Category Archives: Living Well

A Room for Six Sisters

There is not going to be a photograph attached to this post because I’m going to confess that the six sisters ages 9 and under have not and cannot seem to keep the room picked up or in any kind of order . . . Unless you count the days when they shove everything under their beds!

The bedroom for six sisters is actually a 2nd family room.  There are 2 bunk beds and a combination twin and trundle-bed. There is no closet but there are three dressers. One dress is tall and the other two are long. There is a storage ottoman and two big toy boxes. There is also a small metal cabinet.  Each piece of storage has a designated purpose. The dressers are supposed to be for clothes storage!  The cabinet is supposed to be for shoes. The storage ottoman is supposed to hold extra blankets. One toy box is for costume storage. One toy box is supposed to be for toys! We also have two extra big cloth storage bags for stuffed animals that double as bean bags to sit on!

I am still hopeful that things will get better as they get older!  I’m trying to keep a positive perspective that there are a LOT of kids in one room. I have seen bedrooms where there is only one kid and the room is a complete and total disaster so I know that having a super clean room with 6 girls all under the age of 10 is probably not very realistic.

It did not help me when my doctor was telling me about his oldest daughter leaving for college and mounds of clothes junk on the floor and pizza boxes and cups of moldy Lucky Charms cereal under her bed!!!

 

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Filed under Family, Living Well, Parenting

Alaska and My Very Best Friend

In 1997 my little church’s youth group went to an event by the group Teen Mania that did youth mission trips all over the world. I wanted to go to Alaska. My little church helped me raise money for the trip,  they gave me money, they helped me do a car wash, we sold food.  My grandparents, the same ones who took me to the little church, gave me a loan and I was on my way in the summer of 1998.

Going to Alaska for almost a month changed my life. I got focused.  On that trip I ate peanut butter and jelly almost every day for lunch.  I talked to Jesus and read my Bible every single day. I was surrounded by God’s beauty and traveling with a group that loved God.  Some of the friends I made on that trip are still part of my life even today. In Alaska I was awestruck by how much God loves everyone.

So many things happened during that trip that made it clear to me that God is real. A friend was healed of major back pain for the entire trip.  We prayed with runaways. We prayed with strangers on the beach. We saw a baby humpback whale and it rocked our boat.  We saw a glacier up close and saw blocks of ice fall into a lake. We climbed a mountain. We saw God working. We walked around praying for cities and people and sharing God’s love.

In those days Jesus became my very best friend.

 

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Filed under Faith, Living Well

A Little City and a Little Church

The year was 1985 and I was 6 years old. My dad got out of the Marine Corps and moved our family back to his hometown in Indiana. My grandparents went to a little church on 10th Street, and in that that little church I learned that God loves me. I learned that God loves everyone. I learned God had plans for me. In a little city in a little church I learned to recognize God in everything.

 

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Love Is the Greatest

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
 
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
 
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
 
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
 
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
These words about love, from 1 Corinthians 13, have been heavy on my heart the past few weeks. Several friends have lost loved ones. Several friends are struggling with relationship problems. This is the TRUTH about love from the source of love. Choose love.

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My Important Stuff

There is a little shelf beside my bed that has my important stuff on it. My family recently moved to a new house so I have been thinking about what things are most important to me. A stuffed animal moose and a camping nightlight moose remind me of Alaska where I went on a mission trip that brought me closer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

A little heart that reads, Always My Mother, Forever my FRIEND. My mom read different ones to my 5-year-old daughter at the store and picked this one out for me. It truly is my prayer that my kids will grow up and see me as someone who is their friend.

The footprint painting is a surprise find that was lost in our old house but my super awesome landlords/friends found and returned to me. On it are the footprints of our five oldest kids and it reminds me of my JOB and my kids. My mom job is the biggest, scariest, most awesome and most important job ever.

