Tuesday, March 27

coconut creme and my squirmy baby

Today has been a good day.

The sun was shining (always helps), I got out to my midwifery appointment by myself (thanks to an awesome babysitter), and I got to run into Target after.  I wandered into the Easter candy aisle, which is usually a big mistake for a pregnant woman, especially if she is without her other kids, because there is zero accountability.  I actually arrived there on a mission. 

A mission to find a delectable treat I had when I stumbled upon an unsuspecting candy bowl recently. 

A yummy, Dove milk chocolate covered egg with a coconut creme filling.  Oh my. 

I had to find them. 

And that I did. 

Dangerous, I tell you. 

Thankfully, I was nice and shared with my family tonight. 

And to think my midwife was happy with my 2 lb. weight gain this visit.  Glad I found the goodies after my appointment today. 

Baby girl is crazy active, and is constantly flipping from a head-down, to a transverse, to a breech position.  She has lots of fluid to swim around in right now, and loves to squirm her days away while she's still less than 3 pounds. Hopefully in the next few weeks, she'll settle head-down for good.  It was comical to see my midwife trying to find a good place to put the doppler to hear a solid heartbeat with her squirming non-stop.

It was a good visit.  I go every two weeks now to appointments...  I love that.  My favorite days are midwifery days.  I brought in the list of questions that have been lingering in my mind lately, and this appointment without the kids along was the perfect chance to ask all of them.  What a blessing it is to have midwives that schedule in time to sit and talk with you.  I'm educated about something new every time I walk out of there. 

My kidney problem, has seemed to fade and hopefully has resolved itself.  I cancelled my appointment with the urologist since I wasn't haven't any of the symptoms any longer.  We are praising God for that!  I'm still sleeping on my left side to keep the problem at bay though, I'd be disappointed if the pain came back because I had eased up on being proactive.  

The day was just good all around, and was topped off with a yummy, fresh dinner of grilled salmon, quinoa, and sauteed asparagus.  Then Jeremy and I watched the second episode of Little Dorrit (Charles Dickens) on pbs.org after the babies were in bed, and the bigger kids were downstairs watching Pooh's Heffalump movie.  *Little Dorrit is not kid-friendly.*  It is available to watch online until April 1, I believe.  It's a good miniseries, full of mystery.  So much so, that I don't have any of it figured out yet. 

Well, goodnight!  And go find yourself some Dove coconut cremes.

Monday, March 26

Real Marriage

Thanks to a tip from a friend, Jeremy and I have started watching the Real Marriage sermon series from Mars Hill Church's pastor, Mark Driscoll.  The book Real Marriage was written by Mark and his wife Grace.

We appreciate the real and honest look at marriage... no secrets here.   Biblical truth through and through. 

Check out the link to the sermons... scroll to the bottom and start at Week 1!  Wow, amazing help for singles and marrieds alike.  Watch with your spouse if at all possible. 


Friday, March 23

too good not to share - again

I shared this video on my old blog about a year ago, but it's too good not to share again here. Are you willing?


have you used these? opinions please!

So, yes... I realize we're still in the current school year, but we only have 8 weeks left of school in our household, and with a new baby coming within a month after school's out, I feel the need to get some of next year's planning done early!

Have you used any of the following things with your kids?  I'm contemplating using them for the first time next year and would love your thoughts:

Switched on Schoolhouse, Grade 6, History/Geography  (for both boys)

 Language Lessons Series by Sandi Queen (one for each of the 4 older kids)
check it out HERE

Portraits of American Girlhood: Seven Unit Studies based on the American Girl historical fiction series (to do with Morgan, 2nd grade)
"Delve deeper into the lives of the American Girls with this unit study curriculum. Looking at history, geography, cooking, grammar, spelling, values, literary analysis and more, this integrated language arts curriculum features a "word of the week" that figures prominently into the current book, projects that highlight different subjects and reproducible activities. This unit study covers all American Girls except for Kaya and Julie (Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Kit and Molly all included). 238 pages, softcover, plastic spiral-bound."

Apologia Science:  Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day  We purchased this recently for next year already: the Text, 2 Notebooking Journals (boys), and 1 Junior Notebooking Journal (Morgan)

**Apologia Science is currently 30% off at Christianbook.com - I believe until the end of March... thanks, Elizabeth, for the tip!**

         Since we purchased it already, and plan on using it for sure, any tips?  This is our first Apologia year!

