Friday, January 30, 2009

Little House in the Suburbs: The Fever Episode

Last Wednesday Toby came down with what I'm now calling "The Five Day Fever." He spent hours that day on the couch with a fever and chills. (Thankfully this one skips the stomach!) While the first day was definitely the worst, he had a fever off and on for the next 5 days! Close to 104 at some points. It finally broke Sunday night and he's been fine since. Yay.

I tend to think that I am immune to the illnesses my kids catch because I hardly ever get sick. Apparently, I should have been more careful last week because by Wednesday this week, I was feeling achy and cold and tired and by evening I had my own fever. And a few hours later Timothy had one, too. And this morning Mikaela came down with it! Lowell is the only healthy one left. Last night Timothy (also known as Fever Boy) (who is also getting 4 molars in right now, thankyouverymuch) woke up about 10 times (I'm not even kidding) so I was not the happiest camper when morning rolled around and my temp was still 102. Fever Boy unfortunately doesn't sleep or nap well when he's sick. Big bummer. Cause I'd really like a nice nap right now!

But I've been surviving and even thinking we could all just camp out with our blankets and make some memories together as we all lay around feeling cold and tired and achy. Around lunchtime, though, everyone was hungry and grumpy and Fever Boy was crying and I almost started crying myself. Not the kind of memories I was hoping for! I made it out of the recliner to go make lunch and saw on my windowsill the verse I'm memorizing right now. Ahem.

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in hardships, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
I'm still working, especially on days like this, on not feeling sorry for myself. It's amazing to me that Paul was able to say He delighted in his weaknesses and all the other persecutions he suffered. Amazing. I told God I was having trouble delighting in feeling sick with 2 sick kids but remembered what I have been learning about God's grace as I prepare for our women's retreat (in 3 weeks!) See where it says "My grace is sufficient for you"? Well, that word "sufficient" means far more than we usually think. The Greek word it's translated from actually means "to be possessed with unfailing strength." WOW. His grace is possessed with unfailing strength and that strength is perfected in my weakness. (It makes sense especially considering how many times Paul refers to strength and power in the following sentences.) I'm wishing I had more time and energy this week to work on my talks for the retreat, but I'm trusting God's grace to be unfailingly strong in my weakness.

As I made lunch in my nice 20th century kitchen, I started thinking about Ma Ingalls and all the feverish children she tended with everlasting grace and patience (she was amazing-esp on TV!) and about how I don't have to cut wood for fires or do laundry in the snow or medicate my kids with quinine and what-have-you and I don't have to worry about hungry wolves or plagues... We just have a Five Day Fever and Tylenol and Motrin and lots of blankets and a heater and Kleenex and refrigerators and couches and soft pillows a house with insulation and in a few days this will all be a memory. And in a couple of hours my husband is coming home and I'll get a nap. And God's grace is unfailingly strong.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Work In Progress... (With Pictures!)

12:05 pm: Our friend Todd came over today to build a playhouse with Lowell to donate to the MCC Sale in a couple of months. It will be auctionned off along with a lot of other items and the proceded go to relief projects all over the world. It's a really fun event that we have attended and spent money at since we were in college. It's a tradition! But this is the first project they've attempted to donate, so I thought it seemed like a great opportunity to take some pictures and even attempt to blog about their progress while it's happening! (I'm feeling quite ambitious... or avoiding paying bills and doing the dishes. You decide.) Here's how it's going so far.

And here's how the kids are helping. : ) Be sure to check back later and see how things go and to find out whether or not Brownie (our other dog) comes back since he took the opportunity when the gate was open and nobody was looking to wander off! Mikaela said, "That's the end of Brownie, I guess." : ) (I doubt it...)

2:15pm: The men are at Home Depot, Timothy is asleep, the older kids are watching WordGirl (Thank you Tivo & Thank you PBS!), the dishes are done and Brownie is back in the yard where he belongs. And the house now looks like this:

It has also crossed my mind to wonder where this playhouse is going to sit for the next 2 months before the MCC Sale actually occurs... Hmmmmm.....

Next task: the bills!

7:17pm: They're done for the day... kids are getting ready for bed, I'm getting dinner cleaned up and ready for church tomorrow where I get to lead worship - with a sore throat and a voice that may or may not work with me tomorrow (I called in some extra back up in case my voice is a no show in the morning...) Apparently the house is going to be a resident of our breezeway for the next couple of months. There's still more to do, including painting which I've been informed has been delegated to Sandra (Todd's wife) and me, and nobody wants to move it more than once. I can't blame them. What I can't figure out, though, is why they started it so early. They OBVIOUSLY aren't as committed to procrastination as I am. Go figure!

A few more pictures of the helpers...

