TGIF Thoughts

The boys and Abbie just got back before dinner tonight. They attended a Beulah Beach On The Road day camp Tuesday through Friday, and every other night was spent with Grandma Carol. During those they got thoroughly spoiled by their aunt, uncle and cousins, who live with Grandma Carol. Last night they got to see Monsters University, and it will be all they can do not to tell the rest of us what the movie was about till we see it. Sam has already said it is better than the first Monsters movie, though I doubt that is possible. A prequel being better than the original? Didn’t work for Star Wars.
A busy week comes to a close. Two of the mornings we had to all be up early to take the kids to Beulah Beach, and the other days were pretty full, too. Tuesday I went over to the church to clean the nursery, and got the infant nursery ready to take babies again. The past few months it has simply been a storage room with a corner for nursing mothers. But after last Sunday, I realize we need to break up our littles during morning worship.
Thursday we had a Bright Lights meeting, and even though I was missing a sitter (Carol was being employed with picking up our Beulah Beach campers), I decided I would go and bring Caleb, Adon, and Micah along. It worked out fine, as the skies cleared just as the meeting began and stayed nice until the meeting was over! What a blessing. I sat outside with the boys; Kenan slept in his stroller while Adon and Caleb climbed the playground with two other boys who were there.
Today I awoke so tired. All the running around was catching up to me, and I did not look forward to going grocery shopping. It would be nice to have that done, leaving tomorrow free for other things. So, after breakfast and a sign language video, we set out. Our first stop was the library to return  Signing Time, the video we’d just watched. I am reading through the Bible while nursing, and read in Leviticus the laws about borrowing things and what one should do when those things are damaged or destroyed. Been feeling very convicted about our treatment of library books. Of course, it isn’t usually me damaging a book, but they are taken out on my card and I am ultimately responsible. The cover of Signing Time got damaged, so I thought it best to take it back sooner than planned and ‘fees up to the damage to it. The librarians may begin to think me weird, because this is the third time I have done this in as many weeks, but I want to be faithful to God’s word in this area, if even in a small way.
Since I am reading the Bible most of the time, I have only read one article out of the new Above Rubies magazine. Usually I zoom through an issue in a couple of days, but that way I am sure I miss a lot of good lessons. I’ve had a chance to mull over what was said in this article, and find it to be even more true than I first thought.
The author shares about how she didn’t want to have any more children, so the couple took measures to cut off her fertility. Later, her baby died after falling ill suddenly with a heart problem, and in that experience many truths came into focus. I’ll quote her here.
We used to take our fertility so much for granted that we thought we could just cut it off and throw it in the garbage…We did our absolute best for Eva [the baby who died]…We prayed for her. We fought for her. We loved her. We held her. We slept with her. I pumped milk for hours and hours and hours in the PICU for her. But our fertility, and the hope of life for any other children, we threw in the garbage, like so much detritus. The lives of our future children were of no value to us.
I think of how our van battery died in the parking lot at Meijer last month. Fortunately, Luke was at work and could come over and give us a jump. We noticed the battery wouldn’t do so well with the A/C and radio on, so we rode all the way home, and for the next few days, with these two things off, trying our best to keep our battery going. I can nurture a car battery, but when it comes to being open to more children, I waver, and even try to prevent it sometimes. Such a delusion, isn’t it?

Good Quote

One day it will all be finished, and the weary feet, all scarred and bleeding, will cross the last mountain, tread the last trail, reach the last tribe and win the last soul. Then He Himself will exclaim, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let us keep our eyes steadily on the goal. For when we hear the shout from the skies, all else will fade into utter insignificance. Ere long the Lord will descend from Heaven with a shout. Even so come, Lord Jesus. ~ Robert Jaffray

The last soul. What a magnificent thought. Wonder if we’ll know who that is in Heaven.

