Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Overcrowding

Last year Mike and I replaced our mattress. We went back and forth trying to decide king size or queen size. The final decision was queen. I know...shocking. But we had good reasons.

  • We didn't have to buy all new sheets

  • It didn't take up the whole room

  • We didn't want our sweet children to have enough space to actually stay in our bed

  • and I wanted to be able to find my husband

Well...three out of four isn't too bad.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rediscovery

In the evenings, after the kids go to bed, I like to just sit and relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. And enjoy a little snack. Yes, I admit that it is usually a small bowl of ice cream (shhhh - don't tell the kids), but lately I've discovered something better!

I can remember getting Laughing Cow in little squares and thinking that I could eat 10 to really start as a snack. But these wedges with some wheat thins and a glass of Reisling and I am in relaxation heaven! Not sure that my hips will agree, but that's not what the after-kids-bedtime-snack is about!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Day After Christmas

I love how so many people have snow pictures to post this Christmas! Here are ours - now that it is finally warm enough to let the kids go outside to play.
Mikalah making a snow angel.
Morgan with her gloves actually on!

Jeffrey, who really wanted to shovel with Daddy.


Meredith who apparently needs new snow gloves.

Jarrett and Judson being boys!

Our snack of "greeen snow" - lime snow cone flavoring.


Discovered after the kids went to bed. Apparently there was also a pooping reindeer at the birth of Christ - hey, it's possible!










Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Things You Never Thought You Would Say...


Morgan, stop using the tree skirt as a blanket!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Typical Day

I know many of us have seen Anita Renfroe's William Tell overture version of a mom's typical day. A friend sent me this version...like the lyrics being written out and her enthusiasm. In light of Christmas vacation being almost upon us...



The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twilight Help

I know I've mentioned before that I am the mother of a 12 yr old girl. Well, I'm looking for some help. Some of her friends are reading Twilight. I have not read the book, nor heard a ton about it. I have read this review and I am not excited. Any thoughts...from anyone??

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Know It's Cold When...

...you do laundry at night just so you can have your silk long johns to wear again the next day.

This morning when I woke up...-16degrees.

...it takes less time to dress the kids for school because you know they won't go outside for recess. The cut off is 0 degrees.

...after your van has been warming up for 15 min. it is still not warm.

...your van struggles to start in the morning.

...a scarf becomes a necessity just for going from the door to the van.

...you choose not to use the drive through at Starbucks because you don't want to put your window down.

...or because your window won't go down.

...the pipe to the toilet freezes.

...there is ice forming on the door jams.

...despite the long johns, long coat, and extra padding, your butt is still cold!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

He Has Landed

I have been quiet the last few days because Mike has been out of town and I don't like to advertise to the world that I will be home alone...if you can call being with six children and a dog alone. Just the security part of me.

While Mike was gone, the temps have been a bit chilly, so I was charged with keeping the wood stove stocked. Now that is totally not me...I just don't do those kind of things. But it has been kind of fun. Every six hours or more often I get to add wood. And I am pleased to announce that only once did the fire go out and I had to restart it. That was this morning, because I refused to get out of bed at 6am just to add fire to the stove. Thankfully I was able to get the fire started again, because the temperatures have been dropping this morning.

When I finally got out of bed at 8am (now that's sleeping in!) it was 34 degrees and clear. As I type, there are four inches of snow on the ground, I can not see across the street because of how heavily the snow is coming down and it is 11 degrees. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be -3 degrees...yes, below zero for the HIGH! That is stay inside kind of weather! But alas, since we are the pastor's family we plan to go to church in the morning.

However, we may be without a pastor! You see, Mike's plane left Minneapolis this morning. He called me when he landed...back in Minneapolis. Apparently they need just one mile of visibility to land in Billings. We have less than one quarter of a mile right now. Airport is closed. Hopefully things will clear up and he will fly in later this evening, but I am not holding my breath.

So I get to play Ma Ingalls for a little while longer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Help for the Momma

If you have a tween girl and do not subscribe to Vicki's blog, Virtue Alert, I suggest you do so. She's got some great ideas and good information. Today's post is about "sexting". Just another reason I am not ready for my daughter to have a cell phone. However, she offers some great suggestions for talking to your kiddos about proper use of their cell phones.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Shopping

I look forward to when the Brookstone catalog comes in the mail. They have some of the coolest things. I know I am an electronic geek - not as much as some people, but I do like gizmos and gadgets. But this...oh I can barely type through the tears of laughter...


Laughter counts as exercise, right????

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More Bedtime Prayers

Jeffrey's bedtime prayer tonight...



Dear God,
Thank you for the day, help me to have a good night's sleep. Help
me to have good dreams and not bad dreams; to have good books and not bad books;
to have a good mommy and not a bad mommy; to have a good daddy and not a bad
daddy, in Jesus' name, Amen

Made me wonder if I had been a good mommy or a bad mommy today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A very busy Friday

While I didn't leave the house except to pick up kids from school, today was a very full day!!!

I thought it might be interesting just to see what all happened...(other than showering and eating)
  1. made a fun salad for lunch
  2. finished all the hand wash-able laundry
  3. cleaned one bathroom
  4. cleaned off the kitchen counter (a huge task in itself)
  5. made over 70 pasties with Gail and Jill
  6. changed out my seasonal kitchen towels
  7. made stewp for tomorrow dinner
  8. cleaned all the dishes
  9. cleaned up my laundry room & even wiped down all the lint that accrues inside the washer lid
  10. vacuumed the kitchen & living room/dining room
  11. made coffee (I never make coffee - I just drink what others made)
  12. rearranged the girls' room
  13. put decorations out from one Christmas box
  14. put up a tree in the girls' room
  15. added new soap to the bathroom dispenser - which was funny to watch because it had been out in the garage and it is freezing outside
  16. watched four extra children this afternoon
  17. updated my facebook
  18. beat Mike in Wordtwist
  19. returned several emails
  20. cared for three whiny kids, two sick children, and one pre-teen!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Costco Funny

A man named Artie went into Costco the other day and saw a dollar laying on the floor. At the same time four other people saw the dollar. A wrestling match ensued and Artie strangled the other four people. The next day the newspaper headline read: Artie chokes four for a dollar at Costco.

Compliments of Terrell my friendly cashier and friend at Costco, whom I have seen three times in the last three days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good Intentions

I just came across a piece of paper where I had written a note to remind me of a good story to tell on my blog. That is often the case...something happens and I think how it would make a great blog post...then life happens...and I never share. Well in the mass cleaning of 2008, I found this piece of paper and decided to stop, right there, and share. Maybe it's just an excuse to stop cleaning!

Before Mikalah started going to the junior high for math, we went to the open house for a tour. We met up with one of her friends and went to view the unknown! Eighth grade student council members were giving tours and showing the newbies the way around the school. These are the cream of the crop students!

We saw the library, the lunch room, the gym, and the band room. Each of the wings of the school were described by their subjects (three math rooms, three history rooms - all depending on what teacher you were assigned). Our tour guide was very careful to point out all of the bathrooms, both the girls and the boys and add that it was very important to double check before you went in. I wondered if she had a bad experience.

As we made our way through one of the hallways, she pointed out the elevator...for the decapitated kids...or if you are on crutches or in a wheelchair. Whoa...the decapitated kids? yup, that's what she said.

Mikalah's friend's mother and I chuckled...no laughed through the rest of the tour. We also gently corrected her so her next tour wouldn't be mis-informed. Hard to get knowledge in the brains of those decapitated kids!

