Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Friend

I have mentioned my friend, Margaret, many times on this BLOG, but I don't think I've ever solely done a post on her.

God blessed me 9 or 10 years ago when I met this wonderful lady at MOPS. We instantly connected over potty-training! We started inviting each over and calling one another. This friendship has been cemented in God's love, as we have done Bible study after Bible study with one another. We have such completely different backgrounds, so it adds such a dimension of depth and perspective to our lives.
Margaret is married to a hard-working farmer and has two children. She works hard to sell their natural-hormone free beef. They also have acres of wheat and are raising natural-range free chickens. She was a Spanish teacher for years, but has made the hard choice to stay home to be there for her kids and serve her husband. I'm so proud of her for that!
Margaret is so good for me because she is always ready for an adventure! She is great about getting me out of the house and is so patient with the little ones. She likes to play and is very enthusiastic.

She called me up and invited us to come over to their campsite down by the Columbia River. It was a great day and the kids had so much fun!
Margaret introduced me to my dear Titus 2 friend, Catherine. I am so thankful that they have included me in their friendship. I am changed because of these two women who constantly challenge me to do the right thing in my marriage and in my parenting.

I am blessed to have friends who won't let me get away with anything! I need accountability!

Margaret, I love you and thank you for being a great friend to me. It has been a privilege to pray with you and watch you grow in the Lord over the years. I wouldn't be who I am without your friendship. Thank you!!!!!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Love These Moments!

I captured a beautiful theme that has been running in my home lately. Love... I have been hammering my children lately on loving our siblings. Lily is now starting to irritate her brothers and sisters when she pulls their hair, pinches, bites and screams when she wants something. It is annoying and she is being disciplined for it. But poor Jacob gets the brunt end of it. He has been bitten three times and his thick hair gets pulled just about everyday. I just gave him a haircut, so it wouldn't be an issue. But now she is going for Jess' hair. I think she loves the reaction they give her when she does it.
In spite of it all, I am see lots of hugs.
I am also seeing the children play with her more.
There is something that just melts my heart when I see them getting along, being unselfish and helping each other out.

"Thank you, Lord for the changes that I have seen. I pray that you would cement my children's relationships and that when they are all grown up, there would not be estrangement between any of them."

I know too many siblings that won't even speak to each other.

I tell my children all the time, "Your brothers and sisters are going to be around a lot longer than your father and mother. Cultivate your relationships so that you will not have any regrets. Family needs to be there for each other, always."
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Musings and a HUGE Praise!

First, I want to start off with this picture of Lily wearing this adorable hat that I won on Camie's BLOG. It is just lovely! Behind Lily is the new quilt set that I bought with my mad money. I just love the colors and the pattern. Only $40 at Walmart.
Andrew read his first book the other day! I was so proud of him as we sat down and sounded out eat word. He has heard this story a lot, so he knew some of the words by heart. He was thrilled that he "read"!
Lily's first pony tail! Finally, her hair got long enough to put in a pony tail. It sticks straight up though! LOL! She kept it in for awhile.
Lest we forget Snickers! Josh took this shot and thought it was hilarious! I promised him I would put it on the blog.

Soooo, are you wondering what my huge praise is? I went to the voice specialist this week. After another VERY uncomfortable scope that ran down my nose and into my throat, they were able to video my vocal cords as I talked and sang. The good news is that they have shrunk considerably. That means that what I am doing (not yelling, speaking softer and less) is working! Yeah!!!! Bad news is that I have a very tight larynx (sp?). They said I strain to speak even in a normal voice. So I am to go back for some vocal therapy that will teach me how to talk and sing the right way. I'm very interested to know how I can change the way I talk. I'm hoping it isn't as hard as it sounds.

I just so full of hope! The doc said that if I keep doing good, the nodules could be completely gone in two months. That means, I might be able to sing at church for Christmas. What a time of celebrations that will be!

It has been a month, a whole month since I have yelled at my kids. I never thought that would be possible. I struggled everyday to not yell. Now, speaking softer is beginning to become a habit. I love using my whistle to call the children from outside or across the house. I always think of the Von Trapp family! LOL!

