Showing posts with label Living Intentionally. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living Intentionally. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11

Monday, April 13

Washing the White House Duds

Laundry is kind of a never-ending thing around here….particularly when certain individuals decide they need a new outfit every time they roll out of bed. I’ve tried several systems: I’ve tried the wash and fold a load every day, which left me feeling like I was NEVER DONE! I’ve tried the do it all in one day, which left me searching for clothes for people to wear. I’ve tried the don’t ever do it, which, for obvious reasons, never worked.

I still don’t have a system. If you’re looking for a post that’s going to share a tried and true, perfect for everyone method…you will never find one, because there isn’t. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them, right now, in this season. This is mine…

None of our kids are really old enough to take on the responsibility of “doing” laundry. Yes, they’ll help with little things, when it’s exciting, but for the most part laundry falls to me and Matt {yes, he helps}, and that’s ok. Because in about 3 years I figure I won’t have to do anything {nice fantasy right?!}.

So, what do we do?

We do laundry as it comes in, when we have time, and when the mood strikes.
Wow! That seems rather “whatever” doesn’t it?! 
Yup. And it works for us.Washing the White House Duds: 3 Simple Tips for Not Losing Your Mind When You Are Losing the Laundry War, from a Mom of Triplets+ 1

There are days {and I mean the time frame of clothing lying in the same spot for over 24 hours} when clothes lay strewn about the house before I manage to wrangle them all together and in a pile somewhere near the bathroom or laundry room. Right now…not gonna lie. There’s stuff tossed about the kitchen, the mudroom, the living room, the bathroom, and the bedrooms. Probably a good 5 or 6 loads of laundry. Does it drive me nuts? Yup. But I’ve had to learn how to let it go.

Sometimes clothes are neatly in hampers or piles ready to be carried to the laundry room and washed. This usually only happens immediately following ALL the laundry being washed, and lasts until the first shower.

What usually happens is that we have a mix of these 2 things occurring. Some clothes are neatly piled, ready to go, and some clothes are strewn about. It just takes Matt or I actually getting them into the machine, out of the machine {before they need to be washed again}, and into the dryer.

Once things are dry, they kind of sit in those big blue Ikea bags until the mood strikes to fold them. Usually once or twice a week. Matt and I will put a movie on and sit for the duration folding all those bags of laundry and sorting them into piles of what goes in which draw in whose room {this makes it a lot easier to put away…one pile for each draw…I can put all the clothes away for everyone in less than 10 minutes}. Then put all of the girls’ clothes in one bag, all of the boys’ in another, then put those bags in their rooms to go in the draws.

Washing the White House Duds: 3 Simple Tips for Not Losing Your Mind When You Are Losing the Laundry War, from a Mom of Triplets+ 1

Somehow it always amazes me how much clothing there is. The boys only have 3 pairs of pants each, 3 sweatshirts and a handful of tees. The girls are another story. I’m constantly weeding through to pare down what they have, so I’m not washing the same things that don’t fit over and over again.

Here are my 3 basic tips to help tame the laundry leviathan…


Laundry Tips

Washing the White House Duds: 3 Simple Tips for Not Losing Your Mind When You Are Losing the Laundry War, from a Mom of Triplets + 1

You can only wash as many clothes as you have. What do I mean….if you have 30 shirts, you’ll wash 30 shirts, but if you only have 3, you can only wash 3. It is for this reason that our kids don’t have a ton of clothes, that I don’t have a ton of clothes, and Matt has more clothes than all of us combined {I keep working on him}.

Don’t be disheartened when your “system” stops working. That’s life. Nothing works forever. What works this week, isn’t going to work next week. Do what you need to right now to have clean clothes and not lose your mind. Maybe that’s a wash basket per room, and people live out of the clean laundry in that basket. Maybe things are color coded and perfectly folded in drawers. Maybe it’s walking around in your undies, waiting for clean clothes to dry.

Find a baseline and hold that as your standard, not Pinterest. Whatever it is, figure out what your minimum effort for sanity is and hold that as your bar. Anything above is fantastic! At this you’ll at least be able to focus on doing what you have to do, rather than being overwhelmed with what you think you should have done.

*Bonus: Get rid of your bulky wash baskets! We used to have them all over the house. I invested in about 10 big blue Ikea bags {a whopping $6.00} and it’s great! They’re huge, they crumple up really small, and they’re indestructible.

You can check out what my laundry room looks like HERE!

Tuesday, May 13

The Lie

Has Satan ever told you a lie? Did you accept it as truth? Not doing what you felt you should be doing? Continuing on in fear because you were believing what he was saying? I have.

Most of my life I have not lived brave in God’s truth…I’ve cowered in fear, accepting Satan’s word as truth. Honestly, I think the first time I chose not to listen to Satan’s lies, to accept the truth that I am marked as Christ’s own, that He has a plan and a purpose for my life, was in pursuing fertility treatment to have children. The Lies

And it’s in that same area that Satan is trying to cow me once again.

But this time I can see it for what it is; this time, I didn’t back down. I saw it for what it was and prayed.

