Monday, October 31, 2011

beauty secrets

Although it's Reap to Sow day, I just had to share this...

Often, after washing and drying my hair, I'll put in a few rollers to give these baby fine locks a little "oomph" and leave them in for enough time to get a good set. Which often means I'm walking around the house with rollers on top of my head. (It's kind of mortifying to admit this part of my ready-for-the-day ritual, but for sincerity's sake...)

And it's how I came down to breakfast yesterday morning.

Luke looks up at me and says (earnestly and enthusiastically), "Wow Mom, you look great! You could wear those to church! And you could even shoot bombs from them!"

Yes, Lukie bear, that is exactly what I was thinking too. ;)

(LOL...leave it to a boy to imagine a simple hair roller as an instrument of destruction!)

reap to sow: gleaning from chapters 7 & 8

If you're just joining us (and we're so glad to have you along!), we're taking two chapter per week from the book, The Power of a Positive Mom: Revised Edition by Karol Ladd.

On Mondays we focus on reaping: What are we gleaning, discerning from the reading?
On Fridays we focus on sowing: What actions from the Power Points can we apply in our lives in order to become more positive mothers?

(For a link to previous discussions, please click here.)

In these two chapters, Karol continues her exhortations on prayer and how it contributes to our ability to remain positive. And, of course, because God knew I would be leading the discussions on these two chapters, He's been bringing me to His throne room in prayer multiple times a day. 
Sometimes I'm driven to my knees because I feel at a loss as to how to make my kids without repeating myself over and over and over again or how to encourage them to stop annoying one another (if anyone's discovered the secret to this, I'm all ears :) ). Sometimes it's to ask for direction. Sometimes it's to pray for another. But lately, I've been driven to the place of prayer simply because I have an overwhelming need for the assurance of His presence. 
And that's the beauty of prayer and why I'm grateful Karol dedicated three chapters to it. Ladies, prayer is our life line to God. Without it, we have no outlet strong enough to carry the worries which come with the territory of motherhood (and womanhood, too). With it, we know we can lay everything at His feet and know not only can He handle the weight of the world but He also knows what to do about. Though His way might not exactly be what we had in mind, we have to trust that He knows what He's doing and remember He loves us. 
I'll end with a quote from Chapter 7 - a sentence which could have had my name written above it: "Often we try to figure out what God is up to and why He has allowed certain things to happen. Let's be willing to trust Him, even if we don't understand."
I hope to see back here on Friday where we begin to sow...and you know we will reap a harvest from those seeds too! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

through it...again

A couple of weeks ago I shared how God spoke to me through "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" the children's book by Michael Rosen. This time He spoke through "Finding Nemo."

My children have been watching this movie a lot lately. Probably because it's Ben's favorite and the way he asks to watch, "Memo" is incredibly endearing. The other evening, I was only half listening to the movie while working on a project, when the scene where Marlin and Dory face a cloud of murky water came up. Here's the scene from the movie if you want to watch it:

Although what Marlin actually says is "We're just gonna just swim straight," what I heard was, "We're gonna just go through it." (God must have done a voice over in that moment. ;) ).

And again it struck me how God desires to walk through the murkiest of places with us. Like Marlin, I desire to walk the straight and narrow path, and just like Marlin, I get turned around, confused, and keep coming back to that same ol' speck in the water.

But thankfully in this season I am in (God still hasn't revealed exactly what He has me going through, which is why the murky/cloudy image is so fitting), I know that He is there with me. And if I get too off course or stuck for lack of direction, I know He will be there to rescue me and bring me to the place He wants me to go. Even if it's in the shape of a whale.

Friday, October 28, 2011

reap to sow discussion day

If you're just joining us (and we're so glad to have you along!), we're taking two chapter per week from the book, The Power of a Positive Mom: Revised Edition by Karol Ladd.

Courtney is hosting our discussion this week. Please venture over to her blog as she helps us sow what we've reaped from Chapters 5 and 6...

(For a link to previous discussions, please click here.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a season of sincerity

Blogging is tough. Or rather, blogging when you hope people like what you read and want to keep returning and yet you love the Lord and don't want it to become about the people but want it to be for Him, is tough. (Still with me? ;) )

It's a dilemma I've increasingly faced in these past few months, especially with the increasing presence of stats within blogs, posts and comments. In Bloggers old interface you at least had to click on a button before you saw your stats. With the new interface they appear on screen when you log on. While it can be fascinating to see how many people are reading, what they are reading and where they came from, it brings with it the temptation, for me, to get too focused on the stats. To feel excited or disappointed based on the peaks of the stats tracker graph.

