Saturday, January 30, 2010

praying for relatives

One of the revelations coming out of my meeting with Pastor relates to the sharing of Biblical truths with unbelieving relatives.  Using terms such as "guard your heart", which is primarily "Christian speak", just drives a deeper wedge in an already precarious relationship.  We don't have Biblical terms or concepts available to us, in speaking to unbelieving family.

I've known for a while that I can't convince an unbeliever to follow Christ.  God himself has to open a heart;  man cannot do such a miraculous thing.  When the relative or friend in question is ready to receive the Gospel, I think God will make it very clear that it's finally time to speak.

This knowledge--that Christian speak has to be avoided--really shed some light.  I hope it helps you in some way.

The best way to help an unbelieving relative is to pray for their salvation, without ceasing.  That phrase "without ceasing" has come to mean, for me, that I must have a system in place to remember to pray, frequently.  For example, I pray for all unbelieving family, one by one, every time I nurse my baby.

Pastor shared that such a system works for him as well.  He once had an unpleasant altercation with a woman who drove a black SUV.  The situation was very draining and upsetting to him and to his family.  So now, every time he sees a black SUV, he prays for that woman.  And wouldn't you know?  He continues to see a LOT of black SUVs.

Some of the people I pray for--including a foster child my sister once cared for--will probably never cross my path again.  But even so, I have faith that the prayer makes a difference in that person's life.

I have no believing relatives save for one of my dad's sisters, who resides here in Ohio.  I often wonder if she prayed for unbelieving family over the years?  She always sends a birthday card to every relative, no matter how distant the relationship.  Did she pray every time she wrote a card, perhaps?  Did I come to know God in my early thirties partially because of her prayers over the years?  I did get a birthday card from her without fail, year after year, even though she didn't know me at all--not until we moved here in 2005.  Who else would have been praying for me, as I grew up?

I am very grateful for her!

Friday, January 29, 2010

thank you

Thank you so much for the potty-training advice!  All your comments helped me.

And Liz, I was so happy to hear from you!  It's been awhile.  Missed you.  We took Peter off the Strattera, and have no other options for medication.  Treating an ADHD/anxiety combo remains problematic in the medical world, and here at home, too.  Peter will start seeing a psychiatrist in February, who can hopefully give us tips on managing the more difficult, defiant ADHD behaviors.

I forgot to add a link to my earlier post.  It's about mothering children versus managing them.  Very thought provoking.  Not at all related to potty-training or ADHD.  Just something I wanted to share.

Have a great weekend!  Lord bless you!

potty training woes


Peter, cleaning the playroom and handing me a couple choking hazards:  "That's another reason to clean, isn't it? So we can find all the choking hazards.  We're doing a good job of keeping Beth alive, aren't we?"

The other thing I have to share is my frustration with potty teaching.  My Mary turned three last December.  She has been going in the potty since 18 months old, with our encouragement (never pressure).  However, she has no internal incentive to train.  We do all the work.  Sometimes I get tired of that, and just give up and change diapers.

Recently, I put her in underpants and told her that they wouldn't hold any pee, and that she needed to get to the potty, with our help, before she had to go.  She wet soon after that (I kept her off the furniture).  Then fifteen minutes later, she wet again.  The next day, the same thing kept occurring.  There is no sign of urinary tract infection.  I gave up this method, and have gone back to diapers.

What's up with the frequent wetting???  One of the listed requirements is for children to stay dry for a couple hours, indicating readiness for training.  Why does that happen so late in my kids?  I had the same problem with the boys.  They went very frequently, as if they couldn't fully empty their bladders.  Or they just didn't want to sit long enough to fully empty their bladders.

Both boys trained at age 3 years, 8 months--never looking back.  Is it just an inherited thing, this late potty training?  I do have extended family who wet the bed until age nine, and I have a late bed wetter who still wears nighttime pull ups.  Late night wetting CAN be related to ADHD, according to some.  Late is considered to be past age 6.  This same child also wets during naps, indicating to me that it's involuntary--a deep sleeping thing.  He only takes naps when he's ill.

60% of kids are trained by age 3, and about 95% are trained by age 4.  Do any of you have three year olds who still wet frequently--not able to stay dry for two hours, or going twice a hour?

Thanks for your input!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

i want to remember

You've heard more than enough about my desire to have babies.  I try to get it out of my mind.  Truly I do.  If you peek at this blog only occasionally, you might not know that my husband put his foot down firmly about more babies.  In the form of a vasectomy.  Last March.

As I talked to my heart earlier today, trying once again to make it accept this life change, Baby Beth's mischievous smile met mine.  She was about to open the pots and pans cupboard and create some ruckus.  I smiled back at her, marveling.

Oh, that smile of hers!  How will I ever survive without it?  Or without baby-soft cheeks to kiss?  Or without sweet baby lips at my breast?  Without a little one to dance with?

Will she nurse until she's 3, allowing Momma to slowly say goodbye to precious times?  Please God, yes?

My heart screams no, at a life sans babies!  I would gladly nurse several times a night for the rest of my life, if it meant my arms could stay full!

But alas, babies grow.  Mommas get old.  Baby pictures get dog-eared, as the only tangible thing left behind to enjoy.

People tell me there are special things about every season with children.  They don't understand, fully, why my heart aches so.  And I don't either.

Why can't I simply embrace today's blessing, and look forward to tomorrow's?  And leave it at that?

But we're talking about babies!  Can anything in life be so precious?

My husband would never adopt a baby, unless God himself came down and personally put the babe in his arms. Babies just aren't his thing, except on the day they are born, and up until they start crying.

Here are some pictures of today's blessings.  For me to look at tomorrow.  I don't mean to be ungrateful, God!  I know I have overflowing blessings, and some don't have any babies at all.

I thank you.

I want to remember the havoc she creates in the kitchen.  I roll my eyes at the clean-up, but with her, I'm always smitten.

My Peter reminds me of my father.  He, too, loves babies.  Peter and I delight in Beth together.

I want to remember what a sweet, fun brother he is.

