Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Submission - Stillness of Heart

"God has designed beauty and pleasure to inhabit the simplest of things, but we have to be still in our heart to enjoy them. We have to submit and assent by faith to the reality of each day, however mundane, choosing to see with heart-eyes the reasons for thanksgiving and joy. Otherwise we miss the power of the spring season."
~ Sally Clarkson in Seasons of a Mothers Heart ~




483. Simple joy of listening to a child speak - so innocent yet wise.


484. Submission - the key lesson I learned while traveling through the Old Testament in 2008 was Faith and Obedience. All I need to master is great faith and simple obedience- God honors our meager attempts at submission because it blooms into a heart of usefulness for God.


::Submission/Respect for my husband, valuing his decisions and his choices, seeing that there are many ways to do things. Appreciating his uniqueness and finding the peace that comes when I submit to God's leadership through the vessel of my husband.


:: Submission/Respect for government leaders even though I don't agree with their policy's.
:: Submission to God through watching my speech and speaking words of affirmation, not words that tear down.


:: Submission to my children when it comes to spending quantity time investing and enjoying their simple day.

485. Stillness of heart - I love the quote above, it reminds me to enjoy my children and my wonderful life through the obediencee of laying aside self and creating an atmosphere of being still.

486. Driving home from another doctor visit with Gabe - white car pulls up and hand delivers a delightful Cinnamon Dulce Latte to a very frozen mommy! What a wonderful man I am blessed to share this life with!

487. The tapping of ice on the window, the storm that is unleashing ice onto frozen North Texas communities. A perfect evening to praise Jesus through song and sip hot tea.

488. Depression - a time when God remains faithful and reminds me to cling to the simple and mundane - not to pursue the busy and chaotic. Depressions are a blessing for me because they allow me to see Christ with different lenses, I normally come out with a fresh and calmer faith.

489. Simple smiles of a toddler - reveling in the joy of a simple box.

490. The love and playfulness of brothers, the life lessons I try to weave throughout their days about sharing, loving, self control, diligence... sibling love provides lots of teachable moments!

491. Faithful and passionate daddy who loves his boys and enjoys spending time teaching them life lessons - like how to ride a two-wheeler.


492. The lesson of "Hupo Menno" in James 1:4 which reminds me that the pressures of life produce endurance, as a Christian who finds so many people struggling with simple obedience, it spurs me on to mature and embrace the trials I've been given - possible even be thankful!

493. Faith - as I read today about a family that lost their jobs due to the economy, their reaction was to kill themselves and their children. I'm at a loss - if only they could have stepped back and seen the big picture. The picture that life is more than money or jobs or wealth or security in self - its about enjoying the imperfect life, with certainty that true perfection and peace is only a lifetime away. This life is a time to store away memories and intimacy with the One whom all life is about - the author and perfecter - Jesus Christ. Then, to share that Love and Intimacy in Christ with the world!

494. The month of January, it always reminds me of the time when I was in the hospital for many weeks, the desolation, the depression, and the pure joy when we were handed our healthy little man. I re-live a lot of those hard 3 months, to remind me that, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!"

495. Routine, silent evening walks with the dog - 1 mile of just listening....

Life with Four

Our second born seems to have been sick over half his life! He is finally over the flu and still has diarrhea and his tummy is swollen and Gabe isn't happy when you touch it. I had the privilege of counting his dirty diapers today and taking samples - the things mothers do for the children they love! If the samples come back parasite free, we're off to a GI specialist at Cooks for some tests.

Drew is into the "why" phase of childhood. Not the disobedient, "Why do I have to clean my room" type, but the "Why is the sky blue, and why can't hundreds of helium balloons lift me into the sky?" questions. Drew always has questions for us. He is into imagination and playing with his brother. He loves to be the center of attention and is just now realizing that Gabe is also vying for that same attention. Drew had a wonderful birthday and is enjoying all his fun discoveries. For example, the electronic rocket ship isn't to be taken into the bathtub, only the plastic one that doesn't make noise can go in the water. Too bad he had to learn that lesson the hard way.

We're enjoying our week with Grandpa Tractor and Grandma Carol. Drew is really enjoying having Grandpa read him Winnie The Pooh, Drew can interrupt with all the "Why" questions and Grandpa patiently answers them all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Drew's 4th Birthday

On Saturday we celebrated the birth of Drew with friends and family. It was such a special treat for Drew to have his "Papa tractor" and Grandma Carol come to his party. They came to visit us for a week, so we planned his party around their trip. I wrestled about what to do for his party, I hate planning parties and the thought of having tons of little children destroying my house wasn't very attractive. So, I settled for a "family and friend" party. We invited two of Drew's favorite friends, Johnathan & Riley, and then our "family". We were especially excited to have the boys "Texas" grandparents come - Mike and Sue. It had been a while since they experienced a 4 year old party but I think they had fun!

