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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Adventures in Parenting – Part Deux (Precious Parenting Moments)

Potty school (as we’re calling it) went much better today. Only 1 accident and several successful trips to the potty. Although, he’s learned to ask for chocolate after he goes. We need to work on weaning off the treats. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow if this is a trend that will continue. But all in all, Mike and I are very much encouraged.

Our first successful potty trip this morning was really cute. He sat down, and went immediately and was so proud. He runs into our room (after the chocolate, of course) to find daddy and tell him. Each time, he came out to tell everyone that he went tee-tee on the potty. To see him be so proud in his accomplishment after being so discouraged the day before was a precious parenting moment.

Sarah had a good day today also. She played Amazing Grace for the offertory in church. Our church, if you weren’t aware, has 2 services and probably had 400 people in each service today (which is low with the holidays). Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal for a 6 year old. And she did great. She bobbled a few times, but moved on and it didn’t phase her.

It was so sweet when she finished, our pastor came and took her by the hand and took her to the center of the platform (mostly since she’s so little, nobody could see anything of her but her feet dangling down from the piano bench) and had her give him a high five while the congregation in both services stood clapping. I was in tears the first service. To witness my child using her God given talents to praise Him and bless others in the process... it was truly a precious parenting moment.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Adventures in Parenting (aka Dear God, help us, we’re potty training!)

So yesterday was the day. We took away the diapers and went to training pants. Right now, I wish we were still in diapers.

I have been thinking that he’s been ready for weeks now. In fact, it was about the time that I was starting work at the beginning of October that He really began to indicate that he was ready. He was telling us when he was “stinky” and he would tee-tee on the little potty sometimes – not every time he sat on it, but I would have him sit on it when I thought he would go, and usually he did. I also thought that I would remember enough little things from the book I read with Sarah and what I did with her that I would know what I was doing. I see now that I may be wrong on both accounts.

NCAA Football aside… Gig ‘em! Ags 14, Penn St 0… okay – just kidding Ags 14, Penn St 7. And did you see that about Florida State? 36 players suspended from their bowl game! Holy Moly!

We had very little success yesterday. And most of the little successes that we had felt like they were coincidental. We talked about it and he seemed to understand the idea of going in the potty and keeping his “big boy underpants” dry. But there was a connection between his bladder and his brain that wasn’t, well, connecting.

Today, I was so beat after an entire morning of taking him to sit on the potty every 5-15 minutes only to end in accidents, that I just had to step away from it all this afternoon. And as of dinner time, we (parents) were o-fer. 2 year old 10 – parents 0. We were feeling very defeated. However, he had a big success after dinner so we weren’t shut out completely. It gave us a glimmer of hope.

So, now, after two days, I’m waffling on whether or not I think he’s ready for all this. One part of me says, “If he’s old enough to come out of the play room and tell you his underpants are wet, then he’s old enough to go in the potty.” Another part says, “If he won’t go when I take him and yet has an accident 2 minutes later, then maybe he’s not ready.” Then, the other part says, “Is there some bit of training or teaching that he needs that I haven’t given him to enable him to achieve success?”

Dear God, help us, we’re potty training!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It’s the day after Christmas
And throughout the house of Cornell,
All the children are sleeping
So, for mom, all is well.


Well, I hope everyone who reads this can look back at the last couple of days and think, “Yeah, we had a great Christmas.” I know we did. As of today, we have participated in many Christmas festivities and spent time with pretty much all our family and had a good time with all of it.


We saw Santa land at our church in a helicopter 2 Sundays ago. As we watched him be fixated on the helpicopters, we asked Nathan if he was going to fly helicopters in the army. He replied an emphatic, "Yes!"





On her last day of school before Christmas break, Sarah's class did their Luke 2 play for the parents. I was able to break away from work for a few minutes to watch the play, but could not stay for the rest of their class party. It was incredibly cute and Sarah was an angel along with 3 other friends from her class.



We spent Saturday at my sister's house with my parents and all the cousins. The cousins all exchanged books and we had a good afternoon of baking and decorating gingerbread cookies and just hanging out together.



On Christmas Eve we spent the day cleaning and finishing up some last minute shopping, then went to worship service at our church and had dinner at our house with Mike's mom and sister. Nathan was such a big boy and sat (or squirmed as the case may be) with us during the entire service. We had fajitas for dinner and they opened gifts with Nanny and Brooke.



Christmas Day was busy. Mike and I woke up and got our showers early. The kids didn't get up until around 8-8:30. They got to see their Santa gifts (Sarah got a big bike and Nathan got a train table) and then we did our Happy Birthday Jesus cake before stockings and the rest of the gifts. My parents arrived and then a couple of hours later the rest of my family arrived for a late lunch. In the evening, my aunt and her kids + families came over and we were all together for the evening. It was wonderful having everyone there.

Oh, and let the record reflect that I baked a crackless cheesecake for yesterday.

So now, it's the day after Christmas. December 26th. Nathan has been coughing the last few days and we were out of albuterol for the nebulizer so I got him in to see a nurse practitioner today. Almost 2 hours later, we left without the albuterol perscription, but we had one for amoxicillin for his strep throat. Ugh! And we were around 9 other children yesterday.

As I look back over the last month (while sitting here and cleaning out all my email I haven't checked all month) I realize I didn’t do as well as I had hoped I would this year about all the things I wanted to do with my kids around the Advent season. We started out good… reading a prophesy about Christ from the Old Testament and it’s fulfillment in the New Testament each day. But in the busyness of work, musicals, preparing to spend time with family and just life, we were not as good about it as I would have liked. Goodness… in our house, baby Jesus was late to Christmas. We forgot to add baby Jesus to the Advent calendar yesterday, but he made his appearance there today. Whew!

Good thing he was on time that first Christmas when He came over 2000 years ago. Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

Did you get that? The “time had fully come.” He wasn’t early. He wasn’t late. He was right on time. Something that I haven't been in a long time. Thank you Jesus! Thank you that You do not let busyness get in the way of your business. Forgive us, Lord, when we do.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It’s over, but it’s not

As I type this, I’m in the middle of rehearsal for our Christmas musical at church. I find myself incredibly thankful that my part is no bigger than it is. I’m watching all these people running around with multiple costume changes in a short amount of time. I have 1 costume change and I have several scenes in between my scenes. With starting work this year, I don’t know that I could have handled much more than what I’m doing.

Well, Sarah and I had the talk about Santa this evening. She is so okay with it all. Kind of like the tooth fairy. She still wants to do all of the seeing him and pictures and all of that like we did this evening at Chic-fil-a. So I think we’ll still have fun with it. However, after it first came up a week or so ago, I really began to think about it.

Not only did I not want to ever technically lie to her about it, but I also didn’t want her to hear words about something make-believe concerning Christmas coming out of the same mouth that is telling her the truth about Jesus birth at Christmas. I guess I became concerned that she might think that if I was telling her stories of a make-believe Santa Claus that the stories we tell of Jesus might also be make-believe.

So, she has this picture in her mind of Mike dressing up as Santa, kind of like me dressing in black to be the tooth fairy. It’s so funny what their little brains come up with. So, the wonder and amazement of Santa Claus is over for Sarah, but in a way, it’s not. And we continue to look forward to having a lot of fun for years to come with Santa.

Christmas is upon us...

5 December 2007

Christmas is upon us. It’s time. And I’m not at all ready. Well, I’m ready, but I’m not ready.

