Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back and looking forward

Wow, it seems hard to believe that 2008 will be over in a few hours. And on to 2009. I felt like sitting down and reflecting a little on what I've learned and looking ahead to what I want to do and be in 2009. I've learned a lot about myself since having children and this year was no less true. Children are a blessing from the Lord whether they are yours or not. And being a mother of three young girls four and under, that is a truth that I have often had to remind myself of!!! But oh, I know these days will go by so fast, and one day I will look back and wonder where it all went. Time is our one resource that is totally and completely unrenewable. And I don't want to waste anymore of it. Another thing I have learned is how much I need to live my life in constant communication with God. He wants access to all the parts of my life, even the mundane. And I am learning to take all my cares and burdens to Him, no matter how superficial or silly. He cares because He LOVES me. Somedays I still can't quite believe it. But His Word says it. This year has been a trying year, financially and just trying to discern God's will about where He wants us and where we should go. For now, we are staying here, and I feel at peace about that. God has really laid on my heart the need for intercessory prayer and how to do that. I read a book about fasting and have tried some of those concepts. One of the biggest things is I did a bible study on the book of Daniel by Beth Moore, and that is something that just touched my life so much. I finally bought my first commentaries, and LOVE them. They give you so much information about the historical time period and I just love how God's Word regarding prophecies are always right on. And I learned what a man of integrity Daniel was, and I want that. I want God to share things with me and I want to be considered a woman after God's own heart. I don't want to miss anything.
What about 2009? I want to become more patient, and slow to frustration and anger where my children are concerned. I want to fall more and more in love with my husband, and with my God. I want to see the sunrise and sunset and soak in their beauty. I want to feel the breeze on my face and take minute to bask in the love and peace that are mine, regardless of what's going on in my life at that moment. I just want to enjoy and embrace whatever God has for me, and not miss the little moments that fly by. And I want to laugh more. Sometimes I feel like I get caught up in minor, stupid things, and miss the joy. I don't want to sell my joy for anything less. I want to live like I'm free. Like how I'm supposed to.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sacrificial Life

