Saturday, May 31, 2008

What's the big deal about church?

I've been thinking about an issue for a while and my cousin-in-law's blog entry on why she doesn't go to church brought it to mind again. I know a good handful of Christians who aren't currently active in a church. Some have never been, some have been but have slipped out of the routine, and some have made a choice to step out of church. Of the last group, some of those are in small groups, or home churches and others are not. Quite a variety here.

This topic makes me question why my family is in a church weekly. Let me point out I am not judging anyone for making a different decision than we've made. Each family has to pray and make this call on their own, it's not up to me to dictate it. I'm simply sharing why church is important to me, even though it seems scripture is not crystal clear on the topic.

I don't go to church to secure my salvation. The two don't jive together. You're either saved or not and you either go to church or not, two different issues. Being saved has nothing to do with our actions (which would be works and Paul said clearly it's not about works) or the pastor's actions (like him baptizing us or whatever-baptism is the act of obedience that shows the condition of our heart, it doesn't save us), it's about the condition of our heart. Are we trusting Jesus as our only route to heaven? That's another post, though...

I go to church to worship in truth and to learn more about the Bible. I go to exercise my gifts and talents God has given me, to encourage others, and to lean on the support of others.

Corporate worship does something great to my soul. There's a church or two a lot closer that we'd enjoy but the worship is so opposite our style that we would really have trouble getting our hearts into it. I worship at home too, but there's nothing quite the same as singing to our Lord with a couple hundred other believers, all in one accord.

My pastor is one of the smartest men I know. I get something from almost every sermon. There was a series of sermons he did related to politics that Shane and I discussed for days. We weren't sure we agreed with it all, but boy did it stretch us! Listening together to our pastor adds strength to our marriage. One sermon a few months ago really drew Shane in, while other sermons speak to me more. It's interesting to compare notes on what God is teaching us individually and as a couple.

We get to know people we would have otherwise never met. There are a lot of women who are further in their walks with the Lord than I am. They gracefully demonstrate their gifts to the body as they love and serve. I get to absorb this as we work together on a project related to church. What a blessing to "sit" under the women who have so much to share!

I can use the gifts the Lord's given me anywhere, but what better way to regularly exercise and practice them than to fellow believers in my church? We are called to build up other Christians, and I find church to be the best place to start!

It's easiest to tithe on a regular basis if I am in church. When we miss the Sunday after payday, it's harder for me to make sure I get that tithe in the plate two weeks later. It gives us a place and a regular schedule for our giving.

Another reason I love being in church is that Shane can let his guy-guard down. Our society expects so much from men that God doesn't. In church, men can be tender, can be the leaders they're supposed to be (or they can learn under other great models), they can tear up, be weak and vulnerable, and they can freely worship their God. Especially because of Shane's field of work, he needs a place like this.

People in our church can plant seeds in me or my family. When we started the PRC, Doug, our pastor (then) was the fuel behind it. God called us, Doug coached us. I'm sure God could have pulled it off another way, but without Doug, I'm not sure the center would be here. In the same vein, Ash has a Sunday School teacher who is absolutely precious. They have a great bond and Ash learns from her in different ways than she learns from me. Even when Ash is grown up, I know she'll have a tender place in her heart for Mrs. Sherry.

Finally, to challenge my dear cousin-in-law (and many others who feel this way)-with her permission, may I suggest that the hypocrite argument holds no water? If we went to church to become perfect; if there were a special device at the front doors that would take our sinful habits away, then we could be upset with the people who come in the back door (missing the device) and continue to mess up. Unless you are also sin free as a Christian (I only know of One!), then how can you (or I) complain that a fellow church goer still sins? After all the church is not a social club for perfect people, it's a hospital for the wounded.

We don't go to church to compare our lives to each other, we go to come before the Lord, compare our lives to his standards, repent and worship! All fall short, remember-I am part of all.