UPDATE: apparently I did blog about it, but I didn't tell the full story, so now I have done the hilarity justice!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun Christmas Idea

My friend Carmon (and Mike's cousin's wife) has an awesome etsy site, Cola Cuties. Great bows & headbands & hats for little girls - very unique. And beautiful - and I mean REALLY beautiful wipes containers - both large size and travel size. Run over there and check her out!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Day

There are many thanksgiving games taking place today. The most popular with the kiddos...the Farming Game. I really don't like the Farming Game. It is sometime fun to play if I have a partner to cheat with. I know that sounds bad, but the game is much like monopoly with a ranching twist. I am not a rancher and I don't like monopoly. Not a good combination.



I hoping we play some Pit or Carcassonne or Cities and Knights of Catan. I think I'm on kid over-load and that's why those ones sound better. I did play part of a game of Sorry with the kids - that counts as family time, right?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over the river & through the woods...

...to grandmothers house we go.

Although that should read, over the hills and through the sage brush...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good smells


You know it's Thanksgiving time when you can smell Chex Mix cooking in the oven!

My Children Are Afraid

My kiddos do not have school today. So I have inherited four more slaves! I told them that I wanted a vacation for the next three days so we were going to work and get all our chores done today. And if there was any whining or complaining I would started taking away privileges, like TV or Computer or video games or friends or lunch. I am happy to report that they all ate lunch and the upstairs of my house is halfway clean.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Calories, you mock me!

I heard yesterday that the average American consumes 400 more calories per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the average Thanksgiving meal is over 4000 calories - twice what should be consumed in one day. What they didn't take into account is that I will eat pie for breakfast for the next two days.

I have tried to set in place some things to avoid weight gain.

  1. I will try a few bites of something instead of eating the whole thing.
  2. I will not eat something I do not like. (why waste my calories on something yucky!)
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Take that walk on Thanksgiving Day, that I always think I'll take, but instead sit and watch football.
  5. Walk on the treadmill (because it is too cold outside!) four days a week.

I know I don't walk enough to account for the extra 400 calories, but at least it is something!

I reached a plateau with my weight loss and really don't have the motivation to try something hugely different headed into the holidays. I'm just gonna stick to the things I know to do and hope to keep those extra calories at bay. Of course I've already blown that with the doughnut I had for breakfast this morning. So in good Scarlet O'Hara fashion...

Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

PTA

I have four children at our elementary school. At this point, should nothing change, I will have children at that school until 2018! I sorta think I should be involved. I have limited my involvement, though to two events. One held in February...the other ongoing. Today I have to work on the ongoing project and I just don't want to!!!! I will spend the entire morning (except for the time I play Scramble on Facebook) working on it. Monday is suppose to be my "day-off", but because there is a short week, I have to do it today. And I really question whether or not it is improving my children's education. I think it may be time to re-evaluate my involvement.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Meat Me

My mother in law brought over 40 lbs of ground beef the other day. It joined the 30 lbs still in my deep freeze. I am so grateful for that meat - especially with rising prices. But what does one do with 70 lbs of ground beef?

We've had tacos, chili, spaghetti, lasagna, goulash...any other suggestions?

I might also see if someone wants to buy some chicken breasts and trade me for some ground beef.

Maybe this weeks meals should be entitled, "Ground Beef Served Seven Ways".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Refrigerator update

Well, I thought we had solved the problem. We completely emptied the freezer and refrigerator and found ice underneath the freezer tray. We defrosted and cleaned everything out. The refrigerator looks like I bought it last week. It is beautiful. It is still keeping things cold. But it is also still leaking water. So...honey, I think you are a wonderful repairman, but I think it is time to call a professional.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha

Today in Bible Study we were discussing Mary and Martha. This was the first time I really realized that the whole story is only 5 verses long. There is a lot packed in those verses! (Luke 10:38-42)

The story isn't about not being Martha. It's really about having a Mary heart. A heart that desires to sit at Jesus' feet. I don't think I'm of base saying that most of us are more like Martha. We are easily distracted. How many times have I started to have some quiet time with God, only to think of three or four things that I need to do today? How many times have I made out my shopping list on my church bulletin? Do I put off the important time with my kids even to finish one more load of laundry?

I want to say the story is about priorities, but it is more than that.

Interestingly, the parable recorded right before Mary and Martha is the Good Samaritan. Where people were too busy doing "godly" things to take care of the practical. Mary and Martha is more about being too busy doing the practical to pay attention to the godly. There has to be a balance.

Three things that the ladies said that encompass the whole point...

Don't get so busy that you miss the "Big Guy"! I loved how she called him the big guy! If you were at work and got so busy doing what you were supposed to for your boss, that you forgot to engage in conversation with your boss, your boss would not be impressed! (How's that for a major run-on sentence!) It isn't about impressing God, but He is our boss - how do we treat Him?

Remember who we are doing this for and why we are here. Oh how I wish that were said at the beginning of every ministry meeting or PTA meeting or...you get the idea. I think I even need to remember it when I am mopping the floor! (I hate mopping the floor!) This is all about reframing our outlook. Sometimes when we are discouraged with church stuff, I have to be reminded that people's eternity is at stake. Gives a whole new perspective on taking care of the cranky three year old.

Finally, this is the first generation that is a society of human doings not human beings. We have forgotten to just be. We always have to be doing something. We have perfected multi-tasking. So this week, instead of always having something in my car to do while I wait, I am going to wait...quietly...no music...no magazine...no phone. I challenge you to try. I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Raising Kids

Okay, it maybe cheating a bit by posting someone else's post, but I thought Vicki Courtney's words at Virtue Alert were so perfect on this subject.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It is a beautiful day...

...the sun is shining.
...it is 60 degrees outside this morning.
...we made it out of the door on time this morning with everyone dressed and fed.
...Costco is carrying Egg Nog.
...and $40 gave me 3/4 of a tank of gas.

God is good!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yours

There are some songs that I could listen to over and over. And today on my day of rest (after I get the kids off to school & mop the floor) these two songs will probably play one after the other for at least an hour!

Steven Curtis Chapman - Yours


Aaron Shust - My Saviour, My God


Travis Cotterell - In Christ Alone


Travis is one of my favorite worship leaders! Amazing voice, Amazing leading abilities, Amazing humility, and leads me to my Amazing Lord!!!

They all bring me to tears! But happy tears! The second was played at my sister's memorial service last year and the third always reminds me of my grandmother, called home two years ago. Today will definitely be reflective, but a very good reflective!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grieving Change

It has been three years now, but I have just begun the acceptance stage of grieving.

I really hate change. Yet there has been so much over the last three years. Our church in Indianapolis had a motto, "Heartland is changing lives." I joked with our pastor that that really didn't mean salvation, it meant upturned lives...weekly. Kidding, of course, Heartland lead and is leading people to the life-changing relationship of Jesus as Saviour. Heartland, and more specifically our pastor, Darryn, helped me to accept little changes with less resistance.

This big life change of Mike becoming a pastor, moving to Montana, and starting a church has been way bigger than I would have ever anticipated. It was not a little change. I had said I wouldn't marry a pastor (technically I didn't) or move to Montana.

As a family we used to spend Saturdays on projects and Sundays relaxing and playing. And weekday evenings together or with friends.

Now we spend Saturdays doing last minute preparations. And Sundays implementing the plan. And the weekday evenings are filled with Bible studies or prayer time.

Mondays are now more of a relaxing time - or really more of a recovery time. And one that does not include the kiddos.

Now having said that, I think we have adapted well. Instead of a whole day for family, we get Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. And there are nights that the kids get "Daddy time", and nights they get "Mommy time". And no one seems to be suffering. However, I really can't remember the last time we were all in the same car.

I really think that our new schedule is not bad, just different.

The change that has really happened is in my heart and I am stubborn! I dig my heels in and hold on tight. So I have been slow in the acceptance. I have been trying to make our new schedule look more like our old schedule. So when we have stuff going on Sunday afternoon and evening, I begin to resent that we are not spending time "vegging" in front of football, slippers on our feet, and nothing to do. What I have just now come to accept is the little times. Like the hour & a half that I was able to sit on the love seat this afternoon with my husband, watching football, holding my sleeping two-year old. It was a sweet moment. And instead of wishing it could last all afternoon, I was thankful for the 90 minutes we had.

