Wednesday, November 29, 2006



Born Tuesday, November 28th at 10:32AM
7 pounds and 19 1/2 inches
Welcome to the world!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Encouragement for Young Mothers

Remember when I posted this about struggling with finding time for reading my Bible, now that I have 2 small children? Well, I ran across this post by Barbara at Stray Thoughts, and I just have to share. Yes, the whole thing. You might not click over to link, and you just HAVE to read this one. Seriously. Especially, if you, like me, have young children, and have found yourself feeling dry spiritually at times.

My heart goes out to mothers of young children in many ways, but today I’m thinking of the area of trying to have any kind of time in the Bible. The time of life when my children were small was one of the hardest in which to have devotions. I hit one of my worst spiritual slumps after I had my second child. When my first child was asleep, I would try to decide between catching up on housework, reading my Bible, or sleeping. Often sleep won out. :) With my second baby, I also had a little preschooler, so “quiet time” was at a premium. I would get to the end of the day and tearfully say, “Lord, I just don’t know when I would have had time to have devotions!” I felt I began to “dry up” spiritually. I don’t think anyone noticed anything from the outside — at least, no one said anything. But I knew on the inside that I was just going through the motions.

The following is an excerpt from Climbing by Rosalind Goforth. This book shares a very human view of a woman after God’s own heart who also was “of like passions” as we are.

A devoted Christian missionary, Mrs. S, was holding a series of special meetings for our Christian women at Changte. On one occasion, this dear woman, who had no children, told me that I could never have the peace and joy I longed for unless I rose early and spent from one to two hours with the Lord in prayer and Bible study.

I longed intensely for God’s best — for all He could give me, not only to help me live the true Christian life but also for peace and rest of soul. So I determined to do what Mrs. S. had advised.

The following morning, about half-past five o’clock, I slipped as noiselessly as possible out of bed. (My husband had already gone to his study.) I had taken only a step or two when first one and then another little head bobbed up; then came calls of, “Mother is it time to get up?”

“Hush, hush, no, no,” I whispered as I went back, but too late; the baby had wakened! So, of course, the morning circus began an hour too soon.

But I did not give up easily. Morning after morning I tried rising early for the morning watch, but always with the same result. So I went back to the old way of just praying quietly — too often just sleeping! Oh, how I envied my husband, who could have an hour or more of uninterrupted Bible study while I could not. This led me to form the habit of memorizing Scripture, which became an untold blessing to me. I took advantage of odd opportunities on cart, train, or when dressing, always to have a Bible or Testament at hand so that in the early mornings I could recall precious promises and passages of Scripture.

Somehow the Lord helped me to change from that mindset of depression because there was no time to what Dr. Walter Fremont calls a “positive faith attitude.” I realized that if this was something I needed and that God wanted me to do, then there would be time somewhere in the day. I began to pray at the beginning of the day for the time and for the ability to recognize it.

Normally I need for things to be relatively quiet when I read my Bible, but He enabled me to be able to get something vital from the Word with children playing at my feet. I thrive best on some kind of regularity of schedule, but He enabled me to catch the odd moment here and there.

When there was a minute free and I wanted to relax with the newspaper or a book or the TV, and the Lord reminded me I hadn’t had time with Him yet…I am ashamed to admit my reaction was not often a spiritual one. A former pastor once said that one of his best times of prayer occurred when he had to begin by confessing he didn’t feel like praying. So sometimes I would have to put aside the book or magazine or remote control and confess that lack to the Lord. And so often He would give me something precious in those few minutes.

A friend with three little ones used to keep her Bible open in her kitchen and read a little off and on throughout the day. Some nursing moms have found that they could prop a Bible up on a nearby end table and read a little while feeding the baby Some listen to the Bible on CD while they dress or drive.

As my children got older, I could again get up for that early morning time, I would get discouraged if one of them woke up early and toddled out. But a friend told me an experience she had of accidentally walking in on her mom while she was praying and of the impact that had on her. So I thought then perhaps this might be of the Lord — maybe the sight of of mom in prayer and in the Word would be a blessing to my children. Often in that half-asleep state, they were content just to cuddle up beside me or on my lap, and I could continue quietly reading or praying. Sometimes when they were with me I would read and pray aloud. Even though I still preferred to have devotions alone with no distractions, God enabled me to put that aside and to concentrate and have some precious times with Him.

