Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Delightful Opportunity

A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, my darling husband got a grand idea. He wanted 'us' to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for someone and share our family love with them. My first response was very upbeat and positive. We love to bless people and this is just another way to do that.

As I started thinking about it, my insecurities began to overcome this wonderful opportunity. I thought that nobody was going to want to come to my home and spend an evening with people they didn't even know. Where would we even find such a family? Everyone I knew already had plans. What will we ever talk about? Will Kara even allow me the time to make a feast for our guests? Just how will this all work out? I began to pray that God would bring the right family to our doorstep.

My husband informed me that he wanted to send an email to our pastor to see if he knew anyone. I was thinking that we probably wouldn't hear from him because he probably didn't know anyone that was needing that as we as a church already gave out Thanksgiving baskets or perhaps he might just think this was a silly idea. But low and behold, we got an email from a lady in our church who knew of someone that would be perfect for just that very blessing.

I was excited and nervous. We had a name....I only needed to call her to make all the arrangements. The time and date were set and my menu was planned. Upon arrival of her and her little ones, my children ran out the door to greet them. (Never say that homeschoolers are shy and unsociable) What a warm welcome she received! The evening went well, the kids got along well and we had a lovely time getting to know each other.

As the night came to a close, a comment was made about how lonely it can be to be a single Mom and that she prayed that very thing a couple weeks before. After she had left and I was cleaning up, it hit me then. What if I would have given in to my insecurities and not allowed God to use us to minister to this family. I am sure He would have found someone else to use but we would have missed out on the blessing it was to share what we have with them.

I am so glad that we acted on what God was laying on my husband's heart. In the process of trying to bless someone else, I do believe we were the ones receiving the blessing. I challenge you to act on what God is laying on your heart.....a delightful opportunity awaits you!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Mortification

I have three boys. They are a lively bunch. Sometimes, even though I am their Mother, I just don't know what to think about all that boy stuff. I remember trying to play army men with our oldest when he was five. He was very kind to me but I knew I just wasn't playing to his expectation. I am sure when you are in rapid fire, you don't worry about getting messy in the mud. And perhaps Barbie has no place amongst the army camps. She is rather like Goliath stomping on all the little green fellows.

I also wonder for entertainment purposes if the neighbors watch our house sway to and fro during the winter time as our boys run from one room to the next roaring at each other. As I sit there watching this take place, the only thing I can say is either to yell, (because they can't hear me over the loud din) "Would you settle down and be quiet" or to quietly sit there, shaking my head while waiting for it to come to a halt. In either case, it's only temporary till they once again get their momentum.

But way beyond my comprehension. I've had these moments before but not necessarily with this particular neighbor (the one on the right of us). I do believe they think us to be a strange breed. First, we are 'those strange homeschoolers'. Second, we have all these children. Third, some of those children run outside before their Mother even realizes what is happening in their diaper and bare legs during the cold months. Fourth, we are Christians. Fifth, we have so many children. And lastly, we have so many children.

I was busy getting dinner cooked, taking care of our Kara and just all around not paying attention due to this and that. In comes our five year old announcing that he was done playing outside because his friend next door did something very, very bad and he couldn't play any more today. I innocently asked, Oh? What did he do. Ryan promptly answered that they were playing the potty game and the neighbor kid pooped in the bucket. I brushed it off as some child game but scolded Ryan that we don't play potty games. It just isn't appropriate. But then he responded with the fact that he had peed in the bucket.

At that moment, I realized that the dear child was not pretending as I had previously thought. They actually were playing a reality game and thought how funny it would be to actually poop and pee in a bucket. And my (and I stress the word 'my') child came into our home and got enough toilet paper to wipe up after themselves. Uggghhh....I thought to myself. What was the neighbor thinking of us now???

After I pulled myself out from under the table and started thinking that maybe just maybe I would show my face to the world again, I was wondering just what to think of all this. I could be excited that Ryan wanted to make sure everything was cleaned up properly which could mean that my future daughter in law will be a happy woman. Or should I be concerned at the situation and promptly call a therapist. But then there is a notion that this is all natural to the world of boys. A world I will never understand.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The First Anniversary Of The 'First' Crisis: The Flood

It was a warm and balmy Friday. The sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing. As it peeked through the blinds and hit me in the eye, I snuggled down deeper into the covers with a warm feeling that all was well with the world. A sigh and a peace fell over my soul.

It is now a year later since we had our 'day after' holiday flood. There is still evidence here that there was a crisis. It is seen in the Belfor boxes that I haven't found time to empty yet and the fresh coat of paint (which now has been initiated by a three year old) that covers our walls and in the 'new' but badly needing repair wood floor. But that is superficial.

