Sunday, August 31, 2014

Money and Priorities

The other day I read a quote by Dave Ramsey that reads, "How a family spends money represents its value system.  What you do with money shows who you really are."  That really jumped out at me because it's Scriptural.  The Bible teaches "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (Matthew 6:20, 21).


I was curious what our value system is in our home so I took a photo of my checkbook to evaluate. As an accountant I love looking at this type of stuff! 






The top entry was a purchase of tickets for Church @ the Lake for our family.  Every Labor Day our church has morning service at the church, then goes down to the lake for an afternoon and evening of fellowship together as a church family.  This photo also shows gas, a check reorder and some food purchases. We had Hungry Howies Pizza at the beach on our family getaway.  The Red Box movie was the "God's Not Dead" movie we watched on Friday night.  Our family really enjoyed that movie and the message it gave.  GNC, this was to purchase women's mufti-vitamins for me.  Tim and Matthew had Vanilla Frosties together at Wendy's.  We contributed to savings accounts, gave BBC and Score International charitable contributions and finally, we paid our car insurance.  

This is a decent usage of money.  Most of these purchases have to do with our family, church and simply paying our bills on time.  That is basically our life!

One thing I'd like to encourage others to do is give.  The Bible says to "Lay yourselves treasures in Heaven."  This is the idea of giving to others because it honors God and cheerfully donating makes people joyful. Material items may bring joy momentarily, but those that focus on eternal things will bring even greater joy in Heaven.  

Most of the time people do not give because with so many charities out there, they don't know which charities are authentic and which ones are shady with the resources they've collected.  One recent example is the ALS research.  Some of you may have done the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of the disease.  I read a few articles online that said that ALS research money was not going to be used for as much research as you might think and also some of the research is done on unborn babies scientists have murdered.  I know there are several adoption charities that are more likely child trafficking businesses than legitimate orphan care organizations.

It's best to first give to your local church and then give to a well-researched organization in which you are passionate about.  I wanted to list 3 great charities that I love.

1.  Score International (www.scoreinternational.org).  We fell in love with this organization when we went on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  We support and have kept in touch with our missionaries from that trip.  Score International specializes in sports mission outreach, short-term missions, orphanage ministries, and Spanish language studies.  They hold sports camps for sports such as soccer and baseball and spread the love of Christ to the children.  When we were in the Dominican we shopped for and donated cleaning supplies, diapers, food and clothing to the orphanages and the poor families in the outer villages through Score.  I love this ministry and they stretch every dollar given to meet the needs of the people and evangelize the lost!

2.  Show Hope (http://showhope.org/sponsor).  Show Hope is an organization founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his family in honor their adoptive Chinese daughter.  This organization provides grants to adoptive families, provides funds for life-saving medical care and cares for older orphans with various special needs.  While our family never was awarded a grant from them for our adoptions, we have friends whose adopted daughter had a cleft lip repair paid for by this organization, and other friends who did receive an adoption grant.  This non-profit is close to my heart because they experienced a similar accident and death of a child as our family.  The book they wrote "Choosing to See" ministered to my grieving heart in the months following Brandon's unexpected death.  

3.  Little Flower Projects (info@chunmiaolittleflower.org).  This non-profit provides specialized care of abandoned infants, nurturing love to orphans and education for older, disabled orphans in Beijing, China.  I follow their work and the progress of several little ones online.  It is absolutely amazing to see the life-changing medical care and love this organization provides.

I could go on and on with legitimate organizations, but these three are the first ones that came to mind as I began to write this post.  Feel free to write to me at followingclosely@gmail.com or visit their website if you'd like more information on donating to these companies.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Post About Trolls


The very reliable, professor approved and endorsed website called Wikipedia (sarcasm--as a college professor myself, I say professors actually hate Wikipedia) defines “trolling” as “the practice of behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner in a social setting on the Internet with no apparent instrumental purpose.”  It would seem that I have a group of trolls who regularly visit my blog with no “apparent purpose” other than to mock and criticize me and my family.  This blog is not for trolls.  It is designed to keep family, friends and other adoptive families all over the globe abreast on the happenings of our family.  It is designed to give a clear picture of any difficulties of life after adoption and to show our family and friends how best to pray for us.  I am very candid on this blog while trying not to embarrass any of my children or publicly ridicule them.  It is so other parents going through similar situations know it’s normal to feel this way or that.  The behavior of adopted children and how we must respond to adoptive children is sometimes completely different than bio-children.  Ultimately I hope this blog challenges and encourages its readers.

