Friday, January 30, 2009
I am thinking...about balance, keeping everything in its rightful place in my mind and in my actions.
I am thankful for...a husband who works so hard and plays just as hard as he works.
I am wearing...Chad's sweatshirt. For two reasons: it is very soft and warm, and it reminds me of him. Just like when we were dating. ;)
I am drinking...water, nice, cold, refreshing water.
I am creating...decorations for our Valentine banquet at church. We have a much smaller budget this year, but my creative juices are flowing. Our theme is, "Cherish Your Treasure."
I am going...to the church's Bus Banquet tomorrow evening. There is going to be a Mexican buffet with authentic Mexican cooks. Yummy!!
I am reading..."And The Bride Wore White," a book on purity, to help the young girls in our school.
I am hoping...that I get some time to cuddle with my husband in the morning.
I am hearing...children practicing their piano lessons.
Around the house...everything is relatively calm and clean (something that doesn't seem to happen much with 9 people and a dog around). :)
One of my favorite things...is having my family all together in the same room.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
When I was a teenager, whenever I would feel sorry for myself about something, God would always allow someone less fortunate than myself to cross my path. Perhaps I would see a teenager at the mall in a wheelchair. Whatever it was, it would be something very obvious to me.
It is so easy sometimes to be self-absorbed in the day-to-day duties of being a wife and mother that I forget to look beyond the here and now. I forget to look at the trials that others are experiencing. I even forget to look at the blessings in my day-to-day life.
This new blog is dedicated solely to my daily blessings. I want to focus on the little everyday occurences that should not be taken for granted. A sweet little head leaning on my shoulder. The patting of a soft, warm baby hand on my back while he's nursing. The half smile of a nursing child. My husbands hands on my hips as I walk up the steps. Three boys curled up in the same bed in the morning. Toothpaste on the sink. Big snowflakes falling outside my window. An Oreck canister vac at Goodwill for $7.99 that I have waited 12 years to find.
The little things make up the majority of our lives. They are the threads of yarn that crochet the blanket of tomorrow. I don't want to miss them. I want to capture and savor every one of them.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Lauren getting in on it.
Daddy stopped home to grab something and took a few quick trips around the circle with Derek. Da-d-ee, Race. 'Ruck. :)
Derek's look says, "Isn't my dad just the best? He raced trucks with me!"
I've had so many random thoughts going through my head lately as I try to think and meditate on my word for the year, Patience. I must admit that I'm still struggling so much with it. I think there are a couple of reasons for this struggle. First, there is a physical reason. I have a systemic yeast problem, and I love sugar and have been eating quite a bit of it lately. I have to cut it completely out, and this is really hard when you're married to a man who loves sugar as well. But...I must do this for the sake of my family. It's amazing how much more patience I have when I haven't had any sugar for a few days. And how much more energy I have. And how easy life seems....
Second, there is a spiritual reason. I'm not sure if my thought process is completely finished or logical, but try to stay with me. When I was growing up, I was an only child. Not much stood in the way of me getting what I wanted. Pretty much all the time. I also experienced what I felt to be a good deal of success. I got straight A's in school, did well at piano playing, sang in choirs and groups (our girl's group won the state competition our senior year), did well at playing the flute, did oodles of baby sitting, saw many souls saved, etc. When I went away to college, I slipped a little, and then got right back up. I went for years without eating sugar of any kind, kept myself from getting angry for several years.... I could go on, but my point is this, if you're still with me:
For years my focus has been on me doing what I need to do. Me changing what needs to be changed. Now it's time for me to stop trying to do things by myself and allow God to do His work within me. Having children and being married has shown me one thing: My flesh is strong. Paul said, "I die daily." So easy to say, yet so hard to do. I think this year will be one of great revelations, insights, and, hopefully, growth, not just in the area of patience but in every other area as well.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
After getting both boys down for an early nap, I played around with our Wii (my parents bought us one for Christmas, and we are really enjoying it!). I really got quite a workout playing around with that. Then everyone came home from church, and we played together for a little while, and then I made dinner, and what a delicious dinner it was! Simple and delicious. Just my style.
Potatoes boiling for two-cheese mashed potatoes. I added some parmesan cheese and some cream cheese, along with the standard butter and milk. My goodness, they were good. Thick and creamy. Yum!
Of course, we had to have some greens! Meagan and Lauren have recently decided that they only like the bottoms of the broccoli -- the stems -- the part that the rest of the family really can't stand! ;) So, Lauren and I have a little arrangement where she eats the stem and puts the "tree" on my plate for me to eat! Works for me! ;0)
The best part of the meal was barbecue pork tenderloin. This is soooo easy if you can find pork tenderloin - not loin - on sale. Trim the white off the pork. Place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Rub (I really like to cake it on!) with McCormick Barbecue spices. Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads between 150 and 160 degrees. So yummy!
Last night, I did a little experimenting with Lauren's hair. I divided her hair into little sections, twisted the hair around my finger loosely, and secured against her head with two bobby pins per section, crossing the bobby pins so they would stay in place.
