Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Dirty Job

There is this show on television that my husband just loves called Dirty Jobs. I hate it- it's disgusting and totally a "man thing". So anyway, I was going about today, doing my motherly duties and it hit me. MY job is a 'dirty job'. At least for today. For the millionth time, my kids have the stomach bug in one form or another. It's disgusting. Jacob has the bottom end and it's EVERYWHERE. Because of my lovely OCD, he must have had 5 baths yesterday (trust me... he NEEDED them.) But I wonder if his tummy problem isn't really more related to food allergies. I am going to try to wait it out and see. Then there's my other awesome son. He came into our room the other night at 3:30 and laid it all out... on my bathroom floor. That's right. There's nothing like the permeating smell of vomit to get you moving at 3:30 in the morning. So I wondered if I didn't clean well enough the last time we had the bug, but seriously- I bleached and scrubbed and disinfected EVERYTHING a couple of weeks ago when everyone in the world was sick. So, maybe it's this random new strand of the bug that, once it seems to have gone, really gets a kick out of suprising you about a week later. That may be more the case. I have heard of several families this past week who have had just that scenario... so maybe.

Either way, it's nasty. I have had enough cleaning and scrubbing and bleaching and disinfecting to last me a lifetime... but I know it's not over. Argh... and gag! Well, like the saying goes it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. And honestly, I don't think I would want anyone else to do it but me. :) I love these angels and I love cleaning up after them... noseplugs and all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All Grown Up...

Well, we knew it had to happen sometime. I was just sitting in Trinity's room with her and she was reading to me. You read that correctly- SHE was reading to ME. What the heck? When did she grow up? And then a few days ago, we realized our Timothy is now fully potty trained- that's right- no more pull ups! The impossible has now become the possible and my babies have become children. At least I still have one baby- who knows what his next big accomplishment will be? I am still dumbfounded with the week we have had. I really truly thought I would be changing Timothy's diapers long after he started school, but no more. No more pull ups! No more wondering if my little boy will ever be able to accomplish this feat. I am overwhelmed with excitement and with gratitude.

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I prayed last week for complete healing for my son. I prayed he would be healed of what ever seemed to be wrong with him. I prayed God would work in his little mind and in his little body and completely heal him so that he could become the man God created him to be. After the prayer service- I think the next day, my son "pooped" in the potty for the first time and has not had one accident since then (completely not normal for him) This is huge for me- for us. The timing is such and he is showing so many signs of improvement that I cannot help but see God in such a big way. I see God's hand all over him and I am just completely humbled by His power, by His healing touch. I am amazed and excited to see what happens next with my little man.

So ya, it's been a week- but a good one. My little girl has a phenomenal capacity for learning and has just astounded me with her accomplishments. Jacob and Timothy are not far behind her. How exciting to be able to be here with them, watching them grow and learn and become little people- little independant people. What a blessing! This season I have so many reasons to be thankful but right now I am most thankful for my little angels and everything they are becoming day by day. Praise God, oh praise Him!

Monday, November 3, 2008

An Epiphony

And then lightning struck my brain:

"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So it hit me. If I spent more time praying- like about EVERYTHING, then I wouldn't feel the need to share nearly as much because I would have layed it at Christ's feet and not be carrying this burden. I wouldn't be so "weighed down" emotionally that I always felt the need to tell everyone every last detail of my life. I would feel joyful because I would know that at the foot of the cross is where I laid all my burdens down- and then I would want to pray some more... and it would be this cycle. And then my instinct would be to pray, rather than to share and to ask for prayer.

Hmmmmm.... could it really be that I am growing up?

Purging... cleansing... sharpening

A good friend of mine had a talk with me today- it was about some areas I need to grow in. None of them was really news to me, but not any easier to hear. It was a rough conversation and I am not sure how I reacted. I know God is growing me and trying to purge everything in my life that is not of Him. I appreciate that and I accept this purge. It just hurts. I have to learn how to be less vocal, less opinionated (or at least keep them to my self). I have to learn how to think and pray before i speak. I have to learn to stop over sharing and just use wisdom and discernment to tell me when enough is enough. I need to maintain an attitude of prayer and stop putting my needs out there for everyone. I should just trust God and my husband with most of them and keep some things sacred.

All of these things I have thought several times before, but my friend- who has often been iron to me, to help sharpen me and encourage me, trusted God and came to me with these things hoping and trusting that they would be well received out of her heart of love. I appreciate it. I love that God has used her to encourage growth and a deeper level of intimacy with Him. I just hadn't realized how offensive or annoying some of these traits can be to others and now I realize there is so much work to be done in me. Not that I ever thought or assumed I had it all together- I just had no clue because... truth be told... I have kept a distance from God because secretly I was a little depressed about everything. So while maintaining a healthy attitude on the outside, I was really hurting on the inside and perhaps my means of expressing that was to just vent to everyone, everyone but God.

So, ya, I'd say I have a lot to work on, starting with surrendering this "control" I like to pretend I have, and putting back in God's hands, where it truly belongs. What a scary place this world would be if we all had control... thank God that He is King and He reigns!

Friday, October 17, 2008

4 women... 2 hours... 1 amazing God.

So last night we had the first official women's prayer night. It wasn't a time for fellowship. It wasn't a time for getting to know others or for mingling. This was a time where we planned to join together in prayer for a time to petition God on behalf of our nation, our church, our families, and our friends. There were only four of us, but in retrospect, there were FOUR of us!!! Praise God! What I thought would last thirty minutes ended up lasting nearly two hours! I have NEVER prayed for nearly two hours before. I just don't normally focus well enough to be able to. But last night was so sweet, so precious. There were times that were more emotional than others, but it was absolutely perfect! I was a little intimidated because I am not normally comfortable praying aloud (for fear, I guess, of sounding stupid). But last night we all prayed out loud, and I know God was there. It was beautiful. It was amazing and I cannot wait to do it again. It shall be titled: 3rd Thursday. So next month, 3rd Thursday, see you there. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Overwhelmed...

So I have a grandmother that is going through the "fun times" of dimensia. She literally has probably only 20% of her day where she is lucid (meaning where she actually knows what is going on). I called her a while ago and she had no idea who I was and then asked me if I was coming to the funeral (referring to her own funeral). I told her I would come and she said, in a happy sort of way, "Okay good honey, well I'll see you then. Love you!" And then she hung up the phone. I wonder who suffers more when a family member goes through dimensia. Is it the person who is ill- do they really duffer? I mean half the time they are in their favorite places with their favorite people- so are they really sufferring or is it the family? We are all selfish and want to keep her with us here on earth- all the while hurting deeply because this person on the other end of the phone is no longer my grandmother- this is some child that barely knows who I am and always tells me her granddaughter is on the way to visit.

Talk about difficult. On top of this, I have a special needs child- and we are not exactly sure what his special need is, or if it's just a combination of things, but whatever it is, it's getting more and more frustrating to be his mom.... sometimes. Other times I am filled with this overwhelming love and affection and adoration for this precious, hillarious creature that God has blessed me with.

My mind is a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, feelings. Perhaps I am hormonal or perhaps I am just not doing very well with the whole surrendering thing. All I know is I am overwhelmed- and what I mentioned here doesn't even scratch the surface of what is going on in my mind. What a day... I am going to run.

Prayer Nights...

So I am starting a prayer night. I am NOT comfortable praying in front of others outloud... so I am starting a prayer night. Actually, I have been feeling this overwhelming feeling of a community-wide spiritual attack. I have felt it in our family and have seen it affect the lives of so many to the point where I realized we can no longr just sit back and watch it happen- we have to fight back. I am not sure how many people will come the first night (Thursday) or how long it will last. All I know for sure is there will at least be three of us and probably lots of uncomfortable silence as we approach the throne of God on behalf of our families, our community, our nation, and our world.

