New Beginnings, Worship and Camping

Life is good.

God is amazing.

Actually God is incredibly amazing!

There’s times when trying to discern his will drives me absolutely crazy.

Worse then that, tho, is the times we get it wrong…

We think we are taking the right steps but it blows up in our faces, that is frustrating! When everything you thought you knew and were striving for doesn’t work out, it leaves you doubting everything you know and it also leaves you with no idea what to do next.

However, when we get it right or when we simply see his plan fall into place, it is an incredible experience. It is an indescribable feeling when we finally get to see his plan and realize that it is far better then the one we had.

Yea, God is truly amazing and he cares so incredibly much for us.

Often his plans are bigger then ours and would actually be impossible for us to reach on our own. I think that is why he reaches down, picks up our plans and crushes them to pieces, with a look of unwavering love he says: “No, this isn’t good enough. I want you to dream bigger then yourself, I want so much more for you then you have planned because with my help you can accomplish so much more!”

New Beginnings

When we tried to sell our house and it didn’t sell, I was ticked. Anger isn’t an emotion that I am that familiar with but that night I was mad!

And Checkers was the one who got to hear it…

If God gave us choices then why don’t we ever get to choose? You’d think it’s a simple choice: either we sell the house or not, and right now it makes so much sense to sell it, so why did God not let it sell?! Why didn’t he let us choose?! Every time we mess up in the tiniest way we pay for it three times over!! WHY?! Why is he so set on us being so stinking perfect?!!!

As we discussed it we came to a very solid conclusion.

Everything happening in our life right now is to prepare us for our future. I don’t know what God’s plans are for us but I do believe we have a slight idea of the general direction he’s taking us and I believe every hard situation that we face now is to prepare us for that. So we can fight it and get there unprepared or we can allow him to mold us to fit perfectly into his flawless plan.

A couple months past the ‘failed house sale’ 🙂 we are starting to see more reasons why God didn’t let it sell.

After empty promises and poor communication at work, Checkers was about ready to throw a ‘Kenzie-style fit’. 🙂

This along with our house dilemma was starting to feel like life was against us, but when handled constructively we learned that both are actually open doors from God.

We took a step that we would probably, otherwise, never have considered taking and started a side business of landscaping.

We started out hesitantly not really expecting it to go anywhere, but God blessed it tremendously and it sailed right off the ground, and is keeping us busy 2-3 nights a week. We are hoping to get a couple snow removal contracts for this winter and then Checkers has a God-sized goal set of being able to jump into this full time by spring.

Foster Care

Another new beginning…

We both have a heart for children, and for me, when I was teaching school I discovered that I love the challenge of earning the respect of a child with behavioral issues.

We often talked about working with children, and what exactly that would look like for us as a family. During these conversations we often came back to the foster thing, but that always scared me (and still does) because how do you love a child as your own for 12-24 months and then just let them go?!

Last winter we laid aside those fears and started researching foster care. Half a year later we took the plunge and filled out the starting form and submitted it to Bethanna.

They told us the process of getting approved takes about 3-6 months and we are currently about a month into this process which includes four training sessions, five 2 hour in-home meetings and enough paper work to make me think we might have bought another house.

We are so excited to take this step but at the same time it feels scary, uncertain and like we are losing a bit of the control we have over our life.

Worship

What’s God up to in my personal life?

He’s been teaching me the power behind worshipping.

I always knew that having a time for prayer and bible reading every day is very important in order to stay in tune with God, but he is teaching me that there is more ways to connect with him.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Did you ever wonder what these weapons are that this verse talks about?

I did.

I know that prayer is a pretty powerful weapon.

I also know that knowing your Bible is a powerful weapon.

I think tho, that if those two are all we are using we are going into battle without enough ammunition.

That’s dumb.

We would never go to war with only half as many bullets as we know we need, so why do we try to fight spiritual battles with only some of the weapons that we need?

I was praying about my latest ‘I don’t know how to handle this issue’ with Kenzie and God’s answer was:

Spend some time every morning worshiping with her. 

Ok yea, Kenzie loves worship, she has ever since DTS. You know, we did the DTS for us and our sweet little 20 month old Kenzie was just along for the ride (at least thats what we thought), but I honestly think God used those 5 months to leave an impact on her even if she wasn’t even two yet.

Like worship…

During DTS many people commented on her worshipping, and worship she did…  Too young yet to care about what anyone thinks she put her whole heart into it. She went all out. 🙂

The substituting base leader told us: You know, everybody thinks its cute, and it is, but to God its so much more then that: She might be young but she is pleasing to God. He enjoys her and delights in her worshipping.

Since DTS people have commented on it: “She is a true worshipper.”

I believe that the way she learned to worship before she was even two will play a part in who she is and who she becomes, I believe it plays a part in her calling and in her destiny.

