Christmas Memories

Here are some things I'll remember about this Christmas:

Best tradition: Our Advent wreath. We would light it each night at supper and I would read a prophecy from the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the New Testament. Then one of the girls would blow out the candle.

Best performance: The children's Christmas musical. Hope had a role in the drama portion, Faith read a small piece during one of the songs, and Joy & Grace were angels in the Nativity portion. All four did a great job and were really cute! Joy & Grace were particularly entertaining as they moved to the music when they sang!

Best gift that I gave: American Girl dolls to each of my girls and the Creative Memories storybook I made for Paul.

Best gift that I received: Prints of the family pictures we took. We won a sitting at the best photographer in town, and the pictures look great. (Unfortunately, although the sitting was free, the prints were not!) This is the first time we've had pictures made someplace other than the portrait studio of a department store, so these are special. I also received a very sweet story my girls wrote.

Funniest gift: A can of possum (at least that's what it says on the label). Paul and I bought this at a gift shop years ago. Then a few Christmases ago we gave it as a gag gift to my sister & her husband. We've been passing it back & forth ever since. This year was our turn to get it.

Best meal: Stopping at my favorite Mexican restaurant on the way home from visiting family. Mexican food may not be traditional Christmas fare, but I think it should be!

Best reunion: My sister and her family (including her new baby) came to the states from their station overseas. I got to meet my nephew for the first time!

Worst reunion: Between 2 sisters who hadn't seen each other in over two years. One invaded the other's personal space and a cat fight broke out. Literally. The feud was between our cat and her sister, who is owned by our friends. Our friends picked our cat up from boarding and kept her for a couple of hours until we got home. All our children's dreams of a sweet reunion were dashed very quickly!

Returns & exchanges: We only have to exchange a Barbie that's supposed to sing but doesn't and an American Girl doll necklace that doesn't work.

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Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me

TC over at Fish in My Hair tagged me for "7 Things About Me," so here goes:

1. For a recent Special Occasion, I made an this Italian Cream Cake with this frosting. From scratch. (But minus the coconut - I'm allergic). It was fabulous, and I may have to invent another Special Occasion so I can make it again.

2. I recently made Hope a dress-up dress that was supposed to resemble the American Girl Elizabeth. I think it turned out pretty good. And Hope really liked it!

3. "Cinderella" by Stephen Curtis Chapman makes me cry! Every time I hear it!

4. I bought my girls the Little People Mayflower to help them learn about the first Thanksgiving. It's very cute, and they are having a fabulous time playing with it!

5. I credit much of my Christian walk and even more of my worship practice to the years I spent attending an incredible weekly worship time/Bible study that Louie Giglio did during my young adult years. Sometimes I still refer to my notes.

6. I don't like coffee. Not even the cool, expensive stuff they sell at MegaBucks. (But I do miss the drinkable chocolate they used to sell! I'm sure I'll be drinking it again in Heaven.)

7. I am an avid and voracious reader! This is evidenced by the SIX bookshelves FULL of books in my home. (And I think we're about ready for another shelf!)

Since this has been around a while, I tag Paul and anyone else who wants to join in.

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Cords of Kindness

I am in the midst of Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself Bible study. This week is on kindness and goodness. Yesterday, I read about God's loving kindness to His people Israel and to us and how He so often expresses that kindness in terms of a loving parent. It's a beautiful picture that inspires me to be a more aware of God's Fatherhood and to be a better parent to my girls.

In the back of my mind the verse about the kindness of God leading us toward repentance kept playing in my head. I looked up the verse and it says, "Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" Rom. 2:4 (ESV) God does not force us to repent. He doesn't shame us to repentance (although He most definitely does convict!). He doesn't nag us to repent. He gently draws us to a place of heart change through kindness.

And I thought about my parenting. Am I trying to bring about heart change in my children using methods that can only change their behavior but not their hearts? Nagging, threatening, yelling, and punishing might bring about the behavior I'm hoping for, but my children's hearts won't be more tender toward God or more obedient to me because I do those things. I realize that I need to use kindness to motivate my children to want to obey. I need to use kindness to draw their hearts to me and to God. This doesn't let me off the hook when it comes to discipline. Leniency is not kindness!

So I'm asking God to give me creative ways to show godly kindness to my girls. It will reap rewards in all our lives.

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Carpe Diem

This week a hint of fall came to our neck of the woods. It wasn't full-blown fall, and I know it's only temporary, but it was a welcome change nonetheless. The girls noticed and wanted to spend much of their days playing in the lovely weather. And I let them. Which means I let some of their chores be postponed. So our house needs a little work.

I had planned for Friday and Saturday to be our catch-up days. We had no other obligations those days so I knew we would have time to both get caught up on our housework and enjoy the beautiful days. Until the stomach virus hit.

Joy had actually had a touch of it on Tuesday. Friday Grace came down with it. Saturday began with me feeling awful. Then Hope got sick. And then Faith. We were a rather pathetic bunch! And so the house remains cluttered. But I am so glad that the girls played outside earlier in the week. We can clean house any time. Such great weather isn't likely to be around for long.

I opted for the girls to have fun memories of playing stick horses in the back yard, eating a picnic lunch in the playhouse, and picking beautiful bouquets of flowers for me. One day I hope to figure out how to structure our time so we can have the memories and the tidy house. But for now I'll choose the memories.

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No matter how much I wish my girls would stay little, they keep on growing up! Over the past couple of months my youngest two have reached several milestones. They began to do "kindergarten" with me at home. They moved from the Pre-school department to the Children's department at church, so Cubbies has been replaced by SPARKS. And each one lost her first tooth.

I expected most of those achievements for months now, but the lost teeth took me by surprise! One day they each had a slightly loose tooth, and before I knew it they each had a tooth that was ready to come out. I was excited, but a little sad at the same time. My babies are growing up!

I had always wondered whether they would lose their teeth at the same time. They are so identical that I suspected they might. And I was right. They lost their first teeth a day apart. Since I'm a bit squeamish about pulling teeth, Paul did the pulling. (The teeth needed to come out and were ready to come out, but the girls couldn't get a good hold of them.) They could have lost their teeth the same day, but Joy said she wanted to have her own day for losing her tooth, so she chose to wait a day to have hers pulled.

The baby smile is no more, replaced by a reminder that little girls will grow up, and that I need to cherish these days while I still have them.

