Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trying not to be Naaman

Housework, my nemesis... I usually approach my tasks with a mix of dreadful procrastination and forgetfulness. Not the best mix for a job that you have daily to face!

I was having to force myself to choose to wash *part* of the mountain of dishes, and work some on the laundry instead of finding some new, useful information online. ;)  As I stood there trying to sing some praise songs to put my heart into it, these thoughts came into my heart.
I am not rejoicing in my daily work.
This is where God has put me for now.
This task is not too great for me. 
Am I working at it as unto the Lord? Sadly. No.

Am I being Naaman?
You remember Naaman, right? From 2 Kings 5
He had leprosy and came to Israel to be healed.
Being of great importance in his own mind, he was put off by the lack of ceremony the prophet Elisha gave him.  To top it off his healing remedy was one he felt foolish... to wash in the Jordan! when he could've just washed at home in water he felt was better!

But his servants came to him with a wise question:
“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

 This changed his perspective and was what had changed mine, for the evening anyway. ;)

If He, the Lord, sent me to do some "great thing," some difficult thing, some sacrificial thing, would I not do that?  How much more the house work?  The disciplining of young hearts and minds? 
These are truly great things (though in the daily grind I loose sight of their greatness more often than I'd like to admit.)


So, with renewed vision, I seek to honor and rejoice in the menial tasks of my life.  

Psalm 150 ~revised

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in this home;
    praise him in the midst of dishes.
Praise him for his acts of grace;
    praise him for his surpassing patience.
Praise him with the sound of  singing,
    praise him with the mop and bucket,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
    praise him with the wash load and iron,
praise him with the cry of babies,
    praise him with resounding laughter.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
 
Praise the Lord.


Thursday, August 02, 2012

The garden so far this year

It seems to be a bit behind... Looking at last year's pics, it is almost sad that we have no produce to show for all our efforts. 
This is before we even started to try gardening!

This is before we planted last year, 2011.

This is after we built the raised beds and planted the first baby plants.

These are our first sprouts.:)

After growing a bit...
And here's how it looked on July 9, 2011.

The "herb garden" bed.
Man! did that mint take over!!!  I forgot how small it started out!

Carrots (front,) Tomatoes (right side,) and 2 baby strawberry plants (back.)

We actually planted these sunflowers last spring.  The Susans that came after them were just so much prettier.

These are from last July 9th!  Look at those tomatoes in the background!
~Here's a close up~

And here ~ how large our cilantro & basil!

Pepper plants and a bowl of produce we were picking... still on 7/9.

The bowl we wound up with in the end.

 We expanded the garden area to have the raised beds, the round "asparagus patch" (which has had it's dead stump ripped out and has been made larger around,) and made an in ground garden area.
That is where most of our struggling has taken place.  There is a colony of large purple ants that lived there and we did not realize.  They are very adept at removing leaves from our plants until they are only dead stems! :(  We have replanted what has been mowed to the ground, but so far things are remaining smaller and struggling to keep up.
The mice had eaten seeds, and seedlings, and fruit, but the ants have taken all of those things and more!
These were taken around July 9th of this year.  You can see that it is not at the same point as last year during this time.

Some of the expanded bed.  This area is where the ants are hard at work!

Along with the peppers and tomatoes we've got in here,
there's corn, zucchini, acorn and spaghetti squashes, watermelon, honeydew, and cantalope.
We have drip hose buried a few inches down and watering 24/7, but some areas are a little swampy. :\

The raised bed this year with some peppers, basil, dill, rosemary and artichokes!

Black berry brambles & Susans by the raised bed.

Such a happy face! :)

The great Strawberry take over... followed by the great cucumber take over. ;)


This year we have had successes with things that failed last year, and vice versa.


Watermelons!
In the background you can see the tall corn!
 

Turns out the the vine in the foreground is a pumpkin not a zucchini!  oops!

The bushy plant on the left side is a zucchini that planted it's self
from the homemade compost we mixed in!

The artichokes. :)

The progress made in a couple weeks... see pic 3 from the this year's garden above. :)

This is the "patch" that had a tree stump in it. 
The asparagus is lost in all those pumpkins!
Cutting back is hard to do! lol

The first of our pumpkins. :)


Our first cucumber of this kind!
While it is slow growing sometimes, it is still exciting to watch the changes everyday.
Reminds me of that Spiritual Fruit growing bit by bit everyday... even when it seems like there isn't much changing.
:)
How is your garden growing?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook 7/3/2012


FOR TODAY

Outside my window... The bright moon casts it's glow on everything... all is still and peaceful.

