Friday, April 30, 2010

Rambly Random Deep Deep Thoughts

Some things are not what they appear to be. There are so many things that the world has pulled a veil over our eyes, and we are taken captive by the philosophies of the world.

Allow me to depart from the normal family/crafting blog for the moment, and have another "deep thought by Gretchen" post. It's my blog, so why not?

There's one thing philosophy of the world that has infiltrated our church in America, and I think we should talk about it. Well, there's a few philosophies, and all the them surround the topic of homosexuality.

Yep. I'm going to talk about it.

Even if you don't know anyone who is gay, or think you have an idea as to what God says on this issue, you may not see how this directly effects you.

I'm not talking about the attack on the traditional family. Not going there. It's bigger than that.

Let's start with the sin that the world sees regarding this issue, because believe me, the world sees it and they are not wrong. Overgeneralizing, maybe, but not wrong. We as Christians, too often make broad statements, or have hateful feelings towards the homosexual community. This is wrong. You know all those gay people? They have feelings. They have hearts and souls and they bleed when you cut them.

Understand, when there are people in the church living in sin, that should be addressed, and a sin should be called a sin. We should lovingly get down in the dirt with them and pull them out. That is scriptural. Picketing funerals and saying we hope they go to hell...not so much.

However, when saved, redeemed, justified believers act out with such pride, as if equality with God were something to be grasped, I get mad. We're going about it all wrong, mostly because we don't think it through, and we don't think it through because we don't like to think about it. Furthermore, we see no reason to think about it.

This day in age, though, those people are the minority. Now, when this ever comes up in discussions (which is rarely in person here. No one talks about such controversial subjects. I've just been tempted to comment in some online discussions) people who I know love God spout some line about "they're born that way, and God wouldn't make someone one way, and then say it's wrong. Why would God go out of his way to make someone unhappy like that? Who are we to judge?" I get scared, not mad. I'm terrified.

Why? Why would it scare me that someone who loves God wants to love someone else? Isn't that what Christianity is all about?

No. Christianity is not about love.

At least, not by the world's definition of love. The world might define love as: kind or nice.

Jesus said that people would know us by our love, and God is love, but the solar system of Christianity does not revolve around niceness. It revolves around God. The fruit of Christianity is kindness and goodness and self-control etc. The first part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. Love is very very important.

God is love (as I've said) but he is not a sweet little passive kitty!

I get terrified when Christians start spouting stuff like that for two reasons: They are not understanding who God is, and therefore, they are not understanding what love is. Love is not defined by God in those statements. It's defined by the world.

I'll try to tie up all these loose ends before I'm done...be patient.

Where to even start? Where do you begin to describe God, and who on earth would dare to do so?

Well, let's start there. Why is it scary to describe God? Because God is so above us. He's so beyond our thinking. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. We can't wrap our mind around God, and to try to describe Him would always mean you come up short. God is holy.

I used to think when I was little that "holy" meant "really really good." It meant some one high above. It, in fact, means "separate." God is separate from us. He's different. My favorite example of this is a passage of Scripture that I used to always struggle with, when King David was moving the arc of the covenant back to Jerusalem. God said that the arc had to be moved by poles carried by the priests in the tribe of Levi. King David didn't think such things mattered, and he had the arc moved back in a cart.

Here's the part that bothered me: when the arc started to fall out of the cart, a good guy...a good guy... couldn't bare having it fall, and reached out his hand to catch it, and he died on the spot.

What kind of God would do something like that? God is untouchable. Have we forgotten that? When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, did he just become our chum? Yes, he came down and humbled himself and became man for our sake...but he was still God. He still is God.

I think what is so terrifying is that if we lose that: God's holiness...the fear of God, then Christ's crucifixion is no big deal. The only thing amazing about it is some nice guy died for us. Can our brains even comprehend that GOD laid himself down for us?

When you say "God wouldn't make someone with the tendency to sin" is the most silly comment I've heard. At that point, it's not just about homosexuality. That's why this is such a big deal: It's not just about homosexuals. It's about ALL of us. It's starting a doctrine that has no Scriptural support that God wants you to do whatever you want to do. God wouldn't have you be tempted. If you are tempted with something, and I'm not saying something like a piece of chocolate cake, I'm talking about a life changing, rip your heart out temptation. If you are tempted with something, God wants you to give in. God wouldn't want you to struggle, to wrestle, to be uncomfortable, or (heaven forbid) God wouldn't want you to be unfulfilled.

The idea that it is more important to be true to yourself than true to God is infiltrating our churches. The song "Come Just As You Are" comes to mind as an example. I love that song, because it means I can come to God with all my sin, and all my failures, and he takes me in spite of all of that. Then He changes me. That's the part we're missing. We don't want to be changed. Being changed means it will hurt, (and I mean REALLY hurt...please don't breeze past that). It means we won't be who we were when we first came to God. We will be His, and not our own anymore.

This philosophy is a lie. It's a big fat stinkin' lie, and it scares me because Christians...homosexual and heterosexual, are buying it. We should be ashamed of our sin! All of us! Homosexual and heterosexual! We are sick, and God is the cure! He found a way and became the cure! How can we look at someone who is sick and say they are fine! How can we see someone drowning and say, "he was born not knowing how to swim, so let's leave him alone, and love him for the way he was born."

Let's review: Christians who say that they are better than homosexuals and look down upon them have such a problem with pride, that they can't even see the severity of their own sins. On the other hand, Christians, who say that God wanted homosexuals to be born that way, and God doesn't mind them that way and in fact, made them that way as a part of his beautiful creation, don't know God.

If sin were not such a big deal, if it were not so bad than why did Christ die?

Furthermore, God does want us to be happy. He does. That part is a lie. However, God knows that we can only be happy in Him, and so the devil roams around, telling us that everything else will bring us happiness. Money, sleep, vacation, children, marriage, sex, companionship, food, respect, are all things from God, but are twisted and distorted, and used by the devil to replace God.