I grew up in a house that had the attitude that you don't have to be in church to go to heaven. That is perfectly true. However, as an adult it left me weak and unknowing as a Christian. When the pastor would say, "We all know what happened to Jonah." I'd think, "Well, I don't..." and I'd feel ashamed. If I had been brought to church, I wouldn't have been behind.

My final point is this: If I were to pray and ask God, "God, if I find a good, solid, Bible believing church that follows you and worships in truth, should I go?" what would he likely say? Would he say, "No, please be comfortable and stay in bed, just watch that TV preacher." or maybe, "No, there's no need for you to hang out with hypocrites." Thanks for letting me pick on your statement Jennifer, you're a good sport :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On a lighter note

I was thinking about my blog this morning while blow drying my hair. I'm such a multitasker, you know. I was thinking that over at Pioneer Woman, you always know it's a fun, light read. At Making Home, it's probably going to be a bit heavier, and spiritual. At my blog, (which doesn't even need to be in the same paragraph with those two) you just never know what you're going to get!

So, today, I have a problem for you to solve. See, when I was in highschool, I was lonely and really didn't feel like I had many friends. I prayed about it and then suddenly, I had too many to fit in my car to go to lunch with (ahem, I should say here that I drove a pickup, so it didn't take too long to get too many!).

Apparently, God has blessed me by continuing to answer that prayer for friends. Shane and I have pockets of friends in various places-a few churches, two pregnancy centers-which means 2 boards and two sets of staff, plus the former staff we still have contact with, two or three jobs (his current, his old...), our Life Group, Awana-the teachers of our kids, and then those friends who don't fit a group...everyone (okay, not everyone from above, but you get what I mean) wants to know FIRST if this is a boy or girl. Which we'll hopefully know on Monday. Oh, you say I forgot to mention family? See what I mean? How will I tell everyone?

I don't have unlimited texting so that idea is out.
An email is too impersonal, isn't it?
Not enough of the above read my blog.
Just thinking of calling everyone makes me tired.

I'm out of ideas. Have any? As long as we have to come up with something, it might as well be creative! I'm really lacking in that department, so help me out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Audrey

I stumbled upon a link over at Fussypant's blog, I think. The link just said, "Amazing."

I clicked on it and have been steadily reading it for a few nights. I'm so moved by it. I wish I'd read it as it was happening instead of catching up. I've been trying to think of how to share it here, but I can't figure out how to describe it. Part of me wants to keep it to myself, to ponder it in my heart. I think that's out of fear. Shane doesn't know I've been reading it, he wouldn't approve if he did. I plan to introduce him to it when the time is right.

Maybe you already know all about the story of Selah's Todd Smith and his wife Angie. She was given the most terrible news at her 20 week sonogram. Now you see why Shane wouldn't want me to read it right now. I'm just a couple weeks from my own 20 week sono. We've walked with a friend down this road. Shane met Danny and we prayed for a healing before he was born. We know it's real, you know? We know a long life isn't promised. By exposing you to this blog, I guess I'm letting you in on my own fears. It's like saying it out loud. Yes I'm afraid of losing one of my children. As I sobbed through this blog, I would sometimes think, "God, please don't call me to do that. I can't do that." Oh, the pain of just the thought is so hard.

This blog lets you see into the heart of a mom going through the one thing we all fear the most. Angie is so very open, honest, and worshipful through the process. The day before her scheduled C-section, Angie was presenting the gospel to her blog readers. Amazing woman. Now I know why the other blog just wrote "Amazing" and left it at that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Link Fest

I've been saving up some good links for you, some are ones I've pointed out before, but most are new. Enjoy!

Family Life Today broadcast (you can listen online or download to your mp3 player) that talks about teaching our young ones the catechism. I've always been drawn to the idea of teaching the Westminster shorter catechism to my girls (and learning it myself) but am so unfamiliar with it that I never did it. This broadcast and book called Big Truths for Little Kids explains it more and I think we may order it and do it over the summer. (Denise, you might like this one.)

