Tuesday, December 26, 2006


In verse...

Josh was up at 6 am
I took him to bed with me
Who stayed up till 1 am
Writing stocking poetry

We gathered round at 9 am
The Word Dad did expound
Then we opened up the socks
And the gifts were passed around

Jonathan at 9 months old
Had just about one present
But boxes and paper strewn about
Made him the most content :-)

Mom happily cooked in the kitchen
For 1/2 hours and four
Then ham and mashed potatoes
Was ours and so much more

Grandma and Dale cleaned up
And 2 hours of nap were given
Then Christmas day was near an end
But it sure felt like Thanksgivin'!

For some reason, I have been eating up poetry lately. I love to read it and write it. Some of it is good, and some of it is lame, but rest assured, I am enjoying myself immensely! I had it in my mind to write a poem for everyone in the family for their Christmas stocking, but I only finished about 2/3 of the poems. I felt that one of them in particular was inspired while I was listening to Pastor Johnny preach the Christmas Eve sermon... the one for my dear mother-in-law. Here it is...

To every thing there is a season,
Every circumstance???a reason.
And so it is with Pamela Jane...
Whether there???s sunshine or whether there???s rain.

She does it all unto the Lord!
And PJ Tippy is never bored.
She???ll shine the floor with zeal and more...
She???ll break down a wall or put in a door.

But when all the mess is cleared afresh
There rises from the dust a loveliness;
With every picture in it???s place;
Every pillow and every vase;

The floors and windows gleam and shine;
Colors pose from walls so fine.
And when it???s all done she???ll walk out the door???
To give away blood and care for the poor;

To work at Goodwill and straighten out the church;
To help out some poor soul in a lurch...

But in her heart there is a special place
For those with wrinkles on their face.
She???ll care for them so tirelessly,
Until their eyes no longer see.

The Lord? He sees, and has a care
For a face that, to Him, couldn???t be more fair???

In thoughtfulness Pam sees a need
And gives a gift or plants a seed
And whether she???s Grandma, Mom, Pam or PJ
These words aren???t enough but that???s all they???ll say.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Son David

Last night I gently removed The Swiss Family Robinson from under his sleeping head, book marked it and put it on top of his bookshelf. This morning I found him reading it again.

Last night he nearly trampled his sisters in his mad dash to find the next clue in the treasure hunt at Deborah's birthday party. Today he took out the trash, cleaned the microwave, swept and mopped the floor.

Yesterday he longed to be past the day of the princess party. Today he longs to dominate my computer ;-)

This year he has discovered the cartoonist within himself, nearly mastered his multiplication tables, learned to play with his baby brother, once again learned to tie his shoes, lost his shoes, found his shoes, and lost them again. Next year he will be nine years old!

I am so thankful for my son David.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'm in Love!

I saw him today in the Christmas play. His familiar form walked up to the microphone and I didn't really pay much attention until the beautiful piano music softly entered the sanctuary. I was intrigued. What could he be singing? Then I heard his voice. His full tenor voice, skillfully singing words of tenderness. Worshipping God with a sweetness that caused tears to stream down my face! Longing to know how he fit into God's plan. He was singing Joseph's song. And he wasn't even looking at me. But he stole my heart anew...

In reality, this all transpired during the practice last week, but I am still moved in the center of my being to think that I have the privilege of being married to a man who is tender, and passionate in his heart. And confident enough to show it. I love you Nathan Robert Tippy!

Running Man

I walked into the kitchen, scarcely able to contain myself. Nathan's Christmas album had some pretty jazzy songs and the one playing had just the perfect beat for the Running Man dance. For any who may wonder, the running man is just what it sounds like - a man running (or in my case, a woman). However, instead of really running, you slide your foot back and come down in an exhaggerated step, then slide that foot back and bring down the other foot down - of course you must do it in step to the music. The dance can be very aerobic in nature, especially if the music is fast.

But this music was just perfect. I became The Running Man. The Running Man and I were one. My daughter Rebekah looked up from her activity at the island. I just knew that she was impressed that her 35 year-old mom could dance like that, and I smiled at her. She raised her eyebrows at me and replied... "Mom, when I want to run, I really run. I don't need to run standing still."

Needless to say, I descended. To a walk. But I'm still running in my heart :-).

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I found this poem in a thanksgiving book and I wanted to share it because it was so meaningful...

At the First Thanksgiving

Plymouth 1621From friendly Squanto, wise in all things wild,
We found out where the fattest codfish flash.
To mingle beans and corn in succotash
We learned. We learned as if we were one child.

Today we feast on maple planks
Before Chief Massasoit and ninety braves
Now out of barrels bound by stout oak staves
We draw a drink to raise in heartfelt thanks

For turkeycock, ripe pumpkin, squash, and gourd,
For stalks that stand all ears in heavy row,
FOr fallow deer that round the woodlands go ----
Praise to thee, Lord!

By winter winds whose edges carve like knives
Our numbers have been pared.
Now we who have been spared
Thank the Good Lord who took but half our lives.

I found this Thanksgiving poem and I wanted to share it because it made me laugh!

The Turkey's Wattle

Said the Turtle to the Turkey

Every time he came to visit,

"There's a funny hunk of wrinkle

Where your chin should be, what is it?"

Said the Turkey to the Turtle,

"Oh, this rubber decoration?

Heavens, no, I wouldn't tell you

'Cause it makes for conversation.

At Thanksgiving during dinner-

It's my relative they're carving!---

Silly People sit around and

Stuff themselves as if they're starving,

And you know the only question

They can think of while they visit?

'Say, that funny hunk of wrinkle

Round a Turkey's chin, what is it!"

J. Patrick Lewis

Saturday, November 11, 2006


These are the latest ditties around here...

This one is done mainly with Joshua, and his laughter is the most beautiful thing on earth!

I found a little boy

He was standing on his head

I picked him up and lay him down

Right upon his bed

I took him out of bed

And lay him on the floor

And tickled him and tickled him

Until he cried "No More!"

This one came out while David brushed his teeth before bed tonight:

Brush your teeth and brush them well

Then your breath it will not smell

Brush before you go to bed

Then your teeth won't fall out of your head!

Thursday, November 2, 2006


My son David: Mom, what is round and sad and goes in the back trunk?

Mom: I don't know, what?

David: De spare tire!

:: Mom rolls on the floor, laughing in utter delight ::

For some reason, perhaps because I am rising from a pit of despair, I absolutely love this joke! It seems to have a lot of dimensions to it, and if I'm am anything at all, I am a trans-dimensional individual. I mean, really, my despair is not something I wear on my sleeve - I would really prefer that it go in the trunk of my car so that I could go on my "merry" way and no one would realize that I was needy. And if I had a trunk on this vessel 'o mine, I would certainly put my "spare tire" in it, instead of wearing it for all the world to see.

Despair is something we need to take a little more seriously, however. In all honesty, I feel that it can be a good thing in my life. Growth in the Lord Jesus Christ seems to come in cycles in my life. I'll enter a season where my face is turned toward the Sonshine and the wonder and delight of God endlessly impresses me and doing the right thing is effortless! The transformation of glory - halleiluia!

