Monday, December 31, 2007


I like new things. New shoes, new clothes, new dishes, new glassware, new mascara, new travel places, new pictures, babies, new friends. New things are, fresh and recent.

Now, a new year is just another day to me….but since everyone talks about it like it’s a new start, I’ll join in.

I dearly love the third chapter of Lamentations---it’s about things being hard and then being made new. I especially like verses 22 and 23.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Wow! Every morning! Not every year.

I don’t know about you, but I need new mercies most every morning. I’m sure glad I don’t have to wait for another year to be able to begin again! Aren’t you?

Expect new things this year…..every day!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

No Resolutions for Me

I never make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I have before. They just haven’t worked. Being determined or resolute doesn’t necessarily get the job done for me.

I have to have a plan, a daily plan. For me, it’s what works.

My 2008 Plans

*work-out plan (The Cardio-Free Diet by Jim Karas – the workout plan) with an accountability partner (every other day). I’ve been very lax in the work-out area. This plan is based on the idea of weights or flex-loops rather than cardio, which appeals to me. Dirk has been faithful to the plan for several months now. Be sure to ask me how I’m doing!

*keep using the Weight Watchers CORE plan as an eating lifestyle (I easily lost 20 lbs on this plan last year)

*a one-year Bible reading plan (this year I think I’ll use the plan with The Message) and My Utmost for His Highest

Do you make resolutions or plans? Please share them! How do you follow-through?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Final Thoughts (for now) on Mary

I'm B-aaaack

Our Christmas was nice, as usual. We have a wonderful, loving family. We are very blessed! We did miss Jon, Erin’s husband who is in Iraq.

Dirk got me Photoshop Elements 6. Anyone have any tips to share?

Our three sons, and Dirk and I all served as greeters, cart drivers, and ushers for each one of the nine Lifechurch experiences this weekend! Whew! (but lots of fun). We got to see some people we haven’t seen in a long time, since they attend different services than we do. It was so nice to see them and hug them. It reminded me of what heaven may be like!

We are taking care of our granddaughters, Lily (3) and Sadie (1), while their parents are on a short get-away. Think I’ll be worn out by Saturday?


Think about it. Mary was a home educator! I’m sure she was home educated herself. And guess what? It didn’t ruin her! She still carried out the calling on her life.

As one of the main influences in Jesus’ life, Mary fed her willing spirit, her ears to hear her Father, and many other qualities into her first son’s life.

And just think about how much she gained from having Jesus as a son! Don’t you know he taught her things she had never even thought of before He came into her life?

Just last week, one of my children suggested maybe I was being a little judgmental about something. She was right, and I apologized. I remember another occasion when Erin, at six-years-old, asked me why I was watching soap operas. “Mom, is that good?” Hmmm….No! I had gotten into a bad habit during college and was still, now as a mom, leaving the TV on during the day, badly influencing my 6 year old daughter. The TV went off for good, for soap operas.

How much are we allowing our children to teach us? You see, I think it’s a two-way street. I know I’ve learned many things from my children. I’ll share about more of those sometime.

Besides long-suffering ;-), What are your kids teaching you?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Additional Thoughts on Mary

Mary wasn’t the only influence on Jesus. He had an earthly father, Joseph. Mary and Joseph were a team. I believe they worked together to give Jesus everything he needed to be a well rounded individual, able to later influence many in His earthly life.

Sometimes, as moms, I think we may think our husbands are harsh with our young children. Maybe we think they are too firm.

But, I believe God wants our children to have the best of both his natures, his wholeness: mothering AND fathering. There is a complete difference, yet a completeness. And I think we need to learn to celebrate it.

I know I haven’t always thought Dirk handled things the right way….after all, he handled our children as a father, something I'll never fully understand.

Are you able to celebrate the way your husband fathers your children?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Thoughts on Mary

Do you think Mary ever said unkind or harsh words to Jesus? Do you think she was perfect, like her son Jesus?

I don’t. There is nothing in scripture that gives us any reason to believe she was above sin. She was a mom, just like you and me.

Do you think she had hard days? Do you think she ever had to apologize for losing her patience or her temper?

I do. I think she had to do all the same things we do. She experienced the same frustrations, disappointments, and concerns.

And I think she also had daily, constant prayer and interaction with her heavenly Father (weird to think he was also right in front of her!).

The same strength, guidance, and grace she relied on is still available to us today! We only have to connect, to ask, to receive.

Are you connecting daily? It is your LIFE!

… and the Word was God John 1:1
For the LORD is your life…Deut. 30:20

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thoughts on Mary

I’ve been thinking about Mary, mother of Jesus this week.

Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings she must have experienced finding out that she was going to carry the long awaited Messiah? I’m sure she experienced fear and uncertainty along with morning sickness and all the accompanying child-bearing issues.

But that’s not what I’ve been thinking most about. I’ve been thinking about why she was chosen, why she was found worthy.

You see, we know she was very young, so she had not yet been tested in long-term relationships, or maybe even much temptation. In her short life, she probably hadn’t been through enough to show how she would handle adversity. She didn’t excel at the levels we may consider a “mature”, godly person to have. We sure wouldn’t have chosen her.

But God did. And I think he chose her especially for one reason.

She was willing. Willing to follow the calling on her life. Willing to obey. Willing to do whatever her Father asked of her. She was a servant. She knew the voice of her Master.

Are we willing? Do we recognize His voice enough to be able to listen? And are we even listening?

Oh, may our hearts be willing and may our spiritual ears be open to the gentle voice of our Master! That’s really all he asks of us.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lessons From My Husband (5 of 5)

Live your life “in the open”

This is something I’ve heard Dirk say very often to our two teen sons. He has encouraged them to be open with their lives, to not hide anything, to live life “in the open”.

Wow! I wished I had learned this much earlier in my life. I don’t know why I thought I had to put up a good front, and make everyone think everything was “just perfect” with me. I didn’t even know how to be real. Now I am learning.

When we are willing to have no secrets and confess our sins to others, it will not only impact our own hearts and lives, it will impact others as well.

I don’t want to hide---I want to live freely!

Here’s a story of redemption that my friend, Cindy Beall is sharing on her blog. I hope it will encourage you to “live your life in the open”.
Another Lesson From My Husband

"Bring in the Boundaries"

I remember a time, maybe even more than one, when Dirk would come in from a hard day at work and find chaos was reigning and we were ALL sitting in the floor crying---even me! It had been a hard day for mom and I wouldn’t be doing too well emotionally. Identify?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lessons From My Husband (4 of 5)

Consider the Source

This is a little bit of a touchy topic, because it does require a measure of judgment. But, it is something that has saved me many times from believing a lie.

Dirk has taught me to “consider the source”.

Have you ever shared your thoughts, ideas, and your heart with a person who just slams you? Maybe it’s a family member who just doesn’t “get” your passion for Christ. Or maybe someone is questioning your decision to home educate your children. It might be your well-intentioned mother-in-law who suggests your child’s cold is because you didn’t have him wear a hat last time it was chilly outside. (That happened to you too?)

The “come-backs” from some of these encounters often left me feeling very devastated, and quite angry.

As I would vent to Dirk, he suggested, “Consider the source”.

I began trying it out. When someone would challenge my thoughts or actions, I began considering their point of view. Were they even Christ followers? If not, they didn’t have the basis of belief that I did. Sometimes, the other person was just a rude, self-centered person. I had to consider the heart and motive of that person’s reply. Then, I would just have to let that person’s words go, not allowing them to take root in my heart. Sometimes, the person had no idea they were hurting me.

Experiences and years have taught me that the real source behind my perception of another person’s response was satan himself. He can even take a perfectly innocent statement and twist it so that we become offended. He is the one wanting me to believe the lies, wanting me to be devastated, wanting me to see myself as a failure.

Today, I can say with confidence, this is not an area I struggle with much. If you struggle in this area, I hope you’ll learn to “consider the source”.

Proverbs 26:2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lessons From My Husband (3 of 5)

We finally have our internet back up and running again. Thanks for your patience!!

Lighten Up

I distinctly remember Dirk talking to me one day (when we were young and had a house full of kiddos) and gently saying, “Robin, you’re about to kill us all here. You’re going to have to lighten up.”

As a Godly, sweet, respectful wife, (yeah, right…) my response was, “What?? What are you talking about? I don’t even know what that means!”

He kindly said, “Well, you need to figure it out”.

Humph! I needed to change?? What about everyone else? If they would just do things my way, everything would go smoothly around here. I’m not the one with the problem!

I wrestled for several months with this issue---lighten up. Just what did that mean?

As I searched for an answer, I began to see that my standards and requirements for “proper” behavior, cleanliness, and attitudes had become “my standards”. They sure weren’t God’s standards.

He has grace. I didn’t. His requirements are tempered with love. My requirements weren’t. My expectations were high and lofty. He meets us where we are.

As I began to offer myself some grace, I also began to give it away to my family. I relaxed. I “lightened up”.

I still have quite a driven and resolute personality, but I know I’ve learned to be more flexible over the years. I still want to get better. I desire God’s grace.

