Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hope's crawling!

Hope decidedly crawled, part swim style, part army, part regular, about five feet tonight! Time for some serious baby proofing...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

God's phone number?

Conversation with Harmony this morning:

H: Mom, what's God's phone number?
Me: God doesn't have a phone number. You can talk to Him whenever you want by praying. No busy signals or not at home!
H: I still want to call Him on the phone...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday

There is lots to be thankful for!
--Henry's out of school for the year. I'm thankful that Henry had such a great year in kindergarten. He's matured a lot. He's now reading very fluently on a 2nd-3rd grade level, and half way through the first grade math curriculum. He's a motivated learner, yet the teacher gave us specific things to work on this summer (like working more slowly and carefully and finishing the math book).

--Bigger than his school work, Henry is growing leaps and bounds spiritually. We got him his own NIrV Bible last Sunday, and he is gobbling it up. He WANTS to read it, and sneaks it into bed (it doesn't fit very well under his pillow!). He's already found great passages, and he's going to be in charge of choosing verses for us to memorize each week this summer. (suggestions on how to channel his enthusiasm are welcome!)

--Harmony is growing too--last week at a T ball game I barely recognized her. Who is that long legged blonde girl? She also has lots of questions about "when Jesus makes a new earth"--like will we be young again? Will our cat be there? Can I have my own purple and pink robe?

Thanks, Lord, for growth-- physical, mental, spiritual-- in my children...and for showing it to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The kids on Marriage...

Overheard in the car this afternoon:

Harmony: When Hope and I grow up, we're having babies. I'm having two girl babies.
Me: What about a boy?
Ha: Well, maybe one. Just like we have!
Henry: But first you have to be married.
Harmony: You have to get married first--you're older.
Henry: I don't know about that...maybe I'll marry God instead.

(I guess Henry wasn't ready by the Jedi Knight argument Ruthie made...)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Down one

Harmony is spending the night at a friends' house. It was very strange without her here--it's the first time she's been gone with Henry still here.

It made me wonder what life would have been like without Harmony. I couldn't even fathom it. It also made me wonder what life would have been like had we not had a couple of miscarriages. Would we still have Hope?

Then I thought about all the people who are remembering children who died before their parents tomorrow, especially those who were serving our country. It broke my heart.

I keep finding pennies somewhere--my grandmother always talked about pennies from heaven, and I'm wondering what she's trying to tell me...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hope babbling

Hope is six months old! She's sitting well, scooting in circles, and the kids swear that she's said her first word, Mama! See what you think...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Wisdom

"For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. " Proverbs 2:6

It's graduation season in my neck of the woods--commencement is coming soon. I love that word--really, the students are commencing with the next phase of their lives, and I'm thankful we have the opportunity to be a part of that.

I'm thankful for my students. The group that is graduating next weekend includes the first students I had upon returning from sabbatical. There are some great people in that group, and I'm thankful to see them learn and grow...and for their patience in dealing with me and my growing family.

I'm thankful that despite major cutbacks, I still have a job.

I'm thankful that the older I grow, the more I realize how much I have to learn.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn in Bible studies. It doesn't matter who has a degree and who doesn't; the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm thankful that God not only gives knowledge (facts), he also gives understanding (comprehension) AND wisdom (knowing what to do with that information). And I pray that he will give my children all three of those gifts.

And thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage!

Revelation and Harry Potter.

Bible study last night was really good. It's always good when God smacks you between the eyes saying, HEY, I'm talking to YOU!

We're studying Esther, and were wrapping up chapter 3, starting chapter 4. One of the themes we've been looking at is what is hidden and what is revealed. For example, Esther's identity as a Jew was hidden when she became queen, and she had to reveal it to save her people.

One of the bulleted points was something along the line of God being revealed in a situation often involves a person revealing something about themselves. And one of the phrases that was used was exactly the title of my blog, More Questions than Answers.

I took that as a definite God moment.

Why's that?

Well, I've been feeling a bit like Voldemort from Harry Potter. Voldemort has split his soul, and stores a bit in each of seven different horcruxes. While a blog isn't my soul and I don't have to commit murder to make a new blog, I have been splitting my blogging time between three blogs...this one, Ms. Theophilus, and NaCl and hv. It's partially an audience issue, and partially a privacy issue--the other two are more anonymous than this one.

I thought about merging the three blogs into one, and imported some of the Ms. Theophilus posts here. But as I prayed about it, I think I'm supposed to continue all three...but better center each one on a particular aspect. This blog will focus on family things and memes, while Ms. Theophilus will be more thoughts on Biblical and church related matters. NaCl and hv focuses on work related stuff (bonus points if anyone other than Jonell can translate that title!)

