How Pro-Life Am I Really?

What does it mean to be “pro-life”?  How pro-life am I really?

Being pro-life to me means that I view all life as valuableI believe human life as holding the most value of all living organisms.  I believe this because God established man’s dominion over all creatures in the Garden of Eden and because God said that man was made in the image of God.  No other creature has been given that honor.

Since we have dominion over the rest of creation, what does that mean?  Strength and power do not mean abuse.  They mean authority and responsibility.  We are accountable to God to deal responsibly with the rest of life, to not abuse that which He has placed under our care.  We are caretakers.  We use responsibly — not abuse negligently.  God created the rest of Creation for our enjoyment.  Therefore, we need to cultivate, preserve, protect, use where needed, and enjoy.  We are to be wise stewards.

What do I view life as?  What does it mean to have life? 

Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines life as this:

“: livelihood 8 : a vital or living being; specifically : person <many lives were lost in the disaster>
9 : an animating and shaping force or principle 10 : spirit, animation <saw no life in her dancing> 11

: the form or pattern of something existing in reality <painted from : the period of existence (as of a subatomic particle) — compare half-life 14: a property (as resilience or elasticity) of an inanimate substance or object resembling the animate quality of a living being 15: living beings (as of a particular kind or environment) <forest life>”Life therefore is when something/an organism came into being — began to function with life.  Life begins at the beginning of that thing or organism.  The beginning is the beginning.

What does that mean then when it comes to protecting life in this form?  Does it hold as much value?  Do we judge a form of life by its functionality?  Is its worth based on how functional the organism is to us?  If that is the case, the worth of an object is vulnerable to interpretation.  Could we also become vulnerable to interpretation?  What if our functionality diminishes?  What if we lose some function of our physical abilities or even mental abilities?  Has our value decreased because our function has decreased?  Do we determine the worth of an organism, or does the Creator of that organism (God)?  If so, it is our job then to be responsible caretakers, handling the most delicate and vulnerable with the most care.

What if I am inconvenienced in this process? Don’t I have a choice to continue a pregnancy or to terminate a pregnancy since this organism resides in my own body? Don’t I have a right over my own body?

Science/biology can be debated back and forth on this matter.  It’s been done too frequently to count.  Everyone wants to debate that if a fetus is dependent on you for sustenance, you can rid yourself of it at any time.  Thus, the debate continues over what substitutes independent living.  The argument is held that if the organism is not independent from you, you have the right to eliminate or preserve the (living) organism as you choose.

First of all, we are not debating a dead thingThe debate is over a living organism.  Establishing that basic concept raises a different point.

If this is a living organism, we must then establish if it is a separate organism from its host (the mother).  Medical science establishes this fact.  The fetus has a different heart rate, different blood type, and different gender often from its host (mother).  It is obvious this is a separate identity.  Just taking the fetus’ DNA would reveal a separate DNA from its host (mother). Here’s a quote I recently saw on this matter:

“That baby’s DNA is human from the time of conception, and is separate from his/her mother’s. Yes, it proves that it is human from the very beginning. People will try and say anything to make legalized murder ok, and call it choice. EDIT- and for those who say that just because it has separate DNA from the mother does not prove it is life, and since it cannot survive on his/her own it is not life, here is another scenario that shows these statements are false. Let us say that a baby is born 2 months prematurely, and has to be in a incubator and hooked up to machines for a couple of months. That baby cannot survive on his/her own then. But try asking this question to the mother and father of this child. “Since your baby cannot survive yet on its own, it has not life”. That mother and father would not agree with you. Also even if a child is born on time, can that baby truly survive on its own. If the mother abandons that baby , the baby will die. Do they just say it is was the choice of the mother to abandon the child- NO THEY ARE CHARGED with murder.”

“To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion … it is plain experimental evidence.” The “Father of Modern Genetics” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Univ. of Descarte, Paris

“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic

Here’s an excellent link to a website written by physicians on this topic: http://www.prolifephysicians.org/lifebegins.htm.  Here’s a direct quote from their website:

“According to this elementary definition of life, life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte.  From this moment, the being is highly organized, has the ability to acquire materials and energy, has the ability to respond to his or her environment, has the ability to adapt, and has the ability to reproduce (the cells divide, then divide again, etc., and barring pathology and pending reproductive maturity has the potential to reproduce other members of the species).  Non-living things do not do these things.  Even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant, a distinct, unique life has begun his or her existence inside her.”

