Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time to go

In less than 3 days all of us will be flying out of America and heading toward Belize, Central America. We are all excited and greatly anticipating our move to do Missionary work. We are thrilled, overjoyed and ready.

Right now is the hard part. Packing what we have lived with and been using this year. Packing clothing we have been wearing, and are currently wearing too. Packing and sorting everything we own once more and asking ourselves "will we use this on the mission field?" Weaning ourselves of things we really don't need...packing everything else. Listing on many sheets of paper all that we own (we are so blessed are we not?)...preparing to go.

Then there is the normal everyday duties...cleaning, cooking, baths, cleaning again, cooking, wiping a snotty nose...etc..

I was feeling like I was treading water with my nose right above the water when Hannah came home. You know, barely getting things done, prioritizing and then re-prioritizing, because there wasn't enough time in the day to do it all. Adjusting to a newborn with 5 other children in the house is hard enough, and now we are moving too! We have had our days fairly planned out so this last week hasn't been so hectic. Now though we are down to the last couple of days, and what else needs to be done you ask?

Well....
about 3 loads of laundry, then it all needs to be packed or put away in the missionary apartment. Then there is the toys that keep getting scattered, that needs put away again. Oh and I want to wash my quilt before it gets loaded up for the move. A load of things needs to be taken down to the storage unit...rugs, lamps, piano, recliner. Then there is one last trip to the grocery store to stock up on baking items for the holidays. A trip to target for a necessity. Kevin wants to go to JC Penny's to get some things for himself. A stop at GFS to pick up some spices for another missionary. Then we have church of course, tomorrow. Monday the truck comes to pick up our things. I think I'm all ready...I think?

It will probably be several weeks before our internet is hooked up and running again, but I will be keeping a written journal of our happenings.

Please say a prayer for us as we travel with the children, that we will all stay healthy too. Also, please pray for our container to arrive safely in Belize.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My sweet Hannah


It's funny how after having children for 10 years, things change. I never have slept with any of my children. I have snuggled them while nursing, and dozed while holding them in my arms...but never have slept with them next to me. At first it was a "new parent" thing. I had heard an opinion, and thought, "WOW, THAT IS SO PROFOUND!" and went whichever way I was swayed...in this instance, no sleeping with babies. Now that I've been a parent for a few years, I realize...I will not be able to snuggle and doze with them for very long. This infant stage is indeed a very short stage...and I intend to enjoy every moment I can. Hannah has slept with me most nights this week, she is fighting a cough. I place her on her back on a pillow, then I curl up around her and put my arm under the pillow. It is amazing how sweet sleep is with her so close to me. I never knew what I was missing out on all those years and all of those babies. I always said I couldn't sleep soundly while they were in the bed, but if they are in a reclined position, where they are not moving about, it really is nice.

And this is her, my sweet Hannah Grace. It is so nice having a new little one. Isn't she precious?!!?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Within my heart...my Sister


My beautiful sister, Carrie Lynn and her husband Eric.

She came into my life right after I turned one. For the next 15 years we would laugh, play, cry, love, and fight with one another. We have shared many tears and sorrows, my sister and I...yet, I love her as much as anyone could love someone.

Her husband has been fighting Ewing's sarcoma for some time now. He is 34 I think. Eric has had part of his leg amputated, and yet the cancer is still in his body. They have fought hard, tried all the chemo available, went through a trial program, and now are using a different method to try to slow the growth of the cancer.

I have watched my sister through all of this. Her tiny, barely 100 pound frame...doing whatever she could for this man that she loves. They have traveled back and forth hundreds of miles for treatments, and she has been there for him. I have heard the fear and worry in her voice...that only a sister can hear...when she says, "We're gonna fight this...the doctor's aren't always right!" I have heard her tears over a phone line...and tried so desperately to encourage and to love her. She is stronger than I ever knew. I have heard her talk of the Lord and answered prayer. I have listened to her excitement over bills that have been paid...when they were waiting for disability checks to start arriving.

Twenty years ago, when we were just teenagers...I realized how very much I loved her. I agonized over her, and wept over her way back then. She was having some trouble, I wanted so much to help her...here I am 20 years later, still wanting the same thing.

Now she is in the midst of a battle. An every day fight, against the unseen enemy of cancer. I feel so helpless, so unable to help her. I want to run to her and scoop her up and fix everything scary and painful in her life, and yet she faces her day like a soldier.

Although I try to think of things to say that will encourage her or help in some small way, it never seems to be enough.

Please pray for them...and for strength to face each day ahead. There is nothing more I can do, than to pray.

Thursday, October 29, 2009




I feel as if I am slowly awakening out of a deep,foggy sleep. You know, the kind of sleep that slowly fades away, and you lay in bed with your eyes closed...wondering if it is really time to get up? Yes, welcome to my world.

A wonderful world it is, filled with 6 little ones, one of which is a newborn. (Thus the foggy sleep). I wouldn't trade little Hannah for anything, but my, I've forgotten how precious sleep is to a nursing mommy. There are mornings when I get up after feeding her...AGAIN...and I think, "Wait a second...I haven't slept yet?? It's morning???" I feel like I am sleep-walking through my day. My brain cannot hold a thought for more than a few seconds, and it seems like I'm always forgetting what I was going to do...make sense?

The pictures are from a recent trip to an apple orchard. Ellie loved the bunnies they had out for the children to pet. That is David above her on my left. Little Hannah is underneath the quilt! (I made it by the way...isn't it CUTE!!!??) As soon as I can remember to get batteries for the camera, I will post some more pictures of Hannah.

We are also preparing to leave soon for Belize. On November 17th our flight leaves. The day before...our container will be loaded and sent off. We are in the midst of going through our things now, labeling them and packing them in boxes for the container. Kevin has lots to do as well, finalizing travel arrangements, selling our van and trailer, phone calls, and other things I am not even aware of. He keeps telling me, "You just take care of the baby and yourself..." but he is also such a blessing to me helping out when he can with the other kids. God was good to give me such a loving and caring man.

It seems like I went to have the baby, and the leaves were barely beginning to change. I blinked my eyes, and now they are almost GONE! It has been a busy fall for me!

I've enjoyed doing a lot of baking lately. This morning we all enjoyed some pumpkin pancakes and sausage. Yesterday I made 2 huge loaves of Banana bread. The day before I made some homemade wheat bread. If anyone has a great bread recipe, please share it with me! I love working with yeast breads, and this is a great time to try them out on the family!

I'm sure these next few weeks will fly by as well, and we will be leaving. If you think of us, say a prayer that all will go well with our final plans. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A thousand words...and then some...: Assignment #10 - Discovery

A thousand words...and then some...: Assignment #10 - Discovery

Thoughts on Discovery

This latest writing assignment from:http://athousandwordsandthensome.blogspot.com/
has been on the word "Discovery".

I have thought this over in several different ways. The discoveries of children through life. The enjoyment that comes simply watching a child discover something for the first time. I read Kayte's blog and pondered the discovery of God's love for me, how it all came about in my life. I've thought about it while driving to the grocery store... and wondered at the vastness of the word discovery. Today, I came to the conclusion to write about the discovery of myself and who I am.

As a child, I was always looking for acceptance. The things I did or did not do, was determined by what the adults in my life would think of me. As a teenager, some of the same thinking played into my actions. In college, my thoughts turned more toward how I could please God with my life. I wanted to be all I could for the Lord. In my twenties, as a young adult, I lived in a bubble, trying desperately to be that "person" of perfection who had it all together, (whatever "it" was) striving to be who I thought I was supposed to be. As a young married woman...I aimed to be exactly the kind of wife I thought my husband needed. With motherhood, my goals did not change, they were just redirected at someone else, my children. I wanted to be EVERYTHING I thought they needed.

While these goals are all noble and good, while striving to be everything I thought everyone else needed, I lost touch with WHO I really was!

I have discovered in the past 10 years of parenting, the past 12 years of marriage many things...about me.

I have discovered:

I am not perfect. Nor is anyone else on this earth. I cannot be perfect, God made me with strengths and weaknesses. Although I will be working on those weaknesses for the rest of my life and some will become strengths...I will then discover other weaknesses...and thus life will go.

I have discovered:

God created me for my husband. Though many times in my mind I have envisioned the type of woman that would be best for my husband...and tried desperately to become that woman...the truth is my weaknesses, and his strengths seem to fit like a puzzle, we compliment one another. We are a team. If I try to "be" like the woman in my mind...I lose touch with who I am, and forget all that I do have to offer to my marriage.

I have discovered:

God has blessed me with children, because He believes I am the best mother for them. Again, though I do have weaknesses that are constantly being worked on...God gave me these children. He believes in me. Even though I may sometimes feel inadequate for the job, or it seems like I am a failure in some way or another, I have discovered I have what it takes to rear these children, or God would not have given them to me.

