Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Her One Woman(ish) Show

We thought it was amusing when she wanted stilts, which Papa made her for Christmas a few years ago.

Then, we got her Mr. Darren-- ferret extraordinaire.

She has taught him to leap (31 inches is his record), jump, hop, and now he jumps through a Hula hoop.

This past Christmas she asked for...


a Unicycle!!

And Nana and Papa bought one for her!

It took several weeks for her to be able to ride more than a couple of inches.

But if there is one word to describe this daughter of mine, it would be



Perseverance

Not much has come easy for this sweet one of mine.

Respiratory problems, significant speech delays, and fine motor delays marked her early years.

But that girl is a fighter! Oh, the tenacity!

Then, we discovered significant allergies which broke our hearts.

But, our God has been generous in His healing and overwhelming in His love.

All these trials have been such an intense flame of refinement and seeing what I see in her, I am amazed at His work and applaud Him for it.

She has a strong, determined sweetness about her.

She is gentle mercy and unmoving steadfastness.

She is our Charlotte...

and she now rides a unicycle ;)


(Abby shot the footage while riding her skateboard :)
And she made the video of her baby sis.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Father: Part Five

Our Father.

My parents have a will.

I am an heir.

I will inherit a portion of their earthly riches.  A portion of their accumulated wealth and possessions are intended to go to me upon their death.

However, I am also a joint heir to the kingdom of Heaven.

Heavenly riches are mine because our "testator" Jesus did die thereby making me a joint heir with Him... and with you.

(See Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.)


God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

We aren't simply inheritors of a token or bauble.

We are royalty!

Why then do we live as spiritual paupers? It ought not to be this way.

Let us be like the prodigal son who received the robe, the ring, the refreshment and the reunion.
Let us resist being like the other son who has access to all of it yet harbored bitterness and resentment in his heart.

God has granted us access to all He has through the death and resurrection of His Son.

Let's not squander it on pursuits of the flesh. Let us spend our inheritance sharing the truth and knowledge of our riches with our brothers and sisters that do not yet know they are fellow heirs too.




Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Never Fails

I fail.

Epically.

And often.

Take today for example.  Today is Valentine's Day.

I had lofty ambitions of heart-shaped breakfast foods and yummy muffins in heart-decorated cupcake cups.

Perhaps some streamers or bags of goodies to share, with my children, a little bit of non-routine joy in our little home school house.

It didn't happen.

I slept later than I intended and woke up in pain.

It was gray, gray, gray outside with lots of rain, rain, rain.

Rather cheerless if I do say so myself.

I was out of sorts already because the night before I emailed a response to a friend that was well-intentioned, but poorly written.

I know this for certainty because I showed my email to Karl and he read it and said
(as gently as he could),
"There is no way to NOT be offended by that remark."

Ouch.

So I went to bed in a funk and woke up in a funk.

Downstairs I realized I had forgotten about Valentine's Day and about doing the dishes before going to bed.

A gray day, a messy kitchen, and funkiness crowded out new mercies in the morning.

I glanced over and spotted the notebook Karl and I use to write to each other.

And the balloon.

And the Ghiradelli Hazelnut Chocolate bars.

And a fabric little pouch that I knew was holding a gift card to one of my favorite stores.

We had gone out together for dinner on Saturday night and had a wonderful time.

And now all this too?

His thoughtfulness and generosity seemed to highlight my profound lack of either.

***

We managed to get everyone fed but a general feeling of malaise permeated the house.

Morning hymn and prayers were... obligatory.

We moved to the kitchen for bible study and then I realized we're studying James Chapter 3 this week.

James chapter 3, as in,

"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. 
The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, 
and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell."

and

"But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."




Oh dear. This explains a LOT.  My failed email. The recurrent bickering between two of my children.

We can't just learn these verses in our brains.

Oh no.

The Lord is making sure these verses are fleshed out.
And boy do we have a whole lot of flesh and yes, we need it out!

Bible study was... strained.  Prayers were... painful.

I left the room just before starting history and heard bickering. Again.

I felt like, "Epic Fail" was stamped onto my forehead.

We made it through history and then I disappeared upstairs feeling very, very glum.

They followed me.

Not all at once, but one by one they showed up in my room.

Something happens in my room though. There is less... pressure.  More... coziness?

