Thursday, July 30, 2009

Am I normal?

That question runs through my head multiple times a day, and, depending on the situation, it may or may not be valid, but today I think it is.


I don't know what the deal is, but I feel like I hit a wall at lunch time most days and just never quite recover. I'm sluggish and I don't want to get off the couch. I don't necessarily feel sleepy (though sometimes I do). Just exhausted. The idea of running one single errand makes me want to put on pajamas and quit the day.

I'm asking because I feel like most of the moms I know, many of whom have a lot more kids, have WAY more energy than me. I don't think my boys are necessarily any more work than normal toddlers and babies....they're just A LOT of work like the rest of them.

I just keep wondering if it's my body, my season of life or if I'm just plain lazy.

I do have an underactive thyroid, and my last lab check up a few weeks ago revealed a pretty elevated TSH number. But I've been on a higher dosage of my medicine for awhile, and I take really good vitamins. I haven't been exercising consistently because the idea of expending energy is daunting to me right now....I know I should anyway...blah blah blah.

I just don't think I should feel like this so I thought I'd ask you. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

One year ago today

A sweet friend just left my house, and we were talking about God providing. She's really wanting to trust the Lord with circumstances in her life right now, so we were looking up verses that deal with that.

I decided to flip through my 2008 journal (The Year of Never-Ending Financial Turmoil) and found this entry. I almost didn't catch the date....July 16, 2008.

"Lord, I know You already know my heart fully, but I am so overwhelmed right now. Here's the short list:

--selling house
--buying house
--getting enough $ for our house
--saving enough $ for next house
--should we even buy another house?
--move to another city?
--being somewhat settled in time for baby #2
--having $ to live on through the summer
--having $ for my maternity leave
--living radically
--paying off debt
--doing Total Money Makeover
--staying or leaving Crossway
--overall vision for how we want to live in order to bring You glory
--discerning Your will and calling
--feeling like my heart should be somewhere it's not

I know I'm not trusting You. I know You're in control and will take care of us, but that's all in my head -- my heart's not following...."

It is SO GOOD for me to see this! Obviously, some things on the list will always be things that are a work in progress. But I was so overwhelmed! So burdened! So heavy! I remember feeling like that A LOT last summer. What a gift to be able to look back and see how God provided for literally amost EVERY single thing on that list!

Our house questions were answered....and we're fine! We made it through the summer. We had money for me to not work for the full 12 weeks of my maternity leave. Everything was ready for Manny's arrival....above and beyond what I expected. We've paid off almost all of our debt. The Lord has provided another wonderful church. He's showing us more and more about living out our calling for today...not always knowing about tomorrow. He's refining us. He's changing us. He has wonderfully provided all things for us.

I didn't expect to run across that tonight. Thank You, Father, for reminding me of how You've cared for me SO, SO MUCH...even in just a year's time. How quickly I forget.

"then take care lest you forget you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by His name you shall swear." --Deut 6:12-13

Manny outtakes

I had a little photo shoot with the boys today... aaaaand at some point we hit a little rough patch.

Cilantro-Mint Mojitos, anyone?

Square foot gardening update...

We planted a little 4x4 box and filled it with basil, cilantro, mint and oregano; green, red and yellow peppers; big tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, marigolds and are even trying our luck with a cantelope vine (which does not look promising).

As predicted though, I started off strong, going by the book, and then just sorta planted wherever it looked good to me. I didn't pay a lot of heed to the kind of space each plant would need. That being said, it's turned out ok. Tomatoes definitely need more space, but they're producing. The cucumbers are growing really well up the fence.

But the mint and cilantro....

are out of control. I had no idea mint would put off shoots like that! I've had to dig them up to keep them out of nearby plants.

And here's the real question: other than garnishing drinks and making mojitos, WHAT IN THE WORLD do you do with all of it???

Are you supposed to let cilantro flower? Does the coriander always turn back into cilantro? I'm still confused about all that. Oh yeah, and WHAT IN THE WORLD do you do with all of it???

(please let me know if you would like some)

And this yellow pepper (please excuse the blur)? Why isn't it yellow? In fact, why are all of my peppers green? Is it true that the longer they stay on the vine the more they will change colors? So, we're paying $3 a pop at the store for a pepper that just hung out in the sun longer?

Big Hoss...

