Thursday, September 27, 2007

Old Settlers Day

Saturday was a great day for a parade. The weather was beautiful, and the kids had a great time getting out.

Andy trying to see what's going on behind him.
Kara and Lydia patiently waiting for the parade to begin.
Finally the candy comes
One great little roadster
The Flags at the start of the parade. The girls were all excited to see the horses.

Amazing Grace

At the start of the month, I was able to attend a Ladies Retreat with three other ladies from church. We went to Amazing Grace Baptist Camp.

Leaving home I was looking forward to reconnecting with some friends.
I was also looking forward to hearing Carol Trahan speak and enjoy hearing her passion for God's Word. However, I wasn't expecting to come away from the retreat the way I did.

As Carol spoke on allowing the Word of God to 'Dwell in Me Richly', I had to ask myself -- "Do I really want to know God deeply?" Not only that, but am I a normal Christian? What is a normal Christian -- well, today's average American Christian attends church on a regular basis, may or may not read the Bible on a regular basis, and rarely speaks about the things of God unless the audience is receptive. But that is not a normal Christian. A normal Christian should have a passion for God, frequently spend time digging into the Word of God, and be sharing what God is doing in my life at every opportunity whether or not the audience is receptive. Carol reminded me that "Anything less than total abandonment and surrender will make me a very sick Christian."

During another session Carol began by asking three questions:
1. Do I want God's Best
2. Am I willing to Obey all that God reveals to me.
3. Am I more concerned for God's glory as He accomplishes His purpose in my life or do I simply want release from my struggle.

She also reminded me that I need to Learn It, Love It, and Live It out of a full life.

Coming home from this retreat I realized I did not have the passion for God's Word I needed. The Lord also convicted me of not looking for Him in the everyday things. I can't have a passion for God or cultivate a passion for God in my children until I focus on seeing God in everything of life.

At the end of the retreat they had an auctioneer come and they held an auction for products that different ladies had brought and donated.

After lunch we were able to leave, or spend time around the camp. We walked around for a little while and then played Human Foosball (the best we could with four people). This weekend was a blessing of fellowship and conviction.
OK, Time for a confession. I know nothing about cars. Marty realized that the air was low in all four of my tires. So we stopped at the first gas station. I stayed out of the way and Marty ran around the van filling the tires before the machine stopped. Martha Lynn was behind her replacing the lids to the valves. As soon as she finished filling the last tire the machine stopped. I praise the Lord for great friends !

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pefect Love Casts Out Fear

I don't know when I began to become fearful of things, but many things that I am afraid of are ridiculous. Some of the crazy things I am afraid of include spiders, semi trucks (especially when I am right beside one), and things that go bump in the night.

I've always been afraid at night. I can remember when I was 10 watching a movie entitled "Night of the Living Lepus" This movie was about giant killer rabbits. Why my parents ever let me watch it I'll never know. Anyways, I can remember laying in bed hearing giant rabbits hopping down our road and just waiting for this terrible rabbit to jump through my window and land on top of me. This went on for weeks. Then again in high school I would check out these horror books from our school library. I would lay in bed reading these books clutching at my throat, and every little sound would make me want to scream for my life.

After JA and I were married we lived in a trailer in the middle of the woods. The living room had a giant picture window on both sides of the room. If JA wasn't home with me, I would be terrified to walk anywhere in the trailer because I just knew someone was outside watching me.

OK, I know you are thinking "Tracy get a grip on yourself -- YOU are an ADULT!" Well, Even now I am afraid of things that go bump in the night. Every night as I lay in bed I remind myself of the verse "Perfect Love Casts Out Fear." I have no reason to be afraid. As I trust Jehovah to take care of my family, I can know that all things happen for HIS glory. He will not allow anything to happen that is not best for my family or for HIS glory. I am so thankful that I can look to my Lord and Savior to calm my fears and allow me to sleep.

Now, for a fear that is very reasonable. This summer on vacation we went to Celebration City. We thought it would be fun to take our family on the Ferris Wheel. Now the temperature was over 100 degrees that day, and JA and I were both dripping sweat. Kara had a blast. She sat still and just looked all over as we went up and stopped. Lydia also had a blast and was snuggled right up next to Daddy. However, when we stopped she thought it was time to move so she wiggled a bit, but she obeyed and stayed sitting.
HOWEVER . . . Andy and I were not having as enjoyable of a time as the rest of my family. When we got to the top and stopped the cell phone just happened to ring (it was attached to my belt loop). I flipped it open and yelled at it -- "Sorry we can't talk right now we are up on the top of a Ferris wheel" Question -- Why did I answer the phone? We do have voice mail on it. Well, while we were stopped Andy decided it was no longer enjoyable to be sitting on mommies lap. He wanted down. So, the entire time up on top I am struggling to keep a wiggly boy on my lap. My hands were so sweaty they were slippery, so I pretty much had my arms wrapped around him as tightly as I could. (By the way, did I mention to you that I am deathly afraid of heights) I was so thankful when the Ferris wheel started up again. And, when we finally came to a stop, I decided "I am never going on there with a baby again."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bath Time

Sorry this is such an old post (over a month ago). While Josh and Bekah were here for VBS the kids had a great time playing together. We were actually able to spend two weeks together with Kara and Bekah sharing a bed and playing together and I can't remember them fighting. They had such a great time. Here we have Aunt Bekah giving all of the girls a bath.

This last picture of BekahLynn with rag curls in her hair. I was putting them in Kara's hair, and Bekah Lynn wanted me to put them in her hair also, so I did my best.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Baby's Growing Up

Over the past few weeks I have begun to notice how Kara is changing and growing up (Yes, I know she's only 3). Tonight was the clincher for me to realize how independent she is becoming.

