Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Update

Oh my goodness. It has been forever. I'm not a great blogger, ok, I'm a horrible blogger. But I have 4 kids and I home school and...well, yeah, I put blogging on the back burner. Like who's going to see my posts? My brother, and well, maybe one of my dear friends :)

So here I am again! Read up!

It's summer in May! Once again, God has graced us with a very warm pre-Summer. I love the sunshine and heat, beaches, lakes, glorious green, geraniums, lilacs, peonies. I could go on. My husband is not a huge fan of heat but it just makes me feel warm all over and healthier too. The cold months are kind of depressing. And in western Washington, we have a lot of cold.

I still have 4 kids. Whew. Yup. We haven't disbanded yet :) They are so busy, so much work, and I love them so much. I'm not one of those women who dreamed of getting married, being a wifey-wife and having 4 kids, but here I am and I'm in love. I'm glad God's plans are bigger than mine!

We are finally doing it...we are moving to a 4-acre lot and building our dream house! I am very excited, nervous, then excited and afraid all at once. I've never waltzed this dance before and I don't totally know what to expect. I'm kind of bad at wanting to control things and wanting to know what to expect, so this is truly testing that weakness of mine. I like for things to move along and I've found out big projects like this are a lot of waiting, then leaping ahead; then waiting, then leaping again. Then maybe taking some steps backward. But with Mike by my side and God at the helm, we can do it! And we will learn from our mistakes.

Mike is a contractor but not generally a general contractor. He's done only one who remodel project, he is mainly a framing guy. So this really is the first entire project we've taken on ourselves. And it's our dream home. Yikes!

The kids are also going into traditional school this Fall. Yeah, that's scary for me. We've only ever been home schoolers, so this is a leap of faith. I'm trusting God all the way. He's prompted us to put them in school for a while now and we are going for it. Of course, there will be bumps and turns to ride but like the house, with God at the helm, He will do amazing things. He will be glorified.

Which brings me to a moment on my soap box. Don't be afraid to do the thing God is asking you to do. For me, it usually comes as a small, still but insistent voice. What God is calling each of us to usually will not look like what the other person is supposed to be doing, which is challenging. We kind of want to fit in. I know I will be facing criticism even in my own family and close friends, but I need to remind myself not to worry, but to give my anxiety to God, thank Him and pray for wisdom. What a good God, He always takes care of me and my family.

With all this fear being talked about, I really am thrilled at how God's working in our lives! Lately, He's been teaching me to slow down and pay attention to what the children need. Whether it's extra discipline, a listening ear, a creative way to instill character, or extra love. I need to prioritize and put the first things first. Like I've heard someone say, you may not have enough time in the day to get the things you want to get done but you have enough time to do the things you need to. I'm the type who likes to be busy: put the load of laundry in, wash the dishes, fold the laundry in the living room, post those things for sale online, pay the bills, check on the kids doing school...I could go on and on. Then I feel guilty for the things that haven't gotten done: Bible study, exercise, business stuff, cleaning the bathroom. It all just seems so overwhelming, and it is. But we weren't mean to get everything done, just the important things. God wants us to plan our steps and use the time wisely. As I type this, I probably should be in bed so I can get those things done with open eyes :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I struggle lately being able to have quality time studying God's Word. I get so doggone tired from taking care of my four little ones, to bookkeeping with the business, to my selling business to prepping for the home school year and on top of that, getting all the little housework things cleaning my bathroom faucet for heaven's sake! Yesterday, I took one look at it and thought 'how have I let it get that bad??' while promptly scrubbing it with a stray toothbrush under the counter. Good thing the perfectionist in me went by the wayside at three kids. I'd be a mess. I still am sometimes. Oh well.

Moms, remember when you were single, or even married without kids, or only had one kid and you set out to have 'devotion' time with God? And you actually spent the proverbial 30 min or more each day doing so? Thank God, that now four kids and 11 years married later, when I spend time with God, I drink Him up. I am so thirsty and hungry. It may not be every day I get to or it may even be 5 min before my kids interrupt, but I am hungry and thirsty and can't get enough. It's not just a check off my list but a genuine need and love for Him.

