Tuesday, February 24, 2009



Transliterated: Exodus
1. exit, departure
2. departure from life, decease

4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. –Colossians 3:4-5.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? -Hebrews 12:7.

For the past two months, I’ve been working in Covington, IN, which is about a 30 minute commute one-way. On bad-weather days, it can be a pain getting to work, but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed my time in the car.

Part of “redeeming the time” has been listening to the radio and playing cd’s. A close friend of mine handed me a cd by Andrew Peterson entitled, “Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to the songs, and their meaning is pretty deep. A recurring theme throughout the album was the nation of Israel anticipating Jesus Christ to free them from bondage. Interwoven with this theme is also a message for the believer: Anticipate Jesus Christ to free you from spiritual bondage.

What’s ironic about all this is that we’re beginning to study the book of Exodus. When I looked up the word Exodus, it means to exit or depart; the word is also used to describe physical death.

When I read that, the Lord began to deal with my heart… “there’s some things you’re going to have to leave behind, if you’re going to follow me. There are some things (habits/earthly desires) you must put to death.”

Okay. There might be a few things I need to deal with before I can/we can go on with the Lord. And with that in mind, I sat down and read chapter 1 of Exodus. That’s when this jumped out… “13 So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” Exodus 1:13-14.

My first thought was "hmm... dully noted, Lord-- let's avoid the whole bondage thing and get on with whatever you have for me." Unfortunately, I can be pretty stubborn; and it usually takes a degree of suffering to bring me to a place of submission.

Oftentimes, the Lord has to make us uncomfortable in order to get us to respond to His leading; He allows us to experience the consequences of living according to our earthly desires so we will turn and follow Him. He’s just simply preparing us to move on. For the Israelites, He allowed their lives to become bitter, hard and rigorous so they would want to leave Egypt… so they would be ready when He called.

Do you find yourself being afflicted? Has your life become bitter and full of rigor? Is there something you need to come away from and leave behind? Is there an earthly desire or habit that needs to be put to death? There’s a good chance the Lord is trying to get your attention. There’s a good chance He’s preparing you to move on.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blast From The Past

Here are our two oldest girls, wearing coats that originally belonged to my mother and her sister and were also worn by my two cousins. They were so careful with the coats Sunday as they trotted off to church. I know my mom and aunt will get a kick out of seeing their coats again!

And So It Begins...

What do you think? Will he survive three older sisters? They spent all morning trying different colored headbands on him. Next it will be his toe nails and some pretty pink polish...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things I Found While Cleaning Today...

I haven't cleaned our bedroom in, oh, say for-dash-ever. I mean other than just making the bed and picking up laundry (sometimes.) There are three of us camped out in there right now as Samuel is still sleeping next to our bed--oh, okay, truth be told he still sleeps IN the bed with us a couple nights a week! Anyway, it's amazing what you find whilst cleaning and de-cluttering:

Dust bunnies the size of my fist (all the way under the bed having a big party together)
Miscellaneous socks under the bed, dressers and at the bottom of the closet.
Lost shoes.
A library book I repeatedly assured the librarian over the phone had been returned ages ago (I had to call and apologize and return the book pronto!)
My journal
Expired coupons
Unopened mail (nothing serious, thankfully!)
A piece of jewelry I've been hunting for since we returned from Christmas vacation (I was certain it had been lost on the trip!)
3 pacifiers in need of a trip through the dishwasher
Misc. pony tail holders, barrettes, clips, and headbands

It was quite the treasure trove of sorts, but mostly embarrassing because I've neglected our poor bedroom for so long. Now, there are clean, fresh sheets, dusted furniture, floors that have been swept and mopped, tidy bookshelves, and a lovely candle glowing and scenting the room. I can't wait to go to bed! I will feel like a queen...

Sometimes our hearts get this way, too, don't they? We are so busy as wives and moms that we forget to clean our own hearts regularly. We accumulate things that don't belong there: fear, guilt, pride, resentment, prejudice....the list could go on. That's why a daily time with God is important (I'm remembering!) It isn't about "feeling" something special. It's about spending time with Someone special: Jesus Christ! Many mornings, I've not felt particularly connected to God, but through the day, my mind recalls His Word or I see answer to my prayers--even the half-hearted ones. It develops intimacy with God. It helps frame my day. It gives me the correct lens to see things as He does.