Romans 5:21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Electricity is important! We were without yesterday!! We made it fine with our woodburning stove to keep us warm, and it did a great job of warming soup, too. Kody seranaded us with his guitar by left-over wedding candle light. Dirk's dad came down to keep warm, and even when the power came back on at 7:30 pm, he stayed until 11 doing a jig-saw puzzle. It was a good time. I think Dirk LOVED it! (What is it with men and roughing it??)

Here's the REALLY bad part....we still don't have any internet!! So, I'm posting this from church (we serve at Wednesday night Switch).

Keep checking back...surely we'll be on again soon....I still have more to come from lessons I've learned from Dirk, and I want you to share in them too!

How about you? Did you loose power or internet?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lessons From My Husband (2 of 5)

Getting on their level

Your 4 year old is being extra cranky. You’ve had your fill. He challenges your correction one more time, arguing with you and you’re losing your patience. You begin to argue with him, your voice changing to a high-pitched-not-quite-scream.

Guess what? You have sunk to the level of your 4-year-old.

I used to do this quite often, but I’ve gotten better, learning to recognize and rise above the situation.

Now, I only sink to the level of a 13 year old. = )

Here are some things Dirk helped me to remember:

1. I am the mom. My child is a child (even if they are 17)
2. It is my responsibility to train and teach them
3. Learn to quickly recognize the signs of going down this path
4. Respond rather than react—stay calm
5. Try answering, “There will be no more discussion about this”.
6. Be willing to spend the necessary time teaching a correct response to your child
7. Follow-through with consequences

Soon, you should begin to see positive changes in your child----AND in you!

Lessons From My Husband (1 of 5)

I have known Dirk Meadows since I was 15 years old, and have been married to him for 33 years. He is not only the father of our seven children, and Grandpa to our 6 grandchildren, he is my best friend!

He is the greatest husband on earth! I know many of you will disagree with me, but I can say this: He’s the greatest husband for me! He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me.

This week I will share with you some of the wisdom this man has passed on to me. As a pro-active father, he has objectively offered insight when I’ve been drowning in a sea of “I don’t know what to do”. Some of these things I’ve learned really well. Some of them, I’m still working on. They are all things that have radically changed my previous way of thinking. I hope you’ll be challenged and changed as well.

*Getting on their level
*Lighten up
*Consider the source
*Tighten the boundaries

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ice Storm 2007

....or December Disturbance 2007 or Siberian Sunday 2007. Isn't it a hoot how our Oklahoma weather "events" are named?

So, what did your family do today besides watching the televised reports of salt trucks, the new salt barn, the grass with sleet, the trees with sleet, the roads with sleet, and the school, church and daycare closings?

We had a house-full here (eleven plus our usual four) for Chicken Enchilada Soup and games and a puzzle. It was a lively, rowdy time, but full of love and laughter.

The Meadows' Lifeschool does not close for inclement weather. However, if our electricity goes out (it's been flickering a lot), we may have a change of plans.

What will you do with your kids while we're iced in?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Friday Finds

Check out some good blog series written this week:

Cindy Beall A Life of Generosity (good thoughts--read the whole series)

Anna Meadows Little Things I’ve Learned Living in a Big Family (written from a home educated graduate’s perspective)

Great posts to check out:

Scott Williams: Church Diversity (are we being intentional when we teach our kids about diversity, or are we teaching them anything at all?

Keri Austin : Cars with Overbearing Christmas Wreaths (A great perspective on waiting)

Crossroads Movement
– my new blogging friend, JW, from the Washington DC area. Some great words on “marks” – (you’ve just got to read it)


We had Black Beans and Brown Rice for dinner last night! Yum! Check out this healthy, high-fiber recipe:

A few modifications: I used a pound of dry beans and simmered them for several hours. (easy, if you’re home.) I always rinse the canned ones---the finished appearance is better. Try one can for each two servings. Add water to desired consistency.

I didn’t measure the vegetables---just put them in the food processor and chopped them up and added them to the beans about an hour before we ate. The peppers were not jalapenos!

I didn’t add any oil or red pepper.

I added a package of turkey kielbasa, sliced, in place of the ham.

We ate this over brown rice, which I cooked and served separately. Add hot sauce as desired. Even my teen boys and three grands that were here liked it.

Next week: Things I learned from my husband

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Choices (Part 2 of 2)

Encourage Yourself

It’s another overwhelming day. Everything has gone wrong. The kids are especially loud and disobedient, they have left everything they played with all over the house, and the rice you left simmering on the stove has now burned to a nice black crisp on the bottom of the pan. No one has called to check on you today and you’re feeling more than a little bit lonely and forgotten.

