Friday, December 14, 2012

Forgiveness is Freedom

Please forgive me for,

raising my voice.

reacting in anger.

making you feel NEVER good enough.

controlling your every interaction.

putting my "worry" on you.

expecting you to "arrive".

making it about me.

I am praying that these reactions turn into,

A gentle answer.

A kind and patient response.

The assurance that although we can't do anything to earn God's favor, he Loves, Protects, and Forgives us in spite of ourselves.

Letting you make mistakes and be hurt and trust that you will always know, I am a safe place to come to in those times.

"Trusting in the Lord with all my heart. . ."

Remembering we are all a work in progress.  A slow, painful, and beautiful progress.

Making it about God's glory and purpose in your life, my life, our lives.

Remember this, 

God in His great mercy does not leave us to our own end.  He is always teaching, stripping us down, and building us back up.  Sometimes the lessons come easily.  Sometimes we aren't surprised by the road he takes us down.  But sometimes the lessons turn your world upside down, throwing you around like the waves of the angry ocean.  You see clearly how deep you are in the ocean of yourself, drowning in your sin.  In these times, it will be easy to feel hopeless, dead.  But we do have a hope.  A hope that comes, not our ourselves or anything we can do, but all from the sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior.

Here is our truth,
"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the ONLY God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen."  

1 Timothy 1: 15-17  

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I am your mom. I am your teacher.

I am your mom.  I carried you for 9 months.  I gave birth to you.  I nursed you, rocked you, sang to you.  I hold you when you are sick.  Give you medicine, rub your back, and tell you everything is going to be ok.  I listen to you when you are sad, scared, and silly.  

I want to give you everything, but everything is not what you need.  I want to make your life easy, but an easy life isn't doing you or the world any favors.  I want to let you skate by, because if I'm honest, it's easier for me to NOT ask you for your best.

I love that you have a nurturing heart that is such a surprise in your personality.

I love that you have a real life hero that you look at with stars in your eyes.

I love your laugh and all the ways you make us all smile.

I love your selfless heart, always thinking of your family and friends before yourself.

I love your love of organization and order.

I love you, all.

I am so lucky to see all these things in you all, everyday.

Not only am I your mom. . .

I am your teacher.

These two role are hard to distinguish for me.  I know now, they are hard for you to distinguish too.  I am sorry this is confusing.  I'm sorry that because I'm your teacher, some days, I don't want to be your mom.  I'm sorry that because I'm your teacher, you take my "teaching" as disappointment.  I am sorry that sometimes, because I'm your mom, I talk to you in ways a teacher NEVER would.

Although there are things I am sorry for, there are many more I am THANKFUL for.  I am thankful that I get to teach you to read, write, add.  I am thankful that I get to be apart of your "ah-ha" moments.  I am thankful that I get to watch you teach each other, not just school lessons, but life lessons as well.  I am thankful that daddy is the "principle" of our school and encourages and challenges us all.  I am thankful that I get to see the VAST differences in all of you.  From the way you learn, to the way you communicate, to the way you love.  I get to be a part of it everyday.  I am so blessed.

My children, we are blessed.  Blessed beyond anything we deserve.  Blessed to be each other's lives, all day.  I know, sometimes it doesn't feel like a blessing.  Oh, but it is.  I thank God for the time I have with you because I know it is short.  Too short.  So in this short time I pray that as your mom and teacher I will honor God in raising, teaching, and guiding you.  I pray that "we, being rooted and established love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  Because, beyond your education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, knowing Christ is the most important knowledge you will obtain in your lifetime.  

                                                               This is what it's about.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Toddler Baby

My baby, is not a baby.

My baby,  is 100% into her toddler years.

My baby, with attitude abounding.

My baby is potty trained. . .

dresses herself. . .

and can pump herself on the swing.

This is weird.  And wonderful.  And weird.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Learning to be a Friend

I was glad I had my sunglasses on.  My welled up tears were hidden from view.  There's no question what the tears were in response to.  In part, they were for my daughter, who opened up her heart with such raw truth and the words that poured out made me feel angry and protective.  The other part was in understanding all too well how she was feeling.

