did they really ruin my dryer? not quite. but they sure do turn gooey! i have 3 boys and one girl, and they all love dirt, digging and bugs. this blog is just a small glimpse into my life as a mom, wife and whatever else God puts before me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the BIG 7!

the tootsie pop spiders

my oldest turned 7 this weekend. crazy. my husband and i recounted to him the story of his birth...a pretty quick story, actually, but one that he loved to hear. especially in light of the fact that he has a(nother) little brother coming into the world in 20 weeks, give or take.

he requested a "spider" themed party. we haven't ever given him a party before, except those that involve family. this was indeed new territory for me, and was a tad bit frightening!!

i waited too long to place my order from oriental trading company for all things buggy. silly me. i thought i would be able to find spiders and such at the local hobby lobby, but it was full of christmas stuff, not spooky, creepy crawly things :)

note to self: start encouraging alternate themes for birthday celebrations early on!


we had 8 children total, 7 boys and one girl! bless her heart! she jumped right into the creepy crawly stuff!!

we started the time doing bug sun catchers. the paint tubes were a big plus so we wouldn't have to deal with paintbrushes.

then we read a really gross bug book, which the boys all laughed hysterically at and the moms all wrinkled their noses at. (sorry, moms! he asked for it, how could i say no?)

BUGS! by David T Greenberg, scholastic inc.

then we made I Spy bug bottles using small empty G2 bottles, plastic bugs from OTC, and rice.

we had our green spider cake with licorice legs and then spent a LOT of time outdoors running off the sugar!

i think, all in all, it went off pretty well for my first attempt! no one was injured (that i know of) and very few tears were shed. except by me, of course, as i always cry on my babies birthdays! how dare they get any older???

Monday, December 7, 2009

too soon...

is it really almost the end of the year?

did my oldest really just turn 7?

am i really going to have a 4th baby?

am i really that far behind on my homeschooling ideas?

am i really up for a 12+hour drive to northern california with 3 kids?

have i really been married for 10 years?

life is just passing me by way too quickly. i haven't done nearly enough with my children.

i haven't spent the time with them that they need or deserve.

i haven't spent the time with JESUS that He deserves.

what the heck do i do with my day? my months? my years?

will next year be different?

or will i be lamenting the fact that i haven't spent enough time with my Jesus, my husband, my children, my friends?

Abba Father, please help me to be more aware of time with You. please surround me with accountability so that i do not waste what precious time i have serving You. please enable me to be more of a helpmate to my wonderful husband and have more of a servant's heart for him. please enable me to be a better mother and help me raise my children to love you with all of their hearts, souls and minds. please forgive me for my apathy, my laziness, my lack of faith in You to provide what we need always.

Monday, November 30, 2009

my dad would be shakin' his head...

i (we) did something really stupid the other day.

it actually took place over several days. i thought about whether or not to blog about it because it is, well, embarrassing.

a pregnant moment, if you will.

at least, that is what i am blaming it on. my husband cannot use that excuse.

it started at around 2 am on a friday night.



honey..did you hear that? didn't we just change that battery?


ok. fine, i will get it. grumble, grumble, stomp down the stairs, get the 9 volt battery, listen for the chirp again (like watching water come to a boil), get the chair, replace the battery....

ahhhhh silence.

2 hours later?




ok. now on to dismantle the thing. they are electrically wired in our house. and the darned thing kept chirping.

every 3-4 hours it would chirp 4-6 times in 30 second intervals.

i changed ALL the smoke detector batteries (5 of them) in the house over the course of the day.

saturday night...10 o'clock.





2 am, we totally disconnect the one where the sound is emanating from.

this is getting ridiculous. i even called the fire department (non-emergent line) to see if they could help me.

apparently, ours are just old and need replaced. ok, no biggie, right?


$80 later and five new smoke detectors from home depot. sheesh!

i installed them myself (rather proud of that).

surely we will have a good night's sleep.

9 pm.


now, i am not a swearing woman, but i was definitely saying a few choice words under my breath. i mean, really. we have to get up in the morning at 4:30. this is getting silly! we disconnect the culprit again. silence.

1 am.

chirp. chirp. chirp. chirp.

i am going to kill someone or something. this is outrageous.

next day, i am searching for the chirp. i have taken all of the newly installed smoke detectors down one by one to hopefully eliminate the one that is the cause. i am imagining large bills to an electrician to come fix our system. i am imagining fires raging through the house and destroying us because we won't have any warning. it is awful.

but, wait...is it the doorbell? nah...couldn't be! but, i feel it on the wall during the next cycle of chirping and it vibrates with each chirp.

really? ok. i don't like the doorbell anyway. the KISA can just disconnect it when he gets home.

he does.

chirp. AUGH!!!!!

the really stupid part?

we have a carbon monoxide detector that resides in the electrical outlet directly below the doorbell and the supposed defective smoke detector.

it was blocked by 4 large bags of clothing we were donating. i couldn't see the darned thing, and i forgot we had it.

changed the battery.

the LOB on the display was a dead giveaway.

silence. no chirping. peace.

and utter embarrassment.

lessons learned?

don't let your bags of clothing reside in your hallway for any extended period of time.

be able to laugh at yourself...and your husband...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Rollups from scratch :)

my mom made this great recipe when i was growing up. i have no idea where it came from, so i cannot give credit where it is due, sorry! she doesn't make it anymore, and for the life of me i cannot understand why. it is just so yummy! she could have made it weekly and i would have been happy. on trips home from college i would request this and dad's meatloaf (the likes of which will never be posted because it is one of those family secrets that can never be divulged).

not only is it yummy, it is easy.

e. a. s. y.

and i figured out how to make it even cheaper than it was before :)

the cheaper version takes a little more effort, but if you have any eager kitchen helpers, it can be lots of fun as well!

Cheap Chicken Rollups

  • make a basic bread dough in your bread maker. we made the wheat roll dough recipe.

  • while it is becoming yummy dough, take 2 chicken breasts, throw them in a pan on the stovetop and cook til the juices run clear. let cool and cut into smaller than bite-sized pieces. you are going to be stuffing the rolls later on and they need to be small. if you have the patience small shredding works best.

  • mix the chicken pieces with 1-1 1/2 cups cheese. we use colby jack. cheddar works nicely, too.

  • if you have trouble getting your kids to eat veggies, you can process the veggie of your choice down to near liquid and throw it in as well.

  • if you don't mind getting dishes dirty, throw the chicken, cheese and veggies into a food processor. you will be able to stuff more into your rolls.

  • after the dough is done resting (per your breadmaker directions) divide the dough in half. we got 12 rolls out of half the dough and that fed all 5 of us happily with leftovers for daddy's lunch tomorrow. freeze the extra.

  • split the remainder in half again and roll each out into a 6 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. cut into 6 wedges. place a generous amount of filling into the middle of the base and roll like a crescent roll from fat end to point. place in a 9x13 greased casserole. repeat til you have 12.

  • let raise about 15 minutes, pour on a can of cream of celery soup (or whatever cream soup you like) mixed with 1/2 can of water, put into a 350 degree oven and cook til tops are lightly browned- about 45 minutes. serve with veggie of your choosing and devour!

