Friday, July 22, 2011

First things first...

I loved how practical the teaching was in the session I attended entitled, "I Quit! Loving When Its Hard." All the sessions were rich with truth, but this one especially focused on application in the day-to-day situations we find ourselves in.

The main texts that we went to during this session were 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a and Romans 12:9-21. The first talks about Love, and how first love is patient, some translations say longsuffering. The fact that we are told that love is patient or longsuffering should be a clue to us that love is not all roses and chocolate, but that real Biblical love is hard. The word used for longsuffering in this passage in the Greek is makrothymeo which is translated to two words "suffer" and "long". Wayne Mack said, "This is a word that was used to describe a calm and gentle response to the kind of suffering, pressures, difficulties, or injuries that are caused by other people, not circumstances."

However, as patient as I try to be with people I need to admit something. Very often, the difficulty I have in loving people is often my problem, not theirs. Am I striving to suffer long without growing angry or sinning against them? The fact is, there is a "double difficulty" in loving others - me and them!

Before I can love people in a way that is pleasing to the Lord I have to do something. I have to acknowledge the sin in my life that is keeping me from loving others. That is one thing sin does, it keeps me from genuinely loving anyone besides myself. So, I turn to Galatians 5:16-22. Of course, verse 22 is the famous "Fruits of the Spirit" passage, but let's keep things in context and back up to verse 16. In this passage, Paul is speaking to the church at Galatia and giving them some instructions for living. He is pointing out what it looks like to walk by the Spirit. He talks about how you cannot walk by the flesh and by the Spirit at the same time. Then, he lists out what walking by the flesh looks like, followed by the verse outlining the fruits, or evidences of a Spirit-led life.

Let's be honest, how long do you spend looking through Galatians 5:19-21? If I am going to love others the way I ought, I need to spend time searching my heart and asking myself if there is anything I need to confess and repent of in my life that is in that list... anger, jealousy, idolatry, envy, strife, "things like these". Repentance is needed before I can love others generously and biblically. Sigh, this is hard. But it is good. It is necessary.

So, I start on this journey of learning to love people. Next time I will share a scenario we went through, and how we worked to change the thought process behind the initial response by digging into the Romans passage.

For now, kids are waking up and pouring into the living room... I need to go love on them!

P.S. Thank you, Janie Street, for teaching so clearly on such a practical topic!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A new home...

... the frogs now live in my kitchen, next to the family dining table...
... my new laptop graces my freshly wiped off kitchen counter...
... and I am pondering changing where the kids dishes are...
... maybe even the coffee cups...
... and then I am trying to figure out how to put into practice the counter paper organization for my "to-do list" bills...

Thanks to the ladies who inspired me to work on organizing and cleaning at the Titus 2 Fellowship last night, I am all jazzed up to love and serve the Lord through being efficient and organized at home. Fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Women Discipling Women...

This past weekend I attended a conference inspired by the passage from Titus 2:3-5 which says:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Our church has a ministry based on the same passage of Scripture and a few years ago one of our topics was "Everybody is Older than Somebody".  Tonight we had one of our quarterly meetings of the Titus 2 ministry, and it was great.

As I think about this past weekend, and all the wonderful sessions, I wonder how I will keep it all fresh, how I will dig in and work to apply the practical application of Scripture that was discussed. Especially the session on "UGH! I give up! - Loving When it is Hard." I have six kids. Some days it is hard. Being a mom really has exposed my selfishness, anger, irritability and impatience more than any other event or situation has.

So, if you will bear with me... I will likely blog about it. I plan to work through the main passages from that session, talking through scenarios of "how would that look in my life" incorporating 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Romans 12:9. I think this is likely going to hurt. In a good way, of course, stripping away sinful habits, confessing of my sin, repenting and seeking forgiveness from my Lord as well as my children, husband, friends.

As so I begin, lest I become like the person described in James 1:22-24.

Please excuse my apples...

I have a Micah. He is always starving. He has very good problem solving skills for his age. So much so that he has recently taken to helping himself to the fruit drawer of the refrigerator. While I have never seen him in the act, he leaves clues behind... the bathroom stool in front of the fridge... a fruit drawer that has not fully been closed... and four or five apples with two or three tiny little bites from each.

A friend was over recently and her child wanted an apple... she didn't tell me how many apples she had to go through before she found one that had not been sampled by my sweet little boy, except that she repeatedly said, "Oh, I think this one already belongs to someone." I guess I should be thankful that he is not wasteful, as he always puts the apple back when he is done nibbling.

