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.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sadness and Joy

Six years ago today, we sat with family at the hospital to say goodbye to my Grandpa.

It was just three weeks after he met the great-grandson named after him. (Garrett's name is a combination of Gary, his dad and grandpa, and Everett, my grandpa.)

I hate that my memories of that day are fading. I want to remember what I said to him that morning and whose hand it was he squeezed. I think the squeeze came after Aly was mentioned.

But really, those are not the memories I want to keep.

I remember riding in his brown pick-up truck. I remember the combines, the corn, the cats...I remember the farm. I remember the popcorn bowls we used when we slept over night. I remember the comb he always had in his shirt pocket. The one he always let us use to comb the hair on his arms. I remember the appetizing doggie boxes he took home every time we went out to eat. I remember laughing a lot.

I remember him singing "Mr. Johnny Verbeck" and "one night, as I lay on my pillow, one night as I lay on my bed, I stuck my feet out the window and in the morning my neighbors were dead." I remember Christmas Eves and I remember the miniature candy bars hidden everywhere on Easter Sunday. I remember finding some candy bars on Christmas Eve left over from Easter Sunday! I remember laughing a lot.

I remember him walking into our house with green tongue on St. Patrick's day. I remember him taking his teeth out. I don't remember if he did that to scare us or make us laugh. I remember when he got a perm!?! I remember checking every phone booth for change and him opening up his door at toll booths, for more change. I remember White Sox games. I remember laughing a lot.

I remember each time he met a new grand baby. I remember him and Aly serving the cat "tea" in the high chair. I remember him laughing a lot. I remember him.

This is the poem I wrote six years ago for his funeral service.

Sadness and Joy

We have sadness,
for we'll miss his hug,
his handshake,
his always smiling face.

But he has joy
for he's face to face
with his Father in heaven
where Jesus has prepared him a place.

We have sadness
for we'll miss him when we gather
wishing he were there again
with his laughter and his cheer.

But he has joy
for he's gathering in heaven
praising and worshipping God
with loved ones he held dear.

We have sadness
for we'll miss all of his visits
he was always on the go.

But he has joy
for he's still traveling
but now it's on streets of gold.

We have sadness
for we miss him as we look back
and reflect on the life he had.

But he has joy
for he can see the reflection
from the sea of glass
as he walks with Jesus, he will never be sad.

We have sadness
for we'll miss his prescence in our daily lives
and selfishly wish that he could stay.

But we can have joy
for if we accept
the gift God wants to give
we will be with him again one day!

September 21, 2002

A Contest

Okay, there is a blog I love to read called "My Semblance of Sanity" and she is having a contest. She wrote a post comparing her life to a circus (not that I can relate to that!!!) and asked readers to, "Tell me about your life IN THE CIRCUS and what position at the circus you feel you are most worthy of...tightrope walker, the lion tamer, sideshow freak, trapeze artist, clown, the audience...did I miss anything? The best "quote" or scenario will win this book."

The book is this wordless picture book, and I can not resist a picture book, you know!

Go check it out, I know you want to.

Top Ten Tursday

Kristin, this is how much I love you. Because you enjoyed my top ten list, and because apparently you feel like a week is too long to wait (not surprising!) I give you the first (and last) ever Top Ten Tursday.

Top Ten Things I Love About Kristin

10 - I love that she actually says "ouch" when those "2x4 moments" occur.

9 - I love that she's always trying to feed people (even if it's gum).

8 - I love that she pouts every time someone turns down her food/gum. (And deep down, that's probably why I turn her down...that and I don't like gum.)

7 - I love that she loves to laugh...even at herself. And that she makes me laugh, too.

6 - I love that she knows how to give the perfect foot massage...I just wish I had known that about her sooner and maybe I could have avoided the evil Pitocin during labor! (I have to sing her praises here - she offered this massage the day before they induced my labor with Rachel and it worked! I was contracting on my own and dilated to 3 when I checked in...we should have tried it sooner because they still went ahead with Pitocin - 4cm to 10cm in 20 minutes is no picnic!)

5 - I love that she will celebrate or grieve with me like it's her own joy or sorrow.

4 - I love that I can tell her the truth because I know she wants the truth.

