Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where Did It Go?

Are you asking yourself, where the big, red Suburban went? It's gone. It really was the last thing to go and I cried. We are officially assetless. It's not a place that I ever wanted to be. However, we've come to this place of realization that no matter what you have here, if you have an expensive house or an expensive car, if you've got trust funds, IRA funds, stocks and bonds, or even if you have all your ducks in a row, it really all doesn't matter. What really and truly is the bottom line, is the assets you are building for Christ. Yes, I enjoyed having that car. It was a blessing not only to us, but to those who were driven to the store, to Bible study, to pick up medicine, to run a stranger to the gas station and jump his dead battery and to those who simply rode in it going from here to there. But mostly, I cried because of this situation we are in that seems to have no end.

The one thing that I find most frustrating is talking to the customer service representatives, otherwise known as creditors. When you set up payment agreements with one person, you have another one call you from the same company who assures you that what you set up previously is unacceptable. We had talked to a representative who said if we could come up with one payment that perhaps we would be able to split the next payment up. So we followed her instructions and made the payment. The very next day, 'our case manager', who was really quite snippy, would not accept that agreement and was all out bent on sending the 'repo' guy out.

So on Christmas night, when all were in bed, except my husband and my teenage son, they came for it, setting off the alarm and waking the neighborhood. My husband kindly went out there to offer them the keys, shocking the repo man that he was not raving mad. In return for his sincere and kind attitude, he was able to get the carseat out of it and my Altoids.

It could really make you mad that things happen the way they do, but we really prayed about it. We know that for some unknown reason to us, at this point, all of this stuff is happening and we just have to trust God that He is going to work it all out. Having only one car is really going to be inconvenient. It's going to make things more difficult with scheduling but it is, what it is. God knows our needs and we just have to leave it to Him to work out because everything we've tried to do in our humanness is not and has not worked out. God clearly wants to do something here but the waiting is driving me nutty.

In the midst of all this trauma, I've felt God telling me to just trust Him and to continue praising Him. It's a hard thing to do sometimes, especially when you feel much like a failure or that you feel like God is letting you down. Then, I was reminded of Job. He lost everything and the one thing that stood out to me was his wife. She let her anger and bitterness turn her into this woman who was unsupportive and hateful. That is not the person who I believe God wants me to be nor do I want to let the things of this life, like what we are going through, distract me from what God really wants me to learn from all of this.

So instead of shaking my fist, stomping up and down and having myself a good ol' temper tantrum, I praise God for his mercy. I praise Him for the time that we were able to use the vehicle, for the time He allowed us to live in our home, for taking care of us and providing for our needs. We were so blessed this holiday with so many surprise blessings and we know that God directed them. Even in the midst of heartbreaking crises, somewhere in the middle of it, you will see God's hand of blessing. We have felt His tender care through so many wonderful people and for that I am so eternally grateful.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a very nice Christmas. God blessed us so much and through that blessing, the kids had presents to unwrap. This Christmas truly was a reminder and tangible evidence that we have nothing except for God's gift to us, Jesus. Through His gift, we have the blessing of eternal life.

Some of my favorite parts were spending time with family, cooking and preparing yummy goodies to share. The kids were gathered together to start the unwrapping of the 'prizes' yesterday morning when all of the sudden Kara said...shhhh, placing her hand to her ear, she exclaimed that she could hear ho, ho, ho! She's quite the card at only two years old. Then, later that day as we were getting into the car, Kara had her little mini m&m container that had been devoured the night before. After getting buckled in, she popped it open and I saw a bunch of nerd's candies in there. Apparently, she had been looting all the kids candy from their stockings and decided to refill her container...for the road!

The only downside to all of our fun is that my camera decided to act up and not work. Isn't there a law that says thou camera shalt work on Christmas capturing all those precious moments?? I think I might have gotten maybe one shot to work but only some of the kids are in it. It's just a crying shame. Guess I'll have to put a new camera on my birthday list. Thank goodness, it's not too far away! I'd hate to miss one single moment getting on film!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Congratulations!

Congratulations goes out to our two blessed winners:

Carlos Gonzalez from Spencer, IA!

Christy Small from Coshocton, OH!

We look forward to helping you with your computer issues.

Merry Christmas, all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Give Away!

We here at Bob's PC Pro know how important it is to keep your computer running as smooth as possible and when it's not, frustration happens. People threaten to take a bat to it or throw it out the window. So with all that in mind, we want to relieve some of that stress and offer a special Christmas Give Away!

The prize: One hour FREE of REMOTE computer support.

For those of you who do not know what remote support is, I'll explain. It's when you get to sit in your home in you pajamas and let us connect to your computer from our office. It's consent-based and performed through Crossloop. It's completely secure and you have the ability to disconnect our remote connection at any time. Of course, you must be able to get on the internet for this to work.

This Free hour of remote computer support that we are giving away could include troubleshooting that nagging problem with pop up's, general clean up, browser optimization, spyware scan and/or removal, nagging software installation, upgrading recommendations, removing dusty old software, advice or questions you may have on your mind about your computer, or simple training.

To enter this give away, simply send your name and email address to Heather@bobspcpro.com so that we can let the winner know that they've won the prize! The drawing will be held tomorrow (December 25, 2008) at noon (EST)!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handling Disappointment

There are a variety of emotions that we go through depending on the situations that we face. Sometimes we end up on a roller coaster, sometimes up, followed by a sharp decline, followed by a sharp incline that leads into a corkscrew, around and around we go.

I'm really struggling with disappointment and the loss of control. We all have certain things we are happy with and really like. Perhaps it's a car, a house, a newly remodeled kitchen, or perhaps it's someone you really care about. How do you handle the reality when things are lost?

I was really proud of the way my husband could figure out impossible technology problems. It was a gift that God blessed him with and a passion for him. It made him excellent at what he did and allowed him to have a really amazing job. Between offshoring, downsizing and some sudden health complications, his job was taken away. So we decided to embark on a desire he has carried in his heart for as long as I've known him, our business.

Now a year and a half later, I look at where we are at financially, physically and spiritually. It's hard not to succumb to extreme disappointment. It's heart breaking to watch your husband laying there in pain and feel completely helpless. It's hard not to get angry and scream and jump up and down in a temper tantrum. This is so not how I ever imagined my life would be, for us as a couple or us as a family. It's hard to give up your dream. It's hard to face the reality that you physically can no longer do the things that you could once do. Sometimes I feel as if I am suffocating, that the breath is being squeezed out of me. How do you handle that reality?

Sometimes God's plan is way different than ours. In my humanness, I cannot understand why we are going through this or for what purpose. It's hard not knowing. In my mind, it would be so much easier to bear if I could just understand. It's hard to understand why God, who loves me so much, would continue allowing all these horrific things to happen. How do you handle that reality?

The reality is this. Life is so much more than we can fathom. The things that we go through, as believers in the Lord God Almighty, are not for nothing. These things are being lived out here and now for then, Heaven. We are being molded, shaped and formed into being more Christ-like. God's ways are higher than our ways and if it was for me to understand, He would let me in on the secret.

Can you imagine longing for a child for years and year and years until you, in the natural, could no longer have them. All that you are left with is the promise that God whispered in your heart. How do you handle that reality? Well, you continue to trust and believe that God will fulfill that promise. God is in His own time frame not ours. In His perfect time, when no other could claim the glory for a promise fulfilled, He gave Abraham and Sarah the child that He promised them. But then, He asked them to give the child up. How do you handle that reality? You be obedient to what God has called you to do.

God wants so desperately to know that your belief and trust is real. That you are not just trusting in Him so you can get what you want. He is not this sugar daddy in the sky showering down what we ask for so that life can be all rainbows and sunshine. His desire is at your heart. He personally knows disappointment. Look at mankind. He personally knows loss of control. Look at free will. He desires all of us to come to Him freely not because He makes you.

So in my disappointments, my struggles and my frustrations, I purposefully choose not to be offended at the One who gave me this life but instead to be obedient to what He has called me to do and be. I lay down those things that have let me down and I ask God to heal my broken heart and to restore my life as He wants it to be, not what I want. I long for His plan to be my plan. I continue to pray that He will turn things around and show His amazing grace, mercy and glory to all who can see. I look for the moment when no other can claim His glory for a promise fulfilled.

Psalm 34:18-19 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thankful hearts

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and to reflect on how blessed we are, to give our thanks and praise to God for His provision.

