Monday, November 29, 2010


"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 90:1

Fathers make the best forts, don't you think?

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:9

...For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It's 6 a.m. and my body wants to go back to sleep. This little sweetie slept from 8:45 p.m. until 5:15 a.m., when I had to wake her up to feed her. All you nursing moms can sympathize with me! :) The good news is that I slept from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The longest sleep I've had since last January!!

Lately, I've been trying to train myself to look for the good, to "in everything give thanks." Not just because it's Thanksgiving time, but because it's good for my soul.

Yesterday after work, we had to venture downtown to visit the courthouse. I'm not even sure I can properly explain what I was after, but it was some piece of paper affidavit that basically said I didn't live in Monongalia County, WV, in 2008. Apparently, in order to renew your license plate & get that little sticker of approval, one has to have this document to prove you have paid all your personal property taxes.

So, in WV, you have to pay personal property taxes on homes, mobile homes, boats, RVs, vehicles, and dogs. Yes, there is a dog tax. What's up with that? Good thing I didn't get a dog last Christmas like I wanted...

Back to the thankfulness thing: So we were headed downtown to the courthouse, which was open until 7 on Mondays. I didn't really want to go (who ever wants to go do this kind of stuff?), but having only one car makes you do things you don't want to do at times you don't want to do them. Since all the WVU students were gone for Thanksgiving break, the traffic downtown was pleasantly light and we found the street easily. And just as easily passed the we had to turn around.

Of course, almost every street is one way so it was quite the trek to make it back to where we were and then we got stuck on some "major" side road where not even 1 car made it through each traffic light. No joke. I found myself getting seriously frustrated and had one of those moments where I say things that I regret about 15 minutes later. I actually told my husband he's not allowed to take shortcuts in WV because this place is stupid and every shortcut he takes ends in disaster or a 20 minute extra drive. And even though it's true--this is not the first time he's tried a "shortcut"--it should not have been said. Especially out loud. So I apologized to him and said "well, what can I be thankful about instead?" He said with a smile, "nothing--just be bitter." Crazy man! He always knows how to make me laugh...I LOVE that about him! But bitter isn't better.

If you've ever visited my town, you'll know that there is no point in thinking about shortcuts. Yes, it might look like that small little road will cut through the mountainy-windy roads so that you don't have to go 2 miles to technically go half a mile. But it won't work, not ever. Each time I've tried to "cut through" somewhere or take a turn early because the traffic lights were backed up, it has ended in disaster. One way streets, one way alleys that appear to be streets, crazy triangular intersections...

And I wonder if that doesn't have a parallel to the rest of my life, too. It's so easy to want to take shortcuts. To get frustrated with the bumper to bumper traffic, the day to day "kids-are-screaming-who-wants-dinner-who-forgot-to-take-something-out-of-the-freezer-guess-we'll-have-to-drive-to-McDonalds" craziness. I get tired of waiting in lines, tired of waiting for my dreams to happen in God's timing, and I just want OUT, now. So I take some back road that looks like it will go where I want. Only it doesn't go there, and now I'm stuck in a bigger mess and it takes me twice as long to get back where I started.

When life gets hard, I'm going to try not to take a shortcut. I want to be in this place in my life until I've learned everything God has designed for me to drink deep the cup He has given me. Does this early morning rambling make any sense to you? If not, just know I'm going to be okay.

Happy Tuesday...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time is....ticking away

At church today, our pastor started a sermon series called "Rust." He took the title from Matthew 6, the passage that says "Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." Not an exact quote but I'm too lazy to get my Bible out at the moment!

Pastor ___ (believe it or not I actually just forgot my pastor's name) was talking about (Oh yeah it's Tim! Sorry...), well he was talking about how awesome it is that God allows us to use physical/earthly things to build up that treasure in heaven. And not only that, but he commands us to build up treasure there. Kinda seems like the opposite of what we've always been taught, not to "hoard" and stuff...