3 - I love that I can count on her to interrupt our conversation and start to pray.

2 - I love that through our friendship I grow closer to the Lord.

1 - I love sharing our journey's together, and knowing that when it's all said and done we'll be hanging out together for eternity.

And I just can't end a post about Kristin without saying:

"Ah-ha, said the blind man...I mean, woman!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Bible Study

This morning was the first day of our women's bible study. I love, love, love fall bible study at my church!

Three years ago, I went to my very first bible study at Hope. I didn't know anyone there. I only occasionally attended the church. My marriage was falling apart. I had just found out that I was pregnant with our fourth child. And a month into the study, my husband lost his job. I was a mess.

And the study? Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" - what else?

In the last three years I have grown so much closer to the Lord. No, it's not because the number of bible studies I've taken equates to higher grades on my spiritual report card.

Here is why I love our bible studies.

Iron sharpens iron. I have met wonderful women who I had previously only seen in the halls on Sunday mornings. God has taught me many, many lessons through these women and their lives. One such lesson was from Dorothy Fett. She commented one morning about her belief that these bible studies should not be our only time in God's Word. They should be in addition to a quiet time with Him. Without her words, I would still be investing very little into my relationship with the Lord.

Friendships. I am developing friendships with women that love the Lord. I met my friend, Candy during my very first bible study and have not been put in the same small group with her since. (This is most likely for the same reason my daughter and her best friend have not been in the same class since the first grade...)

God. You just can't go wrong with something that gets you opening up God's Word and knowing Him more deeply.

Today, for the first morning of our fall study, we met our groups and got to know each other. I love my group already and I especially loved being able to introduce myself this time. It's a brand new introduction from the last 3 years.

With each introduction it seemed that "oh, and I have a husband" became everyone's last line. When it came around to me and I mentioned my 4 children, I was able to say "and by the grace of God I have a husband!" I loved being able to share our story in a nutshell.

The nutshell version? Gary "became a Christian" when we were first dating. I had been saved at the age of five and grew up in the church. He was very much stuck in sin that went unaddressed and did not grow in his relationship with the Lord. I allowed my growth to be stunted by his stunted growth and together we made four kids and a big mess. But God was working on us and brought us through many, many things, including a separation, to bring us back to Him. And now He's brought us back to each other.

So, did I mention that I love our bible studies?

I have thoughts that stuck out to me about the actual bible study this morning, but I'll have to write that later!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday

I love some of the theme posts other bloggers do so I've been trying to decide on a theme I'd like to do. So here it is. Each Tuesday I will attempt to post a top ten list.


Top Ten Indicators That I Am Not Meant to Homeschool My Children

10 - Math.

9 - I am barely organized enough to get them all up, dressed, fed, and out the door each morning.

8 - I spend 60 minutes each evening getting my daughter to do 20 minutes of trumpet practice.

7 - Math.

6 - I get to having too much fun and forget to check homework until after bedtime.

5 - When my daughter's teacher told me at our conference that Aly was unorganized I told her "it's genetic, there's nothing we can do about that."

4 - Math.

3 - Have you heard Aly and I working on homework together?

2 - Paper overwhelms me. I get very stressed out when there are papers around.

1 - Last week I sent my Kindergartner to the bus stop with his backpack and a red crayon, and instructed him to finish his homework on the bus! My kindergartner!

(And apparently I can't spell Home school - according to spell check it is two words unless you are saying homeshooling, then it's one word? I guess you can add spelling to my list, or would that be grammar?)

Friday, September 12, 2008

I Promise

Okay, I promise that I will not always be posting about potty-training. I promise I will not document each and every detail and rename my blog "Rachel's Journey to Big-Girl Pants."

But there are moments with my kids that I want to remember forever. So I have to talk one more time about the potty. I just don't want to forget.

We had a great success today.

While jumping on my bed she turned to me and said, "Uh-oh, mommy. Yucky." She scrambled to climb down off the bed and I grabbed her before her feet hit the floor and whisked her into the bathroom and onto the potty. And then she peed! (While she was still going I was in the bedroom checking my sheets...which were dry!)

