Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A few things...

1.) Wow! I drank caffeinated coffee this morning! I feel like the insides of me are having a "jump on the bed like a little kid" party. I very rarely EVER drink more than a couple sips of caffeine. I usually drink decaf coffee. Apparently this is why. I think I'm typing much faster than normal. And talking faster. Moving faster. Washing dishes faster. Which brings me to...

2.)My dishwasher is broken. I almost panicked when I realized that Caleb would not be fixing it in 5 minutes so I could wash the huge load of dirty dishes that was crammed into it. Strangely, though, I am enjoying (?) washing dishes by hand.

I can't believe I just said that.

Some days it's the only time I stand still and do one thing and just think. Well, except when Ava's attempting to climb my leg and screaming. But still, it makes me stand still for a while and every now and then I get a chance to think without all the noise that usually surrounds me.

3.)I LOVE diapers.com!!! I ordered a pair of shoes for Ava yesterday afternoon. Twenty five dollar shoes for ten bucks.

And free shipping.

The Fed Ex Man just dropped them off by my front door.

Less than 24 hour shipping- FREE!

How cool is that!

I'm going to buy alot of stuff from there from now on I have decided.

4.)I love free shipping from anywhere actually. I have done almost all my Christmas shopping on-line so far. I hate to pay shipping. I'd rather pay $20 for something and get free shipping than pay $10 for the same thing and have to pay $5 for shipping. There's something wrong with that, but it's how my brain works, I guess.

5.)We FINALLY got a family picture taken this weekend! Hooray! I'm entirely too excited about that! Wanna see?

Ok. You talked me into it...

Caleb had to photoshop the good picture of Ethan into this pic. It's impossible to get a picture of all of us looking the same direction at the same time. But I figure 5 out of 6 is pretty good! =)

6.)I am having a really hard time getting into "the Christmas spirit" this year. Usually I have Christmas music playing (secretly when Caleb's not home) long before Christmas. And as soon as we get home from Thanksgiving, I'm dying to buy a tree and put the decorations up. But this year it just sounds hard. We don't have room for a Christmas tree.... Who needs a bunch of sugar sitting around their house? And I'm tired of turkey. I've been playing Christmas music trying to make myself feel Christmasy... So far it's not working. I think I need to go to church and sing Christmas hymns with everyone else. Surely "O Holy Night" and "Joy to the World" would do the trick.

7.)We're going to look at a house today. An out-in-the-country house.

Great location.

Great potential.

Which is code for - this house is trashed. I don't think it's been mowed in 2 years. The house needs some - ok alot - of love.

But it's cheap! =) Everyone thinks we're nuts for even considering it. We probably are. Maybe I'll take pictures while we're there today and then you can decide for yourselves whether or not we've lost our minds.

Wow.... Apparently caffeine makes me talk alot.

I'll quit now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Called to the impossible

A guest speaker at our church last week spoke about Moses. He led us to Exodus where God calls Moses to free His people.
Moses argues.
He feels inadequate.
He wants help.
And then he goes anyway.
He obeys.
The call of God is impossible for him to escape.
So Moses gets to Egypt and begins ordering Pharoah (probably the most powerful man in the world) to "Let my people go." Pharoah doesn't like that so much and makes the Israelite slaves' lives more miserable than they already were. Moses obeys God's impossible call on his life and fails. He goes to God to ask some relevant questions. I imagine Moses' side of the conversation like this:
"Hello! God? Remember me? The guy who was happily married with two kids and a bunch of sheep, living in a tent in the wilderness? You went out of your way to ask me to leave my life and do an impossible job for you. I was a little worried that you hadn't thought the plan through very thoroughly, so I asked you a few questions and You promised to help me out. So here I am, and, well Your genius plan isn't working out so great. Now Pharoah AND Your people that You sent me to deliver hate me. I've made Your people's lives more terrible than they were before. I'm a failure. Are You SURE You know what You're doing??? When are You gonna let me in on plan B?"
And instead of striking Moses with lightening for questioning His plan, it's like God has Moses right where He wants him. God doesn't tell Moses to try harder or give him a better plan to "win friends and influence people." He says:
"Now you shall see what I will do."
"I am the LORD."
"I appeared."
"I also established."
"I have heard."
"I have remembered."
"I am the LORD."
"I will bring you out."
"I will deliver you."
"I will also redeem you."
"I will take you for my people."
"I will be your God."
"I am the LORD your God."
"I will bring you to the land."
"I will give it to you."
"I am the LORD."
Exodus 6:1-8
Getting the point yet?
It's like He's saying, "Hey! Look at Me! You just sit back and watch Me work. I am God. I will do it. By myself. I have promised. You watch and see."
Ever feel like Moses?
"Pretty sure you've given me an IMPOSSIBLE job here, God! Have you noticed? Do you care??"
I feel that way practically every day.
It's so encouraging to me to know that that's exactly where God wants me. Helpless. Utterly dependent on Him and His power.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Here's what I've been thinking...

As most of you have heard, I'm sure, my mom, dad, two sisters, and two brother-in-laws went on a one week trip to Haiti. They've been back for about three weeks now, I suppose. Sadly enough life has been so incredibly crazy, I've yet to hear a single story or see a single picture. But I got to see the results of being bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito that likes to live in Haiti.
Dengue fever.
Nasty, nasty sickness.
High fevers, intense pain, inability to eat causing severe dehydration.
I spent several days sitting in hospital rooms and trying to help others who were sitting in hospital rooms. I'm sure I've never seen anyone close to me so sick.
And I was very grateful to live in America. We are so blessed to have immediate access to health care here!
My mom went to the hospital severely dehydrated with very low platelet and white blood cell counts. Her doctor was concerned that she would need a platelet infusion. The hospital in Central City had no platelets, so they rushed her to Omaha just in case.
No, "How are you going to pay for this?"
or "I'm sorry. You'll have to wait your turn on the list of patients who need these platelets."
Just, "We will use every resource in our power to save your life."
We take this setup for granted. In fact, we'd be furious if we were not to receive this kind of treatment.
But how many people in the world don't have that luxury. How many people in Haiti die from dengue fever because no one has an IV to give their body essential fluids or Tylenol to keep their temperature down? This is such basic medicine!!!
And then, the cholera outbreak. Cholera is not a hard thing to prevent or treat - If you have access to clean water and basic medical supplies.
Something I take for granted.
Don't you?
The World Health Organization's website says that as of Oct. 27th, 303 people have died in this cholera outbreak in Haiti. I'm used to big numbers, and frankly, 303 doesn't sound like that many people to me. But every one of those people is loved by God. Each one was a mommy, a sister, a daddy, a brother, a friend, a neighbor. Thousands of people are crying themselves to sleep tonight in Haiti because someone they love is gone. And it's so simple to avoid!
I'm afraid it would make me seriously question the character of God to know that my mom was dying of an easily treatable disease and that she simply lives in the wrong place at the wrong time to be privileged enough to receive that treatment.
What kind of weak faith is that?
Believers in Haiti weep for their lost loved ones and their lost livelihoods and their lost homes just as we would in their position. But they do not question their God. He is all they have. And they have peace beyond understanding and indescribable joy in Him.
I'm so thankful to God for the things He has given me. For providing for all my needs and many of my wants. For protecting and healing my family.
But I'd like to think that if He chose not to - for some unknowable reason of His own - I would still love Him. I'd stand firm on the only rock I know will never shake. Jesus Christ. And I would cling to the tiniest thread of trust and faith in Him even when my world seemed to be falling apart around me. And I'd have joy and peace flowing from me because of Him!
I find myself asking God, "I know You're big enough to do such a work in a fairly uninteresting, mostly invisible, stay at home mom in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska?"
"But do you really want to?"
"And how?"
"Why put me here with all my comforts and protections instead of across the world with absolutely nothing but You between me and daily death??"
"Surely with this privilege comes great responsibility, so what do You want from me?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One little girl

This is really good! It makes me want to go to Haiti and bring this little girl home.
My husband is reading over my shoulder saying "Yeah right!" right now. =)
But seriously.
How many little girls are there like this in the world who just need one person to love them?
So read it. Let it touch your heart and your actions.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Please don't leave the worriers behind!

