Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Something Wonderful

We started something wonderful today. We've been going through the Truth and Grace Memory Book with the boys and teaching them the chatecism and suggested scripture passages. Well, we've tried doing it in the evenings, but it just seems to get left off too often, so today I decided to work with the boys this morning while we had breakfast. It was so neat, because that focused time really allowed them to open up and ask some interesting questions. I like the questions, because it lets me know they are interested and they are hearing and taking to heart the things we're learning - and I'm learning the passages right along with them. I want to keep on doing this in the morning. It is such a blessing to be able to turn their minds to the Lord before taking them to school. I'm trying to make sure I read my Bible first thing, too, when I'm up so early each morning. I am praying the Holy Spirit will drive His Word deep into their hearts while they are still young so that they will have this treasure trove to recall as they grow and it will come to mind when temptations come. I'm truly looking forward to spending this time with the kids in the mornings. Then when we go over it in the evenings, it will be such a reinforcement of what they are learning.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I Didn't Really Mean to Hit the Delete......

I went to edit an earlier post and had some difficulty getting the edited version to post. In my sleep deprived state, I accidentally deleted the whole post. Bummer. It was something I'd thought a lot about and even had a comment come back. But, now that I've thought about it, maybe I don't want all my musings about breastfeeding up anyway, so I won't try to rewrite most of it.

So, today I'll focus on some things that I'm thankful about. Hubby made it home safely last night from Nashville (got to love those last minute trips for the Army Reserve!). I never sleep well when he's gone, hence, the sleep-deprived state mentioned above. So the kids are glad to have Daddy home and I am, too. The boys are getting along well today - we've had all kinds of Star Wars re-enactment going on this morning. Great fun. Baby girl has slept until 6 am for two nights in a row (I'm whispering here - hopefully this is a trend). I finally don't feel guilty anymore about beginning the weaning process earlier than I had wanted to. And she is healthy and happy. It's easy to wallow in frustration when people need to question whether I'm still breastfeeding or not, but I am learning to just let people say what they will and go on and do what is right for our family and not take offense. When we've wrestled with the decision to BF or bottlefeed, homeschool or not or whatever, it's hard to see that what is right for us may not be what is right for another family, so I'm learning to keep my own opinion to myself unless asked. I also said in that earlier post, that I hope that if I am doing something that violates scripture or will cause someone to stumble, I hope a godly sister in Christ will come along and correct me in love - biblically - but that we will have the grace to allow for differences on the other stuff. (ok, that's all I'll say about the first post that I managed to banish into the blackhole of cyberspace, and I know it probably won't make much sense without the context of the other post, but I know what I mean.). The weather is great today after all day gray skies and rain yesterday. Today it's cool and sunny - my favorite. We have food to eat, clothes to wear and a beautiful home. I realize that I've been blessed with so much, and it's so easy to take it for granted.

Thank You, Lord for a beautiful day to reflect on the blessings You've provided. May I not take them for granted. In all I do, let me seek You first, and be willing to do whatever You ask with the blessings I've been given. Let me practice being a blessing as well - to my family and to anyone You put in my path.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's Fall!

I love fall. Even though it usually means the return of certain recurring dreams - either that I can't get my locker open or can't get to class on time - I must have really stressed myself out in school for it to still be affecting me now that I'm 35! Closer to time for midterms or finals, I'll start having the dream that I've just remembered that I have a class that I've forgotten to attend all semester and it's too late to drop it now that it's time for the final exam!

Anyway, back to fall: Growing up in central Florida, I didn't get to really experience it like you do further north, but something about the crisper, dryer air is just refreshing to me. When you live in a humid climate, dry air is something of a blessing indeed. I thought Florida was terribly humid until I moved here where we're surrounded by marsh, and with marsh the pesky stinging no-see-ums gnats that thrive on 60-80 degree temps. The year we lived in Indiana was great in that I got to really see the leaves turn and enjoy the cooler weather of a true fall. Of course, my husband being called to serve in Bosnia for that year with the Army National Guard put a damper on the enjoyment, but, nonetheless, I really like fall. Now that we live in the southeast, fall is something between Florida and Indiana. Not as summerish as Florida, but way less of the vividly beautiful leaves, too. The fact that our oldest son was born in October tends to make this time of year special, also. I'm really enjoying that we've had our first chilly days of the year this week. Who would have thought this Florida girl would like cold weather??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lessons Learned From a Messy Room

