Monday, February 18, 2013

The last guinea pig...

of the two, went to his new home today. His gift to us was a flare up on Samuel's hands and I got an asthma attack. But we still wish him well.

Within minutes he had a new name, Patches, and was being duly loved by the littles of the family. We are grateful for their willingness to adopt him. He needed more attention than any of us could give him.

Now it's just the two stupid cats. Ai yi yi.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The older two guys.....

head off on a youth ski trip tomorrow. This is a first for them. Can you say "pervasive excitement"? Honestly the house is fairly pinging with the rush of teenage hormones that can't wait to not sleep for the next 96 hours. Next week was not an "off" school week, but I'm all ready re-thinking the strategy of trying to teach history and literature to the freshly glazed from ski trip teen.

Brick wall::Forehead.

I will not ever regret the luxury of flexibility that homeschooling provides. Nev-ah. There are plenty of other things to regret in the moments of mom angst, but not the flexibility.

This morning we had to spend some time getting those last minute things as in underwear, socks, an extra sweatshirt, jeans, sunscreen. It's like going into the grocery store for eggs and milk and peanut butter and leaving with cinnamon rolls, frozen pizza, and havarti cheese.

We always hit the Goodwill store for trips like this. Very frequently I have found jeans and sweatshirts for the boys that grow an inch a week. It seems. Today we scored on the sweatshirts but bombed on the jeans. Kohls had the jeans. Wally World had the socks and underwear.

Thankfully the boys kept an attitude of "get'er done" with the trying on and choosing and checking out. Too much shopping with them or with me and we all break out in hives and unfriendly temptations.

I am excited for them to have this opportunity and will spend the majority of my weekend praying that they return with all of their bones intact. And obviously that they learn from the speaker who I understand is Ah-maz-ing. Watch out West Virginia, about 100 youth are about to descend upon your mountain slopes.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Teaching Hebrews in two weeks....

not in two weeks as from now but IN two weeks. The whole book. All thirteen chapters studied, taught, lectured, done. It sounds insurmountable and ridiculous. And it's no small feat, but that's what I've been asked to do for my church's ladies' Bible study. I did the same thing with Romans in the fall. Taught the whole book in two weeks.

At first I was skeptical about how much any of it can be absorbed in that quick of a time. I'm used to teaching Romans over a nine month period, and I've not ever taught Hebrews in less than five weeks. Arguably there is a lot, A LOT, that you can't camp on when you are moving that quickly through the book, but I have found that there is a lot to gain as well from this type of teaching perspective.

First, you have to read the book in one big lump. The letter of Hebrews arrived that way. I doubt the church it was addressed to read it in chapters. It was probably read aloud to them in one sitting and not in the thirteen chapters as we now. Originally, they would have heard the truths in one big meeting time. And then they had to process what they had heard. They had opportunity to go back to it, most likely. But the first hearing would have been

Second, when you have that much to hear at one time, you get the big picture, the big theme of the book. There are some troublesome passages in Hebrews that in scholarly, and not so scholarly debates, get all twisted around. But when you read the book from start to finish you see those troublesome passages in context to the author's whole point. And then they are not so troublesome.

Third, studying the book in such a large chunk gave me a deeper appreciation for the pastoral heart of the author. He was writing with a zeal to defend the moving forward in faith with Jesus Christ that was essential for the audience he was addressing. His argument increases in intensity and reading from start to finish showed that progression.

Regularly I want the luxury of reading and studying a book in-depth, of seeing each phrase and point be underlined in its power and truth. But even when that option of study is not available, there is still such sweetness in the Word of God to convict, instruct, reprove, and correct the listening student.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturdays are for prepping..

prepping for lessons for next week's homeschool, prepping for any Bible teaching I am doing, and most of all prepping for all of the next week's meals. Thankfully, I've started sleeping in on Saturdays to give me the extra stamina I need for all of the day's prep.

Today included finishing up the week's menu which contains a birthday dinner for Matthew, a dinner party for 14 on Tuesday, and the regular stuff of the week. Two shopping trips, one to Sam's and one to Publix, garnered the necessary essentials. And then some.

I had a Bible lesson on Hebrews 1-6 to finish that took up about two hours and then it was into the kitchen for the cooking. I was able to prepare three pounds of green beans, the sausage spinach stuffing for Tuesday's party, an Italian cream cake, two batches of brownies, garlic chicken, rice, and do some other basics that will help ease the week's workload.

