• 04Mar

    I looked up rejuvenation in my thesarus and found these words: renewal, revival, restoration, revitalize, replenish, repair.

    Sounds lovely!  To be honest, it feels great.

    No matter what this world tells you, Parenting Is NOT For Singles!  It wears you out and wears you down.  I am very thankful for the fact that my Lord foresaw the problems we would face in a sin cursed world and created the family and the church body to help.  I don’t know where I would be without them.

    However, there are just some things that even family and church family just can’t do.  My spirit has been overwhelmed with the noises of necessary tasks, needy children, and my own desires.  The clash and clamour of the world was drowning me and finally early this week I said “Enough.”  I needed a break, my kids needed a break from Mom, and I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by just trying to hang in there.  So I made arrangements for a babysitter for the weekend and I skipped town.

    It has been an interesting weekend.  I got to relax in a hot tub, do a bit of swimming, didn’t do much cooking (warmed up a potato and some soup), and hardly talked to anyone.  It took me at least 24 hours to get used to the quiet.  I tried going to bed early the first night and ended up being up later than I usually am.  I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit on my computer (really have a hard time focusing on computer work with kids running around so it was nice to catch up), and even had some time for some playing.  And most importantly I’ve had some time to talk to my Lord uninterrupted.

    I’m really not ready to go home yet. . . but I guess sometimes soldiers are called into battle even when they aren’t prepared.  It’s the Lord’s job.  He will have to do it.

    Please pray for spirit revitalization and more of God’s grace.  Thank you all so much!

  • 01Jan

    While making some of my preparations for the Christmas season this year my children asked me to tell them a story.  I was reminded of the poem that my Pastor in WV said reminded him of me.  And this is what came out.

     

    There was a young woman who lived with a crew,

    She had so many shoes she didn’t know what to do.

     

    Sneakers for this one, and boots for that,

    To top it all off there was a matching hat.

     

    The piles they did make by the front door and back,

    Caused her to yell, “I want a sack!”

     

    She packed them all up and threw them o’er her shoulder.

    The weight of it all felt like a great big boulder.

     

    The weight made her grouchy like the Grinch from another tale,

    “When will it all end!” she began to wail.

     

    “I can’t do it alone, I just want to quit.

    I want to stop cleaning for just a little bit!”

     

    “We want to help.  Yes, Mommy, we do!”

    Came the voices of the owners of all those shoes.

     

    Just a few minutes or maybe more,

    And all those shoes ran out the door.

     

    Mommy sat down with a great big thump,

    “Why oh why, was I such a grump?”

     

    This burden I carry is not mine at all.

    God will take it if I but call.

     

    Some of you laugh and say “Oh, that’s so cute!”  And I must admit, that reaction was my original intent.  But to tell you the truth the more I thought about this silly little poem, the more I realized just how true it was.  I have been getting caught up in the silly frustrations that are an everyday occurrence in our lives and I have been piling them all into a big sack that I keep trying to carry around with me. 

    Most of my friends and neighbors don’t see that sack, but I’m guessing they can see the results.  Maybe they see that my smile is a bit harder to come by, or maybe they can hear the self pity that laces my conversation.  Maybe they don’t see it at all, but I do, and I know God does.  And He is wondering why I don’t trust Him enough to hand Him the sack and let Him carry the burden for me.

    So, I guess I need to start my new year off right, hand over my sack, and have a childlike enjoyment of the days to come; free from the frustrations and worries that drag me down.

  • 14Dec

     “When I am weak, He is strong.”

    Those words have been floating around in my head a lot the last couple of days.  I am weak.  This single parenting stuff is tough.  And there are many days when I don’t think I can handle it.  But God is gracious and He has provided the strength to continue on.  The roller coaster ride of “We are doing just fine – – Oh, there is just so much I can’t do!” drives me bananas.  I like things neat, orderly, and systematic. And currently my life is pretty much anything but that.

    At least ‘He is strong.’  He’s my shoulder to cry on, my strong arm to hold me up, my warm hug when the days are rough, my advice when I don’t know what to do, and my comfort when I know I’ve failed again.  He has promised to work THROUGH me, and I’m going to hold Him to that promise.

  • 28Oct

    Such an array of emotions and thoughts flood my mind tonight.  Tomorrow it will be three years since my life got turned upside down.

    I look back over those years with awe, pain, sorrow, sadness, relief, contentment and joy. 

