What’s been happening?

This week was a good week even though Mr. Winter has decided to rear his ugly head again.  I’m desirous of sunshine and temps in the high seventies.

Molly and I worked on some baby dolls.

Ruby and I have been working slowly, but surely on her “tweenish” room.  Theres’ still more to do…always, but it is fun for both of us.  She loves having her own space and keeping it clean.

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We had a couple of overnight guests this week and that was fun!

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Mack still talks NON-STOP.  For real.  NON- STOP.

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And this afternoon we dropped little Ms. Ruby off at church to go on her first overnight Middle School  Girls Retreat!  She was beyond excited.  I love her so much.  Cannot believe that this was my first baby; she is almost as tall as me!

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Here’s to a relaxing Friday night and fun Saturday with our other two munchkins!

Don’t get stuck on this question

Growing, strengthening faith.  That’s what I think I am experiencing in this season of my life.  It’s almost like I can feel my faith getting stronger.  And here’s the thing–nothing about my circumstances are “bad,” nor would they be considered “difficult” by most, and especially compared to many others.  But the good news is there isn’t a scale showing at what point on the difficulty scale that one can count on their faith being strengthened.

We each have something that is stretching us to believe more, trust more, take another step on our journey. I hope. Rarely is life easy and calm. When it is, we can praise the Lord and ask Him to make sure we don’t forget about our need for Him during the seasons of little to no challenges. The steps I am taking on my walk with the Lord are ones crying out for me to persevere and take the long view at every turn. And, well, I am just saying that based on where I am on my journey with the Lord, I have more of a belief in Him and more of a trust in His promises than ever.  I’m glad about that!

This morning I was reading in Exodus 15-17.  The Israelites had just seen God powerfully move in Egypt as He showed Pharoah and the Egyptians His great might with the ten plagues.  They were there when Moses, by God’s great power, parted the Red Sea so that they could walk across on dry land. And they were praising His great name, praising Him for “gloriously  triumphing” over the Egyptians.

And then they complained because they were thirsty and the waters were bitter.

So God made the water sweet there.

And then they complained because they were hungry.

So God fed them. Every day.

And then there was no water at the next stop, so instead of BELIEVING God for what they needed, they complained and grumbled.  Again.

Moses used his staff and struck the rock, as God instructed him, and then water came out of the rock.  Exodus 17:7 says, “He (Moses) named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying,

‘Is the LORD among us, or not?’ “

Seriously?  They were still wondering if the LORD was among them…or not!?!  And yet, I have done this same thing too many times to count.   When my circumstances don’t seem to be going the way I thought they would be….”Lord, are you with me, or not?”

When that prayer I have been praying for a long time seems to be going unanswered…”Lord, are you with me, or not?”

When everything that could go wrong in a day goes wrong…”Lord, are you with me, or not?”

When finances just aren’t there…”Lord, are you with me, or not?”

Or maybe it’s my past that replays in my head and my shame causes doubt about the Lord’s presence and care for me…”Lord, are you with me, or not?”

It’s not a question I want to get stuck on.  We have got to be a believing people that move on from that trip-up question. I am sensing in my heart and soul that I am moving on from that question because I am BELIEVING the promise of God that He never leaves me or forsakes me.  That He sees me.  That He loves me and knows what is good for me.  That He causes all things to work together for my good because I love Him.  Instead of looking to circumstances to change or people to change, I am looking to the Lord and praising Him for being with me no matter what I am going through.

 

 

Back Home…Had Fun!

Josh and I just got back from a week away, and we really enjoyed our time together.  A little bit of work and a lot of relaxation.  No cooking.  No cleaning.  No laundry. No home schooling.  No interruptions when we were talking.  No talking in code so little ears won’t hear what they shouldn’t. A week of bliss with my favorite guy.

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He is still my favorite person to spend my time with, by far.

Then, there was the food.

It was delicious!  We ate in our room a couple of nights.  We enjoyed a yummy breakfast buffet just about every morning, and we had a couple of dinners with some great friends!  The only meal I didn’t have guacamole at was that Japanese restaurant.  Otherwise, breakfast, lunch and dinner included delicious guacamole!

