Wednesday, July 28

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

As my children get older, I am becoming more aware of their little eyes...and how those eyes are observing and watching all day long. The things Samuel sees me do and then copies is incredible. And very scary.

Most of the time it's small things throughout the day. But as he gets older, those small things are going to get bigger and more important.

When I think about my kids at my age, I wonder what they will remember about their mom? What will they have seen and observed and copied? Will they recall a woman who was kind? Spoke words of wisdom? Filled with joy and laughter? Someone who took time to play? A parent who loved and listened and wiped tears away? 

The following poem expresses how I hope my kids will feel some challenges me in my role as a mom and reminds me that my kids are always looking!

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's all right to cry.

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking,
I saw that you cared and I wanted to be
everything that I could be.

~author unknown

Monday, July 26

Learning about my little people

I'm in a stage of life where I'm trying to learn all I can about the two little people that now live with me. Never before have my days been spent talking to, playing with, learning from, teaching, observing, disciplining, and caring for two little people.

I really have no idea what I'm doing most days.

Sometimes I wish I had a degree in early childhood development or elementary education. I want to know all the tips, tricks and ideas for teaching and training my little people.

That's why I am so very thankful for those who have gone before me.....and for all they teach me!

Every page I read, I think: "What a great idea!" Or, "I should try that!" Or, 'Why didn't I think of that?"

I look forward to implementing some of the things I am reading and discussing what I am learning with my husband. 

One strong message that I am receiving over and over again from the parenting books I'm reading is that action is more effective than words. As one book put it: "Words alone will not be effective in managing your child’s behavior. Instead use kind, firm action."

I'm a yeller. I grew up in a house where we yelled and it comes naturally. It's easier to yell from the kitchen sink, "Samuel don't dump out your milk!" than it is to walk over to the highchair, take the milk away and offer it again later.

Just like it takes practice for my little people to learn how to crawl, walk and talk, it's taking me practice to learn how to teach and train them. And I'm quickly realizing that to be the parent I want to be, I'm going to have to do a little changing.

What are your favorite parenting books? What is one lesson you have learned about raising little people that you think has been invaluable?

Please share, I'd love to learn from you!

Friday, July 16

Sweet Stuff

How about something completely different to finish off this week?!

Here's with a great summer recipe,

Easy, No-bake Chocolate Oat Bars

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in oats and cook 2-3 mins over low heat. Press half of mixture into the bottom of 9x9 pan (greased). Reserve the other half for the topping

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over the crust in pan and spread evenly.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours. They cut best at room temperature. (I have doubled them for a 9x13 pan)

Remember: A balanced diet is 2 cookies in each hand!

Thursday, July 15

Final Words

In the Bible, in Titus 2, the older woman is instructed to train younger women...

It doesn't say the older woman needs to know it all. It doesn't say the older woman knew it all when she was a younger woman! I think the older woman is instructed to train younger women so they both continue to grow and learn and continue to develop a relationship with Christ and others.

I wasted many a year on futile things but God was patient with me. What I've been sharing with you this week is insight I wished I had grasped when I was a young mom. I was busy and distracted. It was easier to 'do' for God than to 'be' with Him daily.

I would like to complete my thoughts of the last few days with just a couple of things I wished I had known when my Homemaker friend asked if she should play it safe and not speak up about her faith in Christ. I would answer:

1. Spend time with God daily. How? I don't know. How do you spend time with anyone that you want a quality relationship with? You'll find a way if you really see that you NEED God daily.

2. BE with God all throughout the day. Christ lives in you, be in constant communication with Him. Lose confidence in your own efforts...believe that God is able where you are not.

3. Focus on being what you ought to be and God will give you plenty to do. God is not interested in what you can do for Him; He is far more interested who you are. Pride motivates us to do.

4. Be very mindful of your friends. Iron sharpens iron. Be sure the women you have in your life on a constant basis are iron! Not all friends will sharpen you! Make sure they are living with the realization that Christ is living in them and is empowering them daily.

Focus on these 4 things and you won't have to worry whether you step out in faith and then get hit with tough stuff in life. Tough stuff will happen either way... growing your relationship with God means you will have the one resource of strength that will never 'leave you or forsake you'.

