Complete Disgust

We had picked Billy up at work this afternoon and were discussing what we were going to have for dinner. Bayley asked, "And what about dessert?" I answered that we weren't having dessert tonight. With a tone of complete and utter disgust, in her best *Italian Outburst* manner, she exclaimed, "And WHAT is the purpose of having FOOD without DESSERT??" She is the true great-grandchild of her namesake, and Granny Kitty would have been quite proud. Wind and Smile

Which reminded me of *Peter's* expression of total disgust the other night. We were at Mamoe's Thanksgiving evening after dinner, and I had been going through the Black Friday ads. The kids and I had been talking about Black Friday earlier in the week, discussing what it was and why it was called that. Peter asked if he could look at the Michaels' ad when I finished. I handed it to him, and he said, "I want to see if they have pipe cleaners on sale." (He and his friends make *men* with them and have armies and such.) I said, "No...no pipe cleaners in the sale ad." He threw down the ad as he heaved a huge sigh and said, "Well, SO MUCH for Black Friday!" We all dissolved into laughter, thinking of all the people who were going to be camping out all night and standing in line for hours for the *best deals of the year*...but for Peter, it was all completely worthless if the 67 cent packages of pipe cleaners weren't on sale. Wind and Smile

What a bunch of characters....Giggle 4


Thankful Thursday--Birthday Boy

Ten years ago tonight I went to bed as usual, only to wake up at 1 a.m. in labor. 36 hours later, I was a mother. (That sounds so deceptively simple...but I'll spare you the agonizing details. ;-)) William Peter was born weighing 8 lbs. 11 oz. and measuring 21 3/4 inches. The first thing I was thankful for was that he wasn't as large as the doctor had predicted (over 10 pounds! Ack!!)

So...for today's Thankful Thursday post, I thought I'd spend a bit of time reflecting on a few of the things I'm thankful for about this boy of mine....my oldest child and only boy.

I am thankful for Peter's sensitive heart. From the time he was very young, he has had a special sensitivity for older people and those who are hurting. He hurts with and for people and has a strong desire to help those in need. We recently had a homeless man take up residence across the side street from our house for a few days(which is another blog post entirely...his leave-taking last week is definitely another reason to be thankful!), and it was all I could do to keep Peter from feeding him everything in our kitchen. I am thankful for his thoughtfulness and sensitivity.

I'm thankful for his creativity. No matter what else is happening, his hands are always busy. He loves to draw and to create things...and he is *good* at both. He is one of those for whom it comes naturally to make something totally unexpected out of almost nothing. It's fun to watch his mind and hands at work...you never know what he is going to come up with next. :)

I'm thankful for his love of people. We struggle with this sometimes...because Peter never meets a stranger. If he has laid eyes on you...you are a friend. He loves people of all ages, and it doesn't bother him one bit to tell you that some of his best friends are boys half his age, and adults older than his grandparents. He has a special heart for older people...and I am so thankful for that.

I'm thankful he is all boy. He loves dirt, bugs, reptiles, and weapons of all kinds. He may live in a houseful of sisters, but his boyish influence is easy to spot throughout the house. He has proven what I have said for years...anyone who says boys and girls are basically alike has never lived in the house with both. When he was about 8, he and the girls were playing with Polly Pockets one day. "Oh, how sweet," someone might say. Well...not exactly. He proudly came in to show me that Polly Pocket was now "Sniper Polly Pocket" thanks to the automatic rifle she had borrowed from a Corps guy that was now strapped onto her back with an elastic ponytail holder. Only minutes later he was back, with the new, improved "Parachuting Sniper Polly Pocket". Boys *will* be boys...even with their sisters' toys!

I'm thankful he is protective of his sisters. They do their share of fussing (sometimes more than others), but he is the first to come to their defense, and he lives up to the meaning of his (unused) first name..."Strong Protector".

I'm thankful for his love for Jesus. He has such a heart for inviting people to church, and he loves to hand out tracts...in the grocery store, to the neighbors, wherever. He struggles with being scared sometimes...but he is determined...and his loving obedience in this area convicts and challenges his mother.

