Monday, January 31, 2011

Journey Revisited - The Journey Continues...

Every year at MWSB the staff take turns sharing their journey. I thought I had gotten out of it this year because we normally share in the fall, but alas... it was not so - and Micah and I ended up sharing last night at chapel. Every year as I prepare - I spend time thinking over my life and what God has been teaching me. In a way I go back to the memories that have shaped me, relive some of the experiences, and examine the trails I have taken. My journey is like most - joys and deep pain; successes and failures; contentment and depression; peace and turmoil... the list could go on and on. The one thing that always amazes me is God's hand upon my life and His presence throughout the steps I have taken.

I have been unfaithful, but He has always been faithful to me.

In that past few months I have felt like I have been in the urgent care unit - being taken back and forth between the care unit and the surgery ward... as God has been performing open heart surgery... I prayed for a new heart... He is answering me. As I have been wrestling, He has been working. A couple weeks ago I threw an absolutely terrifying fit... kinda embarrassing to think about, but it was needed because I was angry... really angry and needed to reveal my true heart - so that I could honestly see the ugliness deep within. I was mad - not necessarily at God, but angry at unmet expectations and unfulfilled dreams - things I thought I deserved and needed... (Do I dare say it????) Things I thought God owed me because of how I have lived... as though all of my selfish pursuits of righteousness are treasures to a Holy God... I shutter to think!!!!! In all this I am beginning to see that I desire God's blessings more than I desire HIM! I was quick to tell Him - I would do whatever He asked and go anywhere He wanted BUT "this". Anything but "this".... He gently asked me, "What if I want you to do "this"?" I didn't even know how to respond... hence the fit - I threw! "How could You ask that!??" I responded! Don't you know "this" doesn't line up with my dreams, thoughts, and expectations??? His warm, kind and gentle silence resonated in my mind as I realized that I was worshiping me... not Him. I was trying to control situations... trying to control God. Ever since I realized this - I have been lost in thought, surrender and PEACE! Now... I can do "this" - if that is what God asks me, because I have come back to reality and I realize that I have nothing without God... absolutely nothing. It has been a humbling first month of the year, but I wouldn't have it any other way... I desire Him... and all I want is to desire Him more!

"Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward You will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And earth has nothing I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:23-26)

Baby Love in -20 Weather

Nothing warms my heart in -20 weather - like watching my kiddos play. Ethan has been busy driving his trucks... he told me he now has a transporter dump truck - because the dump truck was carrying the snow plow... love it! Then while I was eating my breakfast he informed me that he was a Ninja. I asked him if he could show me some sweet moves. He said, "Silly, Ninjas don't have moves." Well - there you have it folks - I stand corrected!
Eden has been busy taking care of her babies and it is precious.
I love how she showers them with kisses and loves on them...
Sometimes it borderlines on abuse, BUT it is still fun to see her hugging them, carrying them around, talking with them, trying to dress them... I see her approaching a new stage of development and I am beyond thrilled... I LOVE the toddler stage!!!
Another secret to warming up is devouring these delicious peanut butter snacks that I remember my mom making back in the day... They are filling and a perfect treat for cold mornings!!!!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey (probably could use less...)
2 cups powdered milk
1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts OR cornflakes (I used whatever cereal I had... I think it was generic Chex - gives them a crunch) OR 1 cup powdered sugar

Mix it up... roll into balls... how EASY is that! The kids love them... and I do too! I am off to love on my babies... snuggling sounds like good therapy for super cold weather... that and sweats and a cup of decaf... hum!

