Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Please come visit me at my new blog! :)

I haven't blogged in so long, and the Lord has led me to a new thing.  Come check it out, and follow me there if you wish!  I'd love to have you share my journey with me :)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A WONDERFUL Parenting Tool!

Parents of toddlers on up to older children still at home:  Do you desire to share Bible verses with your children when they are struggling with sin, but sometimes feel flustered trying to remember which verses are where in the Bible? I simply MUST tell you of this treasure I discovered over the summer.  It is literally a God-send and makes biblical instruction during times of discipline so much easier and more organized.  Instead of trying to remember which Bible verses are applicable to which infractions (tattling, pride, selfishness, jealousy, disobedience, stealing, etc.), someone has organized these for you and has devised a way to help you find just what you need at the moment you need it

 It's called The Child Training Bible.  All you need is this kit, some highlighters (I actually used Twistables colored pencils--don't bleed through the page), certain colors of Post-it flags (I ended up using regular Post-it notes I already had, and cut them down to size), and a Bible.  From the outside, it ends up looking something like this:

So, you'll want a separate Bible just for this purpose (must be a certain size, too--9" X 6"), because I think it would be awkward trying to flip through this Bible at church, Bible study, or other places.  But for the purpose this serves, the tabs are wonderful!

Here is a video telling you the details, made by the couple who created the product.  It will explain things so much better than I could write it.

 Can't view the video?  Try clicking here.

We have been using this for several weeks now, and it is so wonderful to just sit calmly down with LM, read Bible verses that pertain to his problem at the moment (and sometimes mine, too!), discuss the suggested questions which are provided, and pray together.  My husband and I have always believed the Bible is the place to go for raising a child, but sometimes in the moment the appropriate verses can just escape me.  My frustration in those times doesn't usually help the situation.  Now I can calmly and confidently pick up this special Bible, silently pray as we head toward the couch, and begin a conversation.  It really diffuses most potentially explosive conflicts, and focuses on the heart of the matter.

The only negatives are that it can be pricey if you need to buy all the different materials and it takes several hours to set it up.  But you can improvise on some of the materials like I did, and the time is MORE than worth it!

BE SURE TO CHECK THE WEBSITE TO MAKE SURE THE BIBLE YOU INTEND TO USE IS THE CORRECT SIZE!  There is a template you can print off to see if it fits in your Bible. The Bible I used was a tiny bit small, but I was able to trim the edges of the cards to fit.  This is risky, but it worked for me.

I love that I can use this Bible I've set up with LM until he leaves home (sniff, sniff) and then pass it down to him and his future wife and children if they choose to use it.  Who knows how many generations will be influenced by this simple yet profound tool? :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, LM! 2013

My dear Lego Meister,

Well, that's one thing I accomplished (with the help of some friends) this past year--thought of an appropriate name to replace "Little Mister," which didn't seem to fit anymore.  "Lego Meister" might not last forever, either, but we'll go with it for now. :)

Eleven!!!  Eleven?!  How can this be?  How can all of this time have gone by already?  Oh, my Little Mister (oops! I meant Lego Meister!), my moments and days and weeks and months and years with you are slipping away.  How I wish I could say I've made the most of every second, always tried my best to be patient, and have done everything in my power to be a good example to you.  But I have failed numerous times.  Thank you so much for your forgiveness, LM.  Forgiveness is so important.  You are gracious in your forgiveness toward me. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

As always, I am so proud of you!  There have been times in this past year that you have blown me away with your maturity.  One major period of time that sticks out in my mind is right after my major surgery, when you came home from your Chicago cousins', where you stayed during my surgery week, and, though your heart was broken to say goodbye to your beloved Chicago kin, you jumped right in with both feet to help me.  Remember how I could do basically nothing at first?  With such kindness, gentleness, and willingness, you did whatever I had to ask you to do while your dad was at work.  Wow, LM!  It brings tears to my eyes to remember how you served with a servant's heart.  I don't know if you realize this, but it was SO HARD for me to ask you (and everyone else who helped in various ways) for help.  I learned a thing or two along the way, too!  Anyway, I thought it was very clever of you to find those old baby monitors and set them up so I could easily call you when you were in your room doing school work.  You did your school work very well--independently and without complaint.  THANK YOU, my son, for how you blessed me with your patience and lots and lots of help. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Proverbs 1:8
Listen to your daddy, my LM.  I see you listening, taking in his instruction, even though sometimes it's not what you want to hear.  Don't stop listening!  And take heed to what he says.  Daddy is imparting precious wisdom into your life.  Don't let it slip away unheeded!  Your dad is a gift.  Not all dads take the time to speak truth and wisdom to their children.  Sometimes Dad's wise words are during moments of correction.  You may not enjoy his words of correction, but someday you will see what a gift they were.  Trust that we love you, even if you don't agree with or enjoy what we say sometimes! :)

