Monday, March 30, 2009

March 31st - Red Letter Day

Tomorrow, I plan to participate in Red Letter Day.

The plan is simple: On March 31, mail an empty red envelope to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

On the outside of the envelope, write:

“This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.”

For more information you can go here.

Rest in Reading

This weekend was pretty restful. We spent some time playing games with good friends. I got a little shopping done. Organized a little bit in the house. I also spent some time reading a novel my husband bought me for Valentine's Day. It feels good to be rested.

I think reading a good novel is one of the best ways for me to feel rested. My favorite author is Lori Wick. She has such a way with writing that throughout the storyline connects the reader with God. I come away feeling refreshed and longing to grow closer to God. She writes fictional stories. The storyline tends to be a romance. At the same time, she works in little sermons and prayers throughout her stories that leave you longing for more of God. You desire to learn the conclusion of the story and see how the characters all fair in the end. Yet, I am drawn to her novels because of the way she leaves me longing for God.

God is working on teaching me about rest. I'm enjoying the rest I've been getting along the way and I am looking forward to what He wants to teach me. I know it will all be for my benefit.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Longing for Sleep

Three kids has me in a tailspin. I really have yet to adjust to three. I love each of them. They each add so much to our lives. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything in the world. (Although maybe for a full night's sleep...) Seriously, I just cannot figure out how to balance life and the demands of three children.

I have great intentions. The baby is almost 7-months-old. She should know how to sleep through the night. I've contributed to this problem. We've created some bad habits and she doesn't get herself back to sleep by herself. Well, maybe she would if I gave her more time to do it. I just don't want her to wake up her sisters and have three children up in the middle of the night. Twice, while her older sisters have had sleepovers, I've allowed the baby to cry it out and get herself back to sleep. They were not consecutive days and we are still getting up a couple of times each night.

Needless to say, I'm tired. My brain is foggy. My body is desiring rest. And I'm overeating to compensate. I'm a few pounds from attending Weight Watchers for free again and yet I'm not disciplined enough.

Random thoughts...
Foggy brain...
Think I'll go find something to help me relax that doesn't put pounds onto my body...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Praying for our soldiers

As you pray for the men & women sacrificing for our country, please remember Rod's cousin, Thomas Iverson, in your prayers. Here's a picture to put a face with the name as you pray. Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

running nowhere in every direction

Life seems out of control sometimes. There is always something on the calendar. Some type of demand to be met. Even when there is time to relax, we have three little kids that need something almost every moment.

I'm currently doing a study with some friends entitled "running nowhere in every direction". There is much to apply and yet I keep fighting it. In my mind, I can't say "no" to people. I don't want to miss out and I thrive on relationships. At the same time, I have to be intentional or my family, my marriage and myself gets moved to the back burner.

We were sick for two weeks in this house. Just one way God is getting my attention to slow down. After that bout of illness, I took every Friday night and wrote "family night" on the calendar.

This Friday, there was a MOPS activity I could have attended. It took everything in me to stay home. I made dinner, Rod's mom was over and joined us, and Rod asked his mom to stay and watch the girls while we went out.

It was one of the best date nights Rod and I have had in a long time. We had already eaten so our night did not revolve around food. This was a strange feeling as we did not go out to eat for dinner or dessert. We decided to go bowling despite the hour long wait. As we waited, we got something to drink and sat and talk. Uninterrupted conversation? That was one we haven't felt in a while. Looking into each other's eyes as we talked? Another unusual experience. We bowled two games. I won the first. Rod won the second. Rod's total won overall. Despite the defeat, it was a night to treasure. This was well needed for our marriage.

I've been talking to different friends about making our husbands a priority. I have plenty of advice to give but sometimes I forget to take advice for myself. God is attempting to impress upon me the importance of making Rod my priority. Why is it important enough for me to schedule time with others on my calendar and yet time with my husband and daughters should just "happen".

Being intentional paid off this Friday night. Maybe we can try it again soon.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joe Kral for Frankfort Township Assessor

If you are a registered voter who will be voting on the Frankfort Township Assessor, this blog post is for you. It has been brought to my attention that there is a write-in candidate running against the current Frankfort Township Assessor. The current Frankfort Township Assessor, in my opinion, needs to be voted out.

