It never ends

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“Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.”

For what it’s worth, I will still take the woman’s work; however, this post is not actually about the unending demands on wives or moms.

It is about the faithfulness of God. A precious truth that has become my constant friend. Of all the reasons to know and love the Old Testament, to let it speak for itself – this is one of the best. Over and over we see the faithfulness of God brilliantly displayed against the darkness of human faithlessness.

It used to be that in the mornings (if I was even spiritually together enough to meditate), I would try to think of things that would help me do or think what I thought  I should while making breakfast or getting the kids ready. And then a bowl of oatmeal would hit the floor, or a toddler would have an accident while I was nursing, or I would realize that we had no clean clothes to wear for the fourth day in a row, and before you know it I was thinking  things like I will never get caught up. I am so bad at this. I should have gotten up earlier to read my Bible. I should have joy no matter what. 

One morning by God’s great grace (manifested no doubt in some really good teaching and preaching of His Word at my church) it occurred to me that I should just think about the faithfulness of God. Forget thinking about all the things I couldn’t seem to do, forget about the possibility that I may never do them well, forget even for the moment about my desire to be faithful – just think about the faithfulness of God. To Abraham. To Joseph. At the Red Sea. At the walls of Jericho. Even throughout captivity. Over and over we see the steadfast love of God in His covenant-keeping faithfulness.

Honestly, that first time there wasn’t even an immediate application; it was just a rest. Just enough joy for the ordinary tasks ahead. I do remember some lame thought like Wow, that really helped.

Now I seem to need it more in the evening during those last hours before the kids go to bed. I’m so tired and yet I want to value every moment with them and then the baby is fussy while two are downstairs painting (by my consent – why?), and two are getting out of the shower, and the toddler I just bathed is sure she needs to use the restroom and threatening to take off her pajamas and accompanying diaper while I’m just trying to get this baby to stop crying and… (that was tonight). Unfortunately there is no eject button, neither is there a magic machine that will smoothly put the children to bed when you really don’t think you can take any more. So what do you think? Think about the faithfulness of God. It has never ended, and it never will. And with the faith that you have, ask Him to help you be faithful.

And He does.

From your first thought in the morning to the time you’re trying to relax before bed, He is faithful. All through the night and through every stage of life.

His faithfulness never ends.

The flower fades

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These flowers have been such a blessing to me!

I’ve enjoyed their beauty and been cheered by, well… their cheerfulness.

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It doesn’t hurt that they sit right by my rocker so I get to look at them quite frequently while caring for Owen.

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Today I can’t stop thinking about how the grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever. How blessed we are to have God’s Word in our language, our laps, our devices, and our hearts.

Oh for grace to fill my life and mind and home more with this eternal beauty and treasure!

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Dollars like Pine Straw

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It was a few short months before we would move. We were under contract with our house, but still using “if” and “maybe” terms with the girls just in case something fell through. Boxes were piling up and our already crowded living space was growing smaller by the day.

Some days I just couldn’t take it anymore and would announce to the girls, “Put your shoes on! We’re going outside.” It didn’t really matter if it was lunch time, nap time, something-else-important time, we would go out. One of the girls favorite places to go was the tennis courts. They could run around, play kickball (sort of), play baseball ( no apparent relation to the game you and I know), or sing the latest national anthem they had composed.

The little girls would often tire of the organized games the older girls attempted to play and begin to find fun of their own.

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I was sitting there holding Zoe in a sleepy wrap, a little hot and so much on my mind. Gracie ran up to me with a piece of pine straw.

“Here! This is two dollars. You can buy a house with this!” she said with excitement.

I laughed. “I think we’ll need a little more than that.”

“Okay. No problem.” She ran off merrily.

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It became a great game. She and Mckayla would hunt pine straw all over the tennis court and bring it to me for various things. Dollars for a house, dollars for food, dollars to buy the girlies a present, dollars for McDonald’s…

I received it all with great excitement – “thanks!”

I think I also received a gentle little reminder from the Lord.

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Dollars really are like pine straw. He can find them wherever He wants and give or take them at His good pleasure. As silly as it is for my girls to pretend like a few needles of pine straw could pay for a house, it’s equally silly for humans to think that we can or cannot manage whatever God places in our path.