Ever year we go around our Thanksgiving table and tell three things we are grateful for. It usually ends up being quite an emotional time as we are open and honest about the things that are on our hearts. Of course, the kids add a bit of laughter to the mix as they are thankful for silly things. If truth be told, the silly things are just as important.

This year has been one of the roughest ones we had to endure, with losing our home, being in the financial state we are in, with Bob's health, living from one shut off notice to another. Many people have said that there wasn't much to be thankful for but in spite of all this agony, we are so grateful. We praise God for all that we have seen, for His hand of grace and blessing on us.

Today, I am so utterly thankful for....

my children who are healthy and so full of life

my husband who inspite of his unbearable pain refuses to quit living life

for the 'six month grace period' that allows us to live in our home

for the food that amazingly shows up at our door providing our 'daily' manna

for the short times our electricity, phone, cable modem get shut off and then turned back on

for the money that surprisingly shows up at just the right moment

for the mercy God shows us daily

for the grace of God that we live under

for family and friends who amaze us with their encouragement and support

for the unspeakable gifts God blesses us with

for the life that was given so that I can have a relationship with my Abba Father

I was thinking the other day that we've now off-loaded all the material things that hold us to this earth. Our focus has been directed towards what is really important and that is Christ, in Him alone. We've been awoken from our slumbering relationship with Him and found that He is the true source of everything. No longer are we lukewarm but alive in Him. He is the fire that burns within us. He holds the stars in the sky and the water in the sea. No longer are the words, you've just got to trust God, words without meaning but we know first hand what that means. For this understanding, I am so completely and utterly thankful. Our relationship with Christ is the one thing that truly matters. I am so thankful He chose me to be His.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Low Points

Even in the midst of what we are going through, there have been some pretty low points. Some are more so than others. Today was one of them. We woke up to an average every day Monday, getting breakfast, scurrying about to find school books with some Diego thrown in there.

I got ready for the day to begin when all of the sudden, Grace was in a panic. She had seen the DTE Energy worker pulling up to the house. I ask you, who needs dogs when you have children who announce at the very minute, even before they are able to get out of their car, when there is a foreigner on our property? The lady informed us she was here to shut the electricity off. Sorry. But that's what she was here to do. No sympathy. No concern.

I realize that, that was her job and that a person in her position probably gets a little numb to the fact that people have their sob stories but considering the state of the economy, I guess I was hoping for just a bit of understanding. I realize their was nothing she could do but it's all in the attitude. She said to hurry up and call the main office to see if there was anything they were willing to do considering the fact that we had made a payment this past week but it wasn't enough. However, she didn't wait for five minutes for us to call, she just shut if off. So there went the phone. How are you suppose to make a phone call without electricity??

Thank goodness for cell phones which yes, we still have because we need them to do business. Of course, the answer to our call was that they wanted the past due amount and wouldn't turn it back on till it got paid. The kids were all upset. Aaron was crying telling everyone in the house that everything was broken. It just rips your heart out when you realize that what you are doing is just not sufficient.

I was on my way to take my Mom to a doctors appointment so I loaded everyone up in the car to take them with me. Have you sat in the car with five kids for an hour or so? The noise level can get a little overwhelming at times especially when you throw stress in mix. It is much warmer in the car, then the already declining temperature in the house. My poor husband had to bundle up as he needed to stay home and make phone calls.

Sometimes, I can't believe that I'm sharing all this personal stuff with you all but I want to share it because I want you to know that God follows through on his promises. He never promises that as Christians that things will be easy or that we will be exempt from hardships. It is so easy to begin wondering why God is allowing all of this stuff to be happening or to question His love when we suffer. I've been there. I've thought those thoughts but I've also learned many things this year through all of this. God never fails to provide.

Through God's provision, our electricity was only off for four hours and it is now restored. Thus, me being able to blog about it...lol. I've shed many a tear today some coming more like sobs because I do not like being in this situation which seems to be never ending. I am sure that you all probably get tired of hearing about the nonsense that is going on here but again, again and again, God keeps providing in ways that just blows my mind. His care that He has shown to us through so many wonderful people have just rendered me speechless...again. Sometimes there are just no words that seem appropriate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

His Love Is Amazing

One of the things that has been impressed upon my heart lately is to share the stories of God's faithfulness. Through those real life stories, we are touched by the heart of God and our faith grows. When God moves in such a way that blows me away, it is hard to keep silent. I want to share how God worked through different situations not because I am trying to boast about it but to give Him the glory. He is on the move, my friends!

The thing that totally amazes me is how God is choosing to pour out His love on us. It is not in ways I would have ever imagined or expected. My husband has this friend who he has known for a long time but lost touch with until this past year. He found out about our situation here with our home going into foreclosure and some of our other struggles. Right away, he was on a mission to help us.

He has an amazing ability to find deals on Ebay and such. Yesterday, we get a call from him and his wife asking us to guess where he was. He quickly informed us that they had driven across the state to pick up this gigantic TV they were purchasing for us and that they were on their way to our home to drop it off. You about had to pick me up off the floor. We weren't expecting it or even thinking about a TV. It was somewhere on the 'in the distant future' list. However, he had seen our TV and had decided that was something he wanted to bless us with.

Not only did they do that but they also wanted to feed us a really big feast to just show us how appreciative they are for friends and for all the work my husband does on his computer. He also wanted to send us home with a smaller TV for the kids room and a Nintendo 64 for them to play games. The gifts that they have poured out on us just blows my mind because I know where they are financially. It was a huge reminder that no matter how much we have, God uses us to bless inspite of it. He uses unsuspecting people to show you His love in tangible ways.

In our list of needs, a TV was not at the top of the list but still, God puts things on peoples hearts to just shower his blessings. We wouldn't have ever purchased such a huge TV but God provided an opportunity to just show us that He cares. It's just like my love for Starbucks coffee. It's so not a need and I was even willing to go back to canned Folgers but God has provided fresh Starbucks beans over and over again so that I have only had to drink the other just a couple times. Why? Because He loves us that much. He cares for the little things. Our wants and desires are important to Him too. He fiercely loves us and finds ways to show us that love.

I so desire to be used by Him in that way. To be able to show whoever comes across my path, that God loves them so very much. I cannot say this enough. I've known since I gave my heart to Him that He has loved me but it has taken me until this past year to really understand what that means. When that understanding settles in your soul and it's just not a head knowledge kind of thing, no words can properly describe it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where Do You Get Your Refueling?

As I reflect over the past year, there is one thing I know. God has been doing some housekeeping. I've come to realize that as a believer in Christ, He only allows us to stay in one spot for a time and then He moves us forward. He is a progressive God. I know that in my own relationships, if they are not moving forward, they become stale and unproductive. That is not God's desire for us. If I don't care for stale relationships, then why would I expect the One who created our need for them to be satisfied with that either.

As a Mom, wife, and business owner, the demands on me are quite grand in size. Sometimes I feel like I am on this hamster wheel that is spinning faster and faster. At some point, I would not totally be surprised to find myself flying through the air with the greatest of ease wondering at what point and where I'm going to land. I say all that to say, that in the past, I've found it difficult to make my time with God a priority. Everything else seemed to take the lead. Let's face it, when there are little people in our faces with their screaming demands, it's hard not to tend to them first. I am not saying that their needs aren't important but there is balance within that. Perhaps, their desire for a second or third cup of chocolate milk could potentially wait for 10 minutes.

I heard once that you cannot give what you do not have. And it is true. I've found myself snippy and unsympathetic and all around yell-y when I'm totally drained emotionally. God is the source of all that we have. He is the one we need to go to, to get that refueling. It's like our car, it will not go anywhere if there is no gas in it. I need my time with God to refuel me for the day so that what I require to tend to everybody's needs is there in order to do it. Chocolate does help from time to time and I have used that occasionally for a speed boost. It is definitely not a replacement because nothing can fill us like God can. However, I do consider chocolate a gift from God which is just another example of His creativity and desire to bless us.

One of the things that I've had to clean up on is being purposeful in making time for my relationship with God. Being purposeful in not allowing all of life's distractions to change my focus off of God and onto them has been challenging some days. You just never know what life is going to throw from one day to the next. I've found that it has taken some discipline to change some of the ways I've done things in the past. However, the results have been amazing.

