Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Mop

Once upon a time we had a mop. It was several years old but it worked sufficiently except for the sponge head that was wearing out. Mop heads do that, they wear out from use. So I went on the search to find a new mop head replacement that would once again clean the floor like nobody's business. Little did I know that they discontinued that particular mop and I could not find a mop head to fit it, not even a generic. However, I was hopeful that I would eventually come upon one and all would be well with the world. So we waited and we continued to mop paying no mind to the disintegrated pieces that it left behind.

Time passed and more of my old mop crumbled away leaving one of the ends unattached giving it the name, floppy mop. This makes it incredibly difficult to get this task done and it also increases the frustration point of the user. Instead of paying for a counseling session on how to properly vent one's anger towards a mop, I decided that it was time to look for a whole brand new mop instead of just a replacement head before there was nothing left of the old one. I tend to procrastinate sometimes. This was one of those times until my husband happened to be with me on a trip to the store and strong armed me into purchasing one. I guess he likes clean floors.

Down the mop isle we went. I said maybe we should wait. He said today was a great day to buy a new mop. I looked them all over trying to choose just the right one. The one that would just make my mopping experience special leaving me with the desire to do more. After much consideration, I made my choice. It was the Clorox Butterfly Mop. How could you go wrong with a brand that makes you think clean and a mop that was named after a beautiful little fluttery thing?

I couldn't wait to get it home and use it but first, it needed to age a little. I lovingly placed it where the old one once rested sending the old one to the great mop retirement center in the sky. After days of sticky kool-aid and spilled orange juice made their mark on my dirty floor, I gave in and brought out the new, sure-to-clean Clorox Butterfly mop. I just knew that this was going to be the wonder of all wonders and was all set to show off my sparkling clean floor.

The floor was ready to receive the first swipe at cleanliness. One swipe, two swipes and snap! The mop head was removed from the handle leaving me reeling with such disappointment. What is this that I see, I asked myself? How could this be? My mop which was once whole is now in two pieces. But alas, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my knight in shining armor swoop in on his mighty white steed (his sock feet) and effortlessly save the day. He 'clicked' the pieces back together as they were made to come apart. He assured me it was all better and that I could continue on.

I am here to tell you that this was not nor continues to be the case. The more and more I use this mop, the quicker it comes apart. My exciting mopping experience has quickly dissipated into a Donald Duck episode. My ire is up and this mop has fallen from my graces. My husband heard me in a fit of anger and asked me what exactly was wrong with the mop and so I began to show him. Once it falls off, I can't get it back on and then, I'm left to use the mop head down on my hand's and knees. This does not make for a happy wife, I explained. He looked it over and gave it a try himself only it didn't come apart for him. This only sent more irritation up my spine. Why is it when someone else gives the thing a try, it works perfectly but when I use it, it falls apart a gazillion times. It apparently has a grudge against me.

The last straw was this week when a bout of throw up landed on the floor. I won't go into all the curdled details but a mop was very necessary. Out came the cleaner and then came the mop. One swipe, two swipes and snap! Try and try as I might, the mop head was resisting being put back together. I declared to everyone who would listen that I absolutely refuse to get down on my hands and knees with the stupid mop head and clean that mess up! We all have our limitations.

Being the compassionate wife and mother that I am, came to my senses and did clean up the mess. The smell and the heaving sensations throw up brings is a great motivator to get it out of sight as soon as one possibly can. However, I refused to use the mop. We are not on speaking terms. I suppose I should consider purchasing a new one. I now know what I want and don't want in a mop. But I'm scared to step out and try a new one....

A Curriculum Giveaway

My friend better known as the 'Mom with Brownies' is hosting a Sylvan curriculum giveaway contest.

She has recently purchased a workbook for her son and is very positive about it. She has three books that she is planning on giving away and even the shipping is free! How awesome is that??!!

If you are interested, go check it out!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've been trying to decide whether to address this or not. In one sense, making any sort of comment about what happened this week could potentially just be fuel for more unhealthy discussion but on the other hand, many of you saw the comments that were made this week which I'd like to address.