He said we'll be talking about several ways to use earthly means to build up this heavenly treasure--this week we talked about: 1 guess...TIME. A little ironic that I just had this on my heart (yesterday's blog)? I think not! Proof positive that God speaks to you anywhere, anyway, anyhow. He CARES about you and me!!! It's so amazing.

The sermon pretty much cracked me up, because it was almost word for word what God had said to me last night during my whining. Pastor Tim talked about 3 misconceptions we have when it comes to TIME. I'd like to share them with you because I think they were awesome.

  1. We don't have ENOUGH time. The truth is, we all get the same amount of time in our day. We might not have the same number of days in our lives, but we all get the same 24 hours...and we have enough time to do the things God has called us to do. It's a matter of us making those things a priority, and where I use my time shows the world what I really value to be important.
  2. It's OUR time. The days and weeks we have do not belong to us. We were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20). We were saved to live for Christ (2 Cor 5:14-15) the hours we use to fill our days should be used to honor God.
  3. We'll have MORE time. It's an easy thing to forget that our lives are fleeting...everyone is appointed to die and no one knows when that time will be. We need to understand what the Lord's will is and then be under the influence of God's Spirit. (James 4:15, Eph 5:15-18)

Then he did this illustration (This is originally by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and this video is of him, I believe) that proves that when you fill your day with the Big Rocks first (Big Rocks being The Important Things That Matter for Eternity)'ll always have enough room for the little rocks (all the day to day things that absolutely must get done--eating, sleeping, cleaning, working, etc). I've seen the illustration more than once, but it always amazes me to see it again. Stephen Covey talks about other, more work-related stuff, but the same application can be used when thinking about eternal vs earthly stuff.

I've definitely been struggling with time management lately. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed, honestly, when I think about the demands on my time or my day. But I've started really asking God for help and I'm trying to fit the Big Rocks in first. Time with God, time with Marc, time with kids, work, rest. Everything else I'm just fitting into the holes left over. It's not perfect and I don't do it right every day...but what a difference already!

And for fun, I leave you with this video. Because I know all of you DC Talk fans immediately thought of it anyway when you read my blog title.

The first song is Walls, but skip to 2:25 to get that great song we all remember...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A normal day

I love these quiet, "normal," Saturdays. Emily started the day off right by sleeping through the night, from 10:45 pm to 7:30 am. And then she ate & went right back to sleep at 8:30, didn't wake up til 11. Now that's the kind of napping I'm talking about! :)

I had a blissful morning with my 2 oldest children. We watched cartoons, ate cinnamon rolls, played games, read books. And then watched some more TV and snuggled on the couch. I love having "big people" conversations with my 5 year old--it's hilarious! Zach got me to watch "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" for the first time with him. Also hilarious! Just thinking about a spaghetti tornado makes me giggle a little bit.

I took my first step toward a skinnier me last night: I sat down on the couch and thought, "You know, all I'd have to do is get out the Shred DVD and put on my sneakers." And then I thought, "but then I'd be up all night because I'd be stimulated by the exercise." And then, "No, you wouldn't be awake, you'd be exhausted--remember the last "first time" with Jillian?" On the other hand, "yes, I do remember. I'll do it tomorrow." So...I still have yet to break out the Shred. One day soon. My pants are begging me...

Our TV is on the fritz. The volume keeps cutting out and you have to turn the TV off and then back on in order to get it to work. Sometimes once a minute. It's starting to get annoying to say the least. The frugal person deep inside tells me that if it dies, we can live without TV. And even though I absolutely know that is true, I'm not sure if it's fair to do to my children this winter. We'll see what happens!

If you find yourself in need of a jumpstart in life, here's some advice: Just do the next thing. I read this on a blog a few years ago and although it's succinct and rather unmotivating, it really works. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks I have to do or the lack of sleep, I just do the next thing, whatever that is. Usually it's dishes. Sometimes it's making my bed. That one little thing prompts me to do everything else because it doesn't make sense to only make the've got to pick up the dirty clothes from the floor because then the bed looks stupid all made up in a dirty room. See what I mean?

