Listening and Learning

Oh Chocolate. It’s so delicious. But not always…Today, Annika ventured into the baking world with very little help from me. She wanted to bake some brownies for the teacher she had last year. Living right across the street from the school has its benefits, even with homeschooling. It provides the opportunity to wave when we see the faces of people we know, and sometimes the chance for an appropriately distanced visit. Today was one such day. So Annika made a batch of brownies, with me giving her instructions on ingredients and taking it out of the oven. At one point after she mixed the butter and cocoa, before the sugar was added, she asked if she could lick the chocolate that she accidentally got on the back of her hand. Teachable moment. I told her I wouldn’t because it really wasn’t good. Then I told her she could if she wanted to, but she would regret it. Oh my. Her eyes got wide and she said how awful it was. I pointed out maybe next time she might trust what I am saying. She quickly agreed, chugged some water and proceeded to wash her hands, stir in the sugar, and tell Elijah to never make the mistake she just did.

I think we have a tendency as humans to not easily trust anyone besides ourselves. Yet, we need to remember to trust God.(that said, it doesn’t hurt to listen to others who have gained knowledge and wisdom through their experiences, either.) The Bible is a great place to look for insight, filled with so many words of wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Hebrews 4:12 tells us “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” What’s even more special is that God sent us Holy Spirit for all who receive Jesus as Lord, and He opens our eyes to understand what His Word says. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

In other “news,” it has been a fun week with Daniel. He has been doing so well with his therapy, I caught a few videos of him working. You can view one of the videos here. Daniel also has molars coming in, so he has been extra spit-happy. He looks at it, plays with it, flings it around and rubs it on me.

Oh, the spit.
Elijah thriving with his work
He said wearing his hat like that made it look like he was wearing a helmet.
Annika displaying how pretty and delicious water can be.

Its incredibly important to trust God and listen to His instruction, especially when life takes you in directions you were not planning to go. It’s vital to lean in to Him. Even when you don’t see the big picture, you can know the One who does. You may have to go through things you don’t want to go through, experience harder circumstances than you ever imagined. But He never turns a deaf ear, and He always answers. Sometimes the answer is rescue, sometimes it’s Him closing the Lions mouths, and sometimes it’s going through the fire. But He never abandons or ignores you. Daniel 10:12 says “Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, (your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”

No matter what you are going through, listen for God’s voice. praying you will be filled with renewed hope and joy. Be blessed, and as always, feel free to like, comment or share.

Trusting God in the Wilderness

The last couple of days have been beautiful (but still quite brisk) here in the Pacific Northwest. But we have still made it a point to get out and enjoy absorbing some of that natural vitamin D. Sunday afternoon found us listening to the Polaha Chautauqua on gratitude, and even joining in for a few minutes that can be seen here. Following the Chautauqua, we had a fun family game night. We played a game of Clue while entertaining Daniel and keeping him from pulling everything off the board. We finished off the night with a pot of fresh, homemade tomato soup.

Yesterday was an interesting time of working through some obstacles with Elijah and Daniel. A lot of task avoiding by both of them was observed. We ended up going outside for awhile to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine before getting the rest of the schoolwork done. Finally, after much procrastination and fits had by Elijah, he finally sat down with Jarrod to do his math. Of course, once he did, he discovered it was nowhere near as difficult as he had been making it out to be in his own mind.

Hugging sis is way more important than work.
Sun came out to play
Sun is out, so we are out

Sharing on the Chautauqua and discussing gratitude had me reflecting on one of our recent seasons of dryness. It was certainly not our first dry spell. I think I have shared before that at one point we were living out of somebody’s basement because Jarrod and I had both lost our jobs, and thus had no income to pay for rent. But God brought us through it. He has brought us through so many hard things, in all areas of life. It leads me to thinking back to these passages. “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” We don’t need to worry about going hungry, either. Jesus Himself reminds us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear. (Matthew 6:25) It is also important to remember He blesses the work of your hands. When you rely on Him and submit to His will, He causes His favor to shine on you. So many passages come to mind. This one sticks out right now, when talking about going through a dry spell. “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.” Deuteronomy 2:7. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19. This verse also serves as a good reminder that when you feel completely wrung out like a dish rag, completely worn out-you aren’t alone, and even if it feels dry and weary, He is going to bring that refreshing water and end the dry spell.

