• 23May
    Categories: Musings Comments: 6

    I was reminded of the power and importance of prayer again tonight.  It was needed.  I often shoot “arrow” prayers (short little prayers straight to the mark), but was told tonight that I should use “hair-trigger” prayers (prayers that shoot out in response to the least touch).

    Sometimes I am afraid to pray because I’m afraid I will be praying for the wrong thing.  God seems to have an interesting sense of humor and has often given me just what I prayed for.  I’ve seen that happen over and over again and I’ve taken that as a caution to be careful what I pray for, I just might get it.  But my dad pointed out some things.

    1. Fearing to pray because I might pray for the wrong thing is showing a lack of trust in God.  He’s not sadistic, out to get me, or enjoys my pain.  He loves me and wants what is best for me and He knows what I really want, even if I say it wrong.
    2. Concerning previous prayers, God probably put those desires in my heart and then was more than happy to give me those desires when I asked for them.

    And then I realized something else.  One child in particular has been giving me trouble lately.  Her little heart is a nasty, ugly, filthy thing that makes me cringe.  I have often prayed for wisdom in dealing with her, but I have failed to pray for her.  My responsibility lies in how I respond to her and doing the best I can to train her, but I can’t change her.  And because of that it is also my responsibility to pray for her (and maybe I should try praying with her) so that God can change her.  And, of course, that applies to the rest of my children as well.

    Why don’t we pray more?

    • “I’m not good enough.”  Does that mean you think God is not big enough to make up for your limitations?  That is pride.  Your responsibility is to ask.  God’s responsibility is to provide and you don’t have to worry about how He will be able to do that, just trust Him to do it.
    • “I don’t know how.”  He can translate our fumbling attempts at conversation.  He can read your mind.  He just wants you to talk to Him.  Make the effort. 
    • “I don’t have the time.”  We have the time for what we want to have time for.  That is a major excuse.  And we should feel pretty juvenile for even trying that one.  ‘We would much sooner pamper our flesh than exercise our spirit.’**
    • “I don’t believe it works.”  We might not actually admit that, but if we really did believe it worked we would use it more.

    So, Lord, I’m hoping you will take these fumbling attempts of mine to straighten out my thinking and help me to realize that I have no excuse.  And then I’m hoping that you will help me to change my habit of prayerlessness and help me to teach my children how to live their lives steeped in prayer.

    And now I’m going to trust that He can and will answer that prayer, and I am going to go work on my end of things.

    **Straight from the mouth of Roger Royer.  Smart man.  =)

  • 17May
    Categories: Single Parenting Comments Off on I’m Fat

    Maranatha (3) comes to me and says,

    “I have to go to the doctor.”

    “Why?” I ask.

    “Because I’m fat.” she replies.

    I’m wondering if I need to give a lecture about how God made each of us special and how “fat” can be a relative term, and so on, and so on.  So, I stop what I am doing, turn to look at her and smile when I see what she is talking about.

    She has something stuffed up her shirt and she really does look quite fat.  Funny how they associate my pregnancies with going to the doctor.

  • 16May

    There is a major construction project going on.  Houses of various sizes and shapes are going up all around me.  There is a fantastic log cabin with a lovely picture window, a high rise off to the left, and even a marvelous Victorian with stately columns.  The roads are being built and being used all at the same time and cheerful working noises are sounding from all corners of the project.

    Then disaster looms in the form of “The Baby”.  He attacks with his own purposes and intents.  The cries of despair and anguish sound from all sides and all seems lost.  But rising from the rubble is one who can save the world.

    It’s SUPER MOM!!!!  (crowd cheering)

    She swoops in to the rescue and “The Baby” is taken by surprise.  They go rolling to the side narrowly avoiding some more devastating destruction.  But what is this?  Baby seems to be winning!  He’s on top!  He’s got her pinned!  Ouch, that one must have hurt.  Super Mom takes a breath and Baby goes flying!  But he’s back.  Minus some hair for Super Mom.  But she’s up again!  Now Baby is on the bottom!  Now Mom! 

    Ahhhh!!  here come reinforcements but we aren’t really sure whose side they are on.  =)

    Sounds like great fun, huh?  It was in some ways, but my heart just wasn’t in it.  You see, I’m struggling with the flesh again.  Mountain top experiences are great, but it usually just means you have farther to fall.  I had two thoughts about mountain top experiences.

