Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Calling back

"If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back -
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dm, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and helped you where the very air was still.

Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and our feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us, and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin darkened sky -
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back -
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track."
Streams in the Desert, Dec. 19

The thing they don't tell you is that calling back sometimes requires looking back. And looking back reminds us of where we have been. There is still pain there. Even when the storm is over, and the wounds are healed, walking through the storm with someone else still hurts. It might not be your storm - the wind is not as strong, and the rain is not as cold. Perhaps you are even allowed to skip the hail all together. That is why you are there to "call back". To say that it gets better. That HE is listening, HE is still in control, HE is still God.
You wrap your arms around the one you love, or offer your ear, or your shoulder, or a punching bag so they can vent whatever emotions they need to get out.
But you still feel the storm, just a little.

If you really feel the need to know what I am talking about, you can read here. But the feeling is the same, no matter what your storm, no matter what God is telling you to "call back" about. I am a firm believer that absolutely everything bad can be USED for good. Not that God causes bad things - just that he uses them. So, take your bad situations, histories, memories - the things you have overcome - take them all and find someone to encourage. Use the bad, turn it to good.
You have faced your storm, and HE has helped you through.
Now call back to those behind, and cheer a heart.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I have missed you - oh my blogger friends.
I have no real excuses for being absent so long. Just crazy busy schedule, and a lack of desire to write. Also, a bit of mourning, yet again. When someone you love is mourning, you mourn also.

But today is Christmas. The birthday of the Christ Child.

The most wonderful gift in the world was given, freely and without reservation, years and years ago. And it keeps on giving.

We just have to share it.

So I am rejoicing. Surrounded by those I love, with good food in my tummy and warm clothes wrapped around me.

Merry Christmas my friends!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Miracles taken for granted

This morning when I went to take my morning dose of meds my daily dispenser was empty.
I pulled out my multitude of bottles and started pouring and dispersing.
Some days are "red days". Some days are "orange days". Some meds are for every day - they are usually plain white, or slightly yellow... but they don't count in the color scheme.

Canaan was helping me organize, and count, and make sure everything went where it was needed. I had to laugh after we were done.
How many six year olds spend their morning shaking pill bottles for their mother I wonder?

Truly, I don't HAVE to take all of them. Vitamins are just extra. One of my multi-vitamins is orange, thus the orange day - I added a B complex to that day too. My other multi is red. Cranberry caplets go on that day, continuing the red theme, and to try to prevent UTI's.... which sometimes works. Cinnamon caplets, which are brown don't really go with either color, but they usually stay with red. Cinnamon helps metabolize sugar, and as a diabetic that is wonderful. I even have a system cleanse right now, because Andy bought it, and rejected it, so I am giving it a try.

The ones I have to have are for seizures, and my thyroid. But even those I probably would not die if I was forced to live without them. Be uncomfortable, yes. Very unhappy, yes. But die.... not for a long time.

This, however, I would die fairly quickly without.

Thank God for modern medicine. We are coming up really soon on the 18 year anniversary of my use of Insulin.

There are still days every once in awhile when I ask God why in the world he hasn't healed me yet. There are moments on occasion when I despise living with diabetes. (like this week when I am on my second round of antibiotics for a very basic infection that my body is just too weak, or riddled with irregular blood sugars, to fight on its own!) But in all honestly, those moment are few and far between. I like my life, with all of it's physical weaknesses and faults. The mental and spiritual weaknesses on the other hand... well I am doing my best to work on those.

Diabetes, and the responsibility I was required to have in order to LIVE, have shaped me. Helped make me who I am.
I am so thankful for that.
I learned years ago to sing that old Twila Paris song "This thorn" and mean it, at least in regards to my diabetes.
Now I have to learn to sing it, and mean it, about Topamax and Lamictal.
One pill at a time.
One injection at a time.
One day at a time.

Always thankful.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Giveaway that I would like to win!!


First time I have done this, but I really want to win.
One of my "online friends" is hosting a giveaway. She has a beautiful nativity set, and as anyone who has been to my house at Christmas time knows, I really have a "thing" for nativity sets. In fact, even people who have been to my house not at Christmas time may have noticed my love of nativity sets, considering there are a few of my smaller ones that stay out year round!