With everything that has been going on with my sister’s health, Satan has been whispering in my ear that I’m crazy for even thinking about welcoming a 5th child into this family, that there is no way in hell that I could handle it, that I’m not mom-enough to do the work, that we really only are surviving 4 kids because we got 3 of them out of the way at once {please don’t tell me I’m an incredible mom because of triplets…I’m not, I’m just a mom}. All of those things are lies.

I was in tears at the very thought of adding to our family. I was seriously questioning my sanity and my motivations for wanting another child. I had all but convinced myself that there was no way that we’d be having another child, because this is hard. And Matt just listened to all of it…knowing better than I.

Then His truth whispered like the gentle spring breeze into my heart…. “but it won’t be like this”.

And I cried some more, because it won’t be like this. It won’t be while living in my in laws basement {however nice it may be}, it won’t be my sister’s baby {while we we’re seriously worried about losing her}, it won’t be in the middle of a huge home renovation. It won’t be like this. It won’t be now. And in that I can take comfort. And even if it were, God would there.

Satan’s lies are one of the single most damaging things anyone faces. Even our children, no matter how small they are, Satan is already attacking them: Telling them they can’t do something, that mommy and daddy don’t love them when they’ve been disciplined, that there are monsters under the bed and things in the dark.

We need to see these lies for what they are: The wedge that Satan is trying to create between God and us. We are not called to live in fear; we are not meant to live a life filled with worry. Our God will only ever speak truth to us, and sometimes that truth will hurt, but it will never cause us to be fearful.

What is a lie that you’ve caught Satan telling you? What did you do about it?

Tuesday, February 4

Ideas for Indoor Fun!

Last week, I shared with you how I was starting to lose it, what with being sequestered indoors for weeks on end with 4 kids 4 and under. This past weekend, Matt and I decided to grab the bull, uhh to do list, by the horns. We’ve been wanting to make a tent/fort/teepee thing for months now, and it was just time.Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

Activity One – Teepee

We asked Ave if she’d rather have a “house” or a teepee and the teepee won out. We found this awesome tutorial, and Matt headed to the hardware store: For around $60 he got everything we needed. The instructions were pretty good, but the blogger wasn’t quite sure how the previous person managed to get all of the pieces out of a 9x12 tarp, so being the person I am, I spent about a half hour figuring out how to cut all the pieces out of one drop cloth.

The way I worked it out is this way…
Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

I had all the panels cut out in about 20 minutes. The first one took the most work, with figuring out the measurements and such. We used a chalk line to mark it. Then used that piece as the template to cut out the other 4 panels. I did hem the bottom edges that were un-hemmed; I didn’t realize that drop cloths frayed the way they did.
Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

The rest of the instructions on the blog were easy to follow. I did end up serging all of my inside seams, because of how much the fabric frayed and because it strengthened the seams too. We didn’t have ribbon on hand to finish the inside ties, but we did have some good rope that Matt pulled out {one of the perks of having a nautically-minded husband…you always have rope}.

I thought I had this great project for Matt to do, and it ended up making more work for me than him. Matt had all the PVC pieces together in about 15 minutes: I spent about 2 hours {with the ties being stitched in} sewing together the whole actual teepee {not quite what I had planned on doing during nap time}. The whole thing came together awesome!

We do think that there needs to be some adjustments on the teepee frame, because the legs on the front get spread too far back and then the teepee falls over. Have to figure that out still.

Activity Two – Doorway Bean Bag Toss

Before Christmas everyone was asking me for gift ideas for the kids, but we really didn’t WANT anything more. One thing we did find was a 3-in-1 monkey toss for a doorway, which looked pretty awesome. Then they were out of stock, so my mother in law, crafty lady that she is, made something similar.Ideas for Indoor Fun {some assembly required} TeePees and Other Fun Activities for the Cabin Crazies

It was pretty simple construction on this, and wouldn’t even need to be made as fancy. Depending on how much you spent on fabric, will determine just how much the project costs. If you could find $1/yd fabric, the whole thing could be made for less than $20, plus the rod for the doorway {Target has tension shower rods for $7.00}.

My mother in law asked how high and wide we wanted it to be {it did end up being a bit longer than we needed}. She took 2 pieces of fabric that were the same size {she was going for fish and picked these fabrics out}. On the front piece she cut out holes and then finished the holes with a bias tape {if we were to make this again, I think the holes would be smaller—they’re about the size of a small dinner plate, which means the kids fit through them}.

Then she stitched the two pieces of fabric together on the short ends. With it right side out, she stitched another row about 3” down from the top, to create a sleeve for the shower curtain rod. In the bottom you can put a a shallow tote or an old cookie sheet to spread it out and way down the bottom. I ended up going back through and stitching the sides together, because the kids kept climbing between the 2 layers of fabric and pulling the whole thing down on their heads.

My mother in law is a seamstress, so the kids got actual fish-shaped bean bags, complete with painted gills, spots, and faces. You could just as easily stitch together squares or circles. Our fish weigh around 4ounces, which is a good weight, and are filled with dried beans {but you could use rice to fill them, too}. This project could be as simple or as detailed as you want to be. Honestly, your kids aren’t going to mind too much either way.

