Friday, August 29, 2008

Being Wife

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

I have been tossing around a couple posts about being a wife quite a bit for the last month and have been shoving them aside. Why? Because. Because being wife is a role that probably challenges me more than any other.

It reveals so much of my sinful nature, that I have preferred to avoid the topic. But, in my desire to be "real", I can no longer side step it. And in order to have victory, I must confront it.

See, and you might have thought I was too wrapped up in my children in this blog. Being mommy. No, it is a role I carry, but it is not my only role. Perhaps when being mommy, it is just easier to honestly talk about the challenges or maybe it is not so taboo to talk about the challenges.

As in, *gasp*, you thought about what it would be like to use your husband's toothbrush to clean the toilet? Look, I didn't dwell on it, I had a momentary thought. It's like I told my DH, I can just feel the weight of conviction even thinking about thinking of stepping into the bathroom with that intention. It's just another little thought I need to train out of my head that took root when I first heard someone man-bashing or something.

The Lord has blessed me with a good husband and I desire to be a good wife. A godly wife. Knowing that the fullness of God lies in how I accept and walk out my varying roles. Learning to embrace the biblical standards of these roles (wife and mother) is not always easy, especially in today's society of "look out for number one" -self idolizing, "do what feels good for you"-postmodernity, and "we are women, hear us roar"-feminism.

It's no wonder women as a whole are so estranged from the biblical standards of womanhood. But, what does biblical womanhood even look like? It is not something that even many churches talk about. But I know that the more I have studied God's word and welcomed this standard in my life, more peace and joy has filled me.

Here are two blogs that sometimes discuss biblical womanhood that I enjoy:
Making Home - You will find so much to be edified with in your daily walk with God.
Biblical Womanhood Online - I just found this one recently and it seems like it is a good fit.

I am so far away from being the wife my husband should have, but I press forward not filled with condemnation, but great hope with what the future holds for my marriage!

You Might Be A Mommy If...

You channel Captain Kirk (from Star Trek) and boldly go where no man, or woman, has gone before...i.e. putting your nose to a child's bottom.

What is it about having a child that suddenly makes well-educated people begin to smell someone else's rear end? Ew. Is it because they are so small and cute? That doesn't change the way their poop smells. Is it because they are of our flesh and blood? Why?

With three children now, I'm still not used to seeing this sniffing ritual performed by so many parents. And I know when I've done it, it happens so quick I cannot believe I just did it. Like an instinct or something. Some disturbing parental instinct. So here's to "Eau de Bowels" and its power over us...bottom's up.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Corrective Lenses of Perspective

That's what I find myself needing a little more often than I'd like to admit. A prescription for perspective. Try saying that three times fast.

It affects how I view every area of my life. And in the same way that my prescription glasses amazingly clear everything up when I look through them, perspective also quickly brings things into focus.

I remind myself to be thankful for healthy, active children when another mess has been made or they seem to be "bouncing off the walls" with energy. Grumbling about the cost of gas, I remind myself that I do have a vehicle to fill up.

It's a place where chores transform into opportunities. It's the place where have to becomes get to. And that's a place I desire to rest. A mindset I want to constantly possess.

Submitting to my husband transforms from being a burden to joyful obedience to God's word. I can bless the Lord at all times, even when Samuel has broken all the eggs on the kitchen floor for the second time in a week or last year when we watched Richie's dad go through the final phases of terminal cancer.

Some might label it a bit Pollyanna-ish, but I purposefully try to find something good in every situation. Sometimes I'm not successful at finding it immediately...but usually there is some thing. :)

And God desires good things for us. After all, He did send His Son to die for us, so that we would have life and not death. Someone who would allow their child to die for me, cannot have ill wishes for me or have just left me hanging in this world.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29

I used to only see verse 28 until one day some years ago, the Lord lovingly decided to show me my need for, shall we say, expanding my peripheral vision. You know, as in , Jo Ann, try looking at more than the one verse that sounds good in a passage to get a real revelation of His word. For the TRUTH in it.

Anyway, in the end, I know that regardless of my ability to "see" the good, my God is using my life's circumstances to conform me into His image. And that is my good...regardless of pain, or sorrow, or frustration.