I'm taking a lunch break (while my little no nap wonder is actually taking a nap !!!) from a chore I've put off for far too long - organizing the boys' room. They share the upstairs bonus room, so, thankfully, I don't have to see the mess unless I trudge up the stairs, but something had to be done. To fully appreciate the state their room is in, you have to know something about these two boys. The 8-yr.-old is meticulous, mathematical, and a packrat. When he was just a little guy, he would line up all of his toy cars in long, neat rows and he could, for the longest time, tell us exactly who had given him each car and when. And there were a LOT of cars! However, the 5-yr.-old is whimsical, and just lets things fall where they fall with no further thought about it. We called him destructo-baby when he was little - perhaps Captain Chaos would fit now, I don't know. Those same toy cars would be scattered all over the house in no particular order by the time he had any say in the matter.

As I'm bundling up mounds of paper, that to me are trash, but I'm sure are treasure to an 8-yr.-old boy, I can't help but think about the parallel his physical packratting is to my own emotional packratting. I tend to hold on to things emotionally - epecially past hurts and things I've done that I regret. Just as my son's paper stuff clutters his room, my "stuff" clutters my mind and life to the same degree. I have learned to let many things go through the years, but I still hang on to some. Then I think of the times too often when I let frustrations or my own hangups get out of control by spilling the toxic waste of saying things in anger that I really do not mean. How much chaos do I wreak with my kids when Mommy isn't controlled. After all, one fruit of the Spirit is self-control. When I walk in the flesh, I waste another opportunity to point their tender hearts to Jesus.

Two scriptures come to mind:
Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As I learn to be anxious for nothing and to pray without ceasing, then may I turn my mind to dwell on all those good, true, noble, excellent things rather than past hurts, sins, etc. Also, the past is forgiven. Praise God for salvation - the freedom from not only past sins, but from the bondage to the desire to sin. God's mercies are new every morning, and my children are in His hands. As I walk in the road to sanctification, may all the "stuff" begin to drop away and may I, like the hymn by Elizabeth Prentiss says, offer more love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday Link

I'd like to use Tuesdays to highlight interesting articles or information I've found around the internet. This is a very interesting link: www.reinventingjesuschrist.com with all the confusion in the modern evangelical world today, this on-line book really opened my eyes to the underlying NewAge/New Spirituality mindset that is creeping in to our churches, and is very prevalent in our society at large. This is a day and age when we truly need to keep our eyes open! I felt like I'd been asleep and woken from a deep fog when I read this book and realized how very deceptive a lot of the modern movements in our churches and culture are today. I thank the contributors at the Slice of Laodicea website for bringing this important information to light - and I wrote them to tell them so a few weeks ago when I finished reading this book. In fact, there is not much difference in our churchgoers and non-churchgoers these days. I do believe that those of us who belong to Christ need to wake up and be careful to measure everything that is said from the pulpit or from parachurch leaders by the Word of God. The Bible is our plumbline, we must be careful to believe Truth and not be carried away and deceived by error.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 seems very apt in today's climate of confusion and shallow "Christianity."
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Another apt verse is: 2 Timothy 3:1-8 "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was." (emphasis added)

As a woman, I want to be especially careful to be diligent to know the Word so that I do not allow my emotions and flesh to permit me to be decieved by false teaching that sounds so right in its very subtlety. We who belong to Christ must be watchful and pray the Lord will raise up leaders and teachers and lay people who will earnestly contend for the faith. I know that our sovereign Lord is preserving a remnant who will not bow the knee to Baal in this age. I pray for the wisdom and strength to persevere.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Dog

