Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Seven Sevens

So I am finally responding to my tag...sorry Becky :-( I'm a bit slow lately.

Seven things I hope to do before I die:
1. See all of my children believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and walk in Him.
2. Grow again in Jesus myself... (Soon Lord! It seems like it's been winter for at least a year)
3. Write letters of affirmation to all of my kids, for them to read after I am gone
4. Completely organize my home and develop better, more orderly habits
5. Hold my grandchildren (and help to train them Lord?)
6. Develop the habit of writing everyday; and write a book :-)
7. Learn to play the piano well enough to play hymns effortlessly

Seven things I cannot do:
1. Throw a grenade (or throw at all for that matter :-) - just ask the drill seargent who spotted me as I threw my one (and only) live grenade. He refused to let me throw the second one due to the amount of dirt which landed on us after my first throw. And Lord knows how I practiced every day in the field.)
2. Tap dance (yet I would LOVE to learn)
3. Grow flowers from seed in my yard (I apparently need a greenhouse)
4. Fly an airplane
5. Fix my computer or printer (Nate found a dead moth in our printer and David swears he saw the dead moth fly in :-) )
6. Go to bed on I sit at 10:28, rubbing my tired eyes! Lord, have mercy!
7. Leave any Death by Chocolate from Bennigans on my plate (it must be THE most delicious thing on the planet)... is there a Bennigan's in St. Louis? I think I will go back to Iowa just to get a slice.

Seven things that attract me to my spouse: (significant other, best friend)
1. The grace which characterizes his behavior (he's like the Lord Jesus, I tell him, full of grace and truth)
2. His keen intelligence
3. His gorgeous green eyes, with their own unique orange spot
4. His marvelously sculpted chin
5. His hands (their warmth and strength)
6. His excitement when he tells me about a new idea
7. His joviality and sense of humor

Seven things I say often:

1. Really?
2. Oh, my goodness!
3. I see.
4. You did it!
5. Mommy is doing this because it's the best thing for YOU.
6. That's fantastic!
7. I know what you mean.

Seven books or book series I love:
1. The Holy Bible
2. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House Series
3. The Zion Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
5. The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
6. On Writing Well by William Zinser
7. To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debbie Pearl

Seven movies I do watch over and over again:
(I'll update if I think of more)
...rarely do I watch a movie, let alone watch one over and over, so this is hard...
1. Luther (I actually saw this movie 3 times and loved it each time)
2. The Jesus Movie starring Brian Deacon (I've seen it at least 3 times)
3. Mary Poppins
4. Lord of the Rings
5. most Star Trek movies (Nathan and I really like The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock...etc)
6. Mr. Bean's Christmas Special (actually a thirty minute show) - this is so funny that I laugh so hard I cry...EVERY YEAR!

Seven people I want to join in this Seven Sevens:
If you are reading this post, and have a blog or a way to respond on the Internet, then consider yourself tagged! Please comment so I know to come and read your responses. This is the kind of tag I like :-).

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

The Baby....

Is a boy! We found out yesterday for sure, though I was pretty sure based on how my body reacted with Josh and David. It is much more fun to be pregnant with girls - at least for me. Please pray for us though, for the placenta is very low (partially covering the cervix). Hopefully it will move before this baby is born!

Okay, I've learned my lesson. Don't ever title a blog post "Today" and then cease writing for so long! It is so annoying to see my site from time to time with the same fresh, outdated word jumping out at you.

Since last I wrote we have filled our garage, downstairs, apartment and storage areas with furniture and boxes of stuff from Grandma's huge house in Washington. It has been a "boxy" adventure to say the least, and we are very thankful that there won't be any more semi-truck size moving trucks backing down our driveway. The children have enjoyed bits and pieces of Grandma as she sneaks in and out to give hugs, fold laundry or bring us more stuff. For the most part she has been unpacking and organizing in her little apartment. Benjamin has commandeered the downstairs areas (except for Nathan's office) and has his sleeping area sectioned off with 8 foot bookshelves. I think he is concerned that the little ones will "invade" :-) but I am keeping them mostly upstairs.

I have discovered that there are natural planning times during my year. August, December & April seem to be the times when I need to plan the most. However, planning to plan seems to be the thing I have lacked the foresight to do consistently! Being able to concentrate on planning is hugely dependent on children who can be self-occupied for chunks of time without interrupting. Mine do pretty well when I plan something for them, but this is not my strong point...planning. Or planning to plan. Or planning to plan to plan. Ok, now I'm dizzy. So, now I am reading through Candy's The Home Management Binder: The Housewife's Best Friend and working on actually finishing my own binder, which has lain hopefully in my cupboard for awhile now. I am having a lot of fun with it :-)

Sigh. Now if I can just get it finished.

Thanks to those of you who have inquired as to my absence from the blogdom. If feels nice to be missed :-). Hopefully I can get back into the habit of writing often again.

Saturday, November 5, 2005


I am having a 10 minute break right now while the bread is sponging, so I thought I would hop on the computer and write a quick update. I've got some warm bread by my side, slathered with homemade honey-butter, and some warm coffee as well :-)

Breadmaking day used to be a drag because I didn't look forward to all of the washing up afterwards, but for some reason this has become unimportant lately. To save time, I've begun baking two batches (8 loaves) at one time, and it feels good to wash up, knowing that I won't have to do it again for a week and ahalf. Of course, we don't get to enjoy the warm bread fresh from the oven as often, but sometimes during busy seasons it is worth it. This morning Deborah helped me mix up the bread-dough, but I have currently lost my children's interest to Dora the Explorer ;-).

I must admit, I'm a little jealous. Yet I am grateful for the occasional opportunity to go full-speed ahead with my activities :-).

Well, I've also got tomatoes all over my veranda still, so today is also freeze the tomatoes day. I am cutting them up and freezing them in bags of 4 cups (maybe I should be freezing them whole??). Still being ignorant of the canning process, I've decided to do it the quick and easy way. Today I will also work on cleaning up the storage area.

Grandma Tippy will arrive on Monday. We are very much looking forward to her presence :-). She is an amazing person who adds laughter and loving service wherever she goes. She and Benjamin (Nate's little brother) will live with us until their house sells in Washington and they have a new location here.

Well, I'd better get moving before my energy slips away and I need a nap ;-) (Lately the pregnancy has been calling for one several times a week.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

"Fixing" Debbie

Yesterday my 2 year-old son Joshua pushed my 5 year-old daughter Deborah off of the big green chair. How this happened is beyond me ;-), but apparently her head thunked pretty hard on the floor, and she began to cry quite vehemently, while holding her injured head. At the time, I was tending another child and only vaguely aware of what was happening, but it captured my full attention when Joshua became immediately contrite and sought me out.

(His words seem to be the subject of a lot of blog entries lately ;-). Perhaps I should rename my blog to reflect this :-).)

Anyway, Joshua was quite beside himself with grief, and he sobbed to me, "Mama, you have to fix Debbie!"

When I understood him, it became difficult for me to keep a straight face, but I tried very hard as I gathered my big girl in to my arms and felt her head for a goose egg. I assured Josh that Deborah was going to be just fine; that she didn't even have a goose egg, and he finally began to quiet down.

As I reflected on this, it became apparent that our children really believe that parents can make it all better. Parents fix the bleeding owie, quell the fear, soothe the fever and protect children from harm (mostly).

But some day our kids will be in a situation where mom or dad will not be able to "fix" things. And that is why it is so paramount that we direct them consistently to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our kids will one day be separated from our love, but praise be to the Almighty God, who wrought his great power in the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ, that nothing in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of Christ.

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Later on the same day, Joshua came to Deborah and said to her, smiling "did Mama fix you Debbie?" :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Marvelous Grace!

What a weekend! Saturday we finally got the garden all cleared out and plowed under. Our veranda is lined with tomatoes (green and red) and we pulled out a few forgotten carrots and lonely little watermelons. It looks like a lot considering that we haven't gotten all that much from our garden this year (which is ok with me, for my goal was small --just get the thing planted!). Saturday night it was so nice to be exhausted from outdoor work :-).

Sunday we went to church and I was so proud of the children, who sang Colossians 1:15-23 perfectly and sat in church quietly coloring during the sermon. Afterwards we were going to go out to eat as a reward for David, who has mastered tying his shoes (we are so proud of you David!). However, they were having a church cookout at the park and he decided he wanted to go to that instead to celebrate. They had the most delicious brats and desserts and we were all stuffed with food and fellowship by the time we headed home.

Tonight I have been pondering the grace of God afresh. Sometimes as parents we can become convinced that our children depend on us alone. We can become proud of the things we have done well, or we can despair and think, "I've ruined my child! How will I ever fix him?" I am mostly talking about our own flaws that are passed down to our kids despite our efforts to the contrary, and sometimes about mistakes that have been made (consistently, to be sure!). But my despair evaporates when I consider my God and the marvelous grace which he bestows upon ME! To quote an earlier blog entry:

"The grace of God is what can take a soul raised in the muck of this world and transform it from the inside-out. It can take a child raised without any moral guidance or training, living in a chaotic, sin-torn environment, loving the world and everything in it, into a holy child of God - and a devoted parent. It travels through the vehicle of our faith in God and His word. It was poured out in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it seeps out of His own in the form of thankfulness and righteous living."

