Life is, indeed, very good.

Life is, indeed, very good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

eating elephants

Today was one of those days where I kept having to psyche myself up. In other words, I had to work really hard to keep the day from going south. It wasn't a bad day. It just could have been. The two main factors, I believe, that required the constant pulling oneself up by the bootstraps were 1) hormones/pms (sorry if there is actually a man besides Tim who reads this) and 2) four science fair projects due on Friday. Our homeschool co-op is having a science fair, and I signed all four kids up for it. What was I thinking, you might ask? Especially when science is not my strong suit and trying to help four kids with projects all at once, well, I don't think I even have to go further with that one. Three months ago, when I signed the kids up, I thought it would be good for them to do it. On Monday of this week I was seriously regretting that decision. HOWEVER, the projects themselves have really not been stressful. It's that we're out of our routine this week while working on them. I am NOT, by nature, a structured person. But I realize more and more that I completely rely on our routine to keep me sane and to help me maintain a sense of order/progress/whatever you want to call it. But I have to say that, even though I am SO not a science person, the projects are all turning out to be interesting and fun. We've had some help from Dad and Grandpa, and Janie has taken off on hers with almost no help at all. And only one trip to the hardware store for sand (and lemonheads - brain food, you know). So it has been a little chaotic and messy, but it's a lesson in "eating an elephant one bite at a time". It seems like that theme has been coming to my mind a lot lately about different areas of life.....steady as we step at a time.... It doesn't come naturally to this fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants, impulsive girl. But I'm learning to try the idea on and walk around in it. So anyway, I think it will be fun to display the projects on Friday and to see what the other kids worked on.

I had to laugh on Monday...we were meeting with the principal of the school where Janie may attend next year, and he was showing us the computer lab and saying how many kids are way beyond power point and that they don't use poster board anymore. Ummm....because we were about to head home to work on our tri-fold display board. Oh, well! :) We'll tackle that elephant another day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

sweet baby girl

It's been a while since we've had a baby in the kitchen sink! I just couldn't resist posting this picture of the Gulford. Many of you know her and have given her cuddles....she's our little lump of sugar we've been taking care of since October. She's nine months old now, and ALMOST ready to crawl. I'm so not ready for a crawler, but it's coming fast. I will have to really whip my housekeeping into high gear. You may be wondering why I call her "the Gulford". This nickname came guessed it...Pete. He began calling her the Gulford early on....."can I feed the Gulford?" "Let me hold the Gulford." Anyway, we're kind of a nickname family, so it stuck. It has recently morphed into "Gulfie". I know, not the most cutsie/girlie nickname. But nevertheless..... Anyway, we absolutely love this little girl. Each of the kids just loves her, and she loves it when they play with her. Having her at our house has been a total joy....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's not about winning.......but....

Congratulations, Joe!!!! Second place at the AWANA Grand Prix! Thanks to the MUCH needed help and expertise of some good family friends, our boys actually had cars that could compete this year. Our cars in past years have seriously lacked engineering...many times stopping mid-track or skipping off the track completely. The help Tim and I were able to offer in the construction of the cars was pretty disappointing, as neither he nor I had any pinewood derby skillz. But this year a friend mentored Tim and the boys through the process, and they were ready to tear up the track!

If you recall this post , I think you'd agree that just the right boy found success this year! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

brutal honesty

Tonight as I kissed Peter goodnight, he was reading his football cards with his brand new "headlamp" on. As I went to kiss him, it shined right at me....

Peter: Mom, you have yellow stuff all over your teeth. A lot.
Me: Really?
Peter: Did you brush your teeth?
Me: Yes.
Peter: You should brush them again. Are you sure you brushed them?
Me: grrr.....


Facebook. Has anyone out there been tempted to "keep up with the Jones'" via Facebook? Like, feel the need to come up with a witty status update...or upload a new photo album because you just saw your friends great new pics? I will admit that I have. Not really about material fact, during the time of our kitchen remodel I got really upset with Tim for seeking Facebook input for decisions about major purchases (dishwasher, flooring, etc). I didn't want people to think we were spending money left and right.....didn't want them to get the wrong IMPRESSION!! I do find myself tempted when I see a fellow mom's latest pictures posted of her being silly with her kids....after a day when I've done nothing but crab at mine. Or when another mom posts about her kids raising money for Haiti....on a day that mine sulked about the dinner menu.

I think I see a theme here.....OTHER moms, OTHER kids. OTHER. How is it that ten minutes on Facebook, or a conversation with a friend, or whatever....can cause me to forget how GOOD God is to me? How rich my life is? How blessed I am? I'm sad that it happens, but I'm so glad I don't have to stay there in that state of comparison. I've made the wrong choice many times, and yet each time I'm given a clean slate of and sulk...or thank God for my blessings AND my friends' blessings?