Knowing this, I had begun praying to the Lord about keeping my eyes fixed on Him, online and off. I began to pray for friends and not followers. For authentic connections with others in this virtual world that would blossom into friendships. For reminders to pour into the relationships with my friends who are close to me geographically.

And I feel like He's honoring these prayers in many ways. He's blessed me with a new friend. He's giving me ideas on how to deepen fellowship with my friends here at home. And He's asking me to examine what I share and why I want to share it. I'm deeply grateful for this last part, but it can be a decidedly uncomfortable process at the same time.

I will totally and completely miss the mark at times, getting a little too much of me and not enough of Him, in my writing. But I wanted to share this in the event that you struggle with these same challenges (online or off) so that we might encourage one another to keep pressing on with our eyes fixed on the One who writes and perfects our faith. And I wanted to share it because it goes with the season of sincerity. A season I hope will last a lifetime.

Monday, October 24, 2011

reap to sow week 3

If you're just joining us (and we're so glad to have you along!), we're taking two chapter per week from the book, The Power of a Positive Mom: Revised Edition by Karol Ladd.

Courtney is hosting our discussion this week. Please venture over to her blog as she gets us going on Chapters 5 and 6...

(For a link to previous discussions, please click here.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

a better week (homeschool journal)

In our life this week...
We celebrated an anniversary and a birthday, which meant is was an automatic day off of school. :)

What worked...
Changing our schedule around. Previously, I had been doing math and LA in the morning which left Luke and Ben mostly to themselves and led to a lot of mischief-making on Ben's part ;). This week, I stuck with math in the morning (and decided to gate Ben into a room with Luke for play time), but incorporated a read aloud time and our Australian unit study in the morning. Much better. It felt like Luke and Ben were more a part of our school day and the gate helped me maintain focus with Brie and Reese.

I also finally was able to do school with Luke in the afternoon while Brianna and Reese worked and Ben choose to play or sit with us at the table.

Craziest thing I did this week...
Held a mini-version of boot camp.

The return of rainy and colder weather and the anticipation of Luke's birthday meant the kids were bouncing off the walls and antagonizing one another. When I could take the door-slamming and giddiness no more, I send the three biggies outside to do a few laps up and down our street (it wasn't raining then).Yes, I live on the wild side.

Although there were complaints and dramatics of hurting sides, all three completed the laps...surprisingly Luke finished first while Brianna did more than her share because she was encouraging Reese to complete his (he was trying to hold out on me ;) ).

This best thing about this whole "exercise," was they way God used it to teach me a lesson in discipline.  Running laps wasn't a harsh consequence, but I hadn't exactly sent them out there with love emanating from my heart. I had sent my children out there because I was frustrated with their behavior and pent up energy. I sent them out there because I was annoyed.

As I watched them run and started to encourage them on, and then saw Brianna do the same with Reese, I began to see the purpose of discipline as God sees it. It's not meant to be a tough, punishing thing coming from a God who is angry and annoyed with us. It comes from a God who loves us and is trying to teach us how to direct us in the places He wants us to go. Yes, we might not like it, and, yes, it might be uncomfortable. But in the end He knows this training will bring us to a better place and prepare us for similar situations in the future - ones where we will know what to do because He's shown us how.

Oh, how good He is!

So I was in a much better place yesterday when I felt the silly energy meter begin to rise. This time, because it was raining, I asked them to do jumping jacks, running in place double time, sit ups and push ups. Ben even joined in. There were lots of giggles, followed by a snack and a story. And there was a mom who was grateful that her God was teaching her about Him.

Linking up withThe Homeschool Mother's Journal

Friday, October 21, 2011

reap to sow discussion day

***Reminder: Lora's necklace offer is good through Monday. Check out this post so you can see an example of her work and get the details on the discount.***

If you're just joining us (and we're so glad to have you along!), we're taking two chapter per week from the book, The Power of a Positive Mom: Revised Edition by Karol Ladd.

For a link to previous discussions, please click here.

I'm a do-er. So can you guess which Power Points resonated with me this week?

