Monday, October 29, 2007

My Gift from God

Yesterday, I read about the "information chip" that's supposedly everywhere. This chip seems to be the type that will fulfill the prophecy of the mark found in Revelation.

This kind of thing excites my husband. It scares me. I know where I'm going, I know I'm saved. But, I'm fleshly enough to be afraid of what happens in the meantime. How much of the tribulation am I going to see? I know, I'm supposed to believe in pre-trib, but, who's to know how much junk we're going to see before Christ comes for His bride?

No, this isn't a doctrinal post. Nor is it intended to depress anyone. I just wanted to let you know where my mind was when God gave me a special gift.

A double rainbow. The second one in a week and a half. Right over our grain bins, as colorful and beautiful as you can imagine!

This rainbow reminded me of God's promise that He will never leave me or forsake me. He promised to return for His children and He will. He promised to hold me in His hand. The future may be uncertain, but God reminded me that He will be with me - no matter what.

In the midst of my silly fears, God sent a rainbow. I went back in the house with a light and joyful heart.


"And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud...And I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." - Genesis 9:14 & 16

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Child's Sorrow is the Mother's Sorrow

This morning, I had to break the news to my sweet daughter that her pet goat died.

Yes, we had her for a total of 3 days and now she's gone. Apparently, what the previous owner described as being "normal" was not and my husband found her in her stall this morning - dead.

For all the grief she gave us in her stubbornness, she was a great pet.

The hardest thing in the world is having to look in your child's big eyes and tell them that something they love has died. I, like most mothers, want to shield my children from pain and sorrow. However, that is impossible.

Preventing and shielding is not my job. It's my job to love my children and cry with them when they are hurting. It's my job to point them to the Saviour and help them keep their eyes on Him and trust that His will is best.

It was a stupid goat. But, my daughter loved her. Therefore, I cried as my daughter cried. My heart hurt as her heart broke.

I also did the unthinkable and got on the phone and asked a friend of mine if she had any goats she wanted to get rid of. No one said a mother's love is rational.

We may or may not get a new goat. We hope to. In the meantime, my little girl is a little sad.

And so am I.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just Another Day on the Funny Farm

I got up at 6:33 a.m. Never mind the fact that I went shopping at 9:00 last night, got home at 10:00, went to bed at 11:00 and woke up at 2:12 a.m. with a baby boy who wanted to party. Seriously, this kid can sleep through the night - he just has decided he doesn't want to. So, at 3:30, I finally took him downstairs to sleep (or cry) in the playpen. Peace at last.

For three hours.

I quick got dressed and put in my contacts. Hair and make-up would have to wait. My daughter needed me to help her with her new chore - taking care of an 8-year old female goat.

We got her yesterday. It's like having a dog - with horns. Really, she's very sweet. Only thing is, she's...well...having her feminine time of the month.

Yeah, goats have that, too. Who knew? I didn't. Neither did my 8 year old daughter until 7:00 this morning. That was fun trying to explain.

Later on in the morning, I went back out to the stables to help coerce this new pet to come outside. If you were to have driven into the farm around 10:00 a.m., you would have seen me leading/dragging/bribing this goat with the help of a leash and a graham cracker. You do what you gotta do.

Mom stopped by around 11:30. She acted like she was happy about the goat, but, she can't fool me. However, we had a nice visit over some much needed caffeine-in-a-cup.

Once she left and the children had finished lunch, I went up to clean my son's room. This wasn't on the agenda for today, just as none of the aforementioned things were. This was a desperation-cleaning as my son's toys seem to have a habit of calling his name during school hours.

He has a habit of answering their call.

So, I had to do the "tough-love" thing and clear them out. Seriously. The kid now only has a bed, dresser, clothes rack, and a table in his room. No more distractions, right?

Around 4:00, his light switch "just falls off the wall." Has anyone else ever had that phenomenon occur in their home? He already had 2 out of 3 bulbs blown and then, I quote: "I was sitting doing my work and the light went out and the switch fell on the floor." If it was going to happen, it only made sense that it would happen today.

5:00 p.m. - I finally clean up the lunch dishes.

By this time, I've already decided that church just wasn't going to be a part of our evening. I hadn't had a chance to lay the younger kids down for their naps, the goat had to be found and put back in the stable, daddy still wasn't home, and the crock-pot dinner that's supposed to cook for 4 hours wasn't even started.

