Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before Christmas

The morning before Christmas and all through the house not a single person was dressed
and had no desire to go out.
We stayed up very late and had lots of fun,
and now we feel tired and funky and I can motivate no one.
I'm avoiding a diaper and thinking I should bake
but jammies and cartoons are just looking so great.
I should be encouraging worship and thoughts of above
but all I can do is serf on these blogs.
My coffee has gone cold and I don't think I've eaten
But who really wants a egg that is beaten?
So, I'll jitter from my caffeine buzz and continue to be lazy
Because, hey, does it matter? My kids aren't going crazy.....yet anyway.

God bless you! Enjoy your family....dressed or not.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pictures....still figuring this out.











I could not get all the pictures in one post. I couldn't leave out the dragon bottom. Too cute.
I also needed to add our Christmas pageant. We are a secure family. As our church is currently lacking young men to play the roles in our program, Ella was a wise man and Harper was Jesus. It was a lovely performance. At one point Harper caught my eye and pointed at me and and waved super big. I was so proud. To my surprise, she is a rather adept winker as well. She used the performance for practice. Ella stated her lines loud and proud.
Enjoy the pictures. It will probably be another six months before any new ones surface. (hopefully not). One last thing. You'll notice a table of people sitting around my dining room table. These are people who are closer to us than family. They have adopted us and taken seriously their covenant vows to helping us raise our children. We are rich because of those who sit round our table and spend hours praying for our children and loving them in meaningful ways. They are at every major event in the lives of my children. For their love and friendship, we are immensely wealthy.

Update and Ladies Who Pee LOTS!
















Okay, so I've found a new blog to enjoy. Over at simplemom.net a great give away is taking place. But in order to enter one must leave a beauty tip. If you know me at all, you know I'm not much concerned with beauty. I brush my hair, oh, twice a week maybe. Well, anyhow, I read through the tips, and those ladies must pee a lot. Everybody has the drink water and be beautiful idea. And, sleep. Hmm, I must be beautiful. I drink tons, and who doesn't love sleep. Newborns. Ugh. Coming soon, ey....no sleep again for Kara. Okay, so there's my plug. If you pee and sleep, head over to simplemom.net and enter the conversation. You will see my very Jesus happy statement that says who needs the outside when Jesus makes me pretty. Very pastor's wife, ey. I'm working on it. Not really.

Okay, so I did my six month download of pictures. So I'll totally bore you with pictures of my sweet faces. This fall Harper turned four (I loved her 3), but 4 has been a blast too. Lake turned two....so, so, so sweet. BTW, the speech therapist gave us a gold star this week. He's doing great. Really coming along. And we went to a random fair where the girls had their faces painted and Halloween. Ella was Mary Ingalls; Harper was a (let me get this straight) a princess-flower-barbie....her own invention from dress-up, and could you just eat my little dragon. I kept taking pictures of his cute behind with a tail. So here you go. A new picture of the kids.










Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hanging in....

Okay, I couldn't let that last post stay my top post for too much longer. I'm feeling much better and the kids are on the mend. We've much to be thankful for even in our time of stress. The kids are currently playing sweetly together and Lake is absolutely fascinated with the Christmas tree. It's a fun time of year.

Something about this time of year causes me to feel extremely inadequate as a super mom. I look at all the amazing things you all are doing with your families and I feel very simple in my Christmas practices. I woke up this morning and asked Jason what I was supposed to do today with the kids? He didn't understand the question.

Nonetheless, my spritz cookies were a bomb yesterday....except for Lake eating all the batter every time I turned my head. It wasn't even that good. They wouldn't go through the tube, and I just cut them off and made a sort of short bread out of them. It's just okay. So today, before we go to speech therapy with Lake I'm going to go to the craft store to get some scrapbook paper to make some decorative cones. Who knows, maybe attempt two may be a success.

Well, sweet reader. My heart is much lighter. We are healthy and enjoying one another. Thank you for your love and concern. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where is Kara?

I have totally neglected this site. Truthfully, I think I will for a time. My heart just isn't in it lately. I love to write, I love the blog world, but I'm just totally too empty too write lately. I'll explain, try not to complain, and wish you all a wonderful holiday.

Thanksgiving was difficult. My family in Indiana celebrated what probably will be my grandmothers last Thanksgiving. Something she and mom and I always worked hard on together. I knew we wouldn't go because Jason had no vacation remaining, but the sting of missing the time was deeply felt.

We had planned to lessen missing home with the arrival of Angela and Dana and the five kids. The joy this family brings us is limitless. We love and enjoy much chaos together on the holidays. I stocked the cupboards and was eager to enjoy the twins, the big kids andcook grandmas best recipes. That plan didn't happen when everyone except me came down with walking pneumonia. After we went to the doctor, Lake had a seizure in the car. I'm sure it may be common, but, for me, it was terrifying. I can still hardly talk about it without tears. If you have ever held a child who is not breathing you will understand. He is better now, but we couldn't risk the Weaver family getting the same illness with two little babies in the mix.

So, alone, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal, and everyone except me was too ill to even eat. Sickness and all I had so much to be thankful for with Lake home from the hospital and everyone slowly getting better....It was just a hard holiday.

My parents emptied my grandparents farm over Thanksgiving to make space for renters. My favorite place on earth is no longer what it once was. It lives in my mind, but knowing it isn't there anymore is difficult for my sentimental heart. My grandma (my hero) is failing. And though she is more than ready to go home to Jesus, I don't want her to go. My dad brought me special things from their house that I'm having a hard time living with.

So, dear reader, my heart is just too heavy these days to be much of a cheerful holiday writer. I'll leave it to the experts and do my best to not be grumpy through my sadness. I'll be back after Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Messy Messy!

i tell you what. Family is messy. Is it not? So, this Thanksgiving I'm going to be thankful for the messiness of my family. Norman Rockwell does not reside at my house. Martha Stewart forgot to show up....Unless we are talking about the Martha from the pokey...she can come.

The other day we had a young lady to dinner and she was lamenting the struggles of her family. She looked at Jason and I and said I'm sorry my family is such a mess. We literally laughed out loud. What this young lady didn't know is that both Jason and I daily deal with the messiness of our families. They just don't live here in our town, so it's not evident too everyone. But we enjoy daily drama comparable to daytime television.

I'm here to say I wouldn't trade it all for a neater, normal version. The lessons I've learned through the junk, sin, and sorrow of my family has shaped who I am today. And I love my family. I wouldn't trade a single one of them. I would trade some of their painful choices and Godless living, but trade them, never.

So this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for the mess of the Tippetts/Thewlies family. I'm thankful for the trials we are currently facing, I'm thankful for the crazy, the random, the painful, the hurt. May the trials ever point me to my perfect Father. I pray as you love your messy family today that your don't allow the mess to create a bitter, hardness of heart in your life. I pray that you would remember your own messiness and depravity showing your own hearts need for a saviour this holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mooshy Heart

Can I tell you nothing, and I mean nothing, softens my heart quicker than a little boy trying his best not to cry. Today at CC (classical conversations) I spotted a little boy looking forlorn and broken. I sat down beside him to find out that his body parts for a big project were MIA. He turned his face away trying not to show his broken heart. If I could have, in that moment, I would have ripped out my own organs for his project. His bottom lip was quivering and he was desperate for me to stop being kind to him so he could go back to the hard work of not crying. It just about killed me. His sweet mom came and hug, hug, hugged him and explained what happened.

I tell you if I could bottle the sweet preciousness of a broken heart I would. I would wear it around my neck close to my heart. We all try our best to avoid pain and brokenness when it is usually just the thing we need to return to sweet communion with our Saviour. So often we walk around with hard, grumpy hearts trying not to show our bottom quivering lip. Brokenness is okay, who needs to have it all together? Not me, not in this season of my life. I just can't hold it in anymore. Come on tears!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Midnight Confessions of Not a Super Mom

Yes, it's late, no, I'm not sleeping. I'm awake, not sure why, but pondering all that I have to do and wondering if my plate isn't a bit too full. This all must sound very redundant and repetitive to all my readers.

