Monday, January 30, 2012

A New Page!

July 12, 2011 was the beginning of what turned out to be a six and half month journey in unemployment.  National averages are seven even though it felt like a long unemployment as we lived through actually wasn't that long.  I have learned a lot these last months....a whole lot!  I'm sure as time passes and I have more time to process all this I will continue to learn from this experience....

1.  The body of Christ is alive and active at Ridgecrest.  The body of Christ has prayed for us.  You have encouraged us with gifts, words, hugs, and letters.  You have provided us with wonderful and thoughtful gifts and money given in secret.  It was a member of our church that hired Randy....providing a job.  Thank you Rick Hester....and Linda for your encouragement!  What a blessing the body of Christ is.  It truly is the hands and feet of Christ left here to minister.  We have so been blessed by your ministry!  AMAZING!  I'm also thankful for my faithful praying Co-op sisters.  They prayed long....they prayed hard.....and they rejoiced fully with me.  So thankful for these ladies.  I also could not have been happier that Randy called me on Thursday, while I was at Co-op with my sweet friends and at my wonderful church, to give us the news!  I couldn't have been happier and to be at a place I love so dearly and surrounded by friends made it even sweeter!

2.  I REALLY like Randy.  I have enjoyed having him home.  He is helpful.  He's a good cook.  He is great at laundry!  He is fun.  He is funny.  He is a hard worker.  He is going to be missed....but we are happy to be missing him!  His unemployment was a financial burden BUT it was so nice to have the blessing of TIME with him.  The kids LOVED it and so did I.  We are so happy about the job but we are going to miss him!

3.  God's word is filled with promises and they are true!  He IS faithful.  He gives peace that passes understanding.  He DOES provide.  He loves us!  He will never leave us.  He is ALWAYS good.  His word is a light.

4.  You find out who your friends are.  It is interesting to see who was a friend through the storm and who disappeared.  It is interesting to see who wanted to know if we were okay and who just wanted a scoop.  It was surprising and sometimes painful to realize people who you thought had your back...didn't and people you didn't think would care much... did. 

5.  I have a new compassion for wives of unemployed husbands that I didn't really have before.  I didn't have bad feelings it was just something I had never experienced so I could not relate.  Now I can.  It is a hard thing to be encouraging when you have all these fleshly worries.  It is not easy to be caring and not badgering.  It is not always easy to remain positive when nothing seems to be happening on the job front....I now know this better and can better encourage, pray, and minister to the wives of unemployed men.

6. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned is how humbling it is to be in need.  It really is more blessed to give then to receive.  It is hard to need help.  It is hard to accept gifts given in love.  It is so, so, so humbling.  I also know now how much of a blessing it is that people are so generous.  I am not generous enough. 

So, so, so, so Blessed!

This is just the tip of the iceberg....but I am so grateful for the Lord's provision.  I am so thankful the Lord gave us Randy.  I am so thankful to be a member of Ridgecrest.  I am so thankful to have praying friends who have cried with me, and held me, and encouraged me, and loved Randy, and been kind to us, and that are TRULY  rejoicing with us!  TRUE friendship is a blessing!  I am thankful for God's Word.  I am thankful that God uses tough times to refine us!  These times are not without a purpose.

I am thankful most of all to be on a new leg of the journey!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

The truth

So one of my major blog phobias is coming true.  People have this notion that my children are perfect children and that I am wonder mom.  This could not be further from the truth!  I cringe when people make comments about how great I am or how super my kids are.  My kids are kids.  They are total sinners.  Naughty.  Annoying.  Fussy.  Messy.  Bratty.  I just don't think it is nice to blog bad stuff about I try to focus on the positive.  My kids are so normal.  They are so sinful and they sooooooo got it from me!  They are also so preciously, wonderfully, mine and I adore them.....but oh my word.....please do not think for a second that they are sweet, wonderful, obedient, compliant children.

The truth is some of them are fairly compliant.....and it scares me to death. If anything concerns me more then my loud, obnoxious sinful would have to be my quiet, outwardly compliant children. I was compliant on the outside too and a rebel to the core.  I have several little Pharisees and it is terrifying to me.  I also have at least one.....probably two.....defiant kids.  I say anything....they say NO!  So rest assured.....they are not even close to perfect!

And I hate to disappoint....but wonder mom is not here.   I yell.  I get frustrated.  I cave in.  I care more about what needs to be done then what needs to built into their lives.  I care more what people think than what God thinks.  I am selfish.  I want MY time.  I want people to LEAVE ME ALONE!  I want.....I want.....I want.  I think mean things about people.  I say mean things about people.....I have tons of issues....ask Randy or even better.....ask Andrew!