I'm also looking for some fun preschool resources... What are your preschool favorites?  We already own and plan to read Sonlight's PK books aloud...

Thank you for sharing your insight with me!

Thursday, March 22

this week

I apologize for the blog silence, just in case you were wondering how I'm doing with my kidney issue... 

I'm doing much better, thank you!  I think the position change (only on my left side) as I sleep at night and try to get some left side laying on the couch rest throughout the day have really helped...  thank you, if you've been praying for me - I truly appreciate you.  I am amazed and so thankful that I feel better.  I have an appointment with a urologist next week, but I may just cancel (unless things get bad again) since they said there is nothing they will do about the hydronephrosis since I'm this far along... THIRD TRIMESTER!  Yahoo!!  

On Sunday, I was utterly dreading the week ahead (rare for me), trying to imagine myself taking care of these kiddos and homeschooling too in pain with Jeremy working overtime these next few weeks.  I didn't want to be ungrateful or be despairing... so I snapped out of that mindset, thanking God for whatever he brings my way in the week. 

Monday morning was met with the chicken pox. 

Yup, Gabi and Levi both. 

I couldn't believe it!  Levi had been vaccinated, Gabi had not.  Guess who got a monster case of them?  You guessed it!  Mr. Vaccinated.  None of the other kids have had them yet, so I'm guessing it's only a matter of time that the red yucky bumps appear.  Gabi's were isolated to just her bottom and a bit on her lower tummy area... Levi's are everywhere - ears, lips, face, legs, bottom, neck, arms, you name it!  He's been one sad dude, but he is much, much better and slept all night last night without crying out in discomfort. 

Monday afternoon brought the shocking news that my wonderful, amazing, sweet, funny, caring dear Aunt Topper (Anna) passed away.

 My Dad comes from a family of 9 brothers and sisters, they are an amazing family. A very close-knit family.  I have the most fun Aunts and Uncles one could ask for.  Aunt Topper was very recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and died unexpectedly from complications to her liver from surgery she had a few weeks ago.  My Dad's eldest sister, my Aunt Myrna passed away as well just a few short weeks ago... so it's been a hard new year for our family.  Please pray for my Dad, his siblings, my Uncles, cousins and the grandkids of these amazing Aunts of mine.  My sister, Dad, and I traveled back to Indiana a few months ago in October to see family and Aunt Myrna, knowing she was not doing well.  It was a huge blessing to see her, hold her hand and pray for her as she lived her last few months surrounded by her family.  But also, now, hearing of Aunt Topper's death, which is just so shocking, feeling blessed to be able to spend time with her, be in her home, and have recent memories of her loveliness. 

 Dad, Aunt Topper, me, my sister Jen, and Uncle Bob (married to my Aunt Margie)

This was taken just back in October.

All of my Dad's siblings sometime around 1950.  
Myrna, Loretta, Topper (Anna), Margie, Tom
Bernie, Merilee, Larry, and my dad Lou

This week has been emotional to say the least,  but it's been good nonetheless. 

We are home bound until further notice, pending more cases of chicken pox popping up amongst the others...We've cancelled swim lessons that were supposed to start tonight for Drew who has been waiting all year, midwife appointments, and Bible Study... and that's okay.  Life is like that, and we're (I'm) thankful to be home and heal up my own body in the process. 

On a very high note, this week also brought a huge surprise from my sneaky and extremely thoughtful husband!

He bought me an amazing new camera (Canon Rebel with two lenses) - and it is expected to be delivered by the UPS guy today!  I've never had a nice camera, and I'm SOOO excited and humbled.  I never thought I'd have a really nice camera in all my life!  I love taking pictures, but have grown so frustrated with all of our cheap cameras that can't take a photo of a moving child to save their lives!  And trust me, all of my photos of Gabi and Levi involve at least one moving subject.  So here's to better pictures, and a fun hobby I can now really love. 

So that's our week in a nutshell... we're doing great, really.  We keep hoping and not despairing, trusting and not controlling.  It's not easy, but it's what the Lord is asking us to do. 

