March 25, 2011


Today, I am amazed by the goodness of God to me.

Today, I am reminded of God's love for me.

Today, I am determined to enjoy every moment God has given to me.

Today, I want to show to others the same love God has shown to me.

"Today is not forever grace but amazing grace." Ann Voskamp

What will you do today? You are only given this one moment this one time. Will you make it count? Will you find a purpose for this moment?

Praying you all have a beautiful weekend celebrating the little blessings and moments God gives to you.

March 23, 2011

The Methods and Madness of Spring Cleaning

March and April are my spring cleaning months! Yes, I do spend two months spring cleaning. Actually, I spend the first half of March procrastinating and finally become motivated in the last half of the month! My Mr. pokes horrible fun at the way I spring clean. You see, I have accomplished most of the spring cleaning in both of the kids' bedrooms, but the rest of the house looks like an absolute wreck (only for the moment - I promise!)! The Mr. says that I don't really clean the room. I just take the mess from one room and put it in another! Does anyone else have that problem?
Well, today, I tackled the girls' room. It was quite messy because Miss E, the eldest, inherited her father's pack rat tendencies. The poor kiddo even offered to help clean, but I sent her outside so that I could throw stuff away! (Please don't tell my secret!) It's amazing what you find when you really begin to clean. For instance, I found where some certain someones (and we really aren't quite sure yet who they are) colored all over a part of the wall and dresser! Thank goodness for washable crayons and Clorox wipes! I am so glad I finished that job. Last week, I cleaned the boys' room and our bedroom. So, I am feeling very accomplished! :)
So, why, might you ask, do you stretch the spring cleaning all the way into April? Well, six people living in less than 1100 square feet of space make it quite difficult to keep everything clean for a long period of time. If you also throw homeschooling, teaching choir and a good dose of procrastination into the mix - tada! - it does take two months! Usually, in the month of March, I try to clean each room really well, but inevitably, I will not be able to finish or become overwhelmed, and so I leave what I don't accomplish in a reasonable amount of time for the month of April. Also, in April, as I finish up each room, I wash the walls and ceilings down. (Secret: I only do this because we have a wood stove, and it tends to build soot up on the walls and ceilings! If I did not have a wood stove, this would definitely not be a twice a year deal!)
Well, there is some of the methods and madness to my spring cleaning. I think it probably contains more madness than method, but it works for me! :) From what I hear, most everyone is doing theirs right now in some form or another. How do you spring clean? Do you have any nifty, time-saving ideas? I'd definitely love to hear about those. Would anybody want to come volunteer to finish mine? :)

March 22, 2011

Letting God Control My Day

Happy Tuesday, everyone! The mister and I had an amazingly wonderful weekend getaway and came back refreshed and ready to conquer the world! :) I also became an auntie again this weekend and have a brand new niece! All in all, a great weekend!
Have you ever come to the place where you have so many things you want to do and try that you know if you try them all at once, you will not succeed at any of them? That is where I am right now! I have several books that I would love to finish. There are several things that I have thought of that I'd like to begin doing for the Mr. so that I can let him know how special he is to me. I want to try a new idea my sister-in-law gave for incorporating the fruits of the Spirit in the kiddos' lives. I want to begin baking my own bread. I want to finish up some spring cleaning. I want there to be no clothes in the dirty laundry basket, and that, is just the very top of the long, long list!
I know if I tackle all of these at once, life will become a major disaster. My expectations will become impossible, and I will become an irratable grouch! I do feel like I have gained ground in that at least I recognize this! :) However, I realize I have so little time on earth, and I want to use every second to acccomplish something good and enjoy the time I am given.
I read this today in Stormie Omartian's Book of Prayer.
"Lord, I pray You would show me what work I am supposed to be doing. If it is something other than what I am doing now, reveal it to me. If it is something I am to do in addition to what I am already doing, show me that too. Whatever it is You have called me to do, b0th now and in the future, I pray You will give me the strength and energy to get it done well. May I find great fulfillment and satisfaction in every aspect of it, even the most difficult and unpleasant parts."
I am so thankful God gives reminders right when we need them. God gently reminded me that He has a plan for my day. I need to pray over my day, carefully and wisely choose what I believe God would want me to accomplish this day, and then be willing to change those plans if God opens up new opportunities later. There is no need to be overwhelmed by all that I want to accomplish. God is in control of every detail of my life - all the way down to whether I bake the bread or not! :) Now, if I could just remember this ALL DAY! :)
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
~Psalm 90:17~