I know exactly the feeling she had when she tried to include herself into a group (clique) of girls, only to be ignored.  The word she used was sad, but lets be honest, that's not a strong enough word.  I know exactly how she feels when she asks another girl about her weekend, only to be given a short nod and a face turned away.  The words she used were, left-out.  But again, we all know that the feelings are so much stronger than the words can describe.

We've all been treated badly by other girls.  I know many women who still find self-worth in making other people feel bad about themselves.  That's another blog for another day.

"Love your neighbor as yourself" has never been so clearly illustrated as it was that day.  As we talked through her feelings, her reactions, and how she can pray, I was so proud of her.  She is strong and beautiful.  We both know that this won't be that last time it happens.  More importantly, she is more aware of her own "mean" streak.  As I type, she is uniting the neighborhood girls, who normally have a hard time with one girl or another.  I can't help but think that she is really thinking about her words and actions because of the impact of our conversation yesterday.  Growing pains are hard.  With my girls I am hoping that with each trial and painful friendship experience I can help them to see how they can be better friends.

Here are a couple of the life lessons that were reinforced yesterday:

*Treat others the way you want to be treated.

*You can't change/control other people, you can only change/control your reaction.

*People WILL hurt you.  It is important to confront in love, forgive, and move on.

*You WILL hurt people.  You are responsible to be humble and teachable when trying to reconcile with them.

*Pray for those who hurt you.

I am so proud of you Olivia Joy.  You truly are a strong and loyal friend.  I am so thankful that you are letting me know you and aren't afraid of your feelings or of growing up.  This isn't going to be easy.  Be patient with me as I stumble through this parenting role.  May we both rest in the arms of Jesus through the good and bad.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Camp Crisp

Camp Crisp 2012 has officially started today!  For the past week we have been compiling lists of jobs, writing ideas, and research ideas for the kids to keep their bodies and brains active this summer.  Amidst the pool days, park days, and beach days we will have many days at home when boredom WILL set in.  This is our family attempt at staying busy and having fun all at the same time.

Here are the kids charts for the next 4 weeks.  Each time they complete an activity, they will put that letter in the day it was done.  For each activity they complete they get $.25.  We plan on teaching them about saving and tithing through this too.

Here are the 6 activities that they can complete each day.  Read, Write, Physical Activity, Practice, Home, and Extra.  We have extensive lists of suggestions for Writing, Jobs around the house, and research ideas as an Extra activity.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many blogs recording our Camp Crisp adventure.  Here we go!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Prayer for my Kids

One sings with passion while the other stands emitting an energy of annoyance.  One in my arms while the other wiggles from seat to seat.  One stands, trying to follow the crowd, all the while fighting the true desire to sit and draw pictures.

I stand, sing, raise my hands, close my eyes, always keeping an eye on the five wiggly worms around me.  I glance around at the joy and praise coming from others.  I look down at my five, wondering, "What are they thinking?  What did I think when I was a child?  Why is this one so angry?  Why is that one NOT singing?  Is the passion going to last?"

I stop.

I pray.  

I sing.  

I pray some more.

Oh Lord, these souls that are here, let them not be lost.  These words, may they penetrate these hearts.  May they have 10,000 Reasons to sing Your praise.  May they praise You, What a Savior.  May they have their Happy Day, when Jesus washed their sins away.  May they run into the arms of Jesus and may He always be enough.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Gideon is a Gymnast

Check out my little gymnast. 

Gideon has been working on solidifying his headstand.  For the first couple of days he would fall over soon after putting his legs up.  But because of his consistent practice he can now stand on his head for a long amount of time.

I think he's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully

These two girls are different.
 Different and so wonderful.

This girl is a ballerina.  She likes to have a say in what she is wearing, and if she could, would wear a skirt or dress everyday.  She loves her long hair and to have it styled.  She is sensitive, a peacemaker, and a cuddle bug.  She loves having lots of friends around to play with and sees the best in everyone.  This girl, when going on a date with her daddy, asked me to brush her (very knotty) hair and to put it in a side ponytail.  This girl wanted to change her earrings to the "hoops" for her date.  