I'd like to add, the thought that sin isolates. It isolates us from God, and from each other. No matter what the sin is, we think we are the only ones who struggle with it. We think it only effects us. That is also a lie. I have never met a Christian who does not struggle with sin, and most Christians try to hide it (including myself) because we think "what will other people think of me." We think that we can deal with it ourselves. We think that it only really effects us, and as long as my sin doesn't hurt someone else, it's not bad.

It's bad because God says it's bad, period. When God says it's bad, that's because it does effect other people. I'd like to propose to anyone to name a sin that does not effect other people! Lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, lusting...all of them effect other people in one way or another, but it doesn't always feel that way. That's where the lie slips in. We rely on our feelings, and not on God. We become our own Savior.

Since homosexuality is on the table, let's show how quickly the slope can go? This is from my observations of the handful of gay people I know. First, they go through all the parts in the Bible addressing this sin, and re-explain it with a different type of interpretation. I could actually follow them that far philosophically if I try. Then they get a partner. Well, then you'd have to go through the Bible and re-address every passage talking about fornication. Ironically, that doesn't happen. They blame the culture for not allowing marriage, so multiple partners gets waved in. Do they go to church anymore? Mostly, no. Maybe they used to, but haven't felt at home. Really, they don't see the need for the accountability brought about in a healthy Christian community. It feels judgmental. So then other sins creep in, and maybe not even homosexual ones. Because there is no family to surround. No standard to uphold. Sin is really in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? Their Christian life soon becomes redefined. It used to be: bring your brokenness to God, so He can make us whole again. It is now: be pretty good and live your life the way that makes sense to you.

With all of that in mind, how should we treat a homosexual in our midst? Are they born that way? You bet they are. Just like you and I were born a sinner, so were they. If you look hard, you'll find a sin "gene" in all of us. Our sins have become classified as "illnesses" except homosexuality which has been elevated from illness to healthy. How long will it take for our other sins to be labeled "healthy" by the world?

I'll name mine. I'll say it. When I gossip, I label it as "healthy" because I'm unburdening my feelings on someone else and not holding it in. Never mind that the Bible has laid out other ways for us to unburden ourselves, and deal with conflict. By the world's standard, as long as the other person doesn't find out, thus getting hurt, it was healthy for me to gossip. Of course, you can't call it gossip then, because that sounds bad.

See how that works?

Back to an earlier point, how do we, then, treat homosexuals?

Like people. Like people God died for, and wants us to pray for, and wants us to minister to, and be there for. Like any other human, ahem, I mean sinner who we come in contact with.

I more than understand that many Christians need to confess and deal with their hatred of homosexuals. As a community, we need to be putting more effort towards AIDS research than keeping gay marriage out of the legislature. For heavens sake. These are people. Banning gay marriage won't make them straight. Making them straight won't mean they'll magically know God. Is it possible to love them, and not condone their sin? Absolutely.

And if they don't know God, then what hope can we offer? What's the point, if they don't know Jesus and the happiness, and joy, and life he brings? Heterosexual marriage will not unburden them. Only Christ can.

It all boils down to God's holiness. We've either thought we were like God, or we thought what God has to say doesn't matter. As long as the arc get's to Jerusalem, it doesn't matter how...right? Even David was guilty of picking and choosing what were the "important" commands to obey. Every instance in which God's holiness is magnified, is a reminder to us how much we need the cross.

If God is not holy, the cross doesn't matter. Satan is sneaky. He knows he can't take away the cross. It's on our jewelry and in our homes. So he goes after God's holiness, and asks the same question he always asks: Did God really say that? God is keeping something from you. God is holding back something good from you. Or going back to David: God doesn't care about how the arc gets there, he just cares that it's there. He just wants to be with you and love you.

I'm not saying that those questions don't apply to homosexuals, it applies to every one, and every sin. There's a reason priests used to wear ropes around their waists when they went into the Holy of Holies. Our God is holy, and as C.S. Lewis would say: "He is not a tame lion."

To be honest, I don't know why God says homosexuality is a sin, and I wish it wasn't, because someone very dear to me struggles with this sin, and I cry almost every day for him. Why would God put him through that? I want it to be okay, and I've searched the Scriptures numerous times over it. I just want him to be happy.

Then I realize, I've bought into the lie too. I've bought into the same lie he has, that he will find joy there, and if God would just let him, he would be happy. I've forget that God is the source of happiness, and joy. Not sin.

Let me just end this extremely long and controversial post with a thought from a good friend of mine who I was discussing this post with. She was talking about a struggle in her life that had a firm grip on her. She tried medication, counseling, etc. She couldn't shake it until one day God spoke to her heart and said "if you don't call it a sin, you can't take it to the cross." She repeated those words over and over to me. If you don't call it a sin, you can't take it to the cross. Let's not overlook that when we are stuck somewhere in our life. When we are lacking faith, not seeing God, and lost, we must look at the part of us that we see as "just the way I am" and call it a sin. If not, we'll be crippled Christians. Trying to handle this life on our own like we can be our own Savior. We must all call our sin: sin. If not, we our missing out on the amazing healing, life changing, power of the cross.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Schooling

As always, I’m going to try to work out my thoughts by writing them out, and sharing them with all of you.

I think when it has come to schooling, Knut and I have been on the same page pretty much all the time. We both want our kids to go to public school, as we feel it is so important for there to be a presence of Christian kids and Christian families in our public school system. We had no intention of going the private/Christian school route for a few reasons. One of them is the usual: money. The other is the fact that both of us knew people from both here and where I lived in Arizona, where kids grew up in Christian schools and were never really exposed to non-Christians, or a non-Christian culture, and college can be such a shock to that. Knowledge of God to those friends seemed boring, and commonplace. We never want that knowledge to be that way for our kids.

Don’t get me wrong, Knut and I both graduated from a Christian high school, which I attended for two years and he attended for one. I hope our kids will decide to go there someday too. However, there’s a difference between getting immersed in that culture for awhile, because it is such a fun culture, and living there your whole life.

As far as homeschooling, we’ve played around with the idea, but neither one of us has been fully onboard. We keep coming back to it over and over, and I don’t think it will ever be ruled out, but for now, we’re going the public school route.

