Monday, December 31, 2007

Who's Lord in my home?

I remember reading Lou Priolo's book, The Heart of Anger. I only got through the first few chapters (typical of me), but that was enough to teach me a very important lesson. In the book, the author points out how insecure we make our kids when they become the center of our universe, instead of God. When we have a "child-centered home" instead of a "God-centered home," our kids learn that the world can and should revolve around them. They begin to feel insecure with our parenting. In fact, Priolo says this clearly provokes children to wrath.

I believe I have really seen this principle in my home. One of my children in particular, is very angry and even cruel, at times. But in all honesty, I can understand why. We have danced around his every need for many years, and now, he hates us for it. He knows we love God, but also believe he has the power to make us set aside our faith or relationship with Jesus long enough to appease him. It's a shameful thing to have to admit, but I believe our past is riddled with these truths.

On the flip side, I also believe that we've learned a valuable lesson in all this, and we're no longer willing to set aside our beliefs just to make him happy. My revelation some weeks ago that my commitment to the Lord includes raising my children, not necessarily making them love/like me, has given me so much peace and direction. The reigns are a bit tighter in our home, but this has provided a safer environment for our kids. And I believe my oldest is responding well to that, even if he'd never admit it.

So, as I look forward to a new year, I'd have to say that my word (something I got from the FIAR website) would have to be...LORD.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why do teenagers just not get this?!

I can't believe some of the things that come out of my teenage son's mouth sometimes. Not just potty humor things or insulting his siblings, but offensive things to other people. He thinks it's funny and it's just NOT! When I was a teenager, I was so repentant when I'd hurt someone else with my words. It was always an accident, but my son is not like that. I'm being told that it's a teenage boy thing, but I'm not buying that.

So now he's said something to offend one of the ladies who lives in the ministry complex, and I told her to go to the director with it. He needs to see that his words have meaning, and that they WILL get him into trouble with others in authority if he doesn't watch it. This was a major offense. His mentor will be called in (we provide all of our residents with a staff mentor, even the kids in staff families) and they'll all discuss it together. He won't be disciplined by me or his dad. This offense is bigger than that.

Lord, my heart is broken over my son's inability to see the power of words, and his lack of compassion for the people he offends. Please show him that Your ways are so much better, and that he actually CAN control his tongue. I'm surrendering him to You, Lord. And that's so hard for me to do...but he's not listening to us...please, whatever it takes to cause him to finally listen to You. Amen.

Edit: The director of our facility and his mentor have spoken, and his side of the story paints a much better picture. I believe him, and that this gal was not innocent in her part, either. Thanking God for working things out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, we're making progress, but boy does it hurt!

I realized last week that I would be seen as my son's greatest nemesis when I decided to push him to the limit and make him do the school work needed to get him into high school in Jan. But, wow!

He's very frustrated, for one thing. And I know he's grappling with a lot of issues. He' realizing that he waited way too long to kick it into gear. The lessons take an hour a piece, or more, and he's got more than 20 lessons to go. Plus, he's going to be required to do a ton of paper work. Book reports, essays, a power point presentation...things that he should have started two months ago, when I told him to. Do you know how hard it is for me NOT to say, "See? I told you so!" :-P But I haven't done that. Well,...when he's been very short tempered with me, and even given me a "Whatever," I have said something about him making this mess, so he's got to deal with it.

Some of his school work takes 10 or 11 hours a day, and I'm still not completely sure he's going to get everything done. His teacher/director at the learning center is willing to help grade his work over the Christmas break, too...which is so much more grace than he deserves. I can't imagine him not realizing how "on his side" we all are, but he seems to be blind to it.

So, we've got at least ten more days of hell before the deadline. I'm not even sure that the school is going to accept all his work, b/c if they look at the time it's taken him, they could decide he just has to wait until next fall, and even though he should be a junior (willing to be a sophomore), he'll have to enroll as a freshman. He'll be devastated, but I'm hoping he'll learn his lesson. If he fails, my prayer is he cries out to God. If he succeeds, I know he'll have lots of learning opportunities in his new school setting. As much as I love schooling them at home, I have so much peace about him enrolling in the public school. A first for us...and him!

Lord help us all ride through this season and remain standing on the other side. Amen!

Monday, December 10, 2007

R.W. Griffin wrote...

"We did not break into His light. He crashed into our darkness."

And, holy epiphany, Batman...that was the case for me this weekend.

