Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random Ramblings

I have had so many little snippets of thoughts and ideas for a blog update, but I haven't had time to write anything down. This is going to be a rambling rush of random thoughts, so don't mind me...
1) I am such a sap! I have been crying every night during the Olympics. It doesn't matter if the athlete is American, Korean or Canadian, I am truly moved watching Gold Medal performances, and even more touched watching the winners sing their national anthems with gusto! I have also cried during some of the feature stories - an athlete overcoming adversity, a town helping a family, and, last night, the people of the city of Gander, Newfoundland, helping during the crisis on 9/11. I love stories of hope and kindness!! Several commercials have made my cry recently: the P&G one with the moms singing to their children, "When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark...walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone!" I love it! There's a CVS commercial that touches me, and all of the "Having A Baby Changes Everything" ones make me cry. Yep, I'm a sap alright...and NO, I am NOT pregnant!!
2) The potholes are really bad today. I drove to church this morning, and later took NCH to his musical rehearsal and I was swerving all over trying to avoid hitting them! March is notorious for potholes around here. The good news: spring is on its way.
3) I'm super-bad at running fast. In January, I started "Couch to 5K" all over again, trying to improve my 5K time (it's never been under 30 minutes.) It was fine for the first couple of weeks, but I've been on Week 5 for two weeks now and I just can't maintain the pace I want for more than five minutes. I'm quite sure that it doesn't help having all four kiddos staring at me as I sweat and huff and puff on the treadmill, located in our family room, but come on! It's getting rather frustrating.
4) I love my church. The pastors did a terrific series on suffering, and it really emphasized God's greatness, His goodness, and His sovereignty. Worship is one of my favorite times of my whole week - I love singing to God and I really miss singing on the praise/worship team. Today, we sang some of my favorites, including "In Christ Alone" and "God Has Come." I met a new family last week and another new family today. There is something exciting about meeting new people, especially at church, knowing you already have something so huge in common. I am going to do my best to reach out and make new people feel welcome. I also need to do a better job of inviting people over...I keep saying I'm going to do a weekly pizza night and invite a different family each week, but it's only happened a few times so far.
5) Hubby and I are in a good place. You know how you can have good times, bad times, so-so times, and great times? We've been laughing a lot lately and it feels terrific! For Valentine's Day, I wrote him a love actual pen and paper letter, and I think it surprised both of us (in a good way.) When we do have moments of adversity lately, we're getting over it quickly. We've been backing each other up while disciplining the herd, and it's wonderful to be on the same team when parenting! His top love languages are "words of affirmation" and "physical touch." Mine are "acts of service" (from MY list of items) and "quality time". We've known for awhile now that we speak different languages - he's the fun parent, with less rules and more rough housing. I am the orderly one, with high expectations of everyone, especially of myself. It has been a work in progress for us to not only work together, but to support one another along the way. The past month or so has been really good. I am trying to compliment more and command less. It seems to be working!
I have lots more to say, but I need to get NJH up from his nap so he and I can cheer on USA Olympic Hockey!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salvation Story

My four-year-old daughter, KBH, asked Jesus to come into her heart last night! It was a very exciting night in our house. Before I tell her story, I feel the need to explain what "asking Jesus in her heart" means and why such a thing would be significant. I will keep it pretty basic and use the AWANA Bible verses my children have learned:
In KBH's Cubbies class, she learned that -
A = "All have sinned" Romans 3:23. We believe that all people sin (we do things God has told us not to do.) We are born sinners. Sin separates us from God.
C = "Christ" - "While we were sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Because we are sinners, we need a Savior. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior. Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment for our sin. Those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior will receive everlasting life.
In CAH and NCH's Sparks class, they learned that -
S = Savior "The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world." 1 John 4:14
P = Power "Great is our Lord and mighty in power" Psalm 147:5
A = According to the Scriptures "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3
R = Rose again "And that He was buried and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:4
K = Keep "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, He is guilty of all" James 2:10
S = Saved "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" Acts 16:31
They also learned "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Last night, I was cleaning up after dinner. I had spent many hours cleaning and scrubbing, mopping and windexing all day, and when I dished up cornbread to go with the chili for dinner, I knew there would be a crumbly mess afterwards! As I swept around the girls, I told them that someday they would be mamas and they would be cleaning their children's messes, and that they would think of me and remember watching me sweep and clean. A few minutes later (I guess they were actually listening!), KBH said, "Whose mama will you be then?" I told her I would still be her mama, but I would also be a grandma to her children. She thought some more and asked where Dama would be (Dama is my mom.) I said that Dama would be a great-grandma, like Beam (my mom's mom.) Somehow, it came up that someday Beam and Dama and I would all die. (I think maybe CAH said something about people dying when they get older.) KBH's eyes grew wide! She said, "Oh no, mama! I don't want you and Dama and Beam to die!" I told her it was ok, that it was part of God's plan, that all people will die one day. I asked her if she remembered talking about heaven and living forever with Jesus. (We have talked about this before and she has always flat out REFUSED to ask Jesus into her heart - "I don't want Him in there!" she used to say.) This time, she really saw with new eyes...she understood that asking Jesus into her heart didn't mean she was going to heaven right that second, but one day, when her life on earth is done. I asked her if she wanted to pray with me and she did! CAH was thrilled for her sister, but instantly asked about NJH (who is only 2 years old.) I told her not to worry, that she could teach NJH and help him pray that prayer when he gets a little older. It warms my heart to hear one sibling's concern about another's salvation! In fact, NCH used to be so upset when KBH refused to ask Jesus into her heart...when I told him later about KBH's prayer, he beamed with delight!!
I felt like I was walking on air the rest of the night - our most strong-willed, exuberant child has made a huge decision! I am so thankful.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Birthday Reflections