These trolls and websites have somehow tagged our family as evil child abusers who do every, single thing wrong as parents.  After a little digging I found out that my trolls go by the fake online names like “Astrin” and “Amom” and "Christie M" and a few other names.  They have a reputation of criticizing not only me, but lots of people to include the Duggar Family and several other adoptive families.  I’m actually a bit flattered by the fact that I’m placed in the same category as the Duggar family.  Thank you for that.  I happen to think that the Duggars are an exceptional family with wonderful, respectful and beautiful children and an awesome marriage.  Rather than accusing of them of “breeding like rats,” perhaps we should thank them for raising their children in such a way that they love God and other human beings.  The Duggars and their children are generous and kind in every action.  They are wonderful contributors in society and I doubt you will find any of their children doing drugs, getting in trouble with police or murdering mankind.  Trolls, I’m humbled that not only do you trolls take the time to read every post of this blog, but also critique it when you could easily be doing other things with your time such as working a real job, or taking care of your own family because obviously you are the best father or mother in the whole wide world.  The fact that my blog is worthy of your scarce time is truly humbling. 

These particular trolls find it emotionally abusive if adoptive parents laugh or joke with their adopted children, even though they have no clue that these adoptive children thrive with laughter.  It’s amazing that these cowards think that with 2 master’s degrees under our belts and 13+ years of parental experience that we do not have enough common sense or “emotional maturity” to tell if a child is emotionally ready for teasing.  The idea of picking on a child with alleged no understanding of humor is ridiculous, but thank you for caring for our children’s emotions.  

The trolls and gossips criticize adoptive parents with “child collection” for the sake of winning praise or favor from onlookers.  They feel adoptive parents get some kind of rush.  I can see how someone with a misconstrued worldview would draw that kind of conclusion of an ulterior motive of joy because children really are a blessing and a lot of fun.  However, most of the families being criticized are not caring for orphans in this world for a rush.  They are serving these children because they love the Lord and they love other human beings on the planet and they genuinely want to change the world, one life at a time.  Every orphaned child deserves a family.  Not only are these adoptive families doing the best they can, but the majority of the ones I’ve seen you trolls criticize are actually exceptionally elite families, gifted in love and compassion which is so rare in our world today.  They are precious and some of the most generous families in our entire country.  I appreciate being compared to these fine folks.  I have no doubt when they get to heaven if they are born-again believers, God will tell them, “Well done, you good and faithful servants.” Adoptive families, keep up the good work!  Trolls, what will God say to you about vicious hateful words online?  Don’t believe in God?  I will tell you what you’ll hear: “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.” 

My lovely trolls are convinced that we are going to disrupt or “re-home” Matthew.  I am absolutely 100% against disrupting and rehoming thriving adoptive kids, so thank you for that concern, but you can stop spreading that lie now: We will not be disrupting Matthew. 

I will say, though, there are many adoptive parents with very unique situations where the child is not thriving.  This idea of disruption in unique situations is NOT my own opinion or idea based on emotions or your perceived stupidity on my part.  It is a viewpoint based on many books I’ve read and it has been formed only after speaking with child counselors, therapists, case workers and other experts who deal with adopted kids and those children with any kind of trauma.  If a child is posing a DANGER to a family such as sexually abusing other bio or adopted children in the home, if a child is setting the house on fire or trying to kill others in the home, if a child is obsessed with knives and threatening to murder themselves or other individuals in the home, if the child has raped another member of the family, if a child is psychologically tormenting other children in the home or anything along these lines, and the child is not responding to professional help, the child needs to go—according to the expert advice of adoption therapists and case workers.  

It is about setting down pride and doing what is best and safest for ALL THE MEMBERS of the family.  Obviously it is NOT IDEAL for a family to rehome an adopted child.  It is definitely NOT a first choice the minute an adopted child has a bad day.  However, when a case worker says to a family, “Either this ONE dangerous child goes, or I am removing ALL of your children from the home because it is not safe due to this one child,” that advice MUST be heeded.  Along those lines, if a choice given by a case worker is “Either this child can go into foster care with complete strangers, he/she can go to a group home or you can try to find another family willing to adopt this child,” the obvious choice is to find another family willing and able to adopt and handle the child.  It is not best for the child to be passed around in foster care.  Stability is best.  It is best to screen out new families very well to see if they can meet that child’s needs.  Perhaps a child is sexually abusive to younger children.  That child needs to be placed in a home with NO SMALL children on which they can prey upon.  Finding a new home for a child like this is not “flippantly passing around a child like a pet.”  It is a decision bathed in prayer and it is genuinely seeking to care for a child with unique needs while not harming other children in the process.  A new environment with a fresh new slate in many cases will cause most children like this thrive. 