And my faithful gardening companion...

A LARGE amount of pictures from the month of June

I just can't help but chuckle when I see this little face

Pretty sure bringing the wagon was a FANTASTIC
idea. They loved it!

This was happening pretty much every time all the cousins
were together

The Hartness family is happy at the beach :)

Pretty sure this will copied, scrapbooked or framed at some point.

Not sure which one of us took this one, but can you
tell we're wanna-be's?

Sooo easy on my eyes :)

What is required for 8 adults and 5 children to enjoy at
day at the beach
(and no, we don't make Isaiah pull it)

Doing boy things together

Very cautiously eyeing the catch and looking to see
who will be brave enough to get the closest

The unfortunate crab, caught for 24 hours of observation and much taunting.

I just LOVE this picture...they have such fun together.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Toddler yak

So, the other day we had an unfortunate incident in which I heavily insisted that Isaiah take his vitamins, erroneously thinking that he had enough on his stomach.

It did not go well.

Then last night we were rehashing the whole thing and it went something like this:

Josh: Yeah, we want to make sure you eat enough this time so you don't yak all over the couch again.

Isaiah: Yeah, sometimes Mommy wants me to yak in a little bag.

(I thought it was funny :) )

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hypothetically speaking...

If a certain daughter (who's got a bit of a rebellious streak) of a certain mom who fanatically ADORES anything Jane Austen were to, in a temporary lapse, decide to actually try this Jane Austen person just to see what the fuss is for, what would you recommend to this made-up, non-fan of 1,586 page books?

I will relay the information to this imaginary girl who may or may not consider reading it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Crazy Love

So, I've posted a lot on books lately. What can I say? They're GOOD books!!!

I got "Crazy Love" in the other day by Francis Chan and I am LOVING it. I'll admit it. I'm a little ADD and it's hard to keep my attention. I'm not an avid reader. I'm not even naturally a reader at all...just not my gig. Never been accused of being a book worm a day in my life. But it's a goal of mine to read more (good stuff. not fluffy garbage.) and watch less and less tv...I've experienced the effects of this over and over and it's turned my heart toward the Lord, churned up desires to live radically, opened my eyes to the hurting that I can't see from my suburban neighborhood, shown me parts of the world I've never been to but long to see, shaped and formed my views about who God is, taught me truth. The list keeps going. are a few quotes from the first chapter that I thought you would enjoy. Especially those of you who are hard pressed to find time to read (or the attention span) and would rather skim a few lines before committing to the whole book. And, by the way, I REALLY hope some of you will end up reading it.


I believe He wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them. I believe He wants us to be known for our giving -- of our time, our money and our abilities -- and to start a movement of "giving" churches. In so doing, we can alleviate the suffering in the world and change the reputation of His bride in America.

Chapter 1: Stop Praying

Solomon warned us not to rush into God's presence with words. That's what fools do. And often, that's what we do... The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him.

R. C. Sproul writes, "Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God."

Why would God create more than 350,000,000,000 galaxies (and that is a conservative estimate) that generations of people never saw or even knew existed?...

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is? He didn't have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but He did. He didn't have to put 3,000 different species of trees in one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did. God didn't have to create so many kinds of laughter. Think about the different sounds of your friends' laughs -- wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious.... How about the way plants defy gravity... Or did you know that spiders produce 3 kinds of silk...

Whatever God's reasons for such diversity, creativity, and sophistication in the universe, on earth, and in our own bodies, the point of it all is His glory. God's art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like.

Most of us know that we are supposed to love and fear God; that we are supposed to read our Bibles and pray so that we can get to know Him better; that we are supposed to worship Him with our lives. But actually living it out is challenging.

A. W. Tozer writes, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us..."

God is Holy

His perfect holiness, by definition, assures us that our words can't contain Him. Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?

God is eternal
Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending.

If my mind were the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives.

God is all-powerful

Colossians 1:16 tells us that everything was created for God: "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Don't we live instead as though God is created for us, to do our bidding, to bless us, and to take care of our loved ones?

Psalm 115:3 reveals, "Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." Yet we keep on questioning Him: "Why did You make me with this body, instead of that one?" "Why are so many people dying of starvation?" "Why are there so many planets with nothing living on them?" "Why is my family so messed up?" "Why don't You make Yourself more obvious to the people who need You?" The answers to these questions is simply this: because He's God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain Himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us.

Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?

Before the Throne

But many facets of God expand beyond our comprehension. He cannot be contained in this world, explained by our vocabulary, or grasped by our understanding. Yet in Revelation 4 and Isaiah 6 we get two distinct glimpses of the heavenly throne room... This sort of poetic, artistic imagery can be difficult for those of us who don't think that way. So imagine the most stunning sunset you've ever seen. Remember the radiant colors splashed across the sky? The way you stopped to gaze at it in awe? And how the words wow and beautiful seemed so lacking? That's a small bit of what John is talking about in Revelation 4 as he attempts to articulate his vision of heaven's throne room.

Perhaps you need to take a deep breath after thinking about the God who made the galaxies and caterpillars, the One who sits enthroned and eternally praised by beings so fascinating that were they photographed, it would make primetime news for weeks.

The appropriate way to end this chapter is the same way we began it -- by standing in awed silence before a mighty, fearsome God, whose tremendous worth becomes more apparent as we see our own puny selves in comparison.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


It's 1:14 am and I am too moved to not write anything. I've cried and asked God some old questions of mine that keep getting repeated, but this post has no answers (not that you come here for those). My heart has just been stirred and twisted and poured into and wrung out. Not sure what to do with that yet, but I don't have to have it all figured out, right?

I just finished reading "Scared." It was a free pdf book I downloaded a couple of days ago after seeing a promising blog write up on it. The post said that it was about a man who travels to Africa and is forced to confront many of his fears (along with hard questions about God's character). I can relate and wanted some good summer reading, but had no idea I would feel completely transported to Swaziland, face to face with the horrific and profoundly beautiful. The images were so sharp and clear they nearly jumped out at me from my screen. I fell in love with people...especially one. I want to be like her. I want her heart. She, in her pure and undefiled religion, was a gift I wasn't expecting.

This easy read was, by no means, time wasted. It follows a theme the Lord is working in my heart right now, and seems to fit in beautifully like a shiny thread in a tapestry masterpiece. I can't wait to see what He does.

I hope some of you read it. Here's one of the many excerpts that got my attention (and there are many, many more):

" But Pastor Walter kept speaking these things. Often he would get all excited and start yelling at us, telling what would happen when the kingdom of God came. I started to get tired of waiting for it.
One day, that changed. Pastor Walter was in front of the church speaking, getting all excited. I could see his spit fly out toward the people in the front row. He talked about the true power of a Christian. Power to pray for things and receive them, the power of faith “calling forth things that are not as though they were.” I asked someone about this, and they told me you can pray to God for something you want and He will deliver it. They said it worked for the Americans.
After church, everyone got up to leave except for one person. A little boy I have known since I was a baby remained alone, still lying next to the wall. Everyone thought he was asleep. His momma had died from the bad disease, so she was not around to wake him up. He had no one else to look out for him. Pastor Walter tried to wake him. Pastor Walter’s voice made me stop and turn to look:
“Hey, boy! It’s time to go now. A church is no place to sleep!Boy, do you hear me? What’s the matter with you, sleeping in God’s house like this?”
He walked over to the dusty corner. The wind blew, dirt swirled, and a few leaves rested on his clothes. I can still hear the echoes of his black dress shoes stomp on the cement floor.
“I told you it’s time to go home!”
He kicked at him gently with his foot, but the little boy wouldn’t wake up. So Pastor Walter started dragging him by the shirt toward the door. This wouldn’t have been too hard to do—Tlonge was so skinny. He was also completely filthy; he didn’t own a pair of shoes, and his clothes were nothing more than used rags. My memory of his clothes and face are so clear even now.
Pastor Walter reached down with both hands to pick him up and escort him out the door. But then he froze. It must have been the touch of Tlonge’s skin that did it. Cold, clammy, like the outside of a banana skin. I know because I hugged him after everyone left.
“Tlonge? Tlonge? Wake up, boy, Oh dear Jesus!”
Walter began to cry, slowly at first. He touched Tlonge, more tenderly now, feeling his neck and the side of his face. His sobs turned into gasping heaves as he caressed Tlonge in his arms and held him close to his chest. Pastor Walter cried like I have never seen a man cry in my life. It filled the whole church and poured out into the streets.
From that day, Walter was a different man..."