    1. Mountain top experiences are there to help you with what is on the other side (or maybe that’s the way we should view them)
    2. And as long as it’s a “two steps forward one step back” type of thing at least a mountain top experience puts you further ahead than you were.  And once you’ve had a taste of what is ahead of you there can be a bit more of a desire to get back there again.

    Sounds positive, but it took me all day to think of those.  I’m feeling rather . . . I can’t find the right word . . bland, empty, selfish . . . there’s an edge of despair . . maybe an overall hopelessness . . .  

    At one point today I pushed away a feeling of resentment as I considered the fact that I’ve been taking care of the kids all week and there hasn’t been anyone here to take care of me.  Usually by now Dan and I would have found a way to celebrate our anniversary despite all the sick kids and I would have been reminded that he loved me and I would have found a renewed purpose in my job as a mother.

    I found a bottle of stuff that has some “Danny Smell” in it and it seemed to sneak it’s way into my heart and remind me of that hole that is still there.  I looked at my yard and tried to think about ways to landscape it and what I wanted for the future and it all just seemed so pointless.  I’m living my life to the best of my ability, but the enthusiasm is still lacking.  The spark is gone.  It’s been more than a year and a half and I am still at loose ends.

    Why can’t I come up with any dreams and goals of my own?  This was the time of year when I would be outside with a shovel trying to landscape our yard because I was too impatient to wait till we could rent a tractor.  Now I have vague ideas that there ought to be a flower bed there, need to do some weeding there, put up a fence here . . . but none of it inspires excitement or effort.  Can I blame it on being tired again?  That excuse ought to wear out eventually.

    Future goals:

    1. I want to take the kids to the Creation Museum
    2. I want to write a book someday
    3. I want to finish reading all the books on my bookshelf and fill another wall in my library with shelves full of books
    4. I want to make a sundress for me (which might include sewing lessons of some sort)
    5. I want to make school enjoyable for my kids (I’m getting antsy and summer school has entered my mind–my poor children)

    Ah ha!  School is out and with that I have lost a sense of purpose.  (I think as I write.  Have you noticed that?)  The endless, aimless days of summer are not as appealing to me as they might be to a teenager.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being “aimless”.  Even as a teenager I can remember thinking, “Choose a college, choose a career, choose a mate, this is fun and challenging but  . . then what?  What will be my purpose in living after that?”

    I want a goal.  I want a vision.  I want something to work towards.  Ah, my visionary, you are sorely missed.  How is it you filled my life with such purpose?  And then you left and took it all with you.  You gave me more goals and visions than I could ever hope to pursue, but you didn’t leave any of them behind.

    That looks like a pitifully small list, but I suppose one must start somewhere.  Now, I must make a serious effort to get some sleep and then some breakfast as I’m guessing some of my dole drums stem from their lack . 

    My goals, my hope, my children, my future . . . it’s all yours, Lord.  I sure would love to be able to get excited about that again.  Do you think you could give me that spark back?  Passion is inspiring and tiring.  Maybe I’ll add an iron pill to my list of things to eat tomorrow.

  • 13May

    I almost hate to mention it because I know as soon as I do that Satan is going to attack with gusto, but despite the sick kids and the like, I have been feeling quite calm and relaxed.  I think the vacation and the convention were just what I needed.  It’s been awhile since I had taken some time for refocusing.  I kept telling myself that I was doing o.k., but if the quietness of my spirit is any indication I’m guessing that I really wasn’t doing as good as I thought I was.  I’m pretty good at deluding myself.  =D

    Had another sick kid this morning so shots got cancelled.  The kids didn’t seem to mind that.  =)  We spent some time thoroughly cleaning and organizing the playroom this morning (one room a day, by the end of next week I might have the whole house cleaned!  Too bad the kids mess it up faster than we can clean it up.)  Then, after spending some time training Caleb (1) to stay in his new toddler bed for his nap I introduced the older children to the art of candle making.

    We took the candles from last night, melted them down, added a crayon or two for color, borrowed a wick from another candle (it was extra long) and ta da! Art Class!!  =)  That’s what makes me think that I needed that vacation.  Somehow, God’s grace I’m sure, I managed to get through that whole session without yelling at anyone, getting frustrated, or even burning anyone.  I did light a paper towel on fire . . .  =D  They burn faster when there is wax on them.  Did you know that?  Anyway, it was fun, we all learned a lot, and I think the kids enjoyed it.