I have struggled for a couple of years now with our oldest son. He's a typical "know-it-all" teenager, for the most part. And although he claims to know the Lord, he doesn't walk "in the Light" most of the time. He does claim to have a conscience, though, so Woo, Hoo!! ;)

Anyway, he decided last year that he wanted to enter public school so he could participate in sports. He's a natural athlete, and we're at a point with him where we believe it would be good for him to find out that he needs to answer to other authorities in life...namely right now, coaches and teachers. I hate sending him to p/s, but it's not about me. :P

So, about eight weeks ago, he began doing the course work that the school wanted him to do before he could enter the p/s. They aren't counting anything I did with him last year (which is totally bogus, imho, but if it's what he wants and what they require, oh well) so he's cramming an entire semesters worth of Algebra I, English and World History into those eight weeks.

I pretty much laid this in his lap. I decided that if this is what he wants, he needs to do the work necessary to reach his goals. However, this is where I've been struggling.

I've not been certain that I have done all I could do to make sure he's really equipped to reach his goals. In fact, I'm certain that I didn't learn how to manage a project of this size until I was about 24 or 25yo. It was about that time that I learned how to break a goal down into manageable chunks that I could reach daily, weekly, monthly, etc. However, I'm pretty sure I haven't done a good job of teaching him how to do that.

So what have I done when he's avoided doing his daily work? I've nagged him. I've told him I doubted that he was going to make it. But I haven't facilitated an environment to help him get his work done (eliminated facebook or youtube, movies with friends) because I really wanted it to be his decision.

But yesterday, the Lord revealed to me (Ecc. 5:4-7) that I have vowed to raise these kids. They are not my own...they are only loaned to me long enough for me to parent them. It's not my job to make them love me, make them love God or make them smart. I did, however, vow to parent them, love them, care for their needs, instruct them in the ways of righteousness.

And I have avoided fulfilling that vow b/c I wanted to make sure my kids loved me, more than I've wanted to actually parent them. It's been a Spirit-filled 2x4 over my head showing me this.

And the other thing He's shown me is that I have not been allowing my gentleness to be evident to my children, those we minister to, nor my friends. I've been anxious and I know that's shown a lack of trust in the Lord. Shame ON ME! I've been doing the very things that are driving my son to produce the wrong things in his life. And, I've avoided teaching him the necessities needed to reach his goals.

So, today we start fresh. He completes the tasks I give him before getting any "free time" on the internet, any movies time with friends, any phone time, etc.

I can't tell you the freedom I know have. It's like a huge emotional garbage bag has been lifted from my hands. I see clearly for the first time in weeks.

And when I sat my 15yos down and told him (in less than 2 minutes, btw) that I felt like I was confusing him, and that all that was going to stop, he almost acted like "'s about time." It was like he knew he needed more boundaries than I was providing, but he didn't want to admit it, kwim?

So, in the last 48 hours he's completed 12 lessons (just 32 + projects to go) and we're in boot camp mode. ;-)

God is good, and now...let's get this season over with! ;)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

An exhausting week

I am so tired, and yet, my head and heart are so full right now, that I feel like I have to at least get this stuff out of my head and down on "paper."

First off, I decided several weeks ago to slow my business building to a dead stop. Originally, it was because I really felt like the kids were at a place where they needed more of my attention. Then, as I began praying about it, I realized that the Lord has been convicting me for quite some time about how much I don't really trust Him when it comes to money. Maybe it's a lack of trust in my dh also, and that bothers me, too. I know it's wrong to feel like that.

But on top of all of that, I have been feeling called to be more involved in our ministry for quite some time, too. I been sorta just coasting along for the most part, helping people here from time to time, but not really investing in praying for them, or helping them draw closer to the Lord, ya know?

So, this week has been crazy.

1. The ministry decided to send a holiday letter to the churches and to our donors, but all of those had to be printed, folded, stuffed in brochures and delivered to the area churches. So, the kids and I spent a couple of days working on that with some of our sojourners and other staffers.

2. Today is foodbank day, like every Saturday. But as soon as we were done with that, 20+ college students came to help with various volunteer projects that needed to be done on the property; moving some of our sojourners from one apartment to another, painting a couple of rooms, painting some shelving, cleaning the foodbank, etc. And, the staff (including me) had to prepare for and supervise each project. It took us until about 5pm, so it was just a very long day today.

