Count your blessings…

Digging up Dirt in my Soul!  God brings beauty from ashes…and DIRT….lots of it!  And not to mention a new asphalt parking spot :)
Digging up Dirt in my Soul! God brings beauty from ashes…and DIRT….lots of it! And not to mention a new asphalt parking spot 🙂

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever!!!

This past week was really a doozy for us…we had no water for a week and our lives were very interrupted in several different ways…one day I was out at the park with Lewis, Hannah, and Emma enjoying the most BEAUTIFUL weather we’ve had in months….right after quite a substantial snowfall!  It was a sweet day of HOPE really for all of us as we watched the snow melt before our eyes…hope for spring to come.

My sweet neighbors all of a sudden surrounded me….I should have known something was coming!  They sweetly offered to help watch my kids, while I went to move our car from our parking spot. Two of my neighbors had mentioned a leak into their basement a few days before. One presently said she couldn’t use her water and their family was planning to go to a hotel until the situation was resolved.  I sympathized thinking how disruptive that would be!  Then, I went to move my car and saw a few men out in my side yard with a shovel.  “Ok, I thought. A shovel. This is manageable.”  A few hours later, a bulldozer came…and I was told my water was off too and that, not to worry, the water would probably be on at midnight again.  The kids and I delighted in watching a bulldozer work right in our very own yard!!!

Later that night, they mentioned, “probably 4 am.”  The next day, they told me the next day.  And that I could not bring my kids that way again.  I parked on the side of the road…which is not too far from my house…wondering when the water would be on.  We decided to ride it out in our house….the next day, they told us the problem was much worse than they thought and it would be a few days before the water would be available…we decided to run to the gym a few days later and take showers…me still not too excited about the thought of 3 kids under 5 in a hotel at night….which turned out to not be the best decision on my part…

Lewis, Emma and I took a reprieve to Legoland yesterday…an anticipated gift to a boy who had been AMAZING all week!!!…it was a sweet, sweet day out of our stinky house with my boy and Mellow Yellow 🙂 baby and then we came back to find we could use our water again!!!  After a week…really two (it’s not the bulldozer’s fault!)…of disastrous nap schedules…and our kind and really quite helpful maintenance men ringing the bell…although I have to say a tad bit obnoxiously…there really was no hope of rest in my household.  I tried so hard to spend time with the Lord…even just a few minutes…but my efforts failed each time.  Now that our water is back on, our house caught up, and I feel refreshed, I see how desperate my heart is for the Lord.

Last night, I sang “Count your blessings” to the kids…running water, maintenance men to fix everything, clean laundry, clean dishes, clean toilets, and showers were definitely on our list of blessings!  We feel so thankful today for all of these things.  Little things we take for granted…but that make such a difference to our days.  I have to say I was quite a bit grumpy last week and my eyes are now OPENED to all the ways we are learning together.  We are so thankful to the Lord for opening our eyes and showing us all the ways we need to grow.

I am hoping to be MORE thankful for the little things…to humble myself and let the Lord exalt, to have a heart for the weak, to be a better friend, to communicate better and more lovingly when my world is in disarray.  Because, really, HE is unchanging.  He is constant.  He is mighty.

I am learning how to respond to my little 3.  She was SUCH a challenge for me last week…the battles are constant.  I never quite know what to expect each morning when she wakes up…am I getting “Harpoon Hannah”, “Hollywood Hannah”, or “Hugs Hannah?”  I think I’ll take anything but “Harpoon Hannah.”  She is a firecracker and is more determined than wise.  Needless to say, God is helping me get creative in helping her obey and helping me choose battles…even if I have to occasionally swoop her over “just like this,” like a princess, so she can pick up her dolly on the floor “just like that”…and choose the bigger battles.

I was reminded of the love languages that speak the most to my kids..and tried to be deliberate about blessing them in these ways, particularly during a tough week.

He is my strength and song, He is my salvation!

I FEEL this in my heart right now…HIS strength…He is my song tonight and my rescuer…my salvation.  It turns out, from what my husband was telling me last night, that there was a hole in the sewage pipe next to our house…it had been broken for 20 years from a mishap that happened 20 years ago and raw sewage had been leaking for this amount of time…apparently, there was a big sink hole under my parking spot from the amount of sewage…

All I can think about tonight is what the Lord might have saved us from…and how hard it would have been for us if we would have had to fix something like this ourselves….

