Wednesday, November 30, 2011
There are several places tithing is mentioned. We are to pay a tithe, or a tenth, of our increase annually to the Lord. Not because he needs our money, frankly he'll be just fine without it, but because I need to learn to give it and recognize what is mine is really the Lords anyway.
When all the lemonade stand sales were done and the pitchers were empty Ben brought in the dishes and was off to play. Now comes the hard lesson. Sunday morning he reminded me that in the craziness of the day I hadn't paid his allowance on Saturday. True. We handled that and as he put his "Fun Money" into his piggy bank after paying his bills (tithing and savings) I remarked how he sure had a lot more money than I remembered him having last week. He is saving for a Nintendo DS and is keeping meticulous track of his progress and reports it proudly to me each week. He had about $22 last week. This week, after allowance he had about $32. I asked where it came from. The lemonade stand. Of course. I forgot. He had made $7.50 selling lemonade.
Now what? Yuck. Parenting can be rough. I mentioned that he hadn't yet payed his bills on that money yet. He was dumbstruck. What bills? Tithing. Of course he had to pay on the money I give him. I guess it's just part of the deal in his mind. I pay him and then I take his money back. He hadn't ever thought about it before that you had to pay tithing on other money. Luckily this time Brian was around. I asked, "Dad, what happens to your money when you get paid from work?" Sensing exactly where I was going, he gave an appropriate response about tithing first, then taxes, then bills, then fun. I explained that the Bible says we play on our "increase" and increase means what more we have than we had before. Did he have more on Sunday than he had on Friday? Yep. So the Lord expected that he would need to pay a tithe on that money.
Life lessons are hard, especially when you are seven years old. He took it well, after the shock wore off. He still came out ahead. The piggy bank flashes a bigger number today than it did on Friday. And hopefully it won't be a surprise next time he does a lemonade stand. I think he'll be happy to honor the Lord next time, you know, when he's mentally budgeted for the expense. Hopefully by learning the importance of tithing now will make it easier to be faithful and diligent when times are tough in college or later in his life. Those are the times that the blessings of obedience are really seen. This much I know to be true: the windows of heaven shower down blessings on those who consistently, deliberatly obey Gods laws, even when it's hard to do.
First thing Saturday morning (I was up at 4am thawing the turkey, they came down about 6:45) they wanted to get started. It wasn't a good time and we had limited supply of ice because I had party plans for most of it. I suggested that most people would probably want to eat breakfast and get dressed before they wanted lemonade. We formally scheduled the big event for 10am. They quickly polished off a bowl of cereal each and bounded up the stairs to the craft area to make the signs they would need. By 7:30 they were ready, but the crowds, I assumed, were still in bed on a lazy Saturday morning in the middle of a four day weekend. Maddie asked about every 30 minutes if it was 10 o'clock yet and Ben asked about each thing to make sure we were ready.
As the clock ticked the minutes away, Brian peeled potatoes, I washed green beans and we both realized we needed to pick up the deep fryer to make absolutely certain our monsterous turkey would fit because going strictly by weight, it was oversized for the pot. If this plan wasn't going to work, we needed to get that bird in the oven immediately or there would be no dinner! We took the family and the wagon to get it at about 9:45. We verified it would indeed fit and headed to the grocery store to get lemonade stand cups and a couple other random groceries for the afternoon.
Beep, beep, beep went the scanner at the checkout counter and as we looked out the window into the courtyard my heart sunk. It was a downpour the likes of which are hard to explain to a Utahn. We got home from the store and unloaded the car. Ben knew it wasn't a good time so started to play and do random clean up tasks to get ready for our guests. Somewhere along the line the rain stopped but it was soon approaching 1:30 and that meant turkey time. I snagged the three little people to come and see just what we were going to eat. Everyone needed stools and it took a minute to get all situated so everyone could see the show. It was totally entertaining for me to snap photos as Brian explained the anatomy of the headless, footless bird to three wide eyed kids. Then he pulled out the neck and the innards and showed them what they were and explained the jobs of the parts.