Wednesday, July 14

Elephants and Mosquitoes!

A pastor told me once that he thought that the average Christian dealt with the stampede of the elephants better that the onslaught of mosquitoes.

What he meant was when we are face with the tough stuff in life we often shut down all options and go to God. He is there to help when trials come.

When the daily mosquitoes bother us we tend to swat and apply lotion, but it is all done in our own effort. God isn't called upon to deal with mosquitoes.

But that isn't what God intended.

If Christ is living in me, He sees the mosquitoes.

He feels the mosquitoes.

He can deal with the irritation and often irradicate them, but we are usually so used to being in control, we just put up with the problems.

We also are a 'chip off the old block'. Eve taught us to seek to be our own efforts. She reached out for the tree that would make her 'like God'. So too, we have a natural tendency to be our own god for everyday living.

Why don't we seek God's help in the little irritations of life? Why don't we consult with Him when we have daily decisions to make? Why do we muddle along in relationships and be satisfied if they just 'look good.'


The original sin.

One aspect of pride is an independent spirit. It is saying to God, whether consciously or subconsciously, "I don't need You."

Every sin can ultimately be traced back to pride. Pride says "I have a right to what I want; I am what matters."

Then we lead our lives controlling as much as we can including how we please God. We begin 'doing' and 'striving' and making our lives look like we are depending on God while all the while we try to control the details of our lives. It's safe. It's predictable. It's pride. Life will come crashing down when the tough stuff happens if all our days are orchestrated by us.

Bob George, in his book Complete in Christ says a person can be a 'theoretical Christian" and live as a 'practical atheist'.

"A practical atheist is someone who, regardless of his doctrinal beliefs, approaches life as if he were the only resource available."

My original Homemakers group may not have questioned stepping out with our faith if we dealt with the 'mosquitoes' in our life with Christ in us. If we had spent more time seeing God's activity in our daily life we all would have had the confidence to know that God would be there for us when life got difficult.

Life in general is as a follower of Jesus means we have the best resource available in good times and tough times...Christ in us.

Tuesday, July 13

The Tough Stuff

I think all of us realize it's not a matter of IF we will have tough stuff happen to us in life, it's just a matter of WHEN we will get bowled over by hard circumstances.

Whether we are Followers of Christ or not, tough stuff comes into everyone's life in some way, at some time. Life is hard.
I think there was a time in my life when I was hoping I could tiptoed around and avoid times of stress and heartbreak. Those were the days when I was trying to control my life.

Galations 2:20 changed my perspective:

"I have been crucified with Christ, I myself no longer lives, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Christ didn't just die so I could have eternal life, He died and rose again so He could live with me daily. I no longer had to be fearful that I couldn't handle all that might come into my life, I just needed to spend time with God and know Him so well that I could truly believe that I was able to "do all things through Him who made me strong.''

As Heidi said, "He is my portion"
She can say this because she has a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. She can trust His promises.

I like how the Message translation puts it: "I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not mine, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me."

I don't need to prove to God I can handle the tough stuff. I don't need to prove to myself or others that I can handle the tough stuff. I can't...but God in me can.

Sounds so simple, doesn't it when it is written down in a few sentences, so why don't we draw upon the fact that Christ is living in us all the time?

Ponder that question and I'll address that tomorrow!

Monday, July 12

Tough Stuff

I belonged to a Homemakers group when I was a young mom. About 15 moms met once a month and we talked about most everything. I remember one intense discussion when one of the moms voiced what I think all of us were thinking, but didn't have the nerve to speak up.

She said something like, "Sometimes I think it would be safer if I just didn't go out on a limb for God. I am scared that if I really take a stand with my faith, God will test me and I will just be asking for hard times"

I remember thinking at the time that maybe that made sense.

I also remember none of us responded with a good answer.

Are we to live 'under the radar' so maybe God will not test us too heavily?

I was reminded of my friend's statement when I read Heidi's postings last week. The first time I met Heidi, I was blown away by her strong stand for the Lord. Her desire to follow Him and know Him has been such a focus of her life and it is just a part of who she is. Did she set herself up for tough times since she verbalized her faith so boldly?