Fish Collage

That’s what we’ve been up to lately. Believe me, the TV is still on way more than I would like, but most of the time they’re not even paying attention to it…they’re too busy moving furniture and making mountains out of cushions…yes I am one of those moms. I figure furniture can, and will be, replaced eventually, but these days inside…they can’t.

kids on couch

Friday, August 9

Tuesday, July 30

Remember that Survey?

Yea, I remember it too. Not to worry. I’ve been reading and re-reading over the input I received, and thinking and re-thinking all of it. Thank you again to all of you who filled it out.

I certainly appreciated all of the insight, I’m obvious not going to change certain aspects of this blog, because then it wouldn’t be me. Yes, I did agree with some of the changes {more on that in a bit}, but some just deviate too much from what I want this space to be. So, please, feel free to ignore the posts that you would rather less of.

That said.

DSC_0684 Quite a few commented that they would like to see fewer book review posts; I wanted to take a bit of time to address that. I like books. Ok, I LOVE books! As a blogger there are several publishers out there who offer FREE books to people who would be willing to give an honest review in exchange for a book. Win-Win. The stipulation is that the recipient does need to post on their blog about the book.

A few months ago, I had several reviews that went live within a couple of weeks of each other: I was on a reading kick and wanted to get them off my plate. It was unusual for me to have that many review posts going up at once.

In the future, I will try and limit book review posts, to one per month {and there may be months that there aren’t any reviews}. That way I can still get my free books {I’m on a budget here and our rinky-dink library doesn’t have many books in the Christian anything genre}, and you don’t have to be subjected to a plethora of boring book reviews. HOWEVER, if I come across a book that I absolutely want to share with you, I might have to break my 1-post-per-month policy. Again though, you’re free to just ignore those posts and I will try and restrain myself.

As for the rest, I’m going to attempt to keep a balance between life, writing, recipes, and quilting posts :-) And don’t worry, there will be giveaways too. I have another one coming up in September.

Monday, July 1

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer Time

 It’s been kind of quiet around here on the blog, and I’m not really sure why. DSC_0001edit WMI debated taking a blog break, but that kind of formality doesn’t work for me, since I then feel like I can’t click Publish, because I’m “on a break”. There have been a lot of little things swirling around causing me to not post. Some of them more profound than others, some just obvious things, like Life.

Last week we started swimming lessons and will have that through July. This coming weekend is the Car Show, which marks the beginning of not-a-weekend-free. Every weekend from now until the end of August, something is going on or we’re getting ready for the fair.

So what have I been up to that has kept me from being around here as much? I’ve been reading {a lot!}, working on a few quilts, and just haven’t felt motivated to come on here and clack-away on the keyboard. I do have to admit that none of the “away” time has been spent in cleaning or keeping up with housework or taking vacations. Mostly it’s been just “being”.

Since I have been a bit quiet around here…thinking about my blog, living life, and what not….would you be willing to take a short survey and tell me what things you like, don’t like, would like to see around these parts? 

If you fill out the survey you'll also be entered into a giveaway of the ebook, Simply Summer by Modern Alternative Mama ($5.00 value). This book was part of the Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle and is choc-full of fun summer recipes!

Thursday, October 11

How will I shape my children and their faith?

Other parts from this series, Finding Faith
I. Where do you come from?
II. Do you own your faith?
III. Where is my faith going?
IV. How will I shape my children and their faith?

Finding Faith Series Deut 4 29 with Jess at LifeintheWhiteHouseI touched on this idea a bit in my last post, a very little bit. To me, this is something I pray about more than I do my own faith. This, to me, is the very crux of my existence. How and what will I do that will help my children become the followers of Christ that I long for them to become?

I honestly lay awake at night, sometimes working myself into a frenzy about all the ways I am FAILING miserably in this.
A while back I read a book entitled “When You Rise Up” by RC Sproul, which revolutionized my entire thinking about raising successful children. It redefined, for me, what I think of as “Success”.

I think this is one of the biggest points of contention between Christian parents: Do I raise a child with the idea of making them successful by the world’s standard? or by God’s standard?

But so many parents, myself included, get blinded by raising children that will be successful in the world, with only a passing, secondary thought to their success by God’s standard. Which is more important to me, that they live a God-Glorifying life or one that is successful and self-serving? God-Glorifying absolutely. Hands down. No argument.

But what about their success in the world? They need to be educated, they need to know how to function and operate in this world. Yes, they do. But through living a God-Glorifying life they will be successful and ultimately better able to function in this world.

To the world, my husband and I are not successful people. We scrape by each month, with nothing saved for our retirement. We live in and old house, that is literally falling down around us {our back foundation is crumbling under a poorly constructed addition}. Our cars are not fancy. Our clothes are not designer. We are that family that others look at and think, “Sheesh, and they have HOW MANY kids?!”

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
~Matthew 6:26

Now, I’m not saying we’re successful by God’s standards, we fail miserably at living a life that glorifies Him. BUT we seek to trust Him. We seek HIM. We know that He will take care of us and provide for us, through and in all things. Even when we start to get a bit squeamish about being able to pay the bills.

