Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life keeps movin' on

I feel like it has been hard to keep up with blogging lately. That and I don't know what to write about. I am too tired and pulled in too many different directions to take the time to sit down and write. We are doing a homeschool co-op on Mondays, and it's been kicking my tail. And the last week we've had something going on everyday. That is not normal. And I hope it doesn't become the new normal. But life goes in seasons, it ebbs and flows. But I did get some recent pictures of the kids because I realized it's been a while since I have taken any.

And the list of gifts continue....

161. air cooling enough we don't need the air conditioner
162. cup of coffee in the evening
163. friends visiting
164. snuggling with my 4 year old
165. fall
166. perfect song at the perfect moment
167. new life
168. moon rising over the mountains, above the clouds
169. stillness of twilight
170. tiger-striped kittens
171. purrs
172. brave men and women who protect us
173. picking pears
174. freedom
175. grace
176. girls playing with balloons
177. fall decorations
178. baby feet
179. Eskimo kisses
180. girls going with dad for the afternoon

We are preparing for a trip back to the good ol' state of Pennsylvania next week. My gracious mother in law is bravely going with me and the four kids. What's that you ask? Why, yes, of course we are driving the THIRTY-SIX hours back. Am I crazy? Well, no, but ask me when I get home!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More gifts....

I have been writing down my gifts for over a month now. I have been noticing an ebb and flow to my gift listing. When I am feeling rushed, stressed and overwhelmed, my list doesn't grow as quickly. But when I am feeling caught up, and rested, my list expands quickly. When I am feeling most stressed is when I should be looking for my gifts, slowing down to find them. I need to remember that. sigh. So much growing left to are the next few on my list!

129. a good night's sleep after being up the night before sick
130. children playing nicely
131. brave boy getting shots
132. playing uno with the girls
133. hearing how helpful the girls were for Grandma
134. new cookbooks
135. decluttering
136. quiet evening of reading
137. His promise to never leave us
138. a fun game of Dutch Blitz
139. listening to favorite hymns
140. hitting all the lights green on the way to church
141. corporate prayer
142. agreeing in prayer with Nate
143. forgiveness
144. Jesus paid it all
145. our little family
146.  hope
147. cloudy mornings
148. trees loaded down with fruit
149. lunch with friends
150. popcorn on the stove
151. birds calling to each other early in the gray morning
152. smell of a campfire
153. sticky fingers
154. excited girls
155. telling stories around the fire
156. watching the flickering lights dance across the faces of my loved ones
157. hearing the sound of him coming home
158. first stars
159. half moon
160. rain through the night

Keep looking for the gifts....sometimes I would love to know how many I  miss. Open my eyes further Lord...let me see all Your goodness!" target="_blank">" >

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Can I Do?

I finished reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns about a week and a half ago. If you haven't read it yet, I would strongly encourage you to grab it and read it. He is the president of World Vision. If you have been reading my blog for a little while, you may have noticed that I put some new buttons along my sidebar. I have been feeling convicted about doing more for the orphans in this world. And one small way I can do something is by sponsoring a child. It is really amazing how for so little you can help feed, educate, and clothe a child. And they are going to church and learning about a Savior who loves them wildly. We sponsor two children through Compassion International. For $39 a month, you can help do all the above for a child. In return, you get letters from these amazing children. And it brings tears to my eyes when I read they are praying for me. Praying for me. These children who have to walk every day to bring water to their families, who may eat the same thing every day, who live with the threat of disease, who may sleep on the floor. They pray for me. But no matter how wealthy we are here in America, and we are wealthy here (according to Stearns book, if you make over $25,000 a year, you are wealthier then over 95% of the world, and if you make over $50,000 you are wealthier than 99% of the world), we all still need the same Savior. We all still have the same need. We all still need forgiveness, grace, mercy. I can't tell you the joy and excitement I feel when I see we have received another letter in the mail.
We also sponsor a young lady through Amazima. If you have time, you really need to click on that button and head over to the website. Click on Katie's story, and you will read how this amazing ministry got started by a young 18 or 19 year old girl. This ministry is based out of Uganda, Africa. This country holds a special place in my heart because my sister went there with Compassion International and our church has hosted the Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda as well. Katie has a book coming out the beginning of October telling her story, and I can't wait to read it.
We would like to sponsor one more child, and I believe we will probably do it through World Vision. We would like to have a sponsored child for each of our own biological children. But we look at our sponsored children as part of our own family. We pray for them everyday. And see their pictures every time we open our fridge.
As the Church, part of our responsibility is to the orphans and widows of the world. I would challenge you to look at ways that you could possibly encourage an orphan, perhaps by sponsoring, or even through adoption. It will be a decision you won't regret, if done to bring honor and glory to God. Please check out the sites on my sidebar, and even if you can't sponsor a child, you can give money to those areas in Africa right now being hit hard by the famine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whimisical Wednesday

 For today......September 14, 2011

Outside my's cloudy and looks as though there is a storm to the south. There is a slight breeze and the ground is still damp from rain last night.

I am thinking......of all the cleaning and catching up I have to do. And trying to think of fun things to do with the kids in school this year.

I am thankful for....a home, plenty to eat, family. A God who passionately loves and pursues me. Gulp.

From the learning room....the girls are doing well this year so far. It's early, but one can be hopeful that their desire to learn will grow with them.

From the kitchen....I am making pinto bean bread for the first time! A little nervous. Hope it turns out all right. And I am going to try a new peanut butter granola bar recipe.

