Friday, November 6, 2009

Tip O' the Day!

So, I have this tip for you, and since I have the time (yeah right!) and I never post anyway (sorry!)... I thought I'd at least do SOMETHING with this blog.
Before now, I had never had wood floors. I didn't know how to clean them. I didn't know how to care for them. I didn't know a stinking thing! So when the wonderful ladies from our church came to help me clean the eve of our move in, I watched carefully and asked lots of questions.
Today, I have my own way of cleaning the wood floors. It usually involves naptime for all toddler feet. I've seen some purchase the spray on or the squirt on wood soap. I've also seen some pour the concentrated solution in a bucket, mix with water, and mop, but what happens to all that soapy water when all is said and done? I purchase the orginal concentrated Murphy Oil formula, mix it with water according to the directions, and store it in a spray bottle. The Murphy Oil will last me over a year, I'm sure. I think the spray bottle usually lasts me about 4 or 5 cleaning sessions. After I do a deep sweeping of the room, I spray the cleaner onto the floor and wipe it off. Simple (except for the toddler feet part!)
Now, I'm guessing there are a lot of ladies out here who do that, and to those of you who do, sorry! For a new-to-wood-floors lady like me, this has been a work in progress. So I'm glad to have found something that works!

Grace!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The kids and family

Family is coming in to town this week, and we are all on pins and needles in anticipation of their arrival! It will be one sweet visit before another long absence. It just never feels normal to be distanced from family, especially when grand kids are involved, but we make the best of it

Grace, Ben, and Noah have been busy, busy growing into huge kids and playing heartily with their toys and each other. Noah is a fierce walker now at 11 months. I still am breathless each time I think it.
He is walking.
What? He is walking?
Yes.
But he's just a baby...
Stop thinking about the fact that he is walking, and go get him. The kid is climbing up the stairs again!

But he is... and there's really no stopping this TANK of a little man. He is truly hard core! When he has a board book in his hand, his teeth grind on it like he's going in for the kill on an ear of corn. That boy knows how to chew.

And Benjamin is potty training. It's funny how the Lord works. I've been saying "no" to some different opportunities that were coming up. We just had a lot going on AND a few too many little ones in diapers for me to feel comfortable taking more on. Well, about a week after saying "no", Benjamin sat on the potty before bath time and went, by himself. No prodding. No pushing. Nothing. And at the exact same moment, I was locating my very first gray hair in the mirror. Let's just say that Benjamin's achievements were praised much higher than my own. So since that fateful day, not a diaper has laid against his soft little tushy, and mom and dad are none the prouder. Although, we are still experiencing all of the joyful things that come with a potty training toddler. Need I get into details??? He is doing great though, and his personality is really starting to poke through as he sees the fruit of his own independence. I am so proud of him.

Grace is being a very big helper. Such a mommy to her little brothers. She's learning how to be responsible. I'm realizing now that I should have had higher expectations for her these last few months. As we're teaching responsibility skills, she seems to be picking it up quickly. She's like, "oh, I know how to do that." And then she does it! And I think to myself, "why on earth did I let her get away with not doing that for so long!??" She's such a smart, creative little cookie. I cannot wait to see how the Lord will use her!

Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we seek to reach out to the city of Spring Hill. Pray that we would be willing to pour ourselves out as a drink offering for the salvation of these people. Pray that we remain encouraged and trusting and not forgetful and fearful in the fluctuating circumstances that seem to surround us at times. Pray that people pour into our home and that the Lord meets their needs and woos them to himself. I hope we can just participate in that beautiful act.

Grace to you and yours,

Monday, October 5, 2009

And while I am stricken with guilt for not updating more frequently, I won't let that stop me from posting when I have the opportunity and the desire. All is well in our home. The Lord is working in us to will and to work according to his pleasure. What do I mean when I say that? He is literally working in us, teaching us, chiseling away at sinful desires and sloth, showing us our own selfishness and giving us the will and strength to work out our salvation, to grow more like Christ. It's one of the beautiful things about being children of God, he gives us what we need so that we can look more like His son. He delights in watching us grow more like His son, and He helps us to do it.
Today, I have been thinking about what it looks like to "be more like Christ". When we look at a picture of Christ, we may see someone who was very kind and giving, someone who followed God's law and was never disobedient. We see someone who loved without boundaries.
When trying to grow more like Christ, sometimes, I think, we forget to pursue the things that are the most difficult. For example, Jesus was giving. He gave of his time, every day to disciple and teach those in his company. He gave of his status, becoming a servant, washing feet. He gave of his life, and not just in part, but fully. He took on our sin and died so that we could live under His righteous name. When you think about becoming more like Christ, do you ever wonder if you would be asked to die? Or what about if you were asked to give up all that you had? What if you knew someone in need, and helping them would mean that you would have to go without? When will we begin to believe that "God is able to make ALL grace abound toward (us), that (we), always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." When we see someone in need

This week we've rejoiced over many things...

Like the fact that Benjamin will shortly be FULLY, yes fully potty trained.

As soon as he stops having "accidents"! By the grace of God, he has not worn a diaper in 10 days.

That also means, I've had a lot of cleaning to do!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Save your Paper Towels!