I was asked this past week if I like Billings. I don't think I can come to the point that I would say I love living here, but I can say I enjoy it. I love the people that we have met and developed relationships with. I love the activities that we have been able to be involved in with our children. I love the slower pace that we have had (although this being Sunday, it doesn't feel too slow). I love the opportunity we have had to be closer to grandparents. I love the opportunity we have had to introduce people to Jesus. And that makes all the change worth every difficulty!

Is Saturday of working on projects more important than a day showing Jesus to someone that hasn't seen him before? That is a trade off I am willing to make!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Posting today

I am trying to post every day, but there are those occasional days that just get away from you. Today is one of those days that started way too early and now after 9pm, I am just sitting down. Except I'm not really...I'm standing at my ironing board waiting for my sheets to finish drying so I can make the bed and go to bed!

So just know that I thought of you today...and good night!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Refrigerator

For the past week, I have been finding water in my refrigerator. I have a freezer on top refrigerator - no water/ice in the door - just your plain jane run of the mill refrigerator. The settings were off a bit - freezer too cold - refrigerator too warm - touched by little hands I'm sure. But we fixed that and mopped up the water. However, there is still water accumulating on the top shelf. The amount of water is significantly less now, but still requires a paper towel or two every day. Yesterday Mike pulled the refrigerator out and vacuumed behind and underneath. This evening I though I would tackle the inside of both refrigerator and freezer. Any other ideas????

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lil JJ

This evening Jarrett asked if he could show us his break dancing, complete with "spitting".

Maybe he needs to change his name to Lil JJ.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where do my tax dollars go?

Today when I went to school to pick up the two middle children, Judson was outside for PE. His class was running around in what looked a bit like a game of tag. However, one child was running around with a rubber chicken. When he got home, I asked him what was going on. In a very non-chalant voice he said, "oh, we were playing capture the chicken".

My tax dollars at work people!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fire



How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Carlo's Carnival

This is a sweet family in our church. It was realy fun to see the whole church family help out!

http://www.kulr8.com/news/local/34183944.html?video=YHI&t=a

It was actually the top story on my local google news section!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Dinner



Most people get excited about the weekend. No work...family time...relaxed schedule. While my kids "day of rest" is usually Saturday, Mike and mine is more Monday. So instead of TGIF, we have TGIM - don't think that will fly as a restaurant!





Since Sundays are kind of hectic, I have really tried to plan ahead to have a nice meal for lunch, so we get some family time around the table before the afternoon activities start. This cookbook is by far a favorite. I have had it since college and I have to say there isn't a single recipe that I have tried that our family didn't enjoy. I haven't tried all of them, but I will say I have made more than 50%!





Today's lunch: Fresh bread in the bread maker - set to finish when we walk in the door, and Corn Chowder in the crock pot. I adapted the recipe a bit to fit our family and thought I would share with you. Still - the cookbook...a good thing to add to your Christmas list!





Corn Chowder - from Just a Matter of Thyme adapted by me!



1/2 cup butter
4 med potatoes, peeled and diced
(they call for minced celery, but my family doesn't care for it)
1/2 onion diced

Saute in pan until onions are soft. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp for flour over the mixture and cook for a few minutes.

Dissolve 4 tbsp. chicken bouillon in 2 cups of water.

Put all of the above in crock pot.
Add 1 red pepper, diced
20oz frozen corn
4 cups of milk (I use skim, but the recipe calls for half & half and the half & half is very, very good!!!)

Cook on high for three to four hours or low for six to eight.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

This feeds my family with some leftovers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Babies are Grown Up

Today I as a mommy took a significant step in recognizing that my babies are not babies anymore.

I cleaned out a drawer in the kitchen that has some odds-n-ends in it. It included four pacifiers.

I threw them away.

I do not currently have a child that takes a pacifier. In fact the youngest two never would take one. That makes the "baby" that took a pacifier 5 1/2 years old. And she only took one until she was a year.

I almost cried when I threw them away. I thought maybe I should put them in a baby book. The baby book that has yet to be completed. I kept Mikalah's, but she was my first.

Nope, into the trash they went. And thankfully Mike took the trash to the alley. Otherwise....

Friday, November 7, 2008

No More Blue Bins


It is official...after much swapping of dressers, a closet organizer for one child, and a friend to motivate me...I am no longer using two big blue bins for my dresser! They weren't even matching bins. It was bad.


The dresser that I now occupy may not be my dream dresser, but it is a huge step in the right direction - much better than blue rubbermaid bins.


One organization project down, fifty more to go!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big and Small

I think it is funny how one day our world can seem so big and the next so small.

On Tuesday, 121,170,126 people voted...that is over 120million people and that is not all of the American public. That makes me feel very small in a big world.

Now I know that Billings is not a very big town, but when I go to Costco and spend more time talking to people I run into than shopping, I feel like the world isn't really that big. When my husband can chat with his brother in Sudan as if he was next door, or I can IM with my sister in TX, the world feels smaller.

Then when I fly somewhere and am in a airport with thousands of people I DON'T know, it feels big again.

Today, just four blocks from our house, local authorities busted a meth lab. Not a huge one, but a meth-lab. I still feel like our neighborhood is a peaceful and safe neighborhood. However that is one of those things that I always feel like happens elsewhere in our big world. Instead it happened in my small world.

I guess both big and small have good and bad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Did I Pass the Test?

We had parent-teacher conferences today...four of them. For some reason, it makes me feel like I am taking a test.

Do I do everything I am supposed to as a mom? Do I read to my kids? Do I help them with their homework and projects? Have I taught them to be respectful? and responsible? Am I involved in making their school a better place?

I know most of those are "mommy guilt" questions, but I still took homemade pumpkin biscotti (thanks to Elizabeth) to all of their teachers as bribery. I was a good brown-noser in school and somehow stepping back into those musty smelling halls bring it all back quickly!

Their teachers seemed pleased with the kids and really had nothing negative to offer, so I guess I passed the test.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One of those well, duh moments.

This article showed up on Google News yesterday.


Study: Sex on TV Linked to Teen Pregnancies


Umm, Hellooooo, we are just getting this idea through our heads? Now if only that would translate into some action.

Well, here is someone doing something...Vicki Courtney. She has written several books both for girls and for their mothers. Her latest is, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter. As the mother of a 12 year old trying to navigate fashion, friends, boys, and her own body, it is definitely one I am reading!

Clocks

When we lived in Indiana, they did not spring forward or fall back. I don't know the technical term for what schedule they were on, I just knew that half of the year I was in Eastern time zone and the other half I was in Central. they have since changed that and now always stay in Eastern time. But when we moved to Montana, we had to start changing our clocks twice a year again.

I always get the bedroom clocks changed the night that time changes, and the computers do it by themselves. Which is a little creepy, but very convenient. The microwave and stove clock usually get changed sometime on Sunday, along with any television equipment that doesn't change by itself.

My watch usually doesn't get changed until later in the week when I'm sitting waiting for kids or in some boring meeting. And the laundry room clock was never changed in the spring, so now I don't have to change it.

But the van is a different story. I need to always know if I am on time or not, because I hate being late. So when I'm driving I need to know the exact time. I am not one to set a clock ahead just so everyone will be on time, I set the clocks according to the cell phone which is connected to a satellite, so it must be the right time. That way we know if we are late.

I have had the same van for over four years - maybe even five - hard to remember when I have resigned myself to driving a beast for the rest of my motherhood years. You would think that by now I would know how to change the clock, but every year I have to get out the manual and look it up. It is just not information I apparently need cluttering up my brain. So again, this morning, I was searching for how to change the van clock.

