Friday, April 30, 2010

What's a turn over truck?

I laughed at Brooke's comment on my Friday Favorites blog post. "What's a turn over truck?"

Honestly, I kind of made that term up because I don't know how else to describe what my man does. He buys things cheap at auctions, garage sales, through Craig's List, etc., etc. Then he turns them over and resells them to make a profit.

In case anyone wonders, I'm not making this up! He has made money doing this. Not enough to quit his day job but enough to provide some extras.

Usually, Chad does this with a goal in mind. Right now, we have a big 5th wheel camper that is paid for and we all love it. We have a F350 diesel dually crew cab to pull camper (big camper = big truck). We also have big kids. When we bought the truck six years ago, we had little kids. Now, Eric is within an inch of being as tall as me and my little kids are turning into big kids (big kids = big truck). We need a newer big truck to fit our big kids and pull our big camper. So, my husband has gone to "work" and has goal of buying and selling to make the cash to buy "new" truck with cash (I love him for this! We worked hard and long to pay off debt--don't want to go back to that!!).

When Chad bought my red F150 last summer, he bought it at an auction below Kelly Blue Book value. Then he sold it on Monday and made a profit. Tuesday he bought "new" truck below value and we are hoping to make a profit on this too... thus his goal of turning over vehicles until we have the cash we need to buy a "new" big truck that will pull our camper and be much more comfortable for the kids to ride in.

So... in answer to Brooke's question... a turn over truck is one that I can not get attached to because it will be sold to make a profit. Maybe I should have said "flip truck" like a "flip house".

sunshine award

Look what I got today...

Jamie at Little Bishop Choronicles gave me this blogging award! Thanks Jamie!! Jamie's blog has made me smile time and time again! I love that she so honestly shares her life's stories with a lot of humor! I'm not sure when I first found Little Bishop Chronicles but I am thankful to be a follower and to be blessed by Jamie.

In accepting this blogging award, I also have to follow the rules and send it on...

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world.”

Of course, awards come with rules…
1. Put the logo on your blog and/or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received this award

I can't wait to pass this on! Thanks so much Jamie!! Honestly, I have more than 12 favorite blogs.... so I'm passing this on to a few extra people. I'm also "revamping" the rules a bit.... please just accept this from me to you. If you want to pass it on, great. If not, great. Please know that your blog has encouraged and inspired me!

~in the details. This is one of five blogs that I am very partial to. My sister is an amazing writer! She writes with grace even in the raw moments of her life.

~donley farm. Another of my top five. My cousin's journey has been amazing. God is all over their lives in the midst of heartache, trials and incredible stress. I'm so glad she's back to blogging!!

~abba father God. Who knew my dad could blog?! Not only is he posting his adult Bible study curriculum, he also posts incredible wisdom gleaned from decades at Jesus' feet.

~in God's caring hands. This is by beautiful 10-year old daughter's blog. To protect her, we have kept it private. I'm hoping this award will inspire her to blog again.

~a mind full of intriguing thoughts. The last of my top five. My 13 year old son's blog. He's an amazing writer but to get him to blog is sometimes harder than pulling teeth.

~D.A.I.L.Y Jess has become a great cyperspace friend. I have had the privilege of praying for her and I think she's prayed for me as well. She, too, is on a journey that has God all over it!

~reviews & reflections Even though I didn't win her SodaStream giveaway, Heidi's blog is a favorite of mine! Tons of homeschool ideas, reviews and opinions... as well as glimpses into her life.

~saved by grace Shawntele's blog was one of the first I ever followed over a year ago. Her's is a blog filled with her journey with God.

~keeping of time Angie is a real-life friend as well as a blogging friend. She blogs about her life with three precious and sometimes precocious little girls.

~ben makes ten Judy's blog is another blog that I've followed for a long time. I love her homeschool ideas and her encouragement to others!

~oops... there goes my mind This is BY FAR the funniest blog in cyperspace!! Stef makes me laugh with every post. One night I was laughing so hard over her Sonic drive thru story that tears were running down my face. My husband thought I had seriously lost my mind!

~Amy's blah blah blogging Amy honestly shares her struggles with her walk with God and mothering with rare honesty and great humor.

~ZuZu's petals Meg has incredible insight for a young bride. I love reading about her journey with God.

~mommy mumbo jumbo Just found this blog and I think these two little ones are absolutely beautiful!! Looking at the pics and reading the posts reminds me so much of life when Eric and Emme were little!

it's Friday!

It's Friday! Time for Friday's Fave Five hosted by Living to Tell the Story. Several times this week, I found myself looking forward to being able to share my five favorite things from this week. Here they are...

1) GOD ~ again and again and again God is my favorite thing in my minutes, days and weeks. This week He has been making Himself known to me... showing me how He showers me with blessings...

2) LAUGHTER ~ slowly (ever so slowly most days...) I'm learning that it is much better to laugh in the midst of life than to yell, scream, stomp my feet or throw an all out temper tantrum.

3) MY MAN ~ I have so many regrets when it comes to the first decade of our marriage. One of those is that I never appreciated my man for who he is. His gifts are WAY different than mine and therefore, I never viewed them as gifts. Instead, I saw them as annoyances. Thankfully, God has done some major heart surgery on me. This week I have sung my husbands praises to all who will listen... including telling him how amazing he is.