As I seek God out, He is there waiting to meet with me. I've found that as I've been obedient in that, I have this craving to know more and more. I just can't get enough. And when I turn on the praise and worship music, my soul just longs to be in this place of closeness with the Lord. I am so thankful that my relationship with God has changed this past year and continues to grow. I encourage you to be purposeful in finding that time for God. He has amazing things he wants to reveal to us that can only come when we are connected with Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

God Offers Us His Peace

One of the things that I am trying to remember when life is throwing us a hurricane is that we have God's peace to rest in. It's very easy to have someone tell you to rest in Jesus but to put it into action is entirely a different thing especially when things are so uncertain. I am so use to running to my panic and fear for comfort which we know does not offer that. God says in John 14: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

But how do we get this verse to play out in our lives. I've read that verse so many times but yet, I just couldn't seem to get that full realization to play out in my life. I've found the secret and I want to share it with you. You've got to seek Him, your Abba Father. As you seek Him, He promises to come meet with you. The secret is found in the presence of our Lord. The more time you give Him, the more He can come ALIVE in your life.

I have five kids and it is so hard to find time to just meet with God. It is also so hard to find the quietness that I need to actually hear what God is trying to show me. For years, I have used that as my reason for only spending small amounts of time reading and finding out who God really is. Sometimes we excuse it away with it's just this season in my life, maybe later I'll have time, or I'll do it tomorrow and so on.

It's unfortunate that we wait until something horrible happens before we pour out ourselves before God. At least, in those moments, many of us seek out our Lord who promises to care for our needs and you know what? He takes it. He takes those moments, no matter how small, with you and He is so excited that you have come to Him. He so desires you to get to know Him intimately. He longs for you to spend time with Him. He patiently waits for you.

All He wants to do is for you to seek Him. As you seek Him, He reveals His promises, His word and His blessings to you. What I have found is that the more I seek Him, the more He is able to pour out the things He promises. His comfort and peace and all the things He promises in His word are available to all who are His children but so much more is available to us as we get to know Him better.

Earlier this year, I was trying to feel His peace as the waves were threatening to crash down around us but yet, I couldn't seem to get the peace that God promises to settle in my soul. So I asked God, how can I fully grasp onto that and have it as you meant it to be. His answer was to continually seek Him. As He has lead me down this path, I have found a peace I have not known was possible. If you are in this place, I encourage you to jump in with both feet and find out just how much God will reveal to you in response to your openness and willingness to pour yourself into a deep relationship with Him.

His love is so amazing and it's directed towards us, His children. When you look at your children on Christmas morning with their eyes so shiny with the love they are experiencing through those special gifts that have so carefully be chosen by you, that same love, only to the ten millionth degree, is what God has for us. He doesn't desire us to be in agony or to be struggling. He does know that sometimes in order to get our attention and to wake us up from our slumbering sleep, it takes something that is scary and agonizing to do so, to recognize our need for Him. So He allows it to happen. His only desire is that we will fall so deeply in love with Him, so much so, that we give up our rights, our control and be willing to submit our will over to the ONE who has so much more for us. I realize this is so hard to do as I struggle with it all the time but it is amazing what happens when you do decide to submit yourself to Him.

I pray that even when we are through this storm, this valley, that I will never get complacent in my relationship with Him but that I will let this fire that has been lit in my soul, to never be silent. I pray that my love for my creator would be so captivating that each person that God puts in my path would catch the passion.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

He is ALIVE

Some of you may be wondering what is going on. I've had people, my friends, ask. I will tell you as I feel it's public knowledge now and God has removed the feeling to keep quiet.

Our house went into foreclosure yesterday, the sheriff sale was at 10:00. We have lost just about everything and I am praying our car is not next but it might be. The thing is this....God is faithful! I've had people tell me they are afraid to read my blog for fear that something else horrible has happened. Please don't feel that way! God...is...faithful!

He has shown us in so many ways, ways that are so unimaginable that he loves us. Ways that shout that He is taking care of us as He has promised to do! Even though, this situation seems desperate and scary, God has given us a measure of faith to live it. He has revealed so much to us that all I can do is praise Him, worship Him and give Him glory. I seriously wouldn't want to give up what good has come out of this!

I have been awoken from my slumbering sleep. I can no longer say that I do not know of God's love, for He has given me the opportunity to know Him intimately. James 4:8 says, Draw close to God and God will draw close to you. I've read that many times before but have a new understanding of it! When we seek the Lord, He seeks us! He reveals things that He has intended for you that you haven't been able to receive because you weren't ready yet. I'm not talking about material things. I am talking about the joy unspeakable, the uncontainable love that only being close to the Lord God Almighty can reveal.

I encourage you to seek His face, dig in, saturate yourself with His word! His word is ALIVE! It is powerful and it reveals who God is! If you want to know Him, you've got to pursue Him. He is standing there waiting for you to come unto Him! He wants to bless you, pour out His glory on you, and to reveal the unimaginable.

A couple of my friends think I've lost my mind, but I am praising God for yesterday. Just as it is with God, He is not bound by a piece of paper that has foreclosure written all over it or by what man says. He is the Creator of you and me, He is the one who owns the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. He is not bound by the things of this earth....He is the Lord God Almighty!

I do not know what God has in store for us but I do know that He has promised to take care of it! I know that he cares deeply about the pain that we are going through and that He is going to return the years taken by the locust. I know that He turns things out for our good and His glory and that He never leaves you in the desert. If I believe, which I do, that God has ordained my life and my steps, then nothing takes Him by surprise and I have to trust Him.

I do not like to be in agony and to be wondering why but God knows why and He promises to care for us. I surrender all that I am, I was and ever will be to Him. I feel Him on the move and I cannot wait until He reveals His plan to us. I know that we have been faithful to Him and He will honor that so I can honestly look forward to His care and provision.

His word to me today is this: Acts 18:9, Don't be afraid! Speak Out! Don't be silent! For I am with you, and no one will harm you because many people here in this city belong to me! I believe God is stirring up a fire in His children. We must not be silent! I will not be silent. I will continue to give a joyous shout about God's faithfulness, His love, all the things He lays on my heart. His word is full of His beauty, He is ALIVE and as my husband says, He is not a tame lion!

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Visitor

Those of you who know me, know that I have a huge bug aversion. I just don't do well with those creepy things. I realize that God has a reason for them and they can be a benefit to our environment BUT should they get into my house, all rules are irrelevant. My shoe is now greeting them intimately with all the love I can muster up unless of course, I can get a kid to save me and then it's their shoe.

Yesterday was a beautiful warm Fall day. The kids and I were outside enjoying it when I heard squealing along with Mom, come quick! You got to see this! I walked over to them without realizing what I was walking up to. What I found just resting so relaxed on our slide was this HUGE Praying Mantis. I've not seen one that big before. It totally creeped me out! I had the goosebumps the size of Texas and the sense of urgency to R-U-N.

I was instructed to get the camera which I did since it was a great excuse for me to get the heck out of there. As I was taking a few shots from different angles because the kids were just not satisfied with a photo from far distances, I noticed that creepy bug was staring at me. What was up with that? I, then, realized him and I were having a stare-down. Have you ever done that before? Well....Mr. P.M. won, he moved and I jumped, letting my eye's drop from his. I wasn't taking any chances of him jumping on me because I think that I would have lost consciousness.

Now we move forward to today....another wonderful warm Fall day. The kids were headed out into the backyard to blow bubbles and play in the sandbox when I heard the familiar squeals before they even got outside. I went to check out all the excitement and found myself walking, once again, into my strict no bug rule boundary line being tossed to the wind. There hanging onto the brick of the back of my house was that Praying Mantis who refuses to evict himself from my backyard. Only this time, he decided to tantalize me by hanging out just outside the door so no one could go outside without him flinging himself inside.

I looked at that irritatingly huge bug and realized that he was again looking right at me. What is it with this bug? Was there a notice sent out to the local bug population that I was their supreme target? Seriously, I'm not amused. I even walked away and came back and there he was...staring at me. I wonder what he was thinking? If it was me, I'd tell myself that this backyard was NOT where I wanted to be considering the crazy kids that run around and could unknowingly squish me and then there is that bug hating Mother who lives in that house and is NOT afraid to use the can of bug extinguishing spray.....all of it, if need be...on one bug.

The kids caught it and removed it from my sight. Of course, not without bringing it into the house to show me. I yelled...'you know, Christmas is coming and it is NOT in your best interest to creep me out with that bug' but I don't think anyone heard me. All I got was laughter. That bug better not show up tomorrow....I heard there is a chance for snow. Muhahaha! We'll just see how he handles that because I am NOT inviting him in and making him hot cocoa.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Birthday Celebration

We recently celebrated number four's fifth birthday! We went to Yate's Cider Mill for some yummy donuts and apple cider which seems to becoming a tradition. How else would you celebrate a Fall birthday?!

