And what of Mary?

Nine months pregnant, riding on a donkey, sleeping on the hard ground.

Does her back hurt?

How does labor begin? Does her water break?

I bet it begins more subtly; tightness in her back, and the slow tightening and release of the womb carrying the world’s Precious Cargo…

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Come Away, My Love

I have been troubled lately by what I have been seeing online in my circle of “Christian, homemaking, homeschooling”, etc, etc. blogs that I read regularly. All of the strife, arguing, hate-mongering, and just plain old ugliness that is out there. Among Christian women! And outside of that there are those who are hostile to my way of life; throwing insults at not only me, but my precious family as well. And the worst part of it is that I am almost trying to please them, in a way! I am making a general, sweeping statement here, since, of course this doesn’t apply to absolutely everyone, but I do have a point: I am sick and tired of it! I can’t seem to focus because this soup of ugliness is causing a fog in my brain. I have noticed a somewhat depression setting in which is affecting my work. And I am saying, “Enough!”

Elizabeth spoke to my heart as I read this today. It is exactly what I have been needing to hear. It cleared up some of the foggy feelings I have been having. Read the entire post, but I am quoting my favorite part here:

“My young friend wants to know how much time is okay to spend alone. And I’ve pondered this for quite some time. I think we need time alone. Some of us need more time than others. I don’t think time spent on the computer is time alone. There is the rare e-mail friendship that involves long “letters” that might qualify as time spent shoring up. But the time spent surfing for ideas from decorating to dinner (not to mention researching educational philosophy) is not time spent alone. The time spent on message boards, blog comments, and email loops is not time alone. It’s time in a crowd, sometimes a very large crowd. And it has much the same effect.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in doctors’ offices this week. From orthopedists to obstetricians to radiologists (and back around in circles), I noticed one thing: everyone was working. The people in scrubs, the people in lab coats, the people in office attire, no one was slinking away from her work to check her mail, contribute to an online conversation or surf for craft ideas. Mothers at home have more freedom than all those people I watched work this week. We can call the computer from its sleep mode “just for a minute” to do any or all of the above tasks and no boss is going to frown upon the habit (or worse). But a habit it becomes and a minute becomes ten or twenty and then we go from just clicking and reading and  start to write a response and suddenly the afternoon is gone. Or we don’t write a response, but we arise from our chairs troubled by something we read and we hold it in our heads as we go about our daily rounds, and we wonder why we feel frazzled.”

How true this is!

I have become my own worst enemy in this sense because these people can only bother me if I make the deliberate choice to move my mouse and click. They can only attack if I let them in. They can only distract me if I sit down in this chair and focus on this screen.

So I am setting limits for myself, because it has gotten out of control. I will limit my online time to two hours a week—one hour Wednesday evening and one on Friday evening. I need to clear my mind—no, Jesus needs to clear my mind and return my focus to Him; remind me of what He created me for. Also, I need to stop comparing myself to others, because I will never measure up to a portrayed image online. People can show anything they want and omit what they don’t want to show; that doesn’t mean it is always as perfect as it looks.

I do need time alone—really alone—with the One who loves me and holds me dear. If I need inspiration, who better to turn to than The One Who created beauty? I need Him to remind me again how to love on these precious ones He has entrusted into my care.

Pray for me!

Church

So I am actually going to be able to contribute to Candy’s church post.
Here is some of the view on the way:

This is a park; and you can see this big hill in the background that is GREAT for sledding down in the winter! 😎
The outdoor view. Our church is called TNT Bible Ministries. TNT stands for “Truth not Theory”. It is a non-denominational church; teaching straight from the KJV.

The entryway. Straight ahead there is a door, which is just another door into the sanctuary (same as to the right). On the left is a table with info. about the church, sign up sheets for various events/ministries, missionary info., etc. Past the table there is a stairway going downstairs. It leads to the restroom, kitchen, a large fellowship hall which doubles as a children’s Sunday School room, a nursing mom’s room/changing station (it is quite lovely and peaceful in there!), and the other children’s classrooms. Then of course there is the usual “other” stuff, such as cleaning closet, offices, etc.

The sanctuary:
Praise and Worship:
Our regular pastor and his wife were gone this week visiting their daughter in another state. The gentleman in the middle filled in for him. He is in the Navy like my hubby. It’s funny because I knew his wife from the women’s bible study on the base, and my hubby knew him from work (they talked often because of their shared faith), and we didn’t know we all knew each other until we started attending this church!

Hubby and Baby Stuff. (Sorry I got you partially closing your eyes Hubby!)

