Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Written A While Ago, But Still Posting It

I have a bad habit of creating posts and never finishing or posting them. Please tell me this happens to you all?

Anyway, a past post:

To think that our Christmas celebration has come and gone is mind-blowing. All that preparation for 48 hours, over. We had an awesome, full Christmas. Full of family, full of love and full of thanks to Jesus for the best gift ever...salvation. However, I'm thankful there is no longer a counter full of goodies to tempt me. Yet one can't help but feel slightly listless as the Christmas days pass. Our tree is already out the door, chopped up and ready for firewood. We brought it into our home the weekend after Thanksgiving, so it has been giving up it's needles for a while now and can't say I'm sad to do less vacuuming. Of course, I miss the extra lights glowing in our living room. We still have the outdoor lights on, however, as well as the lighted garland on our mantle.

We're enjoying the two weeks of break. Last week we still did school, but there was no piano teaching, AWANA, Bible study or basketball. Only lots of family time. This week we are taking a school break, as we need a breather before we get back on our feet again...into a new year.

Hard to believe I am 35 weeks pregnant and counting! How I feel these days...huge. I feel like I am a clumsy goof. Cleaning the bathroom this morning took twice as long. I'm thankful Mike is going to clean the tub, can't reach inside anymore. I'm having trouble sleeping. For Christmas, instead of gifts, Michael and I got each other a new bed frame. It has done wonders as far as comfort. But now I get up twice in the night and no position is real comfortable. A massage helps me fall sleep quicker. The only other complaint I have is my lower back and pelvis. Yeah, those are achier than ever these days. But they make me tired by the end of the day and that's what I need to get to sleep.

What did you get for Christmas? I got some neat gifts from extended family: Selah CD, whisk, knit scarf, portable DVD player, picture frames, tool set, and makeup gift card. Seems as an adult, I'm less into receiving gifts and all about the giving though! I tend to be a gift-giver at heart anyway. Seriously, a don't need more clutter or knickknacks, especially in our small home. This year, our family chose give to give a sheep, bio-water filter, New Testaments and tracts to those in Asia who really need it. The Gospel is the gift that keeps on giving!

I'm currently listening to the audio version of Forgotton God, by Francis Chan. All I'm going to say is that you need to hear it/read it. More importantly, you and I need to read our Bibles, and hear (do) what God has to say; man-taught, self-made theories, and denominational differences set aside. Don't know about you, but I want the Holy Spirit to have more of my heart and mind every day!

There are many new babies at our church! About 6 to be exact. A mom-friend of mine had her baby just in time for Christmas. What a precious present. Looks like I'm next in line at church! I've been crocheting away. I hope to finish a diaper wrap before time is short.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

At Home, On Vacation

Money is tight this season. Who isn't having to watch their pocketbooks?

So we decided, instead of Michael and I going away for a 4 day trip to Florida with his uncle, or California for a long weekend, that we would just stay in the area and have a stay-cation with the girls, then later Mike and I would head out to the coast together.

It was awesome.

The first day, we were still working on the audit, so we didn't get out. But we made ourselves quit work at 4 p.m. that evening and start our vacation. At about 2 I got all the office work on my end completed and to kick off, we got the house cleaned and spiffed up so we'd have a nice home to come to after our full days of being out! Afterward we went to dinner, then headed to look around at a huge furniture store geared toward family. It's not just a furniture store. It's a few acres of furniture, plus a train that rides around outside, popcorn, talking animals, and amazing home decor to purchase inside. Katie loved it, especially the talking roosters. Since she can't differentiate between roosters and hens, she kept saying "Bawk, Bawk, Bawk!", then "Moo, Moo" for the cows, all the way through the store. Adorable. She loves animals and saying their sounds. All the time. In fact, if your animals are lacking attention, Katie will take care of that.

The next day, we were going to go to Northwest Trek, but they're only open on Fridays during the Fall/Winter. We went to breakfast, then to Kelsey Creek Farm park instead. What a blast. They have beautiful trails to walk along, farm animals to peek at and take photos of. Of course, it's better to go in the Spring and Summer, they have more animals out. But we got to see horses we didn't see last time. There is also a cute play area the girls hung out at afterward. And all for free :)

On Wednesday, we spend the day at Pacific Science Center! I was in grade school when we went there last! It has changed and expanded making it a great place for kids. Brilla got to see a planetarium show, view a real boa constrictor, touch sea urchins and lots more. Katie didn't care for the toddler area but loved walking around the dinosaurs, being with her sister. After lunch (note to self: bring our own next time), we sat in for the IMAX show, "Rocky Mountain Express". Katie slept in my lap the whole time, which was a gift from heaven. The movie was mind-blowing. I did not realize so many lives were sacrificed for the sake of the Canadian rail road. The scenery was breath-taking. The story was very intense. Every time I look at a rail road from now on, I don't take it for granted, remembering the people who initially carved them out. It wasn't easy, at times, fatal.

That night, we went to Claim Jumper. Much to our surprise, with some rewards points earned, we got the entire meal free! Michael realized too late we could have gotten their rich brownies after all :) Really not too sad, seeing we had some cinnamon coffee cake waiting at home.

The last day of our family stay-cation was at the mall. Brilla and Daddy had special time together at the bounce house, while Mommy and Katie hung out at the book store, looking at kids books and throwing balls to each other. (She didn't care for the play area, which was the inital plan). I am not about to engage in bouncing on toys at 7 1/2 months pregnant.

We were going to play Glow Golf, but thought the process would be long for the youngest, so we rode on the rides instead. Cheaper than an amusement park or even the state fair! Afterward we got cotton candy and pretzels. Yum.

We headed home to pack the girls up. They were going to Grammy's, then Auntie's, then Mamang's for the weekend, while Michael and I went to the coast for a few days, alone!

You don't usually dream of going to the ocean in the Fall, especially in Washington. But let me tell you, it was beautiful. There was no one around, so our walks along the beach were private and romantic. Also, there is nothing to do this time of year except eat, walk, bowl and watch tv. We were forced to simply relax and that is what we did. I even got a hot bath in, in the jetted tub :) There was a fireplace in the room, too. I wish I could we used it, but the rooms were heated so warm, a fire would have been too much, especially for me. So we sat in chairs by the window, looking out at the ocean.

On the last day it was sunny! No rain. We bundled up and didn't feel the cold. Good thing I brought my rain boots, because I could tromp out into the water. Ahhh, such a free, crisp breeze and all the time in the world to walk with my husband. After our drive home, we were able to head out to a billiards hall and play hoops, air hockey to our hearts' content, just like teenagers. We'd always wanted to do that and it was worth it.

It ended way too fast, and before you know it, we were greeting our girls again! A wonderful respite and we had missed the girls. But after a while with them again, we realized why we had needed a break :) It will be an adventure with three!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I haven't really had time to sit and think about what I'm thankful for. But this year, I can sincerely say I've been asking God to give me a more thankful heart.

Instead of a chunky post, here's my list:

I'm thankful for...

~My husband's relaxing piano playing.

~The Holy Spirit's continual companionship and conviction. "I will not leave you as orphans..."

~My girls.

~A healthy pregnancy and the fact that we're having another girl. At first I was disappointed, but it lasted for a short time and my heart is flowing over with excitement to see my daughter.

~The week-long staycation we just had.

~Enough money to cover all our necessities (and even some wants too!)

~Family. Especially my brothers. Miss them so much!

~Finding out the good news that my brother is engaged to be married this summer!

~A warm home.

~Piano students who keep me on my toes (and help me keep my house clean).

~Good food.

~My church family

~Close friends that we can hang with.

~Starbucks gift cards!

~A close second is home-brewed espresso!

~Home schooling. It's been an adventure to say the least, but we're liking it a lot more than I originally thought we would!

~Katie walking.

~Brilla reading on her own.

~Brilla always wanting to be a big helper. Don't know what I'd do without her.

~God helping me overcome a bad habit (sin) in my life.

~Gorgeous earrings from my husband for my 30th birthday!

~My 30th birthday celebration.

~A (finally) decorated bedroom and bathroom.

~House slippers.

~Flowers.