CHEATER version:

aka: the more expensive route! (you can knock off over 5$ by using the above method)

use 2- 8 count crescent roll tubes found in the refrigerated section
use 1 large can chicken breast

same amounts of cheese, soup, veggies.

some great substitutions could be chicken, swiss and spinach with cream of chicken soup; ham, cheese, broccoli with cream of broccoli soup; turkey, cheddar and carrots with cream of celery soup.

breakfast variations: scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage, tomato, whatever!!

have fun with it! let me know if you try it :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

serving of humble pie, please

ok. so i didn't really want this to eat, but i got it anyway.

humble pie can taste pretty good, with the right side dish*.

i have had to eat my fair share over the years. i must say, it was harder to swallow before i became a christian.

it isn't easy now, but certainly more palatable as i look upon how God uses it to change me.

my children humble me. daily. even minute by minute at times. (have you ever walked into a public restroom with any child under the age of 5? do it sometime. you will walk out a humbled woman!)

ok, ok. that is probably more an embarrassed humble as opposed to the more edifying humbling that God does in our lives. my most recent lesson in humility has been the use of a reduced food cost program called Treasure Box. they offer a box of frozen groceries that would normally cost between $65-100 and offer it up once a month for $30. local churches (mostly churches, but i suppose other places do it as well) gather volunteers on a saturday morning at the end of the month to distribute to the folks who ordered it earlier in the month.

i have never participated in anything like this before. i was surprised at the flood of emotion that came over me as i stood in line to receive my box. i was surprised that my "thank you" to the volunteer was choked out. i didn't understand why there were tears in my eyes as i walked to the van with the young man carrying my box.

i still don't quite understand it.

i know that it helped us stay under a very tight budget. and it will help us again this month. and probably next month as well. we are, as are many people, trying to make every penny stretch as much as possible to alleviate any financial burden. i never thought of myself as someone who might need a discounted food program, but there we were.

and here we are.

God is good. God is sovereign. i know that our future is secure in Him. this doesn't mean we will be wealthy, or even healthy. it means that my eternity is secure in the One who sent His only Son to die on the cross for my sins.

i could be bitter about needing to use Treasure Box. i could be embarrassed. instead, i find myself grateful for the generosity of others that is helping our family to eat. this serving of humble pie is rather tasty.

*by the way. the side dish?

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

John 6.35 NIV

Friday, October 9, 2009

life school, fall break, and one tired mama

so, we haven't been 'schooling' lately.

at the end of august, we found out we were expecting our fourth little blessing. we have officially crossed over into the big family realm.

you know, when people start to look at you funny and ask silly questions like, "don't you know what causes that?"

ahem. yes.

but i digress.

anyway. this first trimester has been especially difficult. the all-day sickness has been pretty awful. i even lost 7 pounds in the first few weeks. doesn't make the OB too happy. oh, well.

i have been overwhelmingly tired...man, about 1 pm i just want to fall over and stay in bed for the day which i can't.

i am supposed to be schooling my kids.


we haven't done a lot of workbooks lately. i have been trying to at least get their Bible in and continue on with the TOG curriculum. we should be well into the 2nd unit, but we are still stumbling along in the 1st.

we are doing more life school and character training, which i think we would have had to do anyway as the boys are really having a hard time being kind to each other these days.

i am feeling pretty down about how 'behind' we are. and then i remind myself that tic-tac is only 6. i think we can slack a little and still do just fine. we will just call it our "fall break"

they have "fall break" out here. i had never heard of it before. they take a whole week off (sometimes 2) just like a spring break. seriously?

happy schooling! i hope you are doing better than we are :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

missing my KISA

my KISA (Knight in Shining Armor) is gone this week.

5 days without him.

5 days with all 3 kids and first trimester nausea/exhaustion/emotions...24/7

i don't know about you, but i depend on my husband for a lot.

he takes the pressure off of being a perfect mom. cause i am not, and if i was left to my own devices i would be comparing myself to all those amazing mamas out there who have it all together.

he helps out so much with the kids in the evening, even though he is tired from an 11-12 hour day with a commute.

and lately?

well, lately, i have been less than the generous wife. i have retreated to the bedroom to lay down in hopes of catching up on the dead-on-my-feet feeling. that and the ever-present nausea that makes me just one miserable lump.

the last few weeks i haven't been able to do most of the things a homemaker should, at least not well.

well, he has been a trooper. he has let me take my naps on the weekend and done bath duty at night so that i wouldn't have to smell the children's shampoo and body wash.

he has foregone fried eggs in the mornings so that i don't smell them all day. he has put up with leftovers and sandwiches for dinner many times so that i wouldn't have to smell dinner cooking.

and now, he is gone for 5 whole days.

i think i needed to be reminded of how much he does and how little i appreciate him. he is indeed my KISA, and i am hoping that he knows deep down how much he is loved and needed.

God paired us together 11 years ago, and for that i am ever grateful.

even if i forget to tell him so.

i love you, honey. travel safe and come home soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

update on Mr DTV

a while ago i wrote a thank you letter to the powers that be for helping me get rid of the TV. if you want to read it, go here. i will wait. i am listening to "The Father's Love" on Sovereign Grace's new cd, Sons and Daughters, and i want to dance around a bit anyway.

ok. are you up to speed? did you pay attention to all the things i was going to do in lieu of watching television? i have managed to do several of the things on the list. working on my bible study, reading more books (i am in the chronicles of narnia right now, book 6), and playing games with my husband (wink, and no wink). and you know what happened?

well (blush)...

we got pregnant.


#4 is on the way and due in april 2010.

that is what happens when you free up your evenings!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the Car...

our latest audio selection is

How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell, read by Jay O. Sanders.

i read this book as a girl in elementary school and remembered it to be pretty funny, and just a tad gross.

which is right up our alley! my two boys hooted and hollered throughout the playback, and more than once we had to sit in the driveway or in the parking lot at wal-mart so that the chapter could finish.

i thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Torment: An Axe to Grind

i read an article this last week in Parents magazine, sept 2009.

it bothered me.

a lot.

so much so that i decided to write about it.

there was just so much, well, wrong with the whole thing.

the article was titled "I Survived Preschool." and the author is Barrie Gillies. Her LinkedIn profile gives her the title of senior editor for parents magazine since 2004.

the basic premise is that when she sent her 3 year old off to preschool she kept a diary to mark the milestone, and now she shares some of those nuggets of knowledge with us, the reader.

i really dislike how 'society' deems it necessary to take our children out of the family and put them into a frightening environment like preschool all in the name of socializing our children.

socialization: that is a whole other soap box.

Gillies admits in her one page of typeset that it was terribly difficult to drop her son off at preschool. day one went swimmingly, but by day 3 she has to let dad take in her son because the teacher suggested it.

dad feels guilty: "I'm abandoning him. He's only 3. Does he really need to go to school so soon?"

well. NO! he doesn't!

i cannot imagine taking my 4 year old to preschool. he doesn't need to know how to play with other 4 year olds...he already knows how to do that. he needs to learn how to interact with real life, everyday situations. not artificial environments that cater to managing the chaos.

he doesn't need to know what it is like to be away from his family for several hours every day so that he can learn how to be self-sufficient. he needs to see how a family unit works together so that one day he can be like his daddy and support a family and disciple his wife and children.

he doesn't need to have the preschool experience. he gets life experience here at home.

and by day 21? mom is lamenting that her son has become more independent. "he needs me less-phew! I can breathe. He needs me less- but wait, I'm his mommy!"

and there is the statement that really bothered me. this mom sees that her son is supposed to need her because she is his mother. this is what God intended! God gives us these beautiful little people to raise. to steward. but she is relieved because she has new new found freedom.

am i selfish in wanting my children to need me? am i selfish in wanting to keep my children home with me? am i selfish in wanting to raise them 24/7? am i selfish because i don't want to "breathe?" on the contrary...

i think that keeping our children home and revealing our faults on a minute by minute basis is anything but selfish. it is humbling. but in order for my children to acknowledge Jesus and what He did on the cross, they need to see their need for Jesus. how better for me to teach them about their need than to be honest about my own need.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

am i a passionate housewife?

