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What doesn’t belong in this picture???

Okay–if you need to laugh…then this is the post to read:)

Look carefully.

What does NOT belong in this picture?

Do you see something that does NOT belong in a bathroom?

‘Cause this is Rico Suave’s side of the master bath…and I think he has lost his hosting mind.

I went in last night to brush my teeth and about lost it. The man cracks me up. So–you know how when you make change in your life it can be the little things that either make you crazy or just 1 or 2 things that help you keep your old normal for a moment that keep you sane? Well–his thing is his tomatoes.

He had his cherry tomatoes…his standard globe tomaotes–and what I call his “sacred” heirloom tomatoes. You can eat all the cherry tomatoes and regular home grown tomatoes you want. But the “sacred” tomatoes…those require a daddy cutting ceremony for.

Our sweet T loooooves tomatoes. Last summer we were able to share lots of tomatoes with friends and family–but this year…T has it covered. Sweet girl eats at least 4-5 regular bad boys a day. And the cherry tomatoes I can’t pick them before they’ve all been eaten off the vine. Our sweet girl can EAT. Food has never been so plentiful–so I go to the grocery a lot more to restock and our grocery stash in our envelope system has for sure doubled. It’s truly amazing–and I had to smile watching sweet girl eat breakfast this morning (2 tomatoes + pasta + a triple ham sandwich + a cereal bar). And that’s just breakfast.

Sooo…I had to smile last night at my man–who has the kindest heart–who said yes to hosting a teenager while having 4 kids ages 7 and under…and all the man asks for…is to slice his heirlooms. The rain and thunderstorms hit his heirlooms hard–and he’s only had about 4 survive. (Almost 5–but the bugs got in #5…and he talked about it for days.) I don’t dare touch those heirlooms on my life–and I had to snicker when I saw one sliced one morning. While I say it’s just a heirloom–you men who are in touch with your tomato plants know the beauty of a pumpkin size organic heirloom.

I tried not to crack a smile as I walked in the bedroom last night holding one of the palm size tomatoes and asked, “What are THESE doing in our bathroom???”

Our life is crazy Ang. What if they were cut before they ripened? That’s all I ask–is for my heirlooms to ripen… And then we both burst out in some much needed laughter. Love my man–his simplicity…and for his sneakiness in hiding his heirlooms. Gotta love ’em.

At the pool…

Okay. So let me tell you about a normal trip to our hood pool. Not sure this is laughable at all. It’s kinda sad.

I was swimming with my 5 little birds when another momma bird came in with her 2 little birds.

My kids were doing their thing–sailing the 7 seas in their inflatable pirate ship and 7 foot inflatable paddle boat. (Yes–we are that family that brings all the annoying inflatables to the pool that make your kids whine. Sorry about that. I need the inflatables to survive. And we really do share and welcome any friends to play on them;).

I looked redonkulous with my 2 and 3 year old jumping in and swimming to me (proud of my boys withOUT floaties–momma has been working hard!) But I look crazy because they both jump in and swim to me at the same time and then they jump on my back…which at that point I remember to look around to make sure the 6 and 7 year old are sharing–and that the 15 year old is aware of personal space. Eek…and this time she wasn’t…her float was touching this other mom in the back while she threw a ball to her 2 birds the ages of my big birds. SOOOO…I swam as fast as I could ACROSS the pool with my 2 and 3 year old on my back and pulled her away apologizing that we are from the Ukraine and we are still learning personal space. WHICH made for a scene because our T isn’t Miss Grace…she was startled when I called her name and started pulling her away which made her jump and fall off her float giving me and the other momma bird a good splash down. Princess T hopped out of the pool to run to the restroom and this conversation followed…

Where’d you say she was from?

Me: The Ukraine.

Oh. That’s so nice. So you have a little au pair from Ukraine to nanny for this summer??

{What I wanted to say: Did she look like an au pair when she was on her float running into you while I tended to the littles??}

Me: On no. She isn’t an au pair.

A foreign exchange student then?

{What I wanted to say: This conversation could go many ways–I think I hear thunder. We always leave the pool when it thunders.}

Me: No. She isn’t an exchange student. The orphanages in the Ukraine close for the summer. There is an incredible ministry called New Horizons that helps find families for these kids to live in so they are off the streets, get to stay in a safe place and get to experience the love of a family.

Ohhhhh. That’s nice. I don’t even know what to say.

{What I wanted to say: I think I hear thunder. We always leave the pool when it thunders…}

And is this your little boy? Is he adopted?

{What I wanted to say: Which one?}

Me: Yes, he is my son. Isaac can you tell this sweet mom where you were born?

Isaac: I was born in Ah-ri-ca!

Me: Yep. This sweet boy was born in Africa, and we couldn’t be more thankful for how God has grown our family.

Her son chimes in now…

Son #1: Can I touch the black boy?

{What I wanted to say: Can you what? Now–he doesn’t bite–but his momma does…what country do you live in? And I thought us homeschooling folk were supposed to be the weird ones?}

Me: Well, you should ask him.