Yep. The "Do" points:

I will intentionally strengthen my children with encouraging words. (from Chapter 3)

I will look for and encourage the God-given potential in each of my children. (from Chapter 4)

To me, these do-points are closely linked, for if we encourage our children, I believe it helps them reach their God-given potential. Though I offer encouraging words throughout the day, I loved Karol's suggestions on being intentional, creative and specific. To take up that challenge, I thought and prayed about a way to do this... a way that I would develop as a habit and not just a trend I follow as I read this book.

I settled upon placing notes for my children in our mail box. Not everyday, but at least once or twice a week. They love running to the mailbox when they see the mail carrier walking down the street and always get excited when they receive something with their name on it.

Earlier this week, I grabbed some card envelopes, stickers and notepaper and assembled the notes of encouragement - trying to pick out specific examples of the ways each child brought joy to my heart. To make it look more "official," I used the stickers in place of a stamp and addressed the envelope as I would if I actually sent it in the mail.

It worked!

They were so excited to get the mail, but equally touched to read the few simple words I wrote them. I also plan on buying notebooks for them to keep the notes and perhaps write notes of encouragement to one another.

I also read the Bible passages Karol suggested in Chapter 3. The verse that settled in my heart actually followed the suggested verses in Colossians 3 (and happens to proceed the verse that stalked Courtney ;) ).

Here it is from the NIV:
Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

This verse spoke to me because it underscored the importance of soaking in God's Word. The picture that came to mind as I read these verses was savoring the richest, velvetiest piece of chocolate imaginable. The kind you slowly let melt in your mouth because biting it into pieces would spoil the experience. 

Writing that just made me hungry.  

So, how about you? How did God speak to you this week in Chapters 3 & 4. I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments section so we can savor God's goodness along with you. And if you did a blog post on these chapters, please include the link in the comments so we can read along.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today Luke turns five and, as I shared in yesterday's post, it also is our 10th wedding anniversary.

Dave hoped we'd have a baby on our anniversary and God worked out the details to honor his prayer. My two favorite memories of Luke's arrival are this picture (see how he held onto the side of the baby warmer :) )...
  ...and Reese's expression when he was brought to the hospital to meet his little brother.

Not impressed.

Five years later and Reese has warmed up to the little guy.

He was so excited to buy Luke's birthday gift this past weekend - a Star Wars Lego kit. So excited in fact that I suspect he might have "hinted" as to where he, Reese, had hidden it. After all, what soon-to-be five year old boy goes near an over-brimming laundry basket unprompted?

Though the cat was out of the bag, Dave and I figured we could at least keep the standard of waiting until Luke's actual birthday before opening the box.

Not so much.

At 10:30 Saturday evening and well past his bedtime, Reese padded downstairs where Dave was working.

"Dad, we have a problem?"

"What is it, son?" asks Dave, thinking the boys had been asleep for more than an hour.

"It's upstairs."

Dave obligingly goes upstairs only to find the lights still on and Lego, new Star Wars Lego, neatly arranged in piles on the carpet. Reese rapidly begins explaining,

"See, we put this flyer together and started on this ship, but we can't figure out the next step. Can you help us?"

Seeing Luke's rather glazed eyes, Dave thought it best to put the Lego-problem on hold until the morning. Tucking them in bed, he turned out the lights and headed back downstairs. Peace had settled over the house.

Trex impersonation
Until five minutes later when Reese again appeared downstairs.

"High five for getting that far, right, Dad? And can we get up early tomorrow morning to finish putting it together as a surprise for Luke?"

Yes, Reese. High five.

And happy birthday, Luke! You can now officially play with the Star Wars Lego...except we might have to hunt up the pieces because, you know, they've unofficially been played with already. ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ten years & a banner of love

Tomorrow marks 10 years that Dave and I have been married. How time has flown and yet it seems like it should be longer than only 10 years. Perhaps it has something to do with having four children in eight of those years...;)

In honor of this decade milestone and the fact that I finally hung up this:
above our bed (it only took me seven months!), I have a printable and tutorial to share.

I came up with this idea after seeing the simple and beautiful creations of this artist on etsy. Since I worked on this back in February, I went with a heart and love theme and based it on the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 which describes the attributes of love using the NIV version of the Bible. (My aunt - and godmother - read it on our wedding day.)

To make your own "Banner of Love," follow these instructions:

1. To get the template and save you time, go to my page on scribd. However, if you wanted to use a different version of the Bible or change the font, it's easy enough to create your own version using Word. If you need help with this, just send me an email.