I have discovered:

Who I am is ok with God. I do not have to strive to be someone else, whether a real person or made up in my mind. Do not misunderstand me, I do think we should always try to be better in our lives in different areas. I also believe that who I am, my strenths, my weaknesses, my quirks, my irritations, the things that I love and dream about...they all make me who I am...and that is what God loves about me. If I live my life pretending to be something I am not, I miss out on feeling the love of God for who I am. I have discovered...me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Home again


So now we are both home for good!! How nice it is to have us all together again. Now it is time to get back into the swing of life...homeschooling, chores, routine...etc. etc. We also have a huge move ahead in the future as we move to Belize, Central America and begin working down there. Life comes fast...so fast.

I have found with Hannah's arrival, I am thinking more and more of when the other children were first here. I am saddened with wonder, at just how quickly time has gone by. Derek is now 10, and it seems only days ago, we brought him home as new parents. I'm sure the extra motherly hormones are contributing to this, but I just want to love them....so much. I want them to KNOW...how very precious they are to me.

There have been times, when tired and weak, I have just looked at one of my children and cried, because I was too tired to correct them, but I knew I must. "Please, just do right, and we won't have to go through this again..." I'm sure that has been the heart's cry of many women through the ages. In all of my training and discipline, I hope, I pray...that they will always know they are loved, and wanted VERY MUCH! With this new baby, the desire to be more loving, more caring, more understanding, more patient, more kind...to those I love, has swelled within my heart to a point of consumption...

May it consume me every day, to be better.

I've had many older moms tell me...to enjoy these days, they go by far too quickly. But...I want to do more than just enjoy them. I want to be right, to do right...to have memories of loving my family...enjoying THEM. I want to remember laughter in our home. I want to remember love in our home. I want to live today...like I may not have a tomorrow. I want to love today, like there will never be another time to love.

"Lord, help these dear little ones that you have blessed me with...to be loved by a Godly mother, who seeks YOUR heart, YOUR mind, YOUR love for them. Forgive me for being impatient at times. Give me a greater capacity to love...make me more like YOU, for their sake."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The NICU

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This is now my third trip to this amazingly, wonderful, place...filled with worry, nightmares, and sick little ones. May I say, THIS place...is a good place.

When the doctor was prepping me for surgery, I was quoting over and over in my mind our family verse..."The Lord IS GOOD, a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knoweth them that trust in Him." Nahum 1:7 Over and over...this verse calmed my nerves, settled my worried mind, and brought much comfort that God IS good. I had some fears that our little one would have epilepsy as Ellie did. I was worried about watching in fear, as my little girl would stop breathing. I had bad dreams of memories I didn't want to remember. God's word, soothed my soul.

When I returned from the recovery room and Kevin walked into the room, I could tell by his face something was not right. I asked him if he could get me the baby. It was then he told me, she had to go to the NICU. He explained everything to me...and I began to cry. My verse came to mind soon there after, and I realized...The Lord IS GOOD.

He is good, for working out our insurance plan to be able to deliver at this hospital with a neonatal unit...it is the only hospital in our area, and it is known for having an excellent neonatal unit.

He is good, for giving my doctor the wisdom to talk to me about the possibility of my baby having problems if we delivered too early on September 15th, (the original plan)...and how we should wait until the 22nd instead.

He is good, for giving me a very strong husband...who is amazing when I am tired and emotional.

He is good, for giving us a very healthy baby...with a very common problem...

And although it is difficult to watch her in the NICU...and it is not where I would prefer her to be... may I say

He is good, for putting us in a place, where she can receive the care her little lungs need right now.

He is good for giving us nurses in the NICU, who have worked with neonate babies for over 20 years...very comforting to me, especially since this is a common problem...they have worked with this condition many, many times.

He is good..in His creation of a little baby, the wonders of the body, how it all works together in order....simply amazing how HE put us together.

And one last time..."The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in HIM." God is good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hannah Grace is here!

To all of my friends in blog-land..SHE IS HERE!

Hannah Grace Arthur arrived at 7:53am weighing 8lbs. 3oz., a "small baby" for me. The c-section went well...no problems or complications. When Hannah was born, she did need quite a bit of suctioning, as she had a lot of fluid inside of her lungs. This is pretty normal with c-section babies I am told. The fluid was clear, which is good too. Her breathing was shallow, and her oxygen levels are low, so they put her in the neo-natal unit and have been giving her oxygen. They also started her on a precautionary anti-biotic just in case the fluid does not clear up and she develops pneumonia. SHE DOES NOT HAVE PNEUMONIA...but it is a precautionary measure.

I have not been able to hold her yet. This is very hard for me. They do not want me nursing her until her oxygen levels are back up. This too, is difficult. Everything in me wants to go to her, scoop her up in my arms, nuzzle her sweet little neck, whisper loving words in her ear, and give her some warm Mommy's milk to fill her little belly. At this point though, I am not able to go anywhere either...I am still very dizzy even when sitting up. So here I am, without my little baby. And there she is...without her Mommy.

Please pray specifically....
That her oxygen levels would go up.
That I will be able to nurse her tomorrow.

Thank you all...
Amy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mother of all living...Eve

As my time for this new life draws nearer, my mind seems to wander to far off places and ponder questions I will never know the answers to. I was thinking tonight of Eve.

The Bible teaches that before the fall of man, that God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, they talked and spent time together. After the fall, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. We know that God still talked with them to some extent, because God asked Cain about Abel. We just don't know how often He talked with them, or what He actually said.

I was thinking about Eve getting ready to have her first child. Did she know there was a baby inside of her? I wonder if she thought that she would have a full grown person...birthed from her body? Did she know how it would happen? Did she know how long she was to be pregnant? Did she think perhaps she was sick...that she was dying? When labor began, did she even understand what was taking place?

I think that from her watching the animals give birth, she may have had some idea. Let's face it though, some animals give birth to several babies at once! Did Eve think she would have a litter of humans? I just wonder, how much she knew...and how much she didn't!

At the end of my pregnancies, I always feel like I don't want to go another day pregnant!! I wonder if Eve even knew how long she had? Did God teach her all the details? Was she informed?

I don't know any of these answers, but I do know, I'm glad I'm not Eve!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ellie is now 2!!

Although I am preparing for a new baby girl coming soon...I cannot help but remember when my Ellie was born. Here are some of my favorite pictures of her just two short years ago...
Can you believe all that hair???



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Memories

The closer I get to my due date, the more my mind wanders back to when Ellie was born. I've wondered before if all moms do this. With Ellie's birth, there was no way I could've known beforehand, just exactly what I was about to face.

Our first day home from the hospital, we pulled up and the boys had colored signs and taped them to the outside of our house. There were flowers, and smiley faces, all welcoming home their new baby sister. The door was even decorated. When I brought her in, no sooner had I sat down and the boys were hauling into the living room her bassinet, showing her where her bed would be. Of course they all wanted to hold her again. After all the commotion had settled down, I nursed her and then she went into a seizure. I yelled for Kevin to come and see...QUICK!! When she started turning blue, I ran into my room and fell on my knees with her crying and screaming, "NOT MY BABY GIRL...NO!!!" I really thought she was dying. I laid her on her side, and Kevin's Mom and I started rubbing her back and patting her...all the while she was blue and convulsing. I saw my boys at the door, and asked Kevin's Dad to take them outside, so they didn't have to see this. Out they went. What I found out later, to this day brings tears to my eyes.

When the boys went outside, they knew something was wrong. They walked out onto the sidewalk and looked at each other. Derek, my oldest, was 9 at the time. He told us later that a Patch the Pirate song came to his mind, and he remembered Patch saying, "Well, when you don't know what else to do, just pray." So he looked at his brothers, ages 7,5 and 3 and said, "C'mon boys, let's go pray." And my little men, went to the side of the house, got on their knees, and asked God to help their baby sister.

Inside...as Kevin was on the phone with 911, and I was crying and patting Ellie's back...slowly she started taking small gasps of air. The color began to return to her face...and soon she was breathing again. I had no idea my boys were outside praying. How thankful I am that their Daddy had taught them to pray for people who were sick and to pray for their healing.

The next few days were a whirlwind of tests and tears. I could write of many things that happened...the emotions, the struggle, my baby. In the end we found out she had epilepsy. After a slight reaction to a medicine she was on, we finally found some that worked well for her. She was on the seizure medicine for 8 months, retested, and had outgrown the epilepsy. She is fine now.

As I prepare for this new baby coming and I remember and go through the feelings once more, the mental image of my boys praying for their sister is permanently stamped upon my mind. I know that "As for God, His way is perfect."

