Youth Renewed Like the Eagle’s

“Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:1-5

Now that my 15 year-old son is recovering from Lyme Disease, I am waiting for test results to show whether or not I also have Lyme Disease.  (I had expected to know by now, but the doctors’ office lost the test results.  Grr. )  If I do have it, it will be the 7th case of it in our family in the last 4 years!  I started to have pain in my knees when my baby was about 6 weeks old, and that pain has now spread to most of my other joints.  I feel like I would expect to feel in my 70’s, not my late 30’s.  I am also dealing with extreme fatigue.  If I did not have 8 children to care for, I believe that I could sleep all day, every day!   It didn’t occur to me at first that it might be Lyme Disease, because I did not have the high fevers that were associated with the first 5 cases our family had.  However, when I saw that my 15 year-old definitely had Lyme Disease but had not had the high fevers, I realized that I needed to get checked.

It can be discouraging to go through health problems day after day, week after week, month after month, and sometimes year after year.  I am blessed in that my health problems have been relatively minor.  I have not had to deal with any of the really life-changing problems that face many people.  Still, there are times when I am discouraged by the fact that my health is not as good as I think it should be.  😉

My 15 year-old and I were listening to the radio in the car together Friday evening, and we got to hear the daily broadcast from Focus on the Family.  We got to hear the story of Duane Miller, who had mysteriously lost his voice and just as mysteriously regained it several years later.  In fact, we listened to a recording of him teaching on the verses quoted above when his voice was restored.  The recording was painful to listen to in the beginning, as it sounded as if he had a severe case of laryngitis.  However, as I listened to his voice being restored, I had tears rolling down my cheeks.  I encourage you to listen to the January 15th broadcast of Focus on the Family!

Duane Miller talked in the broadcast about the sovereignty of God.  He talked about how he had to come to grips with trusting the Lord for his voice.  The Lord, in His wisdom, allowed Duane to lose his voice and struggle without it for several years.  At just the right moment for His purposes, the Lord then restored Duane’s voice.  Duane has gone on to have a successful speaking ministry.

Nick Vujicic is another person who has faced tremendous obstacles in life – obstacles that would have stopped many of us.  I had seen him on YouTube before, but was sent this video again today.  Nick was born without limbs, but lives life to the fullest, encouraging others to do the same.

Whether I have Lyme Disease or not, whether I feel good or not, whether or not things are going the way I think they should, I can still praise the Lord.  And when I praise the Lord, He will help me to get through the day in a way that glorifies Him.   Regardless of how my body feels, my youth is renewed like the eagle’s when I praise the Lord!

Giving Thanks

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

Sometimes, the hardest thing in the world can be to be thankful for something.  It’s easy to be thankful for the blessings we receive.  It’s easy to be thankful for sunshine and good health.  It’s easy to be thankful for happy marriages and beautiful, obedient children.  It’s easy to be thankful for good jobs and sufficient money coming in.  It’s just easy to be thankful when things are going our way.

But life isn’t always about sunshine and good health.  Marriages are failing all around us and children are going their own ways.  More and more people are losing their jobs and most of us are concerned about whether or not the paycheck is going to stretch until the next one comes in.  How are we to be thankful during those times?

I fail in being thankful more times than not, but I am really trying to train myself to look for the good in things.  And I think that it is important that my children  learn to do so as well.  Sometimes it is harder than others, like when I feel that I’ve been hit with one thing after another.  Right now is one of those times.  When it seemed as if everybody was on the mend from the H1N1 virus and we were getting back on our routine, my 15 year-old son started to get sicker and sicker until he ended up in the hospital.  The baby and I spent Thanksgiving week at the hospital with him as he confounded the doctors through one test after another.   Thankfully, the doctors finally diagnosed Lyme Disease and started treatment for him, and we were all able to come home.  However, we came home to 2 other children being sick with a cold!  That cold has now passed to my husband and to me, and I’m currently feeling quite miserable with it.

