Friday, April 30, 2010

The Divine No

This was presented to me with the title "A Women's Prayer", but I think it applies to everyone.

Lord, day after day I thank You for saying, “Yes.”
But I genuinely thank you for saying, “No.”
Yet I shudder to think of the possible snares, the accumulative blots on my life, had You not been sufficiently wise to say an unalterable, “No.”
So thank You for saying no.

When my want list for things far exceeded my longing for You,
When I asked for a stone, foolishly certain I asked for bread,
Thank You for saying, “No.”
To my pleadings, “Just this time, Lord,”
Thank You for saying, “No,” to senseless excuses, selfish motives, dangerous deviations.
Thank You for saying, “No,” when temptations that entice me would have bound me beyond escape,
Thank You for saying “No,” when I asked You to leave me alone.
Above all thank You for saying, “No” when in anguish I asked,
“If I give you all else, may I keep this?”
Lord, my awe increases when I see the wisdom in Your divine, “No.”

On a personal note to this poem, I can vividly remember asking God to stop "hounding" me when I was in high school and college. I have journal entries that say something akin to "Other people can go to church and then go to parties and be fine with it. Why won't You let me just be?"

I remember being so frustrated as I watched friends live this double life that didn't seem double to them. They just did what they wanted and then participated in church and seemed to be fine with it. I never could. It wasn't okay. Maybe they hadn't come through the things I had already come and the Lord would grab a hold of them later. But, for me, I remember asking "can't I just do this one thing?" God would say no.

Looking back, I am so incredibly grateful for His no. I'm so grateful He wouldn't just leave me alone. Left to myself, I am ruined. What a wise and gracious Lord I love!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Do You Sort and Part?

We have a problem in our house. It's called "too much stuff". It accumulates and just hangs around.

I know we're fun people and our house is a welcoming place, but really?! Can't the stuff just go?

What kind of stuff, you ask?
Lots of stuff. Let's see, there's clothes that are outgrown. Along with the regular shorts and pants (or shorts) come sock and shoes and underwear and pajamas and swim suits and jackets and hats and belts. Then, there are games that are no longer played. Books that are no longer read. Decorations no longer in style. Really...the list is extensive.
So, to tackle my "too much stuff" in the area of clothing, I decided to listen to the advice of a friend. She said to organize it and label everything and then cover it up and work on it in small increments of time. This was after I said it was just too overwhelming to even start.
So, I took her advice.
Then, the covered up pile sat in my living room until it was absolutely necessary that it be moved--company! Now, it resides in labeled bins under one of my girls' beds. Bit by bit I'm getting rid of it (I hope!).

How do you handle outgrown clothes? What about the "special" ones? Shoes? Old accessories and decorations? Appliances you don't use any longer? Do you have a system?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Talking Medical Stuff: Strep Throat

I'm intrigued by the human body. It's so intricately made and well designed. God is a great architect!
About two weeks ago I was suffering with allergies pretty bad. After about a week I woke up one morning with a pain in my neck (and it wasn't Joel or the kids!). As the day progressed, the pain got worse. I went to see a doctor.

The doc looked at everything and said he thought it was allergies but the swollen gland in my throat indicated something else was going on. He didn't think it was strep, though. So, he just prescribed me amoxicillin and told me to take it until I was feeling better; I didn't have to finish it as you usually do. He also gave me a 6-day steroid pack to get my body to "calm down" from it's overreaction to the environmental allergens. He also told me to keep taking the Zyrtec I was already taking. I did as he said and started to feel better within a day or two.

Fast forward a little...last Saturday Jenna was complaining that she wasn't feeling well. She said her throat was hurting. She had a touch of fever (not sure exactly how high because our thermometer wasn't working). Her fever went down with OTC meds, but we only used it once so she could get some sleep. After that I insisted that she ride it out because it was her body's way of fighting it off. She was better by Monday and no longer had fever and didn't complain any longer about her throat hurting.
Skip a few days again...my neck started getting really sore yesterday afternoon (swollen gland and then a sore throat too). I was already tired, but I started to get a headache. As the evening progressed, my throat got more and more sore. By bedtime, I was having a lot of pain when swallowing. I tossed and turned all night, feeling like I hardly got any sleep though I was technically in the bed for 9 hours! Every swallow was increasingly more painful. So, I called the doctor's office and got an appointment for this morning.

