Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful For God's Waiting Time

I am learning to be thankful for the long delays in answer to prayer.

The silent years of waiting.

The gut wrenching moments that almost leave one in despair.

I am thankful for all the tears shed over the desires of the heart that appear to go unfulfilled.


-They bring me to my face at the feet of my Lord

-They cause my wandering heart to cling desperately

-Somewhere in the middle of all of it, I realize it is not all about me

-My desires and prayers are purified in these waiting times

-I learn to pray, to trust and grow in faith

And when those deep longings are finally fulfilled, the joy and thankfulness that overwhelms my entire being cannot be matched!

I find myself right back where I started, at His feet, in praise and adoration!

It is a joy that is so deep and profound that can only be experienced because of the "waiting time."

The desires that might have started out as something you almost thought you had coming to you now feel like a giant gift you humbly receive from your merciful and gracious Father.

Weeping may endure for a night,

but joy comes in the morning. . .You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;

You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!!

Find more reasons to praise our God and be thankful over at Laurie's.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Organization 101: School Room/Children's Stuff

I recently revamped and reorganized our School Room. (which we don't do school in, it is more like a Resource Room) I will be showing you before and after photos. Please do not be shocked by the before photos, the room was neglected for a long time!

Okay, there, now you can see what a mess it was!
While reorganizing I thought I would share some tips that we use to attempt to keep the children's things organized.

I am known as the Rubbermaid Queen and my dear husband has said more than once that we should buy stock in Rubbermaid. I love containers! I am no respecter of Rubbermaid containers, though I do love the new purple and green ones they have recently come out with. ;-)

On with the tips:

  • We keep just about everything in containers!
  • We do not collect or keep any 'single' item toys. If it is not part of a set, then it can't stay! One exception are the baby toys.
  • We purpose to collect toys that are from one particular group.

For example,

Fisher Price Little People

Fisher Price Lovin' Family House stuff

Big Legos

Small Legos

Kitchen Stuff

Dress up Stuff

Lincoln Logs


  • Again, unless a new toy is a set or can be made into one, it has to go!
  • I label each container. I love to type them so they all look neat and perfect. I type them up in Word, print on regular paper, cut to size and attach with my favorite packing tape.

I make sure the whole label is covered to protect it. I vary the size of the font for the size of the container.

  • Try to always buy containers on sale. (This doesn't always work if you are a 'mad woman' at times crazily organizing because it has to be done right NOW! I'm just saying. . .)
  • Keep in mind the space you will be putting your containers before you purchase. Measure exactly what you will need and take it to the store with you. For one cabinet I carefully measured exactly what size containers would fill the space perfectly. As my organizing friend always say, "make sure you use all your vertical space too"
  • It helps to be ruthless when it comes to keeping this system in check. It is not worth keeping if it doesn't have a perfect home! (or doesn't fit into a container, but that's just my phobia ;-)
  • Library books always go in a sturdy basket in the living room. This keeps them neat, safe, and in one spot. (in theory)
  • I like to keep flimsy children's paperback books in baskets of some sort on shelves.

  • Other children's things I keep in containers are . . .
    Colored Pencils
    Kid's Scissors
    Water Color Paints
    Dry Erase Markers

I am sure there must be other ideas I could pass along, maybe another time.

I hope this inspired you or gave you some new ideas!

I would LOVE to hear any and all of your storage solutions!

I will post 'after' pictures in the next post.

You can find other great tips at We are that Family

Thursday, April 23, 2009


He knows the way that I take, when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

I am so thankful that I serve the LIVING, guiding, Sovereign of the universe, our acting, powerful personal Jehovah!

He is an Almighty Guide Who knows and directs my steps, not matter where they lead.

He KNOWS the way I take, every way I take!

Like Job, see God's hand in everything and say, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope and trust in Him!"

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!

O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!

All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;

Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,

Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!

Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been

Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;

Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.

What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?

Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;

Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,

If with His love He befriend thee.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Your Work Shall Be Rewarded

Gathering At the Well

I found this article I wrote years ago and thought it would encourage us Mamas, who are so in the thick of it, to not forget the bigger picture. Put your whole heart into being a Mama, it is so worth it!

The little boy in the story, Joshua, our third child, is now seventeen! He is a sweet and tender young man. He loves God, His Word and his family. We are so thankful for his servant's heart. I am humbled by the magnitude and honor of this calling of being a Mama. It's a little long, but I think you will find it worth the time.

My day begins at 6:00 a.m. My husband comes into our room to wake me up. He gently encourages me out of bed, ushers me into the bathroom, sticks a toothbrush in my hand and starts the shower for me. I shower, put on my face and start fixing my hair. It is now 6:30, I make my way to the living room. I grab my Bible and notebook, and sit down to some time alone with the Lord.

By 7:15, my one year old Isaiah (now 11) is awake, I get him some juice and he sits with me for a few minutes when my two year old Victoria (now 13) comes requesting her juice and her spot on my lap.

It is now 7:30, I wake my eleven (now 21) year old for his “quiet time” that we are ever so gently trying to encourage.

I take the two little ones in the bathroom with me, placing them on the counter, one on each side of the sink. As I finish my hair and face for the day, I have two little ones staring at me as I look in the mirror. I struggle to get done before someone touches my hot curling iron, pokes their eye out with one of my make-up brushes I have given them to keep them quiet, or one of them falls off the counter while trying to stand up. Finally, the last spray of hair spray, the last curl of the eyelashes, I’m done.

I place one child on each hip, bring them to the kitchen, throw some dry cereal in front of them and go wake up the their brothers, Luke, age eight (now 18) and Joshua, age six (now 17). They are not thrilled to be awakened, but I try to keep a smile on my face and encourage them out of bed and hurry them along so we can stay on ‘schedule’!

From eight until nine, they eat breakfast, forget to take care of their bowls, lose sight of what chores are to be done next, almost always annoy someone, and usually someone starts crying. During this same time frame I am finding it increasingly difficult to be nice and to tolerate laziness. I cry out for wisdom on how to train and discipline each situation. All the while, there is an intense battle with my flesh and my spirit, and my flesh is winning. Usually by nine o’clock someone has been spanked or yelled at.

By 9:15 we have made it through, have repented for bad behavior and are sitting down for Bible time and prayer. As I wrestle with the one year old, and hold back from sending the two year old to just watch TV, we read the story, practice our scripture memory and pray for our day.

Now it is 9:30, I no longer resist the urge to send my two year old to watch TV, only ‘“good” shows mind you.

The three older children get their books and sit down at the dining room table. And on a good day, they start their work. I put the baby down for his nap, Yeah!

By 11:30, they are done with most of their school work. We usually make it through unscathed. It is now lunch time. We eat lunch, the baby has gotten up, and I have rescued Victoria from the TV by now.

After lunch they go their own way for awhile. I catch my breath, tend to the little ones needs, answer many questions, change diapers, sit on the floor and tickle toes and bellies and enjoy the giggles.

Today instead of history or science, I put the babies to bed, send the older kids off the play Legos, (they are educational you know). I grab a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and take advantage of the quiet for some time with Jesus.

By three o’clock the tears are streaming down my face because of the love of God, His mercy and His grace. My six year old Joshua walks in and sees me crying and asks if I am okay. I take advantage of this time to love on him, my middle child, and like a flash of lightening I am immediately reminded of last week when he asked if he had Jesus in his heart as I was answering the phone. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized I never answered his question. I asked him if he knows if Jesus is in his heart, and he says “no”.

We read some scripture and I asked him if he would like to ask Jesus in his heart. He says enthusiastically “yes”. We pray a simple prayer and by the end of the prayer Joshua is crying. When I ask him why, he says “Cause Jesus is really in there now”.