I don't know what it is.  Everyone piling up on my bed means giggling and whispering and unguarded silliness.

Maybe, even, a little bit of hope?

***

Papa made one of his specialties for dinner tonight.  Something special.

We needed something special.

We braved the rain and the wind and more rain to traipse next door.

Dinner was good-- in taste and in temperament.

We headed back and the questions came, "Are you having bible study tonight?  What can I do to help?"

Something changed.  The heaviness that was present all day lifted.

Piles of books were straightened.  Dishes were loaded. The bathroom was cleaned. The floors were vacuumed.

In a matter of minutes, everything was ready and everyone was... happy.

A neighbor popped in with Valentine's Day cards for the kids and I realized-

Love Never Fails.

God had it under control.

Where I had lacked, others "stood in the gap" for me.

One by one the ladies came.

Wonderful ladies that encourage and hug and pray for me and let me cry my day out.

The last one came, with gigantic red glasses on.



Her "Love Glasses" which she had us all wear so she could snap-off  pictures.





She came with a smile, joy, cookies, and chocolate-covered fortune cookies that my children enjoyed.

They had their special treats after all.

Why?

Even when I fail in my flesh, I am hidden in Christ, and He in me, and He never failed.

Love Never Fails.

***

Our study was... perfect.  We gleaned what we needed to glean.  We shared, we encouraged, we exhorted, we prayed for each other, we laughed, and we loved.

I was noticeably better and grateful the Spirit encouraged me to press in and press on today.

I'm glad I was able to see and experience the Love of God through His people coming along side of me when I thought I had none to give.

I'm grateful they were able to give Love to these that are so precious to me...












***

I managed to make a mix for Karl, as a gift, for Valentines Day.  
I titled it, "Love for Karl" and this is the first song.

It's called, Love Never Fails...



Our Father: Part Four

Our Father.

We belong to Him.

I belong to Him. I need reminding of that.
When my flesh affords itself flagrant freedom I forget I am His and He loves me.

Even in my wretched state, before I was reconciled to Him, while I was still His enemy, He loved me. Why then as a blood-washed, reconciled, entering into Heaven, child of God do I think,
"Now I've done it. Now He's really mad at me."

I could never earn His favor for salvation. Do I believe I could lose it now?

Why, if I could cause the Lord to remove His grace from me I would be capable of causing God, Creator of Heaven and earth, to deny His very character.

I (should I be saying "we"?) am not that powerful!

We must face facts- Jesus loves us with an everlasting love.

Love is who He is and we could never change Him.

Instead, we must cooperate with Him, as we are changed by Him, to be like Him.

Love.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our Father: Part Three

Our Father.

We're home schoolers. A few years ago we studied China in geography.
We learned a sweet little song in Mandarin and the English translation is this:

"School is out and the sun is low
I take my books and home I go
My parents wait so patiently
I bow to them and they smile at me."

Life is our school room. When our number of appointed days have come to a close we shall gather our "books" and head home.

The Father, Son and Spirit are waiting patiently to welcome us home.
But notice what precedes the parents smiling at the child's return in the song.
"I bow to them."

Have you bowed your knee, your life, your will, your desires to "Our Father"?

Our bowing must precede the loving, smiling, welcome home.
If you will not bow, you will sadly hear,

"Depart from Me; I never knew you."

"I bow to them and They smile at me." Please come and bow your knee...






Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Father: Part Two

Our Father.

A father, as well as a mother, is a parent.
I have the honor of living next door to my parents.
Over the last year in particular I've learned things about my parents that I hadn't known before.
It's added a new richness to our relationship. They are so much more than "just my parents."

Likewise, as my children get older, I share with them more of my life prior to their existence.
They always seem to be astonished that I was a person before they were born!

"You've been there?! You've done that?!" they exclaim.

Their reality of me begins with their existence but I, as their parent, existed before them.

My reality began long before their perception.

As I learn more about God and ponder His eternalness I realize I'm just like my children!

I can't wrap my brain around His existence outside of our concept of time.
Yet, it is so simply mirrored in my existence before my children's "time."

God is our Father.

He had to exist prior to "us" because from Him we came to be.
I am eager to learn more of my Father beyond how it affects me.
I want to learn of Him to know His heart and to see His face.
I'm grateful I will be in His presence for all eternity.

