This thought has been on my mind for a long while and I haven’t yet put it to any good use.

We talk about tithing, we talk about treasure, we talk about money, storing, investing, saving, spending….  It seems to me that money takes up a good portion of our energy.  And not that is not needfully so sometimes.

But, there are those of us who believe that money is not our only treasure.  I believe this is especially true of Christian mothers.  If treasure is defined as something of great value, great worth, that isn’t easily come by, then I know of a treasure more precious than money in our household.  Money might be hard to come by, difficult to budget, and quickly gone, but I can think of one thing of greater value, more difficult to come by, incredibly hard to budget, and even more quickly gone than money.

Time.

Oh, Christian mothers.  Could I beg that we tithe our time?  Or more importantly, let’s look at Matthew 6:21.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So I want you to evaluate – how do you spend your time?  Because how you spend your time will tell you where your heart TRULY lies.

Homeschooling mothers, do you spend over 95% of your schooling on academics and give a mere 5% to teaching your children about God?  Christian wives, are you spending your precious time on things that do not support your God given role of wife and mother?

How we spend our time is one of our best reflections of our hearts.   If truly we love and honor God should we not give Him the first fruits?  The best of the best?  Shouldn’t He get our best and not what is left over?  Should we not devote our “riches” to furthering His good, His will, His intentions?

Today, the Lord has granted you twenty four hours.

How will you “spend” it?  How will you honor Him with it?  Will you use your time in a grateful and obedient manner, fulfilling your God given purposes through Him and for Him?   Will you tithe your 10%?  Will you go even further with a joyous and obedient heart?

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I’m so very sorry for not updating the blog.  But things have moved quickly this week and have been very chaotic around here.  Friday we went to the obstetrician (Dr. O) and ya’all know about that already.

Monday we had another appointment with Dr. O and we requested a referral to a University hospital here.   He not only gave us the referral, he said he was glad to do it, his only goal was healthy mama and healthy baby and he hoped they could do it.  He had them call IMMEDIATELY down there.  My appointment was at 1:00. By 4:00 that day, the phone consult had been done, the records had been faxed, and the appointment for an indepth ultrasound and a physician consult with the perinatologists had been scheduled… For THURSDAY!  We were thrilled.

I should go into more detail about Dr.  O.  For one, the man has zero ego.  When he says he only wants a healthy mama and a healthy baby, it’s true.  He cares very much about his patients.  I’ve heard from the grandmother of a baby born still through no fault of anyone and  I hear he cried with Mom and Dad after the delivery.  He is deeply invested in his patients and I can’t tell you how incredibly blessed we feel to have him as our obstetrician.  That said, a doctor is as good as his staff.  And honestly?  I can’t tell you how much I look forward to going into that office.  Every single person from receptionist, to the person who takes my blood, to the nurses and ultrasound tech are about the most cheerful, encouraging, lovely people I’ve ever had the joy to be around and I’m glad to be going back to a place that very OBVIOUSLY loves children.  They constantly ask about mine and we enjoy taking them in on occasion and getting them ooh’ed and aah’ed over.  What an amazing blessing.

Thursday was the consult.  With a LOT of people, sigh.  First we did a very (VERY) thorough ultrasound.  After all we had denied all of the prenatal testing and you’d not want to go to extraordinary lengths to keep a pregnancy of a less than perfect child, right?  Oh my.  I think I answered that one with grace, I think.  I explained to the doctor that knowing ahead of time that there was something wrong with the child and doing less than we would for a “perfect” baby and not try to keep the pregnancy would entail a very serious ethical dilemma for us and that we would do exactly the same for a less than “perfect” baby as we would for a so called perfect baby.  And he dropped it thankfully.  I don’t say this to say he’s a bad man.  Actually we QUITE liked this Dr. Y.  I feel a bit sorry for him.  I suppose seeing high risk patients with babies with serious issues probably does jade one quite a bit, don’t you suppose?  We had two ultrasound techs and two perinatologists consult on that.  Then we were sent over to the OB clinic for an internal exam, a history work-up of past pregnancies, and a consult.  Had the exam and was found to be a “good two” whatever that means…  I HAD been 4.1 on the previous Friday, so that was a little concerning but not surprising.   They wanted to fit my cerclage into the schedule by the following Wednesday but couldn’t do it with the two particular doctors they wanted to do it, and they didn’t feel it would be prudent to wait longer than that at this point as we would be past the 17 week mark….  So they fit me in on Friday,  the NEXT day.  LOL, it was such a relief but oh my what CHAOS.