It is amazing to me how God has created each individual child. As I look at all five of mine, I am blown away at God's creativity. Have you ever just sat in amazement at how your children's mind's each work uniquely and how they grow and develop. Each one is so different, created with different personalities and sensitivities, created to love, dream and grow into what God has in mind. It's like a mystery unfolded before your eye's as God reveals each one.

I am so thankful for my five year old. He is such a blessing to those around him, touching them with the compassion he has in his heart. He is quick to apologize and quick to forgive. He tells me how much he loves me sixty times a day. He is all boy and loves to make boy noises that I swear the neighbor's can hear down the street. He is a thinker and comes up with interesting discussions. For example, did you know that putting your nose on the door hurts your nose and that spankings aren't on the top ten list either. So he informed me that he had been thinking about that and was wondering if I would consider putting his fanny on the couch or making him go to his bed for just a little while but not too long?? Like I said....interesting.

He, at four, used words like hideous and unfortunate, hysterical and ridiculous. One of my personal favorites was when he asked for a cup of kool-aid that would be an excellent choice for his 'refreshment'. Where does he come up with this stuff?? Now, I do realize that I am his mother and I may be a bit partial. However, I do think he is an amazing gift that God has blessed me with and I don't ever want to take him for granted....along with any of my other children.

I look forward to what this new year will bring him, all the learning and new words he'll lay on us. I can't wait for the discussions to continue. He tickles me so.

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Monday, November 03, 2008

He is an 'On-Time' God

We had an amazing God moment this week. It still bring tears to my eyes when I think of it. God's been really laying it on our hearts to live our lives as servants of Christ. What this means in every day life is to look for opportunities to give of ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is this: Preach the gospel at all times, use words when necessary. Our actions must speak the word of God.

One of the areas that I've been praying about is our neighborhood. There are many elderly folks that live here and some that are not but the common thread seems to be that they all keep to themselves....except for one couple. We've only spoken to this couple a few times and it's usually in passing, nothing ever too deep. However, we always see them outside either raking someone's yard, shoveling driveways or giving away vegetables from their garden. They are always giving.

My husband wanted to let them know how much we appreciated their example and the things they do to make our neighborhood a community. So he took a jar of our freezer jam and a little note stating our gratitude over to them. It opened up an opportunity to share with them all that God has been doing so faithfully in our lives especially over the past year along with some things that we are currently struggling with.

Later that night, they popped over with an amazing amount of groceries that filled our cupboards to overflowing. The thing that blew me away was the fact that they had no idea where we were at in that department and yet the word she left me with was that God was an 'on-time' God. How amazing is that? God keeps providing for our needs in ways that keep rendering me speechless. There just aren't words to describe His faithfulness and His provision. I just keep praising Him for these moments and try to share them with others as it is faith building to those who hear it.

Then a couple days later, a letter arrived on our door from that same couple with scripture after scripture of God's faithfulness. It was amazing. Not only did they fill our cupboards but they filled our hearts with encouragement and hope from the only one who can fill that need...our Almighty God, our Abba Father.

If you ever thought to yourself, I wish God did those things now. I am here to tell you...He does!!! We have experienced it over and over and over again. We have so many stories of ways that God has provided for our needs. He is a miracle working God. He is always on time and never too late. He does what he promises. Our only responsibility is to trust him and seek His face. He delights in us and we are his children.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Trip To The Fire Station

Yesterday was field trip day here at our house. A field trip was planned to visit a fire station and away we went.


Brad, our 13 year old, wasn't really interested in this trip as he swore they just talk for a bit and then you get to watch Teletubbies. I just shook my head and told him that this was our school for today but if he wanted to stay home and work on his school work, he could. He chose to go. Now that I am thinking about it, I remember a few years back (maybe 6 or 7 years ago) when we went to a fire station open house, I think I do remember that being played on their TV in the living quarters so now it all makes sense.

I realize that as he gets older, the less that he is going to be interested in but he helps me with crowd control so I hope he will willingly go with us. Besides, he is just an all around great kid who I enjoy spending time with. I was glad he was there with us yesterday not just because I love to hear him laugh but because Aaron attempted one of his disappearing Houdini tricks and Brad was there to save the day.


The Fire chief and his men did a great job showing the kids the fire trucks, the jaws of life, all the gadgets, levers and hoses on the trucks. They couldn't show us the living quarters as it was under renovation but the guys did go upstairs so they could show the kids how they come downstairs when they get a call. The men sliding down the fire pole was priceless.


One of the guys put on his gear including the oxygen tank and mask to show the kids what they look like when they are in their suit. It can look scary to a youngster so I was glad they showed them that. One of the things that tickled me so was that they were giving the kids fire safety tips and one of the things they told them was to never hide but to go over to a window and make as much noise as they can. Then they had them practice. Here was their opportunity to scream, jump, and make all kinds of crazy noises but do you think they did? No, nope, no way! It was hilarious. They gave them a second chance and that attempt was a little better. I know my kids alone could have hit a much higher noise level. I've seen it and heard it! I know it's there. I guess they were saving it for me for later in the day. I'm glad they were thinking of me and just wanted to give me something special later. I am loved.







After the tour was over, they passed out plastic fire hats and coloring books to all the kids. All I can say is that I am glad there was a place to write their names on it as they are scattered all across the house.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Boys...will I ever understand them?

I was sitting at Mom's Night Out last night with some great friends and what do you think we were talking about? Our kids, of course! We were comparing the differences between girls and boys.

I just had to share one of my many stories that I have of being the mother of Aaron, Ryan and Brad.

One precious afternoon, Aaron who was then three, decided to go out in the backyard to play. This always makes me breathe a sigh of relief as the noise level goes down so much when even just one child decides to take his/her liveliness outside. All of the sudden, I realized how very quiet it was. I went outside to check on what was going on.

Upon not finding this cute little guy in the backyard, I entered the garage to see if he was in there. What do you think I found? I found this little brown boy sitting in there playing with a can of varnish. Now I ask you and it still remains a mystery....just how exactly did he get the lid off?

Fortunately, I found him and the mess before it dried on completely and was able to wash him back to whiteness but he never would tell me what his secret was. He did have a distinct smell about him for a few days though.

So now we move to this morning.....

Aaron who is now four, almost five, came running up to me crying that his nose hurt. I was trying to figure out what was going on because he was jumping up and down crying and carrying on about something I couldn't understand. Then it hit me what he was saying. He stuck a white, little, round lego up his nose. Why, why why...did you do this, I asked him? Of course, all I got was a shrug of his shoulders along with a I don't know.

My husband swooped into the living room with his super cape with just the right tool to remove the object....needle-nose pliers. Do you think that is why they call them that? Perhaps, the inventor was a boy and knew that he was going to need such a tool to remove an object from the nose of one of his boys? I wonder....hmmmm. I also wonder if perhaps I should be giving tools like this as baby gifts to all new mothers. Apparently, they are a necessity right up there with the poison control number. Ooooh, maybe I should put a magnetic strip on the back of these pliers and keep them on the fridge right next to it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life...It's Priceless

I saw this video on another blog and it touched me so. Life is so precious. It is amazing to me how God took this little one and gave him his own testimony to touch so many. It's worth watching.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where's Your Dependence Lay?

One thing that God has been bringing me back to over the last few weeks is this. What do you put your dependence in?

As a christian and a citizen of this country, whether I intended to or if it just happened without me realizing it, I have found that I assume and have placed dependence on a couple of things:

I assume the American dollar is going to be worth something.

I assume gas will be readily available at a moment's notice.

I assume I will have a car to drive.

I assume that I will have a house to live in.

I assume the stock market and the American economy will succeed.

I assume that my kids will grow up and have families of their own.

I assume that those that I love will be healthy.

I assume there will be food to purchase.

I assume that coffee and chocolate will always be within my reach.

I assume that I will be able to worship the Lord freely.

I assume my freedom will always be mine.

All of these things are not wrong to assume will be but we have to have balance. We have to be careful that we don't put our dependence in things, in people or in our government. God is the sole source of everything we have, everything that we own and everything that we are. He desires to be all that we put our dependence in.

