Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are You Feeling Abandoned?

Sorry.

I guess I should have thought through the whole holiday thing before I planned this little project, eh?  I must say that my reading has not been the best and my blogging has been non-existent, but I'm not giving up! (and neither should you my dear silent reader...)

I am skipping Numbers and Deuteronomy... for now.  I plan to get back to them at some point - may listen to them on cd or something, but at this point I'm picking up at Joshua and reading along again.  No biggie.

I will day that since my last post I've been introduced to a study on the background and customs and details of the Bible, especially Old Testament stuff, called That the World May Know.  Our church has a few from the series among their small group study materials so I checked one out the other day - very interesting.  I heard Focus on the Family revisit an interview they did with the series founder Ray Vander Laan... you can click here to hear the interview.  Good stuff.

Anyway, I hope to get back into the swing of things now that I've put my house back together.  I'll also recap our Christmas here in a day or two.

If you wanna get back onto the reading wagon you need to read Joshua 20-Judges 7 for tomorrow (I'm going to try to read a majority of Joshua and gradually make my way back on track).  Good luck to you - no matter if you're on track or have a ways to go, just read something!  (We still have 83 days til spring... we can do this!)

See ya later... I promise.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Exodus and Leviticus

Some hard reads there.  They are still rather interesting, rather repetitive, and rather gross at times.  So much of this stuff is lost on us westerners.  But still the overall themes are read loud and clear.

You don't need a degree from a Bible college to realize that God is talking about holiness here.  But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.

First lets look at Exodus.  If you're on schedule you should have finished reading it yesterday.  (If you're not on schedule it's no biggie!!  Remember I too got off schedule for a time, just catch up where ya can and if it starts to get overwhelming, SKIP IT and get back on track.  You are not being tested on this stuff.  I would rather you read 7/8 of the Bible than to give up now because you are a few chapters behind.)

Here are my observations from Exodus:

*Found it interesting that Moses' mother decided to hide Moses in the Nile River when that was the very place that Pharaoh ordered his people to throw the Hebrew baby boys (1:22).  You know in the epic Charlton Heston film they depict the babies being killed by the sword - so you don't think of the Nile being the focal point of the mass murder.  Wonder what the thinking was behind this - because in my limited thought processes I would have probably chosen somewhere far away from the Nile to hide him.  Obviously for some reason she was hoping for a good outcome by placing him there... maybe one of you out there has a take on this...

* I also found it interesting that they saw something special in Moses from the beginning (2:2) wonder what that was...

*The plagues are always interesting to read... first of all despite common depictions, Moses was not the only one that used the staff - Aaron's staff became the snake and he ushered in the frogs and gnats as well.  How disgusting these experiences would have been and for the first few plagues or at least the demonstrations of God's power, Pharaoh's magicians were able to reciprocate - but that didn't last long at all.  What a great way to show them that their power is useless.  And what a testimony to God's people for them to see the Egyptians suffer with these plagues but have God's protection from them at the same time (9:4,26; 10:23; 11:7)

*God knows us so well - it's not surprising, He created us and knows everything about us - but I loved when God lead the Israelites out of Egypt it says that He did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.  For He said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (13:17)  We later read that the Israelites were swayed to go back by the smallest struggle (just read in the very next chapter! 14:10-12).  War would have sent them over the edge.

*Loved the lesson taken concerning grumbling and it is one that I will not only try to remember myself (cuz I need that lesson often unfortunately) but also will try to teach my children.  In chapter 16 when the Israelites got a bit hungry the grumbling started and Moses admonished them saying, (v. 8) that they were not in fact grumbling against them, but against the LORD.  Wow.  How many times have I grumbled against the LORD.  I'm sure I would be embarrassed to find out.  Along those lines when the Israelites became thirsty they began to quarrel with Moses and he responded, "Why do you quarrel with me?  Why do you put the LORD to the test?" (17:2)  When we demonstrate a lack of faith and a lack of trust in our God we are basically calling Him out - putting Him to the test... not a good scenario.

*The splendor and majesty of the Tabernacle - a temporary dwelling for the LORD - just a fraction of the reflection of the glory of God.  I was struck by how He demanded the best and had every detail in order.  He is a creative God for sure but also one that asks for our best.  The denomination I've grown up in is one of the more laid back denominations.  When I was younger shorts and jeans - casual clothes in general - worn to church was a faux pas.  But today you see folks come in their team jerseys before their late Sunday morning ball games... I wear jeans most every Sunday... there are ball caps and hoodies and sneakers.  I know that the new covenant has created a new "playing field" so to speak in regards to worship... but I also know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever... and I'm sure there are many instances that we should show Him more respect than we currently do.  Just my thoughts.

*I also heard Ravi Zacharias say at one time that Exodus recounts God detailing the building of the Tabernacle to Moses and then turns around a repeats the whole process to show that Moses carried out his duties faithfully and obeyed God to every detail.  A lesson to be learned indeed.  My only question is this:  how in the world did Moses remember all of those details!? :)  I'm sure God placed them in his heart and on his mind, but I can just picture Moses trying to frantically record each detail using whatever writing instrument was used at that point!  If you are a visual person go check out this site - it has a model of all components of the Tabernacle and if you want to see a model on a really terrible looking dummy of the priestly garments go here. (I must say the teacher/nerd in me is tempted to buy that Tabernacle model!)

Ok, so I'm not going to get to Leviticus today as I had thought.  No worries, we still have a day more of reading in that chapter (if you haven't been grossed out and scared away from it yet!) - I will try to get to my thoughts there soon.  In the mean time, keep persevering!  Tomorrow's reading is Leviticus 21-Numbers 5.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Admitting To You Now

that I skipped the reading for yesterday.  I was under the weather and basically laid on the couch and barked orders to my children.  Yes the house is a wreck now.  But I feel much better.

So, yesterday's reading was to be Exodus 12-23

And today's is Exodus 24-35

And tomorrow's is to be Exodus 36-Leviticus 7!  You're up to book #3! :)

So be diligent - I'll get back into this too - and by the weeks end you'll be moving on to book #4.  I'll try to post my observations soon, but until then, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today's Reading

and other random tidbits...

The book of Genesis set the tee for the Exodus which is what we'll be beginning today.  Today's reading assignment is Genesis 49-Exodus 11.

I've forgotten to give you "my tips" on how to read through some of this stuff...

1. Don't try to pronounce the crazy names.  That's not the goal of the challenge - many times the meaning of the names are noted in the footnotes... and they're always easier to read and understand than the actual name.

2. For the most part, skip the genealogical listings.  Skim them for well-known names or important events and details... but for the most part they are names of unknowns that aid in giving us a time frame between events.

3. If it's bogging you down, read it out loud.  For me there is something about reading it aloud that makes it more tolerable and interesting.

Now - for some really random observations from the last few days:

*  It was amazing to me that Sarah was such a looker even in her "old age" - the second incident in which Abraham requested her to go through the brother/sister charade occurred after they were told they would have a child within a year's time.  So she was around 90 years old!  and still lovely enough to tempt the king.  Amazing.

*  All of these Patriarch wives struggling with birthing children... Sarah, Rebekah (25:21), and Rachel... and after their husbands were promised many generations and descendants.  I'm thinking God really wanted them to be aware that He was the one in control.

*  I also thought it was kinda funny (strange too) that Isaac asked Esau to go fix him a meal so he could give his blessing because, "I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death." (27:2)  And then Jacob tricked Esau, stole the blessing, ran away from home, married two women, worked for over 20 years for his uncle, reunited with Esau and finally came home to his father - who was still alive!  I'm sure it's a cultural thing... either that or Isaac was a hypochondriac. :)

*  It was also interesting to me that Judah was the one that suggested they sell Joseph into Egypt.  The bad turned into good and the event saved their family from famine - and Christ came from the line of Judah... the plan for a Savior to come was always in place!  Such a detailed God we serve.