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In Memory of Li"l Blankie

Today we remember Li'l Blankie. Li'l Blankie was born at Target and was brought into our home in 2002, just before Joy and Grace were born. She began her tenure with us as a useful servant, being used to swaddle Grace, and, later, to cover her at night to keep her warm. She soon grew into a trusted friend, faithful confidant, and ever-present companion to Grace.

Grace christened her "Li'l Blankie" during her second year. (We think she was trying to say Yellow Blankie, even though Li'l Blankie was pink!) But the name stuck, and she remained Li'l Blankie all her life. In addition to sleeping with Grace, Li'l Blankie went practically everywhere with her: friends' houses, church, stores, doctors' offices, dance class. Grace loved Li'l Blankie even when her pink color turned dingy and she developed larger and larger holes. In fact, I think those things may have made Grace love her even more.

Li'l Blankie accompanied us to Family Camp this year. Sadly, during play time with her friends, Grace set Li'l Blankie down and forgot to pick her back up. By the time Paul and I realized she was missing, it was too late. We prayed, searched the camp, asked the staff, announced our loss to our fellow Family Campers, and prayed some more to no avail. Li'l Blankie was gone! We believe someone unacquainted with the ways of young children threw her away, believing her to be a rag, rather than a beloved friend.

Li'l Blankie is survived by her beloved Grace, by her sister blankies, Grace's Yellow Blankie, and Joy's Yellow Blankie, and an assortment of cousin blankies.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests all parents to carefully guard their children's comfort items, lest they befall the same fate.

Of course, Grace mourned for her lost friend. I think we all did. Her sisters rose to the occasion, offering to let Grace have their blankies either temporarily or, in one case, permanently. Grace was consoled by the addition of a new blankie purchased from Gymboree on our way home from Family Camp. In fact, Grace hasn't cried about Li'l Blankie once since she got her new blankie, which she has named Squirrelly because of the squirrels printed on her. God has graciously allowed Squirrelly to take Li'l Blankie's place in Grace's affections.

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The Busy-ness of Summer

Although the summer weather is going to continue for at least a month here in my neck of the woods, our summer schedule (or lack of a schedule) is now over. I wanted to accomplish big things this summer: read several books, get my home organized, get our last year's school things filed away, relax. I didn't complete any of these things!

Not that I did nothing. I taught VBS. I ferried children to cheerleading camp, swim lessons, and dance workshop. We traveled twice to visit family and once to visit friends. We also were visited by family and friends a couple of times. I facilitated a ladies' Bible study at church. I planned and put on three birthday parties (two of which were rather elaborate). And the weeks in-between I was either preparing for one of these things or recovering from one of them (or both!).

About midway through the summer, I realized that the plans I had were a bit lofty, considering all the other obligations I had. And I realized that for our family, the pace of summer, rather than being one long, relaxing season, was a series of much activity followed by a week or two of planning for the next thing or recuperating from the last thing. The pace of our school year is rather relaxed. We don't have to be somewhere every day. So getting everyone ready to go somewhere every day of a week (particularly those things that begin in the morning) was a challenge. By about the third day of whatever activity we were doing, at least one of the girls was tired of getting ready and going out. (And to be honest, sometimes I agreed with them!)

As much as I had wanted to begin this school year with an organized home and having learned much from the great books I had read, I will have to start where I am. And as we settle into the routine of schooling and church activities and dance, maybe I'll be able to fit in some of my summer goals into the school year.

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Flying without a Net

Today Paul is officially fully self-employed! In June he gave his employer notice that he would be leaving, and yesterday was his last day at his job. He has been employed full-time at the job he just left and has has his own business for over 3 years now, and it was just too much. He could not grow his own business the way he really wanted to, give his employers the time and effort they deserved, be fully involved in our family life, serve at church, and sleep enough every night. (Don't worry, he didn't sacrifice his family or short-change his employer. He usually skimped on developing his own business and sleep.) Now he will have over forty more hours a week to do what needs to be done!

The girls and I will be glad to have him home more. (I've been encouraging him to go ahead and quit for a few months now!) We've decided to let the first few weeks be primarily family time, and when school starts for him to spend some focused time developing his business. (I think the girls might have a more difficult time getting into the school routine if Daddy were home.) By the time his business is to the point where he won't need to spend as much time away from home, the girls should be in a good enough routine to keep going even when Daddy is around.

We're really trusting God to provide for us in our transition time. We think that our business will do so much better with
Paul more involved, and he is also an investor in another venture, which we hope will prove quite lucrative. But none of this is certain. However, we trust that God will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (See Phil. 4:19) The word "supply" comes from the Greek word pleroo which literally means "fill up." Our God is so good. He won't just give us the least He can. He will fill us up! Of course this filling up applies to needs not wants. He will give us a place to live, even though it may not be my Southern Living dream house! He will give us enough food to eat, even though it may mean we cook mainly at home instead of regularly eating out.

So, as we enter into this new season of our lives, we do so with excitement, faith, and trust in God's perfect provision! We believe He has led us here. And we look forward to all He has in store for us!

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A Contest

I just entered the drawing for free Horizon products.
The drawing is being held at 5 Minutes for Mom.
We've been using Horizon milk for years, so $300 of Horizon products will definitely help with our grocery bill!

*I know this is stilted, but Blogger wouldn't let me link as I typed without turning everything after my link into part of the link!

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Let Your Light Shine

We had an opportunity to see a great fireworks show this July 4th. It wasn't at a city park. It wasn't put on by professionals. We didn't even have to drive anywhere to see it. All we had to do was bring the lawn chairs to my mom's back yard! Some neighbors on the next street over put on an amazing show! This isn't one of those light the firework, run, watch it, wait a minute, set up the next firework deal. They had a whole show with patriotic music, several fireworks at once, and all were one after the other. And it lasted for about 45 minutes. They've been doing this since I was in high school, so they have it all down!

During the show I thought about how much money it must have cost. Thousands of dollars! And here we were enjoying it for free! We were a bit farther away than the paying participants, but we still had a great view. We could even hear the music! We were some of the beneficiaries of their generosity.

