Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

I have a huge batch of papers to mark starting today. I just had the first look at the new case Yes I procrastinated until a few hours before I need to start-oops) and this case looks pretty intense. I am guessing it will take much longer to mark than the last ones. I also don't think I will have much help with the kids so I will need every single spare moment in the next two weeks for marking. So to try and not be a terrible procrastinator of marking I need to put all blogging activities on hold - blogging can be too consuming and much more interesting than the cases I am marking LOL!! See you in a couple weeks!

I am going to take a short break in blogging my bible studies. But it is for good reason!! I am working on starting a Women's Bible Study in our community and am doing some research/planning for the actual study. When I have some things better organized I will likely start posting some of it, probably in the next few days.

Visit 5minutesformom.com for more Wordless Wednesday.

I noticed that I haven't posted many photos of the rest of my family, here is how I found hubby and the critters a few evenings ago! It was so pitiful I had to take a picture!!!

Do you know what zerberts are? If you watched the Cosby show you probably do. Well, I think zerberts are Sam's new phase, he has been giving them alot in the last couple of days. I have to be careful with how much I laugh so that it doesn't get out of control.

Anyway, I was sitting on the floor and Sam came and gave me a zerbert on my cheek, then he laughed and said "Oh no, mama, now you are ruined!" I asked why am I ruined? In the midst of hysterical giggles he says "because I spit all over you"

Just thought you would like to know I am ruined! LOL it cracked me up.

Thanks to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers for hosting this. Go over to her site to be encouraged by others.

This past week I have been marking papers and today is the deadline. Normally I am not so pressed for time, but for various reasons this time I am. I only have two left and they should be easy ones - only taking a couple hours each! So I was grateful when it seemed like the kids were going to settle down with the electronic babysitter and watch a video. I know, bad me - but if I got most of one marked this morning I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed and maybe we could have fun playing this afternoon after their rest (and me marking some more). Good plan right!

It was, until I started printing the reports. I usually use my old, reliable laser printer, but it ran out of paper. No problem, last month when my paper was getting low I bought big package of paper at Costco for a great price. Good thing I am so organized and replenish office supplies before they run out!

So I casually put the paper into the printer - paper jam? No, just didn't feed through. Try again - paper jam? No, looks fine. Try again - same thing! What is wrong with this old printer! I finally decided that the paper was slightly heavier than what I normally use and so the printer won't grab it properly..GRR I only have 10 more pages to print!!

Okay, no problem, I will try the new HP inkjet that I got more for scanning and faxing than for printing - I don't print on this one unless I need color. Send to printer - works fine...but only for 5 pages! The black ink cartridge ran out....GRRRRR I was supposed to buy some more to have extra on hand - these were still the sample ones that came with the printer. So much for being fabulously organized with my office supplies. GRRR GRRR GRRR

Now I have a problem! I only have 5 more pages to print before I can mark and both printers are not printing.

Option 1 - call someone to babysit so I can run out to the store (only 15 miles away). Not many people I would even ask, these three are alot for anyone. I can only think of two - both are sick. Scratch option 1

Option 2 - wait until Daddy gets home, then go to the store. Nope, that won't leave me enough time to finish the papers by the deadline. I really need to finish at least one during the day. Scratch option 2.

Option 3 - change everyone out of jammies and pack them all up to go to the store. I estimate,
1 hour to get organized (was not planning an outing today), dressed and loaded into the van,
30 minutes of driving there and home,
1+ hour for lunch, (it would be lunchtime when we got there) this includes the new fad of 3 kids having to use the potty GRRR there are benefits to diapers), also includes unloading and reloading three kids into carseats
1+ hour for shopping, also includes loading and unloading the van, fighting with 3 kids in 1 very small shopping cart that fills up quickly!

So that is probably a minimum of 4 hours, we would get home about an hour before Daddy got home anyways. Not alot of time and alot of extra frustration. GRRR scratch option 3.

Option 4 - feel incredibly trapped, alone, without reasonable options and therefore must collapse in tears. Put option 4 on hold when child comes with a mess on his hands and a mess in his pullup (I will not get any more graphic than that). Clean up, resume option 4. This option is not working, scratch Option 4.

Option 5 - pray. Good that worked. Results...
1. DUH! for 5 pages, I can use the backs of previously used papers. It is not like anyone sees it - the results are all online. It just takes awhile and likely some divine intervention for my very organized, professionally trained brain to wrap around an innovative idea like using already used paper!!!! In an office setting it would never have occurred to me to do something like that! Anyway, in a couple days when I go shopping I can get more paper and ink. Problem solved.

2. When reflecting on how I overreacted and how something like this probably would have never happened in an office setting, (even when I had my own business) I suddenly realized that I am so blessed. We are in a position where I do not have to work, I have found a way to have a very part time job that keeps me connected to my profession, and most importantly I am at home with my kids.

In all the daily frustrations and the frequent feeling of being overwhelmed I have to keep reminding myself that I am home with them. All day, everyday - not just for a few hours, I get to play with them, laugh with them, wipe their tears, kiss their boo-boos, and cuddle & kiss them. I am the one that is guiding them and teaching them and for that I am usually the first one to see the excitement on their faces when they learn something new. I am grateful to be home with my kids.

Joanne at The Simple Wife hosts Memory Monday. It is a great way to memorize scripture.

Last Monday, for my first Memory Monday I chose Psalm 23, let's see how I did...

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul, He leads me down the paths of righteousness for His names sake.

Yea though I walk though the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil,
For you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint me with oil, my cups overflows runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

What is the difference between overflows and runs over? I think I did very well!! Except for punctuation, but I didn't correct that.

I wondered where to go next, what verses do I pick to memorize next. I struggled with the for quite awile, until I noticed my bookmark - the one I use everyday! It was given to me by a good friend, and until he gave it to me I had never heard of the Roman Road. It is simply the verses in Romans that lead us to salvation. I think that they are incredibly important to memorize because you never know when you will be speaking to someone that needs them!

The first is Romans 3:23 and I will add verse 24 to it as well. Oh and by the way, I usually use the NLT Bible - not that it is any better or worse than other translations, just happens to be the version I have as a study bible and the one I use for everyday reading.

Romans 3:23-24 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. he has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.

Visit orgjunkie.com for more great menu plans!

After focusing on marking papers last week I will be busy cleaning my house this week , so nothing new, nothing fancy. Just the same old delightfully easy and yummy recipes!!

My menus must be quick and easy and I have found that I use my crockpot at least twice a week! Here is my menu plan for this week.

Breakfasts are Cereal, Whole Wheat Waffles , Homemade Oatmeal, or Whole Wheat Bread with PB&J. Wow! I am still amazed that other than having store bought cereal and PB&J, the rest of our breakfasts are made from scratch!!!

Lunches are usually Leftovers

Suppers this week are:

Monday Crockpot Stew

Tuesday Veggie Bake I might try to add a can of chicken or salmon to this.

Wednesday Scott's Hamburger Soup

Thursday Pasta & Veggies (if I find time to go grocery shopping and get the fresh veggies!)

