Pictures like this one bring back so many memories.....
Memories of being overwhelmed with motherhood, memories of isolation and loneliness (it can be hard to find friends when your children demand so much time and attention), memories of feeling inadequate and trying to be what others expected of me. Memories of bad hair days (lol).
I remember thinking, "When they are all able to tie their own shoes life will get so much easier!"
HA! Did I have a lot to learn!
This past week my oldest daughter suffered a break-up and a broken heart, my daughter at college lost a friend to suicide, my son totaled his car by hitting a curb and my 16 yr. old is not speaking to me because I won't let her go to a concert she wants to attend.
Suddenly those days of carrying babies, fastening car seats, changing diapers, washing bottles... don't look so overwhelming after all.
However I do see God at work in every one of these situations:
~My oldest daughter was dating a young man who is not a Christian, is very selfish and expected her to change for him.
~My college daughter has turned to Jesus for comfort in her loss.
~My son will be forced to work harder to pay for his car and not take his transportation for granted. Losing a little freedom as a senior in high school is not necessarily a bad thing.
~My teenage daughter, well her obedience to our rules is being tested while our trust in her is being rebuilt.
As for me, God is blessing me with a little "downtime" this weekend. As most of my family travels St. Louis for a soccer tournament I am looking forward to some R&R in my own home! God is good!!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
For the past month or so I have been dreading the new school year. I am not a big fan of change and quite frankly I have enjoyed my summer. No set schedules, homework or carpools; lazy days at the swimming pool; enjoying late night suppers on the back deck; impromptu playdates with neighborhood kids.
Not to mention that normally by this time of year I am seeking relief from summer's brutal heat, but this year's temperatures were unusually pleasant. Why can't summer last forever???
One night I woke up in a panic as to how I was going to get 5 kids to and from 4 different schools. Logistically it is a nightmare and my brain was tired just trying to think about it.
On top of that I am faced with the emotionally draining facts that my oldest son is entering his senior year while my youngest is starting kindergarten. I am praying for my daughter as she seeks a fresh start in a new high school and also a pre-teen entering the "big kid" world of middle school.
Needless to say I have not been much of an "aroma of joy". In fact, you might say I "stink of stress". How did I get in charge of this whole operation? What was God thinking when He gave me this job??
Wouldn't you think I would have it all down by now? That raising so many kids would be easy? I am always blown away when people say to me, "you must be so organized" or "you are much more patient than I am". Funny, I don't feel organized or patient. Some people have gone so far as to call me "laid back". That makes my kids laugh out loud since they think I am the most uptight person they know.
So as the school deadline approached, and my stomach tightened into knots, I was an emotional basket case. The night before school began my husband and I sat down with all of our kids (the 5 left at home) and came together in prayer. We each shared our fears and concerns for the week and then we prayed over them all. Even our teenagers joined in willingly.
Monday morning came and I shocked everyone when I got up and made pancakes and sausage for breakfast. They all got to their respective schools and I found myself breathing easier than I had in weeks. I did laundry, organized the laundry room, updated the calendar, washed the dishes......
Still, I had to get my youngest to Kindergarten. How would I cope with that emotionally? As we walked to school he held my hand and we talked about how glad we are that I am his mom and he is my little boy. How would I ever let go of this little hand?
While we waited for his teacher I knelt down next to him and lovingly said, "I am really going to miss you today" and in the sweetest little voice he said, "I think I have to fart." As I watched my little guy follow his teacher into the building I was reminded that God really does have a sense of humor and as I walked home alone I smiled and remembered that Jesus was with me holding my hand.
Last night (Sunday) we once again sat down as a family to pray over the week that lies ahead. I called my older girls for their prayer requests and we lifted all of our concerns to the Lord as a family. We also started a family prayer journal so we can keep track of God's blessings.
