden was banging her sippy cup on the table and juice was going everywhere. I reached over, took her cup and explained to her why she could not do that. Payton was sitting there eating breakfast and said, "It's like she has no concept that orange juice costs money and that is wasteful." Sometimes Payton forgets Eden is 1.

8. Payton and Benjamin talk alot about baseball. Somehow they have come up with the idea that Payton is Benjamin's manager. Baseball is the one area where Benjamin will allow Payton to correct him, tell him ways he could be better, etc...It is hilarious to watch. The other day Tony was talking to Benjamin about something with his swing...Payton interrupted and told Tony he needed to talk to him privately...Tony said "I don't think so." Payton stepped between Tony and Benjamin and said, "Dad, we appreciate you but you could be impacting Benjamin's mental toughness and we are in the middle of the season, now is not a good time." What in the world does the future hold for this kid?

9. The other day I walked in on one of the boys sitting on the toilet eating a bag of chips. In shock I said, "you are filthy." To which said boy replied, "what? I washed my hands." FYI- let it be known said boy was not Tony.

10. We had the best Father's day. Among other things we gave Tony; I took 10 of the VHS tapes Tony's dad had recorded of our family and had them put on dvd. We sat and watched those videos for hours the other day. We laughed at how many times we asked Tony's dad to "please turn off that camera." We are so glad he did not listen to us. Hearing him enjoy our kids, listening to his commentary on our life, hearing him laugh is a treasure we can't begin to describe with words. We miss him so. We were both challenged with the reminder that life is too short and that even when you are loving with your whole heart, when its over it does not seem like it was long or that you loved enough. Oh, our hearts long for more than this world has to offer. We are so thankful for the promise that we will be with PawPaw again...and in the meantime we soak up this life the Lord has given to us...and we are deeply thankful to Him for each new day. He has been so good to us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Boys....

1. Tonight after punishing Benjamin for something that would gross out the average bear, (So I will keep it in the family) I asked him if he had anything he would like to say (Expecting an I am sorry). He dried up his tears, looked me in the eye and said, "If I had known you were watching I would of waited until you were gone."

2. Today I explained to Payton about a date on the calendar when Tony and I will be leaving for the weekend...He said, "Wow, it must feel awesome to be a parent, weekend trips, Starbucks whenever you want, heated seats while your kids sit in the back freezing cold, TV whenever you want, no bedtime, no school. You and dad are really living it up."

3. Payton's school has a fundraiser every once in awhile at Panda Express. The other day when we were driving by he said, "alot of my friends go to those fundraisers there, but every time they start to pass those papers out I tell them I don't need one, that place really tears my dad up inside."

4. We have been working on the concept of money around here. Hoping that by instilling values at this age they can avoid some pitfalls of life...Give, Save, Live....The other day Benjamin said, "It is not fair that I have money named after me and Payton has nothing named after him. (His dad had explained that some people call 100$ bills Benjamins.) From now on, I will call 1 Dollar bills Paytons." To date Benjamin has saved 18 Paytons. :)

5. For as long as I can remember the boys have been united in the idea that if anyone gets reprimanded before bedtime when you go in to pray with them they both have their blankets pulled over their heads. It is annoying, sometimes I make them stop, other times out of exhaustion we pray, kiss their blanket covered heads and leave. Last night they had their heads covered (attitude problems related to not being able to watch the Rangers) I prayed for them, kissed them and was walking out when from under the blanket one yelled, "PS Lord, help my mom, she obviously does not love the Rangers." Quickly followed by the other blanketed head yelling, "PS Lord, tell her to quit telling us no."

6. Next year Benjamin will start Kindergarten. I will cry...a lot. Someone told me after you send your first one to school it gets a lot easier. I am not believing it. Everyday Benjamin, Eden and I load up in the car for our day. Every day Benjamin gets buckled and asks if I will turn on a movie. Every day I say, "no." Benj asks, Why? And I say "because we are best friends and best friends talk." He groans, says, "you are not my best friend..."then smiles and then we has been our routine for the 2 years since Payton went to school. Oh how I will miss that boy!