Anyway - hope you all are continuing with the readings (that is if anyone is reading) and I'll check in with ya again soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And Three And Four...

The snow has hit around here - perfect weather to stay inside to read!

Today you should have tackled Genesis 25-36.

Tomorrow hit chapters 37-48... and then you know what??  You're almost through with the first of 66 books! 

And you'll also only be 96 days away for spring (and hopefully some major spiritual renewal!).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day #2

If you are joining the challenge you are supposed to be reading Genesis 13-24 today :)

If you don't know what I'm talking about, read yesterday's post.

If you read the first 12 chapters of Genesis yesterday with me, wasn't it full of action!?  The creation of the world, the fall of man, Cain and Abel, the flood, the splintering of the people groups, the Tower of Babel and the very beginnings of the story of Abram (Abraham).  Wow - all packed into 12 chapters.  Many theologians say that the first 11-12 chapters of Genesis are the foundations of society today. 

Some of the principles found in these chapters:
1.  Our God is powerful and creative - He spoke the world into existence and everything has been made with thought and purpose.
2.  All life has value - people are made in the image of God and He views us as His creation as very good.
3.  Marriage is important and ordained by God.
4.  People will mess up - God gave us free will so that we may choose to love and follow Him, but we can also choose to gratify our own desires.  Many wonder why all of mankind was cursed just because of the mistake of two people - it's because we all would make the same mistakes eventually.
5.  The curses cause us to look for a Savior - because we are all in need of one.
6.  The flood explains many of the questions concerning the earth's current form and fossil records.
7.  God had a plan from the beginning - Abram becomes the family line in which all people will be blessed.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg!

A couple of random observations I had concerning the story of Cain and Abel:

First, so many children's Bibles and Sunday School lessons show the first family as a family of four - Adam, Eve with their two sons, Cain and Abel.  This is where I need to remind myself and caution others to always go back to Scriptures when teaching our young people.  It does not say that Cain was the first born it just basically recounts a dispute between two brothers.  They could not have been the only children at the time... some clues are found in Genesis 4:14 and also in verse 17.  After God cursed Cain for his wicked deed against his brother, Cain responded with fear for his life.  In verse 14 he says, "I will be a restless wanderer on the earth and whoever finds me will kill me."  Who would be around to find him?  Obviously the earth was quite inhabited by this time.  Also in verse 17 it speaks of Cain's wife.  Cain had to have married a sister.  So let's be careful as to what we depict and teach our children, because false details of stories can become stumbling blocks in later years.

Second, in regards to the sacrifices presented by Cain and Abel.  We need to trust that God is faithful and consistent.  I am sure Cain knew what was expected of him when he made his sacrifice, for a reason not fully explained, God refused his offering.  When reading these chapters last night a new thought entered my head... and I'm not sure if it has any significance in regards to Cain and Abel or not.  In Genesis chapter 9, when Noah and his family were able to exit the ark, God made a covenant with Noah.  At this time God also now broadens the food supply for humans.  If you remember God had only given Adam and Eve the permission to eat plants (Genesis 2:8-9, and 16-17), but in 9:3 God said to Noah, "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."  He then goes on in the following verses to establish the importance of the "lifeblood" - maybe Abel's offering had that much more significance because he offered portions from the firstborn of his flock at a time when the killing of animals was rare since they were not used for food consumption?  Abel's offering at least shows he either felt the severe weight of his sin or he realized the holiness and glory of God.  Once again, just an observation I had.... which does not make it a correct one.

So I hope you're reading and making connections and seeing things in a new light.  And I hope you continue on for today (only 99 days left until spring! yay!!).

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Not Promising Anything...

but I think I'm up to a Winter Challenge, and that's exactly what I'm gonna call it - The Winter Challenge. (so very creative, I know.)

Here's what I'm thinking.  What good is winter if you can't basically sit at home, curl up in a blanket and read a book?  Yep, from my perspective that's pretty much all winter is good for - the occasional snow is fine, but I would rather just hibernate til spring.  Speaking of... did you know today marks 100 days until the first official day of spring?

So in hopes that I will be able to fulfill my plan of curling up to read while I endure the next 100 days known as winter, I have decided that I will read the Bible in 100 days.

Back at the beginning of the year I was able to read the Bible in 90 days - there's a whole program with support materials and everything.  It was the first time I was successful in a "read through the whole Bible" program - that read the Bible in a year stuff never worked for me - I always got distracted or procrastinated to the point that I just gave it up.  The shorter time frame is easier for me to stick to and the larger chunks of reading help me to get into the "story" of it all a bit better.... plus knowing that if I procrastinate even one day I'll be behind 12 chapters helps me to stay on track. 

So I'm wondering if anyone will join me?  I know it's short notice... but all you need to do is read 12 chapters a day.  I'm going to try to post things that pop to mind while I'm reading - questions I might have, things I find interesting, any nuggets of truth that strike me through the journey...  not everyday, just from time to time. This is going to become my electronic journal... just because I really don't know what to do on this blog anymore.  (But that subject is for a different post). 

Anyway, if you'd like to join me, I'd love to have the company (and the accountability)... or if you ever want to leave a comment about something that I babble on about, I would welcome the conversation too.

Regardless, I challenge you to do something big this winter.  Make it worthwhile - even if these days make you go blah... and if you are gonna do The Winter Challenge with me, then you need to go read Genesis 1-12. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Need Some Truth?

Sitting in my inbox this morning was this devotional from Chuck Swindoll.  It's awesome.  Had to share it, because it deals with pits we can all fall into so easily.  I'm not usually one to just cut and paste... but will make an exception today :)

How to Waste Time

James 4:13-17

"Have you noticed how many day-planners are available these days? And then there are the time-management self-help books: how to increase your efficiency, how to make every moment count, how to invest your time wisely and productively.


While all those voices and handy products scream for your attention, I'd like to play devil's advocate and tell you how to waste your time. Five proven ideas come immediately to mind:

First, worry a lot. Start worrying early in the morning and intensify your anxiety as the day passes. Worry about your own failures and mistakes---about what you should or could have done but didn't. To add variety, worry about things you should not have done but did. Hanging around negative people is another secret you won't want to forget. Remember: Potential ulcers need fresh acid.

Second, make hard-and-fast predictions. Of course, you'll need to ignore that little throwaway line in the fourth chapter of James: "you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow." But forget that comment and set your expectations in motion. Be as specific as you can. For example, one month before his July 1975 disappearance, Jimmy Hoffa announced: "I don't need bodyguards."

Third, fix your attention on getting rich. You'll get a lot of innovative ideas from the secular bookshelves (I counted fourteen books on the subject last time I was in a bookstore), plus you'll fit right in with most of the hype that's pouring out of entrepreneurial seminars and high-pressure sales meetings.

Fourth, compare yourself with others. Not only will you ricochet between the extremes of arrogance and discouragement, you will also spend the time not knowing who you are.

Fifth, lengthen your list of enemies. If there's one thing above all others that will keep your wheels spinning, it's perfecting your skill at the Blame Game. With a full arsenal of suspicion, paranoia, and resentment, you can waste endless evenings stewing over those folks who have made your life miserable.

Put these five surefire suggestions in motion, and you can forget about all the hassles connected with being happy, efficient, productive, and contented. Within a couple of months, those things won't even be on your agenda.

All this sounds like foolish exaggeration, doesn't it? But just stop and think: How much time are you already wasting on some of these things?"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stay Tuned...

