Monday, December 31, 2007

The 2007 "Come to the Table" Highlights

Here is one of my favorite posts from each month in 2007. It was good to look back over the past year and read what I had been thinking and experiencing. I am so thankful to the Lord for His goodness and grace in my life.

January Too often I find myself relating to the mother in this cute yet smelly story:...


February I have felt a bit weepy this past week. It is both a physical weariness and a heaviness I have on my heart over many things. Some of the heaviness is for others and what they are facing and the rest is my mother's heart...

March As a young bride at twenty two, married to the man who had prayed for me at the tender age of fifteen, I had a very limited understanding of what God's design for marriage was. I knew I was to "leave" and "cleave" and that we were "one flesh", but beyond this, I began a life hoping to find joy and fulfilment only to discover that I struggled deeply within myself....

April As I gaze at my husband’s face, I see the reflection of my mother in law in his life, her gentle touch, her warm embrace and her love for God and His word. But I also see the smile of another woman who laid her hands on her belly and thanked God for her unborn child...


May As a newly married twenty two year old young woman never did I imagine those two things happening at the same time in my life or better yet on the same day. Never!...


June It was a wonderfully overcast Southern California June morning in 1986 when we took our vows to love and cherish each other....


July A dear friend sent me an email yesterday and this was the final paragraph. It was like she was standing in my home watching. Her words described the scene so well....


August The first day of school is slowly ticking away and I am trying real hard to think about what our new routine will look like since I admitted that I was sooo ready for one. But even though, I must say that first day of school good-byes always leave a lump in my throat. They did eleven years ago when my oldest started school and this morning was no different....


September I give thanks to the Lord when life is a bit uneventful. Today in the midst of my laundry folding, dust bunny chasing, and bathroom scrubbing, I pause to praise God for redemption....


October For six or seven years, this was entirely true of me. Then one day, when I found myself on the couch in the middle of the day (for the second week in a row) and I wasn't sick, just exhausted, it was time to take inventory...


November This morning I woke up early. Earlier than I would have liked. I couldn't sleep any longer....


December We have lots of snow!! It makes this Christmas season so sweet. This is a picture taken from my back door. The kids have been out playing in it almost everyday after school. My favorite is the untouched snow. I did not grow up with snow, so it is still very fun for me....


Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Joy to the World

Please stop by over at the cafe today and shout with me "JOY TO THE WORLD!" We have a great reason to celebrate!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...



Monday morning we were greeted with "frosted" trees. They are so beautiful. I couldn't help myself but go out and take some photos in my neighborhood.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow


We have lots of snow!! It makes this Christmas season so sweet. This is a picture taken from my back door. The kids have been out playing in it almost everyday after school. My favorite is the untouched snow. I did not grow up with snow, so it is still very fun for me.
Snow reminds me of forgiveness. Christmas time is one of those places or seasons in our life where expectations can literally drive us from thing to thing or place to place. Often times how we approach this time of year and what we do is based on what others expect rather than on what we know we should be doing or shouldn't be doing. We place unnecessary demands on ourselves!! Maybe even our good intentions are a bit unrealistic and ideal. Because in the midst of planning and making Christmas memories, we still have everyday life happening all around us.
I am doing a little self-talk to myself this morning. I have had some good intentions and great ideas, but have yet to accomplish everything. The last couple of nights there have been interruptions, others who have needed things, kids not feeling 100 percent etc.. But what message do I want to communicate to others and especially my children. The message is that God became flesh, left his heavenly throne to become a living sacrifice for our sins. There is so much about the Christmas message that I desire for my kids to understand. Not the pretty decorations, gifts, baking, parties and so on. The message of love is what I want them to see. God loved them so much that He was was willing to give up so much in order for us to be reconciled unto Himself.
My kids won't remember in a few years whether or not the cookies were decorated just so or even if there were bows on their gifts, but they will remember if mom was a little uptight and short with them in the midst of the Christmas season. Like yesterday!! I was trying to finish something and all (it couldn't of been just one) of my children were in the room and I used a tone that I was not proud of to express my frustration. It wasn't just the tone but the body language and everything that comes with it. And the worse part was that the offense did not deserve it or even come close to this type of reaction. Immediately, the Lord convicted me and as I looked about the room filled with Christmas decorations and the sight of Christmas planning all around me, it made me want to take back my tone and everything that went with it, in lieu of everything around me. No amount of physical beauty in the home can replace the atmosphere that a mother or father brings.
Last night I asked for forgiveness and then I went to bed. I knew I was tired! Today, I am looking at the beauty of the untouched snow and the picture of God 's love and forgiveness it reflects for my own life and I am more and more thankful for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Join me at the Cafe today....

This morning as I sat quietly in my favorite chair with only the light from a lamp on the table and a little bit of sunrise peering in through the window, I read Luke Chapter One from beginning to end and as usual I always have to stop at verse 38 and think about Mary's amazing response to the angel of the Lord, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." .......To hear my thoughts about this amazing verse, please join me at CWO's Internet Cafe today.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Soup's On!

It's A Soup-Tacular!

I love soup. No, I really LOOOOVE soup! My all time favorite is a really good Clam Chowder. I have yet to find a good recipe for one, so if you have one please let me know. Another favorite is TORTILLA SOUP This is a favorite with my family and friends.


Tortilla Soup

1 Tbs. butter
1 yellow onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small can green chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
(I puree the tomatoes in the blender since my husband doesn't care for pieces of tomatoes in his soup)
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded chicken
2 Tbs. Taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:
sour cream
shredeed jack and or mild cheddar cheese
sour cream

Saute onions and garlic in butter in a large pot over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add chilies, tomatoes, beans, corn, chicken stock, chicken, and taco seasoning. Stir through on high heat until soup boils. Reduce to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer one hour.

Serve with sour cream, a handful of cheese, and place broken pieces of tortilla strips on top. Makes eight servings.

Three!




Today you are three! You brighten my day each and every day. Two wasn't so bad. I have to admit, I wish it wasn't over. Between legos and cars, you are forever by my side. Somewhere within my mother's heart I want to keep you little and snuggle you in my arms for many days to come. That is probably why I am accepting of your babbling and simple vocabulary. You have given me a complete lecture in some unknown language. I am not worried in the least. I know once the words start flowing they usually don't stop.


So, today I look forward to your smile when we sing, the bounce in your step, the moment when we sit down to pray and you insist that you pray (every time, every meal, every night) and the big "amen" at the end. It is a good thing that your sisters and brothers are so understanding.


Some things I don't want to forget. The joy in your voice and body when daddy walks through the door. Eee-o! The name you so affectionately call your brother (Theo). The way you walk and the wiggle when you run.

Happy 3rd Birthday Coleman!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Open House

Next week I am hosting a Christmas Coffee Open House at my home for the ladies in our church. My hope is that ladies who are new to our church or who have been attending for awhile and may not have had a chance to meet other ladies will come and make some new friends. Or that some of the ladies who work and care for their families might be able to take a few minutes and stop by for some much needed fellowship. I am offering two different time slots one in the morning and one in the evening in hopes that everyone would be able to join us. Yes, I know we could of set up a huge coffee at the church and planned a two hour event in which everyone showed up at the same time, (nothing wrong with this idea) but I felt strangely impressed this year to make it simple, unassuming, and inviting. My only prayer is that no one will stay away in fear of coming to a strange home.