Friday Pizza Night (maybe I will try a homemade pizza - have to see how the week goes and if I get out to get groceries!!!)

Saturday Chicken (have not decided on a recipe yet)

Sunday Southwestern Pot Roast

Most of these are one dish type meals so we usually have a slice of fresh Whole Wheat Bread as a side. We have also been trying to eat more raw veggies so we have been having that and Veggie Dip.

Psalm 41
(KJV) Verse 13 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

I preferred the wording of the KJV version today - from everlasting - to everlasting!!

Psalms is divided into 5 books. The first book ends with this Psalm. I found out about this a few days ago and decided then that I would complete the first book of Psalms and then move onto something else for awhile (more on that in later posts). Well, I had this on my mind when I read this Psalm and when I came to the last verse I immediately noticed that Amen was repeated. I thought that was intriguing and wondered if any of the other previous Psalms ended in Amen, so I checked and none of the do. How fascinating!

Of course when I am that curious the first thing I do is read the commentary within my NLT study bible. This is a quote for Psalm 41:13

Psalms is divided into five books, and each one ends with a doxology or an expression of praise to God. The first book of Psalms, chapters 1 through 41, takes us on a journey through suffering, sorrow, and great joy. It teaches about God's eternal love and care for us and how we should trust him even in the day-to-day experiences of life.

So I wondered if I had learned all of these things? Let's see if I can find at least one posts for each of these listed things!

suffering Psalm 38

sorrow Psalm 10

great joy Psalm 16

God's eternal love and care for us Psalm 33

how we should trust him even in the day-to-day experiences of life Psalm 37

Well, I think I did it, I found a post related to each one of these items. Of course these items are limited to the perspective of the writers of the NLT study bible. When I was scanning through my posts in Psalms I noticed I wrote alot about the need to witness or tell others about God, the strength that we have through trusting in Him, alot of praise and wonder, and alot of prayer to help me through my daily life. Hmmm, it is interesting how bible studies can be influenced by what is going on in your life! Someday I will actually make it through studying the entire bible in this manner and will start all over. It will be fascinating to compare the studies to see what my focus is then.

Lord, thank you for your wonderful Word and all the Blessed moments I have with you. Help me to keep focused on the next stage of study and may you work through me to be a blessing to others. I pray you can use me to bring many to you so that they can also know the peace and joy I experience through your love for me.

Psalm 40
Verse 10 I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Verse 16 But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "The Lord is great!"

I was surprised to see verse 13 Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me. and at first I was going to write about how I have seen that theme jump out at me. Psalm 31 had a similar verse and I have been repeating that verse several times a day, haha it really does help! It makes me pause, take a breath and realize that God is there with me in the midst of the chaos!

But then I noticed something else. I read Verse 10 and questioned - do I do this? Do I do it enough? And the answer of course is NO. In the course of living life most of us do not speak out enough, we do not talk enough about God and what he does, and we probably don't tell everyone we meet about God. But what would happen if we did?

Perhaps more people would start to search for God. And maybe joy and gladness would come to those who find Him.

Through this blog I think that I am certainly telling more people about God and all the wonderful blessings He has given me. But it is not enough, we should strive to include God in all our conversations. I don't know how to do that yet, but it is something I need to work on and apply in my own life.

Lord, help me to find the words and the opportunities to tell everyone I meet about you and the wonderful things you do. I thank you for the leading me to the world of blogging, and may what I write always glorify and praise you in some way. I pray that you can work through me to reach those who are searching for you. May they be brought to the same joy and gladness that I have because of the salvation you so graciously provided for us.

I was in the den when Sam came to tell me he was hungry and wanted a snack. I knew that Daddy was in the kitchen, and I also knew that they were wathcing "The Incredibles" on TV. Okay, now that you know that this will make more sense...

Sam - Mama, I am so hungry, can I have a snack please?

Mama - Good job having nice manners buddy! Why don't you go ask Daddy, I think he is already in the kitchen.

Sam - OKAY!!! I will run SUPERFAST

Mama- Just like a SuperHero?

Sam stops dead in his tracks and looks at me very seriously "I am not a superhero, I am SAM!!!

When I told Daddy about this, he laughed and told me what Sam said last night when they were visiting friends...

Daddy to friend - Well I better get going and get this kid home for bedtime

Sam - I am not a kid, I am just Sam

Psalm 39
verse 4 Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.

Life is short, we never know when our time is up. As I sit here reflecting on this I remember a job that I had. I was the only one who knew how to do some aspects of my job and I continually told my boss. "You need to know how to do this too, what would you do if I got hit by a bus tomorrow!" Of course if that had happened they would have figured it out, but the point was that who knows what tomorrow could bring.

I was also thinking about this topic when I was programming my new cell phone. I had read an email recently that suggested you put ICE numbers into your cell phone (ICE is In Case of Emergency). That way if something happens to you and you have your phone with you, the rescuers/police will know who to call, rather than guessing which number to call. Anyways, I did this in my phone, but I went a step further. I added ICE-temp care for kids numbers. I was thinking, what if both me & hubby were hurt or worse but the kids are fine or not with us. Now they have several places to go to until family could get here.

Okay, so those are a couple of practical tips that we can all benefit from, but what are we really doing with our time. Where is our main focus, where are the majority of our thoughts? Let's use our time wisely and do what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

Lord your glorious word speaks to my heart. Thank you for the reminder that life is short and we need to watch out where our focus is. Please help all of us to realize how our time should be prioritized so that we make worshipping you our life's goal and ambition.

Katy Lin hosts the weekly "My Husband Rocks". This week's prompt is

Tell us about a time that your spouse went out of his way to serve you, and love you sacrificially.

My hubby sacrifices time with his family....

When we moved from California we knew that if we didn't have to we did not want to live in the city. With three very small children it became not only a preference to live more rurally but also a safety issue. They can literally go three different directions at the same time and we wanted them to be able to safely play outside.

Our house hunting started with determining what the maximum commute was going to be. Hubby decided that after commuting on LA freeways he could easily manage a 50 mile commute in Virginia, and so I only looked at homes within a 50 mile radius of his new workplace. We found a home in a very small community, far from any busy roads, on a large 1 acre lot surrounded by trees and nearly all fenced. Basically the only way out of the whole yard is down the driveway. Perfect for containing kids, better said - attempting to contain kids hahaha!

The time he has lost:
In California he was still home in the morning to see kids get up and often have breakfast with them, now he is gone long before we get up.

In California he would get home in the middle of the afternoon, now he generally gets home just in time for supper. On work days he used to have about 4 hours with the kids, now it is only 2 hours.

So is it worth it? Of course! We are in a wonderful community with great neighbors - you just don't find this kind of welcoming environment in a city!! I certainly don't have to worry about traffic, there is usually only a few cars that go by our place all day. I don't have to immediately panic if I lose sight of one child for a moment - usually it is Ben and he is wandering around the yard someplace! We can go outside to play and there is enough room in our yard where they can easily and safely run in three different directions.

