Sunday, August 22, 2010

Make a Difference Monday

So, this post brags on my child, a bit. Forgive me, but I have to.

I can't take credit for this idea. I stole it from our babysitter, KB. I'm sure she would say she couldn't take credit for the idea, either, but she inspired us, so I credit her. KB has been doing something called, "Make a Difference Monday." A Christian music station called KLove has started this phenomenon of every Monday doing something for a friend or stranger that makes a difference in someone's life. KB has been doing this awhile and she blessed me one day by putting a Starbucks (God bless her, she knows this momma lives on coffee.) gift card in my mailbox when I was going through a hard time.
I loved the surprise so much and I just kept thinking how thoughtful that was for her to do. This college student who has plenty on her plate was putting others before herself to make a difference. It may not seem like much...but on a day when I was struggling and feeling invisible, once again, I felt like someone 'saw' me. It was huge to my small, little world. It felt HUGE.
I started thinking how that could be something really useful to help my children 'see' others and take the focus off themselves. We have not been so consistent about it this summer, but we've had some really neat opportunities to show others Christ's love. The first time was a day that we met Jon for lunch at Ted's mexican restaurant. I had just spent a great morning with my kids at the Jumpzone, playing on the moonbounces. I saw a mother walk in with her daughter. Her little girl was probably 10years old. She was very pale, very sickly looking, and she was wearing a bandana over her sweet, little hairless head. It was apparent that her daughter had some form of cancer and she had probably just endured chemotherapy. I couldn't stop looking at them. The mother seemed genuinely happy. She smiled a lot as her and her daughter enjoyed lunch together. I couldn't help but feel compassion for that mother. She has such strength to endure her daughter's cancer, but it looked as if it hadn't stolen her joy. I felt a little guilty of the time I just spent with my boys at the Jumpzone. I took that time for granted. I felt guilty that I was really looking forward to their naptime that afternoon so that I could have two hours to myself. I wanted to go up to that mother and look deep into her eyes and give her a long, tight, hug. I chickened out with that and bought her lunch instead.
Jackson asked why I was doing this and after a long conversation, I told him that we were going to start doing something called, "Make a Difference Monday." He asked how he would know who he should help, and I told him that we would pray that God would put someone on our hearts.
Fast forward to last Sunday, we are walking out of church and Matt says hello to us in the parking lot. Matt is a 23 year old man from our church who is mentally disabled. Every Sunday and Wednesday Matt can be seen walking around the church. He always comes to say hello, give a handshake or high-five and show us some kind of toy or cartoon dvd he has in his posession. Jackson has felt a little nervous or afraid around Matt. I think it was initially hard for him to understand why this grown man talked and acted like a small child. After many long conversations about Matt, Jack has begun to have a soft place in his heart for him.
So, after church Sunday, Matt says hello and shows us three cartoon dvd's he is very proud of. After he walks away, Jack says, "Mom, I have an idea. How about we do 'Make a Difference Monday' for Matt. I bet he would like a new cartoon to watch."
My heart swelled and I fought back tears as I told Jack I thought that would be a great idea.
The next day we headed to Target to buy a new DVD for Matt. Jackson picked one out he thought Matt would enjoy and he also wanted to buy him a Crayola Color Wonder set of Toy Story. We got Matt a card and wrote on it that it was 'Make a Difference Monday' and Jackson wanted to bless Matt and show him that he is special. Jackson signed his name himself and we left it on Matt's porch. Matt's mother called me a couple days later to thank Jackson and let him know that Toy Story is Matt's absolute favorite. I can't help but believe that Jackson heard from God that day. I don't think it was on a whim he chose him. I know God spoke to Jack to tell him that Matt needed to feel the love of Christ that day.
We told KB about how she had paid it forward. Unbeknownst to us, KB emailed KLove to tell them Jackson's story. KLove called KB to tell her that they may be telling Jackson's story on the radio sometime this Monday!
I'm so proud to have a child that 'sees' others. Others that sometimes get glanced over. Others that may not see clear signs everyday of God's love and affection for them. Thank you Lord, for teaching Jackson to be selfless. Thank you, for using Jack to share your love to Matt. Wouldn't the world be an awesome place to live if everyone made a difference in someone's world just one day a week?
This is one of Jackson's memory verses: Romans 12:10 "Love each other deeply. Honor others before yourself."

