Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Last Week of 2010

Christmas this year was very nice. I know I must have blocked out some rough moments, but it was so relaxing and pretty much stress-free. Christmas Eve was at Greg's sister's house. Christmas Day my mom and dad came over in the morning and we just relaxed the morning away. Later in the afternoon, we went to my parent's friend's house for dinner. Then the day after Christmas was spent with my family at my mom and dad's house. Monday was the movies - took the kiddos to see Yogi Bear. Super funny and cute movie, and I loved listening to my kids laugh out loud. Tuesday was craft day at the library. Today was Girl Scout bowling, a sledding playdate, sledding at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and finished up with family movie night at the library - Toy Story 3. Lots of fun! Tomorrow is dentist appointments in the morning, rollerskating in the afternoon and date night for Greg and I - kids get to sleepover at G & G's house. New Year's Eve is going to be at home (for the first time in a long time) - Home Alone movie marathon, pizza, cocktail wienies and punch. I love my family. I am so blessed to get to spend the time I do with each of them.

Some highlights from today:

While at the bowling alley, we were waiting to get shoes and Jacob took out the quarters he had brought. Jacob has been collecting quarters because he wants to be able to buy "squishies" whenever he sees them. So he took out his baggie-o-quarters and started putting them into one of those cardboard things that have slots to put quarters in. It was to collect money for a girl named Nina who has cancer. He said "I am going to help find a cure for cancer." It took every ounce of strength I had not to break down right there. I was a very proud momma - still am. And I tell him (and everyone else who will listen) about it every chance I get. It is so awesome to see such great character traits in your kids. Such an amazing reward for all the times I feel like nothing is getting through to them. So proud of you, Jacob!

Later, while at G & G's house, Grace and Jadyn were playing a game where Jadyn was the rich lady and Grace was her maid. Jadyn wanted Grace to come out to the porch and meet her husband and her boyfriend. I heard them talking and I said "You can't have a husband AND a boyfriend." Grace said to me, "It's OK, Mom. She's rich. She can afford it." Awesome. Not exactly what I am trying to teach here, but close. OK, not really, but super funny. I wonder what goes through their minds. I love those kids!

Grant is on Day 2 of wearing big boy underwear. He is doing awesome with pee. No wet pants. But yesterday, he was able to sneak off to the laundry room and poop in his new underwear. Dang it. Oh well, we can't have it all. But, boy oh boy, am I ready.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Truth for Today

Reading from Proverbs 23:16 (speaking from a parent to a son [or daughter]):

my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

As I read this, I was thinking about some of the things I have seen my kids do recently. A couple of days ago, as Grace was getting in trouble, Jacob brought money to me to "buy" her freedom. While this practice does not work, I rejoiced at the compassion he felt for his sister (with whom he fights constantly) and the lengths he would go to for her. This morning I had Jadyn and Grant in my lap and they each looked at the other and said seriously, "I love you". Now that is lips speaking what is right. And I love that it was the two of them (my babies) and that they did it without any prompting from me. The Scripture is TRUTH. A parent (especially this one) rejoices when their children speak what is right. Praise be to our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the heels of my last post......

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” – Micah 5:2


Commentary: We find a pattern with the Scriptures: Abraham was called out of his established place in his father’s household to become a nomad. Once he was outside known territory, God could use him. Moses was required to live in the desert for 40 years before he could lead the Jewish people out of Egypt. It seems that God loves to take mighty things and make them smaller in order to confound the world and it’s wisdom. Bethlehem was a border town with the Gentiles. It was considered unclean and totally out of touch with the rest of the Jewish realm. Yet it was Bethlehem that God chose to birth the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ. Do you feel that God is whittling you down? Rejoice, he’s getting ready to use you in a great way! Do you see yourself on the margins and insignificant? Congratulations! You’re positioned to do great things for God. He has a record of taking weak and foolish things to confound the strong and wise. [bolding emphasis is mine]

Over the past year or so, I do feel that God has been whittling me down. And I have complained about it a lot. I never really thought He was "whittling" me down to do something great with me. Maybe He is. I guess we will have to wait and see. But I do absolutely love that He gave me this verse and these words today - just to show me that He is working all things together for His purpose and glory. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be a part of whatever it is You are doing. I love You!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Musings

Holy cow!

So much going on. Just heard tonight that our old (not in age, but as in past) pastor is moving to TX. Keep thinking about an old acquaintance who is getting divorced. Thinking we are not in the right church. Trying to keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas. Wallowing in some self-pity, trying to claw my way out. Wow. That's about all I can say. Wow.

Today's ODB was entitled "Significant Surrender" and talked about the complete surrendering of her life that Mary did in submitting to God's will and plan for her life. The key verse was from 1 Peter 5:6, and said:

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

Despite that our circumstances could not be any more different, I could really identify with that key verse. I am (certainly in my own mind) being humbled - yet again. I want a house. I know that sounds selfish and childish, which is really why I am writing it here. All I have been thinking about for the last couple of weeks has been getting our own house. We started looking at houses, then realized that we were putting the cart before the horse. Why were we looking for a house that we were not even sure we could be financed for? So we set the wheels in motion for a pre-approval. As we waited, I was very impatient. I wanted a house! Now. So as I prayed I found myself making a deal with God. I will wait for the approval and while I wait I will not look at another house. If we can get approval than that will be my sign to move ahead, and if not, well.....we weren't really going to consider that option. Well, we got the phone call and they told us not for 3 years from the date of the sale of our house. 3 YEARS????? Are you kidding me? Greg wants to check with VA and smaller banks, but I suspect the answer will be the same. God is the One Who is in control - not the banks (despite what they may think). So, that leaves us with another 2 years as renters. [Let me interject something here. I have no "issue" with being a renter. In fact, in some ways it has made our life easier. I think I am caught up in the facade of the American Dream of owning your own home. The other thing I think about is what if the people who own the house don't want us here anymore? Then what? Well - then God. Just like how we found this place. God is so much more powerful than I give Him credit for. He knows what I need way before I need it. Psalm 37:25 says I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Really - what do I have to be concerned about?] 2 years is nothing, but 2 years is forever. Depends on how you look at it. My choice is this - Isaiah 40:31,

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Teach me Lord, teach me Lord, to wait (as the song goes). I will wait on God's time because as mentioned in the verse at the top, God Himself will exalt me in due time, if AND ONLY if I am humbled under His mighty hand. BTW - by exalting me I do not mean what it sounds. I mean that I will be exalted to whatever His perfect plan for me is. I guess it goes back again to Proverbs 16:9,

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Five days earlier (and probably coinciding with the day of the above-mentioned prayer) in ODB the devotion was titled "A Submission Problem". Can you say Michelle? Here was the key verse, found in James 4:10.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Then it talked of submission meaning "an act of yielding to the authority or control of another". What is controlling me? What am I allowing myself to be controlled by? If the answer is anything other than God alone, then there is a problem. Well, I have been obsessing (probably too loose of a term) over having my own home. Therefore, God being the loving Father He is, has removed from my mind the object of my obsession. Oh, for sure, I still want my own house, but I know that obsessing is pointless (not only for the moment but forever). Notice that every time I have spoken of it I have called it a "house" and not a "home" - that is because I do know that I already have a home. Not only a heavenly home, but also an earthly home. I have been blessed way beyond what I could ever deserve (can you say grace?) and have more than I could ever need. My Father knows that my focus was on something of earthly value, instead of nurturing my "home". I think of the verse in Proverbs 14:1,

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

What am I focusing on? Where is all my attention? Am I (even unknowingly) tearing down my own "home" by focusing on an earthly "house"? Maybe. But I can't do that anymore - Praise God alone! When He moves me, I will move. Until then I will carry on, praising Him as I go. I am here for a reason. Here for a purpose. God alone knows what that is. But I will trust in Him, knowing He will see me through.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What a Great Weekend!

We had a blast this weekend! Friday night, Greg and I took Jacob and Grace to see "The Christmas Carol", a play put on by the youth theater in town. Jadyn and Grant got to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house, so you know they were in their glory. I was not entirely sure how Jacob and Grace would like a play, but they loved it! They were watching so intensely. At one point Grace was in Greg's lap and Jacob was in mine. This was when Jacob Marley came in....that guy was scary. I think Jacob liked intermission the best (well, maybe not) because he stuffed himself with cookies. After the play, we went to Big Boy for dessert. It was neat to sit there and just talk with them about the play. The especially liked it when some of the cast members and their families came into Big Boy too. After dessert, we went to Walmart because I needed an extension cord for the beautiful decoration on my mantle (and they are). While at Walmart, we decided to stroll down the toy aisle and see what we liked. Then we looked for other presents for other people and then we got a few groceries. By the time we left it was 10:30pm, and as we were getting ready to walk out a lady was locking the door. My kids got a bit nervous, thinking they were being locked in. We went home and Greg and I wanted to go to bed, we were exhausted. But Jacob wanted to play a game. How could we resist? He wanted to play and it was such a nice night of being able to spend focused attention on my bigger kids, who usually lose out on time with mom and dad. So the 4 of us played dominoes, then Yahtzee - mom won both games, of course! Then it was time for bed. The issue was that neither Jacob or Grace wanted to sleep alone, but neither of them wanted to sleep together either. What ended up happening was a huge slumber party in our bed! Why not? Like I said, it was just so cool to spend this uninterrupted time with them. Not that I mind being interrupted by Jadyn and Grant - I don't - I love having them around and spending time with them too, but we all know that when there are little kids around, they require more attention. So it was nice to have the shift and give to Jacob and Grace. I think they liked it too.