Then it was into the pot for Mr. Turkey and within minutes the rain returned full force. Knowing my patient Ben had had enough of the months of waiting only to have to keep waiting today I suggested we make up the lemonade and have it all ready to add ice when the rain stopped. He was keen on that idea so he picked two flavors, I threw in the sugar and he happily mixed them up. Then he got a toy bin and his signs and tape and got ready to wait.
About 2:30 he'd had enough waiting. He set up shop in our driveway under the cover and waited. And waited. And waited. See, we live on a quiet, dead end circle of a road at the extreme most back corner. And it was RAINING! No one was going to be walking around. He had made signs for the main road, but didn't want the rain to ruin them so he hadn't posted them up on the light poles and trees. Finally the rain slowed to a medium sprinkle instead of a full on downpour. He opened the door and yelled, "I'm going to know tell people I'm selling lemonade!" And off he went to knock the doors of the neighbors.
Soon enough he had his first three customers and made $1.50. In a while he got two more kids to come over and at S$0.50 (US$0.38) he felt like he was getting rich quick. That was of course his last customer other than all our dinner guests who began arriving at 2:30. John and Jenna, the British couple, only had a $50 bill, which Ben couldn't break, so I loaned them $2.50 and they and their three kids all had a delicious warm cup. The ice melted instantly in the Singapore heat so nothing was cold. They thought it was such fun to buy lemonade from a real lemonade stand. It's something they had literally only seen in the movies. That made me chuckle. Silly Brits. Really though, Silly Americans, sitting in the driveway with juice and cups on an old cardboard box.
8 Remember the asabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it
If we aren't to work on the Sabbath and we shouldn't cause other people to work either then I can't justify shopping on Sunday or sports events or amusement parks or the like. That much we've been firm on. The keep it holy is a lot more subjective and I genuinly struggle with what is in the spirit of keeping the Sabbath a holy day. We give the green light to family dinners and inviting friends over to dine with us but keep it low key and only if it's a full family event for both us and our guests or inviting someone over in need. We try not to go to parties and such where, though it may be loads of good pool party/laser tag/moon bouncing fun, we won't be drawn closer to the Lord through our attendance. See what I mean? Hard line to draw.
Now that the kids are getting older we are having to deal with this commandment more and more with our kids. Ben just accepts as a given that we won't join a sports team that has Sunday practice and games, we left the cub scout campout as soon as we woke up instead of staying for the days events, so we could get packed up, showered and to church on time (and even that attendance was debated before we decided to go). We don't have playdates with neighbor kids on Sunday unless it is a small family event where their entire family is invited to enjoy time with us our entire family.
The kicker at our house these days is the birthday party invites. He knows from the time he sees that invitation come home in back pack mail that if it says "Sunday" it's the kiss of death for him. Ben has not yet ever complained, but that doesn't mean his sweet, innocent heart isn't broken and that we haven't had tears.
We said no to a birthday pool party this week because it was on Sunday but he held onto the anticipation of another party on the calendar. Two weeks ago he brought home an invite to a party for one of his very favorite classmates. It was a Laser Tag party and it was on SATURDAY!! I was about as happy as he was that he could go. He has been anxiously waiting for the big day this weekend. Early this week my heart felt like it was being ripped in two pieces as I read my email. The mother of the friend sent a note out that went something like this..."Oops! We are so sorry, but we put the wrong date on the invite. The party is actually on Sunday, Dec 4. We hope the schedule change doesn't mean you'll miss the party." What am I supposed to do? I know what I have to do, but I'm chicken. I waited two whole days to tell Ben. Finally I knew I had no choice but to break the news. He cried and threw himself on the couch. Not a single word of protest emerged though. He knows it's God's law, not mom's rule. And he is an obedient child.
I wish so much that other Christians felt the same as I do. I wish I didn't stand alone so often. I wish that more Christians chose not to do things on the Sabbath so that when I'm questioned and I explain my religious belief is based on the 10 Commandments my friends of other faiths didn't question me saying their (fill in the blank other Christian) friends do things on Sunday. I know. I know they do. But I don't. I wish so much that there were more people that remembered. It would make for so many less birthday party heart breaks in my home. For now I accept that we are peculiar. I know someday Ben (and Maddie and Jacob and #4) will hate me for our stand. But I feel like it's the right thing to teach them. I pray I have the faith and stamina to stay true. Because it's hard to make your little boy cry. His broken heart in turn breaks mine.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
I started laughing and Ben looked relieved from the akward position in which I had placed him when I said, "It doesn't really look that great, does it?"
