February 26, 2013

Lent-Week 2

What a week this second one has been!  It'll be a bit longer this time and not really in the form of updates...oh, and some pics!  (And don't forget to check out the post before this one so you can see Sophie and Daddy playing their first duet!)

Day 8:
Kevin is home!  He is such a blessing!!!  We didn’t get any school done today, but we had a great time visiting with friends, making cards for daddy, and snuggling on the couch.  Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week.  We get to enjoy family quest together, then Kevin and I get to enjoy choir, orchestra, and band rehearsal.  We are so blessed with such talented people in our church.  And I so enjoy my time with them on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

Ethan was able to say the 10 Commandments tonight at church. I am so proud of him.  Memorizing doesn’t come quite as easily to him as it does Sophie and he worked really hard to learn them.  Sophie and I learned the first three verses of the last chapter of the Sermon on the Mount this week.  I am so proud of how well she is doing with this.  Lord, help these verses to stay with her throughout her life.  Use them to draw her to You and bring those verses to mind anytime she is struggling or doubting. 
Day 9:
What a fun day today has been.  The snow is beautiful and so fun to play in!  In fact, we had so much fun, I kept thinking today was Friday!!  What a fun, sweet, winter day full of family, games, books, sleds, and chicken tortilla soup.

Sophie and I made scripture cookies today.  It was a recipe I found on Pinterest awhile back.  You had read the scripture verses and fill in the blanks to find out the ingredients.  It made oatmeal raisin cookies, which aren’t our favorite, but it sure was a fun experience.  It was really neat to see that she already knew several of the verses and was able to finish them correctly before we looked them up and read them together.

Day 10:
I made doughnuts from scratch today.  They weren’t too bad, but tasted a little yeasty.  The glaze turned out pretty well, too.  Ethan ate almost all of them himself, so they couldn’t have been too bad!  Making them was pretty fun because Ethan helped me.  He said, “Mom, I want you to teach me how to cook.”  It was so cute and such a fun time with just the two of us.
I have a great husband.  He shoveled our driveway and his mom’s driveway.  It looks great out there.  Sure am glad it didn’t snow until after he came home.  I could not have shoveled all that!
A combination of something one of my dear friends said to me on the phone the other day and something I read yesterday really had me thinking.  My friend was commenting on how I am a person who can only stand being around others for so long, then I need some time, even if it’s just 30 minutes, alone in order to recharge.  That is so true!  I just go on overload if I don’t get some alone time each day.  Of course, this isn’t all that easy when you’re a stay at home, homeschooling mom!  But, as I was reading a book on raising girls the other day, the author was making a point that each child is different.  The illustration she was using was that she and her son could be three stories apart, but both reading a book, and to him that quality time doing something together.  For her daughter, if they weren’t right next to her doing the same thing, it didn’t count as spending time together.  This was a huge eye opener to me for how Sophie thinks.  We will have spent most of the day at the school table or on the couch working on our school work and projects and then she’ll come to me asking if we can do something together.  I’m thinking, “Do something together?  We’ve been doing something together all day.  I just need ½ an hour to myself!” But, reading that book helped me realize that to her, the time spent doing school doesn’t count to her as time spent together.  It’s just school!  But, because I am one who needs to spend more time alone than with people, anytime not alone counts as together time.  I have to work really hard and be really intentional about spending time with her so that she feels loved and cared for at all times.  Lord, help me to be sensitive to this and desire to be more intentional about my time with Sophia.
Day 11:
What a fun, lazy day this was!  Kevin took the kids to have doughnuts and visit grandma for a bit.  This gave me a chance to do some cleaning, have a good quiet time, and work some more on the James devotions.  It was a much needed break.
We also had fun sledding out at the hill by the city pool.  That place never disappoints!  The hills were pretty fast and we even made it all the way to the fence a few times.  Then, we had the pleasure of heading out for an evening of bowling and dinner to celebrate the birthday of a sweet friend.  Lots of fun had by all!!!
Day 12:
Today was a hard day to not be on facebook.  My grandfather had a bad diabetic episode this morning, and I would have loved to have been on there to send out the prayer request and to thank his neighbor for being willing to help him.  He seems to be OK now, but they are still watching him closely hoping that they have worked out the insulin issues.
Have I said lately how much I enjoy the children’s choir musical?  I love that it’s pretty much all scripture and I love hearing those kids sing it over and over.  And they sing with such joy!  Can’t wait to share it with the church on Mother’s Day!
Sophie and Kevin playing their first piano/guitar duet today.  Jingle Bells never sounded so sweet to me!
Day 13:
What a crazy day today!  But, we sure had fun!!!!  Kevin and Ethan had a daddy/son day building a coat rack for Grandma.  Ethan had so much fun sanding the wood, staining it, and then drilling all the holes.  Of course, daddy helped!  Sophie and I picked up Grandma and headed out for some shopping so we would be prepared for being shut in during the big storm headed our way!  We did get a little school done, but not much.  But, I think the fun and the quality time spent together was better than school any day!
We also were able to purchase some gifts for Ben and Megan to take to the orphanage when they go next week.  Sophie and I had a lot of fun picking out little treats for the kids.  I think Sophie would have put everything she saw in the cart if we could have afforded it or fit it in the car!
We kicked off our recycling tonight with a little party at the Humiston’s!  Not sure Ethan really caught on, but Sophie is excited.  I just hope it doesn’t take me too long to remember that things go in the recycle bin, not the trash.  I am very excited about this new way to worship God by caring for the world He so lovingly made and gives to us to care for each day.

