Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How do We Keep From Being Polluted?

I'm studying the book of James right now and was profoundly moved by Beth Moore's insight.

She says, " The hands on message of James isn't written to those who have sequestered themselves from the world. James wrote for people serving actively, openly, and humbly right in its thick, pungent pollution. So, how on earth do we serve in it without smelling like it? With some serious discipline and determination, that's how. With courage and deep conviction. With a large daily dose of the Holy Ghost. You don't live this kind of life accidentally. You make up your mind who you want to be and daily die to the rest. You surrender yourself to living in the tension where you'll always be stretched and often be broken. Religion pure and undefiled is grit without the grime. You accept that far easier ways to live exist, but you were born for nothing less.

And when we sniff ourselves and smell the world, we run to the One who can wash us."

WOW!!! Let that one sink in and and through you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Josh's First Shave

 I bought Steve this electric razor for an early Christmas present. Little did I know that the first one to use it would be Josh! Josh was starting to get a little dark shadow under his lip and I was so looking forward to seeing how it was going to come in, but Steve shaved it off.
Seee!!!! Oh well, maybe it will grow in quicker and thicker this way. He is really starting to look more grown up now.

Now he just can't wait to get taller! It seems to be all about the height with these boys.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessings in Abundance

I visited my lovely In-Laws this last weekend and was privileged enough to attend their church. I just love going there! They preach the Bible and make and you can tell they practice an Acts-style new testament church. They just love each other and rejoice in meeting one another's needs.

The pastor gave us a slip of paper and challenged us to fill in the blanks. I thought it would make a perfect Thanksgiving blog post. I am also going to throw in random pictures of things I am thankful for. Ready...Get Set...GO!!!

Give thanks for....PHYSICAL BLESSINGS

1. Being able to walk
2. Being able to talk
3. Being able to see
4. Being able to hear
5. Despite breaking my back, I am able to do most things

(My twin, Jackie and I riding at my parent's ranch. Mt. Hood is in the background)

Give thanks for....FINANCIAL BLESSINGS

1. A pantry, freezer, and fridge full of food.
2. I have a house that is warm and cozy and big enough for all of us
3. Closets full of clothes, shoes and coats for winter
4. A good job for Steve
5. Steve makes enough so that I don't have to work

Give thanks for....MENTAL BLESSINGS

1. I do not have a tendency towards depression
2. I have the joy of the Lord
3. I can read and write
4. I have the ability to homeschool my six children.
5. I am able to write on my blog and in a few publications

(Our Kenyan pastor and his family that we support in various ways.)

Give thanks for....SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS

2. Forgiveness of sin!!!!
3. Redemption!!!!
4. The Holy Spirit who lives in me!!!!
5.The unbelievable love that my God has for me!!!!
6. The ability to give to those in need!!!!

Give thanks for....ANSWERED PRAYER

1. Shoulder feels better
2. My brother-in-laws new job
3. A car was purchased by the church for someone who is struggling
4. Another friend's cancer was contained in her uterus. It has not spread.
5. Another friend got a free patches to stop smoking.
(and many more....)

(I get to benefit from these Titus 2 ladies, Margaret and Catherine. They keep me in line ;)  )

Give thanks for....TODAY'S BLESSINGS

1. Safe trip from my in-laws
2. Having enough gas money in an envelope to travel.
3. Our van has been very dependable
4. That I made a three hour trip with only one potty stop!
5. I have a Bible in my lap
6. Freedom from physical persecution due to being a Christian.
7. A wonderful extended family
8. A twin sister that is like my other half. She knows me better than I know myself.
9. I am surrounded by friends that hold me accountable and love me enough to tell me I am sinning.
10. I get to homeschool today and my hubby is home to help me!

Give thanks for....ETERNAL BLESSINGS

Heaven...and all that it contains and means to us!

Blessings in Abundance

Friday, November 18, 2011

16 Years of Being a FireWife-Lessons I've learned...

I posted this two years ago, but realized I haven't put much on my blog in regards to actually being a firefighter's wife. I would love to hear from you and pray that something in this might encourage you if you are struggling.

I have been a firefighter's wife for over 16 years now. We have struggled and we have triumphed over many things. I wish I would have known a few things at the beginning of my marriage that I know now. Unfortunately, I have learned the hard way on many an occasion.

First, having my husband gone for 24 plus hours is different than most people's situations. The shift work can drive you crazy if you let it. You don't get to have any relief like your friend's husbands who come home from their eight to five jobs. It's you, Baby! You and only you for 24 hours plus. You need to go into it thinking, "This is going to be hard work, but I can do it. God give me the strength that I need for THIS day."

Second, my expectations were way too high. Just because we make plans for dinner, Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays, does not mean they will come to pass. Fires happen, overtime comes, and medical calls never cease. I used to get so stressed out and angry when Steve would choose to go on a call instead of choosing to be with his family. Sometimes he would go in for overtime thinking that it would be two hours and he would get stuck and miss whatever event that we had planned. Then there is the 24 hour overtime shifts. Sweet for the pocket book, but hard on the family. The kids don't understand why Dad has to be gone for two days and you are left with whatever plans you had as a family that day. Sometimes you have to cancel them, or you just have to buck up and do it all by yourself. It used to frequently make me want to cry, but there is no use in fighting it. It is what it is. It is my husband's way of providing for his family. Praise God he is so faithful at it. I try not to get angry anymore. I try to be understanding and grateful.

