Friday, August 31, 2007

One Little Secret

Darlene is hosting a contest to promote Allison Bottke's new book "One Little Secret" . The prize is an ipod shuffle. The contest is sponsored by Art Bookbindery. All you have to do is share "One Little Secret" about yourself to be entered to win.

So here is my little secret. When I was a baby I sucked my thumb. I continued sucking my thumb until I went to Kindergarten. (don't worry I didn't start sucking my thumb again) And like most kids who usually have a blanket or stuffed toy to go along with the thumb, I twirled my hair. I would take hold of the fine soft hair right in front of the ear and twist it in my finger and now forty some years later I still do. When I am in deep thought, tired or just sitting still, I will twirl my hair. My husband will sometimes ask me, "what are you thinking about" if he sees me twirling. I don't know why, but for some reason it still must be comforting to me.

So there it is, now it is your turn.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A break in the action

Well our schedule went from zero to sixty this past week and I have been working hard on establishing our routine. But today we had a break in the action with no scheduled activities, sporting practices or church services. The weather was absolutely perfect at about 75 degrees with a slight breeze. With the horrible humidty we have endured over the past couple of days (and weeks), it was just wonderful. We went outside and the kids rode their bikes, kicked the ball around the yard, and did some rollerblading up and down the street. I just sat in the afternoon sunshine and watched my kids play. Yes, there was laundry waiting to be folded, dishes in the sink and some bathrooms that need to be cleaned, but they will have to wait for another day.

I'm over at the Cafe today

Have you ever caused a stink in your home? If so, please come visit me at the Cafe today and let me know I am not alone.

And than to make you feel better go visit Musings of a Housewife to win an adorable tote by Eliza Grace Designs .

Monday, August 27, 2007

All in a day's work

Do you ever have someone ask, "what do you do all day?" Well, today I wrote it down.

5:45 am woke up to take my oldest daughter to cheerleading practice
6:00 am made a cup of tea, spent some quiet time with the Lord
7:15 am began making breakfast and waking up the other children and helping them get ready for school (my oldest daughter walked home from practice)
8:00 am off to school we go
8:20 am start laundry, decide it will be leftovers for supper, make beds, clean my messy kitchen, bathe my two year old, check emails , and tend to a husband who is not feeling well
11:00 am grocery shopping
12:00 pm make lunch for my not so feeling well husband, the two year old and myself, put groceries away, fold some laundry
1:00 pm take care of some ministry work, place an order for bible study, make two phone calls, check bloglines, go through a stack of papers, organize the first of the school and sport schedules, update my calendar, play with my two year old.
3:00 pm off to pick up kids (two year old falls asleep in the car)
3:30 pm off to run an errand with my twelve year old daughter
4:00 pm check chores, homework, listen to my teenage daughter as she tells me about her day, listen to a new Christmas musical CD with my twelve year old daughter all while I am starting supper with my seven year old son as my official helper for the night.
5:00 pm we casually sit down and enjoy some supper together
5:45 pm my twelve year old daughter and ten year old son are off to soccer and football practice, one walks the other is dropped off.
6:15 pm clean up the kitchen, fold a load of laundry, check on my oldest daughter to see if she has started her laundry, take a short walk.
7:30 pm pick up the soccer player and the football player
8:15 pm bathe the two youngest boys while the sweaty athletes take their shower.
8:45 pm everyone tucked into bed, prayers and kisses, girls are organizing their things for the next day and turn their own lights out
9:00 pm finish up some things for my husband on a bible study we are preparing, read a few blogs and write this post
10:30 pm off to bed to begin again tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

So I don't forget...

The first day of school is slowly ticking away and I am trying real hard to think about what our new routine will look like since I admitted that I was sooo ready for one. But even though, I must say that first day of school good-byes always leave a lump in my throat. They did eleven years ago when my oldest started school and this morning was no different.