I was going to take some pictures of my sets and post them here, but I left my camera plugged into the computer, "uploading" all night, (although it was done in about three minutes... I just forgot to unhook it) so the battery is dead. Maybe next time. For now, here is a picture of the Willow Tree one. You can find it anywhere~ I don't have the "stable" piece, just the stars.
I really can't pick a favorite, but I do love this one a lot for two reasons. I collect Willow Tree figures already, so having the Nativity is just a bonus. Also, my sisters (who at the time were in highschool and college) all went together and bought this for me the first year that Andy and I were stationed in CA and weren't able to come home for Christmas. It has always been a link to "home" for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My favorite (early) Christmas present

Four years ago today there was an ice storm across northern GA. School was closed. Milk was sold out in nearly every store. Lots of wary southerners were holed up in their homes, avoiding the roads.

I was not at home.

I was spending my day recovering from a very busy night.

Oh, what a wonderful, busy night!

I love this picture - I think it looks like Andy is in labor too!

Our first family picture with four in the family.

Zion is four years old today. He came into the world a strong willed red head, at 8lbs, 9oz, 2 1/2 weeks early. I thought he was born a little after 1am, but I looked in the baby book and Canaan was the one born at that time. Zion's time isn't in his baby book. Which shows with such clarity how much he is the "second child". I think he was a little after 3am. Oh well.

He sure has brought a lot of joy in his four years!

One of my favorite pictures from the first weeks.


I am pretty sure this was taken the Thanksgiving before he turned one. I can't find any pictures of his first birthday party - who knows where they are saved?!

Easter, when he was one.

Once again - no pictures of the second birthday either. We didn't have a party, but I know we at least made a cake and sang to him...

Cuteness, during the year he was two.

Look at those cowboy boots!

Seeing Santa for his 3rd birthday.

Exactly a year ago - Wow, a lot can happen in a year!


This was when he first saw his "big present" (and only present from us!)

And here it is, sort of. I wasn't a very good photographer. Mary C was taking better pics, of the party, but I don't have them yet. You can see the really awful cardboard castle I warned you about in the background. Don't look too closely!

All in all, I think Zion had a good year. I know I feel very blessed and amazingly glad to have him as part of my life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The countdown

The last few days have been pretty hectic. Tomorrow there will be approximately a dozen little knights and princesses running around our house - inside, because there is an 80% chance of rain. The in-laws are coming in from out of town at 11. The party is supposed to begin at 11.
All those Christmas decor boxes that I pulled out of the attic just a week or so ago have all been stuffed back up there. Every single possible item that could be moved to the side of the garage has been - so that we can send young ones out there, instead of trying to cram them all in here!

There are shields and princess hats ready to be decorated. The Holy Grail has been bought and spray painted, so that it can be hidden, guarded by a friendly dragon, (thank goodness for friends with laid back teenagers!) and eventually discovered by our little adventurers on their quest. The giant cardboard castle was built this afternoon by the two LEAST artistic people in the family. There will be pictures eventually, so keep in mind when you see them that Zion who is not quite four, and I, who have absolutely ZERO artistic talent created it. Just saying....

Homemade rolls and soup and veggie tray are prepped. The lunchmeat and cheese and chips are just open and serve. Paper plates and bowls and napkins have all been bought. Those are not things that are usually in stock around this "green" house.
One of my best friends is making the cake.

The room for the in-laws has been cleaned, and the air-mattress was pulled out of storage. I vacuumed. I teased around at dusting, which is as good as it gets around here.

Why am I still stressed out? Why do I feel like I am forgetting something terribly important?

I guess I will figure it out tomorrow when whatever it is turns up missing!

Until then, I suppose I ought to at least try to get some sleep, so I can be alert and functioning for the party, right?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Corinthians 13

This is perhaps one of the most well known chapters of scripture - the love chapter. But how often do we really let it sink it? How often do we take the time to remember how important it is?
Please, devour the Word.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

It is in your hands. Now go and live it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

What is Whack?

I told Andy yesterday that I just felt "out of whack".

So of course he asked, "What is whack? Is it short for whacky, cause you aren't short on that. And if it is an abbreviation for whacky it's not a very good one - it is only one letter shorter. That doesn't save you much effort. Where did it come from, this whack. Don't you have to HAVE it in the first place to be out of it? Can I go somewhere and buy you more, since you are out of it?" and on and on....

I laughed, and I felt less "out of whack" then before.