Honestly, I can’t guarantee that my children will grow to love the Lord as they should, glorifying Him in all things, trusting Him through all things. But, I can start by redefining what I consider to be success, to be most important. We can live in abject fear that if they are not drilled on worldly subjects that they will end up homeless and incapable of providing for themselves and their families. Or we can trust in God’s faithfulness.

Now, does that mean I’m going to let formal education take a back seat, not bothering to educate my children in the subjects of worldly success? No, it doesn’t. In order to glorify God, we must educate ourselves and our children in His word. We have to know how to fight against our enemies, and the way we do that is by knowing our enemies and how and why they do and believe as they do.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
~Deuteronomy 6:6-7

So what exactly are we DOING then?

Right now, we’re memorizing bible verses, we’re reading the bible together, we’re reading bible verses, we sing songs that praise God, we talk about the things that God wants us to do, what things we can do for others to show them God, we spend time together, as a family, praying and worshiping {it is for this reason that my children won’t attend a Sunday school class that takes place during worship}.

We have begun doing the little things, which will, prayfully, turn into the big things. And even at these things we fail miserably, but that’s where trusting Him comes in. Even if we don’t do these things all the time, we are trusting that the time that we do spend in these things to Him.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little series of mine. That it has, in some way encouraged you as well as made you think. I’m sure there will be more to this someday, but for now I rest all of these words in His hands, to do with as He pleases.

Monday, October 8

Where is my Faith going?

Other parts from this series, Finding Faith
I. Where do you come from?
II. Do you own your faith?
III. Where is my faith going?
IV. How will I shape my children and their faith?
Finding Faith Series Deut 4 29 with Jess at LifeintheWhiteHouse

Isn’t that something we all want to know, where our paths will take us. Which choices will result in which outcomes? I know I do, and I know in my faith I am no different.

Wouldn’t it be easier if I just knew that I was going to go home to the Lord at a ripe old age, surrounded by friends and family who love me and, more importantly, love the Lord? Of course it would, but there would be consequences to that.

If I knew that I would be in heaven with our Father, wouldn’t that, potentially, make me rather lazy in my pursuit of Him? Couldn’t I grow cocky and remiss in my actions and purposes here on earth? Yes. Isn’t it the Lord who asks us to pursue Him? Yes. If we knew that we were guaranteed the best seat at the concert of the century, would we bother rushing and putting effort in to getting that seat? No, we wouldn’t. We would rest on our laurels.

I can’t pretend that my relationship with Christ is going to grow and increase exponentially through the years. I don’t know how I’m going to react to life events, whether I will cling to the Cross or turn away. I do know that in my past experiences I have had the desire to fall to me knees and pray, but looking back none of those things, as devastating and difficult as they were, were not, in retrospect, life-shattering. At the time they were, and some still are, but there was still LIFE.

If something thing were to happen to my husband or one {or all} of our children. I don’t know if I could forgive God. I’d like to think that even in my anger, my pain, I would still crawl to Him, but that is not something I know {and not something I want to test}. Even Job, as tormented and blessed as he was, God did not resurrect his family, that pain was still there. There was still just cause for Job to abhor God.

My faith can only go ahead in each moment.
His grace is not something that I can store up for a rainy day.

“…for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
~Lamentations 3:22-23

While I can’t guess as to my future, there are certain things that I can do to insure my future. I can live a life that glorifies the Lord. I can do my very best to spend time in His word. I can see to it that my children feel His love and grow in His word in their lives, having the foundations for their own relationship with Him. I can make the best possible decisions I can TODAY, for the life I hope to live in Him.

Sitting idly by and thinking “what’s the point if there are no guarantees” never did anybody any good. If we all did that we would still be sitting outside of the Garden wondering what we do now. Faith is a conscious choice, a conscious decision to pursue God, despite not knowing what tomorrow holds or whether we will be rewarded for our faithfulness.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day can bring forth.”
~Proverbs 27:1

Thursday, October 4

Do you own your faith?

Other parts from this series, Finding Faith
I. Where do you come from?
II. Do you own your faith?
III. Where is my faith going?
IV. How will I shape my children and their faith?

The other day I posted about where one's faith comes from. For myself, that's my grandfather, he allowed me to hash things out, without fear of being accused of blasphemy. Finding Faith Series Deut 4 29 with Jess at LifeintheWhiteHouse

Which of course got me thinking: Do I OWN my faith? Not necessarily whether I have faith or not or whether I practice what I preach, but do I draw it toward myself, make it a part of myself. Do I live my life in a way in which others see my belief in Jesus, leading a life that exemplifies and glorifies Him. And for the record, let me just say that I fail, miserably, at this.

I think for many beliefs are handed down to them from their parents or whomever and just accepted because that is what was expected. It was just a passing along of a gift, without ever opening that gift themselves.  I don't know about you, but the gifts I get to rip open myself are usually a lot more fun, but no less meaningful, than the ones I just have handed to me.

While it was my Opa who helped me along the path to Christ, it is something that I've had to come to on my own. For many people there is a defining moment, or series of moments, in which they realize, or don't, that Jesus died for them, that He truly cares for them, that He has a profound and deep impact on their life.
For me, that was dealing with Matt's back and infertility within the first year of our marriage.