I want to remember her sugar and spice smiles.  Her, "I love you so very much Mommy."

Her love for little Sis.  And Lil Sis seeming so proud of her big sister.

I want to remember how she perks up over Italian food, staying in her highchair beyond the usual 8 minutes.

I want to remember how much I love baking with and for my babies.

I want to remember how excited they get over their creations.

I want to remember how God blessed me with these two beauties, after it appeared my womb was done.

I want to remember the love, fellowship, and loyalty these two brothers share.

And the noise?  Do I want to remember that?  My heart says yes, because later it will be all too quiet.

I want to remember their batches of applesauce...their excitement over contributing.

Thank you, Father.  My heart is full.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

beautiful post

Oh, my goodness!  Whereas my piece on Haiti sounds preachy, what Elise wrote is beautifully crafted.  Her blog is such a pleasure to visit!  Don't miss it!

Haiti and the poor

I wrote a little about Haiti last week, indicating I would revisit the topic.  As I studied Scripture, I began to think more and more that what happened in Haiti is a wake-up call for us.

We are so rich here.  Other countries are so poor, with Haiti being the poorest in the western hemisphere.  Do we care?

Do we really care?  Or just give lip service to caring, such as giving our dutiful ten dollars to help earthquake victims?

Do our churches care?  Do they really care?  How much of church money is given to the poor on a regular basis?  How much church time and energy is devoted to the needs of the poor, as opposed to other endeavors?

How many Christian Americans give their 10% tithe, but nothing else?  A tithe, by the way, is actually Biblically defined as 10% of gross resources.  How many give not even a tithe?  Offerings are to be given after the tithe has been met (the tithe going to the believer's home church); offerings, in contrast, can go where they are needed.

But neither of these are actual commandments in the New Testament.  They are commandments in the Old Testament, but still represent worthwhile standards for believers.  God tells us in the Old Testament that the tithe requirement is the only commandment on which we can "test" God.  We can start out giving less, with a cheerful heart, and see how God continues to provide.

Anyhow, it's disheartening that American homes overflow with things that fall into the "wants" category.  Our credit card balances prove that we're greedy.  I believe the average balance is about $5000 per family.  We're fat on "wants", while the poor deal with daily insufficiency.  With daily hunger.  (Some people have had to put mortgage payments on credit cards since the recession started.  The $5000 figure probably represents those who live beyond their means in a good economy.)

So, do we really care then, about the poor?  Does God want us to care more and buy less?  Save more and give more?  YES!

And the images from Haiti are a wake up call!

Some say that the Voodoo religion practiced in Haiti may be the culprit. God is punishing them for it, right? That's why they are so forsaken, surely.

Well, it is true that God doesn't want us dealing with spirits.  There probably aren't any Evangelicals practicing Voodoo in Haiti.  Voodoo mixes with Catholicism there, as in some other countries.  I would venture to guess that it's practiced out of ignorance by unbelievers.

The bigger problem in God's eyes is us rich people here in America (and elsewhere).  God is ashamed of us.

And our government?  Has it helped?  We gave 2.7 billion in aid to Haiti, from 2002 through 2009.  What happened to it?  Why did we give it, continually, to a corrupt government?  Why not to legitimate sources instead?  Why not care enough to invest in people who would track the aid, to see if it was benefiting the poor in Haiti?  What work have our envoys been doing, in regards to tracking aid? The American taxpayer money was wasted, for the most part.  Why give money so irresponsibly?  How much of foreign aid is given irresponsibly?  These questions need to be answered.  The poor need us to get it right.  

What percentage of Scripture is about the needs of the poor, and about our responsibility to them?  How does God view the poor?

I want to offer an article that thoroughly answers the question of how God views the poor.  It was written by what appears to be an Independent-minded American who has issues with the Republican Party.  Despite some political content, it is a very good presentation.  Scripture makes up the bulk of the article.

As an aside, I don't think every Republican begrudges poor people their entitlement benefits.  There are certainly plenty who do, but I don't like this author's assumption that all Republicans champion the causes of the rich. Read it for the Biblical content--there is much truth there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Counting some blessings

- Beth is such a happy baby.  She runs toward each of us throughout the day, arms outstretched, babbling something happy as she jumps into our arms.  It just doesn't get any better than her sugar-and-spice, full-of-life ways!

- The children love and enjoy each other.  We're imperfect at meeting all their needs--it will always be that way.  In each other, they have so much!

- The Sunday Ladies Bible Study proved worthwhile.  They've chosen a professional video study with accompanying book.

- Not long ago we started scheduling love-making time. It doesn't sound romantic, true; we resisted doing it for a long time.  I can say it has proven to be a blessing!  No more misunderstandings. I highly recommend this if one of you works evenings, or if you have very young children or special needs children.  Life can be so draining; opting for sleep instead becomes tempting.  Consider that without scheduling it your overall intimacy suffers, making you less willing to extend grace toward one another.

Short list.  Some cocoa and my Bible calls.  A bit of a rough day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

a great person - her memoir

Mary DeMuth, a published author who writes the Want To Be Published tutorial blog, and also a daily recipe blog, and a personal blog (Relevant blog), is celebrating the release of her memoir, Thin Places.  Please go here to see a trailer.  And pass the book to a friend who suffers a difficult past--especially one that includes sexual abuse.  Mary is a glowing example of God's mercy and grace.  I'm so enjoying her blogs!  They're all a ministry!

Mary teaches that to be an expert at something you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice.  Humble and very spiritual, she worked hard to achieve her success.  I believe this is her eighth published book.  I'm sure one of the reasons she maintains so many blogs is so she can add to her 10,000 hours.  Of course, she also loves to speak the truth.  Her dream is to write a cookbook as well.

Can you believe that even with her books and all her published articles, she still doesn't make a full-time living from writing?

Friday, January 22, 2010

pulling the plug

About two years ago I downgraded to basic cable.  Time Warner Cable, even after three phone reminders, never changed our service, although they did reduce our bill to $16.00/mo.

