Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My New Link

Did you see I have a new link over there to the right?

"Blue Frog and Butterfly Gifts and Collectibles"

I am happy to add that link for a good friend. She has her own business and just got her online store set up! It's an assortment of gift items and collectibles, kind of a "something for everyone" store!

So, just in time for last-minute Christmas shopping (although Dec. 9th is really still early for me!) go check out her store!

When you do, if you buy something please let her know that you were referred by me...Robin102!

And if you are there shopping for me the Colonial Candle Lamp and Amber Lilies Tealight Holder are on my wish list...

TopTen Tuesday

There are so many things I would love to blog about. Several posts are already half written in my head. But today, I'm going to make it simple.

Top Ten Little Things In Life That Make Me Happy!

10) Watching the huge snowflakes fall outside and knowing that I am in for the day!

9) Songs that you hear that make you say "That's exactly how I feel!"

8) Birth stories. I just love to hear mom's tell about the day their little ones were born! I'm sappy that way. (Except of course when you're listening to a mom who seems to still be lacking a maternal instinct even though her child is 4 years old and she talks all about the wretched pain and her begging for drug after drug because nothing worked, not even the epidural, and how it was the most excruciating 3 days of her life and she's still pretty bitter about it. And then she adds that she will never have another baby and all you can think is "Praise God!" Okay, that was exaggerated a bit, but only because I met this woman in the Penny's baby section 10 years ago so her exact words are not fresh in my mind...but her bitterness is!)

7) Waking up in the night to someone whispering "Mommy." (When they're yelling "Mommy" in the night, well, that's's the whispers that make me happy!)

6) Popcorn and Junior Mints. Yum.

5) Triscuits. Proof that I do love something other than chocolate! And when it's important to be drinking plenty of water, like when you're pregnant, they come in very, very handy! (Just thinking about eating them is making me thirsty!)

4) The concordance in my Bible.

3) Decorating cakes! A cake is such a delicious canvas!

2) Aidan's alien pencil sharpener. I am not kidding. Ever since my nice electric one broke 8 years ago, I have gone through several cheap little sharpeners and they make me crazy! Sometimes they work, or they only work for the first 7 pencils. Most of the time, the best they will do is give you a tip that is not quite as dull as when you started trying to sharpen it 12 minutes ago. And sometimes they just break your pencil tip. But this year, Aidan picked a sharpener for school that looks like an alien and one eye is a large tip sharpener and the other eye is a regular pencil sharpener. Every time I use it, I get giddy when I pull it out and find a perfectly sharpened pencil tip. Every time! I love that thing! (And I'm very protective of it and don't like to share. What if something happened to it?)

1) Gingerbread houses! My mom gave us a kit which we will be doing tomorrow night (or tonight if basketball is canceled due to our lovely weather)! Gary's mom loved gingerbread houses and got me hooked on them. There have been years that we didn't get around to making one but it really is one of my favorite things to do during Christmas. This year I'm planning on baking the gingerbread pieces next week, so that when we have 8 kids here for Christmas break we can all make our own house...or something.

I haven't decided what to do yet. The first year with Karen, we made a bird house. We've also made churches, dog houses, and a tee pee! I've got until next week, so if anyone has any ideas for a fun gingerbread house...please share!

*And now I have to add one more...11) The fact that as I've been writing this, Rachel has been talking one goldfish at a time upstairs and feeding them to the cat. How do I know this? Because each time she took one and headed up the stairs she would peek around the corner and tell me "Deedee eat fish." And now she's trying to sneak past me with the whole box. I'm sensing that it's time to start my cleaning!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

You're Gonna Miss This...Moment...#2

It's that time of the week again, to look back and savor the moments that will be gone before we know it! Check out Pam's blog and join in!

Well, with a birthday to celebrate this past week, it is not hard to find moments I'm going to miss someday!

I'd use the decorating the cake moment again, but this bad mom didn't get it made yet! Aidan's birthday fell on a school night/basketball night/choir practice night (which means Gary's gone and we watch Kristin's kids for her). So a very busy night indeed...or it was supposed to be. That all changed when Aly woke up with a 101.5 fever Thursday morning. Anyway, the cakes were baked but the frosting never got made (I am determined to do that today!). But the birthday boy got his 8 Swedish pancakes in bed for breakfast, because he turned 8! And he got to choose our dinner, so Pizza Hut was had by all! We skipped basketball, put up our tree had our pizza, and Aidan opened his gifts all before Gary had to leave for choir practice.

And then I spent most of Friday in bed! I think I caught whatever Aly had but I also think I just plain overdid things. Hmmm, good thing I didn't do the cake!

But it's definitely the pancakes in bed that I'm going to miss someday! Although, by the time all the kids are in double digits I will probably be ready to miss that tradition! And for the record, as they get older and therefore get more pancakes, I use a much smaller pan so each pancake is really only the size of half of a Swedish pancake...I'm not completely insane...yet...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

8 Pancakes Ago...

How in the world can my first baby boy be turning 8 today?

Eight years ago, I had gone on maternity leave the week of Thanksgiving. We went to church on Dec. 3 and I started having contractions during the service. Not the "Oh, no! Get me to the hospital contractions," but more the "hmm, could this be the beginning?" contractions. We had pizza at Gary's Grandma's house that evening. Later that night I had a thought that I should call my friend Tracy, who lived next door, and ask her if I could call her at any hour to stay with Aly, in the event that labor started in the middle of the night.

It was a good thought.

But I didn't call her that night.

Nope. Instead I called her at 3am when my water broke!

She was not quite awake but gladly said yes and then added, "Just bring Aly over."

I hung up the phone and asked Gary, "If we have to wake Aly up, why don't we just bring her with us?" (both of our mom's were going to be at the hospital)

As we tried to figure out what to do, the phone rang. Tracy had woken up and realized the craziness of what she had offered and told us she'd be right over! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! So, she hung out at our house until Gary's mom came to relieve her.

On the way to the hospital I was trying to time contractions but I couldn't focus because I actually started to get scared! With Aly, I remember not being scared at all. Because I had no idea what was about to happen! But with Aidan, I remembered it all!!!

We got to the hospital at 4am and by 6am I was all settled in and hooked up to monitors and they came in to tell me that they'd be starting Pitocin because I wasn't contracting. I only vaguely remember asking them what exactly I was feeling every 4 minutes if it wasn't contractions but I can't for the life of me remember getting an answer or what the answer was.

I do remember them talking about what a busy night it was and that they were running out of birthing rooms.

So, at 7am they started the pitocin. And right about that time, Gary's mom came up with Aly. Or did they get there at 7:30am? Must have been 7:30 because I remember watching the "Buzz Lightyear" cartoon with her! She was so cute!

Before the shift change, my nurse told me that because I "wasn't contracting on my own", the pitocin would take some time to start working and it would likely be mid-afternoon before things really got underway. (Just a note here to anyone who might read this and has not yet given birth...if some day you do, and your nurse and your body are giving you conflicting reports - do not believe your nurse!) But that nurse went home at 7 and I met my day nurse, who just happened to be the same nurse I had for Aly's delivery! Her I liked!

Unfortunately, I had believed the forecast of a mid-afternoon delivery. By 8am, I was having such bad contractions, that I was convinced I couldn't make it without drugs. So I asked for something (not an epidural...I am so happy for all you mom's who have wonderful pain-free labors but I cannot do it...I've seen women get epidurals on tv and it completely freaks me out. I can't even stand to watch it. I can't explain it, but I can't do it.). Anyway, they gave me something and all it did was make me feel sick and start having slurred speech. What a waste.

