Welome 2013! The Mayans were wrong! Woohoo. Have you ever thought about why the Mayan calendar kind of just ended? I wonder if some guy was determined to just keep going and going and going and finally his buddy said, "Hey, dude, give it up. No one's going to care in two thousand years," and the guy just stopped, suddenly, abruptly, and without any significant reason....
Anyway, everyone in the Filter home is moving right along. Zack is continuing to benefit from the homeopathy and other vitamins we have him on for his OMS. The other kids are all doing well. Taliya is almost one year old, WOW! It really is amazing how time flies. I am excited, too, because it appears that I am writing a novel; an unexpected twist to our already busy days. A week or so ago Lily asked me to write her little love notes (she loves that kind of thing and writes them to me and Mark all the time), and when I sat down to write her one, a novel started! It's the craziest thing. I am going to post it here, a chapter at a time as they come, so I hope you will be so inclined to read through it and share your thoughts. I am hoping to be on here a bit more frequently again too. I do love to share my thoughts and what is going on in the house. Hope it blesses you today!
Our Story is HIStory: Our Real-life Fiction Story
By Julie Filter
As the long Christmas Day drew to a close, Lily gazed out the damp window of her bedroom at the twinkling stars above. The day had been acceptable, but still her heart yearned for more. Mama had spent most of the day baking up a storm; from pancakes to cookies to a dinner of chili Mac. Everything was delicious. She and her sisters had watched a few parent-approved Christmas films, and they too were pleasant and enjoyable. And, still, she felt a hole inside of her.
"God," she said. "I feel this tugging in my heart, that there's more for me than this. Help me to know what that is. I feel as though I was made for something special. Guide me, Lord. Amen."
The next morning started the same as any other. Lily, a 7 year old, very capable, intelligent, and God-loving girl, was the oldest of her four siblings. As much as she loved holding her baby sister, tickling her little brother, and helping her younger sisters, a lot was expected of her throughout the day and it was sometimes overwhelming. This morning was no different. After awaking to the alarm, she drowsily toddled down the stairs to begin emptying the dishwasher, her morning chore. While she dried and stacked the dishes, she hummed a lingering tune from the music that filled her head from the radio while they slept.
"Hmm hmm hm hmmmmm, the stars we brightly shiiiiiiiiiiining...." "Try to remember to keep your voice down, sweetie." Mama was shuffling down the stairs after an apparent long night with the baby. "Good morning, honey," she said with a yawn. "Sleep well?" Mama reached out her arms to offer a hug. Lily happily accepted. "Yes, ma'am." Her courtesy reply of respect to her mother. "I'm going to go take a shower and get the day moving. Would you please take care of your brother if he begins to cry? Please, do not take him out of his crib, but just help keep him happy. And, keep moving with your chores. Okay?" "Yes ma'am," Lily replied with enthusiasm. Her parents had been teaching her and her siblings that an enthusiastic response was a key ingredient to obedience, and today she was really focused on practicing being good.
It didn't take long for Lily to empty the dishwasher and put away the dishes. She left out a few items she did not quite know where they belonged, but overall was happy with a job well done. She headed upstairs to get dressed and prepared for the day when she began to hear her brother cry for mama. She hurried over to him with a smile. "It's okay, buddy. You want Mama? I know. You can have Mama soon. Want a few books?" His smile reassured her that she was on the right track, so she handed him a few cardboard baby books that would be safe with him in the crib. "Here you go, buddy." Lily's younger sisters were busy getting themselves dressed and ready for the day too. They made their beds, straightened the room, and got themselves dressed. Mama still insisted on brushing four year old Anaya's hair, but Lily and Nadya had proven themselves capable of that responsibility. "Ouch, Nadya. You're stepping on me. Get off!" Anaya had recently been struggling with speaking rudely to her siblings, and this morning was no exception. "Remember, Anaya, we need to speak nicely to our sisters." Lily worked hard to encourage her sisters in behaving rightly, although sometimes she herself even struggled with it. She remembered often the scripture that Mama had taught her; "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." "Thanks, Lily." Nadya was bothered by her younger sister's sharp tongue, but was working hard to practice forgiving her as often as was necessary, which right now seemed to mean a whole lot. "Let's finish getting this room straightened up so we can get downstairs quickly. I would love to be able to make eggs this morning," said Lily.
"But I can't have eggs. They upset my belly." Anaya had to follow a gluten-free diet and also seemed to have stomach issues from eggs, which was very saddening for her since she loved eggs as much as her sisters. "What if I make something special for just you, Anaya! Would that make you feel better?" Anaya's eager "yesth" was all Lily needed to put a smile on her face. The girls all skipped down the stairs one after the other and began getting their breakfast items together. Bowls out, spoons out, electric water pot on, eggs cracking. They were efficient and well-trained in the kitchen, even for being so young. Anaya stood by to be the go-fer should anyone need something. Mama was grinding beans to put into the machine to begin brewing her coffee. She loved enjoying a hot mug of coffee while they went through their school day. Sadly it seemed that it was enjoyed lukewarm or cold more often than she would like. "Remember girls, you have until 9 o'clock to get everything done and be ready for schoolwork. If you're late you lose your promptness point. Nadya, please give the dog water when you feed him. He's a living creature and needs water just the same as you and me." "Yes, ma'am," came Nadya's reply, who had nearly forgotten to feed the dog and was pleased by the subtle reminder from her mother.
Half an hour later everyone was ready for schoolwork. While books were opened and lessons begun, mama got the little ones finished up with their breakfast. The baby played happily on a blanket with some toys, but mama still was training young Zack to remain on a blanket during his "blanket time." After cleaning him up, she brought him over to the living room floor where his blanket lay and said, "it's blanket time now, so I want you to sit down and play with your trucks until the alarm goes off." Little Zack gave a fuss, but soon decided otherwise when he saw his trucks. He began to play quietly, zooming the trucks around in little circles.
Mama returned her attention to the older children. Lily was continuing to do very well with her math assignments. She was a natural at learning most things, but they were beginning multiplication now, so mama knew it was important to be patient and calm during this initial learning phase for a new topic. Nadya, who was now 6, was practicing penmanship, cursive this year, and was coming along very nicely in her hand control. Mama was pleased to see that her p's all faced the right direction this morning. Anaya was coloring in a page of circles and squares; red for squares, and blue for circles. She did not, though, seem to be giving much care for the instructions on the page. She was coloring the open space purple and had green and pink standing by. "Oh, well," mama thought. "A little here, a little there. She'll get it eventually." And so went the morning.