Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Shadow Is Dead

Alright, alright...I'll blog something! Actually, I've had this one waiting in the wings for awhile, so it really took place several weeks ago. Sorry for the delay--I just haven't gotten into a bloggin' mood for awhile...

A week or so ago I gave Vonda a ride to Three Hats Coffee and then home in our little red car. Several times that evening we had to pull over to the side of the road to restart the engine because it completely lost acceleration--something that had been happening for a few months now with increasing frequency. "No problem," I assured her, "this same thing happened to us last year and it only cost about $100 to fix." As I pulled away from her house I could tell she was genuinely worried that I wouldn't make it home, especially without a cell phone.

We finally got it checked out today after a few incidences of it not starting at all and frequent sluggishness in crossing intersections (yikes!). The verdict: she's a goner. After first telling Brian that "we have people who can come and pick up cars like this one," the shop receptionist explained that my poor little 1992 Dodge Shadow ES turbo has multiple organ failure--transmission and head gasket. A mere $3500-5000 would cure her, but let's face it...she's telling us she's had enough.

My first car will be sent off for parts on Monday. Got her from my dad when I was a giddy little college junior. Loved to use that turbo engine to accelarate as quickly as possible to the posted speed limits near Bethel College. Beautiful red color, in the tradition my dad had of driving little red cars back when I was a just a young girl riding on the armrest next to him and helping him shift. Had a great stereo system til I blew it out. Fun automatic window controls cleverly located in a place that could be used to freak out naive 8th grade girls (ie Katie Olson!) in the back seat whom I convinced that the car was possessed. Only one major repair in the 11 years I had her. What a great car!

The first time I saw her was when my Dad drove her up from Sacramento to Portland (10 hours!) to see me perform with the Bethel Concert Band. I was so excited driving around the city that night with him, anticipating when she would be mine. The first summer I had her my best friend Dee and I drove down to Kansas City to order my new flute for which I'd been waiting 2 years. This was the car that whisked Brian and I away from our wedding stuffed full with balloons, Fruit Loops littering the floor, and Wacky Noodles hanging out the windows. The next day we drove up to the North Shore for our Honeymoon. Good memories. You never forget your first car, right?

Tomorrow we'll clean her out and say goodbye. And since we're now going to try to be a one-car family, we'll come home and wonder why in the world we just built a 2-car garage!

Friday, October 13, 2006


OK, last Wednesday was bad. I didn't know how I would make it through that day. I hoisted the big question mark flag to God and waited...

Thursday morning I got the following email from my dear Oregonian friend (author of Can't Help Myself blog), which got me started putting together some of the pieces of what I couldn't figure out. After reading it I was finally able to confess my sin to God and to my children, and a weight was lifted.

For those of you who are sometimes disillusioned, here is her encouragement. It is long, but worth the read...

My dear, dear friend. Big hug to you right now! To say "I've been there," would be as silly an understatement as saying that "I've been to church." I still do go there--regularly, if not religiously. Sometimes I feel as though I live there. I so despise myself in those times--I feel as though all the growth and "ah-ha!" moments in the past 5 years have been a lie. Back to square one--round and around she goes. . .

However, to quote a fascinating woman come across my path of late
--"But, God!...... I love those two in 'They meant it for evil,
BUT GOD used it for good.' Those two words make all the difference."

You slam the door at your kids.
The enemy celebrates.
You weep.
BUT GOD. . .
allows you another chance to remind your kids
that you are walking along this path of life with them,
and sometimes need their prayers and forgiveness too.

You say hurtful words to your kids.
The enemy says, "Now that's a gal I can use!"
You say, "What good am I to God?"
BUT GOD. . .
says, "Go show your young ones the plank
I helped you remove from your eye so that
they will know it is compassion and humility that makes you
dig for the specks in theirs."

You grumble about things that you thought precious just yesterday.
The enemy stands back to watch as your feet and legs
are immobilized by the hot, desert sand of discontent.
You let guilt cause you to sit down and wallow in it.
BUT GOD. . .
uses your little sojourn back to the desert
to remind you of His constant refreshing presence,
and that your daily bread. . .everything you have,
everything you really need, comes from Him.

You think horrible hopeless thoughts about surviving this day.
The enemy paints your future a dull, primer gray.
You watch and wearily swipe a little gray on it yourself.
BUT GOD. . .
takes advantage of your attention
and the freshly primed canvas to dab on a bright
little speck which grows and multiplies and explodes
way beyond all boundaries into an amazing picture
of His glory and greatness.
And your life is a part of it!

You get so tired and soul-weary that all you can
do is lay down and say, "Ok, Lord.
You're just gonna have to carry me.
I just can't do it, and I'm tired of trying and failing."
The enemy screams in frustration.
Slowly, you begin to feel a little lighter as that rock
in your gut seems to vaporize.
AND GOD. . .
sets on your shoulders a new yoke--
the lightest one you have ever carried.
You look and find that it is only because He
is in the other side of it--bearing the full weight.

My beloved friend and sister, you ask where God is in these
times. He's waiting for you to stop and humble yourself so that He can
lift you up. Every single time, I am (very slowly) discovering that it
comes back to surrender. Setting down your sword.

You ask where the "way out" is. I think sometimes. . .maybe. . . it would be more accurate to seek the way through. You're right. God rarely swoops down and dumps a magical basket of spiritual fruit on our heads. He generally doesn't even remove or neutralize the temptation. (Then it wouldn't be temptation, would it?) The temptation remains, but He waits for us to stop and look to Christ. The
hard part for me is the stopping. On days like you described, I feel pressured to keep going and keep running, getting things done and throwing a prayer at Him on my way past. "Somebody stop me!"