*****My Mom just commented and said, "I made mine with peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enough corn syrup to make the right consistency to roll into balls. Then I press them into peanuts, and they taste like Payday candy bars."
Her recipe is seriously yummy.... so you choose which recipe you want... I may whip up a batch of hers!!!!*****

Sunday, January 30, 2011

21 Again...

This weekend I got to hang out with these BEAUTIFUL girls! They invited me to join them for a fun weekend in Bozeman and I was so thrilled to do so! We had the most wonderful girl time!
Hours of talking, coffee (lots of it), pizza (lots of that), and shopping (lots of that too!). I felt young, I had fun, I laughed, and even had shed a few tears. I am grateful for moments of rich connection. I'm feeling refreshed... even being back in the midst of my crazy, wild kid world (blocks are flying around behind me, the noise is almost to the level of shattering windows, but I am home... and that makes me happy because a weekend away makes me love them more and more). I came home just in time to hear my husband preach at church. He has a gift and I love being able to listen to him share his love and passion for our Savior! (Yes, he graciously watched the kiddos Friday afternoon - Sunday morning so I could go... even though he was preparing his message... he is amazing!)

Feeling pretty blessed right now... I love it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sounding out Words

I have about 2 minutes a day... that is about all - until the wiggles and squiggles come upon my little boy and his attention turns to utter silliness. I love it....
He is determined to read words. The other night we were on campus at the dining hall and Ethan tried to sound out the word exit... he did it!!! I was impressed and since then we have been sounding out letters and putting them together. This morning I pulled out the magnetic letters and we worked on cat, bat, hat, sat, fat, rat... the two minutes past quickly and then he started making up his own words... yat, wat... I threw in the word BRAT... and he laughed... I knew we were done for the day... so we clean up the letters and he found his boots and coat and outside he went. I should join him... I just found out my vitamin D is very, very low...

I might just be able to teach my little boy how to read before I can get him to stop wearing diapers.... my little Einstein.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Morning Tea and Things

I have come to love morning time... which is huge for me - I have never EVER been a morning person, but honestly I find that if I get up early - I have quiet, calming moments before the chaos of the day begins... and I have learned to cherish this! *GULP* I even look forward to it! This morning I woke up around the early time of 3:45am... not my ideal time, but from time to time I struggle with insomnia - if I wake up in the middle of the night - I'm AWAKE... and there is no fighting. I have decided to embrace this season and just pray God gives me the strength to get me through the day!
I had a coffee date this morning with a few girls that I just LOVE! They love the Lemon bread/cake from Starbucks... and since I had time I made a loaf this morning. Eden joined us for "coffee" (milk) and it was a lovely time with them!
I found the recipe (here), but after it was baking in the oven I found this recipe (here) - I am so gonna try this. These same girls want baking lessons - so after we make pizza, candy, and cook a roast - we are going to try this. My mouth is watering -
On another note of delicious food... I made chili rellenos for our family dinner the other night (got the recipe off of Pioneer Woman's blog - love this blog!)... I have always wanted to try this delightful dish. It was a comical cooking disaster! I started the sauce only to accidentally mix the Relleno's batter mix in it - so I had to start over - then I had Eli beat the egg whites... (which he did amazing - btw) and then forgot to fold them into the dough - and ended up frying the chilis without the egg in the batter... oh! But they still tasted good! It was a fun go... glad for the laughs and the challenge.
A highlight of my week... Ethan is FASCINATED with reading right now... We got him a timer and before nap and bed time he is allowed 15 minutes of personal reading time - you would thing we took him to Disneyland... he is thrilled out of his mind! I also pulled out my teaching supplies and we have been working on sounding out words. He is AMAZING... I truly believe he has a natural talent with words and I just want to be consistent and diligent about fostering a love for learning!
Yesterday we got outside for a bit... it felt good to breath fresh air and watch the kiddos play... gives me glimpses of what the summer will look like... ahhh... it'll be good! Not that I am wishing time away or anything, because we have had a RICH week!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Story Time

My Mom brought an old record player to us the last time she came for a visit. This little thing brings back a lot of memories for me. We grew up without a TV and instead we listened to stories nonstop via records and cassette tapes... Although we have a TV now - I am a BIG advocate of very little TV time (Ethan isn't so convinced... he would watch TV all day if he could). It has been fun to listen to all the stories I remember so well from growing up... Thumbelina, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.
Thankfully, this whirling plastic wheel fascinates Ethan...
I think it is a wonderful way to have story time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

All Flock Together...

