When did this happen?

Do you ever have those moments in your life when you are doing something and you think “how in the world did I get HERE”?  Here at this exact moment in your life when you have four kids and your putting one on the bus in the early morning, hoping and praying he has a good day and listens well.   Or when you are walking back to your house, looking at your neighbors well-kept yards and flowers, with a little pep in your step, so that you can go wake up the brother and sisters to get them going for the day only to do it all over again and put them on another bus and praying for them as the big orange rectangle takes them away.  And you think to yourself, how did I get HERE, at this exact moment, with four kiddos, a cat, a dog and a house in the suberb?

Mom

It’s these kind of days that when you are in the thick of it, you just want them to be over, for the weekend to hurry up and get here so that you can grab an extra hour of sleep before you start the day filled with soccer games, football games, a birthday party squeezed in and then dinner.  When three kiddos all yelling “mom!!!” and fighting each other or needing a band-aid and a kiss, or upset about what a friend said to hurt their feelings, that make you want to lock yourself in the laundry room to give a good cry (true story) before you come back out to face them all again.

mom2

It’s the kind of days when your neighbor’s daughter who is 22, comes home to visit, from where she moved after college to Kansas, and you think, I remember when we had those parents over for a cookout and she stood in our garage singing Brittany Spears when she was 10!  It’s when you look at her and think it’s gone, in the blink of the eye, all those years are gone and HERE is where you are.  Moving through life, taking all these little daily moments for granted and HERE is where life has brought you.  To the days where the kiddos still need you to talk openly and excitedly about their first crush on a girl in their class, to want you to still kiss their boo-boos away and who still need a 3rd drink of water before falling to sleep.  It’s HERE where you fall into bed at night utterly exhausted from the day, thinking that you would love to look at the new magazine that came in the mail today but you are just too tired.  It’s HERE where God has put you exactly where you supposed to be at this exact moment in your life, no matter how many times you think that you can’t do one more day by yourself while the hubby is at work, no matter how many tears are shed thinking that you are failing as a mother and the feeling guilty over the yelling that just happened, God has his hand tucked safely in yours and is watching over you.  He’s got this.  He’s got this.

Advertisements

Knitting for Charity

I finished this baby/toddler blanket last night to go to a local orphan or to another country on a mission trip through our church — my first charity knitting project! Before I turn it in to our church, I plan to pray over it for the wee one receiving this blanket to know they are loved.

This was such a simple way to show my kids how to have compassion for others in this world.  It took me 5 weeks of on/off again knitting in the evenings and they would ask several times who it was for or if I knew who it would go to. From these questions, I was able to have conversations with them about showing and expressing love to those they may not even know or ever meet.

Image

Pattern can be found here:  http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90371AD.html.  The design on this one is just really hard to see but there are “rows” in which they alternate and almost looked raised. It would look better with a solid color of yarn but I was able to use up yarn I had in my stash for this.  Super easy pattern!

How To Serve Others

For many years, I served in the children’s ministry because in having four children of my own, I “knew” children — it was something I could do easily.  However, as time went on, because again, I DO have four children of my own, I came to resent the Sundays where I knew I had to go in and serve in the nursery or classroom.  My church “time” was and still is, time where I can connect with God, get rejuvenated for the week ahead and have some quiet time understanding God’s word.  When I served in the nursery or classroom, this rejuvenation was being stripped of me.

I turned in my notice to the church and let them know that this was no longer for me at this stage of my life as my “heart” just wasn’t in it anymore.  And then I did nothing.  I didn’t serve.  But as God instructs us in the bible, we are to serve others and that nagging sensation came back in which I knew I wanted to do “something” to help others.

What does the bible say about serving others?

