Sunday, February 27, 2011

Singin' Pwaise

My dear little Silas had a song stuck in his head this afternoon and he sang it maybe 20 times. Some days that would make me a little bonkers but today, I could have listened to him sing it 100 times. He's about to turn 3 in a few weeks and although I am looking forward to some more grown up things in his future (potty training would be the big one), I have to be honest and say that I'll probably be a little sad when his speech starts to improve beyond toddler talk.

He was absolutely adorable today singing, "Pwaise Him, Pwaise Him all you wittle chidren. God is Yuv. God is Yuv. Pwaise Him, Pwaise Him, all you wittle chidren. God is Yuv. God is Yuuuv!"

It warms my heart to hear him sing those words with all he's got.
Keep pwaisin' the Yord, Sweet Silas, keep pwaisin' the Yord!

God is love. -1 John 4:8

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In need of some grace...

It was one of those mornings when I felt like I was days behind, before I even started.

So, of course, I needed a little music. I'm in love with a song right now... you know, like when you could listen to it multiple times every day and still want to hear it again. I've been in love with this song for months now and it doesn't seem to be wearing off. I've listened to it so much that my dear six-year-old asked (a few weeks ago) why we were listening to this song AGAIN. At which point I said, "Starting the day with this song HELPS Mommy." No explanation needed:)

The song is Hallelujah by Heather Williams and it really speaks to me.

My favorite part of the song is "I have fallen so far, flat on my face, I'm in need of Your grace today. I stumble and fall but in spite of it all Your love always stays the same."

Not only do the lyrics help me put things in perspective, so does the story behind it. Heather Williams wrote this song after the death of her child. If you'd like to see Heather tell the whole story, click here.

If God can give her the strength to get through that situation, he can surely give me the strength to get through the little bit of craziness in my morning. Yes, indeed. It's all about perspective.

Waking up to our chaos, already feeling behind...that was me this morning. Clearly, not a real crisis situation but still I needed a little musical encouragement. Well, quite frankly, EVERY morning. I try really hard but I'm human and I mess up. Sometimes I mess up as a mom. Sometimes I mess up as a wife. Sometimes I mess up as a friend, a daughter, a sister, and most of all, sometimes I mess up as a follower of Jesus Christ. I don't mean to but it happens. Unfortunately, I let the little stuff of my everyday chaos get to me sometimes. And when I do, I'm not the best example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galations 5:22). But the great thing is, that after I "get right with God" about whatever it was, I get a "do over" every morning. Hallelujah:)

May this song bless you, too, today.

And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against these things there is no Law. -Galations 5:22-23

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Sometimes I pick the kiddos up from school. Last week, I parked in a different spot than usual. It just so happens that there is an alley that is directly across the street that, if it kept going, would run right into the school building. Anyway, I parked there and waited until school let out because sometimes, due to no parking spaces, we just keep driving around in circles until the kids come outside. If they don't see me right away, sometimes they wonder if I'm late or forgot to pick them up. So I parked across the street so that the kids would see our vehicle easily.

Most times, Hope and Hank come out together. And Hope (being the motherly type) has decided it's her job to advise her brother on pretty much everything. This time, unfortunately, Hank came out alone and after a moment of scanning, saw that we were across the street. Now, mind you, what I'm about to describe all happened in a matter of seconds...

Hank waved to me to acknowledge that he saw me. As I was waving back he started walking in between the parked cars and looking both ways in order to cross the street. I realized what he was doing and started waving my hands in that "No! Stop!" kind of way but he wasn't looking at me, he was checking the street. So I honked my horn to try to get his attention, so he would see that I didn't want him to cross. That didn't work, so since I was still buckled up, I started rolling down the window, unbuckling and opening the door, all at the same time and yelling, "Hank! No! No! Stop!" A woman that was in one of the parked cars started getting out of her car to tell him the same thing, but by that time, it was too late and he darted across the extremely busy street to get to where I was. My heart stopped for the few seconds that it took for him to run across the road and when he climbed in, I really gave him a very loud, frantic and stern talking to about what had happened. In the middle of my ranting, he said to me, "I thought you said to go." I explained to him that I yelled, "NO!" Looking back it was a poor choice of words.

All this has got me thinking about communication and how important that it is to be extremely intentional about how I speak. I really struggle with this sometimes, especially when mothering my five children. In the moment that I just described, I wasn't really thinking about how my words could be misunderstood. I was driven by my emotions (fear, in that instance). In that particular moment, I didn't have time to think about what or how to best convey the message that I needed to communicate.

