Saturday, January 30, 2010

Family Time Revisited

Every time God teaches me something I realize the last time he tried to teach me that same thing, I obviously did not get it!

In my heart I know that I do not need to look to my left and right to compare what others have, are doing, or look like to see how I am doing. But in some ways this continues to be a challenge.

I am constantly trying to reevaluate how things run in our home, to ensure they are the best that they can be at this phase of our lives. At times I am aware that some things will not be as smooth as during other times. A great example is meal planning - with 4 kids ages 5 and under it was a lot harder to plan meals and get a routine down. I had at least 2 or 3 kids per evening vying for my attention. Today, they are usually off somewhere playing while I prepare supper, and planning happens pretty regularly now a days.

So anyway.....
These days I have been looking at how I devote minutes to each child in our home. I have asked friends in the past how they deal with this - friends with more than 2 kids usually. I have heard how others do it - again larger families. But until recently I have struggled with how it should look in our family. In other families I hear of a mom who lays down each night with each child and reflects on their day. When children share rooms, I am not sure that sharing intimate thoughts will happen as easily in our home, and honestly the bedtime moments are not the best for me. I am usually tired and ready for some time to think, blog, read, or watch tv - without kids. So that never seemed to work for us.

So then one family I asked said they do not have any regular times - it just happens when it needs to.

I am an intentional person though, so it just happens, well, that does not really work for my mind that needs a plan.

So about a year or so ago, I read about giving each child a day of the week for something - not sure what it was, but I figured out I could apply it my way to our family. So I came up with the plan that Monday was my eldest's day, Tuesday - next born, Wednesday next, and Thursday my youngest. Friday was family night anyway so that was open. And weekends were just a free-for-all.

Lately though, I am tweaking this plan. After a stressful moment at the zoo recently, I asked my friend how someone was supposed to parent one of my specific children. She asked me if I have been praying for him. At first, I felt like that was a cop-out answer. I mean really, of course I pray for said child. But then God connected some random dots in my head.

First, Manna's pastor Micheal preaching about praying with power and authority. Am I praying over E with power and authority? Praying truths and promises from scripture over him and with him? Do I stop during tough times and pray with him, for him? No, no and no. I do not.

Second, scripture :

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of him who called us by his grace and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
So God has given me everything I need to be this child's mother, he is equipping me every day to succeed as his mother - I need to know that.

Third, working prayer and time of talking with each child into our week.

All this led to redefining my children's assigned days. Their day now is their day to serve our family. They empty the dishwasher that day, they are responsible for setting the table and helping prep dinner. The morning of their day, I pray with them, out loud, with them. I pray for them, that they will follow God, listen to him, and for their decision making. My youngest son has lit up during these moments - it has been so sweet. So now, they live for their day of the week. Robert and I have also added praying over our children each night to bedtime routine. After they say their sweet prayers we pray over them, again truths, and promises that God gives us in his word, we pray for their future and that they would grow to love God's word and follow after him.

This has changed our family. It is a slow change, but I am seeing it in my oldest most of all, a tender heart, more tender than usual. A heart to serve and a desire to help.

None of this is new stuff. I have heard about praying for our kids for years, but really how to pray for them. More than just God protect their future spouse..... but really, praying his word over them, and with them. That has been powerful for me. It has given me a greater peace with them, more patience, and most of all reminded me of the power of our words and our prayers!!

I am so grateful for my friends who constantly remind me where truth is and where to go when I do not know where to go.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another! Proverbs 27:17
So as I look at what is going on in our home I reminded that just because other families do things differently does not mean that they are better, or have it figured out. It does not mean I do either, we are all on this journey of parenting these blessings, we are all doing our best to be the mother and father we are called to be, I just hope I enjoy where I am, and trust that God will let me know when I need to tweak something!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Dreaded : What is for dinner?

I normally do not mind this question, these days, but there were days with 3 little kids, or 2 and then sometime 4 - when those little people wanted my attention and I had none. Those were the days that I thought I was losing my mind. For the last 5 or so years I have put more effort into meal planning ahead of time, but there are still days that I am struggling to figure out dinner about 90 minutes before we plan to eat. Those days are never the good ones!

So, when Kristen told me of a recent speaker she heard, who plans her meals based on a list of about 84 meals that she rotates, it made me stop and ponder. Would it work? Would it be worth it to spend all that time planning and then just get tired of the rotation? Well, this particular person who presented this plan has been using it for about 9 years. That says a lot! She is a homeschool mom of 7, I think - so she is busy, she has lots of mouths to feed, and well has more on her plate than me - so why not give it a shot?

