plans

I began a post for FMF back at the beginning of March, but never finished posting it because I was tucked away in a tent that weekend, hidden from the world, but not all the kids.

The word to blog about: plan

A white, crisp blank calendar is a thrill to my heart.  I love to look upon the days laid out before me, to imagine, plan, and dream of the excitement that they may contain.  I thoroughly enjoy jotting out the ideas, the things I want to see come to fruition.

Plans are so much fun.  The what if, and the how, the lists, all of this doing brings about a thrill in my heart.  I actually really love to plan.

Plans are full of expectancy, hope, greatness.

But the reality of what is met in the middle of the excitement of planning to the execution of the plan, well that is another story.

In my zest of planning, I seem to over plan.  Then, I struggle to meet those expectations that I’ve put upon myself.  I often think I am failing others, but I’m not sure that I am so much as not meeting my own ideals. Perhaps, I’m just more keenly aware of all that is left undone.

I find myself flustered over my plans in the end. Overwhelmed.  Wondering why in the world I ever thought I could muster up the energy or the ability to do whatever it was that I had planned.

I’m so thankful that scripture teaches that man makes plans, but God directs the steps of man.  So thankful that He will set me on a right path, even though the plans I make seem to be failing.

Grocery Challenge Update

I completely failed this challenge.

But with every goal set, regardless of if one hits the mark or not, there is good that comes from making the goal.

I’m not even sure how much I actually went over my challenge because fast food happened, Hubby grabbed a few things from the store, I made a quick dash to pick up somethings.  When I did the shopping for the camping trip, I spent over $200.  So, I know that I was way over what I was hoping to spend.

However, doing this challenge required me to be more mindful about what was happening.  I realized a few things in this process.

Purposeful Planning Days are Essential

We started having purposeful planning days for me in January.  This is the time for me to quiet my mind, plan school, plan food, make lists of top priorities.  Hubby and I were both noticing such benefits from this time for the 4 to 5 weeks that I consistently held to having this time.  But then I missed several weeks in a row of this time.  Some of those missed where because I was sick.  Apparently, something else interfered with the other weeks, though its like grasping to hold air in my mind as I try to place my finger on what caused the interruption.  Nonetheless, it serves my family and me well to have a few hours of quiet to collect my thoughts and make a plan for what needs to happen in our home.  I am more grounded as a result of having this time and have a better idea of what steps to take in a week.

I need to let some things go or rearrange the timing of activities

The end of the week for me is crazy.  On Fridays we have a homeschool co-op that we go to.  Thursdays is the day of preparation for Friday.  We get bags packed, homework finished to turn in, I finalize my preschool lesson for the week and gather all the materials and toys for the preschool class, we pack snacks, pack lunches, come up with a grab and run breakfast. Thursdays are just hectic.  That is followed by Thursday evenings which either consist of AHG and TrailLife meetings or Women’s Fellowship Time.  Our entire family attends AHG/Traillife meetings.  Hubby is a Traillife leader.  I am an AHG leader.  The 2 older girls participate in AHG while Sweet Potato is in TrailLife.  The 3 younger girls run between hubby and me and the nursery.  We finish up at those meetings late generally getting up at 8:45-9.  If we are having a good night kids are in bed by 10, but there have been many nights where they are all still up at 11.  We then finish up with lunches and gathering supplies.

Women Fellowship Night is much calmer than AHG/TrailLife days, but I am still generally not home till 10.

Fridays are busy days with coop.  It ends a bit after lunch.   Then on choir days (generally ever other week) the kids have practice from 1:30-3:30.  Every week , I pick up veggies and milk from a local farmer, which about an hour process.

When I get home I’m spent.  Sometimes I manage to get dinner on the table.  More often than not we end up with leftovers or take out.  These are the times I most resent Fibro. I feel like I should get so much more done.  But I just crash.

I then feel like the rest of the weekend I am running to keep up with all the things to do on during that weekend.

All of these things are good.  But it is so much packed in to a few days.  This is where money gets blown on food eaten out.

So I am realizing that I need to let some things on my calendar go in order for us to meet our financial goals, along with other goals for our family. Or I need to spread my activity outside the home out through out the week.