Transversely, I'll enter a cloudy season, where my heart begins to drift from God and I am doing my own thing; never dreaming that I will falter in one area or another. It seems that I begin to sink when my heart begins to put it's hope in the wrong place.
The definition of despair is: To lose, give up, or be without hope.

Here are a few scriptures about hope...

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Romans 8:24-25 " For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
Romans 5:5 "Hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

So my faith is the substance and evidence of things hoped for and not seen, I am saved by hope, and hope squashes my shame because of the Holy Spirit living in my heart. This is cool stuff! I think the Holy Spirit must be a hope generator. And when I am listening and obeying Him on a moment-by-moment basis, God becomes so evident; hence, my faith grows.


There doesn't seem to be any room here for despair.

So I think I'll just ask God to breathe some more air (pneuma) in my tires :-).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm Back!

Just when you thought I had abandoned my blog!

I had such hopes of splashing across October with "Happy Birthday to Me!" And my new blog design. It was going to be such a cool birthday present to myself. However, there was one glitch. My new blog design isn't finished yet (I can assure you, however, that it will sport a lamb and a limerick...perhaps the grand opening will be March?). I've had a few (five, to be precise) distractions also :-).

But God is GOOD! We are in the midst of some overdue tomato-staking, and He has given me the power and perspective I need to undertake this adventure. Tomato-staking? Huh? It has to do with my little tomato plants :-) They just needed a little TLC. More on that later.
Here is my sweet baby, for those of you who have been awaiting a picture:

Jonathan Huh?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Smiles Motivate

"But Moooooooom..." my child moaned as she fell forward in her chair.

The whine was like a vacuum, sucking the life out of me and weakening my resolve. I am happy to report that not all of my commands are greeted by such negativity, but I've realized that my own contribution can make or break a good attitude in my kids, regardless of consistent consequences.

I've figured out that my default mode is activity. There is nothing like getting a lot done to put a smile on my face. I think often that I seek out that good feeling by jumping into the day with a list of intended accomplishments. The problem is that my focus tends to get off balance. Sometimes I let my "getting stuff done" part be too important, and I respond with impatience and irritability when that is "interrupted".

Balance is so important. I've determined that to change my default mode, I must focus on the smile, and take the time to really listen and love on my little blessings. The irritation is like a thief, stealing away not only my joy, but also the amount that would have been accomplished had I been focused on an encouraging smile.

The reason for my joy is also key. If my joy receiver is plugged into my accomplishments, then I am going to be one depressed Mama on some days. But if I am plugged into the source of joy Himself, then surely my smile will come first; it won't depend on something that I do. It will instead spill out of my actions instead of waiting on them.

I found this little poem online and had to share it...

Smiling is infectious,
You catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner,
And someone saw my grin,
When he smiled I realized,
I'd passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile,
Then realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
Could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
Don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick,
And get the world infected.
(author unknown)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Handfuls On Purpose

We've been studying the book of Ruth in Bible Study Wednesday nights. It has been so exciting to be getting into the Word with other ladies, encouraging others and being encouraged. Leslie brought out an unusual commentary on the Bible called "Handfuls On Purpose" and read the following:

Boaz commanded the young men, saying, "Let her glean even among the sheaves, and let fall also handfuls on purpose for her." What words of grace are these. Gleaning among the sheaves is the privilege of those who have found favour in the sight of the Master; and what rich sheaves of promise we have in the field of His Word! But only believers have the liberty to glean here (Eph. 2:12), and according to your faith be it unto you. Those also who have found grace in His sight find many an unexpected handful that has been dropped on purpose for them. And notice, these handfuls did not fall by chance, they were each a gift of his grace. So our blessed Master does not leave His servants to the caprice of blind chance, or to pick up what joy and comfort they may; but many a rich handful He drops on purpose to comfort and cheer them in their work. Gleaning among the greedy and the selfish is most arduous, miserable work, and such is the worldling, seeking satisfaction in other fields. But how different is the field where grace reigns! There the handfuls are dropped on purpose. If you go to glean on other fields be sure the handfuls will cease. Jesus says, "Follow Me."

Need I say more? I am so enthralled to recognize the times that the Lord has spoken to me so clearly through the scriptures as times when He has dropped "Handfuls On Purpose".

Monday, August 7, 2006

A Gentle Answer

Let the words fall gently
Compelling though it be
To stir them up
They rise again
A weapon fit to flee

But when you let them lie there
Like a softly fallen snow
The heart is cool
There is no fool
And you are free to go

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Note: I wrote this for David, because God does not want us to be puppets :-).

Saturday, July 29, 2006


When I was 16 years old, I had a great job, my own car and I was just about to start college. On the outside I seemed to have it all together, but on the inside, I was a mess. I was still living at home in the midst of a very disfunctional family, and my life did not taste good to me. In fact, it gave me a very bad taste, and I was seeking in my heart for something, but I didn't know what.

When the light of my cousin swept into my life, I think I was a little attracted to her glamour. She was tall and she had this big head of beautifully styled blond hair and perfectly made-up face. It was curious for me, to meet a cousin whom I did not know existed, who came to mean a lot to me in a very short period of time (kind of like she was an angel). She listened to me. She really cared about me as a person, and seemed to understand what I was going through. And she was full of praise and thankfulness to a person she called Jesus Christ. However, I was truly not interested in Him. For I equated Him with "religion" and rejected it. I was enamored of the person who cared about me enough to listen and really seemed to love me.

Cynthia eventually invited me to live with her, as I was desperate to escape my home life, and I took her up on it. I remember that her daughter Crystal, 10 years old at the time, gave up her bed for me. She stayed in a small "L" shaped bedroom and she was so delighted to sleep on a bean bag at the top of the "L", while I slept in the comfort of her canopy bed at the bottom of the "L". My life started to taste good:-)

Eventually, through her testimony and prayers and other influences, I did believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. And now when I reflect on how He drew me to himself, I can't help but think of this verse:

"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. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

An earthen vessel who influenced my life was my cousin Cynthia. She was far from being a perfect person, like the Lord. But He shined out of her into my heart so brightly; and eventually I recognized Him and fell at his feet (splashed really, but we won't go there:-). God desires each one of us to shine and sprinkle as we go about our daily lives.

He knows things that we aren't always aware of. That there are people walking about in darkness, partaking of a tasteless existence. People who really need Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this morning that we would lift up our eyes to the Lord, from whence our help cometh, and lower our eyes again, to the people He seeks to help.

Jesus says: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Let the Change Come! Part 2: Hydrogenated Oils

I dream of a time when I will not have to go to the grocery store. With my mind's eye I can see myself pushing a button to order the month's needed groceries, and then receive them at my door in a few days. Ahhhh! It will be wonderful :-) For I truly hate shopping.

