Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Letter to my MFW Friends

I am part of several groups on Facebook that use the My Father's World curriculum.  I only use the MFW Kindergarten and 1st grade level before moving on to other things.  I love interacting with these very dedicated women.  Some of these wonderful ladies have committed to not just doing K or 1st but they have older children with which they are trying to do the MFW upper levels.  Honestly, that was not something I could ever wrap my little brain around.  I think I ended up going with a more difficult program for our history but for some reason I just simply couldn't figure out how to make the other levels of MFW world with all my kids.  I digress.  This wasn't the purpose for my post today.  

As we are getting into the midst of everyone starting school, I am seeing lots of "help me" posts. Whether it's toddlers wanting to be the center of everything, diaper messes, or school aged children who have just decided that school is not for them (that has been my battle for 2 weeks and it came to a head this morning), we are all struggling with something. 

There was one post that really got my attention today.  I had an answer all ready.  My answer wasn't gentle though.  After I read it again it just had a "what's wrong with you" kind of answer.  As if I had all the answers when my kids were the age of their children.  Hello stupid!!  Sheesh Karen!!  I was slapping myself.   I scrapped it and sat for while.  Then I remembered back to the earlier days when I had 7 children ranging in ages of newborn to 11.  My children are not really very far apart.  I have literal stair steps.  But I received a spiritual reprimand from the Lord to remember where I've come from.  To remember the encouragement other moms had offered me in those times.  So rather than give advice today, I decided to act on that reprimand and do something different.  

I was going to post this on the Facebook pages but I decided to put it in blog form.  It was getting to be too long for FB and I decided to put it on a prettier page.  :)  

So here's my message to all my MFW mommies (and others who might be helped):  

I want to encourage all of you that we serve a God of great comfort and love toward each and every one of you and your children.  He sees everything that happens. He knows before you wake what will happen. Yet His promise is that His mercies are new every morning. You can rest in that fact today. 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him." 
Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)

Your school does not have to be perfect. 
He is already perfect for you. 

Your children don't have to perform like your friend's children. 
He did it for them. 

You don't have to be the pinterest perfect mom. Haha!!  

He already did it for us. 

Ladies, God's grace is sufficient for you. 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my 
power is made perfect is weakness."  Therefore I will boast 
all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of 
Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

Through your weaknesses, HIS power is made perfect. 

Done.  Finished.  What you do is enough.  And where it isn't, He's already done it for you. 

So drop what you are doing right now and go hug your babies. If you've had a bad day and lost your cool, apologize for that. Let them see your weakness in order that your God may be glorified and His power made perfect. If you've got problems you don't know how to fix, go to Him and then rest and trust He will answer. That stinky sweet little 2yod that won't do anything you give them to do so you can get school done was put there to sanctify YOU. Let Him do that by driving you into His arms and His word. 

Sanctify them in the truth;
your word is truth. (John 17:17 ESV)

I just sensed the frustration in so many of you right now. Please believe me when I say I really understand. I am very close to being out do the trenches but I haven't forgotten. I have wrestled with my fair share of sleepless wonders in my earlier days. I still have a preschooler who is in and out of needing naps.  It's so very obvious when that child is growing.  Good grief, child, SLEEP!!  (Said quite often in my house.)  I have to sit in her room to get her to fall asleep (or read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  There's a running joke now in our house that HooLee hates Mrs. Piggle Wiggle because every time I read it to her, she ends up taking a nap.  Mommy LOVES Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!!!)  I still have a child who just hates school and would rather play (told me so today.) Oh to know the balance in requiring school and meeting his need to simply roam and be a free spirit. God will answer. I believe. 

I love this verse:  

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms; 
he will carry them in his bosom, and gently
lead those that are with young."
(Isaiah 40:11 ESV)

These little ones are our sheep.  He promises to lead us and help us.  Trust that He will in His perfect timing.  

"...shepherd the flock of God that is among you,
exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but 
willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain,
but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge,
but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV)

This is one of my favorite Mommy songs.  I listen to this so much when I need to remember His faithfulness to me.  I'm sure you all have heard it.  Enjoy it regardless.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Living by Daily Grace

I have no idea what this picture is.  I took it at the Tennessee Aquarium.  I just thought it was pretty.  

I have been thinking for a long time about starting a new blog.  I have all sorts of names picked out for it.  I even have a couple already named and waiting for me to blog on them.

Recently I've found myself participating in a couple of Facebook pages for specific groups.  Since I started using My Father's World again for kindergarten and 1st grade, I thought I might get some good ideas from the ladies on there on how to make it a bit more fun for my littles using it.  What I discovered in that I am one of the older ladies of the group.  I have had opportunities to encourages these sweet ladies and at times, offer meager advice to help them as they adjust to their new role as homeschool mom.  I say meager because it is.  It's been interesting watching them make their comments and ask their questions.  It reminds so much of when I was at that stage with my children.  I had 4 children at time.  I had been planning to homeschool for a really long time and I was so excited about starting.  I don't remember much about those years.  I remember being terribly lost and feeling like a total failure.  I don't feel so much like that anymore but I have my moments.

