Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten Tuesdsays--My favorite posts from 2007

I was using my blog to try to re-create the year for H&H's journals, and I found some posts I should probably read again...and again :)From most recent to oldest, here they are:

10. mom, I need my own light
9. Sherpa mom
8. Cleaning windows
7. When God says no
6. What's my title?
5. Ever wanted God to talk to you in an audible voice?
4. The waiting place
3.Breaking down the walls
2. Saying grace, part 1
1. How does your garden grow?

What's on your top 10 posts for 2007 list?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I need my own light

Tonight the Henry, Harmony and I biked, triked and walked to the place where I had my oil changed to pick up my car, about a half mile away. It was after dinner, so I brought a flashlight. I shone (shined? what's the grammar here?) it ahead of the kids, but Henry tended to ride faster than my lightbeam, and at one point he yelled back,

"Mom, I need my own light. Yours isn't bright enough."

So I gave him the flashlight, and he figured out a way to hold it and ride.

About a block from our destination, one of his training wheels fell off. Henry has had the bike since he turned four, and has constantly had issues with the training wheels--one of them tends to slide down, and he ends up with a trainer bike instead of a training bike. We tried taking them off after his 5th birthday, but despite his highly skilled riding, he was scared and wanted them back on, so we obliged. But now, the training wheels are worn out--it's not that a screw came loose, the hole in the wheel has worn so big that the bolt no longer holds it to the frame of the bike. So one way or another, we're done with training wheels.

It was a spiritually revealing trip. First, my light isn't going to shine bright enough to equip either of my children to find their way--they need the light themselves. Second, it's time to start taking the spiritual training wheels off for Henry. While Henry and Harmony both enjoy hearing Bible stories and have memorized various Bible verses, and Henry in particular has confessed faith in a very Henry way ("I wanna be on God's team!" and all kinds of variations), it's time for us to make a more concerted effort at writing God's word in their hearts and applying it to their lives, so they can have their own light and use it to walk with Jesus. Tonight Henry was excited when I talked about working together to memorize Bible verses in the new year, and we'll be adding a daily devotional for kids to our nightly routine.

So any suggestion for a set of Bible verses to start with? Or a fun but relevant devotional for kids?

Thankful Thursday meets Melodic Monday

I was working on the kids' journals last night. Unfortunately I'm six months behind, so I have to rely upon my calendar, picture files (some of which have the wrong dates), blog, and rusty memory to try and reconstruct what they were doing in July. (One of my resolutions is to get caught up and stay that way!)

It was fun going back through the year, and all I could do is marvel at what God has been doing in all of our lives. It made me appreciate just how huge, yet how intimate our God is--not only does he weave together the minor intricacies of our lives, like providing daily bread, but He also has a picture of how it all fits together.

It made me think of one of my favorite Justin Roberts songs, Where were you? and the related passages in Job (Chapters 38-41):

Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations,
Where were you when I set the stars in place and they all sang together
and they all sang together up in space

Where were you when I filled the seas and oceans
Where were you when I locked them in the land
And the all sang together
And they all sang together on the sand

Where were you when I formed the ancient atoms (as a chemist, my fave line)
Where were you when I fashioned life a home
and it all sang together
And it all sang together on the foam

Where were you when I set the leopard running
Where were you when I taught the birds their songs
And they all sang together
And the yall sang together in that bright and brilliant dawn

Allelu, allelu, alleluia (x3)
Where were you

So God, today I'm in awe of you--that you know the intimate details of each and every hair on my head, yet see the larger picture of how it all works together. You brought me to the beginning of Job last March, and now you've brought me to the end of it (with some study in between). And all I can do in response is say how awesome you are, and join with the chorus of everything else you've made in singing your praise--Allelu, allelu, alleluia!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where angels fear tread...

...our living room floor! Between the legos, Playmobil pieces, army (well, police) guys, dinosaurs, polly pockets, and game pieces from the Mickey game set, bare feet are in trouble at our house....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Melodic Mondays/favorite Christmas memories

I sang in choir all four years of college. The Christmas Concert was a huge production--four choirs plus the orchestra, everything from memory, exact choreography for choirs moving from in the audience to up front and changing places; four home concerts and two in another city. It was (and still is) recorded and played around the country on a PBS station near you. We were highly trained, and if you fell out of line, Gordon would come and tell you never to touch your face again :)

My senior year I was in the Concert choir--one of the last one picked, but in it nonetheless. The Concert Choir started on stage---everyone else was stationed around the perimeter (my first year I passed out standing in the aisle waiting to start...another story :)). The other choirs processed to the front during the first congregational hymn, Oh come, all ye faithful. That is also when they let the latecomers come in.

At the early (5:30) on-the-road show, they opened the doors for the latecomers as we hit the chorus: it was as if they had heard us beckoning them to come and adore him. I still get choked up every time we sing the song:

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him
Born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

God of God, Light of Light;
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb:
Very God, Begotten, not created;


Sing, choirs of angels;
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
Glory to God in the highest;


Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning:
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Late in flesh appearing;


Saturday, December 22, 2007

1 Corinthians 13 for Christmas

A friend sent me this, and it's so awesome that I had to share. She found it at original is published on December 23, 2004 on this thread.

1 Corinthians 13 for Christmas
by Sharon Jaynes

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Funny

Overhead conversation about birthday presents:
Henry: I know what I'm getting you for your birthday.
Harmony: What?
Henry: A music box, like at Grandmas. Except when you open it, it TOOTS. And it stinks, just like your toots.
(Hysterical laughing from both children--Harmony toots a lot, and it tends to be loud...and stinky!)

Christmas cards

Christmas cards from friends have been rolling in--most have pictures, and a few have letters. I sent out round 1 (don't think anything bad if you weren't in round 1--I brought a very short list with me to the funeral!) last week--there was a picture, but no letter. Here's the picture Patrick picked from three possibilities I showed him:

What I love about this picture is that it's so representative of our year. While we all have smiling faces, my sunglasses hide my eyes (and much of what's happened mentally in the last year). And we were being attacked by a swarm of flying, biting ants, so we were all saying "hurry up and take the picture so we can get back in the car!"

So I wonder, what's really happening in the lives of all the smiling, wearing their Christmas best families that we see in the pictures?

God's Christmas letter tells it pretty straight--a pregnancy before marriage, the hushed and hurried wedding that probably happened before the birth, a long trip on a donkey, a birth in a stinky barn, with a bunch of probably stinkier shepherds as visitors. Yet Mary pondered these things in her heart, and proclaimed the majesty of her God who ministers to the poor and lowly.

Lord, I thank you for the blessing of friends, and I pray for the things unseen and the stories not told in their Christmas letters. Thanks that you came not to the rich and mighty, but to the poor and lowly, and that you promise great things to the hungry, meek, and poor in spirit.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thankful Thursday, part 2

I've got a lot to be thankful for!! I'd like to share how God has provided in just awesome ways this week...

--Yesterday I was at "what in the world can I make for dinner with broccoli, bbq sauce, stale bread and old evaporated milk" when a package arrived from my uncle...which was an abundance of goodies, including a ham! H&H LOVE ham, so we had quite the feast!

--Today I was thinking that I need to call my GI doctor and try to reschedule my appointment, because I'll be out of town the day I'm scheduled for. I had to reschedule my July appt, and the first available slot was this one, six months later, so I had some trepidation about this. Instead, I got a call from the nurse that my appt had been moved up a week, which worked out absolutely perfect.

So thanks, God, that you know my fridge and my calendar!

Thankful Thursday

I have been out of town for the last two Thankful Thursdays, and I definitely missed them!!! Lysa TerKeurst had a great devotional at the other day on Daniel and how to get out of the pit of self pity--thanksgiving. She said it better than I, so please go and read it...and sign up for the devotionals to be delivered to your mailbox while you're at it!