at our local homeschool convention i picked up a book i had heard about at a MOPS group 2 years ago called Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. i have only gotten a few chapters into it, and to be honest, i have to go back and do it again.

i am a skim reader, and this book is actually requiring me to focus on the words and really listen to the message.

lately i have been struggling with my sense of purpose. i have always worked outside the home and have felt like that defined me. how wrong i was!

but i let subtle views and working mommy talk pervade my thinking and sway my desires from God-driven to world-driven.

i was getting irritated with my children if they interrupted my "me-time." i was frustrated if i couldn't get on the computer and surf the internet at will. i was resentful of my husband getting "to leave the house every day and talk with adults."


did i really let myself get to this point?

how did that happen???

i stopped praying and talking to God on a meaningful level. oh, i would pray alright, but prayers like...'please let me get through this next day without screaming at my children!' not prayers acknowledging who God is and how grateful i am to have His mercy and Grace overflowing in my life.

i watched lots of evening TV and let the insidious message of advertisements and television shows color my thinking. it happened slowly. i allowed chatter from women who worked outside the home to foster envy in my heart because i thought they "had it all."

do they?

i don't think so.

although i am ashamed to even admit my shortcoming in this area, i know it to be all too real for a lot of women. Feminism has told us that staying home with our children is not an option. that we shouldn't be tied to our homes and husbands because that would stifle us. what a load of dirty laundry that is!

what could be more important than staying at home with precious little children during their most formative years?

what could be better than being the 'safe place' for my husband to land after a very long day at work?

what could be better than serving my God, the Creator of all, by serving my family?

laundry isn't mundane, it is a blessing!

cooking isn't mundane, it is a way to nourish little bodies!

checkers and candyland aren't interruptions, they are moments that will always be with me and an opportunity to talk about attitudes and heart matters.

i am so glad that i have been confronted with my selfishness in this area.

i have a long way to go.

i am not perfect.

but i am being made more aware of the need to serve God by serving my family first, with an obedient heart.

obedience, we tell our children, is doing things all the way, right away, and with a cheerful heart.

i would do well to take my own directive and happily obey God's mandate to be a helpmate to my husband and instruct my children in righteousness.

happily, and prayerfully, and maybe even passionately!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

tic-tac's library pick of the week...

we spend a lot of time picking out books at the library.

quite a bit, actually.

i am always looking for new books to read that my kids will be interested in. it never fails that the ones we read over and over are the silliest out there. sometimes i don't get the humor. like why my husband actually likes the old Monte Python series...but i digress...sorry...

since i am always looking, i thought i would share our library pics of the week for tic-tac (boy, age 6) and bonobo (boy, age 4). i am highlighting tic-tac's since bonobo hasn't settled on anything thus far.

tic-tac's read of the week is (drum roll, please...)

Shel Silverstein's Runny Babbit, A Billy Sook

as the title implies, it is indeed a very silly book. it is incredibly difficult to read aloud for my overly trained adult brain (not to say i am super smart, but our minds get used to seeing words in the right order, the right spelling, etc, and to see them jangled a little with only switching out the first sounds of a few words in a sentence, well, the mind plays tricks on you and you try to read it right, not in Runny Babbit fashion).

my children all laugh and giggle uncontrollably at phrases like "sea poup" (pea soup) and "his taws are sticky, poo" (his paws are sticky, too). imagine a book full of poems that are written in this fashion! so much fun to read and try to puzzle out, especially for early readers.

it is written in classic silverstein fashion, and the illustrations are right in line with other silverstein books. he worked on this book for over 20 years, and his family published it after his death. it is a must-read, and even a must-have on your bookshelf.

and here is a poem from the book to whet your appetite:

Runny Heeds Fimself

When Ramma Mabbit started teachin'
Runny how to eat,
He ficked his pood up with his ears,
He wasn't nery veat.
The sood all flipped, the drilk all mipped.
"That's pot nolite," said Maw.
"Never use your ears, my dear-
That's why Pod gave us gaws."

see what i mean? spell check is really irritated with me right now!

have a great wednesday!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

In the car...

i am finding that we are spending a lot more time in the car as the kids get older. this fall will be no different. on monday and wednesdays, we will be traveling about 30 miles to a bible study that we participate in as a family and that i will be serving in. as much as i love this study, i am a bit fearful for what it will do to our routine. i am also considering our PE co-op again this year, which is on tuesday and thursday afternoons. i am thinking it is important for us to get more connected with other homeschoolers so that when educational opportunites arise, we are more attuned to them. it also forces me out of my comfort zone and gets me around like-minded women. this is definitely a season in my life when i have been slowly wooed by the "take time for me" philosophy. i plan on addressing that on Manna for Mamas very soon.

anyway...about this post!

i have decided that listening to the radio in the car is pretty counterproductive. especially when you think that what you are listening to is relatively safe in content, but your four year old starts singing "she thinks my tractor's sexy." ahem... and the commercials! i usually tune them out, but as you know, well, the little pitcher's have big ears philosophy is oh, too true!!! needless to say, radio is not a good option.

i am also not a fan of the toddler tunes. i can only handle so much 'wheels on the bus' ya know?

so we are getting into audio books. wow! we have had several in our car, and i must say, they are lifesavers! they force my kids to pay attention, causing them to be peaceful in the car :) i actually have enjoyed listening to selections like "Henry Huggins" and "Curious George." we recently finished listening to "The BFG," by Roald Dahl and i was so entertained that even when the kids weren't in the car i was listening to it! it was a tad scary in the beginning for the 4 year old, but he got over it pretty quickly. the language in it is so creative and makes you listen very closely so that you don't miss out or miss the meaning. i was enthralled. after we were done with it in the car it has made it into the boys' bedroom for further listening enjoyment.

at our trip to the library today we picked up "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." we are at chapter 3 and they are not convinced that it is a good listen yet, but i know they will be entranced soon!

how about you? what do you do in the car to keep entertained?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Before I Go

my dearest grace,

today, my love, you turn two. i am just in awe of how quickly this time has gone. it seems like i was just holding you as a newborn watching you nurse for the first time. pregnancy with you was so difficult, but so worth it. thank you for waiting until you were big enough and strong enough to do well on your own. you gave us many scares along the way. to say the least. i want to write about your birth/pregnancy so that i don't forget any more of the details than i already have.

right before i got pregnant with you, we were pregnant with a child that God decided would be better off in heaven than here with us on earth. it was very difficult for me to lose that child so early on. i remember going in for that ultrasound and the doctor saying, i am sorry, but the baby has not developed and there isn't a heartbeat. would you like to come in for a D &C? and i remember just crying in your daddy's arms right there on the table, and coming home and giving your brother's such fierce hugs that they probably couldn't breathe. my friend, karen, was there watching the boys, and she put out a call to prayer among my bible study friends, and they surrounded us in prayer and love. it was an amazing display of God's mercies and comfort.

i opted to let things happen naturally, and miscarried in september. i was advised to wait 3 cycles before trying again. i wasn't all too happy to wait. you see, this was the second baby i had to surrender to God without meeting, and it was much harder the second time around. but, God has this amazing plan. He knew i needed YOU.

we found out we were pregnant with you on thanksgiving eve! so much for waiting 3 cycles! i was tentatively excited. i didn't tell anyone but your daddy, and a good friend of mine, your auntie lori. she was with me when i bought the pregnancy test and we were visiting them in california at the time.

after 8 weeks along, i called the ob to set up an appt. i went in at 10 weeks for the first ultrasound, and there you were! perfect in size, shape, measurements, all of it. my favorite thing? seing that butterfly heartbeat on the monitor, going so fast you almost couldn't count it. relief washed over me. as did thanksgiving to God for giving me a baby even though i thought i wasn't ready.

