October 26, 2010

M.O.T.H.E.R.-I.N.-L.A.W

M oaning, mourning, musing, meekening
O verjoyed, overwhelmed, optimistic, okay
T hankful, tearful, tender, terrified
H opeful, happy, hurried, heartened
E ncouraged, excited, emotional, earnest
R ejoicing, replaced, removing, renewing

I nterested, immature, idiotic, intense
N ervous, naive, nerdy, noticing

L ame, liking, loud, large
A cceptance, amusement, anticipating, awkward
W ondering, watching, waiting, worried, weary

October 19, 2010

I Am A Cow

Sunday afternoon we took our two-still-at-home sons for a ride, trying to soak up some of autumn's beauty before winter sets in. As we drove home I clearly saw myself standing in a field. There I was, a huge, black cow, surrounded by a field with all kinds of edible plants sitting at my hooves. And there I stood, cutting my neck on the barbed wire fence surrounding my field, straining to get at the same kind of plants growing on the other side of my boundary.

Over and over again since the day I came home from having back surgery, the Lord has asked me to be thankful. Don't look at what you don't have. What you can't do. Where you've been. Please, just look at Me. I have given you so much. Be content with where I have you. I have blessed you if you'll only look around and notice it. It's there.

So, I've started a Thanksgiving Journal. Not just for this autumn season, but for this autumn season of my life. And I've decided to share some of it here, just for the fun of it. Today I wanted to write about our 4 sons. Lately they have served us and shown us love in such unique ways....ways that reflect their individual personalities and prove there is something to all that's written about personality and birth order.

#1: Before my surgery he spent the day with me. He walked with me, baked Chocolate Revel Bars, and cleaned the kitchen. After my surgery he spent an entire Saturday cooking for us. He baked Pineapple Zucchini Bread, dinner rolls, a coffee cake, and made Apple Cider Stew. And he braved The Plague going around the house to deliver all of it. He also came over and taught #3 how to change the oil in his truck and parallel park. See? Practical things. Accomplishy type things. Excel spread sheet type things. He is after all, a first born. Goals, to-do lists etc.

#2: He stayed up all night with me twice, walking. Listening to me cry, comforting me, laughing, telling me stories. For two weeks before I had surgery the pain I experienced was horrific, especially at night. The only way I could bear it was to walk. So I did. All night, every night. And he was there for 2 of those nights, letting me squeeze the daylights out of his arm as we paced our tiny house. #2 has also walked me through many lonely hours after the surgery when I didn't know who else to call but desperately needed someone to talk to and cry with. I think a lot of the emotions I went through were drug related: anesthesia, pain killers, anti-biotics. I was a walking medicine cabinet and they played havoc with my emotions. #2 patiently, sweetly listened to me whine, comforted me through some anxiety attacks, and frequently called to make sure I was OK. The rolls were reversed and I found out he's going to make a terrific dad! :-) All these things reflect his personality as well. He's sweet, sensitive...has a servant's heart. Very compassionate, a good listener.

#3: This boy has put up with a lot from me-he still lives here and there's no escaping The Mom. He has served and loved and cared for me in his own unique style. The doctor told me the best thing I could do to help my back recover is to walk, so boy, have I walked. And #3 has been there for many, many of those walks. At first I had to use a walker and toddle down the road. He called me The Walkie Talkie. He's amazed me with his optimism, patience, and incredible sense of humor. We've spent hours walking and laughing. He's made a lot of this recovery time actually fun and helped me laugh at myself over and over again. He's also cheerfully picked things up, lugged things around, cooked, cleaned, hefted, hoisted, scrubbed, and carried. He's teased me mercilessly and loved me patiently. I've been grouchy and emotional and most of the time he can get me to laugh my way into a better frame of mind.