Today had Daniel being very quiet, with the veins in his face much more pronounced. This is not the first time it has happened, and it always makes me a little nervous. It’s not the same as when he has a seizure, but it still causes us to pause and pay close attention. Gadget seems to bring him comfort in times like this, which is amazing. The cats have always been incredibly affectionate towards him, even when he has been incredibly rough towards them.

Not great lighting, but those veins still stand out
Always has the kitty loves

If you are going through a dry spell and feeling like you are alone, lift your gaze towards the hills, just as David did. Look up to heaven, towards Jesus and rely on Him. Reflect on all the ways He has shown up to give you Manna in the wilderness in the past, and trust Him to do it again. Praying you are filled with renewed Hope and the joy only His Presence can bring. As always, feel free to like, comment or share across social media.

(As an FYI, many of the posts have links embedded in them when I am referencing something. If you see an underlined word, you can click on it and it will pull it up. 🙂)

Gratitude Grows

If you have been reading my blogs for awhile now or have watched some of my videos on social media, hopefully you have caught an underlying thread. I’m talking about gratitude. Being thankful. I went into some specifics in the last few posts, as well as in my post Entering With Thanksgiving, but upon hearing that we will be having another discussion on gratitude this Sunday in the Polaha Chautauqua, I decided I wanted to share some more.

Why share more? Because while I know God blesses me because He is good and that the people who have blessed us aren’t doing these things for recognition, I want to share how grateful I am. I want to share because the Word tells us to dwell on things that are good and lovely. It also tells us that a cheerful heart is good like medicine. When you keep adding gratitude upon gratitude, it makes it easier to recognize all the many blessings in life. Once you recognize how much you have to be grateful for, it changes your entire outlook on life. It’s like throwing a small pebble in to a pond and watching how the ripple spreads and widens.

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors God. Such a beautiful reminder.

Over the past week, the kids and I have been talking more about all of the different things we are grateful for. We are so thankful for those who speak truth and life into others, like pastors and mentors. My heart is so thankful for the nurse that let me hold Elijah for twice as long as we were “allowed” on the day I was discharged from the hospital and had to leave my precious baby behind. I am so thankful for the countless people who brought us meals during that time, who watched Annika. Thankful for the grocery store manager who essentially created a position for me when I wanted to go back to work since Annika wanted to go to preschool. I was only able to work for two months before we ended up moving across the state, but I loved that experience and the wonderful managers and coworkers I had. We are thankful for the specialists that have worked with all three of my kiddos, the lasting friendships that I have made with some of Elijah’s specialists are incredibly valuable. Thankful for the prayer meetings I have with a sister in Christ. Thankful for the family and friends who check on us to make sure we are okay, who offer to pick up anything we might need. For the (out of state) friend who ordered dinner to be delivered for us when there was a snag in Jarrods paperwork and we didn’t get paid. For the people who treat my kids to special times and adventures. Thankful for the Chautauqua introducing me to so many beautiful people, including some of the most encouraging people. (I don’t want to risk listing names and leave anyone out, but you know who you are!) Thankful for the opportunity I have had to connect with so many families who have gone through or are going through similar things with special needs children. Thankful for the long time friends that are family, who speak to my heart. Thankful that my kids continue to grow stronger and beat what their diagnosis would claim over them, every day. I am so thankful for moments with my one girl, my first born. We get to have the most special bonding time watching movies together, just the two of us.

Prader Willi Syndrome can’t hold Elijah back
Daniel continues to break free everyday from the trap inside his head.
Before and after watching Where Hope Grows. Highly recommend, though not suitable for all viewers.

The Bible is full of verses that remind us to give thanks. But it is also full of reminders why we are to give thanks. Psalm 107:1 tells us to give thanks because God is good, and His love is everlasting. Psalm 118:24 says “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Hebrews 12:28 says “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” I’m pretty sure I have shared this verse before as well, but 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” All circumstances. Though it is for sure easier to be thankful for the wonderful, happy things. What can you start with today? Pick a couple things to be thankful for, and watch the rippling effect that comes into your life. Praying for you this weekend, that you will have a sense of renewed Hope and joy, and learn to trust Jesus and believe Him in all things. As always, feel free to like, comment, or share.

Simple Pleasures

I had every intention of posting yesterday, but life. Yesterday we were all a little tired and groggy. At around 2am a rat must have set off a trap enough to be injured but not caught. I heard much running around, thumping and scurrying above my head for quite some time, making it very difficult to sleep. Apparently, I found out when the kids came down stairs, Elijah also heard it squealing and “crying.” it became obvious Daniel had not slept well, because towards the end of the day he was just laying down watching videos.

