Monday, December 31, 2007

I found this encouraging

While listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss tonight, I heard an encouraging teaching about working (in our homes) joyfully. There was an especially good example of how'd I'd like to be (text taken from Nancy's transcript):

One writer I read on Proverbs 31 said, “Only love can make such diligent service sweet and delightful. Where love is lacking, this work will be the worst drudgery.” Some of you are familiar with the name Brother Lawrence. He was a 17th century monk whose job in the religious order that he was in was to work in the kitchen. But he learned to do it with a cheerful heart, out of love for God. And then there comes to us in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, the great little classic, that I think is so encouraging to us as women as we do our work.

He said, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer.” And keep in mind what his business was: working in the kitchen—kitchen crew, kitchen cleanup—that was his job. He said, “My job, my work, does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons at the same time are calling for different things.”

Does this sound like your life? Any of you that are mothers at home—several persons calling at you at the same time for different things? He said, “In the midst of all that noise and clutter, I possessed God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees in prayer.”

Isn’t that great! Now, he didn’t start out that way, I’ll just tell you that. As you read The Practice of the Presence of God, you see that this was a process for him. But that most menial and manual labor becomes holy. It becomes sanctified, consecrated, when I give it up to God as an offering.

And you can think as a mom, in the midst of the cleaning up, the picking up, the straightening up, the putting up, the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, all the things that you do to help make a home for your family; that you can possess God in your spirit in as much tranquility as if your were on your knees with your Bible open and in prayer, because you do your work as unto the Lord, with the willing heart.

I know that was long, but if you got through it, wasn't it good? I needed to hear that and from talking to several of my friends, I know I'm not the only one. If you want to hear this series of messages (or others related to women's issues) go to her site, click "radio" then "past programs". I use the option of looking for shows by topic. This Prov 31 series is under Biblical Womanhood. For simplicity, I've linked to the list of Biblical Womanhood shows here.

Another Bethie

I love the name Beth. I love Beths. I've never met a Beth I didn't like. I especially like my Beth, who we also call Bethy, BB (her first initials), and Betha (and we occasionally call her by her full name, lol).

Of the grown up varieties of Bethies, I like Beth Moore the best. I've not done enough of her great Bible studies (who could ever get enough?). I do love love love her book Further Still a compilation of her poems and essays from some of her studies and I totally fell in love with her watching the Fruit of the Spirit Bible Study on DVD.

Imagine my delight when Shane randomly found her blog today. I don't even know if he knows who she is (I doubt he does), but for some strange reason, he was blog hopping this morning. I was chore hopping and kept coming back to look over his shoulder as he'd comment on something he was reading. He ended up following a homeschool blogging trail and as I glanced over his shoulder, I briefly saw one of the last lines of a blog entry that mentioned and linked to Beth Moore's blog. I came back later this morning to check it out and I have found treasure!

So, my two favorite women's ministries are now a part of my daily life-Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio programs I listen to via my computer while cleaning my kitchen (I'm currently listening to her great Proverbs 31 teaching) and Beth Moore's blog. There's more to Beth's site, I just haven't had time to explore it too much.

If your new year includes enriching your Bible study intake, go check out these sites! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Memory Making

I often try to look at my children's days through the looking glass of time. What will they remember as adults when they look back to their childhood? I hope it's not just "Wow, Mom, was always so stressed and edgy!". Although they won't remember their parants as perfect, that's for sure, I do hope they remember we invested time in making memories with them.

We took advantage of the 60 degree December weather and spent the afternoon geocaching. We found the 3 caches we were hunting and spent some extra time at a little lake. We just skipped rocks and enjoyed the sunshine, but it was nice. I felt so good inside, I just prayed, "God I want to feel this good more often."

Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Challenges

Okay, as I've been cleaning all day, I thought of the learning experiences, growth opportunities and just plain hard issues of 2007.

1. FBI interview this summer. Meeting two FBI agents who flew into Texas just to investigate a government official from AZ and his business practices (he allegedly was using insurance funds that were supposed to be going to clients to finance his campaign. One of the PRCs we work with bought insurance and filed a claim (and waited on our money) with that company. I had to answer questions like, "What did you do after filing the claim?" "What did the form look like?" This was typical day to day business that took place several years ago, so I felt pretty dumb saying, "I don't recall" to a bunch of their questions.

2. Shane's Pepper Spray and Tasering. I don't know when they both occured, but I think the Tasering was this year. I hated it. I saw the latent results of the spray and had seen video of the Sheriff getting tasered. I dreaded the tasering the most.

