Monday, April 30, 2012

of wisdom

(I will begin this and every blog post about what I am finding in the Bible about being a Godly wife, mother, and woman by saying that I by no means think that the woman is always the culprit in an unhealthy relationship. Marriages involve two broken, sinning humans who carry equal responsibility in making their relationship work. What I have had to learn the hard way, however, is that the only person I can control is myself. If there is an issue in my marriage, the only things I can do are seek God's insight on how I can be or do better, and pray that God will do the work in my husband's heart. So please read on with that in mind.) 

 Proverbs 14:1 "A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hand a foolish one tears hers down." 
Wisdom seems to be an elusive thing to define, but the Bible gives a lot of examples of how a wise person acts. The Bible is also clear on the source of wisdom. Psalm 111:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding." Col 2: 2 & 3 "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." God is the source of wisdom. A wise woman is wise because she has been seeking God, learning and loving His precepts. James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God..." If you are facing a situation where you don't know the answer and you don't know which way to go, seek God. Ask Him for the wisdom to go in the direction that He is leading you, and He will be faithful to answer (in His time and way).

The Bible also has a lot to say about what foolishness is. I Corinthians 2: 19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." What is the foolishness of this world? Basically anything the world says that goes against what the Bible says, and boy there's a lot of it! The world says that to be successful you must have money, beauty, the newest gadgets out there, the best computer, and the fastest phone. You must be beautiful and fit and you certainly must never let it show that you don't have it all together. To show that you are suffering or lacking in some way is to show weakness. The wisdom of Christ is "God first." The wisdom of the world is "me first, and boy you'd better not get in my way!" The Bible calls that foolishness.

A foolish woman is consumed with the world. She may love the Lord, but she loves things, the world, and/or herself more. She makes decisions based on her own comfort and desires. Unless you are daily spending time with God and in the Word, learning His precepts and loving His laws, it is easy to become this woman. Unfortunately, the consequence is that her choices and behavior act to tear down her home and her relationships with her husband and children, instead of make them stronger. A wise woman, therefore, seeks God in every aspect of her life. She acknowledges Him first, and offers up herself, her husband, her children, and her home to Him. She makes decisions prayerfully, and she builds a home that honors God.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

of noble character

(I will begin this and every blog post about what I am finding in the Bible about being a Godly wife, mother, and woman by saying that I by no means think that the woman is always the culprit in an unhealthy relationship. Marriages involve two broken, sinning humans who carry equal responsibility in making their relationship work. What I have had to learn the hard way, however, is that the only person I can control is myself. If there is an issue in my marriage, the only things I can do are seek God's insight on how I can be or do better, and pray that God will do the work in my husband's heart. So please read on with that in mind.)

