Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thoughts of a Stay at Home Mom

( See Number4)

Wow. With everything that has been going on in our family, I was thinking the other day, that in the midst of all of this hardship, God has answered a prayer of mine that I have wanted for over 6 years. While I have been so grateful for my job over the last 13 years, I have always wanted to stay at home with my children. The Lord has seen fit to answer my prayer in an unconventional way ( Matt being unemployed and us living with his parents). When I'm feeling down about our current station in life, the Lord quickly brings to my mind that I am now a stay at home mom.
Here are some observations I have made about how my life is different:

1. I have more time to think of my family's needs.
I have noticed that I spend more time thinking about each person in my family individually. How does Matt need my encouragement? What do I need to be teaching Ivy? What good discussions can we have about life? What have I been letting Lucy get away with because of her cuteness? haha What do I need to work on with her? I am thinking through my role in their life more because I have time to think about it!

2. Study the bible and really think about it.
I have always made time to read my bible, but I am noticing more that I think more about what I have been studying because I am not jumping up to get somewhere in a hurry. With Ivy in school, and Lucy taking a nap, I can easily spend a couple of hours in a good study. It has been so nice. My mind is way less busy!

3. My mind has slowed down.
This could be because I have no friends up here yet, it is raining or snowing so there is not much else to do but I have loved easing into a quieter life and taking time to THINK!

4. Pour into my kids more.
Plan for them. Whether it is taking time to work on Ivy's reading (which I need to do WAY more of) or cook with them, or plan a craft with them . I do more with them!

5. Pray for others more/ think of their needs.
I have thought of my friends and family and how I can be praying for them. I pray for them as I miss them and when the Lord brings them to my mind. I pray for their marriages, ministry, church,kids,etc. I pray for my friend who was just like me, wanting to be a stay at home mom and doing her best to try and do it all, working full time. (She knows that I am talking about her. xoxo)

6. Read more.
This helps when you live with your in laws and I am not cooking every night or cleaning by myself all the time. I have read great, godly books and books that I wish I could have gotten those hours of my life back. ha ha. But, I do read more and I am enjoying reading, laying in my warm bed, watching the rain or snow outside, looking over the mountains.

7. Women's bible study
I have never been part of a Women's bible study during the day. I go to one on Tuesday mornings and get to bring Lucy with me. The church is right down the street from Costco so we always stop for a hot dog on the way home. I did it to get out and meet people. This week was really nice.

I'm sure things will change a little when I have my own house again, and my kids are in more activities and I meet people. This part of change has been really good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Breakfast with Lulu

We were getting to bible study a little early and there just happens to be a Krispy Kreme down the street. Had to stop in with my Little Lu. I have never seen her eat a donut so fast! She loves donuts like her Momma. (By the way, I ordered one for her and then one for me. The guy took too long getting them so when he got back, I told him to throw another one on there....I know...I'm sad.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Count it all Joy

As I am studying the book of James here are some insights that I read today.

James 1:2-4 " Count it all joy, my brothers,
when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing."

(taken from the ESV bible)

A couple of notes:

"Count/consider" calls us to a mental exercise. Not an emotion. He's telling us to think, to reflect, and to esteem the unalloyed joys available to us "whenever we experience various trials."

Left alone, trials are "robbers".

Trials don't get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over the goods. In fact, they're commanded to give goods to us if we're willing to receive them. Robbers or reapers, its up to us.

(All quotes from Beth Moore's study on the book of James)

John MacArthur adds this:

on trials- "Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen"

"Through tests, a Christian will learn to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it at His appointed time, and even cherish the benefit."

When John says "and even cherish the benefit" I always think of my girls. If God would have answered my prayer and allowed me to be pregnant all those years ago, I would not have Ivy and Lucy.

Not only that but as I was talking to a friend from home last week, she was mentioning all the years of suffering Matt and I have gone through. It seems to some that we can never catch a break. But God has shown me over the years how I have been able to endure these trials. Not that it's not hard and not on my own, but by my trust in Him, He has gotten me through. He has provided the strength.