So, Gary's sister had come to the hospital and when I stopped having fun, she took Aly out to shop for a gift for the new baby. My brother and his wife also came by and when I stopped being fun, they went to the cafeteria.

A little before 9am, I knew. I whispered to my mom that I needed to push and that I was just going to push a little bit. So she ran out to get the nurse who of course did not want me to push I did...just a little...just enough for it to feel better, but don't tell.

My doctor came in and told me that I could in fact push and mentioned that he was in his office talking to his nurses about how to clear up his afternoon schedule when he got the call! In between contractions we were all chatting and the doctor asked if he had told us yet if it was a boy or a girl. Gary very proudly said yes, it's a boy! And then the doctor said, "Oh, well then I'm sure I wrote in your chart that it's a girl. If I tell the parents what they're having I always write the opposite in the chart. If I was right you'll never check the chart, but if I was wrong I can show you your chart and say no, see I had it right." I thought that was hilarious. Gary was a little concerned.

And Aidan James made his debut at 10:13am on December 4th!!!

How could that have been 8 years ago?

But it was. So, this morning before school, Aidan got 8 Swedish pancakes in bed!

He was so handsome and so sweet. He settled into an 8pm bedtime almost from the time we brought him home. We had lots of mid-night feedings and cuddles but he always went right back to sleep. He was so easy. And then he started walking at 10 months. Then he was busy, busy, busy. And his big sister, who was always afraid to try anything, well, she started doing anything and long as Aidan did it first!

And now, I am seeing him become a young man. And he's smart and he's a thinker. And he's got this awesome sense of humor (and if he can learn to control it, then it won't get him in so much trouble at school)! He loves and looks out for his little sister and can be very selfless and put others first. And after all these years, he's still so very handsome...and he still gets cranky when he's hungry.

And my prayer is that as he grows he will become less dependant on Gary and I, and more and more dependant on God! That he will choose for himself to serve the Lord, to trust in Him, to grow in Him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Entering a Giveaway!

I follow a blog called "Four little men...and girly twins". Brittany is a mom who has...can you guess?...four sons and just had her twin girls in August (who are absolutely beautiful). If you check out her blog you must read her birth story from August. God definitely had His hand on those little ones to bring them into the world safely!

Anyway, she is having a giveaway and "Ollie" has encouraged me to enter! She's giving away a "One Step Ahead Tummy Time Safari" and "Ollie" really wants to win. Especially since he knows I gave most of our baby things away after Rachel. You know. Because I was "done."

So, go check out Brittany's blog, anyone can enter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


(To clarify before you read this...we do not know if we are having a boy or a girl, but we call all our babies by a male "pre-birth" name so until we find out, our baby will be referred to as "he".)

Okay. I took a test back in September. Having learned English at an early age I had no trouble reading the stick.

P. R. E. G. N. A. N. T.

I thought it was starting to sink in when Gary and I told, well, everybody we knew.

But no.

Did it sink in when I lost all my energy and a few of my meals each day?


How about when I saw the little jelly bean shape with the flickering little heartbeat? Or two weeks ago when he had grown enough for me to be able to watch him wave his little hand over his head?

Apparently not.

Because tonight, as I washed my face in the bathroom, I was thinking over the day and my appointment with my midwife. I was smiling to myself about listening to that sweet little "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" of his heartbeat.

And I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I have a baby and I take him with me wherever I go. In four to five more weeks, I'll even begin to feel him moving.

But he's in there moving already.

And I am sunk.

"Ollie's" presence has sunk in and I am head over heels for him.

And I praise my God for this gift. He is the Creator and certainly didn't need to use us to bring new lives into this world. But He does. What a great gift to be a part of His work...the miracle of life. And of course, His work and His miracle is not limited to the first 40 weeks in the womb. The love He makes my heart capable of leaves me in total awe of Him. I can't fathom a love stronger than the love I have for each of my kids. And yet the truth is, my love is imperfect and flawed by my sinful nature.

But His love is perfect.

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

When we wonder if God really loves us...what further proof do we need?

With our Thanksgiving dinner already behind us (I had leftovers today for lunch!) we will be celebrating tomorrow's holiday with pizza and Christmas tree decorating at my mom's. But this year I will be enjoying Thanksgiving day with more thankfulness than any previous year. Not because of my circumstances but because of my Savior and all that He is, all that He's done, and all that He's doing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

Tonight I present you with the Top Ten Things I Love About Aly...

10) She is a not a princessy girl. I will "ooh" and "ahh" over all the cute little girlie things, and Rachel spent practically her first year in pink, but as a former tom-boy myself, I just love Aly's style :o)!

9) She just laughs her way through life but just when I think she might never have a serious moment, she surprises me with a moment that reminds me that she really is thinking in that head of hers. (My favorite was when she was just 5 and I was talking to her about creation and how God stood back and saw that it was good, and what that must have been like and she said, "Oh, like art!" Which made me pause and think, hmm, on a much, much, much smaller scale, we create and enjoy it because we were created in the image of our Creator!

8) God has blessed her with a beautiful imagination!

7) She has really great freckles! (Which she hates, of course, or at least she did. Hmmm, I should ask her if she still hates them.)

6) I love that she wants there to be justice and truth in the world (I just hope she can find ways to deal with that desire without all the tattling and fighting to the death with her brothers over the proper use of a word.)

5) I love her sense of humor. I knew we were in trouble when she made her first sarcastic remark at the age of 3! I had just finished stenciling the kitchen walls (hey, it was 8 years ago...and it's been painted over for some time now!), I stood back to look at my masterpiece and asked Aly, "Well? What do you think?" She replied very seriously, "I don't like it." And then gave me that "just kidding" smile and started laughing!

4) I love that she wants to be unique.

3) I love her silliness (even though it drives me crazy)!

2) I love that she is so much like that I can drive her crazy by pointing this out often in the years to come!

1) I love that she came up with the idea of creating a "quote of the day". Her first quote?

Nov. 25, 2008
"Toothpicks are the key to happiness."

How can I not love this girl?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You're Gonna Miss This...Moment...

Okay, for quite some time now, I've been reading Pam's blog, "You're Gonna Miss This...". She is an amazing woman with 6 kids who has been through a great deal of hurt and is sharing God's glory in the midst of it all! Every week she hosts a "blog carnival" (I'm finally learning some blog lingo) called "You're Gonna Miss This...Moment", where she invites her readers to join her in posting about things, past or present, that they will, or already do, miss.

Finally, I'm going to join them. (I've been meaning to for a few weeks but then I've been meaning to clean the house too...)

I think I'm supposed to post pictures but maybe not. It would be better with pictures but it's 10:30 Saturday night and I still have 2 birthday cakes to decorate and sweet potatoes to bake for our early Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Yeah. So, no pictures this time!

Which leads me to one thing I will miss. One of the birthday cakes I'm decorating is for Aidan. We're having an early family birthday party for him and my nephew at our early Thanksgiving dinner. So, Aidan got to choose what he wants me to draw on his cake and just like every other birthday, everyone else started choosing their cake decoration too. I love decorating their cakes special for each of them and I love that they love it too. Someday, I'm going to miss that! Granted, that someday is quite a ways off! So, I don't want to waste time complaining about the late hour or the work or the mess in the kitchen. I'm just going to savor the reason I do it!

Hey! It just occurred to me, I can post a picture...

...I'll add it later, you know, when the cake is finally done.

One Thing

This is my 100th post! I've read several blogs where people have done special things for this milestone, like posting 100 things about themselves or doing a cool contest. Well, I am not that cool. So, if you're hoping for a cool contest to win you should hop over to MckMama's blog and check out the Small Fryday giveaway! When you're done, if you don't mind, even though I have no cool contest, stop back to read the rest of my post. Please?


