Monday, February 28, 2011

A gift He gave me

I wrote a devotional for my homeschool co-op a couple of weeks ago, something I'll be doing regularly in the next eight weeks. I wish I had more time to blog, but as it is you get what I've already written:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

"I once was blind, but now I see." 
I have many testimonies, stories of how God has transformed my life.  I'm quite sure I'm in the process of yet another testimony, to be concluded.  Lately, I have been challenged to more freely share these stories of God's faithfulness in my life.  

In the two years I have attended CHECCS, I have changed.  The year 2009 was the most difficult in my life, thus far.  I joined you all in the Spring of that year with my very active two and a half year old son, Z, and an infant daughter, Juju.  I knew I wanted to homeschool, though it was far too early to begin.  I came to learn, to be inspired.  Separate from researching my dream, I was angry.  I'm not sure exactly why I had so much anger, except for my sinful heart. If I was honest, I'd say I was disappointed and frustrated.  I didn't expect to struggle so much with two little ones.  I struggled to get dinner on the table, to keep the house in an acceptable state, I struggled to get out the door to go anywhere.  Everything was hard.  As an only child, I had no idea what to expect, and my mother, who lives in Germany was too far to help.  Little Juju got kisses and attention, while poor Z was the scape goat of my frustration.  He learned to potty train that year, and how I lost my temper with him when he'd have an accident.  He was not abused, but I struggled to feel any positive feelings toward him.  I am so ashamed of my lack of patience with his normal, little boy energy, his age-appropriate abilities or lack thereof and his naturally dependent personality.  

But, God is good, even when I'm not.  That Fall, when I was at my lowest (I even lost it at CHECCS once!), I prayed a prayer, I'm embarrassed to admit I needed to pray.  I prayed that God would help me love my son.  Our pastor always says, "God loves to give good gifts! Just ask!" It was true indeed, as only God can do, He softened my heart toward my son, I made every effort to connect with him in a positive way every day and rebuild trust. As a three and a half year old toddler, though, he still needed discipline and I wrestled with the best approach to truly teach him right from wrong.  Early in 2010 I found a little book I'd had on my shelf for years, a gift from my mother, "Don't make me count to three!" by Ginger Plowman.  What an answer to prayer!!  Addressing the heart and sin issues behind misbehaviors, this book utilizes Scripture to reproof (put off) bad behaviors and reprove (put on) good ones.  I was so excited, I shared the book with probably a dozen people in 2010, who read it too.  

Between changing my heart toward my son and the wisdom brought out from Scriptures in the book, I saw a changed person in myself.  I was relieved to see self-control where I had previously been a lose cannon, I saw grace where I had been hard and cold, I saw patience where I had previously had none.  God has since restored my relationship with Z and blessed us with a very special bond.  In addition, in the past year I have seen his anger dissipate, his patience with others increase and God's peace reigns over all of us in our home.  I am still a sinful human, and have learned I must leave early enough when we go places or my hurriedness will still cause me to sin by impatience and anger with my children.  Asking for forgiveness from my children is a daily practice and one that has blessed me in return by little Z also asking for forgiveness when he sins against me.  All these changes are my testimony to God's power, grace and patience with me and in my family.  He is so good.  Praise Him, praise Him!       

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Amy!

So glad we got to see her yesterday for a bit!  A big Happy Birthday to my step-mother-in-law (that doesn't sound scary a bit, does it!?), Amy Parr-Wigton.  She's really very nice and a very good principal too.  She and Dad have resumed their dance classes, and when the weather is better, enjoy boating on Lake Erie.  They are a fun fun couple.  We're so glad to have you as part of the family, you are very special to us.  Much much love to you on your special day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our only far!

Our nephew, Owen, turns 4 today!!

We are especially thankful for his lifelong friendship with Z.
Whether working hard together...
...or playing hard together...
...these two will be friends forever. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's somebody's birthday!

I am very blessed to have FOUR beautiful sisters-in-law.  Wednesday, February 9th, yet another one of them celebrates a birthday.  Missy is married to Ben's brother, Andy.  She's the gorgeous blond in the front on the right.  When she and her hubby got married, we all loved seeing the stark contrast between her petite stature and Andy's towering 6'7" self as they exchanged vows.  I wish I had a picture of that!! Oh well, here's Missy with a cute baby Ally: 
She is a leader and is awfully powerful for being such a tiny person.  Currently, she is a middle school English teacher.  She has stories of other teachers mistaking her for a student as she blends right in.  She is on the fast-track to becoming a principal now, following in the footsteps of Ben's Dad and step-mom. 

She also scrapbooks and gives good gifts.  She and her husband have the gift of hospitality and are always ready to host get-togethers, including our family Christmas every year. My favorite thing about Missy is her laugh.  She laughs easily, and always at herself if given the chance. She is first and foremost an excellent mom to my children's three favorite people in the world*, their cousins: 

 and Owen

You can tell they're a bundle of fun!  They take after their mother, an ex-cheerleader, who waterskis like a pro and is always up for exciting adventures and trips to the amusement park.  Z and Juju are pretty sure their house is Disney World as it's so much more fun than ours!  

Missy, Happy Birthday!  We love you!

*Ben and I think they're pretty special too.