At small group this week we had to share our favorite scripture. The one I chose was Matthew 6:33---"seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Just a couple of weeks ago I was stressed out and on the brink of depression because I was relying on myself, now I am hopeful this will be the best year yet for our family. What a difference it makes when I fully rely on God!!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
There once was a girl with a curl
Right in the middle of her forehead,
When she was good she was very, very good
But when she was bad she was horrid!
I have always joked that this poem was written for my daughter due to the fact she has a cowlick in the middle of her forehead which results in a curl. Of course now she wears those bangs long so you would never know it. It is one of those things only a Mom knows.
I love those "secrets" that exist between a Mom and her offspring. Things like:
~~It makes her crazy when I click my fingernails together.
~~Her forehead has a permanent bump from when she took a bad fall as a child.
~~She can't stand to talk about feet. In her opinion they are "sick".
~~Her favorite bible story is about Queen Esther.
~~In our church very few women serve communion and she is totally humiliated when I do it (so I serve as often as I can, haha!).
~~She wants to name her future daughters Vegas and Blaize.
~~Taco Bell is as good as it gets!
~~She is embarrassed by just about everything (especially in front of her boyfriend). Including birthday scrapbook pages posted on her Mom's blog (so of course I must post, hahaha!).
~~IPOD is her best friend.
~~She is NEVER happy with her hair!
~~Regular cake is boring, cookie cake is cool!
~~As a baby, if we covered her face with a blanket she would stop crying.
~~Whatever you do----Don't ever tell her what to do!! (especially if you are her sibling)
Anyway, you get the idea. I guess all of these things aren't so secret anymore.
I wonder what kind of things God would say if he were to write a list of "secrets" only He knows about me. YIKES, I think I am glad God doesn't publish a blog!
Oh, and we have finally gotten her enrolled in a school. Door #3 seems to be the right one, thanks for all of the prayers!!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I learned a new word at church last Sunday. Actually, I had heard the word before because it is the name of a local Christian School. I just didn't know what it meant until our Pastor told us last week.
The word is Maranatha! It is an Aramic word that means "O Lord Come" or "Our Lord Come".
I love the sound of this word and have found myself saying it a lot this week. "Maranatha LORD, Maranatha!" My kids respond by rolling their eyes and saying, "Oh Mom, you are so dramatic!" HA! If that isn' t the pots calling the kettle black!
Anyway, I am keeping this verse nearby. With school getting ready to start, sports in full swing and the state of our world right now I have a feeling I will be saying it quite often. Just in case Jesus wants my opinion on the matter....... "Maranatha, Lord, Maranatha"!!
Be sure to see the other beautiful WFW offerings at 160 Acre Wood!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thank you all so much for the prayers concerning my test! There may be a lump in this vessel of clay but it seems that it is nothing to worry about.
It was funny to hear my kids' reaction to the fact I was having a sonogram. They thought for sure there was a baby on the way until they found out where the sonogram was being done. I think they were actually disappointed. I think I was a little disappointed... and then I regained my sanity and remembered how all babies become teenagers one day and I still have 14 years of that left!
After yesterday's post about my son's golf experience, today I want to take a moment to brag on my two girls.
Cece finished third in the 10 yr. old championship flight and Sophie took fifth in the 8 yr. old division.
I love the fact that the girls get to play this game. In fact I grew up in a family of golfers. My Great Uncle was a golf pro and one of my cousins played her way through college on a scholarship. My grandparents were avid golfers and built a beautiful home on a golf course.
As for me, I didn't play my first game of golf until I was 32 years old and 8 months pregnant with my 5th baby. I had been to the driving range several times and had played miniature golf (so I was an expert putter, lol). My husband said I really didn't belong on the golf course but one of my very patient girlfriends convinced me that I should try playing the Par 3 with her.
If nothing else, I looked the part that day. Wearing a cute maternity Polo shirt, a visor and my new golf shoes my girlfriend and I were paired up with another couple to make a foursome. I still remember the look on that man's face when I said it was my first time out. Although he was smiling, he didn't look happy!