March 17, 2011

The "Little Blessings" from This Week

This morning as I was driving into Twin for school, the kids and I were amazed at how beautiful the day was. It has been raining all week long, and today the sun finally came up shining. The rain had cleared the air and made the grass that was burned in last year's wildfire a brilliant green. The mountains looked as if we could reach out and touch them (even though they are almost a hundred miles away)! It was a beautiful, beautiful morning - the kind that makes you start counting your blessings - and so, I thought I'd share them with you.
I'm thankful for the blessing of creation and a God who made it just for me! Well, actually, I believe that He made it for Him and His glory, but what a wonderful God He is to share it with me and to display it in front of me and all around me each and every day!
I'm thankful for friends. I have so many friends who genuinely care about me and what's happening in my life. I realize that sounds somewhat selfish, but God did give us friends to help encourage us, and I'm so thankful for the great ones I have.
I'm thankful for God's protection. The mister ended up riding through the interstate median at 80 miles per hour yesterday in order to avoid a near accident. I am so thankful that God made him alert to what was about to happen and gave him a place to go. It makes me wonder how many times God has protected us, and we may not even realize it.
I'm thankful for God's Word, and it's practicality. I am studying the book of Ephesians in my quiet time, and it seems like every time I look into God's Word I am finding things that I can work on in every day life. It has kept me under conviction, but I'm thankful that God is working in my heart through His Word.
I'm thankful for unlimited long distance. :) All of my family lives on the other side of the United States - or close to it! :) I'm thankful that I can pick up the phone and call my mom and talk to her as much as I'd like. I like talking to you, too, Daddy! :) I'm thankful that my sister can pick up the phone and call me - every day - and that even though long distances separate us, she can still be my best friend. Ok...getting too mushy! :)
I'm thankful for my kiddos. What would I do without them? What would I laugh at (or should I put it a little more nicely and say laugh with)? How many things would I miss if I didn't have them to point them out to me? The blessing of children is absolutely indescribable!
I'm thankful for my mister! He is such a hard worker and wonderful provider, and yet, he still takes the time to make my day! He encourages me in my goals, and he never says anything negative when the house is topsy turvy. The words I most often hear are, "Well, the house is still standing, and every one is alive, so in my eyes, you did a great job today!" I LOVE HIM! :)
I'm thankful for weekend getaways. The mister and I get to take one this weekend. I'm especially thankful for the people who watch our kiddos so that we can go. There are very few souls out there who are brave enough to take them all at once! :)
As I was admiring the beautiful morning God gave us, I was also reminded of one more thing to be thankful for - the rain. Yes, my kiddos have driven me absolutely bonkers being indoors for so long, and yes, my entryway has a constant flow of mud in it, but if it had not rained, the air would not have been as crystal clear as it was this morning. The green grass would not have been as brilliant. The sunshine would not have been as dazzling. It made me think of life. Without the rain (trials) that comes into our lives, we would not see or appreciate the things God has blessed us with or the ways He is using us. We would not grow as close to Him. We would have no NEED of Him if we never had trials. Thankfully, this week, my biggest trial consisted only of four wild hoodlums running through the house - really not that big a trial at all! :) I pray that when the trials do come that my heart will still overflow with gratitude and thankfulness to my God who loves me and knows me and has my very best in His plans for me.
I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. I know I will! :) There is much to do before a weekend getaway, though, and so I shall say goodbye for the week. Have a blessed weekend and don't forget to count all the "little blessings" God has given you.

March 15, 2011

Ministering Grace to the Little Hearers

Well, our sunshine left and today we've had a dreary sort of day. It's been a cozy day, though - snuggled up in comfy stay-at-home clothes, homeschooling, reading books, drinking coffee and hot chocolate, watching a movie, spending some extra quiet time in God's Word. I have been continuing on my journey of looking for ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. Sometimes, it requires a stretch of the imagination, but I'm thinking maybe God did give us an imagination for a reason. :)
In the last couple of months, I came across the blog published by Ann VosKamp. She is an amazing, poetical writer and a deep thinker. She has also written the book One Thousand Gifts which I just purchased and finally had the chance to sit down and read a little of last night. Her emphasis in her blog and book is finding the everyday gifts in life and being thankful for them. I have been amazed at how many things there are to be thankful for when you begin to look for them.
Today, Ann posted this on her blog, and it made me really stop and think of how I look at my kiddos in everyday life. She said, "When did I start seeing children as commonplace and stop seeing motherhood as a holy place?" I have been so blessed with the gift of my kiddos, but why do I not see them that way? Life is such a gift - a beautiful, wonderful gift. I want my kiddos to know that their lives are valuable and precious to God and to me.
I began to be convicted especially of the words I speak to my kiddos and the way in which I speak them. My mission: to find as many Bible verses as I can that speak of words and the tongue and print them out and place them everywhere in the house. I do not want impatient words to come from my lips. I want my children to know that I am blessed because they are in my life. One of the best ways I can think of to accomplish this is by speaking words of encouragement and love - even when disciplining. Will I use my words to build up my little hearers and show them how important they are to me, or will I use my words to show them that are only commonplace children who usually get in the way of my plans? My prayer today is that I would let no corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth, but that I would use my mouth to edify and minister grace to my little hearers. (Ephesians 4:29) I want my children to know that they are not commonplace, ordinary kiddos, but rather, they and my mister are the most valuable and precious treasures I have in this life.