(Don't worry... Todd used to be an EMT and Lowell took the screwdriver away right after I took this picture.)

THE END (for now.)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Heeeeeeyyyyy O!

When you have a nickname like "O", you notice that people say "Oh!" a lot, you enjoy singing Angels We Have Heard on High (especially the chorus... Gloooooooooooooooria...) and you inspire people to do their best Harry Belafonte imitations. Timothy (or O, as we still often call him) even gets in on it. He does a really cute "Ayyy O!" that I really need to get on video one of these days! So one day back a few months ago we went searching for the famous Banana Boat Song to play it for our kids (OK... it was probably Lowell... not "we") and this is what we (I mean HE) found. We've watched it many, many times since and I thought that after the dreary weather we've had around here lately and in many other parts of the country that this would be a fitting moment of sunshine for you. Enjoy!!! I'll be back soon with more ponderings... Smiles & Smooches, Melissa

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly...

Remember that song? Then she swallowed a spider to catch the fly... Well, this afternoon that's what I almost did. Swallow a spider, that is. I have a big plastic mug with a lid THAT DOESN'T CLOSE that I use for water and apparently a spider decided to investigate it and drowned inside. I only know that because when I was getting ready to make dinner I took a drink and felt something weird and non-water-like in my mouth. I spit it out and it was a spider. Then I spit some more. And some more. (Mikaela thought it was quite funny.) At least it appeared to already be dead and it wasn't very big. I don't know what I would have done if it had been big and alive! Yikes! (And yuck!) Now aren't you glad I shared that with you? And can I advise you to check your next lidded beverage for spiders before you take a drink? You might thank me someday. (I wonder how long it will be before I stop checking my drinks for spiders...) So... what else have I been doing other than almost swallowing spiders, you ask? Well, trying to use my time wisely, for one thing, because it seems to be in scarce supply these days. It seems that the famous "supply and demand" principle applies to time, too. Since Timothy joined our family, it seems that I have less free time than I used to. And since I started helping out with worship at church in December, I have even less time. (I have been really leading worship, though. And I enjoy having Timothy around too. : ) Even if he is perfecting the "Mommmeeeeeee" plea.) Well, aside from taking care of my wonderful family and helping at church on Sundays, I have also been preparing for our upcoming 3rd annual Grove Community Church women's retreat! It's coming up February 20-22 (in case any of you want to join us!!!) AND I have the absolute privilege and honor of getting to speak at 3 of the 4 sessions!!! I am extremely excited and hopefully I'll take some time in the coming weeks to share with you what I'm studying and learning in preparation for it. Last year it was an amazing experience to share with the ladies at one of the sessions about God's LOVE and to lead the worship at the retreat, but God began several months ago to start moving me toward volunteering to speak at our retreat this year instead of leading worship again. To be honest, it was scary to volunteer because the ladies were considering someone from another church (with more experience) and a Beth Moore video series and compared to either of them, I felt quite inexperienced (for good reason!) and a bit intimidated. But I also wasn't feeling passionate about leading worship this year and there were a couple of other girls who were and I was feeling quite strongly about wanting to share/speak. So I spoke up and eventually it was decided that I would do it (with another gal speaking at the Sat. evening session.) It's definitely a step of faith (for me and the other women who said I can do it!), but quite appropriate because I'm talking about trusting God and believing we are who HE says we are. I'm actually basing the bulk of what I'm talking about on the book TrueFaced, so at least I'm not completely on my own. And do you want to know something very amazing? Just this week I found a friend on Facebook who I knew in college and haven't talked to since then (=quite a few years ago!) and it turns out she GOES TO THE CHURCH started by and pastored by 2 of the 3 authors of TrueFaced. I am wondering why God has reconnected us at just this time when I'm working on this... because it can't be a coincidence. : ) Well, that's all for the moment. I have so much more I wish I could tell you... like about how God has even been preparing Lowell and Timothy for the weekend I'll be gone. (Lowell takes care of Timo on the mornings when I'm playing+singing at church and Timo has turned into a major "Daddy's Boy!" as a result of it. So amazing! It will be SO MUCH EASIER for me to leave knowing how much they have already connected lately.) I can't wait to tell you more sometime soon... : ) Melissa PS I don't think I mentioned it, but every Jan 1st, I try to ask God what He wants to teach me about that year. This year He wants to teach me about ministry. And He gave me this passage to memorize: "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:4-6 As part of a challenge on Beth Moore's blog, I'm memorizing scripture 2x a month. It's nice to have close to 3,500 others doing the same thing (picking our own verses.) I'm hoping to post about it... but no promises! (If only they would all come exercise with me, too!) Anyone else want to join the fun??? Let me know if you decide to!