"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This Christmas as we simplified gift giving for the boys (and Irina), we settled on three packages for each of them. One package with some books, one package with an outfit and one package with a toy. I found these awesome sporty outfits at Marshall's for a great price and the boys love them. (It's hard to get Aaron's in the wash. He has a hiding spot he puts it in after he wears it for the day!)

Yes, we were playing basketball in the driveway in the dark!

He posed like this all on his own! Oh my goodness!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Stubborn or Determined?

Have you ever thought about how someone's weakness can also be a strength? I have a boy in my house who is stubborn. I've been trying today to see the positive attributes that come along with being stubborn.

Perhaps a better word for stubborn is determined?

* When this boy decides to learn something new, there is NOTHING that can stop him. It doesn't matter what others think. It doesn't matter if he gets hurt. Nothing matters except for accomplishing a goal he has set for himself. For example, he learned to crawl at 6 months and walk at 9 1/2 months. Nothing would stop him. When he decided to learn to ride his bike without training wheels, he was determined to do it no matter how many times he fell. I could go on and on listing examples... snapping, diving, handstands, etc.  In his adulthood, I am hoping and praying this trait really serves him well! I can't wait to see how God will use this God-given trait of determination.

* Unfortunately, when he decides he doesn't want to do something, that strength can become a weakness. For example, since we started back up with school he has refused to do his school work nearly every day.  Sometimes the stand off only lasts until 2pm and then he kicks into gear. Other days like today, he has been refusing since 8:30 this morning and is just beginning to do his work thinking he will get to go outside in the snow. (Ummm... sorry buddy, it's almost 6:00 and it's too dark.) I can't believe he has held out this long. It's an obedience issue that we are working on with appropriate consequences. (And don't worry, he eventually does his work even if it takes until bedtime.) However, it is so hard to see him struggling internally with whether to "give in" or stand firm in his stubbornness. And ultimately, I believe that this sin of disobedience strains his relationship with God until he obeys and repents. It's not so great on our relationship either!

Oh Lord, I pray that he would grow to love You and be determined to walk closely with you and turn from his sin and disobedience. Help me to be slow to anger and abounding in love!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I think it's only fitting that I pop back in here to say hi! after being on a hiatus for exactly one month. Well, I wasn't actually on a hiatus from blogging (click HERE) and a mom is never on a hiatus from anything, but there was simply no time or energy for this blog.

Nutshell on life:
Christmas was awesome! Probably the best ever. It was exhausting, but I was actually present and not caught up in my to do lists (since I worked like a crazy lady in November/early December). Having Irina here with us was life changing. Wonderful, hard, exciting, and so worth all the tears when she left. It was a time of being stretched and depending fully on the Lord for every step. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Things were simpler, but more complicated all at once. Is that even possible? There was so much more harmony among the kids in our house with her here.

We spent the first week and a half after she left battling the flu, AGAIN! I'm not lying when I say that we are generally VERY healthy people. Sure we get a cold here or there, but they are usually short lived. This flu business is for the birds! The blessing in our sickness was this: the boys and I were all sick at the same time. Might not sound like a blessing, but we spent almost 3 days napping and resting together all day and then sleeping all night. Never in my life have the boys been still enough to sleep all day and still sleep at night. They are usually extremely active, but we were wiped out! I couldn't plan lessons. I couldn't clean. I couldn't fold laundry. I couldn't plan meals. I couldn't make meals. None of us had an appetite. And then when our appetites finally returned, very special friends brought us dinner (un-prompted!!!) Which left lots of time for me to pray and process our time with Irina and do lots of reading (all when I wasn't sleeping or getting the boys more tissues or water.)

We started our second semester of school with very little fanfare. The hours I intended to spend planning for the start of our year were used up crying because Irina was gone or laying in bed like a weakling with the flu. All my grand plans got thrown out the window. Maybe I'll get to them soon? This was good for my humility. For two of my kiddos, the start has been great. They've approached their school work with gusto and I haven't noticed a huge fall in skills due to our long break when Irina was here. Hooray! For one of my kiddos, the start back to school has been miserable. He flat out refuses to do school and this pains me. He has had almost all his favorite things taken away. He has missed out on lots of fun activities and he knows he is disobeying. He still refuses. I'm not sure when he will give in. He is very strong willed and obstinate. The "principal" has been very involved and there have been meetings and lots of support. So far no change. Pray for his little heart and my patience! (Only 73 days left of our curriculum this year. yeah!)

By the way....breaking news... a playmobil toy flip flop DOES indeed fit up the nose of a four year old child. It just doesn't come out very easily. Two adults, two pairs of tweezers and a flash light were the tools it took to extract the said blue flip flop from the nose. When Aaron kept crying and saying IT wouldn't come out, I thought he was referring to a big boogie. I gave him all sorts of tips to blow "it" out. I never guessed "it" was a flip flop until he tilted his head and I saw blue. Boys are fun!

Finally, my favorite quote from the Community Bible Study commentary last week:
"Think about how God responds to people's individual needs. He does not have a standard response, nor is He arbitrary. On the basis of His infinite knowledge and love for each person, He meets needs in as many different ways as there are people. We have observed how Jesus healed the nobleman's son from a distance, and how He gave a man the power to walk when he had given up hope long ago. Here we see Him place clay on a beggar's eyes and command him to somehow find his way to a specific pool for cleansing and complete healing. Was Jesus testing the man's desire to see again? Or did He know, perhaps, that for this man, the impact of the miracle would be greatest if he had to obey?

We have seen Jesus meet a need when there was no request, no acknowledgment of Him, and little observable faith. Yet with others He required an act of obedience. Is your desire for completeness so intense that you are willing to obey regardless of the momentary personal cost? Do you trust Jesus to know best how to meet your needs?"

And that my friends is where I need to be at the start to 2013... knowing and trusting that He will meet my needs and being obedient in whatever He is asking me to do.