I should say, there is such a spectrum to homeschooling, I think. There are those who do it poorly, and those who do it well. There are those who get their kids out and involved in their community, and those who just shelter their kids as long as they possibly can. We don’t want to go this route, unless we can have a plan to do it well.

We are near completing Silje’s first year of school. It was only kindergarten, and it was all day, 3 days a week. Here are some of my observations that I’d like to reflect on about our first year in the public school system.

First, her teacher was awesome. I don’t think we’ll ever get another teacher as awesome as she is. She sent us home with a weekly update. She gave us her work phone, and her home phone, to call her anytime. She let us know what they studied that week, and what they intended on studying the next week, so we could have talks with Silje about any possibly “if-y” topics in school. Two examples of topics we felt we should talk to Silje about before it was address in the classroom was the various holidays studied in the “winter holidays” session, and their unit on families, and how a family is defined.

When Silje is at school, the house is so peaceful, which surprised me. She’s not very loud. However, she and David aren’t fighting and bickering as kids their age often do when she is gone. I get more alone time with David, and he thrives on the days that she is at school, because he doesn’t feel as though he is living under her shadow.

Those are the really good things. Now for the annoying parts. First, Silje’s attitude when she comes home from school is usually terrible. Her attitude in general has become worse, and she has more and more of a feeling of entitlement, that we are fighting and compares herself to other kids much too often. She looks down to David since she has started school, and talks down to him. We are constantly correcting her on this. Constantly.

I don’t like seeing her like this, and the more we correct her, and she will not be corrected, the more I worry how to reach her, and how to help her understand. We’ll sit and talk about it over tea. We pray together. We talk about how God wants us to treat others. Still, whatever our efforts, it does not seem to be changing. Is it just her age, or is it going to school? I don’t know! Our relationship seems to becoming more distant as I feel like I can’t get her to open up about certain things, and with the younger kids, I’m not able to volunteer in her classroom as I had once hoped I could. My mother in law works, and has her parents to look after, etc. I just don’t feel like I have the resources at hand to ask others to watch the boys so I can spend more time with Silje at school. Knut and I have each been able to go on at least one field trip with her, but I don’t feel like that was enough. Not only that, I need to be spending time with the boys while they’re home!

I don’t mean to say she always has this attitude, but there’s been an attitude to deal with on days when she’s at school, and more often on other days as well. Part of me wonders that if we had more opportunities to correct this, it would be beneficial.

There is so much wasted time in her day, and that bothers me. The biggest part of this is her extremely long bus ride. It’s about an hour to school, and an hour home. That’s 2 hours of her day every day. She hates that, by the way, and it’s very obvious to me that those 2 hours are miserable for her. From what I can tell, she’s not bullied or anything, but is bored stiff. We’ve allowed her to bring books, toys, and I’ve started writing her letters on some days for her to read on the bus. It does not work for our family for me to bring her and pick her up every day. The gas money alone would be crazy. Waking the boys up from their nap in the afternoon to pick her up would make our evenings unbearable.

When I heard that so many homeschooling families only spend their morning in school, and their afternoon doing other activities because all the wasted time in a large school setting is cut out, I was surprised. The feeling of doing school all day long is daunting as I have so much else to do! The idea of spending some hours every morning doing school work with my kids doesn’t sound so terribly different than what I’m doing now: reading books, playing, talking, coloring.

I suppose there’s no point to all of this, but I’m just revisiting the thought again. As we make plan for this fall, we’ll need to figure out what to do. Both Knut and I are still leaning towards public school, but the homeschooling has again, not been ruled out. I’m dabbling at looking at homeschool curriculums, and trying to wrap my head around the concept again, to see if we could do it well. One plus would be that we could travel as we pleased in the winter when Knut has more free time, without regard to Silje missing school. We would just work around it.

We could study U.S. History in the capitol itself. We could take the kids on mission trips when they got older. There are so many awesome things about homeschooling, that it seems almost wrong to take it off of the table. However, we refuse to make any decision lightly, because in reality, it’s so scary. Parenthood is scary. You don’t know how many times I ask myself, especially at times like this: “Are we really screwing up our kids?” What if we make the wrong decision? What if we leave Silje in school, and she is over influenced by the world, and struggles with her faith? What if we school her at home and she has a tough time adjusting to the world when we get her there, and has a huge crisis?

When I dwell on all the ways we can royally screw up our kids, I start panicking. How can one not? It always leads me back to the same place, and the same prayer. We must, must release our kids to the Lord, because if we rely on ourselves we will screw up. We must pray, “Dear Lord, take my children and overwhelm them with your presence. Never leave them, and never give up on them. Take whatever we screw up, and turn it into something beautiful in them. Help them understand your plan, and open their eyes when we cannot.”

So what are we going to do? Well, we have to give our kids to God. Whether we are going to put Silje back in public school or decide to go the homeschooling route, I still don’t know.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gardening Has Begun

I was planning on planting some seeds this morning, but once again, I forgot to pick up the ones I like in town. However, Mr. Postman brought my bare root strawberry plants in the mail today, and since Knut had the garden already tilled, I thought I'd bring the boys out there and plant some strawberries!

I was surprised to see the 3 plants I put in the ground (and the deer ate every single leaf last year) actually came up again this year! Yeah! What a good start. I planted the huge bunch that came from Park Seed Co. in a little patch formation. Since Knut saw the strawberry plants coming up from last year, he didn't till that part of the garden, so it needed a bit of work.

David was a huge help, and Elias squealed and clapped as we worked on the weeds already coming up. The asparagus that we planted 2 years ago is coming up, and with the 2 year wait, we actually get to harvest some this spring! I only picked 5 long stalks that were still tender for supper tonight, and left the rest to go to more seed. There are so many baby stalks still coming up!

I know it's still too early to plant the tomatoes, but as soon as I get back to town (probably tomorrow, since I forgot to go to the post office today too. Where is my head?) I'll soon have the peas, green beans, beets, pumpkins, lettuce, spinach, and whatever else looks good in the ground. I'm wondering if I should venture on broccoli this year. Hmmmm.