So, whatever whack is, laughter replenishes it, at least in me.

When I was a teenager we had a neighbor with a heavy thick southern drawl. She would spend weeks in her house, not coming out at all. But when she would reach a moment of freedom she would always come out rejoicing. I remember her thick southern voice talking about being in "oppression" (meaning depression). I think I have been oppressed lately. Not really depressed - but heavy. For someone like me, who is usually perky and bouncy, it has been noticeable.
Andy finally looked at me today and said, "Stop. I just can't take it any more." That really hit me!
My job has always been to lift others up, and I have failed miserably lately. But I think I am done.
Today we found Canaan's missing glasses, so we don't have to go buy new ones. (They had been lost for 3 days!) We worked on a Christmas craft for a gift, and I discovered that sewing is much easier when you don't have a six year old "helping" you, but it sure is more fun with him. I searched the internet for ideas for a Knights of the Realm birthday party for Zion, and found some cool ideas. And, I cooked a real meal, did laundry, washed dishes, and Andy got up early enough in the day that I even made the bed.
Making the bed is something I have missed so much now that he works all night and sleeps all day. Today just felt good, having that one simple chore done.
I played Christmas carols on my piano, read a couple chapters of "The story of St. Nicholas" to my boys, and stood in the front yard talking to the neighbor.
Simple pleasures.
See- my positive attitude is back.

I have missed me.

I hope you have missed me too, cause I am back, and full of whack.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Music

Today has been yet another emotional one.
I heard someone refer to the adoption process as "paperwork pregnancy".
I seem to have hit the "uncontrollable emotions, cry at the drop of a pin" stage of the pregnancy.
Last night while Andy worked I climbed in the attic and pulled down the Christmas decorations,
tree, and gift wrap - with only the help of a six year old and a 3 year old. Not Andy's fault, but it
sure is enough to make me tired of his 12 hour swing shifts. This morning the boys and I set up
the tree, started the decorating, (they are LOTS of help, let me tell you, especially while trying
to keep quiet so Daddy can sleep!) and I threw in some Christmas music.
This is one of the first songs that came up.


And we wonder why I cry? Last year I remember listening to this song, crying a bit and thinking -
"It's too soon to have her yet, but next Christmas, she will be home."
Not so much.
This year, I wrapped beads around the tree and bawled.
But next year - next year is still something to hope for, and dream about. Somewhere, deep down
inside of me, there is still that spark. That joy. That peace, and a piece that looks forward -
To next Christmas.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A first!

Today was a big day for my bigger "little man".

Canaan lost his first tooth!
He has been wiggling and wiggling over the last couple of weeks, making me do a wiggle check every day. He has really enjoyed grossing his Daddy out, since Andy can't stand the feel, or even the sight, of a wiggling tooth. But, tonight when he went to brush his teeth before bed, his tooth simply popped right out. Luckily, he caught it - rather then letting it go down the drain with the toothpaste. Near tragedy averted, it is neatly saved, waiting for Daddy's praise and approval. I told him the tooth fairy will have to wait a night or two, since his special tooth holder that the dentist gave him is in Daddy's truck, and Daddy's truck is at work with him all night long.
Canaan doesn't mind. He is too excited about losing his tooth to care about trading it in for a prize. He has discovered that the one next to it is loose too - joy joy!!

Our Christmas pictures this year are going to have a couple of "gaps". Fun times!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trying again

The Thanksgiving rush is over.
The Christmas craziness is about to begin.

There will be stories of birthday parties, and fun events, and celebrations galore.

It really is time for me to start blogging again. So, here goes...

Sorry I have been "gone". I had to wait until I could blog with a positive attitude. I am never willing to post something that is less then real and truthful. But at the same time, some emotions need to be worked through and slightly contained before they are posted.

On November 19th while working around the house, teaching the boy's school, cleaning up, etc, I had been praying as I worked. If you are a friend of Jesus, you know how it is. "Lay all your burdens on Him, for He cares for you". I had specifically been praying about our adoption. Recently we had hoped to have her by Christmas, but it was looking like it would be bumped back to March, which is her birthday. She will be four.
I had prayed, quite specifically, and clearly "Lord, I would really love to have her here right now, you know that. However, I trust you to do what is best for her. She is your child first."

You have to mean what you say, don't you?

