Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"...To work with your own hands."

We made a tunnel out of the dining room chairs.  Christian had a blast

   One of my dreams has been to have a little girl to sew for.  I'm living that dream now...finally!  Audra's outgrowing everything it seems, so I got out my sewing machine and have been digging through my fabric for the past couple days.  I love to sew.  For me, its relaxing.  I've made a little spot in the corner of Audra's room for my sewing table, and how I love to sit there feeding beautiful fabrics through my machine, creating pretty things for my children.  Though I can't spend the time I used to in my special spot, due to constantly having to get up to check on a child who's crying, or find a bottle for another, or change a diaper, or break up and argument, I did come up with a great idea to stretch those seconds into actual minutes.  The fact that my sewing table is right down the hall from Christian's room/play room really helps!  I set up a child gate at the top of the stairs between the two rooms, and the children can go and come from play room to sewing room as they please.  There's always something to keep them occupied.  At least until lunch time, snack time, diaper time, nap time, etc, etc, etc.  But with this arrangement, I do manage to get a little bit of sewing done.  I've been working on some skirts for Audra and I'm also finishing a small quilt for Christian. 
Over the years, I've collected a little bit of this and a little bit of that, so for the most part I never have to go to a fabric store for bits of elastic, or a piece of ribbon, or a few buttons.  I save everything when it comes to things like that.  I salvage Andy's old shirts if they are still in good shape for quilt fabric, remove all buttons from any old piece of clothing before it goes into the trash.  I save zippers, bits of ribbon, lace that is still usable, and leftover fabric of practically any size from every project I complete.  It comes in handy too, eventually.  I made a 1950's era hat for a party I attended last weekend using little bits of leftovers, and an old camouflage ball cap that Andy never wears.  I cut off the bill, then started building on the cap part with black velvet, netting, ribbon, flowers, feathers, and of course lots of hot glue! 
I had so much fun!  But the most satisfaction is the fact that many such projects don't cost me a penny because it all consists of seemingly worthless leftovers.  I  love running my fingers over a finished quilt and finding little bits of color that used to be a shirt in its previous lifetime, or finding a piece of satin in a VBS costume that came from a formal dress I wore on a date with my husband.  I've used beautiful wine colored velvet for a king's robe for VBS, and then years later, used leftover bits of the same soft velvet to line a wooden box for a Christmas gift.  I hate to throw anything away when it can come under the label of "craft material".  There's always a use for it somewhere, sometime.  I love a challenge.  That's why I love making VBS props for our church so much.  Andy will give me a theme, and my brain starts to spin with ideas.  I dig out my boxes of "treasures" and get to work.  Cardboard is a wonderful invention!  You can make anything with a cardboard box, a knife, paint, and some duct tape!  And the bigger the box, the better!  The ideas are limitless!  Its good to work with your hands.  I want to teach Audra someday how to sew, how to "create" and "build" an idea.  I want her to experience the joy I find in "homemade" treasures.  And I want to teach her how to put her heart into it, do an excellent job, go the extra mile, and enjoy the simple things.  Creativity is becoming a thing of the past.  Imagination is almost a lost art.  Kids miss out on so much these days due to TV, computer games, and technology.  They don't know how to simply "play" anymore!  They don't know how to use their own minds, their own imagination to entertain themselves.  I had so much fun growing up because we didn't have many real toys, no computers, no TV.  We played outside and made up our own games and made our toys.  We actually played with sticks and weeds!  We climbed trees and played in the rain.  We built mud castles in the absence of sand.  And it was much more fun than playing inside with the few toys that we did have.  I want my kids to see their hands as God given tools.  I want them to love working with their hands, using those hands and minds the way God intended them to be used.  I want them to love learning, to ask questions, then hunt for the answers, instead of swallowing everything that's handed them.  I want them to be the best they can be for the Lord, using every gift that He gave them to their utmost ability, doing it "with all their might!"