The property was gorgeous and lush.  The weather was divine.  We got one day full of rain, which turned out to be a great thing.  We really enjoyed the lazy, rainy day and just being together.

I spent my days wearing my big “dome” sun hat by the pool and reading, reading, reading. Audacious by Beth Moore was absolutely wonderful…very encouraging and inspiring!  Family Worship by Donald Whitney is a fabulous short read for all parents; it is a great reminder to lead your family in worship—to read scripture together, pray together, and sing together. It could take as little as ten minutes and be the most life changing part of the day for your family.  Those parts of the days that add up into months and then into years could be the single greatest investment in your kids’ lives. Worship Together! Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy was brought along in Josh’s backpack.  He read it last year, and he was re-reading it until I stole it from him.  It is a PHENOMENAL book on time management, basically.  I am greatly challenged by the principles presented in the book.  Maybe soon I will take some time and share some of what I’ve learned from each of these books in more detail.  They are all great reads!

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And I have to share this poster that was in the elevator.  It annoyed me every time.  I asked Josh if he knew what would annoy me, but he didn’t know.

Comma splice.

WHY does this little goofy sentence have a comma right there in the middle?  I know,  I’m quirky.  But it made Josh and I laugh—how it annoyed me and he didn’t even notice.

But I didn’t let it ruin my trip.  LOL!  I decided to show myself how much I love myself by trying out this spa!

Thankful for a fantastic week away.  Thankful to be home with my kiddos now!

 

How’s Discipleship Group Going?

I am so glad you asked!  We met twice in January and once in February so far, and I am loving each of these girls more with each passing day.  I loved them all before we started, but there is something about praying for certain girls with specific needs day after day that binds your heart with theirs.   We are sharing what we are learning and answering some accountability questions together.   They are helping me stay consistent and press in to hear from God!

My journaling is going well, too.  We are using the H.E.A.R. method that Robby Gallaty shares in his book GROWING UP. H-Highlight, E-Explain, A-Application, & R-Respond. The amazing thing that I have been reminded of is the faithfulness of God.  I know He is faithful and it is one of my most favorite qualities of God, but as I have read all of Genesis and now am into Exodus, I am reminded anew of how faithful God is.  He was with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph in innumberable ways.  He also spoke to them clearly.  There were no muddy waters or guessing at what they should do.  He spoke, and they could understand Him. This was comforting to me; I can expect to hear from God and understand what it is He wants me to do.

This past week I was in the beginning of Exodus with Moses.  God was obviously watching over Moses from before he even took his first breath—making sure Moses was kept alive and brought up in Pharaoh’s house.  God was with Moses when he escaped to Midian and met Jethro and his daughters.  God was with Moses as he pastured the flock of Jethro.  God appeared to Moses there in the midst of a burning bush and spoke clearly to him.  The mission for Moses was a big one, but in Exodus 3:12, God gave Moses this assurance, “Certainly, I will be with you….”

After obeying, albeit reluctantly and with the help of Aaron, Moses was met with discouragement.  First of all, Pharaoh wasn’t going for the whole “let my people go” thing.  As a matter of fact, he made the Israelites’ work much more difficult and when they didn’t complete their jobs, they were beaten.  Needless to say, the Israelites were wishing Moses and Aaron had just stayed out in the fields with the sheep instead of causing more trouble for them.

And Moses felt horrible about it as well.  The verse I highlighted that morning was Exodus 5:22 when Moses asked the Lord,  “Why did You even send me?”

I have wondered that same thing around here.  “Lord, why did You even call me to be a homeschool mama?” is one of the many questions I have asked the Lord.  There are some others that come to mind as well…..

In the margin of my Bible was a quote by G. Campbell Morgan.  “God commands, but there is difficulty”=PARALYSIS. Or I could choose to say, “There are difficulties, but God commands” = POWER.  In other words, don’t let the difficulties override what God commanded of you.  Let the fact that God spoke and commanded you to do something override any of your difficulties.