The remnants of the crisis really lies within our hearts. We like to call it our growing season. For whatever reason that still is beyond our comprehension, the repairs are all done but the paperwork has yet to be completed with our insurance company. I don't understand why it has taken them so long through this whole process. Except for this one lesson that God is still teaching us: to remain faithful and have constant trust that He will see us through.

It is easy to give up hope and to quit after an extended period of time thinking that God isn't hearing your pleas or perhaps the answer could just be a 'no' but a challenge has been given to our family to remain hopeful, keep trusting in our Father even when it doesn't seem like He's hearing us and to trust that He knows best.

This is what builds the character in us that He desires. Just as we as parents, try to 'mold' our children into having godly traits...He also must mold us as Christians. I keep telling my kids we are like pieces of coal. It is kind of ugly on the outside but with just the right amount of pressure that only God knows, something very beautiful and valuable is created. The pressure is somewhat painful as He gets rid of all the gunk but what remains is a reminder of His grace, His beauty and His love.

During this 'first' anniversary, I truly am thankful that God does care enough about us to want us to 'grow' and to use situations in our lives to create the beauty He desires. I am also thankful for periods of rest between the growing and the beautifying and for the people He chose to use to minister to us to help keep our eyes on Him.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Woman Of Many Occupations....

As a Mother, the things I do with and for my children ebb and flow throughout life. This past week, I've been dealing with sick children. Our three year old has been hit with a 'double header' as the doctor called it. Yes...a double ear infection. For some odd reason which I will never understand, it seems that everytime he gets a cold, it is followed by an ear infection. The poor kid has become so accustomed to it, sometimes he doesn't tell me until I notice he has sicky eyes and has been up more than down during the night. The doctor is always amazed at his smiling face when he completes his exam and almost always says that he doesn't understand why Mr. Aaron is not laying around crying about his ear hurting. And almost always leaves the room shaking his head in amazement.

The doctor has prescribed the antibiotic of choice which apparently doesn't taste too bad since I'm not getting any flak. I sometimes wonder about medicine the side effects better or worse than the sickness?? The antibiotic has seemed to helped the ear situation but has left a most undesirable after effect. It has to do with most unpleasantness on my part and a very raw bum for my child.

Our six month old is also sick. The doctor said she didn't need an antibiotic of choice but an antihistamine of choice. After a week and a half, I'm not noticing a difference but am hopeful that it will indeed work itself out. However, because she is a baby and babies always seem to have 'unpleasant' issues that shoot up the back and get all over the place, I must be there to help make that right. Just so she remains clean and cute as a button.

And then there is the five year old, who seems to have 'very unpleasant' issues from time to time, that need attending to quickly and swiftly as we don't want someone dropping by unannounced to be met with an aroma that is making their visit uncomfortable.

The thing I find most disconcerting is the fact that Murphy's law always seems to be lingering in the midst. In my mind, these unpleasantries should come at different times throughout life...never should they be at the same time. But as many of you have experienced, it's all or nothing.

As I was cleaning up after the many cases of unpleasantness throughout my day, it occurred to me that I have added a new occupation to my already long list. I've become my children's own personal bidet. Sometimes it is what it is. Pleasant or unpleasant.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Glimpse of A Dying Childhood....

Two of my bouncy boys desperately needed haircuts. I had been procrastinating for quite some time till the point you began to wonder if they were relatives of 'Cousin It'. I don't know if this has happened to anyone else but it seems like once they get their hair cut, they age. They just look and even act a little bit older. I must admit this makes my heart cringe.

I feel that with every little piece of hair that hits the floor, a piece of their beautiful childhood is cut off with it. Now I am not advocating that you never get your haircut. I am a strong believer in our son's being clean cut but I am also a believer in preserving their childhood, thus, the procrastinating is the result.

My husband got sick and tired of watching our three year old rub his eyes because the hair was poking him and of course, the shaggy look was not all that appealing either. On Saturday, he announced to me that he was taking him to get his haircut. Of course, our five year old didn't want to be left out and announced that he wanted one too.

After picking our oldest son up from his sleepover, we drove to the hair cutting place for this to occur. I sat in the car with our other children while Bob took them in. He said when it was their turn, the hair stylist asked our five year old how he wanted his hair cut. As Bob was telling me this, I thought to myself...he's not going to care. But his answer shocked the heck out of me. I don't know where it came from, when he even thought about it but he had it all figured was just hidden behind those curiously sparkling eyes of his. His reply was an emphatic "I want spiky hair!"

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I looked back at him. And there before my very eyes was a spiky haired, smiling from ear to ear little five year old who indeed had aged since he went into the store. As I silently began crying inside, I looked over at my three year old who was yelling, "look at me...look at me!" Yep, I silently sobbed as I once again was faced with another aging child who was also smiling ear to ear....there goes their childhood!

