Friday, November 29, 2013

The Dreaded Sauerkraut

Without consulting each other, the following was spoken:

Skeeter - "Mommy, what is that HORRIBLE smell?"

Scooter - "Mommy, what is THAT smell?"

Skipper - "Uck, what you cookin Mama?" 

It was Pork & Sauerkraut.  Daddy's homemade kraut!  And I threatened them.  The more you complain, the more helpings you'll get.  And DADDY will give the helpings.  (He does not proportion according to Blossom age, size and birth order, as Mommy does.)  They ate it.  They ate it all.  They weren't even at the table for hours!  Victory.  I wonder what I can do to get that smell out of the house before people start stopping over...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Being Overwhelmed

I woke up feeling yucky.  Really it's just sleep deprivation.  If I don't zealously guard the time I go to bed, I don't go to bed.  And, surprise-surprise, then I get less sleep.  Then I am not nearly so nice (meaning GODLY).  Sometimes I call and talk to my Rugged Mountain Man to help me gain perspective, instead of just wallowing in my oh-my-gosh-there's-so-much-to-do moments.  He's a great guy and he helps me.  One thing he said today hit me like lightning.  It was good practical advice just when I needed it.  He said, "Maybe if you spent more time with the girlies, the house wouldn't be such a wreck."  A little context here before you throw something at my husband (watch out, I have a mean tae-bo kick that I wouldn't hesitate to use)

- The house is generally tidy.
- I do spend time with the girlies.

He knows both of these things.  However, I see all that still needs to be done, after school is over for the day, the cooking, the wash to be folded and the deep cleaning that feels like it won't get done til my children's high school graduation... and I go into panic mode.  Only work, work, work, work.  Balance is the name of the game.  And that's the heart of what he was saying. 

He was bringing balance. 

Which is why I was almost speechless with the wisdom of what he said.  The house is generally tidy.  So, I shouldn't feel compelled to accomplish every item on the task list at the expense of time with the Blossoms.  Balance.  They go crazy-rowdy when Mommy goes into hyper-accomplishment mode. 

Crazy-rowdy equals bad things for tidy houses.  And that's makes Mommies sad.

I like the balance he brought.  It was a timely word.  And then he said, "Have a cup of Earl Grey tea." 

And I had two. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why do I call them Blossoms?

Your mouth says what your heart believes.  Conversely, sometimes your mouth says words so much, your heart starts to believe it.  Like when I was a teenager and I started laughing along with the dumb blonde jokes.  I started cracking those jokes about myself too.  Then, I caught myself thinking I really was a dumb, ditzy blonde.  Cue abrupt end of dumb blonde jokes here.  I know I'm smart.  I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I'm pretty sure that was the number one verse my Mama taught me. 

I noticed that folks say all sorts of things about their offspring.  And that's their business.  My business is the raising and training of our girlies.  I don't want those little pitchers that have big ears to tune into some conversation some time and hear something that they'll live down to.  I believe these girlies are treasures.  I believe that we are training them up in the way they should go and when they are old they won't depart from it.  I believe the girlies are pearls, cultured pearls.  Beautiful tapestries woven by the hand of God.  Not just kids.  Not monkeys.  Not hoodlums.  Not brats.  So, God helps me to call them Blossoms.  A flower that's rooted and planted in God's love and God's Word.  Growing.  Branching out.  Blossoming.  Into the Rose He intends.  Lifting up a fragrance to the Master.  Our Blossoms.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Where is the Sugar & Spice?