Therefore the question arises, does the host (mother) have a right to eliminate this separate life because it is the host?  In order to respond to this question, we have to return to my earlier statements:

“Strength and power do not mean abuse.  They mean authority and responsibility.  We are accountable to God to deal responsibly with the rest of life, to not abuse that which He has placed under our care.  We are caretakers.  We use responsibly — not abuse negligently.  God created the rest of Creation for our enjoyment.  Therefore, we need to cultivate, preserve, protect, use where needed, and enjoy.  We are to be wise stewards.”

Because I may have the legal right to do something, does it make it morally right?

Using the same arguments that we raised earlier:

Don’t I have a choice to continue a pregnancy or to terminate a pregnancy since this organism resides in my own body?  Don’t I have a right over my own body?

First of all, this goes beyond your own body.  This is a living organism with a separate identity, as I briefly discussed.

Why do you think you have the right to terminate this organism?  Because it is part of your body?  It isn’t part of your body, it RELIES on your body to provide its necessary nourishment until it can function independently.  That takes us back to the point of life’s worth.  Is it based on its functionality or the level to which it can live independently?  If it isn’t, then we have to admit that a human life, even in its most beginning stages, holds value because of its very nature.  It is a living organism — not just any organism but a living human organism.  It is the start of a separate human life!

As such, it should be protected under the same laws and guidelines that protect any other human life.

If we protect human life based on its functionality or ability to live independently, we fall into a “slippery slope” that can lead to the elimination of other “less” productive humans: the elderly, paraplegics, mentally-impaired, blind, and the list goes on…  Perhaps, our children will use the same reasoning we used on them when it comes to determining our worth when our functionality has diminished and when it becomes physically, financially, or emotionally expedient for them to do so.

So, if I believe all the above: that all forms of life hold value and should be respected and protected, I consider myself pro-life, right?  Yes, you are!  The question remains, “How pro-life are you?”

Are you pro-life when it is convenient for you?  Are you pro-life when you can control it?  Let me make myself clearer — where I am going with this…

What happens when my husband and I have decided we are done having children?  We like the number we have; we feel quite content with the number we have been given.  We want a specific spacing between the children we have.  What happens then when we have a “surprise” or “oops” baby?  How do I respond to the unexpected life — to the “inconvenient” life?  Do I still see it as having worth?  Do I still see it as life — a separate human life with great value?  Do I treat it with respect and with care?  I may have a good cry and be surprised, and that is okay, but what is the end conclusion/the result?  What is my official response to the unexpected/”inconvenient” lives that have been entrusted into my care?  How pro-life am I really?

Maestro of My Soul

I’ve been thinking about sounds…  Sounds fill my world from sun up to sun down and in between as well.  Some days, I feel that I am hearing a constant cacophony of sound.  The sounds aren’t always peaceful.  I want to imagine that my world is full of peaceful, harmonious sounds.  I want to dream that I smile and laugh all day, that my kids smile and laugh all day, that my husband smiles and laughs all day, that my world smiles and laughs all day.  Some of the sounds though are discordant.  I want to squelch those sounds.  I want to just dispose of all that is unpleasant.  I don’t want reminders that this world can be ugly at times.

I start to become depressed.  My feelings are telling me that I am ineffective, unimportant.  So much deafening noise — noise surrounding me but mostly noise inside me, the noise of defeat.

There are sounds everywhere.  I can hear sounds even in the stillness.  I can hear the joyful sounds of children playing and laughing or babies giggling.  I can hear the sounds of a friend’s voice — one I haven’t spoken with in years.  Pleasant sounds!  I can hear my husband coming home — relief always comes with that sound!  I can hear the song of grace, whispering to me or crashing into a wild crescendo of unrestrained joy.

In recent days, I have heard mostly the discordant sounds.  Children fighting.  Angry words.  Irritable thoughts.  I wish I could just curl up and close myself off for a few days.  That’s not happening though when you’re a mom and wife.  God asks me to keep playing the music, even in my weakness, in the dissonance.

…keep playing the music.

I don’t have poetic words of beauty or profound words of wisdom in these moments.  I do know though that regardless of my ability to hear it at the time, life’s music is playing all around.