While we're talking about listening online, this is a great resource for finding godly programs. Great names like Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Beth Moore, Focus on the Family, Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis), Kay Arthur, John MacArthur, Alistair Begg (one of Shane's faves) and dozens more are featured. I love it!

Here's a fun place if you're a wordsmith-a visual dictionary (thanks Summer!).

Did you know Cranium has a very cool website? Makes you want to pull out a board game tonight! Click on the fun ideas tab at the top! It's also a handy place to see what other fun games they're offering and order pieces to games. We've not found a Cranium game we didn't like!

Want to watch live video of the African wild?

Feel the need to report little things in your life between blog posts? Twitter allows you to do that. You can follow your friends, too. If you received an email inviting you to join from Glorygirl (or karatechick-Ash), it was me :). So far it's okay, but would be more fun if you'd join! There are a lot of fun features to it I haven't tried yet.

Some good blogs I've found lately:
We are That Family-a fun blog written by a Christian mom. I don't know how to define this blog any more than that, except to say I'm drawn to her mix of sincerity and humor.

Sorta Crunchy-she's a little less crunchy than me (or the me I want to be!), but I love reading her blog nonetheless. She looks a lot like a woman who used to volunteer at my "other" pregnancy center, so I just like her :)

Rocks in my Dryer-she's got quite a following, and if you check her out, you'll see why!

Looking Towards Heaven-Karla has very not-boring blog. She always has a different topic-improving your blog, adventures of muffin top (you know, when your middle muffins out a bit...nah, I'm sure I'm the only one who gets that!), as well as fun contests and links.

Oh my, and Fussypants. Have I told you about Fussypants? She's a hoot-a balanced Christian woman who coaches us in fashion trends and inner beauty. She just delivered her fourth boy, wearing pearls.

Fussypants was a link I found from Blissfully Domestic. I think I've just hit the tip of the ice burg of this network of mostly Christian moms (I think they're all moms) who blog on all kinds of topics. Just watch some of the outside links on some of the blogs, on occasion the ads on those are not PG-I don't think the blogger can control that, fyi.

Finally, a plug for a new little shop I found, Just Stickem Up (this one's an ebay store, not a brick & mortar). She sells beautiful word art for your home for a very reasonable price.

...and for my two other favorite little businesses:
Feather Your Nest-based in Arkansas but you can order online and shipping is fast! Gina's website is worth looking at, even if it's just for ideas on decorating you home in a vintage style.

And don't miss the Duwe's card company (link in my sidebar) which offers greeting cards made from Rick's original hand painted designs. They include scripture and are precious in their simplicity (and they're affordable!).