 

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Thanksgiving 2013.

Wow, I have a LOT of writing to catch up on…and I am looking forward to spending time soon processing, capturing, and reminiscing over the memories we’ve made together as a family the past month.  Has it really been that long since I’ve written???

This month has been a bit calmer than last, but so much still seems to happen somehow with 3 now…I am thinking back to when Lewis used to nap 2-3 hours in the afternoon, and Hannah too…I just don’t have those days very much anymore when all 3 are napping…just not as much quiet time…and I simply don’t get the computer time with Brian in school…understandably so!  Soon, he will get a break, thank goodness, he works so incredibly hard….  And Lord willing, soon I will get a chance more to write.  My mind has had to process in the meantime as my hands haven’t been able to write.  But, there are lots of sticky notes hanging around that are begging to be put into words! 🙂

This Thanksgiving….

Psalm 92:

It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
Senseless people do not know,
fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

For surely your enemies, Lord,
surely your enemies will perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn[b] like that of a wild ox;
fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

This is the verse the Lord gave us this Thanksgiving…to proclaim His love in the morning and His faithfulness at night.  We had an opportunity to talk with one of our muslim guests about God’s faithfulness to the Pilgrims so many years ago…and to think about His faithfulness to us.

I want to capture here–this Thanksgiving.  It was beyond words really in so many ways….  It was:

~A time to worship together joyfully as a family…with all mouths praising the Lord…truly praising Him…

~A morning on Thanksgiving morning when the kids woke up with thankful spirits…a sweet gift from the Lord as it had been a bit of a grumbling week for them.

~A few days of learning to serve together as a family to prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner and guests.

~An opportunity for Brian and I to come to the Lord together to “receive our mission”…He gave us Psalm 92.

~An opportunity to be used as vessels and to witness God’s presence in our home for Thanksgiving dinner…to see glimpses of His purposes for each guest He brought…to see what His presence brings about in hearts…it was incredible…how hearts are convicted, how hearts confess….simply by His Spirit being there.  I sensed we have a lot to learn about how God wants to use us when people respond to God’s presence.  We are learning how to serve those in need while being aware of the depth of our need.  THIS is ministry.  We have so much to learn from Him.

~Seeing what a wonderful gift it is to have stability here to stay another year as we see so many leave who arrived with us…grateful for the ways God has enabled us to finish ILE and grad school the past year….humbled by the grace and gifts God has given us and also humbled by the demanding year that lay ahead of us.  I am sensing I will need to really press in to the Lord, strength-by-strength to get through this next year…

This Thanksgiving…He made us truly THANKFUL for all the GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE in our lives and the lives of others.

These are a few more things/lessons I am grateful for that the Lord has driven home for me the past few days:

I loved seeing Brian’s joy in serving the Lord.  I loved seeing his delight in worshipping together as a family.  I loved seeing a united team as a couple to serve.  I loved seeing God enable me to be less that He might be more…I loved learning to walk strength-by-strength through the past few days of cleaning, cooking, spending quality time with each kid, being an attentive wife and being a hostess…and joyfully serving while my husband ministered.

I am learning about how God gives powerful vision to people…and then asks them to surrender it….how life is a continual surrendering process.  And the depth of how much He desires us to lay our lives down.  This word surrender is meaning more to me each day.

I am learning how scary and ugly my sin really is…(and the picture of how ugly so much of me–inside and out–would be without God’s intervention) and how beautiful His body and His righteousness is…I have been truly scared of those moments when my terrible sin pops unexpectedly out…loathing those moments…and longing to do anything to avoid them…but the truth is that I live by grace and NOT perfection…and to presume to achieve perfection actually violates the 1st commandment…to be completely perfect is to be God…and by presuming or even longing for perfection we proclaim ourselves as God.  God wants us to be Holy as He is Holy.  He wants us to be perfect as He is perfect…in SERVING and LOVING others…He wants us to RUN HARD for the prize He has waiting for us (for His glory)…and He wants us to be obedient….BUT when we fail Him, we are to look to His throne of grace…

HE GIVES ME GRACE to do things right…HE GIVES ME THAT MUCH MORE GRACE when I do things wrong…either way I FIND HIS GRACE.

