Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In the quiet of the night...

I have been struggling with insomnia. From all I have read this is normal considering the surgery I had and the recovery in front of me. Still, insomnia when you are exhausted and tired is not very fun.

I am thankful, though, that the Lord had already brought me through a season of sleeplessness, though caused by a chronically ill child, the lessons I learned during that time of "night watches" are helping me now.

Throughout the Psalms, David speaks of praying through the night watches (Psalm 63:6; 119:148). David certainly had many reasons to be awake throughout the night, but it was an encouragement to me that he chose to use those sleepless nights to turn his heart to the Lord and His promises.

So, while I try to wait patiently, waiting for balance to return and for my life to be "normal" again, I am thankful for the opportunity to walk with my Savior in the night watches. Remembering to pray, seeking His Word, counting even the sleeplessness as blessing.

What do you do in the night watches?

Friday, September 10, 2010

A time to sit...

Solomon speaks of there being different seasons in our lives in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
     For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
     a time to be born, and a time to die;
     a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 
     a time to kill, and a time to heal;
     a time to break down, and a time to build up;
     a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
     a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
     a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
     a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
     a time to seek, and a time to lose;
     a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
     a time to tear, and a time to sew;
     a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
     a time to love, and a time to hate;
     a time for war, and a time for peace.

Recently, it has been my appointed season to sit, to rest, to limit my "normal" activity. This is not my strong-suit, I like to be doing! When I am in the midst of doing life I will sometimes dream of sitting and resting, but I hardly ever take the time to (unless a good Jane Austen movie is involved). I love being a keeper-at-home, a mommy, a homeschooler, a friend. I love ministering to the Body of Christ when there is a need, and reaching out to my neighbors seeking opportunities for the Gospel. I love baking really yummy, no-one-would-be-the-wiser gluten-free food. The one thing that all those things have in common is NOT sitting! 

I have been pondering what I could do during this season of sitting... one friend suggested I write encouraging notes to other women... another suggested I learn a new stitch in knitting (and I did!)... I have started learning to crochet... I am working very hard to answer my children with gentleness and kindness on my lips (and in my heart)... I have picked out some good books to read, some just for me, others to share. 

I have been trying to "watch" my day, see how things flow, see if there are areas where I could improve, change, tweak... one area is certainly in the menu planning department, so I am hoping that in the next month or so, I can come up with some sort of menu plan that will help me meet the needs of our little home as I get back to "normal" in the coming months. I also have more time than ever before to sit and observe the interactions of my children, taking note of some areas where we can more diligently be imparting the truth of God's Word into their lives. Would I have noticed these things, seen these holes or even considered slowing down to "watch" had I not been forced?

Of all things, I am most thankful that I have a God who knows me better than I know myself. He knows how easily I get distracted by busyiness and doing, and He knows what it takes to get my attention. He knew that at this perfect moment in time I needed to spend some time sitting... at His feet, with His Word, trusting in His time.

For everything there is a season... a time to sit...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Preparing our hearts...

Tomorrow is Sunday and in just minutes I will be heading to bed. But just now, as I was signing off Facebook and email (and laughing at my husband who is geekily working on some website design and is murmuring to himself what needs to happen next), I thought about tomorrow.

Sunday. As I child I dreaded the day, for before I knew the Lord I was thinking only of the end of my own pleasure, only thinking about the fact that Monday was right around the corner. As a young adult, still before my conversion, I dreaded Sundays a little less, I had come to like Mondays but I still was spending Sundays simply in indulging in whatever it was I wanted to do, thinking nothing of anyone else, though regularly annoyed at Chik-fil-A being closed!

Now... oh, how precious the Lord's Day has become to me. I yearn for it to return as soon as it has ended. I enjoy the teaching ministry at our church (Believers Fellowship, www.bfsatx.com) and the fellowship of the saints! I am blessed to have a sweet husband who really strives to make it a day of meaningful rest for our family. I have no more favorite a day of the week than my dear, precious Sunday.

