Monday, February 25, 2008

The Sweetest Thing - Your child asking Jesus to live in her heart!

Two weeks ago on Sunday on the way home from church Kynzie asked some questions, some very poignant questions about life and death and what happens at the end. We explained each answer to her which brought another question. She was very earnest. She wanted Jesus to live in her heart.

This isn't the first time these things have come up; we talk about Jesus being our Lord and our Saviour. We talk about Jesus' love for us and how that led him to death on the cross and what His resurrection means for us in eternity. It is part of our daily lives to talk about these things in casual conversation. We read the Bible with her. We have children's Bible videos even.

This time she had an agenda, though, and we were all too eager to follow along with her. This is one of those moments we pray will happen sooner than later in our children's' lives. She wanted to pray to ask Jesus to live in her heart! How thrilling! I was all choked up and saying Hallelujah!

I know she will understand this in new ways as she grows in understanding and maturity. But this was definitely a genuine desire on her part. This is the sweetest thing. To know that your child will be with you when you see Jesus! Glory to God!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Decluttering 101 - Clear Out the Clutter in the 8 step CONVERT process

I haven't taken the time to blog much lately. I have been busy trying to get our house to "The House That Cleans Itself" stage. Our new favorite household motto is "Change the house to fit the behavior." And, if you can't change the house to fit the behavior, then work on changing the behavior.

Another favorite eye-opener for me from this book is how to decide to get rid of an item or keep it. This is the most difficult thing for me - the process of decluttering and deciding to purge something from our home.

So many of the experts (in books and on websites and on television help shows) say to pick up each item in your home and ask yourself questions like these: "Have I used this in a year?" "Does this item bring a smile to my face?" "Do I love this item?" "Do I really need this item?"

None of this has helped me. Not having used it in a year doesn't mean I won't need it soon. Bringing a smile to my face and loving an item are both relative to what the item is, what its purpose is, and may change from day to day. Needing an item is also relative and changes periodically. The need to hang on to stuff just in case is greater than whether I need it right now.

I already know I need to declutter. I have known it for a long time. But that knowledge hasn't made the task any easier. I have learned that it really stresses my husband out to come home to it. (We have found ways to circumvent this problem on a daily basis, but the undertow is still there.) I feel like I can't accomplish things sufficiently that I desire to accomplish. I feel it affects our day-to-day life. One of my desires is to have my home be a safe-haven for my husband when he comes home from work, and for my children every day as well as for others that need it from time to time. I feel that this is greatly hindered by too much stuff. And, above all, I feel like it limits how free we can be to do the things God would have us do. In the end it is such a bondage.

But there are three things that have helped me tremendously in this decluttering decision-making process over the last several months. First, going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes brought so many good results for us. Scott and I agreeing on our finances, agreeing to be accountable to one another, and being on a budget has limited, if not eliminated, the bringing in of more stuff we don't need. That is critical to the decluttering process.

Second, a phrase author Mindy Starns Clark uses in the book - do I need to waste any more time of energy on this item (paraphrased) - has given me a new way to think through the process. Granted, I probably still haven't gotten rid of as much as I need to yet; it is a slow process for me. But, I even got rid of a whole couch using this line of thinking!

Our main piece of furniture in the living room was at one time a wonderful hand-me-down sleeper sofa that has served us well for a few years. It needed a couch cover, and the couch cover needed adjusting EVERY day, maybe even several times a day to look neat. As soon as I read this section in the book, I knew it was time to say good-bye to what had become an eye-sore and a pain in our behind (especially Delainey's since it was her job to fix the couch cover... I think she was the happiest to see it go.)

It wasn't worth one more ounce of energy - the energy it took to straighten the cover, the energy it took to move the couch out so the cover could be straightened, the energy it took to fret about how it looked or whether it was neat when someone stopped by... you get the idea. When I looked around and considered our seating options and realized that we really didn't NEED that sofa, it was so freeing. I felt like a bird that could fly out of the nest for the first time.

But the last help is probably the most important. Don't I trust God enough to provide for us when we need it? He always does. Now, I am not saying that we are going to give away all our possessions just yet, but we are bringing two more human beings into this home. And we need to make room for them. I don't think saving junk for the sake of saving junk is being a good steward of our home or our resources.

Matthew 6:21 says "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Now, I don't think I really thought of all my stuff as 'treasure', but that is how I treat it, isn't it? I give it a significant place in our home. I tell everyone to be careful around it. I get it out from time to time and look at and clean it. It is too precious to give away (but I doubt I could really sell any of it). Well, where is my heart then? (This also goes back to the energy thing as well.)

Let me quote Matthew 6:19-20 (NASB) here: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal; But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal...

I decided I needed to reevaluate where my treasure is stored up. And, even if I was going to store up treasure here on earth, is the stuff I have really what I want to claim as my treasure? I don't think so. It just helps add a little different perspective for me - something beyond myself.

Since this epiphany, I have sent several lawn and garden size trash bags to the donation center. As soon as a box or bag is filled, it is out the door so I don't have time for second thoughts! I have only really made it completely through two zones in my house, but I feel so much better already. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and I know there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Little updates on us...

It has been quite awhile since I last posted. I guess we've been busy...

Not much new going on here. I haven't taken many, if any, new pictures.

Max enjoys his jammies. He would rather wear them all day if I would let him. I am not sure why. He loves that his jammies zip. And some nights, when it is time to put jammies on, he gets so excited. He also likes to walk around the house with a cloth on his head like a hat. He calls it "duck, duck, goose" and pats his head and laughs. (His cloth is like his security blanket.)