Are your clocks all set????

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Out of Costco?


We discovered yesterday that our Costco membership had expired. Usually for the whole month before they remind me and ask if I would like to renew it. This year they did not. Also, I usually use my executive membership rebate check to renew my membership - it usually covers the fee plus some. However, because the rebate check comes in August and the membership isn't up until November 1st, sometimes that doesn't always work out that way. Like this year.


Yesterday, I gave Mike some money for milk and sent him to Costco. They allowed him to purchase his milk, but confiscated his card. They are serious about their membership! I told Mike to think of it as an opportunity to get a new picture. If only it had been my card that had been confiscated!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Hangover

Disclaimer: my camera is acting up and not getting the focus right. These are a little fuzzy. The giraffe
The sleepy head

the pirate


the basketball player



the girl scout (complete with cookies)




The volcano (his flames binked)





the whole crew.
They are why I have a sugar hangover today...not because I ate too much of their candy!







Friday, October 31, 2008

Election Discussion Etiquette

Our family has been conducting an email discussion about the presidential election. While I really haven't participated, I have enjoyed reading. I don't participate because I don't talk so good. I have opinions, I have done some research and I have made my decision, but I don't articulate my opinions very well. I talk to preschoolers all day long - I haven't had much practice. I am thankful that our family is well informed and for the most part kind and considerate in their thoughts and comments.

Politics is such a heated topic. It is an area in our lives where we are very passionate about our opinions. It really make me wish we were as passionate about our Jesus. Would we wear buttons, put up yard signs, blog, and send out millions of post cards? This is a life and death decision! I am not that passionate. I wish I were bolder with what I share. Any thoughts on translating some of our political passion into passion for the lost?

At our Bible study, we have the ten commandments of politics. Basically, they state that each of us has opinions and that at bible study we are here to discuss God and study the Bible, not the political process. The famous phrase says that there are two things you should never discuss with friends and family, God and politics. To me that is avoidance. We should be discussing things like that with people. However, there should be rules - etiquette rules. So here are my rules/suggestions whatever you want to call them.

  1. Remember God love all of us - not matter who we are voting for. So your friend that is constantly talking about the candidate that you aren't voting for is loved by God equally.
  2. Be loving in your speech, attitude, and behavior.
  3. Pray - for the elections, for our leaders, and for your mouth! :-)
  4. No matter who is elected, be respectful. 1 Peter 2:13-17 - look it up!
  5. Remember that God is God and He rules the universe, not the President of the United States.
  6. VOTE! Be thankful for the freedom we have. Make a big deal about that.
  7. Don't liter your yard with political signs. No matter who you are voting for - it's ugly! And it is exclusive. What if one of your neighbors decided they weren't going to talk to you because of who you were going to vote for. Dumb reason on their part, but it might happen. You just lost an opportunity to talk about Jesus with them. He is more important that the President or councilmen or county clerk (why do we vote for the county clerk???)

Titus 3:1-2 says, "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."

Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Early Voting?

Is that what our forefathers had in mind?

I admit...I'm done with all the campaigning. It is everywhere. Three or four pieces of mail a day. Phone calls. Billboards. TV commercials. Even kids TV has commercials targeted to kids and they can't vote! Radio commercials. News. Even Facebook has political ads running. It is everywhere. Most of it not about what the candidates are going to do, but about what the other candidate isn't going to do.

But what I don't understand is the early voting. I understand absentee voting. You have a business trip, you're going to be out of the country, you are having surgery, or like my friend, having a baby. Then you vote absentee. Maybe absentee voting has changed, but I thought you had to have a valid reason for voting absentee. But early voting?

I could go and vote today if I wanted to. And admittedly I know whom I would vote for. But what's to say something doesn't happen in the next ten days that changes my mind? What if I read up more on the candidates past performances and decide to vote the other way. What if some major scandal comes out about one of the candidates that changes my mind. If I already voted...too late.

Any good reasons to vote early that can't be done with absentee voting?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Excitement

This morning our phone rang at 7:00am. Not that's not extremely unusual, but I still hold my breath expecting the worst.

It was my neighbor telling me that another one of our neighbors had an ambulance and two police cars in front of it and her son had seen them putting someone in the ambulance on the stretcher.
So we prayed. We couldn't clearly see the activity from our house, but we could see that the ambulance drove off and the police cars were still there. Not a good sign.
After the kids were off to school and the little ones settled, I pulled a Mrs. Cravitz...there I admitted it. I pulled out my binoculars so I could see better. THIS IS NOT A REGULAR OCCURRENCE! I do NOT spy on my neighbors!!! Just wanted to establish that fact.
This is what I saw...

No details yet, except that the driver got out of his car on his own and was not seriously injured.

The interesting thing to me is that I was relieved that it wasn't anything wrong with our neighbors. Unfortunately, it didn't seem strange to me that the police would be in front of their house. It made me wonder if I should be doing anything more to reach out to them - to show Jesus to them - to love on them.

I've really been thinking a lot about seeing with eyes like Jesus. I have found myself driving around town almost in tears as I look at people. People are so lonely, so sad, so scared, so hopeless.

When Mike said he felt called to be a pastor, I went along. After all, I was called to be his wife. But I really didn't feel like I was called to be a pastor's wife. I'm still not sure about that one, but I am catching his passion to introduce people to my friend, Jesus. To the one who doesn't take away all our problems or consequences, but promises to be with us always - even in our consequences.

With that in mind - two cool "Yeah God" stories.

Story #1:

I met a gal online a couple of months ago. I know that in itself sounds a bit creepy and I'm sure some in my family are quite alarmed. Let me reassure you that I operate under two assumptions. One, everything she says is a lie and two, never give out personal information. Okay, so I told her I lived in Montana, but it is a big state!!! (side note: it is amazing how much information people give out when they chat. I was actually able to locate where she lives - if she is telling the truth and not just pretending to be the person I found.)

Okay...I am so off track! Anyway, she has three children - two of them preschoolers. Her family recently moved and she was talking about how lonely she was and how she didn't have any friends. I asked her if she would be interested in a MOPS group. I explained what MOPS was and she agreed to give it a try. I asked for her zip code only and then looked up the nearest group. I talked to the coordinator and found out that the group is acting in line with MOPS mission (not a bible study, but not a gossip group either). I then passed the info on to my new friend. Well, long and confusing story shortened, she went to MOPS yesterday and loved it!!! She said the ladies were wonderful. She got to chat with other adults, drink coffee, and her girls had lots of fun too. When I got online to check in with her, she started by just saying, "ty, ty, ty, ty!!!" It was kind of neat to know that God connected us and hopefully will connect with my new friends as well. "Yeah God!"

Story #2:

We have been without a full paycheck for about 4 weeks. The paycheck is coming, but there were details to be ironed out first. So while there is hope on the horizon, things have been a little tight. As much as I complain about Dave Ramsey, I really am grateful for his financial wisdom. Because we were budgeting, when our vehicle registration came due this week to the tune of $335.00, we had $335.91 in the transportation account to pay the bill. "Yeah God!"

When we received a partial paycheck, we followed another principle and took care of the necessities - paid for groceries and gas in the vehicles, the electricity, the gas, the phone. We had money to pay for choir for Mikalah and $10.46 left over. Usually that would freak me out, but it isn't. God has provided for exactly what we need. "Yeah, God!"

Now there was the small detail of some credit cards and a loan that needed to receive their payments as well. Before they were due, we called the companies and explained that we were going about four weeks without a paycheck. Those crazy, money-hungry credit card companies were so nice. The gave us two months off. We still accrue the interest, but they will not charge us any extra fees and will not raise our very low interest rates. The only bad thing, they say, is that it will close our account. Oh well, what they don't know is that as soon as it is paid off we were closing the account anyway! And I suspect that they will contact us after the new year offering us to come back - that we are valued customers. I've received that offer before. I'm not falling for it this time! "Yeah, God!"