And he doesn't have a bias for apples, any fruit is fair game. When we have cuties, there are holes in them from where he shoves his finger in trying to get the peel to come off. He is sweet enough to put those back in the drawer too, after he tries to open 3 or 4, that is.

In case you are wondering, we do feed him. A lot. He is just a Micah. A very hungry Micah. Who likes fruit.

I forgot... he also really likes Craisens. He uses the stool to get to those now too, ever since I placed them higher in the pantry. He knows how to operate the zipper closure... and sometimes things get added to the bag that don't belong... like Legos or K'nex... can't say I didn't warn you. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fabulous time...

Last Thursday I left my house at 5:15am to go to the airport. My flight to California left at 7am CST, arriving into LAX at 10am. It was weird leaving my husband and kids. It was surreal to think I just sat and knit and crocheted for 4 hours and ended up across the country. We enjoyed great flights and made great time.

I traveled with a friend, and mentor, to attend the Women Discipling Women 2011 Conference being hosted by the Masters College of Biblical Counseling. It was a really refreshing time of fellowship as well as of being challenged to apply God's Word more to my life. And the weather was beautiful!

I am too tired to write anything more about it, but I will be going through my notes and sharing nuggets over the next few weeks. All in all, it was a fabulous time. I am thankful for the Lord's generous gifts to me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When the toddler can open doors...

... you will find yourself sprinting across the house when you hear the front door open unexpectedly...
... you wonder what the strange splashing noise is that is coming from the hall bathroom...
... you sometimes end up with a thawed deep freezer freshly stocked with organic beef, fruit and veggies...
... and then, compelled by the cost of the now thawed items you begin to cook...
... at midnight...
... and you make a plan to go buy locks for the fridge and freezer doors the next day...
... sigh...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A calendar event...

Recently, a friend shared in a ladies Bible study meeting that she had bought an 8 1/2" x 11" week-at-a-glance calendar to record her daily Bible reading notes in. She mentioned that she thought it would be encouraging to see her week fill up with all she was studying in the Scriptures.

I loved the idea. I went out and bought two calendars like that. One I am using for menu planning. I sit down on Saturdays and write out the activities for the following week, then I figure out which meals to make based on our commitments and time for the week. I have done it for 3 weeks now. I love it. The other, the one I bought for recording my quiet times, got lost in a pile (see previous post). I found it today.

This week is blank. When I remember the reason I bought this calendar, to visually remind me to be in God's Word, a daily calendar event, I got a little sad. It was really convicting to see nothing written down. And while it was lost, I have to admit to myself the reason it got stuck at the bottom of a pile was because I had not made having my daily time in God's Word a priority this week.

But, I am not staying sad. I have opened it up to this new week, remembering that God's mercies are new every morning, and I am setting it next to my Bible. I will pray tonight for God to wake me up so I will have no excuse to not spend time in His Word first before the busyiness of the day carries me away.

How do you record what the Lord is teaching you? What do you do to stay on track with what you are studying in the Scriptures?

Not just for laundry anymore...

Eight people live in my house. Our ages range from almost 2 to mid-30's. We are evenly split with regard to gender. We have people who love Legos. Others that love beading. Creating some Origami masterpiece will be happening at the table right along side someone using a sheet of stickers and then cutting them out "to make a card". You have to be careful where you sit on the couch as embroidery needles sometimes get "lost" and there is almost always a crochet hook or knitting needle poking out of the couch cushions. Bills that need to be called on get left on a certain spot on the kitchen counter, then everything else gets dumped on top of that.

Can you picture it?

Then add in that one of the people living here is severely stressed out by clutter and disorder and the other seven don't notice that they can't see the floor.

Any guesses as to who is Type-A?

Over the years I have struggled with how to still love my family even when my house is in complete disarray. I actually find it difficult to be loving or to sit down and play when certain areas in my house are all out of whack. I have searched for how to declutter better, but someone's feelings are always hurt by what has to go. I have worked on making the "put away" process as easy as possible (think many clear plastic bins and a label maker). Yet, despite my efforts, things still get a little crazy a lot of the time.

Inevitably, some items don't get put back where they belong right away. Sometimes a phone rang and I had to lay something down to answer the phone. Other times, as I was on my way to put something away I think of something else I need to do and take off to do it (I lovingly refer to those moments as, "Oh, look, a butterfly..."). It doesn't seem to take long after those items get laid down, that they develop a magnetic shield which draws all other not properly put away items to be stacked upon them. Before I know it, I no longer have a kitchen counter and I can't locate my car keys.

