Monday, June 27, 2011

The Adventures Continue

Just in case you were under the impression that I have all my ducks in a row.

See that pacifier in her mouth?  I was admiring this precious post-nap scene until it occurred to me that I had never bought my little darling a baseball pacifier.  Why would I, right?  When I asked Queen (2) about it, she said she found it outside on the ground.  Great.

Then this morning I left my middle 4 kids home sleeping with daddy while Calvin and I took Monk to swim practice at 7 (it had been a long, tiring weekend for all).  I dropped him off, walked two miles, then swung by Braum's to buy milk.  When I walked in the door at 8 am this is what greeted me.

It's magic marker, in case you were wondering.

If you know me, and if you know Queen, then this shouldn't come as a surprise to you.  The reason I felt compelled to come clean share is because of a conversation I had with a woman at the swim meet in Oklahoma this weekend.  I started talking with a Christian lady who was so impressed and complimentary about my having 6 kids and homeschooling them.  She accused me of being a super mom.  I told her that wasn't even close to the truth.  Now I've officially set the record straight! 

Twinkle Toes didn't get to go to the meet at the last minute because of heat exhaustion.  It's been way over a hundred here daily and she was outside at camp all last week.  Then our swim meet got cut short when the sewer backed up at Oklahoma City Community College and there were thousands of people packed into an Aquatic Center with no usable restrooms.  Not good.  When we arrived home four hours later at 11:30 pm, our power was out and it was about 85 degrees, outside and in!  Big D said it had been out since 6, when it was 107.  Then yesterday Twinkle Toes ended up covered up with hives, head to toe.  Meanwhile, Calvin has another staph outbreak on his skin.  Never a dull moment!  You know what?  Having kids is an adventure, maybe the adventure of a lifetime.  I wouldn't miss it for the world!  I'm so grateful for these children the Lord has blessed us with and for the adventures they bring our way!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Abounding in faith

I'm still plugging away at memorizing Colossians this year, two verses per week.  It's been over a month since I memorized the following verses, but I can't seem to get them off my mind.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus your Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Colossians 2:6-7

It's all good, but what I keep coming back to is the "abounding in it with thanksgiving" part.  You see, I think of faith as either you have it or you don't.  Have you responded to the gospel of truth with belief?  Then you have faith in Christ.  Either you believe in Christ or you don't.  We even use the term believer to refer to a Christian. 

Abounding refers to having something in a great amount or full supply.  There can be an abundance or dearth of salt in the salt shaker, for instance.  So it seems to be with faith.  We can have a little faith in Christ or we can have a great deal of faith in Him. 

What's even more interesting is that believers are responsible, to some degree at least, for the amount of faith we have.  Paul couldn't very well tell the Colossians to abound in their faith if they had no control over that! 

This brings me to the question of how we increase our faith until it's overflowing in abundance.  Only God can open our eyes and unstop our ears, but once He's done that, once we've been "established in the faith", we are free to abound in it, or not.

So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17

Could it be this simple, yet profound?  The more immersed we are in God's Word, the more our faith is strengthened.

I'm sure there are other things we can do that will strengthen our faith, like keeping a prayer journal, surrounding ourselves with godly friends, or studying molecular biology (it did for me, anyway).  But, I believe the primary way God builds our faith in Him is through the ministry of His Word.  Take these promises, for instance.

My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.  Psalm 23:6

No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  Psalm  84:11

I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Do we really believe these promises?  John Piper says that "this faith is the power that severs the root of sin."  (Piper, Battling Unbelief p 15)  "We throw against the promises of sin the promises of God.  We kill sinful deeds before they happen by cutting the root of their life:  the lies of sin.  Doing this "by the Spirit" means that we trust in the power of the Spirit and then wield the "sword of the Spirit", which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)."  (Piper, Battling Unbelief, p 16)

This brings us back to the Colossians verses above.  When viewed this way, "abounding in faith" enables us to "walk in Christ".  It seems Paul is saying to abound in faith so that we can walk in Christ.  And this is just what Piper is saying.  If we really believe God's Word, if we really believe all those promises, then sin will lose its appeal.  When our faith in the Lord is overflowing, or abounding, we're equipped to walk in obedience.  God has revealed Himself to us in His Word.  All of His promises, many already fulfilled, are recorded in the pages of Scripture.  His Word feeds our faith in Him and the measure of our faith in Him determines the degree to which we'll walk in obedience.