As believers we should allow God to shine so spectacularly through us that others will see it and enjoy it! Jesus in us shouldn't be a sparkler to be seen only by us (and maybe others very close to us). He should well up in us like those big beautiful starbursts we witnessed. Our lives should bless others. Even others who are just bystanders, like we were. I want Him to show Himself big and beautiful and powerful in my life! I want others to see Him in me and want to know more.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." ~Matt. 5:16

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Summer Nights

Memories of a wonderful summer evening:

*Viewing three planets through a powerful telescope. Venus and Saturn were close in the western sky. And Jupiter was visible in the east. Jack's telescope is so powerful we could see the rings of Saturn, some of Jupiter's moons, and the bands of color on Jupiter.

*Weeding my roses in the dark. It was much cooler than in the daylight hours. And I could fool myself that I had made more progress than I really had.

*Watching the neighbors shoot off fireworks. They must have been having a pre-Independence Day celebration. We saw everything from small ones that stayed on the ground to big, beautiful starbursts high in the air. (These are my favorite.) And when they were finished, the smell of the fireworks lingered in the air, continuing to remind us of the summer celebration.

*Watching my girls play flashlight tag in the front yard. They ran and played with joyful and youthful abandon. And only one minor fall occurred.

*Seeing the beautiful full moon looking bigger than usual. Because of the angle of the moon, it looks large. We've been watching it the past few nights.

*Taking a walk down the street in the dark. The girls found our late-night walk fun and exciting.

*Taking a relaxing shower after we came inside. Faith and Hope also discovered how good a shower feels after you've been sweating in the humidity. (I had to tell Hope to get out so she could go to bed.)

And today I am doubly thankful we seized the evening. Not only do we have some terrific memories, but it has rained steadily throughout the day today and more is predicted for this week, so another such night may not happen again soon. God blessed us with so much! And we took some time last night to enjoy it!

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I Survived VBS!

I survived Vacation Bible School! Actually, this year was quite pleasant. It was the first time I've had one of my own children in my class. Every year they would all ask me to be their teacher. But, since there are four of them and one of me, I chose to decline. I've been working with the same grade ever since we moved here, and this year Faith was in the grade I work with. Fortunately, Hope, Joy, and Grace are all now old enough to understand that when they are older, I will work with them, too.

Our church has a big VBS, so we have stations that the children visit. My job was to lead them from activity to activity, helping them when needed (which wasn't often). I had around 25 kids to lead. Most were girls. Quiet, sweet, well-behaved girls. Most of the boys were also very well behaved, and the couple that caused a bit of trouble were silly and energetic, not bad.

I really enjoyed having Faith in my group. I think she was finally old enough to enjoy being with me without clinging. I enjoyed seeing her enthusiasm for learning the Bible and her eagerness for answering questions. She's a terrific girl, and am so proud of her. She got to act in the drama part of the musical the children presented on family night. She was fantastic! The kids only had a few days to learn their lines, and only practiced a couple of times, but they did great, missed lines and all! She is incredibly comfortable on stage, and really gets the concept of being "in character."

Still, VBS tired me out. And it wasn't just me. Most of the grown-ups were pretty tired by the end of the week. (One of my friends is an ER nurse, and she was worn out!) And to top it off, I promised my girls they could have friends sleep over on Friday night. But God gave me the strength to lead those kids and not be too grumpy! And, even though I was tired, I wasn't totally wiped out, like I remember being last year. And no one has gotten the stomach virus. (Which has happened after VBS twice before in years past.)

I'm thankful for my VBS experience. God gave me the strength to get up early, get all four girls up early, and get us to church well before VBS started. God let me see several of the kids in my group make decisions for Christ. And God gave me a great week with Faith and some of her friends!

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Pop Quiz

God is so good! We returned last night from a short visit with my family. My sister, whose husband is stationed overseas, was back in the States with her daughter for a visit. I enjoyed the time with my family. I enjoyed the climate. I enjoyed the scenery I grew up with. I enjoyed the fireflies. I enjoyed eating at restaurants we don't have where we now live. And I enjoyed the test.

Yes, there was a test. Not the written variety. Not an oral test. But a test from God Himself. He gave me a few opportunities to fall back into the approval pit, and I didn't! It's all God's doing. Sometimes I had just recognized the temptation to worry about something when I felt God's Spirit remind me that I had been delivered from such things, and that I didn't have to think that way anymore! And He gave me the strength to choose to think differently.

I count this test as a blessing. It was totally for my benefit. God already knew my heart. But He wanted me to know my heart. To know that when confronted with the people whose approval has been important to me the longest, that I could confidently walk in Christ and not worry about what I think they might be thinking. Not that there were any major problems or conflicts, but having that many people in one house can lead to minor issues. In my pit days years even these normal, minor things would have set me to fretting and feeling bad. But this time I was able to walk in freedom from worry or condemnation (even self-condemnation!).

God even gave an extra credit test! During our visit
Paul learned of a family situation that required our help. In the past, this would have bothered me. I would have whined (in my heart if not out loud). I would have been resentful. (My reasoning would have gone something like this: "Why is this our responsibility? Why is he willing to go to this trouble or expense for someone else when he doesn't spend time doing X (whatever it is I've been wanting him to do) or spend the money on Y (some extra thing I happen to want at the moment)? It's not fair!" But this time I was able to discuss the situation without being defensive (I think). I was able to support him in his decision.

None of this is to brag on me. It's all to brag on God! He is so faithful! He rescued me out of the pit, and keeps me from slipping back in! And He graciously shows me the extent of His grace and deliverance! He gives new assurances of His love and faithfulness every day! All I have to do is look!

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~Jude 24-25

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Let's Get Together

Sometimes I think I have it together. And then God lets me know I don't. I was asked to facilitate our ladies' Bible study at church this summer. I guess my desire for God's Word and my wish to have others know it overshadowed my lack of organizational skills in the mind of the sweet woman who asked me.

I thought I was doing pretty well. Until last night. Last night was our first night to meet. I had recruited group leaders. (Actually, God provided most of them! Go God!) I had shuffled and re-shuffled the groups until I was satisfied. I had typed out some instructions for the group leaders and a sheet of questions to ask next week. I had created a list of the ladies' names and which group they were in, as well as a list of each group by color. I had enlisted
Paul to be home in plenty of time for me to be there at least half an hour early. I was feeling --dare I say it-- rather together. And I had done much of it while watching two extra children (for a total of six girls ages nine and under)!