As I have been busily preparing my home in the midst of our day to day lives and routine I have been thinking alot about the idea of opening up my home. My first thought is that it could give the impression that the only reason I am doing this is to "showcase" my home. Which is the opposite of my whole reason for doing this...simplicity. I even felt compelled at one moment while setting out some of my snowmen I have had for years to run out and buy some new things. And then I thought if this was the reason for someone stopping by they would be greatly disappointed. Yes, my home is decorated, and some may consider it elaborate depending on your taste and style, while others may consider it plain and simple. My point is that it really does not matter. My hope is that no one comes to just see my home, but rather to see those who will be in attendance.


A couple of ladies came up to me this past weekend and told me that they were looking forward to coming. One lady told me I was so brave for doing this. Another lady thanked me for doing this. I have given some thought to these comments. I am fully aware as women we put alot of pressure on ourselves to perform. We would never call it that, but most of the time the expectations we have are those we have inflicted on ourselves. My home is just that, "my home". It is a dwelling place for my family. We live here. I would NEVER ever want it to be a place for show. Yes, I like my home to look nice...we all do. Our homes should be comfortable and a place that is warm and welcoming first to our husbands and children, never to what others think or expect. Oh, if I had only understood this when I was first married. The many opportunities I missed out on to invite others into my home out of fear that they would think differently of me.


Things have changed alot. Children have a way of keeping us very humble. Yes, I promise the bathroom will be clean, the coffee will be warm and the treats will be plenty, but I can't promise that you won't see something like this...
(Christmas tree ornaments being dragged across the table by a lego)

This morning while I was putting our dinner in the crock pot, Coleman had several tree ornaments set up across the table and was using them as part of his train. I have to admit initially upon seeing all those things off of the tree, I wanted to immediately scold him and remind him not to touch, but then I reminded myself that his sisters and brothers had been given this exact freedom during their toddler years and that the tree has always been decorated by the kids and most of the ornaments were things they could touch and look at. And guess what, it is my home and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And it is only nine in the morning...

  • I woke up late this morning and missed my morning quiet time.
  • The house was cold so I was tempted to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.
  • I made cinnamon rolls and burnt my thumb on a hot roll complete with a blister and all. ouch!
  • Each of my children needed me to write a check (1 for milk, 2 for lunch, and 1 for a SAT testing fee) so that equals four checks all before 8am.
  • While getting my two year old (who is working on potty training)dressed this morning he had an accident while sitting on our bed. So, today I am washing all our bedding even though I had no plans too.
  • There are four other loads of laundry waiting to be washed.
  • I am out of coffee
  • My thumb still hurts alot!

I need to go and start over from the beginning. Yesterday our kids had a two hour delay in starting school due to the snow and ice we received over the weekend. Maybe I'll take one of those today.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some reflecting...

I am stopping for a few moments from a morning of just putting things away. I am amazed at how quickly things pile up, build up, and grow if they are not dealt with immediately.

Here are a few examples:
  • The toy cars lined up all along the kitchen floor where my two year old son has been playing all week while I am in the kitchen. We've just left them parked there.
  • The enormous amount of school papers piled 6 inches higher than the basket they sit in.
  • Shoes...I think my children have a secret game they are playing on me and trying to leave as many pair of shoes piled just inside the door of the mudroom as they possibly can. (and why when it is something like 26 degrees outside right now are there still flip-flops sitting there when I know I had put those away?)
  • And I won't even begin to go into the gloves, mittens, and hat dilemma. I am determined this year to come up with a better system for locating these items upon arriving and leaving the house.
  • Hooks...are the answer to all the coats, hoodies, backpacks, and multitude of other things that come into this home. I need to go here again soon!

I know I spend half my time keeping everyone and everything organized and the other half actually cleaning something.

I can remember back to my very idealistic views when I first became a mother. I remember having high hopes of always having the laundry folded and put away or never leaving dishes in the sink once I had a dishwasher and always having dinner ready when my husband walked in the door. Who was that girl?

These were not bad goals or even totally unrealistic, the problem was with my heart. I wanted to look good in the eyes of others more than I wanted to please the Lord and my husband. And I haven't even mentioned the new mommy ideals that I held. But the Lord in His most gracious and loving way humbled me. First, after the birth of my first child it was necessary for me to continue to work full-time. This was very hard on me and my husband. So, right from the beginning many of my idealism went right out the window. Next, when I stopped working outside the home full-time and became a full-time homemaker, I was waist deep into laundry, dishes, and the early phases of home schooling, in addition to whatever ways I was serving in the church at the time. I knew how to run an accounting office, but manage two little ones, while expecting my third and taking care of a home sent me crying out for help. (another deeply humbling experience) I could write a book about the difficulties of those early days. The Lord has taught me so much. But mostly that over the last ten years of working at home full-time has by far been the most challenging and rewarding work even when my days are full of picking up and putting away.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Cafe - He has not forgotten you

I am over here today! Do you ever feel forgotten...ok lately I have

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just some thoughts...

This morning I woke up early. Earlier than I would have liked. I couldn't sleep any longer. Yesterday was my mom's birthday and I wasn't able to get a hold of her. My parents are in route right now on their way to be with my brother whose wife is expecting their first child any day now. I am not sure if her cell phone was out of range or she just didn't hear it in her purse, but we left several messages including some singing for her enjoyment! I spoke with her on Thanksgiving and I told her I would be calling on Monday. I am not worried, just a wee bit sad that we didn't connect.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving Day with a family from our church, but no matter how difficult or even dysfunctional a family can be, nothing can replace family. The realization that our family may never or rarely be able to join together for a Thanksgiving Dinner or any family dinner for that matter, hit me hard this year. My family (parents and three brothers) which used to all live within the same city (or county) just a few years back is now all over the world. Literally! My husband's family is all in the same state, but not the same as us. I know it is just as hard for them as it is for us. We knew as God directed our steps that it included living many miles away from our extended family. My husband and I have prayed about this and accepted God's portion and plan for our lives, but I still miss my mom's cooking. And I don't think that will ever change. The meal was simple and very traditional, her table was simply decorated with her favorite tablecloth, we used the everyday dishes, but the smells, their laughter , and the joy of being with one another was how we spent the holiday. This wasn't the first year we have been apart, it has been many by now, but somehow this year was just harder.



I often think about the saying, "bloom where you are planted!" That is my prayer. God has planted me where I am. It may not look like others. I am often told, "I could never live away from my family ." Well guess what, "neither can I!" I don't do it because I want to or because I am cold hearted and don't care, I do it because I believe with all my heart that this is where God has planted me. And I am choosing to bloom! I know the bud is small, but be patient I need watering, fertilizer, and some sonshine. And someday I hope to be a beautiful rose that reflects the Glory of God.

Just some thoughts...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekly Menu Plan


Here is my menu plan for the week. And I also thought I would share a biblical reason for planning ahead....


She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.

