God is so Good - Month in Review - April

The days are getting warmer; and it feels wonderful in the morning to be awakened to the sounds of birds singing outside.    We have spied several different types of birds coming to the feeders.  We have a flock of blue jays that regularly feed, several woodpeckers, pigeons and of course a lot of sparrows.  It is fun to watch the difference in the temperaments of so many of the different birds. The humming birds have found their nectar also; and regularly hum in to take a drink.     Anna, Zak and I will often take time before we start our school day to sit on the porch and watch the birds coming and going.

My husband brought me home a new bird feeder the other night.  I had wanted to place one in the back yard so I could watch the birds from the kitchen table.  It has been fun to watch the birds find the new feeder and we have even seen some new ones coming and going.  I about gave the entire family a heart attack the other night when we were eating dinner as a family – and I spotted a beautiful yellow bird sitting at the feeder.  I was so excited.  The whole family got a good laugh at my excitement when they were able to catch their breath from being so surprised by my outburst.  I love watching birds!

The tomato garden has been planted.  I had been told by my teenage son the hand tilling the garden would be a job that would be too hard for me.  ( I took his statement as a challenge and set out the other morning to prove him wrong.)  It was difficult; but not really too bad.  I had the small plot hand dug and tilled in about two hours time.  It was so much easier to do it this year.  Last year Rob had done the tilling.  He had worked so hard out there for an entire evening one night.  The next night he had awoken and we had found the tumor on his thyroid. (There had been no garden last year).    While I was out there digging, I was thanking the Lord for all of Rob’s work last year – because it had made the job this year so much easier.  I was also meditating on how good God has been to us.  We have seen Him do some miraculous things in our lives.  I just kept digging and thanking the Lord that He had allowed us to still be together as a family.  God is good – and the tomatoes are in.

The Amish neighbors have visited a few times and we have been able to talk with them a bit more.  I have sold some of the eggs to them; and it seems they are interested in making that a regular transaction.  I still cannot believe that our nearest neighbors are Amish.  I love hearing the horse and buggy go past the house.  They have been working with their horse to get her familiar with the roads here.  Thor always puts up quite a racket when they go by and I am always so fearful that he will cause a catastrophe with the wagon; but they tell me to please let him be – as they are using him to help train their horse for how to respond when dogs bark as they go by.  It must have worked; because this morning they took the horse out further and when they returned - there was a line of four different dogs barking and following their wagon.  It looked so funny!  I enjoy so much living in the country!  

Zak has had a tough month with his meds; but we look like we are getting to a little more stable ground with that.  Several years ago, we had been warned that puberty can be a very difficult time for a child with brain injuries and issues.  This has proven to be very true.  We are taking it one step at a time.  His Tourettes symptoms seem to be much worse than we have seen before.  At this time, that seems to be the biggest issue and hardest for him to get used to.  We are so thankful for a wonderful doctor that works with us in regards to his care.  God has given wisdom and we are trusting that He will continue to do that in the future.  God has surely used Zak’s health issues to be an opportunity for us to depend upon God more; and for us to be able to teach Zak that He can run to God when he is having a difficult day.  We are so blessed to have Zak in our family.  

The bridge Zak built over a hole in the woods.  He rides his bike on it. 

Because of the setbacks we have had with Zak we have had to revamp some of his school.  We took several steps back (it seems); but we seem to be making strides getting the things that it appeared we had lost back again.  Rob and I started praying about how to work with him with his school.  We decided to do school with Zak and Anna  together.  This way, he is hearing what Anna is doing - and getting the review through that.  He is also challenged with having her close by; not so much competing against her; but in having someone to do his flashcards and his phonics reviews with him.  It has been good for Anna; because she is hearing things for the next grade up while Zak reviews his things too.  Overall, this has been very successful.  Because of the setbacks; and also with Zak's brain issues we have decided to continue to do school through the summer - albeit on a smaller scale than a full school day.  Both Anna and Zak are excited that we do not have to stop doing school for the summer.  Go figure. 

Anna asked me the other day to tell her more stories from the Bible that talk about obedience.  She said as seriously as she could, “I need you to keep telling me those stories, Mom.  I’m just having trouble getting obedience down.”    I laughed.  We also have been reading from the Little House series.  One evening Anna and I sat by the camp fire and read about Laura and Mary and their house on the prairie.  It was fun reading by the fire and watching the sun set and the moon come out over the trees.   Anna has also enjoyed having James read to her in the evenings.  Rob required James to read to his sister each evening as a part of his speech requirements.  It was fun to watch them enjoy an old book of Rob’s from when he was a boy.  It seems that our Anna is quite captivated with the “Three Investigators.”  

