Thursday, September 24, 2009

Acts 4:32

This week I am teaching from Acts 5 which begins with the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This is an interesting story at the beginning of the early church. It is the story of a couple who sold a piece of property and then gave the proceeds from the sale to the church, laying it at the apostles' feet. Except they held back a portion without telling anyone, allowing everyone to believe that they were giving the whole profit. When Peter discerns the lie, he confronts Ananias, who then fell down and died. The same happens to Sapphira when she is confronted with her lie. This is an interesting example of God's judgment at a time when the church is focused on the gift of grace from Jesus' resurrection.

While this story provides plenty of interesting topics for teaching, I keep going back to Acts 4:32 which sets up the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
I have spent the last few days trying to wrap my mind around what that means for the church today, for me today. Should my husband and I sell our house and give the money to the church? Probably not practical since when people did that in the early church they still had places to live. But what about communal living, communal ownership? Should the church be pooling our individual resources and then dispersing the funds to meet everyone's needs? What is our responsibility to those around us? What is our responsibility to provide a safety net for our own family now that we have kids?

But tonight as I was looking at the commentaries and reading the passages again, I was reminded that the point of Acts 4:32 was not that the early church sold their property and shared all that they had. Instead what we need to hold onto from this verse is that "all the believers were one in heart and mind." They were in one accord. They were focused on their shared mission to spread the Gospel to all the world. Their property, their 401ks, their college savings plans did not matter to them, except in how the money could be used to serve their mission. The point is not that we should be setting up a joint checking account that all members of our church can use. The point is that when we are of one accord, when we are one in heart and mind, filled with the Holy Spirit, our possessions no longer matter. We no longer see our earthly belongings as ours but something to be used to further God's kingdom and to care for those around us.

And that is why what Ananias and Sapphira did was so offensive. It was not about the money they kept back or the money they gave. It was about their hearts not being in union with the other believers. It was about their lying and bringing sin into the group. It was about the discord they would create. God judged swiftly and clearly to protect the church from their sin.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

But It's Quiet

So I am sitting here, having just finished up my Bible Study homework, and trying to decide if I should make the kids stop playing Wii. They had been waiting all afternoon to play but they had to eat dinner and get ready for bed before I would let them start. So finally they were all ready. I had told them only 15 minutes but they have been playing soooo nicely together that I have let them go long. This was a win-win since I got my homework done and they got extra Wii time. I love it when they play together without screaming or hitting, especially when it is all three boys. But it is really time to stop them. And I know that will not only break up the fun, the giggles, the cooperation, but will also end up with someone shouting at me. And I am tired of being the bad guy because I am setting limits. But since my oldest is not yet 7 and the youngest is only 2 we have years, and years, and years, and years of me being the bad guy. The good news is that since they are all ready for bed, those shouting or being mean are ready to go to bed. But I still don't like to be yelled at. Oh well. If I don't go now, the fun will end before I get there to break it up and that means someone will have done something to annoy or hurt or scare someone.

One minute too long. Little One is now screaming. I am off.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big Day

So today was another momentous day. Middle Man started kindergarten. Our school has half the class come one day and the other half the next day for orientation. I got to take him to school thankfully because he was starting a little later than the rest of the school. He walked right in, put his backpack away, found his desk, let me take a few pictures and then started working on his seat work. I think I have done something right getting him ready for the transition if my kid is comfortable with me leaving. But there was a little part of me that wished he was more sad to see me go. Tomorrow will be his big first day on the bus. I am not sure which is worse, putting both the boys on the bus for their first day of school all on one day or spreading the separation out. Rip off the bandaid or pull gently? I started to cry as soon as I walked out his classroom door but since the Mommy standing next to me, who had just dropped off her youngest, was holding it together I decided I better. Don't want to be the weeper of the group.

After I dropped off Middle Man it was time for me to go teach the first session of the Women's Fall Bible Study at my church. One of the things I was really looking forward to when we moved home was getting involved with the teaching team at our church. I miss being a high school history teacher. I miss using my brain to study and then develop teaching materials. I love the prep work, the studying, the writing, the planning. But the actual teaching, especially to grown ups, still makes me very nervous. So nervous that I decided to self medicate with not one but two benedryls to help me sleep last night. I know, not good to self medicate. Also If I was more spiritual I would hopefully get my peace from God, but I am still very much human and prone to insomnia the night before big days. And I tired me is much more likely to spout some really embarrassing piece of information like, "I'm wearing granny panties today" than I well rested me. Oh wait, I did let that slip this morning, but just to the woman sitting next to me, and the four rows around us that heard it since my voice is loud and carries. Let's just hope that it does not end up on Facebook.