~Autumn produce fresh from the valley.

~My violin that I've picked up again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm really boring these days. Doing lots of paperwork and data entry.

The auditor came early this week and spent 3 hrs at my house, while I went around in a whirlwind getting the necessary paperwork for her to view. My friend Sarah (who has two kids of her own!) was kind enough to watch the girls for me during this time. We were audited 6 years ago and back then we hardly had any paperwork. But this was totally different, after being 5 years in a new business setup. They say it's a random choosing, but man, they chose the wrong time to come! Well, when ever is a good time for an audit? Just not while I'm pregnant, okay?

It went better than it could have, let's just say. We seemed to have missed a certain tax along the way; thankfully, she's only going back to 2008. So, we do owe money, but not oodles.
Seriously, when you own your own business, you are thankful for the small breaks.

After she left me in a heap, I tried hard not to be discouraged. We were supposed to take a family vacation this weekend and now those plans are gone because we need to submit our reconciliation. But we just decided, by golly, we're going to get this done then take our vacation next week! My husband's job is such that vacation days are unpredictable. He never knows when he'll get jobs, and sometimes projects go longer than predicted. So we take the vacation days as they come! Since I'm pregnant and have no desire to fly anywhere with my toddler, we are going somewhere in-state. But along the coast. Doesn't that sound nice? Even if it's cold, there's nothing like taking walks along the ocean.

Back to the audit. We're hoping to get everything done by this weekend. The auditor retires at the end of this month, so she wants to close the case asap. Fine with us. The past few days, I've had my nose in papers and fingers on the keyboard. Nothing like motivation to keep better records in the future! I feel like every year there's something we could have done to keep more accurate records or retrieve information better. Strangely, I am the office type, and were it not for kids, I'd have this business in better ship-shape. Anyhow, would be nice to have this stuff done before our "Evening of Worship" service at church. A goal anyway.

This morning I was so tempted to just stay at home and get this done. But I know my girls and I both needed Bible study. Fellowship with other believing women. And you don't get a time every day with just you and other women talking about God and His Word. I'm SO glad I went. Rewarding all around.

Also, we hung out with my mom over coffee this afternoon. We talked for a couple hours! B was bored to death (Katie was napping at home, since Daddy got in early from work) but mom and I had a good talk. Then, my mom was so tired she napped in the car and at our house for a couple hours! Must have needed the shut-eye.

Speaking of shut-eye, it's exactly what I need so I can get up early to tackle the numbers again. And our new bunk-beds just got in, so maybe we'll pick those up too! Wow, I can already see a busy end of the week coming. Good thing Mike's on a short break and can help out :)

Btw, I really need to post some pics to liven up this blog. Coming next post!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thoughts

It's that time before the kids get up. The world is still somewhat silent, and the sunrise hasn't peeked through. It's in this moment I choose to bask in the Lord, what He has given and provided, not worry about the day will or won't bring. It's when I choose to be thankful for my two (three!) healthy daughters when others I know don't have a child, though they long for one. And I'm grateful for my husband, who is able to work, come home each night, and loves Jesus. I take so much for granted. Most of us do...until something is taken from us and we realize how good life really was. But you know? Life, even with it's rotten apples sprinkled throughout, is still good, because Christ is the Redeemer. There is chance for new life, maybe not in the physical here and now, but our souls can be saved. And nothing can hinder that. None can take that peace and assurance of Christ's everyday mercies away from us. One day we will ultimately be free and be made clean and holy, but we have been made holy here and now. Can I grasp that? Can I comprehend the Holy Spirit's work in my life? He is so much to me. My Comforter, my Strength, my Conviction, my Protector, my Teacher. The less there is of me, the more there is of Him to work in me. I say this because I am not perfect and need the attitude of Christ in me every day. Easy to type out, hard to live.

God has taught me a few simple truths this week.

1) I need to have "ears that hear". Some people change when they hear the simple truth. Other's don't, even though they repeatedly hear cleverly delivered messages. (Pharisees are a good example). Am I doer of the Word, not just a hearer? It doesn't matter what resources I read or how thoroughly I do my Bible study if I'm not doing what I should.

2) I need to forgive. I recently resolved in my heart that I couldn't forgive someone. I've felt this feeling before and knew it was wrong. Why do I still do it? Well, I flipped on the radio and bam, conviction! I need to forgive! Forgiveness is demonstrating the highest good, it's doing what Christ did for us. Do I so easily forget what I myself have been forgiven from? Unforgiveness is putting myself on the throne and thinking I can judge what can't/can be wiped clean. Jesus has much to say on forgiveness. But not just words, He did. He died so I can be forgiven and He still infinitely is more forgiving than I we ever will be. Forgiveness is what Christians are all about. "Put away malice and bitterness..." It's a continual process, not just a one time thing.

3) I need to love. Another things Christian are is loving. When people are around me, do they feel loved? Love is something that stems from the heart, not something conjured up by action. And you are right, sometimes we need to love even when we don't feel like it. It's a choice. The apostle Paul wrote that he loved the other believers in the Church. They were his joy, hope and crown. Do I love other believers, seek to help them? Or am I busy tearing them down, judging them? Part of loving is carrying one another's burdens and helping restore.

I said these were simple truths. Not simple to accomplish or easy to choose. But what Jesus asks me to do, I can do in His strength. His yoke is easy, His burden, light. It's when I let sin encumber me that my tasks become unbearable. He wants to give me rest for my soul.

Well...the kids are up now, the sun has risen and the day is here! There is breakfast to be made, violin to be practiced, school to be done, toys to pick up, diapers to change, etc....... But it's another day to live and love! Bring it on!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Have To Get Out of Here!

This is what I said to myself yesterday after a long week of school, sickness and cleaning. In fact, my friend, Susi, said it succinctly in her last blog post.

I have come to love being a stay-at-home. It's a blessing I am able to be there for my girls. I would miss so many moments.

But this week did me in. After a long week of dealing with my youngest's cold, the repetition of opening and closing school books, cleaning up after my creative children who have strewn every belonging we have over every inch of 980 square feet, folding laundry, making beds, planning meals, changing diapers, answering questions, I was ready to get out of here!

I've been watching our budget well, eating at home for every breaskfast, lunch and dinner. Which is good. But when you do that every single day, including the weekend, that amounts to a lot of dish cleaning, counter-wiping, and feet tiredness. Especially while pregnant.

In not so many words I told my husband we have to go somewhere. We did. Even though it was 8:00 at night, we had a simple, wonderful family time at Panera Bread. We each chose a baked goody, complete with milk and tea. And just laughed. Laughing felt so good.

This morning, as I woke up, I thought,"I don't know if I can take another day of this mundane routine. What am I going to do?" Which is very strange, because at the beginning of the week, I know what I'm about. And to boot, my life is not mundane. I am extremely busy with two active kids, one on the way. But we all need a change of scenery. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.

So I plugged along, checking my email, helping my daughter with school...until I got a call letting me know I'd missed my chiropractic appointment but could still come in!

We rushed to the appointment. I'm glad I made it, my lower back goes out so easily these days. Since we were right near Target and TJ Maxx, I decided it was a grand plan to return some things, as well as shop for a few needs (okay, and wants!).

Aside: We have, I kid you not, one pair of sheets for our bed. The last pair we had were 600 thread-count and were the best ever. We used them solely, until they bit the dust. Gratefully, I found a nice pair of sheets. Then, I bought a few other linens - some washcloths, a blanket and quilt for our bed. This retail therapy was a good temporary patch.

However, on my way home, I started getting depressed. A message was left on my phone saying we had been picked for a state audit. Wasn't that nice of them? Second time in fiver years, too. I called to appeal, but the tax specialist just chuckled and said, "Just consider yourself lucky?" I didn't find that very amusing. An audit entails much compilation and digging into old files. After that, I found out we have a to pay a large sum for a certain tax. I thought the calculations were off, but after looking into it, found out it was correct. Double frustration.

So, my boring day turned into a depressing one. Which, strangely, was better than being listless? Yes, call me crazy. I guess conflict drives me to resolve. And to get resolve, I must go to God. Is this why God doesn't leave me bored for very long? And when I do feel bored (which is completely and utterly human), I just need to make sure I don't fill it with fluff. Everybody's fluff is different.

