Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nothing Like a Good Shower and Shave

...for the couch, that is! I am so excited because I steam cleaned our couch tonight. It's a hand-me-down couch that has been through four owners, I think. It's approximately 15-20 years old, and it wasn't too expensive to begin with. However, the thing has held up like a champ. Sure, you can feel a few wires in your back when you sit down, but overall, it's relatively comfortable. It also takes up much less space than its more modern counterparts. And while it might not necessarily sell for much on the street, it's worth at least $400 to us... the cost of replacement if we decided to swap it.

I have to admit that I was feeling a little bit of discontentment as I stared at my couch first thing when I walked in the door all the time. The biggest problem I was having is that it was fairly dirty. It made me a little unsure of having guests over. After all, who wants to invite their friends to come and sit down on 15 years worth of whatever landed on the couch? I started looking around at other couches. Too expensive. I then moved on to looking at slipcovers. Too big (see comment above regarding the massive size of couches today).

So, what could I do? After four owners and at least twice as many moves, I realized that the thing just needed a little refreshment! I mean, seriously, can you imagine going 15-20 years without a shower?! I didn't think so. It came to me in a conversation with my good friend, Jessica. Her brother- and sister-in-law just purchased a small steam cleaner for just this kind of situation. So Loretta brought it to church for me a few weeks ago and was so kind as to bring a bottle of the appropriate liquid for the cleaner as well. I finally had the time to try it out tonight, and IT WORKED! Our couch is clean!

Now you're wondering about the shave.... Well, my mom taught me how to use a razor to shave off the little tiny balls of fabric that pill up on sweaters, so I decided to attempt this on the couch to spruce it up a bit. I only had one cheap razor in the house, but I decided just to give it a whirl and see if it would make any difference. IT DOES! So I'm going to the store tomorrow to purchase a package of really cheap disposable razors, and my couch is going to have its first complete shave. What a glorious moment it will be to sit on my newly showered and clean-shaven couch!

And you thought the life of a homemaker was boring!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Trials, Abundance and Glory!

I'm still working through a book called A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Today's time in the Word was focused on Psalm 66, and there are so many good things to share! The Lord is GOOD! I'm just going to list some of the things that stood out to me in my study today, and you can let me know if they are as encouraging to you as they are to me.

Psalm 66 (ESV)
Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your
enemies come cringing to you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name." Selah
5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward
the children of man.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations-
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8 Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected
my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Now re-read verses 8-12.

Quote by Charles H. Spurgeon (Treasury of David, 284)
"We, too, often forget that God lays our afflictions upon us; if we remembered this fact, we should more patiently submit to the pressure which now pains us. The time will come when, for every ounce of present burden, we shall receive a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

1 Peter 4:12-13, 19 (ESV)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Romans 8:18 (ESV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

AMEN!!!!!!! I could sit and stare at these scriptures for hours! Whatever your present trial, may you walk through it with Christ!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Family Is All About...

We've been having some great times lately! Chet starts class tomorrow, so he's been working diligently to prepare and read ahead. He went on our walk/run tonight, and it was so much fun! I hope he gets to do it regularly. Even though we didn't talk a whole lot, it was fun just to do something productive together. Plus, I could see the muscles in his arms and legs, which was enjoyable in itself. Just so you know, I can say that because WE'RE MARRIED!

The boys and I went to the zoo splash park with some friends last week. I can already tell that Gabe and Ladan are going to be a great team. While we were at the zoo, they wrestled a polar bear to the ground and threatened to pull his ears off if he tried to move. Here's a photo to prove it...

Gabe has figured out how to click his tongue and say "Da-da". He also enjoys laughing just for the fun of it, which causes all of the rest of us to laugh right along with him. He loves to put squishy basketballs and footballs in his mouth and crawl around. He enjoys throwing just about everything he picks up just to see what happens to it... with the exception of his food, which he normally eats promptly. When he sees someone he likes or when he wants attention, he sports a huge smile with all-out dimples, scrunches up his nose and breathes in and out really fast... which sounds strange but is super-cute. And he gives some of the best baby hugs ever! He wraps his little arms around our necks and squeezes with his cheek squished right beside ours. AMAZING!