Baby Stuff putting her offering in the offering bag:
What I didn’t get was a picture of the lovely little lake on the property behind the church. It is at the back of the parking lot, and has a tiny little pier with a paddle boat that is the church’s property. We only started attending here near the beginning of the year when everything was covered with snow, so hopefully we can enjoy the lake this summer. I will try to remember to take some pictures next time!
Hubby and I really love this church. We had been attending a Southern Baptist Church before since we moved here five years ago. By the time we leave here we will have been here for 7 years, which is a long time to be stationed in one place. But the Navy would much rather keep us in one place than pay to move such a “large” family (as they say). We are rather sorry we will only be at this church a short while before having to move (next summer), but are grateful we are here now!
Plain and simple, this church loves Jesus and are not afraid to preach the Gospel, and feels a strong tug from God to emphasize prayer. Our services are simple: Praise and worship, and prayer, the congregation has a chance to share any testimonies, and then we greet each other. Then more prayer and praise and worship. Then, the parents HAVE A CHOICE whether they want to send their children to their classes, or they are welcome to stay. Yes, there is some noise from children throughout, but it is welcome noise. Children are not a disruption, and if there is an instance where they are becoming one (mine included!) the parents are respectful enough to see to it and others are respectful enough to not get angry! On our first visit to this church, we were very much impressed with the fact that they are not just “child-friendly”, they genuinely love children! And, they guard them closely. If you choose to put your children in the classes, they don’t let just anyone teach. They do a screening, including a background check before anyone is allowed with these precious children.

Now, that said, when the children are dismissed, which is after a good 45 minutes to an hour, we dig into our bibles and learn. We stand as we read scripture, then our pastor speaks, sometimes we have more praise and worship, and then it’s over after maybe another 30-45 minutes.
Simple and straightforward!

Now for the rest of the day; it is beautiful and the kiddies have been in and out. We are relaxing, reading, playing. I am hoping to maybe get us all out for a walk later. We are barbecueing (?) polish sausages. I hope to trace and cut out my Regency dress pattern, and maybe sew up some more cloth menstrual pads. (As an aside, I have had the most cycles this year than I have since before my second child was born. Usually I am pregnant after one cycle and so I never bother to build up a big stash of mama pads. But God sees fit to do otherwise this time around and so I must start some sewing!)
Hope everyone is having a blessed Sabbath.

God be with you all!

The Difference

The Difference
I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me
and heavier came each task;
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered
He said, “But you didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty
but the day toiled on, gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided
“My Child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.

Author Unknown

The Simple Life…

Being home….
Slowing our pace
Loving on my family…cooking,
cleaning nursing bathing dancing combing
kissing, dressing,…walking… S
inging!
reading
Playing folding wiping rocking
cuddling
talking…cuddling
More Kissing!
laughing
praying
WORSHIPING
scrubbing
crying… loving, resting…

All from Him, and for Him, and in Him…
How He loves us!

Choosing Joy

Like everyone else, I am not perfect; and I don’t want to pretend to be. Since nobody reads here I can treat this page just like it is–my place to put down my thoughts and feelings.
So I have bad days. Granted, my “bad days” in Christ are 100 times better than any of my “good days” before He was Lord of my life. But lately…I have been letting the irritations of life get to me, and have not been the joyful momma I want to be. To be blunt, I have been a nagging, angry tyrant; that “constant dripping” the book of Proverbs mentions.
I have let the “poor me’s” go way too far.
Yes, hubby is home. The novelty, the newness has worn off, and we return to, well…life. The adjustment period has lasted longer than I anticipated. In his absence I had to do everything, and be everything, here on the homefront. Then, all of a sudden, after the merry welcome and the excitement wore off, we were left with “what do we do now?” I-having to let go of my control, and he, having to once again lead us when we were without him for so long. I let my hair down too soon, believing that now I could be relieved of some of the responsibility, and almost dumped it into his lap. Before he was fully ready. He needed time…to learn to live in a home again; and mostly to get to know his children once again (and get to know the new one he hadn’t met until his return.) And my impatience was felt by all…
Now what?
Trust God. But also, I must make a willful decision to choose joy.

Proverbs 15:13 says: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
I was too often choosing a sorrowful heart, and therefore my spirit was broken. And so hopelessness, impatience, and anger prevailed.

I have been reading about persecuted Christians in the world. Their families are ripped apart; they are tortured, imprisoned, and even killed. So I hold my babies close, and thank God that they are healthy, and here with me. I read of Sabina Wurmbrand, wife of pastor Richard Wurmbrand who was tortured imprisoned for 14 years for preaching the gospel in communist Romania, and who herself was taken and imprisoned for 3 years for the same. I thank God for my husband’s clothes on the floor, and his shaving paraphernalia in the bathroom, because he is here and not away from me indefinitely.
We have been so blessed here in our country; indeed, we are spoiled, because so many times we don’t recognize these blessings. We want more, more, more. And if we already have more, then we must upgrade. Then, when we have reached that goal, we are still discontent.
I don’t want to live in this constant, underlying tension. It hangs in the air and everyone in the home breathes it in and dishes it back out. Soon everyone is disagreeable and unhappy. All because of “Poor Little Me”! I want to be so filled with God’s Love that it overflows onto my loved ones, so that we are all utterly drenched in HIM…so I will choose joy over my flesh.

Thank you, Lord, that you want the best for us because You love us with Your everlasting Love.