She has never looked so excited before. We cheered and she exclaimed, "Did it! Rachel did it!" Then came the flush, the washing of hands, and the M&M's (yes I had some left). We thought it would be fun to call Grandma and tell her, so I dialed and gave the phone to Rachel. When my Mom answered, Rachel announced, "Did it!" They "talked" for a minute and then my Mom and I talked for a minute. We mostly mulled over what in world "has" meant and why Rachel kept repeating it on the phone to her.

Oh, it gets better.

Not long after this, I headed downstairs with Garrett to help him on the computer. As I sat at the desk trying every Webkinz username/password combo that I could think to try (we still didn't get it) I heard the toilet lid shut. Then a flush. Still working on that password. Then a cupboard door. Trying all caps then no caps. Then I realized she must have found the M&M's! Ugh. I just couldn't tear myself away from the task of remembering that password! Then a beep. It took a few seconds for it to register.

That beep was the phone!

I headed upstairs where Rachel was perched on the bathroom counter with the M&M's and the phone! When I asked her to give me the phone, she handed it to me, pleading, "No. Rachel. Gam."

She had called Grandma!!!

She's trained all right.

I'm just glad she didn't dial and tell a 911 operator, "Did it! Rachel did it!"

And just to see if anyone is reading, let me know if you think you can figure out what "has" meant! We did figure it out eventually!

What I'm Learning Today

I was going to write about some lessons God's been teaching me lately. There are several at the moment. I really want to sit down with thoughts I've been having about my focus. I will do that later.

Right now, my focus has shifted to Rachel. And here's what I've learned from her:

If you're going to play with an imaginary baseball in the house, you should really use an imaginary bat too.

I know. I'm 35 years old, I shouldn't still be learning this lesson. But she was so cute standing there with a plastic bat resting on her shoulder handing me an imaginary ball and saying "Mommy, base ball?"

What else could I do but pitch for her?

There were close calls but no real damage done.

We had a great game of indoor semi-imaginary baseball.

With each pitch she would swing, drop the bat, turn around and run, grab "the ball", run back and hand it to me. I'm not sure if home plate was in between the pitcher and first base or if she actually missed every pitch and because we didn't have a catcher (not even an imaginary one) she had to get the ball for me. Just add that to the long list of things I'll never know.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today is the Day

Now I am serious.

I've already mentioned some reasons why Rachel is not yet potty trained. All of my excuses became obsolete when everyone went back to school. Also, I acknowledge that I have just been lazy.

Well, a few weeks ago I bought princess underwear and a bag of M&M's. The underwear is tucked nicely in her drawer and I ate all the M&M's myself.

I have renewed my determination. I've got a new bag of M&M's now and, in the words of SpongeBob, "I'm ready!"

Game on.

(I'll let you know how we do...and if I end up having to switch to sticker rewards.)

I asked Rachel if she needed to go potty and she said yes. She proceeded to walk into the bathroom and shut the door. After a minute I heard a flush and then the toilet lid shut. When I opened the door she was sitting in the sink putting soap on her hands...and peeing.

May 19, 2009

(disclaimer: this is really just a test to see if my Dad still checks my blog!)

I wrote a lullaby 2 years ago. Well, I wrote the lyrics. My brother and my Dad started writing the music. It was going to be a shower gift for a very dear friend. The shower came and went. The baby came and the baby's still here, he's just grown. Of course, since he's still not walking, I guess we can still call him a baby.

And the lullaby? It will come. I just know it!

And guess what, guys? You have a new dead line!

We'll be needing that lullaby by May 19, 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not for me! For Tracy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!
(sorry, I just had to yell that one.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Know This is Fiction

As I was putting kids to bed tonight, I was able to have a really great conversation with Aidan.

Earlier tonight he and Garrett had gone over to our friend's house for a while. When my friend brought them back she announced, "I've got to tell you what your son just did!"

I confess that a) I knew she was talking about Aidan and b) I knew it was not good.

Well, it was Aidan but it was a wonderful thing!

The boys had hopped into the car and each taken a window seat, leaving the middle for her daughter. This did not sit well with her daughter and a fit ensued. My friend asked Aidan if he could move over and let her have the window seat and he hopped right over. When she thanked him, he proceeded to tell her, "Well, we learned in Awanas that we should put God first, then others, then ourselves. So that's what I decided to do."

