31 July 2008

reorganizing the organization~

I've been spending some time the last few weeks thinking about how I could do some things differently around here to maximize time (mine) and job skills (the sweeties.) We had a routine that works pretty well, but there were those things that always need to be done but weren't really planned out. The summer was also finding the kids restless and needing their time better defined.

I spent some time writing out what needed to be done, who was capable of doing it, and how to divide it up fairly.

Here is the new plan...

Morning Jobs

clean kitchen and dining room table
straighten up toy closet

clean boys' room
pick up stuff off of stairs
bring down laundry

clean playroom
clean bathroom
organize shoe closet

clean Noah's room
clean her "room"
feed Gracie

**all kids put away their clean clothes from the laundry room

Most of these are the same as before, but I switched some of Caleb and Ethan's jobs, and made the kitchen/dining area Anna's responsibility. Moriah has decided to make our toy closet "her room," so taking care of her stuff in there is now part of her jobs.

Then there are those other jobs. You know, the ones that you can't wait until your kids are old enough to do for you teach beneficial life skills, responsibility, and are part of being a family.

So I made a list of jobs that need to be done weekly, or at the least every other week. I divided them up according to difficulty and time required and assigned them out. I haven't decided yet if we'll try and do one per day, or just knock it all out on Saturday.

Now, lest you think I view my children as my personal servants, these jobs all require training and often assistance. Also, I have plenty of other things that are helpful to the family (um...laundry, meals, diapers, fill in the blank) that by teaching my children these jobs, will free everyone up to have more "fun" time together. I could write a whole post on why teaching children from a very young age to be good helpers is beneficial, and how we are all a family and we work together, but that's not the point right now.


Weekly Jobs~

clean master bathroom

vaccum upstairs & downstairs
collect and take out the house trash
clean upstairs bathroom

sweep stairs, wipe down refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher
pick up toys in the yard
clean downstairs bathroom

wipe window sills in dining room and living room
sweep the front porch
clean front and back door

After lunch, we have what we call Lunch Jobs. Basically, everyone helps straighten up after the morning play and school time.

Lunch Jobs~

Anna~ help clean kitchen

Caleb~ help clean kitchen

Ethan~ straighten foyer and master bedroom, help Moriah

Moriah~ clean living room

If you wonder why I have the kids helping clean our bathroom and bedroom, it's because the master is the only bedroom downstairs, it's also where our tv is, so the kids are in and out of there A LOT. They get those rooms way messier than Glen and I do, so they help clean them. Our room is also used as a naptime room.

After lunch is nap/quiet time, and after nap time, everyone is responsible for cleaning up whatever room they were in.

After naptime, if all school work is finished, they basically have free time. Around 4:30ish, we have afternoon clean up. Everyone helps to clean up the downstairs.

One thing we started, oh, probably when I was pregnant with Haven and zapped at the end of the day was teaching the kids to help clean up after dinner. That kind of goes back to the they-make-a-way-bigger-mess-than-Glen-and-I-do category, so it only made sense. I am thankful my husband had the insight and forethought to think that would be beneficial.

Before now, Moriah and Ethan cleared the table, while Anna and Caleb took turns sweeping and wiping the table, but this was an area I decided to tweak as well. Since Anna now has the full responsiblity of this area in the morning, I only thought it fair that Caleb had the responsiblity after dinner. Granted, after dinner is a bigger job than in the morning, but Glen and I help him with it. This is our after dinner clean up plan...

After Dinner~

empty out upstairs basket, put everyone's stuff on his or her bed

wipe, sweep, help Mom and Dad in kitchen

clear table

clear table

This is actually a really good plan for our family, and I am excited to implement our changes. We have found that it is extremely beneficial for children to have their time defined (even if it is "free time") in order to keep out of mischief, arguments, and crazy destructiveness. If everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, it helps our days run much more smoothly. My greatest challenge in this is dealing with complaining, dawdling, and not doing one's job as unto the Lord. There are too many days I find myself blowing off job time when I don't want to deal with kids who would rather play than help.

So much of parenting comes back to one's own selfishness and lack of discipline...for me it does anyway. It's so much easier to let the kids run wild free and read all day. But alas, I need to be the mom. Not just write about it :o)

PS ~ Happy Birthday to my Dad today! I love you!

And Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my little-sister-turned-Mom, Dyana. I can't believe you are 27! I am so glad we are best friends now and have left our mortal enemies days behind. It has been so fun, and such a privilege to watch you grow in the grace of motherhood. You are such a blessing to me, and I thank the Father for giving me such a blessing as you for a sister.

29 July 2008

sovereignity, trust, and holy experience~

Through a friend's blog, I came across this link to a story out of British Columbia, Canada. A story of Canadian immigrants from Romania who just gave birth to their 18th child.

When being interviewed, the father's response to being asked if they will have more was particularly sweet and encouraging...

“We never planned how many children to have,” he said. “We just let God guide our lives, you know, because we strongly believe life comes from God and that’s the reason we did not stop the life. We let life come.”