For my 100th post I've decided to write about one thing.

Over the past 2 months live has become a tad overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, life is wonderful! I am so blessed! I have a marriage that has been restored when it looked hopeless for so many years. I have 4 beautiful and healthy kids and number 5 being knit together even as I type. God has filled my life with more good than I deserve, especially considering that we deserve none.

The overwhelming part is that I look at this life and there is so much to do. So much to care for, so much to pray for. Just the kids alone come with a mountain of responsibilities from laundry and homework help to praying for them and training them up. Then there's my husband, my church, my friends, my neighbors. I think for my 100th post I probably could have written 100 things to do in a day and still not cover everything.

But I was talking to my best friend and as we talked about the topic of children and discipline, I started feeling that overwhelming feeling. And I realized something, I feel overwhelmed because I am reminded that the very best I can do is completely inadequate.

How do you discipline a child who is lying? How do you motivate your daughter to work harder in school because if she would just turn in her assignments on time her grades would not be slipping? How do you teach your son how to control his personality so that it doesn't get him sent to the Principal's office? How? Well, God gave me my answer and it has made this life and it's thousand tasks a day seem less overwhelming.

One thing.

My God. He is my one thing.

Psalm 73:23-28

23Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

He knows that I am inadequate. This does not surprise Him. He doesn't want me to try to accomplish anything on my own. He wants me to depend on Him. He is all I need.

My one thing.

The enormous task of training up children, He can handle. I need to seek Him. He will lead me. He knows what will motivate each of my children. He will lead me. He knows the real issues they are struggling with when all I can see is slipping grades. He will lead me. He knows my husband's needs. He will lead me. He knows my neighbor's needs, my friends needs. He will lead me. And the woman I pass by on route 2? He knows her needs too, and He will lead me. And with all of the work that He has for me to do, He does not forget the mundane everyday needs of my home. The laundry, the vacuuming, the dishes. Even in this, He will lead me.

He is my one thing and He leads me. Just one step at a time. He doesn't want to overwhelm me.

Rich Mullins was one of my favorite artists when I was a teen. He had a song called "My One Thing." And it makes sense to me now in a way that it never had before. You can listen to it if you click here and then click play on the ninth track.

Oh, and don't forget to hop on over to the Small Fryday contest on MckMama's blog!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Well, first off, I did not just check MckMama's website and decide not to bother posting a NotMeMonday post just because 140 people are ahead of me so what's the point? I did not do that because I have never secretly hoped to be one of the first to silly!

After a few minutes and remembering a few things I did not do this week, I did not change my mind and decide that I'd better write about them anyway.

I certainly did not decide that it would be a good idea on Friday afternoon to bake cookies for our church movie night and hang a new sliding door curtain rod and curtains at the same time. That would have been insane and how could I work in our little kitchen with cooling racks, cookie sheets, screwdrivers and an electric drill all sharing the space on the kitchen table? (Although the cookies were delicious and I love our new drapes!)

I also did not buy new curtains because the last ones started ripping at the top and only 2 of the 4 panels were left, and they were a few inches too short because I had washed and dried them. Nope. We haven't been living with short drapes that only covered half of the back sliding door for 2 years. Not me!

I also did not see my midwife on Wednesday and tell her how my back pain had suddenly disappeared the week before. She didn't ask if I had done the exercises she had suggested and I didn't give her a blank stare and ask "what exercises?" (I really don't think she mentioned exercises.) I also didn't suddenly remember that the day before my back pain ended I had spent the entire day in the yard cleaning it up for winter. Yeah, my midwife laughed and told me that I had indeed done the exercises!

I also have not been slacking in my housework because I have had no energy since becoming pregnant. I did not finally start feeling my energy coming back and get on a cleaning kick on Saturday. It did not become apparent just how lacking I have been when I found "little frog" by the entryway.

A moment of silence.

He must have tried so hard to be free.

He almost made it.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nice Goal, But Where's Your Plan?

This past weekend, our church hosted "Purity Weekend." The men's ministry felt led this year to do something different with their annual men's retreat. They planned a conference for men, women, and teens. A conference that would impact the entire family. They were obviously following God's leading, because that is exactly what we experienced this weekend!

The issue of purity is so important and yet so seldom discussed. Oh, we'll scratch the surface but any deeper than that and it gets too personal. Too embarrassing to share with another person, let alone a group or congregation. And there's the problem. We leave it to be a secret. One of my favorite lines from an Andy Gullahorn song is "he knew carrying secrets to the grave is impossible to do, the secrets carry you." We keep it hidden, and it keeps us in bondage.

I spent 8 years of our marriage keeping a secret. Why? It would have been embarrassing to tell someone. I know, brilliant, right?

Out of respect for my husband, and respect for anyone reading this, know that I will be very careful what I share. Keeping it secret is a problem but too much information is not the solution.

I became painfully aware after our wedding, that things were not well. By the time I was pregnant with Aly (after a month and a half of marriage) it was clear that pornography came before me. So, I did what any good wife would do. I helped him keep his sin a secret. I lied to everyone at church who asked where he was on Sunday mornings, and told them he was sick. Then, of course, I stopped going to church too so that I wouldn't have to answer the question at all.

I had a great plan. I was going to be obedient to God (at least on one point). He hates divorce so I was going to stay married. So, I lived with his sin which was so much worse than my own that I settled right in to my new secret life as the innocent victim praying for God to change him. What a saint I was (and if you don't read that with sarcasm, then don't read it at all)!

And here is the biggest lesson God impressed upon me at this weekend's conference. I didn't have a plan, I had a goal. Honoring my marriage vow to God and to my husband was a good goal. But I had no plan! None. I didn't even know I didn't have a plan. Clueless.

I was thinking back over my life and realized that this was true of everything I ever felt committed to accomplish and then fell short. I had goals with no plans because I thought the goal itself was a plan.

I was going to marry a man who was a Christian. Even better, I determined that I would only marry a Christian who was growing in his walk with the Lord. That was my plan, except that it was a goal with no plan at all. Consequently, I went on a date before finding out if the guy had a personal relationship with Jesus. To be honest, I actually thought that I wouldn't be attracted to him if he wasn't a Christian so I saw no harm. You have my permission to laugh at me.

Moving right along, with no lesson learned. I was committed to saving myself for marriage. There was no question in my mind. That was my plan. If you've been paying attention, you'll know what I'm going to say next. That was, yet again, a great goal with no plan at all! At the conference, the women had a question and answer session and one of the questions asked about boundaries when dating. One comment was that you should not kiss. I have to admit that something in me was shocked by this. I thought that was pretty strict and unreasonable. Then, of course, God made His point. Where did I go wrong? Oh, yeah, I was totally committed to purity...until we were kissing. Oh, I see.

The point of deciding the boundary of not kissing is that if you are serious about the goal of purity then you need be serious about how you plan to achieve that.

Back to the goal/plan dilemma. Here's a less personal one. I planned to raise my children to be young men and women who love the Lord and serve Him. Again, it's really just a goal and I have come to see that the truth is I have not had a plan. God has been convicting me of this for some time now and I'm finally listening. One thing I have realized is that it is for God to reveal Himself to them and initiate a personal relationship. I am called to train them up in the way they should go. It's not that I have done it all wrong until now, but now I am seeking God's voice on how He wants me to train up my children.

I'm learning not to confuse a goal with a plan.

I'm learning to seek God's will, not only for the goal, but for the plan for getting there.

I'm learning.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

Happy election day! We are home doing homework and showers and waiting for Gary to get home. Having just called from the polling place I'm guessing he'll be gone another hour! So, while I wait for our pizza I actually have time for a post! A special election Top Ten!

