things i love because it’s winter

:: hot, fresh bread, dripping with butter and honey

:: crock pot meals cooking all day

:: impromptu hot chocolate breaks

:: my favorite blanket and book(s) (currently the pioneer woman cooks and brennan manning’s memoirs)

:: sweaters and socks and scarves

:: afternoon coffee while coloring with the kids

:: living in florida…because tomorrow, it’ll be spring

ok, so i really like all these things pretty much all the time, but winter gives me a pass on all the butter and sugar. kinda.

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a little indulgence here, please

the name is adult, dark chocolate dreams, but the taste is all kid. and the strawberries do make me feel a little less guilty about giving them chocolate for lunch, thanks for asking. i think this will be the next one we try.

and a bit of indulgence was waiting for me, tied and double-bagged on our gate as i left for joann’s today, courtesy of our library delivery system. can’t wait to get into the lost art of real cooking: rediscovering the pleasures of traditional food one recipe at a time. and while possibly one of the longest titles for a cookbook ever, i am quite looking forward to it.

simplicity

i am awake. and i am pretty excited. excited enough to drag myself out of bed and blog. and as usual when writing under the introspection category, it is more to align my thoughts than anything else. i just had a serious a-ha moment and a huge spiritual first (for me).

i can’t do it alone.

i’m not meant to do it alone.

and i am elated by this.

backing up: i was talking with anastasia tonight about a parenting book, don’t make me count to three (thanks, yet again, kate). the premise of the book is to parent to reach the heart of your child, not just change their behavior. to reach their heart, you use scripture because God’s word will not return void. it isn’t about controlling, but about teaching my kids to know God’s word and allowing it to transform them as individuals under his authority. over and over again in her examples the author uses scripture to confront behavioral issues in her kids. the Type-A part of my personality gets a little panicky and short of breath thinking of all the scripture i need to cram to be able pull it out at a moment’s notice. lying in bed a few minutes ago i started thinking of the discipleship class i just started and how i will be the only one there who hasn’t done my “homework” but i’m really wanting to start memorizing the scriptures this parenting book gives and how i won’t be able to do it all and…

while thinking of this i thought how overwhelming don’t make me count to three would be for a new christian, but it really does get to the heart of parenting and i wouldn’t want anyone to discount it. so i would probably just counsel a new christian mom to ask the holy spirit to guide her when it came to remembering the scriptures she needs. because of course, that is part of why he is given to christians and i totally could visualize him showing up in this way for a young mom trying to teach her children. but as an older christian i should just know all this and not need the holy spirit to help me…?? stop. what?

and then (seriously, this is my thought process, don’t judge me!) it hit me and took my breath away: i always talk about God doing things bigger than i am and needing him, but i’ve never had a situation where i’ve believed it or absolutely had to live it. i’ve always handed it over then taken it back and dealt with it myself. until now. i can’t deal with this myself. Parenting is way bigger than i am and i cannot do it alone. and joy of joys, i’m not meant to. and for the first time in my life (seriously, now), i am up against something i k.n.o.w. i cannot do on my own.

praise God!

this and that

not too much going on right now. trying not to mourn the end of summer…it isn’t too hard when i can sit outside and enjoy the afternoon without sweating, but a little sad when i think of putting the kiddie pool away soon. actually, the pool is now almost two years old and between me bending the sides to let the water out (it has to be rinsed at least every other day thanks to the nice florida sun or else it turns green) and the cows stepping in it to cool their tootsies and get a drink, it’s about had it. so it will actually be retired this year in a more permanent way. but i feel like my summer just started after the kids’ daily swim lessons ended about three weeks ago and so i am a little sad now that it’s already september.

yesterday i was trying to work out how to get new pjs for the kids, along with some new shoes for mercy (ever tried to buy kids’ shoes not made in china?) since we just started our new budget and have not yet built up enough cash in the “kids’ clothes” envelope to pay for it all. i knew i had a box of clothes for mercy from my friend’s sister, but was thinking the next grouping was 24 months and they’d be too big. but, i found a whole box of 18-month clothes, including at least seven pj sets! woo hoo! i had tears in my eyes pulling it all out to hang and put away. not only does mercy have new pjs, but a whole new wardrobe as well.  i don’t know about you, but when i put our out-grown pjs away, it’s only because i know our kids will be the ones wearing them. i’d be a little hesitant to give them to another family because they are pretty worn out…but these are all almost brand new looking (meaning, no dirty knees or footies). so, thank you amy, what a blessing your sharing is!

i’m finally reading a great book one of my cousins suggested when i was pregnant with jameson, hints on child training, by h. clay trumbell. it was written by a man in his 60s after he raised his family of eight. and, if that isn’t enough of a recommendation, he is also elisabeth eliot’s grandfather. anyway, the chapters are very short and to the point, and so far, it has been a great solidifying agent for some of my ideas. it also has had a few ouch! moments for me, such as the chapter on why you don’t scold a child; but it’s simplicity and straight-forwardness make it difficult take offense or put it down without feeling like it is possible to be a better parent. more to come on it, i’m sure.

