Friday, August 31, 2007

Silas Rocks his big day

My son Silas is that personality type that is very vulnerable to advertising. He's been drooling over the Red Lobster commercials for years now. I was not up for a party so for his big 6 yr. birthday last night Daddy and I took him out on a hot date. Oh's just as I always feared... he is a very hot date. If you're noticing that the Queen song doesn't seem to fit with the large homeschooling family stereotype well... I guess that's the point here. But it is Silas' favorite song and althought he doesn't know any of the words in it, he still sings it with such passion and conviction ("banno waddo mud on yer face....big displace...") ...that I had to post it. He first heard it at the barber shop and he always starts singing it while he's "slickin up" his hair. (Actually, I think he hears it playing in his head all the time.)
Now lest you be thinking this is an ornery face, it is his cool picture face. There's no ornery about it. He's just workin the suit. Yeah, we didn't expecte him to put it on either, but he came downstairs all slick and ready to party.
While we waited for our table and Daddy was getting Starbucks we had great fun...
" Wow.... are we gonna eat those Mom?"
No Silas...don't even think about it Silas. Silas...take that look off your face...

Silas!!!!!!! Put that down!!!

"danno wanno waaaa da big displace....ya got mud on yer face..." (Now... I know it was playing in his head while he was posing for this photo.)

Here he is posing like Nacho he said...

Decisions decisions...

Oh he can hardly wait...
Silas and I shared the Ultimate feast. Thankyou Sugar Daddy. I figure...we mothers did the work of all the pushin...we kinda deserve lobster too....?I think by the looks of it, Daddy is totalling the bill in his head....(Cha-ching $$$)These are "Turtle Dollars" that Silas has been earning for quite sometime. He's been working towards earning them to buy a real pet turtle. Now he's gonna cash in!

On the eve of his birthday Silas got to spend the night at Gramma's house!

According to Gramma, they were shopping in Trader Joe's when he spotted some flowers and said

"Hey Gerbera Daisies are one of my Mom's favorite flowers! Can I get em for her?!"
Although these passionate personality types tend to be the ones who cause us the most grief...their love is just as passionate!
Aren't they beautiful?Gramma & Papa Tim took us to BIG SCOOP!Now that there picture on the sign is just about as nostalgic as it gets for me. As a kid, that sign represented heaven.Fun!!! This is the BEFORE picture...This is during the process...AFTER...uhhh.....BURP!
How cute are they? Did they just out cute Owen?Essie's cleaning up after Gramma & PapaIt was a secial day alright!
And Happy Birthday to Pop-a-Wheely!!!My Dad (Papa Wheely) had his birthday the day before Silas and it was very nice to visit with Papa! Uncle Ronnie came too! He was saying that it was so quiet the kids seemed like the Flanders. That's why we're so thankful for our Silas and were happy to have him home!

Happy Birthday Silas--you rock.
Please Pray...
My nephew Nick suffered some sort of spinal cord injury tonight during his football game. He has little movement in his right arm and is being taken to **********Hospital in Seattle. They think it is a blood clot on the spine so please pray for him and his family. ~Thankyou

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Martha, Martha...

So I woke up this morning with about twelve new suckers shooting out from the top of my head that must've shot up during the night ;) and despite having my moment of clarity yesterday and blogging all about it, I just couldn't bring myself to do my pruning. Unfortunately, I didn't make time for the Lord to do it either...

Instead, I began running around like a fool, making phone calls, stressing about how I might fit everything I feel like I need to fit in this week, trying to get a handle on who to call back first, how to get everyone to believe that they are a priority in my life... (because the clock is ticking you know...), whose nose to wipe next, and taking up all the heavy burdens I had just yesterday laid down. All the while I'm telling myself that it was just a matter of needing to plan better and forcing myself to not look out the window at the apple tree that still hasn't been pruned either!)