The PAC who treated me decided to do a strep swab and came back 5 minutes later to inform me it was positive. I chose to get a shot of a strong antibiotic rather than do pills. While having strep stinks, I'm so grateful to know what it is and have such an easy medicine to take for it.

But, all this got me to thinking. I wanted to know more about strep throat and how it's spread. I googled it and found the information intriguing.
Some things that were right on target for me:
Symptoms - difficulty swallowing, sudden fever, tender swollen lymph nodes in the neck, headache, muscle pain.

But, what I found most interesting was the other info. It says the infection is spread person-to-person through nasal secretions or saliva, often among family members of the same household. People with strep throat get sick 2-5 days after exposure. The illness usually begins suddenly.

Why are those things interesting to me? Well, they interest me because I was wondering how in the world I got it! Duh! My kids. Jenna specifically. I think she was probably fighting it off last weekend. We didn't interfere with her fever (except that one dose of pain meds), so her body was able to do its thing and she got better. I, on the other hand, had just taken a dose of antibiotics and steroids and have been on a non-steroid anti-inflammatory medicine to help my shoulder. I'm thinking the things I've been taking didn't allow my body to respond like Jenna's did and fight it on its own.

Hmmm...

I'm no doctor, that's for sure. But, after reading more about strep and pondering Jenna's recent aches and pains and my own, I'm even more impressed with the human body. God made it so wonderfully...every single one of them!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Most Moms Bring Cake

But, I think I've established that I'm not always like most moms.For Rylee's birthday we took some pudding cups to school for the afternoon snack. The kids played hard at recess and were ready for the yummy treat.
Reasons I like pudding cups instead of cake: a little more natural than all that hideous bright blue, green and red icing; individual servings already done; eat it with a spoon; less mess (on the floor; the face is debatable); provides calcium; can offer more choices; requires no refrigeration; requires no plates; cheap!
We had cake on Sunday so I opted to not do one on Monday at school. Ice cream would require freezing. I decided to keep searching through the store and when we saw these pudding cups for $1 per 4-pack, we knew we had a winner.
I think the kids liked it.
Then, for the last 30 minutes of the school day, it was math center time. Jenna & Asa got to participate and loved it. Asa was at the table doing polydrons and Jenna was doing unifix cubes. Wow--pretty sophisticated for 4 year olds.
Rylee's teacher was impressed that Jenna was doing patterns already. I attribute it to her big sister being like her mom and insisting on teaching her what she's learning and her being a girl.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blood

This morning Jenna was talking about the Last Supper. Maybe that seems weird to some, but around our house, it's not uncommon for us to hear them pondering different aspects of who God is, what He's done for us, and how He loves us. We talk about it all the time.

In fact, it brings me great joy to hear them incorporate aspects of the reality of God and our life with Him into other activities that seem to have little to do with "spiritual things", like playing in the dirt or pretending to shop for groceries. (Of course, I think all things have a spiritual component and many of us just ignore it on a regular basis. But, that's beside the point of this post.)

So, as Jenna talked about the Last Supper, the conversation went something like this:

Jenna: Then they all ate.
Me: Yep.
Jenna: Then, they drank His blood.
Me: Well, not exactly. They didn't drink Jesus' blood. They were drinking wine and Jesus said it represented His blood.
Jenna: Yeah, then He died and His blood came out and they drank it.
Me: No, they didn't drink it then either. They never drank Jesus' blood. He gave the disciples the Passover wine and was telling them what He was about to do--die on the cross.
Jenna: Yeah, they drank wine.
Me: He was telling them that He was about to shed His blood for their sins. He was talking about the Passover lamb and explaining that He was the Lamb. Remember how we talked about the lamb?
Jenna: Yeah. ... (trails off saying something like "I like lambs. Do you like lambs? I like elephants, too. ...)

Then, today I saw this quote by Calvary Road author Roy Hession:
Let every mention of the Blood call to mind the deep humility and self-surrender of the Lamb, for it is this disposition that gives the Blood its wonderful power with God.
My job as a mom is to direct and teach my kids. I teach them lots of things. Many of us get caught up in the academic things like letters, numbers, colors, reading, math, writing. We teach them about animals and plants and how things work. We also teach them morals like being nice and kind and forgiving others.

But, the most important thing I want my kids to learn is that God loves them and died so He can have a relationship with them. I want them to know the gravity of Jesus' sacrifice. This quote today reminded me of my conversation this morning, be it ever so brief, with Jenna. Bit by bit, she's getting it. She knows she messes up. And, she knows Jesus loves her. As she continues to grow, I want her understanding to grow right along with her.

