Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm Back

Vacation went well. We had a great time with the Chouinard family. It is so nice to get along with another family so well. We liked the KOA, but found it to be too expensive. We will probably stay somewhere else next time.

When we were in camp, we rarely saw the boys. They were riding their bikes or having fun at the different playgrounds and jumping pillows.

We switched off cooking so Rachel and I had a break. It was great and we ate well.

We ate at some nice resteraunts almost everyday.

The Civil War reenactment was great. The kids loved it, but were upset that we didn't stay for the second battle. Jacob was teething and throwing fit after fit, so I had had enough. It was a long day. The Chouinards stayed for the whole thing and absolutly loved it. I guess it was right up their alley.

The last night Steve went to bed with the kids and I was able to stay up till 11:30 p.m. talking around the campfire with Paul and Rachel. It was great! Uninterrupted conversations with them is almost non-existent!

All nine kids got along almost the whole time. Ann and Jess have especially bonded. It's fun to watch them.

We went to the pool twice. Jess loves to show off all her new "moves". She is getting very comfortable in the water.

The only bad thing that happened was that I've lost my MP3 player. I think I left it in the cabin. I called and they said nothing had been reported lost. So either they haven't found it yet, or someone has it. I keep praying it will fall into the hands of an honest person. I'm really bummed about it.

Jacob is still teething. He has slept on and off all day. The kids are rough-housing with Dad right now. I need to get off of here and try to get them calmed down and thinking about bed-time.

Andrew was dry the entire time. He pooped in his pants everytime, but he's got the pee'in thing down. He's doing good. I keep hoping he'll get the poop'in thing down so that he will get to be a Cubbie this year. He is so looking forward to it.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, but I'm going to do laundry and start my homeschooling year (officially).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jackie's 30 Day Challenge Testimony

When Stacie first mentioned that she was doing the 30 Day Challenge, I really thought to myself, "Well good for her. Good luck with that, Stace!". I even tried to ignore the bottom of her email where she challenged us to do the same. I knew as soon as I was avoiding it, that it meant I better do it. Funny how the Spirit works!
I thought, well this shouldn't be too bad since Michael is working out of town 4 days a week. We started the challenge, just after he came back from Annual Training. I found out later that when he went to Annual Training he was feeling really distant from me. When he came home, I know I stunned him by my changed attitude and the peace that was between us. What a difference one mouth can make! I've literally changed the whole atmosphere of our home. It brought home to me once again that we, as wives and mothers, wield so much power in this area. We can use that power for good or evil. It is up to us. We have to make the decision to want to be Christ-like. The only way we can do this is supernaturally, through His Spirit! I discovered the hardest part for me was making the initial decision to speak kindly (or keep my mouth shut). Once I made that decision, putting the decision into action wasn't so hard. Thinking before I speak has never been one of my strenghts.
The best result of this challenge has been in the area of intimacy. Because I was being so kind to Michael, we were able to communicate some things in our love life that have been perpetual potholes in the entire 13 years of our marriage. We really heard each other, because we weren't on the defense when we talked about it this time. For the first time we both felt "safe" as we discussed these issues. I've never felt so close to Michael as I do right now.
I also learned that I really needed to work on the way I "launch" him out into the work world, and how he "lands" when he gets home. I really struggle with wanting to do something else while my husband wants to just "be still" together. It is unbelievable difficult for me. One particular challenge for me happened one night when I had just gotten the kidlets to bed. I'd been looking forward to watching a movie I just got in the mail from Netflix (hadn't had time to watch a movie for a week), just got make up off, feet up, and my dear husband surprises me by coming home a day early. I have to tell you I had mixed emotions because of what at first I perceived as his intrusion into my quite evening. I instantly recognized my selfishness and decided to give him a great "landing". I stopped the movie, not to be turned on again until 4 days later, and gave him all my attention that evening. It ended up being a very memorable evening as we talked until 11pm that night. It turns out that he had a meeting in Baker and decided to come home for the night. This was amazing because there was a car show up in Joseph that he'd been talking about going to for weeks. It turns out, he wanted to be with me more than the car show. We had this wonderful discussion where he opened up to me emotionally and thanked me for my willingness to give myself to him completely without holding back. We talked of spiritual matters, too. He is so much more "advanced" spiritually than I had given him credit for. It makes me that much more willing to surrender the leadership of our home to him. It was an amazing night, well worth staying up for. If it hadn't been for the 30 Day Challenge, I probably would have given him a little peck when he came in and went back to watching my movie. Instead God showed me the greater blessing that I would have missed out on had I pursued my own selfish desires. Michael and I have had many "honeymoons" because of his frequent absences. They are such a blessing.
I also had a victory as I put together my daughter's one year birthday party. Usually, I'm such a witch while I'm getting ready for a party. I admit I tend to get very bossy and very short with my loved ones. I made a conscious effort to let things go, sweetly ask, not demand and not try to achieve perfection. Guess what? All my family told me later that it was the best party we've ever thrown! God showed me that it didn't matter that the yard wasn't mowed, house wasn't cleaned or that I didn't have a ton of food. I was able to be a Mary that day instead of a Martha as I sat with my friends and chatted after the party instead of going right to clean up. It was wonderful! All because of MY attitude! I'm amazed at the power of just one positive attitude, how it can make or deflate an event let alone a person. My husband didn't know what to do with his sweet, calm wife. I could tell he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
30 days is enough time to form a habit. While I certainly haven't achieved perfection in this area of my life (I fail quite often), this challenge has made me so much more aware when I start speaking negatively to or about my husband to others. I'm one of those people who finds sarcastic humor extremely funny. The problem with sarcasm is that it's purpose is to make the other person feel stupid, while making us look "brilliant". Obviously this form of humor has no place in the 30 Day Challenge. When I start going down that old, familiar road, I know it instantly and most of the time I can correct myself before it gets bad. I'm really having to continually humble myself before God and my husband because I mess up often. I know if I stay true to this challenge (even though it is officially over), God will continue to bless me beyond measure. It has really helped me be aware of my tone of voice towards my children as well. I pray that they will also benefit from this 30 Day Challenge.
So, Stacie, thank you again for being the brave soul who decided to take the plunge and do something that took a huge amount of courage and determination. Thank you for always pointing me back to the big picture during times of failure and for continually directing me to the Spirit as the source of our strength. You are truly an inspiration to us all. To all the rest of you ladies who prayed for me and I for you, I can't thank you enough. Those prayers truly sustained me during tough times of submission and making positive verbal decisions. I thank God for each of you and I pray God's blessings on your lives and marriages as each of you face your own daily challenges. I hope none of us will ever be the same!