If my Homemaker friend made that same statement today, I think I might have an answer that would have been good for me to have known as a young mom.

Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That doesn't sound like we are to be living 'under the radar' to avoid having tough stuff in our lives. But so many women I talk to today say they aren't really living an abundant life whether they have tough issues or not. "The Christian life is just hard."

I think that the Christian Life is hard today because to us it is a the people of the New Testament it was an experience.

If we have to 'perform' each day to 'live the Christian Life' it will not only be will be impossible.

When my friend asked if she should live a safe life without taking a stand for the Lord, I think she was fearful that she wouldn't be able to perform and live a Christian life well if the road got too hard.

What I didn't understand then was that the good news of the gospel wasn't just that Christ came to die for me, but that He came to give His life to me.

Romans 5:10 says, "If, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life!"

God isn't here to test me, He is here to live His life through me.

I think I will talk about this abit more this week. It may not be as fun as some of the topics we cover in this blog...but I think it may be one of the more important ones we discuss.

Friday, July 9

My Portion

Driving home from the cabin on Sunday night we noticed something a little different with our daughter. Almost immediately my heart sank. I was thinking to myself, "Is this when this disorder becomes real in our family?" Not just a diagnosis, but something we actually see symptoms from. Because NF is a progressive disorder, we do not know when or if she will experience the effects. As a mom I am left without any control over the situation. On Monday I called her clinic and waited for them to call me back. The clinic was closed and I had to wait until Tuesday for her doctor to respond. I felt that knot of worry in my stomach. I was praying that night and asking the Lord for this to be nothing. I told Him over and over that I my heart is not strong enough to deal with some of the consequences of NF. I told Him I will never be ready to walk down that road. On Tuesday morning I was listening to Shane Bernard's song called My Portion. Here are the words...

Whom have I in Heaven but You
I desire none but You
My heart and flesh may fail but You
Are the Strength of my heart, the strength of my heart

You are my portion forever
You are my portion forever
You are my portion forever
You are my portion forever

Did you see what I heard from the Lord that morning? He is the strength of my heart. I am right in saying that apart from Him my heart is not strong enough to deal with pain. I need Him. I really, really need Him. He is my portion.

Thankfully our doctor gave us great news on Tuesday afternoon that this symptom did not appear to be anything NF related. I praise the Lord for that. I also praise the Lord that in the midst of an uncertain time for me, God still assured my heart that He is with me. I am sure there are going to be more times of uncertainty but I will continue to turn to Jesus. He is my portion.

Wednesday, July 7

When our daughter was first diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (also known as NF) we went to a symposium to hear about other people's experience with the disorder. It was at a local library and it seemed like a really good way to gain more understanding. Although we knew it was a good event to attend, we were honestly dreading it. Upon our arrival we noticed the sign on the door....Children's Tumor Foundation. I instantly had a giant lump in my throat. I honestly didn't want to go in. I just kept thinking how in the world are we now connected with a group called the Children's Tumor Foundation. I feel like I have heard stories of people dealing with tumors or disabilities but it has never hit close to home. Now we were the parents of a child with NF and in a few minutes I would have to introduce myself and say that my sweet daughter has this condition. I felt like saying it out loud to a group of people would make it that much more real in our lives...and it did. We walked away from that meeting with a mix of emotions. Of course I had tears. Tears for what is unknown in her future. Tears that we now pray every night against the growth of tumors. Tears for any possible pain she might endure. But I also left encouraged. I had found a group of people who had walked the road I am now on. I saw people with NF who were doing wonderfully. I found out about research that will hopefully find a cure. I found support.

At this point Claire shows no real complications of NF. She is a normal, healthy, and might I add darling little girl. For this we are so, so, so thankful and we pray that this is the case her entire life. My husband and I could have let our fear or grief stop us from meeting others in the Children's Tumor Foundation. I am so glad that it didn't. My encouragement for you is to find support when you encounter hard things. Seek people out who have walked down the road you are on. I have found that although sharing your heart with someone can hurt, the encouragement is well worth it.