Friday, March 16


This pregnancy has been a smooth one in terms of how our baby is growing and her health thus far... and we are praising God for that.  But her mama's is a different story.  I don't want to sound like a complainer about it, I feel so blessed to be pregnant and carrying this precious cargo, but it has been quite eventful!  I've been "sicker" than I've been in this pregnancy than any of the others starting out with the worst chest cold my body has seen in years, the most violent stomach flu of my ever-lovin' life, a painful bladder infection, and now hydronephrosis of one of my kidneys. 

Hydro-what?  That's what I said.  I've been having some pretty severe pain off and on since the bladder infection passed in late January... and it was thought that I was passing kidney stones... the pain went away for a couple weeks, and then came back with a vengeance last weekend.  I waited it out a couple days until Tuesday, not wanting the be "the girl who cried wolf."  Then I called into the midwifery and they saw me right away that day, and sent me for an ultrasound thinking it was either kidney stones (either again, or for real this time) or preterm labor.  So I went in for a check of my kidneys and my cervix to make sure nothing was happening before it should in a couple months.  I was not in preterm labor (thankfully, even though I felt like I could have been and still do) but it was found that the ureter (tube) that runs from my right kidney to my bladder (is this too much info?) are being collapsed due to the weight of the uterus/baby and causing a back-up into my right kidney...  on ultrasound, mine looked like the Moderate example below... but I'm not sure what my ultrasound tech would have classified it as...

Anyways, it's been really painful, and there's nothing that can be done (unless it becomes severe), and it disappears after baby is born.  So I have to sleep, sit, etc... positioning myself onto my left side so the pressure can be relieved from my right kidney, and allow the fluid to flow freely in the right direction.  I never knew this was even possible!!?? And so painful?  I'd never experienced anything like this in a pregnancy, but I've read that the right kidney is the one almost always affected in pregnancy and it can be common, not normal, but common. 

The left side sleeping is proving to be challenging because, wouldn't ya know it?  I'm a right side and a back sleeper.  Both of those are no-no's right now...  Sleep has not come easily this week, but I think and hope it will improve the way I feel in the daytime.  Today was rough pain-wise, but we had some friends over (totalling 16 kids and their moms) and that was a fantastic distraction and a fun way to spend the day! 

Thank you, friends for your help and company!

 I can honestly thank God through this trial.  How can I not? 

He is so gracious to us daily, how can I not turn back and praise him? 

I'm learning through trials that he can be trusted, and that his ways are so much higher than mine. 

Would you join me and praying for continued health for baby girl through this and for a complete healing before baby is born?  Thank you very much. 


whiffer renewal

Gavin received this Ty Pluffies Whiffer dog when he was just a wee baby over nine years ago from his Grandparents... and Whiffer has been loved, loved, loved all that time and has had many reconstructive surgeries including a tail transplant, several restuffings, and stitches.

The original Whiffer now has huge holes in him and crazy thin "fur"- so Jeremy and I decided to find a new Whiffer for Gavin on ebay, so we can put the old beloved "pet" up and the new one can be played with for the next 9 years?  (smile) 

Whiffer needed surgery now more than ever, and I took Whiffer one afternoon "into surgery", so Gavin thought...  and at dinnertime I brought him out all bandaged up like a mummy with toilet paper to give Gavin a big surprise.  He unwrapped his doggie and was so confused and surprised that Whiffer looked brand-new!  He was so happy, then a terrified look came over his face, wondering what had happened to his original trusty friend.

This is him just after the surprise!

I love this boy who loves this dog.  I hope Whiffer stays around for a loooong time still. 

Thursday, March 15

Annabelle's new best friend

Yesterday, we had quite the moose fiasco.  This has been a record year for seeing moose in the neighborhood!  We see them often every winter, but this year even more so.  The amount of snow we've gotten this year has caused the moose to flee the mountains and stick closer to flatter ground where they can munch their precious trees all winter.  We see moose around our house every single day, and yesterday, a big mama and her tiny baby moose decided to hunker down right next to our dog, Annabelle's territory. 

Annabelle and the mama had a barking/starting contest for what seemed like hours.  We tried everything to try to get the mama and baby to take a hike... we were so worried mama would trample our sweet doggie who wouldn't stop barking at her.  But mama wouldn't budge no matter what we did and stayed right in between her baby and our dog.  And by the time we noticed mama was so close to Annabelle, it was too late for us to go out and bring our dog in for fear of our own lives!