I did OK that day but here is what I learned:
1) Golf is not in the genes. It doesn't matter how good or accomplished your family is, you have to develop your own game.
2) You cannot rely on your strength to drive the ball. It isn't a HARD swing but a CORRECT swing that makes the ball go.
3) The game of golf is never perfected. It must be practiced regularly with lots of time spent on the course in order to be successful.
And here is how I am trying to apply these lessons to my everyday:
1) I can't compare myself to others, God has a plan & purpose especially for me!
2) I must NOT rely on my own strength but depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit!
3) I must spend plenty of time in the presence of God and immersing myself in His Word.
It has been years since I have actually played golf but these lessons are timeless and I am so glad that God shared them with me! And you can bet I will be passing them on to the next generation!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Once a year, the first week in August, our family is overcome with "Golfitis".
There is a local junior golf tournament that our kids have played in for several years. It is a 3 day tournament and kids come from all around the area to play in it.
Some of the complimentary gifts the participants receive upon entering the tournament are: a shirt, a sleeve of balls, a golf towel, a golf umbrella and more. All a player has to do to get these gifts is to sign up to play.
However after 3 days of play there are "special prizes" awarded to each golfer according to their overall performance.......
1st through 6th place trophies are awarded for each flight in every age group so nearly all of the kids get a trophy. Some are a little bigger than others but the kids don't seem to mind, they are thrilled to have such a beautiful piece of hardware and they all feel like winners!
However, this year I know of 3 kids (one of whom was my son) who didn't receive a trophy because they were disqualified from the tournament before it was over. Their offenses were very different but the results were the same; they could finish the tournament but were ineligible for the rewards at the end.....
On the second afternoon of play my son found himself playing in a group of cheaters. These boys were so blatantly cheating that the group ahead of them turned them in. When confronted with their behavior two of the boys admitted their deceit while the third lied. When my son was asked if he did anything wrong he answered truthfully:
"on one hole I lost my ball near a sewer. When I couldn't find it I dropped a ball and gave myself a penalty stroke."
Unfortunately the rules state that under those circumstances he should have returned to the tee box to do the shot over. The fact that my son didn't know that rule didn't matter, he was guilty of breaking the rules and was disqualified from the trophy race.
After getting over the initial anger and disappointment I have seen some very valuable life lessons here:
1) Be careful who you associate with!
If he had not been with cheaters no one would have questioned his game. Sometimes we choose to be with people of bad character but other times, like in this situation, life just places us there and we had better know how to handle ourselves. Not only do we need to hold ourselves to an even higher moral standard, we should do whatever we can to separate ourselves from their sinful ways or it may be THEIR behavior that brings US down. Had he been playing with people who knew and followed the rules they might have been able to stop him from inadvertently breaking them.
2) Care more about doing what is right than how you look to others!
When he noticed these kids cheating my son could have told a field Marshall what was going on but he didn't want to look like a "rat". Sometimes it is in our own best interest that we stand up and do what's right even if it is not the "popular" thing to do.
3) Ignorance is no excuse!
Breaking the rules is breaking the rules and the consequences are the same whether we break them intentionally or inadvertently. Similarly, sins of omission are no different than sins of commission. God isn't interested in excuses!
4) Who we are now will determine who we are (and what we have) in heaven!
Take for example the boy who cheated, lied and got away with it. He ended up winning the 5th place trophy in his flight (coincidentally, that would have been my son's prize had he not been disqualified). It certainly isn't uncommon to see people get ahead through deceitful behavior, but the bible says that if we have received our reward on earth it will not be ours in heaven. On the other hand, I have to believe that because my son chose to do the right thing and forgo the earthly reward, he will be rewarded for his honesty.
5) Being disqualified from the tournament doesn't mean we can't complete the game!