Proverbs 31:15



I have been studying Proverbs 31 and reviewing the virtues or the character qualities of this Godly Woman. There are twenty one qualities listed in this passage of scripture. I have been working on these for over twenty years and I am sure I will be in the next twenty as well. I once read verse fifteen as, "oh yea, I am the one who needs to do all the cooking," but after careful study, I have learned that this verse is about the virtue of discipline and not cooking. Meals and other needs in the home don't just happen. And certainly will not happen well if we do not plan. Planning takes discipline. Truly this Godly woman rose early to take care of the planning for the day for herself and those who would help her. I like to cook but I don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen. Planning and discipline allows me to best use my time and provide food for my family.




The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty,
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

Proverbs 21:5




Monday: Tostadas with beans and rice


Tuesday: Harvest Stew


Wednesday: Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches


Thursday: Baked Potato Cheese Soup


Friday: Pizza for the kids


For more menu plans go here

Friday, November 23, 2007

Walk Slowly

Today I actually ventured out to shop on the day after Thanksgiving. I don't know if I have ever done this before. I may do it again only because so much was on sale! But in the midst of so many people I walked slowly, looking, waiting, and I was reminded of this little piece I wrote last year at this time.

Christmas is coming...hopefully snow will be falling.
The decorations, the smells, the gifts are all because of a loving God who chose to give the greatest gift of all, His own son!


Walk slowly and enjoy each moment! No matter what our circumstances we already have the greatest gift of all.

Walk slowly through your home. The hands that touch all the pretty decorations will not be the same next year.


Walk slowly through the stores. It is not about what we
give, but what has been given to us.


Walk slowly through the parties and family traditions. People matter most to God. He died for them.


Walk slowly and look at the beautiful lights, savor the smells, and worship the King who came for us.


Walk Slowly!

(originally posted
November 2006)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Working Hard




Christmas Music

mws banner

Michael W. Smith has a new Christmas Album and if you go here you may have an opportunity to get one for free.
I have enjoyed his music for many years. I remember after my first child was born picking up a copy of Today's Christian Women with Michael & Debbie Smith on the cover. The article was about her and the wonderful support she was to her husband. But I think what really grabbed the heart of this young mom at the time was she had five children. At this time in my life, I never dreamed I would someday have five children. It just seemed huge! I still have the magazine as a result of the article.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gratitude

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I am sure it has something to do with the season, but really it has to do more with where it forces me to focus. Too often I focus on what I need, or what I would like to see changed in my life, or what I still don't have, or what I am still struggling with instead of on what He has shown me, mercy. As Thanksgiving approaches this year, I am conscious of the benefit I have received (the meaning of being thankful). I am grateful to God and His great mercy towards me. Take a moment and meditate on the words of Charles Spurgeon:

"The fear of a man who really knows the love and goodness of God, will be somewhat of this kind: He will fear lest he should really be, or should seem to be, ungrateful. 'What' he asks, 'can I do? I am drowned in mercy. It is not as though my ship were sailing in a sea of mercy; I have been so loaded with the favour of the Lord that my vessel has gone right down, and the ocean of God’s love and mercy has rolled right over the masthead. What can I do O Lord? If thou had given me only a little mercy, I might have done something, in return, to express my gratitude. But oh! Thy great mercy in electing me, in redeeming me, in converting me, and in preserving me, and in all the goodness of thy providence toward me;--what can I do in return for all these favour? I feel struck dumb; and I am afraid, lest I should have a dumb heart as well as a dumb tongue; I fear lest I should grieve Thee by anything that looks like ingratitude.”



Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Cafe

It seems the days and weeks are just rolling by. Today the air outside was a bit more brisk. The wind was blowing which made it feel colder than the actual temperature. What leaves may have been left on the trees for my pure enjoyment are all but gone. Piles of leaves are slowly building up on lawns throughout my neighborhood. Which brings me to my post at CWO's Internet Cafe, "I want to be like those trees!" Join me!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

ELEVEN!


Happy Birthday Theo! I remember this day eleven years ago like it was yesterday. From the moment they placed you in my arms I knew that God had placed a tender heart within this little man. As the younger brother to two sisters and the older brother to two younger brothers, you hold your position well. The girls look up to you and admire your strengths, and the little guys lean on you for help.

Someday you may ask me what you were like when you were ten. I would say you were compassionate and caring. I would say when I needed help with something, you were there. I would say that you loved school, did very well in school, had a gift for writing and it was the year you learned to play the trumpet. I would remind you that it was your first year in football. Number 52 to be exact and do you remember those blocks and the first time you recovered a fumble?

I would remind you of our family camping trip and the wild summer thunder storm we endured. But it is all the fishing you did in those three days that I won't forget. I would remind you of playing baseball, swimming at the pool, and all the snow days and that "Clue" was one of your new favorite board games.

I will remind you that I witnessed you pray each night on the bottom step of the ladder to your bunk and the many entries you have made in your journal. And someday if you ever ask me about when you were ten, I will say, "it was wonderful!"
Happy 11th Birthday Theo!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Out to lunch

Well, not really. It's the semi-annual dumping and re-loading of closets. And it's messy. Be back later!

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm at the Cafe today

It's not something that is easy to admit. Some may have to face it each and every day. Often times it creeps in slowly and other times it is thrown right into our face. We think to ourselves, "I am not sure what is wrong, oh, but I know it is not that." It sits right in the middle of the room like an elephant and yet we choose to completely ignore it.

To discover what I am talking about...grab a cup of coffee and join me over at CWO's Internet Cafe.

And please let me know if you stopped by!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Shopping Trip

Yes, you read correctly. I just returned from a twenty-four hour whirlwind shopping trip with a girl who knows how to find a good bargain. (thanks, Jane) For several months we had been trying to plan a shopping day. So off we went with no kids or husbands to our destination. She made the plans and I navigated (or at least tried to). Praise the Lord for cell phones and her sweet husband. Otherwise who knows where we might have ended up. I have never (or almost never) shopped for Christmas gifts in October. But I did this year and I am so excited to have checked some things off of my unwritten list. I would love to share some of my great bargains, but some of you who read my blog may be the recipient of these treasures. I rarely (ok probably never) get to shop alone, and get to stroll through the stores and look and look never once looking down at my watch. (Maybe that is why I don't enjoy shopping) Anyways it was crazy fun and oh so worth the time away. But the best part was when we pulled into our driveway tonight, my two youngest boys greeted me as if I had been gone for a week. It was totally worth it! I think Christmas Shopping in October will be a new tradition and guess what, there is room for two more. We have decided this will be a new tradition!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who's voice are we listening to?

Most women are just too busy. This is a point for quick
agreement, but the subtle danger involved in our busyness is that most of us never stop to realize that in most cases we can do something about it! We tend to look wildly and unrealistically in every other direction for the cause
of our trouble. Most of us feel like helpless victims where our work and activity schedules are concerned.

For six or seven years, this was entirely true of me. Then one day, when I found myself on the couch in the middle of the day (for the second week in a row) and I wasn't sick, just exhausted, it was time to take inventory.

What was actually important? How much of this activity was God actually instigating? How much of it was the consequence of my own bad judgement and how much was guided by the Holy Spirit within me? A woman's ego often pushes her into a whirlwind life of busyness, too. If you are capable, and if the ladies adore you and heap compliments on your pretty head every time you teach the class or preside at the circle meeting, just be wary. It is easy to mistake the voice of flattery for the voice of God. Especially if you've been busy for so long, there hasn't been a really quiet time to hear God speak. The voice of God is always speaking to us, and always trying to get our attention. But his voice is a "still, small voice," and we must at least slow down in order to listen.

