Friday, January 9, 2015

preparations...

this week, we have been in the thick of kitchen remodel madness.

i have been battling headaches and migraines, and dealing with a cold that has me coughing when it's least convenient and most annoying.

but lately i've been working hard to establish the habit of preparing.

WHA? preparing?

life is hard this week.  forget preparing!  this is the kind of week you prepare for!

yes, i always used to think that preparing is what you did when you were all caught up and things were easy, so you worked ahead for when the days are ruff.  for that month when you remodeling your house. or that week when you are sick.  that is what you prepare for!

well, occasionally that might be the case.  but for me, that is almost never how it works.

i'm a stay at home momma that homeschools two rowdy boys.  i'm telling ya', things are never "all caught up" around here!  there is always something a mess, always something that needs to be washed, someone that needs to be fed, some activity that is going on or isn't going on due to someone not feeling well.

for me, learning to be prepared is a little different than getting ahead on the easy days.  instead of thinking about what i can do to make the hard days easier, i try to think about what i can do NOW to make LATER a little easier.

recently, Proverbs 14:1 was brought up by a friend.  "The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands."  my friend pointed out that in the book of Proverbs there is no middle ground here.  you are either building or destroying.  nothing is neutral.

that feels a little harsh!  but that's because, like most things, it comes down to the heart.  so often, it's the attitude that determines whether an action is building or destroying.

i may leave a pile of dishes in the sink until the next morning.  but... is it because i have been working all day and i just want to have a little me time and not deal with one more thing right now (destroying)? or... is because the day has been hard and it would do my family well for me to slow down and take some time to rest and recharge so that i can serve them better tomorrow (building).  both ways the action is the same, but the heart makes a huge difference!

now, let us not gloss over the fact that, most often, preparing, or building your house, will mean working.  it will mean doing something!  it will mean getting up out of the chair and taking care of some work that is waiting!

and for each family, a woman's preparations/building will look a little different.

here are three examples of preparing/building that i have been working to make a habit of...

1) making a big batch of soup on Thursday (my "kitchen day") for the family to eat throughout the weekend.  

this is mostly a selfish one.  i hate to cook on the weekend, when many of the interesting projects or fun activities happen for our family.  so, by having something all in one pot that only takes a few minutes on the stove to heat up, we are able to enjoy these activities (or enjoy doing nothing together!) and still have a reasonably healthy home cooked meal.  i'm building my home by being a good steward of my time and my money, cuz we all know how easy take out is!  yes, this will have to change come summer (who wants chili in July??), but if the habit is there, i hope the transition to a cooler dish will be an easy one.

2) laying out Sundays clothes on Friday!

this one is partly for the boys (so that they know what is acceptable church wear) and partly for me.  by taking FRIDAY to lay out the clothes, i have a chance to see if there is anything that needs to be washed and i can take care of it now, before the weekend fun starts.  i mean, there are few things that spoil my attitude quicker than running around the house with hair and makeup half done, looking for a pair of socks that don't "bother" a very particular little man that lives in my home.  not exactly the best way to be preparing a heart of worship on a Sunday morning!  now, my boys have everything they need waiting for them and i have a little less to do that morning.

3) chopping extra onion and cooking extra meat

i love to cook!  but lets face it, sometimes it feels like a never ending chore.  after all, not only do these boys want to eat everyday, they want to eat several times a day!  the nerve!  just kidding.  i love serving my family in this way, but i can grow weary of so much time in the kitchen.  so, when i have a meal that calls for chopped onion or cooked meat, i do double, sometimes even triple, and throw the extra in the fridge or freezer.  don't brown 2 pounds of hamburger, brown 4.  don't cook two chicken breasts, cook the whole bird!  now, next time i need it, it's waiting for me in the freezer and i have just saved myself that step and a chunk of time.  it's usually little extra work, but for me it can make a big difference in fighting off that feeling of always being in the kitchen, which often comes with feelings of resentment or self pity = destroying my home!

now, there will be plenty of hard days where take out will be ordered or the mad dash for specific socks will happen.  and my heart will determine whether i have spent my time building or tearing.

yet, i hope that i will be known as a woman who works hard to build her house.  someone who takes the few extra minutes to prepare so that my home runs a little smoother for my family.  someone whose heart is honoring to my Lord, even when the week is full of tools in my living room, holes in my counters, and headaches that come and go.

praise the Lord for dear friends who point out how black and white the Lord's Word is.  i am incredibly thankful for these people in my life!  i hope that you also are thanking God for these no nonsense people who aren't afraid to exhort and challenge you to do better for His names sake! 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

the long, quiet trial...

infertility.  a burden you don't see.  a term not limited to those who can't have any children, but sometime also applying to those who can't have anymore children.