Eric came home. I fed the kids leftovers while he went out to buy light-bulbs and some stir-fry. He fixed the lights and switch when he came home and we ate a romantic candle-lit dinner at 8:00. Well, as romantic as you can get when your youngest is screaming his head off and your oldest is still hashing out his math problems - out loud.

I'm sure I wasn't the most lovely dinner guest - I never did get around to doing my hair and make-up.

Welcome to my life. Come by and visit sometime. We'll let you feed the goat a graham cracker and watch light switches fall off our walls.

Monday, October 22, 2007

If You're Looking for Something Profound...Move On

What's the deal with candle warmers? This has bugged me for a couple of weeks. OK, so I need a life and should find a better soap box, but, really - candle warmers?!

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, candle warmers are devices on which you can set your non-burning scented candle in order for it to warm up enough to allow the lovely scent in the air without having to actually light a match.

I don't get it.

Isn't one of the main purposes of candles the atmosphere it provides? A burning candle allows you to dim lights and bring romance or calm to your home - I think the term is ambiance.

Actually, I guess the main purpose of candles is to provide light which, again, makes the candle warmer a bit silly. "Can't see a thing, but smell the rich vanilla scent!"

I understand the need to protect us from ourselves. Avoid the whole "light a candle, torch the house" scenario.

I love candles. Burning ones. I love the fact that I can make my house look really nice with a few inexpensive candles. During the fall and winter, I often take advantage of the lack of daylight by lighting candles in the early morning hours and again around dinner time. Instead of reaching for the light switch, I reach for the matches. It helps create a sense of calm without using Ritalin. It makes the house smell wonderful, even if I haven't had a chance to bake in weeks. It hides a lot of dirt, too.

I'd like to see a candle warmer do all that.

Anyway, I don't mean to offend anyone who may have one of these must-have gadgets in your home. It's just not for me. Then again, there's something for everyone.

Like the candles I saw in the store the other day. Very clearly labeled "unscented." What's a candle-warmer supposed to do with that?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This Day in History...part 2

As Harold and I were driving out of my driveway, a friend of the family came tearing in. This normally all-together guy looked absolutely pale and shaken. I was to later find out that he heard the call come over the radio. That call was not good.

Eric and his father had been harvesting corn that fall day. Only the two of them were working which meant a lot of back and forth from the fields to the barns for Eric. That afternoon, Eric drove the tractor trailer out to the field so his father could load the combined corn. In order to get back to the barns, Eric towed his one-ton pick-up behind the semi. In a hurry, which is when most farm accidents occur, Eric parked on a slight incline. When he unhitched his truck from the tractor trailer, the pick-up rolled forward pinning my husband between the two vehicles. The pick-up was pressing against his back, making it very difficult for him to breathe. Every time he would take a breath, the truck would squeeze him even more. Eric was suffocating.

My husband stays calm in every situation. He's very logical and very practical. He was no different in this situation. He knew that if he panicked, breathing would be impossible. He tried pushing himself away from the big truck, but there was no way he could do it. The last thing he remembered was seeing his dad drive the combine around the corner. He held out his hand in order to flag down his father. Then, everything went black.

Earlier that morning, a couple of neighbors went out into the woods to hunt. They planned on being there until late afternoon. However, one thing led to the next, and one of the neighbors had to walk back home. It was then that he found my husband unconscious between the two trucks. Eric's dad had never seen Eric's hand outstretched to get his attention. He had driven right by. The hunter flagged down my father-in-law. One of them jumped in the pick-up truck to back it up releasing my husband.

He was not breathing. My father-in-law immediately began doing mouth-to-mouth, all the while recalling the time he had done this to another son years ago. That son didn't make it. My father-in-law was desperate that this son would.

Eric says that as he began to come to, he knew absolutely nothing. He didn't know his name. He knew nothing about me, our children, or anything else. He did know one thing, however. He knew that he had a heavenly Father. That was his only thought, the only thing he was aware of. Eric truly experienced the promise "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

As I said earlier, our friend heard the call come over the emergency radio. He never told me exactly what he heard. I found out a few months later from another friend. The paramedics who arrived at the scene were sure Eric wasn't going to make it. They were doing everything but pronouncing him dead on the scene. That is why they never let me in the ambulance and shooed my father-in-law away from the back window.

