Monday, March 28, 2011

And the List Continues

Working towards 1000... looking for the gifts that God gives me all the time... I am so blessed!

201. A chance to get a bit of school work done at home between appointments

202. Lego loving kids

203. Moving our bodies at zumbatomics

204. A chance to play my flute in a group again.

205. Getting home from my doctor's appointment 3 minutes BEFORE it was scheduled to start. I love my ENT!

206. The white stuff is starting to stick. I'm sure I'm the only one in NY but I love the stuff

207. School with the cards, a timer, and cozi is going pretty well.

208. Van passed inspection

209. Knowing a couple of the lead roles in a 7th and 8th grade version of Treasure Island

210. Fun at the zoo with friends

211. Sunshine melting away the snow

212. We get to go to Miracle Worker at Syracuse Stage for free next week!

213. Time to chat and snuggle with my favorite doctor to be

214. Flylady morning routine checklist

215. Flyers with codes for cheap checks

216. Bagels from the freezer

217. Yummy chinese food and pizza and friends to share it with

218.  Spring boards, balance beams and uneven bars

219. We almost became couch owners, trusting that God knows best

220. Curry with unplanned guests

221. Dory

222. Uncluttering

223. Abby's help with the 14 little ones

224. Visiting with friends at Christina's shower

225. Heather is feeling so much better

226. Baby Karsten

227. Skype with Kendra and baby Jack

228. Date night with Glenn watching 39 Steps on comfy cushions

229. I asked the kids to strip and make their beds and they did it

230. My camera was still in the car

231. Sheets blowing in the breeze

232. Cozi, cards, and timers along with mom being more present = school going better

233. Caring friends praying for me at small group

234. Indonesian fried rice


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Escaping isn't the Answer

Yesterday I read a painful blog. We had some of Glenn's friends from Christian Medical Fellowship over for dinner and while they were here Glenn had me check out his friend's Nook that he'd hacked as a tablet. They told me to use it for a little bit and see what I thought. The only thing I could think to look up was A Holy Experience because I hadn't read it for the day and.... ouch. I thought, "OK, maybe I shouldn't have read that. That was painful."

Around our house it is often chaos. Someone is getting hurt, someone can't find something, someones have a question on their school work, someone is touching someone else, someone is not on task, someone is hungry... There are squabbles about chairs and squabbles about pencils and squabbles about toys, squabbles about EVERYTHING.... and so often I just want to escape. Too often I do... to the bathroom to pee and read a few pages in a magazine or in a book or to the internet where everyone else a happy life, or a crappy life, or at least a different life than I'm living here and there are great ideas about how to save money, organize your house, get deals, cook food, or (very rarely) to my room where I just pull the pillow over my head.

I think that Ann had been having one of those days when she wrote this blog and said "Anyone know the escape route to the big flashing exit sign? But I have to feed them all first."

She discusses pressure cookers with her son and explains, “Oh, a pressure cooker’s just a pot with a lid that doesn’t let the steam escape. And if the steam doesn’t escape, whatever’s in the pot cooks faster.”

She confronted me with the fact that when I escape I may be missing out on what God is trying to do and He is not going to be able to do it as quickly or as efficiently when I let the steam out  by running away from the pressure.

My word for the year is "present" and if I escape I am not living out that word that God has called me to.

I long to escape but I have been convicted that it is not God's best for me. We often say, "No es-ca-pe" around here when someone is trying to get away. We love Dory and how she says, "Es-ca-pe. Hey, that's spelled just like escape." I just grabbed the Dory sticker that we got in the mail last week with the Disney try to get you to buy DVDs thing. It has Dory and Marlin together and says, "Thank You" on it. I am not sure where I am going to put it but I want to use it to remind me, "No es-ca-pe!" It's fitting that it says, "Thank You" on it because I am striving to be more thankful. Another Dory phrase running through my head is, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." God wants me to stay here, in the present, in the pressure, because that is where He is refining me, making me more like Him. 

Thank You God for this confrontation that escaping isn't the answer. Please give me the strength and the grace to stay in the present and to grow as You desire me to and not to escape.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Love Thursdays

I always look forward to Thursdays because I finally get to spend a few minutes with Glenn. Once the week starts it feels like we don't see each other. He's been catching a ride in to school with a friend who picks him up at 6:30 so mornings are kind of out of the question. Monday nights we have small group so we spend much of the evening at the same place but we don't really get a chance to talk and then we get home late and have to put the kids to bed and get whatever we didn't get done during the day done and collapse. Tuesdays are one of Glenn's long days at school. He has class all day then a meeting from 5-6pm. After his meeting we either get him or he gets a ride home and we scarf dinner before I leave for flute choir at 7. Wednesdays this semester he has had an evening class that usually goes late and he usually just stays at school and comes home after it. This week he didn't get home until about 11. Thursday evenings I feel like we can finally breathe and somewhat be a family. This week he had a meeting until after 7 and we had a play to go to at 7 that one of our neighbors was in. When we got home and finally saw Glenn (the kids hadn't seen him since Tuesday night when they went to bed) it felt like we had gone through Glenn withdrawal and we just needed to be with him. It was nice to spend some time with him last night just chatting after not seeing him for a couple of days. That is why I always look forward to Thursdays. I know that this is just a season and that things will be "worse" at times in our near future. Soon he won't be able to be home studying where we can go in and pester him or just be with him because he'll have to be at the schospital but I am thankful for Thursdays right now. I think that this week was worse because it was one of the busiest weeks that Glenn has had this year and we had him whenever we wanted him last week because it was spring break. I have no idea how my military wife friends and friends who have husbands who travel often for work do it.