I am thankful for the gift of this boy of ours...thankful for the (almost) 10 years we've had with him, and thankful for the blessing of being able to nurture and teach him and watch him grow.

To see what others are thankful for today, visit Laurel Wreath's Reflections.


In "Other" Words

"One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy."

~ Elisabeth Elliot~

Last night I was amazed when I saw that this was the quote that had been chosen for In "Other" Words today. I had actually started to post some thoughts along these very lines yesterday, about some things God has been reminding me of lately...but I ended up deciding those thoughts would have to wait for today. Obviously God's timing, and a perfect example of the quote itself.

God has been teaching me this principle in so many areas lately...day by day, minute by minute, seeking Him and following His leading, period. He is showing me this in relation to homeschooling, training the children, taking care of our home, spending time with my husband and children, outside activities, and most recently, making a decision that is nagging at me. Due to some health issues, I've found myself having to re-evaluate activities that have always just been *part of the woodwork* for me...singing in choir at church, for instance. Things that I love, that I have always done, about which there has never been a question...that's just what I do. :) And suddenly, I'm having to stop and make a decision about whether I am able to do them anymore, or whether they could put me in a position where I am unable to do other, more necessary things. Here's a paraphrased exerpt from an email I sent to a couple of friends yesterday...

We sang "Grace Alone" yesterday morning, which I love, and which I blogged about the first time we sang it because the words hit me so hard. I think that is why I kept feeling like I had to sing yesterday, even though I had said I wasn't going to...because I needed to focus on those words again. We were singing "Grace alone, which God supplies, strength unknown, He will provide, Christ in us, our cornerstone, we will go forth in grace alone," and I had been standing there thinking, "I am going to have to give up on singing in the musical." And right about that time we hit "strength unknown, He will provide." One of the reasons I hate to quit choir so much...it seems like God teaches me *so* much more through the music when I am singing that when I am just listening. Maybe it's just that multitasking thing...I listen better when I'm singing. :) But it was like I could almost hear Him saying, "If I want you to sing, I can give you the strength to do it...*and* give you the strength to get through the children's musical."

And I all of the sudden realized that is what He is trying to teach me through *all* of this...that I don't need to try to analyze it and figure it out...that rather than worrying about *anything* else...I just need to, as always, *seek Him*. The only thing that matters is for me to determine if God wants me to sing, or not. If He does, then I need to quit worrying about it and trust that He will provide that strength. If not...then I need to quit worrying about how much I want to or how disappointed I'm going to be or what Lyndel is going to say or any of the rest of it... and just rest in the fact that He knows best.

And then I realized...that is nothing new...that is what He has been teaching us through everything that has gone on for the past few years. The other day I was struggling so much with [another issue that has been at the forefront of my mind for a while]. And God reminded me again....as He has shown me throughout this whole thing "All you need is Me. I am Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. I can handle it." Step by step, day by day, leaning on Him for strength and looking to Him for wisdom. You'd think I would have learned that by now. :)

Occasionally I will ask one of my children to do something (perhaps "tell" would be a better word than "ask" :)), and they will say "I can't." They are learning *not* to say that, though, because that is time for a lesson in the fact that "Mommy will never tell you to do something that you *can't* do. If you couldn't do it, I wouldn't ask." I am realizing more and more that God will never ask us to do something that we *can't* do. It may require great discipline on our part. It may involve sacrifice. It may not be easy. But there *will* be time and strength to do it...and there will be *joy* in it...if we are being obedient in every area and following Him in every minute step.

Another aspect of this about which God has been flooding me with lessons is that I need to live in the present. Remembering what God has done for us in the past, and the things He has taught us, is very important. Planning for the future is also important. But if we get too caught up...as I often do...in the past *or* the future, we become unable to do the work God has us here to do *now*. God is reminding me...when I become consumed by guilt over past failures, or when I look back at "the good old days" with too much longing...that I am to forget those things that are behind, and press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:13-14) He also reminds me...when I begin to worry about the future, and all of the *what ifs* begin swirling around in my mind...that I am not to worry about tomorrow, but instead to seek *Him* first, and He will supply every need. (Mt. 6:33-34)
Thanks to Sarah at To Motherhood and Beyond for hosting In "Other" Words this week and sharing this quote for us to reflect on.