I am so thankful that God is always with me!!! He leads the way, and stays with me when I fall off the path, gently leading me back, mending my cuts and bruises along the way. Thank you, God!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Entertainment

I love a good laugh. Particularly when watching tv.

I miss the days of Friends and Seinfeld. That was some funny stuff. And even though I have watched season 10 of Friends at least 10 times, I still cry laughing when they play rock-paper-scissors to see who will tell Monica why they were late for Thanksgiving dinner.

I also like it when my humor has a little action/adventure mixed in. These days one of my favorites is Chuck. It makes me glad to know that the geeks are cool sometimes too. I love the stereo types and the way they break the stereo types. Plus it gives me a good chuckle to walk into Best Buy now and see the Geek Squad. In my mind I hear Buy More and the Nerd Herd.

Heeeheeeheee - make me chuckle just to type it out.

Okay, sorry about that.

Well, I came across something the other day that is down right funny. Mr. Obsessive Handwasher's Blog, The Dumping Ground. Now before you click over there, as the name implies, it is a blog about bathrooms. The facilities themselves and the people that use them. I know a bit gross, but hey, I live with four boys and three girls that sometimes think they are boys. It is real life.

Okay, really it is a man's blog, but I still laughed. The funniest post, in my opinion, is Bathroom Humor #2: a variation of Hide 'n seek.

I know - this is a little out of character for me. I promise tomorrow to post about Bible study. It's just been an odd week. And surprise...I'm blaming my Monday morning attire.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Resealable

I bought new socks for my youngest two boys - socks are not something that can be handed down - it just doesn't work. Socks in our house barely last for one child.

But here is my question. I buy the "value pack" at walmart, because why spend big money on something that will be in the trash in six months.

The package of ten pairs of socks is resealable. The package even states that like it is an asset.

Usually I am all excited when a product comes with it's own storage container. I don't think I can store the socks in the resealable plastic bag that I bought them in.

Maybe that's just me.

I've already demonstrated my unstableness by taking my kids to school in my pjs :-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Progress?

Hello, my name is Jennifer.

I rarely go out of the house without make-up.

And never in my PJ.

I even got up early to get showered and dressed when I went to Sears 5am sale.

But this morning I woke up late.

7:04am

In order to get out the door for school, we need to be eating breakfast at 7:20am.

My middle children wake up slow and need some parent coaching.

Result: I got kids dressed and fed and lunches made and out the door by 7:50am. But not myself. I took my children to school in my pjs - no shower - no make up.

I'm not sure if that is progress or resignation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Backwards

Does it seems odd to anyone else that last weekend my kids were playing in the snow and this weekend they are playing in the leaves???

Just a little mixed up???

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Perfectionism

I have attempted to blog in the last three weeks - really I have.

I've had great ideas, but never actually typed them out.
I have some good pictures, but haven't posted them.
Why? Because I want the post to be perfect. Okay, maybe at least good.
Witty - fun - maybe even profound.
Instead of just doing it, I wait until I have a chunk of time to sit and post - not gonna happen.
So instead here is a catch up list for the past three weeks...
  1. MOPS convention was great - thanks for your prayers for my speaking. It went nothing like I planned - most of the 150+ ladies were not MOPS@ leaders, but really just wanted to know what MOPS@ was all about. It was a lot of thinkng on my feet and answering questions. Through it all, the Lord kept me calm and gave me word to say. I think I sounded smarter than I am - thank you Lord!
  2. Coming home meant a lot of laundry and finding things in my house. My kids were alive and the house was not burned down - so we started from there!
  3. Snow hit us last weekend - 18+ inches. I was so not made for winter weather. The kids had fun - I'm still trying to swap out summer & winter clothes - and now it is 76 degrees outside. No more snow, but lots of tree limbs down. We actually lost our power twice for several hours last weekend. It was funny to watch the kids try and move in all that snow. Morgan looked more like she was swimming! She would end up asking Mikalah to pick her up and set her down where she wanted to be.


  4. The kids have been on some sort of break from school this week. Not Fall break, just teacher training, but they have been home for the last three days. I love my children and we have had fun, but it is time for them to go back to school!
  5. Thursday, Jill took our family out to try and get a picture for our Christmas card this year. And the fact that our family picture above the fireplace only has five children in it. It was 40 degrees out and we were cold, but I think we managed to get some great pictures. These are not the great pictures - I just had to clarify that. I promise you will see the good ones...maybe when you get our Christmas card. But this is to give you an idea how difficult it is to get a good picture of our family. Especially when the Daddy is so goofy and his boys are just like him...oh wait...maybe the girls too.


  6. I have a three year old and a two year old.


That should explain everything - now hopefully I will set aside my perfectionism and just document what is going on in our life. It may not be pretty, but it is our life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What was I thinking?

Right now I am sitting in the Denver Airport and so thankful for free wifi - otherwise I might just fall asleep. And if I fell asleep, I would miss my next flight, because it would be a deep sleep.

But let me back up a bit...

Mike and I had a wonderful time in Idaho - travelling just the two of us. The conference itself was not spectacular, but it was a good time for Mike and I. Refocused us and we made some big decisions.

We have had some financial changes in the last two weeks, that you would think would throw me into insanity, but they haven't.

First, our denomination miscalculated our funding. Instead of having support until December, we ran out two weeks ago - no end of September paycheck.

Second, the company that Mike went to work for as a "Quality Control Manager" (yeah - no clue either) has had some integrity issues. While on our trip, we decided that he can not go back to work there. Starting next Wed - no paycheck.

Now those two things alone - not even mentioning the loss of health insurance - would normally put me into panic mode. No, I don't know where the money will come from to pay the electric bill. But somehow I feel very peaceful about it - it is okay. God is faithful!

We after we got home, Mike talked to his old company in Indiana. They have agreed to hire him as a consultant 20 hours/week.

That sound doable for Mike - not as stressful trying to work as much and do church. And it is different work. It will also mean a few trips to Indiana. In the back of my mind and if finances cooperate, I may send a child or two on one of those trips - they have been begging to visit their friends!

So, a trip to Idaho...a schedule and financial picture turned up side down...and twelve hours later...on a flight to Dallas.

This morning I got to watch the sun come up at how many ever thousands of feet in the air - beautiful! Now I am drinking coffee and "relaxing" until the next fight (3 hours). Great people watching time. And I really do like the Denver airport. Free wifi and a second level that most people don't know about. I can sit in quiet and watch people from overhead.

I know this seems random, but people watching is something else that I have noticed has evolved in me over the past few years. I used to watch, look at clothes, and notice all the faults.

"That woman does not match!"
"Oh, my, did she really wear pjs to fly in?"
"Just use a comb, people"

Now I notice more...different.

I still notice clothes... "oo - cool shoes!" or "fun wrap" but now I notice other things. "She looks so tired - I wonder what is bothering her...Lord, give her strength...travelling with a baby is so difficult." or "wow, he's moving fast...I wonder if he ever stops to think about You...Lord, create and opportunity for him to stop - hopefully nothing tragic." Yet I know that God doesn't create the tragic - He uses it.

That brings me to another thing (told you random). Mike and I listened to "The Shack" on CD during our eight-hours-there-and-eight-hours-back trip to Idaho. Amazing story!!!! I need to get the book now so I can re-read it again. Excellent at explaining forgiveness, love, and why bad things happen to "good" people. Hmmmm...it may be your Christmas present! So in that case, never mind.

Alright, enough tired rambling - time to something productive, find some food, and board my plane to Dallas.

