Saturday, November 29, 2008

Basket of Goodies Giveaway

Check out another Simple Mom Giveaway...


a basket of goodies for
moms and little ones!
Simple Mom also has some great
simple holiday decoration ideas...

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Renewing of My Mind

I stayed home from church yesterday...for various reasons, I just wasn't up to going and I could tell that Jkaile wasn't feeling too well, either, since he is coming down with a cold. I kept him up for a little while thinking to delay his nap until the afternoon, but he became quite destructive...tearing up books and magazines, going around pulling everything off of shelves and onto the floor...the last straw was when he broke one of my coffee mugs (not my favorite, but still...) and spilled coffee all over himself, the floor, Miguel's books. My goodness. So off to bed he went and I began feeling a quiet urge to sit down for some time with God. So I pulled out my Patriarchs book to do another day of the study, we are on Week Three (yes, I know, a little behind the rest of you!). And God had something pretty meaningful there for me yesterday!

That particular part of the study was about the second time that Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife...this time King Abimelech took Sarah to be one of his wives (Genesis 20). God intervened once again, however, saving Sarah from committing adultery and in the process revealing Himself and His power to Abimelech and his people.

The first thing that stuck out to me is how God intervened twice on Sarah's behalf and held Abraham responsible for the whole situation. Scripture isn't really clear whether Sarah was going along with the scheme or whether she was just obeying Abraham. It is clear, however, that Abraham allowed Sarah to be put into a very compromising situation because of his own fear and that God stepped in to protect Sarah. It got me to thinking of how many times I balk at doing what Miguel wants to do, being unable to trust God with the outcome?

The second thing was that the study points out that Abraham seemed to have a "default" reaction whenever he felt threatened regarding Sarah and that was to lie and deceive-in this case, wilfull, premeditated sin (Gen. 20:13). What is my "default" when confronted with stressful circumstances-what is my pattern of handing crisis situations? I relate to this in several areas of my life...my responses under stress, my speech and responses to my kids and Miguel, my struggle with food, my thought life, dreams...like Beth says, repeated patterns of sin and foolish decisions that cause pain and self-contempt...

In her own life, God showed her that freedom would only come through the renewing of her mind.

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy,
to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—
this is your spiritual act of worship.
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 NIV
3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
II Cor. 10:3-5 NIV
23to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
Ephesians 4:23 NIV
Beth decided to ask God to not only renew her conscious mind, but her subconscious mind as well...including her dream life and thought life while she slept. She continues to ask God to place His truth deep inside, even in the places of her mind that she doesn't even know exist!
Later, Beth says she discovered the Greek word, "horme", which refers to impulses, urges, a forceful movement towards something, a sudden thought, whim, or dictating inclination. So then she began including that in her prayer as well, asking God to make even her reactions and sudden impulses godly!
Like Beth, I ask, what would it look like if I began attentively and repeatedly praying for the Holy Spirit to invade and renew me so richly and so deeply that even my impulses are godly? That even my "default" response is sanctified?

Whisperings

Do you enjoy piano music?

Then you should really check out Whisperings-Solo Piano Radio. I stumbled across it over the weekend and have been listening to it whenever I can.

It's one of the only types of music that I can leave on in the background without it just adding to the general chaos and mayhem...no, our house isn't THAT bad, but our living room is rather echoey (I think I just made up a new word). When you get people (children) talking (and playing/goofing off/chattering), the parakeets chirping, and loud, exuberant music...well, I tend to begin feeling the tension rise and my eyes going cross-eyed...

Whisperings is gentle, peaceful music that is speaking to my soul.

And it's free! What more could you ask? :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Karen Kingsbury-Life-Changing Fiction

Thanks to Erika upstairs, I have been enjoying reading Karen Kingsbury's Baxter Family Drama book series. I highly recommend these books...not only are they good stories, but there is so much godly wisdom there as well! Last year, I made a commitment to only read books that would encourage me in my spiritual walk because I realized that some of the books I was reading, while not necessarily "bad", were either bringing me down emotionally (didn't need that!!!!) or distracting me from focusing attention on my walk with God. I am very thankful for authors like Karen Kingsbury, who write such good stories that bless and encourage.