Top Ten Things I'm Thankful for on This Election Day!

10. I am thankful that I woke up to a house filled with the four amazing gifts God has blessed us with and a womb filled by the fifth!

9. I am thankful for my husband, whom I love and respect!

8. I am thankful for answered prayers!

7. I am thankful that today is not just election day. It is a new day that God blessed me with.

6. I am thankful that God blessed us with this amazing weather making it so much more pleasant standing outside the polling place for the first half hour of our wait!

5. I am thankful that Garrett and Rachel did so well waiting for an hour in line with me at the polls. (Until Rachel started bumping into the next guy's table while I filled in my ballot!)

4. I am thankful that I am not at the polls right now!

3. I am thankful that you have to be 18 to vote. Why? Well, here's the conversation I had with Garrett when I picked him up from Kindergarten today.

Me: Who did you vote for today?
Garrett: That other guy. The one you're not voting for.
Me: (Trying to not sound angry and disappointed :o) Oh. Why did you vote for him?
Garrett: I dunno. Cause I wanted to.

(On a positive note, Aidan and Aly came home thoroughly disgusted that Obama won the mock-election at their schools!)

2. I am thankful that I live in a country where I have a voice. Things may not go the way that I am voting, but I had the privilege of casting my vote.

1. I am thankful that God is in control. Whatever the outcome, God is working. God has a plan. And in God I trust.

Daniel 2:20-22

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

2 Chronicles 7:13-15

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Baby Stellan has officially entered this world!

Happy Birthday Stellan!

The c-section went well and MckMama is recovering.
"Stellan got a 9 and a 9 on his APGARS and the NICU team has yet to find a single thing wrong with him..." and that is straight from her blog!

For their official announcement, go check out MckMama's blog!

Random Acts of Kindness

I have been thinking a lot lately about "random acts of kindness."

And I have come to the conclusion that "random acts of kindness" are not biblical.

Don't stop reading yet.

The definition of random is "proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern."

Without definite aim? Reason? Pattern? That is not the way were are to live. We are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and Jesus said that if we love Him we will obey Him. My acts of kindness are to be made with very definite aim, reason and pattern. I am to be listening to His voice and letting Him lead me. My aim is to bring glory to God, my reason is to be obedient to Him, and my pattern is to be listening for His voice in every moment.

On Monday afternoon I was driving home from paying the electric bill and God told me to turn around and go help the elderly woman I had just seen raking her yard. I almost talked myself out of doing it. I had laundry to do, I was tired, my back hurt. But I realized that it was God who had asked me to do that. So I did. Garrett was thrilled and worked his tail off with me while Rachel ran around and made a new friend. I don't know if there was any reason beyond just giving a woman some help with the work she had to do. But God knows.

I had looked at a website for an organization who's goal is to do good. They are going to change the world one good deed after another. Doing good things is great. Doing anything without seeking God's will is futile. Even if you did good. We can't change the world. If you've read the Bible, you know what the world is coming to. But God is changing people's lives. I want to be a part of that change, the only real change, the only change that matters.

So, as a Christian, I want to seek God in each moment of the day and go where He leads. Do what He asks. Bring glory to Him. I don't want to go through my day seeking out what I can or want to do. I want to focus on Him and what He wants me to do.

Acts of kindness? Absolutely!

Random? Not for me.

I Corinthians 10:31
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stellan Update

I want to encourage anyone who comes across this today to pray for MckMama and Stellan. If you don't know, she is a mom with 3 small children and one one the way...tomorrow! I have posted about her story before and you can find her blog by clicking on the button at the top of my side bar. This morning she is having and amniocentesis done in order to check Stellan's lung development. The results of this test will determine if she is cleared for the c-section they have planned for tomorrow morning or if she needs to carry him a bit longer. Just 13 weeks ago she was told that because of his heart problems he would surely die. God has blessed them with miracle after miracle and we are all excited to see what God will do next! Please say a prayer for peace for this family, wisdom for the medical staff, and of course for Stellan's health! And that this miracle of Stellan's life will bring glory to God!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Another "Not Me Monday"! To play along, or if you just want to read what other people did not do this week, check out MckMama's site!

So, this week, I did not become ridiculously excited over an Andrew Peterson concert. I wouldn't do that.

I also did not take my fifth grader to the concert with her best friend. It was a school night, people. What responsible parent would do that?

I certainly did not tell my daughter to bring notebook paper in with her because it would be fun to see if Andrew Peterson would write a note to her teacher asking for an extra day to study for her social studies test that she had the next day.

And there's no way I sent her to school the next day with this...

If you can't make out his handwriting, this is what he wrote...

Dearest Ms. Michael,

Would you, out of the goodness of your pulchritudinas heart, forgive Aly the woeful transgression of attending my evening of intensely intellectual and mind-enriching music by granting her but one more day on the looming test? Oh please? Please?

Andrew Peterson

(And for the record, Aly said her teacher "laughed so hard she got tears in her eyes.")

Friday, October 24, 2008

Concert Review/Can You Believe He's Coming Back?

And when I say "He's coming back" I am not referring to Andrew Peterson. Just keep reading.

The concert was great! It was just Andrew, his guitars, and a piano. He used a power point presentation to include some pictures, the verses that inspired the songs, and a few videos through out the evening. It was very intimate, and very much a night of story telling with lots of laughter and God's truth.

He sang through his new CD, giving the story behind each song and of course added just a couple songs from previous CD's. And he did the "Bears" song from his children's CD! If you have kids check it out! It's Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies. He and Randall Goodgame worked together and came up with several fun and silly songs and then ended the CD with several beautiful lullabies. I even listen to it when I don't have the kids in the car!

After the concert we just had wait around to talk to him! I am so inspired by his music. He is poetic and real and totally committed to using the gifts God has given him to share Christ with anyone who's listening. So, being the eloquent speaker that I am (in my head) when it was our turn to chat with him I proceeded to put on a stellar circus show complete with the acrobatics of (figuratively) stumbling and tripping over each and every well thought out word I attempted to utter.

Okay, that may be a little over-dramatic. Maybe. But later, it occurred to me that I don't know what I said! I know what I was trying to say, but I don't have a clue how it came out! Let's just say that if what I wanted to convey was a steak, what I handed poor Andrew Peterson, was ground beef. And not even the real lean ground beef. The kind where you brown it and half of it melts away because it was just fat.

Part of the problem may have been that I was so excited that this little scenario I'm about to share is all that ran through my mind as I pondered what I would say.

First I grab him firmly by the shoulders and proceed shake him as I exclaim in my outside voice, "God is so amazing and thank you for letting Him speak through you and draw people closer to Him!!!" And then calmly let go and mention that I love his new CD. At this point several men nearby, my husband included, recognize that there is no official security on the premises and step up to fill the position. While being dragged from the building I become immediately remorseful. And Andrew Peterson, having just become a victim of SAS (shaken artist syndrome) is forced to cancel his next several shows while he recuperates.

This would have been a shame. A real shame. So I'm glad that all I did was trip over my words.

To help myself feel better, this is what I had wanted to share with my favorite artist...and maybe I did just not in a very pretty way. (But at least I didn't shake him!)

I have been listening to his new CD for a week now and I really can't choose a favorite song. I love them all! Hosea might be my favorite, or Don't Give Up on Me. Or maybe I've Got News, or Love is a Good Thing...oh, I can't pick just one! But really, I think my favorite thing on the CD is what he wrote inside the cover. (and he even read this last night) It really spoke to me. It reminded me of what God had impressed upon me when reading about the Israelites being taken into captivity. Their 70 years of exile were recorded in just one verse with the next few verses recording the blessing of God restoring the land and bringing them home. (I'm not going to go into that, you can read it my post, The Length of a Verse!)