I still have kale and bok choy to make for the week's vegetables and the fridge is full of thawing venison, chicken, and pork for other meals. Tomorrow will be my day to rest and study though so more meal prep will have to wait until Monday morning.

As I've written previously, returning to work even part time has been quite an adjustment. For years I've had an alarm on my watch that goes off at 4:00. I call it my location alarm. It's a reminder at 4:00 to look and see where I am at in the day and decide what else needs to be done in regards to dinner. Although some days that 4:00 alarm has served to remind me that dinner needs to be decided.

With work though, the 4:00 alarm isn't enough. I'm tired by that time of the day from work and so if there is not some ease in all that has to be prepared for that night's meal, my family is likely to get a hodge podge of cereal, instant mac n' cheese, and cheese toast. Enter my Saturday prep.

Today was full of some extra desserts that had to be made but usually I reserve the day for cooking as much of the meat and veggies and starches that will be served during the week. Meatballs can be made and cooked ahead; chicken thawed so it quickly cooks on its serving day (just make sure it's still within date). I like to prepare a bit pot of rice and potatoes that can be easily warmed up. And I do as many vegetables as I can. That helps me stay on track with right eating and taking things to work.

The full load of prep on Saturday has given me new appreciation for Sunday's rest. There is a spiritual metaphor in there somewhere but tonight I'm just tired from a hard day's cooking. But that's okay, today's cooking means less stress in the week. That's a great exchange for one busy mom.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So, my email was hacked....

It was a mess. I had to shut everything down. Change all the passwords. Delete the entire account And start over.

Boy, was I hacked. Really hacked. As in the meaning of the word before it meant messing with someone else's computer, passwords, internetial life.


So, now I think the mess is finally cleaned up. My password is so tight that I am not sure I will remember it past the second day. I wrote an encrypted note to myself to help me remember it. But I can't remember where I put it.

When I find it, I probably won't remember my encryption.


Nothing but hacked.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

There is a fifth son in my home....

and apparently his name is Notme. I have never seen this fifth son. But I have seen the results of his handiwork, the evidence of his presence, and my other sons tell me about him all the time.

I ask, "Who left the milk out?"


"Who left their cup on the stairs? Full of water?"


"Whose turn is it to take out the trash?"


"Who put this dirty towel on my red couch?


Let me just say, as I've told the boys, when I do find Notme, he is in trouble for life.

Serious trouble.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

When the Lord gives you a story....

and He receives the glory, there is rejoicing in my heart all over again.

I've just had the sweetest weekend of teaching a group of women that for eight years running has held a retreat in January. They always ask a different speaker, and this year they asked me to teach. The topic was The Steadfast Love of God and the text was Isaiah 36-40.

In the course of teaching I shared a little of our testimony, told how I have experienced the steadfast love of God through James' illness and death and through the adoption of our first son, Nate. The story catches me by the throat even as I remember the darkness and His great light, the terrible sorrow and His precious comfort. And in many ways, our story in all of its details can be overwhelming to the listener. The "I cannot imagine what she went through" business goes through heads.

That worries me though because the point of my teaching is not how it looked or felt in my life, but how mightily and powerfully God intervened to have His purposes worked out. I heard Nancy Guthrie say one time after sharing her story and having my own "I can't imagine what she went through" thought in my head, that her story was only as powerful as it was used to glorify God. How I agree with her on that.

I didn't ask for the story that the Lord has given us. I would never have written in the 2 year illness of our firstborn son and then his death. I would never have written in the toll on our marriage or the broken relationships that came in the years following because of the deep depression of grief. I certainly would not have thought of the surprise of a preemie baby becoming ours or the losses and gains that occurred over the next three years in family and home. Those were the days that I despaired, believing our story would ultimately crush us, that there was no happy ever after for us.

But our story is one of God showing abundant grace and mercy to two people undeserving and imperfect in the highest degree. It is the story of a Savior who does not let His children go; who holds them in His hands (even when one of us was trying to pry herself out). A story of forgiveness and reconciliation and restoration and redemption. It is the story of miracles and common things that because the Lord was in them are still miracles.

A story that is only useful, that is only beautiful as it glorifies God and not the characters. So while God gave me a venue to tell again of His steadfast love in my life, I also spoke the truths of His word to these ladies and reminded them that God wrote Hezekiah's story, Judah's story, my story, and He is writing theirs as well. To Him alone be the glory in each of them.