Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas with the Family

On Christmas day we took a trip to a "Mystery Destination" to enjoy Christmas dinner and exchange presents. A sweet couple in our church literally asked MIL and FIL if they could host the whole fam Christmas Day. MIL and FIL packed us all into cars and we were surprised when we pulled into their drive! They have a be-u-ti-ful huge house (okay so it's a mansion.......seriously.) and we sure enjoyed pretending like it was our home for the night. In fact, we felt so at home it DID feel like our own home. It.Was.Wonderful.

We ate a fantastic dinner...

Sang together with the whole family....

Watched FIL blow the Shofar... Ha ha ha ha ha

Played a few games...

And plum enjoyed being together! Here's the sibling/spouse line up:
Joel and I

Jason and Melody

Bret and Beka

Chris and Diana. Okay so I forgot to get a pic of Josh....Here he is in the pic of the whole gang...

This is literally a Christmas miracle! 13 Kiddos all happy and everyone smiling....Perfect!

And almost all of the above picture began with these two here. MIL and FIL. Gotta love 'em.

A good time was had by all!

Christmas card photo shoot

Here we are posing for Missionary Dan Canavan who was gracious enough to get us all smiling after a long day. He has the same camera that I have recently aquired and even gave some helpful tips!

Isaac-9, Abigail-8, Caleb-5, Nathan-4, Anna-2

The blue-green paci really makes the pic, wouldn't you say?

Okay this table shot looked better through the lense of the camera, but it was worth a shot.....

And cuddos to Hubby who was a very cheerful prop man...

Alayna Ruth- a whopping 6 months old already!

This was NOT my idea, it was Joel's, but I was glad to help with the staging of it! A quote comes to mind, "The best gift parents can give their children is a happy marriage."

Amen to that.

No, that is not mistletoe, it's holly and notice the kids faces that Joel got them to make....

This so should have gone on the Christmas cards!

Monday, December 21, 2009

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

It's coming on Christmas and this year, the first year in, well


I have NOT wanted a gift of any kind or shape. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Stop looking at me like that...I am serious. Not even food items. Nope. For some reason I just do not want anything at all. And so as the day draws closer and sweet kiddos and Hubby find something to wrap for me even though I told them I had need of nothing, I am reminded of a couple who gave and was reminded myself of what I am giving everyday.

By this time you surely have heard preaching, teaching, and even songs regarding Mary and Joseph. Sometimes we skim over them and listen halfheartedly letting our minds wander to what is important. You know, like picking up that extra tub of cool whip for tomorrow's dessert.

We are just so shallow these days.

And well, while I was half listening to a story about Mary and Joseph the Holy Spirit broke into my invisible shopping list in my mind and halted everything. According to the Bible, Mary and Joseph brought an offering to the temple when presenting Jesus 8 days after his birth.

Remember what it was???

(Final Jeopardy music..........Do do do do do do do, do do do do, DO, do do do do do..)

Still guessing????

2 Turtle doves. (refrain from now adding to this statement....And a Partridge in a Pear Tree...)

2 Turtle doves. The Poor man's offering. Over and over again in Scripture the Bible uses the base things. 1Co 1:28 "And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:" Things that are less than the status quo, or up to the world's standards.

1Co 1:27 " But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

He uses these things to "confound" or to "dishonor" or "shame" the things that are "mighty." In seemingly simple things throughout the Bible He gains glory. I for one just love this idea. I have always rooted for the underdog, and sought to look "outside the box" at things. I like finding joy, humor and beauty in the things that the world passes by. This may be why I have recently found such enjoyment in photography.

Everyone can photograph say, a house. But not everyone photographs the steps, let's say. Not everyone zeros in on the pile of shoes littering the back porch steps which speak volumes in regards to the liveliness of the home, the character of the one's residing in it.

So me in my deep thinking look at Mary and Joseph again and their two Turtle doves. The Poor man's offering.

And I zero in on my own life. Is their small Christmas offering shaming mine?

In the world in which we who read this blog live we cannot honestly say we are poor. We have, the lot of us, fallen sadly into the category mentioned in Revelation when it reads:

Re 3:17 "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"

And then it hit me.