Today I am thankful for:

--Mary's joyful obedience. The promise of pregnancy outside of wedlock was definitely not on Mary's "things I have planned for my life" yet her response was "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." Wow. I have a hard time being willing to do much smaller things. And she didn't even do it grudgingly, she did it with great joy--her song in Luke 1:46-55 is one of my favorites--we sang an arrangement in my college choir that was just amazing (track eight).

--Emmanuel, God is with us. He didn't come as a king to lord over us, but as a tiny baby to dwell with us. And now, he's not only with us, he is IN us, as promised in Colossians 1:27. He's closer than our very breath, we just have to slow down enough to listen.

--All the times that God (or an angel) tells people "Do not be afraid"--and then makes a great promise. In just the Christmas story, Joseph, Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds all heard the promise. And I love the reasons to not be afraid--it's the Holy Spirit, your prayers have been heard, you have found favor with God, and there is great news for everyone. What great reasons to not be afraid!

And thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday this week! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Top Ten things that we need after coming back from vacation

10. Clean laundry
9. Groceries
8. Sidewalk and driveway shoveled (we did get that done)
7. Snacks to share at preschool tomorrow
6. Draft of lab manual for next semester
5. Decorations up, or at least located
4. A cat who isn't acting like static cling, sitting on my arms while I type
3. Christmas cards to write themselves
2. A lab elf to run my experiment during a meeting tomorrow
1. A little Christmas spirit!

Yes, we're back...and I'm completely overwhelmed. The good news is that our house WAS cleaned by our fairy godmother--I forgot that I scheduled Matilde to come today, and she was patiently sorting through the disaster we left on Wednesday! Ahh, there is nothing like coming home to a clean house...

What's on your top ten list?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Melodic Monday: His Eye is on the sparrow

This one's for Grandma, it's been in my head all week:

His Eye is on the Sparrow by Civilla D. Martin, 1905

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Nativity scene done by preschoolers

Mail crossing

I sent my grandmother a care package of Christmas cookies and candy last week--she didn't get it before she passed away. Meanwhile, she mailed us a check to shop for Christmas presents for ourselves--it arrived yesterday. I want to get the kids something they can keep to remember her. Any suggestions? I was thinking of a locket or cross necklace for Harmony, but I don't have any ideas for Henry...

Top Ten Tuesdays

The Top Ten things I love about my children:

10. How Harmony has learned to say "spoon" instead of "boon" and "scrape" instead of "grape"
9. Henry will play with his knights with rapt attention and great detail.
8. That they both like to crawl in and snuggle with us in the morning...even though it's sardines in our bed
7. Harmony uses BIG gestures and facial expressions when she talks.
6. Henry would eat an apple...or three...every day.
5. Harmony loves to play beautiful princess, complete with jewelry and makeup, even though I wear neither.
4. Henry likes to have his nail polished too...but just his toenails, so his buddies won't see it.
3. Harmony brings books to bed with her every night--they're one of her favorite things.
2. The little rituals they've created, like counting before we pray and the seatbelt song, that are unique to our family.
1. My kids have shown me such great things about God, prayer, love, grace, reaching others, and so many other things...

What's on your top ten list this week?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Home coming

Sorry for falling off of the blogosphere--we were on vacation in Chicago and didn't have internet. We had a great time, but a fuller description will need to wait. Coming home means a pile of laundry, no groceries, and lots of errands!

While we were there, my grandma had another kind of home coming. Mona Mae Holm went to be with her savior on Friday. She was 92 years old, and was talking about going home the last time I saw her. While I'm glad for her life and that she's with Jesus, we'll also miss her, and I'm sad that my kids won't get to know what a wonderful Christian woman she was. So I'll probably be dropping off the blogosphere again at the end of this week!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Top Ten Tuesdays--Reasons to read your Bible

10. To know your King and Savior
9. To grow (1 Peter 2:2)
8. So you can claim the promises that are yours in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20)
7. To see some awesome examples of faith (see Hebrews 11 for a start)
6. To be rooted and grounded in Him (Colossians 2:6-7)
5. So you can stand firm in the trials of life (lots of references!)
4. To know your marching orders
3. To avoid pitfalls
2. For more powerful prayer--what better thing is there to pray than God's own word?
1. Who doesn't love a good, well awesome, love letter?

What's on your top 10 this week?

Melodic Monday--Make me your instrument

Di Lehman from the Champaign Vineyard gave an awesome sermon at church this Sunday on escaping busy-ness. She didn't give a self-help book or five ways to be less busy, instead she pointed out the key to being "More than Conquerers" over all the things that bring us down is the mystery/secret that is revealed in Colossians 1:27--Christ is in you, the hope of glory!

I had forgotten how much I love Colossians. Before we went to New York on sabbatical, I was in a study on it, but I think I either quit or we moved before we even finished chapter two. I'm definitely picking that back up.

Back to Melodic Mondays--the Christ in You theme has had me singing this song by The Ragamuffin Band (Rich Mullin's band after he died):

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace:
where there's hatred, let me sow love;
and where there is injury, pardon;
and where there is doubt, then faith;
and where there's despair, then hope.
It's in dying that I will be born,
and in giving that I will receive,
it's in loving that I will be loved,
this is my faith: it is what I believe.
Lord, make me an instrument.
Make me an instrument.
Lord, I am a stranger traveling
in a brutal yet wondrous land,
far from the promise of home,
on a journey, led by Your hand
to where the lion lies down with the lamb. Father, grant that I'd never seek
to be comforted as to console;
let the blood of Your Son cover me,
touching my spirit, seizing my soul,
Lord, make me an instrument.
Lord, make me an instrument.
Lord make me YOUR instrument.
Let Your divine mystery guide my heart:
it's in dying that I will be born,
and in giving that I will receive,
it's in loving that I will be loved;
this is my faith: it is what I believe.

Christ within me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ above me,
Christ beneath me, to my left and my right,
Christ where I lie and where I arise,
Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ on the lips of all who speak of me,
Christ in the eyes of all who see me---

make me Your instrument, Lord!
Make me Your instrument, Lord!
Make me Your instrument, Lord!
Make me Your instrument, Lord!
Make me Your instrument.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Santa clause

On Saturday, Henry was telling his friend Emma something about Santa, and Emma point blank told him there was no Santa...and Henry argued for him.

We haven't talked about Santa at all, and don't watch Santa movies. But he hears about it from his friends at school. We have done stockings on Christmas morning, but the big gifts are from family members.

So what's a Christian parent to do about Santa?

I don't want to lie to my children, but I want to encourage generosity and the story of the original St. Nicholas.

ETA: I love playing Santa. Even when I was old enough to know about Santa and my parents stopped putting stuff in our stockings, I continued to fill them. I just enjoy blessing others through little (and sometimes big) gifts--not just at Christmas, but all year. Guess it's not surprising that giving is one of my (and Patrick's) spiritual gifts, and in some ways, I see Santa as a way to teach that to my children. For example, this year I plan to take the kiddos shopping and ask them to "play Santa" with me and buy stocking stuffers for Jubilee Christmas. I don't think that "ruins" Santa, but perpetuates what it is that I like about the whole concept--spontaneous, undeserved gifts, just like the Father gives us.

So what do you do about Santa?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advent activities

I found this list buried in my computer--I saved it when Henry was two! The kids are probably old enough for it this year, and it sounds like a fun approach! The key is every day you put a small object in a special box, then talk about it and how it relates to Jesus and Christmas. I think I got it from but I don't see it there now...if anyone knows who to give credit to, please let me know, because this is awesome!