2. Print out the pages and cut out the hearts.

3. Using a hole punch, punch out two holes in the top of each heart.

4. Now string the hearts into a garland (just make sure you're doing them in the same order as the passage ;) ). I used raffia but you can use any type of material to string them. I had to use several raffia pieces - I just knotted them together and made sure the knot was behind a heart.

5. Find a place to string them where you'd like a reminder of love. I liked the simplicity of hanging them above our bed - a reminder that God's banner over us is love.

linking with:


Wedding memory: My grandpa (the only one I knew as a child) had died in January of 2001. As a way to remember him and honor the long years of marriage celebrated by my grandparents, I wanted to have a bagpiper lead Dave and I down the aisle at the conclusion of the ceremony. My grandparents had done a similar thing when they got married in England during WWII while my grandpa was serving overseas. Bagpipers and wedding days are synonymous in my mind as a piper is prominently featured in one of their wedding pictures.

Somehow, there was a confusion in communication and we ended up having two pipers show up! And then, in all the wedding excitement, Dave forgot we were even having a piper at all and was rather startled when one began playing right behind us near the altar. I'm not sure being scared out of your wits is a great way to begin a marriage, but Dave has recovered nicely. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

found (updated - see bottom of post)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see
Lora from eager hands paired these familiar verses with this necklace she created and was offering as a giveaway.

It struck a chord with me, so I entered the giveaway.

Like John Newton, this is my story of faith. I was lost and blind, though I didn't know it.  To my then-aethiest mind, I thought I was doing quite well, and wasn't worried about my salvation...I carried with me the "assurance" that even if there was a heaven, I was bound to get in because I was basically a good person.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you don't carry around the belief yourself, but perhaps someone you know and love carries it with them.

But, oh, wrong it is.

And as hard (and to some ears, harsh) as this sounds, the only way we can be saved is through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Coming to God does not come through our own "goodness." It does not come with serving people like Jesus did...caring for the poor, healing the sick, welcoming all those who came to Him. It does not even come with reading the Bible, knowing every word and following it to the letter.

Salvation is a choice of the heart. It comes with believing some crazy story about God coming into this world as a baby, born in the lowliest of circumstances, growing into adulthood, then choosing to die in the most painful way possible in His time and then coming back to life after three days.
I struggle with believing this myself sometimes...mostly the "why Jesus dying and coming back to life part is how God chose to save the world" part.

I also struggle with the grace part. After living more than two decades of my life of believing what I did or did not do determined whether I was a "good girl," I find it hard to stop trying to earn my salvation. It's why I chose to name my etsy shop, Saved by Grace Designs, because every time I see the name, I am reminded of this verse:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV emphasis mine)


I also need God's continual reminders that He chose to give me sight and recognize my lostness. Which is why I'm excited the He chose to gift me Lora's necklace!

If, like me, you or someone you love needs a reminder of God's thoughts toward you, check out Lora's shop (and her blog) to see her amazing creations. I love knowing too that she prays over each one.

UPDATE: For all of you reading this post, Lora is offering a 15% discount for one week (through October 24, 2011) if you make a purchase from her etsy shop. Just enter FOUND in the coupon code. Thank you Lora!!!

And, if you aren't sure about this Jesus-thing or the other things of faiths I mentioned, I would be happy to dialogue with you...just leave a comment or send me an email: hungerandthirst(at)live(dot)com.

Monday, October 17, 2011

reap to sow: chapters 3 & 4

If you're just joining us (and we're so glad to have you along!), we're taking two chapter per week from the book, The Power of a Positive Mom: Revised Edition by Karol Ladd.

On Mondays we focus on reaping: What are we gleaning, discerning from the reading?
On Fridays we focus on sowing: What actions from the Power Points can we apply in our lives in order to become more positive mothers?
For the discussion from the first two chapters, please hop on over to Courtney's blog to read Monday's and Friday's installments.

And now, Chapters 3 & 4...

I couldn't help but laugh at the last sentence in the second paragraph in Chapter 4. Karol writes:

"Our challenge is to learn how to be the wind in [our children's] sails without blowing them off the course God has set for their lives."

I laughed because I could picture myself as God must see me sometimes...all enthusiasm and go-getter attitude, just raring to tackle what He has laid before me, but bringing a little too much of me to the table. To stick with the wind using a set of bellows to blow the fluff off a dandelion, when all that is needed is a gentle puff of breath.