All 3 boys were allowed to play out the day even if they were ineligible for the rewards at the end. I believe our salvation is secure once Jesus is our Lord but should we choose to remove Him from the throne of our life, we are choosing to forfeit the rewards He wants to give us.
The final spiritual parallel I saw in this situation was from a different perspective. Just as Jesus is our advocate I saw my husband search the rule book until he found an "exception" to the rule that seemed to justify our son's position. In the end it didn't change the outcome, but our son has seen that even though he made a mistake his father loves him dearly and is willing to be his defender.
I do want to be perfectly clear that I don't believe in "earning your way into heaven based on performance". Just like the "entry gifts" of the tournament our salvation is ours to keep once we have placed Jesus as Lord of our life. What I do think is, that just like the golf trophies, the way we live our "earthly lives" as Christians will result in rewards we receive in heaven.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Mammogram results on Friday mean a sonogram on Monday.....
Preparing 5 children to go to 4 different schools.......
Trying to schedule a birthday party around 13 people's schedules......
Sports practices in full force.......
My friend the bird who lives in the fern on my front porch became a Mama again this week. As she was off hunting for food I snapped a picture of her babies.
This week we have seen scorchingly hot temperatures as well as severe thunderstorms with high winds and driving rain. Yet this Mother bird sits on her nest and trusts completely in God's loving care. Oh how I want to be more like that bird as I endure the intense heat, pressure and storms of my life!
Make sure to visit Amy today for more musical encouragement, you will be glad you did!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Today I would like to take an opinion poll........
Have you read the book "The Shack" and if so what did you think of it?
I read it earlier in the summer and although I wouldn't say it was the best book I ever read, as far as the writing goes, for some reason I found myself thinking about it a lot. Mostly I was fascinated with the nature of God that it depicted.
After I read it I recommended it to several friends and family members but now I have heard of some people who didn't like it at all. So I am just curious; what is your opinion (if you have one).
And if you haven't read The Shack, what book have you read recently that you would recommend?
On another note, in the never-ending drama to find a new school for my daughter we had door #2 close on us this week. We had put in a transfer request to another school in our district only to discover that school is full and closed to transfers. God must have a very specific plan as to where He wants her to go and He is not going to let us mess it up.
I am praying we hit the jackpot with door #3 (whatever that may be....). Thank God that He gives us unlimited chances and Thank You for your prayers in this journey!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CECELIA!
After having 4 babies in 5 years my youngest would be heading to kindergarten just as this one was ready to be born. I was looking forward to being able to enjoy giving her all of my attention. (Little did I know I would have 2 more by the time she was 5).
We told the kids we were expecting by letting them open a package of baby clothes on Christmas Eve. It took them a little while but they finally figured out that we were having a baby and we didn't just mess up on their sizes. haha!
Throughout my entire pregnancy with her I worked out at the gym. I would run on the treadmill, do step classes, circuits and I even went snow skiing during my first trimester. I have always wondered if I caused her to be athletic or if she was causing me to?????
I am so glad we got the labor and delivery on film. The doctor was so kind as to order an epidural before he even induced the labor. From the time I felt some pressure to the time of delivery it was less than 20 minutes! The doctor was literally sprinting into the room to catch her.
Of course it wasn't all pain-free. I got bad sores and infections while trying to nurse her (I think it was God's way of humbling me because I thought I was such an expert after having nursed the first 4). When my husband said, "I don't think you can do this" I set out to prove him wrong. I called the "Lactation Consultant" and she helped me through it. He should know better than to ever tell me I can't do something!
There is no way to put my feelings for this baby into words, I am just praising the LORD for her today!
I love you Cece!!
I am so excited to be back in the word and posting on Word Filled Wednesday again. It has been a few weeks and I have missed it.
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago when I went to a party at a friends house. She lives on a working farm and it is absolutely beautiful! Besides the several fruit trees growing in the yard she has a garden where the kids and I picked blueberries, blackberries and cucumbers.
