Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lovin' Life and Proclaiming His Praises!

I love to share photos of the children, especially so the grandparents can see them growing up. The blog has been such a great way to do just that.

Lily loves putting things around her neck (we have to watch her like a hawk). When she saw this stethoscope from Andrew's doctor kit, she was in plain heaven!
Daddy is getting ready to put her to bed and she knows it. I am trying to wean her, which has been proving very difficult. She really likes her mama's milk!
Lily and I getting ready for church a couple of Sunday's ago. Her Aunt Esther gave her this dress for her birthday.
We were so blessed that Steve's folks could come to Portland for Andrew's surgery. They were a huge help watching Lily so that we could focus on Andrew's care.

I was reading Psalms the other day and came across these verses. It reminded me of why I began blogging.

"My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray
do not forsake me, O God,
Till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come."
Psalms 71:15-18

That is what I hope to accomplish here! I pray that all will see the power of God in my life. It is not by my might, nor by my power, but by HIS Spirit that I am able to do any of this with an ounce of joy, peace and love. Praise the Lord!
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Projects and Blessings

As soon as the sun starts to shine, I race through my chores so that I can play outside. I love puttering around my flower gardens. I have been weeding and dividing up plants, and planting some new varieties. Here are my favorite flowers in the whole world! I look forward to seeing these beauties bloom! Such vibrate colors! It amazes me how God created so many flowers for us to enjoy.
I convinced Steve to help me take off the front half of my trellis house. The trumpet vine and wisteria were out of control. I can't prune like I used to with my back being bad, so we cut them all down and took off the ripped up lattice. Steve and I put up the new stuff. As you can see we need to trim the top so that it is even. I have decided to make this area (where the bark chip is) a rose garden. I have three climbing roses (two of them are called "Climbing Peace") and then I am going to plant a bunch of miniature roses all around this area. I love roses, but have not had much success growing them. I am learning all about them from my friend, Catherine.
I hired my brother-in-law to fix this middle tier in our wall. It was not put in right and was very sloped and dangerous. I have avoided planting anything over there because I knew it was just going to get trampled on when we fixed it. I look forward to filling these beds in and having solid color for the spring and summer. I even planted a lily for my Lily by the Candytuft. This wall looks so much better! Thanks Michael, you did an excellent job!
I have discovered that Lily loves to be outside! It was such a beautiful day, that I stripped her down and let her get dirty. She kept going over to the driveway and loved throwing rocks! The kids have set the sprinkler up under the trampoline and the games have begun.

I am thrilled that my oldest boys are old enough to mow the lawn this year. I don't mind mowing it, but it is nice to know they can do it if I need them to.

Spring has most definitely lifted my spirits. I enjoy watching the children play and teaching them about flowers and gardening. We planted onions the other day and have discovered blooms on our strawberries and raspberries.

"Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy!" -John Denver

Andrew is healing and has even started to put pressure on his foot. I am so glad I don't have to push him in the stroller around the house. I still have to when we go out, but at least he can get around the house and the yard now. He seems to be doing really well. Thank you for all your prayers!

Even though life is full of challenges and heartache, I know where the source of my joy is. My God gives me gifts everyday to enjoy. My job is to wake up in the morning and discover what they are. To intentionally look for the blessings that He has given me. I am to chase away negativity and instead have a heart that is grateful for even the smallest of things.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Funny Kids!

I thought we could all do with some cheering up after this weeks events. I just downloaded some pictures off my camera and wanted to share some funny pics of my kids. I love these "Where's Waldo" glasses that came in the Doctor's kit that Nana gave Andrew before his surgery.
The kids thought this martial art pose was pretty funny while Jacob was asleep. Notice he even has Toy Story socks? Thanks, Nana!
Jessica went to the Dollar Store and bought this fake hair piece. I thought they looked better braided. She had a blast putting them on Lily!
Here is the doctor that Lily charmed at the children's hospital. She loved the shoes that the doc had on and was thrilled when she got to try them on. I thought it was so funny that they matched her outfit! She cheered up quite a few parents who were waiting for their kids to get out of surgery.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Surgery Champ!

I first want to say, thank you so much for all of you who prayed for us as Andrew went into surgery yesterday. The outpouring of love from all of you was just plain and simply overwhelming!

Andrew's doctor is going to mark where he is going to make the incision. We just loved this doctor. Very laid back and great with kids! You can't help but feel relaxed around this guy.
Andrew did so good. He got a little worried only once, but Steve was so good with him. Steve just hates to see his kids fearful. I love this picture that I caught of them snuggling.
Here is the arrow pointing to his Achille's (sp?) heel where the doc is going to make the incision. After cutting the skin, they then go in and slice part-way through the tendon, stretch it and then put a cast on his leg so it will remain straight and flat.
Here is our little guy when he finally woke up after surgery. He is so proud of his fire-engine red cast! We are all having a blast signing it! It is so cool to see his foot at a 90 degree angle even if it is in a cast.

