Monday, September 28, 2009

God Loves Me

A simple truth has pierced my heart this weekend. It's something my head knew, heck, it's even a children's song! But these past few days, it has penetrated deep into my soul. God loves me.

God loves me. He loves all of me. Just as I am. Without doing anything. Without being anything. He loves me more than anything. He dances over me. He delights in my soul. God loves me.

I went to a MOPS convention this weekend. It seemed like every session, workshop, and worship set was the Lord whispering to me. I don't know what the other 4,000+ women were doing there, but it's clear to me that the Lord had me in mind when He told those on the stage what to say. :) God loves me.

His love is bigger and deeper than anything I've ever dreamed of or imagined. His love has covered me and all of my sin. There is no need to continually place myself on the alter of sacrifice- Jesus already did so. I can bask in His love and delight without having to perform for the honor. I can be and do the things that He calls me to without pressure, because no matter how it turns out or what anybody else says, He loves me. He loves me for the effort, but not because of it. He loves me because He made me as a unique creation. He made me to shine out in this dark world. He made me to be filled with the fullness of Christ. He made me to fill me with His love. God loves me.

His love calls me to something deeper. It calls me to a relationship with Him. It calls me to experience Him in new and exciting ways. It calls me to rest in Him. It calls me to lay my burdens down. It calls me to cast all my crowns at His feet. It calls me to speak out. It calls me to share with others. It calls me to be more than I am alone. God loves me.

Do you know it, too? Do you know that He is calling your name. "Come" and I will give you rest. "Come" and delight in me. "Come" and know that I am God. God loves you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Encouragement for a Young Mom's Heart

I sat around a table with some new friends this past Thursday. Yup, that's right, it was our first MOPS meeting of the year. My group is a great group of ladies I'm really looking forward to getting to know.

MOPS has been such an encouragement to me through these early stages of mothering. When I was a mommy with a brand new baby, I had the cleanest house ever and I was desperate for adult interaction. When I had my second baby, the first was only 18 mos old. I cried a lot during that stage, and had wonderful moms surrounding me offering help and encouragement. Even though I have "lots" of kids, it's getting easier as they get older and can take some responsibility for themselves. I have had the opportunity to serve my MOPS group and help make it a place of support and encouragement for other moms.

This first meeting is always a great one. We get to hear from our Mentor Mom and meet our groups. It's always a refreshing meeting and sets a great tone for our year together. She posed a question to our tables that has had me thinking for a couple of days. "What encourages you in your mothering?"

We had many answers at our table, including the things that I mentioned above about my earliest experiences as a mom. But as I was thinking about it, I realized that now that my kids are "older" (the oldest is six!) there's a new encouragement. It comes from watching my children do what I've trained them to do. To take responsibility for themselves and others around them, to choose the right thing whether I'm watching or not. Now, don't read too much into this, they are still rambunctious little kids...but occaissionally one of them will display the kind of character we desire to be built into their lives and it helps me to see that we aren't completely failing at this paraenting thing.

Right now, the kids and I are visiting family in Minnesota. We're a big enough family now, that we're staying at a hotel. Our first morning here, the kids were so excited to be able to choose their own breakfast from the assortment laid out before them. Things that we don't eat at home- like fruit loops and donuts! My kids were doing a great job sitting at the table, not screaming or running around. I was pleased. Especially because other guests were using the breakfast room at the same time as us! One of the gentlemen said something to me as he left, and it made my heart smile the rest of the day. He simply turned to us on his way out and said, "You're doing a great job, mom."

Being a mom is a job that doesn't get a lot of praise. At least not until your kids have kids and they realize all that went into it! When somebody, even a stranger, acknowledges the hard work and labor that I am doing as a mother, my soul is rejuvinated. I was reminded of a time in Hobby Lobby when a similar instance occured- three years ago! Well, really this was when my boys had been misbehaving, and tipped over the cart with their baby sister in it. Instead of yelling and condeming, the Lord helped me talk calmly to them as I comforted the baby. Afterwards, a lady came up and told me that she appreciated how I handled the situation- so different than what she had typically seen from mothers in stores. I was encouraged by her comments to continue striving for the right attitude when speaking to my children. Not only does it produce the proper results in our family, but it's a great witness to others around us.