I am thinking... that I really should be in bed! (Isn't that always the way.)  I am thinking of friends to pray for, all in different places, and situations.  Definitely feel the meaning of "Rejoicing with those who rejoice, weep with those who mourn."

I am thankful... for God's faithfulness, for how far He has brought me, that "He Who began a good work shall bring it unto completion."

In the kitchen... not too much is happening here with the summer heat, though I do have a feeling I should bake something soon!

I am wearing... Capri shorts, a white shirt, barefoot.

I am creating... plans for dresses; an apron for a soon to be 4 year old; and a few other smaller projects.  My sewing machine has missed me ;)

I am going... to take one little to the Dr for a follow up tomorrow, while I wait and see if another needs a trip too. :/

I am wondering... if my friend's baby has come yet.  She is at our hospital right now... :)

I am reading... Mostly the Bible, and our school work.  We just restarted the Little House Series so the littler ones will get to enjoy it!

I am hoping... our garden will be fruitful.  It has been struggling with an entourage of pests, so it is not quite where it was last year!

I am looking forward to... tomorrow.  The Fourth of July.  I'm hoping that my copy of the Constitution is still intact since Karissa likes to steal books from the shelves... I usually read the Declaration of Independence aloud to the kids as part of our celebration.

I am learning so much in our History lessons! All manner of things we didn't cover in my school years (Prolly ran outta time in the year) and fun connective facts!  I'm sucking them all up! :)  The kids like it too. ;)

Around the house... we have been having quite a few helpers taking on more lately.  I allow them to "earn" something (candy, a toy back from the "take-away box," a movie or other something special) by doing different chores.  They have really liked being able to get something for doing something, so it has helped around the house immensely!

I am pondering... really, my brain is no longer pondering. o.O

A favorite quote for today... "A Mommy's job means getting paid in Hugs and Kisses"

One of my favorite things... the Susans growing in the back. :) Never ceases to make me smile!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Celebrating the 4th.  Resting? lol We are researching for History to make a skit. :)

A peek into my day...
Karissa getting caught stealing someone's tea. :)

Join in the fun of enjoying the Simple things at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Encouragement

My Honey and I have just started a new Bible study together, just the two of us.  :)  We are going through 1 Peter.  As we talked and the conversation lead around to many things, I found myself admitting the defeated attitude I have let settle on me so often of late.  The "What good am I doing?" and "Why am I not impacting the Kingdom." issues I've mentioned a few times maybe...

Then, the very next day after that admission to him I was at the baby shower.  So many friends I haven't seen in a long time were there, and I made a few new ones too! :)  It was great!
My kids roamed in and out among other ladies there then back again to me, and helped care for Karissa.  One thing I got from a few people was what a good job I must be doing with my kids since "they are such a joy to be around." Now being one whose Love Language is Words of Affirmation, I was on a real high from the sincere, and un-phished-for compliments I received.  They felt like the Spirit stirring in me saying, "What you are doing with them is just what I have called you to do.  Continue to be faithful with these littles."
It is seldom that one can realize the impact of their words or actions on another, but those few ladies and their kindness was the refreshing drink this parched soldier needed... the cup of water to the least of these, my servants - so to speak.

I left there not only refreshed, but also with renewed vision that this place I am at of laundry, dishes and dirty diapers is where I have been called, is important and is working to His Glory!

So be encouraged to grow right where you're planted!  I know I am!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Camping!!!

A picture speaks a thousand words... so... :)

We *all* went camping!!! :) Yea!



These two sweet cuties are responsible for the menagerie and posing above. ;)

 Not all the locals we so sure about us. ;)
 We picked some flowers.


 Did some fishing... 
or rather did some getting our hooks caught on rocks or trees, 
and having our bait stolen by the fish we never caught. lol



 We did some hiking/walking.



And checking out the sand by the lake.


 Some of our pictures turned out well.

 Some did *not!* LOL
 


We splashed in the creek and washed our faces. :)
or Karissa did.

 
And just enjoyed the view.

