Saturday, January 31, 2009

Encouragement - a non-tutorial on motherhood

I read this tonight and it brought tears to my eyes. Oh my goodness, how I can relate to that! Frustrations with little ones handled poorly, mere things seemingly valued over people, the horrible guilt I feel when I've blown an opportunity to respond the way I know the Lord would want me to....

Yet, there is forgiveness with Him - and for some reason, He wants to use a heart like mine to reach little tender ones... oh, Lord, forgive...

My failure to be true even to my own accepted standards:

My self-deception in face of temptation:

My choosing of the worse when I know the better: O Lord, forgive.

I appreciated these emails that the writer received after her post - an encouragement, for sure.

Update from a Sudafed Head

Where has the day gone? It's 6:17 pm, Dave is feeding the boys macaroni & cheese, and I am staring out at a dark sky. The gorgeous day was nice while it lasted - at least, I think it was. I spent a lot of the day sleeping, trying to get rid of this horrible cold. It's getting worse though, so it looks like all my weekend plans are out the window. :(

Dave took full advantage of the 60 degree weather though. Ethan has been dying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels, and that is definitely a *daddy* job these days. They went up and down the street - and I am betting Dave's back will be sore tomorrow!

Little brother is still content to ride his motorized tractor - no hard work for him!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Common tasks and servanthood

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

-- John Keble

The Lord has been teaching me so much recently - and I am so thankful for His pruning work in my life, I really am. I am so glad that I'm not the same girl I was back when I graduated college or married Dave; that girl has had a lot of growing up to do! The Lord has graciously brought me along, orchestrating just the right circumstances and weaving them into my life in a way that allows me become a little more like Him.

I have so far to go though. I know this when old battles creep up, unexpected, and I fail again. I know this when I hear a message preached on loving like the Savior does, and I can't help but think of how short I fall in this area. How often I just love myself more than others, if I am being truly honest. I was reminded of this again one morning this week, while sitting in my favorite chair on a dreary morning, as I read His words,

"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

How little I am like Him! He came to give His life, and here I am ... always trying to snatch mine back. Oh, this convicts me so much!

The disciples were concerned with who was going to be the greatest - the Savior's response is so different. He shows true greatness by serving, by willingly pouring Himself out for others. I long for this to be my natural response too.

My mom once told me, "You will know you have a servant's heart when people start treating you like one." Something I've never forgotten... can people depend on me to be a willing servant?

I came across the little poem at the top of the page this morning - and what a good reminder. I need these daily tasks at home, this *cross* that He has chosen for me to bear, different though it may be each day, as a way to bring me nearer to God. They give me room to deny myself, which is what I need. Less of me, more of Him. So that I can learn His ways, His responses, His heart....

Help me embrace each moment, Lord, as an opportunity to learn from You. Make me more like Yourself!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ethan turns 5!

This month we celebrated E's birthday at the gymnastics place in town - it was an amazingly easy birthday party, and the kids had so much fun. We basically just sat there and watched them tumble, and run, play games with the instructor, and jump into the pit of foam blocks. And then we had pizza and cupcakes - and it was over! No clean-up!

Best of all, Ethan loved it, and it was so fun to see him really enjoying time with his friends. He is growing up so much - it just amazes me to think that he will be going to school next year! I seriously feel like we just brought him home from the hospital, and now he is old enough to play games with friends without help, ride his scooter all over the neighborhood, play basketball....READ! He is getting so big!

I'm mostly thankful to catch a glimpse of the man he will grow up to be - this year he has matured a lot, becoming more independent (getting dressed in the morning without being told, cleaning up his room all on his own, etc...), and slightly more trustworthy in other important areas! As a mom, it is so encouraging to look back over their little lives and realize that progress is being made...because I don't always recognize it so much in the day to day. :)

So how much longer do you think he and Cam will be so close? Check out this picture!

I tried to get a picture of him blowing out his candle, but it kept getting blown out by his friends! He didn't seem to mind though - he thought it was hilarious. :)

And just because I don't want to forget this....

When we were at Red Robin for his birthday dinner, he was sitting there with a thoughtful expression on his face. And then he leaned over to me and said, "You know, Mom, it's a good thing you sp*nk us, because otherwise we wouldn't learn to obey, would we?"