When I arrived at the hospital, I went right to the desk to ask where my husband was. The first thing the lady told me was, "He's not in [the] trauma [unit]." I told her she was my new best friend! (Sorry, Heather)

When I went back to see my husband, the oxygen mask was off and he immediately apologized to me for the scare. He was doing fantastic! When his dad arrived, he held on to Eric's hand and never let go. Eric kept apologizing to him as well.

About five hours after the accident, Eric walked out of that hospital! He had a scar on his back for years, from the truck pushing into him, but that was it. No broken ribs, no broken bones. The paramedics had thought he had been crushed and would have, at least, a punctured lung.

I stated yesterday that one of the reasons I believed the Lord spared Eric was because I relinquished my hold on him. I also believe there are two other reasons, besides it just being God's will.

The first is all the prayers on behalf of my husband's life. As I waited in the truck at the field, someone lent me their phone to make a couple of calls. I could not reach anyone as we were out of range. When I got home, I was finally able to contact a couple of people and, within a short period of time, hundreds of people were praying for Eric. People we had never met and probably never will, prayed for my husband and our family. What a wondrous thing to belong to the family of God!

I think, also, Eric's faithfulness to the Lord and concern for souls spared him. As he was in the helicopter struggling to breathe in spite of the oxygen mask, he looked up at the female paramedic. As he looked at her he asked, "If you were to die today, do you know for sure if you'd go to heaven?" Can you imagine being that woman?! Here's a man who is, as far as anyone can tell, about to die and he asks her about her readiness for death!!! All she could say was, "I hope so." Eric wanted to say more but was physically unable to. Oh, I believe the Lord knew He was not finished with His faithful servant!!

Eric says he probably was never seriously injured. I believe that between the prayers and his faithful witness, the Lord healed him on that helicopter.

When we came home, Eric went upstairs and kissed each of our children good-night. They did not realize how close their daddy had come to dying that day. They were just so glad to have him back home. We all were.

I frequently look back to that day and am so grateful for the fact that I still have my husband and best friend to walk with me through this life. I am also grateful that walking with us is our precious and loving Saviour.

Friday, October 19, 2007

This Day in History...a day early

This is the first of 2 parts, therefore, I post a day early.

October 20, 2003 - My beloved husband almost dies.

This is a beautiful, though hectic, time of year on the farm. So much to do and constantly looking at the clouds for the next rain storm or the first snow. The soybean and corn harvest are in full swing. Such was the case four years ago.

It was a Tuesday. In the morning, I had taken our (then) four children across the street to the pumpkin patch for an educational demonstration. I was also expecting our fifth child in a matter of 5 weeks.

The outing was fun, but made us all ready for a nap. Other than Michael, the rest of us went upstairs for a rest. I remember being on my bed doing some reading before drifting off when I heard my name being called from downstairs. It was our book-keeper, Harold (who is also my father-in-law's cousin). Figuring he needed my signature for something or to see if all the farm bills had made it to the barn, I moseyed down the stairs.

Then, he said the words that no farm wife wants to hear - "There's been an accident and they've called the ambulance."

If you know anything about my husband and his family, they don't call ambulances. They'll drive themselves to a hospital if they have to. So, I immediately knew it was bad. Harold didn't know what it was - he just got the call to get me. I figured I'd see blood, I just "knew" Eric had lost an arm or leg. Why else would there be an ambulance?

Just a few months before, my cousin had suddenly lost her husband, also a farmer. I thought of her. I remember looking at the fall clouds in the otherwise blue sky. "So, this is the kind of day on which I lose my husband."

We got to the field. There were people, ambulances, and rescue equipment everywhere. I can't remember who all was there, at first, I just remember wondering what had happened and where my husband was.

Harold asked me if I wanted to go to Eric. I told him, "You go and come let me know." I just had to be somewhat prepared for what I was going to see. I also didn't want to find my husband dead.

Harold soon came back saying that Eric was asking for me. I quickly followed Harold and found my dear Eric on a stretcher with an oxygen mask. There was no blood. They were carrying him to the ambulance. He opened his eyes and tried to say something. They kept moving him. I do remember him raising his hand and telling them to wait. But, they didn't. All I could think was that this would be the last time I would be able to talk with Eric and they weren't letting me! They put him in the back of the ambulance and closed the door.

