Sunday, June 14, 2015

Call me Mara

The name Mara is a beautiful name, easily flows off the tongue and sounds old fashioned and sweet like a perfect first or middle name. If we weren't doing K themed names I would have looked at the name and thought it's a beautiful, simple sounding name, different enough that if I called her name she would turn her head only. Mara.
We began a new series today at  church: the study of Ruth, my favorite book of the Bible. The love story of Ruth and Boaz may have started out as why this 4 chapter book was my favorite, but as I have grown in understanding of what a kinsman redeemer is--this is not the reason, though lovely and endearingly sweet, it was always to me a reminder of what Christ had done for me.
Kinsman Redeemer: ga'al in the Greek means: to avenge, redeem from slavery, redeem from death, redeem from bondage. This is what Boaz saved Ruth and Naomi from: from death, slavery, he was their avenger. By custom, if one son dies and the other is not married, he would take the wife of his deceased brother, but in this case, the father and both sons died. The next of kin or the rightful redeemer, if you will, was  not interested in taking a wife as he would loose his inheritance (Ruth 4:6). So Boaz redeemed Ruth and Naomi by buying all that was owned by Elimelech (Naomi's husband), Chilion and Mahlon (Ruth and Orpah's husbands, Naomi's sons).
As I studied in the book of Ruth, in our precepts, Jesus is my Kinsman Redeemer. Paying wages for my sins, taking on the cross and dying in place. I am not in the family of Israel, I cannot graph myself into the family. I have not married into the line of David or Jesse or Abraham, I cannot even try. I am not apart of God's chosen people, but by Jesus' gracious act of mercy, he paid the wages, he allowed me to live when I deserved to die, Boaz is a picture reference and points to what Christ has done for all of us. I love this story. I love finding all the times and circle in pink the word Redeemer in the Word as I'm reading it to remind my heart of this very story (of which everyone should read's only 4 chapters!) of the picture of my and your redemption.
So what's the story with Mara? Naomi's name means "my delight". However, after the loss of her husband and two sons, she asked others to call her Mara, which means bitterness. As my pastor shared this morning, this was a feeling she had from all her calamities. She was sad then bitter.
It made me stop to think about all that I had endured in my life, my life does not compare to the loss that Naomi and Ruth had suffered, but was my reaction in bitterness. I don't think Naomi wallowed in her bitterness, that she was so grieved that she could not go on, as the story continues to display that she allowed Ruth to stay with her and she helped Ruth find Boaz. After Ruth came home from gleaning the fields, she fed her. I just think at that moment when someone was asking her our now days surfacey question of "how are you?" She was overwhelmed with sorrow and bitterness came through.
Oh, how it rears it's ugly head in my heart. Mara can tend to be my name as well. When after a phone call that my brother had another seizure, being rushed to the hospital, wasn't responding. Why Adam again? (He is doing ok now, praise the Lord!) A friend of Adam's passed away last week, a friend like Adam, with Autism. Why? Why doesn't Adam get the opportunity to be "normal". So many whys in my life.
My heart goes directly to sadness, then to bitterness. I know God has a purpose, He certainly did with Ruth. She was not an Israelite. She married an Israelite, but she was faithful to God, even though He was not known to her as a Moabite. She became a believer in God when she said my favorite part, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God (Ruth 1:16)." Ruth and Boaz bore a son named Obed, Obed had a son named Jesse and Jesse had a son King David. If you'll recall, Jesus was in the lineage of David. Ruth had a King in her lineage and the King of Kings. God has a purpose. A Purpose.
This today was a good reminder of the fact that Mara can be me at times. That my bitterness can define me. What a quick reminder to go back to the cross, go back to the remembrance that Jesus was my redeemer. That he has already paid the penalty for my bitterness and that God hasn't forgot me. He hasn't forgot about Adam. God certainly has not forgotten about you, also.
Lord please as I am facing trials, help me not to be Mara, even when I cannot see your purpose, your will and your way. Help me to lean on you for understanding and be thankful that you already paid the price for my redemption, a fee so great it caused your Son to die. A perfect lamb, who committed no sin, who died for me. Thank you for sending Jesus to be my Kinsman Redeemer. Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Daily Grind

I know what your thinking, I am about to complain about my job or my life in general, but actually, I'd like to just say what a beautiful display of God's amazing work in life.

