Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Momma, Trauma and Drama

I miss my computer most of the day. Our office is on the south end of the house by 3 windows and most of the day during the winter months the glare from the sun, even through the curtains, is too much to see much of anything on the monitor. I was so humbled and felt very blessed when I checked email to find so many little "love notes" from friends for my Birthday yesterday. It was much appreciated and I'm so blessed to have a life full of caring people. I received many phone calls and I am truely humbled. I pray that I am a good friend in return.


Yesterday was full, we haven't started school back up yet, as the week after Christmas still feels like we need time to play and enjoy each other and life (and the new toys). Plus yesterday was my birthday, today is New Year's Eve, there are appetizers to be made so we can stay up late for the ball to drop, and tomorrow is our 10 year anniversary.


Yesterday morning I was looking through the tv channels and found the Wiggles. Wyatt loves the one video we have of them. It's the same one we've had since Makensie was a baby. Makensie says, "Wow, I thought the Wiggles would have been dead by now." I pointed out that, "I was alive with their 1st video and I'm not dead yet." Then she tried to explain it off, "I know, it's just that they look so young, like exactly the same, they must have had plastic surgery." Thank you Makensie. :)


We no longer have our precious Scout aka Sweetheart. (For those of you who do not know...Sweetheart was a 200+lb pot bellied pig that we inherited when we bought this house...in the middle of town...with no fence...or pen. She just wondered around the yard.)


Several months back we noticed she was getting a little more grumpy than her usual self, and with a toddler wanting to run outside, and me wanting my laundry line back, we passed her on to another family. It was harder than I thought to watch her leave...and louder as she was pretty ticked off about having to be loaded into a trailer. So to replace the void in our hearts we adopted a hamster from my nephew. Her name is Jennifer. So we went from an hugely obese blind pig to a small gimped hamster. Jennifer had an accident and broke her leg before we got her. She was actually in a cast till she ate through it and her leg never healed properly so one of her back legs just drags along. It's quite sad, but it hasn't slowed her down from escaping from the cage half a dozen times. She and I have a understanding now that if she escapes again and runs under my bed at night that she will be sleeping with the fishes. SOOOOoooo....long story even longer....I heard Brian screaming that terrible "I'm really hurt" scream, and went running to find him holding his hand covered in blood. Brian as boyish as he is, does not do blood. He couldn't even quit screaming long enough to tell me what happened or where he was hurt. I'm rushing him into the kitchen to rinse him off and get the red rag. (a red wash cloth for accidents so no one sees the blood is a great thing). Jennifer had bit him good. While only on the tip of the finger and it was all still there, but deep enough to make a mess. After Brian calmed down and quit sweating and the possibility of him passing out was gone. We found out the he was holding Jennifer and Wyatt decided it was his turn and I'm sure as Jennifer's life was being squeezed before her eyes she acted in self defense.

And the drama? Me still not learning to be happy and content and zone off in my numbness when my feelings are hurt vs trying to share them. I think the "Better Marriage" advise is don't stuff your hurt. Well, that only works if you are married to someone else. I should have known better. We've discussed my husband's RCD before. (isn't it funny that I first shared our struggle with his RCD on my birthday 2 years ago?) But I was weepy yesterday. We just had Christmas and he didn't surprise me with anything, not even something little in the stocking. Then yesterday I thought he would at least have a card or maybe offer to do dishes, watch the kids so I could take a bath....then I started dreaming and getting great expectations. The reality was....he went to breakfast with his mentor, came home to make supper (which was really nice of him), and after going back to the shop for away, came home "because he just couldn't stand it anymore, Arkansas was playing on TV against 4th ranked Oklahoma" and he really wanted to see the last of it. Now if any of you are words people, I'm sure you can relate to what I was thinking. How can someone remember when every game is on, carry a schedule in their wallet, yet not think to just pick up a stinkin card! This is where I should have stopped and counted my blessings rather than attending the one woman pity party. I should have just put on my "poor RCD'd Allen" glasses and a smile and went to bed. But nooooo....I felt the need to share rather than stuff, that I was a little hurt. That of course led to drama as "I'm sorry" is unpronounceable in Allen's vocabulary. So I slept in the recliner, used up my box of Kleenexes and have a crying hangover today. Should be a lovely anniversary supper out tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thinking ahead to the New Year

One more reason I love this time of year is it is goal setting time. And you know how we list people love that.

Areas to be thinking ahead and planning for this next year?
Time with God-What do you want to study and grow in this year?
Marriage-Add a date night? Spice up the romance?
Kids-Add one on one time? Personal goals.
Home school-Educational goals? Skills?
Housekeeping-This is one I'm working on-Starting the 1st Sunday of the year, I'll be posting a Devotional from A Clean Heart for A Clean Home. Hope some of you will take the Clean Home Challenge with me.
Health-I think the same devotional will also apply with A Clean Heart for a Healthy Body.
Business(s)-Where do we want to grow and expand? Each of the older kids are working on what they want to start with as their own business.
Finances-Where are our shortcomings? How can we make money work for us?
Community-How can we find a way to reach out to our community and what does that look like for this season of life?

I have a lot of goals and am still working on what I would like to see and how to do that. But at the same time realizing that we have to be flexible and know when those will need changing....sometimes weekly.

Love this quote by Robbie Castleman from the book "Parenting in the Pew"
Most people worship their work,
work at their play
and play at their worship.

So as we are setting goals for this next year, looking at the blank slate of your day...I encourage you to add in your quiet time with God 1st. Then fill in the gaps in order by priority. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas for Lovers

Consider giving gifts to your spouse on the Twelve Days of Christmas. Here's a more economical version than the original. Our version includes hugs, kisses, love songs, and other inexpensive tokens of your love for one another.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five chocolate gold coins , four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight tasty cookies , a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, nine hidden love notes, eight tasty cookies, a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ten love songs to play, nine hidden love notes, eight tasty cookies, a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eleven passionate kisses, ten love songs to play, nine hidden love notes, eight tasty cookies, a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve no-chore coupons, eleven passionate kisses, ten love songs to play, nine hidden love notes, eight tasty cookies, a seven minute massage, six candy kisses, five chocolate gold coins, four telephone calls, three nice hugs, two blooming flowers, and a sweet kiss on my forehead.

Today, the true cost of the original Twelve Days gifts would probably be around $60,000.
However, our version costs just a fraction of that - less than $40.

What you need to actually purchase or do on the 12 Days of Christmas:
12 kisses on forehead (1 for 12 days)
22 blooming flowers (2 for 11 days)
30 hugs (3 for 10 days)
36 phone calls (4 for 9 days)
40 chocolate gold coins (5 for 8 days)
42 candy kisses (6 for 7 days)
6 7-minutes massages (1 for 6 days)
40 cookies (8 for 5 days)
36 love notes to hide around the house (9 for 4 days)
30 love songs to play (10 for 3 days)
22 passionate kisses (11 for 2 days)
12 coupons for not having to do a chore around the house (12 for 1 day)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Raining Meat

When I saw today's topic to write about on another site: What's the strangest thing you've ever found in the street? I couldn't help but laugh and realized I hadn't shared this yet.

Last week, I went to retrieve some items out of the outside freezer. There was a package of hamburger in there with a label from a different butcher than all the other meat. I assumed hubby had received it as a tip, which is not that uncommon. I grabbed it up and brought it in to thaw out. As I was cooking supper later that day, Allen comes home and sees I'm frying up hamburger for burritos and asks, "Did you find that extra package of hamburger in the freezer outside?" I told him that was what we were having, and that I hoped it was ok for me to use. He then tells me all excitedly, "I found it in the street outside my shop yesterday." WHAT?! "It should be fine, it was still completely frozen and I had just been outside so it must have fallen off someone's car or something."