i would like to say that the rest of the pregnancy was smooth as glass, but, no such luck! i had contractions very early on with you. this had happened with your brothers also, so i wasn't too stressed. but my ob wasn't happy with how often they were coming, nor their intensity. at 28 weeks, i was having painful contractions 3 minutes apart and so i went into the hospital and got several shots of terbutaline and then sent home the next day on strict bedrest! this couldn't have come at a worse time. daddy had just gotten a new job, and he was to travel 2 1/2 hours from our home for the first 2 weeks of my bedrest. the next 2 weeks of training were to be a little closer (only a 1 hour commute) so it was a tad easier. that first two weeks we had friends with us around the clock. your brothers were only 4 and 2. i wasn't allowed out of bed except to eat, shower, and go to the bathroom. ugh. this was a true lesson in humility for me. i am not good with invasion of my personal space! your grandma and aunt spent some time painting your room for me since i was bedbound. we had meals delivered and people came to clean house. all in all, it was again an outpouring of God's saints. i was truly amazed at how quickly and completely people surrounded us with support.

at 32 weeks, i was taken off strict bedrest and told to take it easy and lay down when the contractions got bad. they also took me off the medications (thank goodness!) and told me to take them only when the contractions numbered more than 10 in one hour. i loved this newfound freedom. it was awesome being able to go outside with the boys and watch them play. and fold my own underwear! and daddy was done with training, so he was close to home again. all seemed to be going well. until you started to make trouble. not once, but three times we had to go into labor and delivery with painful contractions that got so bad i couldn't walk through them. we would spend the night, then go home in the morning because (1) the contractions slowed and (2) i wasn't progressing. each time i went home with the instructions...come back if the contractions are 5 minutes apart and painful. ummm...they are like that all the time....what is going to be different?

well. not much seemed different on the morning you were born. daddy wanted me to go in, but i had just gotten home yesterday morning from our last overnighter! daddy insisted, so we called our babysitter...again...and headed to the hospital. this time, hallelujah, i was 6 centimeters!!! yippeee!!! they let me walk to labor and delivery and the doctor came over from across the street and broke my water. i told them i wanted an epidural this time (the boys were both natural), but of course, my labor goes way too fast for that! i did manage to talk the anesthesiologist into giving me a local intrathecal injection to take off the edge. you were born soon after! a healthy 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 19 inches long. you were absolutely beautiful! and by far, the easiest delivery i have had to date!

your grandpa (my dad) was actually at the hospital when you were born, and got to see you soon after your arrival. one of my most cherished pictures is of him standing next to me looking down at you with pure joy on his face. you are very special to him, since you are the only girl in the brood of grand kids. also present was your great-uncle B. and of course, your daddy was there, too, grinning from ear to ear!

God's plan for our family included you. down to the very last detail. and i wouldn't change it for anything in the world. He has always known what is best for us, and i am so grateful that you are a part of this family. you are funny, inquisitive, mischievous, adorable, empathetic, and just a joy to be around. i love you, my heart, and i pray that the two of us will have a friendship that is filled with mother-daughter moments to last a lifetime. i pray that i am your best friend. i pray that i will be able to show you the love that Jesus has for you every day of your life.

i love you,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday's Manna...Learning in Difficult Circumstances

well, it is over.

the visit.

grandma left on saturday, and i have been catching up since then.

cleaning, organizing, catching up on facebook and email.


it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be on some levels.

on other levels, it was worse.

i was not nearly as hospitable as i hoped i would be. i am one of those people who really enjoy my personal space, and i guess i just felt that i couldn't be my self in my home. isn't that what having guests is all about, though?

i also felt like i was performing, and i do not like having to put on an act.


i also learned a lot from my MIL

i watched her interact with my children. not just sit on the couch and watch them play.

ahem. i would never do that. sit on the couch that is. ahem.

she got down on the floor and wrestled them (when mommy wasn't in the room, we have a pretty strict-or so i thought-rule about wrestling with girls...), tickled them, read to them, got totally involved with their imaginative play.

i don't do that nearly as often as i should. instead, i bustle around doing chores, tidying up after the kids, doing laundry, making meals, cleaning the kitchen...you know, 'mommy stuff.'

but i watched my kids very happily playing with grandma. vying for her attention, even jealous for it. grandma was first pick for both the boys when it came to reading stories, playing candyland, or who to sit next to at the table. stinkerbell still chose me...thank goodness!

they love their grandma. and i got to see that my own time with my kids was sorely lacking...i don't dig in nearly enough. i am usually just looking for things to occupy their time so i can do other things.

so. thank you, mother-in-law. even though i was apprehensive about your visit, you taught me something about being a better mom.

and i am glad i took the time to see the lesson you were teaching me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Before I Go...

i was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. melanoma. on my neck. i had two outpatient surgeries to remove the malignancy, and have been cancer free ever since. but tragedies occur every day. we were in a nasty accident in april of this year. it left me a bit shaken. life is oh, so fragile. i only have to read a newspaper or turn on the news to see numerous deaths occur around us. what would happen to my children if, heaven forbid, i was taken from them? if i never got to see them graduate high school or get married and have children, get their driver's license? what if i never got to impart my motherly wisdom? (ok, that is a stretch. i don't have a lot of wisdom, so to speak). i want to be able to share with my children my words as i watch them grow up. and as i discover things about them that are so precious that i want to preserve them. and to tell them about my own mistakes so that they won't make them, hopefully. to share about love and life, and most importantly, about Jesus. so i am starting this blog theme. i do it in a blog, not to get recognition for the writings, but so that i make sure they are preserved. paper yellows and can get burned or damaged. although i do write things to my children in books, i cannot be sure they will survive my life. i know a lot of moms/dads diagnosed with a terminal illness do videos of themselves talking to their children so that their kids will have something to view after their death. i know that i do not currently suffer from any illnesses, but i do not know when my time to go will be, and i want to make sure that i don't waste any time/breath in the here and now.

maybe it will be a keepsake to them when they are older, and if i am blessed enough to be present for all the milestones, i will be able to share with them my thoughts from their childhood. i hope it will be a legacy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


02.30.00 mommy

02.30.15 mo-ommy


02.30.50 yes, love, what's wrong?

'aking chair

ok, love, for a few minutes, then night-night.

02.40.00 good night, love. see you in the morning. *kiss*

02.41.00-02.45.00 mommy....MOMMY....MAAAAHHHHMMMMMYYYYYYY



03.30.00 mommy...sob

03.30.15 mo-ommy....sob

03.30.20 come back, mommy...sob

03.30.30 open door...sob

03.31.00 mommy...sob

(continues in this fashion, getting louder, longer and using every word in her vocabulary, which is surprisingly large.)

04.00.00 i am sorry, honey. if i give in to her now, she will do this every night...to my hubby who has to get up at 0445 to get ready for work.

04.15.00 ack! really? is she still at it? she hasn't even taken a breath.

04.16.00. ok, love. goodness. you are so worked up. here, now. calm down. momma's got you. there, now. here's your 'b' shhhhh. (gasp, sob, hiccup, sob, gasp) do you want to come lie down with mommy?


yes, and daddy


do you want to come to mommy's room?

oom? oom.

ok. let's go.

04.20.00 (daddy) hi, sweetie

no-ooo (it actually has 3 syllables when she says it)


during this time, stinkerbell decides that she wants to play hide and seek with her toes under my blanket.

why do i even bother trying to sleep?