So let's abound in faith together!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What is happiness and how can I get it?

Homemade buns fresh from the oven?

Daddy time without the helmet?

Speeding along with the wind in your hair?

While these were all happy moments, they were also all temporary.  The buns disappeared within a few hours.  Calvin's helmet went back on his head after it was cleaned.  And my little speedster had to come inside and get ready for bed not long after her joy ride. 

Is this the best life has to offer?  Fleeting moments of happiness utterly dependent upon our circumstances?  Or is there something more?  According to God's Word, there is a happiness that depends not upon our physical circumstances.  And it can last forever.  Interested?

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold... Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.  Proverbs 3: 13-14, 17-18

So wisdom brings happiness.  What is wisdom?  In the Bible, wisdom is much more than book smarts.  I guess you could say it's The Book smarts.  Wisdom has to do with not just knowing, but doing the right thing.  It cannot be divorced from God's moral law.  In short, wisdom is living out our daily lives in obedience to God.  And how does one get wisdom?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5  Solomon is a good example of a man who asked God for wisdom so that he could rule God's people rightly, and God granted it to him.  (1 Kings 3) 

I think it's important to note that God didn't just zap Solomon with wisdom.  Rather, God gave Solomon an understanding and discerning heart so that he could apply God's law in all circumstances.  God reiterated to Solomon the necessity of walking in His ways, and keeping His statutes and commandments, as his father David had done (1 Kings 3:14).  God does the same thing with us when we ask Him for wisdom.  He causes us to understand His Word and gives us the ability to apply His Word as we navigate through life.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10

If wisdom leads to happiness then the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of wisdom, but of happiness, as well.  And just what is this fear of the Lord?  It has to do with a right understanding of God.  That He alone is the creator and sustainer of life.  That He alone deserves all praise, glory, and honor.  That He alone is holy, righteous, and just.  That He alone reaches down in love to save sinners.  And that He alone will judge the earth with holy wrath.  This kind of fear is no mere emotion, but an understanding or perspective that shapes our very lives.  And a true fear of the Lord will always lead to obedience to God. 

Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God.  All who wait patiently for Him are happy.  Isaiah 30:18

I read this verse yesterday in my 90 day Bible reading.  The context is that of Judah's impending judgment for her rebellion against God.  Even in judgment God is gracious and merciful, not punishing us according to what we deserve.  Even in the midst of difficulty and suffering, we have the promise of future happiness if we wait on Him.  God is our hope and salvation.  The happiness of His people does not depend on external circumstances, but on a trustworthy God.  The happiness of His people lasts for all time.  One of my favorite passages on this future hope is Hebrews 11:13-16, but I have to end on a Psalm.

Blessed (or happy) is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.    Psalm 1:1-3

In summary, God reveals Himself to us in His Word.  His Word is true and right and true happiness comes when we submit ourselves to His plans and His law.  This is good news for those who fear the Lord and walk in wisdom.  It means that no matter our circumstances we can find lasting happiness in the Lord and His Word.  It's bad news, however, for those who do not trust in the Lord for their salvation.  Their happiness is temporary like "the chaff which the wind drives away".  I guess we need to ask ourselves which kind of happiness we want.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Books, books, and more books!

I'm drowning in books and I love it!  One of the reasons we don't homeschool year round is so I can have extra reading time in the summer.  It may not contribute to my kids' education, but it does to mine!  Right now I'm reading the new Duggar book A Love that Multiplies, The Essential Edwards Collection by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney:  Jonathan Edwards on the Good Life, the new Ian Murray biography of John MacArthur:  Servant of the Word and Flock, and Tempted and Tried:  Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russel D. Moore.  I'm also just barely staying up with the 90 day Bible Challenge.  I think I'm on day 42 or so.  With this ipad app I'm using I don't have to know which day I'm on, I just read what it tells me to for "today".  I'm also barely keeping up with memorizing Colossians.  I need to dedicate some major time to review chapters one and two-  soon!

There's much I want to write about, but I'm just too busy reading right now.  Hopefully, I'll finish these books up in the next few days.  If I could just focus on one at a time...