In most cases, though, time is not such a critical factor when communicating with my children. But unfortunately, all too often, my speech is driven by emotion. In the heat of a frustrated moment, I don't always take the time to stop to think about the tone of what I'm about to say. I'm very careful in choosing the words that I use when talking to my children but not always as careful with my tone of voice (or volume, for that matter.) Unfortunately, this is beginning to reflect itself in my children and how they deal with each other. So often, they are like little mirrors showing me things that I, myself, need to improve.

The Bible tells us a lot about how we should speak. Some of my favorite verses on this issue are:

James 1:19-20
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Proverbs 12:10
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ouch! Those kinda sting a little. But I'm really working on it and, more importantly, praying about it. And I trust that, with God's help, the way I speak will become much less reckless.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I still Heart my boyfriend...

The year was 1989...

The hair was permed, the bangs were poofed, the jeans were "stonewashed", and Bon Jovi was playing "Livin' On A Prayer" on my boombox:)

It was a year that changed my life. I fell in love with a boy and I've been in love with him ever since. Hard to believe, I know, that I found my future husband when I was only 14 years old. But God had a seriously big plan for us, we just didn't know it at the time.

Like almost every other teenage girl on the planet, I dreamed about being married and having a family someday. In my heart I planned my way, but little did I know that the Lord was planning my each one of my steps, even way back in Jr. High. We've walked along side each other, my hubby and me, for a long time and I'm so glad God gave us the blessing of having so many fun (and funny) memories together.

I mean really, the Lord must have known that we would look totally cool together: the pink beach shirt with grey and white stripped Jams and a sleeveless turtleneck with two-toned cut off (but rolled up) jeans and white Reebok velcro high tops.
A match made only in heaven:)

I'm so grateful that God has grown us in ways that we could have never imagined back then. Ten years married and five children later, here we are, still loving life together.

Happy Valentine's Day, Babe! I'm still crazy about ya:)

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Silly Shoe Stories

Okay, so the dear hubby was getting ready for work this morning and it's snowing (AGAIN), so he decided to wear his boots. I was in the kitchen at the time and I hear him say, "There's a fork in my boot."
Yes, there was actually a child-size piece of silverware inside his boot. We had a little chuckle as he finished doing up the laces and I take the fork from him and go back to the kitchen. Then I hear him say, "And in this one is a ping pong ball." Go figure.
Again we had a good chuckle and then my husband said, "Oh, Moses." which refers to one of our favorite family stories that always makes us laugh.

My mom was here watching some of the kiddos while I was out and Mattie was putting on her shoes. She was at it for a short time and then my mom heard her say, "Oh, Moses!" My mom thought she was just using it as an expression, like "Oh, brother" or "Oh, goodness." But mom had to laugh when Mattie stuck her hand inside her shoe and pulled out a small plastic Moses figurine, complete with staff in hand, and threw it down on the floor.

I guess the moral of my stories is: when putting shoes on at the Shoe household, always check inside may find a prize inside:)

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:2-3

Monday, February 7, 2011

If a part gets scary...

I've been thinking a lot about friends lately.

Recently, Mattie had her little friend, Winnie, over for a play date and they were determined to watch a movie. Winnie had a selection picked out but Mattie wasn't so sure because she said there is a scary part that she doesn't like. As these two fun-loving friends climbed up into the chair to sit "like two peas in a pod" side-by-side, Winnie (the sweet friend that she is) informed us both that, "If a part gets scary, I'll just cover her eyes." I immediately wrote that down cause it really struck a cord with me.

That's what friends do for each other sometimes. When a part of life is scary or hard or frustrating or even just plain mundane, a friend can often love you right back to a place where you know you can make it through.

And last night I was reading in Exodus and came upon the part (in Chapter 17:8-16) where Joshua was leading the Israelites in a battle with the Amalekites and, as long as Moses held his hands up in the air while holding the staff of God, the Israelites were winning.
When Moses grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought him a rock on which he could sit and held his hands up, so that his hands remainded steady until sunset and Joshua won the battle.

Did God say, "No, no, that's cheating. Moses must do this alone."? No, and I believe God created us to need friends for a reason. Sometimes we get tired. Tired of our circumstances. Tired of being stuck inside because of snow and ice. Tired of laundry. Tired of being tired. And at just the right time, in just the right way, a friend will bless us with words of encouragement, a laugh, or even a chance to cry on their shoulder. It's one of the best ways that God shows his faithfulness to us...through the love of a friend.