Not only tired, he’s huge!

I say the rat was injured and not caught because the exterminator came out again this morning upon the report of what we heard. The rat had taken the bait, but was nowhere to be found. So more bait was put in place, and additional traps set. It would be nice if the pests would just disappear.

Today, the kids have had much more energy. Therapy was a little awkward this morning due to the many interruptions, since we had both the exterminator and grocery deliveries. Over all, it was still a great session. Daniel had an absolute blast playing with a balloon. His look of sheer joy was adorable. I was able to catch a nice two minute video of him playing, in addition to a few shorter clips and pictures. Towards the end, he was definitely worn out.

So happy
Balloons are so fun
Definitely tired

He gets so much enjoyment out of the simple things. All three of my kids do. The older two were ecstatic over getting to talk to friends, have ice cream, go through a car wash and on a nice trip through the 5-mile drive at Point Defiance today. Annika still gets so excited for mommy daughter movie night. Tonight we are going to be watching Where Hope Grows for the first time-we have been told it’s a beautiful, feel good, tear jerker. (As a side note, in discussing that movie with Daniel’s therapist, she came to the discovery she actually HAS seen a movie with #KrisPolaha in it.) Annika also loves action movie time with both Jarrod and me. Last week it was Aquaman, this week may very well be the Doctor Who season one finale.

The joy of a car wash
Aquaman night

It’s important to pay attention to the way children can do that, find pleasure and contentment in the simple things. We can all learn a lesson from them. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 reminds us that “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” That isn’t saying you can’t enjoy nice things at all. The Bible is full of examples of God blessing those who are obedient with an abundance of nice things. But their hearts were not focused on wealth or possessions. Their hearts were centered on God and His will. Matthew 6:21 tells us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If you are always seeking the next best thing instead of learning to be content and thankful for what you already have, peace may be very difficult to find while stress may be waiting for you around every corner. That isn’t to discourage growth, hard work or excellence. It’s to encourage you to check your heart on what is motivating your actions. Never let the love of wealth and stuff to rob you of joy and contentment. (Luke 16:13 & Matthew 19:24)

I am keeping this post on the shorter side, keeping it simple. I have a sink full of dishes to wash and a dryer full of clothes to fold, plus some kids that need attention, so that’s adding to the desire to keep it brief. Praying that this week will bring you many simple pleasures to celebrate. Be blessed and filled with the Hope of Jesus. As always, feel free to like, comment or share.

In Diligence

Sunday and Monday brought about some wonderful moments. Sunday evening during the Chautauqua, I was able to see many faces I haven’t seen in awhile (as well as some new ones!) as we shared things we are thankful for. So many things! From the woman who survived a car accident in Texas during the snow and ice storm, another who just bought her house in Texas a few months ago and was able to maintain power when many around her lost theirs; the gentleman who is an administrator for a school district in Missouri who is thankful they are safely serving students and the dear friend in the UK who was grateful to share in her Bible Study this last week what love looks like to her now. Kris also took the moment to express his gratitude for his amazing wife, as well as express his thanks for the birthday surprises he received. It was such a beautiful time of discussion. Those who were able to participate live were even more grateful to have seen it as unfortunately, the session was lost when Kris’ phone died. He had plugged his phone in, but sadly the charger was faulty. I think that may have made that time a little more precious, a once in a lifetime experience.

Yesterday dawned with me thinking I was ready to take on the world, until I went up the stairs too fast. I’m feeling mostly back to norma, but finding my limitations a little frustrating. But I know slow and steady wins the race, so I will continue letting my body heal before I try pushing too much. I also realized yesterday that it has been just over a year since I wrote the post on the Pearl of great price. It wasn’t that long after that we started doing the Chautauqua that challenged me to be more diligent to write the blog posts, as well as introducing me to so many amazing people. On a separate note, yesterday found Daniel being quite goofy.

Backwards bear crawl
Always loves playing with sis
Last night while getting him ready for bed. I think it’s for sensory input??

This morning I woke up to something amazing. Not only had Annika already made it through most of her schoolwork, other than what I had to read and question her on, but Elijah was also already working on his math. They were both doing this work before they even had breakfast. They were just being diligent to get it done as soon as they could. It was fascinating. Once they were done, Annika started working on the story she is writing, and Elijah played top chef jr.-the kinetic sand edition. They just enjoyed their free time while Daniel was finishing his therapy session.