I do have to fight the "impression" temptation. Boy, is that yucky. Facebook can sure feed that temptation, but it certainly doesn't have to.

Lord, keep my eyes on you. Help me to rejoice in YOU, so that I can rejoice for others.

John 1:16 From the fullness of God's grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

winter lessons

Wow. It has been a long time since I've really written anything here. I have to admit that winter sometimes gets the best of me. I love winter and truly wouldn't want to do without it. But it seems like every year between January and February I hit a major funk, and it gets ugly! I lose perspective, become somewhat reclusive, and generally can't see the forest through the trees. I know this happens and can see it coming....I just haven't yet figured out how to completely head it off at the pass. I'm sure it's a combination of things....lack of sunshine, less physical activity, etc. Whatever it is, it's powerful. In the midst of this funk, God is still speaking. Sometimes it's in the funk that He speaks the loudest (or maybe it's that my self-assurance is worn away and I'm more aware of my need for Him). Anyway, he's been speaking....mostly things I already know but lose sight of....things like...

....I don't have to do it all. It's okay to admit that I can't do it all. I have limits. And yes, I know that with God ALL things are possible - it's true! I also know that it's very easy to believe that with MYSELF all things are possible, and the point of despair at which I remember that's just not true. There is a whole lot of grace in finding yourself empty. And it's okay.

...I have a husband who loves me for who I am. He loves our kids. He is faithful to our family. He makes mistakes. He does not strive to be like James Dobson or Dennis Rainey. He never will. He sometimes exasperates the kids and always makes one of them cry when they wrestle. He has the discernment to take true admonition to heart...but quietly ignore a discouraging word. He forgives quickly. We have to ask each other for forgiveness a lot. We can be real jerks to each other sometimes - just bein' honest! But he usually has a heart of forgiveness before I even ask. I wish I could say I always forgive so freely! You've seen commercials of women being swept off their feet by diamonds and new cars wrapped in big bows.....but what takes my breath away is discovering that all through my emotions and pendulum swings over the future or decisions for our family or expectations, he has been quietly trusting God - unwavering - and patiently waiting for me to do the same. There really are no words...

...I don't have to know what's going to happen. I'd like to. I'd really really like to. Next month, next five years....twenty years. How will it all work out, I wonder. Much of it is a search for purpose, I think. Some of it is the need to feel in control. But whatever the antsy-ness is, it causes me to rush through today and miss a whole forget that there is a very big purpose to the very small things I do everyday. I know I'm not the only one out there who needs this reminder now and then.

So those are a few things. No major discoveries here...just reminders of the truth to straighten me up! Sorry to re-enter the blog world with such heaviness, but it's just how it is. I read a blog just today about the verse in Lamentations...His mercies are new every morning...Great is His faithfulness. Even when we are faithless? Yep.

So enough of that. To lighten things up, let me share a few things from the "everyday" at our house:

-Peter asks everyone numerous times a day what their favorite team is in the NFC East, the AFC South, the NFC North, the AFC West...and if you're not sure, he'll list them for you and give you time to decide. It's beginning to wear a little thin on everyone.

-Now that Janie has a haircut that she actually has to dry and style, we are sharing "products" and "tools". So we're having to figure out who gets the flat-iron when I leave for Hearts at Home this weekend! We flipped a coin, and I lost. We might have to do best two out of three!

-There is a YouTube video out there of a group of Yeshiva University students who did a remake of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite"...only it's about Hannukah. My kids listen to it all the time. It's super-catchy. I can't stop singing it. "I throw my latkes in the air sometimes...sayin' Hey-O..spin the dreidl!...I want to celebrate for all eight nights...sayin' Hey-O...light the candles!"

-Our little foster daughter (8 months old) has somehow been nicknamed "The Gulford". The Gulford, during our school time while I'm reading out loud to the kids, has developed the habit of making all kinds of vocal sounds while I'm reading....and stopping as soon as I stop. And starting as soon as I start. And stopping right when I stop. Etc., etc. It's really funny, but also very hard to get that history lesson across!

-Gummi cheeseburgers.

Good night for now.....tomorrow is a brand new day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Peter's stream of consciousness

You may recall previous posts of this nature. I would link to them if I remembered how. :)

Pete: Mom, before I was born was Peter even a name?
Me: Yes.
Pete: (without missing a beat) Can a house be a hundred years?
Me: Yes.

I'm used to this type of interrogation. Usually there are many more questions strung together, but perhaps he has learned that I now generally cut him off at two or three.