Next thing you know....they will be looking down at me from their 6 foot tall height patting me on the head. (Shiver me timbers!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Creepy Crawly Insects

Grace and I are reading the science chapter on insects. (Psst...this is not my favorite thing to read about!) As we were reading all about the exoskeleton, (let's mention the itching that comes with reading about lice), the molting, the mating and the laying of eggs and lets not forget about one that eats her mate, I remembered reading this with Brad. I started getting panicky after realizing that I still have three kids to go after Grace and I finish. It's like a bad version of the movie 'Birds' by Alfred never ends!

Some of you may know of my aversion to bugs. I don't think you realize just how much. Some of you have seen me doing the 'bee dance'. I appreciate you not laughing at me to my face :-) I honestly just can't stand them. As I was reading the chapter today to Grace, I literally began feeling sick to my stomach and the hairs on my arms were standing on end. Grace looked at me and pointed that fact out. As she finished with the hysterics, she suggested maybe we just stop doing this chapter and go on to the next. I was muttering under my breath, that maybe she should just read this stinking chapter on her own.

Since when did our or should I say mine get so sassy? Perhaps the apple really doesn't fall too far from the tree. I always thought that referred to their Father but now that what they are responding with sounds like me...I might have to reconsider my take on that.

It's pretty bad when the kids see a spider crawling across the floor and your three year old runs for a shoe to squish it instead of running to his mother. Then consoling her and assuring her that it is indeed dead.

After pulling myself together, I counted the pages....we only have ten more to go. Pray for me!

Just A Bit Of Funny

I have changed my home page on my computer to the customized version of Google with all kinds of fun things. We have the weather...that could be good or bad depending on what it's telling me. There is the news highlights which could be also good or bad. Sometimes it's interesting to find out things like...Kevin Costner winning a court battle over his ownership of a casino or about the British man that suffered internal injuries because he decided to blow a firecracker up in a place it didn't belong.

And then we also have three new recipes to try from Betty Crocker. Also could be good or bad depending on your tastes. I do enjoy a quick game of bejeweled and of course, I need my laugh for the day. Oh, and then there is the quotes of the of them struck me as quite applicable to me today and I will share it with you......

Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk.
- Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

Oh, and lets not forget that I have selected both a calendar and a digital clock which also states the date...just in case I forget.

I have also selected to have three new words for the my attempt to expand my vocabulary. Although, sometimes I can't pronounce it...I do know what it means since it is right before my very eyes.

I can even leave myself a post-it note. (Although, I quit looking at it after the first day....apparently that isn't going to be of help to my overloaded memory.)

But my very favorite thing is 'the eyes'. They follow my cursor around and around the page. I can make them look up and I can make them look down and to the right and to the left. I can even make them go cross-eyed.

So much fun for just a simple homepage.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hope For The Future...

My oldest son and I were reading a bit about the holocaust recently. I've read about this all before...back in the day but for some reason as I am now teaching my own children, I have all these thoughts and questions. I keep finding myself saying...I don't remember learning about this before or why didn't it make sense to me back then?

The thing that struck me as we were reading is this. What would have happened if those people who were being taken from their families to concentration camps and others who were killed, banned together and revolted. Why didn't they fight? If only they would have realized that there were more of them then the soldiers who had orders to take them. I believe that they could have changed the outcome of this horrific time in history. But the reality was that they were so beat down and that the fear was so outrageous in their minds, they couldn't. They probably felt outnumbered and that if they did fight, the only outcome would be death.

Which brings me to my real reason for this blog. For a long time I have felt that even though actively participating in my right as an American citizen to vote, I kind of feel beat down. Time after time after time, I go to the voting polls or I send a letter to my senator only to find out at the end of the night, once again the people chose to place someone in office or to pass some legislature that I do not feel has our 'best interest' at heart.

Then I was recently reading an article from Focus on the Family. It states that first that "The faithful act of a lowly shepherd boy made all the difference in Israel that day." That got me to thinking. God takes ordinary people (maybe like me or you) and does extraordinary things. Maybe, just maybe if I pray that God will give me the courage and the wisdom to speak His truths, something could be done to change the ways that some of our politicians think. Because God's ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He can change these people's hearts and He can make our voices heard!

So today, I challenge myself and you to start praying that God would give you the wisdom to know how He can use you in the shaping of our government and it's legislature/policies and also the courage and discernment to speak the truth...His truth. Unlike the Jews who were so beat down, discouraged and fearful of the future, we, as Christians in America can ban together and FIGHT for our families....for the unborn, to preserve the right as a parent to educate our children and to protect the right to serve our Lord.