This homeschooling thing is great and terrible, wonderful and exhausting, amazing and frustrating. It's what I've wanted and nothing I imagined. Mostly, I'm pregnant and tired, which, as you know, I didn't really factor into this year. Today I started Ella on a longish assignment and snuck into bed with Harper. What?

I read these blogs with women who have ten children, have a clean house, grind their own wheat for bread, and teach at home. Is a drug on the market I don't know about? How do they do it? I'm not sure that I can. Realizing this doesn't mean I'm a failure or that homeschooling is a terrible idea. I actually love it, but the limitations I foresee are in me. Tonight I'm realizing that maybe next year it may not be in the cards for this family. I have a little boy who needs time and patience to learn to talk and a new baby needing my whole being....in the middle of the night no less. I don't have family close willing to pitch in, and Jason does so much already. Tonight I'm ready to look at all our options.

So before I sneak off for a nap tomorrow, I'll be spending some time thinking about next year...maybe even next semester.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Praise Be!


Proverbs 11:21,24-25
The offspring of the righteous will be delivered.....One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Ella and I read Proverbs 11 together and it was so full we could hardly pick a favorite verse to copy this morning for handwriting.

The good news for this cloudy, cold morning is that Harper Joy prayed to ask Jesus to come into her heart and forgive her of her sins last night with her daddy. I was busily working at CVS scouting out the deals, when a little voice called me. She said, "Mommy, I asked Jesus in my heart, I cleaned the playroom, and can we go to Dylan's house?" The mind of a four year old is something to behold.

The gospel is ever present in our home. We use several moments in our day to explain to our children their need for Christ, our need for Christ as parents, and the many other people in our lives need for Christ. When our child is disciplined we explain sin and how we all have a need for a saviour. If we simply addressed behavior in our children they would become legalist who have no need for a heart change, simply a Pharisee learning how to perform.

Harper has a lifetime to go to understand what she did last night. The Lord has begun a great work in her long before yesterday. She is a child of the Covenant and the rich blessings of the Lord will be with her throughout her days. Pray for her young heart that she would desire to be faithful to Christ, hate sin, and live in the freedom of knowing Jesus. Praise Be!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Puzzled!

How do you manage the puzzles in your home? I realize that my way is certainly not the best way to encourage actually doing the puzzles. That has now all changed. My sweet number three has found the puzzle stash in my antique cabinet, and he is adept at opening it. Puzzles now cover every surface of my home.

It seems like an exciting time in our home. But the mess is likely to set me over the edge. I certainly do not have a perfectly clean home. Messes abound in corners, on counters, in the laundry room, on bookshelves, and in not so secret drawers all through the house. But puzzle pieces...they make me nutty. I hate missing pieces to our puzzles. But this seems better, they are actually DOING the puzzles. Isn't that the point.

I need a better plan. Managing kids, puzzles, my own quirks and this home can be daunting.

Just one last random thought. Yesterday, in church, our pastor was expressing appreciation for Jason and his hard work passing his test. He mentioned all that Jason does and in his list he talked about how he is going to soon have a fourth child. I don't know why it struck me, but hearing that we will be having four children took my breath away. My body has certainly been telling me it's coming, but somehow yesterday...hearing it from the pulpit really struck me. I still haven't wrapped my mind around this addition. On that point, if anyone has any boy name suggestions...I'm all ears. Not that we think it is a boy....we just have many more ideas for girl names. Boy names are so hard. Especially if you want a unique name. And just to irritate you all, we never find out the sex of our babies. Especially you Autumn.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who's Coming to Dinner

When is the last time you had someone to your house for dinner? What keeps you from opening your home to someone else? Have you ever thought of what you are missing by being isolated. Do you ever feel like you are lacking community, but you want someone else to fix it for you? Do you feel disconnected from your church family?

I think we can make many correlations from opening our homes to opening our hearts to others and Christ. I think many of us believe if I hide my cold, hard heart then no one will see it. If I shelter my pain, it will lessen. If I withdrawal from others they will see that I need someone to bring me out of myself.

I challenge you. Open your home. Not to impress....I actually challenge you not to impress anyone. Just open your home and consider being willing to be venerable about your struggles and strengths. No complaining about failures of others, just honest talk. No gossip.

Here is the question Jenny Gates asked me that always, always stopped me in my tracks and brought me instantly to tears. How is your heart? I have found it is a tough question to ask. It is a tough question to be asked, but isn't it our greatest need....to have our heart loved and cared for in a real way. More than what you put on the menu, be sure to ask the hard question. How is your heart? How can I encourage you today? Do you know you are loved today? How? Pass the salt.

So, grow your heart, make a pot of soup. Ask the person next to you at church if they could come by for lunch. If they can't, ask someone else. Tommorrow we are having a young college couple newly facing the challenges of love. I can hardly wait.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Miss Nasty

Oh, what a failure I am. Morning by morning new sins I enjoy. Morning by morning new ugly I see. Morning by morning....new Miss Nasty awakes. Okay, so it's Morning by morning new mercies I see. But I don't see them. I don't look for them. I get woken before 6a.m. and the depraved, ugly side of me rears it's head to my husband.

I'm embarrassed to say how badly I acted this morning toward Jason before he left for his very important final licensure test. I can write about it now because I have repented, my husband has forgiven me, and I am now holding myself accountable by sharing my ugly to my tens and tens of readers.

Jason was in a flurry of getting ready for the men's retreat, his final tests before presbytery, and his Friday morning Bible study. He hates getting ready in the morning without wearing shoes. We have hardwood floors. You get the picture. All I could lay there and think when I heard him busily getting ready, was not... get out of bed and help. Not.... make him a cup of coffee Not... get out of bed to pray with him. It was simply the selfish, angry, when are those loud shoes going to wake up Lake? And, doesn't he know I'm going to be here alone with the kids for two days?

You can imagine what happened. Lake awake....5:45a.m., mom mad, Jason stressed and wanting kindness....not a pretty picture, ey.

I called my good friend and confessed. She was great! She stopped me, prayed for Jason's difficult day, and we laughed a bit over my bad, embarrassing behavior. But, she made no excuses for it. Thank you Autumn. I then got off the phone, called and repented to my husband. Who, thankfully, forgave me.

I hate these lost opportunities to love our husbands well. They can be loud and goofy, but we are quiet and grumpy. I hate how I behaved, and want to better next time. Just because it's early and more difficult for me to be kind does not give me an excuse to forsake the high calling of "love is kind." It's in those difficult moments that love really counts, not when it is easy.

So, I blew it today, I pray that tomorrow when I wake up without the help of my husband, my heart will be kind to my household. Pray for me. I hope you have had victories of kindness today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Little Pills


My husband and I regularly offer our children "little pills." We give them vitamins, but we tell them they are used to keep them small. We so cherish this time with our children. We know it is fleeting and full. We are especially enjoying right now because all of the children are sleeping through the night. We know when #4 comes our nights will be long. So, before I'm huge and uncomfortable or with newborn and tired, I'm going to use this blog to cherish my children.


Last week I wrote about Ella Grace our oldest daughter. I have spent the afternoon with my sweet ticket number two. Harper Joy Sonnet Tippetts. For a little person, she has a big name. And little she is. Last week she put on her bothers 18 month pants and the fit. They were short, but they were actually big around the waist.


She is a yummy little bite of sweet sweet, love. She has many quirky speech issues that are endearing and she is my lap child. She has the cutest space between her front teeth and she often tells me she has an "impertinent question." She means important, but I just cannot bring myself to correct her.