Saturday morning Jadyn and Grant went out to breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa, and watched a 60 car police parade. Jacob and Greg went to Jacob's basketball evaluation clinic and Grace and I went to Kroger's for Grace's Brownies Ring and Sing, where we sang Christmas carols around the Salvation Army Red Bucket. It was cold, but it was fun. After that we went to get Jadyn and Grant. Later Grace had a birthday party to go to. It was a sleepover at a hotel. We were not going to let Grace spend the night, but then the mom asked me if I would stay too, so we did. It was the other mom, me and 12 girls aged 6-11. Yikes! Actually, it was a ton of fun. But I am getting ahead of myself. We dropped Grace off at 4, then we had to go to Greg's sister's house for a late Thanksgiving/birthday party. Greg was VERY nervous about leaving Grace, so he have her his cell phone and showed her how to call me, if there was an emergency. So we were at Colleen's house, getting ready for dinner, and my cell phone rang. Greg jumped up and ran over to me. It was Grace! She was calling me to tell me how much fun she was having. They had already eaten dinner and had just had a pillow fight. "I am having such a blast, mom. I just wanted to tell you." If that kid isn't her father's daughter, I don't know what she is. About 30 minutes later my phone rang again. This time she was telling me that in the other room (there were 2 suites) there were bowls of chips, 2 TVs and lots of candy. She was so excited! Another hour or so passed and my phone rang again. Guess who? Yep, this time she wanted to tell me that she had moved our stuff into the other room and that was where we were sleeping. And, by the way, "when are you going to get here, mom? We are having so much fun!" So we left. I got there about 8pm. When I got there almost all of the girls had finished swimming and were showering and blow drying their hair. It was funny to see these "babies" acting so grown up. Grace and one of her friends, Soleil, were still swimming. They ran to great me, then ran back to swim again. As soon as they got to the pool, someone told them they wouldn't want to swim because a kid just threw up his macaroni and cheese in the pool. So everybody cleared out of the pool. I heard someone say something about it, but thought I heard them say someone pooped in the pool and I made the girls jump in the showere immediately. Just the thought of poop in the pool is disgusting. I guess throw up isn't much better though. Since the pool was out of the equation now, the girls needed something to do. I had packed my nail care kit, which has all my nail polish in it. So I pulled it out and painted 120 nails. The girls loved it. Then they decided to put on make-up and have a fashion show in their pjs. Our suites were right off the pool area, so they had their fashion show by walking around the pool. Well, sometimes they walked, but mostly they ran. Then they moved up the stairs and ran. There was one kid, who did not do this. Can you guess who? I am so proud of this girl. She came up to me and said " I don't want to go up there. I don't think we should be up there." And well, they shouldn't have...and they ended up getting a talking to from the hotel manager. But, I was the proudest momma. My girl stood up for what she believe was right and did not go with the crowd. I don't even have the words to say how proud I was, and still am! By the time I got the girls in my room settled and quiet, it was around 1am. After sleeping between one girl who was a bed hog and another girl who I feared would fall off the bed at any minute, I didn't really get much sleep.

So, Sunday afternoon consisted of a nice little nap with Grant. I woke up just in time to help my dad, Greg and Tom put up the "walls and windows" to make a room out of my parent's front porch.

All in all, a great weekend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Kids - they make me laugh, smile, think, wonder

Jacob

We were reading yesterday in James, and it was talking about not committing murder or adultery, and if you don't commit one but commit the other, you are still a lawbreaker. Jacob piped up and asked if the guys in the military were guilty of committing murder when they kill people in war. I was amazed. Mostly, because I really didn't think he was even paying attention, but then also because I wasn't sure how to answer it. I think what I said was along the lines of there has always been war and the people fighting the war are protecting their nations and I think that kind of "killing" is different from plain murder. That sounds like a terrible sentence, doesn't it? This post was because I was so proud of Jacob's listening and asking the tough questions.

Grant

Grant (and Jadyn) spent some time with Grandpa today. Yesterday, Grant got a new pair of snow boots and wore them over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. After I picked the kids up, we went to school to get Jacob and Grace. As we were walking in, Grant told me that he wanted to "walk like a duck, like Grandpa". Apparently, Grandpa was teaching him how to walk in snow boots on ice. Nice.

Jadyn

Jadyn had speech a couple of days ago. For whatever reason, she had her lesson with another boy. After they were done, the teacher came out and told me that Jadyn "promptly told Ross [the other boy] that she already had a boyfriend". Are you kidding me? I do not know where this kid gets this stuff from. Amazing.

Grace

I get the privilege of administering spelling test in Grace's class. I usually go on Tuesdays, but today was Thursday and I had to go. So, this time....I got to quiz Grace. That girl. She tried to get me to help her cheat. Well, not really cheat, but she asked me to "help" her. Ummmm? No. She did awesome though.

My kids make me so proud. They are each so different and unique and so very special to me. I am a very blessed mother.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heart's Desire

This morning I prayed about something that has been bothering me for a couple of weeks. The Lord reminded me that I am not to lean on my own understanding (basically what I "think" I want), but to trust completely in his plan. He knows the outcome already. He also knows what is best. Sometimes we think we know what the best thing for us would be and if you look closely (at least in my case) as soon as you "get what you want", what you want changes. So, my plan from now is not to base my heart's desire on what I "feel" that I want, but instead to really base my heart's desire on what God's plan for me is. I also acknowledge that this is extremely hard to do while living in a fleshy, materialistic world, but I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. And He will. I want what He has for me because He knows what I really need.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday...or should I say Thursday???

This year we (Mom, Krystel, Sandy, Lisa, Kim and I) decided that instead of getting up at 3am to go shopping on Black Friday, we would go at 10pm on Thursday night. Were we serious? Well, we left at 10pm and got to Traverse City by 11, and got in line. Line....where we stayed for the next 6 hours (until 5am). Sheer madness. But we did get all we went for. So, all in all, it was successful, but I will state now for the record that I will not be doing that again next year. The deals on the internet were just as good, if not better. There was nothing in that shopping for me. I was happy to be with the girls, and glad to run and get things for them, but the shopping was no good for me. Next year, we sleep in and then just go right to the Omelette Shoppe, then back home and play Catch Phrase. Can anyone say...new tradition? I think the hunting boys would like that one better anyway.

Jacob's Broken Heart

For Thanksgiving we went north to Charlevoix, and stayed with Krystel and Steve. Jacob was so excited. Spencer is his BEST friend and he has missed him terribly. The more we talked about going up north, the more "Spencer-sick" Jacob got. So Jacob was allowed to go up a day early with Grandpa and Grandma. He surprised Spencer by hiding in the truck and having Grandpa send Spencer out to get something from the truck. Then they spent the next 6 days together. Last night we got home and Jacob was misbehaving, so he was sent to his room. A little while later he came down and his face was all red and he was wiping his nose, as if he had been crying. I asked him what was wrong and he broke down and said "I miss Spencer so much. I will give you all my money if I can go back to Charlevoix." Can you say breaking a mom's heart? I love that he loves his cousin, but it makes me so sad to see him so miserable. Later that night, as I was putting Jacob to bed, I was praying with him and thanking God that we were able to spend time up north with our family. As I was about to mention Spencer, Jacob rolled over and said "Just don't say his name." Wow. His heart is really broken. That makes mine hurt so bad. I wish I could pick Krystel and Steve (and Scott and Katie) up and move them all here, but I can't. So I have to be tough and remind Jacob of all the fun we do have when we are together - and for this we should be very thankful. What a Thanksgiving lesson.