Go Aidan!!

So, I told him again at bedtime how proud I was that he had made that choice. We talked about several other things and then he said this...

(I'm going to try and type this exactly the way he said it!)

"Mom. I know this is fiction, but you know Meghan (he has a Megan in his class at school)? Well, she just seems like she never sins. But I know that's not right because we all sin! I know she sins but I don't know what her sin is. (then shaking his hands) But I don't want to know what her sin is because I don't like knowing sin."

How sweet is that?

And Meghan's mom. Be encouraged! (you probably do know her sin but don't tell Aidan!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Length of a Verse

The house is quiet. This is not the norm for 5:30 in the evening.

It's date night!!!

The boys left with Kristin at 4:30 and the girls left at 5 with Sarah. Well, almost. Rachel fell asleep 5 minutes before Sarah came so I'll be dropping her off later.

So, I'm taking advantage of this time, before Gary gets home, to put down some thoughts that have been on my heart today. Lately, there have been so many things running through my mind that it's been overwhelming to sit and try to write them all. I'm going to try to capture just one.

I just finished 2 Chronicles today and am half way through Ezra. (I'll save you the trouble of looking up the "read through the Bible in a year" schedule and just tell you...I'm 3 weeks behind. Not to worry, I'm getting there.)

Throughout Chronicles I read of kings who did right in the eyes of the Lord only to be succeeded by a son who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Just when you think the whole nation is about to face the wrath of God, the next king takes the throne and does right in the eyes of the Lord. It is quite a roller coaster. By the end of 2 Chronicles, the Israelites have finally done it. The roller coaster comes to an abrupt end as the nation is taken captive to Babylon. Well, the remnant who escaped from the sword were taken captive.

Thirty-six chapters. Up and down. Back and forth. Good then evil. Just when you think they have figured it out their king dies and his son starts sacrificing his own children to foreign gods. You, well, I, just wanted to scream, "What are you thinking??? Go back!!! Turn back to God!!! Can you not see a pattern here? Worship and obey God = peace and success. Worship other gods = defeat and God's wrath!!!" I mean, it's so obviously clear. It's right here in black and white. Just 36 chapters. How did they not get it?

And then I saw why they didn't get it. The very last chapter. Chapter 36. The last four kings of Judah are recorded and then the fall of Jerusalem.

The end of the chapter records the events of as Nebuchadnezzar attacks, kills, robs, destroys and captures.

In verse 20 we read that the remnant is taken captive.
In verse 21 we read that "the land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah."
And then 70 years later in verses 22 and 23 we get to hear the happy ending. They are set free, free to return home and rebuild the Lord's temple in Jerusalem.

It was just one verse. In the book! It was a lifetime to those who lived it. Literally, a lifetime. Some people would have died before the 70 years was over. Some, like Daniel, would be too old at the end of the 70 years to make the journey back home. Many would have likely been returning to a home they didn't remember. But it was just one verse!

I only had to read one more verse to find relief, to see the outcome, to see what God would do! But it was 70 years to those who lived it.

My story. My marriage. I could tell you an amazing story. (And with our anniversary coming up in a month, I probably will) I could write it all down and share with you a whole lot of hurt. In just a few paragraphs (I could make it longer, I'm pretty wordy) I could show you where we went wrong. I could show you what it took us 9, 10, 11 years to see. And you can scream, "What were you thinking??? This is so obvious, couldn't you see?" (at the computer screen, not at me, please) Then I could do something really wonderful, I could sum up the most painful part in just a few sentences and skip right to the part where God delivered us. God restored our marriage. Did I mention it's date night? Yeah, and I'm excited about it!!

The painful part, that took a long, long time. In the middle of that long, long time, it seemed that the long, long time would likely be forever. But now?

Now, it's just a verse. Because God is writing more to the story.

I hope that I can encourage anyone who is living in the middle of the verse. Turn to God, let Him write the rest of the story. No matter how long your verse lasts, the end of the chapter will not disappoint.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Remind Me

The next time I lose something, like say, my cell phone, remind me to check inside my guitar!

(I love you Rachel!)