3. A couple of our sojourners have really needed some one-on-one attention this past week, too. Our apartment is right inside the front door of the facility, so my doorbell has been busy all week. I want to be helpful, but I seldom know where to draw the line so that my home doesn't have a revolving door. And my husband is also tired of not happy about there never being a quiet moment. Now, he's never been as quick to let people "in" as I have, but working in this ministry is really pushing his limits. And it's not like I'm not tired and feel like we need a break more's just that I think I look at these "visits" differently, ya know? I mean, many of our sojourners really have no place to go for wise counsel, and many of them also are not very sure how to run to the Lord. It's a tough spot, for sure.

4. And, to top off the week, my dh and son are really having trouble communicating. To be honest, I feel like my son is handling the whole thing much better than dh is. Frustrates the tar out of me!!! So, I don't know what I can do about it. I try way to hard to "fix things," I know. And that's not good. But, it's exhausting, and is just wearing me out. :-/

Well, it feels good to unload a little. 15yos is doing his schooling daily, but there are lots of roadblocks, including the internet being down, and him getting distracted so easily. But I'm convinced that he's going to reach his goals. He doesn't have a choice. :-)

The other two kids are just awesome. One of our sojourners told me this week while I was decorating our front door, that she sees a huge difference in the kids since I decided to take a break from working. She also said that I seem far less stressful, too. I was glad to hear that. To be truthful, I really didn't know how unapproachable I was when I was working so much. Shame on me.

It's late, and I'm struggling with some late night anger towards my dh, so need to spend some time in prayer before sleeping.

Lord, You have been so good to me. My gratitude seems so small considering how great You are. Forgive me for being fearful. Forgive me for getting short tempered and being so prideful. Show me how to make a difference in our home that will matter. I'm trusting You, Jesus.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Could I Ask For More? by Cindy Morgan

There's nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
Waking to the sunlight, and being cradled by the moon
Catching fireflies at night
Building castles in the sand
Kissing Mama's face goodnight
Holding Daddy's hand
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

Running barefoot through the grass
A little hide and go seek
Being so in love, that you can hardly eat
Dancing in the dark, when there's no one else around
Being bundled 'neath the covers, watching snow
Fall to the ground
Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more

So many things I thought would bring me happiness
Some dreams that are realities today
Such an irony the things that mean the most to me
Are the memories that I've made along the way

So if there's anything I've learned
From this journey I am on
Simple truths will keep you going
Simple love will keep you strong
Cause there are questions without answers
Flames that never die
Heartaches we go through are often blessings in disguise
So thank you Lord, oh thank you Lord
How could I ask for more

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don't Expect Me to Laugh at Your Killer!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted on this thing. We've been incredibly busy with the move, activities going on in the ministry and, of course, bringing our son home from Michigan. It's good to have him home. But in all honesty, I did not miss the "three-siblings-pickin'-on-each-other" thing while he was away. I suppose it's all a part of sibling rivalry, huh?

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to the oldest, and he tends to be the typical teenage boy; making crude jokes with his goofy friends, laughing at things that most "refined" folks would consider inappropriate, and more often than not, are offensive to my "gentile" sensibilities. ;o) He had made a comment about something we were watching on TV. There were these two men living the bachelor life, and they were having dates over. My son said something like, " friend and me will be just like that (using his poor grammar and all here)...we'll have our own place and have chicks over ever night. It'll be sweet!"


Now any other night, I probably would have just blown it off. But I have been feeling such conviction in my own life lately, about how much we are entertained, and even laugh at sin. So, I just sorta snapped. I mean, I didn't begin yelling or anything, but I just began weeping. Have I trained this child to think that living a life of sinful pleasures will just be no big deal?? Have I been so apathetic about what I've watched and enjoyed, that he now thinks that he has no choice but to "enjoy" sowing his wild oats? :o/ Is there something else I should have been doing to help him understand that sin is a destroyer of life, and not something to play around with?

As I began trying to explain how I felt to him, I realized that he was really hearing nothing. He sorta rolled his eyes and gave me the "okay, sitting through another mommy rant" look that I have just grown to detest. So I stopped mid-thought, and just said, "Someday we'll talk about this seriously, and I hope it's not too late." :o(

I cried myself to sleep that night. But as I lay there praying, "Lord, Lord...please let him understand," another thought came to me. My children are responsible for their own convictions and beliefs, yes. I know I can only offer them the truth, but that doesn't mean that they HAVE to accept it as such. But, I don't have to spend time enjoying the very things that I know can eat them alive. It'll be a monumental task, especially because I do love watching TV and movies with the kids so much. But I've made my decision, kids...