On another note, just this morning I discovered the most amazing blog, Holy Experience. I've only read the two most recent posts, but I was highly encouraged, comforted, and blown away. I would encourage everyone to visit and at least read the two most recent. You will love it.

design revisited~

i'm working on getting a new design, hopefully soon...

26 July 2008

new design?~

What do you think? It's cute, but I don't think it's really me.

Seeing as how I spent the entire morning kicking myself that I accidentally erased my old template, I don't have any more time to spend in figuring out what I want to do.

So this is what you get...for now.


strengthen yourself in the Lord~

Every year our church has Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, California come and do a conference. One message he gave several years ago that I have hung onto is called Strengthen Yourself in the Lord (or maybe Encourage, but you get the picture.) He basically keeps a notebook of testimonies, prophecies, scripture, etc. that he reads on a daily basis to remind himself of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness. I think that is a marvelous idea as even though we Love Him, and we know Him, we are flesh, and we forget so quickly...

That said, the devotional I am going through right now, Homeschooling With A Meek and Quiet Spirit, encourages moms to ask the Lord to give them scriptures for homeschooling. You know, something to hang onto when you're having one of those surely I am ruining my child for all eternity kind of days. Or am I the only one that has those on occasion? ;o)

This wasn't actually a difficult exercise for me, as I had several scriptures already that the Lord had given me, that I had "claimed" as mine. It had not occurred to me to write them down in one place and read them, meditate on them, and find life and encouragement from them on those aforementioned days. There are five passages that I really cling to, although I am sure there are many more, but these are mine...

"God is able (Able is God) to make all grace abound to you,that always having all sufficiency in everything,you may have an abundance for every good deed:

as it is written,"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,His righteousness abides forever."

Now He who supplies seed for the sower and bread for foodwill supply and multiply your seed for sowingand increase the harvest of your righteousness;you will be enriched in everything for all liberality."

2 Corinthians 9:8-11

(If you remember from a few months ago, this was the scripture that my dear friend, Heather Norman, gave to me after praying the Lord would give each woman at her birthday party the Scripture that was for her specifically. It was life to me. I have the original scroll that she handmade hanging in my laundry room.)

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3

(This one has another special significance to me, as the night that Glen and I decided to officially become a couple, knowing that we were moving toward probable marriage, we prayed this verse together, committing our relationship and our plans to the Lord.)

"All thy children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great will be the peace of thy children.
In righteousness you will be established..."
Isaiah 54:13-14a

(This one is just plain encouraging, and the cry of my heart. I have this framed on my living room wall.)

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

(Another verse that is just good, for all of life. May I always remember that when I trust in the Father, and depend on Him for my strength and wisdom each day, that I can run this race in such a way as to be found worthy, but when I fall back on my own strength, I am easily tired and burned out, growing weary and faint. And not only can I succeed, but I can soar.)

(This next one is long, and is bits and pieces gathered from Deuteronomy, where I find my calling and my encouragement for home schooling and raising my children, intentionally, to know the Lord. Trusting in His love, His faithfulness, and His promises. Some of the meaning has to be inferred and understood as an analogy, but it speaks volumes to me, in so many areas. It is so rich. At some point after we finish our school room, I plan to put all this up on the wall. Tied up in this as well, is why we moved where we did as we strongly felt the Lord preparing the way, and speaking to us about our life here and what we were to be about.)

"...Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land... a land with large, flourishing cities that you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyard and olive groves you did not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, out of slavery.

Fear the Lord your God, serve Him only and take your oaths in His name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you...

In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?" tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders - great and terrible...but He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised...The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive."

...The Lord did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples...But it was because He loved you...

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands...

the Lord your God will keep His covenant of love with you, ...He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land...

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God,failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees...Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build find houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery...You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me," But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth..."

To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it...Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him...He is your praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes...

Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm...Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them...Do not covet the silver and gold...or you will be ensnared by it...

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;...teach them to your children

~from Deuteronomy 6-8

So, this is what I encourage myself with. I would encourage everyone, whether you home school or not, to take some time to ask the Father to give you some life scriptures that you can call your own and you can go back to and remember the Lord's love, His faithfulness, His promises, and who He is...

19 July 2008

catching my breath~

Whew! The last seven days have been so busy! I didn't even try to do any school, and my house needs some major attention.

It all started when I was 11.....

Just kidding :o)

Last Friday I sold my phone. Awhile back I had changed my phone when I was eligible to upgrade, and had gotten a super cool phone. Well, it was super cool, but didn't work very well for me. It was hard to hear on and since it had a touch screen only, instead of a keypad, it was forever getting turned on or off in my purse. Totally useless. Not to mention that it ran on a Windows OS that caused me endless headaches.

So anyway, I listed it on Craigslist, and right smack in the middle of naptime someone called and wanted to buy it right then. Since I wanted to sell it quick, I loaded up the middle kids (yay for having a responsible older daughter and a close-by neighbor enabling me to leave the little kids at home sleeping with Anna in charge!) and drove 50 minutes into town to meet this guy. Sold the phone, headed home. Kind of threw my day off, but no big deal. Spent Friday night figuring out how to transfer all my info from my laptop to my new phone. (Yay for Palm programs!)