So it was a big day for me. One I had been preparing and planning for years with Middle Man and months with the Bible Study. Both went fine. No chorus of angels coming down to show how wonderful my parenting or my teaching were. But I think both situations showed me that when I stay focused on what God has for me, I will walk His path, which will lead me where I really do want to be. In His Hands.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pushing them out of the Nest

So today Hockey Boy started first grade. This is his first year going all day and also his first year riding the bus. And tomorrow Middle Man starts all day kindergarten at the same school and will also be riding the bus. They are both really excited and are very ready to go. I have been counting down the days to full day school since they were born. At times this summer I would remind myself that fall was coming and soon they would be at school. No more dragging three boys to the grocery store or Target. Time to spend with just Little One going to music time at the toy store and toddler time at the library. Something I loved doing with the older boys when they were little but have not been able to do with all three being different ages. Space for everyone to get away from each other, have experiences, and then come back together at the end of the day without being sick of being together all the time.

But as we started Labor Day weekend, I started to lose it. The tears started forming. I am not ready to push my babies out of the nest. I have loved shaping them and spending time with them these last 5 - 6 years. I have loved seeing them play with their friends, come up with imaginative games together, and grow and learn new things. I have been the central character in their lives. And now a teacher, I just met is going to spend more time with my boys each day than I do. I am sure they are both wonderful. Thankfully I am still here when they come home to greet them and help them figure out the mysteries of playground friendships and new math. I will be here to pack their lunches and make sure they take a sweatshirt. But it is just a weird thing to realize I spent all these years with my kids and now I am sending them out into the world. And on a bus of all things. For some reason the bus has me worried, which is funny because both myself and my husband road the bus to school as kids. And I have fond memories of the bus and hanging out at the bus stop.

I had such a hard time sleeping last night. Thoughts of homeschooling drifted through my mind, as did memories of Hockey Boy playing with his classmates after kindergarten. I know deep down that he will be fine, and better yet, that he really will thrive at school. Both boys love going to school and are really sad if they are sick and have to miss out on the fun. We did summer school work, enrichment activities and field trips this summer. A very mini taste of what homeschooling would look like for us and it was fun for a summer but not a long term answer for our family. We all love being part of a school community. We love getting to know our neighbors and meeting people that are different than us in some ways, but who are so very similar as well.

So this morning after a long night, we all got up, Hockey Boy put on his first day of school clothes, though he would have preferred play clothes, and we all headed out to the bus stop. It was a big morning for us and even Daddy stayed home to witness this historic event in our family. Hockey Boy told us we could go home once we got him there with the other kids, but then how would we have gotten the adorable picture of my baby getting on the big yellow bus. He was thrilled to be going. And while I shed a few tears last night. I think I am ready to start first grade. But he does need to know that he is not allowed to graduate or leave home....EVER!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Little One has fallen in love with puzzles. He can spend an hour working through his 35 and 60 piece puzzles. He gets them out one at a time, puts it together on our front entry floor and then gets another one. When he is done we have 4 or 5 puzzles decorating our entry. It is actually quite amazing to watch because he can do them all by himself. I even recently caught him and Middle Man working together on a 100 piece puzzle. They found a shared love of puzzles and for a few minutes the friction between them ceases. The same thing happens when I get the marble run out for them to build. Figuring out how things go together seems to be something they both enjoy and can do together. Maybe not together but side by side and that is a huge step forward. Middle Man and Little One have not really bonded a lot in life. Both feel very connected to Hockey Boy and the rest of the family but Middle Man is not really interested in Little One joining in the fun because he wrecks things. And Little One does not like being left out of the fun so he gets mad at Middle Man. So to see them finding a shared passion, one that Hockey Boy does not share, is so fun.