My life is writing a symphony, directed by the Maestro of my soul.  Each part of my day plays a musical score.  There are the deep bass notes but running alongside and trilling above are also the accompanying high notes.  The music swirls, ebbs, and rises again.  What music do I choose to hear?  What music is my life playing?

The conductor of my soul directs.  Do I follow?  What is the music of my soul?

The beauty is not in the weakness.  The beauty is found in playing His music even in my weakness.  I may feel inadequate, defeated. 

I may not see how the musical score of my day plays into the symphony of my life, but every sound my soul makes is its own musical score.

When I follow the Maestro of my soul, the music is harmonious, glorious, melodious.  When I refuse to accept defeat, to be silenced/when I play on, the musical score of grace soars, harmonizes, creates beauty within my life.

My weak soul waits, watches, follows, and hears the musical score, ponders its grace, and plays onWhat is the symphony of my soul?

Silent Homage

The other weekend, I attended a funeral of a man who was a very dear father, husband, and friend to many.  Everyone who knew him respected him as a man who was wise, gentle, kind, and led his family with loving leadership.  As I followed the funeral procession for this godly man, my heart was touched by the tradition of allowing a funeral procession to pass while traffic waits.  I thought it was special to see the respectful acknowledgment that society gives to the ending of an earthly life.  It was a silent homage.  The internment was also respectful quietness, except for a short but nice “message.”

As I drove through the cemetery, I beheld the beauty.  Barren branches hung above brown grass of winter.  Shadows stretched from stately tombstones.  Clouds blew overhead.  Nearby, life moved along.  People went about their day, shopping, eating, playing, working…  Here, in the cemetery, I was one of the few who had not driven away yet, contemplating the stillness.

This earthly life of mine too shall end.  Transient.  Evanescent.  I paused.  Saw beauty even here at a cemetery.  Felt the sun’s warmth, as its rays broke through the clouds.  Eyes looked up, following rays.  Pondered that this life isn’t my final destination.  The season was winter, and the grass was brown.  The trees were barren.  Yet, unseen to the naked eye were stirrings of life beneath the hard soil.    Spring is coming, and with it will be new life.

The body of a godly man had entered a season of “rest”.  Yet, for such a Christian man, death is only the passageway from this earthly life to a fuller Heavenly life.  Here, we think we know life.  We breathe air, and it is life.  We touch the velvet petal of a flower, and there is life.  We hear the trickling of rain on the roof, and there is life.  We smell the pungent odor of wet soil, and there is life.  We taste the tangy nectar of a Clementine, and there is life.  We see life here.  Yet, what we see here, what we experience is perhaps more a shadow.  C.S. Lewis once called this the “Shadowlands”.  I am inclined to believe he was quite right in his analysis.

One of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts, says the following: “All beauty is only reflection.  And whether I am conscious of it or not, any created thing of which I am amazed, it is the glimpse of His face to which I bow down.  Do I have eyes to see it’s Him and not the thing?  Satan came in the scales that gleamed, a thing of beauty, and he lured the first woman and she was deceived.  Beauty, the disguise, can slide dangerous.  True, authentic Beauty requires of us, lays claim to us, and it is this, the knees bent, the body offered in obedience. …Do I have eyes to see His face in all things so I’m not merely dazzled by the trinket, glitzy bauble dangling for the ogling, till it flakes and breaks and I strain for more to lie prostrate before?”  The book says in just a few pages before, “How I want to see the weight of glory break my thick scales, the weight of glory smash the chains of desperate materialism, split the numbing shell of deadening entertainment, bust up the ice of catatonic hearts.  I want to see God, who pulls on the coat of my skin and doesn’t leave me alone in this withering body of mortality…”  And again, “What is this that I feel sitting here, coursing through me relentless, hot, ardent?  I have to see God beauty.  Because isn’t my internal circuitry wired to see out something worthy of worship?  Every moment I live, I live bowed to something.  And if I don’t see God, I’ll bow down before something else .. nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature. .. How we behold determines if we hold joy.  Behold glory and be held by God.  How we look determines how we live … if we live … Faith is in the gaze of the soul.  Faith is the seeing soul’s eyes upon a saving God … Faith is the seeing of eyes that find the gauze to heaven torn through; that slow to witness the silent weight, feel the gold glory bar heavy in palm…”  Still more, “The only place we have to come before we die is the place of seeing God.”  Pages before: “Dusk and all the arching dome and the field and the great-bellied moon, it all heaves, heavy with the glory.  I heave to breathe: The whole earth is full of His glory.  Sky, land, and sea, heavy and saturated with God.”