The reason we are able to appreciate the grace of God so fully is because we are such flawed creatures. When our flaws begin showing up in our kids, it's almost enough to make a God-fearing parent want to throw in the towel. It really hurts! But I submit to you this thought: Our children are in the hands of Almighty God, and our God, who is mighty to save, is more than big enough to use our flaws and mistakes for His glory. Halleiluia!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Baby Nightmare

Last night was rough. I went to bed, late, a little after 11pm. Awakened I was, at midnight, by a screaming 2-year-old. I thought he must have a stuffed nose, so I rubbed some Vics salve under his nose. I offered him a drink. I re-covered him. I rubbed his head. Yet every time I began to walk away, back to some much needed rest, he screamed in protest.

7-year-old David woke up (believe me, this testifies to the vehemence of Joshua's crying, for David sleeps like a rock). He was quite upset with the crying and when he told Joshua to "get out!" I knew we had a dilemna. So I carried Joshua to the living room and rocked him in the big green chair. He immediately said "please take me back to my bed Mama". He then said "cover me". Then he said "may I have some more Vics salve?" Then..."get me a drink of water" (Command man, anyone? :-) )

So I stayed by his side awhile and rubbed his head. When he seemed settled I began to go back to my own bed, but he immediately awakened and began to scream. If this wasn't completely out of character for him, I may have felt that he was being willful. But he seemed almost fearful. Eventually I rocked him to sleep in the big green chair (around 1am).

At breakfast he sat down at his stool, as cheerful as ever. Here was our conversation:

:: Joshua, are you feeling sick today? You look pretty well for a sick boy. ::

:: No Mama, I'm not sick. ::

:: Maybe you had a bad dream last night. Do you remember dreaming? ::

without hesitation
:: You were driving away from me Mama. ::

:: Were you afraid? ::

:: Yes. ::

Suddenly, everything clicked into place. Joshua had dreamed that I was driving away from him and leaving him. He was so frightened that he cried out. And when I came to him he wasn't willing to let me out of his sight. Hopefully this will not be a recurring dream :-).

Was a great day, considering the sleep loss. School consisted of shoe-tying class (we are forging through the frustration triumphantly!) for 7yob and 5yog, playdough for the little ones, upper atmosphere artwork (A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp), Between the Lions, math flashcards and language lessons (First Language Lessons by Susan Wise Bauer) for 7yob. Right now the entire family (minus me, who is currently blogging :-) ) are watching a NOVA special, so we are skipping our read-aloud of Winnie the Pooh. I'd better quit being anti-social and go join them.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Reasoning With A Two-Year-Old?

Yesterday morning I won a battle with my two-year-old boy. (I make it sound like sometimes he wins and sometimes I win, but actually I always win :-). Shhhhhh. It's one of the secrets to good parenting...ALWAYS WIN!)

Josh has a job to do every night. He moves the stools away from the island so that David (7yob) can wipe and sweep the countertop without distraction. Generally he is a wonderful example of diligence with his work. However, I was having him move the chairs in the morning; a routine he was not accustomed to. So, I guess it was natural that he chose this opportunity to assert himself.

He continued to throw himself on the floor and cry, saying "I don't want to!" I continued to give negative reinforcement with a small switch and encourage him to obey with calm, firm resolve (I always switch my hand first to make sure I am only using enough force to give a SMALL sting). After quite a few cycles of this the heels of my boy were not dislodging and I knew I didn't want to stay there all morning. However, I told Joshua that I was content to do so.

And then, though I don't normally do this and I assumed it would be fruitless, I began to lecture him. "Now Joshua, do you realize that Mommy does NOT want to do this? It would be so much easier for me to just move the chairs myself and get on with the sweeping. The reason I am doing this is for YOU. Because learning to obey Mommy is the best thing for YOU. Not because I want to." I am not a perfect parent, and even as I spoke, I was kicking myself and saying in my mind.... "being cheerful and consistent is the only are wasting your words on this two-year-old".

So, imagine my surprise when, without further protesting, Joshua rose up and began to do his job. I watched him in amazement, wondering if he really had a breakthrough in his understanding. I guess it's not so surprising (he's a bright little fellow). And certainly my own walk with God always becomes effortless when I have a fresh, deep understanding of His great love for me. Certainly a child is not motivated by one who is perceived to be mean or when the child doesn't understand that their benefit is your primary motivation. Maybe my little guy is growing up, huh? ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Wife of A Visionary

Okay, so my husband is definitely a visionary. He's an idea-man. Near his side of the bed there rapidly accumulates small pieces of paper laced with his unrecognizable scrawls. This testifies to the prolific nature of his ideas :-). Lately his ideas and energies have been devoted to making money, and he is currently engaged in many different endeavors to that end. As advertising is part of that endeavor, I have (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to have ads on my weblog. Our children, who are allowed to watch some cartoons on Saturday morning but have been trained to mute the commercials, will tell you how adamant Mom is about not watching commercials. Just this morning Deborah asked, "Mom, why do they make you want to buy stuff?" When I considered her question, it didn't seem so awful that businesses are trying to promote their product so that people will buy it and they will make money. It's just that some people know how to resist unneeded things and others, well, just plain don't.

The life of the visionary wife! I think I'm just supposed to smile, and enjoy the ride. And if Debi is right, we'll either be very poor, or very rich. Either way, I'll stand by my man :-).

Monday, October 10, 2005


Last night I had a great desire to have time to myself. My pregnant body groaned to rest and read and be a vegetable. Instead I had a great time of fellowship with my husband. I took great delight in him. And the joy and reward which came from God took my breath away. I don't always make the right decision with relationships, but I always aim to ;-).

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

The gifts of God sometimes come unexpectedly. I used to think that if I just had enough Bible study, or enough prayer, or drew near enough to my Lord, then surely I would begin to experience more of him. To feel the warmth of His love everyday. To grow closer to Him with my smiling face turned expectantly toward His rays. And surely these strivings are beneficial in every way, but they are not all there is to it.

I've since learned that "Delighting thyself also in the Lord" extends beyond fellowship with Jesus. If I am not delighting myself in my husband, then I am limiting my Lord's blessing upon me. If I am not delighting myself in my children, then my Lord is not pleased with my attitude. When I consider some great scriptural exhortations to love, it begins to clarify.

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34-35

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. " John 15:13

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: " 1 Peter 1:22

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 1 John 3:14

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. " 1 John 3:23

The Lord saw fit to repeat this command over and over in the scriptures, especially in the book of John. It is emphasized like nothing else by our Lord, but I believe it is easy to think of "love" like a cliche and gloss over the true meaning. All of the verses I quoted above, except 1 Peter 1:22, which refers to brotherly affection, refer to the same love that God bestows upon us, that of "agapao".?? This is the amazing, unconditional love which is found in the Lord Jesus Christ and that He commands should come forth in His believers. I feel that I should emphasize that He commands it again and again and again!

O mother of young children, have you ever been angry with a little soul who seems bent on thwarting your will? I have certainly been in such a state a time or two; less as time goes by. But nothing stops up the flow of God's love more than a bitter spirit (if we do not forgive others, how will he forgive us?). Try this one on for size: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I reckon myself to be dead indeed to an angry and bitter spirit, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ my Lord" -Romans 6:11 There is nothing like the Word of God, spoken with real faith, to unclog the sin-clogged soul.

However, there is more to love than feelings and behavior. We can love our families well through planning. By having the children's day organized and taking the time to plan out activities and meals in advance, we can then focus in on teaching the children without distractions. So planning builds a foundation upon which the rest of parenting can then rest. And lack of planning can become the ultimate distraction. I know, because I struggle in this area. Over and over again I have said, "If only I stayed up and planned all this out! Things would have turned out differently..." (Visit Candy's blog for a list of links to other blogs where mothers have laid out their schedules. It is a great resource.)

So I exhort mothers of young children, including myself, to delight in your husband, in your children and in others with whom you have contact, and to plan out your days with little ones. For in doing so, you are loving our Lord, and obeying His commands. And I can't help but sing this beloved children's song:

This is my commandment that ye love one another, that your joy may be full,
This is my commandment that ye love one another, that your joy may be full,
That your joy may be full!
That your joy may be full!
This is my commandment that ye love one another that your joy may be full.

Monday, October 3, 2005


This morning I woke up at 6:45am, and traipsed into the kitchen to make breakfast and lunch for hubby, who was currently in the shower. As I passed the boys door, I knew something was amiss when I found it closed. It is always open unless I close it on my way through with hopes of having more alone time before the kids arise. Lately Joshua closes it also when he gets up (I guess he is just following Mom's lead :-)). I found him downstairs playing (at 6:45!) and was just a little miffed that I would have no time to myself ;-). It seems that the children wake up earlier and earlier lately.