"Lord, help me to trust You and to have the strength to face whatever You may bring my way."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Motherhood

(Once again, I have written my thoughts a photo has evoked within me. It is posted also on the blog "A thousand words and then some" on my sidebar.)

Ahh motherhood. Who knew what you would require of me? Tales and dreams of chubby little ones surrounding me on my bed, as I read them story books with colorful pictures. Fantasies of dancing around outside in the rain...my immature longings of motherhood. They captivated me. My innermost desires from the time I knew about having babies was to hold my own precious little ones. Kissing their little chubby cheeks...and tucking their smiling faces into a cozy bed at night, in a beautiful nursery,that I had designed myself and sewn together with love.

But Motherhood...you required so much more. More than I ever thought of. You greeted me on a married college students budget...where the corner of our kitchen became my adorable nursery. It consisted of a crib, a shelf, and hand me down bedding. So soon thereafter you greeted me once more, then again and again and again...and I now I am anticipating your return so soon. The blissful dreams of being surrounded by children has become my reality. Instead of happy children reading storybooks, some nights you have given me pillowfights instead. Dancing in the rain has become waterfights and waterballoons. Happy children sometimes squabble and fight, and my patience is tested. I never knew it would be this way. My dreams only included perfect children, and a perfect mother. You have shown me, I am not perfect. I get tired and worn out, and I don't want to read one more book...I just want to sleep. Yet, how much more fun is it to sleep with a cherished little one by your side...than to sleep all alone?

Motherhood...you demand much, but you give so much more. You give me the pleasure of getting honey on my face, through the kiss of a toddler. The laughter of a child...finally getting a knock-knock joke. The awe of a child seeing some insect for the first time...and it's all for me to enjoy.

My dreams may have been too rosy. My expectations of you unrealistic at times. Yet my love for you, Motherhood, grows with each little babe that comes to me. How wonderful life is, with you by my side.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My big helpers!!

Kevin left 2 days ago, to make a trip to Belize. His main purpose while down there is to secure housing for us when we move in November. I am anxiously awaiting an e-mail with pictures!

The morning he left I sat the boys down for a chat. I told them that I am very pregnant right now, and I cannot do all that I normally do...as quickly as I normally do, and that I needed them to help me out. I gave each boy 2 simple chores. Derek (10) is to help with dishes, and to help David with his chores. Joey, (8) cleans the bathroom and his bedroom, David (6) is to vacume the dining room and living room, and to pick up things in the living room that do not belong. Many toys and coloring things tend to accumulate in the living room...thus Derek was assigned to help David, if the clutter was too overwhelming. Nathan, (4) is to pick up the shoes at the door and put them away, and to help Mommy get the clothes out of the dryer.

I also told them I was going to make a chart to check off their jobs. On the chart next to their name is a blank square. In that blank square I am keeping track of anything they do EXTRA each day that I do not have to ask them to do. They may not come up to me and TELL me what they have done, I must notice it on my own. Each mark will count as a merit. At the end of the 10 days, whichever child has the most merits will go out with Mommy on a special date, and will get a special toy.

Let me tell you...it has been truly amazing! I was only up for 15 minutes, and went to my room to get something. Derek had already went in there and made up my bed! After breakfast this morning while everyone was busy with their chores, Joey grabbed a broom and began to sweep the kitchen floor. I walked into Ellie's room to get something, and David was in there tidying up, and then he vacumed everyone's bedroom! They really like this!! And it sure makes things a little bit easier on me!

I usually take one of the boys with me at some time during the week when Kevin is home. They all seem to enjoy time out with just Mom. I really am amazed at how well they like this little merit contest.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My strength is made perfect...

...in weakness.

A hard lesson to learn. At times I think I'm learning it AGAIN in a different way in my life. I feel as if lately, I've had to lay aside what I felt were my own "strengths"...in order to be stripped away from my comfort zone, and left with nothing around me but my own glaring weaknesses. Then my analytical mind would kick into overdrive. "Perhaps, the Lord...." or "Maybe God is trying to..."...when really I just need to allow myself to be led, down this path of weakness, down this trail of "no strengths". But what are we to do....when we are weak....when we have no strength of our own to fall back on...when we are put into a position where our strength is not needed...not wanted...not used? Are we to try and focus on other areas of our life, and strengthen them? I have felt as I have been going through this time...that I am to simply rest, and be led. To rest in the knowledge that my Father has a plan that I cannot see. I may not understand where He is leading me, but I do know that He is leading. To be content, to see my strengths, or what I felt were my strengths...sitting unused, because it is what the Lord would have for me right now. I may not know why, or understand what work He is trying to grow in me...but I can trust that He knows what is best. His strength IS made perfect....in my weakness. And isn't that what I would want anyways? To have HIS strength and not my own? To yield my way unto HIS way? To let go, and let God? To surrender, even the areas that I am strong in....to be weak and in need of His strengthening? Although it is a difficult lesson to be in the midst of, I believe I would want to learn it again and again and again throughout my life. To simply be reminded of how needy I truly am...of Him.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Princess Potato Salad

I was recently making potato salad for a picnic.
As usual,
Whenever I am in the kitchen doing ANYTHING...there is my little shadow, curious and interested in whatever it is I am doing....and I LOVE IT! I set her up on the counter so she could see all the action. The potatoes, the eggs, the mixing and peeling. She was very intrigued, but mostly in the eggs, so I began to show her how to peel them...and she copied.


To me, it was very cute that she noticed where I was putting
the peeled egg shells, and she began to put them exactly where I was putting them. Notice the little hole her finger created...
Momma's little helper, my official "Princess Potato Salad"!!
Ahhhh, potato salad never tasted so good!!



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hamster update

I thought I would update you on our little critter. I did try the Playmobile carriage. His little hind parts fit into the carraige, but the second he sat down, he was getting out...he's pretty smart. So I've been watching him, checking on him in his cage...just making sure all is well with our little pet. The other day David got him out of the cage and we watched him crawling around on the floor. I think maybe his legs were broken (poor, poor thing)...but it seems they have healed? One of his little legs seems to be back nearly into full usage...the other may have a small limp(...do hamsters limp?)

I noticed when he first became handicapped, he slept a WHOLE LOT. I thought it was because he was dying. He would eat a little...then sleep most of the day and evening. We just couldn't kill him. After a couple of weeks, it seems he became active once again. I wonder if all of his sleeping, was his body repairing the broken leg he may have had. I had never thought about it before, but I also wondered if little rat bones...regenerate bone cells and "set" when they are broken....like humans? Of course I will never know...what exactly was wrong, but it seems he is doing very well now.

Just thought I'd let everyone know.

Friday, August 7, 2009

What is your passion?

A thousand words...and then some...: Assignment #5 - What is your passion?
As time has allowed, I have tried to participate in a writing challenge. Today I was challenged to write about my passion in life.


Deep within my heart, since I became a Christian is a simmering flame. I do not claim to be a great Christian, nor would I assume to describe myself as a great person of faith. I do have a fire though. It burns within me daily.

With every ounce of soul that I posses, I long, I desire, I yearn, to please the Lord with my life. Not for salvation, not for acceptance, not for the love of God, but to please Him. This desire, this passion, drives me to be a better wife, a better mother, a better person...to represent the One who gave me eternal life well.

This passion smites my heart when I fail. This passion holds my tongue, when I would like to tell someone what I think. This passion helps me to love someone, who has hurt me greatly. It drives me to make a difference.

No matter what the emotion I may be feeling, the fire simmers. No matter what turmoil I may have in my life, the fire simmers. I feel it within my soul...this longing, this pulling, to please my Lord.

May I live my life in such a way, as to feed this flame until it is more than a simmering fire, but an all consuming passion, that overwhelms me til I breathe my last breath...and my soul finally reaches heaven.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes

I have had them every day this WEEK!!! I cannot get enough of them! Yesterday I made a delicious roast, with carrots and potatoes...the house smelled wonderful! When Kevin walked in the door, I asked him, "How does the house smell?" expecting to hear how great dinner smelled. Instead, he laughed and said, "well, it smells like fried, burnt tomatoes!" We had a good laugh, and guess what, it STILL smells like that!

We have been struggling to figure out our new internet service these last couple of weeks. Evidently, we have a certain amount of mega bytes to use (greek to me), and we have no idea what uses how much mega bytes...so it is a learning game right now.

We are preparing to start another school year, have a baby, and move to another country afterwards....lots to do lately!

I'd like to post pictures soon of the children and some of their summer time fun. Hopefully it will not take up too many of those mega byte thingies!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I AM NOT A DUCK!