Perhaps, this explains more the connection between the “shadows” and the reality: “Isn’t this the crux of the gospel?  The good news that all those living in the land of the shadow of death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun.  That suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart — and mourning and dancing are movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty.  Can I believe the gospel, that God is patiently transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son? …Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things — take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness. … All is grace only because all can transfigure.”  Another quote from the same source, “Out of the darkness of the cross, the world transfigures into new life … It is dark suffering’s umbilical cord that alone can untether new life.”

I have left the cemetery with its reminders of death and life.  I write upon another page of my own life.  Fingers still.  Thoughts quiet.  I ponder.  I worship before the Creator of Life.

“Freeze Frames of Thanks”

I recently read a quote that I just love in one of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts: “…unfolding of a chronicle of grace, our life story in freeze frames of thanks.”  I loved the metaphor!

Just as a camera zooms and then focuses in on a moment of life and then captures it to preserve for future remembrance, so we too can train our hearts to focus in on each detail of life/those moments of grace and then capture them in “freeze frames of thanks.”

How do we capture these moments when life seems so fleeting?  How do we treasure and “freeze” these moments of grace to recall in future remembrance?

How do we even stop to savor, to touch, to breathe, to listen?

Another quote from the same book I previously referenced said, “…the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life … God gives us time.  And who has time for God? …Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me.  I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry.  But a thousand broken and missed things … lie in the wake of all the rushing…  I thought I was making up time.  It turns out I was throwing it away … in our rushing … we break our own lives.  Haste makes waste … The hurry makes us hurt.  And maybe it is the hurt that drives us on?  …The longer I keep running, the longer the gash, and I drain, bleed away.  Hurry always empties the soul. …The real problem of life is never a lack of time.  The real problem of life — in my life — is lack of thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks — take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks — and He miraculously makes it more than enough. …I am mother-tired, but when my soul doth magnify, my time doth magnify. …when I swell with thanks and weigh the moment down … it’s giving thanks to God… that multiplies the moments, time made enough.  I am thank-full.   I am time-full.”

So in these moments of real life, I seek to capture/to focus on each picture of grace — moments of grace that only a heart of thanksgiving can fully see.  It is this focus that captures, that magnifies the grace and then helps me to see its Source. 

What about all the pain too?  What about the sin?  What about my own sin?  Do I gloss over the pain, the tragedies, the darkness in my heart?  Again, the book I am reading wrote, “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living. … in the vein and the visceral: life is loss.”  It’s true, isn’t it?!  The more my senses are amplified, the more I see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.  Life isn’t just a “Pollyanna moment.”  It’s pregnant with both joy and pain.  Yet, this life is still a gift.  It is a measurement of my heart.  It is the only legacy I will “write.”

How do I reconcile the pain with the joy? 

Does the joy negate the pain?  No.  I believe the pain though can be the dark lines that contrast the beauty of the lighter colors.  In photography, it takes the perfect balance of light and darkness/contrasts to produce a replica of a moment in all its fullest beauty.  I feel the pain.  I see the pain.  Yet, to fully live, to fully love, I also see the joy and feel the joy.  I learn to “zoom in” on the minutest details of each moment of grace with a mind-set/heart-set of thanksgiving. 

With the “lens” of grace, I pause/I “weigh down” life’s moments with thanksgiving and feel the joy.  Here are just a few of those moments from me over the past few days:

103. Baby sleeping 8 hours straight

104. Husband letting me sleep in

105. Breakfast in bed

106.  Pattering of little feet across the floor below

107. Warm shower

108.  Baby kisses

109. Laundry tumbling in wash machine

113.  Fellowship with friends

120. Bills paid

125. Jonathan’s love note

127. Playing games with my boys

130. Pristine snow… freshly falling, blanketing the earth

143. Footprints in the snow

157. Warm, tapioca fluff

186. Heart-shaped Dunkin’ Donuts for everyone

191. My kids allowing me to sleep in

196. Dancing and singing with my kids in the driveway last night … doing the unexpected

198. Boys who still ask me to sit with them on Wednesday night song times

199. Boys who jostle me, trying to fit on my lap while I read stories

200. With laughter, watching my boys pull their sister around on a toy truck

202. Playing Checkers with Will

203. Personalized Valentine card from Husband

204. The little ways he romances me, like taking a straw wrapper to form my name

205. Newly-framed pictures of my family on walls

I am learning…  still learning, but this “heart-set” is helping me to see how each breath I take is full of grace!

