Archives for September 2011

A Party for all Eternity

We laid the Bible on the table and she sat silent for a moment, the weight of God’s Word sinking deep.

“God thinks I’m important?” she asked.

We just finished reading from Genesis when Abraham, obeying God’s command, took Isaac to the mountain and lay him on an altar.  He raised the knife high, willing to sacrifice his son yet heartbroken to do it.

“Abraham, Stop!”

A lamb.

A thicket and an altar of thanksgiving.

A promise kept.

To me, it was just another story.  But the message she got?

The words whispered to her soul?

God thought Isaac important.  So important, he was to be spared.

God thinks her important.

So important, she was to be spared.

A Sacrificial Lamb sent to take her place.

“I think I’m ready,” she said, very matter of fact.  No doubt, the voice did not waver.

And later that day, nestled on the bed between us…she answered the knock.




She understood.  The acceptance holds weight.


The dirt…

Made clean.


A Princess.

And when the prayers were finished, she smiled wide.

“Heaven’s having a party for me now, right?” she asked with a grin.

And they are.  I imagine it to be a grand feast with birthday cake, Nutella (naturally) and M&M’s – all her favorites.

We had our own party.

At a restaurant on the beach we celebrated over chicken fingers and shrimp.

An altar of thanksgiving.

As we wrapped up and the low lying clouds began to shine with the rays of the sun breaking through their surface, she turned to me.  All eyes.  Big and bright.

Crystal Blue.


“Mom, is my heaven party over now?” she asked.

“No, baby.  They’ll be celebrating you for all eternity.”

“Yet to those who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12


*A profession of faith in Christ is really important to us and knowing our children have come to that point brings us to our knees.  If you are unsure as to why that’s important to us or you have any questions about why we believe what we believe, please feel free to email me.  I would love to chat with you.  kellistuart00 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Proof that they’re mine

My kids all favor their dad quite a bit.  Particularly Sloan and Tia.  I always have to laugh, though, when people look at them and say things like, “They look just like their Daddy.  But I also see a little bit of your brother in them.”

Huh…that’s funny.  Because my brother was in no way involved in the creation of these kids.  So, without further ado (and because I don’t have much creativity flowing through me today), I give you proof that my kids also look a tiny bit like their Mama.

Aaaahhh...the classic studio shot of the '80's. It was probably taken at Olan Mills.

Four years old.

5-ish years old

2nd Grade. You're jealous of my shirt...

And just because I know you want to see it:

Oversize Esprit Bag? Check. Units belt?  Check.  High tops? Check.  Side ponytail crimped? Check.

Ladies and gentlemen, I owned 1988.  Owned. It.

So what do you think?  Can I claim the kids as my own?

Happy Wednesday.

Utah, A Bomb and a Slithering Sea Snake

The first week of school is tucked firmly beneath my belt.  This is fancy talk for, I survived. So did the kids, by the way.  Landon barely.  Apparently I neglected to mention to him when we began that school occurs every. single. day.  So on day two, as he toddled into the kitchen, his morning Cup ‘a Joe nestled firmly between his teeth (read: sippy cup of juice), he asked me the same thing he asks me every morning.

“Mommy?  What we gonna do today?”

“We have school again today.”



Face crumbles, juice falls to the floor and a great deal of weeping doth commence.  “But we alweady did school yestewday!”

Um…yeah.  Apparently school every day isn’t his favorite.  By day five he started to come around, though he never met the news that school was about to begin with much glee.  You can’t please everyone, right?

Not that school was a wash for him.  We worked on learning the States last week.  We labeled them on a map and each day learned to identify a few more.  By the end of the week, Sloan was able to point to and label 30 States.  Tia could label about 15 and then needed a few prompts for the rest.  Landon can point to about 6 when asked where they are.  But all on his own, he can label one State.


For some reason Utah. Not Florida.  Not Missouri.  Utah.


There is no way for me to answer that question.  I don’t know why.  All I know is my three year old can point to Utah when shown a blank map.  I am so proud.


We are one with the fish


As a reward for a great first week of school, we finished lessons early on Friday and headed to the The Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  We got up close and personal with the sting rays, we growled at the sharks and we made silly faces at the alligators.  And we topped it all off with some good old fashioned water play.