Sundays are perfectly sweet to me and we are striving to pass along that vision to our children. Saturday nights we have been sharing with them the importance of preparing... preparing physically, by going to bed a little early, by gathering Bibles, shoes and clothes... preparing for open hearts by talking through areas of temptation they will face to be distracted from taking in God's Word... praying together, and sharing our love with the Savior with our children.

So, good night... time to prepare for the Lord's Day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sitting still...

Why is it that something so simple is so exceedingly difficult to do? Ironically, three weeks ago I would have been begging for the opportunity to sit and take a break... but now, as I look down the road paving the upcoming 7 weeks, all I can see is me sitting on a couch.

I am fighting against frustration, being so limited in my activity is making me a little crazy but I have to choose to remember that this is the time that God has ordained for me during this season. So, the question is less about whether I will enjoy the sitting and more about whether I will be submissive to the Lord and His good will for me. And in the submitting, will I do so with a grumbling spirit or with one filled with joy?

My heart is completely desiring to seek after the Lord's will for my life. I am thankful for God's Word in James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." These verses gave me such comfort as I suffered from physical pain for many, many months. Even still, they shall be a comfort, as I am now faced with a new trial, one of stillness.

I see my day swirl around me, the kids doing school with Dad, and the laundry being folded by a friend from church, and me being so tired by lunch I have to lay down for two hours before I can even eat. I have to believe, I do believe, that God already knew this day, designed this trial, orchestrated my life for this very moment. This trial, on the outside, from a human point-of-view, is not pleasant. However, Isaiah 55:9 reminds me, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." So, I choose to remember that while, to me, the sitting is aggravating, to the Lord it is His perfect instrument in conforming me into the image of His Son.

What choice, in light of Scripture, do I really have? I will strive for obedience, seeking to please and give glory to God, without complaint or grumbling. I will let you know how this "experiment" goes... me, learning to sit still... joyfully!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When the blogs stop...

Recently I have been in a battle, one that was causing me to cancel social engagements, postpone vacations, miss weddings, avoid friends; my life and who I thought of myself as was just crumbling away. Constant physical pain, unstoppable emotional rollercoasters, zero energy or interest, even for the things I love was plaguing me. On a daily basis it literally took everything I had to get up in the morning, and then took more than I had to care for my family, provide for their needs and keep up with the house. Despite all the outward struggles, God's Word was a constant reminder that it is in our weakness that God's strength is shown (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). If it had not been for His promises in Romans 8:28-29 and being able to truly trust His Sovereignty, I am not sure what I would have done, for His Word was a constant companion.

A few months back, I blogged about a question mark, a medical test awaiting results... the results came back... "happily disappointing"... my doctor's words. Happy because there was no cancer or pre-cancer found. Disappointing because we were left with more question marks... more tests to run... structurally speaking everything was "normal" or "unremarkable". But functionally there was an obvious problem, in fact a few different problems. Many hours were spent discussing with my doctor, praying with my husband, seeking counsel, researching options and then talking to my doctor again. During this time, the pain and other symptoms were becoming debilitating and I was down to 4 or 5 "good days" a month. And so, we decided.

The decision was not an easy one. The decision meant putting a lot of things in our life "on hold". The decision meant the absolute and final end to a certain season in our life. The decision meant that for the 3rd time in 12 months and 6 days I would undergo a major abdominal surgery and face a two-month recovery where I would be allowed to do "nothing". The decision meant that I would have to live out my faith and trust in the Lord and His perfect plan for my family, as I signed the 312 places where I agreed to the risk of dying during the surgery. Every day that was "good", I found myself doubting. Even to the very day before surgery, I thought of backing out. Moment by moment, I forced myself to remember the Lord and His good will towards me. I had to remember all He was teaching me about Himself through this trial, and all He would teach me through recovery.