OK – maybe the scenario for you isn’t the same, but we’ve all had days when it seems like no one even cares. No one is there to lift you up and encourage you.

Well, guess what? The same thing happened to David in I Samuel 30. David and his men had been away from home, battling the enemy. While they were gone, the Amalekites raided and burned their city and took away the women and children. When David and his men returned, they found their homes destroyed and their families gone, (including David’s wives). They were distraught! And in their distress, David’s own men started talking of stoning him! Now, that’s what I call having a really bad day. It trumps dirty diapers and cranky kids any day!

The story goes on in the very next verse to tell us David’s response: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (KJV) Wow! His wife couldn’t encourage him; his friends had rejected him. Guess who was left? Only himself! He had to encourage himself!

Once again, it’s all about making a choice. Do we drown in a sea of our own self-pity, or do we choose to pull ourselves up and be encouraged? Sometimes, you are all you have. With God, I’d say that’s MORE than enough!

Are you going through something difficult? Do you need to encourage yourself?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Choices (Part 1 of 2)

Determine in Your Heart

The year was 1990. I was pregnant (again….) and Katie, our fifth child, was nearing 4 years old. I remember sitting on the porch swing, praying (agonizing, really) and reading my Bible. And I distinctly remember making a choice. Right then, I determined in my heart that I was going to enjoy this pregnancy. I even took that thought a step further. I was determined to enjoy this child.

I can be quite a self-willed, self-directed person. And I’m not condoning that sort of behavior. In fact, I believe the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us to do this, if we allow him. I am suggesting that sometimes we have to make a decision in our hearts to force ourselves to choose the right thing, or the right way. It almost has to be a gritting-your-teeth, digging-in-your-feet determination. And sometimes, that determination or choice has to be made over and over again, many times in the same day or even the same hour!

Whatever you may be struggling with today, consider making a determination in your heart to choose God’s very best for you. Don’t allow your old thought patterns to pull and weigh you down. Make the choice to reach out and accept the grace and power that is there for us all. Determine in your heart that you’ll make the best of any situation you’re in.

Oh, and on the pregnancy, it wasn’t such a bad one, but the baby that was born, Kody (now 15 years old) was an extremely difficult baby. It’s sure a good thing I determined to enjoy him! Even through the difficulties of an extra-cranky baby, I often reflected back to that choice I made on the porch swing.

I really did enjoy him. And I still do!

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Student Becomes the Teacher

This week I e-mailed a blog I was working on to my daughter. What I was really looking for was confirmation I was making sense, heading in the right direction. What I received back were some red marks, noting some grammatical errors and a few suggestions to make my writing more complete and concise.

I tell you this, not so you can feel sorry for me, or think that she was being rude. Or even to try to figure out which article received help.

I tell you this to encourage you.

This same child I worked with on spelling, grammar, writing, life skills, emotional and spiritual direction, and every other attribute a mother tries to convey to her daughter has now become my teacher! She has surpassed my skills as a writing teacher, praise God! Her gift of writing has not been hindered by my lack, ineptness or insecurities, for she has a Teacher who has no lack.

I pray she surpasses me in every area of her life!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Perfect Christmas

I’m sure by now you’ve got your advent calendar out, your lesson plans for teaching generosity and the timeline of the Magi’s travels all worked out. Did you remember the coloring sheets of the maps of travel to Bethlehem and the family lineage of Mary and Joseph memorized so you can share it with your kids? Oh, and you handmade your wreath, already addressed your Christmas cards and remembered to get enough of the same color wrapping paper so your gifts can all be neatly wrapped like the magazine picture, and you found the recipe for Sugar(free) Plums and remembered to get all the ingredients while you were at the store. Right? Right?

OK, so maybe I’m overdoing it a bit. But, admit it. You often feel guilty if you don’t try to do something new and exciting for Christmas. You want your family to have some great memories.

This can be a very hectic time of year with many extra activities, the making or purchasing of gifts; there are additional meal preparations, additional guests, additional services at church, etc, etc.

I remember some of the most spiritual, memorable Christmases we had when the children were young were when we made life easier by relaxing, and keeping things very simple by:

*Lessening the academic load for December
*Limiting the amount of time we were away from home to the “musts”.
*Spending more time reading, listening to music, doing puzzles, playing games, and just being together
*Not fretting about the decorations, the food, the gifts

The best memory your children can have of Christmas is not the gifts, or the creative things you made or baked or taught them. It’s them knowing that you love them; that they come before any Christmas trappings or holiday concerns you may have. This year, keep it simple. You’ll like yourself better, and so will your family!