As I walked my first grader to his class he informed me that he knew exactly where to line up. I noticed a confidence in his step as we walked past the Kindergarten area. He looked up at me and smiled as if to say, "been there done that" and continued on down the path towards the lines of older kids. His teacher quickly greeted us with a warm welcome and smile and he stepped right into line with a few of his friends from church. I took a few photos, told him I was going to leave and that is when it happened. He didn't grab my neck and plant a huge kiss on my cheek and give me one of those never ending hugs, but rather he quietly looked around and simply kissed the side of my face and looked at me with those blue eyes to say, "it's ok mom, I am bigger now and I will be ok." I thought to myself, "I don't doubt that son, but I won't".

As I stepped back and watched him walk into the building I quietly whispered to the Lord, "please watch over him not just today, but everyday as he lines up, sits down, and goes out to play."

A Giveaway

speaking of our children... Lisa at The Preachers Wife is giving away this! Go leave her a comment and you may be chosen to receive this absolutely free!

Join me in praying for our children

Many years ago when my oldest daughter was entering 1st grade and I felt completely unqualified to be her teacher, I took this prayer from Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Parent and adapted it to meet the needs of my child. I now pray this prayer over all four of my school age children and can easily pray it for my two year old as well.

Praying for our children as with all prayer does not have to be eloquent or fancy. It is simply acknowledging our great dependence on God to care for, train, and teach the children He has blessed us with.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Today is the first day of a new school year. Thank you that my children are healthy and excited about a new year. Thank you for the provision of new pencils, glue sticks, shiny new shoes and the many blessings you have provided for our family.

I pray that each child will have a deep reverence for You and Your ways. May each child hide Your Word in their heart like a treasure. Give them a good mind, a teachable spirit, and an ability to learn. Instill in them a desire to attain knowledge and skill, and may they have joy in the process. Above all, I pray that they will be taught by You, for Your Word says that when our children are taught by You they are guaranteed peace. You have also said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)

I pray they will respect and obey the wisdom of their dad and I and be willing to be taught by us. May they also have the desire to be taught by the teachers You bring into their life. I know that you handpick each one, Lord, and may they be godly people from whom each of my children can learn.
Help them to excel in school for your glory. Make the pathways of learning smooth and not something with which they must strain and struggle. Connect everything in each of their minds the way it is supposed to be so that they have clarity of thought, organization, good memory, and strong learning ability.

I say to each of them according to Your Word, "Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverbs 23:12)
"May the Lord give you understanding in all things" (2 Timothy 2:7)

I pray today as I have prayed everyday that each of my children will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. Go before them, protect them, watch over them through each day of this new school year. Thank you Lord, for each of my children, Lauren (sophomore), Kelsey (sixth grade), Theo (fifth grade), Hunter (1st grade), and of course the two year old at home. Give me patience and understanding as I teach his little hands to play softly, watch his little feet as they run through the house, and help him to learn to sit and listen as I read.

Lord, thank you for the awesome privilege of being a mom. May my children learn, while growing older that You are the source for all beauty, all knowledge, and all wisdom. This I ask in your most worthy name. Amen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School Starts Thursday - Join me in prayer!

I can remember the feeling so well. The new clothes neatly layed across the chair usually with the same outfit hanging in the closet but in a different color. The new wallaby's barely out of the box that had just been purchased from Thom McCan. And of course who can forget the new underwear and socks. Never could I start a new school year without them. My favorites were the year I received the days of the week swirled in cursive across the front of each pair. New clothes, shoes, and even underwear are childhood memories of a new school year beginning.

I remember the butterflies fluttering through my stomach the night before and waking up while it was yet dark. My face was shining, nails were trimmed and I was ready for the new year.

Through the years I have tried to create some traditions with my kids for each new school year. Of course, it has always included at least one new outfit even it means a new pair of shorts and shirt found on the summer clearance rack since the weather is usually very hot. Each child gets to go out with either mom or dad to shop for a new pair of shoes. And who can forget school supplies. My kids look forward to filling their backpacks with new folders, pens and glue sticks.