I am the one this Christmas who is rich, increased with goods and have need of....nothing.

Take a moment, friend of mine and ask yourself what you truly have NEED of. Go ahead. I'll be here when you are done.

Did you come to the same conclusion as I??

We scramble to find something to fill the kids stockings and fret when we have only 4 presents per child. We search the stores for that one unique thing made no doubt in China for goodness sake, to grace the Grandparents wall or table just to have something to "Wow" them because it IS Christmas after all! We rack our brains trying to think of something Witty and brilliant to give to our parents or friends or spouse and search the Internet for ideas, books and even begin to think that the silly t.v. infomercials actually look good because we must have SOMETHING to wrap.

When was the last time you met a NEED? You cannot even remember, can you?? As Americans our proverbial stocking is bursting at the seams, spilling over with a boatload of junk. Yes I said junk.

We have need of nothing. And I think we break God's heart because He is the only one who knows how truly poor we are.

And to make matters worse we come to God with our million dollar smile and bring Him our offering.....

Two Turtle doves.

We are the richest nation on Earth and yet we bring God, the Creator of everything, the poorest offering we can give.


Doesn't God, our heavenly Father deserve the rich man's offering??? Does He not deserve every single solitary thing we have to offer?

He doesn't want your three second prayer over peanut butter an jelly with the kids because you have other important things to do while they eat. He doesn't want your time reading His word out of guilt because you have been so busy these days. He doesn't want your half-hearted singing at the Christmas Eve service as you eye the crowd wondering if anyone notices you and your nice looking family.

He doesn't want your two Turtle doves.

He doesn't want your spare change. He isn't the salvation army man ringing His bell to get your attention to remember to throw Him just a little something.

He just sadly waits.

He waits for you and I to take a moment like I did tonight and confess that we have need of nothing.

He wants us to remember the story of the woman in 2 Kings 4 who was sent out to fetch vessels for oil. Remember with me that she had a debt to pay. God, through the prophet Elijah, told her to borrow vessels and not a few. She was instructed to take them into her house, close the door and begin pouring out. The Bible says that:

2Ki 4:6 "And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed."

That last part is the key..."and the oil stayed." Somewhere in her pot gathering she looked at her pile and said to herself, "These are enough." She was satisfied with what she had gathered, yet God's blessing was only hindered by her faith in not gathering more pots.

She did not NEED anymore.

Have you enough of God to suit you?

In this sinful world we need reminded that we are poor, miserable wretched and blind and naked......

without God.

We put Him on the shelf next to our Nativity scene and carry on with out shopping for more things only to realize that the most important thing in our lives is Him, and we will only have as much of Him as vessels we borrow.

He will pour into our lives as long as we want Him to. The trouble is that most often we are so increased with goods that we let the sweet oil of the Holy Spirit "stay," when we should be offering Him another vessel in our lives to fill.

God wants the offering of our lives. The greatest offering we can lift to Him to use. And the time to be used is now, when so many around us are possibly the closest to finding Him than ever. Christmas.

Forget the gifts. This Christmas hold an empty pot heavenward and once it is filled, let some of it spill over onto your neighbors and co-workers, store workers, mailman, to everyone who needs the Gift Christ came to be to them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have Yourself and Merry Little Meltdown....

Yes it's THAT time of year again folks.

When you hear shouts like, "I'm gonna suff-a-kate you!" coming from behind closed doors and yet you do absolutely nothing about it.

You see way back yonder in November you decided, quite vehemently I might add.... that you would NOT fall prey to the Holiday financial fiasco.

Nay....... you sat and sipped your Pumpkin Spice Latte while visions of girls matching cranberry corduroy dresses danced in your head. You were going to have a "Homespun" Christmas this year you retorted. We have taken out Santa, but we will add SO.MUCH.FAMILY-NESS that the children will smile at Wal mart when confronted with the question, "What is Santa bringing you this year?" and say, "Santa??? Santa who?" and then proceed to pontificate how THEY have kept CHRIST in Christmas this year. Christmas is in their heart, and they celebrate it all year long. They will then burst into some somber Christmas carol amidst falling prey to workers begging, "What must I do to be saved???"

