Tuesday, August 31, 2010

good morning

Psalm 59:16
"But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble"

It is the week again and honestly I was having a hard time recalling which day it was and it is only Tuesday! My man was home for 2 days then gone again for 4 or 5. He was home just long enough to readjust. While he is away, I usually try hard not to miss him, but this time I am reminding myself to miss him.
You see, I am so good at being self-sufficient and independent even when he is home. I probably leave him with the impression that he is not needed much. I don't think that this can be good. Relationships shouldn't be based on neediness but we all need to know that we have a purpose and that we are wanted.
There is a balance somewhere between co dependence and independence, I have heard it called interdependence. That is what I want our family to be, often it is a battle.
There is so much that seeks to divide and separate and to call us to be other than we are called to be. The closer we get to realizing our dream of life as a family the more the opinions fly, the suggestions increase and the misunderstandings abound.
I keep trying to get in his face and like a child say,"look at me" but I can see that he is distracted by so many things. Trying to figure out how to save the world. So when I hear a single friend sharing the horror of another bad date, I say to her that she must pray and be certain that is what God wants her to do. She expresses the concern that she has been waiting a long time and that she just doesn't see how she is going to find a husband any other way.(without looking herself)and I think of the verse where Jesus says he could raise worshipers up from the stones if he wanted to, He can give her a husband if that is truly what she needs and He can do it anywhere. She tells me that she is lonely and I say,"Marriage can be lonely" she looks at me in curious amazement,"Really?"
"Yes." It can be.
Should it be? No. Does God want it to be? No. Are people human? Yes.
SO yeah, we all have to find the cure to our loneliness in Christ, our constant companion. He is the only one who fulfills and satisfies all the time and He is practical and romantic-
I pray that we would see the kisses You send us today Lord-and that my husband would know clearly that I love him and need him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet,I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places."
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Well, there it is, I guess that waiting for everything around me to be"perfect" is not part of the plan for worship.
Consider my uh, garden-if that's what we'll call it.
When we bought this house 2 and 1/2 years ago, one of my main attractions to it was the variety of landscaping. It had landscaping. In one corner of the backyard, there was an area surrounded by a low picket fence. There was a contraption and an old grape vine stump. I was full of enthusiasm about my plans to raise food for our family. In my mind I pictured hours of togetherness spent working tirelessly on our hands and knees, then many days of fruitful harvest. The children being sent to the garden to gather vegetables for dinner, me being the awesome friend who always had some food to give away. Not just any food, home grown-pesticide free, pretty organic vegetables.
The first year we lived here, our 5th child was about 5 monthes old when we moved in, it was Spring. I was suffering from terrible low back pain and had no knowledge of the condition of my body(later I was diagnosed with issues)A good friend who is a landscape artist for a living, found a heirloom tomato hook up and not only did she give about 20 plants to me( I think more) I was too busy holding Ramone and feeling bad to be able to plant them, so she came over and made rows in my garden and planted them for me. I stood by with Ramone in a sling and felt mad and dumb and grateful. I let go of my dreams of planting stuff with the kids, it just wasn't going to happen. We had many unique tomatoes that year, we also had bug problems and some black spot and bottom rot, and blight-and some other fungus I can't think of. I couldn't work in the garden to ward off the bugs and weeds, no one else was into it and by the end of summer it looked like a Vietnamese jungle. There were giant spiders everywhere and you had to risk your life to go around inside of it to get to the fruit off of the vine.
In the fall we burned it and my husband recommended that next year we didn't plant so much.
I was diagnosed with lots of disorders and a need for surgery arose that fall and winter, but by spring I was ready to plant again. I planned more carefully, I sowed a variety of seed and small plants, my friend came with tomatoes again and this time we did them in pots on the outside of the fence. They were so much happier and easier to manage. I didn't plant enough sweet peas to even make a pound in total, but I loved that plant the most, it is so sweet and elegant. I lost the nerve to weed out the weak cucumber plants and ended up with an enormous amount of them. The fruit was bitter and the leaves got blight from overcrowding. The Okra didn't do as well as the year before. I picked the watermelons too soon and they were white on the inside. By the end of the summer, it was a jungle again-
we burned it in the fall.
This year-
I went through a phase in June, my husband was away with the 2 older kids for business and I decided to start weeding. Hey, I know it was late-other people were already reaping from their gardens, but I figured that I could wait since we live in the south and it is a long season. Plus, I wanted to avoid the whole jungle thing.I weeded, I dug and I turned over. I planned and I planted. The kids helped plant-I gave them each a row. They planted sunflowers. That is the only thing I seem to have any luck with anymore.
The watermelon is back, it volunteered. The sunflowers didn't do as good as usual and when I look outside-I am frustrated by my weedy looking garden. I have weeded and re-weeded so many times that there is a giant pile of dead, wet "compost" threatening to take over. There is a family of mice living back there somewhere and I guess no snakes yet. I am ready to torch the entire thing.
So, now what? I have a dream of having a successful garden.
I have many dreams of being successful at many things.
and though the weeds are plenty, though the bugs prevail...nevertheless-I must rejoice in the God of my salvation. He is my strength and he will make me tread on my high places.
Lord, help me rejoice in my garden, even when I see nothing but failure. Help me to remember that you will bring good out of it all, that you have already taught me so much. You are faithful, I pray to be faithful to you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is it really Friday?