This girl is fearfully and wonderfully made.

This girl is sure of who she is.  This girl doesn't care what she's wearing, as long as it's comfortable.  This girl likes to wear jeans everyday, even on Sunday (good thing her mom does too!).  This girl doesn't care what she looks like, she's confident in who she is.  Dirt on her face?  Who cares!  Hair a mess?  Who cares?  This girl is loyal.  Her closest friends are important and treasured in her heart.  This girl joyfully cares for all her younger siblings and cousins.  This girl, when going on a date with her daddy, refused a hair brushing and style.  This girl didn't change a thing about her appearance, and she was HAPPY.  

This girl is fearfully and wonderfully made.

I love your differences.  I love who God made each of you.  I love you, my girls.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Job

I love my job.  I know who I work for.  My boss give chance after chance, never threatening to fire me.  When the work place is a mess, I am not put down.  When my attitude is selfish, I am gently reminded of my necessity to serve.  When I don't see eye to eye with my co-worker, there is confrontation, correction and reconciliation.  When I'm frustrated with my subordinates, my boss listens and fills in the gaps, coming to my rescue when I need Him most.  When I feel like I'm failing at my job, my boss exudes abounding grace.  My boss is ever patient and true.

In light of all that my boss has done for me, how can I give any less to my co-worker and subordinates?

I may not bring home a paycheck for my work, but feel blessed beyond what I deserve to be able to do what I do.  The hearts and lives of the future generation are in my care.

As I work each day, I pray that in my successes and failures, my children will see our Savior.  I know my work is not in vain and cannot be done in my own strength.  May the seeds I sow reap a harvest that enables generations to see our great God, serve Him, and believe in His saving grace.

Monday, April 02, 2012


I'm having these new feelings.  I have this strong desire to be around and gush over my newest niece and nephew.  Don't get me wrong, I've always been excited about all my nieces and nephews but this time is different.

Not because they are twins.

Not because they live a couple blocks away.

 And for almost a week I've been wondering where this "gushing" is coming from.

I finally figured it out tonight as I sat, winding down from my day.

I don't have a baby anymore.

I get a lump in my throat thinking about that.  I said this week that I don't need to have anymore babies, because my sisters are still having babies and will give me my baby fix.

I said it, now I FEEL it.
Declan love.

Knox and Parker baby fix.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mr. R.

He walked from his car, scowling.  His eyes could pierce right though you.  Other than his coming and going to work, I didn't see him.  He was never outside playing with the family.

For 23 years he was intimidating, scary, unapproachable.

He shuffles down the block smoking his cigarettes, flipping his lighter.  He comments on the weather.  Asks about Josh's job.  Compliments our choice to homeschool.  Complains about the township.  Asks about our straw garden, my opinion on children's toys, and home improvement projects.

All this with a smile on his face.  I'm confused.

For the past 2 years, Mr. R. has baffled me.  He has been just the break this tired mama needs some days.  Some days the break comes in the form of a photo taking lesson.  Other days the break is him letting my 5 monkeys play in his backyard for 30 minutes or talking to them as he takes his walks around the neighborhood.

On Garrett's birthday he brought a card down for him with 5 dollars in it.  He calls Garrett, Roadrunner.  I like it.  It's all too appropriate.

I don't know what changed him.  Maybe it was retirement.  Maybe it was a couple of gorgeous granddaughters.

Whatever it is, Mr. R. is proof that you don't have to get grouchier with age and that you're never too old to change.  Just a couple of good things to remember.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Garrett is 8


Today you turn 8.

Can you stop growing?  I don't want you to be taller than me, and that will be happening sooner than you think.

Your loyalty and unconditional love of others is inspiring.  You are always meeting new people, no one is above you.

You love to read the Bible, something daddy and I haven't pushed on you, but something you enjoy doing all on your own.  You often call me over to read a verse or two that has spoken to you.  You often want to share your readings with your class at church, this is such a blessing.  Daddy and I continue to pray that you will always have a desire to know God more.