Now while, I do love me some free stuff, random meat in the middle of the road is not one of them. When I thawed it out, it was still pink/red inside, it didn't smell funny and the butcher was local, however...it was still from the middle of the street. Allen was the only one who ate the burritos the 1st night and since he survived, he got to eat them the 2nd night in the form of enchiladas. I just couldn't get over the facts of the case to join him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This little light of mine

Sometimes I think that God is surely angry with me, with my faults, with my failures, with my bad decisions. I have to grab those lies quickly and replace them with the truth. The truth is Grace is God's attitude towards us. He does for me what I do not deserve. He does in me what I cannot do in myself. He takes sides with me when He should be standing against me. Do I stand with my husband at the times when in wordly eyes I have every right to stand against him?

Christ's entire life was one of humble submission to the Lord. He could have had a magnificent temple, made of gold and filled with servants. However born in a stable, living as a traveling missionary, He voiced no complaints of His wants or have nots. Yet, how far too often have my own words and actions been lacking in submission to Him and to my husband? How many times have I lost my joy by comparison of what else is out there that I would like to have?

Reading through the Law books in the Bible is not light reading and often times requires a lot of extra research to even know what I'm reading and why it is there. There were a lot of laws in the beginning. There was no Christ with which to receive grace and salvation. Another reason for the laws was to help bring sin to light. How could anyone know they were doing something wrong unless they were instructed that it was wrong? The more we know of God the more we notice our sins. The old saying "ignorance is bliss" could also be "ignorance is death".

Before reading Created to Be His Help Meet, and actually in all honesty, before I was married, I was a much better wife. I say this book is hard to read and not a feel good book, because it shines light on my sins as a wife.

All of Jesus' dealings with sinners was done with grace in His actions and words. How often have my own words and actions been lacking in grace when I'm dealing with the sinners in my own home? A wise friend once told me, we can write it off as a bad mood, but if you had company would you treat them the same way then try to justify it as a bad day?

Thank you Lord for Your Word, Your convictions on our hearts, for shining the light so brightly on our sins that they cannot be hidden in our hearts once we know You, thank you for your examples and instructions on how to live our lives.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Unanswered Prayer

You know that song by Garth Brooks, Unanswered Prayers? It's a country song, but one I have always enjoyed. I am so thankful that God answers our prayers and equally thankful for those He says no to. Even if at the time, it is not what we want the answer to be. We can rest assurred that He has our best in sight. Sometimes our views change quickly and sometimes it is over time that we grow in Him and gain wisdom and look back and wonder why that was ever a prayer to begin with.



The chorus is:
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

If you might be a mom of boys if...

you clean out the frig and find a jar of rollie pollies.

What about you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mojo Monday Challenge

I am newly motivated to make some cards. Maybe it is because I got to spend the day with a bunch of other creative ladies this weekend. Maybe it's because it is one of those wonderful overcast days and staying inside and warm and crafting seems right.

I stumbled across a site with some amazing cards and she had a challenge sketch so this was my inspiration. Visit her site here.

I realize this is the sketch to last Monday, however, I did this Sunday afternoon and am just posting it on Monday. I also realize this is not the best picture. Trust me, it's the best of the bunch. The stamp in the middle is of some acorns and leaves. The ribbon is cream raffia.
Here are some pictures of the weekend workshop. The creative ladies? Trish, Sylvia, Chris, Lynn, Sherri, LeAnne & Jaime. I guess there were around 50 ladies there all together. However my estimating skills stink so there might have been anywhere between 10 and 5000. It was just nice to do some crafts that did not require pipe cleaners for any part of it.


I do not have a picture of Lynn and Sherri. Everyone's loss, they are joy just to see their smiles.

Here are some of the projects we did:

This is a box to hold our cards. We decorated the front and made 6 tabbed inserts for dividing the cards by occasion.



This was just a pretty card. We got to play with the Big Shot this weekend also.


Here is a really unique and beautiful Christmas card. It is Garden Green and Elegant Eggplant.



Here is a little box that holds a test tube that was filled with teddy grahams. I ate some.

This was a fun slider card. I really like the colors together and all the sparkly glitter.

When we paused for lunch, we got our plastic ware and crackers in this cute little gift bag.

While this looks like just a really catchy card, it actually holds 3 pictures inside as a mini picture gift album.


And the last project was this little bookmark. It was a quick and simple gift idea.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

splain this....

How can a grown man pride himself on having such amazing packing skills that he is able to pack an entire home into a single moving truck, yet cannot load a dishwasher.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Power Machine

Questions for the day...
Brian (age 5): Can I use my pocket knife to cut up the carrots for you?
Me: No.
Brian: Can I start the van for you?
Me: No.
Brian: Can I mow the yard for you?
Me: No.
Brian: Can I use the vacuum to pretend like it's a power machine and vacuum the front room for you?
Me: I guess. (This had to be said with a sigh and without a hint of complete satisfaction that my evil plan to raise little cleaning minions was coming into fruition.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Corn feed Venison hmm good

I received this in a email. I didn't write it, although with hunting season fast approaching, I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to share soon.

Roping A Deer...Names have been removed to protect the stupid!

Actual Letter from someone who writes, and farms.

I had this idea that I was going to rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet a way), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up -- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold. The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it...it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no chance.That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals. A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head.

At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope. I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in, so I didn't want the deer to have it suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kindof like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite? They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head --almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts. The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective. It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now) tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing up out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose. That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp. I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -- like a horse strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape. This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run.
The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down. Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope so that they can be somewhat equal to the Prey.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do not fret

But oh how easy it is to say. I woke this morning still sick to the pit of my stomach over a situation that has arisen that is breaking my heart, putting my character on trial and hurting others. I do not understand why this has come upon my life, but it is here. So what now? I feel so void. If I have ever given the impression that just because I post what I'm learning when I'm reading through the Bible that it means I have perfected that area of my life, then forgive me. Most of the time I can post because I feel I have so far to go. I often go back and reread my own notes and think, "Did I write that? I don't remember writing that" or read something that I really needed to hear. I have long prayed that my words would glorify Him and that He would use me. That only He would be glorified. I pray for wisdom, but any wisdom I appear to have is only Him.

I read and study and share because I need Him and His grace so deeply in my life. I share all my shortcomings and failures openly as they will be brought to light someday none the less. I am my own worst judge and enemy.

As I mentioned, Psalms 57 would be my next Chapter to study through. This morning I didn't even want to study it. I thought I would come on here this morning and say that I planned to close my blog as while it has brought me great joy, and I only started it as a way to have a permanent location for my notes and thoughts, and for friends and family to occasionally peek in on us, I never thought anyone would care to read it. However, my words have recently brought pain to others. Maybe this is why Proverbs tells us that a man of many friends comes to ruin and that an incessant talker is a fool. Maybe this is why Titus tells us to not be busybodies and be keepers of the home.

So after many sleepless nights from prayer and confusion, add to that a baby with another ear infection, I sat down and opened my Bible this morning and read through the chapter, studied some commentaries and wrote my notes in my paper journal.

The very 1st verse starts with "Do not fret..." Is that what you Bible says? Probably not, because even though I have a bookmark in Psalms to save my place, it had fallen out and I read through, studied and read through Psalms 37. In my barely enough coffee in my body to start the day mode, and since I didn't pull out my list, had 37 in my mind for some reason. These were the first words I read. "Do not fret...." Maybe it wasn't just a pure mistake. Maybe it was in intentional leading. Isn't that what all of life is. Intentional by Him?

Lord forgive me for forgetting once again that you are bigger than any of my problems. Help me to give this completely over to you and obey you and not fret over this conflict.