Then I had an encouraging phone call with my mom who usually gives me good perspective. "UhhhhhLizabeth....!" It was when the baby started howling and decided she needed to nurse NOW, and I heard the shattering of a broken glass in the kitchen that I suddenly remembered something the Lord had taught me a few years ago:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listenend to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:38-42
I don't know how many of my Martha friends I've shared this with over the years, but it's something I need to revisit again myself. One thing is necessary. Right at that moment I realized it was the sweeping up of the glass. Then, the nursing of the baby. Then....I would sit at the Lord's feet and find out what comes next. It will be one... (sigh)
And when I choose the good thing, like Christ said, the "good portion"... it will not be taken away from me. How encouraging is that? So much we do is here and gone. Like the straw that can burn, the glories that fade. But by seeking Christ and choosing the portion that he has for us at this moment, He will lead us to what is eternal and everlasting and He will calm our anxious hearts.
Forgive me, I know I am becoming redundant in my themes here, but I am apparently long in grasping certain lessons. And if you're asking yourself "Then how in the world does she have time to blog about all this now?" I don't know. I guess I could be scrambling around getting the house just perfect for the visitors that will be here shortly, but after opening the Word and sitting at my Father's feet, I am reminded that I won't be able to truly bless those visitors anyway while being "anxious and troubled about many things." I'm finding that now that I am at rest, my children are all playing peacefully as well.
Why do I always forget how loving my Father is? Why do we tarry in just sitting at his feet--as if He'll load us with all these heavy and unwanted burdens. Today my Lord was like "Elizabeth, why don't you just sit down, open the Word, have some breakfast already, do a little bloggin, and let me comfort you?" (sigh)
Are people actually reading this?
I'm just really curious and would love to hear from you if you are. Please leave a comment for me and tell me how really redundant my posts are getting. ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fear of Man ~ The great life sucker

Anyone who knows anything about apple trees knows this is not the way to get good fruit. That branch sticking straight up from the rest is actually called a "sucker" and should've been pruned off about ...well....about two years ago. I kick myself every time I look out my bedroom window and see it, (among other yard needs!) and feel like such a loser for not taking care of my trees because I do highly value homemade apple pie you see! Today I was struck with the parallel to life and with the sovereignty of God once again....over my sin, to use a straggly little fruit tree and speak wisdom and life into my discouraged heart.

There are so many pressing and important things in life that keep us constantly feeling those "coulda/shoulda/wouldas". So many loved ones we want to fit in, so many aspirations and responsibilities we strive to fulfill that the desires to succeed and the fear of failing, can become like a great big life sucker. Like the branches shooting out the top of my tree, those things are not necessarily bad or evil. In fact, you may see even my suckers are bearing substantial fruit! But those tiny little half ripe apples can also damage the overall health of the tree, tend to make the quantity of fruit lack in quality, and in the long run not produce a healthier tree bearing the most or the best fruit. In my life good things quickly become downright sucky things if I am striving to please men, and not daily seeking God in where I throw my energy and my heart.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

I confess that my own biggest sucker in life is the fear of man. It can quickly crop up from very good motives and look as harmless as a bunch of crisp ripening little apples. But if those little offshoots start to suck the energy from my purpose, making my life top heavy, vulnerable to exhaustion, damage, rot and so forth, it is time to let God prune off the weight and put the perk back in my sagging branches.

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit....

Life in a large family can be very sanctifying for just this reason. When homeschooling seven little ones under age ten, one gives up early on trying to be understood and approved of by others. This can be very very painful when our heart longs to be understood, to not be ridiculed, rebuked or reviled and ultimately just wants to be loved. The temptation is there to people please and avoid the difficult pruning. The truth is, that when we are loving and fearing our mighty God and trusting in His plan for our life and His timing with the fruit we bear, we naturally will bless others. We may not please them, but we will bless them. I've been so encouraged by this humble prayer:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart...hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted...deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged...deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected...deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world others may increase and I may decrease...Jesus ,grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
~Cardinal Merry del Val

I think that the sentence here that packs the punch for us mothers is the last. We are called to live faithfully in what God has called our families to. I am called to be the wife to one particular man whose name is Brian. So I will do my "wifing" much different than Suzy. And God at this time has blessed me with Gemma, Hannah, Elijah, Silas, Esther, Owen and Juliet. Therefore my mothering will be oh-so-unique to those oh-so-unique little people. When we remember this, we free ourselves from what only discourages and exhausts us anyway. And we end up judging each other a little less harshly and giving them a lot more grace--trusting that they are seeking to fulfill their own holy calling as well.

Ultimately, we are all called to be holy in the eyes of Jesus. The fear of man and the fear of the Lord cannot operate together. It takes great courage to trust God and continue on as we seek to become holy as we should, not...holy as they should, or think we should! And yet that very courage is there for the taking if we simply ask. For our Savior said:

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you BEAR MUCH FRUIT AND SO PROVE TO BE MY DISCIPLES...These things I have spoken to you so that My JOY may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. John 15:11-12

(This is the kids lip syncing to a little Team Strike Force. Bubs is uncle Matt, Hannah is Auntie Rose, guest appearance is by Darth Taylor (our new cousin/friend), Essie and Juliet are playing the keys, Gemma is doing her own thing and well... that there's Luke Abrams rocking out in the center.)