Next week will not be boring. You know where I'll be. Digging up all that lovely paperwork and doing last minute data entry. Juggling girls, prego tiredness, and school. I'll be in my cold garage (where our files are stored), inwardly crying out,

"I have to get out of here"!

Next time, I will be glad for boredom :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Minutes Left

I have 5 minutes left until I need to go to bed. I've been trying to get in to bed by 11. Believe me, it's been a looong day. I need the sleep. But somehow, freedom while the girls are asleep is delicious.

Nothing exciting today. Just daily grind - girls woke up before I did, then it was breakfast, school, dealing with K's newfound cold, paperwork (taxes) due, more school, clean house, soccer practice, late dinner. Finally, husband home.

However, since K had a cold, I wiped snot all day. She's so cute. After she sneezes, she says "Nose", meaning for me to wipe it. Cute, but exhausting. I think B and I both cheered when she laid down for a nap.

B and I studied police officers today. We looked up policemen from all different countries, even read their different duties. Then we created a police hat and badge. We even made a police man out of a toilet paper roll. Fun, she loved it. Tomorrow we study "safety rules".

Though it was an exhausting and stressful day, there was still the triumph of knowing God is present in our home, His Spirit with us. We had an amazing Bible time together. Learned about Peter being freed from prison. We have been learning that Christians are to live a life of prayer - just as Paul's friends were doing while Paul was in prison. Talk about instant and miraculous answer to prayer! If it was up to B and I, we would just have God time all morning. Singing praises and hymns and talking about who Jesus is, His attributes, what He's done for us.

Looks like I've exceeded the 5 minutes. Surprised? I had better head off now, though.

Nighty-night.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Not So Great Morning

All last night my stomach rumbled and gave me discomfort. Not the pregnancy kind of discomfort. This morning, I had to do a restroom rush. Throughout the rest of this morning I've had some pretty unfun diarrhea. If you're reading this, you're likely a mom who has kids and everything is no longer sacred. Read on, it gets more exciting *smirk*

My tabs are overdue and I needed to get an emission test done before getting the tabs. The girls and I arrived at the emissions place early so we could be over and done with it, especially since mom was feeling pretty uncomfortable. It was not to be. During the simple test, our battery died. It does that every once in a while, if you merely leave the dome light on, run the windows, or turn the radio on while the engine is off. We'd been needing to get a new one, and this was the moment of truth.

I guess it's protocol that they can't help jump you during work hours. Here I was, pregnant with a bad case of loose bowels, with two girls in the backseat, left to find someone to jump me. I was very tempted to blow a gasket. I admit, I called my husband (at least I had my cell phone), and cried. But only for 5 seconds. My logic kicked in and I called AAA. Of course, we waited for about 1 hour. I have family/friends who could have been there sooner. At least they had a bathroom at the station for moi. It was all for the better, though, because the AAA man came bearing a new battery to install. Thankfully, I was able to go get us some lunch nourishment after the installation, then immediately finish the emissions test (which only takes a whole 5 minutes or less).

Thankfully, during the whole process, my eldest was amazing. We also had games, our Awana handbook and magazines in the car to keep us company!

I am now in our cozy home, thankful for the small things, like a working battery. It only takes a small event like this to remind me to be grateful for a functioning car, or even more, for car ownership.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Still Drippy But Making the Best of It

Here we are, still with the runny nose (at least K, that is) and missing Bible study. But instead of seeing the gloom, I am glad we get another day of full school so we can get the rest of the week off. Kindergarten is such bliss in that way. And though we can't go to Bible study, we can get out and have a day with Mamang (Filipino for Grandma) around lunch time. She does not mind the occasional drip :)

I am back at crochet. My morning sickness is always so horrible that I don't feel like doing much of anything for a while...cooking, cleaning, hanging out with other moms, etc. But now I am back at doing all those things, and more. I feel great. I started a hat for K last night. One with a buttoned-back brim and huge flower on the side. Of course, I'm trying to do fall colors, but really I'd like it to last all year.

Once it's done, I'll post pictures.

I would like to make a hat for myself. I haven't done that yet. And then it's time to make those Christmas gifts. I'm excited about that because I want to try new things, and it will take a while. I want to make headbands for my nieces, maybe a purse for my sis-in-law, and socks for the mothers. I don't make the men things. I've learned that was a mistake a long time ago.

Yesterday was such a gorgeous Fall day that the girls and I went on a nature walk. We picked up all shapes of leaves in glorious brown, gold, green, orange and red. Ah. Maple. Birch. Oak. Couldn't get enough. We were having so much fun that B kept up the whole time and I didn't have to tell her to hurry up. Personally, I think walking is THE best exercise during pregnancy. We may go on another walk to see the horses today.

New discovery: Two things improved our school day yesterday...a schedule on B's marker board and 5 minute (productive) breaks in-between subjects. The schedule, because B likes to know what's ahead, what's expected, and she likes to check it off when done. The breaks, because her mind is able to relax a bit, and gather strength to focus for the next teaching time. Now, these breaks consist of things skill-related. Like drawing on her chalkboard. Painting. Using her Leap-Frog interactive globe or map. Puzzles. We both like this change of pace and it works wonders.

Now I'm off to take a bath, but have to scrub the bath first. Don't you love being your own maid?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latest Reads

I had some great reads on hold at the library and finally made the time to head over and pick them up.

"Affordable ideas for a relaxed home"...
Cheap Chic: Affordable Ideas for a Relaxed Home

This one I'm liking because it emphasizes making the most of what you have, going neutral and natural (but some of their colors seem a little unnatural if you ask me! like hot pink), cost-wise treating your interior like your wardrobe (a little here, a little there), and using color to enhance architecture. This book is extremely down-to-earth, and has oh-so-inspiring pictures.


Practically Posh (Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life)...
Practically Posh: The Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life


This has a lot of information you may already know, but it covers everything. From how to save on grocery shopping to caring for your clothing. Awesome.

No Place Like Home...

No Place Like Home: Tips & techniques for real family-friendly home design

You almost get a little discouraged with this read after Cheap Chic. But it has great things like how to arrange your furniture, which artwork to use in a room and other fun stuff.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yesterday, while my youngest and I were stuck at home with the sniffles, I got the itch to decorate my home for Fall. I had been wanting to, but homeschooling has been priority lately, and by the time we are done with our work, I am too exhausted for any creatives juices to flow. We had fun creating things:





As it says on my chalkboard-painted framed paper...Autumn has officially come here in the PNW! And I will give you the quote written on the black frame we created artwork on, behind the words of I-N-S-P-I-R-E (since it's hard to see).

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
John Donne

I agree.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Unwanted Break

My youngest girl and I are sick today :( Being sick is not fun, but it does give us a good excuse to be at home, resting. (Of course, Mom doesn't always have the luxury.) It has been forever since we've been sick. I don't think I've been sick this entire pregnancy so far. Normally, right now we'd be at Bible study, serving. Poor B is sad she has to miss her class; she's NOT sick. She said,"Mom, Dad can just drop me off." Ha.

At Bible study, Katie is in the infant class with me. Reason being, she's only 17 months and a beginner walker. The toddler class is for those who've been toddling a long while and are between 18-24 months. Also, there are about 18 toddler already in that class! There are only about 9 infants. I love the infants! Yes, they only have one language (crying) and are needy, but their needs are simple. They basically eat, sleep and fill diapers. Recently having an infant, I am familiar with this stage. Recently discovered that a little one in my class is just like my girls...the mom has red hair, and dad is half-Filipino. Also, the dad is 1/4 Irish. Crazy! My husband has red hair, and though I'm half Filipino, I'm 1/4 Irish (my granddad is full-blooded Irish). You don't hear/see that every day1

The only hard thing about the class is that my daughter, K, is clingy. She is the oldest "infant" and I think, jealous of me holding other babies. Good prep for her! At the church nursery, she has no problem. I am not holding little ones the entire time. There are kids her age present as well. There are better toys and more room to walk around. Oh well, it's good training for us both!