Yet the kids and I sometimes have special times in the morning. Josh (2yo) and I will have reading time on the couch. He is my only child in the habit of putting a book away on the bookshelf when he is finished reading it! Sometimes he will stir the eggs for me in the kitchen or put the toast in the toaster. Rebekah (3yo) is learning to crack eggs and I absolutely love it when she comes up to me saying "I want to help you Mama". I am finding more and more that fellowship is key in children enjoying work.

And what are the obstacles to fellowship? Generally they are found in me. If I am feeling impatient and lost in my own thoughts, then the children feel excluded and would rather be elsewhere. If I send the kids off to work alone while I turn into a whirlwind in order to "get stuff done" then generally someone will decide to play and my time is frought with interruptions (and I am brought to shame). It is much better to empty my "agenda" and fill up my cup with enjoying the children. Joy ties a child to you like nothing else. But it can be difficult to keep them all tied to you at once. I often find that when I am fellowshipping well with one child, another relationship may be failing in some way.

It's hard to please everyone, but if joy is the focus then a happier and more peaceful house is always the result :-).

And now I must retire. To quote my sister-in-law Veronica: "sleep rocks".

Friday, September 30, 2005


I am so thankful that my wonderful hubby gave me a "kick-in-the-butt" in regard to getting my recordkeeping organized for homeschooling. When I got around to organizing it, I found that the schoolyear in Missouri begins on July first, so I was already 2 months behind!

But it was a lot of fun to open up Publisher and create my own little record-keeping book :-). I printed it, bound it (with my binder machine and a comb binder) and just today I closed out my first month of recorded school hours, giving David a lesson in using an adding machine in the process. Here is what is included in my record-keeping book:

1. A summary page: curriculum summary & goals summary
2. Hour-tracker pages for each month: colums for each subject, core hours, extra hours (ie field trips), and a block for notes at the bottom
3. Evaluation pages: Strengths, weaknesses, goals met...etc.

Missouri law requires periodic evaluations and I am excited about it because it forces me to take the time to ponder and plan and correct my course if necessary.

We believe that we are responsible first to answer to God for training our children up in the way they should go. We also plan to be ready to give an account, if necessary, to the governing authorities for the education we are providing.

In the meantime, I will use them to record and improve our homeschooling endeavors. I am sure that next year's book will far surpass this one, but I am having fun, and that is what school is supposed to be about, right?

"Then why do I have to do math flashcards?" I can hear my 7yob cry out :-)

"For the same reason you have to eat your vegetables!" I reply with a smile.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Looking Forward...

I keep logging on with the desire to write something magnificent. Something really worthy of your attention. But alas, my life is devoid of immediate inspiration :-). Though I do have plans. I've written a post on modesty and plan to summarize a wonderful sermon on the Security of the Believer. They are not, however, quite ready for posting, so I will have to content myself with rambling on in the blessed world of mundania.

Today we will attend Nathan's company picnic. We'll make bread this morning to bring along. A double batch -- which means 8 loaves. Yikes, I'd better get busy!

Pregnancy Update:
I went to the Doctor on Thursday. We heard the baby's heartbeat :-). She ruled out the possibility of an incompetent cervix and provided some possible explanations for the continued spotting. She was very reassuring. We still have to watch things, but I am no longer confined to bedrest. Yay!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


After dinner tonight Nathan and I played chess while Ben and the kiddos cleaned up the kitchen. Imagine my horror when I wiped away a glob of goop from my eye and was pronounced "unclean" by the rest of the family :-). Well, now I am putting that wonderful colloidal silver in my own eyes and my compassion for the children has once again doubled, for this is really the pits (swollen eye, impaired vision, pain --how did they stand it?). The kids' infection was cleared up so I know it works. I just have to hurry up and wait. Same thing on the pregnancy front. No cramping but spotting. I see the doc tomorrow to see if there is cause for concern.

Today was a good day. We read from the book of Daniel at breakfast and David was very curious about the location of Babylon and Media and Persia. We brought out the family Bible and found it all on the maps. David bathed Joshua and helped him get his diaper on. School was somewhat disorganized but marvelously engaging. I took care to have everything laid out by the couch so that I could "take it easy". Rebekah illustrated (with help) and narrated Mr. Putter and Tabby and the Pear Tree. Deborah learned to count by 2's, began addition flash cards and read a lesson out of her reader (it's only a matter of time before she takes off --today I saw her reading a few words from the Magic Schoolbus). David wrote out his memory verse, wrote in his penmanship book, did math flashcards, had a language lesson and began to narrate Cat Mummies (to go along with his Story of the World). He also read from J. Pollard's General Ullyses S. Grant. Joshua and I read and worked on counting.

This evening we finished listening to The Magician's Nephew (awesome book!), and the girls ended the evening with songs from Ephesians and Collosians. I love it when they request scripture songs and rarely do I have the heart to refuse:-)

I am about to take my monstrous eye to bed -- It's happier closed :-). G'night.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pregnancy Update

I had my 12 week check-up Tuesday. I was in and out in a flash, for they found the baby's heart beat instantly, and I had no questions :-) I felt blessed that I was over the 12-week hump and less likely to miscarry. However, God still had a trial in store for me.

Saturday morning, I was standing at the island partaking of the delicious omelet that my wonderful husband prepared for me. I was very surprized to discover that I was beginning to show signs of a threatened miscarriage. The bleeding continued throughout the morning, and it was Nathan's wish that I go in to the emergency room to have things checked out. An ultrasound revealed a healthy, active baby, whom I fell in love with when I saw him doing the baby "wiggle" :-). The exam showed a slight dilation which the doctor thought may be the cause of the bleeding. An incompetent cervix could be the cause for the bleeding, which is not accompanied by any cramping at all. The doctor prescribed strict bedrest and a visit to my doctor on Monday.

So here I lay on the couch, content in the knowledge that His will is my strong desire. And my children and husband wait on me hand and foot. I suppose there are hidden blessings within any trial :-).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Goopy Eye

Yesterday Joshua and I began to get sick with a cold. Unfortunately, Joshua's spread quickly to his eyes and he came down with a bad case of goopy eye (I'm not sure if it qualifies as pink eye or not). Anyway, I was loathe to take him to the doctor and pay $20, so I got on IM and asked my hubby if he remembered if colloidal silver could be used in the eyes. He said yes, and found some instructions for me on the web. So I found a dripper bottle of sodium chloride, dumped it out, rinsed it well, filled it with colloidal silver and "WALA"! Instant eye drops :-). I put some in my own eyes first to make sure it didn't sting or anything, and then began to treat him.

Well, this morning Joshua woke up with clear eyes and I was thrilled that two drops of colloidal silver in his eyes every 2 hours or so did the trick. So I downed the drops and frequency, but I think I should have known better. After his nap goopy eye was back, with less intensity, but present nonetheless. I hope that if I keep it up for another day or so it will be completely gone.

Unfortunately I myself feel extremely miserable. It is difficult to be the constant caregiver of 4 small children and be sick. But things are going pretty well regardless. Tonight I cleaned up the kitchen with Joshua, Rebekah and David. David loaded the dishwasher quickly and efficiently, Joshua moved the chairs and had some trouble with sweeping due to his runny nose and goopy eyes, so it was time for Rebekah to move in with loving and serving her brother. She finished up his jobs for him (mostly:-) while I ministered to his needs. Then Josh and I went back to the kitchen and he was of very excited about washing up the last two pans with me. We did it together and then he wanted to sweep and swiff together. He is one great sick helper :-). Then we ate icecream and watched the President together with the rest of the family.

I think that being sick makes it easier to slow down and be laid back about everything. I praise God for it right now, for it has given me some precious times with my kids today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What is the Focus?

As I was reading in Daniel I was arrested by a verse within his intercessory prayer.

"O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies." Daniel 9:18

When Daniel draws a distinction between two possible reasons for the Lord answering his prayer, it makes it clear that one of them is a winner. He supposes that if the Isrealites, who had sinned greatly and bore great consequences, were to pray with a sense of their own righteousness before God, that God would not hear. "But for thy great mercies..." is key here and not just because it is the winning reason; the effective way to gain the favor of God.

The mercy of God is a defining characteristic in His person, and I believe that we flatter Him when we believe that He is merciful. We flatter Him because we are focused on Him; because we have chosen to remove our eyes from ourselves and immerse our hopes in who He is; because we believe Him, whom we have not seen. And surely this is the beginning of "delighting thyself in the Lord". :-)

With raising our kids, it becomes obvious that parents can so easily encourage children to focus on themselves and their behavior. Their own "righteousness" if you will. Have you ever taken the kids to Walmart, promising a reward for good behavior? How about this one: "If you behave well in church, we'll take you out to eat afterwards."

There are many ways that parents can foster an unhealthy focus within children. I have realized that motivating them upfront with some tantalizing reward for behavior is not the right thing to do. Surely rewards are a good thing, and it is very effective to foster a cause and effect relationship between good behavior and positive feedback and sometimes rewards. But I am convinced that it develops an unhealthy focus in the child to lay out the reward beforehand, dependent on their behavior. I understand that there is a distinction between rewards for behavior and rewards for goals and skills. For example, the other night my husband motivated the children to find the missing library book by offering a bounty of 2 marshmellows for the finder. This was very effective and satisfying -- just ask Rebekah :-).