I'm thankful for these reminders today. I want to be a reaper instead of having my joy robbed.

First Snow Fall

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My New Year's Resolution

I had joked to a couple of people, before I moved, when they asked me what I was going to do up in Washington. I told them I was going to become quite the theologian. I wanted to really dig in and study the bible. I started to read a book by Martha Peace called," Attitudes of a Transformed Heart" (excellent book by the way). She wrote something, talking about when she first became a Christian. I read it and said,"That's it! I want that to be my resolution this year!" I wrote it in the front of both my bibles." If you want to know more about God and want to please Him, then you HAVE to study His word."
"Lord, my prayer is that You will give me such a great love for Your Word that no matter how much I learn, I will never be satisfied. I will always want more."

I couldn't have said it better myself! I have totally made that my prayer and you know what? He has proved faithful. I have been reading and there are (most days) when I don't want to stop! It has been such a blessing.

Some of you ask me how in the world I am sustaining in all of the trials the Lord has brought my way. I am not going to lie, I have had tears and have totally felt sorry for myself and my family. But God's Word has totally given me comfort. After all, that is one of the reasons He gives us trials, so that we would seek Him. Find our comfort and rest in Him instead of other people and things. I'm still growing in this area.

There may be some of you that think you don't really know the bible and what it says. You "love God but don't need to go THAT far". Or you are a Christian and honestly don't have much of a desire to dig in and really KNOW the bible. If that is you, I encourage you to ask Him for the desire to truly know Him and what He has to say. Take my word for it, when hard times come, you are going to want something to lean on, something to take comfort in.

Ok. That was kind of getting off subject but I felt like I should say it.
Here's to knowing HIM more in 2012!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Brave Man

Matt's surgery was yesterday. He was a little nervous about it but everything went well. His dad took him because Ivy had a short day at school. I left as soon I dropped Ivy off at home with Grandma. I was talking to my friend Staci on the phone and got lost on the way! The nurse called to tell me Matt was out of surgery and I had to tell her I got lost.

When I got to the surgery center they ushered me back. Matt looked really good for just getting out of surgery. We had to wait a while for his blood pressure to go down before we could leave and then we were on our way.

He has to wear this blue styrofoam around his wrist to help keep his hand elevated. Ivy was disappointed that they didn't put him in a cast because she wanted to write her and Lucy's name on it. That will have to wait until his Dr.'s appointment next week.
I asked Matt on the way home if he said anything funny when he came to in the recovery room. He said "No. but I will tell you something else I said." He told me that the nurses were going to see if I was in the waiting room to have me come back. Matt said," Ok. She will be the pretty one out there." Oh heart skipped a beat. Love it when a man says something sweet about their wife in public, and mine did it loaded up with drugs. hahaPlease continue to pray that he wouldn't be in a lot of pain, that his wrist would heal fast and right, and that God would allow our bills to be lowered and that we would have the finances. Continuing to trust the One who has everything under control.

Trying to prayerfully remember that this trial should not be the focus of my attention. It is the Lord. To Him will I look.
Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Just When Things Were Looking Up

Well....Just when I thought things couldn't get worse. Haha. Just kidding. I know they could get worse, even worse than they are right now. Matt has been a little stir crazy so he had the idea to clear out the back yard and take out some old,dead blackberry bushes. He cleared out alot this week with our brother in law and was going to burn what they had piled up. Since it rains every pickin' day around here ( No, I'm not bitter....wink), he was getting the hose and he slipped on a slippery ramp. He fell and broke his wrist in two places. He called for me and after discussion, Matt's dad took him to the emergency room. Long story short, he has to get a plate in it with surgery on Monday morning. That would be concern enough but did I mention that we don't have health insurance because Matt is out of work? We found out that everything is going to cost around $13,000. I don't even know how to put my mind around that except to hand it over to Jesus.