~Happy Trails!~
Monica
:)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Post-Follow Up Update

Aliyah and I went to her follow up today.  The ultrasound was a smooth, easy success last week, but we knew little from it.  Her kidney did look a little different, but it certainly couldn't be told whether the change was good, bad or indifferent... at least, not by us.

Dr says: To his mind she still has hydronephrosis.  Her radiologist report said "no evidence of hydronephrosis.  Mild to Moderate renal pelvis dilation."  So to the Dr (who is a specialist) it is the same as hydronephrosis. 
He also says: "Looks good.  Looks very good."
He still does need to watch it since it is still dilated and is the only working kidney.
When he was talking about watching it, he said "I don't want to do another isotope scan."  In the past he has said he knew I didn't want to do it so he would wait.  I liked the change in that phrase. :)


So the nest thing is another ultrasound next January/February.  So a nice break for us. :)


After her appointment was over we got the chance to go to breakfast together at a local favorite restaurant.  All in all our trip was good!

Thanks for your prayers!!! :)
Blessings!
~Monica

Friday, June 08, 2012

When I was in a funk

I had the pleasure of going to a baby shower this weekend with all of my little ladies. :)

We were so blessed to join the Momma to be and Grandmas to be in their joy and celebration!

Oddly though, I sometimes feel the need to avoid these situations.  I get nervous about who will be there, just like my first grade self so many years ago worried about "having a friend." I also worry about the gift portion... it seems I can worry about nothing if I let me.  What if they don't really care for my gift, especially if I made something... or what if someone makes a big deal out of it... that gets nervous too.  Like I want them to like it, but I don't want any attention from it. :\
So when I looked into going, I got nervous!  If I didn't love this Momma so much, I may have allowed myself to back out to avoid the inner conflicts.

Then this morning came.  I was excited, yet apprehensive about the hand made parts of the gift, and a little rushed to get everyone ready.  I felt a little flustered about certain things not coming together.  As we tried to get my little Aliyah and Brianna together for a picture and it wasn't working out, and Honey got irritated, and my hope of this memorial picture fizzled before my eyes... I allowed myself to get in a funk, announced it was time to go, and got everyone in the car.  Now I was feeling mad at just about everyone, and I was "running behind" on the time I felt we needed to leave, and my attitude was icky!

In the car, I told the girls I was not in a good mood, and that we were not off to a great start.
Within a couple of minutes of silent reflection, the Lord gave me a Psalm song to sing: "Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit with in me."  After that another song: "Father I adore you.  Lay my life before you.  How I love you."  I began to feel that I was so concerned over what doesn't really matter at all, that I was loosing track of what was.  I am His vessel, and I need not get so worked up over these little things that aren't His plan anyway!

I sang "Have Thine Own Way" the verse with the potter.  A thought came to me of the polymer clay I had made a few things with especially for the Momma at this shower.  One of the colors was extremely soft and supple, while another was drier and a bit crumbly.  I remember thinking, I want to be the soft workable clay. (Going to get a hands on Bible Study for the kids with this idea!)

Another couple of songs, and I was a new Momma!  I was ready to do my job... Love my Husband and Children.  I was ready to face the party with a proper perspective and with an uplifted face.
:)
Thank You Lord for not leaving me in the mire I made for myself.  Thank you for friends and a chance to rejoice with them.  Thank you for the reminders of the work you will complete in me.
I love you!
Amen.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Aliyah Update

It's been awhile since I've posted an update about Aliyah.

She continues to grow and develop fairly normally.  She is 5 1/2 years old, and is ecstatic about her first day of school today.  She has been hounding me about when June will finally come so she can start school, and have her ultrasound.

Six months ago her Pediatric Urologist ordered an ultrasound to be done around now, and a follow up.  We will have her ultrasound on Wednesday and her follow up next Monday.  When we last checked her left kidney was still about the same as it had been, which is holding fluid (and it shouldn't) and large for her size person, but that is to be expected with it doing 88% of the work for her.

Really it wasn't bad news, but it wasn't good news either. 
This ultrasound will show what has or hasn't happened in the last six months, and will tell us where to go from here.  Her Dr really wants to do another Isotope Scan, but knows we prefer non-radioactive children, so has been holding off.  I have had the suspicion he will order one, and been wrong twice. (Which was really nice to be wrong!)  So I don't venture to guess what the next step will be.  It could be more wait and see. 
It has been about 4 years since her last Isotope scan I believe... I was pregnant with Brianna (who is 3 1/2 years old) and not able to go into the room for the test due to the radiation.  Of course then she was radioactive for the next 3 days, so I was still around it, but it was much less than during the test.

