June 30, 2011

What a strange day it has been....

Just a warning: This post may read a bit like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"!

Well, today started off really well!  I have had a terrible time getting out of bed this week in order to have my quiet time before the kiddos are up.  But today, God poured His mercy on me and I was able to get up.  Granted, Sophie got up when I did, but we sat outside at the picnic table together and I read my Bible and she wrote in her 1000 Gifts Journal.  It was really a sweet time.  A lot of my reading was in the Psalms this morning, which I love!  Then I got the kiddos breakfast and even got in a shower this morning!  Woo hooo!  I know that doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but really, it is.  Getting a shower in before bed time is pretty rare around here, so I was pretty excited.  Then, of course, I got the kids ready to go an actually had some time to clean up before we headed out for Playgroup this morning. 

And that's when it all came unraveled.  Or maybe I should say, that's when I came all unraveled!  I have no idea what came over me!  The kids were playing well in the other room and Kevin was downstairs doing his quiet time, so it was the perfect time for me to pull out the vacuum and clean.  But, just as I pulled out the vacuum, I suddenly just wanted curl up on the floor and cry!  Why, well, I am not really sure!  All I know is that I was overwhelmed with the task of motherhood and wife hood this morning...and not in a good way!  I just wanted to cry and escape it all, even if just for a few hours!  I was overwhelmed by the chore of keeping house.  Admittedly, this is something I am not good at.  I have tried several methods (one room per day, one floor each day, minor pick ups each day and the vacuum only every other day), but my house still always feels cluttered, cramped, and very messy.  I can't even stand the thought of anyone coming over and seeing the messy house, even if I've just cleaned and bleached the whole place.  I have some of the neatest friends I can think of and they must just shudder at the thought of leaving their shining homes and coming to my messy one.  It seems no matter how hard I try, I just can't get it all done.  The floor never gets mopped, clothes sit in baskets for a week at a time, Kevin usually ends up cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, and I sit and cry over all I couldn't get done!  My kids are really good at picking up when they've finished playing, and for that I am truly grateful, but that just leads me to another place of despair.  Everyone else I know lives by the "everything has a place and everything in it's place" rule but me, it seems.  Even their small children do this and their homes are immaculate!  For me, if they can get it off the floor and into one of the toy tubs, that's good.  At least I didn't have to pick it up, right?  But, I am doing them some kind of disservice by not teaching them the true responsibility of getting things to a proper and organized place, or is just picking up your mess enough?

Then, of course, my mind zooms ahead to home schooling this fall. Oh man, if I can't keep things clean and moving when there's nothing to do now, how in the world am I ever going to get it done while spending at least half of the day teaching Sophie?  And how in the world am I ever gonna get time with Ethan?  Will he be jealous of all the one on one time Sophie will get because I am teaching her?  Ahhhhhh!  What was I thinking getting into this home school thing?  Of course, then I feel silly because I know we are doing exactly what God has called us to do and He will provide, so I need not worry.  If I truly believe He called us to this, then I must also believe He will provide all that each one of us needs to make this happen.

Then I  begin to think that what I need to make this happen is a week in an empty house to clean, organize, print copies and make lesson plans.  Ahh, but is that really the answer?  I begin to think over all the stories of Christ in the Bible.  In all the times I can remember that we see Him alone, it is either to sleep (which is usually interrupted and He takes that time to teach a lesson) or He is drawing near to the Father.  I have to admit, if I would use my time alone to draw near to the Father, I would probably be less prone to feel the need to be alone.  I would be relying on Him as my source of strength, not myself.  I would be filled with His love and grace, not my own self pity and doubt.  What was God really trying to tell me?  To be honest, I really don't know!  But, I am praying that He will reveal it soon!!!!!  I know that since He has given me a hisband and children, He has also given me the responsibility to care for them and look after them.  If He has called me to that, then He will give me the time to get it done.  I must have faith in that.  Just because Christ didn't take "me time", does that mean I shouldn't either?  I have no idea!  But, I will be more earnest to spend time in His Word and in prayer seeking what He would have me to do with my time each day, praying that will lead to satisfaction with all He has given!

Lord, I don't know what You're trying to teach me or show me, but reveal Yourself to me today.  Show me how to be truly content in all that You have given me.  Show me how to use my time as YOU would have me use it, not how I think it needs to be used in order to fit come crazy, mixed-up dream I have in my head!  Change my heart and soul to be more like you each moment of each day.  Use me to model You love and grace to my children that they may come to know You, trust You, live for You, and boldly declare Your name to the nations!!!!

June 25, 2011

1,000 Gifts Week 7...and yes, a little randomness!