I just finished the last book in the Firstborn Series of the Baxter Family Drama and I was kind of sad to finish it! Another great book, but it makes you wish that the series wouldn't end...anyway, at one point in the book, one of the Baxter's sons received a letter from his father that had been written by his mother (now deceased) listing out Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage. I'm going to print it out and put it on my fridge or something...wonderful reminders of how I can love Miguel! So here are these words of wisdom:


Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage
  1. God has you here to serve one another. Love acted out is serving.
  2. Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you'd lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby--find something you can do to have fun together.
  3. Laugh often.
  4. Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.
  5. Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.
  6. Keep short accounts. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." Make it a habit to forgive.
  7. Determine up front that divorce is not an option.
  8. Learn about the love languages. Not all people show love or receive it the same way. You want a back rub and your spouse wants a clean kitchen. The love languages are fairly simple: acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts, and words of affirmation. Learn them. Love is better received when it's in the language that person speaks.
  9. Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.
  10. Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. Confident men to not seek love outside the home.
(from Forever, Baxter Family Drama-Firstborn Series #5 by Karen Kingsbury pp. 238-240)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo update

After feeling so dizzy yesterday, I really expected to have the vertigo again during the night...but I didn't! Yay! I am so happy to be feeling better! PTL and thank you for praying! I was so thankful to have had a good night's sleep because I had planned to have my usual Coffeetime Fellowship this morning. I almost canceled it, but went ahead by faith...this morning four different ladies came and we had such a good time visiting. I made a new recipe of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and we enjoyed them with our coffee. Miguel even stole some to take back to the office for the guys...

My sister Liz called this morning with some more information about the vertigo...she was able to talk to a friend who knows what I'm talking about and he confirmed what I'd read. There are calcium crystal deposits in the inner ear that get dislodged sometimes and he said that if it happens again, to lay down on my back and bang my head on the floor to get them back into place...gently, I would assume? :) The whole thing sounds very crazy and even though it's not really that funny, I've had some really good laughs over it. If the vertigo does return, I'll try the head-banging thing and let you know how it works!

Family Fun

Last night, Miguel couldn't find the one footed sleeper that fits Jkaile (he has more today, thanks to a friend), so he decided to outfit him with one of Gracia's...we had a bit of Family Fun over that as you can see from the following pictures!

















Thursday, November 20, 2008

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

I think I have Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo! Sounds terrible, doesn't it?! It's not serious, though, as you will see from the description below...just really annoying! For several nights now, I've had terrible vertigo when I turn over during the night, but then I'm fine once I get up! I've had vertigo before, either inner ear trouble or dehydration, but I am not suffering from either of those things right now. I looked up dizziness online and this is part of what I found at mayoclinic.com. Apparently, some little position-sensing crystals in your ears can become dislodged and cause this...hmmm. I wonder if the fact that I hit my head on the roof of the van recently has anything to do with this? I hit it pretty hard...

Definition
Vertigo is the sudden sensation that you are unsteady or that your surroundings are moving. You may feel like you're spinning around on a merry-go-round or that your head is spinning inside. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common disorders that can cause vertigo.


Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is characterized by brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness associated with specific changes in the position of your head. It most commonly occurs when you move your head in a certain direction, lie down from an upright position, turn over in bed or sit up in the morning. Moving your head to look up or look down also can bring about symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. You may also feel out of balance when standing or walking.

Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be a bothersome problem, it's rarely serious except when it increases the chance of falls. You can receive effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo during a doctor's office visit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A New List

Jkaile has a fascination with the toilets! We have to keep both bathroom doors closed or else he's in there, quick as a flash, tossing something down the hatch. And it's funny, he often closes the lid (with a bang, I might add, and that's how we're usually alerted to the latest casualty...). So as of today, I'm making a new list over there to the right: things that Jkaile has thrown into the toilet. It's growing nearly every day!

Another Great Giveaway!

Today, Simple Mom has another great giveaway on reusable grocery/shopping bags. They look great...really cute and a practical way to cut down on the number of plastic bags littering the environment. :)


Go check it out!

This could be you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miguel

Since Miguel didn't take a camera on his trip to Puebla, I'll have to wait to see all of the photos the rest of the team took. I have, however, seen a few from one of the families and I just loved this one of Miguel. He is so good with kids!



Monday, November 17, 2008

I am not Happy with the Dogs Today!!!!

Our sign came to an untimely end. Sigh.
I hung it back up on the door, but it's just too tired
to stay up there.
The dogs had very guilty looks as I shook it in their faces,
I know they're guilty!!!!
Time to get them some new chewtoys.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apple Pie

Miguel has been begging for an apple pie since we went to the Apple Festival a few weeks back...I'm not a great pie baker, so kinda put it off. But I decided to make him a pie today in honor of his homecoming, so here is the story...

