Monday, January 31, 2011

Maple and Merfume

I, admittedly, have some strange quirks.

One of those being I can't stand the smell of maple. I can eat it with no problem, it isn't actually the smell of maple in itself, it's more the smell of maple on skin.

I think this comes from teaching pre-school. Have you ever smelled a child who hadn't bathed in several days?


So, when I had children, I made two vows.

One, I would bath my children, often.

And two, if they did consume maple they would quickly get a bath.

This last week I was taking the boys to choir. They got in the van, and it became obvious that one of them had over done it on the cologne. (Santa brought cologne for Christmas, crazy Santa)

I said,"Whew! Smells like one of you might have over done it a bit with the merfume" (that's what they call cologne)

Josh quietly says from the backseat,"Yeah, that was me. I was walking up the stairs and smelled maple and thought it was me, so I went in my room and sprayed on some of my merfume, maybe a little too much..."


Faith was burning a candle in her room, which is right by the stairs, and it just happened to be a hazelnut candle which surprisingly smells a lot like maple.

My poor children.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kylee's Fumble

Had an interesting interaction with my Kylee Hope yesterday.

She was outside playing with her brothers and some neighbor boys when all of a sudden she came in through the back door, and walked straight up to her room.

I was sitting on the couch reading a book, and asked her if everything was alright. There was something in her demeanor that told me she was really angry and was trying to hold it all together, but she wasn't stomping, or crying, just seemed a little upset.

She very calmly said,"I am really angry and just need to go to my room and calm down."

After a short bit she came down the stairs and I called her over and asked her if she wanted to talk about it.

She sat down on the couch and began crying. Here is pretty close to what she said:

"I was outside playing football with the boys, and Seth fumbled the ball, so I told him he had to go back to where he started from and he said, no, that he could start from where he fumbled it, and then, I got really mad at him and called him a jerk, and now I feel very remorseful that I called him that name and I did it in front of our friends, and I feel terrible about how I acted." (huge tears falling)

I was speechless. She had done a fabulous job of working out her anger, separating herself and coming full circle to accepting her fault in the situation (her out of control anger) and even felt remorse (her exact words) for her outburst.

I love that her focus was no longer on the action that had made her angry. I have to admit I am guilty of this. How easy is it to try and justify our rage with whatever it was that caused it. "If they hadn't done ____ I wouldn't have ___" Instead, she recognized her actions were not justified and felt compelled to make it right.

I encouraged her to go and tell her brothers and her friends that she was sorry for her outburst. I also encouraged her to tell her brother that when he tries to change the rules in the middle of a game (what 10 year old boy doesn't?) that it frustrates her.

She's a great kids, and it is awesome to see her growing and maturing!


Jeremiah 31

For the last few days I have had a scripture constantly pop up in my head.

It's not a common verse, that is repeated often, like John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

And until a couple of days ago, not one that I had ever thought about very much.

But it keeps popping into my head. I woke up this morning repeating Jeremiah 31 over and over.

It is really great stuff. I read it as a love letter between God and His people. It speaks of love and hope and forgiveness. It speaks of joy after pain and a new covenant with His people.

Just not sure what it is that He wants me to get, so I am reading it over and over and praying on it, and hoping God shows me what it is that I need to take from it.

Then, I thought, maybe it isn't a message for me specifically, but someone I know, so I thought I would be obedient and post this verse, maybe someone I know needs to hear it today :)

Here it is:
“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. 2 This is what the Lord says:

“Those who survive the coming destruction
will find blessings even in the barren land,
for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”

3 Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
4 I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.

you will again be happy
and dance merrily with your tambourines.
5 Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
and eat from your own gardens there.
6 The day will come when watchmen will shout
from the hill country of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem
to worship the Lord our God.’”

7 Now this is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Israel.
Shout for the greatest of nations!
Shout out with praise and joy:
‘Save your people, O Lord,
the remnant of Israel!’
8 For I will bring them from the north
and from the distant corners of the earth.
I will not forget the blind and lame,
the expectant mothers and women in labor.
A great company will return!
9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
and I will lead them home with great care.
They will walk beside quiet streams
and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
For I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my oldest child.

