Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Well, our summer is off to a great start! We have been so very busy already. These next 2 weeks will be the busiest of all, then...hopefully, we will be able to slow down.
This week started our 2 week stent of swimming lessons. Numbers 3,4,5, & 6 are all going this summer. It is NOT a cheap endeavor ($320!), but with a pond AND a swimming pool, we feel it is absolutely necessary for all of our children to learn to handle themselves in the water. Not to mention, they absolutely love it! Getting them to & from classes is an excercise in scheduling, though: 11-11:45, 11:45-12:30, and again at 3:00-3:45. Whew!
Also this week, some wonderful friends are coming to stay with us on their way down to Houston. We just love these people, so it is NO imposition to have them....still...the house needs to be clean.
At the end of next week, #'s 1 & 2 and I are headed out to Louisville, KY for a youth convention. They are excited, and I have mixed emotions. I am turning into a real homebody.
Otherwise, I am being a real bum! I have been able to do several things that I enjoy so far this summer, such as: sewing, scrapbooking & reading.
I just finished Laura Bush's "Spoken From the Heart", and I thoroughly enjoyed it. She really made it personal. She starts with her childhood & brings it up to this year. While the book did get a little bogged down with detail during the White House years, the wonderful little stories & tidbits of information made up for it.
So, that is what I'm up to right now. Now you know... :)
Saturday, June 26, 2010
There are so many things on my mind that I really don't know where to begin. So, I thought, for today, I would attach something my #1 daughter wrote. I must say, when I first read it, I thought..."This is amazingly good!"
When I read it again, I thought..."Thank you Lord for talking to her!"
My hero & I both feel that God has something special in store for #1...a work for her to do. It is our distinct privilege to be able to have ringside seats as we watch her life unfold! Here it is:
LORD!! Lord, my heart is burning. My tears are flowing and Im just... Sitting here. The burning is a desire... A want... A need to be more than I am. And Im just... Sitting here Lord, there is children... Dying... From either lack of food in countries like Africa and Haiti. Or from lack of love... Sitting in a shelter... one of many. No home.. No family.. No love. And Im just sitting here. There are teenagers my age stealing and doing the unthinkable! LORD!! They need you! And I have you. I feel useless. They are not happy. No. They are not. Oh Lord! Im just sitting here! Help me Lord! I have many abilities! I can love a child with no hope or love. I can share You with teens who want what they dont realize they dont have. God, Lord, I have food, more than some children in foreign countries have ever imagined exsisted. Lord, I want to help the suffering children in hospitals... Lord, they need your LOVE! And I.. I am just... Sitting here. What can I do Lord!m just a teen! But lord I want your will! Tell me Lord! Direct me! I want to help and yet I CANT!! LORD SHOW ME! I AM JUST SITTING HERE! Move me God. Lord theres so many stories of people who sacrificed their life for you! Amy Carmichael.. Went to India... The unknown and risked her life for... YOU! Missionary work. Lord theses people need you and Im willing! Show me! Stephen in the bible... He was SEVENTEEN!!! And he stood up for you lord!! I want to have that courage... That ability! To know whats right and whats wrong and to suffer for you Lord!! God, these great people, I want to be one for you. Lord Im just sitting here! Please use me! I feel so useless. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are you using your talents for God? Are you shining your light for Him? You are here on this earth for a purpose DONT MISS YOUR CALLING!! People! We are in an age now where God is going to work mightier than he did in the days of Jesus! Miracles are going to happen... Greater things than you have imagined are going to arise! The blind WILL see again and the Deaf WILL hear again and the lame and sick WILL be healed!! Are you ready? Am I ready?ask yourself!! NOW is the time! Young people! This is from my heart! Seek God NOW because you wont have time when he is choosing his Church!! WE ARE THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW!!! And the years to come!! If we are not strong... If we are not consistent... If we fiddle and poke around we are going to MISS it!!! Spread it! Have no shame for the Lord God Almighty is our leader and we will not fail! We will not stop! We are in Gods army and we are dedicated! We are going to march into that world and we ARE going to share the Gospel! Because that is what our COMMANDER, JESUS CHRIST has plainly told us to do! Lets follow the orders!! Why are we sitting here?! Why?!?! Because we are afraid. Yes. We are. But who will fail with Jesus on our side?! Nobody! Our emotions will get hurt.. Our feelings and our personal lives! But those are not of God! We! Must! Move! On! Carry this message people!!! Dont stop! There are people! Teens, adults, children! Dying everyday in car wrecks and other disasters! And they die without knowing the truths that we have been taught. Lets move. Gods spirit is pouring out in our youths today. Lets use it. We have a great work ahead of us. And It is our job... To see that its done.
