Monday, December 31, 2007

Simple Life Calendar

I love putting up a new calendar. It is so fresh and clean. So much possibility. This was written on the back on my new calendar and I just had to share it with you.

With the completion of each new calendar also comes the realization that another year has flown by! Oh, my! I am sure that I'm not alone when I say how busy life can be. The philosophy behind this Simple Life Calendar is simple - be more aware of the moments we are in. I don't think I can slow my life down, but I can certainly try to do more of the things that enrich my life. Perhaps inviting a friend for a visit or sitting in my backyard at the end of the day and smiling out over butterflies fluttering in the breeze. I can't slow down the hands of time, but I can make the most out of each and every day. Here's to a more Simple Life for us all!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Just to let you know about a couple things in Bloggerville...

Laced with Grace is having a give away so go over there and enter.

Rachel Anne is starting a new thing for the New Year. Each week or so she will post on Friday a simple idea on how to bring peace, beauty and order into our homes. She has a small supply list today and will start after the first.
!Kim is also doing a Praise and Coffee giveaway. My two favotite things - yea!

Check 'em out

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The week before New Year's

Christmas is over. Whew. Christmas brings out the best and worst of my children. This year I saw our son really enjoy the spirit of giving. You see I have a rule, you have to buy a gift for each of your siblings...I don't care if it is a pack of tic-tacs but you have to get each of your siblings something with your own money. In years past that is exactly what Eli (11) would do, get whatever cost him the least (least effort, least money). This year with the help of our family's new friend Carol Eli really got into the spirit of giving and really thought about what his family would like. That was a blessing on Christmas morning to see him just as excited to give as to get, well, almost as excited to give. Hey, it is progress. I also saw the kids playing well with each other. Enjoying each other's company with games, movies, and books. There were moments I thought 'Wow, we must be doing something right'. And then there were other times.

The bickering increased. Short tempers appeared (including mine). Impatience reared it's ugly head. Greediness showed up.

I think Christmas has a way of heightening all things. Sights, sounds and smells are abundant so the senses are overloaded. It brought out the best and worst of all of us. It brought the dross to the surface. I think this is a good thing especially going into a new year. This time of year I start thinking over New Year's Resolutions and what I would like to see happen in my family and in myself. I don't have a long list, just a few things I want to work on and a few things for us to work on as a family. Last year my resolution for myself was to be more hospitable. To use my home to welcome others and make them feel loved. At a ladies retreat in fall of 2006 the Lord told me I needed to work on this area. It was fun to think over the past year and how many times we had people in our home. I hope they left with a feeling of love, welcome and warmth.

I am not sure what 2008 holds for us but I do know the ONE that holds it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meal Planning? Yeah, right.

Two weeks ago my hubby got the surprising diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I totally didn't see that one coming. He had not been feeling all that well for a few months which we explained away with his summer schedule and then jumping right into a big production at church. Long story short...he has diabetes. God has a funny sense of humor because I has just talked at a parent meeting a few days before about meal planning, ha.

This diagnosis has not changed what we eat all that much. A few years back we had an overhaul and got rid of all processed foods and went to a more whole food diet. I am sure that the Lord was preparing us for this. I am not all that thrilled with our nutritionist who has told us not to worry what kind of carb we are eating just count carbs including processed yucky ones. So we are learning a little each day on how his body responds to different kinds of carbs. This is lots of fun for him especially this time of year with all the goodies that we are receiving from church members.

The meal planning has been simple and a bit boring. Lots of chicken breasts, veggies, salad, a little bread and a little fruit. I am hoping to expand more in the coming weeks.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This is not me at all

What Your Latte Says About You

You are very decadent in all aspects of your life. You never scale back, and you always live large.

You are a very frivolous person. You don't take anything too seriously. Why should you?

You have a good deal of energy, but you pace yourself. You never burn out too fast.

You're addicted to caffeine. There's no denying it.

You are a child at heart, and you don't ever miss the opportunity to do something playful.

You are deep and thoughtful, but you are never withdrawn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Christmas Meme

This is a fun little thing. I am expecting at least 3 of you to do this on your know who you are.

I got this over at Kim's Blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both...With a little one bags don't work so well right now.

2. Real tree or artificial? Aritficial, we got a new pre-lit tree this year. I am so happy the old one has past on.

3. When do you put up your tree? First of December.

4. When do you take the tree down? The day after Christmas. I like to be rid of the extra 'stuff' around the house aka clutter.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, and I discovered eggnog lattes at Starbucks this year...yummy.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A Charlie McCarthy ventriliquist doll.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, several.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Brother in laws family.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My children.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I plead the 5th.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Only mail.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? The Nativity Story and Miracle on 34th street.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It is never the same year to year. This year we started at the end of October and are just about done, just a few little things left to get.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Again, I plead the 5th.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? My Mother in Law makes a breakfast bread that we call 'Bubble Loaf' that is wonderful and we look forward to every year.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells is my favorite. My daughter always plays it for me Nov-Dec as she is practicing her piano.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? This year I want to STAY HOME!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer, and Vixen. Comet, and Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reighndeer of all... Rudolph the red nosed reighndeer...

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Usually an angel that we purchased the first year of marriage. This year nothing on top.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning...but maybe a gift of jammies on Christmas eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Comercialism.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? ???I don;t know.

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Fiberoptic trees.

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? I like both. Both can be done well.

26. What does Christmas mean to you? Christmas is a time to celebrate God becoming flesh! Christ left his throne and place at the Father's side to become a helpless baby in a poor, poor family - to grow up despised and rejected by men, and live a perfect life and die a sinless death in order to completely absorb all of God's wrath against my sin! Now when God looks at me, he sees me through Jesus! (This is what Loraena said...I can not say it what she said!)(and I am copying it from >Kim)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My heart is full

If you are tired of hearing about adoption you can skip reading today's post.

Today is our one year anniversary of receiving our daughter Ella. As I woke this morning my heart was full with the thoughts of not only this day last year, but all that has transpired over the past 12 months.

Often I am asked if I love Ella any differently than my other children. I have to say yes and no. 'No' in the sense that she is every bit my child as any of the other children. I feel completely bonded to her. I love her so much. 'Yes' in the sense that adopting her has taught me so much about God and His love for us. Our biological children have taught me of how great God's sacrifice was to give freely His son for our salvation. How hard that must have been for Him. How much He loves His children and want the best for them.

But adding Ella to our family has brought new insight. God has shown me through this process how He pursues us, not because we deserve it. Not because we can give back what He has given. Just out of love for us.

Certain words have new meaning to me. Grafted. Chosen. Predestined. Fatherless. Orphan. Every tribe, nation, and tongue. All people. Go into all the world. Although we did not go to China on a organized mission trip, I think of our adoption as a similar calling. Ours just didn't have an ending point. It is a lifetime commitment.

I have been so blessed this past year to be able to be this sweet little girls' mommy. It has been by far the hardest thing I have ever done...but far exceeding the difficulty has been the joy and blessing. Nearly always when God asks us to do something for Him it is hard. Hard to sacrifice our selfishness for Him. I think of the hard things that God asked some of His people to do. Moses, Daniel, David, Mary,Paul, John,... Jesus. We so often think that if something is hard it is not of God and that is just not true.