Snuggle-Bunny

She calls me "mother", which when pronounced sounds like "mudder". When I put her to bed, she clings to me like a koala bear baby. She tells me that she is NEVER going to let go of me because I am her "lovergirl". When she gets into bed, she asks me to lay right on top of her (she must not understand how MUCH I weigh). She is really like a baby bird, that wants, or rather needs, its mother to sit on top of it for warmth. Maybe that is why she keeps asking for a blue bird for Christmas (and that is a story that is still driving me nuts). At night, she sleeps as if she is stuck with superglue to her sister, with her arms wrapped around her sister's body. If her sister could get away, I'm sure she would. But this girl is like a heat seeking missile - always looking for the next warm body. Always snuggling and wanting to be snuggled. Gosh, I love her so much! I love how she needs to be loved and how she wants to show her own love. She makes me laugh, and smile, and cry, and get really frustrated. But I would not change one single thing. To me, she is PERFECT. She is my Jadyn. I love her so much!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Crucifixion of Jesus Explained

This morning we were reading in Mark 15, about the Crucifixion of Jesus. I was explaining to the kids what Jesus went through so that we could be forgiven. What He endured simply because He loved and obeyed God and God loved us. He was flogged (skin ripped and bleeding), He was mocked, His head was pierced with a crown of thorns, He was beaten on the head with a stick, He was spit on, and then He had spikes pounded through His flesh, muscles and bones and was crucified. All so that we (who are all sinners and could NEVER earn it) could be forgiven and given eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Simply because God loved us. So, I was going over this with the kids and by the time I was finished listing all Jesus endured, I was crying. As I looked up to see if my kids were even paying attention, I noticed that Grace had tears rolling down her face. Then I looked at Jacob, who was stone-faced, but with a quivering lip. As soon as I looked at him, he tried to change the subject. Clearly, this was a lot for them to take in but the fact of the matter is that this is the TRUTH and they need to know. I love more than anything, that it moved them. I love that they seemed to realize (even if a small amount) what Jesus did for them. I pray that this morning's Bible reading will never leave their minds. That they will take it with them forever. I know I will.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cautious Grace

This morning, when I was taking the kids to school, I forgot my purse in the garage. I mentioned it as I was driving. Immediately, Grace was very concerned. She really wanted me to go back for it, but, well.....it was a school morning which means we were down to a very few extra minutes. I said I would just drive the speed limit (which I do anyway, right?) and we would be fine. All the way to Jadyn's school, Grace read EACH speed limit sign to me - making sure that I was not speeding in the least. After dropping Jadyn off, I got back in the car and started to go to Jacob and Grace's school. As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, Grace quickly announced that the speed limit was 25. I thought that she may have forgotten. Not my Grace. She wanted to make sure she got to school WITH her mom in the car, and not in the back seat of a police squad car. That girl makes me smile.

Abby's Visit



Abby came to visit this weekend - YAY!!!! She came around 11:30 pm on Friday night and stayed until 2:30pm Sunday afternoon. Friday night we were up until 3am gabbing, in our respective places on the couch. Saturday morning (late) we went shopping and to lunch, always fun. When we came home, I worked on the computer while Abby was "mom" with my girls and made cherry cobbler and brownies with them. Those desserts, coupled with the birthday cake I made for Abby, led to a few extra pounds (I'm sure, but have not dared step on the scale). Then it was nearing time for Tom to arrive and dinner to start. Needless to say, the dinner experience was and experience. It was excessively noisier than usual (maybe because Greg was in the kitchen with us and Tom was throwing kids in the air). As we were getting ready to sit down and eat, Greg's sister showed up. We were watching her kids so her and Jeremy could go out for their anniversary. So...add 2 more to the table. They left, I was just about to take a bite and the phone rang. It was my cousin and they were getting ready to drive by and wanted to know if we wanted company. Of course we do - we ALWAYS do!!!! So, I inhaled dinner (it was not very good anyway and I was still stuffed from the salad and ENTIRE bowl of tortilla chips I had eaten at lunch). Doug and Edy and their 2 girls showed up and had birthday celebration with us. I loved it! It was like everyone was showing up to honor Abby. Yay God! Now we were up to 8 kids and 6 adults. Doug and Edy stayed until about 8:30 and as they were driving out of our sub, they drove past my parents who showed up moments later. They did not stay long, just pooped in to say hi to Abby and rile the kids up. That was great - the door kept revolving - I really love it when that happens. As soon as they left, we got the kids ready for bed and then they laid on the floor and watched the "Muppets Christmas Carol". When Jeremy and Alicia came back, all the kids were laying on the floor, watching the movie, except for Reid who was fast asleep in my arms. It was an awesome night! Sunday morning we went to church and Abby got to experience Sun day dinner at mom and dad's. Then all to quickly the time came for her to leave. I did not like that - I never do. Maybe someday we can get her to work at Citizens - maybe.

I am so glad that God has blessed me with her friendship. It means so very much to me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lesson 3

Greg and I are to be a team. Picking up the slack for each other. Working together in harmony, not as independent, separate or competitive entities. And we are (as every parent knows is a very hard thing) to release our kids into God's care - knowing His perfect will is just that - PERFECT. We are to relish the joy and peace of knowing God is in control, instead of living in constant fear of the possible dangers that surround our kids. God loves them even more than we do, and He knows what is best.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daily Review

God knows what is best for my husband and children - way better than I do. Yes, I know them well, but He is their Creator.

I need to accept Greg for who he is, whether I think he needs to change or not. He is not perfect and neither am I (did you hear that, Michelle?)

God is the One who can direct me in what and how to pray for my kiddos. Sometimes as a parent we can feel lost in everything that surrounds our kids. God alone can direct us in what we need to pray about and for. The biggest issue is that we pray. No matter what - PRAY!

These are the things I have learned today. Now - I need to practice them.

I have started a "job" with my sister and her friend (and some other people I do not know). But I work, entering data, each night from 8:30 until 10-11-12. I am noticing that my fingers are VERY cold. I don't think it is because it is cold in here, rather that my fingers are loosing circulation from repetition. Krystel said her hands get that way too (and she works 10 hours a day). I kind of like this work.

Scott came down last night and so we (Jadyn, Grant and I) went to breakfast this morning with Dad, Mom and Scott. That was nice. Then we ran some errands and I had to get back home to start the chicken noodle soup for Greg's mom and dad. Greg's mom had her gall bladder removed today. Praise the Lord they were able to do it laproscopically, and didn't have to give her the 10 inch incision they were preparing her for. Hopefully she heals quickly and completely.

Tonight we went to the library and Grace read to a "Dog in Training". She ABSOLUTELY loved it! We had to sign up for the nest one. They had 5 dogs there and she was able to read to 2 of the - Ditto and Hope (both goldens). Grant poked at the dog and pulled its' ear. Jadyn stayed as far away from the dogs as she could, while being able to keep an eye on me. And Jacob...well he was off looking for comic books 9we were at the library). Greg was at the hospital, keeping his dad company while he waited for his mom to get out of recovery.

I think (because I have no more parts to enter) I am going to retire early tonight. Maybe go put my cold fingers on Greg's warm back. yeah, that's what I'll do. Night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today Starts the POWER of my PRAYER

I have been *listening* to Krystel pray with me for a week or so, but my books have finally arrived and now (even if she does not call me) I can continue praying. Oh I know.....I don't need a book to pray for my husband and kids. BUT....I like that when I can't think of the right words to say what I am thinking, I can find them. And I know.....God already knows what is in my heart even if I cannot think of the words to say, BUT.....I want to say them. I want to pour myself out in prayer for my husband and kids. They are my responsibility.

Here's what I have come across today:
1. I cannot be the wife and mother I am supposed to be without God's help.
2. That I need to get rid of my selfish ways of thinking and doing things, and I need to become PATIENT, KIND, GOOD, FAITHFUL, GENTLE, SELF-CONTROLLED and I need to have my heart filled with LOVE, JOY and PEACE......all of this can ONLY come from God.
3. I need to be obedient to God's commands and do what is pleasing in HIS sight.

Read those over again. If I just do these alone, imagine the possibilities. With God's help, I can do anything (including lose the 20 lbs I want to lose - but that's a different story). I can make the changes necessary to be a godly wife and mother. I WANT to make the changes necessary to be a godly wife and mother. Screaming and yelling, losing my patience and temper, and wanting to drop-kick everybody who walks past me are not characteristics of a godly wife and mother. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but with God's help, I will not only be successful, but I will also be able to use what I have learned to help others.

Lord, I want to take this moment to thank you ahead of time for the changes you are starting in me. I know we have a long way to go, but you are all I need. You will provide for my success in this endeavor. I want to please You as I love my husband and kids. You have blessed me beyond words, with amazing treasures in Greg, Jacob, Grace, Jadyn and Grant. I want to honor You with my relationships with each one of them. Thank you for this opportunity. And, most of all, thank you for never giving up on me - EVER. I love you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Conferences

Last night was conferences at the kid's school. Grace's was first and as expected, her teacher had nothing but great things to say about Grace and having her in the classroom. She is doing EVERYTHING exactly where she should be. And her teacher, who was also her kindergarten teacher, was amazed at how she had matured since kindergarten. All in all, a very good conference. Grace is a child that would make any parent proud!

Then it was Jacob's turn. I was not sure what to expect. Jacob is a keep to himself kind of guy. Trying to get any information from him is like pulling teeth. I was almost shocked when his teacher said that he was an absolute joy to have in class. I mean I would think that, but I am his mom....I am not really sure what I was expecting. His teacher said that he was an excellent participator and that he was kind to and thoughtful of his classmates. Wow! Really, it is like he is a totally different kid at school. Whatever - I am so proud!!! His teacher did say that although he does not create the class disturbances, he does like them. Of course, doesn't that go with being a boy? And the other thing she said was that he is more than capable of writing neatly, using correct punctuation and capital letters. The issue is that he is always in such a hurry to get his work done that he speeds through and writes messily. Overall, it was an awesome conference. Not only did I get to learn about Jacob in school, but what I did learn was all good stuff. Great job, son!