1. Quarter
2. Grape
3. Smiley sticker
4. gummy fish
5. birthday candle
6. Bell
7. fish crackers
8. Cotton balls
9. piece of a map
10. Soap
11. Heart sticker
12. Cross
13. Packet of salt
14. Sand
15. Flowers(silk)
16. Raisins
17. Seeds
18. Christmas carol
19. Small rock
20. Crumpled foil
21. Mustard seed
22. Dove
23. Small scrap of woolly material
24. Blue marble
25. Picture of a baby.
December 1 - A quarter! That equals 25 cents. But 25 also stands for the number of days till Christmas, when God gave us His best present. Jesus told about one woman's gift and the way she gave it. Read: Mark 12:41-44
December 2 - Grape Gum! Grapes make jelly and juice, raisins and wine. But Jesus didn't need grapes to perform His first miracle. Read: John 2:1-10
December 3 - Here's a smile! A smile usually expresses happiness. Jesus gave us many instructions to keep us happy. Read: Matthew 5:1-12.
December 4 - Fish! Well, if you were surprised to find these fish, wait till you read the story today! Others were surprised to find fish, too. Read: Luke 5:4-7
December 5 - A birthday candle? As you know, we are getting ready to celebrate Jesus' birthday. However, Jesus talked about something else that is related to this candle. Light! Read: Matthew 5:14-16
December 6 - You could make some noise with this. But it would not have bothered a certain man--until he met Jesus. Read: Mark 7:31-37
December 7 - These would not go very far if you were really hungry! But Jesus could make much out of little. Surely He knew how to multiply! Read: Matthew 14:13-21
December 8 - These cotton balls would be helpful in a thunder storm, wouldn't they? We could use them for ear plugs to muffle the loud noises that thunder makes. But we know someone who doesn't need cotton. Jesus can control the weather. Read: Matthew 8:23-27
December 9 - People needing to use the other parts of this map are in trouble! Don't you get lost today! Read: John 14:1-6
December 10 - It's soap. Do you like to wash? Behind your ears? Washing turned out to be a happy time for a man who met Jesus. Read: John 9:1-7
December 11 - Hearts. Wordlessly, they speak of love, don't they? Jesus spoke some commands about love. Read: Matthew 25:17-41
December 12 - We use the cross as a symbol, representing Jesus. Do you know why? Read: Phillipians 2:1-11
December 13 - Ordinary salt. Yes, Jesus related salt to us and our behavior. He also gave us some advice. Read: Matthew 5:14 and Colossians 4:6. (Notice that He doesn't recommend pepper!).
December 14 - Don't try to eat this! It's sand. It reminds us that Jesus knows something about architecture, about buildings--and building lives. See His instructions: Matthew 7:24-29.
December 15 - Flowers are pretty, aren't they? Jesus used flowers to teach us a reassuring lesson. Read: Matthew 6:28-34.
December 16 - Raisins! Many children are given raisins instead of candy for a snack. That's because they are a health-promoting and delicious fruit. Jesus told us how we can produce good fruit. Read: John 15:1-5.
December 17 - Jesus told a story about seeds that man planted. Then He explained it, revealing its deep meaning. Read: Matthew 13:3-8 and Matthew 13:18-23.
December 18 -Christmas is just about a week away. And here is an appropriate song. Sing it loudly! Read: Psalms 100.
December 19 - A hard stone! Can you change this stone into a piece of bread? Do you think Jesus could? Jesus was asked to do just that. Do know how He handled it? Read: Matthew 4:1-4.
December 20 - Try to smooth out this piece of aluminum foil and use it as a mirror. It's hard to see your reflection plainly, isn't it? Many circumstances are hard to understand, but someday everything will be clear. Read: 1 Corinthians 13:12.
December 21 - The mustard seed is the smallest there is! When it sprouts, it grows into one of the largest plants! See what Jesus said. Read: Matthew 17:20.
December 22 - We've learned that the cross represents Christ, but do you know what the dove stands for? Read: Matthew 3:13-17.
December 23 - The threads that compose this fabric came from the wool of a sheep. Jesus called Himself the good shepherd. Do you know who His sheep are? Read: John 10:7-18.
December 24 - A marble! Do you know what is sometimes called the "Big Blue Marble"? The world. God made the world for us. What does God continue doing to the world? And who is the world? Read: John 3:16.
December 25 - Isn't this baby cute? When he was born, he made a whole family happy. Jesus was born a baby, too. He came to make the whole world happy. Read: Luke 2:1-20. Enjoy your celebration today. Continue to learn about Jesus--and love Him forever!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Deep thoughts from Walmart...

Henry and I went to Walmart tonight to pick up a birthday present for a friend and a few other items. There were Salvation Army Bell ringers standing by the door, so I gave Henry a couple of quarters to put in. He wanted to keep one and give one, and I said ok. So Henry put the quarter in the jar, and we went inside to get a cart. An older gentleman stopped me and thanked me for teaching my son about giving and said he wished more parents would do that. While I don't think Henry totally "gets" giving, hopefully repeated exposure will work :)

So we went back to the toy aisles to pick out a gift, which consisted of Henry pointing out all the things he wanted instead of helping find a toy for Emma. While he was eyeing the Star Wars legos, there was an older couple reading the labels, in search of toys not made in China. I pointed them to K'nex, Legos and PlayMobil toys, but that didn't really help them since they were looking for toys for a one year old. We chatted briefly about why it's hard to find American made toys. If you're trying to do a China-free Christmas, check out

Much more food for thought than the typical Walmart trip!

To get you in the holiday mood...

...go watch some of your favorite Christmas specials!

For me, it's not Christmas without Charlie Brown's Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, with Frosty and Rudolph being alternates, but not required.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I love Psalm 136. One of these Thankful Thursdays I'm going to re-write it, describing the great things he's done for me.

What I love about this Psalm is the repeating "His love endures forever". The "love" here is the Hebrew word "checed", which is more like mercy or favor. How merciful our God is, and how many blessings he showers on us! And it isn't temporary or fickle--it's FOREVER. Not just when I feel it, but all the time. Not when I've earned it, but for eternity.

So I give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever!

You can add your thanks to Thankful Thursday by visiting Laurel Wreath

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Top ten wierd things I've found in my washer/dryer

The hazards of having kids with pockets...

10. Gravel from the school playground
9. barettes
8. toy cars
7. a calculator
6. stickers (stuck to the wall)
5. a shoe
4. magnetix toys (stuck to the wall of the dryer)
3. silly putty (what a mess!)
2. rocks
1. The TV remote (which remarkably worked after it dried out!)

At least there are no dead animals! Gotta do a better job of checking pockets...and no, these were not all in one load...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Melodic Mondays

Patrick got some new CDs last week, and we have a new favorite--Justin Roberts! He's got a cd of old testament songs, and another of new testament songs. One of the favorites is Here, Kitty, Kitty.

The king put Daniel in the lion's den,
the lion's den, that's where he's been
The king put Daniel in the lion's den,
the lion's den, and all the king's men
They though Daniel'd be cryin'
Cause he'd be afraid of dyin'
All on account of that lion and the king
But instead they heard him sing:

Here kitty kitty
Won't you come kitty kitty
I am not afraid, no, I am not afraid
And you'd hear him sing
Here kitty kitty
Won't you come kitty kitty do
'cause the Lord is with me and
the Lord is with you

Then the king got Daniel from the lion's den,
the lion's den that's where he'd been...

So the king put his men in the lion's den,
the lion's den, for how they'd been
The king put his men in the lion's den
the lion's den, for how they'd been
He thought they'd be cryin'
Cause they'd be afraid of dyin;
All on account of that lion, but the king
Instead he heard them sing:

Here kitty kitty
Won't you come kitty kitty
And it did!

How readable is your blog?

You can test the readability of your blog here

Sigh...the average target age for most written documents is 8th grade...I wonder what makes my blog less readable? You'd think Wordless Wednesdays would bring it down...So is my word choice too high?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How to make Lefse, a photo tutorial

My mom, the Lefse National Bake Off champion a couple of years ago, has taught hundreds of people to make Lefse. For several years, my mom and I demonstrated how to make lefse at a cooking store in the mall during the holiday season. It's just not the holidays without some lefse! This weekend, we started teaching Henry and Harmony--they already love eating it :)

First, mix 3 c mashed potatoes (instant are fine, nothing but potatoes), 1 t salt, 1/4 c oil and 1 T sugar. Chill well. Just before using, add 1 cup of flour and mix well. Preheat grill to 500 degrees F.