Do you need something to help you through the winter blahs?  Me too.  I'm plotting, I'm thinking... and I may have come up with something.  We'll see... and I'll keep ya posted.  The announcement may come on Thursday.  Maybe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 2:00 Wake-Up

I'm not a morning person.  I love my sleep.  It makes me happy.  In fact I can't think of any feeling I love more than finally being able to lay my weary body down on my soft bed and know that good deep sleep will soon follow.  I usually am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

Here lately I've been waking up in the middle of the night... for seemingly no particular reason.  I used to hate it.  I mean when I was dealing with an infant, the middle of the night feeding got old really fast, so waking up for no reason got old even faster.  I couldn't just drift back to sleep either - it would be at least an hour of doing nothing waiting to get drowsy again.

But now I look on this time quite differently and I almost look forward to it as much as I do my bedtime.  This has become my devotional time.  Any moment that I wake up in the middle of the night I view it as God tapping me on the shoulder asking me to spend time with Him.  I love it.  The house is so quiet, no chance of any interruptions... I spend the time with Him and then I fall asleep so easily afterward.  I'm also so very ready for the next day ahead.

I have struggled for nearly 9 years now in finding a good time to have uninterrupted God time.  Seems that He has solved the problem for me... too bad I was too dense (or selfish) to think of it sooner!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Yeah, They're Back...

Back together again.  And they missed me, so all is right with the world.

And we went from the joy we felt in seeing each other into a rough re-entry into sibling life, into "that time of the month," into the holiday season.  Fun times.

I'm really hoping for a good quiet week this week.  Isaiah has a mysterious, itchy rash on his face.  Huston lost his first tooth, Avery is already getting the dry skin thing goin' and Lillie is refusing to cooperate with this potty training thing, and I have a head cold.

We have to remember what it's like to do this school thing, what it's like to plan and fix meals, what it's like to play with each other without ending in a shouting match and decorate for Christmas.

Should be an interesting week.  And I'll try to remember to get a picture of Huston's tooth"less" grin. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Been Years...

since I've seen my two older boys... ok, so in reality it's only been 8 days... but I still have two days to wait before I see them again... so it might as well be considered an eternity.

Do I miss them?  Why would you think that??  OF COURSE I do... heh...  sorry didn't mean to start yelling there.

I wonder what this vacation with my folks has changed, if anything.  My younger two have been so mellow and laid back.  But they've also been a little unsure as to what their role is.  They are the followers and they really haven't had anyone to follow for awhile.  Since his big brothers' departure, Avery tends to gravitate toward whatever I'm doing.  Which is fine, I've enjoyed it to a degree, but it's kinda hard to get things done with a 5 year old and then a 2 year old grasping your leg.

I wonder if Huston has matured a bit.  I wonder if he will be bigger in thought and action.  I wonder if the boys will be willing to catch up on the near two weeks of school that we've missed out on.  I wonder if they will be full of unsatisfaction for the life they knew pre-Florida.  I can worry about the most random things.  Did they miss me?  Do they want to be home?  Or would they be content to not see me ever again and move in with their grandparents or other extended family.  And should I be bothered if that's the case?

See what I mean.  I'm a mess.

I just want my family back together.  A couple of nights ago the boys talked with their siblings on the phone.  Lillie talked to Huston first and said, "I miss you.... I love you.... I want you to come home."  My sediments exactly.

Anyway.  Life goes on.  I've enjoyed the quieter times I've had with the younger two.  We've had non-fit involving successful  trips to the library (who knew it was possible!), we've had book reading times and tent building times and restful afternoons and doing errands with two rather than four has been life-changing.

They got hair cuts too.  Here's Lillie's new do: (sorry, I uploaded them in backwards order and was too lazy to redo... still can't figure out how to cut and paste with the new blogger layout)



By Sunday I should feel whole again with all my family together.... and we'll start on getting back into a routine.... right before Thanksgiving.... yeah, right.

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 Days After Halloween

is pretty special too because it's the day I first became a mommy.  Nine years ago today I had a beautiful baby boy named Isaiah Clifton.

He's nine.  No it hasn't sunk in yet.  This one is hitting me a little harder.  He's halfway to legalized adulthood.  His last year of single digits.  He's practically shaving.

Another thing that hit me is that I have been changing diapers now for 9 straight years.  That's kinda depressing.  Lillie had better start this potty training buisness.

Isaiah is a wonderful boy and I mess up with him a lot.  That's what the oldest kids are for - to take the brunt of all the parental mistakes and come out smelling like roses (after some therapy).  He is a level headed little guy (although he's very close to being as tall as me!).  He is loving and kind to his siblings (those dasterdly siblings that try to ruin his very existence).  He is tender-hearted and can be hurt by the words that others take for granted (which means that often times I just need to shup up).

He's a great kid and will prayerfully, hopefully continue into a wonderful young man that will follow the Lord and consider the needs of others.  He's a great guy, that Isaiah.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Day After Halloween

is pretty special in this house too.  Today is Avery's 5th birthday - his age has finally caught up with his personality - he's a whole "handful."

Here is a pic of my boy this morning on his actual day - and ironically he is wearing the shirt he stole from Target - totally encapsulates his personality. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Pics

The tough guys....


The indians....


And So It Comes to an End

Phew.  31 straight days of posting - that was kinda hard!  I don't know how these popular daily blogger people do it - constantly coming up with a new topic, having the brain function to sit down and spew out something witty and not offend anyone while doing so (ok, so some of them may offend, but they probably don't care that they offend).

I was glad to do it though - it's good for us to become aware of things that other people are looking straight in the eye and tackling head on because it's a part of their life.  They do so with grace and they teach those that are around them a lot through their experiences.  It's good that God gave us each other to learn from and lean on.

Tonight is the Fall Festival at our church - I'm kinda coordinating it, but it's not a huge feat.  We're keeping it very simple this year and for that I'm very thankful.

Huston has changed his mind about a costume.... again.  There's no going back now.  He's going to be a police man - which sounds easy enough, but in reality the only police man costumes out there these days are the SWAT team/mega force/military police garb.  I was thinking more along the lines of Andy Griffith.  I want my kid to be handing out parking tickets not capturing drug lords.  But we've pieced things together the best that we can and I think he'll look just fine.

Well, I'll post pics of them later.  You may not hear from me for awhile - you and I both probably need the break!  :) 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Only Thing Good About Nebraska...

is the little girl that shares it's name.

That college football team called Nebraska?  They're yucky.

I still think our Tigers are better.

Friday, October 29, 2010

31 for 21: Wrapping Up

I only have a few more days of posts before the month of October is complete.  Looking back I should have just linked to RK most every day so you would read her posts - I certainly am aware that all are tired of listening to me (don't worry, I'll give you a rest come November :)

I am linking you up with RK today tho... and she has linked up to another mom and they are both talking about an issue that I believe stands in the way of everyone just relaxing and getting to know any person or any family with "special needs".... that we on the outside are afraid that we'll "say the wrong thing." 

In our world of politically correctness and the push for tolerance in everything I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot.  Yes, we should not be rude to each other.  Yes, we should always value life.  There is no room for compromise in these areas.  But we should always be looking at the intent of the heart of people.  We don't live each others lives day after day, we are not educated in the needs of each others families... I don't know what it's like to be you.  I of course need to try to find out, but there is no way that I can automatically have this information - there must be a starting point.  We need to extend grace and love to each other so that the walls can fall naturally and safely, and RK and her friend express that very well in their posts today! 

And when you're done reading, hop over here and take a look at Braska when she was a baby - she is such a cutie!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do You Facebook?