Day 14:
Well, it’s 5:15 a.m. and I cannot sleep.  But, what beauty I got to see out the window because I couldn’t sleep!  Lord, thank you for snow.  Thank You for its beauty.  Thank You that it ushers in new life.  Thank You that it’s so fun to play in!!!! 
Also, since I am up, I’ll bring Grandpa Gene, Grandma Dorothy, mom, Aunt Jeanette and Aunt Karen to You.  Lord, let them feel Your arms around them.  Show Yourself as the God who Heals.  You alone are the great physician.  Restore his mind, restore his blood sugar levels, pour out Your peace on the others.  Give sleep and true rest as we all trust in You.

February 25, 2013

First Duet

Sophie and daddy played their first piano/guitar duet.  I just had to share!!!!

February 19, 2013

Lent-Week 1

So, I started a journal to document this crazy Lent journey I am on this year and thought I would share a few things from it.  Now, it's much longer than what you'll see here...think of what's here as the highlights!  I'm also trying to keep a list of things I have done with my non-facebook time that fulfill Is. 58.  The purpose of this is two-fold: 1) to keep me accountable to doing it in the first place and 2) to encourage me that, small as it may be, I am doing things to fulfill Is. 58.  As I've gone through this first week I realized that I kept thinking of the moments of my day as Facebook statuses.  (Sign of illness, probably!)  So, for fun, I thought I would let you know how it's going through what my facebook statuses might have been during these 40 days.

Day 1:
Logged off for last time last night for at least 40 days.  Eyes full of tears, lump in throat.  Kinda felt like I was finally part of a series finale and saying goodbye to a dear friend!

Studied Greek gods/godesses today....had a great time talking about the One, True God and all the amazing things He does.

Can't help with Loaves and Fishes this week, so we baked cookies for them instead.  Learned that natural vanilla and natural sugar do affect the taste of the cookie...it's not bad, but it's different!

Day 2:
Crazy busy day full of friends and family. 

Helped sweet friends who moved 6 months ago get their house here all painted to sell.

Met family in town to watch niece play basketball.

Lord, thank You that I only had to be a high schooler once.  Please show me how to raise Sophie so she's not "that" girl!

Thank you for dinner with the fam at Country Kitchen that brought great college memories to mind.  I am so blessed!  My cup runneth over!!!

Day 3:
Sophie is sick.  Being home all day makes it much harder not to be on Facebook!

Great day of movies, books, laundry, and cleaning with the kids today!  Lord, thanks for providing a reminder of my true calling and ministry to make disciples of my kids.

Thanks for letting us provide a meal to a family with a new baby today.

Kale chips.  Not good.  Not bad.  Good for you.  No match for chocolate.

Day 4:
Why yes, I do get the worst mother of the year award today.  Totally un.mo.ti.vated!

