Nail Party

Oh the fun of little girls and giggling moments. Tonight the girls asked - more like pleaded - for Jonathan or I to please paint their finger nails. I was busy putting dinner on the table and thinking about all the things I still needed to do before I could go to bed... the list of things that never end. So while eating dinner and listening to the retelling of their day I decided the long list would just have to wait. We finished dinner and I told the girls to go get the nail polish. Admist the screaming and giggling they ran helter skelter up the stairs to retrieve the precious bounty. Oh how I love that sound... However, Half-way through painting their nails I received an important phone call and asked the girls to wait until I was finished with my phone call to finish the painting. They were a little disappointed, but took it really well. It took me longer than I anticipated, but when I got off the phone the girls - with radar on - came running so I could finish the most important task of the day - NAILS! I decided it was time to amp up the excitement and started singing a made up song - "we're doing a toe party, yes we are" to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". The girls started giggling, laughing and dancing with abandon to my little ditty. Then after singing and dancing for a bit we got down to business. And after all is said and done, the nail party was sooo much more fun and more lasting than meal planning, grocery list making and laundry.

 So to all you busy Mom's... take time out to enjoy the nail parties... They are sooo worth the giggling and laughter.... Next I will have to fight a Star Wars character with light saber in hand to hand combat agains my son.... Oh the life of a Mom, and the MANY hats I wear in a single day.


Cartunes or Cartoons....

Today we had a fun filled day of TV... ALLLLL DAYYYY.... I am not sure my brain can handle much more of the entertainment and yet I can't imagine another way to have spent the day with the kids. Courtney was sick on Wednesday, but she was fine between episodes. Today Emily has been sick and has NOT been fine between episodes. She feels so ickie and I wish there was something I could do to help her feel better. So, we had a marathon

A Most Amazing Birthday!

McCormick & Schmick's is a must try experience if you ever visit the Kansas City area. Though I may be a little partial to the place as that is where we celebrated my birthday with three other couples. It was a night full of precious and priceless memories. The night was cool and crisp with the stars sparkling in the night sky. It could have only been made more perfect if the Plaza lights had already been lit. The friends that went with us, David and Jennie Smith and Keith and Carrie Hanson had decided that as a small group we needed to do something a little crazy and have a night out without kids - I know shocking! We started talking about going to the Plaza a month earlier and finally decided that the only night we could all go would be Friday night, the 20th, my birthday. I was soooo excited. Not because we were going out on my birthday but just that we were going out. Wow, a night without cutting up someones dinner before I eat mine. A night without taking someone potty in the middle of dinner. A night without interruptions from squabbling kids.... a night with the man I love and our friends. WOW... Yep, I was pretty excited. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids with all my heart and wouldn't trade a moment with them - even the late night calls. Their little hands and precious faces pressed close to mine is a potent mixture for falling in love all over again. They are worth soooo much more than I could ever pen. But it is nice to get out and talk with friends if even for an hour or so.

The night of my birthday everyone was coming over to my house where we would car pool together down to the plaza. That week I had been feeverishly painting almost every room in my house so when my friends arrived I naturally showed off my new colors and upon my return trip back down the stairs thought I was seeing a mirage. My two girlfriends, Jennie Smith and Carrie Hanson, had arranged with our mutual friends Gary and Carrie Farris to show up for my birthday weekend. I saw her and SCREAMED! Then I flew into her arms and hugged her until I was sure the tears would flow and not stop. We stepped away just in time for the tears to NOT turn into Niagra Falls and then everyone started talking at the same time. I was so overwhelmed. It was such a blessing to have so much thought put into my birthday and here I wasn't expecting even a card from anyone. It was an awesome surprise. I spent a great protion of the night just running the moment of seeing Carrie standing in my door through my head - it sure beat pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming! So, off we went down to the Plaza where we ate at Panera Bread and ended the night at McCormick & Schmick's. It was perfect. We went to McCormick to experience their special dessert, the Chocolate Sac. Talk about chocolate heaven! It is a chocolate sack shaped like a real brown bag and filled with creamy lucious white chocolate mousse and topped with fresh cut strawberries, raspberries blackberries and blueberries with a little cookie roll and raspberry sauce drizzeled over the top. DELICIOUS!!!!!!  We were given menues that even had Happy Birthday Martha written across the top. We spent the next hour and a half talkig, laughing and eating our dessert. Fun doesn't even begin to describe the time we had together. Jonathan and I are so blessed to have friendships with the Smith's, Hanson's and Farris's. God has richly blessed our lives in so many ways through them. It really was a perfect night. 

