Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankfulness ... 14

So it's actually Day 22 and who knew I would fall so far behind so fast???

Well, probably everyone who knows my first and last name, but whatever. I am still thankful!

I often sit to write these posts, but I have so much more to say than I have time for, and I end up putting it off. Especially when my thankfulness is for something that is worth more than a few sentences ... like the gratitude for being part of a church family that loves the Lord.

Our journey in finding a church didn't take too long. We came to Grace Bible the very first Sunday after making our decision to leave Grace Fellowship. However, the spiritual and emotional journey took a bit longer. I wrote a little here and here.

Through the whole process we have found this to be true: Finding a church is hard.

It shouldn't be and I know the whole ordeal has been an incredible opportunity for growth and humility. Still, it is way too hard and no matter if or when we find ourselves on that journey again ... it will be too soon.

Our church isn't perfect. And those were the some of the first words we heard our pastor say to us when we met with the elders in October 2008. It was as if he thought we were looking for the perfect church!

How absurd!

(my tongue is in my cheek, just in case you didn't catch that)

He was right about our non-perfect church but thankfully since I am a bit far from perfect it appears I might fit right in. That whole "grace" thing plays a huge role in how I have handled (or not handled) the imperfections along the way.

We entered into a season of really digging for truth and understanding many years ago and much of that season involved a close examination of our present church in light of scripture. I found myself being very critical of churches that were missing components that we felt were non-negotiables.

Interesting how God has changed those non-negotiables without much consultation ... which has made things so much easier.

It wasn't really about me and my wants after all.

Or my children, my husband, service times, type of music, programs, building size, distance, or any other felt need that had seemed so crucial before.

I would encourage anyone in this same situation to really examine your heart in light of what the bible gives as the model for the New Testament church, careful to see the differences between convictions, preferences, and actual mandates given in the Word.

In doing so, you might find that your non-perfect church is something to be very grateful for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful ... Day 13

Thankful for warm days in fall, fish that bite, and little boys who want to be just like their daddy.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful ... Day 11 & 12

This whole posting every day is really gaining on me! I hate falling behind because I could easily write about thankfulness all the live long day ... if I could find the time to write and then remember to do it!

Note to parents with younger children:
Buy period costumes while your kids are little. You WILL NOT regret it.

Ellerie the Indian girl

I am so thankful to have been so busy preparing for our Thanksgiving Feast with homeschooling friends that I haven't had time to write! So my gratitude turns towards the blessing of homeschooling ... the opportunities that we have within our community ... and the circle of women who choose this path and encourage me along the way.

What a glorious day!

Recipe for Pilgrim Hats (very yummy)

Jenn's cupcakes!

My blog sidebar is not updated with current curriculum posts and how things have gone this year. I have so much to share! If what I (or collectively - my experience combined with those who I am close friends with) could be a help to anyone else, I am blessed to share when I can find the time.

Coleman's awesome braids

Actin' like a bunch of Indians!

When I first began this journey about 4 years ago I relied heavily on the women who wrote about homeschooling on their blogs. Since then, those women have become busy (and busier) just like me and so writing has been scarce and sacred. Still, I cannot say enough about the kind of encouragement I have found from other bloggers who have been willing to share their hearts as they go ... even if those times are more rare these days.

Sarah Grace

One things that I purposed to do this year was to create more homeschooling days that I would want to remember ... that my kids would want to remember ... and that I would long to do over again.

Thanksgiving Bingo

I don't have to try too hard to create days that I would like to forget. They seem to happen just fine without much planning ;)

He was on the warpath for juice boxes.
Too many juice boxes.

So with that in mind, we feasted this past Friday with a precious group of Pilgrims & Indians. The kids made homemade butter, played Thanksgiving Bingo, and raised the cuteness meter to a whole new level.

Emily Joy

It was an absolutely splendid day with perfect weather, yummy food, and sweet friends. We are all thankful indeed.

Treat Bags

  • Menu: chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, homemade rolls, broccoli casserole, veggie tray & dip, cupcakes, pilgrim hats
  • Games: Thanksgiving Bingo (we were also going to play pumpking bowling with 2-liters but they had so much fun just being together!) We also made homemade butter with whipping cream and baby food jars.
  • Costumes: Adorable! Some had costumes that were purchased and others made their own. The indian shirts my girls & Benjamin were wearing were a snap to make and what an easy & quick costume!
  • Next year: Can't wait! I hope to have the kids prepare a song to sing and also recite scripture about giving thanks. I had some craft ideas prepared but I sort of chickened out since this was my first shin-dig of this size.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful ... Day 9 & 10

It might be cheating to combine two days but I don't want to fall behind! Since I am listing more than one thing then surely this can count for two days ;)

I really did say out loud yesterday how thankful I was for all the conveniences available today for babies! Here are a few of my favorites:

Shopping Cart Covers - I bought my cover when Benjamin was little and I have used it so much these last few years, both in shopping carts and in high chairs. Soft & sanitary! I love that!

Awesome Diaper Bags - I love my bag. Period. End of Sentence.

Baby Monitors - with multiple receivers and really good digital feeds that DON'T pick up our neighbors private life (love you Amy but boundaries are good, right?)

High Chairs - that don't take up space.

The Ergo - can't say enough about how wonderful this carrier is! I have a great sling for when they are smaller but I cannot imagine my crazy life without this!

I know these are all luxuries and that makes me all the more thankful. I did most of my shopping when the girls were small at resale stores and hoped for great hand-me-downs (which I got!). It is nice to be able to have some of these things for Clara & Benjamin and I really enjoy being able to share them with other moms.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Thankful ... Day 8

I am thankful for the beauty of changing seasons. When we moved here 11 years ago, I could not even fathom that I would love Virginia as much as I do.