Lord, help me to remain focused on you and your good for me. That I would keep a "get to" perspective in this world and not get caught up in a "have to" frame of mind. Help me be an example and encouragement to those around me and to teach my children the joy of serving You in daily life and finding You in the seemingly commonplace.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Random Confessions

  • I gave birth 2 1/2 months ago and still look like I am 6 months pregnant.
  • I ate 5 roasted marshmallows last night and enjoyed every bite, even though I still look like I'm incubating.
  • I wondered what it really would be like to wash the toilet with my husband's toothbrush one day this week...I did say wondered.
  • My husband did something really nice for me this week.
  • The smiles on my kids faces brought me joy this week.
  • I smiled at God.
  • I like musicals.
  • Even though I'm a stay-at-home Mom, I still wish I had spent more time with the kids this week.
  • I am a recovering perfectionist.
  • My house is completely unorganized right now and the clutter is so bothering me.
  • I questioned God this week.
  • I am so overwhelmed by God's love for me and all mankind.
  • I compared myself to other moms this week. a lot.
  • I returned my library books two days late.
  • I took an IQ test this week.
  • I want to be more fierce in my pursuit of the Lord.
  • I forgot directions to where I was going this week. Twice.
  • I officially joined the thirty-something club this week. 31.
  • Sometimes I don't want to be mature. I want to throw a hissy fit.
  • I have considered running out my back door this week and yelling, "JESUS", as loud as I could while dancing.
  • I really like peanut butter.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Puritan Prayer

I read this Puritan prayer today and it sums up my thoughts this evening (well, in a better way than I could verbally articulate right now).

Evening Praise

Giver of all, another day is ended and I take my place beneath my great redeemer's cross, where healing streams continually descend, where balm is poured into every wound, where I wash anew in the all-cleansing blood, assured that Thou seest in me no spots of sin. Yet a little while and I shall go to Thy home and be no more seen; help me to gird up the loins of my mind, to quicken my step, to speed as if each moment were my last, that my life be joy, my death glory.
I thank Thee for the temporal blessings of this world—the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers' sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over. Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies. Thy hand bestows blessings: Thy power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of Thy Spirit, the strength of Thy restraining will, Thy spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vaccination Alteration - Part One

Ah, the great debate. Or at least one of the great parenting debates of our time. Vaccinations.

It's a touchy subject and a decision each parent must make on their own based on a variety of circumstances in their lives. I personally have found it difficult to become educated on the subject or at least able to learn enough that I feel like I'm making a somewhat educated decision.
When I am presented with something, I like to take my time and get a feel for both sides. Many times I fall "on the fence" because of this, which is a difficult place to be...seeing both sides. I guess people view it as being wishy-washy, I think of it as insurance against mob mentality and many self-induced kicks to my bottom. *grin* I found myself there once again with the vaccine issue.

I was not comfortable with vaccines and not comfortable without them. So, now with baby number three all the issues come up again. But this time, a friend recommended reading The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears (another library borrow) as it offered an alternative vaccine schedule and had some really good information in it.

Gotta admit that got my attention. Alternative schedule? You mean I have a choice, what a novel thought. ;) It never occurred to me that there were also different brands and that each would have different ingredients. Isn't it crazy how we just accept things sometimes?! How many times have I done that in my life, especially when it comes to something that is contrary to one of God's truths or promises?

As I read the book, I alternated being grossed out by the disease a vaccine provided protection against and then the ingredients of said vaccine. It was quite interesting and made me slightly wish I was a scientist. He does a good job of presenting factual information for parents to make informed decisions about vaccinations and their children.

He is pro-vaccine, but it does not effect the format in which the material is presented. I learned so much. It provided enough information for me to make a decision concerning Abigail and her vaccinations that I feel more comfortable with than with the boys. His website/blog does have some interesting reading, but was thisclose to having too much of a marketing feel to it for me.

Anyway, I recommend this for any parent who wants to become more educated about their child's health, regardless of how you feel about vaccines. I'll have to tell you later what we have decided to do.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nothing Like A Good Book

I devoured Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt last night. I'm not kidding, I finished the whole thing in one night after the kids went to bed. A book about good books, can't get much better than that.

I devoured it like someone famished. Have you ever been so hungry that you found yourself eating so incredibly fast and not really caring what anyone thinks? Okay, so that's me a lot, but usually I'm just trying to shovel food in my mouth before a baby cries, someone is fighting, another HUGE mess is made, or some other semblance of chaos is occurring in my life. :) Or maybe it's just because I want to at least taste it half warm. Or maybe I have just slipped in all form of manners in my life.