I took these pictures last summer and actually captured them going in three different directions. I was trying to get them all to sit together nicely for a group photo - ha that was a joke. I finally bribed them with juice boxes (a rare treat) to get them to sit still. And this is exactly why my hubby sacrifices his time - so that his children can have this kind of time!!!

And this is exactly why my hubby sacrifices his time - so that his children can have this kind of time!!! To just be kids in a safe place.

Before moving here I had never seen a Cardinal and rarely seen BlueJay (maybe once or twice). I have been so thrilled to see them regulary, especially the Cardinals.

When we first moved into our house I found a cardinal nest in a tree above our deck. The baby bird was pretty big by then and unfortunately was not around long. I have been amazed at the vivid red of this bird, and how easily they are to see. Even driving 60miles an hour it is easy to spot them flying across the road.

I have enjoyed the BlueJays lately as well. There seems to be more of them in the last couple months so I wonder if they migrate? I started to wonder this when I started to see more Robins! I come from an area that decides it is spring when the Robins show up so it is very odd for me to see Robins in the middle of winter.

Anyway! In the last few days I have been trying to get photos of them. I finally got a great one of a Cardinal sitting on my deck. The BlueJays have been sneaky though - they are gone by the time I get the camera! The best I got was highly zoomed into a tree. I will keep trying though!

On my right sidebar is the "Motivation for Moms" daily tip/inspiration. Today's was this: Don’t just tell your children that you love them ~ tell them what you love about them. I was going to just post some short videos that I took this week, but then decided to add in some more commentary about what it is that I love about them and what I love about what I captured. In this video Sam could hear Carlee through the monitor. They were all upstairs with Daddy, but Sam had some down to go to the bathroom. I love that he is totally potty trained!!!!! Before I could get the camera going he had tried to have a conversation with her and couldn't figure out why she wasn't talking back. Then I got the camera going and captured three things I love about Sam. First, he still jabbers away in his own language that we call Saminese. Second, I love that he tries so hard to pronouce words correctly, I think here he was trying to say broken correctly. And third, that he loves firemen! Although I am worried about the day that they actually figure out how to dial 911 for real. YIKES!

Sam has always loved books, but lately he has started to be concerned about whether a story is happy or scary. It is hard to hear what he says in the video because he is talking quietly, which he does when he is serious but also because of Ben & Carlee chattering right beside me. It is a rare moment when all of them are not in the same room, I love that they stick together! Anyway, he says he is "Just reading" and then "see if there's a happy story". I love that he is so serious and looking quite concerned that there would be a scary story in that book, which by the way was a book of children's prayers haha! I also love that he put his jammie pants over top of his cowboy boots. Too cute!!
Here they are all reading their own books!

This one is mostly of Carlee and it shows alot about her. First that she really can be a chatterbox. At the start she was lining up some papers, she often does this - she is already organizing! Then she starts to chatter about Daddy, I think she was discussing the idea that Daddy goes to work and then comes home. But I love how quickly she becomes distracted by the closet door being slightly open and how important it is to close it. She then shows her many faces: the bossy side by telling Ben where he should be, laying claim to her seat, demanding that he pick up her card, laying claim to the cards, her nice manners, but then she refuses to share. Notice that she forgot all about the closet door. At this point Ben begins to talk about going to the dump. (Sam and Daddy had just left to go to the dump). But there is a serious case of toddler miscommunication going on here! I hope you figure out what she thought he said faster than I did!!!!
Here I was trying to capture Ben saying Yellow. He kind of did it, but the way he rolls his tongue all the way outr of his mouth is just so darn adorable. I also love that in this video it shows how sweet Ben is, notice near the beginning he snuggles into Daddy. It is quick, but it is there. Lately, several times a day he will run up to me and squeeze the life out of my leg while saying awwww, awwww, awww Ben is also thoughful, in the middle he puts his finger to his head and says, "Now what's this?" Of course we will never know, we were too busy trying to get him to say yellow!!! And finally, this child never ever stops moving or talking!! That is just Ben!!!

    And just for fun... They like to do what the others are doing. This day I guess they found their cowboy boots from Gramma SisSue!!

    Psalm 38
    verse 3 Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins.
    verse 18 But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.

    This Psalm describes the terrible pain and suffering that David is experiencing. In verse 3 he states that all of his sickness is because of his sin. Sin can separate us from others and from God and cause loneliness, isolation, depression and despair. Our bodies and minds can be terribly affected when we allow sin to work in our lives.

    The solution is found in verse 18 where David confesses his sin and feels remorse.

    To repent is change your ways and your way of thinking. Through repentance we turn from sin and turn to Christ who is our Saviour from all sin.

    Lord, you are so wonderful and gracious. Today I pray for you to please show me areas of sin in my life that I may not be aware of, sins that are causing pain and suffering in my life. I ask so that I may repent and live a more Godly life, to be more pleasing in your sight and to be a blessing to others. Thank you for loving us so much and sending Jesus to die for our sins.

    Visit 5minutesformom.com for more Wordless Wednesday.

    Did you know that if you crack an egg just a little and then sqeeze it just right it will explode.

    That is what happened to us today. All the kids really wanted to help bake muffins this afternoon, so I let them. Carlee counted the cups of flour and sugar and then dumped in the smaller measures like salt. Ben helped me get the cans of pineapple and cranberry and then helped with the can opener. And then it was Sam's turn all that was to measure was the oil so he dumped that in and then there were the eggs.

    I thought that he could help me crack them. The first one we both held it and cracked it on the side of the bowl. Then I put my thumbs in and opened the shell, neat and tidy! Well the next one he told me "I can do it all by myself Mama" Okay, why not! All that was in the bowl was the oil, how much harm could there be in letting him do it.

    He had trouble cracking the egg because he was trying to be gentle, he is so sweet! I helped him a bit then told him to put his thumbs in and open it up very carefully. Well he did and I know he was being careful because it took several seconds until it exploded! I don't know how he did it, but I have never seen an eggshell break into so many pieces without being pounded on. Well, as soon as it exploded he got startled and dropped the whole thing into the bowl. He looked up at me like he had just ruined the whole thing, the poor child was about to cry. I couldn't help it, I started to laugh! Then he did too!

    We giggled about that silly exploding egg while I rescued the egg shells from the bowl. Then I suggested we try that again. Would you believe that the exact thing happened again!! Except that this time we laughed hysterically! The recipe only needed three eggs, so we were done.

    I think I got all the shells out and they were the best muffins I have made in a long time. I can't wait for the next baking lesson, I am now determined to have him learn how to properly crack eggs. Practice makes perfect!

    Psalm 37
    Verse 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

    Have you ever had one of those days when you finally realize God is trying to pound something into your head? Well today is one of those days for me. First I got an email that really affected me. I copied it and posted it here. Then this verse nearly jumped off the page when I read it!!!

    My days usually only include: efforts to eat more "from scratch", playtime, storytime, at home preschool, and even having little helpers (who are not alot of help, especially cracking eggs LOL) bake with me. All of these things may not seem significant now, but when I read the email it hit home. The carver's little bird on the beam that noone will see is important because God sees it, but also because the beam is an important part of the structure of the Cathedral. And so that and the verse in this Psalm reminds me that everything I do needs to be for the glory of God.