But He calls us to "Be still and know that He is God." He calls us to come to Him
if we are weary and heavy laden. I have a friend who treats such situations as "emergencies." She figures that her kids need her to be able to pray effectively for them at all times, so when she is doing them no good, and her sinful attitude interferes with even being able to pray for them, she stops homeschooling, skips swimming lessons, whatever she needs to do and makes the time to stop and come humbly before the Lord, and then before her kids to pray together. I have begun to do that at times too, and not only does it radically change my whole attitude, but it has dramatically impressed my kids with the importance of humble submission to God and being right with each other! We have gone so far as to climb back into bed--all together--after lunch, and restarting our day with a "Good morning," and a stretch, and a prayer--"Thank you, Lord for this day! Show us how to bless each other and honor you!" You can't imagine the effect--on all of us!

My dear sister, thank you for your honesty in your blog. I imagine by the
time you get this e-mail, the troubled day may have passed. But they do come again. I don't have all the answers. I don't even always do what I have just told you. I am thick skulled and stiff necked.
I wait until the situation is desperate.
The enemy does his thing.
I play along.
But God. . .
always makes a way through to greater maturity
and the spiritual fruit tree which lies
just on the other side of this trial.

There is no end to the wonders He can accomplish. . .no end to the
good He can work out of all things when we surrender our sin and failure to
Him, the great Redeemer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It has been a horrible day. Woke up feeling down and lonely. I'm a spontaneity-loving extrovert living a scheduled and isolated homeschool-mom life. By midweek of going hard at school I find myself struggling. And today was bad. Maybe it's 3rd trimester hormones--I do find myself wanting to cry a lot these days, which is unusual for me. Maybe it's B's extra work hours lately which mean I have extra hours with the kids. I really don't know.

Today all those things I've been learning about serving my God joyfully through all the trials and sacrifices felt hollow and unreachable. Today all I wanted to do was be alone or with a friend, without kids asking for things. It was all I could do to get an hour of school done, and by the end of that I had lost my temper and was yelling at the kids, slamming the door as I pushed them outside. Misery. Now I felt guilty, too, because of my lack of self-control and subsequent angry outbursts.

My honest question tonight is this: where is God when we are completely empty--poured out and exasperated? When one more question, one more sibling argument, one more noise, will put us over the edge and we find ourselves yelling angrily at our kids and saying things that crush their spirits? The Word says that God always provides a way out from temptation. So what is that way out in these moments of crisis? In my experience he doesn't often swoop in and miraculously anoint me with greater self-control, peace, or patience. Instead, I almost always give in and react out of anger and frustration, taking it out on the little ones God has given me to love and care for.

Some say I'm being too hard on myself. But I only want to live the way He calls me to, and sometimes that just seems impossible. Even when I am calling out for his strength.

Right now I just don't get it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Go Go Gadget What?

Monday night tends to be movie and pizza night around Crimville. After football practice, B stopped to pick up the cheapest pizza in town (Papa Murph's) and a movie. The cinematic thriller he picked out this week was Inspector Gadget, with Matthew Brodrick. It held my interest for about 14 minutes and then I started working on school stuff for the next day.

The kids loved it, however. After it was all over, we told them to run upstairs to get their jammies on. From downstairs we could hear them yelling things like, "go go gadget lightsaber!" and "go go gadget flashlight!" while leaping around their bedroom.

I think I just tuned the noise out for a moment then, because the next thing I recall was E suddenly bursting out, "go go gadget underwear!"

We weren't exactly sure how he came to think of that particular gadget, but it sure gave us a laugh!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Jealousy Reconsidered

Totty has been going through a serious "daddy phase" lately. She adores him. She cries for him. She cuddles him whenever she has the chance. It's adorable.

And jealousy-inducing. For suddenly I'm not the all-important one...he is; he holds pride of place in her life.

I know that when she pulls away from me and reaches for him, my lower lip starts to protrude somewhat in a bit of a mommy pout. B, meanwhile, sees my expression and cracks a self-contented smirk. I think he feels bad for me, but really not that bad.

Today, however, we got a humorous glimpse of the flip-side of this daddy-fixation. B had just put E-Man down for his nap after church and lunch. I was feeling drained and ready for napville myself but figured I should do what was fair and put K down for her nap. I asked her if she wanted to go read with me. Her reply was one of rejection: she wanted Daddy to read to her. I tried a couple more times (rather lamely, I confess) to sway her, but soon Dad gave in and offered to read to her. I would be lying if I said I was disappointed. But, figuring she needed a pit stop for a new diaper, I offered to change her. Again she protested in wonderfully whiney 2-year-old fashion. I set her body down in front of me and as soon as I did, she slid her bottom directly over to where Daddy sat on the floor next to me. This is too great, I thought. By this time we're both laughing, especially when he undid her diaper and found it to be a duker. He was smirking now as he changed her, but not in that same self-contented way. The icing on the cake came when I noticed that her bottom was a bit red and asked her if she needed some cream put on it. At this B quickly chimed in, "yes, Mommy is the cream expert--she can do that part!" I opened the jar and was immediately rejected one final time. She wanted Daddy to put on that cream. Which he did--he was defeated and he knew it.

Still laughing I remarked, "I'm not so jealous anymore". And through his sacrificially clenched teeth B replied, "and I won't feel bad when you are anymore, either".

Fair enough, I suppose.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Apple Orchard Education

So we went to the apple orchard today and learned many things. First, that they charge an entrance fee (which we would have known without looking quite so clueless had we paid any attention to the huge sign we walked past on the way in). Next, that 6- year-olds should not be allowed by their mommies to cut their own sample of apple with a razor-sharp knife (which I also might have known if I'd paid any attention to the sign right in front of me stating that only parents were allowed to do the cutting). Third, that the first thing to do when attending to a deep cut is to stop the bleeding by applying pressure. Fourth, that the staff at the orchard does not know where the first aid kit is. Fifth, that Neosporin can actually separate into 2 substances that do not resemble Neosporin (as learned when said staff finally found the first aid kit).

