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!