Right now I do once-a-month shopping. I've found that this makes it easier to stay on track with what I was intending to spend. At the moment it also has unintended consequences; we are pottytraining Joshua because we ran out of diapers and I refuse to buy more. At least until the first of July, but potentially never :-) The problem is that he is not motivated to be pottytrained. He knows that I will buy him a new bike when he is trained, but that far-away reality doesn't stick with a three-year-old in the day-to-day grind. I think I need to get some stickers. Or something.

But what does pottytraining have to do with hydrogenated oils? Absolutely nothing. I am truly on a rabbit trail. Ahem. Shopping. Right. Well, when Nathan said I was not to buy anything else with hydrogenated oils it really made shopping difficult. I became a label-reader; and the kids were really bored and acted up during our three-hour shopping trips. On the up-side, we now had a hard-and-fast reason to say "no" to our seven-year-old son if he was eyeing the Twinkies....

David: "Mom, can we get these cupcakes?"
Mom: "I don't think so. Just read the label David."
David: "Does it have hydrogenated in it mom?"
Mom: "Yes"
David: "Aw Mom, why does everything have hydrogenated in it?"

He is right. Nearly everything in the store has hydrogenated oils in it. We sadly walked by the hydrogenated underwear, and for awhile I had the children convinced that all of the toys were hydrogenated :-) (I'm sure if they don't have hydrogen bubbles blown into them, they must surely have "hypnotic" bubbles blown in). I jest, but nearly every cracker and cookie in the store contains this health-risk. All donuts and all peanut butter except for a few natural brands (we buy Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter). Most of the chips contain hydrogenated oils. Even the ones which now say: "0 Grams Trans-Fat" have hydrogenated oils. The law states that they are allowed to make this statement if the product has less than a gram (per serving?). Considering the risks associated with just a small amount of trans-fat, this seems a bit sneaky to me.

What are the risks anyway? Why is it important to avoid hydrogenated oils? Consider the following:

What's Wrong with Hydrogenation?

Unlike butter or virgin coconut oil, hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats. A trans fat is an otherwise normal fatty acid that has been "transmogrified", by high-heat processing of a free oil. The fatty acids can be double-linked, cross-linked, bond-shifted, twisted, or messed up in a variety of other ways.

The problem with trans fats is that while the "business end" (the chemically active part) is messed up, the "anchor end" (the part that is attached to the cell wall) is unchanged. So they take up their position in the cell wall, like a guard on the fortress wall. But like a bad guard, they don't do their job! They let foreign invaders pass unchallenged, and they stop supplies at the gates instead of letting them in.

In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function.

We have not been able to eliminate 100% of these poisons; I'm sure some of our food when we eat out is contaminated, and we sometimes "cave" when an urge for some favorite storebought good overcomes common sense (arrrgggghhhh!). But over time, by focusing on reading labels, we have drastically changed the amount we consume. Who knows? Maybe soon the companies who are continuing to poison the American public will be forced to change too. Then everyone would benefit. :-)

Update: I started writing this in June; sorry about the reference to July 1st! Also, my son has utterly resisted my efforts to potty-train (even with M&M's and our potty song), so rather than continue washing diapers I bought "just one more" pack of Walmart diapers :-).

Monday, June 26, 2006

Childhood & Balance

Okay, we have ceased school for the time being. And I desperately need to plan for the new year. I am making David and Deborah each a book (with my comb binding system), which will allow me to easily peruse goals, track hours & review their progress twice a year. Last year was the first time I made a book for them, and I will be making it even better this year! I am very excited to tackle the project :-). However, first I must make a plan for the children to be occupied today.

David is currently curled up in a ball in his bed, hiding under the covers. When I went to shake him awake this morning, I had a flashback to my own childhood...

Of sleeping in on summer mornings.
Of playing hard all day and coming inside dirty and hungry.
Of swimming at the pool until I was wrinkly and oh-so-tired and smelling of chlorine.
Of climbing a tree until I had conquered it at the top of the world.
Of practicing gymnastics at the school playground until I was master of the weenie roast, genie & hip-circle.
Of going to sleep on a hot summer night with a fan blowing hard right at me.

I want my kids to enjoy being a kid and look forward to every day. It is definitely a challenge for the homeschooling mom to balance out the work and the play so that a child doesn't think they are being overworked, and they are happy and excited to face each day. I have by no means mastered this, but each year I find ways to improve, and planning times are exciting because then I can bring it all together and take another step in the right direction.

Lord, give me wisdom!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Let the Change Come! Part 1: Stevia

I knew we could do it. If I could just find something tasty enough!

And finally it happened. We received our Republic of Tea catalogue in the mail, with their customary sampler tea bag. It was ginger-peach. Mmmmm. That sounded so good. We brewed it to accompany our supper that night, and I knew there was hope for me. It was soooo delicious! But not by itself. There is more to the story.

There is a plant which grows naturally in South America, known as Stevia Rebaudiana. A plant from the daisy family, it has long been prized in many cultures for it's intense sweetness. When the plant is mature, it is three feet high and it's beautiful green leaves contain stevioside, a sweetener estimated to be 300 times that of sugar.

Stevia was introduced in Japan in the 70's and by 1988 it had taken over 41% of the market of potentially sweet substances. They use it to sweeten ice cream, candies, pickles & soft drinks (to name a few).

Here in the United States stevia is only approved as a dietary supplement. It has been labeled by the FDA as an "unsafe food additive" due to insufficient toxicological information to demonstrate it's safety, though studies have been conducted that demonstrate its safety. I find myself wondering if there are other reasons. Perhaps not of the scientific variety. If you are interested, there is a book which tells the stevia story at this link: The Stevia Story.

We now use it regularly to "supplement" our teas. And I am happy to report that after failing many times to give up soda, we are finally successful! I still crave bubbles sometimes with a movie & popcorn, but we are very much enjoying the stevia sweetened tea. And it is so much easier on the pocketbook :-). We are still using the very first 2 oz. bottle of Stevia Liquid Concentrate we purchased for $20 a few months ago - it only takes 15 drops to sweeten a pitcher of tea.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Empty Motivator

I don't know what it was about the empty room which motivated me, but the feeling was compelling. I felt that I simply MUST clean!

It was just last night. For Father's Day, I cleaned up the kitchen and took the kids to the park all afternoon so that Daddy could work on some of his projects. I took them out for dinner at (gasp!) McDonalds :-) This was a very satisfying experience for the kids, for they had pooled some of their money as a contribution to the treat. Hubby calls me in the midst of this time to let me know that a man had come to the door offering to clean the carpet in one of our rooms for free. He told the man to come back at 6:00, certain that I would desire this service.

We returned home to find that wonderful Hubby had moved all of the furniture out of the living room (minus the piano) in anticipation of the great cleaning of the carpet (mind you, super-Grandma had already cleaned the carpet for us just 3 months ago, but five little kids will do a number on your carpets, especially right near the dining areas).

