Saturday, March 28, 2009

Never a Dull Moment

When I say that there is never a dull moment in our home, it is not an exaggeration. Really. My husband and I would prefer dull to our normal lives. Normal in our world is upside down most of the time.

For the third time in the past six months, we had to rush a child to the ER Thursday night for x-rays. My eight year old son, Jaden, wrecked his bike. While that is definitely not something out of the ordinary, the chain of events that followed were.

The kids ride their bikes on a narrow side walk in front of our house. Jaden was heading one way when he saw his sister coming from the opposite direction at full speed. He swerved to miss her and was thrown over the top of his bike landing with his side in the handle bars. He stood up, walked about three steps, and fell to the ground. His daddy and I rushed to his side and by that point he was rolling in pain. Tommy picked him up to carry him back to the house.

Once in the house Jaden walked into my bedroom and collapsed onto my bed. For the next half hour I asked him, "Do we need to go to the hospital?" "No, ma'am," was the answer each time. But for Jaden to just lay on my bed...STILL...was a big indicator that things weren't quite right. So off to the ER we went.

At the hospital we explained what had happened. As they prepared to x-ray him, the staff joked about how well they had come to know our family from our frequent visits. Yes, these guys tend to be accident prone... guess it runs in the family. The x-rays did not show any breaks or fractures. Doctor said he would be sore for a few days from the bruises on his ribs. He told us to take him home, let him get lots of rest, and to bring him back if we noticed any bleeding or if his stomach became hard. He said that if his stomach appeared hard it could be a sign that there was blood in his stomach.

We came home and went to bed. Tommy got up and left for work early Friday morning. Sometime after he left Jaden crawled into bed with me. A little before 7 o'clock, I woke up to Jaden wincing in pain. He was literally laying in the fetal position, holding his stomach and rolling from side to side. I immediately reached to feel his stomach. It felt like a rock.

We jumped up, got dressed, dropped the other three at my mom's and ran to the hospital in the next town over. It is bigger and better equipped for bigger emergencies. I was so thankful that Tommy was able to get off work and meet us there.

Jaden was such a big guy. They drew blood and put in an IV, and though both were obviously upsetting to him, he handled it so well. Later in the morning Jaden had to have a cat scan to check for internal injuries. I was so glad that the technician assisting us allowed me and Tommy to wear aprons and stay with him. (I hate being on the other side of a door from my husband or children in that kind of situation!!) During the procedure as the bed was moving in and out of the tunnel, Jaden announced, "This is actually kind of fun." Later he told us, "I'm really good at this game."

We went back to his room to await the results of the test. Jaden was watching tv when a commercial came on with Mohammad Ali proclaiming, "I am the greatest!" To which Jaden replied, "Uh, no. God is the greatest."

That is indeed what we were shouting when the doctor returned to inform us that there were no internal injuries. Jaden did have blood in his urine which was most likely due to the impact he took to his stomach indicating a bruised kidney or bruised bladder. However, because he was also running fever, it could not be ruled out that he did not have an infection. We'll have to go back for further testing Monday. But for now we're glad to be home.

It stormed here several nights last week. During one of the worst storms, I brought my two year old and put him in bed beside me to "shelter him" from the storm. As I laid there watching him sleep so sweet and peacefully, I thought, "He is oblivious to the storm that is rolling outside. He knows he is here with his momma and he is safe. So he sleeps through it." I was reminded of the disciples reaction when they faced a storm at sea. They were afraid. Jesus got up and said, "I'm here with you. You're safe!" And He spoke, and the winds and the waves obeyed. "Peace. Be still."

I was so thankful that God had spoken that to my heart earlier in the week. Because while we sat with Jaden waiting in the ER, I knew that HE was there with us to calm the storm. I did not fear. I did not worry. I was calm. I was at peace. For those of you who really know me, you know that is not my typical reaction when one of my babies is hurting. But I knew Jesus was there with us, and it was going to be okay. I knew He would work the situation to our good. Jaden's going to be just fine.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Who are these people and why are they calling me MOMMA??

I am so thankful for my CHILDREN! Yes, they have been known to drive me nuts... especially since their father has returned to work or so it seems. But I love each one of them so much more than I could have ever imagined before becoming a mommy.

I love my kiddos for their individuality and uniqueness. I love their quirks and smirks, their humor and wit. I love their passion to follow Christ and to "do the right thing"! I love the relationship that they have with each other (at least most of the time). I love their eagerness to help someone in need.

I am blessed with GREAT children, but sometimes I forget just how great they really are.

I am most likely to forget when I'm fighting them to finish school, do their chores, practice their instruments, clean their bedrooms, stop fighting, stop nagging. I'm likely to forget when Connor is in the throws of a typical two year olds temper tantrum or has thrown something that is not suppose to go into the commode in the commode for the hundredth time in one day.