Measure out 1/4 c. dough and shape into a smooth circle. A round measuring cup or ice cream scoop works well.


Roll very thin on a well floured pastry cloth. Use a stockinnete cover on the rolling pin.

Transfer the lefse to the grill by rolling it over the rolling pin or by using the lefse turning stick. Cook on hot grill until it's lightly browned on the bottom and bubbly on the top--about 20 seconds.

Turn by sliding lefse stick under the lefse, picking it up, and rolling it off of the stick.


Cook second side like the first (usually takes less time). Remove lefse from grill with stick and place between folds of a terry kitchen towel to cool.


Cut in half or quarters, spread with butter and sprinkle with sugar, roll up, and eat!



Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not what I ordered

Jonell came down to hang out on Wednesday. We had a good time touring around the lab, visiting preschool, and having our own bakeoff for a friend who recently had a baby. It was great hanging out with her and hearing more of her story!

We went to Little Mexico for lunch. I ordered the lunch chimichanga, no cheese, no sour cream. What I got was the lunch chimichanga, no cheese, no guacamole. Not what I ordered. I kind of scraped off the sour cream as best I could (dairy and me don't go well together), and asked Jose Manuel for a little bit of guacamole on the side (and he obliged). I ate it and it was fine, but it was not what I ordered.

I'm having the same feeling about my life right now. It's not what I ordered. I'm eating it and it's ok, but it's not what I wanted.

My brother and sister in law announced that they're pregnant and due in July today. While I am ecstatic for them, tonight I just feel weighed down and burdened. It doesn't help that my emotions are a total roller coaster--one day I'm perfectly fine with not having any more kids, and the next day it's devestating.

So if you're looking for some fun reading, this isn't one of those posts, check out the next one with pictures from my mom's camera. What I am trying to do is sort out why my heart strings are getting tugged yet again, and what it is God is trying to show me in all of this.

Lots of possibilities run through my brain. Tonight's Scrubs episode centered around JD getting what he thought he couldn't have, but once he had it, he didn't want it any more. Is that it? I want a baby because I can't have one?

Another possibility is that I don't want to end my childbearing era on a bad note--kind of like ending a baseball career on a strikeout or worse. I didn't have the most wonderful pregnancy with Harmony, let alone the miscarriages. I definitely have the "if I had to do it over again, I'd do X, Y and Z differently" list, but that's not a good reason for bringing another life into the world...and I don't think that's what's driving this.

Or maybe it's just that I want the experience for me. Wow, to be a part of the miracle of life...what else can I say but it's amazing?

But maybe I do want to meet this child that is in my heart. To nurture another child of God through the "boob lean" when they're hungry and so dependent. To see all the firsts, to see a new and awesome creature, made in God's image, fulfill His purpose in life. To learn more about God and myself in the process.

But I don't want to be Henry, throwing an all out tantrum at the table because he got water instead of the Sprite he wanted (and was overridden by a parent). Maybe the vision of something shrinking in the dryer until it was just right was our family size, and two is it for us.

Come to think of it, a little sour cream hasn't killed me. Guess all I can do is wait and see what God brings to the table.

Thanks that you're not a restaurant, Lord, and that I'm not in charge of my ordering. Help me accept, cherish and find joy in what you do give us.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday--Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanks Giving!! Harmony and I are having a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving at home--the stomach bug I had last Friday has hit her. So she's eating toast, and I had some popcorn, and we've been watching Dora and Kipper movies. She's definitely on the mend, but we didn't want to expose the family to her germs. So Patrick and Henry are at the family gathering, while we hold down the fort.

Many years ago I started a Thousand Thanks list. It is such a blessing to go back and read it, and add the year's blessings onto it. Now I just need to find it :)

This year I'm thankful for:
--how much my children have learned and grown, both physically and spiritually
--how much I've grown spiritually
--blogging--it really has let me reflect on what God is doing in my life--and in the lives of others around me
--the depth of relationships that have developed at my church and in our town--I think for the first time in nine years, we can say we have friends!

Here's Henry's list (he's 5):
Mom, Dad, Me, Harmony
My knights
Playing on the playground
My bike
That the TRex at the Children's Museum isn't real, because he's a meat eater and we're meat
My teachers at school
Friends at school
Going to Jacob's Farm
Swimming lessons
Star Wars movies (at the Children's Museum) and songs

Harmony's list (she's 3):
Mom, Dad, Henry, Me
Big slide at the park by grandma's
Going to Grandpa and grandma's Farm
Going to Mammaw and pappaw's House
That I was a baby
All the girls at preschool (but not the boys)
My babies
My pink fuzzy jammies
Going to the children's museum
That I can ride my trike now
story time
My princess castle cake
Emma, Ruthie and Olivia
Going to the apple orchard
computer games

Thanks, Laurel for hosting Thankful Thursday for the next four weeks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Top Ten Tuesdays--Giving Thanks

Top Ten reasons to give thanks to God this Thanksgiving...

10. To proclaim to the nations what he has done (1 Chronicles 16:8)
9. He is present (2 Chronicles 5:13)
8. Because God is righteous (Psalm 7:17)
7. It'll make your heart sing (Psalm 30:12)
6. The Lord is strong and is your protection (Psalm 28:7)
5. Salvation (Psalm 118:21)
4. God's love endures forever! (Psalm 136, and everywhere else)
3. Grace (1 Corinthians 1:4)
2. Victory in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:57)
1. Our God reigns! (Revelation 11:17)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Melodic Mondays

Thanks, Jonell for the idea! This is the song that's been going through my head, getting ready for Thanksgiving...

Forever by Chris Tomlin

Give thanks to the Lord
Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
With a mighty hand
and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that's been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever, forever

From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
By the grace of God
We will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever, forever

His love endures forever (3x)

Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
Forever you are faithful
Forever you are strong
Foerver you are with us
And ever

Forever you are faithful
Forever you are strong
Forever you are with us
Forever, forever
You are God.....
And ever and ever ....

Thanks, Lord, that you are faithful, strong and with us forever. Help me share that great news this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Mosquito

I grew up on a farm in Northwestern Minnesota, where the mosquito is the state bird. Since we lived right next to a very slow moving river, the mosquitos were especially prevalent--my brother and I would be covered by bites from head to toe, all summer. I remember swatting my arm one time, and killing five at once--I think that was a record. So one of the things I love about Indiana is that there are relatively few mosquitos.

But that doesn't mean there are no mosquitos. Earlier this fall I set up an appointment with the President of my college--needless to say, I was a little tense. We had company during the meeting; one of my pesky mosquito friends kept flitting from the President's collar, to his ear, to his arm, and back again. But I didn't feel quite right swatting at the President, even though his attempts at getting it weren't successful.

But a couple of minutes later, the mosquito journeyed into my range, and with a lucky clap, I got it mid-air. It was at a fitting moment in the conversation, and we both laughed about the appropriateness of the object lesson. While I'm not always that lucky, it was a memorable moment, and I made a joke about my Minnesotan experience being useful on occasion.

There are mosquitos in my life right now--the ulcerative colitis, miscarriage recovery, even the getting old feeling. They're distracting, and make it easy to focus on me instead of focusing on God. It's one of Satan's favorite strategies--be an annoying gnat to take our eyes off the prize and focus on him instead.

So that's my goal for this week: to memorize and apply Phillipians 3:13b-14: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Send your flyswatter, God, and remove the distractions--and help me focus on you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Minus seven pounds...

Weight loss is good, but seven pounds in one night is a bit much :( I have ulcerative colitis, but it's been well behaved for about a year. But earlier this week I had a sinus infection, which was enough to sound the alarm for my immune system, and it's back to attacking me. So last night I was up almost every 20 minutes...ugh. Here's hoping tonight is better...I haven't dared be more than five feet from a bathroom, and I'd really like to go to church tomorrow. I'm debating about calling the doctor--I really don't want to be hospitalized, and that's what they'd probably do.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clear packing tape to the rescue!

