Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Child Changes Everything

A few mornings ago, I had just rocked my son to sleep to his nap, when one of the songs in my CD changer really really jumped out at me. I've listened to the same 3 CDs since the day after Thanksgiving, when we started listening to our Christmas music, but I'd never heard this song the same way before.

The song? "Welcome to our World," the version I was listening to was sung by Michael W. Smith - online I've found lyrics by both him and Chris Rice, among others.

the particular lyrics that moved me so:

"Tender brow prepared for thorns
tiny heart, whose blood will save us
unto us is born."

I had just kissed my tiny son's forehead as I lay him down for his nap.
(just as Mary had likely kissed her God/Man Son Jesus)

My baby's skin so soft, hair so fine.
(it pains me beyond measure to take him for his immunization shots, I cannot begin to fathom a crown of thorns!)

My young child's whole body, while growing stronger every day, so frail and fragile.
(Jesus, while He was God, would choose to take death so that I would never have to!)

My son is precious beyond words to me.
(More and more, I am realizing, all people are so so precious to the point that our Newborn King would knowingly place himself in our cursed world to put himself through extreme torture, just to save us. I love my son, dearly so....but if I were truly honest with myself, would I be capable of doing what Jesus did for us? Miserable sinner that I am, I could not, not even if I tried.)

Certainly I'm not doing a good job of getting across the feeling of amazement and gratefulness and guilt and wonder and love that washed over me then, and has now every time since I hear that song. But I wanted to try to capture it and share it here. Try a search for this song, take a listen yourself. leave a comment and let me know which lyrics touched you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

She wants to make something like Jesus

So this morning at the breakfast table, my girl (3 years old) asked me to tell her a story. "Okay," I said, "what about?"
She pondered, "umm, how bout Horses!"

Goodness, a story about horses, it's early in the morning, I'm still pretty foggy and not at all alert. I'd been reading in James the verses about "Boasting About Tomorrow" (Chapter 4:13-17) and feeling very convicted because I had just bought a new yearly planner.

Hmm, okay, horses. I asked her if instead it would be okay to have a story about a donkey. Thankfully, she excitedly agreed. So, rather than dream up a horse story, I read to her from Matthew 21, about the Triumphal Entry, and how Jesus sent his disciples to get the donkey and her colt and how he rode the colt into the city while the people shouted "Hosanna in the highest!" and we did it too.

I asked her if she liked the Donkey story and she said yes, and I went back into my morning fog of sleepiness, but my girl started jabbering about dressing up and it made me snap into attention. She said she wanted to dress up so she would look like Jesus. Wow! I told her what we really needed to do was to make ourselves look like Jesus on the inside and that was what Jesus wants from us, anyway. We need to love other people, just like Jesus does, and to serve other people, just like Jesus does. I asked her if we could try really really hard to do that together, to make ourselves be like Jesus, and she agreed. Now I am one happy mama, but my goodness, what a challenge! To model what it's like to be like Jesus so she can look like Jesus. Can't do it, not on my own strength. Jesus, fill me up with your Holy Spirit so I can look like you!

Then, she says she wants to make something like Jesus made. Where does she get this stuff? Is it something her heart craves without even knowing it?? When do we lose these desires as grownups? Well, I tell her, Jesus made disciples, he made fishers of men. She says, "Can we do it Right NOW?"

I didn't give her much of an answer....after all, it was 6 something in the morning - how do we make disciples Right Now? This silly mama does not even begin to know how to shepherd this little child's heart, to help her "make something like Jesus made right now" But I pray I don't squelch her spirit's desire to be like her Savior!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Updating and Exercising and Procrastinating

It's been a long time since I posted on this blog! And this isn't going to be interesting reading by any means, but I just felt like writing. Right now my daughter is playing play-doh, my son is sleeping, and I'm trying really hard to pretend that my house is not a complete wreck of a mess, that my floors and countertops aren't sticky, that the bathrooms smell fresh, and that the carpet doesn't have little bits of dirt all across the floor. It isn't really working!!

It's raining, gently, really more of a drizzle. Which really, is good because we had such a bad drought all summer and fall that we really do need to catch up before the growing season in 2011. But it's presenting me with a bit of a problem.

You see, on the way up to my parent's house the Friday after Thanksgiving, I committed to doing some form of exercise every day between now and January 2. I'd been doing really well all summer long, running/walking regularly with the kids in the double jogger, and had really improved my fitness and was feeling great. Loved doing it, and loved how I was feeling lighter on my feet especially. I was healthier! But then......Halloween happened, where we brought home more candy than we gave away, and I have absolutely zero willpower when it comes to sweets. So now I'm losing ground again and really not liking it. I'm sure the Thanksgiving holiday and all the eating that took place across 4 days has not helped me any. So, I committed to working on maintaining a higher activity level daily for the rest of the year.