Next week is going to be another busy one. I am often tempted to not invest in my marriage during this season because we are both so busy but I know that that is not right. I listened to a two part Focus on the Family broadcast with Linda Dillow this week that was excellent. I don't usually re-listen to them, just listen then delete the mp3 after listening but this one was a keeper and I am going to have to listen to it again when I can sit down and write stuff down. She said that it would be easier to just not work at your marriage during these difficult years when you are so busy with young kids and work and stuff, to "put it off 10 years until life gets easier" but the chances are, if you do that, you won't have much of a relationship if any at that point. I've done too much of the "later, when life gets easier" thinking regarding our marriage and it has not been helpful. I need to invest now so that we will have a good marriage later. I am also reading Margin by Dr Richard Swenson (it is free right now for Kindle) and I've (re)come to the realization that life is not going to get easier. It is just going to get different. I have to make the choices to step back from the 500mph pace and spend time doing what really matters and one of the things that matters most is spending time with my dear husband. So, I am thankful for Thursdays. I am going to try to be more intentional about our 9:30 dates and Thursdays because my doctor to be is my best friend and I want him to know that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just 18 More...

This has been a snowy winter in Syracuse, NY. We've had 174.2 inches so far. We had a really snowy December (over 70") and the ground was covered non-stop until a couple of weeks ago. (Though some people, like our friend Nick, still have huge mounds of snow in their yards.) It was funny as the snow melted to see bags of leaves and Christmas trees appear out of no where on the side of the road that we had remembered seeing last fall before all this snow fell. As the snow melted on our way to church a couple of weeks ago I told everyone to look out the window on the right to see if the brown toilet was still there that had been on the side of the road at the end of November, I think. It was.

So far we are in position to be the 4th snowiest winter on record in Syracuse and it is snowing again. I know that many of my friends on the west side of the state had snow days or delays because of the white stuff and that system started into Syracuse a couple of hours ago. I went out to move our van to the street because we need to get it inspected tomorrow and started singing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" because that is what it felt like. I am actually smiling at the snow. I think that it is so pretty. If it is going to be cold it may as well be pretty.

The sight out our back door
One crazy reason that I like it when it snows is that I like shoveling. It is something that I can do and see that I have actually done something. I love bundling up and heading out with a shovel. Most things that I do I have to re-do over and over again and it never stays done. With shoveling eventually it stops snowing for a couple of hours or a day or even a week. During that time I can look out my window or walk outside and see an empty sidewalk and driveway  and I think, "There's no snow there, it's empty. I did that!!" There are few things in life that can give me that satisfaction so I take it where I can get it.

I guess another reason that I am OK with it snowing is that I have been a frequent stalker of The New York State Golden Snow Ball Award blog. It has been fun to be on top of the list almost all winter. In fact we are the snowiest city with over 100,000 people. I think that it would be cool to be able to say that I lived in the the snowiest winter on record in Syracuse. I am only here for one more winter and if it happens this year then it doesn't have to happen next year :). We are only 18 inches away from the record so I am hopeful that we will beat it. I've been told that one year we got 60 on one day in April. Not sure if that is true but if it happens again we are sure to beat that record. I'd personally just be content with 18 though :)

OK, it's time to go grab my shovel. Thanks God for this beautiful stuff you created called snow. I know that I will miss it when it is time for us to leave snow country. Thanks also for the reminder that You wash me white as snow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts 1-200

God is using this book to change my mind and my heart lately. Paul, in Philippians, talks about having learned to be content in all circumstances. I am trying to learn "to overcome my one ugly and self-destructive habit of ingratitude... with the saving habit of gratitude - that would lead me back to deep God-communion." Ann was challenged by a friend to make a list of 1000 gifts from God and doing it changed her life.  She has challenged many people to do the same. I started my list of 1000 Blessings from God back in January. She has a notebook that she leaves open on her counter at home and takes with her places. I decided to write mine on the "notes" function of my iphone. I started mine January 18th, I think. I emailed 1-100 to Glenn on February 28. Today I reached 200. It has been neat to see how doing this, writing down things that God has done, given me, has helped to start to change my heart, change my attitude. On Sunday I was woken up by Hannah who told me that her sisters had both peed the bed. Instead of grumbling my first thought was, "How can I thank God in this situation?" and God gave me ways to thank Him. That is not my natural response. God is at work in my heart and I am so thankful!

On A Holy Experience there is a challenge to post from our lists, the graces we have received from God on Mondays. I think that I am going to start doing that. Today is going to be a long one. #1-200. I am not expecting anyone to read them all but they are gifts that God has given me. Some of them may not make sense but they are things that I have stopped to thank God for during these past 2 months.

