What’s New In Our Troop

I’ve got the six youngest at home tonight, while Luke and the older four practice a song at church they are doing on Sunday. The song is Lord I Need You, currently performed on the radio by Matt Maher. We’re watching Brave and eating popcorn. I was so glad to get Kenan to sleep for a bit, leaving me some time to type.
He has been so out of sorts lately. Though he is still our happiest child, he’s not sleeping as well at night as he used to, and during the day won’t go down for naps awake. So, I nurse him to sleep, and that ends up making our nursing schedule be every two hours! I can’t sustain this, I don’t think. He is our first completely nursed baby at this age, and I am not sure how to proceed. This week I am trying some baby food, hoping that will fill the holes in his tummy so that he can keep on nursing. Since nursing is going so well, I don’t want to hinder it. But, the baby food was such a hit I ran out of it way before I anticipated, so he didn’t get any today. We’ll see how he sleeps tonight.
For the past few months, Luke has become interested in survival/outdoor sporting, and has also been thinking about what kinds of activities along those lines he can do with our boys. He briefly considered Boy Scouts, but with the recent policy changes, he can’t in good conscience let them join this group. But he sees we have at least twenty years ahead of us of some kind of outdoor activity with our sons, so if he is to do something, he might as well be the initiator/leader of some kind of scouting group. Currently, there is a national movement of former Boy Scouts attempting to put together a Christ-centered outdoor program, and Luke has been following that very closely. But, if they formed anything, it wouldn’t happen until January, when charters change over. He’s itching to get started, so he asked permission for a group of fathers and sons to start meeting at our church this fall, in preparation for whatever this new scouting group would decide to make of themselves. He just printed up flyers and distributed them on Sunday- it’s the real deal! I was telling him it has crossed a threshold from a dream to a reality, and now it is kinda scary. Before he was just thinking up fun things to try, now he has to show up! The first official meeting will be August 12.
Since he would like to do ‘scouts’ on Monday nights, I was afraid I would not be able to do BSF this year. I was disappointed at this prospect, but was willing to give it up if that was what Luke wanted me to do. We worked out a tentative plan, however, of me going every other Monday to BSF. This should work okay, as I can get lesson notes on the BSF website and maybe even listen to the lectures I miss. Plus, if Kenan is still nursing (and I hope to be able to nurse him until the end of the year), I will be bringing him, too, and he will be a handful. Every other week would be more manageable.
I plan to start school in two weeks. This coming year holds a lot of promise. I feel like last year was a failure in so many ways, and hope to make up for it in the next. Since I am not pregnant yet, the earliest we would likely have another baby would be April, leaving us with a good chunk of the school year to work, work, work! I need to be disciplined enough to do school every day, even if I am tired/bored/lazy/annoyed/behind schedule. Because I probably will be behind schedule every day! Especially if Kenan continues nursing every two hours. Ay yi yi!

Good Quotes

I just finished a couple of good books, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss. Here are some quotes worth remembering.

Most of us use “I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life” as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday? Or to go on your last vacation? Or exercise this morning? Probably not, but you still did it. The point isn’t that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving God.
Crazy Love
Francis Chan
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Four steps that lead to peace:
Be desirous of doing the will of another rather than thine own.
Choose always to have less, rather than more.
Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one.
Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled in thee.

All these years I have been tormenting myself with doubts, as to whether I could be His child while so unable to say, Thy will be done. If you had said, “Why yes, you must be His child, for you professed yourself one a long time ago, and ever since have lived like one,” I should have remained as wretched as ever. As it is, a mountain has been rolled off my heart. Yes, if I was not His child yesterday, I can become one today; if I did not love Him then, I can begin now.
Stepping Heavenward
Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss

Time To Renew

I got a card in the mail yesterday saying my driver’s license had expired on my birthday. Doh! This is the third time I have forgotten to renew it, and the second time was quite memorable, as I had waited so long I needed to take the written and driving tests over again! I was thinking about why it is I cannot seem to ever remember to renew my license. One reason could be how busy I am, but that can hardly account for why I forgot when I was 25 and only had two kids. Or, it could be that I just don’t use my driver’s license very often; I only buy wine every few months for cooking, I get money with a debit card out of my bank’s ATM, and we don’t ever write checks anymore. The most intriguing reason, however, is that four years seems so far away, too distant in the future for me to make any kind of preparation for the event of needing my driver’s license renewed. So I promptly forget for the next three years and six months. If something only four years away I can put out of my mind so easily, how much more difficult is it for me, then, to try to have eternity in mind as I go about my life? After all, this life is just a single point on an infinite line of God’s plan, but it is easy to get caught up in Today, Now, This, that I miss the big picture almost daily. I hope I can improve on that, because I am pretty sure there won’t be a card in the mail warning me that my life is about over, and I need to be getting ready for the next.