He is never changing. He is always with us. He is never ending. He is GOD, the Almighty. He is the creator of everything that we see, touch, smell and breathe. He is the one who blesses and keeps order. He keeps everything together including the atmosphere. He is our provider, our healer, our conqueror, the One who we need to invest in. He never fails and all of this that He created is for His glory.

Instead of concentrating on all the things of this world, we need to seek His face. We need to pursue God and know Him intimately. Our pastor recently quoted Charles Spurgeon as saying that He believes that a very large majority of church goers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshipers of an unknown God. This quote brought me to tears.

If it had not been for the things that happen in this life that are hard, agonizing and faith stretching, I fear that I might have been one of those church goers that he speaks of. I've been a believer for a long time so I asked myself, did I really 'know' God? I knew things of Him, I knew facts about Him but did I really 'know' Him. In order to know someone, you've got to spend time with them, you have communicate with them and you've got to pursue them.

He has so much He wants to share with us, so much that He wants to reveal to us and He has gifts He wants to bless us with. If only we would seek Him out.

Do you feel God whispering across your soul to come to Him? Do you feel Him calling you? I urge you to seek him out. He wants you to 'know' Him. He wants you to discover the mysterious wonders that He will reveal to you as you draw close to Him. He wants your sole dependence on Him and Him alone.

Can you imagine if we all would surrender all that we have and we are to Him, what that could do for each of us and this country?!! Wow!

II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Rascally Rabbit

As I was busy getting coffee made and trying to see my way around the kitchen to get breakfast started yesterday, Ryan mentioned that his stomach hurt. In my most sympathetic tone, I told him that I was sorry that it hurt, rustled his hair and told him I loved him.

When the first round of pancakes was finished and ready to be eaten, Ryan came running into the kitchen yelling...me first...me first! I looked him in the eye and said, "I thought you said your stomach hurt. Are you sure you want to eat?" Of course, I was just giving him a hard time because I was thinking it hurt because he needed to eat.

He responded to me with this...."Mom, a man's got to eat, you know!" With a shake of my head, my thought was yep, that's my little man. (oops...there I go again calling him little. He hates that...sorry, Ryan!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tough Days

Last night I sat down to write some of my thoughts with things happening such as they are this week. I ended up not posting it. After reading it today, it sounds downright depressing which is NOT what I want my wonderful readers to hear when I write something. I hope that even when I write a post on something that is on my heart, that you will come away with hope or laughter. I know not everything is funny these days but we do have humorous stuff happen even in the midst of our storms. We need those moments to get us through...that and a Costco size bag of chocolate.

Earlier this year, around Valentines Day, our local 7-11 had this HUGE bar of Hershey's chocolate. My mind, as of late, has longed to own that bar! I think if I did, perhaps everything would be right with the world or at least for the time I was devouring it. Yes, yes....it would only satisfy my flesh but boy, would it taste good! I think I just lost control of my mind as it went to chocolate land. Anyway, we had a very tough day yesterday. I was finding it difficult to keep on my path to trust and have faith and not let the doubts toss me here and there. Why is it, that I know in my mind what I must do but when a Hurricane size wave hits, I can't seem to hold on very well.

Times like those make me feel like quite the hypocrite. I talk about holding on even if you only can with a fingertip and a day hits like yesterday and I'm a mess. I am so thankful that God is intimately familiar with the emotions of a woman! I do believe His mercy covers that! He knew before I was born what I would be like, the emotions I would feel and the decisions I would make. Interestingly enough, God decided that I would still be born. That fact simply amazes me!

I was reading James 1:2-7, it talks about finding joy in our trials and that these trials are producing endurance and the endurance produces character and great faith. It was encouraging to know that something good is going to come out of all this if I can keep my focus on Him, continue trusting and pressing on. He has a plan for this and even if I don't understand it now, it will be revealed later perhaps in eternity. Of course, my curiosity wants to know now but I realize that there are times when I have to be ok with not knowing.

It is apparent we are not through this valley yet much to my disappointment. So we continue on believing, trusting and praising God in all things as His ways are perfect.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Knowing Him...

I've been a Christian for a long, long time. I was taught to read God's word, to memorize it, to live by it. When you surrender your will over to God by accepting His gift to you, you begin a journey. A journey like no other. It's not an easy journey by any means and it's filled sometimes with agony as our Creator shapes us into what we were created to be. We must be refined and all that ties us to this world must be reshaped into what we will become for eternity. But also within that, we are given a peace and a joy like no other to celebrate the life we have been blessed with.

We've been tested and we've had our share of tribulation. As each crisis has happened, I've had this little niggling in the back of my mind saying to me that I must have done something to deserve punishment. Ever hear someone say to you that you made your bed, now you get to lie in it? That is the absolute opposite of what Christ wants you to think on. He is not a God of condemnation. Yes, there are consequences to our actions but if you honestly seek to live your life to please God, those consequences are only for a time so that we learn from them and then we are covered in the blood....God's mercy.

I've had such a hard time understanding that I come before God clean and without sin because of His blood. In my mind, I still need to live up to that gift and do things that make me deserving of it. It is so hard to accept this gift as it was given...free and without strings attached. It is so draining trying to work my way into God's heart. I can imagine him shaking his head in disbelief at how hard I am making this. It's a simple gift but I turn it into this complicated matter.

We have been going through what feels like a never ending testing that I fondly call our training season. I've had so many questions that I've pounded the gates of heaven with. Why God? If you would just do this, then we would be able to do this. But then I realized, that if God did change things like I wanted Him to, I would probably go back to my 'old' ways. I would also be placed in a position to take things into my own hands which HE has clearly shown us He doesn't want. He wants our sole dependence on Him which I might add is a very difficult place to be.

Surrendering your will to God is one of the hardest things to do. He has us in this place where I've had to do that in order to survive. If I try to work it myself, everything becomes increasingly suffocating and more than I can handle. So he's teaching me to trust Him fully for not just surface things but what's deep within my heart...my dreams and desires.

One of the dearest things that I've experienced throughout this past year is getting to know who God is with a new understanding. What I thought He was previously is not what He has revealed to me recently. I'm am so glad to be able to 'know' him more intimately and I just cannot get enough of this new understanding. I honestly can say that excitement wells up inside of me when I think of meeting Him face to face instead of the fear I felt for so many years. I can't wait to dance before my Lord and to hug him and to praise Him free of what chains me to this earth....experiencing true freedom in Christ.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Very Special Gift

Birthdays are a grand celebration in my mind. It notes the importance of a person's life and how it intertwines with those who touch it. When we were growing up, we always celebrated birthdays with relatives and many times with a dear old friend named Chuck E. Cheese. Back then, it was quite something to have your birthday with that enormous mouse since we had to drive quite a distance to do so. I have many fond memories of those times.

Now, as a mother, it is such an important day to celebrate each of my children's birthdays. Each one, a remembrance of the beginning of life and how much they've grown and changed year after year.

We have a few traditions that we do for birthdays like picking out what you would like for Mom to cook for your birthday dinner, breakfast with Dad and let's not forget the cake and presents.

Grace has a flair and a exuberance for life which includes everything in it. Why would her birthday be anything less?

This year has us in a situation that hasn't allowed for much extra. Unfortunately, birthday's fall under that category. So I fretted. I knew Grace's birthday was coming and I knew that all her expectations of the day were not going to be met. I also knew that she was disappointed with our circumstances and had been having a hard time with it. I had nothing to offer her but I knew that God could give her something that we could not so I began to pray....

I didn't know what to expect. We've seen so many blessings in the past few month that have rendered me speechless that I was excited to see what God would reveal to her on her special day.

Her birthday arrived. I had arranged for her to spend some time with one of her Grandma's who took her (and I, the chauffeur) out for dinner and a special treat from Coldstone Creamery. She was thrilled and of course, Grandma had a present for her which was perfect...money to buy a Webkinz. When we arrived home, her other Grandmother had dropped off a present for her to open which sent her heart to soaring.

She had a really good day despite my not being able to offer her anything but our love. Throughout the day, it occurred to me that God had indeed answered my prayer and had given her something very special....something, that no one else could have even come close to giving her. Something that can only come from a Father who passionately loves his children....

JOY!

God promises that He will bless us but sometimes it's not what we are expecting and if we don't have eyes to see and ears to hear, we can miss it. I did not miss the blessing of His gift nor did she. We felt it flowing out of her from the time Grace's feet hit the floor after waking up until she laid her head down on her pillow that night. It touched our home, it filled her very being and it was shared with those who love her here in this home. It was there for her to enjoy and to delight in. I wish I could have recorded her throughout the day. It was amazing to see her in action. She sparkled with the joy of the Lord.