Then, as I walked into church, I realized I forgot the name tags! The big jumbled box of name tags that I had also forgotten to put into neat bags according to their group. I also had forgotten my mobile phone. A very kind friend let me call
Paul on her phone, and he agreed to bring up the forgotten name tags. (Living only 5 minutes away from church has its advantages!) As I was waiting, one of the group leaders reminded me that she had asked for certain ladies to be in her group. I had placed them together initially, but I forgot to write it down. So in all the shuffling and reshuffling this group got separated. Fortunately, it was early enough for me to do a quick re-reshuffling and put them back in her group. The messy box of name tags arrived, and some helpful women (who must have had the gifts of service and organization) helped arrange the name tags and facilitate registration.

Everyone settled into her group and it was time for me to give the introduction. (This is my favorite part. I really enjoy speaking to groups. Weird, huh?) Of course, the microphone had dead batteries. I enlisted the help of the woman who does this during the school year, and she suggested robbing the batteries from another microphone. They worked! I talked. The groups visited. We watched the video. I hope everyone left satisfied. Not satisfied in me or my performance. (Which was rather pitiful.) But satisfied in God. Looking forward to what He is going to do in their lives over the next few weeks. God is amazing. I trust Him to overcome all my deficiencies.

I think I'll be wary of feeling together any time soon. The only together I want is being together with Jesus. And that's the only together that matters!

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K-12 School Memories Meme

Sallie created this meme and posted it on her blog. I thought this was appropriate for today since today is our last day of sit-down school. (We do have a handful of field trips on the horizon.) It's fun to think what my children will answer to these questions years from now. (I know who their favorite teacher will be!)

Apple Jacks or Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries
Apple Jacks (Although Frosted Flakes was my favorite)

Band or Choir
School band (clarinet and Flag Corps) and church youth choir

Class Ring
I got a silver James Avery ring rather than a class ring. We didn't get class rings until midway through our junior year, and I thought it was too much money to spend on something I would only wear a year and a half. (I knew I wouldn't wear my high school ring in college.)

Ducks or Battleships
Wind-up penguins and turtles!

Earning Money
A little babysitting. I also worked at Chick-Fil-A my senior year.

Favorite Teacher
Mrs. P. my second grade teacher who played accordion. Mr. D., my band director. Mrs. K., my high school Biology II and Anatomy/Physiology teacher. Mrs. S., my high school English teacher for three years.

Go Back and Do Over
I would have enjoyed the moments, learned more for the sake of learning rather than for the test, trusted God more, worried less.

Home Economics
I never took Home Economics. I was too busy with all the academic classes. It probably would have been rather helpful. (Although I already knew some things from 4-H.)

Indoor Recess
I always liked indoor recess. Since I'm not an athlete, the indoor games were more my speed!

Jacks or Jump Rope
While I did both at home (Chinese jump rope was my favorite!), I don't remember doing either at school.

Kickball or Dodgeball
Neither. Did I mention I'm not an athlete? But I did prefer kickball to dodgeball. Dodgeball scared me!

My favorite lunch box was a metal one with a sweet picture of a young girl. It wasn't any character, just a beautiful scene.

Our school was too small to do musicals. I did perform in every band concert. I did either four or five musicals with youth choir at church, two of which we took on choir tours.

Number of School Districts
I went to a private school for kindergarten and first grade then went to the same public school from second through twelfth grade. (When I started going the entire school was on one campus.)

Orange or Apple
I liked both (still do), but preferred oranges (still do).

Playground Equipment
I liked it all. Swings. Slide. Monkey bars. I think the merry-go-round was my favorite!

Quiz Team or Debate
Our school had neither. But I did participate in a Mock Trial competition. That was a blast!

Playing on the merry-go-round or monkey bars. Visiting with my friends.

Spring Break
In junior high and high school, I went on a few church youth group retreats. They were great experiences! I didn't take a "real" spring break trip until my honeymoon my senior year of college.

Team Sports
Does Flag Corps count? I did try to play sports in junior high. I wasn't good. I was so glad that four years of marching band counted for my P.E. credits in high school! (Did I mention I'm not an athlete?)

Unfulfilled Dream
I dreamed of marrying a godly man and staying home to raise my children. That's what I'm doing.

Learning to read. I really didn't learn much that I use or remember from my school years, but reading has taught me so much! I also learned some cool mental math tricks when I did math competitions in late elementary and junior high.

Walk or Bus
We lived too far to walk. My mom or a friend's mom drove us to and from school most years. I did spend about a year having to ride the bus. Then my mom got a job teaching at my school, so she drove us again, until my senior year, when I had a car and drove myself.

X Country or Basketball
Neither. (Did I mention I'm not athletic?)

My freshman year. I was still a relatively new Christian and had grown so much the summer before. I was still on a spiritual high! Everything was new about school. That year was a lot of fun!

Zzzzzz’s My most boring class was senior economics/government. The textbook was dry and uninteresting and our teacher did not have the passion for her subject matter to overcome it. I now have a much better understanding of both subjects thanks to reading the wonderful works of people like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

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The Cat's Meow

Not to be outdone by a dog, our cat, Patches, has been choosing some unusual poses lately. Here she reclines on a bench that belongs to the girls. She jumped up here herself, and when I noticed where she was lying, I had to get a picture.

Now she's sitting on Faith's shelves. I don't know if she got up here herself or if the girls put her up here. But she did stay up there a while. Finally, they messed with her enough that she wanted down. She is a very patient and tolerant cat. She endures much loving from a particular daughter, but she is seldom cross even with the overly-affectionate child.

Here's a very naughty Patches on our dining room table investigating one of the bouquets the girls received after their dance recital. I've caught her on the table a handful of times, often looking for food. I hope she seldom gets up here, but I don't know where she prowls when we're all asleep! (And, yes, that is a bookshelf in our dining room! We have two more, and I'm hoping for another!)

A couple of nights ago I caught Patches working on the computer. I think she might want her own blog! I don't think she's a particularly accurate typist, but she sure is cute! And this desk is what happens when two disorganized people marry. And then start a home business requiring paperwork. And homeschool on top of that.

Now Patches is studying the Bible! Maybe she can help Paul with the difficult passage he's teaching for Sunday School on Sunday! I'm usually Pauls "research assistant," but if we learn to speak cat, maybe Patches can help out on occasion. I think she has applied the "be patient, bearing with one another in love" part quite well.

I'm sure that not only taking these pictures, but posting them says something about me. I just hope it's something good! Now it's time for a cat nap!