I've been working a tiny bit in the flower garden, thinning out some things that should have been thinned out last fall. The way-too-expensive hydrangeas that I planted last year are coming up this year, and I'm so relived that they made it through the winter!

The peony bushes are coming up nicely, and so are the lilies on the side of the house. I was so so worried because I've been dreading gardening season this year, but I'll tell ya--now that I've got dirt under my fingernails, I've been bitten by the gardening bug again! I can't wait to get out there more! I'm certain that my new plans this year will make a much more successful year than last, but I suppose only time will tell.

The lettuce and other leafy vegies might have to go in a pot on my porch this year, as last year the deer ate it all! I'm trying to figure out how to battle the deer this year, as Knut doesn't want to put a fence up. Believe me, if you google this gardening question, you'll find quite an array of answers from which plants will deter them to the outright gross. Knut says I need a gun, but I haven't shot a gun since I was a little girl on the shooting range with my dad. Who knows...maybe it's just like riding a bike. I was a pretty good shot when I was 7 with the little 22. However, if I actually shot a deer, and it landed and smushed my strawberries, I know Knut would be excited...but I think I'd be upset it smushed my strawberries. Strawberries are way better than deer meat, in my opinion!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Fun, Exhausting Day

So today was my day with a booth at the mall. I wasn't nervous about it at all...until last night. I had decided not to finish the last few bags, thinking they were unnecessary, but before I went to bed, I was assembling everything in boxes to take to the booth, and started freaking about all the things that I was unprepared for. Since I've never taken Nerdy Gerdy to an event like this, I was pretty clueless. What if I wasn't bringing enough. What if people were upset that I didn't have more available. What if no one came? What if? What if? What if?

I fell asleep after awhile thinking of all of that, and woke up early in the morning with stuff to do immediately on the brain. I got to work, as the kids had their breakfast, and after awhile finally got out of their p.j.s. As things were getting done, I was feeling more and more stressed, and finally it was time to go.

I started loading the kids into the car, and as I was getting shoes on Elias, he twisted around, and took my face in his chubby hands, and gave me a big open mouthed baby kiss, followed by a glowing, sparkly smile...and a little giggle. It completely melted me, and was exactly what I needed. All my stress disappeared as I realized it didn't matter if the whole day went wrong. I still had the job as mommy at the end of the day.

The kids were happy to go to my friend Cassandra's house, with her 3 kids and 2 daycare kids. She said 3 more wouldn't make that much of a difference. I got everything set up, and the table was just the right size for all of my stuff, and everything went well.

A ton of people took my business card, and a few talked with me for quite awhile about diapers, and took a bunch of printouts about it that I had along with me. I sold 2 diapers by the end of the day (which is honestly more than I thought, because people usually buy diapers in numbers, and not singly. If they wanted more than just a few diapers they would have to order them.) One was one of the one-sized diapers I had prepared for the store stocking this next month. The lady who bought it was a grandma, and her daughter was pregnant and she thought she would be very interested, so took one home to try it out.

The second was a PUL diaper cover that someone bought for their miniature poodle who was in heat. Sadly, this is not the first time that someone has brought up that probable market for my diapers, and for some reason, it's always brought up by poodle owners. Still, I do not intend to market them that way. I know...you're all sad. I won't stop them from buying some, though!

No one but my friend, Beth, came to my presentation, and Beth uses all kinds of cloth diapers on her kids, so I wasn't sure what to teach her. It probably wasn't the best idea for me to be scheduled during most kids' nap times, but I'll take what I can get. Still, it was fun to catch up with her, since the birth of her newest little girl.

When I went to pick up the kids when all was said and done, it was near bedtime, and Cassandra had taken her kids and my kids to the park. Silje was walking with her girls, Elias was in a stroller, and David was, of course, on a bike. He had found a bike at their place and asked if he could ride it. However, Cassandra was worried about him knowing some street rules as he's used to riding in the country.

But even without training wheels, much to her surprise, David just picked up the bike and rode it everywhere. He stayed on the sidewalk all the way to the park. (More like raced on the bike and stopping inches from the street at every intersection, giving Cassandra near heart attacks.)

Silje's first words were "We didn't get to have enough time here yet!" I told her she got there at 9am. I'm picking her up after 7pm. She was there all day. She glared at me and said "We weren't here all day because we had breakfast at home!"

Silje and David were exhausted from their play. On the way home, Silje kept going in and out of weeping over this or that. David was unconscious next to her by the time we hit the interstate.

So it's the end of a really fun day. I got to sit and knit in between people walking by, and got to know the nice ladies in the booths next to me. I'm a bit tired from moving boxes of things, and all the the setup that was required, but I got so see some dear friends who came out to see me, and the kids had a fantastic time too. Knut had a rough day on the farm, as I guess one of the tractors broke down, which is always frustrating, especially when the weather is so perfect. Ah, c'est la vie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

I'm totally copying McMama in her post today, but there are so many random things to push together that this seemed to be the most appropriate. I've been sewing, sewing, sewing. Honestly, I never thought I'd believe I'd say this but I think I need a break from sewing. (For lunch that is...) Elias is a goof. He cracks me up all. day. long. I really really need to remember to put Frontline on Lena tonight before we go to bed.

Tomorrow is the woman's expo type thing at the mall, so I'm getting all of my Nerdy Gerdy stuff ready for a booth. Putting price tags on, printing off information sheets, etc. I'm giving a presentation on cloth diapers at 2pm, and I'm actually not nervous at all. Those who know me know I could talk about cloth diapers forever. That's why I'm a nerd. I am trying to get too much done, product-wise for tomorrow, which I should slow down on. I really don't need anything else.

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(baaaad picture. They really are cute. I totally think that my first profits from the store should go to getting a Canon Rebel or the Nikkon equivalent. I really want a nice camera!)
I got some big orders through my store recently, and it has been keeping me busy, and will continue to do so through most of May. This makes me happy and not stressed at all because I don't think I've overbooked myself in this area, and so far things are going according to plan...with a few hiccups here and there. About all of my orders have been for a one-sized diaper, but I actually don't have any individually listed in the store, so that's a project I've been working on too. If none of them sell at the show at the mall, then I'll have a few to put in there next month. But then there's the garden.

