Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Message from the Throne

As a wife to an adorable husband and a mom of three busy kids it's hard to find time (or energy sometimes) to read the Word. Recently a friend of mine suggested leaving a daily devotional in the bathroom because that seems to be the only place that moms sometimes get a few moments of peace. Sometimes. So, I have My Utmost for His Highest in my quiet place because the daily readings are short and a quick read but they pack a punch. I have yet to pick it up and feel like it doesn't apply to my life right now. So, I thought that I would share snippets here and there from my "Throne Room" readings and their impact on me.

This first one I'm just gonna write out for you because the whole thing was amazing to me and I am the WORST at rewording.

Reading from July 28: God's Purpose or Mine?
"He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side..." Mark 6:45

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God's purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God's purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish-His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea". It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God's training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God's purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

I was so encouraged by this the other day. Lately I've been overwhelmed by the feeling that I'm not quite getting everything done. I have a list of things that always need to be done around the house, plus the new to-do list of car accident related stuff, not to mention the fact that I am trying to be a wife, mom, and a healthy, beautiful woman. How wonderful to hear that I don't have to focus on the end goal but on my faithfulness to the journey.

Whenever I think about needing to loose weight or needing to make a life change or having a goal that requires more than a few days focus I think of the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces. I know that may sound funny but hear me out. In the movie the main female character decides to loose weight. She works out and changes her eating habits and reaches her goal. Great. But what I always think about is that it only takes her five minutes to accomplish her goal. And she gets background music! When I start working towards my goals I get excited for a day or two or maybe a week and then I'm discouraged because my long-term goal that I want to take five minutes (with background music, please!) hasn't been met.

So, I'm purposing to take it moment by moment, day by day and to remember that "if I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Hope They Remember

I know throughout the day I say things like this over and over:
"I said, NO!"
"Don't hit your sister!"
"Don't hit your brother!"
"Get down...now."
"Get out of the fridge."
"Get off the table."
"Stop asking me questions...PLEASE!"
"Go to bed."
"Because I said so!"
"Say, 'Yes, momma!'"

Well, you get the point. But what I hope they remember me saying is this:
"I love you!"
"You are soooo adorable."
"You are my favorite Abiah."
"You are the smartest."
"You make me happy."
"You are my favorite Hazel."
"Come love on me."
"Let's snuggle."
"You are my favorite Amelia."
"You did an amazing job!"
"You are the best thing that ever happened to me."
"You are my sunshine."

It's been busy these past few months and I'm trying to remember to take time to sit and enjoy my kids because sometimes it feels like all I do is correct, discipline and train. And I need the snuggles just as much as they do.

Tuna Casserole That the Pickiest Eater Liked

I love "throw it all in a dish and call it good" dinners. I was pleasantly surprised by my kids response to this one, too. They both asked for more and didn't complain when it came time for leftovers!

Tuna Casserole

1 can family size cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2 cups frozen mixed veggies
3 (7 oz.) cans of tuna, drained
3 cups (before cooking) elbow macaroni noodles
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup crumbled saltine crackers

1. Cook and drain noodles

2. Add soup, milk, veggies, tuna, garlic and onion powder and seasoning salt. Place in a 3qt. casserole dish.

3. Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes.

4. Mix cracker crumbs with butter in bowl and sprinkle on top. Bake for 5 min. more.

When it came time to reheat for leftovers I added some pureed peas to moisten it up. The kids really liked it and I felt like they were getting plenty of veggies even though it was a one dish meal.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Art Projects

I have been trying to do a few art projects with Abiah to keep that boy busy. He has a lot of fun and can't get enough. Here they are:

Colored Rocks

I found this project on chasingcheerios.blogspot.com. We took rocks and baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes and then colored them with crayons. It was a fun, cheap and easy craft to do. Abiah really enjoyed it. It also gave us another excuse for him to wear his work gloves. Remember the gloves!

Pipe Cleaner Elk

I made this one up because Abiah saw the pipe cleaners I bought and was eager to use them.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets/Strips

I LOVE this recipe book by Jessica Seinfield. It is full of nummy recipes with hidden ingredients like chocolate chip cookies with garbanzo beans and macaroni and cheese with pureed cauliflower. It may sound funny but don't knock it 'till you try it. It also makes you feel better about feeding this stuff to your family because you know there's some goodness in there. And the cover is cute, too!

Here is the latest recipe I tried and it went over pretty well.

Chicken Nuggets (mine turned out more like strips)

1 cup whole-wheat, white or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 Tbls grated parmesan
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried, and cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbls olive oil

1. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, parmesan, paprika, garlic, and onion powder and mix well with your fingers.