I hope eternity is long enough to truly know "Our Father."

Our Father: Part One

I'm currently reading "Experiencing God through Prayer" by Madame Guyon. 


She encourages the reader to experience God by meditating on His Word. 
Her definition is:
"To meditate on God's Word simply means to take a portion of Scripture and begin the following procedure. Read only a small section and allow that passage to be "digested" before going on to another."

She uses the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as an example. I have picked up this book twice before and have yet to get beyond "Our Father."

I wrote a short series of posts about what I learned from meditating solely on these two words.
***

Our Father.
My first realization is that we are all part of the "our" and He alone is the father. 


If He is the Father, and He is, then we are the children. As a mother of three children, there is nothing that blesses my heart more than to hear and witness my children being kind and loving to one another.

My heart was pierced the moment I realized that.

How many of my "brothers and sisters" have I been rude to? How much love have I withheld? Once again, I am swiftly brought to the cross of Christ Jesus with gratitude that He washed away the marks of sin I accumulate.



"Lord, I need Your humility to see everyone as Your beloved children. Holy Spirit show me how to love His children and be a blessing to "Our Father."












This series was originally posted on my very first blog which is no longer active.  I ran across it today and wanted to keep it closer to me. Thanks for indulging me :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Products That Help: Rock? Paper? No, Scissors!

Am I really going to write an entire post about scissors?

Yes!

When I use scissors, I use these...


They are by Fiskars and they are spring-loaded!  No hand cramps. No fatigue.
The orange deallymabopper is a safety-lock to keep them closed when not in use.

They do make smaller, kid-friendly sizes, but I like my kiddos to use regular scissors.

And boy, have we tried scissors.

Plastic handled, rubber covered, blunt tip, sharp tip.

You name it, we've tried and we have most of the pairs we have purchased over the years.

Although, there must be some weird vortex in my house that sucks up--
rulers, scissors, and socks.
But, only the left ones.  What's up with that?

(Bonus points if you know what movie I just quoted from. ABBY do not help them and please go do some math).

Oh.dear. Where was I?

Oh yes, scissors for the wee little ones.

I bought these ones for only one reason--

they were green.

Apparently with all the school supply shopping I have done over the years, our house was over run with pink and purple scissors.

To help preserve his manhood, I purchased "Special" scissors for the little man.



Aren't they cute??!! Shhh... don't tell him I think he scissors are cute.  I meant to say...
they are COOL!  Yes, that's what I meant ;)


These scissors work so great that I often go looking for them if I only need to cut a little bit.

The girls will gravitate towards them as well.

But, there is no mistaking the rightful owner because these come with a handy-dandy name tag...









We purchased ours at the Container Store but I don't think they have them any more.

I did locate them for the same price (I think??)
It was a stocking stuffer so I splurged ;)
http://www.sassafrasstore.com/product.asp?pfid=SAS00061
They also have cat, dog, zebra, giraffe, duck, lady bug, 
robot, rocket, penguin, polka dot, and garden scene scissors :)









But we just can't seem to get away from frogs, can we?

Products That Help: Calculatis Eliminatis

“Calculatus Eliminatus is the best friend that you've got. 
Calculatus Eliminatus always helps an awful lot. 
The way to find a missing something is to find out where it's not.” 





And the best way (well, the way we ended up doing it) to find a great calculator is to buy one that is completely frustrating and finally give up using it.

Then, ask your husband to pick one out.

Now do the happy dance because it works great AND comes with different colored covers!

Yes, this was our calculator experience.

The first calculator we purchased, which I won't waste time taking a picture of,
was the Texas Instruments TI-36 X Solar.

When it worked, it worked great.  However, it would not hold a charge to save it's life.

Now I realize buying a "solar" calculator when you live in "Oregon" is a bit of an oxymoron.  But still!

Anyway,  the hubs picked out a Casio...





Abby is using the blue cover but it came with three other colors: black, green, and purple.

Now be aware... this calculator apparently has a "student mode." This means that if the problem is too easy, it won't calculate it for you :)

Apparently, they are trying to save some of our childrens' brain cells.

I think the "student mode" can be turned off, but we haven't taken the time to find out.

It works great and so far, so good.




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