Don't expect me to laugh at your killer. :o/

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Moving again! Yay...and Awwww.

Nobody enjoys all the hard work it takes to move. But, I'm actually quite excited. The volunteers here at the ministry have done a wonderful job of renovating, and actually creating, a new apartment. New kitchen, new utility room, new bathroom, and new carpet and linoleum. I'll post photos when we get all the cleaning done there so y'all can see it. And although I'm already swamped with a lot of work these days, I am very excited. Not only will that put staff on the main level of the complex (us!), but it will also be the newest and nicest apartment in the place.

The biggest perk for us will be that we no longer have to share a washer and dryer with other families in the complex. I don't mind so much sharing with them, but having to have a schedule, and not being able to wash everyday, any time I'd like, has been tough to get used to. Plus, other families will now be able to use the 12 hours that I've had the machines reserved for us each week. LOL! I'm sure they're all as thrilled as I am. :o)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Attachment Parenting...Great for the kid...but what about the babysitter?

Now, it's been years since I had a baby in my home. My youngest will be 9yo this month, and his baby years were just a blur for me.

So, I told one of the gals in our complex that I'd be happy to watch her 5mos for a few hours today, while she got her teeth pulled out of town. No sweat right? :o/

Well, evidently, she has been practicing "attachment parenting" or something similar. Because this kid would not let me put him down! :oP I had to either be feeding, playing with, or rocking him constantly. He even fell asleep in my arms after taking a bottle and givin' me a few monstrous burps. But when I tried to place him on his blanket on the floor,...WAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaHHHHHHH!!! I mean a screech like you would NOT believe.

Now, don't get me wrong; I held and carried my babies quite a bit when they were little. But they usually just played by themselves in th playpen or crib until they fell asleep, ya know?

I whole-heartedly agree that attachment parenting is a wonderful thing...unless you're the babysitter. ;o)


Monday, October 1, 2007

Season's Change

This has just been a week of changes. For the last eight years, I've been working as a volunteer on the Five in a Row forums. We fell in love with that curriculum nine years ago, and I became active in the online community then. In fact, I can honestly say that FIAR has been instrumental in our lives in dozens of ways.

If it hadn't been for FIAR, our homeschool journey would have been far less adventurous and fun.

If it hadn't been of FIAR, I never would have met and become close friends with the most amazing and wonderful people in the world.

If it hadn't been for FIAR, I never would have met, Madeline, Albert, Henry, Babar, Sal, and many other fine works of literature.

And if it hadn't been for FIAR, I might have missed the countless times that I've seen the FIAR staff operate as the church in the truest sense of the word.

This week, I was approached with the idea of retiring from the staff, and I agreed that it was time. Steve didn't actually ask me to leave the staff, he just opened the door for us to think about it. So, I prayed about it, and decided that it was time. My children are so much older now, and I have so little time to really be helpful on the staff.

It's a sad time for me, though. I know I'll retain and cherish the relationships that have been built during these last eight years. But change is difficult for me. :-(

I've also been in the process of enrolling my oldest in public school. He's going to be coming home from some friends' house in the next few weeks. And we've decided that his homeschooling journey has ended. He's 15yo now, and ready to become active in sports. He's already taken the school assessment and will be able to start on "grade level" which I've never really paid attention to, but I'm glad he's really not considered "behind," ya know?

But the season of change doesn't end there. I'm also having my 13yod evaluated by the local special ed. co-op, to determine if she has learning disabilities that they can offer services addressing her lack of reading skills. Now THIS really does make me nervous. Although, the SEC director was very nice and said he would help me with all the paperwork and hoop-jumping that needed to be done. Still, it's closer to having "big brother" in my business than I've really ever wanted. LOL!

And lastly, several of the people I've been ministering to where we live, are moving. I am really not ready for them to go, and will miss them so much.

Remarkably enough, I have a great deal of peace about many of these changes. I know that God is working actively in my life, and in the lives of my family. Change is difficult; sometimes I feel like I'm being pruned and it's painful. But I also know it's necessary for growth to happen.

Lord, don't let me miss it.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friends are so sweet!

One of my blogging buddies, Lynn, sent me a note saying she nominated me for an award; Nice Matters. How sweet! I didn't realize there were such awards out there. And I'm not certain what makes my blog so "nice," but I'm honored to be thought of.