So, spend some time today, tomorrow, every day for that matter in the Word. Even if you don't feel like it. Let God begin to clean your heart and fill it with His love.

Thank You, Lord, for a clean bedroom and the opportunity to have a clean heart whenever I choose. Thanks for reminding me that it really is my choice and that You are always willing to oblige. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Red Envelope Day

If you want to participate in Red Envelope Day, March 31, 2009, I've copied some details below. The basic premise is to flood the White House with empty red envelopes addressed to the President, representing the millions of lives affected and destroyed by abortion. It's an easy yet powerful statement to our country's leader. I believe it is important for us to make such statements of faith. Hope you will join me!

What: Get red envelopes or postcards ( and mail them on March 31st to the White House
When: March 31st, 2009
Get a red envelope.
On the front, address it to:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500
On the back, write the following message:
This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion.It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world.

Barack Obama spoke at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event, uttering the now infamous line, "Well, the first thing I'd do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. [Applause.] That's the first thing that I'd do." An empty red envelope will send a message to President Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue [The Freedom of Choice Act, which will essentially “undo” every law currently in place to limit abortion in the U.S. (i.e., parental consent laws, parental notification, waiting periods, prohibition of transporting a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion, etc.)]. It will be quiet, but clear. Please read more about The Freedom of Choice Act here:

Sunday, February 15, 2009


We are grieving. We are remembering. We are thankful.

Yesterday, after an agonizing decision, we said good-bye to our beloved Elvis. Though he was a stinker dog--shedding everywhere, leaving muddy paw prints through the house, barking at every.single.person. he was still our dog and faithful to the end.

Friday, someone opened our back gate and let our dogs out. Our neighbor saw them and called Penny to her, but Elvis took off down the alley. At some point, he got into a fight with another dog and Animal Control was called. When the officer arrived, Elvis was the only dog to be found. Unfortunately, Elvis decided the officer was the enemy and attempted to attack him. The officer wasn't injured, but Elvis was transported to "dog jail" to cool off. In the mean time, we spoke with our vet who was able to peek in on him and reported that he just wasn't himself. After recounting to her how many incidents we've had with him in the last couple years (five unprovoked bites), she recommended that we consider putting him down. And the knot formed in our stomachs.

Yesterday, Charlie went to the shelter to visit Elvis and talk to the officer who had taken him in. After hearing the story and seeing the obvious distress our poor dog was in, there really was no other choice. He took Elvis for one last walk around the grassy yard of the shelter and said good-bye to him. When he came home, he said our dog was not the same dog. Something serious had happened to him. He couldn't be trusted. Charlie didn't want to risk his family's or any other family's safety keeping a dog around that had turned so aggressive. And we couldn't give him to another family in good conscience. We cried. We prayed. It was the responsible thing to do, but it left us with such heavy hearts.

We decided not to tell the girls until after their Valentine party. As we were doing our family bedtime routine last night, we told them. They cried which made us cry, too. We all held each other and grieved together. There is comfort in so many little bodies piled together. They asked all the usual questions: Is Elvis in heaven? Will we see him again? Where is his body? We answered the best we could, but continued to emphasize that he always belonged to the Lord and the Lord is taking care of him now. Emma being the absolute animal lover she is was devastated. She cried herself to sleep. Ruthie cried, too, but more because she felt so badly for Emma. Olivia didn't completely understand all that we were saying and was tired enough to cry from sheer fatigue. It was by far the hardest parenting moment either of us have faced.

But, this morning, we are rejoicing in the many years we had with our faithful friend. I will miss his familiar outline in the black night as we return home. I will miss his tail wagging in delight whenever he saw my husband's car pull in the drive. I will miss running with him. I will miss his kind eyes and face that always seemed to smile. Those are the images and memories I will take with me.

Thank You, Lord, for our faithful friend. For providing his companionship and comfort to us all these years. Bring comfort to our hearts now. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

...and missing envelopes

Yesterday, it was the crashing mirror. Today--it was missing envelopes. Charlie couldn't find the valentine envelopes I wanted him to mail today so I had to get up and search for them. And, since I was already up and didn't want to disturb Samuel climbing back into bed (though it was so inviting!), I was able to spend time in the Word again.

Thanks, Lord, for employing a variety of ways to get me out of bed. Thanks for knowing me so well...knowing it takes a mountain to move me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Power Steering

Today has been...challenging. I want to say "bad," but I'm trying to work on that whole negative attitude thing.