And what Psalms 57 really says is "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." So that is where I'll be, to find rest.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Psalms 55

1 Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help!
2 Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
3 My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down.
4 My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me.
5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest!
7 I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.
8 How quickly I would escape— far from this wild storm of hatred.
9 Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city.
10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
11 Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.

12 It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them.
13 Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend.
14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.

15 Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them.
16 But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me.
17 Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me.
19 God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them. For my enemies refuse to change their ways; they do not fear God.
20 As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises.
21 His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!
22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
23 But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting you to save me.

Previous Study of Psalms 55

I plan to study 57 next, anyone else want to join me and compare notes? This post was out of order (according to my list) but wanted to post this Psalms.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bible Study

Our moms group has started up again and our 1st speaker of the year challenged us ladies to have a daily devotional time with God. And the book we are reading, Small Changes For A Better Life, talks on the importance of doing just this. Quiet time with my Lord is something I feel very passionately about today. I thought I would share what I do and how I got to this point.

I didn't just get convicted one day. I like everyone else, had heard how important it was to have a daily quiet time...many times over. Christmas morning 1983, my dad gave me the Thompson Chain reference Bible (I was 12 years old.) I started going through the concordance, looking up the verses in order of the topics A-Z. I wasn't so much interested in learning in depth as just the goal of studying through the Bible, highlighting as I went according to the suggested color codes. This is still my main bible & it is quite colorful.

Over the years I was hit and miss on my consistency depending on where my walk was at the time. When our first child was born I became a stay home mom. I made the decision that I was going to read through the Bible in a year. I would quickly read through my assigned chapters, daydreaming about all I had to do, justifying it that at least I was reading.

Then in 2001 I heard a lady say she had a "Power Hour" with God every morning and it changed her life. An hour??! What in the world was she doing? And honestly I thought I would fall asleep out of boredom! But I couldn't get it out of my head. I wanted growth. True, deep, understanding. A RELATIONSHIP, I wanted more of Him and less of me. So I prayed. And felt like God was prompting me to do that. At first, I would set the timer for 10 minutes just to make sure I hung in there, it was like taking medicine, it had to be done. Then each week I increased the time 10 minutes. It was growing to become a habit, and one that enjoyed. Then once I got up to 1 hour, it was something I needed. Like sweet honey to my soul.

I studied and prayed and listened every morning for an hour. For 3 years. Rarely missing a day. And the days I did miss, I longed for that time. It did mean I had to get up early. For a while it meant that I got up when Allen left for work at 4:30am and then went back to sleep til the kids awoke. It was a path for me and for my heart and God led. I didn't think or feel better or wiser than anyone else. But I did think and feel better and closer to the Lord than I was prior to starting this journey.

I often found myself feeling as if I needed to apologize for my time and consistency to other ladies. honestly felt at times embarrassed when I was used as an example somewhere when others found out I did this. I could feel the stares and felt the tension of me being that stinkin kid that got the A on the test and took away the excuses from everyone with C's. Which was never my intention. I only share this now as an encouragement that when we commit to follow God's plan, He'll meet us.

In 2006 I felt ok with going to 30 minutes every morning and that is what has stuck. At that same time is when our marriage and lives were under such a heavy burden. You would have thought I would have bumped up that time. However, many mornings all I could do was just sit and cry. I believe it was the years prior, the time of sowing that allowed me to continue to harvest and find comfort in a close friend as He carried me.

I thought I would share what I do so that if any of you are like me and just don't know where to start this would give you something to begin with until you find your own direction.

1. Sit quiet in His presence.
2. Pray for the scripture I'm about to read that He will show me what He wants me to take away from it.
3. Read 1 Chapter. What do I read? I have a list. Of course. 2 Old Testament, 1 New Testament, 5 Psalms, 1 Proverb, 1 Gospel. So I work my way through. If you do want to read through the Bible in a year by reading one of each of these a day you can read through the entire bible in a year, Psalms and Proverbs in a month, and the Gospels once every 3 months. I go in order unless I'm needing to finish a certain study or feel convicted to study something specific. It works for me.
4. Study the Chapter, concordance, commentaries, history, Strongs concordance in Greek or Jewish. Ask Why? Who? Where? Parallels? I journal all I'm learning in my private journal and sometimes put the notes on my blog and pray His words will reach out to others.
5. Read the Chapter again.
6. Spend time in prayer. I posted on praying a while back.
7. Contact for prayer follow up. I have prayer card for M-S. If I know of a prayer need I add them to the day of card I found out about the need. Then I pray on that day for the needs on that card. I contact with just a quick email or ecard or somethings a snail mail yet beautifully made card:) to follow up on them.
8. Read a devotional.

Do I complete 1-8 every day? No. If I make it 1-3 one day the next morning I repeat steps 1-2 and then move to 5. This sounds so rigid, but it's what works for me. I have yet to read and study and not learn something from each and every chapter. I'm not even sure who decided the Bible needed to be read in completion every year when it took thousands to write. I personally feel I'm gaining more when I'm understanding what is being said.

I also have sermons and scriptures on tapes. And I put them on in the kitchen to listen to throughout the day when I'm doing dishes for the 5th time. The computer has endless sermons and music for support on those days when nothing goes right. I also use these tools when I have have a newborn or have been up most of the night with a sick child and need that extra sleep in the mornings.

God will use whatever you give Him. Your time will not return void. So I urge you that even if it is just 10 minutes that you have to get up earlier (I say early because of all the times I see of great men and women spending time with God it is in the early morning hours-first fruits) that you will not miss out, but gain greatly.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Creativity

Part of our homeschool studies include the study of a Character Value (just one a month) and this month it is Creativity. I asked the kids to tell someone who is creative and how they are creative. Brian pipes up, "I think daddy is creative because he always finds new ways to be mean."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Psalms 56

Psalms 56

Everyone is largely affected by their fears. Our fears can even be our puppeteer when we give in to them. Even among the professing Christians there is much fear. Many prayer requests that are voiced are fear based. Rather than for the peace, strength, direction, building of character, the beatitudes, the fruits of the spirit, or becoming more like Christ, our prayers are for specific answers to take away the problem. Why do we fear certain situations, circumstances and things so much? If we truly believe that He orchestrated all things to come together for our best, we can stand in peace, eyes closed, looking up and take a deep breathe


I am still striving towards this myself. Allen has been dealing with a Staph infection. It has been difficult to not let fear of the medical bills grip, or the fear of what if he gets worse? It is easy to pray for an answer to what is causing the fear, but I forget at times to pray also for letting the fear itself go. To pray for peace and wisdom and then leave it at His feet and go in confidence.

Different people are susceptible to different levels of fear. Some just naturally are more nervous people. Others have a learned fear. Wyatt, our youngest of 18 months wasn't the least bit bothered by the thunder. Until his older siblings started in with the pretend screaming with each boom. After several times, the little man was so scared he was trembling and no longer trusted me when I would gently coax him that "It's ok."

I read a great book years ago, How To Stop Worrying and Start Living. Another great read...and of course another Dale Carnegie book. He talks about compartmentalizing our fears. Look at it. what is the worst thing that will happen if this fear happens? How will I handle it? What will I do? Then accept it, know the answer and put it in a box and snap on the lid and forget about it until it happens and when it does, you've already thought it through and have some options. That's the short wrap up version of what I took away.

This helps with the logical side of things and in that box, we can throw in another note, that we can trust in God. Fear itself is not a sin, it is what we do with the fear that can be. God understands our fears and there are times when they are legitimate. vs 5 tells us that even David was afraid, and choose to trust God. Vs 3 tells us that when we are afraid we too should be bold to choose to trust in God. So the next time we are faced with fear, instead of going to friends for advise and prayer, we can go in confidence to Him who has the answers and trust that when He tells us, "It's Ok." that it really is.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thank goodness I own a dictionary

Last week sitting at the coffee shop swapping these beautiful cards, me feeling so delighted with how mine turned out, the conversation took a turn for the more intelligent. Several of these ladies are involved in the Library's Book club. What? I didn't know our little library had a book club. And the books these ladies were discussing really had a depth to them. Not that my current reads of Raising Godly Tomatoes, Bringing up Boys and Chris Madden's Personalizing your home, do not offer something uniquely fascinating, but, seriously how much more learning to be better at what I'm already doing can I stomach without expanding my world somewhere.

