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A Good Laugh

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Clown Car

Photo Credit

Sometimes I feel like a clown car. You know, the small “smart car” type at the circus where endless clowns just keep coming out & out & out. Except it’s my kids & all our stuff that keeps coming out & out & out. Earlier today I pulled into a parking spot at the pumpkin patch & had just opened my door when another car decided they wanted the spot next to me (of course – even though there were endless other spots). The driver waved to me as if to say, “No hurry. Get your kids out. We’ll wait.” Haha, little did they know. First I got Kate. Then Michael. And finally David. Then came our stroller, the diaper bag, our lunch bag & our water bottles. Oh, and don’t forget the camera bag! Moms, don’t you feel like you are packing up, never to return home, when in reality you just want to get out of the house for a few hours?! Michael told me the other day, “Mom, it takes a lot of time to get three children in the car!” Just what I was thinking my dear. This is why I have been trying to allow at least 15 minutes load/unload time when we go somewhere! I really feel like I deserve a Super Mom award when we are on time. Like the other morning – All four of us, Matthew our German Shepherd & brownies for a church family – pulling out of the driveway at 8:30am. And let me clarify – we were all dressed, had shoes on & I even had on makeup! I mention the shoes because there was a time this summer when we got to church & only then did I realize that Kate did not have shoes. Awesome.

This leads me to my second topic. My. Hands. Are. Full. People tell me this EVERY. DAY. As if I don’t know. If I had the guts I would love to say, “Thanks for noticing! Are you offering to help?” If only I got a dollar for every time I hear this statement – I would be rich. And I’ve only had three children since May! Of course I was getting the “hands full” comments when I was pregnant with my third , which brought on this post. By the way, when I Googled “clown car” to find a picture, photos of Octomom came up. Ha! (If you don’t know who she is, Google ‘clown car’ to see pics 🙂 ) Anyway, moving on. “Your hands are full” isn’t all I hear. Several weeks ago I pulled up in my driveway at the same time our mail was being delivered. The postwoman walked over to tell me that I had forgotten a stamp on a letter. She heard David crying & asked how old my kids were – I told her – 4 1/2, 2 & 5 months. “Oh bless you! No wonder you forgot your stamp!”

And another – State Farm called to set up an appointment for us to go over our insurance policies. She heard the kids in the background & asked how many I have, ages, etc – I told her – 4 1/2, 2 & 5 months. “Ew! That’s a lot of kids! Bless you!” Yes, she really said ew. And no, I hadn’t just sneezed.

I’ve also recently heard, “Are these all yours?!” and “Wow, you must be busy!” And I won’t ever forget the time I was in the return line at Lowe’s & I heard one man tell another man, “Boy, she has her hands full.” Oh. My. Word.

So Moms, know that you aren’t alone in getting statements like these. I just have to laugh. And thank God for my three precious blessings that keep my hands full. And rename my blog 🙂

Two verses that really encouraged me this morning –

Colossians 1:29 – To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy, which so powerfully works IN ME.

Psalm 139:16 – All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Blessings,

 

A Yummy Cookie Recipe

I have fun memories from childhood of making molasses cookies with my mom. I nicknamed them “Pumpkin Cookies” – The first time we made them was for a school Halloween party & we used a pumpkin cookie cutter. We made this cookie for birthday parties, school events & just for fun. We had quite the cookie cutter collection, which is now in two large Tupperware boxes in my kitchen.  Our collection has endless animals, letters & numbers, holiday shapes & miscellaneous shapes that include a tooth, dog bone, Texas, ETC. Some of the cutters are extra special because my dad made them – he made the tooth when I lost a tooth. He made the dog bone when we got Maggie, our beloved Schnauzer. So, now you know who to call when you are in need of a specific cookie cutter! I probably have it in my collection! Except I still don’t have an Oklahoma cookie cutter. I guess I need to remedy this since we have now lived here over nine years.

What makes this cookie recipe so great is that it is perfect for kids! It has no eggs, so it is safe for them to nibble away at the dough as they cut. And the only sweetener is molasses! So go make a memory with your kiddos & enjoy!