And then after you spend way more in Jo-Ann fabrics than you would if you had bought the silly plastic toys, after you care for sick kiddos day in and day out, miss one too many date nights, serve spaghetti again for yet another dinner, realize that you do NOT have any more black thread because someone conveniently vacuumed it ALL UP and thoughtfully left you the spool,

You realize that the plans you once had are now like the froth on the top of that latte............FULL.OF.FLUFF.

You turn into someone you do not even recognize and check your licence one, two, three times a day to just make sure it does not read: Martha Stewart.

You pour over the sewing machine, wiping the tears off of it every so often, try to convince your 2 year old that we will sing when it is Jesus' birthday and not anytime before then. Singing happy birthday to Him now only reminds you of how many fewer days there are to get a LOT.OF.THINGS done. You sometimes find yourself in some have comatose state singing old familiar Christmas carols yet substituting the words with words like, "Fray check," and "seam ripper."

You spend countless hours sweeping the house to find that Jo-Ann 20% off coupon that you KNOW you JUST HAD like the woman in the Bible, and find that the house fills itself with more "demons" in the form of craft projects that you stuffed under the bed that you forgot you wanted so badly to do with the kids. You peek to the left and right. No kids watching. You then proceed to SHOVE them BACK under the bed. You sigh, you smile. In fact besides that pint of cookies and cream ice cream a night or two ago you have not felt this good IN WEEKS.

You tell yourself that you are going to get up earlier, stay up later. UTILIZE This time. You lie. You spend the evening in bed early covered in magazines with titles like, "The Bible Cure for Anxiety," and mumble something about homemade granola to your Husband. You wish you had "Just a minute," tattooed on your forehead which is presently now sporting another gray hair.

You become...........


Your sweet husband trying to add some humor to your life cuts the boys hair in a Mohawk and leaves it like that just for a few moments so you can see it and laugh. You don't. There is nary a bit of humor left in you.......

Or is there? :)

Date night is tomorrow. Hope is on the horizon. We could all convert to Judaism just to give us Hanukkah which would, in turn, allow us to just spread Christmas all the way until January 5th.

Or not.

Merry Meltdown to all and to all...... a good night.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Peanut Butter Jar...... and me

Forgive me, I am back again today in a real writing spurt apparently, and I am going to throw out some marriage mush......... so this is your warning. You can stop now and go get a snack, take a walk, or sit and not begrudge me a little chat on true love here on Haywood.

You stayin' or gettin' outta here??

Well Ok then. :) A little mush never hurt anyone.

My husband like YOUR husband has his quirks: Singing to a song playing on a CD in the car when he for sure does not remember more than the first line for instance. Now one would think we would stop there and let others enjoy the song since those who recorded it DO obviously know the words and we can learn them from them....


We continue singing anywhoo, throwing in words that SOUND like the real words being used.


"I long to see your face" becomes "I long" Now I would not entirely include this when arguments arise regarding the issue of "speaking in tongues," but it is a close second.

How about parking in a DO NOT PARK zone for "just a sec" to run into a store to apparently do something important, leaving......... you guessed it...ME in the front seat to wave and smile at those who care to show me by facial expressions what they think of my decision to sit my car where it should not be as they drive past.

Yeah, I hear your wheels are thinking of your own husband's quirks too aren't ya??

Well last night set me up for this post. Isaac was finishing up making the lunches for school today and got to the end of the peanut butter jar. Now I must insert that in normal homes this scenario would be followed by the peanut butter jar making a short trip to the garbage, end of story.

Nay my friends. Not here on Haywood.

Sooner than you can say "Rumplesnort," my Husband instructed Isaac to be sure to put the jar in the sink to be washed.

Yes you heard that right. W-A-S-H-E-D.

And no, Aldi's peanut butter jars have not suddenly become collector's items. We wash them to keep them because you just never know when you will need one of them to put nails, or other things into. Or so Hubby tells me.

