Thursday, March 29, 2007

Taking a Break...

Parent/teacher conferences are finished.
I've been to the store for last minute necessities.
Most of the suitcases are packed.
And there are fifteen minutes until the last load of laundry will be dry and ready for folding/packing.
So I'll take the opportunity to say, "Good-bye," to my blogging friends for a little while.

We're packing up and heading to Washington, DC for spring break. Yes, tomorrow at this time - if all goes according to plan - my family and I will have biked for about three hours on a tour around our nation's capital to start off our vacation. Are we crazy??? Biking or walking, we have a lot of ground to cover and so much to see. We're all looking forward to a fun time!

I'll take lots of pictures and will post them upon our return. Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mom My Ride

I'm pretty sure just about everyone who reads this blog is a mom and can, therefore, relate to my agony on this issue. Messes in the van.

How many times have I said, "The van is not a toybox. Please take your things inside with you!"? I have all but forbidden any form of eating, or drinking anything but water, while we're driving because I get so tired of cleaning up the messes. Nevertheless, toys, Uno cards, papers, and lots and lots of crumbs somehow find their way onto the seats and floor. Once, I climbed into the back of the van get somthing and I almost couldn't find my way back out for all the mess surrounding me. It was scary!
I've gotten to the point of periodically going through the van and throwing away anything the kids have left behind. It even brings me joy to get my oil changed because they vaccuum the floors, too. (How pathetic am I, that I get excited about an oil change?!)
Sometimes I get a little crazy and I park the van right next to the kitchen door, haul out the vaccuum cleaner, and really clean it out. For the next few days, I'm extra picky about what the kids bring into and take out of the van. I get really strict about the eating policy. I live in my fantasy world thinking maybe, just maybe, the van will stay clean this time. Then I wake up.

I'm realizing as long as I have kids, the van will be messy - just like the house. I'm not going to bother trying to take the stickers off the back window that "Nobody" put up. The scratches on the side will serve to remind me of the hard work Matthew put into learning to ride his bike. When rocks - which have been stored in the back - are rattling around, I'll try to admire my kids' desire to collect things they think are interesting and beautiful.
Yes. I will try to maintain a positive attitude in spite of my messy van. And when I don't think I can do it any longer, I'll click over to this link so I can at least laugh about every mom's messy van. Many thanks to my friend, Lori, who shared this video with me. It's great!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Desperate!

Does that sound bad?

It's true!

I have just finished going through Kathy Troccoli's book Live Like You Mean It with my friend. The last chapter is called "Be a Desperate Woman," and in this chapter Kathy talks extensively about our need for God and His ability to do anything. She writes, I am completely desperate without Him. I sink without Him. Is that weakness? Yes. I am so weak without Him and his presence and guidance. I must get up every day and hold on to hope. Being desperate is something to celebrate because of the position it puts me in with the tender, generous, romantic Lover of my soul. Living a life of passion, romance, and adventure is about panting for God out of sheer desperation so He can satisfy my deepest longings.
And oh, how deep are my longings! God made me a hungry, thirsty, needy woman. He made all of us that way so that we would seek out His richest fare, as if our lives depended on it - because they do. (p. 170-171)
Since Amber and I discussed this chapter the other day, I have been intentional in my thinking about the fact I am desperate. I need Him every moment.
And, as if my own efforts to think about this reality weren't enough, my kids nailed it for me yesterday. Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time!) I am at a loss for what to do with them. I want to raise them well, and train them on the right path. I want to teach them to be respectful and honorable. I want to instill in them the importance and value of obedient behavior. I want them to grow up to be self-controlled, responsible adults. I also want to remember they're kids and it's OK for kids to be loud, and goofy, and obnoxious (a little!) and, well, kids!
Finding the balance between these two worlds (training them and still letting them be kids) is really hard for me. So as I was making my way through the day yesterday I was praying a lot, admitting my desperation to God and begging Him to lead me as I raise these children. I so want to do it right. More and more I am aware of the fact I'll never get it right on my own. I need Him every moment.
Finally, this morning in church we sang Breathe. Perhaps you're familiar with it, and you know the chorus...I stood there in His presence declaring the very thing that's been on my mind the past couple of days. I'm desperate for You!