And that was all before we even got out to pick apples (which was great). It's amazing what you can learn on one little fieldtrip to the apple orchard!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Where Have All the Earthworms Gone?

Today was "Exploration Day" in our homeschool curriculum. Thus, we explored. We nature walked, we read books about ants and moles and grasshoppers. We made a worm habitat. Then we waited with excitement for the grande finale: our worm hunt.

When I was little, my family--grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins and all--would rent 2 little cabins up on Farm Island Lake. The old couple who owned the resort had a dirt pile like you wouldn't believe in their front yard (did I ever wonder why?). My four boy cousins and I would dig up all our fishing worms in that pile. And I kid you not, there was one time we found a nightcrawler that was 10 inches long and at least a quarter inch in diameter. He was the Godzilla of the worm species. We played with that thing for quite awhile, freak of nature that it was, and dreamed of how many sections we could make of it for bait. Then, when we finally lost interest and ran off to play, my cousin John ended up leaving it on the dock, surely to meet its demise in some sunfish who must have thought he'd died and gone to fish heaven. I think John may have feared for his life that night, we were so mad! Come to think of it, I think I'm still mad at him.

When I was an older kid, my dad and I used to put the sprinkler on in the front yard for about 12 hours. Then, late at night, we'd sneak out, flashlights in hand, ready to stalk subterranian life. I'm telling you, it would be hard to pay enough money for the free fun we had those nights! The lawn would be covered with the shiny worm bodies. A sweep of the flashlight would ignite a flash of excitement within me when a nightcrawler was spotted. Then, with quiet and stealthy footsteps, we would sneak up to the worm and prepare to grab it. This had to be done with great speed and skill. If you were too slow, the worm would disappear into his hole. If you pulled too hard, it would simply tear in half. They were slimy and fat and wonderful. I love that this was a part of my childhood.

So today I left the sprinkler on and dreamed of the fun we would have together tonight...

Unfortunately, I have never had to work so hard to find a few measly earthworms. Perhaps it's been too dry this summer and they've all gone deeper. Perhaps I didn't leave the sprinkler on long enough. Maybe we should have waited until later in the night (yeah, right, with 5 kids age 7 and under!). There were no shiny bodies laying on the lawn. Absolutely none. Instead, we had to dig. A lot. After probably a half hour of digging up various places in the lawn and next to the driveway, we had maybe 8 pathetic little worms. No 4-6 inch nightcrawlers. Just they're little lackey friends.

Oh well, we still had a good time. The kids were hyper beyond recognition, and my lawn needs to have some repair tomorrow. But at least each of the munchkids got to pull one of the slippery little guys from the earth and run around the yard like crazy homeschool kids.

Maybe next time we'll have more to show for our efforts.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gift Idea for Baby Porter

It's the perfect gift for Porter #3! If we all pitch in a dollar, we'll have it practically paid for. For $2 I bet we could even find a matching mouth guard! Who's in?

p.s. If you have no idea why this is funny (besides the ridiculous diaper-shaped helmet on this poor child's head--what did they give him to make him smile with that thing on?), go to and listen to Porter's August 20 sermon on "Courage".

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Poured Out

I have been captivated these past few days by a chapter in Desiring God--on Suffering. Sounds like a fun chapter, huh? Initially I think it's something we all shy away from--no one likes to actively think about being in pain, about sacrifice, or really anything that isn't about being happy. These are not popular topics. In reference to Paul's choice to suffer recorded in I Cor. 15:30-32, Piper comments, "this is not normal. Human beings flee suffering. We move to safer neighborhoods. We choose milder climates. We buy air conditioners. We take aspirin. We come in out of the rain. We avoid dark streets. We purify our water. We do not normally choose a way of life that would put us in 'peril every hour.' Paul's life is out of sync with ordinary human choices. Virtually no advertising slogans lure us into daily dying."

But God is using this chapter to give me greater joy in life. Me, the chronic complainer about mommy duties; the one who has struggled for years with all the sacrifices, inconveniences, and exhausting moments that happen every day in the course of caring for kids.

Yet God has not been content to leave me in this grumpy state, and this morning he caught my heart with Philippians 2:17: "but even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you." I love that phrase--poured out. It suits motherhood well. We give the best that we have every day in service to these little ones, and so often it feels as if we have poured ourselves empty. But Piper keeps reminding us of the joy. We can exchange lesser happiness--a carefree life, easy existence, uninterrupted phone calls and potty breaks, unlimited time with friends and spouse--for greater happiness--children who love Jesus, a heart submitted to his will for us, a content and quiet spirit that tells the world that Christ is "better by far", the hope of reward when all is finished.

One more Piper quote:

"The Calvary road with Jesus is not a joyless road. It is a painful one, but it is a profoundly happy one. When we choose the fleeting pleasures of comfort and security over the sacrifices and sufferings of missions and evangelism and ministry and love, we choose against joy. We reject the spring whose waters never fail (Isaiah 58:11). The happiest people in the world are the people who experience the mystery of 'Christ in them, the hope of glory' (Colossians 1:27), satisfying their deep longings and freeing them to extend the afflictions of Christ through their own sufferings to the world.

God is calling us to live for the sake of Christ and to do that through suffering. Christ chose suffering; it didn't just happen to him. He chose it as the way to create and perfect the church. Now he calls us to choose suffering. That is, he calls us to take up our cross and follow him on the Calvary road and deny ourselves and make sacrifices for the sake of ministering to the church
[and our children] and
presenting his sufferings to the world."