1. The Word of God. It contains all I need for life and godliness. I have only skimmed the surface of the unfathomable riches contained in it. I want it to be my life long passion

2. Unexpected time with my dear friend Phoebe today sharing our recent trials and blessings.

3. Short sweet naps snuggled on great grandparents' laps today as we visited with my dad's parents for a short time this afternoon. Abigail fell asleep on Grandma and Lydia nearly fell asleep on Grandpa.

4. Time away from the kids connecting with other homeschooling moms at Panera Bread.

5. Time enjoying read alouds with the kids while we've waited for various appointments lately.

6. Glenn was cavity free at his dental appointment. (It was his first trip to the dentist since we've been married.)

7. Peppermint tea and Legos with Dawn and Jeremiah.

8. Met our neighbor Kevin when he rescued me from the snow piles.

9. Glenn got a ride home last night so I didn't have to bundle the kids out into the snow after 10 pm.

10. My three little dish washers.

11. Prayer time with Glenn.

12. A public library just a 5 minute walk away.

13. Miss Quinn - our wonderful children's librarian always ready with a smile and questions for my kids.

14. Free holds at our library. There's always a stack of books there awaiting me.

15. Sunshine brightened by clean fresh snow.

16. Pretty plants thriving under our lightbulb despite the frigid gloominess outside.

17. Lego hearts and creative kids who made them

18. Three extra little boys and three extra little girls and two extra mommies in the house for a couple hours this afternoon.

19.  My laser printer scanner copier which makes it so easy to print stuff.

20. Popcorn cooked on the stovetop.

21. Chris giving Glenn rides to school so I don't have to go out early in these frigid temps.

22. A place to have quiet time with God in the mornings.

23. Lander and Powell sharing the "blanket trick" with us which makes Lego pick up so much easier.

24. My Amish drying rack - a wedding shower gift from my dad's Aunt Helen.

25. Popcorn on the floor.

26. The clinging arms of little girls during the scary parts of the movie.

27. Baked macaroni and cheese

28. There is a family moving in upstairs, not college students.

29. Watching the kids enjoy their "prizes" from the Pass-it-on Bingo potluck.

30. The girls' grateful hearts for things they got even though they didn't get what they wanted most.

31. I can't do it but God wants to and can do it through me.

32. UNO with lots of giggles.

33. Spring time smell in my livingroom.

34. Pink hyacinths

35. Peter the penguin night light and the boy so excited to have him

36. Husband laughing over Internet comics when he should be in bed

37. Grandma's crocheted blanket that covers our bed

38. A chance to have surgery to improve my hearing

39. Glenn's "ghetto lampshade"

40. Comfy clothes to wear tomorrow

41. A desk with a crank for Glenn

42. Friendly nurses with smiling faces

43. No cholesteatoma in my right ear

44. Titanium ear bones

45. Cold water handed to me by Glenn <3

46. Handmade valentines

47. This list and the joy it brings

48. Sleep

49. Hugs from little arms

50. Lasagna from the freezer

51. Glenn walking to and from school

52. A shower with nice warm water.

53. Hawaiian pizza

54. I was the best picture the library lady took all day

55. A full day out of bed (first since surgery)

56. UNO games

57. Sunshine and tshirts

58. Green shoots shooting up

59. A warm home, protected from the blowing snow

60. Cantaloupe with pancakes

61. Hot chocolate with real whipped cream

62. Sleeping in with my best friend

63. The chance to see Rebecca's thank you list

64. My diva cup

65. Watching blowing snow out the window

66. The Jesus who is - so much better than the Jesus I perceive.

67. Giggly girls with bouncy hair.

68.  A strong arm to put my hand through as I walk icy sidewalks. .

69. Wallet found in the library book bag

70. Sleepy hugs in the early morning

71. Towels swaying on the drying rack in the blowing air from the furnace

72. God desires a relationship with me

73. Wyoming sweatshirts

74. Lego hearts

75. PBS kids

76. Sterie strips removed

77. Our small group

78. Glenn's meeting with Sasha

79. Morning kisses good bye

80. Pop corn cooked on the stovetop

81. Flat and whole wheel noodles

82. Cashier giddy about the good deals he rang up for me at Tops

83. Dry milk powder for <$1/gallon

84. Quick dentist appointments.

85. Conversation hearts conversations

86. Unexpected lunch with a ear surgery survivor

87. Little girls with bouncy curls

88. Books

89. Birthday cinnamon rolls

90. Hugs from a 7 year old birthday girl

91. The smell of chili

92. Ice cream cake

93. Friends for supper

94. Telephone chat with my grandma

95. Peppers

96. A leaf in my table and an extra table besides filled with people

97. Our ultimate treasure - Jesus - nothing is worth keeping more than having Him

98. We are God's treasure

99. Visits with neighbors we rarely see because of hibernation.

100. Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle.


101. Rain boots sloshing in slush

102. Packing removed from my ear

103. $170 ear drops that I only had to pay $6 for

104. Baby chicks in my hands

105. The chicken feed is always better in the cage next door

106. Lydia in her glory with all those chicks

107. Free extra Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell - Glenn's lunch for tomorrow. We offered to pay for it but they said it was OK, it was their mistake

108. Sun shining on this lion-y day

109. Getting through all our school cards today.

110. Storybooks on the girls' bed

111. Coffee

112. Under200

113. Sunshine

114. Combed out hair with no snarles.

115. Golden grilled cheese with ham

116. Wandering Wegmans alone

117. A place to park

118. A chair party between the dining room and living room

119. $34 of savings at Wegmans.

