Sunday, May 14, 2017

Parenting Grown-Ups

Well, here we are with another real adult, kind of. Sarah started working with an ambulance service in Athens as an Advanced EMT. She begins paramedic school in August.

I am more convinced than ever that parenting adult children is much harder than small children. Walking through the decision making process with her is just as hard as it has been with Hannah and Rachel.

Each child is different. They must be treated differently. Should she move out to be closer to work and school or should she commute? How should she pay for what she needs, who should she live with? She's making real life decisions.

God is faithful to guide us through His Spirit, but I am still fearful. When I am fearful of her living on her own or making long commutes after working through the night, I am trying to do God's job for Him. It's like I am telling God that He isn't able to protect her when she isn't under my roof.

She's a sensible girl who is trying to make wise decisions. I know God is faithful to His people and will work everything for their good. As we seek to love and obey Him, I'm praying that my heart will follow. It is hard on this mama's heart for her children to grow up so quickly.

But don't you think she looks too sweet to be a grown up?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'm a Helper

Is someone in your home very disorganized, losing things, forgetful?
At a recent wedding

For years, I would get so mad that Ray couldn't find his keys, phone, wallet, glasses or any combination of those things. He would walk in the house and put them down in random places, then forget where they were. He has a drawer right beside the back door to put those things in, but he often doesn't. He's intelligent, creative, compassionate and an all around great man, but he was (and sometimes still is) very disorganized.

When it would be time for him to leave the house, oftentimes he'd be rushing around looking for what he had lost. I would call out to everyone available to help find the lost item, then he could go on his way when it was recovered. If you're thinking that this post is about how to make someone else more organized, think again, it isn't. I have no idea how to help you.

But Ray's losing very important things was constantly making me mad. It took up my time, the kids' time and his time. It created unnecessary frustration.

The day that I realized that disorganization is not a sin was eye opening. It isn't a sin for him to put his things down wherever he wanted. How I responded was often very sinful! My irritation was sinful and it rubbed off on the girls. I could see their sinful eye rolls or irritations when they had to stop what they were doing to help their daddy with something so silly. After all, he's a grown man, why can't he find his own glasses?

Over the years, either, he has gotten better, or we have figured out where he is putting his things. There is less time digging, searching and scrambling than I remember. But the change may be that I realized that my job is to be his helper. Maybe focusing on what God has called me to do has shifted the big deal from his forgetfulness to my own sinful heart.

God created me to be Ray's helper.
Genesis 2:18 "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'"
So, when he says, "Have you seen my glasses?" I can respond with a cheerful heart. If I'm able to stop what I'm doing and help him, I do, and hopefully with a better attitude.
Ray and me with some of the most adorable people in the world - Caleb, Susannah and Josiah
But it's time to close now, I need to help him find his phone....

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Lydia Cello

Lydia was given a cello at Christmas with a year's worth of lessons. I am still overwhelmed by the generosity of the gift. Thankfully, Lydia is too. She loves the lessons and the practice. Her teacher took this picture for me to see that she has a "perfect bow hold" and that he was thrilled with how quickly she's learning.

Music is a wonderful way to glorify God and as a parent that's what keeps me driving to lessons. So, if you think those monthly fees and weekly trips to lessons are worth the effort - remember - they are! It's never money wasted to learn more music.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Keep Going

Easter 2017
I have found that it's harder to keep going after discouragement in parenting. It's easy to say, "I've done all I could, it's up to them now." Parenting is a long road, it shouldn't stop when the children get older.

Some time ago at church, I asked all of the children who had memorized their scripture memory verses to come to me to see how they are doing. The oldest child who came was eleven and said, "Oh, I'm the only one?" and walked off. She didn't even attempt to tell me how far she had gotten.

I found it sad to think that none of the teenagers had come to say their verses. Then I realized that one of my own children was in that group. I had told her to memorize, but I hadn't followed through, I had left it up to her.

There does come a time when we have to take a step back and let them take care of themselves. But I hadn't even attempted to follow through. Parenting teenagers is difficult. They have opinions and real life needs.

A few days after that night, that particular daughter mentioned something about the verse and said she had forgotten to come to me to tell me what she memorized. Whew, I'm off the hook, right? Wrong.

Just because she did the right thing at that moment, doesn't mean I could stop doing my job.

My job may look different, but it doesn't stop. Parenting Mary is a lot different than parenting Abigail. I no longer hold her hand to ensure she pick up her toys, I don't even tell her to. (Well, I try
not to.)

Mary knows that her things need to be picked up. If she doesn't, they may disappear, and she pays the consequences. Those consequences could be the time it takes to find the lost items, having to replace the lost items or living without the lost items.

I often have to remind myself that Mary isn't as old as Hannah and Sarah and she still needs guidance. Hannah and Sarah do too, but not as often. Parenting Rachel looks different too.

But how do we parent these older girls? One particular week I was in quite a dilemma. Hannah had been very sick and I have told her many times that she shouldn't go to work. A sick teacher produces sick students. She didn't think she could miss, saying that she thought she could do it.

I had to make a decision. Was I to let her go or not? In the end, she went.  It was a decision that I had to turn over to her.

Questions about concerts, over nights at friends' houses, parties with people we don't know send me into a tailspin sometimes. Can't I just pull all of my cubs inside my bear cave? That's what I want to do!