Everyone's back from Haiti! Yay! I can't wait to hear all the stories and see all the pictures! I know God worked in amazing ways in Haiti. Praise Him for his unceasing work in the lives of people around the world!
While my family was in Haiti last week watching God work, He was speaking to my heart here in Nebraska, too. God reminded me of something.
I am a worrier.
Those of you who know me are saying, "duh!" right about now.
But I surprised myself. You see, we're doing Beth Moore's study of Esther for women's Biblestudy at church right now. On one week's video, Beth spent a lot of time speaking about this very thing. She challenged us to fill out this blank, "If the worst thing I can imagine happens, then ....."
Then I'll lay on the floor in a heap and want to die.
Then what?
I'll never move again.
Then what?
Well, eventually, I will move because God is faithful.
I was totally tracking with her. I thought, "I will trust God in anything because I stand on the unshakable foundation of his faithfulness."
Nice sentiment, huh?
Then four little words shook my unshakable foundation.
"Trouble with his asthma."
"What does that mean?" I panicked. He probably can't breathe - like at all. When he says he's having trouble with his asthma, it means he needs to go to the hospital and is trying to put it off for as long as possible. There's probably no hospital in Haiti. And if there is, they probably don't have the right medicine. They'll probably have to fly him to Miami. And he'll probably die of an asthma attack before he gets there. (Have I ever told you I have a big imagination?)
I'm very good at panicking.
So I freaked my sister out, and she called the "for emergencies only" cell phone to talk to her husband and find out what was really going on. Turns out my dad was not feeling great. But it had nothing to do with his asthma.
Stop panicking Melody!!!
And I felt silly.
All my confident sounding thoughts and words evaporated in that one unexpected moment.
Isn't that how life goes?
You think you have everything under control. Like you're walking with God, and He's helping you deal with your life by His Spirit. And then the unexpected happens and you completely lose it. Your sin nature pops up again when you least expect it.
I learned something valuable.
Next time, I'm going to have to go to Haiti too. No worries if I'm there and can see exactly what's going on, right?
Or, I could learn to give my worrying heart to God and let Him teach me to trust Him. With everything. All the time. Even when my eyes can't see.
Isaiah 26:3-4
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just in case I feel like laughing at this someday

This morning before 11:15 Julia (2 1/2) had:
  • Chewed a crayon and spit it all over Kylie's bed.
  • Dumped a bowl full of cereal and milk down the kitchen cabinets and all over the kitchen floor.
  • Dumped the rest of another box of cereal onto the carpet in the living room. (It's 9:00 at night and it's still there. Been a long day...)
  • Shoved an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet.
  • Ripped the cover off of a library book.
  • Crumbled foam from the fire pit box into tiny pieces all over the backyard and ate it. (I can't really blame her for the eating part. She's just taking lessons from her big sister)

Are all two year olds so destructive?

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the
Hubble Telescope is a visually stunning book. I'm not usually one to be attracted to books without a plot, but the pictures on the front cover drew me to this one.
The Heavens Proclaim His Glory was compiled by Lisa Stilwell. She did an impressive job of combining mind boggling photos of the far reaches of space with quotes from a wide array of people.
One quote by Francis Chan pretty much sums up the book: "This is why we are called to worship Him. His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that He is glorious."
I would've done one thing differently in this book. I would've made it bigger. The reality of how huge these objects actually are is impossible for me to comprehend. The prints were colorful and clear but seemed inadequately small compared to their size in reality. Of course no book could begin to be big enough to wrap my mind around how immense God's creation really is!
Our Creator God is so amazing! This is the perfect coffee table book to awe you over and over again at the majesty and glory of God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Outside of Me

Since our pickup is totally destroyed, Caleb asked the other guy's insurance company to provide him with a rental car - a pickup, actually.
So we are the proud (albeit temporary) new drivers of a 2010, crew cab, Chevy Silverado.
Quite a step up from a 1995 pickup or even my beloved 2000 Honda Odyssey. Thinking how convenient it would be to own a pickup that nice, and then briefly wondering how we would afford to pay for a $40,000 vehicle (ha ha ha - we'd have to sell our house and live in our pickup!) made me realize that I think about myself alot.

Way too much.

I mean, how could I possibly even consider driving a brand new car because it has hole to plug my phone/mp3 player into so I can listen to my music. Countless starving children die every day around the world, but we would have dual climate control! It's amazing how easy it is for me to justify money spent on me to make my life easier. Practically every decision I make has to do with guaranteeing the comfort and security of me and my family.
That's why we live where we live, drive what we drive, eat what we eat, shop where we shop, play where we play.
I just read Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and he seriously challenged my basic decision-making process. The reason I do these things should be because God has called me to glorify Him by making His mighty name known to the people living, driving, eating, shopping, and playing around me. Not because I don't want to be stranded on the side of the road with four little kids when my car dies or because I prefer not to take my kids potty in the nasty north Walmart bathrooms. Chan forced me to ask myself, "What do I deserve?"
A relatively new home in the suburbs?
To never be hungry?
To always have the right thing to wear?

Basically the thing I came away with is that I am selfish. I like to be comfortable in my air-conditioning, snacking at the first thought of hunger. I think about myself and meeting my needs ALL the time!
And then I thought: even on my blog, I blab on endlessly about all the crazy or terrible or funny or stressful or fun things that happen to me. When is the last time I blogged about someone besides myself?
So that is my challenge to me.
In general life, to get out of my narrow-minded, self centered existence and think about somebody else.
And in my blog, to share with you things God has laid on my heart for other people. Things God is passionate about and I care about too.
Hold me to it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An entire book about our weekend =)

I'm feeling very loved by my Father today. Life has been hectic around here, but Jesus is reminding me again that if I let Him, He can pour out His love on me in the midst of chaos. Today is a good example.

Let me back up.

This has been a very long few days.

Ava has a cold and is teething which equals NO SLEEP for mommy. Last night I was grateful she only woke up three times - MUCH better than the night before when she ended up in our bed because I was too exhausted to get out of it anymore.

Yes, she is nine months old.

And no, before you ask, I can't let her scream endlessly because she's sharing a room with her brother.

And it breaks my heart.

Anyway, I am seriously sleep deprived.

My house is a disaster. My wonderful husband put four new windows on our house this weekend. But he made a MESS! The kitchen did not get cleaned because I've been planting flowers I bought on clearance at Menards while I was supposed to be buying construction supplies. =)

School with Ethan is puttering along. I'm having a hard time spending much time doing book work with him. Pounding metal strips pulled out of old windows into swords and sword fighting with your sisters counts as school, right?

Poor Ava screams constantly. You would too if you had a cold, were shoving four new teeth through your gums, and were on a sleep strike.

And to top it all off, Caleb's pickup is smashed.

Friday night we went to Menards to buy the last windows for our house. Caleb was late getting home from work but had promised to take us out for supper, so we fed our kids supper at Sonic at 7:30.

Kylie had major intestinal issues. Caleb had to pick her up (without shoes) and RUN to the bathroom with her while some poor 15 year old girl was trying to hand me my food. I think she thought I was nuts because I was screaming at Caleb "Kylie's going to poop her pants!!" as she was sweetly saying, "Here's your corndogs."

The girls and I were in the van and Caleb and Ethan drove the pickup, so they got to Menards before us and went inside. I showed up two minutes later - just long enough for the boys to get all the way to the back of the store - and had to call Caleb because Kylie's stomach was cramping again. We needed a bathroom NOW. But both the girls had taken their shoes off and couldn't find them, and I was holding Ava. So Caleb had to come back out of Menards and run Kylie to the bathroom again. Where he found the source of the stomach issues.
She had swallowed a magnet marble.

He heard it clink in the toilet.

We had a long talk about only eating FOOD. A tough concept for a four year old to get, apparently...

Ok, one issue solved. Now that it was almost 9:00, we raced through Menards, grabbed what we need, and headed home.

I was driving down NW 48th street a mile from home talking to Caleb on the phone when I saw his pickup brake lights and heard a giant crash. His pickup went skidding to one side. Luckily I was far enough behind him not to run into him. I yelled at Caleb on the phone, but got no answer - which made me think he was unconsious or something (I've been known to have an overly dramatic imagination...)

I turned onto a side street, jumped out of the van, ordered the girls not to move, and ran over to the pickup.

The first thing I saw was smoke.

So I tried to drag Ethan out of the pickup - which is not easy when he's 50 pounds and I have to lift him up out of the window. He kept yelling, "Mom! I'm fine!" and finally I got out of his way and let him climb out on his own.

Later I learned that the pickup was not in imminent danger of exploding. Apparently airbags smoke when they go off. I wish someone had told me that earlier and saved me some panicking!!!

Anyway, Ethan and Caleb were a little shook up and Ethan's eyebrow was bleeding, but they were fine - as were the other guys in the other car. A 15 year old was driving and turned left right in front of Caleb. I felt kinda bad for him because his dad (the passenger) was screaming at him.

While waiting for the police and a tow truck, guess what? Julia decided she had to go potty - and peed her pants while standing in the van. I grabbed her and dragged her out, but she kept complaining that she wasn't done. So at 9:15 at night with red and blue police lights flashing on us, Julia pooped in the little pink potty (thanks Oma!) on the side of NW 48th street while Kylie munched her corndog and slurped her slushie.

We must have looked like some kinda hillbillies - or at least totally irresponsible parents.