I have been in a busy season. All of my activity seems good and right when evaluated, but I desire the voice of God to be the driving influence on what I do, not others expectations or my need for approval. This is often difficult to discern in the midst of raising children, working and keeping a home. Seven years ago when I found myself in such a state, God did not speak some grand purpose that I was to begin or change in my life, but instead He brought my focus home. He brought me to the table before Him, sitting in His presence, in the midst of my huge to-do list, a brand new congregation to get to know, laundry piles, dirty floors and the multiple un-done projects before me. It was there that I could hear His voice guiding me and showing me what was truly important and what was not. It was at His table that I was satisfied, even with a six month old on my lap, a four and five year old running circles around me and homeschooling a third grader.


This morning as I sat at His table again, seeking His voice to speak to my heart, my life has changed a bit from seven years ago. My oldest child is now in high school, the four and five year who once played for hours (and made huge messes) now attend the same middle school together and we are talking about honesty, kindness, and yes boys (and girls). The baby is now seven and full of questions about trees, rockets, and how many more days until he can have his favorite friend come over. And of course the "baby" is now two and a half and yes most days he runs circles around me (and makes huge messes) and I wonder if I will ever be able to sit for more than fifteen minutes quietly even in the wee hours of the morning. But as I go about the day, I listen, to the "still small voice" that speaks in the moments I stand at the kitchen counter or in front of the huge machines that wash our clothes, or while picking up, putting away, wiping down or driving around town. He speaks ,if we will stop long enough to listen to His voice.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I am His!

Join me over at CWO's Internet Cafe today as we look at the ancient promise in Isaiah 43:1-3. "I am the Lord your God." I pray the Word of God will speak to your heart.


Monday, October 08, 2007

October 8, 1991

Sixteen years ago, I had just turned 28



You made your entrance and filled our lives with so much joy!



I had waited and waited to be blessed with my first child



You made me wait an extra two weeks!

I remember hearing the words, "It's a girl" and thinking later as I stared at your sweet face, "it didn't matter now if I have ten boys, I have a daughter to play with and grow old with."

You have been blessed with a sister to share life with and unfortunately only three brothers!

I prayed you would come to know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.



You humble and amaze me with your desire to know Him and worship Him in Spirit and truth.



I watched you at the age of nine audition for a role in the Nutcracker and while other girls positioned themselves to be noticed, you stepped aside and took the hand of girl who was struggling and became her partner.



You didn't know you had done anything special!

I have watched you struggle through the places and things you love. I have prayed for God to bless you as you sing and do those things that don't always come naturally easy.



You have said to me, "you do it because you love it and will continue to do your best!"



I would have given up!



You persevere!





I know you are sweet sixteen today!







You reminded us this morning as we pulled into the parking spot at the County Building so that you could receive your driver's license.





I am flooded with memories (and tears) of the joy you bring into our life.





You are full of hope and excitement for the future and serving the Lord with your life.

I thank the Lord today for sixteen years of life.



You are ready to enjoy the fun and fellowship of your family and friends

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Friday, October 05, 2007

I am His favor!

This is from a devotional for ministry wives. (this particular one was written by Jani Ortlund) I have tagged it in the book and this morning I spent some time meditating on this wonderful truth. I am His favor!

You are God's favor to your husband. It's as though, when God created your husband, he said, "How can I bless this man who is going to serve me all of his life?" How can I show him my favor? I know. I'll make (fill in your name) to love him and help him. I'll knit their hearts together. As she follows me, she'll bring him good, not harm. He will develop confidence in her and value her more than any of life's treasures"God has chosen you to live with a man who is devoted to serving others for the glory of Christ. Your husband needs you. You are the one he turns to for comfort and strength and counsel. He needs your support and participation in his labors. He needs you to "favor" him by understanding and respecting the eternal importance of his work.

How can you be God's favor to your husband?

  • Build him up with your words (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Watch over the affairs of your household (Proverbs 31:27)
  • Leave vengeance to God (Romans 12:19)
  • Do what is right, without giving way to your fears (1 Peter 3:6)

You are God's favor to your husband. God made you to help meet your husband's physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs. Recommit yourself to embrace your marriage and bring good to you husband all the days of your life.

Do you know you are God's favor to your husband?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Digital Photo Developing

A simple question here: Where (or what service) do you use to develop your digital photos and why? Is it the price, convenience, quality, etc..


I have too many photos sitting on my computer right now like this one which are absolutely priceless to me.





Waking up at the football game...

For more questions and the opportunity to give your answers visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, October 01, 2007

October 1st

Thank you Lord for another year of life!

The gifts came from the beautiful words my husband expressed in his card, a two year old singing and his attempt to blow out the candles, my seven year old telling me, "I was the bestest mom he ever had!", the long and lingering hug of my ten year old son, the sweet caress and the many birthday wishes from my twelve year old daughter, and the unforgettable words of love and appreciation from my almost sixteen year old daughter.


Thank you Lord for these priceless gifts!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's my favorite time of year!

I saw this over at Lisa's and just had to see where I belong. Even though there were a few answers that I could of chosen one or another, I still came out as belonging in Fall.

I often find it humorous that I love this time of year since I grew up in Southern California where very little changes throughout the year in comparison to other places. But I still loved the season of pumpkin patches on street corners, leaves piling on the ground, the sounds of a football game, and the smell of hot apple cider and pumpkin. Pumpkin bars, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin anything! Yum! But it is the colors that I love the most. And since I am a whole lot closer than I used to be, some day I hope to take a long Autumn drive through the New England states and just savor the beauty.


You Belong in Fall
Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...
You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings
Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Monday, September 24, 2007

This Is The Day - At the Cafe

Have you forgotten how to greet the day? The knowledge is all but lost to many that a new day is sacred: a gift from God, a rare and precious gift. A new day brings with it a fresh start, to lift your head from the pillow with joy and to observe the clouds peeking through the dark sky and welcome a gift from the Lord.

Join me at the Cafe today as we are reminded that "This is the day..."

Menu Plan Monday


I have gone totally crock pot happy this week. It just works well for busy afternoons and allows me to do most of the meal preparation in the morning.
Monday: Beef Stew in the crock pot
Tuesday: Lasagna in the crock pot
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Italian Sausage Soup in the crock pot
Friday: Tex-Mex Meatball Pie
For more menu ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie here

Friday, September 14, 2007

Gone Fishing!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

When you are not sure what your next step should be...go fishing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We Take Nothing With Us

...But the only hope that I or anyone else can offer is in Christ. He came, lived among us, and suffered a horrific and tragic death, so that I whether given many years on this earth or not, could have life rather than the death that I most certainly deserve. Nothing in this life or on this earth compares to Christ.





I am at the Cafe today. But more importantly my heart aches for those who are experiencing a very difficult loss of a loved one. Katherine at Raising Five and Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary are grieving the tragic loss of their nephew. Amy Wilhoite went home to meet her Savior in glory. She leaves behind a loving husband and baby. Please keep these and their families in your prayers.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

PRAYER NEEDED!!

