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Posts from the ‘Kiddos’ Category

Am I Really Happy? Am I Really Sad?

I’m still thinking through this one.

About rejoicing and mourning…

Last week, we gave one of our children a gift. We didn’t have a reason. We love her. That’s all. And, okay, we got the idea from The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers/Children by Gary Chapman.

We didn’t give the other two gifts. Their “day of no reason but love” will come.

One of the two handled the event very well, helping to wrap the gift and showing great excitement for the receiver. The other child did not handle the event so well. Let’s just say there was a bit of a melt down, a few tears, and maybe a stomp or two.

I know some of you would become enraged at this point, and I don’t know when I became this person, but I could barely hold in my laughter. So, after the sulker and I gathered ourselves, we launched into a discussion:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

I wonder if it’s easier for us to weep with those who weep because we don’t want the lot they’ve been given.

Maybe we struggle to celebrate with those who are celebrating because of jealousy.

I wonder if it’s easier to rejoice with those who rejoice because we don’t want weeping to get in our way (like me with my sad child in the above story).

Sometimes we’re quick to join the mourners only to look like the hero.

Are we truly happy when something goes well for others?

On the other hand, are we truly grieved when it doesn’t?

Verse 9 of the same chapter in Romans says, “Let love be genuine.”

May we be genuinely celebratory with our friends when they receive an expected or unexpected gift.

May we truly hurt when they are hurting.

As I keep reading back in this chapter, all of these issues seem to “fix” themselves…

every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (3)

present your bodies as a living sacrifice (1)

Scooters Are Not For Quitters

For physical education today, Abby and I took a walk; she rode her scooter. We went down a new street with a new hill, and you know how new hills beckon a 9-year-old on a scooter… She couldn’t resist. Momentum was high, hair was flowing, and you guessed it! Arms and legs went flying! Screaming and crying, Abby got up from the ground and diagnosed, “Mommy, I think I broke my arm!”

I was proud of Abby when she was soaring down the hill. Honestly, I didn’t know if she would fall or not. In the moment, I was just glad she wasn’t afraid, and it was encouraging to watch her try something new. But, best of all was the walk home. After the screaming and crying, bleeding and swelling, she climbed back on her scooter and rode home. It wasn’t easy. Her knees hurt. Her [broken] arm was “quitting” on her. She struggled, but she didn’t give up.

Want to know the worst thing about homeschooling? (Hang in. I’m going somewhere with this).

I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m going really fast down a big hill. I haven’t taken a big tumble yet (4 days in), but there has already been some crying. I’m pretty sure screaming, bleeding and swelling aren’t far behind. I know for sure that I will have to get up and keep going, when I do fall, because I have 9-year-old (who is full of endurance) counting on me.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7

The Lord provides strength. The Lord provides endurance. And, his provision is sufficient. I’ve been reminded greatly of these truths over the last few days. I may be a terrible PE teacher, but I’m going to keep showing up no matter how hard it gets.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

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Our First Day

Abby and I have just completed our first full day of home school. It has been a delight, and yet I wonder how either of us will survive such intense, concentrated education. I don’t expect every day to be a delight, and I won’t even be surprised if she looks across the table with disgust when I hold up the first flash card tomorrow. Who knows? I may beat her to it. She learned the look from me after all.

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And, Teaching Our Kids to Fight

Last week, I posted about fighting. You can read here.

This week, I’m teaching my kids to fight. Abby has been struggling with fear and unrest at night. We decided to hang scripture above her head so that she has immediate access when she needs words of strength, praise or comfort.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  (Ephesians 6:10-18a)

Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking

It never fails! When I have had a child entering kindergarten, I am scrambling at the last minute to complete something on the list for registration. So, yesterday, Cooper and I landed in Dr. Fesmire’s office. While we were waiting, I found myself in a predicament (an embarrassing blue mouth from a lollipop). In our own minds, Coop and I were discovering ways to solve the blue-tooth problem before I had to talk to the doctor. Then, the 6-year-old looked across the room with his handsome face and a sly smile and said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

If you remember, from the start of the summer, I have a been on a quest to “learn my kids.” My biggest frustration as a parent is that I’m pretty sure I’m never even close to thinking what they’re thinking. I cannot stop laughing inside at his question!