I have learned that when circumstances occur which allow clutter and disorganization to begin taking over, there are two responses I could choose. The first is ugly, sinful, and sadly, the one I chose for many years and sometimes still do; that is to become angry. When I choose this way I become the contentious women referred to in Proverbs that it would be more pleasant to live on the corner of the housetop than be around me.

Recently, as I have been striving to learn to be content in all circumstances, and while Paul didn't specifically mention them in his list in Philippians 4:11-12, for me that means being content in both a cluttered and disordered home, as well as in a orderly and well maintained one. So, my second response has become to get everything that is in the wrong place and dump it in a laundry basket. Yep. Pretty spiritual, ehe? Then, I hide it so I don't have to see it. And once a week I try to go through that basket and put things where they belong or throw things away or make a pile to give away.

I say all this to encourage you. If you come to my house in the future and you marvel at my tidy counters... just don't look in my room. The laundry basket full of unfolded clean laundry is sitting right next to the one full of stuff that was sitting on my table and kitchen counters less than three minutes before you rang my doorbell.

Friday, July 8, 2011


When I think about our days, I know some stuff needs to change. I have bigger kids growing bigger and needing less supervision (most of the time) and I need to let the reigns out. There is a fine balance, however, because the next two down aren't completely ready to be "on their own" with some projects but the oldest two are also not really ready to be in charge of them. The two littlest require an inordinate amount of time to make sure that the house will not be destroyed just because I go to the bathroom.

So, with school planning in the works, I am contemplating what will work. Or, I guess, what I perceive might work better than our current plan, or last year's plan, or the year before that. How can I structure our day to maximize our efforts to be purposeful instead of floundering for lack of direction? How can I teach my children to think for themselves and make wise choices when left to make their own decisions? How can I still prepare three meals a day, keep an orderly home and get laundry done in the midst of homeschooling 4 kids and chasing after 2 others? How much coffee will I have to consume in a week to get it all done?!?!?! Ok, that was just silly. :)

But this coming week is the scheduling week... I am going to pour over lesson plans and try to figure out the juggling plan... ahhhh, the annual restructuring... 

Figuring it out...

I haven't been able to keep a coherent thought together for a couple of weeks now. I have wondered why I have a sudden struggle with insomnia. Why am I struggling with near constant headaches? What is causing me to be so ready with tears, especially when I am not a very emotionally teary kind of gal.

Two weeks ago we got some news. My father-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive and high grade brain tumor. In some ways, we were ready for a diagnosis of cancer but we never considered it would be so advanced. The doctor seemed a little surprised too.

I have always gotten a kick out of my father-in-law. He is a retired principle, standing 6'6" with a booming bass voice, I always imagined how terrified I would have been of him had he ever been my elementary school principle. He was such a beloved principle, some of his students still keep in touch with him today, some 30 years later.

James and I have always been good about teasing each other. He always shares recipes with me that he thinks would be "interesting" and he still insists I should have named Hannah, "Zelda Nadine", so he calls her that from time to time. We love talking about a myriad of subjects, but I think he purposefully picked topics that "get me going" just to see me get all riled up.

When James had a car accident in March and was in the ICU, we were blessed by many friends at church who made it possible for us to be at his side almost continually during the first few days of uncertainty. All we knew was he had driven into another car and then had a seizure. We were thankful to be there for Elliott's parents, to pray with them and run errands for food or whatever was needed.

The second night in the hospital, I had the opportunity to stay with him in his room, my mother-in-law needing some sleep after more than 36 hours of being on duty. I don't know what I expected, but I didn't plan for being awake the entire night. James was easily agitated, I would chat with him to try to calm him down. His sleep was fitful, so I prayed for him. At one point I thought to start reading the Bible to him. Elliott had left me with his iPad. I used it, in the dark hospital room, to read through the entire book of Psalms (skipping the imprecatory Psalms) and some of the New Testament. Every time I was reading, James would fall into a peaceful sleep.

Before the staff kicked me out at 6am, I told James I was going to leave and reminded him that his wife would be there soon. He started crying. I wasn't sure what was going on. We talked for a few minutes about how he was worried about what was going to happen to him. I reminded him of all the medical things we knew... the tests they had run, the things they had ruled out, what they were looking for next, etc... but he was still upset and restless. I asked him if he was afraid of something else. He said yes. I asked him if he was afraid of going to hell. He said yes.