He's a daredevil and doesn't appear to be afraid of anything. Tonight, he crawled into the bottom of his exersaucer and got stuck bent in half. He really enjoys getting up on beds, but he has no reservations about crawling full-speed for the edge (obviously (thankfully), he hasn't found out what happens when you plummet 2.5 feet onto the hardwood floor). And we can't use our kitchen chairs as barricades, because he simply crawls over the spindles at the bottom and gets where he wants to go anyway. He's fast and wants to be everywhere all at the same time... and yet, he learns fairly easily not to touch things like electrical outlets or open cabinet doors.

Ladan is SO MUCH FUN!!!! His imagination is running wild, and he's learning so many new things. He asks all these really great questions. And while some little boys at this age stop wanting to be close to their moms and dads, he seems to enjoy being as close as possible more and more every day. One of his new favorite things to do when we're walking down the sidewalk is to run ahead of me about 10 steps, turn around with a huge smile, shout "HI, MOMMY!" as if he's surprised to see me, and run back to me with his arms wide open so I can pick him up and give him a kiss on the cheek.

The great thing is that, even as he's finding new ways to be closer to us and to demonstrate his affection for us, in the last few weeks he's also wanted to start doing things for himself... like putting the stool in front of the sink and turning on the faucet so he can wash his own hands, getting his own Life cereal out of the cabinet and bringing his bowl to us so we can pour him some more, and opening and closing all the doors when we enter and exit places. If the rest of age 3 goes as well as the first few months, we're going to have A BLAST!

Our boys are so different in so many ways, but they also display many similarities. I'm just grateful that they both get super-excited when they see Chet or me and that they absolutely love one another! Isn't that what family is all about?! I pray that they will grow up to love the Lord so that I can be with them in ETERNITY!


Okay, so I've been doing some re-prioritizing. I feel like I'm continually doing this, but I'm really wanting to make an improvement instead of just shifting things around. (Quick note... it's 12:34). Here are my goals for the fall:
  1. Spend time alone with the Lord EVERY day.
  2. Lose the extra baby weight I still have... or at least the inches so I can fit into my clothes WELL (rather than just simply being able to close them).
  3. Refrain from scheduling myself for too many things in one week.
  4. Figure out a system for cleaning and keeping our home up so that I don't get totally overwhelmed.

Here's my plan....

  1. I'm currently working through a devotional book called "A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have been working through this book for much longer than 30 days, but for the last week, I have been disciplined to take time to spend in the Word every day. By the way, this book is very good. This fall, I'm also taking a Discipleship course through the Seminary Wives Institute on campus, and I will be held accountable for spending time in the Word daily for the course.
  2. To lose my extra baby inches/pounds, I am: a) exercising daily. I've got a pretty good run/walk route straight from our home that gives me exactly three miles, isn't boring, and allows me to just throw the boys in the stroller instead of having to waste time packing them in the car. b) unofficially using the Weight Watchers plan of tracking and planning my meals. I have always wanted to know how to do this, because I think it's one of the healthiest ways to lose weight. My friend and I are exactly the same height and weight and have exactly the same goal weight, so it will be fun to work on it together. By the way, I've finished Day 3, and so far I'm doing really well. I created an excel spreadsheet to track my progress throughout the day... this in itself was very exciting for me.
  3. I have a tendency to try to serve in every way I think I can possibly help others and learn new things. This is GREAT, except sometimes I overestimate the number of hours I have in a day. My goal is to err on the side of helping others while maintaining a good balance of keeping our home in consistent order.
  4. Honestly, I think I'll be able to figure out a system for keeping up with our home if I am relatively good at keeping goal #3 in check. I already have several trips planned for this fall, so my efforts could be totally in vain... but I'm going to give it a good shot. Keeping up with the laundry is a bit easier now that Gabe isn't puking and pooping all over his clothes all the time.

So, there you have it. I could think of about 25 goals for the fall, but then I would be ruining the first four... so I'll work on these for a while and then add others in good time.