And perhaps He permitted me that glimpse of humor because He knows He is the Safety Net to catch them and steer them back onto the course He has chartered for their lives.

What is more sobering to me is the idea of taking the wind out of their sails. Which is what I know I do when I fail to encourage, or worse, use harsh words to try and motivate.

Enter Chapter 3 (because reversing the chapters' order seems to fit with the reaping, then sowing theme ;) ).

I struggled with this chapter. There is something in me that resists the truth of its message, perhaps because acknowledging its truth requires a change in how I speak to my children when the going gets tough. A change that requires a lot of hard - and heart - work.

 It is easy to praise and encourage my children when they are walking in obedience. It is harder to do so when then are not. I am faced with the dilemma of seeing how yelling or threatening related consequences gets immediate results when kinds words failed to do so. Yet I want to meet the challenge of believing constant encouragement and words of love will motivate them to obey, because yelling doesn't exactly feel like Jesus to me.

If you are in the same place I am with this, thankfully, we have the Lord's encouragement through Karol's words and the Power Points at the end of the chapter. I will be praying that through this week, He will help all of us find ways to encourage our children in each moment. Good, bad or ugly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

homeschool journal: taking a page from unschooling

There have been times in our homeschool journey when I've seriously considered to attempt the unschooling approach. However, for someone who feels the pressure to meet the expectations of providing 900 literal hours of education and worries that "unschooling" would be perceived as not doing any hours of schooling, I've hesitated to jump into that pool. But I have dabbled my toes in the waters. If you unschool, I would love to hear how you shape your day, and especially how you tackle teaching subjects like math.

Like these past two weeks, where we strayed from our usual schedule partly because of the craft show I was preparing for, partly because it was too beautiful outside to think of staying inside and partly because I think we all needed a break from the routine.

And so we enjoyed...

a hike in the woods:

exploring a new park by the lake (with my sister and nephew):

and preparing fall crafts (still need to take the pictures ;) )


  • Bringing workbooks in the car while traveling between destinations gets alot of the work out of the way (and helps me feel a little less guilty about not sitting around a table to do school)

What's working:
Homeschooling. Though I do have moments of doubts and several where sending the kids away to school is tempting, God continues to bring affirmation and encouragement to me. The other day as we arrived at the craft store to buy supplies for our crafting party, Brianna said, "I think you made a good choice to homeschool us. Because I would miss you too." (She knows that one of the reasons for homeschooling is that I would miss them too much to have them gone all day, every day.)

What's not working:
1. Our schedule. Up to this week, I tried to fit in math and LA in the morning, leaving the fun and more exploratory subjects like science and history to the afternoons. However, with Ben conquering the last frontiers of opening doors and climbing over the gate between the kitchen and dining room, it is harder to teach these subjects distraction-free. And I can't blame him for wanting to be with us.

I also feel like Luke gets the short end of the stick too. He is old enough to play by himself and doesn't get into mischief, which means he often is left to himself for a couple hours in the morning. Good for Brie and Reese and time for focus. Not so good for him. Plus I know he would love for me to do school work with him.

So I'm prayerfully considering how we rearrange our schedule so Luke and Ben are included in our day and I have the quiet needed to teach Brianna and Reese new concepts.

2. Our Language Arts curriculum. I feel like I need to stick with the "Learning Language Arts Through Literature" this year because of the $ investment we made in it. But I would love to abandon it in favor of something else. And perhaps I will if I can find something that plans out our days, works for children in different grade levels and uses good literature as its base. The hunt is on...

Linking up with:The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Friday, October 14, 2011

reap to sow discussion day: chapters 1 & 2

I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed the first two chapters of the book and I'm looking forward to reading about which parts spoke most to your heart.

Courtney's hosting the discussion this week, so please hop on over to her blog to join in (even if you've never commented on a blog before, please consider doing for this series (even anonymously) will feel more conversational and knit us together in community :) ). I'll be sharing my sowing story over there in the comments section too.

Hope to see you back here on Monday when I host the next two chapters of "The Power of a Positive Mom."*

(*see Disclosure page on the right side bar) 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

through it

This past week has been one of the topsy-turvy kind of seems much of what I did or attempted to do was thwarted, leaving me frustrated and on edge.