I am so proud of my kiddos!!! All of them. Jadyn and Grant are so amazing too! Jadyn has her very matter-of-fact way of telling us how things "should" be. I so love that! Out of the mouth of a 4 year old - true wisdom. What a doll she is! And Grant.....sweet and sour. Tonight all he really wanted to do was vacuum at Grandma's house. He kept asking for her to get him the "bacuum" because he "sees bugs". Ok then - vacuum it is. Love those kids!

This morning Jacob was looking over the book he bought from the book fair yesterday. That was when I told him that Greg and I were going to pay for part of the book and I gave him back $5. he was so excited to have some of his money back, he kept saying "Thank you mom! Thank you mom!" A few minutes later Grace came in ans asked why she did not get a book. Jacob informed her that she had to pay for her own book. She quickly reminded all of us that "mom" had taken all of her money (but that is a different story all together. Let's just call it a lesson in responsibility.) Jacob walked out of the kitchen and came back and handed the $5 I had just given him to Grace. I about fell on the floor. It took all I had not to cry because I was so proud. I know from past experience that he does not like it when I cry around him. But to watch him give from his own pot, to his sister who had none, really tore at this mother's heart strings.

See why I love them all so much? How could anyone not?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Friday was our 11th anniversary. Greg bought me a dozen red roses. I had them sitting in a vase on the counter when the kids came home from school and Grace asked what they were for. I told her my boyfriend got them for me. She responded, "Tom got them for you?" I couldn't stop laughing. Now, Tom is not my boyfriend really, but we joke about him being my "Costco boyfriend" because we are carded together. Apparently, I need to be a bit more careful about how I am speaking. I do not want to mislead or misdirect my kiddos in any way. The more I think about it, I have to be more careful about ALL of the things that come out of my mouth. I am teaching, or at the very least making an example for, my kids with every single thing I say or do. I need to remember that they are fragile and easily marred. I know that inevitably (and sadly) they will learn unhealthy things, but I want to make sure that they are not learning them from me. I would rather that they not learn them at all. Lord, help me to be a godly example for my kids (and others). Help me to NOT lead them astray, but to be able to direct them back to You should they stray. Also, Lord, help me not be so arrogant as to think that I am not needing to be led back myself. Please Lord, put someone in my path to direct me back when I choose incorrectly. Yes, Holy Spirit, I am talking about you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jacob and the Miraculous Science Test

Last night Jacob pulled a study guide out of his backpack, and frantically said he needed to study for his test the next day. Really? At 7:30 you are going to START studying? So we started. And guess what? He did not know any of the information on the study guide. In fact, most of his answers on the guide were wrong. Woah. So I grilled him for over an hour and by that time he was crying. He said, "I am not getting this because I am not getting enough sleep." Ok - then you go to bed earlier tomorrow. So he says, "No I mean in the morning. I need to sleep longer in the morning." Somehow I don't think your wanting MORE sleep in the morning is going to help you on your test.

I was at the school later this afternoon and popped in to talk to his teacher about the test, attempting to explain why I thought he was going to do so poorly. She looked shocked as I was telling her. She told me she just got done grading his test and he got a 93%. YAY Jacob!!!! So I guess the cram session worked. Whether it did or not, I don't want to try it again.

Halloween 2010

Trick or Treating

Trick or Treating

Grace and Mrs. Reck

Jacob and Ms. Safford

Grace in school parade

Mrs. Reck in school parade

Jacob in school parade

Ms. Safford in school parade

Jadyn's class - she's checking on Kenton

Jadyn in school parade

Trunk or Treating

Trunk or Treating

Trunk or Treating

Trunk or Treating

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Day - in Review

Last night, Greg and I went to small group - the kids spent the night at grandma and grandpa's house. So that meant we got to sleep in this morning. Once we got up, we went to breakfast and like a very old couple, we sat across from each other, drinking our coffee, Greg reading the newspaper while I read my Bible and Our Daily Bread. How romantic! After breakfast, we went to Walmart, where we both got (desperately needed) new cell phones. By the time we were done at Walmart, it was time to go see the kids. As we were arriving at grandma and grandpa's house, Tom was arriving right behind us (he was supposed to meet us for breakfast but had to catch up on some much needed sleep). We had 15 minutes to visit before we had to leave to go "do leaves". Our small group was descending onto the yard of a 97 year old man (who needs Jesus) to clean his yard and rake a burn a TON of leaves. We (Greg, Tom, Jacob, Grace and I) went and joined an amazing crew of easily 25 people, raking, carrying, blowing and burning leaves. There were so many people that we even asked 2 other neighbors if we could do their yards.....to which they gladly said yes!! I was so proud of Jacob and Grace! They worked so hard. Once we got in the car to go home, they asked why we did that. I guess I need to do a better job of explaining the "why" of what we are doing BEFORE we do it. We left there and headed back to grandma and grandpa's. There we cut down, knocked down and cut up trees, stacked logs, burnt logs and sticks, raked twigs......worked like dogs. They have so many dead trees on the acreage - it is crazy. But I realized something while I was working today. I am (embarrassed to say I am) a very intolerant person. Or maybe it is a different word. I was so mean and rotten to Greg today. It kind of started as fun (even sadder), but then it was like...if he couldn't do it my way, then he was wrong. How arrogant and full of myself can I get? He is an exceptionally hard worker and was doing things fine. Why then do I think I have a reason to criticize if things are not done my way. Oh....I still have a lot of learning to do. Praise God that He has blessed me with an amazingly patient and tolerant husband. What an example of God's love he is! I clearly do not deserve his love, yet he loves me. How very much like our Savior - who loves us in spite of our sin-filled lives.

My body is tired. My face is burned (from being too close to the fire while making hot dogs and marshmallows). My lips are chapped (either from being burned from the fire or wind burned - but burned none-the-less). My heart is heavy from my rottenness. I just want to rest. But I think I have some apologizing to do. Thank you Lord for giving me another chance. Thank you for Your patience and blessings!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Been Cryin'

Lots of crying has been done by me lately. A couple of days ago I was reading from my blog to a friend, and as I was reading about how good God has been to me, it made me cry all over again. I could never deserve to be loved so much, and yet, He loves me more than I could ever imagine. Wow.

Another trail of tears......I was supposed to go on a field trip with Jacob. Actually the day started with me going to the school to help in Grace's class. When I arrived the teacher told me that they would be doing a tornado drill. Then the sirens sounded and all the kids marched out into the "pods" and sat facing the walls, with their heads in their laps covered by their hands. Once they were all seated, the teacher took roll call to make sure everyone was accounted for. Guess what? I was crying. Not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because I was glad to see that my kiddos were being taken care of (good thing - because later in the day they had a real tornado....not drill.....but the real thing...I do not know what to call it). But maybe it was something all together different. Maybe I am just becoming a baby. Maybe it is simply because God loves me....and He loves my kids! So because of the storm, Jacob's field trip was cancelled. Oh crud, I have totally gotten ahead of myself. The Jacob story starts the morning of the field trip - at home. Jacob was laying in bed with me and he told me that he did not want me to go on his field trip. I asked him why and he said he just did not want me to go. I told him that if he had a reason I would consider it but I was not just going to not go. Then he said it...the dreaded words every mom hears at some point but never wants to.....he was embarrassed. Well, of course then, all my insecurities popped up. What are you embarrassed about? Tell me and I can change it. Does he think I am too fat to be in a bathing suit (the field trip was to the pool)? I was totally crushed and oh.....I made sure he knew it too. Fast forward to finishing with Grace's class. I decided that, since the field trip was cancelled, I would peek in the window of Jacob's classroom and see what he was doing. For a few minutes he did not notice me, but when he did - oh man - the look was horrible. The *eyes roll* I'm so disgusted that you are looking in my classroom look. If I thought my feelings were hurt before, the were obliterated now. So I left the school, feeling dejected, and drove to my mom and dad's - bawling all the way! Oh man, my feelings were hurt so bad, it was ridiculous. Do I really place so much of my own value in what my kids think of me? Apparently so. When I got to mom and dad's, I sat in the basement and poured it all out to my mom, who said she knew how I felt and that this too would pass. BUT MY FEELINGS ARE HURT - BAD!!!!!

When Jacob came home that afternoon, I sat him down and talked to him about his behavior. His feelings are fine, but the disrespect of the eye roll is unacceptable. Then I told him that because I am his mom and I love him so much, I will be at EVERY field trip (be the good Lord willing). I care about what he is doing, whether he is at school, at church, at home, or otherwise. It is important to me, so I will make every attempt to be at everything I possible can.

