Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Nap Solution

This afternoon when I was putting the boys down for their naps, Stephen was trying every which way to get out of calming down and resting. I was getting frustrated with him, but kept thinking about how Dr. Dobson just said on one of his broadcasts recently that anger doesn't motivate the child. Action does. So I told him that I was going to put Christopher down and then I'd come back and check on him again. He asked me so sincerely, "Mommy, will you sleep in my bed with me?" I didn't really have time for that, but I told him I would decide that when I came back and saw how he was behaving.

Well, I put Christopher down, came back about 10 minutes later to check on Stephen and he was laying there, almost asleep. He did something magnetic that just pulled me right over to his bed! He looked at me and smiled. I came over, lowered myself on the bed and promised myself that I would just stay until he fell asleep (HA! I should have known better!). As soon as my head hit the pillow, Stephen reached out and grabbed my hand. We both looked at each other, I winked, he smiled, and then we both fell asleep.

Yes, this time the nap solution was not anger and frustration in trying to get Stephen to settle down! This time I realized that my actions were the motivator for him! He just wanted me to be next to him! I wish that I had more time to devote undivided attention to each boy! Christopher came with me to the store this morning and he was in his glory! He was soaking up all the Mommy attention that he could get! Stephen wanted nothing more than to snuggle up with me at nap time. Timothy just wanted to stand next to me while I was getting lunch ready.

Some days I wish I could just be a nanny to my kids instead of also having to cook and clean and do everything else that mothers do. Thankfully, the Lord has been teaching me little ways to get my work done at times that the boys don't need me so that when they do, I can drop whatever I'm working on and be with them. It doesn't always work (or should I say that I don't always choose the right things to do), but I've noticed that when I let my actions show them that they are important, we have so much more peace in our home.

My lesson for today was realizing that today's nap solution is what I want to practice more often with the boys. I want to let my actions show them that I love them. Love draws us to obedience. God shows us this through His example, and it works! God's actions of loving me and caring for me are true motivators for me to obey Him. This principle works with kids, too! It takes me awhile to figure these things out, but I'm glad that God is patient with me. May I be that patient with my own children as they slowly figure these things out, too!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Christopher cracks us up! He's earned the nickname "The Splasher" from his big brothers. They love and despise being in the bathtub at the same time as him because he splashes them so much. When they see me bring him into the bathroom, they start shouting, "The Splasher's here! Look out for The Splasher!" Stephen has even resorted to wearing his swimming goggles in the bathtub so that The Splasher doesn't splash him in the face. Tonight Christopher had the unusual pleasure of taking a bath alone, but Timothy, not wanting to miss out on the fun, pulled up a little stool and sat next to the tub the whole time so that he could still enjoy The Splasher's antics.

Today I was trying to get Christopher to focus on eating his supper and I just said his name in a funny tone of voice. For some reason, it cracked him up so much that he couldn't even breathe any more! The other boys came running to get in on the action, too. Then it became a joke. We all started saying his name with funny voices and the poor kid was so red in the face and his stomach was in such knots from laughing so hard. We were ALL laughing hard at him! I even had to keep wiping tears from my eyes because he was making me laugh so hard! God's given him a quick and intense sense of humor even at such a young age of only nine months!

He also cracked himself up when he started sucking his toes. He would stick his big toe in his mouth and suck like crazy and then start laughing hysterically. Now he sucks his toe so hard that he's given himself blisters. Stephen has learned that whenever Christopher can't be consoled with anything else, Stephen puts Christopher's toe up to his mouth and gets him to suck on it. Within seconds, the little guy is in hysterics all over again, as are the rest of us!

I have a vivid memory of just a little over five short years ago when Fred was gone in the evening and I was home alone sitting at the kitchen table trying to read my Bible and have some devotions. The house was sooooo quiet. I remember sitting there just sobbing because I thought that our home would never be able to hear the sound of children's laughter. I couldn't understand why God wouldn't give us the gift of children so that we could share our home with them and love them and dedicate them back to the Lord. Well ... God sure has His ways, doesn't He?! Now our house is not only filled with laughter, but with jabbering, playing, crying, whining, screaming, fighting, story telling, engine noises, animal sounds, water running (what's the fascination with water running for kids?!), Thomas the Tank Engine theme music, a constantly running washing machine, Cheerios crunching on the floor, singing from a child's heart, more laughter, more talking, more questions, more loving! Oh, I would NEVER give this all up to go back to that super quiet night when I felt that our house was too quiet! I LOVE all this noise - although I wouldn't mind a LITTLE peace and quiet sometimes, too!