God had truly given her a joy, that only comes from within. I know kids are excited on their birthday but this was different. Sometimes when God blesses us with something, no one can fully understand the meaning behind it because it was only meant for that particular person. This was one of those times and we are so grateful that God revealed himself in that way, in that day.

I could not have planned a better celebration with my human hands if I could have tried. God is so amazing and His love for us is so encompassing. His love for our daughter, again, renders me speechless.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Broken But Not Defeated...

We've come to this place of brokenness; not broken in spirit but broken of the things that disconnect us with our heavenly Father. We've nothing left but to allow Christ to work through our weakness. We stand, in our liquid state, before the Lord God Almighty and ask Him to mold us into something that would glorify His name and His name only.

I want to talk about this brokenness. Some might not understand it as in our human minds, it is so difficult to understand why the trials of life keep beating us down. You may say that perhaps God is punishing you for something you did or you may think that Satan is attacking you. This was my line of thinking for much of my life but through our struggles as of recently, I've come to a new understanding.

First, as a Christian, my sins have been forgiven; past, present and future. Yes, there are consequences for any of our actions whether they be good or bad. God allows things to happen so that we learn from them but then he wipes it clean just because He loves you and wishes for you to prosper and no harm to come to you. His ultimate desire is for your life to model Christ. He uses the things of this world to mold you into what He created you to be. God is not there to take you out on the mistakes you make. He is a Just and Holy God but He is also full of Love which He desires to pour out on each of His children. It is important that we understand this balance.

Secondly, I believe that Satan does attack us and that we need to have our armor in place to be able to fight those attacks but I also know that God talks of the trials and tribulations that we will have simply because we live in a sinful world. We need to be determined as followers of Christ, to be faithful to the very end. God desires this from us. I know that in the midst of our circumstances which seem to keep piling on top of more distress, that at first, I was struggling with the fact that maybe God didn't love me.

Why on earth would I ever think that? His word talks about how much God loves me and wants to bless me which is contrary to what my mind is telling me. Well, Satan doesn't want for you to feel God's love and he uses little whispers of doubt in your ear and you, in your weakened state, begin to believe them. It is so hard to fight the doubts and you become so very weary of fighting to survive.

I want to encourage you to 'stand' firm and be purposeful and determined that you are going to press on. That you are going to fight the doubts and to counteract those thoughts with God's promises. I want to encourage to saturate yourself in God's word...even if you don't feel like it. There is all that you need to make it through whatever struggle you are going through in his Word. He offers hope, strength, wisdom and comfort in there.

I've seen so many believers turn their backs on the only one who can help them. Believe me, I know what it's like to feel God's silence or to be so broken that there seems to be no hope, I'm there right now but the difference is this. I have chosen to stand firm in my faith, trust and belief in my Heavenly Father. I know, that I know, that I know what God says is true. I also know that I must have moments of brokenness to be able to be used by God more effectively. He has a plan for you but you need to allow God to bring you to a place where He can get rid of all the stuff that is holding you back from Him being able to properly use you according to His plan, not our plan. You must be willing to go through that even if it be painful. Believe me, my flesh is screaming in agony but I know that in the end, it will be for God's glory and my good.

In my pain, my thoughts go to to Christ, the one who bore each of our sins not a sin but all sin. Can you imagine our Lord carrying each of our sins on his shoulders? If you think for one minute that the cross was hard to carry to it's place of residence from someone who was beaten and broken, can you imagine the agony of carrying that load of sin along with it? My heart breaks at that thought. I know how burdensome it is to live with my guilt and shame but to think Christ took all of it, yours, mine and everyones from that moment until eternity, on himself so that we might have eternal life and a relationship with God, overwhelms me.

That puts it in perspective for me and I am thankful for this life with all of it's agonies and broken moments. I pray in the end, my life with be glorifying to God and that the gift He gave to me because He loves me will not have been for nothing....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Time Of Testing

Have you ever wondered why when things seem to be at their worst, something else happens to sink you lower in the muck? I haven't a clue as to how to answer that except that I know that God gives us the strength to endure the day and everything in it. I also know when you think you just can't breathe anymore, He sends His people to hold you up. We've experienced it firsthand this week. But the key thing He wants you to do is to....remain faithful in every situation. He wants to know that you are real, that you say what you do and do what you say. Are you authentic?

So we have this leak in our roof that shouldn't be there because we just replaced it a little over two years ago. But it's there and it's made quite a mess. Our insurance company called to talk about the claim and to get more information about the damage. Upon speaking with her, she informed me that I needed to get the water dried up immediately because within three days mold sets in. I explained to her that I didn't know exactly how to do that since the pantry cupboard is not movable and the dishwasher is attached and that we just don't have the equipment to do water extraction. She informed me that I would need to figure that out and take care of it. Sigh.

She also asked me what the contractor said about the roof. I am not a roofing expert and I don't understand all the terminology that he was informing me of. But I made the mistake of saying that I thought the flashing (whatever that is) was installed incorrectly. I did say that she needed to get the report from the contractor to get is formal diagnosis. However, all she picked up on was that the roofing company made a mistake and the insurance company wasn't going to pay for that. I needed to go after the roofing company. All the sudden, I had a moment of panic. This is exactly the route, the insurance company started taking last time and here we are again. It's frustrating when companies right away want to start pointing fingers and refusing to pay for things that you thought were going to be covered while you are standing in the middle of a complete mess. I cannot even express how frustrating that is.

We quickly called the contractors who we happen to be familiar with since we dealt with them before when we had our flood and he was happy to announce that they did indeed do water extraction. So he was sending someone out on Monday to do an assessment.

Yesterday, the contractor came out and looked things over briefly. However, it is there policy to collect the deductible before they proceed. My husband informed them we just didn't have it to give him. So the contractor informed him that he couldn't help him until we were able to pay that and then he left.

At this point, I felt discouragement and frustration threatening to overtake me. Sometimes we just don't understand the trials of life. They don't make sense. I wonder why when God clearly knows my financial state, does He allow mess after mess to pile on top of each other till I feel as though I can't breathe. But then, ever so softly I am reminded of what we prayed Saturday night, that this house belongs to God and we gave it to Him to take care of. So if I am placing this mess at His feet, I need to quit worrying and stressing over it. God promises remain true and I need to continue believing and trusting. God has the ultimate say in everything....even with the insurance company. So I continue to seek God and pray for wisdom as we make decisions and move forward.

Many times throughout our lives, we are tested. We are tested by fire. That fire is life's trials and tribulations. We all have them. What do we do in these trials? We have two choices. You either cling to God with everything you have even if it only be a fingertip or you give up the fight and refuse to allow God to work in His time, in His perfect way by shutting Him out of your heart. I am determined to hold on and let Him mold me into what He created me to be, however painful it may be. The glorious treasure of knowing God more intimately that is there waiting at the end of the suffering is what keeps me going day after day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

As My World Spins

As life is spinning from one day to the next around here, I've been praying a hedge of thorns around our home and around us. I feel like if one more thing should give, I'm going to lose the grip I have and will be swept up in the tropical storm of life. But amazingly, God knows just how weak we are and fuels us with the strength we need for today.

Last night, as we were getting things ready for bed like tucking the kids in, hugs, kisses, drinks, cleaning up the dishes and such, Brad noticed a huge puddle in our kitchen. I quickly assumed it was the dishwasher and was a bit dismayed that perhaps something could have come loose. My husband is amazingly smart and can figure things out in most areas but home repair is one of those areas where it's just best to call 1-800-help.

We continued on with the evening once the puddle was cleaned up. Around 11:15 p.m. I noticed that water was still coming from underneath the dishwasher/cupboard. As I was on the floor, wiping up the water and trying to figure out where the water was coming from, I hear this from my husband...ah, dear, it's not coming from the dishwasher, look at the ceiling. As I looked upward instead of downward, I noticed the ceiling bowing with the weight of water along with water seeping through running behind the cupboard and so on. The word, nice, ran through my mind. What else is there to say?

As I quickly ran through all that has been going on lately, all I could do was laugh. I know this may sound ridiculous but seriously, when it rains...it pours! And sometimes things are so out of control, if you don't laugh, you will lose it. I choose laughter. I kept thinking about the fiasco we went through just a couple years ago with the flooding of our home from a frozen pipe and prayed right then and there. Our home belongs to God and so does everything we have and I just had to place everything at the feet of Christ and let Him work it all out.