Bless their little hearts--the poor girlies worked hard baking chocolate chip cookies before they realized the oven still wasn't working and had to freeze them for another day! (Essie!)

After a rough day at the office, Brian gets some relief.
Check mate Eli.
Good try though!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Safe in the Fold

Yesterday we were happy and excited to finally become identified with Christ Covenant Church. They use the term "identified" to simply make the distinction that while we are now becoming identified with this particular church body and now under its care and oversight, we are also members of the greater body of believers everywhere.
Little 7 month old Juliet's vocabulary consists only of "Dadda", "Mamma" and various spitting sounds so it was funny while Pastor Dean went through the questions with Brian, after he would answer "I do" and Juliet would echo "Ah dooooooooo!"
What a fun day! The kids were very excited. On the way to church Essie yelled out from the back of the van "I thought we was alweady bathtized!?!?" And Hannah asked "Yeah, I thought we were already members." I explained that we certainly have been members of Christ's body all along and that's what their baptisms had shown (like how Mommy & Daddy's wedding rings are the symbol of our marriage covenant). I explained that the elders had visited us during the week to talk with us about what it would mean to be a part of Christ Covenant Church and how scripture says all of us christians are like sheep and Christ is the head of all of us. But like sheep, we so easily go astray and need to flock together in smaller herds. God appoints earthly shepherds to watch over those flocks. Today Pastor Dean is gonna be like a sheperd asking Daddy in front of all the other sheep, if we want to come into their flock and be fed, loved and watched over. Do we want to become a part of their flock and serve and obey. So of course the analogy was too irresistable for Silas ahd he had to pipe up "Yeah! I'm gonna yell Baaaaaa Baaaaaaa!!!!! ...when we go up there!"

That made great sense to all my little lambs and one turtley turtle. Aren't they sweet?!

Even ovens need a Sabbath Rest.....sheesh.
So I wasn't aware of this but according to KitchenAid Oven's Use and Care Guide, even ovens need a Sabbath rest. I discovered this curious fact this saturday while I had my oven set on the cleaning mode preparing for the Sunday Potluck we were hosting in celebration of our becoming identified with Christ Covenant Church. Anyway, my oven apparently overheated and blew a fuse or something. I noticed it was dead and instead of running screaming for the hills tearing my clothes and hair like I was tempted to, I finally decided to follow Hannah's mature example (I heard her calmly saying..."hmm I wunda what God's plan must be with this!") Oh.yes. God's plan. So I dug in the cupboard for the troubleshooting manual and found this funny "Sabbath mode" stuff. It says...
Thankfully I have a pretty easy going man who doesn't get as fazed as I do when stuff like this happens. The guy is a ROCK. (and I'm not just talking biceps here...) Both ovens quit just hours before the house is to be infiltrated with ladies and casseroles needing to be baked. I was like "...but Brian what'll we do?!?!" and he says..."We'll make something else, they'll save their food in the fridge and take it home to feed their families later." And then just moments after reattaching the bathroom door that had been somehow ripped out of the wall by a four year old girl...he set out to fix those darn ovens!He only stayed in the fetal position for a few moments. (The guy knows humor keeps me going.)

Momma's Little Sunday Morning Helpers...

Gemma gets coffee on the Lord's Day. She's such a little Momma herself!Hannah helping cheerfully with the dishes.. Elijah chopping up polish sausage for the Bean Soup! Note to parents of boys: A good way to involve them in the kitchen is to involve weapons of some sort)
Frying up the sausage!

And don't tune out yet folks...

Yes...just when you thought we were too Flander for see one little punk in a backwards baseball hat stealing the sausages...Does this look like remorse for the treachery....just the plain old humiliation of getting caught...or is my precious little hunk-of-attention-deficit-son just simply savoring the chunk of sausage still in his cheek? (He's not really ADD, but you put this much boy in school and make him sit...and I'll betcha they sure as heck would try to label him as such.)
Benches are great for squishing lots of little pairs of buns around the table!Miss Azaleah dishing up some soup!GOOD TIMES... How many kids are in that hot tub?! Twelve?! No, actually thirteen! The other big announcement yesterday was our new expected McPherson addition. Could she be any glowier?!?! So many devoted husbands and Daddies...Delicious Lucius Comis and Juliet are only three days apart! Pastor Dean's sermon touched on the different giftings in the body. I don't know if I was ministered to more by Mrs. Comis' help in the kitchen...or Mr. Comis' rendition of Bob the Builder... :)"Good bye Essie, thankyou for having us! "

"Goodnight Londy...thankyou for coming....I love you..."