3. Saying a short term good-bye to our friends who are now serving in Africa and our other friends who are about to leave for mission work in Mexico. Denial is my bestfriend :)

4. Learning to accept my "season" in life. I don't feel the freedom to drop all four kids at my mom's or Shane's mom's house. I know they're a lot of work. With Shane's night schedule, I've had to be okay with declining a lot of invitations-including one to the PRC's annual Christmas party for all the precious staff. I've never missed one in the six years we've held them, until this year. I also missed a good friend's Christmas party...but it's just not my "season" to be able to have a lot of evening get togethers.

5. My relationship with God has been a challenge this year. I feel distracted by the multitude of responsibilities and 4.5 children around me all day. My spiritual growth this year hasn't been at the rate of previous years.

I think half the number of challenges is best! 10 highs and 5 challenges, not too bad! And I've survived all 5 so far!

Highs of 2007

I may come back and add more but a few big blessings of the year have been rolling around in my head. This blog is how I get them out, lol.

In no certain order:
1. I've seen my children grow spiritually, especially Ash in her desire to read/understand God's Word and Hope in her Bible knowledge. They are both great at scripture memory and Beth is starting to enjoy memorizing verses, too.
2. Karate-this has been an unexpected blessing. My brother just came in one day and offered to pay for Ash to take lessons with him. Hope wanted to join in, too and we could only see good in it, so we said "yes". We love the leaders and their style of teaching and the girls are learning self defense and getting great exercise in the process.
3. My youngest brother has started attending church and is excited about God.
4. The PRC has been blessed beyond our imagination! We've added an assistant director which takes a huge load off me and we were given a donation of $30,000--just about a year's budget!
5. Hope learned to read!
6. Shane's schedule changed allowing him to attend church again, which he hadn't been able to do in 18 months.
7. My circle of friends grew closer and made some great memories! On the same note, keeping Adri has allowed me to rekindle a friendship with her mom, my cousin whom I spent hours and hours playing with as a child.
8. Libby was born-her parents are close friends of ours and they waited 8 long years for her! Two other friends, Stacy & Marianne also gave birth to long awaited children this year.
9. I beat some fears and started sewing.
10. We paid off our van (this week!) and have a plan to be out of debt in 18 months.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cleaning it all up

We're in that stage now-finding a place for the 50 new gifts our girls got. We counted last year and figured out if the girls get just one gift from all of the people who usually "gift" them, they'll get about a dozen gifts a piece--not including what they open from us. A dozen gifts times 4 girls, all put away in one bed room = a really frustrated momma. Last year, we laid down the law and requested the grandparents reign it in and keep it to one gift per child, preferably gifts that don't take up much room or gift certificates for fun experiences (zoo, museum, whatever). They honored our wishes, but when we didn't give out any requests this year, one set of grandparents/family went wild again. I know it's how they show their love, but I wish they'd see how hard it makes it to find places for all this stuff. We worked today clearing all the main living areas but their bedroom, which was neat on Monday morning is now impossible to walk through. We'll work on it the next few days (we're working kind of lazily, this is a holiday week, ya know).

I long for year, we'll hopefully be getting very close to having all our debt paid off by December and we'll be planning our house to be built on our land. I'm not going to find room for 50 more toys next year that will just have to be moved a few months later. No way. And the girls have already been asking to keep their rooms "country" an not mix in a lot of different colors or Disney themes, so we'll have to find a way to manage all that stuff, too...anyway, its such a waste to me to know a lot of the stuff that came in the last few days will be at the Hospice Thrift store within six months. Some of it has already broken (including one of the Polly Pockets I bought) and will be tossed soon.

When we watch those old Little House episodes that show the family exchanging Christams gifts, they were handmade or high quality gifts that took a lot of thought and sacrifice. Laura sold her horse to buy a stove for her mother and cried when her father gave her the saddle he'd made. She cried because of all the work he'd put into it, not because of sadness about her horse. That's what I'd like to experience at Christmas-genuine heartfelt thought going into a gift chosen for it's excellent craftsmanship and keeping the needs of the receiver in mind. Obviously, we buy into the cheap side of Christmas, too--I bought Polly Pockets all on my own, lol.

Here's how we're doing it though-we still need to work on it, but right now, we buy each girl about 3 or 4 gifts, which may include clothes, bedding, books, but few toys. Their stockings this year held tights or socks, geocaching goodies, and a Polly Pocket car (J got a bath toy instead). They got one Daddy/Santa gift this year-a telescope. Next year, I might work on some throw quilts that will coordinate with their new bedding they got this year and I'd like to make them some old fashioned night gowns (they've been asking for some). Then we can do a few modern things-or not :)

Okay, that's enough of my Christmas spiel. We had a great holiday, Shane was able to spend most of it with us, and if the only thing I can complain about is too many gifts for my children, then I'm a blessed woman!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Same old song, new words!