So that's my revelation for person, multiple blogs. But I hope I haven't split my soul, and that I still have at least one reader of each blog :)

Harmony's Dream Home

Harmony's been talking a lot about "when we get the new Earth, you know, when Jesus comes back." She has two requests:
1) She wants to be young again (Mom, when we get the new Earth, do we get to be babies again? I want to be young again.)
2) She wants a pink and purple room, all to herself. (I told her Jesus has gone to prepare a place for her, and she wants to request the paint scheme!)

She also might have strep throat, poor girl...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A belated Mother's Day tribute

Last night was the finale for The Amazing Race. It's the only show I watch with any regularity, and we let the kids stay up to watch it (great way to start the week behind).

Watching the interaction between Margie and Luke, a mom and deaf son team, was totally inspiring (it's the last three minutes of the clip above). They made the finale, and were first place going into the last task...and last coming out.

She is just an amazing parent. Watch the clip above, especially their interaction in the car and on the mat. She totally did the race for him, and she was a strong competitor--probably the strongest of the four women in the final three teams.

Happy Mother's Day, Margie. You're inspiring.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day gifts

This was a rare year--graduation is NOT on Mother's Day, so I actually got to spend the day with my family. That was a gift!

Henry brought a bunch of stuff home on Friday, and yelled "NO PEEKING!" as he got off the school bus. He had a petunia, a card, and a worksheet that said:
My mom's name is...Ann
She is special because...she helps me do my homework.
I like it when my Mom...lets me by bokugans at the store.
My Mom can do many things! I think she's best at...grading homework.
My Mom has a pretty smile! I like to make her smile by...cutting out a heart and giving it to her
My Mom is pretty as a...rainbow
My Mom is smart! She even knows...30642+ 300! (He regularly asks me long math questions)
I'd like to tell my Mom...I love you.

Harmony made a flower that said "World's Greatest Mom" in the middle, with these things written on the petals:
She helps the baby.
I like it when she helps me make my bed.
She washed my sheets cause Hope pooped on them. (Love the stream of consciousness here!)
She always helps us.
When I get hurt, she helps me get up.
She's like in charge of the fruits and vegetables.

Hope made a card with her handprints as tulips :)

All three of them took "old fashioned" pictures at The Little Greenhouse. I'll see if I can get them scanned and uploaded sometime.

My uncle also sent me a great haiku! It definitely reminds me of my mom and grandma.
Like bread, a mom’s love
Through kneadings, warmth—seasons, grows
Fills bodies, lifts souls

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there--Happy Mother's Day! It really is the toughest job you'll ever love.

To those who have suffered miscarriages or are experiencing infertility--((((Hugs)))).

To those of you who want to be moms someday--enjoy today, and say thanks to your own mom, whether you have a great relationship or not.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby food

Chiquita has started eating baby food. It's pretty messy--I think she's wearing more than she's consuming. she's on the single flavors--rice cereal, oatmeal, peas, beans. It takes her three meals to finish one jar (I only take out a tablespoon at a time).

I started a new Bible study a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I'm back to baby food--pre-chewed. I'm learning interesting things, but I'm non-plussed with the format--I'd rather be inducting myself, and videos are just awkward. I'm also feeling like I must not be a woman--the subtheme is "It's hard to be a woman _______" and the issues discussed so far (in another woman's shadow, when beauty is a treatment and in a mean world) just don't fit where I'm at.

But what I miss most is prayer. We don't pray at all, and it just feels empty. Other than the women I already knew, I don't even know anyone's names, let alone how I can pray for them.

What I need is a prayer group--where the emphasis is more on praying for each other. God's shown me the direction my study time should take, and Esther isn't really it.

(And it doesn't help that I feel like a distraction, since Hope is with me and she's starting to fade by that time of day.)

So do I stick it out or try to organize a prayer group? I don't want to take people away from their home churches, and I do know a couple of other women that are "church homeless" that I could invite.

So if you could pray for me, then let me know what you hear, that would be great...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It might be cliche, but today I'm thankful for my mom and mother in law.

I'm thankful that my mom took a job 700 miles away from my dad so that she could be only 100 miles from us. What a sacrifice for both of them!

I'm glad she's able to come over and bake cookies with the kids, take them to the park, and do other fun grandma things.

I'm thankful for all the things she's taught me--too many to list.

I'm thankful for my mother in law--that she raised all of her kids to follow Jesus.

I'm glad she and Pappaw are generous with their time, always willing to come to the kids' performances, even if they're on a weekend.

I'm thankful that she stocks the surprise box, blessing the kids in tangible ways.


I'm thankful that Harmony wants to bless me on Mother's Day--she's been writing a book, and has it in her head that she needs to buy me jewelry.

Wordless Wednesday--toothless grins

Works for me Wednesday--More Kids is Less Work

I'm not talking about having more of your own...sometimes having more kids in the house (by having company) is less work than having just your own.

This is the unmentioned benefit of the childcare co-op mentioned at this week's WFMW by We Are THAT Family.