2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it's cooked through.) Serve warm.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Hazel has been learning different animal sounds and has mastered a few of them. The other night I was asking her to tell me various ones and I asked her, "What does a snake say?" She said, "Ahpoh!" Which means apple in Hazel language. I laughed and said, "No, a snake says ssssss." About five minutes later Abiah asked her, "Hazel, what does a snake say." Again her response was, "Ahpoh!" We giggled and Abiah said, "No, Hazel a snake doesn't say apple. It says sssssss." She looked at him and said, "Oh!" And then a few seconds later said, "Ahpoh!" I think this one will take a little longer.

Where does he come up with this stuff...

This evening I had dinner ready to go into the oven and was waiting for the oven to heat up. I decided to feed Amelia her bottle and get a few things done in the meantime. While I was feeding Amelia, Abiah asked me, "Mom, how much more minutes?"

My reply: "Till what?"

Abiah: "Till dinner."

Mom: "Lots of minutes. It's not even in the oven yet."

Abiah: "Well, what are you doing in here then?"

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Trace of Confidence

I originally wrote this post about five months ago. Enjoy!

I just started planning for our family's summer camping trip. As I am thinking through the details, memories from my childhood flood my mind. There was the time my sister, Amber, got punched in the stomach for standing up to a girl who called me a name. That's a favorite. And all of us kids like to talk about our dog, Kibbles, and the time he jumped out of the van window not once but two times while we were driving through the camp grounds. We changed his name to Stupid. There are memories of Boggle games, singing "The Ant Go Marching One by One" while hiking, or mom's ability to recreate a house in our campsite without a camper (refrigerator, coffee pot and all). And then there is Trace.

I think I was eight or nine that summer. Having been to this particular campground a few times, we kids felt we "owned" the place. I remember walking to the playground with a confidence that come with familiarity. And there she was. She was standing on the top level of the play structure belting out a song I'd never heard. Some of the words I couldn't understand. I wondered if it was a foreign language. We acted like we didn't notice her and tried to play like everything was normal.

Well, as usual with kids, it didn't take long before one of us approached her. I don't remember which one of us it was, but I know it wasn't me. I do remember the way she introduced herself. I hope I never forget. She lifted her head high and announced, "I'm Trace. The most BEAUtiful singer in the world." I was shocked and a bit star-struck. She wasn't being cocky or vain. There wasn't arrogance in her voice. I didn't know what it was at first but I was drawn to it. And so were the other kids. She seemed to acquire a small following of children that wanted to hear her and be around her. I remember wanting to spend as much time with her that weekend as possible.

We were excited when she was at the swimming hole and we would invite her to come spend time at our campsite. When we met her dad I found out what made me admire her so much. I remember one of the adults asking her dad about the song she was singing. He told us it was from a movie she'd seen. He said she didn't know all the words and when she'd come to a part she didn't know she'd sing, "uh nooma nooma nay". Weird, I know. And NOT a foriegn language. But what intrigued me was the way she sang those words. With confidence. She didn't have to have everything figured out. She was the most beautiful singer in the world and so she sang.

I wonder, what would happen if I approached the gifts and abilities God has given me with that kind of confidence? What would I be like? How would that change my life as a wife and mother? A worshiper? A friend? I don't want to be prideful. I want to be sure. Even when I don't have it all figured out I want to stand and sing at the top of my lungs, "uh nooma nooma nay!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

'Til My Sides Hurt

This is a list of the funny and hilarious things my kids have said in the past and recently. I plan to update it when they give me more material.

6-18-09 Abiah 6yrs, Amelia 5 months

Abiah was looking for something on top of the microwave and when I told him to find it he said, "I can't. My neck's too short." Then he was talking to Amelia who was kicking her legs, waving her arms and grinning and he said, "Millie, slow down your happiness." When I told him she couldn't he said, "Uh, huh. That's what you told me when I was a baby."

6-17-09 Hazel 20 months

Nathan and I were discussing how little the girls were sleeping and how cranky they had been the day before and I said, "They're ganging up on us!" and Hazel shook her head yes. Then Nathan said, "It's a conspiracy!" and Hazel shook her head yes.

4-13-09 Abiah 5 yrs

Mom: "Abiah, what does it sound like when I say C-A-T?"

Abiah: "Uhhhmmm, Alaska?"

Hazel 18 months

I was dressing Hazel and i put a shirt on her that had tiny, blue rosettes all over it. She said, "Mom, mom," and pointed to the flower and said, "Bzzzzzz."

3-21-09 Abiah 5 years

I told Abiah that I really enjoyed a spinach pie my mom had made and this was the conversation that followed:

Mom: "Did you like the pie?"

Abiah: "Yes, I did."
Puppy (interpreted by Abiah): "Me too!"