So, Kristen and I have been planning our meals together - her ideas and mine - we pick through each others and then make our own list. So here is my list:

sweet potato bean burritos
Lentils & Beef
Marinated Tilapia
Egg Plant Parm
Chicken Parm
Fish Tacos
Asian spring rolls
spaghetti & Meatballs
sausage and peppers
beans & rice
potatoe and sausage soup
ministrone soup
shepherds pie
cheesy potato soup
bean soup
Pork with rootbeer sauce
mexican bowtie pasta
baked ziti
fiesta burritos
baked tilapia
taco salad
southwestern egg rolls
Baked Potato
stir fry
Mediterranean chopped salad
chicken pot pie
chicken maribella
Potato corn Chowder
Sesame Noodles
Drunken Beans
chili relleno casserole
Mexican Mountains/nachos
cowboy casserole
Bourbon & Br Sugar Flank Steak
Red Beans & Rice

For Recipes go HERE to find most of my favorites. I have not organized them into weekly groupings, and honestly we have a veggie night at least every other Tuesday when I pick up veggies from my organic co-op. Normally we have more than one meatless night - about 3 on average I think. So I am going to take my list above and plan 3-4 meals a week from this list. We may plan something different for the weekend - like if we want to smoke something on Saturday or something. And I like to plan a crock pot meal for Sunday when we get home from church so we may get some soup out of the freezer for that. But overall I think we are going to use this master list to come up with about a 4 month rotation. Of course in the summer we will have more sandwiched and salads and in the winter more soups. But I hope this system works for our family, and if not, well then I have a list of all my favorites still in one place.

And the bottom line is, if I have a plan, then the evenings are a much easier time, and I am a much happier mama! So if this plan does not fit our family to a T - we will modify it and keep trying until we find the best solution!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

following Him and not others

(this was posted Tuesday but it was all about walking with him....)

Yahweh Yireh : the Lord will provide

When you pray to Yahweh Yireh you are praying to the God who sees the situation beforehand and is able to provide for your needs.


That is the God who met me today in my quiet moments on the couch. I felt some strong spiritual warfare issues pressing down on me. Does that make sense? But you know, you are anxious and upset, cannot necessarily identify the details of why, but you know this is more than just a upsetting conversation with someone who often has that effect on you. No, this is a spiritual battle, maybe a small one, but a battle just the same.

Well, instead of talking it out (with a friend) this time which is my nature, I learned from Tony Evans last week that we need to go to God with ALL our issues first, not last. So I grabbed my Bible, my Praying The Names of God Study Guide and Stepping Heavenward by E. Prentiss. First, the fact that I could quickly find both books (along with my bible) was a blessing - I would even say God going before me to equip me for today.

Then as I sat down, I did not want to randomly open the Word to any old page, I have done this in the past but not today. I choose to read a psalm - they, so often, seem to offer encouragement and wise advice. So I went to Psalm 25 thinking today was the 25th - it is not but , God knew I would get the date wrong in my head too - because he was waiting from me in Psalm 25.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God.

[good stuff, I only offer my soul to you, not to others to trample on, just to you - my God to speak truth into it]

Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

[DO not let me allow those in my life, who wish me ill will
3 No one whose hope is in you , to trample on my heart, help me to trust in you]

will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

[you will hold those accountable whose goal it is to cause harm to me]

4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

[help me to know that you are MY God, that you lead me where you want me,

that my hope is in you alone and not in this world or the people of this world]

6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.

[despite how others love to remind us of our sin, especially our parents, you have forgiven

us of the sins of our youth and you have made us a new creation in you]

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.

[Your ways are ways of truth and love and faithfulness, help me to know this

and stand on the Rock of who you are - help me to cling to that truth]

11 For the sake of your name, O LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
13 He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
[Boy I claim this for my children, that they will inherit a love for you, I trust that you will complete your work in their lives, I claim an inheritance for them, and I claim a break in the path of generational sin our their lives. I pray that my children will prosper through their love and service to you]

14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

[this last part was like balm to my wounds - only HE will release my feet from the snare

not my friends, not myself, not my works, nothing else, only God will release me from

that which wounds me. I need to turn to HIM]

So I know this is long, but wow, I went looking for him to soothe some old, deep wounds that were reopened today, and he was there with some amazing balm. He is my balm, he heals my wounds. He reminds me of the truths he is putting in my heart:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

I do not need to approval of others in my life, I am not sure I will ever really know that truth, but I am starting to turn to him to remind me daily. I only need him to define me, his truths, his word.