33 weeks along. That should explain the title of this blog entry. When I was younger, (ahem), I knew that in these last days of pregnancy the inescapable "waddle" took over my body. I would fight the urge to just let my body move naturally...because it certainly didn't LOOK natural. I have found that now....it is painful NOT to waddle. So I walk slowly...or should I say I waddle slowly. I've always thought it was cute to watch a woman late in her pregnancy. There she is...ALL OF HER. If she was standing still, you could sometimes catch a glimpse of the little one within bumping around for some more room. I love to feel my own wee one wiggling around. The other night I was playing with her...(did I tell you it is supposed to be another girl!!!) She would kick, and I would rub her little foot. Then she would kick again in the same spot...and I'd tickle her again. It was almost as if, she would pause for a moment...wondering what it was that she was feeling...then she'd kick again. I do love these last days...but it sure is tiring on this body of mine.

Some of my maternity clothes have almost become immodest to wear, I'm getting huge now! Those of you who have had large mammoth sized babies know what I am referring to! Mrs. Joyce Nymeyer bought me a beautiful outfit with one of my winter pregnancies...and I still remember the day, the skirt was too tight to wear...I think it was an XL. That baby was weighed in at 9lbs 14oz, one potato shy of a 10lb potato bag. I've never looked at a sack of potatoes the same since that baby! Of course my little sweet angel Ellie, was 10lbs 40z....a little more than a sack of potatoes. How odd that I would compare my babies to a sack of potatoes!

We have moved into a 4 bedroom 2 bath apartment, PRAISE THE LORD! Much roomier I must say. We also have a washer and dryer in the unit, so this is VERY NICE! I about have things back in order and organized. So for the past week or so, that is where I have been, moving. Our internet was just switched on this week, so I should be keeping up with you more. Of course, It may not be too fast...because I am only waddling at this point.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life or death?

The other day I noticed our little hampster, "Hampy" was walking funny. How odd of a hamster to walk with his front legs, and drag his back legs...hmmm??? Later on I checked on him again, and sure enough...he was not walking right. I took him out of his cage and placed him on the floor, thinking maybe his chance at freedom, would "fix" him. It didn't. Then I noticed the bottom half of his body looked....smashed, flattened...definately not right.

I began to GENTLY ask the little boys questions, "Honey, did you drop the hampster today, or accidently drop something on him?" "Did you close him up in a door?" On this particular day, David (Hampy's owner-6 yrs old), had made him an outside home inside of our cooler. He added lots of grass and pretty rocks and soft leaves. I made sure to tell him right away to leave the lid open so he wouldn't suffocate. David always takes him outside, nearly every day and plays with him in the sunshine. He then will bring him back inside, put him in his cage...until the next day.

No one had any answers.

The next day Joey had caught a toad and put it in the cooler. I went outside to check on the boys and there was the toad...dead on the sidewalk. I asked Nathan, 4yrs old, what had happened. He told me the toad was trying to get away, and he went running to catch him, and stepped on him...but it was an accident, he didn't mean it. I got down on my knees and looked into his eyes and asked, "Nathan, did that happen yesterday with Hampy? Was he trying to get away and you stepped on him?" "Yes Mommy, but I didn't mean too!"

So now we have a handicapped hamster. My husband said it was inhumane to let him live. The problem is...he still eats, drinks, and drags himself all over the place, and neither of us can think of a HUMANE way to kill the poor thing. David still plays with him. Kevin still greets him each evening with, "Hey little rat, whats up???" I told Kevin, perhaps it would be better to let him die slowly...and just not wake up one day, than to kill him. He doesn't seem to be in misery at all? Poor little guy. Not sure what else to do now, but to let him live!! I thought about letting him go, to live his last days free!! Then I remembered the hawks I see every now and then flying by...How terrrible to let a handicapped hamster free...with hawks flying overhead!! I suppose we'll just keep him. I thought of making a little wheelchair for him out of some toys...we'll see how that project comes along.

So what do you think....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Childhood Memories

One of the newest blogs I have decided to keep up on is:
http://athousandwordsandthensome.blogspot.com/

I really enjoy writing, and this is a nice outlet for me. Amy has given us a topic of Childhood Memories to write about. Many things have come to mind throughout my day, feel free to share some of your own Childhood Memories here or on Amy's blog if you'd like.

When I was 6 or 7 my grandparents lived nearby, and they bought a farm. The two-story yellow house was on a dirt road in a small town in Michigan. In the summer time, it seems we spent a lot of time over there. You would not believe all of the fruit that grew on this property. Grandma had cherry trees, apple trees, pear trees, even plums! There was rhubarb growing on the side of the garage. Grandma always had a big garden that housed many vegetables...but also strawberries! At the edge of the property there was a line of huge pine trees, and right behind those trees, was the vast Michigan wilderness. At various times in the summer and fall, we would find blueberrries, blackberries and rasberries. It was like an unending feast when we went to Grandma's house. I remember always getting in trouble for climbing the apple trees. I also remember getting stomach aches for eating too many green apples.

A lot of times in the summer, Grandma would bribe us to weed her garden. "If you weed the garden, I'll take you swimming." How we loved to swim! Growing up in Michigan there was always a lake within driving distance. We would sit in the garden and weed for a while, get hot and go play...then Grandma would come out and remind us..."GIRLS, I'M NOT TAKING YOU SWIMMING IF YOU DON'T WEED THE GARDEN!!" And back we would go, to get the garden done. I remember sitting there, making the plants stand out brightly against the dark soil...without the weeds to dim their color...how beautiful it was to me, even as a girl...to have nice clean rows of vegetables. I still love to weed a garden and make it neat and pretty. I remember one time, I was halfway through a row before I realized, I had been pulling the PLANTS...instead of the weeds! OOPS!!

We did get to go swimming... many times. I also watched Grandma can the vegetables, make jam, fill up her basement with rows and rows of pretty jars of homemade goodness. It was so lovely to me. I even helped make sauerkraut one year. I stood in a barrel filled with cabbage and other stuff, (I'm still not sure what it was) jumped up and down for what seemed like forever...and got out, my feet never to smell the same again.

I saw baby goats born at Grandma's house. I was also chased by a crazy turkey, that was as tall I was! Even though I was terrified of that turkey, I cried the day he was cooked...and I couldn't eat him! I'll never forget watching through the window, as his body ran around the yard...without a head!

Life had some sadness growing up, but at Grandma's house there were many happy memories.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Flu bug

It has hit us. It began on Thursday with Kevin and David. Friday was Joey and Ellie's turn. Saturday it finally reached my stomach...and today it is Derek's turn. It seems to last between 24-36 hours. I'm not sure if it is because of the pregnancy, but it has completely wiped me out!! I think I was awake a total of about 4 hours all day on Saturday. I don't remember the last time I have slept so much. Today I thought I was better, so I got up and began to get myself ready for church. Derek woke up, not feeling so well, so we waited to see whether or not he was sick, or just tired. Sure enough, he was sick too. I stayed home with him, started cleaning up the "morning rush mess"...and all of a sudden I got sooo dizzy, I almost passed out. That happened twice yesterday. So now I am laying down AGAIN...with Derek to keep me company. Tomorrow it should be Nathan's turn, unless he has an iron stomach.

Kevin has been so good. I think as women we tend to push ourselves, even when we are very sick. Something in our nature I suppose, tells us to just keep on going. After all, we have a family to take care of right? On Saturday, Kevin took all the kids with him, to go to a picnic we had been invited to. I stayed home and slept. Then last night he took all of them to the store with him. As soon as I can find the picture I will post it....he had all of the boys in one of the little cars that are attached to the front of the cart at Stracks. It looked like a bunch of monkeys hanging off of it. I'm surprised he didn't get reprimanded by someone in the store, "Excuse me sir, only 2 children per truck is allowed." He said they all did really well. He didn't seem any worse for the trip either. The man has the patience of a saint I tell ya.

So now, I've been ordered by the man in charge to lay down...AGAIN, and take it easy today. Hopefully, this is the end of our visitor this week.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Corn on the cobb

For the 4th of July we went to The Mock's house and had a cookout. The Mock's have 4 boys, so
all of the kiddos had a good time playing with swords and running around. Ellie and I stayed indoors with the other "women folk" and just chatted.




While getting some corn ready to cook, Ellie seemed pretty interested in helping. I gave her a peice of corn and was showing her how to shuck the cobb....



She was ready to jump right in and help....



She was fascinated that there was corn in the midst of all the
green stuff....then she ate nearly the entire ear of corn...raw!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iced tea

Today was a busy day once again. I decided to shampoo all of the carpets. With the boys constantly running in and out during the summer, it seems many things get tracked in. Mostly pond scum from their exploring expeditions. I love that they are in a place where they CAN explore and find things...it's so good for boys to have this. We've seen many frogs... even huge bull frogs...that I would not want to meet up with in the middle of the night. They've found many turtles too, crossing the road to go to the pond. Once we even saw baby mallard ducks, crossing the road quietly with their mother. I wondered, "How does she keep them all quiet?" Needless to say, the carpet has been needing a good shampooing....although I just did it in April.