The kids watch mostly PBS, with Nick Jr. being used for Dora and Diego programming.  I watch Fox News about three nights per week, and my husband tapes sports games, which he then never has time to fully watch.

Last November, Paul, 6, began a passion for football and other sports.  He would sit there for a three-hour game (college football--not pros), only getting up to hop around and run through the house periodically, telling us the scores and recapping the best plays.  At first I was amused and amazed; understanding football is not easy.  Then, as Saturday after Saturday found him sitting there far too long, I knew we had a problem on our hands.

I want my children to have passions and hobbies; these are essential for all of us.  Prior to last fall, Paul hadn't developed many interests, besides math and crafts.  So part of me was happy for him.  Perhaps he would want to coach professionally some day, I surmised.  He seemed to fixate on plays and the more technical aspects of the game.

But seeing a 6 year old spend that much time inactive seemed very wrong to me.

Around the same time this began, my Mary began really watching TV, whereas before she simply "checked in" on Dora.  Seeing her staring at the TV, rather than getting involved in a myriad of other enriching activities, distressed me.

I knew we needed to make changes.  However, all my little tricks failed a good percentage of the time.  I'll spare you the various things I implemented, attempting to limit everyone's viewing.

To make a long story short, I called the cable company and told them to shut it all off.  Within three days, we'll have no reception at all, and no rabbit ears.  And this time, I will continually call them, making sure they actually DO shut it off.

One of the reasons I homeschool is to allow my children time to expand their intellects as their interests dictate.  Without reception, I think we'll make leaps and bounds in that direction.  Having cable helped me through pregnancy bedrest, the colicky baby months, the more difficult sleep deprivation months, and the initial unemployment-scare months.  If you're there, don't take this as any judgement on your life--especially if you have no extended family around.

I just knew that for me, it was time to move on.  Time to trust myself.  There was never a question about them; they would adjust beautifully, as they had in the past.  I knew that.  My own adjustment and stress level was the problem.

After I got off the phone with Time Warner, I felt such relief.

My husband was away at school while I made the call.  I waited a whole day before telling him.  Then, I walked into our bedroom, told him about my deed, and then walked out, so he could process the whole thing alone.  March Madness basketball is coming up, and I knew it would be a huge distraction, working to reduce his concentration while studying.  You're probably thinking I am hugely flawed in the area of Christian submission.  Probably true, but right now, my husband is going through a mini crisis.  I think he needs me to pick up some decision-making slack.

In my defense, I can say.......I really felt it was the Holy Spirit putting me through to the cable company.

Ten minutes after hearing the sports-less news, my husband walked up to me, hugged me, and said, "I think it was a good idea."

I was expecting a few days of irritation.  Much relief flooded me.

Then I remembered one of the reasons I married that man.

He seemed to have a teachable heart--always open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It was never "my way or the highway".

Remaining open to the Holy Spirit, through all stages of life, really saves the Christian from self-inflicted angst.  My husband continually models this for the rest of us--making him a good leader.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

positive reception

There's been no time lately to compose a real post.  Just wanted to report that the schedule I designed for my husband was well received--thanks to the Holy Spirit!  If you prayed, you have my sincere thanks!  I think having a daily plan will help with the depression as well.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a nudge in right direction?

Without a doubt, my husband shares Peter's ADHD diagnosis.  Nobody wants to face such a diagnosis--least of all an adult man.   I've gently suggested this diagnosis as a possibility, but it isn't well received (quiet irritation).

Nevertheless, I've made a move to help him.  This evening I typed up daily schedules for him which include several hours a day at the library for study, job hunting and Bible time.  He really needs this nudge, and probably medication as well.  A daily schedule REALLY helps our son's ADHD.

Please say a prayer that my efforts are well received.  Either he'll realize he needs this level of self-discipline, or he''ll resent me as a meddling wife.  Let's hope it's the former.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts.  Phew!  That was certainly a long, kooky victory speech, but at any rate, I'm very relieved.

I do believe we'll be saying goodbye soon to both Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Can I get an Amen?

your marriage

My husband showers my physical self with praise.  I'm fortunate that he does this and I do so appreciate it.  But, it embarrasses me and I don't really receive it.  That hurts him.  He needs me to fully receive his praise; to believe it.  And to behave as though I believe it.

That isn't the only thing.

We need to consciously touch throughout the day.  When there's no touching, our words are quick...sometimes critical.

I read a post on Ann's blog today that amazed me.  I'm not the only one who struggles with this.  Please, read her post.  It's simply amazing!  Your marriage needs you to read it!

thoughts on Haiti

Like you I'm profoundly affected by the scenes from Haiti.  For two days I've studied the Bible, in search of answers.  I know the short answer: all suffering is the result of the fall of man.  But I wanted something more specific to help me deal with the images and realizations.  Why did this have to occur to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere?  Ideas are swirling in my head, but I want to know what the Bible has to say.  What can it offer us as we watch the devastation worsen, knowing that small babies will die soon, if formula doesn't arrive?  

I'm not satisfied with my Scripture findings thus far.  I want more.  My search will continue and I'll get back here soon to report.  In the meantime, I like this quote, by Christian writer Margaret Clarkson:

"Pain is pain.  Sorrow is sorrow.  It hurts.  It limits.  It works devastation deep within personality.  It circumscribes in a thousand different ways.  There is nothing good about it.  But the gifts that God can give with it are the richest the human spirit can know."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Remembering God

Remember God today.  Sundays can be hard, for various reasons, for the Christian family.  The enemy attacks repeatedly, starting the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning. Please go to the Of First Importance blog, to read a quick devotional on the value of remembering God.  It's very quick, as these posts always are.  You'd be blessed to check this excellent devotional blog daily.  You DO HAVE THE TIME!

Love you, Friends!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a real honor

Darkness surrounded me today.  No, not a weather reference. Worries and hurts overwhelmed.  I prayed while folding clothes.  While doing dishes.  While changing diapers.  While hugging children--wearing a dutiful smile.