My little helpers...preparing the apples.
That is the handiest little gadget for peeling, coring, and slicing apples!
Gracia did all the work...



I used a recipe called Grandma Ople's Apple Pie from Allrecipes.com.
Instead of mixing the sugar, flour, and butter with the apples, the recipe calls
for simmering the sugar mixture on the stovetop for a few minutes
before pouring it over the pie.



So, while the sugar mixture was simmering,
we got the apples in the bottom crust.



Here is the pie before I poured the sugar mixture over it.
I am not a great lattice-maker...I didn't even try to "weave" it!





I was having fun and took a picture of myself and the pie
before it went into the oven.
You can see how the sugar mixture coats the lattice-work.



My oh-so-large oven!



Miguel slept most of the afternoon...he was
surprised to find a baked pie ready when he woke up!



Enjoying the first bite...I have to say that
this is the best apple pie I've ever tasted!!!

Miguel is home!

Miguel had a pretty early flight this morning and was home by 9:30 or so. It was so good to see him and know that we are together as a family again...he also brought lots of goodies! :) Here are some pictures of the glorious occasion!

We worked hard to get our Welcome Home sign ready...

Micah and Jojo waited outside and let us know when the taxi got here.

Jkaile was watching from the window hollering "Dada! Dada!" :)
So cute!


Welcome Home, Papi!



Giveaway at Simple Mom!

Quick! Head on over to www.simplemom.net/ for a chance to win a really awesome photo album giveaway (digital scrapbook). Even if you don't win the book, Inkubook has a great deal on photo books for Simple Mom readers...you pay shipping only if you invite a friend and make a book! Well, you also have to have a special code from Simple Mom. I'm trying it myself...

But HURRY, this giveaway ends at midnight tonight...

Even if you don't enter the giveaway, Simple Mom is a great blog with some really neat and interesting things...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A New Book

I'm so excited! I had been told that we had some packages in the mailroom, so I brought them home yesterday. I can't open one of them because it apparently contains a Christmas present that Miguel ordered for me...another one was a computer cooling stand that we ordered for our laptop (it's overheating and shutting itself down...not good)...the 3rd package is a book that I'm not sure we ordered so I don't want to open it...but the last one was an order of books and DVDs that Miguel had ordered which included a New Book for me. :)

Every since taking the grief class in April of this year, I've wanted to read Recovering from Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright. And now I finally have the chance because I have my very own copy!

Here's what's on the back cover:


You can make it through


Life is marked by Losses. Some are life changing, such as leaving home, the effects of natural disaster or war, the death of a loved one, or divorce. Others are subtle, like changing jobs, moving, or a broken friendship. But whether you encounter family, personal, or community disaster, there is always potential for change, growth, and new insight.


Writing from his own experience and expertise, certified trauma expert and best-selling author H. Norman Wright shows you how to work through loss and come out a stronger person on the other side. He tackles tough issues such as the meaning of grief, blaming God, and learning how to express yourself and share your pain in times of loss.


Whether you've gone through a treat tragedy or are just trying to deal with the small sorrow in life, this book can help you resist the pull toward despair and start on the road back to joy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
H. Norman Wright is a certified trauma specialist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, the founder and director of Christian Marriage Enrichment, and the author of more than sixty books. He and his wife, Joyce, life in California.

When Baby Gets Bored

Woe to Mom when the baby gets bored! Especially baby who is mobile and can climb and is tall enough to reach items on the counter and there's no other kids around for easy entertainment. Jkaile woke up a 7 this morning, not bad, but it's Saturday and I would have dearly liked to sleep in! The rest of the kids were still sleeping, so I shut their doors and came out to enjoy my coffee and spend some quality time on the computer. Yeah.


So far this morning, he has:


climbed up onto the table
pulled the fly swatter off the counter to swat Mommy
ripped up a magazine
climbed up onto the table
knocked off the stack of papers by my computer
ripped up another magazine
broken up big brother's Lego creation
climbed up onto the table
spilled his chocolate milk
thrown cookies all over the floor (Maria crackers, less you think I give the baby sugary cookies for breakfast!)
knocked the papers off again
climbed up onto the table


And how can I be mad at him when every few minutes he comes running to give me a hug??!!



I finally gave up and this is what Bored Baby is doing now.
Hooray for Bob the Builder!