Yee'haw, Tx here I come!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quiet House

Mike and I are at a conference in Post Falls, Idaho. In order to come sans children, I had to parcel my kids out to three unsuspecting crazy loving people. The younger two with one, the middle two with another, and the oldest two with yet another.

We had to leave early Monday morning, so we threw the children out of the house delivered the children on Sunday evening. That meant we had the house to ourselves. (I'll let you think whatever now)

I kept thinking that someday I would get teary eyed over how quiet the house was.

But for now, I didn't have to be quiet because children were sleeping. I could yell for Mike from one of the house when he was at the other end of the house.

I walked on a floor that had been mopped six hours earlier and no one had spilled anything on it yet.

I got up in the morning and didn't have to tip-toe around.

I was ready in record time because I didn't have to solve a crisis or do anyone's hair, get anyone dressed, or feed anyone but myself.

My kitchen was clean when I left and I only had to load one cereal bowl in the dishwasher.

We didn't even have the dog at home, so no one to care for but ourselves.

Yeah, someday it will bring tears to my eyes, but for now...hurray!

And to those watching my children...thank you...and we really won't be back until next week!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet Bedtime Girl

Every night I sing Morgan a song before the last kiss and goodnight. I used to sing "Jesus Loves Me" until she put her hand over my mouth and said, "No, I don't want that song."

I'm going with she wanted diversity rather than just not liking that song or my voice.

So Monday night as I was saying goodnight I asked what song she wanted mommy to sing.

You Are My Sunshine.

We sang together and it was a sweet mommy-daughter moment until the last line: "Please don't take my sunshine away."

At that moment, my sweet daughter reached up and made a motion like she was capturing something and said...

"I took your sunshine away...haha..nanny-nanny-boo-boo"

Oh, her teen years should be lots of fun!

Shopaholic Test

Maybe you heard this on the news.

At first I thought it was just silly and I would ignore it.


The new test includes six statements, for which individuals answer on a
7-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:
  1. My closet has unopened shopping bags in it.
  2. Others might consider me a "shopaholic."
  3. Much of my life centers around buying things.
  4. I buy things I don't need.
  5. I buy things I did not plan to buy.
  6. I consider myself an impulse purchaser.

Now I just want to know where I can buy this test.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beth Moore Recap

I know - finally! All four of you were on the edge of your seats!

Text for the weekend: Isaiah 32:1-6,8

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice.

Each man will be like a shelter form the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen.

The mind of the rash will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.

The last verse was our memory verse and it really has a rhythm that sticks in your head! Love it when that happens.

So in an effort to not be long winded, I'm just going to transfer my notes. (With a few parenthetical comments. Sorry, Seth, it's not going to be grammatically pretty, but are my posts ever?)

We can't plan our circumstances, but we can plan our faithfulness.

1. Every life needs a plan
We can plan our stand (stand means to rise up from sitting, kneeling or reclining - says we have to be active).
Are we going to continue reacting and living a train-wreck of a life or are we going to get a plan?
Job 17:11 - Job's plans were shattered
Prov 19:21 - our plan needs to be to fulfill the Lord's purpose.
(side note - there is a difference between Christ as Saviour - denotes one time commitment - and Christ as Lord - denotes continual commitment.)

2. The noble plan is to show God to your fellow man.
When we allow God to reign in us we become Isaiah 32:2&3
  • shelter
  • refuge
  • stream
  • shadow

all refer to God - we will be evidence of God in our own circle.

No matter where you are, you are here to be a benefit to the lost!

The point is not to be good, but to do good!

We've all had a lot of stuff happen and none of it is wasted - makes us a shelter, refuge, etc.

Do we live with regret over dumb decisions? A refuge is sanctified regret - it ways I understand (U2ME2) let me tell you how Jesus transformed me.

Without that failure we would think we are the great rock.

Word of caution: don't force shelter on people who want to stay in the storm!

(I love how Beth pulls the Greek and Hebrew out - reminds me of Greek in college - only Beth is so much more interesting to listen to)

Noble: "ndb" or "nadab" - to be willing - free - to be a willing volunteer - uncompelled free movement of the will for divine service or sacrifice.

Therefore...

3. All it takes to be noble is to be a willing volunteer.

Nothing paralyzes us like perfectionism. God uses us as we are. (Judges 5:1-9)

Humility - don't wait to be great to do what God wants us to do.

We can only make our outer body behave for so long - then we go back to what we want to - that is why we need to want to want Him.

4. The opposite of a noble is a nable.

Fool - "nbl" - "nabal" - stupid

Isaiah 32:5 - paraphrase - no longer will fools become celebrities.

Sometimes we need a hand over the mouth.

5. Any nabal can become a noble.

Eyes that see - develop God eyes

A nabal just doesn't get it - still living in a messed up mindset.

Abuser - even if told what they have done wrong - just doesn't get it. Sometimes we don't even get ourselves.

Thankfully, God looks beyond and sees our need - He "gets it" even when we don't. He knows everything & heals.

I don't have to understand - I just need to know He heals and gets it.

When He becomes King in our lives, then we can have ears that really listen. The most important part of counselling is the listening. (look people in the eye and give them your full attention).

The mind of the rash will understand - a nabal is always rash or reacts with impulse.

Understand - "bin" - to discern, to perceive, to observe - how to use the information you get wisely.

6. Any noble can become a nabal.

You are never too spiritual to blow it. (2 cor 11:2&3)

When you are a willing volunteer, you become a threat - be warned - be aware.

Satan wants to take a pure motive (being a shelter) and turn it into darkness. (Gal 6:1)

Don't become a refuge for sin - people need the knowledge that they can be different. We need to repent and have real authenticity.

If God put you in a position to lead - LEAD!!!!

7. The power of a noble trumps a nabal.

1 Sam 25 - heading, David, Nabal, & Abigail. Abigail was noble.

Abigail helped David avoid vengeance. Result: Nabal had heart attack (left alive for 10 days - was God giving him an opportunity to repent?) Abigail was still respectful to Nabal, but followed God's wisdom.

Hosea 14:4 - God voluntarily loves us - no one makes him - he is a willing volunteer - he is noble.

OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL! PROCLAIM HIS GREATNESS!

and in true Southern eloquence...

"scare the dogs under the bed!"

** So much for not being long-winded and please forgive any nabal errors in my grammar or typing abilities.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Billings Video

I'm still planning on recapping, but here is the video.

The photographer is a very nice man, named Rich, whom I'm sure thinks I am some crazy girl.

When I told my girlfriend, Mandy, that I was going to Beth Moore last weekend, she told me that her friend, Jill's cousin, Gretchen, was marrying Rich next weekend. I know, sounds like some bad country song.

The bad part is that Rich was standing near me several times that weekend and finally, I told him that my friend's friend's cousin was marrying him next weekend and I just wanted to say congratulations.

He said thank you, gracious man that he is, but I'm pretty sure he had security watching me for the rest of the conference.



Living Proof Live Billings Montana from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Date with Beth

I just spent the evening with Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell.

Okay, not like a personal visit, but they are here in Billings with the Living Proof Team and they are awesome. I am just so thankful that they are willing servants for God. I am definitely the receipiant of blessing because of it.

I will recap the weekend when it is over and I have digested it.

For now, let's just say that God is awesome...In Christ Alone still brings me to tears...and Beth allows God to speak through her in such a way that every woman's hearts are touched!

Lunch

Do Diet Coke and a chocolate chip cookie count as lunch?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mother : Daughter :: Jennifer : Mikalah

I really loved school when I was younger, but there were some things that we learned that I just didn't like.

Word Problems: I got too involved in the story to actually solve it. I mean, why did Farmer Brown buy the pigs before building the fence for them? And where are the pigs now while he is figuring out what size pen to build? And did he figure in the cost of hardware and a gate? Will it be wood? And what color will he stain it? Does he know how much work pigs are? Did he research that beforehand? Because he apparently didn't prepare to house them!