I am finishing up a 12 week study on the book of Daniel. It is a bible study by Beth Moore, and it has been awesome! I have learned so much about the man Daniel, and about end time prophecy which has always interested and maybe scared me a little too. All I can say is that we have an awesome and mighty God who pays attention to the smallest detail and makes sure His Word proves true time and time again. Did you know that some historians have tried to prove that Daniel was written after it actually was because of how accurate the prophecies were? I have loved it. It also makes me sad because I have one more week left. Week 11 I was studying Daniel 11, and Beth taught on the sacrificial life. See, once the Greeks took over the Medo-Persian empire, they had several kings and one king, Antiochus IV, took away the daily sacrifice from the Jews. They were no longer allowed to offer sacrifice to their God. Beth paralleled this to our lives today and how the world is trying to take away our daily sacrifice. See, we are no longer called to offer animal sacrifice, but we are to offer up our lives as a daily sacrifice to our God. And the world we live in is very anti-sacrifice. If it requires us to give of our selves, if it requires us to be inconvenienced, or to put someone else ahead of our wants or needs, no way! And as she was teaching this, it hit me so hard. See, I don't want to miss what God may have for me. I want to be a Daniel, a person of integrity and I wan to have a discerning spirit. I want to be so persistent in my search for wisdom, that God gives it to me. Even if it requires sacrifice. At one point in her lesson, Beth Moore said, and I quote "If we miss the sacrificial life, we miss our life purpose." That spoke volumes to me. I could miss my life purpose. I can be saved and still miss my life purpose. I have to allow God access to all areas of my life and let Him lead me according to His will, even if it gets uncomfortable. I think of how I can relate that to me being a mom. I am inconvenienced a lot in a day by my children....or at least that is how I feel about it. But I came to the realization that I have to see beyond my inconvenience. Yes, their fighting and wanting my attention can be very frustrating when I am trying to finish cleaning, doing laundry or checking my email or reading a book. But a lot of times I realized I stay busy just because I don't want to take the time to read them a book or color or paint with them. Isn't that terrible? I have deceived myself into thinking the things I want to do are more important. Now, sometimes the cleaning and laundry has to be done, and I don't feel as though I should be the one entertaining my children all the time, but on the other hand, if I don't invest my time now and teach my children the values and morals that I think are important, and teach them the most valuable worth of having a relationship with Jesus Christ, I will miss one of my life's purposes. My children are eternal souls that need the opportunity to see Christ lived out in their their mom and dad.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I just love the Christmas season. I love decorating the house, putting up a tree, the smell of pine in the house, the look of the lights and candles, the fire in the fireplace, the smell of cookies baking...I just love it. Living out in Arizona, I don't get quite the "traditional or idyllic" Christmas like I had growing up. For instance, the snow, going sledding and coming in, hanging my outside clothes up on a clothesline down in the basement and coming up and thawing out in front of the fire with a steaming cup of cocoa; or the sledding parties we used to have when we were younger up on our big hill and then we'd go to the neighbors for homemade donuts! That was the best. Here the possibility of us getting snow that will stick around is pretty much slim to none. But one tradition that I do want to keep is the making of a birthday cake for Jesus. We sing the Happy Birthday song and the girls blow out the candle. I think it's such a great way to make the point of what Christmas is actually celebrating for a younger child. That is something that my Breneman side of the family has done for as long as I can remember. The younger kids would blow out the candle and then we would sing the first verse of Joy to the World. That is a memory I will keep forever, and one I want to pass onto my children. I am still utterly amazed and humbled that the Son of God would choose to come and take on human flesh to save my soul. And He not only did that, but chose to come in the most humble of ways; to be born in a stable, in a manger, with only the animals and shepherds to witness his miraculous and amazing coming.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Here it is, my second born's third birthday. I can't believe that three years ago, this morning at 2:00 a.m. Alaina Grace came into the world. Every birth is an amazing story, but Alaina's is especially dear to me because she came so quickly and we weren't quite as prepared as we had hoped.
First, when I was about 7 months along, we went down to Mexico and got an ultrasound. We took along another couple who are friends of ours. They came into the room while the doctor did the ultrasound. Nate and I didn't want to know the sex of our baby. While the doctor was going through his usual checklist of things to look for, he asked us again if we wanted to know what the baby was. We said no, but our friend, Emily, could see for herself what the baby was. Nate and I at the time weren't really sure what we were looking at on the screen, and so we missed it. Emily later told me it was so obvious! But we've improved looking at ultrasounds with each one. Nate could tell immediately when it was Charlotte's turn.
Anyway, so Emily knew the rest of the time what our baby was and we didn't! And she never slipped up. She did email my mom and told her. Well, my original due date was the 6th of October. My mom was scheduled to fly out a couple days after that. Well, my mom arrived and the baby had not!!! So my mom and I got to hang out for a few days before our child decided to make her arrival.
The whole time we were waiting, Nate and I were just sure this one was a boy. I carried different. Even my midwife admitted she thought we were having a boy. Another reason we thought we were having a boy is because Emily only has boys, so we thought the reason she could tell what we were having is because there must have been something extra there and that is what she is used to seeing. God humbled us lots!!!
On Thursday, the 12th I went for my 41 week checkup and my midwife said she thought it would be anytime. That evening I went home feeling depressed and like I was going to be pregnant forever. Around six thirty, I noticed I was having contractions. Nothing huge. I didn't have to stop my activity. Around nine we went to bed. I had Nate time them to see how close they were and my contactions were five minutes apart. At this point, I knew I probably wasn't going to be able to sleep. Who can sleep when they know they will be delivering a baby at some point during the night?
Since Larissa's birth had taken 12 hours, I figured that it would be until at least mornning light until I would be in full delivery mode. Nate fell asleep for a little and I labored quietly. Around one thirty he woke up, and found me kneeling on the bed, breathing through my contractions. At this point they were coming so close I couldn't hardly catch my breath, and all I could say was "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Nate took one look at me and asked if he should call my midwife. I nodded and he did. Stephanie said she was on her way. I got up and went over to my birthing tub and got in. I thought the warm water would help relax me. I no sooner got in the tub than I felt relief, and then dread because I just knew it was time to push.
I looked at Nate and said, "I have to push!" And he looked at me like I was crazy. So he called Stephanie back and told her and she told me I had to get out of the water. Nate woke up my mom and told her what was happening and she came and got Larissa and took her to the room my mom was sleeping in. I got out of the water and went back to my bed. Stephanie talked Nate through the whole birthing process. Neither of us were prepared for how blue the baby's face was. Of course, at the moment Alaina's head came out, Nate lost connection with Stephanie. For a few scary moments we weren't sure if the baby was okay or not. Stephanie quickly called back and Alaina was born. Nate got my mom and she came back and helped wrap her up tight and I took her back to see if she would nurse. Stephanie asked us what we had, and in our excitement we forgot to look. Nate unwrapped her enough to report that we, in fact, had a girl! Of course, we then had to come up with a name. Alaina was a name we liked from before, so we went with it. Alaina Grace. Alaina means beauty, and she definitely is that! Not that I am biased or anything!!!
When Stephanie arrived, she told us that was the first time she never made it to a birth in time to deliver. I think she was very proud of the calm way in which Nate handled himself. I don't think it's a job he would willingly take on again, but I know he would if he had to. Of course, Stephanie made sure that I called at the first sign of contractions with Charlotte, so that didn't situation didn't repeat itself!!!
But we had a healthy, beautiful baby girl, and that was all that mattered. And a really great story to pass onto Alaina as she grows up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I know it's been a while since I have last written. It feels as though a lot has happened. Not really, but we did go to Pennsylvania for two and a half weeks, and that meant me flying with my three little girls by myself. That was quite a feat, and I am happy to say that we all survived and the girls actually did quite well. Kids can and will surprise you. I wasn't sure how Charlotte would do being held the entire time. She is quite the active 18 month old. Other than kicking her sister in the head a couple of times and pulling hair, she did just fine. Larissa loves to travel and I never heard much out of her the whole time. She just sits there and plays with her dolls and looks at her books. Alaina, too, did pretty good. She only had meltdowns once we landed, which is better than on the plane. The only major problem we had was when we landed in Philly. We were in the very last row and so the very last ones off of the plane. Alaina started crying as soon as the plane stopped. So of course she was crying the whole time everyone was getting off the plane. When we finally had our turn to get off, I was setting up the stroller to put Charlotte in when I heard screaming. I turn around and here Alaina has managed to get her foot stuck between the little space between the plane and the tarmack. Yes, only my child would do that. In case you don't know Alaina, she has "accident waiting to happen" stamped on her forehead. So I quickly go over and unstick her foot. She immediately starts hopping around like she twisted her ankle, so I get her in the stroller and push it with one hand and hold Charlotte in the other. Now, Charlotte weighs over 20 pounds and I walked as far as I could, but my right arm was shaking so bad, and I am a lefty, so I knew I couldn't push the stroller with just my right arm, so I stopped my little caravan and told Alaina she would have to get out of the stroller. She did, and then proceeded to tag along about ten feet behind me and cry the whole way down to baggage claim. People were stopping and watching and trying to hide their laughing. I FINALLY made it down to baggage claim only to find out I was at the wrong one!!!! I had to walk outside the building to the US Airways baggage claim. By that time, my parents thought they were early and went upstairs to see if they could see us coming down, so when I got to the correct baggage claim, they weren't there. Thank goodness for cell phones! I texted my mom and they came down pronto and I was so happy to unload the kids onto their very adoring grandparents!!! All in all we had a great trip and the plane ride home was pretty much uneventful! PTL!
And as I've been home now for almost two weeks, I was thinking the other day about joy. I realized I don't have a lot of it during the week. I pretty much get frustrated and angry very quickly. And for those of you who know me, I am typically laid back, but not when it comes to my children. And then I started thinking about what they must think about me. That I am really not that much fun and I don't enjoy being silly and playing with them. Which, honestly, doesn't happen nearly enough. I realized I am not the same adventurous, almost silly girl I used to be. When I was a teenager.....well till I was married, I used to sing into hairbrushes with my sisters when a really cool song came on the radio. Do I do that with my own kids? Uh, not too often. I used to be more spontaneous and fun. Now I am all about making sure my house is clean, the laundry is done and the bills are paid. Not that those things aren't important, but you still need to make room for the unexpected. And then I thought, is this because....gulp.....I am getting older? I mean, I am going to be hitting the big 30 next year. Yuck! I don't even want to think about it. But no, that can't be it, because I have family.....namely my dad and a very funny uncle who still act like they are teenage boys. I love that about them.
So I have decided that I need to let loose a little more often, so my kids will enjoy spending time with me. Not that I am trying to be their friend, I need to be their mother right now, but as they get older, I want them to feel like they can share things with me and that we can have a close relationship outside of "put your toys away. brush your teeth. eat with your mouth closed."
I need to be able to just live. Enjoy life and seek out those special moments that you can just feel God blessing you and smiling down upon you, even if there is mud on the kitchen floor and the laundry is piling up and I missed putting fabric softener in the rinse cycle (I hate when that happens!). I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I just got the new Hillsong CD, This is our God. It's pretty good. There is a song on there, Healer, that has a special story to it. The guy who wrote it had been told a couple years ago that he had cancer. He went home and wrote that song. The Lord healed him. The song sat for a couple years and they put it on their new CD. The words are this:

