November 15, 2011

Still Counting His Gifts

It seems it's been a while since I have posted about the many gifts He has given.  Probably because I have been listing gifts daily on Facebook for the month of November...but there are so many gifts!

--sweet children's smiles
--rehearsals for the Christmas show
--sweet friends
--worshipping with my church family
--Barlow Girl
--Sophie singing in the back seat
--Family Quest
--learning about Passover
--Christ is our Passover Lamb
--sloppy, surprise kisses from Ethan
--sitting on the couch with the hub each night
--family trips to the Y
--family pics
--people with the gift of photography
--daily reminders of God's grace and love
--God's complete provision-physical and spiritual

November 04, 2011

I suppose this should have been in the last post....

More randomness floating around in this little head!  Since I attempt to be real and honest, I'll put them down here. 

--One of my favorite new "routines" is one we just started last week.  Kevin and I are wanting to get Sophie in the habit of reading her Bible each morning.  Up until last week, we were giving her the Tab and the Bible App was reading to her.  Last week, I decided to try something new.  She can actually read really well, so I thought it was about time for her to read on her own.  So, each morning she sets the timer for 15 minutes and she and I sit on my bed and read our Bibles (she reads her first Message Bible because it's just a little easier to read because the print is there are pictures for her to look at to help her understand the story a little better).  I'll admit that I don't always get a whole lot out of my 15 minutes of reading because she has to read out loud, which makes it a tad difficult for ADD me to concentrate, but, it's still one of my favorite times of the day.  I pray that she learns why this is important and that maybe she'll even hold me accountable to taking time to read my Bible.  Already she refuses to move on with her day until she's read her Bible.  Right now it's probably more about being able to mark that box off on her morning list, but I pray that it becomes something she desires and can't live without!

--My heart was really turned to gratefulness this week as a college friend ended up in the ICU after delivering her first child.  My, how I have been blessed with my children, from the very start.  First of all, unlike most people in my life, we have had no trouble conceiving.  That, in and of itself, is such a miracle!  Second, my pregnancies have been so calm and easy.  Very little sickness and no scares.  Third, I am pretty sure that both of my deliveries are ones that any woman would love to have.  Fairly quick (OK, Ethan was REALLY quick!), no complications, and smooth.  Lord, I have no idea why I have been blessed in these areas and others have not.  But, I praise You for the gifts You alone have given us in our children.  Help us as we lead and guide them through Your truth!

--Homeschooling is going really well, though I have to admit there are days (probably more like MANY days) that end with me just wanting to sit on the couch and cry because I feel like a failure!  Don't get me wrong, we were obedient and this has definitely been the right choice for us and I am so glad that we are doing it, but there are some days I feel like all I am doing is treading water, and not even doing that very well!  It seems that we either have a great day of school, but the house is a mess and we're lucky if I even remember we're supposed to have dinner.  Or, school is rushed and very little is learned, but the house is spic and span, clothes are washed and put away, and dinner is wonderful.  It seems I can never do both at the same time.  I feel like I am always having to choose between the two.  Please tell me that one day, the balance will all work out?!?!?!?  This is much how I felt when I was working, either work won or home won, but I could never seem to pull it all together and do both well.  Praying that God will fill me with wisdom and show me how to get it all done, because my schedules and plans and hopes and even action hasn't really helped!

--It has felt so good this last week to be back to a fairly regular work out schedule.  (Until, of course, this cold started coming on.  I am such a baby when I am sick!)  I feel so much better and have so much more energy in my day.  And, the kids love to go play at the Y, so it seems to work out well for all of us (except of course, that means no cleaning is being done at home and no school is getting done, either!) 

--I am still struggling with my selfishness with my time.  When Kevin asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I jokingly replied that I wanted 24 hours to myself.  OK, so I wasn't joking all that much.  There are many days I wish I could get just one hour to myself.  Please tell me there are others out there!  I mean, even those who work don't get much time alone.  But, then I was convicted about how I would spend that time I had alone.  I had to admit, I would probably do some cleaning (I can be a little too ADD to clean when others are around), some laundry, and then spend the rest of the time reading a book or watching a movie or something along those lines.  But did it ever cross my mind to spend that time in the Word or in prayer?  How about using that time to go buy items for the food pantry or go serve at Loaves and Fishes?  Maybe I could use that time to purchase items from the World Vision catalogue  or pack an extra shoebox?  Nope, I just wanted that time to be me and serve me and help me, nothing else.  That was a painful realization.  And even more painful was that I am not sure I felt all that bad about not even thinking about including those other things.  Oh Lord, soften my heart to those things that break Your heart.  Lord, show me how to be empty of me and full of You.  Lead me in Your path.  Open my heart, mind, soul, pocketbook and schedule to those things which will lead others to You and show others Your love and compassion and grace and mercy.  Lord, fill me with a desire to be full of You and empty of me.  Help me model this "crazy love" lifestyle for my children and husband every single day.  Remove my selfishness and fill me with Your love and compassion.  Fill me each morning with Your strength and purpose for the day!

