Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Pilgrims at the First Thanksgiving were all Mayflower survivors- 4 married women, 5 adolescent girls, 9 adolescent boys, 12 children and 22 men- 52 people. The original passengers of the Mayflower totaled 102.
The reason they were here:
The Mayflower Compact
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under written, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James...
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern parts of Virginia....
Despite their heartbreak- they were filled with gratitude that first Thanksgiving. "But these things did not dismay them (though they did sometimes trouble them) for their desires sat on the ways of God, and to enjoy His ordinances; but they rested on His providence and knew whom they had believed." - William Bradford, of Plymouth Plantation
Yesterday I sat down to make a list of all the things I am grateful for this year- and I still haven't finished. God has been so faithful to me, and so amazingly patient. I started out this year with the foolish belief that I was close with God, and walking the walk well- and through trials, and struggle- pain, and heartache; God showed me my fault, and has drawn me near- closer to Him then I have ever been. I can't praise Him or glorify Him enough for His goodness- and for giving me Jesus. There aren't words. The Lord of the Universe- the One True God- is so huge, and so totally satisfying, my peanut brain cannot comprehend.
Thank you, Father, for my husband and kiddos- a family of love and acceptance, of forgiveness and grace. Thank you for my great country, that no matter what is coming, you created me to be born an American, with freedom, a land that was founded on your very Word, and the love of your Son.
Lord, as I compile my list, may my heart be so full of gratitude, and my praise so truthful- it causes you to smile.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Yesterday my kids were discussing our various problems, and Jasmine told me I have "advicitis", or a disease that makes me give out advice too freely. Ugh, talk about "out of the mouth of babes". I felt like such a loser, and I know she is so totally right. I have been trying to learn that when people tell you their struggles, they just want to talk, and really, they want to stay in their ugly situation. They DON'T want you to encourage them to make changes, or do productive things to make the situation better. So SHUT UP, Renee. All this I have really been working on the last 6 months or so, but to have your child say she knows that's your issue too- no fun at all. :) That being a warning to you, my friendly blog readers. I am working on not giving advice during your crisis, but blogging is my venting area- the one place I can give all the advice I want because few will ever read it, and maybe someday when my kids read all these, they will care what I had to say. So please have mercy on me if something I write rubs you wrong, like the following study. Hehehehe And turn off your t.v.! (Ahhh- for a person with advicitis- that felt good!) Muhahahaha
This was quite interesting. This study spanned 35 years, with 45,000 people surveyed, and it found a correlation between people who were unhappy, and the amount of t.v. they watched. Basically, unhappy people watched more t.v. than people who were overall, happy. Food for thought, yes? Now, it didn't prove that t.v. watching caused unhappiness,possibly more of a symptom, but the activities happy people engaged in more- going to church, visiting friends, reading- could definitely be related to better life choices that equipped them to handle adversity more effectively, wouldn't you say? Not to mention, the activities that happy people chose- all fit into God's design for His people, to be relational, loving, encouraging, bearing one another's burdens. Hmmm- two points for our amazing God yet again, even in sociology, His way is the best way.
"We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. [John] Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”
(Side note- I really like this photo of Steve and I because it is so totally us- I look like a Mary Kay lady who had way too much fun with eyeshadow and Steve looks like he is a crazy man on crack- hilarious!)
Monday, November 24, 2008
So I was going to blog this morning about my terrible week, and blah blah blah- pretty much whine and gripe. But then I HAD to check my email, and my friends HAD to forward me a million things, and I HAD to look at them all, and God HAD to speak to my heart. (snicker) I am just so totally amazed at what an awesome God we have, that He so totally understands us, and loves us, in spite of how human we really are. Wow- I went from hardly able to get going this morning, feeding animals, ironing clothes, trying to help Steve get out the door without showing my grumpy spirit- to feeling a spring in my step, and joy in my heart- all because God decided to use a little boy in Nebraska in a very special way. Thank you, Lord, for your constant instruction. I love you, and so want to recognize your might works- give me the eyes and hears to see it. It makes me realize how much we don't record- how many things God has done or is doing, that we can't possibly keep a memory of it all. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This week just keeps getting worse and worse- and until I can get to the other side of it, I am not up to a blog post. So here are a few things I read today that encouraged my heart- at least in what matters, who cares if the rest of the sky is falling down around me, right? :)
"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." Dorothy Fischer
"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother." Lin Yutang
"An infallible way to make your child miserable is to satisfy all his demands." Henry Home
"Babies are such a nice way to start people." Don Herold
"Children are natural mimics- they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners."
