Saturday, May 29, 2010


When we first moved to Ohio five years ago, I picked this as the beginning of my email address:  44us

It meant "four children for us", as in the two boys we were raising, along with the two babies we have in heaven.  Now, five years later, I have four living children--the last two not planned by us.  God made good on that email address!  Sometimes I get teary-eyed when I write it on forms, just thinking about how God blessed.

Recently I thought about changing it to 64us, to signify four here with us, and two more in heaven.  But you know, I don't think I will now.  I like having an inside joke, so to speak, with God.  Not that miscarriage is any sort of joke--I don't mean to be callous.  It's just that He knew exactly what would happen in the next three years.  I was oblivious, just picking out an address a month after a miscarriage, in my grief.

My God....He's amazing!

firm foundations

Did you read Ann's post today?  It was about the pain and the shame divorce brings into our lives.  Her parents got divorced eleven years ago, and still, it hurts her so much.

Some days I know my husband wishes I were different.  And there are certainly days I wish he didn't struggle with certain things. But at the core?  Our marriage is solid.  Rock solid.  We hate divorce, so we would never go there in thought, much less in word or deed.  Knowing this about husband and me brings me security, fulfillment, joy.  Our current days are hard.  So much to weather!  And yet strength abounds most days, due to our firm foundation.

Reading Ann's post today, I wanted to fall on my knees and thank God.  Wow!

 I think of a tree.  There is a glorious season of flower and fruit.  Temperature changes come, and a shortening of days.  The leaves change color, weaken, shrivel....blow away with storms.  Dormancy arrives for a time.  Things look bare.  Lifeless.  Desperate.  But the glory season faithfully comes again.  The tree's firm foundation and rich root system are its hope, its life.

My marriage has that same hope and life sustenance.  Praise God!

It dawned on me recently that I need to draw on that same strength of commitment in other areas of my life.  Take church, for instance.  Have you ever grown disillusioned with your church?  Ever thought about leaving?  Did you go so far as to research other churches?

I did.  Yesterday.  And today, I'm ashamed.

You remember that I sought some pastoral counseling in regards to dealing with unsaved family?    Since then, my husband has been to two sessions of counseling to help guide him through this job/career storm.  I don't write about the crisis from his perspective, but suffice it to say he is angry and demoralized, even though he has faith in the outcome.  This is an understandably deep crisis for a man.

We were grateful pastor lent an ear.  He's a sound counselor.  All seemed well, despite the trepidation involved in being laid bare before one's pastor.

Only now, it seems that our privacy was more important to us, than to people on the staff.   We aren't certain of a breech--just a strong hunch.  Could be our imaginations, but we both feel less comfortable at church.  The kids are oblivious and love it there, however.

I went through a couple days of anger.  I added up all the things I didn't like about our church.  The flaws in the children's ministry.  The fact that we are more conservative in our spiritual approach than most of the church body.  The fact that there are only a couple homeschooling families.  Some are dual career households with kids in daycare, with whom we have nothing in common.  The music never thrilled either of us, after the first couple weeks.  The church body is predominately empty nesters, or soon to be empty nesters.

My list went on.  My anger fueled a bit.  I coveted a fancy, anonymous type mega church I researched online.

And then the Holy Spirit soothed.

Of course our church is flawed!  Who makes up a church?  Sinners!  Like me.  Like my husband.  Like my kids.

I don't like people knowing things.  Without an entire story, details can get skewed.

But I shouldn't look for a new church because someone sinned against me, any more than I should look for a new husband because mine is flawed.  Sinners sin.  I am a sinner.  Where is my grace?  My father in heaven extended it to me, and I must do likewise.  I am called to do so.

Seeking help with issues puts one in vulnerable territory.  People might wonder things.  Judge.  Jump to conclusions.  But where does my security come from?  Not from the approval of man.  Not from the security of anonymity.  Not from Pastor thinking I have it all together.  False security, all of it.

My security comes from my foundation--my God.  And secondly, from the strength of my marriage--my family unit.  Like a firmly rooted tree, I can weather storms.  I can avoid chasing after the things of this world, which are here today, gone tomorrow.

I can go into that church and embrace those people, serve those people.  Truly.   Flaws and all.  (Theirs and mine).

Friday, May 28, 2010

what. have. you. done?!

Oh, people!  My children are doing lots of childish things lately.  As in the past two days, especially.  I confess to throwing my hands up and shouting (and I do mean shouting, bless my inappropriate soul), "What were you thinking?!  What is wrong with you people?!  How could you think that was okay to do?!  I don't understand such nonsense!!!"

This morning was the worst of the childishness.  My husband left for school at 7:20 a.m. as usual.  I was involved in poopy diapers and clean up and couldn't jump in the shower before he left.  So, I had to put the gate up in the playroom, give everyone drinks and cheesesticks (except for baby), and tell them that under no circumstances, except for bleeding, choking, or severe pain, were they to hike over the gate and risk knocking it down.  Baby stays in there, usually, when all her siblings are there with her.  She can hike the gate, but doesn't always choose to.

After all the caveats and preparations, I got into the shower and started praying for their safety.

No one came to tell me an insignificant detail about their playtime.  Baby did not escape and pull open the shower curtain and smile her mischievous smile.   No one came to ask me for Popsicles, which they are known to do at weird times once the mercury hits 80 degrees.

In short, it was a peaceful, if not rushed, shower.

Then, as I quickly pulled on my clothes and started oatmeal prep, I noticed what they were doing in the playroom.

Oh, my word!  You wouldn't believe it.

To set this up properly, I need to say that yesterday I finally got around to reshelving a ton of books, pulled out by my seventeen-month-old reader tyrant.

Well, their mischief just had to involve the unraveling of my hardwork, right?  Bingo.

They were playing some sort of game in which they were sea lions and the books were their food.  The result?  Almost an entire bookshelf was devoid of books!

I was never more horrified!  Never more spewing of "how could yous".  Never more fire-breathing in my countenance.

I took away the sprinkler for two days.  I took away lemonade Popsicles for two days.

My children were devastated.

But they will remember this.  Because sprinklers and Popsicles are what they live for during all those frigid winter, and then rainy, muddy spring days, spanning late November through late May.

But to everything, my dear friends, there is an upside.

I gave them each a size of book to deal with in an effort to get the books off the floor.  They are putting them in separate laundry baskets.  They can't re-shelve them in an organized fashion, enabling us to pull what we need quickly (easy reader, science content, social studies content, rhyming, etc.).  I don't expect that at their ages.

So the upside?  What could the upside possibly be?

Just this.  They are all in there, looking at my books.  A portion of my hundreds, if not thousands, of books, collected since 1991.  And I see that their interest has piqued.  Their interest in reading many of these treasures.

I have rain gutters to enticingly display books.  But they had to be put away, due to the chance of injury to the little ones.