It needs to be planted, and soon. I'm thinking this weekend maybe, but I haven't checked the weather yet. About half my seeds did well, and so I'm fairly disappointed, and I think that I may not start seeds next year as it's not turning out to be the money saver I had hoped for 2 years running. Knut thinks that at this rate I may never be a farmer. The weather has been so nice for gardening, so it should be fun.
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The busy-ness has not been good for my ever-degenerating house, so I've had to come down harder on the kids to pick up their toys, their books, their clothes, etc. Silje's been helping me with the dishes more too, as Knut is working most evenings. She loves that time. Lena's been "helping" by chewing every toy that gets left out lately, so that's been some incentive for the kids to keep their stuff picked up. It's gotten a rid of a few toys in our house too, so that's not so bad either. I really should be more mad at her. I just found her chew toy in the garage that I thought was lost, and Knut thought he put away, so hopefully she'll stop chewing the kids toys now.

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Knut came home for lunch, and the truck he drove home was really loud. Either that or I'm not used to having my windows open yet. Elias is REALLY into Knut lately. He drops everything and screams "Dada" and gets to Knut through the fastest means possible every time he hears Knut get home. I mean, the other kids love Knut too, but the reaction from Elias has been quite humorous. This is the first planting season that he's probably remembered, and I remember each of our kids at this age, and even the year after, having an especially tough time with Knut gone so much. I think Silje and David get it more.

Silje's birthday is around the corner, and she really wants a sleepover party, and I'm fine with a bunch of little girls sleeping over. However, I'm not sure how to go about it as some of the girls she wants to invite are from school and I don't know their parents (well, at least one of the girls' parents). Plus after talking it over with some moms, I found that some but not all of them feel that their girls' are old enough for a sleepover, or they're just not ready for something like that. I've tried explaining that to Silje, and she's just not understanding. She so extremely into her friends that she can't possibly imagine not wanting to sleep over at one of their houses. She keeps trying to say it's going to be a surprise party, but I told her that if I told her it was a surprise party, than it wouldn't be a surprise. She doesn't get that either, and continues to plan for this party with quite a lot of passion. According to her, I'm sewing her and all of her friends matching pajamas for the sleepover that she knows nothing about.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Not Me Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

O, where to start! There's so many confessions so share of late! Knut did not kindly do some laundry while I was gone on my sewing retreat, and leave all of it on the couch for me to fold when I got home. I did not, at that point, leave it there untouched for a whole week (besides stopping by the pile to pick up a sock here or there because someone in the family needed a pair.) Of course I ironed all of them at that point, and didn't just fold and put them away after said week of being on the couch, because who really cares that the kids are walking around in super wrinkled clothes at home this week?

I have not ever left dishes in my kitchen this last week, overnight, and woke up to a mess in the morning. Never.

I did not go to the wrong HIT basketball game this last weekend, at the wrong gym, and just stand there for a minute, pretending it was the right game because I didn't want to haul the kids back to the car and drive to another gym. I needed a bit of a breather. When we did get to the right gym, it wasn't just a few minutes before the game I wanted to watch ended.

I have not, this past week, just put Elias in the crib for a few minutes in the middle of the day because he's whiny and I don't know what else to do with him. Just a few minutes of semi-peace in the middle of the day is so precious!

By the way, feel free to leave comments with your "not-me" stories for the week!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Ready or not, here it comes! It's time for Knut to put the skis away, and return to the tractor, and time for me to put the sewing down, and start gardening. Who am I kidding? Of course I'll keep sewing, and Knut won't ski, but he will roller-ski, and bike and run. We won't be able to devote as much time as we would like, but it's just the ebb and flow of things.

Knut has started working a lot again, although he has been home in the evenings, and was able to come by and rescue David the other day as he was supposed to take a nap, but ended up doing some sort of acrobatics from the top bunk, and tried to squeeze between the bunk beds and the wall. His little body fit, but his head didn't, so there he was, with a squished head, and the bunk beds were much to heavy for me to move. So Knut stopped by and rescued us from that situation.

It rained yesterday, and although we've had nice weather before then, it was as though this rain woke up all of the grass, because it almost immediately turned green. It hasn't needed a good mow yet, but I'm sure it won't be long. Although we love our big lawn, I must admit that I think Knut is counting down the days until David is old enough to run the riding lawn mower himself. Silje too, for that matter. I remember when we first moved into this house, I thought we should give it a name. You know, like they do in England. Houses have names there. Knut came up with : "Lotsamowin".

This morning, when Knut walked Silje out to the bus, looked what he brought me back from the front flower bed:

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I believe daffodils are my favorite garden flower, and since we're finally in our permanent home, I planted a few of these bulbs near the tulips in the front flower bed last fall. I'm not sure why the daffodils are growing in so short, though. I planted them at the depth required, but they are blossoming at such a short height. The tulip leaves are growing, but there are no buds yet. The tulip leaves, though, are already taller than the daffodils.

You see my window with all the finger prints? We're a kid-friendly home if you couldn't tell. I suppose that should serve as a reminder to me that I should start on spring cleaning. I'm hoping to catch up to regular cleaning first, I guess! Speaking of which...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Retreat

This last weekend, I got a treat from Knut. After years and years of me wanting to go to one of the "crafting" weekends out at Inspiration Point, this year, he made it happen. In the spring they have "Quilt, Scrap, Stamp" retreats and in the fall they divide it into quilting weekends and scrapping/stamping weekends.

As you may have noticed, both of those times, both spring and fall, are about the worst time of year for leaving the farm for any reason. Field work has already begun on the farm, so I was just tickled when Knut told me I should just go this year.