7. Because he is starting to school I am starting to realize all the words he mispronounces that I have never corrected because I thought they were cute...I have started correcting but here are a few of my favorites... "Someday I will go Spongee jumping, I can't wait"

"Can you give me some soap, I forgot to wash my underarmors." Meaning underarms

My all time favorite that I will miss so much (and might I add the people at Chick-fil-a will miss it as well.) When ever Benjamin orders his red Hi-C at chick-fil-a he always steps up and confidently orders a small red hi heel.

8. After church the other day we were all talking about what we had learned. Payton said, " I learned about a guy from Mexico who heals people, he was my teachers best friend or something.." Tony and I both thought that odd, so we pressed him abit.

T- "You sure he was from Mexico Payton?"

P- " No, I just thought his name sounded Spanish..."

B- "Do you remember his name?"

P "Yeah, something like Jehovah Rapha."

9. Payton has memorized Psalm 141:3, "Take control of what I say O Lord, and guard my lips." We are constantly working on this these days...While he is the model student at school, he seems to take off his filter at home (Tony and I relate and we are working on it ourselves, as well). The other day we were talking about this and he said, "I guess I have a hard time understanding. We pray every morning that I would know right from wrong...I see you doing wrong, I correct you, I get in trouble. It feels like it doesn't add up." We are having a lot of talks these days where the end result is us putting our three children to bed and falling to our knees. We need the Lord's wisdom, we need His mercy, we are desperate for His help. It is a hard thing to realize something that you want to be good at, does not feel like it comes natural. We are clueless, but trying to tap into a deeper source than ourselves, thus far He has brought us...I remind myself of the words to the Christmas song very often, "Over the horizon, surely you and I will find...Emmanuel, God with us." We are praying earnestly our kids find Him too.

10. We love to ask and answer Bible questions around here. The other day the boys provided the ultimate stumper when they asked if satan has nuts....Ummm...ask your father.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God's Glory

About 4 years ago my brother Andy and I were driving on my parents ranch. Andy stopped our jeep at the top of one of the canyons and pointed to the other side and said "Do you see those deer over there?" and when he said over there, he meant way over there...2 little four legged specks on the horizon. I asked him how did you ever see them. He replied, "You have to train your eyes to look for movement. The landscape was still, I saw one of those deers flick its ear...its movement stood out." At the time I was preparing to lead a retreat on Elijah. I had been studying about Elijah praying and seeing a small cloud, the size of a man's fist rising from the sea. ( 1 Kings 18) I realized the only way Elijah ever saw that cloud was that he had trained his eyes to look for movement. He had trained his eyes to see even the smallest movement of the Lord.

I wanted those trained spiritual eyes for our family, for Tony and I, for our children. So I committed that each day as I buckled in our children we would talk about looking for the movement of God in our the Lord was training me to see Him, I wanted to be training my children as well...this eventually evolved into us saying, "how do you see God's glory?" Each day as we ran our errands, drove to preschool, did our every day thing, we began looking for God's glory...and we started noticing it in ways we never had before. When Payton bumped his head and a huge knot formed...we talked about God's the Lord revealed His power through Payton's body responding in that way...How when Benjamin got a stomach virus God's glory was revealed through Benjamin's body knowing when to get something out even when he himself did not know something was even in there, etc....(Certainly we have not talked about this every single day...there have been days, even weeks when we have not talked about it, (we are a million miles away from the consistency we long for in everything...our human imperfection is glaringly obvious))...But we always return to talking about it as a family. We want to see the Lord and our conversation often turn to ways we do.

On december 22, 2009 Tony and I saw the Lord moving, we saw His glory. Tony's dad had passed away just 3 months earlier...and we had been struggling, as individuals, as a couple, as life. Grief affects people differently. Sometimes it pushes people together...other times it pulls you apart. We were somewhere in the middle. We were both hurting.

On dec, 22 we got a burst of life. We found out to our complete shock and delight that Baby Brooks #4 would be arriving on Sept 1. 2010. We stood in our bathroom and for the first time in a long time, we laughed out loud at the craziness of life, we thanked the Lord for His movement, for His reminder that life continues, and for the hope this new life symbolized to both of us. We were over the moon.