Wow! What a different perspective than I usually have on life! Lord, please help me to live each day and see every sacrifice and inconvenience--no matter how small or big--through these lenses. Help me to embrace whatever you send my way and allow myself to be poured out for your glory.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


It's been 2 weeks since I've gotten something posted on here. I've started a couple, but not finished them amongst all my preparation for school starting tomorrow. Which brings me to the conversation Jay and I had at lunch today...

We wound up talking about fruits and vegetables after I told the boys that if you eat too many carrots and similar veggies your skin will turn yellow. They thought that was cool, but I decided to continue the educational experience by quizzing Jay on whether certain foods were either fruits or vegetables, as determined by whether they contain seeds or not. We went through the obvious ones: apples, watermelon, celery, strawberries (not as obvious to Jay--he finally learned what those "dots" are on the outside!), cherries, grapes. Then, just to be funny, I said, "what about eggs?" He thought for a second and then we both grinned, catching the joke. "They're just eggs," he answered. Not wanting to miss the chance to inform him further, I corrected (in all seriousness, I'm embarrassed to say), "actually, they're dairy--they come from cows".

Probably 15 seconds went by in silence, myself being completely unaware of my mistake, before Jay said, "wait--don't eggs come from chickens?" The light flashed on inside my cranium and we both just laughed.

So as we head into our second year of homeschooling, isn't it reassuring to know that my kids are being taught by someone so competent?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Grocery Advice Needed

I just got home from another depressing trip to the grocery store. Yep, definitely in the red again this week. I just can't seem to make it on the $100 per week we budget for food. I know of others who make it on less, so what am I doing wrong?

Here's what I think I do right so far: I shop first for sale items, basing my week's meals around whatever's on sale. I shop at multiple stores for food to get the best prices: Econo (good sales), County Market, Sam's, and sometimes Walmart or Target. We don't waste much. I try to buy the lowest cost per ounce possible. We don't eat a lot of junk food and hardly any pop.

Here are our trouble areas: We eat a ton of dairy--yogurt, milk, cheese--and some kind of meat in every dinner. My kids mow through 5 lbs. of apples in less than a week, as well as a lot of other fruit. We like to get a Papa Murphy's pizza once a week ($8 or less).

Does anyone have any great wisdom and/or tips for me? I'd love to know how others are making it work. Maybe we can all learn a new idea from this.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Arte d' Spaghettio

I usually don't sit down long enough to chew, let alone play with my food, but I guess I just couldn't resist this time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Rising Cost of Gas

OK, this isn't about what you think it is, so go ahead and read on--even if you're tired of hearing about the price of petroleum.

Back in mid-June we had one of those uniquely hilarious parental experiences; and of course, it centered around E...

He had apparently picked up a tummy bug right around his 4th birthday, because the next day he wouldn't even touch the birthday cake his gramma had made for him (per his specific instructions). A few minutes later as he played with his grandparents in the living room he suddenly turned around with a very non-E expression on his face. It was "the look". I flew into action, directing him to the bathroom as quickly as possible. He just made it before he erupted like a sick little volcano. Blech! After his episode he was fine. We thought it was over.

Four or five days later was J's final soccer game. We had a good time watching the "Tan Rockets" get stomped yet again, got home late, and put the kids to bed. Lindsay was staying with us that week after returning from Turkey, so the three of us were talking downstairs, enjoying the quiet, when suddenly there was a large thud! upstairs. Brian went to investigate. Soon I heard him yell those wonderful words that every mom longs to hear... "we got a puker!" As we dried off poor little E after a quick bath we noticed that his tummy was quite distended. He said it still hurt badly and it was rather hard to the touch. A call to the pediatrician convinced us we should take him to the ER with the nurse's concerns being that he might have an obstruction of some type. Lindsay stayed back as the other two kiddos slept.

So there we are, heading to the hospital at 11:30 at night, visions of exploding bowels running through our minds (ok, probably just mine--I'm the paranoid one).

The doctor examined him in just a few minutes and then stood back with a confident smile. He told us E was fine and merely had some tummy bug that was making his stomach very upset. He assured us there was no obstruction--in fact, he said the phone triage nurse really didn't know what she was talking about (great!). Ever the thorough mommy, I asked why his tummy was so distended. "Probably just excess fluid or gas from the bug," he replied. Then he left to get our discharge papers.

We breathed a sigh of relief and told E he was fine, to which he protested and looked like he would perhaps barf again. Then it happened. Out of that 4 year old's body came the most rank what-died-in-your-intestine smell you can just about imagine. I was the first to detect it, being the pregnant hyper-smell-sensitive one, and my hand flew up to cover my face. At first B didn't understand why I was groaning, but then he too caught a whiff. Words cannot describe that smell. E, obviously feeling a bit better, laughed at his impressive accomplishment. Then, over the next few minutes he ripped a couple more.

The "crisis" was clearly over and our little boy was fine, but we had just dropped almost $300 on our kid's case of the farts. In between protecting ourselves from E's emissions, all we could do was laugh together about this experience. It was actually a really neat moment--I was so glad B and I were together for this hilarious sequence of events. And what else can you do in moments like these but laugh?

Relieved and still chuckling on our way out, we informed the doctor that it might be a good idea to light a candle in exam room #2.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Good Times Watchin' Softball

Just got home from the FCC game in RF. In Kristy's words, we got "spanked". But what a fun time anyway! Some of the highlights...

...the huge grasshopper crawling on Kristy's backside (told ya I was going to blog it!)...K playing in piles of dirt until she was coated with it up to her pirates running around pillaging and plundering with eye patches and cool homemade hunk of a hubby getting a 3 run in-field homerun and an amazing horizontal center-field catch...E walking up with a piece of ABC gum (found on the ground) exclaiming, "look what I found!"...E pointing at a friend when I told him he shouldn't eat the gum saying, "but she ate some"...