I meant to write this down yesterday, but never got the chance. Yesterday I turned 37 years old! Yes, I am rapidly approaching 40, which used to sound so old, but now seems ever-so-young.
Friday: My celebration actually started Friday night - a neighbor watched the "herd" so my hubby, my parents and I could go out for a lovely dinner. We went to "The Melting Pot" and spent nearly three hours dining and visiting. It was wonderful!! My parents also gave me tickets to see Celtic Woman in concert at Proctor's next week. I can't wait for another date night with hubby to see this amazing show!
Sunday: With my actual birthday falling on a Sunday, I knew I wouldn't be sleeping in til noon, but I was hoping to make it to at least 8:30 and then head to the late service at church. Instead, my girls were "too excited" and got me up at 7:15...they presented me with a Boston Creme donut with a candle, sang happy birthday to me and gave me sweet cards. I was touched but rather groggy, so I tried, unsuccessfully, to go back to sleep. Before too long, the phone was ringing - friends were calling to tell us there was no power at church, so only the 11am service would be happening. Oh I really wanted more sleep! But I decided to have a nice long shower...and then I got to thinking that a bubble bath would be even better!! I gathered my bath salts, bubbles, facial mask, towel, robe and a candle...hubby offered to put some relaxing tunes on my iPod, so I settled back for a rare relaxing soak. After about 15 minutes, I started sweating and itching...I tried to enjoy it for a few minutes longer, but I was feeling claustrophobic and had to get out!! I took my time getting ready for church. By 10:45, we were all in the van and off to church. Hubby, being a gentleman, dropped me at the door with the girls. We went right in and worship started within about 10 seconds...both girls wanted to be held (total of about 75 pounds!) and I almost fell over trying, so they took turns holding my hands and snuggling as we sang "Everlasting God" and "Hope of the Nations." Hubby and the boys joined us and then it was time for the little ones to head to their classes. We also sang "Blessed Be Your Name," a song I can never sing without getting teary..."blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be your give and take away my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be your name!" It's easy to sing when life is easy-breezy, but will I be able to sing this when I am in the midst of suffering?! I hope so. Pastor Matt gave an amazing message (our church is in the middle of a series about suffering in the world, and seeing that God is still good even when bad things happen)...this message, in particular, was seeing the "benefits" of suffering - the purpose, if you will. I took notes and tucked them away in my bible, knowing a day will come when I will seek comfort in such a message.
After church, we stopped for deli subs, ate lunch, napped the kids and hubby took NCH to his musical practice. I watched Olympics and folded laundry and before I knew it, it was time to take the girls to meet NCH for AWANA. After taking them to their classes, I did the weekly grocery shopping (and I couldn't resist the Starbucks drive-thru...a grande mocha frap with no whip was calling my name!) Then I picked up the kids, they had leftovers for dinner while I unpacked the groceries, and hubby got us more donuts for birthday cake!! Mmmmm! Next it was bedtime for the kiddos, more laundry and Olympics for me. So that was my day. A pretty ordinary day, laced with special treats like donuts, a bubble bath, facebook messages, phone calls and cards.
So what was my grand realization yesterday? Simply this: I am trying to do a better job appreciating the here and now...wishing for last decade's body is silly. Dreaming about my plan to get in shape and have a new body next year is kind of ridiculous. At one point yesterday, I realized that the body I had at 27 wasn't so bad...and when I'm 47, this 37-year-old body will be looking pretty good! All in all, it was a nice birthday...I had my hubby and my four children with me. I felt loved and who could ask for more?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gripes & Giggles

It's been a mixed bag in the Hill House over the past few days. Let's start with Friday...
PARP Family Reading Night at our elementary school. I attended with NCH, CAH and KBH. We really enjoyed listening to several teachers read stories to us while we sat on pillows and blankets.

NCH was suddenly "too cool for school" and sat on the very edge of our blanket until his friend arrived!

Yummy cookies and milk for a treat afterwards and we headed home.