We have come so far this year. A year ago Ella would wake up (several times a night) screaming. Now she gently calls "Mommy, Momma, Mommy, Momma" Last night was the first time when I was tucking her in that after I said 'I love you' she replied 'Love you'. God is so good.

One year ago today

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.
Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

This is kinda fun.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The perfect tree

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We celebrated with lots of friends and family and it truly was an occasion to be of thankfull for the people that the Lord has blessed us with.

We are doing well with our gatitude journal. We are in the 200's and it amazes me some of the things that the kids come up with to be thankful for. They have put a lot of thought into it and I am proud of them. Well, almost all of them. One of the kids has not added much with substance so we are working on that.

The journal has really helped me keep a clear focus on the season. I don't feel the pressure of the holiday season that I usually feel to buy or to preform to a perfect ideal. Ahh....freedom.

A couple nights ago I was painting a couple chairs and listening to one of my favorite Christmas albums, Ray Boltz, Bethlehem Star. The song 'A Perfect Tree' got me thinking. It talks of picking out and decorating trees with all the wonderful decorations. These words got me thinking:
The perfect tree grew very long ago
And it was not decked in silver or ornaments of gold.
Hanging on it's branches was a gift for you and me.
Jesus laid his life down on the perfect tree.

So I proposed for my family that this year we not put ornaments on the tree. Just as a symbol to remind us about what Christmas is about. Hopefully each time we look at the bare tree we will think about the true meaning of Christmas. Since it is a pre-lit tree, we are using the lights...just a little sparkle. I hope the kids will be able to talk to their friends that come over and ask why our tree doesn't have any ornaments on it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Menus

This weeks meal plan is fairly easy. Really just a couple big meals.

Monday: Spaghetti
Tuesday: Church wide Thanksgiving meal and Tree of blessing
Wednesday: Snacks
THANKSGIVING: Traditional meal
Friday: Leftovers

Each year our church does a traditional Thanksgiving meal. After the meal we all meet in the sanctuary and participate in the 'Tree of Blessing'. Each family, person, or group of friends comes up and has an ornament the symbolizes some blessing that they have received in the past year. Some of the blessings are lighthearted and fun and others are quite serious. It is such a great tradition for our family to listen to all the things that God has done not only for our family but for our church family too.

This year our blessing that we will share is our daughter Ella. That is a common blessing when families add a member. I hope we will be able to articulate the blessing though, because it is not just Ella. Of course we have been so blessed this year by Ella. More than we ever could have imagined. She is a wonderful joy and addition to our family but it is more than that. Through our adoption process God has given us such a clear understanding of what He did for us by adopting us into His family. I don't know that I could have fully understood it without the adoption process. Truly excepting one into your family, making them yours. Your complete responsibility. Pursuing them before they even realized their need. The sacrifice financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Giving so much of oneself for someone that has done nothing to deserve the adoption any more than any other orphan. The symbolism is amazing. When I look at our daughter she truly is one of us. A part of our family just as much as any of our other children. I never would have thought I would love her so much or so completely. God is so good! And we are so blessed! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Another new look

Emma created another new look for my blog. This one is closer to my personality. i love the tin stars at the top! We will keep tweaking this one and see what we can come up with. Thanks Emma! I know you put a lot of time into this one. I really appriciate you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday: French Dip Sandwiches
Tuesday: Taco Soup
Wednesday: Football Banquet
Thursday: Spaghetti/bread/salad
Friday: Chicken, veggies and rice

I love seeing all the slow-cooker meals over at The Organizing Junkie

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last night my man was so good to me. He ran me a hot bubble bath and rubbed my feet. While I was enjoying this pampering it caused me to think about Jesus and the foot washing, since my man was being such a humble servant to me.

I was wondering what would be the modern equivalent to a foot washing today since we don't do that unless we are getting a pedi and we pay for it? What jobs to we look at as lowly...we are too good for...they are saved for the lesser of society. I am wondering, is mothering one of those jobs? Just the other night someone asked me why I didn't go to the annual Ladies Retreat that our church does. The person went on to comment that they thought I would jump at the chance to 'get away from all those kids.'

I love my kids and enjoy them very much. We are seeing the fruit of our parenting labors more and more often. When they are little your really work the soil of their hearts with much prayer and hope. My thought is this: even in the christian community we value parenting, nurturing, training little. Although it would never be verbalized we say it with comments like the one above. Or how about 'I'd rather shave my eyebrows off than to be with my kids all day', 'Your pregnant again? Don't you know what causes that?' Our society says it is not valuable in how we pay our teachers so little, we want degrees for our girls so they can supports themselves 'just in case'. We complain at the cost of daycare, preschool/private school or lessons. All this to say our children are not worth our money, or at least not much of it.

My husband just finished a huge event at work. There were lots of extra hours logged in and so I was at home a lot with the kids to my self. I pondered my value. Is I am doing enough? It doesn't feel like it. Why is raising my kids not enough? Why do I long to do big things for God when what He has called me to do for now is right at home? Because I don't get dressed in heals to go to work everyday? Is it because there is little recognition? I don't know. Probably some combination of all that. I found myself envious of the woman that was working with my husband on this big event. She did something big with huge results for God. And here I was at home, doing laundry, fixing meals, cleaning faces and bottoms. All in my jeans and t-shirt. God is speaking to me on this. He seems to work in themes in my life and this one has come up several time over the past week or so. I am reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. I am just getting started so I will let you know how it is. I also found this last night on youtube. So pause the music on the sidebar and enjoy. PS I love SCC!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I've been inspired!

Thank you to Ann @ Holy Experience! Since reading her post I have decided that this is just what I need for this holiday season to keep my eyes on the Lord. The Author and Giver of all things good. I am going to keep a 'Gratitude Journal' and try to reach 1000 things that I am grateful for by the end of the year. I am inviting my family to join me and write in the journal too. Hopefully this will be a wonderful time for us to really think about how awesome God has been to us. Hopefully this will help us not be self-centered during this holiday...His holiday...season.

I have already set some other things in place to try to keep our eyes on Jesus. I hope that Ann's post will inspire you too!

Monday Menus

EDIT:Last week we had Artichoke Chicken, a reciepe I found from new blogger Tricia. The family really enjoyed it!

Monday: Chicken Chili...didn't get to this last week
Tusday:Herbed Crock-Pot Chicken
Wednesday: Dinner at church (Ham and scalloped potatos)
Thursday: Shepherd's Pie
Friday: Chicken, veggies and rice
Saturday: Taco Soup
Sunday: Gone all day casserole (From Taste of Home Crock Pot edition)

I thought I would give you something to smile about. My husband is a youth pastor and one of his students dressed up like him for Halloween. I am not sure if that is a commliment or not. You decide.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mega Churches

For the few readers that may not ususally go over to see Praise and Coffee I wanted to point you over that way. Sue always has something thought provoking to say.

This is a great post. I have been feeling this in my heart of a long time. Thanks Sue for posting such a great article and pointing us to the original source. Check out the comments at Praise and Coffee. One gal said 'we don't need more bible studies, we need to study our bibles'. AMEN to that! The conversation is great with both the pros and cons of a mega church. To give you a taste of what it is about Willow Creek and some of the other mega churches have come to the conclusion after study that programs and activities do no make disciples. Read the is fantastic.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am hoping to get back to some regular posting this week. Life has been unusually busy around our house, but I think I can see some light at the end of the tunnel!