I personally know two children who did not do well in the first adoptive home for one reason or another and both of these had legitimate safety concerns as mentioned above.  Every single day was a battle in these families for protection and healing.  The entire families were headed off a cliff.  These two families finally came to the conclusion after professional counsel that they should set aside their pride of thinking they can fix this child, and rather try to find another family where the children could thrive.  Both children found another family and have absolutely thrived in the second home.  Love is not clinging to a child with a death grip thinking you are some sort of awesome savior who can just love a child enough.  Love is about doing what is best for that child, even when the decision is not one you would prefer. Trolls, what makes you think that you know better than professionals or those families actually living out the circumstances?  Trolls, what makes you think you know more than God?  You are out of line and exceptionally arrogant. 

As far as abuse, I cannot find any reason any troll would think we beat or otherwise abuse our children.  No child has ever been beaten in our home with rods.  I have not read any book called “To Train Up a Child” and certainly do not endorse any anger-based, barbaric behavior described on your troll sites.  We do not believe in beating children.  They are not cattle. They are little human beings with very tender feelings.  We have never bruised our children, ever.  We do not verbally abuse our children. We do not call our children names.  We do not tell our children they are stupid or otherwise ridicule their persons.  We do our best to model in our marriage respect for one another and do not call each other names.  We do not tell our children to “shut up.”  We do not neglect our kids.  We treat our children how we would like to be treated. We do not curse.  We do not drink or smoke.  We make these choices intentionally because we believe our home should be a haven from the outside world seeking to destroy them.  We are not perfect parents, but we do our best to love each of them individually and how they prefer to be loved.  We hug on them and praise them far more than we discipline them. By they way, in our home discipline does NOT equal barbaric beating.  We lead by example and direct with love. We meet them where they are emotionally and physically.  We help them in the areas they need help. We will stop at nothing to bend over backwards to place any and every resource we can in their hands if we feel it will help them.  We encourage them in the areas they are strong and we challenge them where they are weaker.  We pray for them every day.  We provide every basic need and even go above that to give them things they want as the budget allows.  These kids, who have been through a lot in their young lives, are happy and thriving and we owe that to the Lord.  Anyone that knows our family personally would agree.  We are doing the best we can with the children God has given us and I don't mean to brag, but our kids are pretty amazing people!  

So trolls, thank you for your time and concern, but really you can let it go now.  Anger, bitterness and destructive criticism is not good for your health, so maybe you could use your spare time more effectively dealing with your own emotional issues for your own sake.  Again, this blog is not for trolls, or usually written to trolls, but if you have a problem with me and would like to speak with me directly, followingclosely@gmail.com is where you can find me.  Blogspot does not have a way for me to answer Anonymous comments.  Fake screen names and deceptive gossip for the purpose of making our family look bad is really cowardly and disrespectful.  Good luck with giving up the gossip.  Bad habits are sometimes hard to break.  I'm sure deep down somewhere you legitimately care about orphans and mankind, but you're going about it all wrong.  Speaking positively and encouraging people will make you feel better about yourself.  Try it, you may just smile and find a sense of humor along the way.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1st Day of School



Matthew had an awesome first and second day of school!  He had a great first and second day of try outs for soccer!   He says he's already made a lot of friends.  He made it through the first round of cuts for the soccer team and was pretty excited about that. 

The last two days he has been pulled out of mainstream classes for 45 minutes each day for ESL testing.  I received a call yesterday afternoon from the school counselor that they are going to go ahead place him back in 6th grade because he cannot read or write in English or do any math.  I'm thinking that he's at "information overload" because he knows how to read at a 1st Grade level and knows his times tables up to the 4's.  He came to America knowing none of that so he's making strides of improvement.  Anyway, in 6th grade there is remedial help, so the one-on-one help from the ESL professionals will be exactly what he needs.  They said he could stay in 7th, but their recommendation was that he go back to 6th, so with went with their opinion.  They are the education experts and we trust their expertise.