What a week it has been!  I feel like I have been running non-stop, have gotten nothing done, but can't really tell you what it is I have been running around doing!  Anyone else ever have those weeks?  The laundry is finally all folded, but nowhere near being put away!  Baby steps are good, right?  ;)  Last night, I had so much I wanted to sit down and write, but just no motivation to do it.  Today I am motivated to do it, but alas, cannot remember anything that I was thinking I would write last night!  I am sure there were some funny stories from the week and some not so deep thoughts, but they all escape me at the moment!

--First, a few websites I have come to love.  I have been inspired, printed off fun worksheets for the kiddos, and even discovered some very tasty recipes:  http://www.aholyexperience.com/  and http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.blogspot.com/  The author of the first blog is also the author of the 1,000 Gifts book that I have been referencing.  She has some great downloads and links to some great resources for scripture memory and ways to stay focused on what truly matters in life!  Hope you enjoy! 

--I've had a lot of fun with the kids this week.  We finally had some sunshine after all the rain and got some good time at the pool.  Sophie was finally brave enough to try the "monkey bars" at the city pool...and I was so proud of her!  She made it all the way across by herself (well, not on the first try, but it only took two attempts!).  She just kept going again and again and again!  It was so fun to watch her each time!

--We had our, hopefully, first Ladies Learning Night at church.  We made laundry soap.  There were only three of us (and our crazy kiddos) but we had a blast!  It was fun to fellowship, laugh, and learn together.  And, it was interesting to learn that KJ and Ethan can apparently open doors to the playground all by themselves!  Who knew!  Looking forward to more of those in the future!

I guess it's time to share some of my gifts from this week.  I am finding that I am writing less on my list each day, but it's not because I am not noticing His gifts, but, rather, taking more time to enjoy the gifts!  He is good!

670) dinner with friends
672) safety in a storm
675) funny YouTube videos
676) skinned knees
679) reminders of God's provision in His word
681) great afternoon/fellowship at the pool
682) lifetime friends
686) Back Yard Olympics (who knew I could challenge a teenager in hula hooping?!?!)
691) reading Psalms first thing in the morning
693) time in the Word and prayer next to my hubby
696) musicals
698) time alone
700) baking with the kiddos
704) time in the Word outside in the warm sun
706) fellowship with 2 sweet ladies
711) time alone to clean
713) daddy helping Gift Girl make jewelry (and using it as a math lesson because they are doing the jewelry with patters!  Yep, pretty sure he has just earned the job of Math Teacher here at McSmith Academy!)

Just a few more gifts, in picture form:

Brother and Sister reading!

My silly little Blessing Boy!

Cookie Dough!!!

The first time I've ever made granola...and it was good!

They've only met like 3 times in their life, but you'd think they were best friends who hang out all the time!  Thank You, Lord, for forever friends!

Same for these two!

June 18, 2011

1,000 Gifts Week 6...and a little randomness!

OK, what I am about to admit is going to make me sound like a fool; but I am going to admit it anyway!  Every time we have a storm, I can't help but think, "Is today the day?  Is the rapture about to happen?"  I'll give you a few minutes to stop laughing.  OK, now I'll make a feeble attempt to explain myself.  Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's all those childish explanations for thunder when we were young, but when I hear thunder, I can't help but think of God.  The deep rolling sound just makes me think that, at times, that must be exactly what His voice sounds like.  Then, when the thunder dies down and you are just hearing the gentle sound of rain, I can't help but be reminded of His still, small voice.  So you see, in one storm I see the powerful, almighty side of God, as well as the gentle, loving side.  I think this is why I love thunderstorms so much.  I find very little more comforting than being surrounded by a thunderstorm and sitting on the couch all wrapped up in a blanket next to the hubster on the couch.  Why that makes me think the rapture is about to happen, I have no idea.  I guess because, if I am to be totally honest, part of me is scared of that event because I don't understand it, nor do I fully comprehend what life eternally with the Savior will be like! Anyway, last night was no exception.  I mean, I honestly haven't heard thunder that long and loud EVER, at least I don't remember it.  I actually had to roll over and see if Kevin was still there to make sure the rapture didn't come and I got left behind!  Told you I was going to sound foolish!  Hopefully this brought a little smile to your day!

On to my 1,000 Gifts list for this week.  I still cannot believe how much this one simple act has changed my heart and my outlook on life.  We are working really hard to help Sophie to have a grateful and thankful heart (though at the moment, I think her age is winning out) and I cannot wait until that day comes.  That day when it clicks that all things, good and bad, are a gift from God.  That all things are first sifted through His hand and then lavished on us from that same hand!  This week, in particular, God was evident in even more, most likely because I specifically started praying each day that He would reveal Himself in some way.  And did He ever:
632) unplanned naps
635) vacation planning
642) early morning rainfall
645) sweet smiles from Gift Girl and Blessing Boy
647) Beth Moore
650) excitement to dig into His Word
655) stories from a children's Bible speaking to my heart
657) new life
662) squash blossoms
665) homemade laundry soap
669) generosity of others
670) being humbled by God's revelation

 Small Group Kids playing and having fun!
 Hubby who fixing things without being asked!
Brother and Sister at the table together, working independently!  Maybe this whole home school thing will work after all!