 Proverbs 12:4 "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."
 Decay in the bones slowly and painfully eats away at you until you are left completely and utterly disabled, defeated, and in constant discomfort. It is not a surprise, then, that the Bible uses this analogy to describe the effect on a husband who has a disgraceful wife. In real life terms, this is the wife who is constantly harping at or belittling her husband. The wife makes a disrespectful or snooty comment, and there is an unmistakable look on her husband's face of disbelief (did you really just say that?), discouragement (do you really think I'm as stupid or incapable as you came across?), and pain (wow, that hurt!). When this happens, he may initially stand up for himself by arguing back or by telling her that he doesn't appreciate the way she was talking to him. Usually, though, this just makes her more angry and venomous, unless she has learned to control her tongue. 
Over time, the husband realizes that nothing he could say will help, and he stops trying to protect himself against her words. This is the husband who "stonewalls" when his wife wants to have a "discussion" about something that is bothering her. He has lost the energy and the desire to even try because he knows how it will end - with him feeling belittled, disrespected, and defeated. This has played out in my own marriage. I used to have horrible control of my tongue and would make snarky, cynical comments without even considering or caring how they made my husband feel. I was too caught up in how I was feeling in the moment to consider him. Fortunately, I was forced to face how I was treating him. I took a good look at how I was using my words and my feelings and realized that they were not in line with how the Bible calls me to act (towards my husband and people in general). Once my husband felt free to express how he had been feeling without the threat of retaliatory words (I have at times literally had to force my mouth to stay shut), he was able to tell me how I had been making him feel. It's ironic, but I had always wanted him to be the strong, dependable leader of our home, but I was creating the opposite with my words.
Recently, I was struggling a bit emotionally and briefly lost control of my tongue a few times. I can still see it in my mind: the look of disbelief in his eyes, the slight lowering of his shoulders, the almost imperceptible sigh and shake of his head. I knew I had crossed the line, and I should have apologized. Unfortunately, I didn't. Later on in the car, he was a little quiet. Finally, he said, "Can I be honest with you about something?" Immediately and impulsively, my ire went up. But, I pushed it back down and said, "Yes." He went on, "I have felt a little disrespected by some of your comments lately." Again came up the ire along with, "well, I've been tired, stressed, grumpy..." but I swallowed it back down and said, "I know, and I'm sorry for treating you like that." It wasn't a fun conversation for either of us, but it was necessary. He was able to be real with me without getting ripped apart, and I was reminded that I need to keep my temper in check and really pay attention to how I am making him feel with my words. 

So, then, what does it look like to have a noble character? Ruth was described in the Bible as being a woman of noble character. Ruth 3:11 "All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character." Ruth's story is a beautiful one to study. She experienced the pain of losing her husband and her father-in-law, of having nothing and no one but her mother-in-law (who wanted to leave Ruth's town to go back to the town she and her deceased husband and sons came from), facing the unknown of going with her mother-in-law to a town and religion she didn't know, and finally redemption. Through it all, she exuded a character that became known by everyone around as being noble and honorable. Ruth was fiercely devoted. Even when it was tough and the easy thing to do would have been to go back to her father's house, Ruth remained faithful by staying with her mother-in-law. Naomi even tried to convince Ruth to leave her, but Ruth said, "Don't urge me to leave you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God..." (1:16). Ruth was also humble. When she and Naomi arrived, Ruth immediately began doing what she could so that she and Naomi would have food to eat. At Naomi's instruction, Ruth went into the field of a man named Boaz and began to glean what she could from the ground behind the workers who were harvesting Boaz's barley. This is the position of a beggar, although it didn't stop Ruth. Ruth was a hard worker. In response to Boaz inquiring about Ruth, one of his men said, "she went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter" (2:7). Finally, Ruth's reputation preceded her. She was a foreigner, so people were naturally going to be curious of her. She was watched and was found to be an extraordinary woman. Boaz was both kind and gracious to her. When Boaz and Ruth were finally able to sit together, she asked him why she had found such favor in his eyes. He responded, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law...May the Lord repay you for what you have done: (2: 10, 11). And God did repay Ruth, for she was in the maternal line of Kind David!

A man who has a wife like that is rich in blessing. I want to be that kind of wife! Neither women or men are perfect, but if we each try to mold and shape our character to be more noble, we will become blessings to our spouses, and we will make them want to stand tall, proud and strong!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy birthday, my love!

Finally, you are in the same age decade as me ;) You are an amazing husband, a wonderful leader of our family, and an exceptional Daddy :) I adore you, and so do our children. You are a man of integrity. You are trustworthy, kind, and loving. Thank you for loving God more than anything else, and for being who you are!
Look at the beauty we have created together. I can't wait to spend the next 30 years together!

Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This picture is of my little family as it was almost 6 years ago. It was Halloween time, which means that Libby was around 6 months old. She was so young, and so were Scott and I!

To say that the years between this picture and now brought hard times would be an understatement, but they also brought many happy times. We celebrated anniversaries, more babies were born, we struggled through job trials, financial issues, and the general war zone that develops when two people get married and begin to live in the same house. Of course, if you've been reading my blog for a while you also know that there was a time when our marriage almost didn't survive. The last few years have been a time of rebuilding and refocusing.  