So for the good part of the afternoon, I shampooed the carpets. I go very slowly, and often times will go over a "well used" section over and over again. By nap time, I was tired, and the carpets were done, the house was clean...it's a good feeling.

At dinner, we had a chili-mac casserole with mixed veggies on the side along with freshly made iced tea. As is our custom...everyone gets a small drink with their food, and any refills they may have only after eating all of their food. I told the boys, "Please be careful with the tea, Mommy just finished cleaning all of the carpet." I should've known.

Joey, finished his first cup of tea, and decided he was going to get another drink. He didn't ask, and I didn't see him. I never let them pour their own drinks if the pitcher is full...only if it is under half-way full. You can guess what happened.

Tea...all over the table, dripping through the cracks, off of everyones chair...all around the table. I was just stunned. I sat their thinking through all of the work I had just done this afternoon. Moving the table back and forth to get it thoroughly cleaned underneath. I thought of my just saying, "Please be careful with the tea." I thought of how we never let them get a second drink until their food is gone. I wondered why...why would he even try to get another drink...from a FULL pitcher none the less. I scolded him out of complete frustration. I have been teaching them a lot lately about doing right. He knew it was wrong to get more tea...and did it anyways, and created a mess.

Joey and I both moved the table after dinner. He moved all of the chairs, and he picked up anything that was under the table for dinner. We cleaned the carpet AGAIN. Then we both moved the table back, and he moved all the chairs back. He helped clean the mess he made.

Sometimes I wonder...am I being too hard....am I being too easy? Certain things we have set rules about...but life happens, and those things don't always fall under a "rule" we have set. Do you make allowances for childishness at all? For instance, my "command" tonight was to be careful with the tea. Although it is understood...no seconds on drinks until the food is gone...it has never been stated as a rule. Therefore, when Joey tried to pour his second cup of tea...since it was not a rule, and I had not said anything about "refills" on drinks (at this meal)....was he disobeying and being sneaky....???? Or was he simply thirsty, and wasn't really thinking about anything other than, "hmmm that tea was tasty, I think I'll have some more!" Sometimes it is so hard to decipher....

And also....would I had been as frustrated by the whole incident had I not just shampooed the carpet? Was I annoyed because he poured more tea out of a full pitcher....or because he had soiled my newly cleaned carpet?

Not many people read my blog, and those who do...I highly look up to. So what would you have done?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Daddy...

Father's day for me through the years was always a time I would make my Mom laugh. I would call her on Father's day and give her a homemade card...she was a single Mom most of my growing up years. I never had a dad in my home as a girl. These are simply my memories of what it was like. I now know, there are many Dad's who do not meet my descriptions below...again, this was what I really thought growing up.

As I thought about Father's Day this year...I thought of how good God has been to give me my husband. I wrote him this letter, and he told me..."You should share that"...so here it is, straight from my heart to my husband.


Father to me...

As a girl, when I thought of the word Father, it was mysterious. Cloudy visions of the man I knew as Father, faded quickly as time passed. Before too long, there was no face at all. I wondered at times, what he was like. Was he funny? Quick tempered? Pleasant? Did he like to have fun or was he quiet? Some of these questions, I still don't know the answer to. I learned the word Father...was not needed in our home. Nor did he need me. I was unwanted.

As a teenager, the word Father took on another meaning. I watched fathers around me. I learned that fathers care in their own way. I learned that fathers are sometimes distant...and seemingly do not want to be bothered. Some are easily disappointed in those around him, if things were not done their way. So as a teenager I learned the word Father...was distant, did not want to be bothered, and was easily disappointed.

As an adult, I have learned of a Father. He loves me when I am unlovable. He cares for me at all times. He always believes in me, and never gives up for HE loves me...I am His own. He wants my fellowship and attention. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is not distant, but close by in every time of need I may have. He loves for me to call out to Him and cry on His shoulder. He loves me.

I learned all of this from you. You have shown me, sometimes by your words...what my Father is really like. You have helped me to see, by your actions...that a Father never gives up on his children, but always believes there is a way, always hopes. You taught me my Father wants to hear from me...me. He is not distant...but close by. You have shown me what a Father should be. You have helped me see what I missed out on all of those years. You have been Christ to me. Thank you for being a Father...to your wife. I used to feel like I really missed out. What type of person would I be today, if I had grown up with a loving Father? I watch you now and I love to just sit by and see you love on Ellie. It warms MY heart to see you hold her and kiss her...as if by some odd way, that little girl within me is vicariously receiving the love she never had, by watching you love our daughter. Maybe it is strange for me to feel this way. I just love it though. It brings tears to my eyes...as I remember all of the times I felt unloved and unwanted. Now, I have a little girl, who will never feel that way. For she has a godly father. I'm so glad it is you. I love you so much. I am so thankful God brought us together.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The dropped Wafer

Today was the Lord's supper at our church. It is a very quiet introspective time. We have taught our oldest three boys about the Lord's supper, what it means, what we should meditate on and when. They all know about the Lord's broken body...why He was broken. We've taught them to bow their heads after they receive the wafer and to pray and thank the Lord for giving His body as a sacrifice for our sin.

They all know it is a quiet time, no talking at all. It is a time for only praying and thinking about all that Jesus Christ has done for us. Nothing else.

This morning I was sitting quietly with my oldest son Derek. The plate was passed. I closed my eyes. I heard something drop. When I opened my eyes to see what it was, Derek had dropped his wafer. I closed my eyes again...then I heard Derek whispering...

"Mom...Mom....I dropped JESUS!!"

I almost started laughing hysterically right then and there! I just looked at him, and said,"It's ok, shhhhhhhh."

Then he started snorting because he was trying not to laugh. Then he whispered again...

"But Mom...(snort) I dropped Jesus!!"

It was hard to not snort with him...I was trying so hard to just remain calm, and calm him down...but the more he whispered frantically...the funnier it seemed to me! I don't think he was even trying to be funny. He just didn't know what to do when he dropped the wafer...and I don't think he thought I understood exactly what had happened. Hopefully we didn't disturb too many people around us... (Jennie, your parents were sitting in the row behind us)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cheerful Endurance

This morning I decided to read some specific verses pertaining to loving people. I pulled up e'sword and looked at nearly every word in each verse in the Greek. I have always thought of patience as "enduring difficult times"...being a "good" soldier. Today I was surprised to find out that sometimes when the word patience is used...the Greek definition listed "cheerful endurance".

I will be very open with everyone, (including myself) I have one child that is more trying than the others. He is very determined...and will sometimes choose his own way knowing what the consequences will be. At times I feel like I am "enduring" raising him. I know he has strengths, and that the Lord has a plan for his determination...but as a child, he is just very difficult to rear.

I was also reading ICorinthians 13 along with the other verses. I had read these many, many times. I have been taught these verses and their meaning many times as well. I noticed the words "long-suffering" and "patience".

I know I am not a cheerful endurer. I am not patient with others shortcomings. If something is wrong, and it is pointed out...make it right...period. Plain and simple. I should realize however, that "making things right" does not always come easy. Not for an adult or a child. The flesh is real and strong...people, including my children, have battles to fight that I cannot fight for them. They must choose to do right.

My heart was convicted realizing that I may be one person who will "cheerfully endure" my childrens shortcomings. I need to believe in them, in their weaknesses. I need to not give up on them...when they purposefully disobey time and time again. It grieves me so...and all I want is for them to just do right. When they choose to do wrong...I am not patient as I should be. If I am not patient with them, who will be? Where will they "feel" loved unconditionally...if not from their own mother.

May the Lord help me, to grow. He has "pointed" this out to me, and I want to make it right...plain and simple.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Rat is a rat is a rat!

David's little cute panda hamster is in the dog house.Thankful for him though, we do have a personal animal rights advocate living in our home. She is not yet two years of age, but already has a great compassion for the little rodent. Each morning as I get breakfast ready, or in the evening cleaning up after supper, she walks into the kitchen and plops down on the floor to check and see how he is fairing. (The rodent is placed on the floor in his cage pushed up against the wall because he is a genius...everywhere else we put him, he opens the door and gets out on his own.) So there sits our animal lover...right in front of his cage. I've seen her many times, open the door to the cage...mumble something in hamster language...then she just sits and smiles. Of course the hamster understands this is his key to freedom, this little person mumbling to him. Most of the time, I catch this little routine, scoop up the runaway and place him back in his prison...but sometimes I don't see it happen.