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June 15, 2011

Matt. 6

So, I was reading to Sophie from her Message Bible this evening and was just totally struck by the amazingness (is that even a word) of our God!  As part of the Revelation study (Beth Moore) we are doing, she has asked that we pray each day that God would reveal Himself to us in some way.  She asked that we write it down, be it a sunset, a child's smile, whatever, right down the ways He reveals Himself to you each day.  I admit, I was thinking, "No problem!  I'm already making a list of 1,000 gifts, so that will work!"  I did, however, still pray this morning that God would reveal Himself.  It came this evening reading to Sophie!  We read portions of Matt. 6 (it's a children's message Bible, so it skipped the "fasting" portion).  Here's the part that really revealed to me the amazing God He is (though I suggest reading the whole chapter, in both the NIV, NKJV, and The Message!)  Here it is from the Message:

25-26"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Wow!!!!  I have to admit, it was the part about the flowers that got me!  So many times I have looked at flowers or bouquets of flowers and truly, there are very few things on earth that compare with that beauty!  And most flowers are not even seen!  And if He clothes them so well, takes such good care of them, does He not care that much more for me?  I have no need to fear because the God who created the Universe, who holds the Universe together, is caring for me!  He knows all, sees all, and controls all!  What do I have to fear?!?!?  Lord, thank You for answered prayers!  Thank you for revealing Yourself, even in the midst of reading a children's Bible!  Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!  I know this may seem small and trivial, but God really punched me with it this evening!

June 14, 2011

It's Our Anniversary!

Wow!  8 years ago today I was in the basement of Immanuel Baptist Church as nervous as can be.  I remember suddenly thinking, "I really hope no one shows up!  Not sure I can say my vows, etc, in front of all those people!!!"  Well, people did show up and I did say the vows and 8 years has flown by so quickly!  Yes, like all marriages, there have been ups and downs, but God's hand has been with us and we've made it this far and look forward to many more years!  Just thought I would put up a few pics for you to enjoy!







June 12, 2011

Potter's Hand

Well, here's one of my favorite songs from our wedding.  It's a song that Praise Song was doing that year and I was able to get the sound guy, Dwayne Snead, to let me go in and record the first verse as a solo so we could use it in the wedding.  This was our unity candle/prayer song.  I know it's long, but it's totally worth it to listen to the end to be able to hear the amazing Delicia Roberson doing some awesome ad libs!  Thanks to all who helped get this done so it could be in the wedding.  And, no, there aren't any pics or anything, just the song!  Enjoy!  The music is really quiet, so you may have to turn the speakers up a bit!

video

8 Years of Holy Matrimony!

That's right, this Tuesday Kevin and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage!  So, I'll be doing a few wedding themed posts..or at least hope to!  So, here goes!

Kevin and I wrote our own vows.  Here are mine to Kevin:

It was 28 months ago today that we went on our first date!  That was the beginning of a wonderful journey that has brought us to this day.  As I sat across from you that night, I could never have imagined I would come to love you as much as I do today...but I did have full confidence that we were starting a relationship that would never end.  I am so excited to become your wife today!!  Just as our dating relationship was bathed in payer, I promise to pray for you, our marriage and the family we will one day have.  I promise to daily spend time int he word, to continue growing spiritually, and to encourage you to do the same.  I promise to strive daily to be the wife the Bible instructs me to be, to love you unconditionally, and to support you in all you do.  I have full confidence you will be a strong spiritual leader for our family and, knowing this, I will support your decisions.  I will hold your hand and walk beside you into the unknown as God continues to guide our path.  I will remain faithful to you and prefer you above all others for as long as I live.  I love you so much and I am very blessed that God has placed you in my life.  I know He will continue to guide us as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.  I give this ring to you as a symbol of my love for you.  Just as the circular shape has no end, my love for you will have no end. 

He didn't want me to share his, but believe me, they were amazing!  So beautifully written and so heartfelt!  I'll keep trying to persuade him to let me share them, but if not, just know they were perfect!

June 10, 2011

1,000 Gifts-Week 5

Well, it's been a long week!  VBS, hanging out with friend's kids, getting ready for a weekend trip!  I am using our new laptop and don't have any pics on here, so sorry, but it will only be text this evening!