    There is the awe as I look at the way neighbors, family, friends, friends of friends, and even complete strangers chipped in to help this grief stricken family.  We had so much help and support that it is hard for me to grasp just what a needy situation we really were in.  In a lot of cases we had help before we even knew we needed it.  It is amazing to see God’s family working together the way He intended it to.  I can’t wait to see what our relationships will be like when we get to Heaven.

    There is pain as I remember again those agonizing days in the hospital and the weeks following when getting out of bed to face the day was a struggle of monumental proportions.  I can remember the agony so great and so consuming that my knees would literally buckle and I would sink to the floor clutching my heart trying vainly to somehow pull all the pieces back together.

    There is the sorrow as I think of all the milestones of which Dan has had no part.  The birth of Caleb(2), Payden’s(3) first steps, Maranatha’s(5) first words, Hadassah’s(6) first day of school, Abigail (7) losing her first tooth, Josiah(8) shooting a bow and arrow, Benjamin (9) catching a fish, etc.  

    There is sadness as I think of the future of my children and I see their loss.  Their Daddy will miss their wedding day, their graduations from high school maybe college.  He won’t be there to help them learn to drive, to mentor them, to help them get their first job.  Caleb (2) never even met his Daddy.

    There is relief as I realize that we have made it this far, the worst is over.  There is relief in knowing that God is faithful and He’s proven over and over again that He is quite capable of taking care of us.  My foundation is secure, my hope is eternal, and my future is in His hands.

    There is contentment in knowing that I am right where God wants me to be.  I have chosen to believe that no matter the choices we made leading up to the surgery, God was leading and directing and He was the one who has put me on this path and He is the one who will continue to guide me and care for me.  I am content to follow Him.

    And there is joy as I realize the growth in myself and my children as a result of our heartache.  My compassion for those around me who are struggling has grown so much that I find it necessary to rein myself in lest I play God and try to fix everything possible (good thing God didn’t give me much to work with).  My children’s sensitivity to others who have suffered a loss and to those who are in need of a Savior is convicting.  And tonight Josiah (8) reminded me that we have been blessed by the mercies of God, which he informed me was “stuff we didn’t deserve.”  Their trust that God will bring them a new Daddy, their lack of bitterness and only minor struggles with anger, their sensitivity of spirit and softness of heart cause me to hope that they will survive this experience and be the better for it.  With God all things are possible.

    So, how are we doing?  I would say we are growing and are a living testimony that God’s grace is sufficient.  God is faithful, He has brought us this far.  We have a new “normal” now.  The bad days are rare.  And tonight when our devotional book asked us to choose and pray for a specific request we all agreed that we would like a ‘new daddy.’

  • 25Sep

    On a lighter note:

    Payden (3) said that the boys, Benjmain(9), and Josiah (8), had to come back from Grandma’s and help Grandpa build our shed ’cause Grandpa couldn’t do it without them.  =)

    Caleb (2) has decided that he is in school too, and he will stand at one of the school desks and scribble seriously on a piece of paper for quite some time before bringing it to me to score.  Once I put an OK on his page then he is content.  Silly boy.

    Maranatha (5) is halfway through her yellow book (Hooked on Phonics) for her Reading already(we started last year) and doing a great job.  I found her in the playroom with it teaching Payden (3) his letters.

    Dassy (6) thinks she doesn’t like cheese, but Mac and Cheese is her favorite meal.  The rule is “You are only allowed to Not Like ONE thing.”  She has changed her one thing to mushrooms.  Payden (3) has decided (as he eats his hot dog) that he doesn’t like meat!  He cracks me up!  I don’t think he even knows what ‘meat’ is!

    Abigail (7) has managed to overcome her fear and has learned how to ride a bicycle.  Dassy (6) took note and followed her example.  This past weekend Abigail came down a hill a bit too fast on her bicycle and now she has a couple of holes in her chin that might rival the Grand Canyon not to mention several other scrapes and bruises.  No pictures for her for a while.  =)  But she got back on her bike!!  I was so proud!

    Josiah (8) came to me today practically in tears.  He felt terrible about leaving me behind to go play with Uncle Andrew.  Oh sweetheart, thank you for wanting to take such good care of Mommy. 

    Benjamin (9) came to me with a concern about the amount of time he was spending on the computer.  After a discussion about how we should be in control and not let things control us I’ve noted a definite improvement.  He also is doing very well at controlling his candy and sweet intake.  I’ve seen him refuse a desert or treat!  Keep up the good work!