Molasses Roll-Out Cookies, aka “Pumpkin Cookies”

1/2 Cup Molasses

3 Tbsp Butter

1 Tbsp Milk

2 Cups Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1. Heat molasses & butter in microwave to boiling – about 1 minute.

2. Add milk to hot molasses/butter mixture.

3. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture.

4. Mix thoroughly until mixture almost cleans bowl. If the dough seems dry, add a small amount of milk.

5. Shape into a mound, wrap in wax paper & chill (if you are going to use later.)

6. Divide dough into thirds & roll out to 1/4 inch thick on floured surface. Cut dough into favorite cookie cutter shapes.

7. Place on baking stone or sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

Blessings,

I’m Back…

At least for now 🙂 Let’s recap – May 11, our 3rd child, David was born.

The rest of May is a complete blur. As is June for that matter. The last week of May we put our house on the market, so the week prior was extremely busy doing all the necessary prep to get our house ready to sell, not to mention taking care of our 3 kids & at one point getting into our friend’s tornado shelter when a horrific storm passed through the OKC area. For the next month I was still recovering from my 3rd c-section while we had house showings, several sets of out of town company, and our three children to take care of…craziness. On June 29th we sold our house! Not that things have slowed down at all – the packing has begun & we are house hunting, getting moving estimates, etc. But David is doing great and starting to settle into more of a routine, which is always wonderful. Michael & Kate have adjusted to having a little brother. The first few days Michael ignored him and Kate stared at him as if to say, “Who are you? Why do you cry so much? And when are you going to leave?” Now she loves to be my helper with changing diapers, swaddling and giving him his paci. And Michael loves him too, although he still ignores him a lot 🙂

Today I want to share a journal entry that I wrote the first day I was by myself with all 3 kids & no help. One repeated lesson I have been seeing these last two months is about the Holy Spirit – God designed Him to be our Helper & He LOVES for us to ask Him for help. What an awesome reminder and privilege that we have as Believers & as moms. There have been times recently that I can clearly sense the Holy Spirit strengthening me and equipping me throughout the day to take care of our children (with a good attitude & little sleep 🙂 ) How personal our Lord is – that He wants to help me pour milk, make lunches, smile & laugh at the funny things my kids say, kiss boo boos, snuggle my newborn…ETC.

Thursday 6-9-11-

Today was my first day to take care of all of us without help. What an adventure this morning was! We had a house showing at 10:30, so by 9:30 I had our house spotless & we all piled into the Yukon (our 70 lb. German Shepherd included) – Michael had Bear in tow, Kate had Bunny, & David was sleeping peacefully through it all. 1st stop – drop Matthew off with his previous owners to stay for a few weeks while we sell our house. Along the way I called Mom – we discussed this newness of being a mom of 3 is just another learning curve the Lord has blessed me with – just like the learning curve from 0 to 1 child, 1 to 2 children, etc. She encouraged me that each day would get easier as each day the kids are one day older.

This morning I asked God to help me enjoy my kids today. I asked Him to allow the Holy Spirit to be my Helper – “Ask the Holy Spirit to help you…He delights in being your helper.” – Dear Jesus by Sarah Young

After “ditching” Matthew I drove to the nearby WM Neighborhood Market parking lot, got the DVD player set up with Veggie Tales, took David out to nurse & passed out snacks. Ready, set, go! While I was nursing, Andy texted me to say the showing had been rescheduled for Friday at noon. Yipee. Well, at least our house is clean. Then I heard Veggie Tales singing about gourds not having belly buttons. This perfect timing of humor kept everything in perspective & reminded me that “this too shall pass.”

David got done eating. Kate started crying. Michael said he was hungry. The Yukon was out of gas. While filling up, all 3 were crying (almost all 4 of us:) so I decided to spontaneously get lunch at McDonald’s (oh uh – mom guilt) & eat at Quail Springs Park. To keep the kids from crying I was making up silly songs about going to the park & having a fun day. I said, “Kate, do you want to go to the park?” She said, “Yeah, park,” while clapping & crying at the same time. “Kate, don’t you want to go to the park & be happy?” “Yeahhhh.” “Ok then, quit crying.” “Okayyy. Okay Mommy.”