It's Christmas Eve morning and as Shane and Ash are half an hour away finishing some shopping and I'm waiting on the flour and yeast to do their thing in this delicious cinnamon roll recipe, I overhear the following:

As Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer plays in the background, I hear Beth say "Like Fenokio" (a combo of my cousin's last name and Pinocchio) after every line. She's heard her sisters sing all those add-on and just ran with her own version. The funniest part is that Hope corrected her after the "and they wouldn't let poor Rudolph play and reindeer games" part. Bethany sings, "like Fenokio" and Hope says with all the seriousness of a reprimanding older sister), "No, like Fenopoly!"

Merry Christmas, no matter how you say it!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"I didn't sing, I just 'miled"

Ash, Hope and Beth were in the church's Christmas play this morning. Beth went in there never intending to sing a single line of her two or three songs. But, she promised to smile. And smile she did!

Here's Ash as a reader:

And Hope as Mary:

Ash & Hope did well, but those cutie pie angels stole my heart-and this one's not even mine!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm sleeping with Yellow Belts in the next room!

I'm so glad they're my daughters!

Ash & Hope worked hard to pass an intense belt test Saturday. Their instructors are quite wise and make the students wait until the next class session to hear if they've moved up in rank. This gives the students a few days to reflect on their performance and it gives the instructors time to mull over the students' abilities.

Everyone who tested passed this time around and we are very proud of the girls. Ash is a natural intellectual and studies all the notes on what is required to move up in rank. Hope is a natural socialite and isn't quite as focused as her older sister, so we were a little concerned with her. We've seen a huge improvement since she started, but not knowing what all the instuctors are looking for, it was harder to predict with certainty that they'd both pass.

In celebration, we had Lemon Meringue Pie (it's Yellow, like their new belt rank) and asparagus (because Ash loves it) with our dinner. Shane watched the test, but had to work tonight, however, he was elated when he heard the news!

Enough parental gushing, here are some pictures of the testing (My brother is in blue):

Friday, December 7, 2007


I think my Mike Huckabee banners look good on my blue site, don't you?

Shane and I are official Huckabee supporters. We love the idea of a politically conservative candidate who is also a Christian. Not so that our nation can become a godly Christian nation, that only happens in the hearts of men. No, we're excited because we hope it will mean some integrity in the political world. Christians aren't perfect and we fall for temptation at times, but I'm optimistic and believe that Huckabee's integrity will prevail if he serves us a president.

Besides, he's sold out to the pro-life cause. No wishy washy, pacifiying language in his sanctity of human life platform. He's upfront about wanting to overturn Roe vs. Wade, appoint pro-life justices, and about rejecting embrionic stem cell research.

He's just added a Secure American Plan, and although Shane understands more of the details of the actual logistics of securing our boarders (he actually sees a few illegals and has worked with ICE at the Sheriff's Office), it sounds solid to me. I like that he rejects amnesty policies and wants to physically beef up the border.

Here's a list of stance on key issues. I'm impressed that his faith is put out there as a key part of him, not to be taken away and boxed up, but to be integrated into his daily life. We all know this is the ideal for a Christian, but for it to be so boldly put on the table is great. Oh, and the fact that he's totally catching political analysts by surprise by moving up in the polls so fast is pretty great, too.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Look at these cute clothes!

I found this link for The Children's Wear Outlet on the Pioneer Woman's blog today and the clothing is super cute and super affordable!

I can see some of the little girls I know in clothes like these:

I think the most expensive of any of these outfits is $18. Not bad. They have cute boy clothes, too, but they make me want to try for a boy and we don't need any of that right now, lol!

Monday, December 3, 2007

More blogging ahead!

Read that how you want-a warning or an enouragement, lol!

I was pretty busy doing a various assortment of things last week-Girls Night was Thursday, Homeschool Group was Friday, then Saturday night we had our great little parade and aftewards friends came over for some post-parade yule-tide cheer. We put up Christmas lights Sunday afternoon and I just put the last coat of paint on a newly aquired dresser for the girls' room. I'm still trying to listen to Nancy Leigh Demoss while cleaning my kitchen in the evenings, too.

So, be forewarned-I have pictures to churn out of my camera of some of the above events, plus some nice pondering going on...all of which might make it to the blog.

Or I might just do my Christmas letter instead...I bet you're waiting with baited breath, lol. For those family members who only put up with my blogging to check in on the girls, you'll be happy-I've been working on more pictures for the blog-so check back soon!