Can't sleep when Kevin's gone.  Can barely keep my eyes open today.  Lord, thanks for Phil Vischer and his awesome show "What's in the Bible".  All three of us learned a lot today. (E is even walking around asking, "Do you know Ezra and Nehemiah?")

Lord, thanks for the reminder of the amazing gift of life as we celebrate the 1st birthday of one miracle girl and provide dinner for the parents of a 3 week-old miracle girl.  You are amazing!

I hate taxes.  I hate doing them.  I hate paying them.  I hate no longer getting refunds.  But, Lord, I am so thankful You have provided a job for my husband that allows us to do what you have called us to do.

Day 5:
Great talk with Sophie today about the verses from the sermon.  Lord, thank You for the book of James.

Ethan said the cutest thing today.  Of course, I didn't write it down so I don't remember it.

Lord, thank You for the amazing co-workers in children's choir.  Mr. Doug is just awesome and Megan and Taylor do so well with those kiddos!!!  What a blessing.

Lunch with good friends who live far away. #1000gifts

Celebrating the life of a sweet friend who has moved away...how sweet!

Lord, thank You for great friends, both near and far.

Day 6:
So.tired.  Ready for Kevin to be home so I can sleep and think straight!

You know what I love to do with my kids?  Puzzles.  And they are both so good at them.

Met the Hirtzel twins today.  Lord, thank You for the gift of life, even when it's so small.

Had to say goodbye to some sweet friends tonight.  Saying goodbye doesn't get any easier as you get older, you just have to learn to cry more quietly.

Not sure there's any pain worse than watching your daughter's heart break as she weeps because she has to say goodbye to one of her first friends.  Not looking forward to all the future heartbreak over all the things that will break her heart in the future.

Almost posted a pic from instagram to facebook without even thinking about it.  Sometimes I still get confused when I look at my phone and the facebook app isn't there.  Old habits die hard!

Have I said yet that I am ready for Kevin to be home?!?!  ;)

Pretty sure that KFC mashed potatoes and gravy can temporarily soothe any grieving soul.

Took dinner to sweet friends.  The goodbye was no fun.

Day 7:
E is learning the 10 Commandments this week.  He was trying to remember them on his own...here's his version of the second commandment: "Do not make for yourself adultery."  He was little confused, but I guess it's still true!

Sophie got an early b-day present from Maryssa last night...it's a ballerina tutu...guess what she wore all day today?  And no, we weren't in the house all day.  Love that girl!

So ready for Kevin to be home.  I don't think I even realized how much accountability he gives me.  I need him home!

Started reading Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh today.  I'm only like 2 chapters in and I LOVE IT!  Every parent should read it!

Last night's dinner was a fabulous lunch today!

February 11, 2013

Change...It Is A Comin'

Just in case you haven't heard the news, I will be giving up Facebook for Lent (which will be Feb. 13-Mar. 31).  I know, what am I thinking?  Well, follow this link to a post from my friend Jennifer that is a great explanation of my heart behind doing this for Lent (and hers, too.  She will also be giving up Facebook for Lent, so we can lean on each other over these next 40 days!!!!)

I will admit that I enter these 40 days with nervous excitement.  I'm nervous because I am not sure I can really do it.  Seriously, the first thing I do every morning is reach for my phone, turn off my alarm, and check facebook.  I know, it's a disease!  One of my fears is that I will be missing out on what's going on in every one's life.  I will have no clue what is going on from here to the other side of the world.  Of course, I am sure every one's lives will continue just fine without me (a lesson I'm pretty sure I need to learn!)  I am excited because I know that God will do something big (to me at least) in my heart in these days without facebook.  I will be able to spend more undivided time with my husband and kids, and I'll be able to devote more time to completing the devotional on James that I know the Lord has asked me to write.  And I can't even imagine how much those two things will change my life over the next 40 days!  Again, I am reminded of Isaiah 58 and what it says about fasting.  Still not sure all that it means, other than, if all I do is fast and learn a lot of head knowledge about God, but don't take any action based on what I've learned, then I was not fasting the way God asked.  I should not be the only beneficiary of my time of fasting.  Anxious to see how God will use this time, not only to draw me closer to Him, but also to serve others in His name.

