One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Keep Calm & Party On

In the space of two weeks during July, we have celebrated three of our kids' birthdays. (We should have obviously spaced out our 'evenings in with a bottle of wine' during November and December over the last few years). We also hosted a Year 6 leavers' BBQ, which turned out to be pretty much a birthday party, just without the cake.

We have had games galore of course, being married to Mr Newday! (Newday is a youth event, which the husband helps to lead, inevitably making young people do ridiculous things in order to lose their pride and win a milkshake). We have thrown the wellie, and jumped over the wellie while its been spun around on a rope. We have eaten doughnuts off of string. We've done the classics; the three legged race and the wheel barrow race. We've bounced off each other in blown up zorbs, tipped water on our heads when the music stopped, and had various fun with tissue. Lots of fun! Lots of noise! And lots of people! We do like people, us Dawsons.

And then there was one party which wasn't as party-like as the others. One of our lads took a couple of mates bowling. There was orange squash. His brothers were invited in a 'Please come to my party, but not actually get involved. In fact, please just play Pool in the background' kind of way. It was quiet. We didn't even look at a wellie, let alone jump over one. And there was no water involved. 

We realised that as a family, we're quite 'people people'. Some may say a few of us are slight extroverts. But we've come to realise that just because we are from the same family, it does not mean we are from the same mold. This came as quite a surprise to us. We thought it was just how we all were. But then we had a son who didn't find eye contact as easy, and really doesn't need more than two people in his life at any one time. 

I think he stands to show just how different we actually all are. Our family has people who are ordered, and others who are not so. People who love the correct answers that maths gives you, and others who are creative and happy for any answer. People who take risks and those that play it slightly safer. People who like jeans and others who like joggers and now of course, ones that wear dresses. People who are savers, and others who are spenders. People who cry more easily and others who might shout. People who have teddies and others who don't see the point. People with wonderful imaginations and others who prefer scientific, structured play. People who like their music loud and will sing along as if they're on the stage. (Actually that's just the husband) and me who hears music as more of a background thing. People who have many words, and those who speak just a few. (I'll leave you to guess which one I am). People who like crazy parties and one who doesn't. We're a mixed bunch under the slightly loud surface of it all. 

I love that we are all made in God's image. Not one of us is the odd one out in that. God is beautifully creative and yet mind blowingly scientific. He is ever so ordered, and yet does not get flustered when order isn't present. He made the crashing seas to roar and yet calmly brings His peace. He is all powerful, and to be greatly feared yet He is gentle and kind. He can be extremely serious and yet wonderfully joyful...

The mixed bunch living under this roof, relate differently to each other too. There are the sparring pairs, the strong friendship pairs, the imaginative pairs, and the clashing pairs, to name a few. Some of the kids are easier for me to parent. Some, the husband finds easier. I'm sure some of my lot would prefer to talk things through with me, while others probably don't get me at all. We all need grace for one another.

A bit like the church really... we're all a bit different from each other, and have different views and different ways of doing things. And there are some we get along with more easily. Some, we maybe clash a little with. We're all wonderfully, and sometimes annoyingly unique, but we are all in the same family. And our Heavenly Father, fathers us all the same way, with His perfect love and His gentle forgiveness. 

Me and the husband often say, "It's different, not wrong", especially during Marriage Preparation, with other couples. It's quite easy to see our contrasts as wrong, because we don't understand them or like them. But if we are all made in God's image, if we are all in His family, if we have all received the same Grace from Him, then surely it's a good thing to take a moment and see the other person how God sees them. He made them unique for a reason. He made you unique for a reason. And we can usually learn more about His vast character if we see others how He sees them. It helps me too, to parent my mixed bunch better, and to see their unique giftings.

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever." 1 Peter 4v10-11

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Hidden Treasure

I have four boys, they have two feet each. Each foot, needs a sock. So that's eight socks at any given time. (Not including the girls' socks...mainly because the little one's socks are tiny weeny and the two and a half year old wears a lot of sandals, ballet shoes, princess shoes, flip get the picture). I say 'any given time', rather than every day, because if left to their own devices, they just wouldn't change their socks. They do not see it as a necessity in life. They would keep them snuggly on their feet until fungus grew in them, evolved legs and walked themselves into the wash basket. One of my boys, used to get out of the bath and put his dirty socks back on. He would have slept in them and worn them again the next day, if we hadn't protested.

On Friday, my wash basket stunk. The heat and those eight socks multiplied several times over, made for an awful stench. I was very pleased to get that particular wash into the machine, seeing as the wash basket is in my bedroom. It's not until I've washed the socks and dried them, do I tend to find the huge holes in them. Maybe this is due to the tree climbing or the walking about without shoes on. Or maybe the smell and dirt just erodes them. (I should probably take my friend's advice, and let them live the South African way; no shoes & no socks).

When I have done a mass wash, I need a pairing plan. I'm not too fussed about odd socks but the husband God blessed me with, is more at 'one with the world', when the socks are paired, when he, I mean they, are ordered. So as a rule, we tend to try to only wear pairs. The boys occasionally grass on me, when their dad questions them about today's sock chaos. I hear "Mum said it was okay". So I had a genius plan which involved some godly teaching. I'd love to say my motive was to keep dripping the Bible into their lives, but I honestly just wanted to get the socks paired. 

So I spent the amount of time it would have probably taken me to pair them, to fill different socks with coins from our loose change pot. When I had run out of loose change, I put some packets of super noodles in, some mini cans of Fanta, some jelly packets and a sweet or two.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6v19-21

I put the basket in the middle of the lounge and asked, "who would like to serve me, by pairing these socks?" The rush of help wasn't immediate. No one was going to get an award for their speed and willingness. But then one of my boys said, as joyously as his heart would allow, "I'll do it mum". I said thank you, and said that I appreciated his willingness to serve me.

So the slow pairing started, one eye on the TV, and one finding the colorful matches first. He heard a jingle in a sock, pulled out a coin and pocketed the findings. He then found another, "muuuum, there's money in here". "Oh is there?" I replied. "Mmm, maybe that's because when you serve other people, you're actually storing treasure up in Heaven". His eagerness picked up some speed, as he hunted through the socks. He seemed to forget it was all about making pairs, so I had to quickly remind him. (This isn't just a fun treasure hunt you know. I do have ulterior motives). And then came the gloat, "Boys, there's money in here and its all gonna be miiiine". One by one, a brother took interest in the new activity unfolding before them, until they were all on the floor, pairing those socks. 

I added another little quip about the first son's willingness to serve when there wasn't a reward, which is of course, pleasing to God....that God had made a note of the son's serving heart, and put aside treasure for him in Heaven. And I pointed out that once they knew about the rewards, they were more likely to get involved. So, as christians, we should tell people what awaits them in Heaven, so that they too can get in on those rewards. I walked into the kitchen for my own caffeine induced reward and wondered if there will be socks in Heaven? 

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24