What are you reading right now?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

That we may know it's by His hand and not by accident. Part 2- Our personal story.

Have you ever stopped and wondered how incredible it is that you exist?  Is it possible that you could be here by chance?  Or even by chance upon chance upon chance upon chance?

The Bible has much to say about the sovereignty of God and how His providential hand guides the circumstances of our lives, but we all experience it, too.  I want to demonstrate in this post how unlikely it is that my children exist.

Let's start with my husband and to do that I have to start with his dad.  My father-in-law was born dead.  Stillborn.  His mother continued working on him after everyone else had given up and miraculously (and I don't take that word lightly) she was able to revive him.  Years later while serving in the Air Force, his plane crashed in Alaska.  Everyone on the plane died, except for him.  Chance, again?  Then at the age of 33, before my husband had been conceived, he suffered from a massive heart attack while driving his car.  Again, miraculously a trucker stopped and helped him, and he survived yet another brush with death.  My in-laws had planned to stop having children after my husband's three older brothers were born.  Somehow by divine "accident" my husband was conceived and born 15, 13, and 8 years after his 3 older brothers.  And I can't even count how many brushes with death my husband has had over the years.  He's had so many accidents!  One time he was driving a little Ford Escort when he was involved in a collision and his knees went into the the dash and pinned him there.  That's what kept him from being thrown from the car!  Let's just say my husband is accident prone (and rides a motorcycle!!) and leave it at that.

Now onto me.  My mother was told early in her marriage to my dad that she would never have children.  She had to have one ovary removed early on and the remaining fallopian tube was severely scarred.  She and my dad were told to come to terms with their infertility.  Then my dad went to Vietnam.  He was a platoon leader in the 101st airborne division.  Not that the war wasn't dangerous, people were certainly dying all around him, but my dad's brush with death occurred when he was struck by lightning there in Vietnam.  By the grace of God, he lived, and suffered no long-term ill effects.  Fast forward to after the war, my infertile parents are now yuppies driving a Mercedez sports car in Houston, TX when they get into a life-threatening accident.  Not only did they live, but about a month later my mom learned she was pregnant.  I guess it took quite some jarring for that fertilized egg to make it through my mom's scarred fallopian tube and implant safely in her uterus.  Chance, again?

My husband and I shouldn't be here, and we wouldn't be, but by divine intervention.  We could all write a story like this.  Chance doesn't explain our existence and we all know that intuitively.  We're here by design and that Designer wants us to worship Him as the one and only God of the Universe.  Why are we here?  Because He wants us here.  And if I die tomorrow it won't be a life cut short, but a life fully lived according to God's plan.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.    Psalm 139:16

What's your personal story that defies chance?

A few photos from our Dallas trip

I didn't lug the camera around much since I was already lugging around Calvin, but did manage to snap a few shots.

Entrance to the Dallas World Aquarium

Prince was as interested in the touch screen experience as the real animals

Momma carrying her baby

Queen loves ducks.  Notice Prince keeping his eye on them... just in case.

In front of the penguins

Lucie fell in love with this penguin, but I forced myself to envision her shelf at home overflowing with stuffed animals and managed to pry it out of her hands.  OK, so I bribed her with a $5 souvenir fan that broke the next day. 

Isn't that a strange creature?  And it's supposed to have evolved

Standing underneath the shark aquarium.

I actually forgot to pack a stroller so Big D bought this one for us at Target.


Big D sporting his stylish hat that he bought while at Target.

Looking at the flamingos.

That smile is because her American Girl doll now has a "swim soup".

And one more because I love her smile.

The girls with their treasures.  We brought the dolls from home, but they each got a new outfit.

The girls on their way to Delicious Desserts.

Twinkle Toes (10) was a little disappointed as they only decorated the desserts, but didn't actually make them. 
Measle (almost 8) had a blast.  While the girls were decorating pastries, Big D, Prince, Queen, Calvin, and I walked the Galleria.
 We packed a lot into 5 days.  The kids had fun at Hurricane Harbor one afternoon while Calvin and I sweated it out looking on.  That was for the kids.  Big D and I had fun at Half-Price Books.  We came home with a box full of treasures.  Remember that make-shift seat-among-the-suitcases in the back-back that I told you about?  Well, it didn't work out so well.  Twinkle Toes got car sick and puked all over the back-back.  Thankfully she missed our box of books.