The night was over all too soon, but the fun did not stop. Gary and Carrie stayed until Tuesday afternoon. We spent as much time together as a group for the next three days. My house has so many more memories now than it did a week ago. We added four little giggling girls to our two girls and one boy. The Farris's stayed at our house Saturday thru Monday. When we were all together we had a total of four boys and eleven girls. Yep the girls rule!!! On Saturday night the guys watched a movie and the girls kept the kids. On Sunday the guys kept the kids - yep all 14 kids - we kept the baby with us - and the girls went shopping and for some girl talk. It was so wonderful. The time to say good bye came all too soon on Tuesday afternoon. It was a good thing it was such a blustery day (to borrow a Poohism) or I would have been crying as I hugged Carrie good bye again. As it was, I was so cold all my energy was going towards keeping me warm and I didn't have the energy to cry... then... later I shed a few tears. I know with all my heart that God will direct them and bring them to a place of rest. When that day is I don't know, but He does and until then I will pray earnestly that He will show Himself to them in mighty ways as they are in their wilderness journey.

If you are a believer then you are on a journey to become more Christlike. If you know that Jesus came to Earth as a baby and yet was still 100% God. If you know that He lived a sinless life and then chose to lay His life down for you and take your punishment on the cross. If you know that Jesus Christ also rose again on the thrid day and had victory over death and sin. If you not only know but believe with all your heart that Christ rose from the dead, you will be saved - eternally. The journey you are on will not always be easy. In fact I can promise it will be paved with many heartaches and joys. Ahhh, but those heartaches are when God carries you even if you can't see Him or feel Him. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you and He is God and can never break His promise. There is nothing more comforting to me than to know that I never have to face anything on my own - sometimes - in the hard times I just have to repeat it over and over again because I have a weak sinful heart and forget the awesome power of Christ who lives in me.  So on your journey, I pray that with each step you take you become more like Christ every day because when you do, even the heartaches become jewels in your life.


A Quiet Night Out

Last night I had one of the most uplifting and encouraging dinners with 3 dear friends. My husband and I have been learning sign language at our church and last night I spent almost 3 hours with Jenna, my deaf friend and two other hearing friends. It was so much fun to communicate in sign language. It is a very expressive and beautiful language. I "turned off" my ears for the evening and signed everything. It was a real stretch in my understanding and use of the language but it was so much fun. We laughed a lot and shared what was in our heats. We spent time encouraging each other and have a better understanding of how to pray for each other. It was a true meeting of the hearts. Oh how I praise the Lord for dear friends who are willing to be real and share what is hurting, encouraging, discouraging and just plain life with each other. Thank you Lord, for many ways to communicate and the ability to learn another language. And, thank you sooo much for precious friends who will help lighten the burden on this journey called life.

The Miracle of Life

For such a time as this.

I have been amazed many times at the intircate working of God in our lives and this week was again a powerful reminder of God's awesome power. Last September we invited the Hanson's and Smith's over to watch the Amazing Race and have dinner together. Our kids enjoy playing with each other and it was a GREAT opportunity to have adult conversation. For us Mom's, adult conversation is something we crave since most of our day is filled with answering grade school and pre-schoolers. We had so much fun that first night we thought we would do it again, and again and again. Until one day, we decided to call oursevles the "Amazing Small Group". Though our only "Spiritual" content is praying before we eat, the relationships we have formed from our "Amazing Small Group" have been incredible. We have encouraged each other in parenting difficulties, prayed with each other and for each other for the struggles we face and created a bond of the heart. Even after the "Amazing Race" was finished we still continued to get together to share in each others lives. With the ages our kids are, a grand total of 11 kids among the three families, we have not delved into a Bible study because of the multitude of demands we already are facing. The time spent together with our "peeps" is full of laughter, sharing, and most importantly the bearing of one another's burdens. I praise the Lord for His perfect timing and in bringing these families into our lives for such a time as this.