Everybody says that girls are Sugar and Spice and everything nice, but when my the Rugged Mountain Man's colleague sends home hand-me-down socker-boppers
I begin to wonder if the person who penned those words really knew what they were talking about.  Yes, there is punching.  Yes, there is grunting.  Yes, there is giggling.  I realize giggling is girlish... but it's giggling about punching each other!  Thought you might like to see what a real evening here in our happy little home looks like.  It certainly isn't just braids and bows and dress-up.  (Although, about an hour before they were knocking each other's block off, they were playing dress-up and "going to a ball" with Daddy as the prince.  They ambushed him at the top of the steps when he got home from work.)  As I sat there nursing Sweet Pea, listening to Celtic Christmas music, I enjoyed the giggles.  When Skipper decided to give the socker-boppers a go, she took a running leap at Skeeter, slashed her arm wildly in the air with a wild punch and then lost her balance and landed on her hinder.  And they all dissolved into a pile of giggles.  Sugar and spice and everything nice.  Thank God for little girlies. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learning the Grunt part of Work

So, Scooter and Skeeter are baking til the cows come home.  Seriously.  Every night they bake a double batch of Jake's Cakes, their homemade dog treats.  And, it has been a test in perseverance.  They are getting tired of it.  Part of me thought, "Oh no.  They don't like this.  It isn't fun." 

(Stepping back making a look of disbelief at myself!) 

I never advertised that this project would be fun, at least that wasn't my main emphasis.  I'd advertised that they could earn money. 

I'm glad they see the connection.  Work is work.  It isn't pretty.  It isn't (always) fun.  It's messy.  It takes TIME.  I like that they are realizing that money doesn't come out of the microwave.  The Bible never condones get-rich-quick schemes (Read Proverbs.)  I really think it's healthy to understand that slow and steady gets the job done.  Last year, after it was all said and done, Skeeter said, "That was a lot of work, but it was worth it."  This is why this Jake's Cakes project is so important to me for the Blossoms.  That's what Scooter and Skeeter are learning. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Joy from Jake's Cakes

Last year, the girlies sold homemade dog treats at a local craft show.  It was such a smashing success that we decided to do it again this year.  I really want our daughters to understand business, to connect work with money and to comprehend the ins out and outs of entrepreneurship.  This is something I experienced being a part of my parents' snow removal company as a child.  It made such an impression on me that I still have trouble when it snows.  I have to restrain myself from loading the girlies into the truck and going out to shovel.  It was such a great experience!  So, just the other day, the girlies starting baking up their tasty Peanut Butter Dog Treats.  And, rose-colored glasses I acquired a week after last year's craft show, fell to the floor and smashed into a million pieces. 

I forgot how much I had to direct. 
I forgot how I had to referee. 
I forgot what a stinkin' mess it was. 
I forgot...

and I was glad that, on account of having a little 6 month old Sweet Pea, I stuck with only one craft show again this year, instead of more.  (Wisdom is a good thing, my fellow mamas.)  Now that we're about 3 batches and 100+ hand-cut dog treats into this journey, I'm glad again that we're doing this.  I can see the lessons being learned already.  And, they aren't just lessons for the girlies.  It's me too.  Real life lessons, the ones really worth learning, are messy.  It's not a pretty sight.  It's down in the nitty-gritty where real life stuff is learned.  And so yes, that's what I have a kitchen for... so three Blossoms can get covered in wheat flour, douse the floor in corn meal and roll out dough to their hearts' content.  Somewhere in there, Skeeter, Scooter and Skipper are learning to work.  To make those treats nice.  To be careful to follow instructions.  To work with their hands in delight.  It's messy, but it's beautiful.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Fear Funny

The other day the Blossoms awoke and said, "Mommy, we read all of our books can we go to the library today?" 

I am known to say no quite often to many things... but I can't deny that request.  We loaded up the dump truck with the books... just kidding.  I gathered them into the reusable tote bags and loaded the stroller and off we went that afternoon.  If you've ever seen kids in a candy store, that is what our girlies look like in the Children's Library.  It's something of a breathless experience for me.  I've tried to tame it with organization and turn-taking and such, but I realized that I actually *like* the controlled chaos, so I let it be.  And then we got in line.  I let the nice, normal lady who only had like 5 books go in front of us.  Unfortunately, she decided to sign up for library cards for all three of her children... and her account information had to be updated too.  No biggie.  But this was chewing into the time cushion I built into our day in order to make it to piano lesson on time.  All things considered, we got 4 girlies into the truck at lightning speed, another 60 books or so loaded into the back and off we went to literally sprint to piano lessons... we made it.  I got comfy on the couch because Sweet Pea was starting to fuss.  I thought maybe it had something to do with being in a Snugli Front Pack Carrier on an Olympic Sprinter while doing the 50 yard dash.  Turns out, she's hungry... so I peeped into my diaper bag only to find that my go-to, amazingly wonderful nursing cover is GONE. 


