Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Craigslist Adventure

I'm not one that does a lot of buying and selling online. I've dealt on E-bay a little bit and I've dealt with Craigslist a little bit but not much. All my transactions on E-bay were a good experience. I had a bad experience on but that was partly my fault. And twice now I''ve tried to sell our car on Craigslist.

Selling the car on Craigslist was a feeble grab at getting something more than $50 for it. My husband wanted to call the junk yard and have them come get the car and then we would get $50 from the junk yard. But the car is worth more than $50 even if we just sold the parts. If nothing else, there are 2 tires on the car that have less than 1,800 miles on them with the paperwork to prove it. So I went to the trouble of posting the car on Craigslist as a shot in the dark to see if anybody would simply pay us more than $50 for it.

The first time I listed it, I didn't post a picture and it was right before Christmas. I had 4 or 5 e-mails about the car but several of them wanted me to go to these certain websites and get insurance quotes for them! HUH?! Why would I do that? Plus, there is no way I can get an insurance quote for somebody else. You have to give out personal information for that. I figured it was a scam to try and capture our personal information. Needless to say we didn't sell the car at Christmas.

So I listed the car again this week only I also posted a picture of the vehicle. The body is in decent condition, tires are good, windshield is intact - there are some pluses if somebody wanted to put an engine in it. I've gotten a ton of e-mails this time around but only 2 people have contacted me and provided a phone number for me to contact them. In my opinion, these are the only 2 legitimate contacts we've received. Again, I had somebody wanting me to get an insurance quote and somebody else directed me to some site where she wanted to negotiate the price of the car based on what this site said the car should be worth. Come on, people!! I specifically state that the car doesn't run and would have to be towed from the property. It isn't worth much! What are you willing to pay for a vehicle that needs a new engine? I'm not negotiating. You make an offer. I'll take it if its $50 or more and you'll come get it.

I must say that my experience on Craigslist as a seller has not been the greatest. There are some weird people out there!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Musings

The in-laws are in Texas this week so they allowed us to borrow their car so I took Abigail to school this morning!! It is no small task getting all six of us out of the house by a certain time. But, it is no joke to say that the highlight of my day will be picking her up at 3:00 PM this afternoon. I'm so excited I just about can't stand it!!!! 2 years without a vehicle. *deep sigh* If you've never been in this situation, you just can't know what its been like.

Yesterday was a good day at church, although Lydia didn't get a nap yesterday afternoon and was emotionally out of control all evening. We made it about a minute and a half into the sermon before I had to take her out of the service because she couldn't quit crying. Poor child. I don't know what I'm going to do with her when she hits her teen years!!

Not much to say today. I'm glad Daniel is working. The kids are being pretty good. The twins are being pleasant and the house is a disaster! Typical Monday!

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy For the Hope of Heaven

The wife of my pastor's pastor went to heaven tonight. She had lingered for some time, yet that transition is always difficult for those left behind. I have great sympathy for her family, for my pastor's family, and their church family, yet we all know that she is in a much better place. How could we even consider wanting her to leave heaven and be on earth when as I sit here typing this, she is looking at the face of Jesus and God our Father?

As a child of God, I'm grateful that in times of great sorrow, we have the hope of heaven. This "hope" is not a sitting around and wringing of the hands and dreaming that some day maybe we'll get to go there. This hope is a confident anticipation of an end that we KNOW we'll see somebody. What a glorious thought of those who have gone before sitting in heaven crying "Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty!!"

"Walk on, walk on for Jesus
Walk on in his name
Lifting high His blood stained banner
Walk on in his name"

"Never grow old! Never grow old!
In a land where we'll never grow old!
Never grow old! Never grow old!
In a land where we'll never grow old!"

"Beulah land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand
Where my home shall be eternal
Beulah land, sweet Beulah land"

"And I shall see him face to face
And tell the story saved by grace
And I shall see him face to face
and tell the story saved by grace"

"But just think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven
Of touching a hand and finding it God
Of breathing new air and finding it celestial
Of waking up in glory
And finding it home"

I Corithians 15:54-57
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is they victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

My prayers of comfort go out to the church, family, friends and loved ones of Mrs. D. B.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Has It Effected You Yet?