A little bit ago, I noticed an interesting bulge in the leg
of his sleeper...it's his diaper!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back and Forth

I got my mundane in yesterday! Not that mundane means boring or uneventful...just that it was a pretty ordinary, common sort of day for a stay-at-home Mom. I actually got to stay home and nothing really stressful happened. I spent the morning doing laundry, chased after Jkaile (he is obsessed with the dog water and the powdered laundry soap), tossed the ball for the dog while I was outside (since she's really annoying if you don't), got the dishes done, swept the floor (twice), fixed meals, cleaned up after the kids, and then actually had company for supper!

As I was thinking about what to have for supper yesterday, the thought ocurred to me to make potato soup. That thought stayed with me all day, especially since I remembered that I had some bacon, which makes the potato soup all the yummier! As I was putting the potatoes on to cook, the thought ocurred to me to invite the three single girls down for supper.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I struggle with extending spontaneous invites...is it really a prompting from the Lord or just one of my ideas? Oh, they'll probably say no, they're busy, what difference does it make if I invite them or not...and then I end up talking myself out of it entirely. But the idea stayed with me, so I sent the kids up to ask (aren't I brave?!)...it was cute how excited they were to do that for me! Miss Erika (that's what we call her for the kid's sakes-so cute to hear Jojo asking for "Mith Ewika") came down and said she'd love to come and were the other two girls invited, too, which of course they all were. So about an hour later, we all sat down to potato soup and home-made biscuits...the soup turned out a tad bit salty, but oh so good! I noticed that the girls were eating with gusto (we polished off an entire batch of biscuits!) and then Miss Erika mentioned that they didn't have any food in the house! So there, I think it was a prompting from the Lord and I am so glad I listened! And you know what? Even if they hadn't been able to come, it would have shown them love, so what am I worried about?

Bedtime was uneventful for the most part, everyone went down without a fuss...although I've been having to deal with a health issue with Gracia. It's sort of an unappetizing issue, but common for living overseas (even stateside!), but it would appear that she has a bad case of pinworms. :( Which are worse at night. I didn't get a clue until a couple of nights ago. It does help her to sleep better if she soaks in the tub right before bed, but have I remembered to do that until after bedtime? Sigh...but anyway, she woke up crying about the time I was ready for bed and I felt quite frustrated thinking it was going to be another difficult night for her. As I sat there thinking what to do, I remembered that I did have some worm medicine, left over from the last round. So I gave her that, soaked her in the tub, put her back in bed with a princess movie, and went back to bed. What can I say...I was rather desperate for sleep!

So that was yesterday...mundane...today not so mundane. I did not sleep well last night even though Gracia didn't come sleep with me. The dogs barked a lot, probably at the pack of dogs that roams up and down our street every once in a while. It's enough to get me out there with the pellet gun taking potshots at them at 2 in the morning! So when I got up, I could already tell that today was probably the day that I needed to Ask for Help. I don't know why it is so hard for me to ask for help? Is it a pride issue, not wanting to appear so needy? Am I just afraid that people will say no? Regardless, it is just really hard for me to ask for help, I'd rather just tough it out alone, but that doesn't usually turn out so good.

So back to this morning, Jojo fell off the trampoline (I know, I know, we're looking into getting the net)...he wasn't too hurt, just scraped his chin. The laundry came out with lint all over everything (I don't think I like that soap). I had to go pick up Micah from school because he's sick and while I was there, I realized that his bicycle is missing. He forgot to bring it home yesterday from school and now it's gone. Someone may have moved it, but the most likely thing is that it has been stolen. I got pretty stressed about that, but just had to give it to God and not waste any more of my emotional energy worrying over that! I forgot to arrange for someone to pick Gracia up from kindergarten...thank goodness for friends who notice things like that while they are picking up their own child. :)

On the other hand, I am really proud of myself (in a good way, of course!) because I did ask for help. I called and asked for help getting the kids to school and I called and asked for help to get a nap; a time when I was not in charge of anyone else and could just check out. Just having another grown-up to talk to was energizingenough! Know what I mean? And someone is going to bring me supper tonight and tomorrow night! Other positives: all of the dirty laundry now fits into the basket-that's progress! I missed Bible study, but didn't miss the video because it didn't work or something, yay! I hate missing video day. Micah seems to be feeling better already. And the full moon in a cloudless night sky is breathtaking tonight!

This post might sound somewhat like a poor-me rant, but honestly, I am pretty happy because that's not how I'm feeling! I am so grateful for the changes in me that are allowing me to have joy through stressful times...I might be struggling to 'tread water' but I'm not going under! I am asking for help when I need it and I'm handing things to God instead of trying to control them and take care of them myself. I can have a couple of bad days without entering into hopelessness and despair because I know that it's just that...a couple of bad days. Praise you, Lord! God is good.