So keep me in your prayers. Keep Thursday in your prayers and if you can't be there to pray with us, join us in spirit. I cannot wait to see what happens when we pray and when God's power is unleashed. Thank you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And We're Back!

So after a couple of weeks without power (no cable, no Internet... no distractions) we're back! Everything starts fresh today. We had the cable guy come out and fix everything that was awesomely messed up with our lines and now we have full Internet again so I can post away. In the mean time- while we did not have power, some very interesting and awesome things took place that I'd like to share here... and then I seriously need to get back to housework while I have no children. Yes, it's true- that disease is back- the one where I have free time and all I want to do is clean. Where did that come from???? I could so be reading or napping right now. Oh well. :) I love a clean house so this time will just be very fulfilling for me.

Anywho... while we were without power, we prayed, and we prayed and we prayed some more. We prayed for all sorts of things, but one big one for me, was that I would find a part time job. I REALLY wanted to be at the church and even if it was just for ten hours a week, I really felt like I would enjoy working there. So I started praying and an opportunity to help a friend who works there came up, but it wasn't paid. It was just a way that I would be able to bless her and take some of the stress off of her shoulders. So I jumped on it. This woman is precious and just works herself in to the ground sometimes. She is very committed to her job and very good at it. The downside is that she works all of the time and really didn't have any help. So it blessed my soul to be able to help her out- to make her smile.

I was just doing my thing, rolling along, and she asked if I would be interested in helping out for a little extra money. My heart skipped a beat and I told her I surely would. I knew it wouldn't be a ton, but at this point in our family, anything helps! So she said she would begin to search and see if she could find any place in their budget to hire me very very part time. It took a couple of weeks, but this past Thursday she said that she had worked out out to where I can now be a paid helper. Like I said, it's not a ton, but it's a double blessing! I get to help this woman and help my family at the same time! How exciting for me and for my Kyle. He paraded all weekend with a smile- it was a smile that reflected his pride in me and his gentle relief.

I feel like for so long we were under attack from the enemy. We almost gave in to the pressure and split a couple of times, but God used different people to encourage me, to pray with me, and to model Christ-like love and perseverance and God prevailed, chipping off bits and pieces of these walls we both had formed around our hearts and leaving us both with joy in our new found friendship with one another.

This didn't just happen because I started working a little. This happened because I chose to pray. I chose to seek God and what He gave me in return was my best friend back. I have my Kyle- the one I fell in love with. He is not perfect- nor am I, but our relationship has come through some seriously scary and doubtful times. God has begun the work of restoration on my husband's and my soul and I couldn't be more excited. So like I said, we're back- in every sense of the word. I praise God for Ike. I know there has been some major devastation but so much good has come out of this time as well. I have never spent so much time with my husband. I have never prayed so much and learned so much about the character of God. I have never had to trust Him so much and in return, I have never seen His face so much. I feel grateful- eternally grateful for having been able to go through this time with my family and friends. Ya, it was a little uncomfortable, but God has a way of moving us out of our comfort zones sometimes to see how we can best be used and without our complete lack of power, I never would have noticed certain things God did for us and certain areas He was working. So praise Him.

So glad to be back!

Friday, September 19, 2008

No School Like the Old School

I am at our church right now, on an office computer. Our home, like so many, is still without power. But I am not complaining. Seriously. Aside from smelly laundry and a clogged disposal that emits a certain unpleasant odor, the whole situation has really not been all too bad. In fact, I would even venture to say Hurricane Ike is probably one of the best things to ever happen to our family, to our community, to so many. The word community has begun to really resonate as families are forced to be away from their precious televisions and venture outside in to the unfamiliar territories that lurk within our neighborhoods. These territories are marked by unfamiliar faces living on 20 feet away. These faces belong to children my kids now call friends.

Who would have thought that only one week ago, my Trinity didn't even know how to ride a bike and now she is on her very own "big girl bike" without training wheels zooming down the street. Who would have thought my once shy daughter would ever make a friend on the street- let alone the near 20 friends that now seem to permanently occupy our driveway? I forgot what it was like to have a life outside of our home and our church. We have been so sheltered, we never even made time to realize there were precious people only feet away from us who could maybe use a little encouragement, a friendly hello, or some extra chicken that we had to grill from our now stale freezer.

I can remember "back in the day" when being outside was what we did. We didn't have the Internet and my mom didn't really allow us to watch much television. So my sister (hold your breath) actually read. She read books (you know, those things with paper and words...) And I was an outdoorsy kind of girl. I played outside until mom was screaming "time to eat!" I missed those days. I didn't even know I missed them until my kids grew in to them and now I was the mom screaming "Time to eat!" Wow. Thank goodness for no power. Thank God for Ike. In the midst of all of the destruction that surrounds us, we can see God's hand and I couldn't feel more blessed.

In the days to come I will post more of what I have been learning. It's been a very eye-opening week for me and I still have about 4 more days without power.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Perfect Creamer

Seriously. Finally! I have found it! The perfect coffee creamer. I was a big fan of the cinnamon vanilla cream flavor but I ran out and while searching for a new flavor, I stumbled across this flavor yesterday and am now enjoying my second cup of decadence! The flavor is Vanilla Chai. It's soooooooooooooooooooo creamy and wonderful! Let's hope they don't discontinue this one with the other "experimental" flavors. :) I am off to finish my coffee and the next chapter of this amazing book I have started called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Check them both out for a duet of greatness. :) Have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Life-breathing people

Can I just say I love how God works? I love how He sends people in to your life to encourage you, to lift you up, to breathe life in to your world when there seems to be none. I praise God for every friend He has brought in to my life that has helped to walk us through this situation and other times in our lives. I praise Him for using those people to be His hands and feet to us. I was so downtrodden, so depressed, so hopeless and God sent one person after another to pray with/ for us, to encourage us, to make us laugh, to offer wisdom, advice, and hope. It's been a great weekend. The situtation is not over yet but praise God there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Thank you, God for my friends. :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Promise

So I'm having one of those weeks- those months, really. You know the kind. The kind where you know God is working but you REALLY need to see His hand because you don't know where your next meal is coming from. We have bills coming out our ears and beause my husband's work is SOOOOOOOOOOOO SLOW right now, we are sufferring deeply. I have no idea what happened- except to say that we are in a recession and Kyle's work is not the kind of work you want to be in when there is a recession, so my husband, who relies solely on commission is now looking for another job.

In the mean time, we are a little stressed. Sad. Occasionally depressed even, but that nagging glimmer of hope hasn't left me. My prayers have been simple- pretty much just "help!" I keep praying for a supernatural miracle. I keep hoping I will check the mail or the bank account and there will have been a miracle. But today as I checked the mail and- no miracle- I got a little anxious. I came inside, very tense and prayed that God would show the hope I desperately need to see. So I felt like I needed to go look in my Bible- for a glimpse of wisdom, for anything. When I opened it, this is exactly what I opened to:

Isaiah 9: 1-5 "Hope in The Messiah"

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness,a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.

What did I take away from that? Hope. A promise. Thank you God.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Message 8-17-08

www.woodsedge.org/mp3player.htm?theFile=multimedia/messages/daniel1011and12-jeffwells-08172008.mp3&wW=200&wH=65

Click on the link. This message is profound and has blessed my soul.