I was appalled when I read the following information about the current Frankfort Township Assessor, Paul Ruff: Paul, his wife Ingrid, and their two sons, Mark and Michael, have resided in Frankfort Township for the past 33 years. Paul brings a unique viewpoint to the Township Assessor's Office, based on the following events. In the early 1980's, Paul was incapacitated due to an accident and was wheelchair bound. During his recuperation period, Paul and Ingrid received a property tax bill that included an outrageous increase, which perturbed them immensely. As a result, they appealed their property assessment to the township assessor and then to the Will County Board of Review, to no avail. At the same time several other Will County taxpayers were voicing outrage at their tax bills. The website goes on to talk about how this inspired him to run for office and how he has helped other taxpayers.

How is this appalling you may ask? He then went ahead and proceeded to fabricate information about my parents' homestead to substantially raise their taxes. I could give more details. (If you need them to be better informed in your voting, let me know.)

Bottom line is this: I firmly believe in voting out the current Frankfort Township Assessor. Please vote Joe Kral as a write-in candidate for Frankfort Township Assessor. Write in "Joe Kral" for Frankfort Township Assessor and darken the oval.

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

And how sad is it that people cannot speak out against Paul Ruff without fear of having their assessment raised higher? It's sad and I for one wish I lived in Frankfort Township to cast my own personal vote against him.

Loving the Unloveable

Matthew 5:43-48 states “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (NLT)

This is how The Message version states it as I read it in my study the other day:
"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

I love those who love me and show it. That's easy. I can even go so far to love my enemies. On the other hand, those people who grate on my nerves, irritate me, and push my buttons. Those are a little more difficult. I think these verses will be good to meditate on and apply to my life. I've slacked off when it comes to praying for the difficult people in my life. Time to reinstitute this and allow God to change my heart.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kids say...

I went for a jog tonight when Rod got home. (On a side note, I have a long way to go before I can actually run consistently for 30 minutes but something is better than nothing, right?) When I got home, I felt more relaxed and ready to face life.

Nikelle was talking about why people run.

My response went something like this: "Do you know how sometimes I yell?"
Nikelle: "Like at yell at him a lot."
Me: "I yell at everybody a lot."
Nikelle: "But you really yell at Daddy a lot."
Me: "You're right, Nikelle. It's wrong for me to yell at Daddy. I need to stop."
Nikelle: "Maybe you should just shut your mouth when you want to yell."

The point I was going to make to her is that I don't yell nearly as much when I get out and go for a run. I feel much more relaxed. I feel better about myself as a whole. Rod and I both told her this is why we both like it when I get out and run. She could not get off the whole thought of my yelling at her daddy, however. Sometimes I guess God just wants the conversation to take a different course.

The conversation went on but her advice was well taken. I'll try to remember to just shut my mouth from now on.

My Daily Bread

I often find myself wondering why I can't keep up with the Joneses. It's so easy to find myself wondering why we can't have some of the toys, vacations or other fun conveniences that some people get to acquire. My husband and I are often wondering why we can't seem to save like some. Why we live paycheck to paycheck. He has a good paying job. We don't think we are too frivolous in our spending. We wonder constantly what we can do to change our financial situation.

I had been reading the Book of Proverbs recently and came across some verses that really freed me from this line of thought. Yesterday the verse came up again at church.

"Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." - Proverbs 30:7-9

God always provides for our needs. He ALWAYS has and I believe He ALWAYS will. At the same time, He does not give us an abundance of money so that we have too much and quit relying on Him. God gives us our daily bread. Just what we need for the moment. I am so grateful that I can trust my God in every situation. That includes our financial situation during these unstable times.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running on Empty

Our household has been sick for a couple of weeks. After two weeks of breaking fevers, dispensing medicine, monitoring coughing attacks, administering nebulizer treatments and awakening at all kinds of odd hours, I am running on empty. Thankfully, everyone is finally looking like they are on the mend. A little bit of medication to finish up as well as a few more days of nebulizer treatments and we are in the clear.