June 22 2010
This is my heart, not my words.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
#3 saying that working makes him happier than being lazy! (Progress!)
Relief from a terrible headache
My chiropractor (see above!)
Thoughts for Today
I cannot really say that I have any earth-shattering things to pour out to my unseen audience today, but I haven't been on here in a few days, so I felt like messing with my blog :).
I am working on expanding my humble blog to include several pages that reflect some the activities in my life.
Most people are surprised to learn that I actually have "spare" time...whatever that is! Truly, I have always just "made" time for the things I enjoy doing. What I enjoy has varied through the years. I took sewing lessons shortly after I was married, and have had a love/hate relationship with it ever since then. However, the more I have sewn through the years, the more I have learned, and, therefore, the more enjoyable it has become. I am currently sewing up a storm making all sorts of cute dresses & outfits for my girls as well as for other people. It is fun to me to mix & match fabrics, and then to whip it up into a frothy, girly creation! I will be making a page to show off some of these as well as to bring in some business!
These 2 dresses I made for #'s 7&8 to show their patriotic spirit!
The next page I want to add is one for my photography. I have been a photographer for 10+ years & really enjoy the creative outlet it affords me. It also helps fund some of my other habits :). As a stay-at-home mom, I am always looking for ways to bring in a little extra cash to either help with a special need such as a vacation or Christmas or maybe just to have a some pocket money for myself. The Lord has always been faithful to bring me a customer just when I need it! Because He is so good to bless me, I try, whenever possible, to use my business to bless others. My goal has always been to provide good-quality portraits at a budget-friendly price, mainly because that is what I need!
The final page I am planning to add (for now) is also related to my photography. I have been accepted by a non-profit organization that provides portraits for families that have children suffering with serious illnesses. I will be using this page to showcase the work that I will be doing for these families as well as provide any updates on things you can do to help brighten these children's lives. Inspiration Through Art also has several other ways that they show support to these young heroes that fight for their lives every day. Log on today to see what you can do: http://www.inspirationthroughart.org/
Ok, that's all for tonight. Watch for changes. I'm staying up late working on it...and dragging through my days :) LOL
Monday, June 14, 2010
Years ago, we learned that, when you sit down to read God's word, you should pray and ask Him for a word or "Rhema" that will carry you through the day. I have to say, any time I have taken the time to do this...God has been faithful (as usual) to answer my request. In Luke 11:3 where Luke gives his version of the "Lord's prayer", he says, "Give us day by day our daily bread." This is just slightly different than the version in Matthew 6:11 which says, "Give us this day our daily bread" which is the way I have always known it to be. For some reason, Luke's version speaks to me more plainly. God gave His children manna from heaven day by day. Each morning they awoke and it was there. God never failed them, even though they failed Him numerous times...as do we. Our manna from heaven is in God's word, if we ask, if we seek, He will supply our daily bread day by day. I must admit, that I have always thought of the Lord's Prayer literally in terms of real food...not spiritual food.
Anyway, I digress from my original thought.
On this day, God supplied some spiritual bread for me. It came in the form of Proverbs 13:24 which says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." My kids just hate that scripture! LOL We never fail to point out that this is where God gives us instruction to discipline our children in order to love them! A fact that they have real trouble believing.
However, this isn't about chastening our children...not today, well, not really...ok, kinda. :)
As we were poking at our kids about the meaning of this verse, a light went on in my head & I thought of Psalm 23:4. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
Again, I have always thought of this verse literally; the rod & staff as a shepherd's tools. After all, weren't the Psalms written by David-a shepherd? Of course, we tend to make our points to others in ways that we are familiar with. But, for the first time, I thought of the word "rod" in the same way as it is referenced in Proverbs when dealing with our children.
Are we not the children of God?
Does He not love us as much as, if not more than, we do our kids?
Here is my understanding: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." Here, I feel that this is referring (at least, to me) to the world in which we live. We walk on this earth under the shadow of the punishment of death as brought on us by Adam & Eve. No one can escape this inevitable ending to our lives. Death is all around us, both literally & spiritually. There are so many things in today's world that can lure us, but will only bring death to our souls. We walk constantly under the shadow of death. I don't know that I am most concerned about physical death as I am about spiritual death. Although, I don't relish the thought of either one!
