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 Sippy cups have been replaced by sports bottles.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 opportunity...so 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 story...like "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 www.blueletterbible.org 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

Casting Crowns Praise You In The Storm

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I have a feeling this is going to be random...
--http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/ Woo hoo! A way to calculate the milage from my runs, even when I cut across campus like I did this afternoon :)
--For the neighborhood kids, and for opportunities to show them Jesus
--That God has a plan and it's better than mine

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

From last year's pumpkin picking adventure...

Sometimes you're the pumpkin, sometimes you're the shoe...
Either way, it's a mess!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday--the trickle down effect

Well, this has been a multi-week project! While Patrick was gone for work, I moved all the paint that was taking over a downstairs closet (20+ cans, thankyouverymuch) to the "attic" part of our house. Yipee! I have another closet!! Notice there are still 2 5 gallon containers of paint and 2 of drywall... but hey, there is room for something other than paint!
But where did all the stuff come from? Well, mostly the laundry room. How it all fit in there before, I don't know...well, I do know. Stuff was not all on the shelves, but now there is room for everything!

Some of the stuff also came from the bookshelf (which I didn't get a picture of), which made room for some of the stuff on the kid's "office" table...

I also conquered the closet in the living room, my dresser top and the front porch...watch out world! Next up: the bookcases...I'm accruing a large pile for Goodwill, that's for sure :)


Not the kids, me. Another great devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministry ...The author sets it up with talking about a PMS week.
Matthew 9:20-22 I read, “Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched [Jesus’] robe. She was thinking to herself, ‘If I can just put a finger on his robe, I'll get well.’ Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: ‘Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you're well.’ The woman was well from then on.” (The Message)
Here was a woman who had been sick for a long time. I can imagine she’d tried many other remedies, I imagine she’d shed many tears, and I imagine she’d had some moments of hopelessness. Finally, however, the Messiah had arrived, and she was filled with renewed hope. Her faith caused her to reach out to Jesus.

Here I was suffering from something relatively minor, and all I did was whine. I have ready access to the Savior every moment of my life simply because I’m His child, yet I had failed to turn to the only One who could make me better.

Sometimes I mistakenly think I need huge faith to pray that God will heal me. Notice, however, in Matthew 9 that these verses don’t say anything about great faith. Just enough faith. That’s all we need – just enough faith for the situation we’re in.

Sometimes we mistakenly think that if we’re fearful or doubting, that we then must not have enough faith to ask God for what we need. Not true. Again look at the verses in Matthew. The sick woman was probably fearful. After all, Jesus said to her “Courage daughter.” I can imagine that she had to muster all her courage to do such a little act, just touch the edge of Jesus’ cloak.

But it was enough. Jesus stopped for her. He noticed that little touch, even as He was on His way to another very important mission – He was going to heal a ruler’s daughter. He stopped for a woman who just touched His garment.

As I came to another verse that morning, today’s key verse in John 5:6, I was convicted by the question Jesus asked the sick man: “‘Do you want to get well?’” I sensed Jesus asking me the same question, Do you want to get well, or do you just want to whine and feel sorry for yourself?
I don't want to whine, I just want you to heal me :)