The unhealthy result, I am afraid, is to develop a mental habit within our children of focusing on behavior and fleshly temptations in order to accomplish a goal of goodness and self-control. What foolishness! We all know that this is certainly ineffective at the very least. It has become obvious to me that fellowship and joy is the only true behavior motivator, along with training and certain chastisement when needed.

Which brings me to my point. We must make our character attractive to our children. When they are drawn to the steadfast gaze of a loving parent. And when they are sure that they are delighted in, then they will be motivated to please first the parent, and then the loving God who has drawn that parent into His own steadfast character.

Monday, September 12, 2005

On Loving and Serving

Ok, so I've been trying to focus in on teaching my kids to love and serve one another, and the only thing I've been able to come up with is negative training, where a child who has offended another is required to serve the offended child in some way (ie serve them a cup of ice water). But now I've decided that it's got to be a regular part of life. After all, what child was ever trained well from rebuke and consequence alone? They've got to DO the right thing! Instead of just being told not to do the wrong thing.

To facilitate this goal, David (my 7yob) is now responsible for overseeing Joshua's (2yob) bath and Deborah (5yog) is now responsible for overseeing Rebekah's (3yog) bath in the morning. Now, some oversight is still necessary, obviously, at bathtime, but I am thrilled that my kiddos will be taking care of each other in this way! And I am all ears for other ways to proactively train a loving and serving mentality in kids. What do YOU do?

Tonight I gave everyone extra vitamin C, a spoonful of colloidal silver and a squirt of peroxide in thier ears (myself included). Hopefully when we wake up, the sickness blossoming in our noses (ahhhh-chooooo!) will have shriveled up and died :-).

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pressing On...

At church today I read to the children from Pilgrim's Progress and the children colored a great picture I found online. The site has five pictures which go along with Pilgrim's Progress. The part of the story which impressed upon my heart was when Christian asked Discretion what armor he was to use to protect his back. He responded sheepishly when it was pointed out to him that he had no need to protect his back, unless he was turning back to death and destruction.

This is so key for the Christian! To keep going forward always and not even think of turning back. We might slip back a little sometimes, but the consequences are dire if we turn our back on God and place ourselves at the mercy of principalities and powers. We must not turn back, lest we become a pillar of salt. We must always be reaching forward, looking forward to heaven and aligning ourselves more and more with His glorious will.

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." - Phil 3:13-14

Today we gathered with friends for a quick dinner at our place before heading over to the beach for an afternoon of swimming. Benjamin located and inflated my inner-tube and it was great fun for all to float about in it! I adored my time in the water, watching little ones float and jump; watching big ones build wonderful pools for little ones; conversing with friends. But as a result I am overtired and ready for bed. Goodnight all!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Never Give Up

Warning: The following post is somewhat emotional. I hesitated to post it due to my current pregnant hormonal state, but have decided to go ahead, as it seems to be an accurate reflection. Friends, please don't tell me I am being too hard on myself. Just pray for me, ok?

There are those who seem to have it all together in their families. I read their articles and their blogs and am inspired and encouraged. However, when I reenter my own little world I realize that my life is different. I don't always have it together. My kids don't always sit still and quiet in church. My attitude is less than perfect far too often. There is bickering in my home and much frustration at times. Sometimes I think of the 3 years that we have been working to train properly and have a better attitude and be rightly related to each other and I think "I really ought to have all these kinks worked out by now"! And I just want to give up.

It's true. I really ought to have things in a better state by now. The ultimate blame for a less than happy and peaceful household will always fall upon parental shoulders. For children will mimic the behavior of those around them. If I fly off the handle and become easily frustrated at times, then the children will of course have the same tendency. If I have neglected to effectively train whining out of my older child, then inevitably the younger ones (though better trained) will start to mimic that older sibling's behavior. And it is hard to play catch-up when there are a lot of children involved and bad habits have formed.

But I am convinced more than ever that I am doing the right thing, and I know that my surety must be supernatural (otherwise I would have given up a long time ago). I know that giving up would only be giving my children over to their flesh and the devil. I know that if I lay down my head in despair I would be allowing another victory which is unthinkable.

Right now it is winter in my heart. Somehow my life is a cycle which I can track. I go through seasons of winter, just like the world around me. And seasons of summer, where my growth causes my ever smiling face to be turned constantly toward the Son (O how I long for that glorious moment!). At one point I thought that my winters were lessening and my summers lengthening and the Christian life progressed to an eventual endless summer. Ahhhh, Lord let it be so!

There is also hope in my heart right now. I am longing for a revival in my heart. These are some of the prayers I always pray for my kids at night: "Grant them a willing spirit"; "Give them a revelation of Jesus Christ"; "Give them wisdom to make good decisions"; "Give them a vision for purity and holiness in their lives"; "Let Christ dwell in their hearts BY FAITH, that they would be rooted and grounded in love, that they together with all of the saints may be able to grasp how long and wide and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that passeth knowledge that they might be filled to the measure with all of the fullness of God."; "Lord change me into a better Mommy for my children."

Lately I have prayed weeping at times, and asked them to pray the same prayers for me. They know me, my children. They know that I am a Mommy who is far from perfect. But they also know that I will always admit when I am wrong and apologize. We always look one another in the eye when confessing and say: "I'm sorry ____. It was wrong to _____. Will you forgive me?" (Okay, so we do have some good habits too :-))

And "I wait I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. And in His word will I hope." For surely they that sew in tears will reap in joy!

Friday, September 9, 2005

Flax Seed Cookies

These cookies are the tastiest I've every made and surely the healthiest also. I think the secret ingredient is the ground flax seed, which gives the cookies a wonderful chewiness.

Recently I've taken to omiting the chocolate chips and using 2/3 cup of cocoa powder instead. I've been trying for awhile to get just the right chewiness to my chocolate oatmeal cookies and I think I've hit on it with the flax seed. They are delicious and oh-so-chewy!

Flax Cookies
Yield: 9 dozen
1 1/3 cups butter
3 cups sucanat
(or 1 1/4 cups white sugar & 1 1/2 cups brown sugar)
2 1/3 cups flax seed (ground)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 10.5 oz bag chocolate chips or 2 cups raisins (optional)

Cream butter and sugars; add flax seed. Beat eggs and vanilla, then combine with the flax mixture. Sift flour and soda (I never sift it, but take it directly from the grinder and mix it right in :-)). Mix in oats and combine with other ingredients. Roll about a tablespoon of dough on baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Preheat oven to 350 and bake on cookie sheet for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool.

UPDATE: It is helpful to add a little less flour and oats to make the dough a little less crumbly and the cookies easier to form.  I removed the "chill dough" for it does not seem necessary with these cookies.  It is still helpful to chill the dough if it is not very stiff.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

What A Day!

I am tired tonight. We went to the store today, and school consisted merely of math worksheets and coloring while Mommy made a new menu and researched some potentially harmful substances. I was curious as to whether hot dogs were really that bad for you. If so, I wanted eliminate them from our diet. I found a cool article which made the decision a no-brainer (ever heard of sodium nitrite?), and now we have some empty spots on our menu. I could use a few good, easy, healthy recipes about now. I wonder if they would fit in a comment? hint-hint :-)

Anyway, I had a real hankering for ham and bean soup and I thought surely I could find a healthy ham in the store. But every single ham in Walmart has sodium nitrite. I suppose the alternative would be very unappealing hams, but I'm sure I wouldn't mind in my soup.

Tomorrow morning I make bread, and win back my son's heart. Boy could I use some prayer right now.

Lord give me wisdom!

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Labor Day Weekend

Labor day weekend we had Sam and Rani here. Activity abounded, at least for the first 2 days, as we visited the Science Center in St. Louis. On Friday my adoring husband and wonderful sister-in-laws took all 4 of the kiddos for an all-day outing and left me to my own devices. What a gift! As they were leaving I felt the energy rising and I made my mental list of all the things I wanted to catch-up on around the house. Happily, I did get some much-needed cleaning done, but I knew I needed to get something lasting accomplished. So I took 2 hours to clean out my desk drawers. Before I began my main drawer was a cause of daily annoyance as I couldn't even open it without stuff getting stuck. Now it is a source of joy for me, and I could vow to never let it happen again, but I know myself too well for that :-). So I'll just try to make it last as long as possible.

I know it is already nearly Thursday and I am only just now getting around to blogging all this. In fact, I haven't blogged at all. I really need to do better. But have I mentioned to anyone that I am sick? Not retching, mind you, but mindful of the pall of everpresent nausea (whoever named it morning-sickness anyway?). And my pregnant-super-nose has caused me to breathe shallowly whenever I open the fridge; the array of leftovers are simply too much for my olfactory nerve. And it doesn't matter how much I clean (or don't clean). Everything still smells dirty. But hey! A few more weeks and we'll be through (this must be read with military intonation or you are simply not hearing me)!