Here's what he wrote.

"He came back.

After that brutal Friday, and that long, quiet Saturday, he came back.

And that one intake of breath in the tomb changes everything. It changes the very reason I drew breath today and the way I move about in this world because I believe he's coming back again. The world has gone on for more that two millennia since Jesus' feet tread the earth he made. What would they have said back then if someone had told them that some two thousand years later we'd still be waiting? They would've thought back to that long Saturday and said, "Two thousand years will seem like a breath to you when you finally lay your crown at his feet. We don't even remember what we were doing on that Saturday, but let me tell you about Sunday morning. Now that was something."

These many years of waiting will only be a sentence in the story. This long day will come to an end, and I believe it will end in glory, when we will shine like suns and stride the green hills with those we love and the One who loves. We will look with our new eyes and speak with new tongues and turn to each other and say, "Do you remember the waiting? The long years, the bitter pain, the gnawing doubt, the relentless ache?" And like Mary at the tomb, we will say: "I remember only the light, and the voice calling my name, and the overwhelming joy that the waiting was finally over."

The stone will be rolled away for each of us.

May we wait with faithful hearts."


He's coming back!

Just like He said He would.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

He's Coming!!! He's Coming!!!

Did I mention that HE'S COMING?!!

I. Am. So. Excited.

Tonight we get to go out, which is exciting enough. But. We get to go out to see ANDREW PETERSON!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot type enough exclaimation marks to reflect my excitement. So, I will not even try.

Your welcome.

Now off you go. Check out his site and listen to some of the songs from his new CD, Resurrection Letters Volume 2! (but don't go searching for volume 1 because he hasn't done that one...yet)

I. Am. So. Excited.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's official...

Ollie is adorable and nestled in right where he should be with a strong little heart.

And he's due on my birthday!!!!

June 7, 2009

Come May I will not feel the same, but how fun would that be to have him on my birthday?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

Okay, I am back with a Top Ten Tuesday again.

This week?

Top Ten favorite things to do with my kids!

10. Play dough. If it weren't so messy, it would be higher on the list.

9. Aly and I love to play a game where we fold a piece of paper in half and one of us draws a head of some sort with a neck that comes down just to the top of the other half. Then the other person, without seeing the head, draws some sort of body. It's a blast! We try so hard to choose a body or head that will end up looking ridiculous but we often end up drawing something similar. Imagine that. For example, when you unfold the paper you may have a Christmas tree with a duck head or an ogre's head on the body of a fish. Yeah, it's a blast!

8. Board games. This is unfortunately not something we do often. And that is Rachel's fault. But I love her anyway.

7. Taking pictures and scrapbooking them. I am not a scrapbooker. I would love to be but I'd need more time and money. However, this summer we had "Mugshot Mondays" and "Foto Page Fridays" and we had such great time with it. I bought everyone an 8x8 album and a large pack of colored 8x8 paper and each week I'd buy new stickers. The kids all had a great time designing their pages and now they each have an album of summer memories.

6. Movie nights with popcorn and junior mints. Yum!!!

7. Grocery shopping. Or not.

6. Reading. I love, love, love children's picture books. But. I was so excited when the kids were getting old enough to start reading some bigger books. We have read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" all together but so far that's it. See, when Rachel was due we were in the habit of reading a little bit each night at bedtime and I was afraid that a new baby in the house would be the end of that. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. But when you have a new toddler in the house...bedtime reading time went out the window.

5. Being out at a forest preserve or state park. You know, where ever there are plenty of trees to climb, walking sticks to be found, trails to explore, and of course, mud, rocks, and water. These things always add up to a great adventure.

4. Scavenger hunts. There are so many ways to make a "hunt" at home and it can be quite simple or you can get really creative. My favorite was when I chose several books and put them in a pile. Their first "clue" told them which book to read and at the end of the book was a "clue" in the form of a question from the book. That answer would lead them somewhere in the house to their next book assignment and eventually it led them all out to the mailbox where they got a note that said we could go to McDonald's for dinner. It was a great way to "trick" them into reading! Not that it's all that hard to get them to read.

3. Painting! Our front room has fairly bare walls so quite awhile ago, I gave each of the kids a large piece of paper from one of the rolls at church and I taped them to the driveway and gave them paints and let them go to town on their own masterpieces for the walls. They loved it, I loved it, Gary loved the finished product but really wished we had not painted on the driveway. (Who knew craft paint wouldn't wash off the driveway?)

2. Praying. This one needs no explanation but it's a wonderful thing to teach kids how to pray by praying with them and it is so very sweet to hear what's on their hearts.

1. Devotions. I confess I am so terrible about this. I want it to be part of our routine but I fail miserably. When we do devotions together it's wonderful. I love to hear the questions they have and see them start to understand things about God. I want with all my heart to pass on to them the things that God has shown and taught me. The things that the world will not tell them, and in fact, will deny. Training children up in the way they should go is just not a passive thing. I don't want to just take them to church, sunday school, Awanas, and youth group and then hope for the best. I want to be actively teaching my children about the God we serve.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me Monday!

Last week, I did not take the kids to the state park when they had no school on Monday. So, I could not have allowed Garrett to keep the little frog that he couldn't have found, since we weren't there, ya know. (He was not the size of my thumb nail and cute as a button either!)

I did not agree to let them bring little frog home because I figured he'd only live a couple days and then we'd be rid of him. That would be heartless.

I also did not break down and buy him a beta fish tank and ceramic frog for a home when it started to look like he might actually be around for awhile. I did not drive Garrett to and from school on Thursday so he could take little frog to show his class.

I did not start to get attached to little frog and consider posting his picture and introducing him on my blog. Nope.

I did not go into the kitchen this morning with the kids and find that little frog is gone. And by gone I only wish I meant dead. He very well may be dead, but we don't know...because he's gone!!! I mean...not gone...oh, forget it.....The little frog is gone and I don't know where he is and it's really really creeping me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am not losing it. Nope.

If you want to read about all the things other people did not do this past week, then check out MckMama's site!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Glass is Half Full

I have let go of my guilt over not having a clean house lately. I can only do what I can do and the last two weeks my energy level has definitely only been half full. So, I have decided to look around at all that is patiently awaiting my attention with a positive attitude.

For example.

The kitchen floor this morning? Instead of getting upset about the salty mess Rachel left me when she found the shaker, I looked at the mess and realized that the floor was just half full...of salt.

The dishes in the sink didn't get me down. Why? Because they were all half full. Of milk, cereal, juice. But hey, they could have been half empty so I didn't complain.

I was feeling better already, but there's more.

I went into the bathroom and discovered that my dirty clothes hamper was half full! Wonderful! So what if it was only half full because most of the dirty laundry is strewn all over the floor...of every room in the house?

I was really starting to get the hang of this "glass is half full" perspective by this point. Throughout the day I noticed many other things.

Like the bed was not unmade it was half made. I decided that the fitted sheet and pillowcases being where they belonged should count for something, right?

The bathroom mirror is not a complete mess. Only half of the mirror is smeared with toothpaste.

The shelves that are supposed to hold all of our movies? Half full! Woohoo!

My cupboards are half full but that didn't make me feel better because they are only in that condition because my counter tops are still completely full of the groceries I bought yesterday.

But when I really look around this house, what I find is that I am blessed. God has given me four beautiful kids to raise and to love and one more to add to our home and our hearts. So, while my glass is half full, the real truth is that "my cup runneth over."