I just want to encourage you that somehow the Lord will meet you in your need. I had to realize that the regular schedule I thrived on just wasn’t going to be possible, and I had to trust the Lord to open up those little opportunities throughout the day and that He would meet with me then and give me what I needed. Even though I still prefer my “quiet” quiet time and my routine, those early-baby experiences stayed with me in later days when the usual schedule was overturned for some reason. He wants to meet with you as much — actually more — than you want to meet with Him, and He’s willing to do so at odd hours. And, as Elisabeth Elliot has written, He doesn’t mind of you bring your children along.

This was so encouraging to me, girls, and I hope it was to you too. I long for more time to spend in the Word, but Barbara is right. Maybe I won't be able to find lots of quiet time right now, but I CAN spend time with the Lord. I'm going to do so right now. :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving with Dave's Family

We hosted Thanksgiving here for the first time, and we had a really great time! Dave carved the turkey for the first time (go Dave!). It was 70 degrees outside, so the kids were able to play outside quite a bit. It was so fun. Thanks for coming everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Thankful Heart

Well, it's the eve of the day we like to call Thanksgiving, and my heart is full and overflowing, as is often the case after going to the prayer meeting at church. The Lord has been so good to us this year! It's amazing to think back over the things that have happened, and to see His hand in all of it, supplying our every need. This the first Thanksgiving that I have had a child old enough to understand the celebration, so I have been trying to talk to him about all the things we have to be thankful for. It's a good exercise for me (as most of child raising seems to be so far!), and I'm finding that thankfulness is only a matter of remembrance. We just have to choose to REMEMBER the things the Lord has done, because He has done great things!

So these are some of the reasons my heart is thankful tonight.....................
  • I am married to a man who loves the Lord and is serious about his responsibility to be the head of our home. He is so faithful to our family, hardly ever missing a day of work, getting up in the middle of the night with crying babies, doing house projects for weeks on end...there is nothing this guy can't do! And he's gentle and loving... we are so blessed to call him husband and dad.
  • Almost 3 years ago the Lord gave us Ethan, and our lives have never been the same. Wild and precocious, he is always the life of the party. But at night, reading books in bed, praying together, and talking about his day, well, it touches your heart. This little one is given to me from the Lord to raise for a short time. What a blessing he is. And hearing your child say, "I wud u, Mommy," is the sweetest thing to a mother's ear.
  • And Simon is almost 9 months. He is his own person, quick with a smile, more of a mama's boy than Ethan. And I'm loving that and cherishing the snuggles while they last.
  • I'm thankful for family members who love the Lord and love Aunt Kim who took Ethan for a day of Chuck E. Cheese and Petland just so I could clean the house for Thanksgiving, or Dave's Mom, who came over for the afternoon and helped mop floors and vaccuum. Lots of girls my age complain about mothers-in-law, but I have it good. She is the ideal mother-in-law! And they are ALL great, both sides of the family... it is such a blessing to have such a godly heritage, and we want to pass it on to our children.
  • We have a church family that becomes more and more like real family every day. The Lord has been at work, bringing some of us out of our shell, forcing us to open up and share our vulnerabilities with each other...and it has been good. And the Lord is really working here in our town. Souls have been saved this year, and saints have been challenged to live lives more glorifying to our Lord.
  • All our physical needs have been met (and then some!), and we are definitely enjoying the benefits of having a rich Father. We have plenty, and we're thankful for it.
  • Most importantly, my sins have all been forgiven ONCE AND FOR ALL, and I'm enjoying fellowship with the Lord because of His finished work on the cross. He offers salvation to anyone who believes (Romans 10:9), and I'm so thankful that I came to trust Him when I was young. He is wonderful Savior, and my appreciation of Him keeps growing.
Thank you, Lord, for saving me and making me Your child. I love You!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Personality Quiz

I took the same personality quiz that Ruth took. Here are my answers:

You Are An ESFJ

The Caregiver

You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.
A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.
You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.
You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.

You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Those of you who see me on a regular basis know that I have a new hobby these days. That's right, I've jumped into the coupon world HEAD FIRST, and I'm loving every minute of it! Crystal at Biblical Womanhood has been helping me figure it all out.

