Monday, April 28, 2008

Life Without Limbs

Are you feeling sorry for yourself today? If so, may I be so bold as to encourage you to see this. (And if you answered NO, I still encourage you to watch it. William made time at work and used the word "convicting" to describe it.) I found it on the Girltalk blog from today and was really blessed by it. Joshua and Saraina both asked me to "play it again" and then followed up with question after question. I am looking forward to us talking about the gifts God has given us at bedtime.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Info on Andrea - FYI

In case you are interested, here's a link to read a bit about Andrea.

And as some of you know, Andrea's best friend found out her brother committed suicide the same day Andrea died. In fact, she found out at the hospital only a short time after hearing that Andrea passed away. Her name is Lisa and she can definitely use our prayers as she lost her brother and her best friend on the same day. You can read about him at the above link as well. He's listed right below Andrea.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wanting to Live for God Alone

The other day I read in a friend's blog a quote from John Owen which really blessed and challenged me. The quote was, "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."

And this morning read in the Valley of Vision the prayer entitled, "Man's Great End" which ends like so:

Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,
and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter,
together with all sinful pleasures or profits.

Help me to know continually that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling of thy purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love.

Perhaps I shouldn't share this but... I am...

I have been thinking much about Andrea lately. Especially during these last two weeks of her life. I have also been thinking about our friendship and how it was primarily a friendship because of what she sowed in to the relationship. What I mean is, I didn't deserve her friendship at all. But she freely offered it time and time again.

What do my thoughts on Andrea have to do with killing sin and with the Valley of Vision prayer above? The Lord is showing me yet more of my sin and what it means to be in fellowship with Him. He is showing me just what it means to live for Him alone.

Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,
and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter...


I am guilty of so much pride. I crave attention, praise, glory, honor, applause, and more that only God deserves. I need to be killing this sin. I need to see it for what it is, an affront to a Holy God. I need to question my motives. Why do I really want to attend her funeral? (Thanks, Mom W. for asking me that tough question!)

There's nothing wrong with attending her funeral. I believe it would be a very visible and appropriate thing to do to express God's love to her family. But there's also the reality of our current situation: William's got three night meetings in a row next week, I'm 27 weeks pregnant and am experiencing way more physical limitations/challenges, and we've got three little kiddos that need to be cared for. And then there's the cost of airfare.

So it really boils down to me seeking the Lord and trusting Him to reveal HIS will. My life is not my own. I have been bought with a price! I desire to do what He wants me to do... regardless of the cost. But, I still find myself needing to KILL the sin of wanting to please man opposed to pleasing God. Urgh! Ridiculous questions like, "What will my friends think if I don't go? What does it communicate if I don't go?" But, truly, only God's approval matters. And that I can't earn. SO... I listen. I'm listening to hear Him in the midst of the noise all around and inside my head.

In thinking about Andrea I see how little I know about her life. My friend Cindy has communicated such sweet stories that give me a glimpse of just how precious of a friend she was. But even though I feel I know little about her, I have my own stories.

Conviction of my own sin slowly surfaces as I think about the kind of friend she was. I marvel at the remembrance of her and some other friends renting a minivan, driving from Jersey to Chicago at the last moment to attend our wedding. And she was SIX MONTHS pregnant! I can recall Andrea stepping up by cutting and then serving our wedding cake because no one else was doing it. I see our wedding picture and am reminded of how she took her own necklace off that she was wearing and placed it around my neck because I didn't have one. That's Andrea. She's the one who was always putting others before herself. Cindy even told me about how on school spirit day she painted her bald head three different colors for her students! (She taught up until two weeks ago when she went on disability.) I want to be a better friend in my relationships to bring Him glory.

Well, that's probably enough babble for now. I need to close by praying,

Lord of heaven and earth, I thank thee for saving a wretch like me and giving me hope in the gospel of Your Son, Jesus. Remind me of Andrea's life that I might be spurred on to live in a manner pleasing to You and worthy of calling to which I have been called. Help me walk the path of repentance. Change me and use me as You desire that others may come to saving faith in Jesus for there is no other name whereby men can be saved.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Andrea...

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose... For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28, 38-39 ESV)

Andrea passed away earlier this evening after battling cancer for four years. She was 34 years old and leaves behind a husband and two young daughters.