Saturday, a good friend's baby shower and a birthday party. Drove into Cool Springs, ran errands while Caleb was at the birthday, picked up Caleb, headed home, dropped off Caleb, picked up Anna and Moriah, and headed to Spring Hill for the baby shower. Had to visit the SuperTarget while there, headed home.

Church on Sunday. Ended up in the hospitality room with all of Glen's family to visit for awhile, and made it home just in time to clean the kitchen, fix a snack, and begin the week of VBS.

Every year in July, my family's church has a good old-fashioned VBS. They've been doing it the same way ever since I was little, so it always makes me fondly nostalgic (not to mention that I always see the boy who was my first "real boyfriend" for a good part of my pre-teen years and my first kiss, so that's always pretty weird. We don't really ever talk, though, but I have to wonder, is it weird for him too? I am sooo praying that I can avoid all this junk with my kids. The kiss part, not the VBS part - ha ha. What were my parents thinking, anyway? A movie, dinner and a boyfriend at 10? When he was like 13ish? Oh yeah, they weren't thinking. This explains so much.)

Anyway, it began Sunday night and the theme for the week was God's Incredibles. All the kids got Incredibles VBS shirts and they had a whole presentation of fun songs every night, and then the Incredibles would show up to solve a goofy crime, and then it was off to class.

This is the church where I grew up. The church where my Mom grew up. They are people and families that have known me, and I them, my entire life. My oldest friends are there. When I was 11, my parents felt God calling them away from the Church of Christ, and to Belmont which was a charismatic church with old Church of Christ roots. The change was the hardest thing I'd ever been through (I remember yelling at my parents, "You hate me! You are ruining my life!"), but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I love my family's church, and I have deep respect and love for the people that go there, but the emphasis is not so much on intimate relationship. They love God with their whole hearts and have a tremendous heart for evangelism and outreach, and their church is alive, but no one ever taught me that God was my Father, you know, in the Father-ly sense of the word, and that He wanted to talk to me. When I was young. That he wanted a real relationship with me. Youth group was more about boys and makeup and sneaking out at night at church camp (hence the first boyfriend, and the first kiss.) (Rachel, Anna is begging to go to camp, we are going to have to have a serious conversation about if camp is different now! Help!!!) At Belmont, there was all that stuff as well, but it was on the small side. We gathered together to worship, to pour our hearts out, to hear from God. We were hungry. We were there because we loved it.

I should stop now. One of my dearest friends in the world, as well as my best oldest friend go there, and read this, so I just want to emphasize that I love Jackson Park, and am in no way judgemental of it, I am just acknowledging the hand of God on my life in knowing I needed something different through my teen years and am thankful my parents had the courage to change. For my sake. I am choking on my foot in my very deep hole, so I should get on with the story.

Okay, so Sunday night, drive an hour there, an hour back. With lots of loot from the VBS "store." Think whistles, marbles, candy out the eyeballs, notepads, pencils, paddle balls (that trust me, break very, very easily eliciting shrieks from four year olds at 10pm), and other various items that multiplied times six can take over one's life extremely fast. Times four nights.

Monday, my sister is in France, so the kids didn't get to have their "fun" day with her. We spent the day cleaning and I was in one of my moods. Ugh. Mad at the world. I hate it when I'm like that. Monday night, VBS again, and Anna's very best friend in the whole world, my dear friend Rachel's daughter, Katie, came home with us to spend the night.

Tuesday, all the kids except Anna, Katie, and Haven went to Myr's house, so Anna and Katie could have the entire day to themselves. Katie lives over an hour from us, so they see each other rarely, but nevertheless, hit it off fabulously. Glen brings home kids, I put them back in the car, off we go again. Over the river and through the woods. Did I mention it takes an hour to get there? My kids are used to going to bed at 8pm. We don't leave VBS until 9pm. Why, WHY do overly tired babies scream their heads off instead of just nodding off? Why does Noah wake up at 5am and act like a kid on a sugar high after 10pm? Oh yeah, the candy, ...as much as you can grab and stuff. (Dinner at 6pm at the church, followed by homemade desserts, followed by snack and juice colored sugar water, followed by a trip to the VBS store, topped off with the preacher's wife holding a candy basket on the way out the door. Nothing like VBS. My kids literally count the days.) Anna went home with Katie that night. Poor Rachel, having to take her on day 2 of the let's-stay-up-as-late-as-we-can plan.

nothing like a little let's give the baby a bath and play dress up with him :o)

Wednesday, 3 nights down, 1 to go. Home all day with kids slightly miffed that their older sister has gotten to have a sleep over and spend the night with a friend. But hey, you know, we've got candy. It's all good. I can't even remember what I did on Wednesday, probably just generally dealt with kids on sugar and very little sleep. Wednesday night, headed to VBS, dropped off the kids with my aunt, and met my sister for dinner. Picked up said kids, got gas (it cost me like $80 to go to VBS), picked up a baby gift from my sister in law's house, and went home. Realized Anna had left her backpack at Katie's. That's okay. No problem, because....