Love and Blessings,
Jackie

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Steve

I have to tell you why I'm so blessed. I was just thinking how relaxed it's been around here. Growing up, when we went camping my poor mom and dad were so stressed out. I just remember "hurry, hurry!" fighting, short tempers when something went wrong, you know that kind of thing. Steve just isn't that way normally. We are usually in good moods as we get ready to go. I think part of it, is that he really looks forward to going out of town.

The first time I realized how different this was is before we had kids. We had just bought a tiny 16 foot camp trailer and had it all loaded up and ready to go. We pulled out of the driveway and start going down the street. All of a sudden, "BOOM, SCREECH!" The trailer had come off it's hitch as we were going down the road! I didn't know what to do. Steve just got out and fixed the problem. He didn't yell at me, he didn't get mad. I was shaky and realized how I had expected him to come unglued.

So that is just a little something I appreciate about him!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Going With the Flow

Well, today was supposed to be our BIG packing day for our Astoria trip. The phone rang and I knew in my heart that it was an overtime shift. I told myself that I needed to be supportive and tell Steve he could take it. He always asks me. So I told him it was fine and you could tell how excited he was. It is nice to have that 24 hours of overtime before you go on vacation. I know he will rest easy knowing he has it in the "bank".

So the only thing I could really do was pack the clothes and sleeping bags. The rest will have to wait.

Such is the life of a firefighter's wife...you have to go with the flow and be VERY flexible.

Dad called and asked if Josh could come out and ride Dundee (his big gentle horse). I said of course! We really want to keep him going so that he will continue to progress. He called me so excited and said that he had ran 3 times! Wow! He must really be getting his confidence built up. When we were at the beach with the horses I practically had to force him to ride behind me around the campground once and he was clinging to me for dear life! This is hard for me because I was riding big horses around age 3. I just can't figure out why he is so scared. I really want him to have some of the same experiences that I had growing up. I spent my entire childhood on the back of a horse, rounding up cows and barrel racing and such. It was so much fun!

Hey, while I was writing this, Andrew just pooped in the toilet! That is the first time in 3 days! We were regressing a little. Papa bribed him with a ride on the tractor while he's cutting hay. He was so excited, I think it has motivated him again. I just overheard him say, "I'm big,Marcus!" How cute is that?

They kids and I made an Carmel apple chex mix. It was really good, but really sweet. I made some caramel corn with the extra popcorn. Yum!

No soccer practice tonight so we are watching "Two Towers" right now. It's long, but good.

I'm going to start a book called "Passion and Purity" by Elizabeth Elliot. I've always wanted to read one of her books. I've heard her branded a radical, but I like to judge things for myself. I'll let you know how I like it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Heart is Tender Today

Before I went to church I asked God to prepare my heart and touch me in a special way today. I wasn't prepared for the overflow of emotions I experienced during the service. Actually, it started when I was in the Women's Care Group. Beth Moore was talking about how we are God's "Lampstands" on earth. I never really considered myself God's special lampstand. I know we are His Dwelling place on earth, but it is hard to imagine sometimes why He would want to claim my body as a temple. It was truly humbling and I felt like I was hit afresh with that knowledge.

When we went into the service, I truly was touched by the songs. "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" almost brought me to my knees as the picture of Jesus nailed on a cross with blood flowing from his wounds crossed my mind. It is so easy to sing about the "blood" but not truly picture what that was like for our Savior. Then "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" practically had me sobbing. "Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." The words were so moving. I know that I am prone to wander, my intentions are good, but yet, I am drawn away the Lord by the world in so many subtle ways. I want to keep my eyes fixed on my Redeemer.

Poor Steve was beside me wondering what in the world was wrong with me.

Pastor Doug took us to John 17. He taught us about being "in the world, not of it". He told us we do not have to fear, Jesus has already prayed for our safety. Very good reminders. I thought of Steve. How difficult it must be to go into a worldly environment and to not soak it up. He must take a stand for his faith everyday, just by not using vulgarities and having integrity in his dealings with people. I am in a "bubble" sort of. It's just where I am at right now. But now that soccer has started, I do get to experience more of the world. Parents and children that are not Christians interacting and sometimes hurting my children and I with their comments or actions. I need to keep teaching my children that they cannot expect Non-Believers to act like Believers.

The end of the 30-Day challenge has come and I am hit afresh at just how vulnerable I am to the enemy's attacks. I have had many victories these past 30 days. I have also fallen flat on my face. I know that in order to maintain these habits that I need to be living in the Spirit, reminded that I do not want the lifestyle that I had before this challenge. I never want to go back. I want to keep moving forward.