You hold my every moment/you calm my raging seas/you walk with me through fire and heal all my disease/I trust in you/I trust in you
I believe you're my healer/I believe you are all I need/I believe you're my portion/I believe you're more than enough for me/Jesus you're all I need
Nothing is impossible for you/nothing is impossible/nothing is impossible for you/you hold my world in your hands

You can watch the video on youtube. I think you just type in the word healer. But the next song on the CD I love. It's called You are Here. And the words are this:

The same power that conquered the grave/lives in me/lives in me
Your love that rescued the earth/lives in me/lives in me

I was talking to my husband on the way home from church yesterday about how I get so frustrated throughout a day. I have my idea of what I want to accomplish in a day and when it doesn't go the way I want it to, I get very frustrated and even angry. But how often do I ask for the Lord's help throughout the day? Sometimes I believe I have more frustrating days than not, because the Lord is trying to draw me to Him. To rely on him solely to get through a day. Think about that, the same power the raised Christ from the dead, lives in me. It lives in all of us if we've surrendered our lives to Him. How awesome and amazing is that? But it's the remembering, the dying to ourselves, realizing we can't do it on our own. That is hard.
We are seriously considering homeschooling our children. I struggle daily with wondering if I can do it. Do I have enough patience? Will I be a good teacher? Will they be able to learn from me? What about my own personal time? I realized I can be very selfish. And I am learning more everyday that it isn't about whether I can do it, but will I let God accomplish His will and desire through me?
Being a parent is really hard because we constantly have to sacrifice what we want to be doing for what we need to be doing. Spending time with our children, directing them and making sure their hearts are right. That is tough work. But how much harder is it when I refuse to bend the knee, and ask the Lord for his help, his power, his resurrection power. What more could I want? What more could I need?