There was only one problem: He didn't show up! So, after I nursed the baby on the couch in the foyer, I set to work. I cleaned all of the windows in the main area, cleaned the couches and end tables and coffee table. I wiped down the baseboards and deeply vacuumed the living room (I thought about the Bissell, but I hate to get the carpet wet during muggy season). Then I shined up the tables and other furniture with furniture polish and rearranged the living room. I think I'll rearrange it some more later :-) How satisfying it was to put everything back in place, knowing it was clean!

The Deep Side....
But how is it that emptiness motivates? When my cup is empty of tea, I walk over to fill it up again. Why do I do this? I suppose because I am sure there is more tea, and I desire this pleasing substance.

When it comes to a person, surely there is a certain despair associated with feeling empty. Perhaps because they aren't certain there is something good to fill them up.

And yet we have hope. God says "open wide your mouth, and I will fill it." Everyday, we open wide our mouths and fill our bellies. And we fill up the empty spaces around ourselves, motivated with a certain hope for a more satisfying life. But God says of them which do hunger and thirst for righteousness, that they will be filled. God was (is) motivated to fill the emptiness in our lives. The question is: are we looking to Jesus Christ to be filled?

Friday, June 9, 2006


A Safeguard for the Soul

Souls are vulnerable things. They need safeguards. It was when Paul was in prison that this idea came to him. He had just been writing to the Philippians about the benefits that accrued because of his own sufferings and the possible death he might die. He told them of Epaphroditus' illness and anxiety, and finished with "In conclusion, my brothers, delight yourselves in the Lord!...You will find it a great safeguard to your souls" (Phil 3:1 JBP).

It would be very easy to allow depression and anxiety to overcome us when we look at the dismal circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves. Who had better reason than Paul for depression? ("Oh well, but he was Saint Paul!" we counter.) He had learned by practice how to apply the soul's safeguard, which is not mere enjoyment. It is delight. This is a command and therefore an act of will, and it is done in the Lord. No circumstance is so dismal as to prevent obedience to the command. No trouble can blast that safeguard. Do it. Do it by faith. Delight yourself in the Lord. Maybe you will have to get out of bed, get up from your chair, go outdoors and walk, sing a song out loud, bake a pie for somebody, or mow the lawn as an offering of praise. You can do something which will help you to obey that command. It is amazing how strongly what we do affects how we feel.

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Philippians 3:1-1

Lord, thank you! How I needed this reminder today...

We are behind. Having spent 2 days out this week, the house is dirty and cluttered.

So, today is catch-up day! I think the children will be motivated, for I have promised them pool time in the front yard later :-).

And tonight we will have a campfire. Hubby and kiddos would have slept in the pop-up camper, but it is full of ants, so we will content ourselves with hotdogs and marshmellows over the open fire.

Tomorrow I will take Deborah to buy shoes and pick up the last plants for our garden. So far we have planted three rows of tomatoes, one row of peppers, five rows of corn, and lots of onions! The onions aren't doing so well. I keep waiting for them to fall over and signify they are done, but they remain stubbornly upright, though I know they have been growing long enough. I think the weeds (yikes!) have stolen away their nutrients, so we may have to content ourselves with green onions.

I'd better get busy!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Picture the scene:

The curtains are pushed back, allowing the rays of glorious morning to splash onto little sleeping faces. Mom sings:

"Good morning, Good morning!
It's such a lovely day.
Good morning, Good morning,
I really love to say.

Good morning, Good morning!
It's great to be with you!
Jesus, you are someone who makes all things new...."

The children are hustled out of bed with a smile and a song. They dress, pick up their rooms (both the dawdlers and the diligent), and report to breakfast. While they eat, Mom feeds the baby, reads some scriptures, combs their hair and explains that today we will be going out to the park and the library. Anticipation builds. Breakfast is over. The teeth are brushed and the little bodies are excited about going to the park. Mom begins to prepare to leave the house...

And then the stress mounts, and sweetness departs. Commands are barked. Mom is distracted with too much to prepare: lunch, library books, bank paperwork. And the children are distracted also, and need to be kept on task - but their Mom is too busy with pre-trip tasks. This majorly stresses Mom out. By the time we make it of the driveway, Mom is dizzy with grief and ashamed to sing the praise song she had planned to teach the children.


It wasn't always this way. I feel that I need to forge some new habits and do trip-training with the kids. This site helped me...I feel that #23 was key for me. I must learn to ask for help! Okay, friends, this is a lightbulb moment for me. I have a hard time asking anyone for help unless I feel that they are eager and willing. I think it must be pride and self-sufficiency. But I need to learn to talk to God on the spot, when the stress mounts. To believe God and allow His spirit to reveal His hidden wisdom.

The funny thing is, that once we are out of the house, everything is fine. The kids behave beautifully, they are obedient in public places (for the most part :-) ), and I have a great time!

What is it all for anyway? Obviously the stress in my life is unnecessary. And disobedient.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Productivity - an "Ahhhh" Moment

My muscles are still sore from gardening on Saturday. Nathan and Ben took all of the kids to the zoo, and I planted all of the tomatoes and peppers and some corn. I still need to buy something hot to plant - Nathan wants jabaneros I think, and maybe some zuccini. But it is coming along!

Sunday afternoon I finished cleaning and organizing the garage. Not as deeply as I would have liked, but definitely much improved. I keep having flashbacks to the totally cool garage I poked around in at an organizing store once. Everything was neatly stored in attached baskets all along the walls. We just have our old yellow dresser, some small plastic drawers and a few nails on the studs of our unfinished garage. But for the moment it is neat :-).

I have been glorying in the amount of stuff I have been able to accomplish the last few days. Yesterday morning Jonathan woke me up at 4:30 AM and I stayed up, O Wonder of Wonders :-). I made the bread and washed the bedding and had quiet time and finished my planning for the month of June. Last night I did the bulk of the shopping - FOR THE WHOLE MONTH! I haven't tried that in a while, but I really get tired of joining the stampede every week. It seems that so much time is wasted. And - "MOOOOO!" I'll pass on that for now; I prefer to break the mold.

So here I sit, with my coffee and a counterful of groceries to organize into my pantry. The kids are stirring, the garden needs to be watered before the sun beats down upon it. And here I sit...

It occurs to me that maybe if I had been glorying in the Lord instead of my accomplishments, I would have noticed that my dear bookend is feeling rather overwhelmed. Having shouldered much of the caretaking of the kids and helping me in the kitchen the past few days, he has fallen over and is feeling a bit overwhelmed with his own untended list of things to do.

Maybe it is time to return to the real world; to tie some strings with my kids and find out what I can do to bless hubby.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Praise & Glory

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. -1 Cor. 1:30-31

I started reading in Corinthians this morning. So long have I lingered in Romans, seeking to fully understand different truths. How silly of me! I should have known that I would get stuck in a rut when I abandon the iterative process which holds me in good stead. I'm sure it will sink in more the next time I get there. Wow! What clarity on a Monday morning. There must be hope for me :-)

Last week I told Deborah that I thought she had great potential as a pianist; I explained to her that this was why she would have piano lessons instead of gymnastics next year. To my surprize and delight, she has been on the piano every day! And when I give her a little lesson, she practices and practices!