Thank you to everyone who prayed today, those who left comments and those who emailed me. It means so much to Lyndsey and her family. Praise God who is "...the blessed and only Ruler, King of kings and Lord of lords." 1 Timothy 6:15

Update 9 pm ~ Lyndsey is out of surgery and back in her room. Her mom said she was resting. The surgery which should have taken three hours ended up taking six. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray for her recovery. May the Lord bless each of you.

Update 12:15 pm ~ she is still in surgery and they have been reassured that things are going fine. It is just taking a little longer than expected. Please continue to pray.

Please keep my dear friend's daughter in prayer. Her name is Lyndsey and tomorrow she is having a colectomy (removal of the colon). She is only fourteen. For privacy reasons I won't go into the details of her illness. I have known this beautiful young lady since birth. Her parents are wonderful long time friends.

First, please pray for a miracle~complete and total healing of her colon.

Next, pray that the surgery would go smoothly and her healing would be quick. She will face two additional surgeries over the next year.

The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning (9/7) at 8 am central time. Please pray!

Finishing the Race!

I give thanks to the Lord when life is a bit uneventful. Today in the midst of my laundry folding, dust bunny chasing, and bathroom scrubbing, I pause to praise God for redemption. When I was a teenager I had a little saying posted on my bulletin board in my bedroom which I don't recall who wrote it or where it came from. It stated, "Life is short, Death is sure, Sin the cause, Christ the cure." I can remember many days reading those words above my mirror next to my closet as I left my room for the day and headed off to school. Here is a link to a beautiful tribute of a Life Lived Well. Her faith, her testimony, her trust in God inspires me to continue on and fight the good fight and finish well.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Giveaway

sept Giveaway

Here is a wonderful opportunity to win six volumes of the Reformed Expository Commentary Series. I currently own one, Esther & Ruth, but I know these girls would love to have the rest of the group join them. It is real simple and you don't have to have your own blog to enter. (just an email address) Thank you to Tim Challies for doing this.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend marks the official end of summer even though according to the calendar we still have twenty more days . Today I made a list of small projects that needed to be done and my husband and I tackled them while the kids cleaned their rooms and than played outside. The weather has been utterly gorgeous and perfect for being outdoors.

The kids all seem to be adjusting to their new teachers and schedules and other than his black eye and a busted up lip, my two year old is doing fine.

Today I spent time re-organizing our mud/laundry/grand central station room/entrance from the garage. It is a small space with a lot of activity. It is not only home to the washer and dryer but also is the coat/shoe/backpack/sporting gear/musical instrument pit stop and will soon be the home of snow pants/boots/gloves and any other outer wear. Today I moved out the beach towels and goggles from their summer homes on the hooks to make room for sweatshirts and backpacks. The suntan lotions, beach bags, and pool toys sadly departed for their long winter stay in their new location. I hung some new hooks a friend pointed out at Ikea and love the additional storage it provides. I also hung a new white/message board and this. It is a shower shelf made of black steel that will work great for mail, keys, gloves and best of all looks really cute on the wall.
I cleaned off my bulletin board of all the summer information and replaced it with the lunch menu and school calendar. My in-box is already bursting with school papers for me to review from the first week and a half of school.
We have the schedules, our routine is in place, and I feel a bit more organized. Now, bring on the fall colors, a pot of chili, and lots and lots of football.

Friday, August 31, 2007

One Little Secret

Darlene is hosting a contest to promote Allison Bottke's new book "One Little Secret" . The prize is an ipod shuffle. The contest is sponsored by Art Bookbindery. All you have to do is share "One Little Secret" about yourself to be entered to win.

So here is my little secret. When I was a baby I sucked my thumb. I continued sucking my thumb until I went to Kindergarten. (don't worry I didn't start sucking my thumb again) And like most kids who usually have a blanket or stuffed toy to go along with the thumb, I twirled my hair. I would take hold of the fine soft hair right in front of the ear and twist it in my finger and now forty some years later I still do. When I am in deep thought, tired or just sitting still, I will twirl my hair. My husband will sometimes ask me, "what are you thinking about" if he sees me twirling. I don't know why, but for some reason it still must be comforting to me.

So there it is, now it is your turn.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A break in the action

Well our schedule went from zero to sixty this past week and I have been working hard on establishing our routine. But today we had a break in the action with no scheduled activities, sporting practices or church services. The weather was absolutely perfect at about 75 degrees with a slight breeze. With the horrible humidty we have endured over the past couple of days (and weeks), it was just wonderful. We went outside and the kids rode their bikes, kicked the ball around the yard, and did some rollerblading up and down the street. I just sat in the afternoon sunshine and watched my kids play. Yes, there was laundry waiting to be folded, dishes in the sink and some bathrooms that need to be cleaned, but they will have to wait for another day.

I'm over at the Cafe today

Have you ever caused a stink in your home? If so, please come visit me at the Cafe today and let me know I am not alone.


And than to make you feel better go visit Musings of a Housewife to win an adorable tote by Eliza Grace Designs .

Monday, August 27, 2007

All in a day's work

Do you ever have someone ask, "what do you do all day?" Well, today I wrote it down.

5:45 am woke up to take my oldest daughter to cheerleading practice
6:00 am made a cup of tea, spent some quiet time with the Lord
7:15 am began making breakfast and waking up the other children and helping them get ready for school (my oldest daughter walked home from practice)
8:00 am off to school we go
8:20 am start laundry, decide it will be leftovers for supper, make beds, clean my messy kitchen, bathe my two year old, check emails , and tend to a husband who is not feeling well
11:00 am grocery shopping
12:00 pm make lunch for my not so feeling well husband, the two year old and myself, put groceries away, fold some laundry
1:00 pm take care of some ministry work, place an order for bible study, make two phone calls, check bloglines, go through a stack of papers, organize the first of the school and sport schedules, update my calendar, play with my two year old.
3:00 pm off to pick up kids (two year old falls asleep in the car)
3:30 pm off to run an errand with my twelve year old daughter
4:00 pm check chores, homework, listen to my teenage daughter as she tells me about her day, listen to a new Christmas musical CD with my twelve year old daughter all while I am starting supper with my seven year old son as my official helper for the night.
5:00 pm we casually sit down and enjoy some supper together
5:45 pm my twelve year old daughter and ten year old son are off to soccer and football practice, one walks the other is dropped off.
6:15 pm clean up the kitchen, fold a load of laundry, check on my oldest daughter to see if she has started her laundry, take a short walk.
7:30 pm pick up the soccer player and the football player
8:15 pm bathe the two youngest boys while the sweaty athletes take their shower.
8:45 pm everyone tucked into bed, prayers and kisses, girls are organizing their things for the next day and turn their own lights out
9:00 pm finish up some things for my husband on a bible study we are preparing, read a few blogs and write this post
10:30 pm off to bed to begin again tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

So I don't forget...

The first day of school is slowly ticking away and I am trying real hard to think about what our new routine will look like since I admitted that I was sooo ready for one. But even though, I must say that first day of school good-byes always leave a lump in my throat. They did eleven years ago when my oldest started school and this morning was no different.