But the opportunities to encourage these ladies has reminded me of how much I used to long to be a Titus 2 older woman to younger moms.  I was so hungry for a strong Christian lady to mentor me as a young mom.  Since I really didn't have that, I foolishly thought that I needed to step into that role.  Boy, was I stupid.  I had no clue what I was doing.  What made me think I could help anybody?

Life over the past couple of years has brought some changes for our family.  In the process, I think I have matured. . .a lot.  It's a little weird to me.  There are things I am doing and saying to my children and then I think to myself "where did that come from?"  Only the grace of God could be helping me mother like I am right now.  I have a strange confidence.  But more so, I have a growing desire to teach women.  Not just to encourage and not just younger woman.  The maturing that has taken place in me is coming from a deeper seeking and deeper understanding of God's Word.  My understanding and application of grace in my life has led me to see just how absent the understanding of grace is in so many around.  I guess my desire is to try to teach woman what I have learned and what I have come to love about my Savior, mainly that He really does love me.  I can screw up as much as I want and I am not condemn.  Hear that?  There is no condemnation.  (Romans 8:1)  Jesus really did pay it all.

So, back to my blog.  I think it's time.  I think it's time for me to pick it back up.  I do yet have a niche.  I have no clue where I'll take this.  I'm praying about it quite a bit right now.  What I do know for certain, I don't need to change the name though.  Because I really am truly living by daily grace.  It just seems to fit me now. Maybe that's why blogging felt so awkward to me for so long.  I wasn't really living what my blog said about me.  I think now it is.  So, hopefully, you'll be seeing more of me around.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Unexpected Adventure

I was hoping to have my new blog up and running by now but it hasn't worked out. Until I have it ready I am going to blog here. I also know that pictures make a blog more interesting. Ha. That ain't happened right now. Until it does, you will have to simply enjoy my silly words. 

When Underdog and I made the decision to move to Georgia we thought it would be an adventure. We've played it pretty safe in our marriage starting with deciding to live near family because neither one of us had jobs when we were first married. While we loved living near my family there was always a part of us that desired to venture out. We particularly wanted to live in a place where you don't melt when you go outside nine months out of the year. We wanted nature that was green and tall, not short, stubby and brown. When God dropped the Atlanta opportunity in our lap, we took it. 

The process had been pretty straight forward. We got our house ready to sell. We went to Georgia to find a house and ours sold while we were there. That house failed inspection so we went back. We learned to live off less than we normally would, which was very cool. (Although the homeschool mom in me was starting to panic because my supplies were in boxes.)  The new house passed inspection and we worked on the list of repairs for our buyers.  We packed the house and adjusted to life disrupted. We played with friends and said our good-byes. 

The adventure began before we left though. We were supposed to close on the TX house the Friday before we left TX. As of this posting, that was a week ago today. Our realtor told us to go ahead and leave Monday since it wasn't ready. We did. We hoped Tuesday would produce paperwork. Nothing. Wednesday rolled around. This was the day for our closing in Georgia. The problem is that our down payment in the new house is wrapped up in our closing from TX. Nothing happened and we heard little. Thursday we drove to the city where our closing was to take place. We were hopeful. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally we had to accept that we would not be in our new house that day and we booked another cheap hotel. The only consolation to this hotel is that they were able to give us adjoining rooms. The other rooms we've stayed in left me with girls and dad with boys. I love that set up until bedtime. Have you ever tried to convince a 3yod she has to lay down to sleep when everyone appears to be up?  She sees everyone playing when we are really reading making ourselves sleepy. Not to mention the little feet in the back while you sleep. Last night I finally got to sleep with someone that sleeps straight in the bed. 

So today finds us still homeless, wandering in a strange city wondering what in the world God's purpose is for this adventure. Why did He begin it this way?  My heart wants to be OK with all this. I want to trust Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I want to know that He is Sovereign and always in control. I want my responses to reflect a woman who is trusting her Savior with His perfect timing and His perfect love. I am fighting the temptation to think He doesn't love me or somehow I've made the wrong decision because things are not going well. God's love never fails and especially strong in these moments. 

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5

This was one of the verses in my YouVersion bible reading plan today. Could that be more perfect?  He is faithful. He is steadfast in His love. It doesn't matter the situation.  The LORD is good!!!!!!

I am writing this is the play place of a McDonalds. I am listening to my children run around and play together. Although they are frustrated with all this, they have been surprisingly flexible in this whole process. The dog and the mouse are a little worse for wear but they are surviving. I am begging Underdog to take me to a Chipotle for lunch so I feel like I am eating some what eating fresh. And I am trusting God for the phone call that's is all ready. He is my hope. Not because I will eventually get to move into my house. He is my hope because He looked upon my sorry human state and rescued me. That should be enough. I am asking Him to work in me for HIM to be enough. 

I decided to add a picture. 


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer in Our Home

I don't think I can actually do anything with consistency. If I am consistent with one thing, something else goes by the wayside. Such is life, I guess. 

We've had a very exciting and busy summer so far. With all that is going on, I expect that the rest will fly by. 

We started our summer with a trip to Houston the NCFCA Region 4 regional championship tournament. I took my 3 bigs with me while dad played with the younger set at home. Two of them were in a small junior tournament while Jennabear competed in two events in the real tournament. She didn't move on to Nationals but I was proud nonetheless. 

After returning home, the real fun began. There were several different subjects with school for various children that needed to be finished. So I put away the more or less unnecessary subjects and started focusing on the primary subjects - language arts and math. They've been working on that for several weeks now. 

We're doing a ton of reading aloud. I feel like I am 20 years behind in reading aloud to the kids. Last  night we stayed up late to finish Charlotte's Web. I love reading that book mostly because it is interesting to see who my sensitive little ones are. Most people under the age of 8 cried. However, Mom started it and Jennabear (every bit of 14) finished it off. We're also reading Shiloh right now. We should finish that next week. 

See our new summer habit?  I am keeping these girls up late each night to form the habit of napping in the afternoon. Call me selfish, but I need the quiet in the afternoon to get a random array of things on my to-do list done. So I sit in their room while they fall asleep and use my iPad to catch up on email and (I just discovered) BLOG. For the summer, everyone is required to read and rest on their beds during this time. One of my goals for the summer was to better train my younger children in a daily routine so that I can have time to concentrate on teaching the older children in the afternoon when our official year begins. We started with the heavenly afternoon nap. I love quiet!!!

We will be embarking on new things this coming year. We start this summer with Apologetic Camp in July and then Debate Camp in August.  I really do love and enjoy the NCFCA participation that we are doing. There are some very talented kids out there, my children included. I am jealous of them in a way. I wish I had known about speech & debate when I was in high school. I love being a parent judge and I am hoping to learn more about how to coach better this year. My younger kids are already looking forward to their junior tournament next Spring. I love the skills that both speech and debate offer my children as well. I enjoy getting to know the kids as well. Despite some of the troubles I faced as a middle school teacher, I really did enjoy it. I love teenagers. They are fascinating people. I guess our participation in NCFCA provides an opportunity to work with my own teenagers and meet a lot of other really neat kids. 

We will be celebrating the 4th with my brother and 3yod niece next week. We got to visit with them last week when I drove down to infect my kids with chicken pox. My niece wasn't officially diagnosed with chicken pox but her dentist seemed to think that is what it looked like. She was supposed to have a cavity filled when she broke out everywhere. So we took a package of lollipops down and every shared with their cousin fought over, I mean loved on her.  (What is it about older children fighting over 3 yods?  They fight over my 3yod as well.). I am hoping that after the 4th we will be laid up at home battling the chicken pox and knocking that off our "every child should experience that" bucket list. Maybe we will even have our own chicken pox party. 

We're going to try a mini-family vacation some time in August. Then its back to the grind as we start the 2013-2014 school year. Next years going to look very different than school normally looks. I'll post more on that later. 

Coming soon.......I'll be introducing new writers on my blog and possibly be switching to a new family blog.  Hopefully with our new habit there will be more consistency. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I am a person that loves the seasonal changes that come around every few months (unless you live in TX like I do and we only have two seasons - hot and hotter.)   My favorite season is fall but I think that is honestly because we begin to experience a repreive from the hot summer months.  With each season comes the change in clothing, diet in some cases, temperatures outside, and sports (OK, I'm a closet football fan.) 

The season of life that I am in right now isn't so fun though.  It's bringing many changes that I did not expect to be so hard.  The first season is the move away from being maternal, as in having babies.  Until the past few years, I can't remember a time when I wasn't pregnant or nursing a baby.  I love both of these aspects of motherhood.  We are currently in transition to having a diaper free home.  Talk about a weird feeling.  I just bought a box of diapers right before she announced she wanted to "potty twain" so it's sitting in there unused.  Sometimes I miss diaper changes.  It was my time to tickle and have fun with my littles uninterrupted (no one else wanted to change the diaper.) 

There are changes taking place in our church home that are a little unnerving.  We're making great stride to move to a new building next fall.  It seems that the requirement to get there is to take a spiritual beating from all angles.  Between former disgruntled members trying to create problems to internal families deeply hurt to underlying problems in the the ways things are run in the overarching governing body of our sister churches, we're having issues.  These changes don't seem as simple as some of the others do.  There is no known end in sight.  Depending on what decisions are made in the future, we could be looking at significant family changes in the future.  It's something I am really having to give to the Lord because I don't like the thought of it. 

