Early Morning Pondering 

It is day 5 of our Christmas break with 8 kids. 8 yup. We have 5 foster loves right now. 1,2 and 3 year old along with twin 10 year olds. The day has barely just begun. And I’m awake. More from a stuffy nose. And my brain losing the argument about needing to use the bathroom. Now I’m pondering this early morning. Cause I can’t sleep. Christmas is just in a few days. I’m pondering how we will effectively reach each child with the Christmas story. With the love that God sent down. What activities, stories and actions show Christ’s love to children who may not all know. 

I’m pondering all the things I have to do to make Christmas morning magical. I have 4 9/10 year olds who still believe in Santa. Chances are this is the last year. 

I’m pondering that this is the first year with so many foster kids. Which means there will be Mommas waking up Christmas morning without their babies to open gifts. That is sad to me. I wish I could hug them and tell them not to stop working toward getting their babies back. 

I’m pondering that we still have cookies to decorate and hair cuts to get and kids still need to shop and wrap gifts.  But I know it’s ok if they don’t happen. 

I’m pondering how much I still have to wrap even though some elves have helped me a lot! 

I’m pondering that there is no late Christmas Eve service. Even though we could drive 30 minutes to one. Our kids do best in familiar grounds. But it is something I grew up with and my kids loved. To be in the sacuary so early Christmas morning. It is one of the few days I love letting my kids stay up late for. 

I’m pondering I’ve got Christmas dinner to make! And excited that Jeremy and crew is coming. Everyone is. We don’t see him enough. 

I’m pondering Mary. And what she was thinking riding on a donkey pregnant. Her preparations where very different than mine. She had one baby to worry about. And was she worried? What did she bring? They were on a journey. A journey that we all take every year. A journey to that place where Christ becomes flesh. 

This early morning pondering lead me to get up and enjoy the stillness of morning with a cup of coffee. Soon feet and chatter will fill the house. And we will spend our day singing Christmas songs, decorating cookies, sending kiddos on visits with their families and cleaning for Christmas. 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any pictures here. Enjoy! 


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Coffee and Wisdom: Who are you Mocking?

Now if two words belonged together it would be coffee and wisdom.  It is wise that I drink coffee everyday.  Two times a day is even better.  But this early morning hour the wisdom isn’t about coffee itself.  The coffee is just accompany the wisdom.

I have been reading through Proverbs in the morning before getting my family up.  For me this is not always easy as I am not a morning person.  School has started two weeks ago for our little public schooler and our homeschoolers will start today.  I have a child that is having difficulties sleeping and in turn I get less sleep too.  But that is a whole other story to write about.

Wisdom and coffee.   I read Proverbs 9 this morning.  Go ahead pull it out and read it if you would like.  What I love about Proverbs is all the nuggets of wisdom and advice given to the reader.  What I pulled from this mornings reading- vs 7 -12- is who you give advice and correction too.  Who are you handing down wisdom to? And who are you mocking?

Have you every tried to corrected someone who was mocking you or making fun of something.  Or who had a different view point than you?  What happened?  Chances are they came back not nicely.  And sometimes you are standing there stunned.  Like what just happened?  It is easy to get caught up in the firestorm of someone who is not living in a way that mocks what you believe.

I think these verse are advising us not to spend time on those who mock us.  They are warning us we will get hurt if you go down that road. 

But when you share your wisdom and views with other that are wise.  An open discussion can occur with a better chance to become wiser.

This goes both ways though.  Vs. 12  “If you are wise, your wisdom will help you. If you mock, you alone will be held responsible.”

Have I mocked others.  Yes. Many times and that road never goes well.

I pondered on that thought a bit this morning as I drank my coffee.  

How am I going to be wise today?  How am I going to gain wisdom.  And how am I not going to mock others. Where am I going to put my wisdom at?  Where am I not going to invest my time at?

Coffee and Wisdom.

Proverbs 9:7-12


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Giving God the Glory Glory

I have been up since about 3ish.  Wasn’t because of the baby.  Although the baby did wake up.  The reason is really not all that important to blog about.  But I was unable to go back to sleep.

So I wandered out to the kitchen.  Made myself a cup of coffee and enjoyed the stillness of the morning quietness till I started hearing whispers from the bedrooms.

I have been reading.  A little bit of this.  A little bit of that.  I have been reading a lot lately.  Tucked into the spare time I have between balancing my kids, their schooling and my other commitments.  I have given up playing my iPhone games to read extra.  I can get lost in my readings.  Some stories, some learning books, some life lessons.