And even though it was fall, I don't really remember noticing the beauty like I do now.

It was probably because of all the sobbing.

Once that subsided and I conceded that we were here to stay ... at least for a while, I began to warm up to the notion that autumn was more than just a vocabulary word and a date on the calendar.

All those things I read about in science about leaves turning different colors and the temperatures dropping (and staying that way) actually happen here in Virginia! No pool parties at Thanksgiving anymore ;)

Don't get me wrong. I love my Texas.

Forever and ever.

But these fall days in Virginia are something to behold ... and I am so thankful to have them!

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thankful ... Day 7

I am thankful for Sunday night and the time to pause ... take a deep breath ... and say Amen.

What a precious weekend!

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Thankful ... Day 6

I am thankful for friends I don't deserve.
  • My friends are faithful and kind.
  • They are patient (glory) and they are understanding (hallelujah).
  • They "get" me ... and somehow (by God's grace) they still love me.
  • My friends are mothers (been there) and wives (done that).
  • My friends love Jesus. That totally affects the above.
  • They have seen me cry ... a lot.
  • They have made me laugh ... even more.
  • These friends hold me accountable to truths that I don't want to face. I think I am most grateful for that.
  • My friends are forgiving. That has a lot to do with loving Jesus.
This precious friend will be here in just a few hours. She loves Jesus as much as anyone I have ever known. Do you know how much that affects a relationship?


I cannot think of a single transgression that she has ever kept against a person in her life (this is a real bonus as her friend).

I do not think I have ever seen her show anger (she claims to have bouts of it in private but I am not so sure).

She has loved her husband and modeled for me what it means to surrender and submit to the beautiful covenant that is marriage ... holiness not happiness. What a blessing to see God be glorified in such a precious couple.

Her influence as a mother to her own children has impacted my life more than anyone or anything apart from Jesus.

My son crawled in bed early this morning before the sun had really come up. He whispered in my ear ...

"Momma ... can you wake me up early tomorrow? Can you wake me up so I can come downstairs when La La is here? I like to sit with her in the chair while she reads her bible."

I wonder if he knows how much she faithfully prayed for him before he was even born?

" ... and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." - Titus 2: 4 & 5

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Thankful ... Day 5

I am thankful for hot baths. Sounds trite but I am telling you that if I am away from home and cannot take a hot bath, I will miss that more than my own bed.

Some of you so-called friends of mine like to call these my "granny baths".


I like to call them boiling hot therapy sessions in which my skin may or may not incur 2nd degree burns.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thankful ... Day 4

Life is hard. Too hard. Harder than it looks and just when you think it is getting easier ... it gets hard again.

I have never been one to surrender easily except when it comes to surrendering to the flesh. I am very much the quitter when faced with fighting sin and too often I have waved the white flag with eagerness and given victory to the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy.

I am grateful that in the face of adversity ... during the hard days and nights of parenting, marriage, & life that the Lord will take up my fight and claim victory for HIS glory.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thankful ... Day 3

I am thankful for Clara Hope and the gift of having more children than we "planned" earlier in our marriage. There are no words for the gratitude I have for God moving in our hearts and causing us to reevaluate what He desired for us rather than how we "felt" about our family size.

Disclaimer: This is not about quiver-full. Not EVEN going there ;)

I am just saying that ultimately there are things in life that should never be left up to just how we feel. Since feelings are most often centered around us.

I have felt like making some pretty intense decisions in my life only to find out later that my heart was changed and therefore so did my outlook. Including the Lord in decisions that ultimately belong to Him has given me (us) a much greater peace during the process and a greater faith in His perfect provision over our lives.

Children are a blessing. No debate. The bible says so. No matter how many children you have, if you are reading this blog I would be fairly certain that you would agree. My encouragement would be to pray earnestly about being dependent on the Lord for guidance in this area and making decisions that give honor and glory to Him.

Being thankful for Clara had to include our dependence on Him in growing our family.

Without that we would not have the joy that is her life, today!

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Thankful ... Day 2

I am thankful for motherhood.

I love how God takes a young girl (either in spirit or in age) and uses that firstborn baby to transform her life.

I remember coming home with Hannah with a very preconceived and haughty opinion of what this whole mothering gig would look like. I also remember cramming her carseat in the back of my two-door sports car (because it was PLENTY big!) and dressing her like she was headed to a wedding, all the while sweating buckets because it was 86 degrees in the middle of February and my nerves were a teensy bit shot.

And after the first sleepless night without my mother-in-law, I cried for what must have been 16 hours straight.

Wow. Talk about a reality check.

And the incessant worrying? Have mercy on my soul, I worried myself into a knot more times than I can count! I have diagnosed each of my first three children with at least one life-threatening illness only to have my pediatrician laugh behind his clipboard.

Having more babies has been such a soothing balm to that worried momma.

You really do live to tell about ... at least the parts you can remember, and those are few and far between.

So fast-forward almost 16 years and four more babies. My sage wisdom from those years?

Sleeping through the night is most definitely *not* the most worrisome thing.

And ...

Trust and obey the Lord.

Motherhood has been the vessel that God has used to strip me ... again and again of any self-worth that I struggle to keep.

I am grateful that God is faithful to labor with me as I continually purge the sins of selfishness, pride, fear, and more (and more).

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Thankful ... Day 1


I am thankful because I have a heart that has been given the grace to do so.

Without God's sovereign work in my life ... in my heart ... there would be an absence of gratitude in my life for what only He could have done. Knowing that even my desire to be grateful is a gift of grace that comes only because God has redeemed my life ... now and forever.

I am very thankful.

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