So today I got the jar open and commenced scrubbing. Not only do your hands get all greasy from the peanut oil, but the wrapper begins to peel off so you just can't leave it half on and half off, SO THEN you have to scratch it with your nail to get the rest off, followed by a tidal wave of soap and hot water (because it has to be near scalding to get the smell and oil out of it) hitting your shirt as you plunge your washcloth into it to scrub it.

In the time it takes to clean out a peanut butter jar I KNOW I can consume a lot of something smothered in caramel.

For sure on that.

So WHY on earth do I scrub the nasty peanut butter jar??

I am glad you asked.

I scrub the peanut butter jar because I love my husband. I scrub the peanut butter jar because it makes him happy. I scrub the peanut butter jar because I prefer my husband over myself.

Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Finding something to smother with caramel takes no effort on my part. Scrubbing the peanut butter jar does.

Doing something that I like to do for my own benefit takes no act of my will to do it. Scrubbing the peanut butter jar does.

You gettin' it?

When I said "I Do." Inadvertently I was also saying "I will." I will love you enough to pick up your socks. I will love you enough to chase your hoodlums around the house til 4:30, when I will have dinner hot and ready and on the table like you like it.

Jeanette Oake has nothin' on me here on Haywood. You can read all the "Love Comes Swift, Soft, Sullen" or WHATEVER you like, and you will still never touch what we have goin' on here on Haywood friends.

Real love is choosing to scrub the peanut butter jar. I Corinthians 13 tells us that love "seeketh not her own," and "beareth all things." For Pete's sake that has to include the peanut butter jar.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a die hard romantic. Just ask my friend Tammy. :) But I am a practical romantic. Love is doing things to help the one you love for no other reason but to help them. And you know I don't really even need a reason or explanation to scrub the peanut butter jar. I need to do it because of the love I have for my husband.

Laugh if you will, but the truth is that love comes in many different acts of kindness towards your spouse. Remember will you that love is an action and to Jeanette Oake's chagrin not a feeling. If I had "fallen into love," when the peanut butter jar arrived, I would have fallen into a bowl of ice cream with caramel sauce instead. I decided to love my husband and so I decided to clean yet another peanut butter jar.

And if you are ever in the area and have a handful of nails.......we got ya covered.

Picture Post

Enjoy some pictures from our latest photo shoot with me, of course, pretending to be a good photographer...... well at least I am affordable. :) Looking over these again to upload them I am reminded what cuties God has blessed me with. A little biased yes I know. :)

Ps 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Divine Appointments

It is late, I am ti-red, but I HAVE to jot this evening down for you all to hear about before I turn in for the night. Tonight was A-MA-ZING.......amazing, simple as that. And it all started with me choosing Isaac to go late night grocery shopping with me.

I had meant to get out earlier in the day, but you know how it goes....... with a Dr.'s appointment for your 5 month old who now has acquired pink eye, 2 of the rest of your chillins needing extra attention and you deciding mid-day that today you are going to do the "Once a Month" cooking thing and not only have to plan your menu according to what is on sale, but you have to also total up ALL of the bazillion ingredients that you need to prepare all 30 meals at the same time.... when you eventually DO get around to shopping! The day just whistles by and you know you have to get out and get the shopping done but you just don't want to. But alas, I peeled myself out of the blue chair....which by the way is on it's last spring, leg, whatever. Anyone want to start a "Lazy boy fund" for little ole' me raise your hand......

I chose Isaac for many reasons. 1. He is a hard, good worker. 2. Ok, so maybe I just chose him for one reason alone. When you do take Isaac anywhere for anything for any length of time you must be prepared to listen and listen and listen and then listen some more. Yes he is like me in that regard and yes I have called and thanked my own Mother for loving me even though I could talk the hind leg off a mule. So talk he did and listen I did, interjecting when possible the scripture in Proverbs which reminds us that wise people and people worth listening to are like a deep well. I look at Isaac to make sure this is sinking in and tell him that people who spill words everywhere usually don't really have much wisdom or much to listen to. It is those whom you have to draw words out of that are worth the listening. We create a "code" amongst ourselves. An action that I can do when around him to remind him to zip the lip without him being embarrassed by some less kind person asking him to "for goodness sake stop talking." No I refuse to describe to you what action it is that we covenanted together on. Besides, if I told you then I would have to kill you anyway. Back to the shopping trip....