God is so good all the time! What a peace that brings to my heart!

Monday, January 25, 2010

gratefully savoring...

School is done, later than usual, but early enough to find time to do.

Do what? I have been weaning my dependence on the computer each day, and now when I finally get to my computer time, I am not sure what to do. I have become so much more aware of lost time, and I do not want to continue that habit.

But as I sit and savor a few minutes to share on my blog, I listen to Tony Evans preaching in my kitchen - can't hear the details, but I love to listen to him and his wisdom! I love to hear him in my home, it fills my heart with joy. And I listen to happy children acting as Christian Crusaders (with homemade shields and swords) and it makes me pause and file this memory away. They are not re-enacting a movie, a wii game, or a tv show, but instead they are acting out lessons learned at my school table. I am treasuring these moments!

I have no sense of rush, no where to be, no one to clean up for. Just a day to enjoy the sounds of brothers and a sister playing well together. Listening to my wonderfully effective, however extremely noisy dryer going. Listening to life go on.

Today among many other things I am thankful for

21. siblings that savor each other many days of the week

22. imaginations that take school to play

23. a slow and relaxed school schedule that allows for weeks of fun filled days and for slow and school filled days too

24. hanging pictures in the right places, which delights my children as well as me

25. sunny days despite cooler temps - enjoying the promise of the coming spring

26. correcting misbehavior in a peaceful, although stern manner. Not getting angry or mean

27. being in church and feeling God move in my heart

28. napping on Sunday on the couch with my princess snuggled on my chest - knowing that I am going to miss those moments

29. Seeing maturity peak its head in my child's behavior and knowing they are growing so fast and God is doing an amazing work in them

30. having real friends and blog friends who inspire me to pray through tough issues and to lean on Him to inspire me and change me as needed.

Check out Ann's blog HERE - I enjoyed her reminder of:

"If you can't gratefully work with what God's given you today, how can He entrust you with much tomorrow?"

Which reminded me of my verse this week

23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

It is all about working for Him - not for the praise of my children, not for the praise of my husband or friends, but for His praise. And when I strive to serve Him, He will entrust me with more responsibility each day of my life!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Current work in progress.....

Well, the excitement of the new year is waning, I am on my 3rd verse and it is getting a bit harder! I need to refocus this week. I think we are going to enjoy some down time at home this week, recharge our playing with siblings batteries, enjoy some games here, get caught up on school, and enjoy some slower days!

So I hope to get my verse down in the next 6 days - that is my goal. I hope to have some fun with the kids (despite their thoughts that we need to leave to have fun, or have friends over). I hope to have a slower, but just as good week - as last week.

Ideas for contagious joy this week:

maybe some cookies with the kids
hide and seek - a great free game!
some board games with the gang
maybe some craft project - beyond the coloring/drawing daily craft stuff!
nature study in our yard

I will let you know what we decide to do....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun in the sun

Today was the 5th day of our week long fun! It was a gloriously sunny day - the kids and the animals all enjoyed being out in it!

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones. Prov 15:30

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spreading Joy

This has been a week full of spreading joy!

We have had so many great days - first, 2 day with friends visiting (old & new), then a fun trip to the library, and today we ventured out to the Trinity River Audubon Center, with friends too. We had to take advantage of their Free Third Thursday deal especially with the weather we enjoyed!!

And tomorrow we are looking forward to a great trip to the zoo with friends again!

But today, it was just so much fun to see the delight my children had over simply being outside and looking at mostly dead plants and trees (okay, dormant). The did enjoy the turtles we saw. They also really did enjoy looking at the various seed pods we saw throughout the trail. But to see more about that you are going to have to wander over to HERE - our nature blog.

But I need to mention a few things I have been remiss in sharing. We are now the proud owners of this beauty!
This is a treasure I was given by a dear friend and my children are in love with it. Not a day has gone by that they are not enjoying it
I love listening to the kids play - relearning skills they have forgotten from lessons last spring. Robert is not thrilled with our new addition, but says when they play a little better he will be happier....he may not realize that could be a while. :)

We are pretty excited anyway - it is making music to my ears!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Friends

I met some today. It was so sweet! I almost had tears in my eyes, just seeing them again and remembering such sweet and tender moments.