I think this lesson will help me embrace being a helpless sheep and learn to LIVE BY GRACE.

I am learning that He alone is enough and my husband is a blessing on top of that.  I am so thankful for my wonderful blessing!

I have learned a deep lesson in parenting.  I am learning that the Lord DELIGHTS in shepherding His sheep…and I am talking about High Maintenance Sheep!!!  I have not delighted lately in all the WORK my kids seem to be some days…the constant shepherding wears me out and I begin to think that my kids really are so much more high maintenance than others…but I was reminded by my mentor that the Lord DELIGHTS in shepherding us.  And I am high maintenance too and that is ok!  The point is not to be low maintenance but to turn to our most wonderful Shepherd…He is able to perfectly shepherd His sheep.

I have closure on the twin subject!!!  Yeah!!!!!  I wish I could type this in huge letters because I am SO thankful for this!!!!  Alas, this probably seems ridiculous to most of you, but I really have felt God talk to me about TWINS constantly for about 2 years now.  I have been so confused.  I have had numerous interactions with people who have twins…when the subject first came up a lady put her hand on me and told me I was to have twins (and my husband separately too)…and then one of my dear friends adopted twins right around that time…and then really the subject has been constant since then..I am always running into it and more people who have twins…..  Really, I feel quite silly because I have MISSED entirely what God was telling me.  Do you know that feeling, you know God is trying to tell you something important, but because of your own blinders you draw all the wrong conclusions?  Now that the blinders are off, I am able to see clearly…and I feel quite silly!!!  Now I see it plain and clear.  But, someone had to plainly tell me last night….can I tell you a bit of this silly story as I see it right now?

When Lewis was a toddler, we were in Korea, and we sensed he really, REALLY needed a playmate!  We had Hannah shortly thereafter and when she was born, she had the same birthmark as her brother and was so similar to him in so many ways…they do everything together and go through everything together…even though they are 21 months apart.  Hannah is quite advanced and Lewis is a little behind, so they are really on the same playing field oftentimes.  They experience the same emotions…often have to be separated to not spend too much time together, Lewis thinks of Hannah and wants to wake her up the first thing every morning…they really can’t get enough of each other.  The other night, a lady turned to me and said: Are they twins???  Then it hit me.  Honestly, I have been a little SICK of the subject.  I just am so tired of thinking about it.  I can’t picture us having twins after the 3 we already have.  And I am tired of running into twins or twin advice…not knowing how it is applicable to me.  NOW, I get it.  When she said it so plainly, Brian and I looked at each other and smiled.  Brian answered, “no, but they might as well be!”  Now we get it.  Yes, we have “twins” and now that I see them in this light, the information that I have been given on twins is so very helpful!!!  🙂  Quite silly huh?  But, it has driven me crazy!  And now I have closure 🙂  My little puppy trouble is actually TWIN trouble!!!

Very silly story, but I am so thankful to have this new revelation and to hopefully, learn more in parenting through it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  I pray we all can sense His LOVE over us each morning and remember His FAITHFULNESS to us each night.

June 2013…a Time to Reflect and Rejoice!

Rejoicing over our little miracle....

Rejoicing over our little miracle….
SO big!!!
SO big!!!
reflecting on our journey together...
reflecting on our journey together…
Little wet kitty :-)
Little wet kitty 🙂
Hannah's first picture of daddy!
Hannah’s first picture of daddy!
big blue eyes...
big blue eyes…
bows last for maybe 30 seconds...but short haircuts work for now!
bows last for maybe 30 seconds…but short haircuts work for now!

This month has been such a sweet blessing to reflect and rejoice in HIS faithfulness and miracle of life.  Emma is 38 weeks today…and I can’t help but ponder how glorious and faithful God has been as I reflect on this journey together with Emma.  There have been a lot of hard moments for my body and mind, as Emma has sailed through with such health and strength throughout.