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trinity's First Day of School

Sooooooooooo, we did it!!! This morning we took our little angel to her first day of kindergarten. The tears? They did come, but not until after we were back in the car on our way home and a song came on the radio that opened the flood gates. I kept my self distracted this morning by taking pictures (hence the large amount of pix below). :) But I am really excited for her to begin this new era of her life. The tears were because she is growing up so fast and I already miss her. But we've been praying and I know she is in good hands. I have a really good feeling about her teacher (pictured with her below) and the school she is in. So when you pray today, keep my little Trinity in your prayers. She's all grown up now- see her first day pictures below. :)

Trinity's First Day of School










Thursday, August 21, 2008

Work

I AM a stay at home mom. It's what I do and really right now, it's who I am. Not ALL of who I am, but at the moment, it's a really big part of who I am. I love being at home with my kids. I am the pen God is using to write in the books of their lives. I am the one who is teaching them about life, about God. I am the one who gets to see all of their milestones and I couldn't be more excited.

So why am I thinking about going to work? My husband is in a really bad industry to be in when there is a recession and whether or not the government wants to admit it, we are in a recession so our family is hurting. I told him I would try to find some part time work to help him out- to help shoulder the load until things either get easier at work for him, or until he finds a new job. His current "new job" option would be working on an oil rig. My first thought is that this would be awesome- perfect even. It would be consistent income. But then I have to consider his moral character is at stake. If his character changes, our family could be at stake and I definitely cannot put our family at risk like that.

So I guess when you pray, please pray something else would make it self available for him or pray that I can find a job that allows me to still be here with my babies at least most of the time. I selfishly want to be the one who raises them and I want to be here when they get home from school to help them with their homework. So pray for work that can be done around their schedules and work for my husband that is more consistent income.

And I guess on my end, I will just keep trying to remember that God is still in control. He has a plan to prosper us, not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) And most importantly, He knew all of this would be happening now so pray that we would remain dependant on Him and seeking His will, not our own.

In The Middle Of The Night...

Seriously. Why is it always in the middle of the night when you get sick? Last night my "tummy" was upset but I thought the worst was over and had finally fallen asleep when it happened. That feeling when your face gets hot and you know you have approximately 5 seconds to make it to the bathroom or else... When I looked at the clock I noticed it was exactly the middle of the night and I laughed to my self. Then after bleaching my entire bathroom (walls and all) I crawled uncomfortably back to bed and passed out... for about 30 minutes until my little girl came in, sharing in my sorrow... all over my floor. Good times.

Today everyone seems to be feeling somewhat better but I want to know- why always the middle of the night? :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just A Mom?

I got this e-mail and had to share it. So cute.

JUST A MOM?


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office,
Was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

'What I mean is, ' explained the recorder,
'do you have a job or are you just a ...?'

'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman.

'I'm a Mom.'

'We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,

'housewife' covers it,'
Said the recorder emphatically.


I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself

In the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
Efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
'I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid-air and
Looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
In bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest,
'just what y ou do in your field?'

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
'I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers

And the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
Completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
Testing out a new vocal pattern .
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more

Distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mom.'

Motherhood!

What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.


Does this make grandmothers
'Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations'
And great grandmothers
'Executive Senior Research Associates?'
I think so!!!
I also think it makes Aunts '

Associate Research Assistants.'

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In My Imperfection...

God used me. In all of my imperfection, in all of my brokenness, He used me. Sunday in class we were actually talking about God using broken people and a girl in our class, who had been feeling very wounded, very angry with God admitted that she had not accepted Christ because she was so mad at Him. Though I already felt like I had overshared and was trying to be quiet, God laid a word on my heart for this girl. Against my will, I spoke out and God blessed this girl and in turn, blessed my husband. I ran in to this girl last night at church and in her hands, she held a packet for new believers- she had accepted Christ. Oh praise God!!! He used me to show her He loves her in spite of her anger and He wants to heal her. How beautiful!!! Now this precious angel has a home in Heaven and I could not be more excited!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jacob August 2008

So my baby is just over 6 months old now- a good 6 and a half months old... wow. Where did the time go? He went from laying helplessly in our bed to sitting up and then this past Saturday night as Kyle and I watched with great anticipation, our little angel crawled for the first time!!! Seriously! Our excitement may have traumatized him but in time I'm sure he'll recover. We screamed and he screamed because we screamed... good times. :P Poor kid. We've never been together to watch our children go through milestones so it was absolutely perfect and precious! I am still happy to report that Jacob is a near perfect baby. :) So keep praying for him and keep praying for us... looks like mommy has a whole lot more cleaning to do now that her lil man is mobile. YAY for Jacob!!! :) Enjoy the pictures below.

New Jacob Pics










Friday, August 8, 2008

It's My Party...

So excited. No crying here. For the first time in ages I am having a party to celebrate my birthday. Tonight. And I could not be more excited. Last year my awesome friends threw me a suprise party, but this is the first party I have thrown my self since I was a child. I chose a children's jumping place to host the event but the catch is- no children (except nursing newborns). :) SO basically I see the evening playing out like this: people arrive around 8:00-ish (yes, super cool: 08-08-08 at 8:00). Then we bounce and jump and act like children on these huge inflatables for about an hour and a half. We eat cake and we go home- just like my kids' party last year. I wanted to do something fun and random. This is the last year of my roaring twenties and I wanted to go out in style. So tonight while you fun people are watching the olympics, I'll be sweating in style with some of my closest friends as we come together to celebrate another year of life that God has granted me. :) So happy birthday to me! Praise God for another wonderful year! :)

*P.S.- LOTS of picturs coming soon!*

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Wanna Be...

So last week during VBS we taught the kids four songs that we sang every day. By the end of the week, we all had our favorites, but mine was most definitely "Thankful". The chorus begins: "I wanna be thankful, I wanna be grateful. I wanna remember all the things that The Lord has done." So I was singing that with Trinity the other day while we were doing some housework and as we started singing that song, it hit me. I haven't been thankful. I haven't been grateful. I haven't taken time to remember all of the things that The Lord has done for us (and trust me- there is soooooooooooo much!!!) Instead, I have been negative. I have been really distracted by the issues with Timothy that I haven't really stopped to see all of the good God has done and to really be thankful.

John 10:10 says this: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

So this week I have a new perspective. I realized that a heart of gratitude is a choice- my choice. Rather than dwelling on what we are going through with Timothy, my heart is thankful. God is such an awesome God and has done so much for our family. Satan would like nothing better during this time in our lives than to steal any joy we might find. He wants us to believe that we should sit down and pout during this time rather than praising God. Matt Redman put it best when he said: blessed be your name on the road marked with sufferring, though there's pain in the offerring, blessed be your name. So, while it's not super easy to be thankful and to praise God, I choose to bless His name. I choose to praise Him. I wanna be thankful.

Friday, August 1, 2008

VBS


So this week our church had their annual VBS for the children and for the first time, I got to be a part of it. I just have to say- soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much fun!!!!! My friend and I got to kind of "M.C." the event, so this is pretty much how it went: Christi and Renee on stage in front of about 220 kids, dancing, singing, being goofy. I may have looked like my sanity was in question, but I was having a blast teaching these kids worship music and sharing the love of Christ with them. Overall the week was incredible! The kids were so precious, so excited, so fun and I only hope we get to do it again next year. :)

SO I asked Trinity what her favorite part of the week was, and she couldn't narrow it down to just one thing. She enjoyed every part of the week. If you ask me, my favorite part was watching from the stage as these precious angels sang praise to God with their hands held high and their eyes wide open and and smiles reflecting hearts of love. It was an awesome sight- hopefully one I will have pictures of soon. In the mean time, I am going to nap. What a week!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Swim Now.