Eventually, mama realized that Annabelle could only come so far on her chain, so she plunked down in the snow right out of Annabelle's reach just to taunt her I think.  (Her baby had walked across the street and had bedded down just a ways away, or I would have gotten a picture of her too.)  They stayed this way for another hour or two, mutual respect... no barking, no hairs standing on end and ears back...  Then the mama and baby finally meandered their way out of sight. 

 It's never dull here in wildlife central!

Monday, March 12

I hope you would

One thing we hear quite often in our little world from the people around us is,

 "Oh, I could never do that..."

or " I don't know how you do it!"

And it is always in regards to raising a certain number of children, going through the trials that adoption and foster care can bring, or homeschooling

These statements to me, or to friends in similar situations, are baffling and can be disheartening to a family who is doing something that the Lord has very specifically asked us to be involved in.  It makes us feel as though we shouldn't be able to do it or shouldn't be doing it at all in the first place.  God asks us to do HARD things sometimes, don't ya know?  He is producing a character in us that could not have been conjured up any other way.  The above mentioned situations can definitely be very trying at times, but in striving to do what God has asked us to do, we carry on with joy in our hearts.  Who wouldn't want to be right smack dab in the middle of God's will for them?  Hard or not, that brings joy!

I'd imagine that some would have a hard time equating having a large family, homeschooling, or being adoptive or foster parents to say, being called to be overseas missionaries.  Why is that?  I believe it's because some callings that come right from the mouth of God to an individual or family are more widely accepted as acceptable "mission work or callings" than others. 

If God asked you to adopt or become foster parents, would you?  I hope you would.  (Well, good, because he has already asked you to care for orphans... it may not be adoption, but he has already asked you to do something in his Word, there's no denying that. )

If God asked you to bring your children home and start homeschooling, would you?  I hope you would.

If God asked you to increase the size of your family by conceiving a child, would you?  I hope you would. 

I truly hope you would.  Maybe you already have.  And I hope you have encouragers along the way, because they are so important.  Why is it that some have a hard time accepting and encouraging families who are obediently walking whichever road is presented before them just because they, themselves couldn't imagine it?  Or just plain don't want to, like a toddler stamping her foot?

The other question, of course, we hear constantly from friends, family, and strangers alike is, "Are you done?"  (expanding our family)

Well, how in the world are we supposed to know that?  We can't see into the future - we can't possibly know what he's going to ask us to be obedient to down the road.  Can you really know that? 

So I cringe when I hear people say, "Yes, we're done.  (Insert number of children) is enough for me."  But is it enough for God?  Have you consulted him with an open heart?  Or are you soley relying on your preferences for your life, and figure you don't have to consult him on such a "personal" matter? 

I hear quite often, "But I don't have the (patience, money, or whatever else you can think of) to do that."  Well, neither do we, folks. 

It is God who puts the dreams in your heart, and it is he who provides what you need to complete it the way he has planned. 

Keep seeking the Lord, and don't close yourself off to something different than you could have ever imagined.  Because, guess what?

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now, of course, taking in and adopting children who have no family, homeschooling, and expanding your family the old-fashioned way are not the only things God asks families and individuals to do that can evoke the raising of eyebrows of onlookers.  The are innumberable amounts of things God may ask us to do, these are just my personal examples, what is important is that you say YES when you are asked by our Holy God to do something that is out of your comfort zone or is foreign to you, and also that you ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT those who already have.  We already know it can be hard, we don't need reminding.  What we do like is a smile, and an encouraging word every once in a while.  Thank you, if you are one of those who support and encourage families walking the paths God has carved out for them - you are treasured!

Thankfully, we don't live for the approval of anyone but God alone.  He is the only one we want to please! 

Sunday, March 11

day 7 - we made it

Day 7 is here!  I'm not surprised how quickly the week zoomed by, every week is that way around here, but what I am surprised about is how little desire I have to be on facebook now.  Yay, right?  Right. 

That was part of why I wanted a break - so I could see life without that time-wasting option in my life.  And that life is good!

But you do know, that Monday morning I'll be checking to see if I missed any messages, etc... while I was away, but I have zero desire to cruise around and see what else I missed. 