Yesterday, after yelling at the kids several times before we even got well into our morning, it finally dawned on me I needed a time out to hash some things out in prayer with God. At the heart of my lack of patience was anger at God. I felt He had let me down, failing to speak clearly to me and direct my steps. I blamed Him for letting me go down paths that seemingly led nowhere. I blamed myself for failing once again to live up to the expectations of who I thought He wanted me to be. (For the record, I am putting these expectations on myself, they are in my mind and not the Lord's.) I cried out for understanding, something that would explain why every step seemed to be a misstep. Though He didn't shed any light in that moment, He settled my spirit so I could return to the kids in a much more loving state of mind than when I left them.

And then afternoon came and with it Ben's nap. Our routine is to read a few books of his choosing. Yesterday, Ben picked up "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," by Michael Rosen*. A book I've read so many times I can recite most of it from memory.

I started reading the familiar lines..."We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we're not scared."

If you know the story, you'll remember these lines are repeated throughout the book and are followed by challenges the children and their father face... grass, a river, mud, a forest, a snowstorm, a cave. Each challenge is met with these words: "We can't go over it, we can't go under it. Oh no, we have to go through it."

And that's when God spoke. I felt a nudge in my spirit to lean into the words, "we have to go through it."

Just in case I might have missed it, Ben asked to have the story read twice. And last night, He reminded me of those words again in a conversation with a friend and mentor.

"We have to go through it."

Until this very moment, I was focusing on the "going through it" part. I had accepted that yesterday - grateful God faithfully provided the clarity I sought, comforted He is doing a work in me that I know will be for His glory someday.

But apparently, I hadn't received the most important part of the message...the "we" part. I didn't see it yesterday, but thank you, Lord, I can see it now.

"We have to go through it."

Not me alone. Not even me with other people. But "we" - He and I. Praise God that He will not leave me, or any of us, alone to go through whatever challenges may come our way. Praise God that He wants to walk through it with us. And praise Him in belief the He will bring us through to the other side.

Be it...

long, wavy grass

a deep, cold river

thick, oozy mud

a deep, dark forest

a swirling, whirling snowstorm

or a narrow, gloomy cave.

(*see Disclosure page on the right side bar)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the kind of prayer epilogue

(If you read this post first, the following will make much more sense. ;) )

Well...God answered "no" to the first prayer. The weather was too wonderful for people to be inclined to be inside. If I didn't have to be there, I don't think I would have been there.

Yet, despite the boredom of the long day and doubts that I'd ever do another craft show again, I asked God about it afterward. Had I been in the wrong place? Were the lack of sales a reflection of my lack of in Him? Did I do something wrong? Was my attitude not pleasing to Him? Knowing He tests the conditions of our hearts, I often scrutinize mine. Probably obsessively.

Thankfully, His stillness thundered over the clamor going on inside my head. "You were exactly where I wanted you to be," He whispered.


And I still feel that with peaceful certainty - I was exactly where He wanted me to be and I can't imagine being anywhere else. It doesn't change the fact that it was hard to go through, but I'm grateful that God took the focus off of me (where did I go wrong) to Him (what is He going to do with this experience). In that alone, He already has answered the first part of my second prayer.

And I know He will answer the second part of it too. In His way and in His time. All I need to do is wait. And watch. And hope. And trust.

Monday, October 10, 2011

reap to sow: chapters 1 & 2

Yay! I'm so excited for us to begin The Power of a Positive Mom together. Courtney's started us off this week, please check out her blog for the first installment of Reap to Sow.

(Also, check out this post she still makes me smile how many times God brought this Scripture to mind for her. And maybe if you're waiting for confirmation on something from Him, this will boost your faith that He will answer...just ask. Then wait. Then watch to see how He loves to show up.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

the kind of prayer

For the past several months, I've been preparing for a craft show. It's my first and I've been crazy busy sewing and getting all the business side of things in order...labeling, pricing, signage, packaging, etc.

I've also been praying, praying and praying a little more that most (or all) of the items I've made would sell. Because my worst (crafting) nightmare is that I will have made all these items but am not able to sell them. his worry has even worked its way into my dreams...

A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed it rained so hard that nobody showed up because they thought the craft show was outdoors. (I checked and it's inside, but torrential downpours tend to dampen enthusiasm for venturing out of doors even if it's only from house to car to craft show.) So I began to pray for sun. And sunny it will be and warm too which leads me to the second mare-dream...