My favorite to read though are scripture verses.  I have a new habit of just randomly picking someplace of my bible app and reading from there.  I discover so much from the bible that way that I had never seen before.  It is kinda of fun and addicting.  I been pondering writing a devotional series titled: Random lessons and stories from the Bible. Ha like that one I am sure has been done before.

I have been all about reading.  Not much about writing.  My words have failed to find me lately.  Maybe I have not been listening to them.  Maybe when I put words down on paper, they become to real, to raw and I don’t want to deal with them.  Words are powerful and many read them.  Words written can make life seem perfect, and I am far from perfect.  A sinner more like it.

But every morning I try to give God the Glory Glory.  That is my goal.  My focus.  Even if only for a few minutes.

I have started new Accountability Binders and Chore list with my kids. I got the idea from over at thirty handmade days. And I got my chore list idea from my friend.  We have always had morning and evening routines.  The first thing on their morning routine is give God the Glory Glory.  I want them to learn how to start their day out focused on God.  Because some mornings are not so Glory Glory.  And we have to work through them.

So have you given God the Glory Glory this morning?


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10 Things We Learned The First Week of Whole30

Whole30week1 for a family of 5

I had read about Whole30 a while ago from Once a Month Cooking.  Last month I stumbled upon on it again, did some research on it and sorta told my husband about it, and then announced at dinner we as a family were going to do Whole30 for 30 days starting August 2.  (August 1st was my birthday.) We as a family had one week to get ready . So here are 10 things we have learned about our family just the first week of Whole30.

1.  I had to cooked 3 meals a day for 7 days.  The kids LOVE this.  Most days breakfast was just cereal or Nutella on toast.  And lunch was a frozen meal or a can meal.  Yes I went all out.  But on Whole30, I have to actually cook.  And plan, which worked mostly ok.

2. With all that cooking came a LOAD of dirty dishes!  I felt overwhelmed with the dishes this week.  Just when I think we are finally getting caught up -I cook again!!

3.  We got new white dishes.  I bought white square dishes at Target.  Mainly cause they were a little bit deeper,and held salads well.  But we soon realized our food looks great on white!

4. We have shopped ALOT this week!  We needed to get our meat.  We did that mostly at Costco.  We are not a 100% organic or grass feed-but close enough.  This is a huge transition and it is not easy.  I have been to the store 4 other times for other items-mostly veggies and fruits.

5. Our kids are on board for the most part. The biggest thing for them at first was no sugar and wheat.  The second day there was cake at church and   two of my three kids did well with no cake.  Isaiah was sad and mad he could not have no cake.  But he didn’t eat one.  They drink water and eat what we give them.  Isaiah has cheated….but we kinda expected that!

6.  Eggs are our friend! You eat a lot of eggs.  Good thing my kids LOVED eggs already!  Boiled eggs are a great on the go food.  It seems we have been through 9 dozen eggs the first week!!!

7. Fruit Salad-Yummy Yummy! Robby grew up with the Wiggles and we have been eating a LOT of fruit!  Well not too much-but more than normal and I bought a far share of fruit.  But now the kids like to make fruit salad-cause they like being involved in the cooking process!  Which is a little hard for me cause I like to sometimes be alone in the kitchen.

8.  We are eating at the dinning room table! – For a long time we ate at the kitchen table. Then only kids and the adults in the living room.  Then I don’t know what happened when Whole30 started.   We starting this week eating at the dinning room table.  And the one day we were not, the kids were disappointed-so we did.

9.  We are not eating out and no Starbucks! This is big for our family.  Cause remember #1, one of the reasons why I didn’t cook all the time was cause we also ate out a lot!  And I drank Starbucks a LOT.  I am good with coffee black!

10.  I am feeling better. First week was a rocky road.  It was hard.  Some days I felt like crap.  I felt much better by day 7. I am seeing a difference in the kids and my husband! So we will pushed through the next three weeks and decided where we are going from there!

We can do this!!

Here are some of the dishes I cooked for my family!

Whole30 for family of 5

First Shopping Trip of Many for Whole30

whole30 for family of 5

Roasted sweet potato, bacon, sweet onion and spinach -For breakfast

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Simple Breakfast

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Kid’s Favorite Lunch-Taco Salad

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Our Anniversary Dinner -Coconut crusted fish, mango and pineapple and grilled squash

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Cherry’s while they were on sale!!!

