Thursday, December 31, 2009

Confessions




Confessions of a busy blogger:

1. I told you I was going to give you a list of darling Christmas books. I might. In May. :)

2. I am taking down Christmas. Need I say more?

3. It is New Years Eve. We are staying home. I am excited.

4. The boys have all watched T.V. Too much. Way too much.

5. We just flew in yesterday from a wonderful trip to Missouri to visit my precious Daddy George (My grandfather). We got to see my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins along with their adorable peeps. We had a blast. However, I am mad at the airlines for charging $20 per bag. They made a lot of extra money on us this week. Your sentiments?

6. I am writing this post to escape the craziness of Christmas take-down, 3 boys, and a few suitcases that need to be unpacked.

7. I am incredibly thankful for the blessings we have food and shelter, loving family, and three healthy, precious sons along with the best husband in the whole world.

8. Happy New Year. My resolution: EXERCISE.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Um. I am a little busy.

We're on the countdown at our house.
How about you????
Today, I had my classes party and Luke's Christmas party, AND David's Christmas party.
Tomorrow, I am coordinating Benjamin's Christmas party and leaving to go out of town.
Tonight I baked cakes for Benjamin's class to decorate during their party-it is a Happy Birthday Jesus Party(stole the idea from someone else). 'Cause that IS what we are celebrating. Not what we buy, or how we wrap it, or what we make, or how we decorate. It is not. Will not. Nor ever be. We celebrate because our Savior was born. I am a bit burned out with ALLLLLLLLL of this extra that I am DOING for the approval of others!!!! You may be perfect and not struggle with that(I am being sarcastic). But my PRIDE keeps pushing me.

Let's make a pack. You and me.
Let's promise to not let our pride of presenting what we "do" at Christmas get in our way of just loving those we are around.
If your family has noticed you are stressed, or you seem short- May I offer you what I am learning(note-NOT learned, in the process of)....you are doing too much and it isn't enjoyable for anyone. If I step on your toes, I am sorry, but from one sinner to the next, let's lay our pride down.
You in?

Feeling the need for disclaimer~~~~~I LOVE Christmas!!!! I love the festivities and I love doing special things for people.

Feeling the need for additional disclaimer~~~~~I think my pride encouraged the first disclaimer. :)



Friday, December 11, 2009

Few words

Two words.

It's FRIDAY!!!!!!

That sums it up-oh glorious day!

I am coming back soon with wonderful books for Christmas~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So Snappy



Last year's Christmas card attempt #113.

If you are like me you will go to the ends of the world trying to get "THE" Christmas card picture. In my book, "THE" Christmas card picture does not have an unattainable criteria, unless you are trying to photograph 3 toddlers ages 6 and below. So, for you newer mamas that are wondering IF you can ever get your children to look at the camera, I will offer you Andi's photography 101.

1. Toddlers don't like cameras-some toddler divas might, but most despise getting their picture taken. HOWEVER, some far and few between toddlers DO indeed love the instant satisfaction of seeing the photo that they{you} worked so hard to get! SO, show them the picture. They probably won't like one of themselves like the one above.

2. Portable DVD players do in fact WORK! Have your husband hold it above your head with a favorite video playing, get a sweet, happy, zoned out photo, or when the movie gets funny; capture a full fledged belly laugh.

3. Be persistent. Don't stop ever. Even under fire. Snap woman, snap. Like your life depends on it. Start in July when vacationing at the beach-that MIGHT BE THE CARD. Keep on shooting in the fall-THAT MIGHT BE THE ONE. Don't panic, you CAN ALWAYS try for a few hours for one in their Christmas p.j.'s. Snap, I say, Snap.....................


I can not be held responsible for any exaggerating in this post. Christmas Card photo attempts have a tendency to wipe out any and all clear thinking- as if that even occurs in December.








Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Read


Today, I was working with Luke on the computer.
If you have a toddler or preschooler, may I suggest a great website it is called Starfall. I teach kindergarten as many of you know. I have taught K-5, first, and second. Today, however, Luke "schooled" me about the proper way to read. He informed me, " {he} knew everything about reading and should get to play games on the computer and not Starfall." That was BEFORE he got to design himself and make me with tan eyes and funny hair on Starfall. He had a blast and had fun reading!!! As I mentioned Luke helped me out with reading techniques. They are quoted by Luke below:
1. Read slowly.
2. Take your time.
3. Don't read grumpy.

Now it just doesn't get any cuter. Grumpy reading! I love it!

You can click on the website link to visit starfall.org. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Boys




photo courtsey of mr. fretts

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Got Pink?


Mary Sue, This one is for you gal!

For those of you that don't know, my mother in law, Mary Sue, is a Breast Cancer Victor (I like that better than survivor, cause she kicked it in the you know what)!!!!! She was the victor, by God's divine plan.

This video rocks! The music is so fun, but what is amazing is the love that is behind it- the unity to find a cure. Turn it up loud-your kids will love jamming to it. I did!

Click here to rock on!!!!!!!!

We all know someone who is battling breast cancer, or you are about to.

Got pink?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Today

David turned 3 in September


Luke's Thanksgiving Party.
Benjamin turned 7 in November.