Oh, but the change doesn't stop there.  My friend Jennifer (the same friend from above) also read the book "7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker and our families have finally met to decide how we want this to take shape in our lives.  Here is what we're planning to do in the next few months, based on the areas of excess found in the book "7":
Starting Feb. 25, we will be recycling families!  Now, many of you probably recycle already and this seems to be no big deal to you...but...I've never recycled in my life and the whole thing, while exciting, seems a little overwhelming.  But, Kevin is pretty excited about this, too, and seems to have a better grasp of it, so I am hoping that will make it a smooth transition.  I'll admit, when I saw this was something in the book, I was a bit puzzled at first.  But, she made such a great point that I don't think I have ever heard in any Christian circles before.  If God created this planet, every tree, plant, animal, etc, isn't it our duty as His heirs to do the best we can to preserve and protect it in a manner worthy of the Creator?  There are many ways to do this, but this is the way we thought would be best for our families.  We're looking forward to a fun kick-off so we can get the kids excited about recycling, too (after all, they're big enough to throw their own trash away, so they're big enough to sort it for recycling, too!)
No, I am not brave enough to only eat 7 certain foods for a month, and there's no way I would ask my kids to do that!  And, since I want my kids to participate as well, we needed to find an alternative!  So, every Monday in the month of March we will be getting together with the Humiston family to have a meal from a different country, learn about that country, and have a meal that some of the poorest in that country would eat.  Since we wanted it to be something we knew we'd be capable of pulling off, we picked countries we knew we either already had recipes from, or could get recipes easily.  We will be looking at the countries of Romania, Africa, Haiti, and China.  I am so excited and can't wait for this!  Oh, how I pray my family, children included, develops a heart for the least of these (both those who are physically and financially the least of these, and those who are spiritually the least of these!)
For the month of April we have decided that our families will give up TV.  Now, we don't have cable or anything, but we do watch our fair share of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and DVD's.  We'll be saying goodbye to all of that for the month of April.  Did I mention that EVERYONE in my house except me has a birthday in April?  Please don't buy any of them movies!  Again, this is something I am both nervous and excited about.  I know that we will grow so much closer as a family, but I know that it will be the most difficult for me.  I enjoy the time in the afternoon when they rest watching a movie because I can fold laundry, watch some Everybody Loves Raymond or Psych, and just chill!  I also love to sit and watch a show with Kevin at the end of the day, sort of a mini-date each night.  This will be a big effort on my part to be less selfish and look for ways to love on my family in this time of no TV.  I can easily see one way this will help us fulfill Isaiah 58---more time for serving others!!!!
I am looking the most forward to this one!!!  In the month of May (with the possible exception of Mother's Day weekend because it's the children's choir musical and there's nothing we can do about that!) we will be observing the Sabbath as the family.  We haven't totally decided what this will look like, yet, but the idea is to spend time preparing our hearts for worshipping God.  Our Sabbath will begin with our evening meal on Saturday night and end Sunday evening.  The only activities we will be doing are those involving church (Sunday morning worship, children's choir, small group).  This will be a time for us as a family to spend focusing on God and the many ways He deserves our praise.  (I think that I like this so much because I am infatuated with any and all Jewish traditions and, as you know, Sabbath was given by God to the Israelites to give them a time to rest from the day to day activities and refocus on Him, the one thing that is truly important.)  We aren't quite sure what these meals and the 24 hours of Sabbath will look like, but I can't wait to start (and I am kind of hoping it's something we keep on doing, even after May is over....maybe not every week, but at least once a month.)  We're hoping to be able to end the month with our families camping together to rest in God's beautiful creation!
Something additional I (and I think Kevin will join me) will be doing this month is 7 daily, scheduled prayer times.  I will be taking 7 (OK, maybe only 6---one of them is at midnight and I have to sleep sometime, right?) specific times each day to cease whatever I am doing and bow my head in prayer.  I am in the process of researching a few different books that will serve as a guide in this process.