Of course I am weeping now, and we just embrace and cry and revel in the presence of God. I am amazed at His mercy and grace, how He leads me and reminds me. I am humbled by this incredible experience. The older boys come up to find out what is going on. My oldest runs downstairs to make a poster with the time and date that Joshua was saved. Also on the poster it says “welcome to the family, God’s family” and “there is a party in heaven today.” I am overwhelmed with joy and the realization that this is what it is all about.

The endless days of things never seeming to change, the frustration of wondering if anyone is 'getting it' and many shed tears are all worth it if the children that God has entrusted to our care turn their lives over to Him and begin that journey of a redeemed life.

Obviously every day is not like this, and this is not even a typical day in the life of our family, but I share this day to encourage you and to encourage me. This is why I am here, this is His purpose for my life, God has created me to love, serve and lead these precious souls to our Savior! I am forever grateful for this opportunity to raise Godly warriors for the Lord.

It is so worth it ladies, so worth it! Your work will be rewarded! I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in the truth.

You can read more encouragement over "At the Well"

Marching Orders For the Week

Commit you way to the Lord, trust also in Him
and He shall bring it to pass.
(Psalm 37:5)

Is there some desire or prayer heavy on your heart today? Something you hold onto so tightly? You try to make it happen. You try to force the solution? You fret over it, wondering if it will ever change.

Maybe it’s your marriage, your spouse…
Maybe it’s your children or one of your children…
Maybe it’s your health or someone’s health that is dear to you…
Maybe it’s YOU! Your weaknesses, sin or personal struggles…
Maybe it’s your financial situation…
Maybe it’s just the day-to-day that you cannot seem to change…
Whatever it is, your El Shaddai , your Almighty God can be trusted.

Why not get on your knees right now, bow your head and commit your way to the Lord, trust Him with your desire and let Him bring the answer to pass.

Let Him fill your heart and mind with peace.

He can be trusted! Do you believe this?!

Do your part, commit and trust!

Commit: (Strong’s #1556) to be rolled together, to roll oneself upon. The picture is rolling oneself upon the Lord, trusting, committing one’s life to the Lord.

(Strong’s 982) to attach oneself, confide in, feel safe, be confident, secure… this type of hope is a confident expectation, not a constant anxiety. We can truly relax when we know God is in control.

Okay, you have your marching orders for the week! COMMIT and TRUST!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Come Meet a Lovely Woman

I wanted to take the time to mention somebody who is so sweet and encouraging. She frequently comments on my blog with very kind and uplifting words. I think she is one of those people that if you ever got to meet in real life you would be so sure that you would just love them to pieces!

I don't know if she is even old enough to be my mom, but she is the kind of woman you would want for a mom. She notices things and encourages you in a way only a mom could.

She has a lovely and peaceful blog. I love to go and just be refreshed, and that is exactly what happens every time I go visit. She has a prayer list on her blog and I find myself touched by the Spirit to pray for those on her list. This just shows in one more way, the tenderness and thoughtfulness she expresses.

God has blessed her with what appears to be a gentle and quiet spirit that I know is precious in His sight.

I pray for God to keep her and bless her and to always make His face shine upon her!

If you are wondering who I could be talking about, it is


over at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do I See Their Hearts?

The Lord recently spoke to my about how He sees my heart. I tended to live under condemnation a lot. I wanted to be so different than “I” felt I was acting, especially in the area of being a mama. Brian or my mom would always say ‘you are such a good mom’ and it would make me cringe, because I was so far from what was really in my heart. They were probably looking at my heart while I was looking at my actions.

He is now using that same concept to deliver me from years of frustration towards my children. We have always struggled with how to train and expect certain behavior yet not get frustrated when they don’t do it correctly. It’s like we are supposed to expect, yet not expect??

He showed me that our children are no different than us!

What?! I thought, but we are grown and mature and always obey and do everything right…uh, not so much.