Here is a close-up of what each section looked like.
I wasn't sure what to expect this morning when I took out the bobby pins, but this is how it looked after separating the curls a bit! Lauren wasn't sure she liked it, but the rest of us thought she looked just like Shirley Temple did when she was small. After Lauren went to church and heard from "outsiders" that she looked adorable, she decided she would let me do it again sometime.
Life is so busy for us that it's nice to just be able to take a step back and enjoy life. Elisabeth and Lauren built this "park" Friday afternoon. Aren't they so creative?!
A couple of weeks ago in my Bible reading, I came across a little phrase that I haven't been able to get out of my head: "Thou God seest me." I love all the implications of that little phrase. No matter where I am in my life, God sees me. When I do wrong, yes, He sees me. But He also sees me when I'm doing right. And He's encouraging me to do it again. Just like I do for my own children. What comfort in those four little words: Thou God seest me.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I could not have asked for a better childhood. I grew up with just my dad - no mom - but I loved my life. I never one time was upset about the fact that I didn't have a mom, though there were a few times I wished I had one (like at the outset of becoming a young lady). I attribute the fact that I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything to my fantastic daddy! He's awesome!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Gettin' those pinchers goin'!
I know the quality of this picture is sorely lacking, but the look on his face is just too precious to pass up.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Don't take life for granted. Don't waste even one minute being selfish. Don't say one unkind word. Speak every word as if it were your last with that person. Always hug and say "I love you" when someone leaves your presence. Life is too short, too precious, and too precarious to treat it carelessly.
Treasure the moments.
Dominic had surgery late last night to remove the bone fragment that was lodged in his spinal column. It was causing him much pain, and they had hoped that it had not already cut through the nerves. Carrie texted around 5:00 to tell us that he was out of surgery and doing as well as could be expected. Keep praying.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
2. Patience is what I crave most right now (and maybe a little Vanilla Rich Chip Cake, too ;)
3. Meditating on Scripture is so nourishing to my soul and spirit. (Why is it such a struggle to stay faithful in my walk with God?)
4. Let us dare to be truthful with ourselves.
5. I love my home.
6. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to skiing with friends and family, tomorrow my plans include seeing an opera live via satellite (I think) with some dear friends (I've never been to an opera before!) and Sunday, I want to be a blessing and an encouragement to the folks in our Sunday school class!
This is my crazy family sitting down to Christmas dinner the Saturday after Christmas. We usually try to get a silly picture also, as you will see in the second photo. There are three family members not in the picture - Brian (you just can't see him), Tyler (he was taking a nap), and, of course, me (I was taking the picture!). My parents bought our family a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. If you haven't played one of those yet, you should. It's a riot! Where else could I box my husband and beat him?!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Take a close look at Lauren's hair in the top picture. See all the little squiggly hairs? I have been having the time of my life checking out some different hair blogs. Who knew there were things like hair blogs?!? I am so challenged when it comes to hair-do's for the littles, and now I have a solution--steal ideas from others! ;o) Anyway, a few of my favorite hair blogs are:
Those of you with little s, enjoy!
On a slightly different note, I just have to share this funny story that happened the other day. Brian was sitting on the couch, and Lauren came up and tried to sit on the arm of the couch next to him. Here's the little dialogue that followed:
Brian - "Move, Lauren. You're invading my space."
Mom - "You've been invading my space since before you were born."
Brian - "Well, that's what moms were made for!"
Monday, January 5, 2009
This past week has been different. I have not gotten much done around the house, but I can’t say that it is because I have been busy. Indeed, I have merely been holding sick babies and children and a husband. I have been caring for my family’s most basic needs – love and comfort. And I have truly enjoyed every minute of it. Each day, it seems, someone different has gotten up in the morning and not felt well. Even daddy was sick last night. And now I have mastitis, due to Tyler’s extreme fatigue during his illness, I think.
We have a good-sized family right now, not what I would deem to be extremely large compared to some, though. I love the size of my family. I love babies. Nine months after we were married Elisabeth Joy showed up, and we have had a baby almost constantly since then. We have often struggled with what God would have us to do regarding the size of our family. Well, I guess I should say that I have struggled with it. I have come to a point in my life where I can completely trust my husband to make the decision that God wants him to make. When someone asks him about it, he says, “I just don’t see anywhere in the Bible where children are anything but a blessing.” I agree. They truly are a blessing. Much work, but a blessing.
As I was reading my Bible the other day, Genesis 1:22 “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply” really stood out to me. Again in verse 28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The way that God blessed His creation was to give them the ability to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. All three of those words carry a connotation of reproducing. Some folks assume that if you give your fertility to God you will end up with 20 children. Some folks do, but some folks do not. I know of a woman who only had one child. She never did anything to prevent children, but God only gave her one. Another lady had four children each five years apart, without ever trying to space her children.
