Water, Water Everywhere

or, A Week In The Life

I came downstairs early Monday morning to find that a portion of the floor in the basement was flooded. It happened to be the area where the kids play with their LEGOS, and there was a library book about LEGOS sitting right in the puddle! After school we hastened to the library and explained what happened. The librarian kindly gave us our options: either pay $24.99 or find one cheaper online or in a bookstore to replace the book. Thank you, Amazon, for saving us 9 dollars!
Wednesday night, Aliyah told me about a puddle downstairs, and I didn’t take her seriously, thinking it was the same water from earlier in the week. But by next morning the puddle was standing water in nearly half the basement, and it was discovered that we had a leak right under the shower. So, school was promptly cancelled Thursday and we worked all morning cleaning that up. Luke planned to take the boys to a Liberty football game at Kent State that evening, so he wouldn’t be home until late. Once he heard about the basement, though, he took the afternoon off work and came to our aid. Seems the pipe came apart under the shower drain; he thinks it may have been worked loose by us slamming the door every time we go downstairs. Yikes! Fortunately, not very many important items got wet; Luke has been getting these big black shelves from Ollie’s and has our stuff on them. There were only a few bins and boxes left on the floor. I did empty his foot locker with all his high school stuff in it, and set it outside to dry out. That, and the wet bike trailer sitting in the yard reminded me of those commercials where the girl throws all the guy’s stuff out the window when they have a fight. Our side yard kinda looked like we weren’t getting along.
Yesterday after school we headed to a park in Lucas where Luke said we should go and let the kids play in the creek. We got as far as Wal-Mart for some lunch items when I realized I had left my diaper bag and wallet at home! The van was about out of gas, so I felt a bit stuck. I couldn’t shop at Wal-Mart without money, I couldn’t continue on to the park or go back home without gas. Thankfully, my hero husband was at the office that day, and was willing to take an early lunch to meet me at Wal-Mart and fill my gas tank. What a guy! We made it to the park and had a wonderful afternoon playing in the creek and collecting buckeyes. I hope to make necklaces to give to our neighbors, and the tree there gave us quite a load!

I Am

The song that was in my head when I awoke this morning was “The Great I AM” performed currently by Philips, Craig, and Dean on the radio. And, since I am not yet working on my BSF Matthew study, I have been making ‘whatever comes to mind’ my daily Bible reading. Today I looked up all the passages with God or Jesus saying, “I am…” It was really interesting. At first, God is giving Moses a source to say Who sent him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, a Person by Whose authority could make that happen: I AM. The active self-existent One, thank you very much. Then in the gospels, Jesus is here to finally reveal so many facets of this name, I AM. This is why He came.
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18
I thought it was neat that Jesus used this same terminology many times in John-
“I am the bread of life” (6:35)
“I am the light of the world” (8:12)
“I am the gate” (10:7, 9)
“I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14)
“I am the way, the truth, an the life” (14:6)
“I am the true vine” (15:1, 5)
Then I got to thinking about my identity, how I would explain myself with an “I am…” statement. Not sure what I would answer first. I am a mother? I am a wife? I am an artist? I am a teacher? That one’s a sore spot, as I have never fully believed any such thing about myself, and do not think I do a very good job teaching my children. Still, I know their experience homeschooling is worlds apart from mine growing up in public school, academically, socially, and spiritually. Judging from how much worse things have gotten in public school in subsequent years, I know we have made the right choice.
So we are nearly done with week 2 of the school year, and I am still feeling positive and like I can do this thing. We’re tackling Ancient History, Biology/Chemistry, and Art this year, along with the usual Bible, Math, Language Arts, and Handwriting. Caleb and Anna are learning to read. The Literary Club was a success and we are planning on participating in that another year. This month’s book is Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH. We may start Spanish in November if things are going well. Looks like our church may send a group to Bolivia to visit the children’s home we sponsor, and if anyone from our family goes, I would like them to be at least mildly familiar with Spanish.
Sure enough, it seems only one thing can go well at a time, and since it has been school, the housekeeping and cooking have taken a nosedive. But I am trying not to let it get me down. I can still play the ‘nursing infant’ card if anyone would criticize me for my performance in these other areas the past two weeks. Not that anyone would. I only place these pressures on myself. I am a child of God, the great I AM, and am never expected to be more than He has called me to be.