We first high tail it out to Rulli Bros. which is a really neat and cheap meat and produce market. We have fun here trying to see how fast we can shop and consequently how far we can slide on the freshly waxed floor pushing the buggy. He wins. On our way out of the store a black lady remarks on what a help Isaac must be to me. I smile my usual smile at that kind of remark and give Isaac the usual "you know I love ya" pat on the shoulder for just such an occasion. After my things are loaded in the van Isaac takes it upon himself to help this woman with her things and then takes her cart back for her. This woman was SO excited by this gesture that she gave him a dollar, which we tried ample times to refuse. It was no use, this woman had some serious zeal and would not be disparaged the blessing of blessing us....and loudly at that. She kept yelling to me in the van how glad she was that I was training Isaac to be a man and teaching him that if he wanted money he had to earn it...and so on and so forth. The BEST part was upon us driving off. As we waved "Goodbye" she yelled to me,

"You are doin' such a good job you should......should just kiss yourself on the arm!"

And just so I would know persactly what she meant.....she showed me and kissed her own arm.

Man I love my life.

Isaac and I had never laughed so hard for so long, and we laugh a LOT so that is really saying something. On our way to the next store Isaac said something to me about how nice that lady was and how he will probably never meet someone that nice again. Our conversation then went something like this:

Me: Oh I bet we will meet someone again like that. The world is full of them.

Isaac: Yeah, but we will probably be too busy to run into them and talk to them.

Me: Well, the neat thing is that God has divine appointments for us. If it is His will, He will put people in our path to speak to or encourage in some way.

So on we went to Aldi's next which was just about to close. With me doing this "Once a Month" cooking thing our cart was a sight to behold. Both of us still had trouble maneuvering it and were almost giggling when we checked-out. We ended up being the last customer because we let a lady go ahead of our "leaning tower of canned goods," and so two checkers and us began to talk.

At first it was about nothing really. Then they began to open up to us and even weep over some real trials they were having. I just could not stand it. I encouraged them as the spirit would prompt and then I just threw tact out the window and bear hugged this perfect stranger while she held the drawer full of money to put away. I hugged her until she knew I really cared. We had such a wonderful time talking that I didn't want to leave. I wanted to press them about their salvation but did not have peace to do so. I left them a bit of God's wonderful love and feel led to go and see them again in a few days. Pray for that next meeting, would you?

THEN, we went to Wal-mart. We were just reveling in the fact that God had filled our night with amazing and funny stories when we pulled in the parking lot. As I parked I asked Isaac if he would pray that God would let us speak to someone else here, and so he prayed. We "Amened" and jumped out hoping to see a lady named "Shirley" who is a greeter whom we have basically adopted as family. I have been working with her, sowing seeds of God's love and mercy and cannot wait until we see a little sprout. We are close. We didn't see her on the way in, but we saw her on the way out. We talked and laughed and I hugged her and told her that we loved her, and I do. Isaac in his Motherly cornball way said, "We Surely love you Shirley!" And we left thanking God for yet another appointment right AFTER we treated ourselves to a candy bar via the nice black woman. :)

As we pushed the cart out I looked Isaac square in the eye and asked him to remember something long after I am gone. I told him "Everyone needs love. Some a little and some a lot, but everyone needs it." He nodded and told me he would remember.

Then our last stop was Walgreens to pick up some things to help Dad and his terrible sore throat. While in the isle a hilarious Spanish Christmas song came on. Well that is the only way I can describe it! Isaac and I looked at each other and simultaneously broke out in what we call "Anna's jig." It involves sticking your tongue out a little and clasping your hands almost like you are praying and bobbing up and down.........yeah I can't explain it.....take my word for it, IT IS A HOOT. Whenever Anna feels the need to do her jig, she goes in my room and hides to do it and we all die laughing when we find her!!!!!!! So jig we did right there in the cold and flu isle.

I love my crazy life.

And I love the fact that Isaac and I are so much alike that we can "tag team talk" telling Dad all about the evening's episodes while unpacking groceries, each one picking up where the other left off!

