Thursday, December 31, 2009

Planning for a Successful Year - Part 1

I always look forward to the beginning of a new year.  It is a wonderful time to start making all those lists that give me such great joy!  Yes, I am one of THOSE know the ones...they never feel complete unless they have at least multiple lists of things to check off.  I have been so neurotic about my lists before that I have intentionally written things I had already completed just so I could draw a line through it and sit back and revel in the beauty of being able to check off something else!  So, the thought of reevaluating goals, plans, lists, etc. actually makes me very happy.  This is my element.  So, how does one go about planning for the upcoming year?  I will share with you some of my thoughts on the matter and I would love for you to share with me as well.  First of all, nothing should be written down apart from a time of prayer and seeking the Lord's mind.  There are many things in life that are worthy, but not what God wants US to do.  I had to learn that lesson the hard way.  I would see something that wasn't getting done and feel that is was my job to do it.  I would burn myself out because that is not what God had called me to do.  Now I have learned the art of saying no and praying before I rush into commitments of my time and energy. 

1.  First, always in planning for the upcoming year is prayer.  And when we pray about our priorities, we realize very quickly that our relationship with the God of the universe is our greatest priority.  Nothing else compares to this.  Nothing now and nothing in eternity.  To lose our closeness with Him is devastating...both to our own spiritual wellness and the effects we will have on everything else we do.  So, the main priority should be what am I going to do this year to find out more about develop a real breathing, living, loving relationship with Him?  If you have not already, what about reading the Bible through in a year?  If you have make it a priority to do so every year?  How about guarding your quiet time better?  What spiritual books might you read as well?  Is there a specific area that the Lord is working on in you...patience, anger, envy, etc. that you could read about from other Godly sources?  Now, this is only after you exhaust what the Bible has to say about it because that is always the BEST source.  But I know personally, not having those Titus 2 women around me that the Bible talks about...I have gleaned greatly from books by Titus 2 women who have taught me so many things through their writings. 

2.  Secondly, once I pray about what God would have me personally do, I pray about what God would have me to do as a mother and a wife.  How can I better bless my husband?  What ways can I assist him better in the avenues that God has called him?  What ways can I make our home more of a haven for him?  What about my children?  How can I address needs they have individually?  What ways can I bless them?  How can I begin to spend more one on one time with each of them?  Besides our relationship with the Lord, our relationship with our families are of utmost importance.  Our marriage should be a reflection of Christ and His church.  That is nothing to take lightly.  Our relationship with our husbands is a witness to a world that is reeling from sky high divorce rates, infidelity and so many other problems.  What a privilege to show the world God's way!  The same with our children.  Building relationships of an eternal nature not only makes our families more enjoyable, but it is a further witness to what a Godly family is all about.  Do you memorize scripture?  How about making it a family goal this year?  These things will obviously work more smoothly if they are decided upon as a team...husband and wife together.  Since my husband is currently in Afghanistan, many of the practical workings of this will wait until he arrives home and we can work on these together.  But, some things, like memorizing scripture, reading through the Bible, etc., can be started right away.  Bless your children this year with more saturation in the Word of God.  It is one gift that He promises will not return to Him void.

There are other areas I have floating around in my head that I will be discussing with you in Part 2 of this.  I would love to hear how you are evaluating your goals.  One of the great things about blogging is how we learn so much from a community of believers.  May you have a blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Invisible Woman

This clip was sent to me by my mother-in-law...on a day that I was feeling quite "invisible." It was a real encouragement to me. I had never heard of Nicole before, but so appreciated this clip. I hope it will encourage other mothers out there as well. Before you play the clip, don't forget to scroll down to my playlist and pause the music.

Keep on building those great cathedrals ladies! Remember...we will get weary IN the work, but never let us get weary OF the work!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Returning to the Land of the Living!

Well, we are beginning to feel part of the living once again! The children all got the H1N1 virus and are still recuperating, but are well on their way to full health again soon, we pray! Joy, my oldest, seems to be having the hardest time shaking the effects of it and we are heading to the doctor this afternoon to make sure there has not been a secondary infection that has set in. The pictures are of our "world" while all this was going on. Being the only caretaker, having to take care of all five children at once, throughout the day and night...I decided to transform the den into our mini "hospital." I knew I needed to get as much sleep as possible in between caring for the children to make sure my immune system was the best way to do it was to get the children centralized to be able to hear them all and give out medicine when needed throughout the night. So, three twin mattresses were brought downstairs and Julia's toddler mattress as well. Joy slept on the couch and I slept on the loveseat (and my back is still suffering from that one)! The bookshelves became holders for everything!!! Tissues, coon skin caps, CD players, etc. Did I ever tell you that is one of my pet peeves? Bookshelves being used for other things besides books!!! But, when your family is ill, you look over all that and press on.