So I'm a couponer. I can say that now loud and clear. I'm not "kinda" a couponer. I'm the woman that you really don't like to get behind in the store aisles. Even though I am very organized with paperclips and lists before I go, any good natured human being's eyes would bulge when they see stacks of coupons being handed to a cashier. I know mine would've 6 months ago. But I'm not writing today to talk about couponing. Today I just wanted to share a useful tip.

As a couponer, I'm finding that I'm collecting A LOT of newspaper! A LOT! And my recycling box is overflowing regularly with it! In addition to recycling our newspaper, I LOVE to use newspaper on my glass windows and mirrors. I spray my usual glass cleaner on the surface and wipe it up and buff, just like I would with a paper towel. For some reason, with newspaper, I never have streaks on my glass. I have a particular mirror that streaks up every time with paper towels, but when I use newspaper to clean and buff it, there is ne'er a streak to be found. Try it, see if it works for you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weary but worshipping

So while I am repentant for not blogging in quite some time, I am also hesitant to post an update in fear that another dynamic in our household would change again, forcing me to update with further corrections. Praise the Lord, our family is in Spring Hill. We've been able to bring families under our roof and share meals together. We've experienced the grace of having wonderful friends care for our children so we can have a few moments of rest. And we've met some great neighbors and watched scores of children roll down the hill of our home. We've said it so many times, and it rings true again and again; "we have been completely covered in grace during our recent more to Spring Hill."

We've been in this home for four weeks now, and we love the community, the drive, learning our neighbors, and are even getting to know the check out people at the grocery stores. Nathan still leaves between 8 and 10am and returns home after 11pm every night. We are looking for where we will live permanently, and we have yet to locate that place! Another little one (Noah's age) has blessed us with her sweet smile Mondays- Fridays so that her mom can work full time. So I am busy every day with four children, four and under, three of which are still in diapers. We will be working on that soon, though!

We are a weary people. Some nights you can catch me falling asleep on the laundry room floor, surrounded by piles waiting to be folded. We're working hard, learning much, trying to seek accountability and friendship, and trying to offer friendship and hope to those in our newly formed circles. It's a sweet time. The Lord is working something that we are still unclear on but excited about.

And one baby is awake from naptime. Soon another will follow. This is the extent of your update from us! Thank you for continued prayers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Another story of His mercy, or maybe two!

Let's just proclaim His glory. Another story for today.

Things have been difficult in our home. Jesus is sending out a rescue, but he's also giving us the gift of trusting him through the suffering. He is coming through in every way.

An example.

Today, I began working on our medical bills, trying to plan out how we would pay them off. It was much more than we could pay at one time, today. There were about 4 providers in all that we owed quite a bit to. Along with the paperwork was a tax statement from a bank I had never heard of, stating that an old Health Savings Account from an old job that we were sure (absolutely sure!) we emptied out was worth "x" amount of money. I thought this was strange and called the bank. Sure enough, there was enough money in there to cover all 4 accounts except for 26.89. I think we can handle that!

So, no payment plan. No fretting over each month when the bills come up. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!" We are experiencing this in tangible ways today and we are thankful.

**Edited.
As I was writing this post, my husband came home from work and was telling me about the estimate for a car repair that is needed. It will cost "X" (a good amount) to repair, and that didn't even include the air conditioning (why we took it in the first place), which is 1,100 for a new compressor. What?! He jokingly said in his silly voice, "Better go ahead and delete that post!" (you know, this post, on how God provided for our medical bills??) I giggled and posted it anyway. A few minutes later, our mechanic called. He was tinkering with the compressor, and it suddenly started working again! More surprises every day. Thank you Jesus! He is so good to us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life with Children

Benjamin jumped out of the bathtub this evening with gusto and walked with me into my bedroom.
Just one second before getting that diaper on you, mister.
And.
You guessed it.
All over the carpet.
And.
Back into the tub for you.
While Noah frantically crawls after me and towards "IT" because he's in "don't leave my sight for a milisecond mode".
Pick up Noah.
Put Ben on Potty.
Grab some towels to throw on "IT".
Grab a stool.
Set Ben on the potty.
"You wanna read a book while you go potty?".
"YEAH".
Get a book, sit down next to Ben, now on the potty.
Noah cries because I set him down next to me.
Open book.
(still naked from bath) Ben gets off potty and sits on his stool to hear the story.
Noah is in my lap now.
Put Ben back on potty.
Open book.
Ben returns to his stool to hear the story.
Try to talk through the process of what we're doing.
Back on the potty.
Open book.
Back on the stool.
Back on potty.
A little more explanation.
Open Book.
Back on the stool.
Back on the potty.
Phone rings.
I think we're done here.
And Grace stayed in the tub the whole time. Thank you Grace.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A few things

Target is selling batteries for $1, all sizes. We got three 4packs of AA Batteries for $3 yesterday. With many small children with many electronic toys (and don't you know when the battery is low, they're even MORE lovely to listen to!), you can't have enough batteries on hand!

When I bought diapers at Target for $6.50 for a pack (used 2 coupons), I got a target coupon with my receipt for $3 off Enfamil. I must remember to try this again!

And on another subject, God is doing miraculous things with our immediate family and among our church body. We shouldn't be amazed, but we are... This is so cool!