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Proverbs 11:25:  Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

1 Peter 4:10:  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

My family belongs to a “big” church and by “big”, we’re talking about 3,000 attendees to our main location each Sunday.  This does not include two off-site locations that are growing at leaps and bounds as well.  So as you can imagine with a big church, there are many families or persons in need when times arise — both good and bad.  Surgeries, birth of a baby, death of a spouse, etc.  In these times, the church likes to help out in easing the burden of fixing meals and they have a team of women that they reach out to fix a meal when a need arises.  I found a way to serve. This is something that I usually do about twice a month on average and it’s something that I can do from the comfort of my home — cook.  It takes usually less than 30 minutes to drive to the home, drop the meal off and offer a few words of encouragement or simply introduce myself and see if there’s anything else they need.  Better yet, I usually take one of my children with me so that they too can have compassion for other people instilled in them by watching me serve as their example.

I know that for some of you reading this blog entry, you don’t have a church home and maybe have no interest in doing so, but you don’t have to in order to serve others.  I had a good friend who has three children and was horribly sick over this past Thanksgiving holiday.  A neighbor and I split up a Thanksgiving menu, went in together on a turkey, and then both our families carried a full meal down to their home so that they could still enjoy the holiday without the stress and my friend could stay in the comfort of her bed knowing that her family was still enjoying a meal and time spent together. I was already cooking for my family and so cooking the additional food wasn’t an extra burden — it took very little extra time but yet  the gesture went so far!  And again, our children were so excited about being able to care for someone in need, that we all agreed that we would seek out another family in need of a Thanksgiving meal this coming holiday.

I believe that there are so many opportunities to serve others in our daily lives with just small gestures of kindness.  Cooking for me, is a simple act.  For others, it may be going to a nursing home and spending time or simply mowing the lawn of the older person that lives next to you.  LOOK for things to do and you’ll be amazed at how both you and the person you are serving are blessed!

Memories of Vacation Bible School

This morning I dropped my offspring off at Vacation Bible School, or VBS as it’s more commonly called nowadays.  It brings back such memories of when I was a little girl, walking to the local church in our neighborhood.  We grew up in one of Indiana’s “small towns” and so in that day, you could pretty much walk anywhere and be and feel safe.

When I went, I can remember us doing the bible drills, where the class would sit in a group with our bibles closed and the leaders would  yell out a verse and then we would flip through our bible to see who could jump up and start reading it aloud first.  I remember making leather wallets and playing dodge ball out in the parking lot.  Nowadays, wow, things have changed and it’s much more “high energy” and they really get the kids to interact with the morning activities and learning about God.  I go to drop them off yesterday at the church where I had to “drive” them to and we come in to a big gymnasium, divided by flag color and the music is blaring and all the kids are hyped up!  They still have all the activities planned and each kiddo came home with some cute little craft, that has ended up in the bottom of my purse tote bag.

Yesterday the kids had to wear a specific “color” of shirt so that their first day was more of a “I’m in a group” day.  Today — crazy hair day.  Last night, a 10:13 precisely, we pile into the truck and head to the local Wal-Mart because yours truly, forgot to stop and get hair paint before baseball last night.  I would have loved to come home, wash the dirt and grime off me from the baseball fields, but no, the kiddos would not leave me alone or let the idea go,  and so above their moans and groans, I grabbed the keys and said “come on, let’s go!”  Glad I did because I was able to grab this shot below — bunny ears and all.  Tomorrow is backwards day, Thursday is crazy hat day (where to find those?), and Friday, back to wearing a specific color.

971385_10151701799024859_1383625899_n

I absolutely love the idea of VBS — learning about God, being with your friends, and time away from the daily routine of summer, which let’s face it, we all know the kiddos get bored.  Did I mention that I’ve signed up for two more in July!?!

Paying it Forward

A friend of mine had a post on Facebook that read:
Pay it forward 2012. I promise to make something handmade for the first five people who comment. They must in turn post this and make something for the first five who comment on their status. *The rules are it must be handmade by you, and they must receive it before 2012 ends. It can be something as simple as making a friend a cup of coffee. Ready…….Go! If you are not local, please send me your address in a private message. *Don’t respond if you won’t participate please, it’s not fair to those who will follow. 