- My husband is in his early fifties.  It's harder for older men to get jobs, even with new training.  What happens when the unemployment runs out?  We're drawing from it slower than some, since he has a part-time job and they take some out for that.  What if the computer education does no good?  Should we have used birth control after having just our two boys?  Were we out of our minds?  But then I think.....these kids....these girls.... are wonderful.  They are rays of sunshine even on the darkest days.  Certainly, God wanted them in our home?  Certainly, they are a gift, as I've always thought?  And yet, how will we support them?  How, God?  How much longer can we live like this?  There are so few jobs, even after all these months.

- My son has been taking Strattera (an ADHD drug) for about a week.  We're finding it wonderful in many respects.  But it too, aggravates the anxiety (his co-morbid disorder).  He spent much of today worrying about church class tomorrow, and being separated from us during that time.  No matter what we say, he feels certain we will leave the building and forget him.  His brain will not let him drop the subject, so we must continually address his fears, all day.  To no avail.  Reasoning with an anxiety sufferer does no good.  My heart aches for my son.  Why, Lord, must he be so afflicted?  Finally, a medicine that works beautifully in so many respects, except in this one.  Why can't he feel carefree, childhood joy?  Why this persistent separation anxiety?  And should we throw out the medicine, or wait to see if this subsides as his body gets used to it?  One more week?  Two more?  I know so many kids suffer far, far more than this.   I am ashamed of my "why him", "why us" questions.  Why not us?  That's what I should be thinking.

- My husband may be clinically depressed.  I don't know how to help him, and he can't offer me much, on these days.  I have very few of these days, thankfully.  Pray for my husband, please?  My pastor will set him up with a Christian doctor to address the depression ( if husband is agreeable to this).

9:00 pm arrives.  Kids husband away at a part-time job.  I found the time to look up sermons on comfort.  Just reading comfort verses from the Bible didn't help.  I found this--a wonderful sermon on encouragement.  Thank God for on-line sermons!  Whatever you might need, at any given time, is right there.  This isn't the first time one of these jewels really turned my day around.

I'm out of the depths.  My son will be equipped to comfort others, in their affliction.  God will use him.  God will use my husband.  It's all painful now, but I must think of the future, when it will be used to comfort someone, and to glorify God.  When God uses you, count yourself blessed.  It's a real honor.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

A quote from the encouragement sermon, linked above.
"God does not comfort you to make you comfortable, but to make you comforters." (

Life feels hopeful again.  Happy.  Blessed.  Full.

Now I think I 'll bake up some oatmeal raisin cookies.  Sound good?

Friday, January 15, 2010

start today

I wrote a Valentine post earlier this morning, and I thought that would be it for the day.  But alas, something pressing seems to need airing.  Is it the Holy Spirit making it pressing?  I never know for sure, but just in case, here goes.

After counseling with my Pastor last Tuesday, I felt much relief.  But as Jess brought up in the comments, talking to a Pastor is scary.  After you choose it you can never walk the halls of your church again, pretending you are whole.  Your secrets are out, and even though they may only be shared with your Pastor's wife, it still makes you feel rather naked, cellulite and all.  Yuck!

This blog seems to have thirty regular readers, and 40 more who are occasional but recurring visitors.   Someone out there might need this post, and she might check in on just the right day to receive it.

If fear is keeping you from seeking help, consider this.  Your Pastor leads his church flock--a flock strategically put there by the Lord.  If he is a good leader, his flock affects the world for Christ.  If he is a poor leader, his flock flounders in their homes, and in their witnessing.  If we, the flock, hide our true selves, showing up in Sunday best, pretending to be all holy and perpetually happy, what does it accomplish?

We need to pray much for Pastors, for a variety of reasons.  They have a lot of weight on their shoulders!  Counseling takes a lot out of them and our fervent prayers help them release the weight to God.  They MUST let it go, to be effective.  And even though it feels heavy, they must counsel!  It is often the only way they'll rid their flock of dysfunction.

We, too, must let the weight go.  We must!  Dysfunction is sin.  Even if it wasn't our sin that brought about the dysfunction in the first place, we are sinning if we let the original sin continue to affect future generations.  Release your family line from the dysfunction!  Release your own children from it!  Release yourself.

Pastor told me that his own mother was dealt a hand similar to mine--a dysfunctional parent who wasn't available to her emotionally.  Even after the dysfunctional mother passed away, his mother still carried the hurt caused by insufficient love.  Pastor tried to help her release it, but she couldn't.  

Or perhaps....she wouldn't?

I can't go through my day and expect the hurt not to return.  I have to actively fight its presence.  The enemy will continue to bring it to my mind, setting me up for a spiritual battle.

Here is how you might arm yourself for the battle:

- the Word (either through the Bible alone, or with a mixture of the Bible, devotionals, and non-fiction Christian books--anything that contains Scripture.)

- Worship music (whatever style makes you feel the Lord's presence)

- Prayer (have a system in place to pray for this particular need throughout the day.  Every time I nurse my baby, I pray for this situation, and all involved).

- Fellowship with other believers

- Exercise (helps with any sort of stress--like you're releasing it along with your sweat.  Weird how that works!)

- Pour yourself into your husband and children.  Really bless their socks off.  Concentrate on that.  Pouring out love can make up for a lack of love.  In fact, if we lack anything, we have to pour out more of it--whether it be love, time, money.

One more thing.

If you are the only one in your extended family who is ready to release this dysfunction, you might be hated, or at the very least, thought of as cold and hard.  That hurts a whole lot, let me tell you.  And it can make you feel more alone than you've ever felt in your life.  It is a huge mountain to climb.

Start today.

Valentine heaven

My children LOVE all things Valentine.  Stores quickly pack away Christmas merchandise from their shelves, only to set out Valentine's Day goodies, sometimes as early as January 1st.  That excites us!  Countless hours are spent on card making around here.  And I do mean countless.  Already my kiddos must have put in five full hours, and said holiday is still a month away.

For me, that means bliss.  Busy children are content.  Busy children stay out of trouble.  Busy children delight their Mommas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I met with my pastor today regarding my dysfunctional parent situation.  It was so liberating to have this counseling!  Why in the world did I wait so long??  We covered a number of issues, and he wholeheartedly affirmed my new, tough-love stance.