In public, she is quiet and a bit shy. In private, watch out! When, in a group, she doesn't seek attention, but she notices everything. She remembers things to the most minute detail. She wakes up kind and doesn't need a nap in order to have a good attitude. She struggles sharing with her brother, but adores her big sister. She is intense with her schooling. She loves handwriting. She always wants to be the first to pray. Not really for the love of prayer, but more the love of being first. I'll take it how I can get it. Her prayers are sweet and long.


What a gift our children are!

A Heavy Heart

Are you this morning thirsting for the living God, and unhappy because you cannot find him to the delight of your heart? Have you lost the joy of religion, and is this your prayer, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation"? Are you conscious also that you are barren like the dry ground; that you are not bringing forth the fruit unto God which he has a right to expect of you; that you are not so useful in the Church, or in the world, as your heart desires to be? Then here is exactly the promise which you need, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty." You shall receive the grace you so much require, and you shall have it to the utmost reach of your needs. Water refreshes the thirsty: you shall be refreshed; your desires shall be gratified. Water quickens sleeping vegetable life: your life shall be quickened by fresh grace.....Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you shall enjoy it to the full.
Morning by Morning Charles H. Spurgeon

My heart is a bit heavy and uncertain this morning. My greatest fear is that life in it's most tender form will be further threatened. So, for the unborn my heart is a heavy. I do fear current laws against partial birth abortion will be overturned.

That said, I also do not think this came as a surprise to the Lord. I still know Him today as I did yesterday. I woke up with the freedom to read and pray and enjoy my coffee this morning. I am still at liberty to teach my children at home and the day is shaping up to be beautiful. My heart may be heavy today, but today I still have much to be thankful for in my life. He is still on the throne, and still very concerned about the affairs of my day, more importantly, the state of my heart. I do not wish for my soul to become hard and unkind. I may disagree, but I will not become ugly in the process. I hope to remain soft and kind in the conversation about the future of this country. I will certainly be praying for our new elected officials.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2Cor:12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God's work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness......God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength.....That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth he casteth away; he will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that thou hast before he will put his own into thee; he will first clean out thy granaries before he will fill them with the finest of wheat....The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which he himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.
Morning by Morning By Charles H. Spurgeon

A broken, deflated spirit is not something to forsake. We spend so much of our daily energy chasing after happiness and forget the lessons of the season of suffering we are facing. We are in the pursuit of filling ourselves up in order to reach that point of what we think, must be the joy we are after or are deserved. As believers, we should seek fervently after being emptied of ourselves in order to be used by the Lord. When the false pursuit of happiness fades a true, mature understanding of who Christ is can enter into our lives.....The daily mundane moments of our lives. So, here's to expecting the Lord today more that my own satisfaction and pleasure.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I've Been Tagged


Okay, here goes. I've been tagged before, but I didn't really know what it meant. So this is my first attempt at one of these. Thanks Amy. It's been making me tabulate my random thoughts....Which lately, they all feel random. And on a loop. Does that ever happen to any of you? The same thoughts repeating in my head over and over. It could be the drugs, the pregnancy, or just all the crazy in my mom brain. So here goes. Seven things you may or may not know about me.


1. Makeup. I don't get it. I don't. I know I would be improved by it, but I truly cannot wrap my mind around how it works. When I say this, people always go on about natural beauty and you don't need it yadda, yadda, yadda. I totally disagree (which, I know, they must also). I don't have good skin, I really could use some color, and I see really pretty makeup out there. So I'm really not hunting a compliment. I don't get it. I don't know when I would put it on during my day. I don't really know what to buy, and I am terrible at getting in the habit of doing anything besides snuggling, reading and drinking coffee. Oh, and having babies I guess.


2. I'm a tomboy through and through. Hence above issues. But I don't like the term tomboy really. I'm Kara. Kara Tippetts to be exact. I've never thought of myself as a boy, I've always enjoyed being a girl. Except when I got these enormous boobs. Then, I felt like my body did a major betrayal to me. No matter, I've always just felt like me. Luckily Jason met me as a backpack guide when I went unshowered for weeks at a time. I like pretty things, I just don't need them to feel complete. My sister is the beauty in our family. I love seeing her look great. I love her nice things, but I do not covet them. I feel so glad for her, because she is who she is. It has always been so great that we are so different. We have such a freedom in our relationship because of that. She could not wrap her mind around being me, and I couldn't imagine being her. But I am so VERY thankful that she is my sister, I wouldn't want another me to deal with in this world.


3. I love people. I love really knowing people. I sometimes feel limited in the time I have to know people in a real way. I don't like casual relationships, and will rarely enter into surface conversation. I like asking hard questions. I like knowing the struggles of others. I feel encouraged when someone shares a heavy burden with me they have never turned loose. I feel thankful for people who are truthful about pain and not trying to cover it up with false happy.


4. I love cooking, but mostly because dinner is a place #3 happens in our home. The food is icing. I like people in my home. I hope when my kids are older, our house will be full of kids staying into the wee hours just to have a place to have fun, be honest, and feel safe.


5. I have always wanted to write a book. It would be based on my hero. If you read this blog you should know who that is. Other than Jason.... I love, love, love books. I see a book I've read and loved and feel sad that I've met it. Sometimes I say to the book, (in my head), "I wish I hadn't already met you, I sure could use a book like you in my life right now." I could re-read it, but it's just not the same. I think books and authors stretch my mind and heart in ways that is so personal and encouraging that I will always make time to read. I especially love a male author that captures female characters in real, meaningful, tender ways. I think they are men I would like to know. I think they must be like Jason. Like my new favorite friend Wendell Berry. Amy, if you can't get him, let me know...I ship a new friend to you.


6. I have gotten my daughter out of bed in the middle of the night to apologize to her about a bad attitude or sin that I've hurt her with. It's often in the quiet before sleep where God gently shows me the ugly in my heart. I sneak into her bed in tears and we have a sweet quiet conversation together. I always re-apologize in the morning, but I want her to know how very important saying I'm sorry to her really is to me. I'm very thankful for the moments the Lord speaks in the still small voice to soften my heart. Oh, by the way, Jason has had many a middle of the night apology too. Or the sudden waking up, where I tell him he isn't allowed to die. Have any of you done that?


7. Final random thought, I don't like being around women who are negative and sarcastic about their husbands. Or women who talk like sex is a chore instead of a gift....and great fun! I invite women to share struggles in their marriage if they are looking for ways to love their husbands better, but not if they are just wanting to vent and be hateful. Someone once told me to keep from circles of women who speak ill of their husbands. That advice has served me well. I certainly do not have a perfect marriage or husband, but it is my desire to esteem my husband with my speech, actions, and attitudes. I enjoy having friends that do the same for me. When I can share a particularly difficult season in my marriage and they help me brainstorm ways for me to be kind to and love Jason better, rather than jump on the grumpy train with me.
So, I have a lot of people I'd like to tag, but not a lot that actually blog. First, Angela, you have a blog, or you should get one started. She is my sister-in-law (love). I would love to hear the random thoughts that are sneaking around in her awesome, tired mommy brain.

Megan and Jess, two wonderful writers and friends from my camp days. I feel like I almost know them better now through blogging than I did at camp. They have both changed and are both so much the same. We have all married our camp loves. Craig, I would tag you, but I just don't see you doing this. You could surprise me though.

Monica, a new blog friend from Homespun Heart. We have never met, but have many mutual friends. I love your heart.

Now, people that should have a blog so I can read what you have to say...Autumn and Jonna, but I'm glad I get to hear your voices almost every day. That's it Amy, I hope I did you proud. I'm tired and slow at linking. I'll try and figure it out in the morning.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eleanor Grace


I have never had the perspective that any one form of education is better than another. So far, we have done private school, we are currently homeschooling, and see the prospect of public school to be a good option too. We have always said one year at a time. We prayerfully decide year by year. We try to be careful and prayerful about these decisions. They have not been easy, and no option is perfect this side of heaven.