Even though I do get worn out from the everyday occurrences of things that go along with "kids being kids", I also continually stand in awe of the blessing these little folks are to me.

Here are a few reasons they bless my socks off:

I blogged earlier this week about Dacey reminding me that I am God's and He thinks I'm wonderful. And yesterday she left a note on my computer. It said, "Momma, I know what God wants me to be. He wants me to be a missionary, so that is what I'll do." At ten years old my daughter is passionate about missions!

Another day Jaden walked up and said, "Mom, do you know that love is a powerful word?" He continued, "But Jesus is the most powerful word." I loved hearing that from my son who so loves pretending he is a superhero defeating evil. He knows the source of the ultimate power!!

And then my precious Isaac. Isaac started reading this week and has hit the ground running. He is so excited and motivated. His enthusiasm is contagious. I'm so proud of that boy I could bust. If there is a better feeling for a homeschool mom than to watch your child read for the first time, I don't know it!

And who could forget about Connor? NO ONE! He won't let you. lol If you saw the pictures that I posted yesterday, you realize that he is ALL BOY and THEN SOME! He keeps us hopping to say the least. But he is such a joy. His bedtime routine is too precious. Since I stopped nursing him, his daddy puts him to bed each night. He comes over and kisses me. I say, "Goodnight." He says, "Bye." I grin, "Goodnight, Connor." He shouts, "BYE!" "Bye, Connor." And then he is off to bed. I hope he doesn't outgrow that for a while... it always makes my heart smile. Connor also gives the best hugs and snuggles.

Yep, I'm hopelessly in love with my children. And yes, I am so very thankful that God chose me to be their mom!!

For more THANKFUL THURSDAY visit: Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Former Addict Recovered by God's Grace

My daughter reminded me yesterday of something that I have told her for her entire life: "Only God's opinion of you matters, and He thinks you're wonderful." My husband chimed in, "He also thinks you're beautiful. So do I."

Wow... could a woman's heart be any fuller?

Even before approval was said to be an addiction, I was an addict. I looked for it everywhere. A person didn't even have to express their disapproval of me to lower my opinion of myself. All they had to do was not vocalize that they appreciated me or offer an appropriate compliment, or (leave a comment - lol), and a sting of rejection burned through my entire being.

John Knowles wrote that 'sarcasm is the protest of the weak.' And there was a time that I was so weak that sarcasm was my second language. I used it protect myself from any negativity I might receive from whatever source. I was good at being sarcastic and quick to offer the best smart remark for any given situation.

In an effort to shield my children from the vulnerability that I myself had felt from feelings of rejection, I have taught them for their whole lives that God's opinion of them is truly the only opinion that matters. As long as they are living the life God to which God has called them, there is no one else they need to feel the desire to please. (That is taking into consideration, of course, that God's will for them includes them submitting to authority, but in doing so, not allowing anyone to make them feel any less than who they are.)

I spent years caught in the web of being a people pleaser. And when I didn't measure up to their expectations, I felt alone and rejected. Praise God that as the years have passed, He has shown me my true identity in HIM. I am HIS. I am CHOSEN. I am CALLED. He has called me FRIEND. Whose acceptance could mean more than the creator of the universe, than the creator of humanity.

I am so blessed that this message has been etched on the hearts of my children. Not only does it provide them with the security that comes from knowing who they are but also (and more importantly) whose they are, it also is great for the times when I relapse and need to be reminded.

I am HIS, and HE thinks I'm wonderful!

Isaiah 43:1 - But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, he who formed you: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway to be drawn at random on March 27th. Comment on the Party/1ooth Post Blog to register! **

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Lessons From the Garden

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Planting a flower bed is much more work than I'd expected. The task is complete, and every muscle and joint in my body aches to prove it!

Our house was built in 1927. It shows its age well. Two years ago when we had the house rewired, it was determined that all of the existing wiring was original to the house. The floor in the living room is beginning to buckle, which is just one more project we will have to undertake before long. Hopefully, we will soon be able to put new siding on the house, and in a couple of years we plan to install central heat and air. Again, the house shows its age in many areas. The yard is no exception.

I can only imagine all of the flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables that have been planted in my yard over the past eighty years. There are wild onions growing in the front yard along with the remains of several trees that we have cut down while living here. There are several ruts in the yard from all of the digging that has taken place over the years, but the proof of all that has been planted lays beneath the surface.

As I began to dig, I quickly realized that I was in for more than I had bargained. With each drive of the shovel, it became more and more difficult to break up the roots that had spent years forming and growing. The evidence of all that had been planted in the ground was still there even though the plants themselves had been gone for sometime. I knew that if my flower bed were to be a success, I would have to remove all of the old roots so they would not eventually choke the growth out of the new flowers I wanted to go in their place.

