Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Crooked Week...

I had to laugh when I read this today:
"Consider the work of God;
For who can make straight what He has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,
So that man can find out nothing that will come after him."
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

Now, I say this lightly, because if I really think about it, I have nothing to complain about. But, it has definitely been one of those weeks... you know, where everything is just... unexpected. And in the midst of it, you almost feel yourself fighting against it...until you suddenly realize, am I just trying to make a crooked thing straight? Because, maybe it was meant to be crooked!!

In a nutshell...
Finances were tight and so was time, so I wasn't able to get the groceries I was planning on. But food seems to be my "comfort" zone, I feel secure knowing there are tons of options. But, we just prayed that God would enable me to be creative with what we had!!!
So, I had to laugh when God not only called me out on my food-comfort issue, but then got a phone call from a friend on Monday asking if it was okay for me to have four extra kiddos for a couple of hours. And I have to say, that not only did God provide, but because I had to be a little more creative than normal, I actually think all the kids ate better than they ever would have!! We had oatmeal for lunch!!!
Then, the washer backed up and overflowed...and Tuesday the plumber was supposed to come between 12-4pm. Ben was working late, so I needed to feed the kids, pack them up, and meet Ben when he got off at 6pm so that I could get to Perspectives (and stop by a good friend's baby shower!!). Well... the plumber came at 4pm!! He, he. I should have guessed that one!
But, thankfully, he fixed the problem with the washer because I was going to need it!!!
Wednesday morning Noah came in and asked if he could watch a movie. I told him, "No, honey, we have other things planned for today."
Then, he threw up all over our bedroom floor!! Needless to say, I reconsidered the movie idea. =) So, I was pretty thankful to have a washer that worked yesterday and today. Today, he still can't keep any food down, and Caleb isn't feeling well either. Ben worked late again Wednesday, and tonight we were supposed to go (just the two of us!) up to the Community Group Leaders potluck...
This week was meant to be crooked. So, we have enjoyed laying low... We haven't needed the usually overwhelming amount of groceries, since we are sort of surviving on toast and bagels. And, things seem to be going much smoother when I stop trying to make the crooked things straight. And instead, I am **learning** to smile at God's graces in the midst of the crooked things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The "easy way" vs. the "hard way"....

I can remember, when Emma and Caleb were very little, saying to them, "Now, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way." It is funny how at that time, I was trying to get them to choose the easy way!! (meaning, with less discipline!) And now, here I am trying to help them to see the value in the hard way. =)
Yesterday, the kids had a science report to work on. It just so happened that their English work was also about taking notes, and then writing a report. So, Emma took her "notes" on the hawk's bill sea turtle, and then as I read the "report", I noticed that the sentences seemed strangely familiar. Well, that is because they came right out of her science book. I redirected her to her English lesson, which specifically pointed out the difference between copying IDEAS, when taking notes, and copying sentences, which is stealing.
She broke into tears. "Everyone else in my class does it that way, and the teacher said it was ok!!"
Oh man.
How do we, the Hester family determine what is right, and what is wrong? How do we find out what God thinks about something?
The Bible. (Emma answers, and then bursts out, "But I don't read the Bible everyday!!! Just the Action Bible!!")
But Emma, you know the answer to this.... Does God think it is ok for you to take someone else's words, and put them into your report as if they were yours?
I thought we were finally getting somewhere. And I made sure she knew that for the other kids in her class, this was not sin. They had their teacher's approval, and many of them are young, and so at certain ages, you will allow copying facts and information. However, her English lesson (and her momma) have now made her accountable for this. I made sure she knew that I was right there, ready to help her make her own sentences....
But come lunch time.... Emma was just struggling with it, complaining about how she didn't want to work that hard!
And as I looked around at my mess of a kitchen as I tried to strain the vegetable broth, cut up all the veggies to get dinner going in the crockpot, and make lunch for the kids... I told her:
"You know, sweetheart. It would be easier for Mommy to pack all of you kids up in the car, and go through the drive through at McDonald's, and buy you a lunch that someone else has already made. But, not only would the food be less healthy, but I would be spending almost double what it would cost to feed you at home, and that would not be a wise use of the money Daddy works so hard to make for us. So, we could do it the easy way.... but, I want to choose the way that will be most honoring to God."

She got it. And, as a side note, her report turned out so well!! But it just reminded me, that sometimes, it is hard to do things the hard way. Sometimes the easy way seems better. And you know, it's not bad to go out to lunch and it's not going to kill them to (shudder) eat McDonald's for lunch one day. But it reminded me to check my own heart.... Am I taking the easy way, or the hard way? And it also reminded me that many times, the hard way is the easy way!! Because God's way, although difficult, is the way filled with the most joy, beauty, and delight.

"The way of a lazy man is like a hedge of thorns {he is too lazy to remove them!}, but the way of the upright is a highway." Proverbs 15:17

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Small Sacrifices...