I remember Eric's dad looking in the back window of the ambulance and the police leading him away. The police officer came over to me saying that they would let me in when they stabilized him. Some one led me back to Harold's truck and sat me in the passenger seat. Eric's dad was crying and told me to pray. From time to time someone would come to see how I was - Eric's aunt, a friend...

Eventually, I was told we were waiting for Mercy Flight. They cleared the field across the street for the helicopter.

As I waited, I knew I could lose my husband, my best friend, my children's daddy. The little boy I was about to deliver in a month would never know this wonderful man. I prayed. I asked the Lord to spare the love of my life. I NEEDED him. Not only for his help and support - but I needed his love and his friendship. We'd been together for thirteen years. I barely knew life without Eric.

However, the Lord gave me the grace to say, "If you must take him, Lord, I know You will be with me and give me the grace to go on."

The helicopter landed. I remember seeing the paramedics laughing at something as they crossed the street. "How dare they laugh when my husband is most likely dying?"

We didn't wait for them to load Eric on the helicopter. Harold would drive me to the hospital, but, first, I had to make sure someone would be at the house for my children. I knew I had to pull myself together for Michael. He asked what happened to daddy. "Oh, he may have broken a rib. He's going to get to take a ride in a helicopter. Mommy's going to go to the hospital to be with him. You be a good boy, ok?" He was 6 years old.

I'll tell you exactly what had caused the accident and what resulted afterwards tomorrow. As you've guessed, the Lord spared my husband.

I must tell you that one of my biggest fears used to be losing my darling Eric. I would fret and beg God not to take him from me. Several months after Eric's accident, I recalled an incident that happened exactly a year before. I attended a funeral of a man who died too young. As I watched his wife with her four children, I had, what I thought was, a premonition. I, too, had four children at that time, though younger. I felt God was telling me that I would be walking in that woman's shoes one day. Instead of panicking and begging God for it not to be, I just said, "Ok, Lord. I know You'll give me the grace you've given to this dear woman. If you want Eric, so be it. He is Yours." That was October 22 or 23, 2002. I often wonder what would have happened if I had kicked against the Lord at that time. Would He have spared Eric? Or, did He give me back my husband because I had given my husband back to Him?

I don't know. But, I'm so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to have my best friend with me today.


*Read Part 2*

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Blessing of Family

Tonight, I watched my younger brother's two children. This is the second time in about a month that we've been able to do that. Life being what it is, we don't get to see too much of them, though they live only 10 minutes away. But, our kids and their's have such a great time when they're together. The same goes for my older brother's children. Their are 13 cousins in all and they all get along great and enjoy being together.

I missed that while I was growing up. My dad's family lived out of state and my mom's sister has 2 children quite a bit older than we were. So, there were no close cousin relationships. One set of grandparents lived out of state and my one surviving grandfather who lived nearby was not too sociable. I always felt a bit sad about the lack of extended family. Thanksgiving and Christmas, when many of my friends had large family gatherings, were very small and quiet in our home - just my parents and us kids. Don't get me wrong, we have some good memories, but I always felt something was missing.

Eric grew up with his grandparents living next door. His family gets together regularly - always have. He knows the relationships that I never knew.

When we found out we were expecting Michael, we lived in Maine. Eric worked for a construction company. This company seemed bent on breaking up families. One by one, the marriages of the employees were falling apart. We realized this was no place for us to be. We also wanted our children to know their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, as well as any cousins that might come along.

It's a long story of how we got home, but here we are. It was a good move, one I'm glad we made.

Our children are very close to both sets of grandparents. Even my dad, who lived in the South before he passed away, would make frequent trips up to see the children and they looked forward to those times. Their cousins are like siblings to them (like they need any more of those!). When I begin to feel weary of some of the large get-togethers, I remember what it was like not having that and rejoice that God has blessed my children in such a way.

I must note that I have recently gotten back in touch with a couple of my aunts and cousins and feel extremely blessed to live in an age where it is so much easier to stay connected! The Lord is good to bless us in His time!

So, the cousins were over today. We're getting together for dinner next Friday. We're making memories and the kids are nurturing relationships that will last, I hope, a lifetime!

