Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
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.
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
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:
- God has you here to serve one another. Love acted out is serving.
- 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.
- Laugh often.
- Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.
- Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.
- Keep short accounts. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." Make it a habit to forgive.
- Determine up front that divorce is not an option.
- 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.
- Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.
- 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.
Friday, November 21, 2008
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!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I was having fun and took a picture of myself and the pie
Micah and Jojo waited outside and let us know when the taxi got here.
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
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!
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.
So far this morning, he has:
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??!!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
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,
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
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
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
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. :)
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. :)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Thank you, Miguel, for everything you do for me!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
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).
Monday, November 3, 2008
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
Sunday, November 2, 2008
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
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.