So I proudly walked to the front desk at the library the next morning and asked to be part of the current book club. I felt....old. I think this is 1st time that I ever thought a book club for just pure enjoyment might be interesting. I've done plenty of book studies, but for the purpose to be a better wife, a better mom, a better Christian. But not one just to learn about the world and hone my knowledge of a whole other world.

The librarian hands me the book and while not huge, just a mere 250 pages, she also tells me the next meeting is Sept 8th. Shocked I say, "As in Sept 2008?" Yikes! I'm the world's slowest reader. I read at the same speed silently as I read out loud! So that gives me a week and a half. That's 26 pages a day. That's 52 minutes a day. Well, I might could swing that late at night.

So night 1 I wake up asleep in the book, on page 7, it's 1:30am. Crud, that means I now have to get in 33 pages a night...(OCD? Ya think?). It's not that it is not interesting, it is. Did you have to read that last sentence again? But the book is "The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo". So since I'm homeschooling my children, you'll be glad to know that 1st, I don't think I've ever read anything by Hemingway and I sure don't know where Kosovo is. I'm guessing Russia at this point.

But I'm looking forward to reading in between watching the Republicans tonight. I'm slowly making my way through this fascinating book.

I pulled out the map and found out that Kosovo is in Albania and Albania is in Europe, boarding Greece, but on the map, it's really not that far from Russia...lol.

I'm also having to read with a dictionary in hand as I was reminded that if the term doesn't revolve around birthing, potty training and caring for your husband, than I'm moving into a new area of vocabulary.

So these are the words so far that I've had to look up:
Sepulchral
muezzin
samovar
Bedlum
Kiosks
Blow and go (well this was in interruption from my husband...he just saw a commercial for some hair product that used the slogan of Blow and go, and he had to come and tell me about, "Sounds like the perfect date..ha ha) I just stared at him. What can you say? Amazing. I wonder why the appeal of an intellectual conversation caught my attention?
copse (not to be confused with corpse)
parochial

Am I the only one who had to look these up?

The book mentions that in Kosovo, chaos is normal. It's part of their life. Why do most of us in America see just daily chaos, the water heater breaking, the car dying making us late, the kids getting sick, as severe problems and gravely irritating when they interrupt our time? Are we just so busy trying to get to the next thing, next task that we don't enjoy any part of the journey?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Snack Time

We had a delicious honeydew for snack time yesterday.

Gabby: Mom I love these!
Me: It IS good isn't it.

Gabby: I like the orange ones too. Next time will you get one of those?
Me: Sure.

Gabby to Brian: The green ones are called honeydew and the orange ones are called Mountian dew.
Me to myself: or cantaloupe

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blog. Check.

I have a love hate relationship with my to do list. I am schedule oriented almost to the point of, well, yes, probably to the point of OCD. I realized that I most likely had a problem when a friend called and wanted to have coffee one Sunday afternoon and asked me to bring my list as she thought that might help her. This is my friend who has been asked to speak many times on her struggles with OCD and the fact that she is on medication and under therapy for it along side her depression. Could they be cause and effect? I've often wondered that myself if I shouldn't be under therapy for many things rather than runny free in society. (no comments)

Allen has long poked fun of me about it, and has hidden my timer many times just to watch me panic. This is a cause of great stress at times when the kids or babies do not follow my schedule. I get frustrated with the house, but I can't stop to sweep the kitchen because we were suppose to be working in Zone 3, not zone 1! God has perfect order in the planets, the seasons the days, so it's ok to strive for order. However, I want to be a fly by the seat of my pants most days and it is so much funner when we can just do and be. But how do I accomplish school and all the tasks that need completed without some sort of direction?

One of the ways I like to wind down at night while Allen is watching Reno 911, Scrubs or something equally entertaining, is I love to tweak my schedule and write lists and read through Mangers of their Home or some organizing book. It's a sickness. We have a kid of the day. There is a list for who's turn it is to go with Daddy next, who goes with mommy next (one on one time) 60 days of menus, who name it there is a list for it. The kids know what section 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in each room. Brian even asked me the other day "What does the list say we are having for snack time?" So now the littles are getting sucked in.

More importantly than the current task in the current time frame, is the relationship and why the task is on the list to begin with. I've had to revise my thought process and the wording on my schedule for reminder of that. There is a book, Professionalizing Motherhood that I would like to recommend if you need help scheduling or would like to see the heart matters of doing so. She talks about not just writing "dishes" on the schedule but writing "wash the dishes so we have clean dishes to enjoy a meal together on." It makes everything appear in a whole new light. Giving softness to my rigidness. Teaching rather than telling.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Invasion of the Bodily Functions

Besides the torrential downpour of rain, all went well with the yard sale, so that project is finished. Stamp club was a lot of fun this past time, I'll post pictures this week.

So this last week was not short on the gross factor.

I was changing Wyatt's diaper, which this child would rather be dirty than lay long enough to politely get his bottom freshened. He was stinkin up the place and when I went to change him, here's his own personal audience of Brian, "I just want to see how much he pooped." Sure why not, chalk that up to a science experiment and hopefully future reference for when you will graciously change your own kids diaper to help your precious wife. Or maybe on your way to being a proctologist. I pull the diaper off and start feverishly wiping this greased pig that is squealing in protest. Brian is dying laughing and I smart off, "If you think it's so funny, you finish wiping him." "OK!" Of course. So now Brian is wiping and still laughing. I tell him, "Brian you have to clean his cheeks off too, not just the crack." Brian is still laughing, but pauses to look at Wyatt then using the same wipe, cleans off the side of Wyatt's face. "BRIAN! STOP IT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Now sober..."you told me to clean his cheeks."

Makensie asked me touch under her arms, after I did, she told me to smell my fingers that she thought her underarms stank. And sure enough, they did.

Then at bath time, I sat down on the mini chair and it was soaking wet. "Gabby, are you suppose to splash in the tub?" "No. I didn't." Thinking, "ok, so... someone must have gotten out of the tub after they were wet or Wyatt splashed." Nope. Gabby informs me, "Wyatt peed on the chair when he was getting in the tub." And it didn't cross your mind to warn me before I sat down??!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spiritual Appetite

After the post yesterday, wanted to follow up on the stoning of the rebellious child and let you know, no children were harmed in the making of that post. And the Jewish tradition claims that the law was never enforced. But God did still state it as a law all the same. God took sin very seriously. And we should do the same.



As those of you who know me, I'm struggling with my weight. But in all honesty it's not my weight that really is a problem, it's my self-control. My weight is just my sin being brought to light. It is the internal character flaws that can no long be hidden because they manifest themselves physically in weight gain. I'm no longer 20, no longer physically active unless it counts that I eat lunch over the sink and chase 4 kids all day. I do not take the time to track my calories, do not spend the money to buy the healthiest foods.



I read that someone that is a glutton in one area is usually out of control in other areas as well. Well, yes. I am a little out of balance in my homemaking...although making great strides as I'm purging like crazy and came across Large Family Logistics and Keeping the Home. I'm a little out of balance in my patience, although making changes of keeping my kids close by, (Raising Godly Tomatoes) has truly changed my perspective. I'm sure there are many more but I'm getting depressed. So that's enough for now. So my next area to find that internally self control and get aligned is my health choices. It's not a one time decision, it's a 4-5 times a day decision. One that we can't just go cold turkey and avoid altogether. But have to face often, daily, for life.