I have learned a lot about myself in looking back over all of those years, especially the past two years. I have realized areas in which I have struggled for all of my teen and adult years (so far), and I have become aware of my at-times-severe insecurities. I have looked back and seen the times when my insecurities became overwhelming and I reacted by becoming controlling. Now, this is not to say that I am to blame for everything my husband and I have gone through. He was young when we married, too, and had a lot of growing up to do the same as I did. But, those are realizations for him to make (and he certainly has). All I can control is myself.  What I can do is pray for wisdom and insight to see the parts of myself that need changing, and trust God with all the rest.

One of our pastors at church the other day said something that goes perfectly with this. He said, "Your failures do not define you, but they should refine you." I want to be refined. I know from first-hand experience that the refining fire of God is very hot and very painful, but also very necessary. A rose garden left un-pruned gets unruly and overgrown and becomes not good for anything. I desire to continue growing in my identity in Christ, to continue being transformed by my loving and Holy God. But that requires refining. It demands that I take a long hard look at myself, and prayerfully consider attitudes and behaviors that do not reflect the glory of God. It also requires me to replace those attitudes and behaviors with ones that DO reflect the glory of God.

I am writing all of this out because what I plan to do soon is a self-guided look through the Bible to see what it says about being a Godly wife and mother. I have ready plenty of books on marriage, and they provided some great insight. Actually, I am getting ready to read one of them again because it's been about a year since we read it. But, what I intend to do is go straight to the Source, and read through what God says about His plans and intentions for me as a wife to my husband and as a mother to my children.

I look forward to finding some great insight, and I will most definitely bring it right here to share with you! Want to join me?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


She wandered into the pantry. I heard her rustling around, and then she came back out with something in her hands. I asked her what she was doing, and she said that she was "hongy." I asked her if that's what she wanted to eat, and she said yes. Black olives.

Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding

I have spent the last few weeks pouring over Psalm 119. Marinating in it, you could say, and it has been really good for me. All throughout the chapter, the author is seeking out God's precepts and laws, wanting to know them more and love them more, and promising that he will not forget them. God's laws are true and good and right! There is a little chunk of a few verses that really stuck out to me the other day. They talk about gaining wisdom, insight, and understanding, and who doesn't want more of that?

Psalm 119: 97-100, & 103-104:
   "Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes. I have more understanding that the elders, for I obey Your precepts. 
   How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path."

I have tried, in my life over the years, to find what it is that would really make me steadfast in my faith. I thought there must be something that would be stronger than my own will to keep me on the right path, seeking God and doing His will. My failure always in this was that I thought it must be in reading the Bible, or praying, or whatever else I could come up with, if I could just get it right. In these verses, and all through Psalm 119 lies my answer. It's not just reading the Bible, or praying, because those things can easily fall out of habit. In the course of the last few weeks I have realized that it is the seeking out His precepts and laws, and praying them into my heart, and asking Him to make me steadfast that is my answer. I am relying on His staying power, and not mine. 

Psalm 119: 34-38
  "Give me understanding and I will obey Your law.... Direct me in the path of Your commands.... Turn my heart to Your statutes.... Turn my eyes away from (me)... Fulfill Your promise to Your servant."

I wasn't totally missing the truth, because I have experienced God in deeper ways than some people ever will. But, it's like I was skirting around the truth. I thought it was still up to me and my power to be steadfast in my faith, and I was always failing. It is Him, and His power. Only and ever.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A whirlwind and The Newsboys

Wow. So the story was obviously choreographed by God, and it goes like this:

This past Wednesday afternoon, Libby came running inside to tell me that I HAD to go outside to see what she wrote down the walkway in our back yard. I followed her out there, and listened and watched as she showed me how she wrote the lyrics of her favorite song, by the Newsboys, "God is not dead, he is surely alive. He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion."

