Monday, September 27, 2010

5 things i am thankful for today

i wrote a past blog post about why i like to take the time to list what i am thankful for.  i think i would like to take time every week/every couple of weeks to make a thankful list on this blog and i invite you to either do the same in a comment below or do so on your blog and put the link to it in a comment below.  it is so valuable to our perspective on life to cultivate hearts of thankfulness!  plus, it is one way we worship God by offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

my thankful list

1.  provision!!!!  this past week we have seen 5 specific times God has provided unexpected money and it has literally been what is getting us through to the end of the month.  we were able to pay late bills, put gas in the car, put groceries in the fridge, and even go on a $5 coffee date.  i am so thankful for the Lord's provision and for people who are sensitive to His leading.  He always provides through other people - it is one way He is committed to partnering with us to accomplish His will in each others lives.

used with permisson by

2.  homemade bread.  we have been making homemade whole wheat bread almost every week for the past couple years.  it saves us money and it absolutely amazing straight out of the oven.  almost every week at least a half a loaf is devoured while still hot, making it necessary to make 2 or 3 loaves so we have bread for lunches.

3.  plenty of clothes for my children.  it sounds kinda silly maybe, but one way i keep a good attitude while doing the endless amounts of laundry for a family of 6 is to continually tell God how thankful i am that He has provided clothes for my kids to wear.  lots of clothes.  cute clothes.  i am honestly thankful even when it means i have to clean, fold, and hang up those clothes. 

4.  free babysitting!  this is a big one for us.  we have been blessed to live close to family and also have great friends that we really trust with our kids who have been willing to watch our kids time to time.  we have never had to pay for babysitting yet, which with 4 kids is a miracle.  it has always been important to me that our kids are with one of the two of us the majority of the time and we have worked really hard at arranging our schedules to make this a priority.  but when they do need to be watched for some reason (date night, we both teach music lessons in the afternoon on tuesdays, and other random occasions we may need to be kidless), i want them with people who love them like i do and who i trust to care for them.  those of you who live far from family know how blessed i am to have this free babysitting in my life.

5.  my hubby took my oldest to school today so i could get a little bit of extra sleep and not have to do the 40 minute round trip this morning.  awwwwwww, it was so nice to stay home! 

what are you thankful for today?


Saturday, September 25, 2010

my sister maternity photo shoot

i have mentioned my sister-in-law in several of the pictures i have put in recent posts.  she even is the one who took the picture of me in my small avatar picture.

she just recently posted a bunch of maternity pictures on her photography blog of a photo shoot she did with my sister and me while we were both pregnant. 

used with permission by myriah grubbs photography

our due dates were on 10 days apart and our babies ended up being born 13 days and 13 hours apart.  we call them the twinsie cousins because my brother and sister really are boy/girl fraternal twins and we had a boy and a girl who had the potential of being born on the same day.  (my mom gave us some of the matching outfits she had for my brother and sister when they were babies and we had them wear them and took pictures.  so fun!)

though i didn't get my wish of having our babies on the exact same day, i did get to enjoy literally my entire pregnancy with my closest friend.  we have overlapped for some amount of time with all of her 3 pregnancies, but this was by far the closest and it was so awesome to go through the whole journey together and now each milestone of our babies together. 

here is the link to the sister maternity photoshoot.  if you are in the northern california area, myriah is an amazing photographer.  you can see in this shoot that she has such a creative eye and makes it tons of fun. 

have a great weekend.  i know i am planning on it.


Friday, September 24, 2010

simple woman's daybook 9.24.10

for today:

outside my window... is a beautiful fall day.  well, not so  much in color, though i hope that comes soon, but in the perfect "let's go outside" weather.

i am thinking...about how good God is all the time.

i am thankful for... the class that asher is in at school this year.  it is a multi-grade class and the teacher has a montessori background.  the coolest part is she uses the Bible as her main text book, and constructs her lessons around using Scripture to teach almost anything including handwriting exercises.  i love how the Word of God is getting in the kids from all angles.  it isn't the christian school experience of a classroom the same as a public school but just with an added chapel once a week, but it is more little house on the prairie like.  i love having him in there.