Pregnancy Update

Here's the baby bump from my point of view. This was taken at about 16 weeks. I believe I felt movement this morning and possibly last night. I'm holding out for the real stuff, though. None of this pansey kinda movement-I want full fledged kicks!
The nausea has been mostly gone for a few weeks, and the fatigue is fading. Rolaid use is up, and the last few days my irritablility is surging upwards as well. I'm hoping the box of maternity clothes heading my way from (all on sale, of course!) will cheer me up. I am very pleased that I finally tried on a pair of khaki linen pants I bought at a garage sale for 50 cents-they're as comfy as my sleep pants but I can wear them to work!
I'm working hard at fighting the frump-since I'm sure being a homeschooling mom of 5 automatically puts me in the frump catagory and I have to dig out of it. This week I worked out for the first time in a couple of months. It felt good, but I could tell how stiff I am. Shane is washing up the jogging stroller for me right now, so I hope to add walking back in to the routine. Thankfully, I've only gained 4 pounds as of my last appt. More on frump fighting later!
Everyone I see asks me if we know the gender yet or if we'll find out. No, we don't know yet and you betcha we're finding out! I can't wait to know. It's technically possible to tell right now, but my free sono connection is geared (trained) for first trimester scans, so determining gender at this early stage may be a challenge. I don't want to play the emotional game of, "Well, we think it's a boy, but we're not sure...". I want to wait until it's clear. We might take a peek later next week. Wouldn't it be fun to find out and not tell anyone?
Finally, I've not announced it here on the blog, but in preparation for this baby (which unless it's a boy, this is just about all the prep we'll do-except strap the carseat into the van or something smart like that), I've resigned from my position at the Pregnancy Resource Center. I've been talking to our board chair, I mean president for months and he's known I would be going home full time before long. Adding Beth to the homeschool table seemed daunting while working. Once I settled down from finding out I was pregnant, this became the next logical step. So logical, we didn't even pray about it. It's just time. My last day will probably be mid August. My emotions are mixed; I'll miss it of course, but I love the idea of being home and getting to those fun things we have had to push aside. The Board was so gracious and sweet, I'll never forget their loving reaction (they almost begged me to stay-it always feels good to be wanted!).
So, since I'm going to be home, I have to practice liking the chores related to being home...right? I have lots of practice with those dishes waiting on me...
ETA: I've tried four times to make the spacing stay as it looks in my draft. Once I hit "Publish Post" all the paragraphs run together. Some of you know that no paragraph breaks really annoy much so that if this doesn't stop, it may push me over the Blogger edge and I just might get a Type Pad or Word Press blog instead...Okay, here it goes, clicking on "Publish Post" once more...
ETA II: Still didn't work, I'm going to try making old fashioned paragraph indentions-this really bothers me!
ETA III: I give up.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pray for the Chapman family

This is so sad...Steven Curtis & Marybeth Chapman's five year old daughter was killed on Wednesday evening. My heart grieves for them today...Uggh, I just googled it and read that it was the older son who accidentally backed up over her. How hard this will be for them to deal with. Again, please pray...(fyi-the first link has a beautiful family picture).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Life in Pictures

We've had a lot of fun with our new camera. I've taken some shots the last few days that give a fun glimpse into our days and I thought I'd share. Sorry dial up friends, it's very picture heavy!

I messed up and misunderstood the softball coach. She told me our game tonight was cancelled, but I thought it was next week's game. So, off to the field we go only to turn back around and come home. Ash was embarrassed since her coach was out there watching her son play so we were busted. It wasn't as bad as the time last year when I sent the girls to Awana in their PJs a week before it was actually pajama night, but when you're a tween, any embarrassment is too much. So, in order to redeem myself and enjoy the nice evening outside, I made an obstacle course for the girls...They hopped through hula hoops...

And walked in funny ways...

This one got a little help from big sister...

And this one needed no help! Boy did she go!

Yes, this was part of the course!

And so was this...she's singing the ABC's before she can move on to the next part.

Well, here come the dramatics. She doesn't want to wait for her next turn. But she's so cute!

This one has issues. She thinks the fuzzy things that fall out of the pecan tree are worms or something and once she saw them on the ground she refused to be set back down!

This is all of them very early in the morning. Hope is sleeping quite soundly as you can tell (even though she thinks she can only sleep in my bed, ugghhh). Then Ash & Beth are next with Adri with half the bed to herself!

We do the buddy system at our house. Ash is Beth's buddy and they're very close. (Buddies help the little ones get their shoes on, pour cereal, or whatever.) It's very sweet how Beth curls up to Ash when they sleep.

This is Adri-my cousin's baby--who's about to be 2!! She's with us Mon-Fri, 7:30-5:30, so she's become a part of the family. She's a doll...

Here's the second set of buddies. This was taken by Ash on the porch swing this morning. I see Hope maturing in her buddy job. She's doing good at nurturing and I love to see her grow in this area. I can see that she & Jay are getting closer, but Jay also really likes Ash...and Beth...she's a friendly girl! By the way, did you notice Jay & Hope have the same exact hair? Funny, since none of the rest match up at all!