Being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

P.S. Miguel called this afternoon, they are down out of the mountains so now we can at least talk on the phone now! It was so good just to hear his voice! He will be flying home on Sunday morning, hopefully early. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Interesting Day

Today was an interesting day! It started out pretty good and I thought things were going swimmingly...but then things began to deteriorate about the time we were all ready to head out the door.


Normally, not all of us would have to be ready to go out, but since Miguel is not here, I am taking Micah and Gracia to school every morning this week. And since this was the first day after 10 day break, well, our getting-ready-for-school skills are a bit rusty. :( And today was our organization's Day of Prayer...the language study department was hosting the students from part of the training institute and I was heading out to that.


Right before leaving, Micah got a little creative with brushing his teeth and soaked his clothes...it was too late to change, so I just sent him on "as is"...we're in a desert, it will dry.


I had to come back into the house several times to get things I forgot...I am usually not so flaky.


I asked Micah to shut and lock the gate behind all the kids while I was getting Jkaile into his seat. Not only did he not lock it, he left it wide open so the dogs got out. I was already in the van, so had to get back out, round them up, shut and lock the gate...not happy.


After getting the kids to school, I realize that we didn't have the bag of snacks...I had given it to Jojo to hold for me before exiting the gate back at home (probably not a wise decision on my part, but hey, I was delegating). I race back home in the van (just a few blocks from school) and sure enough, the dogs were already gnawing on it...fortunately, we only lost one small bag of cookies and the rest was salvageable.


Back at school, I realize that I have lost one set of house/gate keys (I had another full set on the van keys, thank goodness). Not good, so I came back to the house to see if I'd left them hanging in the gate. They weren't there and the gate was locked, so I just assumed they were in the van and went on to the Day of Prayer activities.


Day of Prayer was really, really good and a blessing. Miguel had asked one of the guys in the training to lead communion and prayer and we had worship as well. I thought it was neat that he wanted to arrange all the seating around a large rectangle of tables, making it more informal and intimate than having the seating arranged in rows. They also made everyone move around to mix it up a little. Anyway, it was a good time spent with brothers and sisters in Christ and it's exciting to see the integration of cultures and the relationships being formed there. Childcare was provided and it was nice not to have to get up and chase someone down every few seconds. :) (Thanks, Tasha and Cindy!)


Back home, I couldn't find the keys anywhere! I was beginning to worry and thinking the worst, like we would need to change the locks, etc. as I thought that maybe I'd dropped them in the road in front of our house and someone had picked them up? Then I realized that I hadn't yet prayed about it, so I stopped and asked for wisdom. The thought ocurred to me to retrace my steps from when I was recovering the bag of snacks from the dogs and sure enough! There they were in the grass, thank you Lord!


After the excitement of the morning, our afternoon was relatively calm! I fed everyone lunch and then we all had a nice nap, which helped me regain some of my composure...I felt like I had more control over things and over myself and the kids are responding to that in a positive way. I spent some good time with them, even throwing the baseball around with Micah, and then I put them to work. Tacos for supper, washed the dishes,swept and mopped the floor, a devotional...and all four kids in bed by 8 p.m.!!! :) Whew!


So all in all, an interesting day. I hope that tomorrow is more mundane...I could use some mundane about now...



Micah cleaning the birdcage-we are taking care of

parakeets for some friends


Gracia washing the dishes



Jojo cleaning his room

(Yes, those are bungee cords you see on the bunkbed!

A unique way of keeping the boys from falling out of bed. :) )

Monday, November 10, 2008

Muddling through

Here's a copy of an email I sent earlier (slightly edited)...it will catch you up on the latest...

Just a quick note because it's late and I haven't showered yet (can't actually remember when the last shower was?)...it's been one of those weekends! I think I really crashed after Miguel left on Saturday and it's NOT a good time to crash! I have been so tired, w/o energy, achy, have a light stomach flu, headache coming on...the LAST thing I've wanted to do is take care of four little ones who seem to be sucking the energy right out of me! :( Have really had to deal with the attitudes on my part, I am, after all, the adult here! I've had to plead for supernatural strength and patience!

But honestly, the kids have been exasperating at times...so slow to obey, easily distracted while doing their jobs, fooling around,whiny, etc. and patience is quite scarce on my part! I know that we're all a little out of whack with Miguel gone, but we also seem to be lacking quite a bit in the area of discipline, apparently we've gotten somewhat lax in the last few weeks? Not fun to work on by myself! Anyway, have had to apologize several times for "talking rough"...after one time today, Micah asked me, "Mommy, did you get a good sleep today?" :) Guess he's catching on...

