This week was Sarah's first riding lesson. We found a neighbor who was interested in bartering art lessons for horse riding lessons, so we struck a deal. Sarah and I both take lessons once each week, and it's safe to say this is a highlight of our week. This week we learned how to saddle and bridle a horse, then rode in a round pen to practice posture, rein control, and basic commands. Sarah was delighted and couldn't restrain herself from giggling. This is significant, coming from my child who has always been the most reserved Kingsley regarding public display of her emotions. I'm thankful we are blessed with this opportunity to do something she loves so much. Our friend is such a great teacher, full of encouragement and praise, so this experience was absolutely delightful.
Prior to our lesson, we had a bit of a hunt looking for riding boots. We checked thrift stores and couldn't find any lace-up riding boots, so we settled on cowboy boots. I never thought I would own a pair of cowboy boots, even though we live in Texas. It just hasn't been my style. Ah well, these were a great find at the thrift store and are in almost-new condition, so I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of them.
Moving on to other Little Things-
Joseph LOVES to say the family prayer at mealtime. Whenever I ask who would like to pray, he throws his arm in the air and yells, "I will! I will! Pick me!". His prayers are so predictable. Even though I try to teach him repeatedly about what types of things we say in a prayer (like thanking the Lord for our food, for our family, for any blessings)....he almost always says the same things. He says, "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank thee for blessings, thank thee for (and here he ramble a list of whatever we are going to eat for the meal), in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
The food list is a bit comical, since he always peeks at the table to make sure he listed every single item, and he often points with one finger (while his arms are still folded) to tally the food while his arms are still folded. Sometimes his wishful thinking for dessert gets in the way, like this:"Thank thee for pasta, and beans, and carrots, and water, and cookies- oh wait. (Here he peeks at the table hopefully, shrugs his shoulders in disappointment, and continues in a whisper.) Nope. Not cookies."
And sometimes he doesn't know what a particular dish is called (such as Nathan's bacon-wrapped figs). In those situations he just waves his hand in the direction of the food and says: We thank thee for this stuff and that stuff over there.
It's so funny, and we often have to hold back a giggle during the prayer.
This summer Joseph's been sporting a bright blue manicure, since he begs and begs Sarah to paint his nails. I relent only if they stick to at least boyish colors. Sarah loves painting his nails and dressing him up like a princess. She gets all the fun of playing with a surrogate 'little sister' but has the added perk that she doesn't have to share a room with this playmate since he's a boy. It's pretty perfect in her opinion.
Earlier this summer Nathan and I worked together to build another level on the boys' bunk bed, turning it into a triple decker bunk. Joseph's crib was taken apart and removed, and he moved into the bottom bunk. The boys were so excited to have more floor space in their room, and I'm glad we're using more of their ridiculously abundant vertical space. (In this picture you can see a little peek of where Joey's World was moved into Joseph's bunk area.)
Last month the Big Kids were able to go with Nathan to work for a day. They were so excited to have this special day with him. They had fun classes all day, learned how to program simple robots, made some crafts, enjoyed yummy food, and brought home goody bags and matching Tshirts.
Somehow this is the only picture I can find from that day:
I was reminded today how it's the 'little things' that can make a big difference to someone. I saw a very pregnant lady at the store, and felt the Spirit whisper I needed to compliment her even though I had no idea who she was. I told her sincerely that she was very beautiful. She became emotional and thanked me repeatedly for the compliment, saying she had just come from a very difficult doctor's appointment and was having a very rough day. I was so thankful I heard the prompting to compliment a total stranger.
I had complimented strangers often before, but this was different. Like my heart connected with hers the moment I said the words. Usually my heart doesn't reach out in quite the same way as it did today, it felt almost like a spiritual embrace. I didn't know her story or her name, but for that moment I had a powerful glimpse of the love God has for her and the truth that she was priceless to Him.