Monday, November 30, 2009

Leaning on God

As I got the pile of books out this evening to plan our school week, I suddenly realized all I do every single day to keep our family going.

Here's a simplified list:  make sure chores are done and children have eaten in the morning, get little ones dressed, get everyone in their respective places for school (and continue to corral them there during the course of the morning), teach 2 children all of their subjects while fielding questions from the older 3 as they do their independent work, break up fights and instruct the littlest 2, make lunch, delegate clean-up, teach older children their lessons, figure out what's for supper then make it, delegate supper chores, laundry, getting younger children ready for bed, getting all children to bed at their scheduled bedtimes.  These every day chores are always accompanied by other items that need to be done such as:  making grocery lists, cutting coupons, finding time to go grocery shopping, answering phones, running a homeschool co-op, setting up meals for women who have babies at our church, calling friends whom I've not seen in a while, planning birthdays or holidays, cleaning, etc., etc., etc.

I do well when I don't think about all the things I need to do.  I liken it to a piano player. He doesn't contemplate that he's moving both of his hands in opposite directions and that he literally has 10 different actions occuring at the same time.  A good piano player often has songs memorized and does not meditate on each and every note as he plays it.  Everything just moves fluidly with little problem.  However, once he begins to really think about everything he is doing and every single note, that is when the mistakes tend to be made.  That is how I felt today.  As soon as I really began thinking about all the things I do and the fact that I am one person, I began to feel overwhelmed.  Yet, only for a moment.

As my breaths became short as I felt my self beginning to drown under the pressure, I realized that I never can do anything without God.  It is only by His strength that I can keep going. It is only by His grace that the plates can continue to spin without crashing to the floor.  I am nothing without Him.  I can do nothing without HIm.  However, "I can do ALL things through Christ which strenghtheneth me"!! 

I gave it to my Heavenly Father Who cares for me so deeply right then and there.  Immediately, the burden lifted and I was able to take deeper breaths.  It's going to be ok - because God is my strength in weakness.

The next time you stop to think of all the things you need to do, realize it is not you, but God who will get you through the day. 

It's the only way us moms will remain sane!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Traditional vs. Likeable

So, I have the mandatory apple pie in the oven for tomorrow's finishing course.  Pumpkin pie is in the refridgerator.  I, personally, don't care too much for these pies, but like every other good American woman, I make them to keep with national tradition.  Sort of a bonding with our Pilgrim ancestors.

However, if I have to eat apple pie, I might as well make it intereting.  I perked up when I saw this recipe posted earlier today.  Apples with caramel - THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!!!  It's baking in the oven right now and I am sure I will be dreaming of that first bite all night long!

Like many families, I always accompany the required desserts with some even more tasty desserts!:)  This year, I made a Sweet Potato pie which I think is more flavorful than Pumpkin. The annaul Toll House Pie is a glorified chocolate chip cookie, but it is truly delicious and fits right in with the pie theme that seems to be so popular on this holiday.  In case any of the younger family members turn their tiny noses up at pie (for they care not for tradition), there will be chocolate-chocolate chunk brownies to satisfy to their sweet tooth. 

Sadly for me, my mother's famous Lemon Meringue pie will not make an appearance this year.  It is my absolutely favorite pie, but because few others in my family like it I rarely make it.  My mom always blesses me with it at Thanksgiving; however, we will not be spending Thanksgiving together this year, so no meringue for me!  Boo Hoo!

You must have some favorite family traditions in the form of food for the Thanksgiving table.  Please share with me what they are.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving counting your blessings as you spend time with the people (and food) you love!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Question of the day: "Where does the day go when it's done?"

Feeble attempt at an answer: "It goes into the past."

Something tells me the 4 year old knew her mommy was completely stumped!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sweet Faces

At this moment, I am contemplating where my children will be in the next 10-20 years.  No, this is not a post about prophecy or how bad the world is becoming and how we need to change it.  I am thinking about the sweet faces of my babies (don't tell my 12 year old I just called him a baby!) and wondering what they will look like in the next couple of decades.

Will I have photos of my seven children smiling with the spouses they love and who love them?  Will some of those photos be in the form of missionary prayer cards?  I wonder if they will have children who look like they do now, allowing me to remember today far into the future.  My desire is that the love, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ shines on all seven of their precious faces until the day they take their last breath.

So many Christian parents have the same desires and dreams I have.  Yet, think of the people you know who have led a hard life - a life of sin, crime, immorality, greed, and gluttoness.  Think of the hardened rock star you see on the magazine covers, the homeless man you saw walking downtown last week, the 20 year old girl who has three children and doesn't know who their fathers are.  Each of them were sweet little babies, toddlers, and children.  Their parents have their child-like images smiling at them from school pictures, birthday party pictures, and pictures of everyday life.  When that moment was caught 10 years ago, the day they checked their son into rehab was not even a thought.

Could that happen to my children?