I tried displaying books in tubs all over the room, which also works as a reading enticement.  But baby made more book messes this way.

Finally, the books had to be tightly tucked into shelves--a storing method that never encourages reading.  

So.  While I am not at all happy about reshelving hundreds of books in my spare time, I am gratified that my children are looking at my collection of literary treasures, gathered with love and care.

I honestly don't know when they will quit doing childish things.  I truly don't.  I don't know where I have failed that on some days, they don't seem to be maturing one itty bitty bit.

But I do know this.   There will come a time, soon enough, that my house will be empty.  No beautiful baby faces interrupting my shower.  No hopeful three year old pining for a Popsicle before breakfast.

And at that time nothing will sound better to me than having a roomful of childish kids, playing sea lion games with my beloved books.

Such thoughts always give my days perspective, trying though they are.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

crying buckets over Ann's post

I just read a post from Ann, at Holy Experience.  I am crying buckets.  So beautiful.  You really must read this.  Intimate Issues: The Making of a Marriage Bed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dr. Doolittle and my grocery list

Made me smile today:

*  Tonight we finished The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting (1920).  It is by far one of the best children's books ever written (there are eleven others in the series).  So imaginative!  Mr. Lofting wrote it to his children while he was away during World War I. Reality was too difficult to include in his letters, so he delighted them with this tale.

Now that we've finished it, I feel like a friend has moved away.  Peter agrees with me and says we absolutely must find the others at the library.

Born in England in 1886, Hugh Lofting settled in the United States in 1912, and passed away in Topanga, California, in 1947.

* My boys always have requests for me when it's grocery store time.  I found their list on the fridge, compiled mostly by my older son, who loves to cook.  We found a bread maker at a rummage sale, so the first two items are needed for our first loaf, which they are very excited about!

dri melk
sosig (turkey sausage)
syorup (syrup)
black bens
letis and coliflower
gume vitimins
iec crem
get sand for sandbox

I came across a review today of one of Sally Clarkson's books, The Ministry of Motherhood.  I'll be checking our library for that one.  Here is Sally's Clarkson's site, which always includes wonderful, insightful blog posts.

Good night, friends!  I'm off to fold three mountains of laundry.  For real.

a moment with Paul

Keepsake moments.  We live for them as parents.  We can wipe a sticky, after-meal floor three times a day for what seems like forever, and suddenly, one keepsake moment puts it all in perspective.  Kids are dreamy.  Fun.  Hilarious.

Never-ending messy floors?  Who cares!  I'm blessed!  Blessed!  This experience is Out-Of-This-World Wonderful!

Keepsake moments can never be planned.  They just happen.  When they're especially delicious, our minds naturally want to recreate them in subsequent days or seasons.  How can something so wonderful not become the norm?

 This morning, I had a doozy of a keepsake.

Beth awoke at 6:30 a.m., dragging me out of bed with her.   Her sleeping habits have changed again.  Back to night nursings and late evening wake ups, with lousy naps during the day.  I mind the unpredictability more than I mind the wake ups, actually.

My last beauty sleep occurred eight years ago, in case you're interested.

On the positive side, my little one recently gave up early rising for a more respectable 7:15 a.m.

I held out hope.  Would my night-person body hit the jackpot?  Would this trend continue?

I refer you to my second paragraph, in which she drags me out of bed at 6:30 a.m.  Is she my darling daughter, or my boot camp instructor?  Definitely both.  As I write this, I can hear her.  It's nearly midnight and she's on her second wake up.

Back to this morning.......

...After her diaper change, I tried cuddling her on the playroom couch.  Kid cuddles hit the spot when Momma is drowsy.  I crave them.  My brood is one of movers and shakers though, so for the most part, I'm often disappointed.  Beth is fun and sweet, but her cuddles are as brief as a hidden package of chocolate chips.  Here one minute, gone the next.  If Beth could talk well, she'd say, "Okay, Momma.  Cuddles.  But briefly.  I'm busy ya know."

Enter Paul, my part-time mover and shaker.  He's been known to sit around at times and stare off into space.  Hence, the part-time designation.

He joined us at 7:00 a.m., while the other siblings continued slumbering.  Seeing Momma drowsy, he took the cue and climbed under the blanket with me.

Oh, what a gift!  That child's wrap-around, boa constrictor cuddles!  May they never end, Lord!

Now Baby Beth wanted to cuddle.  It's her pattern.  No one, and I do mean no one, can come between Beth and her Momma.  Even the sight of Momma changing big sister will irk this jealous baby.  She actually climbs into my lap during sister's diaper changes!  I tell her I love her and then I disentangle myself. Foiled, she plants herself on Mary's head, to discourage us from interacting, I suppose.  Mary, all sugar and spice, takes it in stride and giggles.

Diaper changes are special to children; they equate them with love.  Reaching that coveted milestone, toilet training, is complicated for them.  Four children in, I finally get this.

Anyhow, back to the couch with my boa-constrictor boy......

....Paul and I started giggling away at a collection of children's poems.  Beth climbed on top of us, as though our cuddled bodies were a mountain.   She grabbed the book, running her finger over the words and mumbling as if to "read".  Then she giggled, as she'd heard us do.  This would last a minute, and then she'd go play briefly.

Meanwhile, Paul and I read the whole book of poems, giggling and cuddling, cuddling and giggling.  I squeezed him repeatedly for giving me my best morning in a long time.

I found myself wishing we could cuddle and read, just like this, every morning.

But keepsake moments can't be planned.  Only captured.  Enjoyed.  Lived.  Remembered.

Usually, the older three wake up simultaneously.  Special morning times with my boa-constrictor are rare.

The funny book, if you're interested, was this:

 My Dog Does My Homework!  An Exclusive Collection of Poems by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Eve Merriam, and Many More.  

With a Special Introduction & Poem Pointers by Jon Scieszka

I purchased it through the Scholastic school market, years ago.  We laughed the most at this poem, which is anonymous:

Vegetarian Poem

Do you carrot all for me?
My heart beets for you.
With your turnip nose
And your radish face,
You are a peach.
If we cantaloupe
Lettuce marry.
Weed make a swell pear.

Anonymous/Folk Rhyme

It's late now and I probably won't get to that folding pile.  But I captured something here--something special, to feast on in my empty nest years.  I chose the better thing, even though those clothes start their fourth night of basket dwelling.

It's never about the laundry piles or the sticky floors, is it?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

in which I interview myself

Q:  What's bothering you?  Why so glum today?

A:  I'm aging badly.  Only 44, I look nearly 50.  Moderate to severe acne starting at age 12--relieved only by pregnancy and nursing--ravaged my skin.  For as long as I can remember, my skin lacked smoothness.  Serious scars on my chin and temples, coupled with sun damage, have ruined my looks.  I'm doomed.  My appearance will get far worse by age 50.  My neck, arms and hands are sprinkled with sun spots and wrinkles, despite fairly consistent sunscreen use starting in my late twenties.