That's the truth. I'm desperate. I'm a desperate mother and, yes, a desperate housewife! And I am not ashamed to admit it because I know He made me this way - to need Him - and because His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I Could Get Used to This

I've written before about Joshua's precious way of saying good-bye in the morning before he goes to school. I've shared how it warms my heart and makes me wonder how I could ever get angry with such a loving child. Well, he has stepped it up a bit.
Over the past few weeks Joshua has added, "You rock!" to his farewell greeting. Hugs and kisses have begun to accompany his words as well. All very sweet.

This morning we gathered as a family to pray, and then the kids went out on the porch to play (quietly, of course!) until the carpool arrived. Figuring all of our good-byes were complete, I went upstairs to put laundry away. Then, as I heard the call that the carpool had arrived, I heard the front door open and the sound of footsteps running up the stairs.
Joshua had come to find me before he went to school. He hugged me and kissed me and said, "Love you! You Rock!" I told him I love him, too. Then I said, "You rock, too." As he ran downstairs and out the door we called back and forth to each other, "You rock more!"
Ahhh, yes. I think I could get used to this!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Coming on Video

There's something new on the horizon for me and my website. Video!

This morning I spoke for a moms group in Lansing and I had the talk video taped. We're going to select a few short segments to prepare for the website and then my wonderful web designer will work her magic and put them out there for anyone to view. I can't wait!

Some time ago my book coach told me I should think about adding video to the website and I thought, "Yeah, that's a nice idea. But how will it ever happen? Who would tape it for me? I don't have that kind of equipment! Where could we record it anyway? Is it even possible to put video on my website?" And on I went with my doubting.
Until one day I made a phone call to someone I thought might be able to help me, or might know someone who could do it. "Yes," he said. "I can do that for you!" I asked my web designer if it was possible and she said, "Yes. In fact, I just got some new software that will allow is to do what you want." So the two of them talked and figured out what is needed, and I'm sitting back thinking, Why was I ever doubting?

I play the doubting game too much. Do you? I see this or that opportunity and think it's too difficult. The obstacles and unknowns seem too big for me. I can't imagine how I could possibly overcome them. Often I am tempted to give in and give up.
Then God gently reminds me, I'm right! The obstacles and unknowns are too big for me. I can't overcome them. But He can! And so I choose to trust Him. Everything works better when I'm trusting in Him!

As to the video, I'll let you know here when it's on the website!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Shopping with Susan

A couple of days ago I read a blog post over at It Coulda Been Worse about a shopping experience with a screaming child. Since reading that post I've been thinking about a cute story I once heard about a woman shopping with her unhappy child. Having just done my grocery shopping this morning, and witnessing other mothers with their children, I decided to post that story here for you to enjoy.

A man was in the store, picking up a few items for his wife, when he was startled by a piercing scream. Turning the corner he saw the source of the outburst - a young little girl who now sat pouting in the seat of the grocery cart. As the woman and child walked past, the man heard her say, "It's OK, Susan. I know I told you this was going to be a quick trip. We'll be finished here in about ten minutes and then we can go home." He noted the calm tone in her voice and was impressed by how kindly she spoke to her digruntled daughter.
When their paths crossed again two aisles later, the man witnessed the little girl kicking her legs and crying out, "But I waaaaant it!" Still the mother spoke softly, though he heard a slight quiver in her voice, and she said, "Just hang in there, Susan. We only have two aisles left before we're finished. If you can control yourself that long, I'll buy you a candy bar before we leave." Again, the man was impressed with the way this woman spoke to her daughter.
Seeing the two of them go through the check-out lane, the man simply stood and watched in wonder. The little girl was crying. She was yelling about wanting the fruity cereal. She was kicking her legs and flailing her arms about, trying to grab things off the rack. Yet the mother, with all the calm she could muster, stated evenly, "Susan, we'll be out of the store, in the car, and on our way back home in a matter of minutes. You can make it. Just take a deep breath and try to be calm."
As the mother and daughter left the store, the man grabbed his groceries and hurried to catch up with them. He reached them as the mother was putting the last bag in the trunk. "Excuse me, ma'am!" he said. "I couldn't help but notice you and your daughter back there in the store. Boy, she was having a rough time, but you were so calm as you talked to her. I just want to commend you and say I think Susan is a very lucky little girl."
"Oh, thank you," the mother replied with a smile. "Only, my daughter's name is Sally. I'm Susan." With that, she grabbed her candy bar, took a bite and waved farewell to the kind gentleman.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Peace, Dude.