Thank you Lord for Christopher's laughter, for Stephen's constantly running dialogue of what's going on in his head and for Timothy's incessant questions. I love it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Last Thursday, June 14, 2007, was Grandma Helen Rose Pamer Pavkov's funeral. It was a celebration and yes, I cried. I cried because I realized how much I'm going to miss her. I cried because I watched her brother and sister take a long pause walking past her casket. I cried when I saw Grandpa sitting in his wheelchair just staring and staring at her one last time. I cried because my mom no longer has her mom here. I cried because all the grandkids and great-grandkids sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "My Jesus I Love Thee" together. I cried singing the words, "In mansions of glory and endless delight ... " That's where Grandma was while we were singing! Grandma's funeral WAS a day of celebration. We celebrated her long and full life as we sat around after the meal at church and shared stories of her unending generosity and labors of love. We celebrated Grandma's life and her reward!

Last Saturday, June 16, 2007, was Laura Ruth Weinhardt and Aleksander Necakov's wedding. It was a celebration and yes, I cried. I cried because Laura was beautiful and Sasha was handsome. I cried when Werner walked Laura down the aisle because I knew he loved her and it couldn't have been easy to know that this was the day his little girl was going to be joined to another man. I cried as they walked out because I could feel the joy radiating from their beings. I cried at the reception when Laura told us about the Guest of Honor who had been invited to their wedding many, many years ago when the two of them invited Him into their hearts and when she thanked her parents for the best first twenty years of her life. I cried when we said our good-bys to them because I knew that they were starting on a whole new adventure in life and I felt honored to be there witnessing and celebrating together with them.

On Sunday, June 17, 2007, we celebrated Father's Day with the Weinhardts and also Werner's 50'th birthday. What fun to have the family together again for these celebrations! In the afternoon, we celebrated Roger Baumann's graduation from the University of Waterloo. It was a great celebration because not only is he now a university graduate, but he's anticipating his next challenge: graduate school at Harvard's Divinity School in Boston.

These celebrations were all worthy of our attention and joy and emotions, but I realized that every day can be a celebration if we let it! This evening when we were saying our "Thank You" prayers before bed, the boys were listing off such simple reasons to celebrate with thanks: for going to the store with Daddy, for the mail, for the sunshine, for going to Caleb's house tomorrow to play, for the upoming Kindergarten readiness day at school for Stephen, for Christopher laughing at supper, for Mommy cleaning Daddy's dirty van, etc, etc. I remember a Bible Class that Joe taught one time in East Akron ages ago when he challenged us to be thankful for average things "like .... uh, this door jam! If it weren't here, we wouldn't have a doorway!" Ok. So that is a very average thing, but his point was that we tend to thank God for the big things in life and we should really be thankful for all things! (By the way, that really was the example he gave in our class that morning! :) I do want to be thankful for all the little things like the 45 minutes of peace that I had tonight when Daddy took the boys to the store, for Christopher's totally infectious laugh that gets us all going, for my feather duster that does an amazing job for me when I don't feel like dusting. I want to make every day a celebration! Would you join me?

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Saturday night the Lord allowed Grandma to finally go Home where she wanted to be, I'm sure! Such a short week of wondering what would take place, praying for her comfort, waiting to hear the latest update on her status ... and Saturday night's news, while no surprise at all, still caught me off-guard. I have been blessed to have had Grandma in my life for forty years, but I still have so many questions that I feel I never got to ask her. Grandma, if I had the chance, I would have loved to sit down with you to hear what you had to say about all my questions! Although I will always wonder what you might have said, I'm thankful that the next time I see you, these questions won't matter because we'll be too busy worshipping and praising the Lord! But if I could, I would have asked you:

  • How in the world did you manage day in and day out with six little children to care for?!
  • Did you ever have post partum depression?
  • How did you manage to bake all your cookies and breads and the many, many suppers for your family on hot and humid days with no air conditioning?
  • Did you ever worry about Grandpa's safety at the gravel pit?
  • Did it catch you off guard when Grandpa would inform you that he invited so-and-so over for dinner or for the weekend?
  • How did you entertain guests in your home when your kids were small?
  • Was there always a poem forming in your mind about something?
  • If you could have had a career outside the home, what would you have chosen? Would you have pursued something with writing?
  • What's your secret for that yummy tomato sauce that you put on everything? Cabbage, sarma, rice, etc?
  • What kind of pressure did you feel as an elder's wife?
  • Did you go to church looking to see who needed an extra touch of love that day? It seems like everyone has a story to tell about how you reached out to them in some way.
  • Were you ever so frustrated with Uncle Ken and Uncle Russ and wonder why they acted like such boys?! (I could really use some tips on bringing up boys from you! Yours turned out so well and I would love to use the same model on mine!)
  • Did you enjoy when your grandkids would be over for the day, interrupting your work and keeping you more than busy undoing all that you had already done?
  • What gave you the idea to start writing in a little notebook all the little things that your children and grandchildren said and did that was cute and noteworthy? I've started to do the same, and it's so precious even now to reread what the boys have said and done. I took the idea from you!
  • When someone showed up unexpectedly for supper, what was your secret in making sure that they didn't know you weren't prepared for more? It seems like there was ALWAYS someone at your house for a meal or overnight.
  • Did you ever feel like complaining even a little bit when you felt you were overwhelmed? I never heard it!
  • After we would go home, would you still be singing childrens' songs in your head?
  • Did you ever go outside and just scream in frustration?!
  • Did you have a consistent quiet time when the children were little?
  • Did you ever wish that Grandpa didn't want to plant such a big garden?
  • Did you ever have a say in what he planted ... or how much?
  • Did you ever offer the bounty of the garden to others because secretly you didn't want to can or freeze it all yourself?
  • What was it like for you to watch your grandkids grow up, see their accomplishments, see them as adults, and hold some of THEIR kids?
  • Did you know me when we were there in April? I know you smiled at us and talked with us, but somewhere deep down, did you really know it was me?
  • Did you wish that you could just leave your body already and go to be with the Lord a long time ago?
  • How did you find the time to make hundreds and hundreds of Russian Tea Cakes?! And they were so perfect! Mine never turn out like that!
  • How often did you draw a blank on what to make for supper that night?

Every day I think of more and more questions I wish I could ask you. I won't be able to ask you these questions, but I like to imagine talking with you and hearing all your secrets to a long and fullfilled life. Your life has impacted me so greatly, Grandma. So many little comments and sayings that you made over the years ring in my mind when I'm in certain situations. There were times as a teen when I was frustrated with you, like when you asked us why we didn't have nice hairdos like certain other girls at church, or the time you pulled out a pair of scissors and asked Roger if he needed to go into the bathroom at church to use it on his hair. We laugh at those times now, but as a teenager they burned into our memories. :) Now as a wife and mother myself, I cherish those few conversations I was able to have with you when I asked your advice on something I was making in the kitchen, or what to do with a crying baby.

It was sad for me a few years ago when I called you to ask your opinion on one of your cookie recipes and you struggled to confess to me that you couldn't answer because you didn't even remember ever making them. And then as I would come back to visit you and realized first hand that even though you seemed to know me, you didn't really. What a blessing at Aunt Janet's funeral when we walked in with Stephen, you looked right at him and said, "Stevie!" I had to turn my head to hide the tears that even though you didn't remember who I was, somehow you knew who my baby was! It was really hard to see you this past spring because I knew it could very well be the last time I would see you here on earth. I'm sooo thankful that my memories of you as a vibrant and loving grandmother far outweigh the realization that your memory would not allow you to know us any longer.

Wow. I've been blessed to have you as my grandmother for soooo long! I will miss you terribly, Grandma, but I also believe that we didn't take our lives together for granted! Don't worry about my unanswered questions. I take comfort in asking them to myself and imagining what you might have answered. Thank you for giving me more answers in my life than questions! Thank you for living out the way to aquiring most of the answers in my life. Thank you for being a true Proverbs 31 woman, and a daughter of the King who taught her daughters to be the same, and they taught their daughters to be daughters of the King! You have definitely fought the fight, finished your course and have kept the faith. What an example to all of us!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Christopher cracked us up last night. We were headed upstairs to take baths and as soon as we walked into the bathroom, he saw the bathtub and started squealing and wiggling and jumping - obviously thrilled to get back in the bathtub to practice his newly aquired skill: SPLASHING! The older boys put up with the constant bombardment of water coming from Christopher because he's such an entertainment to watch while he batters the water with all his might.