I swim now. I mean I have always been a swimmer, but as part of my workouts I have started swimming a mile every day. I have been super frustrated lately with my oldest son, Timothy. He is autistic, and at times just dealing with him can be a workout in and of itself. The past few weeks his behavior has really been exceptionally tough so my frustration level has risen to the occasion. I have been on an endless ride of discipline and dissappointment with him- even to the point where I wanted to be done. After a long weekend with him I was ready to throw in the towel and check out mentally but I knew I could not. So Monday I went back to the gym, got in the pool and as I was swimming laps I was praying- just talking to God about my frustrations as a mom, my emotions, my feelings. I was searching for an answer. Then it happened. I looked up and saw it. I don't know if you have ever swam in a lap pool, but at the end of each lap is a cross made out of tile. It's a turning point for swimmers who do continual laps and that day it was a turning point for me. I was so frustrated about everything but in that moment when I called out to Him, I remembered that verse Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." So I stopped at the end of a lap, I looked up and saw a cross, reminding me that He was there. That He cared and that I should not give up hope. I came home and looked up the surrounding verses and this is what I found: "He stops wars everywhere on the earth. He breaks all bows and spears and burns up the chariots with fire. God says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth. The Lord All-Powerful is with us". After I read that, I felt an empowerment and a peace reminding me that God is a huge and mighty and powerful God. He stops wars everywhere, it says! He can conquer this thing with my Timothy. I just needed to be reminded to be still, and to know that He is God and trust in His power, not in my own. I would encourage you, friend that whatever your battle is, to stop trying to do it on your own. God is so much more powerful that we are. We just have to be still and know that He is God and we are not and trust in His strength rather than our own.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Done... undone.

And then I re-read PEACE 101. Funny how God uses my journaled thoughts to answer my prayers. "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." He cares. He loves us. He wants to deal with this, not me, not my husband- Him.

DONE.

Today I write from a place of frustration. For those of you who don't know, we have a son who is four years old who has never been diagnosed, but is autistic. I love my son, my Timothy. Please do not mistake that but I am exhausted. I am so tired. Tired of fighting with my son to stay on his super strict diet (that lately doesn't seem to be affecting him at all). I am tired of the looks we get while we are out in public with him. Looks from people who just don't get it. I am tired of feeling like he's a bad kid when he is supremely precious- not bad at all. He just can't control himself. I am tired of not being invited to friends' homes because Timothy is out of control. I am tired of feeling like we can't go out in public. I am tired of people telling me I should do this or do that to try to discipline him when reality is- nothing works. So what happens? What do we do? The answer? I honestly don't know. Things have gotten so stressful that the relationship between my husband and my self has been affected. We both lose our patience with him and after a long day of fighting a losing battle I am just "done" most days.

My head gives me all of the scripture I need. My head tells me I should do this and that and give it to God. But for some reason I feel like I can't. I have been praying for him for a while and our prayers have thus far gone unanswered. So where is God in all of this? I know He is here. My head and my heart both confirm that. But why is Timothy having to deal with this? Will he struggle the rest of his life? Will we ever be able to go out in public and enjoy time spent with him? Will he ever be able to live the life he was creatd to live? Why did this happen to him? Was there something I could have/ should have done differently?

My head tells me Satan is playing mind games with me and I need to fight it by praying and praying some more. I think I just reached the point where I wonder when God is going to answer this prayer and completely restore my son. And another question: why do I just assume God is going to do that? I think I feel like I have to or I will lose hope. I have to hold out hope that God is a God who heals and who hears my prayers. I know I will go to bed now and hopefully wake up with a heart refreshed and have wisdom on this situation. I just needed to vent. To be real.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peace 101

I was praying about this week's discussion topic for KSBJ and what kept coming to mind is something I have been stressing about for a while- Trinity starting Kindergarten. I couldn't shake the thought that I was supposed to talk about that. But why? What was the application here? How could I use this situation to encourage other people? So then I started praying about how this would apply to others and how I could reach out and bless someones life by sharing this and this is what God revealed to me: 1- I am stressing about it. God's word says several times in Matthew to NOT worry and all I have done is worry. But even more than not worrying... 1 Peter 5:7 says "7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you." So how does this apply to my Trinity starting Kindergarten. The verse says give all of your worries to Him (some versions say cast all of your cares upon Him) why? Because He cares for you. He wants to shoulder that load, not you. Circumstances are going to come in to our lives- for some of you, it's your baby starting Kindergarten. For others of you, it's a loved one who is sick with no hope for recovery, or the single parent who is struggling to make ends meet, or maybe you're looking for a job and all hope seems lost. My encouragement to you is this- cast ALL of your cares on Him because He cares for you. He doesn't say cast only the really big ones on Him, or the life-threatening cares on Him. He says all of them- even the ones as silly as your baby starting school for the first time or your teenager learning to drive. He cares for you. He wants to walk you through this time. And what I have found is that when you do that- when you cast those cares, those fears, those worries and anxieties on Him, what He gives you back is that peace that passes all understanding- it's a peace no one can explain but that we all need. It's a peace that says to me as she walks out the door that first day "she's going to be okay mom." And I have a feeling in that moment, when she leaves for her first day of school, I will experience that fullness of peace as I trust I am releasing her in to God's hands.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One More Month


So my little girl is going to start kindergarten in about a month. I have heard so many parents say things like "I can't wait til school starts and I can send the kids back!" But not me. It's all over my mind. I think about it most every day and every night as I am going to sleep. I go back and fourth about whether or not I am doing the right thing by not home schooling this year. I have been praying that I am making the right decisions for them. I worry. I know the Bible says not to worry, but I worry. I want to protect her, to keep her safe. Not just physically (although that is a huge issue in my mind) but also mentally. She is only five and I want to protect her innocent mind and heart from learning some of the things I know they talk about in school lately. So ya. I am a little worried. I know God is in control and I know He has a perfect plan for her. I just need to trust in that and find my peace there. I need to bring it to Him and leave it there.

So in the mean time I am going this weekend to start buying school supplies. What ever happened to the good old days when you brought some pencils, some glue and a backpack? Oh well. There is this small part of me that is really excited for her to begin this experience. I am excited to buy the supplies and to fill her backpack. I am mildly excited to watch her walk in to school for the first time. I think this is a huge turning point as a parent. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where your skills as a parent are really tested and you begin to see how the years spent training your children for these days works out. I can't wait to see her shine as a student. I can't wait to see the traits I worked so hard to instill shine out in her life. She is supremely excited and every she asks if she can start school "today".

I pretend to be sad for her when I respond but inside I am glad I have that month. A few more weeks to love on her all day long. A few more mommy daughter trips to Starbucks. A few more days by the pool and lunches together at Chick-fil-a. So I guess deep down I am okay with sending her to school. I am confident in her character. She is a brilliant, amazing, loving, caring, generous, thoughtful little girl and in one month she will get her chance to show her new friends and her teacher just how special she really is. In the mean time, this month with her is mine, all mine. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sea World






Vacation- After the Fact


So I have had tons of people ask how the big vacation went. Honestly? It was really hard at times and so perfectly, wonderfully special at other times. I am trying to focus on the best times, not the worst. :) We had let Timothy get off of his diet for the week because we didn't know how to keep him on it during the trip- way impossible for us. So he was out of control and Kyle was frustrated with all of the kids. I was frustrated with Kyle because he was frustrated with the kids and it was this huge snowball of frustration. But then there were these moments- these perfect memories. These times where everything chaotic seemed to calm and I got to see the look on the faces of my children as they watched real live dolphins playing and swimming with people in front of them. I got to see my son enjoy his first real ice cream cone (and didn't use his fingers to eat it!) I got to see complete joy on their faces as they raced up and down the tracks on their very first roller coaster rides. They were amazed, even speechless at times. They were precious. They enjoyed the vacation so much and have been asking if we can go back every day since our return.

So ya, we had our rough times and allowed our frustrations to get to us at times, but all in all our first family vacation was amazing. I almost allowed our joy to be crushed my the memories of the frustrating parts but the good times- those are the ones I am focusing on now.

And by the way- we so sat right in the splash zone at the Shamu show and were the only section that did not get drenched! :) Oh well- maybe next time! Look for more pictures later.