So guys love duct tape. I think it looks gross and leaves a really yuckky residue behind when you remove it--kind of like those killer bandaids that leave bigger marks than the original owie.

But I must admit, I include a roll of clear packing tape in my gifts to new parents. It is definitely a godsend! What for, you wonder?

Well, this morning I fixed Harmony's princess purse. Belle was peeling off, so a selective application on the front and the backside, and voila! Harmony's favorite bag is back to being useful.

I also need to fix one of their favorite Bible story books--right now it ends with half of a whale showing up to get Jonah. Clear packing tape has added time onto some of the kid's favorite books, both in repairing the binding and torn pages.

It's also saved my ear drums from more than a couple of way too noisy toys--a piece over the speaker is enough to reduce the volume to manageable.

I also used it to build a "drip guard" for our cat's litter box--somehow she manages to pee through the crack between the lid and the base. I pieced three strips together, folded almost in half, and taped it along the inside, and voila! No more cat pee on the floor. I think that gave the cat a few more years in our house...

So that's my Frivolous Friday you have other good uses for clear packing tape?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday--Psalm 23, part 2

First, thanks to Crystal for hosting this week's Thankful Thursday!

I started praying through the 23rd Psalm last week, so it seems appropriate to finish it!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Thanks for your never leaving presence--there is nowhere I can go, physically or emotionally, where you are not there with me. Thank you that death is just a shadow for those who know and love you.

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Thanks that You guide us and discipline us; you do not let us wander astray.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Thanks for the many, many ways you bless us! You provide in abudance for us, you heal us, and you protect us from the enemy. Thanks for the awesome "object lesson" Tony did with Dan--I will never forget the oil dripping all over Dan, and imagery of how God coats us with his love.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Thanks that You are merciful and good, and that we don't get what we deserve. Thanks for the promise of eternal life! Thank you for musicians who set the Bible to songs. I was sure that Selah did a version of this, but I can't find it--thanks that we got to see them before they went "national". ETA: It was Ashley Cleveland that did this song--I still love it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Yes-Buts

I have a bad case of the yes-buts. I also have a sinus infection and haven't slept well in a while, so that contributes to the yes-buts.

So what are the yes-buts? It's an awful disease. It's when someone tells you something, and your response is yes, but... which means you're digging in your heels instead of doing what you're supposed to do.

Example: see previous post.

YES, I need prayer, BUT...blah, blah blah see previous post
YES, I should have our life group pray for me, BUT...we're supposed to be pouring out not taking since we're the leaders.
YES, seeing a leader need prayer can lead to better prayer times and real relationships overall, BUT we've already done that for me with the miscarriage anniversary AND the second miscarriage AND... See prayer hog reference in last post...
YES, I should go to the Women's Ministry Center, BUT miscarriage and midlife crisis aren't on their "list" of mentor areas.

I know I've had the yes-buts before, my mom commonly diagnosed them in my teen years. But I'm not sure what the cure is, other than a good night's sleep and just saying yes, despite the buts...

(Sorry, no Top Ten this week....I tried coming up with Top Ten good things about "Fall" and could only think of bad things, so if someone wants to generate one for me, I'd appreciate it...)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Prayer chicken

The correct answer when Tony asked who needs prayer at the Life Group Leaders meeting tonight would have been ME. But that's not what I said. Why not?

I don't wanna be a prayer hog. Is it just me or do I seem to be asking for the same prayer issues every. single. time? It's not like I don't ever ask for prayer, it's just that there are bigger and more pressing issues than me.

I don't want to explain it. No one in that room would have understood. They're all entering or in the prime of summer, it's not fair to make them think about fall.

Fear of looking like an idiot. I was pretty sure I couldn't even say what was wrong without falling apart, and what kind of idiot is upset about getting old??

Pride. Who wants to be the one to say I need help?

Feeling like a failure. Our group is the only one that isn't growing, "multiplying" or showing incredible stories of God working in their small group. Probably not the first or the last time I feel totally unequipped and ungifted in leading a small group. I am not beautiful, popular, charismatic or otherwise attractive, so there's no way our group is going to grow by my power...and as is the theme in my life right now, God's not choosing to show up in this way. Not to mention that life group leading doesn't really overlap with my spiritual gifts inventory, either. Maybe it's a good thing I spend almost every meeting with the kids instead of the adults!

Lord help me say yes when I need it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Changing seasons

It's definitely fall. On Friday when I was walking to work, the gingko tree was dropping all of its leaves--the ground was covered, and it almost looked like it was snowing.

The seasons are also changing in my life--I think that's a good share of the "blackness" I talked about in my last post.

So what are the seasons of life? Well, if your life is a year, there are four seasons in a year, and the average lifespan of a person is 80 years (give or take), each season is 20 years. So springtime is the time of everything being new--so that would be ages 0-20. Summer is when everything is "hot" and fruits are rapidly developing--that would be ages 20-40, the prime times of career and family. Fall is 40-60, and winter is 60-you meet new life in heaven with Jesus.

But just like the weather doesn't always pay attention to the calendar, neither does our life-- there are days during spring that feel more like summer, and an "Indian Summer" isn't unexpected. While I'm not 40 yet, the winds of fall are beginning to appear--ever since the miscarriage in March, I've started showing signs of perimenopause--the details are more than you want to know :)

The problem is, my whole life has been aimed at achieving "summer" stuff. I don't know what my goals are for winter and fall, and I don't want to be done with "summer" activities. I think I have good company--who isn't sad when school starts (even though it's still August) and the pool closes, when watermelon becomes scarce, and the stores start advertising Christmas (or at least it's how it feels!)

I wouldn't say I'm having a mid-life crisis--I just want to hang onto summer for as long as I can--I'm not ready for fall!

Here's an example of why:
Yesterday we were shopping at Target, and had just succeeded in our mission to find a dark skinned baby doll for our shoebox that's bound for an orphanage in Nigeria. Here's the conversation as we walked by the baby gear section:
Harmony: Mooooom, when are we gonna get a baby? A real baby?
Me (ouch! Ouch! Ouch!): When God sends us one.
Harmony: Well, I want God to grow one in your tummy.
Me: Do you think it would be a brother or a sister?
Henry and Harmony at the same time: A brother!

Conversations like that make me think that God's not done with our family it can't be fall yet! I know God has given fall and winter babies before (Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth), but that's a hard row to hoe physically....ugh. It's hard to be patient when you hear the clock ticking!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Joseph's coat

Last night Emma, Ruthie, and Olivia came over for a pajama party. I was talking with Jen about maybe watching a movie towards the end, and she mentioned that they had checked out Joseph: King of Dreams from the library. Things always go a little smoother if we have a couple of structured things planned, so I did the Joseph--a coat of many colors lesson from Danielle's Place (you might need a membership to get to the Joseph lesson--if you don't have one, consider it! I definitely get my money's worth out of it!)

In the lesson, the kids listened for me to say a color, and then colored a stripe on Joseph's coat that color--like I'd say "his brothers were green with envy" and they'd color a stripe green.

Two things struck me as I read the story from my Bible last night. First, how many times it said, "And God was with him." The other was now long it was between when his brothers sold him to the slave traders and when they saw him again. A lot of that time was pretty "black" time--neither being a slave nor being in prison for something he didn't do would be very pleasant, and I'm sure that even after he was raised up, it was a hollow victory without his family. I'm sure there were many days that he wondered when, if ever, his dreams would come true.

Those are good reminders for me. I've been in a bit of a black spell since March, which feels like a long time, but is nothing compared to the two years Joseph was in jail, or the many (maybe 20? just my guesstimate--several years in Potipher's house, 2 in jail, 7 years of plenty, some number less than seven years of drought) years of waiting to see his family.

It's one thing to know in your head that black is an important color in the tapestry of your life, and another to believe it in your heart when it's a long time coming.