At the end of the service, Pastor Doug asked us to come forward if we wanted to commit our lives to Christ's service and His plan. Of course the Spirit spoke and told me to go forward. It isn't very often that I get to kneel in a service. It is very humbling to be able to do that for God. In tears again, I committed myself to obeying God in whatever He asks me to do. I want so much to please Him. I am so grateful for the pit He has rescued me from. Grateful that He chose ME to be His child. Grateful to have direct access to my God! To be His friend and His daughter.

I peeked behind me and Steve didn't leave the auditorium, he stayed in his seat and I'm sure committed himself to Christ's service once again. I respect him so much for that. He has come so far spiritually from when I first knew him. He truly loves the Lord and is at church not because his wife nagged him and guilted him into it. He is there because he wants to be. That means so much to me.

I know my hormones are unstable right now, but I just had to share this. I am in love with my Savior! I want to be that lampstand and shine His light to a dark world. I want to pour His love into my husband, children, family, friends and whoever else God puts in my life.

Marcus is Maturing

Marcus has really been a great helper lately. Almost every morning, he hears Jacob stirring and goes and gets him. I have his milk sitting on the counter so Marcus grabs it and plays with him on the couch. It is so nice if I'm emailing or reading the Bible, I can finish up before I snuggle with him.

Marcus has a problem of talking to much, so we went to the Bible and talked about how a "chattering fool comes to ruin". I explained that I struggle with this too. I think he "got it" for his age, but he still needs to really learn it.

The verse we keep saying to one another lately is "let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart, be pleasing to you, Oh Lord."

Jessica even said yesterday after being mean to one of her brothers, "I'm not building him up, am I?". Wow! I couldn't believe she got it! Those little bits of harvest feel sooo good. I know they are listening, I know they are still plaible and I want to be the best mother that I can be.

Andrew and I have been reading the Bible together and he is picking up on more of it. I'm trying to be more intentional.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Feels Good!

OK, I'm finally getting my second wind! Today has been great! Yesterday, Steve and I sorted through all of Andrew, Jessica, and older boy's clothes. We got rid of everything that didn't fit or they didn't wear. I think this will help them be able to actually shut their drawers. God has blessed us with clothes behond anything you can imagine. I need to get better about keeping them moving though. I think I have at least 20 boxes of clothes in my shed and in the closet. It's crazy!

We also moved everyone's toys to Jacob's room. So it is the toy room and baby room. All he does is sleep in there, so this creates more room in everyone's rooms. The crib broke but instead of replacing it I've decided to just keep Jacob in the playpen. It's safer, if you think about it. It's portable and it takes up a lot less room.

We moved the toddler bed from Jacob's room to Josh and Marcus'. Jessica will not be sleeping on the floor anymore, but in the toddler bed(she loves this idea!) She'll sleep there until the new baby comes. Then I will move her into her room with Jacob. Andrew will go from Jess's room to the toddler bed in the boys room. Whew! If you caught up with that I'm amazed!

I called Rachel this morning. I knew she was getting ready for our camping trip and was all by herself with the 4 kids. Not a good combination. So I asked if the kids could come over and play for awhile so she could run errands or do whatever she needed to do. She was thrilled! So the kids are over rightnow. We just at peanut butter and jelly sands and apple slices. Man, that was a lot of kids around the table! 9 kids! They are being so good! Hannah (the one year old) hasn't fussed once. I was kind of scared to take her because last time she screamed not-stop for 3 hours! I'm glad she's grown out of that.

OK, I'm hearing some screaming I need to scoot!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Swimming Lessons Over

Yeah, swimming lessons have come to a completion today. Mrs. Dirksen was so sweet. She let Andrew and Josh in the pool too. The pool has this cool waterslide, so Josh and Marcus got to slide down that. She worked with Andrew a bit on kicking his legs and he has such a sweet smile on his face. Next year we will put Andrew, Jess and Marcus in for swimming lessons.

Steve is going to Spooky's to use his birthday gift certificates. I'm not feeling well this morning (I think it's morning sickness), so he is trying to help out by going there and bringing the food back to us.

Today will be a mellow day. No plans, maybe just pack some for our trip. I like this kind of day!

I talked to Steve about getting one of those really safe trampolines for the kids instead of replacing our pool. He sounded all for it. I couldn't believe it. He told me before he would NEVER get one for his kids because they aren't safe. They have really improved them, and it is such great exercise. You don't have to buy chemicals either! So, we'll be keeping our eyes open for one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Fun

I forgot how much I hate soccer practices! If it were just me watching the kids practice it would be fun. It is so not fun when you are chasing a three year old and a one year old. I'm so done by six O'Clock and Jess's practice is just beginning by then.

It didn't help that today was swimming lessons in the morning and soccer at night. I was trying to keep Andrew and Jacob out of the pool or Jacob from throwing things into the pool. Man, he keeps me busy!

Tomorrow, Steve is off so I should be in a lot better shape. Praise God next week we are going on vacation so I only have to do one soccer practice, but Steve is off, so I think I'll ask him to take care of it.

Jess's coach seemed like he really new what he was doing. I think she is going to develop some good skills from him. I love Marcus' coach. Great Christian guy, Chris Ley. He's married to my friend, Karlie. Also, Rachel's Elijah is on Marcus' team, so that means we get to be soccer mom's on the same team. How cool is that! She helped me by bringing Marcus home today since the practices overlapped and they were on different fields. That was so nice.

I'm going to bed! Can't wait to get some shuteye. Oh, I'm eight weeks along today!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Penicillin

I hope I spelled that right! I went to the nurse practicioner at the OB office yesterday. She was very good. She really took the time and listened. She switched me to penicillin and took me off of the Amoxacillin. I've taken two pills, and I woke up feeling a little better, so I have hope that it is working. I feel like I might have a bit more energy, but this is when I get myself in trouble. I start to do everything and forget to rest. So I'm going to really watch it today. I am not crazy about lying around! I hate it in fact! I don't know how these pregnant women can be on bed rest for 9 weeks or so. I pray I never have to do that.