Strangely, I just recently discovered that Bible Gateway has audio, so I can listen to His Word while doing dishes or laundry. It's amazing. I love transforming these dull and annoying chores into ones I look forward to. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I put on our book club's audio book instead, but Bible??! In this day and age and American culture, we are so incredibly blessed. And what I like most is that I can rewind verses to meditate on them repeatedly. Especially Hebrews. Complex Hebrews.

I have also found that having a Biblical study (of sorts) written by a godly older woman has been helpful. I'm currently (still) on Drawing Near to the heart of God by Cynthia Heald. It has been inspiring to my every day faith in God with chapters like His Immeasurable Love, His Manifold Goodness, His Absolute Sovereignty, or His Perfect Will. In this book, I can tell Mrs. Heald is an imperfect fellow sister in Christ striving to walk in Christ's steps.

But like I said, it's been tough. I feel lately like I've fallen off the bandwagon. Just struggling to pray and working on my attitude towards the kids.  Thankfully, now I realize that it has nothing to do with my standing with God or His love for me if I don't. But I miss out on our relationship. My inward self and outside tumults become gigantic as the things of God grow dim and I lose sight of priorities.

God must be first and I want Him to be. Here is to a week of striving to be purposeful in seeking Him out.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

So I guess my new blogging strategy is to post every 6 months! Ha! Some days I even forget I have a blog. But people who love to write, no matter their station, are always drawn to pen their thoughts once again.

Seasons of life. We each are in one. Whether its single hood, newly married and working, stay-at-home-mom craziness, working away from the home, taking care of our parents while taking care of our own children, empty-nesting, retirement, etc, we are each in a season. God has us right where he wants us.

Sometimes the discontent of our current surroundings rises up and threatens to choke us. We begin to feel bitter, wishing we had made different choices in life. Wishing, no longing, for a different place. It's so tempting, because the grass always seems greener on the other side, right?

I think half the battle of us finding joy is thankfulness. Not just ambiguous thanks. Thankfulness is submitting ourselves under the sovereign hand of God. Its saying "Where I'm at right now might be hard, or even unbearable, but I know God has a plan and is working all thing for good". He absolutely adores His children and wants the best for them. But that's different than how the world sees success. They see it as absence from pain, or suffering. But God knows those things only prove to strengthen those who love Him, and develop our character. Take joy that you are watched constantly. He takes care of the lilies and birds of the field; He most certainly watches us!

Another part of thankfulness is slowing down the spoil factor. We live in such a demanding society. Really, we can have what we want almost instantly. We think we deserve this and that, and if we can attain it, why not go for it? God wants us to be happy right? He wants us to achieve our dreams, right? Yes, God wants us to have joy, which is a fruit of the Spirit, but does not come about through achieving our dreams. We were created to solely give Him glory. He may choose to bless and provide for us in different ways. However, we must always remember that instantly, all that could be removed from our lives. And when in desperate need, Whom will we worship? Can we bless God in much and in little? Can we love him in feast or famine?


Currently, my knee is out of commission. Yep, soccer injury. When I first injured it, it swelled up like a balloon and hurt horribly. after a few months, swelling has definitely gone down and it was feeling a little better. Recently, I started jumping on the trampoline with my girls and it started getting irritated again. So I finally set up an appointment for an MRI. The result? I have a radial tear in my meniscus. The doctor says surgery. Can you believe it after 25 years of soccer, and not once did I have to have surgery until now? The positives are its a 30 min procedure and I could be on my feet within the week. No exercise/heavy activity for 6 weeks though. There is also a post-op taking out of stitches. I'm really not looking forward to the process, but I'm looking forward to playing soccer again. I'm not excited about physical therapy, but I AM excited about exercising and losing this baby fat! I have been bummed during this time where God just picked me up out of my exercise regimen and set me aside. I've not been the happiest camper. But after about a month of inwardly groaning and just detesting my stagnancy, it dawned on me...'God has a purpose in this'. I dont' know what it is, but I will know later. " And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
I know in this verse God is talking about much deeper things than a knee injury but in this time, I can know He is working all things for His grand purpose and obviously, this is  not a hiccup in His plan. I am working on trusting!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Monday

Today was one of those days. Tonight was one of those nights. Mom didn't feel too good and the kidlets were in rare form.