Miserable as I am, I still have much for which to be thankful.  While it does seem that we’ve been hit hard with one thing after another in the last couple of months, we still have an intact family, my loving husband still has a job to go to, and the 15 year-old is getting treatment and is doing MUCH better.  Furthermore, if this bug follows the same pattern in me that it has with the others, I should be a whole lot less miserable tomorrow.  😉

Once I get started, there are a great number of things that I could list about which I am thankful.  Many of those include relatively minor details that the Lord has worked out in the last few weeks.  Details such as being able to stay at the hospital with my son as he went through test after test, in spite of having my 3 1/2 month-old baby with me.  We live a fair distance from the hospital, and there is no way that I could have gone back and forth to care for the baby.  The hospital policy during flu season states that only parents are allowed to visit the patients.  The fact that the baby had already had H1N1 played a big part in an exception being made for her.  The nurses even brought a crib into the room  for her!

Even though our family missed celebrating our favorite holiday together, we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving once we are all feeling better.  After all, who says that Thanksgiving can only be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November?  It would be much better if every day of the year were a day of Thanksgiving!

And after having listed just a few of the things for which I am thankful, I must say that I am feeling much better.  🙂

P.S.  Just after publishing this post, I went to iTunes to try to catch up on listening to some of the podcasts that I enjoy.  The first one on my list was a Revive Our Hearts broadcast by Nancy Leigh Demoss titled “Abounding in Gratitude.”  Talk about timing!

A New Day

“This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

I am happy to report that most of the family seems to have fully recovered from our bout of flu!  I say most, because my 15 year-old son got hit the hardest and is still regaining his strength, but the rest seem fully back to normal.  While I didn’t succumb to the virus myself, I did have a full-blown case of exhaustion.  This morning I woke up feeling rested for the first time in many days, and I’m eager to get back into my daily routine.

It’s not a particularly sunny day – in fact it is a “mostly cloudy” day with a chance of rain in the forecast.  The autumn colors have faded, and many of the trees are barren of leaves.  However, it is amazing how much brighter everything looks when there is strength coursing through the veins and eyelids aren’t being propped open with toothpicks!  I may be dragging later in the day, but right now it feels good to just feel good.

While physical issues do have a bearing on how the day is viewed, my attitude is an even more important factor.  I may not have a choice in how I feel physically, but I do have a choice in how I respond to the way I feel or to the things that are going on around me.  It is much easier for me to rejoice in the day when things are going well than on those days when things aren’t going so well.  Yet EVERY day is a “day that the Lord has made”, and I need to do a better job of remembering that.  A conscious effort to “rejoice and be glad” will often turn a “bad” day into a “good” day.  My attitude really does make a difference, and I’m afraid that it too often is a difference in the wrong direction.  A “poor me” attitude automatically darkens the colors and makes it harder to handle the small challenges that are a normal part of a mother’s day. Why is it that it is so hard to remember that I have a choice in how I approach the day, and that things will go much more smoothly if I choose to approach the day with joy?

Swine Flu?

“The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.”  Psalm 41:3

Our house has been more like a hospital than a home for the last week.  The day after my husband left for an overseas business trip, my oldest daughter started to feel sick.  One by one, each of the other children also came down with the bug.  We haven’t been to the doctor, but the symptoms very closely match swine flu.  (Doctors aren’t testing for it anymore, anyway – just diagnosing by symptoms.)  We’ve run the gamut from fairly mild cases to delirium and difficulty breathing.  On several occasions over the weekend, I thought I was going to have to take my asthmatic 13 year-old to the hospital, but calls to his pulmonolgist, a prescription for prednisone, and numerous breathing treatments allowed us to say home.  I am very thankful for hospitals, but they are also a good place to pick up new bugs!

There was one night when I had beds set up in the living room for all but my oldest 2 (who were feeling better), and I dosed when I could – sitting up in my computer chair!   Thankfully, I have either not gotten the bug or it has been very mild.  The times when I have felt sick could easily be attributed to exhaustion, since I’ve been surviving on strong, hot coffee.  And I’m even more thankful that the baby (who just turned 3 months) has not been very sick.  She’s had some minor congestion and coughing, but so far no fever.