It's half an hour past bedtime and one kid's eating grease and sugar water; the other is naked from the waist down. On top of that, there's a little pile of poop sitting in a pink potty on the curb.

Wow. I should win a mother of the year award for that.

Anyway, all this craziness happened around me and all I could think was how grateful I was. God protected my husband and my son - and the two guys in the other vehicle. So many things could've been different that would've made it much worse.

That's why I'm feeling loved. Because the God of our vast universe cares enough about me and my family to pour out His blessings on us - sinners who don't deserve His notice.

And to remind me again today, my mother-in-law called to ask if she could watch my kids today instead of Friday. So I get a whole unexpected day to myself.

I've done a little bit of cleaning and have a few errands to run. But I'm exhausted, so right now I think I'm going to take a nap.

Oh, one more thing! Because Ethan's scraped eyebrow was listed as an injury on the accident report, we have recieved TONS of mail from lawyers, chiropracters, and car salesmen offering us their services. One on Monday (These lawyers are quick!) and nine more today. I can't believe that people actually think they're entitled to compensation for their "mental and emotional turmoil" because their son has a scraped eyebrow. Come on people!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Wow! So I totally forgot about my t-shirt giveaway.... Sorry! So I randomly picked a number this morning, and Leah! You won! =)
Yay! Wish I had enough for all of you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free T-Shirt!!!

Ted Dekker is doing some unique things to promote Immanuel's Veins. Here's a book trailer video he posted on facebook.
Also Thomas Nelson is giving away free t-shirts! Here's a pic of mine. =)

Ok. It's hard to tell what color this is for sure (and as you can see, I've already stained mine.... Kids). But it's a nice darker grey color with black and red.
Anyway, one of you can win your very own! Rob, this is the part for you!! =) Leave a comment on this post, and I'll randomly pick a winner!

Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

I’ve come to expect the unusual from Ted Dekker. Immanuel’s Veins is no exception.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to summarize this story – especially in 200 words. You’ll just have to read it. It’s a story full of passion, seduction, evil, blood, romance, and mystery. A warrior loves a forbidden woman. That woman’s hardened, broken heart struggles to find freedom. Many are skillfully tempted, wooed by evil and fall under the control of its power. Only blood saves.
Dekker grates on the nerves of my “good, religious morality”, filling this book with blood drinking demons masquerading as friends. I’ve got to say, I didn’t like the whole vampire thing. But I couldn’t put the book down.
Dekker drives to the heart of the divide between a love relationship with Jesus and religion. Do I live a relationship or a set of rules? Is Jesus my lover, sacrificing Himself to save me? Or is He a remote judge on a throne, balancing my good and bad acts to see if I’m worthy of his love?
Although the setting and characters in the story were a little too “horror story” for me, I ended the book with a fresh view of the love of my Savior, one that left me praising Him.
Isn’t that the point?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I don't have time to tell you about our Reno trip right now. It's about time to start packing for our trip to the lake. I just couldn't resist sharing this. While we were in Reno, my sister, Rebecca, was enjoying her time dragon fighting and treasure hunting and craft making with our kids. She chronicled one of their adventures on her blog. http://thisrooftop.blogspot.com/2010/09/plastic-funeral.html
Coming next:
-A book review on Ted Dekker's soon to be released book, "Immanuel's Veins" - including a t-shirt giveaway!!!
-Pictures of Lake Tahoe!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vacation reading list

Caleb, Ava, and I are leaving Saturday for Reno. We'll be gone for a week. It's a kind of work/vacation thing. Caleb's doing training 8-5, Mon-Fri for work. Corvalis Composite training.

Don't ask me what that means.

Ava and I are going to hang out.

Just so you can see how unrealistic my expectations are, here's the list of what I'm going to get done:
*Catch up on scrapbooking (I'm only 2 years or so behind...)
*Do some just for fun shopping
*Watch "I Love Lucy" reruns
*Work out at the hotel gym
*Take Ava swimming to defeat her new terror of water
*Sightsee around Reno - any ideas anyone?
*Nap =)
*And (the point of this post) read all these books!

I love to read! My problem is, I can't decide which to start first. Ok, I've already started Crazy Love. This is one amazing book that deserves - and will probably get - it's own post eventually. But it's heavy. One chapter at a time is plenty to think about...well, for the rest of my life.

Immanuel's Veins hasn't been released yet, so I kinda want to read it on the plane so people will wonder how I got a book that nobody else can get. =)

As if anyone will notice...

Am I Messing Up my kids? Pretty sure the answer to that is yes. I have also started this one, and it's going to be good. Hopefully I'll know how not to mess up my kids by the time I get home. =)

I'm bought Gilead because of John Piper's recommendation. Oh, and my sister Kristi bought it too. Which means it's probably pretty deep and philosophical and will take concentration. I'm sure it's good, though.

And Becca, my other sister, insists Till We Have Faces is her favorite book. Which means it's probably pretty deep and philosophical and will take concentration.

Why am I not bringing fun, easy to read, Clive Cussler books instead?

A few side notes:

Thank you to Grandma and Grandpa and Kristi and Becca for volunteering (??) to watch Ethan, Kylie, and Julia for the week. They are VERY excited to visit, and I hope they have fun and behave themselves.

Also, I'm very excited to visit Lake Tahoe, which is supposed to be gorgeous!

Pray for safe travel, a content baby who sleeps when she's supposed to (and doesn't wake up at 4:30 am thinking it's morning), effective training for Caleb, and a happy week for the other kids. Thanks! =)

Monday, August 23, 2010

My new favorite music

I heard Starfield's new song "The Saving One" playing on the radio not long ago, and I LOVED it! They sound great, and their words are amazing. They take you straight to the presence of Jesus.
What drives me nuts about radio, however, is that they play the same song over and over again until no one can stand it anymore. This is such a shame because Starfield's album has nine other great songs that no one ever hears.
When Caleb found "Absolutely" on youtube, I gave in and downloaded the whole cd on itunes. And I've listened to nothing else since.
Here's a link to my favorite song "Absolutely".
Ok, or maybe this one is my favorite: "No Other Savior"
Pay attention to these words:

Lover of my soul
I want to tell You
Only You have all of me
I cannot contain
My adoration
I’m in love so desperately
No one is as lovely as You are
And there is no one else Who has my heart

Jesus, You have me completely
Every breath that I breathe
I am absolutely in love
Jesus, I am Yours forever
All of me surrenders
I am absolutely in love with You

Down upon my knees
I’m lost in worship
Humbled by Your majesty
What is there to say
But how I love You
Thank You for forgiving me

All I am is Yours
Only Yours

No Other Saviour
Lord of every age
Author of our faith
The first, the last, the same
The name above all names
Crowned in majesty
Glorious Prince of Peace
Throned at God’s right hand
The world at His command
The world at His command

Jesus, Lamb of God
How great You are
There is no other Saviour
Every knee bows down
At Your renown
There is no other Saviour

Merciful High Priest
Lover of the least
Generous and meek
Protector of the weak
Sacrificed to death
For us, Your final breath
You died, the world to save
To overcome the grave
To overcome the grave

You will reign forever
You reign forever

You musical geniuses out there (Becca and Kristi...) may not be impressed with their sound - even though I am =), but you can't get better lyrics than those.

Coming next: My new favorite book! =)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Adventures at the zoo

Tam (Caleb's mom) and I took the kids to the Omaha zoo the other day. It was a little crazy. We didn't get there til 4:30.
Partly because we're slow at getting four kids and their snacks and drinks and strollers and sunscreen out of the house.
Partly because we needed iced lattes for energy.
Partly because we got just past the 72nd street exit in Omaha before Kylie saw fit to announce that she had brought no shoes.
Yes, we drove around Omaha and Papillion for half an hour trying to find a place to buy shoes. I really need a GPS that talks apparently.
Then I could've said, "Where's a shoe store?"
And the lovely Australian accented GPS dude would've said, "Turn right NOW!!"
But I can now tell you that if you ever need anything on your way to the zoo, there is a giant Super Walmart five minutes south of the interstate on 72nd street. Oh, if she had only told me BEFORE that exit.
Oh well. After a few moments of frustration, we had a wonderful time at the zoo. It was a beautiful evening, and the zoo was open late for members' day. So we enjoyed the Lied Jungle, butterflies and insects, the desert dome, and the Kingdoms of the Night virtually on our own. And the kids were still happy when we left.
That's the beauty of a year pass to the zoo. We saw a few things and left happy instead of trying to kill ourselves to "get our money's worth" by looking at every last creature in the zoo and leaving exhausted and CRABBY!
Anyway, here's the part you're looking forward to - the PICTURES! =)

I think this one is my favorite! It's totally an action shot - not everyone's looking at the camera, but they're all having so much fun with their Mimi! =)