I’m not ready because I still have so many gifts to think about and buy. It’s stressing me out a little. I’m usually done with my shopping by Halloween, but with working this year, it’s just not done yet. It’ll be fine, but I’d be more comfortable if it was already all done.

I’m also not ready because we’re getting questions about Santa. We don’t want to perpetuate something that it is time to let go of, but I also don’t want to dash something she still may want to believe. It’s hard.

I don’t know if you knew this, but we never really had a tooth fairy. From the beginning she said, “I think it’s just you, mom.” Well, I can’t lie, so I confirmed that it was me (us) but it was a way for us to celebrate her getting older and losing her teeth. She’s great with it. In fact, she has in her mind that I dress up in a black dress and a black mask so that I blend in with the dark in her room. How funny is that?

We were at a birthday party the other day and a couple of other girls were talking about how Santa isn’t real. So, she asked and I put her off until later. I figured I would wait and see if she asked again. And she did, but not until the next day.

“Is Santa real?”
“Well, what do you think?”
“I think he is.”
“Hmm. Why is that?”
“Well, because we go and see him and tell him what we want for Christmas.”
“Okay.”

So, now I can’t decide if I answered the right way. Did I lie? I don’t think so, but I’m sure others would disagree. We really are amazed that she hasn’t put it all together considering the tooth fairy thing, but apparently she wants to believe it for now. So, we’re going to go with that and have fun with it for as long as it lasts.

However, I am ready for Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. It is the one holiday each year that I specifically decorate for and I love it. This is the first year in several that I have been able to fully all-out decorate. In 2005 we were in temporary housing and didn’t have anything other than a tree. In 2006, we had a 1 year old and I just didn’t have it in me to deal with really thinking about it very much. But it was fun this year as he was old enough to help decorate the tree and begin to understand a lot more.

I have also been ready to do some more Christ related things with my kids at Christmas. I’m trying to really celebrate the season of Advent and not just the day. This year we are going through a different prophesy from the Old Testament each day about Jesus and how it was fulfilled in the New Testament. This is something that I am really looking forward to doing in some form each year going forward.

And as we approach this weekend, we have Christmas parties (btw, we are going to both our office parties Friday night), productions at church, recitals, school programs and parties… it’s going to be busy for the next couple of weeks, but I am so looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.

I pray that you are able to have fun over the next couple of weeks as we approach Christmas Day and celebrate the glorious incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What’s in a Name?

I love to cook. Do you? Oh, I do. I love to plan and execute an exquisite gourmet meal. But I also love baking chocolate chip cookies with my kids. I just love to cook. So, when I was trying to come up with a name for this blog, my dear husband reminded me that if I was doing it mostly to help my family keep up with things going on with us, then it needed to be something meaningful to my family. Naturally, being the good Texan Baptists that we are, anything and everything has to do with food.

The title “Cheesecracks and Fruit Salads” is a way for me to poke fun at myself and my family. You see, my family has a way of taking any little mistake or misstep and never letting go of it. You hear about it in one form or another for the rest of your life. For instance, my dear late grandmother, Nana Prewitt, who died this summer tried one time to pass off store bought rolls as her own. We even heard about it at her funeral. That’s the kind of family we are. It’s a little sick if you ask me.

So here are the stories behind the name:

  • I was making a cheesecake one time at my sister’s house. Cheesecakes are finicky and they have to be cooked and cooled at just the right temperature. Well, Denise’s oven ran hotter than mine at home and it formed a crack wider than the Grand Canyon. Thus was born the name, “Cheesecrack” (thanks, Dad). Let the record reflect that I have only cracked one other cheesecake since then and that was because I went to sleep and couldn’t baby-sit it as it cooled.
  • When we get together for holiday meals, we all bring at least one dish. One year, I told mom I would bring a fruit salad. Well, things at work got crazy and I just didn’t have time to make it to the store to buy the fruit. So, I planned to instead, just buy the fruit at the local grocery store after we got out to their house in Lindale. We got there, and unloaded the car and I told mom I needed to go to the grocery store to get the fruit and she said, “Oh, I’ve got fruit here. You just use that.” So, I did. And now the long standing joke when we’re discussing holiday meals is that, “Donna will make the fruit salad… if you provide the fruit.”
  • And the web address… “way more homemade”? Well, there’s a story there also… We were at a dinner at church sitting at a table with several dear friends. Valerie, Andrea and I happened to be discussing different potato dishes that we liked to make. Valerie began to describe what she does and that she uses frozen hash browns and some canned soup or something. Well, I (without consulting the tact part of my brain) decided to say… you guessed it, “Oh, mine is WAY more homemade than that.” Everyone just kind of stopped. “Did that actually just come out of my mouth?” YEP, it sure did!

I recently began to think of how these stories and names can apply to my life. Here’s what I came up with…

Aren't we glad God doesn't keep that kind of record? In Psalm 103:11-12, God tells us, "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

In spite of all the cracks I create in life as I am sooo less than perfect… God can still use me. In spite of how I lack in so many areas and feel so unprepared… God can still use me. And in spite of my big huge mouth that seem to always jump in the action when it is least needed… God can still use me.

In spite of myself… God can still use me. I remember this as I pray that he uses this blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Double-Booked

And sometimes even triple-booked. Our holiday schedules are in and boy is it going to be tight. Both Mike and I have office parties that are scheduled for the same evening on December 7th. And, if one more thing gets scheduled for December 13th, I think I might scream. Not only do I have our Onelife Christmas production of "All on a Christmas Day" at church, but Sarah has a piano recital, and Nathan has a Christmas program for his daycare as well. What's a mom to do?

Well, first of all, as I type this I realize that I’ve got to find a babysitter for the office Christmas parties. We won’t go to both, but we will definitely go to one or the other. Then on the 13th, it’s likely that Mike will go with one child, his mom will go with the other, and hopefully I will be able to catch up via video later when I get home. But you know, I’m the mom – I’m supposed to be there. I’m not supposed to have to catch up later via video. Ugh. How did this happen?

I guess we are beginning to experience what so many other families have dealt with for a long time. You have multiple children involved in multiple things and before you know it; you’re double- (and sometimes triple-) booked. It kind-of makes me wish I had an under-study for my role in our Christmas production. But that’s not the case and I believe it’s what I’m supposed to be doing because if it wasn’t, I’m sure the Lord would have taken me out of it by now (as He has so faithfully done with other activities recently). So, we will work around the crazy December 13th schedule. Moving on.

Aren’t we glad that God can’t be double-booked, over-sold, or scheduled way too tight? He is infinitely able to meet all our needs. As much as I want to meet every need of my children, I am a finite human, and there are only so many places I can be at one time. In fact, I can only be one place at a time. But God, Oh God, is infinite and omnipresent. He IS and He is everywhere. Praise you Father.

This idea came up somewhat in my BSF lesson this week. Matthew 7:11 says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” It is interesting to note, however that Luke 9:13 reminds us that “good gifts” are not always something we can see. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

So, not only does this ring true and remind me that their Heavenly Father (not their earthly mother) will meet all my children’s needs, but it also speaks to me about good gifts. I want more than anything to give my children good gifts, especially as we approach Christmas. But I need to want so much more for God to bless them with the good gift of his Holy Spirit. I need to pray earnestly for them as they seek to personally know Christ that He will reveal Himself in such a way that they cannot turn away. That they will soon be compelled to invite Him to (as my friend Lisa says) be the boss of their life.

So, Lord, as I have failed so many times as a parent and I know that I have never been perfect, I know that YOU WERE. As I am unable to be everywhere for my children, I know YOU ARE. As I will never be everything to them, I pray YOU WILL BE.