Why yes, yes I do.  I was skeptical at first.  I hated it when I first signed up... but now I love it because it can be quick and easy to check in on a good number of long lost friends and relatives or my neighbor down the street - one stop shopping.

I've also become a fb (that's what the cool kids say instead of typing the whole word out... yeah, I know... pretty hip) anyway, I've become a fb status update writer.  Blog entries are getting harder because I: 1.) I don't have the brain power anymore... 2.)  I don't have the time... 3.)  The stories I want to share can usually be summed up in a short little blurb.

I have been thinking for quite sometime that I need to start saving some of these status updates over here on the blog... because I don't think fb saves things infinitely and a lot of these incidences are things that I want to look back on and remember at some point... cuz often times, I have silly kids.

So if you are my fb friend already and you are reading this post, skip it... you've heard it all before and I really doubt that we're that interesting.  If you've never experienced the kookiness that is us, go ahead and read a few if ya wanna... but just know the main purpose for me putting these on here is to keep a record for the years to come.

if you want to derail your child's long drawn out verbal thought process, simply take your two index fingers and place them up your nose... the child won't remember what he was talking about.

stinkin' stink of stink and stink. I just ruined supper (on top of everything else today)... so forget it! we're goin' out for ice cream...

Huston just asked me if he could have dessert when the boy ate hardly anything for supper... are you kidding me? only I can eat unhealthy things in lieu of supper. sheesh. you'd think he'd know that by now.

wonders what it is about my front door that seems to draw our free-range chickens to forsake the 7 acres and huddle around the welcome mat.

when helping Lillie brush her teeth, as you finish the task, be sure to add "in the sink" to the end of the command for her to spit... yeah, trust me on this one.

if Avery went outside to play with the kittens and begins to sing "Super Kitty!," odds are you'll need to go out to intervene... just a general rule of thumb.

I fell victim to one of the classic blunders: never leave your drink alone with a 2 year old and only slightly less well known: never allow your son to be 6.

Avery just told me, "When I grow up, I'm gonna run fast and help people. I'll bring them a rope... or a string... or a barrel of monkeys." Comforting to know that he'll be prepared.

Lillie just declared herself a "cutie pie" and all the brothers agreed with her... a monster is being created. *sigh*

a good sign that you are raising a "country girl" is when your daughter's frilly ballerina tutu is filled with stick-tights.

is feeling really redneck... the woodstove guy came to deliver a part while I was standing outside covered in fish scales cleaning fish. ugh. at least all children were clothed and not peeing anywhere or shooting each other.

according to Huston's homework 0+0="nufing" hmmmm... thinking we need to review the existence of the number 0

I have decided to invent my own child translator. For example, when my 8 year old whines about having to do a job, he is actually saying, "Thank you mom for giving me tasks that will teach me to be tough and ready for the real world. You're the best." (btw, that "you're the best" part is at the end of all translations...)

While sitting down to dinner everyone was enjoying idle chit-chat when Avery says, "It's so nice when the neighbors come and throw dirt at us." Wasn't aware of that ever occuring... wishful thinking on his part I guess.

While I was cooking dinner tonight, Avery came in from playing outside and asked, "Mom, do you have a gun in the kitchen? I need to go shoot Isaiah." I had no comeback to that...

found out tonight that crows aren't the only ones who get the crap scared out of them by the strategic placing of a scarecrow. Thank you neighbor. sheesh.

Avery is requesting to watch "coyote and runrover" this morning...

I snitched a few Cheetohs off of Avery's plate at lunch, he caught me and said in a very sweet tone, "Aww... are you sharing my Cheetohs?" Such a gracious victim... almost made me feel guilty for stealing them... almost.

overheard conversation between Avery and Lillie: "Hey Lillie, ya remember... ya love me?" "Yeeeeaaaaah, Aaahvry"

was cutting apples for a dessert I'm making and Avery was sitting beside me keeping me company. He took an apple and held it up to his ear and said, "Hey mom! I can hear the ocean!" Such a silly boy.

was very entertained when Avery began his latest tattle with "Ummm mom. Once upon a time, Isaiah and Huston...." It seemed to make it a bit more bearable to listen to.

Avery, did you poke Huston with your pencil? "Uhhhh, I got a pencil.... cuz Huston took out his, uhhh, pocket knife... and tried to kill me...." *said while avoiding eye contact* I laughed and then I sent him to his room.

must confess I just hid in the van so I could eat a candybar without having to share it with the kids... I'm sure they would much rather have an apple... I needed more than they did... really.

the brothers just taught Lillie a valuable lesson in regards to emptying the dishwasher... you don't lick the silverware as you put them away. She was offended and there were tears but I'm thankful my boys were committed to proper procedure.

Avery is teaching Lillie the names of the Presidents that are found on Mt. Rushmore.... he said to her, "Look Lillie, this is George Washington... he says, 'Hey! I'm a man on a big rock!'" Such a great history teacher, that one.

Lillie is innocently taunting her older brothers by unintentionally referring to their current hero, Davy Crockett, as "Baby Crockett"

Lillie proudly helped me feed the chickens before heading inside to help me with supper... but she stopped in her tracks when I answered her question of what we were making with "chicken and rice"... she peered out the window overlooking the hen house and whispered, "We eat chickens?" Traumatic event #37 in my role of motherhood. Ooops.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween

It's just a few days away and I don't have everyone's costume figured out yet.  I mean, I know what they are going to dress up as... but I just don't have all the little details worked out.

Isaiah wants to be a WW2 soldier.  Oh yeah, that's simple.  At first I basically thought he'd wear his camo pants and we'd get him a green shirt to go with them and that would be that - but soldiers didn't really wear camo in WW2.  So my latest plan is to go to an antique store and see what we can find to help the kid out... but he may just have to settle with a generic soldier (who's gonna know anyway, besides him).

Huston wanted to be a ninja.  Wherever did that come from??  Anyway I have a friend that had a homemade ninja costume that her son wore a few years ago.  It's a great costume... all black... with a hood thingy.  I know for  fact that Huston isn't gonna wear the hood thingy... without the hood he just looks like a little boy dressed in all black.  So I think I've convinced him to be a cowboy, because...

Avery and Lillie are going to be Indians.  Once again my friend pulled through with Indian costumes for both of my little ones.  They are really cute.  So the kids have been collecting chicken feathers lately (a few of our chickens are molting) so I need to make them a headband and figure out some faux moccasins (maybe).

I need to find Huston some cowboy looking material - he has a holster, some boots, and a hat... maybe if I can find him some chaps the whole thing will pull together.  And who knows what we will end up doing with  for Isaiah.

It will be a fun night regardless.  Yes I said it, and I'm a Christian to boot - Halloween can be fun!  To claim that celebrating Halloween is a way of going against Christ is like saying that an atheist follows God because he eats turkey on Thanksgiving.  It's the intent behind the celebration.  We're going to be bringing glory to God by outreaching to the community around us and providing fellowship with the believers.  So if you can find a costume, wear it!  God can redeem more than just people, He can redeem holidays too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh Lillie.

Lillie is curled up in my lap laying her head on my chest.  "Lillie, you know what it's time for?"
"What?"
"It's rest time.  Time for your nap."
"I'll clean up lincoln logs."
"No.  It's nap time."
"I watch a movie."
"No.  It's nap time."
"I go on the potty."

Heard in the background... Avery asks, "How do you spell 'bomb'?"
Without skipping a beat Lillie yells out, "E-I-L, Avery! E-I-L!"

"You can't spell, Lillie.  It's time to take a nap."  I carry her to her bed and lay her down. 
"I need my blankie."
"Here it is."
"K.  Goodnight mom.  See ya later."