This last week Ella, the newest memeber to our group, at 7 weeks spiked a really high fever that lasted over 3 days. She scared a lot of people and sent hundreds to their knees in prayer.  When Keith called to ask if I could watch Seth, Ian, and Claire because Ella was being checked into the hospital it was an easy answer. Of course I can watch them - for as long as you need. He couldn't get a hold of his Mom so called us. It was so wonderful because thier oldest three were thrilled to come to the Slaven's house. Carrie reminded the kids that it was not a party, but the kids didn't listen. :-) If they had not spent the last 9 months playing at our house they would not have been as excited or as comfortable at our house. As it was, the girls played mom to their baby dolls and the boys played with Lego's all day. When Grandma Hanson came to pick up the Hanson's, the boys told her "it's ok, Nonie, we can stay here and play". June quickly turned to me and asked me "what did you do to my grandchildren!" Then we both laughed. It was so cute.

Tuesday night her temperature spiked at 104.2 and had all of us a little on edge. Jennie and I were at the hospital when the nurse was checking her vitals and sitting there listening to Carrie say the numbers as it climbed was awful. As the numbers kept climbing the silence in the room got heavier. By the time her temperature reached 104 the tears were running down my cheeks. I was praying so hard for Ella and for Keith and Carrie - praying that God would be gracious and merciful, thanking Him for His tender mercies and knowing that we can trust Him completely to do what is best for us and to bring His name glory. His name has been glorified in this short time. The doctors don't know for certain what bacteria her body was fighting, but know it was a BAD one and have been treating her with antibiotics. On Friday we got the news that her fever had finally broken.  She has been fever free since then. Sunday night June and I went to the hospital to visit with Carrie and to see Ella and were amazed at the transformation she had made. She is alert, not in any pain and responding well to the treatment. She was smiling at Nonie, and trying to talk baby talk back. It was such a beautiful sight to behold. Praise the Lord for his work in their lives. They will be in the hospital for a total of 10 days of treatent.  They will be checking out of KU - their home away from home - on Saturday.

I remember when Jonathan was fighting for his life during his chemo treatment and being blown away at the outpouring of love and help we received. I remember just thanking God that there were people praying for us when I didn't know what I needed to pray for. I am still amazed at how He answered all of our prayers - in His time and in His perfect way - even when I didn't articulate them. He met our physical, emotional and spiritual needs often above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine. It was so humbling to realize that God was working through us to proclaim His name to so many others. I just remember praying that God would allow us the opportunity to minister to others just as we had been ministered too. Now, I would never ever want anyone to go through suffering.  It isn't fun in the process.  But, what an incredible blessing it was to be the ones to give and help bear the burden of a brother and sister in Christ. No pain is wasted when God is in it. There may be weeping for a night, but joy truly does come in the morning. He does make beauty out of our ashes. He is an AWESOME God.


10 Magical Years

This year my husband planned a wonderful surprise for me. In January he told me he was planning something, but not to expect too much. He asked me to save every penny I could in the grocery budget and give it to him for the "surprise". Of course I did all I could to save a little here and there. It was actually fun to try to save and think of even more things we could do without. It amazes me again how much we think we need. Again, the Lord abundantly met our needs and in this case He even allowed a little extra for my husband to show me just how much he cherishes and treasures me. The thing that made our anniversary so special was the thought that went into it on Jonathan's part. He planned all of it, including child care. That was huge! I would not have cared what else we did to celebrate, just the knowledge that he did something special for just me was enough.