 

 

 

 


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10 Random Thoughts That Float in My Mind

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  1. I talk to myself a LOT. No really- I am the one in the store mentally talking out loud going through my check list. My kids will look at me and say, “mom who are you talking to?” I smile and respond “my mind.” My mind is a dangerous place to be.
  2. Like when the thought “If I can “just” do this” enters in. Folks “just” is a dangerous word in the females language. It starts in the mind when she see something on Pinterest or a magazine or a blog. And the mind says “if I can just do this.” If this is then verbally express-the husbands know they are trouble.
  3. Why can’t the towels be hung back up. I don’t know if this is a problem in your house, but 6 kids using one bathroom, oldest 19 now. How hard is it to hang up wet towels? This questions floats in my mind often.
  4. Sometimes random narrations go on in my mind. I can write things or argue issues. I sometimes wish I had a recording button because these normally happen when I don’t have anything to write down my thoughts.
  5. Scripture and prayer. I try to always have God’s word everywhere to read and ponder on. These verse will float, echoing in my mind. Song will be singing praises, and prayers always being said.
  6. What homeschooling curriculum I am using this year? It is summer time and this is always floating through my mind. Robby is going into Jr. High- little kids 1st and 2nd grade. What is going to work best for us with our situation.
  7. What is going on with our world? Some issues really hit me and I feel like I want to be the changing force with it. Others just make me mad. All day long I can stew about these issues.
  8. Church. This is always on my mind. More than I can explain. Ministries-how to make them happen, what needs to be done, how to pray for them. Am I making the right decisions? What more should I be doing?
  9. Should I have another cup of coffee? I love coffee. The taste. The smell. (hold on I got to go get some)
  10. How to make our house better work for all the people living in it. With 8 people, including our young new family-how do I organize all. How do I keep food together? How do I keep cost down with furlough going on? Are we moving? Or not? How should I organize the homeschool room?

Someone once said a women’s mind is like a 1001 tabs open on the internet. Yep and these thoughts sits with us all day, till our husbands come home and we want to talk about them. All at the same time-sometimes like a flood. And our poor husbands think-I was only gone for the day!

What random thoughts floats through your mind?

 

10in10

 

top_ten_tuesday


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To Drink Starbucks or Not-WELL??

Last night I read an article.

It sat wrong with me.

And I did a little bit more research.

And really became frustrated .

Did I get caught up with the media sweep of  who said what?  Sure. Who doesn’t?

I wrote an article when the whole Chick-Fil-A  event happened.  I never published it.  But I wrote how  everyone was getting bent out of shape because someone express what their values and morals was. Not the company speaking.

And I think that is what frustrated me last night.  Was I had read that the company did not want people who supported their company.  Not the values or morals of one man.

I felt like the company did  not want people who do not agree with their way of thinking.  And like CEO said “it is a free country.”  I think that it was a bad interaction-between a stock holder and a CEO.   I wasn’t there.  I only heard what someone wanted me to hear.

And it worked.  And it didn’t.

See I don’t want to argue the gay marriage issue.   There are enough people already doing that.  I know my morals and values.  No one is convincing me.

And there are enough things already challenging our  morals and values that are put in front of us everyday! Like TV, internet, and media.

So when I read that one of the thing that I enjoy and use as my stress relief and relaxation was now becoming a symbol of something more than a cup of coffee-I was frustrated!

And I needed to question do I need to drink that next cup of coffee or not.  So I wrote To Drink Starbucks or Not.  But I didn’t stop researching after I wrote that article. No. Because I needed to know was I going to drink Starbucks or not.  Was I going to support a business that said that traditional marriage wasn’t valued?  Again, if it was just the man speaking that was different.  But I saw it as the company was speaking it’s beliefs.

Said-yes I know they didn’t say that.  Maybe implied.

Maybe someone wanted us to think that.

Maybe there are people on each side that knew people would love their coffee that much to get upset.

Maybe there where people who knew people had strong views on marriage and would jump up to voice their concern.

Maybe, or maybe not.

What I do know is Starbucks does have an agenda beyond coffee.  Most company’s do.  Starbucks’ knows they how a lot of power in marketing.   That can be good, and that can be bad.  I mean it is just coffee right.  Or is it more?  Is it just the way business is run in today’s world.   I don’t agree with many of their agenda’s.  Nor do I of other companies.

But it is a free country.  So I can buy Starbucks or Dunken Donuts. Or I cannot buy any and save my money.

Chances are on that really stressful day, you will still see me walking around with Starbucks in my hand at Target.  But I am not drinking Starbucks to say I support gay marriages, nor do I eat at Chick-Fil-A  cause I am Christian.

It is because of the service and the relationships of the people behind the counter.  