Will their faces show signs of pain, bitterness, and sorrow?  Will any of them have gone to the world and tasted it's temporary pleasures only to find themselves growing old before their time?  Will I look back at a picture of my one of my sons when he was just three and smiling in the midst of his babyfat only to have the tears fall thinking of him sitting in a jail cell or on the street with no place to go and addicted to drugs?  Will one of them become famous - a ball player, an actress, a supermodel, a rock star - and, though smiling, will anyone see the pain in their eyes knowing what it cost them to become a superstar?    Will they remember the home they came from and the Jesus they once sung about or will they feel nothing but emptiness as they buy a bigger and better house or faster car attempting to fill the void?
It is sobering to think about.  As a parent, I am responsible for training my children in the ways of the Lord so that they may continue on that path when they reach maturity.  I must not just teach them the Bible, I must live the Bible in front of their eyes daily.   I must pray for them every morning, every evening, and oft times in between.  Instead of filling their eyes with even "harmless" videos made by Disney and Hollywood, I will direct their eyes to the living Word of God.  Instead of filling their ears with the music of this world's idols, I will provide them with holy music directing their praise and worship to the One True God.  Instead of hanging posters on their walls of unsaved sports heroes, rockers, and teen-stars, I will take them to church and help them get to know missionaries, preachers, and their fellow church members who serve God in their daily lives; for these are the true role-models.  These are the people who will help them reach their fullest potential - for there is no higher calling, no nobler career, than to walk with God.

The path that they take is ultimately their choice.  But, while I walk that path beside them, I will do everything I can, by God's strength and grace, to lead them in the right direction.  I pray that in 10-20 years none of my children will have aged prematurely and look at me with vacant eyes due to veering off the path, but will have youthful smiles and gaze on me with bright eyes as I say, "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Used of God


How is it that a nineteen year old young lady who has never been a mother can know exactly how a mother is feeling and struggling?  How does she know to say just the right words in order to encourage?  How is it possible that a mom can feel just the slightest rebuke yet feel like she has had a satisfying drink of water ending a long drought after reading the words of such a young, "inexperienced" girl?  

Because the God of the nineteen year old is the God Who parted the Red Sea, made the sun and moon stand still for about a day, rose up an army from a pile of bones, and numerous other wonders.  She serves the God of the maiden who humbly directed the captain of armies to the healing of his leprosy and of the queen who saved a nation.  

Do not doubt, giving a young girl such wisdom is nothing short of a miracle.

When we allow God to work His will in us, He does amazing things.  He gives us wisdom beyond our years and experience.  Lives are changed.  Love is felt.  Smiles return.

To the sweet nineteen year old:  Thank you for allowing God to work a miracle through you.

To the rest of you:  Allow God to use you today as He performs His next miracle in a life of one of His children.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I'm not even sure what I should write. I've had writer's block for quite some time. I have had little desire to post anything here.  Even now, I'm just typing but have absolutely no direction in which I want to go.

Things are happening in my life, yet nothing overly exciting or humorous.  Maybe it's just my perspective.  Sometimes, I feel like I don't have enough time to ponder the things that happen and consider their deeper meaning.  It's a race from one situation to the next around here.  Not a good place to be, but where I seem to be at. 

I came back from my annieversary trip rested, relaxed, and committed to a stress-free lifestyle.  In some ways, I'm holding on to that.  However, life often has other ideas and there are times when things just seem to build up.

To be truthful, I'm worn out.  I'm tired, exhausted, discouraged, and feeling a bit defeated. Do all moms feel this way at one point?  I wish I could type all the feelings I've been having the past week or so, but it is often wiser to keep your thoughts to yourself.  Just know that I struggle like many moms struggle - maybe more.  I have a 2 year old who needs to learn not to scream and a 12 year old who is trying to get a taste of independence.  In between, I have 5 other children who have their own struggles and needs.  My husband is working crazy hours. I am one woman.  I fail daily; often several times a day.  I have to pick myself up and go on.  But, I am only one woman.  A weak woman. 

I keep having to remind myself that I am not alone.  Though I fail Him, God has not deserted me.  His mercies are new every morning...every moment.  He is the One I regularly ask forgiveness.  He is the One I ask where I've gone wrong.  He is the One I ask for direction.  He is the One who keeps me going.  He is the One who has this whole thing under control.

As I complain and feel discouraged, there is a sweet missionary family grieving the loss of their precious 2 year old son this week.  The last several months have been filled with cancer diagnosis, treatments, hospital stays, hopes built and dashed.  Last Sunday morning, a mother woke up to see that  her baby had taken his last breath in the night. 

What do I have to complain about?  How dare I complain about a screaming 2 year old!  He could be forever silent.  How dare I get frustrated with my 12 year old.  He could be gone tomorrow. 

The grieving mother holds God's hand.  She clings to Him and talks to Him continuously.  She trusts Him.  It's the only way she will make it.  It's the only way any of us will make it. 

As I end my ramblings, I go away pondering what I have to be thankful for and with the realization that God is so good to good to us all.