 It all began on Monday of the week of our anniversary. He told me to be dressed up and ready at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday night. I almost had to ask again because he said "dressed up"! I found out that his parents would be coming on Thursday afternoon to take care of the kids for our evening out. It was amazing picking out a dress and fixing my hair and make-up - I felt like a princess getting ready for her first ball. It was so much fun and so completely foreign to my normal run after 3 kids all day, clean, laundry, fix meals, grocery shopping oh and did I mention laundry - yes it is the bane of my existence. Anyway, my handsome prince arrived home and swept me off my feet at 5:30 and took me to dinner at The Skies. It was where we enjoyed our first meal as husband and wife and the view was as breath-taking then as it was 10 years ago. While we were waiting for dinner he took my hand and pulled a little tissue wrapped gift from his pocket. It was my wedding ring! In January the previous year I gave it to him for the prongs to be replaced so the diamond would not fall out and told him I would not ask about it but would trust that when he could find a way to fix it he would. Let me tell you that was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, to not ask when I could get my ring back. Oh, I couldn't believe it. It was so pretty and sparkled so much - oh maybe that was the tears in my eyes. :-)  I really thought that was going to be the extent of our celebration and then he pulled out the camera to start taking pictures and had something else to show me. Earlier that day he checked us in for a two night stay at Cheatue Avalon in the Castaway Isle suite. He told me he couldn't take me back to Hawaii so he did the next best thing and brought the feel of Hawaii to me. We ran back home after finishing our delicious dinner and I gave last minute instructions to Grandma and Grandpa, kissed the kids good night, packed up what we would need for the weeend and headed off for our second honeymoon!!!! It was so romantic and wonderful. We ate out and didn't have to cut up food, clean up spills or get after little people! Oh to be able to talk and reconnect. We spent some time pouring over our old journals from marriage counseling. It was a chance to look back at how God led us and an opportunity to thank Him for the amazing blessings He has carried us through. We had a chance to look forward and talk about the next 10 years and get excited about the wonderous things God is yet to do in our lives. If the next 10 are anywhere near as amazing as the last 10 I can hardly wait! May God form us more into His image each day so there is less of me and so much more of Him.

Thank you, my precious husband, for giving me a weekend to remember. Thank you for being my spiritual leader, my friend. I praise God that He blessed me beyond all comprehension when He put you in my life.


Sick Again?

There is a joke between my friends that the Slaven kids get sick in November and stay sick until March or April.  This year is proving to be no different and yet it has felt so much worse because they are all old enough to really complain about their infirmities.  Yet, they are still young enough that they feel the need to wake me up at night (my sweet Benjamin) to tell me that they need to go potty.  I have just about had my limit of illness, but my God, who meets all my needs, knows I have so much more to give.  It is at these moments that I cry out to God and beg for His mercy so that in my sleep deprived state I don't say or do the wrong thing to hurt his precious babies.  The amazing thing is that when I do cry out, surrender my will/desires to Him and rest in His strength I make it through the day without feeling like a failure.  The sad thing is that there are many days when I don't surrender to Him and as a result everything falls apart by the time Jonathan gets home from work. On those days,  I bet he takes one step in the house and wishes he could hightail it back to the office or anywhere but here.  Then he quietly takes over and sends me out the door for some quiet time and prayer (maybe I should say sometimes when he is not overwhelmed with work).  I am so blessed to have an understanding husband who is seeking to lead us in a godly direction.

There are blessings in the midst of these illnesses and sometimes I get so bogged down in the surviving that I forget to look for the moments of grace.  One of those moments was when I was having to torture Benjamin and Emily with their eye drops for pink eye.  These eye drops are extremely painful and it is so hard for a little one to understand that what hurts is sometimes good for them.  I was able to talk to Emily and Benjamin about God's great love for us and that there will be times in their lives that God will ask something of them that will be painful, but He sees a much bigger picture than we do.  His desire is to make us Holy and Christlike, not to make us happy.  Sometimes, the tools that God uses to get rid of the yuckies in our hearts are painful just as those eye drops are painful to get rid of the yuckies in their eyes.  I reminded them that if I didn't treat their eyes it would just get worse and they would not be able to see until we used the drops.  I wonder how often God wants to say to me, "Martha, it will hurt for a while, just trust that I know what is best for you."  The beauty is that when I relinquish my desire for ease and seek His face the pain is not that great because He comes along and bears my burdens for me.   His yoke truly is easy and His burden is light, because he caries it all for me - if only I remembered to leave my burdens at His feet.  He is a gracious and loving Father and only desires our best.  What a wonderful place to rest - in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father.


