Sunday, March 31, 2013

There's just something about that name

I got to sing my favorite song today!  And I know I can do that anytime on my own and I often do but I do love to hear the sound of others singing along with me.  I serve a risen Savior.  His name is Jesus.  And there's just something about that name!  Gives me chills!

I also sang Because He Lives today.  Naturally fitting for an Easter service but dear to me...When it was time for the lyrics, "How sweet to hold a newborn baby..." I was reminded that Jesus holds all my children in His hands and has the privilege of holding one that I have yet to hold.

And one day, on that Glorious day, when my faith shall be my sight I will know as I have been known.  Myself and all those who have called on Jesus as their Savior will stand before a Holy God and be seen as a spotless bride.  The Bride of Christ. 

Only He can make it so.

Casting Crowns says it beautifully in their song, Wedding Day!


[VERSE 1:]
There's a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds it's breath
Waiting now to see the bride groom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white
And she knows that she's undeserving
She bears the shame of history
With this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that he sees
And she wears white, head to toe
But only he could make it so


When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says your beautiful
When you don't know you are
And all you've longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day
On that wedding day

[VERSE 2:]
She has danced in golden castles
And she has crawled through beggar's dust
But today she stands before him
And she wears his righteousness
And she will be who he adores
And this is what he made her for

When the hand that bears the only scars
And heaven touch her face
And the last tears she'll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as he takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign
On that wedding day

Monday, March 18, 2013


Word for the day:  oxymoron

Examples:  jumbo shrimp
                 fairly obvious
                 typical homeschool

Wide range of homeschooling curriculum and methods aside, we don't even have one homeschooling day that is typical!  The only thing I would dare say is typical in a homeschool day for us is that we all eat something, we all wear something, we all sin, we love each other, we all do chores, and we all take care of my grandma and her husband.  Hopefully, we all learn something but I'm okay if it's not always our multiplication tables...

Here's today so far:



Bible & Prayer

Today's "school" started late for us because there was a heart issue, a character flaw to be dealt with.  Not ignored.  Not swept under the rug.  Not rushed because teaching my children to compose a grammatically correct sentence takes precedence over my calling as a Christian mother.

Piano for one while others' hearts are corrected, mended and connected


Writing  (during which I was constantly trying to distract my toddler who seems to want to stand on Isabelle's school desk)
Break from "work" because my 7yr old asked if she could comfort my cranky 19 month old, suffering from the 4 painfully stubborn molars she's cutting.  Charlotte gathered blankets, baby dolls and her baby sister up into the chair and rocked and sang.  I didn't think of getting the camera out until Madelynn was doing much better and Charlotte had a sense of satisfaction that she had cheered Madelynn up.

Nothing better than sisters snuggling and comforting one another!!

Deciding what book to read is a challenge for my Isabelle!
Yes, she's wearing completely different striped pants & is not part of our daily curriculum!

Lunch for the 6 of us here (I managed to eat today with minimal interruption which is anything but typical!)

Art and creative play in the clubhouse

Ahhh, imagination and the great outdoors (a.k.a. Narnia around here)

Hopefully, Madelynn's nap time is next and I'll read some history as well as a biography to the big girls!

I don't know what the rest of this day holds, much less tomorrow.  Lord willing, we'll start tomorrow I'm learning that words like typical don't apply to us.  You know what?  That's okay!  I'm not a homeschooling mama to make sure that my children can pass tests and recite facts (although there is a place for such).  I'm at home trying to train my children up in the love and admonition of the Lord and spur them on towards the individual bent God has given them.  If they happen to learn what the quadratic formula is or how to do a proper scientific experiment along the way, great!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Today is March 15th.  Do you have one of those dates that always sticks in your mind as significant?  15th's seem to big for some reason.  My husband had emergency surgery on the 15th of a month.  My Gma and her husband moved into our house on a 15th.  But March 15th, in particular, is quite significant! 

8 yrs ago my phone rang and I had one of those gut-feelings that something was wrong.  See, my Pop had passed away.  I was 8 months pregnant with Charlotte.  I could tell you exactly what I was wearing and where I was and how I reacted.  It's been 8 years but it feels like yesterday.  Pop was, well, a rock for me.  He would get on the floor with his grandchildren.  He would swing them in his arms.  He loved my Granny fiercely.  He loved his family fiercely.  He was kind.  He was gentle.  And I know he prayed for me when I was wandering from God's best for me.  He would light up when family was around.  He would always give a proper send-off when family departed.  He always walked outside to wave goodbye when anyone was leaving.  He would stand in the driveway and wave until we were gone.  It was his thing.  I. miss. it. like. crazy.  So on March 15th, 2005 I "waved" goodbye to Pop as he departed this world and entered eternity with Jesus.  Grief and joy at the same time.

2 years ago I had the opportunity to stand in my driveway and wave goodbye to some dear friends in Pop-like fashion as they ended their journey in Georgia to start a new one in Panama City, Panama.  Tony, Lisa and the Amstutz C crew have a very significant place in my heart.  We were enriched by their presence and blessed by their brotherly love.  Grief and joy at the same time.

I rejoice that Pop is with his Savior.  I rejoice that my friends are where God would have them be, growing together in the Lord.

