Saturday, January 31, 2009

Abigail Learns to Walk

About a week ago, Abigail took her first step. It was just one step, but it was the picture of things to come. She isn't walking all the time yet, and she still can't stand up without the help of furniture, but she is on her way to becoming a full-fledged toddler! Hurray for Abigail!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Paper Problems

It has taken me a month to tackle my weekly "problem area" -- my paper problem. I was inspired by Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round-Up.

Before I started, I gathered all the stashed paper from around the house.

We purchased a new file cabinet a few months ago to add some storage space to our ever-growing filing needs.

However, I never seemed to have time to organize it properly and it quickly became another "junk" drawer.

I also have several other attempts at organization that never worked like I was hoping. This little plastic drawers-on-wheels was one attempt, but it didn't worked right, and the clear sides allow the mess in the drawers to leak a feeling of chaos.

And this little desktop file box was suppose to help, but I could never keep it neat enough. Again it just left a visible feeling of disorganization.

Here is the reward of a month's worth of effort.

It could use a little more purging, but at least the paper is under control (and hidden) again. The new file cabinet provided the space to hold all our files for the business and personal finances.

I also learned a thing or two about the weaknesses of my system while reading all sorts of organization articles online this month. The biggest change to my system was the addition of filing space for articles that I keep about my personal interests: health, food, parenting, etc. This should help keep miscellaneous papers piles to a minimum.

The old plastic file drawers-on-wheels and our old black file cabinet will be converted into other storage space for crafts, office supplies and kids activities. But that is a project for another day.

Now all I have to do is keep up with the filing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

God Made Me!

Joshua received a new Bible for Christmas. He actually picked it out himself in one of the many bookstores we visited on our trip to the NW.

We have been reading it together in the evenings. This is the first time he has been excited about Bible stories. He especially likes the story of Noah and the big boat.

Tonight we read about Adam and Eve again, and about all the animals. We started talking about all that God made. Our conversation went something like this:
Who made Adam?
God did.

Who made Eve?
God did.

Who made the lion?

God did.
God made the zebra.
God made the giraffe.

Who made Joshua?
(pause) Mommy did.
Darren and I laughed. Then we talked about all the things in our daily lives that God made. God made Joshua. God made Abigail. God made Mommy. God made Daddy.

Kids are priceless!

Monday, January 26, 2009

PaperBack Swap

I was recently introduced to this great site: -- Your source for swapping books online. Read ... Swap ... Save!

It is an online book club that offers FREE books when you trade, swap or exchange used books. It is currently a free service, though eventually I expect it to have a membership fee.

Here's how it works: You list the books you would like to offer to other members. You earn credits every time you send a book to someone. Every credit is a free book for you. You search through the offered books and choose the one you would like sent to you.

I opened my account last week and have about 20 books currently listed. It was easy to ship the books that others requested and my first two books should be arriving any day now.

You have to check it out.

Note: they also have separate CD and DVD exchange sites.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One Step Forward

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 3
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely ...
Hosea 14:4 (NKJV)
I seem to have a problem with the word "backsliding." I reacted to it in this verse. I don't like to apply this term to myself. This is probably because it was over-used in the faith tradition in which I grew up; not to mention the strong overtones of fear this word evokes.

But, after getting over my initial response, I decided that was not a good reason to ignore this week's lesson. I decided to look at a the actual definition of this word.
Backsliding: to lapse in the practice of religion
I also decided to check out other translations. The more common translation for this Hebrew word is "waywardness." This bring to mind a picture of wandering off the designated path.
Waywardness: following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations; opposite to what is desired or expected
This idea of waywardness rung true to me. I am too ready to follow my own inclinations, even when I know them to be depraved and opposite to what God desires.

My prayer this week is that I would remain focused on God and his love, so that I would no longer follow my depraved inclinations; that I would be transformed by the renewing of my mind; that I would have the mind of Christ; that my desire would be to do only his will.

Lord, let me feel the love that you freely give and remember that I am loved, even when I don't feel lovable. Amen

Saturday, January 24, 2009

John 5 - Part 2: Praise from God

How can you believe if you accept praise [glory, honor, distinction, renown] from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
John 5:44
This verse stirred some interesting contemplation for me. Who's approval or praise do I seek? What really motivates my decisions?

I want to seek the only praise that matters, the praise that comes from God. I want my whole life to be motivated by a desire to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

So, how does this affect my daily life? How do I allow this to shape my priorities, my time, my life?

At the beginning of this new year, I am being challenged to take a fresh look at my priorities. And to reshape my life and my daily activities, so that all of my life is moving toward ... "enter into the joy of your Lord. Let’s celebrate together!" (Matt 25:21 NLT)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Trip to the Doctor's

Joshua and Abigail both had well-visits at the doctor's office. I was very thankful that Darren was able to come with us; it was crazy with two little kids locked in a tiny exam room for almost an hour. Here are the stats from our visit:

Joshua Oliver
3 years old
28 1/2 pounds (15th percentile)
36 1/2 inches (20th percentile)

Abigail Anne
1 year old
20 pounds (28th percentile)
29 inches (42nd percentile)

John 5 - Part 1: God our Father

For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:18
They wanted to kill Jesus because he called God is father ... and that this was somehow claiming an equality with God... I admit I don't understand this, never have. Is it something cultural?

If Jesus' statements were so amazing to them, then they could not possibly have seen God as their father. And yet we so easily pray, "Our Father, who art in heaven..."

What I do know is that Jesus redefined our relationship with God; we can now cry "Abba, Father!" (Rom 8:15) Amazing! " Christ God was reconciling the world to himself..."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Be still ...