"A little boy's mother once told him that it is God who makes people good. He look up and replied, "yes, I know it is God, but mothers help a lot." Glen Wheeler
"I regret often that I have spoken, never that I have been silent." Syrus (Amen to that!!!)
"Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it." Harold S. Hulbert
"Our children are watching us live, and what we ARE shouts louder than anything we can say." Wilferd A. Peterson
God bless you, and give a child a kiss when they are naughty tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Why does it have to be so horribly difficult, but so wonderful at the same time- watching your children grow? My Jasmine is moving so fast, I feel like if I turn my head away for a second, I am going to miss something amazing. She is my little woman now, and last night just reaffirmed that. We were driving home from TAG, and chatting with her in the car, laughing our heads off because she was so hyper, I realized how few nights we have left of that. She is able to understand, and evaluate things now that she didn't get even 6 months ago. It's wonderful to see what an awesome person she is growing in to, but so hard for me too. I remember those chubby cheeks, and the little girl who said she would never grow up, who wanted nothing better than her mama's lap and a warm blanket. When we lived in Arizona, she would often remark how much she missed cold, rainy days- simply because they gave us an excuse to do nothing and cuddle up on the couch together. It doesn't help that I sat around watching old home videos- laughing and crying at the stupidity of myself. How much I took for granted while I was in it- busy raising toddlers, chasing down preschoolers, educating my school aged children. Who cares about the 3 R's I should have said- let's just go play! Now, when I see them sitting in their classes at school, and being way ahead of the course work, I kind of wish I hadn't pushed them as hard, and just played more. I know, I am being a sentimental goob. We have taken way too many "Jordan days" over the years, played our hearts out, and I don't have any regrets as to our choices over the last 10 years, but I can't help but be a little sappy today.Thank you, God, for blessing our home with these people, with making it possible for me to stay home all these years, and be active and available every day. No matter what hard stuff we have gone through, it is so awesome to see your kids carefree and loving life, and have them say they have the best family in the world.
My girl is so grown up, and so ready to take this world by storm. And it makes me want to shout out for joy and cry at the same time. Go figure.
" A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly." -Barbara Johnson
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." Proverbs 17:1
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wow- what an awesome day- somebody please pinch me. Tomorrow will be terrible most likely, but right now I don't even care. Have you ever had a day where you just know that you are a part of something bigger? As a Christian, we are suppose to think that all the time, but I wouldn't say that it happens for me very often. I need to relish this moment just a little longer. :)
We started out bright and early for the kids first class, and everything was so easy for them. It just confirmed to me how amazing it has been that I am able to home school, and how prepared they really are. Jordan had to jump into an Algebra class, and to be honest I was a little worried. We haven't been as on task as I normally like for us, and coming in two months after school has been going was a little daunting. As I am sitting in the back, and watching Jordan go from slightly nervous, to raising his hand and grinning out answers- I couldn't help but get goosebumps. He so needed that- the knowledge that he is way ahead of the game, that he can totally compete intellectually in the big bad world, and he doesn't have to be shy no matter how awkward he might feel. It was so cool- I can't even begin to explain it to you. It felt like confirmation that Riverlink is the best of both worlds, and would be a good fit for him next year. Score!