Monday, August 4, 2008


I am thinking that perhaps I should just make my blog a book review. I just got done reading the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. And it was a great book. Anyone females out there who haven't read it, really should. It's reawakened something in me. The book is based on the fact that there are two questions. Man has a question, and woman has a question. Man's question is Do I have what it takes? And woman's question is, Am I lovely? And this is a sore spot for me. I have always struggled with both my physical appearance and personality. I never felt pretty. In high school I always felt as though all my friends were prettier than me, and all the boys liked them, and I was just everyones buddy. To be honest, I still feel this way a lot of the time. And then I would feel like maybe I was too serious, not fun enough, not adventurous enough.....on and on it goes! Well, in this book they talk about how Satan especially has it out for women. See, God created mankind in His image. And part of what makes woman God's image is her beauty. And Satan was cast out of heaven because of his pride and how he felt like he was as beautiful as God. So he doesn't want woman to embrace her beauty, and he's jealous. So he feeds us lies. I was praying this afternoon, and the Lord just brought to my mind all the lies that I have believed over the years. I agreed with the lies, and they became a part of me, chains tying me down, keeping me from experiencing freedom and the abundant life God has planned for me. So I asked forgiveness for the part I played in agreeing with those lies, and then I renounced their hold over me. See, all those times I felt unlovable, they were lies from the pit of hell. And I when I agree with them, I am only crucifying Christ all over again. How much more can he prove his love for me then by dying? It was quite the eye opening experience....and I am so thankful for it. Because I don't want to pass that legacy onto my children. I don't want them to have the baggage I have carried around for so many years. Another thing I learned is that I tend to be a controlling person. Wow, I never really thought about it before, but I do believe it's gotten worse since I have had children. I feel this pressure to make sure they are perfect, that they never fight or get into trouble. Hello! How can I parent perfect children when I myself am far less than perfect? I have realized that I need more grace, mercy, and tenderheartedness.
Another cool thing they point out in the book is how God talks to us through nature. How He gives us beautiful sunsets, rainbows, shooting stars, etc., to show us that He loves us, that He's thinking about us, that He's pursuing us. I never really thought of it that way. See I have always had this thing for rainbows. Always. I just loved how it was a constant reminder of God's promises to me. Well, I married and moved out to AZ where I live on a farm with my husband. Know what the farm was called before they moved here? Rainbows End Ranch. You can see more rainbows here than almost anywhere else. How sweet and perfect of my Heavenly Father, to put me in a place where I am consistently reminded of his love and His presence. I guess it's just so hard for me to grasp that with all the people in the world, God still desires me. A relationship with me. Personal, hard, messy, time consuming, He doesn't care. It doesn't matter to Him how needy I am. He is the only one who doesn't tire of the need, but glories in it. Praise God! I am never too much for Him. And He is more than enough for me.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I just finished reading, "The Shack", by William Young. I can't really put into words what I feel about it. I need to read it again. One thing I did learn is that the Trinity goes hand in hand. They work together and all need to be active in my life. I find at times....most times, I quench the Holy Spirit because I am afraid. Mostly I am afraid of how the Holy Spirit will manifest Itself in my life. I won't be in control. I really am a control freak!!! I think most of us are probably are. And I felt released from this pressure I put on myself about if I don't read my Bible or pray, God's mad at me or will punish me. Yes, God wants me to read His Word, my life instruction manual, but more importantly, He wants relationship. He wants to be involved in all I am, do, think, or speak. He wants my life to be a be in constant communion with Him. How awesome and amazing is that? He is all about relationship. Its so hard to get my mind to wrap around that. I think I've spent sufficient time with the Lord if I read/study my Bible for 30-45 minutes. But God wants to live my whole day with me. How do I do this? It's just mind boggling. I always knew God was about relationship, I mean, He sent His only Son to earth to make a way for relationship with us. But I guess I never really personalized it before. And that is what The Shack did for me. It brought to life how intricately involved God is in every aspect of my life. The peaceful times, the pleasant times, and yes, even the painful times.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tic Tacs and other thoughts

I know, it's been a while since I've written anything. I must confess that the creative juices have just not been flowing recently. I hate when I go through dry spells like that. But one humorous thing did happen not too long ago. I took my girls to the bank with me. Now, I live in a very SMALL town, and so when I go to the bank, if there are no other cars there, I will just let the pickup run and go and be out in like two minutes. Before I went into the bank I gave Alaina and Larissa each some tic tacs to eat while I ran in. I come back out, put the truck in gear and am leaving when I notice Larissa is crying. I ask her what's wrong and she says her nose hurts. I think she's been picking it, so I tell her to just leave her nose alone. I look back, and that is when I notice it.....a white thing sticking out of her nose! Yes, she stuck a tic tac up her nose! I was thinking to myself, where is the video camera? Kids win $10,000 all the time on America's Funniest Home Videos for stuff like this. I calmly told her to pull out the tic tac and to never jam anything up her nose. I was trying to so hard not to laugh because she was truly upset and hurting. Oh, kids, you gotta love it!
But I have been pondering lately how lots of people say raising kids in the toddler years can be tough to be able to do anything else....namely spiritual growth. Don't I know it! It seems like if I get up early to read my Bible or to pray, someone else decides it's time to get up early. My day is then spent taking care of kids, house, garden, anything.....and then it's evening, put the kids in bed, and I am ready to crash! I've heard people say that your spiritual growth just has to get put on hold. I don't agree with that. At least, I don't want to agree with that. Sometimes I find myself thinking that way. But I want more.
There was a time when the Lord consumed my thoughts, was the first thought in the morning and last in the night. I had dreams, He talked with me, told me things. I could feel His Holy Spirit with me, guiding me. And then I got caught up in life. Today, I obviously have more responsibility. But I have started getting up even earlier. Hello 5:30 a.m., but it's worth it. I get to have my coffee on the porch, read my bible, reflect on the Lord, and watch the sun rise. And it's just an awesome reminder of God's faithfulnesss, even when I am not. I don't want to just put my spiritual growth on hold. We are to live each day as if He is returning. I need that fire, that passion in my life. When I am passionate about the Lord, then that spills over into other areas of my life, namely my husband and children. I see the little things, the teachable moments.
I just want to encourage those other moms out there that feel the same way I do at times. We all go through the desert at some point in our walks with the Lord. Just don't stay there. Keep asking, keep begging for more, and He will give it to you. Sometimes so much so you'll be thinking, okay Lord that's enough!!!! But keep walking, keep your eyes on the prize. There is so much more He wants to give each of us. More then we can comprehend or imagine.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Praise His Name