We don't need real toys! The little ones just like the couch pillows and totes!

This one thinks she can read...notice the book is upside down!

So this is my crew...and just a fun note, Hope just got out of the shower and was singing in her southern twangy voice. I suspect she was singing "Sunrise Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. The song was in our wedding and I pointed this out when we watched it a few days ago. I suspect Hope was singing it because Bethany came out of the bathroom singing "Sunrise...Sunset...Sunrise...Sunet..."over and over. Pretty funny from a 4 year old!

The girls' blog

Did you all know Ash & Hope have a blog? They don't blog quite as often as I do, but their posts are varied and fun. Ash just posted about her date with her Daddy, she's posted the first chapter of her book, and Hope even has a quiz about herself up right now. If you are interested in reading it, email me. It's closed to the public and you can only access it with permission, but it's easily done so just let me know if you want in...assuming I approve you ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Okay,I get it now

After reading this post, I get it now. I've been a mom for 11 years but had no idea there were so many different kinds of us! It all makes much more sense.

By the way, I'm a mix between uber, hippie, and slacker since I'm conservative, a little granola, and not really a conformist.

In my job, I have figured out how to mix with all different denominations. Now my new challenge is to mix with (even though we aren't supposed to mix) all these types of moms.

Have a blessed Thursday--the weekend is almost here! And don't miss my picture laden post below!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Showing Off

I know it's fuzzy, but I just wonder what they're talking it a little pep talk or is Hope asking Ash for money to get gum from the concession stand?

The best 3rd baseman out there :)

She's not a bad hitter, either.

Shane took this one from the car. Kinda tabloidish...or just the haze from a sizzling game...

The ever socializing Hope!

Hope at bat...
Isn't she cute?
Maybe she's a little bored here...although I don't know who could be bored while wearing those socks!

More coming soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Well, we had an interesting day in the all girl homeschool household today. Even though it's Mother's Day, I had to iron a shirt before church this morning (and later I had to do dishes! No mom should have to wash dishes on Mother's Day!). But I was quickly rewarded with a basket brimming to the top with a new tart burner, lots of tarts and a little bear. Church was uneventful (literally, with no Sunday school class today and nursery duty during the service), but Shane and I did get to play with twin boys in the nursery!

On our way home, Ash announced that Hope had a bug on her head that was stuck on her and big. Shane and I looked at each other and called Hope to the front of the (parked) van. Sure enough, it was a tick, just as we suspected. Shane removed it, wrapped it up in a napkin and we went home to doctor up her wound and inspect the tick close up.

We learned via the net that it wasn't a deer tick, which could carry Lyme disease, but we couldn't find it's head attached to its body, even with our little microscope. Shane decided to take her to the urgent care clinic in case the head was still buried in her skin. They ended up at the ER, since the clinic decided Mother's Day was no day to be open. The ER doctor was glad they came in because of a large knot under the bite, but thankfully he thought he could see the head through his microscope.

While they were gone, I started a crock pot cake and took a nap. Of course I told Ash to come get me if her Daddy called with news. He only called asking for the year of Hope's birth...when you have so many, sometimes they get all mixed up you know :)

Once they came home, we ate cake and headed out to see all the Moms and Grandmas in our family. We are blessed to have both our moms nearby and two of our grandmothers. They've all done a part to leave a great legacy. They are all strong women with many talents.

So, there you have it. Dishes, ticks, twins, cake and wonderful moms to celebrate. All in all, not a bad day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Karate talk

Edit: I had trouble with the YouTube videos, so I'm putting them on Photobucket. There's only one so far, but I'll put the others back up as I have time :)

I uploaded a couple videos of Ash (and one with my brother, Stanton). You can see them above. The one with the fewest people is the belt test. Ash is now an orange belt. After her test, Stanton tested (it was pretty funny, by the way-he didn't know what to say when he was asked God's name). I was using our new camera and thought I turned it off between their tests, but didn't--sorry! I will promptly put "learn to edit video" on my long list of things to learn to do!