Time for fun

That had me thinking. How much richer life would be if we could all just be that self motivated and diligent. Notice, they aren’t working all day. They get done what they need to get done for the day, help when asked, but then the rest of the day is theirs. Proverbs 10:4 says “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” But even more than just work to provide for your family (which 1 Timothy 5:8 makes clear is very important), it is very important to do that which God has called you to do. John 6:27 says “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set his seal.”In John 4:34, just two chapters earlier, it says “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’” 2 Peter 1:10 gives the reminder “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” Let us be diligent to serve and obey God, to be His salt and light in the world, putting our best efforts towards anything we put our hands to. Let us be self motivated towards doing good, just like my kids did this morning, knowing that our prize is hearing the words “Well done, good and faithful one.”

As always, I pray that you are encouraged today. I pray you are filled with Hope and renewed energy. May you be filled with peace and a sense of purpose, recognizing your value. Feel free to like, comment or share.

When Things Get Crummy

We have all been there. Those situations that aren’t the end of the world, but they just aren’t pleasant. When somebody cuts you in line at the store, and you had already run into several delays-and now you have next to no time before you are supposed to be somewhere else. When you have just enough ingredients left to make supper, and then it burns. When you go to the store, come home and find out you didn’t realize you were out of diapers. Or maybe you are at the doctors, sitting in the car with your kiddo while you wait for your turn to see the chiropractor and your kid is just yelling at you…The only thing you can think of to describe it is “crummy.”

Or you could experience something similar to what happened to us this last week. A heavy rain came right as the snow was just starting to thaw. We heard something definitely larger than a simple small mouse crawling around in the wall. Jarrod immediately got on home advisor and booked an appointment for an exterminator to come out. The next day when I was in the bathroom, I heard what in the past I would have written off as just being hot water in the pipes behind the shower… but suddenly that squealing seemed more “animal” than pipes. I hit the wall right at the level I heard the sound. Then there was the sound of something falling and a thud. Whoops. What’s interesting is I actually used to have pet rats when I was a child. I loved my rats. I don’t remember Ginger and Cinnamon very well, they died when I was very young. But I remember Johnny. He was just the sweetest black and white rat. Then my sister got Princess, the albino rat. Then they had babies. Over 20 of them. I remember one day going into the play room (which was also where the rat cages were) and not seeing the rats in the cages. Turns out, Princess had pulled an escape for her and the babies… they were all through the toy bins. I’m sure my mom had fun going through all the boxes of toys to find the little baby rats. Beyond that, a picture exists somewhere of me surrounded by pigeons. We had taken a family trip to California, and while my sister was wanting a picture with the ducks we were feeding, I was enjoying the attention of the pigeons. They were perched on my arms and everything. I have always been a little odd in the animals I enjoy. My favorite bird for years was the raven… which basically just looks like a large crow. What can I say? But that doesn’t mean I want anything crawling in my walls, messing with our wiring, plumbing, or bringing pestilence! Thankfully, the exterminator has already come out. He said he saw evidence of one, maybe a second smaller rat at the most. Which is great, I had been under the impression that it is “never just one.” I guess we caught it before it got really bad!

But then, there is the positive side of something being crummy. Yesterday Daniel was wanting more crackers, but all that was left in the package were the crumbs. He didn’t care. He still wanted them! He moved them from one side of the table to the other, wanting his last little crumbs to be in his reach no matter where he sat. He wanted to savor every last crumb. Quite honestly, I think I do the same with brownies and cheesecake. We just want to enjoy every last morsel. That leads me to the story of the Canaanite woman who comes to Jesus in Matthew 15:21-28. At first, Jesus tells her He is only there for the house of Israel, that it is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the dogs. But then she says even the dogs get the crumbs. The leftovers. She was just asking for the tiniest morsel, whatever leftover blessing there was. She had the faith that just the slightest “crumb” would be enough to bring healing. She left with the words from Jesus that she had great faith, and her request was granted.