Cherish the times spent with your extended family and make those times frequent. There are times when you cannot be together - take advantage of the technologies that we have today to keep in close contact. Family is so very important and wonderful!

Blessings upon you all and your precious families!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HELP!

Ok, I need some feedback. I don't normally do this, but this may be a good avenue for me.

I need some advice on how to deal with a child with learning disabilities. We've never had Michael officially tested but, I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that a child has a consistently difficult time in school. Besides, the phrase in the paper work that said something like "If school district makes a recommendation for child's education and parent turns it down, school district may take parent to court" made us a bit nervous.

Anyway, let me give you an idea of what kind of things we're dealing with in Michael.

Our son seems to have a difficult time concentrating. We try to minimize the distractions, but he could honestly get sidetracked by a piece of lint on his shirt. (Hmm, maybe that's not so much a learning problem as it is genetics. I get distracted pretty easily, too. Did I ever tell you about the time...oh, sorry) We don't excuse his distractability. If he chooses to do his own thing, it just takes him that much longer to get his work done and he forfeits quite a bit of free time.

Understanding instruction is difficult for him. His short term memory is not good at all, though his long term memory is remarkable. We can explain something to him, he gets it, and a few minutes later he has no idea what to do.

Michael seems to skip words while he is reading and his comprehension during silent reading is something we're working on. I have definitely noticed that he does much better if he reads everything aloud, but is that practical for real life.

He also does not seem to test well. Many times, we know he's retaining the information - we can tell by his conversation - yet, his test scores don't show it.

There are definitely times when our son just slacks off. But, there are times when, even though he's working as diligently as possible, he struggles. I get frustrated, which doesn't help him at all.

One of the things I question is - am I pushing him too hard? If he is struggling with a couple of subjects, do I lighten his daily load? My thought is that when he hits the "real world" that won't be the case. He'll be expected to meet the standard to which everyone else is held. But, when the tears are coming and he's so frustrated with himself, I wonder if I'm too hard on him.

SO - those of you who have has a learning disability yourself or have taught children with learning challenges or have even KNOWN someone to go through this, PLEASE give me some ideas on how to help our son. Truth be told, we've thought of putting him in school, but then he'd just get lost in the shuffle. We honestly don't think that is the answer, but if you have insight saying otherwise, feel free.

If you don't want to publicly comment, use my e-mail (it's in the profile section).

If nothing else, please pray for us. We could use it. And, just so you know, we're praying for many of you homeschoolers, too. We all have our challenges.

Sorry for taking advantage of you all - we'll be back to more interesting posts tomorrow. I hope.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rocking my Baby

I feel the weight of his head in the crook of my arm. He looks at me and smiles. I rock in the rocker that was given to me at my bridal shower. His eyes close as I sing a hymn. They open every once in a while - seemingly to see if I'm still there. I am, and he smiles once again.

With my first baby, I was afraid I would spoil him if I held him too much, so I didn't allow myself that luxury too many times. With each child since, I've allowed myself more time with them, just holding them. Some haven't liked it, some have. Zane does and I'm glad, for who knows if I'll have another opportunity such as this?

Each time a baby grows into a child, I forget what it's like to feel that baby-closeness, smell that baby-smell, and bask in that baby-smile. I forget the joy that comes from rocking a baby. Then, the next one comes and I remember and treasure it all over again.

Some day, I'll forget and never be reminded again.

So, as this baby looks at me one last time before he goes to sleep, I smile. "Yes, I'm here. I always will be. I love you."

He smiles and closes his eyes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Broken Word

A week and a half ago, Eric told me we were getting a dog. Not just any dog, but the sister of a friend's dog who is absolutely what we've been looking for for several years. The owner was making a trip up from out of state and would be selling us this dog.

Eric and I were like kids waiting. We were so excited.

My husband and I have been parents for 10 years. We, like most parents, have found that when you mention an upcoming event to a child, that is all you hear about until the event comes to pass. With one child doing it, it's enough to make you want to scream. We have seven children. That would pretty much put us on the fast track to the R-wing. So, in order to spare ourselves that torture, we decided not to tell the children about our new pet, but just wait to surprise them when she came.

That turned out to be a wise decision. Because, at the last minute, the owner's girlfriend decided she couldn't part with the dog.