This day couldn't have gone any better. He was such a trooper and Steve and I were very relaxed. No tears from either of us or from Andrew. It was truly an exciting, joyous time to know that healing is going to take place in Andrew's foot. We have prayed a long time for wisdom to know what to do. The answer came and the Lord has blessed us.

He will have the cast on for a month and then we will brace it at night for awhile. They said he will be weak in this leg for about a year, but it should eventually even out.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Andrew's Surgery is Today- Please Pray!

 Andrew has been just as excited about his surgery as he was about his birthday! I'm so glad he is still young enough to not be afraid of the pain. What a huge blessing.

Here he is showing his family where the doctor is going to cut. The only problem is, is he got the wrong spot! It is on inside of his ankle! He tried marking it with a pen like the doctor did.

I feel like we have prepared him as best as we can. This is the first surgery we have ever had to go through with any of our six children. What a blessing that is!

We will be taking Lily with us. Lily is not weaned yet. Steve's folks are going to meet us at the hospital in Portland. Nana Diana is going to take the other three children. God worked it all out even though it was in the middle of the week. Thank you, Lord!

Please pray that this will be a success and that the pain would be minimal. Also, that there would be no complications with the "sleeping medicine" as Andrew calls it. I hope he doesn't get nauseous.

Thanks everyone! Love you all...

Oh, BTW, my bloggy friend Ruth over at Dare to Be..., made me a blog button, so if any of you are encouraged by my blog and want to share it with others, feel free "grab it" and put it on your sidebar.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Princess Syndrome

Dear Mothers,

Have you noticed something pervading our American culture? I have decided to name it the “Princess Syndrome”. I have a little girl (she is almost seven). Every T-Shirt, jacket, hat, and toy that she owns is somehow related to her being a “princess”. While she is our family’s “princess” (being the one of two girls out of our six children), she is starting to act like a real one. She is becoming indignant, selfish, and thinks the world revolves around her. I am trying to counteract these attitudes by directing her to a more godly perspective about princesses. She is God’s daughter. Therefore she is a daughter of the King. Therefore, she IS a princess!

If you have your own “princess”, try reinforcing the true character qualities of a godly princess. Some of these might be, unselfishness, loving others, being polite to people, telling others about her daddy, The King of Kings!

One more point I have to make about this “Princess Syndrome”. I was reading a princess book to Jessica the other night. We came to the end of the story and the author summed it up like this, “A true princess follows her heart no matter what”. It seems so harmless, doesn’t it? That is until you read the Bible! Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” I told Jessica that the story was not right. She cannot follow her heart. Her heart will tell her to do things that are not godly things. Her heart will lead her down paths that she has no business taking. Instead she always needs to follow Jesus. Jesus will show her which way to go. Jesus will lead her down the narrow, safe path.

Remember, God can redeem anything! The next time your daughter receives something that has the words “princess” on it, remind her again that she is a “true princess”.

Let’s raise our daughters to follow Jesus, not their hearts!

From One Mom to Another,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Advice For A Future Paramedic's Wife

I received a very sweet email today from a reader named Helen. Her husband is about to start his training as a paramedic. She wanted some advice on how to handle her three little ones while he is away. I thought it would be a perfect subject to delve into here on my blog. This would apply to any type of emergency worker wives, also it may work for military wives.

Here is my advice...

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to write to me. You have truly blessed me and encouraged me today. I am facing another potentially challenging day as my husband goes on yet another 24 hour shift. I am going to be honest with you, it used to be so hard when I had three little ones. My expectations were high, I thought I could do it all. Well, I will share with you a few things I've learned.

1. Schedule appointments, shopping and anything else while he is at home. Basically, I don't want to have to leave the house unless I absolutely have to or want to while he is working his 24+ hours. If he is away at training for a week, again, I schedule everything ahead of time, I also make sure that we have shopped for toilet paper, diapers and milk (life's essentials with little ones!). This works for us, because my husband practically begs to run errands. He just loves staying busy. He enjoys taking the children with him, so it gives me a break at the same time. Not every man is geared this way, though. So be sensitive to it (read the comments for a different perspective).

