Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year Ahead

As we enter a new year ahead I want to share something that I read this morning in my devotional  It is from the Valley of Vision which I have not read.  May we all be encouraged to fix our eyes on the Lord and to be content in His presence fulfilling His purposes for us in the upcoming year.

O Lord,
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father as my harbor,
thee, O Son, as my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains,
sanctifies, aids every hour;
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blessings As We Approach Another Year!

Greetings from our family to yours!  We just finished up another busy Christmas season, and I am happy to say that we were able to pack up the decorations today and clean up some of the mess.  I am eager to move into the new year and see how the Lord leads our family.  We have a surprise we want to share with you.  Blessings to you all!  

We are grateful for this blessing and for the Lord's continual hand gently guiding and leading our family.  We praise Him for His faithfulness.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Some Things I am Grateful For..........................

We spent Thanksgiving Day 2012 at Matt's mom's house and took our new dog Buddy along.  We kept him tied to a tree as he is not trained, but he had fun seeing all the commotion and receiving plenty of attention.  He did great on the car ride too.  

I am thankful that we were able to take a family vacation to Tennessee this past spring, and that part of that vacation was a mother/daughter conference called "Pure in Heart" that I was able to take Lauren too.  I am still seeing fruit from that wonderful experience with Lauren.  I could totally live in Tennessee!
I am thankful that I was able to attend the True Woman conference a few months back.  I was able to be washed in the Word, to participate in a late night hymn sing, to serve as a volunteer, to meet some neat ladies, and to personally meet Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the last day.  I think Nancy graciously stood on her feet for hours as women kept coming one after another to meet her.  She took the time to make each one feel special.  I continue to be blessed by her sound, Biblical teaching and am enjoying her new devotional "The Quiet Place."

I am grateful that the Lord continues to grow us, to humble us, and to teach us through all our business, our joys, and our trials.   We often feel desperately needy before Him, and I am convinced that is a healthy place to be.
I am thankful that when I have been desperately alone with the children during Matt's many travels that the Lord has been a faithful provider of so many of our needs.  He has sent people to help us and small encouragements along the way.  It has been a faith building experience to see how the Lord has stepped in and met needs when Matt has not been home to do so.
The seasons of life are shifting.  We now have our oldest creeping closer to her teen years and feel the changes coming at lightning speed.  At the same time we are still training little ones towards obedience and have others in-between.  Many different ages have a way of increasing demands but also bring in the blessing of older children to help with the younger ones.  It is interesting to see how this is unfolding.

I am thankful for my loving husband who sacrifices for his family ALL the time.  He is a wonderful servant leader and is seeking to disciple his family spiritually.  I am so very thankful for his commitment to us and his many sacrifices.
I am grateful that the Lord provided the way for Matt and I to take a thirteenth anniversary trip in October.  We went to Ohio and visited the largest Amish community in America.  Can I just say that I am in a little bit of heaven when I am in the Amish country?  I miss it so much!  It is so peaceful, so quaint, so family oriented, so christian oriented, so very much that I love!!!  I am not Amish, but I am convinced that if I had been born Amish I would have fit in VERY well.  :)
I am grateful that our three oldest are all taking piano and progressing.  I even take a lesson when it works out with our schedule.  I really am grateful that my children are getting this musical foundation in the instrument I love and from the teacher I love.  She taught me when I was a teenager.  These are some of the things I am grateful for in this season of our lives.

  I am thankful that my Lord is always bringing me back to my need for Him and His cross work for me.  He is showing me that my life is not about me but is to bring glory to Him.  He is also gently reminding me that I cannot do it apart from Him.  I am thankful that He not only saved me but continues to convict me and mold me to His ways which are "higher than my ways."

