Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sword Fights

So we bought the girls the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie for Christmas. We buy them nice Christian movies and assume they'll be a good influence.

However, two and three year olds overlook the message of God will take you on greater adventures than you could ever plan for yourself. Instead . . .

They're sword fighting with butterknives.

(It took Evelyn about three minutes to realize this was not such a hot idea. I overheard her telling Riley that they should just pretend).

Reasons to Live Small

We live small. We own one vehicle. We live in a two bedroom, 900 square foot, basement - that's more like an apartment. We have the blueprints to add the top on someday, but part of me doesn't want to. I enjoy living small and here's 6 reasons why and 4 tips for doing it well, which equals ten.

1. It takes much less time to clean.
2. Lower utility/energy bills.
3. Less debt. Let's face it - generally, the bigger it is the more it costs.
4. Family time is a little closer.
5. Less spending. Let's face it - the more places you have to put stuff the more stuff you buy.
6. Forced efficiency. When you have less space, you're forced to be more organized.

7. Speaking of organizing: go up! You'll be amazed how much room even the smallest places have when you use shelving.
8. Build storage spaces. Sometimes it's tempting to let the room be a little bigger and forgo the closets, but closests are key to living small. We have seven! You can even put 'rooms' in the closets. Our office and laundry rooms are.
9.Use lots of color. When you live in a small space, you don't want to feel like it's an assylum. Paint the walls!
10.Let the sunlight in. Open, large windows let light in, mirrors reflect sunlight. All of these create the illusion of more space.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Crayon Catastrophe

So normally, I only blog once every couple of weeks or something like that. So I'm not sure what has gotten in to me, but I thought this was funny enough to share.

So I'm going about my Monday, tackling the laundry, and I go to get the towels out of the dryer to fold. I pull out a bib and it has orange spots on it. A towel - orange spots. I pull the entire load out and everything in the dryer has spots of orange melted crayon all over it! Argh! I guess one got thrown in with the wash. Not only that, but there were big chunks of melted crayon near the vent and the entire barrel was colored orange! I cleaned out the chunks and went ahead and threw my blue towels in . . . I figure the worst that can happen is that all the towels match!

So if you're ever a guest at my house and your towel has little orange spots all over it, rest at ease, it's just crayon!

More Political Musings

If you've been reading my previous posts, you know that since this past election with the state of the economy and other things, I've been trying to figure out which political party I should belong to, or better said which political party best represents my views. Well, yesterday I was reading Joel Salatin's speech that he is going to give the House Committee on Oversight and Gonvernment Reform regarding the meat industry on April 17, and I had an epiphany of sorts. I don't belong with any!

"As a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist, my testimony will not fit neatly partisan stereotypes; rather, it will cross broad cultural boundaries." ~Joel Salatin

Conversations with Evelyn, Part I don't know what

I overheard this conversation:

E and Riley: (Squealing and fighting over something).

E: Riley, share (motherly). Share, Riley (slightly more annoyed). Riley, God wants us to share!

Laundry and Other Thoughts on Motherhood

So today is Monday. And in my world, it's also laundry day. Ever since I entered into the adult world (i.e. college), I have been deficient at doing laundry. I just hate doing it. I would let my laudry pile up and pile up. Or, I'd wash laundry and just leave it sitting around, unfolded. Well, since God has blessed me with three little girls (who love to change their clothes), and a husband who wears uniforms to work, I have what feels like tons of laundry to keep up on. I've tried other methods of keeping up on laundry (two loads a days, etc.), but they just don't work for me. So for the past several weeks, I've been doing all my laundry on Mondays. I love it!

The only draw back is that on some Mondays I have evening meetings, but Richard is slowly catching on and has been helping me when he gets home from work.

Here's what I love about it. I'm not distracted by laundry all week (thinking I should be doing it). I feel so accomplished by the end of the day becaue I get so much done. I've even started cleaning the bedrooms and bathroom on Mondays as well. I've actually realized, as well, that there's a lot less laundry piled up doing it this way (I thought it would be really bad come Sunday, but it's really not that bad).

I've decided to slowly start organizing my life like this: having one major task to accomplish each day.

Note: I have a super-large high efficiency washing machine and dryer. I probably wouldn't be able to do it all on one day without it.

New subject: Poop. Poop is a constant focal point of parenting toddlers and infants. However, it's been more so lately because Riley is potty training. She's been doing really well. Around 18 months she was doing great, but after Gigi was born we had to take a little break. She started going back on the potty again and I really felt like we had reached the downhill slide. THEN she started holding her poop. This is a big deal because she's been holding it over 48 hours which can lead to impaction and all sorts of other problems.