Ok, this bridge thing still freaks me out a little - especially when my kids are dangling by a few (rather thick) threads with nothing but air underneath them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day One

Well, yesterday was day one of homeschool. I know. I swore I would not homeschool this fall. Never say never.
School actually went pretty well. My biggest problem is keeping Julia from destroying things while I teach Ethan. I made a school basket with fun stuff for her and Kylie to do while I do school with Ethan. But she had a little too much fun. She dumped half dry, crumbly play-doh all over the carpet. Pulled the outside off an ear of corn and scattered sticky strings all over the house. Cut paper into tiny pieces and dropped them all over the floor. Tried to stick the glue in the pencil sharpener. Scattered magnetic letters all over everywhere. That kinda stuff. I think I could have a full time job just cleaning up after Julia. Two year olds are alot of work.
Anyway, after two hours, I called Caleb and told him I couldn't do it. Why am I bothering? Practically everyone I meet thinks I'm crazy to do what I'm doing. It would be SO EASY to send them to the nice, new public school a half a mile down the street. They haven't even started yet. I could get Ethan and Kylie signed up and send them to school in two weeks. Wow! Grocery shopping with only two kids! I could probably go to the gym and work out. And nap time! Julia and Ava take long naps!!! I daydreamed.
I'm still not sure why, but today was day two, and I got up and did it again. And other than spilling the same glass of milk twice at breakfast this morning, Julia didn't make too many messes.
I have to keep quoting my verse.
2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed"

Max Lucado's Cast of Characters

Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus alone.
All my hope is based on this statement of trust. But I like to add “Melody’s list of ways to be a perfect person and a good Christian” to my belief in the hopes that God maybe will like me a little more. And I end up discouraged and frustrated and exhausted because I’m just not that great at being good.
If you feel this way, read Max Lucado’s Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God. Lucado brings to life different Bible characters – from Paul to Mephibosheth – to remind us that God doesn’t use perfect people. Instead He takes sinners and changes history through them – in spite of their failures.
So maybe, just maybe, He could use me too. With all my failures and imperfections. Even though I’m nobody special.
I love this book. I always enjoy Lucado’s style. What grabbed me about this book is that the Bible doesn’t give many details sometimes. But Lucado took a few straightforward words and made me feel them, live them. Suddenly the people in the Bible are people that could live next door instead of words on a page.
Anyone want to borrow my copy? =)
I wrote this review as part of Thomas Nelson's booksneeze.com book review blogger program.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Starve selfishness?

Foot washing is hard. I don't know why I should be surprised by that statement. I mean, did Jesus call us to do anything that comes naturally to our sinful natures? Maybe I just always thought of Jesus washing His disciples' feet and thought how noble and self sacrificing that must have been. And I thought in my own life I could do humiliating tasks (like toilet cleaning and diaper changing) and call my imitation of Christ done.
That's good enough, I figured. I've done the job everyone hates to do for the day, so I'm off the hook. I think I'll watch some TV or buy myself that dress I've been wanting. Maybe I'll read a good book or get a pedicure. Surely I should get to do something just for me. Everyone else does.
Selfishness is the language of our culture.
I speak it fluently.
Jesus spent His lifetime here on earth foot washing in a wider sense. He gave and gave. He prayed instead of slept, and then, exhausted, He gave some more. He healed. He taught. He listened. He provided. He nourished. He did all these and more without complaint, without ceasing. Do you think He ever got tired of giving? If He ever wanted just one person to understand His load and carry part of it for Him? Like the time He came off the Mount of Transfiguration after revealing His heavenly glory to three of His disciples only to find that the rest of them couldn't even heal one demon possessed boy. Did He think, "You guys can't just do one thing right for yourselves."
How many times have I thought (and said) that?
Instead of behaving like Jesus, I often let my selfishness dictate my thoughts and attitudes. I inwardly seethe.
"He gets to fulfill his dreams while I sit here listening to his kids scream."
"Why can't they just give me one minute to read the rest of my chapter before I feed them again?"
Then, when I serve because I must, it is not from a heart overflowing with love and praise to God, but from a heart full of anger.
I become a martyr.
"I always have to do everything around here," I stomp.
The question is: is there value in purposely giving up my desires and serving even when my heart attitude isn't right? In a way, that's what some monks or nuns do. They purposely give up desires that are not evil in and of themselves to train themselves to think less selfishly and more about God. But is there value in that sacrifice if it does not come from a joyful heart? Do I serve unwillingly and then receive joy? Or do I do small things that bring me pleasure in an attempt to fulfill some of my desires so that my selfishness doesn't rear it's ugly head out of continual frustration?
Can I starve selfishness?

"Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whatcha think?

Ok, so I've changed a few things on my blog - in case you haven't noticed. =) I need some feedback. I'm not sure I love it. Maybe we should look at it as a work in progress...
Also, I made my blog stop posting itself automatically to facebook. I'm just not really sure that I want all 192 (yes, I had to look that up) people I've befriended on fb reading everything I write on here. It seems like if you want to look that deeply into my heart, you should have to at least go out of your way far enough to come to my real blog. Does that make any sense?
So I'm sorry if you love reading me on facebook. I think if you could make a good argument in favor of posting it there, you might find me easy to convince. I'm just not sure right now...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Perfect love?

Love is scary. It's dangerous. It totally freaks me out. Anyone I let into my heart has the potential to stomp all over it. What really terrifies me is loving someone who's hurt me in the past - who has demonstrated the ability (perhaps without even knowing they're doing it) to take the love I offer, wad it up, and throw it in the trash - like I watched a guy do to a "friendly" note from a scary weird girl stalking him in highschool.
I wonder if everyone is so nervous. It might just be me. Maybe I was scarred by early "friendship" experiences. Maybe I'm just incredibly overly sensitive.
Or maybe I just don't like to be vulnerable.
I was holding my tiny, beautiful, only neice the other day thinking. Isn't it incredible that the things we love the most are also the cause of the most fear in us? That precious little girl has the ability to break hearts. I went home and held my little girl and thought, "I love this little girl too much to express. And she holds this terrible power over me. Power to destroy my heart."
We don't fear for what we don't love. The reason I fear for my kids' and huband's safety is because I love them. Fear of losing or hurting them paralyzes me at times. And fear of their reactions guides my behavior. I don't care if the stranger in the grocery store dislikes the way I'm dressed, but if my husband says I look scary, I change quickly!
Yet I John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." So if I love people perfectly I will not fear them or for them? How do I get this perfect love? Is anyone giving it out? Because it seems like love is given based on performance by most everyone. How do I give out this perfect love to my kids? Do I assume others are giving it to me, or do I panic when I do something wrong - afraid they'll withold love based on my "bad" actions?
I have more questions than answers. I started thinking about this because I read my uncle's blog. He wrote this post and several following up. He has more answers than I do, so maybe we should all go over there and try to glean some wisdom. =)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Amazing grace

Do you ever have days where you feel like you're losing your mind?
Where everything seems to go wrong?
Where you want to quit whatever it is you do, take your favorite book and hide in a story until you forget how chaotic your life is?
I had one of those days.
Spilled juice.
Frozen bread.
NO stroller in the back of the van.
Forgot the sunscreen. (Yay for friends who remember thiers!)
Parking ticket. (Who knew it's illegal to park on the left side of the road?)
Forgot to put the sunscreen on me.
Sleepy kids.
Sleepy mommy.
Broken glass.
Spilled water.
Kylie tries to feed a bottle to a sleeping Ava.
A screaming baby who wakes up a still sleepy Julia.
Mommy loses her temper.
Serious screaming.
Destroyed house.
Daddy out flying til 11:00 at night.
Movie, anyone?
Can it be bedtime now?
Tomorrow will be better, right?

Sometimes I feel like the worst mother ever. I was in Sams on Friday. I took all four kids grocery shopping. I know, not the best idea. But a person has to have food, and Caleb's busy. So there I was in the frozen food aisle trying to grab a bag of frozen strawberries. I was applauding myself on my good mothering skills. "The kids are going to love the smoothies I make with these! Healthy and yummy!"
Pride goes before a fall.
I turn around to see this older woman glance at me contemptuously, annoyance written clearly on her face. I wonder why. Can't she see the healthy food I'm buying for my kids. Hmmm.... my kids. I suppose that's them spinning my giant-sized cart loaded with groceries and babies around and around like a top in the middle of the aisle.
Mommy lost it again.
My brain frantically searched for the most terrible threat I could think of that was safe enough to not get me reported to Child Protective Services if overheard.
I cling to.....what do I cling to? What do I have to cover these gaping holes in my mommy skills?
I hear a faint whisper:
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed." (2 Cor. 9:8)
My lifeline.
My only hope.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Me? Brave?