Every Day Is Father’s Day

Today was a good day. We woke up and got ready for church. Luke had a genius idea for getting everybody bathed, since we were all grimy from playing at Grandpa and Grandma Chase’s house the evening before. He told the kids who shower that he would keep them to three minutes or less, and showed them how they should wash: “shampoo, pits, privates, feet, and back to pits, if you need to.” It was hilarious. And so many of them actually showered in less than three minutes! Now that I know they can…No more leisurely bathing. Luke heated water in our large stock pot on the stove for the little ones’ bath- that worked really well, even making the water too hot at first and Aliyah needing to add cold water! It was time to go, and I was trying to brush through the two little girls’ hair and having a really hard time, when I was told that their hair hadn’t been washed, only rinsed, because there wasn’t any baby soap in the tub. Hmmm. Oh, well, at least everybody got wet.
I had an interesting thought while I was in the shower earlier this morning; it seems the strangest, and best, ideas come to me at this time. This was where I first thought of doing the book about Caleb, where I thought of Aliyah using a pillowcase for her laundry, where I have started labor before, and where I can almost always think of good things for which to pray. Anyway, this time it was this:
Maybe I should get baptized again.
Let me first paint the picture of my first baptism; I know it by heart because I have pictures of it. I was 8, it was at a lake. My dad walked me into the water, and hand in hand we made our way out to where our pastor was waiting. He asked me some questions about my decision to follow Jesus, then dunked me in the water. Once.
What a strange thought to come to mind, to be baptized again. On the one hand, I guess I could say that I was too young at the time I did it for it to have meaning. On the other hand, the thought of doing it again could carry with it the impression that one needs to do it again if they first did it when they were very young, and there is value in doing a thing once.
Here’s the real thing, though- if I were to give my testimony, I would share that a more meaningful conversion experience happened when I was 18, at Word of Life Bible Institute, after I had started down a wrong road with dangerous relationships and illicit behavior but been moved, I believe, by the Holy Spirit to consider my ways and to turn around. And it was a turn around, in every sense. Word of Life was a perfect place for me to heal and start to grow. I have always called that time and place my own personal rehab facility.
So, if I truly was converted at 18, technically one could argue that I should be baptized again. Up until now, I haven’t thought it necessary. But the more I think about it through the day today, the more I wonder. A person’s baptism means something not only to the one being baptized, but to the body of believers watching. It is identification with Christ, immersion in His life, His work, His resurrection, His body. Those around me could benefit from seeing me take this step.
That is the positive spin I could see come from this. The negative is that maybe I am just after some self-glorification. When I have an idea, I try to think about where or who it might have come from. If it could only have come from God, easy. Go and do likewise. But sometimes Satan has some pretty good ideas. And I in my flesh do, too. It that case I have to figure out if it is black and white ‘no, shouldn’t go there’ or grey ‘maybe not now, but later it will bring God glory’.
Some interesting indicators that this might be from God- Pastor’s children’s sermon this morning was about Jesus’ baptism! Then, his sermon was about Naaman the leper dunking in the Jordan river, and I hadn’t before thought about how that is a picture of baptism, too- the joy one has after coming up out of the water with a new lease on life. Then, even more bizarre, I checked my email this afternoon and we were invited to a baptism tonight! A girl from our Bright Lights group was being baptized, and I was glad to be able to go and encourage her in this way. Beautiful spot, too, right in the Clear Fork river! As we were leaving, Abbie told me she wanted to be baptized! Awesome.
Here were three indicators today that God may be saying, be baptized. I will continue to pray and seek counsel on this; our next baptism will be during the church picnic in August, so I have some time. If not me, maybe one or more of our children will show some interest. Due to my history, I don’t push our children to get baptized; so far only Aliyah has been baptized while the older five have professed faith in Christ.
Whatever happens, I’m sure it will be a blessing to all who gather at the water there.
“This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” ~God

June Post

That nap felt good. I’ve been trying to keep them to a half hour; any more than that, it seems like I feel worse when I get up than when I went to bed. I think my dad has learned to take ‘catnaps’ in his profession as a truck driver, and I used to not believe he could really feel rested after only a few minutes sleep. But a half hour does more good than no nap at all.
We are headed into some fun days. Both my brother and my sister and her two kids are coming to Ohio. They were last here, each of them, at Christmas, and got to meet Kenan before they left. He’ll be much bigger to them now. Some activities we already have planned, like a trip to the lake to pick up  Aliyah and Sarah from camp. Other things I would like to do, like ride the carousel and tour Kingwood Gardens. Strawberries are ripe down our road, so we may go down there tomorrow and pick some. Picking strawberries for me means I park and let the kids get out and pick them while I sit in the van and read a book or make calls. It is great. The patch at the bottom of the hill wasn’t kept this year like in years past, and there are a lot of weeds. But, it appears they are still opening the field for picking. Maybe it will be even cheaper to pick there this year.
For the past month, during times that I use our microwave, there’ll be flashes of light and a groaning sound. Pretty scary. If that happens, I stop it cooking right away, but most of the time it runs normally. So, I wonder if it is only a certain food that is making the microwave act up? It seemed like melting butter might have been a no-no, so I started putting it in a pyrex bowl and putting it in the preheated oven when I needed melted butter. But just this morning, Sarah was heating up oatmeal, and, though I didn’t see flashes, there was smoke when she pulled it out. What to do? Maybe this is my cue to start weaning myself off of a microwave- I could free up quite a bit of space in my kitchen if I didn’t have one in there. Right now the shelf it is on only goes so high, but if I had that whole wall, I could put more shelving up on it. “I”, meaning Luke, of course. I have envisioned a long white shelf that stretches from the black shelf in the corner to the fridge. That would hold decorative plates and vases and bottles. Luke just got me a plate from the Mexico area of Epcot that has the Aztec (or Mayan?) calendar on it. It would look good up there.
Warming up leftovers would be a challenge. Soup and sloppy things wouldn’t be so hard to put in a pan on the stove, but what does one do with lasagna or a piece of chicken? I guess put them in the oven? I was eyeing the cutest little saucepan some months ago; I think it was meant expressly for melting butter. The circumference of it may only have been half that of my smallest heating surface. I have always loved miniature things. Maybe I am meant to have it.