Ella has missed her friends from school last year, but has also made new friendships that she enjoys. What I love most about this year is the nearness and time I have with Ella. She has grown in affection and gentleness. She has always been very kind hearted, but the time at home this year has certainly brought the two of us closer. We talked yesterday about how she prefers her school but really does like the time at home as a family. She said she would like to be at school, but would miss being here. Very mature. I understand. Change is hard for all of us.

During that conversation, I looked at her and told her my favorite part of teaching her is that I really like her. I do. I really like who she is as a person. I like who she is becoming. I like talking to her. I love hours of reading together. We cry about the same things. We talk about things that I find fascinating. She enjoys helping with her siblings and plays such creative games with them. And laugh, Ella has the BEST laugh. It is loud, high, and terrific. I can be three rooms away and hear it. My favorite is at night when she and her sister are in bed giggling from their room. It's music to my ears.

To sum this year up, it's been hard, it hasn't been all that I've expected it to be. But the time getting to know Ella in a new way has been priceless. She encourages me to want to be a better teacher. Most of all, I really, truly enjoy my daughter. Who knows what next year will hold, but this has been a worthy year learning about my daughter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Crazy

Okay, it's somewhere around 5am. I do not think I slept at all. I snuggled a lot, wanted to sleep, fretted over what a bad day it would be without sleep, then at last got out of bed and came to look up the side-effects of prednisone. I really didn't want to take this medication, and now I'm freaked out that the baby is in danger. All that I've seen says it's okay, but no conclusive tests are known. But I should really be on calcium. I should be anyway.

So, today I am tutoring for Classical Conversations and I have about three things I'm mildly dreading. One, I haven't slept. Two, the tin whistle and four and five year olds. Three about ten color sheets to complete from the My Body series....not to mention reproduction. Boys you color the testicles girls you color the uterus. It doesn't embarrass me, but how will the kids react. I'll let you know. And I just can't come up with something creative to do with the science sentence today.

I just could crawl out of my skin right now. If I could, I think I would slip inside of my second born daughter. She sleeps so sound and peacefully. I would have energy and spunk and be always ready for a snuggle and lots of kisses. Only a bit overly concerned with getting my way, but I'm used to that.

If you could trade skin, who would you be? Actually, I would just take someone asleep with pleasant dreams. Happy day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drugged Ramblings

Okay, I must confess, I'm totally drugged. I wish you could have seen me Monday morning. I looked like Igor. My eye was completely swollen shut with poison ivy. I am now convinced that I don't have to even touch the stuff to get it.

Well, as you know, I'm pregnant. I did everything in my small, minute power not to have to take steroids. They make me crazy. They make me nutty! Did I say, I'm not at all normal on them. I don't sleep, I talk at a much faster rate than normal(which, I might add is fast), and my already somewhat intense personality gets shoved into overdrive.

You guessed it. I'm on them. Now I'm up, not sleeping, messing with this blog and going absolutely nutty! I want to sleep, I want to solve the many problems that keep repeating themselves through my head.

Here are the things I don't have figured out(sometimes lists help):

What is going to happen after the elections?
Should I be worried?
Why are people I know, respect and admire stockpiling food?
Should I?
Why do things seem so slow and difficult for me lately?
Am I getting older? Is that what this is about?
Is my daughter learning anything?
Is farm life really the Utopia I make it out to be?
Will I ever meet Wendall Berry?
Did I spell Wendell wrong?
What will my kids grow up to be?
Will they love Jesus?
Will they have soft, kind hearts?
Will I live closely to them?
Will I be an involved grandparent?
Will my kids grandparents ever really know my children?
Should I not have eaten that sushi?

Oh, I have so many things floating through this head of mine. And now it's just going at a speed that makes me feel unraveled and unnerved. Thanks steroids.

This is my last thought. All this debt. All this foolish debt. I want to stand up and say... Yes, I too am an idiot that spent more than I should have. That paid for the first year of seminary in a way I still regret and feel as though we will never be out from under. The weight is mine/ours to carry. Lord, I repent. I have been foolish. Help me to stop. Is the government to blame? Why can't we take responsibility? Please don't fix it. I need to fix me. If you can't afford a house. Don't buy it. If you can't afford new books to homeschool...don't justify it. Just work on being nicer to the library people that don't like you, because you actually like to check out books. Stop calling them bad names in your mind.

Oh my, so sorry prized blog reader. It's a drug issue. I wanted you to see inside my head. Pray for Jason!

HE PASSED! PRAISE GOD!


I'm so very proud of my guy! He came home last night tired and wired. I'm sure as he deflates from the night more and more of the details of the two hour oral exam will come out, but last night was just for a quick process.


It was hard and he was nervous. I asked when he stopped being nervous. He said, "never." I can't even imagine such a test before such godly men. Thankfully, they were a gracious group. Joel Belz, the editor of World Magazine, was on the committee and offered real encouragement to Jason, as did all the men of the committee. Thank you.


When it was finished Jason said he felt like he did terrible. The men on the committee he was talking to said everyone feels like that. I know he did great. I'm so proud of him.
Jason, you wear so many hats, and you are so faithful. I'm so glad I'm on this journey with you. I know how hard you worked for this. The Lord's faithfulness to your call has strengthened my faith. I love you. I'm glad you chose me from "all the women in the world." That's what he tells the kids. hee,hee. Aren't I just the most blessed woman? I told Jason last night my blog is becoming an Ode to Jason. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tonight is the night!

Jason has worked hard at seminary for the past five years. Longer if you think of the time he spent in seminary in Colorado. Tonight he goes for a test before our credentials committee to take the licensure test. He has been studying so hard and working so hard to do well on this test. He decided to sit for the test with only three weeks to prepare, but he has been diligent for the past weeks preparing. That said, it is so much information that will be covered. He is humbled by the amount of material that will be covered. I am very proud of the hard work he has done, and we are both ready to be past tonight. Pass or fail we are ready for the next chapter. If he fails he will continue his studies and take the test again. If he passes he will be able to preach regularly.

His next huge obstacle will be ordination. He will be graduated and sitting for the ordination examination May 2010. Almost seven years in the works. Jason I'm very proud of your hard work. You are a faithful man. You never sacrificed your family with all the responsibilities you carry. No matter the outcome, I'm very thankful for you. I love you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reality Check Always Needed!

Last week's fears with school proved to be a great reality check for me. This week has proved to be so much better for the entire family. I have been intentional about play, learning, reading, and fun. Yesterday we stayed at CC with other families and played for nearly three hours. I had never thought of putting Lake to bed there and letting the girls play with their friends. I'm a little slow on the uptake.

We also went for a hike, and someone gave me some great ideas as to how to make our history more fun. Ella and I also read an amazing story together....Edward Tulane, oh my, we cried our eyes out. It was really a beautiful story. We were so spent from crying, we decided to call it a day and play. We could hardly even discuss the book we were so broken over the beautiful story.

Friday is always our family day. We work hard, clean a bunch, and have a fun evening of playing as a family. We cook together and plan some activity. I'm not sure what we'll do tonight, but I'm always excited for Friday.

Please pray for Jason. This Monday is his licensure test. It's a killer, and he's been working so hard to prepare. But it covers the entire Bible and the Westminster Confession and theology. His plate is more than full, but I trust he will do well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home School Fears

I do my very best to be transparent in my life, but when it really is a fear I stay silent. Then, I pray, and then I tell Jason to help me weed through the lies I'm hearing. Well, I've been plagued by my fears since Friday.

Last Friday, I took my girls to the Fall Festival at Ella's old school. We had a ball for $10. They put on a great party, and the girls came away with grins and giggles about the evening. They had a face painting artist. She was amazing. The girls tried to sleep in the stuff. Now we have messy sheet, and I swear it's still in Ella's eyebrows. No less, we had fun.