Oh, and did I mention I developed some kind of infection/bite on my leg on Wednesday?  It showed up on Tuesday and we drew a marker circle around it.  It was hot and inflamed and obviously growing.  By Wednesday it was really unpleasant, having grown a full inch all the way around.  DH was concerned and so off to the doctor I went.  I’ll say nothing nice about the doctor, so I’ll just say nothing at all.  Suffice to say that was a clinic visit utterly wasted.  Do you ever feel you should get to deny a payment to the medical field if they don’t actually DO something?  Kind of like any other profession where they sit and hmmmm at something but don’t actually touch the car or whatever they’re supposed to fix?  Sigh.

At the appointments on Thursday and again on Friday they were quite interested in my infection.  It was general consensus among the doctors down there that it was cellulitis, a fairly non threatening infection of normal bacteria like staph or strep that would normally live on the skin.   At this point (Thursday afternoon) it was over the circumference of a softball.  I was on antibiotics at this point and they decided to do the surgery anyway, but gave me more antibiotics injected.  I can honestly say today it looks MUCH better.

Onto Friday.  We showed up at the hospital at noon.   The procedure began around 3:30.  It’s normally a 20 minute surgery.  It took a little longer due to a small issue with scar tissue from past cerclages.  They were able to deal with it beautifully though and instead of placing the normal 1-2 purse string stitches, they placed FOUR.  That made me smile a little.  I guess we can safely say we got our money’s worth?  There were three doctors, including the department head,  doing the surgery as apparently they found this pretty fascinating.  The popular discussion of the day seemed to be wondering how much scar tissue I’d have in there with this many cerclages.   We were later told by her that she’s glad they scheduled it for Friday and not the following week as I was very soft and already dilating.  Thank God.

Thanks to ansthesia and some nice drugs that helped me to not vomit violently 😉 it was by far the most pleasant cerclage experience I’ve ever had.  I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to God for what He has done.  Oh, and that pesky previa?  Yeah, it’s gone.  Not marginal, not low lying, but a very nice, healthy placenta exactly where it should be.  No signs of accreta, and no abruption.  I can’t begin to explain the miracle that has been done here.  I guess if you read the past excerpts you’ll begin to understand where I was, almost hopeless, to where we are now.

Oh, and they think she’s a girl.  Did I mention that?!  How blessed are we?

I looked at our two year old today and wondered if there was anything more beautiful than a child.  I think not.  Mamas, do you know how blessed you are?  You were CHOSEN.  Yes, YOU!  You were CHOSEN by God Himself with the remarkable task of being entrusted with His beloved children for their training, protection, and love.  What a shocking and mind boggling task.  Without dependence on Him I wonder how we should succeed at all???  And be so grateful.  You should SEE my house right now.  It is an absolute disaster.  Pictures would only begin to describe the smell of the dishes that have sat for about four days now.  It is more than a little chaotic and exhausting.  And we have my sister’s shower tomorrow to celebrate her daughter whom we will welcome to this family sometime in the next four weeks.   What a perfect end to an exhausting week – the celebration of a new life!

Don’t begrudge your tasks.  Don’t belittle your role.  You were chosen.  Your ministry personally given and assigned by God Himself.  What a beautiful thing to be given such an important, vital, life altering ministry.   And to something to precious to God as a child?!?!?!  Truly, mother, He must love you and think highly of your ability….  And remember not all children are given biologically.  Mother, if you haven’t children biologically please think not that I don’t include you.  He shall and perhaps has also laid out your ministry….  God bless each and every one of you in this amazing blessing we’ve been given.  Please be grateful each and every mess, er, I mean DAY, that we even have the chance to be a mom……  We are so blessed.

Some things you take for granted.

You take the sun rising each morning for granted.

You take creamer being in the fridge for your coffee every morning for granted.

Clean socks… No one knows how they get there, but they aren’t appreciated.