My friends, well, they are not people. Not today. Today they were books at the library. I loaded up our brood and headed to 2 libraries. First, the nearby one to pick up my books on hold. Second, the main library to look for new treasures for the kids.
After hitting a bump in the road about 2 months ago, by letting my eldest read a book I had heard a friend recommend (without my reading it) we have tried to be very intentional about book choices. This takes some work however, when you have a child who reads about 3-4 hours a day.
How is that possible? Well, he wakes about 6am on a good morning (earlier on a bad) and reads until at least 7am when he is permitted to come out of his room (a house rule for all the kids). Then we generally have some quiet time in the afternoon - about 1-2 hours of reading. Finally, the children retire about 7pm, the little ones have lights out then, the older 2 get to read - sometimes we forget to remind about lights out at 8pm or so, and he will come out to tell us he finished a book at 8:45 or even 9pm. So, trust me when I tell you, this boy of mine, HE READS!!

So after hitting that minor bump in our road I became more intentional ab out book choices. We now have a printed list of classical books that are recommended for elementary children (4th-6th I just realized). I love it. I made a copy for each older boy - with their name - and we highlight as we read. So every time they read one on their own or we read one for school it is checked off. I should count the number of books listed, but I would say easily 250? So it is a good list and we are making lots of headway.
So back to my friends. It is hard to remember those little people sometimes when you are so focused on the big ones. And sometimes I just relegate the little ones in our home to the books on our bookcases. While we have many wonderful books, there are many we do not own. And one of my favorite children's authors is Cynthia Rylant. Love her!! So when my young son found a Henry & Mudge book on a cart - we headed off to find more. And we found our old friends. Friends that my two young ones do not, probably, remember, but I do! :) The Lady Who Named Things - such a dear story, I treasure this one. And there were a few new ones we have not read that I picked up too. But it was just sweet.

It was so sweet also to watch my bigger boys take their list and find a book they wanted and hunt it down. White Stag was one my second son wanted today, after finding it, he went back for 2 more by the same author. (And he is not my reader by nature!) So exciting to see their joy in these books and I know I will be hearing all about the stories in the days to come.
I am starting to see real fruit. Not the teasing fruit you get when you buy a 2 year old peach tree and it buds peaches, but they fall off in the first wind storm. (Yes, I have experienced that) I am starting to see real fruit in my children's lives. On the way to the library they were all talking about a Sassafras tree and how the leaves look. This was a living lesson we had back in Michigan in June at my in-laws house. And yet is was the topic of conversation today. Seeing how they are sharing the joy of these books with each other is another fruit I believe.

So, today, I am being rewarded, not for anything I have done per se, but really for dedicating myself to these precious children. I can only offer my best and trust that the Lord will lead my children where he desires them to be. I have been given a reward today of unmistakable joy in watching them delight in new & old friends - books. If this is not a form of contagious joy in my life and theirs I am not really sure what is.
What a sweet visit afternoon with friends.....

Monday, January 18, 2010

multitude of blessings

Still plugging away at my 1000 things to be thankful for....
11. seeing the sun shining from our school room window & talking with the kids about seeing God in everything
12. watching my boys wrestle in the yard with one another - and laugh and play
13. snuggle time with my angel (when she is sick and when she is not) - I am starting to realize how much I am going to miss these moments
14. moments on the floor putting puzzles together with little fingers and big smiles
15. talks on the phone with my dear friends who inspire me through their words and encouragement - for true sisters in Christ
16. a sweet & thoughtful husband who washed my car this weekend!
17. books like Along Came a Dog - and many others recommended by Ambleside - I cannot express how thankful I am for Ambleside!!
18. finding more time in each day by cutting computer time
19. finishing school in four days and playing on the fifth
20. our troops - who are in Haiti once again being heroes and helping the refuges!
It's been a great Monday, we enjoyed the PS (public school) holiday with friends who were able to come over and play! We finished most of our school before they arrived and the kids did not even know who was coming! It was great to catch up and just let the kids have lots of fun! I love school holidays (even if we do not observe them)!
Looking forward to a week of warm weather, lots of playing outside, and maybe a trip to the zoo and the park!! Hope you are enjoying some great moments!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

weekend recap

this is how we started our Friday!
Fun breakfast - part 1!!