05.20.00 cereal bar?

are you hungry?


ok. let's go.

and so my day is started.

did i mention that bonobo made an appearance at around 2:30 this morning to sleep with us cause he was scared. i let him in our bed for about 10 minutes then tucked him into his own. thankfully without incident.

i am on the 3rd cup of coffee.

there are many more to come. i am sure of it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

what a night...

last night was rough.

a 36 year old man died early this morning despite all our efforts.


i turn 35 this year.

no one else seemed bothered by this turn of events.

the staff were casual.

cavalier, even.



in his room as he was taking his last breaths and beating his last beats.

we all deal with death differently. in my course of nursing over the last 15 years, i have been at the bedside of more people than i can remember as they breathe their last.

or maybe they breathed their last 20 minutes prior and we have just been their breath and heart beat as we try to bring them back.

however you want to look at it.

i cannot remember all their faces. or their names. just that i have seen a lot of people die.

some deaths are peaceful. like Mr Q who sat up in bed after days of being comatose and reached up him arms to heaven and smiled. i still get chills remembering than one.

or nancy. she suffered a long time with myeloma, only to succumb in a hospital room surrounded by family, and me. i count myself very privileged to have been in that room holding her hand with my right and linking with all of her children to form a circle as she went to see Jesus.

some deaths are torturous. they linger on your mind and spirit because they are filled with angst. i imagine that their meeting with our Maker is of a different kind.

this morning, i should have spoken up. please forgive me, Mr S.

i should not have let them speak those things in your room.

i needed their help, not their sarcasm.

but, again. everyone deals with death differently.

once you stop caring about the life that is lost before your very eyes, though....

well, it is time for a new job. nursing is no longer your calling.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Mr. DTV,

Hello. When I first heard about you coming to make a permanent appearance in our lives, I was shocked. I could not contemplate the thought of not being able to sit down in the evening to engross myself in the reality TV world any longer. Give up Survivor? Idol? And not...gasp...Grey's Anatomy??? I was so excited when Obama decided to postpone your arrival. I literally jumped up and down and said a quick 'thank you' that I would get to finish out the seasons of ER, Numb3rs and Grey's. But now, now you are coming for real, and my evening world will be all static and fuzz.

You know what, though? Now I am excited at the thought of your entrance. My evenings will be free!! Free to do the things that Mr Analog stole from me. (ok, i let him steal them from me. i used Mr Analog as an excuse to let the dishes sit til morning, not get any quality reading done, not have meaningful conversations with my husband, and a host of other activities.) But now? NOW, I get to do all of those things! As we won't be purchasing cable, satellite or any other thing-a-ma-jigs to add to our 1995 TV, we will go dark tomorrow night at 11:59 pm. I am even considering staying up to watch it happen and sipping a glass of champagne to celebrate!

Here is a list of activities that will be making their way back into my home and heart, all thanks to you, Mr. DTV:

read my Bible at night and work on my study of Luke.
play a game with my husband. *wink*
play a game with my husband (no wink, he actually likes card games, dice games and the like).
crochet lace (an old love of mine that i haven't done in years).
read some of the amazing books lining my bookshelf that are just gathering dust.
get to bed on time...9 pm sounds great since we get up around 5:30 am.

My mind is overflowing with all the possibilities.

You know what, Mr DTV? My life is going to be so much richer because of you. I lamented losing the shows because I thought I needed them to be entertained. I used Mr Analog to avoid interactions with God and my family. But no more! I have been set free by you, Mr. DTV! Thank you :)

this post was inspired by the writer's workshop hosted by mamakat. check out her blog for more writing prompts and to join the fun!

Monday, May 25, 2009

tuesday's torment

do you ever have a day where you feel like not only are you the last one standing on the sidelines waiting to be picked for the team, but that the coach tells you to sit out because you would make the teams uneven? that is how i feel. this weekend was just not a good one for me. i received some news that i wasn't expecting (obviously) and it floored me. and i received it in the middle of the church sanctuary after the message. i still had to pick up stinkerbell, so i was trying desperately to hold it together, but i couldn't. so i also had to face the humiliation of exiting the sanctuary, maneuver through the foyer while trying to smile, get stinkerbell, wait for my KISA to whisk me away from it all with our other two kids...all the while tears streaming down my face and everyone giving me that look.

now, i have gotten over the initial shock of the moment. there was no malice or cruelty in the news. just matter of fact stuff that needed to be tended to. the bottom line, i didn't get picked. the problem lay in the fact that i kind of already believed i had been picked. it was originally relayed to me that way. turns out, the gun was jumped and not everyone involved had weighed in on the decision...so, bottom line. i didn't get picked. and it hurt. a lot. and plans i made had to be undone. and now i have to make different plans. and i am really doubting in my own ability to make those plans on my own.

i know this isn't making any sense...i cannot go into specifics, because i really do not want to hurt the feelings of anyone involved. as i said, there wasn't any malice involved. no one wanted to hurt my feelings. i am still loved by these sisters in Christ. and i still love them. it doesn't stop the hurt, though.

i am sitting on the sidelines waiting to get picked.

i hate being the last one picked.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

just arrived!

today in the mail i got this:

i am so excited to read this. i have heard so many good things about this book. i am eager to delve in and learn!!! i know that i do NOT handle my children's anger (or my own) in a positive and patient light all the time (nah, really?). and so i am going to read through it and do this

along the way. i will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

his promise to me...

my hubby and i used to write in a notebook to each other and i found it the other day. there hasn't been an entry since 2005! ugh!! we need to get back to it. it was so much fun to write the silly stuff we were thinking. after kids, well, it got put on a shelf, then in a box and hasn't been seen since! i plan to re-introduce it tonight at our date (first in a while !!)

these were his vows to me on our wedding day!

You are a treasure, a precious gift from God.
I vow before God and family
that on this day and forever I will
Seek God with all my heart, and lead you with God's strength
Not hiding from you my weaknesses.
I will be faithful to you in body, mind and heart.
I will build your confidence, and recognize your beauty
Cherishing you for the treasure that you are.
I will honor you always, in words and actions.
I will give all of myself and all that I have for your benefit.
I will encourage you to discover all that God has for you.
I will always forgive quickly.
I will kiss you on the forehead every night, and pray a prayer of thanks every morning with you.
I will love you forever
Until God takes us both...
You are my treasure.

he has kept is vows beautifully and to his credit...he does indeed kiss me on the forehead every night! it has been a rocky, but wonderful 9 years together (10 very soon!!). marriage is hard, but we are committed, and i am so grateful for that! i am going to go find my own vows now so that i can review my progress...i am sorry to say that i probably fall short a lot. i am happy to say that he is very forgiving. i love you, my Knight in Shining Armor. thank you for rescuing me from the dragon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

i have begun reading through the gospel of Luke. i would like to read it several times this summer in preparation for my bible study this fall in CBS (Community Bible Study). i have never been very consistent in my reading time, at least not since i have had children, so i know this will be difficult for me. i am trying not to look at it as an insurmountable task, but rather, one where i read just a little every day. so far, i am doing pretty well. so i am hoping to start blogging about the things i am learning and hearing from God. my manna. because i have not been gathering enough manna to sustain me. this is evidenced by my lack of patience with my children, my hubby and myself...i have some patience first thing, but it usually dies out with the 2nd or 3rd conflict that my kids have (say, at about 0630?). so, anyway. this is my feeble attempt at writing down who i am and what God would have me to be...worlds apart for now, but every day i hope to be more and more like Jesus.

this morning i was faced with my own inability to come before Jesus face to face. in Luke 8.43-48 Jesus is in among a crowd and a woman who has had a bloody discharge for 12 years and had spent all of her money on physicians who were unable to help her. so she comes up behind him to touch the fringe of his garment. and he knows it. and he asks around for who it was (i am sure he already knew, but he wanted to give her the chance to come face to face with him. similar to when God give Adam and Eve the opportunity to tell Him what they did and why they were hiding from Him in Genesis 3.9. seriously. He is God. He knows everything).

i am not suggesting i know the woman's motive for approaching Jesus this way. i am sure there were tumultuous emotions raging about in her heart as she touched Him. but, for me, how often do i come to Jesus just to touch Him on the fringe of goodness and mercy and then turn away expecting to take what i need then leave? am i embarrassed by my condition so much that i don't want to reveal it to Him and to the others around me? am i just coming to sneak a bit of His grace without suffering the consequences of my own sin? when all He wants of me is my confession of my sins and the state of my heart.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Ps 51.17

i am to come before Him, not in secret, not to His backside, but to His face.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!