In Deuteronomy one of the words to describe the rebellious child was profligate which when used in Proverbs meant Glutton. This child was given to gluttony of self and his happiness. Obesity comes on in the same way as an alcoholism. One bite or drink at a time.



The offense here is still the rebellion. But it makes sense why gluttony is on the list of the 7 deadly sins. Gluttony can be a symptom or even the cause of other sins in our lives.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Moses says what?

What? Have I never read this before? This is just crazy talk.

I just finished reading Deut 21 and have some brand new arrsonal to quote for the rebellious child. vs 18-23 (shorten for attention spans of course) "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother...they shall take him to the elders a the city gate...and all the men shall stone him to death." Silly me! And here I was feeling like the "meanist mom in the whole world" yesterday for making Brian stand with his arms in the air for time out to get his attention. After he informed me of my new title, he went on to say, "no other mom ever would be this mean and make her kids do this. If you had other kids they would call you chubby for being so mean." I had to leave the room to laugh at this one. Of course making his time even longer. So now that I know it used to be Mosaic law to be stoned for rebellion, well that just takes it to a whole notha level.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Hero!

Here is Brian and his BFF, just a couple of weeks ago, not Halloween. Grandma has blessed him with 6 Spiderman and 1 Hulk outfits she picked up at a sale. It has been a great thing and almost a uniform of sorts for him. I can't help but wonder what passerbyers and the neighbor's think of the people who live "there" with the kid always in the Spiderman outfit.







(Don't be frightened by the dishes in the background, they are part of the kitchen's decorations)




And here they go, trekking to the front yard to save the world.
Brian came into the house rubbing his hands together, "My hands are just sticky enough that I can climb clear to the top of the van! Just like Spiderman!"
Luckily, he later washed the van...using my mop.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Could It Really Be That Easy?

In the book of Acts 3, there is the story of the crippled man that Peter and John tell to get up and walk. I just sat stunned after I read this story this time. Really? It was that easy?

The man had a condition.
The others had compassion.
They voiced confession of Christ and his power to heal.
The man had completeness.

Peter and John didn't lay hands, spend hours in prayer, lighting candles, nothing. It was almost like saying hello. Do we not have the same power of the Holy Spirit in us today as they did then? So does that mean we do not have the same amount of miracles today as they did then because of a lack of faith or unbelief?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There's A Plank In My Eye

In this Chapter of John, the people brought a woman that had committed adultery to be stoned (and just where was the man involved I would like to know!?). I love how Jesus so gently saved her life "Let he that is without sin cast the 1st stone." (John 8:7) Then gently told her to turn from her ways and go. No long sermon to her telling her all the reasons adultery was wrong, didn't yell, "Why did you do this? You knew it was wrong?! How long has this been going on? How could you do this to your Father? You should be grateful that I didn't stone you myself. If I ever catch you again there will be trouble." He didn't so much as sound condescending to her, no judgement, just "go and do the right thing," filled with love towards her. I would love to know what it was that Jesus was writing in the sand.
We live in the land of political correctness and home of the proud. Surrounded by people with "rights", with access to therapy and books for every emotional hurt. But how often do we as Christians revert to scripture to find our paths? To grow in wisdom? To mature to be more Christlike? The Lord wrote this book to be relevant even for today.

The pharisees of the land knew the laws of the Bible; and knew them well. But with all this knowledge pride consumed their hearts. They knew how to pray elegant prayers and have divine inspiration from the Lord, but they did not know how to give grace. Each time they confronted Jesus they weren't listening to his heart, instead they searched for what He would say or do that they would not understand so they would have a reason to stone Him.


Why do we think that our own faults are not magnified when we try to judge others on their faults? Does not my brother get annoyed at me when I'm trying to instruct him? Does it not make him start thinking of all the things I do wrong? This judgement of Christ brought the pharisees sin of pride to light. Judge not lest you be judged. Matt 7:1


The kids and I are currently going through a study by doorposts, The Brother Offended. I needed to know how to cut down on the tattling, as it only seemed to bring more distance. Me being judge and trying to help them work things through, trying to be 100% fair as often as possible seemed to make it worse. (I'm telling you, I have no idea what I'm doing.)

One of the sections is to help discover the plank in our own eye. Are we easily provoked? easily offended? Are you loving deeply to cover the sin? Are we being honorable to forgive and forget a wrong? Are we only looking at our own best interest? Do we have an attitude of Christ? Are we devoted to put others above ourselves? Are we repaying evil with evil? Only confronting to bring justice to ourselves? Are you overcoming evil with good? Lots of hard questions.

The splinter in a brothers eye may be painful, something he is struggling to remove, distracting him from life. Yet how often do we come barging in the room with a plank sticking out our own eye as if coming to the rescue? The plank knocking over lamps, hitting our brother in the head, all the while we insist on "helping them". Telling him what he ought to do, how he needs to do it. As we are filled with our sense of spiritual superiority. How can we see the small sin accurately in someone else's life and give instructions when we have sin in our own lives?

Gabby accidentally kicked Brian in the eye Sunday night (they were on the trampoline) and he got a little black eye. I looked into his eye, but all that I could see looked good. But to be honest, I didn't really know what I was looking for...basically for there just to be an eye. When we went to the Optometrist the next day, she was the expert, she had special machines and training. All was fine. Those little vessels I was concerned about, were nothing. I was other exaggerating what they might mean. The expert who can identify and convict of sins is Christ. satan is the father of lies, he loves to provoke us, Not us.


Several years ago, I was really struggling with a hurt that someone had wronged me with. It kept me up at night, mauling over the thought, repeating the words and the scenario. We are talking several months after the fact. You would have thought I had just found out I was dying. I didn't know whether to defend myself? Say something? I wanted them to know just how much I was hurt. One night in the early morning hours I woke crying and praying for God to touch the situation, help me. I felt almost shaken as the thought came over me "Let it go. It doesn't matter. Someday they will know the hurt they caused because I will deal with it. And just as they will know in Heaven, when you get to Heaven, it won't matter any longer." I felt so much release. A little chastised maybe. But convicted at that point, that it really doesn't matter. And that situation has healed itself. Do I ever want to bring it up to them? No. I want to cover it in love and protect them from knowing they caused me pain. Does this mean that no one ever mistakenly says something or does something that hurts? No. Could I have gently went to my brother to confront them of the hurt they caused me? Yes. But, life is full of different interpretations, lack of understanding will happen. (I just wish I was better at doing this with my hubby and I'm sure he wishes so even more!)


When we as Christians disagree with each other, even in a situation where one is wrong, is a stone the answer? What if we are the one who is right? Don't we have the right to correct? Sure. But why and when should we? What of it will come? If it isn't an ongoing problem, are we only being blinded by our own self righteousness and will that in turn injure and cause damage? It happens with my kids. There are times that I know the heart of the child and know that what was done was not her heart. She is not characterized by one action. So is it for me to discourage her by pointing simple wrongs, rare mistakes? Not all wrongs are sinful. Some splinters aren't real, only perceived.


What do we do when those stones are thrown at us? We can stand up and yell and throw it back, or we can start gathering those stones to build a stronger house for the Lord. To be meek in return. To be gentle unto all men, to bear with love. Eph 4:2 Forbear one another in love with lowliness, meekness, and long suffering. And fortunately for you all, I take my vitamins, so you will have plenty of opportunities to practice your long suffering with me. :)


In the end, the man with a splinter of sin in his eye is accountable to God and only to God, never to us. Even if we are the one who was wronged. I pray for a heart that seeks Him. I pray for wisdom in encouraging others, I pray for forgives from those I have hurt, I pray in thanks for those who have covered my wrongs unbeknownst to me with their love.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So how do you keep glasses on a 2 year old?