Dry mouth.

Few things send chills down my spine and put the-deer-in-the-headlights look in my eyes.  Forgetting my nursing cover is one of those things. 

Deep breath. 

I also don't carry a blanket much because I usually just let my nursing cover double as one.  Ok, time to be a little creative.  A slightly flowy shirt, the cover of the Snugli and the lone burp cloth had to suffice.  That, and I pulled the stroller in front of us for a little more cover.  It did the trick.  Success. 

Boy, was I relieved to find it in the back of the truck after piano lesson.  That's good cuz I was about to send a posse out to canvasse the town in search of it.

I thought you could use a little humor considering some of the gut-wrenching thoughts I've been sharing lately.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

STOP and kick fear out

Long ago, my youth pastor told me that you can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep her from building a nest there.  Think of that example when it comes to thoughts.  It isn't wrong to think a wrong thought; it's wrong to dwell on or hold on to that wrong thought. 

In one area pertaining to fear, I had to go back to kindergarten.  I have been doing and continue to do this exercise that my parents taught me long ago.  It's based on 2 Corinthians 10:5,

"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ." 

When a thought of fear comes in, STOP.  (Most of us make our first mistake here.  We grab the thought turn it over, look at it, dwell on it and that's just the beginning of our troubles.)  So, I STOP.  Sometimes I don't remember right away and sometimes I do.  But either way, when I do, I STOP. 

Then, I say, either quietly to myself or out loud, "I take this thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.  It has raised itself again the knowledge of God." 

If I've been toying with that thought for a while, sometimes I have to STOP multiple times and confess that Scripture a couple of times.  Sometimes I have to repent - to tell God I'm sorry that I let worry and fear creep in again.  Nobody's gonna show up at your door to do this for you.  I've got to get a hold of the peace of God myself.  I can't keep praying for deliverance for fear if I want to keep my pet fear thoughts in my pocket all the time.  The Lord helped me to see this and is leading me to victory.  Be encouraged.  He will lead you to victory over fear. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Irrational Fear

Whether a fear is irrational or not, doesn't make a difference.  To the person being tormented, it's as real as the chair I'm sitting on.  The dread, the panic, it wears on you.  That's what's wrong with fear.  I think of Philippians 4:7... my paraphrase:

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension or understanding shall guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus."

The peace that comes from Jesus Christ is beyond comprehension.  I may have every reason to have peace or every reason not to have peace.  It doesn't matter.  He is the God of peace.  And I can have that in every circumstance.  ("Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance..." 2 Thessalonians 3:16)  When my children are sick, when my husband is unexplainably late, when I feel weird, when I think of weird things, it doesn't matter, I can have peace... peace that will guard my heart and mind. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


The journey through fear was like hiking up a hill.  I'd experience real, tormenting fear over a specific thing.  I'd pray hrough it.  I'd confess the Word.  I'd cry.  I'd be awake at night paralyzed by lies, though they looked so real.  I'd talk to my husband.  He'd pray.  I'd look at the Word again.  And, somewhere along the way, victory would come in the form of peace.  I could move on.  It didn't paralyze me anymore.  It didn't matter what symptoms would say.  It didn't matter then.  The thing some people don't realize is how real the devil is more than happy to make your fears. 

When I was pregnant with Sweet Pea, we made it through the halfway ultrasound.  We got a good report, she was healthy.  Then, a day or so later, we got a voicemail telling me that I should call the specialist's office.  I never talked to this specialist before.  I didn't understand why my doctor had referred me to a specialist when I just had a great ultrasound.  I couldn't get a hold of anyone from my doctor's office after hours that day to find out what was going on.  And, satan had a heyday in my mind.  It was a long night.  In the morning, I eventually found out that my ultrasound results had accidentally been sent to the specialist.  That's it.  It was nothing.  Satan is a pro at taking nothing and turning into something, a big something.  That's fear. 