#4: I don't know what I'd do without this boy either considering the fact that he's only 17 days into being 9. If there is one word that describes him, it's Sweet. He's done the same things his big brothers have: he's helped me cook, helped me clean, helped me carry, picked things up, made me laugh, folded mounds of laundry, even tied my shoes over and over again. He's gone with me on most of my walks, keeping me company and being my sweet little friend. Not once has he complained about any of it!

So, there you have it. 4 sons. 4 totally different ways of loving. I am blessed beyond words and thankful beyond words for the boys the Lord has put in our lives.

August 4, 2010

26 Years and Counting-A Reposted Post

On August 4, 1984 two kids got married. Here's their story to date:

We are from New Mexico and Chicago
meeting in the middle;
from a girl afraid of marriage
and a very patient boy.

We’re from “I am afraid to trust.”
and “I. Won’t. Leave. You.”
From "Don't trust men." and
"When your husband buys new underwear it means he's having an affair."

We are from years of pulling hard to make ends meet
and at least 2 babies waiting for us in heaven.
(Are they our daughters?)
From a girl who couldn’t cook,
furniture lovingly built by a patient man,
and whisker-roughened kisses on my not-so-whiskered cheeks.

We’re from a house full of boys, camo, dirt, sweat, and noise;
from gallons of Tide Laundry Soap,
mountains of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
and Haines socks X 5.
We've lived through financial stresses,
a concussion, car problems,
emergency surgery, stitches, strange and numerous pets,
and 4 pregnancies.

We’re from fishing trips on hot, sweaty days,
camping trips where we thought we’d freeze to death
and hiking nearly every weekend every fall.

There are few traditions in our household
but love and laughter
still bounce around the rooms.

We are from
wrestling with daddy and hugging mom;
from a man who taught his sons to be gentle with
the only female in the house
and to treat her with respect.

We're from wondering if we've put too much into "them"
and not enough into "us".
By God's grace we've survived and our marriage has thrived.
I've had to learn how to respect him and he's learned to listen:
She doesn't always want things fixed?

We are from mistakes, bumbling along, prayer,
forgiveness, and determination.
The road has been filled with all the usual stuff:
joys, heartaches, stress, weariness, surprises, and
blessings beyond count.

Even though at times we drive each other crazy,
we're happy to be stuck with each other.

August 4, 1984-Another Reposted Post









Has it always been easy? No.

Do we deserve each other? Oh yeah.

Would I do it all again, with the same man? No doubt about it.

Do we still love each other? Need each other? Enjoy being together? Yes, yes, and yes!

I'm happy to be stuck with you lovey.

26 years and counting...

June 18, 2010

The Most Romantic Song I've Ever Heard

With 1 son married for 14 days now, another son married in 4 weeks, an 18 year old son dreaming of marriage some day, and our 26th anniversary coming up, it's only natural romance would be on my mind.

Isn't this an incredible song? It touches my heart and soul in ways that no other song ever has....


May 7, 2010

quote of the day

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

- Margaret Nadauld

April 23, 2010

I was just wondering if you've ever read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis? There are 7 books in the series. I've always loved the first 6 stories, but the 7th, "The Last Battle", was always a bit disturbing. Depressing. I didn't like it and if I could have, I would've erased the entire book.
Lately however, other than the bible, that 7th book has become my favorite book. Earlier this spring I read it out loud to my smallest son and as I read I grew more and more encouraged about life.

The story starts out on a bright sunny day in Narnia; it's a land full of sweet, carefree talking animals, dwarves, nymphs, and even a person or two.:-) Narnia is a country blessed by their Creator and His son Aslan. (Aslan is a lion in the story, but that's neither here nor there as far as this post goes.)

Anyway-all the creatures of Narnia live in peace with each other; they work and play in safety with hardly a care in the world. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Aslan is watching over them and loves them. As a result, they grow complacent and forget to watch out for enemies who might be near. They forget to protect themselves or their country.