We have the most annoying, but cutest dog ever. He's a 10-year-old mini schnauzer named Oliver who thinks he's a person. He only barks to go outside because we stupidly spoiled him into believing he gets a bone treat whenever he comes in. I am convinced that about 90% of the time when he wants to go out it's only to get the reward when he comes back in. So, he'll go out and not 2 minutes later he's barking at the door, then 3 minutes later he's wanting to go out again. I guess he has us trained pretty well. Also, he thinks the couch is his personal domain. When my husband and I are sitting there in the evening, Oliver will whine and huff at us until we go to bed and Oliver takes his place in the center of the couch. When we have guests, he will whine at them, too, or he'll jump up and lie down with his head in their lap. They think he's snuggling because he likes them, but it's really just his way of letting everyone know who's couch it is. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he is MY dog. He snuggles with me the most - but that may just be that he likes my side of the couch best. During his first Christmas season soon after we got him, Oliver knocked down all of the silver balls and the garland from the Christmas tree. When I got home from work that day (this was before kids) there was broken glass EVERYWHERE in the living room. I guess he saw lots of little Olivers and wanted to play. When we moved from that apartment 2 years later, we found bits of ornaments under the couch. Oliver's legacy.

Oliver loves the baby's room - there's a window and a rocking chair that he has also claimed in there. That's fine except that in the rare instance that my little napless wonder does fall asleep in the afternoon, that will inevitably be the time that someone will walk by and Oliver will feel the need to protect his turf with high pitched fervent barking. Sigh.

Speaking of the napless wonder, she only took one 45 minute nap early today, so the poor little thing fell asleep while I was feeding her at 6pm tonight. Hopefully she'll just sleep on through the night. She probably would have gone for a nap at 2pm, but we had to go pick up the boys at school, and that gave her a second wind. It's really cute to watch the boys play with their little sister. I'm thankful for these great kids. And the furry kid, too, though Oliver hasn't quite figured out that he's only the dog.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Martha, Martha

Today is Sunday. In the rush to get to church this morning, I didn't take the time to prepare my heart. And it was evident. No, I wasn't in a crummy mood - quite the opposite, in fact. But my service and thoughts were less than worshipful, because I never really engaged my mind in the worship. How many times do I squander the chance to sit in awe of my Creator? How much time do I waste in busyness? I think I'm more like Martha and trying so hard to get things done, but how I'd love to learn to be more like Mary and sit at the Savior's feet feasting on His very Word. This would be the more important thing. I really believe that if I will stop and spend time in His Word and spend time praying, the other things will fall into place because He is in control. I confess that much too often my prayer life consists of little spot prayers offered up hurriedly, and seldom do I sit and take the time to fellowship with the LORD. I think too often I am not reverent in my praying and I just take for granted the incredible grace I've been shown.

Also, as I said before, we had a Lay Renewal team leading us on a special weekend. According to the testimonies we heard this morning, it has been meaningful to many, but I sat and cried because I feel such a disconnect. Perhaps I feel out of things because I was not as able to participate as I would have liked because of the season of life I'm in with my daughter being only 5 months old and needing to be home in the evenings. I need to remember, again speaking to the Martha me, that this is my calling at this moment. Instead of thinking that I'm missing a blessing, I realize that the blessing is in being obedient in doing what I'm called to do today. And I have enjoyed my daughter these past few days. She had an awesome night last night and has been so pleasant all day, that even my friend who keeps nursery said that this is the baby we all know and love. She's been so patient as we've worked through her crankiness (and she was a very cranky baby until she reached about 3 months), that I'm glad she got to enjoy my girl today the way we do. And I did get to sit in on the meetings yesterday morning, as well. One of the most encouraging things to happen this weekend is that people who don't normally spend time together got to know each other better. I'm hoping this will continue. Since we moved to the Lowcountry 3 years ago this month (I can't believe it's been that long!), I've had a hard time finding a close friend. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne is always looking to find a friend who is a kindred spirit. That's something I relate to. I have always been very serious-minded naturally in my temperament, and I think that may have pushed people away as well - my husband's favorite phrase to me is "lighten up, Beck." In fact, when I look back, especially on my college years, I wish I could have been a better friend to the girls I roomed with. I see now, as I've matured, how much I kept people at arms' length, and what I've missed by letting myself lose touch with them. I am learning to be serious about the important things, but to laugh about those things that are not. I pray God will give me the courage and wisdom to be a good friend.