4) MY NEW TRUCK ~ my F150 drove out my driveway Monday evening without me. It was kind of sad. I've only felt that way about one other vehicle in my life. Usually, I don't get too attached to them. However, I really liked my red truck! I knew when we bought it that it would be a "turn over" truck. So, I got to drive it for 9 months and when we sold it, we actually made money on it. This is where my God and my husband are so amazing! God because He blesses abundantly more than I could ask or think and Chad because he knows how to do this sort of thing.
I actually told my man Monday night that I missed my truck but God must have something better in store for me. Chad laughed and said, "yeah right!" But, sure enough, Tuesday morning he called me and said "What do you think of a Yukon?"
So, my new truck is a "turn over" truck too. It's a Yukon and my kids are loving it! Don't know how long I'll drive this truck but am so thankful that God provided us with another wonderful vehicle without any loans. He is so good to us!!

5) HOMESCHOOL ~ We are almost finished with 8 years of homeschool and I doubt myself all the time! Worries, fears, failures are a daily struggle for me but I have never doubted my calling. Sometimes I feel like Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Daniel... men who knew they were called but often doubted their ability.
Lately, God has blessed me again by reminding me of this calling and reinforcing my faith in Him to accomplish it!

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Another week of incredible blessings... thank you LORD!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

sheep slobber...

I just have to share this story that a fellow homeschool co-op mom sent to my facebook inbox tonight...this is why I do what I do!

After co-op today, I asked my 4 year old what she learned about and she said, "They slobbered on their sheep!!!". After talking with her older sister I finally realized she had misunderstood the word "slaughter" for "slobber."

Spring Biblical Holidays...

I'm am so tired I'm not sure this post will be coherent. Please bear with me, if it isn't. It also will probably be a long one and so if you are not interested in the spring time Biblical holidays, feel free to stop reading now.

Each spring, our homeschool cooperative does several weeks of "fun stuff" instead of the "boring old book" work we do throughout the fall and winter. During the fall and winter we split up into individual classes (ie K-1, 2-3, 4-5, jr high, high school). In the spring, though, we do a "one room schoolhouse" type of learning where all of the kids are together to learn something new and different as a group study. For instance, last week we had Science Central come from Ft Wayne to us. They brought shark dissection, bubbleology and LEGO robotics. Way too cool!!

This week, I taught a group study on the spring Biblical holidays... an intro to Sabbath and then Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of First Fruits and The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost. It was amazing!!

To prepare for this, I have read, surfed the web, picked people's brains and prayed... and prayed... and prayed! One of the women I learned from was my friend, Cynthia, who is a part of our co-op and c0-taught this lesson with me. The other friend is my long time (notice I didn't say old...) friend, Aurora. Aurora has answered countless questions of mine, including sitting on the floor of my living room laughing at me as she answered more questions.

In thanks, this blog post is for Aurora... with pictures and a run-down of how today went....

We all played dress up and dressed up as Israelites. After we had our costumes on we "traveled" (walked around our building) to Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On our way we heard the Psalms of Accent read and we saw some real live lambs.

Here is Cynthia helping children get dressed up to be Israelites for the day.

When we arrived in Jerusalem we went to the "temple" and learned about the Children of Israel and how God ordained holidays or celebrations for them to remember all that He had done for them. We learned about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Passover.

Here we are in the "temple"...

After talking about these two celebrations, we left the temple and "journeyed home again" to pick our first harvest and to offer our offering of our First Fruits. (actually, long weeds and grasses that were in the parking lot--we did a lot of pretending today...).

We discussed how God ordained the Feast of First Fruits to begin counting down until the Feast of Weeks.

Then we "journeyed" back to the temple because God required the Israelites to journey to Jerusalem three times a year for celebration and worship... The Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover, The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost and The Feast of Tabernacles.

Obviously, by this time, everyone was getting a little tired of listening so intently for over an hour. I only briefly touched on The Feast of Weeks.

The amazing part was being able to teach these children about how these God ordained celebrations pointed to the coming Messiah and salvation. I get so excited talking about this and I think the kids thought I was a little nuts.

While I was teaching the moms made an incredible lunch with some traditional Jewish foods for each holiday. For instance, we had challah for Sabbath... lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread for Passover... unleavened bread, salad, and fruit for The Feast of Unleavened Bread... fresh fruit and veggies for Feast of First Fruits... and lots of dairy dishes, cheese lasagna, mac & cheese, cheese & crackers, cheesecake for Feast of Weeks. I wish I had a picture of the way the other moms had set the table. It was beautiful! However, my photographer (aka Eric) ran out to play football after class instead of taking more pictures for his mom.

We ate our lunch around low tables while sitting on the floor. I got lots of comments and compliments and amazingly several of the kids asked to learn the fall holidays next fall. We'll see...

Though I'm tired tonight it is a good tired. One of those days where you find yourself absolutely spent and drained but filled with a sense of accomplishment.

Monday, April 26, 2010

being real...

Been struggling through how real to be on my blog and on facebook lately. Seems like "real" always comes back to bite me in the behind, especially when I try to be "real" to people....

It amazes me, though, the way God uses people in my life. I would truly like to write off all of mankind, at times. However, the body of Christ is such an amazing thing! He uses blogging friends, who are sisters in Christ, but whom I've yet had the chance to meet face-to-face have encouraged me in my journey toward Christ-likeness.