Short of goods being more expensive, the bad economy hadn't really directly effected my family. We live on the bare minimum so we haven't had anything to cut back or give up. But we just found out last night that my husband is going to be taking a significant pay cut starting Feb 1st when the new Wal~Mart contract renews. *Deep Sigh* It is what it is. I'm trying not to fret. One thing I've learned over the years, worrying about anything changes nothing. The sun will rise and set whether I worry myself sick or not. So, I'm going about my day as usual trying not to think about it. Its frustrating because every time you feel like you are getting a chance to get out of the quicksand and hit solid ground, somebody pushes you back in the quicksand.

I'm thankful for an omniscient God who isn't surprised by my husband's pay cut. I'm thankful He can see the future and is working even now for my good and the good of my family.

Keeping my eyes focused on Him in 2010 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Grumpy Gus

Yep, its me. I'm the Grumpy Gus. I don't know why but this week has been an emotional "down" for me. Always happens when I try to read my Bible faithfully. *Deep Sigh*

I need a reason to read my Bible. Pitiful, I know. But I came up with this idea to have a competition with Abigail to see who could read their Bible every day. Not much of a competition, really. There is no prize if you win. There is no punishment if you lose. But Abi thinks its great that we're "competing" and she says she is going to "beat" me. So I've read my Bible every day this week. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

We also received our W-2 this week so I filed immediately. We are getting back a great return, and will hopefully be able to do all the things we NEED to do with and hopefully some things we WANT to do with it. AND, we should have the money a week from Friday. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

Along the same lines of the income tax refund, Daniel had run across a Kia that was still under manufacturer's warranty at a small dealership by his work place. Daniel really wanted this car. He had decided that we would purchase a second vehicle out of this year's refund and he was praying that if this was the vehicle the Lord wanted us to have, it would still be there once our refund was deposited. Well, the car sold. So, we took that as a "no" from God. Daniel walks in the door a few days ago and tells me that there was a little Honda there in it's place. Back when Daniel originally told me we were going to buy a car with our refund, I had said to him that I hoped we would be able to find him a Honda or Toyota but knew we wouldn't be able to find one in our price range. Well, guess what? This Honda is in our price range. Now, its the high end of what we wanted to spend, but its there. So, we are going to have a CarFax report run, have it checked out by a mechanic and if all looks well, we're going to buy a Honda with our refund. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

I WILL HAVE A VEHICLE. Its been over 2 years since we've had 2 vehicles. I can't describe how difficult it has been, especially with trying to get Abigail back and forth to school every day, doctor's appointments for the pregnancy and the twins, etc. Its really been awful. So, we're getting a second vehicle. Nothing to be grumpy about there.

Nothing to be grumpy about. So why am I grumpy?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Musings

After a fairly relaxing weekend, I'm ready to tackle this week anew.

I had planned last night to set my alarm 45 minutes early. I was going to work out for 20 minutes (gotta love Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred), shower, then read my Bible. Instead, I ended up getting out of bed 15 minutes later than usual! Oh, best laid plans!!! LOL So today I will find time to do all three of those things.

Today start the new beginning of my weight loss efforts. I had dropped 60 pounds during the twins' pregnancy and the couple months after their birth but I haven't done anything with it in the last couple of months. I need to get going again. Between the Wii Fit Plus, Shred and the Jillian DVD for my Wii, I truly have no excuses. I just need to do it.

I will also be going through my DVR recording settings and deleting some of my shows that I have programmed to record. In my efforts to focus on fellowshipping with God I have had to relinquish my hold on some of the programs so that I can properly embrace him. Until last night, I didn't really see those programs as me trying to serve two masters, which the Bible says is impossible. But if I'm loving something wicked, it prevents me from properly loving (or fellowshipping with) God. So, goodbye Gordon Ramsey and all my dancing shows. There is just too much foul language and too many scantily clad women in those programs. They do not help me in my efforts to have better fellowship with my heavenly Father.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Let me know if there is something in your life that is hindering your fellowship with God so I can find some fellowship in knowing I'm not the only one!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Slice Of Quiet

The house was quiet this morning.

This is notable because it almost never happens. We ALWAYS have something going, be it the television, radio, or clamoring children. With 5 children someone is ALWAYS clamoring for something. But Abigail didn't have school this morning and for the entire past week the children have had very late nights getting to bed. So we informed the children last night that nobody was allowed to get out of bed before mommy was out of bed.

