Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, My Aching Back!


Do you ever have those days when it seems like there is no limit to what you can accomplish? However, the next day it hurts to get out of bed and all you can muster up the energy to do is sit on the computer and check your email? I'm having one of those days. Yesterday I got up early, we got our schoolwork done by 9:30-10am, cleaned the basement, cleaned 2 bathrooms, cleaned out the hamster's cage, got 2/3 of the laundry done, delivered something to a friend and visited for a while, got home had another couple friends over, made supper, cleaned up supper, moved chicks to the barn, cleaned out the butcher chickens' cages, put in fresh bedding, fixed their waterers so they won't leak, fed them, cleared dead weeds out of the garden, attempted to help Matthew set gopher traps (I'm no trapper, he made that clear) made popcorn for Hannah, Joshua, and I, talked with Michael for a few minutes, then CRASHED!
Now that I have written this all out, I feel justified for hurting and being VERY tired. I slogged around this morning feeling guilty for not doing anything, but I think I'm over that. I originally was going to write and ask for encouragement to get out in my garden and plant my lettuce and peas (April told me hers were planted last week, so I'm feeling a little pressure to try to keep up!)
I'm thinking I'm going to lie on the couch with a hot pack, and a snuggly blanket...
I'm taking the day off.

video

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We Cry, "Abba, Father!"


Recently, I have been praying that God would reveal Himself to me in a new way. That I might see a facet of His character that I hadn't known before. It is so like Him to meet me exactly where I am at, to show me that he is there, too, right beside me. It has been a very trying week for me with the kids. The weather has been horrible and depressing. The kids have been unusually antagonistic, whiny, and crying more than usual. Chaos seems to have taken over my home and we all have counted the minutes for Daddy to come home. A fresh face to bring some renewal and order to our day. One day this week, when I was really feeling frustrated and short-tempered, Joshua spontaneously ran to me with open arms, stretched up high. My crankiness melted away in an instant and I did what any parent would do and scooped him up into my arms and held him, hugged him and kissed him, until he was ready to get down and go back to his adventures. My thoughts keep cycling back to that instant. I didn't know why, just that I knew it was one of those moments I wanted to store up in my heart. God showed me something about that today that I want to to share, or at least get written so I don't forget it.
My struggle lately has been to feel connected to God in the middle of the craziness in my day. I have let other peripheral things take priority over Him and my attitude has suffered. I start to feel out of touch, my faith dwindles, I begin to doubt God, and lose sight of His truth, promises, and who He really is. I start to believe all kinds of silly lies that normally I wouldn't allow 2 seconds of my thought time! "Hello? Can you hear me? Do my prayers matter? Do you REALLY love me?" That's been the general undercurrent in my heart. Anyone else been there? All the while, I know it's not true in my head, but I was believing a lie in my heart. I needed God to reveal it to my heart so I could both know it in my head and believe in my heart what His love for me is like. What I began to realize is that as a parent, I love my children more than they love me. They are immature, but as they grow older, the love becomes more mutual. With babies, we are overwhelmed with love for them. One little known tribal group's word for that kind of love means "to place (the child) inside one's heart" I like that description! So there is an imbalance in the love relationship and the parent can't wait to see the child begin to realize his love for the parent. Think of what a big deal we make out of those first words, first hugs and kisses. The love is beginning to be returned to us and how it makes us love them even more! So...when we cry out to God to know Him, as a parent, would He hide Himself from us? No! If your child cried out to you, would you run away? If we turn to Him and begin to show love for Him, is that the point at which He begins to love us? NO! He loved us before creation. He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sin on the CHANCE that we would look to Him and love Him back. His love is more than I can comprehend. I cannot control it or manipulate it by how much time I spend with Him, how I worship Him, or if I have been obedient in all things or not. His love never changes -easy to know, difficult to understand.
What He showed me was that even though I have drifted off course lately, when I lift my hands to Him in worship, approaching Him with praise and adoration, no matter how feeble my attempts are, its just like when Joshua came running to me with arms stretched up high. God the Father rushes to me when I turn to Him. He has been waiting since creation for those moments. I felt love for Joshua in that moment, but is nothing compared to the love of the one who IS love. John 3:17 says God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. How often to I feel I do not measure up, for how can I? He knew that. That's what Jesus did for us. So often I fall into the fear trap. Fear of uncertain future, fear of what others think, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and more. I forget or never really understood the concept of God as a truly loving Father, deeply aware of my life from beginning to end. Hey! That means he is acutely aware of more details than I am! I don't need to worry about the details. He knows them. I just need to trust Him with my whole life, everything.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry "Abba, Father" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. Romans 8:15-17
How wonderful and comforting it is to know that he understands love. I know that sounds corny, but as I understand love more and realize that of course God knows that aspect of love I am learning, just WAY better, it increases my faith and trust in Him. My prayer then becomes something simple like,"Ok, so you know what I was feeling toward Josh that day because you feel that when I turn to you? Wow, Lord. You really do love me!"
I love Jesus prayer for us (yep, you and me!) in John ch 17. The whole thing is good, but the last few verses speak of this love:
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. (vs. 25-26)
This brings me back full circle to my original prayer...
Heavenly Father,
I want to know you more. Continue to reveal to me who you are. I want to know how deep, how wide and how high is the Father's love for me. May I be rooted and grounded in your love, that I would never grow weary of seeking after you. I need more faith and to be strengthened by your Spirit. I love you, Lord. Thank you for sending Jesus as the perfect sacrifice. Open my eyes to your truth.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is a REAL Family Picture!

