Wherever you go, whatever you do

The tribe decided to pass on playgroup this morning; while I was going through the craft supplies, I unearthed a bunch of leftover craft kits and partial sheets of stickers.  Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man unanimously declared they would prefer to spend the morning at home, creating wondrous works of art, and it was a decidedly pleasant morning we passed packed into the kitchen.  Even Baby Guy got into the act, chortling in his high chair with a piece of construction paper and a TaDoodle crayon.

After lunch and naps, it occurred to me that some sort of outing was in order, but I had a little too much left to do to make a trip to the park feasible.  Slurpees from the nearby convenience store, however, seemed to be a pretty good bet, as they are relatively cheap, utterly beloved by the tribe, and not terribly time-consuming.  The kids concurred with my assessment of the excellence of that idea, so into the van and off to the store we went.

As we approached the parking lot turn-in for the store, we fell in behind a van that seemed to be having extraordinary difficulty getting to the gas pumps.  The driver was elderly, and I commented to a curious Bugaboo that the nice man appeared to be having some van trouble and that I might need to help him push to get to safety.  That’s probably why she watched him while I was in the store filling a quartet of Slurpee cups with frozen cherry beverages and picking up a few chances on the MegaMillions drawing.

When I returned to the van, I secured the drink tray in the shotgun seat and started to put the key in the ignition when I heard Bugaboo pipe up, “Mommy, that man looks worried and sad.”

To my sorrow and shame, I hesitated.  I had four kids and three frozen drinks in the van, and a Herculean to-do list awaiting me at home.  Nonetheless, it was one of those moments that I hope for, when the kids see that Jesus wasn’t kidding about loving our neighbors, known or unknown, so I hopped out, locked Fran the Van, and jogged the few steps over to the gas pump.

The elderly gentleman in a torn shirt was trying to start his own van.  I looked at the number on the pump I’d seen him using and saw “$2.26.”  His van trouble was that he had coasted in with no gas, and he didn’t have enough money to buy enough gas to even restart his vehicle, much less get home.  I thought about the tightness of each month’s budget, thought about the tuitions that need to be paid, the swimming lessons we want so badly for the kids.  Then thought about the Slurpees I’d just bought, and the lottery tickets.  There are things that are more important than whether we get to go to Big Yellow M this weekend.

I asked him if he would allow me to help.  He thanked me, and when he did, I saw the stubs of his few remaining teeth.  Yep, there are lots of things more important than chicken nuggets and fries.

After I came back out of the store and started the van for our trip home, Bugaboo chirped again from the back seat, “Look, Mommy, that man is smiling!  And he’s waving to us!  He looks so much happier!  I’m glad we’re his friends.”

It took me a minute to whisper back, “Yeah, sweetheart.  I am, too.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You told us that whatever we do unto the least of Your children, we do unto You.  Thank You for the reminder from Your little blessing, who has listened so closely and well to the love letters You left for us.  Please keep me mindful that sometimes the neighbor in need is right under my nose, and help me recall that in Your eyes, none of us are greater or less than any other.   Please help me continue to teach Your blessings that we are to be friends to any person in need, and that we should ever place the needs of others higher in our priorities than luxurious wants for ourselves.


16 thoughts on “Wherever you go, whatever you do

  1. Kelly! You left your children unattended in a vehicle? While you went into the store to gamble? And buy sugar- and chemical-laden drinks for them? Honestly, sometimes I worry, seriously, about you. Gambling isn’t Christian. Leaving your children in a vehicle unattended is illegal, which is not Christian. Filling them full of sugar and chemicals is going to land them in the same boat your husband is in with his ongoing weight-related health concerns. Come on, here!

    • Joan, you seem to be making a very personal attack in your comment. Just because Kelly is of the mind to let you jump down her throat once should not be encouragement for you to attack her in this way. Having a husband with health concerns that run deep in his family, I know how hard it is to keep him healthy (and happy at the attempt). I also know how hard it is to raise kids in a world with more rules and less help. Your comments are an uncalled for attack on someone who is honestly trying to do a good job raising her children and supporting her husband.

      Whether you agree with her techniques or not, you should at least be courteous with your observations and in your comments. The fact that Kelly has shared her experiences in a humble way and always asks the Lord for guidance and assistance makes her a wonderful Christian. I believe that the Lord often answers our prays in the form of good counsel from both friends and strangers. Your comment was a condemnation and not counsel. If you did not intend it to be then take a writing course and learn a new skill. If you meant it to be an attack, then lay off. You are not the Kelly Police!

      The rest of us like reading her blogs because of her honesty and humility. They are real and that is refreshing in a world where people are more concerned with appearance than substance.