Now, if you read 7, you realize there are 3 more areas that we haven't highlighted.  Those areas are clothing, spending, and possessions.  As families, we chose not to make a whole month to focus on these three areas because we feel like these are areas we are already constantly working on.  We regularly go through our clothing and give away what we don' need or can't wear.  We also do the same with our possessions on a fairly regular basis.  Both families have also already worked to get our budgets down as much as we can, so we didn't feel the need to focus on that, either.  (Though, I may need to choose a month and have no buying books for that month, unless it's a school book, because I love books!!!)

So, as you can tell, we've got a pretty exciting, scary, hopefully life-changing next few months stretching in front of us.  We'd appreciate your prayers in several ways:
--Pray that God will continue to guide us as we take each step in this process.
--Pray that God will show us how we can live out Is. 58 with this fast, so that we're not the only ones to benefit from this fast.
--Pray that God will use this in a powerful way in our children's lives.  I have no idea what all they will learn from this, but I know that God will do something in their hearts!
--Pray that God will move in a mighty way in the parent's hearts, as well.  May He use this time to draw us closer as individuals, couples, and families.
--Pray that this doesn't become legalistic to us, but a new way to learn about and worship our amazing God!

I'll be trying to keep a journal of sorts about our journey here on the blog, so even in those 40 days while I won't be on facebook, check back here once a week or so and see how things are going!

February 05, 2013

Randomness--Due to a Sleepless Night

Well, it's that time again...time for another post filled with random thoughts that probably have nothing to do with anything!

--So, since about Nov. Ethan has refused to go to extended session during the worship service, and has instead been with us.  This has been both a source of delight and frustration.  It's a delight because I love having him in the service with me, and I love the weeks that all four of us are together, hearing the Word together, and learning the same things together (even though I am pretty sure the kids are only half-listening...OK, I may be guilty of that some weeks, too, but don't tell Bro. Jeff!)  The frustration comes from not really knowing how to keep him "engaged" during the service.  See, with Sophie, I find out what the sermon topic/scripture reference is and make her some pages that go along with it.  I try to fill her notebook with a variety of things such as: fill-in-the-blank scripture page, word searches, coloring and drawing pages, and even a basic outline.  However, with Ethan, this is not so easy.  Of course, since he doesn't read, he can't do those first few things, but he also really doesn't like coloring or drawing, so those pages do us no good, either.  Really, all he wants to do is use whatever writing utensil he can get his hands on as a rocket ship.  Oh, that boy!  But, this week, God gave me confirmation that even when I think he's in his own little world, he's still paying attention.  During the sermon this week, Bro. Jeff was trying to get the congregation to finish a scripture verse (and no, I cannot remember the verse at this time) with the words "a worker".  When, as a congregation, we couldn't quite come up with the words he was looking for, Bro. Jeff filled in the blanks for us by repeating, "...a worker, a worker."  Apparently Ethan didn't think we had quite gotten the message because, even though in the midst of flying his "rocket ship", with the biggest grin and loudest voice he could muster, he delcared, "A WORKER!!!!!"  The congregation burst into laughter at his well-timed outburst and I wasn't sure whether to be totally embarassed or relieved that he was at least paying attention!  Oh, that boy keeps us on our toes and keeps life interesting!

--We're trying something new with school this week...ok, we've only done it one day, so I have no idea how well it will work or how long it will last, but we are at least trying it!  During at least two of our breaks between subjects we're doing a little PE.  We'll do a little stretching, a little cardio, a little muscle building, all in the hopes of getting me some excercise, getting the kids some excercise, and working out some of their restless energy so they can focus a little better.  We sure had fun with it today, but, I have to admit, it did nothing to help either of them focus better!  We did get school done, but it was a little scattered and we finished our last lesson at 5 p.m.

--We will also be starting a "technology ticket" system.  Unfortunately my children have inherited my love for movies and for Netflix.  They are constantly asking to be able to watch something on the TV or the tab or the DVD player.  So, they will each get a certain number of tickets for the week which will allow them 30 minutes of technology time.  Once the tickets are gone, no more until Sunday.  We'll see how this goes!  It could be a disaster, it could be a gift.  It's hard to tell this early in the game, especially since I just got them printed, laminated, and cut out today.

--I have been enjoying this song and this song lately.  Lord, thank You for being our banner and the Lord of Hosts!  You are our rallying point, our place of refuge in the midst of the storm.  Thank You that You are sovereign over all things, times, places, people, everything!