Pull-It-Together Monday ;-)

I'm feeling the need to "pull-it-all-together" today. I've gotten behind in some areas lately, and made some real progress in others; I've done a lot of planning, but still have loose ends hanging in it all; We've gotten a good start on Christmas planning (I'm way ahead of where I've been at this point the past several years :)), but I still need to wrap a lot of that up. ;-) We've also had to make some adjustments, schedule-wise and budget-wise, for a variety of reasons, so I need to tweak all my planning to account for those adjustments. Here's the plan for this week:

Bible Study

I did not do well with my Bible Study last week. I have to get back on track with that first and foremost this week. Continuing study of Job, 31 Days of Prayer for Children/Husband, and finishing the Thanksgiving study on my own and with the kids. The kids and I will continue the gratefulness study for a while longer...making it a bit holiday themed and adding *giving* and *service* to our gratitude. We are also continuing to work through our sibling study based on Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by the Mallys.

Must Do

Decide how to re-arrange the living room to include the Christmas tree, and do it. :) This is our first year with a piano in the living room, and while I am *so* excited to have the piano, it *is* making Christmas tree placement a bit of a challenge. We are going to have to get really creative! Hmm
* Finalize plans for Peter's birthday on Saturday. (He'll be 10!! )

* Gather supplies for Christmas crafts/ornaments and get started!! Yay

* Practice piano until I can play the children's musical music in my *sleep*. Wind and Smile

Home Blessing

Monday--planning, catch up, rest
Thursday--Middle Hall
Friday--Dining Room

Holiday Planning

Time to start getting really specific here. Yes

*Re-assess budget
*continue shopping (mostly online)
*December schedule on paper with holiday events, *traditions* and fun stuff plans all in writing
*supply list for Christmas crafts, handmade gifts, goodie baking, and ornaments planned
*work on ornaments with children

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfast Burritos

Chicken Salad
Chicken Strips
PB&J and chips
Twice Baked Potatoes (from freezer)

Breakfast for Supper (Eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, and fruit)
Cheeseburger Soup and biscuits
Chicken and Rice Casserole and carrots
Bacon Chicken, Cheesy Cream Cheese Potatoes, and green beans

Banana Bread
Lemon Chess Pie Bars
Peanut Butter Bars

For more menu ideas, visit Orgjunkie. To see what others are planning this week, visit Monday Meanderings at Tiany's.


Talk About Tuesday and National Preemie Awareness Month

Lara at The Lazy Organizer is hosting Talk About Tuesday, a new "Show-and-Tell-ish" weekly meme. I thought it would be the perfect venue to share the latest new artwork at our house...

Now, I'm *sure* that those of you who know me in real life will recognize the subject of this drawing *immediately*. Yes...you're right...it's yours truly. Yes Grin

Ammah Grace presented me with her first *recognizable* (recognizable as in not just scribbles...not recognizable in that I immediately recognized it was *me* Wind and Smile) drawing yesterday and proudly announced "This is you, Momma!!"

Two arms...two legs...a body, head, mouth, and eyes...I'm not sure if the stuff on top is *hair* or the sky. Giggle 4 Anyway, I was quite impressed.

As always, I have to stop and marvel for just a minute...this is the child who was at high risk for brain damage, the child that doctors warned us might have all manner of developmental problems...the child we weren't sure would ever talk, walk, or hold a pencil. She is a reminder every day of God's power and grace and sovereignty, as she runs pell-mell after her sisters and brother, determined to be *just* as big as they are, and as she talks non-stop (16 hours a day, some days :-D).

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month. Here is our little artist today...

(hopping a ride on Bubby's back Grin)

And here's a flashback to a bit over 3 1/2 years ago...

(Photo on the left taken in NICU; photo on the right taken at home, at about age 6 months)To see what others are talking about today, visit Lara at the Lazy Organizer.


Worth Reading....