Q:  Surely the acne has stopped by now?

A:  It had.  But now that menses has returned, the acne has as well--though less severe so far.  To say I'm depressed by this development is an understatement.

Q:  Why do you share this pain here, in this space?

A:  I want my bloggy friends to escape this pain.  No matter their current age, they need to know that the damage they allow now will begin to show up quite cruelly in the mid-forties.

Friends, whatever your skin type, keep it protected!  Take vitamin D supplements, use sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.  I was never taught to use hats as a child, and I don't remember anyone applying sunscreen on me.  80% of the damage occurs before age 18.

Q:  What else would you like to share?

A:  If you know an acne sufferer, be especially nice to him or her.  Acne leaves lifelong emotional and physical scars.  It is becoming more prevalent in adults, especially in adult women, due to hormonal imbalances.

Q:  How can a woman deal gracefully with aging and skin damage?

A:  I'll get back to you on that one, as soon as I get used to an uglier me.  In the meantime, give thanks for the things you don't struggle with.  Are you free from body weight concerns?  Rejoice!  Are you free from chronic diseases?  Rejoice!  Do you have great, full-bodied hair?  Rejoice!

And work on your heart.  Pray for a gentle and quiet spirit.  A beautiful heart will soften looks, however compromised they are.

When we get to heaven, we're all beautiful!  Praise the Lord!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

your faithfulness, I know

Early April, 2010, we had reason to worry.  Unemployment was out, leaving us with meager income from low-paying, part-time custodial work.  Scared we were, in our flesh, even though God had always provided.  Who wouldn't be, with the likelihood of defaulting on a home so real?

I remember that week.  We performed our duties, lived out our roles, behaving as always.  Kids need three meals, snacks, baths, schooling, diapers, teeth brushing.... ..every day is full of tasks.  Children have a way of propelling life forward, regardless of circumstance.

Suddenly, a phone call.  Census work, applied for months and months earlier, would start in three weeks.

God's timing.

In January, 2001, we started trying to get pregnant, six weeks after suffering a difficult loss.  The first pregnancy happened in a couple tries.  Not this time.  Several months went by.  We waited.  I grieved.  I agonized.  I thought of nothing else.

Then, I surrendered all to God, telling him I would accept his will.

Next month, pregnant.

God's timing.

In December, 2008, my Mary turned two.  Without talking.  A milestone definitely missed.  I pondered.  I worried.  I researched.  I pondered.  I worried.  I researched.

Then at 27 months, she talked.  A little at first.  Then a whole lot.  Soon, sophisticated words and sentences poured out.

God's timing.

I wanted to get married in my twenties.  Despite two engagements, no one seemed right.  I broke things off.  I worried.  I agonized.  I thought of little else.

I worried.  I agonized.  I thought of little else.

Then, at thirty-one, I became a Christian.  I was in love.  With my Savior, my Bible.  My Christian radio.  I grew and grew.

But I still longed.

At that same time, my would-be husband became depressed and grievously lonely in Pennsylvania.  On a whim, with minimal planning, he moved to the smallish, high desert Californian town I lived in.

Two years later, we met on a church-sponsored group hike.  Event after event, we got to know one another from a distance.

Then, something changed.  Interest sparked.  But nothing spoken.

An ice skating event arose in a mountain town ninety minutes away.  At the last minute, everyone cancelled.  Except for us.

I nearly fell on the ice once.  He caught me.  And then never let go of my hand.

Eight months later, we married.

I was thirty-three.  He was nearly forty-one.  I waited a decade for a husband.  He waited two decades for a wife.

God's timing.

The Census job will end early next week.  The local paper and job websites offer no hope.

I could fret.  Agonize.  Research.  Cry.

Agonize.  Research.  Cry.

Or I could rest.  Knowing.  Praising.  Rejoicing.

Knowing.  Praising.  Rejoicing.

Faithfulness verses:

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, " The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

Isaiah 25:1
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

Friday, May 21, 2010

the battle for purity - junior high

 I came across this short video about junior high boys and porn (Randy Alcorn speaking).  It's a must see for all concerned parents.

Randy Alcorn warns us to never let a junior high boy be alone in his room with the Internet.  Doing so would be like giving him stacks of pornographic magazines.  Most adult men addicted to pornography started viewing it in junior high or high school.

He goes even further in the piece, and says that to trust your boy in his Internet use is to abuse him.

If you're not already, start praying about the purity of each child.  Often.  The world will battle us and belittle us in this quest.  We must stand firm.   It bothers me that I can't even take my kids to Walmart without having them see a huge cardboard picture of Miley Cyrus in an ultra mini.

How much worse will the aisles get in the next five years, before my first hits the teen years?

Momma Robin's Morning (if you dare read)

My dining room features a sixteen-foot-long window, offering us a backyard nature viewing at every meal. Yesterday morning, as I gathered remnants of the hot oatmeal breakfast we'd enjoyed, I noticed a robin land right under the window.

Not moving a muscle, I watched.

Digging her beak into the soggy grass, she swiftly pulled out a squirrelly worm, about the size of a baby snake.

How do they always know precisely where to place their beaks?  They score worms faster than I score handfuls of chocolate chips!  From my secret place.

The inhabitants here might smell my poison, but they never see it.

 "I think I smell chocolate, Mommy.  Are you eating some?"

Surely, I mused, Momma Robin won't manage to take flight with that snakish thing in her beak?

She pecked it, grabbed it and swung it around.  Then dropped it.   Three or four times, she repeated the process.

Is she slowly killing it?  Wanting it to stay still, I wondered?

Finally, the worm's nervous system gave out.

Next, Momma Robin pecked at it furiously, tearing it into small morsels.

Oh, dear.


I shivered.

The baby robins, nestled in a maple tree by our window, waited for Momma.

She did her morning duty, just like I do.  Breakfast morsels prepared for hungry babies.  Faithfully.  Systematically.

In the end, I didn't know for whom I should feel sorry.  The worm.  Or the babies?

At any rate, you won't find me grumbling about my morning duties tomorrow.  (Not that I ever do that.  I never wake up at 6:00 a.m. feeling cranky.  Not me.)

Now I know.

Momma Robin, my kindred spirit?

She has it far worse.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

His need vs. my need

Tough days here.  Much grace called for.

Peter is struggling so much.  Last night, after he launched into yet another disrespectful fit--there had been at least ten--I lunged forward to spank him.  But due to his angry resistance, I ended up wrestling with him instead.  Then, because it had been one of the worst days of both our lives, we fell to the carpet and just cried.  And held each other.