I love Audra's very blue eyes.  I did not "touch up" the picture.  They really are as blue as the sky!

   My new pregnancy has probably been the easiest one yet...so far.  It actually hasn't really hit me yet.  I was pretty sick the first few weeks, but it seems to be slacking off already, which is very new to me!!   I hope it continues!  :)  I'm in no rush to go to the doctor, even though I'm 10 weeks along.  They're just going to tell me I'm pregnant!  I'm planning on waiting a few more weeks so that I can get that silly dating ultrasound done on my first visit.  At least I'll feel like it was worth the effort to go.  :)  The pregnancies always become real when I actually see the baby.  I'm showing a whole lot earlier with this one than with the other three.  Some folks at church are confident I'm carrying twins!  Wouldn't that be wonderful!!!  This pregnancy is flying by, probably because my mind is so consumed with my other two children.  I don't really have much time to dwell on it, especially on the days when the nausea isn't too bad and my mind isn't consumed with staying close to the toilet!  I can hardly wait to find out what the baby is so that I can start preparing and setting up another crib.  I was thinking about that the other day and the question that came to my mind just about overwhelmed me with joy.  "Who would have thought that I would be the mother of four???"  Who would have thought that I would rock my own children, and sing them to sleep???  After trying so hard for so long, and now God has given me my desires, not just once, but four times over...who would have thought???  My heart was bursting and my eyes just about spilled over with tears.  I AM truly greatly blessed! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This and That...`

  Living in town can get boring, to say the least!  Especially for little ones who have more energy than you can imagine all bound up in their little bodies, so much so, that at times I think they are going to explode!  You can only come up with so many new indoor ideas.  Christian LOVES being outside, but these long cold winter days make going outdoors almost impossible...that is if you want to avoid the ever present colds and flu bugs that seem to be hanging around til the last possible moment before Spring arrives.  Christian has been like a caged animal lately, and actually, I don't really blame him.  I think we all have a touch of cabin fever!  I'm SO ready for spring.
   A few days ago we had a relatively nice day so I packed Christian up, and we headed for the park, leaving a napping Audra in the care of her Daddy.  We played at the playground for awhile, then went to an ice cream place for a shake.  We had a great time, and it was so nice getting out of the house for a couple hours.

   Things are going very well here at the church.  A family of four has started coming regularly.  All but the 21 yr. old son are not saved, but are searching for the truth.  They love the church and people there, and really enjoy the preaching.  They have also been bringing the grandparents with them.
   Andy received a phone call late Sunday night from a man here in town.  The man had been having doubts about his salvation and the Bible for years, and finally decided to try to find some help.  He found our church and called, hoping to find some answers.  Andy talked to him for about an hour on the phone, then set up to meet him at the church the following day.  The man showed up and they talked for a few more hours.  Andy thinks the man got some help and assurance, and invited him to church.  He came last night for the first time and it sounds like he's going to start coming regularly.  He really enjoyed it.   
   We've been getting visitors almost every week.  God is really been blessing this ministry! We've been amazed at the hunger for the Word of God here.  People tell Andy they could sit for hours and listen to the preaching.  Andy's going through the book of John right now, and they are soaking it up, having never heard some of the things being taught, or at least never understood it. 
   We're still waiting on the house to close.  It should be within the next week or so.  Then we'll be able to start thinking about getting a minivan.  With the family growing, we'll shortly be outgrowing our vehicle situation. 
   Audra is trying to cut some more teeth.  She's been pretty miserable lately, and well, to be honest, it makes everyone else miserable as well.    Hopefully, this won't last too long. 
   I've had quite a bit of morning and evening sickness.  Its funny, every pregnancy has been so different.  This is the first one where the sickness gets worst at bedtime.  I haven't been to the doctor yet, but there's really no rush.  I reckon I'll go soon enough.  We found a good hospital in Oxford, Ohio that everyone recommends, so that eases my mind.  I've always had problem deliveries, so its a comfort to know that there are good doctors close by.  It only takes 15 min to get there, whereas in TN it took us almost 2 hours to get to the hospital.  I'm a little over 9 weeks now, and already having a hard time "hiding" the fact.  My clothes are getting tight a whole lot faster this time.  Of course, the news is out now, so there's no need to hide it anymore.  I may be pulling out the maternity clothes soon.  Hey, with this being my fourth, I think I can get by with wearing the maternity clothes at 9 weeks  :).  Besides, I love maternity clothes.  They are SOOO comfortable!  Am I the only woman who thinks that!?  :)  I hate giving them up after delivery. 
   Andy's been keeping very busy with the church, Vietnam Ministries work, and piano lessons.  Today he's going with a preacher friend of his, who is also a policeman, to look at the piano at his church.  Of course Andy is going to enjoy the trip for more than just the fellowship.  This policeman friend drives an unmarked car...a shiny new blue mustang with all the latest police gadgets.  Now that's right down Andy's alley.  Mostly because of the gadgets.  :)  Its because of this policeman friend that the new family of four started coming to our church.  He's become a good friend of Andy's. 
   Well, here's some pictures....

