Archive for the ‘Life at the Inn’ Category

A Little Lamb Has Joined the Fold

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

July 21st, 2008 is a day to log in family history.

Turbo asked Jesus to come into his heart – of his own accord – that day.

Yes, I know he’s “only five”. What does that have to do with it? You think God doesn’t draw little ones to Himself?

He had just gotten in trouble for something pretty big, and rather than blurting out “I don’t like getting in trouble!”, he was crying and saying “I hate my sin! I hate doing bad things! I want to pray to God!!!”

Before I even opened my mouth.

For the first time, he fully understood that he had done wrong, and he felt terrible about it – and not just because he got caught. I followed through with his swat, enfolded him in my arms, and he again said that he hated his sin and wanted to pray to God. (Which we usually do whenever he’s in trouble – if he wants to.)

Now, he knows that when he does “bad things”, it’s called “sin”, and that Jesus is always there to wash it away and help us do better next time. He also knows that Jesus “died on the Cross for our sins”. At least, he can repeat those words to me.

It felt different that day, somehow.

Anyway…I explained to him that if he hated his sin so much, that he could ask Jesus to come into his heart and clean all of it out for him. I don’t even really remember everything I said, but I know I looked into his deep blue eyes and told him how much Jesus loves him, that Jesus wasn’t mad at him, and that Jesus wants to be his friend and helper, and that he could be with Jesus forever – all he had to do was ask Jesus to come into his heart.

All of this, I have said to him before.

“You pray first, Mom.”

So I did, asking God to forgive me if I was hasty, to give me wisdom so I can be the best mom I can for him, and to help Turbo know just how much he is loved by God, and by me.

Then he prayed.

Usually, his prayer goes something like this: “I’m sorry God, for disobeying my mommy. Will you forgive me? Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” And the day goes on.

Not this time. This time, he tearfully prayed “Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day. Thank you for this beautiful weather you’ve given us. Will you please come into my heart and take away all of my sins? I just hate my sin…”

He paused, sniffling.

I began to cry too, and when the pause lengthened, but he wasn’t saying “Amen”, I asked him if he was done. “No”, he said.

So, I asked him if he needed help to finish. He said “yes, please”, so I just had him thank Jesus for dieing on the Cross, and for coming into his heart, and had him ask Jesus to help him do “good” things from now on.

“In Jesus’ name, Amen!” I could see the weight just lift from his little shoulders. He knew he was forgiven. You can’t tell me he didn’t – you didn’t see his face light up.

My five-year-old little boy gave his life to the Lord on Monday. I know that he doesn’t fully comprehend all the ins and outs of salvation or eternal life. But I know he understood his need for Jesus to help him, and I know he understood that something good had taken place in his heart. Maybe he can’t explain it himself, but his faith is real.

Even when he strays someday (which we all do in one way or another), he has made a gift of himself to the Father, and God will not forget. God will not let Turbo forget.

I can’t begin to tell you all that is in my heart and in my mind. I kind of feel like Mary – I want to treasure all this up in my heart and ponder it. But, I have to share…I want this written record to declare to the world that little children truly are an example of faith. I only wish mine were so simple. So real.

For the record, I have seen a change in him over the past couple of days. It’s subtle, but it’s there. And I am so, so, so, SO thankful that God is already working in the hearts & minds of my children!

May I never give up praying for them every single day!!! Lord Jesus, help me!

My Amazing, So Good, Very Great Day! ~OR~ How My Girlfriends Blessed My Socks Off!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I know I have shared my struggles in housecleaning and organizing a few weeks ago, lamenting my combination of overwhelmed quitter’s attitude and dang pride. It was sheer “I-don’t-need-no-charity” pride that kept me from asking for help and accountability. The accountability will come, I’m sure, as my girlfriends ask me about my house.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

The very day I finally broke down and asked for help getting my house in some semblance of order, they pulled out their pocket calendars and scheduled a day to come over and get it done. That day was yesterday.

Up until yesterday, and since January, I have just barely kept up on dishes, laundry, and basic cleanliness. I have been telling myself that I could do those big spring-cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering jobs little by little. Ha! Not going to happen for a few reasons. The first being that I literally didn’t have a designated place for everything – especially in my office/crafty area. The second, and probably most important – I had given up trying to get it all done. There just didn’t seem to be a point, because it is so hard to finish any task once I begin right now.