Right now she's singing to herself in bed.  That's our Lillie.

**UPDATE** She never did go to sleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

That Toothless Grin...

After spending the whole of yesterday worrying and being very squeamish about his loose tooth, Isaiah finally lost the little bugger in his sleep last night... and didn't swallow it which is a plus.  I've lost track of which number this one is for him - 5 or 6 I believe... but probably more.  My mind is not as it used to be.  Just this morning the boy asked me where his "tooth box" was... ummmm... tooth box?  I don't ever recall him having a tooth box.  He said the dentist had given it to him to keep his teeth in.  Ewwwww.... I don't mind pulling the little suckers (he does) but I'm not keeping his baby teeth for posterity (he would).  No we don't do the tooth fairy - once again I'm a terrible mother in the childhood traditions category, but I do reward him for allowing his adult teeth to grow and push out his old ones, cuz that takes a lot of work. *sarcasm*  He claims another tooth is on it's way out too - hopefully it won't have to hang there until "it rattles when he breathes" - but it probably will.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Whirl. Wind.

I'm tired today.  No real shocking surprise, it seems that I'm usually tired.  I was up last night (again) at 2am.  I don't know what it is about that time but my body is determined to be awake.  It stinks because it pretty much means that it will take and hour or two to drift back into good sleep and then before I know it the little munchkins are waking me up at the crack of dawn (or before).  Vicious cycle continues.

I ran around a lot today at church.  I kinda like those mornings because it certainly makes everything flow quickly... but it wipes me out too.

After church I did some errands - the usual things:
  • took back overdue library books
  • returned some pants that I decided that I didn't want after all
  • paid for a shirt that Avery stole from Target...
You know, general stuff like that.  The shirt incident happened on Tuesday afternoon.  While Isaiah was taking his hour long art class, the rest of us hopped over to Target to shop a bit.  I found this monster shirt on the clearance rack.  It was a cute striped shirt with a crazy blue monster on the front and it screamed Avery.  I showed it to him and he immediately grabbed it from me to admire it.  I continued to look at other clearance items for Lillie... and forgot about the shirt.

Avery was sitting in one of those oversized big kid carts... the one with the large two seater attached to the handle - so he wasn't very visible.  We finished our shopping and it was quickly getting to be time to pick up Isaiah.  I headed to the check-out where all the kids started doing their part to empty the contents of the cart onto the table, while I did my part to empty the contents of my wallet.  We chatted with the cashier - Lillie always seems to draw people out into conversation.  We grab our bags and wheel that big ol' monster cart out to the van... that's when Avery slides off his seat and reveals the big ol' monster shirt still in his lap.  Great.

I asked him, "Avery, did you give the shirt to the lady so we could pay for it??"  He answered yes but after inspecting the receipt I found he was mistaken.  No time to rectify the error that very moment,  so we settled up accounts today... a whole $3.  My conscience is clear.

Anyway, after the errands I've been pretty much veggin' here at home.  Longing for an early bedtime - we'll see.  Then I look at the date and realize that 2 months from today is Christmas Eve!  Yeah, I'm sorry I brought it up too. *yawn*

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Weekend of Major... Ummmm....

Hype?  Maybe.  Energy?  Sure.  Fun?  Ok. 

It's homecoming weekend.  Living near a college town you can't avoid the buzz of a homecoming weekend.  But this weekend has brewed the perfect storm.  Our team is undefeated, rated 11th (however they figure that...).  We're playing the #1 ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners - a burr in our side for sure.  And some ESPN show decided to broadcast live from our quad - on our campus... some crazy folks were there by 2:00am to get their spot to watch the spectacle.  I was happily in bed.

The whole town has an almost palpable energy to it.  Funny what sports will do to people.  What makes a football game played by college age kids so incredibly unifying?  Is it the thrill of possible victory - the idea of defeating another team representing another region of the US - a sort of civilized dual?  Is it because so many are connected to the school?  It's my alma mater and yes I'm wearing my school colors today when I usually truly don't pay any attention nor do I look back fondly on my college experience.  Is it the *beauty* of the game itself?  Nostalgia?  Who knows.

I feel this energy more with baseball - I could spend my whole summer at the stadium if time and finances allowed... but why?  Interesting psychology behind the whole phenomenon of sports... guess that's why folks become sports psychologists.  There certainly is a misplacement of value on something that we could more than likely live without (although I argue that if we didn't have sports we'd find something else to compete with each other about.)

Anyway - we're just a few minutes from kickoff on national television (which we don't have television so I'll be listening a bit on the radio)...and if we win I hope the town can handle the excitement.  Regardless of the reasoning behind it... Go Tigers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

But That's Our Norm

Everybody has them.  It's their personal pace in life, the measure of strength in handling what life throws back at them.  Everyone has struggles.  Everyone does life as they have to in order to get things done.  It's their norm.

I don't know how many times I hear people say to me.... "I don't know how you do it!"  Do what?  I sometimes look around and think, do you know what other people are doing?? This is nothing.  This is "nothing" to me because it's become our norm.  It's what I know I will have to deal with week in and week out and most of the time we can cover it all without too much stress.  God equips us for what He calls us to do.

What is our norm?  4 kids. Homeschooling 2 of them. Part-time job at the church.  There I summed it up in 3 little fragment sentences.  I will admit that many times it's easier said than done... but who's life isn't.  We all have obstacles to negotiate on any given day.

I've never had a huge tragedy strike my immediate family.  My husband has never lost his job.  My children have been healthy.  My support team has been large.  And most importantly, my God is bigger than anything.  In the great eternal perspective, if my kitchen doesn't get cleaned or my kids don't do math today... big. deal.

Many, many, (cannot emphasize that enough... many) folks have higher mountains to climb... and while there are stressful seasons (no denying stress - we would eventually die without it I think)... for the most part, they will eventually rise to the challenge and one day will also be caught off guard by a well-meaning soul that says, "I don't know how you do it!"  Because this life that they live day in and day out has become their norm.

Every once in awhile something will throw us off our equilibrium but we're built to adjust, get right back on that ride and try it again until it works.  If you're in the middle of a life transition - just remember that when you project a year out from now this whole scene will look totally different.  Especially when you reach out for God's help, you will again figure out your norm.  He is very faithful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Field Trip!

We're headin' to the zoo today to get some up close looks at some animals the boys have been studying. (Really hoping the experience isn't too up close in regards to the snakes they want to see!) Will tell ya all about it when we return!
Go check out the 31 for 21 team!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've Got Lots Coming Up

In less than 2 weeks it's Halloween.  That day is getting to be more and more of a chore.  As my kids get older and more set in what they want to dress up as... gone are the days of picking out something cheap and cute with them oblivious to what is going on... hello to the days of "I wanna be a WW2 soldier, I wanna be a ninja and Can I be an indian?"  Thankfully I have a friend that does great costuming for her kids and so far we've been able to take advantage of her last year selections.  Halloween is fun, but it can also be pricey.

Especially for us, when we have two kid birthdays within that same week.  I still don't know exactly what I want to do for these boys for their day.  Avery's birthday is the day after Halloween which is kinda a bummer... just because they are already coming off of a sugar high from the night before, adding cake and ice cream and excitement to the mix the very next day can have sobering effects.

But with Avery, he is so easy to please all I would have to do is bake him a lovely cake and let him dive in and that would be birthday enough - the boy loves sweets.

Isaiah turns 9 on the 5th of November.  NINE people.  He's halfway to adulthood or at least legal age.  That's terrifying.  Let's talk about something else.