Potty Training 101

Seriously. Why are boys so much more difficult to potty train? We have been at this for ages and he is just now comfortable wearing his underwear and not going potty in them for a while. But then if I don't stay on him he has an accident and don't even get me started on pooping in the potty. I don't see that happening before graduation. Someone tell me this gets easier?

I honestly remember Trinity being potty trained at 15 months- well that goes for tinkling on the potty. Timothy is over 4 years old now and they say he won't be able to move up with his friends to the next class at church unless we can get him trained. So why is it so difficult??? Anyone? I need a book on the topic. Somehow I just don't think that would cut it. Timothy is a rare child indeed. He gets very determined and when he is determined NOT to do something, it literally just does not happen. Help? :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All To Jesus...


Well I feel like a mom. Not that I haven't always felt like a mom, but I really feel like a mom now. I prayed after our exhausting vacation that God would renew my heart for my children (with whom I had grown incredibly frustrated) and for my husband (for whom I seemed to have lost all respect). I prayed and prayed and prayed and God changed my heart. I was emotionally done. I was removed from this family that I adore. I felt like I had lost my place and was drowning and couldn't climb out- but God heard my cries and He rescued me. So why all of the frustration? Why all of the emotional mumbo jumbo? My good friend reminded me I had been living in my strength and in my experience when I try to do things in my own strength, I usually end up realizing how much I truly need God. He always allows me to see life from the other side of the coin so that my heart wants to call on Him, to rely on Him, to surrender to Him.

So today when I woke up, I felt like a mom for the first time in a while- the way a mom should feel- in love with her kids, excited for the day ahead, no longer depressed, no longer frustrated, no longer looking for a way out. I had surrendered all of me and what I found there waiting for me was His strength, renewing, refreshing, revitalizing me. So this is what it means to live in His strength. Why did I ever do it any other way?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Girl Time... and packing

So we're leaving today for our first ever family vacation. I planned everything out and have everything I need and am now fully packed. If you know me, you hear the sarcasm in my voice. :D I have about half way planned everything, I still desperately need to make a trip to the store and have washed my clothes but have not yet begun the fight... of packing. Soooooooooooooo why not? Am I excited? EXTREMELY! In fact I was just looking on the Sea World website and got a little emotional thinking about all of the things my kids will get to experience. It's going to be awesome. But why did I get so delayed in the process of getting ready and why am I writing about it now? Well after an intense and exhausting day as mommy dearest yesterday, I needed a break so Kyle sent the kids to bed and sent me away to pick up those last few little things we needed.... and perhaps some Starbucks for my self. Did I ever make it to the store? NO. A dear friend of mine (whom I refer to as my wise counsel) called me and asked if we could meet up because she had something for me. The funny part to this is that I had previously called a few of my dearest friends to ask if they could come out with me because I was in desperate need of a friend and some girl time. None of my friends were available and I was disheartened and exhausted to the point of tears.

So anyway, I met this friend of mine in a parking lot and we talked for about 20 minutes. Then we decided to go to a nearby Starbucks to visit some more. Let me just say that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. During the 3 and a half hour conversation with my friend, I was able to open up and share my fears, concerns, doubts, thoughts, and she listened. Then she shared the love of Christ with me. She showed genuine concern, but really demonstrated insane amounts of wisdom for each of the situations I mentioned to her. She encouraged me and built me up. She gave advice for each of these situations- and not just advice, but Godly advice. Our time last night was like water for my soul. This friend of mine is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to me and He knew deep in my heart I needed to be with her last night so I am ever so thankful... I'm way behind, but way thankful. :) My heart has been refreshed and I am in the right frame of mind and could not be more excited. So if you ever read this Ms. Charlene, thank you. You are so loved and so adored. You truly are a gift from God and I cherish our times together.

So now I am off to pack. :) See you when we get back!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fireworks



I wish I had captured the 23 minutes of firworks displayed in The Woodlands on Friday the 4th. It's not the fireworks that I found so captivating, it's the look on the faces of my four precious children. Even Jacob, the baby, was in complete awe during the display. Because of my awesome ADHD, my mind could not focus on the fireworks alone (even though this was probably the best display I have ever seen). I started thinking about why we celebrate the 4th and how I am so proud to be from a country such as this and how I hope someday my children will share this pride and excitement and recognize that their freedom came at a cost- the ultimate cost for many. So when I looked up in the sky and enjoyed the display, I got a little emotional. I thanked God for the freedom we have and felt guilty because I know I take it for granted. But I do love this country- even with its flaws, I am proud to be an American and proud to pass that freedom on to my children.

Sea World


Sea World. Seriously. We are about to embark on our first ever family vacation- destination: San Antonio, TX- home of the awesome theme park Sea World. My kids know all about Shamu and the dolphins and every day they run around asking "mom! can we go now? Can we go now?" Cute on so many levels. We don't normally get to do fun things like this but this year we decided we needed a break from the every day norm and we wanted to do something the kids would remember forever. As a family we have lots of little memories but this is something I feel like at least the older three kids can deposit in their little memory banks forever. So am I looking forward to spending 5 days away from home with over ten hours of drive time in a car filled to the rim with children? Absolutely! Well... as long as they aren't screaming children. :P It will be a fabulous time, I am certain. We will begin the mini-vacation with a visit to east Texas to see GG, Paw Paw, and Nanny (GG is my grandmother who lives in East Texas and then there's my dad and my step mom who have just arrived from Canada for the week). So, we will stay at my grandmother's for a couple of days and then head to San Antonio to make nice with Shamu- good times! I am stoked! I seriously slept maybe 4 hours last night because I could not stop thinking about what it will be like when the kids finally get to walk through the gates of Sea World, TX. They are going to absolutely flip out and I will be there with my camera recording every step of the way! :) I hope to come home with pictures of the kids playing with Nanny and Paw Paw, or pictures of the kiddos talking to Shamu. Either way, I promise to come home with tons of pictures to share on the blog. So what are you doing this summer? Me? I'm going to Sea World- next year, Destination: DISNEYWORLD!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Fine-Tuned Instrument

my friend sent me this from her daily devotional subscription and I wanted to share it here.

A Fine-tuned Instrument
Zechariah 13:9
...I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are My people," and they will say, "The Lord is our God."
My business career has been as an owner of an advertising agency. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work on many different and prestigious accounts. One of those accounts was Steinway Pianos, the maker of the world's finest pianos. Each piano has always been made from scratch; it takes over a year to make one Steinway. The most impressive scene as I toured the manufacturing plant was the place where the soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This was done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy.
After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument. After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world's finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.
God looks at each of us as a fine-tuned instrument. However, we begin as rough wood that He desires to transform into gold. Tuning us requires certain experiences that will stretch our faith, our frame, and our very life. Sainthood springs out of suffering. If we can stand the strain of this intense process, we will come forth as gold-as a sweet-smelling offering to our Maker. When we are in the midst of these times, it feels like fire. It is painful to be stretched beyond our perceived limits, but the Lord knows this is necessary for us to become an instrument that can play a beautiful song that others will seek after.
Let the master Craftsman have His way in your life today. You will be pleased with the instrument He fashions.

Monday, June 30, 2008

NO LONGER I

So I was thinking today- really thinking about a lot of things. Today my thoughts included (but were not limited to): who my real friends are, how am I living (or not living) a life that glorifies God, what am I doing to be a better mom, a better wife, why do women have babies in groups (I have 7 pregnant friends right now- all due around the same time), why am I so motivated in my head but cannot seem to transfer the motivation to my heart to get up and get back out there after being ill? So as I am sitting there mulling these (and many, many other) thoughts over in my head, one imparticular sticks out to me- the one that begs the question "How am I living (or not living) a life that glorifies God? It keeps playing over and over in my head like a CD that is scratched and wont stop repeating itself. So I wonder- what AM I doing to live a life that glorifies God?