This is so very true. But we are given so much more than just crumbs. Sometimes we may need to change how we look at things, and maybe sometimes we may think it is just “small” things happening, but they build over time! Today I was reminded of many memories from a couple years ago. I had made a video reflecting on something from when Elijah was still quite young, as well as shared some thoughts on how far Daniel had come to at that point. I shared this earlier today on social media, but this was my post on Facebook two years ago. “I have to share how amazing this is. The graph shows the rate of “sounds” Daniel has made/makes. It’s number of sounds per hour. The vast majority of that is humming noises, not mouth open, tongue movement. In September it started out as less than ten an hour. That’s when he was frustrated and his only communication was screaming, for the most part. The dips on the graph are days where he was teething or extra tired, but for the most part, steady growth. Now this video represents the last few days! Actual syllable sounds, and his eyes indicate clear intention to communicate and engage with us! God is so good, early intervention is amazing, and Daniel works so hard!” I will show the photo and video that post referred to first, and then include a video from just the other night. Note the amazing growth, but it started small.

Rate of sounds
Daniel two years ago
Daniel just a couple nights ago

If you feel like things have been just “crummy,” keep hanging on. Look for the tiny little morsels of positivity, thank God for them. Keep up that habit, and before long, those crumbs are going to look different. I pray that as you read this, you will be blessed beyond measure, knowing you are treasured and loved. May you be filled with Hope! As always, feel free to like, comment, or share.

Legacy

Today has been filled with pockets of treasured moments. Today, Daniel had a great therapy session, with some plans put in place for more programs and goals. Daniel had a blast playing with blocks, though he still makes it clear that “mommy time” and tickles are his favorite. Jarrod had a rest day from the workout program and was able to do the history lesson with the kids (which did not please him, more people died), Annika and I were able to watch a movie together, wish Kris Polaha a happy birthday, and the #PolahaChautauqua was able to surprise Kris Polaha with a video of many people sharing birthday wishes, as well as having funds raised in his honor for the two organizations he has partnered with. (World Vision and HerArts in Action.)

Playing with blocks

This morning while working on the memory verse with Elijah, I had to point out to him that the Bible he reads everyday doesn’t have all the specific verses in it. He has been reading a children’s story Bible everyday, on his own without prompting. Sometimes I hear him reading it before I even get out of bed in the morning. That’s just how he reads-everything is out loud, not quietly to himself. It’s a wonderful one for him to be using, as it is more advanced than the Beginners Bible, but still broken up story by story as opposed to verse by verse. But he wanted me to show him this weeks verse in a Bible, so I thought it would be fun to show it to him in a few different translations. They are all worded a little differently, but all communicate the same thing. He was so excited to see them. It was also a special time for him to see that one was mine, one was his dads, and one was his great-great-grandma’s.

KJV, NKJV and NLV represented (As well as a printout of this weeks verse)
This weeks verse (John 16:33-Camille Eide’s most recent blog post inspired that choice.) Also special to see how my great grandma marked hers up similar to how I do:)
Exploring the different Bibles

Going through the different Bibles with Elijah was special for many reasons, one of them being that we get to share such a special legacy with our children. It reminded me of something I had posted February 23, 2020 on our Facebook page, Young Family Anchoring In. It was talking precisely about prayer, and teaching our kids to pray as being our legacy. I decided to go ahead and copy and paste that in here. “What legacy are you working to leave behind? For the last several years, ever since Annika was two, we have had the joy and honor of watching our kids pray for people. Sometimes they lay hands on people and pray over them, sometimes it’s praying while on the phone with them, sometimes they just ask to pray for them at bed time. Sometimes it’s people they know and love, sometimes it’s complete strangers when they hear about something hard happening. But it’s always their idea. What’s more, they always go boldly and confidently to the throne room of God, knowing they can bring their petition to Jesus because He will hear them. Because they know they don’t serve a miniature version of God, they serve the same God. They don’t have all the answers, they know that. But they know they can trust Jesus. They know Jesus hears them, they know Jesus died for them and rose again, they know Jesus answers and heals. Proverbs 22:6 says ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.’
What’s your #legacy? We are doing our best to raise #prayerwarriors, #kingdombuilders, and children of #faith and #integrity.”

That post still stands so true for us. Psalm 145:4 says “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Psalm 78:4 says “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” We want our kids to inherit a love for God, His Words, and the knowledge that He hears them when they call.

Matthew 6:20-21 says “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That is not to say don’t work hard, nor does it say earning good money is wrong. But that should not be your focus. I want to leave behind a legacy of faith. Not a facade of perfection, but of raw honesty. I want my children to know that I strive to follow Jesus and trust Him always. I want my children to hunger for His Words and have a heart to talk to Him and reach out towards others. So what legacy are you working to leave behind? Even if you do not have children of your own, there are people in your world that you have an impact on. What are your words and deeds directing them towards? As always, I pray you are filled with Hope and joy. May you be blessed. Please feel free to like, comment and share.