Our family had a traumatic event take place on Saturday, May 24th. My youngest sister was in a fairly serious car accident. She works for the local Christian radio station in Lancaster, and was traveling to a parade to cover it live. The trailer she was pulling started weaving back and forth, and to make a long story short, the vehicle and trailer rolled. Everyone was okay. For the whole story, you can read about it on We heard about it about twenty minutes after it happened. We have a friend who works at the local country radio station back there and he was getting reports about 283 being shut down. When he heard a description of the vehicle, he called my husband right away because he knew my sister worked there. Nate came in for lunch and told me and I immediately called my mom. Words cannot express the panic and fear I felt as I waited for my mom to pick up. I was just begging the Lord that Ashlea would be all right. I wasn't prepared to say goodbye to my sister. My mom told me it was her and that she was okay. Praise the Lord!
Yesterday, my dad called me and we were talking about the whole thing. And he said yesterday when he was in church, singing during the worship service, he asked himself, now, if yesterday had turned out differently, and the Lord saw fit to take Ashlea home, would I still be praising Him? Wow, that got my wheels turning in my head. Would I still be able to praise my Lord? Honestly, I don't know. I would like to think, Yes I would. I have lost dear friends before in car accidents, but never a close family member. Never a sibling. Would I be able to see the higher motive in it all? Eventually, I think I would. But would I be able to go to church the next day and raise my hands up to the Lord and praise Him?
I remember years ago, a beloved member of my old church was struck randomly by lightning while he was golfing, leaving behind his wife and three young, young children. I sang on the worship team for his funeral. An image that has never left my mind. I can picture it just as clearly today as all those years ago, is of Steve's wife, now widow, Jenny, singing those songs with her hands uplifted, tears streaming down her face. She was utterly broken before her Lord, yet she could praise Him through the pain and the loss. That spoke to me like nothing else. There is something beautiful in the complete brokeness of God's people who are yet praising His Name. His ways are higher then ours. I have never forgotten that. Not to say she didn't have hard times in dealing with the effects of his death, but she never let go of her faith, and her trust in the Lord.
I want to be like that. Holding so tight, refusing the doubts and the fears to take root in me. We don't know what tomorrow may bring, and in today's crazy world, that could be something pretty devastating, but we serve a sovereign Lord, who's ultimate goal, is to bring us Home to Him. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Confessions of a stay at home mom

I must confess that when I play Candyland with my four year old, I stack the deck. I didn't used to, but there were times when the game would just go on forever, and just when we were almost at the end, Larissa would pull the gingerbread man, and then have to go back almost to the very beginning. My mom had suggested stacking the deck, and I never did until recently. Now I put all the picture cards in the right order so no one ever has to go backwards! I know, I am a cheater. But who wants to play Candyland for hours on end?
I also put videos in for the girls to watch so I can get paperwork and office stuff done. They say children should not watch any TV at all until age two, and then very sparingly. Well, what do you think my girls are doing right now? Yes, they are watching Hermie. How else would I ever get to blog, or pay bills or write a letter? When they come into the office, it is pretty much guarranteed they will get into trouble. So I put in a video, and sometimes it plays twice. Those automatic replay videos sometimes come in handy!!!
I lock the door to the bathroom when I take a shower. For some reason, it really annoys me when I have an audience. They sneak into the bathroom and open the shower curtain, look at me and ask what I am doing. I have to strongly refrain from being sarcastic. And then they usually proceed to play in the toilet or get into my makeup, and my relaxing shower is over. So I learned to lock the door. This doesn't make my second child particularly happy. She has been known to stand outside the door and cry and knock on it. But I must confess, I don't rush to open the door.
I have found that I am a person who doesn't always thrive on being around other people. Especially little people. Sometimes I need to be by myself to be able to re-energize and feel prepared to take care my kids. There are days where I feel guilty, like maybe I don't love my kids enough because I don't always want to be with them. But I am learning to recognize that there isn't anything wrong with needing to be by oneself, as long as it isn't all the time, or all day. Everyone needs their own time of refreshing, even Jesus needed time alone. I am learning the key is to fill myself with something worthwhile.
Well, I think my video distraction has wore off..... back to playing referee!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stomach Flu

I have come to realize that there are two words that I just hate. Want to know what they are? Stomach flu. I think that is one of my least favorite things about being a mom of young children. They just don't understand yet about running to the bathroom. My middle child will not even puke in a bucket. She just pushes it away and instead just lets it fly wherever it wills. I have been dealing with this all week, washing floors, washing clothes. And a side effect of the stomach flu is then diarrhea, which of course, never stays in the diaper. Yes, this week would definitely not go down as one of my best weeks ever! Last night my husband and I were going to bed and I was telling him I just feel so exhausted all the time, (no, I am not pregnant!) and I think I need a vacation. About right now I think a remote cabin up in the mountains where there is no one around would suit me well. Just me, nature and God. That always seems to be a place where I can feel God's presence the most. Maybe because it's quiet, there are no distractions, no endless lists of to dos that I feel I must accomplish in a day, no children needing or wanting anything from me. That would be wonderful, but the possibility of it happening is slim to none. This morning as I was getting the girls' breakfast together, the Lord pressed on my heart, that I need to see Him in the mundane, everyday things. Because He is everywhere, if I will just take the time to see it. Especially in children. They have a supernatural joy, an ability to go with the flow and bounce back, and limitless grace and forgiveness. But often times I am too busy doing what I think needs to be done or what I want to notice this. I think back to years ago when I could feel the Lord's presence so heavy upon my life, and now there are some days where I wonder if we've connected at all. But the thing is, He didn't go anywhere. I did. Trying to find balance and prioritizing my days are really hard for me. It's hard to let the laundry go, or the outside work or the cleaning and even my own quiet time in the afternoon where I can read or look at magazines or take a nap, and just get down on my face before the Lord. Because parenting is the hardest job I have ever done, I desperately need those times before the Lord. I look at our three little girls and realize these are eternal souls. Now God alone is responsible for salvation, but I do play a part in teaching them about the Lord and showing them what a relationship with God can look like. That is huge. And most days, I feel like I do a pretty crummy job. But as the saying goes, "little is much when God is in it." Thank you Lord! I need to take advantage of those "teachable moments", whether I feel like it or not, because one day they will be gone from under my roof and on their own. But thinking about it and doing it are totally separate things. I need to be a doer and not just a talker.....or writer. I pray a special blessing over all the mothers this weekend, whether you are a mother by birth, adoption, or a spiritual mother (which is so important!), may the Lord bless you as you serve Him, guiding, instructing and loving those He placed under your covering! Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Asking for it