*I would love to end this post on a sweet sentiment, but I cannot. I can't not share the conversation Kristin and I had about "my cup runneth over", which is Psalm 23:5 by the way. We were discussing things one day and were feeling especially blessed. We felt that a cup running over did not begin to describe how fully God had blessed us. We were quite possibly over-tired and delirious when we made this new catch phrase, so bear that in mind when you read this!

When we feel blessed beyond belief we say we are "licking the floor!" Why would we say that, you ask? Because not only is our cup running over, but so is the saucer beneath it and it's spilling onto the floor!

I told you. Over-tired. Delirious. I wasn't kidding about that. Cut us some slack.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Today is the National Day of Remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss.

Angie Smith has written a beautiful post for today and asked people to share their stories of little ones they have lost so that they can be lifted up in prayer.

I have read through several stories and prayed for women I don't know. I've cried for them today and also for Max. (I've shared our pre-birth name tradition already) Max was our second baby. He was due on my birthday in 2000 but I had an appointment at 11 weeks (Nov. of 1999) and the doctor heard no heartbeat. He confirmed with an ultrasound that my uterus was already shrinking and the baby was gone.

In remembrance of Max I want to share the poem I wrote for him a year and a half after I lost him, when he would have been turning 1.

To Have Been Touched

You were with me
but only for a short while.
A beautiful soul
my arms would never hold.
I long to have known your touch
or felt your smile.
You are frozen in my dreams
where you will never grow old.
A void. An emptiness.
An absence felt so deep.
A precious heart
whose beat I never heard.
I'll always love you
but you weren't mine to keep.
A pain intensified by those
who don't believe you were.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dear Ollie,

My pants are too tight. You are only the size of a lentil bean.

That's not right.

God has been doing some amazing knitting.

You are busy growing lungs, arms and legs, eyes and ears, with a little heart pumping twice as fast as mine.


I. Am. Tired.

Yesterday, I had to lie down after lunch. I set the alarm clock so that I would not rest too long and not be able to grocery shop before the bus came.

Earlier in the week, I had to set the alarm for 10:50 am because I was watching a movie with Rachel and Megan and was afraid I'd be sleeping when Garrett's bus came.

I'm so exhausted that I'm considering putting Rachel back in diapers because I don't feel up to potty training! I mean, when kids at school start teasing her, she'll decide to use the potty, right?

In my current state of exhaustion I am praying that I can avoid the sickness that comes next. But I know that whatever I go through on my way to your birth will be worth it.

Just the thought of your soft, silky hair on my cheek next summer makes me just not care that I hardly have enough energy to brush my own right now. (And trust me, I've got your sister's and brother's newborn pictures to prove that it is highly unlikely that you will be born bald.)

My life is already being changed by you.

My heart is already filled with love for you.

My prayers are already asking God to protect you as you grow and to draw you close to Him, into a personal relationship with Jesus.


Now, I'm going to go lie down.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Favorite Children's Book

So, My Semblance of Sanity is having another contest! She is celebrating her 300th post and giving away an original illustration. All you have to do is write a post about your favorite children's book, link to the book on Amazon, and link back to her post. The winner is whoever chooses one of her 3 favorite books. I doubt I will do that. I would be shocked actually. But my favorite is my favorite so here is my post.

Actually, one favorite was too hard. I did finally choose an official favorite but if I'm going to talk about my favorite books I have to mention a few.

First, one of my favorites from my childhood is "Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia", by Peggy Parish. How can you not love Amelia Bedelia? She is sweet and silly and completely lacking in sense. Every page has you wondering what she will misunderstand next. There's no better ending to a baseball game than running "home" and serving up warm cookies on home plate.

My next favorite is more recent. I got "Today I Feel Silly", by Jamie Lee Curtis, when Aly was just a toddler. We loved to read this book together. It's rhyme's are catchy and even before Aly could read she was finishing my sentences when we read this book. It was always a hit and we laughed together a lot over the many moods and adorable illustrations. (We really loved her cat, Franny!) If you love to laugh with your kids, you must, must, must buy this book!

Next up is "Everything I Know About Monsters", by Tom Lichtenheld. I can not begin to explain how hilarious this book is. Tracy's son came home with it from the school library when he and Aly were both in Kindergarten. She actually called me on the phone and read me the book because she couldn't wait for me to hear it! We were crying we were laughing so hard. Aly kept asking the librarian for it and she finally told Billy he had to choose a different book so other people could have a turn because he loved it so much that he rechecked it out for several weeks in a row! It is that funny!

I can not talk about favorite books without mentioning "Big Dog...Little Dog", by P.D. Eastman. I still have the copy I read over and over as a kid. It's a story of opposites and the adventures of Ted and Fred. Fred uses green paint, drives slow in his green car. Ted uses red paint and drives fast in his red car. One of them plays the tuba and one plays the flute. They are just so cute and the little bird at the end of the book solves their little vacation dilemma and they exclaim "The bird's got the word!" Sorry, I just remember that line very well!

But my all-time favorite will forever be "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", by Dr. Seuss. I had this book memorized as a kid. I remember curling up in my bean bag chair, in pajamas, with my book in hand to follow along when the cartoon came on television. I loved all the little whos and their silly toys and food. And I always felt so bad for little Max. I just love that the mean old Grinch has a change of heart and is welcomed by the little whos and even ends up carving the roast beast. What a great story of forgiveness.

Well, that's my list.

My official favorite is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", but I just couldn't stand not to introduce you to all of my favorites! If anyone wants to join the contest just hop over here and follow the rules!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

I present to you the top ten list I was going to post last week before "Ollie" took precedence!

Top Ten Favorite Phrases From My Kids

10) "I'm a great painter." This is what Aly said to me one morning that clued me in to the fact that something might be amiss in the bathroom. Sure enough, she had found my craft paint and painted a patch on the nice white wall and also the rim around the sink. And she really was a great painter, the cat was lying in the sink without a spot of paint on him.

9) Number 9 is a tie between "Can I get a kitten now?" and "Can I call Kaetlyn and tell her?" Both said by Aly. The first was hollered out the back door as we attempted to get Buster out from under the neighbor's deck before the mama bunny killed him. The second was what she asked me immediately after finding out Buster was dead and viewing his grave marker. She really does have a heart...somewhere.

8) "Thank you God, for fixing it." This was the prayer Aidan prayed when he was about 4 and our car wouldn't start, I said we needed to pray and he offered to.

7) "Mommy, flush, has, ye-yems?" Music to my ears from Rachel when she tells me she needs to flush, wash her hands, and get some M&M's!

6) "Picy" (as in "spicy") - This is what Garrett told me one morning when he was 2 and I found an open bottle of Tabasco sauce on the floor next to the fridge and asked him "what is this?". He is our resident sleep-walker, by the way.

5) "I didn't save the day!" Poor Aidan was just 3 or 4 when he yelled for me to help him in the tub. He had his finger sticking in the drain holding on to a barbie skirt that was being sucked down. This is what he cried out when it finally slipped away.

4) "Peace!" - said by Rachel every time she's pointing something at you that even remotely resembles a gun (her fav would be the letter "L" puzzle piece)!

3) "A paleontologist." Said by Garrett when asked at his preschool graduation "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

2) "I just want Jesus to control me!" I took the kids to the grocery store, Aidan was about 4 and it was not a good trip. Aidan was so badly behaved that I was actually in shock. When we got home he threw himself down in the middle of the floor and that is what he said. Amen, Aidan, Amen.

1) "God kicked me!!" I was pregnant with Aidan, Aly was just 3, and one day after learning all about (and feeling) baby's kicking in the womb, she ran into my room with her little hand over her heart announcing this! (in case you haven't figured this out...she had felt her heartbeat)

Monday, September 29, 2008


"FIREPROOF. Never leave your partner behind."