remembering... all of your kind comments on my last blog post about not giving up in the pursuit of knowing God reminded me that the journey of knowing God is not one we walk alone.  though we ultimately must stand and give account for our lives by ourselves on the judgment day, we have this life to spur each other on in the faith and encourage each other to pursue the most important reason for life: knowing Him!  if you haven't had a chance to read the comments, please take the time.  i believe they are as encouraging as the post itself seemed to be to many of you.  

from the learning rooms... so a little more about asher's class.  yesterday the kids went to the watch of the Lord meeting and prayed for the church and believers in our area.  then they went back to class and wrote out a prayer for the same topic (these are 1st-4th grade kids).  some kids had a couple sentences, others up to three quarters of a page.  then they had to draw what it would look like for their prayer to be answered.  after that we got in small groups and each kid read their prayer to the group and showed their picture.  lastly some of them were brave and sang their prayer in front of the group.  in one assignment on prayer they covered the following subjects: Bible, writing, reading, art, public speaking, music.  coming from an education background, but only having this example in the little house on the prairie books, i think my whole view on how to integrate faith with learning is being transformed.  i love it!

from the kitchen... i am wanting something yummy (the term my sister uses when she is craving sweets).  i need to figure out what i should make.  ideas?

i am wearing... jeans and a long sleeve green shirt.  there is a lot of green in my wardrobe.

i am creating... the coolest hat ever.  i will have to post a picture soon.

i am going... to be a part of a teaching today on how kids can be involved in the house of prayer at the watch of the Lord today to a group of homeschool kids and parents.  originally 40 parents and kids rsvp'd, but now we found out 50 kids will be there then plus their parents.  it is going to be a fun time!

i am reading... the book of exodus in my Bible reading challenge.   i would have to say this is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  i mean, moses led the original signs and wonders movement, right?  i like this book so much i even took a class at azusa pacific university called exodus/deuteronomy. 

i am hoping... to get a start on fall cleaning soon.  it is time to get life in order.

i am hearing... my two year old talk baby talk to the baby.  i love how even little ones get high pitched voices when talking to a baby. 

around the house... it is fall cleaning time!  that means time to purge, organize, and go out with the old and in with the new.  my first project - going through the kids' closets deciding what fits, what doesn't fit, what to save for the next kid, what to pass on, what to turn into cleaning rags, and so on.
one of my favorite things... is how God provides for us over and over again in the most amazing and unexpected ways.  three different people, unbeknownst to each other, gave us cash this week enabling us to pay all the left over bills this month that we didn't know how they would be paid, put gas in our cars, and pick up some groceries.  the coolest thing was they had no idea we needed it because we hadn't told anyone where we were at right now.  it was as tight month, but i am finding with the Lord it doesn't matter how it looks at the start of the month.  He always makes a way whether through what we are expecting or what we are not expecting.  it has to be one of my very favorite things. 

pondering... this quote my mom emailed me after my last post it counts big time "courage does not always roar. sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'i will try again tomorrow.'" mary anne radmacher. 

a few plans for the rest of the week:  it is near the weekend, so i plan to spend good time with my family. 

picture for the day:
used with permission by myriah grubbs photography
 i am loving sharing pictures by my talented sister-in-law/favorite photographer myriah grubbs.  this one is of my youngest son and youngest niece who are just 13 days apart.  we call them the twin cousins.  aren't they a pile of squishy-ness?!


Monday, September 20, 2010

it counts big time

used with permission by myriahgrubbs photography

i understand how busy life can get and how hard it can be, especially as a mama, to take time to grow spiritually and cultivate an inner life of knowing and loving Jesus.  when i had my first son i came off of a very huge life disappointment and honestly was probably a little depressed, though i think the disappointment was more to blame than any post pardum hormones.  not only had i  just walked through one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my baby stopped breathing completely when he was about 4 hours old.  they never really found out why after all the tests and told me it could happen again at any time.  i was exhausted, paranoid, fearful, disappointed, and a first time mom.  needless to say, i didn't do great at finding time to spend with the Lord.

due to all of the above factors, i basically was so tired of disappointment that i just stopped trying to cultivate my inner life with the Lord.  i thought, you know what... i will do this at another time when i have things more together, when life doesn't seem so overwhelming, or when my heart isn't so raw.  in great contrast to my childhood, teenage years, college time, and young married life, i stopped reading my Bible.  it just hurt too much.  i would walk by my piano and not touch it to play or sing to the Lord.  i didn't want to deal with tears that i knew would flow.  i thought, later.  later i will connect.  right now i will tread water and get through each day with lack of vision for anything besides loving my little baby and making sure he didn't stop breathing again.