I actually don't blog very often, due to time constraints. So what happens is, I don't blog for days and days, and then there's so much to share, that the task seems daunting. LOL! I'll try to start blogging short posts daily, and maybe it won't be so scary. *giggle*

Monday, August 27, 2007

A look at the babies!

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Deciding what's best

I seem to go through this every school year. I know in my heart that homeschooling my kids is best for them, but there's always this part of me that wonders if I'm short-changing them by keeping them home. A big part of that, I know, is that putting them in school would allow me to work my business more...which of course would allow me to bring them home again, and offer more personalized teaching time, and certainly more "daddy" time, b/c dh could come home and help, too.

I guess until I have a clearer more defined idea of what putting them in school would do, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I mean...I think. (grrr!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Long Story, but God's Blessing!

Dh went for a 26 mile bike ride this morning, and when he got home, he showed me a wallet he'd found on the side of the road. The license was there, and so were several credit cards, etc. Otherwise, it was empty. (No cash! ) He brought it to me, and I called the owner (via telephone information) in another city in KS. He was relieved and said that it sounded like the money was taken but he was excited not to have to replace his driver's license. He'd be coming our way on his way to Manhattan today, and he'd drop by to pick it up. Great!

So, dh leaves at 11:40, thinking he'll drive by that same route and look around for this guy's money, just in case. Sure enough, he found $200+ and called me to tell me that when the guy got here, to make arrangements for him to get his cash from us. The guy had just left the apartment when Larry called, so I dashed out the door and flagged him down.

Dh turned around and came home (about 8 miles out) to bring the guy his cash. While we waited, this guy and I talked about Main Street, what he did for a living, about any local connections we might share, etc. I mentioned that we'd just come home from five days with our teenager in Michigan and told him a little about our love for Lake Michigan.

Dh came in just a few minutes later and handed this guy his money, a debit card that he was grateful not to have to replace, his social security card, library card, and several other cards his wife's been telling him to get rid of for years. LOL

Dh left in a hurry, now running a hair later than he'd like, and I ushered the guy to the door to leave. We'd actually had a great visit and I'm hoping they'll come around for a visit from time to time.

He then proceeds to tell me that he was just so impressed that we'd return his wallet and $$, that he wanted me to keep the cash. I tried to assure him that it was just not necessary to reward us for doing the right thing, but he insisted.

Now, what he didn't know was how hard these next two weeks were going to be on us, b/c we pretty much used up all the money we had (until next payday - 10 days away) and then some, to get to MI to see ds. We really haven't worried about it, we just knew it was going to be tight, and we were okay with it...the trip was worth some "tightness." *grin*

I just feel like God worked out a way when we hadn't really even asked for Him to do so. Feeling blessed to be His child right now! *happy tears*

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I think I've decided what my blog is for.

I know lots of people go into their blogs daily and update the world on what's going on in their lives and families. It's like a public diary that helps other family and friends stay in touch. I think that's an awesome idea.

But in all honesty, I have to say that I'm pretty sure my blog is a place for me to come and gripe! :o/ It's embarrassing to admit, but it's true. I seldom feel the need or desire to come post a new entry unless I'm just having a really lousey day. And today is one of them. :o(

My oldest son is staying with friends over the summer in another state. It's like a 14 hour trip. We decide a couple of weeks ago that we'd try to put a trip together over the fourth so we could go visit him. Now I don't know how most other families live, but we pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. So coming up with money for a long trip is tough. Dh thought he had it worked out, but it's beginning to look like we're not going anywhere. :o(

We would take his little Mercury Tracer, but the clutch is going out. I called a friend to see if we could borrow a car from her (she owes me money so I'm thinking we could swap out, right?) and she's pretty sure her dh won't go for having his newer car away that far with someone else driving. I understand...I do.

I could rent a car, but that takes credit cards...those are still maxed out from the trip we took a couple of months ago to deliever ds to his destination. Then, we borrowed my mom's car, but she's going to need it next week, so we can't borrow that. And to top it off, I've gotten a couple of ugly "reminders" that I owe other people money.

I'm so sad right now. :o( How do other people always have enough for these little things? I want to see my baby but I'm beginning to doubt that we'll be able to do it.

Lord, I know I need to just be grateful...and I know you're way too generous to me already. But I miss ds and would really like to spend a few days with him. If it's not in your plan, that's okay. I'm sure absense will just make our hearts grow fonder. *weep*

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Sad but True Story

Directly across the street from our apartment complex is the home of a tortured soul. We'll call her Mary.