    Me (?) I’ve managed to clean up a couple of piles in my bedroom, got it vacuumed, and started my scrapbook of our trip to TN this summer.  This is a big deal since I think those piles in my bedroom have been there for at least a year maybe longer.  They were really starting to annoy me.  I was actually feeling pretty good about myself and what we’ve managed to accomplish in the last couple of weeks before this grief wave hit.  Good thing these don’t last long.

    As a family we have been working on “peace” as well as some control in our movie watching.  We made it through a whole month without watching a video and did well with limited time on computers.  We are still working on the peace issue. 

    Our pastor has been preaching on grace and I was reminded again today just how much grace God has given us.  So many things we didn’t deserve and He hasn’t quit giving yet.

    God is good. 

     

  • 24Sep

    I’ve lost my nanny.  She was done the end of June. Judy volunteered to help again for July and the first week or so of August, but since she headed off for college I’ve been trying to swing things on my own.  School started and I’ve asked a couple of older ladies to help throughout the week, an hour or two occupying the younger children, teaching the older ones how to clean or make lunches, or teaching a class here and there. 

    I find that I can handle the full weight of responsibility like this for about a month before I start feeling a little crazy and overwhelmed.  I can do all the cleaning, school work, laundry, gardening, cooking, blah, blah, blah, but it doesn’t leave me any time (that I’m not exhausted) for training and loving on my children.  Don’t get me wrong, the kids are a big help.  They have their chores and actually do most of the cleaning for me, but they still need someone to come after them every now and then and clean thoroughly.  We are working on that (in my spare time).

    I remember telling Dan that if we had one more kid we were going to need to hire a maid.  I think that might have been after Maranatha (almost 5).  We’ve had 2 since then.  So, today I am going to be meeting with someone to see about the possibility of hiring her as our cleaning lady.  Even with all the kid’s help it amazes me how much time I spend cleaning.

    Anyway, I guess I’m asking that you all would pray for wisdom, sanity, and discernment.  I want to make sure I hire the right person.  I need to be able to trust her with my children as well as my house.  I need the freedom of time.  I need peace of mind.  And I don’t want to usurp the Lord’s right to provide or create an attitude of laziness in me or my children.

    Thanks again, all, for listening and praying.  You are the best!!

  • 06Sep

    8/30/11

    “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts!” Ps 84:1-2, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

    I find my soul crying out more for leadership.  I long for a man who will step in and lead this strange family of mine.  Someone who is willing to accept and shoulder the man sized portion of burden that makes my shoulders ache (I slept on something wrong =).

    I don’t necessarily feel like I’m struggling with the responsibility at this point in time.  God has been doing just fine at taking care of us and giving me the option of a stress free life (if and when I’ll take it), but the longing is still there.

    Ps. 84:5 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; . .”  The longing in my heart is great, but with the strength of the Lord I will stay strong, pure, and patient.  Ha!  It will have to be your strength for sure, Lord, ‘cause I don’t got it.

    Ps. 84:11 “. . . no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  My kids are wondering why You are withholding the good thing of a Daddy.  I am assuming that at this point in time You have something better than good and that we just need to be patient and wait for it. 

    How often do I have a plan in mind that I am trying to work out that requires my kids patience and cooperation and their continual bugging and disobedience makes me throw up my hands in frustration and turn to plan B.  How often do I tell them “Trust Mommy.  You know she loves you and wants you to have fun.  Trust me, You will like this.  Patience, I’m trying to work something out here.  Giving you details just confuses the issue.  Trust me.”

    So, God, today (since this is a daily task) I am going to trust that You will not withhold anything good from me and my family.  I think that good would be a husband and father, but maybe You have something better in mind.

  • 06Sep

    Friends and faithful supporters made it possible for us to take a trip this summer.  We spent a week with them in TN at the Bill Rice Ranch, visited with my Pastor from my home church and his wife for a couple of days, and then we spent a day at the Creation Museum in KY.  It was a wonderful trip.

    We had a few interesting complications, but nothing that God didn’t handle for us.  Apparently I had bad bearings (or something like that) on my two front tires of the van and they were doing a number on my tires.  But Daniel noticed the problem and volunteered to rotate a couple of tires for me which took care of the problem till I could get home and get my mechanic to fix the issue.  I also ran into some trouble with my windshield wipers, but I was able to make those adjustments with only a minor inconvenience or two.  And gas was cheaper outside of PA so we were actually able to do the trip for a little bit less than I expected.