Then I broke it down. In each individual area, how am I working towards living a life that completely honors God- in every area? The answer: I am not. I want to but I have not been. I am like Paul- the very thing I want to do, I cannot seem to do. Why? The next answer: because I am trying to do it in my own strength. The book I am writing is called: NO LONGER I. I am writing this book to encourage others to live in the power of Christ's strength but I, my self, have been struggling to do it all in my own strength. It's kind of odd how I turned in to a hypocrite, but it's also really cool how God took my thought process there today so that I could understand this. The book is being written out of the heart of a changed woman. I believe the verse reads: "For I have been crucified with Christ and it's NO LONGER I that lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me." WOW!!! What a refreshing thought. I have been crucified with Christ and I NO LONGER LIVE! I love it. It's a promise. A hope. I am not bound to my old ways. I have been saved my grace and been set free to live "by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me." Seriously? Seriously. So what am I doing to live a life that honors God? I am dying to my self daily. I am making a commitment to do this- to die to my self and to allow Christ complete freedom to live (and love) through me. Beautiful.

A Simple Request

So I have this whole huge list of things I have been learning and wanting to share in this blog but I have such a lack of time right now. I wanted to blog today to ask for prayers. While I was sick, I pretty much laid in bed the whole time and because of it, I feel as if I have completely undone any training I had started before getting sick- which means any running I was able to do, I now feel completely unable to do. It feels like I am starting over from the beginning and it's discouraging and frustrating.

Please pray for motivation, a right heart and attitude. Pray for rest, for good, hard workouts, and for time for me- time to write, time to study and time to work out the way I need to be working out. Also alone time- without kids, without anyone would be nice, but that never seems to happen. Timothy can't nap or he stays up all night, so I am pretty much mom around the clock- without a true break. Anyway, I just feel like I need more time and more rest. I appreciate your prayers. I haven't felt this frustrated in a while and I am usually the one offering encouragement- this time I am the one in need. So thank you. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Afterthoughts

(The following was taken from an e-mail I sent our community group. Aron and Julie are our leaders- forgive my ignorance with regards to the dead sea scrolls...) :)

"So a couple of weeks ago Aron and Julie returned from their amazing trip to Israel and among the stories Aron shared with us, was the story of how the dead sea scrolls were discovered. I will recap for those of you who were not there and have not yet heard this story- as it will greatly pertain to the rest of this e-mail. From what I can remember, there was a shepherd, out doing his job when one of his sheep got lost. He went looking for his lost sheep and walked by this small cave. He threw a rock in to the cave to see if the sheep was in there (just doing his job) and hears something shatter. So he goes in to the cave to discover the dead sea scrolls- one of the most prominent discoveries of our time- definitely the most liberating for Christians as I think Aron said it confirmed the legitimacy of the Bible... (I think that's right) So anyway, during class a couple of weeks ago, Aron was sharing how this had impacted him and encouraged him to keep on doing what he is doing in his job and how God could use someone who is just doing their job to do something amazing- he eluded to the fact that you don't have to be some big preacher or be a missionary or in ministry as your job in order for God to use you- He can and will use you where you are right now- which brings me to the point of this e-mail. I wanted to expound on these thoughts and share some additional thoughts I had after this class and how I felt it might apply to some of you. I hope this blesses or encourages you. :)

Here are a few verses about working that came to mind as I was preparing this. Romans 12:11-12 Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart.12 Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times Colossians 3:22-24 22 Slaves, obey your masters in all things. Do not obey just when they are watching you, to gain their favor, but serve them honestly, because you respect the Lord.23 In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people.24 Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ. I love the part of the verse in Colossians- "work as if you were doing it for The Lord, not for people." So I started thinking- wow. In Deuteronomy 6:5, we are commanded to "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." If we are truly loving God with all of our hearts, soul, mind, and STRENGTH (as we discussed this past Sunday), that would overflow in to our work and our work would be done as though we were doing it for The Lord because we would be doing it out of a heart of love- then what would happen? What would the long term affects be? Well to the stay at home moms- if we are working as though we are working for The Lord and doing it out of a heart of love for God, I would imagine we'd be (I'd be) much more excited about waking up each day and raising the next generation of God-fearing leaders. I would imagine our children would see God's heart and we (I) would have so many less regrets and owe so many less apologies to my children. I imagine if I worked as though I was working for the Lord and out of a heart of love for God, my children would grow up feeling completely secure, truly loved, and confident in their identity in Christ and I would feel completely accomplished even if I never did another thing outside of raising my children. I would find my success, my reward in having raised 4 amazing children by God's strength and with His love and power in everything I did.

So here is my encouragement for you today- to the business man who is stuck in a suit and tie and feels like he isn't accomplishing anything but bringing home the bacon- know this: God IS using you right where you are and your probably don't even know it. If you are working as though you are working for Him and doing it out of a heart of love, He is using you in ways you haven't even begun to imagine yet- so be encouraged and keep at it. Don't forget verse 24 Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ. To the business woman who wants to stay home because that's what everyone else in The Woodlands does- trust me- if you are working as though you are working for Him, He is using you right where you are. So you don't stay at home, so what? Be excited about the fact that God is using you right where you are to accomplish amazing things- things you might never even know about until you get to Heaven. Just keep working as though you are working for Him and trust that He can, will, and probably is doing amazing things through you right where you are. To the at home wife, don't just be content with where you are, get excited about it- your role right now is to prepare your home and your life to inspire and encourage that amazing man that God is also using. So if you don't feel like God is using you at all- look at who you are working for and think again. Your job is so very important and even in doing the laundry, God is using you. Again I emphasize: Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ. As Aron said- just keep throwing rocks in caves... (ie.- keep doing your job). You may not know how or why or where or when God will use the work you are doing/ have done to completely bless and change someone's life, but know that God will bless you and the work you have done- He wants to use you. He wants to bless you and those around you. Keep throwing rocks."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Acknowledge Him...

"In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path". It's simple, right? Yes, I guess in theory it is simple, but living it out is not so simple. There are times when I feel like Paul when he said something to the effect of "Why do I do the things I don't want to do? And the things I want to do, i cannot seem to do?" (I am no scholar so I don't always quote things accurately but you get the point). Anyway, I was super sick and feeling really selfish because even though i was sick I could not take care of my self. I had two other sick children in the house with me that I was responsible for. So even though I was sick I could not take the day off and just rest- then I let it get to me. I was horribly mean to my husband and my children. I felt aweful physically and instead of praying for relief or trusting God for strength to make it through each day, I chose to live each day in my own strength (or lack thereof). Instead of surrenduring, I selfishly trudged on each day as if I were some sort of martyr. Gag. In hindsight, it seems so simple. I should have spent more time praying for healing, praying for my children, praying over my heart- instead, I chose to use that time to whine about how horrible we all felt and it's almost as if those very words were like fertilizer for our ailements. The more I complained, the more sick we all seemed to become- especially me. So then I felt justified in my angry emotions and I allowed Satan to control my actions. Because I chose not to pray and ask God for the strength to get through each day, there seemed to be at least 40 hours in each day and they all seemed to be filled with bile and sickness. I could not escape it.