120. Wegmans carries chipotle flavored Tabasco sauce and I got it for $1 off :)

121. Swept floors

122. Toss Your Cookies and Bananagrams

123. Chicken wing pizza

124. 18" of snow which gave us an opportunity to meet a couple neighbors, help people, and get some fresh air

125. White as snow, white as snow though my sins were as scarlet

126. Lydia's delight at reading color words, "I didn't know if I was supposed to read them but I decided to just spit them out."

127. Skin on skin

128. Zumbatomics

129. Hot water

130. The story of a homeless man quoting Romans 7-8 to a bunch of teenagers on a corner in Toronto.

 131. Broken bread, poured out wine in memory of my Beloved Savior's sacrifice for me

132. God hears my prayers

133. Sweet arms that hug and lips that kiss

135. Birthday letters 10, 8, 7, 5

136. God, the Creator of all things

137. An invitation to be a part of an intimate group of homeschoolers that meet on Tuesdays

138. Oatmeal bread smeared with real butter

139. Celebrating finishing unit 6 with Chinese takeout

140. Snuggling on a Saturday morning

141. Rain boots

142. 150 pounds of produce!!

143. Chatting with Bethany

144. Christmas trees and bags of leaves everywhere!

145. Jesus paid it all

146. Lunch at Sasha and Sarah's with Michael, Jonathan, and Bill

147. Movie night as a family watching Hook

148. Free books from kindle

149. God's provision even though we're car-less for a while.

150. Sunshine

151. Snuggling a newborn

152. Bunches of little girls playing Pollies

153. Pink dessert dishes from my grandma's house

154. Dishes cleaned by my little man

155. Sleeping in on spring break

156. We got our car back for <$1000

157. Skipping girls

158. A walk around Green Lake

159. Leaf pockets in melting ice

160. Falafels

161. Sunshine

162. Cute older couple walking arm in arm around Green Lake

163. "helping" the water flow into the lake with sticks

164. Peanuts, rolls, steak, huge chicken fingers, sweet potatoes all cooked and brought to our table and cleaned up after and $25 toward the bill from Grandma and Grandpa Reynolds

165. Bright colors

166. Stop action videos and a funny commentary on Abigail faces in pictures

167. People may actually read my blog

168. Lots of silliness with the kids while daddy has been home.

169. Sunshiney day at the zoo

170. Defecating animals and that I don't have to do that out in public with people watching

171. Leftover steak, onions, and mushrooms

172. Momma Patas monkey and her growing baby

173. Fun with cameras

174. Brad, Melissa, Kaylee, Coen & Rain came for supper

175. My Toothless Wonder lost another top tooth

176. Barbeque chips

177. Sunshine through the trees

178. Guard rails

179. Wegmans subs

180. Shiny combed out hair

181. My kids usually stay dry all night

182. Sunshine

183. Free underwear

184. Inspiring stories of people who live with less

185. How He loves us

186. "Everyone is lost and at the same time, everyone is loved."

187. Yuko

188. A new start for a new week

189. Little flowers and for sale signs popping up everywhere - it must be spring

190. Quick dentist appointments

191. No one walked into our house (that we can tell) when the door was left open while we were gone.

192. Eating some Living Food with the kids after lunch

193. A chance to pray with our small group for the people in our neighborhood

194. Our friends are moving to be neighbors with friends of ours

195. This list which makes me stop to look at what God has done

196. Apple crisp

197. Kids enjoying the cozi calendar

198. Kitties rubbing on my legs

199. Book loving kids

200. Margin is free on kindle!

And the list goes on. God is so gracious and I am learning to be so thankful.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Yuko!

Today I am dedicating my blog to my dear friend Yuko whose birthday is today. (It is probably over for her because she is possibly in Germany for work. I am not exactly sure where she is. She travels a lot for work. I know that she was recently in Singapore but for 15 months or so she her work is based out of Germany.) She was my roommate when I was a student at Tennessee Temple University and one of my dearest friends. We would always stay up late talking then look at the clock and realize, "Oh no! I have homework to do!!" We always had so much fun together and she introduced me to so much more of the world. Yuko's dad had been a student at TTU years ago and went back home to be a missionary/ pastor to his people there. She's been on my heart today so I thought I'd look up some old pictures of us. One horribly scanned film pic from TTU when my mom was visiting, some pics from when she visited us when we lived in Rochester back in May of '09, and the last one was taken today. The girls are wearing the shirts from "Aunt Yuko" that she had given them when she visited. They wore them today in honor of Aunt Yuko's birthday.

As I think of Yuko and my other friends from Japan that I made while at school I can't help but think of the devastation that has taken place in their country. I look at the pictures on the news and just sob to think of all the people who went into a Christ-less eternity. All of the people without Hope right now because they don't know the One, the only One who can bring Hope and I pray for the missionaries and other followers of Christ there reaching out to those hurting people, bringing Hope. Lord, do a work that only You can do and glorify Yourself and call people to Yourself through this devastation!