i am a mother of two beautiful boys, the result of my husband looking at me.  ok, that's not how it works, but that's how easy it felt.  and oh, how blessed we were to have children at a young age!

because while we waited for the second boy to enter our lives... cancer.

i won't hash up the details here (though i'm happy to tell you of our blessing of cancer in person if you like). after 2 major surgeries and 4 rounds of chemo therapy i was so thankful that God chose to remove this disease from my husband and give us (Lord willing) many more years together.

but the side effect of all that life saving treatment?  infertility.

flash back: when Nick and i were first married, we talked about kids.  he wanted 12.  i agreed to hit 6 and reevaluate.  seriously.  now, that silly conversation was just that.  silly.

it was out of our hands and in His huge, loving, all knowing hands.  where it had been all along.  really, there was no change.  only a change of mind on our parts.

i would not be receiving 6 or 12 or anything greater than 2.  and i am blessed!  i am blessed to have two beautiful boys who are best friends.  i am blessed to be past diapers and potty training and (mostly past) nap times.  i am blessed to be able to be a part of many ministries at church because i don't have a nursling or curious toddler in tow.  i am blessed to get a little extra time with my hubby most days.

but it's still hard.

yes, i have 2.  that's so much more than the woman who has none.  but i also know the immense joy of carrying a child, the love that seems to instantaneously multiply when you bring home a new family member, the happiness and laughter of watching them grow and learn and giggle.  i know, first hand, what i will never again experience.

it's strange how emotions that we are taught are "opposites" can exist and blend together in our heart at the exact same time.  there is joy from the blessings, but also sorrow over the loss.

when a friend announces a baby on the way, my heart nearly bursts with joy for them!  and yet, there is a thorn of grief that pricks.  i praise God that He has seen fit to bless and grow their family.  even more, as many of my friends who waited so long for children have received answers to that prayer.  i rejoice... and i then run to Him and cry out and He holds my heart together as it breaks again, just a little, but a fresh wound none the less.  yet, that sorrow in no way diminishes my happiness for my beloved sisters and brothers.  it is a strange concoction of emotions.

stop and note!  this is in no way saying i don't want to hear when you are blessed with child.  not in the least!  i pray often for those seeking to have a baby.  and i love to thank my Lord for answered prayer.

but, may i ask, please stop hinting.  stop suggesting.  stop teasing.

because you don't know who lives that the long, quiet trial that is infertility.

i know you are just kidding, but that little 'hint hint, nudge nudge' feels more like a hammering on my chest.  i laugh along, i smile and nod, but later i will retreat to a private place and run headfirst into my Fathers arms.

sometimes i will share with you how we can't have more.  and you tell me the funny stories of those who gave away all their baby things and then suddenly they were pregnant.  yes, it's a funny story.  but it's not my story.

God has different things in store for my and Nick's lives than we expected.  and while i pray for help with the heartache and peace with the desire for more children, i don't pray for another baby.  i trust that He knows my heart, and also what is best.  i have peace that i have asked enough and He knows my longing even better than i do.  so, i don't ask for more.

and really, i don't need you to pray for more for me.  again, He knows what is best.

if you desire to pray, pray for wise words in my mouth when others don't know the heartache their comments bring.  pray for healing of my body, that i would no longer have these symptoms that feel like pregnancy, but really are not.  pray for my dear friends who are up all night with their newborns, my sisters in Christ battling nausea and heartburn and bedrest, and pray for my beloved friends whose hands are full and schedules are busy because of the many arrows in their quivers.

and pray that our Savior comes back quickly!  because when He comes, when He sets the world right, there will be no more sorrow or pain or tears.

i look forward to that day.

yet i hope i always remember what this long, quiet trial has taught me.  that He is good and wise.  that He knows what is best.  

Psalm 105:4-5
"Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.  Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgements uttered by His mouth."

i'm sorry that this post is a little all over the place.  as you maybe can tell, this subject carries with it a crazy mix of emotions and thoughts.  but these are things that have been rattling around in my mind, things that i have wanted to write about for quite some time.  i hope that they are an encouragement to you.  that you will look to use grace in your speech when you really don't know why someone hasn't had another baby.  and that maybe, if you too are sharing this heartache, that you will draw courage that you are not alone and that God is, indeed, very good!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

homeschooling doesn't have to be hard...



days like today help me remember that homeschooling doesn't have to be hard.

isaac had his garden journal outside while i was digging a garden bed.  i dug up a clover and we found a 21 inch tap root!  he recorded it in his garden journal (drawing a picture and adding the measurement) and we spent a good chunk of time reading about different kinds of clover and finding that a man in Lincoln NE who did research about clover and found a Red Clover that grew a tap root over 9 feet long!

science?  done!

this mornings, Christian had a question out of the blue (as most of his questions seem come).

