Monday, December 31, 2007

Blog Guilt

When I first discovered the world of blogging, thanks to my friend Mer, I was overwhelmingly inspired and encouraged. There were so many neat women out there doing so many neat things - a whole community of people who seemed like-minded!

HOWEVER, as this year draws to an end and the new one looms before me, I am feeling a sense of guilt - that all these women are doing so much more with themselves than I am. Sadly, I can't seem to escape the comparison game. So, after I realized that comparing myself to people I don't even know is a slippery slope, I hope that I am coming back to reality with a readjusted perspective.

I am going to try to choose to stay away from guilt and instead be motivated to look at the gifts that God has given me - not the ones He's given all my blog people. After I took a brief inventory of some of my gifts, I realized that I am not really trying to use some of those for His glory at all. It would be so sad to sit in the middle of my gifts, spinning my wheels while I look longingly at the gifts of others and say, "Oh, if I could only be more crafty, if only my mom had taught me to sew, if only I were a better homemaker, if only I ..." and the list could go on forever.

Of course, the never ending tension in my life for now is how to not put those things ahead of my high calling of showing three precious ones what love looks like - Oh, so hard for me! I was doing really great at being calm this morning. (I had read a little of my Charlotte Mason Companion the night before.) I was so ready to positively resolve fights and have a peaceful home. Yeah, well that lasted until everything I tried to occupy Aubrie with lasted about 5 seconds, and she was right back into something that she wasn't supposed to be in. Simple tasks that should take a few minutes span an hour as I try to juggle the girls and all their energy.

But, I'm not giving up! I will try again as soon as they wake up, and I will hold Dr. Dobson to his promise that if we set healthy boundaries in the early years and are consistent in our discipline that the teenage years will be easier! (aka - not as bad as they could be)

So, I digress...maybe this is why I don't get much done...hmmmm. Anyway, I do want to look at some of the things that I am good at and how I can better use those things for my family and for my God.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A New Thing for Us

Normally I am so slow to take down Christmas decorations. I am very embarrassed to say that one year I still had the tree up in February. I know, so bad. I think it's because I love how our home feels when the Christmas stuff is out. I hate for it to end. My normal tradition is to wait until after New Year's Day and take it down sometime the week following.

For some reason the tree we got this year made us all really sick. I don't if the problem was more sap or what, but there was definitely a problem. So, late Christmas night Todd looked at me with a look that said, "Can this thing please come down?" Being the sometimes-obliging person that I am, the next day I had stripped the tree of all its ornaments and put them all on our dining table, arranged by category. This new system actually worked pretty well. In no time at all everything was boxed up including all of the other decorations throughout the house. I was on a roll!

I have to say that I feel fairly liberated - I don't have this weight hanging over me - the impending dread that comes with the end of Christmas. I have left up the two Christmas trees that are our dining table decoration and the nativity scene. I have to have something to put away after the 1st!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Missions Update

While I've got a few more minutes with the girls napping, I thought I'd post a little bit about where we are with the International Mission Board. For right now, we're just waiting. We submitted in November 400-question health forms for each family member, an over 500-question personality test for Todd and me, dental forms for hubby and me, and educational assessments for Emma and Jessie. Wow, makes me tired all over again just thinking about it!

Anyway, all this stuff has to be processed before we can move on to the next phase of the application. This will include writing our autobiographies and a statement of beliefs. The way I understand it, sometime after these are done, we'll have an in-depth interview where we can select the position we're interested in.

On that note, both of the positions in Mozambique that we were looking at have been reserved by someone else. A little sigh... But, God knows where He wants us!! The same type of position (logistics coordinator) is open in Tanzania and Kenya - both places we are very interested in!

Thanks to everyone who is praying for us as we're on this journey - every now and then it feels a little "out of body" that we're considering this. I'm sure it does to our family and friends, too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Unseen Battle

Ever have a day where you're certain that there is a spiritual battle going on? I really believe that there are battles everyday, but today the battle was a little more tangible. I had my first ER visit with Emma tonight (well, first one since she was 3 mos. old, and don't worry, she's fine), Jessie had a nose bleed (her first) as a friend was bringing her home, and Todd's dad got pulled over on the way home from deer camp.

While we were waiting in the ER, I was talking to Todd making plans for how we were going to get the other girls home and discussing whether he needed to keep them or come to Jackson to be with us. In the middle of all this he tells me that the Lord really spoke to him today while he was hunting. (Actually, God does a lot of speaking to Todd on the deer stand - I try to never complain about his going.) I still don't know what God said because while I was putting Emma to bed, he fell asleep on the couch...