How has your week away been?  If your experience was different than mine, please feel free to share that.  We're all living out a different story, it probably won't look the same, and that's the beauty of it. 

Thank you for taking a time-out with me - it was really nice to know you were along for the ride. 

Saturday, March 10

Hot Mom Syndrome

You really should pop on over to HERE today and read this.


100 days!

Wow, I just clicked on the numbers on my sidebar on the little baby in my belly widget -  you can change the way you view it by clicking on the numbers:  how many weeks I am, how many days have past, and how many days are left...  And WOW only 100 days left!  I never click on that thing, not sure why I decided to, but how cool to click the day it says 100!  Yup, 3 more months!! 

Part of this morning has been spent making a playlist to burn to a CD to take when I'm in labor and am giving birth at the birth center.  It's so peaceful there with candles, a huge jacuzzi tub in the room, and a double headed shower - plus you get to bring your own music, which is the icing on the cake.  Music speaks to me and I loved having my own music last time.  I'll post my playlist once I have it totally finished!

So here's to the next 100-ish days until we meet this little sweetie who never lets me forget she's there with her constant movin' and shakin'. 


nearing that third trimester!

I had an appointment today at the midwifery.  I love it there each time. 

Baby girl is healthy and growing!  She's growing at a nice steady rate, and my uterus is measuring 26.5 weeks.  I've been one week ahead from the start, which is so cool that it has stayed so consistent.  I'm feeling fantastic.  Baby girl is still head up, which isn't a concern yet... I got to feel her head bobbing around up there with my hands today, after one of my midwives showed me where she was... it's so amazing to actually feel her body parts and know what I'm feeling.  I learn so much at each visit.  

Her heart rate is very consistent and is always in the 140's.. today it was around 148. 

Most would say that is a low "boy" sort of heart rate... but we've had two ultasounds to prove the pink-ness of this one.  :) 

I've slowly been buying some newborn baby neccesities the last few months... that part is SO fun!
So far, I've snagged some flannel receiving blankets, a fuschia sleeper, some cute little pacifiers, those tiny little newborn disposable diapers, newborn cloth diapers, and a mega score off of Craigslist that was barely used:  a Fisher Price Rock 'n Play that I'd been eyeing at Target all winter for waaaaay cheaper.  I love looking at her little sleeper hanging up in our room each day.  Some days I hold it and pretend I'm holding her close to me. 

We are praying for a continued healthy environment and growth for her, as we wait these next few months for her to gain weight and develop as she needs to.  We love you, baby girl!!! 

I'm also so excited for two of my sister-in-laws who are due to deliver soon!  Abie is due the end of this month, and Heather is due the first week of next month!  Yay - a new niece and nephew to love on.  And double yay for cousins so close in age!  Our kids will have gained four new cousins from September to April:  2 boys and 2 girls.  Baby boom!



day 5 - some improvement

Hello, there.  How's the facebook time-out treating you?

It's going well around here, I've been able to focus on some things around the house that I've been slowly working at getting better at.  The two that have been my biggest improvements this week?

Laundry and Dinner.

Usually, how it works around here, is that the boys collect the laundry from around the house throughout the week, and Jeremy and I run the loads through.  The boys rotate the clothes (not always, but about 1/2 the loads in a week) from the washer to the dryer and start it.  Then all we have to do is put a new load in the washer.

Jeremy folds them.  And I would put them all away. Though the boys do their own, and Morgan mostly puts hers away by herself.  Boy, oh boy, do we generate some laundry!!  As I'm sure some of your families do!


I've been feeling like I wanted to take a load off of Jeremy, even though he says he truly doesn't mind folding on the weekends.  He has been working his normal 40 hour work week (with a 3 hour round trip commute) then an extra 8 hour day on one of his normal days off.  He's been doing this for about 5 weeks already, and it will continue for another 6-8.  So the both of us have been so exhausted when we come the end of the longer week.

This is definitely not my laundry room, but itsn't it lovely?

So here's what I've been doing to make sure there has been no laundry sitting around anywhere by the time his weekend comes.  (You all probably have always done it this way.. but I'm a slow learner.) 