Babies.  We get pregnant, we make it to the second trimester and we take healthy babies for granted.
I haven’t had that luxury since Hannah’s death.  I’ve always walked on tiptoe until about week 14-16 when they place in that beautiful purse string stitch, the cerclage, around my cervix.   We tell the kids they “lock” the door of the uterus.  They stitch it up tight so it can support the weight of the baby.

I had a doctor’s appointment this past Monday.  It was a wonderful thing.  I was seeing a doctor I really adored and I love his staff!  As a bonus, we got our first ultrasound and what did we see?  A perfectly healthy baby.  Really it couldn’t get much better.  Sounds lovely doesn’t it?

And it was!  All of her little arms and legs and parts were there.  Unfortunately the placenta isn’t cooperating with our game plan.  We’ve had previa before – marginal previa.  Where just a naughty little lip of the placenta hung over the edge of the cervix.  And really?  Worse case scenario?  The absolute WORST thing that could happen?  I’d have to have a cesearean section a few weeks early.  Would I love it?  No.  But, ah well, a healthy baby is the goal and a healthy baby is worth the price paid in a pound of flesh. 😉

I didn’t realize I was at such high risk – several risk factors.

~Previous previa – twice
~Previous D & C  – to remove retained placenta after Ana’s birth
~Grand Multi-Para – lots of babies
~Previous C-Section
~Advanced Maternal Age (have to love that at 32, lol.)

Previa usually moves!  As a matter of fact, out of all the people who are determined to have some type of previa, only 10%, a teeny tiny 10%, still have it by the time they need to worry in the late third trimester.  And here we sit… Our little ticking time bomb.  Because we can’t wait for the third trimester. Oh no.  That cerclage was supposed to be placed in July.  And it won’t be.  And if the previa doesn’t move in August, it won’t be placed then.  And we have the unfortunate coincidence of having total (a.k.a. complete) previa.  It’s the least likely to move.  If it hasn’t moved by the beginning of September we’ve effectively closed our little window of opportunity to put in the “magic” stitch……

So what does it all mean?

I wish I knew.

I was one of those mamas who took a healthy baby for granted.  I mean sure, I had to jump through hoops, but a healthy baby?  After the surgery, everything has gone fine in the past.  And, after all, there is that *unmentionable* thing to be mentioned….  I lost one baby.  When Hannah was born at 26 weeks, she lived 12 days.  Who has TWO children die?  Who?  No one.  Right?  Not in this day and age……..  So that was, albeit not politically correct, it was my reasoning.   I had given up one child and why would God ever allow me to lose two?

And so here we sit.

I wish that was all.  We have the added complication that if the cerclage isn’t in place, my preterm labor is severe.  I dilate painlessly.  I am one of those incredibly blessed women who do not know they are in labor.  Think I’m kidding?  Abigail and Sarah.  They’re my examples.  With both Abigail and Sarah, I went into a doctor’s appointment and found out I was, respectively, 6.5 cm and 6 cm. dilated.  Contractions?  Nope, nothing out of the ordinary.  As a matter of fact with Abigail, strong, labor like contractions did not start until I was at eight, and then we broke my water.  She was born about 15 minutes later.  Lucky me!  I love this part of labor, lol.  But.  Not. In. This. Case.

In this case painless dilation is a serious threat.  The biggest risk about going into labor with total previa is the risk to Mom and Baby.  If you’re dilating without warning, the little vessels inside the placenta begin to break.  Pretty soon you start to bleed.  Baby can die with no warning and Mama can begin to hemorrhage, sometimes dangerously so.

Many doctors head this off by doing an early c-section.  What does one do when one goes into labor at 20 weeks?  What about 24 weeks?  28?  What about when you’re choosing, by delivery, to end the baby’s life?  Or at the very least make life awfully hard?

I’m wondering in the next months what decisions we’re going to be asked to make?  Are we going to be asked to terminate?  The answer would be decidedly no.  Am I going to end up hospitalized again, like with Hannah?  What does a mother of seven living, homeschooling children do when she’s hospitalized for weeks?  Are we going to be asked to choose the life of the mother over the life of the baby… Effectively that’s what IS going to happen if we start going into labor at 24 weeks or earlier.