I have found myself in knots a couple of times over the fact that I can’t connect with my children. I can’t seem to find what makes them tick or I can’t find the right words to communicate with them. And, what has continued to rise above those fears and inadequacies is the overarching theme of my need for a Savior. I, in and of myself, am not sufficient as a mother. I can’t know their hearts, needs and thoughts…

But God, who weaved their hearts and minds together can give the insight into them that I need, and he has when I’ve needed it.

Just an example: I have a child who has struggled with being corrected. She is very discouraged when corrected by us or others. A couple of weeks ago, her swim coach pulled her out of the pool and had her work on a stroke. She was upset, and we tried to explain how the coach was helping her improve. I racked my brain for a week trying to figure out why she was so bothered, and in praying, God revealed something to me that I shared with her.

The definition of criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. The definition of correction is a change that rectifies an error or inaccuracy. We’ve all heard this about marriage, but it’s good to know for parenting, too — we hear words differently. My child has been hearing disapproval based on fault when she’s just being corrected. Hopefully, knowing these two words will rectify that for her.

But, this is my point — I’m not smart enough to figure this out about her! I need the One who created her to reveal these details to me. My quest this summer to know my kids really leads to someone far greater – the Savior! He, in turn, helps us to know our kids.

As for Coop’s idea? His plan was for me to wash my mouth out with soap and water. I’m sure Dr. Fesmire would have found that completely normal when he entered the room.

A Letter From The Acuff Girls

Friends and Family,


This year, on December 1, we will be running the St. Jude 5K to support our friend, Ingram Dismuke. You can read Ingram’s story at www.ingramdismuke.com

We are asking for your support. Please go to “Team Ingram’s” fundraising page here —–> http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR?team_id=28323&fr_id=3631&pg=team.  You can click on Sarah Acuff or Abby Acuff and leave a small donation to get us started. Our friends Madison and Lindsey (Ingram’s sisters) have a goal to raise $100,000! for St. Jude, and we are going to try to help.

We are grateful for anything you give, and in return, we will run as fast as we can! Below is a picture of us with our friend, Ingram.
Sarah and Abby

Parenting Transition Take 1

I used to be very judgmental of older women for not knowing answers about their husbands. I would ask questions about something simple, like their schedule, and would be shocked when the wife would answer, I don’t know. I’ll have to find out. Chris and I used to know every detail about each other’s day down to what we ate for lunch. Now, it’s no surprise for us to miss a detail much greater than that.

I thought babies were going to be the most difficult stage. Somehow, I was under the misconception that once bottles, diapers, projectile vomit and sleepless nights were removed from my life, it would be easier. Our kids are getting older. They’re getting bigger. They take up more space. Their mouths take up more time. They can’t be stuck in a bed or put behind a gate. They have opinions, lots of homework, schedules of their own and problems that need resolve. They take a lot of time and care and not the kind that a pat on the bottom or burp of the back will fix. They need to be discipled, trained and not with the songs, prayers or books I used to put them to sleep. I feel the need to be a lot more creative because I see them drifting away with the same old stories, and on occasion, their eyes “involuntarily” roll.

Honestly, I felt like being a baby mom was pretty easy. I’m freaking out a little with having three kids. I’ve never been good with kids. I don’t really even like kids. (Of course, I like mine… And, yours.) I’ve gone to bed many nights thinking I’ve done a terrible job, but I’ve come to the realization that we’re in transition. Sidenote: Transition often provokes grief in me. Moving from babies to kids is not easy.

So, I’m taking some deep breaths. I’m gearing up in this major transition. I’m learning. I’m listening a lot.

One of God’s greatest gifts is life stages. If we just look one step ahead of us, there is someone who has already gone before and taken a few blows we may not have to take. Not only that, they are listening to those ahead of them, gleaning wisdom for what’s coming. Living in Christian community, we learn this parenting thing should not be done in a silo. We need each other. We must have help to survive.

Those who are one step ahead are whispering back to me start letting go a little, always keep snacks in your house, you have to quit worrying about your house… This advice may seem insignificant to you, but it is slowly setting me free.