You are such a delight to me, LM!  Your laughter, your songs, your witty words, your intelligence, your questions, your answers, your creativity . . . these all bring me utter delight.  I love how you keep working on and adding to your fort outside.  It's quite the intriguing structure, with its tunnels and rooms and storage areas . . . all made without a nail or adhesive of any kind!  Yes, I think you could probably survive in the forest for a good long while if you ever had to! ;)

Keep singing and writing down those songs of yours, my son.  They are such a pure reflection of your heart and love for the Lord.  I know He takes joy in hearing them.

Happy Birthday, with much love!


First rain after the drought, July of last year

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How's That Working for Ya?

Children and staff being threatened with violence and death at school.

Children and staff actually suffering violence and death at school.

Violence and death at the mall, the post office, the theater, a famous city marathon.

National debt at a number impossible to comprehend.


Families falling apart.

Schools failing (many, not all).

All kinds of crime.

Depression and hopelessness.

Has the world gotten better as we, collectively, have tried to "erase" God from the picture?  Whether purposefully or via apathy, how has our ignoring God and His principles helped us?

He's always there, whether we choose to believe or not.  He never forces anyone to love or even acknowledge Him during our earthly life story.  But He was loving enough to warn us in His Word of the consequences of this attitude. 

And we're watching it play out right before our eyes . . . the words written thousands of years ago are happening right now!

As a society, we are trying to become "God-less."  How's it working?  How much better off are we?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Of Hysterectomies and Un-Spring Cleaning

So, I have a hysterectomy scheduled for the near future. The reasons are various and serious. That's all the detail I will be going into here on this public blog, but if you know me and have questions, you're welcome to ask . . . and I will probably answer. ;)

I have had a rough time of it since the beginning of this year, but God has proven Himself faithful again and again, constantly.  He is leading me, teaching me, comforting me, lovingly disciplining me, providing for me, and forever showing me His perfect love.

Few people ask to go through trials in life.  I definitely don't.  But we all must walk through them anyway at times during our earthly journey.  Oh, how I haven't wanted to endure these last few months and the next couple of months, yet how else could I possibly see God's hand at work as clearly as I can now?  It is unmistakably evident that He has had and continues to have a plan in all of this.  He has at least one new daughter that I'm aware of who came to know Him because of circumstances surrounding my surgery last month.  My silly little surgery (my first ever!) that I was so worried about and was discouraged that it had not been as successful as hoped . . . until I heard about my new sister in Christ, whom I've never met, yet have this freaky-in-a-good-way connection with.  My pity party was over instantly and was replaced with excitement and re-focus on the fact that none of this is random, I'm not being picked on, and God is working mightily!

Now, I am not looking forward to this upcoming surgery anymore than anyone else would be.  And I'm probably even less enthusiastic about the long recovery afterward.  It drives me CRAZY to sit around and do nothing.  Did you hear me?  CRAZY!!!!  (See?  I'm already showing signs . . .)  I panic sometimes just thinking about it all.  But, you know the conclusion I come to every time when I reign in my thoughts?  There's a reason!  It's good.  Not easy, but good.  And then I almost look forward to seeing what God has in mind.  What will He teach me?  How will He work?  Something's up, and I'm beginning to anticipate finding out what it is!

So, this whole recovery time thing brings me to the subject of "Un-Spring Cleaning."  What IS un-spring cleaning, you might ask.  Well, it's my abridged version of spring cleaning this year.  It's kinda like spring cleaning, but not really.  For instance, today I "worked" on the bookshelves.  I had intended to take all the books down as usual and give the shelves a good cleaning.  Then I got real.  I simply don't have time for that this time!  And it's going to be okay!  Yes, I just took down the other things on the shelves (you know, candles and other decorative things), cleaned the shelves on any surface that books don't cover, and called it "fine."  Really--how much dust gets under those books anyway, right?  My theory right now (and this is with a lot of coaching from loving friends and family who I've had to admit are right!) is that anything I don't get done before surgery and recovery will still be there after.  I have ample offers of help for things that need to continue to be done during my convalescence, but my blinds will still do their job whether or not I clean them now or in the summer.  Know what I'm saying?  I actually almost believe this!  I'm learning well! ;)

Speaking of ample offers of help, people are so kind.  I've been showered with kindness all throughout the past months and have been so blessed.  The care of my son during my upcoming surgery, meals provided, so many encouraging words and cards and helpful advice, and, most importantly, the support of so very many faithful prayer warriors.  Whenever Kevin and I have gone through a dark or troubled time in our lives, the kindness of God's people is so extra-evident, shining through like the brightest of lights.  We are so grateful to everyone who is touching our lives in these different ways.  If you are one of them--thank you from the bottom of my heart!