Oh the sweet and funny things that happen at an ordinary softball game!

Martha Needs a Blog!

Sweet Farf and I got to go out for some girl time last night--yippee!! We ate at the cheapest place we could think of, drove to Como Park and walked around the lake (1.6 m. in flip-flops, thank-you very much!), went to the cheapest theater we could find, saw X-Men 3 for $2, and finished off the night with delightful conversation at Starbucks with not so delightful coffee. What a great time! Thanks, babe!

So at Taco Bell what do we start talking about right away? Everyone's blog-recorded lives! Turns out little Miss Martha is something of a blog addict, but you'd never know it because she doesn't leave comments. I told her she needs to start her own, or at least get a screen name so she can comment. She shook her head and gave me her excuses. No computer at home. OK, pretty good reason. But the way I figure it, there are plenty of good reasons to start one...

1. she reads all of our blogs every morning at work
2. she communicates most thoroughly and thoughtfully via computer
3. she has heart-felt opinions about perfect blog-fodder (such as naughty kids getting bitten by meerkats in a zoo exhibit)
4. 'cuz we all love her!

Can I get a second here, people? Give your reason for why she needs to join the club. Or just your favorite thing about her. Believe me, she'll be reading this tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


God's been working on me lately.

A couple of weeks ago I was laid low one night after a difficult evening with the kids. I knew I needed to talk with the Lord, so I resisted the urge to turn on the TV and vegginate. Sure enough, I was soon convicted about my attitude that has marked my role as a mom for a long, long time. Resentment. Complaining. Poor me, I deserve better than this whole lowly mom-thing. Really feeling like I was given one of the world's worst jobs listed on Kristi's blog, just short of pork-rind maker. The constant demands, no sick time, no paycheck, no freetime. Only exhaustion and more demands.

A portion of my journal:

Lord, I confess my heart is not in the right place. So very often I find myself irritated, angry, and resentful of the tasks of motherhood. I roll my eyes at their unending demands and complain in my head (and sometimes out loud) about the inconveniences they heap on me.

My attitude needs an adjustment, Lord. I need to see my charge as their mom through your eyes. I need my pride and selfishness dealt with. I need a renewal of vision and understanding of the worth of my post. I need your Word on this.

So I started to look up verses about serving Christ in the little things...
  • "He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'" (Matt.18:2-5)
  • "'...anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it...And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.'" (Matt. 10:38-39, 42)

Suddenly I saw what my attitude was...pride. Deep down I was resentful of the charge Christ had given me, thinking I deserved something better, something more comfortable and, But reading the Matt. 10 passage blatantly confronted this perspective..."where have I ever gotten the notion that my service for Christ would be anything less than losing my life for his sake?"...And, "who am I to resent the place that the living God has given me to serve him?"

Yikes. Amazing how deep our human depravity goes. The truth hurts sometimes and the truth is that I am an ungrateful and prideful speck of gloriously-loved dust. The word mercy took on greater meaning that night. My journal concluded:

Lord, I lay this sin at the foot of the cross. Forgive me of my pride, my self-centeredness, my resentment, my complaining spirit. Wash me clean and grant me a humble heart that is willing to serve my children...and therefore you.

Oh, what a dreadful sinner I am. Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, who has covered me by his grace through Jesus Christ!

I am so grateful for his sweet and freeing conviction! Of course it is still a battle. But now when I am tempted to roll my eyes and grumble about doing yet another menial task for my children I am more likely to remember that I am actually serving Christ himself. And that's good enough for me. God be praised!

Chocolate Covered Totty

Again, Joe's Ice Cream Shop. Our little Lady Tottington (nicknamed for the carrot-topped, 4-toothed character in Wallace and Grommit's Curse of the Were-rabbit) digs into her very own bowl of chocolate ice-cream.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Indiana Dos

This is one of my favorite pics from vacation, taken at our favorite treat hangout, Joe's Ice Cream. And if you look really close, you'll see what E is showing off... a set of candy eyeballs in his ice cream.

How cool is that? (For a 4 year old!)

p.s. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to post multiple photos at once...any suggestions?

I Luuuuuv VBS!

Can I just say, "thank you, Lord, for VBS!"?

All this week my 2 hugely-active, constantly-bickering boys are being taken care of and taught and entertained and fed and worn out... and I--their wiped out mommy--am getting a break. I've been more or less a single parent the last week and a half, with B gone on retreats, events, or camp. I've cared for my 3--almost 4--chitlins day-in and day-out through 5 hour car trips, a nasty cold, and pregnancy-induced exhaustion. To say the least, it is a beautiful thing to have those precious 2.5 hours four times this week!

So thanks to all you mighty women who are working so hard this week (Carla, what the heck--you have 4, too!) Thank you for the bit of rest and calm and productivity that I am enjoying every minute of. Many are blessed by your efforts! And not just the kiddos.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

E's Sweet-Smellin' Crainium

This is one I've forgotten to post for awhile, but it definitely deserves to be captured for posterity's sake...

Our family goes to the chiropractor every week (I know, we're addicts, but hey, it rocks!)Driving home in the family hooptie after one of these visits, I looked back and noticed that E was still holding his 2 strawberry flavored fish oil capsules that Dr. M gives to the kids when they visit. They sound disgusting, but the kids eat 'em like candy (after they get done playing with them--they're round and delightfully squishy!)

Concerned that he would either drop them or squish them out into a gooey mess, I told him, "eat your fish oils, E; they're good for your brain". A few moments later J asked, "hey, what smells good?" to which E replied matter of factly, "it's my brain. I ate my fish oils and they made my brain smell good".

Monday, July 24, 2006

Finally, a Name!