The other season in life is my body.  I am about to turn 39 and thus there are bodily functions that are in full rebellion.  For one thing, I have a middle section showing up that I don't normally have.  That is really bothering me.  Other parts of my body are in full rebellion as well.  This is something that I thought would either never show up or would at least wait until I was much older.  Arthritis.  Still waiting to talk to the doctor about whether this is rheumatoid arthritis but there is definitely a full blown riot taking place in my joints.  Some of them are a consistent pain.  Others of them will join in the fight and then drop out only to join again at a later date.  Honestly, I am fighting worry in all this.  I am mostly afraid of losing my hands. 

Then there are just changes that are necessary for the whole family.  They are hard for me for though.  My health hasn't been in tip top shape for a few years now.  I think it started with the bedrest I had to go with my last baby.  That lasted for over 2 months.  There wasn't much I could do about diet at that point.  We were pretty much taking anything that people would bring us.  We were grateful for the help.  I begain to observe that I wasn't struggling too much with health issues like allergies and asthma.  A few months later came the blood test we did for Josiah's eczema and that started a whirlwind of weird and very limiting food.  None of it helped.  Last summer the eczema went away completely.  Praise the Lord!!!  FREEDOM.  I was done.  No more strange diet.  As long as we were having a salad with every meal (yeah right) I was good with the rest of it.  That hasn't served me well.  I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't doing the right thing.  But I was so tired of having to care so much that I just pretty much ignored the caution and went my own way. 

I can't do it anymore.  I am tired of fighting to stay healthy with the same old not so good diet.  I think I am ready for a change.  I have been researching the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Diet) for quite a while now.  I am an all or nothing kind of person so after reading the book and realizing that I would never be able to do this, I ignored it.  Over time the Lord has worked in my heart to realize that I don't have to be all or nothing.  I am a work in progress therefore there is room to mess things up and take babysteps.  I must start somewhere.  I guess the time is now.  I am researching ways to turn around auto-immune diseases (assuming the RA is indeed the diagnosis) and this is one area that keeps coming up. 

I have a long road ahead.  I don't know that I will ever hit full on GAPS.  It's hard with a large family.  One of these days though, I will, at the very least, be very good at the traditional diet.  I am already in the habit of feeding my sourdough starter that sits on top of my fridge.  I've got 4 jars of fermented sauerkraut in my fridge as well.  I am making sourdough crackers for snack and sourdough tortillas for dinner tomorrow night.  I am making strides.  Some day. 

I am kind of weird in the ways I like changes.  I love what I can predict.  Seasonal weather changes?  I am pretty good at prediciting how those will go (although the snow this year has been a very nice change.)  The mothering changes aren't so bad as I am considering the diaper free day.  The rest of it is out of my control.  I don't handle those so well.  God knows that I can't and is always finding ways to work a greater trust in His sovereignty into my heart.  I do believe I am growing in it.  It's getting easier to place the unknown in His hands and be at peace.  But I have a LONG way to go.  Makes me thankful for His loving care of me in that way.  He loves me and wants me to be like His Son.  That is the kind of change I really can handle.  I want to be more like my Savior.  If it takes out of my control changes to get me there, so be it. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finally Decorating

This is not typically a post I would write.  I am NOT a decorator.  My mother has the most beautiful Better Homes and Gardens home.  I didn't not inherit that gene.  If I did, it's dormant and has been for a LONG time.  But I would really love to decorate my home and make it beautiful.  So I am taking baby steps in that direction.

Here are a few things I am doing to spruce up the place:  (I wish I had pictures.  Maybe later.  You'll just have to use your imagination.  I'll show the finished products.)

1.  Several years ago my mom gave me an antique desk that she bought years ago.  It was originally green but she painted it black and put a really pretty handle on the fold down part of the desk .   The pretty handle has disappeared somewhere between having it downstairs to hold diapers and giving it to my 13yod to use for a school desk.  The desk is now in my room.  I intend to stain it in this summer when I can be outside.  I have really pretty cherry wood furniture suit that Underdog and I bought in our early marriage.  My dad also built me a beautiful chest for the end of my bed and matched the stain.  I want to use that stain for the desk and replace all the handles.

So today I bought a lamp.  That may not seem very big but it's huge for me.  Because I really don't know how to decorate well, I never spend money on my home.  But I bought a lamp today.  My room doesn't have good lighting so it's hard to see in my little corner over here.  So I bought a lamp.  I know, I keep saying that.  It's so cool though.  It has a pretty shade and all.  I can now see while I am typing and working at the desk.  I've always wanted to make use of this desk and now I can.

2.  The biggest decorating project that we've taken on in our home is to put in new hardwood floors.  It's beautuiful downstairs.  We're also painting the walls an antique white.  I LOVE it now.  We're going to paint the kitchen as well.  It still needs lots of work but this is a start.

3.  My favorite project so far is what I am doing in the little girl's room.  When Jennibear was a toddler my dad built her a play kitchen cabinet and stove.  He modeled it after the kitchen cabinet that my grandfather built me years ago.  It's always been white but I have had visions of painting it for years.  I have never had the chance to do it (although my mom did help the older girls repaint it white several years ago.)   I finally have the chance to do what I've really wanted to do.  I am starting with their new table though.  We're painting the table pink and the chairs blue.  When that is done I am doing to decoupage scrapbook paper that matches the colors onto the top and then coat with clear paint that can be cleaned off.  I'll follow this up with the kitchen cabinet and stove.