Here's to better health!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Small Details

My eldest daughter sits beside me creating her thank you notes while I type this post out.

Why is that an important detail?

Usually, when doing school assignments, I have her sitting apart from me. She is in her little world and I'm in mine. I am productive paying bills or (not-so-productive updating my blog) but my girl is daydreaming on the other side of the kitchen, perhaps needing a prodding every other moment to finish her work.

But right now is different.

B is social. Very social. As I peek at her right beside me, I realize she is doing her work quicker than ever. Why? Because she's with me. And that somehow prompts her to finish; it gives her company.

Hmmm. I need to remember this.

Yesterday, at church, I asked another mom how homeschooling was going. It's her first year (though her daughter's in 3rd grade) doing this, so I thought I'd encourage her with a few words. You know, "Keep it up", etc. On the flip side, she inspired me. She said she didn't know why she always required her daughter to do school work at her desk. It was okay for her to do Spelling on the floor, or Reading on her bed. The more we talked, the more I gleaned ideas and realized I lacked flexibility and perspective on some things.

What a wonderful thing to open up and talk with others about life. Simple words of experience can be life (or day) changers .

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Amelia

Really, God sent the sunshine just for us. What a perfect setting to welcome a day in remembrance of Amelia, our second daughter.


Most parents are thrilled to give birth, because they have a sweet, warm body to cradle and hold at home later. And though we held our daughter in our arms as well, we had to relinquish her to the undertaker and really, God Himself. What a hard, gut-wrenching day that was.

It blows my mind that it was 3 years ago. She would be 3 years old today. It makes my heart ache at the thought. To know our daughter could be running around the house, playing with her oldest Sister, and teaching the youngest new things.

But that's not what God has in store.

He has something greater (of course in our minds it seems sadder) for her life. To spend it in Heaven with Him. This means that once again our hearts our pained for the loss of our second girl, but at the same time, it means Amelia is without pain and we never have to wonder about her eternity. So, in a way, we both mourn and celebrate Amelia's absence in our life.

We won't always mourn.

One day, Jesus will return and we will reign with our Savior as well...and join Amelia. This is what creates joy and we can truly sing...Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just to know He lives. Because our God lives, Amelia lives, and we are able to have eternal life in Heaven, even when this one on Earth is over.

Human life is a miracle. But eternal life? That is an even greater miracle indeed.

We miss you and love you, Amelia! We always will.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blackberries

I have seen the light!

Well, I've seen that we have blackberries in the neighborhood anyway. If I'd known we had them sitting around in thorny bushes for free, I would have been picking years ago. Funny how when you have kids and are trying to be a healthy mom, you get more creative.

It all started when a friend of mine let me know of an organic raspberry farm in the valley near us. My eldest was so excited to pick, but when we arrived at 9:30 a.m. they were already gone! We were both craving berries so badly. When there's a will, there's a way. I remembered my neighbor had picked some blackberries nearby, so I asked her the location. And there they were! At the beginning of their season, but still somewhat ripe. I picked a bunch and we had enough for blackberry cobbler.

Since then, we've picked three different times...for blackberry jam, for a mere snack, then again night before last for a Crumble! Here's the link for Williams-Sonoma Blackberry Crumble. Believe me, it is yummy, though not healthy, per se. The mixture of blackberries and apples is heavenly.

Blackberry Crumble

Anybody involved in late summer projects? I am starting a very small one. When I'm finished, I'll try to remember to post pics.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Announcements

It's...another girl!!

I must admit, we were a little disappointed to hear "girl" and not "boy". That, however,
lasted about 1 minute because the words "healthy", "textbook heart function", "nice kidneys", "beautifully developing brain", and "super healthy" prevailed! Each of our daughters is a miracle, and this one is no exception. Now onto name-choosing! We are not that couple who right away has a name chosen. No, without fail, it's always about 2 months 'til.

I am already thinking up cute crocheted headbands to make, a "welcome dress" to sew, and perhaps a baby room makeover for our new princess! I also informed Mike that I am all over coordinating the girls' outfits this time round, so he had better watch out for some cute photo shoots. Ahem...*hint* *hint*, Kari.

But first of all, I have to make it through this pregnancy. Oh that pregnancy would be shorter and holding the baby would be sooner! But I guess you can't have one without the other. I am 21 weeks and baby, from head to rump, is about a carrot-length (whatever that means). Okay, I guess it means about 10 1/2 inches long. Our girl is specifically 13 oz. Cool, huh? Our technology these days is mind-blowing.

My other announcement is that Katie is OFFICIALLY A WALKER! She now prefers walking to crawling (so would I). I now have to watch her like a hawk because she will escape out the front door, climb across the deck, out onto the driveway, walk up the driveway, and right into the cul-de-sac! Ack! Enough to scare this mama out of her wits. And she's not much of a complainer. If she falls, she dusts off and gets right back up. In fact, she adores grass and dirt (another reason I have been giving more baths these days). Honestly, I love it. This stage so far is my favorite. I love watching her explore.

Brilla is now 5 and is in her second year of kindergarten. Some things still need to be mastered. Two things we are a little ahead in is Reading and Math. We are both excited to start cursive in the winter! I try to get "in and out" of school, so she has time to do the other things she loves, like ride her bike in the sunshine, paint, and draw. Brilla is on her first soccer team. It's a hoot. It never dawned on me to teach my daughter some skills (though I've played all my life???) so now we have P.E. time, in which we do just that. Last week's game, she was the goalie. In the rain. The first goal went right through her legs and the second went right past her as she daydreamed up at the sky. Ha!

I am cooking again, much to the delight of my husband and believe it or not, Brilla. Of course, it's simple stuff and I like it that way. Things like hamburger pizza, homemade marinara and spaghetti, and baked salmon. I was going to grill my salmon last night, but alas, the propane tank was out. Especially sad, when I wanted to try out the cedar planks. However, with simple seasoning, the salmon was a hit.

I am also decorating my home. Since the kitchen is now green, I have put up some black/white flower curtains from IKEA and my sweet husband has installed new, inexpensive white cabinets above our washer and dryer (in our kitchen) to replace the old shelves. Now we have more, hidden storage. The theme for my kitchen is black and white, with some splashes of red. I think the simplicity will highlight the green better, making it less loud. Last night, I found some cute framed pictures at the store. There were also several other SWEET items that I said no too, because I realized I could probably make them myself.

My allergies are at an all-time high. My eyes constantly itch an my nose drips. Allergies are very annoying. They make me irritable. When single, I got allergies all the time. Since being married and having children, I rarely get them. For some reason, pregnancy brings them out, though. Maybe it's all the extra blood pumping through my body that produces extra fluid. I don't know. Hoping the irritability goes away :(

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

Amazing how we can read the Bible, yet be totally blind to spiritual truths until the Holy Spirit teaches us its meaning. Especially when we're stubborn and we think we already know what it says. Either by denominational background or just plain misinterpretation by those we grew up around.

Such is case with me and understanding what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

I say is because the Holy Spirit is still revealing to me about Himself (and I'm sure until Jesus Himself returns). But I could also say was because just this week, my husband and I had a long talk, while reading Scripture and going through my Bible study notes...and I was BLOWN AWAY! Thank you , Jesus, for showing me, by your Holy Spirit, what it means to be filled with your Spirit!

All my life, I have not known what it truly means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a charismatic background, where, even after being a believer, you continually had to ask the Holy Spirit in. Whether is was by blowing or other (and it grew stranger) means. Now, this may be just me, but I thought that the believer was always filled with the Spirit and at certain times, received an "extra" unction by Him to speak powerfully, whether in tongues, or prophesy. As if, in that moment, the Holy Spirit fell upon a believer.

Now, this may happen, but not due to a mere feeling-inspired, excitable request for the Holy Spirit to come!

However, I also joined the other side during my teens in Baptist and other circles where being filled with the Spirit is rarely encouraged, preached on, or talked bout. In fact, it's shied away from! It's slightly taboo. Because the subject has been misunderstood, unfortunately, it's not a popular subject in conservative circles.

Firstly, let's decipher between baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit. They are two different occurrences.