Anyway, I can't help but think that the wierd trials of the day are somehow connected with God moving in Todd's life. Does that sound too hoaky? There are days where I can almost feel the battle going on, and this was one of them. The wonderful thing is when we're able to put 2 + 2 together and realize that God is in control, and we really shouldn't freak out. I think this happens only by the grace of God.

Now, I can't wait to see what God has in store for us, where He wants to lead us next.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


"And Mary said,
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one look at me, and look what
happened --
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from
all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies,
piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham right up to now."

Luke 1:46-55

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Scary Room

One of the things I love about our house is that we have this little nook of a room that we call an office just off the dining room. I have to say that I used to consider myself an organized person. When I look at this room, I just don't think that I can pass for that anymore. The main thing I like about the room is that soon after we moved into the house over three years ago, we bought a bamboo-ish roll down shade to hang between it and the dining room. I've discovered that this is at the same time good and bad. Good because we can roll it down when company is coming, and we don't want them to be scared. Bad because, knowing that I can hide it, it has become the put-it-in-one-of-the-stacks room.

It is full of all the "to-dos" that I just don't seem to get around to. Here are some examples: on the floor are pillows that someone gave me that I can't bear to part with because I could cover them with something cute for the girls' room, a box a fabric that I'm sure I'll use someday (maybe to cover the pillows?), and shoes that Todd bought that hurt his feet - I'm supposed to sell them on ebay. On the sewing cabinet, a stack of Emma's homeschool stuff, the sewing box (which needs to be reorganized), a stack of books I've either read or might read, some Christmas presents that I can't put under the tree because Aubrie will destroy them, a pile of broken things that Mommy is supposed to fix - hair bows that need new clips, a few Christmas ornaments that have already fallen off the tree, Jessie's decapitated angel, and last year's pages from my organizer that I need to go through (I write down things for the girls' baby books on them and haven't culled everything from 2006, and 2007 is breathing down my neck!).

Moving further around the room is my picture/craft table that isn't visible with piles on top and underneath. Am I the only one like this? I think this room has gotten so out of control that I'm afraid of it - hence, the scary room. When I have an hour or two to spare, I can hardly bear to think about working in there because it is so overwhelming! I've just spent a few hours in the room, and I feel like I have very little to show for it. I've labeled a few packets of pictures and have put pictures from 2004 and 2005 into albums; not even a full stack off of my picture table. And, yes, I'm just now putting 2004 and 2005 into albums. So sad, I know. Please tell me there's someone else out there as bad as me!

I truly don't know what people do without a scary room, are they really so organized that they don't need one? I used to think that I could be one of those personal organizers that could help people get control of their lives, organize closets, declutter, etc. Lately, I think I need to hire one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All Was Calm,...

I've taken no time to blog lately or even to read some of my favorites - seems like there has been no extra time! I really want to post some pics of our tree; maybe I'll get to that before Christmas! Even sitting down now, I can't really gather my thoughts for a coherent post, and we're really not overly busy. I promise! I really want this Christmas to be enjoyable without killing myself. I've decided to not put up every decoration I own and to not worry with some of the fresh greenery stuff I usually do. I've even said "no" to a few Christmas activities. It has been surprisingly pleasant to not feel like we have a million events crammed into such a tiny space of time.

Each year we tell our kids that Christmas is about Jesus, but so much of what we do isn't about Him. So, we're slowing down a bit. We're actually using the advent wreath that I bought last year (that was never lit). The girls love telling us why we light each candle, and it's a great way to start dinner each night. I hope to keep this calm pace going even as things get a little bit more busy over the next two weeks. I hope to keep what is important truly important.

I've gotta run - I have a date with a cute husband and a movie!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cheese Straws

As promised a LONG time ago, here's the recipe for cheese straws from Paige. I'm going to try and make some today to add to my cold winter night gift bags.

Cheese straws (from Paula Deen)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Combine butter and cheese in food processor. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt & cayenne and add to the food processor bowl. Pulse until the dough forms a ball. Turn onto wax paper & roll into small logs. Wrap each log in the wax paper & twist the ends to keep airtight. Refrigerate until firm enough to slice.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats or use nonstick sheets.

3. Cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices & place 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely before placing into airtight tins. Dough may be placed into resealable plastic freezer bags & frozen. Baked cheese straws may be frozen in tins. To reheat, place frozen cheese straws in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.