Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where's the privacy?

This is too funny not to share, although maybe a little too much for the family website.

On Sunday morning I wasn't feeling great so I decided to take a long relaxing bubble bath. Yeah right. My husband was gone with the older girls so part of the reason for taking a bath was so I could keep an eye on the little ones. So, I lay there in the tub with Brayden and Ruby standing over me splashing their hands in the water having a great time, which was fine for a little while but after a few minutes I had had enough.

I pleaded "Children, can I ple-e-ease have a some privacy?" Brayden doesn't know that key word yet but Ruby said "Okay Mommy" and ran out of the room. I thought that was a rather quick response but then Brayden followed after her and I took advantage of the moment of peace and closed my eyes.

A few minutes later Ruby called from the living room, "Mommy, where is it? I can't find it."

I thought "huh?" and said "Where's what?"

She said "Where's the privacy? I can't find it for you."

I thought about how I had worded my pleading question earlier and laughed at the way three year olds take things. Then I guess she gave up her search because I didn't hear anything more and Brayden was now climbing over the edge of the tub so I was done.

Later Ruby came running downstairs and happily exclaimed "Mommy, I found it. I found your privacy." She had in her hand a uh-hum...certain feminine product manufactured by Playtex.

And yes, it all made sense, why she would call that a privacy. You see, before I thought that bathroom privacy was completely necessary I did have an unfortunate experience with a underestimatedly articulate two year old digging in mommy's purse and explaining to an entire bank where you put one of those "privacies".

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating pudding is serious business!
I'm done, I can play.

Ridin' in my dump truck.

And yes, sometimes I let my kids sit and eat on the floor!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Confessions Of An Overly Sensitive Mommy

Number 87: The library

I remember the days when we were constantly told to "shhh" in the library. The library wasn't a social place. It was a place to go in, research, find what we were looking for, check it out and leave. What happened to that? I mean, I do try to keep my children relatively quiet, but it doesn't seem like everyone knows that rule. It seems like that rule was much more important when I was younger or was that just because I was with my mom who was trying to keep me and my younger siblings relatively quiet? Who knows.

So, I was at the library for preschool story time awhile back. This was a day when my kids were all being relatively quiet and I was feeling pretty good. Actually it was a long while back, but I've just finally mustered up the courage to tell you this story. I was pregnant with Brayden. Ruby was faithfully staying by my side as usual, while Emma was off exploring as usual. I was actually 8 months pregnant and feeling all those feelings that come with that stage of pregnancy. The sore feet, the up and down hormones, the fatigue, etc. An older lady came over and said hello to Ruby who was now hiding behind my knee. She asked a couple of questions like how old she was. Then her eyes got kind of wide with realization and she said "Well, it looks like you're about due." I just smiled politely, wanting to question why she would ask me that? I didn't think I was THAT big. I still had another month to go. I started fearing what people would say by then. Then she took it a step further. She said "You better hold your legs together from now on. Two kids is enough!" Oh boy. I wanted to say all kinds of things at that point. But I smiled. I kept it in.

This is what I wanted to say. Maybe this will help my overly sensative self to heal a little.

"I actually have five kids and I would love more."

"This baby was a surprise, but God had him planned even though we didn't."

"Children are a blessing!"

"My children are each a gift from God and I can't imagine my life without them."

"These kids are our hope and our future, why don't we cherish them?"

You get the point. So am I overly sensative? Maybe not in this story, but I'm sure I could tell you others and you'd wonder why I can't let things just roll off my back. I'm just not that way and I've finally begun to accept that about myself. Now if only I could gain the courage to come up with some comebacks. Or a little grace for people. One or the other:)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What's in a name?

Ten years ago I first held my baby girl in my arms. I became a single mother a week after my 19th birthday and thinking back I was like many new mothers, not knowing what was to come. And not knowing what I didn't know.

I did know some things though. I knew I wanted life for my baby. I knew I wanted a fresh start. I knew that every decision I would make from that day forward affected not only me, but this precious baby as well.

Shariah means "freedom" or "to sing". I learned that after she was named and wasn't sure how those Hebrew meanings went together. Then I came across some interesting passages of scripture where they listed people going into battle. Do you know who was on the front lines? Who walked ahead of the warriors? Singers and musicians. They sang of Israel's deliverance on the way into battle. That was how sure they were in their God! Shariah means "Jahovah is my deliverer".

Her middle name is Dawn and was taken from Isaiah 58:8, "Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."