Though I have four kids between the ages of 5 and 1, and I need to realize I can’t keep a perfect house, I was also taking that one step further and using that fact as an excuse to give up. God forgive me!

Since I asked my girlfriends for help, I have almost called the whole thing off a few times, because I was ashamed to let them see the mess I call a home. Granted, my house was not dirty, but it was very messy and disorganized. However, the Lord kept convicting me that I needed to stick to it, and learn from the ladies who were going to come over and help me get it together.

So, I did.

In short, I want to show you what we did yesterday. Before they came over, this is what the worst room in my house looked like:
And after they left, it looked like this:
And, that table you can see to the left of both pictures? Here’s what it looks like now:Now, I can scrapbook, sew, and craft without having to clear a path to the table, and without having to shove a bunch of stuff out of the way! And those containers? They hold my fabric, organized by color and type!!! I am so stinkin’ happy with this arrangement! If you’ve been to my house, this probably amazes you.

On top of all this, they did windows, organized toys, vacuumed, cleaned behind my stove & refrigerator, and threw out a bunch o’ trash! All they left for me to do was some detail stuff. We hired babysitters to watch the kids, we had a great lunch together – including some AMAZING desserts! We laughed, we teased each other, we mounted the shelves you see in the picture, and we even prayed together.

The crowning glory of my day was the least expected part. We celebrated two of our birthdays yesterday too. I half-expected my friend, Nichole, to bring a cake, because that’s just how she rolls, yo. And she did. Here’s Lisa and I cutting our cake together….ain’t we cute? Except for the haircut I’m learning to style anyway!

And…here’s the actual cake – yellow cake with chocolate frosting!!! Tastiness!
However, I did not expect or desire a gift – they were cleaning my house, and that was more than plenty! But what did they do? They got me a gift! I opened a card, which they had all signed, and what did I find?

A gift card for JCPenney that I’m only allowed to spend on myself! Nichole told me that they had taken a love-offering for me, used some of it to buy the cool containers you see in the “after” picture above, and the rest was put on the gift card for me. And I cried. I couldn’t help it. There’s enough on that card to buy me a few really cute outfits!!!

I felt so overwhelmed by the love these girls have for me. They were happy to do this for me. It wasn’t too much for them. They had fun doing this for me. When the Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver, I know He was talking about acts of kindness like my girlfriends did yesterday. There was no sense of obligation, no begrudging willingness, no expectation of repayment. It was all open-hearted, joyful, fruit-of-the-Spirit, gift.

For me.

From God.

In short, I have seen the love of Christ at work in a more vivid way than I could ever dream, and nothing can match my thankfulness at the willingness of my friends to be used by God in such a way. And I am humbled – almost to the point of humiliation – that God would do something so great for me. And all the glory is His…without Him, this love between such different women could not exist.

My only wish is that the Lord would allow me to do for others the way others have done for me – to glorify His name.

VBS

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Ok, time to get down to business and share some things with you. As I mentioned, we had evening VBS all week last week, for which I volunteered, since Turbo & Cuteness were old enough to participate this year. Nothing very interesting happened to me at VBS, but the kids had a blast, and learned some songs that they’ve been singing ever since. Complete with hand motions. They burst into song at miscellaneous times during the day, so I finally grabbed the camera and shot a few videos of their favorite songs. It’s like living in a musical! I love it.

However, only one of the videos has agreed to be uploaded – don’t ask me why – and it’s set in my messy kitchen. They both have ketchup on their faces from dinner. Cute, I know.

The theme at VBS was “Avalanche Ranch” complete with cowboys, horses, and lots of western adventure-ish songs.

Presenting, my children, singing “Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman. My personal favorite…

Durin & Lydia’s VBS Songs – Great Adventure
I hope to get the other videos up and running soon for you, because they are just as cute, and it just warms my heart to see how grown-up my kids are getting. It breaks my heart too, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
During VBS, the workers had several short breaks and lulls in the action when we could just visit with each other. I was more blessed than ever to be able to get to know my friend Nichole even better, and finding that we have more in common than we originally thought. Amy too. She hung out with all of our babies last week, freeing us up to do what we needed to do for VBS. I just can’t believe she’s probably leaving me this summer! Ack! Military life can really be a *bad word* sometimes. Anyway – this is a picture of our “Outlaw Hideaway” breakroom. You can see we all took advantage of it!