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Mexican Chicken Chowder
Wednesday: Church dinner
Thursday: Artichoke Chicken
Friday: Fajitas
Saturday: Chicken Chili
Sunday: Pot Roast
Enjoy more meal planning at Laura's

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Song

I created a new playlist. The other song was getting a bit old. I heard this song over at Where My Treasures are and I loved it. It is such a happy song! It is by Sara Groves FYI.

This week's menu

Monday - Homemade Mac & Cheese
Tuesday - Chicken & Wild Rice (didn't do this last week so I'm trying again here)
Wednesday - Dinner @ Church
Thursday - Mexican Stack
Friday - Soup & Bread (either Fall Chowder or Chicken Chili)
Check out more at The Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday

What works for me? Clicking on other women's blogs to find out what works for them! I have picked up several helpful hints and ideas. Thanks Ladies! Keep em coming!
Rocks in my Dryer

Monday, October 15, 2007

I am late getting this posted. But better late than never!
For those of you new to 'Menu Plan Monday' (Tricia & Lori) Women post their families meals for the upcoming week. It is a great way to gather new reciepes and ideas for meal planning. Take a look over at The Organizing Junkie

Monday: Spaghetti & Bread
Tuesday: Corn Chowder & Bread
Wednesday: Eat at church (BBQ Chicken)
Thursday: Chicken, Wild Rice and Veggies
Friday: Fajitas

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thanks Em!

My wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful daughter designed my new layout. Isn't she grand!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The God of benefits

I watched this the other day over at Lifesong. This has had me thnking for days. I want to recieve all of Jesus. Not just the benefit part.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Northwest Living

I recently was sent a funny through the email. It was a 'You know you live in the Northwest' thing from Jeff Foxworthy. No, Jeff did not send it to get the picture.

Anyway, one of the top ten was 'If you can order coffee at least 10 different ways'. Who knew this was skill, a talent even? I have a friend from Texas, she has lived here for 4 years but still insists she is a Texan (the girl needs to bloom where she has been planted). She thinks you either order coffee black or with cream and sugar. I have to order for her here. But I digress. This Texas woman thinks we are all coffee snobs. Coffee Snobs? Just because I like a grande white chocolate mocha iced non fat no whip? Just because I like my Black Tea Lemonade? Just because I like a little Blended Carmel Latte? Just because I know all the Starbucks employees at my favorite one (there are 3 in my town) by name? Just because my kids know the difference between a Dutch Bros. and Starbucks?

OK maybe we are snobs after all. But it doesn't get much better than sharing a coffee and a molasses cookie with my Wednesday Night Coffee Girls. I look forward to it all week. It is a group of about 15 women. We are not all there at the same time, but each week some of us are there. The Starbucks empoyees call us their 'Church Ladies'. I love that! We talk about what the Lord is teaching us, what are kids are doing, and sometimes what we are struggling with our how we are really blowing it. We lift eachother up and encourage one another to press on. We come from all different walks of life and different places too. We are not all like minded. Often sometimes the only thing I think we have in common is our love of Jesus. But that is good. God uses these women to challenge me and cause me to search for myself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Building Cathedrals

I found this at Unmistakable Imprint. Danni's mom was an amazing source of encouragement and guidance for me as a young mom and new Christian. Now Danni inspires me as I read her blog. Enjoy!

My Cathedrals

I'm invisible. It all began to make sense - the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone or cooking or sweeping the floor or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . My friend had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Danielle, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work. No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Danielle. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You a re building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there." As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

There is a song on the new Casting Crowns CD that has been permeating in my head for the past week. It is called 'Somewhere in the Middle.
These lyrics in particular have me thinking...

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

This is so where I spend much of my time. Striving for complete surrender without losing all control. Those two things cannot happen together.

Reckless abandon but I fight within myself trying to make worldly sense of what God is up to.

Fearless warriors inside a picket fence. I love the picture this paints inside my head. I imagine Braveheart warriors staying behind the safety of a picket fence. Which means they really are not fearless warriors at all.

Will I trade my dreams for His, or am I stuck in the middle? Do you know what middle means to me in this song? Luke warm. Wanting the benefit God offers without the sacrifices He demands.

I wonder if I will ever really learn the lessons God has taught me enough to make it out the door and impact my little part of the world that He has in trusted me to or if I will always be battling Him for control and safety.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Challenging thoughts

Apparently God is still has some work to do on me.

Sunday night I met an amazing woman at Awana. She and her husband are getting ready to go to Ethiopia at the end of the month and adopt 4 children that will bring their number to 11. 11 kids. Wow! She told me of the work God had done in her heart. How when she had 5 kids and was completely overwhelmed and thought God was done working adoption in their family God asked more of them.

God really challenged me as I listened to her story. Had I told God 'no'. We participated once in adoption, but not again? Yeah, I did that. Not that I sense God moving us to adopt again, I think the point is I need to ask where have I told God 'no'. Are there things I just don't want to do? For whatever reason. Laziness? We already have participated in a work with Him? I don't want to look any stranger than we already do? I am sure the list could go on. God is so good to show me I still have so much work to be done in my life. I am so grateful for His patience in me and continuing to work in my heart and not leaving me to my own. I think now is a good time for me to revisit the book Surrender by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet this beautiful family and I look forward to meeting their new children. Here is a link for you: No More Counting the Cost

Friday, September 7, 2007

Simply Complicated

I picked up a new magazine at the grocery store the other day. It is called
Homegrown Hospitality
and it is very cute and full of clever homemaking ideas for family and friends.

The editor of the magazine calls her life 'Simply Complicated'. I love that. It so describes how I live.

For example...
I am a mom - simple
I have 5 kids - complicated

I homeschool - simple
again, 4 kids of different ages, learning styles and abilities - complicated

I go to church - simple
My husband is on staff - complicated

I have friends - simple
We are not all like minded - complicated

The list goes on and on... but what I realize is that what makes my life complicated is relationships. I get so caught up in wanting to check things off my to-do list. To be able to accomplish what I need to in a timely manner. But the relationships in my life interrupt that. Some days barely anything gets checked off and it is all because of people interruptions.

And I think that is exactly how God has planned it. God allows the people in my life to interrupt me to keep me on His track, not mine. The relationships remind me to think of and serve others first. Sometimes only because they demand to be dealt with immediately. If they did not demand my attention I would and could easily put them off til a more convenient for me time. So I am thankful for people interruptions in my life for without them I would be more selfish with my time and self centered in my actions than I already am. Oh, goodness...that would be ugly.

Gotta go...I am being interrupted. ;o)

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Gift

Last weekend a neighbor had a yard sale. Eli (10) came home so excited. He had bought me a gift at the yard sale.

'Mom, if I give you your birthday gift, will you make me something?"

My birthday is at the end of next month.

"If you give me the gift, you want me to make you something with it?"

"Yea, it is so cool."

So I open the said birthday gift that the boy has spent a whole $5.00 for. This is a big deal since he and the other two younger sisters brought home lots of junk, I mean stuff that the kind neighbors gave them for free. This was the gift.

A Juicer. A Jack La Lanne Power Juicer.

So I read all the instructions and find that it will take 5 apples to make one glass of juice. But I can use the pulp for cooking as long as I use it in three hours. Not! Hubby thinks this is a great thing til I point out to him how much a gallon of juice is at Wal-Mart and that our budget does not allow us to eat organically or juice our own stuff. Unless they want to use the carrots and cukes from our own garden. They say 'yuck' and we decide that maybe this is not for our family.