So thank you to all who have loved me and prayed for me. You don't know what an encouragement each comment gives me. I truly appreciate each and everyone of you that take that time to let me know you are there. May God bless you!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Mini Horses and Life

We went for a visit to my folk's ranch the other day. Papa got the miniature horses out and we gave rides to the little ones. Jacob loves to call Baker Man, "Bulls Eye". His boot almost fell off and I tried to shove it back on, but accidentally shoved Jacob all the way off the horse! He looked shocked at first and then we both started to laugh!
Josh is doing really great driving the carts now. He is old enough to give rides to the little ones. Here is Dough Boy pulling the hill on the driveway.

Josh wanted me to put this picture up. This is his new accomplishment! He can't wait to go to Papa's and mow the lawn with the riding lawnmower. He is obsessed with driving now and thinks he is pretty hot stuff. It makes my hackles go up when he says, "Watch and learn, Mom. Watch and learn." Ugh!

I can't even imagine what it will be like when we are teaching him to drive. He thinks he knows it all! I wonder if we are all like that to some degree? I shudder to think how I acted when I was this age. We think we are so smart, so in control, when we really know nothing.

This week has been good. I have managed to home school four days last week and three days so far this week. It's been good. Attitudes have been amazing lately. I'm so thankful. I hope that this year will be a good one.

I made up a schedule and we are following it loosely. I like having it so we all know what to expect.

Since I haven't been able to read out loud much, I saw an article about some new DVDs called "What's In The Bible". They are produced by Phil Vischer one of the founders of Veggie Tales. He is not part of Big Idea anymore and has started a new production company called "Jellyfish Productions". I have to say, I highly recommend these DVDs! They are excellent, funny, and full of church history. They explain big words to kids like "Salvation, Canon, Redemption". They are designed to walk your family through the whole Bible. The first two DVDs are Genesis and Exodus. This makes a great Bible study for the whole family. I loved watching it and discussing it with the kids! Here is a link if you want to check it out.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

What Makes Me Angry

(From the Stacie's Archive's, written a few years back. This article appeared in the An Encouraging Word magazine) Since this article was written God has helped me so much with my anger. Half the battle is facing it and then be willing to do something about it)

Dear Mothers,

If you are an angry mother, would you do something for me? Would you raise your hand? Guess what, my hand is raised, too! God sees your hand and He sees your admission to this particular sin.
Anger is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. First it was my parents, then when I got married it was directed towards my husband, and now of course it is trickling downward to my precious children. Anger has been my “thorn in my flesh”. I don’t think God will ever take it away. Do you know why? Because by having this problem, it keeps me dependent on Him and it also keeps me from being prideful in my mothering.

I would like to share some things I’ve discovered about why I get angry that have helped me along this journey towards a more peaceful existence. The first thing God revealed to me, is that I get angry when I don’t get my way. It’s pure and utter selfishness! Not pretty, is it? The second reason why I get angry is when my husband and children create more work for me. When I already feel like all I do is work, the last thing I need is to have an “extra” job of cleaning up spilled milk, Cheerios, mud, poop, and/or vomit! Do you know what I mean, ladies? Is it just me? No, I think not! You know why I know that, because I’ve talked to hundreds of moms that are just like me. I know you can relate to this!

So how do we combat this tendency towards anger? We have to deal on a daily basis with our selfish nature. We have to learn to “do it for the Lord”! We will have peace when we let go of those things that are hindering us to become more peaceful people. Ask God what your hang up might be. He’ll let you know, I guarantee it. I have had to cry out to God and repent of screaming at my children, of stomping my feet and acting like the two-year old that I am trying to discipline! I have to lean on Him for a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit EVERY DAY! When I wing it, I fall flat on my face in the first five minutes! Ask God to fill you till you are overflowing with His Spirit. Then and only then will you see the fruit of the Spirit shine in your mothering. You will automatically have patience, peace, self-control, kindness, gentleness, goodness, love, and JOY! And the best thing is, God will be glorified through your mothering! God will use a mother like that in mighty ways!

Remember ladies, you can’t do this on your own. It will never work. God is waiting to help you with your anger. If anger isn’t your problem, then I’m sure you have another “thorn” that is causing you to lean on Him.

The next time you get angry, ask yourself three questions…

1. Am I angry because I am not getting my way?

2. Am I angry because I have to do more work?

3. Am I angry because I am being selfish?

God may not take away the tendency to “lose it” on others, but if you are filled with His Spirit, you will have the power to make the choice to lose it, or to overlook the offense.