And, sure enough, enemies do enter their land. They have a nasty little leader, an ape, who's completely selfish, stupid, and worst of all, a Narnian. He sets himself up as a dictator and tells them he alone has the ear of Aslan and that he has become the voice of Aslan. The simple creatures believe him and settle in to obey his every word. At first he gives simple orders that make sense to everyone, but little by little the ape begins to take more and more control of Narnia. He tells the people of Narnia they must work hard and turn over their earnings to him so he can use it to care for them. He takes more and more of their freedoms away and turns them into slaves. Those who disobey, or even argue with him are severely punished.

The little animals and other creatures of the country don't understand what's happening. They're confused and some begin to despair.

At about this point, when I was reading the story to my son, I started thinking about life. It just seems like it's getting harder and harder to live it with any sense of well being. People I know are hurting. They're losing loved ones; they're losing their health or their jobs. Families are decaying. Our country is changing and it's getting to be a very scary place to live-at least to me it is. Stress is on the rise. I think in many ways our faith is being tested in America like never before and, when I look around, it's very easy for me to give in to fear and despair.

OK-back to Narnia. She does have a king, but up to this point he's been oblivious to the plans and plots of the ape. He suddenly comes upon the ape and at first even he is deceived by the lies being told. But, little by little, as the story unfolds, the king remembers Aslan. He tells himself everything he knows about Aslan and the truth hits him. This ape is not the voice of Aslan. He's wicked and full of hate. His only goal is to destroy.

The king of Narnia, while still confused about what's going on in his country, knows what he must do. He must fight the ape. He knows it's a "hopeless" battle. The ape has too many on his side for the king and his little creatures to fight against. He knows he's going to die. But he also knows he cannot just surrender. He cannot despair. He has to fight for what's true and lovely and good until his life is over. He puts his trust in Aslan and chooses to fight for Him regardless of the consequences.


The story was just so encouraging to me. I look around and I see people whose lives are almost perfect, at least on the outside. Then I see others who are going through horrendous things-things no one should have to face. The Lord used The Last Battle to remind me that we are all in a battle. We are stuck here until our bodies die-we need to fight for what's true and lovely and good. We need to stand our ground and not give in to hopelessness or despair. We need to keep our eyes on the big picture; the eternal picture and remember that He loves us no matter what we're going through or may face. That there is a God and He wants us to keep on keeping on. He wants us to trust Him and depend on Him for the energy, hope, and peace we need to see it all through to the end. What we want, what we're really looking for in everything we do here, is Life with Him. We'll find a bit of that here and can find a bit of that now; but really, Life with Him won't begin until our life in these bodies is over. We're going to go through things that hurt; things that don't make sense or aren't fair. No matter what we need to keep on keeping on.

Some day I want to be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Tim. 4:7

April 2, 2010

Testing 1 2 3

Wow. I can hardly believe in 6 short weeks we'll be graduating our 3rd son....not only that, but today is his 18th birthday!
In many ways I still feel like an 18 year old myself. Vulnerable. Nervous about the future. Not quite sure how to do what I'm doing; I'm still just bumbling along.
Another part of me feels like I'm older than kerosene... my husband and I have almost 99 years of living between us! (Now that's scary.)
Anyway-like I said, in 6 weeks we'll be completing our 19th year of homeschooling. For those of you who are just beginning, I'd like to say, if I can do it, anybody can! I'd also like to re-post something I wrote a couple years ago:



Testing 1 2 3

Right around the middle of March, every year, it hits me. It happens every spring. Weariness. Hope. Guilt. Fear. Joy. Pride. Doubt. Apprehension. A really mixed bag of emotions. As the school year runs down I find myself trotting along, fumes as my fuel. I look at the school year that is winding down and evaluate it. I look ahead to the next year and am excited about starting
all over. A whole, fresh, new school year!
For the first several years we home schooled it was very easy for me to spend the spring and summer months either beating myself up over the school year we'd just completed, or surrendering to the feelings of just knowing I was a failure. Those feelings of inadequacy really hit me as testing time drew near. I was convinced that I was the one being tested, not my kids.
I'd think about all the time I'd wasted. All the projects we'd never touched. All the strange interruptions to our school days. All the things the boys didn't learn......