10 “Listen to this message from the Lord,
you nations of the world;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
The Lord, who scattered his people,
will gather them and watch over them
as a shepherd does his flock.
11 For the Lord has redeemed Israel
from those too strong for them.
12 They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
and all their sorrows will be gone.
13 The young women will dance for joy,
and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
14 The priests will enjoy abundance,
and my people will feast on my good gifts.
I, the Lord, have spoken!” 15"

This is what the Lord says:

“A cry is heard in Ramah—
deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted—
for her children are gone.”

16 But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
from the distant land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come again to their own land.
18 I have heard Israel saying,
‘You disciplined me severely,
like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
for you alone are the Lord my God.
19 I turned away from God,
but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’

20 “Is not Israel still my son,
my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
and surely will have mercy on him.
21 Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
return to your towns here.
22 How long will you wander,
my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
Israel will embrace her God.”

23 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ 24 Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”

26 At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.

27 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. 28 In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord, have spoken!

29 “The people will no longer quote this proverb:

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’

30 All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

35 It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day
and the moon and stars to light the night,
and who stirs the sea into roaring waves.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
and this is what he says:
36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel
as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
37 This is what the Lord says:
“Just as the heavens cannot be measured
and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored,
so I will not consider casting them away
for the evil they have done.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

38 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. 40 And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orders Up!!

One of the many cools things about schooling our kids at home is the sense of independence I see them developing.

Their lessons for the week are largely self guided and because of this, they have learned to be very self-motivated.

Since they are home with me they are responsible for things that other children, who go to a traditional school, may not have the time to do.

For example, they all do their own laundry. Even the boys, who have been doing their own laundry now for about two years. They do a great job and work together to get it done. They sometimes choose to put it off, but quickly learn that that is not a good idea when they are down to one pair of underwear each, and the washer is being used by someone else that day :)

Another household duty that they participate in, that's a little more fun, is cooking. All four of them have become quite self-sufficient when it comes to kitchen work.

A couple of weeks back I hurt my neck/back, and literally couldn't move off the couch. Faith planned to make bake potato soup for dinner and I asked Kylee and Seth to bake a loaf of bread. They made the dough by themselves, rolled it out, let it rise, and baked it. I am pretty sure I couldn't have made a loaf of bread when I was 10 or even 12 years old!

And at lunch one of Seth's favorite things to do it take everyone's order and make them their lunch. This is often very complicated and involves hot lunches. Okay, who am I kidding, it ALWAYS involves hot lunches, my kids will only eat cold sandwiches if there is no other option :)

So about 10 minutes before lunch he runs around the house taking down everyone's orders and then hangs the sheet of paper from the microwave as he gets out his griddle to prepare these culinary masterpieces. He often has a sou chef by his side to do the side work, and help with clean up. Their cooperation is amazing, when they are doing something they enjoy.

I think his lunch time chefery (I just made that word up!) is awesome. Not only does it teach him to cook, manage a task, and work with others, but it also shows his sweet servant heart.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Beds, Rest, and Ports

We had a fantastic weekend!

First, I have a confession to make, Mike and I have been married for 16 years and have never bought a mattress.

So, after sleeping on a very lumpy and uncomfortable mattress for quite a few years, we decided our anniversary gift would be a new mattress.

This was a big decision for us, and it took us several weeks, but finally we made the purchase last week.

We decided to buy from Costco, because of their return policy.

And, because of their return policy, we went with a memory foam mattress instead of a traditional mattress.

We ordered it on Tuesday and got it two days later! Crazy fast!

Since it is memory foam it had to expand for two days, but we got to sleep on it for the first time on Saturday night.

I LOVE IT!! It is super firm, and I am waking up with no back pain! Mike isn't having the same great experience so far, but our last bed was squishy, and he woke up with back pain as well, so may just be him :)

Besides getting our new mattress, the other exciting thing that happened this weekend was- Mike took the weekend off.

Just took it off, for no reason, except that it was time to take a weekend off!

