Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a belated birthday party

JW turned 9 the week of Thanksgiving ... then we left for Atlanta to work in the OCC Processing Center (something I have yet to blog about...) and from Atlanta we drove up to Tennessee for vacation (something else I haven't blogged about...) and when we got back it was December and the mad dash for Christmas had begun.  The result of all that busyness is that JW missed having any real birthday celebration, even though he had been promised that he could have a couple of friends sleep over instead of a party.  We finally settled on a date and yesterday was it.  We made the house a sister-free zone by trading children with Amy ... I got her son, Gogurt, and she got LB to hang out with Poptart.  The drama level may have dropped a little with the departure of my girl, but the noise level has risen exponentially.  Along with JW and Gogurt we also have another of JW's friends, Bubba (his sister's nickname for him).



The boys have played extraordinarily well with each other.  There have been a few times when the three of them each had a different opinion about what to play, but they have been able to work it out themselves, so that has been nice.  I only threatened to turn off the Wii once when they were discussing which game to play.  Most of the time yesterday they were doing their best to fill my yard and the empty lot across the street with 5,000 airsoft pellets.  Later, they held some sort of jumping contest that involved the top bunk of JW's bed.  Ronnie finally had to ask them to stop when the pictures on the living room wall started bouncing.


Needless to say, the kids' new Wii has been a top attraction around here, but I did take them to my parents' house this morning where they played fort and shot their airsoft and BB guns and rode down the hill in the wagon and tramped through the woods and whatever else boys can find to do in the great outdoors.  I did take some pictures but will have to add those later.

As a side note, I have to share my new favorite fun breakfast.  I have to give credit to the kids ... they saw these on a Pillsbury commercial and wanted me to make them for Christmas breakfast, so I did. 


Let me just say that they were easy and actually pretty good, so I thought it would be a good breakfast for the boys this morning.  In case you are curious, it is just a crescent dinner roll (I used the actual triangle ones for Christmas) unrolled and then layered with ham and cheese and rolled back up and baked.  Like I said ... EASY!

Hopefully, JW enjoyed his birthday party because it is about over.  Bubba has already gone home and Gogurt will be returned to his family at church tonight, and so, with three days to spare, we are finished with birthdays for 2010 ... only a month and five days late!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a family first

At the request of our friend Brad, Ronnie took on a two night acting job as the guy in the red suit.  Amazingly, he thoroughly enjoyed playing the part and had great fun talking to the kids.  He did say that he was amazed by the kids and what they asked for ... things like four-wheelers, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets.  Then there was the little girl who only wanted a new dress for her Mom.   I am sure that there were many children who fell in the middle of these extremes, but when I asked, Ronnie said that there were so many kids that he really couldn't remember much of what they said. 

The people who made the biggest impression on him were the adults ... not the adults bringing kids, but the older teens and adults who wanted to sit on his lap and have their picture made ... too funny!  There was even one rather large man who asked if Santa would sit in his lap!  I think he was rather surprised when Ronnie agreed ... I hate I wasn't there to see that!

I did take our kids out to see Santa last night and even though they knew it was their Daddy, they didn't want to stand in line to talk to him.  We waited until he was done and then I took a picture of them with him ... their first ever picture with Santa!



 
Our friend, Amy, had some nice things to say about my hubby on her blog today, along with pictures of my Santa with her Poptart and Gogurt.  Thanks, Amy, and thanks Brad (Amy's husband) for asking Ronnie to do this ... I really think he had a wonderful time!

While we were waiting on Ronnie to finish up, I took a few pictures of the kids around the other decorations in the park and a nice lady offered to take a picture of all of us.



I have to share that our time last night was a great way to end what had been a really nice day, overall.  LB spent the day with her friend H and their family so that she could go to dance class with H for their Christmas party.  I have to take just a moment to brag on my little girl who won the dance contest (for remembering the most ballet steps ... she missed 1/2 of one step) for the 2nd year in a row!  With LB taken care of, I took the boys to my brother's house since he had volunteered to keep them while I went shopping with Mama and his wife.  We ate lunch together and then did a little shopping together before splitting up to make the best use of our time.  I don't spend a lot of time shopping all by myself, and I must say that I enjoyed the freedom while I finished up our last minute gifts.  I am thrilled to be finished with my shopping and ready to spend my time preparing for our family time this week.

I would like to think that I will find time to blog again before Christmas, but in reality I probably won't, so ....

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

please pray

If you have a moment, please read this post written by my friend Amy and lift her family up in prayer.

An Untitled Post

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the fun side of things

Now that I have had my bah humbug post, let me assure you that things are actually quite festive around our house.  We have our tree up and decorated and much to the chagrin of my children we are playing my favorite Christmas game of stump the kids.  I rarely put names on gifts under the tree and the kids have to wonder and guess which one is theirs.  Before Christmas arrives they will have at least one named gift to shake and rattle, but most will be a surprise.