I guess I shouldn't be surprized. I'm the same way. When I feel that others are praising my abilities, I tend to be much more energetic about practicing skills, aren't you? And there is nothing more disheartening than ridiculed, criticised or ignored. I much prefer constructive criticism (ie praise, correct, praise).

Food for thought: Could it be that God is motivated by our praise and glory? Could it be that we limit His activity by leaving Him out of our conversation; out of our praising and glorying?

Speaking of praise, I have been greatly remiss in not telling how wonderfully proud I am of my brother-in-law and niece, who have graduated from high school this last month. Benjamin received 2 special awards for art and computers and Jessica was on just about every single list in the program, graduating with honors. She has a $6000 scholarship to attend her first two years of college and she says her first year will be a breeze, for she is taking simple things like calculus and chemistry :-0 And Benjamin has gone and gotten a job at Kohls, so I have lost my gardener :-). Go Ben!

Friday, June 2, 2006

On Simplicity in the Home

During our trip to Iowa, we finished reading "On the Shores of Silver Lake" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was struck, as I usually am when reading one of her books, by the simplicity of their lifestyle. A one room home and extremely limited possessions makes for easy maintenance and cleaning, I'm sure ;-) Now granted, I'm sure that the Ingalls family needed more time for other things, such as gardening and preserving meats and churning butter. Yet you usually find them singing by the fire in the evenings, enjoying each other. I don't know about you, but managing the things in my life can tend to suck me away from my family if I'm not careful.

Recently during a quick clean of our house, I realized that the decluttering step was taking far longer than I liked. In fact, by the end of the day, there were still rooms which needed to be decluttered! I realized that part of this was due to lack of discipline and build up, and it was partially due to having TOO MUCH STUFF! Now, I've visited houses which have significantly more "stuff" than we do; however, I believe with all of my heart that "stuff" can so easily distract from the important things in life. Especially those who are easily distracted, like myself.

So, when Nathan directed me to do major decluttering for the upcoming church garage sale, I was naturally delighted, if a bit short on time. But I did what I could and I am happy to report that our house is several boxes lighter - and so is my heart! There is still more to be done, but I feel I've learned a few important lessons:

1. If you don't use it - give it away! The juicer in our cupboard was difficult to part with (it was a gift from my dear sister!), but we just don't use it, and there it sat, taking up space. Now someone else can use it, and if I ever need to start "juicing" I'm sure the Lord will provide us with a marvelous juicer:-)

2. If you have a lot of space, that doesn't mean you have to fill it up. It's ok to have empty cupboards and counters - especially when full ones make you insane! This is a major lesson for me, because I simply don't have a lot of time (echo that a millionfold homeschoolers!). I've realized that something can't be cleaned thoroughly or quickly if it is covered or filled with stuff. It needs to be stored or given away. Period!

3. Always have a box or space designated for giving away (or selling or storing or fixing). For me, this is half the battle. When I have something in my hand, it's important to sort it right then, otherwise it may end up increasing my clutter and this is bad bad bad for me!

4. Allow limited toys in the kids rooms. A child will develop confidence if they can easily pick up their room, but stuff everywhere tends to overwhelm a child. It is not fair of a parent to allow a huge buildup of clutter in a child's room and then give the dreaded command "clean your room!"

As with everything I am sure there is a balance involved. It is a challenge to always do the most important thing. Rarely is the most important thing housework when I need to tie strings with my kids, but after a weekend of festivities, our household has a hard time functioning properly without being cleaned up again. However, there are times when I need to ignore clutter or dirty things in order to focus on schooling or devotions or just spending time with the children or my husband. Perfection should be much strived for, but it's ok if it remains elusive ;-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May Madness

Well, we are almost at the end of what must surely have been the busiest month of the year for us. The last weekend of April we traveled to Iowa to visit my parents and siblings. When we returned we celebrated Nathan's birthday on the 2nd, and then began preparations for David's birthday party the following week. We enjoyed a brief visit with Aunt Veronica and Grandma. How wonderful it was for Veronica to take the kids out and play soccer and watch the kids play in the sand for hours on end! Then there was Joshua's 3rd birthday to enjoy on the tenth of May, and David's birthday party on the 13th (is anyone sick of cake yet?). We rolled right into the week before our camping trip and all of this, combined with school and "regular" chores was enough to take my breath away! We camped for two days on Lake Murphysboro and it was so beautiful and "relaxing" that I can't wait to go back. Now it is Tuesday and we are about to have more company for Ben's graduation. I am traveling to Iowa for a brief visit to see my niece Jessica graduate with honors on Friday night, and will return in time to attend Jeana & Jonathan's reception at the Ranch from 2-4 PM. Ben graduates on Sunday, and on Monday, May 29th, we will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary:-)

I hate to blog about being busy, but I just wanted to let everyone know I am still alive! I'll blog more in June:-)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

An Ahhhhhhh Moment...

I feel like I must be glowing from the inside out! My very first massage was a marvelous experience :-). A massage therapist from our church gifted me with a massage for myself and Jonathan. And Jackie, I have to say thank you from my head to my toes!

This was the perfect occasion for videos, and I set up the children to watch some great educational programs downstairs. Jackie brought in her mobile massage table with the donut shaped face pillow inserted at the end. First we massaged Jonathan with lotion, and then put him in the swing with some Baby Mozart playing on the stereo. Then I lay down on my tummy, put my face in the donut and settled down to the most relaxing hour of my life! Honey, can we spring for a massage every once in a while?

This weekend we are traveling back to Iowa to visit my family and our friends back home. I haven't seen my mother in over 2 years! We are staying at a hotel with a pool and the kids are so excited about the water slide which my friend tells me is soooooo fun :-).

We actually finished most of our cleaning this week (it's Thursday too - who says you can't change?). Tomorrow I just need to finish up the packing. How nice it will be to see everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Glimpse of Heaven

This may sound silly, but for me it was one of those moments you could just curl up inside of and stay awhile :-). I was reading this verse in my Bible:

"And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." -Genesis 9:16

And it occurred to me that everytime I am looking at a rainbow, my Heavenly Father is gazing at that same rainbow! That sense of togetherness with God, which sometimes eludes me, suddenly took form. I don't think I will ever look at a rainbow in quite the same way. :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Almost 6 weeks old....
The baby is getting bigger! I keep telling everyone: "his diapers are tight :-)" Indeed his newborn swaddlers were definitely tight. Now we have him in size one. Last night he slept until 3am and then guzzled his milk so fast that he spit up all over me (a first!). Then he immediately wanted to nurse again :-). He is definitely showing signs of jaundice, which is unusual because I thought this was supposed to show up earlier on. It is quite disconcerting to find that the whites of your baby's eyes are tinged yellow. Frequent nursing is supposed to help. If only I can keep myself awake (big yawn!). One of these days I'm going to take control of my blog and make it cool like everyone elses. I'm sure there must be a yawning emoticon out there somewhere...