Persevere. Evidently it’s my word for 2016.

The Israelites that were listening to Moses tell them what God told him to say needed perseverance as well.  After telling them all that The Lord had promised them in Exodus 6:1-8,  and it was beautiful and full of lovely promises from God,  verse 9 says that “they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency…”  That word means “shortness of spirit.”  There have been times I have responded to life out of my “shortness of spirit.”  But when I lean in and listen to the promises of God and claim them as my own, my spirit grows tall and confident in the face of whatever difficulties are before me.

Those promises in Exodus 6 I mentioned?  They have two awesome bookends surrounding them, holding them up strongly. What are those bookends, you ask?

“I AM THE LORD”

And that is enough for my spirit to soar!  He is faithful, trustworthy, and true.  He never changes.  I can count on Him, every day, moment by moment.

A Good Day

So I am pretty quick to share about rotten, no-good, very bad days around here.  Let me take a minute and record this fact: WE HAVE HAD A GOOD DAY. There really haven’t been any arguments.  The kids did school work with pretty much no complaining.  I don’t have any laundry I HAVE to do today since I did so much already this week.  The sun is shining.  And vegetable beef soup is already made and ready for dinner! A cake is baking that the kids made to celebrate Valentine’s. Lauren Daigle music is playing. Plus, I get to go get my hair done this evening.  My roots are thankful.

In all seriousness, I am extremely thankful for good days.  Being a mom is a blessing.  And hard work.  All at the same time!  Every day won’t be like a fairy tale, but I will take a good, calm, productive day and say THANK YOU, LORD!  I needed a day like today.

Communicating LOVE

This year we started on February 1 writing reasons we love our kids on a heart and taping it to their door.  It has been fun!  They enjoy waking up to read a reason why we love them…I mean, who wouldn’t like to wake up to that?!?

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So many reasons to love these kids!  Hope you are telling the ones you love that you love them and why!  It does the heart good.

It’s February already

January flew by and now we are well into February!  I can tell it’s winter around here. And I don’t mean the obvious things like 30 degree temps or brown grass or leaf-less trees.  I mean I can tell it’s the middle of winter because I want to quit home schooling.

Yes, it seems to happen every year.  I catch myself daydreaming about what it would be like to have 7 hours away from my kids every week day.  I am sure that sounds harsh, but it is true.  I know I am not going to send them to regular school, but it is never as tempting as during the month of February.  We are all growing weary of math, math and more math…. Of cold days when I can’t send the kids outside and burn some energy…of refereeing all the bickering and arguing….and math…did I mention math????

During these times, I pray that the Lord would help me!  And I tell myself to get over myself and show some endurance.  Answer one more math question.  Help with one more spelling word.  Teach them how to clean the toilet for the five hundreth time.  Read the history lesson today.  and tomorrow. and the next day.

Oh, and don’t forget to smile!

Before I know it, they won’t live in my house anymore!  They won’t always need me to help them with long division or with how to spell Nebuchadnezzar.  But nothing will be able to replace the TIME we spent together.  Nothing.

So to all the moms out there feeling a bit crazy in the middle of this winter (or maybe it’s just me??? please tell me it isn’t just me), HANG IN THERE!  Let’s show some endurance and take the long view.  It will be worth it.  Some days I am more sure of that than others, but I am choosing to believe that it is worth it.

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Koester Family Visit

 

Our wonderful friends, The Koesters, came to visit us Friday and Saturday!  The guys were attending the Men’s Conference at church, so us girls got to hang out and catch up! It was so much fun.

Ruby and Katherine just pick up right where they left off.  They were in bed babies together, were best of friends during all of preschool (when they were both bald headed toddlers!), and then they loved each other into Kindergarten and some of First Grade until the Koesters moved away.  We were so sad that they had to leave, but we knew this was God’s plan for them.  And I now realize that I would do MUCH LESS home schooling if my friend was so close…the Lord was protecting us when He moved her.  LOL!

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Thanks for coming, Koesters!  We will see you in March!