Abbey ran another 5K this month.  She had her best time yet; and was able to run with her friend.  Sarah surprised her and signed up for the race.  It was fun to watch the two of them run together. Abbey finished first place in her division and Sarah finished second!  They had a fun morning.  It still shocks me that Abbey loves to run; but indeed she does.  As soon as she gets home from work, she comes in and gets ready for her run.  Thor loves it when he sees her get her shoes on and pleads with her to hurry up so he can go with her.  It is fun to watch.

Rachel has had her violin out more; and I have been thrilled to hear the music filling the house.  She seldom has time to practice and play; however, she is planning on taking lessons while she is in college.  She figured she better find the time to practice and get brushed up on her playing.  She also has been teaching Anna violin.  The other night, she and Anna took their lessons outside on the front porch.  It was fun to listen to them play.  

James has been busy working at different farms in the area.  His calf is doing well; and he has not had really any issues with it like we did the last calf he had.  Every evening he goes up to do his farm chores.  The other night Abbey took him up to the farm.  They were late in getting home for dinner; and when they finally arrived James walked in carrying a bag of glass.  I will let the following pictures tell the rest of the story - or at least how the story was told to Rob.  Life has a way of teaching valuable lessons; and it seems there is never a dull moment with teenagers in the house. 

We enjoyed a family fun day.  We had planned on going bowling; but we were not able to go.  The kids enjoyed playing some of the video games there and we had a fun lunch at a nearby hamburger restaurant.  It was fun to be together as a family.  We are realizing that these days are coming to an end when we will have all the kids here to do stuff all together as a family.  It is exciting as we watch the older kids’ lives open up and branch out; but we are planning on taking just a few more opportunities than we normally do to enjoy some family outings before Rachel leaves for college this fall.  We have several things on the calendar for this summer. 

Our church hosted a ladies tea this month.  It was fun finally being able to go to the ladies tea.  Each year something has come up last minute that has prevented me from being able to attend.  This year – I was there!  It was a fun morning and Anna and I enjoyed being able to sit together.  I was extremely blessed by the devotional that was given and have meditated upon the goodness of God to me.  Truly I am loved and cherished by my Heavenly Father.  He has been so good to me.   

We are looking for a very busy month of May as our calendar is very full.  God has been so good to us.  We are looking for Him to provide for some very important things that we need; and find ourselves excited to see how He does it. 

 Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did.


Date Your Mate

I enjoy spending time with my husband.  In fact, if I was given the ability to choose to spend time with any person on earth right now, I would - hands down - pick my husband.  I would rather be with him than anyone else!  I would not even need to think about the decision.  He’s my first pick.

In our per-marital counseling we were challenged by our Pastor to “Date our Mate” for as long as we were married. That was easy when were first married and it was just the two of us.  We spent every moment we could with each other.  Oh, young love!  However, when the children came (a result of spending so much time together, but I digress…), having those dates became a little more of a challenge.  When all of our children were little, and we did not have ‘built in’ babysitters like we do now, we had to come up with some 
ways to spend time being together.  

Here are some steps we found that helped us to be able to “Date our Mate” even with little kids underfoot:

1.  Bedtime

When our kids were little, we made sure that their bed times were early enough in the evening to allow us quality time to be together just the two of us.  We found when they were going to bed late (9-10pm) we were exhausted by the time they finally got tucked into bed and ready for sleep ourselves.   When their bedtimes were moved to 8:00 we found we still were alert and awake enough to be able to sit and talk together, play a game or even just sit on the couch together reading books and drinking hot tea in a quiet house.  (I don’t mind that type of date at all!)
There were sacrifices that had to be made in putting the kids to bed at an “early” bedtime.  Kids who go to bed at 8 are usually up at six.  There were times we debated if we would rather keep them up later, so our mornings did not come so early, but we found we enjoyed being able to be with each other as a couple more than we enjoyed a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.  Looking back on the years of having just little ones in the house – I think it was a wise choice!

2. Plan Times

For as long as I can remember, we have had a “date night” set on the calendar; and for the most part it does not change.  When the children were little, we had a date night about once a month.  That night, we went out together as a couple on a ‘date’.  We would have loved to have done it more, but the bottom line was, when you have to pay a babysitter and a waiter – you just run out of money fast when you are just starting out as a couple and family.  Once a month was about all we could afford!  Now, we have babysitters that live with us – and we have the ability to make our date nights more of a weekly activity. 

3. Barter Babysitting

When the kids are little and it is difficult to find/ afford a babysitter, bartering babysitting is an option.  Find another couple with little kids.  (They need date nights too!)  Offer to be their date night babysitter in return for them watching your children the next week for your date night. 