That said, my precious husband has solved a terrible dilemma for me tonight. Greg's dad's cousin's wife (I know, I know) passed away this week and the funeral is tomorrow. I was not sure how I would make Jadyn's Halloween parade and party in the AM, get to the funeral and luncheon and then be back in time for Jacob and Grace's parade and parties. Greg solved it by telling me to drive separate from his parents and not go to the luncheon. Now, why couldn't I think of that one? Must be all the running like a chicken with my head cut off I have been doing for the last 2 days.
Love that man.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Psalm 86

1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.

3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.

4 Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.

5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.

6 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.

7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.

8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.

10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.

13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. [a]

14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.

15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant. [b]

17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Mother's Blessing

I am so blessed. Really, I am. So many things, so little time to tell. Tonight, I noticed that Jacob was playing basketball with a kid I had never seen before. When I introduced myself to him, I found out he was our next door neighbor (the ones who let their dog poop in our yard - but it doesn't anymore). Tonight as I was putting Jacob to bed I asked him how he got to playing with Trent. Jacob told me that he (Jacob) just went over to him and asked him if he wanted to play? *Cleaning ears out* Did I hear right? My son, my firstborn, went over and asked someone else to play? Praise God!!! So cool. But what is the coolest is not that he went and did it, but that this is another prayer answered. I have been praying for a while now that Jacob would come out of his shell and find some good friends. While as of now I cannot say whether this other boy is a "good friend", I can rejoice that Jacob initiated the friendship. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. I love this! Oh, mom's listen.......God is there and he is waiting.....bring your kiddos to Him. Suffer the little children. Bring them before His Holy throne. Oh my gosh! I am so blessed!

Then I moved to the girl's room to put them to bed. Jadyn asked if she could pray. Of course she can pray! So her prayer was this:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for Jacob and the other boy. Thank you for mom and dad. Thank you for grandma and grandpa. Thank you for mimi and papa. Thank you for Gracie and Grant. Amen.
I thought to myself....did she hear me praying with Jacob? Why was she praying for the "other boy", the one Jacob was playing with? Wow! I love how God worked in that. And so precious was her prayer, I had a hard time keeping myself together. I finally got enough composure to tell her I loved her prayer and no sooner had the words left my mouth, she was terrified. There was nothing to be terrified of, but I know that this was the devil attacking her precious heart. A 4 year old. How freaking rude. Really. But he knew that her heart was open to God and he used whatever means necessary to get her mind of praying and God. Shame. But then, out of nowhere (OK his bed) Grant toddles into the room, climbs up onto the bed, over me and lays right on top of Jadyn. Then he says: "I sorry Jadyn, I sorry." Comforting her. He heard her crying from his room and came in to love on her. Am I a lucky mom or what? Immediately after Grant's arrival, Grace broke out into prayer, asking God to comfort Jadyn and help her not to be scared. Oh, I love my kids! And I love how they love and trust the Lord.

I am a seriously blessed momma! Thank you Lord for answering my prayers and working in the lives of my kids. OUR kids. Praise you Eternal Father!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Doing Battle with Pride

Spent some time this morning thinking about pride. If you would have asked me (before this morning) if I was prideful, I would have said no. However, that is simply not the case. I was thinking about how no one really talked to me at the Mom's group I went to last night. Everyone was in their own little groups and "couldn't be bothered" with me. OK - that is what I was thinking. I think I come across (especially to new people) as standoffish or maybe thinking I am superior to them. Clearly, I am not, but what I realized was that I do "size" people up as soon as I enter a new environment. Then I sit back and wait for someone to come up and start conversation with me. I do not start conversations, new conversations - ever. For shame. Think of all the conversation I am missing because I am to (what?) to start them. Am I scared, nervous, proud??? I know I am terrible at this type of thing. So this got me to thinking about our church in IL. I loved and still do love that place.....rather those people. People who filled my need. I know that sounds bad but let me try to explain. From the minute we set foot in the door, we mattered. People talked to us, invited us in, not only to the church but to their lives. I still do not have that feeling here. And I keep looking for it. And maybe, just maybe, that is why I am so discontent in the church arena. I am looking for people to be what I need, rather than taking what I learned and experienced and putting it into action. How many people at the churches we have attended since coming home, have been waiting for someone to come along side of them and make them feel like they mattered? Great. So now, in addition to being prideful, I am also very self-centered. Fab-u-lous. Actually I have not even mentioned the pride part yet. I try to put up this front of having it all together, looking nice, having the "right" stuff....when NONE of this matters. Why do I go to all the effort to impress men (or women...I am using the term "men" to mean all people). It is only God that matters. It is what He thinks of me that matters. Am I doing things to please Him, or am I trying to please myself or other people? I do not need to please other people, I need to love them just as they are. I need to let God's immeasurable love splash over from my cup and soak them. Stop sizing people up. Stop judging people (you are most often wrong anyway). Stop trying to impress people.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind (Luke 10:27). Woke up singing this song this morning. I absolutely love that God has been giving me songs in the morning. I have woken up singing a new song every day. Yesterday's song was Almighty by Wayne Watson. Love that one too!

So I am praying today for a changed heart. One that loves unconditionally. One that loves because God first loved me. One that freely expresses that love because people need to feel that love. And I am praying for the people. Whomever God chooses to place in the path of this love - His love that He is allowing me to share with others. Oh, I know how much God loves me. He knows everything about me. He knows when I sit and when I stand, when I lie down and when I get up. He goes before me and comes behind me. He intricately knit me together in my mother's womb, and knew everything I would ever say and do before even one came to pass. I love how He loves me. I want to share.

Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change me heart, O God. May I be like You. Love that He keeps giving me songs!!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Abundant Life

I was talking recently with an older family member. He was telling me that his friend was reminding him that "they were at the end of the trail" in life. That his friend has recently bought his "last car" and his "last sofa". I gently slipped in that this was a great time to really get to know the Lord. He looked down, eyes slightly wet with tears (whether it was from realizing the "end of the trail" or his desperate need for his Savior, I do not know), and said to me, "I still have some living to do. I am not ready to meet Him yet." I was stunned.

I woke up this morning thinking about that conversation. I was (and still am) very sad over this. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came "that they may have life, and have it to the full." Imagine the life and the living yet to be done, while living a life humbled and submitted to Christ Jesus. Worse yet, imagine the ramifications of NOT living a life submitted to Christ. Hell is real for sure - it is not something made up. And God gives us opportunities to turn from our sinful ways and turn to Him. Yet, many (even in my own family) keep turning their backs on Him. Know the good news? He will not turn His back on them....as long as they are breathing. Once you have stopped breathing, you cannot choose Christ anymore. And...sadly.....if you have not chosen Christ, your eternal reward is separation from God (unthinkable).

Precious, patient, loving Heavenly Father, please change the hearts of my family members. Please help them to feel your Presence and know that it is You alone that they need. That their life could be lived to the fullest in the midst of Your Presence. Lord, hear my cries. Change their hearts!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jadyn's Boyfriend

Jadyn has a boyfriend. Yes, 4 year old Jadyn has a boyfriend. She met him at preschool, and according to the teachers they are inseparable. They do everything together. After a field trip to the nature center, I noticed that all of this is very true. Jadyn talks about Kenton ALL THE TIME. No really, all the time. Yesterday they had a playdate after school. So here are a few pictures of them. Too sweet. But seriously, they are really good friends and it is very cute to watch them play.







I just recently came across this picture of us at Oscoda this year. I never noticed how nice it really is. Just for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Psalm 23

Last Wednesday Grace had to learn the 23rd Psalm for Awana. It was also Parent's Night, so I was in the class. I helped Grace work on her verses but then her time came to say it to her teacher's helper. I sat there nervous for her but she belted it right out - with no helps. I was so proud of her!! And I told her so. The lady she said her verses to was also surprised at the magnitude of verse for a 2nd grader. Apparently, she was also impressed with Grace's ability to memorize it (clearly she was not the only one to memorize this, but she was the first for this lady), because she told her 4th grade daughter about this little girl who memorized this long Scripture. I know this because she told me this tonight. She also told me about her conversation with Grace about it. In the car on the way home Grace also told me the conversation. It went something like this:

Lady: I was so impressed with your verses last week. I went right home and told my 4th grade daughter about how many verses you memorized.
Grace: Really?
L: Yes, that was so cool.
G: That's what my mom said. She is so proud of me!