So son says what do we do with this juicer. And we (and I mean me) put it on to sell. With in hours it sold for $70! He has decided that he is going to buy a ipod Shuffle and if there is anything left something for me for my birthday. Wait a minute, wasn't it my birthday gift? I am trying to decided if I should be offended.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 3

Day 3 on my commitment to meet with the Lord in the wee dark hour of the morning and we had success. It is all the Lord's doing and not my own. The Empress awoke again this morning before 5:00, it think it was like 4:52. Hubby had already left to meet with his men's accountability group and I staggered out of bed to greet the little darlin'. She went back to sleep after about 10 minutes. I went back to my room because my alarm had gone off and was playing music, turned it off and contimplated crawling back in. But my conscience, I mean the Spirit, spoke to my heart and said, 'Come on...I woke you let's go meet for coffee'. So we did.

How awesome it is and how much I take it for granted that the Lord pursues me. He has other things to attend to, others that are more eager to meet with Him, others that are more faithful, others that are more holy, others that are less sinful. And yet He pursues me. For three mornings in a row the God of the universe has pursued me and woke me to spend time with me. No words of prophecy has He given. No words of revelation. Just a sweet time of fellowship. Me and Him. Him and me. Why am I not more in awe? Why do I not pursue Him automatically in the wee hours? Why do I long to go back to bed? I frusterate myself. Thank you Jesus for your patience and unfailing love and pursuit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Breakfast, Neighbors and Back to School

Today went a bit better. The alarm went off at 5:20 and I was out of bed at 5:45. This is progress. I remembered that the first 10 minutes is the worst and stumbled to the kitchen for my favorite red Fiesta Ware mug and made a cup of International Coffee's French Vanilla coffee. I finished 'Shopping for Time' and started AW Tozer's
The Pursuit of God. I am also reading through Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie - it's a great devotional. A morning with the Lord is wonderful.

Our ice cream party the other night went great. It started out with everyone aprehensive (including our family) and not quite sure of the whole thing but by the end of the evening we had laughter and friendships started. I am so glad we did it. We had 6 out of eight families come and they all expressed appriciation and a need to know our neighbors better. We will have to do something else like this again sometime.

As we continue to work towards 'back to school schedule' yesterday was fill the cupboards day. I think I may have a tendency to be a shopaholic because I can't tell you how wonderful it made me feel to fill our cupboards and pantry with canned and frozen goods. During the summer we eat primarily fresh veggies and fruit and grill a lot on the grill so the cupborads were bare of canned and frozen goods. I am ready to break out the stock pot and crock pot for fall. I can almost smell homemade bread baking for supper...mmmmmm...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Was it really 5 am?

Ok, so day one and I already failed. Baby woke at 4:50, I am sure that the Lord stirred her so I would get my hiney out of bed. I don't know about you but 5:00 seems early enough, but when I look at the clock and there is still a 4 at the begining...well, that is just rediculous! So hubby when to check on the Empress and I went back to sleep til 6:30. The Empress woke again at 7:30 so I still had a good hour of quietness, but to think it could have been 2 1/2 hours!! I will persevere to the prize!

I have not done this for awhile and am late this week, but here goes...

Monday: Chicken Fajitas (Costco Rotisere) and watermelon
Tuesday: Salmon and green salad
Wednesday: Church dinner
Thursday: Grilled Thia Chicken and veggies
Friday: Hamburgers on the barbie with melon

Have a tasty week!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So...what have we been up to?

I am reading a book recommended by Kim titled Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney and her girls. I had seen this book earlier and decided against it because of the subtitle 'How to do it all and not be overwhelmed'. I have no desire to do it all so I passed it by. But Kim's review of the first chapter made me reconsider and I am so glad. It is a great book. Simple and to the point, which I love. I will be joining the 5:00 Club this week. I have been a member in the past and have seen the benefits first hand. After bring baby #5 home...well, let's just say my membership has lapsed and I need to rejoin. Thank goodness the rejoining fees are free. ;o)

We are also getting ready for school to start. Really, we could have started last week. All supplies and books are bought and I am just about done with the scheduling for the day. I think the kids are getting excited even though the older two would never admit it. They keep asking questions like 'What is this going to be like' or 'What is this book about'. Great questions to start the year. I am hoping the anticipation will just build. The children in our neighborhood go back on Wed so we will officially start then.

We are also having a ice cream party for our neighborhood tonight. We have been trying to come up with a way to connect with our neighbors. We will see if this works. Who doesn't like ice cream?

Hubby is finishing up the summer stuff with the youth group and rolling right into the next school year. He is changing the direction and vision for the youth group. He is envisioning a ministry to come along parents and enrich what they are already )or should be) doing at home. This is instead of being the main spiritual trainer for the kids. This is a major change for our church. The past attitude was 'Don't try this at home...leave it to the professionals.' I think he has his work cut out for him, but this is a much more biblical form of ministry.

So, that is what is going on here in a nutshell. What's up with you?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Simply Compicated

I picked up a new magazine at the grocery store the other day. It is called
Homegrown Hospitality
and it is very cute and full of clever homemaking ideas for family and friends.

The editor of the magazine calls her life 'Simply Complicated'. I love that. It so describes how I live.

For example...
I am a mom - simple
I have 5 kids - complicated

I homeschool - simple
again, 4 kids of different ages, learning styles and abilities - complicated

I go to church - simple
My husband is on staff - complicated

I have friends - simple
We are not all like minded - complicated

The list goes on and on... but what I realize is that what makes my life complicated is relationships. I get so caught up in wanting to check things off my to-do list. To be able to accomplish what I need to in a timely manner. But the relationships in my life interrupt that. Some days barely anything gets checked off and it is all because of people interruptions.

And I think that is exactly how God has planned it. God allows the people in my life to interrupt me to keep me on His track, not mine. The relationships remind me to think of and serve others first. Sometimes only because they demand to be dealt with immediately. If they did not demand my attention I would and could easily put them off til a more convenient for me time. So I am thankful for people interruptions in my life for without them I would be more selfish with my time and self centered in my actions than I already am. Oh, goodness...that would be ugly.

Gotta go...I am being interrupted. ;o)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Recent Family Pics

We had an awesome opportunity this summer to help a gal get started with her photography business. She offered us a great deal to work on her portfollio. But I think we were blessed by the photos more than she was.

Ron & I

Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting ready for fall

It has been awhile since I have posted. I have been touring around the blog-kingdom regularly when I have a minute here or there but not enough time to actually have a complete thought to post.

As I said before, summer life is nuts around here, like I am sure it is for most of you. One thing the Lord has taught me is Everyone is busy. We are all busy doing something. Raising kids, working, being a wife, homeschooling, working at school, working at church, and so on.

I have been working on getting ready for the next school year which I am very excited about. I was hoping to post last week on the Back to Homeschool Week but lo, I did not. So you will have to go there and read all about it.