Exploring the stock barns

Christian enjoying his shake.

Audra loves music every bit as much as Christian does.  Her favorite toy these days is the CD player when music is playing. 

She was having the time of her life riding around in Christian's truck.  :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Miracle

   It never ceases to amaze me how good the Lord is to us!  Even in trials, His great love is evident.  Over the past several years, we've seen His hand at work in our family.  He brought us through the greatest trial of our lives with the loss of Rebekah Joy, but He then blessed us so abundantly with Christian and Audra.  He's filled our lives and hearts to overflowing with joy!  And once again He's given us the desire of our hearts.  Baby number four will join our family in October! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just A Little Dash...

   I love watching the different stages my children go through as they grow.  I love seeing their eyes light up when they learn a new skill.  I enjoy hearing them try out new "big" words.  I love seeing their eyes shine with pleased surprise at the first taste of some new candy they've never had before.  It pleases my heart to watch Christian's face light up when I walk in the door and tell him that I got him a "prize" from the store. 
   I try hard not to "rush" through the growing process.  I want to catch and enjoy every moment of it.  Like when Audra learned to wave this past week.   The next time we were at church, during the song service, she was beside her with pleasure thinking the song leader was waving at her!  She started kicking her legs and squeeling in delight, waving back to him, trying hard to get his attention.  :) 
   I love seeing her little face tighten in concentration as she struggles to pull herself up.  When she accomplishes this great feat, she gives me the cutest little smile, as if to say, "See Mama?  I'm a big girl now!"  She's trying out new words now, too.  No, I don't want to rush through this stage.  It will be gone before you know it, and she'll be saying two more life changing words, "I do."  It goes by so fast! 
   Andy and I are approaching our 9th wedding anniversary!  Wow!  In just a couple more months!  I was thinking yesterday about how quickly time goes by!  I was just a kid not too long ago, and now I've been married for almost 9 years, and have had three children!  Where have the years gone? 
   I think about the verse, "Our life is even a vapor which appeareth for a little while, then vanishest away."  Our lives are so short!  We're here on this earth for just an instant when compared to eternity.  But its what we do in that instant that will last for eternity.  Someone once pointed out that when when you look at a tombstone, you notice there's simply a dash between the birth and the death.  How true!  Just one little dash that we call a lifetime, a few short years between babyhood and the hoary head.  Our dashes are quickly being used up. 

Are you living your dash for Christ? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Snow!