    I met someone interesting at camp that taught me a few things about the goodness of God and reminded me that God’s IS ABLE.  We enjoyed the chance to catch up with friends, meet their children, and make new friends.  We had time to play in the swimming pool and Judy was able to teach a couple of my kids to swim and most of the rest of them to not be quite so afraid of water (that was actually an ongoing summer project that Judy handled beautifully).  And we got family pictures that I currently have spread over my bedroom floor trying to decide who they go to and if they will fit into our Christmas cards (which means that I need to get working on Christmas cards-takes me a couple of months to do a project like that).

    Judy (a cousin from MI), was actually the second major blessing that made this whole trip possible.  Paul and Sharon provided the resources/place to stay, but Judy made it possible for us to go.  My children like to travel and they handled the trip very well, but it would have been a lot more stressful for me without that second pair of hands that allowed us to spread out and divide up the children as needed.  Thanks for sharing part of your summer with us again, Judy!!

    There were several others who made the trip possible and enjoyable and I would like to list all their names, but for privacy’s sake I think I will refrain.  So instead I will just say a great big THANK YOU to you all, you know who you are, and God knows who you are.

    Oh, and since we were taking the trip, somewhere in the part of my brain labeled insanity, I decided it would be great if I could get my “house” scrapbook finished and take it along.  It was great incentive to get that scrapbook done and out of the way, but I definitely should have started it WAY sooner.  We got it done, but I was definitely not handling the pressure very well.  Many thanks to all who pitched in on that particular project.  On to the next one.  =)

    And one more plug, if you haven’t been to the Creation Museum I would definitely recommend it.  Thanks to all my kids who have been saving for quite a few years for that particular visit.  We will have to do it again when you all are a bit older.  It was fun!

  • 19Feb

    So, the kids are gone for a long weekend. 

    I have great plans to spend tons of time with the Lord, get some things accomplished, do some grieving, etc.

    By Friday lunch (kids are to leave before supper), I realize that I am quite sick.  What’s that saying about the plans of mice and men?  =(

    I have determined that this will not stop me.  My list of things to accomplish is long, but some of it I can do in bed.  I start with a nice soak in the tub which helps with the muscles sore from sickness and I watch a video about my kids grief at the same time.  Start planning how to share this information with others who help with my children.

    Bedtime by 7, because I can and because I’m not doing much moving.  Hoping and planning on a special breakfast, but we will see.

    Restless night again (been dreaming about Dan and having a hard time sleeping when I’m not).  So I’m up at 1:30 a.m. and decide to do some work, because I can.  Don’t have to get up tomorrow if I don’t want to (or at least not way earlier than I want to because Caleb (2) wants breakfast and will get it himself if I’m not there to intervene). 

    The wind is really strong again and I’m afraid for the safety of my front door.  I really think I need to put in some trees somewhere for a windbreak out there.  Couple problems with that: the expense, don’t want to ruin the view, and digging the holes in the rock I have for a front yard.  Maybe I can come up with some solutions while I’m stuck here in my bed.

    I’d like to grouch and complain, Lord.  I think I could have enjoyed this much better without the aching head, nauseated stomach, and scratchy eyes.  I guess you work better in my weakness, though, huh.  Well, I’m weak.  Do your best!

    I am thankful that I’m not trying to deal with being sick and keeping the children out of trouble at the same time.  I am thankful that it’s not worse.  I could be laid up for an extended period of time.  I could be struggling with health issues on a daily basis.  I could be without help for the children.  Thank you, Lord, for your protection and provision once again.  You are faithful.  Hold me close and help me get the rest I need so that I am once again ready to fight the battles of child rearing.  Refresh my spirit and soften my heart so that I am once again tender to the directions of the Holy Spirit.  Love you!

  • 14Feb

    Thank you all for the encouragement.  I’m still hoping for the chance to get away, but two of my girls got sick this week and this flu bug seems to have a longer recovery time.  I’m holding my breath and hoping that no one else gets it.

    One of the reasons this bothers me (I think) is because I feel a bit guilty for having a nanny.  I know several women who have lots of children (some more than me) and their husband works, so it’s not like he’s home during the day to help.  And he’s tired when he gets home, so it’s not like he can help a whole lot then either.  But me, I have someone working for Me, helping Me with the household work and the kids.  If I still had Dan I would be working for Him, plus the household chores and tending kids.  Why can’t I handle this?

    Then again, why do I feel the need to be supermom?  Why do I feel guilty?  It’s a pressure I think I must put on myself, because I don’t know of anyone who has made any negative comments.  Curious people have asked why I hired a nanny, but no one was being malicious or patronizing.

    If I can just get to the root . . . then I could hack away at the untruths and get some peace about this.

    So, any ideas where to go?  Little cold this time of year for camping.  =)