    • I think Joan may need to switch to decaf. I’m sure there is an organic-chemical-free version somewhere. From the many posts I have read, this is not a mom who frequently loads her children with sugar and chemicals. She is far more creative and health-aware than I was as a mom of toddlers and my 14 and 15 year olds have turned out very well.

      As far as leaving them unattended, I would be willing to bet some of us do not have quite so many within such a tight age span. I think in the few minutes she spent in the store, the kids were far safer, than being in an open parking lot while waiting for their siblings to be buckled or unbuckled into their car seats. A parent has two hands. When you have 4 children, you can not safely hold all of them at once. If I had been in the same predicament, I would have done exactly the same thing.

      This blog is inspiring to me. I’m sorry it appears not to be the case for Joan. If she finds it so repulsive and disheartening, perhaps she should consider not reading it.

    • Martha Stewart? Is that you Martha? Seriously sweetie, your holier than thou attitude is hard to swallow, at best. Kelly is awesome, period. And the fact that you are nitpicking says alot about YOU. So do us all a favor and be nice …. Have a nice day. And yes I am being passive-aggressive.

  2. Joan, where to begin such as “Judge not lest ye be judged,” or 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” That said, since you seem to have made it a personal vendetta perhaps you would like to bring it on with me because believe me you will not win. Kelly is gracious, kind and a wonderful mother. On top of that she has a heart that is larger than yours will ever have the capacity to be and is training up her children completely Biblically. You are either just an very sad person or you have such a high standard of perfection that I wonder if everyone around you is miserable. You were not there, you have no idea whether those children were in a situation outside of Kelly’s control. In other words you are making assumptions and in the military we have a saying about those who assume. Apparently you are either not a Christian or you have forgotten that we all fall short of the glory of God and therefore your are absolutely no better than anyone else. You sure are brave commenting about Kelly, her family, her home, what she feeds her family and how she cleans, her husband’s weight (you had better be perfection lady) yet you are not confident in your personal trashing to put up your profile. Now why is that Joan? Why are you remaining anonymous? Is this personal Joan? There is nothing constructive or beneficial about your posts. They are spiteful and ugly. Get a grip woman! Sowing and reaping is a very real Biblical principle and you are about to receive what you spew. Take your trolling elsewhere.

  3. I appreciate everyone’s gentle concern for my family and I — truly. I am blessed to have so many people, some known and some unknown, who care.

    Insofar as leaving the children in the van, which was locked and alarmed with the only key in my hand, and from which I was never more than 15 feet with continuous visual contact, I have to admit that I didn’t really see the harm until Joan pointed it out. When I sought the counsel of friends, I was advised that it’s a really terrible idea; alternate ideas for treats were suggested that did not involve any of us exiting the van. My base of knowledge and understanding has thus been broadened. Joan, thank you for pointing that out, as I would never have known otherwise that people have actually been subjected to CPS investigations for that. It’s definitely not worth it.

    I also appreciate your concern for all of our health and the closeness of our walk with Jesus; while I respectfully disagree with you on the question of the occasional Slurpee and the permissibility of purchasing lottery tickets, you have once again loved enough to share your worry and your advice. For that, I am grateful, and will continue to keep you in my prayers, that the love you have shown will be shown to you.

    Peace be will you all,

  4. Sheri – leaving children in a vehicle unattended is illegal, period. It just is. So even if “a few of us” have done it, or you personally feel they were perfectly safe, Ceasar’s law, which the Bible chides us to obey, says it’s illegal. So it is.

    Leigh Ann – I had a hard time reading through the first part of your post. Long-winded, poor grammar and punctuation, yet I struggled through to decipher it. You do not know me, so you couldn’t possibly begin to know the size of my heart or what my personal life is. I have no interest in “bringing it with you”. I made no assumptions, she said she left them alone in the car while she bought lottery tickets and Slurpees, so your “military saying” (and I use that term very loosely, I assume) means nothing. I am not the one rattling on about not judging, so take a deep breath, heck, take two or three deep breaths, and settle down and think about what you’re doing and thinking, in the name of being a Christian. Also? When you’re taking those deep breaths, toss a comma into your typed ranting here and there – it will make your rants so much easier to decipher. Thanks in advance. And don’t forget that whole judging, sowing/reaping thing when you’re thinking about your response, okay? 😉

    Kelly – once again, I’m thankful you are able to see beyond criticism and not let your pride take over. Yes, CPS investigations definitely start with children left unattended in a vehicle, and they progress from there. Is it fair? In many cases, probably not. I also agree, with respect, that the occasional Slurpee or treat is not going to kill anyone. I bought a lottery ticket myself, so I am not judging, but if we’re being strictly Christian here, it is wrong, since it is gambling, which no one could question.