Oh it's sad...

This was Nathan this morning, which is also pretty much how he looked when we went through this same stuff 3 weeks ago.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pneumonia

Yes, you read that right. Pneumonia. Nathan started coughing again on Friday and I took him to Urgent Care today (Sunday) as he began to have a fever as well. I pressed the issue with the doctor, who was pretty cold to us at first, and convinced her to do a chest x-ray on him. Glad I did. I had to leave to go to a drama rehearsal, but Mike said that she was a lot nicer and almost apologetic after looking at his films. He had what was termed as “scattered” pockets of pneumonia which could mean that it is either the beginning of it, or it could mean that he actually had it when we went 3 weeks ago, it wasn’t diagnosed as such and therefore not treated as such and it could be flaring up again. So, that aside, now we know and can hopefully eradicate it completely from his poor little body and he can begin to get better. We’ll have another chest x-ray in a week or so to check our progress.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Training Wheels No More

Sarah is now without training wheels. I noticed how well she was riding recently and began to talk to her and mentioned the possibility of dad taking the training wheels off. Then, on Sunday afternoon while I was at rehearsal for our Christmas musical at church, it just happened. There was no holding on to the back of the bike or anything... she just went. However, she does have to start with her right foot... it's got to be just right. This video was taken the next day because unfortunately, I had the camera with me Sunday afternoon and it was completely dark outside by the time we got home and I could see her.

video

Life's Messes

Life is messy. There’s no way around it. Some messes are just what we have to go through to get to a desired end. Some are circumstantial. Others are messes we ourselves make. And boy, can we do a good job at it or what?


My house is a mess. From one end to the other, it is covered in dust and grime. Dust from the drywall work we’ve done and grime because I have neglected cleaning anything so that I can spend any and all extra time working on the living room to just get it done. One is just necessary to get to the desired end, the other, circumstantial and a result of trying to get to that same desired end result. Just to give you an idea…
However, there is hope. We were able to send the kids to Nanny’s house again this past weekend and we got a lot accomplished. After taking the rest of the wall paper off and priming the walls over the last two weeks, this weekend I textured the walls while Mike installed all the can lights. We also primed the walls and were able to finish painting on Monday. I have to admit, it looks good. And, this means we are at the end of the major dust creating phase and now I am beginning the great clean-up. There’s not much I can help with from here on as it is all trim work (other than staining the trim).

I have also recently made some major messes. As I have been dealing with some issues that are frustrating and stressful, I have behaved so poorly that I know I have hurt those around me. I have had to go back and make some apologies recently. However, as our pastor pointed out on Sunday, Christ is our great mess cleaner-upper. I can only look to Him to truly make things work for good.

Life is messy. Sometimes it’s literally dust and grime. Other times, it’s more ambiguous and dealing with emotions and attitudes. But, there’s no way around it.

A Princess and a Frog

I didn't realize how well Sarah and Nathan's costumes went together this year until I said outloud what they were dressed up as...



the princess and the frog.

Actually, the explanation of their costumes is much better coming from them...

video






Saturday, October 27, 2007

Championship

Sarah had her last 2 games of the Soccer season today. One at noon which was the end of the regular season. And then, since they won Thursday evening, they played at 3:30 (well more like 4 since we had to wait on the ref to finish another game) for the championship. We played a team that we had played once earlier in the season, and they are very good. In fact, we were tied 0-0 at the end of regulation play and it went to a "shoot-out." Each team chose 5 players (including goalie) to shoot for a goal. At the end of those five shots each, whoever has the most, wins. I believe we won it 3-2. So the Jets ended the season with no losses and one tie. Way to go JETS!!! Here are some highlights from the season...

After their first game and first victory!

Playing hard against the Dragons.

BLAST THE BALL!

I must give credit to another team mom for the above picture! Thanks Juanita!

I love the pledge that is said before each and every game...

video

Now for the fun part... winning today. The other team had the last kick and we were up by 1. I apologize for any shakyness of the camera... but I think you'll understand why once you see the video. Too funny.

video

We had a great season and a lot of fun. Personally, Sarah really began to get the hang of things here the last couple of weeks. She really enjoyed it. Thanks to the coaches and other parents on our team that made this such a good first soccer experience for her and us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gig 'em!

Just had to post this. It's an awesome rendition of "The Spirit of Aggieland."

http://picasaweb.google.com/TracaMiller/Sept07/photo?authkey=Gg8iMUO2f9E#5112454912157208674

Now that's "red-***"!

Set Backs

Do you encounter set backs often? Aren’t they frustrating? In my experience they usually come because of some short-coming on my part: something I should have seen coming but didn’t, something I have to re-do because of trying to take a short-cut, or it becomes necessary to go back and do something later that I should have done in the first place. Our latest set-back falls into all three of these categories amazingly enough.

We’ve actually been rocking right along on the living room. Mike hung all the dry-wall that we needed and I actually taped the joints and some corners that were unfinished underneath the paneling. For a first-timer, I was feeling pretty good about the job I did. We patched all the holes and pretty-well had everything sanded. Then we made a decision.

We decided that, since some of the dry-wall was stained dark brown because of the stain that was used on the wood paneling, we ought to use some primer on those areas to even out the color and keep that stain from bleeding through the texture. Good decision, right? Yeah, we thought so too.

So, we wiped down all the walls to get the excess dust off, made trip number 26 to Lowe’s since starting this project, and I began priming, hoping to have this step finished tonight (Saturday night). I stepped back to admire my handiwork only to notice that the wall paper that we had decided would not come off the wall and that we would just texture over was beginning to bubble up. I began to play with it a little only to find that it was coming off now in sheets.

The funny thing is that both my sister, Diane, and my dear friend, Cristel, both said something to me on Monday about this great product that will just take the wall paper right off. “Nah. We’re just going to leave it and texture over it. We don’t want to mess with it.”

So, something in the primer is releasing the glue on the wall paper and we can’t just leave it alone. Now we’ve got to mess with it. So rather than finishing that part tonight, we had to pack it in, and now I’m typing this journal entry.

Set backs. They’re a part of life. Especially when we try to take the easy road rather than the right road. And yet, sometimes set backs are unavoidable and have nothing to do with anything we’ve done. Our other set back from getting as much done today falls into this category.

Nathan has been a little congested over the last week or so. At first I thought it was just allergy related, then I figured it was just a little cold. But he never missed a beat. He kept right on plugging along, never had a fever, never acted like he didn’t feel well. That is, until this morning.

He got up just fine, but then he wasn’t all that interested in the chocolate chip pancakes I made for breakfast (there’s a clue that something’s wrong) and he just wanted to go back to bed. So, we let him, figuring that he was just tired from getting to bed late last night after being at parents’ night out at his day-care. Mike lay down with him for a little while, then came out and said he was pretty much asleep, so Sarah and I left to go to her soccer game. When we got home, we found out that things had gone down-hill right after we left. Nathan was now feverish and had thrown-up the little bit of milk that he drank this morning. Off we go to the urgent care clinic.

They say it’s bronchitis and we did get his fever down a little this afternoon. But Mike and I failed to get another dose of Tylenol in him soon enough and it spiked back up again, and higher this time. My thermometer read 102.3 under his arm at one point. Poor thing. We just checked in on him a few minutes ago to give him some more medicine and I got a temperature of 100.3. Quite an improvement, although he still feels pretty warm to me. So, we’ll be up again at 2 am and 5 am, and there won’t be any of us going to church in the morning. We’ll just have our own worship service right here. Maybe Mike will preach and I can bob my head up and down as I fall asleep during his sermon so he can see what it feels like.