The kids have showered.
We read the Bible together and prayed.
Joshua and Elizabeth each read aloud from their own books for several minutes.
I have sung to each of them and tucked them in.
Two of the kids are already asleep.
I am back downstairs, and it's quiet up there.
It's only 8:35.
And I managed this tremendous feat going solo tonight, because Brian is at a special event for work!

Three hours ago, if someone had told me bedtime would go this smoothly, I would have been quick to call them crazy.
The morning began with typical kid noise and petty arguments - He hit me! She looked at me! He's playing with my ball! - You know how it goes. But I got away for a few hours by myself to do some shopping. Ahhh! That was nice.
When I got home Brian and the kids were at a park, so my peace continued. Briefly. They got home and chaos ensued again. With neighbor kids in the mix this time. And before too long Brian had to leave for work, so the kids and I would be spending the evening together without Dad.
As I was preparing dinner, I couldn't help but notice how LOUD my kids were. They bounced around on balls and were just being crazy. Part of me wanted to tell them to sit down and be quiet. I wished for peace again. But then I remembered they're kids, and I decided to let them be noisy.
In fact, at one point Elizabeth and Joshua had wrapped Matthew up in a blanket and Elizabeth was carrying him around, saying she'd just found this "thing." I decided to be silly with them and I took Matthew from her. I said this thing might be dangerous and I was going to have to throw it out the window. Everyone laughed and I thought, "Yea! I did something right!"
Moments later Elizabeth and Joshua were carrying Matthew (still wrapped up) past me in the kitchen to take him outside. I said, "Hold on a minute! Don't take him out there like that." Joshua let out a loud wail and yelled something about me ruining their fun. And I thought, "There we go, now I did something wrong again!"
But we got past that incident and sat down for dinner. As we were eating I had the idea we ought do something active after dinner. Perhaps a walk. So I asked the kids, "Would you like to go for a walk after dinner?" Matthew said, "Can we go to the park and play on the playground?" I agreed to it, and the kids were happy.

As we were leaving Elizabeth put on her roller blades, Matthew hopped on his bike, and Joshua put his bike on the porch. I said, "You're not going to ride your bike?" He said he'd rather walk. I told him that was fine, but then he'd need to hold my hand. He smiled and reached for me.
Once we got to the playground, Elizabeth and Matthew were content to roll around the empty parking lot and Joshua and I went to the play equipment. We eventually ended up on the swings, having a spitting competition. Who could spit furthest? Joshua won. My first attempt ended up on my leg! I can't believe some of the things I'll admit to you that I've done!
We came home and the kids got going on showers without much prodding. Very unusual. And things went smoothly from then on.

As I've had some time to think about it, I realize I can enjoy peace not only when I'm alone by myself doing my own thing, but I can even be peaceful when I'm alone with my kids. I can choose to not get bent out of shape when they're being loud and crazy. (Lots of deep breathing really helps here!) I can choose to do things they want to do and find joy in the process. I can look for opportunities to be more child-like and less stuffy, and see pleasant looks of surprise in the eyes of my children. I truly had a peaceful night tonight. What a surprise!

I received one other surprise during the writing of this post. Brian came home with a piece of chocolate cheesecake for me! Oooo! A peice of peace, a piece of cheesecake. What a lucky girl I am!

Friday, March 16, 2007

What Trouble?

I am continuing my study of Psalm 34 and this morning I read and contemplated verse 17.

The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

My first thought was, "Am I righteous?" And then I thanked Jesus because He made me rigtheous by shedding His blood on the cross for me. Because of what Jesus did, the Lord hears me when I cry out. How wonderful is that?!

But what about this business of God delivering me from all my troubles? What troubles do I have anyway? When I consider the things of which I am aware that other people are facing, I begin to wonder how I could dare call my situation "troubling." Even so, I listed out a number of things which are weighing on my heart right now, and then I wrote in my journal: Why do I ever fret over these things? You are always with me and you are always good. You are able to handle every situation and You will use them for my good. Because of You, my troubles need not be troubling!
I then proceeded to make a list of issues in the past that have troubled me, and after each item I wrote, "Delivered." Knowing God never changes, I trust He will continue to deliver me from all my troubles.