Part 2 - Fun times at the Kids Museum

Part 3 - meeting friends there and playing with them!! (Not to mention lunch at Chick-fil-A - super fun part 4)
Sweet Girls!!
Friday was a fun day! The kids had such fun!!

I am so behind. First, to recap, I did follow through with my goal for memorizing verses this year. I was able to memorize 2 this time, not sure I will always be able to do that, but so far so good!

Blessed is the man whose delight is on the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. All he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of us who called us by his grace and goodness. 2 Peter 1-3

So now I need to find my next verse starting Monday... well, that will happen.

Basketball games for the boys went well on Saturday morning. They love to play and just get so excited. They are getting better each time they play and they love it - can't beat that!

This weekend we were blessed to receive a wonderful piano for free! The boys are thrilled and cannot stay away from it! They are trying so hard to remember the songs they were playing and learning last year at this time! So I hope to get their books out and start them over. They are just so excited to have a real piano - I am too, I love listening to them practice!!

We even made it to the Dallas Farmers Market for about 10 minutes this weekend! It was too cold to spend much more time there, but we got a huge cabbage (dinner tomorrow), a papaya, and some limes. We are going to have a papaya smoothie in the morning since the kids and I did not like it just cut up.
Robert took the boys to church this morning while the little girl and I stayed home. She spent Saturday afternoon/evening throwing up. So we hung out at home and even took an early nap. She is back to normal - eating and running around with the boys, but it was not fun!

Well, another week is before us, we have friends coming over Monday and Tuesday, we have school all week and we are expecting warm weather so we may have to throw in a trip to the zoo!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Wonderful - to be full of wonder

Not always the way we use that word, but today I woke and felt full of wonder. (Well aside from the frustration of hearing 3 of my kids before 6am that is!)

Not sure why I felt full of wonder. I guess I expect God to meet me in my time with him. You know, he is always there to meet us, sometimes we don't look for him though. Today I looked. :)

This morning I read Matthew 9:18-38 as my New Testament daily reading. I have really enjoyed reading through Matthew again, but slower than I normally would. I am savoring the parables and words of Jesus. Anyway, while I read about the 2 blind men who came seeking sight from Jesus

he asked them "Do you believe I am able to do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they replied.
"According to your faith it will be done to you"; and their sight was returned. Matthew 9:28-29

So then as I turned to page to read those lines I thought : What if things in my life we done according to my faith?

That is not super profound, but the sweet part was, in the margin I had written those words in the past. Obviously I have been here before, not only in these words, but looking past His words into my life.

So I think about this past year. I think about Sally Clarkson's talk on living by faith, and the call to my heart to truly start living by faith in all areas of my life. I think about how the next month God made a similar call to my dear husband's heart; and then another month later inspired him to pray to God the following : "Lord, I am not going to leave Ryland, so if you want me somewhere else you are going to have to fire me." (Monday)

To which the Lord said :"Okay - DONE"

And the next morning - Tuesday- at 10:30 he was in our garage finishing a project as an unemployed man.

WOW!! Maybe it did happen according to my faith. Or maybe God was so gracious to lead us on that journey. I mean, I do not think I really believed he would change Robert's heart so quickly, or inspire him to give it all up to God to effortlessly. So it was not really according to my faith - it went beyond my simple faith.

So, what are the desires of my heart today? What am I praying for in my life, the lives of my children or friends? Will God answer those prayers according to my faith? I hope not, I hope he answers them beyond what my faith can comprehend. I hope....

But as for my faith, I have seen God move mountains - big ones. I have seen him meet needs, little ones and big ones. I have seen him honor the little faith I had and multiply it. I mean really, faith is not from us, it is a gift from him. And he is increasing my faith daily!

I continue to sit in awe of my creator. I see him in everything we study in school at our table, I see him in the heart of growing children and their kindness to each other, I see him in the answer to prayers in our family. I see him, and my faith grows. But I could miss it. I could mark it up to luck or coincidence, but I know otherwise. Luck is a myth - and nothing happens by coincidence. Things happen for a reason - and not some "higher meaning" but a preordained reason. The good & the bad - it all happens to increase our faith and draw us closer to him.

I love continue to savor this journey, step by step. I hope to wake tomorrow filled with wonder!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sewing Time

Ok, so I found a few moments this morning between cooking meat for tomorrow's chili, grilled cheese for lunch, cleaning the kitchen and of course schooling. Here is what I was able to squeeze into those moments!!

Here it is in it's new home..

Fun, fun!