Lest you think I could finally relax, no sirree, I, in all my brilliance, had made dentist appointments for 8:30am on Thursday. So, back to my aunt's house (she lives 2 minutes from the church.) Drop off little kids, go to dentist, get to visit with one of my other sister in laws who happened to have dentist appointments at the same time, drop by Lori's house to drop off baby gift for Wendy (congratulations, Wendy!), drive to Rivergate, attempt to pick up backpack (some slight confusion there, but that's okay (seriously, Rachel, it's totally fine, the drama just makes for a good story), picked up some lunch, went to the sixth Target of the week (different story), went by grocery (my aunt thought the kids needed some ice cream), ended up at my aunt's and got to visit with my grandmother and great aunt for awhile, which was very nice.

Drive home. Again. We're going on four nights of being up late here, Glen and I have said all of four words to each other since Sunday afternoon. We are ready for a night at home. But noooo, there is a land auction down the road! We've never been to a land auction. We're thinking, you know, if it's really cheap. Well, it did sell for really cheap, but not cheaply enough for us to actually consider buying any. We didn't come away empty handed, though! We enjoyed sliding down dirt hills, albeit not on purpose, pounding rocks, two dirty diapers, grass that hadn't been mown, well...ever, and all the bug bites we could handle. Then....off to church we go. For a teacher's meeting. So we stuck our tired, dirty, hungry, sugar-laden children in a classroom alone, with Anna in charge, and tried to endure enjoy (just kidding, ha ha) the teacher's meeting. We left early.

Friday, everyone slept in, and all the kids fell asleep during nap time. Since I had missed my Thursday evening errand run, Caleb and I went out on Friday. Generally, Glen and I have a strict "we don't leave each other on Friday nights" rule, but since we'd already been apart so many nights and had such a crazy week, we figured we might as well get it out of the way so we could all just be home together today. And here I am, up at 6am, with a 3 yr old who thinks he wants frozen hot dogs for breakfast.

Happy Saturday :o)

~In all seriousness, although it was a very tiring last seven days, I do immensely enjoy going to VBS. My kids LOVE it, they get to sing all the fun VBS songs, and they actually learn stuff (Caleb won two tshirts for answering questions and Ethan won one! Good job, guys! Way to show them our church isn't a flop!), and I get to visit with old friends. Anna's best friend, Katie, happens to be the daughter of my dear, sweet friend, Rachel, who is more like me than probably anyone I know. While she didn't grow up with me at Jackson Park, she is married to a guy I grew up with, and I am so priviliged to have gotten to know her over the last few years. We both married and began our famlies at a very young age, and since she is a couple of months younger than me, she beat me at winning the youngest mom award all those years ago when we both had two little people two and under. Who knew our kids would grow up to be such good friends? She is a great mother, and her children are the most mannerly children I've ever been around :o)

Off to clean....if you need me I can be found at the bottom of a very large pile of laundry or under my kitchen table stuck to the floor...

14 July 2008

who needs a band~

who needs a flyswatter~

Caleb (said in a whisper): Hey! Mom! Hand me the flyswatter, quick!

Me (obviously without thinking): You know, I've heard of boys that can catch flies with their hands. You sure you need the flyswatter?

Caleb: Really? Cool!

(insert sound of tip-toeing boy...smack!)

Caleb: Awesome! Uh, Mom, what should I do with it?

06 July 2008

happy 3rd birthday noah~

Today our sweet Noah is 3! I can hardly believe it, he is getting to be such a big boy. See the next post below for some fun Noah trivia :o)

We have a family tradition where we take each child when they turn 3 to Build-A-Bear to pick out a bear, bunny, puppy, or whatever they like.
Currently the standings are:

Anna - Courduroy the Bear
Caleb - Charlie the earless bunny (I don't want to talk about it)
Ethan - Joe the Bear
Moriah - Puppy the Puppy

and now...
Noah - Jack the Puppy

Here are some pictures from the fun day~

We haven't had his actual family party yet, we'll have that later in the month when we also celebrate my grandmother and sister Dyana's birthdays.

blessings from myr~
praying Scripture over your children~

These are the five handwritten pages of Scripture Blessing that my mother in law, Charlotte, gave to Glen and I numerous years ago. I am writing them here, so that I have another copy, and to share some Scripture that we mothers can pray over our children as blessing. This is a tremendous gift we can give our children, and all we have to do is open the Word, and spend a few minutes praying for them. There are many more than these to be found in the Word. It is very easy, and in my opinion, one of the best things we, as mothers, can do. Who knows what battles are won and what protection and blessing has come from the quiet prayers of mothers?

I Chronicles 22:11-13,19~ "Now, my son (& daughter, & children) the Lord be with thee; and prosper thee, and build the house of the Lord, thy God, as He hath said of thee- Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding and give thee charge concerning God's people, that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God, then shalt thou prosper... Be strong and of good courage, dread not, nor be dismayed... Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God."

Numbers 6:24-26~ "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace."

Isaiah 33:2~ "O Lord, be gracious to them...Be their strength every morning and salvation in times of distress."

I Thessalonians 3:5~ "May the Lord direct your heart into God's love and Christ's perseverance."