Just a few hours later I got an E-mail telling me that another family, a Dutch family with closer connections to Benin, and a better ability to work with the government there, and an agency that is able to speak the same language - well, they were adopting Gladys.
My daughter.

I have known about her for a year. A YEAR. Technically, I shouldn't have been assigned a specific child that long ago. Only because Pierre knows the director of orphanage personally, and was there - he picked her out for me. He took the pictures, sent them to me. He didn't anticipate any problems keeping her for me.
However, legally, I had no hold on her.
But emotionally, she was mine.

I have mourned a good bit. Several people (Andy being one of them) have pointed out to me that "she isn't dead". She has been placed in a home, which is the entire point of the adoption process.
I think they expect me to just get over it.
And truly, I am thrilled for her. I am excited for that family. She will probably be better off with them, since she is almost 4, and speaks French - they most likely do too.

But that doesn't mean I didn't hurt.

I don't suppose I will ever not hurt, just a little, when I think about her. I still have pain, just for a moment, when I think about Anastasia, and I only carried her for six weeks. I still think about Gifty, not so much with pain, but I think about her, often. She was only a very tiny part of our lives, and the very beginning of our adoption story. (which, by the way, last I heard, she is doing well)
When children touch my life, they touch it forever.

More then anything though, I meant what I prayed. I trust that God has done what is best for her. God has perfect timing, and He was preparing me. He always does.
I am positive that our family is not complete yet. So, when, where and how God is going to complete our family is up to Him.

Right this minute, I am torn. We are still halfway through the approval process with the government of Benin. We just have to wait for another child to be assigned to us. We could still have one by March. Our homestudy expires - here in America - in March. We could just try to adopt here. I keep hearing about all the children in the foster system who need a permanent home.
For now I take it one minute at a time. My fragile heart can't take much more then that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The joy of advertising

Last week was a little rough for me.
Of course, it wasn't all bad, and I am sure I will get around to sharing it, good and bad, eventually. But right now, I am not quite up to it yet. So for now, here is a video instead.

Canaan created an instrument out of the recycling this morning. He decorated it, named it, and with a little help from Daddy created a marketing strategy for it.

Here is their commercial.



In case you can't understand what they are saying...
First, Zion says "Action". Then:

The snodzoodle is fun
You can play it on the run
Make music with your spit
You'll never want to quit
When training your poodle
There is nothing like a snodzoodle

SNODZOODLE!!
Buy it now!!!!

A close up of the Snodzoodle

For art a couple weeks ago we studied some famous self portraits. Van Gogh, Monet, Picaso, Norman Rockwell. We also looked at some not so famous, but different, and individual self portraits. Google self portraits - but without your kids - you will want to edit first, because way too many of them do not have clothes on!

Canaan wanted his to be really individual. Yes, that is an orange.

And of course, Zion wanted to try too. Can't you see the resemblance?

Every single day, I am so thankful for my boys. All three of them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Every night before bed I read to my boys. They get to pick a story or two themselves, then we have our "God story". These are read sitting up, looking at pictures, all gathered together on the bottom bunk.
But after they are tucked in, and resting quietly (or not so quietly as may sometimes be the case with Zion... but he is only three after all) I read them a chapter or two of something "bigger".
We read a short mystery based on Sherlock Holmes, only with a mouse as the detective. We read "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien. We most recently read "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, which I read as a child and loved. I posted a quote from it on my Facebook page while we were in the middle of reading it, but I don't think I ever put it here. Let me share...

"We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more important."

"What is that Grandmother?"

"To understand other people."


Now, isn't that beautiful? Deep? Thought provoking?

I am not sure my children are really old enough to catch the wisdom hidden in his books. Nor all of the beauty of the descriptions. But they are hearing the vocabulary, and soaking in the ideas, and ideals.
But I have to believe that someday, that will count for something. Soak it in, growing minds, soak it in.

We have now started the sequel to "The Princess and the Goblin". It is "The Princess and Curdie", and is the continuing story of the boy who helped rescue the princess... and who she in turn rescued... from the goblins.
It also is full of big words, beautiful descriptions, and these beautifully worded pieces of wisdom.
This is describing Curdie's parents,
"They were the happiest couple in that country, and that was because they always understood each other, and that was because they always meant the same thing, and that was because they always loved what was fair and true and right better , not than anything else, but than everything else put together."