For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. Philippians 3:18-21

Good Eats

Tonight we had Chicken Pot Pie and Fried Potatoes. This was an exercise in self denial, as it is Deep Dish Pizza Night at our local pizza shop, Two Cousins. Usually I come home from Bright Lights and the last thing I want to do is fix dinner, but it worked out okay since today I prepped a lot of the meal before I left. Must remember to do that every week! It would save us a whopping $32!
We had a good meal last night, too, in spite of the power being out since 4:00 that afternoon. Last Sunday we thought we might have guests, and Luke picked up two cans of chicken from GFS for it. We only ended up using one on Sunday, so we opened the second can last night and Luke cooked it on one of his camping stoves. Kinda fun, really. He made some smart comment about having to work all day and then come home and slave over a hot stoveā€¦I love this man.
I got to thinking how much simpler life would, of necessity, have to be if we didn’t have electricity. It seems really inviting at this time of my life. But, it only took a half hour or so of no power for the kids to start getting on each other’s nerves and asking if they could do a, or b, or c, and me answering that a, b, and c require electricity. We’d have a big adjustment to make if it ever became the norm.
When I make chili, it is different every time. This is fun, until I happen upon a version I really like and want to make it again. Luke keeps coming home from the store with nonperishables like beans, oats, wheat, and rice, and I thought Thursday that I would make some chili with the kidney beans. That, and I was feeling especially inspired after leafing through the Rancho Gordo Cookbook. Too bad I don’t have any beautiful beans like in all those recipes. Luke really wanted us to plant most of our garden in beans this year, but we didn’t get to it in time. He did get a tray of tomato plants, some lettuce and cayenne pepper plants, and some red onions. The onion tops and the top of two tomato plants are gone, the lettuce I cut last night and tasted it- terrible, and the peppers look sickly. I can freely blame the weather this year; even though we were extremely late in getting these plants in, rains and frost would have been working against us no matter what.
Seems I blog about food a lot. I was reminded of one post when a blogger I read mentioned making chickpea cookies. Then when I went back and read that old post, I remembered posting about cabbage rolls. Good times.

A Quiet Fourth

…Well, not as quiet as I would like. It is naptime, but the older four are playing Settlers of Catan with Luke, and being louder than I would like. Oh, well. It is a holiday. And, I should probably get the littles up soon, anyway, because they have not been going to bed very well lately and a shorter nap could help.

This morning when Luke got up, he offered to go to Wal-Mart and get a griddle. We have a tradition where we eat colored pancakes on Fourth of July morning, and our griddle wasn’t reliably working. So off to the store he went, for pancake mix and goof-off and painter’s tape. We are working on painting the trim in our front rooms while he is off work this week. He was saying to the kids this afternoon, “Look, this is the best way to take care of dirt; you just paint right over it!”

So, we had colored pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. Even with his trip to Walmart we sat down to table by 9:00. Not too shabby. Breakfast always comes together quickly, thankfully. He said the bacon he brought home was the only they had available; the coolers weren’t working and they couldn’t sell the food that was in them. Wow! What a loss, especially over the Fourth! I guess Wal-Mart encounters a problem like this every day, somewhere, since they are so big. A mom and pop shop could go under if something like that happened.

We didn’t get to see fireworks last year; I forget why not, but it probably had to do with little children’s bedtimes and me being too tired. This year, I wanted to go, but the same factors apply this year as last. Luke noticed where there will be some fireworks tomorrow night at a lake nearby, at 9:00. That is an hour earlier than the show in Ontario tonight. Plus, we can go to the park beforehand and roast hot dogs and the boys can fish. I hope the weather cooperates.

This leaves today totally open for rest and relaxation. I am getting a lot of things done, though- ground cornmeal and wheat flour in my mill, two loads of dishes, four loads of laundry (so far), planned my meals and grocery list for next week, and started a new book my sister recommended called Stepping Heavenward. Not knowing anything about it, I am still in that breath-holding stage as I read. Thus far, her neighbor’s young son has died, then her father died, leaving them to move into a smaller house and cut back on expenses. How much worse is it going to get before it gets better? I like what the author is sharing about loving God, and how best to do that is to obey Him. It is that simple, but it seems daily I battle my feelings and conclude I am not any better of a person than I was yesterday because I do not feel like being nice or working hard or even getting out of bed. This morning I woke up at 4:30, then was able to go back to sleep, but knew I should get up in another hour to have my quiet time, so it didn’t feel all that nice to have to wake up in another hour. I call this ‘quiet time’ because it is the only time I can have a quiet house; if I sleep in, my chances of having it later in the day are slim to none. But I remind myself of a few things- I don’t have to feel like doing this. I just have to obey. And the rewards are felt, all day long, knowing I put Him first and have something fresh from Him to ponder all day. I heard a speaker put it plainly: “You don’t hem and haw about brushing your teeth. At some point you decided you would do it daily, at least, and now you do it. That discipline is much like the discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer.” I think of this every time I go through my routine of brush, floss, and swish. Gingivitis of the soul should scare me even more.