    Right now my focus is on my children, I am building their "structure". The strength of their character is dependant on what I do now! Wow that is alot of pressure, isn't it! However, the verse also says that if I trust the Lord He will help me. Whew! I sure need it and my children need Him to help me!!

    This help is described in verses 23-24 and 31
    23 The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.
    24 Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
    31 They fill their hearts with God's law, so they will never slip from his path.

    Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking so loudly to me today! I place my trust in you and give you all the glory for the blessing of my children. And through your Word, help me to raise them in your love, to give them a strong structure so that they may have a deep and everlasting faith in you. Oh Lord thank you for directing my steps and holding my hand so I will not fall when I stumble. And please give me a deeper desire to know your Word so that I will not stumble so frequently.

    I did not write the following, I received it in an email. But it is really something I needed to reflect on. On those days when I am feeling invisible or when I feel like I am not making a difference - I need to remember that God sees!!

    So here you go, it is for all you wonderful mothers out there!

    The Invisible Mom

    It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

    One night a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when my friend turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To my friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book.

    And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

    A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, no one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

    It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. _You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

    At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

    When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is! anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

    As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM! Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

    Thanks to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers for hosting this. Go over to her site to be encouraged by others.

    This morning we woke up to see it snowing. We do not see alot of snow here so it was very exciting for the kids. I grew up on the Canadian prairies and it does not hurt my feelings to not have snow ever again!!! It was also a chilly 20 degrees and when it gets that cold our poor little heat pump has to work very hard to keep the house at 70. I keep it at 70 because my kids refuse to keep all their clothes on, none of them will wear socks or slippers for very long and I think only one of them has pants on right now. sigh... I have to pick my battles and remaining fully dressed is not one of them!

    Anyways, back to this morning. To prevent the heat pump from continually trying to heat the house (and blowing money out the cracks in the windows and doors) we have been keeping a fire burning all day. But we have used up all the wood we had piled up near the house. If I wanted a fire today I needed to make a few short trips to the woodpile by the shed. Seeing as the kids were already excited about the snow I figured they could go outside too. I don't have really warm winter clothes for them because it doesn't get that cold here, so I knew it would only be for a few minutes anyways.

    My next thought was how am I ever going to find 3 jackets, 3 pairs of mitts, 3 hats, 3 pairs of boots, and 3 pairs of snowpants. You see, I have not been choosing some of my battles wisely. I have mistakenly allowed my kids to play with these items as if they were toys. Oh what a mistake and definately a lesson learned!! Here was my scavenger hunt results:

    3 jackets - these are generally pretty good at staying in the porch, I found them all on the coat rack!! Hoorray!!

    3 pairs of snowpants - these also tend to stay in the porch, but only because I stuff them way behind the shoe buckets! Sometimes I am pretty smart!!

    3 hats - I found two hats on the coat racks. The third was missing, but soon to be found...

    6 mitts - Lucky me, the two hats that I found each had a pair of mitts stuffed in them. I had wisely stuffed hats with matching mitts and they had not yet been discovered as a makeshift toy!! I sent the kids off to find mitts and boots. Ben and Carlee were quickly distracted by something else, but Sam was very helpful and found 1 mitt someplace. Now where could the last mitt be? I was now on a mission! How could I let one little hand get cold when 5 other little hands were going to remain warm. I searched and searched and finally found it with some dolls in the playroom!

    Meanwhile in my search for a mitt I found all 6 boots. Sam's - one in the porch, one on the couch. Ben's - one under the rocking chair in the den, one in the kitchen. Carlee's took a little longer to find, they were both in my bedroom - at least she took them off before climbing on my bed LOL!

    And so we finally found everything we needed to get dressed up and go outside to haul some wood. I figure that it took 45 minutes or more
    to locate all the items and get everybody dressed. I think we were outside long enough to haul 4 armloads of wood from the shed to the house - 10 minutes at the most!!!

    So was it worth it? What else could I have done in that hour? It doesn't matter - today I am grateful for

    • a warm house
    • seeing beautiful Cardinals and BlueJays in our yard (I had never seen these birds until this year!!). The red and blue were so vivid against the white snow!
    • the joy of seeing my children catching snowflakes
    • learning a valuable organizational lesson. Hats & mitts are off limits in the house!

      Here they are right before we went outside

    Psalm 36
    Verse 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

    When I read this verse I immediately thought of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman and how He offer her Living Water. I wanted to go and read this story again but I could not remember where it was other than it was in the Gospel of John. The first place I looked was at the reference along the middle of the page. I have never really followed these references and quite honestly have never given them much thought, let alone looked them up.

    But today I did! The reference was to 1Peter 2:9
    But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

    Oh, by the way, the story of the Woman at the Well is in John 4.

    When we are saved we leave the darkness and come into the light. We are to share the goodness of God with others so that they also may be brought into the light.

    Your light shines brightly so that we may see the path on which you guide us. Thank you for this glorious light and for giving us everlasting life. I pray that you will shine brightly through me so that others will see this beautiful light and all your glory.

    I found another fabulous blog carnival. The idea comes from Joanne at The Simple Wife and she says the following in her description of Memory Monday:
    "...I need to write God's Word on my heart. Which is a fancy way of saying I need to memorize some verses."

    "Each Monday my goal is to pick a verse or passage to memorize for the upcoming week. And the next Monday, I'll type it out BY MEMORY and choose another one."

    Sounds good to me!! Yes, Joanne I will join you! This week I will choose the 23rd Psalm. Whenever I stayed at my Grandma's house she recited this as the bedtime prayer. It is one of my favorite memories of my Grandma. I now know most of it, but still get messed up in places and have been meaning to correctly memorize it. This is the perfect opportunity!! And no cutting and pasting for this challenge-haha I almost did!!!!

    Psalm 23

    The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

    He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    I love the convenience of the store bought oatmeal packets and never considered making my own until I found this recipe. Unfortunately I can't remember where I found it to give the credit. Sorry!

    With this you can make a batch and store it, making only as much as you need. Although we go through this pretty fast!! Mix together:
    8 cups quick oats
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups powdered milk

    The recipe I found said to just add hot water, but did not say how much. I have been adding about an equal amount of water (such as 1 cup water to 1 cup mixture) and microwaving for 2 minutes or less.

    This is a recipe that my mom has been using for as long as I can remember! Every family get together has a veggie platter and this veggie tray.

    Small container sour cream
    Same amount of Miracle Whip
    Mix well with:
    1 tbsp Chives
    1 tbsp Dill Weed
    1 Tbsp Parsley Flakes
    11 shakes lemon pepper (I usually add more than that)
    1 1/2 tbsp Bon Appetite

    If you can find Bon Appetite!! I couldn't find it here and had to call my mom to find out what exactly it is. Basically it is a salt, onion, celery powder mixture with MSG. I found something called Beau Monde Seasoning and it worked fine just no MSG. If you can't find those I would make mixture of onion salt and celery salt.