Sunday was "prep day". I missed the opportunity to be with my church family in order to be ready for the surgery, fasting and cleansing, taking every precaution against complications of scar tissue during the surgery. Monday was surgery. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30am. I was all ready to go and my wonderful doctor peeked into my room, cheerful and energetic as always, at 7am. The surgery would normally have lasted 45 minutes... but I am not normal... so, 2 1/2 hours later my doctor came out to tell my family that the surgery was one of the most technically challenging he has faced in 19 years. Scar tissue was stuck to EVERYTHING except my intestines, my bladder was at risk a few times but thankfully was not damaged at all. The prolonged time under anesthesia increased my time in recovery and time I had to be away from my sweet husband and mother, as well as a close friend who had come to sit with them. At 1pm I was rolled into my room, I was still really out of it, and in a lot of pain. Monday was not my best day. I was bad enough that my doctor ordered "no visitors", not even my kids.

I began to feel like I was coming out of it at some point around 3am. I was definitely still in pain but I was no longer groggy or felt so "out of it". All the time I kept rehearsing to myself how blessed I was, thankful that the Lord had chosen to preserve my life to raise my children for His glory! I continued to gain strength and was happy to accept visitors on Tuesday. My doctor stopped in first thing and we were able to discuss how things went, especially now that I was in my "right mind". Not only did the surgery take nearly 4x longer than normal, I also lost a whole lot of blood... normal for the surgery I had is 75cc, but I lost over 750cc. This is when I was told that he would be watching me and deciding whether or not to do a blood transfusion... wait and see. Overall, Tuesday was really wonderful, I could already tell a difference in my chronic pain. And, joy of all joys, my sweet children came to see me, and hug me and kiss me... gently caring for their mommy who now had an "owwie".

Wednesday was a different story all together... as good as Tuesday was, Wednesday was bad. One friend even observed, "I like the perkier Denise better..." ME TOO! I knew something was wrong. My blood levels were going down, I felt like I was slipping away with them. My doctor said he would be deciding on a blood transfusion based on how I felt, but that we could take our time to decide since I was still going to be hospitalized through Friday. I asked a few friends about blood transfusions (helps to have friends who are doctors and nurses), I prayed. Late in the afternoon I had some strange symptoms, my skin hurt, my eyes were seeing "spots" and I felt like a I was sitting in the paint can mixer at the Home Depot. I told my doctor. Turns out, I no longer had a choice, I was being set up for a blood transfusion. Thankfully, a friend of mine had already planned to come up and drink coffee and watch HGTV with me. Elliott had just left the hospital having brought the kids for a visit and would stay at home taking care of them, a sweet comfort.

So, my friend walks in with my latte from Starbucks and it turns out that this very friend has had a transfusion. I made a call to another friend, just to give an update, and within 20 minutes she was there. I will be honest. I was freaking out. I was not scared of dying. I am not even sure what it was that I was worried about, the unknown, maybe? So, we prayed. My sweet friends were graced with God's comfort as they encouraged me in His Sovereignty. I will never forget when my friend thanked God for the blood that I was to receive, giving Him thanks that He has already known of this day and used that other person's body to create the blood cells I would need this very moment. A picture of how truly wonderful our God is, how perfect His care for us is, and the very thing I needed to hear that would put my heart to rest.

Finally, the transfusion started, I needed 3 units, at about 90-120 minutes each... my friends stayed through 1:30am... I was completely at peace when they left, praising the Lord for His goodness and grace. At 4am, as the last transfusion started, I was able to speak to my nurse about the Lord and His goodness, a Gospel opportunity! Finally all done at 6am, I slept and felt like I was a new person!

My doctor came in later than he had the last few days, waiting to see how the transfusion had affected my numbers... things were looking up! I felt AMAZING! I apparently had looked pretty bad the day before and now people were discussing my "color" and noting its improvement. Thursday at lunch it was decided that I could go home. YEA!

So, that is where I am. At home, resting on my couch. I am nearly free of pain, all that remains is "surgical pain" but that is minor in comparison to what I have been living with for months now. I move a lot slower, but I am moving! I don't feel like I am on a roller-coaster of emotions anymore, I have been able to be gentle in my tone and mean in from my heart. There is much recovery left, there are many tough days ahead as I will have to battle the desire to get up and do when I need to be sitting down and resting. I am looking forward to recovery, instead of dreading it, for I know with all my heart, that the Lord brings trials to teach us about Him. I am looking forward to learning how to "be still".