Drew's party was a success, we adults were able to visit and the kids had so much fun playing outside in the sandbox. Drew opened a nice array of gifts, his favorite was a cool fork lift for his sand box; it talks and moves! He also received a scooter from mommy and daddy and some really cook rocket Jammie's from the Tyson's (on a side note, he chose to wear his rocket Jammie's to pajama day at school!)

Drew's perfect party was topped off by Nicole's creative brilliance, which managed to top any images we had of what a "rocket cake" looked like. All Drew wanted for his birthday was a rocket cake and Nicole's imaginative flare & attention to detail created the most impressive and yummy rocket cake! Thank you!!!!


Another special "Thank You" to Shea - I forgot that he entertains children with his balloon art. The kids had so much fun with balloon swords and hats! The dog became his best friend when he brought out a bubble gun!

We topped the evening off with some BBQ, it was so much fun to sit and visit with everyone. Drew was so ecstatic to open his gifts and be the center of attention for a few hours.

Today Drew had a special party at Pre-school He is the first in his class to turn 4 so we made it extra special. Drew and I baked cup cakes and made special aqua frosting! He was able to be line leader and have the class sing to him. Drew has been beaming all day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Momma Prays



My little man is turning 4, where in the world has all that precious time gone? I pray it has been invested wisely. I can think of many investments I've put into him the past 5 years (his womb time was quite the investment & sacrifice), all those vitamins and organic foods, my hospital stay and bed rest, natural childbirth, a wonderful marriage, extended family that love him, hours each day spent influencing his life, bible time, songs sung, catechism's memorized and lessons taught, discipline time, a few spankings here and there, hugs, kisses, tears wiped, books read, numbers memorized, ... all valuable and important investments into his life. My job is so great - raising a future husband, father, man who truly loves God, doesn't happen by chance, it happens through investments.




What I've been mulling over today as Drew's birthday fast approaches are the investments that I've made that are unseen - the prayers I've lifted up to my Father in the quietness of night on his behalf? I can invest all the time and resources I have into his little life, but without the touch of God it will never grow into fruition. I am the seed planter, God is the one who brings those seeds to life. God - the author and perfecter of life!



Though prayer is a part of my life, I have to confess that it isn't up to par, I know I can do better. My most diligent prayers for my boys are when their not behaving well or are sick. I choose often to waste time on the temporal and not focus on the eternal. So this coming year, I'm making it a goal to pray for my sons each and every day - on my knees before my Father. This little life I've been given on loan - temporarily lent from the Lord above. I would love to hear those precious words from my Father, "Well done good and faithful mother.." as He escorts me into the gates of heaven and into the arms of my children.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Else?



So today has been a total disaster, at one point I started laughing at the irony of it all! It started this morning, Gabe woke with the flu. So far Gabe has vomited all over our new rug, couch, about 10 blankets, his crib, changing table, a few times in the bathtub, and on his mommy - we're only to 5:00 pm!

If that isn't enough, while I was speaking to my boss I heard a horrible thump and hysterical screams proceeded. I knew John was in with Drew so I wasn't worried. Then, John rushed in and informed me that we had an emergency and Drew might need stitches. I must be immune to physical injury because every time I should get freaked out, I don't really see the need to get excited. I calmly finished my call and went downstairs to take inventory. Drew still had two arms, two legs, a nose, and ten fingers and toes. He did have a newly acquired slit above his left eye that was gaping open and bleeding. I guess if your jumping head first off beds something is bound to happen eventually! Drew will have a nice shiner and 5 stitches to share with his class tomorrow! He was bound to have a 1st ER trip, I'm just thankful it wasn't for a broken bone!