Sparky! That's baby #4's in-utero name. Brian and I heard it the other night and both thought it had promise. Maybe not as gender-neutral as I'd prefer, but it's cute. And no I don't think I'm having a seal, so no jokes, ok?--I'm a hormonal 2nd trimester pregnant lady--beware!

As a postscript... I really miss people. I was gone for 18 days in Indiana, home for 7, and now am up in Lac du Flambeau visiting my dad at his parish. It's just entirely too long for this extrovert to be away from all the awesome friends God has put into my life. Reading your blogs makes me feel not quite so far away, at least. But I'm anxious to get back home soon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Indiana Uno

Sunrise over Lake Syracuse.
This was the earliest I was up during the 16 days we were there, due to my sister-in-law and my running in the town's annual 5K roadrace. We'd both been training for it, but slacked off recently--her because she got strep throat, me because of goomer #4 and my subsequent inability to get off the mattress in the morning. We ran just over 2 miles before I hit a wall and had to walk. I think Cheryl would have made it. We were the last of the runners, but Cheryl preferred to think of us as the first of the walkers. We both thought they should have a pregnant and nursing mom's category!

More later...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Too Tired to Blog...

When was it that I actually had time to sit down to blog? Hmmm... probably about 2 months ago before baby #4 came on the scene! Now it seems I get absolutely nothing done--besides growing a human being and taking naps all afternoon. The laundry pile never dies, the kids are deprived of attention, and my credit card was declined the other day because I forgot to pay the bill (oops!) and failed to notice last month that I was short 2K on my payment (double oops!). Oh well, there's a season for everything, right? Even for using your check card.

Yesterday I took my family to the doctor to hear the heartbeat for the first time. Also in attendance was one of my oldest "daughters", Lindsay, who's been staying with us this week. What a holy moment it is to hear that tiny whoosh whoosh whoosh for the first time! Audial evidence of a human being that until now has just been a silent and invisible concept. There's really someone in there! My midwife assured me everything checks out. Thank you, Lord!

A couple more weeks and I should hopefully be past the worst of it and able to carry on with life again. And maybe even blog.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

E quote of the day

"I want to be a softball when I grow up."

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Haiku for Foamy Soap

Purple liquid, flow'ry scent
Prolific foam makes my kids want to wash their hands
What would I do without you?
* * * * * * *
Seriously...what did we do before this stuff?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Flat as a Pancake

This morning I caught E riding his bike in the alley. Now, it's not that dangerous of a place to be, but a mom's gotta have principles. So, I called him inside with the dreaded, "you're in trouble, buddy" voice and he trudged in. After his 3 minute (or so) timeout, I went in to discuss with him his disobedient heart. I asked him if he was supposed to be in the alley. He shook his head. I asked him if he knew why he's not supposed to be in the alley. "Cuz I might get smooshed?" he replied. "Yes! You might get smooshed like a pancake," I affirmed, thankful that he was getting the point of his discipline. Then he looked up at me with those puppy dog eyes and asked, "would you eat me?"

I need to take a non-laughter class for moments like that one! Where do kids come up with this stuff?


#1) I would like to dedicate this photo to all those folks who
say that homeschooled kids are sheltered.
#2) In our family we emphasize donut--I mean, dental--hygiene!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Number 4

Well, I was right. Number 4 is on his or her way. Yippee!!!! We are all very excited about this. Four sounds just right to me.

Already the humor has begun. When we told the kids, J's little mouth hung open in a gaping smile...apparently another sibling was not on his radar. E asked how I knew there was a baby in my tummy. "I peed on a stick," I answered (clearly without forethought). I could just see the little wheels turning in their minds thinking about all the sticks they've peed on and wondering why they've never found out they had babies in their tummies. I showed them the stick to clear up the confusion. All that week E kept coming up to me and asking, "Mom, why did you pee on a stick and God put a baby in your tummy?" J wanted to know if there were four lines if it meant there were two babies. Good logic.

And now the quest for an in-utero name for #4. This is very important to me. My parents named me before I was born. Bozo. Yup. Bozo was my first name. They thought I was a boy and apparently The Bozo Show was big at the time. What the heck?! Oh well, it was the 70's--what can you expect? When I was born (a girl!) my nickname became Bozie, which I was called affectionately, well into my teens. My little brother was Bombo. My baby sister Bobie. It was good to have a name to call the baby before it came.

So...J was Fluffy. Both B and I have tons of hair, so we kind of expected our first to come out resembling Ronald McDonald. E was Slurpee. I love Slurpees, it was a cute name, and there was an anteater on Zoboomafoo called Slurpee. K was Bun-Bun, as in "there's a bun in the oven". The boys called her Bun-Bun more than her real name for her first few months!

What will we call this baby? It takes time to come up with a name that is satisfactorily gender-neutral and cute. This is why I have rejected some of my boys' suggestions. The first suggestion out of J's mouth was "Zurg". Others to follow were "Buzz Droid", "Obi-Wan Kenobi", and "Mrs. Potato Head". B made his contribution, "how 'bout 'Spud'"? At least that one meets the requirements (sort of), but I just can't bring myself to name my unborn child after a tuber or one of Brandy's canines. Although, come to think of it, "Frito" would be kind of cute! Hmmm...I'll have to think about that one.

Meanwhile, the search continues...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Through Farfa's Eyes

Recently a friend known affectionately by many names (e.g. Ra-Ra, Farfa, My Cheeseburger) stopped by to hang out for a few minutes. Since I was absent at the time, she sent me her reflections on the time with the kids. I loved what she had to say and wanted to save it...