I woke up and the first thing I thought was the last thing I thought,"I can't do this."
Typical to this train, I am about to step on board while I also am looking around on the platform hoping that someone will be running towards me frantically shouting for me to "get off! This is the wrong train!!"
But instead I am greeted by my Lord as conductor and as he punches my ticket he says," I know you can't, you never could...come in and sit down, rest and enjoy the life Christ died to give you."

"Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins." Psalm 25:16-18

And HE does, and HE has and I am so thankful.
I am glad it's Friday, this week has been a landmark; A last minute trip to Duke with our 11 yr old, talk of impending brain surgery, almost not being able to pay our past due electric bill, first day back to homeschool and using the new chore system. Daddy being gone to find work out of town, because there is nothing here soon enough. Running out of rice...
The train has definitely left the station, yes ma'am...she's a goner!!

Thank you I am never doing this alone.

God is always with me

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A wonderful day

Today was our first official day back to school. Our lives have been a bit upside down in the last few years, with me being sick and all, our 16 year old son being so...ya know, 16. A year and a half ago,my husband was laid off from his "secure"job at a major builder the same week I had to have a complete thyroidectomy. Homeschool, by the way, was the right way to go through all this. It just keeps me on my knees and gives me plenty of opportunity to die to self and serve others.
To go back even further, our 2nd born child was born with a genetic disease in which he seems to display all the classic symptoms. It is called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and for him so far has meant a struggle to control seizures. In the past two years, it has gotten harder and a few monthes back we decided to switch medicine for only the 3rd time in 11 years. He also had a routine MRI and is on the schedule to have a specialist look more closely at cysts on his kidneys and a genetic counseling appointment that we are finally submitting to.
Two weeks ago he had the MRI and 5 days ago Dr. Mikati called to let us know that we would be coming to Duke on Monday for an appointment with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant. It appears that there is a growth in Peter's right ventricle, nick named"SEGA" and it will need removed as it is causing him to have hydrocephalus. The Doc didn't say when, only that Peter didn't seem to be displaying any alarming symptoms and let him know if he develops any. He also told us to take any family trips that we were considering. I am not sure what that meant.
The funny thing was that I was mostly mad about the appointment being on the first day of school that I had scheduled! You see, for about 2 years our lives have had spurts of structure that has revolved around how I felt on any given day. Sometimes I would fall asleep while reading out loud!
Finally, I am well wnough to only require labs every 6 monthes instead of weeks. I can exercise hard and not suffer with the rebound! I can sleep a normal amount of time instead of like a cat.
Thank you Jesus, this year I feel good.
I am prepared and I am planned.
Now, we will be organized and planned and systems will be in place. Routines are being taught and I am understanding more what it means to train a child. And this year is going to be great because our God is Great. Even if it means that one of my children will be having an operation on his brain.Even if my husband doesn't land the perfect job and even if my 16 year old will turn 17. I am trusting Him.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Do you know what someone said to me?