Now, I'm an Aldi shopper, and for the most part, Aldi has the lowest prices in town. Dave and I have been married for 4 1/2 years, and I've always shopped at Aldi. We budgeted about $100 a week for groceries, and I thought we were doing pretty good. We don't eat out much, and we regularly have company over...sometimes large groups from church. So we were content with it, and we could afford it...but then I read Crystal's series called Secrets of Supermarket Savings, and I was inspired to see if I could cut costs even more.

Here is an example of my shopping trip from last week:

2 bagged spring mix salads......................... on manager's special for $1.00 each
2 lbs of organic butter ................................. on manager's special for $.50 each
2 lbs of Honeysuckle Italian sausage......... on manager's special for $1.55 each
1 bag of Kravitz 100% Whole Wheat bagels.........on sale for $1.00
1 bag of Kravitz blueberry bagels..........................on sale for $1.00
1 18 oz container of tarter sauce........................... on manager's special for $.49
4 bags of goldfish crackers..................................... on sale for $.65 each
6 pack of Dannon yogert........................................ on manager's special for $.50
2 pints of 2% milk .................................................. on manager's special for $.25 each
1 loaf of Baker's Inn Multi Grain bread............... on sale for 2/$5.00-$.55 off coupon (doubled to $1.00 off) =$1.50
3 sweet potatoes .................................................... $.39/pound = $1.17
2 8 oz rolls of Pillsbury Crescent rolls................. on sale for $1.38 each- 2 $.40 off coupons (doubled to $.80 off each) = $.58 each
1 pint buttermilk.................................................... on manager's special for $.25

Total: $15.69

I then menu planned for the week based on the things I bought (and some of the manager's special chicken from last week), and finished my shopping at Aldi where I spent $34.09

Total for groceries for 1 week: $49.78

That is 50% savings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just for fun, I want to show you what yummy meals we are having, even though we're saving so much:

Monday-Leftover brisket from the week before, BBQ sauce, spring mix salad, frozen veggies
Tuesday-Maple syrup chicken pieces, sweet potatoes, spring mix salad with bacon bits, croutons and Ranch dressing, crescent rolls
Wednesday-Tacos with all the fixings
Thursday-Fried fish, tarter sauce, sweet potato fries, salad
Friday-Made from scratch Pancakes (with the buttermilk), egg and sausage casserole
Saturday-Grilled turkey sandwiches, soup
Sunday-Chili, fritos, cheese and sour cream, homemade cinnamon rolls

Each week I am going to Dillons to get all the loss-leaders (combined with coupons), and then menu-planning based on what I get. Most weeks the deals are even better than this example! Lots of times I get several items for free. It is very exciting to me!

I've also started shopping at Walgreens and CVS because I found out that I can get most of my household products (including diapers and wipes) for free or next to nothing out of pocket.

CVS has a reward program that allows you to buy certain items in their store and receive sometimes as much as full credit for them in 2 days in the form of a store credit coupon. Read a detailed description of the program here.

Here is what I bought from CVS this week: 6 12 packs of Pepsi products, 3 packages of Chinet plates (for Thanksgiving), a huge package of Scott napkins, Bounty paper towels, 2 Glade air freshners, 2 Mylanta, 1 Tylenol GoTabs, and a package of Huggies diapers and only paid $1.70 out of pocket! The cashier said, "Here comes the coupon lady!" as I walked up, and I was proud to say, "yes, and I have some for you tonight!" Her little gasp as the total came up on the register was pretty fun too. :)

Anyway, this is a fun hobby for me, and the best part about it is, it is saving my family money. Our hearts' desire is to be able to entertain more, to give to the Lord and His people more, and it seems like He is leading in this direction. It probably is a little more work, but I have found that I enjoy grocery shopping more when I am motivated to find good deals. I have tons more to say on this topic, but that's all I have time for today!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Uncle Matt

Ethan is in heaven! Another uncle is here, someone new to play puzzles with! Uncle Matt was up for the weekend to attend the Lawrence conference, and he stopped by Thursday for a little "nephew time." Don't feel bad Uncle Michael...Ethan kept calling Matt by your name the entire time. The trip to Colorado this fall has forever endeared you to his heart!

Dining Room Redo

Remember when I found that table and chairs at a garage sale up the street? It was back in August. Well, Dave has been working on them for awhile now, and the transformation is complete!