A week following Isaiah's birthday my folks have planned a two week trip to Florida and want to take Isaiah and Huston with them.  Two weeks away from home.  I think I can do it.  I know that they can do it.  I tend to miss them more than they miss me.  The thing is, Steven and I had kinda planned a little trip down to Branson the weekend that they are heading out - we got season passes to Silver Dollar City this year and we were going to attempt to take the kids down to see the Christmas lights (they start in November).  We've heard they're quite grand.  Anyway that plan has turned into plan B.

Plan B is this.  The more Steven and I talked it over the more we thought it would be a better choice for the kids to go to Florida - a great experience with their grandparents, they'd get a chance to meet and see relatives that we don't get to visit with very often - many of them are cousins their age.  The more we talked about it, the more we thought taking just Lillie and Avery to Branson would be kind of a waste.  Yes, they would like it, but Lillie for sure wouldn't remember being there.  So plan B involves Steven's mom coming to live at our house for a few days to watch Avery, Lillie and all the critters so Steven and I can go on a trip BY OUR SELVES.  In all the 9 years of parenting we have yet to go on a solo trip.  We won't know what to do with ourselves.  I'm sure we will love it, and maybe it will spur Steven into taking me to bigger and better places every year.  Either that or I'll miss the kids so terribly that I won't care to go anywhere without them for a long time.  Yeah, I'm laughing about that one too. ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm Running Out of Ideas

So you're gonna get a really random post (ya tired of listening to me yet?? yeah, I thought so.)
  • Isaiah ran his first 5K on Saturday - it was an event sponsored by our church.  He was excited to try it because some of his friends in his Sunday school class were running it.  He didn't practice.  We don't even have any proper lace up tennis shoes for him.  He wore his regular everyday clothes (heaven forbid that he would have to part with his camouflage pants).  And he ran it in 31 minutes.  I'm not very educated on running, but that seems pretty good to me considering he has never ran that great a distance before.  He doesn't seem to enthusiastic to try it again tho.
  • Huston is becoming anxious about classroom situations (like Sunday school and the type).  Isaiah did this very same thing about this age and it only lasted for a season.  It's interesting how he gets a belly ache or has something hurting right before class begins.  I'm the mean mom that makes him go anyway, and so far he's been fine.
  • The older I get, the more I crave cake.  Not sure what that's all about.
  • Lillie keeps faking me out about the potty thing.  I've determined to just let her decide when she's ready - coming off of the long, battle scarred experience with Avery I don't think I could survive it any other way.  Yesterday she asked for underwear and kept them clean all afternoon and evening.  This morning I put her in underwear and she messed it majorly.  *sigh*
  • Steven was pretty busy last week and gone a lot - I'm tired.
  • I'm reading Lisa Whelchel's book, Friendship for Grown-ups in preparation for one of the Parenting Through the Proverbs lessons I'm compiling and it's an interesting and quick read.  I'd recommend it.
  • Avery refused to eat the vegetable soup I made because it had peas in it.  So I sent him to his room.  He stayed in there for about 30 minutes and then came out and declared, "Hey mom?  I forgot.  I like peas."  Then he sat down at the table and forced himself to eat the soup.  Of course I rewarded him for the effort.
  • My allergies have been terrible this season.  My ears kinda ache and I usually end up with a headache.  Sleep has never looked so good to me.
  • This morning's sky reminded me of winter... I'm ready for spring.  I will hardly ever complain about the heat because I would so much rather have heat than cold.
  • You know it's gonna be a long day when you finish feeding your kids lunch and you look up at the clock and it's only 11am.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Writing Curriculum

I've been writing the PreK curriculum at church for a little over a year now.  It's almost totally complete.  I changed lesson plan formats in the middle of it all so I need to go back and reformat the first half of the journey.  Then my plan is to go through each lesson, step-by-step, and collect all materials, books, etc. and have them stored away and organized somewhere so that everything is where it can be found when the time comes. (Yeah, I know, too high of expectations for a church, but I'm gonna try.)

Why did I write the curriculum?  Because I was never satisfied with the published stuff.  They all had bits and pieces that were good, but the bulk of it was rather lame, developmentally off base, or just not conducive to a Sunday school room environment.  So I was constantly rewriting the lesson plans I'd already paid for.  Very frustrating.

I'm so very anxious to have it all done and bound and easy to use, ready for the next year.  I basically wrote about 52 lessons, give or take and we will continue to loop the same themes each year... cuz really the 5 year olds aren't gonna say, "Hey! We did this lesson when I was 3!"  They don't remember and repetition is so good at that age - that's way Blue and Dora and all those annoying successful kid's shows ask the same question multiple times.

I also compiled a series of lessons for moms mostly, entitled Parenting Through the Proverbs.  I won't say wrote for this one, because a majority of the material I've pulled from some other source.  I am currently leading this study for a group of about 12 moms and the reviews have been favorable so far.  We only have 2 lessons to go before we take a break for the semester (gotta be done before those holidays or I'll lose the participants to the Christmas rush).

I really enjoy the study and the discipline that lesson writing requires.  I just don't really have the time at this point in my life to do it really well.  Maybe a future "hobby" - who knows... there are a lot of times currently that I tend to schluff off what I'm supposed to be doing because I don't feel like doing it.  But I think that's because truly "free" time in my life is so very limited that when I have it the last thing I want to do is think hard. :)

Anyway.  That's one thing that I've been up to lately.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Don't Know What to Say

So I'm posting this to let you know that - I've fulfilled my post for the day and I've saved you from listening to me rattle on.  I'm sure you're relieved!

Go wish RK a happy birthday, or go and remind yourself why I've committed to posting everyday this month.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Now For the Harvest

Remember I told you that last weekend we headed to Iowa to watch Steven's Uncle and cousin bring in the harvest?  My boys LOVED it.  I'm not sure they are quite inspired to be farmers - but they would've sat in that combine all night I think if I would have let them.

All the boys participated.  Lillie didn't like the noise, so she hung around when things were kinda low key but wanted out of there otherwise.

They did beans the first day and then corn the next day.  All the kids enjoyed watching the corn get eaten up by the combine more than the beans.  I didn't get out there with the camera on the corn day tho.






Friday, October 15, 2010

The Pictures are Done

Here are the cream of the crop from the group of kid pics I took the other day - I was attempting to get one good shot and happily I have quite few to choose from.  Phew.











And of course we had our share of out-takes too :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Don't Have Much Time Today

I have a busy day ahead and I have a husband on an overnight buisness trip so it's really early in the morning and I'm throwing this up here before the day takes off and sweeps away.

Yesterday I took my kids outside to get a picture of them together, preferably looking at the camera, and maybe even smiling.  In the past this *little* project has been a frustrating nightmare and I fully expected more of the same yesterday.  But a funny thing has happened in a year.

My kids have grown up.  My youngest is now 2 1/2 years old.  So when I say stand here and look at the camera - she actually does it!  And the boys did pretty good forced smiles too!  It was totally amazing.  The whole process took 15 minutes and no one died.

I took the pics with an old school, film camera so that I would have no delay time when I hit that button to capture the moment... so pictures of the photo shoot as well as pictures of harvest time in Iowa will be along as soon as I get a cd made this afternoon.

P.S. - to tag onto yesterday's post I just want to say that I learned this morning that all the miners are out of the ground and I am very happy and thankful.  It was a miracle of a circumstance for sure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maybe My Shoes Are Too Tight...

I sometimes feel like the Grinch.  That my heart is two sizes too small.  I think I just must be jaded about the news media... and maybe living in a vacuum has hardened my heart toward the news media more than it has softened it toward world events.  I don't know... but I'm not moved to tears by the Chilean minors.  Yes I said it.  And lightening hasn't struck me down.... yet.