Just today, bloggy friend, Jess, encouraged me with these words on facebook...
God's got a whole mess of conviction going on in this heart of mine - His Holy Spirit is active - it's inside of me, not outside of me. ;)

Suffice it to say there was much more to the conversation between Jess and me. I needed her reminder that the Holy Spirit is active in my heart doing a lot of convicting and changing of me. He seems to have it all under control and He doesn't seem to need the help of others who think they are "helping."

Sometimes I get caught up in the convictions that others think I should have and I fail to listen to the One who whispers to convict my heart.

Oh that to Him only I would be real!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

small talk six

Momdot has a Saturday meme called Small Talk Six. This week's topic is "rise and shine." Here are the first 6 things I do when I get up...

1) go to the bathroom
2) go out to the kitchen
3) turn off lamp in hallway that stays on all night
4) let dog out
5) talk with Ellen, 6, who is watching PBS kids
6) check email... I know, pathetic but true!

surrounded by true friends...

You will always be surrounded by true friends.

This was my fortune cookie fortune today at lunch.  I smiled and my heart whispered "thank you LORD!" 

This past week a college friend and I reconnected through facebook.  While reading about my homeschool life, my friend commented that I was blessed to have such an incredible homeschool network in which to be involved.

While visiting our homeschool cooperative with me, my cousin commented on the amazing women who are part of the co-op and who call me "friend."

Both Kelly and Susan are right.  I am blessed beyond measure with friendships but not all of my incredible friendships revolve around homeschooling.  I truly feel as if my cup overfloweth with friends who walk alongside me and encourage me in my walk with God, in my marriage, in parenting, in homeschooling and even in blogging.  

However, I haven't forgotten what I felt like years ago when I felt alone and without a true friend in the world.  

I firmly believe that obedience to God's will has a cost.  For me, most of the time, the cost is giving up what I want to do for what God wants me to do.  There have been other times, though, when the cost has been more dear to my heart.   I knew that God was calling me to homeschool my kids.  I didn't know, though, that the cost would be losing friendships.  I not only lost the friendships that I had, I also didn't know very many homeschool families.  I thought I would be alone in the journey of homeschool.  I felt very alone for our first year.  For me, it was a high price to pay.

I've seen the cost of obedience of my sister and her family moving to a new community.... left behind familiar friends, schools, doctors, churches, etc and stepping out in a new community with new friends, schools, doctors, churches, etc.  Another high price for doing what God calls you to do.

Obedience to God isn't cheap.... it doesn't come without cost but the Bible tells us over and over again that He rewards those who chose to walk in His will.   1 Samuel 26:23, The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the LORD's anointed, and Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him, are two passages in scripture that show God's promise to reward those who seek Him.

I honestly feel like the friendships I have today are a reward from God.  He has blessed me beyond measure with INCREDIBLE women in my life.  Some of whom I see or talk to almost every day.  Others I see weekly and catch up then.  And, still others, like today, that I see infrequently but we can start up in our conversations just as if we had never been apart.  

I am truly SURROUNDED by true friends... a true reward!  Thank you God!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

more Friday faves...

Last week, I joined Living To Tell The Story and posted my five favorite things from that week.

Today I am in a quiet, reflective mood. It does my heart good to slow down occasionally and reflect on the blessings in my life. Sometimes, I think I hurry through life so fast, I miss the opportunities to savor special times.

Here are my favorite things this week. Maybe next week, I'll be more prepared and have pictures to share as well...

1) NOA NOA I live in small town, middle America. However, even gems can be found in small places. We have one of the world's greatest restaurants here. Noa Noa Wood Grill and Sushi Bar is just that! Noa Noa is our favorite local date spot and Wednesday we took my parents and my cousin for a fun dinner of fish, steak and sushi. Two hours of laughing, sparring, talking and just being together. Wonderful! (I'd give you a link, if Noa Noa had a website, but they don't. Instead, just come visit and we'll take you there!)

2) SCIENCE CENTRAL A local science museum came to our homeschool cooperative yesterday. They brought bubbleology, shark dissection and LEGO robotics. The kids had a blast!! Check out

3) SUSAN I had an incredible visit from my cousin this week. We've never been especially close but in the past few years, we've re-connected. She came for some R&R... not so sure how much she got in our sporadic, chaotic life! So glad she came though!!!!

3) CHAD Sixteen years ago, today, I was in a white dress waiting to walk down the aisle for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, for as long as I shall live. Aside from the day I accepted Jesus as my Savior, this was the greatest day of my life. I love celebrating it each year!!!!

4) QUIET DAYS I find that I recharge best when I have a few quiet days in the midst of this season of my life. Today is one of those. I've actually cancelled school today for a mental health day for the teacher. ; ) It's a blessing to just relax and enjoy my kids. I'm the type of mom that gets burned out going, going, going. If I do this a couple of times a month (I don't always cancel school), I am much nicer to live with!

5) OLDER KIDS It is SOOOO nice to have arrived at the point in our parenting journey that our children don't need a babysitter. I'm am finding this season of life so freeing! I love being able to run to the store or go for coffee with a friend without spending time figuring out what to do with the kids.

What are your favorite things this week?

the question of the day...

Here's the question of the day...

Why is it that I can not figure out what to do with myself when I have a few hours of alone time in an empty house?  It's not that I don't know WHAT to do... it's that my list is so long I can't decide what to do first!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I thought I had certain rights...