Sounds like words to describe a Navy Seal or a Marine - not me.
Those of you who know me know that I'm more afraid than courageous. I'm scared of heights, snakes, deep water, spiders, heights, too many people, sharp tools, scary movies (Jurassic Park counts!), fast-moving vehicles, did I say being more than about 4 feet off the ground? And I'm definitely not strong. Look at my skinny stick arms.
I'm learning that it takes these qualities to be a good mom, though. And I'm seeing the first faint glimmers of them in my actions and attitudes.
It takes courage to say no to a two year old when you know you'll have to listen to half an hour of screaming afterwards.
You have to be strong to push 3 kids and $109 worth of groceries through Sam's while carrying a screaming, wiggly 18 pound baby. (Guess what I did this morning?)
You have to be able to let go of fear when your almost seven year old son decides to go tree climbing.
You have to be able to fight for the things that are important - like, "No name calling!" and "Don't pick your nose in public."
"You have to flush the toilet AND wash your hands."
And "Pull your dress down so your underwear doesn't show."
You had better be more stubborn than your strong-willed two year old.
You have to be brave enough to kill the giant spider without looking so freaked out that your kids are terrified of spiders for the rest of their lives - or start bringing you every spider they find just to listen to you scream.
I never thought of Joshua 1:9 as a mommy verse before.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

And the winner is????


Congrats! You won my very first book giveaway! =) I hope you love The Heart Mender as much as I did! Will I see you anytime soon? If not, I'll be happy to mail it to you if you send me your address - a message on facebook if you don't want it here for the whole world to see. Not that that many people pay attention to comments on my blog, but I suppose you never know...
Yay for free books! It's almost as fun to give them away as it is to get them! =)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Giveaway! =)

So, if after reading my review of The Heart Mender, you're interested in having your very own, free copy, this is where you let me know.
All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know you'd like to enter my giveaway. Make sure you leave an email address or some way that I can contact you if you win. Monday I'll pick a winner with a random number generator (Thanks Stephanie and Becky!), and some lucky person's book will be on it's way!
This is fun, don't ya think? =)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"The Heart Mender" by Andy Andrews

The summary of Andy Andrews’ book, “The Heart Mender” intrigued me immediately. German submarines sinking ships in the Gulf of Mexico during WW2? I’m fascinated by WW2 history, but I’d never heard anything about Nazis so close to American soil. I was hooked.
Helen Mason’s husband is dead, killed on a volunteer mission training English pilots. Josef Landermann contemplates suicide while unwillingly serving aboard a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Helen and Josef choose between clinging to their anger or forgiving when their lives are thrown together.
Probably my favorite character in this book, Danny, is a 20-something year old man with Downs Syndrome. Danny has such unique insight into the hearts of the people around him. And the people in his life respect his wisdom and talent. Andrews clearly displayed Danny through God’s eyes – as a man created in the image of God.
The other thing I loved in this book was the distinction between Germans and Nazis. Josef is a German history teacher who loves his family and hates Hitler. Yet he was sinking American merchant ships for Hitler's army. Why? He had no choice.
This book would be fascinating fiction, but is it? You’ll have to read to find out! =)

I wrote this review as part of Thomas Nelson's booksneeze.com book review blogger program.
Ok, so I feel a little silly. I practically ordered you all to tell me what great fun you have reading my ramblings. I must've been in a weird mood yesterday....
Anyway, before the rest of you feel obligated to say something nice to me, I've decided to give away "The Heart Mender" book to someone who actually wants to read it. No, you don't have to be the first to say nice things about me.... It's a fiction (?) book about German u-boats in the Gulf of Mexico during World War 2. Personally I like to think of it as a true story. Anyway, as soon as I get the review done (hopefully during naptime this afternoon!), you can decide if you'd like to read it or not... And then I'll have to come up with some way to decide which one of you gets it. I wish I had enough for all of you! =)
On a totally unrelated note... You should see what I made myself for my birthday! Peanut butter cup cheesecake with brownie crust and Reese's and LOTS of chocolate. You can find the recipe here http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/desserts/peanut-butter-cup-brownie-bottom-cheesecake/ I haven't actually tried it yet because I didn't get it made til too late last night. But I am really excited! If you live close to Lincoln, you might have to make up an excuse to come visit me. =)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shameless self-promotion =)

Yay to Uncle Chip for being the first (and so far only...hint..hint..) person to admit they're following my blog!!! I'm particularly impressed by this because Uncle Chip, you are smart. Like, really, really smart. So to think that I would say anything that you would consider worth your time to read is...well, an ego boost. Of course, you could just read it to laugh at the crazy ramblings of your niece, but I can pretend... =)
And for all you other people out there who read this, get with the program! I know most of you only read this on facebook, but this is a blog actually. Here's a link so you can see my pretty background or template or whatever you call it. And the great pic of my man and our kids Easter egg hunting.


Ok, here's your incentive. The last time my book review blogger people sent me a book, "The Heart Mender" by Andy Andrews, they sent TWO - one for me to give away on my blog. Aren't you excited??? So, I just finished reading it. I haven't written the review yet, and I don't want to give anything away. But you should be excited.
I haven't quite decided how to pick who gets it yet. (Suggestions?) Maybe I'll make you guess my favorite number or favorite ice cream or something. Maybe I'll just give it to Uncle Chip for being the very first one to follow my blog. =)
Anyway, I'll have to think about it. But I think I'll only let people who admit they follow my blog have a chance at it. Bribery, I know. Being a mommy for almost 7 years has taught me a few valuable things.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just in case I re-read my last blog post someday and decide I was whining about how terrible my life it, I've decided to make sure I remember the things I love about being mommy. Although days can be long and hectic, I can't imagine investing my life in anything else.

One of my favorite things to do is rock my baby to sleep. Julia let me rock her to sleep forever - until she was almost 2. But Ava's being less cooperative. Every once in a while, though, she gives up while I'm holding her. I love feeling her little hands stop grabbing at things and start running over my hands softly. Her little body relaxes against mine, and I just want to freeze that moment forever. Funny how I was in such a rush to get Ethan to go to sleep on his own in his crib. I wish I had just held him more.

Kids overflow with joy and awe at things that I would miss if they weren't there to point it out to me.
"Look, mommy! A butterfly!"
"What a beautiful pink flower!"
"Hey! There's a kitty!"
They remind me to get out of my narrow, "I'm in a hurry to do this and move on to the next thing" mindset and live.

Maybe this is just the teacher in me, but I love to watch my kids learn something new. The sense of accomplishement on their faces as they learn to crawl, walk, talk, or read delights me.

God has used this season of my life to teach me so many things about myself and Him. I've learned that His grace covers my impatience, quick temper, and failure to listen. He has taught me so much about what real love looks like and how He feels when His people just don't get it. I am learning to rely on Him for strength every minute of every day and to come to Him with my "impossible" problems. He gives me supernatural patience, joy, energy, and love for the unlovely when I abide in Him.

These are not things that will look good on a resume someday. The world doesn't value many of these qualities highly. To some it may look like I'm wasting my life - my potential. And even though some days it's tempting, I continually choose not to see my life that way. I know that the things God does in me today are the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see - not only in my life but in the lives of my kids. What could be better than that?

Now that I've written these nice things about being a mommy, time to put them into practice. My girls are screaming happily and woke up Ava.... Time to stop rambling and move.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who am I?

I was feeding Ava today thinking. One of these days, before I know it, I'm going to be babyless. Then diaperless, binkyless, sippy-cupless, napless, --I know I'm making up words left and right, but it's my blog, not a research paper! ;)-- and eventually kidless. Most of the things that absolutely consume my every waking moment right now (and some sleeping ones, too) will be over soon.
And I wonder, who am I without all these things? I define myself as "mommy". But what happens when all my kids need from me is an occassional text message? Who will I be then? It scares me that I don't know who I am.
Someone asked me recently what my hobbies are. I'm supposed to have hobbies? Things I do for fun? I think grocery shopping without four kids is fun. My hobbies are making the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich and pushing a two-year old on the swing just high enough to make her feel like a big girl but not too high to be scary. What happens when those hobbies are worthless? When no one needs or wants them anymore?
I can just see me at a job interview:
"What makes you qualified for this job?"
"Well, sir, I can kiss all your owies and they'll magically heal. I can read "Green Eggs and Ham" 300 times in a row with exactly the same voices every time. And to top it all off, I can bathe a baby, talk on the phone, wipe bottoms, and clean the tile floor all at the same time!"
So, just to make me feel better, here's a list of things I like to do that have nothing to do with kids.
~Read! I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on. (Do they pay people to do that?)
~Write! If you haven't learned that by my endless ramblings here...
~Go on evening walks.
~Bake! I love to make sweet (chocolate anyone?) things especially. =)
~I liked scrapbooking before I got so hopelessly behind that it became terribly discouraging.
~Music! I seroiusly sing all the time. Even now I just turn the music up louder and sing over the chaos.
Hmmmm.... That's all I can think of.
Of course since I started writing this I've managed to keep Ava awake for an extra half hour so she won't (hopefully!) wake up at 4:50 in the morning, bathed Julia and put her jammy dress on, and kept updated on Caleb's latest project. So my mind may not be focusing very well.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

3,000 days!!!