Set backs. Between the time spent at urgent care and the time spent just holding our sick little 2 year old, we didn’t get a lot done today. And since we didn’t take all the wall paper off initially like we should have, we couldn’t do what we had planned to do this evening and we’re not as close to wrapping up this project as we thought we were. It’s frustrating. But we learn, dig in, work to get it done, and on occasion, take a break and just hold our kids.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Balls

19 October 2007
At first glance, one would think that the ball of choice in our family right now is the soccer ball.

Sarah is really enjoying playing soccer this year. And she seems to be learning the technique pretty well, too. She has played goalie a couple of times and blocked one goal that I can think of. She is also running much better, faster, and keeping a little more control of the ball. Their last practice was Thursday. Now there are just games this Saturday, Thursday, and next Saturday.

Nathan is enjoying Sarah playing soccer as well. He is constantly asking to go to Sarah’s soccer game. I think he mainly just likes being able to run around and go to the playground, but he’s having fun, right? He was asking tonight about “Nathan’s soccer game. My soccer game.”
However, the real ball of choice around here lately is juggling balls. It seems that we are in the middle of a huge juggling act right now and all the balls are up in the air. At any moment, it seems that everything could come crashing down. Lord, please sustain us.

I have noticed that I’m really exhausted lately… more than what would seem normal for my body adjusting to our new schedule with my job. I think it’s because I just don’t have much if any down time. All of our evening time that would normally just be “down-time” in front of the TV is being spent working on the living room (which is coming along… slowly). Anymore, it just makes me tired to look at the living room. It also seems like I’m constantly thinking about commitments, people I need to contact or check on, and what I need to do next. I’m getting to bed early enough on a regular basis, so I guess I didn’t think I needed other rest. Apparently, I was wrong. Lord, please give us good rest.

And, as if there hasn’t been enough change and things going on in our lives this last month, it looks like more may be on the horizon. Another firm contacted Mike last week and is pretty actively recruiting / pursuing him. He had lunch with a director and a partner with this firm on Wednesday. They then called him on Thursday wanting to move forward and the partner asked Mike to meet him for breakfast (since he lives not too far from us) early next week. The whole thing just seems to be out of the blue and it took us very much by surprise. Right now, we’re just continuing to walk through the doors that seem to be so wide open, all the while seeking what God’s plan is for us in this. Lord, we need your wisdom.

So, life is truly a juggling act right now for us. If I could back out of anything right now, I would. However, many of the commitments that I have were made before I started working and are relatively short-term in nature. Many of them will be finished before Christmas. So, once we get the living room finished (hopefully by Thanksgiving), the children’s musical done, and finish our adult musical performances (both in early December), my life will slow down a lot and I may be able to return to a sense of normalcy. For now, though, we will continue to keep juggling and praying that God keeps all our little balls from crashing to the ground.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Will I Go Back There?

As I’ve been dressing for work these last two weeks, I have found that, to my GREAT surprise, many of my clothes don’t fit very well… and in a good way.

I have lost about 25 pounds over the last year and a half. This number boggles even my mind, but it is real. I know it is real because my doctor and I just discussed it today as I went for that wonderful annual exam that all we women must deal with. But I digress.

That 25 pounds translates into about 1 ½ - 2 sizes in pants for me. I went through my closet the week before I started work and cleared out about 6 pair of pants that were falling off of me. I look at myself in these clothes and think, “Was I really that fat?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes. You were.” In fact, I was able to fit back into two pair of my favorite pre-Nathan pants. Now, friend that is what I call exciting.

However, this week I went to put on this one pair of olive green silk cropped / Capri pants that I just absolutely adore. I couldn’t wear them. They were just too big in the waist. I tried everything. I pulled the waistband over and tried to pin it even. Hey, it’s worked before. But not this time. I couldn’t cinch the waist up enough and have them still look decent. But I also can’t bring myself to get rid of them. I have a hard time with thinking that I could balloon right back out again.

It’s true. Yes, I could stop exercising all together. I could begin drinking all manner of sugar loaded soft drinks again. I could start eating huge portions at meals. I could snack on chips and salsa or “Milk’s favorite cookie” (Oreos). I could easily do it. And I have a hard time thinking that I won’t. But I need to think that I won’t. I need to believe I won’t. I need to live like I believe that I won’t.

Not unlike my spiritual life right now. The Lord has enabled me recently to take my walk with Him to another level. I have discovered a level of a love for Him and His precious Word that I have never experienced before. It’s like all my old spiritual clothes don’t fit anymore… they’re too small.

And just the same, I look at myself and, although I have no desire to go back to the mediocre life I was living, I have a hard time with thinking that I will slip back into my old habits. I can see myself thinking that I need just a few more minutes of sleep and I’ll read my Bible later (and then I never do). I can see myself just drifting along through my days and through life, not looking for God’s work at every turn. And just like with my diet and exercise, I need to not only believe that I won’t, but I need to live like I believe that I won’t go back there… ever again. Because I don’t want to.

Holy Spirit, empower me to believe and live like I will never go back to that old life I was living. I want to continually know you more, Lord Jesus. I want to love you more, Father God. I want to me filled up to overflowing with you, Holy Spirit. I want more of You. I want this song to describe my desire for You.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3GijrnfStk

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Meeting Preparation

Today at work I began learning one of the things that will be my responsibility. On Thursdays and Fridays I will go through the process of preparing our clients’ files for meetings that Tyler and John will be having the following week. It’s certainly not rocket science – none of this job is (which is good considering my aptitude with math). However, there are a lot of steps to what I need to prepare and several different places that I have to go to get the needed information. It took up pretty much our whole day today, however I can see that it will go quicker with time as I familiarize myself with the process from week to week. But with as much time as it took, it kind of made me sigh in frustration when one of the guys told me that one client or another had called to say that they wouldn’t be able to make it for their meeting.

As I began to understand what all the reports and pages were that I was printing out, I was impressed by the detail and scope of information that we included in each meeting folder. The prep packet includes client profiles and detailed account information. I also printed a detailed history of meeting notes that included in many cases, personal notes about what is going on in each family’s life. I put myself in the client’s position for a moment and considered how it would make me feel that my financial planner remembered that, for example, my son and his wife had a baby recently. I don’t know about you, but it would make me feel pretty good and give me a sense of security that this person that is handling my finances takes the time to remember the details of my life.

On my way home, I began thinking about the idea of meeting preparation and I found myself thinking about my meeting time with God. Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe does not need someone behind the scenes preparing our files for Him to look at prior to us meeting with Him? He doesn’t need a list of meeting notes to remind himself of what’s going on in our lives. He has perfect memory. He is always prepared. And waiting.

And then I got to thinking about some of the passages that my BSF lesson took me to today. I realized that he did do some “meeting preparation” of sorts.

  • Hebrews 2:16-18 says, “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  • Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In sending His Son, Jesus, to earth to be fully man as He was also fully God, He enabled Jesus to fully experience the human existence. He prepared our Great High Priest to be able to sympathize and help us with all the things we experience as humans and may bring to Him in prayer: hurt, disappointment, suffering, temptation, even sin as He experienced the weight of all our sin as He hung on the cross.

And, yes, He’s always waiting. I may have been a little frustrated that all my work was wasted when those clients called to say that they couldn’t make their appointments. Can you imagine how disappointing it is to the God of the universe when we miss our time with Him? And he doesn’t even have to prepare anything.