The twins woke around 6:00 AM for their first feeding and I put them back to bed straight away. I read for about 30 minutes and then went back to bed myself. The phone rang approximately 30 minutes later and than again 30 minutes after that. I knew getting to have a lazy morning in bed was going to be out of the question so I got my book and came out into the living room to read before the munchkins got up. I had about 15 minutes of complete silence. I didn't turn on the television to watch something off the DVR. I didn't turn on any online radio stations. It was quiet. I enjoyed it. It was nice. I need to do it again sometime.

Do you ever turn off your noise? Do you ever have time to be with yourself and just think - think about good things, holy things, godly things? I rarely do this. I can't remember the last time I did this. Even if I sneak into my bedroom to have some quiet time, you have the filtered noise of the house coming through the cracks. So in my thoughts during and about my quiet time, it occurs to me that there is no way for me to commune with or hear God if I never have quiet time to try and listen for him. It is no wonder God had to command us to be still.

Psalm 49:10 Be still, and know that I am God:

Do you find time every day to be still in silence? Do you find time once a week? Once a month? Let me know if you have a quiet time where you sit and reflect on God and His goodness.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Zoo Trip

Here are some pictures from our Zoo trip on Tuesday. Some of are the family, some are of the animals and some are of some relatives we found in the Gorilla house! (Just kidding!)

This first little guy is a sea otter. He was in his own tank and kept circling around up close to us at his window.

Daniel and I in front of the Gorilla house. You can see Elijah making snow angels in the background. It is so rare to have pictures of both of us but my sister-in-law came along so I wasn't behind the camera the whole time.

Elijah, Abi, Lydia, Myself, and Daniel from left to right. All we needed was the twins and we would have had our second family picture within just a few weeks of each other! But the girls were asleep so we allowed them their beauty rest.

All the kids monkeying around.

I fell in love with this black and white of Sofie.

Daniel, Abi and Elijah standing beneath the water wall in The Living Coast. Its a clear piece of Plexiglas onto which a bunch of water falls about every 30 seconds or so. It is so loud and you feel like you are going to get soaked but, of course, you don't get wet. Abi was scared but Daniel made her stand there. She liked it once she figured out she was gonna stay dry.

This is Aunt Bekah, Abi and Lydia in the Giraffe house. You can barely see Elijah in the background but he was too busy exploring to pose for a picture.

This is one of my favorite pictures. Because we knew we weren't going to be able to stay at the zoo all day because of time constraints and cold weather, we didn't take the wagon with us so Lydia had to walk the whole time. (No big deal. She can walk.) She kept asking for everybody to hold her and Daniel repeatedly told her she had to walk. The next time I look around, there she is on Daddy's shoulders. So much for walking!!!

Don't yell at me for posting a picture of a snake but I thought this was beautiful. This snake can be found in the Australasia house.

We had such a great time. The temperature was a little chilly but there was no wind which is rare in the Chicago area. We went to most of the indoor houses which is fun because you get to see all the animals up close. Walking from house to house, we would be outside just long enough to start getting chilled and then be able to warm up inside again. We got to see a Mommy Gibbon and her new baby and one of the baby gorillas played with Daniel by mimicking him when he would clap his hands. I was able to watch several trainers feeding and working with the seals at Pinniped Point. And we saw a snake eat a cricket at The Swamp. It was a great day.

For anybody planning to visit the Chicago area or anybody living close by, the zoo is a great family day but if you have a fairly large family, you should purchase a zoo membership. For $108 you get free parking and admission for an entire year plus all kinds of other guest passes, dolphin show passes, discounts and perks. For our family of seven, it pays for itself in one trip and we can go year round for a great "free" family day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Need To Be Accepted

I was going to talk about our fantastic trip to the zoo yesterday but I wanted to post pictures and my camera is in the van at Daniel's work so we get my deep thoughts for the day. (Trust me. My well is shallow so feel free to read on!!)

Why do we feel the need to be accepted by others? In light of yesterday's post about fellowship and having read a blog post about a woman intimidated to meet new people lest she fail to meet their expectations, I've been examining my own need to "fit in" SOMEWHERE. I'm a mother of 5. I'm shaping human beings. I am an integral part of a relatively large music ministry where my opinion and standards impact the spirit of our church. I'm a wife. I'm a grown daughter. Why do I still desire the acceptance of others? God trusted me enough to hand me 5 precious little people to help mold and shape for His will yet I desire to please sinful man here on earth. Its a bit baffling, isn't it?