Yesterday morning was the annual eye dr appointment for the 4 kids. Not to be done again. Not only was the 2 1/2 hour ordeal longer than their patience, I also found myself more annoyed with the dr's assistant as she was condescending from the beginning. Which is why when she was later talking with another secretary about she didn't understand why her friend had avoided her all weekend, I wanted to pipe up, "because your people skills stink!" Ugh. I have just had a run in lately with too many people that I have no idea how they have made it this far in life without ever having someone throw the book, "How to win friends and influence people!" at their head. (This was not a suggestion from the book).

Ok, better now. So anyhow, Wyatt's is very farsighted, which explains the drunken stagger he has at times going down steps and the reason for him not quite rounding the corners without running right into things. The poor baby isn't clumsy, he just can't see well. We take him back in 6 months to have another look and see if there are any changes, but if no improvement, we are going to start him with glasses. I wasn't surprised as I'm pretty much legally blind myself, however I'm near sighted and was surprised to hear he was the opposite. Thank God for allowing us the technology for correcting our sight. Can you imagine back in the Bible days? I can't stand to not see. In fact, the night of the bad tornado here, we woke up to the sirens going off and rather than me running for the safety of the cubbie hole in an attempt to save my life, I ran to the kitchen for my purse to get my glasses.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Like Father Like Son

I had gone upstairs to do our monthly thorough cleaning of the playroom and kids rooms. They have been responsible for doing this themselves and I have to admit I had slacked greatly in doing complete room checks. Thinking they were old enough, they knew what was expected. Just quickly looking around for major problems when we were headed to bed, and would "get it clean tomorrow". So as mess attracts mess, it soon grew out of control and I just couldn't take it any longer. So 3 hours later we had completed the playroom and 1/2 of Makensie's room. The play room wasn't that bad, just some play kitchen food and a couple of books left on the floor...except for 3 large trash bags I found stashed in the closet. What do we have here? Oh wonderful. It's everything that had been on the floor when Gabby had to clean her room last week. This child of mine is a bigger pack rat than me. She has the same, "but I might be able to use that somewhere someday" syndrome. And since she was at Grandma's this week, I was able to purge some items I've seen her digging out of the trash in times before. There were those plastic Easter Eggs you fill, broken crayons (because we don't have enough already?), empty lip gloss containers, every single picture she has colored out of coloring books, about 100 fashion plate dolls on dozen of now crumpled up papers, clean clothes, dirty clothes, shoes, Polly pockets, shells, rocks, her hanging light, part of her wall shelf, (were you redecorating?) empty cups, 3 pair of scissors (and yet you never know where my scissors have gone), notebooks, barbies, some of Brian's Hot Wheels, and about 20 hangers. I love this artistic little thing so much. She would much rather be coloring or creating than cleaning, and who wouldn't?

Makensie's room wasn't so great. In in the words of Brian, "This place is a dump!" Makensie obviously offended says, "That's not very nice." Brian explains, "Well, I have to act like daddy for 7 days so I can get my Griffin Glass stuff back." Nice, and yet I have hopes that my kids will grow to be civil with Allen as their dad? (Prov 10:5-he was lazy with something and was stripped of something that he was proud of). Makensie's vanity was covered in "special things", drawers full of outgrown clothes (am I the only one impressed with the tote in each closet to put clothes and toys in that you no longer want? I thought it was a great idea!) But this like quiet creature had been using underneath her bed as a 5th drawer and the alcoves and bottoms of her closets to acquire her dirty laundry. (Don't worry, we can use that hamper as a vase! Don't we all gather ALL our dirty clothes and All our hangers EVERYDAY?) It's on the room chores schedule and I remind them all and see them all bringing armfuls to the laundry room. Why bring some and not all? Why take a shirt off the hanger and leave it hanging? To get to know the other lonely hangers already left behind?

I just don't understand how they can make as big of messes as they do with the little amount of time they spend upstairs. Our next home will be all one level. From the time they get up they come downstairs. They drag some toys with them and they want to be in the kitchen at the counter, or table...close range of momma. While tiring at times and I've heard myself saying many times over..."Why don't you go play in your rooms? Don't you like your toys? Do you know how lucky you are to have your own room and a playroom?" And off they head for, 20 minutes? Then quilt sinks in for me scurrying them off. We have a nice schedule going so they don't have free time all day long and we have quiet time for them to be alone.

I just have to be more disciplined to check daily as to whether the clean laundry was put away, or dropped on the floor at the foot of the bed, if the clothes were hung up or just put in the closet. I don't like discipline, but enjoy new consequences. I have long said that proverbs has most the answers in the Bible for ways to discipline that are rememberable. So...Pro 13:4, we have a "Buy Back Box". For each chore the kids complete they earn 1-3 rocks. Empty Dishwasher: 3, take out the recycling: 1, etc. Each time I pick up something of theirs, if it is damaged from lack of care, I charge them a rock and toss it. If it is still in good condition, I fine them a rock for me picking it up and they have to buy it from me (with a rock). Know what I found? Most of the items that go into the BBB never leave. They just are worth the rock to get them back, so once the box is full it moves to the yard sale corner. I need to be better at rewarding good character rather than just correcting the poor. So my goal is to take better notes and make sure that our Family Feast is one full of rewards and recognition for what good did come. Also Prov 13:4.

I am so thankful that in spite of all my mistakes, my kids would rather sit playing at my feet to be close than choose to hide out in their rooms by themselves.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ministry of Mediocrity

That's me.

Last night as after supper, as I was sweeping up what I'm sure was more food on the floor than what found it's way into the baby's belly, I caught a glimpse of the stack of paperwork waiting for me, the school papers not filed and the attendance sheets and logs from the day still waiting for me to fill out, laundry waiting to be folded, beds needing sheets put back on,...I was grateful to hear a program on Focus on the Family. I have to admit I was somewhat bored as it was on the something about the 1st year after having a baby is the hardest and the young mom was sharing her thoughts and talking about her book.

Not only disappointed thinking I may never finish my book, and when I do, will I personally be stuck with the 1999 of 2000 copies that don't sell? I disagreed somewhat with the mom...how hard is a baby that sleeps most of the time, is happily entertained in the playpen with a box and some Tupperware and gives you justification for not leaving the house, putting on makeup...or a bra, to have a messy house because you were too busy snuggling a newborn every second you could, use paper plates and the microwave meals, and being able to nap every afternoon? But that's just my thoughts now that my toddler is all over the place pulling out toys, not verbal enough to express himself in ways other than crying, whining, hitting...all of which are not only annoying, require little training sessions. Yesterday, I caught the monkey climbing on top of the coffee table than jumping onto the recliner.

But this mom said one line that changed my night. "The ministry of mediocrity. Women want to know they are not alone." THAT'S ME! That's what I have been doing for years. I think this is why I was asked to speak most times in the past because I'm really not any better than any other woman. My goal is to give hope that if I can do this, well, than just about anyone can. You will not be getting advise from me on how to make your own yogurt, with milk you collected from a goat, use cloth diapers that you hand sewed which were washed in homemade detergent. You won't hear me sharing how with 4 little ones and homeschooling and Allen's business that we make it through flylady's check list daily and House Beautiful called wants to do a spread. I just don't have it all together. I lack in patience at times and in wisdom how how to handle my kids, I get worn out and discouraged with my husband, our finances keep us on edge, I don't exercise daily, eat my suggested fruits and veggies or drink 8 glasses of water (can't fit it in with all the coffee).

And I was OK with the fact that I was no one special for some time. I used to live in a little bubble that thought everyone loved me and would be excited I showed up.