He also said that I needed more support in my life.  I told him about all of you, and what a blessing you have been to me these last two years.  While he was relieved to hear this, he said it was mandatory that I have a flesh-and-blood friend right now, as well as a woman who can act as a surrogate mother.  In fact, he is holding me accountable for this.  He mentioned his wife as a friend possibility, since she is about my age.  I happen to really like his wife!  She teaches at a Christian school, so we have a teaching background in common.  They have two children at home--one in middle school and one in high school.  Their oldest child, a daughter, just got married last summer, and attends Moody Bible school along with her new husband.

Pastor also wants me to show up at the Ladies Bible Study on Sunday nights, for more fellowship.  There are only teenagers in the nursery at that time, which is why I have rejected the Bible Study idea previously.  Our family would add four more children to the mix, including a baby who will probably cry her eyes out at being left.  The only time I've left her in the nursery was during the Christmas play, so that I could see the whole thing up close and give encouraging smiles to my boys, who played shepherds with minor speaking parts.  Pastor is going to work on getting an adult in there, and I told him I could work in there on a rotation.

He is also going to address issues with my husband, who didn't grow up with a loving father.  Pastor will be a friend and encourager to him, and put others in place to do the same, including someone who can act as a father.

And lastly, he is going to make sure our children have surrogate grandparents!

PRAISE THE LORD!  I'm going to sleep so well tonight.  For the first time in a very long time, I don't feel alone.

Don't underestimate the counseling skills of your local pastor!  You just might be blessed if you make an appointment!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday morning meyhem

What can you be sure of on Sunday morning, during church prep?

- A shoe (or two) will go missing just as the family prepares to pile into the van.

- Mommy--forgetting that it's better to dress the troops AFTER BREAKFAST--will have a hissy over the spill that ruins a carefully-chosen kid outfit.

- A certain cereal, desired by the resident picky eater, will be all gone.

- The eight year old will suddenly outgrow all acceptable church outfits.

- Two heads of hair will not stop sticking straight up, despite three applications of water.  Where's the old-fashioned goop when you need it?

- The baby will sleep lousy the night before, making Mommy feel cranky--not at all spiritual.

- Mommy and Daddy will throw irritated words at one another, for no good reason.

- Mommy will say how next week, all clothes need to be laid out the night before.

Fast forward one week: Mommy feels too busy to lay out clothes on Saturday night.  Every day has enough trouble of its own.

"I'll just get up earlier and do it in the morning", she assures herself.  But, remember, the baby always sleeps lousy on Saturday night?

Oh, what a vicious, enemy-induced cycle!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Eight Years Old

Enough with the pictures already.  Can I just have my cake, please?

Peter Turns Eight

The important thing about Peter is that he loves science
It's true that he loves food
And that he likes being with people
And that he enjoys making soups
But the important thing about Peter is that he loves science

The important thing about Peter is that he loves read-aloud time
It's true that he loves babies
And that he loves special time with parents
And that he changes things up in our computer control panels
But the important thing about Peter is that he loves read-aloud time

The important thing about Peter is that he enjoys arts and crafts
It's true that he is handsome
And that he will be much taller than his parents
And that he boogies to Christian rock dance tunes
But the important thing about Peter is that he enjoys arts and crafts

The important thing about Peter is that he likes snapping pictures
It's true that he rides his bike really fast
And that he loves playing with brother Paul
And that he gets excited about playdates and parties
But the important thing about Peter is that he likes snapping pictures

The important thing about Peter is that he might be a chef
It's true that he reads fluently now
And that he makes chocolate shakes in a blender
And that he enjoys science experiments with Daddy
But the important thing about Peter is that he might be a chef

The important thing about Peter is that he might be a teacher
It's true that he enjoys teaching his preschool sister
And that he has an eclectic music taste
And that he likes to hike and look for insects and amphibians
But the important thing about Peter is that he might be a teacher

The important thing about Peter is that now he's 8!
It's true that he has trouble waiting
And that he asks "How many more minutes until...."
And that he vacuums quite well
But the important thing about Peter is that now he's 8!

I tried to get a picture of the matching dresses Grandma sent for their birthdays in Dec.  See how crazy it is with a one year old?

I'm crazy in love with that little squirrel!  Those two little squirrels, actually!

Friday, January 8, 2010

plowing, chiseling

A miraculous thing.  Suddenly, Peter reads fluently, beautifully.  While always at grade level, he lacked speed and fluency.  What a precious thing, listening to him read!  I couldn't stop kissing his head today while he read through a long story.  Softly spoken praise words spilled from me.  

In truth, I wanted to get out of my seat and jump up and down, shouting to all the world that my Peter had made it to the top of a mountain.

Instead, I settled for putting my arm around him, patting his shoulder, kissing his hair.  He finished and I grew more animated, asking him if he noticed anything different about his reading.  As I offered up more and more praise, he seemed quietly pleased.

Oh, I realize these things don't happen suddenly.  The dots start connecting at very young ages and spurts like these come every so often, resulting from steady work.  They only seem sudden.

Usually, I'm the only one elated over such events.  The students?  They seem unaware of how far they've come.  They scratch their heads at the teacher's sudden elation.  What's gotten into her?

Teary moments like this?  The teacher lives for them.  Even after years of teaching these moments still delight--each time feels like the first time.

The early reading phase challenges both teacher and student. It can be long, arduous--like jogging around the same track, day after day.  No variety.  No end in sight.

Then one day, long, fluent stories flow from the mouth of babes.

Brand-new adventures await the fluent reader.  No more stumbling, no more fatigue.  Books become something to devour rather than something to plow through.

This whole phenomenon reminds me of the Lord's work in my heart.  Lofty virtues like quietness or steadfastness at first seem like steep, jagged mountains.  How will I ever get there?  I'm too flawed...too weak.  I can't do it.