Acts 4:29~ "And now Lord...enable your servants to speak your Word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and to perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Jeremiah 24:7~ "Lord, give them a heart to know you." - Help them to proclaim the mystery of Christ clearly and be wise in the way they act toward outsiders and make the most of every opportunity. Help their conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that they may know how to answer everyone.

Philemon 1:6~ "I pray that you may be active in sharing y our faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."

I Chronicles 4:9-10~ "O, that you would bless them and enlarge their territory. Let your hand be with them and keep them from harm so that they will be free from pain and that they may not cause pain."

I Thessalonians 3:12~ "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other..."

I Corinthians 1:10~ "...that you would agree with one another and no divisions and be perfectly united in mind and thought..."

Colossians 2:2~ "...encouraged in heart and united in love..."

Colossians 1:9-11~ "...may God fill you with the knowledge of His will, through all spiritual wisdom and understanding - that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way - bearing fruit in every good work - growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might unto all patience and understanding with thanksgiving."

Ephesians 1:17-19~ "I keep asking that the god of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."

Psalm 19:14~ "Let the words of your mouths and the meditations of your hearts, be acceptable in God's sight, O Lord, your Strength and Your Redeemer."

Psalm 78:7~ "Lord, help them to shepherd their children with integrity of heart and with skillful hands lead them."

John 17:11,15,17~ "Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name so that they may be one., My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. Sanctify them by the truth, for Your Word is truth."

Proverbs 16:7~ "Lord, help their ways to be pleasing to you, so you will make even their enemies live at peace with them."

Hebrews 13:20-21~ "May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in you what is pleasing to Him."

Hebrews 13:16-17~ "Lord, help them to...not forget to do good and to share with others and obey their leaders and to submit to authority."

Ephesians 3:14-21~ "I pray that out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power, through His Spirit in your inner being, so Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love, that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within you, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Philippians 1:9-11~ "And this is my prayer - that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."

I Samuel 10:6 & 26~ "May the Spirit of the Lord come upon you in power and you will prophesy with them and you will be changed into a different person. (That you will be) accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God has touched."

Isaiah 11:2~ "May the Spirit of the Lord rest upon you, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might."

Galatians 5:19&20,22&23~ "Lord, help them not to have the acts of the sinful nature, which are obvious (idolatry, witchcraft, sexual immorality, impurity & debauchery, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like) - but the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."

Ephesians 6:9~ "Let them not become weary in doing good..."

Romans 15:5~ "May the lord who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves, as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth, you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 15:13~ "May the God hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit."

I Corinthians 1:7~ "Lord, help them not to lack any spiritual gift as they eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. may He keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I Corinthians 1:10~ "I appeal to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another, so that there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thoughts."

Isaiah 50:4-5~ "The Sovereign Lord has given you an instructed tongue (I pray) to know the word that sustains the weary... May He waken you by morning and waken your ears to listen like one being taught. May He open your ears, may you not be rebellious, may you not draw back."

Philippians 4:4~ "Lord, help them to rejoice in You always, let their gentleness be evident to all and not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present their requests unto God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4: 13~ "I pray they can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives them strength."

Philippians 4: 19~ "I pray that my God will meet all their needs, according to His riches in Christ Jesus."

I Thessalonians 3:12~ "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father, when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all His holy ones."

Isaiah 33:2~ "O Lord, be gracious to them. They long for you. Be their strength every morning and their salvation in times of distress."

Ephesians 4:29~ "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of their mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up; according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Help them not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom they were sealed for the day of redemption."

Ephesians 4:31~ "Lord, help them to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice, and be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave them."

Ephesians 6~ "Lord, help them to be strong in the Lord and in His might power and put on the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God."

II Timothy 1:7~ "Thank you, Lord, that You have not given them a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind (self discipline.)"

Deuteronomy 31:6&8~ "Lord, help them to be strong and courageous, not be afraid or terrified, because You go before them and You will never leave them nor forsake them...Lord, help them not be discouraged."

Psalm 138:7~ "Though they may walk in the midst of trouble, I pray You will preserve their lives."

Deuteronomy 33:11~ "Bless Lord, their substance and accept the work of their hands."

Psalm 20:1-4~ "May the Lord answer you when you are in distress. May the Name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices...May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

Psalm 33:22~ "May Your unfailing love rest upon them even as they put their hope in You."

I Thessalonians 3:16~ "Now, may the Lord of peace Himself, give you peace at all times and in every way. the Lord be with all of you (and all of us.) Amen.

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everything you ever wanted to know about the birthday boy...noah~

Since Noah's birthday was coming up, I've been saving my last "everything you ever wanted to know" post for the big day. I don't really feel that I have as much to share about him, though, mainly because I feel like I've shared it already! If I repeat a bunch of stuff you already know, please forgive me :o)

Here goes...

1. Noah was born on 7.7.2005. He was probably my hardest birth even though he was my next-to-smallest baby.

2. Noah is tongue-tied, like Glen. It's really cute to see him try and stick out his tongue (because he can't), but boy did it cause some pain I'd rather not remember those first few weeks of his life.