But the next morning after seeing all her old friends, Ella asked me if she could return to school. Gulp, double GULP. My heart broke, but I also wasn't surprised. I told her that we had decided to take education one year at a time. Then I began my fretting journey. Sunday night I had a text marathon with my friend, saying my fears, out loud....kind of, I suppose.

It really did make me realize that school has been something we get through lately. We cram all the subjects in before I'm so sick I can't function. That's not any fun! When I pictured this year it certainly isn't how it is actually going now. It caused me to really evaluate what I'm doing and how I can improve.

Here's what I came up with just quickly. Have fun, have fun, and take a break to have fun! Now that I'm feeling better, this gut check came at the perfect time. Personally, I have seen Ella blossom here at home, but the sting of old friends is a real one. So I'm on a mission to find a like-minded mommy here in town to play with through the week. Please pray with me to that end. I'm slowing down on the rush of school, and we are going to take our time and enjoy being here.

On the heals of this, yesterday, Jason came home for lunch. We all sat around the table to eat together with not one missing. I felt very thankful. Really, not only to be able to have dinner together but also lunch. It is truly a gift that may not always be here for our family.

So I've said it out loud. I want to do better, and I also understand where Ella is coming from. We love our CC group, but it's 40 minutes away and many of those families are too far for us to participate in the daily lives of one another.

Okay I'll stop my ramblings and fears. Off to ruin my children with school. Not really, but what are your mom fears?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chores

I realize that I haven't written anything lately about parenting. Perhaps I haven't felt up to the task feeling so sick. But in the midst of feeling badly, I have been surprised at the ability of my children to do work well.

Jason has rallied the troops to do things I didn't think they were capable of on a daily basis. I have been impressed and amazed. Jason has taken over the daunting task of laundry. Maybe he just likes clean clothes. Who knew? Everyday he places the clean clothes on the couch and the girls have folded and put away all the clothes. WHAT! REALLY! WOW! Not only that, they have great pride in their contribution. Ella gives Harper the smaller things, and the large sheets they save for Jason.

It's not perfect, but really....does that matter? I have also found that Ella is excellent at putting away silverware while I put the rest in the high cabinets. I love it. I love having her in the kitchen. It's priceless time and it has caused me to think of ways I can include her in the kitchen. She wants to be there, and I love her company.

I have recently taken off their top sheet to help them in making their beds. Every morning they work diligently to get through their morning chores. If only I could be this efficient!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Weekend


Some weekends are mellow, but rarely. This was a particularly busy weekend. With a wedding, 50th wedding anniversary and church, we felt very busy. It is always a joy to celebrate unions, new and old, but this morning Jason and I stayed in bed trying to prolong the weekend....if only for a moment. The kids were ready for breakfast, school was calling me to get started, and the coffee needed to be made, but we stalled. Jason even got up, poured the cereal and jumped back under the covers. Which I'll tell you, never, never happens. He must be tired.

Jason is under a lot of strain the next couple of weeks. He's finishing up a difficult Hebrew 2 class, and he's studying for a licensure test in our Western Carolina Presbytery. He's a bit overwhelmed. I'm not sure how he gets out of bed at all. When my plate feels too full I tend to shut down.

What I love, love, love about this morning, it's finally cold like Fall is supposed to be. Our heat actually kicked on this morning. The leaves are amazing, and the chill finally arrived! I did not like the 80 heat wave that passed through here. This morning I told Harper that she had to put on jeans. She came in with a pair of capri's on that I hadn't ever seen. They were cute on her. Then I realized they are her little brothers 18 month old jeans. Funny thing, they fit. She's so tiny. I'm not willing to fight the battle. Baby jeans it is today.

Enjoy your beautiful day. I hope it's chilly where you live.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Any Answers?

My little guy and I are headed to the speech therapist today to have him evaluated. We now know he can hear. Earlier this week I thought he had another ear infection, which he doesn't. Thankfully! Today we are seeing a therapist, and I'm eager to hear what they have to say.
In the past month, he really has been trying new sounds or parts of sounds to describe things. He is still hesitant to parrot anything. When I think I've heard a new word, I try hard to get excited and encourage him to try it again. At which point, he smiles, shakes his head and says, "no." At least he's cute about it.
I'm so eager to hear him speak. We are a house of talkers, and I think I'm afraid he is overpowered by all the chatter. Like my shy middle child, maybe I have a quiet one. Both hard to relate to personally, but certainly so wonderful to love. I certainly have no allusion or hope even that our kids turn out like me. Heck no. It's always just new muscles to learn to flex. Look at that sweet face....wouldn't you want to hear what he had to say? Sorry this is showing up in one big blog...with the picture it puts all my paragraphs together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bed Hog

Really, I don't know how he does it. The patience of my husband astounds me every morning. He doesn't get ruffled, he likes his routine, but isn't bound by it, and he makes time for what is important. And to him, a lot is important. So I do not know where his reserves of energy come from, but I would sure like them.

Last night was a rare night of sleep where Lake didn't wake us up feeling badly and I didn't have to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.....major drawback from pregnancy. So, it was our first full night of sleep.

Have you ever had a night where you wake up and feel like you didn't move once through the night? You have a weird soreness from unmoved muscles? Well, this morning I woke up refreshed and a bit sore from realizing I hadn't moved all night. Then I looked around...Jason was already in the shower, but as I surveyed the bed, I was smack dab in the middle. Oops. When Jason came in from the shower I asked him if this is where I was all night. He looked down and said, "yes, that looks about right."

Hmm, I'm a hog, living with a patient turtle. He sleeps comfortably in whatever shell he's provided with....no complaints. Well, none out loud anyway. I don't know his quiet prayers. Then this morning after I realized my hogness, all the kids slowly made their way to my bed. One went to one side and the other went to the other side, as if they knew I was ruler of the middle. Jason then brought me Lake and we all giggled and snuggled and told stories with morning breath and sleepy eyes. With this new baby, we may need a king sized bed....but I'll still be sleeping right next to my man. What would happen with all that wasted space? Maybe not, maybe we should move back to a full. Who needs space when you live in tight quarters with a saint?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I miss you Grandma and Grandpa Lakes




I had a late night thinking fondly of my childhood with my grandma and grandpa. As children, we were allowed to be selfish and greedy with our love and time with grandma and grandpa as we were their only grandchildren. Though I'm sure I would have loved cousins, I loved not sharing these precious people.

They attended every important event in my life. I do not believe I have a memory that does not include my grandparents. Grandma was always flitting around cooking and cleaning while grandpa sat and tried to catch a child to snuggle and kiss. I remember on my wedding day I refused to wear shoes. When the preacher announced us husband and wife, I jumped up and down. There was grandpa in the front row saying, "Little Bit isn't wearing any shoes." My mom tried to shut him up to not draw attention....priceless.

An end of an era for me is making it's way into my life uninvited. The farm is going to be taken apart, dismantled to make room for renters. I won't have a chance to walk the lane to the pond or snoop through grandmas drawers of old pictures one last time. Last night I wrote a letter trying to think of the things from the farm that would mean the most to me. Oh, what a terrible letter to write. I cried through the entire thing.

Here are the things that remind me most of my grandparents. First, her copper salt shaker. The salt comes out fast and in masses. The way grandma liked it and now the way I like it. We would both take our salt shaker, an entire half of a watermelon and sit in front of the TV and eat until we were waterlogged.

The Styrofoam worm holder....it was always the same one. It attended all of our fishing trips where she taught me to pull the worm in two to make them last longer.

The pee pot she always tried to get me to use upstairs, but I never would. The thought of not having the energy to make it down the stairs seemed so silly to me.

Her spatulas that she used for frying bacon and eggs in her red kitchen, wearing her night hat with toilette paper wrapping her hair.