As I was watching him with total enjoyment last night, my mind immediately flipped over to Grandma. The thought went through my mind that one time, 95 years ago, her mom was watching her splash in her bathwater as well. It's hard for me to picture Grandma as a little baby, but I know that she was one once. These thoughts made me project into the future and I wondered what Christopher would be like, should God grant him 95 years of life. I'm thankful for Christopher's incessant splashing in the tub because no one realized that there were tears flowing at the same time. I was allowing myself the comfort of remembering all the wonderful times I have had with Grandma in my forty years of knowing her.
  • Kneeling next to the kitchen counter on her metal and vinyl chairs waiting for her to "paint" the cookies so I could put the little candy balls on top.
  • Watching her unwrap Grandpa's damp shirts and then putting a hot iron on them, making the steam cause her to sweat, but not stopping the humming.
  • Listening to Little Marcy records when we were supposed to be napping.
  • Playing Boggle with Grandma, but knowing that none of us had a chance to win against her!
  • Hearing her special little "hum" that she had when she was yawning.
  • Watching her water all her plants on the ledge in the livingroom.
  • Being allowed to spray her perfume on her one night before we left for church.
  • Sitting outside on the steps with all the cousins eating out of colored bowls.
  • Having her scrub at the spot on my arm that she insisted was dirty, but I knew it was just a patch of very freckled skin.
  • Hearing her call me everyone else's name and telling her, "Grandma, my name is Martha!"
  • Being amazed that she had so many aprons that she wore when she was in the kitchen.
  • Her delicious bean salad, sesame seed cookies, cabbage in tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, rhubarb pie, etc.
  • Being called Shotzi (or however you spell it) and being asked Vass is sloss? (I have NO idea how to spell that, but we heard it often!!)
  • We were told nema visha when there wasn't anything left for us to eat.
  • Chuti! That was the one we heard the most. Be quiet!
  • Hearing her response to peoples' "How are you?" She always said, "I'm thankful." She told me that there was always someone in the world that was worse off than she was, so why shouldn't she be thankful?

Oh, I could go on and on with all the precious memories that I have of Grandma, but I don't have the time or the emotional capacity to list them right now. What I know is that I am thankful that she had touched my life in such profound ways that I'm sure she never even knew. She may be here for only a short time yet, but her touch on our lives will never be able to be erased. The generations in my family are shifting, but the heritage that has been given to us will be passed on to future generations.

Thank you, Grandma. I love you.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Encouraging One Another

This morning I saw something that once again gave me hope in the boys. :) This morning when I was getting Timothy dressed, we were talking about being a big boy and using the potty, etc. For the first time, Timothy willingly suggested that he go to the bathroom and sit on the potty! Up to this point, all such suggestions have been met with screaming and running away, but not this morning! I took advantage of his willingness and got all excited and happy, taking him by the hand and putting him on the potty. Stephen heard what was going on and got in on the action, too! There was Timothy, sitting so proudly on his little potty ... waiting. Stephen pulled up the stool and sat right next to him and started to encourage him. "Timafy, you're doing a good job! You don't have to be afraid of using the potty. All you have to do is wait until you feel it, and then run. You can do it, Timafy. You're a big boy now! And when you go pee, I get the black jelly bean, ok?" (Timothy's reward for a successful potty time is a jelly bean treat that he and Stephen both get to enjoy.) The interaction between the two was so moving that for a moment, I forgot that I was also sitting on the closed lid of the big toilet in a bathroom watching my son learning to go on his own.

After a successful attempt and much celebration - hugs all around for everyone - the honor of choosing the first jelly bean fell to Timothy. He deliberated long and hard and eventually chose the white one. I thought for sure that Stephen would dive for the single, coveted black one, but no! Once again he surprised me by saying, "Timafy, I'm going to take a green one and save the black one for you for the next time you pee." Awwww! He really was encouraging his brother today!

Awhile later, I was down in the living room feeding Christopher when I once again overheard the boys talking upstairs. Stephen: "Timafy, do you have to go pee? Do you? Just go! Just run in there! I'll help you, Timafy. Come on!" Timothy: "Ok. Let's go pee, Stephen. I can do it. I can!" I ran upstairs all excited that there would be another successful attempt and found Timothy on the toilet already. He sat and he sat and he sat. Nothing. I asked him where his pee was and he said, "It's gone." Where?!?! "It went back in the hole." "What hole?" "The hole where the bunnies hide." What?! I didn't quite understand his train of thought, but he explained to me that bunnies can squeeze themselves very tiny and then they can go into holes and that's where his pee went. Ok. Whatever. Unsuccessful attempt, but definitely LOTS of preliminary encouragement! (Stephen's response to no pee has always been that it melted and that's why he couldn't go.)

Stephen also dropped his book behind the couch this morning and Timothy agreed to climb back there and get it for him. I heard Stephen saying to Timothy, "Good job, Timafy! You're my big helper today!" Thank you, Lord! Something must be getting through because all day they've been encouraging each other, complimenting each other, helping each other (and also bugging each other, but that's another story).

Whoever is praying for us today, thank you! Please don't stop! I LOVE days like today! All morning I've been singing Steve Green's song from his Hide 'Em In Your Heart CD "Encourage One Another." Encourage one another, and build each other up. Build each other up. Build each other up. Encourage one another and build each other up. Up up up up up up up up UP! They're putting God's word into practice! Oh, Lord, please let my words be full of encouragement to my children just like I heard theirs today! If they are modeling themselves after me, I want to be sure to model myself after YOU!