But a few of our favorite traditions is the ridiculously huge breakfast we prepare and dad's back to school prayer for each kid. And who can forget the picture taken of the whole group every year in the same spot. The kids love looking back at the changes and their growth and I do too.

This year my oldest daughter who will be a sophomore at the high school is planning to meet with a group of friends at the school early on the first day to pray for their school year. I am so excited that they have taken the initiative to do this.

I would like to invite each of you to join me on Thursday morning as I pray for my own children, even if you have already started your school year. I would love to invite everyone over to pray in my living room but that is a physical impossibility or maybe not if you live near me ;). But what a wonderful opportunity we have to pray together via technology. I used to pray with one or two friends over the phone. Hopefully, Thursday I will be praying with many more.

Join me Thursday morning (August 23rd) as we pray for our children as they start a new school year. I will post a prayer for my own children. I would love to join you in prayer for yours. I will try and set up a Mr. Linky (this will be my first time) so that we can all hold hands and agree in prayer together for our children.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm at the Cafe today

Are you heading somewhere? I have the wonderful privilege of sharing some thoughts a couple times a month at CWO's Internet Cafe. Join me today!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Important Stuff!

Hunter (7) and my husband called to let me know they had arrived at camp and Hunter proceeded to tell me with sheer seven year old joy and excitement in his voice that their room did not have bunk beds like everyone else, but they had a BIG bed and that they didn't need to bring their pillows because the room came with pillows, two cokes and a couple of reese's peanut butter cups, his absolute favorite. These boys are happy!

A Fresh Start

Well yesterday I packed (or helped pack) four suitcases for the sixth time this summer. Or I could say that this summer will amount to me packing and unpacking twenty-two suitcases total, And in case you are wondering, yes I have counted. My husband, Kelsey (12), Theo (10) and Hunter (7) left for camp. Hunter is officially not old enough to be a camper yet, but he went along to be his dad's sidekick. My husband is the speaker at jr. camp this year. Hunter will room with him and spend the week hanging out with dad. Fortunately, my husband has been able to do this at some point with all of the older kids and this year it was Hunter's turn. Left at home is myself, Lauren (15) and Coleman (2). I am praying for the kids to have a great time and for their dad to be blessed ministering to all those kids. They are in for an exciting week.

As I had shared in this post, I am ready for routine and several of you are too based on your comments and emails. Even yesterday in church I noticed on the faces of several women the weariness that sometimes comes from being a mom. Whether it is the summertime routine or lack of, vacations, house guests, sickness, changes or a long list of other things, usually the first thing to be affected is our daily quiet time alone with the Lord. Or at least this has always been the case in my life. This summer has proven no different.

I don't dwell too much on the reasons that brought me to this place, I just move quickly to make the necessary changes and get things back on track. Our kids look forward to the start of a new school year. A new classroom, teacher, supplies, clothes and possibly even friends. So, as a mom I look forward to a fresh new time with the Lord. Twice a year I usually evaluate how I spend my time, at the beginning of a new year and in the fall. I like to change things up, maybe a new book or devotional, I am usually beginning a new bible study at church, or I begin to read through a particular book of the bible several times over the course of a month, I usually always continue or start back with my life journal and I will even add a new worship cd once a year. I also like to evaluate the time of day that I have set aside and see if it has been working effectively. Depending on the ages of my children and the season I am in such as when I had a baby or toddler or more than one child at home during the day etc. etc., I set aside a time that I will be able to be committed to. This is not time that I will spend studying for leading a bible study but personal time of reading, praying and worship to the Lord. A time to prepare for leading can be inner-mingled with this, but I usually set aside another time of the day or week to prepare. This is a time of consistent seeking of the Lord. James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and He will come near to you..."."
Is seeking the face of God a consistent practice in your life? If not, consider starting small. Set some reasonable and attainable goals. Are you joining in with a ladies bible study this fall? Our church is offering Beth Moore's updated study "A Woman's Heart God's Dwelling Place" . For many this would be an excellent place to start. Making yourself accountable to others in the study of God's word is highly effective. Have you tried the Life Journal? Begin with the New Testament reading only and than slowly add the Old Testament. Just like our kids have to begin somewhere in school (more than likely Kindergarten), we too must begin somewhere. The point is to just begin. And over time just like our kids we will grow and grow and reap a precious harvest of growth in godliness.