Sobbing, he said, "Why am I like this?  Why am I just trouble?  I was born so bad!"

That broke me.

I soothed him, and myself, for several minutes.  And then I told him how much I loved him and admired him.  And how sorry I was for him, that he had ADHD to deal with.  And how it must be so hard to fight for control that just isn't there.

And I told him that sometimes, when he spends a whole day being angry, it is hard for me to remember that he doesn't want to be angry.  That he doesn't mean to be angry.

And I explained that God's grace is sufficient for him, just as it is for Momma with her headaches.  Yes, ADHD is very hard to live with.  But God has a purpose in it.  We have to open our hearts and embrace all that he has for us--even the things we wouldn't choose.

He understood.  Melting into me, he lounged quietly, soaking up my love.

And while I held him it occurred to me that spiritually speaking, he was an old man already.  Seasoned.  Weathered.

So, why the flair up lately?

My husband is gone entire days and evenings now, due to his Census work, his part-time work, and his school attendance.  I am doing everything.  I'm constantly hurried, which is unsettling to Peter.

With three other children to care for and no physical help, I can't provide the feedback Peter's brain craves.  The constant reassurance.  The constant contact.  He pushes himself on me, trying to make sure I put him above the others, because he simply cannot wait, any more than a one year old can wait.  Seriously.

A number of circumstances have rendered me more of a slave than normal.  Do you feel like that sometimes?  That you're mostly slave labor?  Not in a negative way, but just practically speaking?  Here are my recent circumstances, and I don't list them in a complaining spirit, but just as an illustration.

-  The spring mud.  Each time they go out it's another load of clothes and another vacuuming.  Chunks of mud do more damage the longer they stay on the carpet.  Sometimes, the kids have to stop everything and get showers, which requires my presence and assistance.  The alternative is to keep them in, which isn't an option after a long, closed-up winter.

- My toddler eats so messily that it takes an hour of cleaning three times a day to make our table, floor, booster seat, and baby adequately clean, together with the dishes and counter clean up (not looking for perfection here).

- Meal prep, three times a day, gets more complicated when you use whole foods and when you have four children to prepare plates for.  A simple breakfast of hot oatmeal can take forty-five minutes to prepare, with all the individualized toppings and age-appropriate dishware, silverware and cupware.  Giving the kids access to their own brown sugar, their own berries, their own milk, is a battle for which I don't presently have the patience.  Let's just say they'd have oatmeal with their brown sugar, rather than brown sugar with their oatmeal.

- The bathing and diapering/potty training are always complicated, and now, without help, our evenings are quite harried. The one and three year old need a lot of assistance, and the older ones are prone to fooling around during this time.  It takes some riding herd to get it all done in time for stories and prayer to be included.  Without stories and prayer, every one falls apart.  They need those two things to feel secure about their lives.  Some things have to stay the same in their young lives.  Bedtime stories and prayer aren't negotiable items.

- Without cable TV, they play more games and do more crafts--both of which require a LOT of supervised clean up.

The pace at which I must keep moving to ensure that minimal physical needs are met, leaves me little time to attend to Peter's high maintenance personality.  And with Daddy's own ADHD flaring up due to the change in his schedule, I've got two competing, yet strikingly similar personalities to juggle.

Peter tried Strattera (non-stimulant ADHD medication) a while back and we found it to be very effective.  But it aggravated anxiety, so we discontinued it.  Then, because the anxiety was high no matter what we did, we tried the Strattera again (months later).  This time it didn't aggravate anxiety, but instead seemed to improve it.  After one month though, it quit working entirely.  This week I sense an increased impairment in mood control, which didn't occur with this medication the last time.  Many people do find that it just quits working, for whatever reason.  Needless to say, we're done with it!  I didn't give it tonight.  I think we've reached the end of the road, medicinally speaking.

I'm left with a situation I can't fix.  Or improve.  Or control.  And we're all affected.

As much as I want to be intentional and good at this parenting jig, I simply can't.  Too many complications thwart my efforts.

My hands are tied.

Except for two things.   I can read Scripture to them despite the chaos.  I can pray with them despite the chaos.  Most days, if I've done those two things, I force myself to feel good about the day, no matter what else happened.

God has tied my hands, I am convinced.

And why?  Why would he give me a set of circumstances that seem hopeless?  Are hopeless?

This blog title says it all.

Glory to the Father.

If these kids achieve success, whether measured my way or the world's way--any kind of success--it will not be because of me.

And that is precisely the way God wants it.

My human need to shine as a feel successful at it...conflicts with His need to be glorified.

My conclusion then, is this:

I need to drop my agenda.  Just drop it.

And follow Him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NASA educational kits free

The following message came through my homeschool group:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo, NASA Education is offering educational kits for FREE - yes, FREE - all you pay is shipping (2 items are $7.00, 4 items are $14, 6 items are $21)....

Order a physical catalog by calling 1-866-776-2673 - mention the "NASA Celebrates Apollo" sale

Kits available for all grade levels including teacher kits.

Offer expires December 2010.

You can also check items out on their web site at  http://education. edprograms/ core/home/ index.html
However, I could not locate the Apollo sale on the web site.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pizza Hut book-it/ ADHD and pesticides

You've heard of the Pizza Hut Book-It program?  It is also available for homeschoolers.  You set a monthly reading goal for your child, and if he meets or exceeds it, he gets a free personal pan pizza (one pizza per month, Oct.- Mar.).  Here is the Pizza Hut website you need to enroll your K-6 child for the 2010-11 program.  Register through the end of June, 2010.

Did you see the article on ADHD and pesticides?  Not good.  I will never buy another non-organic strawberry!  My ADHD son has eaten tons of strawberries every year since his birth.  He also loves blueberries and every other berry, for that matter.  I do wash all produce, but I wonder how much good that does.

It is indisputable that ADHD is highly heritable.  One third of adult men with ADHD have at least one son with the disorder.  Where does that leave chemical poisoning?  Intriguing question.

I found other links after reading the main article.  A 2008 study revealed that 28% of frozen blueberries tested positive for pesticide residue.  25% of fresh strawberries also tested positive.  Celery was another offender.

We had to use a pesticide service in our home in California for a horrific ant problem.  Peter was 3.5 years old when we moved out of that house.  He began to display ADHD symptoms at about 3 - 3.5 years old.  Most of the spraying was done outside; they only sprayed inside the first time.  Other times, we had to use Raid indoors.  The house was literally built on an ant hill!

When we looked at the vacant house before buying, we noticed a lot of dead ants on the window sills.  Otherwise, it was a great house.  I figured the ants had something to do with the unmarried man who lived in it.  He was a fireman and had to leave the house a few days a week.

