Saturday, September 26, 2015

Our favorite season

Ah, yes. Autumn, we welcome you! I've been waiting since last year :)
Last night I put together an overnight breakfast casserole and threw some apples in the crock pot to make cinnamon apples. {You can find the casserole recipe HERE} Because our week was so jam-packed we didn't get to really celebrate the first day of Autumn on the first day - but, we made make up for it this morning over a big family breakfast! Now it's calm. Tummies are happy. Daddy and baby are napping, my middle girl is deeply into some play and my first born is watching a show on TV. I LOVE these Autumn mornings at home.

The house has been decorated for Autumn. This year I had $0 to spend on anything extra, decoration wise, so it was a good challenge to dig through my bins of decor and place things in just the right spot. I kept it simple! And I love how it looks! Though, I admit, I did spend $3 on a plastic table cloth at Walmart for our dining room table. That poor old beast - it's in sad shape. It's cheaper to use a fun table cloth right now then try and paint it or figure out what our plan is. And speaking of Walmart - if you haven't seen their BHG Autumn collection, check it out! Super cute stuff! And I need to mention that the Pioneer Woman has her collection there now, too. :)

My girls are still growing and changing and making life busy and fun!
Jane is 15 months old, has tons of teeth, finally starting walking and is such a joy. She recently has taken up wrestling her sisters and I'm so thankful they all love each other.

August and I have completed TWO days of preschool so far this year. Ha! I'm so bad at this organized at home education stuff. :) Thankfully, she's a smart cookie and so go with the flow. Recently we were gifted an enormous box of colored beads and she loves making her jewelry! While I do believe math and reading and all of that is so important - this girl loves learning things of the home with her momma, and I'm enjoying having her around during the day. She loves cleaning, cooking, organizing, caring for Jane and all things a little momma would do. :)

Ava continues to thrive in 1st grade! In the near future she'll be doing a cheer clinic at her school and seems to be doing pretty well in her piano lessons on Thursdays. We've entered the stage of life where she is invited to birthday parties and has already enjoyed TWO parties this month! I'm not sure we are ready for it - but, here we go. :)
She's also been asking some good questions about God and creation and general "why" questions. This is so encouraging as parents! We pray that soon she will come to know and Love Jesus as her savior!

Iowa is beautiful in Autumn. Thursday we had some family pictures taken and I fell in love with the field of flowers we visited.
I am truly thankful to the Lord for bringing us here. Couldn't you just spend a few hours sitting right here? I could!

My husband and I are learning so much right now about life and ministry and loving people. It's a busy time in our lives as we serve the teens - using our own house as the meeting location on Sunday nights. We are hosting an adult cell group on Tuesdays and life is really full. I need to sit down and journal everything, someday, when I have the time. But right now I am thankful. I'm thankful for the Lord's love for us, His care, His provision.

Sometime soon I hope to do a post about new book recommendations and thoughts about ministry life. I'd love to hear what you are reading and ways you are involved in your local church!

Happy Fall ya'll!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

F-A-I-L. There, I said it.

It has been a week.
Quite a week.
And truth be told, the week before that was quite a week, too. 
And, unfortunately, I don't mean that in a happy way.

But today is Saturday and the week is over and tomorrow a NEW one begins! I'm praising the Lord for that and for the very real truth in scripture that each day has a brand new set of mercies. That has been my reality! Leaning on Jesus and at times feeling like I was clinging - and today I hope this post can be an encouragement to you. I can't pretend to know who all reads this little blog. I'm blessed by the feedback I get from time to time {although, that's not why I write}. I'm in this life with my readers and some of us feel like we are in the trenches. I'm there. I honestly believe that just by reading and knowing that someone else is in the same stage is a help. And in this virtual, internet age, maybe this can be the hand reaching out to encourage you.

Two weeks ago I found little black pellet-like things in my silverware drawer.
Then they were found on the dining room floor, another drawer in my kitchen, under my kitchen sink and even some on the baby's high chair. I shook off the idea that we might of had a mouse - I was in denial. But FOUR dead in the mousetraps later... there was no denying. This was the beginning of maybe some of the worst couple of weeks I've had in a while. The mouse problem {we believe} has been dealt with and if I never have to see one of these again - I will rejoice! And our sure fire recipe to catch intruders: peanut butter with a potato chip on top. Worked EVERY time. Gross.
These mice got into my head in a big way. And while there were other factors going on - I found myself afraid to move in my own home. I couldn't use my early morning bible study chair (because I found mice droppings behind it) so I gave up my early morning bible reading. I was afraid to open my kitchen drawers, let alone go into my kitchen. Obviously, as a mom that's a problem. I felt so overwhelmed by this mouse issue. I thought about it at night when trying to fall asleep, I kept thinking I'd hear a trap snap when Brad was gone. I was fearful of my basement and finding a mouse nest. It was driving me batty!! Apparently, even my daughter was feeling my angst as she wrote about it at school. Winning! And the story to this picture is that as I was preparing breakfast for the girls a tiny black mouse ran across my feet at the EXACT time I was opening the microwave. It scared me so much that I ripped the microwave door handle off - thus leaving mom in tears and 3 girls staring at said mom confused at the whole ordeal.
"When a mouse was in my moms kitchen she pulled the microwave handle off."
While I was dealing with the mice and the fear my housework started piling up and we stopped doing preschool. As I mentioned I was afraid and grossed out and convinced I'd get a disease or something if I touched anything. At the same time we discovered that someone in our home had shared pinworm with the family. And I'm not even going into that whole story because it has officially grossed me out to no end and it's humiliating. If you aren't familiar - pinworm live in your intestines. DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Long story short: we've all taken our "worm" medication and everyone is fine now. SERIOUSLY. With a first grader in school touching everything, a 4 year old constantly digging in the dirt and a baby crawling over the floors... I don't know who's to blame. All I do know is that at several moments this week I thought I was losing my mind. All I could think about was mouse poop and pinworms and my nerves were on edge. Apparently it's a BIG deal right now in our area, too, as every pharmacy was sold out of meds. Who even knew?!  Throw in some major financial things going on in our lives and you've got an uptight, stressed out, maxed out, emotional, cooped up momma. {Raising hand, it's me!} All this right on the verge of my favorite season, starting up a few new ministry opportunities in my home and preparing to help lead a ladies bible study.

