Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Friday, December 30, 2011

Related by Blood

Awhile back I heard from an acquaintance who asked to come and spend the afternoon with me. My initial reaction was to say no.

This woman seemed so different from me. Our likes, attitudes, and goals are so very different. And it would have been quite simple for me to use any one of my ready excuses: it's a school day, we have several things going on that evening, Jesse will need my attention ... I don't have time. All are true on any given day, but I was feeling guilty at the thought of offering lame excuses simply because I didn't want to get to know someone new.

As I wrestled with myself, I prayed aloud and asked God if I really needed to have her over. The gentle reply came to my heart. "Perhaps you don't need it, but she does." Oh.

"But, but ... I have lots going on! I don't have time to hang out with good friends let alone someone who I barely know!"

And that voice spoke again. "She is my daughter. She is your sister in the faith. She is family."

That one struck me like a two by four. Josh and I have always had an open door for family. Whether it's a week long visit from far away at an inconvenient time or a quick dash to the house for some sugar, we don't turn family away. We consider those relationships to be paramount and we've always told our family members that any time they want to see us, we'll make room. Room in our schedule, in our home, in our lives.

So here was God plainly telling me that I was trying to shut out a family member. Not a biological family member, but one related by blood just the same. The blood of Christ. And if I truly view her as such, then I must keep my door, my schedule and my life open to her.

Talk about conviction. So, I opened the door wide. I invited her in. We shared life. And we began a relationship. We may be quite different from each other, but then I shouldn't be surprised. I have several immediate family members that are practically opposite of me! And yet I choose to love them.

And there's the crux. Love. A choice. The moment I opened my door I chose to love this new sister. And I can honestly say I'm richer for it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: December 2011

ten on ten button

I recently found out about Ten on Ten. Here's the description:

... a fun and interactive way for blogger's from all around the globe to document a snap shot of their lives too, once a month on the tenth taking a photo an hour for ten consecutive hours. Finding much life and beauty among the ordinary things of our day! To participate simply visit the blog on the tenth of the month and add your blog to the linky party so that all can check out your day!

Today was a rather unusual day filled with cookies, an unsightly kitchen, books and even a nap!

So here's my first go at Ten on Ten:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Cup of Patience and a Dash of Grace

I began homeschooling three years ago with grandiose visions of teaching my children all they would need to know about practical things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and repairs. And of course they would also be advanced in all subjects, speaking several languages, and reading a book a week.

Okay, okay. Maybe my dreams weren't really quite that big, but I definitely expected to fit more in than real life normally allows.

One of those dreams was to teach my children how to cook. I figured that since my kids would be home all day, I'd just give each one a week of the month and they would cook for that whole week with me.

But I forgot something.

I don't like to cook with kids. Ever.

I'm not one of those moms that overlooks sticky floors, messy counters, licked spoons dropped back into the batter, and inedible results after hours in the kitchen. I typically find cooking with my children to be exhausting, frustrating, and an overall headache-producing endeavor.

This year, however, I am braving the kitchen with ONE of my children. I have decided that 5th grade will include a unit on cooking. Whichever season does not include a sport for the 5th grader will be the time they tackle this intensive unit. For David, my current 5th grader, that means now.

We started two days ago. And amazingly, it's going really well! There's something to say for a child who can use a knife without supervision, listen to instruction and actually do what they're told, read a recipe, keep the mess to a minimum, and have the good sense not to burn themself on the stove.

So far we've made stir fry and potato soup. On the menu for later this week are beef stew, chicken and rice casserole, spaghetti and other yummy meals.

I love that I am enjoying cooking with my son. It reminds me of when Josh and I first married and would cook a meal together - except that David doesn't use every single pot in the kitchen.

My goal is to have David cook an entire week of meals on his own by the end of this unit. Meaning that he'll have to plan the menu, make the shopping list, shop with me and pay at the register, and then cook all the meals.

He swears he'll never get married, so I have convinced him of the importance of this by appealing to his stomach. I mean, really, what man wants to eat microwave meals every night when he finally leaves the nest?