I am really excited about decorating their room.  They don't have matching bedspreads yet.  I really want to learn to quilt (which is something I promised the older girls we would learn over the summer) and I think I am going to take on that project so that they are finished about the time they really start learning to take care of their room.  I am also on the look out for some pretty posters and art work for their walls.  This is a good start for me.

I think as part of the mild depression I have felt for so long, I just stopped caring.  I assumed that I didn't really have a decorators eyes and just never really tried.  I want to pull out of that and begin to bless my family.  The fun thing is that Schmoo has a really good eye for decorating (apparently it skipped a generation.)  Tonight she started painting with me and it was just fun to work along side her.

So that is my start to decorating my home.  Hopefully I'll remember in the future to take pictures.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

For Me

I have decided to start blogging again.  I am going to blog for myself because I am so full of words right now.  I am feeling quiet when it comes to talking so I figured I would let my finger speak for me.  I don't want to write to any specific person nor do I really care if people read this.  I need an outlet for my heart so I am going to put some of it out here.

I am really struggling right now with finding joy.  I have held it in for a long time because I didn't want to draw attention to myself.  It still makes me uncomfortable saying it.  I don't feel free to say it at church.  My precious friends at church are suffering and struggling.  This is so minor compared to what they are experiencing.  But it in a inner struggle that I have to start working through.

To be truthful, I've been here for a LONG time.  As I have thought through life the past few years, I think it started back when Sunshine was born.  There are way too many details for this specific blog.  Maybe one day I'll explain it.  It started with Sunshine and hit it's peak with Swee'pea.  

A dark cloud has set in over me.  I first recognized it back in the spring as I was beginning to prepare for a mission trip to Haiti.  I have never been more aware of an enemy around me than in that time.  It was dark.  I had a great time in Haiti.  I experienced God is ways I never imaged, as well as experienced real things in Haiti that weren't mentioned in the brochure.  Fun but intense.  I came home refreshed and overwhelmed.  For some reason I didn't know how to be home in America, the land of the plenty when I had seen such poverty and suffering.  It was confusing.  I did eventually pull out of it.  But I think it was that point that I began to dip deeper into myself.  I didn't want to talk to anybody about my trip.  It was hard.  I couldn't figure out the emotions and for some reason, I didn't feel the freedom to discuss it with anyone.  

Underdog and I don't really fight much.  Every once in a while we'll have a tiff but we work it through with out much yelling (usually only in the beginning before we catch ourselves and change it.)  Since I have been back from Haiti, it's been more frequent.  I need something.  Something is missing.  But what?  I pick at him.  I get upset over things that stopped bothering me years ago.  I find my feeling getting hurt more often over dumb things.  It's not hormones because these thing happen after my typical hormonal week.  I don't think it's dietary because I have made changes there and it's not heling much (like it has in the past.)

Several weeks before Christmas, I started waking up with aches in my joints.  I didn't say much.  Gotta be strong.  My left middle toe had been bothering me since September.  Didn't hurt when I ran, just walking or putting direct pressure on it.  It didn't feel broken but I would get sharp pains in it.  Right before Christmas I started getting the same pain in my right middle toe.  Several days after that, my right big toe got the same pain.  Next day the right big toe started hurting.  My ankles were having issues with weakness while driving or sewing (pushing the pedal down.)  Then my hands took off even worse.  I couldn't get out of bed and it was taking a long time for the stiffness to go away in the morning. Something was wrong.  I finally broke down and went to the doctor.  She tested me for rheumatoid arthritis.  What?  That freaked me out.  Tests came back in the normal but high range.  I don't have it but I am close.  I'll be retested in February.  My liver enzymes are also high.  Her comment was that I wasn't near liver failure yet.  Excuse me?  Liver failure?  Um, God, what are you doing?  I am 38 years old.  I love running.  I love to write with a pen, which is not something I can do comfortably anymore.  My grandmother stopped being able to write and crochet in her late 70's.  I am in my late 30's.  <>  At least I was getting some answers for the stage but minimal achiness I had been having.  Apparently the achiness is brought on by a change in weather because my ankle started bothering me again this afternoon and my wrists feel like they are about to fall off as I type this.  The health problems really don't bother me.  It's just another part of the story.  

I haven't shared this with many people.  It's never really a good time when talking to people in passing to say, "Hey, I might have a debilitating auto-immune disease".  I tried it a couple of times and just felt stupid.  So I buried it again.

The past few weeks I have felt like climbing in a hole.  No, I feel like I am trying to climb out of the hole.  This weekend there was a bomb lowered where I lost my footing and fell just a bit deeper.