Our trip to Tulsa was interesting. Jaybird didn't like the ride home too much and we had to take lots of breaks to get her out of her carseat. Our trip there was the longest trip in the history of ever, though. Shane's glasses broke along the way, we'd forgotten to get mouthguards and someone else needed some, ahem, special guy we had a layover at--you guessed it--Wal-Mart!

Our hotel room was the dirtiest hotel I've ever stayed it. I took a picture to prove it. Now, I have grime at home, but it's MY grime (or more likely, my kids' grime).

It was all worth it though to see our oldest shine. First, she was thrilled to compete. In front of people. Lots of them. That alone would have sent me home. She had a great time and almost placed in kata. It was a great learning experience for all of us. Besides, it's always a blessing to be with the fun people in Ash's karate class. The instructors are jewels. If you need some encouragement, just hang out in that class for a few minutes!

Oh, and the most important thing-after a karate demonstration that reenacted Christ's last hours, twelve people trusted Jesus for salvation!

Here's some more pics:

Ash and one of her best karate buddies.

Ash's karate hero, Sensei Holzbauer, the leader of ABKA...this guy runs a mile for every year he's been alive on his birthday. He's a great man, a man of faith and a super encourager for the kids (and adults, too I'm sure).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Gift from the Lord

I just have to share what happened this morning. I set about to do my dishes this morning and mop the floor before the kids got up. It was quiet and I went to the computer to find something to listen to while working. I usually go for Nancy Leigh Demoss but needed a break today. I went to and scanned the selection of ministries available to listen to. I listened to a short commentary on the Texas LDS compound and then went to Family Life Today.

You would never guess what the topics were at the end of last week. Surprise pregnancies.

I clicked on May 1st broadcast and immediately started crying. The woman about to be interviewed had four children and was feeling much like I do when she found out she was pregnant with number 5. She put words to everything I'm feeling. Except that she wished for a miscarriage, my emotions line up perfectly with hers.

Shane came in and saw me misty eyed. I assured him these were tears of joy, joy that the Lord knew just what I needed this morning and that I am not alone or crazy or abnormal. Well, the last two might be debatable ;0)

If you care to listen to the broadcasts:
You'll have to catch the first one of the 2 in the series today or they might be off the oneplace site. I'm sure you could find them at the Family Life website, though.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pregnancy Update

Clean up duty, just one of the many messy jobs of parenting!

I'm 14 weeks today and we heard the little one's heartbeat at the OBs office. Very sweet!

This weekend while in Tulsa for a karate tournament (I'll post some pics of that soon), Ash's karate instructor was introducing me to another student's mother. She gave our family background and included that I'm expecting #5. The woman, who was very nice, said, "And you look thrilled." She was being sarcastic. My heart kind of hurt since I did not realize my feelings were being worn on my sleeve. I thought I was just listening to her introduce me...

I pondered this until today, when I confessed it to Shane and told him how guilty I felt about it. He quickly reminded me that we were nearing the end of a long day, we had traveled seven hours the day before and stayed in a "smoking" hotel room that made all of us feel rotten. I was taking it too seriously, and thanks to Shane, I saw that.

However, I have also come to another conclusion. When I was a newlywed, I dreamed of having a JCP baby. You know, I'd salivate over the beautiful nurseries set up in the Penney's catalog and long for a baby. Then I had one. And another. One of those has a pretty strong personality and is a lot of work. Another had an attitude I prayed about for years. Then another, a C-section that made bouncing back a little slow. Then another, who has been called the "most strong willed child I've ever met" by a good friend. Dishes, laundry, diaper changes, school books, and piano lessons grow with each child. Along with differing learning styles and responses to discipline.