The view from my parent's home this Christmas ...

Be still, and know that I am God ...
Psalm 46:10

The Long Night

Abigail had a hard time adjusting to the new surroundings at my parents house over Christmas vacation. She was up repeatedly at night and I was up with her. I was so tired and she would not go back to bed. I had to lay my head down ... just for a second ...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let it snow!

Princeton recently got about an inch or two of snow which makes these cold temperatures a little more bearable.

Joshua is enjoying the snow! Every morning he says, "Maybe it will snow!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Go, Go, Go!

Over Christmas vacation, Abigail began to pull up to a stand and cruise the furniture and walls much more frequently.

When we returned home from our holiday travels, I located Joshua's push-toy from when he was learning to walk and gave it to her to practice walking. She has not stopped using it since!

Abigail loves to give rides to her dolly. She also loads it up with any small toys she comes across on the way to wherever she's going. Today I even found her sippy cup and snack bowl in it.

Joshua became jealous of Abigail's new toy, so I had to quickly put together the little shopping cart he received for Christmas.

Joshua puts such a interesting variety of items in his cart. Sometimes all the matchbox cars get to ride; sometimes it is all the little people. Today it was all the pretend food that he got at the "store" (i.e. the bookshelf where he had lined up all the groceries items in preparation for his shopping trip).

Armed with their new "vehicles", the two of them now race around the apartment, sometimes independently and sometimes chasing each other.

I enjoy hearing Joshua call out, "Abigail go first," as he yields right-of-way when they arrive at the kitchen entrance at the same time. Of coarse, other times he races to beat her around the corner, knocking her "car" out of the way.

They have such a great time. It is the funniest thing to watch!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Abigail loves playing peek-a-boo.

Just before Christmas, she discovered her ability to initiate this game on her own. She pulled the towel up over her face, pulled it back down and squealed excitedly. This was repeated until Mommy caught on and chimed, "Peek-a-Boo" as she lowered the towel.

I love watching my little baby learn and understand the world around her.

My Confusion ... or His Peace?

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 2
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace ...
1 Corinthians 14:33
When I first read this verse and the devotion for this week, I was very excited. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but something in the "peace" category would have been nice. Instead, this week turned out to be the very opposite of peaceful.

My daughter still won't sleep at night since our visit to the west coast for the holidays (her brother use to have the same problem adjusting back to eastern time). My son has changed overnight from a sweet, obedient little boy to a challenging, head-strong, disobedient creature -- I hardly recognize him. In addition, my home has still not recovered from the holidays, and I am trying to get all the year-end paperwork done for our business.

The biggest problem is not all the chaos around me; it is the chaos within. This week, I have felt a severe lack of peace in my spirit. It has been challenging to remain calm even during the daily tasks of caring for my children. Not to mention, the added stress of the business and this disaster in our apartment.

I need to find a respite in my day to return to the peace I seek each morning, some short activity that can be done in the midst of the chaos. Do any of you have suggestions for something that I can try?

I will need to continue to meditate on the verse from this week ... and to learn afresh in my life that HE is my peace!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seven "I AM's" in John

Last week at Bible Study, one of the ladies mentioned there are seven "I AM" statements recorded in the book of John.

Seven times Jesus specifically declares who he is.
John 6:35 - I am the bread of life
John 8:12, 9:5 - I am the light of the world
John 10:7,9 - I am the gate for the sheep
John 10:11,14 - I am the good shepherd
John 11:25 - I am the resurrection and the life
John 14:6 - I am the way, the truth, and the life
John 15:1, 5 - I am the true vine
I am encouraged and challenged to remember who Jesus is and how he wants to reveal himself in my life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trusting Him

Create in Me a Clean Heart - Week 1
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
As I meditated on this familiar verse, I came to understand it in a very different way than I have in the past.

The phrase "with all your heart" kept echoing in my head. I have always read that as a statement of the intensity with which I trust God. But this time it took on a new meaning. Trust God with my heart itself, in addition to trusting him with my life and everything else.

My heart feels very sore, very bruised these days. It has been banged up recently by some conflict in a few close relationships. Some days I just want to hide my heart in a bubble to protect it. But these friendships are too important to me to pull out of them. The deeper the connection, the more potential for pain, but there is also a greater potential for joy.

This week I have been comforted to know that I can trust God with my hurting heart. He can heal wounds. He can restore relationships. He can give wisdom. He can bring peace.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Clean Heart, Clean Home

I have recently joined a group on Facebook called "A Clean Heart." Someone invited me to the kickoff event and I nonchalantly RSVP'ed "maybe," not having the time to check it out but being drawn by the name. I have since explored more about this group...

A Clean Heart is a weekly motivational devotional for the disorganized. It was written by a homeschooling mom (Dandelion Seeds) who felt that "there was a deeper problem to my chaos than what could be seen. It was deeper than the laundry pile, or mound of bills on the desk. I needed to get to the heart of my struggles… by addressing the struggles in my heart."

If you want to join us, this weekly devotional can be found on Facebook or at A Clean Heart. The group is going through the devotional together, and encouraging one another on the discussion boards (or through the comment system on the Clean Heart blog page). This Sunday we started week 2 of the devotional.

My goal is to keep up with this devotional each week, and write about how I have seen it impacting my life.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Abigail turns 1 year old

Abigail turned one year old on Monday, January 5.
This year has passed so quickly.
We had a little family celebration for her.

Here is my little girl when she was first born.

And here she is today ... one year old.

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

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