When my husband was a Pastor we would host “Date Nights” for the couples in our church.  They could drop the kids off at the church and we would watch the kids and feed them dinner if the couples promised to go out on a date together and talk.  We enjoyed spending an evening with the kids of the church; but most of all enjoyed seeing the couples come to pick up their children holding hands and smiling.  It was like you could see a visible difference in the couples from when they dropped the kids off to when they picked them up.    It is SO important that couples have time to do this. 

4.  Take what you can get

There were times when the kids were little that we would take them to the park to play so that we could sit on the benches and talk.  No, it is not the ideal date night – where you are alone just the two of you.  Undoubtedly, there will be interruptions; but you can proactively handle that by promising ice cream cones on the way home for all the kids who played without disturbing Mommy and Daddy while they talked.  We have taken this same principle and done it at home too.  The kids were assigned to their rooms to play – they were not to come out of their rooms till the timer went off.  Then we would sit and talk about what we need to while they played. 

5.  Look for “mini-date” opportunities

Mini dates are anytime you are able to be alone together as a couple without the kids being in the center of your world.  As I looked at our weeks and the time we had together when the kids were little, I was amazed to find that there were several times when we were ‘kid-less’.  A perfect example of this would be the time we spent in adult Sunday school class.  The kids were all checked into the nurseries, dropped off at their Sunday school rooms and it was just the two of us in Sunday School.  There was almost an hour where we did not have to make sure the kids were behaving, chewing their gum too loudly, or writing in the hymnbooks! 

Making an effort to see these times as ‘mini-dates’ and connect emotionally with each other can be wonderful for a couple with little kids.  During Sunday school we would hold hands or sometimes pass a note to each other (don’t tell Pastor I said that….).  There are times when we are listening to the preaching and Pastor will mention something that pertains to us as a family or couple – and we will interact with each other by a poke or a nod – or even our eyes meeting and smiling; knowing that God had that part of the message for us.  We are listening together as a couple to the message and we are growing together under the preaching of God’s Word.    We were emotionally connecting – even though we were not OUT on a date. 

Wednesday nights afforded us the same opportunity as the children were all in kids club and we were able to be together for the prayer time and Bible study.  Sometimes during prayer meetings we pray together as a couple.  Even though we are at church (and not out on a ‘date’) we are connecting our hearts together in prayer. 

Our church holds monthly couples Bible studies.  Several of the couples have little ones that are upstairs being cared for by teens in the church; but really and truly they are on a mini-date.  Mini dates can happen in the car when you declare a “no-talking game” with the kids and hold hands and connect with each other as the kids look at the window. 

You were a couple before you had children.  It is imperative that while you have children in the house you find ways to connect with your spouse.  If you make the effort, you will find many opportunities to “Date your Mate”.    We have looked at it as an investment in our marriage.  I want to be married to my best friend when the last kid leaves the house – not find out that I don’t know the man I am married to anymore because life became too busy to connect and build a friendship with my husband.  I challenge you to do WHATEVER you can to find time alone with your husband.  Someday when your kids are gone and raising a family of their own they will thank you for the security you gave them by being best friends with their Daddy! 

Thanks for stopping by.  I’m so glad you did.


Letting Truth Transform Our Lives

It is so important that as Christian women we have a heart that is tender towards truth and willing and to accept truth when it pertains to our life.  There can be times when it is difficult for us to accept truth; especially when truth shows us something in our lives that is not biblical.  It is never easy to admit we are wrong.

However, if we never change - change never happens. 

It is easy for us as women to look at a difficult situation in our lives and see all that is wrong; but it can be incredibly difficult to accept truth (often times the solution to all that we see as wrong) when it requires us to admit or change something we have been doing wrong. As I have sat through different counseling classes I have heard of and seen the examples of people who realize that something is wrong – but then reject the solution to the problem. 

Truth must be received in order for things to change. 

Simply listening to truth will not change my situation.  Truth must be received and applied to my life.

So we must ask ourselves the question:  “What is truth?”

Truth is an absolute that will not change.  Our culture has accepted the lie of Satan that there are no absolutes.  However, the Bible is full of absolutes – and there is absolute truth.  God is the source of all truth.  Wisdom is learning to look at life as God looks at life.  We do that through the Word of God that He has given us.  It is FULL of truth.  God’s truth does not change.  When we take God’s truth and apply it to our lives we will experience spiritual blessing.  God has given us truth for our good – and because He loves us!    