While I had my faith before, it was those years of blackness that drew me to the Cross, to my knees before God. We didn't know which end was up, we didn't know if Matt's back would ever be whole. We didn't know if we would ever have kids; if we would be able to afford our bills, let alone infertility treatments or adoption.

In some ways I do think I own my faith, for myself at least. I am able to approach God with my petitions and thoughts and feel that He will take care of them in some way. Even if I don't like how He answers my prayers, that he does use all for His glory. For us, He he has taken care of us through so many more difficult and trying things, than anything we're going through now. I certainly don't always understand the whys or hows, but I do believe He WILL.

So what exactly do I believe then?

I believe that there is a loving, almighty God, that actually cares about me and my life. That this existence is not totally random; that we don’t live our life, die and that's it. I believe that we have a purpose here and the people who truly figure that purpose out AND act upon it, to His glory, are incredibly blessed.
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer". 
~ Matthew 21:22
I believe that not everyone will get into Heaven, that just by being "good people" or even saying we believe in God, but still go about our OWN business, we won't receive an automatic PASS to eternity with Him.

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."
~ Romans 1:21

I believe that He is a loving and merciful God, but just as we love our children we punish and discipline them, our Father will punish and discipline us, perhaps not here and now, but at judgment. We will have to answer for our faults, our mistakes, our dis-allegiances to Him and what He has asked of us, we will have to suffer the consequences of living a life for ourselves and our own selfish desires. He will not be mocked or made a fool of.

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."
~ Revelations 3:19

The question still stands....Do you OWN your faith? Do you make a daily and conscious effort to not only have, but GROW a relationship with the Lord? Do you live a life to His glory and not your own?

None of it is easy, and I certainly know that I fall short of being worthy of His glory, as all do. But, yes, my faith is my own, my belief is my own. It is not something that I believe because it's been handed down to me, or something that I've just blindly accepted, never questioning and discovering for myself. I have experienced His faithfulness and love, I have felt His comforting hand on my brow, I have known He loves me and cares for me, as no one else on this earth can.

I know that He is my God.

Monday, October 1

Where do you come from?

Other posts in this series, Finding Faith
I. Where do you come from?
II. Do you own your faith?
III. Where is my faith going?
IV. How will I shape my children and their faith?

I've been thinking about my faith a lot lately. Not so much what I believe or why I believe it, but HOW I believe. A lot of the time I feel like a fraud. On the surface I'm a Christian, on the inside I'm a Christian, but am I really? It's been a while since I've had 5, 10, 15 minutes to sit down and actually read the Bible for myself. Even when I had time it certainly wasn’t a priority.

I'm frequently in thought with the Lord. I carry on a mental dialog with Him during the day and before sleep comes I have an “off-loading” with Him about how things went, what could've gone better, what's coming up tomorrow, and what and who are weighing on me. But does that make me a Christian?

I'm going to the Allume conference in the fall, which is for CHRISTIAN WOMEN BLOGGERS: Is that me? Am I real enough, devout enough, authentic enough, intentional enough to even be attending such a thing? God is certainly not my default response to anything in my life.

So back to my first question: Where do you come from? Or more accurately, Where does your FAITH come from?
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29
I've never NOT gone to church; no, I haven't been there EVERY Sunday, but I've always been attending a church. Growing up it was mass confusion: I was baptized in the Lutheran church, attended a Presbyterian, then a non-denominational, then a Baptist church. Now, I attend an Episcopal church.

My dad didn't start going to church with us until I was older, then we switched to a new church when I was 16 and I just really never felt at home there. Then once Matt and I started dating {I was almost 18} I would go with him and his family to the church we now attend.

We didn't have family devotional time or prayer time growing up, we didn't really discuss Faith and Jesus and God. We said grace and our prayers at bed time, but that was about it. I think my own parents were really only coming into THEIR faith when I was a teenager, and even then it was only their beginning.

The odd thing is: When I was 14 or so I wanted to be a pastor. Don't ask me where that came from: I have no idea. Obviously I'm not a pastor, but at that age I so wanted to write sermons that would call people to Christ, to know His Love, and redemption. I guess, in someway, that is what I would like blogging to become for me.

My faith didn't really come from my parents. So where did it come from?

Looking back I would have to say my {maternal} grandfather, Opa. Some of my first memories are going to church with him and sitting in on his Sunday School class when we visited. I don't remember much, just being there.

Finding Faith Series Deut 4 29 with Jess at LifeintheWhiteHouseAs I got older my Opa and I would talk. With him I could discuss my questions, my issues with being a Christian, my problems with the church’s hierarchy and traditions {which I still have major issues with}, without worrying about being told I was wrong. I could say things such as I believed that the process of evolution exists, but not that we come from apes, without fearing that he would brow-beat me for saying such things.

His love, his life, was more of an example to me about being a Christian, about following Jesus, than anything else. If anything, my faith comes from him. He allowed me to question without condemnation, he allowed me to talk through what I did and did not understand. He was my "Rabbi". 