    I’m so excited about how the last two days went that I’m sure I will try to cram way too much stuff into my day tomorrow (like cleaning bedrooms, doing laundry, and tearing apart a crib all at once).  We’ll see how it goes.  Maybe I’ll get to celebrate my anniversary next week?  I hope my kids feel better soon.  I think another one was showing symptoms tonight . . .  One of the problems with big families – quarantines last forever. 

    But maybe that isn’t all bad . . . 

    • I’ve had some good conversations with my older ones this last couple of days. 
    • We’ve spent some time as a family-just us. 
    • We haven’t tried to do a whole lot since some of  us are sick.
    • It’s been much slower paced
    • Gave us a chance to recoup after vacation =)
    • We got some good cleaning done
    • Made headway on reading the Chronicles of Narnia series
    • Made Mom focus on the kids rather than the chores

    I’m pleased.  How about you, Lord?  Are you pleased?  Thanks for this bit of calm in the midst of the storms of life.

  • 12May

    Well,  I shouldn’t be all that surprised at how this anniversary turned out.  It’s not the first time a sick child rearranged our plans a bit.  I had planned to go away for the day again like I did last year, but Abigail (5) joined me in my bed at some point last night and was burning up with fever.  She stayed there and I kept waking up to check on her.  That made it awfully hard to wake up this morning.  A couple of my other kids have had a fever for a day and they take extra naps and skip a meal or two, but Abigail either got a different strain or she got hit harder.  Hopefully she will feel better in the morning (we are going to get shots.  =]   )

    So my day didn’t go quite the way I thought it was going to.  I gave my babysitter the day off and the kids and I spent some time relaxing.  We did manage to really clean the library, even got rid of a couple of boxes that were still in there, and then we emptied another box that looked like it came from one of our first moves.  In it we found a whole bunch of those tea light candles and a surprising amount of baby food jars (why in the world those got save and packed and moved from place to place I’ll never know).  The kids were helping to unpack the box so they took the candles, put them inside the baby food jars and placed them on the half walls all around the playroom.  Then after the babies were in bed we lit all the candles, put some music on and cavorted around the playroom with great vim and vigor.  Now I am exhausted.  Guess I’ll save the meditating for another day. 

  • 11May

    It has been a fantastic couple of weeks.  We made a very long trip out and back to see the cousins (and Grandma, and aunts and uncles) and had a wonderful time.  We got some pictures of all 16 grandchildren (that took some doing), but that number will be changing again come September (Yeah!) so we will probably have to do it again.  =) 

    We arrived home late and went right to bed.  I spent most of the next day on the lawnmower.  Any hope I had of convincing the neighbors of my skills went out the window once I realized how tall the grass was and how neat it would be to mow a couple of wavy, intersecting paths all through the middle of it.  The kids thought it was great fun and if anyone asks I will probably blame it on them.  =)

    Our cat had kittens while we were gone, so we made a special trip to Nana’s (where the cat is hiding–smart cat) to check out the new babies.  And of course, there was a load or two of laundry to do despite the fact that we did some at Grandma’s right before we left.  We re-packed for our next trip and again headed for bed.

    The next morning, early, I headed off to a homeschool convention and the kids went to a cousin’s house for a sleep over party.  The convention was great.  I learned some things and got excited all over again with the numerous possibilities.  I have enjoyed using the science curriculumn that a local church gave us for a Christmas present last year and I’m thinking that I might like to try some more of that type of thing this coming year.  The convention also reminded me of why I was homeschooling and also challenged some of my reasons and attitudes about it.  I’ve gotten stuck on the “measurable” part of it all . . .   Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting some time to work through some of that for next year.

    I got home from the convention just in time to practice a bit with my mom and pick up my girls for a Mother/Daughter banquet at our church.  It was also the first time I had seen my sister since I heard that she had miscarried another baby.  She is doing o.k. and I marvel at her acceptance.