I am reading.....I just finished A Hole in Our Gospel. Wow. Amazing, convicting book. I am still reading Lies Women Believe, and have started reading again, One Thousand Gifts. Got my own copy so I can highlight and mark to my heart's content! :)

I am hoping....for clear direction. Clarity in decisions that need to be made.

I am washing machine going to rinse cycle, distant thunder, hymns for worship on pandora

Around the house....floors need washing, kitchen and bathrooms need cleaning, toys are scattered about, pears are ready to can.

One of my favorite things.....when my girls read to me...or when baby boy rests his head on my shoulder

A few plans for the week....can pears, do school everyday, enjoy the fall as it slowly sneaks up on us

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All is Grace

It's Tuesday and I still haven't done my post to link up to A Holy Experience! Life has been CRAZY. There is the potential for a big time change and we are just waiting on the Lord and trying to seek His direction these days. We should always live that way. But sometimes, when you get into a routine, you relax. You let things slide. You forget. And then...WHAM! God reminds you Who is in charge. I found with life getting busier, I wasn't slowing down to see the gifts. My mind was just going to the next thing I had to get done. Check it off my list. But while I was hurrying to check things off, I was becoming short, sarcastic, impatient...anything but grace-filled, you know what I am saying? Like your kids look at you like you grew another head.  Looking for gifts is a habit....a discipline, if you will. But this simple act can totally change your outlook, your perspective on life. So here are the next on my list.....

101. chocolate chip cookie dough
102. baking cookies
103. smell of rain in the air
104. naptime
105. dishwasher
106. washing dishes and looking out my window
107. red geraniums
108. reading other gift lists
109. kittens lapping up their milk
110. messy house (means there was living going on, right? :)
111. dirty floors
112. hammock
113. relaxing in the hammock
114. feeling the gentle breeze kiss my cheeks
115. watching three determined little girls try to climb a tree
116. two little girls in their ballet outfits
117. beautiful sunset
118. sun breaking through the clouds
119. blue and pink tinged sky
120. vanilla creamer
121. hazelnut coffee
122. smells of fall
123. eating cookies
124. reading library books to the girls
125. snuggling with a sick little girl
126. quilts hanging on the washline
127. putting sun warmed quilts back on the bed
128. his smile meant only for me" target="_blank">" >

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Overnight the air has seemed to dry out, a cool breeze blowing from the south, almost like fall is blowing in. A good morning to actually sit outside and drink a cup of coffee without breaking a sweat. Now weather can be a fickle thing. It's only mid September and I know we have a good month yet of warm weather. But today is a nice respite. And I will gladly take it. Fall is symbolic of my life right now. A season coming to an end. A new season to look forward to. There are changes on the horizon. I can feel it. Endings are sad, but inevitable. Beginnings are scary,  yet promise much adventure. It's a crossroad. Which way do you take? We have lots of decisions to make in the coming months. Decisions that don't offer a clear direction. Sometimes it's hard to discern where God is leading. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a right or wrong answer per say, but what is best? I wish God would send us a memo sometimes! How easy it would be. But where would the trusting and faith come in? The stretching and the training our ears to hear and listen to what God is calling us to do.
So as the leaves slowly start to change from green to gold, and the corn starts to dry down, waiting for harvest, and the air turns cooler and drier, we pray. And we wait. And we believe and trust that God will lead us in the right direction. Always.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Gifts

Already that time of the week! It's Sunday afternoon, we have yet again missed another storm, and so we are praying and trusting that God knows we need the rain, and His plan is best! This is an accumulation over the last two weeks.....

36. afternoon naps
37. kittens
38. shucking corn
39. cutting corn
40. hugs
41. kisses
42. little girls' bedtime prayers
43. ring around the tub after kids' baths
44. girls playing with kittens
45. dirty boy
46. old recliner
47. pancake syrupy baby
48. warm slice of homemade bread with butter
49. homemade strawberry jam
50. damp curls at the nape of the neck
51. desert turning green during monsoon
52. storm clouds growing
53. kitten curled up in cowboy boot, napping
54. naps in the car
55. freckles across the bridge of her nose
56. cotton candy clouds
57. lightning show
58. barley loaded on hopper
59. thunder
60. baby boy pushing tractors on his knees
61. "vroom" "vroom" noises by baby boy
62. the promise of life eternal
63. working as a time
64. clean floors
65. dishwasher
66. clothesline
67. fresh dried clothes
68. freeze pops
69. sharing a freeze pop with baby
70. a quiet morning reading the Word
71. children sleeping in
72. You are in the details!
73. mountains
74. cloud cover during an afternoon run
75. cool breezes during run cold clean water
77. a full freezer to organize
78. blueberries
79. raspberries
80. fresh cut grass
81. sweet smelling rose
82. dirty kids
83. nursing baby boy for the last time
84. flying a kite
85. kids playing outside, rather then sitting in front of the TV
86. last days of summer
87. sprinkler watering the yard
88. cut rose on my kitchen windowsill
89. sweet scent of roses
90. newborn baby
91. baby snuggled up on my chest
92. baby showers
93. soft, curly, baby hair
94. smooth perfect baby skin
95. brisk mornings
96. hot coffee
97. good fellowship
98. sweet "good nights"
99. cheerful boy
100. chocolate chip cookie dough

We have dealt with the stomach flu this past week, and it was challenging to find many gifts those days, but one was definitely knowing this too shall pass! I am not as diligent as I should be in writing them down, and then I forget. But what a great practice. It really can make a difference. Take the time, write down the gifts, they are too numerous to count!