Time To Myself…And My Dentist

Time for my dentist appointment again. I hope I come away with a better report than last year. There haven’t been too many days this year that I have not faithfully brushed, flossed, and swished. The last visit was understandably difficult because I hadn’t been to see a dentist in years. This time ought to go better if simply for this reason.
Had some black bean soup that I had frozen a leftover portion of- what a great lunch on a chilly day! I was tempted to lick the bowl, it was so good. Cooler temperatures coming mean more soup nights. Can’t wait.
The summer has gone by so fast. Monday we will start school again, but I expect we’ll get a few more summer memories made in the remaining days. The older kids have made impressive progress in swimming this year, thanks to times we have been able to go swim in Luke’s aunt and uncle’s pool. I’m so glad they enjoy the water. I grew up having a lot of opportunities to swim, at a lake by my grandparents’ house, in the ocean, and at lakes and pools locally, too. I loved summers, for that reason. Now, it is an exercise in selflessness not to go swimming every time we have the opportunity. Somebody has to watch the littles who shouldn’t be around the pool, while somebody else watches the budding swimmers. And Luke is the stronger, better swimmer in the event of an emergency. One time we all went to the pool, and it went alright for a while, the littles just sitting on the steps getting their feet wet. But then Adon got ambitious and it became dangerous. Plus, anyone outside of the water was getting eaten alive by mosquitos, making it not worth trying to sit and watch the swimmers. So the last few times I have kept the littles at Luke’s mom’s house down the road, which has worked a lot better.
Okay, this is kindof fun- I am by myself, and time to spare to stop at the library on the way to upload this post. Just saw the first sign- Bellville Street Fair is in less than a month. This is a highlight of our year, the only fair we participate in and attend. Hopefully, someday our church will have a booth in the information tent. Sounds like there is a bunch of red tape in acquiring a booth there.
Still no baby, and I am really surprised. Sure, this only means babies 17 months apart (barring premature birth), but that much separation is like an eternity to me, someone used to something in the 13 to 15 month range. I’m really enjoying Kenan, though, and the way he nurses, it should be no surprise that I am not fertile. He is home sleeping now, and I have a bottle of pumped milk in the fridge that I have told Sarah and Sam to try when he wakes up. We’ll see. Last time he tried a bottle he sputtered and choked like Grandma was trying to kill him. This is a different bottle, may go a little easier. And there’s food, too. And I shouldn’t be gone long. No cavities, please.

Evangelism

Plans are underway for our first evangelistic party, A Watermelon Party. Monday I had Aliyah hastily design invitations for the event, which will be held on Saturday morning in our backyard. Ever since reading that quote from Crazy Love (see a post below), I have not been able to stop thinking about what MORE I could be doing for God. A party in my backyard? This is not even hard, with all my helpers. Why do I drag my feet about things like this? It’s my old self who doesn’t want to get involved, and the enemy who doesn’t want me involved.

Some Jehovah’s Witness came to our house the day after we passed out invitations to our party to our neighbors. After they left, I asked my kids if they thought that was how our neighbors perceived us, going round the neighborhood with our smiles and invites. I hope, though, that our invitation was more personal; we’re asking them to come to our home and there is something monumental we have to share with them. It isn’t like we are just handing them a pamphlet and leaving them to figure things out. Still, it makes me want to brush up on my Truth Awareness. Up until now I have never engaged JW’s in conversation, figuring it would be a waste of time. But this is the third time they have come to our door, and it would be good to be more prepared for the next meeting.

 

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
………………………………………………………………………………………….
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 stove…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.

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?