I, of course, was very proud of her and was moved that this is what comes out of her heart. That evening, when we got home from church, Scott was out back taking out the trash when he saw her lyrics for the first time. He was moved to tears. She is six, is in kindergarten, and pouring out of her are songs about God.

The next morning, Scott sent an email to three of our pastors (who are also very good friends of ours) from church, encouraging them and telling them how much he appreciates them and how they teach and love our children and ourselves, and that he is seeing the fruit of that in our family. Right after one of the pastors read the email, he posted on Facebook about what Libby had written in chalk. I didn't know he had done this because I am not on Facebook, but three minutes later one of my brothers sent me a text with an image of the pastor's status update about Libby. My brother then posted something about it on HIS Facebook status, which my mom saw and then posted on HER status. Another of my brothers happened to be on Facebook at the same time, and he saw my mom's post. He replied to her that he was actually going to be seeing the Newsboys in a few days. My mom stopped by later in the afternoon on Thursday so she could see the walk way for herself, and when she was here she told me and Libby about how my brother and sister-in-law were going to be seeing the Newsboys in a few days.

On Friday morning, my sister-in-law was talking to my mom about the possibility of my mom going up for the concert, and by the afternoon it was decided that Libby would be able to go as well. My sister-in-law was part of the group of people who set the whole concert up, and they were able to figure out the ticket situation. When I got up Saturday morning, I saw a text from my sister-in-law from really late Friday night saying that they were able to get a ticket for me if I wanted to go as well. 

So, on Saturday afternoon, three days after Libby was writing the lyrics of her favorite song, she and I and my mom were in the car on our way to see the Newsboys in concert. We left right after her Saturday afternoon soccer game and got back this afternoon right before her Sunday afternoon soccer game.

My Libby girl not only got to go to her first ever concert, but it was one of her favorite bands. She had to wait through three hours of concert before her song was played, and by then she was almost asleep in my arms. But, as soon as they began playing the first notes of the song, she perked up and belted out the words with everyone else in the auditorium.
God loves each of His children, and He has good plans for us. The smile on my little girl's face before the music even began says it all :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

From my kitchen Friday: Busy mom's lasagna

Last night was comfort food night, and on the menu was lasagna. The problem was that I didn't have enough time to pre-boil the noodles, and as it was I was already running late. I decided to take a big chance and made up the whole lasagna with the uncooked noodles (regular noodles, not the "no boil" ones, I can never bring myself to pay the extra money for them). After assembling the dish, but before I put the extra cheese on the top, I very gently poured 1 cup of water over the whole thing. Then I put the shredded mozzarella on top, covered it with aluminum foil, and baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. I then took the foil off and checked the noodles. Perfect! I baked it uncovered for a bit longer to brown up the top.   

At some point in the baking process, I put an old cookie sheet on the rack under the rack the lasagna was on because it was boiling over a bit.
I'd say it was a little messy, probably because of the water, and I would maybe add a little less next time, but it was no messier than a lasagna you would buy at the store and bake. Then again, isn't lasagna always messy?
Anyway, it was delicious! The noodles were perfectly cooked, and I have a feeling I will be using this lazy version every time! And may, in fact, make it more than I usually do because it was so easy! Everyone loved it :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It was getting late in the day a few days ago, almost time to start working on supper. Everyone (yeah, including me :)) was cranky. We had had a late lunch, so I marched outside, told the kids to get their shoes on, and announced that we were going for a walk. I figured that would be better than to continue griping at one another.
I grabbed my camera at the last minute. All of these photos are "shot from the hip" which means that I wasn't looking through the view finder and focusing, I was literally snapping away from my hip area. All that to say, sorry if these aren't perfectly focused or are at a weird angle :)

Libby took her basketball so she could practice dribbling. Hudson took a baby in a stroller (because I wouldn't let him take a basketball; the boy can dribble alright, but I didn't really feel like chasing a ball the whole time). And Remi carried a baby.