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers of our country deemed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be such a basic right to humanity that it could not be given or taken away.

By the time I was 28, I had my own list of my personal unalienable rights...

... I thought I had the right to use the restroom all by myself.
... I thought I had the right to be alone when I was sick.
... I thought I had the right to eat my own food on my own plate while it was still hot.
... I thought I had the right to decide what I would do each day.
... I thought I had the right to a private shower.
... I thought I had the right to some quiet time each day.
... I thought I had the right to a clean room if I cleaned it up.
... I thought I had the right to the food I purchased and placed in my refrigerator.
... I thought I had the right to listen to my favorite music in my vehicle.
... I thought I had the right to my own computer that I purchased.
... I thought I had the right to decide where I would go each day.
... I thought I had the right to 8 hours of sleep a night.

and, then... I became a mother.... and my children had never heard of unalienable rights.

My children stripped me of my selfishness and taught me that motherhood is the greatest calling ever!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PLEASE don't touch!

I have a serious issue to ponder tonight....

I'm considering investing in a tattoo, perhaps on my forehead, that says "PLEASE don't touch!" Seriously, it's more than the fact that I am not a touchy-feely person. My personal space perimeter is probably double the average American woman's. I like my space and I like to keep my space for myself. And, the older I get, the wider my perimeter becomes....

~a friend wanted so desperately to give me a gift card for a massage at a local spa. uh...NO! Fortunately, this was one of my best friends from college and with all we've been through together, she just let it go as another one of my weird idiosyncrasies.

~why is it that everyone in Christian circles wants to hug everyone else? I'll hug my family out of respect, obligation and love but I don't need to hug everyone every week at church, especially other women's husbands!

~I love it when someone says to me, "I need a hug!" Yeah... have you ever considered that I might not need one?

~and another question, why do a lot of people feel like they need to touch your arm or your shoulder to talk to you? Even worse... those that feel like they need to lean in to speak! Arrgghhh!!!

~now, just for the record, this does not apply to children, mine or anyone else's. I can hug, hold and cuddle children all day long. Unfortunately for him, this does sometimes apply to my husband, especially if my "touch quota" was met at 8 a.m.

I do realize that getting a tattoo on my forehead would be a serious breach of my personal space. However, it may be worth it if it said "PLEASE don't touch!"

While all of this information is completely 100% true and accurate to the best of my ability to communicate it, I am just throwing a little humor into my sometimes too serious blog. I am in NO way considering a tattoo! Please don't email me pictures of that tattoo that you think I should get. Thank you very much!

Monday, April 19, 2010 mouth had an accident...

When I began this blog, I was determined to be real, to be myself and to share my honest struggles in this journey called Faith.... yep, I wanted to be honest, real, raw, etc., etc. Sometimes, though, my mouth (well, in this case... my fingers) get me into trouble. To quote one of our all time favorite books "The Monkey and The Crocodile"... my mouth had an accident!

Here's the problem... sometimes my honest, real, raw words need to be kept in a private journal until it all makes sense, especially when my honest, real, raw, etc., etc is directed to God. My last post (well, the one before Heidi's SodaStream contest) was just me typing out my inner struggle and since He knows my every thought (see Psalm 139:2), I didn't feel a need to be clear or specific about the road (actually "roads") less traveled that I was pondering. The blessing in this is that I have a loving family who cares about me much which lead to a long facebook thread with my dad and an incredible comment by my sister, as well as loving and well-meaning questions from friends.

So, I think what I wrote came across cryptic and depressing. Ooops! This is where I need to keep that stuff between me and my God. I'm not depressed and I really didn't mean to be cryptic. I just wasn't thinking about others reading the post as much as I was trying to sort out all that was going on in my heart and in my mind. I sort my thoughts and feelings best when I communicate them. Chad will tell you that he has the unfortunate opportunity to be the who has to listen to me sort all of the time. Yesterday's post was me sorting "out loud".

I'm hesitant to give a synopsis of the roads less traveled that I've pondered for fear that someone will misunderstand. Please hear me say that I'm not traveling any of these roads... I'm simply considering them before my God because all of them come from His Word. These are things that I've often dismissed as "cultural" or "no longer necessary". My desire is that I am obedient to Him, not a culture. Having said that, here is a little of what I'm pondering... desire to conform to the world's standard of beauty (ie looks, body image, hair, etc) rather than God's standard of beauty (Prov. 31:30, 1 Peter 3:3). I've always enjoyed having short hair, however, should I grow it out in obedience (1 Corinthians 11:14-16)?

...why I am so tied to the things of this world? Jesus spoke of storing up treasures in Heaven, not on earth (Matthew 6:18-20 and in the other Gospels as well). In Acts 2, the first church was known for selling their possessions and giving the money to those in need. My flesh fights my spirit... I want what my culture says are nice things, fancy clothes, a bigger/better home, etc. because I earned them and they are mine, right?!? Wrong... it's all God's and He has simply entrusted it into my care.

...why do I feel like I need to give my kids the things our culture says they need to have to grow up to be "good people"? Do I look to the Bible as the only source of advice/knowledge in rearing my children?

... The holiday of Easter (eggs, chicks, bunnies, etc) has absolutely NO bearing on Jesus. However, celebrating His resurrection has everything to do with Him. So, why do I still do Easter eggs and baskets with my kids? Perhaps, I can exchange gifts with them in celebration of the One who is our First Fruits instead?! (a great explanation of this is at abbafathergod).