I love blogging.....but I hate that only a segment can come through a filter and people who read think this is the entirety of our lives.  It's not.  It is the part I am recording for my kids to remember.  It is the great truths the Lord is teaching me.  It is the fun stuff we do.  It is the funny stuff I want to remember.  It is the moments I am so overwhelmed with love that I want to record it so they will know how much I adore them.  It's the recipes that turn out well.  It's the books worth reading.  It's the struggle that is going to pay off......

It is not the fussing over the Wii from dawn to dusk.  It is not the fighting over who sits where in the van.  It is not when I am about to lose my mind and in utter frustration yell shut up!  It is not the complaining about my cooking and not wanting to eat dinner but then starving for a snack before bed. Its not when I should have listened but I spanked.  Its not when I should have spanked but I talked... It is not the crying about tangles in their hair.  It's not fussing about who feeds and waters and walks the dog more.  It is not the constant...."I don't want to...." or "I want....."
That is daily and that is real and that is happening here too I can assure you!  I just don't blog about it much.....because that is the part I try not to focus on too much.....that is the exhausting.....that is the monotonous.....that is the day in day out...hard work of parenting. 

Please know I'm there.  I am so there!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Pondering Passages

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Ephesians 1:2-3

These are my thoughts.  I have NO Bible training.  I have no degree in theology.  I am just talking about what the Lord is doing in my heart and life through this journey.  The only TRUTH here is God's word.  The rest is my perspective.  So PLEASE take all my words with a HUGE scoop of salt!  Dive in and ponder.....but please don't take what I think I'm  learning as absolute truth....because I may not be understanding what he is trying to teach me and I do not want to lead anyone astray!

I never know where to begin with my I'll start with the first word.....

Have you ever heard a more beautiful word?  Grace....I LOVE IT!  So much do I love it that it is Sophie's middle name.  Little Miss Sophie Grace.  I don't have the words to describe Grace fully.  I think the offical definition is "not getting what I deserve."  I just don't think that quite paints the picture vividly enough.  What do I deserve?  Death. Eternal separation from God.  Sounds harsh but that is what I have earned by my behavior. The wages (what you earn from work) of sin is death.  I have most certainly earned death.  Yet I get GRACE....a gift!  Why?  ONLY because of God and his great rescue enacted through Jesus!!!!!!  It's stunning!  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this is.  I have done some bad stuff.  I have thought bad things.  Said terrible things.  Sinned.  Ugly, nasty, horrible sin....and yet I am LAVISHED with his Grace.  How beautifully amazing is that?

The peace that passes understanding has certainly become more real to me in the past 6 months.  I am a freak out, need control, type A-ish (not a complete perfectionist.....just a wanna be perfectionist) person.  I am not peaceful.  I fret.  I run numbers.  I worry.  I need answers.  Yet I can honestly say I have experienced a peace that I can not describe to you in these past 6 months.  I have not tried to work it out on paper, which is my tendacy...and praise God I didn't do....because it wouldn't work out and I would just freak out more!  It is ALL GOD.  I have had a few moments....I have had a few early morning freak outs.....but in general peace has reigned....and again this is the gift of God!  What a gift.  An undeserved treasure!

Paul is quick to acknowledge in this passage that these are the gifts of God.  I say Amen!  They have to be.  Experiencing Grace and Peace first hand and having tasted both of these.....they are only God.  I like Paul am led to praise him!  How can we not praise him?  He gives us these gifts.  These beautiful gifts.....because he loves us.  It is so humbling.  It is hard to reseve an undeserved gift from a friend.  It is humbling.  Yet the king of the whole world gives me gifts?  Here's the clincher.  He doesn't know my good side.  My church side.  My Sunday School sweet side.  He KNOWS ME.  He knows my ugly sinful heart.  He knows how mean I am.  He knows how self-centered I am.  Who is this Savior? He not only has rescued me from my own earned destruction but he has poured out these beautiful gifts on me.  What kind of man is he?

When my kids sin.....I don't do that.........What an amazing Father!  I want to know him more.  I want to be like him.


So to me those were the key words this week.