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It's a Dog's Life!

Recently our animals have been choosing very unusual places to sit! Yesterday we caught Callie lying on our new patio table! She appeared to be enjoying it quite a bit. After I took the picture, we shooed her off the table so she sat in one of the chairs. The chair was between
the table and the deck railing, and at first she couldn't figure our how to get down. A dog treat solved that problem! (And then we cleaned the table!)

Here she is in the chair, looking pitiful! I think she's saying, "Please let me sit here!"

This isn't her first time to choose a table for her bed. Here she is lying on a small table in our yard. I really wish I could have seen her get on the table. I don't know how she got on without turning it over!

And here she is sitting in a lawn chair! Once again, I wish I could have seen her get in it without upsetting it! The funny thing is that she has never been allowed on the furniture when she is in the house. The only time she ever gets on our furniture is when she jumps on one of the girls beds when she is scared (usually of the vacuum) or when she is trying to avoid having to get in her kennel. But somehow she feels very comfortable on the outdoor furniture!

Next post: Our cat doing some Bible study, some floral arranging, and a little bit of work on the computer!

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A Side of Ribs

I went to the doctor yesterday because I had been having pain along my lower left ribs for several days. At first I figured I had somehow strained a muscle or ligament, but when the pain didn't go away, I decided I should make sure it wasn't something more serious. He told me I had somehow injured a rib! I don't know how. I don't remember doing anything that would cause that much pain. But, since those ribs are right at elbow height, he said I could have even injured it by sleeping on my arm funny.

Wow, I may have injured myself by sleeping! And I'm good at sleeping! Guess I need to practice more!

Of course, the only thing that will heal my rib is time to let my body heal itself. But Naproxen does help with the pain. He also told me to try to avoid doing anything that hurts. The bad good thing is that most housework hurts. So I get a little sabbatical from housework! Unfortunately this extra load falls to
Paul, who is so overworked right now with his job and researching another business prospect. Maybe this would be a good time to teach Faith and Hope some new housekeeping skills. (This would be a bit easier if they didn't mind the sound of the vacuum. It's really not that loud.)

We've set up the Stuff-Mart pool, so maybe I can tie the extra housework to extra swimming time! However, since it looks like rain, I may have to wait until tomorrow to try it.

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Going to the Dentist

Dentists have come a long way since I was a child. I always dreaded going to the dentist, but all four of my girls LOVE going to the dentist!

We go to a pediatric dentist, and he and his staff do a terrific job of making what could be an unpleasant experience FUN! The office is decorated in a train motif with toy trains to play with and a model train running along tracks near the ceiling. The hygienists are all great with children and help them get over any nervousness. The dentist is also wonderful with the girls and does a good job of answering any questions I have. And then there's the Treasure Box. At the end of each visit, the girls get to go choose a toy. I think this is what they like most about the dentist!

So today we have four sets of clean teeth, no cavities, four new toothbrushes, four flosses, three plastic spyglasses, and one set of miniature Go Fish cards. Not bad for a trip to the dentist!

We topped off our trip to the dentist with a stop by the grocery store. I thought it might be nice to have some food to eat. I had a list of five things and came out with thirty-eight! While a few were impulse buys, most were things I had forgotten we were out of or were things we liked that were on sale. So now I have no excuse not to cook!

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What is Worship?

Yesterday, after our Bible time (reading Philippians) Faith revealed that she was unsure about what worship really is. Somehow she had gotten the idea that worship always involved some special feeling and maybe even changing circumstances. She has been sitting with us in church for over four years now and has had weekly opportunities to observe the corporate worship of our church body as well as how Paul and I worship. But we had not really taken the time to explicitly teach our children about what worship is.

I guess we just thought that watching others worship, along with learning the Bible at home and at church, would naturally result in the understanding of and practice of worship. It didn't! She was so relieved to hear that worship isn't a feeling but an action, a response to God, a belief. Often feelings do accompany our worship, but they do not define what worship is.

So now I want to include instruction about worship in our training of our girls. This won't be a formal "worship lesson," but I hope to address worship as we do life, maybe taking some extra time on Saturday to help her prepare to worship God on Sunday.

But worship isn't just singing songs at church. It's living a life that glorifies God and lifts up Jesus in all things. It's praying. It's studying, memorizing, and meditating on God's Word. It's being kind to family members and friends. It's being a good neighbor. It's making choices about what we watch and listen to that honor God rather than just doing what everyone else does. It's doing things we don't care for without complaining or arguing. It's being joyful. It's loving God and others. As Louie Giglio says, "Worship is a way of life."

I want to live a life of worship, and I want to teach my children to do the same. Because, whether I recognize it or not, my life is all about Jesus!

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Spelling Wisdom

Hope has decided she wants to learn spelling. Even though she is in the second grade, we have only had a brief time of spelling instruction. The spelling curriculum I have used with Faith (Spelling Power) recommended starting at age 8, which is third grade. Earlier this year Hope begged to do spelling, so we did the first few short vowel lessons. But she lost interest when the long vowels were introduced.

Since then I have discovered Spelling Wisdom. This is perfect for Hope. She is given a brief quotation to study for a period of a few days and then I dictate the passage to her, checking her spelling. Since she is familiar with many of the words already, she only has to really concentrate on a few. This seems to give her confidence, since not all the words are unfamiliar to her.

I also like that she is exposed to good quotes as opposed to lists of random words. Later the curriculum moves to short passages and even poems. The author selected the quotes/passages based on the most commonly used words. Although we've just started using Spelling Wisdom, I think we have found a great fit for our family!

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I've noticed that when women get together drama often ensues. I don't really know why, but I've seen it time and time again. For some of us, the desire for approval causes us to see each unintentional slight, each difference of opinion as a personal affront and evidence that we are somehow unworthy. Some of us have difficulty handling conflict, so we either avoid it or are so nervous that we come across wrong. Some of us, in a desire to feel understood or important, share unflattering things about other women with our friends. Maybe my sample population is really unusual - I hope it is- but female drama seems very common.

And the drama starts young. In a house full of girls, I see it as they interact with each other, but it is even clearer when young friends play together. Today my girls played with several friends and, of course, drama made its appearance. Sometimes my girls initiated the drama, sometimes they escalated it, and sometimes they were uninvolved. And this wasn't an isolated incident. I have seen girls manipulate, lie, cry, pout, and throw fits in order to control the situation or control each other.