It’s easy to turn our attention once again to dollars at this Christmas season; but this is just a little reminder for me and maybe for you that our God really does own the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. The whole universe is at His disposal.

Our thoughts, plans, or worries regarding money – to Him might as well be pine straw.

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Ask the Audience: Bats, of the Louisville Slugger variety

Hello there, dear readers!

While I am recovering, chasing little kids, nursing, napping, driving to doctor’s appointments resting, I thought I would put you and your endless creativity to work. = )

Here’s my situation:

While our family was in Louisville this year, we took a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum – which was very cool. At the end of the tour they give everyone, yes everyone, a miniature Louisville Slugger bat. Everyone including our two-year-old, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that we have six bats, no, not in our house; in our car. Why? Because while my girls are pretty good, I can’t take the chance of one of them taking a swing. And all the “the kids can’t get it here places” are already taken. (Actually we have more than six because of my husband’s other trip to the museum…)

So this is where you come in. I can’t just throw or give the bats away because it was such a great memory. What I want to do is *make something* (famous last words) with the bats that will be either decorative or useful in our house. Complicating this is the matter that all our children are girls, so it can’t be too boyish or baseball-y. I’ve seen adorable headboards made out of bats, but I can’t really see that in our house.

Here is the one thing I’ve found on Pinterest:

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Isn’t that sweet? I really like this one, but am not quite sure if I could pull it off. There was also a cute cupcake stand, but it only used one bat so that rather defeats the point.

What do you think I should do? What are your ideas? Suggestions? Findings? I’d love to know!!

And hopefully in about four and a half years, we’ll see what I end up making. ; )

Thanks a million,

Christie

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I could not get the correct link for the image above. Please click on “source” to go to the site. Thanks!

Remember this {on bouncing back}

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About this time last week, I was down. Down on housekeeping, down on homeschooling… cooking, kids, you name it.

When I look around and find myself so dissatisfied with what I see, feeling helpless to turn any of it around, I’m often forgetting some extenuating circumstances.

In this particular case, my husband just graduating from seminary! A four-year long culmination for him. Not to mention more than a week of careful preparation on my part to insure that everything went smoothly that weekend so we could fully enjoy celebrating together.

So yes, there were rotten bananas on the counter that just hadn’t gotten made into banana bread. The laundry that had been so carefully taken care of before Friday had once again spiraled out of control. The two-year-old who had completely mastered potty training started having accidents out in public when I had no extra clothes and no idea what to do about the mess.

But accidents and dirty laundry and rotten bananas are not the point. The point is that I let these things convince me that I’m a complete wreck who will never get it right no matter how hard I try. Which is completely untrue. What is true is that I am a very average homemaker who most of the time keeps everything in line enough so that our family can run smoothly and enjoy each other, who some of the time can do above that, and who sometimes bottoms out and lives in a very messy house for a few days before bouncing back.

When you’re pregnant and there’s big a big abnormal life event, you might have to just rest for a few days. And no, your housework will not get done while you’re resting. And that’s okay.

Because somehow, in some way, I usually bounce back. It’s not normally from the big, all day, get-this-place-cleaned-up times I dream of; it’s usually in very small, indiscernible steps. Then one day I look around, and things have gotten better.

This applies to so many areas of my life. Just after having a baby is a big one. Or when baby has to start eating solid food. Sometimes it’s not just the physical settings of a messy house, testy kids, disorganized homeschooling, or never-ending schedules, sometimes it can be spiritual growth (or the lack thereof), strained relationships, or cloudy moods that evoke those feelings of hopelessness. It’s hard to convince yourself that those circumstances won’t last forever, but really those “lows” are most often just as temporary as the equal and opposite “highs.”

It might be the next week, the next month or the next year, but most of the time if you wait long enough, things will bounce back.