I am choosing to say a few things from my heart and then I will say no more, moving on to better things. First, I know that whether you are typing your heart out on a blog, a note to someone or even talking about choices you make in passing to friends or acquaintances opens you up to all kinds of criticism. It's risky business letting people know where you are at or what you are thinking. We all are different. We think differently. We act differently. We choose differently. God does not have the same path set up for you or for me. So, to sit here and judge someone based on what you think that person should do puts you in the place of God.

Criticizing each other and talking behind people's back about how wrong we think they are and how horrible that person is for making the choices that they are making is very sad. It creates dissent and chaos. Not one person on this planet is perfect nor are their decisions. The majority of us are making decisions based on what we believe is the best way to go. Those of us who are believers ask God fervently to help us make wise choices, that those choices will be in alignment with God's Word. If we believe that people are honestly seeking out the wisdom that comes from our God, then why, oh why do people scorn us when it's not the way they would do it? Wouldn't you cheer them on to keep making those choices based on what God has placed on their hearts and encourage them to continue seeking His will?

Secondly, the complete hatred that was expressed in one of the comments kind of made me laugh. It was so apparently clear to me what all that was about. How can someone who is from the Portland, Oregon area, who only knows the bits and pieces of things that I place on my blog have such disgust for me?. So here is my thought on that. God has placed a fire in the heart's of this family to preach God's truths through every avenue we have available to us. Through our blogs, through the actions we take, which includes homeschooling, (and no, I did not choose to homeschool because I had a bad experience in school myself,) through every way our lives intersect with others. We will not be silent.

When we choose to live our lives surrendered to the Lord God Almighty, something happens in the spirit. Those who do not know God personally hear the truth and their spirit either longs to know more or it cries out in agony. Man was created for companionship with God and completely for His Glory, but God gave us free will to choose. When we choose to deny ourselves the One who created us, our souls are missing an imperative piece that gives us the Life that was originally intended for us by God, leaving us empty and unfulfilled. Satan hates, hates, hates it when we choose to live our lives God's way. He knows the end is near and I believe he's kicking up his attacks to the millionth degree leaving many believers suffering.

I believe that much of what is happening are distractions to get our eye's off of what God has put before us, in an attempt to make us ineffective. I refuse to let what happened here in the comments remove the intention of my posts. Therefore, I removed those comments from view. For now, I will be moderating them as they come in. Those that are full of things that are pure, lovely and of good report will only be approved. I thank you, in advance, for your understanding in this area.

We are trying to live our lives the best we can according to what we believe God has placed before us. We do not have all the answers. Much of it is unknown but we are moving forward in faith and believing that God will direct our steps, as He has promised. We are choosing to be purposeful in building those around us up and placing our focus not on what this world has to offer, but what God has to offer in strength, in courage and sharing His most prized gift, eternal life.

I refuse to be distracted by someone's spirit screaming out at me because the choices we make are based on a moral and scriptural basis. I know that by being fully surrendered to God, there will be persecution coming against me. I am prepared for that and also know my place in God's kingdom. The ONLY one who I am responsible to is God and I will only answer to Him for the decisions I've made. He has already won this victory.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Once Was....

We are soon coming up on the second anniversary of the day I took my husband to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. This led to lots of poking and tests which ended with the removal of his gallbladder. We thought that was the end of that scary experience not knowing what kind of pain he would be left with on a daily basis.

After rerunning the tests a couple months later and still not finding anything wrong, we were told that perhaps it was just fluid build up that would take a bit of time to go away. Now two years later, he is still suffering. We've been told that it's probably nerve damage by a couple different doctor's. It seems like everybody is just taking a stab at their best guesstimate. Not having insurance doesn't help. It's affecting his life, our life. Everything we do has to be scheduled around how he is feeling and the pain medication he is taking.

This has had such a volcanic impact upon where we are at right now. It erupted and now continues to flow downward taking with it all that is connected. His ability to work. Our vehicle. Our home. Things that we once thought we could count on are no more. One of the things that just breaks my heart is watching him come in the door from being at a meeting, a customer site or even just church and seeing him in so much pain he could hardly make it home. Then, we all make a mad dash for the couch to clear it off so we can get him to lay down. Laying down seems to take the pressure off and helps to relieve it some.