Could this day get any worse?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

First Person



For many, especially those with girls, enjoying the artwork of their children is a common occurrence. In our home it is very lacking, not for lack of trying, but for lack of interest. So I am so proud to post Drew's very first person - a beautiful picture of baby Jesus. Can you see the arms? He doesn't have legs because, according to Drew, Jesus is "wrapped in swaddling clothes" so the blanket covers his legs. To a mommy, it is as if Vincent Van Gogh himself drew this special piece of art. My favorite part is his hair, so adorable! I am so proud of Drew for his hard work and perseverance to draw me a beautiful, time consuming, picture!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun Friday



We had a very sweet week of being home and playing around with the kids. In honor of all that family time, we hired our baby sitter to come for the day and play with the boys. It was the best money we've spent in a while! John was able to almost finish up the bathroom remodel and I actually cleaned off my desk and filed! The close of 2008 (accounting books) are almost complete and the consolidation at work is almost done as well. Today was a wonderful catch up day that included finishing up work, cleaning out the fridge, grocery shopping, and vacuuming. Now I'm tired and off to sleep!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not Me Monday


So it is late and I need to go spend time with my sweet husband, but I thought I'd post one quick "Not Me Monday" as not to forget this very special moment between mother and son, so here goes.
I did not give my almost 4 year old his first tampon 101 lesson! Yes, what kind of a mother would do such a thing to an innocent child? I most certainly didn't go to the bathroom and not lock the door, only to discover my 4 year old had not walked in, tipped his head down to look between my legs and was smiling at me while I was... ahem.... making a fast bathroom change.
After his initial shock and many "why" questions, he was thrilled to know that it didn't hurt and he wouldn't need to do such things because he has the blessing of being a boy. I'm sure he won't tell his friends in class about this tomorrow and his teachers won't ask how he knows so much... Before you laugh and think it won't happen, at the beginning of they year he informed his entire class that he had a penis and that all boys have them. He is also quick to correct any classmate, or adult for that matter, that its proper name is a penis and anyone who calls it by another name is wrong.
Sigh...
Signed,
A Mother of 2 Boys

Sunday, January 11, 2009

6 Years!


Our 6th anniversary is here! I can't believe how quickly the time has passed, it also means we've been Texans for 6 years. This anniversary we wanted to stay frugal, as well as keep the calories low so it was a challenge coming up with fun yet romantic ideas. I wasn't expecting anything too exciting, but John proved that he too is getting into this frugal lifestyle and can be quite the romantic.


First, John woke me Sunday morning with a beautiful card and a eloquently written poem where he declared his love for me. I was so surprised and touched! I couldn't imagine anything better than my own poem, written by my own man! That night we were headed out for desert and while out stopped at Lowes and returned a ton of sprinkler heads from a job John did a few years ago. It ended up being a few hundred dollars worth of stuff, so I had a nice spending spree in the store. I ended up with a new rug for the living room! After, we went looking for a TCBY in hopes of having some 97% fat free frozen yogurt, but the address we had wasn't registering on the GPS, so we ended up at Braum's - not quite frozen yogurt, but we tried!


Then we went home and I surprised John with his New, cleaned BBQ (remember the one from last week and I pushed and pulled home 1/4 of a mile? Yes, that one)! It ends up being a Char-broil Commercial series grill. I even got it running while John was at work. I purchased new nobs at Lowe's and a nice cover. I was amazed at what some Armor-All and Windex would do! There was one rust stop on the front but a little heat resistant spray paint will do the trick. I'll post a picture of it all cleaned up shortly. The base is rusted out, but John is going to cut some thick plywood and I'll paint it black and we'll place it over the rusted base. It looks so nice, now all it needs are 4 new burners, the old ones work, but are a little clogged and since all I'm out is 20.00 for nobs, I think we can afford a few new burners! Aside from our Anniversary cruise in 2007, I had the best anniversary ever!




I just love my man!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This Week In Review



We spent the week at home! I finally took Gabe into the doctor because he has been sick, some of it is allergies and the other is probably that intestinal bug from October - he just has never returned to his old self. The doctor agreed that he did not look good, but couldn't find anything wrong with him - aside from a runny nose and a lot of nasal drip in his throat. She agreed that his the frequency of his diarrhea was also an issue. I hate antibiotics and try and not put the boys on it if at all possible, but I told her I was desperate to find some answers! So, we decided to put him on a 14 day antibiotic and hopefully kill whatever is in there that won't seem to let go of my old child. If that doesn't work then we'll have to run some fecal and blood tests. So far we're 4 days into the antibiotics and his diarrhea has turned into a solid stool and the frequency is back down to 2x a day - yes! He is sleeping much better and is chatting too. He seems to smile more and more with every passing day! I really am thankful that he is doing so well! That being said, we've been staying home. Gabe hasn't left the house all week and I'm hoping to give his body some time to heal from all his sicknesses!