I was very wrong, and we learned a valuable lesson.  Always look for ants when looking to buy a home.  If the foundation is covered with them, the house will be infested too, most likely. Check the windowsills.  It is so hard to share a home with ants!  They were in every room in that house.  I stayed away from pesticides until I was going out of mind, and then we prayed about it and decided to get help.

Thankfully, this house gets few ants.  I love it for that reason alone!

P.S.  I found yet another review on the Story of the World history books.

history resource for home and public-schooled students

Lately I'm seeing more and more reviews on the history collection entitled, The Story of the World, by Susan Wise Bauer.  She writes these volumes in story form, with no cumbersome attention paid to obscure details.  I'm definitely purchasing the first volume for our new year, should I be so blessed to find a used copy.  Go here for an excellent review with accompanying links for purchase.

Your auditory learner will glean much from having these read aloud.  Your visual learner will need to reread them himself at another time.  Both learners will retain more from these than they would from a traditional history textbook.

Definitely a winning purchase for your children, whether they are homeschooled or not!  Public schools are largely neglecting the content areas, so all children will benefit from these storied history volumes (four total).

rekindling love

Over the weekend I spent time reading The Pioneer Woman's love story, which chronicles her courtship with Marlboro Man.  It is beautifully written.  She is a wonderful, engaging writer.  A book deal already signed, she is in the process of writing part ll (post wedding years) right now.

A. very. romantic. tale.

I started on Saturday night after I put the kids to bed (husband at work).  Folks, I could not peel myself away until 3:30 in the morning!  This is why I can't read novels much in this season of life.  If they're good, I neglect my family and just read and read and read.  Somehow, I don't have the willpower to compartmentalize my passions.  I love a good story!  Unfortunately, I was extremely tired and cranky the next day, after sleeping only two hours.

Blogs are inspiring, yet short and sweet and I can go right back to my family.  But, oh!   How I miss novels!

As I read I felt sad that as a couple, we haven't had opportunity to touch base with one another often enough to keep our love and passion fresh.  The Pioneer Woman's mother-in-law is close by, so they've had opportunities to get out of town, and take shorter breathers fairly often.  Since Beth was born seventeen months ago, we've been on one date, which was about 90 minutes long.  I think the previous one was a year earlier, and equally short.  Since we had our first child in 2002, we've been on about ten dates total, and none more than a couple hours long.

Moreover, since my husband works nights, there is precious little time available to us that doesn't involve the children's presence.  The two nights he is home (Tues and Thurs), he often falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion, or he has studying to do, since there is little time for that as well.

It took reading Ree's love story to help me realize how far we've drifted from one another.  There is still a sacred covenant, and mutual love, but our limited time means we're barely friends.  Both of us realize this is a temporary season, but that doesn't make it easier right now.

I've grieved since finishing her story.  So much.  They had four children in 8 years, and we had four children in 7 years.  And yet their romance is still very much alive.   Or so it seems.  I know blogs can be deceptive.

Our romance?  Not vibrant, to say the least.

I had about fifteen minutes to tell my husband about the story, while the kids were briefly in the playroom.  I told him how sorry I was for not hugging and kissing him daily, for more than brief seconds at his departure.    Touch and talk bring cravings for more.  Okay...for a man, maybe not the talk part.  But when opportunity is absent for too long, there is a slow drifting away, and then the cravings drift also.

The only thing I can do differently, is to spend more time giving him affection while the kids are around.  The remaining variables are out of my control.

When there were fewer broken families in our culture, people wanted to be around extended family more often--even live down the street from one another.  But with all the divorces now, many want to move away from their folks to minimize exposure to various problems.

The result?  Married couples have no familial support.  No one invests in the marriage enough to lend a hand on a regular basis.

In the average 2.2 kid household, this can be remedied by hiring babysitters, if they're available.  But the more kids you add, the fewer offers you get.  And, the fewer people you run across who can actually handle your brood.  My dad, at seventy, couldn't handle all of them when he was here.  My aunt and uncle can't handle all of them right now either.  As Beth gets older, that may change.

Don't let this happen to you!  If you're in the throes of multiple diapers and spills and potty training right now, brainstorm ways to keep your passion alive.

And read Ree's love story as a reminder of what passion really is.  Not as a comparison.  Just as a reminder of what you first saw in your husband, and how you first felt when he embraced you.

It's not R rated, by the way.

P. S. Whatever you do, don't write me to say I have to get creative and do the deed in the bathroom.  Yikes.  My Houdini toddler can not be contained!  Such suggestions, which you often hear about, must be for couples with older children.  Or for younger couples with raging libidos.  Whatever.

Just don't write that. Okay?  I'll have to throw cyber shoes at you, channeling poor George Bush's ordeal.

Friday, May 14, 2010

about that post

I wrote a post last night at the end of a strange sort of day.  I was nearly in tears by dinner time, and everyone around me seemed seriously flawed, including myself.  Our lives were in shambles--the temporary Census job was ending soon, there were ants in the dining room, weeds were taking over all our flower beds, both girls developed runny noses, and after a very long reprieve, my face was breaking out.  The flood of negative, depressed feelings shocked me to the core.

Just a couple of days ago, I was full of smiles and strength.  I was dancing to my Father, with all the joy of King David.

What was this about?  I've been consistently in the Word and in prayer.  Spiritual food abounds--so why this horrible spell?  Why did I feel like my marriage needed serious revamping--starting with me needing to be more gentle and quiet?

In my desperate state, I wrote a post about marriage--my flawed marriage, with my flawed husband.  The Internet went down in the middle of it.  Then it came back up.  I nursed my baby once, fell asleep for a while, then came back out to the computer and the Internet was down again.  My husband came out to use the restroom and noticed me working late.  I told him what happened, and asked him if he thought it meant I wasn't supposed to publish the post.  "I doubt it means that, Honey.  You're prone to over analyzing God's intentions."

So, I published it, after trying to add most of the content I had lost.

Many hours later, around lunch time, I was appalled at what I'd done.  How dare I put such a post up on the Internet?  Yikes!  I was right all along.  God was trying to dissuade me.

Next time I'll know the signs right away.  If the Internet goes down, don't publish.

I deleted it in the afternoon.  But it is still in feed readers.  Drat.

I reflected again on why my emotions were in shambles.

Light bulb moment.  I was experiencing this, for the first time in a couple years (a reprieve from pregnancy and nursing).  It took me by surprise.

Yes, I need to be a better wife.  But all is mostly good.  After all, I'd killed the ants--even though my children objected to me killing one of God's creatures.  My rule, I told them, is that if an ant enters my house, it's not protected.

After a while, my started speaking to me again.  The ants were carpenter ants, which happen to be big and scary.  They guessed it would be okay, since these ants can ruin roofs and walls and such.

I came across this series of posts on loving our husbands, and in the next week, I will get through all of them.  I just need a Titus 2 influence in this area.  There might be a woman at my church who can also help.  She is the surrogate grandmother (for my kids) who helped get them to AWANA these last several weeks.