I wonder these questions.  I wonder more morbid ones as well.  Did you know you can bury two children in the same plot at the cemetary?  Why would you?  I know this.   I hemorrhaged badly after Hannah was born.  I still remember the very LITERAL sound of splashing blood.  Memories like that haunt you sometimes…..  There are darker questions you wonder… Do you have enough life insurance?  Have you taken enough pictures?  If the worst happened, which children would have memories of their mama?  It’s late… The mind wanders.

Most of all I wonder why God would put me in this position.  I’ll not shy away from the fact that I’m praying for His protection.  For mine and the baby’s well-being to be sure, but for more than that… For His protection from being faced with ALL of it.  I’m praying for the placenta to be moved, and this burden to be lifted, these choices to be removed.

And sometimes God says, “Yes, I’ll take this cup from you.”

And sometimes?  Well, sometimes He says no.

I do entirely trust that His will can and should be done.  I acknowledge that His will is far better than mine.  I live to serve and wonder how I’ll be used in this instance…….  I pray for His eyes to see.  And I remember the story in the Bible with the father and He is asking the Lord to heal his child.  And the Lord asked, “Do you believe?”  And the father answers, “I beleive Lord, take away my unbelief.”  And I pray that He’ll remove doubt and unfaithfulness from my heart.

Part of me rests easy.  The better part of me is patiently trusting, waiting to see and hear and experience both what is and what will be.

The other?  Ah well, she is researching previa trying to find the exact statistics of total previa moving by exactly 20 weeks.  I know her.  She’s the same one that could quote the statistics for a 26 week old premature little girl surviving.

I’ve said over and over and over again, statistics aren’t relevant.  Even if the statistics are 98% to 2%, if you’re meant to be in that 2%, it is as it will be.  And no amount of worry will change that.

All prayers are appreciated.

I hear the slogan, “We will not forget” an awful lot.  And mostly, I think of 9/11 and think, “But we have.”

And when I ran across these articles today, they same slogan and knee jerk reaction came to mind.

Why do you homeschool?  Do you remember why?  Do you remember how you ended up on this journey and where your original destination was?

For my husband and I we each had different destination points.  While we’ve managed to maintain a grip on one (the easier), I feel we’ve allowed ourselves to forget the greater purpose.

As I’ve spent the last few weeks, researching and comparing curriculums, cores, books, guides, and articles, I’ve been searching for the answer to our families need for all things academic.  It is not that these things are not important, it is that they are not the most important thing.  Why do we homeschool?  To raise up strong and capable children for God and to further His kingdom.  Obviously for this we need children that are well educated, well spoken, and capable of presenting themselves and His word.  That said, we tend to lose sight of our real goal in all this.  We end up with children that are well educated and are well spoken, but they don’t understand they were created and made for HIM.  They were never educated for the goal of education, but educated only to further His purpose.

And so I ask you, what good is all that education if you’ve fed your children a steady diet of the world and raised them for the world?  All is lost at that point.  They will serve the master they’ve been taught to serve.  You must choose Mother.  You must choose Father.  Whom shall you train your child to serve?  You can only have one master.

It is acceptable to utilize a curriculum to acheive your end goals.   It is NOT okay to allow that curriculum to take the place of active, living faith… Your children are a witness to your day to day priorities.  If math or reading or history should take place above the daily Bible reading and teaching they will KNOW what is more important to you.  They’ve seen how you prioritize.  If the computer or the blogging, or your research or your email takes the place of your morning time alone with Him and His Word, they will KNOW what your priorities are… Even if you have fooled yourself.  I am very guilty of this.  Sometimes I think through our failings, we are able to bless others.  Is that not why we’re allowed hardships?  I struggle with this on a daily basis as the world competes with God for my attention, my focus, my teachings…..

That’s all I’ll say on it for today, but I ask that you please read the two links today.  And when you are planning for this fall, I ask that as you write down your priorities, you place Him at the very top of the list.  And much further down, list your priorities and make sure each is accountable to the first.

Homeschooling is Not About Education by Chris Davis

Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling: Exposing the 7 Major Blindspots by Reb Bradley

Thank you so much to Paula’s Archives for the links to these two vital articles.

Someone asked me that today.  A someone who would be genuinely interested in the answer.  So it stopped me and I thought, “Well, how AM I?”  Truth is, I walked around here yesterday afternoon with a bad attitude… You know, the teen angst thing, where “nothin’ goes my way and everyone hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms” kind of an attitude, lol.