Brought the middle girly home from dance and said hello to a monstrous mess throughout the house. It was mainly my nearly-three girl's fault, but really, all the kids gladly contributed to toys in every.nook.and.cranny.

Monday is co-op day, and the beginning of all things school and regular schedule. It's also paperwork and pay bills day since I don't have to teach. After cramming that all into one morning, along with not feeling well, I was pooped.

So when I got home and the kids hadn't eaten and my home was a hurricane, I knew it was a long night ahead.

The saving grace was chicken quesadillas for dinner. I gobbled those things up like an athlete gobbles Powerade. Then we proceeded to clean.

Not to mince words, I am a drill sergeant during clean-up. I am slightly impatient in that I want the mess fixed fast and to boot I have young children who are in training and not so focused. In fact, my youngest is in "Squirrel!" mode 99% of the time. I'm also impatient because I want to be done and have some fun. That's my motto.

Now the rest is history. My kids are all in bed. The house is officially clean. I am sitting on the couch, with a headache, but happily munching on a cinnamon roll. A neck massage pillow behind my head. Re-watching the NFC Championship game. Okay, that last part is not my choice but my husband's. Which is so totally funny to me because...yes, I like to replay games, but maybe a month later when there's no more football? It happened like last night for heaven's sake. He makes me laugh.

Tomorrow is the dawn of a new day. And new messes. But give me a cup of coffee and I can take it.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Still Thankful

I want to give thanks.

For family. I know multiple people who have family far away or family simply too busy, or family that does't speak to one another. But us, we have both sides so near and both sides who love Jesus. And we get together virtually every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both sides of the family under one roof. A pure miracle. A pure blessing from God above, whom I thank profusely. I can quickly forget my blessings.

For the Church. The soul-piercing teaching, the deep fellowship, the sharing of hardship, the lightening of loads, the women who love my babe in the nursery, the pastors who are servants. I'm thankful we are bound together by Christ. We are hands, feet, eyes, heads and elbows. All of us connected and one is not more necessary than the other.

For the Holy Spirit. God in us. Continually at work, convicting me. Changing me to be more Christ-like. Bringing understanding to my mind as I read Scripture. Telling me to speak love to my children. To put myself in others' shoes. To show love to my husband even when I'm exhausted and feel like telling him I'm done. The Holy Spirit breathes life into my soul.

For my home. It is warm, and there are those I know who have no money for heat and so they bundle up and live in a cold house. For a place to call my own, where I come to after a long day and seek rest. The place where I raise my children and live life with them.

For friends. God knows we need relationships. We need that encouragement along the way. Someone who reaches out to us and enjoys us for who we are. I am thankful to have friends like that. To be very honest, I don't make friendships easily. I am not life-of-the-party, it takes a while to develop closeness. God knows this and sees friends perfect to bring me out of my box and make me smile and share. "There is a friend that is closer than a brother."

For my husband. He has a physically taxing job but he comes home and give more of himself without complaining. He shows me sacrificial love. He's not perfect, but he's himself and doesn't put on a facade. He changes diapers now. He did housework on Thanksgiving even when I know he wanted to be watching football. He overlooks my quirks and gives me foot massages. He likes to workout with me. He tells me the truth in love, even if it hurts a little.

For my oldest. She is creative to the core, with art and science projects dotting our home. I like her complex mind. She and I butt heads much, but it is God's way of stretching me and reminding me of His grace. She is generous. Not a competitive bone in her body, she just has fun. She adores her baby brother. She loves God and is always teaching her younger siblings about Him.