Unfortunately the school rules are if a child is not in 7th grade they cannot try out for middle school sports so he was pretty bummed about that.  We are hoping to work with him a little bit with his soccer skills and then next year he will go back even stronger for the team.  He had absolutely no problems with the fitness and speed portion of the tryouts.  His areas to work on is the foot work and ball control since he has never been taught those elements to the game.  Since Tim and I both played soccer back in the day we have plenty of ideas and time to work with him.  The coach has a handout with drills and such we can work on.  We hope to send him to a few soccer camps in the area and definitely next summer and those will also really help build strength and skills. 

His first day when I drove him to the school I asked him if he'd rather I park and walk him in to his homeroom or if he wanted me to drop him off at the door like all the other kids.  He was quick to say that he wanted me to walk with him.  It was a good thing I did because they had changed his schedule again for the 4th time and he had a whole new homeroom and a whole new team of teachers.  I stood for a minute making sure he was headed in the right direction for his newest homeroom and held back the tears.  He turned and waved at me several times looking scared, but determined.  I waited until I got to the car before the tears spilled out.  He looked so small in that big school! 

Anyway, we are excited for him this year.  There are a great bunch of teachers and administrators that really seem to care about his success.  They have encouraged good communication between us and them so we know exactly what is going on.  We think he is going to do an amazing job and grow so much this year!   God is good!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ready or Not....

Last night we attended Matthew's new school's open house.  We went down his schedule and met each of his teachers one by one.  All of the teachers that we met were very friendly and very helpful as far as accommodating his English limitations.  We had to purchase his PE clothing, gym bag, his lock and a student planner.

He had the opportunity to meet and speak with the soccer coach, if he makes the team.  It will be difficult to make the team since he's never actually been trained in soccer or learned any disciplines. However, we figured it doesn't hurt to let him try out so he can see where he needs to be to make the team.  We think it will be a good learning experience for him.  If he does make the team, it will be great for him to finally have some soccer training and learn the actual skills and disciplines of the game. 

We needed to get his sports physical and shots before the first day of school.  His regular doctor's office is out of the shot he needed until October and the doctor was out of the office today so she couldn't fill out his Sports Physical paperwork, so we just went to the Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic because they do Sports Physicals.  It was fast and easy.  It just cost extra money since they don't take insurance for Walk-In Sports Physicals.

When we got home from open house Tim worked with him on how to open his lock with the combination inside the box.  He picked it up pretty quickly and he taught Kylie and Haley how to open his lock as well.  We went over his schedule and where the different classes are located.  We told him what to do if he gets confused or lost at school.  We went over what room number he needed to show up for his soccer briefing and practice and reviewed what the coach's name is.   We went over what different school supplies are called, "Notebook," "3-ringed binder," "Planner," etc. He has so many things to learn and understand.  It's all of these things you really don't think about until you have a child who has no clue what the English words are for these things.

Today we had to go shopping to get him a few smaller clothing items like socks and underwear.  He needed soccer cleats for his tryouts and PE sneakers.  He wanted me to teach him what outfits "matched" for school and what shoes look best with what outfits.  He is very particular about matching and looking nice.  He likes things ironed and neat.  He likes to wear cologne and smell good as well so that is a real blessing.  I love having a neat and clean boy because I know so many boys his age are NOT neat or clean and they definitely can't keep track of their belongings like he does!

Monday we have to go meet the ESL director at a different public school.  He wants to check Matthew's laptop for progress on his Rosetta Stone.  Then we will need to sign the laptop out for this entire school year.  The ESL director will give us another briefing on how the ESL program works.  It is my understanding that they will pull Matthew out of his regular classes for ESL tutoring every day for 30 minutes a day.  Somewhere in there they will do some testing on him to see exactly where he is and if he has any learning disabilities.


We have had a lot going on with getting him ready for school.  It is exciting to me that his school seems to be so helpful and motivated to help him succeed.  He looked a little nervous on Open House night, but he told me today he is really excited for school to start.  He prayed last night in family devotions that he would do really well in school and learn English really fast.  We think he will be stretched this year, but he is a very competitive boy and I believe he will work hard to catch up to the other "guys" in his class.  With his positive attitude and determination we really think we will see a lot of growth and maturity in him.  Ready or not.....2014-2015 School Year, here we come!  (Pray for him...and also for me.  I will probably cry for him like I cried for the girlies on their first day of Kindergarten!!)