This exercise of writing out past troubles and marking them "Delivered" was so encouraging to me. Perhaps you can give it a try!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Update on Allie

For those of you praying for Allie, she is really needing our prayers right now. Here's the update.

For those of you who don't know Allie, here's the background story.

Thanks for praying!!!

The White Shirt

I have said before I love my kids' school because they are so big on parental involvement. Another thing I really like is the dress code. Tan or navy blue pants, and red, white or blue shirt. Keeps it simple. And modest. I like that.
Most mornings the dress code also makes getting dressed easy. I did say most mornings. Today was not one of those mornings.

Joshua wanted blue pants, but only had tan pants in his closet. That was OK! I had just taken the dark clothes out of the dryer. Problem solved.
He also wanted a red shirt, but only had white shirts in his closet. That was not OK. I had just put the red clothes in the washing machine. They would not be ready before it was time for him to leave for school.
In my mind, this shirt business was not a big deal. Joshua has worn the white shirts before. He could do it again. I know he favors red, but this really didn't need to be a big deal. However, Joshua's mind does not operate like mine.
He was furious. He was stomping around, spilling cereal, letting everyone know he was NOT happy about wearing a white shirt. In his anger, he yelled at me about not doing the laundry "right." Why did I do the reds "late"? Couldn't I just go get the red shirt out of the washer and put it by the heater so it was dry when he needed it? (Really, that was his proposal!) In the midst of his rage I did my best to remain calm, reminding myself it would be stupid to join in and start yelling back at him.
Finally, he was going to state the reason he didn't like the white shirt. I was waiting for him to say something about not wanting to stain the shirt if he spilled his chocolate milk at lunch. You never know, he could be concerned about staying clean! Uh, no. Not this time. As I waited with baited breath for his explanation, I almost laughed when he gave it. He said he likes the red shirt better because it keeps him warmer. White shirts are cold, he said.
I don't believe he's been to any "Color Me Beautiful" classes. I don't think he knows anything about warm and cool colors. I don't believe the red shirt actually keeps him warmer than the white shirt. In an attempt to call his bluff, I reminded him he had a sweater he could take to school and put on if he got chilly. He had reasons why that suggestion wouldn't work either, and he continued in his grumpy mood.
Finally I said to him, "Joshua, I think you're getting upset about something that really isn't worth being upset over." I really don't remember what happened next, because my mind was taken to another place by the statement I'd just made.

How many times have I, myself, gotten upset over something that really wasn't worth the time and emotion? How many times have I stomped around, upset that the red shirt was still in the washer, when there was a perfectly good white shirt hanging in my closet?
I remember being upset when I finished nursing my third baby. The bra was baggy. The small one. I hated this "new" body. I felt unfeminine and unattractive. God, why did this have to happen? I liked my breasts the way they used to be! (I think that's safe to say. Don't think I have any male readers!)
There have been moments I have wished I could trade my kids in for some that obey the first time, every time, and who always clean up their messes and never fight with each other. God, I don't know what I'm doing with these kids. I don't think I can handle them!
And how about the times I've admired someone else's nice complexion and complained about my own? God, I'm 35 years old. Isn't it about time for me to stop getting pimples???
How many times has God said to me, Karen, Karen, you are upset about so many things. There is only one thing that matters. Seek Me.

Yes, God took that moment of logic I had for Joshua and used it to speak to me! He has given me plenty of white shirts. More than I need, really. Some of them are very practical. Some are well-worn. Some of them are delicate and pretty. One of them is extravagent. They all fit me perfectly.
I may not have the red shirts I want (and sometimes think I need) but I have all the white shirts I need, and it just doesn't make sense getting upset about the red shirts!

End note: In spite of the ordeal with the shirt, on the way out the door Joshua called over his shoulder, "Love you!" And I replied, "Love you, too, Joshua!" as the door closed. Then the door re-opened and Joshua said something and was gone again. My husband told me Joshua's final message was, "You rock." Enthusiasm was missing, but he did put in the effort to open and close the door again, and that counts for something!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Peaceful Trip?

Good-bye. Thanks again for inviting me this morning.
You're welcome. How long did it take you to get here?
Only about an hour and a half. I took I-69 and it really wasn't a bad drive. Usually when I come out this way I take I-96 and it takes me two hours!
Good. I hope your drive home is peaceful.

