Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dying Hurts

Thought I'd sweeten this post with some child deliciousness :)

Have you ever watched someone die? I did. Although I didn't see the actual death, I saw the process of my grandmother dying five years ago. It was not like she was laying there looking like she was sleeping all the time like I would have imagined. No, when the pain medication wasn't working (which in the last few days was most if not all of the time), her face would contort because of the tremendous pain. Even though her mouth could no longer utter the simplest of words, it was obvious dying hurt. And it was obvious that in this case, and perhaps many cases, dying is a process.

By nature, I am a very selfish person. I don't live my life entirely like this (or do I?), but I do often enough. I look for me time; I ask my husband or children to get me things when I could very easily get it myself; I like to try to go to my favorite restaurant, or watch my favorite movie, when I know it would bless my husband or children to do otherwise - you get the idea. By nature, I think of ME.
As the Lord is revealing this to me, He has convicted me that I need to die to self. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
But dying hurts.
I often imagined (and mostly expect) the act of dying to self would be as simple as uttering the words. Believe me, I have said them countless times, and will say them many, many more times I can guarantee it. Yet every.single.day, I fall back to the same old selfish ways. "But God! I surrendered! I died to self! Don't You remember I prayed that this morning? Don't You remember I went to the alter on Sunday?" Like watching my grandmother die, I expected dying to self to be more "easy", and less painful. An act of simple words, and *poof* its done.
Did you see the movie Evan Almighty? Great movie if you haven't. One of my favorite quotes is from that movie. "God" says to Evan "Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"
I'm beginning to realize that God probably won't just *poof* give me a surrendered attitude, and the ability to naturally think of others before myself. I'm understanding more and more that God is going to give me opportunities where I'm going to have to choose to do the right thing. As I spend daily time with God, I do believe I will become more like Him, and choose His ways more than mine.

As much as it would be nice for God to just give me my measure of surrender and let me move on, its not His way, and I'm beginning to get a small glimpse of why. I'll never fully understand this side of eternity, but I think the reason we have to go to God with any request, over and over, and over again, is because it makes us entirely (COMPLETELY!) dependent on Him. If I received my measure of things (as I see it) or a "yes" answer to my every request, why would I need to bother with God at all?

Yes dying to self hurts, a lot. And just when you think you are there for a moment, your eyes are opened to how terribly far you have to go, and you realize its okay. Its a process. One you cannot go alone.


My grandmother had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Although it physically was painful to leave this life for her because of her cancer, the actual moment of death was very peaceful we are told. You see, she had everything to look forward to because she was leaving this life to spend eternity with God!

Do you have the same confidence? If death was imminent for you (which do you know for certain it isn't?), where is it you would spend eternity? If you'd like to know more - read THIS.

Friday, May 29, 2009

An Exciting New Adventure!

Mom and Daughter Reading

I am so excited to share the news about our exciting new adventure! (and please bear with me as I try to make sense of some very choppy thoughts!)

Starting in the fall, we will be homeschooling our children! We are very excited, and admittedly a little nervous, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is what the Lord would have for us. Is it for everybody? No. Is it for all of our children? Maybe not, we will take it month by month and year by year. But for the Fall of 2009, yes, it is for all our children.

Our homeschooling journey begins four years ago. When I enrolled our oldest son into a Christian school's Pre-K program - I had pits in my stomach, that honestly have never gone away all these years! I cried from that spring to that fall when he started, and have continued to do so many Sunday nights, or as vacations near the end, etc. When parents have been happily sending their children off to school, loving the program, I never did, even though every place he (and now our second son) has been have truly been wonderful!

I can't say that I prayed every day about it, but this is one area I have prayed heavily, and talked often with my husband about. He has never been opposed to the idea, but I kid, that being the engineer that he is (planner in other words, and very methodical), this couldn't be a decision that we made on a whim. And he was 100% right, as he so often is :)

Part of the journey is the fact that I CANNOT escape homeschoolers! Seriously, God has placed so many homeschooling families in our path, that it was hard to ignore! Many of the families I have met at the pool in the summer are homeschoolers, my midwife was a homeschooler, and on and on and on. I have met so many, and every time I do, I just chuckle and say to myself "of course you are!"