Here is a pic of everyone (minus me, who stands atop Sam's fuschia berretta).

Friday, August 26, 2005


I just finished reading Jane Eyre for the second time. It has been many years since the last time and it was all fresh to me again. It is coined on the back cover as being "one of the finest novels in English Literature" and I give a hearty AMEN to that. :-) It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotion through the darkness and despair of abuse, to the hope and joy found in the sweetness of genuine friendship.

I was carried effortlessly from cover to cover, feeling an intimate acquaintance with Jane, who narrates the story herself. Though the second half of the novel is definitely a romance, the book is so much more and makes great statements about intellect, equality and relationship.

Relationships is what is on my mind tonight, and what this novel has caused me to deeply ponder. As I read Jane Eyre, it was apparent that such a thing was of great worth. Indeed, in that timeframe they had not television, radio nor other diversions to occupy their time. They had only each other. The picture framed of the evening time is arresting in a day and age of technology, business and endless activity. Sitting by the fire, knitting, reading and truly enjoying the company of another....these things are a treasure! Surely society today, with all of her handmaidens of ease, should be able to relax in the evenings; to joy in the company of others and release the burden of intended accomplishments for things more eternal.

The relationship between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester was extraordinary in that what they loved about each other was of the mind and character. Indeed they each fell far short of physical beauty. Yet they retained an extended delight in one anothers company, and truly loved each other.

As Christians, we should delight ourselves in the Lord, knowing that true joy and sweetness lie within that intimacy.

I am struck tonight with the thought that delighting in the Lord is more than just a closed door time in which a heart is laid bare before Him. It is more than reading the Word daily and praying for others. It is more than performing acts of loving service for others, though such things are certainly noble and right endeavors.

Delighting in the Lord is seeking to really know the heart of another; smiling at them with all of the joy within; and letting the grace of God pour out of that delight.

Delighting in the Lord is learning to love what others love and deciding to let go of whatever great urge of accomplishment takes you over; simply to enjoy another's presence.

Tonight I sat on the veranda, enjoying the children as they rode their tricycles up and down and around me. I delighted in their smiles and gave horsey rides on my knee with zeal and abandon. I did not watch the clock, nor speak of what needed to be done. But Lord knows there need to be more times like this!

O, Lord, I need You! Take away my resounding gongs and clanging cymbols! Let me be still and know Your charity. Let me suffer long with others...

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Sometimes it's easy to see what needs changing in others. The reactions and actions (or lack thereof) around us reveal so much about people. Especially little people, who aren't as adept at playing behavior games as adults are :-). But when the clouds roll back, the Sonshine always lays bare the naked truth: our children are a reflection of ourselves. They learn what they live and mimic the behavior around them. And we are a reflection of our own devotion. We reflect back our own sinfulness by focusing on ourselves. And we reflect back His glory and joy by focusing on Him.

So, in spite of emotions to the contrary, I must make my prayer...change ME, Lord!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


As I sit here droopy-eyed at the computer and ponder the day, I must restrain myself from just falling into bed for the night. Perhaps I should just give in, you say.

Alright, but only after a moments reflection :-). For if I don't prop open my eyes for the next 5 weeks or so, I'll surely fade away from the blogosphere...

Today we fed the full ducks, made bad-for-you pancakes, hosed the bird-poop off of the pool. We counted marbles and beans at the island, dreamed of living in the fertile crescent and rode tricycles to our hearts content. We napped and read stories and made ducky nests. We watched the people in the parking lot as we waited for Uncle Ben. We put away laundry. It was a very full day, and tomorrow will be another, Lord willing!

On my mind....attitudes. I am in a hormonal, pregnant state of mind. This may seem the perfect excuse to be a little grumpy; to allow my emotions to get the better of me. But I believe I have a responsibility to continue smiling. To be a gentle, joyful witness to my children instead of an angry, impatient one. I have been slipping lately - quite a bit. So I will read this article, which never fails to inspire and motivate the attitude nerve.

Okay Danielle, you can expire now. Goodnight all!

Thursday, August 18, 2005


My three year old daughter has a keen sense of justice and will normally respond in a very fair manner. However, being three has a way of limiting perspective ;-), and when I learned from my 7-year old son that she was wildly swinging the wooden snake around, I went downstairs to survey the war scene. The injured 5-year old sister had wrapped a blanket around her neck and sat wimpering; the perpetrator had hidden herself behind the couch. It was relatively easy to determine what had happened with 2 extremely verbal witnesses, and to discipline and reconcile, but this is not always the case.

Sometimes it is very difficult to determine exactly how to deal with a given situation...I stand in awe of King Solomon's great wisdom and other judges who must weigh the information and make a right judgment. I think of the baby who was almost cut in half by the judgment of a man who knew how to find out the truth. And I tremble at my responsibility.

I want to have the wisdom to make the right decisions as I deal with my children. I want them to see the truth. I pray for them every night that God would give them each a revelation of Jesus Christ. And I pray for wisdom. Wisdom to make good decisions. Wisdom to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

Lord, help me to persevere in my quest for truth. Give me real wisdom to see the root problem and deal with it instead of the symptoms.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Where shall I begin? The blurr-monster has taken up residence somewhere nearby. His insidious presence has caused all manner of confusion. And when he shows up I become uncertain.

What is the most important thing? It is suddenly unclear. What should I be focusing on? There are so many things... and so little time.

The storage area calls out to me, "but I'm not finished!" And my laundry says, "me too!" The weeds in the garden are getting kind of scary these days, and homeschool planning is on hold, waiting for it's proper storage place to be cleaned out (the hutch in the dining room). The children are needing a better schedule, but when can I find time to put one together?

And the couch! It calls to me....beckoning my tired, nausea wracked body to come and partake of her comfort. So far I have avoided her, but her voice remains.

Well, at least I have identified blur-monster's elusive presence. Now I just have to zap him with my laser-focus beams and he will "poof!" disappear.

David just showed up and reminded me that it is 3:00. I promised him computer time then, so I'd better scoot.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

News Flash

We are happy to announce that we are expecting child #5 in the Tippy household. He will arrive soon enough to avoid the onslaught of May birthdays and save me from being too pregnant in the heat of the summer. I am tickled pink over the whole thing! Or should I say "blue"? I think it's a boy because I have been so very sick and I have only been sick in pregnancy with my boys. Must be the testosterone :-).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bear With Me...

A while back I began blogging at Homeschoolblogger and now there are two of me out there! I've decided to change my name here so that I am not trying to be in two places at once. I'll be able to keep all of my homeschool-related thoughts in one place. But it's hard to choose a new name, so you may see some fluctuations here in the next few days. If you like anything, be sure and let me know, ok?

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I tasted some heavenly fruit the other night. The moment it touched my lips, I knew it was not of this world. Clearly it was rooted in the spirit of God.

We were washing dishes, Rebekah and I. Deborah Jane was finishing up the wiping and sweeping. She finished with a flourish, and I could see her turn to go downstairs and join the fun with Daddy, her brothers and Uncle Ben. But she stopped as though compelled, turned toward Rebekah and I, and said, "I'm finished with my job Mom. But you guys are still working......can I help?"

For me, it was a moment I have been waiting for, training for, hoping for - and I was stunned by how my emotions were affected. To have a child of mine voluntarily giving up their own desires to love and serve others is clearly a step toward having the mind of Christ, and I could do nothing but weep with joy and thankfulness (and sing Phil. 2 in my heart).

God, you are so good! My thoughts are of your glory and the joy of seeing it manifest in my daughter. Thank You!

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Remember

I remember....

The blissful quiet of tousled heads abed.

Lingering in Your presence.

Soaking in the early witness of morning.

With herring, stepping through the misty edge of pond.

Hovering hummingbirds like bees buzzing.

And the singing! Recognition brings delight.

Lord, you know how I long to be with You in the morning. Help me
rebuild this essential habit. I NEED to be with You. When
sleepy children arise early, let it not be an irritation, but a desire
of my heart fulfilled in You.


1998, we moved from a condominium to our very first house (I was
9-months pregnant with our very first child at the time).  On
moving day we were completely prepared; we had even moved everything
from upstairs to downstairs to facilitate a rapid move.  All of
the boxes were labeled with the room they would go into and the ease of
it all was quite wonderful!  We received many compliments that

absolutely love being prepared.  There is something wonderful
about having dinner ready, guest rooms prepared, duckies in a
row:-).  A clean island, a clean desk, a clutter-free living
room.....these are truly "ahhhhhh" moments for me:-) It is exciting to
go into a situation where your full attention (such as it is) can be
devoted to the task at hand.  

the other hand, it is truly disappointing when I have failed to
plan.  For instance, the other day I intended to color pictures
with my kids, and I sat down at the computer to find some great pics
online.  I handed the pics out as they came out of the printer and
by the time I had given up on finding my oldest the perfect outline map
of the continents, all of the other children were finished with their

I begin to plan out our homeschool year, I am realizing that the true
dilemna of the homeschooling mother of young children seems to be
finding the time to plan, and doing so effectively.  When the
children are finally tucked in at night seems to be the only time
available, and by this time my gas tank is running on fumes.  If
anyone has any good planning tips, I'm all ears!


