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Archive for the ‘special things’ Category

For our recent 12th anniversary, our two daughters bought us this statuette.

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You know, it was rather expensive…. I wouldn’t have spent the money on it myself. And, when the girls bought it, I almost stopped them.

I mean, really. It’s a statuette. A piece of ceramic or whatever it’s made of. And it’s pricey.

But, I stopped myself from stopping them. And I thought, you know, how wonderful that they want to spend a lot of money on their mom and dad who love them and love each other. It DOES COST A LOT to have that. It might not necessarily be a monetary cost, but it’s an even greater cost, a deeply personal cost.

And I think it’s OK that we sometimes spend a lot of money on what really has a lot of value.

It reminds me of spending over a thousand dollars to fly to the States and stay there for a week during my pastor’s retirement service. I wanted to see all the old staff, be a part of honoring a godly man in my life, and it cost money! But it was spending money on what is of real value to me.

At our family group, ladies were talking about how hard it was for them to accept flower bouquets from their husbands– because it really seems like spending money on something frivolous. Flowers quickly pass away. But we can look beyond, and see that it’s really spending money on something you really value– your love and commitment to each other.

We can’t always spend money on these things, but they are wonderful things to spend money on 🙂

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I’m just amazed and thankful today, and I want to write about it here.

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My first child was born in 2005 (then 2007, 2012, & 2014), and for years, it really bothered me that I didn’t really experience warm, fuzzy lovey-dovey feelings for my kids. I figured I was just emotionally a bit defunct in this way, but heigh-ho, on we go, and God can fix it if He ever wants. But it did bother me at time, sometimes a lot. I think I’ve even prayed about this, too.

Being my analytical self, I analyzed about this. Like, I had “negative” loving feelings— I could worry about them. And I knew I would be terribly sad if one of them ever died.

But I didn’t feel what I imagined most moms have- warm, happy lovey feelings.

But you know what? After 10.5 years of parenting …. Today I did. Today my heart felt positive, happy love. It feels warm and big. Inside. It’s like a consciousness of a real happy-type love feeling. A fullness. Warm and big. Inside. In the seat of my emotions. It’s physical.

And I want to record a bit of the path the Lord’s led me on in order to develop this.

The early stages of parenting, I was pretty good at. I’ve been reading about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc., since I was about 15 years old. Piece of cake. (I just didn’t realize how much it was a piece of cake because I had studied it so much prior!)

But yikes. Actual childrearing?

I don’t think I’d read even one book about it! The one parenting book I started parenting with was Ted Tripp’s book– a friend mailed it to me.

I will merely say, at this moment, that people have various reactions to this book’s content. I react to it by becoming strict and demanding, and as he teaches only spanking as the means of teaching a child (and words), I was woefully inadequate and just unaware of what else existed as far as childrearing was concerned.

The assumptions or foundation that this book is laid upon is that children are sinners and have hearts that need to be turned to God (through punishment/spanking and words).

What if I had never turned from digging down that path? What if …. ? What would my heart be today towards my children? (Not, what would be every single parent’s heart who’s read that book and liked it… just my heart.)

God sent other Christians my way, in the form of books and friendships. Ross Campbell is one– I highly recommend Relational Parenting. Clay and Sally Clarkson were others. Clay Clarkson is the author of a book called Heartfelt Discipline.

Some of his main assumptions or foundations are these: That children are designed by God to be especially dependent upon their parents, and they are designed by God to be especially open to the teaching and influence of their parents.

At the time I read this, I was so struck by it. By the enormity of my role in the lives of my kids. Those are such positive and life-opening perspectives! It made all their (heretofore irritating) dependency upon me have a great spiritual purpose! They are so designed to be dependent and it correlates with their openness to my influence!

And I didn’t realize until recently, when I went back and reviewed that book, how much those assumptions had taken root in my heart. And they have grown and grown.

And then Ross Campbell’s teachings about communicating unconditional love to my kids, and how, exactly, to do that….

And all the other books I have since studied that have given me tools to work with my kids in teaching them … character, behavior, how to be in relationships, etc. The books explaining their stages of development (and I was just reviewing the 3-Year-Olds book, as Andre is in the 3 and a 1/2 stage of negativity… and how to go through it gracefully and full of love).

And also, in all this process of learning to parent, seeking not to just become used to the irritations (and just accept them on that level), but to actually follow Christ and become a transformed person, a person who, by the Spirit, is actually more patient, gentle, meek, kind, self-controlled, etc.