On the last day of VBS, the kids got a big surprise – they got to ride horses! Real ones. Randi & Russel keep horses, and volunteered to bring some in for the kids to ride. They also brought a couple of miniature horses for the kids to pet. Of course, they were a HIT! I got a couple of good pictures of Turbo riding Meg, but Cuteness was trickier.

When Daddy helped her get on the horse, Randi told her a few rules, and then told her that she could stop whenever she wanted, and she could get down. Well, Daddy told me that the horse took about five steps or so, and she asked to stop. Randi and Daddy both asked her if she wanted to ride the horse, and she said “I did ride the horsey.”

Technically, she did. For all of 10 feet!!! So, Daddy couldn’t get a picture of her on the horse – once she wanted down, she wanted DOWN. No dice for a picture!

Turbo, however, rode the whole way around the church’s back lot, and loved it. Didn’t want to get down. And left his mama crying at the starting point. He looked so small atop that horse, and the horse wasn’t even that big!

Thus ended our VBS adventures this year. Sigh. A lot of us with little ones decided that if it’s in the evening again next year, we probably won’t volunteer. My kids weren’t going to bed until 9:30 every night, and made for some pretty rotten days that week. As much fun as they had, I’m not sure it’s worth sacrificing any semblance of peace in my home during the day.

I’m not going to write it off completely, though. They’ll all be a year older next year, and that will probably make a big difference.

Well, that’s all I can get in this morning for now. I’ll be posting later about some other stuff ‘n’ nonsense, so I hope this tides you over for awhile!

Way Too Much To Do…

Monday, June 9th, 2008

However, I wanted to let everyone know that I’m still here. We just finished a hectic week of evening VBS at the church, which included way-too-late bedtimes for my short people, and by default – late bedtimes for me too!

However, there were a lot of blessings and fun times and new things learned this week that I want to share with you. But not now. I have to finish laundry, go buy toilet paper, and actually make it to church at some point today!

So, prepare yourself for a monster of a post – or maybe I’ll break it down into a whole lotta little ones. I don’t know. Either way, prepare to be bombarded. If you end up a zombie, sue me.

Tiffany

Just a Note to Let You Know What’s Up

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I just had an eventful weekend, and I am trying to catch up a bit around here. I have been trying to make sure my priorities are straight, so I’ve been keeping my computer turned OFF completely during the day so I’m not tempted to sit here all day long. Which I’d much rather do than do laundry, change diapers, and potty train. Sigh.

Anyway, I’ll be doing my “In Other Words” post later today, and I’ll post pictures of our weekend tonight after the short people are in bed.

Either way, may the Lord bless your socks off today, and may you see His great love for you in the small things today.

Tiffany

Thanks For the Reminder

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Once again, I lost it today. It was one of those days when I forget whose child I am. When all I can see are my mistakes. And the mistakes of my children. One of those days I just wish would be over, for heaven’s sake. A day when a good cry wasn’t really all that good. It mostly just got me all snotty and made my head ache. But, that’s beside the point.

I’ve been feeling a little confused lately. I keep crying out to God for wisdom, grace, and strength. All day, everyday. I sometimes wonder if God sees me. However, as I related in this post, the Lord keeps reminding me that He does see me. That He loves me, cares for me, and has not left me. Reminders come through my children telling me they love me – out of the blue. They come through a particularly comforting devotional (the ones I read during my morning visit to the potty). Through a song that comes on the radio at exactly the right moment. Even through my husband’s sweet attempts at genuine romance. Reminders of His presence and love surround me daily. Sometimes, hourly.

Why, you may ask, should I be all distressed, frustrated, and upset if I’m surrounded by such tangible reminders of my Shepherd’s love?

Because I don’t feel like He’s answering the part of my prayer (I thought) I really care most about. The part about the wisdom and strength and grace I need to get me through each day.