I was inspired to write this post when I realized that I was beginning
to recognize a particular kind of bird in my backyard.  In fact, I
was listening for his voice.  I realized that I really loved to
listen to his song because it was becoming familiar to me; because I
recognized it.

My son David is determined to memorize every dinosaur that ever
lived!  When we go to the library, he can usually be found in the
dinosaur section.  He makes lists of dinosaurs on the
computer.  He really loves dinosaurs and wants to know everything
about them.  And the more he knows of them, the more he loves them. My
daughter Deborah Jane is in love with the Little House stories (and so
many of you are also:-).  She often listens to one during her
quiet-time in the afternoon.  She will tell me some little tidbit
that she has memorized from these precious stories.  And the more
she knows of these whispering souls and the lives they lived, the more
she loves them. 

have become convinced that familiarity does NOT breed contempt when it
comes to someone or something worth loving.  When we really know
something we begin to recognize it's nuances; we begin to appreciate
it's character.  Recognition is the fuel that fans this flame of
love in our souls.  And that is the essence of worshiping
God.  Seeing Him;  Recognizing Him; Loving Him. I
know of people who talk in a very animated fashion about their
interests.  Their eyes light up and their voices take an
enthusiastic turn.  They are engaged by something they really LOVE! This reminds me of some precious verses in the scriptures: 

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of thine heart."  (Psalm 37:4)

having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving
the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter

ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where
Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affectiona on things
above, not on things on the earth.  3For ye are dead, and your
life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall
appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."  (Col. 3:1-4)

found that delighting myself in the Lord brings about a change in my
heart like nothing else!  All of those other interests and desires
that I am prone to love are veiled in light of HIS glory. 

God, let your glory blind me!   Plant within my heart new
passion for the things of God.  I want to delight in you as I draw
breath; to recognize you in all that my eyes behold; to drink you into
my parched soul.  Let me recognize and delight in your glory which
is present in each moment.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Excited About Jesus...

Yesterday Rebekah (my 3yo daughter) said something that made my heart sing. We had spent the morning outside in the sunshine, watering and feeding the flowers and garden. Rebekah was very talkative when we came inside.

"Mama, if God came to our house and sat down on the floor, then I would run around the house!"

"Really?" I questioned. "Do you mean that you would go outside and run in a big circle around the house?"

"No, Mama, I would run all over INSIDE the house because I would be so excited to see Jesus!"

This made all of my "inadequate" moments pale momentarily. A simple childlike excitement about the presence of Jesus. How simple all of life becomes when such joy is present.

Thank you Jesus! May she always be so excited about Your presence.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dancing in the Sonshine

Last night was my first opportunity to explore the library. Alone.

O, mother of multiple young children, have you ever wondered what it would be like? I enjoyed myself thoroughly! Though I must say it does not outshine the glory of seeing my brood eagerly rifling through masses of peaceful activity. However, the peace of lingering; and of seeking literary treasures that might otherwise remain hidden behind the distraction of looking 4 ways at once, was truly a delight.

Driving along I-70 toward home, I was greeted with a most peculiar sight. In the truck slightly in front and to the right of me, a man leaned out of the driverside window. As if this weren't a dangerous enough feat when driving, this man's arm was engaged in vigorous activity. The kind of shaking, finger outstretched, that goes on when one is scolding a rather naughty child. It took me a moment to realize that I was the subject of this dreadful chastisement. In a flash, I realized that I was driving home in the darkness. Literally. I had forgotten to turn on my headlights! The interstate and prior roads were well enough lit that it wasn't immediately apparent. Whatever happened to getting behind someone and flashing your lights? I immediately flipped on my lights and proceeded with chagrin, hoping that this crazed gentleman would not deem me worthy of further attention.

Humbled and thankful, I pondered the incident on the drive home. What would have happened if I had proceeded without my lights? Driving in the dark I may have driven over or into something in the shadows. But it was more likely that another would have run into the invisible darkness of my forgetfulness. Headlights are for seeing and being seen.

I wonder if my light is being seen. Surely not on the Interstate (harhar)! But do the little eyes that watch me see the light of my Lord? Are they drawn to His warmth and glory? As a flower turns it's face to the sun, so will a child be drawn to one who radiates the light of Christ. I want my child to see that light in me; to see me in that light. I want him to see me dancing in the Sonshine. My heart beats for those sweet moments of recognition, along with all mothers in the Body of Christ. We are surely recognized only as we bask in the Sonshine of God's glory.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. " 2 Cor. 4:6

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Adventures in the Dark

I remembered that the frogs came out after dark, so I gave the oldest two children a special dispensation to be night owls (and you thought I wasn't a dispensationalist!) :-) I hovered in the background while they scampered into the backyard, eagerly scanning for hopping shadows. In the meantime I dodged the swooping bats, which my husband assured me were not actually trying to nest in my hair, but were merely attacking the mosquitos hovering near my warm form (yikes! hurry up kids!). It wasn't long before they both ran back to me, eagerly holding up their treasures. Then they were off again to put the frogs in the special habitat they had created in the woods. They returned with two more frogs, and I reluctantly allowed them to camp out in our cooler in the garage (but really they were more reluctant than I:-). The only fresh food we could find were June bugs, so we settled them down with some water, a rock, some leaves and said bugs. We found out in the morning that frogs don't like June bugs. Or maybe they just don't eat them until July, when they are cheaper. Anyway, here's a picture of the kiddos with their prisoners....

David, Deborah & Frogs

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Childhood In Color

Yesterday we spent quite a bit of time outside. I weeded the garden and finished mowing outside, while the kids took turns riding with me on the mower and playing in our little "forest".

The children caught several frogs at different times and their delight was contagious! They created a special frog habitat, replete with rocks, leaves, branches & an ice cream bucket prison. I was their "get out of jail free" card when we came inside, having persuaded the kids that the frogs may need to take care of babies or fulfill other familial responsibilities ;-).

When we came inside last night it was almost dark. David and Deborah were both excited beyond containment. Deborah kept telling me over and over again...."Mama, I can still feel the frog in my hand! O, Mama he was sooo cute!" David proceeded immediately to his little Z-50 computer and started a document called "Frog Thoughts". Within this document, he typed items from his Children's Dictionary that he hoped to build for his frog tomorrow.

As I pondered this it became clear that this is a very special moment, worthy of framing. All of the vividness and wonder of childhood is being experienced RIGHT NOW! I'd better make sure my priorities are straight because I don't want to miss it :-).

[We'll post some pictures of the frogs and kids soon if I can capture them.]

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Deborah and I rolled through Walmart together recently. She was so excited to be there, and soaked up any interesting experience she could find. She exclaimed over the beautiful fish and lamented at the poor lobsters whose claws were rubberbanded shut. I, on the other hand, was very much lost in my thoughts and the misery of my cold. Toward the end of our shopping excursion, my attention was finally drawn to Deborah, who was acting up in the veggie section. I realized in a flash that the quality time I had meant to spend with DJ had been lost in my thoughts as well, and that she had noticed.

Defined as "giving care or attention; watchfulness," attentiveness seems to have a greater meaning than I initially attributed. Here is the meaning from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1340, from O.Fr. diligence "attention, care," from L. diligentia "attentiveness, carefulness," from diligentem (nom. diligens) "attentive, assiduous, careful," originally prp. of diligere "value highly, love, choose," from dis- "apart" + legere "choose, gather" (see lecture). Sense evolved from "love" through "attentiveness" to "carefulness" to "steady effort."

I think of my military days of "ATTEN - TION!" and it takes on a more dramatic connotation. It can be practiced, but is not useful unless it is acted on. For example, I may notce this mispelled word, but if I am too lazy to fix it, then I have not used my attentiveness for good. ;-)

There is an aspect of preventiveness to the word attentive, which applies to all facets of life. Being attentive can mean the difference between life and death, between happiness and despair, between marriage and divorce. Attentiveness to the picture your child painted could prevent the world from being deprived of a great artist :-) It may also prevent a host of emotional difficulties that an emotionally ignored child may face for years to come.

Attentiveness is a quality which has an outward focus, like most character qualities. The etymology above states that the sense of it originated with "love" and evolved into "steady effort". This is fascinating in that the origin of this word is tied to the greatest Christian virtue of all.

"4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (1 Cor. 13)

I think that attentiveness must hover near the eyes of the body of Christ, urging them to see. Sometimes it takes a great effort to really focus on the needs of others; to draw ones attention away from self and into the needs around them. Christ epitomized this great effort in Gethsemane, when He asked God if the cup of His suffering could pass away..."Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42)

Paul also spoke of this effort in Philippians 2...