Each day, I wash the laundry from one of the three places where we collect laundry:  the boy's room, girl's room, or the upstairs bathroom that collects ours and the babies' together.  Then I wash, dry, fold, and put away that load.  It seems so easy, and takes so little time out of that day to do one room's worth, that I have NO idea why I didn't do this before.  It is so rewarding to see our spot where our clean laundry accumulated all week - EMPTY at all times.  Some days there is none to do, and that's a miracle, except I'm probably running through a load of cloth diapers, which I do every other day.  And that's so easy, it's nothing. 

So, that is my great big laundry improvement update.  :) 

And the other is the dinner thing. 

I've always loved to put dinners together.  But it can be such a chore when unprepared.  The meat is frozen, you don't have on hand what you thought you did, yada, yada...  This week has been so great!  And not by anything I've done, it's all because of a TURKEY. 

We always buy extra turkeys around the holidays and freeze them.  Each year we end up with around three in the chest freezer.  Jeremy thawed one out last weekend for me, dressed it up, and got it all ready for me to pop in the oven Monday afternoon.  So that I did.  I've never dressed a turkey in my life, nor known how to cook one.  Though I'm sure I could figure it out, but why should I if someone else always cooks them for me?  So here's how we used our turkey up all week:

Monday:  traditional turkey din din, stuffing, steamed potatoes
Tuesday:  turkey sour cream enchiladas (The Food Nanny cookbook) refried beans, corn
Wednesday:  coconut turkey curry with pineapple and vegetables over rice - allrecipes.com  (of course it called for chicken)
Thursday:  turkey sandwiches
Friday:  creamy turkey (chicken) soup, breadsticks (both The Food Nanny cookbook)

It was a week of good eatin's around here!  I am so in love with pre-cooked meat you can just throw in your recipes.  (And that doesn't happen very often.)  And I used the very last of the turkey tonight in that yummy soup.  We never got sick of it, it was a delicious turkey!

Now if I could be so prepared next week. 

Have you had areas of improvement this week?

I'm sincerely enjoying my time away from the computer.  Facebook is so dispensable for me.  Even though right now I'm missing the front end of our dear friends' trip to Eastern Europe to meet their two new children through adoption and just the day to day interaction with people I know and love...  I really am great without it.  I'm better without it.  So I'm contemplating what I'm going to do with it once this week is up come Monday morning. 

Will you be making changes?

Do I go on sparingly, like on a schedule?  Stay the same as before, just needed a break?  Cut it out totally?  Hmmm...  whatcha gonna do?  I'm going to seek the Lord, and ask him what he'd have me do, wait for his answer, and then I'm going to do that. 

Thursday, March 8

how did this happen?

I look at these two toddler faces daily and truly wonder,  how in the WORLD did you get here

We haven't traveled the world out there.
We felt such peace to stay home and hope.
That God would bring the children that he has for our family miraculously right to our door. 
And he literally has. 

I am humbled to get to be their mom.  To spend my days with them.  And I am eternally grateful that God saw fit to bless us immeasurably with Gabrielle and Levi.  This is on my heart every day, but especially today. 

Thank you, thank you, Lord. 


days 3 & 4 - that word that stings sometimes

As I was thinking things through before our facebook time-out began, I kept thinking that it would be good and wise for us to ponder some things together.  Some things that maybe, just maybe, we could use a little help with. 

The first one I'm thinking of is the area of Self-Control.

I can definitely say that I struggle. 

Hmm... let's see where to start?

Oh, I struggle with:
not eating the whole pan of brownies/plate of cookies/stash of Valentine's candy
spending too much wasted time on the internet
putting my "things" aside to complete my homeschool plan for the day
controlling my tongue when I have something I really want to say (good or bad) when it isn't the right timing

Those are the biggies for me...

Self-Control can sometimes seem like a bad word.  But truly, it is a gift from God that comes along with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us for those who believe.

Galatians 5:22-26 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Self-Control one of those "fruits" or results of the Spirit's presence. He gives us everything we need at our disposal to walk in Self-Control.  But then why is it so hard to implement?

Carolyn Mahaney writes in her book Feminine Appeal: (A book that I love, and reference back to from time to time.)

"We are in a fierce battle, confronting sin from within and temptations from without.  But God provides a means of protection in this war.  He wants to encircle us with a wall that can withstand the onslaughts on all three fronts.  That wall is self-control." 