But He is faithful to continue his steady, daily work.  Lovingly, he stretches us.  We feel uncomfortable, bent out of shape at times, from his chiseling.

One day a virtue takes root in us.  We go about our tasks, unaware of the change....not realizing how far we've come.

But He rejoices.

No, quietness and steadfastness have not taken root in me.  Yet.  They are just examples.  But I do feel the chiseling.

At dinner tonight I asked everyone what their favorite part of the day had been.  Peter replied first, "Reading with Mommy."  While he didn't understand my elation, exactly, he did soak it in.  What a blessing!

I failed in my parenting in some respects today.  But for thirty minutes, I was a perfect mother to Peter.

I have to ask you, Lord, to make the most of these moments, in their hearts.  May they forgive my imperfections.  Have mercy on me, a mother.  Give them amnesia for the worst times, and vivid memories of the best.  In your name, Amen.


Blessings to Count - Thursday

- The van repair topped out at $240.00--something to do with an engine coil.  Much better than a $2000 transmission.  A huge blessing!

-Helping in AWANA last night, I felt so blessed by the children's smiles.  Sweet kids.

- At the pediatrician's office for Beth and Mary's physicals today, I was blessed to hear the doctor tell Mary, "You're certainly a happy girl."  Mary smiled up at him and replied, "Yeah, I am."  Beth and Mary both have these electric smiles that light up our hearts.  We're all smitten with them.  Through God's grace and mercy, our children are happy.  Flawed, yes....with flawed parents.  But happy nonetheless.

- We continue to enjoy the Bob Jones second grade readers!  Peter's thankfulness for the spiritual stories warms my heart, making reading time a treasure for both of us.

- We have a friend in this neighborhood.  What a godsend!  My aunt and uncle, who would normally help with transportation dilemmas, are in Florida until February.  So, our friend helped my husband drop off and pick up our van for two different repairs recently.  We were so grateful for his help.

- We don't drink tea or coffee, but late at night during the cold months I really enjoy my french vanilla cocoa.  For ten glorious minutes I just sit and sip, trying to block out all the chores...all the should dos.  I find it luxurious.  No time for bubble baths or spa treatments or manicures.  With this many kids--close in age--ten minutes with a cup of cocoa is as good as it gets.

-  Lately, Mary utters the cutest things.  I told the boys they had to be at the table for journals in ten minutes, and Mary stood up on the preschool table, poked her head into the kitchen (through the partially open wall) and said, "And me too, of course."

Then later she plopped into my lap, looked directly into my eyes with a half-laughing, half-serious face, and said, "We have a big problem to solve."  I laughed.  No problem really....she just wanted to repeat some phrase she had heard.  It makes her feel like a big girl.  You'd have to be in her presence to get a sense of how funny these things sound, coming from my 31-pound 3 year old.

Peter, finished with lunch before the rest of us, began reading in his reader at the table (aloud, so Mommy could follow).  Mary said, "That's good reading, Peter."

-Beth made it to twenty pounds, from a birth weight of five pounds, nine ounces!  She still nurses about 5 to 7 times in a twenty-four hour period (only twice during the daytime).  I found it a blessing that her pediatrician didn't advise me to slow down or wean (not that I would have listened...just nice that he isn't opposed to toddler nursing).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

plans to prosper you

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

I abhor the rise of prosperity gospel preachers.  They teach a false, dangerous doctrine.  A few months ago, while doing dishes, I listened to twenty minutes of Joel Olsteen.  The word disgust doesn't begin to cover it!  He didn't say a single thing that rang true, in regards to Biblical doctrine.  Let's define these characters as mere motivational speakers--not Pastors or Biblical teachers.

An excellent sermon on the Jeremiah 29:11 passage can be found at  Much of this post comes from that teaching.

The English word "prosperity" is not a good match for the Hebrew word "shalom", which is the word used in Jeremiah 29:11.  Correctly interpreting any passage of Scripture requires examining the Hebrew words and comparing them to the English words used in translation.  Many times the match is far from precise, which is why we should all own a good study Bible.  And why we need to choose a church carefully, making sure the church leaders use historical context and the correct Hebrew meanings for any interpretational teaching.

So, what does "shalom" mean?  It means peace.  A larger definition brings in the ideas of completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment, unimpaired relationship with others and with God.

If you're interested, the historical context of Jeremiah 29:11 is printed in red below.  If you're not interested, skip over this red portion.

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD. 10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. 15 "Because you have said, 'The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' 16 thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: 17 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, 19 because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.' 20 Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: 21 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. 22 Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: "The LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire," 23 because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.' (Jeremiah 29:1-23 ESV)

Each use of the word "prosperity" refers to God's close relationship with his people, even in exile.  This is the primary sense of the word shalom--peace, intimacy, unhindered relationship with God.  God is working out His purposes even during the tragedies of His people.  Nothing is pointless; nothing is out from under God's control.

Isaiah 40 tells us:
He tends his flock like a sheperd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Currently, our van is doing something new.  Our mechanic doesn't own the $80,000 diagnostic machine needed to correctly analyze the problem.  So today, we have it at the Toyota dealer, spending the $60 necessary to have it analyzed.  It could be the transmission, or another extremely expensive repair.  Or, perhaps it's something simpler.  Rebuilding a transmission is a couple thousand and our mechanic doesn't think it's worth doing on such an old van.  My husband quickly let him know that a new used van is not in the cards.  We HAVE to keep this van running.  This is even more important right now than staying current on the house payment, which has been our primary focus during this job hunt/financial crisis.

This whole post endeavors to drive this point home:  Our earthly lives are typically full of curve balls.  Things ebb and flow, of course, but the curves keep on coming.  My issues are different than yours, but still, everyone has issues

Issues that seem really hard to handle. 

Issues that can drag on and on, making us wonder where God is in the midst of our struggles. 

Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of the peace we have in relationship with God. 


It truly is.

Don't be deceived, thinking that a better income will solve your issues, or a different house, or a different husband, or a different location, or a different job, or different friends, or a different extended family.

God.  Just God.  He's all we need.  Seek Him, and his peace.  Feel his sufficiency.  Envelope yourself with it. 

