Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sanctification. . . or "Someday I'll"

I often wonder if I really AM learning, growing, changing, becoming more like my Lord Jesus?

Sometimes I sense the Holy Spirit shutting my mouth and I actually obey! WOW! Other times it isn't until I've responded like my 3 year old and THEN realize that I didn't even hear the caution in my heart. (sigh)

I see those around me changing.

I see my teens - their desire to do right, to please the Lord. Sure they blow it sometimes. . . but I see their tender hearts when they come to talk and make things right. Their willingness to ask forgiveness and mend the relationship. The Christ-like character that is developing in them.

I see my Coach. How the Lord has softened him over the years. Given him a desire to pour his life into his own kids. How he doesn't lose his temper. How he loves God's Word (he always has) and makes it a priority (even when I'm too tired to crawl out of bed). I've seen him become a man of humility. Learning to have a grateful heart and a learning spirit.

I've watched my parents. Over the years they have had a desire to grow and change and learn. Learned to say "I don't know," instead of always having to have the answer. Learning to ask forgiveness and admit they are wrong. Learned to be slow to judge and quit to offer grace.

I see God working in my little ones. Their questions about Him. Their love for His Word. Their desire to do right and show kindness and love. How they are more sensitive than I am to what is right and how important it is to obey.

I see Him at work all around me.

But sometimes I wonder. . . will I ever change?

I lose my patience. I holler at the kids when they have ignored my instructions. I fail to take the time to help them work through their conflict with one another and instead I just let it go. I get frustrated when the Coach is gone four evenings out of five. I lose it when I have spent hours washing and folding clothes only to have them never put it all away (or worse yet, put it right back into the basket still folded!) I am irritated when my hours in the kitchen conclude with grumpy faces around the dinner table. Some nights I don't want to spend 45 minutes tucking in the younger 6, singing songs, praying, scratching backs, and catching up with the older two before falling into bed, myself. I am selfish. Impatient. Quick to anger. Intolerant of the childishness.

I so grateful that God is faithful. I may not always feel it, but I know and believe and trust and hope that He isn't tired of working on me. I'm going to continue to say "I'm sorry, will you forgive me?" I'm going to continue to confess to Him my total inability to be the mom and wife and daughter and friend that I should be. I'm going to submit to Him every day, every hour, every moment, trusting that "He who began a good work in you . . . will be faithful to complete it."

I realize that I won't be "complete" until heaven. But I know He's working in me. And someday? Someday I will learn to be more patient. More long suffering. More self LESS. But I won't get there just by trying harder. Take my word for it, I'm the queen of trying harder! Only by God's grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the instruction, teaching, correcting and training of His Word. (II Timothy 3:16)

How blessed we are to know that we serve a living God who cares intimately for us and is working on us to conform us to the image of His Son. There is hope!

And in the meantime? Don't be surprised if you hear me yelling out the back door to a yard full of happy, playing, jumping, swinging kids. . . "You'd better get in here and put your laundry away! NOW!"


Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thankful. . . uh. . . Friday.

Happy Friday!

Someday I'll be a more faithful blogger.


Someday I'll do a lot of things.

Like wash the windows.

But today? I'm thankful!

It's been busy here at the troops, but we are doing well!

FABULOUS Fall break with our kiddos last week. Lovely time together. Got a lot done, but rested, too. So nice.

1. The Coach finished up the Jr. High football season this week. We have our Monday nights back. Temporarily, of course, because basketball is about to start!

2. End of week 7 on Weight Watchers, today. Want to know how much I've lost? Well, do you? Hee hee.

3. Jogging with my Daughter (#2) twice this week. Feels great to be out there in this beautiful Fall weather with my favorite 13 year old! And feels good to be able to keep up with her!

4. Phone line fixed after 6 days without home phone and VERY slow DSL. Woo hoo!

5. THREE field trips this week for the Elementary kids. Fun week for them! Thankful for all of the moms who DO go along, drive, help the kids, and provide comfort and encouragement to my kids, too!

6. A Friday night at home, tonight. The kids opted for a night at home with pizza instead of the football game, tonight. I'm good with that! I think we even have a Netflix movie to watch!

7. I missed posting about it (and everything else that's happened in the last two weeks), but the Coach proposed to me in October. 16 years ago. One of the reasons I love Fall. It's when we fell in love. (smile)

8. Weeks and weeks of glorious Fall weather! My favorite time of year, for sure. But usually we get only days of this amazing weather. It's been wonderful to be outside so much!

9. Pumpkin Spice creamer. Or Belgian Chocolate Toffee creamer. It's a toss up. Usually the chocolate would win, but the pumpkin has been perfect, lately.

10. Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (uh oh, haven't I given you that recipe?). I haven't eaten any of them, but oddly enough, I'm enjoying watching the troops enjoy them! One of the many things I've learned in the last 7 weeks. Baking for OTHERS is fun. And I probably WOULD have had one of them, if I hadn't eaten one of THESE earlier in the week. Ha!

11. Hair cut on Wednesday. Ahhhhhh.

12. Good reading material. World magazine. The New American. Books on the Coach's Nook. Weight Watchers magazine. All of the lovely holiday catalogs. Perfect for a cool Fall evening while the Coach is watching football film.

And NOW. . . it's time to finish up the day's laundry, check the younger kids notebooks, and let the weekend begin!

Blessings on YOUR weekend! I hope you are able to enjoy time with your family, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Busy week at the troops.

1. Son's (#4) broken finger is healing nicely. Woo hoo for front yard football!

2. Fun day with Daughter (#6) and her class celebrating Columbus Day on Monday. Pretty sure I've NEVER been a class parent helper. Ever. In 9 years. It was time.

3. Son's (#1) JV win on Monday. Fun to see him play. He even got "Bandit Team Player of the Week" this week. How fun is that?

4. Good BSF class on Tuesday. Really missed being there last week (even though I enjoyed the day with my kiddos). Love studying God's Word and learning from the other women there.

5. Taking treats to Daughter's (#7) class on Wednesday for her SIXTH birthday. Sweet little Kindergarten kids. And grateful that "elementary teacher" was not my calling in life. Those teachers are AMAZING!

6. Fun Play Group with moms and tots from our Sunday School class this morning. Coffee, conversation, funny kiddos. Enjoyed it!

7. Dinner tonight with all four grandparents for Daughter's (#7) birthday (a day late). Bacon Bowtie Pasta, Bread, Broccoli, Cupcakes (she asked for white with chocolate frosting and chocolate with white frosting!).

8. The long-awaited American Girl Doll that our girls have all received from my mom on their sixth birthday. She told me tonight at bedtime that she's been waiting her whole life for that doll!


10. Tomorrow will be five weeks on Weight Watchers. Feeling great.

11. Football tomorrow night. Friends coming home with our kids to play for a bit before the game.

12. Then SATURDAY (I'm getting ahead of myself here) - and maybe, if we are REALLY blessed. . . Date night! Woo hoo! Missed my time with the Coach last Saturday.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Weight Watchers edition

Happy Thursday!

I have so much to be thankful for, today.
So much.

But I've also had lots of people ask me. . . "What ARE you eating?"

After four weeks (tomorrow) on Weight Watchers, (and loving it, by the way) I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my favorites "quick" meals and snacks.

I won't eat it if it's not "quick". Seriously. I barely have time to eat, as it is. Which is puzzling since I have managed to eat enough, if the past, to be overweight. Maybe I just eat FAST. Ha!

So today here's a Thankful Thursday "Favorite Low Point Food" list:

1. EAS Shake. You can find these in the grocery store, but they are cheaper at Sam's. The chocolate shake with 17g of protein (I think it's 110 calories). Perfect for a busy morning after a 4 mile run (Can I use the word run? Because it sounds awesome. But really I just jog most of it and walk up the HUGE hills in our neighborhood. Sigh.) *2 points*

2. Oatmeal. 1/4 C of oats (I prefer the NOT quick cooking kind), 1/2 C water, 1/8 C raisins. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1/2 of a chopped banana. I eat this EVERY day - for breakfast OR lunch. Fills me up, tastes great, helps me get my fiber, and YUM (I know I'm weird. This is not a new concept to me.) On mornings when I walk/jog six miles I will sometimes have 1/2 C oatmeal and 1 C water, instead. Adds one more point. *3 points*

3. Eggs and Bacon. Or a close relation. 2 egg beaters, scrambled with minced onion and dried parsley. Right before they are done add 1 oz chopped Canadian Bacon. You can also add some "Light" bread, toasted (2 slices = 1 point). *3 points*

4. Turkey Sandwich. 2 slices of "light" bread, three slices of turkey (read labels for your point values), 1 t light mayo (I can't stand Fat Free Mayo, but if you must, you must), tons of Romaine lettuce. *3.5 points*

5. Veggie wrap. Read labels to find a 1 point tortilla or wrap that you like. Fill with fresh veggies and a spray of Ranch Spritzer. If you have the points to use, you can use 1 T grated cheese (we just have "regular" cheese around here, so I make it work), for 1 point. Or you can add some sliced turkey. The veggies are mostly "free" (be sure and look them up to make sure of the serving size). So this would just be *1 point* without cheese or turkey. You can also throw in some grilled chicken or whatever you have on hand.