It must be cleared up that prior to Pentecost, the apostles had just seen Christ go up in the clouds. They had the Holy Spirit because Jesus had been with them. Now that He was gone, the Holy Spirit was with them, but not yet in them. In fact, Jesus said to wait to witness until the Holy Spirit had baptized them. Hence, at the day of Pentecost, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Believers no longer need to ask the Holy Spirit to baptize them; this immediately occurs when we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When we are convicted of our sin and repent, surrendering our lives to Christ. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

So, it is not a mystery. Every believer automatically receives the Holy Spirit at new spiritual birth.

As for the filling of the Holy Spirit, this can occur numerous times throughout the believer's life. We are to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us. It is also possible to have been filled with the Spirit and later not be. It's possible to grieve the Holy Spirit within us.

When a person receives Jesus Christ as the Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes them into a new creature, the old has gone, the new has come. This lasts forever. We are sealed until the day of redemption. However, it's possible to allow sin to remain resident in our lives instead of surrendering it to the Lord; hence, grieve the Spirit. Someone who was once filled with the Spirit and has now grieved Him may experience a drought of joy, love and peace that only the Holy Spirit brings. This believer might feel like the Holy Spirit has left. This drought will continue only until that sin(s) have been confessed and repented of through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more a believer rids themselves of this crippling sin, and surrenders, replacing it with what God wills us to do, the more a believer is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian is then able to grow spiritually and be of great use to Jesus. Each time we yield our will to His, confessing and turning away from our sin, we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Can I say, often, in a believer's life, when the pruning is most painful and we have to empty ourselves and see our great need for Christ (cause we can't do it ourselves), it is then that we are most often cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit? Remember, being filled with the Holy Spirit isn't wholly for our moment-filled excitement, but mainly to experience His power working through us for His glory. Most often our response will be, "Lord, where did that come from?!" We then realize it was through the power of the Spirit, the work of God in our lives. Praise Jesus! He gives us a peace and joy amidst our circumstances. Not something the world can give.

Hopefully, I have not thoroughly confused any one reading this. But, just a little more on the subject, seeing that it is slowly clearing up for me....

All Christians are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's to be the norm. To not be filled with the Spirit is abnormal. To lack that love, and be filled with fear is not to be. To be stilted by sin, crippled by disobedience is not God's will. We are to put away anger, wrath, malice, put away corrupt communication. To not put these away is grieving the Holy Spirit. "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit." Ephesian 5:18

Looking back, I can see times I have been filled with the Holy Spirit and the times I have not been. I accepted Christ at age 9, but in my teens, I struggled with temptation and often gave in. I grieved the Spirit, and hence, felt empty, depressed, and like a failure in my Christian life. Thankfully, I repented, and I remember seeing spiritual fruit grow, a fervor develop to share Jesus with everyone I came in contact with. However, there have been other times since then I've wanted my own way and will, not His. Yet, by His grace, the Holy Spirit does not give up on us. He convicts and prods and brings us to our knees! "And I am sure of this, He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

So, even though my understanding was limited, the Spirit filled me and worked through me anyway. However, now I know. And I am excited. I want to be filled to the brim with His Spirit. He is not Someone to shy away from! He is the One to long for, to seek after, to pray for. The apostles longed for all believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive spiritual gifts. Of course, this won't come at no cost to myself. I have to deny my own selfish desire to do what He asks, be transformed, conformed. But the reward is great. His joy, His peace, His love is lasting!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Real Treat


We've been having fun with our cousins this weekend!


To be exact, my aunt, cousin and her family are visiting from Vegas (where it is triple digits) so they are grateful for the cool weather we've had this weekend.


This is in the small town of Steilacoom. It wasn't the best weather, but not pouring and the ocean was gorgeous. Besides, it's not what you do, it's who you're with!


It's always a special treat when we have family visit up here because they all live in California, Nevada, or the Midwest. And they all live in clusters (except for us) so they really have no reason to come up to the cold Pacific NW.


Too funny, this past weekend, we have gone to places this PNW native has not been in ages. For example, we went to Steamer's for dinner, then drove on a beautiful tour of Chambers Bay and Steilacoom. It's been a good while since I've been to Steilacoom. Then on Sunday, we visited the Museum of Flight and Snoqualmie falls. The real treat was on Monday. We went to the Sky City Restaurant at the Space Needle! I have been to the Needle once before a long time ago, but never to eat. It was quite the treat. A little pricey, but totally worth it. The view was amazing since the weather let up all day and the sun shone bright. Below is a video of one of the fancy desserts we ordered, the Lunar Orbiter. All four were free with the handy dandy coupon discovered by Steve and Phoebe!


video

Unfortunately, the girls are sick now. I think the lack of naps has caught up with them. I really don't know if it's related. I have an inkling Katie is teething due to the runny nose and trouble with sleep. Brilla had a mild fever last night. This morning she seems fine but I didn't want to risk it. We are missing out on the big trip to Mount Rainier today (boo!) and resting up at home. It was a hard decision to make, but as the day goes, I'm glad I made it. Brilla's watching cartoons and I'm catching up on housework and blogging. Katie is footloose and fancy free crawling up and down the house. I have to watch her like a hawk . She loves the toilet and yanking things off shelves. Oh, and taking every last item out of my purse. Think I'm going to put mine up and custom-make her own, using one of Brilla's and filling it with all kinds of fun stuff.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Post for the Week

Hey, I'm doing pretty good. Getting on here two weeks in a row!

Yesterday was the best July 4th celebration I can remember in a while. We had plenty of good food, the best weather ever, and and about 25 people to share it with.

We all agreed to go low-key this year. Since my sis-in-law was hosting this event at her home (and her husband was on a trip), we thought it only fair to divvy up the food amongst us other ladies of the family. Also, my mother-in-law exhausted herself at our church's July 3rd celebration, my mom worked her graveyard shifts that weekend, and I am pregnant. It turned out great. I've not cooked in a while, so it was fun for me to bake some blueberry crisp, marinate chicken legs in some homemade teriyaki sauce for someone else to grill (since I can't take the smell), and whip up creamy Italian dressing . We also had the Asian chicken salad from Costco, grilled salmon, and the usual hamburger and hot dog combo. My mom made an amazing potato salad and made up shortcakes for our strawberry decadence later. Fresh berries from Picha, too! My mother-in-law made some chocolate zucchini cake (which, if you've never had, is so delicious) and my cousin-in-law made banana bread. And I was worried that we wouldn't have enough dessert. Ha.

We were up 'til midnight lighting fireworks and watching all the neighbors light theirs. I didn't light fireworks growing up, so my favorite part of the whole day was watching Brilla's enthusiasm. Strangely, I feel very rested today after sleeping in. Brilla had her first swim lesson this morning. Katie is catching up on sleep right now. We are just chilling. Later we might play out in the sun and water. But right now, the relaxation is perfect.

My brother's girl friend is in town, staying with for the week. It has been cute to watch young love. I found myself reminiscing about what it was like to fall in love with Michael. So many new feelings inside and so much time to spend time alone together...without housework, without kids. But then again, there's also all the unknowns when you are with someone, not yet engaged or even married. Will I be committing the rest of my life to this person? Will their family like me? Where will we live? How will we make our money? Yes, I do like post-wedding better after all. Many unknowns still, but the Pilot knows our way. And I have a sweet man and two adorable (one in heaven) children out of the deal.

Which reminds me. Brilla said this afternoon, "Katie and I were born to Earth, but Amelia was born to Heaven." True. Out of the mouths of babes.

The Babe is 10 weeks. He/she is 1 1/4 inches long. It is starting to dawn on me that in little over 6 months, we will have a little red, squawling baby to hold and cherish. I see the expectant mothers and newborns all around in the parks, at the grocery store. It's a mother's instinct to long after the tiny toes and fingers. And it's reality that wakes us again to sleepless nights, having to go pee numerous times, and knowing our body will never be the same!

