It’s Coming…

Ok, so I know it’s only the end of August, but I am starting to get excited about Christmas. I love Christmas!! In the past week or so, I have been uber tempted to get out the Christmas music. I love, love, love Christmas music! As soon as the last trick-or-treater has left, Third Day Christmas Offerings begins its two month stay in my car’s CD player. It drives Stephen crazy. Whether it’s the early onslaught of the season or the fact that he gets to hear Mac Powell sing the same ten songs 500 times each, I don’t know. Either way, Stephen is usually far less enthusiastic about it than the kids and I.

I hope that Oliver will enjoy our little tradition as much as Nadie does. On that first November day, there is always a big introduction and I tell her to listen carefully. She listens for a minute and then she’ll say, “Is that Mac Powers, Mama? Is it almost time for Christmas?” Yes it is! And then we sing and sing. SO MUCH FUN! When Nadie was two, she could sing “O, Holy Night” all the way through. We have video footage of her singing it one night while she was in the bathtub. It is so sweet, and I like to go back and watch it from time to time.

Nadie had imaginary friends when she was little. Emily and Ashley. They were around most of the time and we always knew what Emily and Ashley were doing. But, that very same Christmas when Nadie was two, a new friend came into the mix. It started around New Years. She began talking about Sader (pronounced with a long A.) She would ask me all the time, “Mama, where’s Sader? When is Sader going to come?” I had NO clue what she talking about. I would constantly hear her talking to Sader on her princess flip phone. Then she would come tell me, “Well, that was Sader. He’s coming soon.” I would ask her questions about him, trying to figure out who this Sader was. She always answered the same, “You know, Mama. Sader!” No, I didn’t know and it was making me nuts.

I asked my mom if she knew anything about it. Maybe Nadie had seen something at her house. She didn’t know. Neither did Stephen nor my sister. We were all stumped. All we knew was that Sader was coming and Nadie was very excited about it. And that, apparently, she thought we were a little dim witted for not knowing just who Sader was. Even Emily and Ashley knew Sader, so what was our problem?

After about four or five weeks, I was fully expecting Sader (whoever he was) to walk through the door one day. She was that insistent about it! So I asked her, yet again, “Who is Sader?” She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, “You KNOW, Mama! Like in the song. ‘It is the night of our dear Sader’s birth’.” No wonder she thought I was slow! We had only sung that song a 100 times. But leave it to a child to understand the excitement of the coming Savior!

Nadie doesn’t remember any of that now, but I will never forget. It was one of those moments of realization for me. Not only the joy for the birth of our King, but the exciting anticipation that He is coming back. Our Sader/Savior will return! And that just makes the Christmas itch even worse for me. Maybe I will sneak in some Christmas music today. More importantly, I should probably take my cue from a two year old that not only eagerly awaited her Sader, but stayed in communication with him until that time came.

Closed Captioning

So, the kids are driving me NUTS lately. Both of them. Nuts! It has been a difficult couple of weeks. I think it is time for school to get started. We need to get back on a schedule. Hopefully that will help. I say hopefully because I have hope that a schedule will change the issues and behaviors that have been rampant at home. If it doesn’t and the behavior is here to stay, well, then I don’t know what will happen.

It seems the crux of the problem is my voice. There seems to be a discrepency between the children and me when it comes to the utterances of my mouth. On the one hand, they love the sound of my voice. So much so that they require that I repeat every sentence, instruction and command at least four to five times. Sometimes even more. It seems that they enjoy it to the point that they urge me to use some of the loudest tones to which I am capable of producing. I, on the other hand, am sick to death at the sound of my own voice. I do not care to hear myself say the same things over and over and over. And herein lies the problem.

At one point, I considered the fact that perhaps they were both hearing impaired. Maybe, just maybe, those sweet little ears weren’t hearing me say, “NO” or “Please pick up your toys.” That would certainly explain the total lack of comprehension that was displayed when they were given a simple command. But I had to dismiss that theory as I realized they would come running to the sound of the refrigerator opening, the crinkling of a cookie package being opened, the creak of the bathroom door as I was sneaking into a moment of privacy, or the fact that Nadie knows the details to a phone conversation I was quietly having in another room. My theory was busted! Those little ears can definitely hear.

So what is the problem? What is causing this phenomenon? I know they both can hear. I’m pretty sure that my voice actually does produce audible sounds. Other humans hear me just fine. They both seem to be mentally capable of understanding instruction. For instance, they both can go and choose something to eat (rather quickly, actually) when I ask if anyone would like a snack. What is at the heart of this selctive hearing that both of my children seem to posess? And better yet, how can I alter this behavior?

Ultimately, they are children. And this is how children behave. How interesting it is that God calls us His children. Yes, He is our Creator, which puts him in a parental position. But I think part of why He calls us that is because of our incredible knack for not listening to His voice. We go about our daily business forgetting to stop and listen to what the Lord may have for us. And, by “us” and “we,” I really mean ME.