I dropped in last night - it was fun to hang out with your kids…to watch
them play in the dirt and pull "flowers" for you. It was hard not to laugh
at little Ms. K - with dirt everywhere, with hair smelling like maple syrup
and with her chocolate covered smile. As I sat there…she would back up her
little bum and park it right in my lap. Oh - the joy, the peace and then
all of a sudden the explosion of energy as she would get up and waddle away to go get her brothers. And that is only K…I could go on and on about
E with his snotty, slimy face and grin that reached from ear to ear and the
twinkle in his eye that made you wonder what he was up to. Thank you for
sharing your family with me. I have so much fun with them.

...We have fun with you too, Farf! Thank you for so beautifully capturing the essence of my chitlins--maple syrup hair, snot and all!!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My Little Evangelist

A few nights ago J was outside playing with next-door neighbor buddy, L while I made dinner inside. All of the sudden J is standing in the kitchen with an incredulous look on his face. "Mom!" he said, "L doesn't believe that God is real! But I believe he is; I'm a believer!"

I explained that many people don't believe in God, and that God says we should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have, but with gentleness and respect. "Don't be too hard on her, honey," I encouraged, "just explain to her what you believe."

"I'm going to go get my Bible!" he announced as he stormed off in evangelistic zeal (did he hear that last part, I wondered). He came downstairs and marched outside. I could hear him outside with passion/bossiness directing her to look at Bible stories with him. "This is real stuff in here, L," I heard him say.

A few minutes later he reappeared, frustrated. "She just keeps finding cute pictures of animals," he complained.

I thought the matter was finished then, until he returned with yet another Bible, this one without cute little animal cartoons. He resumed his crusade, finally frustrated by her lack of interest.

It was one of those moments you say to yourself, "so this is why I do everything I do." Thank you, Jesus!

Mommy's Glue Gun Obsession?

The other night on one of our frequent walks back from the candy store a tragedy happened... E was riding his little trike up the long hill to our house when his treasured Ring Pop fell to the ground at the exact moment that big brother J rode by on his bike. The result: one glorious piece of fruit-flavored candy dashed to pieces on the sidewalk.

As E began the dreaded cry of death, he suddenly looked up at me and asked,
"Mom...can you glue gun it?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Two Beautiful Things

Two beautiful things happened today in the midst of a difficult day...

First, Ethan prayed (in a 3-year-old way) to receive Christ. We were cuddling together just before his naptime after reading a book about God's presence all around us and in our hearts. He wanted to know if God was there with us and I said that he was and that God could be with him always if he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and became a child of God. We had just been reading John 1 the other day and talking about becoming children of God through believing in Christ. That day he said he wasn't ready to be a child of God. In fact, he hasn't seemed to have much interest in spiritual things. I've been trying to remember that he's only 3--he's got some time. But today he said he wanted to be a child of God. I asked him if he had ever sinned, to which he said yes, he had. I told him that people who don't ask Jesus to forgive them would not go to Heaven but to Hell instead. He is clearly beginning to understand and desire Heaven, and he wanted to go there. So we prayed together, him repeating after me a basic prayer asking for repentance and to be made a child of God. It was a sweet moment.

I definitely don't hang everything upon a prayer like this, especially since he pretty much recanted two seconds after saying "amen", saying that he really didn't want to be a child of God. But...God is working in his little heart. Lord, may he be a strong man of God for you someday!

The second beautiful thing was a gift Jay brought home for me from the Awana carnival. Each kid had the opportunity to pick out up to 20 toys and trinkets...the kind of stuff that kids love passionately but that drives parents completely insane when it breaks the first time a sibling even looks at it. So, of course he brought home an armload of great boy stuff--binoculars, a sword pen, a coin trick, a parachute guy, toy handcuffs, army helmet, etc. But then he pulled out something he said was for me...a delightfully cheap goldtone ring with a pretty blue "stone" in it. My heart melted. Even though I know it will turn my finger black in 2.7 femtoseconds. I love it. What a precious gift. What a precious son. I hope I never forget.

My Battle

Did I just say I was doing well? What was that--3 days ago? Well, never mind. I am thankful that God gave me that "anniversary" to reflect on how far I've come in a year, but now it seems I've been thrown back down into the pit.

I saw a friend today at the grocery store who kindly and with great compassion listened to my condition report and pledged to pray for me. As I walked away I felt a sense of relief in having shared my struggle with someone who knows the battlefront well. But I was then suddenly overcome by a sense of despair as the thought rose up in me, "pray for what? I've tried that already. I've tried everything. What prayer is there for a day like this?"

As I explained to my friend, I am doing everything I can to avoid days like this one (and the past two): I eat well, run three times a week, take Omega-3's, injest a nasty whey protein shake every morning (actually, it's not that bad...except for the chunks), get enough sleep, and take a small dose of Zoloft. And, by God's grace, it has helped. As related in my last post, I have been granted relief from my depression and anxiety over this past year. But I am extremely sensitive to any changes going on in my body or hormones, and something tells me there may be a little ball of cells growing in my tummy that is throwing everything out of whack again. This is a wonderful, hoped for thing. But the change is causing a tumult within.

It is such a dark place, depression. There is no joy. No peace. My eyes look downward and my heart inward. I can barely look B in the eyes--it takes too much energy to relate to him. Every simplistic question from a demanding child grates on my nerves. I spew forth a steady stream of angry "don't!"s and "no!"s. No one can please me. I can't pray. God is far off and my heart is shut down.

At least it's not as bad as it has been in times pre-meds. At least I still want to be around people.

What I found myself asking the Lord this morning was, "what do I do when one of these days comes? How do I survive?" I need to figure this out.

