Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wracking my brain for Works for me Wednesday

Ok, it's Wednesday. I love to participate in Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. The problem today is that I do not have any great ideas that will revolutionalize anyone's life. It takes all my energy to keep my kids fed, clothed, and safe lately!

Maybe I should think of some great ideas for making it through the first trimester of pregnacy when you are have three kids five and under, one who is being homeschooled, and a husband who works full time and is in seminary full time! When I come up with how this is happening in our house, I'll just right on over to Works for me Wednesday and let the world know...

Really, I know how we are doing so well right now- God's grace is new every morning, He is overwhelmingly faithful, and He gives strength for any providence he brings into our lives, morning sickness included.

And I must also mention my incredible husband, who every day asks several times how I'm doing, and when it's not so good he puts his own list aside and takes over for me. Love him!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick question

Has it already been a long eight weeks of morning sickness when your two-year-old asks to sit on the couch and watch, "Baby Bach"? Just wondering.

"I am from..." writing contest

The post below was written for a writing contest hosted by Mary from Owlhaven. Check out the other entries and try it yourself! While I wrote my piece, I laughed and cried and remembered so much about my blessed childhood. Contest aside, this was a very worthwhile excercise that left me so thankful for all God has done for me.

It does our hearts much good to stop and remember and give thanks. We take the counsel, given to the Israelites and recorded in Deuteronomy 32:7, as our own, "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you."

Remembering is important because we must not forget the goodness and kindness of God toward us. In our remembering our faith is strengthened. We see what God has already done for us and in us and we anticipate what he will also do in the future.

As we remember and look back, we then look forward to the grace we know to be coming in the future. This serves to quell our fears of the unknown and to give us strength for obedience, no matter how difficult the task may seem.

I am from

I am from plaid school uniforms, from wheat germ in my cereal every morning, and woody-sided station wagons .

I am from muggy Florida evenings and my mom seeking relief at the beach where she would watch the sunset while all four of us kids made giant sandcastles, from swatting mosquitoes while watching fourth-of-July fireworks and being stuck in traffic for hours trying to get home afterwards.

I am from the yellow stucco house with too many add-ons, a long driveway perfect for learning to ride a bike, and a perfectly pink upstairs bedroom that my mom decorated special just for me.

I am from the two oak trees in the front yard that my mom planted and dreamed of watching grow taller as she grew old with my father, from the rows of green onions they planted in our suburban garden, perfect for dipping in salt while we waited for dinner.

I am from a broken-hearted summer when my father moved out of our house and in with another family, from a strong-as-steel mother who lost the love of her life but not her faith in God and showed us that He never leaves us, fails, or makes mistakes.

I am from summertime revivals and candlelight Christmas Eve services, from four Ruths and a Zula and three Josephines.

I am from absolute truthfulness even when it doesn't seem to matter and giving in instead of fighting when sometimes a fight would have been better.

I am from "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "my daughters don't call boys".

From getting grounded for calling a boy behind my mother's back, from a mother who found out everything, and was gracious and strict at the same time.

I am from Methodists- then Baptists, from church three times a week, from listening to my mother play old hymns on the piano and listening to Charles Stanley on tv when someone was sick and we had to stay home.

I'm from an unknown ancestry due to a closed adoption, from never feeling adoption was negative but instead that it was the greatest blessing, and from never understanding what my friends meant when they asked me if I ever wondered about my 'real' parents.

I am from real stuffing in the turkey at Thanksgiving, and hidden liver in the hamburgers because my mom heard liver was good for us and she knew we could never eat it without a disguise, from Aunt Zula's chicken and dumplings and from my grandma's baked ziti. I am from Gran's homemade Mexican brownies and chicken divan and from-scratch lasagne.

From Aunt Mildred showing me how to make homemade paper dolls from the Sears catalogue after I complained that I was bored, from my grandma buying me a Trapper Keeper every year before school started and being admonished because I would write on all the paper in my Trapper Keeper before the first day of school.

I am from a new dress every Easter, from Hello Kitty and the original Cabbage Patch Kids and waiting and waiting for my first pair of real Keds. From roller skating parties, using a full can of Aqua Net hairspray every week while I was in middle school, and knowing every word of the first Paula Abdul album.

I am from formal family portraits and paintings lining the living room walls, my grandmother's sewing machine in the den, and never getting rid of anything that had once belonged to a close family member.

I am from blinding movie camera lights on Christmas morning, from watching the squinty-eyed children in the film on a reel machine on the living room wall while the sound of the film rhythmically click-clicked and my dad narrated the silent movies.