As I walked my first grader to his class he informed me that he knew exactly where to line up. I noticed a confidence in his step as we walked past the Kindergarten area. He looked up at me and smiled as if to say, "been there done that" and continued on down the path towards the lines of older kids. His teacher quickly greeted us with a warm welcome and smile and he stepped right into line with a few of his friends from church. I took a few photos, told him I was going to leave and that is when it happened. He didn't grab my neck and plant a huge kiss on my cheek and give me one of those never ending hugs, but rather he quietly looked around and simply kissed the side of my face and looked at me with those blue eyes to say, "it's ok mom, I am bigger now and I will be ok." I thought to myself, "I don't doubt that son, but I won't".

As I stepped back and watched him walk into the building I quietly whispered to the Lord, "please watch over him not just today, but everyday as he lines up, sits down, and goes out to play."

A Giveaway

speaking of our children... Lisa at The Preachers Wife is giving away this! Go leave her a comment and you may be chosen to receive this absolutely free!

Join me in praying for our children

Many years ago when my oldest daughter was entering 1st grade and I felt completely unqualified to be her teacher, I took this prayer from Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Parent and adapted it to meet the needs of my child. I now pray this prayer over all four of my school age children and can easily pray it for my two year old as well.

Praying for our children as with all prayer does not have to be eloquent or fancy. It is simply acknowledging our great dependence on God to care for, train, and teach the children He has blessed us with.


"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7



Lord,
Today is the first day of a new school year. Thank you that my children are healthy and excited about a new year. Thank you for the provision of new pencils, glue sticks, shiny new shoes and the many blessings you have provided for our family.

I pray that each child will have a deep reverence for You and Your ways. May each child hide Your Word in their heart like a treasure. Give them a good mind, a teachable spirit, and an ability to learn. Instill in them a desire to attain knowledge and skill, and may they have joy in the process. Above all, I pray that they will be taught by You, for Your Word says that when our children are taught by You they are guaranteed peace. You have also said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)

I pray they will respect and obey the wisdom of their dad and I and be willing to be taught by us. May they also have the desire to be taught by the teachers You bring into their life. I know that you handpick each one, Lord, and may they be godly people from whom each of my children can learn.
Help them to excel in school for your glory. Make the pathways of learning smooth and not something with which they must strain and struggle. Connect everything in each of their minds the way it is supposed to be so that they have clarity of thought, organization, good memory, and strong learning ability.

I say to each of them according to Your Word, "Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverbs 23:12)
"May the Lord give you understanding in all things" (2 Timothy 2:7)

I pray today as I have prayed everyday that each of my children will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. Go before them, protect them, watch over them through each day of this new school year. Thank you Lord, for each of my children, Lauren (sophomore), Kelsey (sixth grade), Theo (fifth grade), Hunter (1st grade), and of course the two year old at home. Give me patience and understanding as I teach his little hands to play softly, watch his little feet as they run through the house, and help him to learn to sit and listen as I read.

Lord, thank you for the awesome privilege of being a mom. May my children learn, while growing older that You are the source for all beauty, all knowledge, and all wisdom. This I ask in your most worthy name. Amen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School Starts Thursday - Join me in prayer!



I can remember the feeling so well. The new clothes neatly layed across the chair usually with the same outfit hanging in the closet but in a different color. The new wallaby's barely out of the box that had just been purchased from Thom McCan. And of course who can forget the new underwear and socks. Never could I start a new school year without them. My favorites were the year I received the days of the week swirled in cursive across the front of each pair. New clothes, shoes, and even underwear are childhood memories of a new school year beginning.

I remember the butterflies fluttering through my stomach the night before and waking up while it was yet dark. My face was shining, nails were trimmed and I was ready for the new year.

Through the years I have tried to create some traditions with my kids for each new school year. Of course, it has always included at least one new outfit even it means a new pair of shorts and shirt found on the summer clearance rack since the weather is usually very hot. Each child gets to go out with either mom or dad to shop for a new pair of shoes. And who can forget school supplies. My kids look forward to filling their backpacks with new folders, pens and glue sticks.

But a few of our favorite traditions is the ridiculously huge breakfast we prepare and dad's back to school prayer for each kid. And who can forget the picture taken of the whole group every year in the same spot. The kids love looking back at the changes and their growth and I do too.

This year my oldest daughter who will be a sophomore at the high school is planning to meet with a group of friends at the school early on the first day to pray for their school year. I am so excited that they have taken the initiative to do this.

I would like to invite each of you to join me on Thursday morning as I pray for my own children, even if you have already started your school year. I would love to invite everyone over to pray in my living room but that is a physical impossibility or maybe not if you live near me ;). But what a wonderful opportunity we have to pray together via technology. I used to pray with one or two friends over the phone. Hopefully, Thursday I will be praying with many more.

Join me Thursday morning (August 23rd) as we pray for our children as they start a new school year. I will post a prayer for my own children. I would love to join you in prayer for yours. I will try and set up a Mr. Linky (this will be my first time) so that we can all hold hands and agree in prayer together for our children.


Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3




Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm at the Cafe today

Are you heading somewhere? I have the wonderful privilege of sharing some thoughts a couple times a month at CWO's Internet Cafe. Join me today!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Important Stuff!

Hunter (7) and my husband called to let me know they had arrived at camp and Hunter proceeded to tell me with sheer seven year old joy and excitement in his voice that their room did not have bunk beds like everyone else, but they had a BIG bed and that they didn't need to bring their pillows because the room came with pillows, two cokes and a couple of reese's peanut butter cups, his absolute favorite. These boys are happy!

A Fresh Start

Well yesterday I packed (or helped pack) four suitcases for the sixth time this summer. Or I could say that this summer will amount to me packing and unpacking twenty-two suitcases total, And in case you are wondering, yes I have counted. My husband, Kelsey (12), Theo (10) and Hunter (7) left for camp. Hunter is officially not old enough to be a camper yet, but he went along to be his dad's sidekick. My husband is the speaker at jr. camp this year. Hunter will room with him and spend the week hanging out with dad. Fortunately, my husband has been able to do this at some point with all of the older kids and this year it was Hunter's turn. Left at home is myself, Lauren (15) and Coleman (2). I am praying for the kids to have a great time and for their dad to be blessed ministering to all those kids. They are in for an exciting week.

As I had shared in this post, I am ready for routine and several of you are too based on your comments and emails. Even yesterday in church I noticed on the faces of several women the weariness that sometimes comes from being a mom. Whether it is the summertime routine or lack of, vacations, house guests, sickness, changes or a long list of other things, usually the first thing to be affected is our daily quiet time alone with the Lord. Or at least this has always been the case in my life. This summer has proven no different.