Summer Reading Program

This morning went a little better, schedule-wise. I told my eldest that for this week, my number one priority is to get reading lesson time in with Caleb. He is so close to reading that I can’t let it drop now. We have about six weeks to go before we are done with the curriculum, and I hope the lightbulb will go on for him soon. It should. After his reading lesson this morning, I wanted to get some laundry done before we left for the library (different day this week due to waiting for Luke’s package yesterday), and that was like pulling teeth. With the introduction of a schedule, I changed the laundry jobs to being the girls’ responsibility. It used to be divided up among any able bodied child and would change every day. Putting the girls in charge seemed to me to be a more efficient way of doing it, but already my older girls are balking at the task. Maybe I will assign it to one girl each week. I don’t know. All I do know is I can’t do it by myself.
We finally did make it to the library, and I noticed how busy it was. Oh, right- school is out, and the library has their summer reading program up and running. Lots of kids were there, in and out, registering for the program and doing the scavenger hunt game in the children’s section. It made me a little nervous, and I kept counting our children, making sure I knew where everyone was. I saw Sam walking around with a boy his age, talking. Then Noah passed by with another boy his age, both of them working on finding the pictures for the scavenger hunt. It was so cute how they both found new friends that quickly! Each night at VBS we are challenged to invite someone else to come the next night, and both Sam and Noah wished they had thought to invite these boys. Abbie had me write some info about VBS on the back of a reading record sheet, and later I heard she gave it to a librarian. One of the kids scolded her, saying that the librarian wouldn’t come to VBS. Another then said, “She might have kids that can, though!”
I signed up for the adult reading program, and mulled over in my mind whether it would be ethical to put down books I had just finished, like
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
While We Are Far Apart by Lynn Austin
or George Muller: Delighted In God by Roger Steer
I concluded that that would not be right, as I had finished them all in the month of May, and the program just started on Monday. Well, then, what to read? I was drawing a blank. I considered starting down the list of Newberry Winners; Luke has said he wants the 2 older girls to read Newberry books this summer. Not only would this benefit them, but ones they like we could consider using in our homeschool book club, or something I could read aloud to the family. I also looked at things on the shelf at the library- books the staff had picked. I came home with a book called Flunking Sainthood, where this girl tries and fails at spiritual disciplines. It looks interesting.
But, as I put my lunch together after returning home, I thought again about how flunking sainthood is the norm, one reason for me being that I don’t hold the things of God in high esteem. I can completely get lost in any other book than the Bible. Why is that, since the Bible is the most important book ever written? I read in Deuteronomy this morning, “It is your life…” A book like that deserves more attention. Why not, then, have my own summer reading program, and the books I attempt to read all be found in one Book, the Bible! I’m going to do it. While nursing, I spend so much time reading books. If I simply devote that time to reading my Bible this summer, I imagine I may just get a good way through it. Forget Read Through The Bible In A Year; I’m proposing for myself, Read Through The Bible In A Summer!