Memorize this:  " He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart." Isaiah 40

Memorize this:   "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

The Jeremiah verse literally popped into my head yesterday while I watched my children eat lunch together on the little preschool table in our playroom.  The dining room table was littered with a collage project.  We weren't finished and clearing it for lunch didn't make sense. So although I don't like them to eat in the playroom, it made sense yesterday. 

Baby Beth was in heaven, I tell you.  I put her in the preschool chair and she fit perfectly.  She looked so proud!  Her face lit up and sheer delight sparkled from her eyes.  She felt like a big girl.  Like an equal with her siblings, who were all sitting there with her.  They giggled at her--sensing her big-girl delight. 

They had the best time together, sitting there as one harmonious, happy unit. 

I was blessed...not able to keep my eyes off them.   I knew God was there, in that moment.  The joyful sibling scene before me was from Him--a timely reminder of his blessings, of his faithfulness. Of the plans he has to prosper me (us).  Not financially, but through relationship with him.  Through closer relationship.  Through more peace.  Through greater clarity and wisdom.

Post Script:  Oh, my.  Reading this over a couple hours after writing it, I see tons of to be verbs.  No time now, but later, I'll work on injecting beefy verbs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

editing for fun

Earlier today I read something quite depressing about the writing industry.  Ready for it?  Even if you publish a book, or two, you can still generally make more money flipping hamburgers.  Yes, there are exceptions, such as J.K. Rollings and Sarah Palin.  But most of us aren't exceptional.

It isn't that I had dreams of making a lot of money.  Selling articles--should any magazine ever publish something of mine--might only bring in a few hundred a month.  I knew that.

I just find it disconcerting that although the world cannot live without authors, child-care workers, or elderly-care workers, all three are among the lowest-paid professions.  What's wrong with that?  These hard-working people provide us with inspiration, love and knowledge.

The bottom line is this:  If you want to do something fulfilling--truly fulfilling--don't expect much of a paycheck.  Your fulfillment is your compensation.  That works fine so long as someone else in the household pays the bills.

Anyhow, lately I've been hanging out at Mary DeMuth's blogs--namely her writing-tutorial blog, linked below and featured on my side bar.  She recently began providing paragraphs for aspiring writers (or non-published writers) to edit.

The paragraph below appears in the fiction work, Twilight.  I hadn't heard of this book until recently, but apparently it sells quite well.  Poor-quality writing to be sure, but apparently the author knows how to weave a tale.  Good storytelling sells books.

I wanted to take a stab at the editing.

So You Want to Be Published: YOUR TURN: contemporary published work

It was unusually foggy; the air was almost smoky with it. The mist was ice cold where it clung to the exposed skin on my face and neck. I couldn't wait to get the heat going in my truck. It was such a thick fog that I was a few feet down the driveway before I realized there was a car in it: a silver car.

from Twilight, page 197

Christine's attempt at editing:
Weak verbs (shown in blue) weigh this wordy paragraph down.  As well, the piece tells, rather than shows.  I'm still reading and learning about both of these writing issues myself.  Here is my attempt at an edit (rewrite):

Thick, smoky fog hung in the air.  Ice-cold mist clung to my exposed face and neck.  Hands shivering, I unlocked my truck--impatient for its soothing heat.  Engine revving, I paused for some warmth, then started down the driveway, nearly hitting a car enveloped by the fog.  A silver car.

Now in reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm (Betty MacDonald, 1954) to the boys last night, I noticed several groups of sentences with weak verbs--some containing as many to be verbs as shown above.  Now, I regard Betty MacDonald as a master storyteller and excellent writer.  Always engaging, her sentences flow beautifully and she "shows" scenes superbly.  You feel as though you are in the scene; she's that good.  So some passive sentences work; there just can't be so many that they overwhelm a piece.  Is that correct, Stephanie from Canada?  I think you do some editing, yes?  What's your opinion on weak verbs/passive sentences?

Okay, so that's it for tonight; a pretty boring post if you aren't into writing as a craft.  Mary DeMuth encourages aspiring writers to put in their 10,000 hours of practice.  You can't hope to be exceptional at something unless you invest countless hours perfecting it.

I think I know solid advice when I hear it.  That's plenty solid.

I will definitely live it.  And really, it won't be difficult.  I can't NOT write; life is processed, for me, through writing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

hodpodge thoughts

All my one year olds carried things around, dropping them in this room or that, only to pick up something else and continue on.  I'm not kidding when I say that, though cute, it makes me feel like crying sometimes.  Feels like I'll never be free of clutter, no matter how hard I try.

A friend of ours came by last week, briefly, and must have seen the disarray--hard not to on that particular day.  He came by again on Friday and didn't come in, EVEN THOUGH THE HOUSE WAS CLEAN, AND I WAS HOPING TO REDEEM MYSELF!  Ugh!

My baby loves baskets.  Her older sister was the same way at this same age.  Now big sis pushes little sis around.  Oh, the squeals of delight that brings!  Happy days.  Crazy days!  I wouldn't have it any other way, despite my lamenting about the house.

This is what a one year old can do to a room in twenty minutes.  The other side is even worse.  God help me! I just want to sip cocoa after they go to bed!  And read.  Or write.  Not find homes for hundreds of stray items.  Anything but that.

Mary, "reading" a predictable book.  I love predictable books and pattern books!  They make even the most timid child feel like a reader.  Awesome!  (As Mary says.)

Beth joins in here (left corner).  Hard to get a focused picture of these two.  They love to move just as I want to snap.

Baby Beth likes to get on my lap while I read to the boys, and pretend to read by moving her index finger across the words.  It amazes me that at her age she understands this much about reading--that the words carry the message.

Forgive Daddy for his wild shirt.  Do you think I should lose it under the bed--or something?

Don't get the impression she sits still for very long--just for a couple pages at a time, so far.

To be so loved!  Peter and Mary especially love this little Missy.