Next portion: "...I will fear no evil..." As children of God, we have nothing to fear. The grave can only be harmful to us if we suffer spiritual death, and, as long as we stay close to our Shepherd, we will remain spiritually alive.
Now, here is the part that really got me to thinking: "...for thou art with me, thy ROD and thy staff, they comfort me." As God's kids, He sometimes finds it necessary to apply the rod of correction in order to protect us from dangers, and even death. Likewise, with our own children, we are to be looking out for their lives, both physically & spiritually. There are many things that they either don't see or aren't even aware exists. It is up to us to use our rod to guide & direct their paths safely. I know for myself, there is a comfort in the knowledge that an all-seeing God is looking out for my safety. No, I don't enjoy or even like when He has to use the rod on me, but He does.
Does a good shepherd use his rod to beat or hurt his sheep? Does God harm us in His use of the rod? Absolutely not! The rod is for gentle, steady correction; firm & constant.
Even though a child probably does not realize it, and, if they did, they would never admit it, the boundaries created by their "shepherds" are a source of comfort & well-being. With boundaries, there comes peace, both to the child & the parent. Just the same as it is with us & God.
I love knowing that God looks out for me, that I am in the palm of His hand. He knows the things in this life that will harm me & therefore uses His rod to steer me right. In the knowledge of these things, there is love.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Seriously, this is my last night as a single mom to only 4 kids. I have enjoyed this week, truly, I have. I have missed the big man and #'s 1,2,3 & 7, but I have also loved spending quality time with #'s 4,5,6 & 8. We have had a lot of fun & I have truly felt grateful that my oldest kiddos got to broaden their spiritual horizons.
I have really been feeling like the Lord is wanting to deal in my clay recently. I feel that little "tug"-you know what I mean? I'm not sure what He is wanting.
More me? That's probably it. I mean, that covers everything, doesn't it?
I am also feeling that I am needing to invest some of my leisure time (yes, I make sure I have some down-time most everyday) in learning more about how to train my oldest children for their futures. Oh, I don't really mean career-wise, I am thinking more about their character. Don't get me wrong. My kids are really developing some wonderful character traits, but they DO have weak areas, just like we all do. However, the big man & I both feel very strongly that God has placed each one of these special souls in our care to train in every way we possibly can, and we take that job VERY seriously. There is NOTHING that we wouldn't do for them, as long as we felt God was in it. After all, if He's in it, it WILL work out!
Anyway, back to my commentary....
I have some books that I am about to start reading that relate more to the older child & how to guide them down the path of life to a successful adulthood. I will post the titles as I finish them along with a review.
I have several thoughts on parenting:
1. The hardest thing a parent will EVER do is be CONSISTENT!
This is true at any age. If you are training an infant, toddler, growing child, or teen...they are watching YOU for any loopholes in your parenting. They will spot them and use them to their advantage. Don't underestimate your child! Sweet as they may be, they are still human. ;)
2. I am NOT raising children. I am raising adults.
I Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
Do I think my children should never be kids? Absolutely not!
Do I think my children should be mini-me's? Nope!
Please don't misunderstand me, I am talking about training.
From a very young age (sometimes as young as 7 or 8 months), we have begun the training process. Our children have had to learn to obey without question.
Do we do this because we're on a power trip? I think not!
No, we know that there will come times throughout their lives that there may not be time for a question. Life or death may hang in the balance of obedience or question!
For instance, if a child is walking through the yard, and I see a snake, but they don't. I yell, "STOP!" What if they don't? What if they say, "why?"
Move forward a few years.
We say, "Don't ever get into a car with someone who has been drinking." What if, when the time comes, they question in their mind, "Why not, they are fine...no one will ever know."
Now, let's move into adulthood.
God says, "No."
We say, "Surely I heard wrong"
God says, "NO!"
We say, "You can't be right!"
This, at least in my life, has been an all-too-common occurance, and oh, how I've suffered because of it!
It would be so much simpler to have instant, unquestioning obedience so ingrained in me that I would never question God why, but just instantly obey, and then discuss the outcome with Him later.
So many times, we are able to turn around & see what we have avoided due to hearing that still, small voice. Sometimes, when we turn around, we see what we COULD HAVE avoided if we had only listened.
So, I ask this question.
Why would a parent not teach their child to obey instantly & without question?
Is it because they don't want to be tyrannical? Then don't be!