Wow, the Lord continues to get me right in that sweet spot of where I worry the most. At the same time, He has reminded me of how He has taken care of us along the way. My deepest fears have been realized in relation to Matt and work. The what if's I used to ask have now become reality and I'm still here, surviving. Loving my kids, my husband, having food to eat, a place to sleep, I am for the first time in my life living the dream I have always wanted...being a stay at home mom .....just not as I thought, living with my in laws (which I am so grateful to them for) and Matt being out of work. I can thank Him for those things.

I wish so bad that I could see how this part of our journey ends. I can't wait to "look back" and see what the Lord did instead of wonder about the future. Please be in prayer for Matt and his pain, his surgery, the financial aspect of this accident and a job for him. Thank you!

Here is a picture of my tough guy when he came home from the emergency room.
I thought I would add some pictures that I have taken of Washington lately. Really pretty country. Here is the front view coming out of Matt's parents driveway.
The "cow view" looking out my bedroom window.
Part of the drive going up to Matt's parents house. This is only about half way up the hill!
This is my "Twilight" picture. This is what the fog does every morning.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Times are a Changin' and so are we....

I can't believe that it has taken me so long to write a blog post. It is not for lack of things going on in our lives but too much. Now I have so much to share so I will post a lot more. Our computer broke down too so I had to wait to get it back and we lost ALL of our pictures on our computer so I had to try and upload new ones.

The biggest news is that after Matt being out of a job for almost 9 months, we moved to Washington state to live with his parents. It was a tough and extremely sad decision but one we had to make. We moved out of our house (because it sold) the week of Thanksgiving and moved in with my sister for a month until Ivy and I got done with school. Then, the day after Ivy and I were done with school, we left at 7am to make the 15 hour drive to Woodland, Washington. I drove Matt's car, our friend, Greg Wells, drove my car with a trailer hooked to the back, and Matt drove the big U Haul. The girls and I stopped to meet Ivy's birth grandma for lunch to celebrate Ivy's birthday and the girls' Christmas. It was so great to see "Mammo" and it was the perfect break in the day. We stopped and spent the night in a motel and made the rest of the trip the next day. Matt and Greg were in heaven talking on walkie talkies the whole way up there.

I have a lump in my throat even reliving the last couple of months.... so many memories that I push in the back of my mind to stay focused on the days ahead, to be a support to Matt and my girls, TRY to not shock my in laws living with 4 extra people, yet something will happen, a note or a message on facebook, or even seeing a picture of the yellow walls in my old bedroom. I always loved the color of those walls. Then a couple of tears start to roll. I have tried to entertain Lucy, laugh with Matt about stuff or be Ivy's biggest cheerleader of all the fun new things she can do here.

I remember sitting in my friend, Matt's office at school, starting to cry before we moved. He asked me what I thought the Lord was trying to teach me through all of this. I said that I thought that it was to just trust Him. Trust Him when I'm feeling sadness so bad that I can't form words. Trust Him when I have no idea what He is doing or where He is taking us. Trust Him when things are REALLY uncomfortable for me. Trust Him when He "took away" every close friend that I have (besides Matt of course). I have no place to run but to Him.

I have said it before and I will say it again. This is why good, true theology is so important. Is what I believe about God true or not? Is He good? Is He faithful? Is He Sovereign? I say YES! Then He still is when He hasn't answered my prayers the way I want Him to. I trust Him.

I'll write about this journey because apparently this is my therapy. haha No, more importantly, I want to be able to look back and see where He took us and how I felt along the way. Here are a couple random pictures from the last couple of months. Enjoy!

My Christmas Eve baby turning 6 years old. Ivy with her matching American Girl doll, Emily.
Our family picture at Ivy's Christmas concert at Legacy. (With Hollie's boyfriend, Hugh. Ivy LOVED it that he came to watch her.)
My Thanksgiving turkey

Hollie taking me to the Sara Barielles concert....miss my sister.