WHY WHY WHY?! At why is it always all at once?!

My stress level has been up and finally after two weeks my body was starting to let me know that something had to give. The migraine settled in on Thursday morning and is just now going away this afternoon. I get migraine aura's which greatly impare your vision - I see moving triangles and need as much sleep as possible. Our bodies weren't made to live in fear and stress. I confessed to my husband through tears that my body was shutting itself off. (that sounds dramatic but I think you know what I mean) I knew the signs. We spent some time the last few days holding hands and praying.  I am so thankful for a husband who cares so much about me to take me before the throne of God - even at my lowest, most unlovely, Brad is faithful and committed to me. What a precious treasure he is. He also committed a large chunk of his day off yesterday in helping me clean up my two biggest mental hurdles: the kitchen and the basement. Last night I slept like a rock. Peace. Calm. Why do I forget to ask for help directly? Men need us women to be direct. Hinting never works.
There's a mini lesson in here!

So many times in the last two weeks I have cried out to God, called scripture to mind to meditate on and just sat still with nothing else left to do but be quiet. Looking back I can see how he cared for us and moreso how he is chipping away at my pride and lack of faith.

The decorating still hasn't happened. My buffet currently looks like a hot mess of life and seasons changing and school work - right there in my front room waiting for all to see.
Instead of cleaning and decorating and being home - we dropped the girls off at a sitter who so graciously offered - and went on a date morning! It was exactly what I needed! While I had hopped HGTV has stopped by to redo my house, they didn't. And that's ok. :) Cooler days are settling in, the mouse are gone, the unmentionable other thing is gone and money will never satisfy.
The Lord is good. It has been a couple of FAIL weeks for me in my responses and heart attitudes, but God never fails and He always, always, ALWAYS loves. Driving home this morning we passed by this corn field and I was washed over with the reminder of the beauty of our all sustaining, mighty, and loving savior.

Hang in there, friend. We'll have these fail weeks but the new mercies are fresh again tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hip Hip Hooray, September!

All my fellow lovers of Autumn are rejoicing today that we have entered the "BERS". September, October, Nov, etc. :) Despite the 90 degree days we'll have for the rest of the week - the calendar does not lie and I'm very much looking forward to all things FALL. I'm proud of myself - it's September 1 and I don't have a single fall decoration out, yet. That's a new record. But after the last few weeks we've had - I have plenty of excuses. Even today I'm sitting here with a spinning head and we've only been awake a few hours.

My morning began EARLY as my husband shook my shoulder and asked me to move the van out of the driveway. Our tandem parking driveway can be slightly annoying. Though I will admit that our world is pretty spectacular at that time of morning before anyone else is moving. But today I was drained so I climbed back in bed. I dozed for a minute or two but couldn't get back to sleep, which is fine because I noticed a 4 year old at my side of the bed ready for the day. We came downstairs and I poured a mug of cider for myself. As I went to open the microwave door to warm it up I saw a fuzzy dark thing run across my feet and right into a mouse trap, thus causing me to react by ripping the handle off of the microwave door and screaming. I may have thrown the handle, too. It's all vague. We (my two older girls and I) just stood there. Did that really just happen?! Thank the Lord it wasn't a snapper trap like we have in other places, but one of those black box kinds. I don't even want to know how they work. After getting my grumpy first born girl off to school I attempted to brew a pot of coffee only to notice our glass carafe has not one, but TWO, cracks in it. Serious?! And things went like that for the next hour or so. New discoveries of broken things, busy baby and little girl, tired mom brain, fear of mice...

For those curious I risked it and brewed a pot anyway and it was fine. Not keepable, but for today, it worked. And boy was that good a good cup of Joe! I didn't even cry because I totally 100% believe that the Lord loves me and cares about even a microwave handle and broken carafe. And what I didn't yet mention was that I seem to have contracted some sort of weird respiratory cold, to boot. Awesome. I think Monday and Tuesday confused themselves.

So begins my favorite season. :)

Ava is back in school in FIRST grade! She loves going and we love sending her. This year she is learning Spanish and we've recently begun piano lessons in hopes she can learn some discipline and keep those busy hands at work. Yesterday she asked me if I knew what a parallelogram was. Geesh!
August and Jane enjoy their time at home with Mom, and I just started preschool with August yesterday. Jane is still not walking and will be 15 months next week. :) Her sisters pretty much haul her around this place. A little spoiled, I think.

I'm ready for the changes coming our way. I'm SO excited about cooler days, new colors, routine and ministry opportunities that start back up.
Yay September!