Four years ago, I was feeling overwhelmed and was counseling with Bro. Marvin Smith. At the time, I had five children. Some of my thoughts were, “I am such a terrible mother. I grew up without a mother, yet God has given me five children. What was He thinking? Is He punishing me?” Bro. Smith looked at me and said, “God trusted you with five children. He only trusted me with two.” Wow! God trusts me.
Some people look at me each time I get pregnant and say things like “Don’t you know what causes that?” Or, “God expects you to exercise some common sense.” I agree. And yes, I do know what causes “that”, but it’s just so much fun! ;o) But over and over again in Scripture I see that God is the One that opens and closes the womb. Prior to 1960, the birth control pill was not approved for public use. And, prior to 1960, you saw many “large” families. It was just the way it was. Mom stayed home to care for her “babies” and daddy went to work to provide for the family. Families these days are so small because no one is home to care for them. Children are deemed by most as a huge inconvenience.
I, too, have often fallen prey to thinking that my children are keeping me from my true purpose in life. That if I didn’t have my children I would be able to do so much more for God. I have been guilty of believing the devil’s lie. The truth is that there is nothing greater I could do with my life than to pour myself into my children. To train them to train their children and to reach others for Christ. If we all eagerly took the job assigned to us by God of training our families for Him we could do so much more for Him than if we limit what He is trying to do in our lives.
I am so thankful that God has indeed blessed me beyond measure with my seven beautiful children. He may or may not continue to bless me in this way, but I am trusting Him.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
We ate at a restaurant there at the resort with three other couples who were also taking advantage of the free overnight stay. Our food took quite awhile (about an hour and a half) to cook, and there was a couple sitting behind us who took quite a liking to Tyler. They held and played with him for awhile, so we took their picture to email to them!
We had a couple of snacks, and Chad introduced Tyler (who has never had a bite of real food) to Twizzlers. He loved chewing on it, but threw quite a fit when Daddy finally took it away. :(
These last few days, since I have been concentrating on patience, my anger has been the last thing on my mind. But, I have felt much more calm inside. There are, of course, other factors contributing to my calmness. However, I attribute much of the lack of tension inside to the fact that I have been concentrating on putting something positive into my life instead of removing something negative.
Several years ago in a sermon a preacher stated that sometimes, if we have had a parent with obvious flaws, we tell ourselves that we don't want to be like our parents. We sometimes put a lot of energy into thinking about the fact that we don't want to be like our parents. So much energy, in fact, that we become like the part of our parents that we disliked so much because we have concentrated so much on that part of them. Instead of focusing on our parents, we should be focusing on Jesus. The basic idea was that we become like whatever we focus on.
For the past several years I have been focusing on the wrong thing. I have been focusing on the undesired trait in my life instead of focusing on the desired trait.
Things have been so crazy around here that I haven't been able to post any verses or phrases around the house yet, but that is coming soon, hopefully this week.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Amy, over at Daily Pleasures, challenged us through her own practices to find a word for the year. After reading her post, I set about diligently to think and pray about what that word should be. I was leaning toward simplicity or growth. Then I began praying about it! ;) Through my praying, the Lord led me to ask my husband what he thought my word should be. If I were going to have one word guide me for the year, what should it be? Before I had even finished, he knew what my word should be. So that's what it is! My word is patience.
PATIENCE, n. pa'shens. [L. patientia, from patior, to suffer.]
1. The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. Patience may spring from constitutional fortitude, from a kind of heroic pride, or from Christian submission to the divine will.
2. A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.
3. The quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge.
His rage was kindled and his patience gone.
These definitions came from the Webster's 1828 dictionary, a dictionary based on the Word of God. Probably the biggest obstacle to patience in my life is my lack of "Christian submission to the divine will." As problems daily arise in my life, I "buck my authority," so to speak. I think that I have rights. A right for my children to behave properly, a right to be able to find my potato peeler when I need it, a right to clean a room and have it stay that way, a right to go to the store to buy an article of clothing when I ne(want)ed it. As an only child who lived only with her dad, I have had struggles growing into a large family. In many ways, I am still a child emotionally. I never learned to deal with constant frustrations because there just weren't any to deal with. This year, I am going to study patience. I have chosen several verses to begin the year:
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
1Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls. Our pastor recently did a short series of sermons about Possessing Your Vessel. It was a great sermon series - one I plan to implement this year.
James 1:3-4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Patience (ˈpā-shənz) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast. Antonyms include hasty and impetuous. How often am I hasty with my words and actions? How often do I "fly off the handle" in the face of adversity, opposition and frustration? More often than I care to admit, I'm afraid. This year, I am praying that God will change me. That He will remind me to walk circumspectly.
Watch yourself, be the first to ask pardon if you both err, and guard against the little piques, misunderstandings, and hasty words that often pave the way for bitter sorrow and regret. ~1868, Louisa May Alcott
Patience is the companion of wisdom. ~St. Augustine
We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
~Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)
Our patience will achieve more than our force.
~Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)