I am from kisses and "I love you" and more kisses every night before bed, from "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" and "Mom, will you come check me before you go to bed?", from fresh sheets that spoke of care and a mother who always gave the best to her kids and taught them to do the same for their kids.

Simple wishes

Carter's school assignment this morning asked him to imagine what he would do if he had a bag full of gold. His "if I were rich..." dream?

"I'd buy a lot of gum."

Sure, I was hoping for "Bibles for the world" or "I'd feed all the hungry children", but I think I'll keep his simple wish for gum for now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Family altar, conclusion

Ok, last post on family worship. If your family is just beginning to think about implementing family worship into your days, I think the most important thing to remember is that it will take time for this to become habit. Relax. Start slowly. We are not able to practice family worship every day. We aim for most days.

Being free from rigidity on this has been a key factor in our family's ability to make family worship a regular part of our life. This has been difficult for me. I love a rule. But the problem with rule-loving is that when you can't perfectly obey your self-imposed rule, you tend to throw the principle out altogether.

I know I'll have some people disagree with me on this. In my first post, I mentioned that Elisabeth Elliott's father led their family in worship twice a day. Before I was married, I thought without a doubt my future family would adopt the same practice. Of course, I didn't factor in my husband's background, leadership style, and preferences. I also didn't factor in my own personality and our unique situation.

Fast forward several years, and here we are, far from ideal but striving to gather our family as often as possible to sing, read, and pray together. (Actually, maybe that is the ideal!)

Family altar, revisited

Before my unnanounced Christmas hiatus, we were talking about family worship. I wanted to give a few pointers that have really helped our family in our desire to make family worship a regular part of our life.

1. Keep it simple. Donald Whitney suggests three elements: Sing, read, and pray. We vary the order, but usually open up with a hymn (our church gives out hymnbooks for this purpose, but Christian bookstores usually sell them for under $10.00), then my husband reads a short Scripture passage.

Right now we are reading through John. The kids are finding this book fairly easy to follow. During Advent, we read through several texts in Isaiah. These were harder for the kids to 'get', but deep understanding of the text is not the only purpose of family worship, so we didn't see this as a problem. Just keep on plugging away. The words of Scripture will become familiar over time.

2. Keep it short. Fifteen minutes is adequate. We sing each verse of the hymn we have chosen (sometimes one we have sung the past Sunday at church, other times a hymn that is particularly meaningful to Scott or me at the time, and then there is always our kid's favorite, "Holy, Holy, Holy"). Then a very short Scripture reading, followed by a short prayer.

3. Keep the kids close. Right now, Scott sits with one child on his lap and I have two on either side of me. Our family is growing, so we will rearrange, but it is much easier to quietly direct the youngest child's attention to Daddy or the hymnbook if we are already physically touching.

I'll be concluding with one more post. I'm saving what I think is the most important thing for last, so don't forget to tune back in!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snowy day

Our first snow of the year fell last night. Scott got me up (way too) early to tell me the exciting news. Josh got to see a few minutes of snow before he said, "I want to go back to bed," and Carter could not be roused. We would never dare to wake Sophie up for any reason other than our house being on fire, so she had to wait until daybreak to see the fluffy white covering the ground.

After a hot breakfast of oatmeal with brown sugar, the kids and I headed outside to play for a while. I am a true born and bred Floridian, so I struggle with the cold. The seventy degree weather we had on Monday suited me just fine. However, the kids had such a good time, I almost forgot how cold I was. Here's a couple of photos:

My boys may be from Florida, but I didn't have to teach them how much fun it is to throw snowballs at each other. Carter requested that his hat be allowed to stay askew so he could hear. In lieu of long underwear, they kept their pajamas on underneath their play clothes. Gotta love that orange hunting cap, Josh!

Sophie wasn't too sure of the whole thing. She couldn't decide if she wanted her gloves on so her hands wouldn't freeze or off so she could feel the snow.

The haitus is over

Ok, after many requests from my fans (I mean fan, which is my husband), I am officially coming off my unannounced blogging hiatus.

I took a break because we were a little busy at Christmas, we traveled to Florida after Christmas, and I've been feeling a little under the weather for a few weeks now.

Also, I've had nothing to say.

I still don't have a lot to say, but when I get desperate, I'll post pictures of my kids, which is what most people prefere anyway, I'm pretty sure.

Speaking of which, we had our first snow this morning, so photos are coming soon...