Monday, October 31, 2011

For Ages 8 and Up

Everyone except one has celebrated a milestone birthday this year in the Bitting house. Austin-16, Dakota-15, Brooklyn -13, Corbin-5, and Faith-1. That leaves Emmaly. Shouldn't every year be a milestone? I think so. Every year that passes is time that we have gained experience and knowledge. At 35, I know that I have so much more wisdom to learn and insight to be acquired. I think that, in itself, is growth. After all, I thought I knew everything when I was do a couple of my own children. :) I used to look at my elders and think they don't understand me or know much about now days happenings. The older I get the more I realize that knowledge comes from life and experiences just as much if not more than from education. People with blue gray hair and unsteady voices have so much to teach us if we would take time to listen to them and learn. I'm glad that I dismounted that high horse named Know-It-All and put it out to pasture.

Emmaly turned eight on Friday! Eight isn't exactly a landmark birthday but Em decided it was. She told me that now she gets to play every game we own, specifically the ones designed for ages 8 and up. I wonder how long she has been counting down the months and years until she could play Monopoly and Scrabble?  I won't burst her bubble and tell her that Clue actually says 10+.

She also decided that since she was turning 8 she wanted her hairstyle with bangs. I'm always reluctant towards change but I know that haircuts make her feel special. She loved doing Locks of Love earlier this year.
Even though I tried to talk her out of bangs (she has such a pretty forehead), I think it turned out very cute.
She has come to the age where I can no longer decide her hairstyle for her. I'm okay with that. I like that she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to try something new. She isn't afraid of much at all. She's a tough girl too. She didn't make one whimper when she had to get a couple stitches a few weeks back.

Just one more scar to add to the tally sheet on how to have a fun childhood. Boring is not in this girl's vocabulary.

We made caramel apples for her special day. They were dipped in goodies like walnuts and mini Reece's Pieces.

She helped make Black Forest Cherry cake. Her new favorite.

Her birthday didn't end up being the merry day she hoped for because a few wrenches were thrown into her plans. I told her that was good because then we could stretch her birthday out into the weekend and even longer. We ended her celebration by walking the town with cousin-friends dressed up, begging for candy.
cowboy, cowgirls, rock star and transformer...what a group
The big sisters and I are in the process of making a special space for Emma in their bedroom. It's not such an easy task with three girls sharing a room. She's always had a place to sleep in there but that is it. Even her clothes closet is in another room. The poor girl doesn't really have a place to call her own. (Now that I think of it.....neither do I. :-) ) I hope when we are finished she feels welcomed and loved. She is such a joy to have  in our family! I hope you had a wonderful birthday weekend, sweet Emmaly Yvonne!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Self Discipline

I was asked to speak on discipline at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I'm speaking along with two other ladies. My portion is on self-discipline. If that isn't a laugh! I am so undisciplined in several areas. Me being asked to talk about and give advice on self-discipline is like asking my 18 month old to explain why markers are used for drawing on paper.

 An example of lack of discipline:  Last Thursday I was sick with a cold and sinus infection. (I'm still battling the infection...I'm determined to get over it without a doctor's visit.) I woke up feeling that I had been smacked in the head with a bat. But there are no sick days in Mommyhood. Most of my everyday duties got accomplished. Kids were fed, homeschooling supervised, laundry somewhat done, toddler messes picked up, no one had to get stitches.....and the reward was bedtime. However, no dishes got washed. I have a hate relationship with washing dishes. With a family of eight, washing dirty dishes is Not having a dishwasher for over a year (because of electrical issues) has been unpleasant to say the least! *Don't take this as whining and ungratefulness because I feel so blessed to have running water and a house full of little people.* So, the dishes didn't get done, oh well. Then Friday came and I was feeling better but not great. My kids were at Friday School, so it was just me and my littlest. I got a few chores done but I closed my eyes to the mountain of dirty dishes. Maybe if I didn't see them they would go away. It was more fun to be lazy have snuggle time with my baby then get my hands pruney in dishwater. Earlier in the week my wonderful, jack-of-all-trades brother-in-law fixed my electrical problem and we were getting a dishwasher! I knew this in the back of my mind which is a little of the reason I let the stinky, crusty dishes set in the sink, on the counter top, and stove. Friday came and went with dishes undone.

 The only thing worse than washing dishes is waking up to a kitchen overtaken by dirty
bowls and plates and glasses and mugs and pots and pans. There was not one piece of clean silverware. Cooking was almost impossible. (The grossness of all of this is not lost on me.) I knew that Saturday afternoon we were getting the much anticipated new appliance! Just a few more hours of shielding my eyes from the embarrassing sight of the kitchen. I know some of you are thinking that I have several big kids who could/should be doing dishes.
Yes, they should and they do. But their school workload has been so full lately that I haven't been making them. And for some reason they don't volunteer to in their little free time.