"4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

How can we emulate such devotion? Certainly it is unlikely we will have to choose death in order to meet the needs of those around us. But Jesus wants us to have that same mind that He has. The mind which is able to focus steadily away from self and to be obedient unto the most difficult of callings...even death. But the needs that we have to meet usually just mean one thing...that we may not be able to do the things that we want to do. In motherspeak: read a story instead of cleaning the floor; fix a meal instead of reading a book; involve toddlers in the slow process of getting the laundry sorted instead of whipping through it yourself (which is so much faster and easier!); talk to the daughter who is shopping with you instead of thinking about your next project; focus on the husbands needs for a time in the evenings instead of working, reading or sleeping.

It is not possible to have such a mind unless you are present in the body of Christ. After all, His mind is in His body :-) I believe one of the most successful ploys of the enemy is to cause believers in Jesus Christ to think they are separate from Christ, effectively cutting them off from having the mind of Christ.

I ponder all of this today because I am the queen of distraction! This is a fruit that those around me need to eat more of (I know, attentiveness is not listed in Galatians 5, but I am certain it must be a genus of the family of love :-))

Lord, I turn my face to your sunshine this morning, wanting to grow! Help me not to be distracted....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sweeping to Glory

My husband once explained to me an approach used in computer programming, called the iterative approach. Here's how it works: the programmer erects a basic program framework with minimal functionality. He then begins to pass through the program, increasing it's functionality with each iteration. When he shared this with me, I recognized myself and said "hey that's ME honey! That's how I do things!"

At the time I was packing up our little ranch house in Iowa and preparing to move to Missouri. Nathan had "moved" down there already, into Uncle Perry's spare room, and I was left with the exhilarating challenge of caring for 4 children 6 & under while fixing up, packing and selling our house (FSBO - to save money). I had realized that I didn't stand a chance of being completely organized unless I had gone through everything before sealing up a box, so I left open boxes all over the house, and each time I "swept" through the house, I would put things where they belonged. By the time I had "swept" through 5 or 6 times, I felt that order was the prevailing force and chaos was receding. Hallei-lu-ia! [If you didn't sing that, then read it again for proper inflection.]

Incidentally, I considered this time to be one of the best I can remember with my kids for the simple reason that I had packed away every single toy and they only had library books, their favorite stuffed toy and some paper and crayons. Oh, the simplicity of it! It was marvelous indeed :-).

This sweeping process has greater application to our lives than just packing. As I began to ponder it's greatness, it became clear that the "all or nothing" mentality that I've always associated with my psyche, was simply not helping me to be the person Christ wanted me to be. For instance, in my early twenties I would put myself on a workout program and become immediately discouraged and give up when I missed a few. Or when I wanted to wake up earlier in the morning for special times with the Lord, I would sleep in a day or two and then conclude that I was useless and not even try to wake up early the next morning. I was holding up standards for myself and then failing to fulfil them. I felt that I had to do it right the first time and I had very little grace for myself. Paul speaks about this standard in Romans; showing us that even our efforts apart from the law, to hold up our own standards, fall far short. We jump like dogs through our own hoops, trying so hard for that perfect performance, while the perfection of Christ lies undonned. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Romans 13:14) The Body of our Lord, worn in full assurance of faith, is certainly the only way to walk in holiness for the Christian.

I believe that there is a distinction between character flaws and "sins of the flesh". The distinction has to do with our will. The Psalmist writes "keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." (Psalm 19:13) When we react to a situation with impatience or irritability, rarely is it presumptuous; in fact sometimes we are not even aware of it until afterwards. But when a woman sits down to eat an entire chocolate cake, or when a man heeds Satan's call on his computer, it is a choice made to fulfill the lust of the flesh. This is where freedom in Christ shines forth in a believer who has realized his liberty from the bondage of sins of the flesh, and is great cause for rejoicing.

The former consideration, that of character, is what I ponder here, for this has been a struggle for me as a parent. I have realized that this iterative process which gave great results while packing my house gives great results in my character as well. Each week I start out, sweeping across the chords of patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. But it is not long before a note of dischord is heard. In fact, hearing it sometimes discourages me from trying further.

I must stop here and give praise to my sweet husband, who has helped me immeasurably with his simple encouragement: "Just apologize. And try again." This leads to praise for my Lord and his "won-derful words of li-fe". He is the one who told me to listen to said husband. But I digress.

My point is simply this: The Lord taught me to keep on keepin' on. He taught me to persevere in my desire for Godly character; to keep practicing the chords in my quest for sweet music. Have I arrived yet? By no means, but I have changed and I rejoice greatly, for "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18) Hallei-lu-ia! :-)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Snapshots from Yesterday....

The green mini-van still hadn't moved. The children were loaded, but that crazy mother kept opening and closing the garage door and running in and out of the house! It was baffling...first she brought out a gigantic green bag, then a basket overflowing with books that she almost couldn't carry, and finally after backing away and closing the garage door, she stopped again and ran in for something small and round. Hmmmm. Wonder what it could be...

Yours Truly:
Honestly, they were all important! The green bag? It was the diaper bag, and since I have a two-year old in diapers, can surely see the necessity there. And the basket of books? They are all library books, and since they are due and we are going to the would surely be a catastrophe to leave them behind. No, the small round thing was not a donut, though it did have a hole in the middle. We stopped eating donuts around here months ago, on account of the hydrogenated something-or-other in them. I'll have you know it was a CD with Galations 5:22-26 sung on it. My daughter requested it, and this kind of fruit is something that I refuse to deny my children, no matter how many pieces they've already eaten.... ;-)

The child flung open the restroom door, stuck out a naked hip and whined "Mama, I've got an owie....right thew." The mother examined the spot, and leaned over to remove something from the child with a device from her pocket, which she then flushed down the toilet. If that was what I think it was, then this woman must carry around tweezers in her pocket!

Yours Truly:
In reality, it was a fingernail clipper. I know, Jeanna, I'm supposed to gently grasp the head with tweezers, but the tick showed up in the library of all places, and I just didn't have a pair lying around.

At the check-out counter, a little boy had his head in a book. The librarian requested it and he reluctantly handed it over, only to grab another book out of the basket and stick his nose in. Suddenly the mother turned around and said, "where's my son?" The lady behind them gestured grandly to book-head. "No, my other one." The librarian said, "how old is he?" The mother replied "two" and proceeded to search the surrounding area. He was spied in the lounging area nearby and an older sister retrieved him. I'll bet her hands are full....

Yours Truly:
He really is a very good boy, better trained than any child I've had. It's just that he's getting used to his surroundings. He thinks of the library as home:-) And book-head is....just a little distracted, that 's all. He's got prizes in his eyes...the ones he'll win from the library reading program. :-)

Observer at Verizon Wireless:
The lady walked in right before me. She had FOUR little kids in tow and I thought, "Oh, great!" They all carried books, the youngest one a sippy cup. At her request, they settled down against the wall and proceeded to read their books. I thought, "Ok, this won't be so bad." After awhile, that lady spoke quietly to the children, and then she kept tilting her head and wagging her eyebrows at them. "Why doesn't she just leave them alone?" I thought. They are being so good....

Yours Truly:
I knew that it would be a long wait, so I told them to bring the books. But then I began to ponder the word "interminable", and I decided book-head had better read to the younger kiddos to keep them occupied. When I gave the request, he looked decidedly unhappy and shook his head. I persisted. "The Eye", punctuated by wagging eyebrows didn't do the trick. I think he was just not wanting to read to an audience, for by this time the line had increased. Sigh. Your're right, they are being so good.

Observer in Walmart:
I saw them three times in the store. The first time all four children were gazing raptly at the fish tanks. I faintly heard labels of "Dorie" and "Nemo" accompanied by little fingers pointing at the tanks. The next time they were in the shoe department. It appeared that the girls were getting new sandals while the boys played. The oldest boy was letting the baby grab his hair and found it so hilarious that he was squealing loudly. His mom kept grabbing his nose and twisting it. How odd. Then the little girl, she must have been about 3-years old, put her sandals in the cart and began leaping off of the bench at the end of the aisle. It's getting a bit noisy around here.... I caught a glimpse of them again near the checkout. They were walking along, the 3 year old was in the baby seat, the baby was walking beside his mother with his hand in her pocket and the older ones were holding onto the cart. Then they spied the candy...