The handsome picture of my grandpa in uniform.

The smell.

Grandma running out the back door to scream her excited greeting as if I'm the only person on earth she wanted to visit.

Grandpa asleep on the recliner acting like he doesn't watch soap operas.

The high stool in the kitchen where I could sit and listen to all the old stories being told. Like the time Aunt Ida saw a ghost in blue and white striped boxer shorts on her daughters wedding day.

Unmatched teacups that came from garage sales...any garage sale will do.

I'm glad you can't pack a memory away in a box....and I know they will always live with me. I know every cherry tree, every crack in the sidewalk, the old fence post where I learned to clean fish, every broken down dog house on that farm. I remember the smell, the color of the clematis, the ageless peony along the drive. It was a life's work and it was beautiful. I was blessed to be a part of it. I want to grow up to be just like her. I want everyone that comes through my doors to feel as loved as she made me feel.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hannah Coulter By Wendall Berry

The gentleness I knew in him seemed to be calling out, and it was gentleness in me that answered. That gentleness, calling and answering, giving and taking, brought us together. It brought us into the room of love. It made our place clear around us.

A good book, to me, is like a prized friend coming to stay for a visit. When the book is really great, the visit always seems much too short, as I finish in such a hurry. This book is a friend that I grieve to see leave. Though the entire book felt like a farewell, I hated to see it go. My only solace is the people I can now recommend this book to that love to read. I can revisit my friend through conversations about Hannah. I will miss her gentle, quiet, contemplative nature in my day. I would like to be more like her. This may be wrong to say, but I love that a man wrote this female character so well. I remember reading A Yellow Raft on Blue Water by Michael Dorris and constantly checking the title to see if a man truly wrote those amazing female characters.
Jason came to bed last night and found me weeping. He said, "you have really loved that book." In that moment, I was sad for him that he didn't read fiction. There was no way to explain such a tender book. Tom, this is the book I see you writing. In many ways this book reminded me of you. I highly recommend it, and then I suggest you get started. You have a story to tell old friend!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

She Did Great!

The cookies Ella made turned out so lovely. She couldn't believe I even let her lift the pan into the oven and out when they were finished. She really was so proud and was able to share her great cookies with others. I'm very proud of her.. I realize she is far more capable than I give her credit for on a daily basis. I'm not promoting giving her too much responsibility and usurping her childhood, but I'm also not going to allow her to coast without growing and trying new and difficult challenges. As first born, she often tries to be the mommy around here. I remind her that that joy was given to me, and her job is to be a great big sister...which she is. When I saw her pride at a job done well, it made me realize how much I need to let her go and have her own experiences. It's not easy for mama, but seeing her joy and pride was all that I needed.

Yesterday at prayer meeting a saint shared this poem with me. He told me to share it with you. It has no title or author, but it's meaning is clear. So all of us that struggle with worry.and control...here is a poem for you. (and me).

Said the wildflower to the sparrow;
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so."
Said the sparrow to the wildflower.
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Step of Faith

Okay, it may not seem brave to you, but I'm about to let my daughter make cookies without my assistance. I really want her to know how much I trust her. She will do great. Why does this feel like such a big step?

I'll let you know how they turn out. She's doing Aunt Krista's famous peanut butter cookies. I would share the recipe but I was sworn to secrecy.

Do you let your kids cook?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hospitality

About a year ago my husband preached one of my favorite sermons on hospitality. He went through the numerous verses that focus on hospitality and shared how it is not a gift but a command to all Christians. I was becoming very frustrated when people told me hospitality was my gift. I thought, really, I thought it was what I was supposed to do. It really has nothing to do with my giftedness only my willingness.

As each Christian embraces hospitality, all types of gifts are used to encourage others. So when someone comes to my home what they would experience is totally different from if they came into yours. But it is work, sometimes inconvenient, and sometimes sad sometimes joyful. In my experience, always a blessing and a worthy endeavour. As I sit here, I cannot think of a time I regret opening my home. Maybe a grumble or two about not getting my Sunday nap. But that's just selfishness....

Hospitality is something near to the heart of our family. I have seen lives changed and ideas challenged around a dinner table more than anywhere else. I love time spent with new people. old friends, encouraged and discouraged alike. New Christians and Old Christians, believers and unbelievers, those in the midst of suffering and those starry eyed with new love. With every meal, our family is made rich.

On a winter day last year, we invited a couple from our church that had just lost their young son in a motorcycle accident. Our children had come to the funeral with us and helped clean their home when they were bringing their son home for burial. We told them who was coming to lunch and said they should expect that all the adults at the table to be crying....including mom and dad. When the lunch came, it didn't take long and we were all crying. My friend looked up at the girls and said, "I'm sorry." Ella said, "we talked to mom and dad, and I would be very sad too, mom said it's good to be sad." I felt very grateful for the compassionate heart the Lord gave to Ella. My friends realized this was a place to be sad without embarrassment. We went on to have a lot of tears, and the girls soon excused themselves to play. Later that evening they prayed for the hurting hearts of our friends.

We have been witness to many hurts and lots of honesty. I want our house to be a place of safety for our guests, family, and close friends. Hospitality for me has nothing to do with a clean house, perfectly appointed dinner, and quiet children. For us, it's a place to bring a heavy heart without fear of judgement. It is the privilege of Jason and I to hear the many stories that come through our door. Sin rarely takes us by surprise, and being among the broken is a source of great joy. We have had moments where we struggled with holding onto the hurts of others too closely, but we are confident in the power of God to heal the hearts. We are diligent at giving the burdens over to the Lord to carry. But this is a place we must constantly grow in as a family.

Tonight we are opening our home again after a long break from my early pregnancy sickness. I'm so looking forward to not be focused on myself. The menu is simple, but the time precious. It is a couple I have loved for a long time, but not had time specifically alone with as long as we've been here. I can hardly wait. It's always exciting to see what the Lord has planned for our family.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Testimony

Remember when you first became a Christian? How your testimony was so very central to your faith. The constant telling of the pit I was pulled out of and the gratitude of being saved from that life of confusion and despair. When I think on those times, I feel like I was more focused on my past depravity more than my present weakness and sin. It also was a time focused so much on myself. Have I grown? Not too sure.

The older I get, the more I feel that I could tell a testimony today about how the Lord redeemed yesterday. How the process of my sanctification and regeneration has so much more to do with God than me. Though I will not forsake gratitude from what I was brought out of, I recognize today the ways I have been redeemed from myself for Him. How His power in my life can change my grumpy heart from yesterday, a moment ago, to one that is changed by His love for my next moment.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Other Blog Neglected

My sister-in-law and I had great ambitions of sharing our recipes together on a blog, but it just hasn't happened. Maybe one day. For now, I'm moving a few favorites over here. Enjoy this one, it actually sounds good to me today. I may even try it for dinner. Anyone interested in coming over?

Yummy Pita Chicken
Marinate Chicken Breast in lime, cilantro and garlic

Grill and dice
Brush pocketless flat bread with butter
Place on grill to warm
Shred Lettuce (I like romaine)

Sauce:
1 small plain lowfat yogurt
1 small light sour cream
seed and dice 1 cucumber
dill (optional)
lemon juice

Ma and Pa

Little House in the Big Woods
By Laura Ingalls Wilder

We started this delightful series this morning with the kids. Now I am no longer momma, I'm ma, and when Jason walked in they screamed, "Pa's home." Ella found her oldest looking dress (from Target) and Harper stuck with her new princess dress given to us from a friend.

The stories are rich, but also very humbling. The girls only had one doll each, and one was made of a corn cob. Oh, the excess of my home. The girls cherished those dolls. And this book for me deepens my desire for a farm. It is something I often pray for with the girls. Not a big farm, but a quiet place with room to run, places for animals and a huge garden. I don't see Jason having any desire to hunt bears. But one never knows. Preacher turned hunter. I've seen stranger things in this town.