My favorite things to do first thing in the morning (when I'm not working, so right now this is just for the weekends) are:
  1. Get myself ready--wash, dress, etc. This also includes any quiet time I get to have, although my quiet time is mostly at night lately.
  2. Make the bed.
  3. Start a load of laundry.
  4. Put away the dishes from the dishwasher and load it up with whatever's dirty.
  5. Read a book with the kids.

Someday my everydays will look like this, but for now I'll take it on the weekends! You'd think I could accomplish this list rather quickly but having 3 kids makes it pretty challenging. There are all sorts of things you do that you don't even realize in between those bullet points!

Do you ever have a seriously long whiny session with yourself about "why" you don't have time to do all the things you want to do? I just did. I actually typed it all out here, ready to whine to the internet world about my life a little. And then I read back over it like I usually do to make sure there were no typos or weirdly placed words...and I realized: You could be doing something different right now if you chose. And you could have been doing something different 30 minutes ago when you wasted time watching that Seinfeld re-run you've seen a few times already.

It's a little sobering to realize that I probably do have more time than I think, but I waste a lot of it doing things that are "good" but not "best" for this stage in my life. I'm going to need to do some serious soul-searching soon... (this is completely off topic but I just love the alliteration of that phrase "some serious soul-searching soon"--I am so goofy!)

Now that I'm losing my audience, I think I'll sign off. It's Saturday night here, Sunday afternoon for my friends across the ocean. Everyone enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In honor of my 30th birthday today, you get 30 random thoughts from me. Lucky you!