March 14, 2011

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

I love sunshiny days, and we finally had one today! Today, I have been reminded of how ordinary things, just like sunhine, can make an extraordinary life if you have the right perspective. For the last three weeks, I feel like I have been surviving from one thing to the next, juggling to keep it all together for just one more thing! It gets very tiring. I try hard not to let life get that way too often, but there are times when you don't plan for life to become so just does.
Today has been a much-needed return to the ordinary - homeschooling, cleaning house, doing the laundry, planning meals. Sometimes in doing these things over and over and over and over, we forget how much our family relies on the constancy and rhythm we provide. Our steadiness gives them the opportunity to experience an organized, uncluttered routine that gives security. In plain and simple words, the kiddos behave better, and the mister isn't grouchy! :)
My kiddos reminded me of how extraordinary the ordinary could be when they pointed out that almost every night last week we did not do our bedtime reading like we usually do. They missed it! I began to see how other things that I do (which are by no means very grand things) are missed by my family when they aren't done as usual! How blessed I am that God uses me to make my family's day special!
It is all based on perspective though. I can see that mound of laundry as yet another thing on the to-do list, or I can see it as an opportunity to prepare my family for their extraordinary day! I can see the meal preparation as a lot of work that is completely demolished in a short 30 minutes, or I can look forward to making my family's dinner time an extraordinary time to make memories, provide stability, celebrate the day's accomplishments and grow together in the Lord by memorizing Scripture and talking of Bible stories.
So, as I have tackled my house chores today (which seem insurmountable at this point), I have asked God to help me see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I have asked Him to give me a grateful heart for entrusting me with the opportunity to make my family's day! I have even tried to be thankful for all those ordinary interruptions that come while I'm trying to make the ordinary extraordinary! And you know what? Today's been a sunshiny day - inside and out! :)

March 10, 2011

The Gift of Music

This week has been another busy week! Wait...I think I say that about every week! Truly, though, this week has been busy. We live an hour away from our church and the school that I teach choir at, and we have driven there every single day this week, and we will drive there tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday! I will have spent approximately 16 hours on the road this week! That is CRAZY! However, I have really, really enjoyed the week. I have had the opportunity to help prepare our high school choir for a competition tomorrow. I have watched them blossom this week. Our practice today was amazing, and they sang from their hearts! I've also been able to work one on one with many of the students as I've helped them prepare for their personal performances in the competition! Tomorrow is the big day - competition day! The best day of the entire week because I have the opportunity to listen to individuals and groups sing all day long and give them comments to help them become better singers. It is so neat to see the improvement in the students from year to year! I am excited to hear them tomorrow!
My little Miss E also has her piano competition on Saturday. She has been practicing these two songs since Christmas and is doing quite well. The songs must be memorized, and that is the reason for so much practice. She is looking forward to playing. Mommy on the other hand gets so nervous for her that I almost throw up. I'd rather perform myself than have her perform! I guess I can empathize too well with that nerve thing that comes with performing! Thankfully, she is at that age where she doesn't get too nervous yet!
I am so thankful that God gave us the gift of music and that we can use it as a tool to give Him praise. I am also thankful that our school participates in a Christian competition so that we can sing music that has a true message. Our choir is singing an arrangement by Dan Forrest of "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross." The message of that song has become so beautiful to me as we have practiced it over and over. I love the words, "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!" You know that you are singing a meaningful, Spirit-filled song when after practicing it for several months, you are still brought to tears with the words you sing! For some reason, it struck me anew today that NO ONE has ever given his life to save me from anything - no one except for Jesus. NO ONE has ever loved me so much as He has!
I pray that God will use this song tomorrow to speak to many hearts in the room, but most of all, my own. I pray that I will give my soul, my life, my all daily to the One who showed me such an amazing, uncomparable love.

March 7, 2011


I think sometimes we say God loves us, but we forget how MUCH God loves us. Our pastor preached an amazing two messages yesterday that reminded me that I AM SO LOVED by God. I'm not just loved - I am LOVED with an everlasting, never failing, unconditional, measureless love, and the amazing thing is....He loved me FIRST!

All day today I have been thinking on the vastness of God's love for me.

He knew me and planned me, and yes, even loved me before time even began.

He redeemed me.

He called me by name.

He has a plan for me - a hope and a future - that is better than anything I could ever imagine!

He will not leave me.

I am PRECIOUS in His sight.

He gave His Son to take my punishment.

