Adventures of the Thundering Herd: The competition begins!

When you have five kids, you have a home grown basketball team.  You also have a small army.  My father calls my crew the thundering herd.  I believe that title is an accurate description.  They are not a quiet bunch and you definitely know when they are in the room.

Compared to some we are not a huge family.  Larger families exist.  However for me, we are a big family.  We live in a cozy 1700 square foot town home.  Three boys in one bedroom, two girls in the other.  Their rooms are small.  But I would not change a thing. The laughs and wrestling we hear each night before bed warms my heart.  

One of my greatest joys is time spent together.  Each room has a purpose.  We cook in the kitchen together and sit down, almost daily, to dinner around the table as a family.  We retreat to the bonus room and pile in the recliners and on the couch to watch movies or play video games.  Each room allows us to do things together as a family.  It is my dream come true. What I often envisioned my life to be when I had kids.  

With that said, seven people living in 1700 square feet can get messy and crowded.  There is a lot of stuff.   Clutter is easily accumulated and it drives this momma mad.  Leaving me overwhelmed at times, it calls for constant cleaning and sorting.

In the past I have devised chore charts and punishments watching each fail.  Attempting to keep up with who does what and who is grounded from what becomes too much for the hubby and me to remember. They outnumber us.  However I developed a new system. A competition and this one just might take.

Thanks to Big Brother and their Have/Have Not competitions, I came up with my own.  Yes, there will be a losing team.  A group of children who will become the Have Nots for the week should they fail to complete the simple tasks and earn enough points.

I have come up with five simple tasks each team much complete during the week to gain points.  At the end of each week, points are tallied and the winning team will receive the Have rewards while the losing team will receive the Have Not rewards. I think it sounds fun.  A little healthy competition never hurt anyone.  Right? The idea of the Have Nots having to clear the dinner dishes of the Haves for the week is one the great many rewards! Wouldn’t you agree?

As I pulled out my laptop at the end of our dinner last night, I began my presentation.  Met by the moans and sarcasm of teenagers the young ones embraced the idea of competing for rewards.  

As the house fell asleep to the grumblings of teenage angst last night we awoke to different attitudes. This morning beds were made, dishes were put into the dishwasher and the oldest asked if they would receive extra points for having their room already clean unlike the girls. HA! This just might work!

Large families are fun.  Sure we cannot buy all the latest gadgets for the kids or go on big vacations but I would not trade the laughter, adventures at home, and time spent together around the table for any amount of money.  God has blessed my life with insurmountable joy. And it hasn’t come from stuff.

My hubby asked me last night if I got this idea off of Pinterest.  My answer, NO.  This one was all me. Not saying another clever momma out there hasn’t developed their own system, but I came up with this one in the forty five minutes before I prepared dinner last night.  Click here to see my Google slide presentation.  Don’t think the kiddos were quite as impressed with my cleverness as I was 🙂  I’ll let you know how it all works out!

God, a box and a slippery slope: No room for grace

I am divorced and remarried.  In my younger years my feelings on those topics varied greatly from where they do today.  I was guilty of judging those who were divorced and even them as ungodly. Their story did not matter to me. My focus was the choice made to walk away from a covenant put together before God.  I was judgmental and ignorant.  One might even add arrogant.

I’ve grown up a lot. Learned a lot. Realized that things are not so cut and dry.  And now understanding this, I love people with all the answers. The ones where everything in their world is black and white.  No room for error.  No room for grace. Sadly, I must admit, I used to be that person.

As someone who spent the entire first half of her life believing that divorce was an abomination against God, I will be the first to admit my own ignorance.  I grew up assuming, from what I was told, divorced people were not in God’s will and could not be blessed.  I heard, accepted and preached it. I put God in a box and did like many people, used it to manipulate and control.

You see for years, my God was not big. The God I followed could easily fit into a box. That has changed. Over the course of the last few months, I have come upon several discussions over sin and what constitutes sin.  From there, the discussions turned into what sins can be committed and one still be truly saved?  I got caught up in the discussion and started measuring sin. But this can be a very slippery slope. Those discussions served as a distraction and they distracted me from what is truly important.  Following Jesus.

So all this “discussion” turned into distraction that then led me to doubt.  Not in my faith but the people of my faith.  Wondering who I should follow.  Questioning my allegiance and loyalty. Am I too wrapped up in following people?   With that said, I’ve spent a great deal of time asking for direction and discernment. During this time, John 3:16 has played repeatedly in my head.  The words, “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” have played over again like a song on repeat.

I grew up in church.  The first verse I remember memorizing was John 3:16, and it was the King James version.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only  begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

To this day, I remember that verse word for word.  It has been so hidden away in my heart, surprisingly enough, I often forget the words and their great gospel message.

So now I am going back to the start.  Back to the essentials of my faith.

God made a way when He sent Jesus. He loved us so much He gave up the life of His Son to save us even in the midst of our sinful ways. John 3:16 tells us that if we believe in Him, we are His. Believe what?  God is Holy and Jesus is the Son of God. We are sinners separated from God and in need of a Savior. Jesus lived a perfect life. He took our sin and our punishment when He was nailed to the cross.  Three days later, He rose from the dead.

If we believe those things while placing our faith and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and repent of our sin, we are born again and become a child of God. The “basics” of my faith.

So as of today, I am walking away.  I am turning away from those who “believe” they have God figured out.  I am going back to my Bible and I am going to follow Jesus.  To read His words, His teachings and follow His Truth while I seek after His will for my life.  A fresh start.  I spent years of my life following the teachings of men and trusting their interpretations of scripture as gospel truth but it ends today.  I want to know Jesus.  To follow Him more intimately.  To do that I have to seek Him with my whole heart and allow the voices of the world to fade away.


My journey begins today.  I challenge you to turn off the world around you and focus solely on His voice.  It’s time to meet with Jesus.