As an impromptu history lesson, we walked next door to the American Victory Ship, one of only four operational World War II ships in the country.  It was the end of the day and they were preparing to close, but they let us have the run of the ship before shutting everything down.  We rang the bells, visited the captain’s quarters and fought mighty battles against the enemy warships and alien droids.

We won each battle with nary an injury.  It was truly a victorious ship.

Just before leaving, one of the sailors aboard the ship took us into the Engine Room and gave us a quick history lesson.  The ship was built 70 years ago (not 60 hundred as Landon guessed…by hey – he can identify Utah, right?).  And the massive vessel was built in only 55 days.  Not 25 years as Sloan guessed.  But hey…he can point to 30 States on a map, right?

“Can you take us out on a ride in this ship?” Sloan asked the Sailor-man.  I just wish my child wasn’t so shy, ya know?

“Well, no.  Not right now.  We’re dry docked right now.  There are a lot of things that need to be done to get a ship out to sea.”

“Oh,” Sloan said, not masking his disappointment at all.  This week’s homeschooling theme is “Tact and How To Use It.”

Seeing his crestfallen face, Sailor-man smiled.  “You know,” he said.  “Every once in awhile we do take this beautiful ship out for a spin on the water.  You have your mom find out when we’re going to do that again and make sure you all come out to take a ride with us, okay?”

Sloan grinned and clasped his hands together at his chest.  “Okay!” he cried, his eyes dancing.  “When we go out, can you shoot off a bomb? Please?” He did use lovely manners making his Mama brim with pride.

“Well,” Sailor-man said, his own eyes twinkling, “Now I’m afraid that’s frowned upon…”

Pause.  Silence.

“What do you mean?” Sloan asked.

And we all laughed.  Me with the “Oh I’m so embarrassed I will explain this to him later” Mom laugh, and Sailor-man with the “I used to be a little boy and I had a few little boys of my own so I totally understand what’s going on inside his head” laugh.  And off we went.

Sunday night brought beautiful, perfect Florida weather.  There was an ocean breeze perfect for fishing and we traipsed down to the dock at sunset where Sloan immediately snagged a beautiful, large blue crab.  After a bit of dancing and a whole lot of finagling, we got him in the bucket and gave him a pinfish to play with.  Lee pulled in a good sized catfish that we all ooed and aahed over until it came time to take him off the hook, then we all scattered and let Lee handle the honors alone.

We’re a brave bunch.

The night ended early, however, when Sloan’s line bent over and he struggled and fought and pulled up a…friggin’ snake. When we figured out that’s what was on his line, Tia sprouted wings and flew 50 feet in less than a second.  I danced and yelped while Lee held his arms straight out and yelled “STOP!  Do not pull that thing in.”  He grabbed the pole and shook it until the long (too long) sea monster finally fell off.  And with our hearts hammering in our throats, we packed it in and marched inside, cooking our crab for a little late night snack.

How was your holiday weekend?


Our bedtime snack, courtesy of Sloan.

The eyes to see

Like a petal dancing on the wind, the theme of Grace has been floating across the internet this past year.  Everywhere you look, people are seeing it, feeling it and living it.


Grace is not a movement.  Grace has simply always been.  Grace hasn’t changed or altered or moved. Grace has been dancing for us for all of eternity – we just haven’t always seen it.  But it isn’t fair for me to speak of you, for perhaps you have seen it.  Perhaps only I have missed it.


In the past two months, our life has changed drastically.  The known has been replaced with the unknown and the comforts of predictability have been stripped away.  Filled with fear and doubt, we’ve moved forward with faltering steps, our eyes truly open for the first time.


It’s always been there, just waiting for me to see it.  A sunrise over the dark waters, bursting forth the light of day.  Grace. A palm tree swaying and bending in the stormy winds, a sign of water coming to renew the ground.  Grace. A bird singing, a lizard racing and the pealed laughter of children with eyes wide to Grace.  All these things were here.

And I can finally see.

Ann’s book opened my eyes.  Her blog moves my heart.  And I looked, not only in nature, but at man – God’s most glorious creation.  Grace.

I sat on the plane last week, my head and my ears tight.  The cabin pressure left me with a headache and I could never quite get my ears cleared.  As we descended, the man across the aisle leaned over.  “Would you like a piece of gum?” he asked, a kind and understanding smile on his face.  I accepted gratefully.