I loved this dress on Libby when she was little, and am so happy to be able to use it again!

Yep, a bit of exercise and some sunshine was just what we needed.

I am becoming more and more familiar with this athletic daughter of mine, and can't wait to see what plans God has for her in the future. And Hudson, well this sweet boy continues to find new ways to melt my heart. The other day, as we were just beginning to eat supper, he said, "I wuv this. Thank you, Mommy!" There are lessons in every stage of life! I am sad for those who miss that.

My life is filled with so many blessings. These are the things that I need to remember when my heart is feeling attacked on every side, and I am weary from being "on" every minute of every day. These are some of the moments that I live for.

    "I wanna live like that, and give it all I have
    so that everything I say and do points to You.
    If love is who I am, then this is where I stand:
    recklessly abandoned, never holding back.
    I wanna live like that!"
    (Live Like That, by Sidewalk Prophets)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I surrender

This song is my banner lately. Life is hard, when you are trying to do it right, and sometimes there is a major battle going on in my rebel heart. I raise my white flag, and surrender all to the One who made me, and knew what He was doing the whole time.

 "The battle rages on, as storm and tempest roar. We cannot win this fight inside our rebel hearts. We're laying down our weapons now. We raise our white flag, we surrender all to You. All for You. We raise our white flag,  the war is over. Love has come. Your love has won."

This freedom song is marching on!

I want to live like that! Every day. Every minute. It doesn't just happen, it is a choice.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Will you draw with me?

 My younger two were still napping, but Libby had just gotten up from her rest time, which meant that my hour of quiet was over. We went out front, her with her box of chalk straight to the sidewalk, and me, in an attempt to draw out my quiet a bit longer, with a book to the porch steps. She drew for a few minutes, then looked up at me and said, "Mommy, will you draw with me?"

My first reaction was to say no, because I wanted just a little more quiet, and that's what I told her. She quietly went back to drawing, and after another minute I looked up and saw exactly what I was missing out on. I put my book down and joined her on the sidewalk. 
Too often I get caught up in what I am doing, cleaning, tidying, needing, and forget to realize how much my children need me to invest in them, and how much I love doing it. 
After a time, she was done drawing, and Hudson woke up from his nap and joined me on the sidewalk. If I had still been on the steps reading, I would have missed out on watching his sweet boy just-woke-up face. I love that face :)

His clothes don't match, and hardly ever do when he picks them out, but he's okay with that.

My nature is to be selfish, because, well, I'm human, but God is teaching me every day how I can better love those around me. Even if it means drawing flowers and hearts and the names of those I love on the sidewalk.

Friday, April 13, 2012

From my kitchen Friday: Family movie night favorite

I think the favorite part of family movie night is the popcorn!

Corn popped in coconut oil tastes so good! Plus I add nutritional yeast, garlic salt, and a little extra salt. I spray it first with extra virgin olive oil so everything sticks. It was all gone by the end of the movie! In this picture, I had already taken out bowls full for Libby, Hudson, and Remi!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Right now...

Right now, I am loving...

that my husband's first words when coming in the door from work yesterday were "You can smell that bread outside!"

that the major part of tonight's dinner is already cooking (whole chicken cooked in the crockpot; so easy!)

this truth spoken (again) to the very center of my heart this morning:  Christ brings freedom!

my view across the table as I was studying those truths: Remi making "fowers" (flowers) with her cereal before eating it

and at this very moment: the repetitive sound of two basketballs on the wood floor above my head as my older two play basketball with their hang-on-the-door hoop

What are you loving today?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


She is almost finished with her kindergarten year, and loves being home-schooled.
She loves to play basketball and soccer, and is incredibly talented at both (she gets her talent naturally from her Daddy).
She likes her hair short because she doesn't like to fuss with it.
She would pick a truck sticker over a princess sticker, although she is always offered the princess one first.
She loves wearing lip gloss and having her nails painted, and is currently wearing a "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" sticker on her cheek.