Sometimes I get a frantic call from the kids telling me to get home because they are scared that Dad is going to die. If he sits in one position too long, stand's too long or if he is in the car, it seems to set it off tremendously. Intense pain makes him drop things like his favorite Mackinac coffee cup which shattered, makes him scared that he is going to drop his little ones, makes him cry when his two year old tells him it's going to be alright, Daddy. Little things are huge. One time he was on the way home from a customer site in Marine City and the tire on the car went flat. He was under the car trying to get the spare out and hurting so bad that he couldn't finish it. Who do you call? When you are a sobbing mess and faced with the realization you can't do the things you use to do, who do you call for help?

It's hard to come to terms with the fact that what was once is no more. Where do you go from here? How do you adapt so that you can continue moving forward? Continue living? It's difficult not to be angry. Not at the person but the circumstances. It seems like everything we've tried is just not working the way we need them too. The losses, the frustration, the inability to take care of ourselves is overwhelming. How do you go on from here?

As a wife, this is an extremely scary road to travel. My mind goes in all different directions with the what if's which pretty much try to overwhelm me and render me incapacitated. I've had to force myself to focus on the fact that God is bigger than all of this and that He promises to give us what we need to walk the road He has allowed. He knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning. I need to trust Him, that he has it all under control. I don't understand any of it but I know that I trust my Lord and I know that He promises restoration. I don't know how that restoration is going to come about but I know that it's a promise and God always follows through on his promises. It may not be what I want but it will be for His glory.

The one thing that I have watched through all of this is the determination to never give up, the refusal to give up hope, to continue moving forward, giving all that he can inspite of how he is feeling to us and to those he serves through our business and whoever he comes into contact with, emerge with amazing resound. His faith in the Lord God has been such an amazing blessing. I am so thankful that he has refused to be beat down by all that we are going through but instead has a firm resolve to share a hope and a smile with everyone. His strongest heart's desire is to pray with and for people and I've seen him touch, encourage and share with so many that it overwhelms me with tears of thankfulness.

The worst thing we could do right now is to sit down, have a pity party and give up. That would only shut down God's willingness to work through this, taking our suffering and making it worth something. Paul talks about counting it all joy when trials come and I have to say that even in the midst of my tears, in the midst of my anguish, I am so thankful that God has given us both the opportunity to grow in our faith, to be able to share our testimony with so many and to encourage those around us to keep looking to the Lord.

There are so many things that God has done through this situation and so much that we have learned about God and His love that I wouldn't trade it for anything. In fact, I might even be willing to go through it all again if it meant that one life would be saved and headed for God's Kingdom. Let's not forget to mention my own heart being awoken from a slumbering sleep.

I encourage you who are feeling discouraged, you who feel God has left you, you who feel as if your heart has been shattered into a million pieces, you who are struggling or are scared, to seek God out. His arms are always there, open and waiting for you to come to Him. Study, study, and study the scriptures in His Word. There is comfort, there are answers and there is everything we need to meet each day with courage. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I know God is already moving on my behalf arranging for there to be what I need to walk through it....if only I will willingly receive it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Do Over Birthday

You just never know how your day is going to turn out once you leave that cozy soft pillow and warm bed. Some days are filled with the ho-hum every day things you do in a 24 hour period and then there are other days....

Since last week didn't work out so well to celebrate my birthday, I decided that we would have a do over birthday this week and today was the day! I bounced out of bed at an early hour not because I was ready to embrace the day but because my two youngest just couldn't do without me. So sleeping in was crossed off the list and I gently and lovingly reminded myself that what mother could resist a child mentioning that she was needed. I put my best face forward, told my pillow that we would once again be together and went to attend to those little darlings.

As I savored my coffee between getting drinks and food for those sweetie pies who are just so cute and always hungry, I kept telling myself how very much it's good to be needed. There isn't much sitting down and slowly embracing the day when there is much to be done for the care of tiny ones whose little eyes full of trust look to you to take care of their every need.

