Sunday, February 27, 2011

Science Museum

We went to the science museum this week so there some pictures with my new camera!

Boxed up toys this week and instead of asking to get the race-cars down they used their imaginations and created their own!

Drew's race-car - he even made sound effects!
The boys had fun racing their cars! Wish I had gone undetected, it was cuter when they didn't know I was watching!

Seeing Gifts Day and Night

"In the original language, "he gave thanks" reads "eucharisteo." .....The root word of Eucharisteo is charis, meaning "grace." Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy."........Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. A triplet of stars,a constellation in the black. A threefold cord that might hold a life? Offer a way up into the fullest life? Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo. A Greek word....that might make meaning of everything?"  ~ A. Voskamp ~

781. Trio of calves loping and chasing each other on a brisk morning.
782. Grace for another early morning with the Lord
783. Sunday morning tea with my Bible and God
784. Pitter-patter of little Gabe early Sunday morning - cuddles on the couch reading three times over Bunny Bungalow and hearing all about his dreams from the night before.
785. Toothy grin from little one while I rock her to sleep - anticipating my last as she is growing and won't fall asleep on me much.
786. My little boy learning to read with a smile on his face ~ never though these days would come.
787. Banter of little men talking about race cars and nerf swords early in the morning as they anticipate all the fun this new day will bring.

 788. Spring's anticipation ~ bulbs emerging and challenging the cold Winter, hope of the Spring which is coming!
789. A warm Tuesday at home gardening, weeding, pruning and cleaning. The joy of having (some of) my garden beds looking all ready for Spring and fresh mulch.

790. Winter planting of Cilantro to garnish meals this Spring and Winter.
791. :My three year old warrior!

792. Crescent Moon early in the morning, encouraging me as I leave the house.

793. Family weekend together enjoying dinosaurs and books.

794. Sermon on Love as a great  beginning to my week ~ "love is patient"

795. "Those who love their children care enough to discipline them."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home From Mom Heart

Me and my faithful "twin" Nicole who is on this complex  parenting journey with me. She is my encourager and the brains behind many ideas, she is also the one who makes all my kids Birthday Cakes since this non-creative momma  can't!
I've been to enough conferences over the years to know that the "homecoming" isn't as whimsical as I imagine, I also know that I fall into a depressed slump for about a week after returning  home. Then, what I learned sinks in and can begin to produce fruit in my life and action in my bones - maybe I'm just weird, but I roll with it!

I'm back from the Sally Clarkson conference ~ it was just as good, if not better, than the last two years. I was inspired, challenged, and convicted. If you've never been to a Mom Heart Conference I can't sing enough praises about the life changes it will inspire in your life as momma! The message is very similar each year, but the stories of inspiration and the inner-workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are faithfully serving the Lord - like us mommy's - is challenging! There is just something inspiring about the time together with 800 women from different walks of life. I just fall captive listening to the greatness of God and how He works in the lives of the faithful. Sally's life experiences challenge & encourage mom's to "persevere still more".  When you meet Sally Clarkson - a down to earth momma who is on a mission from God to inspire mothers for True Greatness - both within and without. Her life has been marred with trials and struggles and stories! All blessings from God that she uses to encourage Christian mothers right where they are - working moms, homeschooling moms, public school moms, moms with challenging children, moms who suffer from depression -  its all woven into the conversations. The stories of virtue, endurance, & commitment that God writes in her life just keep getting better and  better each year!  Here are some messages/ideas I returned home with:

  1. Traditions, Traditions, Traditions - they are foundational in getting children excited about God. My own eagerness about the traditions is also  a must!
  2. Tea Time on Sunday afternoons to relax as a family and read inspiring books to the kids that breed adventure and godly character. Its the perfect fun to our non-media day!
  3. Cure that Mad Mom Syndrome - what is it that I get the most upset about? "Yes, for me its the mess of toys in my home and the arguments that ensue when I ask them to clean it all up (10x per day it seems). How can the house go from clean to a disaster in the matter of one 10 minute shower?" Cure - get rid of the mad momma by eliminating the thing that drives you the most crazy, so I went to Target, bought 3 more bins for our assorted toys. I cleaned out the closets, sorted all the toys, and put them all out of reach. Today was the first day and it went so well! The boys asked for one box, played with it and then... imagine this - picked it all up and put it back in the closet! I was shocked how easy it was. They played with things today that they hadn't played with in months and its all neatly put back. Sigh - now if I go into that Mad Momma syndrome its my own fault - wait, I guess it was my own fault before? 
  4. Put my prayer cards on the kids headboards and tell them what I'm praying over  them - show my kids that prayer is a deep and systematic part of my life. Show my kids that they deeply matter to me and I talk to God about them all the time.
  5. Share more life stories, listen to my kids thoughts and dialog with them instead of always talking at them.
  6. Weave powerful words into my daily vocabulary, like, "Drew, you are a son of excellence, I love how you finished vacuuming your room and stayed on task." and, "Gabe, God is going to do great and mighty things in your life, he will use your tender heart to shape nations!" or, "Abby, your God's girl!" "Speak loving words over, about and to your children"
  7. A Momma's job is to "Civilize the home!" 
  8. "What will you do to whisper to this child the secrets of the kingdom of God?"
  9. Holiness comes at a cost - don't expect this path to be easy. Prepare for the rough times.
  10. Capture moments of beauty, redemption, and purity through writing and photography. Write my childrens stories and then refer back to them in conversation - the time they overcame a tough situation and didn't give up, etc. Encourage their confidence in the Lord! We live in a cynical society where we fixate on evil and chaos and business. My life is not an emergency (Ann's book) and I'm going to live a life of beauty, my children are along the journey too - their futures are being shaped while watching my life out beauty! "I can't pass on what I don't already posses."
  11. Loved this quote, "I'm called to be faithful, not uptight!"
  12. God doesn't demand first time obedience from me - the journey is in the wrestling and the lessons learned. God wants first time obedience, but accepts second, third, etc. I'll never get my child's heart with obedience alone. As a mom I need to be relational, forgiving, accepting, loving, and then develop, not require, obedience. My children are in training, each situation is a moment for learning. Obedience doesn't always have to be the first time. God is a God of many chances. Sometimes my kids  best lessons are the natural consequences - better at home where they can learn, than out in the real world where lessons are harsh and the atmosphere unforgiving,  Show God's love to my kids daily, by first capturing their hearts and then working towards obedience. Many times it was in the lessons of disobedience, that brought me to true repentance and humility, those lessons shaped a more accurate view of God and aided in developing my faith. In summary - don't compromise  my joy for demanded obedience - enjoy the journey!
  13. "There is no middle ground spiritually. We are either living or dying."
  14. Children who are acting out are asking for quality time! I loved Sally's story about her ADD/ADHD/OCD son who didn't wear his coat on their walk even though she had told him to get it three times. Instead of getting upset when he wanted to go home and get his coat, she took him home and had tea and talked with him. He replied, "You mean I'm more important?" He was feeling like he was not appreciated  and was acting out, this special time with mommy  was all he needed and his attitude changed.
  15. Read more living books with theme's of redemption, overcoming sin, trials which lead to greatness, godly character, perseverance, etc. to inspire my children. In reading and talking about hero's they will naturally become one because they see it modeled in real life (parents) and books.
  16. "You have to invest time with those (our children) we want to influence" 
  17. Stop the activities! Children are stressed out and over scheduled  and this leads to a weak family unit because the family is always gone. God wants us to Sabbath - rest and create a home environment where the person is valued for  being God's creation not their actions (sports, great grades, etc)! 
I'm  home recovering from a great weekend - I arrived to a puking little girl, water running down the street, a son half naked, and a messy house. Now it is time to civilize my home and bring in the "Momma with a dancing heart!"
Waiting for His Momma to come home!

 P.S. - Day 1 went so well with the kids, though my getting up early is not going well. Drew asked to do his reading first thing this morning and was so excited to read! It makes me smile and sing because I tried to push this on him in September and it went badly. I stopped and just slowly started back in January with easy words and sentences and a totally new attitude. We also worked in the yard and Drew worked along side me pulling weeds and just talking about life. It was a great day with a renewed and reworked attitude.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”

    ~ Ernest Boyer, Jr.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hands Wide Open

"Who Can Live With Hands Wide Open?"
A. Voskamp

751. A finished book ~ One Thousand  Gifts ~ learning how to live with Hands Wide Open.

752.  Learning the ins and outs of a new camera - this  camera is way smarter than me!
753. Brotherly Love on a warm Winter  day.