I went in on January 12 for my first ob appointment. Everything looked great...until our sonogram. I measured to be 7 weeks along but they could not find a heartbeat. "But do not worry, because sometimes at this stage you cannot see one.We will check again next week." I learned right there that there is a completely opposite feeling of the elation you feel when you see your child's heartbeat....the sinking feeling of not seeing it. I was immediately devastated. My family and friends immediately fell to their knees on behalf of this life...reminding me of stories exactly like this that had produced precious, cherished babies. I begged the Lord for this child...I claimed every tear as a prayer...I recounted every Scripture I could think of knowing His power, knowing He already knew well this child we prayed for, but begging that I would get to know them on this earth.

On Sunday January 24th (I was to be 9 weeks pregnant on Wednesday) I started cramping and then that turned into more. I held onto hope through the night, even while cramping and bleeding; I recounted stories of this same thing happening to others and lo and behold the baby was fine....the Internet is filled with such hope and such despair...I had chosen during the weeks of this pregnancy to choose hope.

On Monday morning the Lord answered each and every one of our prayers. We had been asking for Him to make His will known and He did. As I was walking down the hall I yelled at Tony and my mom that I was about to pass out. (Benjamin had begun suffering with incredible abdominal pains and we were preparing to take him to what would be the first of 3 ER visits that would finally end in a hospital stay.) Tony ran to help me and as he did I felt my body let go of this pregnancy. I have never felt anything like that, I hope to never feel it again. I told my sister-in-law through sobs, "It is a crazy thing to see everything that you have hoped and dreamed for about to be flushed down your toilet." Her words were a balm to my heart as she said, "Everything you hoped and dreamed for was not in that toilet....everything you hoped and dreamed for is in the arms of Jesus." I sent out this text message to our family and friends at 9:25 Monday morning. "Our pregnancy ended this morning. We were given the unique opportunity to plead with the Lord for the life of this child and we have, trusting His will would prevail. Thank you so much for crying out on our behalf. The Lord gives, the Lord takes; blessed be His name. We trust Him. Thank you for walking this road with us."

Later that day, after getting Benjamin somewhat settled I headed to my dr.'s office so they could do a sonogram to make sure their were no remnants of our baby still in my body. As the sono tech came in she smiled and asked if I had any questions, anything I was needing to talk about. I was concentrating on trying to talk without sobbing. It was not working...When all of the sudden I felt a peace I cannot explain come over me and I was able to say through tears, "I saw the Glory of God today. It was a way I never hoped I would see it, but in the craziest of ways it was beautiful. He reveals His glory in His creation and I saw with my own two eyes He was creating something in me. I saw His glory." The sono tech began to cry and without saying a word walked over and embraced me. We cried together over Tony and I's loss. She prayed for me...and then she took a step back and said, "I know the Lord and He never takes something away without giving you something else. Your baby is gone from this earth, but He has placed within you a testimony. "

We had never shared with our boys that we were expecting. They still have no idea. We had purchased a big sister shirt for Eden and were planning on bringing her out one morning in it. Our broken hearts of that day and our tears fit into the coming days of sleepless nights and anguish of watching our 5 year old wrestle in pain while his doctors tried to figure out what was happening. In the quietness at the hospital one day when Benjamin had been given enough morphine that he could sleep my mom said, "someday you will begin to cry and not know why, your grief has had to be pushed aside so you could help Benjamin, but it is still there, and it will rise up."

This past Sunday night it rose up. I woke myself up crying. Aching to feel a baby inside that left a long time ago. I got up and wandered around our house, checked on all our kids then went back to Eden's room. I picked up her little sleeping body and rocked her while I cried and prayed...asking the Lord to take every tear as a prayer of thankfulness for the 3 children I have been given here on earth, and the one who I will someday meet. And I thanked Him that in His sweetness He reveals Himself not just through giving, but also through taking away.