The tree that fell today...

Yippee. Got my Christmas cards ordered. Getting them tomorrow. Happy me.

A tree fell and missed our house today. Much excitement. My wonderful, strong, husband, (a.k.a. John Henry) swung his ax for hours today to take care of it. Have you seen his biceps? They are huge and I am thankful.



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Share

treats by SweetTooth Creations party favors



So I saw this great idea. I, however, can't wait to whip up something yummy to share with our friends....for a fraction of the cost!
Want to know what it is?
Make some rice crispy treats. Cut into rectangles and insert a popsicle or sucker stick.
Dip in melted chocolate-like baker's chocolate and cover the WHOLE thing.
Let dry. Then, pipe an icing snowman, Christmas tree, or star, and embellish with sugar sprinkles or sprinkles...
Happy bake and take!

A fun twist-add some peanut butter and a little corn syrup to your rice crispy treats and then cover with melted chocolate and decorate..........Can I say YUM!?!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful




You might think I am about to do a traditional thankful post. That is true in part, but just wait until you read what I am thankful for and feel free to smile at the innocence of children.

Last week the boys and I were snuggled up on the couch watching a Christmas movie on ABC. A commercial came on and I got a little uncomfortable as the cell phone man was surrounded by Sierra and her crew as they appeared. Not only were they suggestively dressed in all leather, they were dancing-REALLY dancing in a circle around the guy.

Luke said in a disappointed voice, "Oh, well I thought it was going to be J.I. Joe."



Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fleece and His understanding


This morning, I read the story of Gideon.
Perhaps you are familiar with it. Perhaps you have heard of him. Or perhaps like me, you knew something about him but maybe the Lord has something sweet for you to take away from it as He was so gracious to allow me to do this morning.
May I share with you? I found this in Judges 6:11-40.

"Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian." The Lord looked at him and said,"Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?" He said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."
But the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man."
So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me."
"Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You." And He said, "I will remain until you return."

The passage goes on:
"When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the
Lord, he said, "Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face."
The Lord said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."

In verses 36-40 of chapter 6 we read of the sign of the fleece.

I had so many thoughts as I read these verses that I am afraid of even trying to write them as they will probably come out a little chaotic. But, I'll give it a shot.

First of all, you see Gideon going about the next thing in his day to day life. We are brought into his day as he is beating the wheat. I can't imagine that to be too exciting. Probably in haste as the Midianites would have targeted him if they had found him. That is probably why he was threshing in a wine press and not on the hill-for cover.

So, his life was interrupted with a visit from an angel of God. We're not sure which angel. But, in any case an angel came and sat under the tree AND called him valiant warrior. Can you imagine? As you are doing your daily task; looking up and seeing an angel (one that calls you valiant warrior) as you are ducking around threshing wheat in inconspicuous places. Then, being commanded to go and defeat your enemy. Sweet Gideon, often gets blasted in present day for his lack of faith, but I have to say, I can really relate to his unbelief at the situation. Isn't it precious that God didn't blast Gideon for his lack of faith by asking for a sign, but instead graciously worked not once, but twice to reassure Gideon? I am thankful that Jesus understands me for the sinful way that I am and loves me enough that when I question Him, He is gentle with me, but doesn't allow my questions to come in the way of His working. He loves me enough to allow times in my life that seem impossible or bleak to teach me what it means to sing at midnight. That doesn't mean I am happy with the trial, but it means learning to REJOICE in my salvation ALONE even if there was NOTHING else to rejoice in. He has blessed me so abundantly, but sometimes life isn't all happy days. There are the days when we feel like Gideon and we are so small, but then God comes along and says, "Valiant Warrior." And O how patient and tender He is-powerful and mighty yes, but He spoke to me in this with His great tenderness. Let me know how this passage speaks to you.



Friday, November 13, 2009

A little Sympathy

I have a HORRIBLE sinus infection.
I can't open my jaws.
I HAVE to get to my kindergarten class today because we're talking about Indians. The buffalo came up in our conversation and they really don't have a clue as to what that is since my description really didn't do this massive creature justice, I must take them a picture.
Perhaps I have lock jaw.
Did I mention I hurt? Not all of me. Just draw a line down the middle of me and it is the left side of my head. It is like the epidural that didn't block on both sides. The Tylonel cold and sinus is working on the right side.
I am on a Z pack.
I think I need to be knocked out.
I remember a few posts ago I said, but life is good. It is. Even though I hurt-REALLY bad. I am thankful. Some people hurt all of the time. I am thankful for medicine and a comfy bed and sweet little boys who bring me Diet Pepsi and a cup of ice. Yesterday, Benjamin came into my room and prayed for me. Thankful for my parents who brought our family Chic Fil A and for in laws that helped out this week with the boys!
All that being said, I am still in pain, but I have much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Talking