All along the way, I felt like God was holding my hand.  I was a timid child, something I'm not normally in my walk with God.  I'd always been so confident and sure.  Now, God helped me conquer one fear, walk in peace and tackle the next thing.  That's faithfulness.  I'm thankful that He is. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mercy is stronger than Fear

"For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow."
Philippians 1:27

All I know is that verse shot into my heart like lightning.  And I know, God had mercy on Paul so that he didn't have sorrow upon sorrow from losing Epaphroditus.  I saw the mercy of God in that passage.  And I knew, in my weakness, my sorrow, my fear, I needed mercy.  In the New Testament, I began to see that people would come to Jesus to be healed and they'd cry out, "Lord, have mercy on me."  And, He'd heal them.  They cried out for mercy and faith came next.  Clinging to His mercy caused faith to grow in my heart.  And Sweet Pea was carried full-term and arrived healthy and thriving. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


I've wanted to write this blog post for some time now.  Maybe the lack of big chunks of time to write uninterruptedly kept me from writing.  Maybe it was not wanting to share my struggles that aren't totally conquered.  I'm not sure.  But, I'm sharing it now. 

It's fear.  It stinks.  It's deceptive.  It haunts your every breath.  I'd say two years ago that fear was only a minimal struggle for me.  Then, I lost the baby I was carrying in early 2012.  And, fear is what I walked away with... every day.  Fear of everything.  Fear of losing my husband, our children, fear of bad things happening, fear of tragedy, fear of accidents, fear of disease... just plain fear.  Don't check out on me and think, "You're just one of those worry-warts."  No, I live a real life, with real responsibilities with real people I treasure beyond measure.  Somehow, satan found a way to torment me. 

I know the verse, "Perfect love casts out fear."  I was so shaken and weak then that I was susceptible to whatever came my way.  I could only cling to the foundation somewhere deep, deep, deep in my heart that I knew God is good and He is faithful.  I didn't feel it.  I didn't see it.  I only knew it by faith.  But, that's the core of how I live.  And it was down there when I was shaken.

Later on in 2012 we were expecting again and this is the verse that helped with each day.
"For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow."
Philippians 1:27

Mercy.  It's stronger than fear.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thoughts from Last Sunday

Here are a few thoughts from our pastor's sermon last Sunday. 

"Be found working where God put you." 
Whatever season God has you in, whatever place He's put you, get busy doing it with excellence.  Lots of stay-at-home wife-mothers are discontent.  They want more creativity, an e-business, a nicer DIY type of home, better cell phone plan, a career, anything... just always something more than what they've got... I know the temptations.  It's deceptive though.  Be found working where God put you.  It implies contentment.  After all, Godliness with contentment IS great gain.

"Do you have that temporary-ness in your soul?"
This life is temporary.  Heaven is the point.  Heaven is the reward.  Heaven is the goal.  Having that temporary-ness in your soul is something you probably have to fight for every day as you walk through this world.  It's part of being IN this world, but not OF this world.  Folks who are OF this world, think that this place is it.  It's everything.  They think YOLO.  You Only Living Once shouldn't make your plans for this life reckless and uncaring.  YOLO should make you weigh your choices, ultimately choosing the eternal over the temporary.  I do so many things on a daily basis that are meaningless and boring compared to many other folks' exciting, flashy life.  That doesn't bother me now.  God has helped me to see that the fruit of serving my husband and raising our children in a Godly manner won't be seen til Eternity.  I'm good with that. 

And the last thought that resonated with my heart is Revelation 22:20,
"Yes, I am coming quickly."
My heart cried out again as I heard our pastor say it...  He's coming quickly.  Yes, Lord, come.  Take your people to Yourself!  Come quickly!