Parenting takes a lot of in the trenches, on your knees kind of work. There are many thankless tasks that never can be completed. You'll always have to wipe a face, wipe a counter top, and wipe a bottom again. It's not all beautiful layettes and pristine dream nurseries. It's nursing the baby while reminding the preschooler (again) to be quiet while you help the oldest with math while still in your PJs.

Of course I know all the good things, too. Like seeing that Jaybird made up her own sign for prayer and seeing her remind us to pray before our meal. We stop to smell the parental roses a lot.

But the roses don't come without weeding and the occasional thorn prick.

So, I'm not jumping up and down and telling the world I'm pregnant. I'm wondering if I can parent five children well. I'm wondering how many will need therapy because of my faults. I'm thinking about reading the same school books five times--or worse, teaching algebra or biology (think dissecting!) five times!

But, I am a mother of five children. I think about this little one and protect it. I am looking foward to feeling the first kicks in the next month or so. I ponder baby names and wonder if my heart will break if its not a boy...or not a girl. I have a deep joy and thankfullness for this life.

And, I laugh. I laugh at buying yogurt targeted at pregnant women, diapers, and a teeny sports bra for my tween all in one trip. You know, in a few years my shopping list will contain Depends, feminine products, mini bras and diapers!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Population Control

"Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state -- like Somalia or Sudan -- and living conditions will be intolerable."

Ted Turner says the above will be the result if we don't limit ourselves to just one or two children per family.

Hmmm, how's that working for China and Russia ? (Russia, by the way uses abortion as birth control and the average woman has 20-30 abortions in her lifetime-pray for the pregnancy centers that are trying to get off the ground there!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I've talked to my closest local friends and to Shane about my rather neutral feelings about this baby. I'm going to be real and put it out here for you all to read as well.

When I found out I was pregnant, I blogged about waking up weeping later that night. After we started telling people and the responses were so giddy, I got more excited. However, as time goes on I've mellowed back to being not-so-excited. Do the hormones, morning sickness and fatigue have something to do with it? Without a doubt. I know in previous pregnancies, I couldn't even look at maternity clothes or cute baby things without mentally gagging until I was very clear of the first trimester.

But there is more. Probably because my parenting (and house cleaning and financial planning) skills have taken a back seat to survival, I'm viewing the situation through blue colored glasses. The usual optimistic Wendy is dreading parenting one more baby. I know if I had my normal energy back, I'd feel invigorated by the challenge (maybe!) but I'm not there yet.

So, while I'm waiting for that energy to return (any moment would be fine by me!), I'm anxious. I've been parenting the lazy way for two months. You know, with the attitude of "just get out of my hair" kind of problem solving, not true discipling of my children. The thought of another curtain climber (and if this one is anything like Jaybird, a true curtain climber she/he may be), makes me want to just go back to bed.

This is not how I want to live. So, this morning I'm seeking some encouragement from the Bible and I turn to Philippians. Its quiet and I get to read the whole book (all four chapters). Chapter 4 verses 4-7 say this:

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The first time I read it through today, I read verse 5 to say, "Let your gladness be evident to all." Gladness goes much better with rejoicing, wouldn't you say? After I reread it, I prayed, "Lord, what is Paul talking about? What does gentleness have to do with rejoicing?" I felt in my heart that when we are in an attitude of rejoicing, we are gentle and it can be seen by others. When I'm rejoicing, I'm not easily going to just snap at my children, I'm more likely to be the gentle parent I want to be.

I didn't read this passage, meditate on it and magically feel excited about chasing one more toddler around. But I have hope that as God works on my heart, the rejoicing will come more easily. I confessed my anxiety to him (and to you, now), I prayed and petitioned him to change my heart and I thanked him for the peace he promises will come. (Would it have been too much to ask for a maid to be included in that promise???)

I know I'm not the only one facing some anxiety that steals our joy and ability to rejoice. Be encouraged today that verse 5 ends with "the Lord is near." He's near even when we're messing it up royally. He cares and wants to give us peace.