Tball Trophy

I'm really behind on my blogging, but I had to be sure to post this. Jackson's tball team received a trophy for 3rd place this season. This is REALLY good, considering this team didn't stand a chance at the first few games. I'm so proud of him. It was so awesome to see how Jackson improved. I'm ashamed to say this, but at the first of the season, I had told someone how I didn't know that Jackson was going to be "the baseball player his dad was." I really regret saying this now. Not only because it doesn't matter if he's like his dad or not, but also because I doubted that he may not measure up. Well...I was wrong. Jackson was deemed the nickname, "Jackson, 'The Locomotive' Elliott", by his coaches. Even if he doesn't play ball through college, like Jon...or even high school; if this is the only year he ever plays, I couldn't be more proud. He was challenged and he persevered.
I remember when I was pregnant with Jack. Jon and I went for our 18 week ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. When they told me it was a boy, for a minute, I was a little disappointed in it not being a girl. Jon said to me, "Steph, you're going to love having a boy, I promise you. You just wait til he brings you your first flower he ever picks, wait til he says he wants to marry his mommy, wait til he plays tball. I promise, you're going to love it."
Looking back, I can't imagine how I was ever disappointed. Jon was right. When he picked a flower and brought it to me the first time...I was so proud. When he said that he wanted to marry his mommy...I was so proud. And when I watched him play tball...I WAS SO PROUD. I didn't think I could love someone as much as I love you Jack. And, no matter what you decide to be in life....I will be SO PROUD...because, you're mine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cole and the Potty

So, I've said it before and I'll say it again...I underestimate this child. I don't know if I don't think he's capable of doing certain things or that subconsiously, I try to hold him back so that he won't grow up so quickly.
A couple of weeks ago, Cole wanted to wear a pair of bubba's underwear. "I wew unnawews wiff caws on 'em." In case you can't understand Cole's language, that was...he wanted to wear underwear with cars on it. Jon was home by this time and he told Cole he could wear the underwear if he would peepee on the potty. I looked at him with a look that said, "Yeah, right. Good luck with that." Jack chimed in and told Cole he would go with him and they could pee in the potty together. Cole still seemed unsure until we mentioned the idea of putting a cheerio in the potty and letting him "squirt" it.
He looked at Jon and said "Aiye." Translation: "Aiye," in Colie language means "yeah" or "okay." My jaw hit the floor.
I've had the potty conversations many times with Cole and he adamently says "NO!"...everytime. I had firmly believed in my mind that Cole was a child that would be potty-trained no sooner than 3 years old. I thought he was incapable of understanding what it meant to use the potty. Honestly...we've been busy with the move and getting settled, that I just haven't made it a priority.
Other than the day he pooped on the back porch...this potty-training thing has been a breeze.
Even though I hate it that you are growing so quickly before my eyes, I'm proud of you, Colie.

My Little Ballplayer

Jackson has become quite the ballplayer this season. It was so incredible to watch him improve and find confidence in his ability to play the game. He started out the season dreading each and every game and practice. He would beg me to miss..."just this once." But over time, Jackson really started to improve. With practice and encouragement, he began to see that he really was good at he game. He mostly played catcher and 3rd base. As a mother, to see his face when he made an out was one of the best feelings in the world. He was really proud of himself...but not as proud as I was of him.

It's HOT!

Our boys have really been enjoying our backyard this much adventure and mischief for a 2 and 5 year old. The only thing I'm worried about is that every time they go outside, they get naked. I'm beginning to think the neighbors might think we're nudists. But, with this weather we've been having lately, who could blame the boys? I have a picture of Jon mowing in his birthday suit, but I won't post that one!