If you are going through a hard time, hang on!  God has not dropped you from His hand, and He definitely has a good reason for allowing difficult circumstances in your life.  Don't be afraid!  One of my favorite verses lately, one that I've heard a million times but has once again taken on new meaning for me is:

"Do not fear for I am with you;  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10


"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, because the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave nor forsake you."  Deut. 31:6

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Right Now!

This is likely the most humiliating thing I've ever written or will ever write for public consumption, but what is a blog for if not to humiliate oneself from time to time in hopes of helping and encouraging others?

And that is what this is about.

God, please speak to each reader of this blog post, and open each heart to what You have for each to individually ponder.

So, it all started a couple weeks ago.  Well, kind of.  My sanity began a couple weeks ago as I experienced the most frightening medical "drama" of my life.  Let's just say, for the sake of propriety, that I had a very, very, very severe "female problem" to the max, and leave it at that.

It was a nightmare.  It was unbelievable.  I wondered if I would I die.  And I'm not exaggerating.

My first reaction was to panic and cry and plead with God.  And violently shiver in fear.

At last I was in a position to be able to tell my husband what was happening.  My dear, wonderful, sane, wise husband.  God has blessed him with a calmness in turmoil that amazes me every time.  He is Jesus to me (you know what I mean by that, right?) in so many ways.  He spoke truth into my life and helped clear my head to focus on that truth.  He comforted me.  Or shall I say, my loving Lord comforted me through him?

Through the Lord ministering to my terrified, seeking-Him heart, I realized something vital.  And I apologized to Him and to my husband profusely.  And I sought to cling to the forgiveness they both genuinely and freely offer me.  But it's still a struggle to accept that forgiveness.  I keep apologizing to them both, knowing I don't need to for their sakes, yet still needing to for the purging of my own heart.

What I realized is that I had been living in the bondage of fear.  Whatever turned out to be wrong with me, whatever was causing these horrible symptoms, was partly, if not totally, my own doing.

See, I've had this totally irrational fear of going to doctors.  Not the doctors themselves.  I've never had a doctor who was less than a wonderful person.  No, it was the idea of going to a doctor, of what they might say is wrong with me, of feeling judged, of not living up to the accountability they offered me.

So I didn't go.

This is SO humiliating.  Press on, Laur.

The last time I went was a few years ago, and my doctor wanted me to have some routine blood work done.  I never went back to have it done.

Is that ridiculous?  Yes!  But in my mind, in my state of denial, it made perfect sense.  And when it didn't make sense, I rearranged my thoughts in my mind until it did.

I most certainly didn't spend much time talking to the Lord about this.  Oh, yes, I know how He impresses things on my heart when He wants me to do them, and I did not want His impressions regarding this area of my life.

How arrogant!  How dreadful!  How I regret this attitude.

For, you see, now that I was forced to face my fear, bite the bullet, and seek medical help, I have been informed of extensive medical problems that I now have to deal with, at least one of them for the rest of my life.  With still more upcoming tests, I don't yet know the full extent of what my fear-induced neglect has done.

Let me just emphasize right now that I am not saying that everyone who suffers medical conditions has brought that on him/herself.  Nor am I saying that these things definitely wouldn't have happened to me had I kept up with regular doctor appointments.

But my denial was calculated and driven by hideous fear, and I can't help assuming things would not have gone as far as they did had I been accountable to a doctor.

If fear of going to doctors isn't an issue for you, I'm happy for you.  You probably have no idea what I'm talking about and can't imagine someone being that irrationally afraid.  But it's real.  In the recent past, I have willingly faced other fears of mine and conquered them.  I have a couple more to go.  And, let me tell you, I'm not waiting until I'm forced to face them after what I've learned in this situation.

So, let me get to the point of why I wanted to share this with you.  With all my heart I want to urge you to do what you need to do.  Even if you're afraid.  Do it!