I've figured out that to speed up my digestion (since I continously feel bloated after eating) and metabolism, I need to be more active. I have not been exercising, and thoroughly lackluster. Perhaps my next post will be about how good I feel. *Smile*

Oh, and I have a new read. "Spoken from the Heart" by Laura Bush. It promises to be a long one at 432 pgs. Just from the introduction, I had to grab a tissue...which I attribute highly to pregnancy. She is a good writer, and I'm looking forward to the following chapters. Lately, I have been enjoying non-fiction. I'm almost finished with "A Thousand Gifts" and just completed "Out of Darkness", written by an acquaintance.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

9 weeks

Yes, 9 weeks. And yes, you may see an exciting post like this every week! Heehee.

Katie has started movin' on her walker, thanks to my friend Susi's recent post. Why didn't I get her on that thing sooner? She is addicted and won't stop except to get a drink and a snack now and then! I figured at 14 mos, it might be a good time to started urging her to walk. Although, I've heard the longer children crawl, the better because it strengthens their spine. The curvature is improved because they have to use their core, and neck muscles.

I am still blinking from the finish of K4. It was such a fun school year. Meanwhile, Brilla is doing some fun Math and Writing books to maintain during the summer. Also, she is doing the Summer Reading Club at our local library. It's a "rewarding" way to keep up her reading skills, since they get rewards once they've reached a certain amount of reading time. We've enjoyed reading Clifford, Fancy Nancy, Berenstein Bears, ballet books, etc. Both my girls love books, so it's a treat. B is also doing piano lessons and will start up swim next week. My husband and I both agreed we want her to learn swimming, even if just for safety reasons.

I'm teaching through Summer. Some parents and students need and break, which they take. But as for the rest, we just keep going! It's neat when all your students enjoy piano lessons. I've had to change my expectations and cater to meet the needs of each student. The goal is for each child to be interested in music and learn in the best way, while at the same time, have objectives to complete. For example, I have a student whose light bulb was just not coming on and the excitement which was there, had dwindled. I gave that student a Star Wars book and BOOM!, the bulb lit! On the objective side, I like my students to play comprehensive pieces that include classical. I also like them to do theory; know what they are playing and be able to read notes. I have one student who is wildly talented at piano. He is only 6 and just played his first Sonatina. I have to continually keep him challenged! See how piano continues to be fun for me?

My husband is about to be crazy busy with work. I don't mean he's been sitting on the couch this whole time. What I mean is...framing is made up of pockets of time. Some months you are getting a project here and there, other times you are hiring like 4 more guys because you have 4/5 projects going at once. The latter is what is happening right now. I tend to be a flexible wife and don't mind my husband's strange hours. I figure there are plenty of men out there without work, why should I complain when my husband has to work late or on Saturdays? We can pay our bills and have our needs met. We have much to be grateful for.

Lately, I've had a cold. One that has hung on for a week and a half. It started with a sore throat (no other symptoms) for a week, then on the weekend, it escalated and left me voiceless. I have been struggling to get it back ever since, and in the meantime, have had bad congestion. Last night is the best night's sleep I've had in a while. My voice is also much better. I tell you, it was beginning to be a big pain. Of course, you can imagine my H enjoyed teasing me about my voice and the girls liked the freedom of mom not raising her voice.

As for first trimester woes, I've decided to spare you. I am still struggling and still tired, but distraction is the key.

The neighbor girls keep stopping by, like every day. I'm not exaggerating. I struggle with my attitude. Don't get me wrong, they are very sweet girls, but you can have too much of a good thing. So if I'm busy, I just let them know. If I'm gardening, I ask them if they'd like to join, and they do...for about 5 minutes :) But really, what they want to do is come in, have a snack, play the piano and hang out for a couple of hours, no joke. Brilla loves when they show up! And they love to hold Katie. So it is often a plus. M and I have decided to start Summer Bible club again. The Lord has put a strong desire in our heart to share the Gospel with the kids around here. Sure, some of them have been before, but as we all know, there are different seasons of sowing and reaping.

Today I'm hoping to get a walk in and get the dishes done! My youngest is sleeping so now seems to be a great time for a shower.

Hope to catch up on my posting again, at least once a week~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Trimester Funk

I am at 8 weeks, little babe is the size of a kidney bean (which is supposed to be bigger than last week's blueberry at 7 weeks). There really is nothing like pregnancy to make time stand still. I feel like the days are creeping by. What I really want is to be at 12 plus weeks and out of this funk of nausea and utter exhaustion.

You know, on Monday, I had a serious bout of depression. I know there is much talk about PPD (post-partum depression), but nobody ever talks about first trimester depression. I have not struggled with PPD, but definitely have with FTD (my own clinical abbreviation). It must be the combination of hormones, tiredness, and inability to eat like normal. This is my second time experiencing it, and I'm sure there are others out there who do. Anyway, all I know is, I found myself on the couch in the "depths of despair" (in consideration of Anne Shirley), sick with a sore throat and headache, and utterly miserable. Don't get me wrong, I am usually a go-getter, looking for an adventure with the kiddos (especially during Summer). So, what is a woman to do when she feels this way but has two little ones swirling around her, very needy? Well, I tried my motivational speech of "You can do this, just get up and get dressed", I tried positive thinking, "It'll pass in a little bit". But when the entire morning went by and I was still feeling depressed, I finally asked the Lord for help. Yes, the classic scenario of trying to do it in your strength, failing miserably, then realizing He has been there all along. And you know what? My simple plea of "Lord, please take away this pit in my stomach, relieve my sore throat and bring me out of this depression" was answered. Partly in the form of a nap, because when I woke up only 10 min later, I felt worlds better. And, as a bonus, Mike pulled up in his truck, home early from work. The Lord always knows when we need help, even in the seemingly small things! Since Monday, I've had no trouble getting on my feet and staying busy. Never underestimate the care and love of the Lord!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It has hit. The intense headaches, barely-there nausea, pungent smells, and hardly-eat-a-thing meals.

I am not feeling good right now. I've noticed eating a couple slices of lunch meat and gulping a big glass of water has helped in the mornings. The evenings are bad though. I get easily bloated and I just feel all around uncomfortable.

I have said this with each of my past three pregnancies, but how did I forget? How did I forget how miserable the first trimester is for me? I like creating my healthy meals at home and I just can't these days. The smells simply overwhelm me. Mike doesn't cook at all so that leaves eating out, or buying something pre-cooked. My appetite also changes every day. What sounded good at lunch, doesn't sound good at dinner. Hence, we may have to tip our budget a little on food this month.

Thankfully, all of my students are on Mondays. That leaves the rest of the week to distract myself with gardening, paperwork, cleaning, and home schooling, etc. Wish my schedule stayed like this forever!

I am ready to have our Summer break from school! We have finished Math and Reading. We still have some Handwriting and Poetry to finish. Brilla read the word Tennessee last night, and it proved how well our curriculum works, and that she's come a long way. I am thankful I don't have to motivate my daughter to do her work. She gets excited every time we start. She may get a *little* distracted and we have to refocus. But overall, she likes to learn. I am excited about broadening our subjects next year, with History, Spelling and Science. But oh, am I looking forward to our Summer break first!

My brother is home from college for the summer. I miss both of my brothers so much throughout the year, especially at family events. The other one I don't get to see until August. Only two months away though! The brother that's home has been a huge help. He's already finished a huge project for us; ridding us of cables running along the floor for our toddler to chomp on, and reconnecting our tv and internet through the house. I am realizing more and more that my brothers are men now! One has his very serious girl friend coming to visit and the other is travelling with an ensemble group from school (that's why we only get to see him come Aug), setting his sights on law school after he graduates with this BS, or is it BA? Time goes by so fast. It is a huge blessing that we are close friends.

I start playing softball on Friday. The last time I played softball was when I was in grade school. Yeah. I'll need a little practice with Mike so I don't embarrass the team. It will be great for me to get the exercise though. Lately I've had no long walks or workout videos; I've been feeling pretty bad.

My youngest is asleep right now. She is teething and the poor thing has had a runny nose and short temper lately. She is still an unbelievable bundle of cuteness, chub and smiles. She has the prettiest smile ever! Her crawling has led her to greater adventures...like the toilet and eating my plants. She cruises along furniture, etc., but no walking yet. Her personality is very laid back. Her whole life, from birth (she was about 2 weeks late), she has never been in a hurry. We all figure she will walk when she's good and ready!