Now one other thing really caught my attention:
this phrase "in the heavenly realms" and this one "spiritual blessings"

I live in the "earthly realm".....and he is speaking of "the heavenly realm".
This has got me to thinking a lot about something I knew....but don't think about much.
There is another realm:

WHOOOOOOOOO-HoOOOOOOO (those are my funny ghost noises :)

But seriously....
There is more going on then meets the eye.  I KNOW that intellectually...but it is really happening.  REALLY....There is a spiritual battle raging.  Daily.  I'm reminded of the story of Job.  The devil went and asked permission to test/torture Job.  Guess what.....Job didn't know that part of the story.  That was in the heavenly realm.  We don't know all our story.  There is a realm of reality we can't see from where we are. 


There is more at stake in our daily decisions, actions, attitudes then we may realize.  There is a spiritual battle raging all around us.  I think (REMINDER....I'm just a regular person so this may be totally wrong....) when Paul is talking about God blessing us with every spiritual blessing it may be talking about how he has blessed us and prepared us with what we need for this battle in the other realm.  I'm not sure about before I take this too far off base I would love to hear Shay's take on it so I'm going to check out his post now....Shay's Pondering

Have a great weekend! 
Happy Pondering...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Update in Pictures

Sweet Lydia!

My Big Girl!

I had a few concerns about keeping Lincoln....and one was how Audrey would adjust to having a baby in the house each day.....she LIKES being THE BABY!
Let's just has NOT been a problem.
She is IN LOVE!

The problem is my kids have something new to fight over....
Who gets to push the stroller.
Who gets to hold the baby.
Who gets to feed him.
Who gets to help lay him down for his nap......

Another big concern is how he would like Mindy (our dog)
How Mindy would like him.....
Again....this has not been a problem at all.
They like each other just fine.
They are both so sweet!

Another highlight of the week I missed out on.....while I was out running a few errands
Nanny brought a big box of toys!
These are toys Nanny kept at her house for my kids (and Holly's) when they were younger.
Thank you Nanny!
Lincoln is enjoying them!

We FINALLY got to get outside Tuesday!
Whew....and I needed some fresh air....the kids have been bouncing off the walls!

Lincoln is all smiles when Mommy gets home!
He LOVES his Mama and she loves him!!!!

Audrey woke up early and came downstairs for a snuggle with her best friend......

and she fell back asleep....

So Sweet!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ansewering the Most Asked Question

This is the first email I have done based on email feedback.  I have gotten more email messages and facebook messages and people asking "How do you do so much?" then any other question.  I usually brush it off or say, "I don't" or say "with a lot of help".....all of which are true....

However I keep getting the question....I'm finally realizing that I think it is a practical how to question.

This so this is my response to the often asked question.

1.  I generally (except on Friday) get up early.  My alarm is set for 6:45....BUT I literally pray over my day at bedtime and what "needs to be done" and ask the Lord to grant me the sleep I need and ask him to awaken me when I need to get up.  I like to do my this is a biggie for me.  I usually wake up between 4-6 without an alarm.  I usually wakeup very refreshed.  When I get up I usually spend a few minutes pondering a passage and pray a few minutes about what is on my heart and for focus and purpose for my day.  Then I blog, check emails, check facebook.  Then I get ready, make coffee, unload dishwasher, load up school boxes for the day....and GO

2.  I have a weekly and daily plan.   WARNINGThis part of the post is long because it seems to be what people are here it goes.  Over the weekend I make a sheet on my computer listing each day of the week. 
I go through and list the things that don't change under each day first. On my list I include times.

Sophie Odyssey Practice
Guitar Lesson for Andrew
Basketball Practice for Sophie
Basketball Practice for Andrew
Dance for Lydia
Audrey Dance
Andrew Basketball Practice
Jackson Basketball Practice
Jackson Basketball Game
Sophie Basketball Game

Then I look at my calendar and go back and add variables that have a time for this week but are not always the same....

Birthday Party for Neighbor
Go get passports for kids
Andrew apt. for consult with ENT
Randy/Kim Coffee Date with friends
Andrew Basketball Game
Sophie extra Odyssey Practice
Randy Basketball Game
Girls Sunday School Dinner

Then I plan meals based on the day.  This week I knew was I planned 2 meals for the crock pot and I pre-made spaghetti sauce on Saturday and a huge pot of chili.  I froze half the chili and put half in the fridge for us to have for dinner this week.  So most of my meals are pretty much ready or very close to ready.  I also make sure to take out the meat for the week so I am not caught waiting for something to defrost.