Now time to find some books to read to the little ones while I ice my back ....

Multitude Monday

This morning I am grateful for many things!

1. warm oatmeal in the crockpot when I wake up!

2. a warm fire to teach my children by!

3. finishing school and then watching my boys journal about their science lesson

4. Finding a few moments to cut fabric to sew later

5. Dinner in the crockpot, and tomorrow's dinner almost done & ready for the crockpot in the morning.

6. that my back does not always feel this bad & knowing it will get better

7. a cooktop that works and plumbing that works as of today

8. for the hope that Robert will get home early due to the plant not operating today

9. the possibility of a free piano

10. the sun and warmer temps!!

Hope you have lots to be grateful for!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scripture Sunday

I wanted to share a verse tonight - hoping to memorize this one this week. It was a verse my dear friend here in Irving shared with me on Wednesday night. She linked this verse with Proverbs 31. As a woman who has studies this chapter and felt intimidated more than once, I was thrilled to see Alicia link these two passages of scripture. So here it is :

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2Peter 1:3

Do you see the promise in that verse. First, I was reminded that God does not want us to feel guilty and intimidated by his word. He hopes to encourage us and inspire us to reach for him. On top of that, he has equipped us to attain the goals he sets before us by giving us all that we need. So when we start to feel inadequate or think we are not good enough, we need to stop and know that if we think that of ourselves we are also saying He is not good enough to help us. We are good enough, because he is in us and helps us be who he calls us to be. It is not about us trying harder, doing more, or anything else. It is about him, what he does through us and in us, and who he calls us to be.

Today was great, Sunday usually is. To spend the morning in the Lord's house and be encouraged and inspired through a sermon, praise and worship songs, and to join together in prayer just has a way to making the small stuff --> small!! And it makes him seem so much bigger! And that is what we need more of!

So another week of schooling my kids and managing this home. We are starting on the right foot, oatmeal is in the crockpot for breakfast, dinner will go in when we finish breakfast - so 2 meals not much prep! School planned for the week. And I think I may even squeeze in some sewing projects.

My focus this week:

Another goal I have added to my list, to increase my joy and thus increase the level of joy in my home. This goes hand in hand with saying yes more - and I hope to focus on that this week. Impromptu game playing, special story reading snuggled on the couch and maybe even some craft time! I may not get it all done, but I continue to reach for that higher level. I hope to have contagious joy in my life and pass that on to my precious children!

Hope you are seeing God move in your life, hope you are feeling him close!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


it is amazing how much influences our perspective on life. How sleep and a full belly change your perspective!

Today we watched the 2 big boys play their first ever basketball games - it was so much fun! J learned a lot about the details in the game today - with mom, the coach and the ref trying to explain the center line to him in different ways! :) Then P was just an amazing bundle of energy on the court - could hardly contain his enthusiasm!

But yesterday? Different story! I figured out about 3pm that when you begin year committing your time, your mind and your year to God, you make someone else upset! I mean really. Not only did I make these crazy, wild goals for 2010 - but I am following through!! I mean, I have my verse memorized! I have been reading my Bible every day along with Manna's plan, I have spent time in real prayer each morning and again at night too. I have stayed true to my goals to limit computer time. All of it. I am actually following through.
Well, the spiritual warfare officially began yesterday(Friday)! I just felt mildly depressed. I could not cook : oven broke and I almost killed myself (literally) trying to take it apart, then due to sparking I was afraid to turn the power back on so I lost use of the cooktop too. I cannot do dished : the plumbing is completely backed up and the water will not drain. I cannot do laundry : see dishes part & know the plumbing is linked (go figure!). I cannot sew : I cleaned all my sewing up the day before and wanted to bless Robert with a clean living area. I did not have school to do : we finished the day before. So what do I do??? My back was the worst it has been in weeks. Result : Janelle feeling lost and really depressed. I wanted to call Kristen to have a mini-pitty party. But I knew that I needed to turn to my verse and my God for comfort. So I did. But my verse is

Blessed is the man …[whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Do you notice the last part? Whatever he does prospers? Well, I did not feel too prosperous yesterday (despite the fact that I did not get hurt). So instead of wandering aimlessly through the afternoon, I found my book, and snuggled in at the couch with various kids at different times reading my book while the other non-snuggling kids played games and puzzles on the floor nearby. About 7pm (the kids normal bedtime) Robert arrived home with hot pizza. So the day finally ended and it was a good ending to a bad day.
But Saturday seemed to be a different story. Between great ball games, we were on our way to see the Mavericks play while the kids spent the night with cousins! yeah! Robert's brother Brian and wife Lisa gave us tickets for Christmas with the offer to watch the kids too! So it was a much needed break for Robert and I! Amazing how your perspective changes when you get some sleep and have something fun to look forward to!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

meeting with Him

First, fun with friends & guns... what could be better?