Not realizing the power in doing it, I kind of forgot about starting a daily worship time.

God persisted, however, so I finally started doing it halfheartedly, you know about once a week or so, just however it fit into my schedule.

Oh and my Kenzie problem that I didn’t know how to handle didn’t disappear and I was still praying about it.

God why am I praying but getting no results?!

God said: ” I gave you the solution a long time ago and you are refusing to do as I asked.”

Oh.

So, I put my heart into this worship thing and we now worship every single morning. There is exceptions, I don’t stress myself out to get it done. On days when I’m away most of the day it probably won’t get done, but if the only thing standing in the way is a mountain of tasks, then I know I need to lay everything aside and spend 15-20 minutes worshipping with my kiddos.

Camping

We spent this last weekend camping with Checkers family.

So many memories and so much fun. 🙂

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Liligrace

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Kenzie

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Sarah

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Micah

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Angie

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Madalynn

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Kynaston

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Adrianna

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Sarie & Micah

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Lily and Kenzie

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Who needs sand?

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Fun everywhere.

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Madalynn & Kynaston

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7 weeks apart

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All 8 of them! Ages 3 mo-4

There was a total of 24 people. (I think) 🙂  Yes, we did get a noise complaint. :-p

We had so much fun tho.

We came home happy, exhausted and filthy.

I hate camping. (shhhh don’t tell them)  🙂

Even so it is always so much fun.

We got home Sunday afternoon around 3:00 and I was dreading Monday because I know how my children act after a full, fun and exhausting weekend like this.

They become the grumpiest kids I ever met.

Monday morning I decided to get a head start before they were even up. Once they were up we did our daily worship, had breakfast and proceeded to do a huge laundry and clean up and put away all our camping gear.

Monday night I was exhausted but suddenly realized: I had a really good day! My kids must not have been that grumpy after all.

However, looking back over my day I realized: They were just as grumpy as they always are after vacation.

I was different.

We had worshipped.

I had entered the day with my weapons sharpened and ready.

I recognized with a certainty that worship is a powerful weapon.

I also recognized that God is the most reliable, caring and compassionate friend I have ever had.

He is faithful.

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Tripping Over Kids

All day long!!

Literally.

I only have two of them…

but they’re everywhere! 🙂

It’s a good thing though, I enjoy them incredibly much.

Mom always cleaned on Friday. As far back as I can remember: Friday was cleaning day.

So for me, it just seems natural to clean on Friday and doing it any other day just feels a bit off.

Yes.

I am one of those people thats stuck in my ways.:)

The first 3 years of our marriage I worked Fridays, so I cleaned on Saturday or Thursday.

When I became a stay-at-home mom and found myself at home on Fridays, I thought it was awesome! Finally I could clean on Friday. (the way its supposed to be.)

When we had Kenzie she changed our entire world. Everything we knew to be normal and orderly, she found a way to change. She cried and fussed more then she was content.

So for awhile I gave up even having a cleaning day and instead I cleaned all week long. I cleaned one or two rooms a day and it made my life a lot less stressful. 🙂

‘Prioritize’ became one of my favorite words when Kenzie was a baby.

If I put away laundry and the drawers are a mess, I’ll take a few minutes to organize them, or when I’m in the middle of  washing dishes  I might find myself doing a load of laundry because I picked up a dirty bib on the counter and then remembered that I need to wash her clothes.

Because I only had about 30 minutes before Kenzie was needing attention again it often felt like I didn’t get anything done.

So, I learned to prioritize.

The big messy and ‘can’t wait’ jobs were my priority and if I found myself organizing a drawer when putting away clean clothes… I forced myself to close that messy drawer and reminded myself: “Prioritize Grace!”

Life went on and as Kenzie grew she became much more contented and I found myself with enough extra time again to do things in true ‘grace fashion’ again. 🙂

Then we had Kynaston and he was a contented, happy and easy-going little guy since day one, but he still had needs and I once again found myself reminding myself to ‘Prioritize!’

I have also come too the conclusion that maybe I need to go back to cleaning a couple rooms every day instead of cleaning everything on Friday, because too be honest, this ‘one day cleaning’ thing is stressful with two kiddos!

A Friday in this life of ours…

It’s 6:30 A.M. and I’m sitting in my chair having my quiet time and just simply enjoying the fact that no one is demanding anything from me.

Checker’s left around 6:00 and the kiddos usually sleep till at least 7:00 or 7:30. I’m thinking about how I should get started with the cleaning before the kids are up but I don’t because this moment of quiet is too precious to ruin just yet.

6:35 A.M. I hear Kynaston stirring upstairs and I’m thinking: What?! He’s up already?! Then I hear Kenzie giggle.

Oh.

They’re both up already!!

Just like that my day was in full gear.

