Friday, May 30, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
"The object is great which we have in view , and we must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But we should always remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing on this side of Jerusalem of equal importance to mankind."
On this day that has come to represent cookouts and camping and furniture sales, may we join together in preserving the memory of those who have given their lives so that we might enjoy life in freedom.
My heart is overwhelmed as I consider those who have gone before me, those who willingly gave their lives for my sake. Not knowing my name, they bravely fought on my behalf. Countless men and women understood the cost of liberty and have been willing to pay it with their own blood. Many more are prepared today to do so. I know that I can never repay them.
I am painfully aware that there are wives without husbands, children without mothers, fathers without sons, because of the sacrifice that was offered for the sake of freedom. At this moment families are separated and many will not be united because men and women are willing to surrender their lives. I am humbled and filled with gratitude that can not be expressed in words.
May the God of all peace, the Righteous Judge, reward those who have laid down their lives for friends and strangers. May He comfort those who mourn on this Memorial Day. And may we never forget how great a price has been paid for us by these who have paid the ultimate price for freedom's sake.
Grace and Peace,
Saturday, May 24, 2008
At the moment, I'm uploading 5GB of photos so I can burn them to a DVD and Go. To. Bed.
We're working, we're working.
We've been working all day actually. We spent this delightful spring day outside in the front garden weeding, raking out dead leaves that should have been removed last fall, transplanting, weeding some more, and finally mulching. Two truckloads of mulch was only half enough so we'll have to complete the project next Saturday, but it looks much much better. The kids meandered from the garden, where I put them to work, to the neighbors house and the trampoline. My dad came by with his truck so that we could haul mulch, and at the end of the day we all enjoyed pizza together. While the kids took baths, I also got some potatoes planted in the garden and repotted a house plant. Quite a full day and I'm quite worn out now.
My hands were too dirty to take any pictures while we were working. Besides that, my memory cards were all full so I don't have any garden pictures to share. I'll have to take some. I had to go through and delete several photos when first a butterfly and later a moth came to visit. Even then, I couldn't take as many pictures as I wanted to take, which is why I'm sitting here now and not in my bed already. And since I'm sitting here, I figured I may as well share my ramblings with you.
We had a great trip out East. I don't think we could have crammed anything else in, and I wish we could have had a few more days to linger at each stop. But we'll take what we can get. We once again hit the ground running with errands, ballet recital practice, a homeschool mom's meeting, a field trip to the fire department, park day & a nature walk, the ballet recital, and then our full day of yard work today. I have yet to empty our suitcases completely, although I have managed to complete a few loads of laundry. The house is a mess and it's driving me crazy! But tomorrow is Sunday and we don't have to teach Sunday school or lead worship or be in charge of anything at church. We might have to find someplace to go tomorrow afernoon though, because I usually don't do housework on Sunday, but I don't think I can stand to sit around all day long in this house unless I do. Hmm...
Alright, my DVD is finished burning. I suppose that it's not quite fair of me to tantalize you with all this talk of pictures and then neglect to share even one with you, so I suppose I ought to select one of the 1200 or so photos I just uploaded to end this scintillating post.
How about this one? Just a few crazy kids I picked up at Independence Hall. ;) I think it'd make a great postcard, don't you?
I pray you are all enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I am unable to express in words how this news affected me. I can not fathom the trial that this precious family is now facing. It is impossible for me to imagine such a thing happening to my own family. I am sobered as I think of how easily and quickly something like this can happen. We were so excited to see both boys performing with their father last summer! And now to have to live with this for the rest of his life.... May God's grace abound.
A blog has been established by Steven Curtis Chapman's manager. You can express your condolences at In Memory of Maria. She just turned five years old 10 days ago and was adopted from China. Please join me in prayer for this family.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Don't forget to feel your boobies.
Grace and Peace,
(don't mind me. we just went through a tunnel. welcome to Wheeling, Indianapolis is still such a far way away! sigh)
Monday, May 19, 2008
"Dinner's getting cold and my kids are starving!"
Fortunately Daisy loves me. :) Right, Daisy?