Once again - Isn't that beautiful? Deep? Thought provoking? Don't you want a marriage like that?

I am really enjoying George MacDonald with my children right now.
Of course, I have several books going just for myself also... but that is for another blog.

What are you reading? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friendship

What defines a friend?

I have had a lot of need, over the last few months, for friends. Being unable to drive has put a pretty big crimp in my style.
We have only lived in this area for about two years. We are still newbies.
So, it would not be that unexpected, really, if people to take care of me were hard to find.

That has not been the case AT ALL.

I get rides to church and bible study. Homeschool P.E. class and the Commissary. People stop and grab a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs for me, since they are out anyway. They take me to doctor's appointments, and dentist's appointments, and out, just because I have cabin fever.

I haven't earned much love yet. I haven't been here long enough to have done much for them. Before I got sick I didn't drive them places, or watch their kids, or drop everything in my life just to run over to their house to keep them from losing their mind.
Yet still, they do these things for me.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

Today, I had a chance to feel like I could reciprocate a little. I was able to do a couple favors for two of my friends here. Things that I am good at, and that don't require driving.
It felt good to "earn my keep". But at the same time, I would have willingly, and cheerfully done them, even if they had never given me a ride anywhere. Even if I didn't owe them a million thank you's, I would be happy to help them. Because,

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

We have moved over and over throughout my life. I have lived in 9 states, visited multiple countries, and am currently living in either my 30th, or 31st house.
Yet, there are people who have kept up with me through all those address changes. Forwarded letters across the country, and the globe. Back before E-mail was a common thing, we wrote our little notes on pink Strawberry Shortcake paper and mailed them back and forth. Two people that I love dearly have know me almost all of my life, despite my moving over and over. They could have decided I was too much work. They could have moved on to more convenient friends, who were close by, and easy to talk to. But they wrote their letters, and later their E-mails, and had me in their weddings, and call me up just to chat even now.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

This weekend while my family was here all of us girls were sitting around my kitchen table, just chatting. Mom happened to ask my younger sister, Kelsey, how one of her friends was. A girl we all know, but that Kelsey sees most often.
She burst into tears.
Not the response we expected, to say the least.
It seems that last time they had been together this friend, and another friend, had been teasing back and forth about how much work Kelsey's wedding had been. She had chosen to go "green", thus had "real" dishes, and cloth napkins, and an outdoor wedding. After teasing her awhile about how much work it had been to prepare for and clean up after, the friend said, "I would never do that to my friends."

"Do that to your friends".... really?

If you have to "do that" to them, then they aren't your friends.

Friends happily, cheerfully, with everything within them sign up to help you when you need it. I think that along with sickness, and deployments, and newborn babies, weddings qualify as a need.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

So, this Posting is a thank you to my friends. You have given me words of encouragement. Prayers for healing. Rides to doctor's appointments. Phone calls, just to say hi, on your way to Bible study. (you know who you are!) You have given me a lot, even though I haven't earned it. That is how I know we are friends.
Thank you a million times over!

(Side note: I believe that Kelsey's friend really is her friend. Don't judge her too harshly - she probably just wasn't thinking about what she was saying. However, anytime someone makes my sisters cry, I take is seriously! I may have to offer a beat down next time I see her!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend Update

I feel like a newspaper with a post title like that... but it seems fitting.
My parents and two of my sisters came down to visit this weekend and help me have a gigantic yard sale. And, as Canaan explained, quite emphatically, to a young boy who came into the garage to check out his bike, "It's a yard sale, not a garage sale."
We sold A LOT of stuff. Before Andy came home from Afghanistan, when I was still staying with my parents, we had all started cleaning out closets and cubbies. The idea behind this yard sale was to do more then just get rid of stuff that was not needed. We really wanted, and needed, to raise some more money to complete this adoption. The closer we get, the more "extra fees" that pop up - as well as the things we already knew about, like the plane ticket and the food and lodging while we are in Benin.
So, everyone in my family cleaning out their closets for me. We managed to raise $350, which I think is pretty impressive for a yard sale. Especially since we are pretty cheap ourselves, so it is not like we have a lot of name brand fancy stuff laying around.
We also enjoyed some family time. We played Wii, put together a puzzle, and attended the fall festival at our church, where my children got to eat hotdogs, doughnuts, popcorn and cotton candy, while getting their face painted and winning prizes. I managed to not get a single picture of that entire experience... but my sisters did, so hopefully they will E-mail me a link sometime this week.