My sister and her friend are doing the Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred DVD, together, but separately, and she was on day 4 or so and my mom, aunt and I joined her on Friday. It was pretty easy, or so I thought, until the next day where I was very sore! Saturday was spent mainly recovering from the shred and we did do some walking outside. Sunday was a flurry of activity helping with my husband's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary dinner, but I managed to put the running shoes on and rather than riding in the car to Matt's parent's house, I ran. Maybe 1/4 mile?? But probably way less. Monday consisted of a small fever in the morning and pushing through trying to avoid sickness, thankfully Matt had already planned a vacation day that day so I wasn't trying to do it all by myself, but still yet very little got done in the way of housecleaning. My exercise was 45 minutes of walking, leading Ginger the horse for a Reins to Recovery riding lesson. Not a big exertion, but yet I felt it was good enough for someone who felt on the verge of sickness.

I feel fine today, and had thought that with the cold front coming through later tonight I would go ahead and run with the kids in the stroller this morning, but that's not going to happen with the way it's steadily drizzling rain. Maybe the weather will clear up enough later that I can still get that run in. But right now it's not looking good.

And so presents the problem that I'll be facing all winter - how in the world to get any exercise in while keeping everyone warm and healthy with the impending nasty winter weather to come?

Oh well, it'll get worked out somehow....I know I'm not the only one with this problem, and I sure hate to wish time to fly by any faster than it already does, but boy, I'll be glad when Spring arrives!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rice Krispy PEEPS

What do you do with 3 packages of Marshmallow Bunny Peeps when your husband considers marshmallows to be "raccoon bait," your 2 year old is quite energetic enough, thank you, and you are attempting to lose the baby weight???

Well, I am happy to say that they make great Rice Krispy treats! Combining green, yellow, and purple Peeps gives you a nice green color to the marshmallow goo...and yes, they taste very good!

I have to say I felt sort of cruel melting those sweet little bunnies in the pot...but it was worth it :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Apple Pie

My neighbor had been having health troubles in the past couple of weeks, and we have been quite concerned about him. Death is something that everyone living will eventually succumb to, and with illness, that reality seems more imminent. So he's been on my mind quite a bit lately, especially since I do not know whether he has a relationship with Jesus. I've felt as though I'm being led to speak with him, just to be sure he's had a chance to form a relationship with Jesus my Savior, who is my hope not only for eternal life, but gives me hope and assurance in everyday life.

I'd come to the decision that I would go over to his house and visit with him, and make a point of talking about the eternal life that is offered through Christ. I wasn't exactly looking forward to this conversation - it could certainly be very awkward, and no one really enjoys awkward conversation but I felt it was important enough to risk a bit of awkwardness. Now, this person is someone who I've always enjoyed talking to - in fact before Luke was born I had the opportunity to chat with him for a few minutes almost every day, and always enjoyed this. He is not married, and does not have children, and he is also not much of a people person, and has good brothers, sisters, cousins and friends who've been helping him out a lot, and I didn't want to tire him out with too many extra visitors if I'd have come, so I waited.

It had been suggested to me on Saturday afternoon that he might enjoy some dessert brought over to the house. I was happy to learn this because I'd been wanting to help with meals, but wasn't sure what to bring that would fit best with his diet. So I made the plan that I'd make a pie - either Peach or Apple, and decided on Apple Pie, in fact, it's baking in the oven as I type this. I'd bring some pie over later Sunday afternoon, and talk with him at that time. I figured it'd be an easy way to have an "excuse" to have visited him, and I knew that God would give me the words to speak.

It had been a busy Sunday morning, neither Matt nor myself were dressed for church, and both Cora and Luke were still sleeping, and we had less than 10 minutes before it was time to go. It was crazy....rush, rush, rush, get in the car, and go! I left the house at 7:38, and was almost sure I'd be late for church. On a normal morning, I'd be stressed and tense after rushing around like that, but I found my heart just full of praise! I was smiling, singing out loud, just full to overflowing with PRAISE in my heart for God's goodness. This lasted from a little bit after I had turned North from the river bottoms, the whole way to church, and then even after the first couple of songs (and then I had a baby and a toddler to focus on!). It was a GREAT feeling.