So, an area that the Lord has really been working on in my life is the area of prayer; I shared that with you before. I have always wanted to pray regularly. However, I think I have really been missing out on what prayer CAN be-not something to do, but a relationship.
I know this sounds silly, but I wanted to have things just "right" to pray. You know, boys asleep, coffee in hand, house picked up, life as it should be. OR the opposite way my prayer life looked was in the midst of a trial, offering those whispers of help and that would be all I could get out, or just crying out at God. But, I am learning to view prayer as conversation-dialogue. That means there are sentences from me and then times when I am quiet (those that know me in real life might start to laugh at that one). I haven't taken time to talk with Him this week, not really. I have talked at Him. He knows I have toddlers and what my life looks like and He isn't angry that I haven't talked WITH Him more. Oh no. Not Jesus. He is waiting and inviting me to come and practice the blessing of visiting with Him. No agenda. Sharing with Him my heart, my struggles, my sin-can you believe He wants to help me with that? What a precious Friend...and when all I can get out is the whisper, "help," He is all over it interceding where I can't go, cause I am not Him, but man am I thankful for this blessing I like to call conversational prayer. It is powerful folks...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hey Friends!

I hope you are all doing well. I have missed you!
I am busy baking some yummy desserts for tomorrow night's ladies coffee and dessert extravaganza, so I will be brief.
Life is full, but how thankful I am for a full life. Can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving!!!???
That leads us to Christmas! You won't believe it, but I actually got a pain free photo this year! Whatever will I do with all of my hours saved?????? Work on our card. I have some ideas dancing in my head. Don't get too excited, I am not crafty.
My house is a wreck. I am serious, but I am working on that tonight after my tater tots hit the hay and the house is quiet and there aren't messes being made after one cleans up.
Like I said life is full, but so good.
Last night, David heard me say I was tired and achy. NO I don't have the flu. However, he started whimpering at dinner that he was icky. He said he was so full and icky. :) lol
We have the boys doing chores in the morning. I am a fan! That provides something productive to do besides hitting your brothers or making MORE mess and it really helps me out. So, here is the low down. One makes the beds. They are not perfect, but that isn't the point. They are made. The other cleans the playroom. You'll note I have jobs for two. David is still asleep. I just switch the chore each day so they both get a turn doing each. They can earn a little Wii time after homework in the afternoon if they complete their job by the time the timer goes off. You might hear me singing the Hallelujah Chorus down the block. The biggest blessing is that you hopefully won't hear me YELLING at the children down the block. Note I said "hopefully."
Luke has a broken collar bone.
They all need haircuts and it is going to rain this week.
Sounds like a messy week to me, but life is good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Struggle









As I return to the real world, my heart is torn.
I am in the midst of a ragging war within my being-to be still versus to be in control.
The beach was one of the most restful times I think we have ever had with our boys.
A blessing that I do not want to take for granted.
However, the peace that was surrounding our unhurried pace does not seem to exist in day to day life.
At least not completely, but I think the peace can transcend the shores to our home.
I desire that peace to surround us. Always-even when we were supposed to be out the door five minutes ago...
I have a hunch that it has a lot to do with talking to Jesus all throughout the day. As in a conversation. To be raw with Him-blatantly honest. And mainly, yielded to the Potter. I am afraid that I am the clay that has to be spun around and around on that cool little machine because I keep wanting to jump off and make myself into a tray or something. Ahhhh, He has our good and His glory at heart.
He IS working for my good. I certainly don't deserve it. I stink at being a good little piece of clay. But, He is a skilled potter, the best and I am hopeful that my time on the spinning machine will produce something that makes my potter smile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thoughts from the shore

We are enjoying a delightful family vacation.

We needed a time of togetherness. We desperately needed a time devoted to family and fun. We are getting just that.

While we've been here, I have had some thoughts. Not many since it is vacation, but a few that I would like to share with you.

1. When I gaze at the horizon from the shore, I feel like I somehow meet God's eyes.

2. How in the world does all of this water, sand, people, etc. stay on a sphere? I know the answer is gravity, but allow your mind to wander away from the laws of Newton and all of those other really smart folks and seriously ponder it. No wonder our skin gets stretched out.

3. Boys need their daddy. Period. It makes them into men. I am extremely thankful for the husband Ben is to me and the daddy he is to our boys.

4. Mommas are good at herding. I have found that I have consulted Ben numerous times during this trip as to what normal is in a pack of boys. My new official title for myself is Boy Herder-you don't ask them to "come here," when you have multiple boys, you herd. There is simply no other way to put it.

5. The ocean forces me to think about my book. It helps me sort out ideas and the rhythm allows for lines to come.

6. I have found that pivotal surrenderings take place for me while the smallness of myself is mesmerized by the vastness of the sea.

7. I am reminded by God to fear not.

8. It is a gift from God to rest, not to hurry, and to just be...I hope that even if you are not at the ocean right now, you will this day, this minute allow yourself to rest, to just be and to fear not. We are somehow suspended on this little sphere orbiting in space with water that doesn't splash off. Trust me, He has it all under control, whatever it is.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Well, I am Here, Maybe

Howdy. I know you have been waiting on pins and needles anticipating my next appearance.
SO KIDDING!!! :)
Well, so I don't feel terrible, my sweet baby David had a third birthday. I will do an entire post for him, but not tonight.
In fact, right now I am supposed to be sitting in the family room listening to the rain while I grade papers. However, I just couldn't bear the thought of NOT posting AGAIN! So for the sake of knowing I have documented something of the crazy wonderful life we lead-we are simply busy. Busy with wonderful things: field trips, projects for school, sight words, Star Wars(pretending), spelling tests, fall decorating, and just doing. However, I am trying to let go of that which does not HAVE to be done in order to enjoy the more mundane events of my day. When there is joy in the little things, I find there to be joy in one's life. When the mundane are bothersome, due to overload, one must step back and dust off the shelf of her life and do a bit of "fall cleaning."
I miss you all and the events of your day to day. You know what I mean, busy and trying to simplify. Check out the new Bible Study called, Becoming A Woman of Simplicity. It is a Cynthia Heald book and I bet you'll enjoy it too!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

what if...

