Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's long...but worth it--Come back when you have more time to read it! :-)

In addition to my quiet times with the Lord recently, I've been reading the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver. It's been excellent so far--very, very good--but I haven't finished it yet, so I can't whole-heartedly endorse it until I've read it in it's entirety. But something I read recently was a real help, and I wanted to share it with all of my frazzled-mom-friends especially...but it's good for anyone who's not a mom, too, just busy with things older than 8! :-)'s a very long post...probably my longest yet, but it's only a page and a half from the look at it that's only a bit more than a page in a book (a book without pictures, mind you, but only a page or so nonetheless!) And well worth the time!

"Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
My thirty-something birthday had dawned bright and busy. Tucked into a pile of bills and credit card applications I found a card sent from my friend, Janet McHenry. The message inside wished me a “Hoopy Birthday,” and that made me smile, but the picture on the front was what really grabbed my attention. It illustrated everything I’d been feeling that dreary, getting older day.
“That’s me,” I said to my husband, poking at the black and white glossy.
Taken back in the early 1950’s, the photo showed a young woman in Greta Garbo shorts with eight or nine hula hoops swinging madly around her waist. “How does she do that?” I wanted to know.
It had been a frustrating day of too many responsibilities and not enough of me to go around. One by one, I named the Hula-Hoops I had been trying to keep in motion: wife, mother, pastor’s wife, friend, writer, piano instructor, cook, cleaning lady, and the big one—Little League mother. If we weren’t racing to baseball games, we were rushing to church; if I wasn’t folding laundry, I was stealing a few minutes to write.
“That’s me!” I laughed. I made exaggerated motions with my hips, trying to keep my invisible hoops afloat. My eyes darted from the photo to my husband’s concerned face then back again. “That’s me!”
After a few cups of chamomile tea and some chocolate chip sedatives—I mean, cookies—I calmed down and read my friend’s letter while my husband ran our kids to yet another ball game. Chatty and full of humor, Janet shared her hectic schedule and the things the Lord had been teaching her.
I finished the letter, closed the card and looked once more at the girl on the front. There were so many hoops, but she appeared calm. Her upper body seemed to be perfectly still, her arms outstretched slightly, as the hoops raced around her waist in synchronized chaos.
Her face captured me. Looking straight into the camera, she smiled peacefully as though she hadn’t a care in the world.
Then it dawned on me—I saw her secret. “She found a rhythm,” I whispered to myself. “She established her center, and then let everything move around that.”
That’s exactly what I wasn’t doing in my life. All the things I’d been trying to accomplish were important, but I had lost my center. Busy being busy, I’d forgotten to tend to my inner self, the spiritual me. Like a wheel without an axle, I’d careened through life, bouncing off one duty and onto another.
If there was adequate pause, I’d spend some time with the Lord. But lately, more often than not, my busy days had slipped by without a quiet time. And my life was revealing what my spirit had missed.
“Teach me, Lord. Show me the rhythm of life,” I found myself praying.
“Be my center.”

Life is filled with Hula-hoops. We all have responsibilities, important things that need our attention. If we’re not careful, however, our hearts and our minds can be consumed with the task of keeping them in the air. Rather than centering ourselves in Christ and letting the other elements of our lives take their rightful place around that center, we end up shifting our attention from one important to-do item to another, frantically trying to keep them all in motion.
It’s easy to forget that while there is a time to work, there is also a time to worship—and it’s the worship, the time we spend with God, that provides the serene center to a busy, complex life."

(Taken from "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver pp 99-100 Waterbrook Press)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Messy Handwriting--A sign of Genious?

So I've heard it said that the smartest people often have really bad penmanship. If this is true, Daniel must be pure genious!

Yesterday Daniel came home after school, and I was checking his homework. I came to his handwriting paper that he had finished at school and quickly realized he'd be doing the entire thing over. He knew it wasn't acceptable--not even close, but was obviously less than thrilled by the prospect of doing the entire thing over. I took it as more of a character lesson about working carefully and doing your best more than actually being concerned that each letter be perfect (I mean come on...I do have a heart after all!) So after a few miutes of grumbling and then a few minutes of "correcting the grumbling" Daniel started in on the assigment--for the second time. I've always worked with him on his handwriting, but he's just never "got it" before. But something clicked this time. Perhaps it's a maturing thing, and he's just got more coordination and fine motor skill all of a sudden, or perhaps it was me standing over his shoulder...both can be pretty effective...but the light bulb came on (my favorite thing to see as a teacher--that moment when the kids "get it" and their face just lights up!) We were both literally beaming when we realized that Daniel figured out how to slant his letters and make them neatly, too! I know it sounds silly, but it's a big deal to both of us! He was so proud of himself. I jokingly said it was good enough to put on the blog...and Daniel loved the here it is...Daniel has made huge strides in his handwriting--even slanting! Yahoo!!! So does this mean his IQ has suddenly dropped many points because he writes neatly? hmmmmm...