Somehow when we have guests, my kids behave better, and I have less "she looked at me funny"/"He won't play XX with me"/"She's not playing it right" conversations than when it's just my own kids.

On Friday we had friends over for the afternoon. They played very nicely and I got a chunk of grading done. On Saturday we invited the neighbor kids to come to the park with us, and they all played tag--and I didn't have to be it :)

So invite some friends over! Your kids will be occupied and have a good time. And the other parents may reciprocate, giving you bonus time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

30 Day Shred

A while ago, I was looking for an intense, 20-30 minute workout to help me lose the last 10 lbs of baby fat/flab, and I found the 30 Day Shred. It sat on my shelf for a while, but I got around to trying it. It's definitely a work out!

Vicki at Virtue Alert has organized a bunch of people who are shredding together. One of the other blogs I read, The Preacher's Wife, is also participating, and her post about not phoning it in on the spiritual realm struck me.

I can either let myself wallow in self pity about our church state, and drift aimlessly. Or I can seek out what God has for us in this time.

So besides stepping up the physical 30 day shred, I'm going on a spiritual 30 day shred, starting next Sunday, May10. I haven't figured out what exactly the spiritual shred is going to look like, but I know that God has already laid on my heart the persecuted church--people who not only don't have a church home, but can't publicly seek one.

Lord, I don't want to phone in my spiritual life. Show me what steps to take to get into spiritually better shape.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Melodic Monday--Salt and Light by Jami Smith

You make me want to be like You
Your holiness I will pursue
I want the heart of Jesus
Show me the meaning of Your grace
I want to give the world a taste
Of the love of Jesus

Make me salt
Make me light
Let Your holy fire ignite
Reveal Your glory in my life
I am not ashamed
To lift up Your holy name
Make me salt
Make me light

As a city on a hill
A lamp on a stand
Mold me in Your image
The work of Your hand

Sunday, May 3, 2009

God is not Burger King

Today I realized how wrong I've been for praying what I've been praying. "I want a church home, God. One with good worship. One where we can use our gifts. With a good Kid's program. Here, not somewhere else. And I'd like it now."

I forgot that God isn't Burger King--you can't special order your life, and it doesn't arrive in less than five minutes.

We went to church at the Mother Church of the Donut Church today. Every time we go, the message is spot on, and our kids end up being the last ones in Kid's Church because we've gone up for prayer. Once again it was right on--you know it's a God thing when someone you don't know points to exactly what the issues are.

They're starting a series on 1 Peter. The message today focused on how to pray in adversity, how to not be tossed around by your circumstances. The answer was to pray NOT for the answer you've generated, but to pray for wisdom and the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control) using Scripture itself.

That's my root problem--I'm so focused on our circumstances that I've forgotten the relationship.

There are millions of Christians around the world who don't have church homes, who not only don't have a home, but live in fear of persecution.

Again, it's not about me. If I get my eyes off me and my circumstances and focus on God, everything will fall into home or not.

Foster parenting

There are a couple of families at the kids' school that are foster parenting. My heart breaks for some of the kids--they deserve to be adopted and have good parents, but the law requires that they give the birth parents a chance (and another and another).

It made me think of my own children--really, we're the foster parents. They truely belong to God. But rather than dreading giving them back, I know that He loves them more than I ever could.

Romans 8:15-16 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Lord, I thank you for people who are willing to be foster parents, and I pray for wisdom, love and endurance for them. I pray for the two children I know, that baby G will be placed permanently with the foster parents that have had her since day 1 and for complete healing of her hearing, and that Destiny will truly know her destiny in You. You know her needs; reveal Yourself to her; draw her close and be the father she doesn't have.

Friday, May 1, 2009

If you give a professor a key...

If you give a professor your lab key after class, she’ll remember she forgot to turn any of them in.
So after picking the rest up from her office, she’ll bring them to the storeroom.
On the way she’ll spy her overnight cultures in the growth chamber.
After dropping off the keys, she’ll get the cultures and bring them to her lab.
She’ll discover thetabletop centrifuge is missing.
After hunting down the centrifuge in someone else’s teaching lab, she’ll carry it back to her lab.
The inserts are missing, so she’ll search for them.
She finds them in the cold room, and also sees a plate from one of her students.
She’s curious to see if the Blue Fluorescent Protein really fluoresces blue, so she’ll shine the UV light on them. Nothing.
Upon returning to the lab, she discovers she forgot the inserts…back to the light box.
At the lightbox, she also spies a catalog, and remembers she needs to order some things for summer research.
After starting the centrifuge, she sits down at the computer to order some supplies.
Students come to ask about their grades. One of them says how much they enjoyed the blue fluorescent protein project…and she’ll remember the samples in the centrifuge.
She’ll go to the lab and discover her colleague locked it.
She’ll discover she’s wearing the evil “no pocket” pants and can’t find her keys.
So chances are, she’ll ask you for a key.

This is why simple things seem to take forever some days...