Lord, help me to be faithful to keep my daily appointments with you. Help me to have concentrated times of worship each and every day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

First Days

First days are always interesting. I remember hating the first day of school because it always seemed to fall on my birthday (like it would have this year). I always thought that really stunk. I felt like it should have been a holiday and that I shouldn’t have to go to school on my birthday. I, of course, loved my first day as a wife. I was catered to and doted on. My first day as a mom was interesting, for sure. The emotion of it all was really overwhelming. And today was like many other first days… interesting.

I started my new job today. I’m working part-time (25-30 hrs a week) doing operational and administrative support for a financial advisor with Ameriprise.

Here’s how the day went…

5:40 am Alarm clock sounds and I’m up and getting dressed and grabbing a drink of water, putting a load of laundry in the wash, then spending time reading passages from my BSF lesson in Matthew and in prayer

6:00 am Exercising on elliptical trainer (Mike is actually up and in the shower. I'm stunned.)

6:20 am In the shower & getting dressed and ready. I realize that I need to still wait a while to put on make-up because my face is still beet red from exercising.

6:30 am Take clothes out of washer, start dryer, put another load in the washer.

6:40 am Mike wakes Sarah up to get going.

6:50 am I feel like I can finally put on some make-up and then eat breakfast with Sarah.

7:20 am Help Sarah practice piano.

7:30 am Mike coaxes Nathan out of bed and is trying to convince him to eat some breakfast which is meeting some stiff opposition.

7:50 am Time-Out #1 for the day for Nathan for I can’t remember what now.

7:55 am Mike and Sarah start to leave.

7:59 am I yell and Mike to get going and that I’ll finish the laundry later.

8:00 am Mike and Sarah leave. I should be leaving. Nathan is wigging out because Daddy’s leaving and wants to give him a big hug, so we go outside to wave bye-bye… he won’t say good-bye… wigs out again as they drive away because he wants a big hug.

8:05 am Time-Out #2 for Nathan for I can’t remember what. Should have left 5 minutes ago.

8:10 am An impromptu song session as we attempt to get Nathan dressed.

8:24 am Nathan is in the car, finally, and now I’m wigging out trying to get the rest of everything else in the car. I think I already stink from the sweat. Did I take a shower?

8:29 am Should already be at the office and yet I am just now driving up to day-care. Nathan wigs out, yet again, as I leave him. No time for pictures (we did that on our practice day on Friday) or breaking hearts. Gotta go!

8:45 am Finally arrive at office. I’m exhausted, I’ve been up and going for 3 hours and it’s not even 9 o’clock. Ugh. Thank the Lord for an extra measure of energy (even if it is partially fueled by my thermos of coffee).

9:00 am I begin learning that I’ve got a lot to learn about my new job.

10:30 am Staff meeting with Tyler (main financial advisor and owner of the practice/business), John (the other f.a.), Mike (operations guy). This consisted of them going through their normal Monday staff meeting routine including prayer over the business and a set of clients. Did I mention that I love that?

11:30 am John leaves the meeting and Tyler, Mike and I meet. Normally a few operational things are discussed, but Tyler also wanted to just give me the run-down of how some things work around there. His favorite words... flow and details.

12:15 pm Lunch… I head home, stop at the tailor on the way to pick up some pants. I get home, eat some lunch while I’m putting away the clean dishes, work on my BSF lesson, then head back out calling the day care on the way back to check on my little man. He’s doing fine.

1:15 pm I begin to see that I’ve REAAALLY got a lot to learn about my new job.

5:15 pm Head home. Pick up Sarah from her after school care (who looks hot and exhausted as she’s been playing outside) and drive around the corner to pick up Nathan (who wouldn’t hardly let me put him down once I got there) They’ve both had good days. Nathan napped (albeit for only an hour) and Sarah has already finished her homework.

6:00 pm Arrive home and start on dinner.

6:25 pm Mike arrives home.

6:45 pm Dinner. Time-Out # 3 (at least) for Nathan and I do remember why (he spit a piece of zucchini out of his mouth that he didn't want to eat).

7:15 pm Send Sarah to the shower and continue to encourage Nathan to finish his dinner.

7:45 pm Nathan is in the bath and I hear Mike say to Sarah, "What are you doing? You have to point the hair dryer at your hair for it to work. Just stop and go make your lunch."

8:00 pm They should both be in bed, and yet, well, Sarah is still making her lunch for tomorrow and Nathan is wigging out because he told me he didn’t want to do something so I did it and lo and behold, he actually wanted to do it. And I was supposed to read his mind…

8:15 pm Sarah is in bed reading and Nathan has convinced Mike that he needs to go potty. This from my son that usually says… “No, need diaper.” He’s stalling.

8:20 pm Nathan has completely lost it. I go in to see if I can help and I find out that he did, in fact, tee-tee in the potty but dad didn’t know where the treats were and yet again, he said he didn’t want to do something so dad did it and lo and behold, he actually wanted to do it. Can someone tell me how to explain this concept to a 2 year old?

8:30 pm Everyone is in bed… kind of.

9:15 pm Our 3rd or 4th trip into his room with the spanking spoon (for getting out of bed).

10:00 pm I’m done…

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cute Videos of Nathan

These are just some cute recent videos I've taken of Nathan. Enjoy!

First up is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (taken 9/8/07) which he learned from his sweet friend Eva just a day or so before.

video

Next is a recent development in him showing off his knowledge (taken 9/20/07).

video

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Demolition

We have officially begun one of many (down the road) projects on our 27 year old house that has yet to be updated. The kids spent Friday night and Saturday at Mike’s mom’s house so that we could have a date night (what’s that?) and get started without them under foot.


The current project is the living room. It has wood floors that are still nice and a beautiful huge stone fireplace which we love. The thing we don’t love is all the wood paneling on the walls. We’re talking floor to ceiling wood paneling. Oh, and long tubular fluorescent light fixtures. Oh, Oh, and in case anyone is interested in my opinion (which I’m going to share even if you aren’t), grass/hay/raffia/jute type materials are NEVER acceptable mediums for wall paper. Along with the wood floors, stone fireplace and not very many windows, the whole combination makes for a very dark room. And, the paneling is a picture frame design that is pretty prohibitive when hanging pictures. It puts me in too much of a box where that’s concerned.

So, our plan is to:

  • take the wood paneling (and underlying particle board) off the top half of the wall,

  • fix up and repair the dry wall as needed,

  • take out the fluorescent light fixtures and replace them with can lights around the perimeter of the room,

  • texture,

  • paint, and

  • replace the chair-rail.

This weekend was “demolition.” We were not very encouraged about how much we would get done when the first pieces of paneling and particle board were extremely difficult to get off because all the nails that had been used. Mike said it looked like whoever did it had just gotten a new nail gun and was showing it off… 30 times in an approximately 3 foot long by 8 inch wide piece of particle board. He was so frustrated.

However, after we got past those couple of pieces, there were not as many nails and the rest went pretty quickly. We started at about 8:30 or 9 am, and we were done by 4 pm. This is how it currently looks:


As we were working, I kept thinking about the concept of demolition. Have you ever been involved in the demolition phase of a project? I tell you what… it feels good!!! It felt so good to just rip that stuff that we dislike so much off the walls and throw it away. However, it doesn’t feel so good when it happens to us.

What? When it happens to us? “What-chu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?”