We have also been participating in Christmas activities with our wonderful group of home schooled families.  The kids decorated graham cracker houses and we now have a cute little gingerbread village on our hearth. 






We were a little later than usual putting up our tree this year since we were out of town when we would have normally done it, but it got done and I had a great time watching the boys help their Daddy get it set up.



D still likes to hang multiple ornaments on the same branch, but he is getting better!


LB and I spent Saturday morning shopping with Mama.  Mama got most of what she had left to do done while we were out and I got my niece and nephews finished in one stop, which was wonderful!  It was kind of fun to try to hide a couple of things from LB while I shopped.  I was able to buy one thing for her and some stocking stuffers for the boys without her knowing it.  She is a very sharp little girl and misses very little, so it was a challenge to distract her, but Mama helped and we got it done.  We finished up with lunch at Chik-fil-a.  The one closest to us has just re-opened after being remodeled.  Let me just say that it was absolutely crazy in there, but we enjoyed it anyway.


LB was in the city Christmas parade with her dance class on Saturday afternoon.  The weather was threatening to get bad, but thankfully the rain held off until after the parade was over.  It was quite cloudy and windy and I had a hard time getting any good pictures.  That kind of makes me sad since LB and her friend H got to carry the banner for their group.  This is one of LB's favorite Christmas activities and she was thrilled to get to carry the banner.  I wish I had a clearer picture of her smiling and waving as she passed us.


JW and me fighting over a Nestle's Crunch bar that was thrown during the parade.
He won, by the way ;-)


Sunday, after church and lunch, LB and I went to Mama's to make fudge for our cookie/candy swap (LB and H decided that it should be renamed the Sweet Swap ... maybe next year) with our Keepers group.  The idea was for each girl to choose a recipe that had some meaning to them and besides sharing the goodies, we would also share the recipe and why they had chosen it.  The recipe for fudge that we used was originally my Granny's recipe for chocolate cake icing.  It was the go to birthday cake for most of us kids growing up and still is a favorite of mine and what JW asked me to make for his birthday last month.  As a side note, my oldest brother and I had a great thing going when we were still at home ... I am not a big cake fan and he's not a big icing fan so we had a deal going where he would give me the icing off of his cake and I'd give him the majority of my cake ... worked out pretty good for both of us.   Mama also modified the recipe to make wonderful fudge, adding crunchy peanut butter (or just peanuts) and marshmallow creme.
LB's completed haul from the Sweet Swap
Added to these activities we had our Christmas fellowship at church following the choir singing on Sunday night.  As usual, we had a wonderful time with our church family.  Our pastor's wife gathered the kids around a table and Ronnie told them the Christmas story.  It looks like they were having fun with it.

I have one final picture to share with you, just a simple reminder of what it is all about.


Monday, December 13, 2010

trappings

I admit it.  I didn't want December to come this year.  I even dreaded the coming of Thanksgiving because I knew that the Thanksgiving turkey would usher in the December gimmies ... and I am not talking about my kids.


No, this problem doesn't lie with my children, it is in me.  I find myself fighting a desire for isolation from Black Friday until Christmas.


I don't want to know what I could be giving my kids if only ...


I don't want to think about all the the beautiful decorations that won't be hanging in my house ...


I don't want to feel the pressure to do more and celebrate better and create the perfect holiday for my family.


Don't get me wrong.  I know that many, many people celebrate Christmas from pure motives of worship and honor for the birth of Christ.  I also know that materialism is rampant year-round in the culture we live in today, it just gets to me more around this time of year.  And this year, more than ever before, I have had to force myself to even participate in the trappings of Christmas.


I am not exactly sure what the point of this post is.  I suppose I am just feeling the need to vent a little.  Nothing will change, Christmas is going to come and go and be celebrated no matter what I feel or do.  There are always going to be those around me who do Christmas bigger and better than I do.   These are facts that I cannot change.  I suppose that the change has to come from within me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

another belated birthday post

Just over two weeks ago, on November 24th, my oldest son turned 9. 
One more year in single digits.

Unfortunately for JW, his birthday always gets caught up in Thanksgiving.  This year was even worse.  Not only was Thanksgiving the day after his birthday, we were leaving for our vacation the day after Thanksgiving and there just wasn't time to have much of a party.  I did make his favorite cake and had a "celebration" of sorts while we got together with Ronnie's family.

Sadly, I took very few pictures of JW on his birthday.  Here's the best of what I got.




please ignore the unfolded socks on the couch behind him ;-)


JW has been asking for his own bat (not a hand-me-down) and batting gloves for a while now, but we just couldn't justify the money.  BUT, this year when Wal-Mart had all their summer sports stuff on clearance, we got a really good deal on these items and put them up for his birthday.  He was thrilled, even if baseball season is still several months away.  He is still hoping for a spend-the-night party with a couple of friends, but that may have to wait until school is out for Christmas break ... we'll just have to see!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

today, in 1995

I remember the day very well. 