Last night at Bible study, I asked my sisters to keep me accountable for my quiet time. I've been on auto-pilot for awhile and the effects of that are invading other areas of my life and affecting other people. As the alarm went off this morning, I (too) easily decided to turn it off and roll over to my pillow instead of getting up to pray and read my Bible as planned. Then I heard a crash from somewhere in the house. I jumped out of bed, thinking one of the girls had fallen out of bed or down the stairs. Fortunately, it was just the mirror over our bathroom sink that had fallen somehow. I got the message clearly though. "Okay, Lord, I'm coming. Let's talk this morning."

And, if you've ever found yourself in the dangerous position of coasting spiritually, you know the thoughts that come and go in your mind: I'm okay. I'm going to church and Bible study. I'm listening to praise music in the car. I'm praying with the kids at night. God understands that I'm a busy mom and I don't really have the energy to get up early in the morning. Those are dangerous thoughts because they put you in a defensive position, trying to justify your inactivity. It's far better to be on the offense--eagerly pressing into the Lord and all He has for you.

Anyway, I got my day started in the Word and prayer, though it wasn't a particularly energetic or motivated heart that was participating. Still, I had faith that God would meet me where I was and change me. Emma and Ruthie had piano lessons this morning, so after dropping them off, the younger two and I did the dreaded monthly trip to Wal-Mart and headed back to pick up the big girls. Halfway there, I heard a thump and then lost the power steering. Then the temperature light came on and the dash started flashing all sorts of warning lights and dinging at me. I pulled onto the berm to be safe and turned the van off so it wouldn't overheat. I knew we needed to get home, but I had to pick the girls up first. Olivia and I prayed that we would make it to the piano lesson teacher's house and our home safely. And we did. I have the sore biceps to prove it! Have you ever driven a car without power steering? It could be an Olympic event, I tell you. It was scary not knowing if I had enough strength to turn corners safely. Or, to think that if I had to swerve to avoid another car, I probably wouldn't be able to do it.

And once we were home and I had time to think about it, I realized that coasting spiritually is a lot like trying to drive without power steering. You can still drive the car, but it's hard. Really, really hard. And, if you drive your car very long without power steering, the battery doesn't receive a charge and your car will eventually die. Same thing with God. If you spend too much time trying to accomplish your own will and way, eventually you won't be in touch with the Ultimate Power Source. Too many days I've tried to steer my own ship, plot my own course, use the wisdom and mind God has given to me for my own selfish desires, instead of looking to Him and letting His power flow through me and navigate me safely through the day. It's a tough lesson, but one I'm thankful to learn and hopeful that it won't need repeating!

Thanks, Lord...for waking me up this morning. For Your Word. For safety on the road. For reminding me to let You guide and lead me. And for giving Charlie the wisdom to know how to easily repair the van for us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 2/9/09

Okay, so technically it's Tuesday, but that's the week we seem to be having!

I posted about this genius meal plan system last week and I have to say between the ideas I gathered from that plan plus some others I've read about, I was able to morph them all together into this plan that works super for our family. Here are my tricks and my plan for the month:

1. Shop the deals for next month's menu. As I've been shopping, I've been able to take advantage of sales and bargains and put those to use for the next month's menu plan. For example, last month boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.88 a pound two separate times. I was also able to score a couple packages from our grocery's "Reduced for Quick Sale" bin for .98 cents a pound. This month, we're having a chicken night each week plus I'll have a package or two left in the freezer.

2. Cook in bulk when possible. I stumbled across this recipe for a beef mixture that can be used three different ways. By cooking it all at once and freezing it in meal-sized portions, I now have three easy meals for later this month. I have plans to do the same thing for chicken as well.

3. Post the plan on the fridge. When the plan is in plain sight my husband and I are less apt to choose to eat out. No plan=more unplanned eating out=less healthful eating=less money leftover at the end of the month.

4. Try new recipes. That has been especially helpful to me. I tire of making the same things over and over again. Trying a new recipe or a new way of making an old favorite keeps the chore of meal making more enjoyable.

5. Plan for the unexpected. I've been trying to schedule a casserole or soup each week that can be easily doubled or tripled, wrapped and frozen for future use. If we have an especially busy day or sick children or know of a family in need of a meal, it's right at my fingertips with very little preparation involved.