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer's Almost Over---Myrtle Beach 2014

 What a hectic, crazy summer with my job searching, school touring, traveling, Tim's business trips, tutoring Matthew, camps, and so much more!  We received a 25% off coupon to use for a Myrtle Beach resort, so we decided to take the kids on one final vacation before the hectic school year begins.

We almost cancelled our trip because the Honda Pilot needed repairs and also the forecast was 70% chance of rain the whole time.  Boy, are we glad we didn't cancel because the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  The ocean was warm enough to swim and boogie board, yet the breeze coming off the ocean made the 93-degree temperatures bearable to just sit and sun bathe. 

We spent our days in the ocean, in the lazy river, in the pool or hot tub, watching free movies and shopping.  The girlies spent their money on a ukelele, sweatshirts, t-shirts, beach towels, beach bags and earrings.  Matthew saved most of his money, but found a pocket knife he wanted. It was funny because we spent the afternoon Monday shopping, and then Tuesday the girls had decided they wanted to exchange most of their things, so we spent Tuesday returning to all the stores we went to Monday.  Buyer's remorse much? (The guys rolled their eyes, but after all, it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind!)

 We enjoyed frozen yogurt, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bagels, a breakfast buffet, the beach snack bar and pizza.  It was a treat for me not to have to cook or clean up.  It was so nice to get away from life for 3 days.  We didn't have to worry about school, work, the news reports on suicides, beheadings or politics.  We cut electronic and internet usage down to a bare minimum.  We just enjoyed our kids and lived in the moment.  It was a much needed break and we are so very thankful our Honda Pilot repairs did not cost too much so we didn't have to cancel our small vacation.  I'm so thankful for my precious family that God has given me, for good weather and for 25% discounts for family vacations!


Matthew and Haley caught a good wave!

Kylie and Matthew waiting for a good wave

He's grown so tall this summer!

Kylie playing volley ball with Dad

Matthew and Haley digging a giant hole

Man made beach chair

The lazy river wasn't so lazy with these two knocking each other off ;)

Katie Bug

Matthew and Haley enjoying the hot tub--it was Matthew's favorite

Our view from our hotel balcony

Matthew killing time while the girls shop, Tim in the background sleeping

Cooling off with some frozen yogurt

The girlies' favorite pass time!!
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Matthew's Been Home 6 Months!





Look how much this boy has grown and changed in only 6 months!  He started out 6 months ago in size 8 boys' jeans and size 4 shoes and now he's in boys' 14 slim jeans and size 7 mens' shoes.  He's 5 foot tall already!  It won't be long before he is taller than me!  He hasn't gained any weight as he's grown in height most likely because he is never still so he burns off any weight he may have otherwise gained.  He eats ALL the time so perhaps when school begins and he has to sit still more often he will begin to gain weight.  I can't believe he's been here 6 months already.  Time flies when you're having fun and this boy is a blast to be around!



He has been enjoying the last month or so in Summer Day Camp with the local Recreation Center.  Day Camp has all kinds of neat activities throughout the day like dodge ball and field trips. He's been introduced to Zumba, bowling, bouncy houses, police representatives, soldiers and other heroes of our community. We take for granted that most boys his age in America would have already done all those things for years.  He is 12 and never has been exposed to any of this and he's had a blast each day.  We were hoping with the full immersion into English camp he would improve in his language skills and we think that our strategy worked out very well.  The idea of camp was to get him used to getting up every morning and heading outside the home. He has also met some kids who will attend his new school.

He is going to begin his Fall soccer league soon as well.  He will be a busy guy here shortly, but he thrives best by staying busy and staying out of trouble. 

Summer is coming to a close and he will begin 7th grade.  We are praying he does not go into culture shock from the American public school. (By "culture shock" I mean that he's been doing nothing but PLAY for 6 months, and all the sudden he's going to be around 2,000 kids his own age and he's going to have to sit still at a desk and adhere to a schedule. He will really struggle with that at first because there is no play time in middle school. His orphanage only had 101 kids in it and they did a lot of playing there as well.)  For the past 6 months we've been attempting to home school him and he hasn't learned all that quickly due to lack of motivation, so hopefully the "experts" in the school system can motivate him to want to learn.  We are optimistic that he will catch up to his grade level very soon because he is very smart! He just chooses to be lazy academically and would rather play. Still even after 6 months home, he's only about a 1st grade American level in math and reading. We are very thankful for the 6 months we had with him at home to get to know him and bond with him and now it's time for him to settle into real school and perhaps mature a bit.