Yesterday, June 1, 2010 was my 3,000th day of marriage. That's right. Caleb and I have spent 3,000 days as husband and wife. And we celebrated! Caleb took the day off work, Tam watched the kids (even Ava!) and we went to Grand Island. We learned something valuable.
There is nothing to do in Grand Island.
We went to Walmart and bought diapers. We almost bought m&m's so we could count 3,000 of them to see how many that really is. But we didn't really want to spend $20 on m$m's - let alone eat them all afterwards.
3,000 m&m's is ALOT of candy!
So we bought polkadots instead - and we're pretending there's 3,000 of them - even though I'm too lazy to actually count.
Our day was a good representation of our marriage. We didn't do anything exciting or extraordinary, but we had FUN together.
That's the best part about marriage. Most of our days are ordinary, mundane, 8-5 at work, diaper changing, bathroom cleaning, kid raising days. But we enjoy each other's company. We share ideas. We laugh together at frilly pink ruffles and silly kid conversations. We've built a life together.
It's work. It's not always fun or easy. But it's the best thing I've ever done.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My kids

I was rocking Ava to sleep tonight, and I asked myself a random question.
"Describe each of your kids in one word."
So, here goes. I'm sure you won't be as interested in this as I will be in 5 years when I read it again. But I've gotta write it somewhere. =)
Ethan: Energetic!
Kylie: Flamboyant!
Julia: Sensitive
Ava: Content

Ok, now I have to write a little more than one word. You really think I could manage to stop that quickly?

Ethan: Energetic! He goes all the time! The exausting part is he wants me to go with him.
"Mommy, can we play a game?"
"Mommy, can we go for a bike ride?"
"Mommy, can we go to the library today?"
"Mommy, can we read a book?"
"Mommy, can we go to the park?"
"Mommy, can we listen to Odyssey?"
He wiggles, karate chops, kicks his feet, wrestles, jumps, climbs, shoots, and sword-fights CONSTANTLY!
I need to hire an energetic highschool boy just to entertain Ethan. Anyone know a bored kid who'd love to get paid in homemade chocolate chip cookies?

Kylie: Flamboyant! If Kylie was a flower, she'd be one of those great big, hot pink, tropical ones. She throws herself into every moment, enjoying it completely. She dances and twirls her way through life and makes sure that everyone notices her. She actually keeps up with Ethan most of the time. As girly as she is, she fights dragons and monsters right alongside him.

Julia: Sensitive. Julia's my cuddler. She'll walk up and give me a big hug and kiss and say, "I need you to cuddle me, mommy." She always notices when someone is hurting. All her owies are a BIG deal. She also screams - ALOT. Every time anyone so much as looks at her cross-eyed, she screams for all she's worth. She gets upset often because no one could possibly treat her sensitively enough not to hurt her feelings. I have NO idea where she got that from..... =)

Ava: Content. Ava's happy anywhere. She plays and watches and makes very little noise - at least not that can be heard above the din of the other three. =) She waits to eat until I have time to feed her, content to suck her binky. She falls asleep in her crib by herself. She SMILES all the time. Three things she really dislikes: anything but a dry diaper, being left in a room by herself, and baby food.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"He cares for you."

I was reading 1Peter 5 this morning, and something clicked in my brain that had never connected before.
Here's 1Peter 5:5b-7.
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

I paid too much attention to the verse breaks every other time I read these verses. So in my mind I thought, "Ok, I should be humble. And I should bring my anxiety to God and leave it there." Two separate actions.
But this time, God showed me something. Anxiety is a direct result of pride. When I'm anxious it's because I want my life to go the way I have planned. I'm worried about how to work my life out the way I want it. I think it's my job to figure out how to make things work out for my good.
Pride just pours out of all these statements. I exalt myself to a position I have no right to hold when I think I get to pick how my life goes. When I worry, it's just a manifestation of me holding on to my life much too tightly.
So I always knew I had a tendancy to be an anxious person, but I'll have to add prideful to the list now. So now I can be anxious about the fact that I'm a prideful person.... =)
Maybe what I really need is verse 7, "casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
Thank you Jesus for taking my anxiety when I am willing to pry my fingers off of it. And thank you for caring for me, a sinner in desperate need of Your grace!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My little wormie baby

Ok, first off, I should tell you that you have to sing that title to a certain song which I have in my head but cannot for the life of me remember what it's called. It just doesn't sound right if you read it, though, so make one up. =)
Now. Check this out.

In case you didn't get that, here's a better angle.

Yes, that would be my GIRLS with worms. Not gummy worms. Earthworms. And yes, they're on a plate - which I will never use for food again.
Kylie loves earthworms. She calls them her babies. She fills up her purse with dirt and worms and carries them around. In this picture she was trying to feed them. She is very sure they eat leaves (or in this case, maple tree helicopters) like caterpillars. Eating dirt is gross, she says.
(And carrying around earthworms and dirt in your purse isn't?!?!?)
She has converted Julia into a worm-loving girl, too, as you can see.

I was a scaredy cat when I was little. Ask Rob or Becca. But I tolerated earth worms and daddy-long legs. Sometimes if I was feeling particularly brave I let them crawl on me. But NEVER, EVER did I carry them in my purse or try to feed them. I did not cuddle them next to my face either. I'm very sure.
What kind of girls am I raising?
I have made one solid rule. Wormie babies do not belong in mommy's house!! =)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lessons learned in the fabric department....

A few weeks ago Tam (my mother-in-law) and I took all four kids to Hobby Lobby. I know. We're a little crazy, but we were feeling brave. We'd been waiting to pick material for Tam to make the girls quilts FOREVER. More specifically, we'd been waiting for someone to be able to watch the kids so we could go on our own.
We gave up.
So there we were in the Hobby Lobby fabric department with two carts and four energetic children. I wish you could've seen it.
"Oh Mimi! I LOVE this one!" Kylie raved over every inch of pink material she could find. Of course, just looking wasn't enough. She yanked fabric off and tried to unwrap it and drape it around her body to see if it would twirl.
And Julia pulled the pokies (pins) out of fabric at every opportunity, as if on a mission to save the fabric from being injured.
On top of that, indecisive me pulled practically every bolt of fabric off the shelves, rearranging them to see which ones would go together the best.
After 10 minutes of this, we had DESTROYED the fabric section. Fabric was piled in lopsided stacks everywhere as I contemplated and rearranged them once again.
The poor woman who worked in the fabric section looked at us in dismay which quickly turned to annoyance. She was a rather gruff looking older woman, and I could just see the thoughts swirling in her mind.
"Why can't that woman teach her kids to keep their hands off my material?"
"And why can't she put just one bolt back where it belongs?" (In my defense, I was trying to do this, but hopelessly failing, I'm sure.)
In my head she became a crabby old woman who would gripe at her co-workers for weeks about my poor treatment of her meticulously maintained fabric department. My goal was to decide exactly what I wanted, put everything back as best I could, and RUN out of the section before she lost it and yelled at me.
I FINALLY picked what I wanted, and we went to get it cut. And Tam took over. In two minutes, she had that "crabby old lady" smiling and chatting. She told the woman she liked her shirt and asked if she'd made it herself. When the woman said yes, Tam told her what a failure her last shirt-making effort had been. Suddenly, the woman was smiling! Laughing! Talking to my "annoying" kids! I stood back with my mouth hanging open.
"Wow! She is good!" I thought.
You see, Tam took the time to see how the woman was feeling and challenged herself to help her feel better. She wanted to make her smile and talk. She wanted to be friends.
I wanted to run before she killed me.
I wish I was more like Tam. I wish I saw the hurting people of the world and tried to help them instead of avoiding them or stereotyping them in my head.
Something to work on...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Ants are Invading!!!

Twice every year it happens. When they didn't show up last fall, I thought they must've given up or...something.
I was wrong.
My tiny black friends are back.
Kylie thinks they're friends. She catches them, feeds them, and lets them crawl on her arms.
Julia screams "Bug! Bug!" and runs away.
And I kill them by the thousands.
I have become a very experienced ant exterminator. My best weapon? The dishwasher. Simply let the chocolate milk and apple juice drip from the plastic cups on the top rack and wait til supper time. Open the door and, ta-da!, thousands of ants merrily giving themselves major sugar highs, oblivious to the danger. Finish filling the dishwasher, dump in soap, close the door, and push two small buttons. Rejoice that it is so easy to kill so many tiny little creatures with no dangerous chemicals. And if you need to get rid of some frustration, smash all the escaping ants running out the steam vent they climbed into in the first place. Only problem: tiny ant body parts plastered to the inside of my cups. Hmmm... Rewash?