Hockey Boy and Middle Man have discovered the joys of card games. They started playing Uno at Fun Club at the YMCA. When I picked them up after my workout that day they did not want to leave. We have a pack of Uno Cards and one day when I came down after showering I found them playing Uno all together. It is funny to hear them explain the rules to Little One. I think they have most of the them right but who knows. It was just so nice to see them all playing together. Last week they spent some time at their Uncle and Aunt's house where they were taught Ruckus, another card game that they really liked. I am so glad we are finally entering the ages where we can play games beyond Candyland and Snails Pace Race. Though it makes me realize they are really growing up and I am starting to think that might not be a good idea. I have been counting down the days until they were in school all summer but now that the first day of school is fast approaching I am not sure I am ready to let them go. If I tell them to stop growing, do you think that will work?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAHM (Stay At Home Mom for those not in the abbrevation know)

I was sitting in Starbucks earlier with my laptop hoping to write a blog entry since it has been a few days. I was pondering the joys of a morning at a coffee house, laptop and book in hand, enjoying my standard hazelnut mocha. Normally I am rushing in and out very quickly with all three boys in tow. The baristas know the boys well by now and are very sweet letting the boys watch them make drinks from the side of the bar. Actually when I go in without the boys, one of them always asks where the boys are. Well today, the boys were with one of their amazing babysitters. I am teaching a bit of the Bible study at my church this fall and really had a lot of work to do since I teach next week but thought would procrastinate by blogging. Unfortunately I could not figure out how to get on their wifi because my Starbucks Gold card (very confusing because it is actually a black card) which entitles me to 2 free hours of wifi does not have the number I needed to use as my access code on the card. So here I am at home typing this blog.

What I had wanted to write was a blog about how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my boys. This is not to start a debate about working moms v. stay at home moms. I have no interest in getting into that argument because you cannot win it. Debate is to inform and to learn but what I have found is the working v. stay at home mom debate is to justify and validate one's better choice over the other. And the reality is that most of us are doing the best we can.

I am blessed to be able to stay home for a lot of reasons. We chose very early in our marriage to live on one income. To adjust our standard of living to what money my husband earned and not on what we wanted our standard of living to be. My income became the down payment for our first house, buying a new car or paying for a trip or new furniture. We used it to get out of the debt I brought to the marriage (thankfully my husband saw it as merger costs being the sweet geeky accountant that he is) and to begin to build up our emergency fund. By the time we had kids we were living within our means and had already established ourselves in the world of home ownership. I am also blessed to be able to stay home because my husband does have a nice paying career that allows me to not only stay home but also to buy the cute new shoes for my son when I want, to pay for a season of hockey and also the babysitter to come watch the kids so I can hang out in Starbucks for the morning. And he is happy to be do it. It was really important to him that one of us stayed home and looking at our paychecks, mine as a teacher, and his in finance, it was a pretty easy decision. Because one of us staying home was a priority for him, he has never acted like the kids are all mine because I chose to stay home or like I was also his maid or cook. I do a lot of the cleaning and cooking because I am home but we both believe my purpose in staying home is to be a mom. If it was to be the housekeeper, I would go back in a heart beat and hire someone to do that work.

But beyond the logistics, I am blessed to be home with my kids because it relieves a lot of the stress over who is picking up the kids, what to do when one of them is sick, or how to let our kids have a normal life full of playdates and sports practices if we were both working. I get to be at their practices watching them learn to ice skate or walk on the balance beam. I get to help in their classrooms and see them at school where they are so different than they are at home. I get to hang out with them on a lazy morning, watching Phinneas and Ferb or playing outside on bikes and scooters. I get to watch them pop wheelies or miss the golf ball with one heck of a swing that rotates their whole body around in a circle. I get to hug them when they fall and give them kisses whenever I want.

I also get to be there when they tantrum or say something mean to the neighbor kid next door. Not nearly as fun but I am glad I get to be there to help them deal with the situation. To help them grow and to learn to be loving and kind to others. I am the one who has to put Little One in the cart at Target because he thinks throwing footballs across the aisles is fun. And pretend I am not bothered by his screaming as we take our items to checkout. I love being able to help mold my little guys, hoping that someday they will become great men of honor and compassion, integrity and love, wisdom and humility. I like knowing that God who began a good work in them will continue it. (Philippians 1:6) And that they are a part of the work God is doing in my life.