Friday, June 19, 2009

So not cool

My parents never let me watch the Simpsons when I was in middle school, and by the time I got to high school, I didn't really care too much. In high school, you spend so much time and energy outside of the house with your friends, jobs, and extracurriculars, you don't care as much about what you can and can not watch. Well, at least I didn't. I cared more about where I was and was not allowed to go! So today, when I was telling a gentleman at AT&T where our new residence would be, he said, "Spring Hill? You mean, like the Simpsons?" And I fumbled around and tried to imagine that I knew what on earth he was talking about. "Excuse me?" "uh, you know. The Simpsons. Bart. Homer..."And then I just had to admit that, "You know, I know this is weird, but I never really watched the Simpsons growing up." I felt like the uncool kid. I was the uncool kid way back! I had the glasses, the hair, the sweater that had a puffy animal head on the front and the puffy tail on the back, the polka dotted top to match a different polka dotted bottom. "Hey, polka dots are polka dots, right?" I was that girl. But I studied hard and was loyal to my friends and loved Jesus, and I made some sweet memories. It's good to be a kid. And it's good to grow up.

Today, I was thinking about how God uses the strangest things to grow our love for Him. He describes trials as a purification process, like the gilding of metal. Who would have known that fire causes metal to be purer and stronger? Fire tears things down and causes destruction to almost everything, but to metals, we see them strengthen and molded to the craftman's desired shape. I love that!

And it's okay to be so not cool today. We can love richly even when we receive little praise or recognition because Jesus proclaims our worth. We can give freely, even when we don't have pennies to our name, because, as Grace now says, "Everything we have belongs to God". And we can breathe without the weight of the world on our chest, even in dire circumstances, because God made a way for us to be free from the ultimate weight of death that we are all due and very much deserve. So, rejoicing in trial might not seem like the "cool" thing to do. But I actually think it's kinda fun, and I think the Lord rejoices with us!



Well, as is typical for me, a crying baby will shorten the length of this post. But I'll leave you with this, because His word is so sweet.

Romans 20: 2-5
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

*Edited. I just realized there is no Romans 20. It's actually from chapter 5, same verses.

That's totally embarassing

and

So not cool...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Cliff Notes of the Cliff Notes

I can't believe how easily life takes over. I get so distracted by all that is going on in the home that I've neglected updating the blog. Well I'll be! A bit of sarcasm there. I am SO okay with neglecting this blog in order to live life! God has given us three precious children who, Nathan reminded me the other day, regardless of how well I parent them, are destined for a life of sin and desolation without the Grace of our Lord! It is a great reminder that, if I do one thing as a parent, I need to pray for the Lord's mercy over my children and that He will give them Himself. I cannot save them from their sins.

I've only got a few moments before the children take over this room again, and there are some exciting things to share, so let's get started, shall we?

God is bringing a rescue to our family in a big way.

He is showing us how some of the puzzle fits together, and it is a beautiful sight.

He is doing things that would otherwise be impossible if done by our own hands.

We are learning what it means to walk in grace, and that our works cannot bring sanctification. Only the Lord can sanctify us.

The story is not finished yet.

I'll add that we've found a place to live in Spring Hill. That is part of the miracle. We're also working our tails off getting ready for this exciting move. Nathan is still working day and night at both jobs, and I am working hard too, packing and cleaning, and taking a faithful and frugal class to help the family. Sleep is not really something we're seeing much of, but I think we're both just so thrilled, we're not noticing it too much.

Short entry, but as you can see, (and you may just hear me shout this!) "WE'RE PREPARING FOR A MOVE!!!!"

So be patient. And stay tuned to some day hear the entire story, in more detail. You're getting the cliff notes of the cliff notes today.

Andrea

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not Me Monday


A Blogger I know does something called Not Me Mondays. It's something I've come to enjoy every week, but I haven't been brave enough to write my own, until today. Here we go. If you'd like to contribute, go to her blog. She's awesome. She can get you started better than I can.

This past week Nathan started a second job. He's gone from early in the morning until about 11pm. It's been very busy at the homestead, and I've been trying to keep them - the children - entertained and have some teachable moments too. In the middle of "keeping up", I did NOT set my children in front of the TV so that I could take a shower. I would never do such a thing! And I did not put a bunch of toys and a baby (not a baby!) in a laundry basket so that said baby wouldn't get into anything crazy while I took said shower. That's just a crazy idea!

And I'm learning new things lately. Like yesterday, I did NOT get out my haircut kit and proceed to butcher my son's head. No, a nice mom wouldn't do that. And I did not do the same thing to my daughter's beautiful, long hair. Hey, she asked for it! My thoughts are, I'd better learn how to do it now while they're young and don't get embarrassed easily! The kids really look, okay. The cuts aren't great, but they're not awful either! Well, I'll get some pics up here and you can decide for yourself!

I also did not take all three to the playground by myself multiple times during the week, sometimes right smack dab in the middle of mealtimes. I did NOT pull some, maybe strawberry, waffles out of the toaster, grab some fruit, and let them eat their "dinner" at the playground. And I also did NOT keep them at the playground past their bedtime. That's just not me. I'm a schedule momma, and I am always on time, even for lunch time! However, with Daddy gone, I'm learning to flex and I'm just trying to enjoy time with these kids. It's much easier to let the little things frustrate me, so we're trying new things and some will stick, and some will NOT.