I organized the bedroom, changed Kynastons diaper and got him dressed. I helped Kenzie get dressed which is always a circus…

She jumps, hops, talks and dances all while I’m trying to stick her flailing extremities into clothes.

Finally, with all that accomplished we head to the kitchen and find some food for everyone. After everyone’s fed and I’m cleaning up the breakfast mess which has this way of ending up on the floor, table, chairs and anything else within a 3 foot reach I glance at the clock…

8:30!

It’s 8:30 and I didn’t even do anything yet!!

I get the vacuum and head back to the nursery.

30 seconds later a very curious Kynaston peeps in the door, after watching for a bit he decides he needs to touch this loud thing so he crawls over an sits right where I want to vacuum. I push the vacuum (gently) up against his feet. He looks, then turns around and crawls away as fast as possible. I pull the vacuum back and almost knock Kenzie off her feet.

When did she come in?!

After apologizing to her and assuring her that she will live, I managed to complete this task that once upon a time was pretty simple.

Next we cleaned the playroom.

As I started on the living room, I hear Kenzie moving stuff around in the playroom. “Grace!” She hollers. ” You can’t put the chairs here because they need to be on this side!”

More banging is heard from the playroom.

Seriously?! I just cleaned in there and it’s organized for like the first time all week!

More banging. I guess I shouldn’t name a room ‘The Playroom’ and expect it too stay organized. 🙂

“Grace, I told you already I don’t want this in the closet, it needs to be here!” Kenzie continues.

I’m cleaning the bathroom and I hear Kynaston coming back the hallway and he’s whining that whine that I know means he’s ready for his nap.

Already?! I barely started cleaning yet! Didn’t he just get up?! 

I clean faster, because he’s coming for my bucket and that never goes well. I try to block him from reaching it but he struggles to get around me, complaining the whole time because he can barely get through.

As I’m backing up and washing the floor I keep running into him so I sit him in front of me, yes it goes down a bit hard that he will be crawling across the wet floor now but at least he’s not in my way and the floor will still be a bit cleaner then it was before.

My goal is too wash faster then he can crawl.

Since when can he crawl so fast?!

I’m staying ahead and keeping my bucket protected but just barely, and  I push my bucket backwards (without looking) and shove it right into kenzie…

Water sloshes everywhere.

Where did she come from?!

“I’m weeeeeeeeeet!!!” She shrieks.

Kynaston not missing a beat is headed for the puddle, so I’m trying to hold him back while apologizing to kenzie and trying once again to convince her that she will live and she must go to the living room so I can wash the floor here.

There’s two steps down from our kitchen to mudroom. As I’m cleaning out there I’m thinking: well at least my bucket is safe down here since Kynaston can’t come down the steps.

Kenzie’s in the bathroom helping me clean when I hear Kynaston at the top of those steps.  I drop everything and head in that direction at a fast pace but almost trip over Kenzie in the process, she’s telling me a story but I literally pick her up and move her aside in my haste to get to those steps.

She does some kind of fancy twist/jump to demonstrate her story and somehow lands right in front of me…

I trip over her again and  move her out of the way again and get to the steps to find Kynaston sitting there wide eyed, much to fascinated with the big scene me and Kenzie were making to even be trying to manage the step.

Sigh of relief.

I put Kynaston down for his nap, thinking how well the rest of my cleaning will go since he’s sleeping. I head downstairs with full intentions of being finished before he wakes up.

“I’m hungry!” Kenz says.

I look at the clock.

12:00.

Yes, I’m sure she’s hungry.

I dig through the fridge trying to find something I can whip together quickly.

Finally she’s fed and happy.

Now for the kitchen floor, the last big thing to clean before Kynaston wakes up.

I get my bucket and I’m just  ready to start…

Why is Kynaston crying?!

I head upstairs and put him too sleep again. (he’s teething so his naps haven’t been going the best.)

Meanwhile Kenzies downstairs complaining very loudly because she didn’t appreciate the fact that her ‘floorwashing plans’ got interrupted.

She let’s out an extra loud complaint and Kynaston’s eyes pop open and he looks at me horrified as if to ask, “what is happening to her?!”

Ok, there goes that plan. I know he won’t be falling asleep again.

I take him downstairs, barricade him into the living room and start washing the kitchen floor.

Kynaston somehow manages to break through my temporary wall and comes skidding and slipping across the wet floor. He sprawls out on his belly as his hands and knees slide in different directions. Complaining he pushes himself back up only to sprawl out flat on his belly again.

I get a serious giggle fit even as I’m hoping he doesn’t end up face planting into the floor.

The floor got washed, the rest of the cleaning got finished. I was exhausted. (and grumpy 🙂

And I still had to make supper…

Maybe… I need to reevaluate my priorities.

Maybe I need to quit cleaning.

Well not completely…

but is it really that important to have a clean house??

Especially if it seems to last only an hour??