3. Noah is my only left-handed child so far.

4. Noah's name was given to me before he was even conceived. One day I was sitting at my dining room table (I can't even remember what I was doing), and out of the blue, I heard "You are going to have another baby, and its name is Noah. Funny how I didn't hear "he." So Noah was going to be Noah whether he was a boy or girl. I immediately got up from the table and looked up the meaning in the baby book. Noah means rest, peace, and comfort. Along with all the "heroes of the faith" stuff, and I thought it was a great name. In a way, it immediately brought me some comfort, as at that point, I wasn't sure if we were going to have any more children, although I wanted to very much. His name has proven true numerous times in his life already as he brings us lots of joy and laughs, which brings comfort to our spirits. My grandmother and great aunt also went through losing their home where my grandmother had raised her children when Noah was a tiny baby, and while we moved their things and sorted through their memories that fall, they held him and rocked him and took care of him and through that, he brought a tremendous measure of comfort to their broken hearts.

5. Noah has a "funny boy" personality. He has created his position in our family by getting attention through being sweet and silly.

6. Is. still. nursing. And that's all I'm going to say about that :o)

7. Is finally using the potty...at least most of the time! Yay!

8. Noah is by far my most "two" two-year old ever. Everything is "I do it," "Do it myself," "Mine," "Yes I can!" and all those wonderful fun independant phrases :o)

bonus #9. Noah is a pure delight and never-ceasing source of joy for our family. We love him tremendously beyond words and I am so looking forward to watching his sweet and fun personality grow as he does.

03 July 2008

mom time~

On Tuesday night my two sisters and I decided to go out spur of the moment for dinner. We had such a great time! My sisters are my best friends, we're blessed like that (although once upon a time we were mortal enemies didn't get along so great. But that was in our childhood, and we're past that now :o)

The was the first time we've been out where my sister was the one with the infant and not me!

We went to Outback (filet with mushrooms and onions...yum!), walked around and did some outdoor shopping (I got a super cute apron from Antrhopologie! I'd been wanting to get one since last September, it's the only thing I've ever bought from Anthropologie, just so you know...), and had dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, after six weeks I broke my low carb thing, but it was pre-planned and I'm back on track. A girl's gotta splurge every once in awhile.

My youngest sister (you know, the 22 year old, unmarried, carefree one), left us around 10 to go to a show, and my other sister and I sat in the Outback parking lot until 11 just talking. By that time, the Target employees were long gone, and as I'm sure they didn't want to open the store just so I could get Caleb a skateboard helmet and knee pads (that young sister of mine, have I mentioned she's an awesome aunt? He spent the night with her last night and today they're going to eat sushi and go to the skate park).

So I went to Walmart. Now, I'm not snotty or anything, but I don't shop at Walmart. Usually once or twice a year. I have issues with how they've overrun the little guy (see The High Cost of Low Price), but I get that many people depend on them to get by, a good part of my extended family included, gee...my uncle even works for them), so I'm not "no Walmart, ever", but I very rarely shop there.

Anyway, back to the story. It actually happend like this. I left my sister around 11pm and just didn't want to head home yet. I had this irresistible urge to just go shopping, walk around a store, anything really. (I've gotten into the habit of staying up pretty late recently). I just couldn't justify walking around for no good reason, and then, a ha!, I remembered the helmet. Now I had a reason! So, I walked around Walmart for a good hour or so and did a fair amount of people watching (why do so many people drag their kids to Walmart in the middle of the night? Some of these were larger groups that seriously looked like they were having parties. They didn't have the "busy mom this is the only time I can get out look". Interesting.

Then I headed home.

And you know what the best part of all this is? Ethan was supposed to go to a Chuck E Cheese party today, and as I won't leave him there alone and it's pretty much torture to drag a bunch of other kids there that aren't invited to the party, I had made arrangements with my aunt to come over. Well, the party got postponed, but my aunt was still game for keeping the kids. So... I made a little deal with Glen that if he kept the kids so I could go out with my sisters, I would do my grocery shopping during the day on Thursday so I wouldn't have to leave him again tonight. All my kids want to stay here to play with Coocal (my aunt/pseudo-mom/pseudo-sister/friend, I'll have to write about her sometime), I get the whole day out by myself!!! Whoo hoo!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and all and put a high value and priority on spending lots of time with them, but I sure am looking forward to a day alone :o)

Now I've got to get my roast going for tonight so I won't have to cook dinner and bring in piles of groceries!

01 July 2008

journal: june 2008~

I'm going to try and remember to start doing a monthly recap journal of sorts for myself. I'm going to write it more "journal type," directed toward myself, so I can have somewhat of a record to look back on. Just giving everyone a head's up because I'm thinking it will be written in somewhat of a different format.

It will give you guys a peek into our lives on more of an overall scale, and I'm glad to share, but it's really just for my own benefit :o)

June 2008

June has found us decompressing from the school year. Although the plan is to "school year round", it is set up in such a way as to allow for long stretches of time "off" when needed in order to regroup, refocus, catch up, and plan.