Well folks, it's time to check on the crackling's and render the lard. Bless you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Classical Conversations

My Thursday mornings are fast becoming my favorite of the week. I originally was super anxious about my role as tutor when I found out I was pregnant. Actually the first week, on my way to CC, I stopped six separate times to be sick. I promise, this is not a post about how sick I feel.

Keeping busy alleviates the nausea for me. The best way I have found to keep busy is to teach the youngest group of kids at a homeschool co-op called Classical Conversations. It's a great program that I highly recommend.

I have taught in many capacities from high school to elementary, but I have never taken on the challenge of young children. Well, other than my own sweet faces. No, I have eight children all varying ages of four and five that greet me every Thursday to memorize things I don't even know. I chose this age due to the fact my shy daughter presides in the group. It was a way to be close and involved and present for her but in a different capacity than she normally functions with me. The result has been great. She is clearly the youngest in the group, but she's taking ownership. Of all things, she's enjoying Latin the most. I would have never thought.

This group is made up of five sweet boys and three darling girls. They have kind hearts and are eager. Eager really is the word. Eager to learn.....sometimes. Eager to share stories about critters....definitely. Eager to give hugs....my favorite. I could call it work, but really, it's a privilege. It is the three hours I have each week where I don't have the benefit of feeling sick. I'm too busy enjoying the busy little people God has put in my life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Traditions

It's amazing how peaceful a tradition can be. Cooking for my family rejuvenates me, excites me and brings me great joy. More than that, the tradition of eating together around our table deepens my contentment and peace. Being sick lately, I have made the meal but often was too sick to join the family around the table. Tonight was the exception. Our happy meal of leftovers included the entire family with a candle and fresh lavender to boot.

Our one family tradition is to take turns asking each person the best part of their day. We encourage our children to ask dinner questions at the table to encourage polite conversation. Most often when it comes to my turn I always answer, "right now is my favorite." Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, because tonight reminded me what a gift my family together truly is. The meal was nothing special...vegetable soup, toast with avocado, apple sauce and conversation. No other place on earth could have tempted me tonight.

What is your family tradition you couldn't live without?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jealousy

I envy my husband being able to eat. I envy others feeling normal. I am hungry and everything looks nasty, smells nasty, and feels bad inside of me. Not very much is coming out of me....which is mostly why I feel so badly. I don't sleep. I am being ultimately tested in the kindness department, and I'm not doing "everything without complaining or arguing." (Phillipians 2:14)

I am glad I am pregnant. I'm glad to know another child will enter the family. I love kids, but I'm not so great at this pregnancy stuff. I saw Amy Puller last night on the Emmy's and thought of how big I will shortly be. I want to cherish this last pregnancy....but is it okay that I'm not really having a good time yet? I'm not really a fan of perky people right now, or cheerleader types. Mostly, I am tired of being tired and sick. I want to be doing better at school with Ella. I want to enjoy the first day of Fall. I want to remember this so I won't do it again. I will happily adopt more children, but it is so hard taking good care of my children now, whilst feeling so badly.

Sorry you had to hear this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I miss bloggy world

Exodus 18

I have looked at this site every day for the past week. I want to write, I think of what I want to write, but alas, I'm too crumby and sick to write. I don't want to sound like Eeyore, so I refrain from writing.

This morning I read through Exodus 18 when Moses was visited by his wonderful father-in-law. Oh to have a man like him in my life. Actually....I have a lot of people like him in my life. People that tell me my plate is too full. People that tell me specifically how to pull back from doing too much, being too involved, too everything. But unlike Moses, I suppose I don't listen. So it's not the fault of those who love me well, it's mine alone.

Humbled and praying where to pull back. Sick, tired mama is good to no one. My no muscle has just always been so weak. Pray for me in this season of my life. I know a lot of you already do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Second Drafts and Sassy Pants!

I am so slow at adding my favorite places to daydream! Home blog of two of my old camp friends, I enjoy reading their insights on a daily basis.. Check them out, one is always good for a good laugh and one for a big thought. I will say they both have done both at different times. Great honest writing. Enjoy!

Oh Woman of Little Faith

Exodus 16

Wow, what an eye opener of a chapter. I see myself in the women gathering too much manna for their family. They had little faith of the Lord's provision that came new every morning. EVERY morning, not for a week, a month or a year. He provided new manna for 40 years in the dessert.

I would have been the one at year 39 wondering if it would come again in the morning. Jason is always reminding me how often and uniquely the Lord has provided for the needs of our family. It's as if a day of needs causes me to forget. The cost of doing school myself, doing fun, educational activities, and providing for ever growing needs of children leaves me with little faith. Today I am going to place my fears and worries about our daily needs before the Lord. He is much better equipped to handle our needs than I am. I will choose to forget my worries and trust in His provision. May you grow in faith in this area of your life today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Troubled Heart

Matthew 5-7

Every season of life has trials of their own. Right now our family is facing trials on many kinds. I just returned home last night not a moment too soon. I so enjoyed my time with my grandma and grandpa, mom, sister and brother and many nieces and nephews in Indiana. It was filled with sadness and joy.

I have a peace about my grandma that I didn't have when I left the last time. Truly, I don't think she will be much longer in this world, but soon will be in the sweet presence of Jesus. She told me when I went home for my Aunt Helen's funeral that she was jealous of her sisters that have gone before her. She told me she was ready to die. I know she is ready now that she knows her only love (my Grandpa Homer) knows the Lord.

Grandpa does not want to be without her....I can only imagine. The only way I can describe what this world will be like without Grandma Lakes is that a certain amount of joy will leave with her. This world will not be as bright as it once was to me without her. I am thankful for the remaining days she has left, and she could have many. Only the Lord knows the length of our days. I am so grateful for the many days and years I have had with this special lady.

Trials of many kinds awaited my return. It was hard to be away for many reasons. The routine of home life gives me so much strength that I don't even realize. I have time reading my Bible every morning. Time to talk with Jason and sort out many feelings and hurts. We have time counseling friends from church with the support of many around us in prayer. Hearing news from home without all this support was difficult. I felt that I was without my armour. Though I know the Lord was very present with me in Indiana, I felt ill equipped to support those hurting in my life without my daily time in the word. That said, it's good to be home.

When I feel out of sorts....like I certainly feel, I love to read the Sermon on the Mount. I read it on the plane home yesterday. I was overcome with peace. I love the direction it gives. It is clear, true direction for today. If this morning sickness would just pass. We have had a great morning catching up in school, even if I have the yucks.

I have also missed the great care of my husband. I know he must have been so tired. It didn't stop him from making me feel so missed and important. He and the girls made a lovely dinner, he gave me my nausea medicine and put me to bed. I don't deserve such a man! Thank you Jesus for not giving me what I deserve, but what your generous love had planned.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sick and Excited

Well, another baby, another rich blessing. It has been hard to wrap my mind around having four children to love, but it was always our desire to have a big family. We have just been trying to be in control of when each of these little ones came. It makes me laugh. Just last month Angela, my sister-in-law, told me if you are to have more, you will.

She knows. She was done at three, then she found herself pregnant with twins. If God's grace is sufficient for her, I know it will be for me as well. I was told once that worry is looking at the future with only yourself in it. That trying to imagine how details will work out without the grace that is given to sustain us through our trails is vain. I believe that. I may not be able to figure out the details of all the children, but I know the details will work themselves out with a load of grace to manage. I'm really being broken of my desire to control things. I'm just trying at this point to keep my food down and my words kind.

If you think of it, please pray for my Grandma. I'll be headed home this weekend. She fell and hit her head. They have decided not to do surgery to remove the blood on her brain. I'm headed to the farm on Thursday to spend time with my Grandma and Grandpa.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pregnancy Salad

Okay, I'm pregnant, but I think my reader knows that already. Tonight I made a yummy salad, but I think I may be the only one going to eat it. It looks too great. I just finished a bowl before I wrote this down and dinner is half an hour away.