Go. See. This. Movie.

You must.

If you are married...go see this movie.

If you are single...go see this movie.

If you are...yeah, just go see this movie!

Gary and I were able to see it Saturday night. Ever since seeing previews online we have both been so anxious for it to come out. We loved the first movie these guys made, "Flywheel." Even with the cheesy acting, it was a good movie. Their second movie "Facing the Giants" was even better! A little lighter on the cheese and a really great story. "Fireproof" is their third movie and I believe that people need to see it.

I'll admit, the first three minutes of the movie made me fear that I was in for a whole lot of cheese but then it took off and turned out to be an excellent movie with a life changing message.

The message? Well, here's what I took away. We all need Jesus. No matter how good or successful people are, we are all sinners in need of Jesus. My favorite line (without giving anything away) was when Caleb's dad told him, "You can't love your wife because you can't give her what you don't have." He needed Jesus. All of his efforts to salvage his marriage were futile until Jesus changed his heart.

I cannot say enough about this movie. I am praying for everyone who will see this movie, for them to allow Christ to change them and for satan to stop winning so many battles because husbands and wives are giving up.

Not Me Monday!

Well, this "Not Me Monday" game is becoming difficult for me. I know, I know, it's only the second one! There just isn't a lot I'm embarrassed not to admit I've done. Well, at least not just this past week.

I could just post that I did not get so into the praise music Gary had playing last night while we made dinner that I absent mindedly rinsed dishes over the ground beef draining in the sink.

I could post that I did not have to stop singing in church yesterday because "Days of Elijah" was bringing me to tears and I was about to actually sob. I mean, I'm only just barely pregnant, I can't be that hormonal yet!

I could even post that I did not buy myself a pint of Ben and Jerry's Karmel Sutra ice cream with the intention of eating it all myself after the kids went to bed because, well, I'm pregnant now and I'm going to gain weight anyway I might as well enjoy it. Then I did not eat it in front of my husband (who had no ice cream because his wife is a little selfish and didn't think of him while she was strolling through the frozen section). Then I did not feel guilty and tell him that I wasn't going to eat it all in hopes that it sounded like I intended to share. And I definitely did not give him what was left after I ate all the carmel out of the middle. That would have been wrong.

I could also post how I did not just discover that although ctrl+i will turn on the italics, ctrl+n will open up a new window. And I certainly did not just open up a new window every time I tried to type in italics! (except for that last one.)

I could post all that. But I won't. Maybe next week I'll have something good. If you want to read some Not Me Monday posts just hop over to MckMama's site and have fun!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Search of Suggestions?

I was thinking about what we do when we have a problem. When something in our lives is not going the way we would like it to go. When we are working toward a goal and not getting very far. When we are at our wit's end and all of our ideas have been exhausted and nothing has worked.

We search for suggestions.

We ask friends for some pointers. We ask family members for ideas. We watch Oprah or Dr. Phil in hopes of gaining some insight. We write to Dear Abby for advice. (We even eavesdrop at the McDonald's play land when we hear other moms discussing the very issue we are having with our own toddler.)

We gather suggestions, advice, fresh ideas, and different perspectives. Then we sort through what we've found to find something that seems best. We take the ones that seem right, pitch the ones that seem ridiculous and press on toward our goal in hopes that we are now armed with the key to success.

I wonder.

Is that how we approach God?

Is He just there for those times when we've tried everything we know and nothing's worked? Is He just another place to look for suggestions? Are we just asking Him for advice so that we can weigh it against all the other advice we're collecting and choose which seems right to us?


Do we skip the part where we exhaust our own ideas in the first place? Do we seek Him first? Do we search His Word for answers instead of suggestions? Do we judge everything else we hear and are told by His Word?

Do we ask for His direction intending to obey or do we ask for His direction so that we can decide if His Word works for us?

I want to seek God's Word and no one else's. I want to listen for His direction and follow it in obedience. I want to open up the Bible knowing that what I will find is right. I want to believe the Word of God when it makes sense to me and when it doesn't. When I like what He has to say and when my flesh doesn't want to hear it.

I believe that everything God has said to me and everything He will ever say is true and right. So when I'm waiting to hear from Him, I believe that I am waiting for an answer not a suggestion.

James 1:5-8 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

James 1:22-25 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Story of Oliver

It's real. It's really real! I want to share the story of how "Ollie" came to be. (No, not the health class version!)

When Gary and I were separated I was very unsure of what our future would be. I was trusting God with my future without any indication from Him which way it would be turning. I remember telling a friend that there was one thing that I was sure of. If our marriage was restored, Gary would want another baby.

Oh, yeah, I saw it coming. So, I dug my heels in and took a firm stand on the issue. And God did restore our marriage and it wasn't long after he came back home that I found myself having conversations with Gary about baby number 5.

He loved the idea of having another baby and I had already prepared myself to argue with him. Now, it wasn't causing a problem in our relationship but God did tell me that it was something we needed to work out or down the road it would. We discussed this and decided that we would pray for God's leading on the issue and pray that we would be of like-mind. I started praying that our desires would be the same. That we would both desire a fifth child or both feel content with our four.

Obviously, the answer to our prayer was going to involve God changing one of us.

I was certain that it would not be me.

I was wrong.

There was a day in August that I felt sick. The kind of sick that I only feel when I'm pregnant. I told myself it was too soon and then immediately thought back to my pregnancy with Rachel. That was enough to make me realize that just because I shouldn't be pregnant doesn't mean I'm not. That was the only day I felt sick and that was the only thing that made me wonder if I might be pregnant. The next three weeks were terribly long.

God had not yet changed my desire but the fact that I might be pregnant was very exciting. I didn't know if I really wanted another baby or if I was just excited because, well, let's face it, once they're on the way I can't help but love them already! And guess what? I was late! I am never late. But. The pregnancy test was negative. Of course, Rachel had already taught me not to take comfort in negative tests (3 negative home tests and a negative blood test at the doctor's office will do that)! But two days later I had further proof.

I remember asking God (out loud, even), "Why? Why did you let me be late if I'm not pregnant?"

The moment I asked, He told me, "So you would know you want a baby."

So, Gary and I spent the month of September praying for a baby. (See? I told you I wasn't going to share the health class version! And you are welcome.) I had a test left from August that I was planning on taking on the 25th. On the 23rd, Garrett, Rachel I had to run to the bank in the afternoon. On my way there, I felt that I needed to take the test when I got home.

Twenty minutes before the kids got home from school, I took that test. I watched the hourglass flash (I really love these new digital tests!) and started cleaning up the "evidence" so I wouldn't have to explain anything to the kids. My plan was to call Kristin and check the results while on the phone with her, but I turned to leave the bathroom and the word "pregnant" caught my eye!

I'm not sure how long I stared at that word but I do know I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening pacing and accomplishing nothing because I just didn't know what to do with myself!

I had emailed a picture of the test to Gary at work and I think I got a call from him 5 minutes later! In the email I asked if he would agree to the name "Ollie". Now, you have to understand something. We give our babies "pre-birth" names in this family. We choose a boy name and until we know who is joining our family, that is the name we use and the baby is a "he" not an "it."

So far, we've had "Billy-Bob", "Max" (who we didn't get to keep longer than 10 weeks in my womb), "Mario", Gilbert", and "Russel". And now, God has blessed us with "Ollie"!!!!!!

I can hardly believe that He is allowing me to have the honor of a having new little life knit together in my womb. I feel so blessed and humbled at the same time!

