Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moments with Mommy

Look who's been sneaking into my room early in the morning
hoping for some time alone with Mommy to share some stories?

How can I resist?

She just wants to be wherever I am.
Right next to me.
In the kitchen.
Folding laundry.
In the van.
At Costco.

It doesn't matter to her what I look like,
or how I feel,
or what I have to offer her,
she just wants to be with me.

Maybe that's what my Father meant when He said:
"Permit the children to come to Me;
do not hinder them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I say to you,
whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child
shall not enter it at all."
Mark 10:14, 15 (NASB)

Trust that He IS Love.
Thankful acceptance of all He gives....
no matter if it's pleasant or not.
Faith that He has a plan and is working that plan out when we don't understand it.
Sensing and understanding that God is way bigger than us,
and that as mere human beings we have limits on our perception and comprehension
of all that He is and all that He is in control of.
Pure contentment that He loves me just as I am.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Displaying the joy!!

I think children's art expresses such joy.
The colors.
The happy faces.
The stories found in each piece.
And my children generally ooze, art!
In my imagination, we have a lovely art studio in our home for all of our crafting supplies.
Complete with an area and wall space to display all of the things they create.

In my reality, I don't have such a space.
So the other day I decided to make a space to display several of the pieces the girls created at art camp last week.

Here's what I came up with.

Right on my kitchen window.
So as I'm scrubbing dishes or preparing something in the kitchen,
I can bask in the joy!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A gift of Grace

I don't know if you would remember that at the beginning of this year
A name that I wanted to express what I wanted to learn more about,
what I wanted to practice extending more of,
what I wanted to see was actually all around me.

Imagine my delight
when last week my oldest daughter came home from art camp
with a gift for me......

......that she had made all. by. herself.
She hand drew the flower onto the soft clay with a sculpting tool.
Then, looking at the flower, decided that it looked
So she stamped in the word

I hugged her and thanked her for such a meaningful gift,
when she didn't even realize how much it meant to me.

Random for her.
Specifically for me.

I put it on the shelf, temporarily, where I sit most mornings
in my "peace place."

Looking for more of this, 
learning how to show more of this,
in awe of His gifts all around me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Second Week of Summer Fun 2011

This last week my girls enjoyed several days at our local "Creative Arts School" for art camp!!
Last summer, our oldest artistic daughter enjoyed a week of that, and I wanted to try to make that happen for all our children who wanted to participate.
My  9-year old son wasn't interested in the least, but our 2nd and 3rd daughters were.
I wasn't sure how we were going to be able to afford art camp along with church camp, but early in May I found that the "Creative Arts School" was offering scholarships to those who were the first to apply!!
I sent our application in the next day and we got three scholarships!!

These were only partial scholarships that covered about 2/3 the cost of the camp, so it wasn't entirely free, but very doable!!

We also were able to visit our local state park which has a lovely beach area.
My children are part fish, so we had a blast and they were in the water for hours!!

Sorry there aren't more interesting pictures of our afternoon at the beach, but these children were seriously too far out in the water...the whole time!!

We've also been having such a heat wave in our area that it has been too miserable hot in the house to cook.
So I had to whip out an old favorite {which isn't a favorite of most of my children I learned!}:

Homemade root beer floats {for a crowd!!}

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First week of summer fun 2011 !!

Just a glimpse of some of the fun things were able to do together this week.
I don't have any pictures from VBS #1, but they all had a great time with their friends!!

We were invited to swim at a friend's HOA pool and the youngest were learning how to swim
while the older ones honed their swimming skills!!

The girls had their first sleepover of the summer to celebrate another school year completed!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The REST of the story....

I meant to finish the story from last week......last week, but that didn't happen.
So I want to tell you the "rest of the story."

You know, I'm awfully thick headed.
I mean.....sometimes I wonder how on earth I've made it this far in my life without having caught on to some things SOO much earlier.
How on earth did I NOT get that before??

In retrospect....something else happened last week BEFORE all the rest of those little catatrophes happened.
I was wandering around on facebook when I noticed a friend of mine mentioning that she had some diabetic supplies from her Type 1 Diabetic daughter that they were no longer needing, and she was looking to get rid of some of it.
I asked her a little more about what she had, and found that we could use as much as she wanted to share.
So, "out-of-the-blue" we were receiving some very expensive, yet very necessary items for our daughter that we hadn't even thought to pray about.
On the very same day our son got sick....the day after our van A/C went out.
At that moment, I thought it was rather peculiar of the Lord to gift us, provide items for us that, yes, we would need eventually, but were NOT the items that we NEEDED that day.
I don't know why, when this has happened to us in the past, I never saw it before.
But as I was working on this story, the Lord seemed to whisper to me:

"Those diabetic supplies....
though they came from Kathy,
they really were from me.
She was my hands that day.
I wanted you to know that I already know what you need.
I have everything under control.
If I can work in her heart to provide these things for you way in advance,
can't you trust me to have these other things taken care of too?"

The Lord has done this sort of thing so many other times for us.
But I'm such a learning disabled believer that I forget almost as soon as the crisis is over.

