Doing What Matters Most

Tonia has written a post about what she has learned in her 30 Days of Nothing challenge. This may actually be her last post, because one of the things that has started to intrigue her over the last month is the goodness of silence and rest. Read her post here and see if it doesn’t challenge you to be in front of this screen less.
I’ll be sharing my own thoughts on my 30 Days of Learning in the next few days.

WFMW- Nifty Knitter

I have dreams of my girls going above and beyond me in their education, especially in the domestic arts. While I know how to knit, crochet, and sew a little, I have to admit they aren’t on my short list of things I want to do when I have spare time. I think that is partly due to me learning these late in my teens. It seems that learning a skill at a very young age is best, then the child has more time to develop it in to his or her unique art.
So imagine my joy at discovering this circular knitting loom, called the Nifty Knitter, on which you can knit hats and scarves easily and quickly. And, my two daughters, only 4 and 6, are already becoming quite proficient at it! This will be great for those dreary fall evenings to come, when you only want to sit inside where it is warm and drink hot cider. At least while we’re doing that, the girls can be keeping their fingers busy making Christmas gifts. Maybe I’ll start a project, too.
“I’m gettin’ knittin’ for Christmas,
Cause Big A ain’t done nuttin’ but knit!”
Works for me! Check out more tips at Shannon’s blog.

The Hello, Goodbye Window

I just read the sweetest children’s book (which, as many of us know, the best children’s books are for people of all ages:). It is called The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster. Big A is going to do Book It this year, and this book topped its reading list for ages 4-8. Bring on the scheduled trips to Pizza Hut!!! Hey, anything to further her education and love of reading. Heh, heh.
Anyway, this book is so good. It is about a little girl who goes to her grandparents’ house while her parents are at work, and all the simply sweet things that go on during her day. It is told from her perspective, and is just hilarious at times. A couple times I teared up, thinking about Grandpa Don being so similar to that grandpa in the book. The reality hit again that my children will not know him apart from us talking about him, our home movies, and stories on CD he made. I cherish those CD’s now. We still have Grandma Carol and Grandma and Grandpa Chase, and are very thankful for that. There are still great memories to be made.
My list of favorite children’s books is getting bigger. Maybe I will post about that in the future. This book won the 2006 Caldecott Medal, and I can see why. Look for it next time you are at the library.

What Love Does

At times one of my children will come running to me with a tale about how their brother or sister called them a dragon or some such. I’ll ask the offended child, “Well, is it true?” and they have to answer no. Then I tell them to just ignore the sibling and go find something else to do. I later will talk to the offender about name-calling, but in the heat of the battle, I find that the main thing to get across is that we shouldn’t get so upset when something untrue is said about us.
That scenario comes to mind when I hear about some things one of The View mistresses said last week about Christianity. She got a lot of Christians mad at her (all over again), and letters were sent and statements released, and no apology came, that I know of, from the network or her for what she said. But now that I have had some time to think about it, I wonder a couple of things: first, can Christians watching that show really expect not to ever be offended? Second, what impact for good does letter-writing and feedback have on a person who sets out to offend Christians? The things she said were false; they did nothing to shake my faith or rock my world. I went on with my life and pretty much forgot about it. What if everybody did that? What if, after Rosie said those things, Christian radio chairpersons and Christian bloggers everywhere just mumbled to themselves, “hmmm. There’s Rosie spouting off again. She’s got things a little mixed up in her head” and just went about their business. I think it would make a better impact, personally. Silence. Getting back to work on the things that matter. We know we are right, so what is the big deal when a lost person gets it wrong? It is the wounded dog who will bite someone who comes too close; we are assuming we are wounded, which we aren’t, and we are assuming we need to attack back, which we are commanded to do exactly the opposite, in Scripture.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