I am sure this is shocking to all, but I am not excited every year to teach my children. Some times I start out the year with prayers like 'Lord, are you sure You still want me doing this?' So far His answer is still 'Yes', so I obey. Eventually my heart catches up with my obedience and all is well. This is how I am on most things. I wish my heart didn't have to catch up. I wish I just automatically felt the desire to do His will. But more often than not my heart must catch up. Apparently my fleshliness is strong willed. Oops, got side tracked there...anyway, we are making some changes in our schedule and lightening up our outside commitments. This summer I have learned that Ella(1) does much better if she is not being toted here and fro constantly. She needs consistency and to be home, alot. So that is what we will do. This really frees us up to be spontaneous and we will have extra freedom which I will like.

God has shown me that (not like I didn't notice) that last winter and spring were a disaster. I need to do somethings differently. Before you turn me into the local school district, they did learn, they were tested and did fine. But life was too stressful and it was my doing. I tried to do too much outside of the home both physically and with my commitments to others, so I am paring down. It feels good. I am excited to see what the year has for us.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Crazy days of Summer

I have sat down several times in the past couple weeks to write a post and always get interrupted. I have had ideas for several topics and this one doesn't hit any of them. Oh, well. This is just random thoughts on what we have been up to.

We had family pics done. I hope to have them posted in a couple weeks when we get them back.

Life has been crazy around here. I don't know why I would expect anything else. Every summer I think it will be so laid back with kids and husband going on mission trips and camps and such. And then in July I remember...oh, yeah this is how it goes. We have had lots of extra kids in the house, house guests and several trips back and forth to the camps. Our food budget for the month is completely blown. And the laundry pile comes in enormous waves. Tidal waves of dirty camp laundry.

We have also had a family reunion which is always fun and interesting. Isn't that the way it always is when you get family together? Why are families so weird? How did we all come from the same lot? I just don't get it. God has a funny way of building our character and patience with people.

Ron's niece called this past weekend and said she had two surprises. She is getting married and you can guess the other. The second surprise is cause for the first. This has led to a bit of a family dilemma. The first dilemma is explaining the situation to our kids. Thanks Sweetie. The second is they have asked Ron to marry them. Ron has committed not to marry anyone that is not eligible to be married, and that the couple receive at least 6 sessions of pre-marital counsel. This would include a believer marrying a non-believer as well as other situations. Ron's family does not share his stance on this point so things could get ugly. But God is bigger than the situation. We are praying that God will use this to bring this young man to a saving knowledge of Him, that they would desire to make Christ the foundation of their marriage, and raise their family in Him. If you think of it in your prayer time pray for this couple.

Well, all the girls and I are off to camp again today to bring the camp t-shirts up to the boys. Oh, the joys of being a minister wife. Can't wait to see my man, but I would love to skip the camp trip.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I love this song

John Waller - The Blessing
From the album The Blessing

Let it be said of us
While we walked among the living
Let it be said of us
By the ones we leave behind
Let it be said of us
That we lived to be a blessing for life

Let it be said of us
That we gave to reach the dying
Let it be said of us
By the fruit we leave behind
Let it be said of us
That our legacy is blessing for life

This day
You set life, you set death right before us,
This day
Every blessing and curse is a choice now
And we will choose to be a blessing for life

Let it be said of us
That our hearts belonged to Jesus Let it be said of us
That we spoke the words of life
Let it be said of us
That our heritage is blessing for life

For your Kingdom, for our Children
For the sake of every nation

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My journey through motherhood

I read this post on 'Setting Your Course' at Raising Five last week and it has got me thinking. I have been both looking back 10 years and trying to look ahead to the next ten years. Where do I want to be, or more accurately where do I want our family to be?

10 years ago our oldest was three and we were expecting #2 in September. I was huge and hot (not like sexy hot, just huge hot). Fast forward: We now have 5 kiddos. Oldest is 13 and youngest is 1. Although I am not an expert, I have learned a couple things.

I thought I knew a lot about parenting. I tend to be back and white. I thought parenting had a formula and if done correctly would achieve the desired results. ha. Sometimes the formula applied correctly still does not get the desired result. I have come to learn that children actually have a mind and will and will use them. Sometimes creating unwanted behavior.

I thought the first three years were the most critical. ha again. They are all important. And if you ask a child the current moment is the most important.

I thought all good parents produce good kids. Ha. Sometimes bad parents produce good kids and sometimes good parents produce bad kids. This still makes me shake my head in unbelief. I have seen parents who go against every parenting rule and still have great kids and visa versa.

As I look ahead and think of our oldest 10 years from now and 23 (oh my goodness). And our youngest who has yet to speak a sentence or use the toilet and think of her going into 6th grade I am reminded how time flies. Two of our kids will be adults, two teens and one on the brink. I want our family to stand out as one that did not compromise. We held to Christ's standards. We did not cave to the world. We are salt and light and that we bloomed where we were planted. That our family made a difference for Christ in the world. That we touched people's lives and they felt Christ's love through us.

I still like things black and white. Formulas and such. God has given us a guide in His Word. Principals to live by. I have learned that God is creative and these can look different in each family. There is no one perfect formula. We are to train and teach our children the ways of the Lord and He promises to bless that. But children have minds and wills of their own and can make bad choices and choose the wrong path. That is the freedom each of us has.

Thank you Lord for your mercy and grace on this opinionated and judgmental momma.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


5 Minutes for Mom has a great giveaway for a Lands End swim suit. Their suit claims to make you look a size smaller, so sign me up. Can I wear it all year?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Intentional Mommy

I have been reading My Heart's at Home by Jill Savage. The subtitle is 'Becoming the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs'. This year two words keep coming up: Purpose and Intentional so naturally I had to read.

In a recent chapter I've been reading about being your families cheerleader. That home should be a place of encouragement. I am not so good at that. It has always bothered me when parents (mainly mommies) go on and on about how great their kids are. All the accomplishments, awards and great grades their kids get. So I don't. But I need to some. This chapter really brought hit me with how important it is for our children to feel like mom believes in them. That mom is their number 1 fan. For that same matter so do our husbands. Need to work on that one too. So today as I sent hubby and our eldest off on a mission trip for the week I packed their bags with goodies and a card telling them how much I love them, will miss them and I am proud to be their wife and mom. Just a start.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We have some horrible stomach bug that keeps on finding its way back to our family. Five of the seven of us have had at least two battles with it, and it has gotten the best of us each time. Without the gory details we have never been sick like this before. I brought out the smoking guns.

I took several tubs of Lysol water and cleaned every solid surface I could get my hands on. Every door knob, cabinet, wall, counter, floor, window ledge, everything. My kids were lucky I didn't give them all a dip in the water too! The house has not smelled this Lysoly for a long time. Surly nothing can live through that. I guess Spring Cleaning is coming twice this year.

Here's to a clean house and healthy kiddos!

Monday, June 11, 2007

We are back from vacation and ready for all the fun and chaos that it brings. Being a family of a Youth Pastor means that when the kids are out of school dad is on duty more than the rest of the year. We came home Wed afternoon and went to church, had a summer kick-off party Friday night and youth and families to our home on Sun evening. It will continue like this til September. It is lots of fun, and lots of work.

While on vacation I picked up what promises to be a great book. My Heart's at Home by Jill Savage. I am only in Part I of four, The Foundation. Jill Savage has some great insight on the kind of home we need to have for our families. She also has great advice on not over-programing our children. A couple posts ago I talked about my inner struggle with wanting my kids to have all the opportunities available as we educate and disciple them. Mrs. Savage had several references that talked about how that it is actually bad for our kids to have too many opportunities. And how much they really need down time that is unstructured to use their imagination and learn to entertain themselves (without the TV). This was a great encouragement for me to really seek out God's best and not settle for just good things.

