Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Funniest People in My House

I started a blog this year because someone told me they can be published.  I'm not the best at keeping a journal.  I have notes throughout the house, I've started journals different times over the years in different notebooks and I have entries on my computer.  But, I thought this would be the best place to keep everything together for my kids -- pictures, events, memories, and even some of the funny or sweet things they've said.  So, I'm digging through drawers finding old quotes that I've jotted down, and I'll be adding to this post as I find memories I've scattered about.  The dates will be scattered about as well.

Sarah did not want to go to Mimi's tonight.  I told Sarah to tell her why when she came to pick them up.  Sarah told mom, "You know when you've been somewhere a lot and you don't want to go because you've been there so much..." Mom said, (kidding) "I don't understand."  Abby said, "She's not coming."  --Perfect example of their personalities.  Sarah trying to break it gently without hurting feelings while Abby is cutting to the chase.

We were watching Underdog tonight, and they said "butt."  Sarah said, "Ooh, they said the 'b' word." A few minutes later, they said stupid, and Abby said, "Ooh, they said the 'b' word."

Sarah's tummy has been hurting in the morning.  I told her mine and Chris's has been hurting too, and it's probably drainage.  She said, "maybe it's morning sickness."

Sarah's words '06
cazebo for gazebo
carchoal for charcoal

Abby's words '06
clowns for clouds

I tried to get Sarah to try on some pants at Old Navy and she said, "No, they're too sixy."  She wouldn't tell me where she heard it, but I think she got it confused with turning six yesterday.  She was prissy one night, and said again, "I don't know why I'm being so sixy."  I asked what that means, and she said, "You know, how you act when you turn six."

Last night, Sarah came in the den and said she had something important to tell us.  Before we went to bed, we went to her room.  She said she asked Jesus into her heart and asked if she could be baptized Sunday.  We asked her some questions.  She said she was telling Abby about going to heaven.  She prayed for Abby to go to heaven then asked Jesus into her heart.  She said, "when I finished, I was like 'okay' why did I just do that."  She said she wants a clean heart.  She wants to be baptized.  Her face was glowing, and she was smiling and so excited.  She said her heart felt "kindof different."

Abby said she didn't want to go to heaven.  She wants to stay home.  Sarah told her heaven is like going home.  She said it's like vacation but you get to stay forever.

Abby -- “Daddy, I think my booty just threw up.”
Cooper -- “I’m done, Suzanne.”  (on the potty)

Abby -- “Why do we have to put on clean underwear?  We always have to do that!”
Cooper just said that God will send a text to his heart.  Guess he knows those are two important things in our house.
Sarah was telling me about a competition at school today and about the ribbons everyone received.  She said blue was first place, red was second place, white was third place, and yellow meant “horrible.”  -- “honorable”
I was telling the kids this morning about Whitney being in Iraq and how we are going to send him a Christmas card since he has to be away from his family.  Abby said, “How did he get in a rock?”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why We Live in the Burbs

Over the past few years, there has been much talk in The Church about the welfare of the city.  I have to admit that being a part of the The Church my entire life, I never heard these words uttered once until around 2008.  Sidebar: I live in the South, so it's no surprise that we're a little behind on things.  We're just now getting around to the "fix your own yogurt" craze.  A friend was just in town from D.C., and she said they've been topping their own yogurt for about 2 years.  So, I understand, the idea of engaging the city is not new, and yes, I'm fully aware of the Scriptural foundation.   I'm just stating that it did not come into my life until a few years ago.  By the time these ideas entered The Acuff household, we were living the full-blown suburban dream, okay, not really, but we live in the suburbs.  

We bought our first house in the city.  We had our first child.  We bought our second house in the city but closer to the suburbs and had our second child.  We had our third child and bought our third house in the suburbs.  Finally, we could settle in peace and raise our children in a safe neighborhood in the most highly sought after elementary school.  We were close to our church and church friends.  Safety. Comfort.  

About a year and a half after we moved into the suburbs, we began being exposed to the idea of moving back into the city for the sake of ministry.  We were hearing of people moving back into the city to live in areas of great brokenness and deep hurt, places that are the most concentrated areas of injustice and broken systems.  We tried to listen, and we tried not to listen.  It tugged at our hearts, and it offended our lifestyle.  We began listening to the hearts of those around us who had great wisdom in these matters, namely our friends Lisa and Matthew Watson.  We joined an association called, read their literature and have since attended a local conference.  We have been greatly challenged by the teaching of John Perkins, Tim Keller, Bob Lupton and others on these matters.

So the next step is to put our house on the market and move back into the city, right?  Not exactly.  We have spent the last few years thinking hard, listening hard and praying hard over these matters.  We have not taken them lightly.  We have considered urban ministry to the fullest, even pursuing multiple job opportunities in urban ministry to no avail.  Our conclusion, at this point, is that God has us right where He wants us.

We no longer live in the suburbs with the same purpose.  We moved here for safety and comfort, but we're staying here on mission.  We have found a need to be an example of simplicity in the suburbs.  We have also had opportunities to help restore marriages and take food to hurting families.  We are finding ways to model the gospel to people who are greatly broken but highly skilled at covering it.  We seek ways to represent Christ in an area where church is the norm but the pursuit of Christ is not priority.

At the same time, we love the city of Memphis.  We care about the welfare of the city -- the people, the school system, the leaders.  We will not cease to be engaged in the work God has called us to in this community as well as the restoration He has called us to in the city.  There is certainly room for work in both places. We are called to live intentionally wherever we are.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaching What I (Don't) Believe

As I parent, I find I am often comforting my children with words that are even hard for me to understand and believe.  I know they are true, but I struggle to choke them down as I speak them.

Friday, I was taking my kids to spend the night with my parents.  I told them I would miss them and pledged to them that we could dream about each other.  Sarah, my oldest said she would rather not dream about me because her dreams about me usually involve me being killed by a serial killer.  I laughed awkwardly and told her that sounded awful, but I wasn't really shocked.  Our minds are capable of the most horrific and gruesome thoughts.  At the same time, I couldn't lie and tell her that was impossible.  I never want to give my kids the impression that I will always be here or that I can save them from danger.

The next night over dinner, Chris and I talked with our kids about God being a father to the fatherless and a mother to the motherless.  Chris told them about his dad leaving when he was in high school and how God has been his father.  He told them about other dads and coaches stepping in to help him.  We told them about our friend Terri who lost her mother to cancer and how much she misses her but that God also fills the void of mother.  We did not make an effort to tell them that we could be killed by a serial killer to prevent invoking fear, but we hope the truth was received without presenting that possibility as an example.  Our goal was to explain to our children that God is enough.  His grace is sufficient.  They nodded as if to understand, and we had them individually repeat, "God is enough."

I have to walk away from those lessons repeating to myself God is enough as if trying to convince a child - that child being me.  I tell my children God is enough yet I struggle to believe it myself.  It shows in the way I live.  If I believe He is enough would I expect people to validate me?  If I believe He is enough would I place my identity in my performance as a mother?  If I believe He is enough, why do I seek answers from the world instead of His Word?  If I believe He is enough, would I find less comfort in food?  If I believe He is enough, would I continue to believe I am the solution for fixing everyone's problems?

So, how can I teach my children things I struggle to believe?  Grace is my first answer.  Secondly, while I may struggle to believe truths of God, I believe God.  I believe Him at His Word.  My flesh and Spirit are at war, but He is enough whether I believe it or not.  This is another reason to teach things that I struggle with:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:10-11