754. A beautiful three days of discipline, school work, letters learned, geography practiced

755. Valentines Day surprises!

756. Husband who comes home exhausted and a wife who took a little nap and was ready to listen and ,massage weary muscles.

757. Living with hands wide open ~ spent the weekend meditating and writing in my journal the various ways God turned terror into beauty these some 31 years. 

758. Husband who loves me and kicks me out of the house on a Saturday so I can relax at my favorite coffee place and just rest in the Lord's goodness.

759. A Bible study leader so gifted and willing to give up her Monday nights to serve our small fellowship through the book of 1 Thessalonians.

760. J,O.Y.

761. Silly little boys running off energy - where does it all come from?

762. Walk to the "rocks" just Drew, Abby, and me. Special time with Drew just talking and skip counting and learning to walk the dog. His smiles were priceless!

763. Gabe, Abby, and me together at the park listening to giggles as they both fly through the air on swings.

764. Pending love letters from my husband who is always romantic with his words.

765. Reminiscing our first valentines day when John wrote me 4 poems - he must have spent days on them because I later found all his scribbles and doodles. I just love this man!

766. Protection for the kids while mommy was away,

767. Mrs Kelly - the woman is a saint! The boys decorated these dog houses she had made on Valentines day (there are adorable Hallmark puppies that came too!). The boys have been playing in  their dig houses for three  days now! We are so blessed to have this gentile woman who cherishes our kids and invests her full energy into them. I wish I were as patient and creative as Mrs Kelly ~ she challenges me in so many ways! We are blessed!

768. Monday morning spin class - nothing like the beginning of a new week started in grace!

769. Art History lesson with living books sent from sweet Aunt Beth!

770. Alone for an hour at Starbucks, while Drew went to T-kids,  just working on my study and sipping Chai Tea.

771. Little boy learning through  creative play - I can't believe he is going to grow into a man. I was looking over these pictures and he just looks so old to me. I sure hope he doesn't wear dirt on his face when he is 20!

772. Rhythm of life back in routine.

773. Husband and I just relaxing and watching a movie!

774. Anticipation! Can't wait for the Sally Clarkson conference this weekend and the time with good friends.

775. Twinkle in the eyes of boys getting into mischief.

776. Front porch light inviting me home.

777. God's Grace, God's Grace, God's Grace to make it through another profitable  day.

778.  Sweet women who meet regularly for ice cream, chat about life and leave filled.

779. Praying to see - see the world through the eyes of God.

780. Practicing Eucharisteo with my  children ~ listening to their list of thankfulness ~ brings joy to my soul.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ugly Beautiful

I hate routine, yet I love its results. The past few weeks we've been off routines and out of town and sick with colds  and life seems to yearn for rhythm again. My body aches  for the gym yet despises getting up early - it is the ugly beautiful.

716. Son's missing glasses

717. The question I've  been pondering all month, "Will God ever be enough?", ever since reading chapter two of Ann's Book ~ One Thousand Gifts. God say's I am enough, why can't that be enough for this strong willed soul?

718. The struggle of living an in-between life - Beauty vs Chaos, Flesh vs Spirit, Life vs Death, Joy vs  Cynicism. I want to truly live in God's graces - why is it such a battle.

719. Moment by Moment Beauty ~ Seen in the mundane, the laundry (Thank you for children, husband, life), the meals (thank you for provision), the beauty of creation (yard of birds searching), and the trials of daily life (making me stronger in Christ).  

720. Seeing the miracles - "Eucharisteo always proceeds the miracle!" Looking, seeking, hunting for miracles today.

721. A sleeping  baby on the plane, giving me 90 minutes to read, reflect, and run in my imagination.  It was appreciated more because the flight going, wee one was awake for almost the whole flight - fighting and wrestling and crying for her bed. I arrived in Seattle exhausted, late and without a rental car, thankful to just arrive and get off the plane.

722. Sweet aunt who opens her home to our chaos, welcomes our friends and invites with good food.

723. Wedding remembrances - the vows, the covenant, the deep emotions when two people commit to forever.

724. Recalling my naive heart that went into marriage very "me" focused ~  this journey outside of self, this journey to get back to the  garden before sin and Satan and sacrifices. Marriage brings out our best and our worst - the ugly beautiful of transformation from old to new. Marriage brings out the battle - the battle to truly live in Christ! 