Third, be careful when he walks in that door in the morning. Don't just start piling on the lists or complaints of what this child did and what "heck" you have been through the last 24 hours on the home front. You don't know what he has seen or done. He might have been up since 1:00 a.m. on a fire or a plane or car wreck. I learned this the hard way. Several years back, my husband came home in the morning and was unusually quiet. I remember nagging and complaining to him about something. I thought he was just being a grump and pushed even more. Later that afternoon, he finally told me that he had been on a SIDS victim. He was trying to come to grips with it in his mind. I noticed him holding his children tighter and not getting so frustrated with them. Was I a safe person for him to talk with? No, I had my own agenda. It broke my heart. Firefighters are special people. They are not usually very emotional and they deal with the stuff they see differently than most people. It is what makes them able to do their job. Be available, always if they want to talk. Consider it a privilege that they would share their feelings with you at all. Most of them don't talk about their feelings with each other, instead they use a morbid sense of humor to deal with the stuff they see.

Fourth, always ask if they slept. This is my way of being nosey in a sneaky way. He isn't just going to tell me about all the calls he has. He considers 85% of the calls that he goes on bogus anyway. He isn't going to waste his breath telling me about the heavy lady that fell for the 3rd time that day that called to have them pick her up and put her back in bed, or the stupid fire alarms that go off automatically at 3:00 in the morning. If I ask how he slept, then he sometimes says, "I didn't get to sleep until 3:00 a.m." That lets me know immediately to have very low expectations of him in the morning. I tell him to go take a nap if he needs too. Most of the times he opts out, but at least he knows that I understand his need for sleep. This keeps me from being angry and resentful when he isn't helping out more or not doing his honey-do list. Also, this opens the conversation to let him know that I'm listening if he does need to talk about a bad call.

Fifth, do not call the station all the time! Firewives, you don't want to be known as "so and so's wife, that can't handle anything while he is away." Yes, they talk about you! They analyze relationships just like we do. They can sense also if you are respectful to your husband. When I learned the art of respecting my husband in front of others, I truly believe he was more respected at his job as well. My husband is always telling me how much he appreciates it that I don't call him constantly at the station. He says he enjoys knowing that I can handle things while he's away. I'm not saying that I never call him. If I do have a financial question or scheduling question, I try to always call on his lunch break or after five. I do try to leave disciplining out. There isn't a whole lot he can do from the station except give a kid a talking to.

 If you are a firefighter wife, would you please comment and let me know what kind of lessons that you have learned? I am very interested and I know others will be as well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our Gorgeous Gorge!

 We are so blessed to be able to live in such a beautiful place. The Columbia Gorge is full of waterfalls, ferns, moss, and forest. A real treasure. This is Horsetail Falls. One of our family favorites when it comes to waterfalls.
 I was thrilled to capture the vivid colors of fall with my "newish" camera.
 I love the soothing sound of running water at Wahkeena Falls.
 The older boys wanted to stay home for this trip, so we packed up the little ones and had a wonderful time.
 Here is Steve with them. They loved playing on the bridge.

Anybody else notice that it is 11/11/11 today? Way cool!

Happy Veteran's Day to all of you who faithfully and unselfishly have served our country. I appreciate my freedom even though I seem to take it for granted everyday. I know freedom isn't free. Thank you for the sacrifice you and your family have made for me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fabulous Fall!

 Jessica and Andrew buried Lily in a pile of leaves. She LOVED it!
 The flower garden is starting to change colors.
 The trees are starting to give up their leaves. It provides hours of fun for the little ones!
 I'm enjoying playing with my new camera!
 The colors are brilliant!

 Jess took this picture of my last pansy. So pretty!
I have a few roses that are still hanging on. It was 28 degrees this morning, so I doubt it is still there.

Things I enjoy about fall:

  • Sweaters
  • Cooler weather
  • Warm colors everywhere
  • No more weeding!
  • Comfort foods like pumpkin bread and soups

Friday, November 4, 2011

Second Wind

 I finally feel like I'm getting a routine back when it comes to homeschooling. I can't believe how long it took me! Two months! It feels good now that everyone seems to have better attitudes and I'm finding out how the little ones want to be involved.

Lily is wanting to "play" school for a little while everyday.
 Jacob asks me about three times a week if he can do his work. It is perfect!
 Andrew is not struggling as much with his attitude and now is reading three letter words with greater ease. What a blessing!
 Jess and I keep trying to hone our photography skills.
 The kids still get quite a bit of exercise on our trampoline. The poor net is just wasted! I am now hanging it with baling twine. Hey, it works!!!

We went on a trip the other day through the Gorge. On the Old Highway, we found a dead beaver. The picture doesn't do it justice. The thing was huge! I wouldn't want to have hit it. The kids wanted me to take a picture of it. So here was our science for the day. Examining a dead beaver!
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