I had a tough time figuring out what to bring to work on. I had a long list of projects! I really wanted to work on diapers there, but some fabric for the diaper inners that I was expecting to come on Thursday morning didn't actually arrive until Saturday morning, when I was already out at the camp. So I planned on working on a few "hot mama" diaper bags, and one of Silje's new summer dresses, and if there was still time, a few other bags or Silje's Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

When I got there, I saw that they had a work table ready for me in the chapel, which was a little removed from the hustle and bustle of the work stations set up in the lakeview lodge, where the majority of women were. In the little chapel, there were 5 other women in there with me. Michelle, who is from my church and was kind enough to give me a ride way out to camp. She was the vendor for the stamping that weekend as well. Then there were 2 other quilters in there, and 2 other stampers.

I used to work out at this camp as a "camp aide" they called it back then. I think now the title is "support staff." Doing the math as to how long ago that was, I think it was 12 year ago. It's amazing though, it doesn't even feel half that long ago. As a whole, the weekend was not what I had expected.

I was expecting a big sewing weekend, where I got a bunch of things crossed off my to-do list, and kinda a slumber party atmosphere with fun with girlfriends. In the end, I saw I was put in a room alone, since I didn't request any roommates (since I didn't really know anyone besides Michelle and one other friend), and I didn't sign up for the camp very early.

There's something about the camp where God is so very present. I know God is omnipresent, but in this case, His presence seems to be extra thick. God's presence hits you over the head like a shovel when you cross onto the land there.

I'll have to admit, not knowing quite what to expect, I was a little pouty that I had no roommates, and I was out in the chapel, and away from the crowd in the lodge. After the service that night, I went back to my room, and God told me that all of that was part of His plan. You see, I thought this would be a girls' weekend, but God was planning a weekend with Him. Silly me. I don't know how I could expect a weekend out at camp and expect anything else.

The weekend was productive with a few hiccups. I forgot my elastic, which was required for the pockets in the liner of the hot mama bags. Since the pockets are about the first step of the liner, none of the liners of the bags got done, but just the outsides...pretty much. I got Silje's new dress done, and cut out some more fabric for her quilt. Here's Silje's dress, completed:
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I totally butchered another bag, called a "Jenny Bag" and will have to completely redo the binding before I sell it, or I may just have made myself a new bag if I decide not to fix it.

I went to all the little chapel services, though they were not in the chapel, and was totally convicted on so many things. Janet, who is a fixture out at the camp, spoke and what stuck in my head the most, as she talked about God's love, which was the theme of the weekend, was her experience with coaching her summer councilors.

You see, it seems that every summer, there is at least one councilor who comes to Janet saying "Janet, there's this kid in my cabin that is completely driving me nuts. Please, please, pray that I have more patience." She always tells them no. She will not pray for patience for them. She will pray for more love. Because love is patient, and where there is love, there is patience. She tells them to love more, which requires, of course, that we tap into God's love more. It's practically impossible to muster that up ourselves.

Being a mom of 3 kids 5 and under, this message spoke volumes to me. There are so many times that I focus on trying to be patient, when what I need to be striving for is more love. Less selfishness, less me. More God. I think about every meaningful message to be gotten from any Bible study has been just that: less me, more God.

I have to admit, though, that there was a certain weariness that sunk into me at the mere thought. This was not something resolved during my weekend out there, and I wish I could have stayed longer so that it could have been explored more without interruption. I think that so many Christians, who have been Christians for a number of years could relate.

I am so so tired of failing in my Christian life. I'm so sick of wanting to have devotions, and never finding time or making it a priority. I'm sick of the 2 week bursts of spirituality sprinkled throughout the year. I love being a mom, and I know that is my calling for this time, but I miss so much waking up and having time alone with God for even 30 minutes without interruption. (If I even attempt this, one of my kids always wakes up, and too early, making them crabby all day long, and myself crabby all day long, and I almost always regret it.)

I miss being involved in ministries, like talking to people about Jesus even on the street, or at the crisis pregnancy center. I miss opening up my concordance and Bible dictionary and doing some serious Bible study. I have found it next to impossible to do these things as a mother, and while I would not trade my life for anything, I still miss that aspect of life.

With every attempt to any of this being foiled, and God continually pointing me to the ministry He has set before me: my children, I feel like I am on a path of daily failure. O if I could just be in a Bible study at church without my children interrupting 7 times, or volunteer for some charity without a babysitter calling last minute to cancel because she forgot she needed to do laundry that morning.

I get glimpses of things like that, but I don't live there. A good friend and mentor of mine who has several more children than I do suggested that I focus on Scripture memory, as she found that could be done throughout the day. She said I need to let go of the extra-biblical requirements that I have in my mind of what I "need" to do to be a good Christian. Although spending 30 minutes alone with God a day is beneficial, no where in the Bible does it say "good Christians set aside everything and spend 30 minutes a day in the Word." For some people, that is impossible. To say so, would be living like a Pharisee. To dwell on verses on your head over and over while doing dishes or making supper is a another way to bring God into the everyday. Still even in that, I fail.

I know this failure, has no baring on my relationship with Christ as far as Him approving of me. He approves of me because of what Christ did on the cross, and not because of any works of mine. My frustration is not in any lacking of Him, but the lacking in me. Perhaps I should just rely on Him more, rest in Him more. I find, though, that I don't know how to rest in Him while living in the valley, and I wish I could live on the mountaintop. Life is so much easier there.

It's a journey, and I don't know how God is going to teach me how to rest in Him while in the valley, but it's been so easy for me lately to become pessimistic about it. I feel like I'm never ever going to get it right, no matter how much I try, and it makes me crave even more, for just living at His feet in heaven.

So begins a few more weeks of really trying to seek after God, and dwell on His Word, but it's not even in the back of my mind, it's front in center: 'I guess we'll see how long it lasts this time.' I desire, so badly, for a "spurt" of spending time with God daily to last forever. I wish it were second nature, and easy. It is so not easy, and my plans to do it are so easily frustrated, leaving me frustrated.