well, after not really reading my Bible for a year my heart felt very cold and it made me sad.  i would stand there during worship on sunday mornings and cry because i longed to feel the nearness of God but i had let myself shut down so much.  i wanted to feel His nearness even in my pain and wandering state, but i almost didn't know where to start again.  every time i would try to open my Bible or pray, my baby would need me.

or my house.

or my husband.

every time i tried to sneak out of bed in the morning to get some alone time, he would wake up and then i just had a longer day of caring for him instead of time to myself and the Lord.

it took a while to find ways to carve a few minutes here and a couple minutes there.  i started reading the book of job first because it was the best place of relating i could find since it was so full of questions that no one but God had the answers for.  then i camped out in psalms for the next several years, only briefly leaving it to read other books and just to return back to it again.  i learned to love my 5 or 10 minute shower time as my "prayer closet" because it was the longest stretch of alone time i "sometimes" got, since often the only way i got a shower was if my oldest two showered with me when they were baby/toddlers.

as i look back at that very very hard season,  i always think about how i didn't like the way my heart felt.  it felt cold and hopeless.  without the constant connection with our Savior Jesus we lose hope.  coming out of one of the other hardest seasons of my life what i am thankful for that is different this time is i fought to find that connection with the Lord in the middle of it.  i tried to turn my heart towards Him, and still do in the same weak way.  it may be a few verses because i am interrupted by children who have real needs, reading the same passage over and over again for two months straight, singing and praying in my shower time which i have made sacred alone time now, or falling asleep exhausted but opening my heart before the Lord with oftentimes just the short prayer, "oh God, i need You so badly.  help." 

i think, now, that a big part of my inner man being alive and connected with God is in the struggle of being a mom and having no time and desiring more than i feel like i can give or receive in this season.  just the fact that i turn my heart towards Him and say, yes!, (as weak and feeble as that yes may be at times), is victory and gives me the hope to keep on going.  i can't give up and wait until life circumstances are different to build the ideal relationship with the Lord.  just because i can't spend 2 uninterrupted hours with Him every morning to start off the day doesn't mean He doesn't use the moments that i delibrately set my heart on Him to draw my heart into loving Him more.

every moment counts.  every yes counts.  every inclination of my eyes to glance His direction counts.  the only way to lose is to quit.  if i keep on walking towards the goal of Him, no matter how slow i may go and how long it seems to take me to make the progress i want to make, i win.

you have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, 
you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, 
with one jewel of your necklace.
                                           song of songs 4:9 rsv

it is like the widow's mite.  others had much to give and gave out of their surplus.  she gave all she had and it counted.  it counted big time.

so if anyone reading is in any type of season where you long to give more but are tempted to give less because it hurts so bad to feel like you are failing over and over again at your attempts at love (like not even being able to read 3 small chapters of the Bible a day - are you with me??), don't give up!  there is no time in all your life that it will be easier to love Him than right now.  every yes you say today makes it easier to say yes again tomorrow.

and the next day.

and the next.

and remember a heart that feels pain is a heart that is alive.  and it is a heart that loves.  a cold heart is no fun.

never never never quit.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

100th post!

my 100th post on this blog!  wow!  thank you so much to those of you who take time out of your busy lives to read the things i write here.  i am so honored and humbled by your attention to my ramblings on the page working out the things in my heart.  thank you for each of your comments.   i know it takes time and energy to write out a comment.  i really appreciate it.

update on my challenge:

well, i have had several of you respond either on my challenge post or privately message me that you wanted to join me on the Bible reading challenge.  here is my personal update:  i decided that the best way for me to approach a cover to cover read of the Bible was to have a companion to my reading.  i decided upon using unlocking the Bible, by david pawson.  

so far, so good.  it is a concise overview of each book of the Bible and opening up my eyes to what i am actually reading.  david pawson reminded me that all the Word of God is inspired by Him, and He has a reason for everything that is included.  Jesus said Himself when talking to the 2 disciples on the road to emmaus that all the law and the prophets spoke of Him.  (luke 24:13-29)  i am seeking to find Him, to really encounter Him in a fresh and new way as i read through the Word this time. 