The list of pondering thoughts is long. This is just a few my thoughts. I love that God puts these thoughts in my heart and allows me to work out my salvation with Him in the privacy of my heart. A lesson well learned... keep those thoughts and that working of the Holy Spirit in the privacy of my heart, not letting it overflow to make a mess over everyone else. ; )

It's been a long time since I've journaled. I think I need to start another journal of my own. One where my heart can be real, raw and honest and my mouth can have accidents all over the paper....

SodaStream contest... trying again..

Several weeks ago, I posted about a SodaStream contest by raisingmy4boys. I didn't win that contest, so I'm trying again....

In this blogging journey, God has blessed me with sisters in Christ of whom I have yet to meet face to face but we have met through cyberspace and these women have encouraged me much in my walk with Christ. Heidi is one of those women. I am thankful for God introducing me to her.

Heidi is sponsoring a Soda Stream giveaway. Check out her blog for pictures and all the details.

I so would love to win this and be able to make my own soda water to use with juice. Yummmm!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the road less traveled...

"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:14

I've been contemplating the road less traveled lately. A few months ago, I blogged a post on feeling the stirring of the Holy Spirit in my heart. It was if the Lord was preparing me for something. Selfishly, I had hoped He was preparing me for something INCREDIBLE... like a new ministry, a house in the country, or even a way for me to make some income for our family. I guess I still don't know for sure what I was feeling but I don't think it had anything to do with a new ministry, home or job.

I have no doctrinal proof for this next statement... this is only what I have observed in my own walk with Him. It seems to me that the closer I want to walk with Him and the more I die to myself and willingly obey Him, the narrower and less traveled my road becomes. I can look back at several different times in my life when I knew that to obey God would be to do something others around me were not doing... in other words, to obey would be to chose the other path. Today, I'm wondering if the stirring I felt a few months ago was the Holy Spirit showing me a path I hadn't previously noticed.

The other path... currently, this other path that has been pointed out to me looks like a 2 track lane through a dense forrest. I know there are other sojourners further down on the path because they have shared their stories with me. However, at the entrance, this path is definitely overgrown and hasn't seen much foot traffic. It seems radical, old-fashioned and somewhat outrageous. Honestly, I don't even know, for sure, what this path has to do with our family.

Right now I'm only investigating it, contemplating it, exploring it. My modus operandi whenever I am faced with change is to read, read, read about something. I tend to immerse myself in a particular topic with the goal of obtaining enough knowledge of that subject to be able to make informed decisions based on what I have learned. I also tend to ask questions... lots and lots of questions. I've asked a lot of questions of the others on the path and I've asked even more of God.

My greatest question is this... are we being called to walk this path? If so, Jehovah God, please make us of one mind and one accord in this journey on the road less traveled.

Psalm 25:4
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow

Saturday, April 17, 2010

more true today...

In preparation of our wedding, I put together a collage of photos of both of us and wrote

my best friend,
my greatest treasure,
my only love

in the corner of the collage. Back in the day, I thought I had all the answers. I thought I knew my man, myself, our relationship... when, in reality, I didn't even know the questions, let alone the answers.

The amazing thing... this thought I wrote then is more true today than it was in 1994.

Friday, April 16, 2010

my favorite 5 this week...

The longer I explore the blogging community, the more fun stuff I find. There are A LOT of incredibly gifted and creative people out there... who knew?!?

My blogging friend, Heidi, finds the best memes to join or links to follow. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just going to follow Heidi while she follows everyone else. After all, her name reveals that she is beautiful, intelligent, creative, wise and a whole lot of fun, right?!?

She found Friday's Fave Five at Living To Tell The Story. Heidi posted her five favorite things from this week and I think I will do the same (because, of course, she's Heidi...)....

Here they are in no specific order...

1) The Weather...the weather here in Northern Indiana has been absolutely beautiful! Yesterday, the temp was in the mid 80s and we had a wonderful picnic with our homeschool cooperative at the park.

2) My Lilac bush... my favorite lilac bush is blooming again! Ellen looked out of the window this morning and asked "Mom, where did those flowers come from? They weren't there yesterday!" I love it!! It blooms deep purple double lilacs and they are beautiful!! There was a time I thought I had lost this tree forever. Fifteen years ago, my darling soulmate decided to "trim" the lilac bush. Seriously, I yelled, screamed and cried for days. Apparently, he and I have differing views of the term "trim". Know what, though? He was right. Every year after that, this bush has been absolutely beautiful and it has grown into a gorgeous rounded bush that blooms abundantly. Hmmm... I think there may be a spiritual lesson here... analogy, anyone?

3) My friends... God has blessed me with incredible friendships. Each day this week, I have spent either time with or on the phone with different friends who have all encouraged me in my daily walk with our Savior. There was a time where God did to me what Chad did to our lilac bush, He "trimmed" me, including removing most of my friendships. Again, I yelled, screamed and cried for days. However, He reminded me again today (7 years later) how much more beautiful and abundant my friendships are now. Thanks LORD! (I warned you that a spiritual analogy was coming...)

4) My children... After being away from our kids last week for some much needed Mommy and Daddy time, I have so enjoyed the time with them this week. I truly missed them while they were with their cousins and it's been a blast hearing all of their "stories" this week. I've come to the conclusion that my sister is a saint for taking on 8 children for 5 days. (I've also begun praying for myself because I have the pleasure of returning the favor in a 5 weeks).

