Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spring Has Fully Sprung in the Valley

We are so excited to say - we are moving in to our new home before the month is over! So much hard work and planning has been poured into this much larger space (and much more elbow grease to come) that we can hardly stand the anticipation.

The kids have been extremely patient living in bunk beds and shared rooms for yet another year, as well as taking turns is in one bathroom. Well, there are two, but the other tiny toilet area stops up every other time we use it, so we just avoid it and use it for extra mirror prep space! We've had nothing to complain about: the trip to the Goheen project is a mere under-20 min drive, the kids' schools have been excellent, the yard and storage space has been just right; and we have made new friendships. God has taught us much this year and we are excited to learn even more in the days to come.

One thing I've discovered: If you are not content with where God has you currently, you will never be content. I'm not even talking external things. Sometimes we are impatient with ourselves, who God has made us to be, the kind of personality we have, the attitudes in our heart we must still work on. Sometimes I wish God would fully form this weak vessel that I am because, don't know about you, but I'm tired of failing and having to come to God (and family members) and ask for forgiveness; I'm tired of feeling like I have to meet others' approval (often it's my own imagining) and I'm tired of the burden sin itself places on us. But God IS at work in my life, especially in the weaknesses. There is redemption, healing, love and mercy in the arms of God. He is turning all the gunk into a beautiful pot. He is using me in others' lives, believe it or not, especially my kids'. I need to speak the truth "It Is Well with My Soul" because God has handled everything at the cross, He has an ultimate plan, and He cares so much to have sent me a Comforter in the process. He sits down to dine with me and desires fellowship.

I'm like,"Wow, God. You care about me and take care of just like when I was 9, or 15, etc. You really keep Your word." Quite often, I look back in amazement of answered prayer, or a met need, however seemingly small. God cares for us. He cares for the lilies and sparrows, He cares even more for His children.

This coming school year (yes, I already have to think about that!) has much to hold. I already had to submit my learning plan for my eldest's schooling, since she coordinates with the school system. Also, every year, my husband and I look over the last year and see if any changes need to be made. This year, we decided our eldest needs more oversight, we will possibly keep the little girls in traditional school, and our youngest will attend Christian preschool. Nothing is ever "the perfect" plan, sometimes it has to be tweaked but I love that Mike and I communicate regularly and are usually in sink with each other on what's a good plan for the family. I also like getting the kids' input. But ultimately, even hard things for a while are for their best.

Good night until the next post ~

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Since my reality is quite busy and my brain quite fuzzy, these days I like to lose myself in an excellent book.

Right now I am finishing, at a speedy pace, Our Own Country by Jodi Daynard. I just started last week and I am almost done. Its a fairly easy read, not at a difffult level. However, the plot is not boring, has me intrigued and gives much in the way of historical fact. You walk in the shoes of the people in its era. Its prequal, The Midwife's Revolt, was excellent, and I hesitantly continued to the next book (because most trilogies stink, take Hunger Games, for instance). Not disappointed!
I am currently listening to the audio version of The Night Gardener by the brilliant Jonathan Auxier. Brilla and I recently finished his Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. So well done. It's like unlocking a treasure when you find an author who blows your mind with his language and intriguing plots and climaxes.

We recently tried to get through Fablehaven but weren't feeling it. The plot didn't really mesh.

Next on our list are:

The Thief Lord
Inkheart (same author)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (The Lightning Thief)
Julie and the Wolves

Brilla is currently reading A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. She is in love with it. Basically, she adores pottery. Because of this book, we have ordered a pottery wheel and she'll be working on that soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Can't believe it has been an entire year since I said good-bye to Grandma. Somehow I knew deep down when I waved then grabbed a second, lingering hug, I was saying farewell until Heaven. Yet, its still hard. Fresh loss is like that. The memories are so close still.

In all honesty, my grandma had some funky views on things; we even had disagreements about numerous topics. But we could converse like this because our relationship was close; we were best friends. I loved her not because she was perfect, but because she was mine. Our grandma sent straight from God as a gift into our lives. She left behind a huge legacy. Had she not become a believer, my father would not have been drawn to Christ, and my parents would not have taught me God's ways, and I might never have come to know His peace in my life, and ultimately would not have that well to draw from for my children.

God is an amazing God to have used this broken, simple woman for His glory. She did not live a glamorous life and was open with the mistakes in her past. That is what redeemed people do. They are humbled and broken before God, and according to his mercy and grace, He brings them up out of the pit. They don't deserve and can't maintain His love, He does it all because He loves them. And nothing can separate us from his love; not cancer, nothing.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This world is such a mixed atmosphere. We have terrorism occuring in some parts of our homeland, while some parts are completely untouched, tragedy and horror unknown, almost like the occurence is surreal. Meanwhile, others I know have cancer and their lives are turned upside-down while I complain about getting a cold. The only thing truly stable and unmoving is God Almighty. Might these things be to reveal His mercies, His grace, His unfailing love in the midst of the storms of this temporary life?

The longer I live here on earth, the more I look toward heaven to be with my God! Yes, there are moments, days of joy and heart-stopping beauty, but there is also ugliness and great evil. It makes my heart ache for the Perfect to come; it stings my eyes with tears that some must suffer until that Day.

I long to be with you,
My heart is filled with pain.
For those I know must feel
Why do these clouds bring rain?

Asking myself these things,
What is my role to play,
How can I feel the hurt, feel the loss,
When its others who must pay?

Your lasting peace and love,
Are present in my heart,
But when the troubles rise, the lightning bolts,
Will my faith depart?

I cling to You, my Rock,
My only steady, fervent Hand.
My Life, my Healer,
The One Who Understands.


Before time began, You looked at us.
You said, though they care not, I love them.
Though they love themselves, I will die for them.
They don't know what they need,
So I will provide for them.