Thus was the case last week. He had been gone for two days. No one could find him anywhere. Before when this had happened, I had found him hiding under the cushions of the couch...in the framework...exploring. This time I could find him nowhere. The next morning, as I was getting dressed...I opened my bottom drawer.

In complete confusion I saw shreds of my maternity clothes. "What in the world???" I began pulling several pieces of clothing out, holding them up and seeing little holes all over them. As I moved the clothes around, I also saw back in the corner...a small pile of moldy candy. It was then that I knew I had found the escapee. Within moments his little head peeked out from the back of the drawer...and I am almost sure I saw him smile at me, thanking me for his little rendevous. I was not happy though. "NAUGHTY LITTLE RAT!!" I scolded. Then back to his cage he went...forever. He is grounded from his hamster ball. No more animal rights advocate. No more late nights out on the town either,or in my drawer for that matter.

I shouldn't be surprised though, after all, a rat is a rat is a rat.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trees

The last few days have been beautiful. Warm sunshine, a gentle breeze and blue skies...what more could a person ask for?! I was lying down, staring at a tree and in the background I could see the bright blue sky, in the forefront, the spring green of new leaves. My mind recalled how I had read in Psalms 148 before about the trees praising God. I often have wondered about that. Do trees have a voice inaudible to us? How do TREES praise God?

As I thought this over once again, while staring at this tree, it all made sense. We've all heard the saying, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree". Each and every branch on that tree was growing somewhere different than all the other branches. Each branch was bent slightly different. Some had knots on them, some had yet smaller branches coming off of them...none of them were the same. "Hmmmm" I thought. "How like our lives?" We all come from different situations, backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. The branches make us who we are. Some branches are stronger...some have knots. All had leaves. I watched the leaves for a good 3 minutes at least. Just watching them reflect the bright sunlight, and be blown about by the wind. I noticed then that some of the leaves were flitting all over...others closer to the middle hardly moved at all. Some had a lot of sun reflecting on them...others, were growing in the shadows of the other leaves...and again I thought, "Hmmmm, how similar this is to people." There are those who are stronger, who can be tossed about by stormy winds, and still hold fast. While others need to stay close to the source of their strength...the Trunk of the tree, to keep from being destroyed. Some may not be able to withstand the high winds. Some leaves bathe in the glow of the sun, while others may never see the direct light of sun, but stay tucked away in the shadows...yet still growing. People. Created by God...why do we expect everyone to be alike? Each one of us has our purpose, and it doesn't need to be the same as everyone around us. Should the leaf near the middle of the tree be ashamed, because it is weak, and cannot withstand strong winds? Nor should the leaf, fed by the brightness of the sun all day.

I just want to be a leaf that the Lord can use freely, and move about at His bidding. I want to reflect the goodness of my Maker. I also want to remember, the beauty of the tree is not in my leaf alone, but all of them...bound together by one Trunk...many branches and all different. Now I see just how a tree can praise the Lord.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Baking with toddlers







Tonight I decided to make some cinnamon rolls to raise overnight. Nathan and Ellie were VERY interested in helping me! Nathan kept licking the flour off of his hands, then trying to smash the dough again...


I really enjoyed playing in the dough with my little ones. They would just swish the flour back and forth all over the table....Ellie's jumper was covered with flour, and I loved it.


I showed her how to just pat the dough. She'd smack it, smash it, throw it in the pan, then do it all over again.


I've always cooked with my children. Usually just one at a time to help with pancakes, eggs, spaghetti sauce, cinnamon rolls, iced tea...

I love watching them enjoy life...enjoy learning...touching a new texture...tasting flour. They truly are a joy to my soul. I love them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Comfort from the Lord

It seems this week has been a very trying week for us. Each day has brought unusual challenges and unexpected tears. It is times like these when the Lord seems closer than usual, and although I cannot feel his arms ever near me, I do sense His presence and comfort. I have learned in my life, that in most situations, it is better to keep your mouth closed, until your thoughts are in order with the word of God. Until that point, anything you say is tainted with the flesh. Sad to say, this practice has not been perfected in me, though I strive for it. It is always nice to have someone to talk things over with when you are hurting. Someone who will not judge or interrupt. A listener.

There are times while praying, that my heart is so heavy, I really do not know what to say. I just want to be in the Lord's presence. And somehow, just bowing on my knees and closing my eyes...I receive comfort. There was a time in my life, when I thought if I had nothing to say, then why would I pray? I know that prayer is asking, but sometimes the soul needs comfort, and there are no words to relay the need...but God knows.

I have been longing for something, yet didn't know what it was. Yesterday, while watching my children play outside, little Nathan ran up to me. "Mom, you beautiful!" he shouted, hugged me, then ran away. Later, David, all covered in dirt, ran up to me to share some exciting adventure...I hugged him tightly while he chattered on and on, then he too ran off. I feel like I had been receiving comfort in my heart from the Lord, but I needed something with skin on, a person.

I teared up thinking how good God has been to me to give me these 5 wonderful children and a loving husband. Through difficult days, they are here for me. Each hug and "I love you" just comforted me, and warmed my heart. I know that they need me, but this week I needed them. God has loved me, through my children.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pedicures and Puddles

It was a nice day again today. The grass is such a beautiful green...I love all of the different shades of green in the spring. The boys were outside a lot this afternoon, while Ellie and I napped. After I got up, I was cleaning and getting dinner ready, so we still didn't make it outside. Then it started raining. It rained for about 30 minutes pretty hard and the wind was blowing all the rain sideways. I also love storms so I was hoping for a good one to watch. When the rain stopped, the sun quickly came out again, and the boys headed back out the door. Ellie by this point was standing at the door crying, she just wanted to go too!! Dinner was done, but I was still waiting for my brown rice to cook. (Why does it take SOOOO LONG?!?!)

We both headed out the door...Ellie in her bare feet. The boys were running through puddles, even dumping puddle water on each other! YIKES! I took Ellie to her first puddle, and she looked up at me and smiled as if she were thinking, "I can do this too?!!" Then she just went back and forth, back and forth, splashing and giggling at this new activity! It was such a joy to watch her. Then I noticed her little toenails. I had given her a pedicure on Sunday night, while we were at home (due to allergies and gunky eyes)...she sat still the whole time, I think enjoying all the attention. I even put a little white sparkly flower nail sticker on her big toe and sealed it in with a clear polish.

Every time I saw those little pink toes pop out of the mud puddle...along with the sparkly flowers, I just couldn't help smiling!! What a joy it is to have a girl!! A balanced girl that likes to have fun too!! Praise the Lord for His abundant blessings on my life...oh and for the puddles!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Invisible Mosquitos

They are my enemy today. I know many of you LOVE homeschooling, I am trying to get to that point. Right now I almost like it...almost.

Today it is a lovely day outside. I really wanted the boys to get done quickly so they could enjoy the sunshine, and I could go shopping before I am too exhausted to even want to go. Now it is well after lunch time, and Joey is still not even half way done. All because of the invisible mosquitoes.

It all started two hours ago with a math test. A very simple, 12 question math test. I looked it over, he knew all of the answers and concepts...it wasn't even a timed test. There he sat...counting by 5's. I looked over at his paper, and he was writing the numbers about 6 inches tall...just because he could. Then the mosquitos came. They were either invisible or microscopic and only liked to eat on Joey. There must have been a whole swarm of them...they encircled his entire body and began to bite him EVERYWHERE! He scratched furiously on his head, arms, inside of his shirt, (I have no idea how they got in THERE!) even on the tops of his earlobes. When I told him to stop it, he did, but then shook like a addict going through withdraws. I let him carry on so for a while. Then I told him if he couldn't stop he would be taking a shower and then finishing his test, before completing the rest of his work. It seemed to work for about 30 seconds.

It is always something. I've thought before about switching curriculum just for him...but I don't think it would keep the mosquitoes away. Maybe they just like math?

Friday, May 1, 2009

A decade gone

Today Derek is 10. The other day he made a picture with all the wonderful things he did while he was 9. It was pretty impressive and creative. Of course this fall and winter we spent 4 months serving in Jamaica... a great experience for all of us. He drew a picture on his poster of climbing a mountain from when he visited the villages with Kevin. Snorkeling in the ocean off of a deserted island...flying on an airlplane, reading books. He even wrote a book while we were in Jamaica, called "Derek's Daring Adventures" a book about an ogre. We typed it up, exactly as he wrote it. He played baseball on a team for the first time last summer. Many wonderful things happened while he was nine.

I cannot help but to think of these next 10 years of his life. Then he will be gone. What kind of example will our home be for him? Will he look forward to having a home just like "Mom and Dads" or will he be awaiting the day he can leave? Will I be a good example of a wife...a mother? Will he see God in our home, and know that He indeed is real and alive? Will these last few years show him there is no better life than that of service to the King of Kings? Where will his heart be after 10 more years?