But God bless the internet! I did some research and we're getting on top of the problem early, so hopefully, we'll be able to get through this without medical intervention.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Youth Weekend

So after months of planning it, it's come and gone. I'm talking about the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery youth weekend. Unfortunately, due to Disney trips, Queen of Queen pageants, Spring musicals, track meets, and baseball games, we had a pretty dismal turn-out. Hopefully, by moving it up one weekend next year, we'll be able to get a better response.

But . . . for those who did come we had a great time. It was a lot of fun, great fellowship, good connecting. I mean the point of having these things is to unite the youth in our presbytery, and I think it did do a good job of that.

So today we're not doing anything, and it's great! We really enjoy do nothing days! We're due after the last three days of craziness!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Conflict and Resolutions

I don't have a lot of time to blog right now because we're heading off to a youth retreat in a few hours. I was asked to remove part of my post below regarding camp.

I love Camp Presmont. Unfortunately, I love it a little too much and at times can be very opinionated and critical of the current leadership - and I express it in the wrong format. It's a great place that God has ordained to do some mighty work in the lives of young people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I really like doing the top ten lists. It helps me to organize my thoughts.

The Top Ten Things that are Happening in My Life Right Now:

1. Youth Ministry Success: I have to say we're on an uphill journey in the hilly life of ministry. We've been having many baby successes lately. Some are in numbers - which I hestitantly use as a measure of success. The greatest success lately: the look on one of my girls faces when Richard was teaching a lesson and said that we call the kids in our youth group "our kids."

2. Youth Ministry in high gear: The hard part for me is that when youth ministry goes uphill the kids get excited. And when they get excited, life for the youth minister suddenly becomes much more intense. My job is supposed to be part time and lately it has felt like full time.

3. Church Confusion, Part I: Richard and I for a long time now have been dissatisfied with Coalbrook. Our pastor there is good and we really enjoy him. There are some people there who we really enjoy seeing; however, for the most part it's a "Sunday morning congregation." And honestly, we're really looking for more. We've started this Five Practices series, but only two of us volunteered to lead: I guess two more have since been coerced. I have missed several of the meetings now. Hmm . . . I guess I'm part of the problem. Anyway, I think the series would have gone better had we focused on one chapter at a time - for like 2-3 months. It's overwhelming to implement a series like that in five weeks.

4. Church Confusion, Part II: We've really been leaning toward attending Calvary more often. While they don't (at this point) offer much more for Richard and I, they do offer things for our girls. They would much prefer to attend there. Honestly, I would love to find a mid-week or Sunday Evening service or fellowship group that actually teaches 'the WORD.' And then attend Calvary on Sunday mornings.

5. Messy House: My house is a mess and it's annoying me.

6. Money Matters: Richard's route was split two quarters ago, and his bridge pay ended recently, which sucks. I totally freaked out about how I was going to compensate for a $500 a month pay cut, but fortunately God has blessed us and we live within our means, so we should be able to do it. And it turns out that it shouldn't be for that long as Richard is going to pick up more customers here soon. In a time where it's a blessing to have a job, between the two of us we have three . . . so I'm not complaining. I'm praising God! [I just have issues because when we moved in (almost a year ago) a developed a plan to get completely out of debt (including our mortgage) in five years. This was interfering with my plans: read down two posts].

7. Speaking of Plans: So life is not going according to my plans. I was really looking forward to having Amanda (and John and Maryn) in Ohio for the summer, but that's not going to happen now. So I'm sad, but God has been teaching me great lessons lately about letting go of my plans to make way for HIS, and I'm learning s . . . l. . . o . . . w . . . l. . . y. Amanda, I know life is scary right now and I'm praying for you, but I do absolutely believe that God has great plans for you and you'll end up exactly where He wants you to be.

8. Camp Presmont: [I have been asked to remove these comments.]

9. Crazy Kids: So my kids are crazy. They're good, smart, creative, normal, energetic, and adorable, but they're also a little more than I can handle. They certainly are challenging me.

10. Not Making Time for Myself: I haven't been making time for myself. So I typed this one to hold myself accountable. My shoulder has been acting up lately which is directly related to high stress and lack of exercie :(

Ewe, I hate ending on a downer. So I'll make an 11. Affix: Affix, my husband's awesome band, just hired a manager, which is awesome, and I'm totally excited for them. I'm not going to lie: I am highly critical of my husbands' band, because I would be embarrassed if they sucked. And if you told me three years ago that they were going to end up this good, I would have told you were lying. But they really are GOOD: I would hire them. For booking email booking@rockaffix.com. And check out their website http://www.rockaffix.com/.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I've been promising this post for a while, so I thought I'd go ahead and write it. Secretly, in the world I've my mind, I'd love to write a blog of nothing but top 10's; it's my analytical nature.