"Mom, why rescue pack is singing all the time?"
"I'm not sure. Do you like it?"
"No. He is just singing TOO much every day he does sing."
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Scout campout was this weekend. It rained. The mud was so bad I lost my shoes in the suction cup action more than once. Literally used a scrub brush to clean my legs in the shower because it would not come off my shins. Clean up has been a long and slow process because I spent so many hours at the school Monday and Tuesday. Everything had to be hosed off, scrubbed down and dried out. Then packed and stored.
When Mary and Auntie arrived this morning to clean we still had leaves in the living and dining room despite vacuuming twice as we dried and folded the tent inside. The tarp was a quarter clean and a pile of nasty mud caked croc sandals lay by the hose awaiting round two scrub downs. I wanted to cry tears of gratitude when I glanced out the window and saw Auntie, who in America would be nearing retirement age, squatting and scrubbing a pile of crocs. Then I noticed she had finished and folded up the muddy tarp. They are angels to me. Life is good. I am blessed.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
When she saw the flower shop she first wanted to buy flowers for me. She picked chrysanthemums that were dyed nearly neon green because, she reasoned, I like the color green.
Looking around I showed her what I thought looked like my moms favorite flower that she always has in the front flower boxes in the front yard. Then she decided I didn't need flowers but Ms. Kiran did and chose what I had pointed out as grandma's favorite. Two other girls joined in picking to buy the teacher flowers too. One cute girl has a tendency to boss Maddie around and either make her choices for her or copy whatever Maddie does so they are always exactly the same (from walking exactly next to each other to coloring a butterfly the same on every single stripe and polka dot).
After a bit of time with her friend at the flower shop she finally whispered in my ear that she was changing her plan and giving them to Ms. Fitzah. I was proud she was thinking on her own and being so selfless in her thoughts because most days she would have only wanted flowers for herself.
Jake of course isn't quite there yet. We now have chrysanthemums dyed neon blue in the middle of our dinner table. The kids all love them and I'd say they were totally worth $0.80.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Maybe I've taken too much creative license with my translation/interpretation thinking he automatically switched into French, a language he absolutely does know. But the timing was fantastic and I started laughing.
By the way, Maddie and Ben remembered their parts and did great.
Friday, November 18, 2011
dead bolt unlocked and went to bed. He came in about 4am and was as quiet as
humanly possible...but I'm pregnant so even the slightest noise makes me
wake and then have to get up to use the bathroom. He went to sleep and I
surfed the web on my phone laying in bed. Finally it was time to get up and
shower. As I walked out the bedroom door to face the day I saw his suitcase,
unzipped but still closed, with just a touch of pink plaid like fabric.
Immediatly I was puzzled.
I knew his subwoofer went out (a certifiable male emergency) so he had been
shopping two nights in Tokyo. Japan runs off 100V power which is close
enough to the US 110V to make it workable. He didn't want to buy a 220V one
if we will only be here two more years. Since he had been out shopping were
my eyes playing tricks on me? Was it a salmon colored plaid work shirt he
had picked up? I opened his bag and was giddy with excitement!
THANK YOU HEATHER GILLESPIE!! (And whomever Brian knows from Fairfax that
was traveling to Tokyo the same week!) No, Brian did not buy himself pink or
even salmon colored attire. Heather sent us a boat load of hand me downs
previously destined for Dani's Duds. I love you. I love you! So cute. You
are the best, and she got it all together with a adorable four week old baby
keeping her up at night. You rock. Shopping here is either beyond expensive
or Chinatown quality. This is a real blessing. Thanks a million!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
I had the best of intentions today. Jake was going to watch an hour to hour and a half of kid shows on cable while I caught up on finances. What did I actually do this morning? Got sidetracked on facebook after seeing a note about the Patches visiting us in Singapore. Then I talked with the Patches in Nepal about meeting up with his family on their US State Dept R&R leave. They are doing a tour of S.E. Asia and all the sites are close to us. I’m thinking Angkor Wat the day after the kids get out of school for break. I’ve always thought if there would be anyone to travel with it would be the Patches. They are always ready for adventure and ALWAYS know about cool things I would have never found out about. I can’t wait!!