   We got hit with another 6 -8 inches last night.  Christian and I went out this morning and tried to build a snowman, but the snow was too powdery and wouldn't stick together.  Christian had just as much fun romping in the snow though, so he wasn't too disappointed about not getting the snowman built.  We'll have to try again soon. 
   Praise the Lord, our house in TN sold!  This is a huge answer to prayer!  Now we can put our money towards a house here in Indiana and a minivan. 
   My Ladies Meeting went well.  Because of the snow coming in earlier than expected, we had a smaller crowd than we'd hoped for, about 15 ladies.  Several who lived in the country didn't want to risk the icy roads.  By the time everyone went home, the roads were pretty bad.  My car wouldn't even move on the gravel parking lot, it was so ice packed!  So I hitched a ride with someone going my way.  I'm glad I didn't try it myself.  I'm not real good at driving on ice yet, and when these folks up here say its bad, its real bad!  They're not afraid to get out in it, so when they hesitate, I take their word for it.  :)
   We've been having a family visit the church the past week.  The mom, and teenage daughter came to the Ladies Meeting last night and when they left, the mom said that they would be here again on Sunday.  It looks like they will stick it out.  They are not saved, but are searching.  They seem like a good family and our people have really gone out of their way to welcome them.  I think the Philips family like it here and I pray they will continue to come and come to know the Lord soon. 
   God is really blessing this ministry.  The people are growing and loving coming to church like they never have before.  They soak up the preaching like sponges, and then retain it and try to act on what they've learned.  We are seeing a whole lot of spiritual growth in many of the families.  They are becoming a close knit family and are being strengthened by it.  If one misses a service, they will get flooded with phone calls to check on them, to let them know they were missed and are cared for.  This is what a church family is supposed to be like.  We are seeing God working everywhere we turn!  There is an excitement in the church that has been lacking for some time.  What a blessing!  I pray that they will continue to grow.  Andy and I have really come to know and love these people.  They tease me about saying "y'all" all the time.  I told them that its so much easier and uses less facial muscles than trying to pronounce "you all".  I don't think they believe me.  Oh, well.  That's one southern habit that's going to be tough to break.  :) 

Christian and I

The snow did finally stick, so we were able to build a snowman after all.

Notice the snowplow attached to this Gator.  :)  I love it!  I do love the snow, too.  When there's a lot of it.  We've got about 8 inches today. 

Christian enjoyed playing on this Gator.  A couple from church drove it over this afternoon.  They swept off our sidewalks just to be blessing to us.  And they definitely were! 

I made a taco dip the other day and used an avocado in one of the layers.  I cleaned the seed real good, then gave it to Christian to play with.  You'd be surprised at what keeps my two year old occupied for hours at a time. :)  The seed has a little bit of bounce to it.  Christian loved it! 


Does this look good, or what!?  It was...those strawberries were every bit as good as they look. 

Explaination--My curious son.  He kept saying his mouth was hot during his bath.  I had no clue what he was talking about until I spotted this bar of soap.  He took a big bite right out of it!  Why?  That's what I said!  He had chunks of it stuck between his teeth and it was all I could do to get it all out!  He had soap foam in his mouth by the time I finished brushing and wiping his teeth!  :)  I'd say he'll never try that again.  :) 

Andy working on his project vehicle.  He's building a Suzuki Samurai from the ground up. 

Christian "working" on his bike.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Tender Hearts