My sweet children (p, b and e)....this blog is for you. Someday you will read it and you will know this pain we have experienced. But that is not all you will know, your dad and I hope you will see that in the pain we saw the Lord...we love seeing Him in the daily joys of watching all 3 of you stumble down the hall rubbing your eyes in the morning, in watching you all laugh out loud through out our days, in watching you run across the yard with the wind in your face...but joy is not the only place He is found. He is there in loss...perhaps He feels even closer because we are so desperate for Him. Continue to look for His movement...and remember that every time He takes something away, He gives you something else. May His glory continue to be revealed in each of our children...all four of you.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Baby and Balance...

First off...You cannot imagine the joy in our hearts that Andy and Jessica are expecting their first baby on September 27th...We are beside ourselves to meet the newest little Jeffrey. It is a sweet gift from the Lord to watch people you love so dearly begin a journey that you know to be filled with such great depths of emotion...Being a parent makes everything come alive in a whole new love deeper, cry harder, celebrate the simple and rejoice more in the realization that apart from the Lord we really can do nothing. Andy and Jessica are beginning this journey...and they begin it centered on Jesus. It is beautiful to watch.

This is a picture of all of us last weekend at the FWC dinner with W (not pictured). And yes, Jessica is 3 months pregnant and wearing a skirt that pleats from the waist. How is it possible to be that cute? She is one of my all times favorites. (Though I have given up the dream that we will ever share clothes.:))

I cannot make this announcement without telling one of my favorite Andy stories...Just recently we were out at our families ranch and Andy was washing his hands in the bathroom. I saw Eden follow him in there so I said, "Hey Andy make sure Eden does not get into the toilet." Thinking he was watching her, I did not go get her. A few seconds later Andy called back, "Hey what was it you wanted Eden to get out of the toilet?" That's right, under her uncles supervision she was fully immersed, digging like nobodies business in the toilet bowl. Hilarious (and a bit disgusting) I have since explained that it is a rare day that you send your 18 month old in to dig anything out of a commode.He is going to be such a great dad! I cannot wait!

Our small groups at church are doing a series on being balanced...It is a series by Andy Stanley on the Lord and your finances. As a result of this we have been tracking our spending to see where our passions are...And here they are...The Lord, a good meal, medical bills, Sonic, sporting goods and hair bows*...and not necessarily in that order(based on our checkbook.) We (Tony and I) are longing to see some differences played out in our life in the coming months and years. We recognize it is all His. And we are calling ourselves back to living in that way. We want to free ourselves to be His hands and feet when He calls. We are longing to see Him lifted up in our finances. We want Him to change our hearts and change our desires. We want someday when we are gone for our children to be able to look back and say, "they really did love Him." and have that confirmed when they look through our finances. Lord, we are weak and worldly... be magnified in that weakness...

"To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth its yours;
the kingdom all yours! You've raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
you're ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you,
praising your splendid Name."
1 Chronicles 29:11

* hair bows are not a massive part of our budget...but it was a tad shocking to myself how much has gone to the cuteness that is our daughter. But might I add, in defense of Eden, the journey to having the Brooks boys look like baseball perfection at the ripe old ages of 5 and 7 was eye opening as well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

catching up...

* I am currently working with the boys on not being disgusting...I understand they are boys, but we do not live in a locker room, so we do not always have to have a running commentary on smells and who is making them. The other day in the car Payton yelled, "Benjamin you reek...I know you just far***." (not a big fan of that word) I said, "Payton, really, you do not have to use those words" He responded with the exact same inflections he had used in his previous statement "Benjamin the way you smell is unnatural, you make my nose hurt. I love my little walking thesaurus.

*the other night at bedtime Payton asked if we could pray for Barack Obama. I told him of course was there anything in particular he wanted to mention. He responded with, "according to the kids at lunch, he is apparently spending money I have not even made yet."

* the other day Benjamin said he always wants to live with me even when he is grown. I explained to him that while I would love that, most grown men would rather not live with their mother. He said, "Well I will, I do not know any ones phone number and I do not know how to make a sandwich. I would be hungry and lonely...and that sounds like a terrible life."

* the other day I mentioned to Payton that I had noticed he was whining a lot more. I talked in a whiny voice to him and said, "imagine if that is how dad and I talked all the would be so annoyed." He said, "you're right, but you two are adults, I am a kid, whining is what we do."