May God grant you His favor this day as you continue to press on towards the prize of godly mothering.

From One Mom to Another,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Revolutionary War (Part 5)

Here is a collage (you'll have to click on it to see the pictures up close) of the reenactment part. There were just too many pictures! The kids had a wonderful time pretending. It was fun watching some of the kids that have never done anything like this, really get into it.

 I would have probably never done something like this unless I was homeschooling.

God blessed us with a beautiful sunshiny day! No wind, either!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday 10th Birthday, Marcus!

Dear Marcus,

It seems like you have always been older. I think of you so often as the same age as your brother, I forget that you are two years younger and sometimes fail to give you the grace you deserve. You are a very smart boy. You know a lot, and you keep me on my toes because you remember EVERYTHING! I love to listen to your impersonate your favorite comedian, Tim Hawkins. We all enjoy your sense of humor.

You are my strongest-willed child so far. I pray that God would use that strong personality for His glory. I pray that you would be a man that will hold strongly to his convictions in the face of persecution and trials. I love that you love the Lord and you out of all the children have an astounding amount of Bible knowledge. I pray that you would put that knowledge to good use. I love that you understand the role of the Holy Spirit. You know you can't be good on your own and I can see such a change in you when you ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

I pray that as you grow and mature that you would always love and be kind to your brothers and sisters. Remember, they will be your family always. They will be there for you when you are hurting or in the midst of a trial. Foster those relationships now and God will bless you.

Keep loving Jesus, Marcus. Keep trusting Him and know that I am praying for you, your future wife and children. I pray that they would know and love God and that their faith would be even more passionate and deeper than my own.

Have a wonderful 10th Birthday, Marcus. I love you, son.


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Revolutionary War Party (Part 4)

Jackie brought a real feather pin with ink to sign their names to the Declaration of Independence. The kids loved getting the feeling for how difficult it was to write back then.
Isn't this a great picture? Andrew looks like a handsome wounded soldier. Jessica did a good job bandaging him up.
Here are some pictures of their battle. I love Jessica trying to "capture" one of the soldiers to throw a bandage on him! I don't know how many nurses were actually in the battle? LOL!
Josh dies a brave death!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Revolutionary War Party (Part 3)

Isn't this picture sweet? Lily and her tiny little tea cup. She thought she was such a big girl! She is dressed up in the sweetest little old-fashioned dress.
Grandma Mary came dressed up in her finest. She even had a long skirt and a hat.
Kiana's mom, Kim, whipped up a great nurse outfit. We were all impressed!
We tried to make some Hessian hats, but they didn't work out too well. Josh didn't seem to mind, though. How do you like his improvised gun? LOL!
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Revolutionary War Party (Part 2)

The food at was amazing, as you can see! Instead of the traditional birthday cake, we decided to do a tea for the kids. I know, technically they probably would have boycotted the tea, but it was better than cake and ice cream. I made six batches of scones (click here for the recipe)
We also had everyone bring their own teacup. I didn't have enough. Here is the homemade peach and raspberry jams I made.
I also made meat rolls ups, and a huge platter of cucumber sandwhiches. The kids scarfed this stuff! Some of them had three cups of tea, too!
Here is everyone crowded around the table for tea. There's more...
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Revolutionary War Party (Part 1)

For the boys' birthday party this year, they asked for an American Revolutionary War theme. I didn't know how we could pull it off. But throughout the year we started getting ideas. Christmas came and they got lots of costumes from their Nana and Papa. Here is Josiah (my twin's boy) rolling up "bloody bandages". I tore up a sheet and put some red stamp ink refill on it. They kids were wild with excitement!
The kids and I made these flags for decorations.
Jackie is always great about finding costumes and thankfully she loves to dress up! Here is Jess and Josiah with her.
I had Marcus make this old recruit poster we found called, "Join or Die". We put it on the front door!

This party was the culmination of our unit study we did for our homeschool! We have read books, watched movies, watched "Liberty Kids", drawn battle scenes and all kinds of stuff. More in the next post...
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Did My Baby Go?