And those relationships are more valuable than any of the arguments going on in today’s world.

 


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To Drink or Not To Drink Starbucks Coffee?

I LOVE my Cafe Mocha.  I will not lie.

I LOVE going to Target and getting a Starbucks and walking about.

Or Kroger’s now.  I mean how perfect is that!

I Instagram my Cups all the time.

White Mocha.

Peppermint Mocha.

Hazelnut Macchiato.

BUT I am torn now.  As somehow now, drinking my cup of coffee that I enjoy- is now saying that either I support or not support gay marriages.  OR worse, that the company has said that if you value tradition marriage they don’t want you.  WHAT??

Oh I know what some are going to say-what about Chick fil a?  What about them?  Dan Cathy only stated what he believed in.  Not that if you believed in gay marriages you should not be there.

I realize that many company’s have beliefs that I don’t believe in.   But for one to come out and say if you believe in tradition marriage then you are wrong.

See I believe in Traditional Marriage.  I don’t believe in gay marriage.  Those are our families morals and values.  Mine.   This is what we teach our kids.  We don’t teach hate, or violence. We teach love and forgiveness.

Sorry if Starbucks doesn’t think my morals and values are worthy of their drinks.

I am torn because I enjoy my drinks and I enjoy the ladies that work in the stores.  I have known some for years.  BUT I feel I have to make a stand for tradition marriage.

So I guess, for now, I have to think about whether or not to buy and drink Starbucks.  

Not because they support gay marriage. 

But because they don’t  seem to support traditional marriage.

I thought they were embracing diversity?  Seems to me they are more about embracing their own agenda.

 

 


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Summer Survival: Cookie and Cream Coffee Please {5 in 5}

Welcome to 5 days of Summer Survival. For the next 5 days we are going to look at ways to “survive” the rest of the summer. From tips on traveling with kids, to getting into the kitchen with your kids, to some Olympic fun and a Phineas and Ferb style of summer, I talked to you and asked you where you need help this summer. Out of all the moms I talked to the one thing that was common was they all felt like they, themselves, were overwhelmed. Today I want to focus on you.

You know who you are

  • The new mom who doesn’t understand why her new baby will not stop crying.
  • The young mom with small children who can’t go outside more than 10 minutes because it is just plain too hot or it’s raining.
  • The mom counting days till school starts back because her ADHA child is bouncing off the wall and she doesn’t know what to do any more.
  • The working mom who is spending her day dropping kids off at camping, going to work, picking kids up, cooking dinner and crashing in the evening, wishing summer was longer to be with them more.
  • The homeschool mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids.
  • The mom traveling to be with family and barely finds time to just stay at home.
  • The soon to be empty nester getter ready to send their last child off to college wonder what will be in store for them next.

Personally, I am the homeschooling mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids. I felt like I was failing. I am right in the middle of my summer. We always make our list of a 100 things to do each summer and while we were getting some done, I still felt like nothing was going as planned. Weather too hot. Weather then too wet. Washer broken for TWO weeks. Computers broken. I felt like all I was doing was yelling and screaming at the kids.

One night I could not sleep. I wandered our house, which was mess. I came to our front door. I love staring out into the night. I love listening to the night so I opened the door and stood on my porch. The air was the warm, humid summer air with sweet rain smell in the distant. As I breathed in and out, I heard God’s word speak “Be still, and know that I am God;” (Psalm 46:10a)

“Be still, and know that I am God”

I so needed those words at that moment.

What about you?

At what moments do you need God to come and remind you to be still? Stop moving, stop with all the excess that is going on. Refocus yourself to what he has put into your care. I had gotten too caught up in trying to keep my house clean, I was missing my kids. I had to back up and be still, I have to refocus.

I know you all are still wondering what is up with the Cookie and Cream Coffee? When do I get some and what has that got to do with stillness?

Ok ok, when I get stressed at home, I like to got to Target or Kroger’s after kids in bed and get a Starbucks. But lately I’ve had to take them to the store with me. One day the kids where driving me crazy and I needed my mocha. I’m Lutheran, I don’t change much, but they introduced that new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino early this summer. I am not a cold coffee drinker, but the girl said try it. It was like pure bliss (which I just ignored the calories). I was strolling along, with one whining beside me another dancing and singing and one flipping on the cart. Then I had a stillness moment – a moment where God was saying, even here in the supermarket – be still and know I am God. I will take care of you. You take care of yourself first. And that is what I did. I was taking care of my needs for a bit. You know what, the rest of the shopping trip was just fine. Oh the name Cookie and Cream Coffee is what my five-year calls it. “Mommy is mad, let’s get her a cookie and cream coffee!”

