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.