Yours Truly:
I know, you thought from my previous post on Walmart that I had this all under control, but now you know I'm a real person :-). But before you jump to the assumption that I always buy candy for my kids, please know that I only bought that pack of Rolos because my two-year old opened it (really). And I didn't even read the label to check for hydrogenated evils (forgive me Nathan?)... besides, the children had already seen me put the package of Dove Chocolates in the cart, so my reputation was already ruined (I did it all wrong, shopping hungry). Maybe next week I'll get it right.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Itching Ears

Last week I was coming down with an ear infection, and had an awful stomachache. I walked downstairs to visit my ever-busy bookend, hand on my brow, and explained to him that I simply must retire early, due to my tiredness and pain (do I sound as pathetic to you as I do to me?). He was very understanding and sent me off with 2 instructions: #1) Clean out your ears with peroxide #2) Drink a glass of water with some peroxide mixed in. I thought he sounded a little crazy, but I obeyed anyway, knowing that he'd been reading up on the health benefits of peroxide. I cleaned out my ears, drank my peroxide mixture as I listened to the bubbling chorus in my eardrums, and lay down, eager for sleep to overtake me. As I lay there, my stomach joined the bubbling chorus, and the bubbles seemed for a moment to be getting out of control. Wanting to contain the party, I wandered into the bathroom and read the peroxide bottle: "Contact the poison control center immediately in case of ingestion"! I was anxious only for a moment, until prayer and petition with thanksgiving overtook me, and I settled down to sleep. When I woke up, I felt so wonderful that I didn't even remember that I had been sick. :-)

Now, before you wander off, wondering what this has to do with itching ears, let me explain. Peroxide is a very basic medicine that's been around for a long time, and yet it seems that it is being overlooked as a potential help for many ailments. Many people, myself included, have run to the doctor when sickness strikes, wanting something (anything!) to fix the problem as quickly as possible. Doctors are very quick to prescribe an antibiotic or give suggestions for over-the-counter drugs which treat symptoms. They will do what they can to make your "pain" go away. But is it possible that they, in their quest for new and wonderful medicines which will take care of our physical woes, may not know everything? I believe that doctors and patients alike have too much confidence in our system. After all, if that worked, everyone would be doing it, right? I believe that we are missing out on many tried and true natural remedies because of misplaced trust and a desire for that "quick-fix". If you will, we have "itching ears", always looking for that new thing that will cure our physical woes, when often the solution is right there before us. We limit its usefulness because we don't believe it could possibly work.

A more perfect example is the salvation and blessings available to all who trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and Him alone. I believe it is taken for granted by much of Christendom. We trust in Him for the ticket to heaven, and then begin searching again. We search for some way to be victorious over sinful flesh by taking seminars, self-help books and various other well-meaning solutions provided by Christian authors (which, by the way, I am not knocking - there's a lot of good stuff out there today!). I believe that this can be a great distraction from Jesus Christ, in whom are all of the mysteries of wisdom and knowledge. In whom we are free. In whom we are dead, buried and raised again to newness of life. But we limit His effectiveness in our lives due to lack of faith. We don't believe He could possibly be the solution because it's just too simple. And oh, the aching ears today! (mine ache a lot, do yours?) If I don't scratch this itch, I might just pass out from the sheer pylethora of temptation assaulting me.

I have learned that taking my eyes off of the simple answer is often detrimental to myself and those around me. As my husband often says, "there is nothing new under the sun." :-)

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Naughty Baby!

My little boy has always been so easy-going. Rarely have I seen him angry. Until today, that is, when his rage literally bowled me over. He was standing in the kitchen by the refrigerator, and his cup of water was walking away from him in the hands of his 3-year old big sister Rebekah. He had set it down on the counter and she rushed in and picked it up, thirsty as usual. But Joshua was not going to stand for it, and I watched the transformation in horror. His little body stiffened and his color intensified. I could see little veins standing out on his neck and his pudgy little arm shot out, finger outstretched as he shouted, enunciating as perfectly as any two-year-old can - "NAUGH-TY BA-BY!" It was more than I could bear and I covered my face, hiding my tears of laughter. :-)

Thank you Lord!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

On Training With Joy

Joshua was playing in the bedroom when I called him. I tried to use just the right tone of voice - not loud enough for him to think I was emotional, not so soft that he couldn't hear me. He peeked around the corner at me, somewhat hesitant. I was a little disappointed that he didn't immediately come, but when I smiled my biggest smile at him, it was just what he needed to push him in my direction. The smile changed it from "I know she wants me to come, but I really want to be in the bedroom" to "I know she wants me to come and I want to go and be with her because she enjoys me!" This may sound like a trivial distinction, but when you consider that training is merely building habits of obedience into little hearts and minds, it becomes an essential tool. Add to the mix that the parent, in focusing on the smile and enjoyment of the child, is training a habit in themselves of reacting to that child with enjoyment - there is truly a recipe for successful training.

On the other hand, if the child is trained without joy, he may learn to obey most of the time, but I am convinced that this a sure way to lose his heart. He won't be obeying out of love and a desire to please you, but because he wants to avoid negative consequences or pain.

The power of it is overwhelming! To think of a child who is raised with a pattern of wanting to please the parent who takes great delight in him! In the hands of the Lord, such a child would truly capture the heart of God. Who knows? Maybe that's how King David was raised.

I am certain that such an attitude was not bred into me, but by the grace of God I am what I am. I have seen that will to please the Lord in myself, and the fruit it has produced in my life. This bears witness that there is a God who has made provision for us in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. "...we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6)

Being joyful at all times is something I have by no means mastered; but it remains a main focus, and I have observed something worth noting about patterns of behavior: They are unique to each relationship. Building a pattern of relating with joy to your 2-year old does not mean that you can, humanly speaking, turn to your 8 year old, with whom you have a pattern of relating with criticism, and suddenly relate to them the same way. So, early attitude training becomes vital, because it is a much more difficult endeavor to suddenly change all of your patterns at once than it is to build each pattern correctly from the beginning.

I can sense the questions... How can I build this pattern? And how do I change wrong patterns of relating to my children? The book To Train Up A Child by Michael & Debi Pearl is the best book that I have found on child training, and they emphasize the joy aspect like no one else. They also have lots of great articles on their site and they were named by The Old Homeschool House Magazine in 2004 as having the best character training material available. So I defer to the experts. :-)

Monday, May 23, 2005

No Drain Hose?

I thought that it would be ok. After all, the instructions said "install drain hose, if available". So that must mean that it is possible to accomplish the task without the hose, right? So I knelt beside our poor tractor, determined to minister life-giving fluids. But first, "out with the old"! So, I found an alternative - a long orange funnel. If I put it's lip right under the plug, it seemed that the dirty oil would pass by the "clean" tractor, spill right down the funnel and into the waiting drain pan. At least, I was pretty sure it would. The angle was a bit flat, but what the heck! The procrastinator was actually accomplishing something, and she wasn't about to stop now. I slowly loosened the plug and then jammed the funnel underneath.

As you've probably guessed, my plan backfired. Literally. The oil was coming out way too fast and backflowed all over my poor tractor and onto my (thank you Lord!) cardboard that I had intelligently placed under the tractor before surgery. I kept telling myself "don't cry over spilled oil".

No drain hose? Don't despair. Just buy up all of those truly wonderful blue shop towels :-) (And while your at it, when your kids leave their milk right by their elbow, just get used to having towels handy. They'll learn more quickly when you smile and toss them a towel).

I used nearly all of the blue shop towels (did I tell you how wonderful they are?). And I am happy to report that when my dear husband came out I was just finishing up the breathing filter operation. A tractor needs such a thing - it's awfully dirty out in the country :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Whom have I in Heaven but You...

I often sing these strengthening words from Psalm 73. Right now my Dad is in the ICU and many other family members are struggling with health issues, and it reminds me of how frail we really are. These temporary dwellings called bodies are not eternal, and when they begin to show signs of wear, we all need a little strengthening!

Asaph, the writer of this beautiful Psalm, was a Levite and a leader in King David's choir. I love to imagine him serving God in the temple and worshipping the Lord with all of his heart. As a Levite, God was truly his "portion forever". And He is mine also, in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 73:25-26
25Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hand Over Mine

After a conversation with a friend recently, I dug up this article I wrote a few years ago...

???Mommy, put your hand over mine.??? Demanded my 3 year old son to his surprised mom. We were making cookie dough and I was reluctantly allowing him to participate. I am one of those moms who dislike messes and I tend to stress out when my kids help me turn a messy job into a REALLY messy job.

???Mommy is always working, and I want to be working too!??? This so well expresses the toddler who hovers near his mother in the kitchen, always wanting to be involved. This same toddler may many times be redirected by his mother. ???Go and play with your toys.??? She might say, thinking of her agenda for the day and how in the world she is going to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Over a period of time, when consistently redirected thus, a child will begin to lose interest in the tasks of his mother, preferring instead to play with his toys. This child is being trained well. ???Mommy will do all the work. My job is just to play.??? When he is a little older, it may be difficult to change this child???s worldview. A mother may think that her child is old enough now to begin doing chores. She may approach her 7-year old, or her 9-year old or her 12-year old with a job he or she is now responsible for. She may be greeted with a blank stare, or an incredulous look or outright rebellion. But certainly not the delighted participation which a toddler exhibits. Training your child to stay with you is so important. To slow down, escape from your agenda and simply delight in his presence and efforts is difficult if it is not your habit. But the alternative will leave a mother in shame (Proverbs 29:15). Jesus set for us the perfect example in the scriptures. He said ???My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.??? There is nothing more wonderful in this life than to participate in the Father???s work. To let Him put His hand over ours and help Him. Let us not deny our children the same joy.

As God began to teach me this truth, I asked Him to loosen me up. One day we were in the kitchen making cookie dough and He really answered this prayer! We ended up using our fingers to mix the dough and the mess was unbelievable. But mommy was cool and the delight of the children was contagious. IT was sooo worth it!