I will update with what the next thing is and how everything went. :)
Thanks for praying for our little Pumpkin and the rest of us!
Blessings!
~Monica :)


Saturday, June 02, 2012

~The Tenth Commandment~

Thou shalt not covet they neighbors chickens.

The other day we were at our friend's house for piano lessons.  One of their lovely daughters teaches one of mine, while the others play together or visit.  Usually I get to see the Momma there for a few minutes anyway, and catch up. 

That day, the Momma was just heading out the door with her honey to go get chickens. 

Now I have wanted to get some here for a couple/few years and this year we've even been planning our coop and location for it.  We got the pipes for the gravity feeders, "chicken nipples" (that sounds so wrong!) for watering them, chicken wire for fencing them in... but alas, we have not finalized our location and built a coop, so no chickens. :(

This friend could've been telling me they were expecting another baby for all the excitement I had.  I gave her a big hug and was like "Yea for you!" LOL 
At that point the chicken envy hadn't reared it's head, just the excitement of the moment. ;) 


Later, I had a good laugh with my kids over my over-ecstatic-reaction to the news! I also had a good laugh with their kids over my chicken envy! ;)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

As always ~ God is faithful

At the beginning of May I found out a friendly Costco worker we love to see was going to be out for some time with a workman's comp. hand surgery.  We said we would of course pray, and also would be happy to bring a meal or otherwise help out... so we exchanged phone numbers.
Later that same evening, I had the paper with the number, and another paper that looked similar in hand, planning to shred the second.  If only I would live by the "measure twice, cut once" adage and check twice before doing something that cannot be undone!  I shredded the page with her number!
I now had no way to follow up with her!  She would not be at work, and though I do know her name, it is her first name only.  We searched through the shredded pages for 45 minutes! to no avail.

I tried everything in my power that came to mind. 
I called and asked if they could get her a message.  No. >quite rudely too<
I asked other friends there if they knew how I could get in touch with her.  Unfortunately, no.  But they were nicer than the person on the phone.

After agonizing over not being able to give tangible help, I went to the Lord in prayer.  I gave Him my felt need to assist, my frustration over not finding a way to contact her, and asked Him to bring it about if it was His will.

Right before the next time I was headed there, the thought of a card came to mind.  I made a card with a picture of the kids and the whole story inside, along with my number.  I filled in the envelope with the return address and stamp, with her first name on it.  I decided, come hail or high water, I was going to ask everyone there if need be... maybe they could send it to her for me!

I asked a worker friend when we first got there, who I should ask to help for this project of mine.  Then following her advice, asked the supervisor there.
She said yes!  They could help! :)
I was so full of joy that it was finally working out!

The *very* next day I got a call from that friend!  She happened to go into the store the evening before and was given the card.  It turns out that in the course of working the rest of her shift after we exchanged numbers, she had also lost my information.  She kept saying how it blessed her to get that card and how great the picture was, and how thankful she was for us. 

In the end, the blessing that came about was bigger than the blessing that was missed. :)




Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I've been considering quite a bit whether or not to share our Mother's Day gift plans...
Wondering why I feel compelled to share it anyway~
for my glory 
      or for His?

I do hope it is for His, though I am desperately prideful and know that my "Words of Affirmation" love language sometimes gets the better of my sensible side and I "phish for compliments." 
-Which generally brings up the "old boot" ;)

For the GrandMammas this year we chose to do some color by number and paint by number projects and frame them.  We all got a chance to work on them some, though the littler ones got less of a chance! ;)  I think they both turned out well.

But for myself, I still really feel, that while presents are nice and not in themselves bad, I don't want more stuff while someone else goes without a real need. 
We chose to do a hands on ministry gift, so my kids would still have the chance to get some*thing* they could relate with while serving another woman somewhere else.  Voice of the Martyrs has Action Packs that you can fill and send back to be distributed to those in need of the items you got.  We chose items that are great for women, and would be a special gift.  It was sort of a replacement gift, so I wanted the kids to feel they could get some nicer stuff they would want to get me. :)

They have enjoyed their projects, and we are putting the finishing touches on the pack before we ship it back to VOM.  