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Dirt, Defeat, Death, Darkness or Light, Life, Love, & Laughter!

There are so many days in the life of a mom where I get “lost” or buried under my piles of negative thoughts, feelings, and even actions at times.  Times when I allow myself to wallow in feelings of pity and irritation because mud was just tracked across my clean floor again!  My dishwasher broke down so now I have piles of dishes — either clean or dirty sitting on my counters. Because my wash machine broke, and I am going to run out of clean underwear within a day.  My boys’ wild energy is driving me crazy.  The boys have diarrhea and keep leaving and making disgusting messes.  My husband is working late and helping an elderly lady so I don’t have his help with putting the boys to bed.  I should be thankful — thankful that my husband works so hard and is thoughtful like that.  Why do I choose the ways of darkness at times: choosing anger, whining, irritation, impatience rather than the paths of light: gratefulness, compassion, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and love?

Why do I see the “earthiness” of motherhood?  The poopy underwear, muddy floors, dirty diapers, dirty windows, broken appliances, inconveniences of life?  Why do I choose such ways of defeat and darkness?  Why do I focus on the past — that which is dead?  Instead, I should focus on the gift of the present: God’s grace to overcome defeat, darkness, and death!

Motherhood is “heavenly”, “eternal”, “supernatural” in its ramifications!  Why do I not see that in wiping dirty bottoms, cleaning refuse and mud, I am meeting a more eternal purpose?  The end result is not a clean child and house!  It is not even having a happy child!  It is not having a happy, fulfilled, or stress-less life!

Instead of focusing on the physical mud and dirt, I need to clean the “mud” from my heart and thoughts — the parts of me that I have not allowed God’s grace to “clean.”  Instead of looking through the cloudy/finger-smudged windows, I need to realize that it is really my spiritual “sight” that is dimmed.

This life is physical, but it is also so much more!  There is a spiritual life being lived at the same time — with far greater impact; for it is eternal!

Lord, clean the dirty “panes” of my soul, clean the refuse of old sinful habits and attitudes from my heart.  It is your grace I need to flood this heart of mine and to make it what it ought to be.

Manning It Without The Man

So this is the second time within the past three weeks that my Man has been gone for a good part of the week.  In a three-week period, he will have been gone 9 of those days.  So here I sit taking a few more minutes to finally blog since I am not spending those minutes with my dear husband.

Yes, that does mean all four of my kids are sleeping sweetly in their beds.  Boy, do they ever look sweet when their faces are relaxed in restful pose, their eyelashes are curling on their cheeks, and all is calm.

Here we are half-way through the month of October, and I am finally blogging again.  Life just doesn’t slow down.  It reminds me of a movie I love called Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. In that movie, the heroine tries to jump on a galloping horse time and time again and keeps falling repeatedly.  I feel like that’s me, trying to jump on to the runaway horse of time.  Phew!  Well, I caught it for a few minutes.  So, let me give you the “run-down” of what these past three weeks have been like.

Besides having Jonathan gone and missing him like crazy, I have done all those normal activities that you all do too and would find boring to read about so I will spare my readers the whole list.  Suffice it to say, I’ve had my frustrating moments, my times when I have had to quickly apologize to the boys because Mommy was being quite “cross”.  I’ve had to be reminded by the Lord a few times that my kids are more important than messy floors — floors that I had finally just mopped a short time prior to their return to messiness.  Some days, I really do wish I could work my way out of a job.  Okay, not really.  There are just days I wish I could enjoy the fruits of my labors for just a wee bit longer.  I mean it would be nice to sit back for a few more hours and just enjoy the clean floors, vacuumed rugs, sparkling bathroom.  Uhm…, but then that would mean I wouldn’t have little people running around…  So, yeah, I really would take the messiness with the running feet of children over the cleanliness of an empty home.  Some day, I will have a clean house for Jonathan and I to enjoy for days at a time.  In those days, I am sure that there will be times when I will long for the happy sound of dirty/messy children.  Lord, why do I need to be reminded of your blessings repeatedly?  Why do I get my priorities so wrong so many times and hear that desperate quality creeping into my tone of voice and feel myself beginning to “unravel” in trying to keep a clean house?