As June began, I began to see the need for one of these "vacations" (it's the time of year for that anyway...great weather!), so I decided to take the month off. As it is looking more and more like we are just going to be home for next year with no outside tutorials or anything, I am putting a lot of focus, thought, and prayer into planning our new year. I've made lists of what I want each child to focus on this year, and how many days per week I want to spend on it.

The main marker for our decision regarding a tutorial was that if the kids got in, we would take that as a sign that they were supposed to go. Well, they all got in except Caleb. He's on the waiting list. I am still unsure whether to take that as a sign that we stay home, or wait and see if he does get in. I'm leaning toward staying home, but we'll see. Even if they do go, it's once a week, and it's more of a fun day with learning incorporated, so we'll still be doing our "school" completely at home.

I spent a long time deciding on a Science curriculum, and chose Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy. The book and supply kit arrived, and everyone seems very excited to dive into it. I plan to do Science two days per week, and I really hope to be able to do it in the evenings when Dad can either join in, or otherwise occupy the little kids.

I also decided to switch Anna's math. Again. I feel kind of stupid doing this, like I didn't stick with something I started, but Saxon has been tedious for her, as she "gets" math pretty well. She does still need quite a bit of practice on not making silly mistakes. She gets concepts beyond her grade level, but she overlooks the important details in working out the problems. It's great to be able to understand percentages and such, but if you can't do the multiplication right, well...that's a problem. She can do it, she just goes too fast. Anyway, I decided on Teaching Textbooks 7. I've had several people recommend it to me (I should have listened back when I switched to Saxon!), but I'd not seen it or heard about, so I was not familiar with it. While pricey, it looks to be great. She and I are both excited about it. It was designed especially for homeschoolers, and she should be able to do math completely independantly. It has teaching dvds that kids seem to love (according to reviews, even unsolicited ones) and presents things in more of a conversation tone, as opposed to "public school textbook" teaching format.

I am in the middle of writing/putting together an American History curriculum/unit study. American History from a Christian perspective is my passion. (I won the American Studies Award of Excellence the one year I attended public high school.) I plan to spend at least two years studying it. I probably shouldn't say that I'm writing it, I'm more pulling a study together from different resources. I am planning to use the children's books by Peter Marshall & David Manuel (The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet) as the spine, and add in other stuff as I find it. I'm planning out a chapter or so at a time. I plan to also spend time just learning about time periods and what life was like. Colonialism, exploration, pioneer, civil war era, etc.) I am really, really excited about it! I love history and I so hope my kids "get it" earlier than high school.

I am getting Haven into a schedule that seems to work pretty good for our routine. Up at 8, nap from 10-12. Lunch. Play. Nap from 2-4. During the 2-4 stretch is everyone else's nap/quiet time. I'm still in the process of figuring out how I want to plan the rest of the day in regards to the other kids and school.

I've gotton the computer back out, and I'm about to put it away again, save for school work. It just causes too many problems. I'm going to give it another week or so, implemented with our new "privilege ladder" system, and if attitudes don't change, away it goes.

The ladder system has been made, and it sitting on my desk waiting to be introduced. I got the idea from a momys, found a little more info on another mom's blog, tweaked it to suit our family, and hope to implement it next week. It's basically a chart of sorts with their privileges & fun stuff listed in order. When they do something to move them down the ladder, the first privilege they lose is a computer turn...and so forth from there. The last privilege to lose is "Kristen Day" which is when my awesome sister takes them out for a fun day. They almost always do something fabulously fun, like going to the sprinklers at the Bicentennial Mall (if they would get them working this year, they've tried to go five times now I think), the Adventure Science Center, the Zoo, to visit our other sister and her new baby, etc. I am hopeful about it, and hope it's not just another one of those ideas that I try and toss.

I've also spent a great deal of time refreshing myself in the Directing Vision Daily (Love & Logic) philosophy. I'm trying to figure out how to meld that (which I think is fabulous!) with training, the ladder system. I think there's a balance and I've got to figure out what that looks like for our family.

I feel like I've made some progress in my general outlook on life. I've pretty firmly decided I'm in the camp of letting the Lord plan our family completely, and I know I want another baby. Having made that decision consciously to accept that my life is full of mothering, washing, cleaning, teaching, etc. has helped my attitude and outlook quite a bit. Before I almost felt as if I was fighting against something. This is kind of hard to explain. Let's just say I feel a lot more settled.

Another large part of my improved mood is that I've lost 15 pounds! I've cut out almost all carbs and sugar over the last six weeks, and I am amazed at what a difference it makes. BeforeI was one of those people that "lives to eat", and gaining some self control over this area has helped so much! I am loosely doing Atkins, but it doesn't feel super healthy (not as many fruits and veggies as I think would be good), but as I've cut out almost all refined flour and sugar, there are health benefits. As I increase my carbs gradually, while still maintaining steady weight loss, I need to make sure those are "good" carbs from fruits and veggies. I definitely feel better about myself. It feels gross to have an area of your life you feel like a failure at. I've been miserable about my body for pretty much the last nine years (since Anna was born), and it feels great to have finally decided to do something about it. When I got married, I weighed 103 pounds. I gained exactly 30 pounds with Anna, and never really lost them. I lose a little weight at the beginning of each pregnancy, and then gain some, but after every baby I hit about 135 and just stay there. Okay for someone my height and build, but after being so small in high school, it was very depressing for me. I was consciously aware of it and didn't like the way I looked at all. Last year when I had pneumonia and lost a bunch of weight (not eating practically anything for three weeks will do that to you!). I got so many compliments it was ridiculous. I couldn't really take credit as I'd just been sick. I quickly went back to my regular size after Haven was born. The last few months saw the scale getting precariously close to 140, so I decided to take action. I am now down to about 123, and can definitely feel my clothes fit better. My mood is much improved. Glen is convinced I made the change since I started mowing, he said I needed more outside time and that being outside is good for me...I agree.