Always a Teachable Moment

I can't believe it, my baby is officially a 2 year old.  We celebrated Courtney's birthday on Friday the 19th with Grandma and Grandpa Slaven, Grandpa Barraclough and Aunt Jonalyn.  Uncle Mike couldn't make it because of his work schedule.  Courtney had a blast opening her presents and especially eating her cake.  Her brother and sister enjoyed the process almost just as much.  After all, at this age it is just as much fun to help open the gifts as it is to get the gifts themselves.  It provides a constant training opportunity to teach them to share and to think of others needs above their own... some days I grow weary of the training.  It is at those times that I think a recording would work the best.  "Ok, Benjamin, Emily, Courtney (whichever child needs to hear), go push play and listen very carefully.."  If only, (HUGE sigh) but then we would lose the personal touch of communicating to these little people that God has entrusted to our care.  There is something truly precious and intangible when I see the understanding dawn when looking into their eyes as I explain an important truth from God's Word.  It is even more precious when that child chooses to follow what God wants instead of what he/she wants.  Ahh, those are the moments to celebrate, especially since at this precocious age they are few and far between, and praise the Lord that He is using me a, a sinner saved by grace, to teach and train His priceless children.

What is your morning worth?

We had another God moment today.  Our van went back to the shop last night to hopefully fix the gas gauge once and for all.  This is the second time it has been in the shop for this problem... please, please let them fix it!  We took it in on Tuesday night so that I would not have to get up and get all the kids ready to leave in the morning in order for it to be at the shop by 8 a.m.  Yeah right!  I know some Mom's can do it, but this one can't... give me 2 cups of coffee and about an hour of awake time before I can navigate my own house!  Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much.  I did find out from the dealership that we might get our van back tomorrow and then again maybe not... it all depends on if the new gas gauge makes it in on Thursday's shipment.  Thankfully, everything will be covered under warranty.  PTL!

Our God moment - actually our whole morning - was the sacrificial giving of one of the precious ladies in our church, Betty.  She had offered to take me to drop off the van, but since Jonathan and I were able to take it on Tuesday night I called to let her know we would not be needing her services.  In the course of our conversation I told her I was hoping to take Emily back to Children's Mercy Urgent Care to see if there was a reason why she was still acting sick.  She offered to help me out since I would not have transportation.  She had no idea her offer was going to take up her entire morning!  She picked us up at 9 a.m. and braved the hospital waiting room until 12:30 with my three busy children.  The kids did great and even got a number of compliments from the nursing staff and doctor on their behavior (thanks to Biblical training and God at work in their hearts).  After a not so pleasant experience of flushing Benjamin's and Emily's ears with warm water, the doctor announced that yes, Emily still has an ear infection.  Benjamin's are a little irritated, but that may be due to the trauma he just endured to his ear or the onset of another ear infection.  Let's hope and pray it's not getting infected again.  I must say that Benjamin was quite a trooper.  He was so brave while they were trying to pick out the ear wax that it about made me cry.  Emily, on the other hand, was so scared that the nurses had to wrap her in a sheet to keep her still, but once wrapped she quit fighting and just cried like her little heart was going to break.  After all was said and done, our dear friend, Betty, took the kids out for McDonald's to reward them for their bravery.  That was all it took to wipe the last tear from their faces.

I know I would have survived the Urgent Care experience with all three kids, but I was more thankful than words can express to have someone there to help me.  My Mom is already waiting for me in heaven, and I wouldn't want her anywhere else, but the times I miss her the most are when my babies are sick.  I think those are the only times that I fight the tears over not having Mom around, but God provides for me is such amazing and wonderful ways.  My mother-in-law is one of those wonderful ways that God has provided.  I can truly say, when I married Jonathan I didn't just gain a great husband, but a precious mother.  However, she is an hour away and not always accessible at a moments notice.  It is in those times that my loving, heavenly Father provides precious woman to hold me up and help me through the tough times.  Even in this small thing I can always trust that my Father will always take care of not just my physical needs, but my emotional needs as well.  My heart is safe in the everlasting arms of Jesus and I trust Him with all the most precious gifts He has given me - my husband and children.