Trying to fill the role of Mommy and Daddy is a bit overwhelming at times because well Daddy does his role so well, and well, I am just not Daddy.  I have tried to make these past few days special.  On Tuesday after the boys’ soccer practice, I took the boys to the park , after loading their bikes and helmets into the van.  The boys had a blast, and my time was quite rewarded by their heart-felt thanks.  Wednesday was Bible study so that day went quickly, but the boys spent about two hours with their aunt while I went to my optometrist appointment.  Tonight, I used a free movie rental code and was able to get a fun kid’s movie, which I allowed the boys to watch while eating popcorn.  Oh, we also spent a few hours playing games and reading aloud.  I’ve also made lots of cheap and kid-friendly meals.  The great thing is that their favorites are also easy to fix and clean up afterwards.

Since Daddy is supposed to be back tomorrow evening, the boys helped me get some cleaning done today as well.  I was thrilled to get the van cleaned, the fish tank cleaned, laundry caught up, dusting and vacuuming done, and to clean bathrooms.  Oh, that’s right, I promised no boring details.  Let’s just say, I accomplished some of my big goals so that is always satisfying.  Of course, I know our van will be dirty again the next trip we take, but it will take a few more months of food scraps and garbage accumulation before we reach what we had prior to my cleaning.  I confess, I am fairly good at keeping up with the house but lacking when it comes to the vehicles.  Anyone else have that problem?  I should add that Will was a great help with cleaning the van.  He helped gather garbage, wipe down the dash-board, and vacuum too.

School’s been going well with the boys this year.  I am very thrilled with how they are all taking off with reading.  Even Luke is starting to read simple words.  I really need to work more with that boy.  He is one smart kid!

Olivia wants to keep up with her brothers.  She thinks at four-months that she only needs two very short naps.  When I say short, I really do mean short.  They are often half an hour to an hour.  Once in awhile, she’ll go longer.  The rest of the time, she wants to be right in the middle of everything.  She loves it when I hold her and read to everyone.  I think though my favorite part of my day with her is when I get her in the morning, and her entire face almost splits in half as she attempts to charm the socks right off me.  Yup, she sure knows how to charm us all!  The boys keep asking if we are going to have more girls.  I keep telling them to just enjoy their sister as much as possible.  I am following my advice — enjoying her as much as possible.  I love to just hold her and look into her beautiful face and to see how much she adores me.

Talking about adoration though, I know we aren’t to make a god out of anyone, but I think it’s okay to say that I adore my husband!  I have always known how much I love and appreciate him, but having him gone just reminds me all the more.  The first day he was gone, I received a card in the mail from him that he had ordered and sent a personalized message in it.  I was so delighted!  He is always doing thoughtful things like that, showing me in so many ways how much he loves me.  I love the fact that marriage to him just keeps getting better and better!  When you are married to someone who loves the Lord, loves you, loves your kids, what more could you ask for?  I love the fact that we can still have a sparkle just looking at each other, that we can tease each other over ridiculous things but still find them hilarious, that we can pray together, that we can cry together, that we can share looks and know each others thoughts, that we can simply enjoy being together, that we have fun working together, that we share kids together, and that we are forever committed to each other.  There is so much security in that — so much for which to be thankful when I know that we are both committed to each other no matter what.  That doesn’t mean there haven’t and won’t be tough times ahead, but I want it to always be said that Amy adored her husband … always.

God’s been reminding me of how much He adores me.  It’s so humbling and so convicting!  I recognize how much my love for Him needs to grow!  My prayer lately has been, “Lord, bring revival to my heart and to my home.”  I want people to meet us and immediately sense the love of the Lord, His presence.  So, if you think of me, pray for that.

It’s getting late so I think I will turn off the lights and thank the Lord for His help while I have been “manning” the home-front without my man.  Thankful that God is always with me — forever and always!

Life On A Merry-Go-Round

Lately, I have had plenty of days when I feel like life is being lived on a merry-go-round.  You know the kind that spins you so fast that you hang onto for dear life so you don’t fly off.  Many days, I feel like I am not only holding on for dear life but also trying to hold onto my four kids at the same time.  Yup, life gets a little crazy at times.  I can tell this is true because I rarely find time to FB, and I haven’t blogged for awhile.  Both of those things are something I do as “my time” — when everything else has been done for the most part.  Facebook is my only social connection to the world outside of church so I keep up with it or try to.  Blogging is important to me because it helps me actually recall and hopefully preserve special memories with my kids.  Someday, I hope to publish my entries for the kids to read when they are older.  I know that I will at least want to read them again and recall what these days were like.