And then a little girl with an umbrella..

Just another day in our home!!

It always seems to amaze me when God blesses me when I least expect it. I am so hoping 2010 will be a year immersed in scripture, living and breathing his words to me. Every where I turn this week re-enforces that calling on my heart. Nancy Leigh DeMoss was replaying some sessions of a lady, also named Nancy, who spoke about memorizing scripture and all the good is does for us, for one it causes us to think on him every time we think of the verse we are trying to seal in our minds. And every time I think of him I think it strengthens his hold on my heart, it draws me further into this intimate relationship with him, and that is precious!

But last night I made it to church with the kids. I was ready to see adults and to hear our pastor speak and for the kids to see friends. I expected to catch up with my friend Alicia while the kids did their post-choir thing with Team-Kid. She had other plans though, and I gently asked if I could "tag-along" to her Bible study prep with another friend of hers. She graciously allowed me to join them, and it was such a blessing to me.

The study is on Proverbs 31, and yes I voluntarily asked if I could come along to a Proverbs 31 study - sound like a glutton for punishment don't I? Well it was just wonderful. First, my dear friend is a gifted teacher, but wow - she did an amazing job with this study! She referenced scripture I have never seen linked with Proverbs 31 - it was great. Not only that, but the conversation I had earlier in my day with Kristen was on the topics she focused on in her study. She had some great verses to back up what I was talking about with Kristen and it was just so sweet. I felt like God really put it all together leading up to Wednesday night. So sweet!

Here is a great recipe to share too - we ate this this week (from the freezer) my friend Sidne made it for a recent meal swap I participated in. This is wonderful!!

8oz Penne (or whatever pasta you have on hand. Bowties are nice, too.)
8oz lean Ground Beef (venison or shredded beef work well, too.)
½ tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 15.5oz can Pinto Beans
1 15.5oz can Whole Kernel Corn
1 15.5 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 small Diced Green Bell Pepper (optional)
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
½ Cup Sliced Green Onions (optional)
1 Cup Sour Cream (low fat works great)
½ Cup Salsa
½ Cup Broken Tortilla Chips (optional)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. If you will be freezing this meal, cook pasta only ½ done.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and drain. Add beans, cumin and chili powder; heat through. In a large bowl, combine pasta, meat mixture, tomatoes and corn. Pour into a gallon sized zip-lock freezer bag. Measure and package in individual, snack-sized zip-locks, the green pepper, cheese, onions and salsa. Place these inside the gallon-sized bag with your meal; press the filled, gallon-sized bag flat, squeezing out as much air as possible. FREEZE YOUR MEAL (WITH THE EXTRAS) AT THIS POINT. You will need to provide only the chips and sour cream on serving day.

Preparing this meal from the freezer
Cooking Instructions: You will need the following on cooking day (not included): 1 Cup Sour Cream, ½ Cup Broken Tortilla Chips (Optional), ½ Cup Sliced Green Onions (Optional.)
Thaw package overnight in the refrigerator. Remove Salsa and Cheese packets; rinse off and set aside. Place remaining mixture in a large skillet; heat, stirring often, until heated through. (Check pasta for doneness part way through; if needed, add a bit of water.) Remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, salsa and green pepper; fold into the skillet mixture. Serve topped with cheese, broken tortilla chips and green onions.
I like to serve this with a side spinach salad, tossed with 1 clove pressed garlic, ½ cup rice wine vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Per serving: 353 calories, 11g fat, 17g protein, 48g carbohydrates, 7g dietary fiber, 31mg cholesterol, 503mg sodium.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

walking in the word

Today is another day in this new year. 2010 - the year of following (for me).

School started earlier than the other days in this week, that was after all the children were bathed and we had breakfast. So school ended earlier than the other days allowing me some extra time before lunch. I was able to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and even get about 15 minutes of housekeeping in!! FlyLady would be proud! I stumbled upon a blog called Econobusters from an email from Old SchoolHouse Magazine. She is running 31 days of organizing tips on her blog for the new year. I was inspired to run into the kids rooms (colder than the room I was in) to quickly pull out some extra clothes. Literally it took 15 minutes and it was WONDERFUL!! I cleared out pant drawers for 3 boys and PJs too. I now have 4 bags of extra clothes and a box of PJs.