The daily wake up call; whether it's the big thumps down the stairs of the two year old or cold hands and feet up next to you of the 5 year old or a sweet snuggle of the 8 year old with sleep still in her eye because her brothers woke her again or a kiss good morning from your husband or even the joyful sounds of your alarm.

Getting out the door: one more potty break, laughter, silly stories, coffee brewing for my hubby, warm mist of the shower, cartoons, sippy cups, bowls of cereal, tying shoes, cowboy boots, backpacks, lunches, van.

Morning Routine: cartoons, grocery, picking up, playing games, reading stories, cars on the couch, outside on the electric gator, sand in our toes, creek rustling over feet, jumping trampoline with static hair.

Lunch: Husband home, same old sandwiches, same lunches made day-after-day, plates and dishes put away, dishwasher filled, empty sink, coffee brewing, laughter, dirty fingers, Hi-Ya with Daddy.

Nap Time: cups of coffee, down time, rest, folding laundry, cleaning, dinner prep, Bible study

School: Pick up big girl and big boy at school, screams and tears from little one-nap is always too short, "Carry me, Mommy." Smiles from older two, miss them so.

Home: After school activities: Piano practicing, homework, silly boys playing, outside, dinner, laundry, fights, squabbles, tears from all.

Dinner: Daddy Home!! Cheers!! Running to the Door! Outside to play more, Daddy watch me! Around the table, family prayers, Baby prays, "Now you pray Sissy, Now you pray brother, Now you Pray Mama, Now you pray Dadda."

Playtime: outside, inside, upstairs, downstairs, crafts, coloring, cars, trains, videos.

Bedtime: Can you lay with me? Prayers, extra hugs, extra snuggles, extra strokes of the hair, puppet talking with animals, tucking in animals too, tranquil turtle song and lights, singing How do you get to Tomorrowland, Counting your Blessings, listening to the older one read her books she loves and talking about her day, holding my arms not to let me go, out of bed again, up the stairs, Good Night Mama &I love you echoes from all rooms. Lights off, back upstairs to check on each.

The Daily Grind as it's entitled, so many memories of today that are so special. How grateful I am that God gave me today, even though the days seems long and monotonous at times, God has shown me Him today and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Sometimes I'm organized and sometimes not so much. I tend to forget things easily.We have a monthly dry erase calendar attached to our fridge, which helps tremendously, but what if one of the kids erase or I accidently erase when I open the refrigerator door. I remember in college I had my Miami University Calendar, the Miami Memos, to keep my crazy schedule in tact (Oh there are so many items to insert here of the activities!!). However, I do remember having missed an opportunity to speak in front of students about being a sibling to my brother who has Autism. I had been to other classes and spoke before, but I forgot that day, with this professor, whom I normally did not see and I was bummed. So I had this remembrance of that day and today I bought a calendar.
Why today? It's April. Today you can no longer find January-January calendars, not even in the bargain bin. Today you can only find July 2015-June 2016.
I downloaded April, May and June from this cute website:

And I'm off, to a life more organized! I was driving in the car the other day thinking about my Mom and how she could go to a drawer in her home and know exactly what appointment she had in 1976 because she has a calendar. So maybe after today, I'll be able to tell my kids, "Hey on this date in 2015, I bought a calendar and the next day we _____" because I had it written down!

So this calendar is in honor of my Mom and her organization! Thanks Mom! Love you!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas Photo Cards

For our photos this year, we had them done in the summer, my sweet friend Stacey who has been doing our photography for a couple of years now, and has just moved away to Michigan. We are so thankful for her and her beautiful talent. We are so blessed to be at a church that has members that share their wonderful talent with others and especially many photographers--we had another family who has done our photos before as well, the Barretts and are just as thankful for them too!  She got us our cd of photos and we are so pleased at how she captured our little ones in the photos. We got some great family shots and are so thankful to capture this moment in time, the ages of our kids and our family together.