It's true, I generally don't sleep well when Miguel is gone (I usually use ear plugs to tune out the noise, but can't while I'm alone in the house) and to top it off, each kid wants to take turns sleeping with me (Gracia didn't last long, as soon as she fell asleep, I put her back in her own bed due to Very Loud Snoring)...I think after each has their turn, I will have to put a stop to that since I need to get the best sleep I can every night. I have been able to arrange for a good nap each day and I can feel myself slowly regaining energy and joy. Today was a better day as I was able to take more control and had a plan for the day...Gracia spent the day with a friend, even down one kid helps! :) LOL!

The big thing today was a trip to Walmart (not quite like Walmart back home, but still oh so wonderful! We're from Walmart-land, what can I say?!). I used up the last few coffee beans this morning...in fact, there weren't even enough for 2 cups, so I scrounged around and found one little packet of coffee, like you get in a hotel? Not great (esp. since it was decaf!!!!), but it worked, so now I'm restocked on the basics (coffee beans, pull-ups, and milk!) and I shouldn't have to go shopping again until Miguel gets back. whew!

Tomorrow Micah and Gracia head back to school and that will help putus back into a regular structured schedule and I seem to handle that a bit better. Crud, I just realized that I'd forgotten to turn off the coffeepot after making coffee several hours ago...can you smell the charred remains of that pot? I think I'd better call it a day!

p.s. guess you kinda know how to pray for me this week, but also could you specifically pray about dreams? I wrote a post about it awhile back...it seems like when I get physically and emotionally 'down', I experience very bad or scary dreams. Last night I had another one and it was kind of terrifying...I will definitely read the Word before going to sleep, but would appreciate knowing that others are praying about it too. Gracias!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pass the Pigs

One of the things we love to do as a family is play table/card games. A favorite with the kids right now is Pass the Pigs, a "dice" game where you roll two little rubber pigs instead of dice. Points are determined according to their landing position (razorback, trotter, snouter, leaning jowler, etc) and if they land on laying down on opposite sides, it is a "pig out" and you lose your turn and any points accumulated in that turn.

It is interesting to watch the kids play. Micah and Gracia are pretty cautious and tend to "keep" their points instead of risking another roll and a possible "pig out". Jojo, on the other hand, will never stop rolling and therefore usually does not accumulate any points throughout the whole game! Apparently he doesn't understand the idea that he is losing points, he's just happy to keep rolling and in his words, "get loth of pointh!" :)

I shot this video of him during a game the other night...I think he thought I was going to take a picture or something, but it turned out pretty hilarious! And then he gets all embarrassed at the end...he is so cute! I love it that he's part of our family. :)

video

Chocolate chip banana pancakes and early morning goodbyes

Chocolate chip banana pancakes for breakfast this morning! We're having a special favorite to console ourselves since Miguel left early this morning and will be gone for a week. As proud as we are for him as he travels to meet a group from our home church and minister in a small town up the mountains outside of Puebla...we miss him when he's gone! We have three more days of vacation before school starts, so I'm thinking of some fun stuff I can do with the kids before we get back to school on Tuesday.

Even if we don't get to go out, though, I would definitely like to spend some special time with the kids. I think both Miguel and I have been somewhat busy in the last couple of weeks and I've noticed that the kids seem to be running a bit low in their "love tanks". I was kind of wondering what was going on with them (whining, acting out, clinginess, etc), but last night I picked up my copy of the Love Languages for kids and it was good to be reminded that perhaps they need some love and special attention. :)

Jkaile loved the pancakes...especially the chocolate chips!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What MKs do for fun

This morning, some of the high school boys showed up at our house and asked if they could play in our yard. We were happy to oblige and I enjoyed watching the 'show' (yes, yes, I know, guns and shooting and war is kind of controversial...maybe they are future Marines?)! It kind of looks like fun, although I'll bet those little pellets can give a sting! Probably why they are in sweatshirts and sunglasses?