I've learned some valuable lessons:
-Ants can crawl into the tiny holes of a sippy cup, through the plastic thing that makes them not spill and have a apple juice pool party.
-Ants LOVE ham. Eat ham for Easter, drop a piece on the floor, and take a two hour nap. See how many you can attract.
-Ants also love monster cookies. This was the last straw! Don't mess with my chocolate!
Here's my dilemma. I need to kill enough ants to keep them out of my food. But I can't kill them all because the termite guy said the termites weren't in our house because they were having underground battles with the ants and the ants were winning. I'd rather fight over my chocolate with ants than have termites eating my walls. So I need a (dangerous-chemical free) way to kill my sugar-stealing invaders without letting in the termites or poisoning my children.

Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

I love Jane Austen. Books. Movies. I’m not picky. So when given the opportunity to review a book about her life, I was excited! Jane Austen by Peter Leithart is an extremely detailed biography of Jane’s life from childhood through death. I enjoyed reading her letters, written in the same style as her books.
Although I learned many facts about Jane, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I’m not so much a fanatic about Jane Austen as I am about her books. Leithart wrote in college-essay type prose, crafting a book filled with information. I would loved to have learned about Jane in a more lighthearted way. I was overwhelmed with dates, names, times, and places that are unfamiliar to me. I had a hard time keeping them straight.
Also, the description of the book led me to believe that the emphasis was on how Jane’s faith influenced her writing. I found very little about this subject in the book.
If you’re looking for a thorough, intellectual account of Jane Austen’s life, read this book. You’ll gain insight into the influences that shaped her life and writing. If you are looking for a lighthearted reading, stick to Pride and Prejudice.
I wrote this review as part of Thomas Nelson’s booksneeze.com book review blogger program.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Filthy but happy

It's SPRING!!!! =)

Swimming lessons

If you need a laugh, just come visit me on Wednesday night. Ethan and Kylie started swimming lessons last night, and I spent 40 minutes watching while feeding Ava. Wow! Funny! Who knew swimming lessons could be so entertaining.
Kylie was in a group of 5 girls - all who seemed to share Kylie's fun-loving, talkative personality. Their teacher - get this - was a 19 (?) year old boy! Ha ha! =) He spent the entire time saying things like, "That's nice. Now we're going to try this." And, "Come back this way please." I wish you could've seen it. Those little girls swarmed around him chatting and laughing in constant motion. They flopped and spun like uncoordinated underwater ballerinas. He wiped his eyes and grinned this small little grin that seemed to say, "Thank God this only lasts 40 minutes." What else was the poor man supposed to do with countleess Mommy (and even Grandma) eyes on him. If I had an 18 year old sister....
Ok, then Ethan was in a group of five boys. Boys are so different. They had a college aged girl teaching them. And they wanted to prove thier manliness. At one point, their teacher asked them to jump in to her and then she would help them swim out to a marker, turn around, and swim back to the side. So the first little boy jumped in to the teacher, she put her arms under him, and he swam to the marker. He clung to it for dear life for a second. They he took off back towards the side with her arms under him again. Then it was Ethan's turn. He's SO independant! I could just see him thinking, "Well, I can do THAT myself." He jumped in past the teacher, almost all the way to the marker and then turned around by himself and raced back to the side. The teacher was still wiping water out of her eyes as he climbed back to the edge. And it was ON. Those little boys jumped as far and swam as fast as they could. Although, I have to say, I didn't see any go as far or as fast as Ethan. Ok, I might be a little biased. =)
TOO FUNNY!!! I can't wait for next week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unconnected thoughts

Here's a few random thoughts.
-I had the stomach flu last week and watched multiple re-runs of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" on Netflix. I love old TV! While laughing over hilarious, if improbable, scenarios, I was struck by how Laura treats her husband. She is sensitive to his needs - trying to arrange her words and actions to portray respect for him and his position in their home. She stays home to take care of him and their son and doesn't pursue work outside the home even though she is talented enough to get a good job. To alot of people today, that seems like she's not making full use of her abilities. It seems she'd be bored or resentful or uninteresting or lazy. Most women today long for "it all". They want a happy home life like Laura AND a fufilling career. But Laura is happy at home. She finds worth and value there. She's educated and interesting and talented, but she enjoys being a successful mother, wife, and home maker. And her husband and son appreciate it. Hmmmm...

-I've been reading the gospels some in my devotions, and I've been struck by the number of times Jesus goes off by Himself to be alone. He repeatedly leaves his disciples and tries to get away. And they repeatedly act like my 2 year old and track him down ruthlessly. They're constantly interrupting his alone time. Somehow it comforts me to know that Jesus knows how I feel when I get up early to do devotions and end up holding a baby with a two year old and a four year old climbing on me noisily within 5 minutes. Or how I feel when I lock myself in the bathroom for two minutes of peace and end up listening to three little people pound on the door screaming, "MOMMY!!!"

-I love snow, and I don't mind cool weather. But I REALLY need some sunshine! I know that I'll be glad for all the snow and rain in July when it stops, but really, could we get just a day or two here and there of sunshine and warm weather? I am going nuts in this house - mostly because my kids are going nuts in this house! Could I get some warning? If next winter's going to be like this, we need to buy a bigger house or something.
Ok, so I just looked at the weather. It's supposed to be 65 and mostly sunny on Thursday!!! Then I looked at Friday. 43 and a 70% chance of rain. Saturday? 37 with a chance of snow. Come on!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I quite homeschooling yesterday. My house was (ok, is) a mess. The girls were screaming. I had a MILLION other things to do. And I was trying to teach review math (no new, difficult concepts) to an extremely unmotivated 6 year old who was answering questions wrong on purpose because he thought it was funny. So I quit. I put the stuff away and told him he'd have to go to school in the fall. I don't care where. But I am not Superwoman. I can't homeschool an elementary student, give a preschooler, a toddler, and an infant everything they need, cook healthy, cheap meals (which means making alot of stuff from scratch), do endless piles of laundry, keep my house clean and organized, and be available for my husband when he needs me. It's too much. Something has to give because I feel like I'm losing my mind. Ok. I'm complaining. Probably not the best way to handle my frustration, but I do have a point. =)
Here goes. This is what I read in "My Utmost for His Highest" today:
"We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God. Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance of spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. "Jesus took a towel...and began to wash the disciples' feet."...Learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God...The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I do my duty, not for duty's sake, but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience the whole superb grace of God is mine through atonement."

This is Chambers' thought for the day taken from I Peter 1:3-8.
"Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualitites are your and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This is encouraging to me. First it gives me a list to guide what to consider important in my personal growth and in guiding my kids. Apply diligence in faith to grow in moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Those are the things I should be focusing on. And then it reminded me that the drudgery of life (changing diapers, washing dishes, folding laundry, scrubbing the toilet) is of worth in God's eyes - even if in no one else's. The world does not put a high value on what I do every day. In fact they degrade it. But it is what God has called me to do for now, and in obeying His calling, I bring Him glory.
I still have no idea what to do with Ethan for school, but I feel less frustrated at least. =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Julia's 2!!!

Wow! I can't believe it's been two years since Julia was tiny like Ava. I don't know how she grew so big so fast! I keep looking at Ava and wishing she would stay tiny a while longer, but at the rate she's growing, that won't be happening. =)
Julia is such a joy to have in our home. She's sweet and funny and cuddly. She worries when others are hurt or sad and loves to comfort them. She's constantly bringing me "babies" (little nothings cupped in the palm of her hand) with owies and asking me to kiss them. The she cuddles them next to her face and gives them lovies until they feel better. She copies Kylie constantly. She wants to be just like her big sister. And she's talking ALL the time just like Ethan was at that age. "I don't like that!" "That too loud!" "Kylie owie me" "You no do that me." Yes, she's pretty bossy.
Julia loves to wear her "nina" - a ballerina skirt or dress. It has to be pink and it has to twirl. And once she finds one, that is ALL she'll wear. She screams otherwise.
That brings me to the loud Julia. She has been known to wake up crabby and scream virtually all day over everything - like she did yesterday. She was the crabbiest birthday girl I've ever met. She even screamed while we sang her "Happy Birthday". She likes to tell me she wants something, and then when I give it to her, she throws it and screams bloody murder. I have no idea why, but she's been doing it since she was born. Crabby child. Actually, she's determined and emotional - a dangerous combination.
She knows all about Jesus living in heaven. She loves to point to the ceiling and say, "Jesus. Heaven." And she walks around singing the sweetest little songs that I can't understand most of the time. But I hear the words "Jesus" and "God" alot, so I think she's singing praises to Him. I need to video it, because it's the sweetest thing. =)
I always wanted a little boy who looked just like his daddy. But I guess I'll have to be good with Julia. She reminds me of her daddy so often! It makes me smile. =)
I pray that Julia keeps her innocent sweetness and her joy for life. I pray that she stays compassionate towards those around her and that she learns to control her temper. I pray that she grows in love for Jesus.
Happy birthday, my little girl!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Tithing" by Douglas Leblanc