Monk enjoyed swim camp at SMU (our reason for the trip).  And I got a little nostalgic driving around the old neighborhood.  Big D and I met, dated, and married in Dallas.  I was living in University Park when we met at church in downtown Dallas.  I was sorry to learn that Hagen Das moved out of Highland Park Village and I kept intending to stop by Celebrity Cafe and get a piece of strawberry cake, but it wasn't meant to be.  That was disappointing, but we did get to eat at Cheesecake Factory in Lincoln Park. 

Though we had some fun food adventures, our highlight by far was reconnecting with friends.  I wish I had thought to take the camera to our friends' houses.  We ate supper with Noelle and her family at Triplesmiles.  I got to hang out with my oldest friend (bff since age 5), Teresa.  We ate at Cafe Brazil and swam at the Allen Natatorium.  I've asked you to pray for Teresa's family before.  Her precious baby girl Molly went home to be with the Lord about a year ago.  I'm happy to report to you that Teresa is expecting a baby boy in about 7 weeks.  And finally, we got to visit with some friends of ours that have recently moved to about the half-way point for us between Dallas and home.  They are also a homeschooling family with 6 kids.  We so enjoyed our time with them and are looking forward to their passing through here on their way to vacation in Colorado next month.  

It was a fun trip!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Going to the Big D

Queen (2) is obsessed with swimming.  She's my first child I have to watch like a hawk around water.  She wants to swim so badly.  Anyway, we're going to Dallas tomorrow and I told the kids there's a pool at the hotel.  Queen packed her own suitcase.  Impressive, huh?  She included a swimsuit, swim cap, goggles, cover-up, and one t-shirt.  We'll be gone 6 days.  I guess she's planning on doing a LOT of swimming!

Since we're heading out of town tomorrow, Calvin (7 months) and Queen have both come down with a case of folliculitis.  I took Calvin to the doctor this morning and got him some antibiotics while Queen was at the ranch with her grandparents.  Then when I put her in the tub this afternoon I saw that she's covered up with it, too.  Great. 

It should be an interesting drive tomorrow.  We're not taking the motorhome because I have to drive Monk (12) to swim camp each morning at 7:30 am and can't see myself successfully navigating the RV in Dallas traffic and all over SMU's campus.  So, we're taking my beloved Suburban.  Actually, it's a GMC Yukon XL, and I LOVE it as much as it's possible to love a vehicle.  The only problem is we have 7 seats and 8 people.  So I ordered another seat from Little Seats about a month ago, but they said it would be 2 months until we get our seat.  The good news is I recently bought the kids suitcases from Pottery Barn.  Since all 6 suitcases are the same size and since four suitcases exactly take up the back-back with two more on top, I was able to create an 8th seat, sort of. 

Calvin's picture has nothing to do with our car or our trip to Dallas, but isn't he cute?  He hates being on his tummy, but he'll do it if he can look at himself in the mirror.  What a sweet boy!

And speaking of sweet boys, my first sweet boy had a birthday today.  He's 12!  Twelve years ago today, I became a mom.  Wow, how time flies!

Kind of a deer in the headlights shot, but you get the idea.  Cute and blonde : ).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Calvin can't do anything, and I love him anyway.

I've never been one to feel insecure when one of my children doesn't reach a milestone on time.  Calvin is my 6th baby and none of our kids have exactly been developmental prodigies.  I think our first five kids walked at 14, 16, 16, 12, and 12 months respectively.  I did take Twinkle Toes (my first one to walk at 16 months) to an orthopedic doctor to make sure she didn't have something wrong with her feet, but he said to just wait.  Then with Measle I figured she'd walk when she was ready and not before.  She did.  Prince was born with club foot and treated for it in Kazakhstan, but even so he walked "on time", right at a year, one month after coming home.  (One of the many benefits of escaping our gene pool.)  But honestly, I'm beginning to get a little concerned over Calvin.  When we saw the pediatric neurologist, his official diagnoses were "plagiocephaly", thus the helmet, and "developmental delays".  It's one thing to have little girls that walk late (although I have to add that they talked and potty trained early), but another to have your baby boy labeled "delayed" in black and white.  I hate that.