Kids are waking up, so I need to scoot! I'm going to try to let Steve sleep in a little today. I actually bought cereal for the kids so that we could have a really easy breakfast.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Still Sick

Well, here I am and I'm still not doing great. I'm going in to see the Nurse Practicioner at the OB clinic. I'm so tired still and just get wiped out when trying to do anything for very long. I'm going to try to get some stronger antibiotics. I don't think these ones are working very good. They always give me the lowest form, when I'm pregnant, but then they end up upping it when it doesn't work. We are going to the beach with the Chouinard Family next week and I do NOT want to be sick. So I'm trying to be proactive.

Steve and I dropped Josh off yesterday at his Horse Camp at Badger Creek Camp. He was so excited! It was hard dropping him off, knowing we would have no contact with him for 3 days. I told him all my "mom" advice, and after leaving quickly started to remember everything I forgot to tell him. I gave up worrying and just committed Josh to God. I also kicked myself for not praying with him before we left. I couldn't believe I forgot, so again, I gave it to God and decide to trust in Him. My main prayer is that he would have a good experience with the big horses and get over his fears of falling off. The horses there looked half asleep, so I don't think he's in any danger of getting bucked off. The camp was beautiful and very rustic.

We will go get him tomorrow. I can't wait to pepper him with questions!

Good news with Andrew! I would say he is 85% potty trained! He pooped in the toilet today like it was nothing! He has not had an accident since Sunday evening. I'm so proud of our Tractor Boy! I told him he'll be able to drink lemonade now. The acid always burns my kids bottoms, so I never allow them to have it until they are potty-trained. He was very excited about the potential of drinking such a "grown up" drink.

I haven't done much but lay around and let Steve watch the kids. I can't wait to be able to cook more and get my routine back. Soccer practice starts on Thursdays and I really need to get my "game" back on.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unexpected Surprise!

I was feeling really nasty yesterday and I laid Jacob down around 12:00 p.m. I asked the boys if they could keep Jess and Andrew entertained so I could sleep. It was so quiet, too quiet. I couldn't doze off because it was so quiet. So I got up and saw Marcus furiously scrubbing the kitchen counter. Josh was picking up and I looked around the house, it was SPOTLESS! I couldn't believe it. They were so proud and said they wanted to help me out more. It was such a sweet act of service and gave me so much hope and encouragement. They had even "decorated" the living room for me. I'm so grateful for my kiddos. They are very thoughtful and loving. They kept praying for me, too.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Strep

Well, I swallowed and felt something going down the back of my throat. It tasted wierd so I got a flashlight. Sure enough, puss pockets coating the back of my throat. Yuck! I called a bunch of people to see if they could watch the kids so I could go up to the ER (it's a Saturday). Finally got a hold of Margaret. She willingly came and watched all the kids while I went. I got up there and after an hour and a half tested positive for Strep Throat. They put me on antibiotics, but I'm contagious for two days still. I pray that the kids and Steve don't get this.

No wonder I felt like crud! Margaret was such a sweetie she asked if Josh and Jessica could spend the night with her. Then as she was packing everything in the car she said God was telling her to bring Andrew, too. This is totally out of her comfort zone. I was so thrilled. He is probably the hardest one right now. So Marcus stayed home with me and we are watching Garfield and ordered a pizza. He's helping me with Jacob, which is so nice. He didn't complain once about being left behind.

So, bless you, Margaret! I love you and thank you for answering my "Help me, Lord" prayer!

Not Feeling Well

This past two days, I have had some kind of a cold, I'm imagining. I am very achy, sick, and tired. I've been laying around trying to get better. The trouble is, is I'm sick of laying around. I just want to get better. My throat hurts worse today then yesterday. I have no appetite, but if I don't eat, the morning sickness gets me. I ran out of Tylenol today, so I called a friend and she brought me a whole bottle. I'm so thankful. I was trying to drink the kids stuff. It was really horrible. When you are an adult you have to take 5 tsps of the stuff.

Andrew has been really naughty today. He went into the boys room today and tore off all of their bedding and dumped most of their toys. I lost it with him. He is now not allowed in the boys room. The boys are in their cleaning it and getting rid of all of Jess and Andrew's toys so it's just theirs.

I just put Jacob down for a nap and it's 12:00. It's over a 100 degrees outside so it's not really fun for them to be outside. Suffice it to say we've been on a Lord of the Rings marathon. I hate watching TV all day. I thought I would come and update my blog real quick. At least I'm sitting up this way.

My friend, Rachel, called. She is pregnant! She is just 2 weeks behind me. We were only a month apart with our last ones, so this is really exciting. Now we are waiting for Toni to give us some news. Come on Toni! We're waiting!

One good thing that I can think of is that Andrew is definitely on the road to being potty-trained. He has not had an accident yet today! The real test will be when he poops. So we'll see...

I think I'm going to order pizza tonight. It will be easy and little clean up.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trying to Crack Down

Steve once again made me aware of how I don't even realize the kids are talking back. I get so used to it, and I get tired of dealing with it, that I just wait till it really escalates and then all heck breaks loose. So today, I warned the kids I was cracking down on them.

For every talking back, smart-mouthed comment, every argument (instead of a "yes, Mom"), I took 15 minutes off of their bedtime. Poor Marcus, he was at 6:15 before lunch time! I warned them that if they got marked down till five o'clock, that they would go to bed hungry. I even used it with the little kids. They all went to bed early, and I have had a very peaceful evening. Now, if I can just be consistent!