Monday, July 5

Welcome to Holland

This week I am going to blog a little bit about our experience receiving the news that our daughter has Neurofibromatosis. I have debated whether or not to share things about NF on this blog because I don't want these entries to seem like a big downer. However, millions of moms out there experience disorders or diseases that maybe they wouldn't have picked for their child but they now face the reality that this is what it is. She was diagnosed in December and our world was most definitely changed. My husband and I went to a symposium to gain more information about this disorder we had never heard about before. They opened the meeting by sharing this poem by Emily Perl Kingsley. It was written to describe what it is like to find out your child has special needs. Even if this doesn't pertain to you, I think it gives you a really good perspective on what other people experience.

Welcome to Holland Poem

Friday, July 2

Living with less...

so your family has more is the name of the current book I am reading. It is written by Jill and Mark Savage. Jill is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization that encourages, educates and equips mothers. You can check out her website at I bought this book a few months back, and it has been sitting on my nightstand waiting to be opened. Well, this week I finally took the time to open it. With the economy the way it is and with friends losing their jobs and being forced to live with less, I thought it was a good time to check this book out. I am only a few chapters in but feel that it asks a lot of great questions and just makes you think about the choices, we as mothers, are making everyday. Here are a few paragraphs that I thought were worth sharing…

Maybe you’ve thought or even said aloud:

  • I’m tired of living with constant stress.
  • I feel disconnected from my spouse.
  • I feel disconnected from my kids…
  • I just wish our family could sit around the dinner table each night laughing and talking about our day.
  • I can’t do this anymore: work, day care, soccer practice, quick meals and shallow relationships.
  • There are not enough hours in the day.
  • There has to be a simpler way of doing things.

If you have had those thoughts, you are not alone. We all want the best for our kids, but sometimes we lose sight of what “best” just might be. We want to give them more, but we’ve allowed the world to define “more” as things that money can buy. We long to give them every opportunity possible, but we’re missing out on being a family because there are just too many opportunities. We’re focused on providing tangibles-things that money can buy-when what most of us really long for are intangibles-things money can’t buy. The pace of life that many of us are traveling at is actually hurting rather than helping our families.

I love the line about the world defining “more” as things money can buy. I will admit I think that…good food for thought…our children just mostly want our time and attention.

One more section I would like to share with you is a few paragraphs where they ask a series of questions about three particular areas of life that we can intentionally downsize…

Less money-Are our financial challenges really about the high cost of living or the high cost of the way we choose to live? Where can we make different choices in our income and expenses that allow us to find the “more” we’re actually looking for?

Less stress- for may of us. Life is lots of activity, an emphasis on overachievement and accomplishments, and moving up the ladder of success. But what if we defined success differently? What if we looked at accomplishment through a different lens? What if we made countercultural choices that actually resulted in less stress?

Less activities- The world offers parents and children so many opportunities. But just because something is offered doesn’t make it a wise choice for our children, our family, or us. What if we learned to say no more often? What if we created some healthy boundaries that kept us home and focused on family more?

Like I stated before, I have only read the first few chapters, but I love the premise so far. I like reading books that challenge my thinking by asking thought-provoking questions. Books that make me stop and look at my life and make sure that the choices I am making on a daily basis match up with my long-term goals for my family in general. My prayer for you is that you will learn to live with less so that you can enjoy the family that God has blessed you with-happy Friday!

Thursday, July 1

Organization Motivation

A friend and I met earlier this week and she shared with me about this closet that had been haunting her since they moved into her new house. She wanted to organize it but with two small children she was afraid to pull out all the stuff during naptime only to be half done when they woke and by bedtime she was too exhausted to tackle it...yet it was driving her crazy. I am not sure if I was a very good friend at this particular moment, but I looked at her and said, "It will probably take you less than an hour to actually clean it, and you will feel a load lifted if you just do it." I would like to take credit for this advice, but I remember reading in some organization book that the number one reason we don't take the time to organize something is because we "think" it will take us forever so we don't do it. In reality if we would just tackle it head-on it usually takes way less time than we thought, and our minds are able to concentrate on more important things in life. My friend emailed me the next day saying thanks for the motivation and that she now had a beautifully organized today I am going to try to motivate you. Think of that one project that has been hanging over your head and just do may be surprised at how quickly it gets done and how much better you feel...happy organizing!