Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On my mind...

This post might feel a little disjointed but since that is how I have been feeling these days, that's o.k.  I am the type of person who likes to have things tied up nicely, decisions made quickly and without too much fuss, a plan of action.  I like black and white.  I am not a big fan of the gray areas in life.  I know it is not very mature but it is the truth.

I have had a lot on my mind lately.  A good friend recently put her house on the market and she and her family plan to move over the summer.  Several more acquaintances from school have let on that they are doing the same.  I have shared before how much we love our school.  It is a wonderful place for our kids to learn and grow- I feel safe sending them there where they can live out their faith in a place that does not condemn it but in fact nurtures it.  They are also getting a great education.  But private school is expensive and next year we will have three children at the school.  We live in an area of the country that is extraordinarily expensive.  Our property taxes are sky high but the school district is sub par so it is not an option.

I guess I have been forcing myself to confront these issues more directly lately as I watch more families make the decision to move.  I have been blessed to be a SAHM all these years but if we stay here I know I will have to get a full time job.  Someone suggested I write out all the questions that have been swirling around in my mind of late as part of the process of sorting it all out and eventually making some decisions with my husband.  I thought it might be interesting to post all my questions here, too.  I will update if and when we make any progress toward resolving these questions.  If you are reading and have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them in a comment!

  • What are we going to do about where we live/kids’ school? 
  • If we stay, will I need to get a full time job? 
  • How much would I need to make to cover tuition and allow some money for household help?
  • Would I be able to find a position I was happy in that is close to home and has the same/flexible schedule for school?  
  • Am I still qualified to work in my field? 
  • What might I need to do to get caught up in the field?  
  • How can I make the time to catch up, if needed?
  • What impact would my working full time have on my family and relationships?
  • What about staying in this area and homeschooling?  
  • Would we be able to afford a larger home and household help if I homeschooled? 
  • Could I handle the demands of homeschooling? 
  • How would the kids transition to homeschooling?
  • How could I keep their socialization/friends healthy? 
  • Up until what age/grade would I homeschool? 
  • What would we do at that point? Would we move or do private school again?
  • If we move, when would we do that? 
  • Would we be able to sell our house? 
  • How much is our house worth now? 
  • How much could we afford to spend on a new house? 
  • How would the kids handle the transition? 
  • What if some of the kids are fine but some aren’t?  
  • How could I help them with the transition? 
  • Where would we go?  How would I narrow these areas down? 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 247. Basketball fun!
  • 246. Bowling fun!
  • 245. Smiles on waterlogged faces
  • 243. Having grandparents, aunt and cousin join us on our getaway!
  • 242. No cooking or laundry for three days :)
  • 241. Weekend trip to an Indoor Waterpark to celebrate the boy's birthdays
  • 240. Teaching the kids a Praise Song and Signs at the party
  • 239. Third Grade Easter Party Fun!
  • 238. Watching my 8 year old move out of his comfort zone on Journal Reading Night at school
  • 237. A husband who works locally and could pick up the kids when school closed early unexpectedly
  • 236. An outing with friends
  • 235. Sunday Afternoon at the park
  • 234. My Good Shepherd
  • 233. A party to celebrate our basketball team
You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 11

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 11
Help me to remember that you are on the throne.  You have not left Your holy temple.  Your eyes continue to observe and examine each one here on earth.  You are still the righteous Judge. 

Do not let me forget that a time is coming when this upside down world will be turned right side up.  We are under Your grace right now but Your judgment will not tarry forever.  Help me, O God, not to despair about the wrongs in this world, this country, even the circumstance of my life.  Help me to remember that You work all things together for good. 

Give me a heart to affect those in my family, my friends, my community, the world who do not know you so that on the coming day of judgment, they also will be found righteous in Your sight because they have believed.

In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I have many thoughts rolling around these days- about freedom, victory, acceptance, guilt, shame- but I have not been able to pour them out here in any form that makes sense yet.  But I did come across this short article that I thought got to the heart of some of my ponderings so I wanted to share the link and an excerpt The Danger of Guilt.
"The most important move you will ever make in your life is the move you make right after you fail God. Will you believe the accuser’s lies and give up in despair, or will you allow yourself to receive the forgiving flow of God’s love?