I decided to take the challenge and I posted the above paragraph as my status and I was pleasantly surprised to receive 5 responses in less than 4 hours.  My thinking is that when I’m not taking care of life’s to-do list, I usually always have something in my hands that I’m knitting and I consider myself pretty crafty as well as someone that can bake a mean banana bread. This is a cakewalk…seriously, it’s 5 people—that’s about 2.5 months to plan ONE simple act of kindness.  Bake a loaf of bread.  Knit a scarf.  Buy them a can of their favorite soda.  I got this one, I can DO THIS!

So my challenge to you is not to go and paste this as your Facebook status, unless you really want too, which in that case, that’s great!  But my challenge is for you to think of 5 people in your life, at work, church, the lady at the post office or your children’s school or daycare, that you know a simple act of kindness would brighten their day in 2012.  It’s still January, which means you have 19 more days to plan your resolutions — what a great one this would be!

Thankful Tuesday!

This year, especially, I am thankful for some much.  It’s been a long year with so many ups and downs but it looks as though my family and I will be ending the year on a good note.  For today’s post, I give you 24 things that I am thankful for…one for each day leading up to and the day of Thanksgiving.  Some serious, some silly.  These are in no particular order…just typing as I think of them.

1. My in-laws.  What a blessing they have been to Kevin and I and the kids throughout the years and especially in the past two years as we dealt with Kevin’s layoff, etc.  I am truly thankful that I enjoy being with my in-laws and enjoy their company.

2. My sister.  She is my best friend, my voice-of-reason.  It’s weird for us not to communicate somehow, someway each day.  She too, has just been a huge blessing and influence in my life and I am so thankful that we have kept our “sisterly” bond all these years.

3. My husband.  He is the calm one between the two of us when life gets hairy.  I appreciate this quality about him although sometimes I secretly wish he would stress out with me to make me feel normal!  ha!

4. My kiddos.  I was telling a neighbor this morning that sometimes I wake up and think “wow, I have kids”!  Having children is the hardest, most enjoyable thing anyone can do but wow, what an adventure they provide!

5. My dad.  I don’t see him as much as I would like but I love my dad.

6. Extended family such as Aunts and Uncles that love you and support you just as much as if they were your own mom and dad.  My brother-in-law for his willingness to help us with car problems or fix things around the house!

7. Our church.  Our church is just so alive and I really enjoy getting refreshed and energized when I go each Sunday. Church to me is like taking your car to the gas station…a place to get refueled for the week.

8. Eddie, our dog.  He is so sweet and loving and sometimes, you just need someone to put their head on you and show you that they appreciate you; no matter what…he does that.

9. Good neighbors.  Truly, I love our neighbors.  A good portion of us on the street have lived next to each other for over think we all have the general feeling that we would help any one of us out if we needed it and I love being able to walk down the street and see everyone out and say hello.

10. A job.  And one that I actually enjoy.  I have a good work/life balance in my position and in having four kiddos and a hubby that works evenings; it’s what I need.  My boss is just a really good person to work for and I just really can say I enjoy it.

11. Technology.  Think about, I am able to drive down the interstate at 70 mph, carrying 4 children in the seats behind me, while they are playing their games on their hand-held DS and I’m talking to my sister on a phone that’s the size of a credit card.

12. Food and water.  I think about various countries around the world such as Africa, where children are still dying for lack of water, and I appreciate that even some nights if we have to eat only hot dogs and chips, other children would think that it’s a feast.  It’s all in your perspective of things.

13. A washer.  Sounds simple and stupid maybe but can you imagine having to do laundry for 6 people by hand?

14. Knowledge of knitting.  Again, maybe another silly one, but it seriously calms my nerves and soothes me in the evenings after I’ve had a long day with work and the kiddos.

15. Medications.  Samuel has ADHD and when he doesn’t take his medication, it’s a bumpy roller coaster ride.  But with them, he acts like any other normal 9 year old would and for that, I am thankful.  I know many people may scoff at this one but for our family situation, it’s the right choice.

16. Samuel’s sense of humor.  Samuel was blessed with a wonderful sense of mischievious and humor!  He can make me laugh out loud at times.

17. Caden’s sweetness.  Caden is my “cuddler” and loves to hug and be told that I love him.  I appreciate this and hopes he always keeps his loving nature about him.