That was fun. Thanks for reading my Not Me Monday report. Stay tuned in for next week. I have a feeling this will be a regular thing. It's a nice release from some difficult seasons.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baby Food at Publix!

Just last week I said that I was having a hard time finding baby food on sale! Well this week I found some great deals at Publix!

One of the great things about Publix is that they will match competitor coupons! I found out today that they do not consider pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS to be competitors, so they don't match their prices, but most stores like Food Lion or even Target can have their coupons honored at Publix. This works out really well when you have a Publix sale on top of a Food Lion coupon! It's great!

Another great thing about Publix is that all coupons .50 and under are automatically doubled (unless the coupons specifies that it doesn't double). So even more savings! Don't throw away that .25 coupon thinking that it won't add up. It will!

Here are just two of the deals that I found at Publix. Maybe one day I'll be so fast that I can post pictures and list the whole thing, but right now this is the best I can do!

6 Kid Cuisines at 1.99/2, 3 Blinkie coupons for .55/2, total cost: 0.72 per item
16 Earth's Best Baby Food. 2 for .99 and Buy One Get One Free and These coupons and these too! Total cost: 0.29 per jar

There are more to list, but time is of the essence my dear!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We Will Wait for Him!

Today is a good day. Today we wait in hope for what God will do, how He will claim his fame, how He will continue to prove His outstanding, unending, gracious love and power to a people who do not know Him. Today we experience hardship and anguish. Today our heart pangs for resolution to a deep conflict in which there seems no hope. Someday, I'll write more. Someday, I'll lay out every detail on the line in joyful thanks. But the chapter to this story isn't over yet, and I want more than anything to be able to tell this story with the resolution because our struggles are not in vain. God is doing something in our family, and, even as I don't know what, and, even as I stand tear-stained with no answers, I know that these struggles are fleeting and that they are light and momentary. I know that God is doing things greater than our small family. It is so exciting to hope for what He has in store for us. I'll admit that I'm writing this knowing that I'll have to go back and re-read this for some of my "weaker moments", when I may give in to fear and lose hope, but I have no good reason to do that! We know that there will be a day that He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. And we wait with hope. I will tell you the story soon, and you will be amazed. I will be amazed because I know this:
the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

So I don't know what His resolution is. But if it has anything to do with being closer to Him, I'm in. I know that He will feed and clothe our family. I know that He will give us our daily bread. That doesn't mean that it will be easy or luxurious. Jesus said that His bread was to do the will of His father. Not merely for the sake of righteousness, but because He loved His father, and His father loved Him, and His father's will was the best thing for Him. Our pastor said in his sermon the other day, "Whenever scripture says, "Don't", see it as God saying, "Don't hurt yourself." I love that! We have a protective father who pleads with His children to pursue what is best for them: Himself!

So no matter what, we're here, waiting on the Lord. It makes me even more excited to be at home with the Lord, without the struggle. But it makes the struggle worth it because I know there is much gained through hardship.

Come soon, Lord Jesus, and show your power once again!

Here is our song:
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.


I wait for your salvation, O LORD, and I follow your commands.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.


My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.


He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.



Again, a baby waking interrupts this post. So I'll end here. Please excuse the unedited version. That's all I can offer right now!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Food and Water that does not satisfy

I'm not very good at updating this blog frequently, and a part of me thinks that's probably a really good thing. It's good that my kids get my attention. They need it, especially as they're all so young and have very basic needs that can really only be met by mommy. Food. Clothing. Diapers. The essentials. It's also good that my home gets some attention. It needs it also! But we'll save homemaking tips for another day. I still have much to learn there.

Lately, I've been really trying to work with our food budget, and we've found some successes there. I'm still working out some kinks, but I start to get excited when I find out a store is tripling coupons or if I see some great BOGO sales. This couponing thing is really starting to work for us, and that part is exciting, but it's also exhausting. Last week, I was so happy to go triple couponing, and I did great. Spent $5, saved $45. That's awesome for a beginner, but truth be told, by the end of it, I wasn't really that satisfied. And the other day, I went to Krogers, spent $25 to save $45. That's good too, but it didn't feel like enough. I know that in a few days, I'll be looking at the store ads that come in with the paper again, checking online for the latest coupons, clipping and organizing away so that our family will have what it needs. Food is one of our basic physical needs. We use it every day for nourishment, and every day, we seek out ways to get it. Every day, we exhaust our bodies' intake of food and water. It perishes. We need more. It does not really satisfy.

Jesus spoke to a woman one day about this. He was sitting at a well, full of water, saying, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again." and we know this to be true. We see evidence of it in our monthly bank statements, and not just in food but the other things we pursue for some sort of satisfaction; entertainment, books, sports, whatever.
And Jesus said even more "but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. " Have you experienced this? Do you know what he is talking about? This isn't water at all that Jesus was talking about. He is talking about how He has given himself for the forgiveness of your and my sins, about how there is no more condemnation and there is complete sanctification and satisfaction in Jesus alone. This is eternal and not momentary or fleeting. This is beautiful and completely free. "Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

And I must stop here. Noah is calling to me from his crib. A 15 minute nap!?! Well, the words don't need my help anyway. I'll let them be as they are. It's better that way!
"Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Saving at the Supermarket

I've been trying my hand at couponing for about 2 months now, and it has been an increaingly timely blessing to our family. In the future I may choose to use this blog as a way to share with other ladies who are all seeking to bless their families in how they spend their dollars. Today, I didn't use coupons, but I found some great sales at Kroger that I wanted to share on.