Will likely write more later but I just wanted those who have been praying to know. Please do pray for those she has left behind.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gearing up for Baseball

This Saturday is a day Joshua has been waiting for as he gets to drive in the "Dedda" (Jetta) with Daddy to "Sigago" (Chicago) to meet up with Grandad and Uncle Freeman to see his first CUBS GAME! Here are some pictures of the kiddos excited about baseball. As you will see, we are in need of some professional shots! We can never get all three kids together and looking in the same direction at the same time! Urgh!

Oh- Saraina has on her pink Cubs shirt in some of the pics too.
And a special note to Grandad: Joshua has his clothes all set out for Saturday. He even decided to wear his red pants opposed to jeans. I suppose he may change his mind if he finds out you or Uncle Freeman are wearing jeans!





Tuesday, April 15, 2008

FYI

In case you're interested in our new blog dedicated to seeing the innumeral gifts the Lord lavishes on our family, visit www.heartsofgratitude.blogspot.com or click HERE.

The WhitneyKiddos blog will continue on though.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ladybug - the princess


Hello,

This is the princess of the Whitney bunch. You can call me Ladybug. I am often forgotten about as I am sandwiched between two rough and tough brothers that can use some more training in how to treat ladies. Seriously! Just an hour or so ago the youngest wild animal of the bunch wacked me upside my beautiful curls with a toy hammer! Ahem. Perhaps some of you more seasoned women out there can have a chat with my Mama 'bout that at some point. Just a thought.
Anyway, I received some goodies in the mail the other day that I'd like to share with you all. And yes, I am hoping I'll receive more! I'm a little slow in learning the concept of being grateful. But aren't we all works in progress?!?!
Here's what I got:



And here's what I told my Mommy,

"Oh! It's BEAUTIFUL, Mommy! Isn't it beautiful, Mommy? It's so beautiful just like ME! Like the girl in the video!"

Note from Mama: We have no idea WHAT video she's refering to!

And here's what big bro had to say,

"Maybe Mommy can have a princess dress too!"

Note from Mama: I'm just about 99.5% certain that will NEVER happen! But God is in the business of miracles so...

I got a bunch of princess dresses and two pairs of princess shoes. And I look stunning! And here are two pictures showing my brothers' excitement. Have a good evening!

~sew


Kadin: What's the big deal? It's only a dumb dress?

Joshua: Who cares about dresses? Look! I can make a THREE in sign language!

Finally, a special word to my Auntie Seve (aka bookworm! wink! wink!)...

A Holy Experience

Just want to post a recommendation. My recommendtion is a blog I found from a friend's blog awhile back. I've visited it often and found myself challenged in many ways.

So, if you've got a moment and want to be encouraged to choose joy today... check it out by click HERE. It sure has blessed me this rainy day.

Oh- and if you see something called "One Thousand Gifts" in the near future, I got the idea from her!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Urgent - Prayers Needed

To my faithful readers, would you please lift up my friend, Andrea in Jersey, who is battling cancer. Things sound grim. But prayer is powerful because God is all-powerful. I don't know much but it seems the cancer has taken over her liver. She's just started 4 intensive weeks of chemo. Andrea has 2 little beautiful girls and just turned 34 over the weekend.

Please pray...

1- for peace for Andrea, her girls, husband, and extended fam and friends
2- for the chem to work and her body not to fail
3- for God to be more real to her and those around her

Coveting your prayers for Andrea...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sallie Mae - Kicked to the Curb

Sallie Mae, we've had a little less than 12 year relationship. And I must say, it was not what I imagined. Nor can I say it was worth it. But the good news is you have officially been kicked to the curb. You are HISTORY, baby! As of 8:24 am CST you are but a memory. And to that I say a loud,

"PRAISE GOD from whom ALL blessing flow!"

William and I have been waiting for this day. We are (with the exception of our mortgage - but one day that too, God-willing, will be gone!) DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!

We are now on to Destination Four on the Money Map, the road to true financial freedom, which focuses on saving for future purchases (like a new fence and other biggies!!!)

To our kiddos, here are a few lessons we've learned along the way:

1- Stay FAR, FAR , FAR away from debt. Indeed, "The borrower is servant to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7 NIV)

2- If you use credit, pay it off IMMEDIATELY and in FULL. "Keep out of debt and owe no man anything." (Romans 13:8 Amplified)

3- Save, save, save so that when (not IF) trouble comes, you can provide for your household AND others. "The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get." (Proverbs 21:20 NLT)

And 4- Stay clear of Sallie Mae! She knows how to really stick it to ya!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Things I Never Imagined

Pride can sure bite you in the butt. Below are some things that I can now laugh at... yet not that long ago, in my arrogance, I snubbed my nose at the idea of the things you'll see below.