Just as suddenly as my emotions crashed, they regulated again tonight.

These roller-coaster emotions will affect me for six more years.  And then?

 I'll be considerably wrinkled, but I'll be calm.

Am I supposed to like that trade off, God?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

on herding children and my peace

Blogging punctuates my day.  The data my mind collects in a twenty-four hour period begs for reflection and analysis.  I separate the positive from the negative, discerning how best to spend my energies going forward.  I'm left with warm fuzzy feelings most of the time, and I fall asleep faster.  The reflection helps me focus on our progress as a spiritual family, rather than on how far we have to go.  When I can't blog the day feels untidy--too many loose ends.

Tonight was the awards ceremony for AWANA.  Getting all four children and myself ready--including feeding everyone--stole my peace, to say the least (Daddy was working).  Beth spit up on both our outfits (mommy's and baby's) five minutes before our friend was due to pick us up.  Can you relate to the tension of those final moments?

Following the getting ready ordeal, I  wrestled with my toddler for two hours in the foyer of the church!

Here is my plug for AWANA before I continue.  I'm so proud of my boys!  AWANA is a wonderful program--a real blessing for our whole family.  It entails Scripture memorization, cooperative P.E. games, a Bible lesson and a related craft.  Next year, Mary will attend AWANA cubbies, which is for ages 3 to kinder.  We're all excited for her!

Even if your own church doesn't have this program, you might find it at a neighboring church.  The program format is standard across the country, and the world.

Now, upon our return it was 8:15 p.m.  Time to get the excited children into pajamas and on to hygiene.  They were more interested in their AWANA awards than in getting into bed.  And who can blame them?  What's more,  I chose this day to change their sheets!  Two beds had to be made before slumber time.  I know.  Bad planning.  Surely, I told myself, the sheets would get washed and dried and put back on beds before AWANA time.  Surely.

Not!  Washed and dried only.

If I had to choose a punctuation mark summarizing this day, it would be an exclamation point!  The emotional exhaustion rarely reaches this level for me.  Herding children is my least favorite part of parenting.  Thank God we homeschool!  Herding children five mornings a week would be the end of me.  When I'm herding them with a time constraint, I'm too busy to disciple them.  

It's amazing how much easier our days are when we stay home.  Hurray for home!  Home is where the peace is!  As wonderful as AWANA is, I'm looking forward to more peaceful Wednesdays evenings from now until Labor Day.  We do no other evening events.

Now that my day is properly punctuated, I'll force myself to do the few dishes from dinner (we had homemake chicken noodle soup--winter returned here), but all else will wait until tomorrow.  The kids always give me a funny look when they wake up to a messy house.  Almost as if they're saying, "What did you do last night, other than tidy up?"

Those looks are usually incentive for me to tidy up before bed.....but not tonight.

Goodnight, friends!

giving in order to get (John Piper)

The problem with giving in order to get, from the John Piper blog.  Did you see the post?  Very good!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

notes on our day

Big sister is so proud to be cutting strawberries for little sister!  Slowly, Momma is raising helpers.

Here is my sweetie on pasta night.  The floor looks worse than her face.....three times a day.  We always pair strawberries and vanilla ice cream (Bryers with the vanillla bean specks) on pasta night.  Yummy combo.

My nature-loving son is in heaven now that spring is here.  Every ADHD child (and adult) I've known has needed nature therapy.  Very calming to them.

They've been digging for earthworms in Ohio for five years, but this size has never appeared before.  My first thought when he brought it to me, was, what kind of snake is that!!??

My Mary picks up as much earth life as her big brother.

Here we're praising the Lord and dancing to some You Tubes.  We really got the grove here!  Who needs jazzercise?  I'll eventually learn how to make my own You Tube.  You need to see first hand the energy I'm dealing with!

They painted flowers while I put Beth down for a nap.  Their painting time has been so peaceful lately.  Paul did spill some paint on the floor--they told me--but they cleaned it up without coming to get me.  How 'bout that?  My babies are growing up!

I'm not able to nurse Beth out in the living areas.  She will only concentrate on nursing when she's in a room alone with me.  It was that way with all my babies, starting around 8 months old.  If you don't expect that and try to accommodate it, your baby might wean before you both really desire it.

Beth has stopped nursing (for the most part) between the hours of 12 midnight and 5 a.m.  Consequently, I noticed signs of ovulation, including very painful nursing.  Why is it that nursing around ovulation hurts so much?

Medically speaking, midnight to five is called sleeping through the night.  Nursing within those hours does seem to delay a woman's cycle longer, so there is something to that medical definition.

I've had a long, 26-month reprieve from cycles.  All good things must come to an end, I suppose.  Maybe my migraines the past couple of days are hormone related after all.

I read this post today from A Path Made Straight.  What a snippet from my day!   Every day.  And God is working with me in much the same way regarding messes and constant interruptions.  Elise has such a way with words.  Someday I'll hopefully be able to craft equally beautiful posts about seemingly mundane motherhood tasks.  In truth, they're not mundane at all!  They slowly chisel away at our me-first natures, remaking us in his image.

healthy grilling of meats

Healthy grilling techniques for Memorial Day.

Trading My Sorrow

We've had a migrainy couple days.  The change in routine didn't set well with the ADHD dwellers here.  Praise You Tubes always turn our day around.   Gather the kids and dance it up a bit!

We each take a turn to say what ailment or difficulty we're trading for the joy of the Lord.  They get this.

Your Grace Is Enough

Here is one to remind me that the migraines and the ADHD are covered in grace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Planning a garden with your kids?

Planting a garden this year with your kids?  Go here for a great lesson on planting potatoes.  Very impressive presentation.  Easy to understand for K level and above.

We learned, among other things, that you don't want to use store-bought potatoes (they harbor plant diseases, even if they look healthy).  Buy seed potatoes at a nursery instead.

We are expecting a frost this week.  Hopefully we can get started next week.  The kids can hardly wait and they check the weather every day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day! Praise Him for messes!

Happy Mother's Day!

I want to take time to praise God for the incredible journey that is motherhood!

Each time we do something for our children, we are privileged to do so.  That's so easy to forget.   The messes are part of the journey.

I praise you, God, for the multitude of books my toddler de-shelves regularly.  

There are two laundry baskets full of them, plus these on the floor and more in the shelves.  We have no where else to put them.  So.....we deal.  She does look at them when she pulls them down, albeit briefly.

I praise you, God, for the game pieces I find in every room in the house.  I praise you that we have to look for dice at least once a day.  I praise you that my 6 and 8 year olds need daily reminders about taking care of their games.

I praise you, God, that each time I walk into the playroom, I am greeted with thrown-aside toys--even after purging seventy percent of them!  I praise you that I receive groans at each mention of clean up.