On the outside, I do and DON'T do all the right things. Yet what does my inside look like when my heavenly Father looks down? Praise the Lord, my sin nature is covered by the blood of Christ. Yet, my day to day sin tarnishes my soul making my window to heaven cloudy, confusing my judgement and my relationship with my Father. As my focus this year is to find my contentment in heavenly fellowship, I'm reminded that my only need of acceptance is to be find in the acceptance of God. Earthly acceptance is temporal and ever changing. But my acceptance by God will give me true contentment and happiness on earth as I strive to please Him and not man.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Family Day

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that today is a slow day at my husband's work and he is going to be home all day. The good news is that we are going to take advantage of our zoo membership we got for Christmas and head up to the zoo today!! Woohooooooooo! Abigail is going to take a personal day off school and we're going to run from house to house and see all the animals! This time of year is fantastic at Brookfield Zoo because all the warm weather animals like the African elephants and hippos and such are indoors so you are literally standing a matter of a few feet away from these gargantuan, fantastic, fabulous, exotic creations of God. So we'll bundle up and rush from indoor house to indoor house and enjoy a day with the family. The children are very excited and the twins have never been there although they will probably sleep in their carriers most of the day.

We used to get an annual zoo membership for Christmas from the in-laws but decided not to get one last year since I was expecting the twins and didn't anticipate waddling around the zoo much. And after being so anemic and unable to function like a normal human being while gestating, that was a good call on our part!!! So we haven't had a visit to the zoo in almost 2 years!!! (Maybe a year and a half?) I'm not sure who is more excited, Mom and Dad or the kids!!

Have a fantastic Tuesday everyone!!! (I took this picture several years ago during our first year of membership.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Filling the Fellowship Hole

A few years ago the Lord saw fit to move 2 of my closest friends many miles away. I have sorely missed their fellowship. And as of today, the Lord has NOT seen fit to fill in that fellowship gap in my life and heart. Maybe He is trying to tell me something? Maybe He is trying to bring to my attention that my purpose on this earth is not to fellowship with mankind but to fellowship with Him. Maybe He is trying to show me that I can find my fellowship by looking up instead of to my right and left. As my Bible lays uncracked, my heart longs for fellowship. I want to "do" things. I want to go places. I want friends. I want a life outside my 4 walls and 5 children. While I love my family, I miss being able to visit with an earthly friend.

I've given much thought to this issue of New Year's Resolutions. I'm not big on making them. I don't ever stick with them and when I fail, I beat myself up for failing. Not a fun course. So I don't typically make them. But the focus of one particular blog I follow has been this issue of fresh beginnings so I've been examining what sort of resolve I would like to make this year. I've considered resolving to lose weight but I've been working on that anyway. I've considered resolving to read my Bible from cover to cover. I've considered resolving to get meticulously organized in my home but given our space constraints and lifestyle I know that isn't practical.

So I'm resolving to fill my hole of earthly fellowship with heavenly fellowship. Maybe if I can find contentment in Him, the rest will fade away and not matter so much.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Christmas Vacation

What a mundane title!!! But our Christmas vacation was far from mundane this year. God allowed Daniel to have off a whole 10 days but only taking 4 days vacation from work. WHAT A BLESSING!!! If we have had 10 days in a row together in the 9 years we've been married, I don't remember it. These days were well deserved for all of us!!!

We drove to Ohio on Christmas Eve, arriving at Mom and Dad's just before midnight, Eastern Time. Despite being exhausted, we stayed up until the children were asleep, set out all their gifts from Dad and Mom and Memaw and Pappy and then filled their stockings with their gifts from "Santa". Only then were all the adults able to go to bed.

Christmas morning was great. The children were excited and I think all the adults were, too. Everyone enjoyed their gifts but I was shocked to receive our "family" gift from Mom and Dad, a Wii and a Wii Fit Plus along with the Jillian Michaels 2010 DVD. For someone with no yard and a teeny tiny living space, this couldn't have been a better gift. (Already the television has been turned off more and we've been playing together as a family.)

Over the days we were in Ohio we visited the Mennonite man that God has used to bless my parents in the process of building their new home.

Mom and I went to a massive thrift store where we found some great deals including a wool coat for me for $8. We visited an Amish community in Southern Ohio. We went to church. We just did "stuff". Nothing important. Nothing wildly exciting. It was just nice. It was a break. It was restful. I'm so greatful that God allowed us this time to decompress and refocus.