Here are a few pictures that I found as I think of my precious friend Yuko today. I love you Yuko and pray that God will continue to bless you as you shine for Him! I am so thankful that God allowed us to be roommates!
Naomi, Yuko, me and my mom during chapel at TTU

My kids instantly fell in love with Aunt Yuko. It was the first time she had met any of the girls.
Group Shot - the kids are all wearing their "Aunt Yuko" shirts
hanging out in a tree in Highland Park
The girls today wearing their Aunt Yuko shirts in honor of her birthday. (They are going to cry when they no longer fit! They already have plans to make them into pillows.)
Happy Birthday Yuko! We love you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Expectations...

I have been going through One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp with (in)courage bloom book club online and it has been a huge blessing. I read through the book quickly on Kindle so I would be ready to watch the videos twice a week. I am going to buy a hard copy to have and read through more slowly. I've highlighted so much and God has worked in my heart so much though it.

I will blog more on it as I go through it a second time but.... I was just thinking of a quote that I heard one of the girls say on the video from chapter 9: "Expectations are premeditated resentments." We've struggled a bit with expectations over the past week with Spring Break not being all that we had dreamed it might be but God is faithful. We have had a good week. It wasn't the week that we had expected but I'll blog more about the fun that we did have (though I know Glenn has given a bit of a taste with the pictures he's thrown on here). A quote from Ann from chapter 9 says, "The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy - nothing else." I have found that to be true.

Lord, please help me to surrender control and my expectations to You and to be thankful for the gifts You give me every day, all the time. I am so blessed. Better than I deserve!

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Toothless Wonder

Lydia has been so excited to lose teeth. She was particularly excited to lose her top teeth. She thought she looked so cute missing her first top tooth after she had Glenn pull it. Tonight her other front top tooth was really loose and she had Glenn pull it too. She was so excited and kept looking in the mirror. She laughed because she sounded so funny singing "Yeth Lord, Yeth Lord, Yeth, Yeth Lord." Before going to bed Lydia asked if she could "do an exchange." We aren't the best tooth fairies so she got her money before going to bed rather than waiting until morning. I love Lydia's delight in the little things in life. I'll post a picture of my Toothless Wonder here tomorrow. My computer isn't cooperating tonight.

A visit to the zoo

Warning: Guest post by Glenn again.

Here are some captioned pictures from our trip to the zoo on this beautiful spring-like day.

She's only looking @ me because she think(s) I look tasty

My dad says my head is hard enough to compete with these guys.


I would go swimming if I had remembered my tuxedo


Do I qualify as a small Mammal?

4 brave monkeys riding the tiger

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A hop and a spin at the Park

video

So I am supposed to clarify that this is a guest post by Glenn in the middle of Sonja's Lent blogging. Today we went out of our house (mostly because we actually had a vehicle to get out). So we decided to go to Green Lakes State Park. (We were going to go to Watkins but someone who desires to remain anonymous but happens to be on Spring break slept in.) So instead we went to a much closer park and played at the play ground and walked all the way around the longer lake. (We aren't sure how far around it is but if we had walked both it would have been a little over 3 miles). So we took lots of pictures at the play ground and during our walk around the lake. So with my camera on burst mode I was able to use the pictures I took to make a stop action video of a few of the adventures at the playground.

Baking Soda is Amazing Stuff

We got our most recent issue of Real Simple in the mail yesterday and I saw a suggestion for "removing stuck-on bits without scrubbing." I thought to myself, "Our 6 qt pot that we got as a wedding gift is pretty disgusting. I wonder if this will work for it?" There were 3 easy steps:
"1. Fill the dirty pan almost to the rim with water and add about 1/4C baking soda.
"2. Simmer the mixture until almost no liquid is left. A chalky film should coat the bottom and the sides.
"3. With a sponge, wipe the skillet clean, then wash with soap and hot water."


I really didn't believe that it would work or I would have taken a before picture. Then, I was so excited that it was working that I didn't want to stop to go and get my camera. To give you an idea - in the first picture you can kind of see the black stuff. It completely covered the bottom and a couple inches up the sides and above that all the way to the top it was just yucky stained yellowish brown from 11 years of cooking, often with Indian spices. The 2nd picture is the finished product. There are still a few areas that need work so we are going to boil baking soda in it again but it hasn't been this clean since we first got it.

I know I had gotten a book from my Gram about the wonders of baking soda as a newlywed but I didn't become a believer until today. We were thinking about throwing this pot out. Now we don't have to - Thanks God!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kindle Books

This past fall we bought a used iphone for me to use as and ipod touch, not as a phone. We bought it because I wanted a touch with a camera (of course a few weeks later they came out with a new touch that had a camera but I'm thankful that I have this thing.)

One of my favorite apps on my iphone is the Kindle Reader App. There are tons of classic books available on the Kindle for free. There are also many temporarily free books available on Kindle that I have gotten. I was able to share one of my favorite books of all time Lord Calm My Anxious Heart with many friends on facebook recently because amazon had it free temporarily.