I praise you that my teaching chart holds clean, hanging clothes, because my too-active toddler won't allow me to escape to the bedrooms long enough to put clean laundry away.

I praise you that this never ends.  There's no catching up!

I praise you that although I clean the entry way a few times a day, it's never clean when someone comes unexpectedly.

I praise you that she keeps marking up her hands with the markers.

I praise you for her adventure outside, which resulted in this.  I praise you for her excuse, uttered in her British-like accent.  "But Mommy, Peter made me get all mutty."

I praise you that every meal ends with a major clean up session.

I especially praise you for the way she puts her hands up with Momma, for an impromptu "PRAISE THE LORD!"

I praise you that with each passing motherhood year, I get nicer.  Yes, hard labor does that to you.  Motherhood does that to you.

I praise you for the flood of grace, portioned out daily.

Your grace means that.......

....even though there's usually no vehicle available lately, I'm still content.

....even though we don't fit in well in our neighborhood or in our church (low-income, homeschoolers), I'm still content.

....even though we have little help from extended family, I'm still content.

....even though I have nothing stylish or new to put on, I'm still content.

....even though there is no money for flower-bed flowers, I'm still content.

....even though we can't get away for a date, I'm still content.

....even though I haven't slept through the night in several years, I'm still content. 

....even though the economy isn't recovering, I'm still content.

....even though I could be a wreck, my children see joy (except on early mornings--still working on that).

Without your grace, I am nothing!  Covered in your grace, I smile and give thanks. 

And thank you, Father, that my children are not in this situation.  How can I help?

honeymoon is over

The time has come.  

Other than being redirected, baby sister hasn't experienced any discipline.  Today she turned seventeen months.  Now, she looks me in the eye, smiles, and defies.  Again.  And again--smiling ever so coyly.  

She definitely understands directions.  She's just testing the disciplinary waters.

Hand taps have begun.  The siblings are sad for their baby sister, but their own common sense tells them that Momma is right.

Their sweet little hearts are merciful, however.  After staying close (tomato staking--from Raising Godly Tomatoes) and tapping Beth's hand three separate times for standing on the window ledge (it's equal to her height), I had to leave the room briefly to shuffle laundry.  I called to Mary, asking her if Beth was at it again.

First she said yes.  Then Mary changed her mind.  "No, she's being good Momma!"

I peeked around the corner to the playroom to make sure.  Beth was back up there.

"Why didn't you tell me the truth, Mary?"

"I'm sorrrrrrry.  I didn't want Beth to get a slap."  

I should have known better.  Of course she wasn't going to tattle on baby sister.  
Who would do such a thing?

I'll have to bring the baby into the bathroom with me now for my potty breaks.  No one around here can be trusted to keep her safe.  

I might be in trouble with little Miss Beth!  What a handful!

There are bees out there, Momma.

Oh, these sugar and spice girls!  What a blessing to have them in my midst!

I like this April 23rd entry in My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.
"We are God's fellow workers..."
1Corinthian 3:9

Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him.  A great number of Christian workers worship their work.  The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God.  This will mean that all the other boundaries of life, whether they are mental, moral, or spiritual limits, are completely free with the freedom God gives His child; that is, a worshiping child, not a wayward one.  A worker who lacks this serious controlling emphasis of concentration on God is apt to become overly burdened by his work.  He is a slave to his own limits, having no freedom of his body, mind, or spirit.  Consequently, he becomes burned out and defeated.  There is no freedom and no delight in life at all.  His nerves, mind, and heart are so overwhelmed that God's blessing cannot rest on him.

But the opposite case is equally true--once our concentration is on God, all the limits of our life are free and under the control and mastery of God alone.  There is no longer any responsibility on you for the work.  The only responsibility you have is to stay in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him.  The freedom that comes after sanctification is the freedom of a child, and the things that used to hold your life down are gone.  But be careful to remember that you have been freed for only one thing--to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

about their futures

Do you know of Marlboro Man from The Pioneer Woman blog?  Come on now!  You know you think he's cute!

FYI, My husband has just as nice a hiney, but I'm not funny enough or brave enough to post it as a permanent fixture on my blog.  Good grief!

Yeah.  I know.  That's why she's famous and I'm not.

Although, I do recall husband telling me that I can write anything I want on my blog.  He's got nothing to hide.  That's a direct quote.  He never reads blogs by the way--even this one.  He can't be bothered.

Anyhow, I was clicking around on the Compassion International blog and saw that Marlboro Man went as a sponsored blogger to the Dominican Republic in 2008.  Ree, his wife, was the one invited, but the family decided to ask if her husband could go--with their two daughters--instead.  Maybe Ree still had an infant at home?

I wanted to ask you to read one of his posts from the trip.  It highlights something I've learned through our underemployment journey here in the States.

Faith is everything.

Discounting it in our childrearing will prove costly.  We can't crowd it out with soccer, enrichment classes, playdates, gym time, etc.

Again I is everything!  Money does matter, but sometimes a more rugged faith emerges in its absence.  Riches are in the heart, not the bank.  It is very parental to worry about how our children will support themselves one day.  But spiritual survival?  Are we giving that more time and energy?

We need to intentionally spend time together as a family to raise spiritually strong children--praying together, praising our Lord together, confessing our sins together, seeking God's will together, reading God's word together.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
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 doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

What if they (our grown children) lose a spouse to cancer, or a child to a car accident in the driveway?  What if their entire family perishes in a car accident, leaving them alone?  What if they are asked by God to raise a severely disabled child?  What if they suffer from infertility, or have a miscarriage, or experience a stillbirth, or SIDS?  What if they lose everything in a midwestern tornado?   Or a California fire?  Or a Gulf Coast hurricane?  Or their house in a recession?  What if they fall and suffer some brain damage--memory loss, speech impairment?

The only thing we can be certain of about their futures is this:

They will know pain.

We have to raise our children to flourish spiritually, first and foremost.  And then financially and otherwise.  The next time a great opportunity arises that takes away family time (even if it's a church function), we need to remember our core value.


Again, here is that post, A Tale of Two Houses.  Read it to remember why faith is everything.

post script on belly issue

Post Script for previous post:

I forgot to mention an important tidbit about the stomach muscles involved in my post below.  Draw in your belly button toward your spine.  The muscles you needed to do that?  It is those that need strengthening, in order to flatten your belly and shape your waist. One article I found indicated that to make a difference, one has to do that sucking in motion in 5 sets of one hundred repetitions--per day!  Plus, we can't keep getting out of bed improperly!  Roll to the side, and then get up and out of bed--like you did during pregnancy.  Get in the same way.

I hope all this doesn't depress you!  It does depress me, but at least I know I can improve my situation over time.

My babies are well worth this problem, and worse things, of course. At least I can make it to the potty without leaking.  I count myself fortunate, when I read articles about that!