2. Make simple, easy meals. Mac and cheese, pancakes, sandwiches, and casseroles can all be made up in a jiffy. When I make a casserole, I always make two and freeze the extra. That is my fast food for the night. Also, five minute pizzas are easy. Just take any kind of bread, put some tomato sauce or paste on it (mixed with a little Italian seasoning) and then some grated Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 till they are done. Easy, easy, easy!

3. Lower your expectations of your husband. In this line of work, your life will be interrupted constantly. Your husband will not have a 9-5 job. Overtime will come at the most inconvenient of times. You have to be able to roll with the punches. I made myself miserable for years because I was always disappointed when our plans were dashed upon the rocks! I finally decided that I would EXPECT him to be gone, then I wouldn't be disappointed. It gave me a whole new appreciation for when he was able to make it to church, or an event, or help me get the kids somewhere.

4. Expect it to be hard. When I finally buckled down and told myself, "This is going to be more work." I could finally except it and move on. I wasn't boiling in resentment at being left to raise six children by myself. I am by myself most of the time. My hubby is here for maybe 2-3 hours total during waking hours when he is not working. He is busy with overtime and now exercising. He is training for a relay race and jogs every other day. He also does Tae Kwon Do and exercises on those days too. He is trying to lose weight as well. We RARELY have a sit down meal together. Maybe 10 a month (that might be stretching it). He also isn't here most of the time as I'm trying to put the kids down (to me that is the most stressful time of the day). It's just the way it is. Acceptance is the key.

5. Think of his job as a blessing and a sacrifice. Praise the Lord he has a job when so many people don't! But also know that this type of job is a sacrifice for the wife. It is like being a pastor's wife. Her husband is not her own. He must be shared with others in need.

6. Pray for him. It is a tough, worldly environment. It is hard for him to not curse and gossip about others. Pray for wisdom and safety in his job. The things they see are very difficult. Dead babies and children are the worst. Be there for him if he needs to talk. Don't push him, just ask "How was your day. Did you have many calls?" Be available if he needs to talk, even when it is in the middle of the night and you are exhausted. When and if he does open up, don't ask lots of questions or turn away in shock, listen, listen and listen some more.

If any of you have any other ways that you cope, please leave them in the comment section. I know that many of my readers will benefit from this discussion.

Blessings to all of you who make this sacrifice daily! You can read even more suggestions here (A Fireman's Wife) and (14 Years of Being a Firefighter's Wife and the Lessons I've Learned).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

My little Andrew turns FIVE today! He is such a special little guy. We almost lost him three years ago this month in a bunk bed accident. I know God has a very special plan for his life.
Dear Andrew,

This year has gone by so fast! I am so excited that you are officially joining our homeschool in September. I look forward to teaching you Kindergarten, because I get to discover just how smart you really are!

I always have to keep a step ahead of you because you are thinking, thinking, and thinking some more! The things you say just crack me up! Your little one liners, your happy smiles and cute giggles. Since you were a baby, I have always said that you had an enchanting smile. You are the only child of ours that has two dimples!

Even though you are kind of a loner and very satisfied playing by yourself, I've enjoyed watching you learn to play with Jessica and Jacob. Your relationship with Jessica, especially has been so sweet to watch. I pray that the two of you will always be close.

From tractors, to tools, to spiky hair, I've watched you come into your own this year. You have matured a lot and I'm loving it. You are understanding more and more about the Bible and can recall what you learn in Sunday school every single week! I love to hear you tell me Bible stories. I pray that your heart would continue to gather knowledge and that you would grow closer to Jesus this year.

You make me feel so good with your compliments! You are constantly telling me how pretty I am and giving me hugs! You are the huggiest kid we have. I love that we are going on dates now and that you tell me to make sure I wear makeup because I need to "dress up" when we go out. Too cute!

This year is going to be a year of new beginnings as you start it with surgery to lengthen the tendon in your foot. We are excited at the possibility that you might walk without a limp for the first time in your life! I am curious how you are going to handle the pain, for you are my tough little guy. Many people are praying for you and I know that God's hand is in this.

Happy Birthday, my sweet child! I love you so much and pray that we will always be close.


Your Mommy

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lily Eats Her Birthday Cake

Traditionally, our children get to have first dibs on their cake when they turn one. Lily was no exception as she at first daintly swiped frosting off the edge...
She started to really like it after about the third fist-full!
"Mom, what is the delicious stuff?"
End result was a very sticky, sugar-shocked baby! It was so fun watching you explore your cake, Sweetie
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Family Pictures

Taking pictures when you have a large family is practically impossible. Our friend, Becky took some great and not so great pictures of us. If any of you think we have a perfect family, you are going to find out really quickly we are not! LOL!
Everyone is looking mostly at the camera except for Jacob. Lily was not cooperating!
And this would have been a great picture except Andrew's silly bug eyes!!!
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And this is our silly picture! Lily and I are the only ones that are unable to follow instructions. We think Josh took first place!