Do you fear asking his forgiveness because you are not really sure you want to be free from that thing that binds you? Do you want the Lord, yet secretly long for something that is not lawfully yours? God is able to answer sincere prayer, to make you want to do his perfect will. Ask him to make you want to fulfill his will."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 232. Time for quiet thoughts on Saturday afternoon
  • 231. Breaking out the sidewalk chalk again
  • 230. A slow paced but productive day
  • 229. Reminding convicted children of God's outrageous love and forgiveness
  • 228. Squeals of delight from swinging children
  • 227. Coffee with friends
  • 226. Day 4 of warm, bright sunshine!
  • 225. Watching my SIX year old and his class lead Chapel service
  • 224. Hearing God speak and confirm His Words
  • 223. Children still little enough to want me to join their play
  • 222. Joining the backyard baseball game
  • 221. I Am Who God Says I Am (Ephesians 1: 3-8)
  • 220. Bringing sin out from the secret places of my soul into the Light
  • 219. Relinquinshing pride (little by little)
  • 218. The courage to open myself to another sister to minister to her
  • 217. Wednesday morning Bible study
  • 216. Celebrating my middle son's birthday
You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 10

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 10
I am so much like this psalmist.  I spend far too much time despairing over where You are and why You have not delivered me from any given trial.  I spend far too much energy stroking my own pride by denouncing in my heart the missteps and wickedness of others. 

I am so grateful for Your Word and Your Spirit, God.  It is because of these gifts that I do eventually turn to You with my troubles.  I return from afar off and remember that yes, You DO hear "the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed."  And I receive Your peace.

Let Your Word change me more each day!

In Jesus' Name.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook- March 17, 2010

From Natalie's Daybook... March 17, 2010

Outside my window...  a new day is dawning, a clear sky, the promise of warm sunshine

I am thinking...  I wish I could write like this

I am thankful for...  the celebration we had yesterday for my middle son's birthday

I am wearing...  black pants and a Wild Olive Tee

I am remembering...  If I ask according to His Word and His will, it is done!!!

I am going...  to watch my son's Kindergarten class lead the Chapel service at school this morning

I am currently reading...  A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azcaban (reading it before I allow my 8 year old to read it)

I am hoping...  to soon see more change and growth and maturity in myself

On my mind...  what does it mean to be accepted in the Beloved?  how does believing that change one's daily attitudes and behaviors?

Noticing that...  God does speak when I stay quiet and still
Pondering these words... "I am Who God says I am- In love, I am blessed, chosen adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven."  Beth Moore, Believing God

From the kitchen... Something simple since we have a busy day- perhaps Turkey Tacos

Around the house... we are enjoying our new spaces

One of my favorite things...  blogging

From my picture journal...  my SIX year old baby
You can read more daybooks here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

  • 215. Experiencing the sweet "newbornness" of my cousin's baby
  • 214. Realizing that is it ok to put some things on hold for awhile- even good things
  • 213. Playing a raucous game of chase with my 5 and 3 year olds
  • 212. Getting beat in Chess by my 8 year old
  • 211. A Sunday of rest
  • 210. The opportunity to minister to another mom who is struggling
  • 209. Time to catch up on this week's Bible study homework
  • 208. Our children's Sunday School teachers
  • 207. Sunday morning worship and the Word
  • 206. Breakfast for dinner!
  • 205. God's protection during a terrible wind and rain storm
  • 204. Tea with friends on a Saturday afternoon
  • 203. A night out with husband and friends
  • 202. Practicing Being Still
  • 201. 200 Gifts!
  • 200. A reminder from my 3 year old to pray for older brother's classmate who has a cold
  • 199. Listening to the earnest prayer of my 5 year old
  • 198. His mercy, every morning
  • 197. Hearing from the Lord
  • 196. My oldest coming in after bed to tell me he will miss me tomorrow
  • 195. Quick and painless homework times
  • 194. Little boys playing backyard baseball
  • 193. Unexpected changes provide opportunity to trust
  • 192. The opportunity to catch up with responsibilities after jury duty

    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 9

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    Psalm 9
    Lord, I want to praise you with an undivided heart.
    I want to be wholeheartedly devoted to You.
    I want my life to be a song to You.
    I want to tell of all of Your wonders-
    To my friends, to my family, to my children.
    Help me to be glad and rejoice in You.
    You, O God are the only righteous judge and just ruler.
    You are my refuge and stronghold.
    Remind me, O God, to cry out to You in my times of trouble.
    Remind me to trust You; for You, O Lord, have never forsaken any who seek You.
    Arise, O Lord, and work in my life.
    Empower me by Your Spirit to trust and obey and repent and change.
    Show me Your glory and make me a vessel worthy of reflecting that glory to the world.
    In Jesus' Name.  Amen.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Peeling Back the Layers

    I have to start off this post with a confession. I have not been very obedient to God's prompting to be still during homework time.Ugh, this is soooooo hard for me!  And even during those times when I am able to be physically still, my mind is often racing and my spirit is often unsettled.  I am trying to be honest about this with the Lord in confession, without beating myself up either.  Beating myself up about missing the mark is usually what I do but that just leads to more paralysis and defeat.  I am trying to understand what it means that God accepts me just as I am and to give myself a little grace, too.  At the same time, I am striving to grow and change.  But, that is another post all together. 