By the way, sucking in the belly button also works your pelvic-floor muscles, which help with urinary inconstancy.

Does your tummy look like mine?

This spring has me totally exasperated with my wardrobe!

Okay.......that's not quite right.

A more accurate way of putting it?  This spring I'm exasperated with my stomach!  Oh, the bother!  Even though my post-baby weight is down to 110 pounds, my stomach looks three to four months pregnant at the end of every day.  Why, 16 months post-natal, would I experience this?

After baby number two, my abdominal muscles separated--a condition called diastasis recti.  I first saw this term on a few blogs this year, but I didn't pay enough attention to it.  When it became obvious that clothes weren't going to hide my hard, round, bubble belly, I started researching.

If you've had more than two babies, or if your stomach muscles were weak before you got pregnant, you probably have this condition to some extent.  If you lie down flat and lift your head up, as if to do a crunch, can you feel a vertical muscle separation (greater than two finger widths)?  Or does a bit of your tummy pop up, in a vertical line? If so, you have this.  The good news?  Most cases can be corrected without surgery.

I'm actually less happy with my stomach now than I was a year ago.  I've made it worse, people!  Yes, each time I get out of bed using my stomach muscles in a way that causes them to push out, I make the abdominal muscle separation worse.  Over time, from getting in and out of bed improperly, and because I've ignorantly done some sessions of regular crunches, my stomach is less flat!

I knew something had to change when I noticed a couple people peeking down at my stomach recently.  Oh, the embarrassment!  My mind wandered to my sixties.  Would I have a significant bulge by then (like a five or six months-pregnant bubble), the way older women often do?  The answer is yes.....if I don't do something about this!  Unfortunately, in addition to embarrassment, back pain will eventually appear, as a result of the worsening separation.

I don't know about you, but I find it shocking that OB-GYN's seem to know nothing about this, or if they do know, they don't think it important enough to address.  They don't even bother giving a caveat about regular abdominal exercises!  Grrr!

Read a more technical explanation, and learn the proper exercises needed to correct it, here and here and here, or search using the term "diastasis recti".

Thursday, May 6, 2010

writing helps

Here is an outstanding article on teaching writing, complete with lots of helpful links.  Very comprehensive and well-researched!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

clap your hands

While reading this Psalm (47), I had to laugh.  It reads like a move-your-body, clap-your-hands kind of worship song.  To think that some churches allow only hymns!  My spirit lives for this!

Hymns? I love some of them (How Great Thou Art), but others put me to sleep.  See the U-tube below of "How Great Thou Art" with Max Lucado's words in the nature-inspired background, from his book "No Wonder They Call Him Savior".  It's six minutes long.  Six minutes well spent, I assure you!  Scroll down below this post.

As I type this, violent thunder and roaring rain liven up the night, as though obeying the "clap your hands" command in my Psalm.

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you
shout to God with cries of
How awesome is the Lord
Most High,
the great King over all the
He subdued nations under
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for
the pride of Jacob, whom he

God has ascended amid shouts
of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding
of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing
sing praises to our King, sing

For God is the King of all the
sing to him a psalm of
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy
The nobles of the nations
as the people of the God of
for the kings of the earth
belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

Good night, friends!  You know that laundry pile?  Still there, I'm afraid.  I'm off to make another dent in it.

I also want to leave you with this very thoughtful post by Kristin, from We Are That Family.  What a reminder of how we should love our husbands!

How Great Thou Art

dance a jig

Psalm 46, which I read at dinner, has one of my favorite lines in all of Scripture.

Verse 10
Be still and know that I am God.

What does "be still" mean?  Some would argue that it means don't fret.  But to me, it's much more than that.  

- Smile, because he's got your back.

- Smell the flowers, because he orders your days.

- Give generously, because the earth is the Lord's and everything in it.

- Dance with joy, because your journey was ordained by him.

- Enjoy the ride, because you've got a chauffeur.

- Live in the moment, because he has a plan for tomorrow.

- Live as my exuberant, ever-smiling Beth does, always ready to dance a jig, because are His.

And He is God!

Monday, May 3, 2010

grace at work

The boys pulled out the craft supplies yesterday, a rainy day, and made what I can only describe as hodgepodge collages.  While I enjoyed them, it made me feel guilty that we haven't done any flowers yet.  It is spring, after all, making it flower craft season.

Peter expressed sadness today that the tulips outside are now spent.  Every year, I feel that same longing.  When I read Matthew 6 the other day, the part that resonated with Peter was this:

Matthew 6:29-32
And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

He brought up the splendor of the tulips. Praise God that he's so engaged!  I love reading to them!  It seems so foolish now that I assumed young children wouldn't glean much from complicated Scriptural passages.  They do!  The spirit of God is there while I read; I see Him working in their little hearts.  Squirrelly or not, preoccupied or not, they soak up truth.  Every day I want to raise my hands to God and thank him for this new habit!  Hearing the truth daily gives one a hunger and thirst for more.  Amazing!

Keeping it real with this next picture:

When you make life about relationship, clothes don't get folded.  Tonight, so help me, I'll get to this.  Thank God for this preschool table, which we removed from the playroom due to Miss Beth's climbing habit.  It now keeps my unfolded laundry off the couch.

This year we got blessed with two robin's nests.  Now that we're down to one car and Daddy has it most of the waking hours (Census temporary job, coupled with school and his custodial part-time jobs), we find ourselves quite the homebodies.  In his grace, God put interesting things in our midst at home, making our isolation barely noticeable.

The work of grace in our lives seems boundless.  Most days, I don't feel like we're a family in financial peril.  Isn't that amazing?  It's Him.  I can only describe it as a metaphysical lifting of us out of our circumstances--as though we are looking down on reality, but not living it.  Has grace felt like that to you, at some time in your life?

This little gem is the main reason the laundry isn't folded!  She is one busy baby, folks!  I've had increased headaches lately, and I finally figured out that because I can't confine her anywhere anymore, I'm unable to keep up with my water drinking and snacking, and the nursing is using up what I do take in.  She's my only baby who has scaled all the various "containers" this early.  When she's outside, I have more opportunity to eat and drink.  Fewer no no's around....and yes, we've babyproofed the house to the max!

Wet pants from the wagon.

These precious ones!  They make my heart feel filthy rich and spoiled.  One of the questions I'll surely ask my Lord first thing, is why some of the women who desire children aren't blessed with them.  Infertility is one of the hardest things for me to understand.  I know what grace is, and I'm sure they know it in their lives, in regards to this longing.  But when I think of their plight, I can't help feeling guilty about the richness my children bring to my heart and life.  With Mother's Day looming,  these thoughts are especially hard.

Good night, friends!  Those laundry baskets are calling my name.  Bless you!