Plenty of people were at the craft show but were more interested in other activities and only a few people at the end of the show were remotely interested in even looking at my products. (A harvest festival will be going on at the same time as the craft show.)

Which leads me to an updated prayer...that people will be interested in buying rain or shine. I'm not sure if this a "praying in God's will" kind of prayer, but it's hard not to be praying that way. It's just where my heart is at right now.

I have an inkling God might be more inclined to say "yes" to this prayer: "Lord, please let me keep my focus on You alone. Please help me not to be concerned with whether people buy what I have made or not, but trust that you will find a home for each of these items in Your timing and in Your way. In Jesus name, Amen." 

If you read this and have a moment to pray, would you pray this for me? Perhaps my heart will be strengthened by prayers offered up by others. And in return, if there are any prayers you are having a hard time praying but feel might be in line with God's will, I would love to pray for you. You may leave these in the comments section or email me at if you would rather they not be public.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

rain or shine

My children often ask me, "Why does it have to rain today?"

"Because God decided we needed it to rain," is often my response. Though, I often wonder the same thing myself. After all, our area already has surpassed its average annual rainfall (AAR) three months before the year ends. And I've tried "reminding" God in my prayers that there are many areas in His world which could use our extra rain. I'd even settle for a little less than our AAR if it meant the easing of drought for starving nations.

But since His thoughts are not mine and His ways are higher than my own, I trust that He knows what He is doing. After all, He is piecing together this tapestry and I am only one thread.

What I have noticed is how much more I appreciate the warmth of the sun when I've gone without (we've just come out of a spell of cold, rainy weather). I am more apt to thank God deeply for the rays He pours down upon us and to drink in the sun, storing up the warmth for the darker, colder days which lay ahead.

I've also realized how my moods are affected by the weather. And while it is easier to be cheerful on a sunny day, I want to experience contentment and joy in any circumstance and whatever the weather. Which brings me back to resting in God alone. And that is always the best place to be. Rain or shine.

Monday, October 3, 2011

reap to sow: one week to go!

Hi all-
We're one week away before we dig into the goodness God has in store for us through the book, "The Power of a Positive Mom" by Karol Ladd.*

If you are planning on joining us, here's how it will work:
Meet us here (or Courtney's blog) every Monday to check out the chapters for that week - we'll take two at time. Courtney and I also will alternate sharing something related to the theme of those chapters. When it's Courtney's turn, I'll be sure to provide a link to her post.

Fridays will be discussion day and will center around the "Power Points" of each chapter - we'll pick the ones that spoke closely to our hearts and hope you will share your thoughts in the comments section - if you plan on writing a post on your own blog related to the chapters discussed, please feel free to include a link to it in your comment. We're hoping that by hosting the discussion in the comments section vs. a link party it will feel more like a conversation. :)

We hope you'll be able to join us in this adventure, but even if you're not able to read the book itself, we hope you'll pop in and glean something from the book just by reading our posts and the comments from other moms.

(*see Disclosure page on the right side bar)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

homeschool journal: gratitude and prayers

This week I am thankful for the structure homeschooling brings to our lives. We all have been battling colds - the kind that keeps you up at night and saps your energy during the day. So despite being foggier-of-mind, I found it helpful to have a focus to our days, to keep me on track and the kids from bouncing off the walls. In addition to the usual subjects, we managed to do our Australian animals studies on the dingo and frilled lizard. After watching this video, I think the frilled lizard is among my favorites.

Yesterday, however, I felt the nudge from God to give us all a day off. Originally, I had planned on this for next Friday in anticipation of a craft show I'm preparing for, but my Daddy knows me (and our kids) best and I'm grateful I didn't have to push through the school day given my cloudy head. 

Praying about...
This upcoming week and month. Dave begins a new job on Monday after two months of being home, which means we transition into another new season. While I tried not to rely on him to tend to Luke and Ben's needs while I schooled Brie and Reese, they inevitably spent many play hours in his home office. So with his return to an away-from-home office, my two youngest will be a little at loose ends until I get us all readjusted to a slightly modified routine.

Praying especially for ways to keep Luke and Ben entertained and the balance between having them be with us at the table and away playing by themselves.

And praying for D and me too...we both enjoyed having him home and while this job is something to be celebrated, I think we both hoped the work-from-home situation was something that would be sustainable. Perhaps in the future, but for now, it's not.

Linking with: The Homeschool Mother's Journal