With him there was no fear, on his part, that my questions would lead to renouncing God or Jesus. There was just open acceptance that we do have questions, and in having those questions we can seek answers, and through those answers come to know Christ better.

Where is this path leading me? Who will I touch? How I will I shape my children and their faith? Where is my faith going? Those are the REAL questions aren’t they?

Friday, July 6

Battling Against Youth Entitlement
{Review: Cleaning House}

There is an epidemic in America, that could very well shred the last thread that we’re hanging by. You’ve probably noticed it: Youth Entitlement! It started about 30 years ago, parents and society catering to the every whim of its children. What we now have is a group of young adults {and younger} that are heading in to the world unable to not only care for themselves in the most basic ways, but do not have any sort of drive or determination to accomplish anything.*

We live in a youth-centric time. Everything is geared toward kids/teens whether it’s movies or music, academics or worship. And you know what, it isn’t working. We are creating a generation of self-righteous individuals, who exist and do only for what they can get. Churches are focusing more and more on programs for the youth, but more and more youths are leaving the church. Parents are focusing more and more on giving their kids everything, but their kids don’t know how to do anything.

Parents want to give their children every {child-like} desire of their hearts: But is that what is best for them?

In my own experience with the under 25 group, no, it’s not what’s best for them. So far we have a generation of individuals who view no ones needs, but their own, as important. Too many young adults today do not see the point of pushing forward when things get tough, to, as the saying goes, “Grab the bull by the horns”.

Many act as though they’re doing their bosses, parents, teachers and others around them a favor by simply existing. They feel that they’re entitled to not only working when {and only when} they feel like it, but to having high-paying jobs, money, luxuries, good grades etc, without putting forth any effort into them: They’re wrong. The world around you doesn’t care whether you had a bad day or not. The world doesn’t exist for your glory, you exist for God’s glory.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3:23

I grew up working on my parents small farm. My days consisted of helping care for our huge garden, as well as helping in any and all family business ventures; whether it was raising calves, pigs, chickens, rabbits, or goats or slaughtering the animals that we raised. I was expected to do household chores, whether it was cooking, cleaning, laundry or anything else. I was expected to maintain good grades in school. I started mowing lawns for spending money when I was 13. I didn’t have an allowance: If I wanted something I had to work and save up my money for it.

Did I {always} like doing the work? No, sometimes I really hated it. It’s not much fun mucking out a barn when it’s 90*s and the rabbits in the cage above you are still peeing and pooping while you’re underneath (fortunately, very rarely did I get peed or pooped on, but it did happen); it’s not much fun when it’s 20* in the morning and you have to go lug 5 gallon buckets of water for chickens and turkeys, then move their pens and be slip-sliding {and sometimes falling} in their manure, before getting dressed for school.

BUT! I will say I know how to work. I know that work is necessary and good for the soul: We were not designed to lounge around, without a purpose. We were created for work. It builds character. It builds a sense of accomplishment, a sense of true self-worth.

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
Proverbs 10:4

I recently received the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma via Blogging for Books to Cleaning House Cover Imagereview. Wyma takes on entitlement-issues in her own children over the course of 12 months, during which she focuses on different areas in her childrens’ life where she is seeing their inflated self-worth and entitlement. Beginning with the childrens’ responsibility to keep their rooms clean and moving on to other areas such as the bathrooms, cooking and cleaning the kitchen, cleaning bathroom, home repairs, and employment outside the home.

While her kids often put up a fight with the addition of each new responsibility, they did rise to the occasion {however grudgingly}. She started to see a marked improvement in her childrens’ attitudes, how they treated each other, and how they viewed themselves.

Wyma’s sense of humor through it all and addressing her own issues as an enabler of her childrens’ entitlement-issues kept the book light, and real. As moms we often think “it’s easier if I just do it myself” or “they’re kids…they should be having fun, not worrying about laundry”; but neither of those mindsets help our children to become responsible adults, who know they are capable of doing what they are required to do.

This plague of Youth Entitlement must end, but first it must begin in our homes. I’m pretty sure our fore-fathers said “PURSUIT of happiness”, not a guarantee of happiness, or that it would be handed to you {as much as our government would like America’s youth to think that}. Having a job, a nice car, clothes, a house, insurances and the latest technological gadgetries are not a right for anyone. They are things that must be worked for, doing our best, always. Why not start young in our children, helping them to truly be the best they can be.
Please be sure to go and rate my review of this book here. Thanks!
*This does not apply to ALL young adults, teens and children, but definitely a growing majority of them.

Monday, July 2

On Approaching the Big 3-0!

This month something crazy happens {my mom will attest to the fact that she is not old enough for this to happen}: I a1042turn 30. That’s right! A new decade! I’m completely ok with turning 30, but why is it that the numbers always sound so much older than the actual age. I don’t think people who are 60 are old, but that numbers sounds really old.
This month I’m going to {try} to do some fun things around here, not sure what yet, but maybe a giveaway and some fun posts. I think I can manage that. BUT if you have some ideas for giveaways or posts, or things that you think would make for an awesome celebration (your questions for me)…by all means email me! :-)

But first off, let’s kick off the month with Creating Community through Comments! If you signed up, let the commenting begin!