My faith has been tested and grown….

my understanding of God’s deep love for me solidified in so many ways….

my knowledge of who God is and who I am deepened….

a time to revel in His infinite Creativity and MIRACLE of life within me…

a time to learn to rest in peace and trust….

and learning how STRONG He is in my weakness.

We are rejoicing in this little miracle of life!!!

I have been given such sweet last days of wonderful health to CHERISH and ADORE these last few moments together with Emma and also with Brian and the kids in our last days of being a foursome.  I am sensing something special about these last few days with Emma…something to cherish deep inside my heart…as the future is so uncertain…but it is always in His hands.

~The Expert Builder~

Several things have been a bit heavy on my heart the past few days…

Yesterday, though, in our sermon at church, I felt the Lord speaking to us that He is building a very strong foundation in our family right now…kind of like a home is built.  This work cannot be rushed…or else the home may come crashing down when storms come or time takes its toll.  There was much comfort in hearing that.  The EXPERT BUILDER is building a STRONG foundation…for a BEAUTIFUL family.  I know He does all the work…He enables all.  He covers our sin with His blood as we grow closer to Him through FAITH….by faith and faith alone.  There is so much relief in that.  His loving sacrifice conquered all of it…and we are FREE to sin no more…to not walk in circles anymore like the quail who were released in the pastor’s sermon.  I am so thankful for an incredible pastor, who, each week gives a sermon that speaks so wonderfully into our hearts.  What a GIFT.

Other precious gifts I am so thankful for~

*The opportunity to hold a 2 week old baby who my friend was watching for respite care for a foster family.  This little boy was so perfect and sweet…and I was able to get him to SLEEP!  Yeah!

-With this gift, came the sweet assurance that I CAN get a baby to sleep again!  I also read part of “baby wise”…which I had never read before, and was delighted to see, as I was reading it, that we hadn’t departed too much from their concept of PDF.  Every baby and circumstance is so different and I have sensed the Lord lead me with each child…but Hannah was still hard for me despite all my efforts.  The Lord has given her the gift of good sleep now as we have persevered with this battle….and we are so thankful.  I enjoyed talking with Brian about what we liked doing with our other two little babies and what we might do differently with the third.  We both agreed that with each baby, God’s plan might be different and a re-evaluation can be helpful.  With Emma, we are hoping to focus on joyfully bringing her into our existing family structure to be a wonderful addition to the Tinklepaugh Flock 🙂

-As I held this baby, I had a chance to fully take in the reality that a new precious life is going to be in my arms really soon…!  How precious this was….I felt as though the Lord was putting His last touches of preparation in our hearts and home before Emma arrives, like the last strokes to a masterpiece.

*I am so thankful for GOOD HEALTH!!!  The contractions have dissipated the past few days and I am able to REALLY enjoy these last few days/weeks before Emma gets here…this is the best I’ve felt the whole pregnancy and I am so thankful for this beautiful gift–to savor, treasure, and adore this beautiful little girl inside me during these last moments.  One of the doctors I get to see now, whose little girl happens to be named Emma too, reminded me of this today…”don’t be in a rush, savor this.”

*My kids’ hearts–they are so tender, sweet, and loving…full of praises and thanksgiving and prayers…this fills me up like nothing else…to see HIM in them.

*The past few days at the pool…such a place of serenity for me…the pool here is such a delight–with a splash area, baby pool, and big pool…it brings back sweet memories for me as an 11 year old here.  I spent much of my summer at this same pool.

*The opportunity to stay here for 18 more months!…the stability that will bring our family and the chance to witness the special plan the Lord has for Brian and a number of other believers we know in attending an additional school here with a special focus.

Standing Firm…Our strong deliverer is IN ACTION!

This morning, as I listened at PWOC and prayed with other sweet ladies, I sensed God wanting me to stand firm.  There has been a lot of spiritual warfare going on lately in my heart and home and as I cried out for His help, Christ asked me to stand firm.  I pondered what “standing firm” meant, and taking each thought captive to Christ and standing firm in His Word came to mind.  He wanted me to guard my heart and mind from the enemy and refuse any ground to Him!  My identity in Christ flooded my mind and I rebuked much of the thoughts that have been coming into my head.  I can be depressed at the thoughts or simply rebuke them, saying, these are not my thoughts, these are the Enemy’s!  I learned once again, the importance of being a Warrior Princess for Christ—learning how to fight in a battle that seems and is too big for me, but not for my Savior.  It is wonderful for Christ to achieve victory for me when I am in those times of intense spiritual warfare.  I am asked to resist and stand firm. He literally does battle for me!  I am weak and He is strong, and I am called to RESIST!  And that takes a lot of strength in the midst of battle.  His strength is un-ending.