Our hearts aren't much different than the ground in my front yard. With each of life's disappointments- heartaches- and failures, seeds of doubt, frustration, bitterness, and anger have been planted and grown. God longs to remove those things and plant something beautiful in its place. But before He can, He has to remove the roots that have been buried in our hearts as long as we can remember. The hurtful thing the teacher said to us a child, the time the bully teased us in front of the class, the boyfriend that left, the bills that have caused stress, the sickness that has caused worry, the broken relationships, and so on all lay there beneath the surface waiting to choke the life out of any new growth.

Our loving Father wants so desperately for us to grow closer to Him and live a life of joy and happiness, so He, the Master Gardener begins a work. It is slow, difficult, and at times painful, but it is necessary. There were times while I was digging the small piece of ground that was to house my garden, that the work became so difficult that I wanted to give up. Not so with God. He keeps loving us, wiping away our tears, bandaging our boo-boos until all is gone, and He can begin the work He wants to see in our lives that will ultimately give us a hope and a future!
It is a job that requires participation and cooperation on our part, too. God can only remove the roots from our hearts when we are willing to let the ghosts of our past out to be laid at His feet... once and for all.

I am thankful for the good work He has started in me! How about you?

Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Snakes in the Garden

For weeks now the kids and I have planned to plant a flower bed during Spring Break. It was our goal to take our somewhat bland front yard and transform it into a garden of peace, tranquility, and beauty. All of the preparations were made, and this morning we began digging up the ground in order to start the transformation.

For an hour or more I dug. I didn't get a as much accomplished as I'd hoped because there were several large roots running underneath the surface of the dirt. With a lot of effort and even more difficulty, I was able to break up many of the larger roots. Finally it was time for a break. As I sat on the steps to catch a breather, Dacey continued to pull up some of the broken ground and place it into a nearby wagon. I was only a few feet from where she was working, observing her tenacity when her scream broke my concentration.

"SNAKE!!" she bellowed. Within a second I was by her side. I grabbed the shovel from Dacey and "ran the snake through" or at least I thought I had. It struggled for several minutes before I again gave it a startling blow from the shovel. It was dead.

For those of you who know me, you know that I am scared of anything that flies, slithers, crawls, swims, or jumps. If it isn't warm blooded, keep it away from me! However, when my daughter was in trouble, the mommy in me acted before I had time to be afraid. That snake was threatening my child, and that is where I draw the line.

After we came in the house I began thinking of how this parallels in our own lives. God begins a beautiful work. He has to "churn some ground" in our hearts, but He knows the end result is worth it and for our good. But the devil doesn't like what he sees. So he slithers in trying to cause doubt to arise in the process. God steps in and says, "That's my kid, and that's where I draw the line!" And he crushes satan under His feet!

I'm so glad to be the prized daughter of my ABBA Father and knowing that He is my protector, my deliverer, and all the while He is still my DADDY!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Does he love me?

I've known for a while this day would come. It was inevitable. I have tried to prepare myself.. to brace myself. It was to no avail. My husband has left me.

(Ok, the drama queen role belongs to my ten year old daughter, but I couldn't resist.) Tommy returned to work today for the first time since his surgery in December. I have really enjoyed having him home with me and will have to readjust to life without him around during the day.

Tommy and I share a unique relationship, but I firmly believe that we have what God's idea of marriage is meant to be. We love each other passionately, prefer one another above any other, and honest to goodness love spending our every waking minute together.

Tommy's love for me truly reflects Christ's love for the church. He is patient, kind, gentle, loving, affectionate, and loyal. He loves deeply, works hard, and daily lays down his life for the comfort of his family. And make no mistake, his "bride" is not perfect. She is sometimes hormonal, often crazy, and even at times given to temper tantrums. Yet he loves her (me) through it all. Really does reflect Jesus and his bride, huh?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16

I have recently finished reading "The Shack" by Wm Paul Young. I know there is a lot of controversy in the Christian world over this book. I read it as a work of fiction and not thinking it to be a theological resource. Going into it with that in mind, I really gleaned a lot from the story. Since having read the book, my eyes have been open so much more to how tangible God's love for me is.

I have been putting my thoughts together about what God is showing me about love and the trinity. I am digging into scripture and am excited about what I am learning. I cannot wait to share with you the truths that God is teaching me about His love for me... even ME!

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to share some of what I've learned, but for now I have got to call it a night. I am tired, and hubby has to get up early for work tomorrow. Stay tuned....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life as I Know It!

If you've noticed there have been less "aMusings" lately, it's because life has left little time for important things... like blogging!

Last weekend our family joined friends on an overnight camping trip. The trip was fun enough... other than trying to keep up with a very active two year old...but the days that followed left me and hubby more than drained. We were tired and achey for days.