Much like Nadie and Oliver, there are various reasons I don’t listen. Often I am just busy with day to day life. Sometimes I may not like what I am being told. Or maybe I’m tired. And then there are the times when the things He calls me to do just seem too stinkin’ difficult. So here I am, a grown adult acting very similar to my six and two year olds. How exasperated my heavenly Father must be with me at times!

Thankfully He is patient with his children. Which is often a lot more than I can say for myself. And even though I may not always listen to him, He always listens to me. He always hears the voice of his children. And that is an important thing to a mama who has gone unheard all day. A mama that is at the end of her rope with repeating her requests time and time again. A mama that loves her kids more than anything but briefly entertains the idea of luring them into the backyard only to close and lock the door behind them. So as I ask one more time, “Please stop fighting and pick up your messes,” I will also ask the Lord for an extra dose of His divine patience to help me through the moment. At least I know one of those requests will be heard.

Mirror, Mirror

One of the things I enjoy most about being a mama is watching my kids play. Not only does it bring back memories of play from my own childhood, but I am amazed at their creativity. It is always interesting to see what they may come out with. Nadie’s favorite play usually involves dress-up and a baby doll. She has always been a huge fan of the costume, no matter what she may be doing. Other favorites for her include spa, doctor, and preparing stuff in her kitchen for the restaurant she is running. Oliver is a car and truck man. He loves his vehicles. Well before he turned two, he would take his cars and lay down in the floor and roll them around for long periods of time. He likes to line them up in rows too. Other favorites for Oliver are trains, balls, and being outside. He also likes to use the toy laptops.

Another aspect of play is the fact that it is reflective of real life. Watching them can be a good indicator as to what is going on in the family. For instance, when Nadie was younger she would pretend to drive Big Big’s truck. She would go to the drive-thru at Starbucks to get everyone a coffee. After Oliver came along, instead of Starbucks, she began going to Walgreens to pick up prescriptions. Very appropriate! Now, as she rides her Barbie jeep around the backyard, she will say, “Hey, it’s Happy Hour! Anyone want to get out of the house and get some Sonic?” (In case it isn’t clear, going to Sonic during Happy Hour is what we will do when I need a BREAK.)

For me, I get the added bonus of Nadie being very reflective of me. She says and does things that make me stop dead in my tracks as I know I have heard them before. Talk about a wake-up call! Today I heard her talking to Big Baby. Apparently Nadie was about to leave the house without her hair done, no jewelry, and no shoes. Luckily her daughter, Big Baby, was kind enough to remind her to put herself together before they left the house. She came and told me how grateful she was to Big Baby, “I am just so crazy these days. I can’t remember anything.” Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?

It is a daily reminder to me that I have four eyes that watch every thing that I do and say. Very closely. Wow! No pressure there, right? It is frightening to say the least. What will they say of me when they are all grown up? “My mother loved the Lord and tried to follow Him daily.” OR “My mother couldn’t remember to put her shoes on when we would leave the house.” And yes, I may have gotten in the car to go somewhere with my slippers on ONE time.

How can I model Christ to my kids all day every day? It’s certainly not easy and is something with which I struggle. Especially when I see some of my “not so proud moments” come back to me during playtime. I guess I will just keep doing my best. I will remind them that Mama makes mistakes too, and ask their forgiveness when I do. We will pray together on those super hard days and ask the Lord to help us through them. And I will love on them as much as I can. Then, if it gets where we just can’t stand it anymore, we may have to step out to Sonic for an iced tea and two rootbeers. Hopefully I will remember to put my shoes on before we go.

Tea Room

Today we went to one of our favorite places, The Grapevine Tea Room. I guess when I say “our”, I really mean Nadie and I. Stephen really likes the food there, but since it is only open from 11:00-2:00, he doesn’t get to go very often. As for Oliver, he too likes the food. And that’s where it ends. Even though he still isn’t talking too much, it is usually quite clear what his feelings are on something. Today, he made them crystal clear.

We got there early and the place was already full. This meant that we had to park across the street and walk. Oliver was fine with this as he loves being outside. He was perfectly content until we opened the door to the Tea Room and stepped inside. Immediately he let out a moan and tried to pull away from me. It was almost as if he could smell the girlishness of the place and he wanted no part of it. Thus he began his struggle to escape.

It is not a very big place. A small house that has been made into a restaurant and gift shop. It basically has two small dining areas/rooms. This made it especially uncomfortable for me when he started screaming to get away. As did the fact that the gift shop is combined in the dining areas. A gift shop full of glass, porcelain, and other various breakables. It was all I could do to keep a hold on him, much less keep him below decibal ten. I could feel all the eyes focused on us as I did my best to settle him down. Luckily we were seated quickly.

Things didn’t improve much once we were at the table. Oliver just wanted out. I don’t understand it at all. At the age of two years and four months, how is it he knows that he is not in a boy friendly environment? He would look at me repeatedly with his little hands up as if to ask “why?” Why did you have to bring me here? He didn’t want his cars as they wouldn’t roll properly on the lacey tablecloths. He would point to the fancy glasses and go “awwww, nooo.” It was like he was completely miserable for no other reason than he just didn’t belong. Nothing I said or did seemed to bring him any comfort nor tone down his wails of protest to this den of feminintity. And then he saw it . . .

I don’t know how, as I never would’ve noticed it sitting in and amongst the other trinkets for sale. But Oliver saw it. And when he did, his entire attitude and demeanor changed. Across the room there were shelves housing lots of knick-knacks and other various odds and ends. There amongst them was a car. A small bank in the shape of an old-fashioned, red antique car. He was so excited! And after that, he was a different child. We didn’t hear another word out of him to the negative. He dined quietly on his grilled cheese and fruit without another fuss.

I know there is an ongoing nature/nurture debate in this world. But I can tell you that Oliver Harrison Rudolph has a very natural aversion to the girlier things in life. It is all such a new experience for me. A boy. This wonderful creature in my life that completely mystifies me. I am learning daily just how different he is from Nadie. Sometimes it is just from observation and interaction. But sometimes, like today, I get a stern reminder from him. A reminder that I still have some things to learn about little boys. Maybe next week we can go eat somewhere a little more suited to Oliver’s masculine tastes. Perhaps a picnic in a car lot or a nice construction site? Wherever we go, I am sure he will have an opinion on it that he will be more than happy to share.


So I have started a few new posts and come to a complete halt before I can finish them. I suppose I have some sort of writer’s block. So, I am just going to get something out there. Something. Perhaps the best thing I can do right now is to just count our blessings. Our many, many blessings. Why? Because we have hit a rough patch lately. I guess most people do that from time to time. And so it has been for us too. With that, the glass has become half-empty instead of half-full. So, tonight, I want to turn that around. Not just the cup, but the ickiness that has been hanging over us for the last few weeks.

I am thankful for my family. God has blessed me with two beautiful, healthy children and a husband who is my very best friend in the world. I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. We have a very close extended family of both blood relatives and precious friends. We are free to worship in a Bible-believing church. I am thankful for the many individuals that died to give me that freedom. I have been given the gift of staying at home with my children every day and even to homeschool. Truly I am blessed. But it’s not what is important.

The God of the universe knows my name. He knows every hair on my head. He knows the very depths of my heart and mind and loves me just the same. I don’t know how or why, because I find myself utterly unlovable at times. Not only does He love me, but He died for me. Died For Me. To really meditate on those three words makes it all the more amazing. He died for this whiny, forgetful, unorganized mess of a person. And that’s what is important.

It seems like I would learn after a while. Just like Peter, if I take my eyes off of Him I am inevitably going for a swim. And I will go thrashing about in this life trying to fix things in my own strength. Until, once again, He reaches down and pulls me out of myself. It’s then that I look around and realize that my cup isn’t half-full, but overflowing.

The Strange and Weird

Last weekend I had the opportunity to play Wii. It is the first time that I have ever played with a Wii, in any capacity. I can understand why people enjoy it! We had a lot of fun. It was a dancing game and interestingly enough, Stephen managed to win most of the time. Nadie, loving to dance anyway, really had fun. Even Oliver joined in on “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

It occurred to Stephen and I later that evening that it was probably a little strange, in this day and age, that we had never played Wii before. A lot of people are anxiously awaiting the Wii 2 as we still pull out the original Nintendo from time to time. Nadie and Oliver both love Duck Hunt! Somewhere along the way, we have both culturally and technologically devolved into those people that I thought were ANCIENT and out of touch with reality when I was a teen.

Last year we stepped off into major weirdness when we decided to homeschool Nadie. I knew that it was coming, but I wasn’t truly prepared for the reactions we would get. Or, maybe it wasn’t so much the things we encountered, but the way it made me feel. Often I was left hurt or angry. Why is it that we, as humans, don’t ever want to be labeled as strange or weird? Especially when the afore mentioned weirdness comes from following Christ? Aren’t Christians supposed to be weird in their behavior? Shouldn’t non-believers look at us and think we are strange?

1 Peter 4:1-4 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.

Obviously Wii or schools do not equate to lewdness or idolatries. Not in the least. Those are just a couple of examples of our weirdness by the world’s standards. Hopefully we have more. Stephen is a follower of Dave Ramsey. One of Dave’s constant quotes is, “If people don’t think you’re weird, then you’re not doing something right.” So very true! And yet, when confronted, I still find myself uncomfortable with our strange behavior. Questioning our decisions as I wonder what people think about us. Concerned about being labeled.

Scripture tells us that this world is not our home. We are aliens. So it makes sense that we, as Christians, should stand out as strange and set apart. Embracing that as the world shuns you is a little harder. It is definitely something that this alien can improve. Besides, I’m sure nothing is any stranger than Stephen and I looked while dancing with that Wii.