What if I prayed because I wanted to talk with Jesus?
Not just at Him with my to do list.

What if I prayed as if my very existence depended on it?
Instead of thinking I am strong enough to figure things out.

What if I prayed like I was at Atlanta Bread talking to my friend?
Not just a stuffy forced journal entry.

What if I prayed and was quiet enough to hear the whisper?
Not just moving on to the next thing.

What if I prayed realizing I am a beloved child of the King?
Not an orphan.

What if I prayed and for a moment could pause and sense the angels singing Glory to God in the Highest?
Instead of thinking about my wish list for God.

What if I prayed in sweet communion with the Living Creator of the Universe, who is working for my good; the good being to make me more like Jesus and I really talked to Him?

What if I really made time to pray, to really talk with Him and slow down enough to enjoy my visit with Him?
What if my prayers became more like a visit with Him?
What if my prayers affected my life because I was changed and refreshed by my time with Him?
May it be so.



Sunday, September 6, 2009

time keeps on ticking...





Busy! Happily, busy.
The house has to wait.
The dust gets thicker.
The laundry is clean, but not put away.
Time keeps on ticking.
I want to be wise.
The house won't last.
The kids are getting bigger.
The time is getting shorter.
Time keeps on ticking.
The floors have drool.
The windows have fingerprints.
The floor has crumbs.
It is a house lived in.
The little people are getting bigger.
The time is getting shorter.
Time keeps on ticking.
The toys are left out.
The legos are hotels.
The books are left open.
The sounds are happy.
Time is ticking.
The house doesn't live.
The people within the walls do.
Invest in them wisely.
All too soon,
It will be quiet.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Hold The Phone

I wanted to share briefly how God is working in my life. Recently, He has really ministered to me through a couple of people that have said, "I am thinking about you." Last week, I got a text on my way to school that was from a dear friend, Susie, who wanted me to know she was praying for me because she was thinking of me. Notice the phrasing: she prayed for me because she thought of me. My mom called Friday and said, "What can I do for you today? I want to help you."
Another was a phone call today from my friend Katherine. Her kind voice was music to my ears: "Hey I was thinking of you...." No one specifically had anything to call about or reason other than they were thinking of me. Their thoughts were controlled by our Heavenly Father. Isn't He so gracious to encourage us through His Spirit prompting others to speak words of love? The words I don't think matter as much as the connection to the "doing." I didn't just cross their minds briefly, they acted on their thought intentionally.
Isn't that what we are called to do as Christians? To love one another? These precious friends took the time to personally contact me. We live in such a hurried society. On to the next thing, it easily becomes a game of how much we can actually fit into the rectangle on our daily planner and even BETTER is to CHECK IT ALL!!!!!
Do we make time to care, to love? I am so thankful for these friends who, by their actions, have reminded me to slow down and ask the Lord to show me who He wants me to speak to-intentionally, without hurrying, without an agenda, to just say, "Hey, I was thinking about you."


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Began

I am the M and my sweet friend/aide is G. :)



My two guys are in full swing at school.
Benjamin has declared he needs a holiday.
Luke got to bring home the Morning Message today. He was so proud of it, he wanted to hang it on the wall. It will have a place of honor.
So, there you have it.
They are all smiles. We enjoyed special dinners of their choice before their first night of school. They get to pick the menu. :) Benjamin picked spaghetti and meatballs and Luke picked homemade mac-n-cheese. Last night, a dear friend invited us to their home for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook. HOW SWEET IS THAT???? Thanks Suzanne!!!!
After orientations, I take them individually for dinner or lunch. That my friends, is priceless time. Lots of encouraging can happen: for the mommy and the child. :)
I am busy getting to know a new group of precious students. We had orientation Monday night and what a sweet, sweet group of loving parents! What a joy it is to partner with parents and pray together at an orientation for their children and for our year together.

It was really hard for me to realize Benjamin was at school all day.
I LOVE 2:30 when we load up to go get our Buddy! It is such a fun time for the boys to come home and be together. The first day, I cried because this is the next step, but mostly because I know I am entrusting him to others for longer than I get to have him. I love school, obviously; I am a teacher. However, it was really hard to know we would never go backwards to the "at home" days with naps, walks, and playing ball in the mornings. I know we have the summer, but this is a new chapter for our family. I am really trying to be intentional in the afternoons with Luke knowing next year, he'll fly off to the Big School.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It was a GREAT Day!