That is (roughly) the conversation I had with the MOPS coordinator this morning as I was leaving. At the time, I didn't realize how funny and ironic that conversation would turn out to be.
As I was driving north on I-75, listening to James Dobson talk with Newt Gingrich about his new book Rediscovering God in America, and thinking about our spring break trip to DC coming up, I was startled by a whack, bang, thud sound. Looking out the rear view mirror I saw something that looked like a bent up metal rod, or a small part of a tree branch scurrying across the highway. "Whew," I thought, "That sounded like it could've done damage. But everything seems to be OK." So I kept going.
About 30 to 60 seconds later I heard another loud, very odd sound. It was coming from behind me, over my left shoulder. The only thing I could think to do was pull over and take a look. So I did.
When I got out of the van I found a completely flat rear tire. Hmmm, I guess that rod/branch thing did do some damage. Heart pounding, not knowing what to do, I got back into the van and pulled out my cell phone. Then I thought, "Who am I going to call?" Brian is in Chicago. We don't have road-side assistance with our insurance. (All the touching "On Star" commercials I've ever heard came to mind...) I'm too far away to call anyone from the MOPS group. I don't know my brother's cell phone number. So I sat there and prayed, "Jesus, please send someone to me!"
Finally, I decided to call 9-1-1. I didn't know if I should, but I did. The operator was very sweet and she connected me with George's Towing Service. They took down my information and said they'd send someone out for me.
When I looked up, I saw a sheriff vehicle parked behind me and I got out of the van to tell her a towing service was on the way. The officer was a very kind woman and she said she'd stay with me until the service arrived. We chatted as she got the jack out of the van for me, and I was thankful that Jesus had sent her to be with me and help calm my nerves.

In just a little while Jim, from George's, arrived and I said good-bye to my new friend. Jim got to work right away. As he did his thing we talked about tires, wrenches, writing, and his son's band. On one of his trips back to the truck to exchange wrenches, the irony of the comment, "I hope your drive home is peaceful," finally hit me, and I burst into laughter.
The near heart attack the whack, bang, thud gave me, the feeling of panic when I realized I didn't know who to call to rescue me, and standing in the cold along the highway with cars and trucks whizzing past was not what I would consider peaceful. Honestly, I thought, "Oh, well. At least this gives me something to blog about!" Yes, the more I get into writing, the more my life and its mishaps become one big illustration. But at least it made me laugh!
So Jim finished the tire change. He told me I'd be OK to drive back to Lansing, but I shouldn't go over 55 mph and I should get a new tire soon. I paid him and thanked him and drove home - praying as I went. God, thank You for Jim and the sheriff who helped me just now. Please get me the rest of the way home safely. Thank You for watching over me. Thank You for - uh, what was that wobble??? Please get me home safely. This experience will be enough for the blog - I don't need any more material. Thank You for taking care of me!
And so, two and a half hours after I originally set out, I arrived back home. The trip - Peaceful? Not really. Shorter than I expected? No. But God was with me - I was very aware of His presence. I had just been talking with a group of moms about how when we go through hard times, we are better able to see and understand God's love and faithfulness. Yes. He faithfully took care of me this afternoon, and I truly am glad for the experience.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Good Morning

I hope you're continuing to enjoy the party being thrown by 5 Minutes for Mom. If you're here at my site for the first time, Welcome to you! I am so glad you've stopped by.

For those of you who are praying for Allie and her family, I wish to report that her platelet count is up, though not where it needs to be yet. For the full report you may visit her journal at Caring Bridge. Please continue to pray for them. Thank you!