Did you ever have those days where you just felt like your children were asking for it? The last two days have been like that for me. But I must back up to Saturday for it all to make sense. Maybe even farther than that. Ever since my pregnancy with Alaina (#2), I have had problems with my back. It's usually my sciatic nerve. Two weeks ago my back went out and it took me about 5 or 6 days until I was feeling pretty much as good as new. Well, last Saturday it went out again! I had just gotten Charlotte out of bed and took her out to the living to play. I was sitting her down when it just went. I had to go down to my knees. Thankfully it wasn't as severe as I have had before where I was reduced to crawling around for a few days. I waited till the pain had subsided, and then stood up and hobbled out to the kitchen where my husband was pouring our coffee. He looked at me and just shook his head, and followed me back to our room where I laid down and just wanted to cry. The pain in the back is bad enough, but when you have three children, four and under, it just makes you want to hide under the covers and never come out. My children are normal, which means they fight over toys, and go to far rooms in the house where I can't see what they are doing, and they get into stuff. With a bad back, it just means my reaction time so much slower, and my patience is quite a bit more thin. Fast forward to yesterday. Mornings are my hardest because I am so stiff from lying down all night. I got up and made my way to the couch where my heating pad is and laid on it till my muscles were warmed up and I could stretch a little. The girls got up and I attempted to make breakfast and get them dressed. I knew the house need a good cleaning because I hadn't gotten much done the week before because of my back, so I called my mother in law and sister in law to come help me out. I poured cleaner in the bathroom sinks and tubs and toilets and then went to lay down again. I realized as I lay down that Charlotte is missing. So I go back the hall and find her up to her elbows in toilet water! I firmly tell her no, wipe her off, and shut the bathroom door. I bring her back out to the living room and lay down again. Ten minutes later I hear commotion back near the bedrooms again. I go back and this time find all three in my bathroom. Charlotte again in the toilet, and Larissa has the toilet brush waving it around and splashing water all over. Charlotte then starts rubbing her eyes and crying because it burns. So I tell the older two to go their room and take Charlotte, clean her up, and put her down for a nap. I discipline the older two because they knew better and hobble out to the sofa....again. My family shows up and I just start crying because I am feeling totally overwhelmed. They take the older two outside and hang out my laundry and clean my house. Which was awesome. But my older two continued to get into trouble. They climbed into our pickup truck and found some gum. Alaina came in the house with a huge wad of gum she was chomping on. And they also got into their grandma's car, which they got in trouble for by grandma. The expression on Alaina's face was priceless. She couldn't believe Grandma would discipline her! Loved that. And then what took the cake was lunchtime. I was putting food on the girls' plates so it would be cooled. I had finished Larissa's and moved around the table to do Alaina's when Charlotte crawled over, stood up, and pulled Larissa's plate down to the floor. Spilling mashed potatoes, corn, sauerkraut and pork all over the place. As quickly as she could, Charlotte stuffed food in her mouth ( I do feed my children, Charlotte just thinks she needs to eat all the time), so I didn't have as much to clean up, but still, it was just the icing on the cake.
So this morning I get up, not feeling quite as bad as yesterday, and we start our morning. The older two go out to play as I finish cleaning up and I see they are in the pickup yet again. So I bring them in, we deal with it, and move on. I put Charlotte down for a nap and come out into the kitchen and see the children's cough medicine I had on the counter is gone and the girls have it outside where they dumped it all over the porch! Now, I am slightly upset. Cough medicine is plenty expensive. So we again have to deal with it. I've read in books that you will have days where it seems like your children are just asking for it all the time. I believe the last few days would fall into that category. The books also assure us worn out parents that this will cease, but days like these make me feel like it will not come soon enough. How hard it is to find the patience to deal with the childishness, deliberate disobedience and curiosity of the age. It makes it even more apparent that the more I try to take on myself, the more I fail. It's only through the Lord's strength and supernatural patience and love that a parent can make it. I don't know any other way.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