Surrender (Part Two)

The Rest of the Story

I just have to also tell you that when I made that little noted declaration to stick in my bible that was NOT the end of it. Since then I've had to lay my "Isaac" down again...and again...and yes again.

This is sort of aside from that but very much has to do with everything in life. Awhile ago I kept wishing that my life could be like it was in school. I am the kind of person that likes a little structure. I need a little structure. I like knowing what's expected and meeting those expectations. I like having a schedule. I like having someone to positively motivate me. Well the Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide and I've found that when I listen I do hear which way to step next.

That has to do with surrender because I have completely felt that gentle voice stop me before I speak so many times over the last few days. A gentle voice saying "Wait a minute...think about what you're going to say. Would saying that fall under your vow of surrendering yourself to me. Surrendering your hopes and dreams?"

This does not mean that all of a sudden I've turned into a robot of a wife, never expressing my feelings. I'm just going to God first and I talked about how that has freed me, but I've also noticed that it's really freed my husband.

After my initial "aha" breakthrough day he invited me to come out to dinner the next evening. I was busy with about 10,000 things, aren't we always? And it didn't make much sense for me to go pick him up from work since he had a car there and it would mean I would have to drive him back again in the morning. And have I mentioned my Suburban alone is creating a carbon cloud over the Northwest region from all of it's gas usage? And if all that seems okay, here's the clincher. Since we have NO money, I would be putting the dinner on a credit card! But I sensed that gentle voice saying "These 10,000 things can wait." So they were put aside. My kids were dropped off at Gramma's house. My gas tank was filled and I headed out on the hour drive to find his job site.

While we were eating he said "So, on the drive home yesterday (the 5th if you're keeping track) I prayed the whole way. I just sense that God has something for me to do and I asked him to show me very clearly what it is. When he does I will do whatever it takes to just do it, even if I have to drop everything else."

Yeah, I was trying so hard not to smile too big and jump out of my seat.

So, what's next? We'll pray and wait and see. And in the midst of it all I'm going to keep laying down my Isaac, and keep picking up the love of God and listening to my Teacher who tells me which way to step.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Surrender (Part One)

I'll just be honest in saying that this has been a tough year and I'm sorry for the cliche but I feel like I've been riding on a roller coaster. Sometimes having fun, sometimes feeling like I'm going to throw up, sometimes overwhelmed with fear of what's coming next.

I'll go back a little. My husband is in construction and two years ago when we ventured into having our own business we had high hopes and high dreams. He wanted to build. I wanted to be comfortable. Both seemed absolutely within our reach.

Then as you all know the real estate bubble burst, or rather slowly and painfully deflated. All of a sudden we felt like the roof had literally collapsed on our dreams, not killing them but in the mess of rubble, we lost them. I think they're still there but it's hard to think about them when we have bills yet to be paid and interest accruing in ungodly capacity.

Also, over the years of our marriage my dreams have really grown in what I see for my husband and our family. I knew he was called to be in ministry and honestly when we talked about building and making lots of money, I secretly would think "that's what he thinks, God's going to call him into ministry and we're going to leave all this behind." I really did! Not that I was turned off with the whole idea of living the "good life". I do like being comfortable. I do like having a nice car and I definitely do like to shop! But I also knew we were called to something more. It's not like it was a total secret from my husband, what God had planned for him. We would definitely come together and agree about our goals and dreams. He has often heard from God about being called to "feed [the] sheep" and I have often realized that I don't know how God's plan would come about and have recognized that it could include building houses as well.

This past year while on our roller coaster we have had the highest ups, really coming together as husband and wife and learning amazing lessons from the Lord. We've also had the lowest lows and while the lessons during those times have been equally amazing, they've also been unbelievably painful.

Most of the painful ones have had to do with stress. Stress has the ability to bring out whatever is deep deep down in the recesses of our hearts and most of the time that stuff has stayed hidden for a reason. Stuff like pride, fear, resentment, bitterness, hurts and deceptions. And when these sleeping giants are rudely awakened, watch out. Seriously, it sounds funny. We can all laugh about our "crazy" mom's right or is that just me? But when you become the crazy mom, it's not so funny anymore. This last year I have definitely had my moments as a crazy mom. And I have to admit, as a wife, I haven't stayed entirely sane.

So, on this roller coaster, I've had my moments of wanting to get off. Wanting the ride to just stop. Wanting to sleep through it. Wanting to find something to numb the feelings until the end. But every single time I'm feeling that way someone says to me, either directly or indirectly, "press on". Maybe that sounds like the simple thing to do, but it's NOT, or at least it doesn't feel simple.