So what has life been like since the “summer” ended and school began?  Well, let’s see.  I try to begin my day with devotions, nurse Olivia, try to get a shower in so I can feel somewhat awake, get breakfast fixed for everyone, sit down at FB while I eat my breakfast, start a load of laundry, remind the boys to get dressed and to make their beds, get the boys started on school-work, get Luke out of trouble, entertain Olivia, help the boys with school-work, process laundry, make a quick business phone call, hand out snacks, answer more school questions, nurse Olivia again, give Luke something else to do, work with Drew on his phonic’s lesson while Will plays with Luke, gather everyone together for our read-aloud time (Bible, history, science, story-time), send the boys out for recess while I prepare lunch, call everyone in for lunch, eat, clean the kitchen a bit, process more laundry, work with Will on his reading lesson, get Will and Drew situated, read to Luke and put him down for nap time, separate the boys to their own locations for quiet time, nurse Olivia, if time (has happened maybe three times this month) try to catch a 15-minute nap, play with Olivia, pay bills, process laundry, start working on supper, get snacks for awake boys, clean up from school, grade papers, check e-mails from Daddy/Jonathan, organize, check supper, get Luke up, nurse Olivia, try to situate her, set table, welcome Jonathan  home, finish supper preparations, sit down for supper, eat, put away food, clear table, play a short family game, get the boys to clean up play areas, help the boys prepare for bed, pack Jonathan’s lunch, make sure he has clean and ironed clothes for work the next day, feed the fish (third time for the day), clean the fish tank if needed, give the fish its medicine, clean Olivia’s food and apply medicine (second time for the day), give Olivia her medicine (second time for the day), feed Olivia, prepare materials for boys’ schooling for the next day, straighten house, empty trash cans at some point in the day, gather any dirty laundry, check FB quickly before Jonathan uses the computer, eat ice cream with Jonathan while we chat a bit, head upstairs for bed, read a little while he has devotions, nurse Olivia again, get her to bed, prepare myself for bed…  Sleep!

Boring enough?!  There are also the doctor’s visits, trips to the pharmacy, trips to pick up lab work, trips to the grocery store, trips to the auto mechanic, trips to the Salvation Army to make donations, trips to soccer practice, and trips for Luke’s play-group/school time.  There are field trips…  Life just moves right along.  Of course, there are discipline issues and playing a referee while my boys try to define their “territories.”

I wish I could hold onto some of these moments more.  Every time, I look at Olivia I try to just “soak” her in — savor each precious moment I have to kiss her adorable chubby cheeks, to blow on her belly, to babble baby talk with her, to simply rock and  hold her.  I just love my babies!

I wish I could hold onto these moments longer when Lukey comes up to me and asks for a kiss and when he declares, “I just love my ‘Livvia’!”

I wish I could hold onto the moments when Will knocks on my door in the morning because he wants a hug or when he presents me with a creative craft that he designed just for me.

I wish I could hold onto when Drew succeeds in his reading lesson and laughs when I squeal with delight!

I won’t miss the tempers, fighting, and disobedience, but I will miss these days when my kids are still young and little and still mispronounce words in an adorable manner.

In this “Merry-Go-Round” of life, I want my kids and I to be roaring with laughter and having fits of giggles as we spin around while hanging on for dear life.

Words of Wisdom

I have been reading the book, A Woman’s High Calling, by Elizabeth George.  A quote I came across in her book today said, “Wisdom keeps her eye on her heart, on her homefront, and on heaven.”

She gives the following examples of life that we need to balance to be wise women:

Spiritual life — loving God first and foremost, with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27)

Family life — loving and serving those at home first (Titus 2:4-5)

Home life — taking good care of the place where our loved ones live (Titus 2:5)

Church life — discovering, developing, and using our spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:7)

Physical life — making sure the “vessel” — the body — is fit and able to serve the Lord and others (I Corinthians 9:27)

Social life — fitting in time for friends and neighbors (Proverbs 18:24; Luke 10:27)

Financial life– being a wise steward of what God has given us (Matthew 25:21)

Mental life — using our mind to grow and to glorify God (Romans 15:4 and Psalm 19:14)