Thanks, Lord that you are with us and that you weave it all together for good. I'm ready for another color, please.

Friday, November 9, 2007

If you love me... will obey what I command. John 14:15

That's my bible memory verse this week. If you haven't checked out Bible Memory USA, you should!!! I am not good about memorizing Bible verses, but I think it is very important, and this is a tool that really has worked for me--I've learned 14 verses since June, though I'm bad at remembering the citation.

Back to the verse...

Talk about something you don't understand until you're a parent! I'm so thankful for how God uses both our children and our experiences as parents to teach us about Him.

Oh, what I would give for my children to obey me because they love me! The current obedience strategy is a "chore chart", with the basic things that I'd like the kids to do without me having to remind them--clear their dishes, get dressed, brush their teeth, and clean up their messes. Every day they do all their chores with minimal reminding (which still happens more than I'd like), they get a star. After a week of stars, we'll do something fun...Henry's totally into it because of the lesson they did in Sunday school this week...and because he really, really, really wants to go to the Children's Museum. (Little does he know the Star Wars display is gone...he's going to be heartbroken!)

There are lots of reasons that H&H don't obey...ok, why Henry doesn't obey. Sometime's he's so totally engrossed in what he's doing, he doesn't hear us, or if he does hear us, he'd rather continue what he's doing. Other times, he'd rather do it his own way, or for it to be his own idea. And sometimes, he just is being defiant and rebelling against our authority. Huh, sounds a lot like me and God somedays.

Harmony is another story. She's very concerned with following the rules and wanting approval, so she is very compliant. So part of parenting her is showing her that we love her unconditionally, that there is nothing she can do that will make her earn or lose our love. Hmm, sounds like a God lesson too.

Thanks, God for our children and the multitude of things you teach us through them. Help us point our children to you, and use these teachable moments to learn about you and learn to love you.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thankful Thursday--the 23rd Psalm

Many thanks to Crystal for hosting this week's Thankful Thursday!

The kids are studying the 23rd Psalm, and since I'm teaching, it's a natural guide for my not-feeling-so-thankful-at-the-moment, but-knowing-there-is-lots-to-be-thankful-for heart. As I've been working on it, there is SO much there! So this week is going to be the first three verses, since that's what I'm teaching on Sunday. Stay tuned for the last half next week :)

The LORD is my shepherd,
Thanks, Lord, that you guide us, care for us, watch over us, and don't let us wander too far off. Thanks for your vision that exceeds ours, and that you direct us towards safety and away from danger before we can even see it. Thanks that you bind up our wounds and work tirelessly for us, your sometimes ungrateful sheep.

I shall not want.
Thank you for providing above and beyond our needs--good jobs, stable housing, a budget that has room for the extras. Thanks for Crown Financial Ministries, Dave Ramsey, and other groups that encourage Christians (and others) to "not want"--and realize how blessed they are.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;
Thanks for a nice bed in a safe house...and that I don't have to sleep outside in the grass! Thanks for the kids enjoying the leaves this week.

He leads me beside quiet waters.
Thanks for the tranquility that I often find beside bodies of water. Thanks that you refresh us with your living water, even when we wrestle with you. Thanks for River Vineyard Church, and the impact it's had already in both individuals and our community.

He restores my soul;
Thanks that you heal and restore people both physically and emotionally. Thanks for how you use music to restore our soul, and I'm thankful for the many musical settings of this Psalm, especially "The King of Love my Shepherd is" and "Yea though I wander" (track 7 of this CD) that I learned in choir...and my entire college choir career.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Thanks, Lord that you not only KNOW the way, you ARE the way. Thanks for revealing yourself to us, and for bringing glory to you through your leading. Help us to be good followers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Top Ten Tuesdays: Mom initiation

Top ten signs you've been initiated into motherhood:

10. Pee on a stick (which can be harder than it sounds) and seen two lines appear
9. Be sent home from the hospital with a tiny creature to care for
8. Hear something your mother used to say...come out of your mouth
7. Get peed on, barfed on, sneezed on, and seen pretty much any imaginable bodily fluid end up on your clothes
6. Clean said body fluids out of your car.
5. Reach into your purse and pull out a race car, rock, bouncy ball, broken crayon and goldfish crumbs ...and find the same items in your dryer
4. You know all the words to Veggie Tales songs...and sing them in the shower
3. You ask someone where the potty is
2. Have a broken heart for something you can't fix for your child
1. Hear an unsolicited "I love you"

Now it's you're turn! Write your own Top Ten list and add your link!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday Meme: Finish this sentence

Stolen from another NaBloPoMo member:

1. My where my family is.
2. I am listening to...the hum of the air handling system.
3. Maybe I should...send an e-mail to an unknown colleague
4. I love it when...there's something fun in the mailbox
5. My best Jesus
6. I don't understand...why people can't just get along
7. I Bible...but praise God, Patrick found it!
8. People say...more than they should
9. The meaning of my blog name is...that I have lots of questions for God, but not many of the answers
10. Love is... putting the other's needs first
11. Right now, somewhere, someone is... eating something chocolate
12. I will always... avoid using always statements
13. Once upon a time, I... thought I was good at everything
14. Now, I... know that isn't anywhere close to true
15. I never want to... forget to appreciate each day
16. My personal motto is... Today is your only chance at today--enjoy it
17. When I wake up in the morning... I wish for a few minutes of peace
18. I get annoyed when... people tell me what to do but don't help in the doing
19. People always...surprise me
20. I sing...all the time
21. Hugs are the best when...they come from my kids, unsolicited
22. Today I... went to the gym at lunch and ran--it felt good
23. Tomorrow I will... vote for my husband!
24. I really want... more time with my kids

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Be careful what you wish for...

Last week I was telling (well, complaining) to Patrick about how I don't like it when the radio is off and no one is talking in the car--it brings back too many memories of the silence in the car whenever my dad was in it growing up.

Today on the way to church, we not only had a CD on (trying to find worship songs with few enough words that the preschoolers can sing), but Harmony talked the whole way. Mostly saying, "Jesus Loves Me, Away in a Manger, Jesus Loves Me, Away in a Manger"...repeat, repeat, repeat for 28 miles. I'm glad she knows what she wants to sing in Kid's Church! Meanwhile, Henry is saying "Stop it, Dad, Stop singing, Dad, stop snapping, Dad..." ARGH! Made me wish for the silent car I was not liking the week before.

So thank you, God, for not always giving me what I wish for.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Your Kingdom Come

Today Jeff Heidcamp from the Minneapolis Vineyard Church was the speaker at our church's fall conference. The theme for the meeting was "The Kingdom of God". We missed the Friday night session, and spent the Saturday morning session praying with some friends from our Life Group, but if the third session was an indicator, it was a powerful conference!

The third session was titled "The Kingdom of God in the 21st Century." Jeff talked about five big areas, and how the Kingdom of God might be seen--mental illness, political division, ethnic diversity, singleness (and marriedness), and being involved. (Pretty good that I remembered the list without notes!)

One thing that really resonated with me was the singleness section, even though I'm married. Jeff talked about the search for someone to fulfill you in every aspect of your life, and how hard that is. But the Kingdom of God in this world is that Jesus can meet all those needs...and if you're looking to a spouse to complete you, your marriage is in trouble. Marriage is really the opportunity to share the great love you've received from your savior with another, not about meeting your needs.

Amen. I've said to Patrick that marriage is about being God's agent of grace to your spouse...though it sure is nice when God works through my spouse to meet my needs!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sherpa mom

There are days I wonder if I'm a mom or a sherpa. Like last night, on the way to Life Group. I had in my hands/arms/back: a bag with snack, my Bible, a backpack with activities for the kids, phone lists to give to everyone, the keys to the church office where we meet and my purse. And yet I didn't have everything; the kids very vocally reminded me that I forgot their water bottles, and they would surely die of dehydration on the way. I shut the door with one finger, but had to put stuff down to open the car doors.