    I got this recipe from my brother (via my mom lol), but I have no idea where he got the recipe from. Knowing my brother it likely has some crazy stroy attached to it. I must remember to ask him! Anyways, this is the tastiest soup I have ever had and so easy to make. Love Love Love it!!! And can't beleive I haven't posted it before.

    Brown together, then drain:
    2 lbs Hamburger or ground venison
    1 medium onion

    Then combine with the following ingredients in a large pot:
    28oz Salsa (mild or medium depending on the brand and how "zippy" you want it - by the way, zippy is a family cooking term haha)
    2 cups water
    3 cans consomme (I have been using 3 beef bouillon cubes and 3 cups of water - much cheaper!!!)
    1 can tomato soup
    4 carrots, chopped
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    1/2 cup pearled barley
    salt & pepper to taste (I only use 1/2 to 3/4 tsp each)

    Simmer covered for at least 2 hours

    This is a great recipe for using what you have. I often through in a couple handfuls of frozen peas or a package of frozen mixed veggies just to change it a bit!

    Visit orgjunkie.com for more great menu plans!

    I am busy marking papers this week, so nothing new, nothing fancy. Just the same old delightfully easy and yummy recipes!!

    My menus must be quick and easy and I have found that I use my crockpot at least twice a week! Here is my menu plan for this week.
    Breakfasts are Cereal, Whole Wheat Waffles , Homemade Oatmeal, or Whole Wheat Bread with PB&J
    Lunches are usually Leftovers
    Suppers this week are:

    Monday Crockpot Stew

    Tuesday Chicken (have not decided on a recipe yet, depends on grocery shopping tomorrow)

    Wednesday Pasta & Veggies

    Thursday Juicy Meatloaf

    Friday Pizza Night (maybe next week I will do homemade pizza!)

    Saturday Scott's Hamburger Soup

    Sunday Southwestern Pot Roast

    Most of these are one dish type meals so we usually have a slice of fresh bread as a side. We have also been trying to eat more raw veggies so we have been having that and Veggie Dip

    Let me paint a picture for you.

    Three kids at the table in only underwear or pullups. I don't know why nobody has pants on?? The shirts have been removed because we are having chili. The purpose of removing shirts is only for my sanity - tomato sauce is nearly impossible to get out! Anyways, the kids are at the table, plates in front of them. I have just sat down and Daddy is about to.

    Sam, with no warning stands up on his chair, has a huge smile on his face and he starts to clap his hands wildly. Then he yells "EVERYBODY CLAP CLAP CLAP!!" Ben & Carlee start to clap with excitement and Daddy & I clap as well. I am curious so I say "OK but why are we clapping?"

    Sam replies proudly "We are clapping for Jesus!"

    I have never taught him this and do not know where he learned it. I don't care, I am a proud Mama!!! And that my friends is the best bible study I could ever come up with! Let's offer up our praise by clapping for Jesus shall we!

    Psalm 35
    Verse 27 But give great joy to those who have stood with me in my defense. Let them continually say, "Great is the Lord, who enjoys helping his servant."

    I see in this Psalm terrible things happening to David. His enemies are opposing, attacking and trying to kill him. They are malicious witnesses trying to trap, slander, and mock him. Amongst all these terrible descriptions David is praying to the Lord and praising Him.

    There are many ways we are attacked. I am incredibly blessed and I am able to say that I have never had to endure any kind of attacks of this nature. But I know of others who have. There are also those who face terrible hardships. Death, sickness, abuse, financial problems, and the list could go on and on. Satan is constantly attacking us and uses any means he can to find ways to our weaknesses.

    The best I can do for those facing these kinds of trials is to stand with them, be there for them, pray for them and help them to be able to continually praise God.

    Lord, help us through our trials when we are faced with them. Give us the courage and strength to stand with those who are being attacked. Thank you for hearing our prayers and answering them in your time. All our joy is in praising you.

    Psalm 34
    Verse 14 (NLT) Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.

    Verses 14 (NKJV) 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.

    Verse 12 (NLT) asks Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? We read in the NKJV that one of the ways to have this is to seek out peace, to pursue it.

    Based on the name of my blog, you can imagine that I do not have alot of peace. The last few weeks I have become increasingly overwhelmed which seems to make the normal chaos of our house significantly more chaotic. I have been wondering and praying for some peace, a time of refreshing. My "me time" tends to be evenings, but I am usually so burned out by then that all I have energy for is being a couch potato! So what do I need to do to get peace.

    At one time I said to my hubby - I am going on a Spa & Craft retreat for the rest of the day so you are in charge. He looked at me a bit strangely and simply said. "Okay!" So off I went to my blessed Spa & Craft retreat (aka a bath and an afternoon in the sewing room) AHHH it was blissful. Not very "peaseful" because I could hear the chaos downstairs, but I came back the next day a more peace filled parent.

    I need to do that again, and I need to do it often. I need to take care of myself and find some peace, a time of refreshment. To have that long and good life, and to give my family a good life, I need to seek out and pursue this time for myself.

    Lord, I praise you for answering my prayers, for showing me how to find peace within myself. Thank you for showing me I need to have time for myself to spend praising you, learning your Word and spending time in peace and refreshing so that I can be a better wife and mother. I show you honor because I am working hard at living in peace with others.

    Psalm 33

    verses 6-9
    6 The Lord merely spoke,and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.
    7 He gave the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
    8 Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him.
    9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

    The Lord is the creator of all things. To look up at the stars on a clear night is incredible, just to realize that we have not even begun to understand the depth and breadth of the universe. The power of that is so beyond my comprehension. And yet God loves me, and I am just one person! He knows my name, He knows my thoughts and my heart, and He watches over me with His unfailing love.

    Wow, all I can do is offer my praise as I am completely in awe of our Lord. Verse 1 says Let the godly sing with joy to the Lord, for it is fitting to praise him.

    I think of how touched I am to hear my children sing and learn the words to new songs. Lately they love to sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"! Can you imagine how touched God is when we sing to Him!!

    Lord thank you for the love you have for me. I am grateful that you have the Whole World in your Hands and that you have me in your hands. Please help me to keep this perspective and praise you throughout the day, everyday.

    I just found a great blog carnival hosted by KatyLin at The Great Adventure. She says that one of the reasons she started this idea is "...putting marriage in a positive light! I want my husband to feel loved and respected by me, and I want to encourage others in this as well!"

    When I saw this I realized how much this blog has been devoted to our kids and how little has been mentioned about my husband. So in an effort to change that I will join Katy Lin on Fridays for my own My Husband Rocks posts. Looks like she uses "prompts" which is a good. Sometimes my sleep deprived, chaos ridden brain has trouble putting ideas together!!

    ~ONE~List at least one thing your husband did or said in the past week that reminded you why you love him.

    Every day that my hubby comes home I know that I can rely on him to take care of the kids while I do whatever I need to do. This might include finishing supper, cleaning the kitchen, or even closing the door to the den for 5 minutes of regaining my composure.

    In addition to all of that Wednesday evenings have become my escape. My wonderful hubby does all that needs to be done to get the kids ready for bed. That is three toddlers changed and into jammies all by himself!!! And all of this just so that I can go to church! Every time I walk out the door on Wed night I am amazed at how God has truly blessed me with an amazing hubby and the perfect father to our children.

