Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Thanks

I was determined to do good on Halloween because I really dislike the day. I know that makes me sound like a cranky self righteous Christian. I don't think I am... but the fact is the day is a downer to me, and the concept goes against much of what I teach my children about faith, character, and health.

I'm just going to say this- I love you, but if you are sorry for my kids because their mom hates Halloween, don't. I have happy kids without Halloween, without Santa Claus, and without the Easter Bunny. And without television.

In the past we gave out candy and decorated pumpkins. This is fun to see our friends in their costumes, but our friends have mostly all moved away and even when I turn out the lights, people still ring my doorbell. Quite frankly, it annoys me.

I thought about going shopping for operation Christmas Child, but I wasn't feeling it. No, I knew I was supposed to participate in Trunks of Treats at church. So I signed up... and then I realized I didn't have a car- or a trunk to decorate since Sook would be at work. I almost turned to scratch my name off the list when my spirit said, "I told you to do this." That was Sunday.

Monday we got a car. I needed it for several reasons but Trunks of Treats was one. God, thanks for my new (to me) mini van.

Thanks for a beautiful Halloween night. Thanks for the precious children that came and obediently said, "thank you" after their parent's reminder. Thank you for giving my children something to be excited for. Thank you for making me step out in faith and do this. Thanks that my husband did the same and willingly bought me a nice car. Thank you for your peace. Thank you that my kids are creative enough to come up with some homemade costume ideas.

Oh yeah, and thank you for my church. What wonderful people to surround myself with on such a night.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Song and Verse

I have decided that progress equals utter destruction of my house.

I got so much done, and at 2am it looked like a tornado going through. It was 2am because I had to clean up after the progress, and that is the time I gave up. At 2:30 someone came down to my room, announced she was not feeling well, and threw up on the one clean spot in my bedroom.

And that is what my days have seemed like for some time.

And my kids have been n-a-u-g-h-t-y!!!

And I have felt a little achy.

As I was digging through loads of clean laundry on the floor, hoping that a spider wouldn't decide to show itself (I know they are in there), looking for a clean pair of underwear for my 3 year old who peed in bed at the crack of dawn, I started singing an old hymn, "Blessed be the name, blessed be the name, blessed be the name of the Lord."

I smiled, and in my thoughts I said, "even when I get woken up way too early, even when I can't clear a path to my bathroom, even when my washing machine is about to die, even when I have no idea what's for lunch, even when.... still I will bless the name of the Lord."

You can say it in almost any situation:

Even when I can't find my keys.
Even when I am the homeschool mom who can't control her kids in Goodwill at noon on Friday.
Even when colored sand is spilled all over the kitchen table.
Even when I say something seven times and no one heard me.
Even when the one thing I put on my to-do list... and I only put one thing on there because I wanted to make sure that it got done.... even when it didn't get done.

...still I will bless the name of the Lord.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food.
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, 
And there be no herd in the stalls--
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

 I am thankful for songs and verses that ring out in my mind to fill me with the truth of what is really important.

Bless the Lord.

Psalm 103:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, o my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities;
Who heals all of your diseases,
Who redeems your live from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfied your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
the Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

...He has not delt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us...

...the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust...

....Bless the Lord, Oh my soul!

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before us
Let us be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord!

Thank you, God, for song and verse

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Boyfriend.

When he calls, I tell the kids to be boyfriend is calling.

It just seems appropriate. Not so business-y.

Yesterday I stepped out in my (thankfully) fenced in backyard and just about leaned over to beat my head on the deck railing. TWO MONTHS ago the kids slept in the backyard, and the tent, although taken down, still lay on the patio. I've asked him countless times to take care of that. That is a dad's job, right?

I almost got mad. Then I realized there was no good reason why I shouldn't put it away.

I also realized that since I have been working more than usual, he gets five or six good hours of sleep a night, and since we have only one car, he must leave when I return. Oh, and we have been living meal to meal (no car to get groceries). There isn't much down time.

Grace is needed in this house. Liberally, for everyone.

Oh, yeah. He messes up. But he also seems to work things out. He always finds a way. His way, yes... but it is a way. And what is it all for if I can't sit back and enjoy the view. I love that man.

It hit me a while back that, although I think it is ultimately the husband's job to set the family on the right track, it is the wife that makes the husband shine. They are men, they think like men. That is what makes them so wonderful, yet they are not women, and we (I) have a tendency to expect that they should think more like me.

So there may be incredible men out there whose fabulous skills are being graffitied on by a women's judgement. God forbid that to be true of us.

(I realize the opposite is true as well, but my job is to bless my husband and not my own womanhood. Therefore I shall stick to my point.)

I pray I always view him as the man I am hopelessly in love with, my hero, and my best friend.

I'm thankful for my boyfriend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall and Farm, Birthdays and Rainbows

1. I am thankful that Ellie's birthday is in fall so that we have an excuse to go to the farm in the fall. There is nothing like it in my opinion. I reserve the right to change my mind after Thailand.