Lets see..... we've been eating healthier! I've been experimenting with many of my meals and trying to make them with less fat and sugar. I made a really yummy banana bread with whole-wheat flour and applesauce. It was really good! I also baked us some chicken with a non-fat cream cheese sauce that was especially yummy too! Snack time has always been rough and a time known for unhealthy snacking, so I started putting fruit into ice cube trays with yogurt for dipping -- Drew loves it and so does mommy! I'm loving the fact that organic companies are throwing coupons around like crazy and putting their products on sale! Drew and I ran to Kroger today to pick up some free PowerAid Zero, toilet paper, and any other discounted items we might find. Turns out there were a ton of sale items not mentioned in their add - many of them organic products! In the end I left the store with 125.00 worth of groceries for 42.56 and that included a giant Enfamil formula can(on clearance for 10.48 and I had a 2.00 coupon). Drew is quite my shopper, he is so polite to people and loves to say "hi" to everyone. I saw a mom or three snicker as they heard him politely ask, "Mommy, do you have a coupon for this, I want to buy it!"






John spent the week ripping out the flooring in the 1/2 bath and the boys bathroom. The 1/2 bath is complete and I love the tile. It turned out really nice. John spent a lot of time on his knees, so I've been trying to be especially sweet, plus I know tile isn't his favorite remodeling project! Didn't he do a great job? Next he is on to the boys bathroom, which is proving to not be as easy! While ripping out the laminate on Monday, John discovered that the seal between the laminate and the toilet wasn't done well and the bath tub water had been slipping below the base of the toilet and molding - for 5 years! Needless to say the project is taking longer than expected. John is killing the mold and then sealing the floor, then he is installing a new floor onto of the old floor which he will again seal and attach the tile to. Lesson learned - if your husband is handy and a perfectionist -- make sure he goes over all the caulking in your new house!



On Friday Drew and I spent 1 1/2 hours building a new train track in his room! He has been playing with it ever since .... even in the middle of the night! We also jazzed up the playroom with a fun bulletin board and enjoyed some floor time with Gabe listening to a really great new CD I found by Elizabeth Mitchell (perfect for Kindergartners!). Elizabeth Mitchell sings children's songs, but has a voice like Nora Jones. Ssh, don't tell Drew but he is getting her CD "Catch The Moon" for his birthday!


Friday was also pizza night - we're loving Papa Murphy's thin-delight pizza's! Afterwords, Drew and I played Little Einstein BINGO which he really loved! Once the boys were off to bed and the dog was walked, John and I played a crazy game of canasta which by some freaky turn of events - I won! John was up on me by 3,000 points and only needed 30 points to win and somehow I came back and slaughtered him by a few thousand points? I learned... never give up, even when it looks hopeless!






I spent the week working and trying to get some huge projects completed at work. John substituted a few of the days as well. Other than that, I'm determined to spend more time reading & doing family things together and less time on the computer! I took Drew fishing this afternoon, but learned that I really should learn more about fishing if I'm going to teach him how. It was so windy the line wouldn't even land in the pond, also the dog kept running through the cold water and I'm sure, scared all the fish away.


Night.....


Friday, January 9, 2009

Missing

As I drove home from Drew's preschool today I started to drive over to my mom's, then I remember.... "Great Nana" isn't here. For 3 month's I've spent time getting to know a new Nana, one who doesn't act like I remember growing up, one who forgets what we did yesterday, but remembers 30 years ago. When she first arrived I committed to the Lord that I would serve her and love this new Nana, I would not get frustrated and I would cherish this time I'd been given. My Nana served me and cared for me when I was young and now it was my time to give back and to model to the boys what servant hood really looks like! Funny how serving the Lord will change your life and not necessarily those that are served!

I learned much these months, mostly that this new Nana may be different, but her smile and quiet spirit softens us. The old Nana was always busy and had a million things to do, this new Nana enjoyed reading and quiet chats on the couch. I grew to love this new Nana, so did the boys. In fact, Drew keeps asking why she isn't living across the block anymore. When we go over to the home they know as their Nana's it seems empty and quiet. I miss the smile when I'd surprise her with a Starbucks warm soy "Chai" and she'd exclaim, "I haven't had one of these before, thank you, I just love soy milk!" Even though I brought her one the week before, in her life everything can be new and a first time adventure. Oh, if I could encounter life like that, enjoying the moment and taking every day as unvisited territory.

I miss.... our trips to Cabella's where she couldn't believe such fun stores existed!

I miss.... her love for Quarter-Pounders with Cheese even though she didn't remember having one the week before. Oh, can't forget the mushroom burgers at Wendy's either, for some reason, she remembered those!

I miss... shopping at JCPennies and listening to her repeat how she only wears pants with elastic and not zippers!

I miss... seeing her in new shirts that she finally branched out and wore.