Abiah: "Puppy, you didn't have any spinach pie."

Abiah (to Mom): "She was confused because she had pumpkin pie yesternight."

Mom: "Pumpkin Pie!?! Did Puppy bring me any pie?"

Abiah: "You know puppy's a stuffed animal don't you?"

Abiah 5 years

After my gall bladder removal surgery the Dr's bills were pilling up and Nathan needed to work some overtime to help us through. During a discussion about why we were waiting to go grocery shopping Abiah told me, "Mom, you should have stayed yellow for a little longer so dad could have saved money to pay the doctors."

Abiah 5 years

Abiah was pulling Hazel around in a laundry basket. After working very hard for a few minutes and not moving far he exclaimed, "It would be easier if this chubby munchin (munchkin) wasn't in here!"

Abiah 5 years

Abiah told Uncle Summer, "My dad says I can't work at the same Safeway Milk Plant as him. I'm gonna tell his boss that he does bad things so he'll get fired and then I can have his job."

2-23-09 Abiah 5 years

Abiah head been waiting for me to read to him all day. Finally we were gonna read but Amelia started crying. I was shooshing her, trying to calm her when he asked, "Mom, if you had two mouths could you shoosh Amelia and read at the same time?"

2-23-09 Abiah 5 years

"Mom, your butt is bigger than daddy's. When he sits on me it doesn't squish me but it would if you did. I think Hazel has a butt like you."

Abiah 5 years Hazel 15 months

Abiah and Hazel are at the table with Nathan eating breakfast and Hazel is whinning because she wants Nathan to hurry. Abiah turned to her and said, "Hazel, you aren't the only one in the family." Hazel looked at him with a confused look and said, "huh!"

11-16-08 Abiah 5 years Hazel 12 months

Hazel was in the kitchen with me and I saw she was trying to eat something black that was in her hands. When I looked closer I found it was an ant. As I was taking it away from her Abiah came in and asked what was going on. I told him and he said, "Maybe she's hungry."

Abiah 5 years

"Thank you for this dinner, Maga. But it's not very good."

Abiah 5 years

Abiah is calling bummble bees, "Humble bees".

Abiah 4 years

Sitting with a blanket over his head he exclaimed, "Look mom! I'm a princess!"

Abiah 4 years

"We have a peeing mattress!" (praying mantis)

8-20-07 Abiah 4 years

"I don't want to take a bath. I want to be a filth."

7-31-07 Abiah 4 years

Abiah: "Mom, where's my bow (as in bow and arrow)?"

Mom: "I don't know."

Abiah: "I need to so I can tie my ears up."

He was thinking of the song:
Do your ears hang low
Do they wobble to and fro
Can you tie them in a knot
Can you tie them in a bow

7-30-07 Abiah 4 years

Abiah: "Mom, when I get older maybe I can have a girlfriend or something."

Mom: "How old should you be?"

Abiah: "5?"

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Kind They Need

When I watch him play and listen to him making up stories I wonder if I can be the mom who helps him cultivate his wild imagination and not crush it. I wonder if I can be the kind that can answer his million questions per day about how markers work and how babies are born and how Jesus died for our sins in a way that helps him understand this world better but at a pace that fits his maturity level. When we sit and read together I wonder if I can be the kind that can helps him know that we love him and we want him and he is here to stay and so are we? Will it always be easy to tell him how smart, handsome and sweet he is? Can I raise him to have confidence in who is and the talents he's been given?

When I run my fingers through her perfect ringlets I wonder if I can be the mom she needs to tame her stubbornness and guide her into womanhood gracefully. Can we avoid that awkward phase where it isn't cool to like your mom? Will it always be normal to hold her and let her know how much I adore and love her? Can I be the kind that trains her without crushing that vibrant spirit?

When I look in her big blue eyes and hold her as she caresses my face and smiles up at me I wonder if I can be the kind of mom that will nurture her sensitive spirit and at the same time encourage her to take risks. She is so much like her dad. Can I be the kind of mom that will help and let her learn to make decisions for herself. Can I be the kind that is always open to her need for snuggles.

Will we be friends? Will I teach them the right things about Jesus? Will I know how to talk to them about sex and relationships? Will I be able to home school them and still want to be around them? Will I always feel a twinge of fear of the unknown when I leave them? Will my heart always feel like it's breaking when I think about how much I love them? Will I be able to be the kind of mom they need? The kind of mom I want to be? The kind of mom I was made to be?

I feel it in me. Somewhere. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of it. Sometimes I feel like I've tapped into the assurance that everything will be alright. But most of the time I feel like I'm lost. Even when they think I'm standing firm in my decisions, inside I'm doubting every move I make. I desperately want to be that kind of mom. The kind they need.