The irony was the lesson I had just prepared for the kids was on Hebrews 12:1-2a...
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Ugh. It's definitely a case where God uses the lesson I'm preparing for me, not the kids--we didn't even end up doing the lesson last night (though I'm using it with my kids and their friends right now). What burdens am I carrying that are impeding my progress? I'm definitely carrying around junk that I should just give to God--worrying about my Grandma and uncle's health, wondering about whether we're done with our family, guilt about working, guilt about being driven crazy by my children when I am caring for them, guilt about making an inedible supper last night and not being a good "reflective listener" to Patrick. 1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you," but sometimes I think I'd rather carry them myself and focus on them rather than looking to Jesus at the finish line--my burdens seem more immediate.

But that's not what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to give them to God! So sing along with me...

I'm Trading My Sorrows by Darryl Evans

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down
For the joy of the Lord

We say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For His promise will endure
That His joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down
For the joy of the Lord

We say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thankful Thursday--All Saints Day edition

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40

Today I'd like to give thanks for all those saints, some living, some with Jesus, who may not have seen the fruits of their labor.

--Cathy, my babysitter and preschool Sunday School teacher. She always had an enthusiastic greeting for everyone, and she made Sunday School a place you wanted to go.

--Shannon, who helped me heal from much of my garbage, and showed me what sacrifice looks like.

--My Principia teacher in college, who always had two listening ears and a few wise the right proportion.

--My religion 101 teachers--one of htem taught me to look for the big themes in the Bible, and the other taught me that worship is what happens in the pews, not up front...even though that wasn't the way the class was taught.

--My grandparents. What amazing champions of the faith. They ran the race well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top 10 Tuesday... signs your kids are getting "old"

10. No more diaper bags!
9. You could sleep all night...if you didn't wake up to every creak and passerby.
8. Your child calls you "Mother", complete with eye roll on occasion.
7. Your children can buckle their own carseats (or seatbelt).
6. The phone rings and it's not for you...
5. ...and you don't have to answer it, the kids do.
4. Sippy cups have been replaced by sports bottles.
3. Clothing choices (at least coming out of the closet) are no longer yours to make.
2. Knocked knees and hairy legs show up.
1. Your child says "I love you" without you saying it first.

Now it's your turn! Make a top ten list, and add your post to Mr. Linky!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cleaning windows

Yesterday on our way to visit Mammaw and Pappaw, Harmony had a chocolate chip granola bar. In typical Harmony style, she savored it, licking it, smooshing it, and generally making a large mess all over her hands and face. So I handed her a wipe once she was done. She did a good job cleaning her fingers and face.

Then I heard her chirp "God is cleaning the outside of the window while I'm cleaning the inside." She was happily wiping every inch of the window that she could reach with the chocolate covered, lemon scented baby wipe, while the rain beat down on the outside of the window. Needless to say, God did a much better job of cleaning the window than Harmony did.

Don't we do the same thing sometimes, trying to clean our dirty hearts with our own dirty rags? Our own efforts look a lot like the Pharisees, and Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say to them in Matthew 23. Particularly fitting here are verses 25 and 26, which say,
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

God, forgive me for the times when I try to fix things myself instead of bringing them to you. Clean us from the inside out so that your light can clearly shine through us, without distortion.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We caved...

...and turned the heat on! Lows in the 30s, highs in the 50s with rain will do that to a family...

A new meme--Top Ten Tuesday!

I had so much fun with my top ten list yesterday that I thought others might like the if it sounds fun to you, make your own list, post it on Tuesday, and add your blog to the Mr. Linky in the weekly post about it!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Top 10 signs it's time to turn on the heat

10. Tomato soup and grilled cheese are back on the favorites list.
9. Said soup is cold before you can finish eating it.
8. The butter that is sitting on the counter is rock hard.
7. Harmony's nose is bright red and she hasn't been crying.
6. Bread baking becomes a daily event, just so we can turn on the oven.
5. We huddle around the dishwasher when it's on the drying cycle.
4. We're wearing more layers than we have members of our family.
3. The kids don't want to take off their coats inside.
2. Slippers are a requirement.
1. The cat insists on sleeping under the covers!

Maybe tomorrow...we're trying to hold out until Nov 1 :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Give Thanks to the Lord our God;
His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

I love how Psalm 136 repeats the refrain of "His love endures forever." He doesn't just love us today, He loves us every day, all the time, forever! This week I'm thankful for:
--My grandma, and the wonderful Christian example she's been for so many people.
--For safety for friends and family in the midst of the fires in California.
--For hats, mittens, gloves, coats, and furnaces to keep us warm now that it's getting cold and windy out!
--That God speaks to us in very real ways...when we bother to listen :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

We took pictures for a chore chart, and the teeth brushing are just hilarious!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When God says No

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11

The passage above is a bit challenging, especially when you feel like you asked for bread and got a rock. But I’m glad God used the analogy of a parent and a child, because as a parent, it’s one I can understand.

If Harmony had her way, we’d got to Steak and Shake (Snake and Snake, as she says it) every day for grilled cheese and a shake. She loves their shakes, and rarely does a day go by when she doesn’t lobby for one as we’re driving anywhere remotely close to a Steak and Shake.

But although I love Harmony, think shakes aren’t the worst thing in the world for her, and have taken her to Steak and Shake more than a couple of times for a shake, sometimes the answer is no.

No doesn’t mean I don’t love her. It doesn’t mean I don’t want good things for her. It doesn’t mean she won’t ever get a shake from Steak and Shake again.

There are lots of reasons that I say no as a parent. Sometimes what my children want just isn’t safe, like wanting to stomp in the puddles in the street last night. Sometimes it isn’t the right time—last night Henry desperately wanted to build a car garage with a set from his uncle, but it was time for bed, the car garage would have to wait until this morning. Sometimes it’s because I have something better in mind—often the “no” to Harmony’s shake request is because dinner is almost ready at home, and I know that’s a lot healthier for her than a grilled cheese, fries and shake.

But sometimes my no brings fits, tears, and “Mean Mommy!”or “Why?” from her mouth. So I hold her tight and try to explain, but usually it just takes time and a diversion….she’s just not ready to understand it.

But God does all that and one better for us—he gives us a story to help us understand it. John 11 tells us about Lazarus dying, yet Jesus stays away. When he does go to Bethany, both Mary and Martha say, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Very factual, but I have a feeling that what was in their heart was “Why? Why didn’t you show up when we needed you?”

Jesus answers their question in a couple different ways. In verse 14 he tells the disciples that it’s playing out this way so that they may believe. In verse 40, he tells Martha that it will reveal the glory of God.

In keeping with my blog title, I don’t have all the answers, just all the questions. I don’t know how to tell when a no means it’s not safe or not now or there is something better for you. I don’t know how God will use a particular “no” to bring belief or glory to Himself. But I do know that if I keep these things in mind as I experience a “no”, I might have a fighting chance at experiencing Him more fully and being used to bring belief to others and glory to God.

Thanks, God, that you do say no to us sometimes, and that you have a bigger and better plan in mind. Help us sort through how to use the nos to bring deeper belief and glory to You.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The REST of the story

Remember when Paul Harvey used to say that on the radio? Yeah, I'm dating myself...I'm old :)

Today the kids had dentist appts in Lafayette--they both got "A"s on their report cards. We met Amanda and Aidan for lunch, using our free Chik fila coupons, and the kids enjoyed the play area. (Sorry, Gracie, you were at preschool!)

While we had a great time and I'm happy for Amanda and her upcoming due date, being around pregnant people just brings back some angst. So I knew I needed to go for a run so I could talk to God about this...again. So despite the rain, I went running outside...the rain was actually quite fitting, given my mood. But I didn't want it to be a complaint fest, though, so I brought my MP3 player and listened to a sermon from the Ithaca Vineyard from their "Just walk across the room" series. It was about telling your story...and God's story

So I thought about my story. We've been doing "Life-timonies" in Life Group lately, and I did mine last week. I definitely need to write it out, or at least practice--the "old" stuff I've got figured out what I should say, but not much past my salvation story...a Lifetimony that's missing 10+ years of info isn't the best!