If you know Mike this is HUGE! He doesn't take times of rest well, and is something that he is working on. Thankfully, his boss said it was time for a break, and Mike listened!

We had a real weekend, and even spent Sunday at Disney.

Disney is always fun, we never buy food there, too expensive, and so by the end of the day our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches had worn thin. We remembered there was a Portillos in the neighborhood and found it!

It was soooo delicious! Italian Beef dipped, with sweet peppers and cheese fries. Not health food, but oh, so good!

We miss Chicago, not the weather, but the people. It's funny how food can make you feel close to something you love. We all left feeling warm and comforted.

And, as a bonus, there is a thrifty ice cream right across the street from Ports!

Yes, we indulged. Then back home again to my fabulous bed.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Troll! Troll! Troll!

Well, we just ended a week long visit with my best girlfriend Paula and her three boys. We had a great time and had a ton of adventures. One of the most memorable was our trip to Disney.

It was a beautiful day, 80 degrees and sunny. We had to do some convincing to get Sam and Luke to ride the rides, and with some coercion, they did ride a few.

At dinner time we decided that since they had never had In and Out Burger, that it was a must. So we left the park and hunted down one of these fine establishments. It was a hit. Everyone enjoyed it and we headed back to the park.

Now, if you have ever been to Disneyland you will hear the voice on the tram tell you to please keep your parking ticket for re-entry to the parking garage.

Which we did.

Mike was in the car in front of us, since we had ten people in our party, we couldn't make it in one vehicle.

Mike pulled up, showed the man his parking ticket, and pulled on through.

I pulled my van full of boys up to the parking man, and showed him my ticket, his response was, in a gruff voice,"Where's your Disney pass?"

This is when I realized that my parking pass was obtained because we had prepaid one vehicle on my annual pass.

Uh Oh...

So I calmly tried to explain to the man, that I have an annual pass, but it was with my husband in the vehicle in front of us, so I can't show it to him. By this time Mike had slowed and pulled to the side, but the other parking attendants started yelling at him to move on!

It was at this point that the parking attendant, not so kindly explained to me that without it he would not let me in, and slapped a bright pink "EXIT" sign on my windshield and told me to leave the park!!!

I wish I could say it was at this time that I calmly smiled and dealt with the situation in a mature adult like fashion.

But, I didn't.

I rolled up my window and as I drove away, I, well, lost my temper just a bit. It is also possible that at this time, I may or may not have called the man a Troll.

Yes, I realize this isn't my most shinning parental moment. And I also realize that with this one slip of the tongue, every uplifting and encouraging thing that I had ever said to these five boys, sitting in the back of my van, flew out the proverbial window.

There arose from the back seat a chorus of Troll slurs that you cannot even imagine! I looked at Paula and we both realized that it was going to be a long time before we were going to be able to undo this misdeed.

I calmly explained to the boys, that I had made a grievous mistake in calling that man a Troll, and I apologized to them. I told them that he was a creation of our God, therefore not a Troll, but an individual, we should respect. Further, I explained, that as Christ-followers we should not let our temper get the best of us, as I had, and we should always try and treat others with respect no matter how they treat us.

I was answered by Luke who simply said,"Mrs. Jones, it wasn't your fault, that Troll should have let us in!"


So, Mike had to exit the park, and brought me my card. We re-entered the parking garage with a chant of "Troll! Troll! Troll!" coming from the back seat, which we quickly quieted as we approached the parking troll, I mean man, who, if I might add, was just as rude the second time around as the first.

We made our way back into the park and enjoyed the rest of the evening, with only a few more mentions of the parking troll.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Commitment to Writing and Please Pray

It's been a long time.

But, it's a new year, and I am committing to write more. I was convicted last week after being directed to this blog. I have been praying for this woman and her family for the last week and was brought to tears after reading past her husbands updates to her own words.

I began to think, what an amazing gift this beautiful woman has given her children, her husband, her friends. They can go and read her words. Through this nightmare, when she can't speak to them, she still can communicate through her past words. There has to be comfort in that.

I never want to leave my loved ones without my words. So I will try and be better about writing.

Please take the time to read through her blog and pray for her and her family.