    My cousin had volunteered to keep the kids one more night, so I dropped the girl’s off at her place after the banquet and picked up the babies (Payden-2, and Caleb-1).  Caleb had a fever and was up a couple of times during the night.  Then we were up early so that I could pick up the kids and everyone could get to church on time.  Nana’s for lunch and then EVERYONE laid down for naps and quiet time.  Mom conked.

    I’m still trying to recover.  Monday we spent four hours (since I took all the kids-luckily my Mom volunteered to go along) grocery shopping to restock the fridge.  Today I told the kids we weren’t going ANYWHERE.

    Tomorrow is my anniversary.  I have some plans to go to the place where I went last year, but if it’s still raining I might have to change those plans.  Eventually I need to finish unpacking and catch up on some sleep. . . maybe next week.

  • 10May

    Over heard Abigail (5) talking the other day . . .

    “My one nose sniffs, the other one is stuck.”

    I had to stop the van and write it down . . and laugh my head off.  =D

  • 08May

    Oh God!

    I lost my ring (my wedding band) for real this time.  The panic was instantaneous and tears threatened.  Calm down, trust God, you can’t do anything right at this second so pay attention to the speaker.

    As this is the second post on losing rings within a week’s time you may wonder why I don’t just take them off and put them somewhere safe.  I wonder that too.  I thought I was ready to take them off, but I’m not.  I’ve started to wear them on my other hand occasionally (usually fits better) hence my awareness of them.

    I retraced my steps in the crowded room and even stopped to ask someone if they had seen a ring.  In the bathroom I tried to regain a semblance of calmness and orderliness in my frantic brain and God whispered to me that He was as much in control of this situation as He was when Dan died.  Pardon my lack of faith, Lord, but I’m not sure that is very encouraging at this particular moment.  The question was whether or not I was going to be able to choose to trust Him again.

    What is He trying to tell me?  Oh! Does He want me to lose my rings?  I know they are temporal, have little value, and how do you pass on two rings to seven children?  It’s just an emotional attachment.  Do I need to give them up in order to move forward?

    O.K. God, I’m going to trust you.  That is so hard.  The “Why’s?” and “What if’s?” are abundant.  Why does it seem harder to trust Him with the little things?

    Somewhere in the midst of all that I picture myself rushing  back to our hotel to scour the room, look through the sheets, tear apart the bathroom, clean out the van, and open every single pocket of my laptop case.  For some reason the laptop is the most vivid picture and I decide that if the ring isn’t in there then I will consider retracing our steps to the hotel.

    It is a while before I can leave and get to the van to check out the case and questions are besieging me at every turn.  I keep pushing them aside and try to take seriously my attempt to trust God.

    Finally, back at the van, I open the case and the second pocket in which I look I find my ring.  The tears start to pour.  Oh, thank you God!

    Have I learned a lesson of trust and faith?  Was God testing me?  Have I proven that I’m not ready for another relationship?  Was God trying to teach me something else?  I don’t know what God was doing, but I do know that He was merciful and that He knows what is going on and I can rest in the knowledge that it will be good.

  • 03May
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 4

    Surrounded by smiles and laughter, family and love, my heart freezes and sinks like a stone as I stop and gaze at my hands.  They are empty and bare.  I feel again the sharp, desolate pain of my loss and I start to panic.  Where are my rings?  Did I lose them?  Did they fall off somewhere?  Will I never find them again?

    The pain is welling up inside me and even the realization that the rings are not lost and that they are at home safe and sound isn’t enough to stem the harsh ache that clutches at my heart.  I don’t know if I can bear to lose again.  But that is future and God has promised to give us the grace.  He has proven Himself faithful in that area already.  Why should I doubt that He can do it again?  I will lose, but I can gain so much more . . .

    Oh God!  I miss him so much!  I can see again the aching hole.  I realize anew how my other half has been ripped away and I sink to my knees in anguish.

    You are my strength when I am weak,

    You are the treasure that I seek,

    You are my all in all.

     

    When I fall down you pick me up,

    When I am dry you fill my cup,

    You are my all in all.

    I am so weak, Lord.  Please be my strength.  Pick me up and hold me till I can’t cry any more.  And when I am dry, fill my cup to full and overflowing with your joy and love so that I can proclaim that “You are my all in all” to those around me. 

    You have promised that Your mercies are new every morning.  And if “joy comes in the morning” then I’m going to bed so that I can move on to happier times.

  • 01May