I'm very sorry for their circumstances.  It stinks.  Terribly.  But they're not dead.  They've been cared for to the best of everyone's abilities, under the watchful eye of people all around the world, and they are being reunited with their families.  Yay!  Next story please.

It's so like the media (in my book) to take one story that they know is going to end successfully (Oh, ok, it doesn't necessarily have to end successfully) and stretch it out for as long as they possibly can.  It's good for ratings.  And when it ends happily makes the audience feel great and warm and fuzzy and wanting to join together hand-in-hand around the world and sing Kum Bah Ya.  It makes me feel used and exploited - I feel that way even more so for the miners.

There is terrible injustice in this world - all around us.  It does break my heart and make me shake my head in wonder.  But for goodness sake, can we just put the camera down and do something!  I don't think the mainstream media sees their role as one to inform the public as much as it is to boost ratings and sensationalize the situation and that does no one any good.

Now if you are reading this and you were one to be moved by the rescue of the Chilean miners I am very thankful that your tender heart has remained intact even after years of this media behavior.  You are a much stronger person than me.  This is not a judgement on your reaction to the news story... this is a rant about how these real-life situations can be turned into a show for the benefit of others.  Makes me rather sick.

There are a lot of people out there that are trying to help things get better -- and they don't do it with flashy lights and cameras.  Thank God for these people - we should all find a way to join them or spread the word concerning their needs... but please don't contact the news media!

Click on this link if you want to learn about an organization that is helping kids with disabilities all around the world.  Reece's Rainbow is committed to helping kids that will be forgotten and institutionalized no matter how severe or minor their medical situation if they are left where they are at today.  But with the help of many people through this organization many of these kids will have a different outcome - one of love and hope for the future.  Now that's putting the camera down and really doing something to make a difference!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Musical Therapy

Been taking part in some Keith Green therapy lately - yes I listen to Christian music from the '70s at times... I'm that cool.

But seriously - his lyrics are meaty - you're getting a Bible lesson to music.  Here's the one that keeps playing in my mind...  When I Hear the Praises Start.

My son, My son, why are you striving
You can't add one thing to what's been done for you
I did it all while I was dying
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you

For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do for Me

My child, My child, why are you weeping
You will not have to wait forever
That day and that hour is in My keeping
The day I'll bring you into Heaven

For when I hear the praises start
My child, I want to rain upon you
Blessing that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child and you know me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do in Me

My precious bride, the day is nearing
When I'll take you in My arms and hold you
I know there are so many things that you've been hearing
But you just hold on to what I have told you

For when I hear the praises start
My bride, I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child, and you know Me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done will remain
Only what you do for me
  
Check out the link to a YouTube clip of him singing his song if you wanna hear these words to music and you can get past the afro hair.  Good stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Welcome to Holland

I know many folks that have posted this essay before and will do so throughout this month I am sure.  But I think it's very worthy to repost here.

"Welcome To Holland" is an essay written by Emily Perl Kingsley, (a writer for Sesame Street, and numerous children's books) and mother of a son with Down syndrome. She wrote the essay to describe what it was like to have a child with a disability.

I do not have a child with a disability (inability? yes!) but I think anyone that has not had things in their life "go as planned" can relate and learn from this piece.  Remember, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Welcome To Holland



When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.



After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!”



“Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”



But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.



The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.



So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”



And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss.



But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And We're Back

Did ya even know we were gone??  Ahhhh, the joy of scheduled posts.  We were off in Iowa for the past few days.  My hubby, Steven, has family up there and they farm and it's harvest time folks - the peak season of large farm machinery - every boy's dream (unless you live with it day in and day out I suppose).

We headed up there Thursday morning with Steven's mom to stay with his Aunt Vicki and Uncle Doug.  They farm many acres with their adult son, Jeff.  My three boys took turns riding shot gun between the tractor pulling the wagons of grain to the combine cutting the crops.  They were pretty much in heaven.  Dog tired from it all too.  Late nights and very early mornings while not sleeping in your own bed makes for some really touchy kiddos (and parents!) but we survived and will spend the next few days recovering I am sure.

Back to the daily grind... but I'm sure visions of corn stalks getting eaten by the blades of the combine are dancing in my little boys' dreamy little heads.

** Lillie was too scared of the loud noises to even attempt to ride in a tractor - she'd climb all over the quiet non-moving ones all she could though and was happily contented to schmooze her rarely seen family members - maybe next year she'll be immune to the sounds of loud machinery and it will be more enjoyable for her.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Recap

Time to recap why I'm posting something every day this month!



Grab This Button

Randa Kay and I grew up together, kinda.  Her dad and my dad were college roommates and they both were in preaching ministries for many years.  During the seasons that our families lived in the same vicinity there were nearly monthly-every couple of monthly visits so that the adults could eat spaghetti and snickerdoodles while playing pinochle.

While I kept up with news on RK through her parents over the years, she and I fell out of contact for quite awhile until she started a blog about her firstborn Nebraska Larae.  Braska was born with DS and a heart defect that required major surgery while she was still very, very small (like 3 months old!).  My mom and I would keep up with her progress and I eventually left a comment on one of her posts and thus we reconnected.  Through RK I was bit with the blogging bug, so it's only fitting that I use this history of me talking to myself  to raise awareness of Down Syndrome.  So click on the button above and go encourage some families, get to know some new people, and educate yourself on the importance of showing love and respect to all people because they are created in the image of God!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our Kittens

We got some kittens about a month or a month and a half ago.  They are really fun.  Quite fiesty and cute and carefree.  The follow the kids around and Avery tortures plays with them the most.  Lillie will carry them around and they just hang limp in her arms - like they are surrendering under her power if she just promises not to hurt them.

Here's a kitty pic - taken right after we got them...

The black one is named "Socks" (original, I know), the front tiger one is Beau and the little gal in the back is "Sweet One" - Socks and Beau are boys.

We got them to be outside cats.  I'm not a fan of litter boxes and cat hair.  And really I'm not too fond of adult cats... kitties are cute - who couldn't like a kitty?  I'm just really hoping these three will be expert mousers.  Otherwise I'm gonna be sorely disappointed.

The problem is I think I'm creating a family of cat lovers... and I'm not sure how I feel about that. :)  But NO - I cannot get them a dog yet.  Thanks for the suggestion though.  Maybe in a few years, but at this point we have 6 chickens, 2 hermit crabs, 3 cats, and a fish - I'm we're feeding enough mouths, thank you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No Sympathetic Bone

I'm feeling kinda bad about how non-sympathetic I've become with my kids.

Yesterday Huston got stung on his knee by something - a wasp or a bee I guess.  The kid went crazy.  Screaming, crying, chaos... would not listen to a word I said.  Kept telling him to calm down but no doing.  And instead of feeling sorry for him and his wound I got terribly irritated.

See the thing is, this kid reacts like that with just about anything.  Goes of the deep end and is so hysterical you can't jump in after him or he'll drag ya down with him.  I've tried everything that I can think of and no method seems more successful than another.

* Humor - he's insulted you're trying to make light of his plight
* A Stern look and talk - he argues and cries and makes you feel like a meanie
* Comfort - he keeps right on with his uncontrollable sobs
* Ignore it - he drives you crazier as he gets progressively louder until you are either forced to pay attention or you want to take your own life
* Distract him - he won't distract, he's got tunnel vision on his own pain

Will he grow out of this??  I'm really hoping he does.  Is this kinda normal?  I mean being upset when injured of course is very normal.  But this hysteria stuff is crazy... and it happens with the slightest injury.