And thankful for Aunt Karen's pond :)

Plus we get to visit the pumpkin patch.

2. I am thankful for the vast educational opportunities in the country.

3. I am thankful for my Ellie.

Even Jesus gave her a birthday present. A full double rainbow. Her nickname is rainbow, she has a rainbow personality.
The kids ran in and said, "Mom, you have GOT to see this! It's about Ellie and God!"
I'm thankful that a rainbow reminds my kids about God. And I'm thankful that Jesus reminded us about His promises and blessed Ellie with a rainbow on her birthday.

One more look at the farm:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Space

I'm starting my Thanksgiving a little early... It's one of my favorite times of year, minus Halloween. So I try to ignore it. I won't judge you if you like Halloween, I simply do not. Not the witches, not the annoying task of finding four or five costumes, and not pillowcases full of candy.

But Thanksgiving is so uplifting. Giving thanks is uplifting. I like the history behind the holiday. And I love pie.

So I'm starting my thanks early- not that you shouldn't find time to give thanks year round... I just especially like it now. So today I'm thankful for my space.

In reality, its not really my own. Someone is always in my space. And it is fairly small, especially since I was raised on a farm with wide open spaces. But every now and then, I remember that there is space that I don't enjoy on a daily basis.

Like in the corners of my backyard, which was a perfect place to be on this amazing day. As we took a walk around my neighborhood, I felt a bit of jealousy of my neighbors whose houses are placed on the edge of the subdivision. One street faces a golf course, and one a hilly pasture.

But then I got home, and snuggled into my space.

And I was content.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I really tried not to write about my faith tonight. I feel overbearing today. But nothing else comes so I will scream it out with my title and let those who read it read, and those who roll eyes will roll.

Yeah, yeah, so you think you will go to heaven when you die.

No. That's not what I'm thankful for today. Although I believe heaven will be more than I can imagine, that's not the best part of my faith. Not now, at least.

I have been saved from a life of death. No one could see exactly what was inside of me. It isn't anything dramatic except for it is the most dramatic thing I know. There is no way have the ability to put in words, and honestly, I don't even know when or how it happened.

Although I cannot imagine what sins were committed during the slave trade, John Newton's words in the famous song, Amazing Grace, grab me because I felt just as horrible. I want to reach out and hold them so tight because I saw how ugly I was, and humanly speaking there was no way out. If I tried harder, I physically would exhaust myself. If I changed who I was, I could never maintain that image. If anyone complimented me, I knew they either were lying or blind. I wanted to hide away. The saddest part of this is that I already had invited Jesus to save me, but I was only partly changed, and life still seemed like death.

I would plead with him to rescue me from myself. And slowly but very surely, He did. I told him the terrible thoughts I've had, the terrible things I've done.

And He said, "You have done terrible things and thought terrible things. But I threw them to the bottom of the sea. I have made you new."

I told Him of the bad things that happened to me.

He reponded, "Those are bad things, but I have overcome the world".

He looked at me with joy. He grabbed me by the arm and told me of His plans for me. He demolished the lies I believed, and He showed me the beauty in my life.

And now I just can't get Him out of my mind. I know I am on his as well. I feel a cloud of glory surrounding me instead of a cloud of shame.+

I am thankful that God is real, and He loves me.

Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteem His stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we ARE healed.

And life goes on as I see heartbreak surrounding me. Today it was a work friend's news of cancer. I looked into his strong wife's teary eyes hoping my prayer offerings would give comfort. I know that people are hurting, I know bad things still happen. But I also know that there is hope in all situations, and hope is life. Victory is nigh. Salvation is here.

Natural Art

I'm seeing an art trend here! I wanted to write something deep but it's late and I was ready for bed two hours ago. I'm thankful for this, too. Natural Art.

In the midst of changing weather, changing leaves, and refreshed spirit... I love natural art. I believe that most all art comes from nature. Look at art from different parts of the world, they often have characteristics of plants or animals in the environment in which the art came from. I love almost all forms of art, but the very best kind is the ever changing view from my front window... or back, or windshield.

God is the original and perfect artist, even down to the creatures at the bottom of the sea. Even to the stars in the sky. And the best part is that his art has a fantastic purpose.

And it's free. All we have to do is take the time to appreciate it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Every day possible, I will post a thanksgiving or two A) because I'd like to skip Halloween and B) I will be gone for a while, and may not be able to blog... so let's get this started now!

I am compiling thoughts on household posts for a right time. But this is the time for giving thanks.

Today, I loved coming home to this:

A child's creativity that is free from external hindrances is the most pure form of art that I know. And I am honored to be the mother of four incredibly creative children. I get to know them and love them for every unique quality. I get to be excited with them when they discover something new and I get to hang their handicrafts on my refrigerator. I get to watch their made up plays and "professional" skating shows. I get to hold them and tell them how wonderfully they were made. I get to be the one to love my children just as I would want to be loved. Which is, to be wholly valued for exactly what I am. Thankfully, God loves me like that, and has put others in my life to do the same. I get to give my children a glimpse of God's love. Thank you, God, for making me a mother. I would never know this kind of love without the opportunity of motherhood.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Latest Outing

Karate, Origami, Bonzai, Candy, Hello Kitty, Taiko, Samurai, and Sumo.