Lately, it has been difficult to find the time to stop and blog about life, because we have been busy living it! =) A good problem to have. But, recently, Ben and I have had some decisions to make-you know, the ones involving when to say "Yes" and when to say "No." These are always difficult, especially given that we have a large family, and well, let's face it, the almond milk and vegetable broth aren't making themselves. ;)
But, specifically, I had an opportunity come up. Now first of all, this opportunity should not be appealing to the average person-but to me, it is. Secondly, it should just be completely off the table for a person in my stage of life, not to mention the commitments we already have, and given that we are about to start hosting and co-leading a Community Group in about a month....
Laugh with me as you see what we've been learning this week:

Confidence is being sure that God will help you do His work, even when people think you can't do it.
"God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again." Phil. 1:6
Resourcefulness is making use of all opportunities to do God's work.
"Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don't you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land." Isaiah 43:19
Courage is knowing God's power can help you do something hard even when you feel scared.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
Creativity means coming up with new ways to reach people and do God's work.
and today's:
Boldness may require doing the unusual.

Ha! Now, the decision is not made for sure or anything. But, the one thing that I really felt the Lord saying to me is that if He is asking me to do something, even something that seems sort of impossible in our current life season, then He will give me everything I need to obey Him. But, it may require some things. It will definitely require a greater accountability of my time before Him-because there is literally, NO time to waste. There's no time to just "watch a show" and veg. (Not that watching a show is bad! I'm just saying....) When you add something to the recipe, it means other things other need to be taken out, or the whole recipe suffers.
But wow! Even the benefits of just seeking the Lord, and hearing His Word, and laughing with joy at how our God never stays in a box!!! He is full of surprises!! I am intrigued, and excited to see what He has planned, because I know it is good. And although I am not being asked to sacrifice anything on the same scale here... I still think Jim Elliot said it best:

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Monday, January 09, 2012

The moment we've been waiting for....

Okay, maybe "the moment" is a little dramatic. But, a moment, nonetheless. We have been waiting until we felt like our two older(s) were ready to see The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Now, I am just one of those people who in general, always prefers the book. And this case is no exception. But, as we watched with wonder, I found myself moved all over again, by the wonderful thoughts and images of this lion... this One who is not at all tame....but is Good. My heart welled up as they came seeking Aslan, and everyone bows before him. And my heart bowed before Jesus...
I cried as Edmund was pronounced a I felt myself in his place. My heart burned as the witch began to quote the "laws" on which Narnia was founded, and Aslan replies sternly, "Don't you quote the Deep Magic to me... I was THERE when it was written!!" And as the witch dares to ask, "How do I know you will keep your promise?" To which Aslan just ROARS!!!!
And I cried, as I watched Aslan on the stone table, knowing that it was because of Edmund's treachery...but even more was Jesus, on a cross, because of mine....
Oh, the beauty of the story. THE story. The beauty and majesty of what Jesus has done for us is just so good... and I love the Chronicles of Narnia, because they are just a shadow, a reminder, of the most wonderful story...
And this weekend, I was lost and caught up in it again. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

December Catch-up....

My sister-in-law Kelly got Judah this shirt, which is quite possibly the most awesome shirt ever. It says "Book Worm." And you know, 18 months is the perfect size for him, since he's... 9 months old.

A salad with "feta" crumbles. After making almond milk, I took the almond "pulp" leftover and seasoned it with salt, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. It made a perfect "feta" for out\r salad with blueberries, walnuts, and butter lettuce. Oh yes, and the honey balsamic vinegar. =)

Nutritional yeast... an important "vegan" thing to have around. =)

Wow! So much.... We totally enjoyed this Christmas season. It was amazing and magical!!! We read lovely Christmas stories, we baked tons of things (VEGAN, things!!), and played with lots of friends, and just generally enjoyed a low-key,Christmas.
By far, the biggest change around here is... our diet. Ben has a family history of high cholesterol among other heart and artery issues. So, we have been pretty close to vegetarian for a while. Ben decided 6 mos. ago to stop drinking milk as well, but we were still doing a lot of dairy and cheese for the kids, and with dinners. I noticed Caleb having some tummy trouble, so we made the decision to cut dairy a bit and see if that helped. Then, we watched a documentary called "Forks Over Knives", and it just sort of sealed it for us. We decided to start the adventure of cutting as much animal products as we could, to see if we could experience some of the health benefits, and have some fun while we are at it!!
I told my sis-in-law.... I don't want my kids to remember this season by what they can't have.... I want them to remember us trying new things, and to remember my excitement at having to be more creative with how to feed our not-so-little family. =)
My little bunny rabbits....

I'm having trouble posting pics this morning, so I may have to come back later and add them in... just want to get all this down while I have a second. We've all had a ton of fun with one of Caleb's Christmas presents from Grandpa and Grandma Nash. He got the Tony Hawk "Shred" game for the wii. So, some fun skateboarding and snowboarding going on here. I hope I can post those pics soon.... it's just too fun!! And, ahem, for the record.... the last time we had the whole family showdown, Momma won!!! Noah and I are the only "regular" riders, the rest of them are all goofy-footers. ;)

It's been a great month full of fun and adventure!! I hope yours was too!!