We have had amazing weather lately. Especially over the weekend. Right now it's cloudy, windy and looks like it will rain. I'm not at all sad, because it just means I don't have to get out and plant my lilac starters, which I don't feel like doing.

My project today is to finally purge out the 2010 files and put it in storage. Sheesh....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Another



...baby is coming! Our fourth-born will be arriving around February. All my overeating, bloating, and headaches have not been in vain! There is a tiny one inside of me causing all the fuss :)

Of course, I'm not the least bit complaining. And wouldn't it be wonderful if all I got was a bad headache now and then? So far, there has been no nausea. But then again, I'm only about 4 weeks.

I'm so excited these days; I'm about to burst! Please keep us in prayer, too, as we're not ignorant that the first trimester is fragile. All is in the Lord's hands, and we completely trust Him!

Monday, May 16, 2011

When Life Seems Unfair (Or Untimely)

I was nourished from our pastor's sermon this Sunday. I say nourished because it is exactly what I needed for my spiritual hunger. And I didn't even know it.

He gave us the story of Lazarus. But what I got from it really has nothing to do with raising people from the dead! Strangely, nor was it about miracles. It was about God's perfect timing. When Jesus was here on earth, He had a set amount of time to do everything God wanted Him to do. No one could hurry Him up, and no one could give Him precaution to slow it down. How this ties in with Lazarus, was the amount of time Jesus waited before He went to see the family. L's sisters said, "If you would have been here, our brother would not have died." The disciples said, "He's dead already. Why are we going to see him now?" But unlike us, the Son of God had perfect timing. He knew having to go through the grief of losing a brother would strengthen the faith of those who loved Him even more. However, Jesus was not callous, but calculated. Those who believed in Jesus needed to go through this hard time because soon, He too would be killed, dead for three days, and be raised again. They needed enduring faith to believe all would be well. Also, He waited that long because He wanted this miracle of Lazarus to be unlike the other people he raised from the dead that same day. Jesus had it all under control. He didn't raise Lazarus out of regret. He had a plan and a certain amount of time to accomplish the Father's will.

This concept of God's perfect timing reall sunk in. Why am I so impatient to get on with the next thing the Lord has for me? Why do I hurry up life? God sees the big picture. And for those who follow Him, all our days, minutes, hours, He has control over. He knows when things need to take place. If we struggle against Him, He's got to add more pressure to the clay to get all the impurities and misformations out. He's gentle, but persistent.

I need to embrace what God has for me, not fight it. And no, my life will not look another person's. Why? Because my life is unique to God's timeline. It's all part of His plan. And He loves us like no one else ever could. At the same time we think we're being kept from something, we're being kept for something.



"Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."


Friday, May 6, 2011

One Thousand Blessings

I am currently reading the book "One Thousand Blessings" by Ann Voskamp. It is tremendous. My mom gave it to me as an early Mother's Day gift. It is nothing new you haven't heard; that's what I like about it. It's her personal testimony how she was able to come out of a life of grief and joyless living. It's about giving thanks to God for where you're at right now. Expansion of your contentment factor.

Hope all you moms have a beautiful and thankful Mother's Day! It really is a privilege to be a mother. A position of worth and humbleness I no longer take for granted. And you've heard it said before...you are a mother to someone. Even if you don't have children of your own. Someone looks up to you and leans on you. You are a blessing!

I'm so thankful for my mom, mom-in-law, Grandma, the ladies at church who've discipled me, older single friends who've shard life's tid-bits with me, my aunties...the list goes on.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Godly Man Gone Home

I just found out that David Wilkerson died in a car accident last night. This news deeply saddens my heart. Not because he's Home, but, our world was blessed with a true saint and man of God, and now it is void of him. But through all the words he spoke from Scripture, God's Word will not return void. It is still changing the hearts of men and women.

Almost every Christian I know has seen The Cross and the Switchblade. I did as a teen and was emboldened to compassion and sharing the Gospel. But also as a teen, I struggled with deep sin. Sin that left me feeling entrapped and like a hypocrite. This sin was "secret" but how could I not realize that God was watching? Satan, and our own hearts, can twist the truth.

I vividly remember the evening David Wilkerson spoke to my heart.

Dad had brought home a video message of him. Our family had watched this message before; the first time it had seemed unduly harsh. However, this time I felt Dr. Wilkerson speaking directly to me when he talked about the church of God "passing under the rod". I didn't speak of it after we turned the screen off. But my conscience, and God, would not leave me alone! That night, my dear, compassionate father listened to me as I poured out my heart to him about everything.

And that is how Dr. Wilkerson impacted my life.

His BLOG, last post just written yesterday, spoke to my heart again.

Another saint gone to be with Jesus!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Budget & Style

Any of you on a new budget? We bit the bullet and did a sort-of-budget. Since we don't have a predictable, constant income, we did more of a cap-type where we tracked our spending for 3 months then dealt out a limit we thought reasonable.

It has been the best thing we've done in a while! I like having a goal for saving our money. I also have more freedom knowing where everything is going.

I've had to cut back on a few things. I thought it would be hard on me, but it's been the complete opposite. It's been challenging, but rewarding. I've had to be a bit more creative, and content. I get less (almost nil) coffee out, don't buy clothes every month, and cook meals more. We still love eating out, that's kind of our thing, but much less than we used to.

Plus, we have piles of things in storage. All those things I buy add up. Less things to store? I can handle that!

Which reminds me, Spring cleaning is just around the corner. I cannot wait to get my hands on our garage. I am not one of those people who regularly cleans their garage (and just moves around junk). I wait until a certain time every year, then do a massive downsizing. The more I dig into my drawers, cabinets and closets around the house, even though we have a small home, Spring cleaning calls my name.

I just got several books from the library; a few are about decorating and finding space in a smaller home. I am a design and decor book junkie. I love all things interior. My house does not look it though! I have a gazillion ideas running through my head but nothing to show for. So, I have decided that I'm going to finally finish decorating the main part of my house that my husband so amazingly remodeled.

The Finishing Touch has been a great book to thumb through. Obviously, I cannot afford much of the suggested decor, but I can definitely improvise and add my own touch. Be creative with what I have. I did go out and buy a new rug, some candles, and a curtain rod to help me out. I'm trying to lighten up our living room since a smaller home shouldn't have a dark feel. Though amidst the drippy rain it may not feel like it, Spring and Summer are at our doorstep. Time to brighten up!

On another topic, I have been reading StyleClinic. Though I admire great style, my closet does not reflect this, as I've never been disciplined about what I buy. I buy random sale items and too many. I think I dress with some style, but I spend way too much time in front of my closet with my hands on my hips.

I like this quote - "I am against fashion that doesn't last. I cannot accept that you throw your clothes away just because it is Spring." Coco Chanel

Basically, the book has said fashion is different than style. Fashionable clothing is trendy. Fashionable items should be bought cheaply, can be donated or sold when the season is over. However, style is clothing that lasts. Like classic pumps, a white dress shirt or cashmere sweater. When you find something stylish, that suits you, it should be kept until it is worn-out or outdated. These stylish pieces are also what you should spend a more on.

Anyway, if you are concerned about your style, or even a basic wardrobe, give this book a try. If you could give a hoot, then never mind :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ONE.

Someone in our family turned one last week, April 5th!

Katie had a simple but wonderful family party 2 Sundays ago. She enjoyed having her first cupcake, opening her first birthday gifts, and playing with her cousins. What more fun could a little not-yet-toddler ask for?




She got hairclips, 2 outfits, a stuffed bear, and only 1 toy. We were SO glad she only received 1! We have too many as it is. We don't buy our kids toys, they get plenty from grandparents and friends, but after a while, they pile up.

Here she is with some gifts:




We love our little munchkin. She is by far our most docile baby. Right now, however, she is going through a phase and she has been a very whiny baby. I put that in emphasis because a whiny baby will drive even a saint to ruins. She has a bad diaper rash (perhaps even a yeast infection), is teething, and is weaning. So, lots to fuss about. But she eats super well and is crawling and cruising everywhere. I personally love the freedom she has now with crawling. Makes cooking dinner and whatnot that much easier.