Paul is often in his own little mathematical world, head in the clouds, adding numbers in his head (just for fun).  I need paper to add what his head easily manages.  I love it when he asks me if he's right--as though of course I would know, since I'm an adult.  He has little idea of how precocious his figuring is.  Hopefully, he stays humble.  Gifted kids (he probably is gifted) can get a big head sometimes, once they understand that others don't think like they do, or grasp things as easily.  I've seen them also try to play dumb, so people won't think they're weird.  Of course they want to fit in, like everyone else.  Being different can get lonely.

I pray that as with Peter's ADHD, we say the right things--showing them both they're fearfully and wonderfully made, by an awesome God, who has awesome plans for their lives.

Blessings to count:

- My husband, and Peter, Paul, Mary and Beth.  They sure color my days happy!

- The opportunity to heal, and leave behind a sense of isolation.

I wrote an e-mail to my pastor, running some things by him in relation to that relative I spoke of, who has a drinking problem.  He thought my "detachment with love" approach sounded quite good; we will meet to discuss the matter.  The Al Anon website really helped me understand my upbringing and my sense of isolation (isolation results from shame about family secrets).  If you have dealt with substance abuse in a parent, or sibling, or other relative close to you, I highly recommend visiting the site, even if you aren't sure the problem qualifies as alcoholism or addiction.  You need to make sure your decisions and your relationship patterns aren't still tied to unhealthy enabling patterns from the past.  Make sure you give it to God!  Christ's love can make up for insufficient parental love.   You'll still wish the past could have been different, but you won't be tied to it.

- Church today--wonderful sermon  

- Cuddling in bed this morning, with three of my sweeties, and with my Honey.  No greater start to the day than that.  Giggles and cuddles--the things kid-filled days are made of.

- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories, to delight my boys, and bring laughter to our nights

-The number of times Mary wants to hear The Three Little Pigs.  I love it that she has her favorites.  She'll soon be able to tell these tales herself!

- Mushrooms in my spaghetti sauce tonight, sautéed by my Honey.

- Beth is slowly getting her last two front teeth--making it a grand total of eight teeth now.  Do I have a good night's sleep to look forward to....soon?

- Tomorrow starts the first full day of school we've had since Christmas break started.  We've done one or two things every day for learning, but not full days.  My ADHD son's behavior has suffered (lack of routine).  Tomorrow will be a blessing for everyone!  Routine is a drug in itself--a very effective one.  Even the weekends can be difficult!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

some resolutions

Happy New Year!

I've tried a few times to write a post lately, but interruptions abound.  I'll try again now, with some New Year's Resolutions.

I've been dwelling a lot lately on the concept of focus.  It's hard to describe the difficulty I have with this!  Mothering a one year old is just plain hard!  Loaded with blessing, of course, but hard too.  Add a three year old to the mix, and another child with ADHD, and life becomes a whirlwind, spinning Momma hither and yon.  The sudden smelly diaper, a spontaneous spill, the dreaded dryer buzzer, the request for a drink, a snack, a bottle of glue.......the list goes on.  Why did I come down the hall?  Something needed fetching...what was it again?  A roll of papertowels?  A lightbulb?  A washcloth?  What was it, for heaven's sake?

Sound familiar, Mommas?  Sometimes I wonder if I, too, have ADHD.  Then I reject that notion, concluding instead that it's the season of life I'm in.  And also the fact that introspective people often get sidetracked; I definitely fall into the introspective category.

Whatever the reason, I need to conquer this lack of focus.  Legacy-leaving parenting is intentional, not drifting.  My Raising Godly Tomatoes goals, my Scripture memorizing goals, and other goals, depend on focus.

A crazy solution popped into my head this morning, following a few weeks of prayer.  An apron!  Yes...a pocketed apron.

I will wear it to carry:

-  Token behavior system dollars, which work so well with Peter's ADHD, WHEN I remember to give them out right away.  Carrying them with me will help enormously.

- Scripture verses, written on index cards.  They will redirect me when I feel overwhelmed or angry.

- Math flash cards, which work best when used VERY often, for short periods.

- Stop watch, to time my three year old's potty trips.  Otherwise, I forget to take her; she still lacks internal incentive.  I'll change fewer diapers anyway, if I take her more often.

- A note pad, to record things we need at the store.  I used to remember everything we lacked, without fail.  Not so anymore; insufficient sleep affects my memory.

I'll probably think of other uses for the apron, but that's it for now.

New Year's Resolutions

1Trust God more

James 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  Parenting is a heavy burden; the stakes are high.  But how my children turn out depends so little on me.  If I pray for help with problematic issues, I have to then lay the issues at the Lord's feet, and trust Him...letting him raise the children through me.

2.  Be quiet

James 1:19  My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  I will be a better mother and wife if I remember this!  Two of my children have affirming words as their love language, and they especially, need me to exercise restraint with the tongue--spewing only kind words, constructive words.

3.  Ask for wisdom more often--this is tied to number 1.

James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  As soon as I begin to stress about an issue, I need to take it to the Lord.  I made some progress with this in the last few months, and that progress needs to continue.  My flesh wants to ruminate for a while, and then take it to the Lord.

4.  Be steadfast

James 1:12  Blessed are those who presevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  As a perfectionist, I often live with an all or nothing mentality.  If I can't do something as well as I want, I don't do it at all.  I lack steadfastness, due to frustration.  With this Scripture under my belt--and in my apron--I can redirect my perfectionist tendencies and remember to stay on the path.

5.  Learn about the writing industry; practice writing queries, and meeting fake deadlines. As soon as Anna is sleeping through the night, and I am guaranteed some regular, restorative sleep, I need to attempt to earn some money, hopefully from writing articles. 

6.  Move aerobically regularly; lift weights   As an older mom, I can't neglect this, if I want to see my granchildren.  Even if it's just jumping rope for twenty minutes, or dancing; I need to exercise.  I bought an exercise video, but doing it requires uninterrupted time. If this endeavor is important to God, he will provide uninterrupted time this winter.  Other seasons provide more opportunity to exercise with my children.

That's it for this year.  How are your resolutions shaping up?