His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!


Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel

(if you want to hear how this goes, go to cyberhymnal.org)

Monday, May 11, 2009

on Mother's Day

i woke up yesterday morning to my two boys and smiles with a "happy Mother's Day, mommy" chimed from both of them. i think they said it a few times as i came out of the REM fog. i hugged them both and said 'thank you,' while my Knight got out of bed to get them started on their homemade cards and he could get started on breakfast. he closed the door so i could sleep in. which never happens. i cannot sleep in. our house is way too small for that. so i lay in bed, reflecting on past Mother's Days and how this one compared. my husband has forgotten it on a few occasions, gotten something for me that was more for him (wink, wink) and even given me the same card as the year before.

the next sound i heard was that of paper being pushed underneath the bedroom door. it turns out tic tac was pushing his first attempt at a homemade card under the door for me to see. he was quite distraught as it wasn't perfect (he is a bit ocd about those things). he had messed up on his curly 'm.' we had a discussion through the bottom of the door. touching fingers in the space between the carpet and door so i could reassure him that perfect wasn't what counted, but the thought behind the card. that i would absolutely love anything that he made for me because i knew it was coming from his heart. to which he replied...i will go try a new one! ok. now he is back downstairs, tears all gone as he sets out to make a new one.

then i noticed a haze starting to settle in our room and so i opened the door...yep...the smell of burnt sausage and eggs cooking. my breakfast. i decided to shower so that we might get out the door to church in time. after the shower the haze was definitely worse. so i ventured downstairs where all the windows were open and fans were going to help air out the room. my Knight was slaving over several pans on the stove. everything was quite delicious, even with the bit of char on it :) it was delicious because he made it for me...that doesn't happen very often.

church was good, but i found all the "happy mother's day" wishes a little strange. it isn't about me. it isn't about thanking me for serving my family every day. it isn't about me doing the wash or making the dinners or cleaning the floors. i mean, yes, it is nice to be thanked...don't get me wrong. but, for me, this mother's day was more about thanking God for allowing me this precious gift of motherhood. i am a mom. a mommy. some women never get that chance. but i get to do it. day in and day out. i do get frustrated with the daily tasks. i long for conversation that does not revolve around boogers, poop and who took what toy from whom. i sometimes explode over the noise level in our tiny box of a house. some days seem like they will never end.

but i love being a mom. i love being the steward to these precious little people. i can only pray that i don't mess them up too badly. thank goodness that God can redeem my mistakes along the way. thank God i am a mother.

the cards from my boys were extra special. they expressed why they love me...and, no surprise, it was because of the things i do for them. which is ok with me. because in this season of my life, i am to be taking care of them and protecting them.

and, yes, the card my husband made for me with our computer program was the same as the one he gave me two year's ago :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

my patients last night

i left work this morning feeling a bit depressed. i got to see both ends of the spectrum. at least, i saw two vastly different life situations that fall onto that spectrum of life's tragedies. each one very different, and yet, both very sad.

one of my patients was elderly. her son has been taking care of her for about 10 years and has the power of attorney to make decisions for her. he has gained medical knowledge along the way. but he has scant knowledge in a vast ocean of possible knowledge. because of that he comes across as quite arrogant scared that his mother is not going to make it out of the hospital this time. and she probably won't. she has several problems, the least of which involve
her lungs (she cannot breathe on her own and hasn't since february),
her heart (she has random bouts of rapid heart rates that last for hours on end..up to160 beats/minute),
her gut (she has a feeding tube in her belly and a colostomy),
her skin (she has a lot of pressure ulcers that go deep to the bone and muscle that will probably never heal) ...
if that wasn't enough, she isn't really there. i mean, she opens her eyes, but she cannot move, speak or even gag. this is not good. but the son cannot let go. at all. it is very sad to watch this woman waste away.
i don't think it is how God intended us to live.
i realize that there are very different opinions on this out there. i am not trying to inflame anyone or point a finger at anyone. i guess i just know that i wouldn't want to be alive like that. not after nearly 80 years of life. i would be tired. i wouldn't want to be stuck in a body that couldn't move. and someone else was responsible for feeding me, bathing me, and wiping me. where i was stuck in a hospital bed without my family around me. i also know that, if i were in the same situation as the son, it might be different. it can be very hard to let go when you think you are doing the right thing and that maybe, just maybe, your loved one might get better. maybe.

the other patient i had was young. had made some very bad choices in his life and so was shackled to the bed. (why they do this to correctional facility patients, i will never know. they cannot go anywhere because they are so sick. why must we torture them and risk injury to their legs .) at 18 he entered the correctional department for some very dangerous criminal acts. he has been there several years already, and it finally caught up with him.
he was attacked in his cell.
he was unconscious and down for an unknown amout of time.
he had a bad bleed on the brain.
it required surgery to relieve the pressure.
he cannot talk, follow commands, or even open his eyes to command.
this seems to be a wasted life. so young, and yet it is already over. his family will hold on to the hope that his brain will recover. that the swelling in his brain will go down and he will be himself again. to go back to prison and finish out his sentence.

i left feeling very sad for these two people who are suffering. some days i don't like my job. some days the black and white blur so grey i can't see beyond it. my only comfort is the knowledge that God is Sovereign and sees each of these people. do they know Jesus? i don't know. but i could whisper it to them as i did their bedbaths. i could show Jesus to their families as i care for them as i would my own family. i can know that God is God, and that only He knows who they really are. that maybe, just maybe, they are children of the King and will see heaven. i can pray that God continues to place empathetic Christians in their path to help them along the way.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the in-laws are coming! the in-laws are coming!

ok. not as bad as it sounds, really. i actually like this set of in-laws. my knight in shining armor's dad and his wife are coming to visit on friday/saturday. they are stopping by on their way back to california. they haven't seen the kids since stinkerbell was 3 months old, so they are going to be shocked at how much the kids have changed! knight in shining armor and his dad have had a strained relationship up until the last few years (divorced mom when knight was about 9) and they have had lots of good, but tentative attempts at restoration. i know that having grandkids has helped. tic-tac and bonobo are just way too excited!!! maybe because grandpa always brings gifts? who knows. all i know is that the visit will be much too short for all parties involved.

now...what to cook for dinner???

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the thing that happened at the playground....