There are so many other details, that sadly I never wrote down and don't remember specifics, but thankfully my mind remembers recent things so-so! And that is what I will share with you now, a recent example of how clear God answered my prayers about this!

One night a few months ago, my husband kind of out of the blue said he wanted to homeschool. I really couldn't believe it! This is what I had prayed for for four years! You would think I would be doing cartwheels and going full speed right? Nope! Can you believe DOUBT quickly entered my life! I was seriously rethinking everything. So, I prayed and said, "God, please give me peace about this! Please show me in some way something that will give me peace."

The next day I had to run to Aldi and Walmart. At Walmart, I ran into a woman from church who I attend(ed) MOPS with (when I get a chance to go that is. I haven't been to MOPS in so long, and not much at all this year really - maybe 3 times?). She was saying how she missed everyone, and kind of felt out of the loop of what was going on. I assured her she wasn't the only one as I wasn't able to attend because of sickness, new baby, or just having other commitments. I asked why she wasn't able to go, and she said, "well, we started homeschooling this year." I did the chuckle thing (see above), and then quickly remembered my prayer. "Could this be it God?" Maybe, but I rationalized that it wasn't too uncommon for me to meet homeschoolers (see above again!), and I kind of swept the thought aside.

At Aldi, I was really pushing the noon hour. You know, where the kids are starving, but you keep trying to do one more thing because you do NOT want to run out again? Yeah, that was us and you can imagine, the kids were getting a bit fussy. My 4 year old son was pushing the limits, while my daughter was just dripping goo from her nose. I was so concentrated on getting things done quick, and trying to keep my 4 year old in line, that I really wasn't paying attention to my daughter's nose! Ick, I know. Anyway, a dear woman touched my shoulder gently and said, "I just wanted to tell you before I did this, but I am going to wipe your daughter's nose." I felt embarrassed, and tried to insist she didn't have to do that! "Oh no, I don't mind, believe me, I've been there done that!" and we proceeded to talk about allergies, asthma and things like that. She went on to say how she missed the baby/toddler years, and how quickly it goes. She pointed to her boy that was with her and said that was her baby (he looked to be about the age of my oldest). I asked if he was home sick today, because he was definitely school age, to which she said "well no, we homeschool."

Okay, two homeschooling families in a half hour span? God, I get it! Thank You! The peace came quickly back as fast as it left, and I was (am) so thankful!

Well before I end, I also want to share one last answer to prayer. I have met a wonderful friend, who also homeschools, and we have children almost identical in age - and mostly the same genders are matched! She is loaning me all of the second grade curriculum that I need for my oldest! God is using her to really help me get this started, to see the reality of things (because, hey, I have had a pretty rosy picture in my mind!), and to just encourage me. What a blessing!

So there it is. Our new adventure! I'm sure you will be reading much more as the weeks go by!


MY Personal New Exciting Adventure

Runners in Fog at Sunrise, Seattle, WA

Well, if the picture didn't give it away, I have started running! Thanks to my friend Kristina, I am on week two of the Couch to 5 K program. She too is a busy mom of four children, and she has been an inspiration to me! You can read her story on her blog. Tomorrow she is running her second 5K!

For the first time in my life, I really believe I will see this through, and even have hopes to run a 5K in the fall! I'll be honest, it feels really good to have this goal in mind, and to be working toward something that also has health benefits.

I do have a goal of losing weight, of course, but for once, that is a secondary goal. It feels nice to not be so desperate about losing weight. The fact is, if I eat the right things, don't eat like a pig, and exercise, the natural byproduct of that is LOSING WEIGHT. So my goals and focus are on those things, and not on the number on the scale.

I was saying to my other friend who also runs (I mean RUNS - she's serious business about it! Oh, she is the one who is loaning me the curriculum by the way), that its so funny how before I was a mom, which would put me in my mid-20s, thinking of exercising for 20 minutes felt like torture - I couldn't stop looking at the clock, and often would quit at 15 minutes, thinking, hey its better than nothing! It felt like an eternity! Well now, 25 minutes goes like *that*, and I find myself wanting to go for more! But, I'm listening to my friends who have encouraged me to just go at the pace the program suggests, and to not over do it. I tell ya though, now that I am in my mid-30s, like everything else, the time running goes FAST :)

Tomorrow I finish up my 2nd week, and am looking forward to starting Week 3 on Monday!

