Friday, May 20, 2011

Smiles like this

Last week started the first of three weeks of May craziness. Just that busy time that is jammed packed with recitals, school programs, sports banquets, end of year parties....the list goes on. It is an exciting time as we end the school year of 2010-2011. Especially for us this year because Preston is graduating from 6th grade and from PDS. We are so proud of him. He has worked hard and had a great work ethic with a grateful heart during his PDS career. We are excited about what the future holds for him as he enters Jr High and High School.  His Sports Banquet was last week. He has played Football, Basketball and Soccer as a PDS Crusader. He received a medal for playing all 3 sports, plus he received an award for best offensive player on the basketball team. You are an incredible young man Preston, we love you. And for the record when you are looking back on these pictures you chose that haircut not us.


We also had our first musical recital in the Brady household this past week. Bennett started taking guitar lessons in January and has done great! We are not sure where his musical ability comes from but he definitely has it. He is really doing well. He did tell me on the way to the recital that he was nervous he might "freeze up." Luckily for him there was a well placed piano and lectern right in front and unless you were 6 ft tall no one could see you playing. So no freezing up. He played Ode to Joy, and though no one could see his face or body during the actual song, I was able to snap this shot before he performed. Bennett you are such a blessing to our family. You are kind and sensitive. Great qualities in a young man. We love you and can't wait to see you live out your dream of being the next American Idol. 

We spent Saturday at Madji's soccer game. Madji is a great soccer player and we enjoyed getting to see him play. Our doorbell was ringing bright and early on Saturday morning with him telling us the time and location of his game. I naturally grabbed my camera just like I do for my kids events and we headed to the fields. Madji lit up with that bright grin the minute he saw us. We cheered him on and even though his team lost he never lost that winning smile. He is so sweet and cheerful.

This is Madji's brother Amour cheering with Bennett. Amour is one of the brothers that Braxton takes to the bus stop each morning. He is shy and quiet most of the time. Until he gets around my boys and they just laugh and laugh together. Amour is quite the soccer player as well.

After the game my kids rushed the field to hug Madji and tell him good game. Madji plays goalie and he wanted my boys to try to get one past him. It was fun to watch. I was telling one of my aunts yesterday that my kids have no idea how different life is for Madji and his family. I think they are starting to slowly understand but what warms my heart the most is to watch my kids treat Amour, Madji, Lerah, Imelda, Pulcherie, Leraeni, Laureen, and Larissa just like family.

For me to bring my camera to a sporting event, for people to be cheering my kids on, for Braxton to have a pep talk with one of them after the game, that is just our normal. My prayer as we live and love on our neighbors is that it can become part of their normal as well.

If you look closely at the picture below you can see Madji's grin as Braxton tells him what an great athlete he is what, what a smart boy he is and how proud we are of him. And nothing in the world can compare to smiles like this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shattered Glass

This past week was a little bit of a trying one in our neighborhood. It was also one full of lessons and reminders of exactly why we live here. One of our new next door neighbors Madji has become fast friends with our kids. He is 11 and plays outside with our boys almost everyday. This past week Madji along with our boys learned a valuable lesson on grace.

Wednesday afternoon Bennett, Preston and Madji were playing in our front yard. At some point they,  being boys, decided it might be a fun idea to hit rocks with tennis rackets. Bad decision. Madji hit a couple of rocks up and they went perfectly into our other neighbors car window. Picture above :(.

Braxton and I went outside to talk to Madji and the car owner. Madji was visibly shaken and was worried about what his mom would do. Madji's mom came outside and we explained what happened. My boys were watching from the front door and then without us knowing they ran upstairs and emptied both of their piggy banks. Preston and Bennett ran outside holding a ziplock full of money saying, "Mom, here take our money, please pay for the window. We don't want Madji to get in trouble.

Braxton then tells Madji's mom that we will pay for the window we will take the punishment for Madji. Madji then collapsed into Braxton's arms crying. In fact we were all crying. Even the car owner.

It was a beautiful picture of grace. Paying a debt we did not owe. My boys giving without being asked. The car owner even took a very minimal amount of money saying he would go get a piece of glass and fix the window himself.

That night as we tucked the boys in we talked about grace and how that is exactly what Jesus did for us.

I'm glad it happened. I'm glad my boys and Madji got a true picture of grace. Of what it looks like when Jesus takes the shattered glass in our lives and makes it whole again.