We will start homeschooling this week, with dad at the reigns... many adventures ahead... many opportunities to give praise and glory and honor to the Lord of lord and King of kings!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When Word goes crashing down...

Technology... gotta love it... even when it fails you... like tonight...

I have been working on new lesson plans for the 2010-2011 school year. We are going to do pretty much everything different. I spent half of the day Saturday flipping through notes and book lists and combing through bookshelves. I had made up a rough-draft list of what books we would use for what subjects this year... I had looked over it a few times and kept adding a little here and there... but I ignored a little pesky error referring to some problem with auto-saving... oops...

So, tonight I pulled out my laptop to keep plodding along and Word stopped working... and took with it all my work... so I am back to square one... at least I had not totally sold out to the technology age and I did have some paper notes and lists. I have actually already been able to re-create most of what was lost... but I did learn a lesson... don't ignore the warnings...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Coffee is my friend...

Yes, and many of you know it to be true... I think coffee is a close friend of pretty much 98% of all the moms I know. Some of my friends never even drank coffee before they had kids, now they dare not start their day without the dearly beloved cup of java!

I have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with coffee. I have loved coffee ever since I was a little one and my grandfather would share some of his with me while we shared a french toast breakfast at the Officer's Club. That was only a spark that began a lifetime love for coffee and the search for "the perfect cup". It so happens that I prefer my coffee strong, with robust flavor, real cream and sugar (sometimes with chocolate, other times with vanilla and cinnamon). Many of you know I am a bit of a coffee snob, I reject and ignore all weak or fluffy imitations of "real coffee". We have even left the boring old drip coffee maker behind in preference to the French Press and Italian Espresso Maker... I even have a battery-powered milk frother... thirsty yet? Just let me know when you want to come over for a cup!

But as I was thinking about my coffee, my sweet and yummy companion, I realized that I have a closer friend in the Lord. As I eagerly reach for my coffee every morning, why is it that I do not, with as much passion and consistency, reach for the Word of God first upon every waking? It is stronger, more robust and flavorful than any cup of coffee I will ever be able to conjure up, and it does more to nourish my soul than any cup of water steeped in ground up beans ever will! And then I wondered, am I as much of a "snob" when choosing between the things of this world and the things of God as I am when I choose between the brands of coffee I will drink? And while I have fancy coffee-making gear, do I have to recognize how blessed I am to hold in my hand my own copy of the Scriptures, to have access to solid Biblical commentaries, to sit under amazing preaching and regularly enjoy true, deep fellowship?

I don't think I am over-spiritualizing coffee... I think the Lord has generously chosen to speak to us through His Creation, drawing us to dwell on Him even in the "simple" (and often overlooked) areas of life. I am so thankful that the Lord does choose to reveal Himself to us in the seemingly mundane things, for most of my day is spent in a somewhat "survival-mode" of sorts with regard to the physical demands of raising so many blessed littles. It is a comfort to me that Lord draws my thoughts to Him as I try to work out a stain from one of my husband's shirts, or tidy up the living room, or make dinner or do dishes, change diapers, wipe counters, etc. I probably do most of my deepest spiritual thinking when I am pulling weeds... but more on that another time..

As much as coffee is my friend, I need to remember that my closest friend is Jesus. Every sip of coffee can remind me to take a moment and sit down before His Word and sip in the truths therein. When I have a day where I sense I will need a second cup of the "good stuff", it will serve as a reminder that what I probably need more than the caffeine and the sugar is some extra fellowship in the Word with my Savior.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Even when I don't know...

There are those times in life when you seek out an answer and come out only with a question mark. I am there right now. I have been there for the last 10 days or so. At first, I battled with my thoughts, trying to remind myself that the Word of God says "do not borrow trouble from tomorrow for today has enough troubles of its own" (Matthew 6:34). As well, in countless places throughout Scripture I am reminded "Do not fear."