You paid a price,
You were abandoned in the dark.
You felt the evil of the world upon Your shoulders.
Though Holy, even Your father could not look at You.
Because you were turned to dirt, lust and shame.

That's how much you loved us.
That's how much You gave.
Hell you took, so our souls could be saved!

You stared death in the face.
You took on the bloody cross.
It was horrible, the sin you felt for me.
It should have been me in Your place;
Instead Your plan was more.

Your plan conquered.
It overcame the soul-killer, the liar to mankind.
You breathed eternity
Into the soul of man.

People wonder why there is evil,
But do they ask Who keeps the good in this world?
Who is the Rescuer? The only one who provides life amidst the death?'

Instead they blame Him.
Throwing their bitterness and hurting heart of hate.
Toward the One Who holds newness
For their aging, cracked souls.

But God is better than I,
He waits patiently, for all who are broken.
Who wish to come, and find newness of Life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Running is a Good Thing

Busy is relative.

I look at my friends who have seven plus kids and think "Why did I ever complain?" I've got it good! Then, I get back at my week and clearly, I am run ragged with my four chillins.

In life, I have learned two things: 

1) You won't get everything you want to get done finished in a day, only the things you need to.

2) It doesn't nearly matter how busy you are, its where or Who you run to for strength in the midst of       it.

Never ever do I claim to have it together, nor do I want to! But from wise older women, I've gleaned these truths. Need advice on how to function as a mom, wife, daughter, etc? Ask the older gals. They have been there and boy, do they have their own stories to tell. 

What are the things they advise in a "busy" mom's life? Love your children, take time to listen, they will always remember the small things, pray. Lots of prayer. And yet, do I take time for that? No, I stay up folding tons of laundry, or stuffing my face with chocolate when stressed, or dig in the most recent counseling book for women. Not all bad things, mind you, but often the most thing needful, to sit at Jesus' feet, is very often set aside because I "don't have time".

My goals this year are not many and not huge. I am at the season in my life where I don't chase the American dream, merely try to meet the schedule in my planner. Thus, don't lure me with degrees for the stay-at-home-mom or financial success in-a-box theories. I want to live life fully as Jesus desires me to do. Most of that looks nothing like the general population expects. It means holding my tongue instead of lamblasting my kids. Loving enough that I give up "alone" time to read with my struggling reader every night. Making notes for my kids' lunches. Praying and singing with my kids before school. Spending time with my husband before bed instead of hanging out on the computer. Doing the unexpected errands for my husband, ahem, boss, because I am, believe it or not, his secretary. Also, come up with a chart for my kids to finish their chores and a creative ways to cook for my family!

We are doing a few other crazy things this year that are out of our comfort zone, but we are thankful we have followed God's leading in them; otherwise, we'd be in over our heads. Its a comfort to know Hes in control and we have nothing to fear.

Ultimately, its not how busy I am, but Who I cry out to. If I really need help, reaching out to good healthy counsel. And being content with where I am, stepping forward bravely in the confidence that I am doing all I need to do in this moment, in His grace.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Loss and Gain

A long-time friend of the family recently and suddenly lost her husband to a massive heart attack. Her life and the lives of her adult kids are devastated. When sister and brothers in the Lord go through a horrible event like this, our hearts ache for them and our tears weep with them.

Just today on the freeway I was praying and crying for them. I could not believe one day being beside your husband and the next, completely and for the rest of this life, without him. And that is death. An unforeseen thief.

Of course, this man is beholding Jesus and we cannot have pity on him. He is gloriously changed to be like His Savior. Whole. Pure. Unafraid.

Death is like this, it shakes us to the core, forcing us to ponder eternity. Is there a God?  Is there life after death? Am I ready to face whatever there is?

With full assurance, I know I am ready to meet God, that He exists and He offers life everlasting to those who believe in and follow Him.

But are you? Are you scared to die? Do you have questions that make you afraid of this present life? Are you at peace with God?

You do not have to become good to come to God. He wants you broken, with all your scars, your past, your emptiness. Those who are full of themselves, thinking they have it all together, they are good enough on their own, are the ones who have a hard time of surrendering to God. Becoause even if we think we're good, we still are selfish. We do things for the wrong reasons. We are born to love ourselves first, love others and God last. That naturally unloving part of us is called our sin nature. God, Who was never created but is Eternal, has never sinned and is perfect. But like other gods, does He stand aloof, not caring about people, not caring about what happens? The opposite is true. His Son came down to earth, became a man, and sacrificed Himself in death to cover our sins and completely erase them, that we might have a relationship with Him while on this earth and go to be with Him forever when we die.

Must we give Him a sacrifice, or do religious things like pay penance, say prayers, give to the poor, or become a better person for Him to love us? No. The Bible says, that WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ loved and died for us. His gift of eternal life after death offered to the whole world, not a select few. We need only cling to Jesus to save us from our sin(s), our nature of selfishness and "good enough-ness", believe that His death was enough to pay for it all. Its that simple.


Thus, for my friend, she has lost her best friend and dear husband. But for him, he has gained. He has finally met the Lover of His Soul!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Miss Her

I sure miss her. Upon giggling like a school girl when I got my sweet-smelling soap in the mail, I realized their was only one other person who would have been as excited as me, my grandma.

She was always thrilled at the small things. We will never fully comprehend how much we pass on to the ones we leaved behind. This is something she passed on to me. 

Whether, it's a caramel machiatt"i"as she called it, a drive throught he country, or spotting a wildflower, it just gave her the utmost pleasure.

Its really a gift, to find joy in the simple. To thank God every day for His mercies. To not long for what's not ours, to have our hands loosely holding the things of this earth.