*the other day Eden had a ferocious diaper...I think I used an entire thing of wipes on her, put it all in a walmart bag, threw it in the garage trash can and went in. I washed my hands thoroughly but I could not believe how that smell followed me everywhere. In the kitchen it was terrible, in my closet, in the boys room...Mercy how had that smell spread so quickly was my thought. Then I went to put on my makeup and looked in the mirror. Somehow in the process of throwing out that diaper the tabs on it attached to the fringe on my scarf...I had been wearing that nasty diaper as a necklace for about 30 minutes. I scare myself.

*Eden is at the most delightful stage of life. She laughs at everything and always has a smile for us. She is at the point now where she talks non-stop and you understand about every 10th word...lots of gibberish with hand gestures...a total joy to her family. Payton said the other night..."Eden might very well be the best thing that has ever happened to our family." Tony and I quickly said that all 3 of them sweet to listen to these boys love their sister.

* Perhaps one of the reasons I am so keen on our boys not being so enthralled with toilet humor is they now have a sister, who herself is enthralled with the toilet. She must have a 6th sense for when someone has left a bathroom door open, if its open she is in there, swirling her arms, dipping toilet paper, throwing jewelry or anything she has has in her hands in the bowl...She loves it...we are working on this.

* The past month for our family involved two trips to the emergency room, over 15 doctor visits, lots of testing, one ambulance ride, one 3 day stay in the hospital...One of our ER trips had Benjamin in great pain, unable to sleep and me trying to keep him distracted during the night. At 4:28 in the morning I used the recording feature on my phone and started asking him questions. I will treasure that recording always. You can hear in his voice that he is in a great deal of pain...but he answers every my favorite part he talks about how much he loves the Lord and how he trusts him. Then I ask him to tell me about how much he loves Jesus and he says, "Oh I love Cheese-its, they are my most favorite snacks." It still makes my heart smile. I feel like the Lord smiled as well...

Someday soon I hope for documentation sake to write about the last month of our life...Its been a crazy one. It was difficult. I want to write about it so that our kids can someday is hard and God is good. He is so good.

I have been adding to this post for awhile now...and have to now add...Jenny Bizaillion's life has forever changed mine. Her heart for the Lord, for her family, for her Savior has called me to not just a deeper walk with Christ, but deeper living altogether. Every area of life...I want to step it up. I have loved Jenny's mother Beverly for years now. She has been a life changing presence in both my life, my mothers, my sisters and countless people around the world. In recent weeks I have become acquainted with Jenny, as most of you have, through crying out for her life. Her memorial yesterday was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. It was beautiful, it was heart-wrenching, it was Holy. The Lord was there and He was lifted up...I do not understand His ways. But I love Him deeply. And when I see people who also do not understand all His ways, in what are the most difficult days of their life stand up and proclaim His goodness, proclaim His glory...I see His kingdom coming and I want more. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gracious and a Lucky Duck

Payton pointed out to me the other day that I say "gracious" a lot lately and asked why...I told him a lot of times people have a word that gets stuck in their head and when they do not know what else to say, they say that word...It appears gracious is what is stuck in mine. He said, "why is your word Gracious, what does it even mean?" I told him that until now I had not given it a lot of thought, but now every time I say it I am wanting to remind myself of how gracious the Lord has been...He has given to us even when we have not asked for it...Sometimes I say Gracious out of thankfulness, other times it is a plea for more of the Lord in my life..."what do you think about that Payton? (feeling pretty good about my impromptu lesson) His response..."Can we stop at Sonic?" I think I really touched his heart.

1. Each student in 1st grade gets the chance to be star student. On Monday of your week you get to bring your 3 favorite things to school. Payton chose to bring his sister, his brother and a wii remote...(He said he actually liked Tony and I better than the wii remote but did not want to hurt any ones feelings by choosing one of us.) This picture shows Payton introducing 2 of his favorite things...This picture reveals so much about every one's personalities...