Those problems with our van?
The repair shop had harvested the parts needed for the annihilated clutch on the A/C compressor from other vehicles.
They didn't charge us for those parts....just the labor.
The noise from the tire?
Just required a rotation job.
That broken passenger chair?
They had tried to repair it before, so they repaired it again for good.....for free!!
And the total bill came just over the amount of a gift someone had given us for these repairs, and we had the extra amount on hand.
With some "creative financing" by my husband, the total cost was very doable.
Don't we have a Mighty God??
Thank you, Jehovah - Jireh {The Lord will provide}!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.

How's that for a pessimistic statement?
I don't usually try to highlight the obvious, frustrating parts of life, but that title just perfectly described my day yesterday.
Normally, I wouldn't even chronicle something like this because each step of the way got worse as we went along.
But I'm journaling here for my children, as a sort of "Ebenezer" if you will.
Marking things along the journey so I don't forget the goodness of God in our lives.
Those times when Jehovah God provided, or taught us, or carried us, or changed our course.

Tuesday evening I got a call from my husband, who had traveled 30 minutes away to a meeting.
"How's your prayer life?" he asked.
"Uh-oh," I laughed, "Did the van break down on you?"  {Always the first thing either of us think}
"No," he said, "but the air went out."
Now to some of you reading this, that may not be a really big deal.
But to those of us living in Texas where the daily temperatures are consistently in the mid-90's, it's a BIG deal.
That brings with it new challenges like bringing along extra clothes to change into once you reach your destination because your first set of clothes are drenched in sweat.
Re-doing make-up.
Frizzy hair.
Keeping six children hydrated so their little cheeks aren't beet red from the heat.
The whole nine yards.

Not exactly the best timing since we already put $2500 into this van in the early spring and there isn't a surplus in our budget for another hefty repair bill just 3 months later.

So we call our favorite auto repair shop and they aren't able to get to it until Thursday.
Okay. It's not a complete disaster to have to travel to church (30 minutes away) for just ONE trip without air.
It's more like an adventure!!
But Wednesday, June 1, our youngest son spikes a fever.
Which accompanied a two-day old croupy, seal-like barking cough.
After giving him some ibuprofen, he proceeded to fall asleep. On the floor. In the living room.
This child needs to see a doctor.
For the first time in three year {3}, he needs to see the doctor.

And what made this more of a challenge is that we are at the beginning of a small window of time where are health insurance is in limbo.
It changed that morning....June 1.
And we didn't have our new health insurance cards......or any information for that matter.

The next day, Thursday {the day we're supposed to take the van to be repaired}, I get up and call my husband to see if by chance the new cards had been issued that morning.
No such luck.
He sent me an email from the HR department with group names and numbers, but no ID numbers as we wouldn't officially be on this insurance.......until NEXT week!!
And THEN, as an added bonus, there was another email stating that there had been a misunderstanding by those managing our Med-flex accounts {HSA}, and that ours was one of only a few that had been mistakenly zeroed out!!
This hadn't happened to all employees, but we were one of the few....get this.....because our last name comes at the beginning of the alphabet!!!
So now, not only did I not have health insurance coverage.....I had no money {except our grocery money} with which to pay for the doctor.
First time in THREE years this child really NEEDS the doctor and all this!!
Two days ago?  No problem!!

Now we've been told to keep all the receipts for reimbursement, and that the HSA will indeed be reinstated, but what good does that do me TODAY since I now have to pay cash for everything?
Especially with car repairs on the same day?

Are you getting the title of today's blog now?

I only had to pay the co-pay for the doctor's visit {which was $10 more expensive than our previous insurance....just to add insult to injury!}.
But I had to pay full price for the GENERIC prescription.
For generic.
I had to swallow to keep from barfing on the pharmacy counter.
That's just a lot of money for us.....when I was anticipating the well advertised $4 generic!!

I am thankful though that we had that money available at that moment, and my son started his medication at lunch.

Then, it was time to drop off the van.
They had been wondering where it was since they expected to see it that morning.
I explained my morning to them, and expressed how I hoped they would have better news for me.
Ever get that "deer in the headlights look" coupled with the silence that is so loud all you hear is crickets?
That's what I got.
I think we ALL knew that this repair was not going to be cheap.

The manager offered to drive me back home in our van so he could hear and feel the problems for himself.
He decided to flip the A/C on even though I warned him that terrible things would happen if he did.

Ever see that episode of the Andy Griffith Show entitled "Barney's First Car?"
Where Barney Fife gets swindled by an elderly lady {who played Grandma on the Waltons} and ends up with a lemon. 
 By the time he and Andy get it home from taking it for a's a rattlin' and clankin':

Well, that's what our van sounded like when the manager turned the A/C on.
In fact, he pulled over, popped the hood, stuck his head under the hood, and drove us right back to the shop.

We held our breathe most of that night and this morning, waiting to hear how bad everything really was.

And you know what?

The Lord took care of usual........

But I'll finish the rest of this rather lengthy story tomorrow.....