Not that we wouldn't have been sick if I would have prayed, but my heart would have been in the right place and I would have acknowledged God in the situation rather than acknowledging my own grief. I love that verse "In all your ways acnowledge Him and He will direct your path." What I took from that in this particular situation was that I was acknowledging me and my wants and my needs and trying to do it all on my own and God was there, ready to step in and relieve my angry heart if all I would have done was acknowledge Him. You know "Hey God- I need you. I can not do this on my own." Doesn't that seem so simple? And yet in my stubbornness and desire to control everything I refused to surrender. The sickness lasted just about two weeks and then it was like a lightbulb hit my head and I recognized I needed God. He was the only one who could heal me physically and emotionally. I was so angry about not being able to rest, I started to feel anger towards my children (as if it were actually their fault), and anger towards my husband (you know, because he was actually working to make a living for us). ha! So once it hit me, I prayed, "Lord, please help me! I surrender this to you. I can not do this on my own. Please help me to change my heart and make things right with my family." It was simple- not a very elegant prayer- what can I say? At the end of this two weeks I was completely empty- physically and emotionally. I was just done. So God sent some help. He heard my cries and answered my prayers. He gave me the energy I needed to move on, clean up, and make things right with my family... He directed my path, opening up doors and giving me opportunities to mend the relationships that needed to be mended and to allow Him to heal the hurt that had been caused by my selfishness.

So ya, it really does sound easy- now I just need to work on making it a natural next step for me. :)
I have like a billion thoughts racing through my mind right now- what an insightful past few weeks this has been. God gave me time to reflect and to just "be" with Him while I was sick and I have gained so much during this precious time! What a blessing! I'd like to share everything I have been learning but that's why I am writing the book. :) I am very pleased to announce that I have made excellent progress on the book- not that I am even close to half way finished but I needed to purge a lot of things out of my mind and my heart before God could really work in me, so over the course of the past few months that has been happening and I have been recording it. It's so awesome to look back and see where I was even a year ago and where I have come. I love that a year ago I was depressed and sometimes saw no way out and it was all about me. Now I see God working and growing me in beautiful ways and it's no longer about me or what I thought I wanted for my life. It's become about Him- about loving Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I am excited to grow, to learn, and to become this woman- the woman He designed me to be. So keep reading over the next few days. I am going to reveal some of the wisdom I have gained and how it's changing me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stay At Home Mom

I think there is a common misconception, especially in the area I live in, that being a stay at home mom means not only do you not have an outside job, but your main goal is to become more social. For instance- play groups. Although an ingenius idea, I have noticed moms form the "playgroups" for their children, but really more for social interaction time. This is really a good thing... in moderation. I was having an introspective moment while cleaning a while ago and realized how much time I spend planning activities for "us" to do during the day that really are more for me and I realized that's a pretty selfish thing to do. I am all about planning activities where my children have opportunities to get out and socialize, but I think my issues is that I realized I was spending far too much time planning those activities that we were almost never home and my kids were pretty much babysitting themselves while I, my self, was on my own "playdate" with other moms. It's great because it gives us time to vent, to laugh, to bond. But I think when it becomes the norm or becomes more the rule rather than than the exception, occupying more than half of your time with your children, then there is something missing.

God gave me this awesome time to spend with my kiddos- to laugh with them, to teach them, to love on them, to be a mom. I was so misguided in my way of thinking that I assumed this time at home was more for me. Looking back, I can already see where I have missed so much with them. I have left them to play or to do their own thing and they are practically begging for more of me. So what's the solution? I'm not sure. Now that I am aware of the issue, it makes me want to jump right in to scheduling mommy and kid time- no TVs, no computers, no anything extra needed- just me and my babies- the way God intended it to be. I want to teach them more, I want to sit and just "be" with them more, I want to instill Christ in them, and I especially want to honor God in the way I parent.

A wise friend once said "Be what you want your children to become." So Kyle and I were talking about what we want for our children. We made this really long list and as the list grew, I got more and more uncomfortable because I realized there are several changes that need to be made in my own life. But they are good changes- they are changes that will transform me in to the kind of person I would love for my children to become- the kind of person that strives to honor God in everything they do. So ya, I think that's the answer. I need to change some things in my own life and get out of my own way so God can shine through. He will love my children through me the way they need to be loved. He will make me in to the kind of person I want to model for my children, and He will eventually mold them to be more like Him, less like me. So I think in order for all of that to happen, the social planner needs to hang up her social hats for a while and just "be" with her babies so they have a chance to learn what it really means when mommy stays at home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sick

I am such a sick creature! I admit it! I need help! When I blogged yesterday I was going to "rest" right? You know what I did? I SO cleaned my house!!! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Seriously- I told you. I have issues. Not only did I enjoy cleaning, but I found it rather therapeutic. Is there a name for this disease? Should I be on medicine?

But seriously... my babies are sick. I guess it's like rhotovirus (good times!) because Trinity got up at 5:00 this morning and was in my bathroom for quite some time before the smell hit me. Then I jumped out of bed just in time to realize that not only was there an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet that I would have to remove by hand, but my entire bathroom also now needed to be Cloroxed. That was not an exaggeration. While my husband cared for my sick angel, I got to spend the morning scrubbing and bleaching the entire bathroom. What a way to spend a morning! At least it's all clean now, but I still have a sick angel. Her little face is green and she is watching some really "interesting" show on the Disney channel. Pray for her if you think about it. Pray that Jacob doesn't get this yucky bug that Timothy and me and Trinity have all had now. Thanks so much. :)

I am off to lay back down for a wee bit so I can enjoy the overwhelming smell of bleach and try not to get high off of the fumes. Good times!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday, Monday

SO I should be cleaning my house right now but I realized I have been neglecitng my blog so I wanted to write (much more fun anyway). I am sure I will regret it in ten minutes when I still have housework that is calling out to me, but you know... today I say "who cares?" I don't have company until this weekend and I realized I have been spending far too much time on the housework and little things and far too little time on the other little things (ie.- the little angels that occupy the rooms I am so desperately trying to clean). So, I decided to call it a day on the housework... for right now. I have issues with OCD so this might be a struggle for me. As for now, I am doing well. I decided I needed ten minutes of time to my self to blog and to relx so i am doing that and enjoying it.

So let's see. What's new? Well, Timothy has been sick off and on for over a week now, which is super frustrating. He will have random diarrhea or something of the sort and go back to being normal. I am not sure if it's something he ate (although that really hasn't changed) or if he is just sick or what's going on. So we'll see. Jacob is doing better. He was really sick with laryngitis (thanks to me) and a cold/ cough to top it off. Poor baby. He had the most pathetic cry- you would look at him and he would appear to be screaming but it was as if he was in a slient film because although he appeared to be screaming, nothing was coming out. I must say I am actually glad that has gotten better. It was kind of nice not to have the screaming echoing throughout the house but honestly when he started feeling better it was good for my heart to hear the little guy again. He only cries when he is really hungry or really tired and I almost never let it get to that point so most of what I hear are the sweet sounds of him cooing or squealing with delight. It's a precious time for us right now! :)

Speaing of exciting times- my Trinity is to start gymnastics this Thursday and I am so elated!!! I can't really believe she is that big but she really is!!! Crazy!!! I am super happy for her though. This will be so good for her on so many levels. I can't wait to see her out there jumping around and having fun. And Savannah's softball season ended this weekend. It was an interesting ride. We got to see a few of her games and she did well when she was batting and running but she was cracking me up when she was in the outfield. Her mom and I were at this game saturday and just laughing as she was so not interested in being in the outfield. She laid down and played with the grass. She was being a silly girl but it was entertaining, I do have to admit. I wish she was more excited about it. She says she likes to play but her actions contradict her words so we'll have to see if maybe we can't get her more excited about playing in the outfield (and not with the grass). Soon, hopefully. :)

So anyway, nothing else new is really going on. I actually got all three to nap today so woooohooooo. I am going to do something productive. I wish I could just enjoy rest time and not feel like I NEED to be doing something. I think it's a stronghold. I should just thank God for the time I have to rest and get to napping. That would rock. Going to it now... have a blessed week!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Blinders Come Off