Living in the city like we do, there is probably not a whole lot for the kids to do...this is a whole different experience than I had! The boarding school I attended growing up was out in the country and we had lots of room to roam and play. Every day was a new adventure, climbing trees, riding horses, swimming in the creek, going to the river, eating mangos and guayabas...so much to do! When I was younger, we only had electricity from a generator from 6-10 p.m. in the evening (well, I guess they turned it on a few mornings a week so people could do laundry...oh yes, and a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon so we could watch Little House on the Prairie or other shows), so we didn't watch much t.v. or play video games--we spent most of our time outside. Watching these guys play today brought back memories of the games we used to play...capture the flag (in the dark spread across the whole property-terrifying for me when I was younger!), soccer, flag football, slaves (don't ask!), etc.
Our interests seem to come in seasons, for a time skateboards were the rage, then marbles, then match-box cars, then water-balloons (we would name them and tenderly care for them for weeks at time!), then bicycles, basketball, baseball, etc. I'm sure I drove my parents crazy begging for each new "thing". I never did get a bicycle, though, even though my little sister got one later...hmmm...

Love Languages

I think one of Miguel's love languages is Acts of Service. He is always doing things around the house to help me. Sometimes I find myself wishing that he would just sit and talk to me more over a cup of coffee...and ungrateful me forgets to appreciate the fact that my husband is doing housework! Apparently my love language is more in other areas, such as Quality Time. A friend and I were talking about it the other day and she reminded me that every time he sweeps the floor or washes the dishes, he's expressing his love...it's like he's giving me a hug. Apparently I have some sort of complex about receiving Acts of Service because I often feel a sense of guilt or shame when he is helping me out, as if he has to do it because I am not 'together' enough. I don't think that's the truth (and Miguel himself has never, ever communicated that!)...and I am wanting to focus more on appreciating my husband and his unique gifts and talents. So I'm going to brag on him just a little...

This is what he did while I was out walking this morning...
on top of taking care of the kids
AND getting the baby to poop in the potty chair! :)
Now that's impressive!
After that, he took Micah over to a friend's house to play and did some shopping.
He often goes shopping for me and I appreciate that, even though
I do like to go once in a while to get out and see what's available.
(In fact, since I don't get out much, sometimes it can be
downright exhilarating to go the grocery store and
look at carrots and potatoes--woohoo, big outing of the week! :) LOL!)
Okay, but back to Miguel, he came home with the things on my list
plus a few extras, like this big stalk of sugar cane!



Thank you, Miguel, for everything you do for me!
I love you!

Becky









































Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Fear Dance, part III

This is my favorite part! Working together on a team...I like to sit down, talk it out, work through things...Miguel not so much, so we're learning to meet in the middle. :)

Breaking the Fear Dance--"WE"

Teamwork--Power struggles are the single greatest ploy to cause trouble in a marriage. The problem is that power struggles involve becoming divided against your teammate (your spouse).

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom
divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household
divided against itself will not stand".
Matthew 12:25
When on a team, you either win as a team or lose as a team. So as teammates, married partners either win or lose in any given situation. There is no such thing as a win/lose outcome in a marriage.
Adopt a "No Losers" Policy! Either both partners win or no one wins--it becomes completely unacceptable for either partner to walk away ever feeling as though they have lost. Both recognize that if either loses, the whole team loses. It still may happen...but it's not okay!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4
Seven Steps to a "No Losers" Policy
1. Establish a "No Losers" Policy...it relaxes everyone!
Approach making decisions as a team.
2. Take time to find/understand what the "win" is for each person.
This is the hardest step, but the majority of issues will be resolved right here.
Redefine "winning" to mean finding a solution that both feel good about (also works with children!)
3. Pause, pray, and seek God's will.
4. From a place of unity, brainstorm possible win/win solutions.
5. Select a course of action that both of you feel good about.
Many times a 'compromise' is actually a loss for someone.
6. Implement it.
7. Evaluate and rework if necessary.
If someone isn't feeling good about something, usually it's that they've uncovered something that bothers them...so, rework from step #2

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jellyfish

Okay, this template is called jellyfish, not sure why...but it's simple, white background, not a lot to distract from the posts. And it puts me back into the family photo! Woohoo! LOL

The Fear Dance, part II

I think this next part is one of the hardest for me...I so want to point the finger at the other person and yet that only makes things worse...I need to first focus on what steps I can take to calm things down. Which of us can "cast the first stone" anyway???!!! If I want to de-escalate the fight, I must respond with soft and gentle words..."A soft answer turns away anger". And often, when that other person sees that I am not attacking and accusing them, they can relax and know that I have their best interests at heart.