You see, they really do desire to please us, just like we desire to please God.

Does our behavior always show how much we desire to please God? No. It is the same for them. It might not look like it all the time, but their heart is to please! (Thank God!)

They are just immature and need training, again, just like us!

We might be more mature than them, (most of the time) but we are still very immature. We still need a great deal of training and discipline by the Lord.

I came across this list of “What ifs” about our children that blew me away. Please check it out. It has changed how I look at my children. I still fall down, I have years of bad habits to overcome, but His grace is sufficient!

For years I have cried out to God asking Him to make me more compassionate, turn my heart towards them, help me to see them through His eyes…I believe this is part of the answer to those cries.

What if you could see their hearts and not just their behavior?

I am not saying that the behavior does not need to be addressed, that’s another post. I’m just wondering if my focus has been wrong all these years.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back To Blogworld

Hi Ladies! Last week was a wonderful week of rest and reflection for me. It was busier that I had planned, but lovely none the less.

One thing I did learn for sure, I missed you all! I did not check one blog, which was a challenge at times. I missed hearing from you and knowing how you are doing. Is that crazy? I mean we are talking about women I have never ‘met’ in real life.;-)

I am curious about what your Easter celebration looked like. What traditions do you have? What types of foods do you eat? Have you ever celebrated Passover?

We have celebrated a Messianic Passover in years past and it was both beautiful and powerful! I would highly recommend doing this at least once. There are many wonderful resources available. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. I tend to go overboard, of course. We try to include all of the children in the readings and preparation. One year we led up to Passover by each day experiencing the Ten Plagues. That was a blast. If you are interested, I can share some of the ideas and pictures.

Our traditional food every Easter with Brian’s family is Fresh Polish Kielbasa, ham sandwiches with the best rye bread ever, horseradish and pickles, and my husband’s favorite potato salad. It is extremely important to coat both pieces of ‘best ever rye bread’ with butter, then a thick layer of horseradish, pickles and then ham. Mmmmmmm, so good!

My dad usually has Kielbasa also, as he is Polish too, but he likes to change things up, so this year we had wet burritos for Easter. Go figure.
I would love to hear about your traditions and foods.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Heart Surgery

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And lead me in the everlasting way.

This past week of seeking to find rest for my soul. (Part one, two, three, four, five and six) the Lord has done some major heart surgery.

I plan to take the week off from blogging in order to recover. ;-) I do, however plan to check the comments and respond where appropriate. So if you have a special need or prayer request, please let me know. I also want to quiet myself and our family as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

I came across a week long devotional for families that we plan to do this week, as well as just slow down, be reflective, prayerful and even 'fasting' from the world as best we can.

I hope to be able to formulate all the Lord has done in my heart, but as of right now I cannot seem to think about it without crying. I am so humbled, once again, by His mercy and love towards me.
A few things His gentle scalpel found were, the fact that nothing ever seems to be 'good enough' for me, what if I see my children hearts the way He sees mine, and have I made a 'god' out of this 'desire' I hold so tightly.
Okay, see, can't do it without crying. Three separate, huge, distinct and humbling revelations. I think that is pretty major, don't you?
Please pray for me as I 'recover' from His gentle, yet extensive heart surgery. It feels so big to me. I just don't want to go on with 'life as usual' and not bask in His forgiveness, love and grace.

I pray you have a lovely, grace filled week. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Let Him love through you. Serve and love Him by serving and loving those precious souls in your lives!

Friday, April 3, 2009

'Thankfulness' To Find Rest For My Soul

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. (Col. 3:15)

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (Eph. 5:20)

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. (Pr. 15:15)

(Emphasis mine)

Obviously there are tons more verses that speak of being thankful and content, these are just the ones the Lord has shown me this week. I believe it to be true that you cannot be both,

thankful and fretful

thankful and anxious

thankful and burdened.