It's not all about me. It's a wonder I have survived this long thinking life was all about me... not that I truly believed every single thing was about me, but I am referring specifically to my prayer life. I recently have found such a passion in praying for others- and not always my closest friends or life threatening things- just the things that were burdening people I encountered. It's so beautiful to see how God has been changing my heart from the inside out. I have developed such compassion for others and for their needs, desires, struggles, etc. I have seen God change me as I have become excited to watch Him work and excited to see prayers answered. What a joy I found as I saw Him answer prayer after prayer after prayer in my own life. I think this is where my passion came from. I saw Him work so much and felt so fulfilled that I wanted that for others. I wanted others to see His hand as we sought His face together. I wanted them to experience the sheer joy from praying even when it seemed like all hope had been lost. I wanted them to know what it felt like to truly lay their burdens at the foot of the cross and wait patiently for God's answer... for God's perfect timing. In Acts 1:7, it says "'The Father set those dates,' he replied 'and they are not for you to know.'" I love that He has such an intricate plan that only He sees and we can't see it. I love that, because it makes us dependant upon Him. My pastor said last night at our prayer service "I'm certainly glad I don't get everything I ask for when I pray for it because then I would be really spoiled." What a good thought. What a profound thought. When I used to pray, I used to assume God would answer my prayers immediately and answer them the way I wanted. But then I would have been spoiled- AND I never would have learned all of the amazing lessons that God has taught me in the waiting. So ya. I am glad it's not all about me. I am thankful, ever so thankful that the blinders have been removed and I can see this whole big world full of people who are hurting, people who are sick, people who are lonely- all of these people who NEED prayer and who need to know that people are praying for them- petitioning the Father on their behalf. I am thankful for this heart of love- the kind of love that can only come from Him. I am thankful that He has set me free from some of my selfishness and brought me in to a new place of living in Him and trusting in Him. I have learned to really love when I get a prayr request from a friend or an acquaintance because it gives me an open door to the cross. It's my time to go be with God and talk to Him, listen to Him- it's that time that I would have otherwise spent doing other things but instead, I end up at His feet and oh what a precious place that is!!! :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Baby Food




Holy cow. It just hit me that my baby, my youngest angel is four months old now! WOW! Okay so what does that mean to you? Not much. To me? Everything! My baby is eating jarred food now. We bought him his first green beans last night and laughed for about an hour while watching him adjust to "real food". Seriously though- baby food is so weird, gross even. First of all, baby green beans look like baby poop- so my question is , do they really digest them or do they just pass them out the same way they came in? Okay, perhaps that was a little too much information but like I said before, my blog, my thoughts- that one was just not as profound or mature as some of the others I have shared. It's a serious concern though... okay, not really. But it is interesting to think about. I debated making my own baby food. I know some very amazing people who make every single thing baby puts in to his mouth but I am not that talented, nor do I have that kind of free time (and for that matter, not really sure that I want to. :) But it's all good. Gerber makes some good stuff and heck, I was raised on this stuff so I guess it can't be too bad. :) Ingredients: green beans, water- seriously- how bad can it be... it just looks nasty. :) But hey- to Jacob it's gold, so who am I to complain or to tell him any different?

Okay, so don't tell him this but I didn't willingly eat greens bean until this year. How cruel am I? I am forcing my child to eat this food that I wouldn't even touch until I was 28 (almost 29) unless by force! Ha! Oh well. My parents did it to me, too. I had to eat 5 green beans every time they made them. Little did they know I was secretly trying to pass them to the dog but green beans in my house were from a can, which makes them even nastier, so nasty, in fact, that our dog wouldn't even eat them. That, to me makes them reeeeeeeeeeeally bad because dogs lick their butts- how bad does something have to be for our dog to reject it? Holy cow! What am I feeding my child??? :) Okay, well, it's good for him and he will like them when he's older. In the mean time, I am posting a pic or two of his first green beans- next week you can see his first carrots- aren't you excited! At least they don't look like baby poop! Ah! The wonders of baby food! :)

Silence is... Golden?

So I woke up yesterday unable to speak (one of my all time favorite pastimes) How frustrating... or so I thought. I was selfishly annoyed that I could not sing. I was supposed to sing back up for one of my best friends at one of our church campuses but I had absolutely no voice so I couldn't. My first thoughts were that I was so frustrated because I wanted to sing with her... I... I... I am so selfish sometimes! Instead of just trusting that God knew this was going to happen and being happy for her, my first thoughts were about me. WOW. So after sitting and listening to her do a few of the songs by herself, it hit me- a LOT hit me, actually. The first thing was that she was great, awesome even, all by her self. And though her voice is fabulous, it was her heart that really made her stand out. She wasn't there to make an awesome sound, she was there to worship and to lead others in to worship. Even during practice, I cought myself drifting off in to worship and oh how sweet it was! That was one of the first times I couldn't sing and actually got lost in worship. When the music was drowned out by the overwhelming love I felt for my creator, it no longer was about me. I hate that I ever thought it was about me in the first place but am so glad to have had this time to reflect and enjoy worship as it should be- from my heart.

In the silence, I heard God. In this silence, I felt Him. In the silence I realized it's all about Him. In this time of two days now, I have been completely humbled. Oh, what a glorious thing this is. I feel like poop pysically but my heart is being renewed. One cool side effect to being forced to be quiet is that I can hear others, as well. I am such a selfish being that I talk all of the time- I have always done that, like it always has to be about me- even when it's about someone else, I have been treating it like it's about me. But it's so not, and I am so thankful. I have heard some of the most interesting things and learned more about people in the last two days than I have in a long time. I guess it's time for me to be quiet. People really do have a lot to teach, a lot to share, and I think sometimes when I speak too much, or overshare, I am taking away from time that other people need to get their thoughts or feelings out. So as I sat back in class yesterday (mostly not speaking), I learned so much and was so blessed... blessed to have been silent and to know God, to really KNOW Him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Update

Today's blog is an update on everything I have been working on or going through lately that I have shared in the past few months. :)

I have been doing very well with my workouts. The scale only reflects an 18 pound weight loss but my clothes are showing much more improvement, so I'm encouraged and excited! Let's see- what else? Oh! Timothy is doing insanely well! I am so excited! We started him on a gluten free diet one week ago and his teachers report an imporvement ALREADY! I am happy to say I, also have been shocked by his immediate change of behavior. :) He is most pleasant to be around 90% of the time and the other 10% of the time is him just being a boy- a normal boy! Finally!!! I cannot believe making one simple adjustment to his diet made such a huge change! WOW! So anyway, I must say I am so thankful to my good friend Candice for giving me my son back- what I mean is that her passion and perserverence have encouraged me and she has completely given me a new outlook on the possibilities that are available. What a blessing! :)

What else can we update? I have been (slowly) writing this book but there has not been much improvement as I have not dedicated enough time to making sure it gets done. You can keep praying for that- it will take discipline on my part and better time management. (baby steps...)

Also, a 'real life' update: I ran in to a woman at Starbucks today. She recognized my Trinity from the KSBJ website and thereby recognized me as the "real life mom", which is where my blog title comes from. She was sweet and as we talked in line, she asked me about my family, etc. She insisted on buying my drink because she said anyone with four kids deserves a treat every now and then! :) ha! So that totally made my day, but then I started thinking. I realized that era in my life is over now. I kept telling my self that I might pick it back up- you know, that the opportunity to keep encouraging and teaching (3 minutes a week) would come back around but as time goes on I see that it's really over- at least in that way. I know God will open up some other opportunities to teach and inspire women- probably with the book or with the ministry I have on my heart to start. Until then, I will continue to share and to encourage on here. So, of course my blog will continue, but I have finally come to the realization that the 'real life mom' is now simply Christi. It was fun, though. :) I made some good friends and have seen how God used me in the lives of others, so for that I am so thankful.

Anywho- that's all for today's update. My train is derailing for the evening so I better shut it down. :) God bless you. :)