It only makes sense that since it's taken me 3 years to get here, I should be a couple of hours late too. ;)
Aren't I so cool blogging on the road? Good thing I'm not driving. I am getting a little seasick though with all this bumping. This keyboard drives me crazy too.
It's been a crazy weekend. A far too brief but fabulous visit to Virginia (my sincere regrets to those of you we didn't get to see), a whirlwind weekend in Central PA where dh's brother graduated from Med School (congrats, Dr. Rick!), an exhausting day of sight-seeing in historic Philly, and now we're in transit to enjoy a day or so with our wonderful college friends who have been very busy getting ready for us to come visit. I can't wait to see the result of all their hard work, but more importantly, I can't wait to see them for the first time in 3 1/2 years! I'm sure it will be a late night full of laughter. I'm so excited! :)
Alright, we're almost there! I need to concentrate on navigating.
Grace and Peace,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
We're supposed to be leaving for our trip out east tomorrow morning and I have yet to pack a single suitcase, and I've run out of steam.
I had to cancel today's Botany co-op because I just couldn't get everything done. I've been working dilligently, but there's just so much to do and so many different things going on. In addition to the activities I mentioned in the last post, I've also had a bit of an emotional issue. I talked to my youngest sister for the first time in a year and a half Monday night. She's been estranged from the family. She wants to get together and try to work things out. Unfortunately, we have to wait until after our trip. So that's been emotional and accompanied by spiritual warfare. My heart is lighter, but yet still heavy. And you just can't put life on hold to deal with it.
Yesterday we spent several hours in the garden planting vegetables. It was kinda fun, but it was hard work, and those were hours that I was not packing. Today it's dark and rainyish, and I'm just so so tired. I'm having a hard time focusing.
We're planning to be in three different locations over the course of the next 7 days, so instead of the normal 1 suitcase per person, I'm thinking I need to pack 1-2 suitcases per destination. That makes more sense than unloading and repacking all of the suitcases. But that's not how I usually do it, and it requires more thinking and planning, and I'm struggling to focus. Maybe if I just start out packing like normal and then rearrange everything that would work. Maybe I just need to take a nap. A bowl of ice cream sounds nice. It seems like such a good day to curl up with a book. I wish I had some bananas; what I really want is a banana split. My daughter left her shoes at her friends house yesterday, I need to call the mom and see if she's found them. I sure hope so because she needs them for the trip. Maybe I could get a Hot Fudge Sundae at McDonald's on my way to pick them up. No nuts. Why can't I seem to find any chocolate in the house? Can you tell that it's that time of the month? I'm crazy.
UPDATED TO ADD:
So I tried to get un-"stuck" and really focus on packing only to hear my 5 year old crying, "I don't know who cut my hair." She didn't just say what I thought she said did she? NOT the day before vacation. NOT the day before a week anticipated with numerous photo ops. Please, Lord, she. did. not. just say what I thought she said. Oh yes she did. The ends of her lopsided pig-tails (she had fixed her hair herself) have been neatly chopped and her cute bangs are no more. And no I didn't take a picture. The bigger problem though is that she persists in insisting that she doesn't know who did it. All of her siblings and the cat were upstairs with me which leaves her and the dog downstairs. Did I mention spiritual warfare before?
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Yesterday we had a fabulous trip to the Simmons Schoolhouse. My two older kids and I had gone a year and a half ago with a homeschool group from downtown Indy. This time I coordinated a trip with my local homeschool group. It was a fabulous day and I'd post pictures if I had the time. (I keep saying that!) The best part of the whole day was when the schoolmarm showered our group with praise, commenting on how fabulous our children were and how much she enjoyed them. It was such a blessing when she said, "If every group was like this one, I'd have the best job in the world."
Today, we had another poetry recital. I again coordinated this activity and was frantically finishing up the program early this afternoon so that I could run into town to make copies and then rush to the store for milk before racing to the Poetry Recital. We had 22 children who participated from 3 years old to age 12. Watching them give their recitations was worth every stressful moment of waiting for moms to e-mail their poems to me and fighting with my computer to make the program just right. I'm also pleased to report that the daughter who clinged to my neck last time while I recited her poem in her stead was the first child to volunteer to recite her poem and did so with no fear and quite joyfully! What a difference a month makes!