I was able to have a great conversation with my dear friend Kristen and we even talked about that whole "stumbling" on blogs and just following rabbit trails until you cannot get out. Yes, I too suffer from that! I suggested setting a timer for blog reading to keep from wasting too much time - I think I will have to try the timer thing. I am just so thrilled at regaining so much of my time through managing my on-line time better!!

Most importantly today, I spent some time with God - I walked with him. I have been reading my Bible in bed before I get up - while icing my back (following the plan from Manna Church). And this is working so well for me! The ice ensures I am awake and alert and it helps my back heal, while soaking in the word and committing my day to Him through prayer. I have been meditating on my memory verse - it is posted in the bathroom, kitchen sink, dash of my car, and a copy is on the school table - so I almost have it memorized! And working on it has been keeping my mind on Him, His word, and His promises for my life - I need that!

I feel like, because I am putting him first in my day and throughout my day, he is blessing my time management and my attitude through the day. Am I still yelling at the kids at times? Yes, but not as angrily or as often. Instead I am trying to remind them what obedience looks like - since we have been talking about that for our Character Training this month. That seems to be working, they know what they are supposed to be doing, they are just not in the habit of choosing it. Kind of like me - huh? Sometimes I need a gentle reminder from someone I love to get me back on track.

Even found a few minutes to help start the kids on this new puzzle from Goodwill (missing 4 pieces :))

So, I am enjoying this new found time, this new focus on the Word of God and hiding it in my heart, and the moments with my children. We have many days left in this year, and it will feel long, but it will be short, I hope to stay on this course 'til then end!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

starting anew

2010! Wow! What do you have in store for me and my family?

That is what I have been pondering these past few days. But first, can I share a few of my favorite pics from 2009, these are not the best of smiling kids, but I love these, they are treasures...

Okay, thanks. These 3 are just 3 of many, but they make me smile. I see God in each one, do you see him? I hope so!

So, after some soul searching, some family discussions and some prayer and Bible time I think I have a handle of my plan for this year, on where I want to go in 2010.

My Theme this year is :
To Follow & Serve Him

Follow Him : Around the World in 360 OR 10 in 10 – this is a challenge from Manna Church in Fayetteville – to spend 10 minutes in prayer each day and 10 minutes reading the Word each day. I heard someone say how the Bible is like God waiting to reveal something to us, anxiously – but we have to open it and read it to receive it. When we do not open it we do not receive it – not sure about you, but I need all I can get from Him!! I hope to inspire my children to read the Word as well as they see how it radiates from me. I realize that I cannot follow someone who I do not spend a great deal of time with!

I am going to join a blog titled Extravagant Grace for scripture memory – 24 verses in 2010 – 1st and 15th of the month. Who cannot use a little extra scripture memory in their lives, and I can always use a little more encouragement too! So my first verse of 2010 is:

Blessed is the man …[whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Be Intentional : Less computer time, less unintentional time spent, less distractions when I am “working” (i.e. teaching my children, reading the Word, or working in my home). This means no more Facebook games, no more facebook checking & updating while schooling, no more phone calls during school, and no computer in general until school is over. This is going to be so good for me and my children!!

I want to plan better, my time, my money, my energy. I hope to stay ahead of meals and ahead of my time. So far, I feel like I have a plan to help me stay ahead, but I know it can slip away so quickly!! Be intentional with my words too, with regards to gossiping, but also anything I say – I hope to control my tongue! My children are listening, but more importantly, He is listening to my heart, what is it saying today?

Find moments of peace to ponder and listen. I believe this will lead to new perspectives and new insight that without taking a break and a moment to listen we will miss!

Serve Others : I want this to be a year of Yes! So I hope to say yes more and when I cannot say yes to a certain request, I hope to find something I can say yes to. Thank you to Holy Experience for this idea. Like her, I am a mom of no – and I do not want to be that mom. I hope to use this philosophy as a way to serve my family, but I hope to encourage my friends and family this year too, more.

So I am excited about 2010 – so many great memories and great things lie in front of us! I pray that I learn to be a better follower of my Lord and that I spend this year serving him as I grow closer to him! What are your goals for 2010?


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