November 03, 2011

Fun Things Happening in the McSmith Household!

Ok, before you get too excited, I have to confess....the better title for this post would probably be "Randomness", but since I use that a lot, I decided I needed a different title!  So, though there will be no pregnancy proclamations or potty training stories, there will be some small insights into life in our house!

--Well, my birthday has come and gone.  Though, technically, I am a year older, I don't feel it at all.  (Though I must admit that the brain is no longer working the way it used to, but I am told that this is, unfortunately, normal!)  We had a great time celebrating with my family over by Columbia at a huuuuuuuuge corn maze.  It was fun to see everyone again!
--I have so enjoyed this month of Family Quest at church!  I wish that everyone had this available for their families, it has been such a blessing to ours!  I have been amazed to see how much scripture Sophie has been able to memorize and how easily it comes to her (just further proof that you need to teach them while they are young!)  This month we have been looking at the 10 plagues and Passover.  Seriously, there must be some hidden part of me that is Jewish or something because I am so drawn to the Jewish festivals, particularly Passover, and the way they shout that Jesus is the messiah!  One of the rotations this month was a shortened version of a Passover Seder meal.  I could barely read the script because, from the very start, I couldn't stop crying.  The picture that meal paints of all our Lord has done for us was just too overwhelming for me.  It was all I could do to hold it together!  I look forward to being able to share this meal (in some form) with my kids in the future.
--I have been so amazed at all Ethan has learned to do in the last few weeks.  Somewhere along the way, while Sophie and I were doing school, he learned his shapes and numbers (though for some reason he refuses to say the number 7...maybe because 7 "ate" 9?!?!  JK!)  He can say Psalm 119:11 all on his own (singing the Lincoln Brewster song to him every day while we brushed his teeth really paid off!) and there are two or three more verses that he is really close to being able to say on his own.  His thought process has become much more developed, as well.  He's like a little boy now!  Where did the time go?!?!?!
--I am so proud of how well Sophie is doing in school.  Don't get me wrong, we have our days where I just want to strangle her because she refuses to move at my pace, but God has given us both lots of grace and mercy on those days and we're both still alive!  We've finished her Social Studies curriculum for the year already, so we'll be spending the rest of this semester praying for and learning about different people groups around the world.   Next semester we'll start in learning about the 50 states.  Her memory just blows me away!!!!!  I mean, I gotta say, back in the day I had a pretty good memory, but hers is even better than mine ever was!
--I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I cannot wait to see and spend some down time with family!  Both places will be pretty crowded with kids, but both also very full of love!  I am so thankful for the families that God has given us.  We truly are blessed beyond belief!
--I cannot express how thankful I am for the husband God has given me!  He is such a hard worker and a gentle soul all at once.  I love to watch him have a tea party with Sophie or explain to her a Bible story.  I love watching him race cars with Ethan and try his best to keep him interested in Bible time.  I love that he can fix my vacuum, computer, TV, phone, kitchen, and pretty much anything else that needs to be fixed!  I love that he prays daily for the salvation of our children.  I know that I am not always the help mate that he needs or deserves, but I am thankful the Lord allows me to get up each day and try to do better than the day before!
--I have really been enjoying the sermon series Bro. Jeff and Father's Heart have been presenting these past few weeks.  What eye openers!  Do I live out James 1:27?  Do I use all that God has given me to impact the kingdom?  Am I so concerned about what God is doing in my life, that I don't care what he's doing anywhere else (oh yes I did just drop a line from Good Sam, thank you Matt Tullos!)?  What do I choose to spend my time and money on?  What am I teaching my children with the ways I choose to spend my time and money?  Do I allow God to use compassion to stir me to action, or am I satisfied just to feel compassionate and leave it there?  Lord, more than anything, I want you to use me!  Use me at home to model your love, compassion, grace, and mercy to my husband and children.  Use me to teach my children that You are more than enough.  Use me to teach my children that trusting in You is what gets me through each day, good or bad.  Use me to lead my children to Your throne and into relationship with you.  Use me to encourage my husband as a father and as an ambassador for You.  Use me in my neighborhood, church, and community to shout Your name and declare Your praise...whether that means prayer walking, baking cookies, sharing my home, spending my money on someone other than my family, or just being a listening ear and quoting scripture.  Use me, Lord, use me!