How is it that it's been 6 years since she entered this world, tiny as can be, too small for her preemie clothes? I don't know how to be a mommy to a 6 year old! I never thought past the baby stage!! :) She and I are learning together.

Happy Birthday, my Libby-girl.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why we homeschool

 Hey there! I haven't been on here much in the last week. We enjoyed our spring break with Daddy home for a whole week, and we traveled to my in-law's house to celebrate Easter. We are finally getting back to the groove of our life, and as we are nearing the end of Libby's kindergarten year I have been thinking a lot about our homeschooling experience.
I haven't talked much on here about homeschooling, mainly for fear of coming across like I actually know a lot about the subject :) I can't tell you statistics on homeschooling versus public schooling, or how many families are homeschooling now versus 5 years ago, or even the benefits of homeschooling on a child, because, well, that's just not why I do it. I have felt compelled to homeschool for quite some time, and even began having conversations with Scott about it before any of our children were even born.
The decision to homeschool or not is a very important decision to make, and I think it really takes some thought and discussion, and it is very important for the whole family to be on board. What I can share with you are some of the facts about our choice to do it.

* I do not homeschool my children because I think I can do a better job teaching them than the teachers in our public school system. If our decision was based on anything to do with the teachers, it was only because at home our children have more one-on-one instruction.
* We often get asked the question about the "socialization" of a public school and how our children are not getting enough of it because they are at home. My response to that is that the socialization that happens in the public school is a large reason why I chose TO homeschool. Scott was not in agreement with me about educating our children at home in the beginning. He is a teacher, after all. When we were reaching the time that we would need to start making a decision, he began really paying attention to what kind of conversations he was hearing and what he was seeing happening between the students. What he heard and saw was enough to make him decide and firmly believe that our children were better off at home. And he is an elementary teacher. These kids were in kindergarten through third grade. In reality, our children do spend a majority of their time with adults, and as a result could hold a conversation with any adult who would give them their attention. They also spend a good deal of time interacting with other children, both with our personal friends and at church.
*Our children are their own unique selves, each with different learning styles. Libby is a very eager learner, and has been from the beginning. She is way ahead in her lessons, and will finish up three weeks before her actual school year ends. Hudson has been a little slower (than Libby was) in finding the motivation to learn things, and has always done them in his own time and pace. However, he has already basically taught himself how to write his name. Remi, well, we'll just have to wait and see about that little ball of fire :) Since I am educating them at home, I am able to tailor to their individual styles and needs.
* There is a wide array of options for homeschooling, ranging from "unschooling" to very strict homeschooling. We fall somewhere in the middle of the line. Libby is actually enrolled in a charter school, which is online. All of her materials, supplies, and internet needs are provided. That was a big factor for us. And it is free. That was a huge factor! At this point, this is what is really working for our family. I like having the reliability and structure of knowing that she and I can both log on to our computers and her lessons will already be there laid out for both of us. It is important for Scott and I both that there is an emphasis placed on learning for the sake of learning, of taking time every day to intentionally sit down and work on education. I also like that since she is home, we have to flexibility to incorporate her learning into our everyday lives.

These are the reasons why we have chosen homeschooling for our family. They are mostly based on intuition and our own personal feelings about what is best for our children and ourselves. They will not fit for everyone. 
Homeschooling is not a viable option for all families, and it is not at all my intention to make anyone feel guilty for their personal decisions. As with everything, it's important that it is talked through and is a decision made jointly.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Things are blooming all around. I can see the beauty of God's hand in the colors sprouting up all around. The weather is wonderful. Already, though, I have seen some of the impact on the mild Winter and early Spring. After playing on my grandma's covered porch with my aunts over the weekend, we found a tick crawling on Libby's shirt hood.