So how do we begin to fight this fierce battle and call on the help of the Holy Spirit?

"Meeting with God each day is a way of acknowledging that we are totally dependent upon his grace.  Psalm 1 eloquently depicts the effect of daily meeting with God:  "Blessed is the man... [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers."   When we meet with God, we can find peace in the midst of trying circumstances, an eternal perspective where we have lost sight of the truth, and power to fight our battle against sin.  We will resemble that tree in Psalm 1 that is healthy and strong, and fruit-bearing.   Therefore we should eagerly and consistently respond to our Saviour's invitation to come and meet with Him."   ~  Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal

Many times, I would begin again and "try harder" to produce Self-Control in my days.  But really, what I've needed to do is trust the one who has begun a good work in me (Phil 1:6) and lean on his strength.  His infinite strength and grace.  Leaning hard on God's promises of help by reading God's Word, soaking up, and acknowledging what he says about me and his ability to provide these things to me. 

Want Self-Control?  It is there for the asking.  But it takes effort too.  The apostle Paul experienced toil and struggle just as we do.  And even he knew the need to cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain us. 

"Man may talk of self-control, as if the reins were in his own hands.  But he who has been "born of the Spirit" and taught "to know the plague of his own heart," is made to feel that effective self-control is divine grace, not his own native power... Have not repeated defeats taught us the need of calling in better strength than our own?"  ~Charles Bridges, book Proverbs

Wednesday, March 7

the independent and "sneaky" one

My multi-tasking little mama saying goodbye with Levi's coat half on.  I'm not sure where she was planning on going, but she looked ready.  

"Bye!  Bye!  Bye!"

And this, my friends, is what I found today when I went in to get Gabi up from her nap.

As you saw in my previous rascal toddler post, she tries to cover herself up to cover the evidence when she takes her clothes off.  To her credit, she has stayed fully clothed during naptime for the past week, but she chose today as the day to break the rules.  She took her dress and leggings off and was standing like this in her crib completely still with her dress partially on, and inside out  when I walked in to get her.  Thinking her cover-up job would be good enough that I just wouldn't notice her standing there disobeying.  

Before every nap I say, 
"Pants on.  Shirt on.  Yes, mama?"
"Yes, mama."  
"Good girl!"

She is such a goofball!!!  She knew she was in trouble, and she vowed in her own toddler way not to do it again.  

I've been laughing all evening about this picture.  Oh my. 

Tuesday, March 6

day 2 - carrying out our intentions pt. 2

Okay, well I'm back and am finally getting a chance to "meet" with you again.  I honestly don't miss facebook a bit... though when I was up with some crazy rare insomnia from 2-5am this morning, one of my first thoughts was to pop on facebook and see what I'd missed yesterday.

But then my head snapped back to reality and I remembered I couldn't, and really didn't want to.  It had become a habit though for sure.  And it was good for me to realize how easily it came to mind.  Ugh.

Anyways, we had a great morning out at Bible Study, then came home for a quick lunch before I put the babies down for their naps, sent the bigger kids downstairs to play, and I had an important case update conference call appointment to be on for Levi's adoption right after I got everyone settled.  And my stellar husband even brought me home a Carmello candy bar tonight and it was king-sized.  (Swoon.) 

Does this guy know me or what?  It was a good day.  And now Jeremy and the kids (except Levi) are outside running around with Annabelle, our dog, for a romp in the snow.  Those snow caves are looking good! 

So back to our week.

How's it going?

I feel like God has been working on me in this area for the better part of a year now, and it hurts so good.  These are the areas I've been improving in or have completely made a 180 degree turnaround in, and this week couldn't come at a better time, so I could refine how things are done and seek God's face about how I'm spending the time he has given me:

Keep the house tidy.
Do the dishes.
Put the laundry away.
Clear the kitchen island off.  Everyday.
Play with the kids.
Homeschool like you mean it.
Speak in a gentle tone with the kids and Jeremy at all times.  
Be in God's Word everyday.  By yourself.  In the morning.  Not just with the family.
Be patient.
Love, love, love.  With no holding back.
Leave a legacy of hope and trusting God to our kids, instead of giving them some fodder to talk about with their future spouses.
Make an effort in planning dinners.  Nothing huge or fancy, but good and tasty.
Don't correct Jeremy's every mistake.
Don't be argumentative with him. Or proud.