April is a popular month for birthdays. Our third child's birthday is the beginning of the month, and our first, Larissa, is the end of the month. In fact, her birthday is tomorrow, the 28th. Four years old. Wow, the time just goes so fast. I thought I would write about her birth as well since I did Charlotte's. Alaina's will have to wait until October. Lets see.....four years ago tonight, my labor started. Larissa is the only one that I experienced back labor with. Thank goodness! That is exhausting in itself, and then you have the contractions to deal with as well. I was up most of the night with back labor. I sat in the tub off and on, scared to death of what was to come. This was my first baby, and we were having her at home, so as you can imagine, all kinds of possibilities were playing in my mind. I don't think it matters where you have your babies, I think most mothers go through a time when they are scared or unsure of what will or could happen. Eight the next morning my contractions started to be five minutes apart. So we called our midwife, and she arrived about ten. I labored all day. And it was quite intense. My poor husband pushed against my knees everytime I had a contraction to counteract the back labor I was experiencing. I think he was as tired as I was the next day! Finally, at seven, Stephanie checked me and I was a ten, so she broke my water, and I got into my beloved birthing tub to start the last phase. I pushed for an hour and twenty minutes. I was so exhausted till Larissa arrived. One side effect to my being in labor is that I throw up anything with sugar in it. So I cannot eat or drink anything but water. This drains your energy levels considerably, so by the time she arrived, I was exhausted. But there is no feeling to describe holding your first baby ever. The miracle of birth is one that I will never understand or be able to find the words to express. It is just amazing and breathtaking. We named our firstborn Larissa, which means happy and cheerful. Which she is most of the time. She is the only whose name we agreed on from the beginning. For some reason we have a problem finding girls names that we both like, and we only have girls! Go figure. But I just remember after the midwives got me settled and Larissa dressed and weighed, they put her in bed with me and the three of us, now a family, just laid there. Nate and I just staring at her, and Larissa just sleeping peacefully away. Our lives were never going to be the same again.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Tonight is the eve of my third child's birth. I thought maybe I would write about her birth. Tomorrow she will one. Hardly seems like it's already a year ago that she would have been born. Charlotte Elizabeth, I must say is one of the best surprises God ever gave me. We had been planning on having a little more space between number two and three, but the Lord had other plans. I thought it might be fun to memorialize her birth because it was an unusual experience. I guess all births are. My firstborn because she was my first, Alaina because her daddy delivered her, and Charlotte because I went into false labor twice before actually delivering. It wouldn't have been so bad except that we have our babies at home, and both times my wonderful midwives had to make the hour trek out here for nothing. Plus, my due date was to be around the end of March, and Charlotte didn't come until the 8th of April. You want to be careful when talking to an overdue pregnant woman!!!
But yes, Saturday evening the 7th I started having contactions. My mom was already here because the baby was supposed to have come two weeks earlier. When I mentioned that I was having consistent contractions and that I thought maybe she should take the girls down to my mother-in-law's for the night, I remember my mom looking at me and asking, "Are you sure?" Oh, I hoped it was for real! False labor really plays on your emotions. So she took the girls and left. Nate and I went for a walk to encourage my labor along. My midwives showed up around 9 p.m., and the waiting game began. I labored all night until about 5:30 a.m. the next morning. Finally, my contractions were coming on top of each other, and I decided to get into my birthing tub, which in my opinion, is the best thing ever. It's full of hot water, and just relaxes me like nothing else. (Well, as relaxed as you can be when you are in pain!) At 6:00 a.m. Stephanie, my midwife checked me and I was a nine. I got back in the tub, felt the burn, and knew it wouldn't be long. At 6:10 a.m. Charlotte Elizabeth was brought into the world. She came out into the water, her eyes wide open, and she spread her arms and legs out like she was going to swim to me. It was the coolest thing ever. My midwife suggested videoing our next birth. (But I don't think so. I don't think I could watch it.)
Her name is special too. I found the name Charlotte in a baby name book, and it means "Woman of the Lord." Now, I liked that because she was definitely the Lord's plan. Not that all babies aren't, but we weren't in on this plan, so it felt very fitting for her name. And in a way, it was as if the Lord was affirming her name because our baby girl was born on Sunday. Not just any Sunday, but Easter Sunday last year. I just love that. And she has been the sweetest, happiest, most even tempered baby. The Lord has definitely blessed us with her, even when we weren't expecting it. But isn't that just like Him? He always knows best.

One of those days

Did you ever have one of those days that just started off bad, and you wished you could start all over? I had one of those last Friday. You see, I have this passion about reading. If I am in a good book, I cannot put it down, and I totally zone out everything and everyone around me. It drives my husband crazy. He can be talking to me and I totally have not heard a word he has said. This is especially dangerous to do when the children are awake.
Friday morning I got up, fed Charlotte and decided to read while the older two slept. They eventually got up and came out to the living room. They played in there for a while and then suddenly it got quiet. Now, in my subconscious I was aware that they had left the room, but I was in a good spot in my book and decided they couldn't get into too much trouble.
A few minutes later, I heard the water running in the bathroom. Irritated, because I had to stop reading, I put down my book and went back to investigate. Turns out, my daughters got a hold of my white out and thought it was lipstick. It was on their face and all over their hands and arms. Believe me, white out does not come out easily. I got pretty upset with them, and then realized, you know, I have no one to blame but myself. I should have been the adult, and put my book away when the older two got up, but no, I just had to read one more chapter, which turned into another, and then another.
This is one area that I do struggle in. I sometimes have a hard time stopping what I want to do and doing what my children want to do. Now, I do agree that children do need to learn to wait and that the world doesn't revolve around them, however, this specific circumstance was totally me being selfish. And I've learned my lesson. And I don't believe my girls want their mommy scrubbing their skin until it's red either, trying to get the stuff off! So hopefully, there will be on more white out incidents!