I felt like I was swinging away at every dark thought, all the worst-case-scenarios running through my mind, and as soon as one was knocked out, another came charging in behind it. Parenting was tough, being gentle seemed impossible. I was finding it very difficult to switch from "battle-mentality" to a "soft answer" at a moment's notice, but I knew I needed to so I could walk in obedience to the Lord.

The more I battled thoughts, the less I slept, and the grouchier I got (making being a gentle mommy harder and harder). Then, by the mere grace of God and the encouragement of some wonderful sisters-in-Christ, I was able to change my thinking entirely.

I sat down with journal and poured out all the things on my heart, the concerns, the issues, the situations... then the Lord began bringing to mind all the times I have faced trials and all the times He has been faithful to use each and every situation for my good and His glory. Immediately, I began recounting the numerous ways that the Lord has been faithful to me and to my family... my hand tired far before the list was exhausted.

As soon as I closed my little journal, an unmistakable and incredible joy washed over me. I actually felt refreshed knowing that even when I don't know what to expect or when something takes me by surprise, I can completely and fully trust knowing that the One who created me is not surprised. I can trust Him to do all things well, that even through the trials His purposes are good for me, that through them I might be conformed to the image of His Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ.

And tomorrow, I hopefully will know, my question mark will hopefully turn into a period... but regardless of the outcome, I do know my trust is in the Lord and His purposes are for my good and His glory! I can be thankful, that even when I don't know, I know the One who does!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking forward to Fall and School...

So, one of the things that has kept me busy and off the computer the last month besides taking post-surgical care of Caleb and chasing after 6 kids has been the classroom renovation of the upstairs game room (or empty room, depending on how you looked at it). One afternoon in mid-May, Elliott and I got in my father-in-law's truck pulling a small enclosed U-haul trailer, we kissed the kids, entrusted to my sweet mother-in-law, and hit the road for Austin and IKEA.

It took a couple of weeks and Elliott taking some time off of work to get all the furniture built... 6 - groovy red chairs, 4 - 6'x6' bookshelves, 4 - desks that hook into the bookshelves, and 2 - 5'x3' bookshelves laid on their sides... we also have drawers, but those are still not put together. Then we had to start moving books from the downstairs "library" to the upstairs "classroom". Then it was decided that Elliott's office should probably be moved away from the classroom to afford him being able to work while we were doing school... so my craft room and his office had to be switched... The toys had to be moved and rearranged... now we need rugs to help define certain spaces.

Right now, I would say we are at about 85% completed... but the promise of completion is so exciting it keeps me trudging along. Much progress was made when Elliott was home to play with the kiddos, now to just not loose steam and FINISH... then, pictures, I promise!

And, then, once I get a good handle on what books we have, then school planning will take off... I am getting so excited, I hope it rubs off on the kids! But again, another reason I have not been too present on the world-wide-web... I hope to do better in the future!

An update (albeit late) on Caleb...

Well, it has been a little over a month since Caleb's sinus surgery... so much has happened! However, getting on the computer hasn't been one of them. As of late, if it something web-based couldn't be done from my phone, it didn't get done. Sorry to anyone who actually was looking for updates...

Better late than never... an update on Caleb... Sinus surgery completely successful, got all cleaned out and he is doing super duper fabulous. We keep hearing from everyone who knows our little fighter, "It's like he is a new kid!" We are so thankful for this super-improved version, even though he requires a TON more energy to keep up with! And he is FINALLY gaining weight... 2 pounds in 4 weeks... previously it had taken him 13 months to sort of gain 1 pound, we are amazed! The Lord has been incredibly gracious to our family and blessed our sweet boy with some miraculous healing!

So many things have been happening the past month... but I will save them for other posts... just to break it up a little...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And the prayers go up...

Thursday is creeping closer and I am reminded daily of God's perfect timing in all things. Through Caleb's little life most people have been surprised to find out that he deals with long-term medical issues... that is, until I started waffling about whether or not we should really put him through this surgery.