I am so grateful for the family that God has blessed me with. The good, the bad and the ugly...It's all worth it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Love You, Lord!

"Gratitude unleashes the freedom to live content in the moment, rather than being anxious about the future or regretting the past." -Ellen Vaughn
Lily is wearing the sleeper and hat that her Nana Diana made Jessica when she was this age.
Nana Diana just came back from Hawaii. We are showing off all of our souvenirs! Thanks Nana!
Here is a tired Steve, Easter morning. Check out the Buzz Light Year Easter basket that I found for Jacob at Joanne's for $7.50! He was so excited when he saw it!

I have been doing a new study on gratitude. Here are some thoughts By Nancy Lee Demoss that have been powerful for me.

Gratitude is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit!

"The fact is, we cannot whine and complain and be filled with the Spirit at the same time. When a thankful spirit resides in our hearts and expresses itself on our lips, it's an evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in us. that we are yielding to His control, and that He is producing His gracious fruit in and through out lives."

In short, we become more like Jesus! Oh, that is what I long for! Fill me Your Spirit! I want no part of whining, grumbling and complaining. I want to be filled with grateful joy to my Savior who loves me beyond anything I can comprehend. Oh thank you, Lord! Thank You for Your mercy, compassion and love that just flows through You into me. Thank You for helping me to love and serve my family with more joy, peace and contentment then I ever thought possible. I love You!!!!
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Birthday Tea with My Twin and a Lovely Heirloom

Jackie and I were so blessed to be able to celebrate our birthday together this year! We do not take this lightly. When we are separate for our birthday it just seems like any other day. The best gift God gave me was a twin sister to share EVERYTHING with!
Here we are at ANZAC Tea Parlor. The lighting isn't very good, but it's the best picture I had. We don't look too much like twins with my shorter hair and her blond hair, but we still manage to trip people out at church! LOL!
When we walked into the tea parlor, they were finishing up a baby shower. There was this magnificent fancy bassinet that was sitting in the room. We looked at it and was told that the mother had made this from her wedding dress. It was this beautiful ivory color! Jackie and I just went ga ga over it!
Here is the proud mother who made this for her first grand baby. She was so excited to share with us how she made it and how special it was. I asked her permission to post this because I thought maybe someone might take this idea and run with it!

We ended the day shopping for clothes and crafts. It was delightful! Happy birthday, Sis!
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Keep Your Head in The Game

Keep Your Head in The Game

Dear Mothers,

I have a confession to make. For the past few months I have lost my focus. I have been learning about godly mothering by reading books, blogs, magazines and talking with other mothers. I have been trying to learn more about some new stages that we are entering into with my two older boys. I have struggled with their bad attitudes; nasty speech, arguing and what appear to be lots of hormonal rages (not just theirs!). It has been very difficult.

Because of all the nastiness that has been happening around here, I found ways to escape. My first choice was the computer. I can get lost reading all the blogs that I try to follow. I found that even though I was present in my home, I’m was not engaged. My mind was elsewhere. My head was not “in the game”. Yes, I was busy encouraging and ministering, but I was doing it to everyone BUT my own family.

The children’s physical needs were being met, but I was not loving, teaching and nurturing them on a level that I should have been doing. I had found myself so distracted by other things that I was missing what I needed to be doing that was right in front of me (serving my husband and children).

Many mothers have forms of escapes when they are feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated and mentally exhausted with the demands of motherhood. Some ways we distract ourselves can be: reading novels, watching talk-shows, talking on the phone (even when we are at the park supposedly watching our children play), texting, Facebooking, blogging, Twittering, alcohol, and over-eating. By escaping we avoid the things we should be dealing with. For me it could be my messy house, screaming/bickering children and a mountain of laundry. Instead of looking for God’s stimulation (going to His Word) or praying, I go everywhere else but there.

We need to constantly be asking God for balance. We have a limited time with our children (18 years give or take with each child). We have a huge responsibility to train and nurture these children in the admonition of the Lord. In order to keep our “head in the game” we need to stay focused on God’s precepts, which are true and holy. Let us not give up when we grow weary! Let us press towards the goal that God has set before us! Let us long for the prize of children who will “love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls and minds.”

Don’t escape, instead press towards God and dig deeper and deeper into His Word as you seek the answers that only He can give you. His wisdom is perfect, are you willing to listen? I want be intentional and not drift through my mothering years, missing the blessings that He longs to give me.

From One Mom to Another,

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