Son #1: Black boy, can I touch you.

{What I wanted to say: You don’t really want to read what I wanted to say.}

Me: Well, my son has a name. Can you tell this little ig-nant white boy your name. (Hahahah! I totally DID Not say that…rewind!)

Me: Well, my son has a name. Can you tell this little boy your name?

Isaac: My name is Isaac. I don’t want you to touch me.

Me: Sorry–he doesn’t want you to touch him. But I hope you guys have fun throwing ball with your mom.

I just love what your family is doing. I think God just gives some people a heart to help others.

{What I wanted to say: I think God gives everyone a heart to help others…it just looks different for everyone…and some listen and some let the fogginess of the world keep them from hearing…}

Me: We aren’t doing anything really but living. I would love to have a play date some time…

and then…it really did thunder…so we went.

Oh the conversations this momma bird some times has.

At home…(before the pool conversation)

Today was a CHILL day for us. I had a sitter come to help with the littles so I could CLEAN. I knew she would willingly clean for me–but I knew our T needed to see me in a different way and another role a mom must play. So–I let the sitter take the littles to the pool and since T has to be with me 24-7–we stayed back while Isaac napped…and I promised to take her to the pool after I was done scrubbing.

I told her she could read or scrapbook, but she opted to watch me clean. It is a bit humbling to have a teen follow you from room to room standing there just watching you scrub and sweat. It took me an hour to scrub my bathroom. I haven’t been able to clean since the princess arrived–and much needed to be done. I told her she could read–but she insisted on just standing over me while I scrubbed. I confess I was tempted to hand her a scrub brush but I didn’t feel that was what I was supposed to do. I felt I should humble myself before her and scrub. So I did…really unsure why.

Then I felt after my bathroom–I should scrub hers. And I felt the Holy Spirit in their speaking to me…crazy I know. Wash my feet. And that is what it felt like…as I scrubbed her toilet while she just stood there and watched. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed…and ever now and then I looked up to say, “You okay?” to show my care for her while I cleaned. And I really did feel like I was washing holy feet. I know that sounds crazy–but it was a moment. And she left the room and didn’t return.

I kept cleaning and she still didn’t return–so I went to find her. I found her in Laney’s room…CLEANING. She was going through drawers (in an orphanage you can’t explore–there’s nothing to explore)…I walked by now and then watching her carefully tend to her dolls and line them up on her bed…and of course I did what this momma always does…and wondered and wished…wondered what it was like for her…and wished it had been more. She lined up her shoes. She made her bed. And He did something today in my not getting frustrated that I was cleaning while being watched and that I resisted the temptation to ask “Wanna help?” or “Could you wash your own feet?” Something happened today–and she saw me in a new light and wanted to serve with me. And it was sweet. And even holy.

And that…that was our day.

Tomorrow is going to be another good one. I just know it:)

Blessings to you this day!


karen halbert - July 17, 2012 - 1:40 am

You go, girl! chill bumps after this post…you are livin’ large. I know our God is so proud. Keep on ‘just livin.’

jenny - July 17, 2012 - 11:50 am

girl, you are GOOD. I about jumped up from my desk to go hop on a plane and run over to your pool and find that momma and that little boy and…well, I don’t know what actually.

But, oh my goodness, I gasped out loud when I read your pool story. And, I cracked up when I read your pretend response… {thinking that would probably have been my real response, but you’re full of much more grace:-)}.

I also can relate to the hubby & his tomatoes. It’s just something we cannot understand and I’ve given up trying. 🙂

and I LOVE seeing how Princess T was, once again, blessed by your example. God knew exactly what He was doing bringing her to your house this summer {and allowing us all to be blessed by reading about your experiences}.

thanks for sharing, as always!!

Natalie - July 17, 2012 - 1:36 pm

Wow! From amazing image of God’s love for us with scrubbing to an amazing image of God’s grace by not biting that kid and his mom! 🙂 You are a terrific mom! Thank you so much for sharing the life you’re living!

joy mccarnan golson - July 17, 2012 - 4:52 pm

WOW (re: pool convo)
we need to get together sometime, A.
my pastor’s preaching at T4A! =} (Tony Carter, East Point Church)
and i hope to bring along my new husband….

Jennifer - July 17, 2012 - 11:13 pm

You REALLY are inspiring!

Ashley - July 18, 2012 - 3:52 pm

You have so much grace. And…self-control 🙂
Your pretend responses at the pool and heirloom tomatoes made me giggle 🙂

natalie cooper - July 19, 2012 - 10:45 am

i’ve been reading all your posts about t. and they have all touched my heart. but this one? wow. so beautiful.
and your responses to the lady at the pool? i hope i can be so eloquent and kind in mine.

Shannon Williams - July 20, 2012 - 4:31 pm

I’ve never cried when I read the story of someone cleaning their toilet before. But I did today. Blessings upon blessing to your family.