Anyway, that's why I feel like I consumed this book. Starvation. Of words, not food. I love the English language. I love words. Word games and puzzles. Plays on words. The use of words. The way they can be melded together and transport you anywhere. The way they can take an ordinary moment and turn it into something extraordinary.
That's part of why I love homeschooling so much. I am getting to enjoy so many quality books with Caleb that I never got to experience when I was a child. Right now am so thrilled about our school year because I've been working on our reading list for the year. It helps that Caleb loves to read and be read to, also. That's where Honey for a Child's Heart comes in. Also, Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson , which I just borrowed from the library, again...definitely going to have to add this one to our personal library some time.
I feel like I used to know and use so many more words than I do now. My command of the English language has digressed to dropping off my g's, as in, "Let's get goin'," and even "idear" has slipped out. As in, "Hey, I have a good idear." Not even sure where that came from. Some of it has to do with the region we live in, which I'm not knocking because I have country blood in me. I just never quite talked like it. And I'm not even saying it's wrong, it's just different for me. And I'm certainly not using much of my vocabulary these days.

Perhaps it's just the constant use of two to four letter words in this house of little ones (no, stop, sit, etc.) or just the fact that I don't get out much or intentionally engage my mind by reading books that I used too. Or maybe I just type so quick on this blog and don't really go over it enough to reword and really think things through...that's a scary thought. I don't know, but it does make me think of the commercial that had the wife greeting her husband at the door with baby gibberish and he quickly realizes that he needs to get her out for adult time and quick.

Sweet Samuel "reading" a book in his cowboy boots

As I've been feeling like I've lost some intellect (do all moms feel this way at some point? and if they do, when does it come back?), this book certainly whet my appetite for words. I have also been having fun recently with Caleb looking up words in the dictionary and watching the light in his eyes as he tucks it away to use some rainy day. I find that I know the general meaning of a word, but can't quite give him a solid definition, so it's helping both of us. Side note: His favorite word last year was putrid, can't wait to see what it is this year.

I feel like if my children learn to love reading, then they are prepared to learn anything they set their minds too. A lifetime of learning will be available to them. That God's knowledge will be that much more accessible to them.

Anyway, this book about children's literature satisfied something in me other than just having some new titles to add to our literary repertoire. It is my hope that my children will learn to love the English language and will master the use of its words. Or at least some of them. That they will be articulate adults able to communicate God's redeeming love to a dying world in whatever capacity God uses them. The possibilities are endless with God in control. Now that's exciting!

Anyone up for a good game of Boggle? Scrabble?

Friday, August 15, 2008


Tank of Gas = $45

Admission to State Park = $3

Sleeping Children = Priceless

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Westmoreland Park

We also went to Westmoreland Park last week. It is a VA State Park by the Potomac River (kind of near Richmond) and they have an area there known as Fossil Beach. You're supposed to be able to find prehistoric shark teeth and other things like that. We had a lot of fun. The water was warm and it was not crowded.

The guys hunting for shark teeth.

None of us found a shark tooth, but a generous man gave us one...after he found it like right in front of Richie and the boys...and I gave him the stink eye. Kidding, I didn't give the ol' stink eye, but I did watch him and I think he felt guilty. I mean, come on, he had dozens in his pocket and we had none!

Samuel having fun.

We borrowed kitchen strainers from my mom (I would take flat surfaced sifters next time) and Caleb found sea glass (lots of that!) and a fossil of some thing. It was perfect excursion for our budding archaeologist. I found the broken tooth of some creature that was definitely not a shark. I would love to know what its previous owner looked like because people have found parts from whales, crocodiles, and other interesting animals that obviously do not live there now and it was fairly big.

Check out that dimple!

It was Abigail's first time in the surf and sand. She did well, but did end up with sand all over one of her fists. I put her too close to the edge of the towel, oops! I personally found the combination of listening to the water lap, a gentle breeze, warm sun, and no chance of taking a nap to be cruel and unusual punishment...but I managed to have fun anyway... ;)

Going B.C. in D.C.

While we were at my Mom's last week, we visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Here's me and the kids by the Triceratops, Caleb's favorite dinosaur.

