Sunday, January 31, 2010

Determining her priorities for Valentine's Day

Last year after Valentine's Day I bought boxed valentines for the kids to use. They each picked out a kind and we bought them at like 75% off and packed them away to use this year. Ainsley picked High School Musical.

Fast forward to last week. She came to me and asked when we were getting the valentines out. She then said she thought she maybe wanted different valentines than the HSM ones. I asked her if she didn't like the HSM ones, and she said they were okay, but she thought maybe she was getting to old for High School Musical and she really wanted puppy ones. (does that make any sense?) Anyway, I decided it wasn't the few dollars that another box would cost, it was sort of the principle of buying other ones.

So after I thought about it for a little bit this was our conversation:

Me: Ains, I'm happy to drive you to any store you want to buy new valentines, but since I already bought one box I'm going to let you pay for the next box.

Ainsley: (without even hesitating for a second) Oh okay, then I'm going to be just fine with the High School Musical ones.

Funny how spending your own money on something changes the priorities a bit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Baby Dedication

On Sunday we dedicated Reagan's life to the Lord at church. We have done this three times at Cornerstone, and once (Ainsley- pre-Cornerstone) at our house with our family and friends there. Each time we have written a letter to the child expressing our desires for their life. Barry made a video already (how great to have a pastor that is not only amazing- but puts up video links to events just a few hours after they happened!) - you can view the rest of the dedications (there were 5 kids total on Sunday- all sweet families with great kids) at

Here is our letter in case you can't see/hear the video:

Reagan Joy,

Sweet baby girl we love you so much. You are wonderful little baby who has proved the pattern that every baby in our family gets easier than the one before. However, I also have observed the pattern that every three-year-old gets harder than the one before, and it is because of this you are going to stay the baby of the family by being the last Pate baby. Three years ago when I wrote a letter like this to Camden I mentioned that if he was looking to fill a unique position in the family, the role of the calm-quiet, compliant child was available. Well, as it turns out that role is still open. However, I have come to the conclusion that you probably don’t possess the genetic material for such a personality, and I wouldn’t know what to do with that anyway, so instead I am looking forward to raising an ambitious, energetic, and strong girl.

My first desire in life is to glorify God in all I say and do, my second desire is to raise you and your siblings to have the same first desire as I do. Reagan, I pray you would have a fierce love for the Lord and while I will fail you I want you to know that He never will.

Reagan you completed our family so perfectly. You couldn’t be more loved by us, or by your older siblings. If experiencing each new stage of parenting has taught us anything, it is that we on our own are insufficient to the task of being good parents to you. The great thing about that is that when we rely on Jesus, we don’t have to live life and parent you and your brothers and sisters on our own. We pray that as you grow up, that you will pursue a deep relationship with our savior, that you will boldly proclaim his name and that you will realize your need to depend on Him always. We pray that we would continue to seeks God’s wisdom and quickly turn to Him in times of trial, so you can learn positive lessons from us.

Today Reagan, we dedicated you to the Lord. We ask that he would guide your life and you would serve him all of your days on this side of Heaven, and you would look forward to Eternal Life with him. We dedicate ourselves to doing our best, through the Holy Spirit, to raise you in a way that leads you to the Lord and into a life of service to Him.

Love, Mom and Dad

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This post is one that has been rattling around in my head for the last two weeks, stopping any of my typical cute little kid stories for appearing here. But this post doesn't "fit" my blog. But the earthquake in Haiti yesterday was the prompt I needed to actually sit down and write it, even if it doesn't fit. So stick with me even if you showed up here looking for a cute little story about something my kids have done.

My sister-in-law gave us a book for Christmas called "Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle." We celebrated Christmas with them early because we were going to Milton-Freewater for Christmas, so I had the book ahead of Christmas. While we were packing to go to M-F I put the book in the car thinking I would skim through it a little on the drive. With a 5 week old I honestly was not doing much reading, if I had time to sit down long enough to read I was instantly asleep. Well, I didn't even look at the book on the drive to M-F or the entire time while I was there. However, when we were driving home I found myself in the position to open it.

You have to picture the situation I was in when I started reading the book. We were coming home with my family so every seat in two cars was full. Nathan was in the front seat with of our van with Andrew, so I was in the very back of the van in the middle of Ainsley and Hudson. It is four days after Christmas and our van is quite full with 7 of us and all of our Christmas gifts.

The book is the story of the author and his wife as they went to serve in Haiti with an organization called Beyond Borders. To begin their time they had to spend 8 months living with a typical Haitian family. I knew very little about Haiti before reading the book, and I can hardly believe how deplorable the conditions are (and this was before the earthquake yesterday). 80% of the people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day, transportation is a nightmare, there are often floods and landslides, deforestation has ruined much of the country, water is usually contaminated, and the government is unstable.

Kent Annan, the author of the book, is a wonderful writer. The story is engrossing and compelled me to do something. What that something is, I don't know. However, there are some parts that I must share. On Kents blog he has a video that shares part of the book that precedes my favorite paragraph of the book. In this video he is listing all the things he wants after being in Haiti for 5 months:

And now the paragraph that follows:

"Things on the above list aren't all bad. But part of why I looked forward to moving to Haiti is because I hate how easy it is to satiate my hunger for God and for good and for love by stuffing my appetites with food, with entertainment, with ambition, with stuff. How easy it is to fill the echo chamber that calls me toward God and good and love with other clanging noises. The absence in Haiti of choices to feed this profound hunger is unpleasant.. but I need it I'm too often too weak to hunger for good (or, to be more biblical, to seek the kingdom of God) and to pull away from the dancing lights that have embarrassing power over me, like over a mindless, fluttering moth."

So here I was in the car with my four healthy, well fed, well clothed children who have more toys than they know what to do with reading about conditions that are worse than anything we would find in the poorest cities in America. I have lots of "stuff" that way to often satiates my hunger for God, and does the same for my children. Ainsley asked for something to eat just as I was reading one part where he recounts the story of a boy who rescued a page out of an American magazine that he had thrown in the garbage fire and the boy carried it around for months as one of his most cherished objects. Nathan handed Ainsley some tortilla chips and she started complaining because she didn't like that kind of chips. My response to her was a little more harsh than usual. It has really made me think about how my kids are growing up, and what I should do about it.

As I'm writing these scattered thoughts I just heard more news about the earthquake on the radio. They are reporting that there are bodies of children piled up outside of a collapsed school, the UN building collapsed, the national prison broke open so all the criminals inside have escaped, and they are estimating 500,000 people have died. It brings me to another quote from the book:

"The aphorism "Pull yourself up by the bootstraps" comes ironically to mind because it's so inapplicable: if you can't afford boots, don't have any power and barely any resources, if there's no way to hoist yourself up, then when you need something (say, food or tuition for your kids) the choices are either to ask for it or take it. Or suffer quietly. ...So are good, brilliant, powerful people working somewhere to find systemic economic and political solutions to the problems we see crushing down on our neighbors? And will the good guys win? Because too often they don't."

I know ultimately THE Good Guy wins. But in the mean time what am I doing for the people of the world who don't have the resources that I/we treat as a birthright? How can I live and how can I raise my children so we don't try and fill up our need for God with entertainment, other people, and the stuff that is so easily acquired here? Hmmm... My prayer today is that the earthquake in Haiti brings light and attention to this country that is in desperate need.