First grade rocks.
My first grader is one happy camper.
He didn't even mention coming home at lunch.
I am glad to say....
He enjoyed his day tremendously!
Carline was a breeze. I just hopped in line and followed the person in front of me. Whew!

I miss checking in with you folks! I am so busy getting our family geared up for school and getting my classroom ready that I haven't been able to read your blogs lately!

I will be back with pictures hopefully some time this weekend.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting Ready!

Hey folks! Remember me?
I have been getting my kiddos ready for school.
Truly a delight and honor. We LOVE our schools! One of my boys is a bit nervous. Actually, really nervous about spending a full day at school. He wants to come home and eat lunch with me. I personally like the idea, but it is time.
My room is ready with new names, my students from last year are in their new rooms. That pulls on my heartstrings too! Like I said to another mom, "Once one of my students, always one of my students."
I am hopeful that each one of you embraces this season of new beginnings. May the force be with you as you conquer the phenomenon known as car line.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Goal and A Dream

photo complement of flickr



I have a goal. I have desired to do this for years. For about fifteen years.

The hard part is actually doing it. It is daunting. Much bigger than myself. I have the desire and the drive to do it. To climb this mountain. I am just sizing it up right now. I have sat under experts and continually stand amazed at their gift. I have tried different times, to no avail. I feel like the time is right. Now. How does one begin a larger than life project? Well, at the beginning. Lots of reading and listening. Mainly dreaming. Oh the dreams are big!
Isn't that so fun? I think as a wife and mom, I benefit my family by stretching myself. Stretching would be an understatement at this point. I am probably more like Bambi on ice. I believe God has given me this desire to push myself out of my comfort zone and go for it. I might not achieve any Caldecott honors or awards, but I am going to do my best. I am going to climb this Mount, Lord willing. Words last. So, to my boys, I will leave a legacy to them from me.
I guess you could say, fingerprints on the paper.
I want to weave words. To make stories that capture the minds of the children and take them to the places they dream of. Mainly, I want my children to know the power of words. I want them to know their thoughts and ideas are important. I want them to know the beautiful art that it is. The music that can flow from the line of a written message. To me, a story is a song in and of itself.
It is a little scary to actually write these words. It seems I am now acknowledging my dream of writing and failure is quite likely. So, perhaps the process is more profitable than the end result. I imagine I will learn more about myself through this experience. I am learning persistence, I am learning the importance of sizing a mountain before the climb and planning, but the dream is what I hold to when the mountain top has hazy clouds around the top and is out of sight. The dream is big. I can just close my eyes, dream, and sing a song through words on paper knowing there is a mountain top even though I can't see it. Yet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Singing At Midnight

Photo:  Courtesy Library of Congress
Midnight sun in Advent Bay, Spitzbergen, Norway

This week I have been discouraged.  I was spending time with the Lord this morning and here is what He showed me:

"But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened."
Acts 16:25-26

You may be familiar with this story from Acts.  Paul had just called out a demon from the slave-girl whose masters were profiting from her fortune telling.  The men, whose profits were gone as a result, seized Paul and Silas.  Without a public trial, they were beaten, imprisoned, and placed in stocks.  There was nothing fair or right about what happened.  Paul and Silas were doing the work of the Lord.  They were pursuing righteousness.  Following the course set for them, they were arrested and thrown in prison after being beaten.  I rather imagine, they endured it quietly, without hampering their witness.  However, at the end of the chapter, in verse 37, the truth was known.  They knew where their strength came from; Paul had just utilized the power of the Living God when he called out the demon from the slave girl.  

When they were bound in prison, surely their share of doubts came.  God, why don't you get us out of this?  Why are we in here Lord?  Don't you care?  You are the One that told us to come to this city and now we're in prison.  Do something.  Those would be my questions.  But we see something distinctively different in this story of Paul and Silas.  We see them praise at midnight.  They were keenly aware that while they were chained, they were surrounded by the Living One and True God.  They were not forgotten, they were not bound because of past sins (remember Paul's past), they were not bound because of something they did wrong.  In fact my friend, they were bound to glorify God.  The Lord God accompanied them to this place of imprisonment.  He led them there.  He called them to this place for this very hour of praise.  For with the stocks came praise at midnight.  The Lord shook the foundations of the jail and their chains were unfastened, but none left.  As a result, the jailer was saved along with his household.  Glory to God.  
Whatever has your feet in stocks, wherever you are imprisoned, praise him.  Praise Him, PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Praise him at midnight when the hour looks its darkest.  Praise him when you don't see His hand working.  Praise Him when the circumstances look like the exact opposite of what you are praying for.  Praise Him because He is the One that shakes the earth...Praise Him when the hour looks darkest.  You are surrounded by a heavenly host resounding the Sweet Name of Jesus.    Join in the singing and my friend, at midnight we'll be singing together.




Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Life is Richer

One of Tonja's precious sons giving her a rose on her last performance night.  Pretend it is a clear picture.  Although, blurry is how we all saw it there because we were crying. :)




Meet my friend, Tonja.  
If you know Tonja, you are smiling.  If you don't, you will smile by the end of this post because she has that affect on people.
She has just lost her cheerleader, her friend, her mama.  Her heart is heavy, sad, and weary.  Now, Tonja is one strong lady.  She can look adversity square in the eyes, smile at it while remembering that she is the Tonjanator(what Ben and I call her) and kindly ask it to move over.  Her sweet faith is strong and trusting in her Savior; that is why adversity doesn't scare the T-jator.  She knows where her strength comes from.  It doesn't mean there isn't hurt or pain, but there is assurance.  
She and I have a wonderful time working together!  In fact, when it was time for me to go back to work and the boys were having a hard time with it, Tonja explained that we are all part of a family and that each person in the family does what they can to help the other people in the family.  She just knows how to explain the things in life that aren't easy.  I saw on her blog, a friend said they accidently wound up being friends and her life was richer because of it.  
So, my dear Tonja, it is through tears that I say to you that my life is richer for knowing you.   The Lord is working for your good.  Your smile warms my heart and your shoes make me dance.  The Lord smiles over you and loves you!  Your life adds music to those you are around!  Thank you for making me sing and not look to see who is watching.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To My Most Uncommon Hero,

*Please click on the song Uncommon on the playlist in the box to the right(it should begin automatically) and make sure your volume is on, hopefully you'll be encouraged as well by the words.*

Dear Ben,

Today we celebrate our eighth anniversary.  You are so many things to me.  I listened to the song yesterday Uncommon and you exhort me to strive for this.  More importantly, you are uncommon.  Your life is different.  Your life speaks volumes.  You have so much character.  You are pursuing things in life that count.  That last.  For eternity.  You take the road less traveled.  I am along for the ride.  You remind me to trust, to let go, and to feel the very presence of God.  What a sweet breeze to my soul you are.  
I know I often resist letting you into my heart.  That is such a scary place for me.  I am thankful that as I have opened up, you hold my heart and soul gently.  I know I often retreat back and put up walls.  I guess that is what love is.  Un-guarding.  Oddly, we spend so much of our life learning to not trust, to not let go and then I met you.  Trustworthy, faithful, loving, forgiving, and most of all, safe.  I think a gentle breeze is the best way to describe your affect on my soul.  
I know you are not perfect, but I can honestly say you are amazing.   I am more proud of you today than ever.  My love has truly grown and grown.  You are leaving a legacy. One our boys will be proud and honored to say is Uncommon.
Today, I celebrate our love, our commitment, our covenant.  I am so thankful for you; you have my heart.  All of it.  For as long as we live.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Blame Game




Today, David was in the living room scolding me for playing the piano.  He can't stand it.  He gets his little finger and flings it around in the air while commanding a halt of the music.  I told him I liked to play the piano and that he needed to relax.   To this, he flung himself into the wall and proceeded to turn on the gas fireplace.  I quickly  stopped playing (gas over music any day) and now that I am typing this, I see his thought pattern.  Little turkey!  He knew I would quit playing if he turned on the fireplace!!!!!!   Unbelievable.  
Anyway, as Dona would say, I am spiderwebbing.  
I think I scared him as I yelled to never, NEVER, NEVER turn on the fireplace.  He tripped over my lovely candles I have on the hearth.  :(  
He ran and hid under the dining room chair.  His little head was popping out and he just watched as I picked up the glass.
I calmly picked it up.  I like to put out pretty things.  So, I put them out and if they break, so be it.  I am not one to put everything I like up out of reach.  Different strokes for different folks.  I teach the boys to respect our home, the contents, and when there is an accident, to take responsibility and help clean it up (not glass though).  Honestly, we have had very few things break.  It happens, but not too often.  There are no off limit rooms, however, we respect where we are and the behavior in the room needs to be appropriate.  
WOW!!!  I am getting way off the subject!!
So, David keeps repeating, "Lukey broke it."
I am not really paying much attention due to the annoying sliver of glass in my foot that is a cross between pain and an itch.  
After all was cleaned up, I found him in with the older two.  I asked him what he needed to say. All he could come up with was, "Lukey broke it."
When that one didn't work with me, he changed it to, "Jenamin broke it."
That didn't fly with me either.  So, he mumbled, "Sorry Mommy."  

It got me thinking.   How many times do I hear great truth and in the back of my mind think, "Boy do I wish so and so would hear this."   Or, read convicting passages in the Bible and instead of looking at myself and the sin that God is trying to show me, think of how much so and so needs to read this passage.  If I were focusing on the areas God is trying to deal with me, the application from the Truth, would fall on my shoulders and my eyes would not be so much on others, but on myself.  




Monday, July 13, 2009

Quotes



This was Benjamin on the first day of K4

This little guy cracks me up with the things he says!

To Luke he chided,  "Luke, you sound like a whiny lady."

Last week as we were driving in the car. Our family was talking and apparently Benjamin became frustrated at the lack of attention he was receiving.  To which he replied, "Some people get all the love."

Benjamin climbing a tree (one of his favorite things to do) at Gaucho farms in June of 2009.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rainy Day and the News

This is Uncle Daniel, Ben's brother.  I have some news!  He is getting married!  He asked Brooke(click here to visit her site) to marry him, and guess what?  She said, "Yes!"  Congratulations Daniel!    