i just finished up reading genesis tonight.  i must admit that i got behind in my 3 chapters a day goal.  there have been several days that i did not get my 3 chapters in.  i know that i must not quit, but start where i left off the next morning and try my best to get the 3 chapters in that day.  even if i end up getting through it a bit slower than the 1 year goal, i still will have got through the whole thing in a straight shot.  that is worth so much more than doing something perfectly.  how are you doing if you took the challenge?  what book/chapter are you currently on?  what is grabbing you and encouraging you as you read?

the story in genesis that grabbed my attention so dramatically this time reading it was the story of joseph.  what a righteous man!  there is nothing negative said of his character, though every other main character in the book of genesis had major character flaws.  he is said to be a shadow of Jesus to come.  having that in mind in reading the story, it hit me on a whole new level to read of the incredible level of forgiveness and tenderness he walked in concerning his brothers and being sold as a slave only to become a prisoner before becoming the most powerful man in egypt.  it said he wept so loudly when he told his brothers his true identity that everyone all around could hear him.  he saw the hand of God even in his worst trials and betrayals of those closest to him.  he wasn't wrapped up in the offense of how they really did wrong him.  he could see that what they meant for evil, God meant for good to preserve many many lives.  wow.  i have so much growing to do in humility before i get to the place where he was.  i am so challenged and yet overwhelmed by love that this is the very way Jesus responded to our rejection of Him.  we killed Him, and He offered us eternal life if we would just believe on Him.  

i am sitting at the watch during a devotional set, with only 12% left on my computer battery, so that is all for now.  again, thank you to each and every one of you who visit my blog.  i am truly blessed by you.  you have encouraged me to obey what the Lord told me to do: write!  


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

simple woman's daybook 9.14.10

for today:

outside my window... i see my neighbors' houses and i am thankful for the people who live around me who watch out for our house and our family and make this a pleasant place to live.  

i am thinking...about how little time i have had lately to blog and how that makes me sad.  i need to remedy this somehow. 

i am thankful for... protection and angels standing guard around me and my family.  i drove by a terrible car accident today and as i prayed for the situation i also said thanks that my kids were safely sleeping in their carseats while we drove to pick up their brother.  but by the grace of God, that could have been us.

remembering... how wonderful our santa cruz vacation was over the holiday.  i am hoping vacationing with my parents and siblings' families becomes a regular thing.

from the learning rooms... my four year old is a reading machine!  as i went through 50 flashcards of sight words with him yesterday and he only missed 3, i realized he must have been paying attention more than i thought while i worked with his older brother the past couple years.  i am realizing he usually pays attention more than i think he does.  

from the kitchen... God has been good!  money has been extremely tight the past couple months, but there has been food to eat.  His provision for us is always enough.  with having to pick up very few groceries, i was able to make our weekly menu fairly easily with variety as well.  i am so thankful.

i am wearing... a grey t-shirt and jeans.  and a new short hair cut. 

i am creating... more and more crocheted hats!  i am finding it to be very relaxing and rewarding to be creating with my hands in the few minutes i find here and there to do something other than care for my kids and home.

i am going... to chico later this week for a day to join my husband who has been at a training there during the week on raising funding for starting Houses of Prayer and becoming intercessory missionaries.  since we have been doing this full time for more than a year with very little clue as to what we are doing with raising financial support, this should be very helpful to not only us personally but in having the tools to help others follow the calling of the Lord to this lifestyle.

i am reading... genesis still.  i got a bit behind in my reading while out of town and instead of stress out trying to catch up, i am just trying to start each day new and pick up trying to do my 3 chapters for that day.  i am going through a book i am finding extremely helpful in getting the right mental framework for each book of the Bible i am reading called unlocking the Bible   by david pawson.     if i could do a short book review, i would say that if you could only have one reference book to use in reading the Bible i would strongly suggest this one for 3 reason:  

1. it is not a detailed commentary but more of a general overview giving the context of audience and culture, intent of the writer,  and general theme of each book of the Bible.  
2. it is written simply and plainly in that anyone can pick it up and read and understand it without needing a degree in theology.  we gave a copy to each highschooler that completely our summer internship with the watch.
3. it is broken up book by book, so it isn't a book you have to read cover to cover, but can flip around to find info on whatever book you may be reading at the time,  priceless!

i am hoping... my piano lessons this afternoon are productive for my students and that i communicate well in my teaching.