Then last week I was feeling so incredibly weighed down by everything. My husband and I went for a drive on my birthday and he was expressing to me how discouraged he was feeling. Through everything I have tried so hard to hold onto the promises of God in his word and one of them that I've held so closely to my heart is Psalm 37:18-19, The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in times of famine they will enjoy plenty.

He did not get encouraged by my memorized scripture. In fact he got mad at me for "always using scripture for everything" and he went on to say something about it's our own strength that gets us through. All I wanted to say in this very low place was "No, you're WRONG!" See what I mean about stress bringing up ugly things in us? Instead of recognizing the need to minister and pray for my husband, and instead of having understanding for the dark place he may have been at the moment, I completely turned it around on me and responded with pride and resentment.

We did make up from that fight when we realized we didn't even know what we were fighting about. But God definitely had an unfinished project in my heart. So, here we come to my "aha" moment. I was taking a shower and praying (I highly recommend this time to pray for a busy mom). I very distinctly heard the voice of the Lord say "Lay your Isaac on the alter".

If you don't know the story of Abraham and Isaac, here is a very paraphrased version. Abraham, being old (my daughter says he was 99 and his wife Sarah was 98) was promised a son. God had promised him that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky in fact. Eventually, after trying to accomplish what God had promised on their own and paying the consequences, Sarah did become pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. Then some time later, God spoke to Abraham and told him to take his promised son to Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering. Abraham obedient to the Lord, strapped some wood to Isaac's back and as they walked up the mountain Isaac asked where was the lamb for the offering. In a profound word of prophecy Abraham answered "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." (I think this speaks of Jesus coming and sacrificing himself for us). Anyway, Abraham lays Isaac on the alter and right before he kills him, an angel stops him and tells him not to kill his son and that the Lord has found Abraham faithful. Then a ram comes out of the bushes and Abraham offers up the ram as a sacrifice. Then the angel calls again from heaven and says " I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

This story has always kind of bothered me because, well, I don't like tests. I am irritated when my husband asks me something or throws me some ridiculous circumstance when he just wants to see how I'll react. I've always felt the same irritation when reading this story.

In my shower though the meaning of laying my Isaac on the alter suddenly seemed to make so much more sense. At first when I heard that from God I thought "okay, what's my 'Isaac'?" Our business came to mind. And our home. I thought in a moment of piety "Okay Lord, I give you our business. Take it away if you want to." Then I smiled with a feeling of soulful satisfaction. The Lord said, "Um, no, the business is NOT your Isaac. Think again."

Then it hit. My Isaac is the dream and the promise of us going into ministry. The calling to "feed the sheep" and the dream that my husband will be the man I've envisioned him to be. I cried "Lord, but these are good things. These dreams are not about us, they're about You. You gave me these dreams". "Yes, and you've been trying to accomplish these dreams on your terms and in your way. I want them to die in you so that I can resurrect something that's living and eternal." Okay, I can't argue with that!

Then in my towel I went into my bedroom and read the story I paraphrased above and also read the days "My Utmost For His Highest". What do you think dear Oswald said?

"Lovest thou Me?" Then "Feed My sheep." There is no choice in service, only absolute faithfulness to our Lord's Commission.

Okay, then I argued a little. I said "See God, it's even in "My Utmost" for today. We're supposed to be faithful to the call." He said "You are being faithful when you give it back to me."

(Sometimes I feel like I'm so dense and stubborn. I am really one of God's strong willed children.)

So, I made a decision and made a written declaration to stick in my bible. I dated it March 5, 2009 with something new and hopeful growing in me. A new hope and expectation that God's going to take this and do something eternal.

How heavy the weight that's been lifted off my shoulders. The weight of my husband's spiritual growth. I've become free to be his wife. I've become free to be the mother who's sane. I've become free to live in the calling that's in front of me today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How Great Thou Art

Today is such a beautiful day but I am also seriously sleep deprived from the time change (and my being irresponsible by staying up way later than I should have last night).

I am just really thankful for what God is doing in and around us, but this song says it much better than I could.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

~words & music by Carl G. Boberg and R.J. Hughes

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Me and my little man

I just don't have a lot to say lately or rather the time to say it here is some pictures of me and my handsome little guy. Lately in the mornings he's been wanting to come cuddle with me for a few minutes before he starts his day of running and getting into things. I know that someday he's probably going to grow up to be an over 6 foot tall, big football or baseball player (this is a point of argument at the moment) and I'll remember these cuddly sweet baby days and so I really do cherish them even now.


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