18. Isabella’s sassiness!  Wow, she truly is something but it’s because of this, I know she’ll do fine in life.  She’s so confident in herself and I love that about her.

19. Evelyn’s age.  She’s at that age where everything is so new, learning new words, curious about everything but yet at the same time, still wants and needs her mama.  Love it.

20.  Seasons of weather.  I am thankful that we get to see God’s handiwork all throughout the year with the various seasons…the coloring of the trees in the fall, the uniqueness of each snowflake that falls in the winter, the beautiful spring flowers and then warmth of summer days,.

21.  Sunsets and sunrises.  Reminds me that YES, there are new days and chances to get another day right.

22.  My home.  I often envy those that have bigger, newer homes; ones with basements, one with big yards; those who have land out on a farm — but when I think about basic necessities and what’s important in life, I know that we are blessed in that we DO have a home that keeps us sheltered from the weather, keeps us warm and provides a place for us to be together each day.

23. Family Dinners such as those on Thanksgiving.  What a great thing to do, get together with all your family to catch up on news and laugh and have a good time.  We all should do it more often than just mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas.

24.  God’s unending love and mercy.

Everything that could go wrong…

Because of the vast amount of my weekly ramblings, you can easily go down two posts and see that my hubby finally found a job after 2-1/2 years of being laid off.  We’re thinking “awesome, we’re gonna get our financial lives back in order and our lives are going to vastly improve”!  Here is where enters the sarcasm…YEAH, RIGHT!!  I feel like we’re auditioning for the main roles in a remake of the movie “The Money Pit“.

In the past TWO days…yes, TWO…

• Our heater/furnace decides only to work when it feels like it — not when we NEED it to but whenever it decides to produce some warm air into the home.  Now mind you, when it hits about 28 degrees around 4:00 in the morning, this is NOT one of those moments when it decides to work. Usually around 3:00 in the afternoon, when the sun is at its highest and moments of spring can be felt outside, is when it likes to decide to kick it in to high gear and show us that there IS  life in this metal contraption that has sucked numerous amounts of $$ out of us already.

• The heating element in our oven decides to catch on fire and then break in half…AS WE ARE COOKING dinner for 4 kids.  Luckily for us, Little Caesar’s offers $5 pizza’s because that’s what we had for dinner that night.  Luckily again, my brother-in-law knows somebody who knows somebody that can get us a heating element for $45 and he can install it.  Crisis adverted.

• Next up, the panel that surrounds the front and sides of the washing machine popped off!  Hubby saw that it was coming off, pulled the machine out, looked for loose screws, nuts, bolts, or anything resembling something that would have held this on and there is NOTHING to be found.  Duct it.  That’s my solution.

• And for the finale, just this morning, our garage door broke.  I rushed home from the bus stop because my oldest spawn decided his hands were cold and he needed gloves and so I drove the 10 houses home and got the gloves.  Doing record time, I hit the garage door button thingy and down came the garage door and promptly stopped halfway.  Of course my thinking that by hitting the garage door thingy 10 more times will make things miraculously fix this problem, I immediate hit it 10 more times.  Still nothing.  I can’t even pull down the lever bar that allows you to go into “manual” mode.  At this point, girls strapped in their car seats looking wide-eyed out the window at me, I proceed to laugh, hysterically.  WHAT ELSE CAN GO WRONG?  You know those moments where you think to yourself that if any of your neighbors could see you, they would think you were crazy and delusional?  I was soooooooo there and didn’t even care.  Luckily a neighbor didn’t think I was crazy and came to my rescue and was able to help me un-jam the lever bar and get the door down.  Crisis adverted…for the moment.  Still has to be fixed but at least this isn’t one of those FIX RIGHT NOW items because as you can imagine, we’re a family with 4 kids — we can barely get the bikes in our garage, let alone a car or two!

So at this point, I really can’t image what else can possibly go wrong other than the house burning down around us and truthfully at this point, I don’t think it would even phase me if it did!  I know this is one of those times in our lives where we will look back and again, laugh hysterically as to how we survived but right now, all we CAN do is…