And I've seen grown women do the same things in "socially acceptable" ways. Why? Why do we make mountains out of molehills? Why do we gravitate toward drama? Two reasons that are true for me are insecurity and control, and they are both related. I am often insecure in my relationships. I have seldom been secure enough in my relationship to God to really be OK if someone doesn't like me. (And not everyone will.) I'm often not secure enough to be myself and let God bring me into healthy friendships. And I am insecure with other women. I fear rejection. I fear that a difference of opinion means a dislike of who I am. So I take things personally. I blow things out of proportion. I just give up.

And out of this insecurity grows control. If I don't call her, don't invite her over, don't initiate a conversation, she can't hurt me. I've shut myself out, but I didn't give her the power to hurt me. Or I become who I think she wants me to be. I agree with her opinions, act the way I think she wants me to act, and pretend my way through the relationship. It's my way of controlling, of making sure she'll be my friend. But still I fear that if she knew who I really am that she would not be my friend.

Getting out of my pit was the first step in my establishing healthy relationships. But I have to continue to reach out, to be lovingly real, and to choose to let Jesus be my ultimate source of affirmation, acceptance, and love. To know that since He loves me I am worthy. To know that no rejection (real or perceived) can make me any less valuable in God's eyes. I need to know that HE IS ENOUGH!

I think as long as we are on this earth we will be exposed to some amount of drama, but I pray that God will continue to grow my love for and knowledge of Him that I am secure in Him. I pray that He will give me the maturity, discernment, wisdom, and love to not initiate the drama and not to escalate the drama initiated by others, but to be a minister of reconciliation and to give grace to all who hear me!

Now all these things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~2 Cor. 5:18

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
~Eph. 4: 29

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Slowing Down

This weekend was busy but very good. On Friday I was able to accompany a friend to the airport in a neighboring city to transport our guest speaker for the Ladies Conference to our town. She and her assistant were both so nice and I enjoyed getting to meet them both. My sweet mom had come in town, so she watched the girls so I could go. The speaker we were meeting had spoken at an event at her church a few months ago, and she was glad I had the chance to spend some time with her.

The girls danced beautifully in their recital. Faith is a natural performer! She smiled big for her tap and showed her serious and graceful side during her ballet. Hope has struggled with tap this year, but she did OK, and her ballet was quite good. I could see some grace that she is developing. Grace was a bit reluctant, but she did get up on stage and dance. Joy was joyful! She embellished the dance with lots of lovely twirls and kicks. Everyone around us noticed her. All four enjoyed their beautiful bouquets.

Life has slowed down this week. Dance class is over until September. I think all four girls (and one in particular) are ready for the break. Faith and Hope have only one more day of children's choir at church until the performance this Sunday. All we have left for AWANA are Fun Night and Awards Night. And we only have 23 days more of school!

They've been using the extra time to be scientific and creative. Yesterday they caught bugs in the front yard to observe. Today they are playing with sidewalk chalk. The older two have also spent the past two days making "people" out of craft sticks and scraps of fabric that will be a birthday present for Joy and Grace. Faith got the idea after making a diorama for AWANA. I'm so glad that I let her figure out how to make the figures in the scene instead of telling her that she could dress up small dolls.

May is going to be a great month. Playing outside. Picnics. An out of town field trip. Fun. Imagination. God is good!

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Wish I Could Get Paid for Doing Nothing!

Paul and I decided it would be wise not to have our phone number listed in the phone book. He gives out his mobile number for business reasons, but we have had people (including an unstable customer) call our home. We would prefer not to deal with this again and also for our address to be less visible.

So today I called the phone company to have our number not listed in next year's phone book. The customer service representative said it costs over two dollars a month not to have your number in the phone book!! If we also want to not be included in directory assistance the total goes up to $4.50! A MONTH!!!

But, hey, it costs the phone company so much to do NOTHING! There's the ink they won't use to publish our number. There's the directing those who call to the recording saying our number is unlisted instead of to the recording with our number. And these must be recurring expenses. Because we will be paying every month! Where else do you pay extra NOT to do something. The grocery store doesn't charge extra if I don't want my milk in a bag. Restaurants don't charge extra if I don't want a side item. (Most even let me substitute something else for no extra charge!) The car wash doesn't charge me extra not to vacuum my car.

We should have the right to decide if we want our number published or unpublished. And we should not have to pay them for that right! If they wanted to charge a small one-time fee for their trouble (I mean, someone probably spends two minutes typing in our request) I wouldn't complain. But to charge me every month for something that doesn't cost them a thing! That's just wrong!

OK, my rant is now over. I can resume normal life.

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Tough Choices

I'm finally feeling better from my sinus infection! I guess a cortisone shot and a Z-pack will do that. Even with those it has taken several days to feel better, and I'm still tired!

This week is a busy one. Dance recital is Saturday. All 4 girls are dancing. Faith is dancing in three numbers (her tap, her ballet, and helping the kindergarteners), Hope is in two (her tap and her ballet), and Joy and Grace are in the preschool number. Rehearsal is Saturday morning and the recital is in the evening.

If that's not enough our church is holding a big ladies' conference with nationally-known speakers on Friday evening and Saturday until mid-afternoon. I'm helping out, so I need to be there as much as possible. So I want to be two places at once! And since I haven't figured out how to duplicate myself, I have to make some tough choices.

My mom is coming down, so I think she and
Paul will be able to handle dress rehearsal without me. I'm sad to miss it, and have struggled some with where I need to be the most. Some of my struggle is with letting go. I sometimes think I'm the only one who can do things for the girls. Or at least I'm the only one who can do it right. Ouch! It hurts to admit that. It's not very pretty. But it's something that I'm asking God to change. And this weekend I get the chance to practice. I'll leave the girls in the capable hands of Paul and my mom and trust them to take care of everything while I serve the ladies at our conference. Because, really, wherever I am, God is in control of it all. And He can do it better than I can!

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Extreme Makeover, Allegy Edition

There are so many things I don't know about Heaven. But I do know this: There are no allergies in Heaven! Praise God! I have been dealing with major allergy crud since Friday. I have been stuffy and had a sore throat and a cough. Sometimes I feel OK, and other times I feel lousy. So I've been vacillating about whether to go to the doctor. I don't have time to go until Thursday, so I have some time.