Kynzie still calls the treadmill "treasure mill". It is really cute. That is the way she first started to say it when she was old enough to know that Daddy ran on the treasure mill every day. We have told her the actual name, and she can pronounce it, but she seems to prefer her name for it.

I am doing pretty well. I am still working hard at the healthy, well-balanced diet (mostly still sticking to the Brewer Diet) and getting in adequate exercise. And, I am still working my way through the house using 'The House That Cleans Itself' method. I love this book by the way. I started a post about this book and hope to go back and finish it later. But let me just say that this is by far the best decluttering/housecleaning book I have read... and I have read many, many, many. I even removed myself from FlyLady's mailing list!

Delainey injured, mildly, her ankle and it is nice and swollen now as well as a little purple. I don't think it's anything to be too concerned about, but it is enough to get her out of running for a day or two!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Time with Sis

Here is Delainey being a good big sister again. She is letting the little kids watch some Ratatouille with her before their betime. Delainey usually watches movies or listens to music while she runs on the treadmill.

Just Like Daddy

Here is Max sitting the way Daddy does while watching this TV. Max worked very hard to get this little chair over to just the right spot. He would move it, then test it to see if his feet could reach and then get out and adjust it again. He was so pleased with himself when he finally accomplished his goal.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Say, say, O playmate, Come out & Play with me...

And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Holler down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends forever more, forever more.

It was a rainy day
She couldn't come out to play
With tearful eyes she breathed a sigh
And this is what I heard her say

Say, say O playmate
I can't come play with you
My dolly's got the flu
boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

Ain't got no rain barrel
Ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends
Forever more, forever more

Do you remember this one? I used to beg my mom to sing that little ditty to me. I still like it. I think it's cute. And still love to hear my mom sing it to my kids. Maybe I'll take time to share some of my other childhood favorites sometime. Like The Little Red Caboose, that other train song I can't remember the name of (train whistle blowing, what is it Mom?), A Little Dream House, Two Little Orphans, and I Am a Pretty Little Dutch Girl. They probably aren't politically correct for this day and age, but I can even remember my grandmother singing some of them to me.

Anyway, here are the two little kids watching Delainey go outside and hang out with the neighbors. Aren't they pitiful? So, I went outside and took pictures of them looking pitiful - because they were so darn cute.

You Vacuum, and I'll Be the Runner

Vacuuming (and other loud household noises) makes Kynzie and Max a little nervous. Kynzie found the best way to deal with her fear of the vacuum was to make a game out of it. She says to whomever is vacuuming, "you vacuum and I'll be the runner." So she runs back and forth in front of the vacuum, at a fairly safe distance, giggling all the while. It can be a challenge for the vacuum-er, but it is really cute and can be fun for all.

Max has found a couple of ways to conquer his fear. One, go somewhere that the vacuum is not and stay there till the sound stops. Then, slowly emerge and ask "all done?" Or, run as fast as he can to the vacuum-er, hoping he is noticed quickly, saying "hold you, hold you" as urgently as possible. He likes to watch the vacuuming process from this vantage point and sometimes even "helps" hold the handle.

Delainey is very good at playing Kynzie's game and is adding holding Max to the mix now as well. She has added her own flavor to the pot by sharing her ipod tunes with Max.

I'm a big kid now!

We rearranged some things in the living room to temporarily put Delainey's school desk upstairs while I am working on cleaning out and rearranging the basement. (And, it is warmer upstairs, too!) It was like a new toy for the little kids. Delainey snapped these photos before church last Sunday. They both want to sit at her desk and do "math" as Kynzie calls all school work right now.

Bedtime Routines... Jammies, Story, Sing & Pray

The little kids don't fit on my lap very well anymore, especially not both of them at once. (Delainey doesn't fit at all, in case you were wondering.) Kynzie has adjusted to this quite well, probably because she has a better understanding of why my lap is disappearing. And Max is really good at following her lead in certain situations. Here, I am reading a Magic Schoolbus book to them. Kynzie really likes these books (and the videos when we get them from the library), even though I am pretty sure she is not grasping all the scientific information in them. But, I am more than happy to start her early if she enjoys it!

Max just likes books. I think we could read the phone book or a dictionary to him and he would sit and listen intently. Scott is reading one of their favorites in these pictures - "Are You My Mother?"
By the way, Delainey usually comes in and prays with us as well. She doens't get left out... We talk and pray with her... I guess I could ask her if she would like us to sing to her as well.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

May the Force Be With You

Here is Max's introduction to light sabers... He looks pretty intense in a couple of the photos, like he means business. These are Delainey's light sabers, by the way. She has one more now as well. She has a couple of other friends her age that enjoy a good saber battle from time to time. She also gets a good padawan training session with her dad. Max even makes the sound effects he has heard Dad and Delainey make.

Getting closer to baby time!

I only have 14 weeks left in this pregnancy (till my "due date")! It seems like you have all the time in the world to get ready for a new baby, or two new babies. I mean, nine months is a long time. But last night when I realized 14 weeks, give or take, is all I have, I first became very excited, then I almost panicked thinking about what still needs to be done!

I know 14 weeks is still a long time to be big and pregnant and uncomfortable. I have been enjoying this pregnancy, though. I have enjoyed every little kick and twist and turn. I have taken great pleasure in knowing that I have the privilege of caring for two little babies at the same time in my womb. I have been able to pray special prayers and blessings for them that are just a little different than what I prayed for my singletons. And I have really been blessed by all I have been learning and changing in my life during this pregnancy.

Anyway, we are not anxious about the babies coming whenever they do. God will provide for our needs as he always does. We have wonderful family and friends around us to support us in prayer and in practicality, both of which we appreciate immensely. I can't wait to meet these two new family members God has chosen for us!