The book also has some great ideas and tips on Family Nights, Meal Planning, and the lost art of Neighboring or Porching. I look forward to the next chapters and will let you know if anything sticks out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I have been out of the blogging loop for several days. The flu bug hit again and took a few of us out. But God in His wonderful mercy and love has given us good health so we can go on our vacation tomorrow! Yea Hoo!!

We have been planning this vacation for a year. With my husband's work schedule we always do this. Every other year we go to the beach. There is a Christian Confrence Centerthat lets pastoral staff come stay a week every other year for FREE. Such a blessing!

And on the off years we head off somewhere else. Hubby's parents have a timeshare thing and give us points to use wherever we like. This year we are off to the mountains! I have been counting down days for the past two months. School is out, bags are packed and we are all ready for some family fun.

I hope to return rejuvenated and refreshed. Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tis the season for school examination. Fa la la la la...

From the end of May til mid July I spend a lot of time evaluating our schooling. What worked well, what worked OK and what didn't work as great as I thought it would. I evaluate each child and the progress they made. Learning styles and so on. I love it. I hate it.

I love looking back and seeing the progress, the lights that were turned on and milestones reached. I love pouring over catalogs and websites to evaluate books and curriculum choices. I love the dreaming process. The hope of finding the magical but ever elusive book that will excite my kids in the subjects they just don't care for. I love the planning and organizing. I love that we have so many options and choices available to us.

I hate that there are so many options and choices available to us. Classical, Charlotte Mason, ABeka, Bob Jones, Saxon, Singapore, kits, workbooks, hands-on, DVD, text book, games, puzzles, manipulatives. As I plan for the next school year I always feel as though my decisions will make or break the homeschool experience. If I choose the wrong one, devastation in that subject. The kids will fall behind and never catch up. Or worse yet, they will loose all interest in learning that subject and forever be tainted. I know, far too dramatic.

We have the option like many to take classes outside the home. In fact we have so many options we could skip the three R's and just take outside classes and never actually be home to school. Art, band, science, drama, Spanish, piano, Latin, and etc. I want the American Dream. For them to 'have it all'. Excellence in education. Fun social opportunities with peers of superb character. Wonderful enrichment opportunities and plenty of team sports to boot.

The reality is to achieve the dream we can not do every good thing. We must decide was is God's best for our family. No small task when it is all good. Not all God's best, but all good stuff. I feel especially burdened this year with the children all getting older and a baby in the house. This is a big responsibility that I don't want to mess up. I don't want to look back and think 'Why did we waste so much time with that?'

Good thing I have a couple months to work on this stuff, pray and sort it out.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I don't know how productive this posting my menu plans is since I think last week I only fixed one of the meals I posted. Last week was crazier than usual with lots of unexpected thing coming up. Hopefully this week will be more predictable.

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken from Costco, green salad and bread
Tuesday: Mexican Stack (Rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onion, cheese, taco meat and tortilla chips with salsa, guac, and sour cream.
Wednesday: Church dinner - Again, I have no idea what they will make, but as long as I don't have to cook it or clean it up it always is a good thing.
Thursday and Friday: Ron and Eli are gone on a fishing trip to the ocean (sounds like fish on the menu next week) so the girls and I will do something fun. Maybe more Mexican!

Have a great week!

Spring Reading update

I thought I would give an update on the Spring Reading Challenge. My goal was to finish several books that I had started and had going at the same time. I started out well and have finished all but one of my original entries. But in the past two weeks I have started THREE new books. Why do I do that? I am not sure other than I am so anxious to get to each one so I dive in to all of them.

I finished One Home at a Time a couple weeks ago. Loved it. Had lots of confirmation and encouragement to be intentional in parenting and marriage. I think it should be required reading for any couple planning marriage or maybe starting their family. Maybe I should let my hubby know since he does the premarital counseling at our church.

I have started reading The Heavenly Man, Designing a Lifestyle that Pleases God, and Lies Women Believe. I am using Lies Women Believe in my personal study time.

Can I just say I love Nancy Leigh DeMoss? I think she is such an amazing no nonsense teacher. Her book Surrender was life impacting to me a few years ago. Short but very powerful book. Nancy holds no punches, she tells it just like it is. I don't know about you, but my think skull needs that kind of teaching.

So...hopefully I won't start anymore books before I get through these. We are leaving on vacation and I am tempted to read a fiction book while we are away. It is the only time I feel I can justify fiction. ;o)

Friday, May 18, 2007


I've been thinking a lot lately about the value we place on children. While working through the adoption process of our daughter that we brought home at Christmas time I read much on the one child policy in China as well as the culture both in books and on the Internet. It amazed me how little they value the lives of these girls. But how different are we here in the States?

Not too long ago I heard this message by Dr. Voddie Baucham. It has been heart changing both for our ministry as well pointing out flawed thoughts I have had. Please go listen to the message. I did not even realized I had some these opinions until I heard this message. But in the months since I heard this message and returning from China I wonder how different are we really from China? No, we do not abandon our children like they do, but there are so many other ways that we show a lack of valuing children. We do not treat them as the gift the Bible tells us they are. I know that I am included in making negative comments about large families (and we ourselves are one). Comments like 'I can't believe they are having ANOTHER baby'. We should rejoice when God chooses to bless a family with a child, no matter how many others they have. God is control of knitting every child together in his mother's womb, or do I believe that I have some control?

This subject really hit home with me in the past couple days. I saw such stark contrasts in two situations. A good friend of mine who I would consider a very godly woman told me that she babysat for a 6 week old baby. She did not say much about the child, just shook her head and laughed and said 'I am so glad it is not mine.' This woman has two kids 9 and 12. The other situation I saw at Lifesong. The video of. Baby Eliot was amazing. What a difference in attitude and perspective. You may say 'but that was their first child', or 'yeah, but that child died'. But do we value children, our children and the children we are in contact with like the blessings and treasures that they are? How this family celebrated each day of Eliot's life blessed me as I watched.

This attitude has been evident with our youngest daughter. She has been much more challenging than I thought she would be. Don't get me wrong, she is wonderful and I love her more than words can tell you. But she is still a baby and I forgot how much work babies are ;o) Friends have made comments like 'Well, you asked for it' and 'I am so glad it is you and not me'. I know in their hearts they don't mean it like I should have left her in China, but that is how it comes across. The attitude is 'life is easier without children, or at least not a lot of children'. I think this breaks the heart of God. Shouldn't we as believers live and act like we believe the Truth that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord? Maybe we don't abandon them to orphanages, but we abort them because of convenience or circumstance not because of government enforcement. We send them to daycare so we can make more money. We put them in front of the television or computer so we don't have to deal with them.

In Dr. Bauchaum's message he makes the statement that the motto in the church is 'A boy for me, a girl for you, and thank the Lord we are finally through.' have also seen this attitude in Christians who question homeschooling saying 'I would rather shave my eyebrows off than school my kids.' or comment on how long the summer is going to be. Counting down the days til school starts again. This is not valuing children. This is dealing with them. I will be the first to say raising children is hard, hard work. But let's act like these children are the gifts they are, especially those of us in the faith.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'll give this a whirl

School at our house is winding down for summer. We should finish our remaining subjects this week allowing for more time for other things. I thought I would give this a whirl since I enjoy seeing what others are making for dinner. I plan my menus for the whole month at one time to save time. Here are my menu plans for this week.