Do you watch the Olympics? I enjoy the high jump, watching it that is. Where they run and somehow catapult themselves over the bar, just barely making it, arching perfectly, then if they clear the bar, they land on the other side softly, with victory for all others just to try to make it to be on the high achievers side. I always cringe, covering my eyes and peeking through my fingers, don't know what good that does, but it seems to take the edge off, all the while gritting my teeth and thinking, they aren't going to make it....

In my own life I have an invisible bar. A bar I focus on far too often. If I read a book about all the wonderful things a home school mom does and should be doing, hear a Christian program on how an amazing wife treats her hubby, or find out that one mom grinds from wheat and makes her own bread, another mom has the gift of hospitality and blesses others often. I have a knack for grabbing hold of the things others do best and wanting to smash them all into my own resume. Then suddenly it seemed as if my bar were no longer a goal only a couple of inches higher, and that if I could just s-t-r-e-t-c-h, a little, m-o-r-e...but that one day I woke up and felt a hopelessness that the jump would be impossible for me to ever make. It was just too high. Who raised the bar that high? Honestly, it was not that someone raised it a couple of feet all at one time, but rather it was my lack of focus. While sitting complacent on the sidelines waiting my turn to jump, I got sidetracked with the fans, the 1/2 time show, the concessions, other competitors, decided to wander around and tryout a couple other events just to see. I had missed my turns. Then when I got back in line, I realized I was not ready to jump, I hadn't been practicing, I had grown complacent with my abilities. I had only shown up to compete and would be going home in defeat.

There is a difference between being mediocre and complacent.

Complacency Definition:
1. a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

Mediocrity Definition:
1. averageness: a quality that is adequate or acceptable, but not very good.
2. mediocre person: somebody who lacks any special skill or flair

A common man, unperfectedness, a whippersnapper (this was actually in the thesaurus as a substitution and here I thought it was just a southern word)

There is a wide range of mediocrity. And that definition of what is average changes in the circle of life you find yourself in. When I'm surround by new moms, I'm considered an expert jumper, I've been there and lived through it 4 times now. When I'm among my peers and close friends I'm in the mediocre stage. Most of us are practicing on the same bar height. And then there are "those women". Those ladies that we come in contact with that seem to have a natural talent for getting it all done, have wisdom flowing from every word, terrific kids, beautiful homes, being all things and lacking in nothing (at least from the windows I'm peeking through). These are the ladies most of us other mediocre moms run to for coaching, look up to. We are inspired and awestruck with the talents they have which we are tyring to attain ourselves.

But then it happens, we start to compare ourselves. Without any thought of how far we've come, without any thought of their natural gifts. And the pendulum swings from complacency to self condemnation. We are called to only have to answer to our Father as the judge, yet we often as women take on that role to judge ourselves far too harshly. Condemnation comes from satan. Is it written how quickly we are suppose to have it all together? What of the woman who is a new jumper for Christ? Is her bar to be as high as a older woman? Is she to be judged and criticized for not having a natural talent to jump easily and as high as others who have been practicing as long? Is she not of value because it takes her longer to get to the bar?

The object of the high jump is to approach the bar, jump and get the body over the bar starting with the arms and head followed by the rest, clearing the bar.

So how in the world do we clear the bar? Run head straight at it as fast as we can? If we do, the law of physics says we will go straight up and the law of gravity says we will come straight back down. Do we run from an angle, coming along side as fast as possible? Almost trying to sneak up on and trick the bar? If we do manage to clear the bar, we'll miss our landing, on the mat landing is also a good goal. Did you know however, that the plan to get over the bar is not by focusing on the bar and trying to jump over it, but by turning your back square to the bar and concentrating on the preparation and to jump up?

The jumper runs at the bar at a 45' angle, giving him a full view of his goal. The approach speed in individualized. There is no such thing as the perfect speed. Some will run quickly, some slowly with a bounce, but none at their full speed, otherwise their gather will be ineffective. Then just as he is approaching he curves his approach and gathers the body, crouching and digging into his strength, in anticipation of the jump. He plants his feet and pivots his foot. If he plants too soon, he will go under the bar. This helps the body rotate, turning his back to the bar and gives momentum which will carry the body over the bar and onto the mat. The jumper doesn't have to worry about jumping over the bar, the body is going to go that way no matter what because the approach he took. With the correct foot work, all the jumper has to worry about is jumping vertically. The body will sail over and the jumper kicks up his heals for the final clear and then brings him down safely on the mat. Now he is ready and able to start training for the next higher jump.

When we concentrate our efforts not on trying to be great moms, but rather to be consistent in training our kids. Do not focus on a clean home but on being a good steward of our possessions. Not looking to be the star, but focusing our efforts to do all we can to jump vertically towards God, then the preparations we've made thrust us over.

And where do you start training? By Picking up a pole and going for it? Only if you like the flat landing approach. Little steps, little hops at a time. We may feel silly and self-conscious as we are hopping around just trying to catch our rhythm, to get a feel for what it is we are suppose to be doing. But without the proper foot work there is no successful jump. At first we must keep the bar low, just a little higher than the mat, landing on the bar under your shoulder blades for the 1st couple of times of failure can really hurt and discourage a potential star.

It is within each defeat that we find either the fear of failure or the humility to try again. It is within each victory that we find either the pride to sit complacent or gain the confidence to raise the bar. To set a new goal to for which to start training.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dirty Mouth?

During handwriting Makensie was writing the word sheep. She says, "I'm can't believe I have to write this."

"Why?" I asked

"This is a bad word. Like when daddy gets really mad sometimes and he says, Holy Sheep"

Friday, August 01, 2008

Friends

One of my sisters is just the most thoughtful of women. She is always dropping a card in the mail, getting little gifts for the kids, sending flowers to someone, checking on others. When I visit her you can just tell people love her. She has long been giving and considerate. I admire this about her greatly. I wish I was more thoughtful about what would really touch or be a blessing to others. Is that the gift of giving? helps? service?





Proverbs 17:17-A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.





I have always felt that I can go to any of my family during times of adversity and especially my sister. I thank the Lord for her being part of my life. I want to strive to be a bigger blessing to others, I hope that my "sewing kit" of gifts will help to mend someone else's life at the right time.



I would say I have quite the blessing to have both of my sisters as close friends.

So glad I just washed your hair

Brian in the bath: mom do you want to see how big I can splash?
Me: Not really
Brian: Ok. But if you want to see me splash water on the ceiling again, let me know and I'll show you how I did it.
-------------------------------------
Me sniffing Brian's hair after bathtime: Brian what is that green stuff in your hair?
Brian: Mouthwash
Me: Why?
Brian: To make it smell minty.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

No Accidents

So Wyatt had took a little fall last night and bit through his front lip. I didn't panic but almost passed out from all the blood on my baby and all over my shoulders. But before I got off the phone with the nurse he was dancing around the front room with Allen as if nothing had happened.

One of the books I'm slowly rereading is The Purpose Driven Life. I found 2 passages this morning in a chapter that hit home. One for a friend, one for me. Thought I'd share and maybe they are for someone else too.

Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!"

God also panned where you'd be born and where you'd live for his purpose. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. "From one man he made every nation,...and determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It's all for a purpose. God's purpose took into account human error and even sin. God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything.

---Purpose Driven Life (Chapter 2)

There you go raising the bar

So here's a little quip out of my other current bathroom book. Sometimes I can make an entire page before someone starts yelling..."mom! Where are you at?!"
"What does it mean to be Christlike? Christlikeness expresses itself in a tenderness and mercy that forgive sin and in a strength and boldness that pursues the offender regardless of the cost or the risk. It means being willing to submit ourselves to suffering, even death, for our spouses. It means remaining committed in spite of conflict within the marriage."
---Intimate Allies, Dan Allender and Tremper Longman

This was a friends question/response to the quote:
I've always had trouble understanding what God wants us to do in the case of "love the sinner, hate the sin". (Maybe a little of the subject, but slightly on, ok? :P) That part is obvious, but then what do we do? Do we overlook the sin until God opens a window for us to express our views? Do we love the sinner from afar?...so as not to be tempted or to be confused w/ compromising? (I cannot think of the word I'm thinking of here...what's it called when you actually make it easier for someone to continue in their sin b/c you go along with it? The opposite of tough love, kinda...??...grrr, hate it when I do that...)