I suppose I am writing a little pity party for myself.  I hope not.  It's just part of the story.  In the past, when I have been through things like this, I felt very, very far away from God.  Not now though.  He's presence is very distinct and close to me.  I knew it back in the spring when I first began to realize that I have probably been fighting through a mild depression.  I  knew His presence after I got back from Haiti.  He's been the only person I felt I could open up to.  He knows what I am going through and how my whole brain is going to process it all when it's all said and done.  He knows and I take comfort in this.

I am wrestling hard with Him right now.  He's got something to teach me and with which to bless me.  But I need to spend some time wrestling with the Lord.  I love the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord.  I often feel like that.  I want to be blessed by Him in the end.  Right now I am so willing to go through this time of wrestling that I will take the wrenched hip in the end.  This period of my life is going to leave scars and disability (perhaps even real disability).  But I just sense that the long run will hold a much deeper blessing than if I could keep everything in tact.

There is more.  Much more.  And I am not finished yet.  I decided to start blogging again for me.  I want to write about what I am learning.  I want to blog so my mother in law (whom I love dearly) can keep up with her grandchildren.  I don't have to look anyone in the eye while I tell my embarrassing insights though (or perhaps dumb in some cases.)  I don't have to open my heart too much and worry that someone will trample it (which happens more than I care to recount.)  I can guard what I need to until it's time to release it.  This is for me.  I have spent so many years dying to myself that I lost myself.  I am not saying that I don't want to die to myself.  I know full well that that is what is required to follow Christ.  But I am not completely certain and I know what that fully means.  I won't go into that right now.  I am seeking the Lord to teach me these things.  I don't want to know what the latest greatest book has to offer me.  It's got nothing over the King.  I don't want to hear the latest preacher.  I certainly don't want to read to mommy blogs out there with the perfection they try not to exude.  I want to know what HE has to say to me.

Wrench my hip, dear Lord.  Wrench my hip.  Cripple me that I might surrender to you.  Bless me.  Give me a new name.  Teach what it means to be a new creation in Christ.  Heal the hurt in my heart that I may walk in peace and truly be a light in the darkness.  Change my heart and make it more like You.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

All "Tangled" Up

Tonight was Family Night in our home and we decided to watch Tangled. . .for the THIRD time.  We just saw it for the first time on Wednesday while Underdog was on a business trip.  Last night I watch it with Underdog for date night so he could see it.  That viewing made up decide to watch it tonight with our older children again. 

I thought Tangled was a cute little movie.  It's one of the better Disney movies that's been made.  The animation was fabulous.  It's obvious that John Lassiter, who originally started Pixar and was hired b Disney, was running the show.  And in my opinion, Rapunzel is the most beautiful princess that Disney was ever created.  I am sure the animation helped with that.  I think my favorite characters were the horse and the chameleon.  The story was a good story but Maximus and Pascal made it even better. 

This movie was not without flaw though.  It may seem as the movie has just innocent fun but it sending very clear messages to it's audience.  Who is the audience?  Mostly young girls.  My boys enjoyed it but I think Maximus and Pascal helped with that. 

If you ask my children, the can tell you about some of the blaring problems with the movie.  One of the beginning songs sends a message to young girls that the housework they might be doing at home isn't really living.  To me, that just screams of feminism.  Homeworking girls and mothers aren't really living when they are at home keeping and making a home and haven.  God has given a very clear calling to women to be "keeper AT home" and it's not drugdery to do so. 

The second blaring problem with this movie is the very clear rebellion that the young Rapenzel gets involved in.  Now, her mother is not the most loving and careing people in the world.  But the command in the scripture is not for children to obey if mom and dad are kind to them.  It's clear. . ."Children obey your parents in the Lord for this right."  There even seems to be a period where she's wrestling within her heart over the rebellion and promise she's broken.  The worst part is that Flynn encourages her rebellion.  "At little rebellion is good.  It's normal."  Sounds alot like another very true story that took place in the Garden, doesn't it? 

Schmoo got to watch this movie at a birthday party last weekend so she had a few opinions about it.  While she liked it (more than I would like for her to like it) she said that it was kind of ruined that Rapunsel didn't save her kiss.  I was beaming with pride.  She gets it, so far anyway.  I think I would agree with her assessment in my third point.  Is it really wise for a young girl to fall in love in only a few days and then give her kiss away just like that?  Is it any wonder that the teen and young adult culture is all about hooking up and NOT about relationships? 

Finally, one aspect of Disney that should never go unnoticed by Christians is their constant emphasis on magic.  In the movie (warning, spoiler) her hair is magical and has healing power.  Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but there has only been ONE Person with the power to heal people.  Christ is our Healer.  Magic is simply the attempt by human beings to do things that only God can do.  You can't just brush this away as simple magic in  movie.  it's not real, right?  If it's not, real do we see so many children immulating many of the movies that they are watching?  They will see the magic and they will copy it unless we are teaching and pointing out the evil.   