You are a math WIZ!  You're brain just gets it, something my brain doesn't do.  I am daily blown away at how easily math comes to you.  I am excited to see where this takes you!

You are the best hugger I know.  This is another way that you make people feel important.  A smile and a hug go a long way in this world.

People are drawn to you buddy.  Babies, toddlers, kids your own age, kids older than you, teenagers, adults.  You are endearing, funny, and genuine.

Happy Birthday Garrett.  I am blessed to be your mom.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Math Class

There are times when I wonder what craziness got into us and made us choose homeschooling for our family.  There are days when I am one phone call away from enrolling them in school.  There many, many times when I beat myself up because I feel that I am failing them as their educator.  Are they learning what they need to be learning to keep up with their peers?  Are they learning as quickly as their peers?  There are MANY days like this.  

This morning is different.  This morning is a wonderful reminder of the benefits of homeschooling.  As I sat, drinking my coffee, Gideon ran over to me with a hand full of toys and said, "Mom, watch!"  He then took two of the toys in his hand and began counting, "2, 4, 6!  I can count by twos!!"  A smile is plastered to my face and I don't think it can get any bigger, until I look just beyond Gideon to find Garrett grinning from ear to ear.  When I catch his eye he says, "I taught him to count by twos."  I'm not sure who was the proudest of the three of us. . .

Math Class
Today's Lesson - Counting by 2's.
Dress code - Shirtless.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gentleness vs. Wrath

You know the old proverb, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up dissension."? It takes on a whole new meaning when you are a parent.  Frustration, annoyance, and anger can all bring out words and tones that stir up wrath and dissension rather than gentleness and guidance. 

As a mom who home schools, babysits, and has a toddler and a preschooler running around, I can often be found in a state of exasperation.  My voice gest louder and louder with every infraction.  I am so over my sinful self.  

In an effort to hold myself accountable and teach my children a better way to communicate, I have come up with this idea.  Every time I "lose" it (all you moms know what I'm talking about), I have to stop (Immediately!) and go write the verse in our notebook.  Every time a child speaks with harshness and frustration, they too must go to the notebook and claim the truth through writing.  

We've only been doing it for a day and a half now, but it's really been great.  Not great in the sense that I've stopped flying off the handle (hey, we're all al work in progress!), but great in the sense that it does curb my tirade.  I have actually stopped my harsh speak in the middle of it and gone to the notebook to write the verse.  The kids have also taken to it well.  A few of them have been honest about times that I didn't hear the offense and come to me to confess and do their writing.

Here is the first page of our writing exercise.  In one day, this page was marked by every member of the house who can write.  

As you can see, I am the first 5 offenses! 

What do you do to stop yourself from losing control in a frustrating situation?  Please share your ideas!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Many Hands, Many Feet.

I recently posted this picture on Facebook, with the caption, 
"Many hands.  Full hearts.  We are blessed."

I do not deny the sentiment of that.  We ARE SO blessed with our children.  But do you know what all those hands also have?

Wait for it. . .

Two feet!

This is the collection from 2 days of shoes from my beautiful cherubs.  They can usually be found, under the kitchen table, inside the back door, mismatched all over the living room and periodically in their rightful home, a shoe bin in the kids' room.

What other things go with all these shoes?  

Do you know?  Can you guess?

That's right, SOCKS!

 This is the sock collection after one week of laundry is done.  I ask you, how is one woman suppose to keep up with all these socks?  I am convinced the washing machine, couch, and beds eat socks.  How can I compete with that?

This is a picture of the same group of socks from above, laid out and matched up for putting away.  MANY are missing their match.  Some, I'm sure, are tucked away in the clothes drawers waiting for their partner.  Other's have succumbed to the life of singleness.

It is flip flop weather yet?

Friday, February 17, 2012


My oldest and youngest.
Olivia and Nora

I was caught off guard.

Sucker punched.

I really thought the day would never come,

When I would want another baby.

No, this is not an announcement.

This is a confession.

P.S. - Hopefully, this is also the start of me blogging again.  I miss it.