  5. The truth comes out, you condemn for the lottery ticket yet you are no better. You condemn for the Slurpee yet now it is not going to kill someone. Yes, and now you are the grammar police, so thank you very much for the critique (comma) especially since you seem to not understand the entire context of the Word of God in reference to your own response verses my lack of punctuation. The Bible calls that the Pharisees.

    Your exact words….”While you went into the store to gamble? And buy sugar- and chemical-laden drinks for them? Honestly, sometimes I worry, seriously, about you. Gambling isn’t Christian. ” (You do not start a sentence with “And,” btw. I can be just as petty.)

    Matthew 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Yes, you too, bought a lottery ticket and gambled (comma) yet passed judgment on Kelly and you neglected to share that information that you were no better purchasing one yourself.

    Romans 2:3 “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? ”

    Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

    Galatians 6:3 “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ”

    The fact that you can not address another Christian in private over your parenting concerns but feel you must do in anonymously in public speaks volumes. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; *****but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.****” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

    How about a little Christian exhortation and less condemnation! Now (comma) since you have remained anonymous I can not take it to you privately as a “sister in Christ,” thus I have no recourse to address it in a public forum. Have a very blessed day, Joan. The Word of God is the final answer and this is done. Kelly, I love you, I believe you are an awesome parent and if I see anything I have concerns about I will bring it to you as a “sister in Christ” and address scripturally in private.

  6. “The Word of God is the final answer (comma) and this is done.” That made my day (comma) Sheri! ::rubs your little pointed head affectionately:::

    Read your last scripture (comma) the one in Galatians (comma) and ponder it (comma) regarding how it may pertain to your own blathering and “condemnation.”

    I address Kelly in a public forum because that’s where *she posts. That shouldn’t be that difficult even for you to figure out (comma) silly. You are most definitely NOT my “sister in Christ” (comma) and I have no interest in having you (comma) as you so eloquently and Christ-like (comma) expressed it (comma) “bring it” or “take it to me privately” (comma) so there is no need for you to have my email.

    And (improper sentence – comma) now the Word of Joan is my final answer (comma) and I’ll move on from this particular post (comma) since I have my own Bible (comma) should I care to read it.

  7. Kelly, I keep thinking about this. And I ask not in an argumentative spirit (in spite of what will undoubtedly be said to me in nastiness and result in more scriptures being hurled at me), when you say you respectfully disagree with me about the lottery tickets, is that because you don’t feel gambling is wrong, or don’t feel that lottery tickets are gambling, or that gambling in general is wrong, but the occasional lottery ticket isn’t a big deal? I was always raised (and granted, I do not follow the way I was raised any more at all) that for Christians, gambling is wrong, and it’s wrong across the board, whether it be a scratch-off ticket, or putting the family home up on a poker game in Vegas, that it’s all the same principle of chance. So I was just curious what your thoughts were on that.

  8. I cannot imagine why anyone would interpret that question as being argumentative, and I certainly didn’t take it that way! I was raised Catholic, and still am Catholic, and I was taught that while profligacy is absolutely a sin, playing church bingo or buying a raffle ticket to support a good cause was completely acceptable, if not encouraged. Since lottery proceeds fund our state’s education budget, I look at it the same way as charitable gaming — particularly since many of the local school fundraisers involve purchasing very pricey products that I neither want nor need, and for some odd reason, it’s difficult to impossible to simply write a check to help pay for something worthwhile that one of our local schools is doing, since we don’t have children enrolled in any of them. My cousins and I were raised that anything taken to excess is sinful, but an entertainment (such as the odd bus trip to Atlantic City, a Saturday movie, or roller skating) is okay as long as all of our obligations were met. That said, I know more than a few Christians who firmly believe that any type of gambling is absolutely wrong. I see it as more of a question of stewardship; if you have helped your neighbor, rendered Caesar’s portion unto him, your family’s needs are met, and you have a little left over for fun, using some of that little to buy a lottery ticket or play a slot machine is acceptable. If there’s no food in the fridge, the kids don’t have proper clothing, the car’s about to be repossessed, the mortgage or rent is in arrears, or you’ve just heard a neighbor wondering how to find the money to pay for a child’s medication, it would be an unquestioned violation of good stewardship to use the money not only for gambling, but also for any other entertainment. Did that make any sense?

  9. Totally made sense, Kelly. I have some thoughts to add to that, but need to head to bed for now.

    Leigh Ann- toss some mascara on. That will help you some with the uglies. You’re welcome, sweet pea.

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