My children (and I) play very strange games... a favorite is making nests. Don't know how it started, but Ethan and Eden love being in their "nests" - keeps them focused and busy and so I don't complain - (unless they get protective of their particular nest and fighting breaks out... which happens). Well, I am not sure how it all got started this morning, but Ethan built a nest... so then everyone needed a nest. Thankfully I was able to dig up enough "nests" for the whole flock. As I was watching them - I couldn't help but smile, so I raced upstairs to grab my camera. I just love moments like this...
I love to see them enjoying themselves and letting their imaginations go wild!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Once a Year Visitors...

Once a year we have little kiddo visitors. We L O V E it! I kept Ethan home from school yesterday so that he could play with his once a year friend, Samuel. While their parents teach the students - we get to play. I just love this family - I learn so much from these kiddo's mom. She is an excellent parent and I love listening to her parent them... after she leaves I start parroting everything she says! Oh yes, I am a copy cat and in desperate need of parenting mentors. I love how she teaches her kids to be kind, respectful, and a blessing to those around them. These kids truly are some of the most well-behaved kids and so being with them is a blessing and (as of yet) never hard to be with.
I long for my kids to have friends like this. I long to have friends like their parents... to be in fellowship with and to learn from. I am thankful we get 1 week a year... it is a blessing!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plan B

I am reading a book my mother-in-love sent me for Christmas entitled "Plan B - What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought He would?" That title explains my life. I feel like my life (as of late) has been a wrestling match between MY dreams and expectations of what MY life would look like and the reality of what it does look like. I feel like one by one I am having to put to death MY dreams and MY expectations and surrender to what GOD has planned (because ultimately that is what is BEST for me).
Today I put another dream to death... the dream of adoption. Given our current circumstances and after a LOT of tears - we asked our agency if we could put our adoption on "hold" and since then I have been sitting here at the computer staring at a blank screen trying to come up with words to explain this reality to our supporters. I felt an assurance of answered prayer this morning as I talked with the adoption agency's director and she mentioned that our little boy's adoptability is being re-examined because his birth mother has resurfaced and "may" desire to have him back. This is an exact answer to a prayer we have been praying. We have asked God to provide a way to make him "unavailable" just so we wouldn't have to be the ones to "reject" him. We will continue to pray that this little boy will come to know Jesus and be a light in the very dark country he lives in.

I guess the reality of what I am writing is I am struggling with Plan B - and trying to see that really this is not Plan B at all, but God's original Plan A. He knows what He is doing and where He is leading.... I just wish I wasn't such a slower learning... or follower!

Please continue to pray for us as we sort through all this.... thanks for your love!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mustering Up Monday Motivation....

So much of our life lately has involved issues, thoughts, and plans that cannot be shared. I sit down to write and realize that I can't say anything I am thinking and feeling... and so I just feel silent... just know it is volcanic silence, in my heart at least. I would love to share and in time I will - that is my nature (too honest at times I hear). So with that said if you know me real well - and would like to know more - email me and I can fill you in, but with this on the frontmost of my mind it is hard to share the simple details in our life, but I am trying.
We have been going through the "back to school" motions. I am trying to adjust to trying to think thoughts beyond 3 years old - and at times I think I succeed. In other words I think Bible study made sense last week... and hopefully it will this week (we are studying Colossians... I love that book!)! But on the kids side of things... it has been FABULOUS! A little bit ago I found Elefun at the thrift store for 99 cents... if you haven't ever seen it before - it is a blast. Butterflies come dancing out of the elephants truck and the kids wildly swing their nets trying to catch them. It is a great game for working on motor skills.
Ethan gets out energy trying to catch the butterflies in his net...
and Eden runs around picking up the butterflies off the floor and putting them in her net... it is cute! It is fun to play.