Today a very good friend of mine said that neither I nor my husband will "let someone tell us what to do" I do not take this as a compliment! It was said in the context of a conversation in which I was sharing our decision to seek wise counsel about the serious financial rut that we are in. God has always provided for us everything that we need and more. We are not perfect. I am a stay at home mom who teaches and trains 4 boys and 1 girl everyday of the year. I am committed to being an excellent wife and mother. Financially I have gone from a clueless brat to a grateful child. My husband is on the same track. We are both in need of wisdom from the Lord in how to live.
We have received so much help from the church and yes, even the government. Relatives who are not Christ lovers have blessed us and helped us in many ways.
Our lifestyle is not extravagant, though we do tend to rent too many movies and never plan trips. We want more. To be debt free and able to live without worry that the money to pay the electric bill will never come in. To have a 401k and a college fund for each child. To be average. To take the yearly trips to Disney, pay for every trend and consume only the finest of fare. We deserve it...right? As I was speaking to a trusted mentor and friend about our many needs and my frustration with same old problems, my desire for a 401k, she said,"Yeah, but where is God going to be glorified in a 401k?" I get it, everytime I start with my complaint and this line of "don't I need to have it all together(on the outside) to bring God all the glory and impress everyone with his order and goodness" thing, he reminds me of this 1/2 inch biography of George Mueller that I read about once a year.
You see, George rescued and raised many orphans in England when there was no extra money around. It is said that once he set the table and then prayed, thanking God for the food and blessing it. The trouble on that table was that there was no bread. Imagine being a child at that table! Then the knock on the door-a unplanned visitor with food for their meal. God is real.
I am not saying that I want to live in such a way to willingly put God to the test by being a poor steward then relying on Him to come through for me. I am saying that we are doing what we are being led to do and things seem to be getting worse not better(from our narrow view)Is faith believing that if I do A, B and C then God will bless me and my problems will vanish? NO!!!!! That is the way of the religious heart, not a heart that knows that God is Good and can praise Him when the tides don't change and the famine continues. Who isn't dependent on it's own goodness to carry it through but leaning heavily on God in every way. To know Him, to fellowship in His sufferings, to love Him- that is the call.

"He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."-Jer 17:8

Is fruit being born? Yes! Praise God, I am learning to go deeper in my root system, to search for the living water and to believe in the one who rules the weather. Drought is not forever for us! Thank you Jesus. Our leaves are green alright, we are green all over!

Our decision to go to the counselor is in hopes of finding an objective party who is not soaked in our worldly secular society who understands our priorities of raising kids before buying more, bigger, better stuff. So, the comment didn't sit well with me. Because "thou dost protest too much" I have to ask myself,"Is this true?" I know that it is. I struggle with pride. Call it independence, call it knowledge and a need to know. The Lord calls it pride and it is not a virtue. It opened up hell and brought sin to all humanity, it is the beginning of the end-and it is so sneaky!!
I very rarely will ask what I should do and will just forge ahead with great ideas I have formulated from experience, what I have heard and what I have found out.
I decided right then and there to ask my man(we were on a long road trip)How many times a week he thought I should be working out. What he thinks I should be eating and what time I need to go to bed with said wake up time of 5:30. Some of his answers surprised me. Especially about the diet. He has much higher standards for me(based on my physical conditions)than I knew.
I am going to do what he recommended! So there-my first step in letting someone who loves me tell me what to do. And yes, I am also going to apply that same attitude to my relationship with the Lord. Aren't you proud of me for repenting??(ha)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

by now we know...

well, by now we all know that my "goals" and time standards are my weakness. I love to set myself up for defeat. What I have been up to?
I have been getting ready for summer to end and school to start. Wondering if we will be able to pay our past due mortgage and all the utilities that go with it. I have been preparing for us to stay. I turned my decluttered sun room into a place to do haircuts for friends and family for the summer-but as I pondered our school needs-I realized that my children love school stuff and God gave me inspiration and a way to rearrange our home so that we could use what we already have and only need a few items to have a classroom. I moved it all around, went through our school books and gathered a few supplies. I won some online curriculum pieces. I have planned the overalls for most subjects with little funding. One schedule is done, yet may prove to be completely undoable, chore charts are up, meal plans in place- I have a few finishing touches here and there. Yesterday, my awesome handy man hubbie built their desks and they are now in place with drawer carts ready to be filled underneath.
This room has become the perfect place to do school! Thank you Lord!
And planning to start tomorrow, I was blindsided when I received the call on Thursday evening to tell us that we will be going to Duke on Monday to see the brain surgeon for Peter instead. Bummer.
Schooling in the car, oh well-
adaptation, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
This is why we need Jesus and this is why we homeschool- one of many reasons to homeschool.
Praying and believing that "He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."- Romans 8:28