I miss... picking her up and having her spend the afternoon with us, baking and chatting about life.

I miss... that smile she greeted us with, especially when the boys arrived!

I miss... Gabe throwing himself out of my arms in the hope that she would hold him. Poor Nana was so small she had to sit to hold that 25 pound boy!

I miss... country music playing on the radio whenever I'd walk into my mom's house.

My Nana is missed... this new woman within, I have come to love. Just as much as the Nana I knew when I was little. She will always remain in my heart and I hope she comes back to Texas for another long stay. I think our busy life these last few months may make for a quiet transition back to her old life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not Me Monday



I did not take the dog out last night and spot a very nice sized Grillmate BBQ sitting along the curb waiting for bulk trash to pick it up. I did not push (and pull) that 100 pound BBQ the 1/4+ mile to my house, thumping and banging over every sidewalk crack! I did not pray that no cars or people would see me and call the police. I wasn't reading the Newspaper heading - "Crazy Woman Caught Walking BBQ Grill: Sent to Institution!" Graciously at 10:00 pm there weren't many people out! I'm not wishing I was in better shape as my arms sit here and throb from my unexpected workout! I did not surprise my husband with a new BBQ that is way better than the one we bought 6 years ago! I'm not totally excited about this fun bargain that only needs new nobs! Now if only I could get John to pick up that artificial tree on the other side of the block?



I did not go to Walgreen's and buy 50.00 worth of stuff for 3.08, driving in the ice might I add (who does that for bargains!):

6 Garnier Fructis Hair products
1 Electrasol Gelpack (20ct)
2 Reynolds Wrap Foil $0.99
1 Quaker Instant Oatmeal 10pk $1.99
2 Stayfree products
2 Motts Apple Juice

Last, I did not loose my walking shoes this past week for 5 days, spend hours looking for them and plotting out sales and coupons so I could go get another pair. I did not get ready to buy my new shoes, retrieve my coat out of the closet and, alas, spot my walking shoes hiding under a coat that had been dropped on the closet floor, ugh!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Free Marriage Checkup (30.00 Value)



Visit Northwood Church and take a free couples checkup (30.00 value) for free, all you need is an e-mail address! The assessment will reveal areas in your marriage that are strong and areas that need some growth. This test will remain free until February 14th.

The marriage assessment can be found at: themarraigeportrait.com

Also join us for a free date night watching Fireproof on the big screen! The event is Friday night, January 24th at 6:30 pm at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. View the trailer here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mommy Date



Today I took Drew on a Mommy Date. First we went to Cabella's and bought him a new fishing pole with a 1 year warranty - seeing as the his Christmas fishing pole broke on the first cast. We took some time and enjoyed watching the huge fish swim in the glass aquarium. We especially enjoyed the turtles! Then we headed out to Starbucks where Drew enjoyed a doughnut, we sat and just talked. He told me all his favorite things and a few times I tried to say it was time to go and he replied, "But, I want to talk about my day again!" He had so much fun cuddling with mommy and sharing his favorite things. Then we went home and said good-bye to daddy who was off to work. That afternoon we took Gabe, Kitty, Nana, and Great Nana to the pond for some fishing. I can't believe I forgot my camera! I even caught a fish and was able to show the boys. Drew wasn't as impressed as I thought, Gabe wanted to eat it - fortunately for the fish he weighed next to nothing and its a catch and release pond. As payment, the fish recieved a nice bite of bacon!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gone Bananas


I was at Kroger a few days ago and discovered an amazing sight - bags and bags of organic Banana's for .99 cents. All this time I thought those bags of banana's were just if you wanted to spend regular price for a few pounds of banana's. Then I realized they had special mark down stickers on them. I managed to get a few bags of apples and yellow peppers for .99 cents a bag too! I think I ended up with around 10 pounds of banana's for 4.00. I cut all of them up and froze them in ziploc bags so I won't waste any from spoiling. I've spent the past few days coming up with creative ways to use these little blessings, here are a few ideas we came up with:

  • Banana Bread

  • Frozen banana's cut into small chunks and freeze - we just discovered they make yummy snack items (they also taste way better? I think the natural oils of a banana come out when frozen? I personally think these taste like Popsicles, so do the kids who have been eating lots of banana's lately!
  • Sugar Free Jello pudding with frozen bananas - my new favorite treat!

  • Smoothies - we're eating protein shakes in the mornings and these are a welcome addition to the bland taste.

  • Add as a topping to non-fat frozen yogurt (can you tell we're dieting yet?)

  • Banana Fritters - John loves apple-fritters so this makes a slightly more healthy alternative.