Kelly had to work last Tuesday evening, which meant in addition to heading to volunteer in Georgiana's classroom with me, Levi also had to head to ballet. He is such a trooper and judge as you may, he gets to pick good boy rewards throughout his errand running. Not too surprisingly, Tuesday morning he wanted to earn a Legendary Doughnut. One ginormous Tinker Bell sugary sweetness please. Thankfully he eats it in stages, 1/3 at the doughnut shop while we awkwardly watch the one employee and only other person in the entire establishment make doughnuts, 1/3 after lunch and sometimes I can get away tossing the other 1/3 away. Levi always chooses to sit at the bar with the window looking into the baking area. He loves watching the employee decorate the doughnuts or even fold boxes, I would not work there just because of the zoo like feeling of the window, well that and the fact that I was not born with too much self discipline in the sugar department. Poor little guy, apple did not fall far. Don't worry, not all his prizes are sweets, we get creative with the sticker charts.
After a sugar filled day, it was off to dance. Thankfully, Tuesdays are our short dance days, so it wasn't too torturous on the little guy. When it was time to go, Levi started talking about how hungry he was. Let me preface this by saying, not too long ago Georgiana overheard me say something to Kelly about someone being angry and she said "what does angry mean again?" Before I could answer, she said "oh yea, that's how our family gets when we are hungry!" I'm pretty sure you will find my face or a familiar one in the urban dictionary next to hangry. So, now I had a sugar crashed, errand exhausted hangry 3 year old. Good times. My simple tortellini dinner I had planned in my head was beginning to feel like Mission Impossible. So, why not have a Taco night? I mean, it is Tuesday after all. When I pulled into Taco Time, I laughed because there was a sandwich board that read "Taco Tuesday, crisp beef tacos buy one get one free." The deal lover in me was delighted, and my babies who are made of 1/2 Taco Time and 1/2 organic broccoli (that I ate after gorging on Taco Time while I was pregnant because I felt guilty for the said T.T.), were purely delighted.
They both requested Taco Time water, it's just so much more fun to drink out of a paper cup and straw than a glass one at home! Georgiana was looking at the lid on her cup and said
"which one says dice?"
G: "yes, diet, like diet cocoa!"
We don't drink many carbonated beverages in our house, ha ha.
In addition to loving a good taco Tuesday, Kelly and I were recently taught a very useful TACOS acronym for praying. Many years ago we were both taught the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) acronym at Lakeside Bible Camp. I had somewhat fallen out of habit of using that tool and hadn't really taught it to my little ones. Our church is doing a Sunday school series on discipleship/mentorship, we have learned new tools for discipling and to use in our own daily lives, but it has also caused us to realize how much we were really taught at summer camp. The class has reminded us of a lot of lessons we learned at camp, but ones we just weren't actively applying to our lives. My brain isn't thinking very eloquently this evening, but if you think this is a plug for Lakeside Bible Camp on Whidbey Island, it absolutely is. Kelly and I cannot speak more highly about our time at camp. We still have amazing friendships from fellow campers/tcl-ers/staffers/LBC goers. TCL (Training in Christian Living), was where we learned about scripture memory, having God's Word written on our hearts. Where we learned about fellowship, being with other believers, iron sharpening iron. Where we learned about Bible study, digging deep in God's Word. Where we learned about prayer, communicating with God daily, the list could go on and on. I pray that our little ones will have the same opportunities we had, I also hope they don't mind if their mommy happens to be cooking up at camp their entire TCL, I can't quite imagine being away from them for so many weeks!
Anyway, now that I have sang LBC's praises, back to the TACOS acronym.
T - Thanksgiving
A - Adoration (Praising God)
C - Confession (telling God our sins and asking forgiveness, He forgives Every.Single.Time.)
O - Others (praying for others just like it sounds)
S - Self
Super similar to ACTS, but I enjoy the order of Others and then Self, it seems to make a noticeable impact on the supplication (God please, God please...) portion of my prayer time. Less about me and more about others.
Here are some tidbits I've been gleaning from the class and trying to apply on the home front.
When praying keep it super simple. No need to overwhelm my tiny ones with wordy prayers that may intimidate them from praying.
Part of our bedtime routine is praying as a family, what it often became was "Lord, please help us to have sweet dreams..."
Now, we do this:
Kelly or I lead it and Georgiana follows. Levi will let us know who he would like us to pray for, but he otherwise likes to be a silent participant. If I am leading I say:
"T is for Thanksgiving, God, I thank you for..." I try to pick one thing, not all lengthy and intimidating.
Then Georgiana says, "God, thank you for..."
We go through each letter, in kid talk I explained that 'A' is something you love about God and you want to tell Him. Her prayers of adoration bring tears to my eyes. "God, I adore You because you are so loving and forgiving to us, I adore You because You created the whole earth..." Faith like a child.
C - this can be difficult, if Georgiana is having trouble thinking of something, I tell her she can say something like, "God, please show me the sin in my life so I can learn to be more like you."
We do a little 'O' and again I usually just ask her to pick one friend or family member to pray for. Sometimes we pray for the neighbor's dog, you know, deep stuff.
Then 'S' and then I briefly close us in prayer.
The other night she led the prayer for the first time, with "T is for Thankful..."
We are slowly transitioning to not having to call the prayer out like a cheer with the give me a 'T', and as mechanical as it may sound, it is incredibly heartfelt. It might feel awkward at first, but whether you are a child or an adult learning to pray, it is a super helpful tool. Prayer is simply talking to God. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes with the Holy Spirit interceding and all sorts of fancy theological things, but at the end of the day it is just talking to Him, our Creator and Heavenly Father, communicating. Pretty awesome and undeservedly accessible. TACOS or ACTS are not magic recipes, they are just guides to help keep your focus, my prayers can very easily fall into the God please, God please, God please, and I completely forget about confession or saying thank you. Talking to God is not part of a religious checklist, it is part of a living relationship. If all I ever said to the people that I love was "will you please do A,B,C,D,E..." it wouldn't be a very healthy relationship. It also wouldn't be very healthy if all I was doing was talking. So, we are called to be still, this might be the quietness of our hearts or it might literally be a time to be still and know that He is God. It is also most definitely a time to listen, to read a giant true story, a letter He wrote just for us. The Bible. When trying to sort out decisions, I so often say, "this time I would just really like God to send me a letter, just write down exactly what He wants me to do." I know in my brain that He speaks through His Word, the Bible, but sometimes I am so out of habit of diving into His word, that my heart discounts it. I think, how will the Bible direct me/us on what school to send Georgiana to? How will it help me sort out job options? I box it up and dismiss God's Word and ignore key components. It is SO not just an amazing Book. It is active, living, sharper than a two edged sword. It is real and He, the Creator of the entire universe, the Great I AM, speaks to us through it. I can't explain it, but by golly it's the real deal. Open it up, it doesn't come back void.