Taco Salad
Roast beef in the crock pot
Chili with baked potatoes
Pulled chicken sandwiches (meat cooked in crock pot)
Pancakes for dinner for kids/Randy.  Kim Out

Then I plug in the rest of what needs to be done each particular week:

NAP (This is a need)
Get all laundry put up
Call about finding a new speech therapist for Jackson
Call about getting Andrew into a ENT doctor.
Go to bank
Fill cars with Gas
Run to pickup stuff: dog food, printer paper, coffee filters, kid shampoo
Drop off stuff: at Goodwill, Library books, and Redbox movie
Color hair....PLEASE!
gather supplies and load stuff for co-op
get gifts for Sunday school party.
I rarely plan extras for Thursday because that day is full and exhausting enough with co-op
Clean House
Grocery store
Plan for week

I plan any fun extra stuff I just want to do:  This doesn't go on a just happens if I find any extra time.
Finish reading Kisses from Katie....I HIGHLY SUGGEST NOT READING THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR WORLD ROCKED.  OH MY WORD.......Best gift ever Marci Bailes....I LOVE YOU!
Write thank you note.....
Make double batch of chocolate chip cookie bars to share......

This is what it ends up looking like:

Taco Salad
Put away all laundry with kids help
Sophie Odyssey Practice
Call about finding a new speech therapist for Jackson
Call about getting Andrew into a ENT doctor.
Go to bank
Fill cars with Gas
Run to pickup stuff: dog food, printer paper, coffee filters, kid shampoo
Drop off stuff: at Goodwill, Library books, and Redbox movie
Crock pot Roast Beef
Guitar Lesson for Andrew
Basketball Practice for Sophie
Basketball Practice for Andrew
Birthday Party for Neighbor
Chili and Baked Potato with Chocolate Chip Bars
Dance for Lydia
Color Hair!
Passport for kids
ENT for Andrew
gather supplies and load stuff for co-op
get gifts for Sunday school party.
Audrey Dance
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Coffee Date with Randy and friends
Clean House
Sophie Extra Odyssey Practice
Andrew Basketball Game
Jackson Basketball Practice
Jackson Basketball Game
Sophie Basketball Game
Plan for Week
Grocery Store
Randy Basketball Game
Kim Sunday School Ladies Dinner
Randy make pancakes for him and the kids
If I have extra time:
Read Kisses with Katie
Make bows
Make chocolate chip cookie bars
Write thank you note.

Then....On a separate sheet of paper.I do a school plan for each child for the week and a plan for Lincoln which includes: craft, special toy for the day (he has a set of toys but I also add one toy each day for variety), story, and special activity.... now everyone knows what needs to be done.  I do not schedule Randy :)  Although he knows I would be happy too :)

3.  I give myself a  lot of example would be my hair.  If it doesn't get done....I just move it to the next day and hope it gets done then.  I try to focus on what I do accomplish....instead of what I do not accomplish.  I do not always usually get everything done.

4.  I prioritize....must get to get done....appointments.....want to get

5.  I rest...I say no to things I want to do because I need down time.  I don't talk on the phone much.  I don't go out a whole lot.  I don't visit much. I  TAKE A NAP EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON SO FEEL FREE NOT TO CALL ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON! :)  LOVE YOU!  When my head hits the pillow at night.....I sleep! I am also VERY strict about room time.  Andrew is the only child who no longer has room time....but he does practice guitar and read during room time so I still get a break!  HAHA!

6.  I have a high tolerance for mess....especially upstairs.  My kids have to clean up every Friday.  I like them to pickup after room time each day....but I don't care much....except on Friday.  I pick up each night before bed downstairs....but i do not obsess....except on Fridays.....which helps!  If I had to have everything just right all the would NOT happen and I would be a mess!

That is about it.....

Get up early, Plan a lot, Give yourself a lot of grace, Prioritize, Rest, and Realize it is messy!

Hope that answers the questions....cause that is all I've got!  This is not meant to be discouraging for those who don't feel they do as is probably just different.  If you wrote it all down you and I would be impressed too!  This is simply a response to a question I get at least 2 or 3 times a week......hope this helps!


Whew...this took much longer to write out then I expected....2 days.....I don't spend that long scheduling....I was just trying to make it clear.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things that made me laugh this week!

I have a house full of funny people.  So even weeks that turn out pretty crazy....we usually have a few good laughs.  Here are some snippets from this week:

Jackson kept touching his pants and looked concerned.  He said....."I don't know if this is apple juice or pee....Mommy smell it...."  

I looked troubled and said...."Uhmmmm.....I'll pass....just change!"