Tell us about that time at the playground when that thing happened.

i chose the number 5 prompt at Mama's Losin' It: Your assignment. Mama Kat's got some fun prompts to get you creative juices stirring...head on over to check them out, then blog away!

this one is pretty easy for me...as it just happened a few months ago!

well. on a beautiful day in february we (tic-tac, bonobo, stinkerbell and me) decided to take a walk after lunch. it was a pretty comfortable 73 degrees, and the sky was just perfect. we took a walk on this bike path we had just discovered that takes us over the freeway (the boys love crossing 8 lanes of traffic on a bridge...*shudder*)..i had stinkerbell in my backpacker (the ergo, highly recommend it!) and the boys were holding my hands. we made it across without incident, and then the boys wanted to hop a small white fence to play in a neighborhood playground (we don't live in this neighborhood, so i am fairly certain we broke a rule or two...although we know several people who live there...does that count?) only one other girl was playing there, so i figured it was okay..and i needed a break..i was actually sweating after walking for 20 minutes with a 25 pounder on my back!

so, there we are..playing on the "tot lot" which stinkerbell was having so much fun on. and then i see bonobo climbing up the slide..the wrong way, of course! just as i am about to tell him "slides are for going down, not up!" he slips at the top and then immediately begins to cry. i figured he bit his tongue, cuz he hit the deck with his chin pretty hard, but, no. instead, he finally looks up at me and BLOOD is streaming down his shirt!!!!! all my nursing skills go out the window! thankfully, they returned quickly, and i got him down and tried to staunch the bleeding with his shirt (his favorite shirt, by the way). he really doesn't like me holding pressure, so he starts screaming, which brings the grandmother of the other little girl running...of course, stinkerbell is now toddling off the playground in search of the "birdie?" and tic-tac is panicking behind me "is he bleeding? MOMMY...IS HE BLEEDING?????" ahhh, my sensitive one!

i can now get a pretty good look at the damage, and yup...gonna need stitches. my bet is at least three. and i have no cell phone. no diaper bag. nada. ugh. and then the kind grandmother asks..do you live close by? to which i (shamefully) answer...we live over the freeway...i think she seriously contemplated calling the HOA police, but figured out that i had been punished enough. now i have to gather everyone quickly (remember stinkerbell?) and try to navigate the 3/4 mile to our house half dragging my kids by the hand (tic-tac) and wrist (bonobo-he was quite bloody!) i can only imagine the sight we were. oh, well...

final suture count..4...bonobo actually held perfectly still for the suturing. he didn't like the bandaid much...he really dislikes adhesives being removed from his person. other than that, he was a perfect gentleman! i think tic-tac had a harder time with the needle and suturing than bonobo did. oh, and did i mention that it was stinkerbell's naptime? augh...

the good news...i got out all the blood from his shirt with my miracle detergent...yippee!

Monday, April 13, 2009


i am not up to blogging at the moment. i am still sore/stiff from our recent rear end collision at a horrific speed...we were at a complete stop on the interstate at the tail end of commute traffic when a minivan decided to attempt lane changing instead of braking and ended up slamming into the back of my saturn vue. a paid for vehicle, thank you. one that is 6 years old and won't give us very much to work with when it comes to replacing it. see, when the van hit us, it propelled us into the highlander in front of us (also stopped) causing our air bags to deploy (yikes!) and propelling him into the truck in front of him. the good news? everyone walked away...some even drove away. thank the Lord for 5 pt harnesses for child seats. all 3 of my precious ones were in the car freaking out over the crash, the air bags, and that darned horn that wouldn't shut up!!! anyway. i am sore. and cranky. and looking at the computer hurts my neck. i hope to feel better soon...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

last night at our 'small group' we discussed the concept of gratitude. one of the participants posed a very poignant question that made me think about how grateful i really am. the gist of the question was how can we know if we are truly grateful in the absence of need? we live in a very affluent society. i am not talking affluent in the sense that we are rolling in the dough. but affluent in that we don't have practical knowledge of true need. need for food, shelter, clothing. the basics. in fact, we have more than we need and we are the most wasteful nation in the world. we (in our home) don't have the extras (iPhones, cable, dvr, whatever...) but we do have food in abundance and can just go the store in our 2nd car anytime we want and pick from our choice of coffee shops. so, how do we know if we are truly grateful?

the answers to this question by other members of our group were varied. one person said that gratitude isn't all about the big stuff. it can be found in the small day to day occurrences that can be mistakenly attributed to our own efforts instead of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

or is gratitude about being content with our current situation? not having a sense of entitlement when we go to a restaurant or emergency room and expect to be served immediately because of who we are.

for myself, i think that my gratitude has grown since my journey as a christian began almost 15 years ago. in 1999 i was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. i was 24. i was scared to death. i had just completed 3 years on an oncology inpatient unit as an RN and had seen many young women come through with melanoma that had very short, painful lives. i was very new to my faith and struggled with why God would have me go through cancer. was i living my life so horribly wrong that He needed to chase me down with cancer to get my attention? maybe. after my surgery to remove the diseased spot i fell into a life of crippling fear. fear that God would have to shake my world up again to get my attention. not scriptural at all! in fact, it was just a lot of lies from the Deceiver about how i was to live my life. i have taken a lot of comfort from the scripture passage about the blind man in John 9. the mad was blind from birth and the disciples wanted to know whose sin had fallen on the man to cause him to be blind (falling in line with the belief that the sins of the parents would be visited on the generations to come). Jesus answered , "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9.3)" wow. so, my cancer was not because i was living a sinful life, but so that God might be glorified. now instead of living in fear, i could live in gratitude that i had been given an opportunity to live through cancer and share how Jesus is my Savior.

can we ever truly know gratitude if we don't know need or want? i am not sure. i know that i can show God i am grateful by loving Him and obeying His commands. is this perfected in my life...ummm, NO! but one day, i will be complete, because He has promised it to be so. for now, i will praise Him for His goodness, even in the midst of crisis or less than desirable circumstances. even if we lose everything, i have lost nothing, because i have a relationship with the God who created the Universe and is Sovereign over every little detail.

i had the opportunity to memorize the 23rd psalm with my oldest son this past week. i highly encourage it. it is full of promises and peace that might otherwise have escaped me. my favorite part of the psalm? aside from all of it?

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I willl dwell in the House of the Lord...forever.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

goodnight, booger brain

every night my husband does baths with the kids (don't hate me) because he doesn't get much time with them during the day. we share in putting the kids down. i put the baby down because she won't let daddy do it yet. our oldest usually comes downstairs to say goodnight to me and i ask him...what was the best part of your day? and what was the worst part of your day? then we do 'lovin's, kiss and head bonk' and he is off to bed. i get to put our middler down and the conversation usually goes something like this:

me: goodnight, booger brain!
him: goodnight, booger brain poopie head!
me: goodnight, belly button lint!
him: goodnight, belly button shampoopy lint!
me: goodnight, frog slime!
him: goodnight, frog slime poopy lick!

you get the hint. it goes on for quite a while and then i say i love you...to which he replies...i love you shampoopoo head...or some other goofy poop-laden comment...

he is about to turn 4. i wonder how long we will be able to do this routine. i know i am going to miss it when he stops. his goofiness is one of the traits i adore in him. there are lots of things i wish i had paid more attention to as he has grown. i cannot for the life of me remember his first steps, or the last time he breastfed...i am slowly learning, though, that every...single...moment of my children's lives are worth chronicling. i need to stop getting frustrated over the stuff that doesn't really matter anyway and focus on the things that i am going to want to remember when they are grown. like frog slime shampoopy licks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday's Manna

the kids are upstairs. daughter is sleeping and the sons are enjoying educational computer games. i am free, for now :) so i thought i would catch up on my blog reading. a post from girl talk caught my eye. it is about how we become so involved in raising and caring for our children that our husbands get pushed to the side. how that strains the marital relationship. a pastor of mine at a church i attended in california (the church where my husband and i met, actually) used to ask the following question of engaged couples in premarital counseling: If you and your spouse and children were flung out of a boat, and you could either save your spouse or your children, who would you save? the man almost always said he would save his wife, and the woman almost always said she would save her children. a bit harsh, i know, but eye opening. we are called to love our husbands. we are charged to respect them. we are to become one with them. i haven't found anywhere in the bible where it says i am to become one with my children. nurture and care for them, instruct them in righteousness, yes. but put them above my husband, no.