As I stand on the other side of Chris’s shower catching him up on all of the details we’ve missed, I no longer judge those women who didn’t know their husband’s schedules. And, as I look ahead, I will not judge those with teenagers because it is a guarantee the results will be bitter.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

If you follow Chris and me on Twitter, you are aware that Cooper Acuff is the most up-and-coming basketball player in the Kindergarten and 1st Grade Instruction League in town.  He scored 2 points in the last two games — the game-winning shot in the last game.  We fully believe that shot was with purpose and that he was holding out the entire 36 minutes to bring his team to victory in the end.

What’s surprising, to me, is Cooper’s reaction when he scores.

There is no smile or celebration, not even a little fist pump; he looks at the score board.

Even amidst the cheering, the adrenaline, the buzzing, his focus is fixed on winning.

Cheering

Does cheering make you lose your focus?  When those around us see us as something we’re not, showering us with praise, it sometimes causes our view to blur.  We begin to believe things that aren’t true and trade the majesty of the Lord’s for our own.  Don’t misunderstand, we should encourage and edify one another, but glorifying is reserved for the Lord.  Fix your gaze on him and not the praise of men.

Adrenaline

The truth about Cooper is that he is the smallest on the team.  Only once has he scored in practice.  One of the reasons we are so excited about his 4 points is because we didn’t think we would see them this year.  He hasn’t really shown the ability to get the ball within one inch of the rim.  So, we have chalked-up his game-scoring to adrenaline.

Adrenaline can be a very good instrument.  It can cause us to accomplish tasks we never thought possible. But, it can also force us to lose our gaze quicker than the shot of a gun.  Have you ever seen a runner tire out because they quickened their pace on race day, even though they diligently practiced that very pace for months?  Not busyness, but regular, planned solitude and communion with Him must be our stride. When we look stealthily toward Christ, there is an even strain with which we work toward our goal, never wreaking an awkward imbalance.

Buzzing

Do you have the ability to shut out the surrounding, negative noise, keeping your feet planted in the identity Christ has set for you?  Perhaps no distraction is greater to our surveying of God than noise — whether it be negativity, untruth or a warped identity. We can drown out the noise by replacing our words/thoughts with His, in other words, speaking the gospel to ourselves and having others speak the gospel into our lives.

Goals/Prizes

Let’s get back to the basketball star for a minute.  Cooper likes to score.  He loves to win.  I think that’s a pretty good mindset.  God has called us to certain goals; we strive to accomplish those goals.  But, our eyes are fixed on the win.  That’s what keeps us going.  Don’t let cheering, adrenaline and buzzing cut in on you.

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-14)

Lord, please

So, it’s the end of the year, and I wish I had a brilliant conclusion, a top ten, an inspiring word to kick you into the first of the year, but I don’t.  Usually, when I’m looking for words of wisdom or something funny to say, I look to my kids.  Fortunately, they never run out of material.

On Christmas Eve, Chris and I had a great day with our kids.  We spent the day playing games, reading the Christmas story (focusing on the shepherds and angels this year), and praying together.  We love the stage our kids are in because they are now fully capable of playing games like UNO and Mexican Train.  They are also capable of engaging in discussion and offering their own prayers.

While we were praying, though, Cooper, only uttered “Lord, please…” then he trailed off.  He mumbled something else to let us know he was finished, then we moved on.

We’re still not quite sure what was going on with him that morning.  Maybe he was embarrassed.  Maybe he was uncomfortable.  Maybe he couldn’t communicate what was going on in his mind.  Maybe he was just being five.

But it doesn’t really matter.

Because the magnitude of those two words

LORD

Please

Shows that he gets it.

He was showing reverence and gratitude and acknowledgment of sovereignty.

He knows who is LORD.

He knows who is able.

It’s great when simple words from a child cause us to worship.  And, maybe when we’re speechless, their words can remind us that little is needed to call out.  Sometimes, only two words.

 

Decorate-Your-Own Pasta (With Kids)

Dinner with kids doesn’t get much easier than this!

Let them decorate their own pasta!

Cook the pasta, provide the toppings, put them on the table, and let them do the work!

It makes for a fun meal.

They get to participate.

And, they may even try some new veggies!