I was talking with my sis today. I told her how frustrated I was. I had asked the Holy Spirit to fill me at least twice that morning, but was not sensing His presence or power at all. She immediately prayed for me and I can't tell you how much better I felt. "Where two or more are gathered" must have been the key that time! I just love her.

Jess and Marcus did great at swimming lessons today. Jess got brave and scared her poor teacher to death. She swam out into the deep end when her teacher's back was turned! She was OK. I don't know what if she would have just kept swimming across that pool or panicked when she realized that she couldn't touch the bottom. Mrs. Dirksen got after her for it. It really scared her.

The kids played in the sprinkler today and the little ones and I cooked some peach and zucchini muffins. I know it is kind of a weird combination. It wasn't bad though. I used Spelt flour, too, so it was pretty healthy. We'll eat them for breakfast tomorrow maybe with some bacon. I also started my new Beth Moore study called "To Live is Christ" it's about Paul and his journeys and letters to the churches. I can't wait to get more in depth. I've never studied Acts.

Well, I'm off to bed. Can't wait to get some sleep.

Disclaimer

I am feeling like I must have this disclaimer...

This blog is simply MY journey. I don't expect ANYONE else to share the same convictions as me. Where God has me in my unique situation is going to be different from someone else's situation. Please do not feel bad if you are not doing the same things I am or making the same choices (such as less outside ministry, having lots of children, or being a SAHM, homeschooling).

This blog is meant to encourage, not discourage. Our Family looks different from any other family, just as your family will look different from ours. That is not wrong. God wants us all to be different.

I have a dear friend who is in full-time ministry, has 4 children and amazes me that she can put her husband and children first. She can do all this and she does it well! Watching her do VBS with a baby in her Ergo was amazing! I could never do that! God has given her the unique ability to be organized and has the energy to pull it off well. Her husband and children do not suffer for it.

My sister, works part-time from home so that her husband can go to school. This is a very sacrificial act. Her heart would love not to work, but right now she chooses to because she is supporting her husband's dreams. Her situation is so different from mine. She would love more children, but her husband does not want anymore. She waits for God to change her heart or His. In the meantime, she is content.

My point here, is that it's OK to be different! I am not wanting everyone to be like me. The Lord help all of us if that were the case!

I do not condemn ministry, daycare, working mom's, or people who put their children in public school. My job is to encourage you in whatever situation you find yourself in. We are all moms and we must all stick together.

I hope this helps clear up any misunderstandings.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Perspective

As the end of the day arrives and I realize I am emotionally and physically exhausted, I realize again that I could not do this if it weren't by the grace of God. I was presented with challenge after challenge today. Disciplining without a partner is exhausting. I know why God created 2 parents. I can't wait till Steve comes home tomorrow and can take over.

I am tired. Tired of the endless diapers, yet I'm thankful that my children can poop on their own.

I am tired of cooking, yet thankful that we have food to cook.

I am tired of disciplining, yet thankful that God gives me wisdom and strength to do so while remaining mostly calm.

I am tired of the endless messes to clean up, yet thankful that I am not so obsessed with a clean house that my children can't have any fun.

I am tired of doing laundry, yet thankful that we have clothes to wash.

I am tired of sweeping the kitchen floor sometimes twice a day, yet thankful it is not a dirt floor that would never have to be swept.

I am tired of feeling sick, yet thankful that the very presence of morning sickness is a good sign that things are going well.

Another bit of perspective. A dear Sister in Christ, Treva Hoffman, died this morning. I don't even know if she was 40. She went to be with Lord after a long battle with cancer. When I heard the news and was praying for the family, I was struck with the thought, "what would she have valued in her last days?" She had a 10 year old son and husband. She must have just loved and lived and lived and loved. That's what I want to do. Yes, I'm tired and all of those things won't go away, but I am so thankful that I have my health, my husband, my children, my family and my home. I am doing the best I can with what has been given to me at this moment. I want my children to remember the hugs, the smiles, the "good job, Sweetheart". I don't want them to remember a cranky mom that talked about the joy of the Lord, but had none flowing out of her.

Oh, God! Give me your joy, flood my soul with it! Wash me with your cleansing blood! Forgive my sins, they are so many! Fill me with your Spirit and help me to live my days loving You and loving everyone else who comes across my path. Create in me a new heart and a steadfast Spirit. Though I am weak, You are strong!

I just need perspective every now and then, don't you?

You Just Never Know What to Expect

Diana took Josh and Andrew to spend the night at the ranch last night. I went to pick them up today and she had the funniest story to tell me. They had gone for a walk that morning and Andrew was wearing underwear. He decided to pee off of a bridge. He not only peed but said to Diana that he had pooped as well. They are nowhere near the house! She said she had a choice of using stickery weeds for toilet paper and rocks! She chose rocks! Too funny! I told her, you just never know what to expect out of little kids.

So this afternoon he said his bottom hurt. I told him he needed to go get me a wipe in case there was any remnants of the poop from the "rock toilet paper". He told me, "No, I'll go get a rock!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Suggestions From a Mom of 12

I read this post on Quiverful Digest and I just have to tell you, it really hit me.

This is what a mom of 12 wrote...