And …. So today, I was tasting some of the fruit of these good years of my discipline–my hard exercise of learning to do something difficult. The fruit is this big, warm feeling of love in my heart. Finally.

Finally. When I had even stopped really thinking about it.

And I still have miles to go!

And thank You, God! It is Your will that I go on, in Christ, growing into His love and Person.

Thank you, God…. I want to remember. I am remembering now what You have done all these years!

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my birthday list

In the back of my prayer journal I have a list of birthday gifts I want for my 40th birthday in December.

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Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Another baby

Well, OK that was a joke. But maybe I gotcha there, even just for a second 😉

  • A paid-for website
  • A set of very nice kitchen knives
  • A nice camera (and some photography or photoshop lessons–lots of stuff on youtube)
  • A good cake decorating set (and youtube lessons)
  • A professional photography session with Vitaliy and then our whole family

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We’re having fun planning it all and researching options.

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Well, I have 7 months left, more or less, until my 40th birthday in December. And I’ve gotten to half my weight loss goal.

Lost 30 lbs, would like to lose around another 30.

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Currently, I’m using some myfitnesspal and the trim healthy mama diet idea (meals are either protein+fat or protein+carb, is the short version).

I’m in my 160s right now. It’s a nice place. Enjoying it. Clothes are looser-feeling.

I’m gradually doing some life-thoughts and evaluations and gifts-for-myself ideas 🙂 Some things I’d like to focus on in the next 10 years.

I feel like this 10 years has been generally good, full of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, little babies. Next ten will be fuller with home schooling, looks like. (Skyla and Vika will grow to adulthood these next ten years–can I believe that?)

Anyway, more to come.

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I’m so thrilled.

My first hoary hair!

Hoary means grey / white because of age.

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.”

Or:

“Grey hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness.”

Proverbs 16:31

Mark it down. My crown is starting.

Some of my favorite. people. ever. are crowned with hoary heads.

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This is going to be a sappy post, but I need to be sappy every so often. It’s healthy.

The kids and I were watching “The Sound of Music” yesterday, and the Reverend Mother broke out into her “Climb every mountain … ’till you find your dream” song. And I remembered how, when I was a kid, we had a tape of the Sound of Music songs, and I used to love listening to and singing along with this song.

Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every byway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.

And I was thinking how I sang this song in my childhood and live it out in my adulthood.

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I climbed the mountains,

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crossed the streams,

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followed the rainbows,

Center Salvation

Center Salvation

and found my dream.

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And it really does need all the love I can give every day of my life for as long as I’ll live.

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Vitaliy teaching missions to his fellow Ukrainians

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ladies' Bible study / seminar

ladies’ Bible study / seminar

And with God, I never know what “dream” will be coming next, or mountain or stream or rainbow, for that matter.

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I hope that was an eye-catching title!

I really want to tell “the world” about my wonderful dad– his 69th birthday was Saturday, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity.

To say that I have a wonderful Dad.

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I know that many of you already know this because you know my dad. But I’d like to speak out loud again a few reasons why he’s great.

1. He’s great for advice. Have an issue? Need some perspective? Want a thoughtful but not forceful/egotistical advice? Want to hear from someone who has his opinion and wisdom but also says the Spirit could lead you otherwise? … My dad is great for that. He has been the key in guiding me into several major life decisions too.

I will share one occasion. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree at BJ, and I really, really, really wanted to head to the mission field. Yesterday. And I remember sitting with my dad in the living room of Grace’s mission house, and he calmly outlined several reasons he thought I should stay and get my master’s degree. But, he said, maybe the Lord wants you to go now, and that’s fine, too. And as painful as it was, I went to my room to think and I just knew that God wanted me to stay on and get my master’s. …

And I went to the mission field later, and … met my future husband. … Timing is everything … ❤

Thanks, Dad.

2. My dad is an incredibly gifted administrator who knows how to care for people through administration.

What I mean is, as an administrator, he often has to lay down the line about money stuff, but he does it in a way that you know he really cares about you. He also knows how to make administration serve the people, not the other way around.

3. He has a Biblically-formed perspective on money: generosity, saving, giving, planning … He does all these things and they don’t war against each other in his life. For example, his saving and planning don’t override his generosity and giving. They all work together … somehow.

4. He’s been faithfully married to my mom for many years. And takes great care of her in many ways. … Selah…

I love you, Dad. Many people love and appreciate you, and I wanted to take a moment to say it out loud 🙂 ❤

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