Library: the Dewey decimal system really doesn't make sense organizationally. And really why memorize it if I still have to look up where the book is located.

English: our language is messed up. I really do enjoy English, but I dislike some aspects. Take analogies for instance. You remember pages of these on the SAT - really dislike that part of the test.
  • born : died :: ugly : beautiful
  • thermometer : degree :: ruler : inch
  • street : boulevard :: construct : build

Those are some easier ones that Mikalah brought home from school today. However, I think she inherited my confusion when it comes to analogies because this was one of hers as well...

  • birds : feathers :: humans : socks

Happy Birthday, Mikalah, I love you, and I'm sorry you inherited that part of my DNA.

God Cares About A Pointy-toed Kitten-heel Shoe

In our Bible study this week we were starting to talk about having an intimate relationship with God. Part of that discussion included really listening for God and His "urgings".

So yesterday after I dropped Jeffrey at preschool I started running my errands. But I was a bit overwhelmed with everything "on my list". As I was driving around, I thought I should go to Goodwill.


Now understand that that is only a thought from God, because I can not stand going to Goodwill. Not only to I never find anything there, but the organization drives me nuts. So I dismissed the thought of course. Only to continue to be "bugged".


Then, of course, I have a bag of stuff to be dropped off at Goodwill - that's why I'm thinking I need to go there! I dropped the stuff off and the thought was complete.


I headed off to the mall to buy my favorite jeans, get Mike's glasses fixed and look for some brown heels for the Fall.


Jeans: check

Glasses: check

Shoes: on sale, sort of felt good, still $70 - no check!


Errand were now all done and I still had an hour before I had to pick up Jeffrey. What should I do?


Go to Goodwill.


What??? NO!!!


I started arguing with God. I never find anything there. It is full of germs. What a waste of time. Morgan is too fussy.


Okay, fine, but I'm gonna show you that it is not worth going there.


Did I really think I could show God something???


I walked in and headed right back for the shoes. The ones that are always worn, grandma like, or hoochy-mama and never in my size (because I might be persuaded to wear the hoochy-mama ones). There was a whole rack of brown, pointy-toed, kitten heel shoes. Brand new, never been worn. And in my size. $4.99.


Fine. You'd think my attitude was softened, but oh how I hate to be wrong!


So we found shoes, great, God, but clothes are a whole different matter. I mean look, they are organized by color! Not size. And a silk shirt is right next to a halter top that reads "I am just that sexy!" I won't find anything in there!


Oh how God loves me so much to break my hard little heart and bring me to my knees.


Twenty minutes later and only $35 poorer, this is what I walked out of the store with:




Thank you God, for not giving up on me. you are so GOOD!!!


Purchased:

1 pair of brown pointy-toed, kitten-heel shoes

1 tan trench-coat by Nicole Miller
1 yellow Izod sweater
1 off-white corduroy button down shirt from Eddie Bauer
1 black and white flouncy dress shirt
1 printed t-shirt from Talbots (that I wanted, but refused to pay $20 on sale three months ago - it was $1.99)
1 bag of cookie-cutters for the preschool.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quick Dinner

Why is that a quick easy dinner of chicken from the grocery store was not so easy?

I remembered a few things I needed and ended up spending $45 dollars - with a $5 off coupon.

And isn't funny that I could remember - without looking - that Grands biscuits cook at 350 degrees, but crescents cook at 375. We don't get them usually, but that's just how much i love them!!!!

Lastly, I received yet another "new to me" computer. Mike did a computer shuffle again and now I have his old and recently repaired one. It is much smaller than my old one, but requires a cooling board because it gets sooooo hot. So really it's only smaller in theory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Know...

...it's time to scrub your table and chairs when you try to get up from the breakfast table and stick to the seat.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dreams

Grief is a funny thing.

Last night I had a dream that my family was on a wonderful vacation of course in some warm sunny, tropical location - minus the hurricane.

We were staying in a beautiful hotel - not a tent.

I took a small child into the bathroom - because I'm desperate to be done with diapers! I've told myself that once I have potty-trained our children I can purchase a nice purse for myself - one that does not need to hold diapers.

When I came out of the bathroom, my brothers and sisters where there.

Jinger was sitting on one of the beds playing with Meredith.

Josh was swinging Jeffrey up in the air - strong man (oh I hate that I really have to call him a man!)

Juliet was holding Bella with Adam behind her holding Tyler.

Laying on the bed, on her side with her head propped up on her hand chatting with Mikalah, was Joy. I could only see the back of her, but it was Joy. I woke up gasping for breathe. Then desperately tried to go back to sleep so I could see her again. And hoping to catch a glimpse of the other three.

Instead, Jeffrey crawled into bed with me and pressed his entire body up against mine. Just to make sure I knew he was there.

So this morning Joy is heavily on my mind. And we are headed off to church. To sing songs like My Saviour, My God and In Christ Alone.

I had asked God to give me a heart for teaching the preschoolers on Sunday mornings. Today I am looking forward to being with the little people that take lots of attention rather than sitting in service reflecting. Funny way He answers prayers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back To School

I really thought that as the four oldest went off to school I would have more time to do things, like blog. Somehow I have found myself with less time. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed running errands with just one child now that Jeffrey is also back at preschool, but somehow those hours just fly by. There have been so many things running through my head, that I am opting for a list format tonight. I'm sure each of these things could be posts by themselves, but oh well.

  1. Should I feel guilty that as many Kindergarten moms were crying the first day of school, Mike and I were giving each other high-fives?
  2. Mikalah is going to the junior high for math. JUNIOR HIGH!!!! Somehow just being there for one class allows me to ease into that idea.
  3. When we went to the junior high open house, a student council member gave us tour. She pointed out the classrooms, the gym, the library, and the elevator that is only used by the decapitated kids. That's our tax dollars at work!
  4. The weekend before school started we went to the lake with Mike's parents. It was a beautiful, enjoyable time with temps at 105! We tubed, skied, swam, and saw big horn sheep. I saw big horn sheep and enjoyed the boat ride and sunshine. We also set up "taj-ma-tent" and slept all eight of us. It wasn't bad, but really - I'd rather not camp. Can you tell I'm just not the outdoorsy type?
  5. Jarrett got his first bee sting that weekend. He was trying to squish the bee on his knee. Didn't work.
  6. Mikalah has outgrown her shoes again. She is now a size 8 or 8 1/2. I like that we can share shoes and increase my shoe collection. However, Mikalah thinks that means she can wear my three inch heels. I think not!
  7. When driving the kids to three different schools one morning, Morgan was chatting to herself. Her little voice is so sweet as she counts to 14...and then to seis in Spanish. Either Dora really is educational or we watch too much Dora.
  8. We have all contracted some sort of head cold. Meredith has already finished antibiotics for a double ear infection and Jeffrey is almost done with his. Meredith told us that when she blew her nose she couldn't get anything out of it, but if she sniffed her nose it came out her mouth. Lovely!
  9. Judson was complaining that he could hear out of his right ear. Not messing around, we went off to the ENT. Turns out the tube was falling out and was quite clogged. Unfortunately, he also had lots of fluid on his ear. Instead of scheduling surgery to replace the tube (set #6), the Dr. put a new one in in the office. The positives? Less than an hour in the office and Judson can hear better. The negatives? Having to get a numbing shot in the ear.
  10. The calendar changed to September and the highs went from the 90s+ to 56 and rainy. Oh that we could remain in Summer really until September 21st!!!!
  11. It is election time. Has anyone noticed? I've now listened to both candidates. Each have things that I like, but there is a single issue that is a deal breaker. I guess ultimately that makes me a single issue voter. I've made my decision, have you?
  12. Jarrett has decided he would rather live upstairs with Jeffrey than downstairs with Judson. Judson's thrilled, Jeffrey's thrilled, Mike's thrilled that we will be moving furniture this weekend.
  13. This weekend, we will also pull out the Fall clothes and put away the tank tops and swim suits. And dismantle the pool.
  14. MOPS Int'l asked me to do a workshop about the MOPS@ program at their convention in October. I agreed thinking it would be speaking to about 50 ladies. Just found out it will be to 184 ladies! Do you smell the fear?
  15. I had my yearly Dr. visit this last week. I told him I was falling apart. For one issue he said I should cut out caffeine. For another I needed rest. For another I needed exercise. And for the last I needed more caffeine. I decided rest and more caffeine would be following half the orders - right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

She did NOT get her fashion sense from Daddy

Today I took Meredith running some last minute back-to-school errands. She wanted to buy some new sunglasses. So I showed her the Dora ones and the Barbie ones. But that's not what she chose. She chose these ones.