I have only actually bought one book for Kindle - One Thousand Gifts (which I am sure I will be blogging more about as I read through it again.) Today Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to redical forgiveness was free. Kindle books never stay free long because Amazon is constantly changing their prices but I decided to grab it while it was free and check it out. I read it during DEAR time and was really challenged. Here is a quote that I highlighted, "CHristian forgiveness is not a cheap denial of the reality of evil or the trite sloganeering of 'forgive and forget.' That may suffice for minor personal affronts, but it is hollow and even insulting when applied to crimes like murder, rape, and genocide. No, Christian forgiveness is not cheap. Rather it is costly because it flows from the cross-the place where injustice and forgiveness meet in a violent collision. Christian forgiveness does not call us to forget. Christian forgiveness allows us to remember but calls us to end the cycle of revenge." I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this book. Forgiveness is a huge struggle even among Christians. We have been forgiven much and we should be the most forgiving.

I would recommend getting the free Kindle reader app for your computer or other device. There are great free books out there all the time and they have been a huge blessing to me.

Blessed with Difficulties

Today I flipped the Adrian Rogers calendar that I had gotten from my dad's house on top of my fridge. I don't do it often so I moved it from 3/10 to 3/16. I think that when I had moved it to 3/10 I had changed it from some time in January.

Anyway, I really appreciated what it had to say and wanted to record it here as a reminder:

"In the crucible of His wisdom and in the ecology of His grace, God has ordered some trouble for you today. And everyday of your life. We've been blessed with difficulties. Yes, you read right, blessed! The worst thing that could happen to us, would be not to have any difficulties. If that were the case, we'd never know our need of the Lord. So God, in essence, says, 'I'm going to give you sufficient difficulty for the day.' God gives you enough difficulty to draw you close to Him, but then God gives you enough grace to meet those difficulties every day.

"Is there a difficult circumstance in your life? If so, thank God for sending it your way to make you more like Jesus. Now, ask for His grace to be victorious through it!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow....

"We'll probably get her done sometime tomorrow." Those are never words you want to hear when you took your car in to get worked on at 8 yesterday morning. When we took our car in yesterday we gave them a laundry list of things that we knew were wrong with it. They found something else on the front end that needs replaced or it wouldn't pass inspection. Ugg. The good news is that it is most likely the parts that we are having to replace are the same parts that we have an appointment to get inspected early next month that is part of a recall from Ford so, hopefully, we will get those parts refunded. We shall see. Either way I am very thankful that we have money in the bank to pay for these repairs, some expected and some not expected. God is so gracious!

Since we are stuck at home without a car (actually they sent Glenn home with a loaner but it only seats 5) we decided to get some work done on hot spot #1 from Simple Mom. Yeah, we were supposed to do it last week but better late than never. We tried on all of our clothes and helped the kids try on all of their clothes and helped them decide what clothes needed to go. At the moment, even with all the clothes that we got rid of from the kids' drawers it looks like they are set for clothes which is nice. I know that we need to put some time and money into Glenn's and my closet, especially Glenn's since he starts his clinical rotations this summer and needs to have decent clothes to wear. Most of his dress clothes are either from Temple or when he was substitute teaching and are completely worn out. (He hasn't completely gone through his closet when these pictures were taken. I am sure that he has more clothes to add to both piles from there when he does.)
Give away clothes

throw away clothes
We're looking forward to getting our van back tomorrow and hopefully being able to get out and go for a hike or something as a family. I am thankful for this break from normal life and a chance to get some much needed clearing out done.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking Back

 Yesterday a friend of mine asked on facebook: "Has God ever moved you from the familiar to something new - what did He teach you -or how can I pray as you go through this process"
I felt prompted to respond. This is what I wrote: "He has taught me that I am loved unconditionally. He is completely trustworthy, faithful, and in control. He has given me more of a picture of who He is so that the next time I am there (and it will happen again)  I can look back and say, "Remember what He did last time when I thought He wasn't there, wasn't at work?? He hasn't changed! I can trust Him!!" I think that is why throughout the Bible the people of Israel remind themselves over and over what God has done."
 I think that is why I love my blog so much and enjoy looking back over what God has done in the past. He has brought us through so many seemingly impossible situations but with my God nothing is impossible. I remember one Sunday at North Baptist a guest speaker talked about having a blessing box that you put things when God does something to go back to as a reminder. I think that my blog is my blessing box. To God be the glory great things He has done!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Regional Market

When we moved from Rochester one of the things that I knew I was going to miss the most was the Public Market. It was where I always bought my peppers, potatoes, onions, apples, and tomatoes, etc. I was glad that the Regional Market was here in Syracuse but I was not impressed the first time I went. (That was probably mostly due to the fact that I was grumpy about leaving Rochester and the Public Market and the Regional Market are very different.)

I have come to appreciate the Regional Market and have farmers that I like to buy my food from. I usually buy my 50# bags of potatoes from the farmers down near the end of the right side of Shed A and always buy my apples from Owen Orchards.

Another thing that the Regional Market has going for it is Buda's. It sells overstock food items and I often go there for big things of salsa and #10 cans of beans and whatever else looks good and is inexpensive to spread our food budget.