Now we're already beginning to prepare to host home fellowship tomorrow night. After the busy week we've had, the house looks like a tribe of monkeys went through it. Saturday I plan to go to a native plant sale with my mom and also need to get some things planted in my vegetable garden and do some yard work. Sunday I teach Sunday School (I'm teaching and mentoring/training a college student to teach), and then I need to get ready for another Botany Co-op (hosting and teaching) next Wednesday. Then we're on the road again Thursday, which means I need to tackle the mountain of laundry that is once again reaching the ceiling and get packed and organized for our whirlwind trip out east. Add the normal math, language arts, history, and Bible to all that and I'm ready for a nap just thinking about it.
Crazy times but fun times! I just don't understand bored. Maybe during the inevitable summer heat wave I can lay around all day sipping lemonade and posting pictures of all the fun we've had all year! Isn't it nice to have something to look forward to? ;)
Monday, May 5, 2008
Aparently Emily wants to torture me, Leanne wants to stretch me, and Laura thinks if enough people tag me I'll finally succumb to the pressure and post. Have I said how much I love blogging? It's amazing how well you gals know me. ;)
Here are the rules:
- Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
- Post it on your blog.
- Link to the person that tagged you.
- Tag five more blogs.
So of course I had to overthink this one. I'd hate to get it wrong; I'm all about getting the right answer. After all this is my memoir we're talking about here! ;) That's my problem with these memes; I always overthink them and make them far too difficult when they're supposed to be fun and easy. Sigh.
ANYWAY, several thoughts came to mind....
I could take the easy way out and be a real stinker and write For the Sake of the Call, but that was almost like cheating.
I seriously considered (okay now where did that envelope go that I took notes on????) I Really Need to Lighten Up and Step by Step; Day by Day.
My wonderful Chris thought up....well I can't find the envelope, so I can't remember his brilliant thoughts. Okay, I remembered: I'm Not Grumpy, Just Chronically Misunderstood and I Haven't Done Anything Fun Yet (the words I often speak to him when it's time to go to bed).
Some other options were His Eyes Close; My Mouth Opens, I Like to Collect Imaginary Friends, Deep Thoughts Forever Fill My Mind, and Supreme Court Chief Justice I Wasn't.
But finally I settled on what was there right in front of me the whole time. It's what I've come up with for my tag line if and when I ever redo my banner and add a tag line. I'll write another long deep post sometime in the future explaining all the different layers and how I came up with it, but until then, without further ado, the 6 Word Title of My Memoir is:
My Life is an Open Book
Now I'm tagging (wait! since I was tagged three times, do I have to tag 15 people????)
myChris...to give him another thing to distract him from working.
Obsession of the Moment...a real life friend who think deep thoughts just as much as I, but doesn't post them nearly often enough.
Debbie...since she knows the memes are all about me, me, me! ;)
Daisy...because she's clever and I can't wait to see her in two weeks (Lord willing and the creek don't rise and we don't get into another car accident or a family row...)
NanasHouse...because she encourages me so much and I'd love to read her memoir and
Michelle...since I think if you have to write 6 words, you ought to tag 6 people!
Grace and Peace,
So many of the things that you wrote were things that I knew, but I needed to "hear" them. A couple of comments pierced straight to the heart and brought tears to my eyes; which is what I needed. I've accumulated so much head knowledge over the years that I often come across as one who has all the answers. The challenge is taking all that knowledge to heart. I still have a long way to go with my heart understanding of grace.
I didn't grow up in a grace filled environment. The churches I attended when I was a child tended towards legalism. One was toxic with it's extreme legalism and wounded my family deeply. In addition, my parents tended to be more authoritarian. I was not shown grace. They're both perfectionists too. All that to say, grace has been one of the most challenging theological concepts for me to embrace. I'm certain that I'm not alone, and I think that a lot of us run into problems because of our inadequate understanding of grace. That's one reason I write so honestly here. To encourage those of you who struggle just like I do to walk with me in growing in God's grace.