"The first principle that I learned that set me free was to realize that we do not reap in the season that we sow. Right now when your children are all little you are sowing. You will reap a little in the short term, but will reap a lot more as time goes by. I try to remember that when I am feeling pulled in so many directions at once. Secondly, I remind myself that my job is raising my children. That means that all the other things outside my family come in second place to them. I arrange my time around what is best for the functioning of our family. If that means saying no to things at church or extended family, then I say no. I don't feel guilty. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to others. It is always a matter of priorities. I enjoy being a mother and know that my time and influence with them is limited. The third thing I learned is the secret of multiplying my time. It is spending time with the Lord each day, even if it is a few minutes reading my Bible. When we seek God with our heart, all our "things" will eventually fall into place. That also means that we will be being trained by the trials of our lives. The difficult things in life train us and we know that nothing comes our way except that it has passed by the Lord first. "

This was so affirming. The Lord has been whittling away at my life. He has had me say "No" to so many "good" things the past year. He continues to press upon my heart that this is a short time period. That this is a season of my life and right now I am to serve and minister to my family. I really don't have much time for outside ministries right now. Keeping up the blog, emailing and encouraging friends, and writing a devotion once a month and keeping my connections up with our friends in Kenya through emails and sending packages of books, magazines and such is enough right now. That is all the outside stuff I can handle right now until the Lord releases me to do something else. It certainly doesn't seem like a lot of ministry. I used to do so much more when Josh was little. But when your family gets to be as big as mine, something has to give. It's either your children, or your ministry. My children were suffering the price while they were in daycare so I could do praise team, Bible studies, choir, Mom's Morning Out, and women's ministries events. While, I still do Mom's Morning Out, I've stepped down from leadership so that I can attend as a regular mom. That means if my children get sick, or my husband needs me no one will be counting on me to be there and lead them. It was becoming quite stressful last year and I realized that I was out of step with God's will for my life.

I continue to look for ways that God can use me in people's lives. I pray He will continue to lead me and guide me in my ministry opportunities. In the meantime, I remain content with what He wants to do in and through my life.

Taming the Tongue

This taming the tongue business is hard. But it works! I can attest that the conflict in my marriage has probably decreased by 75%. Steve and I just aren't fighting anymore. Yes, we have misunderstandings, but when you aren't verbally battling each other you get to the bottom of it quicker and you let unimportant things go.

I knew God would change my life with the 30 Day Challenge. Not only am I not speaking negative words about my husband, but I am not speaking negative words to my husband. It is life-changing! It is habit-forming. I do not ever want to go back to what it was like before.

The hardest part is my pregnancy hormones. Normally, this is the time where I can't let anything go and everything thing that Steve does drives me insane. Last time I was pregnant, my sister went on vacation with us. I don't know how she put up with us. We fought for 5 days solid! I couldn't let anything go and Steve felt like he was under attack as I questioned everything he did instead of let him be the leader. My tone of voice was impatient and disrespectful. This pregnancy, the Holy Spirit is helping me filter some of the things that bother me and help me to let it go.

So, praise the Lord! I pray that He continues to help me and that I will continue to master the "tongue thing".

I had a talk about it with Marcus this morning. I explained the "taking each thought captive" response to him. He really seemed to get it.

Also, things were getting tense yesterday with the kids. Lots of mouthiness and arguing. Instead of getting mad, I took each boy aside and prayed with them. I asked them how I could pray for them and they responded well. We had a way better day after that. I need to do that more often.

I'm finding that I am really impatient with Andrew. Andrew is learning the "power of his tongue" and is starting to wield it in amazingly disrespectful ways. I've never had a kid say that he didn't like me or that I was mean. He has no problem telling me those things. He gets popped in the mouth a lot and sent to his room. I keep praying that God would give me wisdom with Andrew. He has an extremely strong will. I know God will use that for His Kingdom someday, but in the meantime I will continue to temper it when it's disrespectful.

I need to finish getting ready for church.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kim's Baby, Lizzy


I just want to show off my new second cousin, Lizzy!


My cousin, Kim just had her baby and I can't believe how much she looks like a Pishion. She definitely takes after Grandma Ellen (Dad's mom).

We are hoping to visit her tomorrow after the Firemen's Breakfast.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Potty Training Blues

I am getting frustrated with potty-training Andrew. I know he knows how to go in the toilet, he talks about it all the time, he says he wants to, but then he promptly poops in his pants. It was bothering me so much, but now that smells are becoming more of an issue due to pregnancy, it is irritating me. I almost gagged changing his poopy diaper this morning. A three-year old's poopy diaper is a lot more disgusting then a one-year old's.

Please pray that he will WANT to go in the toilet. I don't want to get angry at him and I don't want to lose patience with him, but I can tell that I'm getting close and that is not good. It could even set him back further like it did with Josh.

I have even had him pray "Jesus, help me poop in the toilet". It hasn't worked so far!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Steve Goes Camping

OK, last week's camping trip didn't pan out, but today, Steve DID take the four older kids camping. He is so brave! I kept thinking he might cancel again, because the weather was looking rather nasty before he was about to leave. He went for it though! I am staying home with Jacob. I just laid down and took a nap (what a treat) and now I'm catching up on my blog. I will probably head out to the Deschutes campground and visit for a bit before dinner.

Now I need to go and do my Bible study before the munchkin wakes up.

Oh, by the way, yesterday was a real hard day. Josh accidently broke the pool. I was so angry at him, that it took me awhile to forgive him. He genuinely felt bad, so that finally helped me get over it. Our friend, Paul, came over to look at it and felt that it could be fixed. I vented on my MIL, and she was so sweet, she even called me back that night to make sure I was OK. I had asked her if she thought I should punish Josh, but she felt like he might have been punished enough knowing he had ruined everyone's fun. I did decide that he will pick up the shrubs that had been cut down by my garden, to pay for the glue that I will have special order. I think a consequence is in order, since he was disobeying when he broke the pool. The ladder does not belong IN the pool, but half way in and half way out! Grrrrr!