6. Pizza Night! Everyone enjoys a break so we plan to eat pizza once a week. The only stipulation is that I don't have to cook it! Sometimes we order it delivered, sometimes we eat at our favorite pizza parlor, sometimes we pick up take and bake, and sometimes my husband makes the BEST homemade pizza. It's a fun tradition and one carried over from my husband's family as well.

This is our plan for February (we were traveling some of the first few days of the month so I was pretty unorganized that first week...and we ate out too many times, too!)

Mondays (Mexican)
Side Dish: Corn
2/9 Beef Tacos
2/16 Tacozagna
2/23 Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole, Salad

Tuesdays (Chicken)
Side Dish: Green Beans
2/10 Orange Glazed Chicken, Brown Rice
2/17 Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
2/24 California Chicken, Brown Rice

"Must Go's!" (or clean out the refrigerator night!)

Thursdays (Italian)
Side Dish: Salad, Garlic Bread
2/12 Spaghetti and Meatballs
2/19 Lasagna
2/26 Mastaciolli

Fridays (Breakfast for Dinner)
Side Dish: Fruit Salad
2/13 Biscuits and Gravy
2/20 Breakfast Bake Casserole
2/27 Eggs, Toast, Bacon


Sundays (Soup, Salad, Sandwich)
2/15 Sloppy Joe's, Spinach Salad
2/22 Potato-Bean Soup, Cornbread
3/1 Chili, Cornbread, Spinach Salad

The only other comment I have is that I never imagined I would need to be this organized to feed my family! While this might seem like overkill to some, we have four children seven years old and under, no family closer than 3 hours away, we homeschool, and my husband works out of town. I must be organized to keep this ship afloat!

Thanks, Lord, for giving me wisdom and resources in this area. I ask for continued wisdom concerning our home and my homekeeping responsibilities. Guide me. Teach me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

To-Do List For the Stay-At-Home Mom Of Four

I'm a list-maker most of the time and here is my (almost) complete list of things to do for today:
1. Read Bible
(by the way, these two are always on my list and always in this order!)
3. Find Hello Kitty socks for Olivia since she's been asking for them for a week now.
4. Brush teeth--mine and theirs!
5. Take shower
6. Sweep and mop kitchen floor so socks don't stick to grape jelly tracks in front of fridge!
7. Call Mom
8. School
9. Make menus for next week
10. Make dinner

I try to keep the list to ten items or less so I can feel like I can actually accomplish the entire list. However, with a super-crab for a son who is teething, teething, teething...we only got #4, #6 and #8 done today. Thankfully, we were invited to dinner by friends who need to eat up leftovers, the laundry can sit until tomorrow, the socks...well, we'll try again tomorrow, my Mom will understand if I don't call today, I have a couple more days to review my menu plan and make a grocery list, and maybe I can hop in the shower before we leave for dinner. It's not getting #1 done that makes this day feel so...well, so unproductive. I need to work on that.

Thanks, Lord, for being with me in this day. Please comfort Samuel and help me to see where there is more time in my day to spend with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Genius Meal Planning Idea!

I've found it a bit difficult to stay on top of my menu planning since adding a fourth child. The time I used to use for such chores has evaporated! But, I did stumble across this genius plan, if you struggle with a plan as well. It works for us because it takes a lot of the guess work out of planning. Also, it plans about a month's worth of menus at once. Trust me! It's really easier than it sounds!


What could be more fun than four cousins, all dressed in pink, celebrating a birthday?!


I'm enjoying the sound of my dryer running. It's the only thing running in the house at the moment! No elephant noises coming from upstairs. No little bare feet racing from the front door to back door to front again. No treadmill whirring (though I should be hopping on there more often!) I'm exhaling. Whew...

This weekend, we picked up some "new" used furniture from my out of state family and brought it home. It was a huge ordeal, but the end is in sight! The kids and I spent all day today cleaning, rearranging, re-rearranging just trying to get the house sorted. I'm a nester. I like all my feathers to be in place. It may not make sense to anyone else, but the feathers need to be where I want them. My poor husband has learned to just let me do it. In the end, it all works out fairly well. When he came home tonight, I had all the furniture where I wanted and just needed to work on cleaning and putting things away. No dinner in waiting for my working guy, but he's clever. He had already planned to take the girls out for pizza!

So, I'm continuing to exhale and enjoying a few minutes of quiet. They are few and far between, but they do come now and then.