Without further ado, here's my list (in no particular order) of things I NEVER IMAGINED...

20. I never imagined I would live anyplace that would look like this in late March.



19. I never imagined letting my child actually wear something like this, especially out of the house. (In case you can't see, he's wearing black, gray, & white camouflage pants with a burgundy striped shirt.)




18. I never imagined marrying a white guy.

17. I never imagined hang drying my clothes on purpose.

16. I never imagined sitting in someone else's urine, multiple times.

15. I never imagined finding a ball of poop in my clothes dryer (which also made it through the washing machine).

14. I never imagined liking homemade pizza so much.

13. I never imagined buying and wearing used clothing and loving it.

12. I never imagined how much a gift it is to comfort a crying baby.
11. I never imagined how hard it would be training kids.
10. I never imagined how a two year old could be used to expose my sin.

9. I never imagined enjoying a date night that involved picking up some items at Big Lots.

8. I never imagined not working outside the home and being content.

7. I never imagined our children not getting baths every night.

6. I never imagined buying food products that have recipes on the back for 100 plus servings.

5. I never imagined getting headaches from not drinking coffee.

4. I never imagined living in a home where our corner was also a city bus stop.

3. I never imagined being thankful for the noise that comes from lots of children.

2. I never imagined considering healthier items like turdinado and spelt flour.

1. I never imgained sharing ridiculous thoughts like these with anyone beyond my hubby.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Kiddos in Black and White














Brief Attempts of Homeschooling

I've been wanting something to use to give our days more structure and I've decided to kinda do the Five in a Row strategy. I say kinda because I teach like I cook, meaning I never following directions as given. I can really drive William crazy! Anyway, a friend lent me the FIAR book and I was happy to see that is wasn't anything too strenuous and that I could be as simple with it as I wanted.



So, we've started with some of the FIAR books I found listed on their website that were available at our library. The only real "challenge" is the books I'm using are from the Before Five in a Row list so it doesn't match the book at all. But, again, I can at least use it for ideas.





The first book I read to the kiddos was Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? and I was surprised that I actually liked it. In fact, I'm putting it on my TO OWN LIST.



We read it five days in a row (or at least we read it over five times) and the kids got so excited about it. It was one of those books that easily allowed for comparing and contrasting our day with Jesse Bear's.








The next book we went for was Blueberries for Sal. Now, you would think I would have read this before, especially since I taught Kindergarten, but nope. My first time reading it to the kids I refer to the child as 'he' but quickly see a different pronoun. Oops! That ended up one of those mistakes that takes days to get over as Joshua kept calling Little Sal a boy. But, hey. Can you blame me? The illustrations didn't give me any indication that SHE was really a HE!



Again, a cute book. We were able to talk about whether or not Little Sal obeyed her Mommy but I was sad Little Sal's mother never commented on Little Sal's behavior. Not a biggie. I don't expect a children's book to cover all the bases. It's another 'keeper' for me but with a slight mark against it for the lack of addressing dangers.



On our last day of reading the book I had the kiddos color a pail and then glue "blueberries" (construction paper) in their pails. After we were able to count the blueberries in each person's pail.

This is as good as my artsy nature gets. This stuff is SOOOO challenging for me! But the kids do love it.










Joshua was so excited that I was letting him handle the glue bottle all by his self. I know. Mean Mama. I usually would not let him squirt. Prior to this day, they would get a little container of some glue (probably watered down by Mama cheap-skate) to messily dip their paper into.















Saraina also did well. In fact, she did far better at gluing than Joshua did! But I think that has to do with Joshua being able to squeeze the bottle of glue a lot more aggressively than she is capable of at this point.



But she was serious about gluing her little pretend blueberries and didn't even attempt to eat the glue or the paper! Yippee!








The book we're reading this week is Ask Mr. Bear. I completely forgot to read it today. I was kinda tripped up how many vocabulary words I needed to explain to them. In my reading of the book on day 1 and 2, Kadin was awake and quite "active" making stopping often difficult. I think (if the weather is decent tomorrow) we'll first PRACTICE the new words (gallop, trot, skip).



If you've got ideas on what one can do with toddlers / those who are not yet ready to begin "official" schooling (though, aren't we teaching them since day 1?!?!?) beyond play all day, PLEASE SHARE!!!! I'm PLAYED OUT!