Where can you go for your Stillness or your Cookie and Cream Coffee?

  • Find a Friend. Grab a Cookie and Cream or Cookie Crumble or whatever kind of coffee.
  • Where is your quiet spot? Go there often. Find one if you don’t have one.
  • Headphones. Plug in those headphones while the kids are watching a movie and listen to your music. Here is a song that a friend just introduced to me that really speaks to me.

;

Online

Apps (iPhone-sorry that’s all I know-but many are the same for other phones!)

Books-

  • From CPHCoffee with the Savior by Kristen Myers. I really enjoyed this book.
  • From CPHGod Is in the Laundry Room by Susan Senechal. This is a great Bible study.
  • Four other great books that two friends have suggested to me recently. I have not read them but they both say they are good and worth reading so they are on my list.

Mom, first be still. Go get that Cookie and Cream Coffee, or Crumble Frappuccino. Breath, regroup. That stillness was what I needed. Just that moment with God, the coffee just a bonus.

So here is what I want you to think about. Where do you need stillness in your life? Where do you need to stop for a moment and refocus? For me it was the time I was spending or not spending with the kids. I was too worried about the house and other things I was missing out on fun time with them. So I made little changes. I readjusted my schedule and I feel like I am back on track.

For the next five days join me and these other fine ladies for one-hundred high quality posts full of homeschooling activities and advice, child-friendly and specialized recipes, Biblical encouragement, and much much more!

The premiere homeschooling blog hop, a first of its kind in the homeschooling community,

sponsored by our good friends at The BEECH Retreat.


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25 Random Things to Know about Me

Who is MommaHopper? How did my name come to me some ask? Well truth be told I started collecting frogs without realizing it! Started with two cool ones one summer and soon before I knew it, I was getting frogs for gifts all the time when I was working in the church. When my son was born-frogs and dragonfly where the theme. Now I have slowly separated my collection, you would never know walking into my house. But they are there, in corners and on selves each with a special story to tell.

So here are 25 more random things about me, mommahopper!

1. I am a child of God.

2. I hate writing about myself.

3. I do not like getting up in the mornings, unless no one else is up.

4. I like a clean kitchen, but wish it was automatic.

5. I love to eat sushi

6. I love music of all kinds except heavy medal, raunchy rap and twangy country.

7. Yes I break out into song over crazy things in the house.

8. I do talk to myself in the stores as I mentally go over the list of things needed. One day I hope I don’t talk back to myself.

9. I love to sit a round a campfire all night just watching the wood burn.

10. I love to start that campfire up the next morning with no matches.

11. I love my husband with all my heart. He is the best thing that has happened to me and he completes me (wasn’t that line from a movie?) But it is true.

12. I hate to be rushed getting out of the house.

13. I secretly love to bake but don’t so I won’t have to do it so much.

14. I love my iPhone. I never thought I would use it as much as I have and would be lost without my calendar.

15. I love to travel everywhere!

16. My favorite meal is when one of the kids says, “I love this mom!”

17. I like to grown my own vegetables. So do the bugs and birds.

18. My all time favorite movies are A Long Hot Summer, Buckeroo Bonzi and Oscar

19. I want to travel to all the National Parks before I die.

20. I miss my family and friends who don’t live here.

21. But I am glad I have my church family.

22. I like to walk into the sanctuary very early in the morning when I lead a lock in at church and all the kids are still sleeping. It is my most peaceful place.

23. I have parented over 20 kids.

24. I love spell checker because I hate to spell.

25. I love my children!


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A tip about making coffee….

This is a tip for making coffee and controlling messes. I had seen some one use a tray under their coffee pot. I thought that is cleaver. So I went home, found a tray I wasn’t using at the time and put my coffee pot on it. Now every day I don’t have to make coffee, but I tend to do better if I have a cup in my hand.

Today was one of those mornings. I need my coffee. I worked hard to make sure I had my coffee made. I was anticipating my coffee. I smelled my coffee-which was odd cause my coffee flows into an insulated pot, you don’t smell it till I pour it.

Then I heard the words “mom, is your coffee suppose to be all over?”

Sigh

Some how my coffee exploded. Grounds every where.

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Good thing that the tray was there, it controlled the mess and made clean up a little easier.

My second pot is brewing now and hopefully will be just right, or I am in big trouble as my tray in the sink drying!

So my tip about making coffee-keep a tray under your coffee maker.


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