  1. The last time I blogged was 10/9 which is Marc's birthday. Tonight is my birthday. Didn't happen on purpose! And both days were pretty awful, actually. :) The kids are being extra "loving" to us lately and helping us learn how to be more patient and gracious. But I couldn't imagine life without them.
  2. My newest daughter knows that I am home from work at night and will NOT let Marc do anything for her. She is a little mom-crazy. And Mom is a little Emily-crazy, too.
  3. It's a good thing that I'm using the "numbered bullets" setting in Blogger, because I'm honestly not sure if I could even count to 30 coherently. Lack of sleep, anyone?
  4. Hey, I didn't say that these would be "awesome" thoughts from me...just random. Your luck is growing by the minute!
  5. I borrowed 5 books from the library on Monday. I still haven't finished reading the 1 book I started a month ago. Not like me at all. I miss reading and all those fun things I did before I had a baby.
  6. I have the absolutely most wonderful husband on this planet. I am so proud he's mine...(we celebrated 11 years of marriage in between the last post & this one).
  7. I'm suddenly getting worried that this is going to be really boring for you, the reader. I mean, I can come up with 30 things to say, but it's looking bad. Really bad.
  8. I might start talking about work and how I'm finally feeling settled in my job.
  9. Or about how I have no friends outside of work in this state. But I think that's a good thing because I don't really have time for friends right now. My poor children don't even get my "best." Someday, kids. I will sleep again, promise.
  10. 10 is twice the age of my son Z who turned 5 last Friday. He is 41 lbs and 46 inches tall. Thank God for His infinite wisdom in making babies SMALL. Can all moms around the world say, "yes and amen?"
  11. Raise your hand if you immediately thought of a song by Hillsongs in the late 1990's.
  12. Raise your hand again if you still sing that song in church.
  13. Okay, put your hands down. It's starting to smell in here.
  14. Hardy-har-har-har. I'm actually starting to crack myself up laughing. You know it's getting bad now...are you still with me? "You know you're my friends if..."
  15. understand my true feelings for brownies and all things caramel. And add them together,'ll have to pardon this brief interruption for a moment while *insert quiet elevator music* ok I'm back. No, there's nothing on my face--chocolate, you say? Not me.
  16. I don't know if I'm going to make it through this little exercise. Maybe I'll start thinking of things that happened during the age of the # I'm typing on. Does that make sense? No? Ok, well, when I was 16 I...moved to AL (halfway across the world it felt like), met a whole bunch of new, life-long friends, had my first and only car accident (in which I actually hit the car of the fire chief who showed up on the doorstep of my new house the following Monday because I told him I didn't know if we still had insurance because we were in the process of moving and my parents were in the middle of the USA driving the rest of my siblings & stuff down to AL from PA and the cop asked me where I lived & I said "see that Residence Inn behind you?" and then he said "who do you stay with" and I said "my brother" and he said "how old is he" and I said "15" and it just keeps getting better. So that's why the fire chief showed up at my house on Monday. And yes, it WAS really fun to create that superman, run-on sentence. Thanks for asking.
  17. This is the year I fell in love with my husband. Only he didn't know it for a while. God told me I was going to marry him and I said, "Him? are you sure?" Not because he was awful but because he had chosen not to date any girls in order to focus on God his senior year. Talk about your Godly foundations. This is also the year that Marc *informed* me we were going to get married. I said "how about asking me?" and he said, "yeah, we'll get to that later." LOL And the ride never ends...
  18. If you're counting, this is the year I got married. Although I was only 3 weeks from my 19th birthday so that makes it all better, right? I don't regret marrying young except that we were young and penniless. Not the best financial start but God knew what was what. And He still does. This was also the year Marc got me opal earrings and opal necklace for my 18th birthday. My favorite jewelry still.
  19. I got my wisdom teeth removed at 19. Yeah, not as exciting as the rest of it. My Nana (great grandmother) passed away and went to be with Jesus this year. She was 102, I think? Or 103. I'm not sure, but she was old. And the sweetest thing you ever saw. Wish I had her prayer that I think about it.
  20. This was the year of Y2K. Ha ha ha now THAT's funny to think about! Y2K...snort.
  21. We moved to northern AL this year. I worked for an OB-GYN doctor in Huntsville. Huntsville Hospital has the best cafeteria I've ever seen. Marc & I still talk about it. That makes us weird, I know. But I don't care.
  22. Rockford IL was the new homestead this year. We lived with the sweetest retired couple, Frank and Loretta. They opened their home to us and were so gracious to try to remember what it felt like to be our age. We tried to imagine what 70 and 84 felt like, but I'm sure they were better at it than we were. They lived in an older home with cobblestone streets. A factory nearby did some sort of metal stamping or something strange where this big machine hit the ground a hundred times a day and made the house shake. I would be lying in bed so still and the bed would move. A little freaky, yes.
  23. Moved again but only across town this time. A sweet farmhouse that is now Wind Ridge Herb Farm. The picture under the "events" tab is where we had our first lawn swing. The wind blew over that swing about once a week and eventually the field creatures ate the swing cushions. But it was the best. The picture under the "gardens" tab was our front lawn, but it was just grass then. One of our favorite houses ever.
  24. We lost our first little baby this year...definitely a hard year. But God was good, and He is gracious.
  25. Wow, we're getting super close to 30. Finally! This year I got mad at God because of #24 and then 2 days later found out I was pregnant. With my favorite son Zachary. What a blessing he is...I also spent 7 weeks on bedrest and gained 61 pounds, which took me 2 full years to lose.
  26. This year is very much a blur. I know we went to Las Vegas to visit Marc's sister and family for the summer. Never do that, ok? LV is not for summer touristing, I promise. 98 degrees at 7 am in July is not my idea of fun.
  27. I hope we never have to relive this year ever again. 3 miscarriages, a move from hell (not an exaggeration and from which I think my father in law will never recover). And I think I may never look my age...while being a Rock Star!
  28. A great year. I had my first daughter and saved lots of money on groceries by using coupons. Did a lot of traveling to see family this year.
  29. Moved to West Virginia...started a new job...the rest is a blur.
  30. Which brings us to now. I'm going to celebrate by watching a little TV, eating some fresh raspberries my wonderful husband bought me, and switching out my purse to the new one I just got for my birthday.

Thanks for indulging me...hope you enjoyed! Good thing I don't have a birthday for another year, right? :)