So, what our kids didn't know couldn't result in tears - from them, anyway. I shed tears and Eric looked like he wanted to. I've honestly not seen my husband look that sad in quite some time.

For those of you who don't know me, this kind of thing doesn't set well with me. I'm not the type to say "Oh, ok, whatever" and go happily on my way. I'm more the type to say:

"WHAT?! How could she do that? When did they plan on telling us this? For all they know, we've already told the kids and now their little hearts are broken! Let me tell you, if that were the case, I'd be taking our six crying children over to her so she could explain why they can't have their dog!!! That is RUDE. That is so NOT RIGHT!!!!"

Yep, that's more my style.

As a Christian almost constantly surrounded by other Christians trying to live according to God's ways, I rarely have to deal with people who do not keep their word. So, this is pretty much a first for me. As a woman who has a tendency to like being in control of things, this was a shock to my system, but a good reminder that not everything can go my way.

Here are some thoughts I had as a result of all this:

1. I will be honest and tell you that I did think being nice gets you no where. If I could just follow my (sinful) nature, I could put up a fight and we'd probably have a dog. The nice people get walked on. At least, that's what it feels like sometimes. But, then I realized, that's not true. In being nice, we keep a spotless and blameless reputation and allow God to shine. We may not get what we want all the time, but, we can have peace knowing that God is pleased in our dealings with others. What could I want more than to have the Lord be pleased with me?

2. I realized, again, how a woman can tear down a man's reputation. The owner of the dog is a guy who normally keeps his word. However, his girlfriend manipulated him with her feelings causing him to go back on a promise. (Never mind the fact that they still have three dogs back home.) His reputation has been damaged. He didn't want to break his promise to us, but, he was afraid to upset her. We, as wives, need to be careful not to manipulate our men. We may get what we want, but at what cost to his reputation or place of leadership as a man?

3. Woe to the man who marries such a woman.

4. I need to learn to deal with disappointment. I was sad and I don't think that's a sin. But, I was angry. I think I may be growing, though, as in the midst of it, I realized I could become bitter about this whole thing and I asked God to help me with that. I have to give Him control of my heart, thoughts, and emotions.

5. I am grateful for the Christian brethren who, though human, try their best to treat one another with kindness, respect, love, truth, and sincerity.

6. I am grateful for a husband who almost NEVER makes a promise. I can only remember one time when I heard the word "promise" come from his lips - other than our wedding. He realizes that, though he may do everything in his power to keep promise, God may have other plans. Therefore, he will say, "I'll try," "I intend," "We'll see," and the like. This character trait has earned him the reputation of a man who keeps his word and someone people can trust.

7. Most importantly, this situation made me think of how I keep my word as a mother. How often do I tell my children that we'll do something, only to make excuses for why we never got around to it? This brings sadness to my heart knowing that I am often the reason for my children's disappointment. We often say that life is full of disappointments and our children need to learn to deal with it. Yes, this is true. But, those disappointments ought to come from someplace other than their mother. I should just be the one who will help them through it. They should be able to trust mommy. I need to be careful about making promises or giving my children hopes only to dash them.

8. We know now, more than ever, that it's best never to tell our kids about something until it actually happens!!!!

Zechariah 8:16 - "These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour..."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Young Love Remaining

Do you know what I love about being around and observing young people? Their fresh and unhardened look at life - especially love. I love listening to someone speak of their boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/new spouse and see the stars in their eyes. I love to watch newly-weds gaze at each other, hold hands, and laugh. They help me remember what is was like for Eric and me.

Then, I look around at older people. Older = anyone married more than 5 years or any one who has children. So many have lost that fresh look at love and life. I can't even imagine what they were like when they were young and in love. In fact, I know they were young, but, were they ever in love? They help me to see that love can be a fragile thing and is not to be taken for granted. Nothing, including self and children, ought to take priority over the gift of love that God has given me in my husband.

Then, while I'm looking around, I spot them. The couple that's been married for 20 or 30 years. They've raised their children, they've come against hardships, and they've weathered the storms of life. And, they're gazing in each other's eyes with a new depth. They're holding hands with more feeling. And, they're still laughing. This is the couple that I want to be. They set the example for what I want our marriage to look like now and always.

When Eric and I were first married, I would hold his hand or put my head on his shoulder. Usually, someone would say "newlyweds." I would respond, "I hope to still be acting this way when we celebrate our 50th anniversary!"