God's mercy to our family is so evident as the girls grow. He is the one to uphold us, as well as our children. They continue to grow and will make mistakes. But God will remain faithful to the end.



Easter 2017 at Nana's house
Catherine, Sarah, Lydia, Aunt Robin, Rebekah, Mary, Hannah

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Yes, there is a such thing as selfish prayers.

What do your prayers sound like? Are they littered with requests for yourself and those you love? Or, are your prayers focused on the One that you're praying to?

There is a time to make requests of God. We have clear examples of making requests in prayers from scripture. But, as you pray, your heart should be drawn closer to God and praising Him. There is a reason the ACTS acrostic is so helpful in praying. It gets your heart and mind thinking about God, Who He is and what He has done for us.
  • A-Adoration
  • C-Confession
  • T-Thanksgiving
  • S-Supplication
When you spend time praising God, confessing sin and thanking Him for blessings beyond measure, your supplications change. For example, being truly thankful for the car that you have may change your request for a new one.

Another way to make sure your prayers are God centered instead of self-centered is to pray Scripture. Psalms is the easiest way to start praying God's Word back to Him. Read Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. I've said it before and it's still true. It will transform your prayer life.




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mary and Lydia





















These two beauties are growing so quickly. They have proven over and over that God is gracious to my failings. It would be easy for them to check out of life and be like the rest of the world.  My heart is often divided and parenting children such vast ages, the middle girls too often get slighted. Mary and Lydia have taken over nearly all of the household chores, all of their school, music and jobs. I rarely hear a complaint.




If you were ever at our house during the morning basket time, you may or may not see something like this.  The "spanish game" gets out of  hand sometimes and one or the other needs to use drastic measures to win. Clearly, they aren't having much fun at school. (Just kidding, but they aren't going to like these pictures being posted.)

Sunday, April 09, 2017

I Am Not a Minimalist






















I have a confession... 
I like my stuff... there it is... now you know.  

I have things in my house just because I like them. They serve no purpose, they may or may not be beautiful, but I like them.

There would be a story for almost everything. There are stacks of books, some stacks on top of stacks, numerous toys, pretty dishes, handmade treasures, pictures upon pictures, etc.

We are hearing a lot lately about minimalism, that clutter causes stress, stuff like that. That may be true. I have a  harder time sitting still if my clutter is out of order.  Extra stuff creates more work - it has to be dusted and such.  I understand the idea behind minimalism. 

Using less sometimes means more. But what if you like more? Sitting in a sparsely decorated room may make some people uncomfortable. Maybe some people like to look around at lots of interesting things. It's not bad, just different. The Summer is coming and I plan to do some painting and extra cleaning out, but I don't think I'll be getting rid of too much.

I threw away one late trash bag of old homeschool files and took four large bags of stuff to our local women's shelter. (I'd rather not donate to Goodwill, but I will if necessary.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

As a Pastor's Wife

I love my job! I am my husband's wife. That's all, nothing more, nothing less. But being the wife of a pastor has unique challenges, as does being the wife of a plumber, doctor, mechanic, etc. I'm sure. But how often do you get introduced like this, "This is my mechanics wife?"

As a pastor's wife in the 1700's, before her husband was given an increase in salary, Sarah Edwards had to record every expenditure to make sure that she wasn't being frivolous with the family's finances.  That's Jonathan Edwards' home! Such scrutiny in a pastor's home is often painfully unfair. 

There have been times I have felt that scrutiny, whether it was justified or not. I have often taken things out of context and felt the pressure to perform as others would have me, even when it wasn't what I or my husband wanted. My children have often felt the uncomfortable realities of living in a glass house.

But it's still a job I love. The blessings outweigh the problems. I have first hand knowledge of people and can pray for them when no one else can. I may have to be on the phone for hours at a time, but I have God's Word to help me counsel. 

There are times like this wedding that I relish. Ray officiated the wedding of a young couple in our church family. We got to walk with them, like others in the past, through counseling and wedding preparations. God is glorified through them and I am greatly encouraged. 

A visitor to our church remarked about how involved I was in the lives of the couple. I keep thinking how sad I am for her own pastor and his wife, whom she shared has little to do with the church.  I understand that too. Sometimes, it's easier to separate yourself from people to avoid being hurt, used or even abused in some way.

But for me, today I thank God for this family of believers that He has placed me in. I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than Grace Community Church.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pennsylvania

We spent our Winter break with the Jarrard family in Pennsylvania. We are so grateful for their friendship and hospitality. This is definitely the best way to learn history!
Not much history here but we had a blast snow tubing!
The James River
Abi confused George Washington with George Bush, oops!
Independence Hall - Hannah wondered how anyone could not be moved to tears by visiting such palace.
Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg is the coolest bookstore we've been in.  Mary got lost in a beautiful copy of  Les Miserables.
She wanted to carry her pencil and paper and draw everything she saw. The Liberty Bell is truly beautiful in person.
"Rocky steps" lead to the Art Museum. Now that was amazing!  We saw one of the original Van Gogh Sunflowers and countless works of Monet.
On the way we stopped at a "random" church for worship. We were reminded of God's sovereignty and it was a great service.
The Amish Farms are humbling. But this peacock was "Just Plain Fancy."  Did you notice the reference to one our favorite children's books?