God continues to amaze me with the way that He works. Our pastor is teaching through the book of Galatians. After writing this post, reading all of these comments, and really praying that God would teach me; I walked into church on Sunday. The Holy Spirit started working immediately as we sang Chris Tomlin's Your Grace is Enough.
Later in the service we sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, one of my favorite hymns of all time. Music is a powerful medium, and while singing these songs and others, the Spirit impressed upon my heart that (like Jimmie said) it's not about me, it is all about Jesus. It's not about me or what I do or don't do. As I turned my eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth did become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Yes, His grace is enough.
And then we opened the Word of God. The Word which is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
As our pastor taught from Galatians 3, verse 3 pierced deeply into my heart.
So often my tendency is to feel like a complete failure and then determine to dig in my heels and get busy becoming a better wife, a more patient mom, an industrious housekeeper, super organized....
- I just need to get up earlier and spend less time on the computer.
- I just need to read my Bible more and pray more and exercise more.
- I just need to ____________.
And then I fall on my face. The alarm goes off and I really intend to get up, but I'm just too tired or I plan to clean my bedroom and bathroom and re-organize the closet, but while I'm in the midst of it, the puppy chews up my shoes and gets sick on the carpet. Then I feel like even more of a failure.
The problem? I, I, I, I, I,
- I want to be more holy.
- I want to be sanctified.
- I want to be a better person.
If only I could or would.
I, I, I, I, I.
It's not that rising early or cleaning bathrooms and being organized are bad things. It's just that trying to accomplish the things of the Spirit through the flesh only produces wood, hay, and stubble. (I Cor. 3:11-15) The flesh cannot carry out the things of the Spirit. God's Word instructs us to die to our flesh and live in Christ. We are to walk in the Spirit.
So today, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am dying to myself, putting to death my pride, and yielding to the Holy Spirit of God. As a dear friend wrote in an e-mail, "I just need to continuously lay it at the cross and ask Jesus to be my sufficiency." His grace is enough.
Friday, May 2, 2008
This isn't a new thought. I've dealt with this for years. The question is, how do I overcome my own high expectations?
Take today for example. It's my daughter's 7th birthday. I have this idea in my head of what a birthday should be. I'm not sure where I came up with it, but it's plagued me forever. Over the years my unrealistic high expectation of being completely pampered and adored on your birthday has caused me much sorrow. You see, it rarely happens. Especially if you have a holiday birthday like mine. Growing up, my birthday (November 24th) was either combined with my sister's birthday (November 21st; 4 years younger) or squeezed in around Thanksgiving. Every few years my birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day and although there have been a couple of exceptions, most of the time it feels like I never got a birthday those years. I tell you honestly, It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To became my birthday theme song!
Perhaps it is my effort to compensate for my own disappointing childhood birthday experiences that I make such a big deal about my kids' birthdays. Not that I go crazy with the themed birthday parties every year and fancy cakes or anything, but I strive to make my child feel special all day long; frequently bursting into spontaneous singing of some variation of happy birthday, making a special breakfast, lunch, dinner, always having a cake on their actual birthday even if the "official" birthday party is the next day or even if we still have left-over cake from the last birthday, maybe planning a fun field trip or inviting a special friend over for a playdate. But sometimes things don't turn out the way I think they should, even if I'm the one who is "in charge."
Today, I wasn't even out of bed to make my daughter a special breakfast. Fortunately my husband had my back and served her favorite...strawberries. Afterwards the day progressed from bad to worse. Despite it being her birthday, we're still hosting home fellowship this evening, so the house still needs to be cleaned. I encouraged the kids to clean the basement playroom last night, but they didn't obey, so it had to be done today. After 4 hours and missing park day and being disciplined they finally finished. Then we ran off to Wendy's where we went through the drive-through and they enjoyed a picnic in the van while I browsed at a plant sale in the pouring rain.
We're home now and there's still some straightening to finish and a cake to bake and I just feel so blah. Blah because in my mind, this isn't what a birthday is supposed to be! Seriously, who wants to clean on their birthday and who wants to be disciplined? I should be miss joy-bug love-mama; instead I feel like a grumpy old meanie. I've let myself down. I've failed to meet my own expectations once again.