Yes, I was and still am proud of her accomplishment! I absolutely LOVE that she knows I am proud of her!!! Love it, love it, love it!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Overwhelmed with Gratefulness

So, Tuesday the offer came. Wednesday Greg had 2 interviews previously scheduled which he continued with. Thursday he had 3 phone calls - one random, one from GM and one for a 2nd interview. Today, he is at the 2nd interview. A few minutes ago, I took a call from the other company that he has previously had 3 interviews with. I am a wreck. I have been sitting in my "prayer closet" crying and praying, and I have no idea for what. I am so excited at all the possibilities and nervous about choosing the "right" one. I just want to be where God wants us to be and for whatever reason I am not listening (or hearing) well. I hope I do not listen to God like my children listen to me :)............(elapsed time)........I just got off the phone with Greg and he feels confident that this company will offer him the job next week. As he was talking to me about it, the guy (who called here previously) called him back, so he had to let me go......so I wait. In the meantime, I am so grateful and thankful for these opportunities. If for nothing else, for Greg's confidence. So I will leave for now and go back to writing out Psalm 118 (in an attempt to memorize it). But I will keep you posted.

Father in Heaven, I come to you now and praise your Holy Name! You are God, greater than anything ever. There is none like You. You are my constant, my rock, my Lord. Please Lord, help me to hear You! I want to hear You, and You alone. I want to hear You so clearly, like You are sitting next to me. Whether I turn to the right or the loft, to hear a voice behind me saying "This is the way. Walk in it". Lord, hear my prayer. Show me Your Way!

Greg just called me. The guy was a recruiter for the job I was supposing it was. He was calling to tell Greg that he was one of the final candidates for the job. Oh my.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heart Protection

God has really protected me during this journey (and always). But I was thinking about this simple issue. Every time Greg has EVER interviewed for any job, I get emotionally involved. "Oh yes, this has to be the one! When are they going to call? Really? What didn't they like about you?" Over and over and over. I would ride the rollercoaster of the job search. But not this time. God has protected me and my heart and my emotions. Only one time through this whole process did I experience any emotion over a job (see post The Desire of My Heart 9/17/10). But this was where I poured out the desires of my heart to God, and then within hours Greg received information that line up EXACTLY with what I was praying. Guess what? THIS IS THE JOB! Oh, how I praise God for caring for and providing for us in this way. How utterly amazing!! And that this was the only time I felt any emotion for any job in the entire 45 day period. THANK YOU LORD!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spread Your Wings Little Butterfly

Today an offer came. Oh are we excited! How God has provided again. Know what is neat? I was sitting, writing out Psalm 118, and I came across verses 23-24.

"The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

And rejoicing we are! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

We are still working out the details, but today is the day (kind of). I was sitting praying with Greg, praising God, when all of a sudden I got sad. I am not sure if that is the correct word for what I was feeling, but it is the word I'll use for now. I was trying to explain to Greg that I am afraid to come out of the cocoon. We have been unable to provide for ourselves during this time, and now that we have a job, I do not want to fall away from the cradling in God's hand. Here's the thing: He will not drop me. I have to make sure that I do not jump.

Keep my eyes focused on Him, and Him alone. Nothing else matters. Let God guide me, not a checkbook or the false security of a job. Please do not mistake this for being ungrateful for this awesome opportunity. I just really like remaining in God, trusting in God, relying on God, being taken care of by God. The thing that needs to sink in is that this does not have to change simply because we have a job. Actually this gives us MORE opportunity to serve God more. And this is what we will do!!!

Come out, precious butterfly, come out! You have been moulded and prepared......time to fly!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nurse Cinderella in Chicago

I finally got my mini-vacation!!! Well, at least I got away for a day or so. Mom and I went to Chicago to pick Grandma up from Aunt Sally's house. Grandma has been in Chicago, very sick, back and forth between the hospital, a rehabilitation center and Aunt Sally's house for the last 6 weeks. Mom and I drove down Saturday morning. We stopped in Battle Creek to visit my high school friend and see her new baby. Then we stopped to check out exactly what the chocolate garden was. Let me tell you. It is a small building that charges a lot of money for a very small amount of chocolate. We immediately left telling ourselves that we were diet coke and m&m girls, not truffles and wine ladies. So onto Chicago we went. When we first got there we "checked into" our accommodations. We stayed at my mom's cousin's house. She was so kind to let us crash there despite her being away. THAT was a treat. She has a MEGA-mansion. OK, she has a quaint 20,000 square foot home. Yes - I said 20,000! It was so beautiful. Totally not for me - who could clean it? (3 cleaning ladies.) But, oh.....what a wonderful place to visit. I can hardly wait to go back!! *hint, hint* I felt like Cinderella (without the housework) in my bedroom. The bed in my room was so high, I could have used a ladder to get in. The top of the bed was at the line of my belly button. I mean this was REALLY TALL!!!! The bed was beautiful, every piece of furniture in the room was beautiful, there were floor length draperies that totally reminded me of Cinderella. I lay in the bed, snuggled in warm covers, head resting on fluffy pillows, and watching "The Dukes of Hazard". Could it have gotten any better? My kids were totally impressed by the flat screen on my bedroom wall. They wanted one too. Too bad.

However, I have gotten ahead of myself. I had much more night before bed. After touring this amazing home, we got back in the car (also spoiled by driving Grandma's Lincoln MKX) and drove to Aunt Sally's. After a little "old lady confusion" we were finally let into the building. Mom was on the building phone with Aunt Sally and her cell phone with Grandma, who were both in the same room. Oy vey! Grandma looked much better than I expected but she still didn't look well. The MSU game was on TV, in fact, it was on 3 TVs (2 of which were nearly in the same room - from the chair I was in I could watch both). Aunt Sally cracked us up by pacing while she watched the game and talking to her dog, Sadie, about the plays. Later we ate pizza and played cards. It was so much fun to watch Grandma and Aunt Sally together. They would talk about some random obscure thing, then get back into the game and talk smack to each other. Aunt Sally "knew" Grandma would always collect 4s and Grandma "knew" that before Aunt Sally sat down she would make sure she had the scorecard and pen by her. I loved watching and listening to them. Later, they would bicker back and forth about Grandma's pills (I even got this on video). I am smiling now just thinking about them. I love old people!!!

Coming home this morning we had a bed in the back of the car for Grandma. I was driving and Mom was tending to Grandma. We stopped for lunch, but had to eat on the run - no getting out. Mom had just handed Grandma her lunch and I was trying to get back on the expressway. I realized quite late that the entrance was on the opposite side of the road from where I thought it was and had to "quickly" get over. Grandma rolled around the back of the car saying "I'll remember this when you are in the back of the car with a tube sticking out of you". Can you picture it now? Laughing hard again. Then we had to pull over on the side of the expressway so Mom and I could switch, because Grandma wanted me to rub her back. That was fun - the switching. It made Grandma laugh a little. As I rubbed her back I prayed for her. I just want her to get better. To feel strong and healthy. I was so honored to be able to be there and to be able to do something that helped her. After I rubbed her back, I climbed back into the front, grabbed my Bible and started reading - out loud. Not real sure why - maybe because it was Sunday and we did not go to church. I read a Psalm, then a Proverb. Then Grandma asked where I was reading from and when I told her Proverbs, she asked me to read another one. That made me so happy. I love God's Word. And I love to read it out loud.

Although it was a short trip, it was great! I totally expected my family to be happy to see me. Grace greeted me at the door. Greg and Jacob completely ignored me when I walked in. And Jadyn and Grant were sleeping, and when they woke up really didn't want anything to do with me. I was a little bummed. A little bit ago, I was talking to Mom and she said Grandma said "I wish Michelle was here". Mom asked why and Grandma said she wanted her back rubbed. At least someone wants me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Did Some More Thinking

So I went for a walk and did some more thinking. You know how I said God is not my genie? Well, I was lying. Kind of. I mean He is NOT my genie, but I act like if I say and do the "right" thing, then He will give me what I want. I think this is worse than thinking He is my genie. Seriously. God knows my heart. What in the world would make me think that He couldn't see past the front I was putting up? It was like if I just prayed hard enough or believed strongly enough, He would give me what I want because I was diligent. I am physically sick at my self. Please don't misunderstand me....I really honestly want God's will for my life, but based on my recent actions it appears that what I really wanted was for His will to fit into what I want. Vomit in the back of my throat. A friend of God would not think like this or behave in this way.

Want the good news? Despite my raunchiness, He still loves me. He still calls out to me to turn from my wicked ways. He still wants a deep relationship with me. He still sent His Son to die so that my disgusting sin could be washed away. Washed away. Gone. Clean. White as snow.

I am forgiven. I want to be better though. A lot better. Help me Lord. Please help me.

Yuk!

Man, it's bad today. The morning started out with Greg and I fighting, then we rounded out the noontime with more. But this time, it was me. Remember the judge not, lest ye be judged? Guilty. Mega-guilty. I have been thinking that if Greg would just get it together and trust God (like I am - ooooo man this is bad), then we would be alright. Oh my goodness! Am I hearing what I am saying? I am so ashamed, embarrassed, grieved at my behavior; I can't even begin to imagine how I have hurt God. What is becoming clearer to me is this: Just like I cannot "save" anyone (this is Christ's job - completed on the cross), I also cannot make anyone grow closer to or trust God. It is a personal choice. But even more than this, is shame on me in a major way for assuming what someone is doing. I am a nag. The nagging wife that is WORSE than a constant dripping. Lord help me. Greg's relationship with and trust in God is his business - not mine. I can pray for him and love him (and need to be doing a better job), but I can't nag or force him. And I can't assume that we are in this state because "he is not doing the right things". Because CLEARLY I am doing the wrong things. One step forward, two giant steps back. I have so much more to learn and so much more growing up to do.