6. Along with all of these, you can have your light bread, 2 slices toasted (1 point) with light butter (1 T=1 point). Or a light English muffin (1 point) with light butter. You can also use spray butter, but I like it better on potatoes or steamed veggies. Not so good on toast. I keep looking for the WW cream cheese spread, but I haven't been able to find it, yet.

Now for some Snacks:

1. Popcorn. You can have FIVE CUPS (popped) of fat-free microwave popcorn. WOW! *1 point*

2. Pudding snacks. Now here is where it gets really down to reality. I HAVE to have something sweet. These really hit the spot when I need something chocolate. Read the labels to check point values. *1 point*

3. Fiber One Yogurt. Why didn't someone tell me this before last week? YUM! *0 points*

4. Jello. Sugar free. *0 points*

5. Small apple, 1 C of grapes or 1 1/2 C strawberries. *1 point*

6. Pretzel Twists (for when I just have to have something salty and crunchy). 15 = *2 points*

7. Raw veggies with Roasted Red Pepper Humus. You just need to count the humus. 2 Tablespoons = *1.5 points*

8. Pumpkin Muffins - *1 point*

Now. For dinner? I've just been cooking as usual for the troops. I eat a serving of the main dish (using my online "Recipe Builder" to calculate points). We have a big salad or raw veggies with every meal. I eat whatever steamed vegetables I serve with it. Skip the bread. I use brown rice/whole wheat pasta/beans with every meal. Makes it go further. Haven't had trouble fitting that in and still staying within my points.

At night? I love a cup of decaf coffee with my favorite creamer. The creamer is two points, but WAY worth it after a day eating well.

One thing that I've had to carefully consider - if I don't LIKE it, I don't eat it - healthy or not. Every one's tastes are a bit different. Don't eat something just because you think you should. Make what YOU like work for you. I've had Panera on our date nights, hamburgers (out and at home), cinnamon rolls, Starbucks. We eat at Chick-fil-A with my parents every week and I LOVE the salad - but if I don't feel like a salad? I get the grilled chicken sandwich! I tried the 0 point dressing and I didn't like it - so I get the 1 point dressing instead.

My point is this - you won't stick with something that makes you miserable. If you LIKE something, consider if there is a healthier version. If not? Eat it. Just count it. Make it fit into your day's points. However DO NOT eat something just because it's there. Think about whether or not it's worth it. It's amazing to me how figuring the points on some things has been a huge motivator to give them up. It's just not worth it.

Hope this has given you some good ideas. Leave me a comment with YOUR favorite healthy "quick" meal or snack.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Watching your Weight? Try these!

You all KNOW how I love a good pumpkin muffin. And a Chai Tea Latte.
(which I'm pretty sure has something to do with my need to lose weight)

My favorite? This recipe from Crazy Daisy baked in muffin pans. Divine. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Sad, isn't it?

But this girl IS watching her weight and although I CAN eat those fabulous muffins, I can't do it very often. (sigh) It's reality. I don't always LIKE it, but it's reality. Me eating a batch of Crazy Daisy's muffins every week and being the size I was? Or eating a "thinner" version and reaching my goal weight.

It's all about choices.

So these are my favorite right now. I haven't had time to tweak them, much. Pretty sure I can improve on them in some way or another. But they are good just like this.

ONE point Pumpkin Muffins

In mixer, blend:
2 eggs
1 C pumpkin (I doubled the recipe and used the whole can)

Add and mix in:
2/3 C dry milk
6 T flour
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking powder
1/2 t nutmeg
3 T brown sugar
Dash of salt

Fold into well mixed batter:
3/4 c grated carrot
4 T raisins

Bake in well-greased muffin pans approx 12-15 minutes.
To make these "one point muffins" you need to make 12 muffins with this batter.

These will be smaller muffins - if you want big, over-the-top muffins, you could make six from this amount of batter and they would be two points each. Or make them regular size - 9 muffins per batch - and they would be 1.5 points each. You get the idea!

They don't last forever sitting on the counter - they are VERY moist. If they won't be eaten right away, I'd recommend storing them in the fridge.

I'll whip some up this afternoon and add a picture when they are done.

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Really Great

Not every day here at the troops could qualify for "really great".
Most days don't.
Not to be "glass half empty" or anything, but it takes a lot of work to keep things rolling around here and our schedule? Could be classified as hectic. Or insanely crazy. Whichever you prefer.