I have learned that time with friends helps. And doing things I enjoy, like working on my blog, watching a fun show, sitting out in the sun. Time away is helpful as well, which, praise God! I will be doing this weekend at the homeschool convention. But some of these are not realistic options in the midst of a 12 hour day with the kids. I am desperate to figure out any other battle tactics that I can to survive until things are back in balance again.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Celebrating Easter Again

It's Easter Sunday again... my favorite day of the year. Being reminded of Jesus' victory over death and the subsequent victory he won for us is awesome. I was in awe of my God this morning. Before the kids got up I turned to Luke 24 and read to the end of the book. What struck me was how the disciples had been with Christ all that time, that he had even told them he would die and rise again, and still they were confused by his missing body. And when they saw him, they didn't even recognize him! Not until their eyes were opened did they finally see who he was, as he broke bread with them (v. 31). It's not that I blame them for doubting. I certainly have had my fair share of questions and doubts. It's that they didn't even recognize him when he stood right before them. Their eyes had to be opened for them to understand and see him for who he really is, not who they thought he was.

Lord, there are so many in my life who need their eyes opened. Please will you let them see you for who you truly are...let them see and believe! Especially right now I pray this for GT and LT, for GJ and PJ...Hosanna! Save now!

Theology aside, I am just really grateful today. It was Easter Sunday last year that I felt like I was on the bottom of 10 feet of water. What should have been the most joyful worship service of the year turned out to be the last straw and caused me to finally seek medical help for my depression. It was so hard for me to take medicine for it; I battled feelings of failure and inadequacy as a Christian. But praise God for Zoloft! He has used it to bring me back and to help me to be myself again! This morning I danced in my living room and praised my Savior with all my heart. Thank you, loving God, for lifting me out of despair and restoring my joy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Willow River Homeschoolin'

Pam was in charge of "co-op" today. She suggested a morning at the nearby State Park for some time out in the wild. Winter needs to go! Turned out to be a perfect day out there...50 degrees and lots of mud. What could be better for 4 kids and their eager mommies?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

E quote

I just had to get this one on here for posterity...

"hey, Dad--we get to have butts!"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


"So then the question comes to me and to you each day: Will you be
faithful? Will you discharge your gifts, fortunes, and life for truth,
love, and beauty to the glory of God? Don't seek success per se,
and do not seek greatness; be faithful with what you have been given to
do. Be faithful to whom you have been given to love."
--Tim Porter,
This was encouraging to me today. I identify with Tim's struggle with what boils down to prideful envy of the success and notoriety of others. Sometimes I feel so insignificant, almost like my life is being wasted. I'm a smart woman with a passion for people, theology and ministry. And yet it seems like my life is consumed with runny noses, poopy bottoms, breaking up fights between two young boys, and a messy house that defies every effort I make to keep up with it. Why did I go to college, anyway? For this? What was I thinking? I wanted to save the world (see previous post), be off in other cultures serving Christ... and yet here I am, a mom of 3 who has time or energy for little else.
Last night I got a call asking me to join the leadership of a ministry at church. Nothing earth shattering or anything, but I would be leading something. I acknowledged to B that now is not the time, that I don't have enough to give to this important ministry, despite my desire to be a part of it. And then I confessed my prideful thoughts accompanying this decision... "I could be in charge of something... Finally someone sees my potential!... I wouldn't be just a mom anymore!"... It's probably a good thing I can't serve in this position right now--God has some serious humility work to do in me first!
But I know that a lot of this comes from not accepting the post God has given me. This is where he has placed me, and as Tim said, I need to be faithful right here. To the ones God has given me. This is my high calling. Not to seek greatness. Only to be faithful.
Lord, help me to be your faithful servant! Let me give everything you've placed within me to serve you right here, right now. Help me not clamor after greater things. Just fix my eyes on you and let me run. Oh, and please give me a humble heart!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Why am I sitting here at midnight, knowing I need to go to bed, but choosing tonight (of all nights) to start a blog?
Why write any of this down, anyway? Who will benefit from it?

I can't go to bed now. I just watched a Frontline program about the sex trafficking of women over in eastern Europe. I am sick and angry after seeing real women talk about what was done to them...what is being done to half a million women every single year in this evil-ravaged planet. I can barely stand it. And I know I cannot sleep. Not until some of this can come out. Be processed. Proclaimed. Prayed.

Jesus, why? How can there be so much pain? So much evil? The very ones that you created to be your image-bearers of beauty and life are being systematically hunted and consumed by the one who hates them for their beauty, for their life-giving ability. He destroys them, tells them they have no beauty to hold out for the world to see, steals their innocence, their physical and emotional health, and their unborn children. They are trapped. Without hope. Without anyone to come and save them. Their hearts are destroyed. Their bodies become diseased. Their children back at home weep because they have disappeared.

How can this be? How can I be so blind to what is happening in this world? I hate knowing this stuff exists. I should be doing so much more! LORD, what can I do? I want to fly to Turkey (or Soho or L.A. or everyplace else this is happening--which is everywhere) and burst into a brothel and carry them away with me. Take them someplace safe. Hold them and tell them about the love of their Maker. Rebuild what was demolished. Set them free.

But I can't even go and save one of them. I am a mom. In rural Wisconsin. I homeschool. I clean the house and cook meals for my family. I try to reach out to hurting teens. That's it. I feel so powerless. So ineffective. Why didn't I choose the harder road... the one where I could have gone off and sacrificed my "wants" for their "needs"? I could have made such a difference.

That choice is past me now. But what can I do now, Lord? I want to press into this life and use every ounce of it to serve You and the ones you love. I don't want to settle for status quo mommyhood and middle-class complacency. There are people dying all around me. Oh GOD! Please use me! Beyond my station in life! Please fill me with your strength and power to make a difference. To be your agent of life and hope and peace. Jesus--help me see what I can do. Don't let me settle. Don't let me coast through this short life. There is so little time and so much work. Please hear my prayer and work, mighty One! Let the tide of evil be turned back in Your awesome Name!