So I ask that you pray for me in this journey to rely on God fully everyday, which is the journey I've been on since I was born. Any tips you have, like the Scripture memory, would be appreciated. However, I hesitate from relying on any formula or plan, because I don't want to rely on those. I just want to rely on Him. If I ever figure that out, I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Smilin' Big

Yesterday was a big day for Silje and David. They got to go to the dentist for the first time. Well, they saw a dental hygienist, but not an actual dentist. You see, there is a dental hygienist school just under an hour from us, and you can get your teeth cleaned and x-rays for $25. ($18 for kids). So Knut and the kids all had an appointment, and since they wanted me to help with the kids, I have to go back next week for my appointment.

Both Silje and David were pretty nervous, as they had never gone before, but Silje heard some good reports from girls at school about the prizes at the end, so she went pretty willingly with her hygienist student, who pretty much looked like "dental hygienist Barbie." Off she went, and I didn't even need to go with her.

David however, crawled under my chair in the waiting room, in attempt to hide from anyone even thinking of looking in his mouth. Knut was called up next, and David got even more nervous.

So when it was just him and me, I started telling him about all the cool tools they had back there. His interest was perked at the idea of tools, and then his hygienist came out, and saw he was nervous. So she started telling him about the tools too, and when she mentioned she had a squirt gun with water that he could use, he thought there might be more to this dental hygienist school than meets the eye.

So David and I walked back, and first was x-rays. He was elated with the "elevator chair" and although he gagged a few times while they tried putting the film in, he was a trooper. We told him it was going to take a picture of his teeth, and it was so cute how he tried to smile so big when he was clamping down on the film, and we left the room for the picture to be taken. He knew you were supposed to smile for pictures.

David got to pick out some cool sunglasses, and sat down on another "elevator chair" to get his teeth counted. The student checked his teeth, then the instructor did. Then we had to redo one of the x-rays, and then she cleaned his teeth. While she was cleaning, she let David hold the instrument that squirts water in your mouth, and gave him permission to squirt her gown whenever she tickled him. He really like that, and I loved seeing his little hands get ready for a big squirt, and a smile would creep onto his wide open mouth.

They used "cookie dough" flavored toothpaste, or polish...whatever the term is when she cleaned using the rotating brush. I'm trying to figure out how in the world they got "cookie dough" flavor into a toothpaste.

Then they did a fluoride treatment, which is basically painted on, and he wasn't too fond of. He was getting pretty antsy by then, and was moving his legs like he had ants in his pants. Little boys aren't meant to lay still that long!

Through it all, he told her all about dinosaurs, and living on a farm, and having an older sister and younger brother. They had a great old time. Although I think they did a fantastic job, we got there at 1pm, and left at 3:30pm. It took a long time! However, we got some super gentle, eager to prove themselves hygienists, and instructors checking their work after each step to insure it was being done correctly, so in the end, I was very pleased!

Silje and Knut left with no cavities, but David has 2. They are in his far back teeth that he'll have until he is 10 or so, so we have to take him to a real dentist to get them filled, so the cavities don't start eating away at the adult teeth below. So they gave me a copy of his x-rays, so we wouldn't have to get them done again at the dentists, and sent us on our way.

All in all, I'm pretty convinced that dental schools rock, and I'm so glad that both kids did so well! They came home with bags full of dental treats from dolphin and "Cars" toothbrushes, toothpaste, stickers, floss, etc. They got a tour of the place, right down to the dark room that the x-rays are developed in. Then they got to watch a movie while they waited for Knut's hygienist to finish. All in all, a very good experience, and the kids are already asking when they should go back.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mom Worries

I don't know of a mom that doesn't worry. I firmly believe that worries can be remedied with prayer, but I have yet to figure out a way to keep them from starting in the first place.

I think one of the hardest job as a mom, or as a parent for that matter, is constantly second guessing yourself in what you should be doing. I wonder sometimes, if it always used to be that way. These days there are libraries of books on parenting, and each one having a different theory, and offer different methods. I think, too, that there's a need for so many books, because there are so many different kinds of kids! There is no one size fits all!

As we are dealing with 3 now, I've learned more to take from the books what I want, and leave what doesn't apply. I've learned to trust my instincts, and do what I think is best, and not some psychologist working on case studies, or even how the culture dictates we should raise our children.

There are times, though, when we doubt our instincts. I see myself as somewhat laid back, and Elias, is definitely laid back, and I'm starting to realize, the the 2 of us together are getting nothing done.

I got a call today from the public health nurse in our county. I signed up for a service where I fill out a questionnaire every few months saying what he can developmentally do and not do, and they put that into their database, and usually say "thanks for your data." Today, though I got a call regarding the last questionnaire that they received back from me. Elias is not where he should be.

He's getting better at walking everyday, and so we both agreed that we needed to work with him on that more, and he is likely delayed in this because of his 2 hospitalizations since birth. You wouldn't even imagine how just a few days in the hospital can set a baby back developmentally. His fine motor skills are far greater developmentally than his gross motor, and she thinks that could easily be due to his health issues these last 16 months, as he can play with things with his fingers easier than he can move his whole body around.

What she was concerned about was his communication skills. He's not talking as much as he should be, and barely says any words at all. He loves to say "Dada" and every once in awhile we'll hear him say "ba" for ball and "Da" for David and "Yaya" for Silje. Today he's been reaching out his hands to me and saying "Peas" for please. All of those besides "Dada" aren't consistent, though.

It seems as though Elias has had the triple threat of being a little bit preemie, having a few hospital stays, (which is figured into their data, as I said, it does set them back) and being completely catered to by his siblings and parents. We all talk for him, and so he sees very little use for words. He does babble quite a lot, but doesn't say much of anything recognizable.

So in a month in a half, at his next check up, I'm supposed to bring this up with our doctor, again, and see if he is concerned. Last time we talked about it, he called it "third child's syndrome" ;) but he did say we should keep an eye on it. The public health nurse thinks that some speech therapy may be needed for him before he gets to preschool/kindergarten.


About 90% of me says: Elias is just Elias. He's laid back, and a man of few words. That's just who he is, and we should just leave him be. The other 10% wonders if he's not getting something, or if there is some sort of issue with him that needs to be dealt with. It is good and right for parents to push their children to be their best.