Okay...for all you teachers out there, I know it's not perfect, but trust me...the light bulb has come on and pushed us light years ahead of his handwriting before! Seeing the look of accomplishment and pride in his work made the effort worth it Mastercard...priceless!

Monday, October 22, 2007

And now for a more serious note...

One of our greatest desires for our children is to see them get saved at an early age and grow to love God with all their hearts and have a real, vital relationship with their heavenly Father. Daniel made a profession of faith a few summers ago, and there seems to be true evidences of his relationship with God as found in 1 John. We understand that our children's relationship with God is between them and God, and that we can never know for certain what is in their hearts....except when they tell us they're not Hannah's been doing for quite some time now. For about the past 6 months, she's shown a real interest in learning about salvation. We've done our best to point her to the Scripture each time she brought it up. About a week ago, she started getting really serious about it and was getting less and less distracted when we would open the Bible with her. It was probably last Saturday or Sunday that we really thought she would get saved, but when Brent asked her if she wanted to be save, much to our surprise she said no, that she'd do it another night...maybe tomorrow. We talked with about the imminency (sp?) of Christ's return and how our lives are but a vapor, but she just wasn't ready. Brent and I spent this last week really praying for her (and trying not to imagine all the what-if scenarios as I drove down the road--"What if we get in a car accident and she dies before she gets saved, or what if she chokes on that hot dog and dies, or what if"--and before you know it, I'm in tears thinking about her funeral--come on...most of you girls have done that before even if you won't admit it!) All week long she kept saying, "Maybe tomorrow night" or "Maybe tonight at family devotions" We wanted to be careful and make sure the Holy Spirit was the one working and not just 2 sincerely zealous parents so we tried to encourage her without pressuring her. But tonight, she came to us and asked if she could be saved. After lots of questions and making sure she understood and the Holy Spirit was indeed drawing her to Himself, we knelt beside the couch and Hannah asked the Lord to forgive her for sins and allow her to go to heaven. We rejoice in the Lord's goodness in helping our little girl see her need for a Saviour and the thought of spending eternity with her as our heavenly sister! God is so much better to us than we deserve! I took this picture of Brent and Hannah after she need for a flash here, the beaming from my face was probably enough to light the entire room!

Just answer me one question, "Son, What were you thinking?!"

Daniel is such an 8 year old boy...I keep telling myself, "He's only 8, He's only 8" So I was in the garage putzing around Saturday afternoon--it was gorgeous outside--about 65 and sunny--we're enjoying those kind of days knowing full well they are numbered! And I hear Daniel say, "Mom, we've got a problem, but don't come out here!" So of course I went in the house and ignored, that's what I wanted to do, but knew better! Not sure what he was thinking, but I heard him continue pounding with something--even after he told me there was a problem (He's only 8, He's only 8!) I went outside only to find him with the 2 foot long (or thereabouts) croquet post hammered into the ground so that only about 6 inches were above the ground. "I got a little carried away..." (he's only 8, he's only8) I explained in no uncertain terms that his father would not see the humor in the situation and he'd better do his best to get it out of the ground before Daddy realized what he had done. So what's he do? He starts digging with his fingers thinking he can dig the foot and a half down to get the stick out. I just walked away muttering "He's only 8, He's only 8!" I came back with the camera--I figured if he's crazy enough to hammer the post all the way into the ground, he can stand for me to take a picture of it and put it on the blog! (I ended up having mercy on him and somehow managed to wriggle it back and forth enough to get it to come out) Don't go thinking it's all cute and what not--to quote my friend Carissa when people tell her how cute her kids are..."It's kept them alive!"

Bananas in Pajamas are coming down the stairs...