sammy wayne desoto, what is this in my frigidaire?

i got to leave our kids with my parents this weekend. the entire weekend. from friday until late this afternoon. oh, glorious sleep, how i’ve longed for you, and to have had you at last was beyond my wildest imaginings. yes, that is likely worthy of a blog on its own.

currently, the kids are in bed and jimmy is out hunting gators…i’m just waiting for the babies to go to sleep to break out the skinny cow and steel magnolias (picked up a new copy at target for $5). i don’t think a week goes by that i’m not reminded of some line or other from that movie. and the characters. they are all so classic. i could rhapsodize all night just on daryl hannah and sammy’s scenes. and shirley maclaine and olympia dukakis. ok, their religious views and politics are crazy, but they can make me laugh til i cry.

and laughing is good. especially when coming out of a dark place. i have debated about whether to blog about this or not, but listening to my current favorite cd, fireflies and songs by sara groves, has made me realize that it likely isn’t just me who goes there. this is from this one place

from this one place I can’t see very far
in this one moment I’m square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else
something else

i love that God does see more. the whole picture. knowing that, reminding myself of that, is sometimes the only thing that keeps my head above the water-line. things were so crazy this time that i decided to make myself re-read lies women believe: and the truth that sets them free by nancy leigh demoss, so i would be equipped with the truth to find the lie behind the emotions i was feeling. so even though, at times, i was almost overwhelmed with despair , i can remind myself that God sees something else. (side note: i have to say almost because i always think of marilla, who, when asked by anne “haven’t you ever been in the depths of despair?” replies, “no, to despair is to turn your back on God” and walks off up the stairs)

so, i guess, the point(s) to this blog, if there needs to be, is that 1-i’m back; 2-i love fireflies and songs; and 3-miss truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.

now i’m off for the skinny cow (and maybe a hershey bar left here by the new missions interns, i am pregnant, after all!)

who has permission to walk in your soul?

just finished tender mercy for a mother’s soul this morning. hmm. guess there are some things i need to work on. the last chapter is on having other women in your life as pace-setters to help you keep going spiritually. she also talks about who has permission to walk around in your soul. i love the image that brings to mind. while reading, of course, i’m mentally running through my personal list of pace-setters (check and check), and am then stumped by the question, “who am i a pace-setter for?” hmm. and hmm. yes. so, i guess it’s been a while since i’ve been in that position. i’m thinking back to when i was sick after jameson’s birth and i allowed myself a pass on giving that whole situation to Jesus. then i kept thinking of graceless conversations i’ve had over the past six months with women i should be a pace-setter for and thought about how bitter and spiritually joyless i must be sounding. i spent some time turning around in circles mentally, wondering how i got here. and it occurs to me that the daily decisions brought me here. the seemingly innocuous choice to say what i’m thinking instead of running it through the filter of the Holy Spirit. the choice to believe the worst instead of giving the benefit of the doubt and hoping for the best in a situation. ignoring “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure…” and choosing baser things. i won’t give promises of a better tomorrow, or to “do better” (i’ve been there before), but i do own an awareness now of who i am and a desire to let the Holy Spirit rule. which can only be a good thing.

ahh

it’s nap time in the hester home. love. it. i’ve gotten into the routine of jameson and mercy napping in their room together in the afternoon and have been very pleased with the results! i get to sit at the desk and watch the new horses next door get their exercise. or, even better, i get to take a nap myself with my ereader and cozy down in our new feather bed. right now i am reading tender mercy for a mother’s soul by angela guffey. despite the somewhat chicken-soup-for-the-soul sounding title, it’s been very good. there have been several instances of reading, where i have had to just set it down and have a good cry. then wipe my face and thank God for grace.

i am also reading shepherding a child’s heart by tedd  tripp, which is not an easy read for me. i am determined to finish it this week, though. at least it hasn’t made me break down like the strong-willed child did. it offers hope for parenting that i’ve not seen in other books. but honestly, i just want a book to tell me what to do when my two-year old throws himself down chanting “cows type, cows type!” when i’ve told him we cannot read click clack moo: cows that type again because it is time for me to make lunch and feed his sister. i need specifics here, people! but, the whole point of the book is having your own heart right before God and getting direction from him so that you can teach your child to have a right heart before God. grr. would love for it to be a bit easier.

and on a lighter side, i downloaded terry brooks’ the sword of shannara, his first novel. so far, so good.

tonight is our first meeting of the OKC (Occasional Knitters’ Club – taken from the birth house). looking forward to the coffee and knitting and friends. we’ll be meeting the first tuesday of every month if you’re ever in the mood to do something crafty!