Friday, February 27, 2009

Isn't that just like life!?

So I got home just so excited, so fired up, ready to make tons of "changes" get so much "better" and then life hits you, and if you are not just too busy to do anything but hang on!!

That has been my week! I started this post earlier this week (before the business of life hit...)

So it feels like spring, but I know that there is yet at least one more freeze and probably hail storm in store for our home before Spring really arrives. Anyway we are in the swing of garden prep and yard prep. Today I found this great link with ideas to plant an edible garden! I cannot wait to try some of these ideas out!
We are going to plant an herb garden this year - we have a few herbs every year, but this year we are dedicating part of our front flower bed to herbs! I cannot wait!

Don't I sound relaxed? It must have been written on Monday or Tuesday, because, let me tell you, today - I am running at the speed of light and that is with trying to slow down!!

So how can you "change" when you are too busy to "change"? Don't you think that is what Satan says every morning when we get up? "You know, if I keep her busy, she will not have time to read that BOOK, she will snap at unsuspecting people out of frustration, and she may even be willing to let the dog run away when she gets out!" Not that any of that would happen to me! No way- oh wait that is another thought for another "Not Me Monday" post!

So anyway, how do you make changes if you are too stinkin' busy to?

Well, I can say that thankfully our God is so gracious and wonderful! That if you turn your heart to him as much as you can when you are out of breath (I think I start that way these days) and ask for his help, his guidance and his comfort, he does miracles!! Wow! I did come home a changed woman on Saturday night. I think about the points I got every day, and sometimes many times in my day. I am focusing more on my children and less on this crazy box called a computer. I get hugs out of the blue all day long now! And my eldest is responding so much to first time asked! We still have minor fits - but let me tell you that is HUGE!! I mean HUGE HUGE!! I am trying to make time for him every day - even if it is just to talk while I sew. I see a change in me through how my kids are responding! I love it.

Does that mean busy is okay? No I know it is not. I have known for some time it is not. And after this week I will not allow my schedule to have something almost every day! My kids do not deserve a stressed out mom because she is busy! Unless busy means reading too much to clean, or playing too much to fold the pile of you know what! Unless busy means busy loving my kids and my husband! So look out calendar - I am coming with a sharpie to mark things out and a note to remind me not to put them on in the first place!


I already feel better!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Everything I hoped for .... and MORE!

Wow! That is the best word for my weekend. I mean wow!! I was so excited and looking forward to this weekend, and after hearing a friend say she was trying not to get too excited because she did not want the weekend to not meet her expectations I worried BRIEFLY! Then when I got to my conference and listened, God spoke! How can that not meet your expectations? It is not possible! You can not expect too much when you are expecting God to speak. And speak he did, not once, or twice or in a small quiet voice. No, he SHOUTED into my heart many times in the 26 hours I was at the Whole Hearted Mothering Conference.

What did he shout? Well, since I do not have hours to pour my heart out right this moment, and I am already tired again today, I am afraid I cannot share much. But he convicted me of so many small things, he laid so many big things on my heart, and let's just say he threw down a challenge or two as well. He asked me to look back on the last 14 years I have been serving HIM and look to see what that really means.

Then, okay are you ready for this? I found out this morning at church, he was not done talking to me! Really, I mean it. He was there at church this morning too. That is not out of the norm. I mean, He usually does show up at least twice, in our 1st grade Sunday school room and in the sanctuary during our morning service. But today, he was talking to me again. Not really talking so much as pleading with my heart, with me. Just again asking me those questions that he started asking Saturday afternoon. How much? How much are you serving me? How? How are you serving? He was not asking about how I am "serving" - like what are you doing these days in ministry? No - like....are you ready..... like "are you by chance serving me in your flesh..... or are you serving me by FAITH?" Those were the words that he used Saturday afternoon. Today is was...... well more like....."Am I (Jesus) something in your life?" or "Am I JESUS - EVERYTHING in your life?"

So I think I am perched on the edge of a very steep, very high cliff and that he is asking me if I am ready to take a plunge with him. And maybe asking me more that just "if" but when I am going to be ready to take that plunge with him, because until I am ready .... we are really just playing at this business of serving him.

Wow. wow. and WOW!
that is all I can say right now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can't Wait.....

It's Wednesday of a short week! I love short weeks - where Robert gets to be home on Monday or Friday - and this week he was home Monday and I am off about noon Friday to a Mom Conference! I cannot wait to get away for a little Mom/Wife/Woman - and daughter of the King - encouragement time! This conference I am going to is Whole Hearted Mothers and I have been to MOPS, Women of Faith, Retreats. Family Life Marriage, and this is hands down the BEST conference I have ever been to!! I came home so excited to be a mom and inspired to be a better one!