This is one of the captain's arm chairs. We covered the seats with foam and microfiber fabric.

Views from the living room.

Cost breakdown:
Solid wood table, leaf, six chairs.............. $50
Black satin paint........................................ $29
Polyurathane............................................. $20
Foam........................................................... $12
Fabric.......................................................... $8
Paint sprayer............................................. borrowed from family

Total cost for dining room set: $119 (and lots and lots of hours of hard work on Dave's part :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Interpretations by Ethan

This morning after breakfast Ethan was sitting on the floor putting together a puzzle, and I overheard the funniest little monologue:

Ethan: (studying the puzzle piece intently) This puzzle makes me crazy!

Ethan: (with a surprised look on his face, suddenly breaks into song)
Craaaaaa-zeeeee the Ward, Ha-wa-woo-ya
Craaaaaa-zeeeee the Ward, Ha-wa-woo-ya
Craaaaaa-zeeeee the Ward, Ha-wa-woo-ya
Craaaaaa-zeeeee the Ward!
(as if he just realized what we have been singing at church :)

For those of you without children--or otherwise unversed in toddler language--this slightly resembled the song Praise Ye the Lord, Hallelujah, the praise chorus. Good thing that Lord won't hold his ignorance against him. :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Marriage Seminar

Well, our busy weekend is over now, and Dave and I are recovering. We haven't slept much recently, due in part to getting ready for a marriage seminar that we have been organzing, but also just because we've stayed up way to late. For way too many days now. Lack of sleep can contribute to emotional difficulties. I know this well. :)

The marriage seminar was this Saturday, an all day long event (without kids!). Steve and Janet Price and John and Bobbie Heller spoke, and it was an amazing day. In all the preparation and praying for the day, we weren't really going into the day expecting the Lord to minister to OUR hearts in the way that He did. I guess we thought we already had a good marriage (which we do), but the teaching made us realize how much better it could be. How much closer we could become.

And the thought from this weekend that keeps ringing in my ears is that INDEPENDANCY has no place in marriage. Just as Satan tempted Eve to act in independancy of will, anytime we act independantly of our spouse, making decisions, or just holding back our thoughts and feelings, we give our enemy an opportunity to divide us. I struggle with this. Dave and I often feel like we're just passing each other in the hallway, meeting occasionally for date nights or to drive to church together. But God created marriage to bring one man and one woman together to become one flesh. How does that work exactly? And what can I do today to stop acting independantly?

Another thought I really appreciated was this:

Our children are only with us for about 18 years, but we have our husbands for the rest of our lives.

It is all too easy to place our husbands on the back burner while our children are young and so demanding. But according to Titus 2, loving our husbands should be equal in priority (if not greater) to loving our children. This is so convicting to me! And when did I start thinking it was just a natural consequence of our stage of life, this subtle distance due to the neediness of the children? What if, after the kids are older and more self-sufficient, I roll over and realize that I don't even know my spouse anymore? How sad would that be! And possibly detrimental to our marriage.

All of us know believers who have suffered through divorce and the painfulness of unfaithfulness, and as the statistics rise, it is proof that our enemy is waging a fierce battle over our marriages today. Why would he want to destroy marriage? Because it is a beautiful picture of Christ and His bride, the Church...and when two people have the kind of marriage God designed, the world can't help but see the Glory of God! Of course he wants to obliterate it!

But what if we chose to heed the truth of the Word of God and obey...what if our marriages became stronger?

  • What impact would this have on our kids?
  • What impact would this have on our local church?
  • What impact would this have for the gospel?
What thoughts do you have? Those of you who were at the seminar feel free to share... I hope the day was equally encouraging and motivating to you!

"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews3:12,13

Beloved Uncle Nate

There is nothing sweeter than watching your kids with their relatives, watching how much they love them, and knowing that they have Christian uncles and aunts (who will be sharing a cousin with us soon!) who will be a special part of their life forever.

Fall Festival

We took the kids to a Fall Festival at a nearby church on October 31st, just to get out of the house. Ethan dressed up as a cowboy, and Simon was an indian. The gym was set up with games around the perimeter, and Ethan had so much fun going from game to game collecting more candy. :)
Here is a picture of my little cowboy from the back.

Wow, he needs a haircut!

Simon especially enjoyed the popcorn balls.

Ethan and his best buddy Camryn

Our chapel friends