What I’m talking about is what we have to go through sometimes in order to learn what ever it is that God is trying to teach us. Just like when a football team gets a new coach. In order to teach them his way of playing the game, he has to get rid of the old way of playing before the new way can actually be taught. We’re no different in our spiritual lives.

I guess I made this connection because I just feel like I’ve been through this process recently. As I look back on this summer, I think that’s what God allowed to happen with me. He had to allow me to be completely broken down, torn apart, and demolished in a sense, before He could truly begin to teach me what being dependent on Him and finding my purpose in Him is all about. And I tell you what, being broken down and stripped of what I thought life was about didn’t feel very good. In fact, it hurt… a lot.

My guess is that He has tried to teach me these lessons before in gentler ways. But this thick skull of mine kept the true lesson from sinking in. I had to be desperate for it in order to truly grasp the depth of what finding my purpose means in every day life.

The glorious thing is that I’m mostly on the other side of it now. After the demolition, God did build me back up again. He showed me purpose and began revealing His plan for this season of my life. He remodeled my life to be more in line with what He likes instead of the outdated version of the life I was living.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Toys

Oooh, I got a new toy this week. I have actually gotten a couple of new toys with my birthday money this year.


First, I got a new (well, refurbished) digital camera. My old one quit working much earlier in the year and I didn’t think I would miss it as much as I have. So, I first looked into having it repaired, but it was not going to cost much different to get a new one on ebay that was even an upgrade. It’s really neat and takes some pretty good pictures. I even did a “self portrait” to celebrate.

Also, I got a new (well, used actually) Cricut (with a short “i” sound… like cricket) machine. If you’re wondering what in the world a Cricut is, it’s kind of the “holy grail” of all scrapbook toys out on the market right now. It is basically a die-cutting machine that will make different fonts and shapes at whatever size you specify based on different cartridges you insert. Mike actually gave me a Mickey Mouse cartridge for my birthday because my friend Lisa has a Cricut that I have used before. He figured I could just use hers when I go over there to crop. However… I had different plans. I was able to find one (smaller than Lisa’s) used on ebay for a fraction of the cost which fit nicely into my birthday money budget. I’m also looking at getting one more cartridge to go with it. But that may have to wait as I “need” some new clothes for work. OOOH, I can’t wait to get started.

Check out this fun video clip:


These are guys that will try to blend anything in their brand of blender. They've done all kinds of things including glow sticks.


Isnt’ it funny how we, as adults, love our toys as much as kids do. Only ours tend to be more expensive and easier to break. What causes us to crave toys and something new to play with?

For me, I think its distraction. I feel the need to have some distraction periodically from the reality of what life is. That’s partially why I scrapbook. It gives me something to do that allows me to just leave the rest of the world behind for a while. I get to go back in time and relive memories by looking at and journaling about the pictures in my scrapbooks. I also use scrapbooking as an outlet for visual arts. I get plenty of opportunities at church for performing arts, but I don’t have many opportunities these days for visual art. Photography is one and scrapbooking is another. And they go hand-in-hand.

I do have to be careful, though, that I’m not trying to fill myself up with these “distractions” from life instead of looking to Jesus for that fulfillment. I think back to purpose here. At BSF this morning, one of the principles brought out by our teaching leader was that how we spend ourselves shows what we perceive our purpose to be. I certainly don’t want to leave a legacy for my children that I thought my whole purpose in life was to take pictures and scrapbook them. I want them to see me spending my life in pursuit of knowing the person of Jesus Christ better and more intimately each day. So, I just need to make sure that how I spend myself each day reflects that purpose that I believe He has given me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soccer

Sarah had her first soccer practice and game last week. It was clear as she wandered out onto the court at practice on Thursday evening that she had absolutely no clue what was going on. She knows the basics that you kick the ball and don’t use your hands, but beyond that she doesn’t know a thing about it (and neither do I for that matter). One of the best scenes at practice was when I saw her just skipping along down the court without a care in the world.

The game was funny also. We actually played against a team coached by a friend of ours from church. Coach Mike had them put on eye black underneath their eyes because it makes them look “fierce” and they were all about that. We (The Jets, btw) beat them pretty well. We have a couple of very good players that take charge with the ball. She went in during the 2nd quarter and tried really hard. She would get frustrated as she would get control of the ball only to lose it to a faster kid pretty quickly. But she stuck with it. That is, she stuck with it up until she made and unintentional head shot when a kid threw it in towards the end of the 2nd quarter. We all tried to tell her that people do actually use their heads in soccer and that it probably just scared her more than it hurt. “No,” she replied, “it HURT.” He asked if she wanted to go back in later on in the game, but she was not interested and seemed to begin to wilt in the hot sun (our delicate flower).

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Calling

I got an email the other day from a dear friend, Lisa, who recently moved to another city. It was so good to hear from her. And I believe it was not coincidental that I got an email from both her and my dear friend, Sherri, in the same day. The Lord had been putting my name in my friends’ minds and putting me on their hearts on the day of my 2nd interview.

So as I was responding to Lisa, I just referred her here to read what’s been going on lately. She emailed me back and made an interesting observation / suggestion. And it is certainly something that I have pondered from time to time… Is the Lord calling me to ministry?

Wow. What a question. And a valid one at that. And, she is not the first to suggest such a thing. I have had several people recently say something similar such as asking if I would be applying for the open Children’s Minister position at our church (btw – I am SO not qualified for this position). I have also explored this from the aspect of trying to find a job in a ministry related area in recent months. However, none of them have been right.

While I do not rule out the possibility of working in ministry at some later point, as I discussed before, I do believe the Lord wants me, at least for this season of my life, to serve Him in a non-ministry position so that I may have the opportunity to minister to those who may not know him on a real level. I think the Lord has just clearly spoken to my spirit that ministry doesn’t just happen in the church. I need to, as our pastor says on Sundays, go and be the church outside of the walls of our church building.

So to answer Lisa's thoughtful question: Yes, I do feel called to ministry. Just not in a "traditional" ministry related job. I think the Lord wants to show me that ministry is so much bigger than just working at a church or in a para-church ministry job. I think He wants to show me what it means to be a minister in everyday life.

Ameriprise called on Wednesday and wanted me to come back in today to talk about an offer. So, I went this morning and talked to them and they gave me an offer letter that was, if nothing else, very thorough and very professional. It is a very good offer monetarily. However, the thing that has struck me the most is the confirmations that I think are coming from the Holy Spirit on both sides of the table.

  • I was told this morning that they began looking at the first part of the year and yet this is the first offer they have extended. They have gone through a time of searching and asking God, “Why is it taking so long?” I, too, began to sense God telling me it was time to look for a job at the beginning of the year and struggled with why the jobs that I had looked into were never a good fit for us.

  • I was also told that when they have staff meetings on Monday mornings that they gather, go through things, and pray for their clients. WOW! That’s the kind of boss (and the kind of financial planner, for that matter) that I want!

  • The franchise owner told me that he had a sense from me (and from the Holy Spirit, imo) that I would appreciate knowing that while their purpose in their business is, obviously, to help people in their finances and financial position, they have a larger view of having an impact for the Kingdom. They are hiring a 4th person not to necessarily expand the business, but to spread the work around so that everyone can have the time to do the work of the Lord’s Kingdom whether that be something at church or just standing in the hallway talking to someone you’ve been praying for.

Unless the Lord really reveals something unexpected to us this weekend, I do believe this is the road he is leading us down. And I believe that if this is truly where He wants me, then all the stuff with the kids will work out fine and I have no need to be concerned about Nathan being in childcare or my volunteer time at Sarah's school or anything like that.