When we take our eyes off of ourselves, our situations and our own thoughts and put them on Jesus and begin to praise and thank Him for all He has done in our lives, the troubles just fade away. Well, to be honest, not the troubles themselves, but how big they seem in our minds. ;-)

No matter what particular 'thing' I am going through with the Lord, it usually, at some point comes back, in some way to my lack of praising and thanking Him. I even think that thanking Him will cause us to grow in our trust of Him!

There are many times in the Psalms that David recounts the acts of the Lord to bring his soul out of the pit!

Why so downcast, O my soul, put your hope in God!

What are some ways that we can practically apply this truth?
One way that I try to practice this is in my quiet time. When I begin writing in my journal, I have gotten into the habit of starting out by thanking Him for anything I can think of.
I often times put 'thankful' verses on notecards and place them all over the house.

Memorizing 'thankful' scriptures.

Practice, practice, practice, being thankful. It really does become a habit, but it needs to be cultivated and practiced.

How about you?
For the rest of the series...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Take My Yoke To Find Rest For Your Soul

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

(Matthew 11:28-30)

I love this verse, especially so this week!

G2218 zugos dzoo-gos'
from the root of zeugnumi (to join, especially by a "yoke");
Coupling which unites two--to bind

On Monday when I was meditating on these verses I was asking the Lord to give me a picture of this or show me what it meant. I then had the idea to look up the definition in the Greek and thought. . . duh. I pictured a pair of oxen, balance of a scale, or anything really, that is joined together or yoked up.

I heard Him say to my spirit,

"Yoke up with Me, go side by side with Me through your day. I am gentle and meek and being yoked up with Me is comfortable, gracious and pleasant."

It so fit with all He is speaking to me this week. I need to look to Him, acknowledge Him, be yoked with Him.

Read the verses again, what speaks to you in them?


By coming to Him, I will find that rest my soul desperately craves.

Be yoked with Him and I will learn to be meek and humble.

By being yoked to Him, looking to Him I will find it to be pleasant and comfortable.

I marvel at His mercy and grace that He showers me with everyday.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ceasing Anxiety to Find Rest For My Soul

Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy

(anxious and worried) about your life,

what you shall eat or what you shall drink;

or about your body, what you shall put on.

Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body
[far above and more excellent] than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and
yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them.

Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure
(cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?

And why should you be anxious about clothes?

Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow;

they neither toil nor spin.

Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence
was not arrayed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and
tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you,
O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying,

What are we going to have to eat? or,

What are we going to have to drink? or,

What are we going to have to wear?

For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these
and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness
(His way of doing and being right),

and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.
Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

The command seems pretty clear here, STOP being uneasy, anxious and worried about life!

Below is the devotional that started this whole week long series on finding rest for my soul. I hope it blesses you as it did me. I loved, loved, loved it!

Many years ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed, "Lord, my tree needs rain so its tender roots may drink and grow. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. Then the monk prayed, "Lord, my tree needs sun. Please send it sun." And the sun shone, gilding the once-dripping clouds. "Now send frost, dear Lord, to strengthen its branches." cried the monk. And soon the little tree was covered in sparkling frost, but by evening it had died.

The the monk sought out a brother monk in his cell and told him of his strange experience. After hearing the story, the other monk said, "I also have planted a little tree. See how it is thriving! But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better than a man like me what it needs. I gave God no constraints or conditions, except to pray, "Lord, send what it needs--whether that be a storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. You made it, and you know best what it needs."

(Taken from Streams in the Desert, updated edition, which I highly recommend. You could easily find an affordable copy at Amazon. I found some copies for a penny!)

Isn't that so good?!

Doesn't He know best what we need?

How are you doing this week with resting, trusting, casting and ceasing anxiety?

See the following links for the other posts in this series.

Also, be sure to check out Kariann's Prayer on this subject. It is so great.
Annemarie wrote a great post on this subject before she even knew what I was writing about. It is a wonderful post, be sure to check it out.