Standing up to deplane, I watched the man in front of me help an elderly woman with her bag.  He pulled it down and as she reached for it, he shook his head.  “I’ll get it off the plane for you, ma’am,” he said.


Life is full of Grace…when you’re watching for it.  And in the looking, another miracle takes place.  Life slows down. As a mother, this is the greatest miracle of all.  Because the passing of time takes with it the sweetness of youth.  Newborn cries turn into toddler giggles turn into the lengthening of limbs and deepening sounds of a growing man’s voice.  And it all happens in a blink.

But when you’re looking for Grace, the moments last a little longer.  The sticky arms flung around your neck hold on tighter.  The giggles ring a little louder.  The wet kisses are a little sweeter.  Life is grander.


How are you seeing Grace these days?

No Bimbo’s for me, thank you

We don’t watch a lot of television these days.  There isn’t time for it and, honestly, there is very little reason to.  When we get into our house we won’t even hook cable up and I don’t think anyone will miss it.

In the mornings, the kids enjoy Animal Planet. Steve the Crocodile Hunter makes us all laugh…and cringe a little.  In the evenings, every once in awhile, we turn on re-runs of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It makes us all cry.  Tonight, as the show ended, the network began airing a preview of the next show to air.

Sweet Home Alabama.

Not the adorable Resse Witherspoon movie.  No, no.  This was yet another ridiculous time suck of a reality show about a group of over bleached, over tanned, under dressed girls from (I can only assume) Alabama.  I immediately changed the channel.  Little House on the Prairie – the only insanely pure show still played on television, although sadly the commercials are so horrible that I had to keep changing the channel to the Catholic Reading Hour every time the show took a break.


“Mom, why can’t we watch that?” Sloan asked as I muttered under my breath.

“Because there’s no reason to watch a show about a  bunch of bimbo’s,” I replied.  “I’m not raising a bimbo.  I’m raising a strong, confident girl who doesn’t think that life revolves around boys and spray tans.”

And I mean it.

This is not meant to offend, but here’s the thing.  I loathe reality TV.  Loathe it*hear me snarl* Outside of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which even the excess of that show gets on my nerves after awhile…because I am, apparently, a robot), I can’t stand a single reality show.  They make me bonkers.  Nicole said it a couple of weeks ago and I will reiterate the same point – everything that’s wrong with our society is showcased in reality TV. Everything.  And we put it on display for the whole world to see.

Is it any wonder America has lost so much respect in the world?

Jersey Shore. Real Housewives of Such and Such (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – NOT REAL NOT REAL NOT REAL).  Sweet Home Alabama.  Russian Dolls (are you kidding me?).  Big Brother.  The Bachelor and it’s spawn The Bachelorette.  I know, I may have just broken some hearts.  Unfortunately, this list of absurdity could go on and on.  And onAnd ooooooooonnnnnnn.

Selfishness, greed, hatred, lust, gluttony, deceit, anger, malice, jealousy, guilt and plain old stupidity – all of these highlighted for entertainment’s sake.  And when I see a clip of a bleach blonde girl Valley Girl chatting into the camera I want to throw a shoe through the TV then take my daughter out and teach her how to be a real REAL woman.  I want to teach her to play sports and love people and respect herself and care for the hurting.  I want to tell her that life is more than boys and clothes and fame and notoriety.

I want my boys to know that what makes a woman beautiful is not the length of her skirt but the love she has and shows for others.  I want my boys to respect women more than the men on those shows respect them.  I want my daughter to respect herself more than those women respect themselves.

I have to check myself when I begin to rant on these shows.  Because the fact of the matter is this: I can disconnect cable and make sure my children are never subjected to the horror that is reality TV, but unless I’m modeling what it means to be a woman of grace, peace, love and maturity to my daughter, she will never know it.

If Lee doesn’t model to the boys what it means to look like, act like and behave like a real man then they won’t know.  If he isn’t showing them how to respect women and how to love a wife, they won’t know.  It doesn’t matter what’s on TV – our kids have to see it modeled from us first and foremost.  That’s the real challenge.

That and making sure that none of that smut gets into our home.

*steps meekly off soap box and slides it back under the bed*