So Friday I head out with 2 other friends and we are trekking to Dallas for a night and 2 days (almost 2 days) of some time of encouragement as Home School moms, as wives and as daughters of the King! What an honor and a privilege to really take that in!

Sally Clarkson is a home school mom of 4 - I think 3 are out of the house and now she ministers to other moms (and not just HSers). She reminds us of the precious gift we have for such a short time. And is it possible to have that reminder too much? I mean when you are in the trenches with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 18 month old and pregnant with your 4th (yes I said that right - for Kristen) you need to know that it passes so quickly and you cannot get a second of it back! And while I have a toe out of the trenches (we not longer use a stroller, I am ALMOST out of diapers, and my eldest can really manage most things without me) I still forget how precious those bedtime kisses (even the 10th one) can be. Or when they sweetly ask to be rocked, soon it will be too late to rock, and then soon she will be rocking me!

So I am going to cherish my moments this weekend with some dear friends, and with Sally as she reminds me of the reason we do this - the calling God has placed on our hearts to be the woman he wants us to be and the mother he equips (not equipped,but equips he is still doing it every day) us to be. I am going to soak it all in and chew on every morsel and just relish it all.

(Can you tell I am really excited?)

And when I come home, I will be so excited to see those darling faces that mean the world to me and I will be re-energized to spend another year filling their hearts with love, God, and every other good thing I can! .... that is until the next Whole Hearted Mothers Conference!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A wonderful Valentines Day

Okay, so I am starting to think romance is relative. I mean there is romance while dating, romance when married without kids, and then there is the best - romance when married with kids. We had a great Valentines Day - by our family standards, but not by anyone else's!
We went out as a family this morning to get the kids a new wii game they have been saving up for and to add 2 new numchucks to our wii collection. Unfortunately we were unable to find the game we were looking for anywhere - I MEAN ANYWHERE!! We tried 2 walmarts, 2 targets, 3 radio shacks, a sears and a game stop!
We also stopped at Jo-Anns to get a few things that I need for some upcoming projects.
We came home and had a great lunch of fajitas off the grill! Since we were still full tonight we ended up with a supper of pop corn as we watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The kids loved the pop corn and they were enthralled with the movie! So this was a great family night! What a different kind of Valentine's Day we celebrate these days - but so much more meaningful!
I still love for us to get out every now and then - but when you kids hit the hay at 7pm you really have a date night "in" every night, so we do not often feel the "need" to get out and away from the kids.
It is just funny how life is always changing and each phase of life brings so many great things!
We are happy to have Dad home an extra day this weekend too - not sure how we will spend Monday (maybe car shopping) but maybe working on the yard - who knows. It will be fun either way to have breakfast together and just have another day at home!
We recently bought all our books for school for next year too and I am getting so excited to start the new year (and we are still about 4 months away)! We will finish this school year the last week of April or 1st week of May and then break for about 3 weeks. Then we will start up our next year the beginning of June. Now that I have my books, and we are working on our summer plans to get up to Maine I can hardly wait for summer! It does not help that my dear little girl (who is potty training) keeps asking to go swimming and putting on her bathing suit.
While we will school in June and July, we will finish by about 10am and head to the pool at least 2-3 times per week - and I am excited that the kids are getting older and stronger in the pool! This year will be lots of fun!
So, yes, I think I am battling a bit of spring fever -but with a 4 week trip to Maine, lots of pool days and a new exciting set of books waiting for us, can you blame me?
Well, off to some more vegging and tv time with Robert.....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One of those days

Gosh! I am having one! You know those days when everything feels like it is wrong. No matter what you do you feel like it is all a tower of tooth pics about to blow over - not to mention the number of times you get poked! That is today.

Sometimes it comes on like a storm - with no warning. This time is has been creeping up on me and I have been trying to figure out where it came from. And WHY! Isn't that always the question?

You know what? I have not gotten answers to either. But I got something better! I split up the kids to their "corner" for some quiet time. I did some journaling and listened to some praise music and that helped a bit. Then I just laid down. My mind races every night, I go through my whole day and what is to come. I "over" analyze every conversation or thing that happened and often times I lose precious moments of sleep. So I laid down to do this this afternoon and to just pray and talk to God.

I think (okay I would say I know) that Satan has a radar to our weaknesses and just when we start to get beat down by something, he drops what he is doing and attacks full force. TO say this I mean that he whispers in our ear all the things wrong, the things we don't do well, all our insecurities. Not to mention he gets the kids involved and tells them to step up their assaults too! And we get beat down even more.