   Before my children were born, I prayed that God would bless them each with a special gift.  I also prayed that God would give them tender hearts towards God and other people.  As I see Christian and Audra grow, I'm realizing that God is answering those prayers!  They both LOVE good music!  Christian's rhythm is almost perfect even at the age of two, and he can pick out by ear and name several instruments on an orchestra CD.  He also can sense the difference between good and bad music, and he very matter of factly lets everyone present know! 
   I've also seen the other prayer answered.  Christian has one of the most tender hearts towards anything or anyone hurting that I ever seen!  Especially for one of his age.  If he hears anyone crying, he goes to them and tries to comfort them.  If I stub my toe, and of course you have to hop around groaning.  It always helps, right?  :)  He'll come running and begin patting me, or giving me big hugs telling me it'll be ok.  :)  The other day I wasn't feeling well and was sitting on the floor near my bed trying to get the courage to face the day.  He came into the room, his face immediately changed to great concern when he saw me, and he rushed over to me.  Christian put both arms around my neck, patting my back, and looked tenderly into my eyes, asking if I was sick.  I noticed his eyes searching my face, and when he saw a little red mark on my forehead, he gently touched it and said, "Its okay, Mama, it will heal."  Then he felt my forehead with his hand like you do when you're checking for a temperature and said, "Mama, your head is hot!"  Then he pulled my head to his shoulder and began rocking and patting my back, saying, "Its okay, Mama, it will heal. It'll be okay."  I wanted to cry.  It was adorable to begin with, but I also realized that God had indeed given him a gentle and tender heart.  Later that evening, he and Andy were wrestling and playing together.  Christian swung an hard object and hit Andy in the side of the head.  Andy's first response was PAIN!  He howled and told Christian, "NO, Buddy, you don't hit people in the head with things!"  He wasn't mad, but he did want to make it very clear that Christian had hurt him and that swinging things at people's head was a big No No.  Christian began howling then as he watched Andy holding the spot on the side of his head.  Christian then ran into the kitchen to where I was.  I hadn't seen what had happened, so I hugged him trying to calm him down.  When he finally began to settle down, I asked him what he had done.  The loud howling began again full force.  He was terribly grieved!  Andy came into the room and held him telling him that his head was okay now, but that you don't do things like that to people, even during play time.  When Christian saw that his daddy was okay again, he calmed down and they went back to playing. 
   I've seen Christian many times, go over to Audra, wrap his arms around her and give her a gentle hug, then take off again to do whatever he'd been doing.  If she's crying, he'll do everything in his power to find something to make her happy again.  He's so gentle! 
   His tender heart is not only towards people, though.  Many times when he's being bad and not wanting to obey, I'll set him on my lap and we'll have a talk.  I'll tell him that we were created to please God.  I'll remind him that his job is to obey his parents and that in doing so, he's pleasing God.  But when he disobeys, it not only makes Mama and Daddy sad, but it must break the Lord's heart as well.  We need to please the Lord, and make him happy with us every day.  It tears Christian up that he not only displeased his parents, but that he also displeased the Lord.  He can't stand knowing that God is not happy with him and his behavior.  We pray and ask God to help him be a good boy, and I normally have no more trouble out of him for quite a while.  He wants to please so badly!
   I've also seen this in my 10 month old daughter as well.  She can't stand it if you scold her!  When she's heading towards something she's not to touch, one firm "NO!" is pretty much all it takes and she'll turn and crawl away in search of something else that is acceptable.  She started spitting her food out making a huge mess on herself and her high chair tray.  I didn't want that habit to develop, so every time she tries is, she gets a firm "NO!" and I let her know that I'm very displeased.  Her little face puckers up, real tears will begin flowing, and its all I can do to get her calmed down again so she can finish her meal.  :)  It normally is the last "trouble" for the rest of the meal.  Even she, at such a young age loves to please and it tears her up if she gets even mildly scolded for something. 
   Yes, God has answered my prayers.  I pray that Christian and Audra too will grow to love God with their whole hearts, and strive to please Him in every area of their lives.  Many young people and children today don't care who they hurt, or who they displease as long at it benefits them.  I want Christian to realize that "people are more important than things".  I want him to care about people.  And its not "sissy" for a boy to be gentle.  My son is VERY much a boy who loves dirt, trucks, and animals!  But sometimes, being gentle, being last, and being able to stand alone when making a choice to do right takes the stronger man.  And its more important to be strong on the inside.  "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart."  I want him to learn that being first isn't always best place to be.  There are also special benefits to being last, to being a servant.  And there are ALWAYS benefits to pleasing God. 
   I pray that God will used my children for His glory in His service.