I saw the title of this book, and thought, "I can always use a challenge to be less selfish and more generous with my money right?"
"Tithing" didn't quite meet my expectations, however. It is a journalistic account of 11 people's lives and their views on tithing - not necessarily being generous, but the notion of giving 10%. These people range from a peace activist to a widely - read Christian author to an Orthodox Jew. So while all of the advice is "good" morally speaking, only some of it is from a Biblical perspective. And some of the Biblical advice is very legalistic.
The author writes in a journalistic style that is disjointed at times. He spent more time telling me about people's lives than about their views on tithing. He throws out names, places, and dates quickly with very little context. This confused me.
However, Leblanc did manage to get across a few good challenges. My favorite quote was from Randy Alcorn.
“If you take the standard of 10 percent and say God required it of the poorest people in Old Testament Israel, and now that we’re under the grace of Jesus and we have the indwelling Holy Spirit and we live in this incredibly affluent culture, do you think he would expect less of us?”

I wrote this review as part of Thomas Nelson's book review blogger program. Learn more at booksneeze.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things I've learned after 6 1/2 years and 4 kids

~You can't MAKE a two year old go potty in the big-girl potty.
~NEVER try to do shoe or clothes shopping with kids.
~Force your firstborn to be a perfect, calm child, and maybe the rest will follow his example. =)
~If you want your kids' clothes to match when they're in elementary, DO NOT let them pick their own clothes when they're 2 or 3!
~Be prepared for virtually every meal you slave over in the kitchen to be disliked (vocally!) by someone.
~Try not to arrive anywhere exciting after bedtime. The kids will NOT go back to sleep for hours - even if it is 3:00 in the morning.
~Bribery works.
~Two toilets, a toy room, and a big backyard are necessities.
~So are pink "ninas", sparkle shoes, sticks, various small pieces of scrap metal, and fruit snacks and animal crackers.
~Homeschooling a six year old while being a mommy to a preschooler, a toddler, and an infant is hard.
~Never allow anyone to scream EVEN ONCE, even in fun!!! This is VERY important if you want to be able to hear when you're 40.
~Try to find kids vitamins that are all the same color.
~When you're pregnant with your first baby, buy the nicest stuff you can afford. The crib, stroller, swing, carseats, and changing table will be used over and over forever. You will appreciate that these things still work by your fourth baby!
~Scrapbooking is fun, but you will get hopelessly behind when trying to stay current in 5 scrapbooks at once.
~You will be late everywhere.
~Expensive toys are overrated. They either break or the kids get tired of them in a week. They'd rather play with the box or a rock anyway.
~It's important to try to stay in control of yourself. If you lose it, your kids will too.
~Books with flaps ALWAYS get ruined first.
~Never buy clothes your child doesn't like because you think they're cute. She won't wear jeans even if they do have pink sparkly butterflies on them.
~PRAY!!! Constantly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Verses for 2010

Here are a couple verses that I've been thinking would be good goals for 2010.

I Peter 4:11
"Whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen!"

Psalms 104:33-34
"I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD."

I found a song to go with this verse - "Making Melody" by Matt Redman. I downloaded it from itunes just because of the name. =)

"i'm making melody in my heart to you
i'm making melody in my heart to you
pouring out your praise with everything within
i'm making melody in my heart to you
i'm making melody in my heart to you
yours will always be the song i love to sing

how can hearts not love your name?
how can souls not sing your praise?
Jesus you put music in my soul"

I can't find it on youtube, but if you go to grooveshark.com, you should be able to search for and find it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"The Language of Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

The Language of Love and Respect is Dr. Eggerichs' follow-up book to Love and Respect. Eggerichs bases his books on Ephesians 5 where wives are commanded to respect their husbands and husbands are commanded to love their wives. The Language of Love and Respect is packed with practical ways for us to live out these commands on a daily basis.
As a wife not particularly gifted in the area of communication, I loved the “how to” part of this book. The author goes so far as to write sentences for me to say to my husband to convey what I'm feeling. It's also good for me to be reminded that my husband is not my enemy. He simply communicates in a completely different way - like a man!
My favorite part of this book was the last section about the Rewarded Cycle. Eggerichs reminds us that we are commanded by God to respect our husbands or love our wives regardless of their response. In obedience to God I must respect my husband when I don’t feel like it, when I think he doesn’t deserve it, and when I see no immediate response.
This book gives solid, Bible-saturated marriage advice in a practical way without condemning anyone – even those who feel like they are failing. I highly recommend it!
I reviewed this book as part of Thomas Nelson's book review blogger program. To learn more, go to booksneeze.com.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Joyful uncertainty

I'm a planner. I like to know what's going on when, so I can get used to the idea. If Caleb calls at 5:00 to tell me he'll be at work til 9:00, I'll probably get upset. I had already planned a nice supper and evening with my husband, and the last minute notice that he won't be there throws me off. On the flip side, I love to dream about fun things like vacations and family get-togethers. I think about them for weeks (ok, months) ahead of time.
It's probably no surprise then that at the beginning of a new year, I like to think about what I'd like to accomplish this year. I usually write a list of goals for the year. Goals for my kids. Goals for my marriage. Spiritual goals. Some show up every year: Get back in shape (again). Catch up on my scrapbooking.
So when I was reading my daily "My Utmost for His Highest" excerpt the other morning, I paid attention when it started out, "Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing."
Who, me? =) It continues:
"Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means to be uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time. . . . Spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next. If we are only certain in our beliefs, we get dignified and severe and have the ban of finality about our views; but when we are rightly related to God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy."
I have no idea what 2010 will bring for our family. We will have lots of opportunities and decisions no doubt. I pray that God will grant us wisdom and direct our paths into His ways. I have great peace knowing that God knows what is in store for us this year. And I am excited to relax and live in "spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy." Or try anyway....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I know... It's been a long time. It's been kinda busy around here. Let me update you.
On December 9th, we welcomed Ava Claire to the world. She was in a hurry to get here in the middle of a blizzard. Driving through snowdrifts while in labor is not fun! We were very grateful for Caleb's four wheel drive pickup - without which I doubt we would've made it to the hospital at all. We could've been on the news: "Woman delivers baby girl in snowdrift!" I was also very grateful to my friend Niki who drove across town at 4:00 in the morning to stay with our kids. Without her, Ava would've been born at home. Ava was born at 5:26 am on Dec. 9th. She weighed 8 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 inches long. She was in such a rush that they didn't have time to formally admit me to the hospital or give me an IV. The doctor missed her delivery by about 30 seconds. She certainly made life interesting for a couple of hours. But she's here and she's perfect. Getting used to life with a newborn again has been interesting. But the kids love her and as long as I hold her so they can't hurt her (Kylie and Julia mob her every time I put her down), we're good! =)
I can't believe she's one month old already! I wish she'd stay tiny a little bit longer!

Then it was Christmas time. We got to spend Christmas at home with just the six of us this year. It was great fun! We ventured across town for the Christmas Eve service in the middle of a blizzard and were entirely snowed in for Christmas Day. It's so rare for us to get an entire day at home with just us, so I loved Christmas! And my husband bought me a beautiful wool coat, which was fun too! =)

This is Caleb, Ethan, and Kylie with the Magic Rocks.

The day after Christmas, Caleb's grandpa died. It was actually a blessing for him because he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and dreaded the thought of hospice. But his passing has been hard on the rest of the family. So we spent that week with Caleb's family remembering Opa and celebrating a new year all at the same time.
The kids and the guys sledding at Tam and Alan's. Brrr!

And this last week, Rob and Christina came to visit from New Orleans. I think they about froze to death! The highs were below zero - freezing even for Nebraskans! Rob bravely drove us to Central City in the dark in the middle of a blizzard. It's pretty scary to drive when you can't see where you're going and there are invisible drifts you can barely drive through everywhere. But Christina got to go sledding for the first time. And we got to celebrate Christmas with the whole Johnson family together at once! There's 19 of us now! Wow! It was pretty crazy, but lots of fun. I'm so blessed to have such a loving, wonderful family.

The mommies with their hungry babies!

And that's about it. Now back to school with Ethan and some sort of routine. I suppose I'll have to start cooking and cleaning again one of these days. But for now, I think I'm going to take a nap...