Mary spent most of her life abusing alcohol. In the two years I've known her and we've been involved here, she has come to my apartment twice. Disoriented and with slurred speech, she would ask me to call her cell phone so she could hear it ring and locate it, as it was somehow lost in her home. She talked often of a son who didn't want to have anything to do with her. She was hospitalized frequently for trying to use something besides alcohol to medicate her suffering. She didn't have a full-time care-giver though, b/c she did have good days, too. Days when she'd water her plants, care for her animals (a bird and cat) and take walks in the neighborhood.

Mary would show up in our office just babbling about things, and it was obvious she needed looking after. We would talk sweetly to her, hoping to say the right "sweet" things to move her on...move her out of our meeting or out of our luncheon. Oh, we'd offer coffee and a sandwich,...let her know we were "praying for her" as she left. After all, we wanted her to know Jesus, right?

But nobody really wanted Mary around. She was just too...too much. Her liver and mind in bondage to a past full of drunken mistakes and untold pain.

We were told a few weeks ago, by her part-time care giver and friend, that she was going to move to be closer to her son. He was in another state. She told me, "He's going to let me come see him! I'm so glad he's letting me come. It's been over ten years."

She began making plans to sell her home (which she really didn't own, but she thought she did) and she thought maybe out ministry would like to buy it. She gave us the tour, pointing out all of her favorite places to sit and read, or sit and crochet. When we got to the upstairs she said, "This little room here in the middle is used as a big closet, but I think this would be a great bathroom for your kids...just needs some new wallpaper and plumbing."

I saw her walking across the street a few days ago, or maybe it had been a week...not sure. Wishing I'd actually stopped, now. Asked her when she was leaving...or how she was feeling...or what she knows about her home finally selling....I wish I'd asked her anything at all. But...I didn't even make note of the day...or time. I wonder why I didn't imprint the day and time on my mind...I remember thinking, "She should be moving soon." And that was the last time I saw her.

Nobody here was concerned when we didn't see her anymore. We knew she was planning to leave, and just assumed that she didn't want to say goodbye. barely came up at all.

Last night, after spending a glorious day, living my own glorious life (working in the foodbank helping people needing food, going to the movies with my family, talking on the phone to my oldest teen and hearing nothing but good things about his time away), I went out to sit on the patio that extends off the upper floor of the complex. It was 11:00pm, and two of my son's friends (bored teens) were already there. I said, "Hey guys...what ya lookin' at?" as they gawked across the street.

One said, "Must be a drug bust. Every cop in the county is there. 'Cept...I don't know who's big white suburban that is."

I did.

I went downstairs and stood on the curb waiting for one of the officers to cross the street to his car, so I could ask the question that I was certain I already knew the answer to. When one of them did, it was an officer I knew from church. " that Jay's car?" He said, "Why?" Obviously he didn't want to share too much information. "Because he's the city's mortician, and that would mean Mary is in there and needs him." I began to cry and he just nodded. "It's him."

He didn't tell me anymore details, but did ask me when I'd seen her last, as he was trying to piece together a timeline. He couldn't tell me how she had passed, but I knew one thing...she was alone when she died. That thought just fed the flow of tears, as I stood there and watched the scene become more and more like something from a C.S.I. episode.

Mary didn't have friends. She didn't have a job. She lived in that big 'ol house alone, and her mind had become so childlike as it began to suffer the consequences of those years of alcoholic abuse to her body.

She did want to make sure that I knew she had made peace with the Lord at some point in her life. When I took that tour of her home and mentioned we were praying about what the Lord might want to do to expand our ministry, she said, "God's really blessing me."

I didn't spend a lot of time with her. Nobody did. It was inconvenient to set aside time for try and listen to her. She didn't make a lot of sense sometimes...and she swaggered from side to side; the effect of many years of medicating depression and abusing her body, I'm sure.

We were always so much to much work to do. Important stuff...I'm sure....or am I?

Across the street from a Christ-centered ministry lived a tortured soul who won't be missed...and that breaks my heart.

Funny...the church bells are now ringing out behind me....I can hear them.

God help us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Weird Summer for us!

This is definitely not the summer I envisioned last winter. I was planning on being out of the ministry apartment by now, for one. But we're still trying to pay off our debts, and it makes sense to be here where we love working, anyway.