Then in a tender moment while Audrey is "fixing" my hair during one of Andrew's 800 ball games.....she screams (my kids do not know how to talk quietly) "Mommy Why is your hair brown and white and gray?"

"Uhmmmmm........guess it's past due for a color!"

It's on my too do's actually been on it since Christmas...but keeps getting pushed off......THIS IS THE WEEK!

Today at church my kids are marveling in a certain pregnant woman's belly.  They are questioning where is the babies head....feet....bottom....

Then Jackson......has a question....."Does he fart?"


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Father Load

So I write here primarily about my life, my kids, my role, what the Lord is doing in my life.  HOWEVER one of the main purposes I write is to leave a record for my kids.  I want them to be able to look back when I am gone and not just have pictures and memories and maybe a few birthday cards.....but a record.  I want them to know how much I loved them in my own words.  I want them to know my heart for the Lord and the journey of life and the ups and downs.  Not because I think I have some great wisdom to impart but simply because I don't ever want them to wonder.  I am not good at speaking my heart and so I write.  In this writing process I have become better at vocalizing my heart but it is still not an area of strength. I think words spoken are important but they can be forgotten.  They can be remembered differently then intended. They can be taken out of context.  So this post is another one for the record:

I want my kids to KNOW that I love their Daddy. I want them to KNOW that I think he is an outstanding father.  I want them to KNOW that I think they are sooooooo blessed to have him in their lives and that not everyone has been so blessed.  I want them to appreciate what they have been given in Randy.

It has been a rough 6 months for Randy.  He has had lots of emotions and felt the squeeze of life.  When life squeezes you-the inside becomes apparent.  No Randy is not perfect-but he is wonderful.  During this time his heart has been revealed. 

He has a heart for his God.  He has a heart for his wife.  He has a heart to provide.  He has a heart for his kids. 

His influence has been wonderful for our boys (and girls) over these last 6 months.  Particularly Andrew.  Kids need their Dads.  Not just money.....not just a ride here and there.....not just someone to enforce discipline.  They need a relationship.  Dads have so much pressure and so much pulling on them and so little time.  Randy has always been a great Dad.  He has always made time for our kids and they have always had a close relationship.  When Andrew was a little boy he used to want to change his name to Randy Jr.  He adores his Dad.  He still beams when people say he's just like his dad.  My kids all adore their Dad.  I believe one of the biggest blessings of this time of joblessness has been the enormous amount of time Randy has been able to pour into Andrew.  We would not have chosen for Randy to lose his job.  We are anxious for a new job.  However I see the fruit in Andrew from this time Randy has had extra time to walk throughout the day with him and to teach him.  It is not easy being a 13almost 14 year old boy.  Randy has been good for him.  He is sooooo much nicer then I am.  He extends sooooooo much more grace then I do.  He listens better.  He judges less.  He is much better at basketball and video games, and algebra, and Spanish.....and the boy needed that.  He is funnier and shares an interest in females and an understanding of the male brain, which is a total mystery to me!  Randy can correct him and deal head on with areas he struggles with in a way that brings redemption rather then condemnation.  Randy has that boys heart and his ear because of the investments he's made into his life.  For that I am eternally grateful.  He can reach him and teach him and lead him in ways I am not able.  What has been a loss to us financially has been an investment in Andrew on his journey to manhood.

I am seeing glimpses of the man Andrew is becoming....and I like what I see.  I am not foolish enough to think that he may not stumble....I KNOW he will.  I KNOW that kids can make dumb choices in an instant that can affect the course of their lives.....I am so thankful for grace and for the gift of prayer and for forgiveness and mercy beause my boy will need them just like his Mama and his Daddy have.....I am thankful for the Heavenly Father....because there will be earthly father is perfect!

However I am thankful that even in the tough hard times of life my husband is a man who loves his children and invests in their lives and that I can watch and learn how to love them better by his example.

So kids.....when you look back and read this one day.....I want you to KNOW that I love you.  I love your Daddy and I think he is the BEST Dad on earth and you are the luckiest kids to have him!  I also want you to KNOW that when the world doesn't make sense God has a plan.  "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives"
Genesis 50:20


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Days go slow but the Years go Fast.....

"The Days go Slow....but the Years Go Fast"

I had this quote that I heard from my Mama posted on my refrigerator for YEARS.  I love this quote.  It is soooooo true.  It brought me so much encouragement when my kids were all bitty.  When Audrey was a newborn, and Jackson and Lydia were 13 months old, and Sophie was 4, and Andrew was 9......I was worn out.