We got:
5lbs chicken leg quarters at .79/lb
8lbs of Whole Boneless Sirloin Tip at 1.99/lb
7lbs of Whole Boston Buttat 1.29/lb
2 Cartons of Strawberries, 2 for $3.00
2 Cartons of Blueberries, $1.50 for 5oz carton
2 cartons of Blackberries, $1.50 for 5oz carton
4 ears white corn, .28/ear (I've found better at Publix, but this was still good)

The rest weren't really great sales, just typical prices.

I've had a hard time finding good sales on fresh fruit and vegetables and meats, so this was quite a treasure for me as our refrigerator was starting to ask me what I was making for dinner every night.

If anyone reads this, I'm still looking for ways to save on the diaper stash and the baby food items. Those are the most expensive on our list. Right now, I'm making baby food with our food processor and hoping that he's on to the next stage soon, but we do need to keep some jarred food on the shelf for when we go out of the house or for days when my water's turned off (like today) because the complex is working on it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

She will not fall

Weary but joyful
Empty but full

I think that's the best way to describe things right now. There is a battle against a dark sense of hopelessness in our home right now, mostly surrounding very substantial, visible difficulties for us. It's been a struggle for months on top of months, and my heart is heavy and tired from the battle. I've asked God so many questions during this time, and I'll admit that even the darkest questions were asked because everything tangible was crumbling beneath us and I didn't understand how a God who loved us and promised to care for His children would let us live in such a desolate, fear filled situation.

And I asked Him where He was.

And I asked Him if He was here.

Was He really here?

And then he showed me everything He had made. It is so true that even the rocks cry out that God is alive! The ocean and the mountains and the skies reveal His glory. It becomes clear to me again and again that all of this came from God and so we have renewed hope.

And we still wait, trembling at times, but confident that He who began a good work in us will complete it, confident that He is not finished with us yet. Even as I describe that everything was crumbling beneath us and how dire and huge it seems to us, I am comforted by my God who tells me that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

That is all I can say today. We are here today:

the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

And we wait for His rescue!

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

And we wait for Him! Are you thrilled for His rescue? I know I am!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A long trip.Part 2

It's a rainy Monday morning. Happy Memorial Day, and I'm listening to the cartoons running in the background. Grace and Ben are playing a ladybug board game (obviously not Ben's initial idea, but he rolls with the punches), and Noah is crawling, YES CRAWLING around the living room floor. A week ago yesterday, we returned home from basically a four week vacation for me and the kids. Dad was not so lucky! He did meet up with us on the tail end in Myrtle Beach, though. In the last four weeks, we've stayed in several different places across the map:
Bristol, VA
Silver Springs, MD
Richmond, VA
Wilmington, SC
Myrtle Beach, NC
Gainesville, GA
and finally home!
We experienced a very scary apartment fire while in Silver Springs, MD that caused us to be outside in our jammies from 7:30am until about 1pm. Some people were never able to return to their homes because they were utterly destroyed.
In Richmond, we visited with old friends and family and celebrated a marriage. Grace now wants to marry her brother. I told her it's really not okay to marry family. So she decided she'll marry her cousin instead. We're working on this.
Wilmington met us with a hospital visit on Mother's Day and a very tired and heavily medicated Nathan. He is doing well now, thankfully!
Myrtle Beach was too short! We spent a week in the glorious fresh ocean breeze and enjoyed the sand and shores every day with every sibling I have. It was the best week of 2009 so far!
We cut our trip home into two parts and visited more family along the way. It was a great closing to our trip and so sweet to be able to visit some that we don't often get to see because of the great distance.

It's been a week now since our long excursion, and it's taken an entire week to catch up and find our normal. I think we're almost there now.

I'll post some pictures from our trip soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It is a gorgeous, clear day in Silver Springs Maryland, much more beautiful than I expected. With the wildly ranging temperatures occuring in Nashville at the time we were packing to leave (sometimes in the 30's, sometimes in the 80's and tornadoes to boot) I was a little bit clueless about how to pack for everyone and still maintain some room for the kids to squeeze into the car. I decided that Noah would officially transition from his 3-6 month clothes into his 6-9 month clothes in Maryland. So I kept him in his smaller clothes and just packed the bigger ones. Bigger ones that fit for less than two weeks. We have a problem here! Thankfully, Maryland has STORES! Imagine that! They have pacifiers for the many we've lost. They have toy cars to replace the ones that have been left at parks, churches, gas stations, etc. We are finding our way around this beautiful city and enjoying the great weather.

This past weekend, Nathan flew in to Baltimore's airport, and we packed up for a trip to Richmond, Virginia. We visitied two parks, attended a wedding, a church service, visited with family, and still found time for a date night! Then we drove back to Baltimore and sent Nathan back home again. It was incredibly busy, and I think my body has not caught up yet, but we had a great time.