Then, I talked to my Dad today. My earthly dad, just to be clear.

He let me vent, gave me a lot of comforting encouragement, and then said something that I hadn’t thought of.

He reminded me that wisdom is doing something with the knowledge you already have, but it only comes by experience. It’s impossible to gain wisdom without first knowledge, then circumstances in which to put that knowledge to use. Makes sense.

So, God really is answering my prayer for wisdom. He gave me children. He gave me a husband. He is letting me make choices, and reap the consequences of those choices in order to allow me to obtain wisdom.

Even Jesus had to learn by experience as he grew up.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 (NIV)

How comforting! Well, sort of. I kind of just wish that I could have wisdom at the push of a button. I honestly wish that God would just wave His finger, and I’d be granted the wisdom of Solomon. Then again…Solomon’s wisdom didn’t really do him a whole lot of good later on, did it?

So. I will continue to cling to the promise I was beginning to doubt:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
James 1:5-8 (NIV)

Read that over and over. Digest it. Memorize it. It is meat. It is TRUTH.

I have been like a wave of the sea. I doubted my Father. I doubted. I doubted. Once again, I am reminded of the immense gratitude and worship I owe to the King of Kings. There is none greater than He. There is no one else who can carry me.

In the words of one of my pastor’s favorite worship songs:

“Today, I choose to follow you.
Today, I choose to give my “yes” to you.
Today, I choose to hear your voice, and live.
Today, I choose to follow you.

As for me and my house,
we will serve you.
As for me and my house,
we will spend our lives on you,
Today.

Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father.
Eternal King, Lord of Hosts,
Willingly we follow…Today!”

Once again, I am reminded that I must choose to trust, to follow, and above all – to believe.

Dirt is a Child’s Best Friend.

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Memo to all relatives…Don’t send toys anymore. Just sticks. Or dirt. Or rocks. That’s all my kids seem to be interested in these days. 🙂

I’m only half-kidding. The kids spent all day out in the 74 degree sunshine today – I only let them in to pee and eat – and were ear-deep in dirt in about 5 minutes. I really should have taken a picture, but I was very busy procrastinating today. Since tomorrow’s supposed to be just as gorgeous (possibly a record-setting 80 degrees), I’ll be sure to get my own butt outside and get some shots of the filth-covered faces that are so dear to a mother’s heart.

Until you open the little one’s diaper. Ugh. Dirt on a slightly wet behind is a tough one.

Anyway.

Finally got caught up on some housework – thanks mainly to Levi. I have been a slacker for a full week, and got so very very behind. No excuse. None. And the Lord has been ever so gently reminding me of my priorities…as mundane as they seem to be.

Sigh. Will I ever learn? Yes. Yes I will. Because I am learning now.

Now. Back to dirt.

Dirt is a child’s best friend. And sticks rank right up there with it. And, since trees are just really big sticks, they’re the best! We caught Turbo today tossing the hose up into the fork of our BIG tree out back today, and decided to just watch and see what he thought he was doing. Sure enough. He tried to climb it.

Unsuccessfully. But – unprompted by Mom or Dad, Turbo has finally decided that trees are to be climbed. Glorious day! Now, we just need to move the big landscaping rocks from underneath the thing, so that if he actually succeeds anytime soon, he won’t split his melon on the things when he falls.

Yes, I said when. That’ll be a momentous occasion, I’m sure. Not one I look forward to, neccessarily. But – if I had the choice between tending a broken limb because my son can’t stand to be inside or having to use a crowbar to pry a mouse or controller out of his hands, I’ll take the broken limb. Any day.

So.

Hoorah for dirt! Hoorah for sticks! Hoorah for the robins gleefully yanking worms from our backyard to the delight of three little curious monkey children! Hoorah for the great big world tailor-made for the smallest among us.

Hoorah for Imagination Himself, who created this place with just His Voice.

Welcome…

Friday, April 11th, 2008

I have decided to cave in and restart my personal blog – for all of my friends & family who do not have myspace accounts. This will mostly be thoughts of mine. Random, deep, or otherwise pertaining to myself and my walk with God. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you get some encouragement out of it.

And above all, I hope you comment! I’m addicted to comments. So. Feel free.