By the grace of God, we're still holding hands, I still lay my head on Eric's shoulder, we're still laughing. We're on our way to accomplishing my goal - with the Lord's help.

So, here's a big thank you to all the young couples reminding us of how we once felt and to the happy older couples who remind us that we can still feel that way.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Counting My Blessings!

This past weekend was one of great fun and memories. Autumn is a very nostalgic season and it does seem to loan itself to the making of many memories. It is also a season in which we seem to reflect upon the things we are thankful for. So, on that note, it is time for another installment of "Counting My Blessings!"




1. I'm grateful for my daughter Anna. I'm thankful for all of my children, but Anna's birthday happened to be on Friday, so I'm mentioning her. I am grateful for the seven years we have had thus far with this quiet, nurturing, and mature little girl. Anna is 7 going on 37 - she seems so much older in her mannerisms. When she does act like a 7 year old, it's almost surprising. She is a blessing to us with her quiet and sweet ways.




2. I'm grateful for the fact that my children have many moments where they can actually get along and act like they love each other. Cassia and Anna are the best of friends. I'm grateful for the bond that God has given to sisters.



3. I'm grateful for the changing seasons, most of all, fall! I absolutely LOVE this time of year. It's so pretty, and the cooler temperatures renew a sense of motivation and energy. We seem to plan a lot more outdoor activities in the fall, taking advantage of the nice weather and beautiful scenery. I think that's why it's so easy to make so many wonderful memories this time of year.




4. I'm grateful for my friend Elianna. She's still a teenager, but I truly can call her my friend. She has become a part of our family, in many ways. She is always willing to come and help us out - whether to help me clean, babysit while I run errands, or accompany us out on an outing, making sure I return home with all 7 children! While she's here, she and I talk about so many things. Her young outlook on life helps me see things in a different perspective and her smile encourages me. In this day and age of teens who are more interested in themselves, it's wonderful to have one who's willing to sacrifice her time and who actually enjoys being around little children.



5. I'm grateful for farm-life. This type of life allows our children, and us, experience so many different things without even leaving home. Often, we pack up a snack and watch daddy and grandpa work in the fields. The other day, I took my two little ones to pick pumpkins and enjoy the pumpkin patch without the crowds. Our oldest has been able to sell some produce by the road for the first time this year. My children not only KNOW what their daddy does at work all day, but they SEE him doing it. Every day is "take your child to work day" around here!







Life is good.

The Giver of Life is good.

We are blessed. May you take some time to count your blessings this day!

Be Back Soon!

Just wanted to let you all know that I am still here! I've been EXTREMELY busy the past few days going here and there and everywhere! I will post something worthwhile later. I haven't forgotten.

In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Before and After


I was just thinking about life before children. Why? Because my 3 month old just spit up all over me and all over the floor. There IS a reason women should get married before having babies. Because, once they come it's all spit up and poop. Guys claim to be tough, but these two things send them running!

Anyway, life before children. It seems so long ago. Back in those days, there were so many things I could do...

-sleep in!

-shop for as long as I wanted - in peace. In the case of grocery shopping, I could do it as quickly as possible, even leaving in the middle of dinner prep to get a needed ingredient that I thought I already had.

-spend Saturdays just driving around finding interesting out-of-the-way places with my husband.

-sleep in!


-visit with friends in the middle of the day.

-read my Bible any time during the day, something I took too much for granted!

-make gourmet meals to serve my husband by candle-light


-oh, did I mention sleep in?!

Now that I have children, the things listed above are put on the back burner for, at least, another 20 years. Life with children now includes...

-when I want to sleep in, I end up rolling out of bed when the thumping begins to shake the entire house or when the screaming threatens to wake our neighbor a half mile down the road.

-perfume? Ever tried "Eau de Puke"?


-casseroles, pasta, hot-dogs, anything that takes 30 minutes or less to prepare!

-shopping? Grocery shopping only and at night - without kids.

-our family car is now a 12 passenger van.

-going for rides now include "Patch the Pirate" cds and children wondering where in the world we're going. They don't quite get the concept of enjoying the scenery.

So, why would anyone want kids? Sounds like they take all the fun out of everything! Not really. You would understand if...