Do you need a fresh start?

Friday, August 10, 2007

All for Him

Once there was an old monk who sang a Christmas song every Christmas Eve. His voice was ugly, but he loved the Lord and sang from his heart. One day the head of the cloister said, "I'm sorry, Brother Don, we have a new monk with a beautiful voice...he will sing this Christmas." The man sang so beautifully that everyone was happy. But that night an angel came to the superior and said; "Why didn't you have
a Christmas Eve song?" The superior answered, "We had a beautiful song." But the angel said sadly, "We did not hear it in heaven." You see, the old monk had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, but the young man sang for his own benefit, not for the Lord's glory.

...whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

Lord, self slips in so easily, when all I want is to do things for Your glory. Let me always hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit. ( a prayer by Corrie Ten Boom)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I admit it

Are you tired?
Are you weary?
Do you have a new baby or toddlers who seem to keep you up at night or maybe up all day long?
Are you ready for the routine of the school year more than anyone else in the house?
Do you have teenagers whose active busy life keep your knees pressed to the ground and ears pressed to everything else?

Are you like me asking yourself how did I get here?

My two year old has been waking up off and on at night for no apparent reason. He doesn't always settle back down easy and so it takes a little time to get him back to sleep.
Never can I ever remember a summer that I was looking forward to school beginning. I completely hate to admit it, but I need routine and my children are ready for it too. I have provided little to no routine this summer and the effects of this have shown their ugly head.
This year (meaning school year) my oldest daughter turns sixteen and my younger daughter turns thirteen. For many of my dear friends this day has already come and gone in their lives, but I feel my kids are all approaching these years now in almost lightening speed. Can we just slow down a bit so I can catch my breath and ponder just for a moment that the girl who I just carried in my arms and slept in the bend of my arm those first few nights is almost sixteen? I have just barely figured how to live with one teenager and now it is time for two. It is probably not much different than when my second or third or fourth child were born and I wondered how I would do it.

I have sensed we are entering a new season.
I am tired! I am weary! I need the routine that will be here in a few weeks. I admit it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

August 6th Happy Birthday!!

This morning as I awoke and looked over to see you on your knees, I thought, "it is I who has received the gift today". Thank you for being a husband and father who has loved immensely, cared passionately and served fervently and faithfully. Thank you for being such a Godly example to me, our children, and the people God has brought you to serve. I pray on this your special day that God would bless you! Thank you Lord for another year and may you continue to be glorified through his life!
Happy Birthday to my one and only!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Internet Cafe - Happy Camper

A few weeks ago my husband, myself, five very excited children and one happy dog headed out not too far from our home to go camping. We hadn’t “tent” camped since my oldest three were five, three and one. From that experience, I had told myself it would be a long time before we attempted to go camping without a roof over our head. We have been several places in which either a cabin or RV was our dwelling, but out kids wanted to camp with tents.
So we traded our carpeting and wood floors for green grass and our Serta pillow top mattress for the comforts of a leaky air mattress and sleeping bags. I gave up stainless steel appliances for two ice chests, a lovely camp stove and several plastic tubs for washing dishes. The lighting was sunshine and stars amidst seven chairs arranged nicely around the campfire ring and well let’s just say it was a lovely stroll through the trees to the nearest bathrooms with running water. But I loved it! Yes, you read right “I loved it!”

To hear the reason "why?"... join me over at the Internet Cafe today.