I remember looking down at Joshua when he was a baby thinking someday he would be five. Well, today he turned 12! Time flies when you are raising children! Marcus took this funny picture of Josh trying to fit on my lap. I could barely do it! As we rapidly approach the teenage years, I find myself thinking about how much time I have left with him. I want to enjoy every minute. If 12 years could go by so fast, I can't imagine how the next six are going to fly by.

Dear Joshua,

You are developing into a young man it seems over night. As I watched home videos of you the other day, I realized just how much more mellow you are. You aren't that busy, busy, busy little boy that kept me running all over just to keep you safe (I still remember our neighbor calling me to tell me that Josh was on the roof of the playhouse, and if that was OK!)

You are so much easier to home school. We have an understanding now and you don't seem to fight it as much. Your attitude has improved a great deal over this past year. Our relationship is stronger than ever, even as you fight for every inch of freedom.

I love to watch you take on a spiritual role when your father is at gone. When you pray, I can tell that you really have a relationship with the Lord. It blesses my heart more than you know. You have no fear of praying in public. You are confident in your faith. Your heart breaks when you find out someone you love and respect is an unbeliever. You so much want your friends and family to go to heaven.

I love how passionate you are about certain things. Your new love for science and creationism is wonderful to see. I love how I can give you a few tools to work with and you just take off and soar!

My firstborn, my baby who is no longer a baby. I love you and am so very proud of you. I pray for you to keep your heart, eyes and body pure. I pray for your future wife. I pray for your future children. I pray for your career. I pray that your relationship with God would become so much deeper as time goes on.

Thank you for being you! I hope that you have a Happy Birthday, son.

Your Mom

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Musings

Life has been good around here despite some real challenges. I still don't have much of a voice. Although I am not trying to do a complete voice rest, I am still not yelling, reading out loud, lecturing and talking on the phone much. I have prayed that God would not heal me of these nodules until He has truly used them to break me of some very bad habits. I've never prayed anything like that in my life. Usually, I just want anything that makes my life uncomfortable to just go away! I don't want to relearn this lesson. Discipline is not pleasant at the time, but it is used to refine me in ways that only God could do. I continue to be thankful for the affliction. It is a choice, though. Sometimes I fail when I get frustrated, but I remind myself that I have gone over three weeks without yelling at my children. It's worth it!

Steve had another arthritic episode before his scheduled infusion this week. Despite the severe pain he was in, we chose to praise God that it was only one week instead of two weeks of pain. He had lost about 10 more lbs and we saw that it made a difference. God is using this affliction to keep him going on the weight loss. He only had to miss two shifts this time, instead of three. Also, he was able to run the Hood to Coast relay race (largest relay race in the world) just a few days before the arthritis appeared again. He had trained for a year and worked very hard for it. God rewarded him and let him run!

I am still taking a break on the three R's of homeschooling. We are instead focusing on our upcoming Revolutionary War birthday party for the two older boys and their cousin, Josiah. We have made flags, colored pictures and decorated the entire house with battle scenes and recruit posters. The outside of the house has turned into a battle ground with impromptu cannons and camps and such! I am planning on giving a tea complete with scones and cucumber sandwiches with savory meats. We will make the scones into flags, using the whipped cream and then blueberries and raspberries for the colors. Costumes are getting washed and weaponry is getting ready! I went to the library and got about 5 more books on the Revolution that they can study. It's been a great unit study and a nice break from the regular homeschooling routine.

My garden is producing wonderfully this year! I'm so thankful. I have been able to put up lots of beans this year and give some away.

I've taken up running! Yes, you read that right, running! My hubby convinced me that I should start running. In two weeks, having never done anything cardio, I am up to running two miles. It feels good and so far my hips are agreeing with it. My lungs, however, are a different story! I feel like I am trying to breathe underwater. They are in terrible shape. I can't wait till that improves. It feels so good to run. When I run, it is just God, the pavement, and my worship music. I'm not worried about anything expect finishing the run. It is good to challenge myself. Steve wants me to train for a relay race from Spokane, Washington to Sandpoint, Idaho. At first I said no way, but I do want to challenge myself. That would be an impossible goal, but nothing is impossible with God. So I am praying about it. If it is His Will, it will happen.

Just wanted to give you a little update on what is going on. Thank you for all who have prayed for Steve and I's health. I guess we are getting old! LOL!
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