He is faithful to me. His mercies are new every morning.

He comforts me.

He rejoices over me!

To think on these things - to REALLY think on these things - leaves me amazed and humbled by God's love for me. How can I ever repay such a love as this? I cannot. I can only humbly offer my life back to Him to use as He pleases just as the woman who sat at Jesus' feet and washed them gently with HER TEARS! What a picture of brokeness! What a beautiful picture of human love being offered as best as possible to the Lord and Savior. Jesus said her sins were forgiven because she loved much.

God, help me to never forget how much You love me, how much You sacrificed to show Your love for me, how much You have forgiven me of. I am loved, but with that love comes the opportunity to love much in return. Do not let me be guilty of returning such love with complacency or self-satisfaction. Help me, God, to love You much!

March 5, 2011

A Perfect Saturday Morning

I love lazy Saturday mornings at home. Unfortunately, because the mister has a small business of his own on top of his usual 40 hour work week, we don't get a lot of lazy Saturday mornings. Here lately, we've been able to have more of them, and I have decided that I LOVE THEM! :)
For some unknown reason, all the kiddos slept until 9 AM! That hasn't happened in a long time. The mister and I snuggled under the covers and talked about life - whether or not to start building our house on our own, when we could go snowmobiling again, if we should buy a car or not, an upcoming trip that I'm getting ready to go know, the little things in life that you don't have time to talk about when you're surrounded by four chatterboxes.
Around 9 o'clock, Mr. G came in, and then Miss M, and before you know it, all six of us are laying in the bed, snuggling. Then, as always, snuggle time ends with a tickle fest! This is when Mommy exits the bed! :)
After the tickle fest, Daddy made blueberry pancakes for everyone, letting each of the kiddos take turns being a helper. Then, we sat down and ate and listened to all that the four chatterboxes had to say! Mr. A declared that his pancake was so hot, it burnt his butter! :) He also decided to be an ornery little brother and took the number 17 off the school calendar so that Miss E cannot have a birthday (which is not until July, but this still greatly bothered her). Of course, Daddy was Mr. A's accomplice in convincing Miss E that she would never have a birthday unless she could find the number 17! Miss E was almost in tears, and so Mr. A tried to cheer her up by doing Mommy's famous, "I see a smile on your face" routine! It worked! It always does. :) The next thing we know, Miss E and Mr. A are laughing so hard together that they fall out of their chairs.
Miss M finished her pancakes and found a pair of goggles to try on. With blueberry smeared all over her face, crazy morning hair, pj's and goggles on, she made quite the picture!
As you've noticed, I haven't mentioned Mr. G yet. He must have been unusually quiet this morning. Don't worry, I'm sure he will make up for it later, and we will have an entertaining tale to report soon! :)
Now, all the kiddos and the mister have headed outside into what looks like will be a nice sunshiny day, and Mommy has been left to enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet before returning to the Saturday house cleaning.
Yes, I'm thankful today for the little blessing of lazy Saturday mornings and for a sweet family to enjoy them with! :) I hope you're enjoying your Saturday, too!

March 2, 2011

Dirty Laundry AND Praising God?!?

Wow! It's been awhile since I've been able to post, and I have missed it! We had an extraordinarily busy week last week, and then I began this week by being sick! I think we may be finally getting back to our routine. On top of being sick and an unexpected trip out of town, my washing machine also gave up the ghost. The last load of laundry I did was at 9PM on Thursday evening - shortly after an explosion of vomit by Mr. G. In a house of 6 people (some being sick), you can only imagine the state of the laundry now! Then, Mr. A. had an accident in the middle of the night last night. Thankfully, it is Wednesday, and we will be going into Twin early today to check out some used washers. Under penalty of no clean underwear, the mister is not allowed into the house without a washer tonight! :)
Well, that is totally not where I was going when I began to post today, but I do think a little humor in life is very necessary - especially when the only other option is to sit and cry! :) As I began this week, I was quite overwhelmed. My goal this week has been to speak only encouraging words. Do you realize how difficult that is when you are sick and surrounded by dirty laundry? In order to speak those encouraging words, I have had to change my perspective. Instead of focusing on the negative, I must see the positive. Instead of seeing all the things that are going wrong, I must see how God has a plan for it all and praise Him for what He is doing in my life - whether I understand it or not. So, in my quest for encouraging words, I have also begun a quest to praise God with my whole heart, and guess what? It has been so much fun to just sit in my chair and think on all the things I can praise God for. Take a few minutes and try it today! Here are a few verses that I have been thinking on, and there are SOOOO many more!
Psalm 86:12
"I will praise thee , O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore."
Psalm 71: 14-16
"But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only."
Psalm 145:2-3
"Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable."
Psalm 104:33
"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
What are some of your favorite praise verses?