I don't dwell too much on the reasons that brought me to this place, I just move quickly to make the necessary changes and get things back on track. Our kids look forward to the start of a new school year. A new classroom, teacher, supplies, clothes and possibly even friends. So, as a mom I look forward to a fresh new time with the Lord. Twice a year I usually evaluate how I spend my time, at the beginning of a new year and in the fall. I like to change things up, maybe a new book or devotional, I am usually beginning a new bible study at church, or I begin to read through a particular book of the bible several times over the course of a month, I usually always continue or start back with my life journal and I will even add a new worship cd once a year. I also like to evaluate the time of day that I have set aside and see if it has been working effectively. Depending on the ages of my children and the season I am in such as when I had a baby or toddler or more than one child at home during the day etc. etc., I set aside a time that I will be able to be committed to. This is not time that I will spend studying for leading a bible study but personal time of reading, praying and worship to the Lord. A time to prepare for leading can be inner-mingled with this, but I usually set aside another time of the day or week to prepare. This is a time of consistent seeking of the Lord. James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and He will come near to you..."."
Is seeking the face of God a consistent practice in your life? If not, consider starting small. Set some reasonable and attainable goals. Are you joining in with a ladies bible study this fall? Our church is offering Beth Moore's updated study "A Woman's Heart God's Dwelling Place" . For many this would be an excellent place to start. Making yourself accountable to others in the study of God's word is highly effective. Have you tried the Life Journal? Begin with the New Testament reading only and than slowly add the Old Testament. Just like our kids have to begin somewhere in school (more than likely Kindergarten), we too must begin somewhere. The point is to just begin. And over time just like our kids we will grow and grow and reap a precious harvest of growth in godliness.

Do you need a fresh start?

Friday, August 10, 2007

All for Him

Once there was an old monk who sang a Christmas song every Christmas Eve. His voice was ugly, but he loved the Lord and sang from his heart. One day the head of the cloister said, "I'm sorry, Brother Don, we have a new monk with a beautiful voice...he will sing this Christmas." The man sang so beautifully that everyone was happy. But that night an angel came to the superior and said; "Why didn't you have
a Christmas Eve song?" The superior answered, "We had a beautiful song." But the angel said sadly, "We did not hear it in heaven." You see, the old monk had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, but the young man sang for his own benefit, not for the Lord's glory.

...whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

Lord, self slips in so easily, when all I want is to do things for Your glory. Let me always hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit. ( a prayer by Corrie Ten Boom)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I admit it

Are you tired?
Are you weary?
Do you have a new baby or toddlers who seem to keep you up at night or maybe up all day long?
Are you ready for the routine of the school year more than anyone else in the house?
Do you have teenagers whose active busy life keep your knees pressed to the ground and ears pressed to everything else?

Are you like me asking yourself how did I get here?

My two year old has been waking up off and on at night for no apparent reason. He doesn't always settle back down easy and so it takes a little time to get him back to sleep.
Never can I ever remember a summer that I was looking forward to school beginning. I completely hate to admit it, but I need routine and my children are ready for it too. I have provided little to no routine this summer and the effects of this have shown their ugly head.
This year (meaning school year) my oldest daughter turns sixteen and my younger daughter turns thirteen. For many of my dear friends this day has already come and gone in their lives, but I feel my kids are all approaching these years now in almost lightening speed. Can we just slow down a bit so I can catch my breath and ponder just for a moment that the girl who I just carried in my arms and slept in the bend of my arm those first few nights is almost sixteen? I have just barely figured how to live with one teenager and now it is time for two. It is probably not much different than when my second or third or fourth child were born and I wondered how I would do it.

I have sensed we are entering a new season.
I am tired! I am weary! I need the routine that will be here in a few weeks. I admit it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

August 6th Happy Birthday!!




This morning as I awoke and looked over to see you on your knees, I thought, "it is I who has received the gift today". Thank you for being a husband and father who has loved immensely, cared passionately and served fervently and faithfully. Thank you for being such a Godly example to me, our children, and the people God has brought you to serve. I pray on this your special day that God would bless you! Thank you Lord for another year and may you continue to be glorified through his life!
Happy Birthday to my one and only!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Internet Cafe - Happy Camper

A few weeks ago my husband, myself, five very excited children and one happy dog headed out not too far from our home to go camping. We hadn’t “tent” camped since my oldest three were five, three and one. From that experience, I had told myself it would be a long time before we attempted to go camping without a roof over our head. We have been several places in which either a cabin or RV was our dwelling, but out kids wanted to camp with tents.
So we traded our carpeting and wood floors for green grass and our Serta pillow top mattress for the comforts of a leaky air mattress and sleeping bags. I gave up stainless steel appliances for two ice chests, a lovely camp stove and several plastic tubs for washing dishes. The lighting was sunshine and stars amidst seven chairs arranged nicely around the campfire ring and well let’s just say it was a lovely stroll through the trees to the nearest bathrooms with running water. But I loved it! Yes, you read right “I loved it!”

To hear the reason "why?"... join me over at the Internet Cafe today.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Did you read the sign?



A sign in a cotton factory read: "If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman." One day a new worker got her threads tangled. The more she tried to disentangle them, the worse the situation grew. Finally, she sent for the foreman. He asked, "Why didn't you send for me earlier?" She replied, "I was doing my best." He answered, "No, your best would have been to send for me."



This little story is often a reminder to me of how I am tempted to respond to life. I'll fix it myself. After all I would like to show them that I am capable. When the threads of my life get tangled up, It is my reminder that I am a sinner, saved by grace and in desperate need of my Savior's help.

Prayer opens up the floodgates of God's infinite grace and power to flow toward the person in need. God can act without prayer, but He chooses to operate within the boundaries of human will and invitation. He allows us to participate in His work on earth with each prayer.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My "Grandma" and a special visit.

My 91 year old grandma passed away a week ago and my husband and I were able to be a part of her funeral on Wednesday in California. We made the quick trip leaving early early Tuesday morning and returning on a red eye flight Wednesday night. Not a very good idea for two people who don't do the stay up all night thing very well. The funeral services were beautiful and the spot where she is buried is high on top of a hill directly under a huge tree right next to my grandpa. My husband did a beautiful job sharing a message of hope.


I have been thinking alot about our short trip. My brother was able to make it home from Iraq and it was wonderful to see him. We saw some of our siblings, cousins, uncles and other family members we haven't seen in years. But we made one very special stop.


Just three blocks from the ocean in downtown Long Beach on the third floor of an extremely modest apartment building lives a man who I have only known throughout my life as "daddy Jim". My mom married my dad when I was eighteen months old. He is my dad. I have only ever thought of him as my dad. He has been everything a dad should be and I am thankful that God blessed me with him. But obviously I had another "dad". That is where the name "daddy Jim" came from. Off and on as a young child I would go and visit my biological dad and somewhere he was given the name "daddy Jim" as not to confuse me since I called my dad "dad". Fast forward to today and leaving out a whole lot of details and history, I had not seen "daddy Jim" in over ten years. Last Monday when I was finishing up preparing for this trip, the Lord impressed upon my heart to contact him. I did! I know he is getting older and I didn't want to have any regrets for not making the effort to see him. I have known I needed to for several years but have not done so. And so on Tuesday morning after landing in Los Angeles we were on our way to Long Beach to visit him. I will save the details of our visit for another post since it was extremely emotional for me and I am not sure I could type through the tears.


I think it was wonderfully ironic that I would choose to go and seek him out before attending my grandma's funeral. She was my "dad's" mother and as a young girl she would often ask me if I ever hear from "daddy Jim". She genuinely cared and hoped that I would be able to see him and never never treated me as if I wasn't her very own granddaughter.