Monday: Grilled Salmon
Green salad

Tuesday: Oriental Chicken Salad

Wednesday: Church dinner (I have no idea what they are serving this week)

Thursday: Grilled Hamburgers

Friday and Saturday: Student Confrence for hubby and oldest daughter so I am not sure what the rest of us will do. Either leftovers or order in a pizza!

Have a great week!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The 'WHY' of homeschooling

Kim at Mercy Days has a great post on 'Why Homeschool'. I felt like she was reading my thoughts. She has articulated it very well.

This seemed like it was a big issue in the beginning when we first started to homeschool. So many people had an opinion on what we were doing and felt the need to let us know. It quieted down for several years but with our oldest going into 8th grade and high school on the horizon opinions have started coming out again. This time more direct and at times a little ugly.

I would NEVER say that everyone should homeschool. Nor would I say that all Christians should homeschool. I have some wonderful Christian friends that are teaching in the public schools and impacting their students, being salt and light. I just know my kids and at this point they are just not ready to be salt and light. I think they would start out strong, but with the daily erosion of the world, I think they would loose their saltiness and be desensitized. So it is MY/OUR job to prepare them so when they do go into the world whether it be school, college, or the work force they will stand strong and not dim their lights. This is also a good reminder to me to give them plenty of opportunity to be in the world now, and have 'controlled exposure'. That they see me be salty interacting with our neighbors and others we come in contact with.

Until God releases me from homeschooling our children, here is where we will be. 'Release' may sound like a negative word, but I have not intended it that way. God would have to make it very clear to us that we needed to do something different.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Seven random things about me...

The surprise for the day is that I have been tagged for a meme by Kim! Since several of the blogs that Kim tagged I would have and I am still rather new at this blogging thing I am not going to tag anyone else. Maybe next meme...

20 years ago I would have never have thought this would be me...but it is.

#1. I think my feet are my favorite part of my body. I love a pedicure done with a french manicure (or do you call it a french pedicure then?) That way you don't have to worry about if your clothes clash with your outfit.

#2. I would have never thought I would become a homeschooling mom. I love what I do and I can not imagine sending my children to school all day and missing out on so much of who they are becoming. It has also showed me how quickly they grow and how little time we have to influence these precious gifts.

#3. I would have never thought I would be a pastor's wife. I am sure that those I went to high school would say the same thing! When I got married I thought I was marrying an engineer. I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that God would call my husband into the ministry. Not that he was not pastor material, just that was not the path I planned.

#4. I would have never thought I would be the mother of 5 KIDS! Even as I type that it still sounds crazy. I always thought I would have two kids (boy and girl of course), and be a full time working mom like my mother. Our youngest has been the biggest surprise. We adopted Ella in December after a 2 year long process. Adoption was never part of the plan. She has been such a joy and such a faith builder. I have heard it said and I now believe it so that adoption is the gospel made visible.

#5. I would have never thought I would like schedules, routines, and predictability so much. My single years I loved spontaneity and adventure. Now I love knowing what is coming around the corner.

#6. I love to read anything in print. Cereal boxes, magazines and especially books. I love a good book that encourages me to be better. A better mom, wife, daughter, friend, and person. I don't care much for fiction because I find myself drawn in and consumed by the characters. Then when the story is done I think 'Wow, look at all the time I wasted consumed by fictional people'.

#7. I love the opportunity to be alone with my man. With 5 kids and his demanding work schedule I cherish the moments for just the two of us. Just this week we went out for a couple hours for coffee and dessert at Starbucks. Fabulous!

Well, that's more than I am sure you needed to know about this simple girl.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Is this leagalism?

I had a recent conversation that has left me with some questions and thoughts.

The comment or question was raised out of concern for a fellow christian. 'Should we be concerned and say something if a family continues to make commitments that take them away from church activities?'

My answer was 'Yes.' In the past eight years of youth ministry we have seen a definite pattern in church attendance. Almost without exception when a family starts making commitments that take them away from church activities it is just one step in several that lead them away from the Lord. Whether that activity be work, school, sports, drama, music, whatever. So when I see the pattern starting my radar goes up and I beleive as 'family' we should hold eachother accountable.

This did not go over well with those in the conversation. I was surprised to hear that I was being leagaistic and judgmental. So I went home prayed, talked to my husband, and meditated on the thing. Was I being judgmental? Was this leagalistic?

Let me say that I do not think it a sin to miss church. It is not a sin to miss mid-week acitivities at church. I don't think it sinful to not be at church everytime the church doors are open. I think it is a condition of the heart. Sometimes we are eager to sing 'I Surrender All' and then say 'I am too tired to go to church', or 'I need a break'. These are not valid reasons. We are called as God's people to die to ourselves. Our selfish desires. I am talking to myself just as much as anyone else. Although my selfishness may not be visible like not attending a church service. It comes out otherways. Like being upset because I can't do something I want. Not wanting to get up in the middle of the night with a crying baby. Not wanting to prepare dinner. Not wanting to match socks. Not wanting to work in the nursery. Not wanting to teach a class. The list goes on... My selfishness may not be outward because although I don't want to do something most of the time I do it anyway. I still cook dinner, get up with the baby and etc. Sometimes my heart is not in it. I think that as long as what IS in my heart is although I don't want to, I will do it because I choose to obey the Lord. And I need to pray that my heart will meet my actions. I think this is part of the sactification process.

No I can not judge anothers actions. No I can not require something that is not required in scripture. I do think a tactful question about what is going on might be appropriate though. Not out of judgment, but concern. A genuine concern for a fellow brother and sister to not fall away, but press on.

The world is inticing and intoxicating in what it offers. I truly believe that we are in a fight for our families. Satan would like nothing more than to draw us away from the Lord. That may start with small decisions that are in themselves not bad or sinful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Added Link

I love to read the stories of what God had done in the lives of His people. I have read some amazing stories of provision and grace while blog-hopping. I didn't think that I would add this link but I want God to have all the glory for what He has done in my life in any way possible so I added a link to our adoption website to the right. To God be the glory.

Heaven at Home by Ginger Plowman

I have finished book #3 on the Spring Reading Thing Challenge. I am so glad that I came across this book through my new hobby of blog-hopping. I had never heard of this author either as with Carolyn Mahaney. I wish I could say that I have implemented all of Mrs. Plowman'sideas and now our home is peaceful and enjoyable at every moment, but that is never going to happen. This book did remind me of some things I can do to increase the 'enjoyable peace' quotient.

Our home school is run on a pretty good routine schedule, but there were some good ideas on giving your child structure and routine. I heartily agree with the book in saying that children do better with routine and scheduled activity. Especially as we are finishing up this school year I am reminded that my kids don't do well with too much free time. All the kids have hobbies that by themselves are not bad in moderation or small amounts of time. Emma (13) enjoys the computer, Eli (10) likes video games, Eden (9) likes playing with friends, and Eva (6) loves movies. They would each choose to do just their one thing if the choice was theirs to make. This does not mean lots of outside commitments with practices and lessons, just having something productive to do at most times. Especially with our newest addition to the family (Ella who is 14 months) Mrs. Plowman had some great ideas that I had not thought about in regards to keeping baby on a 'play schedule'. She is on a good schedule with eat ting and sleeping but not so much on what she is doing while awake. I am going to try to add these and see if it helps baby be more peaceful during school time.