Yesterday was such a bang up day, so the devil just tries to worm his way into ruining this day. So NOW IT STOPS! I declare the rest of this day for God's glory alone. Jesus be praised!

Often I get caught up in the "what" of any situation. Whether it is Greg looking for a job or it is me trying to get my Bible reading done or pray. It is almost like I think it is something to check of a tasklist, rather than living in the moment of the situation. God doesn't care if I read my Bible. I mean, clearly He wants me to, but if reading my Bible is just something I do for the sake of doing and the relationship is not there - then why bother. Same for praying. God wants me to dialogue with Him. Not pray something canned. Not bring a list of my wants. He wants the relationship. Yes, absolutely yes, present your requests to Him (He already know anyway). But He is not a genie in a bottle, waiting to grant my every wish. It is not like that. It is like hanging with your best friend, being able to say whatever, whenever, not worrying about what they think, not trying to get something out of it selfishly. Just basking in the glow of your love for each other.

Failing a lot lately. Falling to my knees even more lately. Needing more than ever NOW. Thank you Lord.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Question of the Day

The question of the day is: Have you ever experienced God's love being "poured out"?

The answer: Every single day of this phase in my life. And certainly at other times in my life, but most significantly, now. Not a day goes by that I do not know that my Heavenly Father is upholding me. As I sat here and thought this through, I found myself telling God how much I truly do hate this situation. And why do I hate it? I have never been closer to God or relied on Him more. I have never really felt this much at ease. I know, it sounds weird even as I type it. Maybe the reason I hate it so much is that it is going against all I have ever known. Yeah, that's it. I have never been in this situation and I "know" that this is wrong. Not that we are doing anything wrong, but this is not how we are supposed to live, right? And the more I think about it, the more I see God's love for me (having trouble seeing through the tears at the moment). Despite not having a job, we have not been in need. We have not even suffered. In fact, we have been blessed. This has me shaken to my core. God is taking care of everything. I know we aren't - we can't. So why do I want to leave here? Beats me. It doesn't seem practical. I am using human reasoning and logic to try and explain something that is far beyond human understanding. GOD LOVES ME!! He loves me more than I could even imagine. He knows each of my days before they come. He knows the plan He has for me (and my family). I have no other choice but to humbly, obediently submit to His will. I would want nothing less. Oh, to be in a place seen by the world as the "bottom", yet feel like I am on top. Why do I want this to change? Why is it that I see a job as the "summit"? What we are striving for? (Am I sounding like Paul to anyone else? I can barely understand what I am writing.)

I want a job for many reasons and I guess I need to list them to get them off my chest.
1. The paycheck
2. Insurance benefits
3. Greg's self worth
4. Normalcy?

Let's think that one through. Normalcy. What exactly does that mean? I can't put my finger on it but I know one thing for sure. Normalcy ALWAYS changes. And the more change I go through, the less pain there is in it. So what I want is this: The job situation to change from no job to the job God has for Greg AND my relationship with the Lord to change from the awesomeness that it is now to even greater than that. Is that asking too much? God is my center. He is my everything. That I never want that to change. Ever. All I am asking for is THE job. Personally, I would like it to come after the 10th of October and before the 31st of October, 2010, and that it is in Michigan (so that we do not have to move again). But I would never dare to presume that He should work on my timetable.

He is the Infinite One. I am finite.
He is the Powerful One. I am weak.
He is the Majestic One. I am a servant.
He is the Eternal One. I am a vapor.
He is my Savior. I need to be saved.
He is My Father. I am His daughter.
He loves me. I love Him.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Unbelievable

I am stunned. Where to begin?

This morning I was praying. I was asking God to help me to come out of my comfort zone and to be willing to be used by Him. I was praying for someone to come along side of. Fast forward to 2pm, when I was supposed to leave to go to Chicago with my mom to pick up my grandma (who has been in and out of the hospital). As I pulled into my mom's driveway, she got a phone call saying that my grandma was going to have to stay for another week. Darn it. I was so looking forward to my mini-vacation (overnight to Chicago with mom, grandma and great-aunts). Instead I decided to go to my Bible study (which I would have missed if I went to Chicago). I got there on-time, but everyone else was late. Finally they all got there and we were standing in line. 3 of us in front, someone on the phone in the middle and 2 of us behind. I placed my order and then my friend asked the person behind us if she was in a hurry (because she was on the phone). That prompted me to look at this person. As soon as I saw her, I knew I knew her. But I could not figure out from where. In fact, I probably seemed scary to her because I would not drop it. And that is not my normal nature in public. I asked her if she wanted to join us and she said (to my surprise) yes! We stood around her and she was telling us about some things that are happening in her life, in her neighborhood and she is beyond frustrated - and rightly so. We prayed with her and invited her to join our study. Then it hit me! I knew her from our old subdivision. I had met her once when I was out walking. She had a bunch of puppies and my kids stopped to play with them. She said she had to do some shopping (we meet in the Starbuck's in Target), but that she would come back. And praise God! She did. We talked with her some more, it was so cool how God orchestrated this whole thing. Oh my goodness. Because of the group I was with, we were able to present her with the gospel message. I have a friend that is real good with that. We encouraged her to pray - for strength, for courage for her son, for changed hearts (both hers and her neighbors). We talked at great length with her and it was so exciting to see how God used this study, these people on this day to reach out to the hurting heart of one of His precious creations. Oh God in Heaven, how I worship You even now as I sit here and type. There is none greater than You. You are a matchless King, worthy of everything that I am. Thank you for letting me be a part of this. I know that this is all You. All glory to You forever, but thank you for letting me witness this, partake in this. What a glorious experience for me. Praise You and You alone!!!!

I am thrilled to see what comes of this. I am so excited to have met a new friend. I am so glad that God forced me out of my comfort zone. Not to me, O Lord but to You be the glory. Please don't let this sound like boasting, except that I am boasting in You, God of Heaven. I am out of my skin excited to have been there!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Picture Updates

Jadyn's First Day of Preschool


Outside of School

The girl's beds have been in bunk beds. However, they have not used the top bunk - ever. They sleep together in a twin bed every night. I was making them make their beds today (a rare occurrence) and Grace asked if they beds could be on the floor like the boys. So we took the beds down and now they each have their own bed. The problem - they are so used to sleeping together that we had to push the beds together, so they can be close.

As soon as Jacob saw the girls' beds together, he immediately had to have Grant and his beds pushed together. This is going to be difficult.


Typical Jadyn.

Absolutely Grant.

Another of the various ways the girls sleep.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jadyn and Her Boyfriend

I have already mentioned Jadyn's boyfriend, I'm sure. But on Friday, when I went to pick her up she asked me if she and Kenton could have a sleepover. I was totally taken by surprise. I said no way - not now, not ever. Then I had to back-pedal and say that they could have a playdate instead.

Yesterday when I went to pick her up, the teacher asked me if I knew about the bracelet. I had no idea what she was talking about. Kenton's mom was standing there and she told me that Jadyn had given Kenton a "silly band" that said LOVE. Man, this girl......I don't even know what to say. Then the teacher told me that the 2 of them initiated this relationship all on their own. That they play together, sit next together on the blue mat, sit next to each other for snack. They are ALWAYS together, but they are good together. Wow.

Lunch Lady No More

For the last week or so, I have been terrified (or at least felt that way). Terrified about starting a new job. Last night at about 10pm or so, Greg randomly said, "You shouldn't be working. The timing is wrong." Oh, geez, did that mess with me. I was supposed to start in the morning. Then he tongue-lashed me about how I always jump into things without thinking. Then he stopped. So, I was laying in bed and praying, asking the Lord what I was supposed to do. Then Greg started again. Telling me it was not worth all the hassle to everyone, for me to have this job that didn't make any money. Ouch. His words were hurting, but they were speaking the truth. So I continued praying. A few minutes later, he started again. Reminding me that I wanted to raise my children, not have someone else do it. OK - OK, I get the point. But now I couldn't sleep because I was feeling sick about quitting a job (that I wanted 3 years from now) that I had not even started yet. I got up (because Greg made me because I was just flip-flopping around in the bed keeping him awake). I came out, prayed again, then called my mom. She only said she agreed that I should be home with my kids. Then I called Abby. She prayed with me and encouraged me. I knew what I had to do, but I did not like it.

This morning I was up at 6am. Showered and ready to go to the school to "face the music". I prayed all the way and took my devotions to do while I sat in the parking lot and waited for someone to show up. I saw a car pull in the other side of the parking lot, so I drove over there. It ended up being the main "lunch boss". I called out to here and we had the conversation in the parking lot. I told her I felt terrible to quit before I started, but I felt I had to be home with my babies. She told me that unless I had to be there, I should be home with them. I said that when they are in school I want to be able to come back - I do not want to burn this bridge. She advised me it would be OK. Thank you Lord for Your Heavenly orchestration of this scary confrontation for me.