JA has always been the one to give the kids baths, so while Kara picked up the toys and I played on the computer he bathed Lydia and Andy. After the toys were picked up, I sent Kara up to go take her bath. Lydia and Andy were done, so I thought JA was upstairs giving Kara a bath. Twenty minutes later, JA comes in to print something off the computer.

"Has Kara had her bath yet"

"I thought you were upstairs giving her a bath."

"No, I was downstairs studying" (It is Saturday night, and He is a preacher)

"Well I sent her upstairs awhile ago to take her bath."

He goes upstairs -- "Tracy, you have to come see this"

I go upstairs to the bathroom and find Kara already in clean underwear trying to put on her footie pajamas. My wonderfully obedient daughter had gone upstairs undressed -- even putting her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, put about 2 1/2 inches of water in the tub, and scrubbed herself clean. She had given herself a bath (and even attempted to wash her hair, although the top was completely dry).

I really didn't want to tell her that she had to take her underwear off again so she could get her hair wash, and probably wouldn't have made her if tomorrow wasn't Sunday. My baby has become a big girl. I am excited about how she is rising to the occasion. She loves to help clean, cook, bake, and even take care of Andy.

At lunch today Andy was sitting in his highchair crying for some food. Kara yells out "Mom, can you please get Andy a bottle, he's hungry."

I love her so dearly. I pray that someday soon she will be able to comprehend her need for Christ as her Lord and Savior for only HE is LORD!

Now, please don't leave any comments about the dangers of leaving a child alone in the bathtub (I already know them, and really don't want a lecture right now).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Learning from my children

The other morning at breakfast, I was telling Kara she needed to obey (I don't remember why). Our conversation went something like this

Me: Kara, you need to obey (probably about eating her cereal or leaving Lydia alone).

Kara: Mommy what does obey mean.

Me: (thinking -- You know very well what obey means) Obey means that you do what mommy . . .

Me: (interrupted by my thoughts -- It isn't enough that she knows she needs to do what mommy and daddy say, because what if we were to tell her to do something God tells her not to do -- not that we plan that)

Me: Obey means that you do what God tells you to do without fussing, whining, or arguing. So, since the Bible - God's Word - tells you to obey mommy and daddy you need to do what I told you to do.

I hope this conversation made a little sense to you. It amazes me how the Lord uses simple questions and conversations with my children to reinforce the simple commands that I thought I knew. I really thought I knew and understood what obedience was. But I had never really acknowledged that my obedience belongs only to God (i.e. He tells me to submit to my husband so I should submit, He tells me to honor my parents so I honor, etc. . .)

Anyways, this happened about two weeks ago and the concept is still continuously running through my mind. So I just wanted to share it with you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Homeschooling Hump Day

Okay, I had intended to post this last week, but never got around to typing it up. My friend Carrie is posting about Homeschooling every Wednesday. Since Kara is only three, we are only beginning to enter the realm of Homeschooling. Here are a couple of my favorite resources.

The Well-Trained Mind is a book that can give every parent the confidence to know he/she is capable of homeschooling. This book also gives you many (and I mean many) tips and resources to begin using.

Phonics Pathways This is the book I am using to teach Kara to read. This book includes games and ideas to use to help teach your child to read. It is geared towards helping older children learn how to read, but since Kara already knows her letters and sounds (thanks to Leap Frogs Letter Factory DVD), she is ready to begin learning to read.

Here is our typical 1 Hour of preschool each day -- we have "school" after lunch when Andy and Lydia are down for their naps.

1:00 -- practice her violin -- Kara is beginning Suzuki Violin 1 -- a teenager in the church is giving her lessons. Right now until we officially start lessons, Kara is naming the parts of the violin and listening to the Suzuki 1 CD

1:20 -- we play reading games and work on the lesson in Phonics Pathways.

1:40 -- We read a Bible Story together and I ask her questions about previous stories and the current story for the day.

After the Bible story I'll read her a book of her choice.

Occasionally we work on writing, but I'm not pushing her very much in this area because I don't want to spend more than 1 hour a day on school. When she works on writing though, I write out all of the vowels several times on writing paper. Then, I give her a gel pen (there is something special about being able to use a pen to trace b/c she's usually not allowed to touch pens) and she can trace the vowels.

Hope this gives you some good ideas! If anyone else has good ideas on how to teach preschoolers to use scissors, or other things we should be working on, please let me know.

For today, I wanted to tell everyone about a homeschooling giveaway that's going on over at HsKubes' Haven at Home blog.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Going Cloth

Diapers, Diapers, and more Diapers!!!

Over the past three years I have spent over $3000 alone on disposable diapers. Outrageous. This does not include the cost of baby wipes, or any other items for diapering. Two weeks ago while we were reviewing our budget, we decided to try something new.

We told Lydia she was no longer wearing diapers. I had several pairs of the padded training underwear that we had used for potty training Kara, so I began putting underwear on Lydia with the idea that I would just treat them like I would cloth diapers. Well, she began sitting on the toilet, and now she is completely potty trained -- and it only took four days (what a blessing after spending over a year in attempting to potty train Kara).

We have also begun using cloth diapers for Andy. I must admit that this is not nearly as nice as the underwear we used for Lydia -- having to fiddle with diaper pins and everything. I am certainly not a pro at folding the diapers yet, but I think I might be getting better.

How about you? Do you use cloth or disposable? If you use cloth, please leave any tips or preferences that you like. Is there a certain type of cloth diaper you like? Have you found any of the fancy ones at a decent price? Please share your words of wisdom? Thank you!