So at 1 a.m., we had two contractors on our roof trying to find out what the problem was and fix it so the rain would not continue to damage the kitchen ceiling. They found a hole in the roof where the flashing was not in place properly and fixed it right up. Now, we wait for the internal things to be repaired.

In the midst of all of this, God sent several of his children to minister to us when they had no idea what was going on making me again, speechless.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm Speechless...

I just have to share this with you. God is such an amazing God. A couple things have happened recently that have just blown me away.

As I was making dinner the other day, I started fussing about not having vegetables in quite awhile. So I prayed that God would provide. The very next day, we were blessed with a couple bags of canned goods. One of the bags was 99 percent vegetables. Now God knows how much canned mixed vegetables are not my favorite but inside the bag were like 10 or so cans of them, also included was another favorite of mine....green beans. Bob pointed this out and boy, did we laugh. To me, God was reminding me how important laughter is in any circumstances. It blows the clouds away for a time. It reminded me of my potato story. So as I open can after can of mixed vegetables or green beans, I lift up my sincere thanks and appreciation for them because God cares that much about every aspect of our lives. However, maybe I'll be more specific next time when I ask for something.

Today, I was sharing this story with a friend. Later that day, she showed up with beautiful fresh vegetables which included everything that I love. You know, when you haven't had something in a long time, it makes it taste so much better than you remembered. It also included the love that it was brought with which made it all the more special. God is so good and so are great friends.

The other thing that happened was that earlier this evening, I noticed we were on our very last roll of toilet paper. This is never good, in my book. I also noticed that milk was running low. In this family, this is a common thing. I am on the first name basis with the 7-eleven guy where we frequently run in for milk. I heard a tap on my door just a few minutes ago. What do you suppose was there? A gallon of milk and a package of toilet paper.

All I can say is: I'm speechless at God's care and concern for my every need. Blessed be His name!

From the heart

As I was taking a shower yesterday, I felt God laying the need to encourage others on my heart. God seems to lay many things on me while I'm in the shower. It's hard to fathom that your bathroom could be considered 'holy ground'. I think that I hear God more there than at any other time, perhaps, because it's relatively quiet there outside of the children banging on the door trying to ask me questions that I simply cannot hear and find myself yelling at the top of my lungs in answer to their attempted questions. Even in all of that, I am able to hear that quiet whisper fluttering across my heart.

I am noticing that is how God is. He comes to us quietly and simply but the words we hear are bold, strong and compassionate. I've been praying that I would have eyes to see and ears to hear and I believe that God is answering that prayer. If I wouldn't have had this very thing, I would have missed so much of what He has been trying to teach me and show me.

I have seen God's hand at work in my own life lately that it brings me to tears. There have been a few days when all I've wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and then I will have a friend call with the compassion of Christ that gives me the strength and courage to go the next step. That is God's love for us. He loves us so much. I know you can say, yeah, yeah, God loves me but it goes so much deeper than that.

For a long time, my fear of God dominated God's love. I just didn't understand it and was waiting for God to knock me down the minute I made a mistake but that is not how God is. That was my 'religion' doing that not God. You can't tell someone about God's love if you haven't an understanding of it. It's like saying you are a believer but never putting that into action. People look at believers and if they see your faith in action, can see the hand of God.

It's so important for us brothers and sisters in Christ to help those along the way that are in need. One of the saddest events that breaks my heart is to hear of a believer that has given up the fight. I was reading the book of Job one day and I felt God asking me a question. That question was this. "If everything was striped from me, my car, my home, my finances, whatever was important to me....would I still love Him?" Of course my initial response was..yes! But then I had to stop and consider that. It is agonizing to lose the things that we think important and our thoughts are suddenly flooded with the idea that God doesn't love us anymore. How wrong that is! God wants us to place him first and to know that no matter what situation we are in, that we will still honor and praise Him and remain faithful to Him.

I've really been challenged lately to be looking for ways I can show my 'love walk.' I haven't much but God has given me the gift of encouragement and I am trying to be faithful with that. God can turn it into something amazing if only we are obedient to what He has called us to do. I pray that my life will point to Christ and His faithfulness, that through my testimony, God will be glorified and that I will continue to gain an understanding of His compassion through which I pray to be a vessel for that love to reach the lost.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New Expectations

We finished our first 'official' week of the new school year. I survived (I think) or maybe this isn't really happening....perhaps I'm on the warm sandy beach in Hawaii enjoying the ocean breeze while sipping my venti caramel frappucino...who knows....guess I will find out when I wake up...if I decide to wake up. It's a hard decision, a quiet Hawaiian beach or crazy chaotic homeschooling days....hmmmm....I just can't decide.

In the past, I have had all these expectations of how things will go. Year after year after year, I set myself up for pure exasperation. Well...not this year, I declared to myself! This year is the year for change. Things are going to be different! And it was...

My new expectations:

1. There will be complete chaos.

2. Kara will be upset because she needs me and my attention is on the schoolwork and that will just never do in her two year old mind.

3. Aaron will cry uncontrollably because he did not get his letter's perfect.

4. Grace will still not like her math and amazingly escape doing it.

5. I will get 'sighed' at a million times a day.

6. It will happen that when writing the 'letter m', it will occur to Ryan that it looks like a butt cheek and he will then laugh and laugh and laugh until the uncontrollable hysteria will make his Mom then sigh and tell him to take a break so she can gather her thoughts....

7. We won't be able to find a single pencil in the house even though we've had hundreds of them in the past. I know this because Kara amazingly finds them at her convenience to draw pictures on every wall of the house.

8. We won't start on time. There are so many needs...oh, so many needs (drinks, snacks, boo boo's and so on)

9. Children will lay their heads down on the table and cry that they can't do it and then I will have to go into my whole yes you are and will do it speech.

10. In spite of it all, I will stay the course and continue pressing forward. Homeschooling will prevail. I am the MOM....hear me roar....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Word for Today...

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
--James 1:12 (NASB)



Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Time Has Come

The dreaded moment has finally arrived.

Not only is he 13, but now, he is not just a hair taller than me but a whole entire inch!

This is going to create an interesting scenario. For many years, I've been looking down at this little boy and been able to scold from my 'motherly' height. How do you shake your finger at someone who you now look up to? Just asking.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pop Goes The Weasel....

...You ever feel like that? Some days I feel like if things get squeezed any tighter, that very thing just might happen. Just when things seem like they are at their absolute worst, something else happens and I fear I'm going to hear that popping sound. Then doubts and pure agony enter into the mix and I'm all around miserable.

But God is there ever so softly whispering in my ear that He loves me. Do you ever have trouble getting your brain to wrap around that idea? I know that God loves me and that He sent His son to die for me but do I really deep down in my heart KNOW and am able to embrace that love that God has freely given me?

In my growing up, I've had some really great strong foundational truths instilled in me which has shaped my relationship with Christ as it is now. However, I do have this feeling that God is waiting there for me to make a mistake so He, in his Godliness, can take me out. In my opinion, that is very prohibitive of a close relationship and is very stifling. This is NOT the kind of relationship that I desire to have with Him.

We've been going through a very tough time this past year and it's amazing to me all that God is teaching me through it. I can honestly say that I've come to the point where I can thank God for allowing us to be where we are at in this struggle. I'm in awe at God's care and concern of my relationship with him to allow some of these things to happen enough to change the way I understand this relationship I have with him.

One of those things is how I view God's love. My focus has been on only accepting the love that He has as long as I view myself as worthy. I know that I will never be worthy enough to deserve God's mercy or His gift. However, my brain finally has had the 'aha' moment where it's wrapped itself around His love. It really is as simple as this....your love for your children is beyond anything anyone can comprehend, even when they are acting up. You are uniquely connected. God views me through that love (the blood) even when I am less than perfect. We are connected. He created me, He knew my steps and my path before I was formed and yet knowing all the decisions, choices, etc that I would make.....God still breathed me into existence. To me, that's a HUGE connection. His love is all encompassing....every part of who I am.

The other thing that is amazing is this. Many of you know that we lost close to everything when our oldest was just brand new. I admit to you that part of me felt like God let me down. I had this idea that God would care for our needs as He promised, only what He promises and what I expected were two different things. Through this experience, God has allowed me to reconcile my hurt and to see with different eyes how He did follow through with what He promised.