There is much more to this movie that could be mentioned.  I liked it at first and considered getting it to own it.  I have changed my mind though.  I have the ability to weed through the messages that are being given in this movie (and many more that Disney has put out) but my children do not.  I have read in different places that before the age of 8, most children don't have the ability to discern the difference between a show on TV and the commercials played during the show.  They also can't tell the difference between what's real and pretend in many cases.  We don't hesitate when we do watch movies like this to point out the problems.  It might ruin the movie to do so, but personally, I would rather ruin the movie than to allow a wrong worldview to be planted in the hearts of my children. 

Do I recommend Tangled?  Well, possibly.  As I said, I thought it was a good movie.  The story was cute.  The characters were well developed.  It's fun for the children to watch (ok, and the adults.)  I would recommend that parents watch it together first.  Find the problems with it's worldview first and don't hesitate to have conversation about the movie while it's playing.  Ask them questions.  Draw them out.  Get them thinking about what they are seeing.  Use real life opportunities to give them a solid Biblical worldview of life.  Teach them to view a movie with discerning eyes and heart.  And don't just casually allow the culture to lead your children.  It will.  Everything in life has a message.  It's either a message that will lead them to Jesus or it has a message that will lead them away.  The enemy is cunning.  He makes the fruit look so yummy knowing all along that if we bite into it, we'll die. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The blogsphere is hot over this recent interview with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto who left her husband and children in order to "find" herself.  It happened after she was sent overseas for a six month period to study in Japan (which no one seems to question as a wise choice in the first place.)  She commented that she feels like she if she hadn't left she said. . .
"I don’t think so…I probably would have never looked up and said, ‘Whoa…I did that thing that I didn’t want to do which was give up my life for someone else’ "
I have been reading alot of blogs recently that have brought this story to forefront. It truly is sad that she left. I fear that the media has lifted her up as a model and many more will begin to follow.

The following blogs have had so great things to say: 

Disposable Motherhood - Generation Cedar
Redefining Motherhood - True Woman Blog
"Why I Walked Away from Being a Mom" - Your Sacred Calling

While I have appreciated these articles, I can't seem to get something off my mind.  Without Christ, I would do the same thing. My sinful heart craves ME time.  My sinful heart sometimes resents this calling.  I have often heard the siren call to send my kids to school and have more time to pursue what interests me. 

I used to be the type of person that needed to "find" myself.  I was a Christian sitting in one of those preschool mother's support groups. . .you know the kind that tell you that mom needs to take care of herself in order to take better care of her family. I now understand the futility of that message.  At one point, though, I swallowed it whole.  This is the Christian version of woman finding herself.   It exists and no one seems to want to own it. 

The realization in my life that I desperately needed Jesus in my life is what saved me from that life. I finally came to recognize just how bad my sin really was before God.  Without Jesus, I really would be this woman in Christian form.  But Jesus gripped my heart and began to stit in me to the need to re-evaluate this path.  It was hard at first. I had my 2 oldest in a mother's day out program. I enjoyed those days to myself. I felt like a new woman when I picked them up. It didn't last.  It seemed that the more time I got to myself, the more I needed to be a "new" woman.  They just irritated me.  But the conviction to have them home was growing stronger.  I felt convicted to bring them home.  But I didn't obey it.  God used unemployment to force my hand.  I might add that this all occurred while I was being treated for post-partum depression. Unfortunatley, I found other ways to "find" myself. I spent alot of time on the computer. But I didn't spend that time with my kids. I was "finding" myself so I could be a better mom.  I have grown alot since then but I still have my moments.

I mention all this to say that we, as moms at home (or what have you), can sit and critique what this woman did. We ALL have the compacity to walk away though.  We are not immune to the desire to "find" ourselves and seek our own. It's the sin of Eve all over again.  She wanted her own way.  She wanted to "find" herself in the midst of the garden without God.  She questioned His best and sought to "find" herself.  The enemy hasn't stopped enticing women in this way.  It can show up in many different scenerios.  The temptation are forever before us.  But for the grace of God go I.

Yes, our society has become one that loves their pets more than they love children.  Birth control is not something people even thinking about or (for the Christian) are prayful over.  They automatically assume they will use birth control with little regard the ramifications of what they are doing.  They must have their career first (as if motherhood is not a legitimate career choice.)  There is little thought as to whether children are even of any value, or morese, blessings from the Lord.  In the secular world, it's even worse.  Many women are willing to kill their babies so that they can  continue to "find" themselves.  But I can see so many ways where the Bride of Christ has bought the message of the secular world and seek to find themselves.  We can sugar coat this all we want.  We can deny the reality.  But it's out there.  Just search in some of the latest "Christian" bookstores and you'll these message everywhere. 

Mothering requires tons of sacrifice.  It often does mean losing yourself.  But isn't that the message of the cross? 
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.          Matthew 10:39
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  (Luke 9:23-25)
The Christian life, whether you are a man or woman, is about losing yourself in order to bring utmost glory to the Father.  There is no ME TIME in motherhood.  There is only time to serve the Lord.   