2. Payton continues to be Payton...Mercy. There is no one else like him. Our conversation the other night went like this:

Becky: Boys, its 5:15 time to start getting things picked up before your dad gets home.
Payton: Can I speak with you alone?
(Every time Payton asks this I know I am about to receive one of his finest talks or questions...Last night this questions was followed with, "Are you sure you really want to leave dad in charge of Eden?" But I digress...)
Becky: Yes, Go ahead...

Payton: "I have been hoping we would not have to have this conversation, now I see its unavoidable...My entire life I have been picking up the house at 5:15 so when dad gets home he can relax after he has worked hard for our family. Well, I go to school now and I work hard. Just once, I want to come home from school and relax. I am tired of picking up Eden's toys. Benjamin seems to make it his goal to get out everything while I am at school and I am worn out with it all. I cannot do it a day longer...long pause while staring for effect (he has this mastered) Now, what can you and I do together to solve this problem?"

Becky: You can start picking up Eden's toys.

3. Eden is part mountain goat. She has found her way onto table tops, cabinets, and shelves. She loves to climb and she loves to try to squeeze into tight places. One of her favorite new games is to squeeze herself into a Tupperware dish and have Benjamin push her at a high rate of speed on the wood floors. She is so much fun. She also has the most unique habit. When she starts getting irritated she rolls her tongue quickly and makes a rattlesnake like sound. Like a rattlesnake, it is a warning, she is about to strike. We love every bit about this baby girl.

4. Benjamin's personality brings us so much laughter. The other night the boys were playing in the backyard when I heard a distinct shattering sound...turned out it was our massive back window. Payton immediately started saying how sad he was, "We should of been more responsible." etc...Benjamin walked in with a huge grin and said, "I just hit the most amazing line drive." Our second born is all about the journey...He and his father did have a discussion about hitting line drives towards windows...

5. Benjamin's got quite an arm on him. During the family snow ball fight he broke out the back window of my dad's truck. Scared him to death...I believe some of this fear came from the fact that he had actually listened to his father's speech on baseballs and windows.

6. Benjamin opened a present that contained a watch on Christmas morning. He was so excited. Payton promptly lost it and said, "I cannot believe this. I forgot to ask for a watch and now I have to live 364 more days wanting one..."So much drama...

Do not worry, Aunt Kelly stepped in and saved the day and he actually got a watch in the cousin gift exchange...which lead him to say "this very well might be the best year of his life."

7. I hope 2010 sees my updating this blog more often...not making any promises, just a little challenge to myself.

8. This weekend I am speaking at a women's retreat. I am excited to do it. I have had a list of the attendees and have been praying for them by name for a month now...I am so excited to see what the Lord does. The scripture that He has put on my heart for the weekend is this....I have been reading it multiple times daily, thanking the Lord for new years and fresh starts...I am so thankful for Him!

Psalm 32

1 Count yourself blessed, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start,
your slate's wiped clean.

2 Count yourself blessed—
God holds nothing against you
and you're holding nothing back from him.

3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.

4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.

5 Then I let it all out;
I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God."
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.

6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we'll be on high ground, untouched.

7 God's my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

8 Let me give you some good advice;
I'm looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:

9 "Don't be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track."

10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.

11 Celebrate God.
Sing together—everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

9. Yesterday I ran a red light...not a casual red light running...traffic was already in motion and I just happened to enter the intersection between two cars. Eden was screaming, I was feeling around for a pacifier in her diaper bag, I was completely not paying attention to my driving. Everyone slammed on their breaks, made angry gestures at me, I nodded and said I know, and then everyone went on about their lives...but I was greatly shaken and still am. I could of forever changed another families life. I could of forever changed my family. I have thought a lot about how all I could say was I am sorry and how empty that would of felt...and I have thanked the Lord for our safety and the safety of those I do not even know, even in my absent-mindedness. Last night as a family I was telling the boys about this and Payton said, "Sounds like you were a lucky duck." I said, "Well, I don't think I would call it luck...the Lord shielded us from what could of been a disaster for a lot of people. He did it even when He did not have to. He was gracious." To which Payton said, "Exactly, He made you a lucky duck."

10. May you feel the graciousness of the Lord at every turn as 2010 progresses.