i am hearing... the sweet baby coos and sighs as i try to blog one handed and hold my little one, who was very sad a minute ago, at the same time.

around the house... we have a handful of projects that need to be done and appliances that need to be replaced that we have pushed back over and over again due to the money it costs to do them.  i am encouraged though that we replaced the broken garage door unit after almost a year of it being broken.  i think we will be able to tackle them one by one with the Lord's help.  the things we are excited about as grown ups! 
one of my favorite things... is praying with my kids in the morning on our drive to school and talking with them about what we are thankful for.  what a way to start the day off right.  it affects my attitude for the rest of the day.

pondering... a great quote by my uncle: if you want the peace that passes understanding then you have to give up your right to understand. bill johnson   hits me right in the gut as i am someone who likes to understand the "whys" of life.

a few plans for the rest of the week:  i have the chico house of prayer training, a back to school night, a dentist appointment for my son who needs four fillings, and an all staff meeting for the watch of the Lord besides my normal week stuff.  it is going to be a busy week.   

picture for the day:
 my beloved son and me at the boardwalk in santa cruz.  he woke up the morning after we got back home and asked, where is the beach?  i love him!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

pictures tell a thousand words

just checking in with my lovely readers.  we had a fabulous weekend with my family in santa cruz.  i would love to make it a yearly tradition.  just a couple pics to share before i head to bed because of an early school morning tomorrow that i am not quite used to yet!  many many more pictures than this, but i didn't get permission from family members of what i could post of them, so here are just a few of us.  take the trip with us visually. 


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

simple woman's daybook 9.1.10

for today:

outside my window... i see my awesome honda odyssey parked in the driveway that i am so thankful the Lord provided for us.

i am thinking...about our weekend vacation to santa cruz coming up with my family.  we are going to have such a great time!  the last time we went on vacation with my family was a little over 6 years ago.  back then asher was the only little one... now there are 9 of them! 

i am thankful for... the Lord's constant provision.  living as a family of six on missionary support is stretching to my faith every month, and yet every month He comes through for us.  so many times provision comes from the most unexpected places and causes my heart to be amazed at His care for our needs.

remembering... all the things left on the "to do" list for this week... checking them off one by one reminding myself that they each get me a little closer to our fun weekend.

from the learning rooms... yesterday i taught david that green light means go and red light means stop.  i laughed to myself remembering that my grandma used to tell me when i was his age that yellow light meant hurry up!

from the kitchen... pretty simple this week.  since we are going out of town we are using up what is in the fridge.  lots of lettuce and spinach in the fridge, so we get some really yummy salads every night to use it up!

i am wearing... all brown.  i must be in an earthy mood.

i am creating... beanies.  i think i successfully made one that will fit one of my kids' heads, so now i go to work trying to get a bunch made for christmas gifts for them all.

i am going... to santa cruz!  i have mentioned in the past how much i love santa cruz and how i got engaged there, actually this weekend 9 years ago!  so fun to go back there and i am sure we will go by the lighthouse where we got engaged because i am sentimental like that.

i am reading... genesis.  i am right in the middle of the story about God's promise to abraham that he would have a son by his wife sarah.  in genesis 18:14, God asked abraham, "is anything too difficult for the Lord?" in reference to sarah bearing him a son in her old age.  it reminds me of when gabriel told mary the her cousin elizabeth was with child in her old age saying, "nothing will be impossible with God." (luke 1:37)  both passages refer to the barren womb being opened.  as a woman, it just blows me away how God is compassionate and hears and answers the longings He put inside women for children and how He loves to open the barren womb.  in fact, this is the most recorded miracle in Scripture.

i am hoping... that i am able to calm my thought enough to enjoy my beautiful baby boy and all his sweet smiles and coos right now.
i am hearing... the sound of my kids playing and giggling.

around the house...we are trying to get ready for our trip, so there is a big pile of clean laundry on the couch just staring at me waiting to be done.
one of my favorite things... is the first smiles and coos of a newborn.  simeon is so so cute right now and i am enjoying him trying to communicate with me.

pondering... how moses talked with God face to face like a man talks to his friend.  i am trying to imagine what that would be like.  

a few plans for the rest of the week: santa cruz!  and bill is going to the call sacramento. 

picture for the day: 

our family of six, taken by the amazing myriah grubbs photography

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