Thank you God for our many divine appointments tonight!!! Isaac kissed me goodnight and said,

" Tuesday then??" with a cute raised eyebrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hiatus and Beyond

Hello all. To tell you every ounce of my life since I began a computer and Internet hiatus would take a zillion posts. Suffice to say that due to several accidents, hubby's computer and mine went kaput. Just this last week we replaced broken parts and are back on the airwaves coming to a home near you. The break was good for us all. I, who once was a face book junkie, is now realizing how liberating it is to be Internet free every so often. Lovely actually. The Internet is like Disney World. It Wow's you and you jump on for a ride or two or three or a bazillion (ha ha no red that ACTUALLY a word??) and then you realize that this is a make believe world and long for real life again. You get off, get out into the real world, look back and say to yourself, "Why on Earth did I waste so much of my life on that stupid tea cup ride??" You shrug your shoulders and go on to loads of laundry and the neighbor battling cancer who needs a shoulder.

Don't get me wrong. I still love to write. And though a few brave souls have commented to me how much they enjoy it or get a laugh from it, the truth is that my blurbs are like those paintings that look better from a far off. The closer you get the more messed up they become. :) life has been busy. I have taken on a new hatred for the phone. If you want to drop me a line or come over for a cup of Earl Grey or Sleepytime...... go for it. If you want to call me, think again. My world is too crazy right now, and I have too many who make like banshees when they see me reach for the handset.

I will give you an update on Alayna, for those wondering. She is marvelously sweet and squishy at her 14 plus pounds and today she is persactly 5 months old. Her peach fuzzy headed self is just the most precious thing to us here on Haywood. Sometimes we just sit and look at her and thank the Lord again for the miracle that she is and for leaving me here to enjoy moments like these. She is physically behind for her age which is expected, but mentally and socially she is coming along fine. I will tell you that she is already a talker and will goo at you trying desperately to tell you something........and though we cannot understand what she is saying, I am beginning to think by the look in her eye that she is asking me to eat a lot more caramel for her....... Okay perhaps that is just me.

I trust you all are fairing well. God is good, heaven is a day closer to enjoying, and family is the most precious thing that we have here on Earth. I learned this lesson again yesterday evening celebrating another Thanksgiving with my side of the fam. We are all as different as night and day. We even look so much different from one another. Yet I looked around as we were playing a game and reminded myself that this was MY FAMILY. We all have a unique bond that no one else shares with us. We have stories and memories that will last a lifetime that are only funny to us, like the time Denise snuck out on Christmas Eve, anxious to see what Santa, who, by the way, had the same handwriting as my Mom, brought her. She climbed up on a chair to get to the top of a stack of presents and........KABOOM landed smack dab on her Cabbage Patch doll. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! Then there were the ferrets Dawn insisted on having which brought with them a multitude of friends which will forever be called the "de Leon Flee Circus." Or Frankie singing "Jingle Bells" for my uncle as he videoed him swinging his arm and bellowing out the words, pausing only long enough to wipe his runny nose on his sleeve between verses. And no de Leon stories are complete without tall tales of Grandma Barnum crying over her beloved spoon blessed by the Pope, or of her stop dropping and rolling in the mud puddle in front of our house RIGHT before she was to leave for a special dinner for her Anniversary. Yes it was hilarious and YES she was wearing all white, and yes we kiddos stood at the front window and laughed until we cried. Actually we still do that in fact.

Of course there are stories about little 'ole me in the mix as well. More famous ones involve me saying the Pledge of Allegiance for ANYONE at ANYTIME, and eating my sister's chap stick that she just got for Christmas behind the couch because they smelled like food. Yes it has always been about the food and yes Christmas just brings out the hilarious in my side of the bunch.

Anyway you can imagine just how hard we were laughing last night and how good and therapeutic it was for all of us. We laughed until we began to hug each other and realize that there is still a strong cord that binds us together that nothing can ever sever. These people are MY people and I love them.

Youngest to oldest, or what we like to say is, tallest to smallest! Frankie, Me, Denise and Dawn.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bringing the Glorious into the Mundane

Recently my mind is filled with quotes that I have heard and held onto. One of them was given as a response to a woman asking another woman how she finds time in her overloaded schedule to draw near to God. She replied,

"By bringing the Glorious into the mundane."