On a practical note....
We are finally getting back into our everchanging routines. I am trying out Candy's cleaning schedule, and so far I really like it :-). Today we clean the bathrooms and the kids do their own laundry - yay! We have been continuing to use the Robinson Curriculum and I have taken to having the kids do a math worksheet as part of their morning routine (before breakfast). David writes an essay everyday, and he is writing all about George Washington right now (from Josephine Pollards "Life of George Washington").

I am so excited! Today we are going to order blinds for our dining room and the kids bedrooms. :-) It has been a major problem in the dining room at mealtimes because of the glare of the setting sun in the evenings. And the kids rooms get soooo hot on summer afternoons, making naptimes difficult. I can't wait to put them up!

Monday, April 10, 2006


"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." -Romans 15:13

This scripture has blessed my life, and been an anchor for my soul this past year. It's the only one that I know of that combines the essential ingredients of joy, peace, faith and hope. I have prayed it often for myself and others. Knowing that "hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost!" (Romans 5:5) Hope properly anchored, that is :-).

This morning I am


for the Word of God! Lord, may it permeate my life today. Increase my faith I pray.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Jonathan Frank Tippy

Born on Friday March 3rd, 2006 at 2:51 am.
Weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs 5 oz, measuring 19 inches long.

Mom and baby are home and all is well :-). For any who may have heard about the problems he was experiencing, please know that everything has been resolved. He was just perfect at birth and he nursed beautifully for me and stayed with us for quite a while.

Later on in the nursery he was unresponsive and found to be oxygenating poorly. As a result, he was on oxygen for 24 hours and antibiotics for 48 hours. His blood test came back negative for infection, and then we were able to take him home on time. It was a bit worrisome at first, but the procedure was a routine one for some babies who are born a bit early. And now he is thriving!

Click HERE for more pictures.

Scroll down for the story of his labor & birth...

I Was Wrong

"What are you doing here?"

I considered asking him the same thing. Nathan and I couldn't believe our luck; to get this doctor who was asleep on his feet. He was from Mexico and his accent was thick. He looked like he hadn't slept for a week, and I had to ask him again and again what he was saying.

"Well, I am pregnant with my fifth child and having regular contractions less than 5 minutes apart...." I patiently explained my condition. They found that I was 3 cm dilated and told me they would leave me on the monitors for 2 hours, then check and see if the contractions were dilating me further.

Meanwhile, they gave me a big hospital mug of water with instructions to chug; hoping to halt the labor until I was a little further along (I was 36 weeks and 2 days). So, I chugged, while my husband and I chatted and made goo-goo eyes at each other.

I wondered if maybe I had been "premature" to come to the hospital (hehe). My pregnancy complications put me at risk for preterm labor, and I had gone pretty fast with Josh, so I was anxious to avoid a homebirth which noone was prepared for, but I certainly wanted to avoid the circus of traveling to the hospital multiple times.

The water slowed my contractions, though they seemed to be slightly more intense. Soon they brought a young gal into the same room to monitor. This was her first pregnancy, and her water had broken (I was transported back to my first labor, to the "DOING" sound of my water breaking :-)). We hid behind our little curtain of the room and waited for the doctor to return. And found out that I was still three cm. So they sent us home.

I waddled painfully out to the car, following Nathan slowly. I wondered what all this was for and felt very insecure. After all, this is my fifth child. I should know when I'm in labor. We went and sat at Hardees for awhile, just to make sure that the contractions weren't getting stronger. We had bacon, egg and cheese biscuits. And shivered. It was very cold there. Then we went home and went to bed. We slept as well as we could while Grandma engaged the children in a housecleaning mission :-).

During the next two days, I continued to contract about four times an hour. And these were not Braxton Hicks, but serious, cervix-centered pains which were very similar to having a miscarriage.

On Thursday, I went in for my regular monitoring appointment. The baby looked great, but my amniotic fluid had decreased quite a bit from the prior week. They were not overly concerned, and the ultrasonagrapher thought they might order a recheck in a day or two. Who knows? Perhaps a leak was the cause for my early labor.

Thursday night Nathan and I sat down to watch Jeeves and Wooster. He brought me a bowl of ice cream. I lay on the couch and dozed through it. I had noticed that movement seemed to bring on more contractions so I did not want to move upstairs to go to bed. But I finally made myself trudge up the stairs. When I complained to Nathan that the pains were a little worse, my poor exhausted husband (who was fast becoming very sick with a cold) stated emphatically: "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY TONIGHT." Then he promptly rolled over and went to sleep. ;-)

Well, being the submissive wife that I am, I proceeded to fill up my water cup and chug it down. I was uncomfortably full of water and I lay down to wait for my contractions to go away, trying to sleep.

Unfortunately, it didn't work this time. I waited until I was almost in tears, and the contractions were less than five minutes apart. Then I woke him up, and we drove to the hospital as fast as we could. Nathan wanted to go right up the road to the Medical Center, but I persuaded him to drive a little further to the hospital. It was a bit nerve-wracking; the contractions were on top of each other and I tried to push away the thought of having the baby in the car.

We finally arrived around 12:30 am and they found that I was 7-8 cm, and moving fast. They called the doctor and we settled in to wait through the contractions.

They continued for another two hours. I was fully dilated, but my bag of waters hadn't broken yet and that was all that was holding back my little blessing from making his appearance. Then I began to feel very nauseous. They brought the bedpan and I lost my roast beef and icecream. The pressure of vomiting was enough to break my water, and then I was really in pain (that bag is a great cushion!).

Three contractions later he was here! I remember breathlessly reminding everyone that I wanted to see his first breath, and then that last push... He came out with a pain that caused me to yell as loud as I could. Nathan shushed me. :-) And then I saw him...

Not dressed, mind you, but our camera broke last week so we weren't able to get pictures of him right at birth :-(.

Why was I wrong? Well, if you've been reading my blog, you know that I was pretty sure that I was going to go all the way to (or near) March 27th. But my little peanut had other plans :-).

Friday, February 24, 2006


Five more weeks and we'll be through!

I am beginning to tire of being called "round one" by my beloved. And, Lord willing, I will become much less round about March 27th. All of my babies have been born right on time :-), and I hope that this one will be too.

This week has truly been a rush. From one emergency to the next, it seems.

On Monday, you wouldn't have wanted to be male in our house. Nathan "broke" his toe at 5:00 am, Joshua bit his tongue (gushing blood for a long time) as he leapt from the blanket covered coffee-table-house, and David took the gold with his "graceful" slide down the side of his bunkbed. He reportedly forgot to turn his head, as was his custom, and his chin was the unfortunate victim. After my primitive ministrations of blood-mopping and anti-bacterial scrub, I observed that it hung open (not his mouth, mind you), and became very woozy. Then I began barking orders to the children to get their shoes on and get in the van. I was sure he needed stitches, and so we zipped to the emergency room with David holding his chin together with an ice-pack. I now I realize that while I have been busy changing diapers and drilling math tables, super-glue has morphed into something called "Durabond" which many times is able to take the place of stitches. David had his owie glued shut. Imagine that. While the rest of us watched Sesame Street and ate cheeseburgers ;-).