Here is a picture of our late night project...
A Norman Rockwell painting, in 1000 piece puzzle form.

We're not geeks or anything!

While we were organizing all the yard sale stuff, someone stumbled upon this scrap of paper. We don't know where it came from - I was getting rid of a lot of old textbooks from college, so it probably fell out of one of them.

It says "Happiness is in his smile. All I need is his hand in mine. Every day, more and more, Life is Beautiful, because of Andy. "

So, even though Andy gets all the credit for being the poet in the family (and I am not about to try to take that away - I love the stuff he writes!), I was kinda proud of myself for my ability. This was from "back in the day".
Brings back some very good memories, when life was so simple. Still, even now, all I need is his hand in mine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No condemnation

Isn't it funny how whenever you finally speak something out loud - or at least type it up where people can see it - God sort of steps in and "smacks" you with something that you should have known all along. My devotional reading for Wednesday, the morning after I wrote the post about perfection and control was on John 3:1-21. I am sure most of you know several verses in the middle of that.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
I was feeling very dumb, very "condemned" for allowing myself to be so concerned about my body. For not being perfect enough to be balanced in all things. For not being perfect enough to trust God in all things.
See the irony there?

It was very uplifting to read that verse, at least for the first second or two. Then I started thinking "I have known that verse my whole life. I am preacher's daughter. Why in the world have I allowed myself to feel condemned, when I know better?"

Once again, how wrong is that?

I read it again, and focused on soaking it in, and not expecting myself to be perfect.
I will keep working on that.

I am glad I have it memorized already - Thanks Mom. I will repeat it to myself over and over these next few weeks.
As well as this one...
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

More of "The World Through Zion's Eyes"
I suppose it's not really a good picture, classically, but I love it!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Confession time

This portrays me in a very real light. I would like to make myself sound stronger, better - less of a failure at letting God be in control, in several areas of my life. But I have been mulling these thoughts over for weeks. Tonight I had time to organize the thoughts. So, here they are, failures and all.

I have been attending a Monday morning Bible study for the past 12 weeks or so. The focus was on strengthening the marriage, and it was for women only.
I always enjoy getting together and chatting with other women. I think that is part of why I have this blog - nothing against any men out there who happen to read it, but men rarely comment, so I tend to forget about you - this blog is my chance to have a little "girl talk" at the end of a day being surrounded by cars, tools, guns and wrestling.
Today was the last session and one thing we talked about was our bodies, and our husband's appreciation of them.
Now, because this is a Bible study, I suppose you would think that "nap time" wouldn't be something to be discussed. But truthfully, it is a very important part of every marriage - Christian or not. God created our bodies for it, and why should we let the "world" have all the fun?
But here is the thing. We got off on a bit of a tangent for awhile because one woman talked about how she has had both a c-section and a hysterectomy this year, and cannot get her figure back, and her husband is just mean about it. Plain old mean. Now, I don't know if he says it in jest, just playing around with her, but he is still wrong.
We all assured her that she is beautiful, and that of course it takes time to recover your body, and several women who had been in previous relationships with men who were "condemning" about their bodies gave pep talks about letting God give her confidence from within.

I mostly stayed quiet. Because I can't preach words that I fail to live.

I don't have anything to complain about. My Andy would never say anything cruel. He really isn't very good at giving compliments either, but he would never say anything cruel.

And yet, I cannot be happy with my body.

I don't know why I can't be happy.
I can make excuses. I have had diseases my whole life - diabetes forced food, and every aspect of it, to the forefront of my mind from a very early age. My thyroid is overactive, and the meds for that mess with your weight.
Now epilepsy, and yet more meds.
My husband often deploys for months at a time, and I have to do something with all those emotions. Running, and crunches, and P90X have all worked well at pushing the fear away.
I suppose my intake of food, and the push to exercise and tone are some of the only things about my body, and my life, that I have any control over.
But, I am a size 2 for crying in the mud, and was nearly in tears just a few days ago over the shape of my abs.
I think I am finally admitting to myself that there is something wrong with that.

I recently read that the national average size that women desire to be is 8. Men desire a woman with a size 12 body. The actual national average is 16.