I had a Nemo day.

nemo

What?!  Yes, a Nemo day!  I’m always surprised when most people don’t know what I’m talking about…  But there is that possiblity that our family made this up in our heads, lol.

Do you remember in the movie when the Dad is talking to Nemo and he’s frustrated with him and Nemo is angry and they’re talking about going out in the ocean, but Marlin doesn’t think Nemo can, because of his special fin?

Marlin says, “NEMO!  You think you can do these things, but you CAN’T Nemo, you just can’t.”  I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t remember all the words, I haven’t seen the movie THAT often!  But I have Nemo days.  I think I can fit big, adventurous things into one day and then I get really frustrated when I find out I can’t.  This was yesterday.

I was seriously UNmotivated to get moving.  Then about noon, it hit me… What for supper?  Hmmm…. What was I in the mood for….  And then I piddled around until I decided it was too late to thaw anything out and so I came up with my brilliant plan…  I have two very fat ducks, that are messy, and begging to be eaten.  And I haven’t butchered poultry since I was 12.  So, Ana was excited, Lizzie was moderately elated, Rebecca was heartbroken, and Abigail was disgusted.  We put the kids down for a nap.  Pioneer women we were.  Er… well, that was how we FANCIED ourselves.  Not hardly.

I was fine for the “doing away with” of the ducks.  I was fine for the plucking.  About the time we dipped them in hot water for pin feathers, was about the time the smell hit me.  Yes, that’s right, a newly pregnant woman REALLY deluded herself in that it wasn’t going to bother her.  We quickly changed the game plan from nicely browned, crisp, roasted duck to skinless, marinated duck.  We skinned them.  And that’s when we discovered that while the books might advise you butcher them at 7-8 weeks, I don’t think they realize how LITTLE ducks are.  We had duck snacks for supper last night.  My husband literally laughed and laughed hard the minute he saw them.   Apparently ducks are actually mostly feathers.

Let it be said that I had a pretty good attitude all day long ’til the smell hit me and it was time to clean up after removing everything IN the duck.  Then I started feeling pretty sorry for myself.  Afterall, there was no quitting half way through. 

So, when asked, “How are you?” today, I really thought of my poor attitude yesterday.  And, honestly?  I’m a little ashamed.

How am I?

I have a beautiful, HEALTHY, little girl that is turning one today.  She has these crystal blue eyes and she loves me, ME, best of all.  She is my constant sidekick, and I light up her whole world.  I’m pretty good.

Littlest Sister

Littlest Sister

I have a beautiful, HEALTHY two year old.  She is talking and playing and becoming a whole person.  She THINKS now and reasons things out and she giggles, and she’s picky about her kisses, though I can usually convince her to share one or two with me.  Even if they are only pathetic cheek kisses instead of smacky lip kisses, I’ll take ’em.

I have a strong, HEALTHY, rambunctious boys who are good, really good boys.  They like to work and work hard.  They are the pride and joy of my life.  And they love their Mama and Daddy.

My “big” girls… 5, 8, and 13.  Each is unique and beautiful and wonderful.  I haven’t lost them to the world and they enjoy books, and outdoors, and fresh air, and green grass.  They appreciate beautiful things and nature and they really ENJOY life.

How am I?  I’m good, really good.  I have a husband that loves us, that takes care of us.  And yesterday, well, shame on me.  I should have sat down and made a list of my blessings.  More than “good”, I’m grateful.  Go forth and be grateful today.  Each day, each blessing, they are gifts from God.  A long face, a bad attitude, they are not because of circumstances, they are a lack of gratefulness.  Recognize it for what it is and purge it from your life.  Count your blessings and then kiss each one.  Serve instead of being served.   Be thankful.

Wow, what’s going on?  36 hits before 6:30 this morning?  You all must be dreadfully bored!  Well, it’s Friday for me.  (For ya’all too I suppose.)  I need the day to prep for a sweet and peaceful weekend of staying home and ENJOYING each other with no where to go!   May you all have a very blessed weekend with those you love and those that love you.

 

This is a reprint from my old blog and was almost exactly one year ago. 

Date: March 2, 2007

Our little business has really begun to take off.  We have shipped out approximately sixty orders since the last week of January.  That is impressive to us… It pretty much tops the amount of things we shipping in 2007, not counting wholesale orders.