We went to the Regional Market today and came home with a lot of food. There was about 150# of produce plus some other goods.
20# apples $8 (Owen Orchards)
20# (bad) apples $3
40# sweet potatoes $15
50# adirondack red potatoes $12
10# red onions (with ends and skins removed) $1
2# local wildflower honey $8
4 #10 cans black beans (~7# each) $3.50 each
3 4# jars Pace salsa verde $3.50 each
3 4# jars Pace medium chunky salsa $4 each
10# onions $5 (wegmans)
8# oranges $5 (wegmans)

I was glad that Buda's still had the Pace Salsa Verde because we have recently fallen in love with this recipe and it is a quick easy meal. We actually stopped at the Wegmans up near the market on the way home so the local onions and not so local oranges were from there. I think that we are good on food for a little bit. The pictures don't include the "bad" apples because I bought them mostly for apple sauce and baking and most of them were simmering in a pot on the stove as I took the picture. Also not pictured are the red onions. I bought them because they were $1 and didn't realize until I got home that it was 10 pounds! I've used them already in fried potatoes and quesadillas - yum, yum! I had Caleb add up the weight and money and divide to figure out how much we spent per pound on that list and we both came up with about 44 cents. Not too shabby. Thanks God so much for the bounty of food we brought home today and for how you take care of us!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birthday Letters

Yesterday I dug into our lock box to find Glenn's pin for his FAFSA and I saw the kid's birthday letters. Lydia's birthday was just a couple weeks ago and I knew that we hadn't gotten her 7th birthday letter out but I didn't realize that we hadn't read Caleb's 10th (from July), Hannah's 8th (from August) or Abigail's 5th (from November) either. Birthday letters are a fun Nelson family tradition. At baby showers for Nelson babies we write letters to the soon to be born babies giving them advice, telling funny stories from when we were that age, explaining milestones that they would probably be reaching in the year to come, or explaining what is going on in the world or their lives at the time they wrote the letters. I always love reading the kids' birthday letters with them. The girl's birthday letters were all written for them after they were born (around their 1st birthdays) so people knew a bit about them but Caleb's are more generic because when his were written at my family shower a month before he was born we didn't even know if we were having a boy or a girl. 

Birthday letters are treasures. Sometimes we have to explain who wrote the letters and what part they had in our lives at the time that the letters were written. I love Lydia's letters because she has letters from both sides of the family written when some of Glenn's family came in for his graduation from Houghton. I love getting a chance to read stories from his grandpas' childhoods that I never heard growing up. Since the envelopes are closed we never know until when we open them who they are from (unless the writer decided to decorate the outside somehow). I am sometimes slightly apprehensive opening birthday letters not knowing whether they may be from a loved one who has passed on (like Caleb's 4th birthday letter from my mom.) There is joy in that too because having those letters is like a message of hope from beyond the grave. Looking at Caleb's always gives me a little ache in my heart because my mom wrote the numbers on all his envelopes. How I miss getting notes in her handwriting!

The letters we opened yesterday were fun. Here are some excerpts:

* Caleb's was from my friend Cindy from high school. She told of some of our high school Bible study (Addicted to Jesus) and told him that he is a gift from God and that the Lord is his Father who will guide his life everyday.
* Hannah's was from my Aunt AmyJo. She talked about some of the great things about being an 8 year old girl – “tea parties, pretty pictures, hand picked flowers and helping Mom,” asked if she had accepted Jesus as her Savior and asked if she was thinking about getting baptized. She shared her favorite verse (Jer.29:11) and asked her to be sure to give Glenn a wet willy.
* Lydia's was from my Grandpa Ed. “This is a little advice from your 80 year old Grandpa Nelson – seven years from now I maybe with the Lord only because I accepted Jesus as my Savior – I am Grandpa Roger's Father- I don't know what your world will be like when you open this letter – but I do know that if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior – All things will work together for you for all of your life – May the Lord give you the best in the years to come. All my love to you Grandpa Ed Nelson” Little did he know when he wrote this letter on Lydia's 1st birthday that he would still be alive on when we opened it on her 7th and my dad would be in glory.
* Abigail's was from my Aunt Joy. She told her that she hopes she loves school and reading. “A good reader is a good speller. So read, read, read...” Aunt Joy told her “I love your name – It means 'source of joy.' That makes you close to my heart.”

Is it any wonder that we look on these letters are treasures? Is it any wonder that I store them in our fireproof lockbox? When they are out of the lock box I am usually begged to read them over and over again, all of the from the first to whatever age they just turned. I am so thankful for this tradition. I have tried to encourage other to do it as well. I had birthday letters growing up and I remember loving them. We were never prompt with opening them so we usually opened 2-3 each when they were pulled out but they were fun. I think that they were probably burned or landfilled when we were emptying my parents' house which is sad but I am glad that I have the ones written for our kids.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To Go or Not to Go - OR - the blessings and burdens of having only one vehicle

Tomorrow Glenn has an exam to complete the 6th unit of of MSII. After that he has a week off for spring break. We had made plans to go and visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew during Spring Break because they moved to South Carolina this past summer. They built a house and just moved into it recently. We really want to go and see them and their new house...