Okay, so this adorable baby has nothing to do with the ridiculous kids show from a few years back about Bannanas is Pajamas, but she is in her nightgown and has bannanas smeared all over her face. This was our first attempt at putting a few pieces of real bannanas on her tray and letting her feed herself.'s up by her hairline...what can I say, she's got my double chin and lack of coordination--poor thing! She's doing very well with baby food. VERY WELL!!! She weighed in at 23 pounds 2 ounces at her 9 month well baby check up last week...yes, she is an overachiever and is weighing in well above the 95th percentile...she's not even on the charts...that's my girl! :-) Just a note of concern, though, the doctor is watching her for asthma...she's not quite ready to diagnose her yet, but most indicators are saying that Sarah has asthma. Her bout of pneumonia came as quite a surprise to us since she had no other symptoms--just a really bad cough that she could not get rid of. The doctor ordered a chest xray just to rule out pneumonia, but sure enough it came back showing that she had it in both lungs. She responded very well to the antibiotics and has stopped coughing now all together (finally!) We're thankful for a great doctor who likes to be cautious!

Fun with our Campus Kids

Mr. Collin's a sophomore History Ed major.

Mr. Tim's a Senior Missions major.
Miss Lydia's a transfer student--technically she's a sophomore, but this is her first semester at Northland. We missed having our other 2 with us--Miss Nikki and Miss Julie.

Campus Kids at Northland is a big deal! Each of the students are assigned to a staff family, and the staff family acts as a family for them while they are away from home. We only have 5 campus kids since we live off campus (Those families on campus can have upwards of 12!) But Daniel and Hannah have taken a real shining to our campus kids. We had them over for dinner the other night and the kids enjoyed some good old fashioned wrestling and looking Waldo--it's what we always seem to end up doing with our campus kids. 2 of our girls weren't able to make it since they were in a block class, so we'll have to get together again soon!

She's getting into everything!!!

So Sarah's really on the move now...she's still doing the soldier crawl most of the time, but she's doing a full-fledged up on all 4's now more and more...which means nothing is safe! She managed to find a box of goodies that I left by the fridge. She didn't manage to get any of the packages open, but that's because she didn't realize it was food. Had she realized that, there would have been no stopping her! Brent and I have observed that Sarah is much more determined than our other 2 have ever been. Daniel and Hannah definitely had their issues, (ask anyone from New Hope about Daniel's scream echoing through the hallways when it came time to leave him in the nursery!), but both of their temperaments were pretty mild and easy going as babies. Then came Sarah...She's one strong-willed child...when she gets something in her mind, nothing stops her, not even a little, shall we say, "persuasion" from us! We both think we're in for some tricky times with the terrible two's and three's!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall Fun!

We went to a fall festival of sorts at a nearby orchard a few weeks back. It was a small orchard (The trees were fenced in with a chain link fence to give you an idea how small it was) but the kids had fun playing with friends and going on a wagon ride around the orchard. It was one of those great and FREE family entertainment things that make everyone happy!

Daniel's Birthday

I'm going to post quite a bit tonight since my children and husband were so kind and let me get a 2 hour nap--which now means I'll be up until 1 or 2 in the morning, but it sure was nice to get a much needed nap! I know I've been remiss about posting lately...things sure have gotten busy around here with school and all. Hannah and Sarah have been sick so we we've added several doctor's appointments to the mix. Sarah ended up with pneumonia, but she's better now after a round of antibiotics. Hannah had a horrible cough as well and wasn't responding to the month of expectorants so the doctor put her on an antibiotic as well. Both patients are doing great now and I'm thankful I don't have to be giving medicine anymore or running to town for doctors appointments! :-) Daniel turned 8 at the end of September. Here are a few pics from the big event...

Brent and Daniel are so much alike. I think if Daniel could choose to do one thing for his birthday, it would be to spend time with his Daddy either playing video games or on the computer! I'm thankful for a husband that sees the value of a daddy spending time with his children...and not just playing video games (although they both seem to enjoy it no matter how old they get!)

We always let our children choose their birthday dinner...and with a little coaxing from me they usually choose to eat out. This year Daniel chose to eat at Dairy Queen...they like to get the free Dilly Bars with their kids meals. I do have to add a side note here that Daniel won't be eating off the kids' menu for too much longer...there are meals he out eats me and Brent! His birthday was on a Wednesday so we were able to eat out before we headed over to church.

Daniel loves legos. When we were looking around for what kind of cake he wanted me to make for his birthday, he loved the lego cake immediately! I also made him a snake cake for his friends at church. I baked and decorated cakes all morning long (enter sigh here with a hand dramatically swiping the perspiration from said brow) but it was worth it to see how much the cake actually looked like a real lego block! is an amazing website for birthday cakes, party ideas, and family crafts. The explanations about how to make super cute cakes is a great help!

Sunday, October 14, 2007