Friday, May 4

My Little Mess

Last night I was lying in bed, having a really hard time falling asleep. I just kept thinking about how we survive the day, every one goes to bed, and then I feel like I’ve spent nothing of quality with any of the kids. I think back about how much time Ave and I spent on the floor in her room, working on getting her to roll; How we would go outside and do things. 

We don’t do things now. We can’t do things now.

I feel like I’m parenting Ave, since she’s the 2 year old who needs constant direction and attention, while just giving Henry, James and Ellie what they need to survive. And at the same time feeling like Ave gets the leftovers of my attention and patience. Vicious cycle!

I do spend time with each of the babies: looking at them, laughing with them, playing with them, but it never feels like what I do is enough. We get to the end of the day and that’s it. I’m so grateful we made it through, then 30 minutes after everyone is in bed, I’m missing them all and wishing I could spend more quality time with them.

It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, but once night comes and the quiet falls on my ears I feel like “I could’ve done more, been more”. In all honesty, I don’t know if I could…there are only so many hours in the day.

I have 4 children, all 4 of which require massive amounts of attention from me, plus a home to run {cleaning, bills, upkeep, etc etc.}

I know this summer is going to be hard. I can already feel it in my bones. I long to be out of doors, to be outside in the sun, working in the dirt, mowing the yard, swimming, running with Ave. All winter it was easy to be in a house with 4 kids, there was nothing else to do.

Now….now there is life to be lived and I know it’s going to be rough.

I just can’t open the back door and let everyone run. I have to orchestra when Ave can go outside, depending on what the babies are doing or needing, whether they’re sleeping or crying. Her play time has to end when someone is fussing and we need to go back inside, even if only for a moment.

Next summer will be different. Henry, James and Elanor will be 1 1/2, Ave will be 3 1/2 and we’ll be able to be outside…they’ll be able to toddle around the yard, go on the slide, play in the dirt alongside me, run around with each other tiring themselves out.

But right now I struggle. I struggle with the fact that we had people here working on the house yesterday and I didn’t want to leave the babies alone in the house, with strangers, while taking Ave in the yard for 15 minutes…so we sat on the couch and watched TV almost ALL.DAY.LONG!

Oh yea…there’s definitely some mommy guilt around here. BUT I know this is just a season {literally}, soon my babies won’t be babies anymore and they’ll be big boys and girl, just like their big sister…and then I’ll be sad.

Thursday, April 5

Joy of Four, with a Healthy Side of Reality

I can only describe what I feel about these three and Ave as absolute joy! I don't remember feeling like this with Ave. She was a joy as well, but it was different. There were so many things to have to learn and still thinking about infertility and whether we would have more children.

Ave has siblings! There are so many less clouds hanging over my head. I {almost} always have a smile on my face and am dancing around the house with Ave and the babies. It's wonderful. God has so incredibly blessed us!

People ask me how we're surviving, how we're dealing with having a 2 year old and THREE babies. I'm finding out that most people expect failure, they expect you to burst in to tears or say that it's horrible and you want to run away. And sometimes, it is. But, it's easier than I thought it would be. Then they look at me like I'm insane....which I am. I have to be. They look at me even crazier when they ask if we're done now and I say "Nope!" with a big ol' stupid grin on my face. My house may be trashed, but it's a home to 4 children....2 boys and 2 girls. Our kids, kids we didn't even know if we would ever have.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ~ Phillipians 4.19

I honestly can't imagine how different it would be if we'd had triplets first. I have massive amounts of respect for first time parents of multiples! There is a reason that God gave us Ave first :-) I would have struggled so, SO very much with losing "control" on things like keeping the laundry done, the house clean, a baby that won't be consoled, and everything else all at once times 2 or 3. I'm much better at realizing that sometimes "Ok" is enough {please note, I said "better" not perfect...I'm still extremely about things, which is why I don't go to bed until midnight most nights or I'm up at 5am}.

Now, here's the truth. I still have major issues with things not getting done, I still have freak out sessions when I'm trying to calm a screaming kid, put a pacifier in 3 babies' mouths, deal with the dogs, make sure the chickens have food and water, then decide that I really NEED to make some freezer meals for two friends who just had their second baby.

I admit, more than willingly, that I kind of started to feel my blood pressure creep up and ended up yelling at the dogs to shut up, muttering about Matt needing to take care of the chickens, or I'm going to kill them myself {since we don't even get eggs from them anymore!}, and thinking why on earth won't these babies just take a whole bottle and be at peace for a few hours, rather than taking an ounce here, then being ok for 30 minutes only to start fussing again! Oh, and I may or may not have eaten a half of a jar of Nutella for lunch today (and it wasn't the small size).