Parenting is indeed a huge undertaking. Yeilding daily to the Lord, asking for wisdom and love for all these little ones that unknowingly test our patience. Striving to make God real in our home...real to them. We walk that fine line between showing them how to love God...and "making" them love God. In this next decade, he will decide. Where will his heart take him?

His time in our home is nearly gone. Lord help me...to do this job you have set before me the right way, with the right spirit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Such Love

Perfect love casts out fear. It does. So why do I fear? As of late I've been faced with a nice dose of reality...about me. As I was thinking about an overwhelming situation (to me), I thought and prayed, "Lord, I just cannot do this! It is impossible for me! I'm sorry Lord, I'm not what I should be, I'm not as strong as I should be, and I don't have what it takes to do THIS!" Then I cried, saddened by the awful thought of my own failure and inability to be what God wanted me to be. The entire day was miserable. In my heart of hearts, in the deepest corner of my soul...is a longing, a simmering fire...to please my Lord. When I realized there may be something the Lord wants me to do...that I simply COULD NOT HANDLE...it just devastated me.

I've thought on this all week. I've prayed and apologized to the Lord for my weakness, my inabilities, my failure to be what He needed me to be. As I prayed the other day, once again pouring out my heart to God, in the stillness of my tears, the Lord impressed upon me another perspective I had not thought of.

God has always known my insecurites. He knows my feelings of failure. He knows my weaknesses, my strengths. He knows about my emotions, my desires, He knows my heart and soul. He knows what I am truly afraid of and He even knows why. And yet, my heavenly Father believes in me. He is all-knowing...and He believes in....ME! Would He ask of me something beyond my ability to achieve? Would He ask me to do something He already knew I couldn't do?? Absolutely not. Therefore, if He asks something of me...although I feel insecure and fearful, weak and unable...if He asks me, then He believes I am able. He believes I am strong enough. If my Creator, the One who knows me, believes in me...why should I fear? I know He knows me better than I know myself...so if the Lord believes in me, He is right and I am wrong. I am able to do His will for my life no matter how difficult it may seem or He would not ask it of me. I really trust Him. I believe He loves me. I believe His word. How can I fear with a love so real and so strong?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breathe them in

I'm not sure if it is pregnancy hormones, but somedays seem to be a little more nostalgic than others. Today it was smells. I was very much aware of scents that I have always loved. Some that I had not really thought of, but they still bring a warmth to my heart just to breathe them in.

Coffee brewing in the morning, the smell of the rain on a dreary overcast day, homemade waffles cooking, a baby's neck after a bath, and candles. This is a new one to me, that I never realized I liked so much, but, white clothes that have been bleached, coming out of the dryer. I absolutely LOVE clothes dried outside on the line (however, it rained all day today). I am so thankful that God put within my heart the ability to enjoy such simple things. I've met so many, who just don't. I hurt for them sometimes, to think of all they are missing out on.

In my mind, I think, within the heart of every woman, is a strong pull to be a Titus chapter 2 woman. To be sober, (disiplined in our thoughts)...to love your husband, to love your children, to be discreet, (minding our own business) chaste, keepers at home, good and obedient. In our day and age it seems that everything being taught to young women is almost opposite of all of this. Many women are not content, and are being pulled in all directions to succeed, to do it all...full time job, housekeeper, wife, mother, community leader, church helper...etc. etc. Do we miss out on the simple things, because we are so busy doing other things? Do women today, have the time to enjoy the smell of coffee brewing, or are we doing too much? Doing so much, but enjoying so little.

There are days when it seems I am doing, doing, doing, for EVERYONE!! I give to my husband, I give to my children, I give to others, I give time for the Lord...and at times I begin to get a little frustrated wondering..."WHAT ABOUT ME!" When I take the time to just slow down...I realize I am called to serve. To serve my family. When I focus my mind on this task...serving, I feel peace and contentment in my heart, in my duties...and I enjoy the simple things that come my way.

I've often thought about the end times, the millenium. When Christ will rule and reign as King. How will He want our homes run? What will our roles be? What will please the King of Kings? Could I try to do some of that now...to please Him with my life, with my role, with my duties? What is it that we will enjoy in those days...in our everyday life? Is it possible to enjoy those things now? Will we enjoy the simple everyday things in our lives? I think so. I think the Lord made us to enjoy many things, if we would just slow down and take the time to breathe them in.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Have ya ever said something to one of your children and then thought, "Did I just say THAT???" I have, many times. Someone may need a good laugh today, so I thought I would share my "momisms".

"Son, you CAN'T THROW FURNITURE!" (spoken to a 3 yr old, who had hurt his knee by running into an old flimsy coffee table, then shoved it. I walked into the room, as it was tumbling over.)

"Quit climbing the wall please." (one of the boys was actually scaling a wall in a hallway.)

"Did you just wipe boogers on your brother?"

"Quit eating all of your toys, or you won't have ANY to play with!" (we have one son who was worse than a puppy, he chewed on everything!)

"Son, you cannot do that, you need to use your brain and think..." 4 yr old child whispers to his brother, "I don't even know what a BRAIN looks like!"

I'm sure I have many more written down in a journal somewhere in storage...maybe you'll see a book someday with the title, "Things you should never have to say to your child." Or better yet, "Things you never THOUGHT you would have to say to your child"!!

Have an onion!

I'm not sure why, but Ellie has been really interested in onions this week. I keep my onions on the bottom shelf of a microwave cart, and she found them. I suppose it may have been the way they crackle when you peel them, or maybe the sound the entire bag makes when you move it around. I found her contentedly sitting on the ground while I was cooking, with the bag of onions between her legs. I was curious as to what she was doing, so I just watched. She peeled each little layer of crinkly skin, would look at it, smash it a little, then throw it to the side. This went on until she reached the white part. It was like she really didn't know what to do next, the crinkly stuff was all gone. Then she held it up and smiled at me. I told her it was an onion. Then she tried to take a bite. She never broke the skin, but just smiled. That was a couple of days ago. Tonight, she did it again, though she has yet to taste them fully. There were onion peels all over the kitchen...little white onions rolling all over the floor, and one little girl, happy as can be.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Things that matter...

Prioritizing. How many times have I heard an older woman say to me..."Honey, your children are only little once...you can have that spotless house in order when they are grown and gone. Take time now to enjoy them while they are little. Sit and play with them. Soon they'll be gone, and you'll wish you would've let the house go sometimes to enjoy them, but it will be too late." Having 5 children, it seems I've had to accept the fact that I wear a sign that says, "GIVE ME ALL THE ADVICE YOU HAVE!" I just cannot see the sign! I have heard that little speech many, many times though, and it causes me to stop....and truly let the words sink into my head. Then I prioritize.

I enjoyed making a bow for Ellie to wear tomorrow. It matches her dress that I made for her. As I was hand-stitching the bow...the breakfast dishes were sitting in the sink.

I found a large cylindrical glass vase for Joey. He had a bucket full of tadpoles, but couldn't see them. So we scooped out four of them, and put them in the see through vase to watch them swim around. It is sitting on the top of my refrigerator now.

Tonight after the boys were done with their baths, instead of making sure the bathroom was "spick and span", I sat down and painted Ellie's fingernails a pretty pink.

There was a time, when I did not sleep well if everything in the house was not in order. Nowadays, if the house is in order...but I was grouchy and snapping at the kids to get it that way....I do not sleep well. Lest you think I am a slob...I'm not. I have learned a lot in my journey of prioritizing, that sometimes it IS more important...to get that vase for the tadpoles, than it is to vacuum the floor before the baby goes down for a nap. The vacuuming can wait...but an excited boy with a bucketful of tadpoles cannot. I want to take time for things that matter in my home. For my family, my husband and children....for little pink fingernails, and magnifying glasses, tadpoles and hide and seek...Thomas the tank engine...reading stories...learning about fish and animals. I'm sure the day will soon come, that I miss that vase of tadpoles sitting on my refrigerator. But, I will have a happy memory of sharing an exciting time with my boy...and THAT is what really matters.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A new kind of Courage

There are many things in my life that I enjoy doing. One thing I really love, is to simple sit with someone, or talk to them on the phone, and encourage them in some way. For me to share my heart with someone who is hurting or struggling, and to give them a new perspective on a problem they are facing...there is nothing like it to me. Often these times are spontaneous, and unexpected by me! I walk away from these times, awed and amazed that I had ANYTHING to say, that could help someone who was hurting. Praise the Lord, for His word. For teaching me through so many times in my life, that He is able...that He is trustworthy...that His word will change lives, give hope, and heal broken hearts.