About the new header:  
The hands are Benjamin's and Luke's on  glass doors we have going into our living room.
I was able to do some really fun editing stuff at this site (click here to try it out).

We have enjoyed our rainy day today.
We home schooled (we do this in the summer) this morning.  I absolutely love getting to teach them.  I know the time is so short and we will look back on that fondly.  

After that, we went and did a little (emphasis on little) work in my room today.
I always start to get excited thinking about the upcoming school year!!!!!

Then, we went to Barnes and Noble.  We had so much fun there, until it was time to leave.  

We enjoyed an indoor picnic at home today since it was so rainy.  How thankful I am for the rain!!!  Our little vegetable garden is smiling.  


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Conference, The Fountain Drink


I just returned from Samford University.  I am a graduate of Samford and have been blessed to attend a Summer Institute for Teaching Excellence with my dear friends and fellow teachers.  I am beyond thankful for our friendships that we have at the preschool where I teach-it really is a God thing!  
On my way home, I stopped at a Chevron on  highway 231.  
I was thirsty.  From singing.   That tendency can drive my boys batty.  The iPod was invented for people like me.  Now I can just sing any time I want to!!!!  And sing I do.  Aren't you proud Tonja?
So, the need to quench my thirst was great and I pulled into a nice clean facility to get a little gas and a GREAT BIG FOUNTAIN DIET COKE!  You know there is nothing better.
I had cash.
Apparently, cash is becoming like a thing of the past in America.
I kept pushing the help button.  To no avail.  
I pull up to another tank since I am now wet with sweat and REALLY thirsty.
I notice signs on all of the other tanks.  IF you have cash, pay inside.  Oh.  
I just wish the little lady inside would have used her little microphone to let me know I was looking like an idiot.
I headed inside to pay CASH for my gas and to purchase my icy, big, refreshing Diet Coke.
As I filled my cup, the cola ran out and was only the carbonated water-OH NO!!!!! I mention to the little lady the problem- thinking she would quickly switch the tanks.  Not so much.  She stayed where she was and said she would have to change it-her body language insinuated later as opposed to earlier.
Get this-I said,"Well here is my cup, I guess you just want me to throw it away?"
I said it like a question, but what I really meant was-sorry about the cup, I am not waiting for the Diet Coke tank change.
BUT YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT SHE SAID!!!!!!!!
"No don't throw away that cup, it is my inventory.  I will just rinse it with a little Clorox."

Do you get what she is saying?

She was going to swish a cup that I handled, filled with some liquid and put Clorox in it and put it BACK OUT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO BUY!!!!!


I looked at her in disbelief and said, " Ma'am that is GROSS!!!!!!"

photo courtesy of flickr.com

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A little mishap

Meet Coal.  He is a great dog.  Given the opportunity, Coal doesn't mind taking the scenic route.


I was watering our flowers the other day.  Several hours later, I noticed Coal was not on the porch.  He is an outside dog.  As you know, it is about the temperature of Mercury around here lately.  I figured he was long gone since it had been so long.  The kids were all asleep for their naps and I couldn't go look for him.




I opened the garage door to call for him and I found him resting on the mat in the garage.  Too hot even for a dog to run away with a wide open gate!



A little over  a year ago, I got a call.  Very early.  Like something was wrong early.  A sweet little lady just wanted me to know that Coal was in her laundry room.  She complemented him and told me what a good dog he was.  I couldn't take it all in when she was telling me, as I was still in shock that she told me OUR dog was in HER laundry room.  Apparently, he went in through her doggie door.  Nice.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Faith

Last night, Benjamin asked me if he had faith now.

When he was in K4 he prayed to put his trust in Jesus.  We believe he sincerely understood his need for a Savior, truly childlike faith.

When he asked me this last night I reminded him of this verse,"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Heb 11:1

This morning I have been thinking a lot about faith.  I have put my trust in Jesus and am painfully aware of the GREAT need I have for a Savior.  My faith is not in myself for salvation, but in Christ alone.  God showed me that while my trust for salvation is in Him alone, am I relying on Him in the daily occurrences with that same trust?  Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe once saved, always saved.  I just think we often live a watered down life of faith.  That is NOT what God has for us...He has so much more.

All that said, there are those times that my flesh, struggles to trust.  I have found when situations arise that cause fear I can go back to my journals and see God's marvelous way of working.  Today, God showed me a chapter in Hebrews I have read numerous times, but today, it came alive.

Today, something really hit me.  In Hebrews 11:1-40 the author, instructed by the Holy Spirit, listed men and women of faith.  My heritage, my example, God's people-from so long ago that He knew would impact me, and you.  Keep in mind, these examples are humans, sinful by nature, but forgiven because of their FAITH and trust in a Savior.  The old  Testament Christians were saved by putting their trust and acknowledgement of their need of a Savior-by looking ahead to the Promised Coming Messiah.  The New Testament believers, were saved by placing their trust in the The Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God.  

So, now let's look at God's Word and examine faith, trust me, it is chilling-in a very holy sense.  May God grant our eyes to be open and hearts to understand the promise He wants us to see.