This reminded me of the mental picture I have of Susanna Wesley, since the time I first heard that she would sit with her apron thrown over her head in the midst of a long day to take a moment to meet with the Lord.

And this quote and this picture made me remember that I need communion with the Lord everyday, everywhere.

Like possibly some of you I have longed for a quiet long period of time with the Lord lately. I go about my day wishing for this respite and forgetting that He IS with me and I can go to him anywhere at anytime. "Bringing the Glorious into the mundane" is nothing new. The Holy Spirit is with us in the mundane everyday already. He is there while you work with your 2 year old, trying relentlessly to get her to see her need to go on the potty. He is reminding you that you still have dishes on the stove that need washing, when you thought you were finished. He is listening to you muse on something someone said to you at church last night while you fold yet another load of laundry.

"Bringing the Glorious into the mundane" is just tapping into a deep brook that is already at your disposal.

If we are honest with ourselves, truly honest, we sometimes feel like we have a list of obligations to fill. Being a "need meeter" is a fun, tiresome, worthwhile task. The problem comes when we add our relationship with the Lord along with our "Things to do today" list and find him sandwiched in between "ironing" and "packing school lunches." We begin to look at time with the Lord as somethings to be "completed" or checked off of our list so we can smile at the end of the day and feel like we have all of our "ducks in a row" so to speak. We have conquered another day. We are on top of things and we feel a sense of accomplishment.

I have a small ring of good friends. You know the type. They have been with me forever, know my faults and shortcomings but act like I am the sweetest thing that ever walked the earth. In some wonderful way they actually believe that I am something special, and in turn, I them. And as is usually the case with these good friends, you never get to see them as often as you would like to, but when you DO see them, you fall all over them and just seek to find the first thing to sit down on so you can talk each other's ears off completely. There is never time enough to tell them, in only the way that you can, how much has been going on in your life. You can begin with present day and in the same breath laugh with them about something you just remembered from years ago. Time seems to speed by and all too soon you are in the driveway waving them "goodbye," missing them unbearably and watching them go until their car is no longer visible.

Sometimes we look at God as a friend who is visiting this afternoon at such and such a time. He will only be here for a short time and we must cram all of our thoughts, ideas, excitement, worry and the like, into a small chunk of "allotted" time.

Why do we do that????

I will interject here that I do believe that we need long periods of time with God. Time where we are still and silent and we wait on Him. I believe that we need to get into our Bibles each day and pray longer than a prayer thanking God over oatmeal with one eye open watching for anyone eating too soon.

My bone to pick is with the one who started calling the time we meet with God, "quiet time." You know, "I need my quiet time with the Lord." "I'll do that after I have my quiet time with the Lord." "This is where I have my quiet time with God." AGAIN, I do believe that there should be moments where we are still before the Lord, but the emphasis on a "quiet time" pushes us to believe that that is the ONLY time we can meet with God. The only time we can think of Him, talk to Him, think on His Word, etc. Goodness knows that in this small house on Haywood, there ain't a whole lotta quiet goin' on. There have been times when the Lord woke me very early in the morning and I listened, prayed and was thankful for it, but for the most part I am seeking His voice amidst children, cleaning and laundry.

We also feel such a guilt as a Mom if we have not been able to have a desired spot, a haven where the birds are chirping out our bedroom window, where the sun illuminates the pages of our Bible, and where if we strain, we can faintly hear the angelic choir lifting "Hosanna's" to the Lord.

Daily prayer and Bible reading might look more like, "One child on your knee, a broken down blue chair, continual wiping of a nose and covering of a cough leading you to accidentally bump the page you were on and turning you to somewhere in Revelation."

How totally "UNHOLY." Right?

Why is this not a normal portrayal of a daily walk with the Lord? I guarantee you that if you happened upon Mrs. Wesley sitting covered in her own apron, it would not strike you as a "Divine appointment" either.......but it was, and it is, and apart from this time in your day, there are wonderfully many more hours and minutes and seconds that God is there, willing to listen and available!