Of course, the week I'm feeling bad is the week we finally are able to get carpet installed. Faith and Hope have had cement floors for TWO MONTHS now! So I guess it's about time. Had we known this weekend that the carpet installers were coming today, we could have painted the final coat of paint (the orange took THREE COATS) on Faith's walls and move ALL THE STUFF out of the girls' rooms. But since I found this out yesterday afternoon, we had to do all that last night!

Oh, and
Paul invited our Sunday School class to our house on Friday for a gathering. (Hey, maybe they can help us organize the girls' rooms! That would be a fun evening, wouldn't it?) Or maybe not. So tonight we get to move everything back. Or actually move the big things back, since I want them to go through their toys and smaller things before we move them back.

As I think about the mess and the trouble that painting three rooms and putting new carpet and floors in has been, I think about the improvements God is making in my life. Sometimes I have to get rid of some things. Sometimes He moves everything around. Sometimes when I let God fix one part of me I realize how much another part of my life needs attention. (The new floors made me notice my dirty walls more than ever!) And one day, my home and my life will be beautiful and orderly inside and out! Until then, I must continue to patiently submit to the changes, even when they are inconvenient and I have three rooms of furniture and stuff in my living room and dining room. May my life and my home both be a reflection of His glory!

Take Up Your Cross

A couple of days ago I read a familiar Bible verse and it struck me in a way it never has before. God likes to shake me up like that sometimes. I was doing my read the Bible through in a year plan. (Which I do faithfully for a few days, forget a day or three, and then play catch-up for a couple of days!) I was reading Luke 14, and when I read verse 27 I began thinking about what Jesus' followers' reaction must have been. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." ~Luke 14:27

We see this verse from the other side of the Cross than they did. When we hear about the Cross, we immediately think of Jesus. How He died for our sins. How we are to imitate Him. But Jesus' followers didn't know any of this. To them the cross was a painful, humiliating, shameful way for criminals to die. I'm sure NO ONE wanted to have anything to do with a cross! In researching this verse I read what The Bible Knowledge Commentary had to say: "When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site. Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was supposed to be a tacit admission that the Roman Empire was correct in the sentence of death imposed on him, an admission that the Rome was right and he was wrong."

That is what Jesus calls us to do. To admit to ourselves and to others that Jesus is right and our flesh is wrong! To risk pain and humiliation and discomfort to follow Him! And according to Luke 9:23 we are to take up our cross daily. Daily because our flesh will reassert itself daily and needs denying daily!

So while we see in the Cross the beauty of God's redemptive plan, Jesus' disciples saw only ugliness, pain, humiliation, and shame. Yet Jesus called them to that. He calls us to that . To go somewhere that seems ugly, painful, humiliating, and (in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our flesh) shameful! I know I can only do this if I am relying on His power! In my own strength I will always choose the safe, the easy, the popular. May I choose His power to walk His way!

Father, fill me with Your power to choose Your way. Even when it is painful. Even when it is embarrassing to my flesh. Even when I can't see Your plan.

By the way it is rather difficult to write some cool God-stuff with the Veggie Tales Boyz in the Sink CD playing in the background! It's so funny I get distracted!

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He Is Risen!

Jesus is risen! He was risen Easter Sunday when it was cold and rainy. He was risen yesterday when my allergies flared up and I felt lousy. He is risen today when my children are tired and grumpy. As a Christian, I should celebrate Jesus' resurrection every day! Because every day His resurrection power is available to me! Because every day I can celebrate God's gift of salvation! Because He is worthy of my praise and celebration every day!

So even though the day we call Easter was so cold I had to wear a coat and boots to church... even though I spilled water on myself at church... even though my allergies were causing me pain... even though Jack was so exhausted that he took a three hour nap... even though the day didn't turn out as I had hoped, I did not miss Easter. Easter is today. And tomorrow. And every day of my life. And Easter doesn't end then. Easter will be celebrated throughout all eternity.

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
Rev. 5:12

He is risen! He is worthy!

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Pre-Easter Musings

Last night Hope told me that she thought we should be especially kind to each other this weekend because people were so unkind to Jesus when the weekend of His crucifixion. While I had had grand plans of a deeply meaningful discussion of the events of Good Friday, we really had only had a short conversation or 2 about it. But she got it anyway! I am often amazed by the spiritual insight of my children!

Today we woke up to COLD! We had a big Easter festival at church and I wore a jacket, a scarf, and gloves! And I was still cold! The girls still had fun, but they were definitely ready for the finale of the Easter egg "hunt" (actually, it's more of a "gather" than a "hunt," since the eggs are just strewn over the grass). They gathered lots of eggs and, of course, now have way too much candy!
Paul's sister and brother-in-law and their daughter came to the festival then to our house for lunch. We had a nice visit, and the girls even went out to play badminton in the cold. Right after lunch, Paul went outside to see something and noticed it was SLEETING!! In our neck of the woods, sleet is rare enough in winter, but I've never heard of it in April! I guess I'll be wearing a coat over my cute new dress!

Now I'm going to get ready for the Lord's Supper service at our church. I always find this to be such a meaningful time. It's beautiful and reverent and such a perfect time to reflect on Jesus death and resurrection. Faith and Hope will be participating in the Lord's Supper. I love having 2 daughters who know Jesus! I hope Joy and Grace will be quiet (as much as 4 year olds can) so we can meditate on Jesus.

In Remembrance,


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Madame President

Yesterday we had the election of officers for our 4-H club. Because we had more available offices than qualifying members, we knew Faith would get an office. She decided she wanted to be president. When I asked her why she said it was because she liked to talk in front of people.

She comes by it naturally. Both
Paul and I think public speaking is fun. He gave the message at evening church a few weeks ago and did a great job! I have gotten to facilitate a few Bible studies at church and my favorite part was the time when I got to give my opening remarks.

Although two other kids also ran for president, Faith did win the election. She looks forward to leading our meetings next year. She'll do a great job! Because she not only inherited our fondness for public speaking, she also has a quality neither of us naturally possess: organization. (But I'm relying on God's power to enable me to create and maintain order in my home.) Isn't God good! He uses our strengths to glorify Himself. And He gives us His strength to compensate for our weaknesses!

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Resurrection Power


This is my entry for the Carnival of Beauty. Since I'm new to the world of blogging, I don't know how to insert the cool Carnival of Beauty button. Hey, I figured it out! Go see Lindsey at for more wonderful entries.