"...And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for a city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  By faith Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised...."Heb.11:6-11
****The next verse is AMAZING, please keep reading!
"All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." Heb. 11:13

***Skip down to verse 16,
"But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them."

Chapter 11 goes on to list numerous people of faith.  "By faith....", "By faith...", "By faith...".
I want to point out again in verse 13, it notes, they died without receiving the promise.

God desires more for us to grow in our love and faith in Him than He does for our earthly comfort.  Remember at the end of verse 13, it says, "having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth."

Now, I'll be the first to say I like comfort.  I don't so much like the thought of exile life, but I am a pilgrim.  I am NOT of this world, my promise is in my eternal home.  Is my life reflecting that faith, is my faith full of grace and truth that shows the world a RADICAL difference? 

I can't get to that place of faith like the Hebrews 11 hall of fame on my own effort, but that is what I want to be in Him.  It is only by His grace and the equipping of the Holy Spirit that will shape my life to look like that.  I first have to be willing to trust and let go of what seems to be my earthly comfort, and trust Him to be the Perfecter of my faith.

Oh God, by Your grace, may my life be one that is full of faith.  Not in myself but in You, unshakable.  Not that any would see me, but that Christ would be glorified.  Perfect I am not, and never will be until heaven.  Forgiven, I am and free to trust You.  For You alone are trustworthy may my life say "By faith..." 


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tickling The Ivory


So our church was giving away a piano that was in the youth building.  You might be wondering what condition a piano that a church is giving away might be in, that is a wonderful question.
The only stipulation was for the recipient to move it.  Sounded GREAT to me.  Just moving the little piano out and we get a FREE piano!  Why NOT???
My husband, precious man that he is, was not so excited about my suggestion.
I do LOVE to play the piano and I hope I can teach my boys a couple of things on the right hand about playing too.  I don't know the left too well, so I'm sticking with what I know.   I don't really read the music that great, but like to make up songs.  You know reading music is difficult when you really only can read what one hand plays.  So, I just make up the songs.   Not that I am that good at it,  I just enjoy it.  Long story is getting longer as opposed to shorter.  Bottom line:  he said yes.  


Remember Gaucho Jorge?  Ben recruited him to help us move the little piano, which didn't turn out to be little.  It weighed a lot.  Like about 600 pounds.  I am not kidding.
They are strong.  There were veins popping out of necks and grunts and man, a lot of sweat!
But, do you see that SMILE on Ben's face???????  What a guy!

I thought a little of this would shine her right up!  It did.  Very nicely.  
This made me smile.  Doesn't it look pretty!!!  We think so.  Now to get it tuned and to fix...


THESE!  THEY ARE YELLOWISH DIRTY AND A BIT CHIPPED AT THE TIPS!!!
But I don't mind that, remember it is FREE!!!!!!!  I was just wondering if any of you folks out there could help me know what to clean the keys with in hopes to restore them to the lovely white of days gone by.  Locals, does anyone know of someone reasonable to tune it?

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Men




This is Daddy George.  He is so amazing.  He serves so many people.  He has tutored numerous adults and has taught them to read.  He is a successful businessman and a wonderful Granddad and Great Granddad.   He is married to Granny Hannie and even though she is not with us  anymore, his life reminds me of her.  Thank you for loving Granny and modeling a lasting, life-long marriage Daddy George.


 
These three men are the three men that I hope our boys turn out to be like.  Ben, you love people well.  I think you show Christ in so many ways to others through the humble life you lead.  You seek to glorify the Lord in all that you do and reflect Him beautifully.
Van, thank you for loving me like a daughter and training your son, Ben in the way of righteousness.  
Dad, thank you for modeling for me a loving marriage and what a loving husband looks like.  You are a great dad and I love you.



Dear boys,
Daddy loves you and mommy more than you will ever know.  He works for us and as unto the Lord.  He is a wise man.  He is a man of prayer.  He also desires to serve and lead our family.  I respect him greatly and pray that as you grow in "wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man," that you will watch Daddy and follow his example.  He is a good man, he fears and loves the Lord.

Daddy loves to spend time with you boys doing fun things~

Daddy is also a fisherman.  He loves to go to Colorado and fly fish.  He is a patient man.  He enjoys the challenge of the waters and the preparation it takes for a successful trip.  He can tie his own flies, a hobby that we hope you boys will enjoy together with Daddy.  Watching Daddy fly fish is truly beautiful, an art.
This is also beautiful to me.  The loving relationship between a father and his son.  Pop, we are thankful for your wisdom in raising Ben.

Ben, thank you for your love for our boys and me too.  You are teaching each of them what it means to love the Lord our God.  


"The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Frederick Buechner

Ben, 
God has called you to be the Father for Benjamin, Luke and David.  It is with great joy that I participate as your helper and my great honor to watch you guiding them.  It is amazing to watch you lead them hand in hand into boyhood and eventually, manhood.  For I know the One that is leading you, is supernaturally using you as we prepare Men of God.  May His grace continue to abound in your life.  
You are loved.




"If we would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we would feel the favorable assistance of God from Heaven.  For he who giveth us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory, is ready to succor those that fight manfully, and do trust in his grace."
-Thomas A Kempis