One book on my shelf is “14,000 things to be happy about.” It is just a quirky book that I bought a long long time ago that so me! Also on my shelf are the books, A Christian Mother Goose Rock-A-Bye Bible, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Many Ways to Say I Love You by Fred Rogers. My little prayer jounal with Bible verses, prayers, and quotes that I have been hiding in my heart is sitting on my Bible.

Another lost and found treasure is a plastic license plate that reads “Smile God Loves You!” My family got it for my grandparents who had displayed it in their kitchen years and years ago. I kept it after my Grandma went to the nursing home and now that both of them have gone to eternity in heaven it is a little thing that remind me of the BIG TRUTH that they helped me learn: God Loves Me and everyone else too!

I keep a little album of photos of my grandparents by my bed. The other day was 16 years since my Grandpa has been gone and though I miss my grandparents so much I celebrate that they are with Jesus! Photos are priceless memories!

My stuffed animal purple turtle that my husband let the kids pick out me because they know my favorite color and my favorite animal! James was pretty surprised to find it because they knew what they wanted to get me! a purple turtle! It reminds me that they do love me (even if it sometimes seems like they are just trying to make me crazy)! An Ewok from my sister who knows I love Star Wars. A Precious Moments white porcelain cross that was our wedding cake topper, and a plaque with part of the Footprints poem are on the bottom shelf. They are symbols of my two best friends my James, and my Jesus.

The shelf itself was made by my husband’s late great-grandfather. He loved his family and he loved to make useful things for his family.

It is hard work to unpack and organize after a move. It has made think about what is most important to me and why it is important!

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Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

It’s a Good God Thing

When James and I were going to get married, I bought the first wedding dress that I tried on. I tried on another just to make sure that first dress was the dress for me!

When James and I needed to find a bigger house to live in we only had two little boys. God led us to the first and only house that we would look at and we’ve lived here for over 8 years.

When James and I felt led to find a different church to attend, God led us to the first and only church that we visited and we’ve gone there for over three years.

James and I need to move to a new house. Our landlords are selling the house because they need to move out-of-state to be closer to family. I did a lot of searching for houses and very few people even responded to my messages or phone calls.  Most rentals in our college town are August to August leases and we need to move by July 1. God led us to the perfect house for us and it was the first and only house that we looked at, from friends, in a neighborhood that we like where most of people on our block are related to our friends who are also our neighbors!

Our dryer recently died and that same day loaded all the kids up and went to pick out a new dryer. The first one we picked out had a door that could be reversed. That one was not in stock so we picked out a second dryer. When the guy helping us went back to look for the only one in stock he couldn’t find it, so we ended up picking a third one. Each dryer was more expensive than the first but we only were charged the price of the first dryer!

Remember how the first dryer’s door could be reversed?  I thought it was a real bummer when James realized that the door cannot be reversed on the dryer we got!  BUT . . . At the new house the dryer will be on the opposite side of the laundry room AND the dryer door will be on the right side! How about that for God being in the details.

God is in the big things and in the small things and in absolutely everything . . . keep looking up!

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Looking Up

Maple Tree LeavesWhile walking through the woods I often pause to look up at how the sunlight streams through the leaves above. I can’t remember when I started doing this, but it’s a long-loved habit of mine. The TRUTH for life is this . . . If you stop to literally and figuratively “look up,” you will see that God’s light shines on everything.

I connected with another homeschooling mom who is from Indiana and has 10 children because she authors some homeschool books that I use with my kids. Amazingly, she makes enough money from her book sales that her husband is able to be home full-time and they do missionary work in the Ukraine. I secretly thought it would be wonderful if there was some way that my husband could be home full-time too, but I didn’t tell a soul about it. I thought it was impossible, but nothing is impossible for God!

My husband’s new job as a historian/archeologist allows him just that . . . He works from home! Not only that but he got a significant pay increase, he’s salary, and he has unlimited paid time off and vacation days. The other benefits he has are too many to list.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21

God is so good and I cannot thank Him enough for how he has provided for me and for my family!

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