Pray that I can parent for God's glory. Pray I will stay close to Jesus and pray my children will come to know Jesus personally and intimately. Everything else pales in comparison.

Monday, April 19, 2010

You Made Me a Mama

Six years ago today I gave birth to my first child, a precious daughter.
I remember the event like it was yesterday, as I imagine most moms do.
Yesterday, as we were preparing for a little birthday gathering for Rylee, my friend Paul called to tell me Heather was in labor. Heather was with Joel and I for Rylee's arrival six years ago today. Their second son, Rylan, arrived last night at 10:02pm. So, happy birthday to Rylan yesterday and to Rylee today!

Celebrity Look-Alikes

I saw these celebrity look-alike match things on a friend's Facebook profile. So, I decided to see what it said for me. (I don't have a lot of front-facing photos of myself. And, the first one I uploaded was about as unflattering as they come.)




Hmmm...I look like a bunch of different men. That's encouraging!

Okay, at least no men made it this time! But, I haven't heard of most of these people. And, I'd have to say I don't really think I look like any of them.

When I was younger (and thinner), I was sometimes told I look like Tiffany Thiessen. She actually came up on one photo I uploaded, but I couldn't save it like this for some reason.

Then, when I was a substitute teacher the kids told me I looked like Kelly Clarkson and Kelly Osborne. Yeah, quite the combo. Not sure about those.

Do you look like anyone famous?

To have MyHeritage do your look-alike, you can go to their website by clicking this link.

What do you think of my look-alikes?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Color Red

We painted Asa's bedroom the beginning of this year.

Way back in June of last year, I posted about Glidden paint giving away a free quart of paint. (Find that post here.)

I picked red and planned to use it in Asa's room.

Six months later, we (transaltion: I) finally decided how I wanted it to look.

Here's what we did:
Then, after we (translation: Joel) got done painting, I realized something.
I really like red. (And, apparently I'm not too creative. Look at the stripes!)

This is my bathroom.
This is my living room wall.
Hmm...

I'll have to do a before/after of Asa's room. Joel just finished the trim around the baseboards and has one new closet door hung. But, I put up shelves and organized toys in bins. Okay, so now you just want to see it, right? Coming soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Little Day Trip

We decided to take a little trip on Sunday.
Friends at GFA recently went to Turner Falls and told us it was really neat.
We took them at their word and headed out around 9am.

Since I absolutely {LOVE} Cracker Barrel for breakfast, I suggested that we give the kids a cereal snack and then grab a later breakfast halfway there. Perfect!
We arrived at Turner Falls, which is in Oklahoma, around noon. (It's 2 hours north of Dallas.)

Since it's still off-peak season until May 1 and Rylee doesn't turn 6 years old until next week, it only cost us $7.67 for admission. Sweet.

Upon first arriving, we decided to hike to a cave. There are three. We went up to one. Along the way we passed the big waterfall. The cave was up a hill too steep to get to, but our kids did great climbing up the mountain to the area just below the entrance. (You can sort of tell how high up we were in the photo below.)
We came back down and decided to explore the castle. It was built in the 1930s by a professor as his summer home. It's a neat building situated up the hill with lots of steps to climb. The kids had fun. Poor Jenna's legs are short, though. She just cracks me up.The kids were pretty hot and a little hungry, so Joel got the wagon and our lunch from the car. We picked a spot to picnic and let the kids get in the water. They loved it!There was a playground structure nearby, so the kids decided to swing and climb for a bit. There were two couples taking pictures on the swingset and our kids just walked up, said hi, and made friends. Then, I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but Jenna ended up taking a picture with them!We enjoyed the conversation that ensued with the couples. Then, we headed to swim in another part of the stream.This next series of photos illustrates what happened over and over and over again. (Click a picture to see it larger.)Joel got a little snap happy and got this lovely shot. Proof that I talk with my hands a lot!

The weather was gorgeous and the kids got really comfortable in the water again.After meeting two other families and playing in the water for another hour, we dried off and drove around the rest of the campgrounds area. We're thinking this might be a good spot for our family to have our first camping trip.
On our way out of the area we stopped at the overlook to see where we had been. The kids liked looking down on the park from way up high.It was a good day. I just love our family.Then, we came home and Rylee lost her first tooth! The excitement is never ending around here.