We’re not over this yet, as I still have boys who are doing more sleeping and coughing than anything else, and one is suffering from an ear infection.  This bug comes in stages and has definite ups and downs.  Even those who are feeling better are still weak and exhausted.  To top it off, I found out that if it is H1N1,  the contagious period is up to 10 days from the first symptoms.  We have had to cancel a visit from DH’s 85 year-old mother this coming weekend.  She hasn’t seen the children for 4 years, and hasn’t even met the youngest 2, but we certainly don’t want to expose her to the bug.  And now we need to decide whether or not DH comes home tomorrow when he returns to the states.  Thanks to the economy, he no longer gets sick pay, so he has no time to be sick!  😉

Through all the concerns in caring for my children, it has been a comfort to know that the Lord has been watching over us and caring for us.  During those times when I was having to make difficult decisions on the best way to care for them, I was very aware of the Lord directing me and helping me to think clearly.  It was He who gave me the strength to keep going when I felt like I was going to drop, and He who has been bringing each one safely through this sickness, swine flu or not!

Times and Seasons

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”  Genesis 8:22

It hasn’t been very many posts since I was glorying in the arrival of spring, and here we are deep into autumn.  In a few more days, October will be over, and we will lose an hour of light in the evening as we cause our clocks to “fall back”.  Where, oh where does the time go?

It is at this time of year that I feel myself going into hibernation mode.  While I love the beauty of the fall colors, I know that soon the leaves will all be fallen and the trees will be bare, seemingly devoid of life.  The weather is getting colder, and it won’t be long before I’m worrying about snow and ice as I run those errands that can’t be put off.   We had an exceptionally cool summer, so now an exceptionally cold winter is predicted.  (Global WARMING?  Not here!)  I don’t do real well with the cold.

I feel as if it is time to start gathering my children close around the fire until the world comes back to life.  😉  I know that is rather silly, but maybe there is some good in that idea.  Maybe it is time to turn my focus inward toward my children and my house.  I have had to be gone from home so much over the last few months, that it will be good to slow down.  My pregnancy required 3-4 doctors appointments per week for the last  couple of months.  I thought that things would slow down once the baby was born, but running errands with a newborn takes 3 times as long as running errands by myself!  There is still plenty of training that my children need, and I’m afraid that there is a fair amount of retraining that is needed in all of the children after all of the time I’ve had to be out.  Now that Baby Girl is almost 3 months old, I am able to do more errands in less time, and I’m working to cut down on the time I’m away from home.  Some things are seasonal and are winding down, so that is a help, too.

Yes, I think it is time to turn the focus inward.  By spring, I want to have done a lot of retraining, and I want to finish going through and decluttering.  Perhaps we can make inside feel more alive, even if things are barren and dead outside!

A Joyful Mother

“He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!”  Psalm 113:9

It’s hard to believe that a whole month has gone by since my last post!  Thank you for all the wonderful congratulations.  I have wished that I could reply to each person, but my hands have literally been full most of the time, and it is hard to type one-handed.  My little baby girl will be 8 weeks old on Friday, and is already changing from being a newborn.  Oh, she still sounds like a newborn, but she is very interested in what is going on around her, and those big, beautiful smiles are something that we all work very hard to get.  😉

Even though she weighed 8 pounds at birth, she looked more like she weighed about 6 pounds.   (Even the medical people thought so!)  For someone who is used to 10+ pound babies, it’s been a new experience to have such a tiny one!   She had us concerned for a few weeks, as she lost about 12% of her birth weight in the first few days, and then didn’t get back up to her birth weight until she was about 5 weeks.  There were several trips to the lactation consultant and pediatrician for weight checks, but she finally did start to gain and outgrow all of those newborn clothes that had been too big on her.  She is still in newborn diapers, though – something that my other children hardly used at all!

Since my first child was on the way by the time I had been married for two months, I have never been someone who would be considered a “barren woman”.  However, the Lord HAS given me the blessing of being a “joyful mother of children”!  I was having my car inspected today and was sitting in the busy mechanics’ lobby with the baby, when a lady asked whether or not this was my first baby.  Of course, she was surprised when I replied that it was my 8th baby, but the lady sitting next to her looked at me and, almost in a hostile tone, asked, “Why?”