    I started out this post with that confession, though, because I recently had a moment of stillness before God that was very profitable.  It was a peaceful time of conversing with the Lord and hearing Him respond clearly to some of my struggles.  I want to share it here but I don't want to make is sound like I have it all together in terms of being still and hearing from Him,  hence the confession.     

    So, what that said, I recently had the opportunity to engage in an exercise of sorts that involved becoming very still and quiet before the Lord and then facing some troublesome emotions head on.  As I have shared before, the most destructive issue in my life is anger and weak self control.  I have seen some improvement this year in these areas but this exercise helped me to dig deeper into the drives behind the emotions.  During this time of stillness, God began to peel back the layers to reveal what lies underneath my anger.  He revealed that my anger exists as a protector for me.  It is there to cover a fear of giving too much, of being too vulnerable in my relationships.  God once again asked that I allow Him to cover me, to protect me.  He reminded me that my drive to protect myself by expressing my anger inappropriately was a result of unbelief and a lack of trust.  He clearly prompted me to move from an intellectual belief in His covering and protection to a heart based faith and trust.  He clearly told me to choose joy in all circumstances, even those that are difficult for me. 

    You should know that putting these insights out here for strangers, friends and family to see is very difficult for me.  For a long time, I hid my struggles from everyone, or at least I tried to.  I was so ashamed to be a Christian woman who struggled with anger.  I felt very alone and believed that other Godly women I knew would not understand and might even judge and reject me, so I kept quiet.  But now I know that that was a ploy of the Enemy.  If he could keep me alone, he could keep me in the pit.  If the sin stayed in the dark, no one could shine any light on it.  So, while it is not natural for me to "put it all out there", I know I must.  And I know that God will use my story to minister to others.  In fact, just yesterday, He opened a door for me to do just that with a young mother at my mid-week Bible study.  During the discussion time, she was hinting around her own struggles with anger.  I could have remained quiet and she might have sensed she was alone in the battle.  But I felt the Lord prompting me to approach her and share James 1:19-20 and a little bit of my story.  Her eyes welled up with tears and I could see the relief in her body language when she heard that she was not alone.

    I also just feel compelled to say that God is always so gentle with me.  Whenever I finally give Him access to my heart, He never hurts or condemns.  And He always confirms what he has spoken through His word.  The very next morning at the mid-week study, the morning devotional was taken from Psalm 86.  As I read along with the speaker, my eyes locked on verses 3 and 4.  Their message was confirmation to me of His prompting to choose joy over anger.
    "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.
    Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."
    I titled this post Peeling Back the Layers because as I reflected on the experience I had with Him, I  imagined the layers of my emotion being peeled back just as an onion's outer layers are peeled away to get to the part that can be used.  I think that is still a good analogy but the Lord gave me a better one- that of a Great Physician gently peeling back the dressing on a wound so that He can heal.  I am endeavoring to allow Him to do that and to believe with my heart that He will.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    The Redo is Done!

    We are almost finished with our homework room project- just a few finishing touches to add.  We are already using it a ton, though, and I could not wait to share.  We stuck pretty close to the original plan in terms of the layout.  We did have to spring for a table because we were unable to get legs for the table top I mentioned some friends had given us.

    Here are some before and after photos of our project.  The first set of pictures are looking from the living room back to the sitting room turned homework room:

    These pictures show the two side walls of the space before and after.  You can see the repurposed china cabinet that will get some curtains so the school supplies will not be visible.  The computer armoire was moved in, which you might remember has freed up our breakfast nook so we are enjoying that regained space, too.




    Here's what you might have noticed peeking out from behind the table- our new prayer bench!  

    We're enjoying it very much!

    I found these fun containers in the bathroom section of Target.  They are really cotton ball canisters but they work perfectly to hold our pencils and glue!

    And I found this chair pad at Target that matches the color scheme perfectly.  You may also see the round area rug I got at Target as well.  It's a little dark so you can't see the colors or pattern of it well but it is a fun, shag rug in rust and gold tones.  It's perfect for the space!