Isaiah 55:8-9

English Standard Version 
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Well, after having our Thanksgiving feast here at home today we are resting and then we begin decorating for Christmas.  I am praying about my expectations this year.  I truly desire to focus on Christ and on family moments rather than stressing over all that won't matter in about a month when we tear it all down.  I am praying for wisdom as to how to make it special without getting our lives out of balance and being completely stressed by it all.  I know I need to simplify and yet I don't want to turn into scrooge either.  :)  So, I am feeling the need for some changes and yet praying about what those changes should look like.  How do I keep things simple and yet meaningful?  That is my food for thought today.  :)  Blessings to you all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!" 
                                                                                                          Psalm 103:22

 Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  I am thinking this morning over the whirlwind of the last year and realizing we have so much to be grateful for.  The Lord has given us the endurance to keep going through many trying days and circumstances.  He is always faithful.  When things have not always been ideal we can still give thanks for the endurance He gives us to persevere!

  We are especially giving thanks this year for a surprise gift the Lord gave our family just yesterday.  We have been trying to adopt a Brittany for a while and have had some possibilities not pan out.  This week a stray Brittany was found, and the people who found him wanted him to go to a foster family immediately.  So, the man we have been working with, through American Brittany, suggested we foster to adopt him.  When we saw his pictures we thought he was beautiful and everything we learned about him sounded like the right fit.  We wanted a young dog and he is young.  We wanted the liver color, friendly, etc.  We first learned about him on Tuesday, and he was delivered to us the next day.  It was special receiving him the day before Thanksgiving and we feel grateful.

Buddy is friendly but needs a lot of training.  He is doing alright with the sit command but has much to learn.  He seems VERY sweet though and has the prettiest silky coat and beautiful ears.  

He will be going with us today on our trip to Matt's mom's house for Thanksgiving.  We are really excited about this sweet Thanksgiving gift!

We give thanks to the Lord for His blessings, His endurance, and His good gifts to us.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Random Things

This is a random post about our family in the here and now. These pictures were taken on election day. Thankfully the center where I went to vote was line free, and there was a park attached. So, the children were able to walk to the voting booth with me, and I even let Gabriel press the button to cast the vote. While I think this past election was the most depressing ever!!!! I am learning a lot about the sovereignty of God. I have done a lot of heart probing, and I think that the Lord is more concerned about the unconfessed sin in our nation than He is about preserving our prosperity and comfort. Perhaps allowing America to come under hard times and oppressive government is a mercy in disguise. What we all need is repentance and revival even more than we need security and comfort. I also believe that we are here for His glory. He has His eternal purposes in mind for all the nations, and He is working His plan. It is our job to glorify Him in good times and bad. I also believe that He is loving towards His people. Yes, we may face hardship, but He promises to be with us in our sufferings. He is leading us on a pilgrimage to His eternal glory. How I long to be in His presence when He will make all things right! I am reminded of a hymn I grew up singing. What A Day That Will Be "What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the one who saved my by His grace, when He takes me by the hand and leads me to the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be!" So for now we rest in Him, seek Him fervently, pray for revival, and trust that He is going to be with us in the days ahead. If harder times bring our nation to repentance then the harder times are a grace to us from a loving God. So these pictures were taken right after voting, and I am thankful we were able to have a sweet spot in a very sad day. Now, just some current things about our family: * We are using Christ Centered Curriculum for Annagrace, and Abbie Joy is joining in some too. She is studying math and phonics and learning a lot with that. We are also using some sweet Mennonite and Amish color books, activities, etc. for the little ones. They are simple and fun; I love them! Gabriel and Lauren are studying with the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) paces. It is working very well as it is meant to be mostly self taught, and that frees me up to work with the little ones more. The older ones are doing Teaching Textbooks for math. * Lauren, Gabriel, and Annagrace are all taking piano lessons, so we have a lot of piano practice going on around here. * I am focusing a lot of energy on Lauren right now talking with her about God's design for women and how we can glorify the Lord through our womanhood. We are doing the "Divine Design" Bible study together on Biblical womanhood. She is at the age where she is asking lots of questions and hearing and seeing a lot from the world around us. This season is so important that I share God's plan with her as the air she breathes in this culture is polluted by feminism. I am prayerfully being very intentional about this. * We are praying about getting a family dog; we have never had a dog. We are considering a Brittany. * Gabriel is enjoying another year of Cub Scouts, and all the homework is keeping us on our toes! * As I said in my last post, Abbie Joy and Lilly Faith LOVE to play baby dolls! It is very sweet! * I am hoping to keep Christmas a little simpler this year. I desire to do the things that bond us together and draw us close to our Savior. The materialism and expectation in our culture can be maddening, and why do I get swallowed up in that pressure? The Lord is teaching me to focus more on what matters. I am trying to listen and learn. * Lauren continues to bless us with yummies from the kitchen. This morning she made scrumptious blueberry muffins from scratch. * I really love crochet but never seem to have the time. I have been slowly working on a little blanket since last Spring. It is slow progress, but I am trying to not give up. There is something about the rhythm of the crochet stitches that is therapeutic to me and seems to relax me. I especially enjoy listening to one of my favorite podcasts while crocheting. * This week I have trying to catch up on months of ironing I have been behind on. * When we bought this house the moldings and baseboards were bad. They are even worse now! This past weekend Matt began working on repainting those. It will be an ongoing process, but the little bit he did looked worlds better. * Last weekend we drove across town for our first outdoor family photos. We had a good session and are thrilled with some of the photos. We will be sharing those in the near future. Currently I am waiting to get the copyright and then I can begin sharing. I LOVE pictures, so I am excited! Well, those are some current happenings in our lives. Thanks for reading! God bless you this weekend. Ruth