In addition, we got to play outside in all our spare time- and it was so amazingly glorious, I can't even describe it. I get such cabin fever if it is even dry outside that I can hardly stand to spend a minute indoors, but to have it be dry- and SUNNY, with nothing but big trees and blue skies as far as I could see, what a dream day. I got to play with every single horse, use my awesome leaf blower, watch my kids love on their cousins and teach them how to play! It was the best, and I am so thankful for the moments.
To finish it off, Stef, Jazz and I got to sit and watch a great movie together, and just be together. I can't explain how fun it is to see the face I saw at 8 years old, looking back at me in the beautiful, godly woman who is not only a dear sister and friend, but my neighbor. It makes me laugh every time I think about it. We are two of the biggest dorks on the planet, and it is so much fun! We watched this movie called "True Women" (if you haven't seen it, borrow it from me, it's very good), it was a Made for TV deal, but really fun- based in Texas from the Alamo to after the Civil War. The story follows these women through such rough roads, and so many changing times, and at the end, you just have this wonderful sense of the journey. I always think about how God must love stories when I read the Old Testament, and even more so tonight. We are all a part of such an amazing story, and I need to slow down and LIVE it. Too often I am rushing to get ahead, to finish that, accomplish this, I forget that the journey is what makes it all worthwhile. The people you meet and love and hate and grow with, the adventures you have. Oh, Lord, thank you for this day, our stories, and remind me that you are keeping the record.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
" I can forgive, but I cannot forget," is another way of saying, "I will not forgive." Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note- torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one." Henry Ward Beecher
I love that, no matter how much it hurts because it reminds me how short I come. I want to let stuff go and have it never creep up again, but I think forgiveness is something we have to decide to do- over and over again, until we truly FORGET the troubles. That is a conscious decision too. Reading the book of John is a constant reminder of how little I understand about Jesus, and how much I take for granted. It is so funny to see my kids growing, and learning to process things with a critical mind, to see them getting wiser right before my eyes- and it is so amazing that that is exactly how God sees me! We are His children, and I wonder how often He watches me struggling to get something, and He lets me struggle- so I can learn. I always want the quick fix- I pray for Him to just clean up the mess I have made, but then what would I really learn? I let my children stumble and fall, and then help them get up again. How awesome that God does the same for me. Each day is new, and some days are going to be better than others, but the end is sure.
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving on another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Epehesians 4:32
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
What a start to the week! My girl got braces put on Monday, and it has been pure misery ever since. To watch your child hurting, and not be able to make it better is terrible- and I hate it. No matter if there is good to be had, it doesn't make it any more bearable. I am just praying that she wakes up today feeling more normal, and is finally able to EAT something.
In light of that, I read some great quotes this morning about children and mothers, hope you like them as much as I do!
"A happy childhood is one of the best gifts that parents have it in their power to bestow." Mary Cholmondeley Proverbs 3:27
"Children spell "love"....T-I-M-E." Dr. Anthony P Witham Ephesians 5:16
"A mother is neither cocky, nor proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium." Mary Kay Blakely Proverbs 27:1
"When home is ruled according to God's Word, angels might be asked to stay with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element." Charles Spurgeon
"A mother is a person who sees that there are only four pieces of pie and promptly remarks that she's never cared for pie" Acts 20:35
"The darn trouble with cleaning the house is it gets dirty the next day anyway, so skip a week if you have to. The children are the most important thing." Barbara Bush
Very funny, yes? Some made me realize how short I am falling, but all encouraged me to make the minutes count. God bless you today.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I just love it- I can't think of any other way to say it. I think God has such an amazing sense of humor. As I struggled through the last part of the week, He must have just been laughing his head off at my ignorance. Smiling, and saying to Himself "Just wait and see, girl, wait and see" at what he had in store for me. And there I was grumbling, all the way to Sunday night- and then He blessed me with His presence and His people. It is the most awesome sensation to know that you are loved by God, and that He CARES for you. And He doesn't want you to sweat the small stuff.