While talking to a friend today during my "dark moments" I kept thinking this is not what God has for me. He does not desire that I sulk or dwell in those dark places. He does not want me meditating on the things I do wrong or poorly, but he delights in me. That may just be my theme this year because it sure keeps coming up. He delights in all the things I do well - all the ways I serve my family and love them. He delights in the things I try to do well even if I do not always succeed. He delights in me just like we do when we look in on our sleeping children. They are not "doing" anything and we cannot help but smile and feel the complete and perfect love we have for them. And that is God with us, except I am sure he feels it more often than when we are sleeping.

So maybe when things are going well and we are just cruising along, he allows these bumps in the road to redirect our focus - to realign our steering - to get us looking back to him. I am conscious of the fact that I lean more on Him when times are hard than when they are easy and good - you know? And that is not what he wants for us. He wants that dependency and intimacy when times are good and bad - all the time.

So here I go - I keep learning the same lessons over and over - and I keep growing closer to my Savior - and let me tell you - it is worth every "dark moment" I have to make my way through to see the light of Jesus shining on me and calling me out of that darkness. I am so thankful for a God who knows everything about me, who loves and delights in me, and who never leaves me!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not Me!!

Okay, so it is not Monday and I am not starting my Not Me Monday on Sunday night so I can have it ready to post as soon as MckMama posts the Mr. Linky thingy! No! I would definitely not do that. Nor did I have a number of things happen this weekend when my first response was "Wow that will so be on my Not Me Monday Blog!"

Like when my dear 2 year old daughter tried to help at my son's birthday lunch by bringing the cupcakes in the holder to me on its side. I mean I would not be upset to see all the cupcakes on top of each other all smashed together. No, I would patiently thank her for her help and not mind since I did not ice them with care and attention just to bless my young son. No not me! I must say though we did laugh and she did not realize what she did!

Nor would I give my son a group of wonderful birthday presents that I conveniently procured for free. I mean, I would think it through and find some very special gift for him that would cost me something. I would not give him 2 items that my mother-in-law found at a fabulous garage sale in MI with tags on everything or sealed boxes. I mean that would be cheating wouldn't it? Or is that practical or even frugal?

After helping my 8 year old son plan a slumber party on Friday night, there is not a chance that I would go to bed early to leave Robert with the group of 6 boys ages 4-8. I mean that would not be too fair to plan this and get everyone there and then head to bed to let them be boys? No I would not do that - no me!!

Wow - that was therapeutic - and fun! I have to thank my kids for all the great material!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Birthday Boy & Kristen's Day too - the joys of family

Here is my eight year old! Wow!! Eight! Here he is with his cousin Caleb and below with his friend Bryce.

Here is the who? That's right, the princess in her bubble bath - oh the life....

Here is the gang this morning sometime shortly after 5:30am while watching Kung Fu Panda!

The boys had so much fun on Friday night making their own pizza, followed by ice your own cupcakes! Then there was lots of outside play time (thankfully we had great weather!),then wii Olympics and finally WALL-E. I think it was a great night, the boys had a blast!

So here are the pics of my favorite project yet! James sent me his uniform to make Kristen a diaper bag. I loved the idea and was a little intimidated, but was more than happy to try! And I just love, love, love what the finished product was! I love it! I hope Kristen loves it, James loved the pics! I am just excited to hear from her!

Showing the inside fabric and the side with pocket and key latch

Inside with pockets
I also made these goodies for little Kayleigh Grace (I love that name) and a shirt for each boy too! What fun! I hope they enjoy all the goodies half as much as I enjoyed making them!!

Here is one of my favorite receiving blankets and a glimpse of other!

Each boy got a T-shirt with Big Brother on the back and their initial on the front with Daddy's uniform fabric!

Can I say how excited I am for Kristen that she is having this little girl? What a blessing and a joy to have that little girl in the midst of so much boy! And Kristen also has 3 little boys to be big brothers to that little princess just like me! How fun to watch our kids grow up at the same time! We have been so blessed by our God!

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Winding Down

For the first time today, I am sitting down and I have my feet up! Wow! I just need to get into PJs to really relax!

Today has been house deep cleaning day in preparation for Chewie's birthday sleep-over and the arrival of my in-laws! Of course deep cleaning is necessary since I have not deep cleaned in a while.