Wow, that's a big list, now that I've written it all out. (And I'm sure there's more I need to work on.)  A lot has changed in me, and I'm so thankful to God for that.  To him be all the glory.

So how are these things being carried out?  Or how do I see them eventually being carried out?

Dump the time waster laptop, and tuck it away except for during certain times during the day.  I haven't mastered this, and that's why I'm here!  But I know this week will make me see how much time it has sucked out!

You've shared the things you want to be intentional about... (if you haven't, you can share here in the comments on this post!)  How are you seeing change coming about in how you spend your time?  How will you make these intentions a reality?

I'd love to hear from each of you. 


day 2 - carrying out our intentions

Hi gang! 

We'll be out at Bible Study this morning, but I'd love to know how Day 1 went for you, and your game plan for carrying out those things you plan to be more intentional about!  I'll be back later today with more to say on this topic. God Bless your day as you seek His best plan for your days. 

Monday, March 5

Day 1, intentional

Good morning to you! Ooh, it feels good to be taking a break from facebook.

So as I mentioned before, today we're going to talk about those things we'd like to be more intentional about in our lives not only this week, but in the days to come...

It's so tempting for me to pop on facebook, answer a message or two, then scroll down, down, down looking for something interesting to read.  Truly, I'm sick of that cycle.  And it's time to get off of that train!

Several times I've wanted to give facebook up altogether.  But there is a wonderful side of it for me - namely communication with friends that don't live close and my family/cousins/aunts/uncles that live across the country.  So, there has to be a balance.   

I'm sure you all have your own reasons for wanting/needing a break - maybe they're the same as mine, maybe they're completely different.

Let's start out our week by sharing a few things with each other, if you will:

  1. What are your reasons for wanting to put facebook in a time-out?
  2. What are the things you're avoiding, neglecting, or leaving out because of your time on facebook?
  3. What things do you want to be more intentional about this week and beyond?

Answer in the comments (Kind Words) below and let's get this week started! (If you've never commented here before, just mark yourself as Anonymous, then sign your comment with your first name.)  I'm off to start my day with the kids, but I'll be back to add my answers to the comments too in a bit. Also, feel free to interact by Replying to each other's comments - I think that'd be cool! 

15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

Sunday, March 4

as we prepare to put facebook in a time-out

Hello, from this beautiful Saturday night! We have had the most amazing fluffy snow falling today, and the sky was bright white all day flooding our home with brilliant brightness as we had a much needed family day lazing about the house.  It included me trying to hand quilt again (another story for another post), playing board games, watching a family movie, Skype-ing with our MISSED family in Tennessee, and baking lemon bars.  We didn't even make it outside in the fluffy whiteness today, that's just how lazy we were. 

I've been thinking a lot about our upcoming facebook time-out that starts Monday morning and lasts one week until the following Sunday night, and here are some things I'm going to put into place this weekend to get ready and optimize the time away and take away any temptation to get on there for a little peek this week.  Feel free to do the same:

  • First, on facebook, click on the little white down arrow next to the word Home on the top right side of your screen.  Then go to Account Settings.  Then on the far left side of the screen, click on Notifications.  Scroll down on the page until you come to All Notifications.  First click the Edit button to the right of the facebook icon.  Uncheck all boxes you want unchecked.  I'm unchecking all.  I don't want facebook contacting me at all this week no matter who sends me a message, or who posts on my wall.  Then click Save Changes.  Then continue down the line of different reasons facebook might email you, click Edit and uncheck all the boxes! 
  • Next, also on that same screen, there is a blue box at the top that says "Email Frequency" - uncheck that for the week.  
  • Write a status on your wall saying whatever you want to say before we start, telling your friends about your absence, and how they can best contact you while you're away from facebook. Also, invite them to join us here if you'd like. 
Be thinking about some things you'd like to be more intentional about this week (and beyond) in your daily lives.  We'll be talking about that on Monday - I'm just nice like that and am giving you a chance to think about it ahead of time.  :)   

So here's who will be joining us this week so far...   thanks for coming along with me, guys!!

Amanda (myself)

Please comment if you'll be joining us too - you can join anytime all week...