I have told you before how the Holy Spirit prompted me while I was ironing. That was the "Glorious meeting me in the mundane."

How upset I would be, and saddened if Joel waited for some "perfect situation" to seek my company. The kids needed to be dressed a certain way, the house needed to be in a certain order, the dinner ready, and of course I needed my best hair day and make-up to enjoy his presence.

No, I love that kiss goodbye in the morning. That quick word of encouragement from him telling me that he just knows that I can get that skirt done if I put my mind to it. I love that call after his last class wraps-up, just seeing how my day has been, or telling me something he was thinking about, or asking me to have some work clothes ready for him so he can stop by and pick them up on his way to fix a bus at the shop. All throughout the day I am talking to him, laughing with him, waiting on his call, or calling him myself. You know we DO have a scheduled time to meet. Every Thursday night we have a "date night" where we sit and take time out for just us. And sometimes we are just quiet and enjoy each other's company. I cannot imagine what our relationship would be like if we waited for this time ONLY to meet with each other, or if I felt like I HAD to meet with him or he me for that matter! But in order to cultivate my relationship with him I need to meet with him in the midst of my crazy day, several times a day.

How much more does the Lord, the one who knew us before we were even born, want to speak with us, spend time with us, enjoy our company. How much more should we desire HIS?

I challenge you to look for ways to bring the "Glorious into your mundane." Throw out your Spiritual "To Do" list and begin a new.

The mundane never looked so exciting, huh? :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mater 101

This is mostly for Tam, but for anyone else who thinks canning is a daunting task. Folks if I can do it a monkey can! See, I will show you,

Roma tomatoes are excellent to use. Meaty and perfect

Blanch them in hot water for a minute, then transfer to cold water and the skins will just peel off.

This year we decided to just process them instead of using a Victrola strainer and they were fine.

Here are my peppers and onions cookin' until they are translucent, and then they also were thrown into the food processor.

Here are my spices and such goin' in...

I got such a kick out of the spoon standing straight up. By this time Joel is just rolling his eyes at the pics.....LOL

My POT...seriously one of the best gifts I have ever been given. Thanks Mom.

As you can see we filled 'er up to the brim!

Here are some jars ready to be transferred to the oven to keep warm..

Remember....."Hot jars, hot liquid, hot lids, hot water," and you will never go wrong!

Twenty minutes in a hot bath and they are ready to rest, and YOU are ready to have fun counting the "pops" as they seal.......

While you do THIS massive pile of dishes and such! :)

And while you are doing all of these things, surely ONE of your kiddos will be coloring their face with permanent marker........ it's all part of the canning process.

But it's all good!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Picture Post

I am Lov-ing hearing from you all! Thanks for stoping in and sayin' "Hello." I HAVE noticed some of you are poppin' in and not commenting and I want you to know that I noticed ! LOL Ten lashes with a wet noodle for you few! Just teasing. And the recipies....Mmmmmm many many thanks for those! Who doesn't love new recipes, huh?

I finally unloaded a ton of pics from the camera and thought you might like a peek. You all can see what we have been up to.

Last week we were able to spend a wonderfully relaxing evening with some friends of ours at their house and farm. They were nice enough to allow me to invite my whole family over for dinner. :-) Yes I really did, and yes they are some NICE folks.

I LOVE this picture and this lady. She accepts me, and has befriended me in a very special way.

These are their concord grapes which they gathered to make us some de-lish juice to accompany dinner.

Here's a small glimpse of their garden

One of their goats....I just love goats!!

A quaint view from their hayloft. I sat and wondered how many hours I could pass up here with a good book and a ton of kids snuggling with me. Just loved it!

We all felt so comfortable here......I so enjoy looking at this sight.

My widdle girlies one morning. What you don't know is that I was right in the middle of these cuties just before I wiggled out to take this picture. Is there anything sweeter than sleeping kids piled on you in the wee hours of the morning?

Laynie girl~!

Joel getting to feed Alayna at home for the first time. Look at Isaac kissing her head......precious!!

This is precious also. Uncle Greg relishing a moment with Alayna...

My view several times a day. I stand here and pray, praise God, and smile...often.