It's been six months since my baby has been born leaving me looking at sleeping through the night as something to be coveted. Prior to the baby's birth, so much was going on in life (husband travelling too much for work, dads battling cancer, pregnancy, death) that I simply cannot recall the last time I had consistent uninterrupted sleep. It is something I long for. It is also something I am realizing is directly impacting my a very negative way.

When I am tired, I am overly irritable. I overeat. Self-control is in high demand. My mind and body just don't work like they should. I'm needing to take measures to get more sleep. It's important for every area of my life. I do believe God is impressing on me the importance of learning to rest as well.

Choppy sleep = choppy thoughts = choppy life. It's time to make change happen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Awed to Change

I watched my friend with curiosity the other day as I observed her parenting. The girls and I were over visiting while our husbands went to watch a movie. Each of us have three kids, with Nikelle being the oldest, so it was obvious that situations would arise where we would be needed to guide and assist.

My parenting style is a lot like a volcano. I like to go about my day all the while pretending the whining, screaming, crying, and incessant questions don't exist until finally my irritation erupts and I explode! I don't believe this characterizes my parenting as a whole, but it does happen more often than I'd like. This is why I was so curious as I watched my friend interact with her kids.

One by one, each of her children would have a moment where they would be typical kids. The whining, complaining, tattling, or fighting would begin. She would calmly tell them to walk over to the bench in the hallway (she might have referred to it as the time-out bench) until they were calm enough to discuss things and handle things in an appropriate manner.

My first thought was that I should have a time-out bench in the hallway for myself. Maybe that would stop my outbursts. In all sincerity, I was more than just a little curious as I watched my friend. I might have commented on her calming presence in the moment but my mind was just spinning in attempt to figure out how to change my parenting techniques (per se) and experience the peace I was witnessing in her home.

As my friend directed her children to the bench, they went. They were still screaming or crying as they were before but they went fairly immediately. The child would then stay there until he or she calmed down. At that moment, they would then inform their mom that they were calm and the situation would be handled in just that fashion, calmly. At one moment I even witnessed her daughter walk over to her son, hug him and say, "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" As I said, I was more than just a little curious, I was in awe.

Since that visit a few weeks ago, I have tried implementing this type of approach in my home. When Jaycie begins to whine, I attempt to look her in the eyes and as calmly as I can, inform her of her choices. That includes that she can go to her room until she quits the whining, crying and screaming. This means I have to be willing to stop what I am currently doing or put the baby down in order to carry her to her room, but it has made a world of difference. I don't know so much that it has changed Jaycie. What it has changed is myself. I am not feeling the pressure building inside of me leading to an eruption of anger as I normally would. I am able to act a little more calmly and eventually, Jaycie will come downstairs better able to handle the situation as well. Naturally, there is more peace in our home.

I don't always respond the way I should. Early this morning, before the time children should be awakening, Jaycie started screaming as I was just quieting down my coughing baby. Jaycie was not crying out of fear or sickness. She simply was angry that some toys were not were she put them when she went to bed. Rod went to her but could not get her to quiet down. I was overtired and extremely irritated. When the baby awoke, the eruption occurred.

I walked into Jaycie's room (stomped might be a better description) and I think my exact words were, "If you don't stop, I'm going to beat your butt!" Right. Those empty threats are always helpful. I followed it up a little more rationally with, "I will start to take away blankets if you continue screaming like that." That got her to stop rather immediately and I was able to go back to rocking the baby.

This morning, I discussed more with my daughter the way her screaming and not allowing her father to help her is unacceptable. More than ever, I am realizing that her behavior is a mirror of my own. I need to implement more positive behavior examples that I see in others so my children can see them as well.

Lord, as my screaming and lack of self-control are unacceptable to you, please help me to change. Help me to respond with peace and love in self-control. Help me to respond in a way that pleases you.

I need to allow my Heavenly Father to help me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Andelise is 6-months-old

She squeals with delight to be in the regular bathtub now.
Ande thinks everything is a jumpy toy.
She likes to try to eat her toes.
She has a lousy cough and fever right now but that smile keeps showing!
Happy 1/2 year birthday, baby girl!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kids say...

The other day, I asked Nikelle how she was feeling after she got home from school. Her sister has been a little under the weather and she had commented on a sore throat not too long before.

"Oh, I'm fine," was her response. "I'm healed from that disease."