Through the last two years, and especially the past 12 months, we have been to more doctor visits for this one child than all other 5 combined. Most certainly, we have been to specialists I did not ever desire to have to go to and others I didn't even know existed. After multiple tests and blood draws and CT scans, the final plan came down to surgery, with an 80% success rate.

At first, I was sure it was the right thing to do. Then, Caleb slept through the night a few times and had a couple of "good" days and I began to question everything. However, all this sickness is taking a toll on his little body and over the last three weeks he has really been crumbling, so much so that perfect strangers are asking us if he is feeling ok...

So, while this is not the cheery blog post I would normally desire to write, it is real life. God has blessed our family so richly with each of our children, and Caleb is a precious part of that blessing. The Lord knew before Caleb ever arrived that we would be here today, on the eve of surgery following a life-long health struggle for our little guy, and knowing that God is in complete control of this situation is a great comfort to me. I am thankful for Caleb because his life has taught me more than anything else about truly trusting God, without questioning Him, but just quietly trusting. I will be honest, tonight as I find it hard to sleep, my mind running a little marathon, it is a deliberate and difficult choice to make, but one met with a peace that passes all understanding, just like the Word promises to provide.

If you think of my little guy over the next few days, please pray for him, for a safe and successful surgery; for the doctors to have wisdom and skill; for us to provide his care and be able to comfort him; for his siblings at home, that they be able to trust God with their brother; and that we would be able to point to Christ and share the Good News through this whole experience.

I best get to bed, the wee ones don't often sleep in... lots of little things to do tomorrow to prepare... like pray!

Monday, May 3, 2010

School's out...

We had planned to school through June and take July off, then pick back up again in August. We tend to school year-round-ish, the intent is to do school when there is no reason not to so we can take off when we need to. That is one of the reasons school is out now... a little early... sort of unexpectedly...

Caleb, our 2yo, is having sinus surgery on Thursday. He has had life-long health issues and after many doctors and numerous tests and lots of pondering, the doctors have decided that the culprit is likely in his sinuses and we are proceeding with surgery which, we pray, will act like a "reset button" on his health.

The question loomed in my mind for a while... what to do about school... keep going or not... but I have decided that in the unknown of the next few weeks, one less thing would be best. The weather is still mild (for Texas), so I am planning for a lot of time to be spent outside, soaking up the sun and chasing bugs. When Caleb is feeling tired or hurting, I am planning on cuddling up with movies and popcorn or reading aloud from our favorite books.

While the children are playing, I will work on organizing the books... art supplies... projects... We're setting up a new classroom for the coming school year, I will put that together as time allows... Lesson plans... maybe a full year of them... and we will plan on starting as soon as we get home from our vacation in July...

School's out... I am on the verge of excited... I wonder what the kids will think when I tell them tomorrow...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Digging in the dirt...

Today I finally got around to doing one of the things that has been on my "to-do" list for some time now... rescue my from flower beds from the Bermuda grass takeover... it all began in earnest last summer during my pregnancy with Micah which just happened to coincide with the hottest summer ever on record! When warmer weather peeked its head out a few months ago I had begun, from the street towards the house, working on cutting back old/dead stuff and pulling out pesky weeds and grass which had meandered into my flower beds. As much as I wanted to continue, life happened and this or that kept me from the task...

But today, I was prompted by my dear husband to figure out where I wanted to plant the 3 rose bushes I had purchased and PLANT THEM! Truth be told, I had absolutely no idea where I was going to plant them when I bought them... just wanted them... I love roses... moreover, I love rose bushes, they are a gift that keeps on giving!

So, I trudged out to the front yard... I looked... and in the back corner of the planting beds, on the right side of the front porch, I noticed the perfect spot for my new rose bushes. But, there was a problem... there were already plants there. Good news, I had already pulled out some rosemary bushes out of the beds this week (they were completely taking over), so I had somewhere to move the other plants to. Bad news, I have no idea what I am doing... never before have I transplanted plants that were actively (and successfully) growing... so, with shovel and hoe and rake in hand, I went to work. I also took the time to thoroughly eradicate the right side of my yard from the hostile take-over of grass... I am contemplating doing the left side tomorrow... and we shall see if the transplants survive... if they do, I have some more rearranging plans...