I put the younger three to bed, but NCH stayed up - he was off to his first all-night lock-in with his church friends at the YMCA! I was very reluctant to let him attend - kids need sleep! (We ALL need sleep!) He seemed too young for such an event, but hubby said he would go with him, so off they went.
The younger three and I got up and had a huge breakfast - scrambled eggs with extra sharp cheddar cheese, toast, and orange slices. I kept them quiet, doing some coloring, playing dress up, watching a movie and then playing outside. Finally hubby and NCH got up, groggy and feeling out of it. I decided that I had better do my Couch to 5K workout on the treadmill, even if all 4 kids plus hubby were in the same room with me! Not much fun, but it had to be done!! Later, I was happy to "escape" for a bit with a few girlfriends - dinner at a new restaurant "Pasta Pane" and a girlie movie "Dear John." It was a wonderful night out and I was so thankful to hubby for staying home with the herd!!
NCH was still out of it and tired, so hubby stayed home from church with the boys. The girls and I, all wearing warm and snuggly hand-made knitwear, enjoyed worshiping together, arm in arm. After church, I did some laundry, but found the washer to be broken. Good old hubby to the rescue (again)!!

Later that day, CAH had a friend over while NCH headed off to his musical rehearsal. After that, I drove the girls and CAH's friend to AWANA, got some groceries, picked everyone back up, and off we went to a Super Bowl party at a friend's house. Oh - great news at AWANA: NCH and CAH both finished their books!! So proud of them! Anyway, during the Super Bowl party, NJH was screaming and miserable, and NCH seemed to be wilting.
Now Monday is a day that stay-at-home moms tend to enjoy - the house gets emptier and we can get everything cleaned and organized. I feel like the weekends are messy, and Mondays are for laundry, cleaning, straightening, etc. Not this Monday! NCH had a fever and stayed home from school, NJH was MISERABLE and cried the whole morning, KBH was bored and looking for trouble, and when CAH got off the kindergarten bus, she tried to "help" but made matters worse with every effort! I was thrilled when hubby came home a little early and I could run on the treadmill...unfortunately, at that time, there were 5 people on the couch, no more than 2 feet from me! And the lovely Caillou was on TV - hooray! Oh well, at least I got the workout in. I am hoping that all this running on the treadmill with small people staring at me (and saying things like, "Wow, look at mommy's big white belly! It's all jiggly!" and "Mommy's bum-bum is huge!!") will 1) motivate me to run faster and longer and 2) help me to appreciate running outside in peace and quiet when that time comes! Oh, the older two kiddos got their report cards and I am so proud of them! They have been putting forth great effort and it is showing. My favorite part, better than letter or number grades, is when a teacher comments on my child's thoughtfulness, kindness, and helpfulness!!
NCH still had a fever, so he stayed home from school again. CAH headed off to kindergarten and KBH was off to preschool. I was super-happy hubby stayed home - he took NCH to the doctor (quick strep test came back negative). During nap time, I decided to get some errands done, so CAH and I left the others home sleeping for several hours. She and I got: her hair trimmed, her feet measured (they actually grew a whole size!), her materials for her 100 days of school project, each of the kiddos' designated contributions for their school Valentine parties, and several other items. While at Walmart, I had the strangest cashier - the man ahead of me in line evidently left his chicken wings, but she didn't even bother to run after him! Once I realized what had happened, I offered to go chase him down and asked her if all my items were there...she said yes, so CAH and I left and looked for the man. We never found him, but when I got home to unpack, I noticed one of my items wasn't there!! Was this for real? Did the cashier want people to leave items so she could take them home??? I know I sound paranoid, but I WILL be going back to Walmart later today to have a word with the manager! Anyway, last night all four kids used the word "stupid" and I decided enough was enough: I made "The Bad Word Bowl." I filled a bowl with about 60 glass bead/marbles. I told the kids I would remove one marble every time I heard anyone in the family say a bad word. On February 27th, we will count the marbles left in the bowl. If there are 20 or more left, we will have a family make-your-own ice cream sundaes night. If there are less than 20, we will have to start over and try again next month. So far, I've had to remove 2 marbles since 7pm last night. Not bad! Oh, last night I received an early Valentine's Day gift from hubby: an iPod Shuffle!! I had tried to run with my iPhone strapped to my arm, but it was heavy and awkward. The Shuffle is TINY (and pink!!) and I can't wait to use it for my treadmill workout later today. Hubby gave me an inservice last night on music libraries and files and playlists. I made 2 workout playlists, but I will be looking for suggestions from friends for more songs to add. Yes, this is much better than a bread maker!!
I was supposed to be going to my cousin Jenn's this morning - her clan was going to play with half of my herd! But we're still waiting to hear the results of NCH's 24-hour strep test, so we had to cancel. It's snowing to beat the band right now, so staying in jammies is ok today. The kids have been playing on frozen dirt when outdoors lately, so some snow is welcome!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Do you have issues with perfection? I sure do! When I heard this song on the radio the other day, I could really relate...maybe you can, too.

"Perfect People" by Natalie Grant

Never let 'em see you when you're breaking
Never let 'em see you when you fall
That's how we live and that's how we try
Tell the world you've got it all together
Never let them see what's underneath
Cover it up with a crooked smile
But it only lasts for a little while

There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed
And be changed by a perfect God

Suddenly it's like a weight is lifted
When you hear the words that you are loved
He knows where you are and where you've been
And you never have to go there again


Who lived and died to give new life
To heal our imperfections
So look up and see out let grace be enough


By a perfect God [5x]

Be changed by a perfect God
Be changed