God created me to be a very social being. I really enjoy spending time with friends but during this season of my life, there is not always a lot of time for that. I struggle with that. But lately I've been blessed with lots of "friend time" and have enjoyed the opportunity to laugh and be silly and "chat it up" with some dear ones. And boy, it's done my heart good:)

I've been blessed in so many ways, by many different nights, an encouraging card or email, meals for those crazy days in which making supper seems almost impossible, helping out with the kiddos, and sometimes something as simple as an, "I know exactly what you mean. I struggle with that, too." I'm so grateful for the friends that God has placed in my life. Even though this season of life requires me to focus mainly on my family of seven, I pray that if life gets scary for a friend, that I can be the one to "cover her eyes."

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Ecclesiasties 4:9-10

Friday, February 4, 2011

Frozen pumpkins in ice:)

Well, lovely readers (whoever you might be:)...

I had grand plans of blogging like crazy tonight because three of the five lil Shoes were going to be enjoying the evening with various friends BUT we now have three, yes three, feverish little guys who are feeling very out of sorts tonight. The girls still got to attend their lovely soires (yes, I do believe the "e" is supposed to have a fancy accent thingy above it), but I had a very disappointed six year old that had to stay home and watch movies with Mom and Dad instead. I'm so proud of him though cause he handled it like a champ. He had a few quiet tears and a few moments of mad...but then he realized that being mad doesn't ever change a thing, so he found enough happiness in his heart to laugh at all the burping parts in the movie we watched and even told me before bed that even though he was really excited about having fun with his friends, he still has fun being home with his family. That little guy can be a challenge but he sure knows how to melt his mom's heart.

We try to live simply but the Shoe Seven does enjoy the benefits of electricity, such as heat and kitchen appliances, just to name a few. Anyway, we had a whopper of a storm here this week and the ice storm relocated us to my parents house for a few days because we had no electricity. We made it through the initial storm night when we lost power on Tuesday at 10:30pm but it didn't take long before the Shoe Seven was high-tailing it over to a warmer location. My parents didn't have power either but they had a generator that runs many of their household necessities, heat being one of the most important, in my opinion. Praise God for the blessing of a warm place to sleep. On nights like that, I am reminded to pray for families that are homeless (and for those who cannot afford to pay to heat when they do have homes).

So we spent one night with my parents and the next day, the electricity was back on at our place. Mid-morning I packed up all the kiddos and headed home, after my dear husband had already headed to work. We got home, unpacked the loads of things that we had lugged over with us for our overnight stay (or stays, we had no idea how many nights our electric would be out), started tidying up a bit, the kids were bouncing off the walls (as usual after having a few snow days off of school) and just as I'm about to put a few of the lil Shoes in the bathtub...

"What in the world, why is the water stopping...It was just running warm water!" I was puzzled. Bathtime postponed and a frenzied check of all faucets ensued. Nothing. Did I mention that when I was checking if the water was working anywhere, I flushed one of the toilets? "Okay, crisis mode...we only get one flush when the water is off...I used that toilet's ONE flush! Okay, note to self, we have another toilet...just don't let anyone else flush." Let's do the math. 7 people (5 of them being children) and one potty that has only one flush available...No, not going to be able to make this work on any level. And oops, one of the kiddos forgot my instructions and flushed the other potty.


Well, we decided to pack up and relocate back to my parents until the water situation was figured out AND fixed, of course, because, well, as simple as we are, are not really outhouse type people:) Not to mention we don't have an outhouse and if we did, someone's tushy would have surely frozen to it:) Anyway, AGAIN I packed up everything but the kitchen sink (cause it wasn't working anyhow) and we travelled the treacherous roads back to where we had just been that same morning. We were able to return home later that evening cause my dear hubby figured out the problem. No plumber necessary:)

I'm totally not complaining about the previous situation, just relaying the events that have filled the last few days to give you an idea of how grateful we are to be here in our warm, comfy, water-working home, even with sick children. We are so grateful to have family so close by and thankful that we are welcome to "camp out" in situations like these. But Dorothy said it best, when she said, "There's no place like home." As simple and as in need of a bit of fixing up as it, it's still HOME. It's where the Seven Shoes do their thing best. And as for the pumpkins I mentioned a few posts back, well, they welcomed us home with a new glaze of shimmering solid ice covering them. Looks like they won't be goin' anywhere until Spring arrives... Home Sweet Home, frozen pumpkins and all:)