so i have a confession to make. in the busyness of life, sickness and homeschooling, i have neglected to put my husband into the driver seat of our marriage. i have taken control away from him in the smallest of ways, and have cut him off at the knees. eeeek. ok. i need to change this and change it fast. i need to show more love to my husband while maintaning my role as a mother. there are lots of ways i can do this. i am going to revisit the book "A Wife After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. i remember it being challenging and practical. i am going to pray every day for my love for my husband to grow beyond his wildest dreams. i am also going to pray for clear ways to show my husband respect.

hold me to it, ok? we shall see where these 3 steps lead :) God is good and i have faith to know that He will accomplish His good work in me to completion.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Manna from the Husband

my hubby is so much more generous than i. i have known this since we got married almost 10 years ago. he has always wanted to give away huge chunks of our savings to churches and causes worldwide. this was a serious bone of contention for me early on. i was raised in an unbelieving home. my family ascribes to the theory that if you are a good person, you will go to heaven. (imagine the waves i caused when i witnessed to my father in a letter soon after becoming a christian and essentially told them they were all going to hell because they didn't believe in Jesus...still haven't mended the bridge from that one) so i was raised to look out for ME. not anyone else. even in marriage, my parents were pretty focused on earning money and insuring their own personal security. i don't want to bash my mom and dad here, they are both hard-working morally driven people who don't like injustice. they just have their focus on the wrong thing. and so i grew up with my view a little askew. i never in a million years would have considered giving people on my doorstep a check for their cause. i never would have even opened the door, really. so when we got married, i had to really reign it in and take a good look at my lack-of-generosity views of my life.

it all boils down to this. what i have isn't mine. it is HIS. it all belongs to God. my money, my house, my children even. all things are created by Him, for Him. i have been given some gifts while i am here on earth and i am called to be a good steward of these things. i am to be responsible with what He has blessed me with. i am not to squander my money on insignificant things. i am to think of others first before myself.

this is very hard for me to do. i have had to readjust my thinking. i oftentimes find that i have been selfish with my time or money without even realizing it. it is just the way i have grown up. but i want to change. i desire to change. i know that He will change me if i ask Him to. He will probably do it even if i don't ask. He is like that. He wants what is best for me, and what is best is to be more Christ-like. i am grateful for the Holy Spirit who works in me to grow me and counsel me. i am glad i am not alone. because, if it were up to me, i would stay the way i am and not even know i need to change.

so yesterday a young man came to our door around dinnertime from an organization called Teen Challenge. my husband opened the door and then stepped outside to talk with him. me, i would have told him it was dinnertime and that we couldn't talk right now. but, my husband went outside and heard him out. he was a young man with quite a past. and he was trying to make a better life for himself, and he was on his second attempt at getting clean. my husband came in and asked me (bless him for including me in this decision...another trait i love about him) if we could afford to write a check to this group. i balked. i even offered up a few objections...but he persisted and i relented, and i am ashamed i even hesitated. i am so glad my husband has such a generous spirit. it is good for me. he is also gentle in leading me this direction, because he knows how deep-seated my fears run about financial security. God knew what He was doing when he put us together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

i am sick today. really sick. wish i could have a day off from mothering sick. plop in front of the tv, kids...it's gonna be a long day kind of sick. so it is amazing to me that i managed to pull out my bible study this morning and answer the day's questions. wow. thanks, God! at least i managed to get that right today :)

the biggie for the day was the question "Read Isaiah 29.13 and Matthew 23:23-38. What are "acts that lead to death"? wow. i know that my basic sin leads me to death. but what does it look like? these passages went beyond the sin of the garden. they delve into the hypocrisy that we (as Christians) often express. we pay a lot of lip service to what we do for the Kingdom, but where are our hearts?

Matthew 23:27-28 reads:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

my answer to the question? honoring God with our lips and having our hearts far from Him. neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness. cleaning the outside so that we look good to others but not attending to matters of the heart. being full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Abba Father, i pray today that you will empty me of all the things that separate me from You. You alone are God. i do not want to be a shell of a christian. i want people to look at me and see Christ. empty me of me and fill me with desire to love you and serve you and obey you. amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

i attended a moms group wednesday morning at our church. it was very fruitful, and i think i gathered manna that was both nourishing and challenging. the topic for the morning was how to be busy at home. the scripture reference was from Titus 2.3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

several questions were posed to us as moms of young children (birth-6ish). i thought they were worth pursuing on a deeper level. i think it would do my heart good to see what God has in store for me as i answer them for myself. i want to be honest with Him, first and foremost. and i may even share the answers with my husband. if i answer them and do nothing, i lose out on the blessing of character change *wince* that God has in store for me. below are the questions.

1. What does being busy in your home look like?
2. Who or what has inspired you to be content working at home?
3. What has God shown you to focus on in the home?
4. What things tempt you away from you priorities in the home and what do you do to fend off the temptations?

the last one is going to be the one that challenges me the most, i think. i let a lot of things get in the way of my daily duties in the home. identifying the things that get in the way should be easy. changing them is a whole other ball game.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

manna for the day

sunday i was able to gather a little manna...a little of God's goodness and mercy. i know that these are always mine for the taking, but sunday i recognized them as such and grabbed enough for the day. we have been blessed beyond our belief with the health of our children, in particular our middle child. God is good. we still have a bit of a long road ahead of us in our quest to determine exactly what is going on with him, but the scarier stuff has been ruled out. so on sunday we were singing about how God is good and i decided to just soak it in and gather some goodness for the day. it was simpler than i thought it would be. i highly suggest it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

gathering manna

i struggle with being a bad mother. i mean, really who walks around thinking they are really a great mom? i want to meet you if you do!! i lost it the other day on my 3 yr old because he had yet another potty accident. these have become a daily occurrence since his hospital stay in december. (i have called the doctor about it, and they said it was probably just trauma related to the hospital stay). i know i should not have gotten upset, but it is driving me nuts! esp since i keep sending him to the bathroom every hour and he announces "no yellow" every time. ugh...i have so little patience with my kids lately. is this a result of my own shortcomings? absolutely. i have been hit from all sides lately with the need for daily devotional time with the Lord. my cbs study last week had a great way of putting it (and i am going to paraphrase it because it is not right next to me): God's grace, mercy and leading are like manna, they have to be gathered fresh every morning. wow. like manna. manna was the only thing the israelites ate (that and the big shower of quail). they were only to gather what they needed for the day, anything more would spoil. on the 6th day they gathered enough for days 6 and 7 so that they could observe the sabbath. (i have to go back and research this, but i think the only 'holiday' they observed during the 40 years in the desert was the sabbath..not passover, any of the feasts. just the sabbath).

i need to gather manna. i need to depend on the Word as if it were (because it is) the only source of sustenance for my life. i don't need to know everything in the Bible today...just what God has given me for today. what a freeing concept. i don't have to know everything in it to live by it. the Holy Spirit will guide me if i ask Him to. the manna is there for me to gather it in. i don't have to go anywhere to look for it. He has provided it to me, just as He promised. Praise God.

as for me and being a bad mother? nothing else in this world has been able to show me my need for a Savior. i make mistakes with my kids all the time, and i hope i have been able to use the opportunity to show them the gospel. because honestly, that is what they need from me. they need the basics of food, shelter and a lot of love...but they need to know Jesus loves them more than i ever could. and that this house on earth is not their home. they are strangers here and will be at odds with many they come across in this world. i am still a bad mother. i don't consider myself good enough to be a mommy...but God has seen fit to write my name is His Book...and i need to stop taking advantage of it.