My husband had mentioned to me that he wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch. After the flurry of getting ready and out the door, my husband noticed and lovingly mentioned to me when we got out to the car that our tire was completely flat. *Sob*. I was so looking forward to going out and was desperately telling myself to not be disappointed. I was so not going to be irritated over a stupid flat tire and ruin this day. We've had enough sadness to last us for awhile.

We tried the air compressor but it did nothing to help the tire along. Thank goodness my mother in law offered to come and pick us up to drop the tire off at the fix-it shop and she even offered to drive us to where we wanted to eat while we waited for the tire to be repaired. The trick was getting the tire off. My poor husband who is in excruciating pain daily had to help me and our oldest son try to get the tire off in 15 degree weather along with the snow. Ever hear of frozen lug nuts? Banging on them doesn't really help a whole lot. Somehow we got them off along with the tire and nobody got hurt! I was wondering just how many of us it was going to take.

It ended up good. We got to go enjoy my birthday lunch and the repair to the tire was done pretty quickly and without expense. The one thing I was determined not to do today in the midst of irritating events was to lose my joy. It is so easy to let one thing send your whole day into a tizzy and it affects everybody around you. Before you know it, everybody is upset, nobody is happy and that does not make for a great day.

The other thing that turned out great was that I saw the sunrise. How very glorious it was. It seems to me that lately they have been even more spectacular than usual. It was a beautiful orange that lit the sky all around. Only the creator himself could have come up with that. Thank you God for that today! You astound us with your paintbrush that illuminates the heavens.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

God Values Us

It's been a tough week. Losing somebody you love is excruciatingly painful. It is amazing how it affects you physically, emotionally and mentally. It leaves a gaping hole. You assume that person is always going to be there, that there will be time to build on relationships, create memories and time to let that person know that you are connected as our lives touch and intersect.

We need to remember to tell people just how much we care, how much we appreciate them. We've become so accustomed to keeping people at arm's length not wanting them to get too close or maybe we are afraid that our care, our love will be rejected. God created us to need each other. He uses us to minister, encourage, to love and to tangibly show his love through us and our relationships with each other. Aaron, our five year old, grabbed my face this morning and staring into my eyes, he told me how much he loved me and that he would never give up on this family. He is pretty wise...always giving out bits of wisdom way beyond his years. He knows that Uncle Joe died but we haven't told him more than that so his words touched my heart. His compassion for those hurting overwhelms me and I know that God placed that there in his heart. I am challenged by him to show that same compassion and love to those around me, to look at those I care about and speak words of compassion, love and of hope.

I don't think Joe realized how much of an impact he had on the lives he touched. As I looked around last night at the funeral home at all the people that were there and then listening to the people give testimony of Joe's life and the memories of who he was today at the memorial service, I just thought that even with the challenges he faced, God used him mightily.

One of the things that stood out today was something the pastor spoke of. He talked about our value to God. Satan has been successful in stealing our value to God in our human minds. I've been dealing with that myself this past year. Value. Do you believe that you have value in God's eyes? I always look at my short comings and how much I fail God but He doesn't look at us that way. He looks at us through pure, unconditional love. Through the blood, God sees us as clean, without blemish.

Satan so wants us to feel unlovable, unloved, full of misery and grief. He wants us to feel like we have no purpose, no value. I don't think Joe understood how very much he was valued and loved not just by his family and friends but to God. If you are struggling with those thoughts and feelings, I encourage you to let God into your heart. He is the one who gives you purpose and value. He is the author and creator of love and of you. All he wants is for you to come unto him. If you open your heart to him, he can begin showing you how valuable you are and how much he can fill the emptiness you feel. He just wants you wherever you are, in whatever condition you are in. He doesn't care. He is waiting, my friend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I'm up and I just can't sleep. It's been an incredibly tough day and my mind is going in a million different directions. We have many decisions to make today and it's going to be difficult.

I woke up yesterday ready to embrace my birthday fun! I came down the stairs to hear my oldest daughter frantically telling me to not go into the kitchen for any reason ever. So with a sigh and putting my desperate need for coffee aside, I went into the office, instead to wait.