Challenge Your Child With Greatness --This was a timely, challenging, and inspiring read for me this week. I had just been reminded of a letter written to me by my daddy when I was a very young girl, encouraging me to always strive for excellence....to always do my best, "as unto the Lord". I had been convicted that all too often, while trying to slog through the valleys of less-than-ideal circumstances, I get stuck in *survival mode*...doing just what has to be done to get by. Not only is that not where *I* need to be...but it is not a good lesson for my children to be learning! That reminder, and this article, sparked a change in direction for me this week, as well as some good discussion and training with my children.

Rainy Days Clean My Toilets --In addition to deserving an award for best blog post title of the week Wind and Smile, this article was such an encouragement! God has been reminding me again in recent weeks that there is no schedule, program, or system that is going to make me into the godly wife and mother He wants me to be, or accomplish the incredible tasks He has assigned to me. He provides tools that help us along the way (like the file crate system I adapted recently), butHe wants me to learn to lean on Him for the creativity, strength, wisdom, and discipline that it takes to fulfill His plan for me. I love Jacci's take on this concept in this post...the principles behind the *plan* that works for her.

Kiss Your Pins and Scissors Goodbye --Okay, so I've come a long way since the days when my grandmother worked at Singer and we were always on the cutting edge of new sewing products. Grin I know I am *waayy* behind the times, and yes, I did know about rotary cutters...but no pins??? No scissors *and* no pins??? This could completely revolutionize my (completely non-existent in the past few years ) sewing life. Little known fact about me? I *LOVE* to sew. I *HATE* to layout and cut patterns. Detest. Despise. Abhor. I have *always* said that if I could hire someone to do all the laying out and cutting, I could sew everyone's entire wardrobe. Rotary cutting supplies and weights are *definitely* going on my wish list!


Ammah Grace fell and bumped her head on the coffee table yesterday. (No blood or stitches this time....thank goodness!)

Conversation in the kitchen this morning:

(We were discussing her head and the ice pack Daddy brought home from work last night for her.)

Ammah Grace: Why Daddy bring me dat ice pack? From the hospital?

Momma: Because he loves you and he was sorry you hurt your head.

Ammah Grace: Oh.

Ammah Grace: Momma? Daddy da beesssssssss Daddy in the *WHOLE WIIIIDDDE WORLD*.

Definitely. Yes


Motivated Monday :)

I'm in one of those *motivated moods* right now...and I'm trying to really run with that this week! As I mentioned in my "Of Schedules and Plans..." post earlier this morning, I'm in serious planning mode at the moment, so my Monday Meanderings will probably reflect some of that. My weeks have been getting away from me lately, and although we have been accomplishing a lot that needs to be accomplished...we haven't necessarily been accomplishing what I have *planned* to accomplish. So...I'm working on actually *working the plan* this week and getting caught up on some things.

Bible Study

I'm continuing my study on suffering and the book of Job. Also continuing 31 Days of Praying for your Children, and starting a similar prayer list of 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband. (Both can be found at Revive Our Hearts, along with some other great downloads. ) This week I'm also doing A Week of Thanksgiving. I'm doing this on my own this week, as well as with the kids as part of our Gratefulness Study.

Must Do

I have not been doing well with completing my "Must Do"s lately...I am *really* going to work on that this week. Like I say...we are accomplishing things that need to be accomplished...just not the ones on our list! This week I'm trying to *really* focus on a few areas...

*Home Blessing (see this week's plan of attack below)
*Holiday Planning--Come to a firm decision with my mom about Thanksgiving plans
Catch up on Christmas planning
Paper Chain made with kids for paper chain countdown (can't seem to find
the link to this idea at the moment...I'll post more later when I find it)
Thanksgiving/gratefulness study with children
*School--We did well last week with keeping up...we need to keep up that momentum this week.
*Make goodies to take to neighbor who helped Billy work on the van

Home Blessing

Several areas of my house need some specific, intensive work this week. Since we plan to be home this week except for regular church activities, I'm assigning each area to a day to *blitz* those specific chores:

Monday--Dining/School Room
Wednesday--Entry/Living Room
Thursday--Bathroom/Back Hall
Friday--Playroom/Finish putting up summer clothes (we have the fall clothes *out*, but due to warm weather hanging on here, haven't put the summer clothes *up*....NOT a good combination, as we are drowning in clothes!! )
Saturday--Middle Hall

I haven't made as much progress in the past couple of weeks as I had planned in decluttering...as we go through this *blitz* this week, hopefully that will change!