On Tuesday, I had the great privilege of attending a wonderful bridal shower for my good friend Jeana. Deborah and Rebekah accompanied me, with pony tails and beautiful modest dresses. I was the only one who didn't wear a dress, because I lack maternity tights.

On Wednesday, it was a beautiful day outside, so I parked my folding chair in the garage and watched the kids ride their tricycles around the driveway. I was being so good :-). Truly taking it easy.

It wasn't long before the older ones began to eye their bicycles, which were hanging neatly (thanks to Uncle Benjamin) from the ceiling of the garage. They wanted to get them down themselves and were insisting they could, but I knew they would need help. This was when I should have prayed for wisdom. And the obedience to heed it. But when do I ever listen? I rationalized...it's only a little kids bike....it can't weigh more than Joshua...I lift him up to the drinking fountain all the time. And of course it was a cinch to get them down from the ceiling once I had the kitchen step stool. But when the bleeding started soon thereafter, it became aparent that there may have been a reason that all of the doctors I have seen have given the same advice: "take it easy, and no heavy lifting!" Reluctantly, and with a red face, I heeded my doctor's instructions to go in and be monitored, even though I was sure everything was ok. So, once again I rounded the troops and we zipped off down to the hospital.

On Thursday, I would have preferred to stay home (I never could get the hang of Thursdays ;-)), but this was my regular weekly ultrasound/monitoring appointment and the doctor encouraged me to keep it. So we made a day trip out of it and went to the library, the park and finally the appointment. This baby boy is continually showing signs of being a text-book baby, so sometimes I wonder what all of this is for. Yet I am thankful to be in a position to be able to monitor him so closely in light of the complications.

Tonight was our family movie night, and we watched Popeye together. It was very good and we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly :-). Even Joshua. Though Rebekah did get a little scared of the octopus at the end. I am so thankful that there is good, wholesome entertainment out there that I can watch with my family.

Tomorrow morning I get to drive out and visit my dear friend Jenny for breakfast. I have to leave at 6:30am so I had better hit the sack. G'night all!

Monday, February 13, 2006

20 Questions Tag

1. Best memory? (I must share two)
Meeting Nathan at an IVCF pizza icebreaker. He had just returned from a mission trip to Jamaica. He was tan, fit and O-so-good-looking! I remember also being very pleased that we could actually have an intelligent conversation (unlike what occurred with some of the other young men who were present at the time). I eventually learned that I was a very direct and specific answer to prayer for him. He had prayed that he would know his future wife by her major of Computer Science (like him, of course ;-)). How it delights my heart to know that I was his answer to prayer!


Being used by God to disciple a neighbor in back in Iowa. I remember thinking... "this is truly what makes life worth living!" She eventually asked me to pray with her in a prayer which expressed her faith in Christ... it was on Valentines Day! If my memory serves me right, that's tomorrow:-) That must have been 5 years ago.

2. Most terrible day?
We lived in King Lake, Nebraska, on an acreage. My sister and I walked several miles up a gravel road to catch the bus every morning. She was in Kindergarden; I in preschool. Everyday about halfway up the road we walked very fast, fearful that the mean Dobermin Pinchers which reared up and pawed their tall fence, barking ferociously, would escape and attack us. One day our fears were realized. I remember being terrified! The larger dog bit my sister in the thigh and the smaller dog bit me on the thigh. I don't remember how we managed to escape death, but it was a most terrible experience.

3. Birth City?
Los Angeles, California

4. Favorite thing to do?
Lately it seems to be eating. I wake up in the middle of the night ravenously hungry! But hey, 6 more weeks and we'll be through! Normally? Reading & writing.

5. Hollywood Crush? and why?
Christopher Atkins...because I loved the Pirate Movie he was in and attached my juvenile affection to him....quite ignorantly, of course ;-)

6. Favorite food?
Home cooked: Tacos with fresh guacamole. Yum!
Out to Eat: Does dessert count? Bennigan's Death by Chocolate manages to overshadow the Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas I always ordered from Carlos O'Kelleys.

7. City you want to visit most and why?
I don't have the same travel bug that Nathan does, but I would love to visit Jerusalem in order to walk the same ground that Jesus trod upon.

8. Fantasy/dream that you want to come true?
Fantasy: Everything in order, all at the same time! I really believe this one will come true :-)
Dream: I don't remember any dream except the dream of flying. I sure hope we can fly in heaven!

9. Favorite sport?
Volleyball? Gymnastics? it's hard to decide, so I guess I don't have a favorite.

10. How long have you been married?
nearly 13 years

11. Favorite song and why?
Wonderful Words of Life...because it speaks so clearly of the Words of God which bring about faith. And without faith, it is impossible to please God.

12. Someone you most admire?
The Hunts, who have gone to China to share the Gospel and raise their family, despite the risks.

13. Someone you hate and why?
Lord, you know my heart. I don't think I hate anyone, but I have found that it is easy for me to develop negative emotions toward someone who serves others with a sense of obligation instead of a loving spirit.

14. Secret crush?
Hmmm. Do I go here? I did have a crush on a boy named Kevin in the first grade. I'm sure I tried to keep it a secret, but if you look at my first grade class pics, you'll find our pictures connected with hearts :-)

15. One rule you live by?
Hold onto Jesus Christ with all of your might, and don't ever let go.

16. Do you believe in God?
When I consider life without God, the hopelessness is so overwhelming that I literally cannot live in such a state! I believe in God; indeed I feel that I have made every effort to make my calling and election sure. At the moment, this is my favorite verse: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." - Romans 15:13

17. A dark secret (we won???t tell)
I ran away from home when I was 11 and hitchhiked to Hutchinson, Minnesota with my older sister and a friend. I remember leaving one of our bags in the back of a truck. I was devastated that my new pair of jeans was gone forever! How ugly.

18. Most treasured item and why?
My lamb. I bought it at Toys R Us because it was so fuzzy and cute and when you set it on it's bottom it's head tilts back, looking up at heaven, and it's little arms lift up to God. I bought it to remind me to always have a right, joyful attitude toward God and others. I think I need to wear it around my neck.

Gee, I answered so quickly and now when I think about it, maybe I should have said my wedding ring or something like that! Sorry honey. I bet I would be more upset if I lost my wedding ring than if I lost the lamb.

19. If you could turn back time, what would you do and why?
I would go back to my childhood and make better decisions in my home. I would seek to honor and obey my parents and seek more wholesome relationships.

20. Last but certainly not least, what kind of ???work??? do you do and do you enjoy it?
My work is simple. Train my children to "take over the world"! (We have definitely been watching too much "Pinky and the Brain" lately - wouldn't you agree?) But really, I believe that the more capable they are of withstanding my loss, and running their little world efficiently, the better job I have done. I'm a long way from success here, but I have great hopes :-)

I am tagging:

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Full Heart

Tonight I am restless. It may have something to do with the Mocha Chip Blizzard which I ate after my OB appointment ;-) Or maybe my heart won't let me rest until I express it's fullness!