Josiah said he was either pretending that the whole family was camping out...or that he had been wounded in battle and I was the nurse taking care of him in the military hospital!

Notice the Legos on the mattress...once the fever left...this is the first thing they grabbed!

The children were able to play for a few hours after the fever left them...and then it was right back down in the bed. This virus just seemed to zap all their energy.

And this is what my kitchen counter looked like...a mini pharmacy. I cannot begin to tell you all how the Lord blessed us during this time. The very virus I dreaded most, we got. But God used that to show me that He is constantly taking care of us, no matter what comes our way. The one I dreaded most about getting it...Julia, because of her asthma, actually took it better than the older children. No steroids and no breathing treatments for her. That was a miracle itself. I did not get it...although for about four or five nights straight I averaged three hours of sleep a night. God gave me supernatural strength to take care of my children during that time. He was with me...when no one else was...He was there...through the night, through the day...every moment. He is always faithful. I cannot thank Him enough! God is so very good to me. So, what now? To begin the constant washing of all bedding, to clean off all those get back some continue to help in the healing process of the get cleaning every room of this house that has gone to shambles since our sickness...and to thank God all the way that He is ever with me and faithful and loving and kind. May you be blessed today!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Yes, once again, it seems we are sick. It has all the trappings of the flu this time. Fever, congestion, vomiting, body I will be absent from blogland yet another little while caring for my dear children. If you think of us, pray for my strength and their healing. God is ever faithful and kind to us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Well, I am back, after a much needed rest and reflection and it has been very good for me. Sometimes we all need to step back and reflect on our lives and see how they measure up by God's standards. It is so easy to get caught up in our own standards...feeling like a failure if we aren't keeping up with the great list of things that we find important, rather than really reflecting on whether God finds our activities of eternal value. I have spent much time thinking about those very things, and it has given me a different view of many things I once held up as dear to me. God is pressing on my heart more and more the need for thankfulness. It is easy to thank God when everything seems to be sailing along smoothly, but another thing altogether to develop a thankful heart in the midst of trials and sorrow. God used my oldest daughter Joy to convict me of this very thing one day. She asked me, "Mom, do you ever thank God for this deployment?" Wow, that made my mind start spinning! Thank God for being separated from my husband? The children their father? Thank God for going all this time alone? No, I hadn't ever thanked God for this deployment. I have not been bitter toward God because of the deployment. I have faithfully prayed for my husband's safety, our protection, his ministry and a myriad of other things, but never had I thanked God for this deployment. To would be like thanking God for a tsumani! But what does God say?

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!" Phil. 4:4
"giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Eph. 5:20
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God is Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:18
Not anywhere in those scriptures do I see where God only tells me to be thankful for things I personally like. But isn't this what loving a great God is all about...trusting Him and thanking Him even when you don't understand, or don't feel like it, or struggle with it all? To love God means I should trust He has my best in mind. That best will not always be what I think is best. I am reminded of a line in a song that says, "When you can't see His hand trust His heart." So yes, I can now say that I have thanked God for this deployment. I still don't like it. I still want my husband home. I am still very lonely. I still cry. But, I am resting in the fact that a great God is watching out for me and He will accomplish His good purposes even in the midst of my pain. I am learning to be thankful.

The pictures today are of the wall in our hall near the bedrooms. This is our thankful tree. I got out some paper bags and made a tree trunk and some branches. I made a template for the leaves and all of us were able to pick one color for the leaves that we will use over and over again from construction paper. That way, at a glance, I can see what each of my children were thankful for. We started eight days before Thanksgiving, putting up a leaf thing we are thankful to God for. But, it has been so wonderful, we are going to add another leaf every week until Daddy gets home and he can see it. It reminds us of God's goodness! And by the way, today is December 1st! Do you all know what that means? My dear husband comes home, Lord willing next month for a visit. We are looking forward to 15 glorious days with him! By the time he gets home, it will have been nine months since we have seen him. We are quickly approaching the 100 days until he gets home. The paper chain above our thankful tree is for the last 100 days. We will clip off one chain for everyday and when he gets home...we will throw it up in the air like graffiti!!! What a glorious homecoming that will be! Until next time, it is my prayer that you have a great day...thanking Jesus for all your blessings!