I also wasn't expecting my 15yos to be so far away. If you've read any of my previous blogs, my oldest son and his father have been in a constant "teen feud" for most of the last year. He's not minded me either, but that's another post. Anyway, he's spending some time working with our friends who own and operate Shily's Promise Youth Ranch, still in its infancy. :o) It's a wonderful place, but it's almost 800 miles away. And I miss him terribly. He's doing very well there, and Jesus is restoring the years the locust have eaten while he's away. We're also working on how to make life better for all of us when he comes home, later this summer.

Speaking of which, the Lord is just so faithful to reveal and humble us when we let Him. I'm amazed at how much He's shown me these past six weeks, alone. It's the reason I've become more committed than ever to daily surrender to serving...the Lord, my family...especially my kids and their schooling...and the ministry of Main Street. It's meant releasing my business...which is really tough for me...over achiever out the wah-zoo!...but so freeing, too.

What else? Oh, dh is on second shift, and as challenging as that has been, it's really working quite nicely. He's here to help round up the kids in the morning and get them on task...and he's home early enough at night that we can still at least sleep the same hours. Not bad! ;o)

Had an interesting counseling experience last night. One of our sojourners was admitted to the hospital recently b/c of losing her temper and hurting herself. She claims to be seeing "things" in her apartment, and confessed to me that she turned her back on the Lord a long time ago and had a MESS of oppression from past cultic and occultic, plus plain immoral, behaviors.

So my mom and I spend a couple of hours praying with her in her apartment last night, and it was just awesome! Jesus cleansed her heart, and gave her freedom she hadn't known in years. The enemy is fierce and fanged when you don't know how powerless he this was so good for her. Praise the Lord!

Father, I continue to be amazed at how much You love me, my kids, and just people in general. You're a wonderful God and I cherish Your mercy and grace. Help me to remember how big You are in the midst of my circumstances, and the situations of others. I love You! - Amen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Trying a new schedule...again! :-P

Dh is back on second shift...NO...wait! He's on a different shift, but not really second shift...sorta after noon but before ten. :oP Anyway, that's a lot different than the old "up by five, home by 3" schedule he used to keep. And, since he's not home in the evening now, that changes my work schedule, too. I'm so proud of how well it's going so far.

Keep in mind that I am soooooo NOT a morning person! I want to be up late reading and watching movies, maybe a Frazier rerun from time to time...but now, I'm down and out by 11pm, at the latest.

So, here's what it looks like now:
6:30 - I'm up and working on coffee, chores and breakfast so I can be ready for phase II, which is...
7:30 - Bible time!
8-noon - I'm working my business. (and the kids and dh are really good about leaving me alone so I can truly work during this proud of them!) ;o)

The kids are up and workin' on chores by 7:30, eating by 8:00 and ready to sit down with Dad from 9-11 to do reading and math. Plus, he takes them out for about 1/2 an hour to do some exercise of some sort; cycling, basketball here at the complex, and today it was tennis. :o)

I work on lunch from 11:30 to noon (still half-way workin' on my business...but listening on the phone mostly, so this is easy multi-tasking).

By then dh is out the door. Once lunch is cleaned up and the table usable for school, the kids and I start our Beyond/FIAR lessons. Today we working on Homer Price history; TV and Radio of the 1940's.

Fun fact: One of the neighbor girls my dd plays with was here this morning ans asked if she could participate in our "rowing." I told her she could, and she had a blast! We're lapbooking from the FIAR fold-n-learns for HP, and she really enjoyed it. She said several times, "I didn't know that!?!" while we studied about Orson Welles, the original radio broadcast of War of the World's , and the first TV's cost. It was so cute to see her (13yo) get so excited and make her lapbook with us.

But I got a real kick out of hearing her 16yo brother say the same things when he came in the apartment to get her after our lesson. "Wow! I didn't know that!" LOL! (And the real blessing from this is that this kid and my son got into a major KDDO last I never expected to see him in my apartment,...and being civil!

Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Today, I'm officially the mother of TWO Teenagers!

I can't believe it! My little girl turns 13yo today. She's in that awkward stage of clumsiness and hormone's. LOL! Beautiful!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

This just makes me crazy!!!

I'm a pretty good communicator...I mean, according to my business partners and mentor, according to the people I minister with here,...I have pretty decent verbal communication skills. I think I'm pretty good at clarifying my position on any one of a million topics. So...

...why is it so hard to make a point to my husband? I've tried word-pictures, using analogies, using a different tone of voice...he still does not seem to understand what I'm trying to say sometimes. It makes me feel stupid and if I just knew how to "do it the right way," he'd get it!