On a lighter note, the guest speaker this morning talked about not letting the fire of our enthusiasm for the Lord go out. My 8-year-old son turned to me and asked if the fire went out would it mean you can't tell people about Jesus anymore? He is a very literal kind of kid, so this was neat to see the wheels turning in his mind. I told him they just mean to keep the excitement for the Lord and remember what we've learned this weekend and that he can always tell people about Jesus.

Lord, I am amazed that You would love me. Your grace is astounding. Teach me to remember and feast on Your Word. When I read it, let me pay attention and learn what You would have me learn. Teach me to be a friend. And teach me to recognize the blessings You so generously shower on me each moment of every day. I love You, Lord, and want to obey today.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Becoming a Titus Woman

Hubby and boys are at church tonight for the first of the Lay Renewal Weekend meetings that we're having this weekend. Baby and I are home, because she needed to be in bed on time - she's not the best little napper in the world, so she's pretty insistent on being in her own bed pretty early in the evening. Now that we've had 3 good nights in a row, this is actually a good thing, though, at this stage of my life I'm missing a lot of evening activities. But I'm wanting so much to cherish her babyhood in a way I don't think I did enough of with the boys. After 3 miscarriages, I'm so grateful that God allowed us to have this little girl. Something I really struggle with in the day to day of life is remembering while I'm in the moment that these children are blessings and to slow down and just enjoy them. I guess it's a symptom of our fallen nature that it's so easy to get caught up in the frustrations of motherhood and not to look past them often enough to the joys.

One thing I'm hoping from this journaling experiment is to learn to cherish the "every dayness" of things, to not get so frustrated over things that don't really matter, and to learn to be the kind of woman that is described in Titus - who loves her husband and children, is busy at home, and who will invest in growing into the kind of older woman who will teach these things to the younger women the Lord places in my path. Right now, in this season of life, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to teach my little ones, and to teach other little ones at church, too. May I be faithful! And may I learn to take myself less seriously and laugh often and loudly.

In that light, let me list some things I am thankful for in each of them:
1. He loves Jesus and it's so obvious he's growing in his walk with Him.
2. He's my very best friend and I can tell him anything.
3. He loves me even when I'm at my worst.
4. He provides for his family and supports and loves that I stay home with our kids.
5. He loves his children.

Oldest son:
1. His smile that can brighten the room, and his laugh of pure joy.
2. That his interest in spiritual things is developing and growing.
3. His ravenous love of learning.
4. He loves his brother and sister.
5. The chance to see him grow and mature.

Youngest son:
1. His wacky sense of humor.
2. His sensitivity to others.
3. His love of dressing up in costumes - we never know who he'll be next.
4. He loves his brother and sister, and he loves being in the middle.
5. The chance to see him grow and mature.

1. That God gave us one more child.
2. Her smile.
3. She's a girl!
4. Finally sleeping through the night!
5. The chance to watch her grow and mature.

Lord, teach me to be the kind of woman You would have me be. You are worthy of praise and honor, so let my attitudes and actions display that each day. Let me be faithful to love my family - these precious gifts from You. At this season of my life, teach me to trust You to speak to my children's hearts. Put a hedge around their hearts and minds and help my husband and me to train these children up in the way they should go, and to teach them Your ways and Your Gospel at every opportunity so that when You call, they will recognize Your voice and respond to You in faith.

My First Post Ever

This is a first for me and I feel like I'm venturing into uncharted waters!! As a somewhat private person, the idea of posting my thoughts on the internet is a little scary, but here goes! This is my sweet family here with hubby of 12 years, two great sons (5 & 8) and precious daughter (5 months)! My idea with this blog is to have a site where I can just share some of my random musings like I would with a good friend on my front porch. Some posts will be serious, some not so serious and I hope to just have a lot of fun with it. I figured if I'm on the computer so often reading other people's thoughts, why not post some of my own. I will try to be careful not to spill too much private information, while letting myself ponder a bit as well. Hopefully, through this adventure, I'll be able to corral some of my thoughts and have a neat little journal of this stage of my life. More posts to come in the near future, as I'm able.