This week I imagine we'll be going to see some Botanical gardens and taking many pictures. I'll be updating soon with some pictures if I can figure out how to from someone else's computer.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I am finding a lot of rest and feeling incredibly spoiled right now. This is quite a treat. The kids are just blossoming from the extra one on one attention that they have right now. More later on that. It's nap time for the kids, and I think I will sneak in a little one as well. Today we've had Noah take a 10am nap, and then we went to the post office, dollar tree, the bank, Ross, and then to McDonalds, all before 1:30. I think you can imagine how easy it was to get the kids to bed once we got back!

More later, hopefully with pictures!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A long trip.

We'll be going out of town for a bit. I'm hoping to return with many pictures and much enthusiasm and clarity on how God is directing our path.

I will say that I'm heavy hearted lately and there is a deep longing to be home with the Lord. And I'd think second best would be to be in community with His people, and we don't see that light at the end of the tunnel. A date, but no direction or tools to get there. I'm hoping to have time away to refresh my tired spirit (always type spit it?) and gain vision and understanding for the next steps our family take into a new season we're being brought into.

It is a long trip from Nashville to Baltimore with a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 5 month old. We will survive and maybe have some fun along the way!

Wish us well.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Big Boy!

Noah turned 5 months old yesterday.
Here is a testament to why humans do not gestate for 14 months.

video

My internal organs would no longer be internal! This kid is busy!


On a sad note, Noah also had an allergic reaction to something last night. I don't think you can even tell from the pictures. He had red spots all over him last night. I'm still not sure what caused it, but my guess would be that peanuts were involved because he hasn't shown reactions to anything else yet.






And today Noah is doing just great!






















I posted this because I am simply amazed at how Grace is growing into such a beautiful, graceful little girl.





... oops. Wrong picture










Here is my sweet princess girl!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Next to Godliness???


Why are we so concerned about keeping this baby clean during his breakfast???
And not so concerned about the status on this one???

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ben again.

If you're happy and you know it...




... make a silly monster face...


...or say a prayer over your soup.

No, seriously. He prays this way!!

And DONE!!

News for Noah!


Don't touch my teether. I need it for my one tooth!

Sweet Slumber

Sweet Benjamin.

I tried to wake him up by making loud noises and calling for him to look at the doggies (there were really no doggies. I think he knew.) There's no sound to this, but it really needs none.

Enjoy.

video

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting...

So many seasons we spend life waiting...

... waiting for school to start
... waiting for summer
... waiting for junior high
... waiting for high school
... waiting until I was old enough to get that first job
... waiting until I was old enough to date
... waiting by the phone for that boy to call
... waiting to get behind that wheel and drive!
... waiting for college
... waiting to meet "the one"
... waiting for your first child to come into this world

And now I have experienced all of those wonderful moments in life, and yet I am still waiting for, longing for more.

... for the home that fits our family for a long time
... for a "connected" life with our church family
... for peace of mind regarding finances
... for my children to be generationally missional because they know and love a God who knows and loves them

And I'm finding myself disappointed when I feel like I've waited for so long, disappointed also that I've wasted so much time waiting and spent so little time relishing the good and perfect things that we have in this season.

James 1 says "consider it pure joy... whenever you face trials". And he goes on to say that these trials are good for us. I can agree with this because I've seen how they bring me exactly where I need to be, at the feet of my Lord. James also explains that every gift we have has comes from God, and it is good and perfect. So the timing is perfect, the size or quality or quantity is perfect. Each time we step into a difficult season, I struggle with considering it joy, and each time we step outside of the season, we saw where we could've benefited from experiencing the hardship with joy and enthusiasm about what God is doing. We would've learned so much more. We wouldn't have wasted so much time complaining and whining and waiting! And so many more woulda coulda's. So this is another season of waiting. Waiting to see what God will do when He changes our living situation in a few months. Waiting to see what God will do with our family. Waiting to see what God will do with our church and our community. Waiting for other insignificant in the scheme of things but important to His child (me) things. In the meantime, pray that we consider it all joy and that we treasure each moment and take advantage of missional opportunities that come our way.

I'd love to write more, but Noah is keeping me quite occupied at the moment. And his "talking" may wake the other children if I continue down this path!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring is almost here and we're loving it!

Yesterday the weather was amazing, so we took the whole family out to the park to play. It seemed like all of Nashville had the same idea. I guestimated that there were at least 300 people at the park along with us, running, swinging, sliding, and getting dirty. Even with so many people, somehow there wasn't a line for the baby swings or slides. The kids had a blast and lived to tell about it. Check out that smile on Benjamin's face. He loved the swings! They also missed their naps for this experience, which you'll see proof of in a moment. The day ended with Nathan cooking hamburgers on the grill and settling in for a long overdue daylight savings sleep!
Here are some pictures to share the day with you (and a few extras just because!)








This is obviously not of the park, but Benjamin is really working on his bball skills and preparing for the next season! He is all game!

Ben fell asleep on the couch while we were making dinner.
Grace pretended to be asleep so we would take her princess, er, picture. Slip of the tounge there!

More pictures to come. We've been having too much fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Updated Layout!