As always, I found my way to my favorite photo website and starting plugging my photos into my Christmas photo cards. I found one I liked and sent them to my cart. Added in all my promo codes and found that with the amount I wanted to order, I would be paying double of what I paid last year. I don't know what I am doing wrong, maybe I order too many Christmas cards? Probably, but I can't pick who to write a regular Christmas card to and who to send the photocard, I feel if I send them to some people, we should send them to all the people on our list (and there is nothing wrong with regular Christmas cards, I love getting them so very much!)
I ran to Pinterest, thinking, I can just make them myself, but without having Photoshop or I couldn't figure out PicMonkey, I found on Pinterest a very sweet chalkboard looking Christmas photo card, customized from for only $15.00. In the matter of 12 hours or less, I had the custom card the way I wanted it, proofed by me and sent with the rights to print it myself. Then the matter of cost to print. I realized today, I could upload my card to and for only 9 cents (9 CENTS!). I could order a 4x6 of the print or for 58 cents I could order a 5x7...both of which were at least $1.00 + cheaper than my other online source. For $9.00 I could order 100 cards + $15.00 for my beautiful customized etsy purchase and **bling** my total is $24.00 for my cards this year!!
This is the etsy shop that our photo card was ordered from:
Go check out this awesome business! Less Ordinary Designs

Here's the one we chose:

If you want to see a final copy, you'll have to wait until you receive our photo card! This was such a blessing to us to stumble upon this great find! Now you too can print photo cards for only 9 pennies a piece! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

throwing in the towel and coveting

Yesterday and today I have had frustrating experiences. For one I was at a garage sale, which I had happened upon after dropping off my older girl to school. I was so thrilled to see one at this time of the year, considering weather in Ohio can be generally anything but this warm in October, but it has been a beautiful fall, with bountiful warmth. I stopped, grabbed my wallet and went up the driveway. I found a little stash of older clothes for my big boy and they were only $1.00 each and hardly worn. I was so thankful for this little bundle of finds that were great quality. However, my heart turned a quick one when I heard a lady exclaim, "Are you sure you want to charge only a $1.00 for these Willow Tree's?" My heart started skipping a beat...I turned around and saw every one that I've been wanting...the one holding a baby, the one with the husband wife and the pregnant one. All of which I was hoping to get when Kyle and I were first married, and when we had babies. And now that we no longer had babies it seems silly-almost to ask for these. So here I was running, almost leaping over tables at this lady's garage sale hoping to get a piece of that pie. However, to my dismay, the lady who had this great exclamation decided to buy the entire lot. I looked at her and said, "were you planning to buy all of them or just a few?" Her eyes caught mine and she said, "All of them." My heart was crushed! I paid for the clothes for my big boy and went around the corner, found another garage sale and found a few nice clothes for my big girl and started to drive past the house of the original garage sale. I stopped the car and walked up there again thinking maybe one will be there...and they were all gone. I fumed in my heart about this all day! I talked to my Mom on the phone about it twice, I told Kyle. I was flabbergasted! And then there's today! God got a hold of my heart, "Hey lady, you're heart is coveting!" There are so many times, I know I do this, as I know most of us do. I was wanting those figurines for only $1.00!! Goodness! I am so thankful today that God helped me be gracious to the lady yesterday, to forgive me for my heart that was so annoyed yesterday with not getting what I want. Lord I need your forgiveness--and thank You for helping me to see it!

I absolutely love photo books. I threw in the towel after my daughter was born (6.5 years ago) with scrapbooking! I remember I would get all my photos out, stickers, paper, pens, etc. and get one page done and then she would be up from her nap. Our cousin sent us a birthday thank you that was the cutest thing I'd seen and on the back it gave the website for Shutterfly and I've been hooked ever since. I have made photo books for each of my kids for their first year (well I am just now starting to work on little boy's book) and I am trying to get caught up for my big girl's years, by doing a book for every year, and then will be starting on the older boy's after that and once I am caught up it will be one book per year. Shutterfly offers free books all the time, or books at 50% off and a lot of times you can get free shipping. I have just started using the Custom Path which reminds me of scrapbooking because you can add stickers and embellishments, etc. All this to say, I thought now that my little boy has had his first birthday, it was time to start downloading photos for his book. I started loading photos and all  the ones I would download, about less than 50% would work and it would take all day to download 35 photos. I was so frustrated and called for help. They told me to remove all cookies and cache and neither of those helped. I was back on the phone today with them and they had me check my Java and Adobe. Both were so out-of-date that is the reason my Shutterfly is going haywire! Just a quick download and restart of my computer and here I am back up and running! Yay!! I was starting to think I would have to use a different website...which I love my photo books so much I didn't know where to turn next! So moral of the story, when ever you feel like you'd like to throw in the towel, you may need to update your software and restart!