    I love how much he loves being a Daddy!

    ~TWO~Share a "Generous Wife Tip"
    My hubby generally gets home about 5pm and the kids are usually in bed by 7:30. This is not alot of time for him to spend with them. My tip is to let him do as much as possible. An example of this would be if one of the kids asks me to do something I will tell them to ask Daddy to help. They are so used to me being there all day that I think they forget to even ask Daddy. The end result is that our kids learn that Daddy can do whatever Mama can do.

    Today I made a batch of bread dough. It seemed normal and that it was going to be nice. I set in the oven with the oven light on to rise. An hour later I came back and it had not risen!! That was the biggest shock of the day!! I could not understand what happened, my bread always rises. I have learned that I have sometimes not let it rise enough, but it always rises!

    Then I remembered that I had to fill up my yeast jar and that I keep the extra yeast in the fridge. I am guessing that hot water hitting cold yeast is probably not a good combination.

    Still not sure what to do with unrisen bread! I know that I could probably make pizza dough with it, but I have not tackled homemade pizza yet and don't have all the ingredients. Oh what a dilemma.

    Psalm 32

    Verse 3 When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long.

    Verse 8 The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

    In verse 3 it says "When I refuse", so it is our choice to be weak and miserable. It really is that simple.

    Verse 8 then gives us a promise from God. He is guiding us, advising us and watching over us. All we need to do is pay attention and listen to Him.

    We have to look within ourselves and discover the sins we are committing. When we know what sins we are committing we can confess them and change those things in our lives. To help us look within we need to look to God, He will let us know what we need to change. The more we lean on the Lord the easier it will be to hear Him.

    Lord, thank you for your promise to guide us and advise us. Please help us to understand those moments we hear you speaking to us. May we all learn when we are miserable it is our choice and may you give us the strength to fight out of our misery by becoming closer to you.

    I was just thinking that it is rather odd for my blog to start in the middle of 2008. Especially when I have so many photos just sitting on my computer. I have started to create a photobook in Snapfish that has a page for every month. It is really nice to be able to flip through each year's book and see how much the kids have changed from month to month.

    So now I think I will backdate this whole blog and do journal posts from the beginning!! That way I can have an organized photo journal of our kids as well as trying to write down as many of the stories and funny things as I can remember from the last 3 years! Wow that will be a challenge, but better to do it now than try to remember these things 20 years from now.

    Keep checking for backdated updates!

    This morning I tried to convince Sam to get dressed. He told me "No Mama, my jammies are PERFECT for me, perfect to eat breakfast in, perfect to play in , perfect to watch videos in, just perfect, my jammies are perfect." These are the same jammies that he had a complete meltdown about last night before bed. It took alot of convincing to actually get him into these "perfect" jammies!

    Today Ben's Word of the day is "Careful" When Sam was sitting on the big potty Ben was telling him, "Be careful Sammy, you might fall in. Careful, careful" meanwhile he was lovingly patting Sam's knee and looking quite concerned. When I was preparing lunch and using a knife he was very concerned as he watched me and told me "Careful... Careful... Carefully Mama, knives are danger danger, will cut you and make big BIG boo boos!!!"

    Then later I was trying to get a video of the kids casually talking. Pictures are great, but most of my family and friends have not seen or heard them talking much. I thought posting a video would be fun for them. I love Carlee's facial expressions in this video... Many people tell me girls are the worst as teenagers, oh boy are we in trouble!!!

    Then we had a song and a story. I must apologize for the bouncy quality of the video, my favorite little troublemaker was trying to help take the video...

    Psalm 31

    Verse 3 You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this peril.

    Yesterday I read a convicting post written by Amy on her blog Mom's Toolbox . Basically she is struggling with frustration and not parenting in the way she wants to, always being a Godly example to her children.

    I too have been struggling and am often overwhelmed, lose my patience, blah blah blah. This is not a post for complaining, it is meant to learn and grow. I am fully confident that God is my strength, "my rock and my fortress" to work through anything. And also if I am paying attention He will guide me along the right path. But this verse today showed me that through my action of following Him I am in turn honoring God.

    So if my actions are a reflection of Him, then He is also the source of my patience. How do I tap into that source? Well, Verse 2 actually caught my attention first "Bend down and listen to me; rescue me quickly."

    Rescue me Quickly!!!! I need to put this on a big banner in my kitchen so that whenever I am losing patience I can quickly pray to God to Rescue Me Quickly from my frustrations. Perhaps this short prayer can help me to deal with the situation in a better and more constructive way than "losing it!"

    Verse 24 assures me that I can be strong and I can have courage because my hope is in the Lord.

    Lord, guide me through my frustrations and help me to never lose sight of you. In those moments of helplessness remind all of us of your protection and how easily we can call on you to rescue us. Through your loving kindness and your precious Word I I now have more strength and courage and tomorrow will be a better day. And when it is I give you all the glory!

    Visit here for more Wordless Wednesday. OOOPS The Mr.Linky saved the description from the last Gratituesday entry I made - sorry this has nothing to do with my mom or with quilting!!



    Remember when I said the look on Sam's face when he was on the potty was priceless - well this morning I captured it!! I have no idea why he has decided to pee on the little red potty, but use the big potty for other business. Oh well, makes clean up easier! This is the face every time! I love it!!!

    Most of the stories that I have written about the kids are about funny things that they have said or done. Today I read a beautiful post by Michelle click here for that post and it inspired me to write this.

    The best parts of my day are waking up with the kids and saying good night to them.

    Some mornings Ben is already in our bed (I have been working on that), and Sam will often come in after Daddy leaves for work but will fall asleep for another hour or so. But then they all tend to wake up around the same time. I think that they are all on the same biological clock, it can actually be scary! Anyways, we all snuggle up in the bed and turn on TV. I am definately not a morning person and these few minutes of snuggling give me a chance to wake up enough to become functional.

    Sam has never been one who likes to snuggle. He will not even allow me to put my arm across him, but he does like to be near enough to be touching. I usually turn my back to the TV and he will snuggle his back up to my back.

    Carlee is usually the last one to come into our room and she nearly always has a big smile on her face as she greets us. Lately she has started to be a snuggle bug and happily snuggles with me. When I ask her for a good morning kiss she usually gives me three or four and then says "Hug" and wraps her little arms around my neck and squeezes.

    Ben has always been the most snuggly. Even in his sleep he tries to get his feet under me. He is not going to be a morning person and it takes him awhile to wake up. But as he is waking up is when he needs to be the closest. There are some mornings when he puts his arms around my arm trying to bring me closer or place my arm across his body. Sometimes he will tuck his little head under my chin or even gently stroke my cheek or hair. What a nice way to wake up!

    And then we get up and the chaos begins!!! There are some days that I can hardly wait for bedtime! LOL But that is not why it is one of the best parts of my day.

    Daddy is usually the one who puts the kids to bed, so unless I am already upstairs for some reason I say good night to them downstairs. "Give Mama loves" is my favorite thing to say or hear!! They will usually all come running.