I read this in one of the books I am reading this morning, and for me, it really helps free me from the legalistic box I often find myself in. " To be human is to live with loose ends, with people and in a world of loose ends, feeling you've been made for perfection but knowing you can't get there on your own. Knowing that you have been placed here to bring a taste of something beautiful and blessed." Rick McKinley I haven't totally decided what I think of the book yet, he is a little too fluffy at times for my tastes, but his point is fantastic (It's about living in the kingdom of God/heaven here). Get off your high horse, Renee, and admit that you are NEVER going to do it all right all the time. I battled all weekend with everything I needed to do, and wanted to accomplish, with the state of the relationships of my life, with the sadness of seeing people not living a joy-filled life because of unforgiveness or anger, not walking with the Lord and not being able to help them. And then- I walk into Bible study and get fed by God's amazing Word, meet with people who struggle with the same things I do, and come out refreshed and EXCITED to keep on, keepin' on. One of the older ladies said to me that whenever someone asks her how she is doing, she always responds "I am blessed"- because that's how she feels, regardless of the circumstances, and that's her way of bringing Jesus into her conversations. How cool is that!?! If only I had her 70 year old perspective in my 30 year old brain, what a different way I would live. I am blessed.
Thank you God, for the moments. I struggled so much with what to do about moving back to Washington, and felt so many times that it would come back to bite us in the butt, and often times it has felt that way. But being with the people from my church, learning with them and seeing them care for one another- fallen and sinful as we all are, feeling God changing my stubborn self- is worth every bit of heartache and inconvenience. It has taken almost a year for me to realize it, and I am so glad I finally have. Remind me of that next time I am whining, ok? :)
"Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you", declares the LORD. "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you." Zechariah 2:10 If we really believed that Jesus came and we now have God living within us, that He is HERE- how differently would we live?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I had to save this picture because it absolutely made my day. With all the junk, this was a little bit of fun God gave me. Steve and I have prayed for this guy for years, loved him, and had the blessing of watching him grow into an awesome man. I love that he is comfortable in his own skin, and having such a great time being young.
Thank you, Lord, for the confirmation that you are in control- and so amazingly GOOD. I love you.
(And by the way- if any of you can actually wink with one eye still fully open and not have to open your mouth really wide- I applaud you- because when I try to wink, I look like a mutant!)
Friday, November 7, 2008
A new day, yes it is. Things are not looking so dark, but nothing has changed. Isn't that funny? Attitude is everything as they say. The end of the world could be here, and if your focus is right- you could be jumping for joy!
Today the kiddos are transferring to Riverlink, and it is going to be so cool! I love that they have to get up before the sun rises, and be intentional about their schedule. So much for - "I wish I went to real school"..hehehehe Two days a week of 5:30 am's and they are singing a different tune. I love the flexibility of homeschooling, and being able to really watch them grow. My thirteen year old son still wants to TALK to me, and loves debriefing with us after youth group, or any event. Go figure. :)
Busy times, but it helps me not be focused so much on the political scene. Jazz is getting her braces on Monday, so having this weekend to grocery shop and get her soft foods will be fun. (She is taking the dentist's recommendations very seriously!) God is good, even if the world is bad. I like that better than the dumb quote someone emailed me "Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walk so Barack could run, Barack ran so our children could fly." Yeah, we will see. A man who changes his mind like the shifting wind is going to have a tough time not just becoming someone else's pawn.
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I have to be a fickle pickle again- I just can't help it, so please forgive me.
This last week was pretty much a nightmare, and I kept thinking- "It will get better, it has to get better". Yeah, no. Apparently I haven't learned whatever it is I am to learn, so I am trying to suck it up and keep on keeping on. It isn't enough that the election was so depressing, but everything else is spiraling downhill fast and I don't know how to stop it. Parenting, loving, caring- it all hurts sometimes. Coping mechanisms should be ingrained in our souls- not something we have to learn as we go. :)
I truly feel sad to be an American for probably the first time in my life. Thankfully I identify more with the title "Christian", but I have always been so glad to be from the United States of America- and yet, do I really believe anything that my neighbors do? From the results of last night, I would have to say I have very little in common with the rest of America. I don't want to be a part of a country that only cares for it self, refuses to protect the sanctity of life, and allows pop culture to determine every move they make. My brother in law told me that there was a poll done in the NE, where the voters were asked questions regarding Obama with completely false facts (like-Are you happy with his VP nominee, Sara Palin, Do you agree with his choice to commit more troops to Iraq) and the people HAD NO CLUE that those questions were not true. They had no idea what Obama had said, stood for, or planned- yet they adamantly were casting their vote for him! Pathetic, irresponsible, and shameful. We are some of the most blessed people in the world, and we can't take the time to educate ourselves- we would just rather watch The View and pretend they are actually TEACHING us something? I am sorry- I just can't stomach it tonight.