Lastly, wanted to share with you my little gift to Katie:



The lighting makes the flower yellowish, but it is actually cream-colored. I was so happy to finally make a CUTE flowery hat for my little love.






Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lately

Lately, life has been zooming by and it has been fun!

We recently had a visit with some friends whom we've reconnected with. They moved from Idaho to our area of South Seattle. We shared some yummy muffins (Sweet Chef, you know who you are!), toys, and some talking. Simple and yet restful. Ah. Can't wait until our next visit!

We have finished our taxes. 'Nough said.

A girl friend, accompanied by her loverly daughters (who are the same age a mine), came over for the whole Friday to jump start me on sewing my daughters' Easter dresses. Yes, I decided to go out on a limb. And yes, I am hoping to finish by Easter. The whole reason why I'm sewing them, right? I'm excited as to how they are turning out. Let me just hint that they are an indigo blue with polk-a-dots. Okay, that's enough hinting. *wink*

Two baby showers this weekend. One for little Addie Lou, the youngest of four children. What an amazing brunch feast was presented by our pastor's wife! I think I dreamed of that decadent spread the whole night afterward! And the games were creatively un-boring. A great way to also meet more ladies at our church, seeing we are still "newish". I got teary-eyed at a couple gifts given by the women.

The other baby shower was incredibly relaxing as well! Tiny and blue-eyed baby Elijah. This little man has officially sealed the deal of me hoping for a baby boy in the future! The hosts of the shower made delightful cake pops and other goodies. I had my sugar fill for the weekend. And what a great time catching up with people I have not seen in ages! My eldest came with and I'm so glad I brought her. She has been such a good girl lately and needed to get out a bit.

This weekend, I went to Hammond Ashley on the Eastside and rented a....violin!!!!!!!! I am ecstatic! My old violin is worth beans. It is old, scratchy; and my bow is de-haired without recourse. I have had no motivation to play for the past 6 1/2 years. Isn't that a pity? An elderly lady at our church, discovered that I am a violinist and has gathered an ensemble. All I needed was a violin. Without further ado, I headed to HA to browse. I did not know you could rent to own! Hence, all the money I pay to rent, I can put toward a violin of my own (ahem...they start at only $700-800....) You can imagine all the years of suppressed violin-playing was released in a torrent of notes last night. My daughters loved it; we dance and jigged the night away~

Next up is Katie Girl's 1st birthday party! I can't believe I just wrote that. She is actually turning 1 early next month. AND she started crawling just a few days ago. Hurrah! She is more self-entertained. I have no regrets for this new-found mobility. My older daughter, however, is not so sure how to handle a crawling sister. Now she stores her "untouchables" on a shelf, out of reach. Her food is now perused and pursued. We all wonder when her legs will do the walking. But I am not in a hurry for that, nor will I prevent her.

My daughters are growing up and before I know it, some of my "goals" have not been met. What are my goals? Which are most important?

This is a reminder to me to stop for my hot tea in the morning, pull out my Bible, and just be still before God. Listen to His words. Perhaps I am not hearing Him because I am not opening the ears of my heart? I think it is easy (at least for me) to study the Word, but to spend time in prayer before the Lord Jesus is a whole different story. That takes time! And mind you, my brain wanders during prayer for all the things I have to do that day! But the reason I really want to spend time in prayer is because Jesus, the Son of God, spent time alone in prayer with His Father. If Jesus did this, how much more should I? It does not have to be formulated or even at a certain time of day, but it's a must and it is my biggest priority. To spend time at Jesus' feet. Even more than that, a spirit of prayer throughout the day is part of our spiritual armor, to fight against the spiritual powers of darkness and evil.

Another priority is teaching my children about the Lord. It is a life-long investment. Thankfully, spiritual topics come up all the time. I rarely have to seek them out. But when they do, am I ready with wisdom from above? If I'm not, do I take the time to seek out God's answers with them? I actually enjoy the moments where my oldest daughter asks me thought-provoking questions. They often blow my mind. I'm like "Why didn't I think of that?". In so many ways, our kids often show Jesus to us. Oh, that I would have a soft heart to soak Him up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bring Your Earl Grey, Please

Today was a wonderful day to go visit Grandma Mabel (my husband's grandmother)!

We pack up our tea things...cream, raw sugar, black tea, cookies...because Grandma Mabel loves tea. I also pack up The Farmer's Daughter just in case she wants to watch a little Loretta Young. We get there, look around for Grandma in the little group watching the St. Patrick's Day singers in the entertainment room, but don't see her. Even thought she said she'd meet us. The girls and I troop over to her room to find her all tangled up in her clothing, struggling to get dressed, and slightly confused. She has bouts of short-term memory loss. But she emphatically insists that she wear her dress or "they won't allow her in there". She also wants her hair brushed, and jewelry donned. You know, all the things us ladies typically want done before we walk out the door. As we walk down the hallway she asks me if I mind if she sits by her favorite man (!) Then she gives me her sly little grin and laugh (!) Thankfully, we make it to the room before they are done. Grandma (and my girls) love their sweets, so they do not at all pass up the punch and cake. It's a sweet time and after it is over, we end up watching a little of Farmer's Daughter. Obviously, we are all tired. The girls are fussy and Grandma is sleep in her comfy chair. After she stirs, we make our good-byes, and she insists we take home all the oranges in her frig (that she saves up for months at a time from the dining room). We make our way back to the car. It is only once we are back in the car that I realize I have forgotten to clip her toenails and let her hold Katie like I promised. But again, I think we are all tired and it is time to call it a day.

What a beautiful outing! Grandma is a social bug (she is formerly a pastor's wife), so I know she thoroughly enjoyed showing off the girls to all her acquaintances at the retirement home. And I know she was thrilled to have company at her small place. It's always very relaxing and quiet when we go. I like it. And I always look forward to going back.

These visits make me miss my own Grandmother Louise all the way over in Missouri. How I wish I could jog over a mere 30 minutes in the car to see her. We are so close and yet many miles apart. We talk of many things when we're together, like best friends. A good reminder that I need to call her tomorrow.

When I am old and widowed, I hope my granddaughters come to visit me regularly. I hope they bring their black tea and old videos. And just talk with me. Just because they love me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A midnight prayer for my children...

Dear Lord, I have this earnest desire for you alone to meet my children's needs. I say "children" and not "daughters" because we'd like to have more, but You ultimately know what's ahead.

I want my daughters and future little ones to know You deeply. May you be the sole source of their contentment. May you be their Rock in hard times, may you fill every part of their being with Your Love. You are Love, and none else can fill us like You do. There is no material thing or human being I can go to that absolutely satisfies me. Lord, please be that satisfaction for my children.

I want them to bask in Your peace. Even in the midst of troubles, may their soul be at rest. As they grow up, help them to know You alone are faithful. You always hear; You always answer. You never let go of your children. Thank you, Jesus, for holding me in the palm of Your hand. I ask that my children seek to meet Your approval, and that would include a hatred for sin, a dislike for the things Your heart is saddened for. May their paths never seek to meet evil and if evil meets with them, may their hearts be protected. But God, they are human, and if they sin, may they repent, seek Your forgiveness and be brought back to Your side.

I love my girls so much, Lord. It is hard to think You love them even more than that. But it's true. I will fail them from time to time, even in my efforts not to. I give you my children, even the future ones; I dedicate them to You. Just like I had to give you our Amelia, I give them to You and I ask that You do with them what You will. But Lord, may they find You at a young age. And even if they stray and make bad choices, may they come in brokenness, realizing You are the only answer. I would love for them to avoid the mistakes I have made in my life! But I know You have a plan for each of their lives. And you redeem what Satan means for evil. You are goodness, faithfulness, righteousness. You are Holy. There is none like You.

Might they experience Your unfathomable grace, no matter how painful it may be.

Thank you, Lord, for saving me. For washing away the sin in my life; for making me a new creature. Make me an example for my children. Help me to raise them with Your Love and guidance, because it's so hard to do it in my own strength.

Amen.