    All in all, this was a fun, easy project that has added a lot of valuable space to our daily routine :)

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Multitude Monday

    holy experience
    Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

    191.  Two days of bright, warm sunshine
    190.  Working on a Superstar poster with my five year old
    189.  Starting up a new Children's Wosrship Ministry this Sunday
    188.  An evening out with some mom friends

    • 187.  Attending my son's  Basketball Awards ceremony
    • 186. A special night out with husband to look forward to
    • 185. Finding the finishing touches for the new homework room
    • 184. Serving a special pancake lunch at school
    • 183. Jury duty- bringer of much needed quiet and slower pace
    • 182. Teacher/Student Basketball Game
    • 181. Pizza with friends
    • 180. His timing and plan for my days
    • 179. Songs of worship, our favorite lullabies
    • 178. Singing loudly with my daughter

    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 8

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    Psalm 8
    O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
    All the earth testifies to Your glory.
    Your praises are sung from the lips of children.
    I pray that my three children will praise You their whole lives!
    When I meditate on Your great work of creation, I cannot comprehend
    why You are mindful of me, or that You care for me or how You have made me
    a little lower than the angels to rule Your earth. 
    O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

    It's an absolutely glorious, sunshiny day in our neck of the woods.  The promise of spring is in the air!  I plan to spend today singing my praise to Him!  Won't You join me?

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Eager to Clear Myself

    Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. 2 Corinthians 7: 10-11
    The above scripture and Beth Moore's brief commentary on it from my bible study homework have been winding their way into my thoughts and prayers often.  Then, I read this post on Nora's blog, which gave voice to some of my own pondering.  (God is always so faithful to find me where ever I am seeking Him.)

    Over this past year, God has given me victories over strongholds of sin in some areas.  And I am forever grateful for His work!  But, some strongholds still remain, I regret to admit.  There are some sins that are so ingrained in me that it would cause much pain to allow God to extract.  There are some that bring me a warped sense of satisfaction, even.  To be brutally honest, I am downright afraid to allow God to bring brokenness in some areas.  I feel as if I have set up this house of cards, sin piled on top of sin, and I am afraid of the mess it will make if it were to come tumbling down if He removed one of these.
    When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.

    For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
    Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. 

    I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "
    and you forgave the guilt of my sin.   Psalm 32: 3-5
    Oh, my strength is sapped and my groaning has gone on for too long.  In His love, God has been faithful to keep His hand heavy upon me.  I certainly have confessed these familiar sins to the Lord many times but I now understand what my repentance has lacked- Godly sorrow.  And so I have begin praying for just that- a Godly sorrow about these sins that will lead to true repentance.

    I have been spending more time in worship and prayer this week.  I have been crying out to Him through tears, inviting Him to search my heart and asking for Godly sorrow over my sins.  Even though I am afraid of the dismantling that may have to take place, my desire for freedom and victory are stronger than that fear.  His perfect love is enough to cast out that fear.  Since I know the things I am asking for are in accordance with His will and are offered in His name, He will do them.  So I am standing on that promise and waiting in expectancy for the coming victory.
    "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    Blessed is the man
    whose sin the LORD does not count against him
     and in whose spirit is no deceit."  Psalm 32: 1-2
    The Hebrew word for "blessed" in this verse means "blissfully happy"- WOW!  So, not only am I promised forgiveness and covering but when I come to Him in true repentance with Godly sorrow, I will be blissfully happy.
     "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."  Psalm 126: 5  

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Multitude Monday

    holy experience
    Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

    177. Extra time with husband as a result of the snowstorm

    176. A prayer partner who is faithful in prayer and in offering words of encouragement and support

    175. Parents who are willing and able to offer practical help

    174. A Pastor and his wife who are true followers of Jesus Christ

    173. Sledding

    172. Living room forts made with blankets and overturned chairs

    • 171. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins made by three little pairs of hands

    • 170. Snow bringing an unexpected long weekend

    • 169. Getting started on the homework room project

    • 168. Cooped up kids having fun together

    • 167. Building a snowman with my boys

    • 165. Friends who pray and comfort and love

    • 164. Waiting in expectation

    • 163. Laying my burdens down

    • 162. Unhindered access to Him

    • 161. Sore muscles signaling a return to my exercise schedule

    • 160. This place to sort out my thoughts

    • 159. Encouragement from blog visitors and comments

    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and ready why I got started here.


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