Saturday, January 16, 2010

Alone Time

My life just drove away in the truck. Any other mothers think of that when their hubby and kids drive away? That in a split second my life could be gone? I know it's not my place to worry about tomorrow... or even an hour from now. That belongs to the Lord. He giveth and He taketh away, and He will hold my hand through it all.

For those of you who don't homeschool, you may not be able to appreciate a day to one's self. I don't actually remember the last time we've been apart for more than a couple of hours. Barry thinks their going to fish all into the afternoon. I wish him luck. Ice fishing is boring. Especially for Alana. We were actually surpised she chose to go with.

And as usual, she got clingy with me before she left.

As she was hugging me on the stairs by the door, she said, "Mom, how come I spend half of my life trying to run away from you, and then when I have the opportunity, I don't want to leave you?" How very astute for my 10 year old dear girl. I told her that I felt the same way. And we bonded yet again.

I remind myself daily as I'm doing their laundry, washing their dishes, cooking their food, picking up their stuff...that even in my selfish irritation...I wouldn't want to spend my life doing anything else.

That said, I'm going to try now to enjoy the day alone....

Oh, Baby, Where Art Thou?

We're still waiting for baby. Do you like how I say "we" even though I'm not the one who's big as a house? :) My sis just had the thought the other day that maybe she's not as far along as they thought...but carrying twins. What a thought!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Contentment Catch Up

I promised an update yesterday....but I got too tired. Sorry. The girls and I went grocery shopping, which took WAY too long, and ended with Erin dropping to 40 in Walmart and speeding home to make dinner. Don't worry...I did treat her before we left the parking lot. Anyway, shopping totally exhausts me, and after my second day of no nap, writing was absolutely out of the question!

Now, after a day of cleaning, laundry, cooking, and looking up treatments for guinea pigs with bald spots, I think I'm ready to go!

Since my last "Contentment Catch-Up"...

The three barriers that keep us from experiencing contentment: greed, lack of purpose, and anxiety.

The greed part is pretty simple to figure out, and although I've never considered myself a materialistic person (in fact, I'm pretty darn cheap!) I know I've been convicted. Did you know that Scripture contains more references to money than to salvation?

Some key points...
*materialism has become a god in our country
*when we purchase more than we can afford, we are discontent with what God has given. We no longer trust that God knows best and that He will supply our needs.
*greed builds a barrier between us and God

And remember...
*"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:21)
*"No one can serve two masters...You cannot serve both God and money." (Matt 6:24)

Then we move on to not having a life purpose or focus. Not knowing why I'm here or where I'm going. Living without on hold, waiting for something or someone to give life meaning. We we live directionless, we are swiftly propelled by the winds of circumstances.

"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." -Goethe

"For my determined purpose is that I may know Him - that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly." (Phil 3:10 AMP)

And then worry..."worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere."

*"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." - George Muller
*We commit sin when we worry because we are not trusting God
*So, faith is the foundation:
(I love this!) Faith raises us above our circumstances. Faith enables us to be content even when life doesn't make sense. Faith is the bulwark that keeps us strong even when we're assailed by agonizing thoughts about what might happen or by what has happened.
*Faith is walking in the dark with God, holding His hand.

Of course, there are a TON of Scripture references to having faith and trusting in God, and casting our worries on Him. But you get the idea.

Today we discussed the spiritual diseases of "What If" and "If Only". The first deals with the future and leads to anxiety (I suffer from this one daily...thanks, Glenn Beck!) and the second relates to the past and leads to anger. Here is a verse and a quote that sum these up...

"Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord....Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord." (Jer 17:5&7)

"I am always content with that which happens, for I think that which God chooses is better than what I choose." -Epictetus

What makes this book extra meaningful is the personal stories and profiles she adds. Linda Dillow was a missionary, mostly, I believe in Eastern Europe (when communist) and China. The women's stories that she shares completely put me to shame...and help prepare for our possible future. She worked with women who had nothing...and risked that nothing, as well as their "freedom", safety, health, and life to serve Christ. What excuse do I have not to? And am I prepared to do the same if this country goes the same way?

The girls and I are currently reading "The Huguenot Garden" by Douglas Jones. If you're a Christian and have kids, this is a must-read! It is about a 17th century French Protestant family being persecuted by a Catholic king. It discusses faith, standing up for one's beliefs, and the role of government and religion. Awesome!!!!

We also talked about William Penn this week, and I'm reading a bit extra. I want to know more about the Quakers and how their beliefs jive with my own. He's one of the few famous men we've learned about that we had no problems with liking! :)

Well, I'll stop boring you now! Hope you all have a safe, fun and productive weekend! I'm hoping to get some creative juices flowing in my scraproom tomorrow (I've been in a dry spell here for a while). And who knows...maybe I'll become an auntie again this weekend!!!! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Pics. Finally.

The Bible story tradition...
The cousins. Easton wouldn't sit still long enough...
He did like Avery's new dress-up hat, though!

Grandma knit bears for all the kids. She's so talented! She even got Avery's to look like her!

Anything "horse" makes Alana smile...

Erin loves art and drawing. Thanks, Santa!

Mommy got a new Bible cover! (Picked it out herself and everything!)

Daddy managed to smile at the camera for once. Christmas miracle!