Gardening

I actually did some work in the yard yesterday. The weather has been so beautiful (other than the hay fever inducing allergens) that I just can’t stand to waste it being inside doing much needed housework. So, instead, I did much needed gardening.

I trimmed up my 1 remaining rosemary bush. There were 2 of them when we moved in but one died last summer. The remaining one was starting to get some dead spots so I trimmed those out. I don’t know how long rosemary bushes live, but these have got to be close to the age of our house, which is 27 years old. I also pulled a bunch of weeds in the “flower bed” and trimmed up my lantana, which was completely out of control and taking over like they tend to do when left unchecked.

As I finished weeding one section of the bed I came to realize that I had just disturbed and possibly destroyed an entire ecosystem. I know for a fact that I displaced many critters that had been living in the dense weeds and moist soil including (but not limited to – aka these are only the ones I saw): a large wolf spider possibly with eggs or babies, 1 snake, 3 lizards, tons of beetles, and a whole mess of earth worms (1 of which I kept for the kids).

As I always do when I’m pulling up the out of control weeds in my beds, I begin thinking of the spiritual implications of what I’m doing. First, I thought about trimming the rosemary bush and lantana. John 15:1-2 says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” This is exactly what I did… the dead parts got completely removed from the rosemary in order to hopefully preserve the rest of the plant. I ask myself, who is the branch that does not bear fruit? Is it the one who does not know Christ, or is it the one who knows him but is not living the life Christ wants them to lead? What if it’s the one who has always heard of Jesus, has a belief in him, but never has come to a saving knowledge and faith in Him? Is it the one who chooses to deny him Lordship in their lives when they have clearly been shown the path? I’m just thinking “out loud” here so if you have any insight on this, please share.

And I pruned the lantana so that more shoots would produce more flowers and hopefully draw more beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to my back yard. I think about how out of control my life gets with me stretching my arms and legs out too thin like that lantana. I begin to wonder, “What does the Lord need to prune out of my life in order for me to produce more beautiful flowers to draw people unto Himself.” I did recently back out of one commitment that I had made as I felt that I was stretched too thin. I felt like I was going to be doing things only half-way. So I asked the Lord what needed to go. He was very clear in his revelation to me and it went.


And then there are the weeds. I had a difficult time finding a scriptural reference for this, and maybe it’s just an illustration I’ve heard over and over again, but I always relate weeds to sin. There is the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 which may be where I’m getting this relation in my mind. But as I’m pulling up these weeds and I see how they have just taken over several beds, I think of how sin can truly take over our lives when left un-dealt with. If I would be faithful to ask God to reveal sin in me and to confess it and ask for forgiveness regularly, then it wouldn’t get so out of control… just like the weeds in my yard that I need to regularly pull to keep under control.

And what about all those critters? Getting all those weeds out of the way brought light to the underlying soil and the bugs went a-scurrying just as sin can only do when it is revealed in the light of His Word. What critters can live among the weeds of sin in our lives? The critters that come to my mind are people that are unhealthy for us to be around, situations that put us in danger, among other life situations that can all be displaced once we begin to deal with the underlying sin that allows those unhealthy situations to flourish.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A New Year


Today was the first day of a new year of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). This was Nathan's first time to attend and he was so excited this morning, saying "bible tubby" all morning. He was excited, that is, until we got to his room and he became overwhelmed with an overly exuberant teacher. I actually had to tell her that she was overwhelming him. You could just see it in his face... most of you know the look that I'm talking about. He went in screaming, but calmed down shortly and I actually made it in to the worship center for our opening time of hymns. I can't remember the last time I actually made it for that. We had a great morning and I am so excited and expectant of what God is going to show both of us this year in our study of Matthew.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remember

I remember where I was, as I’m sure all of you do, when I heard the news – in the car on the way to help my sister do some things around her house. Mike called me and just told me to turn on my radio.

“What station?”

He answered, “It doesn’t matter.”

I remember us just being on the phone together as I listened and we learned at the same time that the Pentagon was also on fire.

“What is going on?” I asked quite distressed.

“Nobody knows.”

Can you believe it’s been 6 years? I can’t. I’m sure just like much of the country, I feel like it was just a few days ago that the events of 9/11 rocked our world and shook the foundation of our great land.

I recently encountered a situation where I felt like one thing right after another just shook my life. I was coming apart because there’s only so much shaking we can take. The circumstances drove me and the Lord drew me straight to His word with a heart that was pleading, “God, give me a word from you right now. If I don’t have a word from you, I am literally going to fall apart.”

As I sat down with my Bible, I pulled out some notes from a Beth Moore teaching session I had attended just a week or so before. The Lord led me straight to this passage:

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ ” Hebrews 12:28-29.

Just let that soak in a moment. We are receiving a kingdom that CANNOT be shaken. Oh what an encouragement that passage was to me on that day a few months ago when I felt shaken to the core. The kingdom that I am a part of as a child of God cannot be shaken. I can stand firm on Him.

Let us all remember that fact as we also remember and pay tribute to those who died that fateful day 6 years ago.

On a similar, but separate note (quite literally), there is a song that we have been singing in choir recently that has really been speaking to my life situation and the place I have found myself spiritually recently.

God (You are my God)

Oh, Thou who knowest my beginning,
Thou who created the plan,
Who orchestrated my life’s journey,
God, You are my God.

God of decisions, creator of answers,
Thou who ordained my way,
Through my transition, held my position,
God, You are my God.

I will forever give You praise.
Honor and celebrate Your Name.
God of the past, present and who is to come,
Oh, God, You are my God.

Whatever you do with me is alright,
You have my total trust.
All glory and honor, dominion, and power,
God You are my God!

Let those words just fall and rest on you for a moment.

Some of them were very revealing and eye opening to me. He knows where I come from. He created the plan. We all know how much I love a plan, but I've always viewed it as my own. To understand anew that He created it, was a fresh revelation to me. He has orchestrated my life’s journey and put me exactly where he has wanted me each and every step of the way.

The Holy Spirit has just been speaking to me about this as He has been re-revealing Himself to me as sovereign over my life, which is one aspect of His character that got many of us through the events of 9/11/01. It’s something that I know, but I suppose it’s been mostly head knowledge and not something I have truly had to live out and depend on Him for. So, for me to be able to sing at the top of my lungs in my car (and you know I do – and pretty well imho) but also from the depths of my being that whatever He does with me is alright and that He has my total trust… well, that’s huge.

And that’s just what I did today as I was on my way to my 2nd interview with Ameriprise. I had such a sense of peace as I entered the building that felt completely relaxed and I feel that the interview went well.

My dear friend and fellow sahm, Cristel, asked me if I had any brain freezes or lapses, and I said surprisingly, no. She felt encouraged that I could still have an intelligent adult conversation. We laughed at the thought of me reverting to my current role and reaching across the table with a tissue and telling him to blow, or asking if he wanted me to tie his shoe. I’m picturing the wife in the movie Mr. Mom as she reaches over and begins to cut up her boss’s food when they are on the company jet.

So, I guess I’m just in the waiting phase right now. I continue to pray for patience and clear direction where this job is concerned. I still have so many concerns: for Nathan’s care, for my involvement at the school, for my poor pitiful house. I am confident that if it’s where I’m supposed to be, that all those little details will work out, but they are just concerns that I have.