And his week? Well it has had more than its fair share of accidents to keep me on my toes. On Tuesday Isaac opened a door quickly. Connor happened to be on the other side of that door and ended up with a bruised cheek. Wednesday found Dacey knocking Jaden off of his bicycle and running over him with hers! Yes, it was an accident, but he got banged up pretty good. Then on Thursday Dacey was running fever. That was the least of it when hubby had a piece of wood pop out of a fire and into his eye! We headed to the local ER only to turn back after waiting longer than we'd wanted to even get into admissions. After getting home Isaac was knocked off the side walk by a dog causing him a headache and a scratched back! Tonight the kids were playing and it was Dacey's turn. Not to be outdone by her siblings and father she got a little too rough while playing with her brothers, and they got rough back. So guess who ended up with a busted lip? Yep, my darling, little princess.

I took Tommy to an opthomologist today to have his eye checked out. He is due to return to work on Tuesday which will be his first day back since his shoulder surgery in December. (I did tell Tommy that though I had not wanted him to return to work, I had no intentions of him re-injuring himself!) Fortunately the doctor did not think this would keep him from returning to his job. After Tommy's eye was checked out and patched up, we decided to see if I could get in to have my eyes examined as well. It has been eight years (pitiful, right) since my last eye exam. Of course, that means my eyeglasses are eight years old too. I wear them usually just when I'm driving, but I have noticed lately that there is a glare on the tv and things aren't as "clear" as they once were. I was checked out, given a new prescription for eye glasses, and told I'd need to wear them 24/7. Yet another sign that I'm not as young as I use to be!

It has been an exhausting week, but really this is nothing any different than normal for us. I was surprised several weeks ago when I was contacted and asked to be a writer for a health blog, but I guess these kind of things are the reason why I'm the perfect candidate. If we haven't experienced it personally, someone in my family probably has!

God continues to remind me that His grace is sufficient. As I have learned to trust in Him more and more, I have also learned to be content in these kind of situations. Maybe content isn't the right word, but I do not get as anxious as I once did. Because of His continued faithfulness, I know He will see us through!

Hubby returns to work Tuesday.. pending any other accident, of course! LOL Hopefully once that happens things will slow down again, and I will be able to catch up in the world of blog.

Here's a picture of my beat up, motley crew:

Friday, March 6, 2009

This week's aMusing moments:

So driving home last night my daughter turns to me and says, "So, Momma. We're like made from dust, right?" "Yes, Dacey," I respond. She continues, "So you're allergic to dust. Does that mean you're allergic to yourself?" LOL Don't you just love the way a child's mind works.

Another funny from the week that has aMused me every time I've thought about it... I was listening to K-Love in the van one day this week. They were talking about good names for dogs which is of course a topic that caught my interest. One woman called in and when asked what good name she had to suggest, she responded, "My Husband." She continued telling the DJ that she was not referring to her husband specifically but rather thought the name "My Husband" was clever. She added, "Then you could say My Husband was so happy to see me today or My Husband loves me so much. My Husband does everything I ask. My Husband is so well trained." The DJ's thoughts turned the positive to negative when he asked whether or not "My Husband" was housebroken. He injected, "Because you'd hate to say My Husband pottied in the living room or My Husband just went in the neighbors yard." LOL I know it is warped humor, but it cracked me up! :-)

For more Friday Funnies Humor check out Homesteader's Heart here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Picture Perfect

As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man. Proverbs 27:19

A couple of weeks ago my family had pictures made for the first time in many years. Sure, we'd had some taken of the kids right after my two year old was born, but there were none that included Tommy and me since right after my second child was born eight years ago.

I spent so much time and energy getting ready for those pictures. After all.. everything had to be perfect. These pictures will be around after we are gone. They will be just one way in which we are remembered.

As I have thought about the preparation I put into our appearance for this particular photograph, I wondered to myself what kind of preparations would be made were one to take a picture of my heart. No, I'm not talking about an echo-cardiogram, but rather my thoughts, my actions, and my attitudes. Would the person they see on the inside be the person they thought they knew from the outside?

My grandmother always told me "pretty is as pretty does". I have tried to live by this thought and have passed it on to my children as well. The way we looked won't count for much once we are gone, but people will remember us for the way they felt in our presence. Were they uncomfortable? Did they have to walk on egg shells? Or were they able to let their hair down and be themselves? Did they walk away feeling loved and accepted? Or did they leave feeling confused and burdened?

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

God, help me live my life from the inside out. May who I am in you shine through in every action, attitude, and thought I have. Help me to remember that it's what's on the inside that counts as I encounter people through my day. Help me to not judge based on appearance, but to be more like you and look upon a person's heart instead. In Jesus name, amen.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7