But as I sit here relaxing I get to watch 6 boys (age 4-8) play the wii and compete in Mario Olympics - it is hilarious to watch these boys try to row, high jump and run! I mean, Hans Solo cannot play the game without using his entire body! If his person is running, then he is running! His little feet move so fast! It just cracks me up - as I constantly remind them all to back up. (We really like our 1 year old tv and do not plan to get another anytime soon!)
These boys get so frustrated when the contolers do not respond they way they think they should and especially when they are not winning. WHile they are all good natured boys they all really want to win!
It just makes me think how much like them I can be in the game of life. How I can get upset because things are not going to the way I want them to, people are not responding the way I think they should, and I am getting an unfair deal at times. Just a good reminder that God tells us to be patient and to trust him, even when we don't want to. I wonder how often He looks down on us and laughs at how we are playing this game. How we are so uncoordianted or so impatient and how we sometimes get so into things that we look silly! I know I sure do!
Well, my home is feeling very relazing as I look around and there is much less clutter than normal (something I am starting to really hate!) and I know that there is not a ton of stuff we need to finish in the morning. (With some sleepy boys)
It amazes me that my oldest son turns 8 tomorrow. I mean really, where did the time go? Tonight MckMama asked what our thoughts were on Motherhood, and it caused me to reflect. I was still active duty when our first son was born and very involved with my job. I knew that I wanted to have a few more kids and that I wanted to home school but I had no idea how that would pan out. And now here I sit with 4 kids (3 boys and a little girl) and we do homeschool and I love that. Homeschooling is my favorite thing to do each day, even when we are busy, I love to sit down and read with the kids and listen to them. It blows my mind how fast they learn and how much they love to do school at home with each other. God has blessed us so much with 4 great kids who really love each other and who really love their Lord. I can be brought to tears over how grateful I am and the many blessings he has given to us!
Tomorrow we will me Robert's parents and his brother Brian and his wife Lisa for lunch at our favorite spot -> Chuy's . So it will be a great weekend and quite the celebration for our eldest!
On another note, I was able to talk with m brother last night for the first time in about 17 years. We only talked for 15 minutes since that is all he is allowed. It was nice to be able to talk about things though, about his situation there (which he could use your prayers) and just about how us all being in touch has really brought us so much joy! Again God has shown his love to us each (my mom & I, and Jim & I) and allowed us to find forgiveness for each other. It amazes me that God restored our relationships after so many years and so much baggage! He is an amazing God! Well enough to be thankful for today, well not enough but enough to blog about.
TOmorrow I will post pics of Kristen's surprise - after she gets to open it!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Getting Excited

All is quiet here in the Western Front - well not really western, but I guess you could say that since we are "western folk" in the sense that we live in Texas..?

Anyway, life here is good and normal. We seem to be staying relatively healthy and chugging along with school. We now have 5 days at home - we recently stopped attending PE weekly for a variety of reasons, and I have to say I love it. I love having all of our days to our selves. We are planning to start a weekly trip to Dallas to see Robert's grandparents for lunch, but have not gotten that going yet. I am looking forward to training Jacob to start good conversations with adults. Less of the "Guess what I saw [read, did, etc] ...." and more of "Papa what did you do in WWII" or "Papa will you tell me a story of when you were my age" or something along those lines. I have an old cassette player/recorder that I want him to record conversations and then come home and write some stuff down. My long term plan is to take pics of all the kids with their great grandparents and then help Jacob to journal some stuff and then print a book for them to keep to remember these wonderful family members and their stories. We'll see if that actually happens.

Now back to being excited! It is almost time for my eldest dear "Chewie" to celebrate his 8th birthday! What a fun day for him!! He can hardly stand it! He has told mybrother in every letter he has written and tells everyone he comes into contact with! What fun it is to have that excitement about your birthday! I cannot remember the last time I was that excited about a day....makes me wonder why?

Anyway, we plan to have 3 more boys spend the night on Friday - a night filled with homemade "build your own" pizza, wii andmaybe a movie! The boys will have fun and Robert and I will enjoy watching it all! Then we head to Dallas again to meet the other Cole family and Robert's parents too who will be arriving from Michigan to have lunch at our favorite mexican restaurant! Chuy's!! Yeah! The Sr Coles will then be visiting with us for a few days which is always fun and the kids love it!

Talk about hardly being able to stand something....I can hardly wait to post some pics of my latest creations....but I need to recipietn to first open them herself! So after Saturday I will be able to post pics of my favorite item I have made yet!! And some awfully adorable smaller items! Of course it is all for Kristen and little Kayleigh Grace and her shower is Saturday.... so stay tuned and you will see!

Please keep praying for my brother. If you do not know the story it is here. He is still not doing great. His prison went from being one of the best in the state to the worst! SO needless to say he is need of some more prayers - mostly for peace and to trust that God is in control of all of this! Thanks!


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