The kids all got their hair cut. Anna's was several inches below her shoulders and now it is chin length. Caleb lost the shag and is practically buzzed. Ethan is the same, and Moriah just got a general shoulder length cut. Glen is in charge of bath time and had started complaining it was too hard to wash, so we got it cut some. Noah just got a regular cut as he had started looking pretty shaggy. Haven has these super cute baby curls that I just can't bear to cut off yet.

Glen and I had our 11th anniversary. We went for a two night trip. We stayed at the West Baden Springs Hotel (old, restored, and very nice) and tried to go to Holiday World. When we arrived it was raining, so we headed home. We spent eight hours in the car and lots of gas to essentially stay in a hotel, but I love car trips (uniterruted time with Glen!) and we had a good book on tape, so I quite enjoyed it. We stayed at Opryland the second night as Kristen got us a room overlooking the cascades for $50, and spent Friday night at an adults' only party with a lot of our old high school friends. We all see each fairly regularly, but to get together without kids was obviously totally different. Between just three of the couples we have 14 kids, plus the other couples' kids too, so there would have been a lot of kids.

The hard thing of the month has been the birth control issue. I had my first cycle return on Haven's first birthday (ironic, huh?), so we had to face the issue. I could write a lot about this, but I don't really want to. The Lord has been talking to me about several things in this situation. The most important relationally wise, is that I need to honor my husband. Although I might have different beliefs and convictions than he does, it is the Lord's job to change him, not mine. The other thing He has been talking to me about, though, is that I feel as if I've made the decision to be "quiverfull" (google it). That basically means letting the Lord plan your family the way He desires. Whether that be a baby every year, or whether that means none. It actually can be either one or anywhere in between. It's trusting Him to create Your family as He desires. I get the other side. The "he gives us a brain", "we have free will", "He cares about what we want", etc. I really do. But for me, I choose to say "God, I want my family to look like what it would like if You plan it completely Yourself. I want you to make it exactly like You want." Giving Him total control and trusting Him implicitly. My thoughts are that as Christians, we say we trust God. We say we have given our lives to God. We say He is in contol of our life. So why do the majority of Christians withhold this area from Him? Just a question. I will say that being on momys, I know lots of quiverfull women. It is amazing for me to see how God has truly "planned" their families. I know stories of husbands and wives that are trusting God in this area, but that feel overwhelmed and tired. They ask God for a break, and He gives one. There is no explanation why a woman who has had a baby a year for 5,6,7,8, etc years suddently having a three year break, other than when they are trusting Him, He cares about what they want too. Then there are the other stories, women that feel tired, etc. and they don't have a break, for whatever reason. But our Christian walk is about being Christ-like, and for me, I know of nothing, bar none, that strips away my selfishness more than my children. Since this has been a hard thing, Glen and I are obviously not in complete agreement on it. He loves children, He loves our children, and since he is completely commited to being a godly father, he pours an overwhelming amount of time into our children. I realize that having another baby involves a great deal from him as well. Right now we're kind of agreeing to disagree :o) I am honoring his desire to at least wait for now, and he is really taking first of all, my convictions, but also my feelings of just plain wanting another baby into consideration. He is such a great guy. It is a sensitive subject, though. Glen and I have been blessed with so much unity in every area of our life, that it is really hard on both of us to feel this breach.

I still spent too much time on the computer this month. Ugghh. If I need to gain self control in any area, this is it. I will say I've gotton better, but I still spend entirely too much time on it. I had too many days this month where I pretty much let the kids go crazy have a free day so that I could do what I wanted. A lot of it was spent looking and deciding on school stuff, but I need to do better at this.

Well, I definitely don't want to end on that. Oh yeah, one other thing. I just started it yesterday, so technically it can count for June :o) I actually set my alarm clock to get up early and spend time with the Lord. I am going through Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit. It's actually a devotional and gets into scripture a lot. I am enjoying it as it's starting out with a foundation of what we gain from spending time with the Lord and making that a priority as a homeschooling Mom. Our success and encouragement flows out of our relationship with Him. While I feel I am in constant communion with Him always and have a very intimate relationship, I know I also need to spend time learning more of the part of Him that He reveals through His written Word.

In that same vein, this year we are doing a lot more Bible Study in our homeschooling. Thankfully, the kids all love Bible Time, and I am excited about this too. Very much so.

Glen finished up Where the Red Fern Grows, and I read Adam and His Kin to the kids.

"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November