We have a new layout! Let's be honest. I have been waaaaay out of the technology world for about a year now, and I don't have the time to figure out how I want things to look on this blog. There used to be a title that said, "An attempt to reflect God's great significance." which, at the time, I thought... Well... I don't know what I was thinking. It's a hokey title, in my opinion, and "God's significance?!?!" what was I thinking?! That word just doesn't work for describing God, not that word alone. Okay, really not any word. And yes, since you asked, I am sleep deprived as I'm writing this, and now realizing that updating the blog again while sleep deprived a second time was probably a poor choice, but moving on. And about the runon sentences and other sentences with no verbs, just know that correct grammar left me when they started the pitocin IV drip. I'll get it all back some day. Back to what I was saying, though! If the title "An attempt...." still shows up on any of my readers' blog, please let me know because I definitely don't want it there!

I think that's it. Let me know what you think? If I have any readers, that is....

Link Love!

Here is a new blog that I'm hoping will be a great resource as the author brings an experienced and Christian emphasis on family life.
http://yourchurchhome.net/blog/Ferguson/
(Tsk. Tsk. Don't tell anyone, but this is my MOM also!~~ I'm so proud that she started a blog! Partly because she's just phenomenal and partly because of the overflowing mountain of encouragement she's offered me through the years related to my walk with Christ and my family life.)

Here is our pastor's blog that I absolutely LOVE! It's just another way to stay connected with the church when we live a distance away.
http://bridgesh.wordpress.com/

And another resource that I've really relished is http://girltalk.blogs.com/girltalk/
The writers are a Christian mother and her grown daughters. They have a wealth of encouragement, Biblical, and practical advice for mothers "in the thick of it". I LOVE it! Also!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kids Quiet Times

We've started something new in the Wandell home, and we're on week 2 now. Each morning, after the kids have eaten, bathed, and dressed, we sit at the table and do a Bible study together. We have prayer time and then we write in our journals about what we learned. My three year old and two year old are stoked about quiet time. They love it so much and ask to do it several times a day now. We read from about three or four different books about the same story so they can see multiple pictures of the same event, and they usually draw about the story since they can't really write yet. I know they are not able to have the same sort of journaling action that I get every morning, but this is an excellent way for me to instill the importance of a quiet time in them and to encourage them to read the word and to try to understand it through writing what we get out of it and praying over the word implanted and the day to come. I also have a chance to sit down and do my own bible study while they color their stories. If I didn't get enough time in the word, I'll continue to do more study after they take their naps.

I decided to start doing this after a friend of mine read Deut 6 in front of the church. It's one of my favorite words on parenting and homemaking. It's just another way to train them morning and night that our God is the only God and to make Him a priority in our family life.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

War

It's difficult to post when you're in the middle of certain seasons of life. When you settle to the end of one, it is easier to gain perspective, to see the lessons learned, and to walk with more wisdom. Today, though, I find my judgment clouded and work very difficult. I have no doubt that Spiritual Warfare is occurring and that Satan hates the family, so this causes me to pray more fervently. Please pray with us, that we would continue to seek Christ instead of our selfish desires, that we would continue to pursue the implantation of the Gospel in our children, and that we would build a home where Satan and his helpers are never welcome.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just pictures!

Most of these pictures need little explanation. Hope you enjoy them!







This last one is cuz Cameron and Noah. We hang out every Thursday!

What's on hold right now.

I'm not able to do justice to a real update right yet. Every moment I sit down at the computer seems to be interrupted with kid things. This is not a bad thing, but it does mean that I can't sit here and process a long series of thoughts into a paragraph that makes sense. Or complete sentences for that matter.
As I sit here, Noah is next to me talking and cooing. Not really talking because he's 3 months old, but telling me his opinion that he prefers my arms to the bed he is laying on.
My gmail account also is currently filled with unread emails. I only read the ones that are from people I know. Other than that, I let them sit until I have time to take a look. And my facebook has about 99 "other" requests. I just don't have time for those things, but I love how it gives me a chance to peek my head in on friends to say "hello" without having to pack up the kids and travel the long distance. Speaking of which, our van is currently grounded to the Bellevue area. I must update more later because there is just too much going on this morning.
I meant to post pictures, but that will have to wait as well

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What would you do?

So if you have IVF treatments, are you prepared to give all of those embryos life? Or will you allow them to be destroyed? This woman chose life, against all the odds. Her circumstances are dire. She may break the bank. She may "lose it all" in terms of worldly wealth, but her children are alive, and they never have to wonder whether their mother would seek her own betterment over theirs. What would you do if you were in her situation? What if you didn't have unlimited resources? What if noone offered you a helping hand?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Silly babies

So... I think we missed a very critical step in the bath taking routine today... clothes off FIRST! Ben was definitely ready for bath time before mommy was ready to place him in the tub!

And another picture of my two lovies:Benjamin Caleb (2) and Noah Asher (2 months!)