A Baby no More

Our baby, Courtney, is no longer a little baby.  In the last month she has decided to grow up right before my eyes.  One night while getting her ready for bed she told me very clearly that she wanted to sleep in her big girl bed.  The conversation went something like this:

Courtney: "Piwow (pillow) here, Mommy." (pointing to her big girl bed)

Mommy: "Are you sure you don't want to sleep in your crib?"

Courtney: "No, Mommy. Piwow here." (like duh I already told you where I want to sleep)

Mommy: "Courtney, do you want to sleep in your crib and not your big girl bed?"   (thinking, I am not ready for you to grow up yet... really she doesn't want to sleep in her big bed.)

Courtney: "No, Mommy, sweep here." (once again pointing to her big bed)

Needless to say, I decided to put her to sleep in her big girl bed thinking, "yea right, this is going to last all of 5 minutes."  Well, she had me fooled and within 2 minutes I opened her door to check on her and she was sound asleep and looking so precious that it took my breath away.  As a result of saying good-bye to my baby in the crib, I spent the next hour in tears or fighting them, and praying constantly.  She has done wonderfully in her big girl bed and I am so thankful there were no tears on her part in saying good-bye to her crib.  Now, if only Mommy could get on board.   The next step in this natural process is the removing of the baby crib.  I really thought I had a handle on my emotions and was to the point of rejoicing that we were past midnight feedings, sleepless nights from crying infants, spit up and all the wonderful things that go hand in hand with a new baby.  And then the act of taking apart the crib... lets just say it was a miracle Niagra Falls did not commence.   After six years of having a crib up in our house it is gone.

As if moving from the crib to the big girl bed wasn't enough, she decided that it was time to potty train.  In less than 2 weeks Courtney was completely potty trained and only uses a diaper at night.  And this was one milestone that I didn't shed a single tear over.  No sireee, I was rejoicing to no longer have to be spending money on diapers and having that poop in the potty and not on her cute little bottom.  Now that was a day of great rejoicing!  Yippee... do a little jig... She loves to use the potty and is very good about announcing to the world that she needs to go potty.  It is pretty cute if I do say so myself.

While watching these mile stones take place, my eyes have shed many a tear because it is the end of such a precious time of my life, and yet, it is a time of rejoicing becuase it is the beginning of a new and wonderful chapter in our lives as a family.  There is something so precious and intangible in "casting all your cares on Him (the Lord) for He cares for you" because the Lord truly did wrap His arms around my heart and hold me up in my greiving and rejoicing.  Talk about a mixture of emotions, but all so true.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the next 5 years of our marriage and parenting.  In the last 8 years He has sustained us, taught us to surrender all to Him, helped us to have complete reliance in His perfect timing and provision - if it is this wonderful now, I can't WAIT to see what more He has in store for us.

For those of you who are wondering why I am greiving this so much God has given us a new path as a result of Jonathan's cancer.  The surgery and everything that we have gone through to destroy the cancer has made it so we will not be able to have children unless we adopt... and who knows it may be in our future, only the Lord knows that for sure.    I am thankful and rejoicing in our three energetic wonderful children and praise the Lord that he chose to bless us with three - and at this time in my life, only three.  Once again, He does know what is best for us, equips us for what He has called us to, and does not give us more than we can handle.  We give God all the glory for anything good in us, because of our own selves we are sinners in need of a Saviour.  I praise God, that through the death of Jesus, who was sinless/perfect, that in accepting the precious gift of His salvation we can be saved from our destructive sinful natures.  That is the hope that lies within us. because we have the Holy Spirit living in us we are more than conquerors in our battles - even something as little (in God's eyes) as cancer.


Recent Posts

Tag cloud