Now I have 2 graduates under my belt. They both hold down full time jobs. One is also a missionary downtown and the other a full time college student. They both love the Lord. They can even make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and change the oil on their cars. Knowing that, no, they're not perfect, but they have some intelligence, they can fend for themselves, and they love others and the Lord makes it so much easier to relax and I have more confidence than I used to.
However, along the way the Lord used other things to encourage me and to let me know we were "O.K." and my kids wouldn't end up living in a cardboard box someday.

One thing that really helped me get past those negative feelings was to start each year with 4 goals for each boy. (Jessica Hulcey and Carole Thaxton of KONOS curriculum suggested doing this and it really helped!) During the summer Mike and I would sit down and look at each of our sons and evaluate where his character/relationship with the Lord was at, where he was at academically, then physically, and what work skills needed improvement. As an example, when our oldest son was 7 these were the goals we had for him:

Character: showing respect toward his parents and other adults

Academics: neat handwriting, spelling and better math skills

Physical: morning exercises

Work skills: begin doing his own laundry, clean the bathroom, dusting, and helping with dishes

Then, in the spring I'd look at the goals we'd laid out and see if we'd even come close to hitting the mark. There were some years where we'd see improvement in each area and other times the goals were repeated the following fall.

We'd also remind ourselves of the following:

1. We'd seen academic improvement.

2. The boys had matured over the course of the school year.

3. We knew the boys were safe both emotionally and spiritually.

Those three things happened every year.

If you were here, and weary, and just a tad nervous about how you're doing as a teacher, I'd tell you these things:
- Just because you feel like a failure doesn't mean you failed. Go back to those last 3 things and re-read them.

-Even if your kids come back with a low test score in one subject or more, relax. Chances are, next year they will improve by leaps and bounds in those areas. We saw this happen with the boys more than once.

-No matter what kind of teacher you are and no matter what kind of school year you've had, it's a given that there will be gaps. You need to surrender your concerns and weak spots to the Lord and ask Him to fill in the gaps. He is faithful. He will do it.

-Remember Colossians 3:23-24

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


March 25, 2010

She

My soon to be 18 year old son wrote some lyrics to a song. Other than having a mom, he's always been surrounded by mounds of guy-ness. In the last year the Lord has blessed him with 2 soon-to-be sisters. (His 2 big brothers are both getting married this summer.) Perhaps it's his age, (after all, teenagers think they know everything) ...perhaps the new sisters...whatever the reasoning, my son's suddenly become an expert on the female psyche. And, as much as I hate to admit it, he's got us pegged. I thought it would be fun to share this with you so, with my son's permission, here it is.
(He almost sounds as if he's speaking from experience, and he mentions "being in love"....I just may have to have a chat with that boy....)



She wants me to know her mind but not what she's thinking about
She wants to be a mystery but still interpretable some how
If she cuts two hairs from her pretty head I should know it
She wants to go out but she wants me to suggest that we go
She wants to be comforted yet she wants her space
She spends hours in the bathroom working on her face
(And then she comes up and tells me to hurry)

I'm not psychic that is plain
All this guessing drives me insane
She makes the sun shine in the rain
But being in love is truly insane

The difference between talking and listening is death
How to say good morning I haven't figured out yet
When I want to get some sleep she wants to talk
I don't know when she wants to be a lady and when not
She goes shopping and tells me all hundred things she got
The silent treatment makes me ask what did I do?
"Well if you don't know then I'm not going to tell you."