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading Glasses and Headaches

Lauren went for an eye exam recently, and we decided that reading glasses would help lift some strain from her eyes. This girl reads like crazy, and the doctor said her eyes have to work a littler harder than others who don't need reading glasses. She has struggled with occasional headaches over the past few years, and we have wondered if it could be related to her eyes. So, we are trying reading glasses and hoping that it will alleviate the headaches. Now to the fun part of the story, she got Vera Bradley's! So fun! The reason I bought my eleven year old Vera's is because we were doing a buy one get one free and I was purchasing Vera's for myself. :) Last September I flew to the True Woman conference in Indianapolis, and unfortunately I lost my glasses on the plane ride home. So, since I was replacing mine she got a pair for free. She picked some in that aqua blue color that she adores. I have to say she is very cute in them. Last Sunday we were on our row in church, and Matt and I looked over at her wearing her glasses singing out of her hymnal. We looked at each other and smiled. She looked all grown up and distinguished. She just wears them for reading and computer work and hopefully we can say goodbye to the terrible headaches. :)
Last weekend was crazy busy! We spent all day Saturday driving across town to get family photos taken and then drove some more to drive by and look at a house we saw online. Then we stopped for fast food on the way home. Then it was back home, get the children ready for bed and try to get some sleep. Then the next morning was the one hour drive to church and driving by another house on the way home. Finally, Sunday evening Abbie Joy and I went and picked up pizza while Lauren stayed home and decorated the dining room to celebrate Abbie Joy's fourth birthday. Whew! It was pretty much EXHAUSTING, but our pictures turned out great, church was uplifting, and Abbie Joy enjoyed her birthday party. She wanted a butterfly theme party, and I found super cheap party goods at Walmart that said princess and butterfly. Perfect for Abbie Joy! Abbie Joy has always had this exuberant joy about her and humor that cracks us all up. She is articulate and asks the most sincere, honest questions that can be hilarious. She speaks exactly what she is thinking, and sometimes I just wonder where in the world she comes up with all her thoughts. Today we were driving along the freeway when she announces that she "saw a man driving in his car.....he was not smiling.......his children died so he was driving by himself.......he was sad so he was not smiling."
This whole story was made up in her head, but she was very matter of fact about it. Abbie Joy has a smile that just lights me up inside. She LOVES to play baby dolls with Lilly Faith and likes girly things like dress up and princesses. She has a strong spirit and yet is very sensitive. As forceful as she can be about having her way I have also noticed that she is sensitive and can easily have her feelings hurt. She is a bundle of dynamite, full of life, and I know the Lord wants to use her passion for His kingdom purposes. I pray for all of my children that they will be kingdom minded and love the Lord more than they love themselves.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day Celebration 2012