Just a little snapshot of my life today!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Walking with God

Powerful words from the pages of scripture, "walk with God." As a youth group this year, our Pastor challenged us (and us as leaders) to read through the whole Bible in one year. This consists of reading 3 chapters a day, everyday for a year. And really that is not a lot. There are days that chapters seem longer than others, but so far (and I gather all year) it has truly been a blessing to me. I prayed before beginning that God will show me something with each weekly reading, that through this I will learn more about this Great Creator and Deliverer. So as we jumped into Genesis last week and I noted as I read from Genesis 1:1- Genesis 6:9  that  many, many men's names were listed: Cain, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalelel, Jared, etc., etc., etc., there were only two names of men who actually walked with God. In Genesis 5:24 it says, " Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. And in Genesis 6:9, it is written that "These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
I have read this account through the names of these men several times, and of course Enoch has stood out to me, because he did not live and die, but he walked with God and God took him to be with Him. Also, Noah walked with God. I was just challenged by these words. What will happen while I am living on this earth...will I walk with God all my days, will that be said of me? I know I will not be posted in a Bible or probably anywhere, but to my future generations of my family, will that be known of me? When I write in the journals for my kids, that is always my prayer at the end, "I pray you will walk with God all the days of your life, and to cling to Him." I pray it will be true of my three kids. 
Dear Lord, what a great example in just three little words (walk with God) to be said of unknown men. Lord, I pray that it will be said of me, my husband, my children and the generations to come. May my thoughts, motives, actions, words, etc. be a picture of someone who does walk with you! Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Lasts

Have you read this book, "Let me Hold You Longer," by Karen Kingsbury? If you haven't, here's an expert from a page in her very wonderful, tear-filled book: 

"I keep taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts..." This week I am feeling overwhelmed with lasts, I didn't realize these would be flooding so quickly, so very quickly this very week. This week was my last time nursing my last baby. Every child is weaned, that means no longer am I needed to give life to this world. I am no longer in the stage of birthing babies and nursing them and I have tried not to be heartbroken about it, but this week I am hit with the reality that the next time I hold a newborn baby from my family, I will be a grandparent (wow)! Now that's a reality! No more new babies, no more time of just them and me. Of course we make other memories now and memories that we will cherish together that I won't just have on my own. I think I am understanding when the Bible talks about Mary, Jesus' Mama, that she, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19--these are the types of things that she probably thought of. Of course Jesus was the Son of God, so there is nothing to compare, but Mary was a normal mother and I feel like today I get it...I'm cherishing these things and pondering them in my heart.

Yesterday, I realized the baby will be having a birthday in a month so he will probably be getting new toys and he is not interested in his baby things anymore...he wants to play tractors with his big brother. So I began sorting baby toys that he has outgrown, which lead me to cleaning out the toy cabinet. Never thinking today would be the day that my big girl, my 6 year old girl, would now be too big for her dress-up shoes, or 24 piece puzzles of Ariel or Dora (I know she's 6), or Littlest Pet Shop, or her magnet dolls. Never once did that cross my mind that she would look at me so nonchalant and say, "Mama, I am too big for those," or "Mama, I want to give them to my little cousin." I wasn't prepared for today, for the last time I'd see these precious shoes strewn across the floor or trip over them. I'll have the memories of her walking across the house in those shoes, "clop, clack, clop, clack" across the hardwood floor. With beads tossed around her sweet little neck and curls tucked around her ears. I didn't know today would be the last. 
I keep snapping photos, as the book above says, you just don't know when it will be their last!
Pondering, Lord I am pondering and cherishing. Thank you Lord for the memories you've given me to ponder, to cherish, to love.