I have always been very cautious to not offer my opinion when someone is talking to me. At least I think I try to be. I'm sure there are times, when I have wounded someone, by hastily offering words that I thought would "help"...but actually they didn't. Because of this, I do not look for ways to encourage those who are hurting. I want to help people, but the fear of saying the wrong thing oftentimes keeps me silent.

I was caught off gaurd in my praying today. I was praying for a lady, that had opened up to me this week about some heartache. I asked God to give me courage to encourage those who are discouraged. When I said it, I stopped and thought to myself, "Hmmm, I think I'll remember that!" In my heart I long to help those who are hurting. I want to take my own past hurts and mistakes, and give hope to those surrounded by what seems to be insurmountable odds. I know God is able. May I have to courage I need...to encourage the discouraged.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter dresses

One of the many things I absolutely LOVE about having a girl, is to watch her love pretty things. Here she is 19 months, and I am still amazed at this little one, who will wrap a dress on the back of her neck (she thinks it is actually on her), then smile and dance. She even raises her eyebrows sometimes, if it is something very pretty to her.

I bought some material to make us matching Easter dresses. After I cut out the material, I found I had plenty to make a dress for a dolly, and a few little hair accessories. The next morning when I showed her the doll with the new dress on...her face, just lit up in a huge smile. She hugged the dolly so much, then she'd pull her away, look at her again...then hug her once more.

Tonight I was making my dress, well actually it is a skirt and top...maternity. I had bought some pretty trim to go around the hem of both of our dresses. I couldn't believe how perfect it was! There was just enough for both of our dresses. I love to sew, but having a girl to sew for, has put an enjoyment in the task, a simple pleasure, that was never there before. As I sewed, I remembered a few things from years gone by.

How often did I pray for the Lord to give me a baby girl? Hundreds of times maybe? I begged and cried....I felt a yearning in my heart that I had never known, for a baby girl. There were times I had to leave a store, in tears...because I saw a beautiful dress, and I wanted to make one for my own little one. I know it may seem odd, seeing I have four wonderful boys...to long for a daughter so greatly, but I did.

Elliana means, "God has answered my prayer", and I am so thankful He did. She brings a joy to our home...that we never knew we were missing before.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Falling for Joey

Most of this past week, our van has been in the shop getting some minor repair work done. Last night, the whole family was suffering from cabin fever, so we decided to go out for the evening. After dinner, I asked Kevin if we could stop at JC Pennys to see if they had any kids clothes on sale. All of my boys have worn through their jeans...no hand me downs worth handing down anymore. Also, with Easter coming up, I like to look around at all the dress clothes, before I make a final decision on what to get for the boys.

I thought for sure the kids section was upstairs...but it wasn't. We were on our way to the escalator, when I told Kevin, "I got Nathan" and lifted him onto the moving stairs. Down we went. I looked behind me before getting off and saw everyone had safely made it onto the escalator, and off I went in search of a sale, with Nathan. That left Kevin holding Ellie, with Derek, Joey and David following. Several minutes went by, and FINALLY, they all showed up. Of course my question was, "what took so long?" seeing as they were literally right behind me. Then I got the "You wouldn't believe it if I told you" look.

Kevin said, he was holding Ellie, the boys were behind him, and when he got off the escalator, he didn't hear anyone following him. He turned around to see that the three boys had run UP the DOWN escalator, and were sitting on their bums riding back down. Typical boys. As he stood at the bottom waiting for them...there were two elderly ladies following several steps behind the boys. At the bottom, off comes Derek, off comes David...and there sits Joey. Poor Joey, everything seems to happen to him. As he is sitting there, trying to get up, his coat is caught in the escalator...ummm he's not moving anywhere. The two ladies are trying to back UP the DOWN escalator, to avoid crashing into poor Joey, stuck in the stairs...they are also yelling, "ahhh, he's stuck...oh...he can't move....AAAAAHHHHHH!!!" However, their frailty and age, are preventing them from being very succesful in their attempts to get away! Kevin said, they almost fell right over the top of Joey. Kevin reached down and yanked Joey up, just in time. He did lose a big chunk out of his coat, but other than that, no one was hurt! I think next time, we'll take the elevator!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thankfulness

....so many things to be thankful for. So many things I "could" complain about...but for what reason? My spirit is so affected by my outlook. What I allow my mind to dwell upon, strongly determines my mood. I must be disciplined in my thoughts...I MUST...there is no other option. To have the mind of Christ, to dwell only upon those things which would be pleasing to Christ...that is my daily goal, and sad to say, my daily failure. And yet I strive.

Thankful for...

A God, who loves me as a daughter
Salvation, which gives me hope, and a reason to live
Heaven, where my tears will be wiped away
My Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died for ME...when I deserved to die...who took my place.
Thankful we are the victors, no matter how defeated we feel. One day...we will win the final battle.

My husband. The greatest man I know. Nearly perfect in every way.
Derek, a boy who just seeks to please, and is helper by nature. He loves our family...
Joey, for his spunk and determination. His boldness for God that puts me to shame sometimes.
David, for his smile that lights up a room...for his sense of humor that makes me laugh until I cry.
Thankful for Nathan...that he is now talking. Hearing him sing, fills me with warmth in my heart...his loving nature and kisses.
Elliana, for her smile...and always wanting to hug...thankful she is seizure free, no more epilepsy.
Thankful for this life within me...another bundle of joy to add to our family, that God has blessed us with.

For a place to stay...that is snug and cozy. Thankful my little ones are always within earshot, to keep them from getting unkind to each other, I hear everything. A nice field for the boys to play in, and a pond...to spy for frogs and turtles. Thankful for a warm shower...for a warm place to sleep. I'm thankful our needs are met....God truly has been sooooo good.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morning snuggles

Nathan has become such a little cuddle bug. In the mornings, he curls right up next to me, and just sits there close by. I love it. My other boys, when they were old enough to walk and run....well, the cuddling pretty much stopped. Too much to see and do! David wakes up in the morning just ready to go conquer the day. I love it that Nathan, just wants to be close to me for a while.

Today, I was snuggling with him, and nuzzling his neck. He laughed and giggled pretty loud, so I growled and nuzzled. "AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!"

He laughed louder....then he said,
"Don't eat me Mommy!!"
"OOOOOHHHHH but you taste so sweet!!" (nuzzle nuzzle, growl...)
"But Mommy..." he stopped giggling,"you can't eat me..."
"How come?"
"I have bones!!" And then the nuzzling stopped, because I was laughing so hard! Ah the wonder of a preschoolers mind! Gotta love it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My little Nathan just loves trains. For his last birthday, and even Christmas, we find any gift that has to do with Thomas the tank, because we KNOW, he will really like it! He especially loves Thomas's friend Toby. It's funny, because he knows every other engine and character by name. He even knows some Thomas the tank songs. I love to watch him playing with his wooden train tracks...lost in his own little imagination of clickety-clack and friendly little engine songs.

Last night in devotions, as we were praying...it was Nathan's turn. He began to pray for "Duncan and Toby...and for Thomas and Percy...." He even prayed that they would go to heaven someday. Although we have told him, it is just for fun...in his mind, they are friends of his. He likes to play with them, and pretend. I love this age...so fun and playful.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Playing with fire

A couple of summers ago, Kevin showed the boys the wonder of a magnifying glass in the summer sun. I believe he scorched a couple of ants, caught something on fire, and made a mark on his own hand. They never really have tried to do any of it on their own...until today.

It was a beautiful day outside, almost springlike. The boys did their Saturday chores, then played outside ALL DAY! It was great. At lunch time, I tried and tried to yell for them, and get them to come home but they couldn't hear me. Kevin has a special whistle for them, and it carries a long distance, but I cannot whistle the way he does. Finally nature called, and David had to come home. I looked out the window to see he and Nathan walking across the field carrying sticks. It was so cute to me. I tucked that one away in my memory bank. The older boys came in about 30 minutes later, grabbed their sandwiches and juice and went back outside. I never saw them again until dinner time.

They all came in just full of energy and excited. Of course they all start talking at once about their adventures, and someone says, "Joey burned Derek's bum! And Derek burned Joey's bum too!" Yes they did. They took the magnifying glass, and the other bent over very still, while the sun began to do it's work. Amazing. It works every time! Derek was describing to me what it felt like. At first he said, you couldn't feel anything, then it would get a little warmer, a little MORE warmer, then YYYYOOOOUUUUCCHHHH! I just shook my head, crazy boys! I can just see them trying that one! Joey had found a pair of gloves, put them on, and burned a whole in each one, I'm surprised they didn't catch the woods on fire! It's great having boys, they're so creative too. I am always amazed at the things they come up with and attempt...things that I would never have tried.

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