And lest we judge, it would be so easy for us to wake up one day and walk away.  We can physically walk away but we're more likely to emotional walk away.  Let's be very cautious as we look at the life of this woman not to be too quick to jump in and criticize her decisions.  Was she wrong?  I think so.  She has denied her children the beauty of a mother and denied herself the beauty of loving sacrificially.  If she knows Jesus and claims Christ, she's denied her calling as a Christian mom.  If she doesn't know Jesus, then in reality, she's only acting according to her nature.  We shouldn't be so surprised by it.  As Christian mom's, however, we need to be vigilant not to fall prey to the different ways the enemy can entice us to seek to "find" ourselvs.  We must guard our hearts lest we fall. 

Christian moms, eam your hearts.  Are you seeking ways to "find" yourself?  You are looking for that ever tempting ME TIME?  Are you resentful when more is required of you, such as in nursing a sick child, getting up with a baby at time to nurse, or perhaps having to take care of the children more than it seems you husband might be?  These should a red flag that we are seeking to "find" ourselves.  We don't have to leave as Rahna did.  She just acted on the sin in her heart.  We must guard against doing this ourselves. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joy in Sickness?

Sickness.  I have been thinking alot about this recently.  It's hard not to think about it when you have a large family and sickness tends to travel in packs and fast.  LOL!!!  We've had somebody sick in this house since Valentine's Day.  It's been rather hard this week as Underdog was out of town.  I got sick on Sunday with the crude that's been passed around.   For some reason, we always seems to have extreme sickness when he travels. . .and he doesn't travel often.  And the discouragement was growing. 

Yesterday we hit the lowest point of it all though.  I woke up with a fever (usually it was coming on midway through the day.)  I felt Si-Bay about noon and he felt very hot.  Sure enough he was running 103.9.  It came on so fast.  Schmoo was spiking a fever quickly and had terribly watery eyes.  Little Leeli has been sick since last Thursday but seems to be getting worse.  When I talked to Underdog that morning, he was telling me he was getting sick as well.  I took Si-Bay to the doctor in the afternoon because I was afraid of a secondary infection and he seemed to be having trouble breathing.  I was worried about pneumonia.  I found out he had the flu.  FLU?!!!!  That isn't what everyone else had.  All they had was a cold.  And he had the cold last week.  All I could think at that point was "Round 2 - here we come."  

While we were at the doctor, the NP checked Leeli's ears. DOULBE EAR INFECTION!!!!!  Let me just say that I can count one hand the number of times any of my kids have had ear infections.  All of those times they were older preschoolers.  I have never had a baby with ear infections.  I felt another blow.  As we were driving home I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter.  I felt like I had been run over by a Mac truck and I was shivering.  Si-Bay and I came home and crashed on the couch.  Underdog texted me on his way home that he was running a temperature and had chills.  Could this get any worse?  But then he texted me back another question that he always asks. . .what is God trying to teach us? 

I had to think about it about it for a while.  For me, I think the answer is trust.  I struggle with giving God control of our health.  I often see it as simply being black and white. . .if you eat right you'll be healthy.  If you don't eat right, you'll be sick.  Well, we couldn't get our diet any healtier if we tried.  God has a purpose in all this sickness.  Part of it was for me to realize that I am simply not in control.  People get sick.  That is the effect of sin on our bodies. 

But I think Underdog hit on the greatest lesson this morning.  He told me that he kept thinking about joy.  Do we have joy in the midst of all this?  Nehemiah 8:10 says " the joy of the Lord is your strength."  Even though we're sick, we can find strength to get through it because of that joy.  We have much to be joyful over.  Sure we've been sick for quite a while and yes, it is getting old.  But is it really so bad as to lose our joy?  We've been in this place before and we always come out stronger on the other side.  We don't have any type of chronic illnesses that really stress the body or the family.  God provides all that we need to fight disease and in HIS timing always heals our bodies.  On top of all these great reasons to be joyful, we should have joy in the Lord because of the salvation He has given to us.  There is really no other reason to be joyful than that.  If you look at being sick in the grand scheme of things, we don't even deserve to be alive.  Our sin is that great.  Our sin deserves death.  But He doesn't give it.  For those of us that belong to the Jesus Christ, we have salvation and death is not our end.  That should bring tremendous worship from our hearts and a sense of joy to our lives as we lay around feeling miserable with fevers and runny noses. 

This, too, shall pass.  All bodies mend.  God created the immune system to be very intricate and work very well.  We are approaching all of our sickness using God's means from nature - essential oils, herbs, even breastmilk.  It always takes longer to feel better.  I forget this part.  We actually come out healthier instead of just covering up the symptoms.  Covering up the symptoms with pain meds or lowering the fever just hinders the immune system that God created to fight for us.  Most importantly, we are trusting His healing hand.  He does heal.  He will either heal our bodies (temporarily) on this earth OR He will ultimately heal when we stand before Him in heaven.  Now THAT is something to be joyful over.