Then I got messaged by some of my old church youth girls who are away at college and another new Singapore friend called to plan out our Thanksgiving plans so we searched online for all the required dishes and planned who is bringing what.
Jake? He got two good hours of Diego/Dora/Bubble Guppies/Little Bill/Max and Ruby and whatever else came on. I tried to get him to go on a walk together, ride bikes outside with me, play games but he has no interest and I wasn’t overly motivated since I had made no progress on my own tasks so I let him be. I still only put in five receipts put into Quicken for the day. Guess he gets twenty more minutes of tube time and then we’ll go pick up Maddie – officially ending the so called productive part of my day. What a laugh that is today. Productive. Ha.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Jacob is weepy. He needs a nap. We have friends over for the day while their parents are away on holiday and Jacob just came downstairs crying. I asked what the trouble was and he told me, “Maddie says Micah is this many,” showing me three fingers.
I replied that he WAS that many.
“NOPE!” He’s this many!” showing me two fingers again.
This went on for a bit and I tried to remind him how we had blue cupcakes at Micah’s house last week and now he was three. All to no avail. He finally ended by telling me Micah was NOT Ben and Maddie’s age and left the room. I think I lost the argument.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
On the way home Ben and Corbin switched places and Tia and Maddie did too. The girls switched as much as they possibly could switch on a car ride - hair bows, clips, sweaters, shoes and glasses. Funny part was that neither Tia nor Corbin could keep the glasses on. I'm sure they gave them headaches after two minutes or less. Of course my kids didn't understand what the problem was. I can't wait for the day they have contact lenses and then try glasses. Then they will totally get it.
Friday, November 4, 2011
tail and bow in it at Shon's house. Today I noticed how when I do cut it
he's going to really darken up. All the blond must be baby hair because his
roots are much, much darker than the bleached blond hair he used to have.
That makes me sad. Not only do kids look much older once they get their
first cut but he'll no longer be my solo blond kid. Maybe he'll actually
look like my kid now.
Just for kicks I'm waiting to cut it until his birthday in a few weeks.
Seriously, who hits the three year mark and has never had a cut yet? That's
just plain nuts.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I decided it was better to scrap everything but get dressed, eat and brush teeth and let them rest. We got up twenty minutes later yesterday and no one had reading time because they were dragging too much. They did wake naturally though. I was going to give them thirty minutes but someone got up to use the toilet. They are all sooooo tired still from our trip and to put Halloween on top adds up to a risk situation of potential tears and tantrums at every turn.
It that weird of me to say "use the toilet" instead of "go to the bathroom"? It's one Singapore thing I've picked up on. Makes lift easier here to be sure. What the heck is a restroom anyway? I don't nap and rest there. And bathrooms at the mall? Aren't any bathtubs there to be seen.
In Australia, and I'm pretty sure British people too after having my friend Jenna over last night to trick or treat, say wee or wee-wee instead of pee or tinkle. Translate that for the poor people at South Bend Park in Brisbane. We had eight kids and a merry go round late on a Friday night at the boardwalk park along the river. As they spun round and round and round they would all squeal at the to of their lungs "Wee! Wee! Wee!" over and over and over. The Aussies probably think there were a bunch of crass American kids at the past last weekend. I think it's funny.
Then there were the young twenty something's on their way out clubbing. Dressed to impress this group of six or seven were saying f-this and f-that and f-her and lots more of the same in fine Aussie accents as Maddie and I crossed paths with them along the boardwalk. After they had passed us up Maddie, holding my hand as we walk, looks up in my eyes and says, "Funny how grown ups in Australia always talk in another language here, right?"
I smiled and simply agreed. Between the curse words she had never heard and the accent she had no idea what they were even saying. How can I capture that innocence and hold it forever. Maddie who began as an angel then grew into my biggest challenge for three long years has become one of my sweetest delights again in the last six months. I love being friends again with my sweet girl. She is beautiful. Her smile contagious and freely gives. She is spontaneous and oozing with love to give away. She is wonderful.
And now it's time to wake the beasts.