Planting Trees

Trees have always carried a significance for our family.

We used Crepe Myrtles to decorate our indoor wedding and we gave mini potted tree seeds as our wedding favor.

In addition to that, we feel that the Lord has specifically called us as a family to "seed planters". This has taken on different meaning in different seasons such as church planting, missional living, and yes, having babies.

When I first heard Andrew Peterson's song, "Planting Trees"(lyrics below), I silently wept through the song, feeling an instant connection with his words and the calling I felt the Lord had put on our lives.
Then I saw this video, where Andrew tells the story behind the song. He explains that in a discussion group with other ministry leaders where they were discussing the question "What are you doing to push back the darkness?" When the time came for his wife to answer, she humbled the group with her answer of, "I'm raising these three kids." I cannot tell you how deeply this resonates with me.

As you could probably tell after reading this post, the Lord is stirring in me a different way of child rearing than I have been practicing. He has burdened me to pray dangerous prayers for my kids that they would raise up to be fearless, mighty warriors for His Kingdom. He's stirring me to plant trees.

Can you imagine what the next generation would be like if parents just like you and me started praying for our children to be mighty warriors? What would it be like if we started investing in our trees for the purpose of pushing back the darkness? If we started praying offensive prayers for our kids instead of just the safe, defensive ones?

What do you think? Do you want to join me? Check back here to see how the Lord grows me on the journey and I would be so encouraged to hear from you on how He does the same for you.

Planting Trees, Andrew Peterson
We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As Autumn falls to Winters sleep
We pray that somehow in the Spring
The roots grow deep
And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
He took a plane to Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son
So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn
So sit down and write that letter
Sign up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light
Let go of all that's passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees
She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow
So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

**Andrew Peterson has never heard of me, but I have no problem giving free publicity to someone who has changed my life. Buy his song on itunes here.

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Crying Over Spilled Water (And Milk) (And Dogfood)

While Steady has been out of town my boys have not been sleeping well. I think the monkey is teething and so he wakes up and then wakes his brother up and then I have two very clingy sappy unhappy boys. Needless to say after being awake at 10:00pm, 1:00 am, and 4:00 am, I was so tired I couldn't open my eyes more than a sliver.

Until the Moose closed himself in the laundry room, that is.

I started to hear splashing and squeals of delight so I ran and opened the door and found that he had decided to create his own personal splash pad by spilling about a gallon of dog water completely flooding the laundry room. He. Was. Soaked.

So I grabbed him up ran through the house (dripping along the way), got him in dry clothes and went on a search for some old towels.

Until I saw that the Monkey had found out about the newest splash pad in the laundry room.

Oh, was he having fun, splashing and splashing. I moved him out of the way, laid towels down covering the floor and went and changed him into his set of clean clothes and headed back to the laundry room.

Until I was intercepted by the chocolate milk that the Moose had spilled all in front of the piano on my parents wood floor.

I, with a gentle spirit and tender words, threw them in their room for room time and finished up.

And yall, that wasn't even the worst of day....

The day continued when the Monkey found Sookie's dog food and threw it up in the air like confetti at a New Years Eve party. Oh the delight.

And then after I came back from running errands, I had a few things to do, so I put the boys in room time for about 20 minutes. And I was working on a few things.....

Until I heard splashing coming from the adjoining bathroom to the boys room. I had forgotten to lock the door.

I went in and found that the Moose had poured out the goldfish crackers I had given him as a snack and used the bowl they were in to scoop all of the water out of the toilet onto the floor of the bathroom and onto the goldfish on the carpet in his room.

I went to get my camera (its either laugh or cry at this point people) and as I pushed the camera button, the kid reaches into the toilet and pulls out the apple tv remote from the toilet (wearing a red sparkly 1930s Granny church hat nonetheless)

This is about as real as it gets, y'all. I'm gonna need some prayer.
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These Are The Moments

You ever have one of those moments?

A heart stopping....

time stopping....

tidal wave of blessing,

water drops on eyelashes,

infectious giggles,

tender smiles, 

three kids looking at the camera, 

kind of moments?

Me too.

Just thought I'd share a few of mine with you.

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Three Reasons To Watch Your Wedding Video More Than Once A Year

I had a sweet friend message me today to ask me a question about my wedding ceremony. (We did a few things differently than the traditional ceremony. If you’re interested, you can read about that here.) It put me in the mood to watch my wedding video and I am so glad I did. Every time I watch it I remember some really important things.

1. To remind you of who Christ is.
Whether you intended it that way at the time or not, your wedding is worship. And more than that, it is a picture of the Gospel and of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. Rarely, have I been to a wedding where I did not tear up because of the symbolism displayed in as much radiance on this side of Heaven.
It is good to remember and see the picture that one day Jesus is coming back to be united with his Bride.
2. To remind you of who you are to each other.
It is good to remember your vows. Not just on an anniversary, or not just during a difficult time in your marriage, but in the day-to-day. To remember the covenant you made before God and witnesses.
It is good to remember how you felt that day! Excited (I couldn’t stop smiling), scared out of your mind, so gushingly in love that you don’t really pay attention to the rehearsal and almost forget what you are supposed to do and say and have to ask for a refresher (no? just me?).
3. To remind you of who you are not. 
It is good to remember that we are NOT Jesus. We are not perfect yet.
I don’t know about you, but it is good for me to watch my wedding video to see a few awkward moments (maybe only to me) that didn’t go quite how I’d planned. Like the way I miscommunicated with my musician and my friend helping send the children down the aisle and there was 5 whole minutes of waiting. Or my bridesmaid who almost passed out in the ceremony. Or the way that somehow our kiss ended up lasting waaaay longer than we intended (oops).
So how long has it been since you’ve watched your wedding video? Maybe it’s time for a few reminders. (Don’t have a wedding video? Bet you do in your head and in your memories and pictures!)
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Why Ask The Sasster

The Sasster made a video explaining why you should ask her your advice questions.

Send Your Questions To Us:

* In the comments section below

*On Facebook (either by comment or PM)

*Tweet them to us

*Email me at wileyadventures [at] gmail [dot] com

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New Blog Segment: Ask the Sasster

Hey Yall! I'm working on a new segment on the blog and I need your help! I'm planning a sassy take on an advice column where we can all ask advice from our favorite Sasster. 

Here are some examples:

"Dear Sasster, my dog Sookie won't eat her dog food. How can I get her to eat?"

"Dear Sasster, my brother keeps taking my toys without asking. What should I do?"

"Dear Sasster, my mama makes me go to room time but I get bored. What do you do in room time?"

Get the idea? All G-rated questions are fair game and I, the Mama, reserve the right to sensor any questions I feel inappropriate for any reason I choose. 

You can submit your questions in the following ways:

*By leaving a comment below

*Email: carriemwiley[at]gmail[dot]com

*Leaving me a comment or sending a PM on facebook 

I'd like to collect a lot to have a good stock of them so feel free to submit more than one! Let me know if you have any questions! 

**Please include your first or last name or a nickname with your question. Any anonymous question I will either assign a name of my choice to or the question will be discarded.

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Room Time: {How We Do} Independent Playtime

Room time is not my original idea. I first heard about it when reading through one of the Babywise books. To be honest, I don't remember what their instructions were for room time but I will tell you how it works for us.

Basically, "Room Time" is the same thing as "Independent Playtime". A time for each of our kids to play by themselves in a safe environment for a set amount of time. The place is typically their bedrooms where I am within earshot, but not eyesight of them.

I start room time when my babies are old enough to sit on their own. I put them in their crib, typically at first with a boppy pillow around them in case they topple over, with a few toys and I start out at leaving them for about 10 minutes. I will show them their toys, let them play for just a minute, and then tell them "I love you! Have a good room time!" Then I shut the door and come get them when the time is up. Depending on which kid it is, sometimes they would cry but most of the time at this age they are pretty intrigued with their toys. I slowly work my way up in 5 minute increments up to about thirty minutes at this age.

After they have the hang of room time and they no longer need a boppy to support them, I work my way up to about 45 minutes. Then, when they are comfortable walking I transition them out of their beds to play in their actual rooms. This looked different for both of mine. For the LK, I just took her out of her bed and went straight to her big room, after making sure it was baby-proofed. For Shepherd, I moved him to the play yard in his room for a little while and then out to the big room (I also had him in the play yard in the office for room time while Fisch took his morning nap for a while).

What room time looks like for us right now is at 9:00 every morning, Fisch is in his bed with toys, Shepherd is in the main play area of their room, and LK is in her room. I have a safety knob on the boys door so Shepherd can't get out and they play for 45 mins to an hour. (This hour is typically when I have my time with the Lord and get some other things done around the house).

Here are some room time tips:

--If you havn't started room time from when they are little, it's ok! It's not too late. RT can be especially helpful for children with separation anxiety because it provides a safe controlled environment to teach them that mommy (or daddy) will come get them. You still need to start in short time increments and work your way up.

--If your child has a hard time and cries a lot, you can try putting a timer in the room with them. Set the timer for your designated time and leave it in their with them. Then go get them when it goes off. This will help them learn that you will get them at a specific time, not just because they are crying.

--With the exceptions of them being sick or having a specifically difficult day, I will let them cry it out in room time. But my best advice for this is to know your kid! I can usually tell if they are crying just because their will is being tested and they don't want to obey or if there really is something wrong. When they are little and just starting out, I don't let them cry more than ten minutes in room time.

--Save favorite toys for room time and put them up at other times. That way it will be a treat when they go to room time.