It took me by surprise - this random thought - but afterwards I realized that he is really thinking and learning - and wanting to obey. He is such a sweetheart, and I'm so thankful to see his heart softening.

Lord, keep him soft towards You! Draw his little heart by Your Word, and win him for Yourself. Thank You for letting us raise him!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Snow Day

It's been a good week - our families are adjusting nicely to an 11 person household (at least they are on our end!). The kids especially love having built-in playmates around. Lots of games around the table, art supplies have made it out several times, and someone is always fully decked out in dress-up clothes. Makes me laugh.

Today the kiddos woke me up with cries of, "Mommy, mommy, it snowed last night!" They were so excited to play in it today, especially with all the friends, who of course aren't as used to snow as we are. But the midday sun made for a nice day to play in it, and the kids had a blast. I had to make them come in for lunch, with promises of more snow days to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Lord is Peace

"I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have you loved us?'..." Malachi 1:2

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'...the LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God." Psalm 14:1,2

Meditating on these verses today - my heart is like the Israelites' sometimes, questioning the love of the Lord in my life. Oh, I wouldn't say it out loud, or even consciously think it...but my attitude betrays me sometimes. Just ask Dave. :) Frustration builds, and I find myself fuming over circumstances... and my husband asks, "who are you mad at anyway? God????"

Always makes me think.

Because that is what I'm really saying, when I let my mind wander down any path it chooses, dwelling on circumstances instead of trusting in the Controller of them. I'm saying in my haughty Israelite tone, "In what way have you loved me, God? Have you looked around recently????" Even though I'd never intend to go there... it is convicting, this Bible I read.

Tonight in Bible study we talked about the name of God Jehovah-Shalom, which means the Lord is Peace. God revealed Himself to Gideon as Jehovah-Shalom in the book of Judges, when the circumstances were dark...the nation of Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites because they had fallen into sin. The situation was desperate. But the Lord showed Himself to Gideon, and told him not to fear. He could have peace because the Lord was with him and already knew the outcome.

This excerpt from our book Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur really made me think:

"He gives us a peace that does not alter, regardless of circumstances, because the peace He gives us is resident in the One who promised, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,' so that we confidently say, 'THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?'" Hebrews 13:5-6

He is with me - as Philippians 4:4 says, the Lord is near. And He gives a peace that does not alter.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

I was challenged tonight to run to Jehovah-Shalom with everything - every thought that threatens to steal the peace that He longs for me to have. Lord, let me not be like the fool, who ignores Your existence. Help me run to You first - and pour it all out to You.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 begins with changes

So.....we have some news....David, Hope and their 5 kiddos moved in with us this week! He started a job here in town a couple months ago, and the rest of the family just joined him. They are praying that their house back in Florida will sell before too long. Granted, things look bleak in the housing market down there (or anywhere for that matter), but the Lord has brought them here...and we know He will keep leading and providing. So, for now, our home is full - and we are enjoying it!

We've been unpacking and organizing, doing laundry, setting up beds, and buying groceries (lots and lots of groceries), but things seem to be slowing down now. And I am enjoying the quiet tonight - 7 kids in bed, a cozy bed with a snack, and my laptop - oh, how I have missed thee!

We studied the book of Malachi in adult Sunday school this week, and I've been thinking about one verse ever since.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.....Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it." Malachi 3:8,10

Lord, open up the windows of heaven in my life this year! Help me to willingly give You what is rightfully Yours ... of everything - my money, my time, my thoughts, my pursuits, my goals - and make me more aware of areas where I'm holding back and robbing You of throne of my heart.

Because I want to see your blessing in 2009...and in the lives of others too!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas 2008 part 2

Dave's family celebrated Christmas last Sunday - here's a few pics of the fun!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas 2008

My family came here for Christmas this year - mostly because Nate and Ruth were able to fly home for a couple of weeks. They split the time between Nate's family and our house, so the week of Christmas was when we got them. I'm not sure we've ever housed so many people in our home, but it did work. It sure felt quiet when everyone left though!

And that is saying something, because one thing my boys are NOT is quiet! :)

Thanks for coming, everyone! We loved having you here!