We are a living example of literally depending on God for our daily needs. It's been excruciating to learn this lesson. I always want to know and I stress out/worry about what we are going to do about tomorrow and needing the answers to all of my 'what if's'. God says let tomorrow worry for itself. I will give you what you need for today. Trust me and me alone. He continues to give us our 'manna' daily and I continue to trust and believe in spite of the unknown.

Then finally, God has been showing me to be thankful in ALL things. It is so easy to get into a trap of complaining and being all around miserable. It's been a real challenge for me to not allow my circumstances to determine my attitude. I admit it, I have not always accomplished this every day but I am doing better than I would have even dreamed of being capable of. Being angry, yelling, and all around upset doesn't change anything or any circumstance except to make yourself even more miserable and to affect those around you in a negative way. So as my friend at heluvsme2 recently stated, I'm thankful I'm breathing. If that is all I can find to be thankful about today, I will thank God for my breathing over and over and over again.

Even if life is not what I expect or dream it to be, God's ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I know, I know and I know that His plan for my life is for my ultimate good and I place my trust, my faith and my belief in the one who created me. I am His and He is mine. His love endureth forever.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Helping Hand...

How a child can get into so much and make such an incredible mess while your back is turned for only a moment is still beyond my comprehension. This has happened in our household on numerous occasions and to this day still has me stunned into speechlessness.

On this very night, Aaron (our four year old) requested some kool-aid. He was very thirsty he said and milk just wasn't what he wanted. I whipped up some Berry Cherry goodness just for his royal cuteness, poured his drink and watched him suck it down quicker than you can say slow down. He promptly placed his cup on the table and off he went with a run and a bounce.

I left the kitchen to go check on *ahem* my email. I swear I was only gone a few seconds. I know this because I didn't get any email in my inbox *sniff*. When I went back out there, Aaron was on the couch and all he said was...I'm sorry, Mom. I was just trying to help! I asked him what he was sorry about but all he did was stare at me with those puss 'n boots big eyes and sucked his infamous two middle fingers. I thought, hmmmm....wonder what's going on.

Then I entered the kitchen. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a tilting kool-aid pitcher along with a gigantic puddle of RED kool-aid.....everywhere. When I say everywhere....that is what I found. It covered the counter top, ran down into all the drawers and down the fronts of the cupboard, down beside the stove and so on. I sat down on a kitchen chair with a sigh. Rats! I thought to myself. A kid struck again.

Now I need to explain something before I go further. I have had this complete disaster of a refrigerator for quite a few years. It has even been replaced with a brand new one from the store we originally bought it from under their 'lemon law'. Only....the new one still has the same issues the old one had. It has now been 8 years that I have been living with this devil of a appliance. I long ago gave up the hope and dream that it would work the way it was meant to. I am clinging to hope that one day, one day soon I'll be the proud owner of a double wide fridge just like Ty gives his Extreme Home Makeover recipients. But alas....I'm still in the hopes and dreams stage. Reality is still sitting there peeing on my kitchen floor.

What the heck am I talking about? Let me explain. In the last year or maybe two (time flies when you are having fun) it has taken up the activity of leaking. I fondly yell out that the fridge is 'peeing' again and the kids just think that is the funniest thing. It helps me get out some of my frustration. Sigh. However, what happens when you have a fridge that leaks periodically throughout the day? You have a puddle or stream that runs under your cupboards, stove and so on.

As I pulled the one movable cabinet that happens to be right next to the fridge to clean up this wonderfully red kool-aid spill, the bottom of the cupboard leaves a trail of disintegrated fiberboard that has left some plastered to the floor. I guess when you mix disintegrated fiberboard and water you get cement. Science lesson. (Why do science lessons happen when the kids aren't around?) Can you feel the tension building as I am writing this? If one was ever thinking of words to describe this mess in a creative form, it probably would have been right about now.

I scrubbed and scrubbed and Oh, how I scrubbed. Did I mention the stupid, stupid mop that I currently own? Let me tell you about that. First of all, let me just mention that I think the store is against me. Everytime I buy a new mop, they discontinue the mop head that goes along with it. So I then purchase another mop and the same scenario happens again. So here I am with this stupid mop that has the stupid mop head hanging on by a stupid thread and I literally mean a spongy stupid thread trying to mop this stupid mess up. This is so NOT what I had planned for my evening.

After I put everything back into it's place and I realized that my cupboard is being held up by the lousy fridge and the stove, I emphatically announced to the walls that my new kitchen was indeed in the near future plans right next to my diamond ring. Do you think they will listen cause I don't think anybody else is hearing me....except maybe the neighbors.

Friday, August 08, 2008

While You Were Sleeping....

Stages. As children grow they enter new stages. They roll over. They crawl. They take their first steps. They talk. We oooo and ahhhh over these stages. We take pictures to remember those moments. Life is beautiful.

Kara has entered the stage of climbing out of her crib. I'm actually surprised that it's taken her this long because she's such climber. She likes to sit in the middle of the kitchen table, she tries to climb the cupboard and I most certainly will not be surprised one day to find her sitting up there, she climbs the back of the couch and loves to sit in our bay window and then there is the fence....I am grateful she hasn't conquered what to do when she gets to the top. Perhaps we should install security camera's so I know at exactly what point she has become AWOL.

Sometime while I was enjoying my sleep during the dark hours of the night, I hear her chirping in her cute little 'I'm playing house' voice, her new word...stupee. (stupee = stupid) She sleeps in the crib that is in my room so there was no escaping it. No! No, tuck me in...stupee and Aaron...stupee, and puppy...stupee were echoing off the walls. I, in my 'For crying out loud, can't you see it's sleepy time' fog somewhere between sleeping and not, pulled the covers over my head in hopes that she will just go back to sleep.

As she continued her chirping, I began to wonder what time it was. It seemed pretty light in my room. Then, I hear ripping sounds and more chirping. With a sigh and a fine!...I muttered to myself that I guess I would just get up and get my day started. I climbed out of bed. What I found when I came to full consciousness was that my little monkey had climbed out of her bed onto the dresser which was next to the crib and was sitting there happy as can be. The light was coming from the ceiling but it most certainly was not daytime. It was 2:38 AM!

Upon more discovery, I found that she had disassembled one of the baby pictures that I had had framed of Ryan which showed me what exactly the ripping sound was coming from. Crud! There goes $24.95 for custom frame and picture from the Kodak Gallery. Guess I'll be replacing that one. Apparently, I had a pen on my dresser which she also discovered and decided to use....on my wall. Crud! I think I'm out of those magic erasers! Crud! She found my glasses. Thank you, God that they were not broken, bent or destroyed! Note to self: Perhaps one should not ignore chirping from two year old during the night.

I swiftly plopped her back in her bed explaining to this beautiful child that she needed to go back to sleep so that she didn't have a cranky momma in the morning. I kissed her cuteness and tucked her in and amazingly enough, she quieted down. Sleep came again....ah, sweet sleep.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ryan's Day

We recently celebrated Ryan's birthday! I can't believe the little man he is turning into. Oops...I mean big man. He informed me that he is not little and I needed to quit calling him that.

He ended up with three days of celebration. The first day was a personal party with Grandma. They had Burger King for dinner and then of course, cake and ice cream to which he had two or three pieces. Call me crazy, but I agreed to it only on this one occasion. As you can imagine, he was bouncing off the walls. Come to think of it, he was that way before we even got to Grandma's apartment. I think she mentioned something to me about giving someone a tranquilizer but I can't remember if I was suppose to give her one or Ryan? They had a grand time together.

Day two was his actual birthday. We celebrated by going to the park with friends. I did let him open one of his presents in the morning because he wore me down with his nagging question of can I, can I, please, please, PLEASE just open one????? We came home from the park thoroughly tired from running around...oh wait...that was me, not the kids. We had cake and ice cream and presents. For some odd reason, he didn't want us to sing or put candles on the cake. Perhaps he didn't want to waste any time or perhaps he doesn't like our singing. I'm not sure which was the case. He went to bed with a skip in his step and a smile on his face. It was another good day.

Day three was celebration time with Grandmom. She ended up having to buy more cake and ice cream to help with the third celebration. Can you have a party without cake and ice cream? Not in Ryan's opinion. This time he even got to blow out candles and he allowed us to sing to him. Now his birthday is complete and was properly celebrated to the max.

He got a Spiderman skateboard, and Ironman costume, nerf guns and a game for his DS. Now if I only can convince him to take that costume off....at some point, you need to change your underwear....at least that is what my motherly advice is telling him. I don't think he sees it my way.