--Treat this like you do other training times for your kids: with trial and error and a lot of grace (for you and them)!
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Book Confessions

So here’s the deal: I don’t think I read books like most “normal” people. I LOVE to read. A good book to me is 10 times better than a good TV show. But I do think I’m weird about it.
These are my confessions…
1.  Might as well start with a big one: I dog-ear my books. I know, I know. All of my english teacher friends just gasped and asked themselves whether we could still be friends. It’s alright y’all. I own the book. It gives it personality. Makes it feel read. (Don’t worry, I don’t dog-ear borrowed books or library books).
2. Not necessarily intentionally, but I do break the spines on books. It’s the way I hold them. If a book doesn’t feel good sitting in my hands it’s going to affect me wanting to read it. Again, I own the book. I am not defiling the author, the characters, or the story. I’m just getting comfortable with my book. (Again, if you lent me a book, to the best of my ability I keep the spine safe).
3. I read a lot of fiction. And when I read fiction, I read it fast. If I get connected with a character, it is really difficult for me to put a book down. I read it the bathtub, I read when I’m nursing, I read before bed, I read waiting in lines at the store, I read during naptime.
4. It takes me twice as long (if not longer) to read non-fiction.
5. The test of a good book for me is whether I want to reread it or not. My favorites I reread every year. I probably don’t reread every page every time. Occasionally I will skip ahead to favorite parts or skim parts I don’t particularly like. But it’s pretty much a sure thing that I will read Harry, Hunger Games, Twilight, The Christy Miller Series, and The O’Malley Series every year at least once. And considering I’ve already read the Divergent books twice in a month, I can probably guarantee it’s going to be on my annual list. Sometimes I reread favorites many times a year. It’s like eating comfort food. On a bad day, if I’m not watching Gilmore Girls, I’m probably reading a favorite book. There are times I would rather reread a book I already know I love rather than risk reading a book I might not. Call me moody. Just don’t be surprised if you see several Harry re-reads on my 100 list.
6. I read, enjoyed, and reread Twilight.
I don’t think it holds a literary candle to Harry and I don’t think the character development is as good as in Divergent, but it was an entertaining read for me.
7. I read books like I’m watching a movie. I don’t even see the words after awhile. If it’s good, I completely connect to the world the author creates.
8. I have to have a picture in my head of the character. A lot of times, I will assign someone I know or a famous actor for the part. I just have to know who it is. Movie adaptations can completely ruin the characters for me if the actor they cast does not match up to who I have in my head. I am still not over Edward (James Pattinson) or Sirius Black (Gary Oldman).
9. (Take a deep breath and try to remember all of the things you love about me) Not every single time, but a lot of the time, if an author describes a character as ugly, I change it in my head so the person is actually really pretty. I’m not talking about bad guys. Bad guys are always ugly. I’m talking about when an author describes the main character as, “not particularly pretty” or “no remarkable characteristics” or my personal non-favorite, “mousy”. I know. I know. It’s messing with the author’s characters. I know. I know. I’m shallow and vain. I know. I know. I’m a hypocrite.
If it’s a really good book, and I can’t put it down, I will stay up till 3 in the morning to finish it.
11. The Characters I read become my friends. It is part of the reason I like to reread so much. It’s like visiting old friends.
12. I smell books. Literally stick my nose in the middle of a book and smell. There is nothing like a good book smell. I wish I could bottle it. But then, there’s also nothing worse than a bad book smell.
13. I sometimes read and thoroughly enjoy really cheesy christian fiction.
There you have it! Wondering why we’re still friends?
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Church Chasing Mama and Carpet Burns

I was remembering tonight a (now) funny story that happened a little less than a year ago. I can't remember if I've told you or not but I'll re-tell it anyway even if I have....

It was right after Fischer was born and we were at some church function at night. I was holding Fischer and talking to some friends, Kyle was around the corner when suddenly I looked up and saw Laura Kate having a "moment" with her brother.

You might remember that this is in the season where the Sasster was acting out a little bit after Fisch Stick's crazy birth. She was throwing some record-breaking sassy attitude and pushing my buttons any chance she could.(You might remember this post).

So there I was, looking down the long corridor of our church and at the very other end, at least 20 football fields away, I see Laura Kate grabbing ahold of  Shepherd's shirt, dragging him across the carpet on his tummy while he is wailing and crying (probably from the carpet burns nonetheless).

I immediately started running, Fisch tucked under my left arm, my right arm pumping to try and get there faster that my post-partum body would carry me, all the while and yelling as loud as I could as I closed the gap across the 50 football fields, "LAURA KATE WILEY!! LET GO RIGHT NOW! I MEAN IT! STOP RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE! LET GO OF YOUR BROTHER RIGHT NOW!"

I've always wanted to be one of those mamas who takes everything in stride and peacefully handles each parenting adventure with a grace-filled voice and a choose-joy-in-every-circumstance kind of attitude..... heh, maybe one day. It's good to have goals.

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