    Sam gives a quick kiss and then buries his head into first my left shoulder and then my right shoulder. Then I get another kiss before I say "I Love You" to which he always says "I uv You too". We are working on his L sounds so sometimes he tends to exaggerate the L sound which is incredibly funny because he sticks his tongue out trying to get the L sound just right.

    Carlee has to give a bunch of quick kisses which ends up in both of us giggling. Then she says "hug" and gives me a big squeeze. It is interesting that she says "hug", I don't think we ever say hug, it is always "where's my love" or something like that. Her response to my "I Love you" is always a smile and "uv you"

    Ben comes running with his arms out and the biggest smile on his face. It is like coming to give me a love is the best part of his day too! Ben gives a delightful toddler style sloppy kiss followed by a bear hug that he must have learned from my Grandma. Anyone who knows my Grandma knows what I am talking about! His response to my "I Love you" is always "uv you too"

    If all three happen to be near I will occasionally call for a Group Hug. When I have them all in my arms I pretend to start to fall over, then I fall the other way and go back and forth this way a few times. This always creates three giggling toddlers.

    When I was little I remember my Dad tucking me in by literally tucking in the blankets under me and saying Tuck Tuck Tuck Tuck. If I am upstairs at bedtime I have started to do this with my kids, telling them I am going to tuck them in just like Papa tucked me in when I was little. They think it is funny and of course I have to bounce them when I tuck just to hear that last giggle of the day!

    Psalm 30

    Verse 11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

    We are all faced with trials, some difficult and some rather insignificant. But they are still trials we must endure. In verse 5b "Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning." tells us that at the end of our trial is joy. And verse 11 puts it into perspective. God allows suffering but He also takes it away replacing it with joy.

    During times of suffering it can be difficult to sing praises and be thankful to God. But this is what we should be doing. We learn from our trials and grow stronger by enduring them. Praise God in all things and you will be rewarded with a joyful heart.

    Lord, thank you for bringing me to this place today. I have been praying for strength and patience, but what I need to be doing is praising you. Praising you for your wonderous creation and your glorious Word, and thanking you for the wonderful husband and precious children you have given me.

    When I changed the name of my blog I did not think about all the links I would also have to change. I realized this when I posted the Menu Plan for today. All my links to my recipes need to be updated. This will take a little while, I seem to be otherwise preoccupied with potty training!!

    The recipes are still within my blog you will just have to search for them under the meal plan category. I will update the links soon.

    I have been planning my menus for awhile, but I found a great website orgjunkie.com. Every monday more than 200 people post links to their sites with their weekly menu plans. So if I am ever stuck for ideas here is an endless source of plans and recipes. Too Cool!!!

    My menus must be quick and easy and I have found that I use my crockpot at least twice a week! Here is my menu plan for this week.
    Breakfasts are Cereal, Whole Wheat Waffles , Oatmeal, or Homemade Bread with PB&J
    Lunches are usually Leftovers
    Suppers this week are:

    Monday Pasta & Veggies and a slice of fresh bread

    Tuesday Crockpot Stew and a slice of fresh bread

    Wednesday Juicy Meatloaf and Peas

    Thursday Salmon Sandwiches with Pickles and Raw veggies with Veggie Dip
    (simply canned salmon mixed with some Mayo and Salt & Pepper - very easy and the kids love it!)

    Friday Pizza Night

    Saturday Chicken (have not decided on a recipe yet)

    Sunday Southwestern Pot Roast
    and a slice of fresh bread

    I would say that Sam is officially potty trained! HOORRAY!!!! Today he had no accidents, had dry Pull-ups in the morning and after rest time, and discovered how to do the pee-pee dance. I am thrilled and he is too. The look of excitement on his face when he is on the potty doing his business is priceless.

    Ben & Carlee have had some success but are not completely trained. Both have used the potty but both have had accidents as well. I think that they have simply not put it all the pieced together yet.

    Tomorrow Daddy gets to "escape" to work and I am on my own during the day. We decided that rather than pushing Ben & Carlee to be in underwear I would casually try to keep them in Pullups. I will still work on getting them to use the potty, but the pullups will hopefully save some floor cleanups. Well, that is if I can get Ben to keep his clothes on. He is the child that prefers to be naked!

    In our opinion the Potty Party was not 100% successful, but in the end still a big success. First Sam is potty trained. Second, we are through with diapers. Although some habits are hard to break. After a bath I always put down a change pad on the floor so they can comfortably lay down to get a diaper on. Tonight I put the pad down and burst out laughing when I realized I no longer needed to that! They can now stand up to get pullups & jammies on. This sounds like such a small thing, but when you are dressing three kids that is alot of ups and downs that we don't have to do anymore!

    It really is amazing how far we have come and how quickly things change. As soon as I have ever figured out a routine that works they always change something and I have to start all over! The screen saver on our computer is set to be a slide show of our photos and puts them up randomly. This was one of the photos that I saw today. It shows one of my tricks for survival when Ben & Carlee were just over 3 months old and I was on my own with them during the day.

    I have not yet figured out a trick to surviving potty training 3 at a time - but I will!

    Psalm 29
    Verse 11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.

    In this Psalm we see some of the ways God speaks to us. The words used to describe His voice include thunders, powerful, splits, shatters, strikes, quake. Certainly not a description of peace.

    Yet in the final verse that is what we are blessed with. Our strength and peace come from the powerful nature of God.

    We can all rely on God's power for our strength. The level of strength each of us needs is different. Whatever needs we have we can pray for strength, and we will receive peace if we are willing to hear God's voice telling us how to tap into that strength.

    Lord, thank you for your voice and for speaking to me. I know that you are speaking to me in many ways every day. I pray that able to hear you and respond in the ways that are pleasing to you. Give me the strength I need and thank you for the blessing of peace.


    Psalm 28

    Today I want to focus on verse 3 "Don't drag me away with the wicked- with those who do evil- those who speak friendly words to their neighbors while planning evil in their hearts."

    "Those who speak friendly...while planning evil" At first when I read this I thought it was talking about people or friends who are of the back-stabbing type. But as I thought more about this I realized this could be true, however I think it is more than that.

    The KJV reads "Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief [is] in their hearts." When I read this translation I had what I call an AH-HA moment.

    Speaking nicely or friendly and then having "mischief in your heart" is a sin. This is a difficult thing for us to see if others are doing it, because we will generally only hear the nice things they are saying.

    It is important to watch for this in others, but I think it is more important to not do this ourselves. I remember the first time I heard the term WYSIWYG (prounounced wissy-wig)and thought it was a clever acronym for What You See Is What You Get. Although it is generally a computer term I think it could apply to our lives.

    As we speak our kind words we should also have kind thoughts and motives. The more kindness we have in our hearts and minds the less room there is for "mischief"

    Lord thank you for reminding me to be in prayer whenever my mind wanders. Please help me to keep those ideas of "mischief" or the "planning evil" from my heart. I pray that anyone who is speaking kindly but is not reflecting this in their own hearts will realize it and be able to make this change in their lives. This Psalm has a beautiful verse to pray through praise, verse 7 "The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."