Changing Perspective

Yesterday morning had me pumped up and excited for getting back into the work out program. It was the start of week two, and I felt great after a nice rest day. When it was time to start with the reverse lunges, I thought to myself I needed to go into that lunge a little deeper. That proved to be problematic. Right away I felt an intense painful strain. But I thought I should just work through the pain. I had literally just started, it was the very first move. So I pushed myself through it. As I continued, I thought, as long as I was careful to not go down as far, it should be okay. When I was finally done, I was so relieved. I ended up caving and taking a couple naproxen, which is something I very rarely do. I eventually realized I also needed to ice and elevate my leg, because as the day went on and I continued to move around, the pain intensified. After the kids were in bed, I did my evening stretches and the foam roller, figuring at first it must just be muscular and needing to be stretched. As I continued, though, I realized it did not feel like the muscle at all. It felt like a tendon was being strained. Added to that, the stretches seemed to be amplifying the pain. When Jarrod got home, I told him I figured I may have to give my leg a day to recover just to be on the safe side. I’m at the point where I’m wanting that workout, I am enjoying pushing myself, knowing the reward will come in a healthier, stronger me. Jarrod went on and burst my bubble. He told me based on what I was saying, I needed to give it a week or more to truly heal and not cause further damage. He then went on to quote Bill Parcells and tell me “the best ability is availability.” After waking up this morning, I can definitely feel the difference between the pain from yesterday and the muscle pain that is normal to get after a workout. It is a very distinct difference, so I concede that Jarrod is right. I need to give my leg more time.

Taken when Elijah was three

From my perspective, having to wait a week or more to get back to my exercise program looks much like Elijah (age 3 at the time) did in this picture with the chocolate bar. It looks like he was eating a chocolate bar that was as big as him. In reality, he had just snuck a regular sized dove bar from the candy bar bouquet Jarrod and I had bought for Valentine’s Day. But with the angle of the camera, and how much closer the candy bar was, it gave the illusion of being an enormous candy bar. In reality, that’s all this delay is for me in the grand scheme of things. I am seeing something small as being so much bigger. I need to change perspective. 2 Peter 3:8 says “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and ta thousand years as one day.” A week or two to fully heal is not that long. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” What can I be learning from Him right now? What is He trying to teach me? 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says to “be patient with all men.” Sometimes it is easy to not include myself in that, but it says “all.” I am part of all. I need to be patient with myself. But how often do we easily lose patience with ourselves? It is so easy to see our flaws and imperfections and get annoyed with them. But that is not healthy. If you are sinning and God brings conviction, yes, feel remorse and repent. But we can’t keep evaluating what God has made, which He called good, (Genesis 1:31) and calling it junk. Yes, we are called to obedience, to put off the old man, take up our cross DAILY, following Him and not living for our lusts. But we are not called to belittle every little thing about ourselves along the way. That leads to a path of destruction, not healing. It’s so easy to get distracted by the things that bog us down, to turn them into something so much larger than they are. But 2 Corinthians 4:18 reminds us “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” It’s time to shift focus. Pay attention to the things that matter. Yes, it’s hard to put things on hold. But I want to teach my kids to be patient with themselves, too. To teach them to not give up, so that they keep getting up instead of feeling like failures. I want to teach them to persevere through hardships. John 16:33 says “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I may have to hold off on my physical work outs, but that doesn’t have to shut down my over all growth.

Picture Annika just colored

Over the last few years, Annika would off and on say she wasn’t any good at drawing. She was wanting it to be perfect, frustrated with herself when it wasn’t her idea of perfection. Boy, can I relate. At her age, I did not like to draw because I couldn’t stand how things would turn out. Coloring in the lines I could do. But drawing or coloring free hand? It was too stressful for me. Annika loves arts and crafts though, so I kept encouraging her. Pointed out that the only way to get better is to keep practicing. Today, she came in quite pleased with a picture she had just colored. She even asked me to take a picture and post it to social media.

If you are reading this today struggling to be patient with yourself in any area, or if you aren’t being kind to yourself, I pray that you would stop. Realize that this life is a marathon, not a sprint. Athletes are always training, they know to fuel their body with the right nutrition, eliminate the toxins. They know when to push themselves and when to take a break. I pray that you would nourish your body with the Word of God, hydrate yourself by submerging in His presence through worship and prayer. I pray you eliminate the toxicity of negative thoughts and destructive mindsets from your life. Learn how to push yourself to get stronger, but also know when to take a break, to rest in the palm of His hand. May you be blessed and filled with the Hope that only He can bring. As always, feel free to like, comment, or share.