For my second girl. Gets things done, keeps me on task. She loves wearing her dirty white shoes because they are beautiful to her. She likes to wear gorgeous dresses outside to play and I have to say 'no'. She focuses in ballet and thrills to dance. She is my affectionate cuddly one.

For my third girl. So much like me. Competitive to the core; independent; unafraid. Must wear a tutu every day but is not graceful or elegant! Has accidents and owies daily. Knows when she is in trouble and dawns her sweet smile to get out of it. She is quick to forgive and love. She is baby brother's biggest fan. Has brown m&m eyes that melt the hardest hearts.

For my baby boy. He is so good to me when he eats and sleeps. His light skin, blue eyes, coppery hair and barrel chest remind me of Daddy. He catches my eye until I pay attention. He pulls my long hair. He is teething and driving me crazy right now. His ultra-chubby cheeks are sweet to kiss. He enjoys splashing in the tub until I am soaking wet.

There is so much more I could give thanks for. When one gives thanks, it is hard to find fault. Yes, there is pain and hardship, but there is also strength, truth and love in Christ. And we have a choice. To turn to God in it, or to turn away. But even when we turn away, He pursues. Story of my life. God has given me so many second chances (and third and fourth).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Wonder of My Weekend

Surprise...I'm blogging again!

I've decided I miss this page.

I don't promise consistent posts, but hope I will post more in these cold months *impish grin*

'Tis the season for colds and coughs. We are almost healed from a long streak of illness. That's what happens when you have four kids and attend a church that is one-third kids (or so it seems)! My husband and I don't visit the doctor often. We just don't need to. We try to treat symptoms with natural approaches, and they usually work. However, after several tries with essential oils, honey, teas, sleep, diet change, etc...we decided it was time for our daughter to go to the doctor for her cough! And we are SO GLAD she did. She was the last one to catch this horrible flu-like sickness and it didn't seem to want to die a quick death. Within just hours of her taking her medication, there is a huge difference.

I am all about natural. Especially if you're an adult, we know how to care for ourselves (or should anyway). But God gave us wise doctors and modern medications for a reason. So we can live life when our natural approach just does not nip it in the bud. Thank goodness! Here is to returning to all the activities we had to forego because of this of ole annoying cough!

Last year around this time, I was pestered with morning sickness. Awful. I dreaded the holidays. Anything to do with food nauseated me because of all the dreaded smells and cooking. I even remember making some chocolate no-bakes and not being able to look at another one afterward. This year is a different story! I am ready to bring out the turkey, cranberry sauce, thankfulness tree, and start my Christmas shopping. A few family parties have got me in the mood for all things cheery and bright. We are very blessed to have family close, even more so, family that loves Jesus.

Speaking of loving Jesus, this weekend I had the privilege of attending a beautiful ladies conference. All we did was bask in the awesomeness of God. We were reminded of His glory, His love, His forgiveness, His promise of Heaven. So much more, too. I left feeling like I wanted more of God, like I wasn't satisfied and want to dig more in His Word and find out about His heart. That's a good thing, right? Just like friendships, where we want to know our dear friend's desires in life and how she/he thinks and feels, so it is with our Father God. One of the coolest things I heard this weekend, which was straight from Scripture by the way, was "when we were God's enemies, He crushed His Son for us. What will He do for us when we sin as His children? " Basically, our speaker was getting at the fact that we need to draw near to God when we feel shame from sin in our lives. We often shrink away from God in the dark corner when we've done wrong. That often puts us in a position to give more into sin. He wants the opposite. He wants our shame to be a gift to bring us to repentance, restored before our Father. He loves us so much. He doesn't want to afflict us. He has no desire to be angry with us. He wants a relationship and fellowship.

Also this weekend, my very dear friend took me out for a birthday lunch. Delicious. But more than the food, I enjoyed our talking. With 7 kids between us, it is hard to get that deep conversation in. What a treat a true friend is! Someone who cares to make time in this busy life to do something fun with you. Thanks Friend. You know who you are.