725. Sin, the garden, the serpent - all ugly beautiful. For if we had never had sin and Satan and sacrifice we would have never experienced the Ephesians 3 18-19 love "... grasping how wide and long and high and deep  the love of Christ is and knowing this love which surpasses knowledge—this love that is filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

726. Love which surpasses knowledge - I want that and am uncovering it by deeply breathing Eucharisteo ~ Grace ~ Joy ~ A braid of beauty.,

727. Little boys hugs after a few days away.

728. New pantry shelves made with love from my husband as a surprise while I was away. I just love this man of mine!

729. Another snow day with husband home to help me recoup from time  changes and sleeplessness and stresses. I'd never imagined a whole 5 days of him home ~ extra  help during busy audits and month end.

730. Visit from Grandma Carol -  a nice dinner with family!

731. Snow that inspired little one to pray and build life experiences on a weakling faith. The questions swimming in his mind,  "Does God answer prayers?"  Sweet conversations about how God always answers - sometimes with a "Yes" that brings Him great joy, sometimes with a "No" that is always for our best, and other times with a "Wait" to walk in faith and learn patience. 

732. Two great school days back into routines and  rhythms  ~ Snow and Sleet have brought a lot of chaos and lack of structure to our days. Good to get back into a more structured form of learning - though the unschooled approach was fun for a week or  two!

733. Geography by Ann ~ Drew and I (Gabe too when he isn't too wiggly) are enjoying learning about the home that the Lord made for us. I guess I don't remember much from those long days of school because I'm learning along with Drew about the Troposphere and Mesosphere and Stratosphere. I love the use of Greek and Latin words on this journey and how  they are put together into descriptive meanings like - ball or water vapor. Wow, I didn't know about good and bad ozone or the upper and lower atmospheres! Home learning is just as relevant for mommy as it is for wee ones! I'm so glad Drew is finally old enough, I've had this curriculum for two years and have been waiting for him to  be interested!

734. Marveling at Aurora Borealis - We were reading about the Northern lights and watched a National Geographic video, God just screamed out to us "I love you" and "I create wonder and beauty for you to enjoy."

735. Smell of fresh, new baby. 

736. Continued favor ~ John is loving his job as a special education teacher, despite lots of paperwork and unexpected challenges, he is thriving. Join us in praying that John remains in the same job next year - districts are cutting back and cutting teachers, since John has one more year before his probation ends, he would be easily cut if the situation occurs.

737. Energetic children running and screaming at the park after days of being cooped up inside.

738. A rental car and the sweet man who found me one at 2 am!

739. Birthday pancakes ~  delighting in the sweet home grown memories and excitements of my children! 

740. Special Plate that my children long to receive at meal times.

741. The boys Character chart that when used brings out the best in ME. when not used  brings out my sour attitudes. 

742. Visit to the FW Stock Show before the weather turned cold. The boys loved the roping and tractors!  The cow milking was really exciting too.

743. Little girl with bright blue eyes enjoying a sunny warm day outside.

744. Telling myself "No" and sticking to it.

745. Dog eager for a walk, wagging tail as we leave for a quit time of reflecting & prayer.

746. Chris Tomlin singing in my IPOD as I marvel at the beauty of creation.

747. Husband who cleans up my messy kitchen each evening ~ always with a smile.

748. Work completed for another day, close of the month finished a day early.

749. Sweet words spoken between brothers.

750. Sleeping in!

 ~ Melissa ~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Little Unambitious

 It has been a crazy two weeks with snow and ice and trips out of town. We're all off our schedules and I've been off my much needed vitamins - my hair is starting to fall out again! I'm feeling very unambitious and just want to sleep and pretend no one needs anything from me! I also finished two of my books and am digesting and practicing living a praying life and living in moment by moment Eucharisteo. There was a lot to take in and work on, typical of my life pattern; old habits are hard to break and  this struggle to break those bad fleshly habits are just that - a struggle. So this week I'm pressing on, enjoying my family, disciplining my mind, and giving thanks! Enjoy some pictures from our week of snow!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


In school last week we made cheese, it was so yummy and fun to make. I actually made Drew do most of it, he did the measuring, stirring and even told me what was next. He followed step by step direction from a video I found online. Drew is turning into a great cook!

Here is the video with direction, it really was easy!