I have been cooking like crazy... it is a stress relief - and I am on this crazy diet that only allows 1 serving of grains a day... it is killing me - so far I haven't been able to make it... partially due to this amazing recipe (here) for MAPEL PECAN SCONES.... My RA from college has this blog and I love reading her recipes! Oh dear - these are DELIGHTFUL!
I also made the most delightful Tortilla Soup... it looked prettier with some cheddar cheese and avocado on top, but I didn't take a picture at that point - so just imagine it! I got the recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog (here). I didn't follow the recipe completely - I never do - I didn't add the cornmeal... and instead I served it over rice. My hubby isn't a soup fan - so I try to please. He loved it.

So there are a few bits and pieces of our life... hope you all have a beautiful Monday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Someone Else's Shoes

Eden knows exactly how it feels to be in someone else's shoes and she loves it! This kid doesn't need toys... she just needs shoes. Thankfully I have a pile of hand-me-down shoes and so I let her play with them. She loves to clunk around in Ethan's shoes or Micah's slippers.
She thinks she is all that...
and she is! She is a delight - and sometimes it takes her a lot of pestering to get me to stop what I am doing and turn my focus to her.... and simply enjoy! And when I do - I wonder why it took me so long!?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thoughts for 2011

Hum... 2011. I think this year will prove to be a great adventure, full of expected changes, and lot of surprises that will once again remind me that I am not in control. I expect 2011 to be a year of dependence and trust.... I have found it difficult to put words to the heavy hearts that Micah and I share, the inevitable slump I find myself in when the student return and my schedule changes, and the health battle my body wages. It feels like the past week has been 3 year long! But we are surviving and making it a goal to take one day at a time.

Here are some updates and some new year resolution thoughts:
Ethan Cade - independence is springing forth from this lad and forcing his momma to spend hours on her knees praying. He is going to go to preschool one day a week - instead of twice, due to our extra busy spring semester. This morning he jumped into his bean bag and smashed his front tooth on the rock fireplace... I am wondering if he will lose it!
Eden Eve (if ONLY she was as innocent as she looks in this picture). This little one is the instigator in most of the drama around this place. I have to constantly be on my game and be on her like glue on paper - she is sneaky! We continue to find her completely soaked and naked many mornings... she is Houdini - how she gets out of her safety pins, zippers and tape... is beyond us! She refuses to wear clothes during the day and we have compromised by enforcing that she keeps her diaper on... and at least a little sundress....... oh and the fire roaring!
One of my goals of 2010 was to simplify. I cleaned out closets, purged cupboards, and even cut down on our food budget. This year I am taking it step deeper... cleaning out what we have in storage. Thankfully it is just a few boxes in the garage and attic. I have recently found a new blast of inspiration after watching the show Hoarders - that show is disturbing on so many levels. In my box of teaching supplies that I have stored since I taught 1st-4th grade back in 2001-2002 I found some balloons for making animals. The balloons were a piece of work because they are way old and have been frozen over and over through out the winter... but we enjoyed making all sorts of fun stapes. Let the cleaning continue!
I think the kids like this new blast of purging... I have found all sorts of fun things to play with.
Bath time is so much more fun with shaving cream and nonstaining color dye.
Another goal of 2011 is to just be with my kids. I stress about being divided in my parenting... constantly preparing for Bible study and one on ones... and juggling office work (that I am sooo very far behind on). I enjoy just being with them... playing with them... and NOT FEELING GUILTY for doing so. Since I have been working so hard on exercising and eating better - I have been feeling a bit better and more energy... so I have a little bit more to give.
So that is what we have been up to... pondering life, evaluating last year, looking towards the coming year... living priorities... and learning to laugh in the midst of the struggles... because in all reality... our life is really good!
Octopus hot dogs are a good way to get my vegetarian son to eat meat.....
So for those of you who missed me this past week... thanks. I truly wish each and everyone a Happy New Year and whatever it brings to your adventure.