No one is looking the same direction, Kris is threatening John through a smile and clenched teeth. Matthew's expression is, well, priceless. Hannah loves getting her picture taken and all the attention, so she is no problem, a little vain, but smiling and being cooperative. We'll deal with vanity later. Josh is mushing a cracker, but seems content. Leave him alone, he's not crying! Michael is wondering why we need this photo anyway. He thought we were leaving an hour ago.
Ok, everyone! Smile-or something...

The Boys

Can't you just see these 3 boys covered in dirt and sticky marshmallows next July at the family reunion? From left to right this is Joshua, Ethan, and Jacob. Look out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down



I gotta admit, I am truly affected by the weather. I feel a little like Eyeore today. I just want to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a hot steaming cup of coffee and a good book. The last thing I want to do today my normal daily routines. Just can't get myself going! Anyone else out there feel like that today? A nap would be even better than coffee and a book... if only I could find a quiet comfy place to hide (or a locked, soundproof room).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hop on! There's Room for Everyone!

I know, this isn't a current picture, but it is a fairly accurate portrayal of how I attempt to carve out some horsebackriding time with 4 kids. I know what you're thinking, "That poor horse!" Yeah, I think the same thing, but they seem VERY happy to get out of the muddy, boring pasture and hit the trail, massive load or not. It is true that they would much rather organize a jail-break and just run free, but the nieghbors and farmers REALLY don't appreciate "born free" method of horse raising (Though horses everywhere stand firmly behind it).
Anyway, my point of writing this that I got to go for a ride two nights ago with our retired neighbor, Duane, and my 4 yr. old, John. (Duane rode separately, I might add!) When we got back, Michael hopped on the horse Duane was riding and John got off, the kids handed Joshua (14 mos.) up to me and we rode off into the sunset, baby bobble-head in front of me, just like in this picture. IT's funny how much of life I can handle if I just get a little ride once in a while. It's all I need to keep from going insane and I am grateful my knees haven't completely given out (though they are a little sore and "crackly" when I get off), I can still get on, and I don't need my kids to help me yet.
Mount up! We're burnin' daylight!

Stealing Minutes

Ok, shhh... I'm hiding in the basement typing as fast as I can (which my record is 30wpm, so don't expect great things). Two kids are doing science projects in the kitchen and the mess was starting to make me crabby so I had to step out for a few minutes. One kid is sleeping, and the other- John The Mad Hitter- needs to stay by my side today if he wants to avoid any more disciplinary action. Being out of my site has been hazardous to his behind. I think he sometimes gets to his breaking point with everyone acting as his parent, but giving out bloody lips is not an ok way to deal with frustration, right? That's the Big Life Lesson of the day. When Mommy leaves the room, you can't start doling out justice as you see fit. Oh, and you aren't Indiana Jones either, and we don't allow bullwhips in the house...
How did I get here??

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sally Stripe


John has a new friend, her name is Sally Stripe. She is just starting to get her feathers, she is light golden colored with a black stripe on her head. It's so cute! Every morning after breakfast, he has to go out to the garage to hold his friend, Sally. Yes, she is a chicken and I really hope she survives because this is the first animal he has shown interest in. He is holding her well, without dropping her or squishing her and I don't even feel like I need to be there, hovering for the chick's safety. My little boy is growing up... Sniff, sniff...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The State of our Mitten Basket

Ok. Enough is enough. Winter is over! You hear me??? I am done with you! I hereby declare it to be SPRING!! I have turned the calendar to April, I have ordered, received and cared for such spring-like things as baby chicks and garden seeds. I have put away all space heater devices and I think next I'm going to dig out my shorts and sandals.
Winter has completely depleted our supply of left mittens. There isn't a left mitten in our house! My mittens have been missing since January and I have refused to buy more because spring will be here any day now... The problem is, it keeps snowing and being cold. the kids keep wanting to go outside and play in complete snow gear, but we have the mitten problem. would you all check your vehicles and junk accumulation stations for our mittens? Please send them our way!

Happy Birthday to Michael!

Michael is 39 today. Wish him a happy birthday at bitflippings@gmail.com
I'm hoping after I sleep a few hours I will get a second wind and manage to whip together a cake, a card, and a gift! I work well under pressure...
Happy birthday, Honey! I hope you have a good day and they don't forget the donuts for you at work!