545) good night's sleep
548) prayer journal
553) Sonic happy hour
554) productive meetings
556) encouraging posts on FB notes
558) dogs chasing squirrels
564) kids playing silly games
566) camera to catch every moment
570) reminder that I am not in control
572) laughter in the sunshine
575) friends to share burdens
578) tight hugs from sweet kids
579) adoption testimonies
583) folded clothes
585) hard honesty
588) exercise
591) lazy mornings
543) loading the car
598) learning from older, Godly women
599) first week of new Scripture memorization complete
601) exuberant children

June 08, 2011

Sweet Moments

Around 11:30 last night as I walked past Ethan's room, I could hear him in there just talking away.  Why in the world was he still awake?!?!?!  I went in with the intention telling him to lay down, be quiet, and get to sleep.  But, when I went in, he smiled at me so big and sweet, that I couldn't help but walk in and enjoy a few sweet moments with my Blessing boy!  We sat there and talked and laughed for about 5 minutes.  Then I decided that this would be a good time to do some scripture with him, so we sang Lincoln Brewster's "Love the Lord".  He loved it!!!!  What a precious memory!  Lord, thank you for keeping me awake to share this sweet time with Blessing Boy!  What a gift!  Continue to slow me down and interrupt my plans so I can see You in each and every moment!

June 06, 2011

Excitement!!

Lots of exciting things going on around here!  I want to share three of them with you!  I must say, before I proceed, there may be things in this post with which you may not agree...the purpose of the post is not to start a debate, but to share what God is doing in our family and in our church.  I ask that you be polite and understanding with any responses!  Thanks!!!!!

First, I was so excited when, in church yesterday, Bro. Jeff announced that they are planning our first Family Mission Trip!  I have been wanting to take a mission trip as a whole family since Sophie was born.  Now, we've done some missions/service projects here in town, but I am totally excited about doing something beyond our city limits!  And even more excited about doing it as a family!  Talk about putting faith in action!  What a great way to put what we're learning in Family Quest and Family Worship Time in action.  I cannot wait!  Thank You, Lord, for laying this on our pastor's heart.  Show us what we can do to prepare and participate in this trip.

Second, though I don't really know all the details, I know that our children's ministry is working hard to take a big step in our children's lives.  So excited to see how God will move in this area!  Children and families will be changed forever, I am sure!  Thank you to Mr. Doug and his team for working so hard to be sure that our children are taught God's Word at every opportunity!

Last, and most controversial I am sure, I am so excited that Sophie has started coming into the worship service with us.  OK, so, she's actually only come one time...yesterday...but it was such a blessing to her mommy!  As I knew she would, she did great during the music.  It melted my heart hearing her belt out, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Thanks, Lincoln Brewster for such an easy song for us to grasp onto!)  I was a little worried about how the sermon portion of the service would go.  But, after reading an article by Noel Piper, I had a few ideas and off we went.  Kevin and I both feel very strongly that the worship service (particularly the sermon portion) is not the time for kids to learn how to sit still and be quiet, or to just read and color and do their own thing.  If they are going to be there, then they need to be paying attention.  So, following Mrs. Piper's suggestion, we got her her own notebook and pencil and asked her to listen to Bro. Jeff and draw pictures of the things he was talking about.  She did great!  She talked a little more than I had hoped, mainly because she was describing her pictures or asking what she should draw next, but she still did a great job listening and "illustrating" his sermon.  And it was a great way to talk her about the sermon on the way home.  We pulled out her notebook and went picture by picture and she explained what she drew and how it fit his sermon, and then we explained the things that she didn't quite understand or remember.  I know that bringing your children to service isn't for everyone (and we have a while before we try this with Ethan!), but I just have to say it was such a blessing!  If you can try it, even just once, I highly encourage it!  It will be a blessing to you and your child.  I really can't even put it into words!  Kevin and I went back and forth about whether or not to try and start bringing her into the service for more than just the songs, then God showed us this article (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/the-family-together-in-gods-presence ), and we knew that He was asking us to at least give it a try!  So glad we were obedient! I look forward to this blessing week after week and I look forward to seeing how God uses this to mold, shape, and change, not only Sophie, but Kevin and I as well!!!!!

June 03, 2011

1,000 Gifts-Week 4

Is it really June already?  Where in the world has this year gone?  I can't believe it's already almost half over.  Seems like so much, yet so little, has happened already!  Anyway, here are some of the many gifts God has shown over the last week:

424) church family
431) sunsets
433) little girls playing dress up
437) making muffins with Blessing Boy
441) ice cream maker deciding to work
445) fellowship
447)water tables
452)Blessing Boy having new words everyday
459)sprinkler fun
461)new life
465)forgiveness
468)revealing of my sinful nature
474)Italian style croutons
479)helpful books for training children
481)closet doors
486)people who desire to see all children come to know Christ
490)slow days
497)great, Christian websites
498)a shower before the kids get up
505)2 kids napping at the same time
509)eating at the picnic table

Here are a few pics from the week.  God is soooooooo good!!!!!