I don't know what that might be for you.  But, if there is something, you know.  Surely if there is something God wants you to do, His Spirit moves you in some way even as you ignore the stirrings.  I encourage you to stop running, turn around, and act courageously!  God says in His Word that He wants us to do what we need to do even when we're scared to do it.  If He asks us to do something, He will equip us to do it!

I wasn't trusting Him.  I was doing things my own way because I didn't trust Him!  I have cried rivers of tears over that, not just because of the consequences I am experiencing but also out of the deep regret of realizing how I was not honoring Him, not loving Him fully.

Please! Please don't wait until you're "sick" (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) to take action.  Do not allow the bondage of fear, denial, or stubbornness to hold you back!  Don't do what I did!

Do what you need to do!

Is there a phone call you need to make?  A relationship you need to take steps to mend?  Something you need to give up?  A good habit you need to practice?  A Bible study you need to join?  An accountability partner you need to seek?  A confession you need to make?  A mistake (well-intentioned or not) you need to correct?
If there's something you've known you needed to do, please do it now!  Pray about it, ask for Him to be the courage you don't have on your own.  Then trust Him!  Do it!

If you are reading this, I care about you.  I may not know you, but I care!  If I do know you, this is extra humiliating!  I'm aware of what you could potentially think about me now that I've "come clean."  I know that I'm risking people talking about me and my "issues" behind my back (there are always those who seem to find their value/worth in that kind of thing--sad!).  These are things I could allow to terrify me into silence.

But, strangely, I don't feel terrified!  Concerned, maybe, but not terrified.  I feel FREE to obey the Lord in writing and posting this.  Yes, this freedom is so . . . freeing! :)  I mean, it really doesn't matter what the readers of this post think of me.  No offense meant at all, but I'm not living for you!  I'm living for Him!

And I care about you, whoever you are, more than I care to hang on to fear.  So that is why I'm putting aside my pride and hoping you will receive this message and do something about it if it pertains to you.

Right now.  It's all we have for sure.  Don't wait to obey His whisperings.  Talk to Him about anything you've been ignoring.  See how He helps you be brave!  Jump off what seems like a cliff and find yourself in His strong, capable arms!

I feel unworthy to be saying these things, as I did not live up to them myself in this situation.  But somehow I know God is asking me to say them anyway.  I have been so humbled through this ordeal.  Lord, please take my garbage and somehow transform it and use it to help someone, as only You can do!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My One Thousand Gifts

I've taken the challenge to think of 1,000 (and beyond) things to be thankful for.  To read what this is all about, read my previous blog post here.