The key to training is love. If a child feels your unconditional love even during training & discipline, then you will have their heart & their trust. A parent is an extension of God, and for many years, we are the only God they will see. Then, as they get to know Him on a personal basis, they will judge Him based on how we have treated them. If we chastise harshly, then that is how they will see God. If we train consistently with immediate consequences for infractions with love & plenty of discussion, then they will learn to love & trust God with their hearts because they will know that He will not abuse it.
We do a lot of talking in our home. Sometimes it is the big man & I doing the talking, and sometimes it is the kids. The rule is that, if you have something to say, as long as it is said in the right attitude, we will listen. This has worked quite well for us so far. Children really do have a lot of insight on situations! There have been times that we have totally changed our minds about something just by hearing them out.
I did NOT sit down to write all of this! LOL
I am going to stop here, for now, and pick up again later.
I hope this is in some way helpful to you.
In the meantime, I am praying for each & every one of you as we walk down this road of parenting and, as we endeavor to raise a whole new generation of God-loving, trusting, productive adults!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
1. Watching the baby squeeze her bunny & falling asleep
2. Finally getting the custom-made cabinet I ordered a month ago.
3. Goofing around with my kiddos @ Jack in the Box
4. A pleasant evening with my mom.
5. A photo of my oldest son working @ the camp meeting
6. Hearing how #7 is winning hearts in Kentucky.
Monday, June 7, 2010
1. Squeezy hugs from my chubby 1 year old
2. Listening to #'s 4,5, & 6 squeal with unbridled joy as they bungee jumped at the mall (totally made the highway robbery prices worth it!)
3. Making homemade pizzas with my kiddos & STILL staying on WW!
4. Air Conditioning
5. Knowing that my teen-aged daughters are at a church meeting & there is NO WHERE else on earth they'd rather be!
I have seen this little exercise on a nother blog that I enjoy looking at (http://www.kinderkouture.net/), and I think it is a very uplifting thing to do. In truth, I had many aggrivating moments today, too, but, when I look back & pull out only the bright spots, I find that THEY outshine the duller moments.
This was day 2 of our "staycation". I have promised the kids that stayed home with me that we would do something fun every day. Today, it was a trip to the mall for bungee jumping. they were so excited they couldn't stand it. The little guys had done it before, but L hadn't ever been dressed appropriately for that activity. Today, she donned her capris & off we went! Let me say, those people are making a KILLING! They charge $7 for THREE minutes!!!!! I mean, really! There were absolutely NO other kids waiting! But, I paid it, snapped the pictures with the album in mind & reveled in their laughter. It almost made me want to do it, too, but.....I wasn't dressed appropriately :p LOL
After a much-needed nap (which I TOTALLY enjoyed), we made homemade pizzas. Here's what we did:
Take whole-wheat pitas, brush lightly with olive oil (I also seasoned my pita at this point with some Tuscan seasoning-yum). Put about 1/4 cup of pizza sauce on pita, and then sprinkle with desired amount of mozzerella cheese (if you're on WW, be careful here). Then add your favorite toppings (be careful here, too!) My pizza had: Minced Garlic, Baby Spinach, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onion, Bell Peppers, and about 1 piece of Canadian Bacon. We baked @ 375 for about 15 minutes & ate our fabulous creations with a salad. *SIGH* So good....
To be continued.....
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Well, our summer is off to a crazy start, but, then, crazy is normal for us.
Last weekend, I was invited by a friend to take a last-minutet trip to Dallas for the Great American Scrapbooking Convention. We had a blast! We cropped a little, shopped a little, cropped a little more, shopped a LOT more....it went on & on. I worked on updating my Christmas album which was 5 years behind. I know...what a loser, right? I truly enjoyed my time with my friend, we laughed...aLOT! I also enjoyed cropping...it got my juices flowing, and with all the money I spent, that's a good thing!
This morning, I kissed 1/2 of my family goodbye as they headed off to the campground. Not going is a decision I made after lots of thought. As much as I enjoy the meetings, the fellowship & the closeness to God, I DO NOT enjoy fighting with 5 small kids who are tired out of their minds, perpetually hungry & bored senseless, both on the road as well as in the services. So, for the 2nd year, I stayed home. This year, I have Lindsey, Barrett, Adam & Anna home with me. I have planned our "staycation" full of fun, low-cost activities. Today, we cleaned house (woo-hoo!), went to lunch, and bought groceries for our week. Then, the bigger kids played outside in the little pool for an hour or so. All in all, a good day.
I am thinking that this post is dragging a bit, so I am ending it here.