Seriously, I love digging in the dirt. I think I found about 10 earthworms today, and got genuinely excited every time. I was able to marvel at the many wonderful plants that God has created for me to enjoy... I was surprised (and quite pleased) to find the first calla lily bloom on the plant Elliott bought me three years ago that I thought I had killed... I got so giddy thinking about taking care of this little plot of land the Lord has blessed me with... thinking about different transplanting projects and also how to get the kids involved... such a great afternoon.

So, if you see me in the next couple of days and wonder why my hands are a strange shade of dirty, or if you think my nose seems a little pink... both observations are correct... though I scrub and scrub my hands won't fully shed the color of the dirt I dug in today... and though my sweet husband put up a cover for me to stay out of the sun, I never stayed in one place long enough to stay under the shade... and it was wonderful!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Though it would take longer...

I have started and deleted four posts now...

I didn't think writer's block would hit so quickly...

But it has...


Thursday, April 22, 2010

And the house got quiet...

It is late, I agree. In fact, I should have been in bed already. Why am I not in bed? It is quiet. So quiet I can hear the baby sucking on his fingers two rooms away. That kind of quiet doesn't happen too much here anymore, not amidst the 6 children living life and loving each other and homeschooling together.

Sometimes when it gets this quiet I wonder if there is anything I could do to encourage everyone to be more quiet when they are all awake... but even as I write that I can see the faces of my closest friends twisting up in laughter, for I am the type of person that people who have not seen me in years will come out of nowhere to say, "I knew it was YOU, I heard you from across the STORE!"

As loud and boisterous as I am naturally, I actually do enjoy the quiet... sometimes, however during the craziness of the day, I will slip into coveting quiet, or calm or some combination of both. But that is when the red light starts flashing and alarms begin to go off (or at least I wish they would)... covet... Covet... COVET... Oh, that's a sin... ugh!

Of course, I try to rationalize it away... "But all these kids all day, its seriously loud, can't hear myself think, can't walk through the room without crushing something underfoot... who wouldn't want, desire, covet quiet and calm?!?!?!?" Even in the midst of chaos, God's Word stands as an admonishment to not sin (in this case coveting, and discontentment), and gives me encouragement.

Proverbs 14:4 (NASB) says "Where there are no oxen the manger in clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." While the NIV says, "... from the strength of the ox comes an abundant harvest."

Ahhhhh... a sweet reminder... I wouldn't trade my little oxen for any measure of cleanliness, orderliness, QUIET. God has a perfect plan through all our everyday messes (of spilled milk and dropped plates) and stubbed toes (from toys left out) and scraped knees (by careless rushing) and noise (that come in so many forms... and volumes). The many oxen bring me many blessings, moment by moment, if I will only look for them...

Of course, I am still human, I am a Mommy who has been forced to watch Nemo a million and a half times... so I sometimes have moments like the Starfish whose name has escaped me... "Find a happy place... find a happy place... find a happy place..." The goal is that I would pursue to meditate on God's Word as my "happy place" more than anything else. Jesus calmed the storms for the disciples and I can trust Him to care for me.

And now... to sleep... to dream in silence... well, that is, until someone needs to go pee...

Here we go again...

A few months ago a friend asked me if I blogged anymore... "Nope." I said.

A few weeks ago I was working in my yard pulling weeds, one of my favorite Springtime activities, and I had this running blog-like monologue going through my head about the many ways weeds were similar to sin in my life... "Hmmmmm." I thought.

A few days ago another friend asked me if I still had my blog... "No." I responded. But then I asked, "Should I?"

So, here I go again... but this time I am praying I will be a little less like a clean Mommy-version of Seinfeld and a whole lot more of an instrument of the Lord to encourage others, especially Moms and Keepers at Home, to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

... so here we go again...