Marcus was very sweet today. This gave me hope! I must have turned the baby monitor down too far, because I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and didn't hear anything. I thought that was strange, since Jacob almost always gets up around 6:15 a.m. I snuck out of the bedroom and there was Marcus and Jacob. I asked him when if Jacob had been crying. He said he had been, so he took him out and played with him until I got up. What a sweetie! I told him how much I appreciated the extra sleep and that it meant a lot to me that he took the initiative. I love that kid!

The kids and I had our own "Mythbusters" experiment yesterday. Steve accidentally killed my beautiful dogwood when he weed-eated around it and took the bark off of it. Well, there is this ugly dead tree in my yard that I want to get rid of. I tried digging it up once to transplant it and it was way too much work, so I thought I would put a rope around it and pull it out with the Suburban. All the kids were watching and cheering me on. Well, the first time I used a pretty weeny rope. I didn't think it would hold, but you never know. I backed the Sub up and it snapped. So I went into the shed and got a big thick rope (it looked a little old though), tied it all up and backed up again. SNAP! I retied it and Snap again! I think the only way it will work is with a huge chain, which I don't have. So I'll be calling my daddy soon and see what he suggests.

I counted that Physics for the day!

Steve just called me and said it was sprinkling, and he forgot the cover to the tent. So I guess I will be going out there as soon as Jacob is finished with his nap.

That's all for now!

Expecting Baby #6!

I am at liberty to be able to announce that we are pregnant! We are very excited, and hope that all will go well with this pregnancy. Steve and I told the kids this morning and they were running around the house, whooping and yelling!

This might be a birthday baby. I am due April 3rd, one day before my birthday. So for once, I will not be looking forward to having the baby early.

So far I'm feeling sick and insomnia has hit big time, so we seem right on track! I'm actually happy to be feeling this way, knowing they are all good signs. I have been highly emotionally lately (ask Steve), but am working through it by the grace of God. It is amazing to me, how hormones really do affect your emotional state!

The grandparents have been notified and I will be sending out an email to the rest of our friends and family today.

Please pray for us. This is a huge responsibility, one we don't take lightly. We are honored that God has chosen to use us once again to bring life into this world. We pray that we will raise all of our children to be effective members of His Kingdom. No, it is not easy and it is sacrificial. I admit that being pregnant is not the way I want to spend my time, but the end result is worthwhile. Hey, hopefully one of them will take care of me when I'm old and grey!

A Friend's Testimony

There are seven of us now that are taking the 30 Day Challenge. We have been emailing our testimonies to each other to help us get to know each other better. Paulette, my sister's friend shared her testimony with us. It was very powerful and I asked permission to share it on my blog. She whole-heartedly said yes!

So here it is...

"There was a point in my life too, where I felt worthless and unworthy of any happiness what so ever. I wanted to divorce my husband five years ago,and for a while there I even couldn't stand my own children. Death even looked good to me and I almost did the deed, but I was saved by God. He brought into my life a God-fearing woman who represented everything I wanted for myself. She had a beautiful sense of peace about her that made me want to live. I hated her for that and at the same time loved her for what she was. (Love you, Jackie). You see, I felt God had left my side long time ago. From the beginning of my marriage we had problems. I had two miscarriages also in the first three years of our marriage and almost died twice. I made it through that by the skin of my teeth but a paid a heavy toll for doing it all on my own steam. I became empty of all that was me. I did not care about anything or anyone who normally should matter to me. What a life,huh? But don't feel sad for me now ladies. I am filled with so much love from our lord that I love my life now and I look forward to be what he wants me to be. So the moral of my story is that if I can make it out of the hole of self loathing, so can you. I am not ashamed of admitting my pain and suffering to anybody. If my past is what helps someone today than it is all worth while. I am so proud of all of you for not giving up on this challenge and making the effort to connect together in love for our lord. I look forward to reading more of your triumphs over selfishness. Take care and Godbless!"

Isn't God amazing! He changes lives! Thank you, Paulette, for letting me share your story.

First Birthday Pictures





Aunt Stacie and Miss Hailey


Here is a picture of Hailey and I at her first birthday party. Jessica used to wear this hat! I love to see Hailey in Jess's clothes. It brings back so many memories.
Hailey is the cutest!
She is just now starting to walk.
And no, your eyes aren't playing trick on you. I AM blonde!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Homeschooling Days

Well, this week is going much better then last week. The boys are having better attitudes and Jessica is the one that is resisting me. She doesn't want to read at all. I had her make some new letters yesterday and she did real good. Writing is difficult, but I can tell she is proud when she does write a lower-case letter by herself.

Yesterday was a mellow day. I homeschooled in the morning and caught up with my sis and friends on the phone.

I am trying to figure out childcare so that I can go to the Women's Retreat this fall. My mom will watch the kids most of the time, but there are a few hours on that Friday that I will need a friend to watch them. I think I'll ask Candy first, if she can't do it, I'll go from there. The retreat is September 26, 27, and 28th. My sister and our friend, Paulette will be going. I am very excited! I think it will be fun. Paulette has never been to the Oregon coast. She was raised in Samoa, so I know she misses the ocean. What a treat to be able to get to take her! God even provided the money for her to go.

I have a little girl that wants toast, so I need to scoot. I'll try to write more later. I am having a group of Mom's come over today. I don't have any idea how many will come, but praying we will have a wonderful time of fellowship together.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Quick Trip!

Wow, yesterday was a blur. Jess, Andrew and I left at 8:30 a.m. with my folks to go to LaGrande for Hailey's party. We got there in a hurry. I brought my MP3 player that Steve bought me for our 13th anniversary, and I never even got to listen to it. Jessica and Andrew listened to it the whole time. It was cool though, because I enjoyed talking with my folks uninterrupted. Jessica kept listening to "Black Sheep" by Jon Anderson over and over. She kept singing it and it just cracked me up.