I know this is talking about marriages, but 'to be Christlike' goes beyond that, so I'm just broadening it a bit...ok, a lot. I battle from w/in telling myself that it's not my place to convict. My mom feels it IS her place. So that's where I get it, but it comes off judgemental...and you see it all the time around here. Anyway, just thinking outloud.....


This was my response to her:
Family Life had a great program on just this thing the other night. I have tried to follow the "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." If you don't have a relationship and try to convict or set them straight, it rarely comes across as caring and further separates. If you have a relationship with someone and can come in a caring way we are suppose to confront our brothers in Christ, after prayerful consideration as to what it is Christ wants us to say. We all make rash decisions at times, but when we are at His feet, He'll lead us and sometimes that requires an apology on our part. But we are not to be their Holy Spirit trying to convict them as it will only come from Christ, we are not to be always judging. It's kind of like our kids, we can find empathy with their faults by coming along side and saying, here is an area I see you are struggling with...I too am a fallen creature with plenty of my own faults...iron sharpens iron. We can give answers when asked for counsel. Once again after prayer. Am I rambling?
Jesus loved people and ate among the sinners but they weren't in His inner circle of fellowship. His 12 disciplines.

I saw something last week that I felt was out of line for a christian to have done and expressed why I felt a gentler approach would have been better. Then the group owner of the Christian group called my thinking lunacy. I checked out her previous posts and found her gravely lacking in grace. This was just sad to me. She is in a position of being able to mentor other younger women and yet has an air of pride about other moms that have kids that act out. There was so much condemnation that if I was a non christian would never try to build a friendship with her. And that is part of why we are here...to reach out to the lost and court them so to speak with love to come closer to their bridegroom. To have a small taste of the sweet honey He offers with His own love and mercy and forgiveness. Attract more flies with honey, salt the oats....you know.

There is also the time when you need to turn and only continue to pray for those who have a hardened heart. God turned his back on people and nations because of their actions, sometimes for years. And if we can see that we need to distance ourselves after we have given our best effort and feel released, that still doesn't give us the right to be judgemental and feel as if we are better, but we should have a broken heart for those who are lost.

This life is not about us, our "rights", our feelings.

Is this anywhere close to what you are asking?

James 4:11
Rom 14:13-Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Rom 14:3-5 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. ...Each man should be fully convinced in his own mind.
Gal 6:1-restore with meekness.
1 Thes 5:11-
Matt 5:7
Roma 2:1
Matt 7:1-2
Jn 7:24
Prov 18:17
1 Cor 4:3
Eph 4:2
Prov 14:21
Matt 18:15-16-17
Prov 11:17
Matt 20:1-16
Lk 5:29-30
Num 14:1-4
1 Sam 24:10-17
Lk 23:34
1 Cor 16:14

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Schools back from Summer

We started school back up officially last Monday after taking time off. It is just so hot outside, our upstairs airconditioner is broke and my van has been a little chosey as to if and when it is going to start. So if I'm going to be entertaining them and they have to be inside then they might as well be learning. We are using a plethora of different things. As a friend said, "There are too many good options out there to be pinned down to just one." So what is on our book shelves? The main one is Charlotte Mason. I have long been a lone ranger to not go the traditional route of starting our kids our with formal school at age 4-5 so that we have the smartest kids. It is a little scary at times, but have felt the need to train them and allow their little minds and bodies time to mature to start "actual schooling". The Moore's Institue recommends that that age is anywhere from 8-10 or possibly even age 12 for some. In the past we have done a lot of hands on "living" school and bible studies. This will continue every where I can. I did a little test with Brian on his math and although he hasn't had any formal school yet, he was at the 1st grade level of math. He can't sing the ABC's perfectly but he can read quite a few words. We have a little Konos, a little Danielle's place, a little Abeka, a little sonlight, Animals A-Z unit studies, English from the Roots, Italic Handwriting, Phonics, Polished cornerstones for the girls, Plants grown up for the boys, Instructions in Righteousness, Managers of the Home (gifted to me just today from a friend...yeah! What a blessing. I have long wanted this book but after a run of expensive breakdown items this week, I knew it was going to have to wait), online unlimited options, our bookshelves are overflowing, the library, museums, nature, life, lots of good stuff.

There is nothing like getting new books and markers and crayons and notebooks to revive an excitement to learn more. We have our basic course to follow and then the other gets added in. We attempt to school year round which also gives me more freedom when I can take off and what we can cover. I'll have 3 this year...although Gabby and Brian are still in their maturing growing stage.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hear My Cry O Lord

Psalms 55

I have to admit I have been hunkered down in my little cave for some time now. Feeling as if I could hide forever, never to venture out to face the world with all my failures and nakedness. Not having the strength to take one more hit of hurt. I have felt that if I did disappear, would the hole I left be much like the hole left when I take my hand out of the sink of water? Or would life as everyone knows it just close back in and the ripples quickly subside and where I once held a place instantly fill and the imprint lost?

This Psalm is such a powerful one for me when I get to that black hole in my life where from nothing else by weary exhaustion of feeling like I'm doing all I can and giving my best, it just isn't going to be enough. This is the Psalm I'm drawn back to. When I'm hiding and crying in my cave, hiding from my enemies, it is in that darkness and quietness when there is noone to call out to but Him.

In the scriptures here was David. Chased, mocked, attacked, ridiculed, running, hiding, lost. I also think of Christ. How exhausted He must have been in those last days, trying so hard to reach the masses and while the numbers grew, all was closing in. The time was coming for Him to have to drag his cross. He bore far more weight and pain physically, emotionally, spiritually then I couldn't even being to understand. So of course if the King of all Kings and David the chosen King for God's Chosen people had to face heartache than there is certainty that I too will at times be in dark places.

David wanted to fly away and be at rest far from his enemies, far from his problems. I understand that. There are times I think, I could just sleep all day, be in my own world, just wake me up when enough time has passed that the problems will have drifted by. But with 4 little ones...sleep is not always possible...even at night.

vs 12-14 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God." This is where the heart of the most painful of hurts comes for David. These foes had once been his friends. Yesterday I was blessed with getting to spend some precious time with a friend and we talked about how that sting of friends acting as foes hurts so much worse. Those times in my life that I can think of where I felt most defeated and those are those times when my friends acted as my own enemies. I think this is why the NT instructs when to not gossip, not be busy bodies and not be chattering fools. These are the times when I want to close off my world except to my protective circle of 12 ladies and my family. To just hide and not be vulnerable, to not put myself in harms way, to not be a voice...to be invisible. Yet I'm to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim His glory.

And there is victory and glory coming. For God is sovereign and we can turn to Him. He is waiting for us to call out to be picked up. Life is not unfolding around us by randomness or by the hand of the evil one. God is orchestrating and using lives of those who do not believe, using the events that cause us pain and worry using friends that act as foes as part of His comprehensive plan for the universe.

I Peter5:6-7 Humble yourself under God's mighty hand that in due time He will lift you up. When worry comes we can cast that worry off by praying to God. When heartache comes we can find some relief and true agape love in Him.

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything. But with prayer and petition with thanksgiving , present your requests to God, which transcends all understanding, and he will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.

It is imporssibe to not worry unless we have faith and faith comes from hearing the word of God and hearing Him speak to us through the Bible.

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