Tony just loves the camera...
Isn't my niece, Lexi, beautiful???
There are more pictures, of course, but I'm just too lazy to post them all! :)
I had to start off my morning today with a mini-physical for my new life-insurance application. The nurse came at 8:30...which really is early. (That way I didn't have to work at fasting!) At least that's what I thought til I figured out that I shouldn't have my morning java at 6:30 when I start my God time cuz of the sugar I have to have in it. Ummm...not the best way to start off the day. Ugh. I just never managed to find my groove. I guess I'm just too much of a routine-azoid. That, and I need my coffee at 6:30 in the morning!

I'm behind on my contentment study updates, but I'll be back with them tomorrow. I'm just too tired right now. I know that we've hit on materialism discontent and worry. And yes, I'm guilty of both...but I'll get to that tomorrow.
Until then.... God bless and enjoy the sunshine!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Random Things to Share

Yesterday was a brilliant day in my quest for contentment. Linda Dillow certainly knows how to reach a body! Friday's chapter was "Content to Be Me," and the fact that God made us exactly how we are...our body, mind, personality, gifts, etc. for a purpose. To be displeased with who we are is to challange our Lord...and who am I to do that?! He has a plan for us, a plan created before we were, and we need what the Lord has created us with to fullfill His plan. Well, duh! Sounds so simple when you put it that way!

Here's a quote from Rev. James Hufsteler that really hit home for me...

"You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way he did."


More thoughts...

too often in our lives, accomplishment and doing overshadow growth and becoming...God wants us to focus on becoming like Christ, shaping our character into His image...however we tend to focus on the frame (our physical attributes, talents, personality...)

and then there was the attention paid to the Proverbs 31 woman (whom I'm well aware of, thanks to my mom!) Dillow says, "The Poverbs 31 woman was not controlled by her circumstance and demands of her family, her household, or her home business. She was ruler of her attitudes, her time, and her schedule. Her relationship with God was central. All that she became was a result of her yielding to His sovereign control."

Today's focus was contentment with our current our roles in this life are always evolving. Quit waiting for our next role to come to bring happiness...enjoy where you are now and make the best of it.

I need to share a thought from my new favorite site, Holy Experience.

Homemaking is about making a home --- and a home is a safe place, a refuge, a place to be real and alive and truest true.

Homemaking is not about making perfection.

Seriously, I LOVE this woman! For all of the times I get angry with my family for not picking up their messes, saying no to new messy projects, complaining about the state of my house...that's not what it's about. And really, that is how I live my life...perfect imperfection. It's about time I start reminding myself of that!

I also haven't shared any new layouts in a couple of months, so here's what I've created...

Have a great weekend, try to stay warm, and God Bless!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Baptism

As I told you last week, I finally got baptized on Sunday. Saturday was a little nerve-wracking for me. Little things, though, like what to wear and how the logistics would go are the things that bug me. Sunday morning brought excited anticipation, grins, and giddiness! Wow, was I ready! I actually felt a little like I was going to get married again. My tummy was just in knots!

I had been working on what I would say for my testimony...silly, really. Anyone who knows me knows that I'd start bawling the second I opened my mouth. And I did. So, I kept it short and sweet...something about proclaiming my faith in Jesus Christ and wanting to obey my Lord.

I was deeply moved by others afterwards. I was warmly welcomed into the family of Christ with many hugs and congrats...including a couple of men. I love a man who will hug...and cry! I know that my baptism did not in any way earn me salvation...but I do feel better having obeyed. Another wall brought down between my God and I.

On another note, I found a new website to enjoy...
This woman is a Christian mom, wife, writer, homeschooler, and fantastic photographer! I am awed by her spirit, her words, and her photographs! Oh, and I have NEVER been so drawn to one's playlist before! Beautiful music! I know that whenever I'm on the computer (like right now) I'll have her playlist playing. In fact, I'd have already ordered the cd's if I wasn't restrained by this budget thing! :)
Barry has been on the payroll at Ruan (his new job) for a week now, but doesn't officially go into the office til tomorrow. I'm glad he got a couple of days off (although he did a ton of tax and bill work) but I'll also be glad to get down to our new routine when he's back at work. It will be a change having him home at night instead of all day. He's nervous, as expected...his first new job in over 22 years. But, I have every confidence in his abilities...and I'll be praying for him all day!
School is going well. I think I've finally convinced the girls that it's the better thing to do school throughout the summer (at reduced times) as they forgot lots of stuff just during the week and a half they had off! Now, they get it! And I'm trying to kick off the new year more organized and dedicated to and my "new beginnings," you know! :)
And for my year of "Contentment," I've started a book by Linda Dillow, "Calm My Anxious Heart." So far, it is totally worth my time. Some notes to share:
*I need to keep an eternal perspective, viewing my life and evaluating what's important from His perspective.
*Most of us base our contentment on our circumstances, on our feelings, or on other people. Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.
*Paul said, "I have learned to be content..." (Phil 4:11) ---so we can still learn this skill!
and, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13)---Christ gives us the strength to be content through all
*Never allow myself to complain about anything - not even the weather (I really gotta work on this one!)
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else
*Never compare your lot with another's (guilty)
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise
*Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours (this is probably my biggest issue)
I've got a lot to chew on so far! Hope some of this was helpful to you, too!