Some days felt like they would literally NEVER end.  Diapers......feedings......laundry........baths.......screaming.....messes........exhaustion.......NEVER ENDING! has.....

My kids don't wear diapers....the bottles are gone.....they pretty much bathe themselves...they sleep!
There are certainly still hard days....for sure....fighting.....fussing......timeouts.....temper tantrums.....sin......
But it is a different kind of hard.

The days are not as excruciatingly long as they were not so very long ago.....

Now they are busy.....classes, activities, parties, errands, events.....

As I thought about that quote today.....I realized the years do go fast.  Very fast.  4 more years and Andrew is done with high school.....4 more years with him under my roof and then my influence in the daily sense.....will be over.  WOW.....not much longer.  4 years is nothing. Audrey is almost 5.....and it seems like she was born just yesterday!

It is wonderful watching them grow and mature and yet it is fleeting.  The hard and never ending days....are going to end. 

Yes Mama was so right...."The days do go slow....but the years go so very fast!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet our Newest Buddy.....

Meet Lincoln!

He's our newest little buddy!

He is my very first Daycare kiddo.  His mom and dad are long time friends of Randy and I.  We've known his Dad since high school and his mom....since they got married!  Love them!

Lincoln fits right into the mix!

He is such a good boy!  He is so happy.  He is very sweet.  He sleeps well...and a lot.  He eats well.....and a lot! He is low maintenance....that is my kind of guy!

I was most nervous about him meeting Mindy....Mindy gets very excited when she meets new people and I wasn't sure how she would be around a little person....but Audrey has Mindy pretty well broken in and they were fast friends.

We've been finger painting (that is why he is half naked in all the pictures....I didn't want to mess up his shirt)

Enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather.

Fighting about who gets to feed Lincoln.

And getting all his sugar!

Today Randy even took us out for lunch!

Lincoln liked his dessert best!
Frozen Yogurt....YUMMY!

Then we went "baby shopping" and bought a couple fun toys for Lincoln to have at our house.
I also got an umbrella stroller....because tomorrow he gets to join us at co-op!  So I need wheels!

It's always an adventure!
But I can tell you this.....we sure are enjoying it!

Another bonus.....the kids are so excited to see Lincoln that they are very diligent in getting their work done so they can play with him.  They have finished by 3:00 both days!
I'm sure the novelty will wear off....but I'm taking advantage of it while I can!

Loving that Sweet Boy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Steps!

Up the hill....
Again and Again....

On a bike too small.....


She did it!
On her own.....without a lesson....she took off....

She was so proud of herself.
She ran in and got me and Daddy and brought us out and made us watch as she rode her little sisters bike without training wheels!

Way to Go!  So proud!

Her learning to ride is like she does everything else.  In her own timing.  Cautiously.  Carefully.
She goes tearing down the hill and then realizes what she is doing and stops.....just to make sure she can.  I can see her wanting to let go and fly and yet trying to hang on and make sure she won't be hurt.

Itty Bitty Baby Steps......You Go Girl!

I love watching you grow!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stones of Remembrance

One thing I have REALLY wanted to do for the last year is setup something tangible to show to my kids as part of our families story of how the Lord works in our lives.  Then I read Joshua 4 where Joshua sets up 12 stones taken from the Jordan and goes on to instruct the Israelites that when future generations ask "What do these stones mean?" to tell them........

So these are our families stones of remembrance.....

1.  A calendar on February 10......this is the day our precious baby Matthew was stillborn and it is also the day my sweet Twinkies were born 5 years later.  I want my children to KNOW that God cares about them....personally.  I want them to KNOW that he cares about the specific details of their lives and that he WILL allow pain......and he DOES allow suffering......but there is BEAUTY from the ashes.

2.  A small plastic croc....this will remind us of the day the Lord provided in the most unusual and fun way.  Jackson "needed" a new pair of crocs.  We went online to search for coupons and found out about a grand opening of a croc store.  We went.....we were "randomly" (not) chosen.....and got to run around the store grabbing shoes for 2 minutes.....Jackson ended up with 2 pairs of Crocs....and so did Lydia and Audrey......and Mommy and Sophie ended up with 3 pairs each.....and Andrew ended up with a pair.....and well poor sweet Daddy....didn't get any....but that is another story!  I want my children to KNOW that God WILL provide.....and sometimes in the most unusual ways.....