Monday, March 31, 2008


Mondays are hardly ever great days in our household. The girls are coming off of Sunday, which is a very long day for us. We travel an hour to get to church, and then we eat lunch out because it is so far, and then it's an hour home. So the girls rarely get a decent afternoon nap, they go to bed early, and for some reason, they don't sleep in, but get up early on Monday. So there is usually lots of cranky, tired, squabbling children in the house....and one very frustrated, impatient mommy!
This morning, for instance, I heard the older two in their room talking before 6:30 this morning, and I immediately knew today was probably not going to be a good day. I was hanging out wash when my eldest pointed out to me that Alaina had pulled some flowers out of one of my pots. Not just the flower, but the whole plant. Now Alaina and I have been having frequent lessons in not pulling my flowers out, and this one just took the cake. So, I became angry, told her (not so calmly and definitely not in an inside voice) to leave my flowers alone, and then I disciplined her. She cried for a little while and then got over it and moved on to the next thing. And here I sit, almost an hour later and I am still stewing over the same thing.
I find this true a lot of times. My children misbehave, we deal with it, they move on, and I am still upset. And then I get even more upset with myself because I am holding a grudge against a toddler!
I am so thankful that children are resilient and forget the days of their younger years where their parents make plenty of mistakes. I would never want my girls to remember the day that their mom was upset with them for a whole morning because they pulled my flowers out. I mean, really, in the big picture, what do the flowers really matter? Not a whole lot.
I am just so thankful that God doesn't treat me that way. He never holds a grudge against me when I screw up, which is pretty often. And now that I have a blog to journal on, it is really humbling to see how much growing I have to do.
I know I need to just pray for the mercy, unconditonal love and discernment to know how to take care of a situation. Oftentimes I react in the moment and later regret how I handled it. Hindsight is 20/20. I am just so thankful that my girls have unconditional love for me and forget things so quickly. I think I need a little more toddler in me!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Super Daddy

My girls got a superman figurine from a happy meal a few months ago, and they asked me who he was. I told them his name is Superman. A few weeks ago, they were playing with him and I heard them calling Superman, Daddy. I thought, how cute! They think Superman is their daddy. And then I realized, every little girl needs to think of their daddy as Superman. Someone who will protect them, love them, sacrifice for them, and cherish them. Growing up, I always had a pretty good relationship with my father, and now being a mother, I wish for my girls to have a close relationship with their own father. I firmly believe that a close relationship with their father will help them with their relationship with their Heavenly Father, and also with any male relationships they have in the far, far, far future. (Do I have enough fars in there?) I am in no hurry to get to that point!
But I do want our girls to grow up feeling special and loved by their father, so that they don't go seeking that from any other source. And by being secure in their relationship with their father, I think it will be easier for them to understand God as their Heavenly Father.
I think father/daughter relationships can be so special, and I hope that I will encourage that as our daughters grow up. We don't have any boys in this family yet, and maybe someday we will, and I will get to learn about the special bond between mother and son, but for now, the girls rule! And I don't ever want them to look at their father as anything less then Superman. An earthly example of the heavenly Superman that is their father and loves them passionately.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Laundry airing

I finally decided to start my own blog. I've thought about it for a while, but after talking to my mom today, I thought I would try it. She said it might encourage other young mothers with children, make some people smile, or I might get some really fantastic parenting advice. So, here it goes.
I have three young children. Their names and ages are as follows: Larissa, 3 (almost four, end of April), Alaina, 2 1/2, and Charlotte who will be one the beginning of April. Yes, three girls, and they are 17 months apart. I am sure there are some who think I am crazy, and others who know what it's like, or may even have their children closer. Those who have their children even closer, I applaud you. I feel like somdays I am in a neverending phase of teething, changing diapers, potty training, and discipline.
So, today has not been the best day in the world. My girls, mainly the two older ones, have been fighting like cats and dogs today. Toys, food, clothes, shoes, you name it, they have probably had a scrap about it.
My dad called me this morning, and Larissa and Alaina were fighting, so I sent them outside. Finally, peace and quiet!!! Although, usually when it's quiet, that means there is trouble. I finished the conversation with my dad, grabbed my laundry basket and went outside to take clean laundry off the line. I walk outside, and find my clean laundry is now lying on the back porch, covered in dirt. My two little "helpers" had taken the liberty of pulling the clean laundry off the line and dragging it through the dirt and throwing it in a pile on the porch. My blood pressure sky-rocketed, and I could feel the anger just rising up in me. I called them to the door and calmly (I really tried to be calm) explained that I wash their clothes so they have clean things to wear, and when they take them off the line and drag them through dirt, it only creates more work for their mommy. I disciplined them and am hoping that will be the last time we have to discuss laundry pulling.
Looking back on it later, I did find it slightly humorous, not totally funny, though. And I relayed the event to my sister. She emailed me back and told me that perhaps there is a hidden message in it for me to think about. So this afternoon when my three girls were napping I sat down and thought about that remark. I find a lot of times, the frustration I deal with in raising my kids with their physical actions, usually has spiritual implications for me. Like the laundry deal, I felt God say to me this afternoon, you know Laura, there are many times I pull you out of a messy situation or a pit, clean you off, and you pull away and go and mess up again.
Wow, conviction fell. I know God certainly doesn't fly off the handle at me when I screw up, every day, a hundred different ways. It only shows me how much more I have to learn about grace, mercy, and unconditional love. And I know I have a long way to go.