We must place a HIGH value on truth.  If you read through Proverbs 2 you will see just how valuable God says it should be for us to seek wisdom (truth).   We must be willing to do anything to get truth; and then once we hear truth we place ourselves under truth and apply it to our lives.  When we value truth we are willing to admit we are wrong and change - even if it costs us. 

This will be a two part series on Letting Truth Transform our Lives.  Today, we will look at things that hinder us from receiving truth.  As I look through these hindrances I am able to see in my past where at one time or another all of these things hindered me from receiving truth and allowing my life to be transformed by truth.  Satan is the father of lies. Satan wants us to believe lies!   He does not want us to accept truth because truth can change us!  Accepting truth is vitally important in the Christian life. 

We must make it our motto that if God speaks to our hearts and gives us truth in regards to our lives we will respond to His conviction and apply the truth that He has shown us.  We continue in sanctification as we willingly obey the truth that He gives to us.  We also stop growing spiritually when we hear truth – but refuse to accept it, or fail to apply it to our lives. 

What are the hindrances in receiving truth?

1. It’s New

There have been many Christians who in their new found faith found things of God to sound different and wrong because they have never heard truth before.  When truth is new to you it may be difficult to readily receive it and apply it to your life because you are just learning.  God wants us to reason through His Word and learn; when we are hearing things for the first time there can be difficulty in accepting this new truth.  We must be aware that this can be a hindrance; but does not need to stop us from accepting truth – even if it is new to us. 

2.  Opinions Taught as Truth

Unfortunately, this has happened in Christian circles; and the results are that people become leery of accepting truth for fear that it just another man’s opinion that is given for self-serving reasons.  When a man’s opinions have been taught as truth, only to find that his opinion was faulty and incorrect, people are fearful to accept truth from others teaching the Word of God.

3.  Feelings are Viewed as Truth

How we feel is real.   Just because I feel something, however, does not make it true.  I can feel all alone.  Truly feel completely alone and that no one cares.  However, no matter how deeply I feel that – it is simply not true.  God is always there for me.  Even if every single person in this world walks away from me and leaves me – God will NEVER leave me.  I must place my feelings under truth when I find my feelings to be contrary to truth.

4.  We think that there are Exceptions

This I truly believe is a working of Satan in our thoughts.   I remember distinctly one time in my life when I was so overcome with how to handle a situation.  I had come up with my own solution for how to make it better – even though my solution went against Bible truth!  For some reason I had told myself that while I believed the truth – and knew that it was how it was supposed to be – my particular situation was an exception to that Bible truth.  I have are talked with several ladies through the years, who have this same mindset about their problem.  This happens often and I believe with my whole heart it is a work of Satan to cause us to think this way. 

5. We see a Dead-End

There are many ladies who do not accept and receive truth, not because they don’t believe the truth – but because they believe that the truth will not change their situation.
  I have heard it told how a Pastor and his wife were counseling a couple because of marriage problems.  The Pastor was talking with the husband and telling him he needed to be the leader in his home.  The husband looked right at the pastor and said, “Pastor, I would take the lead in my home if my wife would just submit .”  At the same time the Pastor’s wife was talking with the wife of this man telling her she needed to submit to her husband’s as the leader of their home.  The wife looked at her Pastor’s wife and said with all sincerity, “I would submit to him if he would just lead.”  Both that husband and wife had stifled their marriage relationship from moving forward because neither one saw where the truth was going to change the situation.  They were stuck – and unless one of them received truth and applied to themselves – nothing would ever change.

6.  Self-Gratification

Have you ever met a person who is always negative?  If the day is cloudy and rainy they complain about how they hate the rain.  However, you come to them on a clear and sunny day and expect to hear them joyful and happy about the beautiful day; but are met with only a negative spirit about how hot it is – or how the sun is too bright.  No matter what the weather is like – they will always complain because they derive some sort of gratification when they are being negative.  There are those who do that with truth also.  No matter what truth says – no matter how much truth will help them solve the problems that they are finding themselves in– they enjoy having the problems more than solving them.  Perhaps it is because they are able to get people’s sympathy; or perhaps it is because they have gotten so used to thinking lies that they almost are incapable of receiving truth.  This can definitely is a hindrance to accepting truth. 

7. Pride

A proud person has a hard time (and often time will not) admitting they are wrong.  Let’s be honest here, all of us have a hard time saying we were wrong.  It is human nature.  It’s a sinful part of human nature!  Pride is perhaps the greatest hindrance to accepting truth. 
The second part of the series we will take time to explore how we can accept truth into our lives; and look at examples of people who changed their lives because they received and applied truth to their situations.   I hope you will join me again next Wed for part two of Letting Truth Transform our Lives

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am so glad you did.