Calgon...take me away!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A typical Saturday at Main Street

I usually sleep in until 8am on Satudays. The kids use this day to eat a sweet breakfast (something I don't let them do on school days) and play on the Gamecube (which I really hate, but...). Dh is up and out the door before 8am, headed off to the men's Bible study breakfast that we have for our sojourner's here.

Saturday is foodbank day at Main Street ministries.

So from 9-noon, folks in need in our county can come and get a box of food (whatever we have on the shelves) to get them by for a spell. Up until the last couple of months, I've been labeled the "prayer partner" responsible for spending some time in the counselling room with each "banker." I pray with them, usually try to network them with other agencies that can offer assistance, and just get to know them and their situation a little bit. It's very emotionally draining, to be quite honest; many of them come with extreme loads of baggage, and very few of them really want to listen to my "encouragement." (Maybe that's how Jesus feels when I don't want to listen to Him. *gulp*)

Dh takes all the recyclable's to the center (only time their open for receiving).

The kids usually help, too. The oldest helps carry out food boxes, moves donated furniture if needed, and "hangs out" in the event there are other jobs to do. My 13yod works in the foodbank, too, packing boxes and bags, re-stocking shelves, and babysits for the volunteers who work in the foodbank.

My youngest, 8yos, just gamecubes and plays with the neighbors, for the most part.

For the last couple of months, dh and I have been taking a sabbatical of sorts. I haven't been working in the foodbank since the end of March, and he hasn't had a lot of the maintenance responsibilities to tend to. It's been a good break for us. We needed to work intently on our marriage and our kids, our oldest in particular. We've seen the Lord work on us alot these past couple of months, as He's faithful to do, when we allow it. :o/

This is my last official "day off" from the foodbank, or from MSM for that matter. I'm a little fearful about starting up in a more involved staff capacity. I tend to let myself get consumed very easily. And God has shown me clearly these last couple of months, what my priorities must be; my volunteer/ministry work is a ways down on the list.

Think I'll head on down there and see what's going on in the foodbank this morning. Just as a visitor....HONEST! ;o)

Friday, June 1, 2007

If you read my post on the FIAR boards today...

...then you know how frustrated I've been all day. My dh sat down to work on the checking account, and just like every other time, hegot frustrated about how muchmoney we owe on our credit cards. Now, I'm taking a lot of responsibiliy for what we owe on those cards. Okay...I'm responsible for pretty much all the debt on those cards. I've used them to payfor business ads, for school books, to pay for gasoline while I'm on the road, for a yearly convention with the company I work with,...and in a perfect world, my plan was always to pay off what I'd used. But then my check would come, or his check would come, and we'd realize we could do little more than just pay the minimum payments. And, I'm glad I've got those cards. We came out of a horrible bankruptcy five years ago, and me getting and keeping those cards caught up and using them, has really rebuilt my (our) credit score.

But anyway, everytime we look at the bills, my wheels start spinning; how can I help more, what can I sell to get us out of debt? I am only working a few hours a week right now, and that's getting me close to fulltime income. I really am committed to being a full time mom, can't really work a whole lot more than I am already.

So today, I visited ebay and posted a book to sell, went into my library trying to figure out what I could bear to let go of. :-( But of course, I'm even thinking maybe I should stop schooling for the summer, find a full time job (for the summer), and use that income to pay off our debts. In the long run, it would probably a wise move, fiscally speaking. But, I purposely haven't worked outside the home for fifteen years. I hate it! But, for three months kids could stay with my mom (she's willing) and they could help her get her house ready to sell in the fall.

Until I decide, I'm still going to sell all the things I can possibly sell and apply that income to our cards. I am committed. Praying hard for the Lord to help me do this and then maybe I won't even HAVE to go to work for the summer. Of course, dh is not even aware I'm thinking this way. :o/

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Several years ago...

Annie Chapman recorded a song called, "Survivor." It was the cutest thing! I was a fairly new mom at the time, only had a 3yos and a 6mod, and the song clearly defined what my days were like...CRAZY!!

The song was certainly good for a chuckle! LOL But since that song came out, I've battled back and forth in my mind (and my personality) about which mother I am really most like; the one that strives for her children to consider her a blessing, or the mom who just drudges through each day, trusting that the Lord can make a better pie than I can with the ingredients I work with. ;o)

So, here's my new blog page, where I'll be sharing the "ingredients" of our days, and maybe we'll share a piece of pie from time to time.