Good

It’s time for 5-Minute Friday Post.  Where writers bravely write for 5 minutes on a word put forth by Kate Motaung, the host of 5 Minute Friday.

Good.

I never feel like I can get there.

Always striving. Always missing the mark.

Now good enough. Sometimes I make it there.

Mismatched socks.

Piles of stuff undone.

My “want -to’s”pushed to the side.

I settle often, but I never quite feel like I achieve good.

I guess because the word has been cheapened.  We were told as kids, heck I tell my own kids, “be good.”  But realistically, one can not be good.  Scripture tells us this foundational truth, “there is none who is good, no not one.

There is a yearning in many people to achieve goodness.  But apart from Christ we cannot be good.

Something that seems like it should be so simple is to just be good.  We so nonchalant with the way we use this word.  Yet it can not be accomplished apart from Christ.  We are in a desperate need for Him for there to be any goodness, any beauty, any good work.

 Oh, how we need Jesus.

Because what He has done is good.  He finished His work of creating us and He said it was good.

He completed His work on the cross and said it was done.  And that was good.

But I spend my days striving to accomplish more in attempt to feel as if I am good, and yet what I really need to do is run to Him. Let His goodness cover me.  Allow Him do that work that He has begun in me. Trust Him to finish what He desires to finish in me because He is good.

building a platform vs seeking an inner room

About the time that I decided to pursue this blogging endeavor again, I was asking myself to what end?  Why do I want to blog?  What do I hope to accomplish through conveying thoughts and ideas to whoever happens to stumble upon my blog?  What is my message?  What am I about?  To be quite honest with you, I haven’t settled all these questions in my heart.

But this seeking: this question asking, is not only relevant to my blog life.  It is extremely pertinent to all aspects of my life, especially spiritual life.  Because in actuality one can not separate the spiritual from the practical.  The spiritual invades all areas of ones life.  There is no separation.

So, as I am seeking out to relearn the basic stuff I knew about blogging before my blogging hiatus and pursuing other resources on building a successful blog, I was also seeking out the filling of my mind during any empty time with spiritual truth.

For my birthday, my mom had given me a cd of devotionals featuring various Christian speakers (affiliate link). I really enjoyed all of them.  One in particular has stood out in my mind as I’ve been investigating blogging.  Beth Moore in her talk about rooftops said something along the lines that we are rooftop-platform seeking people.  We all want a platform.  A place to shout out to the masses. We all want to be heard. But instead, we should be closet seeking. She goes on to say that we are to be seeking His message in a quiet place and when He gives us a message, He will in His time give us a rooftop or a platform.

Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. – Luke 12:3

In the space of time from hearing her message, all the blog gurus gush with ways of developing a platform.  While I am quite thankful for the information that freely abounds on blog building, I find my heart contemplating the question: am I closet seeking or am I platform seeking?

I realize that my first pursuit must be seeking the heart of the Lord. To do that I must be inner room seeking.  I must be looking to stow away with the Lord, in the closets of my heart and in the inner rooms of my home.  How can I still myself in my mind, which is jumping rapidly from item to item littered throughout my head, regarding all the cares that I need to tend to in a day?  I must find the way.  I must quiet my thoughts, gaze upon His majesty.  Drink the calmness and the peace that is poured forth only in His presence.  I must search His word, beg for eyes to see the beauty laid out in the Word.

To serve Him through this blog or any aspect of life, I must seek to know what He would tell me in the secret, in the closet.  I must wait for Him to build the rooftop or platform that He wants me on. Be it a platform before a few or a platform before many.

Do I want people to read my blog? Sure, I do.  Am I aiming for hundred’s or thousands of readers?  Well, not really.  My offerings are meager, but they are for the Lord.  I am writing because I enjoy the process of putting words to paper.

I like to investigate, learn, do and then share from experience.  If I publish a post with my thoughts, people have the freedom to read if they are interested instead of being caught up in a conversation with me that bores them deeply.  If they aren’t interested, they don’t have to read but avoid appearing rude.

I enjoy the pursuit of encouraging others through the practical application of life.  I believe that God has called me to uniquely influence those people He has appointed me to rub shoulders with in real life and online.

Whether my blog reaches one, tens, hundreds, or thousands, my prayer is that it will be a sacrifice to Him who sacrificed all for me.  That it will be a sweet aroma to Him and that it might just bless the heart of one reader.

If I make a few dollars here or there through affiliate links sharing those things that have been helpful to me, perhaps it will be enough to pay the cost for site hosting.

So, while many questions regarding blogging and what current steps the Lord is calling me to pursue in real life are not yet answered with more than “seek Me” and “Wait on the Lord,” I am certain of one thing. Truly, I want to be more about inner room seeking than platform building.  I want to hear the secrets He has for me.

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link.  If you choose to click on it and purchase the item, I will gain a small commission at no extra charge to you.

I linked up with Testimony Tuesday.  A place for writers to share God’s fingerprints in their life.

Holly Barrett

Restless Place

I have little to offer in my post this morning except just honesty on where I am.

I find myself in a restless place.  As I pray and read scripture these last few days, there are verses that jump off the page, moving my soul in ways I grasp for words to explain.

  • Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
  • Psalm 33:13-15 The Lord looks from heaven;  He sees all the sons of men from the place of His dwelling. He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
  • Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
  • Psalm 28:14 – Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.
  • Philippians 1:12 – but I want you to know brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out from the furtherance of the gospel.

Words from my prayer journal this morning:

Disturb me Lord, if I need to be disturbed. Convict me Lord if it’s sin causing unrest in my soul. Jesus I do want to move when you say move, I want to stay put when You call me to stay put.

Lord, help me to look to You, not myself. Jesus, You are good.  You will gently lead. You will guide my steps.

 

 

2014 unexpected

This is a continuation from 2014 Didn’t look like we thought it should.

Our family was ecstatic about the move and all the changes that we would get to go through as a family.  Friends and family were notified. Doctors informed as we gathered paper work. Decorating plans were made. Hubby’s truck, that had been his grandfather’s was sold because we didn’t think it needed to make the drive to the new city.

With this job opportunity, came a salary increase. For the first time I finally saw the potential to finally make good progress on getting out of student loans without having to go back to a beans and rice type grocery budget.  We’ve always said that without the burden of student loans, so many things are opened up to us. Ministry.  Adoption.  Giving more.  Vacations with our kids. Extracurricular activities for the kids. All things we’ve discussed being open to if the Lord calls us to them.

We then experienced the 2014 unexpected happening, that changed everything.  Our dream of leaving this town burst.  The job fell through.  Three weeks from closing on our new home.  The same day, we saw that in fact our chance of moving on and out was gone, our house received two offers on it.  Two good offers.  Since we had been planing on selling previous to the job change, we went ahead and sold our house. Leaving us without a home, without a plan.  Confused and lost.  However, Hubby still had a job where he had been working before.

We already knew what was on the market in this town.  Nothing came close to comparing to the house that was going to be.  We didn’t want to buy a house towards the top of our budget and still be disappointed.  But we realized that would be the case.  We also were unsure as to if we were going to want to stick around in this town.  The opportunity for a job in a new location had really opened up that desire in us to leave and explore in other places.

We explored the option of renting, but in our city it would cost us far more a month to rent than it would for us to buy and  put money into a house.

So we gave our realtor very clear instructions.  We wanted a property that we could easily turn around and rent or sell within a short amount of time.  It had to be in a state which needed very little work and was on the low-end of the price spectrum.  The last criteria was that our dining room table that Hubby built had to fit in the dining room.

There were six houses to look at in the city with those criteriums that came up on the MLS. However, upon visiting these homes, only one was in good condition with the possibility of it being able to rent it or sell it quickly do the locations.  Our dining room table fit in this house.

We had a closing date of three weeks later, with two-weeks of rent back in our current house so we had time to move. Kids were sick, while I was trying to pack and move. Originally, we were going to have movers help with the moving.  Then with the new job opportunity we had movers scheduled to come back us up and move us.  But, as result of costs incurred from house hunting in the new city, we ended up not getting movers to help us.  Hubby was also going to have some time off from work to help me with the logistics of moving when the move involved a new city.  But staying in the same city did not afford us this luxury.  He ended up with about two days off total and the move drug out for a few weeks.  We spent weekend and evenings trying to load stuff into our van and moving vans. That was a long few weeks. Thankfully, we had a few friends and family members who assisted us in moving and brought us some meals.

We moved into our current house in February of 2014, just a year ago.

Truth be told, those were hard, dark days.

We knew God had a purpose in this. What that purpose was we weren’t really sure.

I wondered, did we miss God? Silly questions, such as do I even know His voice?  Lots of why?  I was humiliated.  We had told people after all.  I was angry at times. I felt like we stepped out in faith on a road that God was opening for us, and then He allowed the door to be slammed in our face.  I feared what people thought.  This was also a rough patch in our marriage.

But it wasn’t just us and our hearts involved.  We had made promises to our kids.  Our kids had dreamed too.  We had told the older two that they could have a room together and for the first time we would let them choose some of their decorations and paint color.  Sweet Potato was going to get a room with boy decorations in it, something we had not ever really done.  Grape was going to get a room with polka-dots.  We had told them that we would get them all bikes to ride.  Up to this points our kids had other people’s cast off bikes, and there were never enough to go around for our family.  But, we had told them that since we would have a garage and a bigger home, there would be a place to keep bikes and side walks to ride them on.  Plus, since they all saw the house in the new city, they were anticipating a pool, space to get ready in bathrooms, and a craft room.   But we could no longer keep these promises to our kids.

That stung hard. Not so much that they couldn’t have the material stuff, but more that we promised them something.  But we couldn’t keep that promise.  We’ve always tried hard to only promise them things that we were able to actually follow through on. They tried to make the best of it, even so there were complaints, tears, and frustration from the kids.

We still are not entirely sure the why’s behind the job falling through.  But we trust that He has multiple purposes for anything He does. We know that He is working on His plan that we can’t see.  I heard a quote somewhere, I believe it was credited to John Piper, that said that for everything that happens, God has a thousand reasons.  If we can just see one of those reasons, consider it a blessing.

One big positive that resulted from this crazy year was the ability to now make a large progress towards student loan pay off.  In 2014 we were able to pay off about half of what we started with after graduation in student loans.  We were hoping for a bit more, but our electric bill in this small house was still considerably more than what we thought it would run, as well as a few other unexpected expenses came our way.

Wait (Five Minute Friday)

I am participating in Five-Minute Friday today.  Kate Motaung posts a word prompt each Friday.  Bloggers then just write for five minutes on that topic with out worrying about editing their work. 

Today’s Prompt is: WAIT

Wait. A word I dislike, yet find myself saying far too often.

Wait seems to be a pattern in my life. Probably because I have a tendency to always be in a hurry. I can remember being in a hurry to grow up, move out, graduate college, marry, get a job.

My kids always seem to be in a hurry too. And now I am constantly telling them to wait. Wait till I am finished helping your sister, then I will help you. Wait your turn in line. Be content that it is winter. Wait patiently for Spring.

This season in my life, in some ways I feel as if God is telling me wait. Wait. I’ve got something for you to learn in this place. Wait. Learn contentment. Wait. See how I am going to move. Wait.

Wait on the Lord.

Anxious Thoughts

They have invaded my mind – subtly. I didn’t even realize that anxious thoughts were slowly taking me captive. If you were to have asked me if I were anxious – I would have declined the notion.  I didn’t think I was anxious.  Just busy.  I was just trying to orchestrate everything.  School.  Training of kids.  Laundry. Meals.  There was so much to do.

Good things to do.

But oh…so many good things to do.  How would I ever get it all done?

And my mind would linger on what to do next – constantly.  I struggled to be present because my mind was always ahead at the next task.

And then it hit me.  I was anxious.  Oh, so very anxious.  I was allowing myself to be trapped and imprisoned by these anxious thoughts.

But I am a child of the Deliverer.

The Blessed Controller.

The Lord of all things.

And when I confessed my sin and asked the Lord to help me let go of my control issues then I become free.

So I’ve been camping on these all too familiar verses – trying to let the Lord move me from this muddled mess of me trying to control – to allowing Him complete control.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:6-8

I fail often.  I catch myself being anxious.  But I realize its anxiousness.  A month ago, I did not.

Now when I catch myself being anxious.  I stop and pray and give thanks.  It has been so good.

And sweet.

I am amazed by His ways. – And amazed by His provision when I ask of Him how to proceed.