Maybe you also don't need another thing to not dust or whatever?  This could be the gift that changes someone else's eternity... now that's an investment I'd like to make! :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

But will it hurt.... much?

How many times I've prayed to see through God's eyes, and be His Hands and Feet...
I've noticed that I don't mind the hands or feet part cause it keeps me busy, but this business of seeing~
 and more to the point feeling
*sigh*
Sometimes I wish I didn't.

It can hurt... much... to feel.

I grieve the loss of a man I've never met, but whose words I've read and been refreshed by often.  He is accused of something detestable, and chose in desperation to end his own life.  This sure makes the accusation look formidable... why would he take such measures if it wasn't?  But I have no intention of believing it until I have to... innocent until proven guilty, right? or because it would tarnish the life of a man I respected?
Still suicide cuts deep into a wound I never expected would feel so fresh after so long.
 It hurts. much.

Tony would have had a birthday this month.  His 34th I believe.  It's hard to believe that it will be 6 years in October, but my mile-marker Pumpkin never lets me forget the passage of time.  She was one month old exactly.  How I have wished that didn't correlate!  How I really should be more thankful we had her to keep us moving forward through our grief ~because we had no other choice!

I am praying for the families involved, and shedding tears.  I have to remember that this pain I have (which is so incomparable to the family's) is a blessing to remind me to lift them up.

 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Processing

I've been slowly reading Radical, and have heard many convicting accounts of the Ameri-Christian need to be more out-reaching from several sources.  After all the Great Commission does say Go.

I am wondering through all of this though about why we focus on Go and do nothing where we Stay?

If we are to think globally, wouldn't it be good to start by impacting those nearest us?  Does not God place us in such a place as this as well as "at such a time?" 
I am all for thinking less like a spoiled, materialist... and I am trying, to the chagrin of my inner American.  However, I think we are really missing the intent to reach all peoples if we don't look to those who are already in our own circles, neighborhoods and families!

And what impact would we have being a missionary to a foreign country if we lived our lives there the way we do here?  Jesus asked what more people were doing in their own lives than those without faith. (Matt. 5:46)

This is all so convicting to me.  Here in my comfy computer chair, in a nice rural home, with all of the creature comforts.  We pat ourselves on the back for not living above our means -like so many others- and enjoy so many of the blessings of modern convenience.  And it makes me sick to think of the people who could live on the money wasted in my own home. 

As the title suggests, I'm really just hashing out the reality of my own life, and the greater reality of the life God is calling me to...
It leaves me wondering if my little brood of disciples are all He has for me, or if I am wasting the "talents" in only doing as much as so many others... taking care of my family.  I don't think I can just throw more money at it and call it good.  God didn't say "send your check book," but "Go."  Yet in the early church we see that some went, and some financed with prayer and money.  Not all were asked to go, but to stay and impact their own corner of the globe.

Lord, You show me what You would have me do.  Help me to focus on Your Will and Heart, and Your approval, not mans.
~Amen~



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Tour of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

For our studies of Ancient World History, the kids each chose something to research and report on to the others.  One chose to map out the conquests of Alexander the Great, report his findings to his sisters and help them to complete maps of their own.  Another chose to discuss the celebrations of Purim and Chanukah; made a dreidel and taught the game; and made the Hamentashen for everyone to eat while the Ester story was read.
I decided to photo document the last one though.


The official tour of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World!

We began our tour at the Statue of Zeus. 

The happy travelers 
with their bags of "provisions" for the long journey, 
and our tour guide {who has the clip board. ;) }
 
 This is what happens when you tease about "Buzz Lightyear" being Zeus. ;)


Then it was on to the Temple of Artemis,

  
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus,

  
and the Colossus of Rhodes.

  
 The tourists enjoyed the view of the Wonders, 
but it must be noted that all of them have to be viewed from a distance, 
therefore their size appears small. ;)

~A rare shot of the builders of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!~

 The tourists were not as happy to visit Babylon in the heat! 

And due to a plague of little black bugs, a hasty retreat was made!

The next stops were to 
The Great Pyramid at Giza


And the Pharos of Alexandria



 Which concluded our tour!
 We hope you enjoyed the journey! ;)