Oh, and another cool thing is happening, my very fit, athletically-minded husband, is LOVING this. He's such a gem, and really encouraging me too!

Thanks for letting me share about my new adventures. Life is never expected is it? And I'm oh so glad!

Have a GREAT weekend!


Friday, May 22, 2009

A Beautiful Life (In Pictures)

First things first, let's see some baby deliciousness :)

We got a new camera, and it takes great pictures! Can you believe Baby K is nearly 5 months! sniff, sniff. It goes quicker with each baby!

She was hungry and couldn't keep her eyes off the flag flapping in the breeze outside the window.

I LOVE this smile - she crinkles her nose. Babies are great!

Hi Mama! Let me touch that camera!

That flag!

See that nice clean carpet? Thanks Dad for shampooing it for us! He also painted this room this week. What a Dad! If you think of it, please say a prayer for him - he lost his job several weeks ago now, and there is just not much out there for work.
Alright, now to big kid fun (with some baby pictures mixed in here and there :) ). I love having bigger kids. They are so fun! They are so gentle with the baby, and boy does she love her big brothers and sister! They are really cool you know :)
Loving his first pony ride!

Not loving her first pony ride! Well she loved the idea, but she has a fear of heights - I'm thinking this is a thing you are born with. Nothing has ever happened that should cause her to be afraid - hmmm, I dunno. I don't like heights either, maybe its genetic?

How about some pictures around our home? Isn't God awesome? I mean He creates such beautiful things? Children, sunrises.....
...baby birds......

....beautiful flowers.......things to make you crack up!....
And, no I didn't forget about my oldest son. He is turning into quite the shy young man! I have to sneak up on him to get pictures!
Or take them when he's not looking!
Not everyone is camera shy in this family though!

May you find beauty in the simple things as this summer "unofficially" begins this weekend.
God is so good.
Thank You Father for giving me a truly beautiful life!
God bless!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Matter How Big She Is - She'll Always Be My Baby!

They all will for that matter :)

As I shared in one of my last posts, and as I'll share in a minute - M is becoming such a big girl :) What a little friend she is to me. My boys were born hating to shop. I guess that's why I gave it up (oh yeah, and couldn't afford it anymore!), but to take them was such drudgery! But M - oh my - she loves it :) Never complains about wanting to go home. This morning we went grocery shopping, and she had her little purse. What a little woman in training. But, as I said in this title - as big as she is - she'll always be my baby. You can see in the picture above that she fell asleep in her high chair today while eating lunch. Running errands wears you out, ya know :)

M took yet another step into girlhood. This weekend, she moved out of her crib and into a big girl bed! She LOVES it and was quite happy to give her crib to baby K :) Boy did she touch my heart - I told her to tell Daddy thank you for her bed. Well Daddy was outside having fun with the boys (I'll show pictures of that too in a minute) - and about 1/2 hour to an hour later, when Daddy came in she remembered to thank him without any reminder from me. She keeps thanking Daddy for her bed too -
Her bed is really a trundle bed that the boys used to share - and so there is a huge space underneath - just perfect for hiding under, right C?

Baby K checking out her new bed. She was looking so big in the little bassinet - now she looks little again in the big crib. I can't let a post go by without saying, again, what a wonderful baby she is :)

And what was Daddy doing outside with the boys? Well, let's see if you can see in this dark picture:Yes - he's skateboarding. Our son O has been dying for a skateboard, and this weekend we took the plunge.
Someone needs to teach O right? So Daddy wanted to be the one to do that, which is why he too bought a skateboard.

The teen who sold us the skateboards thought this was pretty cool and was pretty amazed I think - that a Dad would buy a skateboard with his son. To quote the young man - "the family that skateboards together is AWESOME!" Well, skateboarding may not be my thing, but the young man was right - the family that does anything together is awesome. O has a huge desire to skateboard, and while my heart was hesitant at first, I realized there was no good reason. We gave O the idea to form a skateboarding for Jesus club :)

And just so he isn't neglected *wink* - here's another picture of C after I gave him a haircut last week. What a handsome young son I have. This morning he built a Lincoln Log house and came running to me and said - "Mom, I think Jesus is really proud of the house I built!" Yes, C, He is very proud as am I.
Have a great week!

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow