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By two or three o’clock each day, my house looks like a toy monster exploded in a library.  Schooling my elder two children while keeping the youngest three entertained, fed, happy and out of trouble takes its toll on the house.  By this point in the day I have started laundry, started doing dishes , and started (sometimes) supper.  But all the unfinished tasks seem to scream for my attention all at once.  In the laundry room I notice that my washer and dryer haven’t been wiped in ages and there’s a strange  green substance spilled over the dial panel on the dryer, but as I’m closing the door to the dryer and turning the dial to start another load, Punky, who was “helping” put in the laundry, falls and needs to be consoled.  Then  I notice that Bud’s math book is on the counter and I haven’t checked it, yet, like I’d promised.  Oh, and there’s that letter I’ve been meaning to find an address for so I can mail it.   But before I can do any of that,  I need to find out where Li’l Britches is because when he’s quiet, it usually isn’t a good sign.   And I can’t forget to call the doctor about that prescription that needs refilled….

The list of things that I never get to seems to be multiplying.   I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been feeling angry, and I had a good idea it had something to do with the condition of the house.  I honestly am tired of feeling embarrassed about and making excuses for it.  I clean.  I just don’t ever seem to get the house to look like it’s been cleaned.  I can’t clean as fast as the kids can “unclean”. 🙂   So the situation isn’t really going to get better until my little ones are older and my older ones are better helpers– or until they all move out– so I need to do something, instead, about my anger.  

Last night as I lay in bed it kind of hit me.  The real problem is not that the house needs more attention than I give it.   It isn’t that the kids don’t put their things away (though that would help!).  It’s not that we have too much stuff (although we do).  It isn’t that I am not organized enough (though that, too, would help!).  No the real problem is that I feel like a failure, all the time, because my house is not as clean and neat as I would like it to be.  Somehow, even though I’m teaching my kids each day, reading to them, loving on them, training them (some!), and even though I am fixing meals to meet the special diet needs of my oldest son, teaching Missy how to sew, recording firsts and funny moments with the camera, and keeping clean clothes available — if not always folded– for all…. somehow it all seems to mean nothing.  The stacks of clutter on the counters, the dried toothpaste in the sink and  and the crumbs under the couch seem to be whispering to me, ” If you were a really good parent, like ________, then I wouldn’t be here.  You aren’t good enough.”  And it makes me feel like I’m failing everything because I’m not great at everything.  It’s no wonder I get irritated when I see the tupperware scattered  over the floor or the school work scattered on the dining room table instead of filed neatly. 

I’m glad I recognized that I’ve been having such negative “self talk”, as they say in psychology circles, because now I can confront it with truth.  Just because I’ve had the same can of dusting spray for five years, that doesn’t make me less loved by God.  I never did anything to deserve His love in the first place, so there isn’t anything I can do to make Him love me less, not even sitting down for a cup of tea when I know good and well that there’s a sticky spot on the floor under the couch.  

So, again, I’m reminding myself of the goal, which is to seek Him first above all things.   I may never have a spotless floor and a counter free of clutter at the same time.  Some people can do that, and it amazes me.  I look on it as a gift that I obviously didn’t get.  So, I’ll keep the house livable as best I can and try to ignore the condemning taunts of the cobwebs and dust bunnies.  Really, when I’m 80 will I think back to these days and sigh, “If only I’d scrubbed the tile more….”    I doubt it!   I pray that God will help me prioritize the important above the urgent.

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1

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One Thing

Here are some things I wish I was doing:

  • Writing everyday
  • Singing more
  • Getting up before the kids
  • Spending time with God each morning and night
  • Teaching my kids logic
  • Sighing at my children less and laughing with them more
  • Eating healthy
  • Making DH feel like a super hero
  • Living simply
  • Taking more risks
  • Calmly training my kids
  • Remembering the important things
  • Letting life experiences teach my kids most of the time and using the textbooks to supplement, instead of vice versa
  • Managing our home well
  • Spending more time looking my kids in the eyes
  • Finding contentment in the now 😀

Ok, so that’s just some of the stuff I feel like I could improve or start doing.  Sometimes I get a little discouraged thinking of how imperfect I am and how I “should” be doing better — but that kind of thinking only leads to defeatism.  The real challenge is seeking after the One.   If I can do that, the rest takes care of itself.  Wait…. that reminds me of a verse I learned long ago.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Alleluia!

Forced to Abort

The Family Research Council sent out an email today that I was so appalled to read.  A Uyghar woman in China is being forced to abort her baby because it is her third, and therefore in violation of China’s one-child only policy.  You can read about it here.  It is maddening.

It is also maddening to hear that Barack Obama has stated that he will reinstate funding to the UNFPA (UN Population Fund), which is a group that supports this coercive abortion practice.   Anyone who believed that one of Barack Obama’s goals would be to reduce the number of abortions was incredibly naive and/or completely uninformed on his record.

A few years ago when DH and I were looking at buying a house in Hawaii, we were warned by my sister that the housing bubble may be near its end and that we should be cautious.  She cited Doug Tjaden, pastor/elder of The Mountain Church in Castle Rock, CO.  I went to his blog and thought, “Hmmm.  That sounds really extreme.  He sounds very alarmist, and I don’t hear anyone else talking doom and gloom.”  So I dismissed him.  Then last year, the housing market started to decline. Foreclosures were way up this summer.  But still, I thought, “It’ll correct.  That’s what the market does. Now’s the time to buy.”   Somewhere in the back of my head, though, I thought of what I had read at Doug’s website.  “Didn’t he say the housing bubble would burst? ” 

Then in September when the DOW took a dive and the banks started collapsing and/or begging for federal funds, it occurred to me that maybe Mr. Tjaden had been right about more than just the housing market.  So I headed back over to his blog for a refresher.  Again, I thought, “This guy sounds like an alarmist.  Surely, the goverment will find a way to lessen the effects of this recession.  And there’s no way this will be a global economic crisis.”  I’ll admit, though, I was beginning to have some serious doubts

Then last week on the news, “EU in a recession.”  Yesterday on the news, “Japan in a recession.”  Hmmmm.  Maybe we’ve been putting our hope in the wrong places all along.  Woudn’t be the first time. 