    Although all three kids have been using the potty it has not been consistently and I had not been pushing the issue. I decided it was time to take drastic measures. I am seriously tired of changing about 15-20 diapers a day, not to mention the cost of it! Remember that I am accountant - I had to figure it out!! I assumed an average of 18 diapers a day (that is only 6 changes per child, fairly accurate) and an average of .15 cents per diaper (probably a bit low). Here are the results...

    We have changed just over 16,000 diapers and spent nearly $2,500 on diapers alone. I don't even want to think about how many wipes I have used, and still will use!!! I will always wonder how mothers managed before wipes and disposable diapers.

    Well, today was the day! We planned a Potty Party and started the day with dolls that wet. The concept is to have your child train the doll how to use the potty. Their dolls used the potty and they were excited that they were going on the potty. But then the dolls had accidents (on purpose, I had to be sneaky about it!) The looks on their faces were priceless when they felt the dolls had wet underwear.

    This novelty of the dolls wore off very quickly and they started to want to use the potty themselves. So we officially threw away all the diapers and brought out the big kid underwear. With the help of the DVD "Potty Power" (which I highly recommend) this was all extremely exciting and soon they had all successfully used the potty.

    Early on in the day they all had an accident. Sam did not have any more accidents today and I saw him go to the potty without being reminded several times. HOORAY!!! I am hopeful that Sam is finally trained.

    Ben & Carlee are still figuring it out and have had a couple accidents. The biggest issue is trying to convince them to actually sit on the potty! This is especially difficult when they are tired. I also had trouble convincing Carlee to put on a pull-up for bedtime. Once she got underwear on she was not about to give them up!

    Having three kids learn how to use the potty at the same time is extremely time consuming! We turned the heat up in the house just so we di not have to worry about any clothes other than underwear. I am so grateful for Daddy being home today!! Well that was until he saw me taking a picture and decided to put underwear on his head. Of coarse they all wanted to do it too. Sam said it was his astronaut helmet! At least there was some humor to the day!!!

    I saw a cute quote that I related to...
    In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul.
    Lisa T. Shepherd

    Only by the grace of God shall I survive potty training!! Please keep us in your prayers!

    Today I saw a picture of my Dad without his beard. I knew that he shaved it off recently but I have not yet seen him in person. He has had this beard since I was a young teenager so I realized that I have known him longer with a beard than without!!

    Then I got to thinking about age. I remember as a young child asking my mom how old she was and when she really had to think about it I thought she was joking. At the time she probably was in her late 30's. Today I commented to someone that my birthday was coming fairly soon and I seriously had to think about how old I was!!! It must be something about being in your late 30's that makes you forget your exact age.

    Today I also held a 5 month old baby. As I held him and snuggled him I realized that my little niece is over 2 months old already. I still have not seen her and probably will not until she is at least 10 months old. Sam was walking at 10 months!! This really made me sad that I would miss seeing her as a little baby.

    Then I remembered when Sam was only a couple months old I was visiting a friend who had a baby a year or so earlier. As she held Sam she commented that she could not remember her child being so small. At the time I thought that was so silly and how could she possibly not remember! Well as I held that 5 month old baby today I had a hard time remembering what my kids were like that young!!

    I don't know why all of these things came into my mind today, but as I reflect on them I am so grateful for all of those moments - even the ones I don't remember right now.

    As I think back to all the times people say how quickly babies grow it really is true, I just wish they would also tell us how to preserve memories. I have tried to do it by taking lots of pictures and even some video and that has helped. I have my photos randomly pop up as a screen saver. Sometimes we just sit and watch the random photos. There is always something that comes up that makes us smile or laugh at a funny situation.

    So I guess this post can be labelled in the Kid Tips category. My tip is to take lots of photos. I use Snapfish to print the best of the snapshots. Even though I have no idea when I will find the time to actually organize them into photo albums I do know that someday I will have the time. The most important thing is that I have taken the time to take the photos and preserve at least some of the memories.

    One of the best things that I do is to make sure I take a photo of each of my kids every month. I used Snapfish to make up little booklets of these photos for each child's first year. Seeing one photo per month really shows how quickly they change! Now I make sure I still have one usable photo per child as well as one of all three of them together. This is not always an easy task! I use them to make photobooks in snapfish, one page per month. If I keep up with it and try to set up a page every month it really does not take that long to do.


    Psalm 27


    I saw a progession in this Psalm
    Verses 1-3 is about the fear that we all feel. Even though we have faith in God and know we are protected it is difficult to not be afraid.

    Verses 4-6 speaks about God's presense. We are with Him and He is with us, protecting us. For this we praise Him.

    Verses 7-12 is David's prayer. In verse 8 "My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming." . How often do we hear God asking for us to come talk with Him and we don't respond!

    Verses 13-14 We have confidence as we wait patiently.


    It amazes me how God speaks to us in many ways. As I read through this Psalm I immediately saw the progression from fear to God's Presence to Prayer and finally to Confidence. But when I got to verse 8 and read it for probably the 3rd or 4th time today it all of a sudden jumped off the page.

    We need to open our hearts and our minds to be able to hear God calling us. He wants us to talk to Him and to invite Him into our daily lives, to be a part of everything we do.

    The application of this Psalm is simply to talk to God more.


    Lord, thank you for so many blessings and for the wonderful ways you speak to me. I pray today that all of us can be more aware of just how much we need you in our lives and how often you try to reach us. Help us to hear you more clearly and respond to you with praise.

    Finally after nearly a week I have my computer back and it seems to be working fine. I have only had time to check my email and change the name of this blog. Hope to be back to normal routine tommorrow - well I really am not sure what the normal routine actually is. I hope I figure it out soon! Either way, I should be posting more now.

    Welcome to my newly updated blog, with a new name and a new look. I am not completely sold on the template yet but for now it works. Let me know what you think and as always leave comments even just to say hi! I love to hear from you and know that you were here, it truly makes it more fun when I know that people are enjoying what I am writing and sharing.

    Happy New Year and may you all be richly blessed with the peace of God's love!

    I originally started this blog to keep a record of my new hobby of baking bread from freshly ground wheat. And although I am still doing that, I have found a recipe I like and have not found the time to experiment with much else lately.

    And so this blog has evolved into more of a journal of our family life. When one of the photos I entered into a photo contest at 5minutesformom.com became a finalist I decided to let friends and family know about my little blog. Of course we still didn't have nearly enough votes to win, but the point is that now practically everyone who knows me knows about this blog. The focus of the blog has shifted from our "preps" plans to posting pictures and stories of the kids. More importantly, it has also become the place for my bible study notes, I pray that there are those that read this that will learn about the Word of God through my learning.

    I also made a decision to stop sending friends and family emails with pictures and instead send them here. Nobody really knows what "purplepreps" is all about but many have heard me use the term Our Blessed Chaos to describe our life. I thought it was a more appropriate blog site name and matches the heading title I have had for a while anyways!

    I hope you enjoy this little slice of our lives and will come back often to see what we are up to.