Calvin is the most wonderful baby in the world and I wouldn't change him for anything.  He's so good natured and always willing to give me a smile (except for when I'm holding the camera in front of my face.)  He goes with the flow and takes it all in stride.  He's not crawling.  He's not sitting up yet.  He's not even rolling over.  He hates being on his stomach (as in that's one of the only ways to make him cry), therefore he gets about 5 minutes per day of tummy time.  He makes noises occasionally (I think he saves his talking for church), but isn't exactly what I'd call verbal.  He is a pro at jumping.  Daddy had to rig our Johnny-jump-up since Calvin weighs so much, which brings me to his next talent, eating.  He's quite the nursing champion.  It really is his greatest talent. 

Calvin will be 8 months old in 9 days.  I guess he goes back to the doctor at 9 months.  I sure hope he's sitting up by then!  But you know what?  Even if he isn't, I'll be just as crazy about him.  (I may need to come up with a new bathing solution, though.  It isn't easy bathing a 21 + lb baby who can't sit up!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our new relaxed summer schedule

Her smile makes me smile.
I've noticed more and more homeschool families going to year round schooling.  We love our summers!  The kids and I look forward to summer all year and then after a nice break it seems like we look forward to starting school again in August just as much.  We do have a summer routine, though.  There's lots of time for play, but it's not all play : ).

Calvin already loves books!
This is the first summer I didn't sign the kids up for lots of extra-curricular activities like dance, gymnastics, or art.  So far, I'm loving it.  Here's what our schedule looks like:

6:30 am   Wake-up call.  I get up 30 to 45 minutes earlier, which is fine because Calvin always wants to nurse then anyway.

Measle and Monk climbing at a local children's science museum.
 7-9:15 +   We're at the park with the outdoor swimming pool.  The three older kids swim while the younger kids and I get our exercise walking in the park and playing at the playground (Prince rides his scooter while I push the other two in a double stroller).  Toward the end of swim practice we head back to the pool and I watch the swimmers while Prince and Queen play in the splash pad.  In a few weeks, Prince will start swim lessons at the same pool immediately after swim practice. 

Twinkle Toes doing some major building.
 9:30 am   Home again, usually to stay.  I do my workout video while Calvin naps then make lunch or brunch, it they can't make it til 11, for everyone.  (The kids eat a light breakfast before swimming, but are starving again afterwards.)  On Thursdays we'll have our summer kids' Bible study.  The rest of the week we're free to hang out at home.  I took the kids to the library yesterday and plan on taking them to the pool Friday.  We went to the local kids' science museum the other day.  I love that we're not bound by any schedule, but free to either relax at home or go places as a family.

Practicing to be a cowboy someday.
And what's a cowboy without his cowgirl?

1-4 pm Rest time.  This is about an hour longer than our rest time during the school year, but then we're getting up earlier now, too.  Lucie and Calvin nap during this time while the big kids read books, play video games (1 hr max), or listen to books on CD.  This is the first summer in several years that I'm not requiring my kids to read a certain amount of time each day. That said, we went to the library yesterday and all my readers are busy reading for fun and prizes. So, reading lots is still a goal, I'm just going about it a bit differently this year. This way they don't "have to", they "get to".   Twinkle Toes (10), Measle (7), and Prince (5) all have Summer Bridge workbooks they're working through, too.  They insisted I buy them so I'm insisting they complete them!  Monk (11) and Twinkle Toes (10) also practice typing with the Mavis Beacon typing program daily.  And the three older kids are continuing with their Greek this summer.  It only takes the kids about 45 minutes to do their Summer Bridge, Greek, and typing each day.  (I told you I'm no tiger mom:).  Add in 30 minutes of piano/violin practice and they've still got plenty of time left over for the lazy days of summer.

Can you read Calvin's shirt?  It says "Star of Mommy's Blog".  And he is!

Evenings are for family and hospitality.  Tuesdays are still reserved for Bible study and Wednesdays for church, but the rest of our evenings this summer are free!  Big D and I agree that we want to practice hospitality more this summer while everyone is on more of a relaxed schedule.  We're looking forward to this!

It looks to be an amazing summer!

What's your summer schedule like?


Related Posts with Thumbnails
My photo
I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.