I thought her take on discipline was right on. I almost skipped the chapter on discipline because the chapter before was on 'Gentle Parenting'. I thought gentle parenting was something else and after reading the two chapters together I have a better understanding. It was very encouraging for me to watch my words in child training.

I would love to observe Mrs. Plowman's family for a day or two and see this in action. I think our family is implementing most of the content of this book but we are all sinners that are works in progress and can all use improvement. This book didn't give me the feeling that I/we needed a huge family overhaul, but it gave me many great ideas to 'tweak' things here and there. I love reading books by fellow home schoolers!

I have two more books on my list. One Home at a Time and Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. I think I will get to add several books to my list which is great since I have seen several that look wonderful.

I received an email yesterday that had a interesting book advertised. It was called Revolutionary Parenting. It is written by George Barna and looks very intriguing. They surveyed young adults that were strong in their faith and living it out and then went to their parents to see how they raised them and looked at the similarities. The requirement for the young adults were:

Knowing, loving, and serving God was identified as their top priority in life.
They described their faith in God as being of the highest importance.

Each of these young adults possessed a "biblical worldview," based on their responses to a series of questions about their view of life. In essence, they contend that absolute moral truth exists; such truth is defined in the Bible; God is the all-knowing and all-powerful creator and ruler of the universe; faith in Jesus Christ is the only means to salvation; Satan is a real being; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and all of the principles taught in the Bible are true and accurate.

They believe that their main purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind and strength.

They are currently active in a vibrant community of faith, as demonstrated by their consistent engagement in worship, prayer, Bible study and spiritual accountability

George Barna states that in his research only one out of ten young adults meets the above criteria. That is sad to me, but I want my 5 kids in the minority.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

God is so good!

I got a fresh word from the Lord last night! Yahoo! I love that when that happens!

My heart feels lighter this morning. I have been searching for answers from the Lord for the past several months and last night He spoke clearly to my heart through His Word.

God has showed me how I run ahead of Him. I see Him working in an area or moving in my life and I fill in the rest of the blanks without His help and not in His timing. Why is that? I beleive that it is pride. Pride on my part that I know what God is thinking. That I can second guess what He is up to. Rarely am I right, yet I continue this way. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Hmmm... I get frusterated with my children when they interup me in mid-sentence or take a command I have given them and then run in a wayward direction with it. But that is what I do with God. And then I live in frustration when things don't go the way I thought they would or should. I want to be patient and stay by God's side. Not lagging behind but definitely not running ahead.

Thank you Lord for never loosing your patience with me. Help me to stay in the shelter of you wings.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Feminine Appeal review

I get to check another book off of the Spring Reading Thing challenge. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney was excellent! When starting a new book I always look through the titles of the chapters and predetermine which ones the Lord will speak to me through. I would have never guessed before reading the book that the chapter titled 'The rewards of kindness' would have spoken to me the way it did. The Lord revealed some things that I did not realize were in my heart. Thank you Lord, for revealing secret things in my heart.

The last chapter is called 'Margaret's Story'. Can I just say I want that to be said of me. As I read about this dear sweet woman I kept thinking 'She is amazing'. I want to be content in my life. That serving my family is enough and I mean really serving them like Margaret. The Lord has showed me some things that still need to be removed to do this. I pray that I have the courage to do that. To give up the things that maybe are not best for my family. Good things, even godly things, just not God's best for me. I pray that I would not to worry or even consider what others may think of me for leaving commitments. I want to serve my family well.

This book was filled with encouragment as well as challenges. I had never heard of the Mahaney's before. I will have to look into other books they have written.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dyson give away

Check this out and here too. Fun!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Amazing Grace

I loved this movie and love this video. Enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Life as a Vapor

Here is to checking one book off my reading list for the Spring Reading Thing! Yahoo! Not just yahoo to a check-off but yahoo to a great read.

I bought this book last fall. We were in the adoption process and I read an article about Steven Curtis Chapman in the CCM magazine that told how this book was life impacting. It had great influence on the 'All Things New' CD. At the time I was so eager to meet our daughter from China and wanting to connect with anything and anyone in my situation, I got the book.

So, I started the book in mid November. We traveled to China the begining of December and here it is the end of March and I am finishing this 31 day devotional. Now before you get all excited, I didn't stop meeting with the Lord all that time, just John Piper in his book.

This is a great book/devotional to keep your focus on the Lord. To gain perspective on what is really important in life. When I started this book my focus was on getting to China. God had called us to adopt this precious child and I could not wait to get my hands on her. As I finished this book I kept thinking of my sister-in-law who is battling cancer. Hope for her beating this cancer is not looking very good. She is an amazingly beautiful woman physically. One of the kind that make you stare in awe. But she is plastic, in all ways. From head to toe you see what she wants you to see, an image that she has created, unflawed to the eye. She is not a believer nor does she desire that. We had a family picture done today with my husbands family. As I looked at her, tan body, perfect hair, makeup and clothes, my heart aches for her salvation. Her life is a vapor and she doesn't realize it. I have found myself coveting her lifestyle over the past 15 years that I have been married. They live a very extravegant lifestyle. But for what? At this point there is nothing of substance. Nothing that will last into eternity. I am so sad and burdened for her.

My life is a vapor too. I have no idea how long I will be here, neither do you. Some vapors are long, some short. I want my life to amount to something for God. That may be being the best mom and wife I can be or it may mean something else in addition. The point is to stay in line with God's will for my life. Be obedient in all things and remember this life is not the prize.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


This world of blogging is amazing. I find myself thinking throughout the day 'Oh, that would make a good post'. The fact is I enjoy reading other blogs more than posting myself. I don't even remember how I first found this cyberworld. The first blog that I regularly looked at was Lifesong. I found myself eager to read Kim's posts each day. I started to read some of the blogs on her blogroll like Lisa Writes, The Hutch, A Spacious Place, and This One's for the Girls. It is so encouraging to me to hear the thoughts of women striving to lead godly lives and be and excellent example to their families and the rest of the world. It is interesting to me that you can almost hear their voices in their posts. My husband laughed at me when I came to him and said "There is this whole other world out there...did you know?" He being the computer whiz that he is did, but not so interested.

The original blogs have lead me to others and so on. The personalities are as many as bloggers. Sarcastic, pure, humble, boastful, funny, serious. Some have thoughts just like mine (which is always comforting). Some have caused me to evaluate what I believe and why. Some have caused me to dig into the scriptures and find a truth for myself. Some I agree with, some others not so much. Some of these women are theologians themselve and way too deep for my simple thoughts. Some posts I have gone back to several times because it was such an encouragement.

Only God know how far this will go for me. I want to fully live my life and be present for my kids. I can see where this could get adictive and become a not so good habit. I have also had to check myself coveting the 'pretty' blogs and saying to myself, 'I want one of those.' I am sure that jealosy is still a sin even if it is over blog pages.

God truly is in the world of blogging. Thanks to those who have encouraged me and spurred me on. This is like having girlfriends to have coffee with whenever my schedule allows. A place to hear a complete thought and the comments of others. I am loving this new place of conversation. I pray that I can someday be the same encouragement and a enjoyable place to visit.