Christian - "mom, are all armies good guys?"

and so followed a discussion of how all are sinners, how the same country can sometimes fight for good (things that line up with God's Word) and sometime let their selfishness take over and fight for wrong. various examples drawn from the revolutionary war and WWII. 

and that concludes our history lesson for the day.


see?  homeschooling really isn't that hard.  ;)

Monday, May 26, 2014

put up a fight...



1 Timothy 4:6
"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following."

Jeremiah 15:16
"Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts."

I know this.  I've known it for years and years.  The Word should be my sustenances.  In it i will find strength and peace and be filled.  my day goes smoother and i am not ruffled by every little bother when i am nourished by His Words.

yet, as a mommy of littles, it's hard to get there.  my day seems to slip away with every school lesson, with every book we read, with every meal cooked, with every load of laundry washed, with every temper tantrum i have to correct.  and even though the day feels so very, very long, before i turn around, it's gone.  and i fall into bed without a second first glance at the inside of that Precious Book.

maybe you sit and read my words and shake your head and say "tisk, tisk!  that girl!  she should know better!"  trust me, i know that i should know better.  but i'm being honest here.

there are many more weeks than i would like, where sit down in the church sanctuary and realize that the last time i sat and soaked up these Words was 1 week ago in that same seat.  it's a painful realization.  and i hate it.  and yet, i'm being honest here.  because if i'm not honest, if i smudge the facts and say that it only happens "sometimes" rather than telling you truthfully that it's happened nearly every week this month, then nothing is going to change.

why?  why is it so hard to find time for the Thing i love most?  why does it seem as though there are a million little things that come up and i let them take priority over what i know needs to come first?

i know that my flesh is wicked and selfish.  that my flesh would rather work on a project, or just finish this one thing, or just sit and do nothing for a few minutes.  and that is a battle that i have to fight daily.

but, i wonder, if sometimes there isn't more to it than just my flesh.

maybe the reason mommies of young children have trouble finding time to be in the Word daily is because Satan works so hard to keep it that way.  at a stage when our kids are little sponges and soak up everything we say and do, maybe he works to keeps us from The Thing that would bless us with patience and peace.  and maybe he tries to prevent us from devouring the Scriptures so that we will not speak forth The Lords Words, but will instead have nothing but short tempered words.  maybe he works so hard to keep us from the Word, so that we will not influence our children toward the truth of the Lord.

if that is the reason, we need to fight harder!  we need to fight our lazy flesh that thinks a nap would be more helpful than the life giving Words of Scripture.  we need to fight our cunning and ruthless enemy by letting go of all the little things that get in our way and turn to the only thing that can really give us strength and peace.

we need to fight to consume His Holy Book so that these little sponges that we live so closely with will hear only blessings and praise coming out of our mouths.

just maybe, we need to act more like warriors and ready ourselves for battles with this ruthless foe.

Ephesians 6:10-12
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

my everyday kind of life...

this blog was started by my husband to inform others on the state of his cancer journey 4 years ago.  we are long past that trial now.  there is nothing to report.  no life events to keep people up to date on.  no great or hard things to tell.

we are living the boring everyday kind of life.

but i know that many of you are too... if there is still anyone out there reading this neglected little blog.  and you are often on my heart and in my prayers.  i wish i knew you and the trials you are going through in your everyday life.  i want to encourage you, to build you up, to light a little fire in you to keep doing good.  

so i hope to find more time to share here.  in between the homeschool lessons and the piles of laundry, i desire to study and pray and write words of encouragement to any who need it.

it will not be profound.  it will not be great and moving.  but it will be truth.

and while i will never be one of those everyday bloggers, i hope to get back here a little more often.

so, here is a verse that so fits for a boring everyday kind of life...

Psalm 37:3a
"Trust in the Lord and do good;"

2 things.  neither very complicated.

i could expound on the difficulties of letting go of control and trusting Someone else, but there is no point since, as the Sovereign Creator, He is already in control anyway.  so trust Him, in His perfect judgement, to do what is best.

and i could give examples of how our flesh battles us everyday, wanting things that are selfish and lazy.  but you already know about those.

so rather than some mounting lists of all the things that we need to change in our lives (cuz that list would be very overwhelming!) let us instead relish in the simplicity of it.  let us face our days this week with these 2 things that cover all the trials of our everyday lives.

memorize this truth.  it's 7 words long, so it's not too hard, even for the worn mommy or busy student.  devote it to memory and remind yourself of His beautiful little statement over and over again.  when the day is long and our body and mind grow weary, meditate here.

let us trust in the Lord, and let us do good!

care to share and encourage someone else?  leave a comment about something from your everyday life that you need to remind yourself to trust Him with.  or a situation you come to in your everyday that you need to remember to do good.