Today we celebrated Reformation Day. We read a biographical story book on the life of Martin Luther and watched the Torchlighter animated dvd on the life William Tyndale. We also nailed (taped) Martin Luther's 95 Theses on our back door. We set our table with red to remind us of the blood of the martyrs who died for the truth of the Gospel and that we might have God's Word. In a world that idolizes pop culture, I want my children to know what a true hero looks like. It is so great to spend a day remembering these men who were willing to follow Christ even unto death. We made candy sacks for our games, made posters to decorate our walls and played fun games with a reformation theme. We played "Pin the beard on John Calvin," and "Throw the duck in the reformer's basket." We also played the fishing game naming it "Fishers of Men," and played "Smuggle the Bible" by having the children run with a little wooden cut out of a Bible hidden in their clothes. They had to run around the island in the kitchen and deliver the Bible safely. On the artistic side of things we colored stained glass pictures and made lavender sachets for them to wear around their necks. This was to keep the bubonic plague away! We ended the day with smores and apple cider. It was a busy day but rewarding to see my children learning and having fun. Next year we hope to be a little more prepared and build upon the ideas we tried this year. My hope and prayer is that something much bigger than candy and trinkets touched their hearts today. I pray the Lord will bear fruit from the discussions we had, and I am looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sixth Birthday

I know I have disappeared for awhile and not done any blogging. Life has just been busier than busy. However, my dear Annagrace celebrated her sixth birthday earlier this month, and I want to document that here on the blog. We celebrated by having a mommy and me trip to the new American Girl store in Houston. She and I had lunch and cake at the Bistro there. She also enjoyed having her doll's hair braided and tied with purple ribbons. After that we went home where Lauren had been busy making cupcakes and decorating for her party. At six years old Annagrace is a special delight. She is learning to read and play the piano. She is doing very well with her kindergarten studies and is starting to do more and more things to help around the house. She can transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer and turn it on. She is good at tidying up our shoe bench, and she likes to wash fruit such as grapes, etc. She is learning lots of new things and seems to be self motivated to learn. We are blessed by her sweetness.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Life is super busy these days, and time is flying incredibly fast. Here I am posting a picture of me with Lauren when she was around Lilly Faith's size. She is wearing a yellow raincoat. I am also posting two pictures of Lilly Faith wearing that same rain coat last Sunday. Wow! Lauren is now eleven and Lilly Faith just turned two. Amazing that so much time has passed since we bought that little coat.

My Baby is Two

Today she turned two. Where has the time gone? Her big sister decorated the dining room with a farm theme, and she was so cute blowing out the candles. She has seen her older siblings blow out candles, and knew what to do. So cute! At two she loves baby dolls, balls, and looking at books. She also LOVES to sing. She and the three year old sing all the time. "Jesus Loves Me" is a favorite as well as the "Gloria Patri." I sing that to her every night at bedtime, and at two you can find her singing it to her dolls. She still loves her pacis. She calls them duckies, because one of her pacis has a duck hanging from it. Happy Birthday to my sweet Lilly Faith.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tonight marks a milestone in our household. Our baby is transitioning into a toddler bed. We have transitioned four other children but never into a toddler bed. We always went from a crib to a twin bed with railings. This time we are trying the toddler bed, and it is so stinking cute! Matt said it looks like a little doll bed. Well, she is excited but we will see what the night holds in store for us. I don't know what will happen when she wakes up in the middle of the night. I have already given two older sisters extra pacifiers that they can give her to console her. I pray Daddy and Mama will get some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I just wanted to share that Annagrace lost her first tooth last Friday! She was so excited. All of a sudden she is not looking like a preschooler anymore. She is officially starting her Kindergarten work this summer. So far she is eager to learn. Her hair is growing, and she is looking older. Oh, my babies are growing so fast. "Lord, help me to treasure these years." I am so blessed to have Annagrace as my daughter; her sweet spirit is a blessing. She truly tries to do what is right, and I really appreciate her heart to do right. "Lord, please lead her to love you with all of her heart and to realize that she can only do right by your strength and enablement."