The other day, I found myself once again moving to the camp of anxiousness.  One of the things I found myself being anxious about was when I would be able to take this box of stuff to goodwill.  Silly.  I know.  But I stopped and said, “Lord.  I’m being anxious again.  Forgive me.  Help me figure out how I am going to get this box of stuff to be dropped off, along with the other things I need to do at the house today.”

Within the hour, a sister in Christ, dropped by my house (we rarely get someone to just “drop in.” ). I mentioned that I was giving some stuff away and asked her if she wanted any of the items.  She took a few things out of the box and then she offered to take the whole box and give it to a friend of hers.

Praise the Lord.

He answered my prayer by giving me peace.  And then He poured a sweet aroma out by sending someone to come take the box off my hands.

He is good.

 

Learning Submission

A few months back, after expressing my frustrations with Hubby about the day-to-day in our schedule: particularly how I felt as if I was keeping some of the kids from ever getting to play, because they were dilly-dallying so much doing their school work and chores; He made a suggestion to me.

His suggestion:  Set aside a certain time for 3o minutes, in the morning, that is designated as “recess” which happens regardless of where they are in their chores and school work.

My response:  No way!!!

Then flowed forth all the reasons of why it was NOT going to work.   He listened to me spout the excuses off, and then replied with, “I think you should give it a try.”

I resisted, after-all, how would he really know what my day is really like and what schedule changes would really be best, because he is never here by himself in the same day in and day out like I am.  Sure, he has watched the kids for the day himself, but it is always like a party when he is here with out me; And he almost always throws out the schedule I’ve created.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I am still dealing with the same frustrations.  I think in my heart I was fuming about him not being decisive about some other area, when the Holy Spirit started prodding my heart.

“What about that recess thing?”

“There is no way that is going to work!”

“Maybe you should listen to your husband.”

“But I don’t want to do that!  It will mess up my schedule.”

“You aren’t submitting to him.”

“But he doesn’t really know what our day looks like.  He just gets glimpses into it – besides it was just a suggestion.”

“You can’t expect him to be decisive and lead in one area of your life when you are resisting his leading in another area.”

Conviction.

So we started having  recess.  We’ve been doing it for a bit over a month. I try to start recess every morning at 10:30.  We don’t alway start right on time and sometimes it runs longer than thirty minutes.  But, it has been a blessing – not a hardship like I feared it would be.  It allows me to nurse Blackberry without having a little one trying to climb on us or pat her on the head.  I am alloted the time to go start laundry or finish putting dinner in the crockpot.  It is not always perfect.  I still have to go and guide kids through conflict resolution.  There has been a time or two when I had to finish recess by putting Strawberry in the shower because she just managed to get so filthy.  But for the most part it has added a sense of peace to our home.  I also feel less guilty when a kid drags their feet doing their work, because at least they have already had some time outside to excercise, get fresh air, and soak up some Vitamin D.

This isn’t my first lesson on submission…and I doubt it will be my last.  But I hope that this story will be an encouragement to you and a reminder to me that the Lord has given our husbands wisdom and insight into our lives even if they are at work during the nitty-gritty of our day-to-day.  And God will bless our obedience to be submissive to them….because ultimately it means we are submitting to Him.

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Blog Intentions

On the outset of me starting this blog, I intended for it to be two-fold.  First, I wanted to be able to encourage other moms.  Second, I planned on recording things that happened in our family life as a means of collecting memories (since I am terrible at any other type of memory collecting).

As of late, I can rarely find the time to blog, so I am using that short time to record bits and pieces of our family life.  I know that I will probably remember very little of this stage which is just a natural result of how crazy it is with life demands from all these littles and so little sleep.  It saddens me that I will remember so little of it (there is so much about my older three that I have completely forgotten about until a picture conjures of some slight recollect of the event).  On the other hand, there are parts of this stage that I do not want to remember, which are all largely a result of the hormonal imbalances that make me feel so crazy.

So please bear with me as I repeatedly post about my kids and their accomplishments and silly antics.  I do intend at some point to post things that others may find helpful, encouraging, or relevant to their lives.  But for the time being, I am trying to record bits and pieces of who my kids are at this time in their lives so that I can give an account to them when they ask me to tell them stories about their past in a few short years.