When we got to the park we sat in a circle in the shade & ate our lunch. We were all so hungry that it tasted good 🙂 Then the kids wanted to swing – I counted with them, 1-10 in silly voices, in English & in Spanish. I took a deep breath & the craziness of the morning was forgotten. I was enjoying my children. We walked the path playing “red light, green light” – seeing their smiles & hearing their laughs was priceless. Frustration turned to joy. Thank you Lord.

When we got home it was nice to walk into a clean, cool house with lunch already done. I watched Michael & Kate build tall towers with their blocks while I nursed David. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for helping me. Remind me that “The days are long, but the years are short.”

I hope this journal entry helped encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you through each day & every detail – no matter how significant or how mundane. We are loved by such a personal, tender-hearted God. John 14:16-17 – I will ask the Father, & He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him because He abides with you & will be in you.

Blessings,

photo credit

Last week at Michael’s gymnastics class, a mom looked from Michael, to Kate, to my pregnant belly, & said, “You’re going to have your hands full!” I really tried not to take it personally because I know moms with young children get this comment a lot. And the woman who said this had 4-year-old twins & a two-year-old! Hello?! But her comment did get me thinking. Often the “full hands” comments are said in a “not so encouraging” tone. But what is so wrong with full hands?

Don’t I want full hands, rather than empty hands? Don’t I want messy, dirty hands rather than spotless, clean hands?

This verse came to my mind also – Proverbs 14:4 – Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

Picture that you build a stable on your land – it is beautiful, spotless and painted red. You look out your window and admire your stable. It is so clean, new and pretty to look at. But what is the point of a stable? To be a home for animals. If there are no animals in it, it may be spick & span but is it fulfilling it’s purpose?

Same with my hands, my life, my home – If all is in order & spotless (which I LOVE for it to be), if the dirt is non-existent and I have no reason to get on my knees, am I really fulfilling my purpose? One of my favorite things is having a clean house. I love working hard for several hours, cleaning from top to bottom, and then it all being spotless at once. I have had to relax on this a little bit. I still clean often, but it’s not as perfect as it was when it was just my husband and me. But that is ok because I am in the season of my hands being full of young children. Sometimes having full hands requires us letting go of something. A sweet friend who raised two boys says I have the rest of my life to have a clean house 🙂 So true.

Think about Jesus – I guarantee his hands were FULL, ALL the time. His hands were dirty. His life began in a manger that had animals in it, that I doubt was spotless and smelling like pine-sol. And think how full his hands were as he ended his earthly life on the cross and nails were put into them. Thank you Jesus. I love all the endless verses in the Bible about us sitting at the right hand of God and Him holding us in his hands. Think how full His hands are!!

My point is this – having full hands is hard. Life is easier when there is order, understanding and everything is “clean.” When things makes sense. My husband’s comment in response to what I heard was, “Full hands are blessed hands.” I love that. Most of the time, having full hands leads us to crying out to God, which leads to endless blessings of knowing Him more and Him molding us into becoming more of who He wants us to be! So even though having full hands and a dirty stable is hard…that is what I want to ask God for. Not an easy life or one of comfort – where my hands are empty and perfectly manicured.

“Lord, please give me full hands that are fulfilling your purpose.” Your full hands may hold different things than mine – mine hold 2, about to be 3, very young children. Yours may hold elderly parents, a ministry, a challenging marriage or a helpless family member. All of us walk in various seasons of life and our hands will be full with different things. But what I love about seasons of full hands is that they bring us to our knees, requiring us to depend on our Lord more than ever. I know six weeks from now when my third child, David, is born, I will have my hands full – Caring for a four-year-old, a 22 month old and a newborn is not an easy task. But it is the season God has called me to and I thankfully accept it. I know there will be crazy times of mess, exhaustion and being overwhelmed…but nothing is too hard for Him. And I would much rather be in a situation where I am fully depending on God for EVERYTHING, than a time where all is in order, clean and easy…and I can fully depend on myself.

Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Blessings,

Blueberries

Photo Credit

This morning Kate & I dropped Michael off at preschool & then began our usual Monday morning errand-running frenzy. Aldi, Library, CVS, and last but not least, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. We quickly collected all our groceries and then proceeded to the check-out lane. As I was getting my change, I noticed the man behind me had blueberries. I asked him if he noticed how much they were, thinking if they were a great price, I would run back to the produce section. He said he didn’t, but handed them to the sales lady & had her scan them. They were $3.50 for the pint, (which is more than I wanted to pay), so I said thank you & that I would check them next time. He said, “No wait, you take those & I will go get another pint.” I tried to object, hating the thought that he would be spending that much on MY blueberries, but he insisted. I said, “Thank you so much!” as he scurried off, and he said, “No problem! Enjoy!”

I walked out feeling so grateful. This one simple act of kindness made my day. And it got me thinking – it really doesn’t take much for us to bless other people and make them feel special. It doesn’t take a lot of money, time or even energy to put someone else above ourselves and make their day better. The main requirement for blessing someone else is taking our eyes off of ourselves. Not that this is easy…especially with young kids in tow, nap time on the horizon, etc. But it can be done.

This afternoon as I enjoy my snack of blueberries and yogurt, I am asking God, once again, to help me SEE others. Really see them. To help me not be so distracted by my own to do list, children and time limitations that I forget to reach out and be a blessing.

Thank you God for the blueberries.

Blessings on a wonderful first week of spring!

PS – This song has absolutely nothing to do with what I just wrote about, but I have to share the youtube video of it. The lyrics are amazing!

Laura Story – Blessings

I totally fell off the PostAWeek2011 wagon the past 2 weeks. I really don’t have any great excuses either – well except maybe pregnancy exhaustion, 2 busy kids, out of town company, etc. 🙂 I am determined to get back into gear and keep up my PostAWeek2011 Challenge! Here are a few blessings I have been thankful for the last few days.

*What I read on March 1st in Jesus Calling – “When something in your life or thoughts makes you anxious, come to Me and talk about it. Bring me your prayer and petition with thanksgiving, saying, “Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to trust You more.” My husband & I are praying about some big life changes for our family. I read this at the perfect time last week when I was over-analyzing about details and worry was creeping in. How awesome that we have a relationship with THE ALMIGHTY, that we can talk to at anytime, about anything – and He always listens.

*I loved this verse in the Ampified – Philippians 4:6 – “Do not fret or have ANY anxiety about ANYTHING, but in EVERY circumstance and in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition (DEFINITE REQUESTS) with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” The “Definite Requests” part really jumped out at me. Definite in the dictionary is “clearly defined; not vaque or general; precise; exact.” Lord, please help us have faith to give you our specific needs and requests. A testimony – Last summer after our home was broken into & my husband’s car stollen, we needed to replace it asap, so that he would have a car to drive to work. Instead of generally praying, “Lord, please provide us with a car,” we decided to make a list. We wrote down specific things – price, year, make & model, mileage, etc. We prayed over each item, one by one. A week later the Lord provided us with the exact car we asked for – every item on our list was taken care of. This increased my faith SO much. I am not saying that our Lord is a “genie” or that we will always get exactly what we ask for. But this situation did remind me that God wants to take care of His children. He wants us to ask, watch Him act & then give Him glory!!

*This Quote – “The most effective prayers stem from the belief – the unshakeable certainty – that God is Absolutely, Totally, 100% In Control!”

*This Book – A friend recommended I read, “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman (Wife of Steven Curtis Chapman). This book is amazing and I could hardly put it down. It spoke to me on so many different levels – Trusting God, mothering, marriage, etc…Read it! You won’t regret it!

*I am still laughing at what my 4 year old son said last week – I asked him to come to the bathroom so I could brush his teeth & fix his hair. He didn’t come so I called him again. Finally he came running around the corner, pushing his beloved bear in his sister’s doll stroller. He looked at me with all seriousness & said, “Sorry I’m late. I was in traffic.” Ha:) Love Him.

What are some random blessings in your life this week?