Then she told me she needed bigger underwear. Bad mommy still has her 5 year old who wears a size 6 wearing size 4 underwear. To the girls department for new underwear.


"Oh, and Mommy, can I buy a bra too?"


Oh yes she did ask that!!!


I guess that goes back to having older siblings. Meredith is definitely a little fashionista. And a girly-girl. She would wear a dress every day if possible and all the better if it glitters and is pink.


Mike on the other hand, wears whatever is on the top of the pile in his drawer. In an effort to make him look presentable I usually put the shirts I don't like at the bottom of the pile. Somehow he still manages to find them and wear them. However I must publicly confess to buying him a shirt that falls into the dorky category.


You see Mike has some weird phrases in his vocabulary.


"They were all over me like two dogs on a pork chop."

(He actually said that in church...once)


"Dog farts fried in butter."

(His answer to what is for dinner when he has been asked by small children twenty times)


But the most widely used phrase is in response to a question...

"Daddy, do I have to do chores?"

"Mike, do you have your knife on you?"


"Do bears poop in the woods?"


I seriously thought this was something dumb he made up until I came across this...


And I did buy it. I admit I spent the $9 on a dorky t-shirt. But it came with conditions. It is not allowed out of the house. It is a lounge around and watch tv shirt. Maybe a mow the lawn shirt, but that's pushing it. However it has now become a favorite - one he will dig to the bottom of the pile to find.


I know - no complaining - I bought it. Hopefully my daughters will learn from this experience and just take a picture of the shirt instead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Holding on to Hope

Really, that's ultimately what God gives us: hope.


These past few years have been so challenging to me. Kind of like a roller coaster of trusting God. My brother's death. Birth of Meredith. Mike becoming a pastor. Unexpectedly expecting Jeffrey. Moving to Montana. Joy being so sick. Unexpectedly expecting Morgan. Grammy's sudden death. Joy's sickness resulting in death.


All of that in seven years - really most of it in just five years.


I remember seeing a stress test once where you gave yourself points for the things that had happened in the last year. The most points, the higher the stress level and the greater the possibility for stress induced illness like depression. Let's just say that my score is very high right now!


While I know that I am prone to depression - I've been there before - it's not fun nor pretty...somehow this time I seems to be holding on. To what? Peace. Hope. God.


All synonymous. God is Hope so He becomes Peace.

Today is the anniversary of Grammy's death. Just two years ago. Elizabeth Thompson. She was an amazing, feisty woman. With a great sense of humor. I wish I could find the picture I managed to catch of her when I was seventeen. She used to push her dentures out of her mouth to make a funny face - but only when the grandkids were looking. Our parents never really believed us (or maybe they did it was just all part of the fun). I used to try and prove that she had done it. One day I sat while she played with one of my younger siblings and managed to "catch her in the act". And that was before digital. I had to wait for the film to be developed and hope that I had caught her.

We took a trip to NJ two summers ago to see family. It really wasn't a trip we could afford. I've gone over that trip in my mind many times, trying to think how we could have done it without going into debt to do it. My only answer is that I regret that we hadn't been wiser with our money before so that we could have spent saved money to take that trip. However, I do not regret that trip. Even when the bill is still being paid.

That trip was to "introduce" Morgan Elizabeth to Grammy. Even though Grammy was weak, God made Morgan small and Grammy was able to hold her. We stayed for three days. Each of my kids spent time - just them - with Grammy. She wasn't really sick - she sat on the couch in her green pants and orange top, with a tissue in her sleeve and a rubber band on her wrist - just in case.

She had gone to take a nap the afternoon that we were leaving. I really didn't want to wake her up, but knew if I didn't I would hear about it later. We went in and gently said good bye. She patted each of the kids and said good bye, calling them by name. Her hugs were sweet and smelled like Grammy. It is a good smell.

We loaded up the van and drove to Philly to drop Mike at the airport. Looking back, that was the crazy part of the trip. The part where after the fact you think, "Why did I ever think that was a good idea?" He would fly back to Montana and I would drive back with the six kids - Morgan being two months old. After I dropped him at the airport, I went through McDonald's drive thru to get the kids some dinner so we could get some miles under our belt before bed. I ordered and then my phone rang. It was my mother. As I accepted our drinks, mom told me Grammy had died. The poor McDonalds worker was unsure how to deal with this woman accepting her food who seemed happy and polite one moment and in uncontrollable tears the next.

I pulled over and handed out food, then walked behind the van and called Mike. What was I supposed to do? Go back? Go get Mike? Keep driving?

It was very difficult to make the decision to keep driving. Mike had to go home. I couldn't handle the kids in that situation and I'm not sure the kids would have handled it either.

The very cool part was that my grandfather was concerned about me driving back. We talked all five days - several times a day. That is a memory I will cherish.

It rained for the first three days of the drive. It was as though God was grieving with me. Or for me.

There were so many little reminders of her all along the trip. The tiger lilies along the side of the road, that really should have bloomed earlier in the season. The rubber band I had slipped on my wrist while at the house and couldn't bear to take off just looked back at me as I drove with my hands on the wheel.

And the song, "In Christ Alone" that would not leave my mind and seemed to show up on the radio every time I found a local station.

And now, just like I had to wait for the film to be developed to see if I had "caught" Grammy, I am waiting for my life to develop. Except this time, I know God has won, that He has a perfect plan, and that that plan has included everything that has happened on my roller-coaster. I really don't get it, but I can have Peace because He knows the outcome.

There are so many times when I can be going about life as normal and all of the sudden something jumps in front of me to remind me of Grammy, or Joy, or Jeremy. It never goes away, and I don't want it to.

I don't want to become used to life without them. I want the constant reminder that God is in control - that He has won - that He knows the plan - that He wants the best for me, for my family - current and family to come.

I am grateful for the heritage and example that my grandmother shared.

I look forward to seeing her again. To tell her funny jokes. And to borrow a rubber band.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Overheard Today

Morgan: I don't want to! (I do NOT like this phase!)

It's not bedtime...it's playtime!



Jeffrey: Mommy...I'm hungry. (said about 20 min after each meal where he had cleaned his plate - must be a growth spurt!)



Meredith: I accidentally kicked Jeffrey when he took my chalk. (How many times have I said, "Lord, I accidentally opened my mouth?")



Jarrett: I'm homesick for Indiana. I had 25 friends there and I only have 15 here. (said before he went to a back-to-school pool party this evening.)



Judson: (in response to Miss Carrie asking what he did this summer) stuff (a boy of many words)



Mikalah: Mikalah was on the news Sat night and it was just posted to the internet. Now so You can figure out who she is...when the reporter is in the boat, she is on the far left of the screen bobbing in a life jacket. And when the kids jump in from the side of the pool, she is wearing the turquoise bathing suit and jumps the furthest out. Technically she doesn't say anything, but thought it was cool that she was on the evening news! http://www.kulr8.com/news/local/27039549.html?video=YHI&t=a