As Matt and I had just reached the parking lot after church and were loading the children into the car, Matt answered a phone call. It didn't look good, and he mouthed the news to me before he hung up - our neighbor had died. I was shocked - yes, we'd been concerned for his health, but I had plans to talk to him that very afternoon! That afternoon...and I was too late! I don't know what to make of it.

First I felt terrible. I felt so badly that I didn't make it a point to talk with him sooner. Then I remembered that the family he was raised in were likely regulars at Sunday School and church in his childhood at least, and I firmly believe that your salvation doesn't depend on whether you are an active church goer, what matters is that you put your faith in Jesus having atoned for your sins - it is faith, not works, that allows men into heaven. I wanted to know what time he died. I still don't know for sure, but it was probably right around the time I was driving to church, when I was so full of Praise that I couldn't keep it in. Could it be that God was giving me some reassurance, allowing me to join in the celebration going on in Heaven at the moment when my neighbor had been called to his heavenly home? I don't know, but I think it's possible, and I like to believe it's true.

So we're mourning the loss of a good neighbor and relative today. Someone who I'm really not sure where he'll be spending eternity, because I never had that conversation with him. I have hope that he is in heaven rejoicing, but I don't know the answer. I do know that we have been promised that any who know Jesus as their personal Savior, any who believe that He took on their sins and their punishment instead of them, was crucified, and then defeated death by rising from the dead - any who believe this have been promised eternal life in paradise with God. I also know that those who do not put their faith in Jesus as their Savior do not have the hope of eternal life, but will be doomed to spend eternity in hell. I wish I'd had that conversation with him.

And that's why I'm posting this. Where a person will spend eternity is too important to wait, so I'm posting this as a reminder - please don't let yourselves get too busy to take the time to have those conversations when God puts it on your heart to do so. I guess I don't feel guilty about my neighbor, talking to him today was something I was going to do. The pie and plan to talk to him were on the day's agenda. I truly think that there's a strong possibility that there is rejoicing in heaven over him today. But I urge you reading this: is there someone you've been meaning to share Christ with? Someone who you know could benefit from having a relationship with Jesus? Please don't wait to share your faith with them. It could impact them for eternity.

Now to decide what to do with this pie.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tools of the Trade

When you are a full-time mom, you spend a lot of time with cleaners of various kinds.

Yes, it's true.

Maybe not one of the most exciting parts of the job....but it's got to be done.

Washing dishes, wiping countertops, mopping floors, scrubbing toilets and showers, and we can't forget the LAUNDRY!

With one mommy (who gets spit-up on quite a bit), one daddy (who works around grease and out on the farm), one two-year-old (who's learning how to use the potty), and a baby (who spits up) - we do quite a lot of laundry. And I didn't even mention the laundry I do for our cloth diapers (and training pants).

Last month I tried a new laundry detergent that has really improved the chore of doing all that laundry. This stuff is amazing. Clothes that had stains on them previously are coming out of the wash clean, and without any extra scrubbing on my part!

Possibly the most amazing thing is how it's significantly decreased the amount of time I spend on laundering the diapers. I used to have to run them through two washing cycles: once with baking soda and vinegar on all cold water, and then again with detergent with hot water. Without that first step, the diapers would come out still smelling like....well, DIAPERS, and that's not a good thing! So now that we've switched brands, I just run the diapers through with our new laundry detergent on hot water and completely skip the first cycle. And they smell fresh!

Maybe not a big deal for some people, but this saves me time and water on the diapers, and gets me cleaner clothes all around....and for the same money! Not bad, if you ask me!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cora's First Haircut, and Room Pics

So this is Cora and her animal pillows. I made the zebra, elephant, and giraffe, the monkey was deeply discounted at Joann's. Also visable is the quilt I made for her bed.

We found those wall stickers at WalMart on clearance - there is a tiger, a parrot, a couple of monkeys, and some tree frogs. Cute, and Cora LOVES them! They're made to stick on teh wall, and you can peel them off and reposition easily without damaging paint.

This is the valance I made from scraps leftover from the quilt. I still haven't bought a light blocking blind for this window yet.

And now for the haircut.
After her bath yesterday, I was having a TERRIBLE time trying to comb through the tangles at the ends. I said, enough of this - we are going to give you a haircut! So I combed as far down to the end as I could easily, and cut the tangled part off. It ended up being about 2-3 inches. Really it was only the front that needed it, but I trimmed some off the back too.
It's pretty obviously not a professional's work, but it's a lot easier to comb her hair now, and it is clear as can be my Cora girl is pretty pleased with her new 'do! (in process she actually kept telling me to "cut more".....I think I better keep the scissors hidden away carefully!!!!)