Lord, calm my fears and concerns. Give Mike and I a clear indication if this is truly what You have for our family at this time.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

September 9, 2007

What you see below are a couple of recent entries to my personal journal. As you may or may not be able to tell by reading, I have been doing a lot of personal self-examination recently. To be perfectly honest, I have been in quite a dark time in my life recently dealing with a sense of purposelessness and finding my way through times of depression. I’ll not post all of my journal entries from the summer in order to spare you the gory details – although I will always reserve the right to do so. For now, let’s just leave it at this… it was a difficult summer for me spiritually and emotionally.

However, my God and Savior is good. As the Psalmist says,

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 40:1-3 NIV

Indeed I pray this to be true. That my feet would remain on the Rock and that many would see and put their trust in the LORD.

August 21, 2007

Purpose. My purpose on this earth. This is something I have desperately been trying to figure out these last few weeks and I’ve finally had a breakthrough.

I’ve been meeting with some friends on Sunday evenings to do a Bible study on the Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31). It’s been so nice to meet especially with Keal through this time as she has been experiencing and going through many of the same things, feelings, and emotions that I have lately.

During our last meeting of the summer on Sunday, we made some meaningful discoveries. As we were talking about the chapter on purpose, I mentioned the booklet that I had read by Beth Moore about purpose. As we were talking through the points that were being made, we were both nodding and saying, “Yeah, but what is my purpose?”

I couldn’t help but think that the idea that our purpose is to live for His glory and pleasure and to know Him and make Him known is an overall purpose for any Christian. But I was also thinking that there would be a specific purpose for me. And then it hit me.

Maybe that’s just it. Maybe that is my purpose. What if that truly is my purpose in life and the rest is just specifics… the plan (so to speak)? Now, maybe this is all just semantics and doesn’t make a bit of difference. But it’s very liberating to me to think that I have discovered my purpose and now I can agree with God about it and simply ask that He reveal His plan for me in this specific time.

My purpose is…

  • To exist for God’s pleasure and His glory.
  • To know Him and make Him known to others.
  • To know Him and to “progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly.” (Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible)

My plan is (as I know it right now)…

  • To be a wife and mother and a godly influence in my home.
  • To leave a Proverbs 31 woman legacy.
  • To use my talents and gifts in music and administration outside of my home.
  • Is working outside of the home part of the plan?

Another ground-breaking discovery that I have made recently is concerning my job search. I have been thinking that I needed to work in a church or ministry; and for good reasons. I think that a ministry based job would hold more satisfaction for me as well as they would probably be the most reasonable as far as me being a mom and taking care of my children. However, as I have considered the fact that finding that type of job would likely include a church change, I have had to seriously consider if that is what I’m supposed to do. And it has occurred to me that it may not be what I am supposed to do.

When we first enrolled Sarah at her private school, we determined that we would have to search out ways to minister to non-Christians if our child was in private Christian school. We would not have that constant contact with non-Christian class-mates and their families. So we decided that we would have to play sports and do other things outside of school so that we and Sarah are exposed to those who do not know Christ. It has occurred to me that this might apply to me and my job search as well. It is possible that God wants me in a non-Christian environment to make an impact for His sake.

So, as I discovered this possibility, the job at a Bible church across town that I have been pursuing became less and less attractive. That is until they called and emailed me on Monday wanting to set up an interview. For so many reasons that job was not a good fit for our family: the drive, the logistics involved with Thursday evening hours, changing churches, difficulty getting involved there if we did change because of the distance, the lack of peace there would be in our household if I took that job. And yet, it was so difficult to reply back to them and say no to the interview request. My flesh kept saying, “This is what you’ve wanted. The exact right job for you. Just go to the interview and see.” And yet, the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to say no, to deny my flesh, to honor my husband’s opinion and wishes. It was incredibly hard. But that’s what I did. And I indeed have peace about it.

So, I ask, dear Lord my Savior and Friend, continue to reveal your plan to me. Help me see clearly what you have in store for me. Be extraordinarily clear about my working outside of our home. Make it so that I absolutely cannot deny your hand. And help me to give you the absolute glory for whatever happens.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

About Me

I am a working outside the home wife and mother to 2 children: Sarah, the princess (7) and Nathan, my little man (3).

I married my college sweet-heart and he is my man. I love to brag on him, but he can be infuriating at the same time. What good husband isn’t?

I'm a woman of many hats. When I'm not wearing the wife hat, I'm wearing the mom hat. When I'm not wearing those hats, I'm wearing the admin. assistant hat. Sometimes I wear the school volunteer hat or the VBS director hat. You just never know.

If asked what my favorite food is, I’d say, “Good food.”

I secretly still believe I am the unknown distant relative of royalty and someday they’ll figure it out and I’ll be wisked away to my palace in Genovia.

I love just about anything artistic be it performing or visual.

I love dogs. In fact I have 2 and one that lives on in memory.

Cats… not so much.

I laugh at myself because I grew up goin' huntin' with dad, and yet sometimes I am such a girl. I don't camp (unless it's a motel without room service), and I keep dreaming of owning a pair of Jimmy Choos.

I am a proud native born Texan and live in a household with only one other true native Texan.

As a Texan, I take great pride in being a Texan.

Can I say the word Texan just one more time?

Texan!!

My man and I are also Aggies and are doing our best to brainwash our children to be Aggies as well. Yes, they get M&M’s for saying things like “Gig ‘em,” or “Red Ass.” (Well, not so much the latter…. yet.)

But most of all I am striving to be a woman of purpose. And that being to know my God and Savior more intimately and deeply each day.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Way More Homemade

Me
I'm Donna. I am a working outside the home wife and mother to 2 children: Sarah, the princess (8) and Nathan, my little man (4). I have been married to my college sweet-heart for over 14 years. I work mostly part-time as an administrative assistant for a financial planner and full time as a wife, mother, school volunteer, occasional Bible study leader and VBS director among other hats that I wear. But most of all I am striving to be a woman of purpose. And that being to know my God and Savior more intimately and deeply each day.

Way More Homemade
This blog has gone through several changes and while the internet address has always been waymorehomemade, it started out with the title "Did I Say That Out-Loud?" Which, if you know me, is quite appropriate. However, in an effort to create some blog cohesiveness, I changed the title. Read about where the Way More Homemade name comes from here.

I really do like this title because, like my brownies, my life doesn't just come from a box. Homemade implies that it takes more time, more attention, and it's the "real deal" as a friend put it. For certain, God has had to spend more time and attention on me to make me closer to the real deal than I would like to admit. But I have seen that I need to allow Him to make my life from scratch, and not allow our culture or society to try to hand me a boxed life.

If you haven't noticed, this isn't a Martha Stewart, I sew all my kids clothes, grow my own vegetables, cook an entirely organically grown meal every day kind of blog. It's my life that's Way More Homemade these days. And while that's how I prefer my food, I do live in the real world, and Way More Homemade is about so much more than just food.

The tagline says it all. This is where Faith, Family and Food collide.

Read More About Me
About Me
100 Things
Why "Way More Homemade"?

The Recipes

All that said, I do still talk about food a lot. I recently started posting recipes on a separate blog so that they would all be in one place and easier to find and search through. Visit The Recipes here or see the link at the top of the page. And don't miss a single edition of Foodie Friday. It's just a fun little thing I do and I usually post a recipe (or two) (or three).

Contact

I love email. You can contact me via email at
waymorehomemade (at) yahoo (dot) com

Comments

I also love comments. So please comment if you stop by. As I continue to find my blogging "voice" I will try to engage in a conversation with you. I also love to email back to people when they comment. So, please, include some kind of email address in your profile so that I can get back in touch with you if I need to.