His blessings are being poured out–

I am delighted to see a PWOC study for this Spring that is exactly where I am headed spiritually: “To Live is Christ, to die gain.”  It is wonderful to have confirmation that I am headed the direction that God wants me to go spiritually.  There are so many verses, so many directions, many of them so wonderful, I am thankful for His direction and guidance and to hear His voice clearly, so I can pursue the path on which He wants me to be.

I am so thankful for this amazing time with my husband and family to adjust and settle in before his course begins.  It has been an incredible blessing for us.  He has been home often the past few months with an easy work schedule before we left and in-processing the past few weeks upon arrival….I cannot fathom what I would have done without him…God has poured out his blessing and grace to us and we are so thankful.  Brian starts his first graduate class tomorrow.  He is excited to begin “work” again.  Although, this job is going to be very different—he will have to read a lot of books!  Then he starts his ILE (intermediate level education) course the week after.  My heart feels settled and secure now.

I am thankful for so much.  I even had a chance to clean this beautiful home for the first time tonight!  I love the look and feel of a clean home 🙂  And I loved making smoothies with Brian and the kids afterwards!

I loved eating at a wonderful Korean restaurant here with Brian on our date night the other night.  We are trying to get as much time together as possible before this baby arrives 🙂  6 more months or so until he or she arrives!  We love our time together, but can’t wait to meet this little angel 🙂

I love seeing little Hannah blossom into a ‘little mommy.’  It has been my greatest delight.  She loves taking care of her babies, giving them baths, brushing their teeth, singing to them, reading them books, and rocking them to sleep.  Hannah is longing for a sister.  And buddy is longing for a brother…but would be happy with another sister too!

I love seeing Lewis’ heart get settled now.  He asks about his friends in Sandy Basin a lot..and wishes they could come visit, but he is making new friends and loves his new room, and new home.  I love seeing him grow in obedience and really take ownership and be so proud of himself when he listens and makes right choices.  He loves building others up right now and it is so precious to see.  We see strongholds that have been a battle for him for quite a while being demolished.  Prayer is so powerful–his prayers (he prayed on his own at the dinner table tonight to have a heart like Mary’s…so humble and obedient…) and our prayers for him…and THIS is Brian and my delight right now—to pray for strongholds in our children and our lives to be demolished.  God is so quick to answer such prayers!

WE ARE PRAISING GOD FOR HE IS OUR STRONG DELIVERER!!!!  WHILE WE STAND FIRM…HE IS IN ACTION, FIGHTING THAT BATTLE FOR US!!!

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks :-)

Don’t we serve such an awesome God?  The other day for us was full of events throughout the day…but at some point during the day, the Lord gave me time to clean my home.  I was very thankful to have a clean home.

It brought up a reminder in my head though.  I could tell the Lord was telling me to not get fixated on it…not get too happy about having a clean home.  But, to be thankful for the moments it is clean.  It was a great reminder for me…there are times when everything in my life flows together…no tantrums, everything is nice and orderly, kids are obedient and cheerful, friendships are blossoming, our lives are filled with love for one another…picture perfect.  But, most of the time, it just simply isn’t like that, and the Lord was reminding me that He doesn’t want me to seek perfection.  He just simply wants me to follow Him and LOVE.  I really think that God makes sure that my life isn’t perfect so that I will always rely on HIM.  I am basking in a life walking humbly before the Lord…relying on Him…and loving deeply.  This is my desire.

There is much uncertainty in our lives right now.  We are awaiting several pieces of important news.  The Lord gave me a wonderful devotion the other morning saying, “the secret of following Jesus is showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead.”  I was starting to think too much about the future.  But, He pulled me back…and refocused me on Him.  Doing this always brings peace in the midst of uncertain times.  Everything else fades away and only He remains.