We are praying this next month of changes in his life will run smoothly and that Matthew continues to grow and thrive here in America!  We pray God will send him solid, guy friends who have integrity and who will not lead him into foolishness.  We so much want to be able to trust him to obey the first time and to tell the truth.  We want to teach him to be a boy of good character.  We are praying he will see his need for a Savior.  We so are excited to see what God is going to do in his life and we are thankful for our friends and family who support us and pray for us daily.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Practical Jokes and Foolishness

One of the many things that 12-year-old boys need to learn is the difference between practical jokes versus foolishness.  According to Webster’s dictionary a joke is "something said or done to cause laughter.”  Foolishness is defined as “having or showing a lack of good sense or judgment.”


Many of you know that our firstborn son, Brandon, died after a bike accident.  When I found him on the ground (dead), the first thing I said to him was, “Brandon, stop fooling around.  You’re scaring me.” I hoped and prayed at the time he was joking around. Brandon had a history of teasing and pretending to be hurt or dead.  He once got in our Christmas tree box, crossed his arms over and closed his eyes, pretending to be dead in a casket.  At the time, it made me cringe to see him lying there in the box, and I quickly said, “Brandon, quit that.  Get out of the box.”  Surely he was just a boy and “boys will be boys,” but not even a month later, he truly was dead in a casket.  That memory is still burned in my mind.  While I have a good sense of humor and enjoy laughing at a good joke, that somehow wasn’t funny to me.




Last night I was inside watching a horse movie with the girls.  Matthew was outside playing with the neighborhood boys.  The door bell rang and outside was Matthew hunched over holding his stomach moaning and groaning.  Then he spewed what appeared to be vomit from his mouth and he continued with this behavior.  Panic set in my gut.  My arms tingled.  I reached for my phone to dial 911.  I panicked as I recalled I would not be able to reach Tim for several hours as he was in route flying home from a business trip. The day Brandon died, I could not reach Tim for several hours either.  To this day, any time I cannot reach Tim, I panic.  Last night my breathing picked up and I broke into a cold sweat. My heart palpitated. Thankfully the neighborhood boy started laughing and Matthew soon followed in rolling laughter.  He was fine.  It was a practical joke.  Only I wasn’t laughing. The girls were not laughing.  It took me a good hour to calm my nerves so I could call him inside and then speak coherently to him.




I sat him down and explained to him, that not even a week ago he did a similar joke about getting critically hurt and Daddy spoke to him then about jokes like that not being funny.  Tim explained then if he ever actually was hurt or sick we may not believe him.  He explained how Brandon did the same thing and it wasn’t funny back then either.  Tim explained he is not allowed to pretend to be sick or hurt again.




I asked Matthew if he thought it was funny that he scared me so bad and that I almost called the police and the ambulance.  He burst into tears, “No ma’am” he answered.  I emphasized that if it happens again, we are coming down on him hard. “Yes, ma’am. I understood this scared you (and it is) not funny,” he responded after he saw the tears in my eyes as well. 


This is the second time that he has pulled this “hurt” foolishness, but he’s played MANY other tasteless and foolish jokes on the girls.  He’s even lied about an intruder coming into the house which scared the girls so bad they slept in our room for almost a week.  


The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but correction shall drive it far from him.”  Our goal is to teach our son the difference between jokes where both parties think it’s funny and can laugh and what foolishness is.  We want to teach him to make good friend choices so he is influenced wisely and not influenced in foolishness.  Lying and faking illnesses/injuries is foolish.  Disobedience or deceit to make others laugh is foolish. It is a difficult job for us as his parents because we both love a sense of humor.  We joke and tease the kids as well.  Matthew is really a very funny boy and he contributes well to making our home fun and happy.  We don’t want to squash his spirit or ruin his sense of humor.  We just need to figure out how to direct him to have better taste in his humor.  We want to raise our son to have good self control and to be wise.  Pray for us and we navigate through this. 

Our big GOOF BALL!!!  Matthew "modeling" his pajama bottoms and Katie's Sperry's shoes

On a lighter note, Haley told Matthew last night he's "eye candy." (Seriously, where'd she learn that terminology? She’s only 9!! I don't particularly care for that language.) He answered, "Disgusting, I don't have candy in da eye! You're eye candy!" Haley, "Thanks!  In English 'eye candy' means you're CUTE." Matthew: "Oh, you're no candy in da eye." Haley shrugs. Never mind. Language barriers.