  1. The one and only true God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  2. The Bible
  3. Kevin
  4. Little Mister                                   
  5. Family
  6. Friends
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Home education
  9. Many moments, fleeting as they are, with my son
  10. Crockpot meals
  11. Cell phones
  12. Cozy house
  13. Large windows through which to gaze upon the seasons of creation
  14. White daisies in winter
  15. Liquid sunshine of oranges
  16. Candles flickering
  17. Bible study
  18. Second chances
  19. Good music
  20. Family mealtimes
  21. Family prayer
  22. Family devotions
  23. Cozy winter evenings
  24. Warm clothes
  25. Heat of the furnace
  26. Bread machine to make the dough
  27. Giggling girls
  28. Strings of white lights
  29. Scrambled eggs
  30. The library
  31. Sales at a store
  32. Penguin pajamas already too short for growing legs
  33. Always enough
  34. SGC
  35. Fluffy white rice
  36. Crispy green salad
  37. Mechanical pencils
  38. Christmas carols whenever
  39. Good workouts
  40. A chivalrous husband
  41. A helpful son
  42. Computer keyboard for my fingers to fly over, expressing thoughts
  43. Date night
  44. Family game night
  45. Laughter
  46. Accountability
  47. Netflix streaming
  48. Rain's pitter-patter
  49. Opportunities to help my son grow, and to grow sometimes myself in those times
  50. Bottles of toilet bowl cleaner that can eventually be opened
  51. Restored relationship between mother and son, when both have erred
  52. Refreshing, healing tears
  53. Wisdom freely given by God
  54. Sweet, tangy pineapple
  55. Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  56. Fresh-smelling laundry
  57. Crumbly toppings
  58. Redemption
  59. The of hope of spring
  60. Focus
  61. Hair products
  62. Warm to hot showers
  63. Fluffy pillows
  64. Boy being diligent
  65. Nerf gun darts found in funny places
  66. Our big lug of a dog, Theo
  67. Lego creations
  68. Solid, trustworthy neighbors
  69. Child's newly cleaned room
  70. My girlie red Bible cover
  71. The calming of anxious thoughts
  72. Theo's amusing howls at the tornado siren tests
  73. Mild winters
  74. Memories
  75. Furrowed brow of boy pouring over open Bible and concordance
  76. Happy songs of sweet little birds
  77. Sweet-but-not-too-sweet blueberry buckle
  78. New, fresh days with no mistakes in them (yet)
  79. Check marks
  80. Best effort
  81. My white board wall in the school room
  82. Bursts of warm golden sunlight
  83. A comfortable toothbrush
  84. Husband or son whistling cheerily
  85. Son ready for spelling test
  86. Wisdom and fun to "like" on Facebook
  87. Photographs, old and new
  88. Father-son time--precious to see
  89. Newborn babies
  90. Liberty
  91. Stars in the clear night sky
  92. Texting
  93. The light at the end of the tunnel
  94. WoW Connect! writers
  95. Flexibility
  96. Chattering of busy squirrels
  97. Clinking of clean plates stacking in the cupboard
  98. Wintery pine scent of flickering candle
  99. Post-it notes
  100. Laughter after tears
  101. Medical advances
  102. Chick flicks
  103. Warm gloves
  104. Helping someone figure things out
  105. Pinterest--Oh, the ideas!
  106. A balanced budget
  107. Cartoons for a sick boy
  108. Possible snow
  109. Fixed mistakes
  110. Kind words spoken
  111. Valentines for Mommy, lovingly created by 9-year-old boy's hands and heart--does it get any sweeter?
  112. Composers of old
  113. New hands to play the music
  114. An unexpected treat dropped off for sick boy
  115. Healing
  116. A library full of life stories, real or imagined, free for the reading
  117. New recipes
  118. Old recipes, handed down through generations
  119. Light snowfall against midnight sky
  120. Sound of Daddy reading to son
  121. Surprises to plan for my guys
  122. Heart message on paper
  123. Quiet afternoon--son studying, candle flickering, God's Word saturating my heart and mind
  124. Far-away friends--memories carry me through the missing of them
  125. Kay Arthur--such a wise and strong example, helping to bring the Word into focus
  126. Dear son's opening heart
  127. Love poems from husband
  128. Celebrating, even in the mourning, a precious life lived for Him
  129. Boy hunched over microscope, discovering the mysteries of the world
  130. Comforter on our bed lopsided because sweet son surprised me by making it for me
  131. "Grampy Bumps"--when one person high fives while the other knuckle bumps
  132. Finding and listening to CD I forgot I had
  133. Changes
  134. Kevin's strong hand grasping mine across the table
  135. Date Night Challenge
  136. New friends
  137. The testimony of one grieving in the comforting arms of Jesus 
  138. Family game of Twister--hilarious!
  139. Comfortable silences
  140. Deep questions
  141. Always more to learn
  142. The sound of precious son writing song lyrics to the Lord
  143. The day after a disappointing election.  The golden sun still rises.
  144. That God is still in control
  145. Fluffy scrambled eggs for breakfast
  146. Light of all kinds
  147. Warm November days to get the Christmas lights ready!
  148. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; sweetest name I know
  149. My husband of strong character
  150. My sweet son, sho toddled into my life at just the right time
  151. God's never changing, always life-filled Word
  152. The family of 7 I grew up with on Elm Circle Drive
  153. Elim
  154. Miss Margaret
  155. My brothers-in-law--best brothers I ever had! :)
  156. My loveable nieces and nephews
  157. Photos--capturing memories
  158. My family-in-love
  159. Friends, old and new
  160. Saturdays!
  161. Music:  songs of praise, a chorus of birds, a great band, 80s music, the crooners of old, a child's laughter, a symphony orchestra, a favorite hymn, a powerful pipe organ (thanks to Dad)
  162. Warmth
  163. Memories
  164. Quiet moments
  165. A day set aside to give thanks
  166. Extra long weekends
  167. A washer and dryer
  168. A weekend family getaway
  169. An anticipated phone call
  170. Chores that keep us humble
  171. Feeling better after being sick
  172. A new opportunity
  173. The chance to grow
  174. Grace
  175. Mercy!
  176. A kiss on the cheek
  177. The antics of 10-year-old boys
  178. Legos
  179. Decorating for Christmas
  180. Finding the perfect gift
  181. Christmas sales
  182. Christmas baking with LM
  183. The book of John
  184. Puffs Plus
  185. Cousins
  186. Sleepy yawns at night
  187. Family reunions