A little bit later, I received word that it was time to enter the kitchen for my birthday breakfast. I was thrilled! It was hot and it was good. Grace had made me a ham and cheese omelet and also prepared pancakes to go along with it. As I savored every bite, I sat there remembering all the past birthday breakfasts. Most included cold toast and a ginormous liter of orange juice. The birthday breakfast has evolved and I noticed that year after year they get better. I am so thankful for a sweetheart of a daughter that finds it important to shower her mother with all kinds of love which includes birthday breakfast and wonderful cards.

After I had enjoyed my wonderful meal, we got a concerned call from my mother in law about my brother in law, Joseph. The day was then thrown into a frantic search for life. It ended terribly and not with the result our hearts were hoping for. Joseph had made a choice for his life that ended it too soon. You ask yourself if maybe you should have said this or said that. That, maybe in something you could have said, it would have changed things. You hope he knew how much you cared, how much you loved that person, how much he was a part of your life. But in the end, he chose.

The heartbreaking sorrow that has come as a result of that is awful. We must remember the wonderful brother that he was. He loved to tease and with it came a sparkle in his eye. He loved his nieces and nephews and would always be found in the midst of them when we were together. I pray that God will comfort all of them as he has left a big hole.

In spite of all of this, we saw God's hand tangibly. It showed through the love and support of our friends and family. It showed through the Sheriff and the detective. God was there. He was holding us up and giving us the courage to face the day.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reviewing 2008

I'm a little behind but I wanted to highlight the events of 2008. Time goes by so fast and sometimes I forget all the adventures that we experience in that year. Although, there are some adventures that are worth remembering more than others. So here we go:

We continued fostering my cousins, Barbara and Sharlene which ended with them moving to another home that was more suited to the special needs that they had.

Bob's father passed away a year ago, today.

We came close to losing my brother in law, Dave, but God is the restorer of life and blessed our family with more time with him. He was able to be there when his precious daughter was born and continues to be a testimony of God's amazing miracles. God is good.

I became the mother of a teenager.

Family reunions. It's important to see, hug and reconnect with family.

Spent some time in the emergency room with Kara due to a little weed in our backyard called the Deadly Nightshade becoming a snack.

Became an addict of Facebook and twitter.

We lost our home, camper and Suburban.

More time with my kids and husband. Time is a gift.

But most importantly, through all the suffering we are enduring, I've seen God's hand at work. My relationship with the Lord God Almighty has grown and deepened in so many ways. For this, I'm so thankful.

Phew....after going through all the posts from last year, I feel like I need a nap! We've been through a lot. Remembering how crazy scared I was about some of the things that happened, I now look back and see how God provided for our needs. There are still so many unanswered questions and I don't know if I will ever have them all cleared up for our understanding but I do know that when you put your trust in God, He provides.

My spiritual journey this year has been stretched. There have been times when I've felt like I've wrestled with God. My will struggles to get in alignment with His will but yet, I seem to fail at getting it to mind. I know what I need to do but yet, my mind and my heart are warring against each other. I need to get what I've learned to take root and develop in my soul. I have such a need to be in control and to move these mountains that are before us and am constantly reminded that I am NOT in control..of anything. Therein, the struggle. I've felt many times that I make a poor excuse for a believer. My faith, I feel, is majorly lacking and I struggle with doubt and unbelief.

Through all of the stretching, God is trying to get me to grasp hold of how much he loves me, he pursues me and desires my heart. My mind knows this but how do you get that understanding to settle in your very being so that spiritually, mentally and physically you know it with out doubt, without question. Somehow, Abraham was able to, without doubt, trust that what God promised him would happen. I want that. I want these stupid doubts to leave my mind and my heart. I believe that to undoubtingly believe and have faith in God's promises, honors Him like nothing else. My heart's desire is to be able to do that. Perhaps, this is the next phase in which God alone is working on in me.

I pray that this new year brings you in a closer relationship with Him and if you don't have a relationship with God, I pray that you will give your heart to Him. What have you got to lose? He already knows you inside and out and He wants you just as you are.