-Jesus in Matthew 5

WFMW-Toothbrush Truth

No, I’m not reminding you to brush your teeth today (but if you need a reminder, you can take it that way :), I’m telling you about a great tool to get stains out of clothing.
My dear little S sat in church last Sunday and happily wrote all over his pant leg in pen. This child doesn’t ‘get’ that we don’t usually write on our clothing or our bodies. Of course, it doesn’t help that Daddy puts ‘tattoos’ in ink on their arms from time to time, and that Big A got to have everybody sign her VBS shirt in permanent marker this summer. So there is a considerable amount of mixed information coming into the little guy’s head. But still. I asked a friend after church if she ever got pen out of clothing, and she told me she scrubs out stains with soap and a toothbrush. I went home and tried it, and can announce to you that S can wear those khakis again with no embarrassment. (He doesn’t care, but I do!) There will be a lecture next Sunday on the way to church though; the content will include treating our clothing with respect and not making more work for Mommy.
But that is really the heart of my tip- the toothbrush accomplishes the task because I am willing to put some elbow grease into the task. I have to be willing to work to get things done. Deep thought, I know! I remember when we only had Big A, and she would stain her clothes. I would stand at the sink and scrub out the stains before I washed the clothes. Then came Big S and I did that a little less. A little less after each one, to now I am having to ask somebody how to get stains out. It should be common for me to work at keeping our clothes nice. They have been given to us by God, and I should be a good steward and be willing to put the work in to make them last.

Nehemiah 2:18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.
Bible Verse courtesy of Bible Gateway

Check out classic tips at Shannon’s.

Good Times

On Liberty’s fine acres we first crossed paths,
In the beginning as friends, you science, me math,
We grew up an hour apart, What good fortune!
Mom and Dad had hoped for close grandchildren!
We found out we both cheered for Scarlet and Gray,
We agreed we could carpool since we’re going the same way.
We had good talks about all sorts of things,
then realized what kind of closeness that brings.
We both had been burned by the dating game,
so weren’t quite ready for me to change my name.
But there was no denying we were a great team
and today under one roof we share ice cream.
Almost eight years and five children later,
I can’t think of one who completes me better.

Tell your love story! Check out other stories at Barb’s.

30 DOL Day 14: I Meddle Too Much

I’ve come to the realization that I blog too much. No, I probably do not post on my blog nearly enough, but I read too many other blogs to make time for my own. It can be a form of meddling, if I am not careful.
Proverbs 26:17 Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
Some signs that tell me I am on the computer (doing the unnecessary blog reading) too much:
-my bookmarks go down past the computer screen, or I have a need to put my bookmarks into folders so that they won’t
-my dinners become ‘quick and easy’ because I didn’t get down to start them before 5pm
-my kids start asking, “are you going to be on the computer while we’re playing?”
-the house is so messy it will take days to fix (and our house is small!)

A wise blogger once said that you must not worry about ‘missing’ the discussion surrounding a topic, that it will come around again. I have found that to be true. Besides, the blogs I have stopped reading, if they have something good, another blog that I do read will direct me to it.
It is always wise to keep things simple, and to mind my own business. That keeps me busy enough.

Where I Was…

The morning of September 11, 2001 started out as no different than any other morning. Big A was a toddler, and I was pregnant with Big S. Luke was at school, and we were at home, not doing much. Luke calls me on the phone, and right away asks me if I’m watching ‘it’ on TV. I kinda chuckle and tell him, no, we don’t watch TV in the morning, A just wants to veg when it is on. He’s real serious, and I go turn it on. On CBS I see the two towers, and one has been hit with a plane. Dan Rather is doing his best to maintain a steady voice, and to keep viewers informed on what looks like an accidental plane crash into a building. Then the second plane hits the other tower, and I melt. Dan Rather does, too, for a few seconds, then recovers and keeps on talking. From then on, I am glued to the TV, holding Big A tightly and crying. Then the towers are falling and I have such a feeling of loss in my gut, like when I once realized my ticket to an OSU game had been stolen from my back pocket, only a hundred times worse.
I had arranged to bring a shut-in from our church a meal that night, and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to go out, after all that was happening. Were there more cities still to be attacked? When Luke got home from school, we took the meal. While in the car passing all the manicured lawns and nice cars and restaurants and billboards and Kroger and CVS, I had a very real sense that everything was different now, that if any of this material world had a hold on me, it was decidedly less, now that I had just witnessed so many people’s lives taken from them in a matter of minutes. Now that I realized my life could be over as quickly.
I loved hearing the stories that came out afterward- brave firefighters, oh-so-brave Todd Beamer, people who were supposed to be in the buildings at the time, but for some reason were running late that morning. Providentially saved.
I read recently that many families of the victims have a hard time with 9/11 being talked about constantly. I can imagine it might be a little like everybody I know saying, I remember the day Don (my father in-law) died, over and over to me, whenever we meet. That would be weird.
But this was a national tragedy, and their loved ones just happened to be involved in an attack on our country, so I am sure most deal with the constant attention with grace.
My prayer is that we learn all we can from that day:
-be united when it comes to things that matter
-be always ready to help someone in need
-be in prayer for our nation’s leaders; they have a tough job!
-show my appreciation toward firefighters, police, and rescue workers when I cross paths with them
-live each day like it might be the last
I don’t believe this will be the only national crisis I will see in my lifetime, so it would be good if I practice these things I have learned.
P.S. I realized today that I have had four children since 9/11. And I have been pregnant five times. In Five Years. Woah.