Tonight as I sit here while the kids are getting showered and ready for bed, I can't help but wonder what tomorrow morning will be like. My husband is out of town this week, and his absence presents some special challenges, as I also have some out of town engagements. I can't help but wonder if tomorrow morning will be a little less dramatic than yesterday morning.
Yesterday I spoke to a MOPS group on the west side of the state and was getting showered and ready upstairs, while the kids were having breakfast downstairs. I was listening to the commotion and heard Joshua say his oatmeal was overflowing in the microwave. Oh well, I thought, he can clean it up. I figured it wasn't as bad as he made it sound, anyway. It usually bubbles up in the bowl, but rarely overflows. So I continued getting ready.
When I came downstairs, Matthew was in the kitchen making his oatmeal in the microwave. I walked in and thought I smelled something burning. As I looked into the microwave I saw smoke and quickly turned it off. When I opened the door, I discovered the problem. Matthew had forgotten to put water in his bowl. I seriously think I arrived just in the knick of time, before it burst into flames. The kitchen smelled awful and Matthew was so sorry. I told him it was OK, and that I was sure we all know now that water gets added before the oatmeal goes into the microwave. Some lessons, we just learn the hard way.
I poured Matthew a bowl of cereal and soon the ordeal was forgotten. Well, except for the smell which lingered through the day, and is still there if you try hard enough to notice. But, for what it could have been, I am thankful we only had a bowl of charred oatmeal.

What of tomorrow though? Actually, I won't even be here - for most of it. I am speaking for another MOPS group and need to be on the road early. (Detroit traffic!) My brother is coming over to see the kids out the door for school. Won't that be fun? I'll go into their rooms to wake them and say, "Good morning. Uncle Chuck is downstairs!" And I imagine that's all I will need to say.
They love my brother and are excited he's coming over. They'll probably jump right out of bed, grab their clothes and run down stairs. Chances are they'll eat their breakfast quickly, get dressed, and brush their teeth so they're ready in time to have some play time with their uncle. I wouldn't be surprised if Matthew even stays on task all morning just to impress my brother. And as they head out the door for school, Chuck will probably shake his head and think, "They're such good kids. I don't know why Karen ever gets frustrated with them!"
At least I hope the morning goes that well!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blog Party Pie!

So, I'm visiting these other blogs that have cute pictures and decorations and look all *festive* and I'm thinking, "Gee. I wish I knew how to do all that!"
In my six-plus months of blogging, I have learned a few things - I now know what "lurking" means. I can link to other blogs and websites. I can even post a picture, if it's already on my hard drive or disk thingy. However, I cannot take a picture with our digital camera and get it from the camera to my computer to get it to my blog. I need hubby for that!
And my dear husband was around Sunday afternoon to help me with the picture for my last post. However, he's in Chicago until late this Thursday, so no more pictures for the blog party...

Now, I have a choice. I can sit and pout because my blog isn't as cute as some of the others you're visiting. OR, I can do what I'm good at and party with yummy treats in lieu of decorations.

Are you looking for a delicious recipe to share with your girlfriends? Do you love peanut butter and chocolate??? Here's a recipe for you and seven to nine of your girlfriends (Depending how big you want your slices to be...This is a rich pie. The weak in spirit may want to invite nine friends and cut it into ten pieces!) to gather around to enjoy, while you giggle and enjoy one another's company. Or, since it's the week of the Ultimate Blog Party, I suppose you could all gather around a large screen computer and read blogs as you lavish the creamy pie!

Here's what you need:
1 ready-made chocolate pie crust
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
grated chocolate or chocolate cookie crumbs

Here's what you do:
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Gently spoon into crust. Garnish with chocolate or cookie crumbs. Refrigerate.

Here's the best part:
Gather your girlfriends together, slice the pie, pour your coffee or water, and sit down to enjoy - the pie, the friendships, and the blogs.

Party on!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


OK, so I realize the Ultimate Blog Party has been going on for a couple days already and I have yet to join in. Uh, I'm here now!!!
This is me - in my little corner of the playroom, known as my "office." It is mostly from this little corner that I do all my blogging and other correspondence.
For those of you who may be joining me for the first time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Karen. I am a wife, and mother of three kids. Though I love my children dearly, mothering has not always been a joy for me. It has, in fact, left me despairing at times – to the point of once sincerely questioning God’s wisdom in giving me children.
Over time He showed me He is using my children and my struggles as a mother to make me into the woman He wants me to be. That understanding gave me tremendous hope and I began sharing about it by speaking to MOPS (Mothers Of PreSchoolers) groups. The speaking led to writing, and last fall I published my first (yes, I’d like to write others) book, Confessions of an Irritable Mother: Hope for Overwhelmed Moms. Writing the book led to creating a blog, which of course, led to the Ultimate Blog Party. So, here we are!
If you’re visiting for the first time, I hope you will introduce yourself by leaving a comment. If you’ve been reading along for awhile but have yet to comment (I won’t mention names, but I know you’re out there. NH, RG, RE, JG. Shall I go on?), please say “Hi” before you leave today!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have loved having this blog as a way of sharing my life, my experiences, and the Hope I’ve found in mothering. On my trip to Florida last week I discovered another reason to love this blog, and more than that, to be thankful for each of you who is reading – because I can share an important prayer request.
Before I went to Florida to speak to a couple of MOPS groups, I had been corresponding with some of the women I would eventually meet. One of them, a woman named Renee, e-mailed me after reading my book to tell me about her three-year-old daughter, Allie. I’ll copy what she’s told me about the situation:

Allie was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) in September of 2006. We noticed some unusual bruising on her legs and on her stomach that was not healing. It seemed a little excessive – even for a very active three year old. So, we had some blood work done – just to be safe. I really believed that the results would indicate that she had low iron or was anemic – something easy to fix.
On a Friday morning, the doctors office called me at work to let me know that Allie’s platelet counts were 9,000 and that I needed to rush her to the hospital for the blood work to be drawn again. I later found out that normal platelet counts are between 150,000 and 450,000. Any time the platelet count drops below 10,000, there is a risk that internal bleeding could occur spontaneously. Below normal counts that are greater than 10,000 creates a risk that any injury could result in “bleeding out.”
Our journey began and since September, we have tried many different medicines, been in and out of the hospitals, and still are struggling to reach a normal platelet count. We were told that this illness could take care of itself within 6 months - however, we are beginning to see that God may have a different plan for us.

Because they have to be so careful about Allie not injuring herself, Renee quit her job as a preschool teacher to stay home and try to maintain some sense of order and balance for her family. (She also has a six-year-old daughter.) Renee shared some of her journal entries with me which she’s written over this journey, and her faith is beautiful. She trusts in the Lord and recognizes He is able to handle this situation. However, she is also weary of the trial and when I met her Thursday night she asked me if there was anyway I knew of to get the word out about Allie, to have more people praying for her. I told her I would love to share her story on my blog, and so I’m asking each of you to pray for this precious woman and her family.
For Allie’s healing.
For the family’s peace and growing faith.
For trust that God is perfectly aware of, and able to handle, their situation.
For hope in the refining work He will do in their lives as they endure this fire.

Thank you so much for praying. I will provide updates on Allie’s progress as I get them from Renee.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I'm Home

It's 28 degrees and snowing. Welcome home!

My trip to Florida was absolutely wonderful. I spoke to about 140 moms yesterday and was blessed to hear from so many of them that God was speaking to their hearts through my words. As they shared their stories with me after the meetings, I truly was filled with joy and thanksgiving over God's perfect timing and care for each woman present.
My mom and grandma were there for one meeting and joined a small group of us for lunch. It was so good to see them. A dear friend who used to live in Michigan, but has now moved to Florida, came to see me, too. I've missed her hugs and it was good to get one again!
I was hosted by a precious woman and her family, and loved each moment we had together. Today she took me to get my first ever pedicure. What a treat that was - complete with a chair that massaged my back as I sat. (A couple other "firsts" I experienced with her: watching American Idol - I know, I'm probably the only person in America who had never seen it before, and eating grits for breakfast - a true southern activity.)

Now I'm home and I'm sleepy. But tomorrow is going to be a family day - no computer time for me - so I wanted to post my thoughts about the trip before I fall into bed. I think the best way to summarize it is to share what I wrote in my journal as I sat in the airport about five hours ago.

Sitting in the Tampa airport.
Waiting for my flight home.
Wondering why You're so good to me.
Loving that You've used me to minister to the women here in Florida.
Thankful that You've given me this hope in mothering.
Aware that I am a broken, imperfect woman who is not beyond the reach of a gracious, merciful God.
Hopeful for what You're going to do in and through me in the future through speaking and writing.
Thankful, so thankful for the opprotunity to speak with women after the meetings yesterday and hear how You're working in them.
Confident of Your goodness - Your perfect knowledge of what is needed in our lives to make us holy and Your ability to bring it about.
Wanting to crawl into Your lap and cry because I am so thankful for what You're doing.
Thank You for using me. Thank You for Your perfect love. Please make me an instrument You use for Your glory.