The Crying Children

Yesterday we woke to a world of beautiful white. The snow had fallen, blanketing everything, creating a nice winter wonderland. That had both positives and negatives from my perspective. On the negative, we had to cancel our chiropractic appointment that we had been looking forward to, and Jarrod had to call out of work and give up the overtime since he could not safely drive to work. On the positive side, Jarrod was able to have another day with the family to relax and have fun. We were all able to have a fun time in the snow, followed by coming inside and warming up with hot chocolate. I even thought to do an Instagram live to include others in part of our fun, and had a Chautauqua friend “join” along virtually. (So glad you were able to join in on our adventure, Bonnie!)

Fun in the snow!
Warming Up

After our fun time playing in the snow, Jarrod and I watched Mully on Amazon Prime. It was very moving, seeing the impact this man and his family made on all of these children in Kenya. So many orphaned children, and so many suffering and dying alone in the slums. But God touched the heart of a man, and he could no longer look past them. He used to be one of them. Jarrod and I were talking throughout the movie about what we were observing, and from our perspective, we would probably have done a few things differently. That said, we were not in the same position Charles Mulli was, and there is no denying the way God has moved through this family and prospered their ability to meet the needs of all of these children. It really is an inspiring story, free to stream on Amazon Prime. Scott Haze, you did an amazing job putting it together.

Yesterday was day five the workout Jarrod and I are doing, and it was by far the most intense. The entire body was worked, every muscle group hurt. I was tired, and man, I wanted to take an easy day. While we were watching Mully, Jarrod pointed out a pizza, and suddenly that sounded good. I both wanted it, AND did not want it. I knew it would be delicious, and so much easier if I could just order. But I also knew that it was not the healthiest choice, and we had just put so much effort towards our health that I didn’t really want to undo all of that hard work by a poor food choice. Of course, the snow removed the temptation. Everything was closed with no deliveries even possible due to the road conditions. Thank You, Jesus, for using the snow to remove temptation.

Instead of pizza, we made chicken salad sandwiches and a salad topped with red pepper, tomato, and olives. Daniel loved all of it so much he had thirds. This kid loves to eat, and he seems to have a bottomless tank. In fact, this morning he was so hungry he was crying for his oatmeal, but then shoving it away and not eating it. He must have had incredibly low blood sugar. I would ask if he was all done, and he would panic, saying he wanted more. This went on for awhile, and I admit I didn’t know what to do. He was crying and starting to hyperventilate, and suddenly it hit me to tell him we were going to count to 10 and then he would take a bite. I am sure it was Holy Spirit prompted, because it was exactly the thing that worked. We had to repeat this process for about half the bowl, but by then he was starting to feel the food hitting his stomach, and he started to happily take bites. He finished his oatmeal, he ate a cup of raspberry yogurt, a bar, and a cup of vanilla yogurt. Then he asked for a cheese stick. He was by then, much happier. But those tears. Hearing children cry is just so hard.

There is an episode of Doctor Who that has a line that was written very well. “What if you were really old, and really kind and alone? Your whole race dead, no future. What couldn’t you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the last of your kind, you couldn’t just stand there and watch children cry.” Mully wasn’t old, nor was he alone, but after God touched his heart, he couldn’t turn away from the children crying. It’s amazing to see what God had him do.

Children are amazing, and God loves them. All throughout the Bible, the love God has for children is poured out. God is very old, yet ageless and timeless. He was already there when He created the world. No beginning, no end, and there is no one like Him. He has no race. He created everything and there is literally nothing He can’t do. Psalm 127:3 says “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” My kids are for sure a reward. Annika is always trying to find ways to help and bless others. This morning I woke to find that Elijah had scooped the litter box before I got up, just to be a helper. This morning, as soon as Daniel had calmed down with food in his belly, he leaned over to give me a sweet kiss on the cheek. Mark 9:37 says “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but him who sent Me.” Children matter so much, God counts receiving them to receiving Him! Psalm 68:5 says “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” Matthew 18:2-3 says “And calling to Him a child, He put Him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Children are precious in the sight of God. Preserve their trust, help their faith blossom and grow. Don’t turn a blind eye on them, but instead reach out and nurture them, in whatever way you are able. What’s more, we are called to humble ourselves before God and be like children. Trust God, have childlike faith and wonder as you take in all the things He has done. I pray that you have a blessed day, renewed with Hope and challenged to love God without reservation. Know that you are loved beyond measure. As always, feel free to like, comment and share.