So, I would recommend that you check out his website.  Read some of what he has to say.  The more I’ve read over time, the less I think he is alarmist.  He actually takes a pretty cautious approach, researching before reacting.   You may want to check this out first to give you a brief overview of where he’s coming from.

Anyway, it is just some food for thought.  There’s not much we can do differently, anyway.  Not as far as the financial situation goes.  But no matter what, if anything, is coming, there is no better time to reevaluate our priorities across the board.  Renew our passion for Christ and His Kingdom. Let go of the things of this world that entangle us, enslave us, and lure our eyes from Jesus.  Do the hard things that we know are right.  And pray for real revival.

Post-Election Pause

Well, for someone who claims to enjoy political discussion, I totally dropped the ball this election season and didn’t even blog once regarding politics of any kind!  This isn’t because I was uninterested, because I was watching, listening, learning, and reading avidly.  But I was reluctant to blog because my faith in the reliability of any of the media or the sincerity of any of our government leaders has been shaken.  When I went to the poll to vote, I felt like I had no voice because either way I would lose.  Ah, see.  I said “either way” as if I only had two choices on the ballot.  I had more, of course, but if you don’t vote Republican or Democrat, you don’t get heard.

Well, I cannot even begin to go into all the things I have been studying in regard to our nation’s path, so I won’t. There is just too much.  So, I will tell you what the result has been in my life.

First of all, I had a time of conviction from the Holy Spirit recently.  Can I just say that those times do not come often enough for me?  Not because I don’t need convicting, but because I am rarely still enough before the Lord to hear His Spirit speak to me.  But, oh, how sweet it is when He whispers so tenderly that I have been chasing after everything but Him, and that He wants me back.  So gently, He guides me to first see my sin, then repent of it.  Then He reminds me of His mighty work, and I again find that faith and zeal burn strong; I am renewed for the fight. 

So, I am eager to fan the flames of passion that God stoked in me.  I am praying, not once, not half-heartedly, but persistently and fervently for revival.  Revival in me, revival for my husband, revival for the men in my extended family who are the spiritual head of their homes, and revival in the Body of Believers.  God will bring revival if we humble ourselves and pray.  If we turn our faces to Him and seek Him with all our hearts, will He not draw near?  And, if He is near, we cannot be unchanged.

Secondly, I am looking with new eyes at the values and priorities I have established for myself and for the training of my children.  Nothing major has changed here, but I am trying to re-evaluate things a little at a time to make sure that I am not exchanging the eternal for the temporal.  This process is slow and painstaking because I have let too much of a worldly attitude seep into me, and I cannot always distinguish the subtle lies of Satan like I should.  But, little by little, with the power of the Spirit, I pray that I will become more aware of my priorities and be empowered to change them.

Thirdly, as a tool of introspection, I am trying to write more regularly, whether in journal, blog, or email form.  I am finding already, that this is a rewarding discipline (I use that term loosely).  When I write, it helps me slow down and consider all the things that buzz around in my head.  I am hoping that writing will bring clarity as well as consistency, though in truth, neither has been a strength of mine.

So, the election buzz had a rather unexpected, though not unwelcome, impact on me.  I am looking forward eagerly, and I pray to see God’s hand in whatever lies ahead.

Well, since we are now out of the Army and on civilian health care, we were able to have Bud tested for food sensitivities. His results were positive for wheat, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, cheese, pumpkin, kidney beans, pinto beans and brewer’s yeast. So in addition to eliminating those things, we are officially on a gluten free/casein free diet and experimenting with substitutions and new foods to have healthy, tasty meals and snacks. (Trader Joe’s has been my new best friend. )  So far, I can’t say that we’ve been super successful, but we have only had about one week of being completely free of these foods. We started 4 weeks ago, but have had slip ups along the way (like one day at lunch I absent-mindedly fixed everyone a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread).

Eating out has been challenging. We have found that Macaroni Grill and Outback Steakhouse have allergy menus. PF Changs does, too, but we can’t find one around here.

Bud was also tested for heavy metal toxicity and the results were extremely high for antimony, but seemed fine for everything else.  We think maybe the antimony is from his memory foam mattress topper, so we’ve removed that.

Bud’s medicine is reduced to 35/20/20mg down from 40/30/30mg. He is on a probiotic, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, selenium and DHA. I hope to report a greater improvement in another couple of months.

Finding a Rhythm

Punky in her church dress at 3 weeks old

Well, Punky is 6 weeks old now, and we are getting adjusted.  We restarted our home school schedule when she was 2 weeks old and have been working out the glitches.  She usually sleeps in the morning, so our school schedule has been largely unaffected.  Unfortunately, I still have two toddlers to occupy during our school time, and that has not been so easy.  Li’l Britches learned how to climb, so he’s into more trouble than ever.  Overall, though, we’re getting it together.  My house may not be very clean, but it isn’t  horrible and everybody has clean clothes to wear and food to eat.  Can’t ask for much more. 🙂

I hope with time I will get back to writing more regularly.  This is an election year, so I may get into a few political discussions on here.  Or maybe not.  I’m a little disappointed with how things are shaping up so far.