In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey points out, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This is actually one of the seven habits because it IS so effective in relationships...it's what God asks me to do, esteem others more than myself...creating a safe environment for them so they can be at ease with me, keeping their heart open towards me. And the first step towards doing that is to take responsibility for my own actions, emotions, and responses.***

Breaking the Fear Dance--"ME"

What can I do to break the dance? Personal Responsibility


How can you say to your brother,
"Let me take the speck out of your eye,"
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,
then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Matthew 7:2-5
What to do when your Fear Buttons get pushed:
1. Create space-either internally or physically
---this is not the same as withdrawing, merely allows for the following steps
---Identify what you can control, surrender what you can't (i.e. the other person's reaction), and make a statement that you need space but you will be back
---create a phrase or cue that you both use to let each other know you need some space
---make a commitment to avoid discussions unless both of you can honestly say that your hearts are open
2. Identify your buttons
---what fears are being triggered by the discussion?
3. Take your emotions to the Lord
---the goal is to get your heart to open...it's impossible to pray/sing, etc. when your heart is closed
---pray that God will reveal the truth, ask what to do with the emotions
4. Manage your emotions
---think about what a healthy response would look like, take a few deep breaths, stand up
and stretch, listen to music, take a walk, talk to a friend, etc.
The Ultimate Goal:
Deal with YOU first (DeHulk-don't you love that word??!!), get your heart open and full of God's love, so you can then respond to the other person.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I John 4:18
***Just a note here...these principles are meant to be used within the "normal" bounds of relationships. If the relationship is abusive and you are in physical danger, then boundaries need to be put into place to remove yourself from danger and put you in a safe place away from that situation.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dots

I am thinking about changing the look of my blog. I like the dots except that it seems to have a lot of space around the edges and puts the text kind of skinny down the middle. I also noticed that it cuts me out of the family picture! LOL! I find that kind of amusing seeing as I don't really like that picture of me anyway! I am not really all that picky about the pretties around the edges, my purpose is to write, but a change is nice every once in a while...

The Fear Dance, part I

One of the classes that I attended at our church last year was called 'Relationship Crossroads'. There were four sessions over the course of a month and I loved every single one! One in particular stood out to me, however, the class taught by Greg and Erin Smalley on The Fear Dance. The concept is similar to The Crazy Cycle in Love and Respect by Emerson Eggarichs, but with a slightly different perspective and maybe a bit more fleshed out? Anyway, I have typed up the notes for myself and I refer back to them often when I find myself spinning my wheels in relationships...okay, okay, mostly with Miguel...we've been there far too often, but praise be to God, He is working. And while we're applying these principles within our marriage, for the most part, they work with any relationship. So here goes, and all credit goes to the Smalleys...more information about relationships at www.smalleymarriage.com and www.smalleyonline.com.

Basically what they presented is that relationships get "stuck" in a "dance" as emotional "buttons" get pushed, producing a kneejerk reaction...and round and round it goes....

Examples of Emotional Buttons: the fear of feeling...rejected, abandoned, disconnected, like a failure, helpless, controlled, inadequate, invalidated, unloved, don't measure up, devalued, worthless, not good enough, judged, unimportant, etc.

Examples of Reactions: defensiveness, withdraw, stonewall, escalate, emotionally shut down, pacify, demand, belittle, earn-it mode, arrogance, blame, innocent victim, control, dishonesty, withhold, provoke, isolate, exaggerate, invalidate, independence, clinginess, care-take, act-out, fix-it mode, affiar, complain, passive-aggressive behavior, distress-maintaining thoughts, tantrums, strike-out, manipulation, criticize, anger or rage, catastrophize, lecture, whine, nagative body language, humor, sarcasm, rationalize, indifference, yes...but, etc.

Every reaction will be either a fight or a flight.

The four most destructive reactions are:

1. Withdrawal-retreat or shut down
2. Escalation
3. Belittle
4. Negative Beliefs (agains the other person)
As these reactions are employed, the conflict is then driven not because of the issue, but because our buttons are being pushed.

Our natural first instinct is to "react" when our buttons are pushed instead of "respond". By reacting instead of responding, the things that we do to break the dance are, in reality, a waste of time.

Examples of reactions that promote The Fear Dance:

1. Determine who's right and who's wrong.
2. Pursue the truth: what really happened or focus on facts/details.
3. Determine who's to blame or who's fault it is.
4. Make the issue (i.e. money, kids, etc.) the real issue and focus.
5. Focus on the other person's reactions.
6. Focus on solutions or how to fix the problem.
7. Mind reading (i.e. "I really know what you really think or how you feel!")

The Fear Dance is anti-relational because it sets us up as adversary/enemy and makes the relationship feel very unsafe. When we feel unsafe, our hearts close and we disconnect.

It's impossible for true intimacy
when hearts are closed to each other.