Kingdom Building

Snow in the PNW

Yowza. Today has been quite the day. Snow, in the Pacific Northwest. Not just that, but snow in our city of Tacoma? crazy. This morning there was only a light dusting, but it was enough that the company providing Daniel’s therapy had to cancel all sessions for the day. So we decided to just have a slow day. This evening there was a nice inch or so out on the ground. The kids were so excited to have a free day and the opportunity to rewatch a movie that they had originally watched with family friends in Idaho. Then because it was based on the real story of Sergeant Stubby, they decided to do a little more research on World War 1. So even though they had a free day, homeschool worked it’s way in organically. Daniel just hung out with them while doing his own thing. Interestingly enough, he made a point of telling me he was “reading books.” Please note, he pluralized it. No prompting. But he made sure I knew he was adding the “s.” He has been back to his normal active, happy self since he woke from his quiet time yesterday. No lingering issues from his absence seizure, thankfully.

Back to normal

Today Jarrod and I both had the chance to get our exercise in before he left for work. But let me tell you what, today took it up a notch. Jarrod said it was so intense that he felt like he was still sweating after his shower. I wasn’t much different, though I didn’t feel like I was sweating. Instead, my face remained flushed for three hours following. I ended up sending the friend that talked me into this program a message afterward-not to complain-but to share the feeling of exhausted accomplishment. I also confessed I haven’t taken so many soaks in the tub in years. In the past, I would normally soak in the tub maybe once a year. I think I am too tightly wound for it and just didn’t find it enjoyable. But suddenly with these workouts, my muscles need that epsom soak. I usually throw in a little Stress Away or cedarwood and lavender to ,to really ease the soreness. I am really looking forward to using that foam roller to night to ease these muscles, too.

My face today, talking to the “crazy person who signed me up.” Love ya, friend. Thanks for the nudge.

This afternoon, after taking care of a few errands around the house, I was so glad for the opportunity to sit down and watch this amazing interview that was done with Charles Mulli. It was a great conversation between Scott Haze (Jurassic World:Dominion, Mully), Kristoffer Polaha (who will also be in Jurassic World: Dominion) and Charles Mulli, as a precursor to the Facebook watch party for the movie Mully. It will be available on Amazon Prime as well as Facebook, for those not on social media. A good part of the dialogue centered around knowing who you are as a believer in Christ, prayer, reading the Word, and Kingdom living.

Great Episode

Kingdom living. That’s what Jesus taught so much on. It is what everyone who believes in Jesus is called to do. It’s what many of the pastors I love and value have been earnestly speaking about. One of my pastors ends services with a benediction and the reminder that “you are sent.” Sent out into a hurting world. Sent out to shine the light of Jesus. Sent to practice that kingdom living for all to see. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us we are ambassadors for Christ. Kingdom Living is some thing that the #PolahaChautauqua has also been talking about for the last six months. So what does that look like? The first step, we are told in Matthew 4:17
“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” and in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We can’t live the way we ought if we aren’t seeking God FIRST. Romans 14:17 tells us that the kingdom of God is of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Jesus also reminded us all the commandments can be boiled down to this- love God, and love man. What else are we to do? Jesus left His disciples with these instructions in Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Did you catch it? He told His disciples to make disciples. Those disciples would then be told to make disciples, and it continues to ripple out to us. A disciple is a student, one who works to learn as much as they can that they will be able to reflect what they have learned to others. That’s what kingdom living is all about, being a student who wants to reflect everything they learn from Jesus to the world. Being a light that points the way back to the one who saves and loves endlessly. He also told them He would be with them, always. We are not told to go it alone, or do anything on our own strength.

I pray that you will have a wonderful weekend and enjoy time with your loved ones. If you get the chance to check out Mully, go for it! If you think you want to know a little more before you watch the movie, check out this interview on Youtube. If you are feeling challenged to start kingdom living, just talk to Jesus about where to start. Ephesians 3:20 tells us “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..” He is able to do far more than we ask or think… I like to ask Him to help me a reflection His goodness and His active role in my life, and I pray that He grants me wisdom. Wisdom to teach my kids and raise them right. Wisdom to discern what next step He wants me to take. No matter what it is that you need, I pray that you ask Him and that you step out boldly, practicing that kingdom living.