We absolutely loved the Japan festival.

We had just finished watching K-State clobber KU, but it was the K-State Yosakoi Dance Group that caught Savannah's attention. She leaned over and said, "I KNEW K-State was the best!"

We could tell this was Ginkgo because of our recent leaf study.

Intricate candy making. Too expensive to eat:)

I never knew how many different martial arts there were. This is Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-Ryo.


Champion Sumo wrestlers showing their moves. Sorry my pictures aren't more clear...or maybe it's a good thing.

The one on the right holds the Guiness Book of World Records for being the largest person to run a full marathon. He weighs 420 pounds! People are amazing.

Another great family day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Good Day

First the car, then a passport hiccup, followed by a completely preventable scheduling mishap....

So we just went to the park. My frustrations are making a valiant effort to consume me. If I'd stayed at home, it just might have.

Never fear, though, because nature always manages to educate- even when we play hookie.

The children took their shoes off to walk in the stream... and a snake sat in the midst, unnoticed. Max was two inches from his head. They gathered around him and ushered him to a hole in the side of the bank.

And we found a maple leaf, which was significant because we were supposed to be learning about Canada.  So there.

Sook and I got to clear our heads and they got plenty of outdoor time. And yes, we had a lovely math-filled evening.

God is good, all the time.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased form his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall accordig to the same example of disobedience (unbelief). For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. -Hebrews 4:9-12
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philipians 4:4-6
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. -Isaiah 26:3
I'd like to hide these in my heart.

Broken Down Cars and Perfect Promises

It won't be long now and Sook and I will be on a trip- a long one, overseas, without the kids.

It is surreal to think about it. We always talk about "someday", but someday has come for this dream. And everything seems to be going wrong.

Therefore, my battle includes resistance to discouragement, with a strategy of magnifying God and remembering the stories of His provision.

Here is one:

Four of us college girls were in my parent's minivan traveling to Denver for the Christmas Conference that Campus Crusade for Christ held every year. We were in a caravan of cars, equipped with CB radios. I also had a ginormous cell phone for real emergencies.

I was super excited for my friends to hear a testimony on a tape that my mom had let me take along, told by....I can't remember ... from the Mafia. He was deep into it, then gave his life to following Christ, and left. The story ended with everyone who was determined to kill him out of the picture. It was full of real serious examples of God's provision. It showed a real merciful and powerful God. It made me cry, and I wanted everyone to hear it.  But no one did, because four girls in a car can't keep quiet long enough to actually listen.

We had stopped in Limon, Colorado for gas, but didn't make it two miles out. My car simply stopped driving, right before Mafia man was getting to the best part of his story. Our caravan lined up on the side of I-70, guys had the hood up trying to figure out the problem, girls....uh, letting the guys figure out the problem. No one could.

One girl offered to let me use her AAA benefits to tow the van to Dever. With my '95 cell phone, we were able to call for a tow. She had 100 free towing miles. We had 100 miles to go, almost exactly. No charge.

I could ride with the tow truck driver along with one chivalrous young man, but my passengers did not have transportation. That is, until a young lady pulled up behind us to see if she could help. She was alone, a KU college student (we were k-staters), going to the very same conference. She had seen us on the side of the road and decided to turn around, and she had three empty seats.

The van was towed to a mechanic near our hotel. When we went to pick it up, they told me it was a fuse that needed to be replaced. The cost was $37. That van drove many more miles before it's replacement was needed.

My entire group seemed to be a little excited about how our problem worked out. One person even told it as a testimony at a later CCC meeting. It wasn't until later that realized that I should have shared the rest of the story.

When I picked up the van, it worked perfectly. One thing, however, was wrong. My tape was gone. Stolen. And I remembered he was just getting to the good part. It must have resumed when the car started. That was the one time I was glad someone had stolen from me. Someone liked his testimony, too...enough to steal the tape. Of course, I have no idea how that impacted that mechanic, but I'm sure he listed to it.

I'm am not one to believe that God makes cars break down. Maybe sometimes... maybe. But what I know is that He is always bigger than my problems. Huge, like an elephant vs. mouse. Or the sun vs. the moon. And He always can make good things come out of bad things.

We've learned that from Moses, Abraham, David, Ruth, Esther, and so many more Bible heros. I believe God is still the same today.

I had a somewhat similar car situation happen last weekend. It was horrible, but I kept thinking, "something good will come out of this". I don't know what it was, but something did, because that is God's promise, and He is constant.

Magnifying God, remembering His provision, and holding fast to His promises. I pray that I can remain constant in my circumstances because I know that He is constant.