I appreciate the heads up from the public health nurse, that we should be working more with language with Elias as he scored so low on that portion of the developmental survey, but it's so hard to do something about it, and not worry. Because we moms worry.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Take a Walk with Me

Today has been lovely. We cleaned a bit this morning, in preparation for some old friends who came by for lunch. Knut fired up the grill, and we had brats and all the springtime fixings. We had strawberry pie, and real whipped cream for dessert. It was lovely.

After our visitors left, I worked putting snaps on some diapers while Knut and the kids all took a nap. After an hour or so, the outside was calling to me too much, so I put down my work, and went out for a walk alone on this lovely day.

I wasn't completely alone. Lena came along, because I needed someone to chase away the little sparrows in our path.

I walked back by the grain bins, as I think that it's fun to see them, and then follow the path behind them that leads back to the road.

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This is where the semi-trucks that pass by the front of our house go to load and unload grain, depending on the season.
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When Knut came home last night, I asked what he did at work that day. He said he found a huge muskrat back here chewing on some hose, and needed to be killed. He went into detail (for him) how he did it, but it grossed me out so much, that I'd rather not write it down here. Never a dull moment, and I'm certain, very different from his last job at the bank.

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Here's our land, almost ready for some seed. This field had corn last year, so this year it will grow soy beans.

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The grass in the ditch is wind blown and matted down from winter. Soon it will be all green again. I bet little animals of all sorts are hiding in there.

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This is one of my favorite fields by our house. The tree down in the valley looks so stunning in every single season.

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The road leads back to our driveway, where the road seems to need a bit of work where it meets the gravel driveway.

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Then Lena and I followed the driveway back to the house. I have to admit, I still pause every single time I see this prospect of the house, because it amazes me. How on earth, did I end up living here? It is so beautiful. It is so big. I've visited poor countries. I've seen poverty first hand. Real honest to goodness un-American poverty. Why did God place me here? How did I get so lucky? Why God has blessed me so, I don't know if I'll ever figure out. I don't know if I've ever lived in a place so beautiful, and I don't think it could ever be topped.

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The tulips are coming up, along with the daffodils that I planted last fall. Daffodils were my favorite when I used to live in Colorado, and I'm so excited to have them back again.

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The rock in the front flower bed was the old place to tie horses when the house was first built...back in 1900.

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I love the trees. There used to be so many more in the yard when Knut grew up here, and we hope to plant some more one of these days to replace the ones that died. This is one of my favorites in the yard: black walnut.

Wasn't that a lovely walk? Thanks for sharing it with me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Elders of the Tribe

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He may not look it, but this guy is an elder. You see, at age 16 and 1/2 months, he has 5, yes 5 younger cousins. Next month, he will add one more. His "twin" Isaac arrived 1 week after him. Then Michiah and Gunnar arrived just a few short weeks ago. This morning, little Elizabeth and Mary were born. We are so happy to have 2 nieces (have I been spelling that wrong on facebook?) after enjoying our 5 nephews. With one more niece coming, the girls will slowly but surely take over. Let's just say Silje is pretty tickled to not be the only girl among boys anymore!

I've got 2 words: BABY BOOM!

And the Winner Is...

Just so you know, and all if fair, I used www.random.org to produce for me a random number. Each entry was given a number, and then a number was generated on that website. I'm so glad I didn't have to pick because there were so many people I just wanted to give the bag to!

In the end, random.org decided...

Sonja N. I can't wait to send this to her, and have her be my twin from afar. The vast majority of ladies who entered (apparently it's not that much of a guy bag) were friends of mine, and Sonja is no exception to that. I've known her since high school, and we keep up through facebook, each other's blogs, and of course the occasional online chat.

Congratulations, Sonja!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Giveaway...no foolin'

It's the 300 post giveaway. Finally. You're all so pumped, right? I'll get to the point and then I'll post pictures of all the rest.
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To enter: You must leave a comment to enter. Consider the comment your "entry form." If you do any of the extras, it must be stated what you did in the comments in order for them to be counted. Your comment can be anything, really. If you do not know how to leave a comment, ask the person to your left.

This is a straight drawing, so leaving a comment will give you one entry in the drawing. Want more entries? Well, if you become a fan of Nerdy Gerdy Boutique on facebook, you'll get another entry. (If you're already a fan, this counts too!) If you're not on facebook, well then you can't do this one. If you are really dedicated, you can post a link to this giveaway on facebook. That's an entry. You could post a link on facebook to your favorite item in my store. Boom, another entry. If you blog about this giveaway or my store, you'll get an entry for each of those. Again, if you don't have a blog, or you do have a blog and don't want to, you still have your other chances.

Breakdown:
comment (required) = 1 entry
fan of Nerdy Gerdy on FB (optional) = 1 entry
FB link to giveaway (optional) = 1 entry
FB link to favorite item in NGB (optional)= 1 entry
blog about giveaway (optional)= 1 entry
blog about Nerdy Gerdy (optional) = 1 entry

That's a total of 6 possible entries to win this bag!

Comments will close tonight, at midnight. At the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken.

You need details? I'll give you details...
The outer and inner fabrics are out of print RARE Joel Dewberry designer fabric. The outer is almond color with brown sparrows. The lining is burnt orange with a circular print. The brown is a beautiful Kona cotton, and the outer fabric has fusible fleece attached to it to give it strength and body. It has a magnetic snap closure, and a little pocket inside that's perfect for a cell phone or some keys.
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The body of the bag is 7.5" high, and 12" wide at it's widest point. It's the standard buttercup bag size from the blog: madebyrae.blogspot.com.
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Don't forget to make sure I have your email address, or have some obvious way of contacting you if you win. This was actually a problem in the last giveaway, because the person who was going to win did not leave her email address, and her google profile was private, and I had no means to tell her she won. So I picked another winner. Don't let that happen to you!

One more bonus: if you win this bag, you will match me. I made myself a bag just like this one. If you've ever wanted to be a twin...there you go.

Good luck everyone!