Yea Though I Walk

I have just heard about Susan’s baby from other blogs and wanted to share a great way to encourage someone you know who is going through a tough time.
First, I must back up to 2002, when my friend Maggie found out that the baby she was carrying was missing many of his vital organs. He would survive only until he was born. We prayed hard- for God to miraculously put those pieces into Lee where they should go. Hey, wouldn’t that bring glory to His name and show that He can do ANYTHING! But it wasn’t to be, and little Lee was born that May and died that day, never opening his eyes.
Well, the next April, I had a baby boy, and right after he was born we saw the mark on his back that indicated he had a form of spina bifida. We were told he would need surgery in early infancy to close the part of his spine that had not formed properly. When my friend Maggie heard about my son’s upcoming surgery, she thought back to her tough days leading up to Lee’s birth and what got her through it. She wanted me to have something to focus on and to encourage me through my son’s surgery, so she made me this:

Sweet, huh? It is a fold-out card full of verses that speak about God’s promises. She opens it by saying this (and remember she has lost a child! I’m only about to put my infant son through major surgery, but who can really compare thorns to thorns):
“The LORD tells us to carry one another’s burdens and when you mentioned about S I could not stop thinking about the little fellow and his future…I am praying for you…My heart goes out to you as a mother. I have had my share of heartache, but I have also had my share of how the LORD works, and you and S are going to see it too no matter what the outcome is. That will be God’s Best and only His Best. Remember someone is thinking and praying for you whether you feel it or not. I have seen my worst days wondering how I will ever get through, and look I am doing just fine, but only by the grace and love of of our wonderful LORD JESUS!! He truly is our SAVIOR.”
The boldest verse on the card is Proverbs 3:5-6. If you don’t know these verses by heart, get yourself to a Bible right now!
My son did great through his surgery, and is a healthy and active 3 year old today.
Next time you have a loved one in a trial, and you want to do something in addition to your prayers, make them something to remind them of the Lord and His perfect, loving plan.
Join the prayer chain for Susan.

30 DOL Day 5: Learn Benevolence

We are looking at one character quality a day from the 49 outlined by Bill Gothard and his ministry, the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Today’s is Benevolence. It means “giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.” The opposite of benevolence is selfishness.
The emperor penguin is a good example in creation of this character quality. When the mother lays an egg, the father will scoop it up on his feet and keep it warm under his belly for more than three months. He doesn’t move or eat until the baby is born.
We saw this firsthand when we watched March of the Penguins on DVD a few months ago. After we watched the movie, we made this illustration, since I was pregnant with our baby girl. We joked that if we were penguins, Baby A would be Daddy’s responsibility. This is a great movie that shows just one of the many wonders of God’s creation.
Each lesson on a character quality has five challenges for the learner, put into statements that begin with ‘I Will’. An especially convicting one for me was “I will see the needs of others as quickly as I see my own.” Benevolence means choosing to look upon mundane household duties, such as doing laundry and cooking meals, as a labor of love for the family. I’m not too bad at getting tasks done, but I struggle with my attitude being right in the midst of doing them.
Of course, God the Father demonstrated benevolence best when He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. It certainly wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but He did it because we needed saving. Thank You, Jesus.