3.  A  check....again the Lord provided....on time....Randy has been out of work for 6 months.  It has been difficult.  HOWEVER.....It has been AMAZING to see the Lords provision.  It was 2 days before Christmas.  I checked our online banking and freaked out!  I had a bill scheduled to go out that I thought was scheduled for AFTER Christmas.  It was totally my mistake!  It was on oversight!  It was our largest bill.  I was short $150.  I tried to change the date.....I couldn't without 24 hour notice.  I tried to call the bank to get them to change it......they couldn't without 24 hour notice.....I tried to call my in-laws....because when Randy lost his job and cashed out his retirement we put the money in their bank account so that we wouldn't dwindle it away and would have to really think before we used it......and they were out of town visiting Bob's mom and we couldn't get in touch with them to access the money.....SO...I had a sick feeling.....I prayed and washed my hands of it and chalked it up as a lesson learned......THEN....the phone rang and a friend wanted to drop by and had a gift and when we opened was a check....and it was money to cover the bill AND then some!  WOW!  So obviously I rushed to the bank......and deposited the check......and the bill was paid.......and from this I want my children to KNOW......God is ALWAYS on time!  He has a plan.  He will provide.....and it is in HIS TIMING...which is perfect.  We will NOT be forsaken.

4.  A small paper bag and a gift card and a match box car.  I can't tell you how often I have left church LOADED in paper bags.  Oh thank you!  This Wednesday night 3 different people brought stuff for my family.  One single mom brought 2 big paper bags FILLED with clothes for my oldest.  Nice clothes.  Needed clothes.  Another mom brought 2 plastic bags LOADED with clothes for Jackson.....from Gymboree!  Mostly church pants.....his closet is filled!  Another sweet family brought games and toys from their playroom.  Bounty!  My kids have already thoroughly enjoyed those!  I am ashamed that I would ever worry....when God has proven SO FAITHFUL!  He LAVISHES blessings on us. When Randy lost his job we also lost our second car....he had a company car.  Our neighbors had just gotten a new car and GAVE us their old car.  Yes GAVE!   I can't tell you how often we would get a gift card.....or a gift.....or hand-me-downs....or invited to go to dinner or the beach......or a check.......or even a car!  It truly has been humbling.  God is so good and so often God's hands are people.  We are his body.  Flesh and Blood left to meet the needs of those around us in the sweet name of Jesus!  I am STUNNED with the way he has provided for us.  I want my kids to KNOW that God USES PEOPLE TO CARRY OUT HIS PLAN.  I want them (and me) to be sensitive to what the Lord leads them (us) to do and how he wants to use them (us).

So Joshua 4:4-8a says, "So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, "Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.  Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.  In the future, when your children ask you, What do these stones mean?  tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.  When it crossed the Jordan, the water of the Jordan were cut off.  These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.  So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them."

Yes it may look a bit strange.....but I want my children to KNOW.....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update on My CrAzY Life!

Well.....The beach was fun.....and life was waiting when we got back!

Monday-was school and Odyssey and Sophie Basketball Practice, and Andrew Guitar.....

Tuesday-was school and Andrew Basketball Practice and Grandma to the doctor and Lydia Dance....

Wednesday-was school and errands and Andrew Basketball Game and Church.....

Thursday-was Co-op and Audrey Dance.....

Friday-was Grocery shopping, and paperwork for my daycare, and school and House Cleaning and Laundry and a brief visit with my parents, and Andrew Away Basketball Game......

Today was Jackson Pictures, Jackson Practice, Jackson Game, Sophie Pictures, Sophie Game, Andrew Game, Drop Andrew and Sophie off for sleepovers........and I've done NOTHING and Saturday is quickly coming to an end......

I didn't finish cleaning, I didn't make the hair bows I wanted to make for Sophie's basketball team, I didn't visit (or even call to check on) one of my friends who is recovering, I didn't make stew I was wanting to put in the freezer, I haven't planned school for next week.  I haven't planned my week or my menu or my co-op lessons.......I haven't taken pictures.....I haven't bathed the dog.....I haven't cleaned out my car......I haven't gone to Goodwill......I haven't called about 10 friends that I'm sure think I have dropped off the face of the planet......I haven't done so much......

I haven't blogged.....but now I am.......

My forever list!

I did hug my kids and kiss them and cook for them and cheer for them and take a 30 minute power nap........

So much much undone.......So much to do......

It was a week.....and it is going, going, gone.....

I'm REALLY excited about this coming week......
Cause guess what???????


