being thankful

Birthday Girl!

The Party of Six celebrated the last birthday for 2017 in our family last month as Cub 3 turned NINE!

We celebrated at her favorite place to play, Sky Zone, then had dinner at home with her favorite food items – calamari from Olive Garden and bacon bourbon salmon from Outback Steakhouse. No one in our family actually likes cake as a favorite dessert, therefore we’ve learned to get creative with blowing out candles that are stuck in pies or ice cream. Cub 3 blew out candles on a rainbow sherbet “cup cake” this year.

Cub 3 wanted a phone for her birthday. She first started throwing hints around, but by the time we got a few days away from her birthday she was outright asking for a phone. Unfortunately for Cub 3, we don’t feel that a nine year old needs a phone and we won’t be parent-pressured by the “all of my friends have their own phones” remark because we come right back with the universal “we aren’t their parents” remark. Although her focus was on a phone, we had been observing and listening to her talk about other things and interests without her really asking us for them. Overall, she was surprised and happy with the gifts that she received, and I’m pretty sure the phone conversation will come up again as we get closer to Christmas.  

Still not happening, though…she’s nine. 

Happy “Belated” Birthday, Cub 3!!!

Mama Bear

being thankful · family · God's love · Identity · love · ministry family · pastor's wife · preacher's kids · sabbatical · sisters · vacation

Someone I Can Identify With 

Today is Sunday?! Wow, it doesn’t feel like a Sunday!

Cub 3 made this statement earlier this week, and the truth is, our Sundays haven’t really felt like our normal Sundays since Poppa Bear’s (PB) sabbatical began at the beginning of this month. We haven’t seen our church family in about three weeks, but it feels like three YEARS!!

The summer months do cause us to lose sight of what day of the week it is at times. Most of this sabbatical feels like any other summer except that PB gets to participate in all of our summer activities without having to work around his church schedule.

Like most families, we take more trips during the summer than any other time of year. When I know that we’ll be around a big crowd of people, I make sure to dress the girl cubs alike. It’s easier to pick them out in a crowd and if they were to get lost, I would be able to describe them easier (yes, that’s how the worrier’s brain works). I used to do the same with Cubs 1 and 2 until they no longer wanted to dress alike. So, Cubs 3 and 4 have many matching outfits just because of summer outings that help me to identify them as my girl cubs.

So, I’ve been thinking about this identity thing. Our identity is everything, right? We can be identified in SO many different ways – some good, some bad. I can be identified as a woman or an African American or a mama bear or a preacher’s wife or as being short or a friend, an aunt, or a sister. However THE most important one is a child of God. 

Being a part of God’s family comes with many perks because identifying with Jesus means that I am all that and a bag of salt n’ vinegar potato chips to him!! My cubs may have features and behaviors that identify them as our cubs, however our love for them doesn’t even come close to how much they are loved by our Creator as a part of his family.

He loves us…ALL of us so much!  Don’t pay any attention to the negative identities that the enemy wants us to focus on.  We are God’s children and that means…

…we are a part of God’s family; an heir.  Romans 8:16

…we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

…we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

…we were set apart before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5. 

…we’ve been called out of darkness (those negative identities) into His marvelous light. 1Peter 2:9

…we are forgiven. Ephesians 1:7

I love being identified with Him!

Mama Bear

being thankful

All Parents Matter

We have this new little gymnast in the family!  Cub 4 started flipping and tumbling a few years ago at MyGym as just something to keep her busy while her cub siblings were in school during the day.  

Once she started school, we stopped the weekly visits to MyGym and focused on dance instead.  About nine months ago, Cubs 3 and 4 started taking a gymnastics class together and they both liked it, however Cub 3 likes basketball much more than gymnastics and she stopped in order to play in the Upward league.  

Cub 4 continued with gymnastics and was eventually asked to join a pre-team.  This was a group of girls who had potential to compete, but would spend a year learning the basic skills to get ready for it.  We had to make a one year commitment to this program.  After only three practices with the pre-team, the coaches decided to move her up another level!  Still another year-long commitment which includes 8 hours of practice per week, competing against other Level 2 teams around the state, and more dollars flying out of our bank account. SN: Don’t ignore my pleas for your help when we start fundraising soon!   

Anyway, I’ve spent many hours at the gym watching girls and boys at all different levels practicing and training for competition season which will begin in November.  As you can imagine, there are all types of skill levels jumping, flipping, tumbling, and spinning all over the place!  One particular exercise that is closest to the parent observation area is rope climbing.  It’s just like the rope you’d find in most gymnasiums that we all had to attempt to climb during fitness tests in PE.  The gymnast do it because it’s a great way to build their upper body strength and core.  Some of the girls can go up and down the rope multiple times like it’s nothing!  Others struggle to get a few inches off of the ground.  That’s probably where I would be!  Cub 4 used to get about half way up before slowly sliding back down.  She was partly afraid of heights and partly a little too weak in the arms to make it to the top.  She’d get to her highest point and look through the window at me and that’s when I would give her a thumbs up, a smile, and a silent clap and she was content.  Each week she moved a little bit higher than the week before.  Then just this week, she made it all the way to the top…TWICE!! 

Like with any sport or other activity that involves a performance, there are some hard-core, making-their-kids-cry type of parents in the observation room with me.  They tap on the window at their kid.  They go into the gym (where parents aren’t allowed) to yell at their kid for not getting to the top, or to confront the coach because they feel the coach is being too hard on their kid.  I just cringe at the embarrassment that their kid must feel as their eyes meet the disappointed eyes of the parent behind the glass.  

I can’t be totally judgmental of these intense parents as if I always get it right.  I’ve made the same faces and have had the same tone when it comes to my cubs’ academic journeys.  Cub 1 caught it/catches it the most (one of the negatives of being the first born) and through parenting him, I’ve learned to chill a lot more with stressing over their academic performances.  He started hating school and I’m sure I had a lot to do with that.  Sometimes, we want our kids to be successful so that WE look good.  It’s how we validate our style of parenting.  When they are successful, then we feel successful because of their accomplishments.  Regardless of our parenting styles, our children will grow up and take whatever they’ve chosen to listen to and head out into the great big world.  Cub 1 is SO close to that reality!  Just in this past week, he’s taken his senior pictures and we’ve taken two college tours!  Time. Slow. Down. Please. 

What I’ve discovered is that while I want my cubs to do well in all that they tackle, they are going to fail at some stuff…and it’s okay…and it’s good for them…and I can’t do everything for them…and I can’t want it (whatever it is) more than they do…and parenting is so much more easier these days with my discovery.  At least in the academic area.  Now, figuring out how to get them to turn off lights, keep their rooms clean, and hang up wet towels will make me even happier! 

Mama Bear