5) My God... Actually, this should have been #1 and should always be #1. However, often I put God off in my "busyness". I'm so thankful that He woes me back, time and time and time again. This week has been that. I feel like I'm rediscovering Him and it feels so nice.

What are your five faves this week?

5 ? Friday...

Thought I'd follow along today on 5 Question Friday from fivecrookedhalos.

1. What words do you use on your blog/online that you don't use in real life?
I can't think of any. I try to be real on my blog. What you read is really, really me. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too real, or if I should neglect to write some of what I've posted.

2. Do you still write checks?
I still write checks occasionally but I am a debit card girl!

3. Who was your favorite President and why?
Historically, I think Lincoln was an incredible man during a disastrous time in our nation's history. When I read his writings, I see a man trying to honor God and America in his decisions. I can't even imagine the torment he mentions that his soul experienced during his presidency.

In the last century (or as my children would say "during my life time"), Reagan was my favorite. I remember so much of his 2 terms in office. He always seemed to me to be a strong man with strong convictions.

4. Are you a yeller?
I plead the 5th amendment... I wish I could answer "NO!" here but that would be yelling too...

5. Have you ever dumpster dived?
No-my husband does... I'll stop there...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

the choice to choose where to stand...

Just today, Emme and I had a great discussion of obeying God's Word even when it seems like no one else has to obey. I love to see my kids' faces when they really get it.... when their heart and their mind come to the same conclusion concerning the truths of God's word. Tonight was one of those special moments with Em.

About 30 minutes after our discussion, my friend, Julie, sent me this message via email. This actually came from an online devotional. I'm not sure of the actual website, so I can't give credit where credit is due. Please know, though, that this isn't original with me.

I love this analogy. Emily and I sat together and read this together and talked about the choice we have to chose where stand. A great message and a great lesson learned!

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

Several years ago, I began playing tennis and became a member of a competitive team. Each week the team attends a practice clinic with our tennis professional to learn new techniques and strategies. He is always full of great tips and advice to help us improve our game, but one particular week he said something that really stuck in my mind.

He discussed the importance of court position; where we stand on the court could determine whether or not we keep the ball in play and if we win the point. Then he said that although we could not control what was going on in the court, we could always control where we stand.

I thought about how that statement is applicable not only to tennis, but to life. You see, even though we can't control what happens in the world, we can always control where we stand on issues of righteousness and integrity. Where we choose to stand will be evidence of the role that we are allowing God to play in our lives.

For example, we have no power over the sex, drugs, language and violence on TV, but we can choose whether we watch it or not. We have no power over the content of the movies coming out in the theatres, or how lenient the ratings are, but we can choose what we allow ourselves or our children to see. We can stand for purity.

We have no power to control the beliefs and actions of other people. We cannot control the downfall of morals in our society. We cannot control the decisions that Congress makes, which new laws are put into place, escalating gas prices, politics in the workplace, questionable practices in corporations, liberal tolerance, foreign affairs, war, or the state of the economy.

In fact, sometimes it may seem that we have no control over certain situations in our own lives, much less the things happening in the world. But there is good news - we always have the choice to choose where we will stand in the game of life.

Proverbs 20:5 says, "Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart; a wise person draws from the well within" (
The Message). That is really where court position begins - in the heart. If our faith is strong and grounded, then we will be able to pull from that wisdom when faced with opportunities to choose where to stand, knowing that the power of God within us will empower us to make good decisions.

Our only hope in fighting this battle of good versus evil, in our hearts and in this broken world, is to be prepared to stand tall and firm for Christ, despite what the opposition may bring.

You know, life is a lot like a
tennis court. We each have our side. We try to stay on the right side, but sometimes the balls that get thrown at us pull us in the wrong direction. Other times they are difficult to defend, cause us to stumble, or throw us off track. But if we choose the right court position to begin with, that is, to stay on God's side and choose Him as our partner, we are much more likely to exercise the power we have within us. Drawing deep from the well of God's wisdom in our hearts, we can do the right thing.

There are times when standing up for our faith may cause us to lose the popularity contest, but it will allow others to see God in us. And, there may even be times when our court position speaks louder than words ever could.

Where will you stand today?

Dear Lord, help me have the strength and faith to stand up for what is right when I am faced with opposition, and not be swayed by the pressures in a fallen world. Help me live a life that glorifies You, instead of just taking the easy road and going along with the crowd. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

non traditional and definitely NOT orthodox...

A couple of good friends told me that once we started having Sabbath celebrations in our home, we wouldn't want to have a week where we missed it.... they were so right! Who knew I had such wise and all-knowing friends?!

Because we were gone last weekend, and because this coming weekend is Chad's once-in-a-blue-moon weekend to work, we decided to have a totally non-traditional and unorthodox mini-Sabbath celebration last night. I am so glad we did!

This wasn't a true Sabbath in many respects but it was a chance for the five of us to sit down together, reconnect and rest. After a slow meal, we did a fun scavenger hunt in the yard. I gave the kids each a paper lunch bag and an index card. They had 15 minutes to find items in our yard that showed God or God's creation and then find a supporting verse in their Bible. They were to put the item in the bag and the Scripture reference on the index card. They had a blast running through the yard with their bags and Bibles and I had a few minutes to do the dishes in a peaceful kitchen. We had a great time as they shared what they found and the verses that supported their findings. In the end, Team Dad/Ellen won with the most items that no one else had.