Get Your Gun, There’s Cows In The Road

Day two of the schedule, and already I can see why I haven’t attempted one before. It is really hard to stay on track! Lots of good excuses- Tuesday is our Library day, and it being VBS week has us unusually tired and a bit grumpy. But it turned out to be other reasons the schedule wasn’t followed.
Back in March, Luke bought a product (starts with g and rhymes with fun) from a company. Try as he might at adjusting the pieces, he couldn’t use the product with the success he should have, so he called the company. They had him ship it back to them, telling him they would try to fix it. Weeks went by, with few updates on the product’s progress. Luke would call the company, only to be put off or redirected to someone else or told something to get him off the phone. Finally, one day last week, Luke decided he would ask for his money back and buy this product from the rival company (starts with r and rhymes with bemington). Lo and behold, the company suddenly decided to send him a brand new product by UPS two day air! This was to arrive sometime today, and I was thinking that we shouldn’t go to the library in the morning if it hadn’t come yet, since someone would need to be there to sign for it. I told the kids, this is important to Daddy, therefore it is important to us. So, we waited all morning for the package to come, missing our library trip and not exactly following our schedule. But, the product did get delivered this afternoon, and we were able to text Daddy the good news.
He called me this morning soon after he’d left to tell me that cows across the road from us were in the road. This is the third time (the second time in ten days!) we have had to call the sheriff about this- the neighbor apparently is having some fencing issues. What a frightening thought to come speeding up our hill in a little car and meet a huge cow! I hope that this visit from the sheriff is accompanied by some consequences, not because I feel any ill will toward our neighbor, but because he is putting people’s lives in danger and needs to change his ways. After Luke’s call, I walked down the driveway to the mailbox, trying to see if there were still any cows out or if the sheriff had come. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but I knew that there could be something over the hill that I, and the cars coming past our lot, couldn’t see. I wondered how I could warn them to slow down and be watchful without parking myself in a lawn chair at the mailbox for a few hours, waving my arms. The thought came- a sign! When I got back to the house, I went to work making one out of a cardboard box, thinking I could hang it from the mailbox. As soon as they saw my sharpies, the kids came round the table to help. What to say on the sign, though? It had to be simple, telling of the danger in a few words. Two possibilities were:
“Cows”- too short, might just think we have them for sale
“Cows ahead”- still not enough to cause a driver to take notice
We settled on “cows in the road” with cows really big, and in the road a bit smaller underneath. I told the kids how I felt that this was a time where even though it wasn’t our responsibility to remove the cows, it was our responsibility to try and protect people driving by, since we knew about the situation. In James it talks about knowing the good we ought to do and not doing it being sin, too. Also, I told them how making this sign was kinda like our failed church plant, Hope Community, all those years ago. Looking back, it would seem rather hopeless, with Grandpa Don, our pastor, dying, and nobody coming to our church. But that didn’t matter so much in the bigger picture; God was looking for obedience. So, this sign might just be a silly way to throw us off our new schedule and not help anyone avoid hitting a cow with their car, but then again, God can do a lot with obedience even in the small, silly things.
Sarah says the sign blew off the mailbox within ten minutes of installing it. Oh, well. We have it for the next time, if there is one.

First Day

Today is a day of many firsts. I have been thinking about putting myself and the children on more of a structured schedule, and today was the day to start implementing it. Kenan has been doing alright on a 3 hour feeding schedule; I got that going first so that I could have him be more dependable during the day. For the rest of us, I desire to see us accomplish more in the morning, and have the house in good shape in time to see Daddy come home in the afternoon. He puts in a 9 hour workday; maybe we could approach our day in the same manner, with the same goals and limits placed on our time. Also, we only have him in the evenings, and I would like to see our schedule putting us in a good position to enjoy that short time we have with him.
The schedule met with some resistance, as expected. Though not much is being introduced as new, shuffling around our activities has the children getting up earlier and having more things to do back to back. I think it will be okay, though, if I can stay firm and consistent and they adjust to it. Three priorities are tooth-brushing, piano practice, and showers, and I have not completely figured out how to get these all done in a day. The older girls should shower at least every other day, and the older boys are nearly to where they need one that often, too. I’m putting the boys’ showers, for now, at night, since their hair is short and can dry faster than the girls’ but that leaves me with when the girls should shower. They weren’t too keen on getting up earlier than early to do it, but I think some days that will have to be what happens. Today I had them do it during naptime.
Another first: the first day of VBS. The theme is Colossal Coaster Ride, so lots of amusement park stuff going on. The shirts are blank purple or yellow uniforms our pastor obtained from Cedar Point, and when I brought my purple shirt home yesterday, I had all sorts of ideas how I could jazz mine up:
-bric a brac along the front and back to make it look like a western shirt
-embroider my name above the front pocket, or a generic name like Joe or Mike
-take in the sleeves so that they would be more stylishly angled like current shirts are
-buttons spell out ‘VBS’ across the back
Any of these embellishments would have been lovely, but the only thing I accomplished was to advise Aliyah some on her VBS shirt- She took the button and strap at the top of the shoulder and rolled the sleeves under it- a cute look. I did pull out the sewing machine and attempt to take in my sleeves, but after doing one had to admit to myself that I stink at sewing. I don’t know how to get the tension just right so that I don’t have huge loops in the thread above or below, and I don’t have the patience to learn how. Back in the box the machine went, and out came the stitches. I may roll up the sleeves some, we’ll see.
Aliyah and Luke are helping at VBS doing songs, and I will be in and out of the preK group and nursery. Tonight, however, it looks like Luke and I will also help with games. I’m glad he is so good with kids; I definitely could not lead games any better than I sew.