We got there on time and had a wonderful BBQ. My mom and step dad were there along with Michael's folks. Several of Jackie's friends were there that I got to know even better. It was a lovely day, nice and sunny with a light breeze. Hailey was sooooo cute! She loved her cake and Jackie did a great job letting her dive into it! Of course we had to raz Jackie about all the sugar, hydrogenated oils, refined flour and food coloring she was letting her daughter eat. She took it well, though! It's nice to be able to tease her about her healthy eating without her getting defensive. She can dish it back, too, which makes it fun!

Hailey was so sweet. She kept coming over to me and snuggling. She also walked to me several times. It was great to see her taking steps. Josiah loved seeing Jessica and of course they had a ball! Andrew had a great time too.

We left about 4:00 p.m. and I thought for sure the kids would sleep on the way home. Not a wink! Andrew got really chatty and kind of stinkery, but we still had fun with him. Jess listened to the MP3 player most of the way back.

When we got home, Jacob was so glad to see us. Right now he's smiling at Jess and I through the window. He does have a sweet little smile!

After we got the kids to bed at 8:00 p.m., Steve and I sat on the couches and talked for an hour. It was so nice to just unwind. He had a bunch of questions about the party and seemed genuinely interested in my friends and how they are doing. I soooo appreciate that my husband talks to me like a friend. I know there are many women that would love to have a half hour conversation with their husbands, let alone and hour!

Oh, on Friday night, we went bowling with the Chouinard's. It was quite impromptu but an absolute blast! The kids did great! It's so great to be able to hang out with a family that we have so much in common with. Rachel and I and her daughter Ann went to go see Mama Mia at the theatres. It was not my favorite. I honestly forgot how I don't like musicals. It was very much like Grease with kind of a lot of crass humor. It did have a good story line that was pretty original. My favorite part was hanging out with my friend. Ann fell asleep on my lap towards the end of the movie. It was so sweet. I think she loves me!

I am doing well. I am so happy. I love my husband, my children, my family and my friends. I am blessed beyond measure.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Kids, Groceries, and Mothering in General

Steve took Josh, Marcus, Jessica and Andrew swimming and then bowling today. I appreciate him giving me a break. Jacob was sleeping and now he's on my lap while I try to type this. We'll see how far I get.

He was going to take them camping tonight, but while I was doing errands, I guess they were really naughty. He said he didn't know if he could take going camping with them, he said he might end up yelling at them. At least he was aware of it. He said he would take them next week.

If you are wondering why I'm not going, it's because I hate camping with babies! Jacob is a loud screamer and I would be so worried if he were waking up other campers, I wouldn't be able to sleep. I'm always worried if babies are cold or not, since they never keep their blankets on.

I mowed the lawn yesterday and ended up grocery shopping with the three little ones. Steve was supposed to go with me but got stuck at the fire station. The kids actually did really well. Not one fit and they were great "helpers", I even got a few compliments from some elderly people. That felt good!

Today, Josh went with me to the Post Office and patiently waited as I got four boxes ready to be mailed to Kenya. It took about a half a hour. I told him I was grateful for his help to carry those boxes in for me. It's so nice now that some of them are bigger and I can actually use their muscles!

As far as "letting my words be few", I'm doing...O.K. I'm just not where I want to be with it, but I know I'm more aware and catching myself. I'm getting a lot better with Steve, but not with my kids. I'm frustrating my kids when I just assume they aren't going to do something I told them to do. Jessica said, yesterday, "Mom, you don't have to tell me twice!" I realized I didn't even give her a chance the first time to get it done before I ordered her to do it again! Yikes! I need to get better at that.

I'm not doing the "Love and Logic" as much as I should be. I need to really stop reminding the kids so much and again, try to teach them responsibility as the consequences happen to them for not obeying, or for procrastinating and such.

I had a great conversation with my friend this afternoon. She is a mother of four and just really encouraged me that I am ministering to my kids and it's OK that I am tired. I do not have to have my "game" on all the time. If a mother of one or two is expected to have a bad day or two, why can't a mother of 5 have a bad day every now and then without someone throwing out "Well, you wanted them!" It's not fair! But I realize that people are watching me so closely. They want to see how all this pans out. I can't blame them! When I watch shows like "Kids by the Dozen", I am honestly watching to see if these "perfect mom's" ever lose it with their kids, because it secretly makes me feel better about myself. I wonder if Michelle Dugger (mother of soon to be 18) ever loses her cool and yells at a kid? Inquiring minds want to know!!!! I'll never forget though when she had between 5 or 8 (I can't remember) kids and she was up doing laundry at 12:00 a.m., she said she was so overwhelmed she broke down and cried to out to God, "Help me, you said children are a blessing, but I'm so tired and overwhelmed!" She said that God put a song in her heart, "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength". I LOVE that song, and now sometimes I sing that too when I feel like everything is going South!

So thanks, Toni, for your encouraging words once again! We mom's gotta stick together, don't we!

Tomorrow, I am hitching a ride to LaGrande with my folks. I'm taking Jess and Andrew with me. They are the kids that love to travel. My niece, Hailey is having her one year old birthday party. I can't wait to see the little munchkin. Jessica has a special love for little Hailey. We will bomb up there and back on the same day, so it will be a six hour drive total. I can't wait to see my sis, though!

We have decided to have a Civil War Birthday Bash at her house in September. We are going to have the kids dress up and have a reenactment of our own with barricades and everything in her back yard. We'll have "Civil War" food and everything. The kids are so excited! We will go to Pendleton first for the Westward Ho parade, then we'll stay with my mom. That will be cool, because we don't get to do that very often.

That's it for now. Baby is crying and I need to go and comfort.
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