Today was different, though.

~Started with sleeping in (kids out of school for parent teacher conferences) after a fun JV game last night in the cool Fall air. Son (#1) played the whole time, grandparents came, it was cool and clear outside - and I wasn't a bit worried about how late it went. It didn't matter!

~Continued with a BIG breakfast for the troops. Cinnamon rolls, eggs, bacon, fruit, juice, and hot chocolate. These things make them happy. Very happy. :-) (and I enjoyed the smell!)

~Unexpected visit from BFF Daisy Girl. Wow! Wish I could hug her neck every day of the week. But it was lovely to see her for a minute or two.

~Four miles with my Son (#4) and Daughter (#6) - she made it about 1 1/2 miles - on the most beautiful of mornings! And a faster time than I've had in awhile - 47:11. The leaves were falling, the breeze was blowing, and I got to visit with my boy. He was the lucky one on the bike, by the way.

~Lunch at Chick-fil-A with Granddad and Grandmother. Yummy salad. Lovely visiting. Delightful.

~Errands with seven of the kids. Don't do that very often - but we had FUN! Picked up things that were needed for Fall. Payless BOGO is wonderful, is it not?

Now we are home. Little Man is napping. Kids are finishing up some projects for school. The Coach and Son #1 had an early afternoon practice so will be home MUCH earlier than the usual Tuesday evening. Hamburgers are ready for the grill and did I mention. . .

What a beautiful Fall day!!

So, no. . . it's not always like this at our house.

But when it IS really great? We're sure going to enjoy it!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Late Sunday Night. . .

So I took a nap with Little Man this afternoon. It's become our Sunday routine.

I realize that these days won't last forever and I try to enjoy it while I can. On weekdays he naps in his own bed. Rather willingly, I might add. But when all of the troops are home on the weekend, he has a hard time settling down. Imagine that.

Someday he won't be willing to lie down beside me and let me rub his back until his heavy eyelids finally fall shut.

It's lovely, really.

With the older seven I didn't have time for naps. Any naps I did manage to sneak were while lying on the living room couch with a movie on and kids climbing all over me. (sigh)

I kinda miss that. Not.

Now the older kids are old enough they can entertain themselves, read, work on homework, play on the Wii or run around outside during naptime on Sunday. Leaving me to take a REAL nap. Now that I don't need it nearly as badly as I used to.

Little Man was so tired, today, that it took him awhile to get settled. The blanket wasn't soft enough. His foot hurt. He wanted milk. He didn't want milk. You get the idea.

As a younger mother, these things would have annoyed me. OK. Last week they annoyed me. But I really WANT to be filled with God's grace. To approach any "irritation" (mothering can be virtually ALL irritation on some days) with more of a grace filled response.

Today? I was able to comfort him and not worry about how long it would take him to fall asleep or how soon someone would need me and come in to wake us both up in the process.

I'm learning (I hope) that so much of mothering is just comforting and loving and letting things work themselves out.

Not to say that training and teaching and correcting and disciplining aren't huge.

WAY huge.

But so much of what I get worked up about isn't WORTH getting worked up about. I've taught my kids to respond too quickly, with too much frustration, to things that really don't matter in the long run. They've become much more like their mother than their laid-back "it is what it is" father.


So I'm trying something new. I read that Amy Carmichael offered "short" prayers in time of difficulty (I'm not suggesting that having someone step on your bare toes with their cowboy boots every morning while there are 8 people in the kitchen making lunches is a true difficulty. . . but BOY it annoys me!).

"Your love, Lord."

"Your grace, Lord."

"Your patience, Lord."

He's answering. I know I won't change overnight.

But I know that one moment at a time. . . one irritation at a time. . . one interrupted nap, one squashed toe, one spilled cup of lemonade or stain on the carpet at a time. . . I'm learning.

And since I had that nap with Little Man? I'm not tired. A bit.

So what to do, now?

Take a sleeping pill and catch up on some sleep ?
. . .That might make me groggy in the morning, though.
Go to bed and read until I'm tired?
. . . Finished my new Francine Rivers, book, already.
Work on my BSF lesson?
. . . OK. START my BSF lesson.
Stay up and balance the check book?
. . . For the month of June, July and August, anyway.
Fold seven loads of laundry while watching "Keeping Up Appearances?"
. . . What would I do, tomorrow, then?

I can't decide.

But if, in the meantime, someone needs help going potty while half asleep, starts sleepwalking (we have several who have that habit) or crying because of a bad dream. . . remembers something they need for tomorrow. . . or asks me to sing them ONE MORE SONG. . .

"Thy patience, Lord."