So if anyone has any suggestions, let me have 'em!  Or I'm gonna film it sometime and make you watch it! (how's that for a threat...)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Take Their Toys Away

Remember... 31 for 21

I will say, that this step that I'm about to describe may not work as well on younger kids... but then again, maybe we're selling our kids too short.

I was tired of them.  I was tired of seeing them, I was tired of stepping on them, I was tired of hearing about how they were lost or broken and I was especially tired of cleaning them up.  So I got rid of them:  a huge chunk of my kids' toys.

They were causing problems - more than the obvious problems I just mentioned.  They were feeding the monsters.  I couldn't pull the boys away for school without an eyeroll and a whine because I was taking them away from their play time.  I couldn't ask them to clean something up without them sporting a sense of injustice and complaining about how very hard the job would be.  I began to believe my name was "but Mom!" and I wasn't happy, the kids weren't healthy, and I couldn't accomplish what needed to be done during the day without major battles.  The whole vicous cycle was becoming ugly.

So one day I boxed lots of things up.  I put them in the attic and even today if a whole bunch of stuff is left laying around I will just box it up and stick it away... and  do you know what?  The kids have barely even noticed.

We don't have a huge amount of toys to begin with, but we have plenty.  My rule has always been that the toys need to be able to fit inside their closet - preferably on the upper shelf.  As the kids have grown, and more birthdays and Christmases have passed, this rule has only been able to be followed by donating quite a sizeable stash to friends and church classrooms... and that's been perfectly fine with me.

But even the *small* amount we had was causing problems.  So what do my kids do now?  I still get complaints and eyerolls at times.  I'd be lying if I said that all our bad attitudes were fixed, but it really has helped.  Free time is filled with outside play, and at times they have actually been known to read, color, do puzzles, or draw.  When I ask them to do school, they come a bit more willingly because it gives them something to occupy their time. 

I will warn you that if you decide to do this you will need to find something to fill the void or they will do more wrestling, they will jump on the furniture or run around like crazy kids and drive. you. nuts.  Not that I would know...

So I'm already scheming and thinking of non-toy gifts for some of our upcoming birthdays and Christmas.  I think less toys just make for happier kids - and happier moms!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm Taking Requests

Here's the deal folks, I've got a little over three weeks of daily posting left for 31 for 21 and I'm already wondering what in the world of all that's interesting am I gonna talk about??  So if you have any questions or request you can let them be known and I'll try to make a post out of them.

RK! You need to revive your Random Questions series!

In the meantime, you need to go and meet RK's little extra special gal, Braska.  Such a little doll and she has some fun adventures with her sister Kinlee. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kids Are Like Soap

Not in the sense of cleanliness though. Just the other day I was slimed by unidentfiable chewed food and messy nose and footprinted by a chicken poo covered shoe as I picked one child up to soothe a wrong that had been done. They don't usually smell soapy either - more like sweaty.

But the one area that kids are like soap is that they are hard to hold tightly. You can never be sure you have a good handle on a bar of soap.... more often than not if you become cocky enough to think you have a good grip on it, that's when it slips right through your fingers. And so goes my children.

They are all throwing me for a loop lately. The lazy days of summer lulled me into putting my guard down a bit. I feel like Isaiah is on the threshold of teenager-hood and is getting a mildly cocky-type 'tude to slip on for size and try out a bit. I don't like how it fits.

Huston is so overdramatic and whiny. I really had hoped that this would pass by the time he was 6, but I am now beginning to think that this is just him - coping mechanism with him is almost nil, but we're making him exercise what little he has and hoping that it builds into something very strong.

All of a sudden Avery looks unhealthy. His face is pale and he has bags under his eyes. He can be irritable and at times sleeps terribly and his nose is full. He can. not. focus. He spends parts of his day in a haze and I don't know where the fog came from, but I wish it would burn off. Allergies? Possibly.

And Lillie is teasing me with potty training... some moments she's an excited and willing participant and very successful.  But most of the time she ignores the issue and I'm still so shell-shocked from the experience with Avery, I don't have the energy or the mindset to tackle this issue just yet.  But let me tell you, the idea of not having to change any more diapers is bringing me around!

When all of these minor crises come at me at once, it always seems to make me stop and think that I'm doing this whole parent thing all wrong. That I should read more books, speak more quietly, frustrate less frequently, engage them more actively... that if I would just do my job better the behaviors and outcome would be much less stressful. And to some degree that is true. I do need to lighten up more often than not - the constant wearing can give me tunnel vision and it's harder to focus on the big picture. I am not a perfect parent in any stretch of the imagination... but...

I do the best I can, and pray that God supplements my weaknesses.  I can't be perfect for my children.  And I'm confident they know that and love me anyway.  I apologize when I mess up.  I try to make more good memories than bad and I teach them from my mistakes... hoping that in the end they'll figure out they can learn from theirs as well.

And seriously - removing a lot of their toys has helped with many of these attitudes.  A. LOT.  I'll save that for another post though... (remember, you've got one comin' every day! for 31 for 21).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Make New Friends, and Keep the Old

I hated that song when I was in Brownies (I never made it to Girl Scouts... I'm a Brownie drop-out).

I don't hate the lyrics necessarily - they pretty much hold true... but the tune was grating... in fact my mind is driving me nuts as I type.

I mentioned in this post a while back that friendships go through seasons... I want to elaborate on a few things... I'm afraid that my drift was not fully caught.

First of all let me say that I am sometimes lulled into thinking that this blog is a "safe" place - meaning it's a place where I can freely say what's on my mind without hurting, bothering, upsetting, ticking off any other person.  I rarely receive comments - which is perfectly fine with me... too much pressure otherwise, I think.  But the comments I do receive are usually from good friends that are out of town so I will many times assume that anonymity is present and that is not necessarily the case.

That said, I'm pretty confident I goofed with that post and I want to try to clarify and make things right in this post.

Ok.  Concerning the post in question I mentioned that I had felt that I was entering a time of confusion within a certain relationship... that maybe things were taking a turn, changing into a different season.  I know that this is bound to happen with any friendship.  In fact, if it doesn't happen then we might want to be concerned, because it might be a sign there is a void of progression within our character development and our lives.

I am not one that enjoys change immensely - in certain areas - like changing my living room layout or the colors of my walls or the regular routine - I'm as happy as a clam.  Change my comfort zone or my sweet spot when it comes to relationships??  I start to panic a bit.  That former post was me in panic mode.

I hope that all people form new friendships and find who they need in the season they are in.  I would not wish any friend of mine to stay strictly my friend or be who I want them to be instead of who they were created to be.  That would stink and I wouldn't be a very good friend then.  At all.  I wouldn't like myself.

This particular post stemmed from me simply wondering what was next, what was on the horizon.  I didn't want anyone to feel judged or at fault or be upset with me because I am being selfish.  I hope that those things didn't happen (but I'm kinda worried they did).  I'm a firm believer that God has folks cross your paths at just the point that you need them.  I simply was wondering if one particular friend's path was turning away from my own.  Not judging them for taking that path, but lamenting that I wasn't ready for it to happen... and confused as to just what was happening??

I love all my friends dearly, and would hold onto them for as long as I possibly can.  I am confident now that this particular friends ship isn't dissolving... and I would hold no animosity if it had to... I was just fearful of the change.  And wasn't ready for it if that's the way it had to be.

So all this confusion and rattling on to simply say treasure your friendships, but don't hold on to anyone too tightly - God may have a plan for them somewhere else... and that's ok.  Enjoy every moment you have, and trust God that He has a plan for you too.  When I wrote that cryptic post, I think I should have been trusting more than typing. 

Now go over here and meet my "old" (meaning I've known her a long time, not that we're old) friend RK and her beautiful family, cuz this post is all about 31 for 21.