It was a lot of fun. We took the metro into D.C. and spent the day at the museum. Caleb was in heaven because what they have is where his passion (other than Lego Star Wars) lies. He absolutely loves history and old things. It was kind of hard with the two little ones, but well worth it to see Caleb enjoy viewing the objects he has poured over in books and learned about.

I hope to take him again some time when we can go slower and really take in the stuff. I bought him a disposable camera so he could take pictures of the things he really wanted to preserve for his memory. It was cute watching him decide what photos he wanted and it was so difficult, but he made it through with enough to take pictures of the National Monument and a couple other things outside later.

It was also very fun to listen to the things he would say in regards to evolution, because it is all over the place there. Even the butterflies weren't safe! The Butterfly Pavilion was co-sponsored by Partners for Evolution or something like that. His loudest comment was when he read a sign that said Man-Like Apes and then showed a progression of apes to man. He thought it was absurd and well, so do I, knowing my God! I really look forward to doing an in-depth creation science curriculum with him in the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Salute...

...the local Girl Scout chapter where we live. We went to the County Fair today and they have a small building there for mothers with young children. They call it the Children's Comfort Center. You can change diapers, nurse, etc. and I took advantage of it this year! It was great to have a private place with a chair (that had a back) and feed Abigail. It's nothing fancy, but it is a blessing! I didn't have to stand in a dirty bathroom stall or sit at a picnic table with hundreds of strangers passing by staring until they figured out what I was hiding under the blanket draped over me. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Girl Scouts!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Giveaway

This one is for all you homeschoolers out there! Jolanthe at Our Homeschool Creations (also of No Ordinary Moments, which I read regularly) is giving a chance to win a one year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Click here to go get the details and make sure you stop and have fun on her blogs.

Since I believe this is a quality product, I wanted to spread the word. I have a current subscription to their print magazine and love it, but have been pondering going digital when this one is up. Anyway, it's a great magazine and they also have a variety of weekly newsletters, an online store, and more through the web. If you haven't checked them out, you should! I learned about them by reading an old copy my Mom had lying around the house, which I've read a few times now. Thanks, Mom!

So, make sure you head over to Our Homeschool Creations and get the details for the giveaway. Don't forget to mention that I sent you when you enter!

Little Houdini

Censoring courtesy of Caleb

Remember this photo, for you have just seen the next great escape artist.
Samuel has a knack for getting away to say the least. On this particular day, I was letting him air dry after a bath when he helpfully let himself out the back door and ran to dig in his favorite spot, the dirt pile. Oh to be naked and playing in dirt, what more could a two year-old boy ask for!

Now, not only was he naked, Caleb was screaming about it - he could not believe he had no clothes on. Sounds pretty normal right? Not so much. There was a wedding taking place next door....Nice.
I mean really, pay no mind to the naked child running around. Really, enjoy your day and hope you have a nice life together!

What's that you say? Why don't we get those handy childproof knob covers for our entry doors? Tried it. He got it open. A device that confounds the majority of adults and the kid got it open the second time he tried. Not only that, but it mysteriously disappeared by the next morning and has yet to be found.

Hence, the new back door we just had installed with a dead bolt. We had talked about installing additional locks, but Richie thought the dead bolt might just be enough since it is a bit higher. Samuel immediately began investigating.

Richie: Trying to figure out the new door?

Samuel: Yep. It's stuck.

Richie: *Laughing*...then silence...

Samuel figured out how to open both locks within two minutes! It's not as easy for him now, but we will be purchasing additional security locks which will be installed at a level that even I may have a hard time reaching.
Note: The wedding people actually didn't seem to notice the shenanigans going on, thankfully. To think of what they missed out on, it would have made a nice addition to their album...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pride and Apologies

Ah, the teachable moments. They are so much easier to embrace when they occur on bright, sunny days and involve butterflies or another element of nature. But when it comes to our children's education, science is not number one.

We desire to see our children grow into mature, godly men and women. And we don't just desire it, we are held accountable by God to train them in His ways. So, I'm trying to learn how to embrace ALL the teachable moments. Embracing it while fighting off embarrassment, disappointment, anger.

While we were at my Mom's last week, Caleb had a run-in with two of my family members. Now, we think there was some miscommunication and confusion involved, but we weren't there, so truly we don't know. Throw in strong-willed, 8 yr. old boy, and people who aren't around kids very much and there is certainly potential for problems.