I guess that is it for now.....I must whip up a gourmet dinner of left over mac and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, and fresh apple slices for my kids :)  then baths, a movie, and bedtime!  I may get something done tonight....the biggies are away so I can do an early bedtime for the littles and hopefully get ready for next week.....

Here are my measly pictures from the week:  This is the schoolroom at the end of the day.....

Now it's ready again for tomorrow!

I did take pictures of Jackson's team....

So sweet!

Can't believe the weekend is almost over!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You're Invited!

One of things I am most excited about this year is a new start to pondering.  Last year Shay led a group of "ponders" through some GREAT scriptures.  It was so neat to see how God would allow me to learn so much each week and how personal and applicable the passages always were.  So I thought it would be the same this year.

However Shay decided to mix it up a bit!  This year we are going to ponder the book of Ephesians.  Sometimes we will read one verse sometimes more and then we think about it and ponder on it. He will post his thoughts on it each Friday. Sometimes other ponders that blog will also post on it.  This year he is also personally working on becoming a better prayer and going to share that process with us as well by posting on Wednesday's.  I am so excited....Why?

1.  Because Shay and Linda (his wife) are some of my most favorite people on earth.  This is his brain child so I obviously want to participate.  Why?  Cause they are awesome and real and can read more about them here:

A Rabbi, Sweet Linda, and The Lesson

I'm of the opinion you become like the people you hang I like to hang around them.

2.  Because Shay and Linda and Christy (their daughter) had what could have very well been a fatal accident over Christmas.  You can read the details on their daughter Christy's blog.  It seems to have had a huge impact, understandably, on them and I think what the Lord is going to do through them as a result is going to be a blessing to those around and so again....I want to hang around for the journey.

The Scooter Accident

and click here if you want to see the beginnings of how God is using this in Shay's life:
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
and part two
Lessons Part 2

3.Because I grew so much in my understanding of scriptures last year.  When I slowed down to ponder and didn't just try to get it done the Lord REALLY was able to reveal things to me personally.  I truly believe time in God's word is the best spent time.  It is not is an yourself....that will benefit so many around you!  My kids often tell me how mean I am and I assure they are right....can you even imagine if I didn't spend time in the word?  I would be even more of a nightmare!

4.  Because I need a plan or I'm just random.  The structure of having a weekly plan helps me.  Otherwise I'm all over the place.  I'm too ADHD.

5.  It's easy.  You don't have to pay.  You don't have to find a babysitter.  You don't have to show up at a certain time.  Yet it does have a community element in the postings and the comments and the commonality of sharing the study of scripture together. 

So that my dear friends is my best sales pitch....and Why would I try to sell this?  BECAUSE it is sooooo good!  I promise you will not be disappointed.

So you can see a more detailed plan....when we start......and how to follow clicking on the link below:
Pondering and Praying in 2012

Whew that was a bunch of links.....anyway......You're Invited!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Guess what I did this weekend????

Guess Where Randy and I Spent the Weekend.....

We were invited by some of our buddies from church to go to the beach for the weekend!
They said they wanted us to join them as their Christmas present to us!!!!!

Thank you Denny and Debra....You guys RoCk!

We rode the SkyWheel!

Look-No Hands!

The ride was amazing!

Fabulous View!

We spent all day Saturday window shopping at Barefoot Landing....

We found a candy store!


We posed at lots of cut outs!
Sherri and Chris are looking good!

We saw lots of funny T-shirts....

and searched for the perfect hat....

I think we may have found it!

We fed the fish

well....we tried to feed the fish....we actually fed the birds....

We couldn't claim false advertisement....
The birds came right up to Debra.....
Not sure what Chris is doing.....some kind of bird dance????

We laughed sooooooooooooo much!

We ate....

and ate....

This is us at our favorite seafood joint......Olive Garden!
We ate some more!

We prayed

We talked.....

We continued to pose at random cut-outs.....

Denny wowed us with his magic tricks....

We planked....

We enjoyed our friends!

We needed a weekend away from our crazy house....
Love my crew....but whew.....they are full of energy....

We walked on the boardwalk and enjoyed the perfect weather.....

So nice!

Huge Thank You to Denny and Debra for their amazing generosity
Mama and Daddy for taking over managing my crazy life for the weekend.....
They took great care of my 5 kids including getting them to one basketball practice, three basketball games, one Odyssey meeting, making sure some school work got done on Friday AND had them all in church this morning.  Came home to a happy, bathed bunch of kids.  Ya'll are the best!