I tried a new recipe for the family last night as well. Ellen calls it "Merri's Fruit Sauce" as I got the idea from our friend, Merri. Merri had served this over a fruit salad for ladies' Bible study breakfast... yummy!! So, I copied Merri's idea and served individual fruit sundaes for our Sabbath supper. Here's the recipe I came up with...

Merri's Fruit Sauce
1 c. whipped cream
1 t. vanilla extract
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. vanilla yogurt
Cream all together and serve over fresh fruit

Mini-Sabbath...non-traditional, not kosher, and definitely NOT Orthodox but a blessed respite in the middle of a busy week... who knows, we may try this again, someday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

better late than never!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

The 2010 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Moms started while I was still restin' and relaxin' with my man. At the time, I considered taking the time to join in on this party; but, thankfully, I had a brief moment of sanity and I opted to simply enjoy the time away and join in on the party later.

Well, here we are... five days into the 2010 Blog Party from 5 Minutes for Moms... and I'm finally joining the party, better late than never... here's my introduction, though not necessarily in any order...

@}~ My name is Heidi and I've spent the greater part of 41 years hating my name, mostly because I can remember numerous occasions when someone would meet me and say "oh, we had a schnauzer (or poodle or dachshund or German shepherd or...) named 'Heidi'!" Honestly, what do you say to that sort of introduction?!?

@}~ First and foremost, I am a daughter of the King of Kings! I love my Jesus and am thrilled that I have this life to live for Him. I fail at this daily and yet, His gift of grace showers me with forgiveness day after day after day. How could I not be madly in love with Him?

@}~ Contrary to how I introduced this post, I hate to be late! I think it's because I was raised by a man who, if he wasn't 15 minutes early to something, considered himself late. However, God has a great sense of humor and in His infinite wisdom allowed me to marry someone who really doesn't enjoy being early to anything. Isn't it amazing how opposites attract?

@}~ Nineteen years ago I met my soul mate. We will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary in a few weeks. The longer I live with this man, the more crazy I am for him. If I could do one thing over in life, it would be to redo our first 13 years together. I wish I would have taken the time to really get to know the man I married. Instead, I wasted a good many years trying to change him. It took a life-threatening diagnosis for me to wake up and see how blessed I am. For the record, my man, Chad, is an RN in our local ER.

@}~ together we homeschool our 3 Es. Chad is the math/science/final authority and I fill in the other gaps. Each year our homeschool changes and evolves a little more as we continue to strive to provide our kids with life lessons. This spring we will finish our 8th year of homeschool. We think our kids are pretty incredible people and both of us are so thankful for the opportunity God has given us to spend each day with them. I wouldn't trade this season of life for anything. However, I hope I never give the impression that our homeschool is perfect... unfortunately, it is run by imperfect people teaching imperfect children.... I told my niece last week that we have been known to have some pretty ugly school days around here.
@}~ Eric, 13, is all teen. I'm not sure when this happened but I was reminded, again, tonight of the teenager in my midst. He's an incredible kid and I love having a front row seat to watch him grow and develop into a godly young man. Eric is also an incredible student. He enjoys studying and learning and being stretched intellectually.

@}~ Emily, 10, loves Jesus! Her love of God's Word has convicted me and inspired me to keep on keeping on in my own personal quiet time and study of my Bible. Emme is also a great friend. She has so many friends, and to her, each one of them is her BFF. However, I think her cousin, Leslie, is her soul mate.

@}~Ellen, 6, loves life! After several years of being "too little" for the activities the others were involved in, she is more than making up for it now. In her mind, there is nothing her siblings can do that she can not do, including tooling around our 3 acre yard on the 4 wheeler!

@}~ When I am not being wife or mother or teacher, I am a writer. Sometimes I am a writer before I am those other things. I write for more reasons that I can articulate. I've written a lot of things, including children's Bible studies. I'm currently working on a women's Bible study.

@}~ I love blogging. I can't believe how much I have learned from others. I love discovering new blogs and getting to know other bloggers. So, better late than never in joining in on the 2010 Blog Party!

And, incidentally, I never win when I enter contests... so, having said that, I will say that if I were to win... I would love any one of the amazing prizes offered!

Monday, April 12, 2010

only HIS voice would matter...

Lord I renounce my desire for human praise, For the approval of my peers, The need for for public recognition. I deliberately put these aside today, Content to hear YOU whisper, WELL Done, my faithful servant. ~Amen~

I totally just stole that quote from my friend, Amy's, facebook wall. I met Amy over 20 years ago... back in the day when the 'Ville was still a college and the idea of a university was only an oft mentioned dream of Dr. Dixon. I think, even then, this was Amy's heart's cry.

Know what? I want it to be my heart's cry too. I'm thinking most of my struggle of insecurity stems from the fact that I look to others for their opinion of me, instead of being content with listening for HIS whisper, HIS voice. Why is it that I fall in this pit over and over and over again?

If my heart truly renounced my desire for human praise, for the approval of my peers and my need for public recognition, I would have no reason to be insecure. If my only desire was to hear HIM whisper "WELL done, my faithful servant" I would so be concentrating on hearing His voice, I would never notice the voices, the looks, the opinions of others. I would be content waiting to hear Him. Only HIS voice, HIS look, HIS opinion would matter.