How thankful I am to be here right now, unencumbered by the negative emotions which sometimes plague me. My heart has only one desire: to be pleasing to my Lord. How undeserving I am to be a partaker of His marvelous inheritance in light! And to think that He chose to die for me while I was yet dead in my sins. It is truly mind-boggling.

O, Lord, may I walk worthy of You unto all pleasing! Let me be fruitful unto every good work, and increase in the knowledge of You. Lord, you strengthen us with all might according to Your glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering - with joyfulness! I pray this prayer right now for the faces which rise out of my heart in earnestness. O, God I groan for them who need to be strengthened right now. Lord, please do whatever it is that you do within hearts to make them grow into the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Your beautiful Son Jesus Christ. How I long to be more fully in Your presence.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ramblings On Sweetness...

It seems that my life is in a constant state of flux lately. My motto: be flexible or die.

I alternate between excitement that it I have the organizational skills to keep my house well and children occupied, and disappointment that I am suppposed to "take it easy" because of continued bleeding in the pregnancy. A verse comes to mind... "Godliness with contentment is great gain". Is that You Lord?

I guess it never occurred to me that being driven to keep everyone on task could be robbing my contentment; though my dear husband will tell you that it has occurred to him:-) So, when my 4-year-old has received consistent smiles and hugs combined with proper chastisement at times and continues to give me angry looks, I know something is not right.

A few days ago I focused with my girls on sweetness. I talked to them often of the way Jesus wants us to behave. Of the sweetness found in His daughters. As the day progressed, it became obvious that their lack of sweetness was rooted in something else.

That night I asked my husband if I was sweet. As I suspected, that wasn't the first word to come to mind. He said I was "practical". For me, the word "brusk" somehow leapt out of his appraisal and stuck there in my mind. I looked it up in the dictionary.

Brusk: Abrupt and curt in manner or speech; discourteously blunt.

I have heard it said that the rod makes a child sweet. That you should not cease a period of chastisement until you have reached the child's heart and sweetness is the result. This has been on my heart a lot lately. But I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot more to it. I must become what I want my daughters to be. If I am lacking in a certain area, then expecting a child to become that is like expecting them to look in the mirror and see something that isn't there.

Just like it is preposterous for a man to look at his face in the mirror and immediately forget what he looks like, as James states in regard to disobeying the Word, it is just as strange (without the fulness of the Holy Spirit bearing fruit) to see a child acting in a way that his parents have not emulated for him.

An online dictionary defines sweetness as having a pleasing disposition; lovable.

I believe that sweetness is the result of the Spirit of God bearing fruit in our lives. I thought I was sweet because I was living on the memory of a bountiful harvest of fruit in my life a while back. Now I realize that the sweetness I crave is rooted in my own fruit (or lack thereof). I must meekly accept the ingrafted Word, and then await the sweet results. My children will then know true sweetness, directly from the source Himself.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ???s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:22-26

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Longing to Do God's Will

I remember when I was part of BSF as a young woman, just 2 years married, and we studied the minor prophets. Through the study, I became convicted of my own preoccupation with my house. I was spending time trying to decide what furniture to buy, and spending too much time cleaning. (If I'd known then what I know now, I would have spent that time learning! How to sew...how to garden...how to cook...the list is longer than I'd like :-))

When I really sought God about how I could be joining His work instead of being so caught up in my own world, the only thing that continued to surface in my mind was this: mentoring a young person. It made sense to me that God would use me in this way because I had gone through such hard times myself as a youngster.

So, I prayed for an opportunity to do just that. And, feeling emboldened, I even prayed that I would have an opportunity - within the week! I was on the lookout wherever I went.

However, I was still very surprized when I went to work three days later. At the time I was the secretary for Hawkeye Area Youth For Christ, and the Executive Director, John Sellers, was often giving me updates on what was happening with the ministry. On this particular day he shared with me something that surprized him greatly. He said that parents of youth would sometimes request a mentor for their son or daughter. But never had a youth approached him wanting to be mentored, and John was not only surprized, but beside himself because he currently had no female volunteers who were available in this capacity.

I immediately began to weep with joy and excitement. I was so thrilled because I had never had more direct communication with God. Sure I had felt that God was speaking to me before (mostly through the Word), but the directness of the communication made me feel so close to Him. It was like this in my mind:

Me: God, what do you want me to do?
God: Here, do this.
Me: Yes, Lord!

So, I embarked upon a relationship with a sweet girl named Amanda. We worked out together, had Bible study together, prayed together. I know that I probably made quite a few mistakes. I was too bold at times. I probably talked when I should have listened at times and vice versa.

But for me, the entire experience was glorious because there was not a shadow of doubt in my mind that I was doing EXACTLY what God wanted me to do.

Now I am in the trenches of motherhood and longing for such glory. In my mind I am aware that what I am doing is worthy. That He is pleased with my choice to stay home with my kids and homeschool them. But I am lacking that intimate communion with the Lord which makes what I am doing truly glorious!

Four years ago I had a four-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl and a 15-month-old girl and my house was in chaos. The children were very much out of control and my psyche was in a shambles. I remember falling on my face before God, asking Him what I could do to restore some semblance of order in the home.

The Lord brought me to some wonderful ladies online who shared beautiful testimony about their home lives. The common link these ladies shared was a wonderfully sweet communion with God. There was much listening and obeying between the mother and God. And these ladies also shared some great resources which had impacted their parenting. I feel that God redirected the course of my parenting through their precious testimony and shared resources.

And so I come to the conclusion that maybe I am listening lately for some grandiose directive from God, when I should be listening for small directions throughout the day...perhaps having conversations like this:

Me: God, what is the problem with me and my daughter?
God: Love her with your time.... "Each of your should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."


Me: God, give me wisdom!
God: LISTEN. To your children. Then to Me. "My sheep hear my voice and obey it."

This can be a hard thing for a mother in the trenches; especially for a mother with multiple young children. Yet I long to be stronger in the Lord. I long to be more attentive to His voice.

And to be obedient.

I want to be the man who laid his foundation on the rock in Luke 6:46-49:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Elizabeth Elliot writes in a recent devotional:

"What agonies I suffered as a young woman, straining my ears to catch the voice, full of fear that I would miss it, yet longing to hear it, longing to be told what to do, in order that I might do it. That desire is a pure one. Most of our desires are tainted at least a little, but the desire to do the will of God surely is our highest. Is it reasonable to think that God would not finally reveal his will to us?"

She is speaking of the big picture, I the little. But the principle remains the same. The Lord will honor the one whose true longing is to do His will.

So I pray for myself and other moms in the trenches...

Lord, still my soul from the business which is such a part of my life. Facilitate for me the clarity of mind needed to listen attentively to your voice. I want to hear you. I want to obey You. I need to hear and obey your voice. I need to be able to hear inside of each moment and pause for your everpresent whispers. O, be still my soul....

Note: If you'd like to subscibe to Elizabeth Elliot's daily devotional, click here. And follow the links. It has been wonderful encouragement to me!

Monday, January 2, 2006