I'm not psychic that is plain
All this guessing drives me insane
She makes the sun shine in the rain
But being in love is truly insane

She refuses to believe I can think about nothing
I answer honestly but she thinks I'm bluffing
She doesn't know why I like to watch her fix her hair
She wants to know what I'm thinking when I stare
But she is who she is so I'll enjoy who she is for who she is
But she is who she is so I'll enjoy who she is for who she is

Oh yes, I'm not psychic that is plain
And all of this guessing drives me insane
She can make the sun shin in the rain
But being in love is completely insane

January 10, 2010

Suddenly

Dear Dr. Dobson,
I imagine I've written you at least once a week during the past year. (Only in my mind) But this time I'm planning on mailing my letter.
I have 2 sons-Benjamin, 3 years and 8 months old, and James, 1 year and 8 months old.


My oldest son fits your description of a strong willed child, with a few exceptions. He is kind, gentle, calm, and sensitive of others. He just wants his way and he calmly, gently stands his ground, craftily manipulating to get it. I would like to say this is wearing me out.

We live in a small 2 story apartment. The boys share a room. However, we have the room set up so they have most of it to play in. My husband even built a "quiet corner" or "fort" in one corner of the room just for Benjamin. The little door in that corner has a hook-in-eye lock on it and James is NOT allowed in. We put Benjamin's books and favorite toys inside and hung some posters of some of his favorite animals in it.

What a waste of time!

This small boy, whom I love so much, is driving me crazy~ He is like a walking growth on my leg. A questioning, talking-non-stop, demanding-non-stop-attention growth! He follows me from room to room, up and down the stairs; always wanting me to "look Momma!" or asking me what I'm doing, why am I doing it, where am I going....If I say I'm going downstairs to check the laundry and I'll be right back, he still insists on coming with me. He feeds me lines like: "I just miss you mommy." or "I just want to be with you." or "I just want to make sure you're OK."

If I'm hard hearted enough to say no, I can't even get to the bottom of the stairs without him yelling out, "What are you doing Mommy? Why are you down there so long? Are you coming back soon?"

I feel like I'm living in a glorified Hamster cage!!

I won't even go into the sibling rivalry stuff and his methods of pulling me away from my husband. I know it sounds childish, but I want to ignore him so he'll just go away!

My one consolation is that through all this I can see he's got a sharp mind and is quite creative. (I on the other hand, am wondering how long my mind will last.)

I find myself longing for his 21st birthday, or his marriage or something. And I don't want to have that attitude during these special early childhood days.

How much independence should I expect at this age? Is it unreasonable to expect a child of almost 4 to be able to disappear into his pretending for even 20 minutes?

I realize that as a first born, and a boy, he's going to want a lot of my attention. But in the day to day long haul, how do I deal with this? How do I foster independence without hurting him emotionally? How do I do more than barely cope?

S.O.S.
Thank you,
jan
PS Read Hebrews 13:17 in the Ampified Bible-I wish all children would!!

(Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them, continually recognizing their authority over you, for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account of their trust. Do your part to let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you.)

I thought I wrote that letter yesterday, then suddenly, this morning, my dreams came true.



( By the way, this is a real letter I wrote but never mailed. I've been doing some spring cleaning and found it in an old journal.)

January 4, 2010

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Afternoon

December 27. I looked out the window and watched the snow falling thickly to the ground. The house was warm and cozy; the lights on the Christmas tree twinkled, and I thought I could hear the tree snickering: I'm not out there in that almost blizzard!
I agreed with the tree. Staying in, crafting, maybe watching a movie, snacking on Christmas cookies and watching the snow from the living room window sounded like a great way to spend the afternoon.
But, then the phone rang. Our oldest son wanted to know if we would like to go hiking. Without blinking an eye we said, "Yes!" It was only after we hung up the phone that we wondered about our sanity.
We ignored ourselves, bundled up and off we went. It turned out to be my very most favorite day of hiking ever...it was just too beautiful for words.

This picture may look romantic, but right after it was taken my husband tried to put me in a headlock so he could dump me in the snow.


Here's our oldest son with his very brave fiance'. Do you like the whopper engagement ring she picked out for him?


Our almost daughter with her almost little brother:


This is one of my favorite pictures of my husband and son #3. It's also a very real picture of what parenting an almost 18 year old feels and looks like...