Please pray for me as I seek to make Amy's heart's cry my own. I want only HIS voice to matter to me.

reflections of the journey...

It always amazes me how fast I have to jump back into life when I return from a vacation. Today has been no exception. This week is shaping up to be packed full of "life"... all of the little things that together make my reality.

So, for a few quiet moments here at home (Chad took the kids to Emme and Ebony's first 4H dog training... personally, I can't wait to see the results... {smile}) I am reflecting on the incredible week we had last week. Vacations are not an every-year-sort-of-thing here at our home; but like all things, some better than others. So, what made this one so spectacular?

~my first thought is how "overdue" Chad and I were for some time away. Honestly, we have only ever left our kids for more than one night once... and that was for 2 nights. To the best of my recollection, we have been gone from our kids about 7 times in 13 years. "Life" always seemed to be happening instead... Chad in school, new baby on the way, baby to take care of, debt to be paid off, etc. Now that they are older, it is much easier to leave them and they loved this opportunity to hang with their cousins!

~one of my great discoveries this week is that Chad and I can still talk, have fun, laugh, explore and discover without our kids. One of the things I've prayed about is that we would still have a marriage after raising and homeschooling our kids. This season of our marriage is all about our children. However, I don't ever want to lose sight of the fact that this is only a season. I want a marriage that will still be here after our kids develop their wings and fly off. I pray that I never look at my husband and see him as a stranger because I spent too much time involved in my children's young lives and not enough time involved in his life. So thankful that God reminded me of my prayers this week when He showed me that I am blessed beyond measure to have this man and this marriage!

~this was our second vacation that we paid cash for as we went along. The freedom, for me, in knowing that we had the money to go and the cash to pay for things is amazing. I have found that I truly enjoy myself much more when I don't have the nagging thought of "ohhh... I sure don't want to see the credit card bill when we get home." Please don't misunderstand me. There are many, many responsible people who can handle credit cards without wigging out. I am not one of those amazing people. I stress and worry or ignore the issue really well and so the only way for me to truly rest and relax and enjoy a vacation is if I save up the money and pay as I go.

~I spent a lot of our driving time in quiet reflection. I'm still struggling with a lot of insecurities. Insecurity rears its ugly head with me at the most inopportune times. I thought I had slain the dragon this winter as I worked through Beth Moore's book "So Long Insecurity" but last weekend was a reminder that I have a long way to go. I'm still reflecting and working through this but suffice it to say, the dragon is still alive and well. I hope someday to slay that dragon and cut off its head... until then... well, I've got a lot of work to do.

~if I ever win the lottery or become rich and famous, the first thing I will do is buy a HUGE piece of property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I love the simplicity of life there. I love that people work hard and seem to have an honest respect for each other. I love the beauty of the woods, streams, lakes and Great Lakes. I love that I can't get cell service without roaming up there. I love that I can escape reality for a little while each time I go... and I plan to go often!

Reflecting is good for my soul today. Reflections of the journey that Chad and I just had tie together the reality of my life here at home with the joy of the short-term escape. Reflections make the transition of jumping back into "life" more bearable.

Friday, April 09, 2010

the journey....

It's taken living with Chad for almost 16 years for me to really learn to love the journey more than the destination. Slowly, but very surely, I've changed. I lived the first part of my life always in a hurry to get to where I was going. Often, only to be disappointed that the destination was less than I expected. I'm so thankful that my loving Savior paired this Type A personality with Chad (who incidentally is a passive/aggressive...makes for some interesting times, sometimes!).... as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). Now, these years later, I truly love the journey more than the destination.

Highlights of this birthday/anniversary journey thus far...

Port Washington, WI...breakfast at Harry's. Amazing! Had never heard of an Oatmeal Sundae but ohhhh.... soooooo.... good! Try it sometime (hot oatmeal, scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberries on top!).

.... climbed the 105 steps to get up to see the Port Washington Lighthouse and the keeper was there and gave us a spontaneous tour.

Iron Mountain, MI... stood at the bottom of the Pine Mountain Ski Jump. The Olympians at the Vancouver Olympics made ski jumping look easy... however, standing at the bottom of the jump, I decided anyone who even tries this sport is certifiably crazy!

... in Iron Mountain, we also had our first taste of a UP favorite, the pasty. I think pasties are indigenous to the UP. They are a type of meat pie that are very tasty.

Crystal Falls, MI... found The Listening Inn online and decided to give it a try. In one word... tranquil! Carol and Les are amazing B&B hosts and they have an incredible log home and farm. Buddy, their old black lab, took us on a walk through parts of their groomed cross-country ski trails. The serene quiet will probably draw us back to visit Buddy, Les and Carol again.

Big Bay, MI... I love Lake Superior! If I could live any where in the world, it would be on the UP shores of this fabulous body of water. So, for tonight, I'm living right here, in a lighthouse, no less! Big Bay Lighthouse is actually a working lighthouse that is also a B&B. The rumor on the street is that it is for sale and so if you are even slightly considering a trip up here, I would definitely recommend doing it soon!

One of the joys of loving the journey more than the destination is that you find humor a lot more often! We have had a blast wandering, discovering and laughing our way up to Lake Superior...

...there is much more peace and joy in the journey than in the destination!