In contrast, my joyful birthday girl is fine. She doesn't seem to mind that we're having small group and not a party. She doesn't have any expectation of a gorgeously decorated cake and streamers and balloons. Not that she wouldn't love them, just that they're not necessary. She'll be thrilled when I give her her present, and she was excited when I jested that I was buying plants for her for her birthday. She'll help me plant them in a couple of days and she'll really think they're her plants. Years from now she'll remember which ones were hers and how I bought them on her 7th birthday. You see, she's not like me. She's the type to remember the happy things not the sad things. She's happy!
So why do I torture myself? Why can't I be okay with whatever this day brings too? Why do I place these unattainable expectations in front of me and then feel like a failure when I'm not able to accomplish them? Why do I expect myself to be perfect?
It's not just about birthdays; it's about everything: housekeeping, homeschooling, parenting, wifeing, blogging, in ministry, in friendship...I'm not a very good daughter-in-law, I should write more letters, I'm miserable at getting packages in the mail, I'm a horrible secret sister, a Flylady drop-out, I failed World Geography in college and got a D when I took it the second time, I don't do a good job keeping in touch with friends, I need to read my Bible more often, I'm way behind with my scrapbooking and I never print out my photos, I really should have painted my whole house by now and reorganized the closets and replaced the carpeting in the living room, I should have unpacked those boxes a year ago, taken that pile of bags of stuff to Goodwill, done something about all this clutter, I'm long overdue in scheduling dentist and eye doctor appointments, I'm too lazy, I should be more organized,......
I need to show myself a little grace, and I need to show others a lot more grace too, but I really don't know how.
Anyone know anything about grace that can help me out?
I invite you to pray for my friends 60 Toes. Their newborn baby, Sarah, has been hospitalized for failure to thrive. Charlotte is doing the whole nursing, pumping, supplementing with formula, cycle to try to increase Sarah's weight and yet continue to breastfeed (she breastfed her older three successfully for the first year of their lives). I know they would appreciate your prayers, and encouraging comments.
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The church where my girls take ballet lessons had three stations for the National Day of Prayer. While I was dropping off and picking up kids at ballet practice Tuesday, the pastor's wife (I love her) had asked me to take one of the hour long slots so I signed up for 11am-12pm today.
When I arrived (kids in tow) there was another woman praying in the small tent outside the church. She was immediately warm and welcoming. She quickly engaged in animated conversation with my kids (love that) and then proceeded to ask if I was a homeschooler, which she assumed I was. It turns out that she's a homeschool mom too but is not connected with our local homeschool group. As we talked, it became more and more obvious to both of us that this was a providential appointment. She was definitely a kindred spirit and has been searching for others who shared her passion for homeschooling.
After a year of being in a local academic co-op, she sensed that God was leading her in a different direction. She was looking for smaller group activities like field trips and such. (The kind of things our homeschool group does.) And when she mentioned that her daughter loves to memorize poetry, I knew without a doubt that God had crossed our paths for a reason. I don't believe in coincidences, and the randomness of my being in the throes of coordinating our second poetry recital next week and her having a daughter who memorizes poems and then searches for people to recite them to was just too weird to not be a God-thing. How many 7 year olds do that? Then art came up and I was again able to tell her about our fabulous art instructor. Here she had been praying and asking God to provide and I got to be an answer to prayer. (There is nothing better in the world than to be an answer to prayer. It's such a privilege.)
One of my most favorite things to do in the whole world is to encourage other homeschool moms: to get them connected in the local homeschool community, to give them information about various curricula or different philosophies of education, to recommend great books and other resources.... And God has definitely gifted me to do it, time after time after time. He is so good!
I'm so excited about this new friend I've made, and look forward to getting to know her even better. I've learned from experience that the best friendships form when God crosses your paths.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. Lest you think we stood there and chatted for the entire hour, we did have to cut the conversation short to be continued later, and I was able to enjoy a fabulous time of prayer with the wind blowing and the trucks zooming past on the road in front of me. I was tremendously blessed with a tangible sense of God's presence. How could I not be when I'd just seen His hand working so evidently in my life, using me to accomplish His purpose! Blessed. I am blessed!