I know that what happened next was from the Lord because I could not quote it or give a word for word account of what I said or what Bible verses I referenced. But I shared the Gospel. I spoke of how we are sinners, guilty before God. I spoke of what the punishment is that we deserve (hell) and God's unbelievable gift of Christ coming as a man, to live the life we live but perfect and without sin, how Christ was hung on a tree in our place, and His glorious triumph over the grave. James has been active in his local church his whole life, but he was lacking an assurance of his salvation. I shared with him how Elliott, even after saying the "sinner's prayer" in 1999 was just recently and mercifully saved, when he called upon Jesus as LORD in August 2008.

For two days everyone had been praying for him, and over him, and with him. I asked James if he wanted to pray. I told him this was something no one else could do for him. And so, he prayed for himself. I could tell James was repentant, I have been married to Elliott for 11 years and can't remember another time I have seen his dad tear up, much less cry. He prayed and afterwards he was much more calm, a weight had been lifted off.

Over the last couple of months it has been precious to see him cherish things which never seemed to impact him before. He has been reading selections during church services for years but recently has been emotionally overwhelmed as he reads them, marveling at all God has done for him. He gives me the tightest hugs now, I feel my back pop. My sister-in-law teases me about how James loves me so much more now. And we talk of the eternal now, of God's Sovereignty and His perfect care for us. While my mother-in-law calls most everyone else with the updates from doctor appointments, I get my updates from James personally.

I have been easily provoked the last couple of days. I have been having fitful sleep or not being able to sleep at all. I haven't been able to drag myself out of bed. I have been skipping my quiet times. Tonight, as I was sitting here, things started to click. I am worried about the future. I am preaching to my in-laws to trust in God's perfect plan and yet, I am not. I have been processing through all that is happening and instead of focusing my sights on the Lord, I have been allowing myself to become overwhelmed and even feeling the pull of depression.

And while all of that sounds yucky... and it is... I am thankful for the Psalms. Some days I feel like the Lord included those in the Bible just for me. Early in my walk with the Lord when I read the Psalms straight through I thought David was pretty messed up. He would start a Psalm in complete despair, lacking all hope and feeling so cast down, only to end the Psalm rejoicing and praising the Lord. And yet, now I can see how wonderful an example David is for me.

Psalm 43:5
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

God's Word calls to me, helping me figure out what has been going on. Drawing me to repent for not trusting Him more. Starting right now I will hope in God, praising Him alone, my salvation and my God. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hannah's Father's Day poem...

Moms and Dads, Sisters and Brothers,
We love each other, yes we do.
But there is a day, where what we do,
Is give thanks to our Dads, Uncles and Grandpas too.

What a day, it's Father's Day.
We love our Dads, Uncles and Grandpas.
And they love us too.
We all know that you guys are the best.
The best Grandpas, Dads and Uncles a kid can have.
And we hope that you stay that way.

We love you Dad.
You go to work so we can eat.
We love our Uncle.
He hugs us and hugs us so much.
And our Grandpa plays with us all the time.

Happy Father's Day.
We love you.

Written by: Hannah, Father's Day 2011

Catching crickets...

We are babysitting a friend's bearded dragon. It is pretty cool. She eats the same thing our fire-bellied toads eat. Just more of them.


I got some crickets for free today. I also cleaned out my frogs' terrarium. I like to feed them after I do that, since I imagine it seems pretty torturous to them.

But too many crickets got out of the "cricket keeper". Instead of letting them drown, I hand retrieved the extras. Before children you couldn't have paid me to touch a cricket on purpose. But in an effort to save my free $0.11 morsels, I snatched at and chased at least 10 crickets across the terrarium and living room.

Sigh, the things I do for my children...

What I need to do...

Wake up for quiet time every day.
Make a latte for my husband each morning.
Play on the floor with my kids more.
Workout four days a week.
Organize the school books for this year.
Mop the floors. All of them.
Clean the bathrooms.
Finally clear all the kitchen counters.
Read aloud from picture books.
Read aloud from chapter books.
Be more patient.
Inspire creativity.
Teach the kids an art lesson.
Figure out our new schedule.

Oh, there is more, but those are some of the things bouncing around in my head keeping me from sleeping. Well, that or the insomnia is keeping me from sleeping. Anyhow, that is what I need to do.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Drawing a blank...

I have sat here for awhile, trying to think of something to say.
I have begun and deleted many different posts.
I am drawing a blank.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I need to do mine.
I would rather blog.
Or surf other people's blogs.
Or make a coffee.
Or do just about anything else.
I remember James 4:17.
I will go do the dishes.