Pregnancy Salad
Romaine Hearts
Cabbage
Basil
Beet Greens
Apple
Mango

Sweet Southern Dressing
Mayo
Honey
Apple Cider Vinegar
Cilantro

I think I may be eating this alone. Would you eat it? It's totally okay, I really don't feel like sharing.

Miracle of all miracles

It is hard to wrap my mind around what Moses did as they fled Egypt. It is easy to look at the faith of Moses, but as I study the covenants of God, I realize it is the fierce love of God toward His people that caused the victory. Imagine Moses stretching out his hand to draw back the seas.... His heart must have trembled at the awesome power of God.

I am thankful that I was represented in the passage.

Exodus 14:11-13
"What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

How many miracles had the people of Israel seen on their behalf, and still they had no faith. I am thankful for the unfailing pursuit of the Lord on behalf of His people. Can you imagine the increase of faith that happened as they passed through the water? I wonder if the wall of water broke their hearts as they passed through? I wonder if they felt compelled to repent of their grumbling, untrusting, faithless hearts?

I would love to have the faith of Moses, but alas, I'm the one who is walking through the water and complaining about being tired of the long days hike. The Lord has provided so much for our family in so many areas of our lives, but I complain about the manna. I do not deserve to be called a child of God, but He has set His unfailing, unchanging, fierce love on me...? I cannot comprehend it, but I certainly am thankful for it.

May the Lord bless you, and may we be quick to repent of our grumbling complaining hearts when His ways are not our ways. I am weary of my lack of faith, but He moves the seas on my behalf to grow and sanctify, even me.

Humbled to be counted today.....Kara

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pop Stars in Her Head


At bedtime tonight, my middle daughter said she received too many hugs and kisses today and that they gave her pop stars in her head. Hmmm....

More Vacation Pictures!





Homeschooling and Happy


We have been plugging away now for almost a week. It has been delightful. I must say I was most anxious about the two little ones, but they are doing great. I spend lots of time filling everyones love tanks with snuggles and love on the couch we put in the school room. They are learning to play well together, and await times when big sister can join.


I was surfing blogs when I saw a tradition that one homeschool family does. They pack up backpacks, have a special breakfast out with daddy, then come home to meet the "teacher"....me. We had a great time our first.

Vacation....how was this less than two weeks ago?






Too funny!


I'm working on downloading my pictures from vacation. I snapped this picture on accident. I was trying to get a picture of Lake on Jason's shoulder's. This happened so quickly I didn't realize that this was the picture I had taken. We have all done it. I giggle every time I see it. FYI, it was dry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pharaoh and Discipline

Reading through the plagues, I see how the Lord was very clear about what would come upon the Egyptians. He gave a clear request and a clear warning. With every plague, Moses asked of Pharaoh to change his heart and mind towards the Lord's people.

I think it should be the same with our discipline with our children. When we notice a sin our child is struggling with, I believe we must first point it out and lay out the consequences for future offenses of that sin. I do not think discipline should come as a surprise to our children. I have seen parents confused and surprised by the sin of their children. Often, the discipline in these moments comes out of embarrassment and frustration. That rarely will affect much in the heart of the child other than distance.

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

In light of this verse, and many others, we should not look to the sin of our little ones with embarrassment or surprise. Being prepared and loving, we can offer a clear warning and clear consequence. Even one of my small children understood this well before 2. May you be kind and loving in your discipline this day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning

Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from him they lose their peace. The nearer to him, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to him, the fuller the heart is, not only of peace, but of life, and vigor, and joy, for these all depend on constant intercourse with Jesus. What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower, such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveler in a weary land, such is Jesus Christ to us; and, therefore, if we are not consciously one with him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, tell him that I am sick of love."

Just what I needed to hear today! Good morning friends.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting Caught

Exodus 2:12
He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

I love this verse. Don't we all do a little of looking this way and that when we are about to sin? We look around to see who is watching us before we share choice words we really shouldn't choose. That looking... should be our first flag to stop what it is we are sneaking to do.

Yesterday, when going to the playground at our house, one of my children grabbed a toy off the counter I had taken away from another child. I had allowed two of them to go a few minutes ahead of me onto the playground while I changed a diaper. Well, when the toy was spotted from the child I had taken it from...well you get the point. Because, that really wasn't the point.

When I asked about the toy, the answer was, "I don't really remember." Another child quickly said, "they brought it out behind their back." The sinner then said, "Maybe she is right, but I don't remember."

It was such a great opportunity for growth for my child. I discussed how it wasn't the toy that was the offense but the lie and being sneaky. I shared my own moments of being sneaky that resulted in me choosing sin. It was one of those moments in parenting where you realize the Lord is reaching the heart of the child.

Later, my daughter told my friend she had a tough day with sin. I thank God for my friend and her honesty. She said, "I know what you mean, today I said things I should not have, I thought things I should not have, and I did things I should not do." "Have you found the forgiveness you need?" Yes, was the answer from my child. I felt so very proud of the redemption that is happening in the heart of my child.

We also talked about how much the Lord loves us, that He would care enough to catch us in our sin! That He brings people in our lives and conviction in our hearts to break us of our sin, and draws us nearer to Himself. I hope you get found out in your sin today! May His grace lead you home. It is a prayer of my heart that my kid's sin is found out. And that they are gently led to the truth of God's grace and forgiveness to the point that they want more of Him and less of themselves.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making the Right Choice

Exodus 1:17
But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

This morning I have started my morning reading in Exodus. Our church is studying this book on Sunday night, and it has been a long time since I have read Exodus. This entire first chapter really struck me this morning. Check out the story of the midwives. I would love to hear your thoughts.

What really struck me was the lie they told to the king when he asked why they weren't doing as they commanded. They told the king the Hebrew women are vigorous and give birth before the midwife arrives. The above noted scripture points out that they feared God, and spared the lives of the baby boys.

Exodus 1:20
So God dealt with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.

Wow, is that amazing? They did what they knew the Lord required and they were blessed. Not what was popular or would bring notice and reward from the king....they did what was right. Even at the expense of a lie. And the blessing that was given. Children. Amazing!!

I need some time to wrap my mind around this. I will certainly be thinking about those amazing midwives while I clean this morning. I'm also going to think about how our reward from the Lord, is children. Or blessing, gift, whatever you choose. They are from the Lord. Am I willing this morning to be unpopular for what is right? True? And do I fear the Lord? Not in a way that means afraid, but in a way that causes me to want His holiness in my life. I pray I do.

Lastly, do I see injustice? I had a college student here last week and we always watch nerdy movies together that nobody wants to see with us. This past week we watched a movie about the life of Nelson Mandela. It may not have been the best acting, but the story was unbelievable. When it was over I asked Heather if she ever feared that a major injustice was happening that we hadn't even noticed. We discussed current day injustices.

Have you ever wondered what you would have done during the time of Jesus, or slavery and segregation in our country? I know my own depravity, and though I hope I would have been counted among His followers, I fear I would have been there saying crucify....Only by His grace am I able to have had my heart changed to become His daughter. I was a child he would have sent a midwife for (I know, it was only for the boys, the girls were spared)....Nonetheless, I don't deserve such grace.

What if you were a midwife asked to do unthinkable acts to the Lords children? Thank goodness it was His grace that led them. We must realize it was the Lord that protected those children and gave the conviction of heart and grace and courage to the midwives. It was the Lord who knew that it was Moses soon come into the world. He knows His children, and His plan for them will always come to pass. It is certainly something to think about today.
A place to find encouragement to love your little ones, your husbands and those you come in contact with daily. Two does not have to be terrible. These are years to grow not simply get through!