I have never before been asked “why” when people have found out that I have several children, so I was speechless for a moment.  Then, I simply responded that it was because I have been blessed.   And, truly, that is the way I feel.  I won’t deny that I’m not always joyful, or that there aren’t days when I wish I could put the children on the schoolbus and have a few hours of quiet.  I won’t deny that there are times when the tears are rolling down my face and I’m the one asking the Lord “why”!  However, it is much more frequent that I look around at my children and feel richly blessed.  My children really do bring me joy!

Well, my latest bundle of joy is exhibiting signs of being tired of being held by her big sister and wanting Mommy, so I will have to finish this another time.  I’ll try to make sure that it is not such a long time before I post again!

It’s a Girl!

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Well, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted, and for that, I apologize.  But for those of you who don’t yet know, I need to let you know that our 8th child is now in our arms.  🙂  Our 3rd girl arrived safely via c-section and is bringing joy to our hearts.  We’ve had some challenges with her eating and she still hasn’t come close to regaining back to her birth weight, but she is settling in to family life.  This baby is by far the most contented baby I’ve ever had, and she is very definitely a “mommy’s girl”!  Knowing that this newborn stage will be gone in the blink of an eye, I’m savoring every moment.  I don’t feel at all deserving, but this precious fruit of my womb definitely is a reward!

We have a winner!

Well, I only had three entries for the giveaway, so the odds were pretty good!  I used random.org, and the winner is commenter #1 – Natalie.  Congratulations, Natalie!

DVD Giveaway

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted – I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home for the last week!

Vision Forum is promoting 5 new titles in their Reclaiming the Culture Set.  Titles include:
You May Not Take Our Guns (DVD)
The Devolution of Law (DVD)
Top Ten Questions About Genesis and Creation (DVD)
The State of Parental Rights in America (DVD)
Christianity and Science Fiction: Reclaiming the Genre for Christ (1 DVD & 2 CDs)

Here is what the Vision Forum website has to say about these DVDs:

At every level of government, our rights as citizens and parents are ignored and usurped by power-hungry politicians. Our news media, universities, and entertainers actively wage war against God’s Word and those who live by it. And our children are confronted daily by the lies of evolution and the horrific realities of its “survival of the fittest” ideology.
In an effort to provide encouragement, hope, and practical instruction to Christian families, Vision Forum is pleased to release five new DVDs. These timely presentations will equip your family to understand our culture’s most critical battles and biblically fight for the rights granted to us by God, rights recognized and preserved for us by our Founding Fathers.

For a limited time, you can purchase the five new DVDs for $45 OR you can purchase the entire 14-DVD set for only $99.

It is my privilege to be able to offer one of you your choice of the titles listed above for free!  Vision Forum has graciously offered to send one of these DVDs to one of my readers.

To enter, go to the Vision Forum website and choose which ONE of the five new titles you would like.  Then leave me a comment telling me which DVD you would choose.  Please be sure to leave me a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win.  For extra entries, subscribe to my RSS feed or post about the giveaway on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter, and leave me a link to that post.  Please leave me a separate comment for each entry detailing what you have done to earn that entry.

I will be drawing a name at random on Friday, May 15th, so get your entries in now!

Got Wisdom?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5

I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel a lack of wisdom in raising my children.  What works with one child doesn’t necessarily work with another, and what works one day might not work the next.

At times, I have been discouraged because it doesn’t seem that my asking for wisdom is having many results.  As I was talking to my mom yesterday, however, it hit me that the Lord never promised to give it to me all at once.  Duh!  He will give me only what HE knows that I need for the moment, not what I think I need.  If I got all of the wisdom at once, I wouldn’t need to ask for anymore.  I would start relying on my own strength rather than recognizing that I need His strength.

When I look at it that way, I guess that I am glad that the Lord doesn’t give me all the wisdom I need for the rest of my life at one time.  I know my tendency toward self-reliance, and it is not a good thing.  I tend to mess things up in big ways when I think I can do it on my own!  Needing to rely on the Lord and trust Him to give me the wisdom I need when I need it keeps me much more humble and therefore much easier to live with.  😉

It WOULD be nice to FEEL a little wiser sometimes, but I am thankful that the Lord truly does give the wisdom He promises – in His ultimate wisdom and timing.   I’ll keep asking and trust that He will provide what I need when I need it.