I admit it, it is sometimes really, really hard, especially when I'm home alone in the evenings and babies are fussing and I'm trying to get Ave in bed, but even then it's nowhere near the darkness I sometimes felt when Ave was a baby and would fuss and cry for hours in the evening. I guess because I know that a baby screaming isn't going to kill anyone, that it's ok if I can't get to that baby RIGHT NOW! It has to be ok.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3.17

So often, when in the thick of it, I forget to remember...that God gave us all four of these children, that it's OK to ask Him for help in whatever ways I need it. I heard a quote a few years ago, "God may not always give us what we want {well-behaved, easy children, clean house, etc etc}, but He will always give us what we NEED"...His Grace. That is all we need. Once I can FORCE myself to remember that I'm able to take a deep breath and move forward.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11.28-29
Confession: Sometimes, on a really prideful level I want people to look at me and think "She's supermom! She can do it all!"....I'm working on this one. The times I find myself annoyed and angry about things not being what I think they should be, is when I realize I'm trying to glorify myself, not Him. That is something I struggle with a lot.

What things do you find yourself being equally joyful and frustrated with? What stresses do you find yourself creating in your own life?

Monday, February 27

Intentional and Authentic Friendship

Yesterday I bumped into someone I had been best friends with in middle school and some of high school and college. Last time I saw her was on our graduation day, June 2004. A lot of things have changed since then, but my own desire for friendship hasn't.

I find that friendship is one of the things I struggle with the most. I greatly desire to have at least ONE real, meaningful girlfriend-ship. Someone whom I can be myself with, whom I KNOW will be there for me through thick and thin, someone who will let me be the kind of friend to them that I want to have for myself, someone that I can open up to and be vulnerable with.
"And as you wish others would do to you, do so to them" Luke 6:31
I haven't found it yet. I used to think that I just had too high of a standard, that I expected too much of friends. I figured that it was normal to go months without an email {and only then when I initiated}. I mean everyone is so busy in life, it's understandable that people don't have time to keep in touch....right?.....right?
I'm realizing, that in all honesty, most people are so busy with their own lives that they have no time for authentic friendships, friendships that mean something. Facebook make it all too easy to put it all out there without any true meaning behind it. We've become a world of quick-fixes and need-it-nows. We've given up truth and depth.
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor" Romans 12:10
Often I feel that I'm being pushy, that by emailing or sending letters, by showing concern I'm bothering people who perhaps aren't interested in having me as a friend. I sit and wonder, "Do I persist in trying to be a friend or let it alone?" I'm very much the friend that Ann writes about, the one putting them self out there.

So as someone who values friendship, I thank each one of you who read and comment, being my friend, sharing the ups and downs of my life with me. Encouraging me. Cheering me.

Tuesday, November 22

What is Living Intentionally?

(There is a question at the very end of this post: I am very curious as to your thoughts and opinions on Living Intentionally)

Last Spring I read Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" and kept track of my own One Thousand Gifts. The premise of the book and keeping a list it is to live fully in the ever day. But I keep hearing this other phrase popping up here and there on different blogs, "Living Intentionally": What does that mean?

I tried googling the phrase and this is what I found: "Done with intention or on purpose; intended" {I always thought it was bad practice to include the word in the definition}. Further on down the list was this post from my friend Trina's blog, which is probably the best thing I'm going to find as to explaining Living Intentionally.

Living a life that is not "fly by the seat of your pants", that is not about just surviving, but that involves directions, motivation, and thriving, seeking to reach or obtain some particular end or goal. So we have a definition, an idea of what this "Living Intentionally" is, but still what is it?

This is what I'm struggling with. I know what they're talking about, I understand the concept, but I am totally lost as to the application. I continued following to this post, which discusses examples of Intentional Living for the author.

Which made me realize: Intentional Living is NOT about a hard and fast set of strictures that one deems necessary to follow, but more of a personal belief system, a mission statement, if you will. A creed which you choose to follow and then not permit other things to distract you from.

Deciding what things in life you will strive for and not permitting all of the other busy work of life to clutter things up and take away from your core values. For some that may be a decision to eat organically, what church/religion they are a part of, family time, where they grocery shop, or any number of both small and major things.

When put that way, the idea of Living Intentionally suddenly becomes a lot less daunting and a lot more realistic. I'm sure most people are Living Intentionally in some ways already, whether they realize it or not, whether it's good or not. The new question is: Is your Intentional Living creating the best and most positive lifestyle? Or are you living a life of Un-Intentional Living, being tossed about constantly?

I think, if we're honest, most of us would admit that we do have elements, if not whole parts, in our lives that are not Intentional, there are certainly seasons when Intentional Living is much more limited. To me, part of Intentional Living assumes an element of constant control over our values and desires, and, unfortunately, this is just not realistic for most things.

While I'm thinking about how to Live Intentionally, I realize that right now there are only a few things in my life that I can be Intentional about: Praying, laundry, preparing food, bathing (myself and Ave), and going to the bathroom...A very impressive list.

This season of my life does not allow for me to be Intentional about anything. Being {almost} 30 weeks pregnant with triplets really limits my ability to Live Intentionally. Right now we're in survival mode and I'm hoping and praying it gets a bit better after the triplets are born (but I'm not holding my breath).

Now that I realize what it means, in my {probably wrong} opinion, to Live Intentionally I feel like I can work toward something (which will most certainly be another post, some other time).

What is Living Intentionally for you? What do you chose to be Intentional about in your own life?