- you ever had a 1 year old kiss you on the cheek or hug your neck.

- you ever heard a baby coo and watch him smile for the first time.

- you ever saw your 2 year old try to sing and follow along with her older siblings in "If You're Happy and You Know It..."

- you ever heard a child say to you, "You're my mommy!"

- you ever heard a child pray in a way that teaches you something about faith.

- you ever felt the closeness with your spouse that only teamwork in child-rearing can bring
.

- you ever saw your husband throwing your little boy in the air, pushing the little girls in the swing, or wrestling with 6 little ones on the floor.

Yes, there are times when I wish I could go back to having some more "freedom." Those were good times and there is a time in everyone's life when that is necessary.

But, then I realize, even if I could go back - I wouldn't. Not for days of sleeping in. I'd miss the laughter, the kisses, and the love that only children can give.

"...the fruit of the womb is His reward."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Terror in the Night


We had a home invasion last night. There was an intruder in our home. I never saw him, but I screamed. My husband remained calm. The intruder tried to get away, but, in the end, my husband had to do the unthinkable to save his family from harm.

Eric had to kill the intruder. He saved us from...

...a mouse.

I HATE mice!!!

I was innocently relaxing on the couch helping my son with homework when Michael suddenly said, "A mouse!" Those two words sent me into a holy fit - screaming and jumping and getting off the couch and out of that room as quick as I could!!!

The next 15 minutes were spent with Eric and Michael running back and forth in our front room saying, "There it is!" or, "Do you see it?" In the meantime, the rest of the children stood in the doorway giving updates to their mother who refused to even look in the room - "It went under the piano!" "Oh, there it is! It went under the couch!" "It ran back across the room!"

The only time I saw the awful creature is when his lifeless body was carried out of my house on the end of the weapon that did him in - a stick. It wasn't pretty.

My husband is my hero. He killed the mouse, so we don't have to move!

Why something so tiny can make me panic, I have no idea. But, it does. Logically, I know it makes absolutely no sense. I try to prepare myself for the next time and plan how I will react with great calm and practicality. But, each time (trust me, it's really not that often) the reaction is the same. Pure panic!

It's a good thing no one had a video camera rolling. But, I figure my days are numbered on that one. It's just a matter of time before I'll have a house-full of teenagers who will love to play practical jokes on their mother. Then, there I'll be on You-Tube screaming and jumping in terror with peals of teenage laughter in the background.

Until then, my word description will have to suffice.

Monday, October 1, 2007

For My Friend


I have a friend who is a new mom. Her baby is sick and my friend feels guilty. Ever been there? I think we all have.

Eric and I have spent more that our share of time in the ER with sick children. The last time we were there together, we noticed that there was a new coffee bar in the waiting room. How nice we thought that was! Then, I realized something. You've been at the hospital way too many times when you notice what's new in the ER!!!

But, on to my thought.

We've had a daughter gash her mouth with a block (don't ask), daughters with extremely high fevers and dehydration due to UTIs, a daughter with undiagnosed e-coli, and a son diagnosed with scoliosis.

Each time we go to the hospital or hear an undesirable test result, there is a sinking feeling in our stomachs.

"What is wrong? What does this mean? Will everything be ok? What did I do wrong?"

The last question plays with our emotions. We think back and try to figure out exactly how things happened and what we could have done differently to prevent the accident, sickness, or condition.

"If I had only been paying closer attention. I I had only taken it seriously more quickly. If I had only known!"

I have finally learned that these thoughts do nothing for my child or for me. These thoughts are useless. Not only that, but these thoughts stem from pride. Some things are in our power to prevent - we are supposed to care for our children the best we can. However, everything is not supposed to be in our control. God knows all things and God has a plan.

When we hear the bad news or stand in the hospital room with a sick child, our thoughts need to be of Christ. Cry out to Him. Ask Him for His grace and for His healing. Trust Him. There have been times when I've had to even ask Him for grace if He decides to take the little one home.

God doesn't blame me. He doesn't make me feel guilty. He's working His perfect plan.

Now, when we're faced with the illness or disability of a child, I push away the guilt that threatens to invade my mind and heart. Instead, I reach up to take my Father's hand. He takes my hand in His and walks with me through the storm.

To my friend - I'm praying for you. You're a great mom. Take the hand of our Comforter and rest in Him.