I also waved my sister out of my driveway today while pondering all of these things.  And any day I see my sister is significant.  ;-)

My Pop

I hope you will praise the Lord for His significant involvement in your life.  Whether you're in a time of grief or joy or even both at the same time, God is worthy of all our praise!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More Please!

My husband started a game of hangman with our almost 8 yr old, Charlotte.  He used a Bible verse from Mark.  After filling in all the blanks and revealing Dad's verse, it was Charlotte's turn.  She carefully drew her blank lines and let her Daddy know it was time for him to start guessing letters.  Since this game of hangman was going to last on into the church service I wanted to stop it...I'm glad I didn't (think of me what you will).  I, myself, like to doodle and draw while listening.  It occupies my brain so that I can listen.  Anyway, I don't ever know what will come out of my sweet Charlotte's heart and I do know that a game like hangman might be her outlet to share something...

"I want more relationship with God."  "Please!"

Precious.  Honest.  Charlotte is hungry.  She recognizes that she needs more.  

Oh, what the Lord has reveled to me through these cherished children I have. Parenting brings me to my knees for many reasons.  Both my husband's and my Charlotte's knees shared a space together at the altar today as the fragrance of their plea filled the Throne room.  

All I want for my children is that they love the Lord with all they are.  The rest will fall into place.

God, please draw near to Charlotte and show her more of You.  Keep us all desperate for more.  Please! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Crazy budgeting

Several months ago I took over handling affairs for my grandmother and her husband.  This meant I got to make a budget complete with color-coded spreadsheet!!  Fun!  No, really.  Fun!  Making their budget seemed like a breeze because they have a fixed income.  They receive the same amount every month.  Now, this may be the norm for a lot of people but not for my family.  Owning our own business means a variable income (which I'm not complaining about, it just has its challenges).  By variable for us I don't mean a base amount with occasional lows and highs.  I mean that during any given week there could be barely enough income to fill up a gas tank or enough to pay our mortgage+.  We have experienced feast or famine many times (again, not complaining, just sharing some history).  Now, let me explain famine in the sense that we haven't always been sure everything could get paid or that we could buy food but we have never gone hungry or without most of what we want for that matter.

Before you go thinking that I'm longing for the "greener pastures" of a steady paycheck I will tell you that I have seen my God move mountains to give us our daily bread.   There is a pure beauty in being brought humbly to your knees before God Almighty because you recognize your need for Him and that you can do nothing without Him.  Knowing things are out of your control is very different from saying they are but yet acting as though they aren't.   I'm a bit of a control freak so I need God to remind me that I need Him.

Anyway, our budget is not what I would consider a typical budget.  I don't know what's coming in.  I know what is going out and that means we need our "coming in" to be equal to or greater than our "going out".  We keep our bills to a minimum (this means we don't have texting as part of our cell phone plan, much to my sister's dismay!) And we avoid debt like the plague, having no current debt except our mortgage.  In the last 7 years or so all our bills have been paid and we've had food to eat and vehicles to drive (which is totally a God-thing itself) but no regular means of savings.  I know, I know, savings is important.  And I know that we could eat rice and beans every night and live in the dark and sweat to death in the summer and never eat at Chick-fil-A but doing all of that just to save $1000 a year wouldn't be worth it to me.  There has to be a balance between raemen noodles and providing fresh, healthy food for my family and also between sweating to save on the utility bill and keeping the air conditioner set on 65 (which is what I would love to do!).  Some nights are grilled cheese and raemen noodles and our summer thermostat is set on 75 during the day.   Balance and sanity are important!

We have 4 set bills and a utility bill that fluctuates.  Everything else including groceries, gas, fun, books, etc gets squeezed out of what is left.  As I'm typing this, I'm just smiling, thinking of how faithful and wonderful God has always been to me!!  It makes me want to be obedient to Him.  I want to please Him in my family's financial stewardship.  He has blown my mind with His provision for us!  He likes to surprise me!  :)  And never ceases to amaze me!

Recently, we payed our 4 set bills and our utility bill and groceries, etc but something rare happened.  There was still money in the checkbook after I payed the mortgage.  This must be a math error, I thought.  Nope.  This is weird!  It got me to our feast or famine income, I tend to want to hang on to anything left for the next famine.  This phenomenon may never occur again but I felt like it was time to have a money discussion with my husband.  We had the perfect time to do such on a weekend away.  "What if this happens month after month?", I asked Bruce.  "We have to come up with a plan!"  (see the control freak, planner in me coming out?)   We have often discussed the sadness of simply making more just to spend more.  But it's an easy place to end up.  I don't want to spend it just cause we're making it.  We want to have purpose in what we're spending on or saving for.  We are on the same page with what that looks like.  We have a plan!!  God may change it according to His plan but that's okay.  His plans are always better!    If the Lord needs to change our plans to get me closer to Him, I don't care what our income is.  I'm actually scared that too much income would cause me to forget who actually provides our daily bread.  It's not us.  We don't deserve it.  I don't care how many hours, classes, licenses, hard work or the like are to our names.   It's all by His hand, not ours.  We are to be good stewards of our time, talents, skills, time and money. We are here to bring Him glory and make His name known. 

Purpose in what is spent.  Purpose in what is saved.  My heart's desire is to please my Lord in both!

P.S. - and sometimes God provides ahead of time for broken washing machines, new car batteries, and gas to drive 1600 miles.  No coincidence that my Bible study this week is on Jehovah Jireh!!  I love my Provider!