Anyway, at first I was upset with Caleb because I just wanted him to not be in trouble. He is a good kid and I don't like to think of people, especially my family, viewing him negatively. Yes, I am a little sensitive in this area - we have had some very bad experiences, (I should clarify, not involving my family).

Saying that, whether I think a situation could have been handled better by an adult or not, Caleb has to be responsible for his actions, whether he feels he was in the wrong or not. Tough lesson, even when you are grown. Thus, comes the hard part, the apology.

Caleb has never had an easy time saying he's sorry. And then when he does apologize, making sure he does it with the proper attitude (you know, being able to nicely saying your apology) is even more difficult. And of course, there's always motive. Are you apologizing to me because you are sorry for your actions or sorry that you got caught?

So, there we were with a teachable moment on our hands that I was not happy about. But then I paused and had to thank God. Here was a hands-on opportunity, in a safe environment, to teach my child about the importance of reconciliation and restoration and how pride can keep us from attaining it in our relationships. And again, not something most adults handle very well. How many times should I apologize to Richie for something and don't?

It actually hurts sometimes. Admitting you were wrong. Unjustified in doing or saying something. And how much harder is it when someone is offended at us, when we were justified or just misperceived or misinterpreted. Tough lesson to teach when I don't always get it right.

In John 15:12-13, it says:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

One way we lay down our lives is to humble ourselves and seek forgiveness from someone who was offended by us, whether it is real or misperception. Offering no excuses or defenses, just our humility. Seeking reconciliation in our relationships should be a priority. Otherwise, we develop damaged relationships and miss an opportunity to grow in and exhibit Christ's love.

Lord, I want to be a vessel of Your love. Help me to be more in tune with Your heart. Help me to walk in restoration and reconciliation, to be quick to seek forgiveness. Let me not be easily offended, but teach me to walk in forgiveness, that my children would know how to love like You love.

Cows and Mustaches

One of the roads we take when we are going about town has a farm with what I'm assuming are long-horn cattle. They are fun to look at and new calves are added each year. We even got to see one nursing yesterday, which led to the following conversation:

Caleb: What?! *confused silence* That baby was nursing from its Dad!

Richie: No, some types of cows have males and females with horns.

Caleb: Oh...kind of like when women have mustaches.

Yeah, and I'm left wondering if it's time to race to the bathroom to bleach my upper lip.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cousin Time

Caleb and Samuel with my wonderful nephew

We recently returned from a visit to my Mom's house to spend time with some of my family. Above is a photo my brother-in-law took of the male cousins. There should never be a question about God's anointing on him, he had 2 two year-olds not only facing the camera, but also smiling. at the same time. *grin*

I don't have a picture of the girl cousins yet. One exists, I just don't have a copy since my camera died the first day we were there. Truthfully, I copied this one off their website so that I could have it... Come on, it's a great picture!

My sister and her family were in town moving their stuff so they can begin training for their upcoming departure to do missions work in Eastern Europe. They will be part of a church planting team. So, we descended onto my mother's house to spend some time with them in between all their busyness.

I finally got to meet my niece who is so completely adorable and smells fantastic. Seriously, both my sister's kids have smelt the same and it's so fresh and clean. Not sure what she uses, but anyway...Its amazing to me how you can have such unconditional love for children that are not your own, truly a gift from God. My niece (4months) and nephew (2) bring me so much joy!

I'm thankful God provided this opportunity for us to spend this precious time with them and that the kids were able to bond a little more before they leave. I had to fight tears several times this weekend, but like I said before it is part of this strange mixture of sadness and overwhelming joy. It was also great to hear them share their hearts at home and in church and I am so excited to hear about what God accomplishes through them. We will miss them, but it's all for God! I would love to have the opportunity to go visit and serve with them while they are there.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Frustration - Blog Be Thy Name

Do you ever feel this way? I do!

So, I've been out of town taking care of family stuff (more on that later) and it has provided a good break from this blog. I am frustrated and totally wishing I knew anything about HTML.

Yeah, never thought I'd say that. :) Definitely wishing I had left it the way it was. So, those of you who currently read this blog will just have to endure with me...lucky you.

Oh yeah, and my camera broke. I was already having a hard time getting pictures up, now more so. Bummer!

And to think this is an issue when 3 months ago, blogging was not a part of my world. Hmmm...