As if that weren't wonderful enough there is a huge swimming pool in her back yard where everyone swam until they were exhausted!
This is a picture of the arbor that separates the garden from the pool and patio.
Is that not gorgeous????
It's always a fun place to visit and even if I don't get to travel anywhere this year I feel like I got to enjoy a vacation for a day.
For more Word-Filled Wed. blessings be sure to visit Amydeanne.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Being the kind of humble, behind-the-scenes person I am, today I am dedicating my blog post to other people. Of course these are some very special people (as they would have to be to earn blog time on my site). HA!
Today is my husband's birthday and he is now officially as old as I am, at least until November when I will once again be the oldest in the family (a fact my kids will never let me forget!).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY John, I love you very much!
Actually I know a lot of people who are celebrating a birthday today. In fact I think August 5th is the most common birthday date in my circle of friends and family. Do you have a "most common birthday date"?
In a couple of days my daughter will be celebrating a birthday as well. She will turn 11 so she is still "pre-teen sweet". She spent last week at camp and today she is posting about it on her blog. Of course she only briefly mentions the bible teaching (that was the focus of the camp) and never writes about the awesome prayer and worship experiences, but she gives great details about the fun and games. Actually, reading between the lines, all of the weeks activities encouraged relationships and team work.
Anyway, if you are so inclined please visit her HERE.
So with that I will sign off and let my husband and daughter be the stars of the day, they really do deserve it much more than I do anyway!!
Monday, August 4, 2008
My 17 yr. old son has found his first girlfriend.
He has "liked" a few girls in the past but got tired of them quickly because, according to him, they talked too much.
"Mom, do all girls talk on the phone this much?"
"Yes son, they do!"
Anyway, he met a girl on the "Beach Conference" trip with the church youth group (she is the friend of one of the girls at church) and he has been spending quite a bit of time with her.
Because we don't know her or her family yet we told him we would prefer they hang out at our house. Also, we would like for them to watch movies in the den, not in the basement. Well, you would think I said we are going to cut off his left arm.
"Why can't we go to the basement to watch movies? We always watch movies in the basement, isn't that what the basement is for?"
Although I didn't have to, I decided to try and explain why I wanted to institute this rule: I spoke about respecting your date, being a positive role model for the younger kids, the temptations of being outside of supervision.........
But no matter what I said he argued and finally, I just laid it out "look, you don't have to like it and you don't have to understand it but you do need to obey it!"
Oh could I hear God in that statement!!!
As we have debated our daughter's school situation I thought I had found the "perfect" answer. There is a school nearby, where several of her friends from church attend. But it is in a different district and they don't accept transfers, however, my Mom lives in that district and we could use her address. Our other option ( in our own district) is much further away, not nearly as convenient and she wouldn't know anyone there.
Even though I really think the out-of-district school is the "perfect" answer and I have pleaded with God over this, He has obviously shut that door.
"Kelley, you don't have to like it and you don't have to understand it but you do need to obey it!"
The truth is I don't really know what is best for myself or my kids, but God does. He sees the picture I can't, the BIG PICTURE. The question is, am I going to obey Him or not? I just finished a study on several women who chose to "manipulate" circumstances instead of trusting God (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel.....) and we are still living with the results of their actions. Since I don't want to leave that kind of legacy for my children, I am choosing to walk in faith and obey the Lord on this decision (although I still don't like it!).
As for my son, he has agreed to be obedient to my "movie watching" rule as well (although he still doesn't like it).
Friday, August 1, 2008
Good Morning and welcome to my home!
Should you need it, the toilet paper can be found in the trees today!
And this kind gentleman will be glad to collect some for you.......
He was really mad at me for taking his picture.
I was just glad we don't live in our old house with the 9 HUGE trees in our yard. This is nothing compared to those TP jobs!
25 years of teens!
I wonder how many more mornings like this one I have to look forward to???