BUT..... we only have one car. It is nice to only have one car most of the time. We don't use it much and that way we only have to pay insurance on one vehicle, only have to maintain and put gas in one vehicle, etc. The problem is our 2002 Ford Windstar is giving us all kinds of problems. The check engine light is on, it shakes and rattles all the time, the light sockets keep blowing, it doesn't like hills or bumps, there is a recall on it that can't be checked on until the first week of April, we still haven't been able to get a new tire rim since leaving our mark on I-80 so we have no spare, inspection is up at the end of the month and I am afraid of how much it is going to cost to get it to pass, etc. (OK, stop hyperventilating!) I would love to take our car to the shop but they won't let me bring our school stuff and sit in the waiting room while they work on it which means we have to leave it there and figure out how to get home and get back there to pick it up. One of the difficulties of having only one car is that it is impossible to take your car to the shop without inconveniencing someone besides yourself. If you know me you know that I would bend over backwards for someone else but I really don't want anyone else to help me because I don't want to inconvenience them. I don't even want to inconvenience Glenn for him to take the van in. It is a big pride (SIN) issue that I don't want to let go of.

So.... our van is unfixed and not trustworthy to take us the 900 miles to Charleston. I really don't want it to break down on the interstate in the middle of the night on a Friday night. :(

We looked into plane tickets, train tickets, rental cars... all are more than we have budgeted for this trip (actually we hadn't budgeted for the gas for this trip either but we do have a little extra to cover that). Sadness. Glenn offered to have us rent a car and have just the 5 of us go and leave him home but the reason we were going this week was for extra time with him as well. I talked to my brother this afternoon and for right now we are not going to go see them this week. Is my pride the reason that my kids cried this afternoon? Or my fear of the unknown? Oh, Lord, please forgive me. Help me not to fear and help me to ask for help. I am sure that there are people who would run me from and to the car service place if I would only ask.

{sigh} I guess it is not really all a money thing. Glenn is really stressing about how much studying he needs to get done over break and we are behind in our homeschooling so I guess it may be for the best that we not go. We'll be able to do some things around the house that really need done and hopefully get our car fixed without having to worry about Glenn being at school at a certain time. Lord, may we glorify You this break whatever we do. Thanks for some extra time together as a family.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent

Growing up the only thing I knew of Lent was that all my Catholic friends gave up things for Lent. Chocolate, Ice cream, potato chips, sweets. Also, of course, they had to have the plain pizza at school because they couldn't have pepperoni (which they claim is a meat) on Fridays. People would often come up to me and ask me what I was giving up for Lent because they knew that I was "religious" and I would tell them that I am not Catholic.

The first time I ever did anything for Lent was when we were in Houghton. A friend who grew up not far from me and who had similar experiences growing up decided to give it a try to help prepare her heart for Easter. I guess that I never really thought about the reason why people gave stuff up and preparing my heart for that celebration seemed like a good motivation. I know that I had friends who would kind of use it as a weight loss plan (one friend was excited about the 5 pounds she lost as a result of giving up sweets for Lent) and I knew I couldn't really give up sweets because I knew that I would be doing it probably with wrong motivation. I don't remember what I gave up that year but there have been a couple of years that I have given up coffee. That has been a challenge each time that I have done it because I love coffee and boy those head aches the first few days are horrible (even if I remembered to try to ween myself off of it coming up to Ash Wednesday). It was great because as I brewed and smelled the coffee I made for Glenn and longed for coffee at various times throughout the day I had opportunities to stop and thank God for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me.

Some years I have done something some years I haven't. Some years I have been more successful at keeping my Lenten promises, some years I haven't. I was really encouraged as I read Ann's blog today that when I fail in keeping my promises it is just a reminder to me of how thankful I am for God's grace:
"Lent gives me this gift: the deeper I know the pit of my sin, the deeper I’ll drink from the draughts of joy.

Grief is what cultivates the soil for the seeds of joy.

She who knows her sins much, loves much, and the road to heaven is paved with the realization that I deserve hell."
I have been thinking for a while about what to do for Lent this year and I long to use these 40 days to prepare both my heart and my family for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday. I put out a plea on Facebook for someone to refer me to a family devotional, preferably downloadable, to use as a family. A couple were recommended that I would like to check out (and Ann has some on her blog linked above as well.) As I was thinking and praying about it I really wanted something that would bring us through the full story of the Bible pointing to Christ and I remembered The Story of Hope from Good Soil that we had picked up at ABWE when we were down there for the Medical Missions Interface last summer. It has 40 stories from the Bible focusing on God's redemptive plan. We are excited to go through it as a family over these 40 days.

Now, for me. What am I, personally, going to do for Lent? I have been thinking about it for some time. I read a few blogs today on Lent – Ann's blog, Brad's blog on giving up sin for Lent and a blog by Jason Gray that Brad linked to. They all got me thinking more. Then I was challenged by a girl from church on The City (which is kind of a church version of Facebook, I think, that Missio Church is using) to add 15 minutes of extra focused prayer time every day. Today also I got an email from my Grandma telling me that she had just spent the last hour reading my blog and what a blessing it was to her. God has been prodding me to blog more so I guess that her email was an added push. Today also I chatted with a friend on the phone and it was good to catch up with her and find out how she is doing, which is something that I rarely do but should do more often.

So, what I am doing for Lent? I feel that God wants me to do 3 things daily:
1. Spend an extra 15 minutes of focused time in prayer.
2. Write something for my blog.
3. Connect with a friend, preferably via phone.

None of these are easy things for me but I am excited about what God is going to teach me as I am obedient to Him over these next 40 days.