So, next time you see a young mom, take a moment and share with her a word of encouragement. It hardly takes any of your own time, and will give her the fortitude to continue on through the many challenges that will face her that day. And it might even bring a smile to her heart next week or next year.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Funny Things Kids Say

I could probably write a whole blog devoted to the hilarity that spews from my children's mouths. Here's some fun stuff we've heard in recent weeks.

Grandma and a friend each have a border collie. At a family gathering at Grandma's house I overheard this...
Veronica: Here, his name is Chester, but when he's at Gene and Whitney's, we call him Mabel

An announcement at church about an upcoming Men's Retreat
Quinlan: Daddy, what's a "ninja treat?"
Greg: No, he said "men's retreat"
Quinlan: Oh, is that where all the daddy's get snacks?

At the State Fair after visiting the photography exhibit to see Daddy's entries, and the birthing pavillion with the baby chicks
Zachary: The only thing that can make this fair any more interesting is if we get to ride the ferris wheel.

We visited a friend who's expecting. She came on the porch to greet us holding her three month old niece.
Veronica (turning around excitedly): They DID have their baby!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lifestyle Logic

I did it! I started a new blog. It will be devoted to sharing my best tips and tricks for saving money, making money, or making the most of what you've got. I'm looking forward to having an outlet for all the stuff I talk about incessently! Come check it out!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This week we added our unit studies to the basics of our homeschool day. Throughout the year, we have Bible time, reading/language, and math daily. In the summer we spend more time outside visiting the zoo and the parks, being with friends and family. Now that the public schools are back in session, it was time to do some planning and put the kids to work!

Last week I looked through my Konos Curriculum book and decided upon a unit for this fall. It should take us right into December. At that point we will spend a couple of weeks on Christmas projects. The baby will come sometime right before Christmas, too. Later this fall, I'll need to sit down and do the planning for the first half of the spring semester because I'll be too tired to do it in January!

Our main unit for this fall is "Orderliness." The children will learn about a variety of topics from sequencing, to classifying, to organizing, to calendars. I'm looking forward to many of the projects that we will be working on. Our first sub-unit is creation. God made the world in a certain order. Each day this week, we are reading through Genesis 1 and focusing on one day. We're making a creation booklet with a page for each day. This has been a hit so far! We'll do it this weekend, too, and take Monday off.

What's great about this unit, and really the curriculum that we've chosen, is how inexpensive this year of school is going to be. Last year I purchased the book, which has about 2.5 years worth of unit studies. My expected expenses for this fall are negligible- art supplies that we have on hand, general school supplies I purchased cheaply in the past month, and of course, an infinite number of library books! I think the cost of my planned field trips is free as well.

Meals on a Real Budget

Last night at dinner I looked at our fully laden table and did a quick calculation. The cost of our meal (for our family of six) was $2. Granted, some of the items we had recieved for free, but if we had paid for them, the cost of the meal may have reached $4. It always frustrates me when I look at cookbooks or search recipes online because their meals on a budget and my meals on the budget are not the same!

Our groceries budget for two adults and four children is $175/month. I hear about folks struggling to make it on triple that amount for a similar sized family! Again, some of our food we recieve for free- about $50/month worth. Adding that together brings our monthly total to $225.

How do we do it? I'm not really sure. I don't coupon all that much, my kids don't complain of being hungry all the time, and we even eat meat every night. I've come to the conclusion that it may be time to start sharing some of our life in this area with the world at large. Maybe some of you have some cheap meal ideas that we would appreciate trying out. Let me know what they are! For now, here's the menu from our meal last night, including approximate retail prices:

Scrambled Eggs (1 doz eggs @ .75)
Turkey Sausage, browned (1 lb, on sale @ 1.00)
Shredded Cheese (.25 lb, @ .75)
Cherry Tomatoes (garden= free!)
English muffins (from discount store 1/2 pkg @ .50)
Juice (1 can @ 1.00)
Corn Bread (1/2 pan leftovers about .50)
Apple Sauce (canned from last year= free)