Thanks for letting me vent, and yes, tomorrow is a new day. Thank God He is more faithful than me.
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2
Neat poem- been around for awhile but did me good yesterday.
Sometimes life seems hard to bear
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe,
It's then I have to remember
...that it's in the valleys that I grow.
If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.
I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops.
But it's in the valleys that I grow.
I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing-
My Lord will see me through.
My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.
Forgive me Lord, for complaining when I am feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it;s in the valleys that I grow.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.
Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys that I grow.
Monday, November 3, 2008
What a weird thing to sign up for. I don't know what made me do it, but I am taking a line dancing class through the community center- and believe it or not, I love it! Yeah, I know- woman with 2 left feet. But it wasn't that bad, and super fun. We did the electric slide, of course, the boot-scoot boogie, and little rumba. It's just too bad the class is only an hour, right when I felt like I was getting it, it was time to leave, and by next week I won't remember a thing. Oh well, it was a great time.
We have been doing a really neat study called The Truth Project, and it has brought up a lot of talking points that Steve and I have been hashing over. Great discussions, but pretty mind-boggling if you try to analyze it too much. These are times when I wish I was truly brilliant, so everything would make sense right away. It shouldn't be so hard to learn. This last week we finished up a section about science- focusing on the farce called evolution. There was a great quote that stated someday evolution will be seen as the greatest deception in the history of science. Oh, if only that day would come soon. In the mean time, Steve will keep debating it with his boss, I will continue to teach the truth to my kids, and hope for opportunities to talk with people who actually want to review what the fossil record and Darwin really said, rather than folks who choose to believe blindly and don't want to admit that evolution is their religion.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
With all that has been going on in the news- politics and ethics are hot topics. I just can't help but marvel at the interesting times we live in. Not necessarily good or bad- but so crazy. I think we often keep expounding how much better "the good old days were", but in reality, whether we are looking at 2000 years or 20 years, people are people and we are all sinful. I was so frustrated after leaving the pregnancy clinic today because I just couldn't understand the nurses I am working with. Here we are at a pro-life clinic, Christians, NURSES, and yet some of them don't see the abortion issue as "black and white", and it doesn't sound like they vote according to pro-life stances. I was floored, not just at the stupidity of it, but at the mixed messages they must be receiving. If I didn't wholeheartedly believe in what the clinic stands for, I couldn't work there, but they seem to be able to separate themselves from the message enough to counsel one way, but believe another. Was the mission statement not clear enough for them, does the director not see, or care, what her nurses really feel? Our sonographer who is training us is not a Christian and pro-abortion, and when she brought up selective abortions for multiple "fetuses"- instead of having support, it felt like they agreed with her and argued with me. It was so bizarre, and frustrating to yet again be confronted with Christians who don't follow a Biblical world view, and be unable to do anything about it. It boils down to God's timing and plan, and I just have to trust that He will work it out, but man, is that hard for me. Yet another time to practice using the filter from my brain to my mouth, I guess.
It was so great though to have such a rough time, and then be able to have some dear friends of ours over for dinner, and be encouraged by Christians who take God at His Word, and truly live and breathe Jesus. It was just what I needed, a good time for Steve, and the kids had a blast. Thank you, Lord, for knowing what I would be struggling with- and preparing the "plan" in advance to rescue me from a stressful work day.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25