Maybe I’ll remember for next time. = )

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Just wanted to say a quick hello to you, the readers! This may be the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without blogging! We did indeed have a lovely and touching graduation. God blessed and everything was smooth and wonderful. It’s hard to believe that sweet time of life has come to an end. We currently have three days of homeschooling left before we finish our first year. And then, it’s get ready for all things baby! Somehow that has given me the itch to rearrange everything in the house. = ) I am woefully behind on sharing pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will have some ready for this Saturday. Until then or whenever, thank you so much for reading and for your sweet support. 

A little homeschooling update

A week before our trip to Louisville, I realized we were on target to finish school right when I wanted to! (two weeks before the end of May, right before Paul’s graduation)

Woohoo!

I thought about putting something on Facebook and then thought, No, as soon as I do that something will happen and we’ll get all thrown off.

I knew we were going to Louisville, but had meticulously planned our lessons and worksheets to do while we were there. Ha! I didn’t take into account a Monday of packing and driving, a Tuesday of driving, a Wednesday and Thursday of playing, and a Friday of driving. Good work, genius. We accomplished exactly one lesson.

So we lost a week. No big problem. The family time was totally worth it. And, I’d realized that most of the major concepts for the year have already been taught so it’s really not a big deal to make up some days here and there. Besides, my big goal was to finish by the end of May. We could not make up anything and still beat that goal by a week.

Second thing I didn’t count on: all of us getting sick. For a week. Most noticeably, Hopey.

I have to say that while I will take colds, fevers, and exhaustion every time over stomach bugs, we were all pretty pathetic that next week.

So just like that, we lost two weeks of school.

Thankfully, last week we had a wonderful, normal week of school. It’s amazing how much you remember you love something after you step away from it for awhile. (even unintentionally)

Now we have exactly four weeks of school left to finish in the four weeks of May.

I want to finish strong *obviously*. But I also feel like these last four weeks could be an opportunity to do some more fun things as we practice and review what has been learned this year.

Last week we did school at the park on Monday. The girls had to line up, answer a question or do some sort of something before going down the slide and coming back for another question. It was a blast!

I admit that I’m looking through the daily worksheets very carefully and sometimes crossing off exercises that I feel are unnecessary at this point. Also, we are going to concentrate heavily on neatness in writing these last four weeks. Hope has learned her cursive letters so well! But it’s easy to get lazy after writing so many times, so again, I’m going to lighten the load a little bit and encourage her to do every word and every sentence as neatly as possible.

We are halfway through our Louis Braille biography and plan to finish that as well. It’s so fun to take turns reading. We completely slaughter all the French names. = /

Hopefully we will be able to do our art projects more consistently and also do more baking or fun extra things.

Looking ahead, I’m making lists of what to order for next year. It’s strange to me that even at the end of this year, that really excites me. Sophia can not wait to start kindergarten. She asked if she could start the day after Hopey finishes. = ) I’m really excited about teaching them together.

So there you have the status of our formal education around here. We’re praying for wisdom and perseverance to finish this first year of homeschooling well.

Wish I could take credit for these cool flags being a part of homeschooling. However, it's one of the things the girls figured out on their own while Mommy was napping in the afternoon. = ) Can you tell what countries they represent?
Wish I could take credit for these cool flags being a part of homeschooling. However, it’s one of the things the girls figured out on their own while Mommy was napping in the afternoon. = ) Can you tell what countries they represent?

Are you finished? Finishing? Still have a ways to go? Do tell. = )

Spring Cleaning purge: 7 bags in a week

Here’s the plan for kickstarting my spring cleaning this year. I wrote here that I was motivated to do a purge of the house before even starting to clean. So for seven days (starting today) we’re going to try to get rid of one 30 gallon trash bag of stuff.

Some of these will be trash; some will be Salvation Army, freecycle, or kids consignment. In fact, I already have a huge Salvation Army bag taking up room in the closet so that will be easy – just drop it off!

The point is to stop being frustrated by stuff that’s in the way and just get rid of it!

For instance, today is out of date coupon inserts. It shouldn’t take that long, but oh the room in the file cabinet that will be made for other papers currently cluttering up other places!

Sound like a plan? I’ll try to keep you posted on how it goes! If you feel like joining in on the great pre-spring-cleaning-purge-7-large-trash-bags-of-stuff-in-a-week campaign, let me know!

Pre-Spring Cleaning Purge