But what I clearly heard from God today was the miscarriage story isn't done yet. There is a "so" that will come in the "In 2007 I had two miscarriages, so..."

And as I approached home, I could see and hear Henry and Harmony cheering for me on the porch. It was very sweet, and although I returned looking like I had already taken a shower, it was exactly what I needed to get my head back in the right direction.

Thanks, God, that you're not done with my story yet. And thanks that there is a great cloud of witnesses that cheers for us as we run the race.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sell me on your Bible

I still haven't found my Bible. While the computer thing works, it's not the best--can't bring it to bed with me :) So I'm ISO a new one. The one I had was a NIV Study Bible by Zondervan--I liked the notes, and it had cross references in the margins, as well as good study aids (concordance, dictionary, maps, etc). Before that I had a Life Application NIV. A little more application based in the notes, it was also good but in a different way.

So sell me on your Bible--what kind do you have? What do you like about it? What would you change? I'm probably sticking with NIV, so I'm more looking for the bells and whistles. I do like to do word studies, but usually end up at to go back to the Greek and Hebrew...


Friday, October 19, 2007

The conversation I missed at lunch today...

On Fridays, my friend Jen and I share childcare--this morning I hung out with the kids while she went to the grocery store, and she took care of the crew while I went to some meetings for work. Apparently I missed a pretty interesting marriage conversation over lunch...

DTR, the kids could all *theoretically* be siblings--Emma is 9 months older than Henry, Ruthie is half way between Henry and Harmony, and Olivia is 15 months younger than Harmony...they really do have a great time together. I'm so glad we're friends!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I need to do Thankful Thursdays because I know I have lots to be thankful for...but often can't remember what it is! And sometimes my memory needs a jog, so today I'm "jogging" it with the alphabet (with some assistance from Henry and Harmony :))

A--Apples; they're one of Henry's favorite foods
B--Babies, especially Baby Helena, born to our Ithaca friends this week
C--Chocolate, need I say more?
D--Dear friends who know me, pray for me, and put up with me
E--Easter (Harmony's idea)
F--Flower, Henry's first word
G--God and his many names; thanks for the study we did on that in Ithaca
I--Isabels--both of them from church--read the story of one Izzy's adventures
J--Jesus and his amazing sacrifice
K--Kitty snugglign with Harmony at night
L--Love that is patient, kind, not self seeking, and enduring
M--Miss Diane and Miss Colleen, the kids' preschool teachers
N--New clothes--thanks for helping me shop, Patrick!
O--On line deals, like my $15 MP3 player
P--Peekaboo--one of Harmony's first words and favorite games
Q--Quilt--the one I made when I was pregnant with both kids that is finally done--thanks Mom!
R--Raking leaves into big piles--coming soon!
S--Samantha and Marisa, H&H's cousins
T--Thankful Thursdays. Thanks, Iris!
U--Uniqueness. Isn't it cool that no two of us, or even snowflakes, are alike?
V--Voting--the opportunity to pick our leaders. Exercise your right!
W--Where I work
Y--Yoda and You Tube, both on Henry's favorites right now
Z--Zoo--we had a great time a couple weeks ago!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

What's up at the zoo? These two! And these two!

Monday, October 15, 2007

MIA: My Bible

That's right, my Bible is missing...and has been for almost three weeks. It's not like I haven't been in the Word--my daily reading comes in the e-mail, and most of the time I end up using Bible Gateway or the Blue Letter Bible when I'm studying.

But today it's feeling symbolic. God seems pretty far away right now. This blog hit me right where I am...yes, old married couples can have quiet time, but that doesn't mean both parties like it. I hate silent cars, and lately Patrick has been quiet in the car and turning the radio off...and I'm getting the same thing from God. And prayer tonight just made me FEEL how far away we are right now. I know He's not really far, but I don't deal with No followed by silence. At least the first miscarriage was followed by lots of good God time...not this one.

On my run this afternoon I went over a bridge that went over some really dry rocks. You could see where the water had been, and how picturesque it would be with the water, but now all there was was dry, cracked ground and some dying algae on the rocks. Yeah, that would be me.

It's a good thing the Psalm in my daily reading addresses exactly this--Psalm 107 talks about how God's people were wandering in the desert, chained in bondage, in a storm, and other calamities, and the two choruses that repeat are
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress and
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

So thanks, God for all the good things you've done for people who are in distress. I need you to show up in my life too.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coping mechanisms

Everyone has them. I've decided mine are weird, though. Except for the food one (eating when I'm not hungry to fill a different hunger--which is definitely sin), they're healthy habits.

The first miscarriage happened: I started running much more regularly. Regular exercise + set aside prayer time = doubly good habit.

Anticipating what would have been my due date: nesting. I made lots of meals for friends who were sick, preggo or had a newborn, and cleaned out most of the closets. Huh, blessed some friends, and my house looks a little (not a lot, but a little) better.

Actual would have been due date: couponing. If you watch the ads (Walgreens especially) and pair them with coupons and rebates, you can almost make money shopping (though I haven't hit that level yet--but some of these ladies have.) For example, I'm now stocked up on shampoo, with the store paying me a dollar (after rebate), and I'll be picking up toothpaste for the kids for $0.14--boo yah!

So far I haven't gotten past the food thing on this miscarriage, and the wound definitely isn't as deep, but it's cool to look back and see how God has brought good out of bad. What's also interesting is my ultra analytical part can see how these are compensations...running is proving I have mastery over my body, and couponing is proving my "worth" to my family (I know I'm worth more than the few dollars I save each week, though!)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Good Day

Today was fall break, and we took it!

First we went to our favorite sushi place, and they made Henry and Harmony their own "sushi" with rice and chicken, while we enjoyed our favorite rolls. If I can't be pregnant, at least I can enjoy sushi!

Then we went to an apple orchard south of Indy. The only reason we picked it was that it was on the way to the outlet mall, but it turned out to be great! There was a pond with HUGE koi, a nature trail, a petting zoo, a bamboo maze, a two story "bumpy" slide, a train, and of course, apples. There was also a hay ride to a pumpkin patch, but we skipped that since we enjoyed that last weekend. The kids had a blast, and we got a peck of apples of several different varieties. It hasn't been a good apple year in Indiana because of a late April frost, but they had all the kinds we were looking for (we asked before we called). Yum, yum!

Then we hit the outlet mall, mostly for me--my work clothes is looking pretty sad, as I discovered on my trip this week. While I didn't find the suit I was looking for, I did spend a couple of gift cards that have been burning a hole in my pocket since Christmas--it's always good to shop without spending money :)

It was a good day. If only I had remembered my camera, it would have been perfect!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cartoon Song by Chris Rice

This is one of Henry and Harmony's favorites...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thankful Thursday

My Bible in a Year reading today included Psalms 105:

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.

What struck me about the Psalm isn't what's above--it's what comes after. What things are they to remember? Wandering around in the wilderness, Jacob being in shackles, the famine and plagues in Egypt...I'm sure that NONE of those things seemed good at the time, and I seem to remember the Israelites complaining through all of that.

When you're in the thick of it, it's hard to remember to be thankful. I'm in the middle of miscarriage #2, so I'm definitely there. But still I'm to sing praises to him! So here's my Thankful List for today:

--Casting Crowns "I will Praise you in the Storm"--I love how they use Psalm 121. It's one of my favorites; my college choir sang a couple different versions of it, and it's one I turn to frequently. If I figured out the "how to post a You Tube Video", it should be on my blog somewhere :)

--Supportive and understanding friends

--My two great kids and awesome husband

--That somehow this black is woven into a bigger picture and it's not all I have

--a flexible and rewarding job

--That I have a God and Savior that is bigger than all of this--I'm not sure how I'd cope as a non-Christian

--That there are miracles and healings--God does work in this fallen world