So, here I go! Wish me luck. And pray that I have patience in the kitchen for the next three months. Because after this kid, I have four more to go.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Floored by the Lord!

I love the title of this particular post. I was talking with Josh about some great things God has done for us lately and I said, "Man, I'm just floored by the Lord and His goodness to us!"

I find it rather surprising that I'd be floored by the Lord this week. We've had a ridiculously difficult week. I'm sure we've been under spiritual attack. Josh and I have not been communicating AT ALL. Meaning, he could ask how I am doing and I hear that the weather is strange today. Wierd stuff. Beyond that, it seems that everything possible is going wrong on any given day.

For instance, let's take a look at Friday. My 5 year old son was scheduled to have his tonsils and adenoids out on Friday morning. Of course my daughter woke that morning feeling queasy - which meant that we couldn't in good conscience leave her with our friend for the day. So we packed our daughter, our surgery-ready son and the baby into the van and took off. Oh, and because my husband still had to work at least part of the day, we drove separately.

The day had already been rough. I had missed breakfast - which makes for a very cranky mommy. I was emotionally on edge, just knowing that my little guy was going to have parts cut out of his throat. We were running very late (we had to get the older two boys to the babysitter by 6:50am), and I had to wake a really sleepy baby. After several miscommunications with my husband, we were on the road and heading toward the hospital. And then, it happened. Abby threw up. I had no bucket in the car, no time to stop, no extra clothes for her. And because the smell was unbearable for the next 20 minutes of our drive, we drove with frigid air billowing in through our windows.

Thankfully, the hospital staff was understanding and gave Abby a hospital gown to wear for the day. Gabe made it through his surgery wonderfully and after seeing that he was well, Josh took off for home with Abby and Jesse. Poor Josh had also missed breakfast and was so hungry that he stopped at Taco John's for a takeout lunch. Why he ordered a taco salad for the car, I'll never know. But before he could even get a bite, he dropped the entire salad all over the passenger side floor. Lunch disaster. Mess galore. Did I mention that we're saving up for a new van? Partly because we need more space and partly because this one STINKS!

All this to share that it has been. a. week.

Really, imagine one of your worst days and multiply it by 7.

However, even amidst our frustration, God has been working. One thing that Josh and I recently decided was to buy a chest freezer. Life is just too hectic, so in an attempt to knock something regular out of schedule, we've decided to try monthly grocery shopping and store the meat and bread in the freezer. Of course, we'll still have to run out for fresh items, but hopefully this will help a lot. The problem is that our freezer is tiny and even our little dorm sized freezer in the garage is too small to hold enough food for the month as well as the garden produce we froze this summer. And because we just payed out a large sum of money to refinance our mortgage this week, it was one of those "hurry up and wait until we can save money for a chest freezer" situations.

TWO DAYS after we made this decision, Josh was talking with a friend and shared our desire to cut back a bit on our scheduled activities and used our hope to monthly grocery shop as an example. This friend then shared that he and his wife had just defrosted their chest freezer in the hopes to downsize a bit. They wanted to get a small freezer instead. The wheels began turning and Josh suggested that we trade freezers. The next day, our friend came to our house with a wonderfully spacious chest freezer and hauled away our little one. Wow! We hadn't even gotten around to praying about our need for a freezer and God just delivered one to our door.

That makes the week look a bit better in hindsight.

And then the next day, amidst opening Christmas cards, I opened a card that contained a nice sized check. A friend had written a note saying that she unexpectedly came into extra money and wanted to share some with us. She knows nothing about the refinancing or the desire for a freezer. She just wanted to share. She's not a believer, but God was so obviously using her to encourage and strengthen us. WOW!

Okay, Lord, you've floored me! While I sit complaining about my week, God is working out details to encourage me. He was putting things in place before my week even began.

Tell me again, why do I doubt His goodness? Again and again, I am floored by His care, His provision and His love. So instead of looking at this week as an exercise in frustration, I can now look back and say it was the week that God surpassed my wildest dreams ... again.