Train Them Up

We've done really well with our sibling study (from Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by the Mally's), but haven't gotten far with our gratefulness study. We are going to continue with both of these this week.

Menu Plan Monday

Not sure what will happen on what days, but here are our menu plans for the week (our menu was heavily influenced this week by specific requests from Billy...work, etc. have been rough and he's been working extra hard at work *and* after work lately, so I'm trying to brighten his week this week with a few of his *comfort foods*.)

*Breakfast for Supper
*Chicken Strips, Mac and Cheese, Green Peas
*Meat Gravy over Biscuits, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
*Peppercorn Chicken, Corn Casserole, Carrots
*Bruschetta Chicken Bake (I ran across this on Tiany's MPM post and thought it looked good...and realized I happened to have the ingredients for it on hand. :) It will be our *new recipe* for the week.)

Breakfasts--English muffins, Pancakes, Toast/Eggs
Lunches--Chimichangas and Rice, Frozen Pizza, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, PB&J and Mac&Cheese, leftovers
Snacks--Parmesan Cheese Crisps, Confetti Brownies, Pumpkin Bars

For more menu ideas, visit Laura at the new Orgjunkie site. Find more Monday Meanderings here.

Of schedules and plans....

I'm in major planning mode right now...trying to infuse some new order and organization to our schedule and our home as well as make time to devote to special holiday activities and planning. Yesterday I spent the afternoon setting up a file crate (well, in my case, file basket :)) system similar to Dawn's. (If you've never visited her blog, By Sun and Candelight, treat yourself sometime...lots of good reading on nature studies, organization and planning, "Real Learning", etc.) I worked on a game plan for this week, planning lists for school, home, cooking, etc. I had my schedule all planned out for today...which included a list of things to do *last night* to get ready for the day, as well as getting up at 5:30 this morning (which I used to do all the time, but which I have gotten lax on lately).

But this has been one of those days when I am reminded that schedules and plans are *tools* that we need to make work for us, rather than letting them control us. There has to be a balance between flexibility and discipline in our planning. I struggle *greatly* with that balance. When I have a good schedule planned, I tend to either be very inflexible, or just give up completely when normal interruptions come and not get *anything* done. I'm working on that...learning the discernment to know *when* to allow flexibility in the schedule, and the discipline to get back on track and keep pressing on after interruptions or adjustments.

Today is one of those days. Billy had promised the kids we would have a game night this weekend. We used to have game nights at church and with friends often, but haven't in a long time. The kids have expressed *often* lately how much they miss those. So...despite his *not* being a game player (I grew up in a game-playing family...Billy didn't)...he decided to start teaching the kids to play Scrabble this weekend. And then...the weekend got away from us...lots of interruptions...and it was Sunday and we still hadn't had game night.

So...church ran late last night...we stayed a little while after to visit with friends...had to make a stop at the store on the way home...so by the time we got our snack supper fixed and started playing it was after 9:30. But we did. We divided up into teams (boys against the girls...Gracie was actually supposed to be on the boys' team, but since she fell asleep 2.5 minutes into the game, we decided not to count her :-D) and began our children's introduction to the world of cutthroat Scrabble good sportsmanship and creative wordsmithing.

The kids loved it. (The girls beat the boys 248 to 214, in case you were curious.) We finally began getting people in bed just before 11:00. (Ack!!) Needless to say, I didn't finish my list of *Sunday night before bed chores*. (Nor did I get up at 5:30, although it wasn't a *lot later than that.) But it was well worth it. And I am determined that even though my finely-honed schedule is quite skewed at this point, we're going to get back on track today and have a *really* productive day. (Can you tell this is somewhat a pep talk to myself? So far this morning, the dog has had an accident in the kids' room, *and* gotten sick from eating grass last night...*not* the way we wanted to start off Monday!!)

I'll be back with Monday Meanderings, Menu Plan Monday, and a few other notes later today...got to go play catch up!