Life with four children means that all the meaningful reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus that I would like to do gets compressed by
gifts and new dresses and eggs --hunting them, playing with them, dying them. As well as by the ordinary lessons, meetings, homeschooling, playing, and arguing of everyday life.

But the Resurrection is the most important thing in the life of believers. Sometimes I only think of the resurrection in terms of the future -- when I die I will go to live in Heaven. But the Resurrection is for now. For every day. For every hour. For every breath. Paul writes in Phil. 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection." He prays for the Ephesian believers to know "His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 19-20).

In Col. 1:29 Paul says, "To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy (or power), which so powerfully works in me." God wants to empower us with His resurrection power! Not just for the "big" things. Not just for the "church" things. For everything! God wants to give me His Resurrection power to be patient with my children. God wants to fill me with His Resurrection power to organize my home. God wants to empower me with His Resurrection power for whatever I do.

Isn't it great to know we have the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead at work in us! No matter how hard the task, no matter how seemingly insurmountable the obstacle, if God has called us to do something, He gives us His Resurrection power to accomplish it. God used that power to lift me out of the pit I had tried to climb out of by myself for years. For that I am especially grateful this Easter season.

The New Dress

I got to go shopping this weekend. For clothes. For me. All by myself! (Look, Ma, no kids!) And I actually found a couple of things that fit and that I liked. I wore one of my new dresses to church yesterday and was feeling great about it until a twinge of guilt came on. After all, I didn't need that dress (or that really cute pair of shoes!). I had other dresses and other shoes in my closet. Was I just wasteful? Immediately, I felt God's Spirit whisper to me that He created us all to enjoy beauty and variety. Just look at the beautiful spring flowers! Not one variety, but so many! And each season has its own beauty. Our world is ever-changing. We are ever-changing. So it's OK if my wardrobe changes, too. (Of course only if I am not going overboard and it's OK with Jack!)

Thank You, Father, for the gift of newness. New seasons. New flowers. Even new clothes. But most especially for new life in Christ!

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The Devil Fights Dirty

Whenever God gives us a spiritual breakthrough we can count on opposition. I wish this weren't true, but it has happened over and over again in my life. This week was no different. At least this time the enemy had to try several different tactics before he found one that could shake me up. (Temporarily)

He tried to make me feel overwhelmed by the busy week I jumped into after returning from the conference. Didn't work. He wanted me to feel resentful that
Paul had to work late this week. Didn't work. He tempted me to feel sorry for myself because I was tired. Didn't work. So then he started playing dirty. He got to me through one of my children. Yesterday one of my girls had a major meltdown. One that was ugly and that lasted quite a while. I tried everything! Nothing worked! Finally she calmed down and was fine the rest of the day. But I wasn't. I saw the folly of some of my desperate measures and felt like a Bad Mom. That Bad Mom feeling has finally gone, and I am praying for God's wisdom in handling any future meltdowns.

I want to recognize all of Satan's schemes so I can call on God's power to withstand them! "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." - I Cor. 10:13

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Unexpected Release

When I sensed that God had released me from the pit, there were many things I expected to think & feel - and I did. Freedom to be who God made me without worrying about if other people will accept me and approve of me. No more feeling like everyone secretly dislikes me. Peace.

But there were aspects to my pit I didn't know about. And now that I'm free, I see how free I am.

Paul has had to work late every day this week. Normally I would feel upset about it. And deep down I would feel like he cared about work more than he cared about me or our family. I would fight these feelings, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but they were definitely there. But this week has been different. No feeling unimportant. No accusing phone calls. ("You said you would be home an hour ago! Where are you?) No feeling sorry for myself. No anger. I was peaceful and supportive even when it wasn't convenient (having to pick up a daughter from ballet when I hadn't planned for it). None of my new response has anything to do with me. It's all from God. Because He pulled me out of my pit, I no longer fear and compete with my husbands' work. God does so many amazing things...even when we don't expect them!

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The Pits

God pulled me out of the pit last weekend. My pit wasn't a small ditch that I'd only been in a short time, but a massive below-ground network that I had lived in for over 20 years. It didn't start out that big, but other people and I kept adding to it.

I was initially thrown in over 20 years ago, when I was 10. My fifth-grade year the girls in my class began excluding and ostracizing me. I still don't know what motivated them. This began a three and a half year season of rejection, teasing, and exclusion. Not that I never had any friends during that time. I had several people who were friends for a short time, but moved on after a while. In the midst of this, my pit was deepened by my parents' divorce. My response to the pit of rejection was fear of rejection and an almost desperate desire for people to like me.

God changed my circumstances when I was in the eighth grade. A group of nice girls befriended me, and we remained friends through high school. That year was also the year I accepted Jesus as my Savior. We were at a new church, and I began to have a few friends there, in addition to my school friends. (I went to school in a small town outside the larger town where I attended church.) But even though my circumstances changed, my fear of rejection and my unhealthy desire for others' approval remained. My pit may not have been as deep, but I still was living in it.

I added to my pit, too. I did things that were sinful and foolish in order to try to obtain the approval of others. So then I had a pit of fear, need for approval, sin, and regret. I also added pride to the mix. I was so mad at myself for my actions and really believed that I could have and should have done better! (Not Christ in me, but just me.)

God finally closed off the regret and the most obvious pride by impressing on me that I can do nothing operating in my own strength. I now realize that the only way I would have made wiser decisions would be to totally rely on Christ's power, not my own!

But over 20 years later, I still lived in the pit of fear of rejection and desperation for their approval. My husband would tell me to get over it, but I never could. I now realize it's because only God can pull me out of a pit.

Last weekend I went to Living Proof Live. From the first line of the first song, God reached down and began pulling me out. By the end of Friday night, I knew I was FREE! I can't explain how He did it and don't fully understand it, but I KNOW that He pulled me out! I pray daily that I won't slip back in! He is faithful! PRAISE HIM!

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Thus Far

I've been reading blogs for some months now, and I've finally taken the plunge to write my own. I want this blog to be a record of what God has done and is doing in my life Thus Far. For it to be my Ebenezer stone for myself, my family, and anyone else who may happen to be led to read it.

God has done so much in my life, but I tend to forget. Writing it down will be a tangible reminder of all He has done. He is good!

I hope to hear from others how God is working in your lives, too. May this be a forum for us to "spur one another on to love and good deeds."

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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