And the kids? Well, after Aly's initial weeping and wailing, she called her best friend and they now have this baby's whole summer planned! Aidan reminded me that one time he said we should have another baby and it should be a boy. I did remember that. I had told him no way. So, he reasoned that because us having a baby came true, it would also come true that it would be a boy. Garrett? Garrett said it's fake. He doesn't believe me. Of course he also stated at bedtime that "if it's a boy we're keeping him in here." And Rachel already knows to lift my shirt up when someone says the word "baby". Super.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

I had a Top Ten Tuesday list all written and ready to post. Then something changed. So, here's my new top ten for today and you'll get to read my first one next Tuesday.

Top Ten Signs You Are Ready for a Fifth Child

10) You start getting rid of "baby stuff" your 2 year old doesn't use anymore.

9) You gain 5 pounds and the thought crosses your mind that it wouldn't be a big deal if you were pregnant.

8) You look at your kid's bedrooms and think "with bunk beds a crib would fit in here."

7) You find yourself discussing baby names with your husband and whether they would sound nice with your other kid's names.

6) Three of your four kids start school in the fall and you don't start counting how many more years until they're all in school.

5) When the big kids are in school, you find yourself asking your toddler questions like "how would like a baby brother or sister?"

4) You hear mom's talk about newborns and sleepless nights and you actually remember those midnight feedings with fondness.

3) You recall all the horrible aspects of your last pregnancy, and how it was your hardest, and it actually makes you sad to think you'll never be pregnant again.

2) You comfort a crying 8 month old for 45 minutes before he's even close to being comforted and during those 45 minutes, you look at him and think things like "oh, I miss this age!"

1) Drum roll, please...The number one sign I'm ready for a fifth child is that "Ollie" is already on the way!!!!!! Can you believe that??? Read it for yourself...

A Biblical Case for Blogging

I have said from the beginning that this blog is as much for me as for anyone else who may read it. I forget things. Yes, even important things. It is humbling to know that God is revealing Himself to me in so many ways I can't list them all. Of course the first and foremost way is through His Word (FYI - that's why He wrote it)! I don't want to forget anything. So I'm writing it down. From the 2x4 moments to the still small voice moments and even the learning from my children moments, I put them down so that I won't forget...or so that when I do forget I can be reminded.

I was reading Esther and came across what I consider to be proof that blogging is important.

Let me share. (like you can stop me)

If you don't know the story of Esther, you really should just go read it. Really, it's not that long and you can find it right here.

So, the story of Esther speaks of how God works in everything and brings people to places in their lives for His purpose. Esther found herself in a position to save her entire people (the Jews) from being annihilated. Yikes! As Mordecai (he had raised her after her parents died) said to her "And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) I love that.

A bit of background, Mordecai ratted on a couple of guards who were conspiring to kill King Xerxes. He then made a not-so-good impression on Haman, who was one of the king's officials, by not kneeling down to him. Haman, with a lot of really great advice from his wife and friends (yeah, it wasn't good at all) decided that punishing Mordecai for this offense would just not satisfy his anger so he talked the king into letting him take out all of the Jews.

This is where it becomes clear why God placed Esther in the royal family. As Haman is plotting and delighting in the thought of taking his revenge, God is working through Esther to save His people. Haman makes plans to get the kings permission to hang Mordecai and even has a gallows built specifically for the event. But on the very night he's building the gallows, Esther 6:1 says "That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him." And what did the king read? He read about what Mordecai had done to save his life. He found out that nothing had been done to reward Mordecai and decided that the next day he would see to it that he was honored.

Did you read it? Things did not go well for Haman. Not well at all.

When I read that the king had the chronicles brought in and read to him, all I could think was, "Whew, it's a good thing they wrote it down!" But that's just how amazing God is. That's how in control He is. What looks to us like it's been forgotten, He will bring it to light. In His time.

I also found a Biblical case for blogging in Ezra. Ezra 1:1 says "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing."

God didn't just move the king to free the Jews and send them on their way to rebuild God's temple in Jerusalem. He also moved him to write it down! Later, years later in reality but only a few chapters later in the book, men rose up against the Jews and sent word to the new king that the Jews should be stopped. Can you guess what happened? The king went to the records and not only was it proven that King Cyrus issued the decree that the temple be rebuilt, but then King Darius decreed that it should be funded by the royal treasury. "Whew, it's a good thing they wrote it down!"

But seriously, I love that God is in complete control. He is never scrambling for a plan B because His plan A didn't pan out. When those events were being recorded He already knew what purpose they would serve. He puts everything in position for His will to be done.

So I write. And sometimes I just write about potty training tales (which is going very well, thank you for asking) and sometimes I write what I've seen God do or what He's teaching me. Sometimes He uses my writing to speak to me and I hope that He will use it to speak to others as well. Because all I want is to be used by Him.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I do not know why I have waited this long. We attended our church membership class on Aug. 16 and our next step was supposed to be filling out the application with our testimony. Simple, right? I thought so...but that was a month ago.

This isn't a difficult thing. I've told my testimony before. I love writing. So why can't I write my testimony? A big problem has, of course, been that I do tend to procrastinate. Especially if what I need to do is simple and I have plenty of time. Well, now I am running out of time and it's not simple!

I've decided that I will type my testimony and then print it. (They'd never be able to read my handwriting anyway.) And as long as I'm typing it, I might as well just post it on my blog.

How's that for a long, drawn-out, wordy version of why I'm sharing with you my testimony? So, without further ado...

It was after a Sunday school class, when I was just six, that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I remember praying with my teacher behind the big classroom curtain. She gave me a small black Bible and wrote inside the cover "On October 28, 1979 Robin became a part of God's family." I grew up in the church. We went to service and Sunday school and eventually even Sunday evening services. I was in Awanas, the youth group, and the Bible quiz team. And I went to Camp Timber-lee for a week the summer after 5th grade. It was that week that God spoke to me through another camper and showed me just how real He is. After lights out in our cabin the last night, I cried as I prayed. I knew I wanted to grow closer to God, to know Him more. I knew how real my salvation was and wanted to share the message of salvation with others. It was then that I knew I wanted to live my life for Him.

So. How real is my salvation? How do I know?

I am a sinner. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."
The penalty for my sin is death. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Even though I am a sinner, God loves me. Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
It is only through Jesus that I can be accepted by God. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I know that I am saved because God's Word says, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10
I belong to God and I am sure of my salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ, He annointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Me Monday!

MckMama has a fun little "game" on her blog, My Charming Kids. She and her readers post all of the things the claim they didn't do. Very fun.

Now I, myself, really have nothing to add. I mean, what would I possibly have done that I would be embarrassed to admit? Nothing really.

Because I certainly did not stay up until 1am decorating a birthday cake and then get lazy Sunday morning. I did not take Rachel's diaper off in the morning only to later have Aly remind me of Rachel's bare-bottom when I asked her to buckle Rachel in her car seat. That just would never have happened. And I cerainly did not drive half way to church before it occured to me that I hadn't put Rachel's shoes on. Nope. I did not ask the kids if Rachel's shoes were on and they did not tell me "no." My van is not starting to become a "junk drawer" on wheels so I did not find another pair of shoes for her when we got to church. I did not have to carry her into the building when the shoes didn't fit and she started lagging behind at a snail's pace (or possibly slower). No way. Not me!

So, like I said, I have nothing to contribute to the game, but it's still fun to read everyone else's!

(Oh, and here's a picture of the cake! - you know, the one I did not stay up late decorating.)

disclaimer: I decorated this cake exactly the way Geneva requested it. She was very specific about each and every detail and I was just glad she didn't go with her original choice which was "Cheetah Girls". That would have been a challenge.