Today we had a fun evening with extended family. My husband's cousin and his wife and two kids came up to visit. Such good catching up. These kind of times are rewarding and you don't want to get back to the daily grind. Like I said, I'm ready for the holiday celebrations. Not all the gift and craziness, just the hanging out with friends and family part.

And now I have to clean up my kitchen because I don't want to see dirty dishes when I wake up. Some things you dislike so much you just have to do without thinking before you convince yourself to forget it!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yesterday afternoon was lovely. A dear friend called us for a last minute invite to her home, and we had a clear day! So, while kids played, we had a good time chatting and drinking tea and eating a chocolate croissant (which I'd never had before; they really are quite delicious). Time with my girl friend was just what I needed since it is both winter AND I am pregnant - both factors producing somewhat a hermit inside of me.

Upon arriving back home, I tucked the girls in for their naps. Thankfully, there was no gymnastics class to wake them up early for, so I was able to engage in the art of making dinner on a Monday night! This is a big deal. I have not felt much like cooking lately. Shepherd's pie called to me and I just made it up as I went. Must say, it turned out delicious. If you'd like to know, I simply browned a pound of ground beef, keeping the lid on the pan, so as to not let too much of the juices evaporate. You may want to add a little oil or butter as you go. Then, I chopped four or five medium potatoes into large chunks and put them into water to boil. As the beef browned and taters boiled, I chopped two celery and two carrots, along with about a half cup of onion. I then salted and garlicked (added garlic powder to) the nearly browned beef, adding in the veggies. When the veggies softened, I added half a small can of tomato paste and about a cup (or more) of water. I let simmer for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, the potatoes were ready to mash, just added butter and milk. I then placed the beef mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, and spread the potatoes over that. I then placed the whole pan in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Lastly, I sprinkled grated cheddar over the whole thing. Wa-la! Shepherd's pie. If you are going for less dairy, you could just sprinkle the top of the taters with  sweet paprika versus cheese.

It was a hit with my husband especially. He loves his beef.

We also said good-bye to our Christmas tree last night. While I was cooking away, my man took it down and the girls helped put away the ornaments. There is now an incredible amount of space in our living room. I must confess, I like it. My job will be to complete the tear down, putting away all the wreaths, sweet Christmas candles, and cheery stockings. I love Christmas, but I also love clearing out for a brand new year! 

We are unsure what we are doing to ring in 2014. We may head to Bellevue for the last day of Celebration Lane, where fake snow pours down and for 20 minutes we enjoy a time of dancing to music and licking lollipops with a myriad of winter characters who beat drums and entertain us with their antics. 

Either that, or stay inside, make a fire, watch a family movie and sip hot chocolate. And hail in the New Year with NYC at 9pm. Not a bad option.

In other (sad) news, my husbands's Uncle Tom has passed away. Yes, the one I had mentioned in my previous Thanksgiving post. The cancer took him quickly. God called his name and he went peacefully. Tom loved his family dearly, and loved to serve in his position as a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship. I have not had a close relationship with Tom, but I have been close with his wife. She is a good friend of mine, and she and her sons (Mike's cousins) were able to be with us over the holidays. They seem to be doing well, but I know their hearts are aching. It is so hard to communicate grief when one is going through it. Grief is funny. It ebbs and flows without warning. It causes us to feel volatile one moment, bringing us to our knees in tears the next, and stranger still, allows us to laugh when we feel joy because sometimes those moments help us to forget the pain we feel inside.

The best thing to do for someone who is grieving is to pray for them. If you reach out, and don't feel a response, just give space and time. Or drop of an anonymous gift or meal to them. Some people enjoy being surrounded by others, while some enjoy solace and privacy. Each are normal. 

I remember when we lost Amelia, a dear sister at Bible study handmade a beautiful bracelet for me, with Brilla and Amelia's names stringed together in sterling silver blocks. When she handed it to me, she said she woke up to the gorgeous sunrise and felt prompted to pray for me, and could almost imagine Amelia sitting on our Lord's lap enjoying the light of God. This woman may never know how much her gift and words lifted me, but she was an incredible blessing.