A blogger friend of mine, Nikowa wrote a whole series of blogs about body image in society today. She proudly proclaimed her own size and her happiness with less then perfection. She also wrote a fabulous blog about how the way we push for perfection affects our sons. (daughters are always worried about, but since she (and I) have sons, we want to focus on them too)

Soon after this series, another blog friend, Autumn, wrote a post about perfection. Not necessarily about body perfection, but it once again hit me.

So, I decided to do some searching. There is a book that is fairly popular right now called "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters". I haven't read it. I have just been reading blogs about it, and comments about it, and this short excerpt. (please, if you have time, go read it)
That excerpt broke my heart.

Broke it.

Because really what it boils down to is that these women, these "perfect girls", think they have to do it completely by themselves.

Alone.

No wonder they are starving daughters.

I have no excuse. I am not alone, and never have been. Not only do I have a wonderful husband, and other amazing family and friends - but more importantly, I have the source of Contentment. The source of Joy. Absolute Perfection. Because I have HIM, I really don't need to look for perfection anywhere else.
Especially not in my stupid, quite temporary, body.
So I will make a choice to not obsess. Instead,

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 NIV

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Oh, the joy of parenting!

I meant to post last night, truly I did. I just got distracted by so many things.
The boys did not want to go to sleep last night. Especially Zi-bug. First he needed some lotion. Then, "Mommy, please will you play the piano for me." (only he says "peas will you pay the pinano for me") 10 minutes later... "No not that music, please play the Disney songs." "Mommy, my sippy cup is empty. Please, can I have some more water." It went on, and on, and on. If you are a parent, you know the drill.
It just kept getting later and later. We threatened dire consequences if he got out of bed for anything else. But then, he insisted he had to poo. And really, what kind of cruel parents can tell their child to hold it a l l n i g h t l o n g. So, he got up, one more time.
Would you like to see how he finally fell asleep?

I kept pausing the piano playing to check on him, and he would wake up just enough to say, "I not done yet", then drift off again. I had to go get Andy to show him, and of course, a picture had to be taken for posterity's sake.
No wonder I was tired by the time I finally quit playing the piano and got on the computer. By the time I checked my E-mail and FB, and commented on everyone else's blogs, I was ready to curl up with a book and read myself to sleep.
Tonight, Andy is waiting with a movie.
Perhaps a "real" blog will get written tomorrow? We'll see!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

He never decided WHO he was for halloween - but I sure thought he was adorable!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

I don't have any Halloween pictures yet. I left my camera at home for the big event, and Mary hasn't E-mailed me hers yet.
However, I do have pictures of the pumpkin carving adventure with my boys...

Daddy really doesn't mind getting messy.



Canaan got used to the idea, after a little teasing.

Zion really, really, hated the idea.

As in, burst into tears when Daddy put some in his hand for him to feel, and insisted on going inside so he could get a "wipey" to clean up with.

He stayed a safe distance from Daddy for a while after that!

He recovered nicely with some sandbox time
(which to me seems just as messy, but to each his own, right?)


Andy and C had a blast designing and carving.

And they all took credit for the finished project.

Isn't it beautiful?

An award and a bit of fun


A big thanks to Dawn at Just call me Woman for this fun award/project.
I'm to answer the following questions with one word and then pass the award on to five other bloggers.
1. Where is your cell phone? bedroom
2. Your hair? big
3. Your mother? example
4. Your father? faithful
5. Your favorite food? chocolate
6. Your dream last night? unbalanced
7. Your favorite drink? decaf-green-tea
8. Your dream/goal? J.O.Y.
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? reading
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? open
13. Where were you last night? cuddled
14. Something that you aren't? tall
15. Muffins? homemade
16. Wish list item? Gladdy
17. Where did you grow up? everywhere
18. Last thing you did? serenaded
19. What are you wearing? comfort
20. Your TV? wasted
21. Your Pets? spawning
22. Friends? imperative
23. Your life? incomplete
24. Your mood? tired
25. Missing Someone? daily
26. Vehicle? matrix
27. Something your not wearing? socks
28. Your favorite store? grocery
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? 8pm
31. Last time you cried? 1am
32. Your best friend? Andy
33. One place that I go to over and over? imagination
34. Facebook? occasionally
35. Favorite place to eat? home

Now to the five blogger's I'm sending this too...


Have fun!