Then in the car on the way home, I started telling myself that I was a slacker. Almost as soon as I said that, a fight broke out between the devil and me. I said I was not a slacker, I was first and foremost, a mama, and my biggest responsibility was to my husband and kids. That is where God placed me, that is the job He has given me and that is what I am going to do.

I still feel a little bad, but when Jadyn and Grant (and Grace) were all snuggling together on my lap, arguing over whose "mama" I was, I knew I had made the right choice. Good thing I have a persistent husband who is not afraid to call me out and tell me I am rash and always in a hurry. Thank you Lord for him. And thank you Lord for Your reassurance.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pet Drama

I do not like animals. I mean, it is not like I hate all creatures (some for sure), but I am not an animal aficionado. I do not choose pets. Last night I was painting Grace's nails and she was telling me about her friend that has a guinea pig that she wants to give away FREE. Grace was asking for it. Of course, I said no. Then Grace proceeded to ask me, "If we had a guinea pig, where would we keep it?" I (errantly) said "in the woods". Oh my gosh....what you would have thought I said was "I would step on it's head and grind it into the ground." Grace started bawling....really heavy bawling. Between sobs, she said "How would you feel if you were a guinea pig and someone wanted to keep you in the woods, where something could eat you? Huh, how would you feel? Mom, what if Jadyn was a dog and you said that we had to keep her in the woods? How do you think she would feel? Terrible, I tell you, she would feel terrible." Honestly, this was exactly what she was saying. I couldn't make this kind of stuff up. It was extremely hard for me not to laugh my head off. Because on one hand it was really funny. But on the other hand, it made me sad that I thought it was funny. Because the truth is that she loves animals and really wants one. Her heart is so full of love - for everyone and everything.

In the midst of all the animal drama and sobbing, the phone rang. Greg answered it and as soon as he said hello, Jadyn asked, "Is it my boyfriend?" I was almost crying I was laughing so hard. She really does have a "boy-friend". His name is Kenton and he is in her preschool class. They play together everyday and when I talked to his mom yesterday I learned that he talks about her like she talks about him. It is cute, but then it makes you wonder - is this the start of something we are not interested in? A boy-crazy daughter?

Then Grant was standing next to me and he picked up my Our Daily Bread devotional. He opened it (upside-down) and started yelling "Donalds! Donalds!" One of the devotions started with a "w", which when read upside-down looks like a "golden arch."

And through this whole thing, Jacob lay on the couch playing his DS, oblivious. Yep.

I love my children. They are such a tremendous source of laughter and joy to me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Desire of My Heart

I was editing for the Master's Plan this morning and something jumped out and bit me in the nose. It said, "YOU HAVE NOT BECAUSE YOU ASK NOT!" And yes, it was all capitals and bold like that. Then my mind went to my DBV, in which the commentary talked about praying in a raw and honest way - not sanitized. Basically, not just praying what you think you are supposed to, but rather telling God EXACTLY what is on your heart. He knows anyway, so why not just tell Him and get it off your chest.

So....I stood in my garage (I am having a garage sale) and did this very thing. I told God I was looking for a job for Greg. But not just any job - THE job. The one He has planned for Greg. I told Him I knew nothing about the specifics of the job and its responsibilities, but that this was between him and Greg. I wanted a job where Greg was happy and looked forward to going to work every day. I wanted a job where Greg was a valuable asset to the company and where he could help make a difference in that company. I wanted a good paying job, with great benefits. I wanted it to be flexible so that he could be around for "stuff". And then added, at the end, that I wanted him to have at least 3 weeks of vacation. Doesn't sound like much, right? Actually I felt a little bad asking for it this way, but I had not because I asked not. Before you go thinking that I am thinking that God is my genie (which He is not and I would never think He was), I was just pouring out the desires of MY heart. The first of which is that whatever and wherever the job.....we would be in the exact center of God's will. THAT is the most important to me.

Greg came home from his second interview with this company and said that they wanted him to interview with one more person (in Norway). They were going to try and arrange the call promptly. They were eager to move ahead (and so was Greg). After a phone call, Greg came to me and told me some of the information that was relayed to him. Basically, the salary, the benefits, the stuff. We were sitting in the garage (again the sale) and I was bawling. Everything he was telling me was lining up with EXACTLY what I prayed this morning. I was even feeling sick. Sick, mostly because I am so not worthy. Even if nothing comes from this, just to know that God is ALWAYS there and ALWAYS listening to me. Even if what I am saying is totally ridiculous. I am so excited that He heard the desires of my heart. I will be even more excited if these line up with His plan. We will see. The interview is supposed to be Monday or Tuesday.

O Father, if this is Your will - thank you! If it is not, please help me to always see that Your will is greater, better and perfect. I pray that no matter the situation, we will be good stewards of ALL that you have entrusted to us. Not to us, but to You alone be all the glory - forever. Praise Your Holy Name!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So It's Been Awhile

I have limited access to the computer as Greg is using it to find a job, so I haven't been able to post much. Here's what new:

Last night I was talking to my kids about a boy who died in a car accident. Jacob told me, "I do not want to drive until I am FULLY TRAINED, like you, Mom." Fully trained? That kind of wording I would expect from Grace, but not Jacob.

My mom brought a kid's guitar over to my house for a garage sale I was having. From the minute it came out of her car, Grant had it and would not put it down. Over the last couple of days, it has made it into the house, and for whatever reason, Grant keeps pushing the SAME BUTTON. Oh, man, is that song getting annoying. BUT.....I really listened to the words this morning.

"Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid, it's going to be OK"
I love how God is using my 2 year old and this annoying guitar to remind us that He is there and taking care of EVERYTHING. We do not need to be afraid. So cool!

Greg has a second interview tomorrow. He is excited about this one. I have no real feeling. And...he had another really good phone interview this afternoon. It has been a very busy week for Greg. Some weeks are like this and some weeks are dead, but no matter what we praise the Lord and carry on.

Nest week I start my "lunch lady" training. I even bought scrubs to wear while working. I am very nervous. Not so much about the actual work, but more about having a job. But I am very thankful.

Today I went and helped my mom, my aunt and my great aunt move my grandma's stuff into her new house. We worked sort of hard, but had a good time together. I really enjoyed myself.

That's about it for now. Talk to you later.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hook and Eye Locked Out

Totally forgot to tell you about our morning yesterday. Grace was telling me all morning that she was going to throw up. Then we went to the garage to get our shoes on. I turned around to come back in and the screen door was locked!! The lock on the screen door is a hook and eye lock! I could not even believe it. I had to pry the bottom corner of the door open and have Grace crawl through and unlock the door. Good thing she was so skinny. It was totally crazy - how the stinking thing could have locked without assistance.

Good Morning, Jacob

Greg and I were sitting downstairs this morning reading, when Jacob came downstairs. He stood next to Greg and said: "Dad, you were wrong. Meijers won't buy my Nerf guns." Greg said, "What?" Jacob said, "because you have a garage sale yesterday." HUH???? We did not have a garage sale and we never talked about Nerf guns or Meijer. Greg asked Jacob to sit with him, but Jacob said he had to go to the bathroom. Once he came back, he was fully awake, but I do not think that when he came down he was awake. Weird.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Be a Witness

Praying, reading and thinking this morning. I want to be out-spoken for the Lord. I have so many precious people in my life that need Jesus and I want to be able to tell them, but sometimes I feel that my "head knowledge" is not enough (and it really isn't). But......my "heart knowledge" is HUGE. What I was thinking about was our current situation. Anyone who knows Michelle (me), knows that she is somewhat of a control freak and likes to have order and predictability. My life now has none of this. And yet I am carrying on like nothing has changed. Oh yeah things have changed and I have noticed but God is carrying me through this. I know I have already posted all this, but hear me out. The very fact that I am not a mushy puddle of goo, rocking on the floor speaks volumes to this. If God was not physically carrying me (and He is), I could not do a single day. But I am not afraid, not worried, not concerned. I know that God has a plan to take care of us and until that plan is revealed we will keep on carrying on. Greg is daily searching, networking, trying hard to find a job. He has had interviews and he has had rejections. I look at each of these as protection. It is so weird, but I feel that God is protecting us (by rejections) until the right job comes along. I am more content waiting for the right job, than I am in a hurry to just get a job. So we continue to wait and trust God's hand in all of this. It is my sincere prayer that, if you are reading this, you see that all I am and have is because of God in my life. Oh, that doesn't mean I have "stuff" because of God - rather it means I have peace that passes all understanding, hope of a future, protection of my Heavenly Father, and grace that I certainly do not deserve. If you want to talk to me about this, please do. I would welcome the opportunity to tell you about my Lord Jesus.