Because of busyness we didn't end up getting the dishwasher until late Saturday evening. I was very excited to see it hooked up and doing its business. But... we didn't quite have everything it took for it to be hooked up (sigh) so I had to wait until after church on Sunday. Are you counting the days? That would be day FOUR of only washing a dish here and there to get by. After an hour of Hubby and Austin installing the beauty we turn it on and NOTHING!! ?!?!? The outlet quit working again. This old house has problems. (Hopefully not dangerous complications....electricity can be scary.) After 3+ hours of washing dishes by hand my husband comes in the house with an extension cord. Wha? What? You mean I spent over 3 hours with my hands drowning in hot, soapy water scouring dried on food when we could have plugged it in somewhere else? WAIT! You mean I could have had a dishwasher 13 months ago and just plugged it into another outlet?!
I would have been more than happy to wind up a cord after every use. Why did I not think of that? We are having the outlet looked at again but in the meantime you will not hear one complaint from me about tripping over a heavy duty cord that rests across the kitchen floor. The point of this story is if I was more self disciplined I would have washed those dirty dishes right away instead of waiting until I was ready to move out and leave all dishes behind. Housekeeping isn't the only thing that takes an extra dose of self discipline for me. I like sleeping in. No, I LOVE sleeping in. My bed is so soft and cozy and warm. It begs me not to leave. It whispers promises of comfort and sweet dreams.
I don't like to disappoint. When it asks me to stay for just 5 more minutes, I almost always comply. Today I have decided to end the relationship. When my queen-size love dressed in king-sized clothing insists I spend "just a little longer" wrapped in its coziness, I will resist. Maybe not all mornings but most. I'm telling you this because I need accountability. Go ahead. Give me a call at 8:00. I'll be downstairs and ready for the day. Today instead of pulling the covers over my head when Court got up, I got up too. It felt good to see him off to work and to have a bit of alone time before the house awakened with the noise of laughing, crying, yelling, singing, stomping, clapping and all the other sounds of the Bitting house. I'm taking the challenge of self-discipline. I know it won't be easy.  "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11  I want my children to reap the rewards of being self-disciplined. I want to be a good example.
                 So, I'm dying to do you stay self-disciplined??

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Fifteen seems like a life time ago and like just yesterday. I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house when a police car pulled in the drive. It was 8:00 pm. My life would never be the same again. She was gone; my friend, one of the best I ever had. And with her went her daughter, my sweet niece, Mikayla Jo, only two years old. A horrific car accident had ended their time on earth. Erica wasn't just my childhood friend, she was my brother's wife. She left behind my brother and their 10 month old son. And me. I felt so lost, so alone. We were sisters, not just by law but by heart. How could God call them home when I wasn't ready for them to go?? Didn't He know I needed them here? How could He take a mother from her nursing baby and a wife from her adoring husband? Their life together had only just begun. And precious Mikayla with her long dark hair and blue/gray eyes, didn't God realize her daddy needed her here more than her Father needed her in Heaven? My kids would never know their cousin or their aunt. But worse, my nephew wouldn't know his mommy or his sister. He wouldn't remember his mom's loving embrace or the sound of her beautiful voice. He would never get to play make believe with his sister or pester her the way all little brothers do. My brother wouldn't get to teach his daughter how to ride a bike or walk her down the aisle. How did God think OUR family could handle such a loss?? I struggled with these questions for months; long, dark months. I knew that God was faithful. I still didn't understand. I watched as my brother was told that his life had been torn apart. My heart was completely broken. He was so strong. I clung to him and he said, "Jamie, God has a plan." His world had just crumbled around him and he didn't waiver in his faith. As hard as it was to accept the new path, God did have a plan. I mourned for years the loss of my sister. I wished for time to speed up so the hurt would go away and longed for time to stand still so I could hear her laughter and see her face. I didn't want to forget one single memory. The depression I fell into wasn't healthy. It may not have even been outwardly noticeable. But it was there, an unwelcome companion. It was hard to be happy. I felt I was betraying Erica by having fun and getting on with life. Sometime during my mourning I was hit with the realization that I was mourning like I had no hope. And I DID have hope. Erica was saved. She loved Jesus and gave her life to him. I have hope because of God's promises.  " not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 "For it is my Father's will that whoever looks to the Son and believes in him will have eternal life." John 6:40 Of course John 3:16. God's wonderful promises and amazing hope! I will see Erica again! And Mikayla and Lessli (another dear friend gone from a car accident) and my baby whom I never got a chance to hold and all my other loved ones who have passed from this world and have proclaimed Jesus as Lord. What about you? Do you know the Lord? Can you rest in the assurance of eternal life?
     There is nothing more difficult than losing a loved one but life does go on. My brother met and married a wonderful, Christian women who is so good for him and loves my nephew like he is her own. He is her own. Erica wouldn't want it any other way. She would have wanted her son to love and be loved by a new mommy and not be torn by loyalty to her, his birth mom. He has grown into an amazing young man, quite handsome too, I must say. Sometimes I am blown away by how much his looks and mannerisms remind me of Erica. I feel so blessed to be able to watch him grow and see a part of Erica that still lives on.
     Every year as the leaves start to change their colors and the autumn wind forces me to trade in my short sleeves for sweatshirts I am brought back to October 4, 1996. I let the tears come as I remember our last minutes together, not knowing that when I hugged her goodbye it meant I'll see you in Heaven. Had I known, our embrace would have lasted longer. I would have told her all that she meant to me. Although I'm sure she knew. Afterall, we grew up together. She knew all my secrets (and loved me anyway). I don't wallow in the sorrow for long. I thank God for allowing Erica and Mikayla to be a part of my life and for sparing my sweet nephew's life as he was also in the accident that claimed his mommy and big sister. I thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed on my family. Mostly, I thank Him for His promises.