Monday Matters

I am in major planning mode right now, getting geared up for a couple of very busy months ahead with holidays, musicals, extended family issues, and, of course, school and the ever-present work to be done on this *house*. Last week didn't get off to a very good start (our van died Monday morning), so I never even got my Monday Meanderings/Menu Plan Monday post *planned*, much less typed. I seemed to be running in a perpetual state of *behind* all week. So....today has been designated *catch up* day here. We'll see how that goes. ;-)

Bible Study

~Continuing with the book of Job as part of my ongoing Bible Study on *suffering*.
~Continuing with 31 Days of Prayer for Children.
~Continuing *sibling study* with the kids, using Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, by the Mallys

Must Do

~Holiday Planning (continuing until Christmas...I am *waayy* behind on this and plan to spend some time each day this week getting caught up on my lists and beginning preparations. )
~School Planning (*today* I am setting aside time to sit down and plan school from now until mid-January. I had planned to do this over the weekend and never had a chance.)
~Finish BCC cooking (Due to some *unplanned interruptions* last week, I got the meat stuff done, as well as a big batch of twice-baked potatoes to freeze, but I didn't get anywhere near all of the baking done that I had planned to do. That *must* be finished this week!)

Home Blessing

~Continued decluttering and re-organizing.
~Deep clean kitchen, to include cleaning out *all* cabinets
~List our old, non-functional piano on Freecycle and get it *out* of here. It is taking up a *huge* amount of much-needed space and I have needed to do that ever since we brought my other piano home earlier this year. (*ack*)

Train Them Up

~Continue working on Gratefulness Study with children (I'll post more on this soon.)
~Get children more involved in holiday planning process
~Watch Martin Luther movie that arrived too late from Netflix last week for us to watch it for Reformation Day.
~Continue working on day training with Ammah Grace. We made it at least most of the day every day last week in panties!! We are going to get this down yet!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday--Potato Soup
Tuesday--Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, Green Beans, Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Wednesday--Hamburgers and Twice-baked Potatoes
Thursday--Impossible Cheeseburger Pie, Carrots, Salad
Friday--Enchiladas and Rice

For more Menu Plan Monday ideas, visit Orgjunkie . For more Monday Meanderings, visit Tiany at Less of Me, More of Him .


Thankful Thursday

I am thankful this week for a van that runs!

Sometimes I get so involved in being thankful for the *big things* that I forget to be thankful for the *mundane things*....like transportation! God reminded me of that this week.

Several weeks ago, our red van...the one Billy drives to work...died. It was determined, after much poking, prodding, and generally laborious work on Billy's part that it needed a new fuel pump. Since we were saving for our once-a-year out of town trip at the time ;-), we decided that we would park the red van for a few weeks until the new fuel pump fit into the budget better. The kids and I don't go out that much during the week when Billy is at work anyway, and we have spent much of our married lives as a one-car family, so we would be fine.

The plan was that Billy would replace the fuel pump a week from Saturday...after his November 9 payday.

So Tuesday morning, Billy goes out to put gas in the white van (otherwise known around here as the *good* van, despite its 210,000 miles Roll ) and then comes home, finishes getting ready for work, and leaves again. Three minutes later, he is back. The van won't start. Eek Now we have *no* running vehicle. *Not* good.

To make a (very) long story (a bit) short(er)...it was the fuel pump. Only the fuel pump for the white van is $40.00 *more* than the fuel pump for the red van. *But*...the red one has a serious power steering problem and Billy doesn't think it's safe for me to drive with the kids. *So*...we bought a new fuel pump for the *white* van Tuesday night and he and a neighbor fixed it.

I'm thankful...
1. For a handy husband who is able to fix things!
2. For a neighbor who was willing to give up his night off to help.
3. For $$ in the account to buy the fuel pump.
4. For extra work this weekend for Billy that should *replace* that $$ before bills are due next week!
5. For my mom who was willing and able to get Billy to work and back Tuesday.
6. For my friend who offered to go to the store for me or take me to the store (we were completely out of several necessities of life like milk and dog food ;-)), and who ended up taking me even though the van was fixed by then. After the stress of the day, I'm not sure I could have driven to the store and back if I had had to!
7. For a van that is running fine now!
8. For continual reminders that God does meet *all* of our needs.

To see what others are thankful for this week, visit Crystal at "God is in Control".