Top Ten Things I Got from the NYMC:
1. Family is First
2. Be-with Mentoring
3. Email is for Old People.
4. Breakfast works for busy kids.
5. Let your kids lead.
6. Lead your kids.
7. Media is useful.
8. CPYU.org
9. Sackchairs.com
10. Your life will teach more than any sermon.

Some of these things, I already knew, and the NYMC reinforced them. Others of them, I learned more about. Some were novel for me and made the NYMC completely worth every dime! Ask me about something and I'll give you more detail.

A Piece from My Youth Newsletter

Control Issues Anyone?
As I write this, there are some things in my life that are in limbo. Decisions that are going to be made – that I have no say in. I DO NOT like it.
Why don‘t I like it? Because I just assume get things my way – all the time. As a matter of fact, earlier today, Richard and I were at Staples looking at chairs for our little office area. They’re cheap little college-type desk chairs and they had them in four colors: black, bright blue, bright pink, and purple with green and yellow flowers. None of them matched our earth-tone living room, so I thought we’d go with the cutest one: purple with flowers. Richard, of course, wanted black, but was willing to compromise with the blue (which would have looked awful in our living room). So I turned to Evelyn and Riley and asked them which chair they liked, they’re girly-girls, so I was confident they would side with me. And they did. Richard was out-voted and I’m sitting on a chair that is purple with green and yellow flowers as I write this.
So I used my womanly art of manipulation to get what I wanted. Oh sisters! How many times have our husbands, brothers, fathers, boyfriends, etc. given into our artful attempts of manipulating? We’re soo good at it! And we get it honest: our mother, Eve, was the first to pull this trick. Remember the apple? I feel bonded to Eve in knowing that she too struggled with being in control. Isn’t that what the fall of man was really about? Eve wanted to know – everything – and she was willing to manipulate to get it.
The truth is that God isn’t like Adam (or Richard). He doesn’t give in to our attempts at manipulating Him: whining, bargaining, debating, pleading. God is God. He knows what is best for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s plans for us our so much better than any plans we could make, even when they don‘t seem that way in the present. So as I slowly, painfully, learn to surrender my control to God’s control, I want to encourage you to join me.
P.S. Ask me, and I’ll let you know what God’s answers to the "limbo decisions" were.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where does it end?

I'm not a teacher and I'm not an economist. But I do work with teenagers and have children of my own. So I have to ask the question of where it all ends?

I mean this idea of constantly improving education and the race to keep up with every other country. I already witness with the kids I work with this desire to always be on top - always be more involved - always have one more thing to add to their college applications - and then their resumes. We're quickly transforming what should be 18 years of childhood into fast paced race to finish line. It's sad. There's a push to keep our children in school longer, start them earlier, and teach them more. But WHY?

I believe the failures of our educational system are directly linked to the failures of our politics. People are TAUGHT in this country that being an American means you're entitled to certain things. You're entitled to eat when you don't work; you're entitled buy things that you can't afford; and you're entitled to have someone else educate your children. But as watch my 4 month older utter very clearly: "Ah-goo. Ah-boo," and listen to my just-turned-two-year-old count and name her colors and point out letters that she knows, and when I listen to my three-and-half year old ask my husband, "Daddy, how was work today? Was it hard making money out there?" I KNOW that it is imperative that education starts at HOME! Are we going to take our children from the birthroom to classroom, 365 days a year, for 10 hours each day?

I don't know about you but as a CHRISTIAN I want to be primary influence in my children's lives. No educator will love my children the way I do. I want to teach my daughter's that their value is in CHRIST, not in how much information our very flawed educational system can cram into their heads.

(I promised another blog on the youth conference, and it's still coming. I'm still marinating what I learned).

Monday, March 2, 2009

National Youth Ministry Conference

Wow! Wow! Wow!

This is going to be a two part (or more) post. This one is going to be just me writing, rather randomly. The next post will be me writing some thought-out thoughts about the conference: it may take me a few days to process everything that happened in the last three days.

First off, if you're in youth ministry (in any capacity) we'll be in Chicago in 2010 and are inviting you to join us. This thing was awesome . . . uplifting, educational, informative, inspiring. Wow! Doug Fields, kudoo's to you, you put really put together the conference you dreamed of. Down to earth, practical, knowledable, Godly, honest people. Wow!

It's all so overwhelming right now. I really want to write about everything, but I just can't write now.

This is what God told me:

"Go deeper, they'll go with you.
You're messed up. You're BELOVED.
Richard will be going into full-time ministry, before you planned."

The first and last thing scare the heck out of me. The middle just made me cry.

We also have a lot of work to do. It's frustrating for me to know what I need to do to have a successful youth ministry, but feel like I don't have the time to do it. So I have a lot of prayer work to do.