These silly, happy children are precious gifts from the Lord. We are so thankful for them!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hey Baby Noah


One picture of my sweet fuzzy little Noah. These are the type of looks I imagine he will give all of the girls when he is postadolescent. I am concerned that he will be what they call a "chick magnet". As you can see from the picture, that face is simply irresistible.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 3

Day 3 of Love Dare is going not as great as I'd like. Day One: Don't say anything negative. Okay. I got that one in the bag. All you have to do is follow the creed "if you don't have anything nice to say..." But day two: Do something special and unexpected. Well, does cleaning the house count as unexpected? Does writing him a note and forgetting to give it to him count? I'm failing a little here. Day three: Purchase something today to let him know you're thinking of him. Well, does the fact that I haven't left the house all day give you any clue as to how this is going... Thankfully each day is a new dare, and it's *almost* as good as starting fresh.


I'll leave you here with a few fun pictures of the kiddos

You'd think, "Oh, there's Noah, enjoying his tummy time


Apparently Noah loves tummy time so much, he falls asleep to it!
Noah and his fun cuz Cameron
Cameron eating his cousin
Ben with his favorite person in the world
And we can't forget Grace!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Doing the Love Dare

Okay, before I get started on this, I want to just announce that our little 9 weeker Noah is currently 14lbs, 8oz! He just had his 2 month checkup (that I took all 3 to, which was the craziest thing I've done as of yet), and is the first child I've ever had that weighed in at the 98th percentile! My other two ranged between 30 and 50th percentile throughout infancy, so this is truly a sweet deal!

On to the reason for this post. In my email yesterday, I received a random forward from an old friend from college. If you're a frequent forwarder to me, please don't be offended, but I just don't read everything that's been sent to me in my email. I'll read the things directed specifically for me and then a little bit here and there, so it was no small thing for me to even open the email. It was a challenge from family life.
If you're familiar with Family Life, you'll know that they are a fantastic organization that have blessed thousands (or more) of marriages across the country with their conferences, websites, books, and programs. I have found myself frequenting familylife.org whenever an issue or concern arises, and I'm often very encouraged and better equipped spiritually and emotionally to handle whatever situation it is. Family Life is not just built for counseling families with issues, but it has a Biblical framework. They try to have a wholistic view of typical issues, and for that, I am very thankful.
So, I opened this challenge from Family Life, and it's called a "Love Dare"

Starting this month, FamilyLife® is challenging couples to "love like you mean it" by joining our 40-day Love Dare challenge. Based on the Love Dare book from the movie Fireproof, the challenge is a practical way for you to practice unconditional love and transform your marriage by applying simple, biblical principles to your everyday life.

Every day from January 5th to February 13th, we’ll give you a Love Dare for the day for you to put into practice and show love to your spouse. Then, at the end of the challenge, we encourage you to celebrate your spouse with a special Valentine’s Day date.

So, I decided I need to do this, and I signed up. Today, I received an email that told me my first dare:

Love Dare - Day 1
Resolve to say nothing negative about your spouse today.


So here's to Love Dare, Day One. I will report back tomorrow how it went, and I'm leaving you with a picture of my sweet man.Today he is working hard, trying to take care of his family. I am so thankful for him! And that gotee of his, he shaved it because it was hurting his wife. How thoughtful of him!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Noah smiles

What precious smiles come from fresh life. Enjoy. Noah Asher. 7 weeks old.
video

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Brief and Disjointed

2008 closed with a bang for the Wandell family. Since Christmas day we've traveled from Nashville to Atlanta to Talladega, Alabama, spending time with family, eating very delicious food, and exchanging gifts here and there. We left for a 4 hour long trip to Nashville on New Year's Eve with just enough time to pick up the van from the mechanic, throw a load in the wash at home, pick up some McDonalds, and head over to bring in the new year with more family in Nashville. Then, after bringing in the new year, we still had to return the rental car (yes, this involved changing 3 child filled car seats). The children handled it as well as could be expected.

As far as resolutions go, I usually don't make them unless there is clearly something I need to pursue. This year, it was very clear that we needed to all work on our health. Our bodies are not our own. They belong to the Lord and should be healthy and able to do whatever work the Lord requires. My body is not ready and willing to do very much these days, so we're working on that! Nathan and I are already on week 2 of a competition to get fit. I'll just toot my horn (because I know he's reading this) and say that I've won both weeks and am waiting for hubby (yes, you) to bring it on. In the midst of this competition so far, we were out of town for one week (although he was able to make it to the gym, I was unable to due to the children), and another week, the van broke down twice, so he was able to make it to the gym much more than I, and I still beat him both of those weeks. At the end of the competition, one of us will earn a BIG prize. And mine will be a new couch for us! I should add pictures and show you our current less than appealing couch that is being held up by pots and pans. It is a lovely thing to behold. I must admit that I might be just as excited about having a new couch as I am about getting healthier and stronger. This old couch represents a very difficult season in our lives, and I would be so thrilled if it were out of our home!

I realize this entry today is rather disjointed and probably has many gramatical errors in it, but that just feels right for some reason, like it is an appropriate reflection of life right now.

Now that we are home from the holidays, I am working on getting Noah on a normal sleeping/eating/ playing schedule. This will be VERY helpful for me actually getting things done around here and allowing me to give Grace and Ben more of my energy.

If anyone who reads has any need for stuffed animals, please let me know. I am getting rid of an extremely large cedar chest full of stuffed animals in order to make room for all of the new toys Ben and Grace acquired over the holidays.

I will add more about Christmas and the New Year soon in an entry. For now, this is all my poor brain can muster!