This was a bit of a shock to me.

Also, we had the flu two weeks ago.  It is not a generic “we” that people use when talking about themselves.  It was a collective we.  I had the flu.  Ana had the flu.  Timothy and Christian had the flu.  Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Abigail had the flu.  And it was not pleasant.  I’m pretty certain the last time a bug knocked me down like that was 1999.  Only one child threw up and I consider that a rejoiceable success.

And I’m thrilled to report we were able to completely treat all symptoms with herbs.  No Robitussen, no achy, so you can sleep medicine!   We didn’t need Tylenol to combat the fevers.  It was a major success in our home and I’m very grateful we had everything on hand.  Except lemons and fresh ginger and that was quickly remedied by a very good and doting Daddy. 

Which brings me to the title of this entry.

I Can Do All Things.

I have heard of those mothers.  I think I once thought I was that mother.  I’m no longer under such delusions, lol.  I will freely admit that my younger children watched more television in the last three weeks than most likely the rest of their short lives combined.  I only wish I was kidding.  We did accomplish homeschooling… some.  I did keep up with the business though it meant long hours and little sleep and I wonder if that is why I was sick three full days whereas the children bounced back in under two?

And I discovered something about myself.  I *can* do almost anything…. I just can’t do them all at once.

I can be quite a decent wife.  I can be a sweet and rather discerning mama.  I can be a rather dutiful homeschooler.  I can run a moderately successful home business.  I can sew, and cook, and make everything from scratch.  I can work with a designer on new labels, talk with a printer about the new labels, plan my new wholesale accounts, plan our test prep., teach one small child her letters, teach another to read, another to count, another her body parts, another pre-algebra, and another multiplication.  I can wake up at 5AM with dh and I can stay up working on work ’til 1 AM. 

BUT

You can’t do it indefinitely and you can’t do it without a cost.  And you can’t do it all at once… or at least not longterm.

I was the “can do” mama.  For many, many years, I had a can-do philosophy.  If I heard of it, I was convinced I could do it.  I wanted to learn to sew.  And I did.  I wanted to grind my flour, make my bread, and spend hours upon hours in meal prep.  I wanted to run my own business, homeschool my children, use cloth diapers, and do everything I read about in Mother Earth News, all the while being a successful soccer mom, and coaching softball.

I’m exhausted.

And I quit.

LOL, I have come to accept that there are things for this family that are a priority.  And, now we are expecting our eighth child in twelve years.  I have one sixth grader, one third grader, one K/1, one preschooler, one 3 year old, a toddler, and I am oh so very pregnant.  It is time to delegate.

I have been reading how to make yogurt in my oven.  Today I quit.  I am buying a yogurt maker!  Don’t comment on how easy it is, I don’t care.  This is my line.  I can’t plan properly so that my oven is free.  I can’t keep up with our yogurt consumption.  I am buying a yogurt maker. 

My daughter is going to learn to make the bread.
My son is going to learn to grind all the flour.
My dh bought me huge tea jars so that I don’t have to pre-mix my pregnancy and childrens’ teas every morning.
I hired someone to turn my prefolds into prefitteds.
I am switching to all natural covers for the babies.  And I am NOT (absolutely refusing) to potty train Abigail before the baby comes in May.  (I can’t decide if that’s smart or stubborn.)
Someone else is making the wool covers. 
Someone else is designing the website and the labels.
We are having a printer print the labels.
I cut out all the soaps I don’t enjoy making.
I am simplifying.

Can I do it all?  Perhaps.

And finally, the admission.

I can do many things well.  But I can’t do it all well.  And that is a fact.  And a useful fact.  It is time I admit my limitations. 

In life,  we must all prioritize.  Where did True Vine Soap originally start anyway?  The goal was to give the business a name that would remind me to stay where I needed to be.  To keep me mindful of my priorities.  I am extremely grateful that I gave it such a name, and truly believe it to be God inspired.  Thanks to that, I think I am getting back to the right track.  We are so easily misled on rabbit trails. 

God
Family

Everything Else

Lord keep me mindful that I cannot do all things.  You have given me twenty four hours each day of which I am to be a good steward.  I pray that I would be mindful to take good care of those things which You have given me.  Keep me mindful Lord, keep me mindful.