My brothers and I loved going to her house. It was always an adventure or at least we were hoping it would be. There was usually some buried treasure she was uncovering in some box. She could usually be found out in the yard pulling weeds or working on moving stuff around. She had a lot of "stuff". She never drove and could clean out a mayonnaise jar to the last drop. She loved dolls and scooped up all the orphans from the choc store downtown. She was an incredible seamstress. I have two handmade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls to prove it. She made the best cinnamon rolls and my absolute favorite was her huge ginger snaps that were always piled high in a large glass jar with a slice of bread at the top to keep the cookies soft. But the thing I will most likely remember most about my grandma was Norwegian "lefse". I would beg her to make it. She made them from leftover mashed potatoes, shortening and flour. They looked like tortillas when cooked and tasted wonderful when sprinkled with a little butter and sugar.







Thank you grandma for all the wonderful memories!










Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All signs of God's blessings to me

Enjoy the laundry mountain and the flapping refrigerator door, and the screen forever open, and the flies challenging your wrist agility, and your name being called by voices of all pitches.....and keep the camera going! All signs of God's blessings to you




A dear friend sent me an email yesterday and this was the final paragraph. It was like she was standing in my home watching. Her words described the scene so well. But her words said something else that I don't want to soon forget. These are "all signs of God's blessings to me" It is so easy in the midst of it all (including the flies because the kids are continually leaving the screen door open) to forget that these children and their childhood is a "blessing to me." I have noticed some real changes this summer as my kids are getting older. We have very little to no routine, except that we know the pool opens at 1 o'clock. The summer bedtime is whenever we finally crawl into bed. Even our two year old is staying up way too late. Mealtime is 6 pm , 7:30 pm or maybe 9ish if we have been outside playing or whenever someone is hungry. Our family room is now the deck where we watch lightening bugs, tell stories or fly kites. Last night there was just enough breeze for three of our kids to get their kites in the air. It was very cool looking up to see a rocket, dragonfly, and huge rainbow colored shape high in the sky. So, I will keep the camera close, not worry about the laundry pile, ignore the continuous flapping of the refrigerator doors and treasure the many pitches of "mom" being called out throughout the day.

Here is one of my many blessings. I think he was saying, "get the fire started dad, I am ready for s'mores.!





Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Therefore encourage one another...

In my early days of marriage and motherhood I struggled and longed for encouragement from others. I couldn't articulate my particular need at the time, but many years later I look back and can see that I would have benefited greatly from a genuine and uplifting word of encouragement. We were very young, newly married, and experiencing the beginnings of full time ministry all at the same time. It was a dangerous mixture. I longed for an older woman to let me know if I was heading in the right direction or if somewhere I had gotten off course. I remember one particular day when a lady I had admired from a distance walked towards me after church one Sunday. As she approached me from across the room, my heart was filled with expectation and excitement at the thought that she seemed genuinely interested for a moment in my seemingly small life. To find out how this little encounter ended come visit me at CWO's blog here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My wonderful in-laws!


I'm home. Well, I have been home since Tuesday but my in-laws didn't leave until Thursday. We had a nice time away and a wonderful visit with my husband's parents. They took care of our five kids for six days. The kids were well cared for, the laundry was done and even after we arrived home my mother in law barely let me back in the kitchen. (I could get used to this) My father- in- law took over as the official taxi driver taking the kids to baseball games, the swimming pool and any other activities the kids had going on.
But our time together had to end and it was a hard good-bye. Mostly because we know it will probably be many many months until we see them again. The best part of their visit was how much they enjoyed our home, the church and the community where we live. They had not visited this part of the country before and really enjoyed what little they were able to see. I received a great blessing this morning when my mother-in-law called and said she missed me already. The feeling is mutual. My mother and father-in-law are such a gift to me. I appreciate them so much.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Seven!



Happy Birthday Hunter! You make my mother's heart smile everyday with your hugs and the twinkle in your eyes. I am so thankful to God for blessing my life with YOU! I never want to forget this season of your life with those long skinny arms and legs and a waist that barely holds your britches. Your songs of praise melt our heart and we all love to hear you pray! Our prayer is that you will continue to grow in Godly wisdom and that you would have a deep hunger to know God and His Word.
Happy Birthday! Hugs, Hugs, Hugs!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

10 reasons I have not posted in the last 10 days!!









10. Sunshine and a birthday party for a soon to be seven year old.





9. Grandma (my mom) was here for a week. We ate too much of this








8. Soar Throat, cough, achy and plenty of rest. (I had to miss some of the VBS fun, but I was thankful for the rest)



7. Vacation Bible School



6. And all the sunglasses & flip-flop decorating that took place at the kitchen table. There was also a treasure hunt throughout our house for lost coins. (my kids were on their own mission to gather as much coin as possible to give to the 1000 Wells Mission project again this year)

5. Baseball, Softball, Baseball and Softball games (in that order every night of the week)







4. Our annual Vacation Bible School Musical! The kids were awesome.

3. Grandma & Grandpa (my husband's parents) arriving safely from California to stay with us for two weeks.

2. Church at the Park and Water Baptisms! Wonderful!

1. Preparing for a trip with my husband to attend a conference. We leave Thursday. I am looking forward to the time away with him.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Internet Cafe

Today I am over at CWO's Internet Cafe. Summer is a time for Vacation Bible School. Ours begins on Monday. Whether held in a large building with hundreds of children or in the neighborhood backyard with a half dozen kids, VBS is a wonderful opportunity to bring the gospel message to our children.

So, I wanted to share a simple letter my husband shared with our congregation a few months back on the impact the loving touch and concern two very special people had on his life.


("Papa & Mama" Kiemel as my husband so fondly refers to them as are the parents of authors Ann Kiemel Anderson and Jan Kiemel Ream.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer Vacation is Officially Underway

Well, summer is in full swing at our house and the first week was a whirlwind of activity. My kids finished well this year with school and I am glad we are done! (can I hear a big AMEN!) I love this time of year when the days are longer, the feet are dirtier and the laundry is lighter. (or I can dream at least!) Bedroom hampers can hold alot of shorts and t-shirts. Socks rarely see the light of day this time of year and all the swimsuits and towels hang in the mud room night after night to dry on the hooks which once held layers of coats The schedule and routine have completely changed and I am sure I will be a bit sporadic in my blog posting but if it means that more time was spent with my kids, than all is well. But little do my children know in the shadows of our warm summer days, mom keeps some simple goals for her crew so that the temptation to do absolutely nothing is not met.

Our week began with a bang or maybe I should say a "jump". The first thing on our summer schedule was to set up one of these in our backyard!



We were not able to bring ours with us when we moved across the country, so we promised the kids we would replace it when we were able to. They have been jumping all week even in their pajamas. (yes my little guy is wearing his pjs) And, yes it is square.

Our second week began with another real treat and surprise. My mom is here with us visiting. She flew to a city about five hours away at the end of last week from California to see her sister who is ill, and drove to our house to spend a few days with us before heading back to be with her sister. We were all very excited to see her and the kids are getting lots of Grandma's hugs.


If I didn't say it already, I will say it again, "I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!"
It is a time to step back from the routine that school brings to our family and take some moments to listen to, walk along with, watch as they play and truly treasure my children's childhood.