It was a Saturday ... I was 21, he was 28.

I spent most of the day trying to decide what to wear ...
and trying to calm my nerves.

Strangely, I don't really remember the conversation when he asked and I accepted the invitation for a date.  But, I know it happened and the rest, as they say, is history.

We had actually met a couple of months earlier, in September, through mutual friends at the Baptist Student Union.  Then, at the Mississippi College/Delta State football game, we ran into each other again ... I had been visiting with a friend of a friend on the MC side; he was over showing a little support for his alma mater and when I left, he decided to walk back around to the DSU side with me.

I don't have any idea what we talked about ... my school or his work, maybe ... or maybe we just talked about how the football season was going for the Fighting Okra ... I can't remember.  But, our friend (or his girlfriend) saw us talking and decided to give us a little push in the right direction by inviting us both over for lunch at his mom's house after church on Sunday.  And before I knew it, I had agreed to go out with him on the following Saturday, just a few days before I would be heading home for Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, he picked me up from my dorm and took me to one of the best restaurants in Cleveland (keep in mind there were only 2 or 3 really nice places to eat ... or 4 if you count both the Mexican place and the Western Sizzlin').  This is Ronnie's favorite part of our first date story ... he took me to a place that specialized in steak and I ordered grilled chicken, because my Mama always told me not to order the most expensive thing on the menu.  On top of that, I ordered a baked potato for my side, not realizing that the chicken was served with rice pilaf.  In my defense, I grew up in a large family ... we didn't eat out much, there were just too many of us.  In other words, I had very little experience ordering from a menu that wasn't printed on the wall ... not that I hadn't done it before, but this night my nerves got the better of me and I ended up feeling a little bit like a doofus.

After dinner, we went to the little movie theater in town and watched the James Bond movie GoldenEye.  I have never been a huge movie-goer, but there isn't much to do in Cleveland if there isn't a DSU sporting event to watch ... which is exactly where we would spend a large part of our dates over the next couple of years. 

Oddly, I don't remember many of the details of the date.  Odd because I have friends who marvel at the details I can remember from our childhood.  But, for this one, I couldn't even begin to tell you what we talked about, but I do remember that he was incredibly polite and did all the things that he was supposed to do (but that many guys don't do) like opening my car door ... which he would continue doing for the entire time we dated, and still does when we aren't trying to herd three kids into the car mini-van.

This date would prove to be the beginning of a beautiful thing.  Our second date came on the following Tuesday night before I left to go home for Thanksgiving, and by Christmas we were introducing each other to our families.  Again, the rest is history, and I am incredibly thankful for that history.  In a world where marriage is so fragile, I know how blessed we are to still be together and I hope to never take for granted the gift we have been given.

Monday, November 15, 2010

would you join me?

It begins today.

The third week of November.

The final week before Thanksgiving
(bringing with it the beginning of the holiday season).

National Collection Week 
for Operation Christmas Child

Beginning today, more than 3000 locations around the country will be collecting shoe boxes for the next week.  I have no idea how many volunteers that number represents, but I can guess that the number is quite large.  Between now and next Monday, these volunteers will have the opportunity to meet thousands of people who have packed a shoebox.

They will meet ladies who have a passion for this ministry and spend months each year planning and preparing shoeboxes.  I know two women from another local church who do just that ... they transform a garage into a storage place for shoeboxes and then hunt for any and every way they can fill that garage each year.  God is blessing their efforts and each year their church gets more involved and packs more boxes than the year before.

They will also meet children who have packed boxes with their school or their Sunday School class.  Children who are excited about what they have done and who want to have the opportunity to tell about their experience.

They will meet families who want their children to know that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Or maybe, they will meet a mother who has packed special needs boxes because she knows first hand exactly what should go into a box for a special needs child.

And, if these volunteers are anything like me, they will be inspired and encouraged by the stories they hear from those they come in contact with this week.

The stories and motives behind each box that will enter our relay center and others just like it across the country this week are as diverse and special as the people who bring in those boxes.  And, in truth, the opportunities to share the Gospel through a shoe box begins today, in those relay and collection centers, where we never know who might come in needing to hear about the love of God. 

So, would you pray with me this week? 

Pray for the thousands of volunteers who will be working this week ... for safety and energy and most of all, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as we have the opportunity to meet and talk with thousands of people who are being the hands and feet of Jesus and helping to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world. 

Pray for a hedge of protection around these volunteers.  Our adversary does not like what is being done through this ministry. 

The Light of the Gospel is penetrating dark places and hearts that have belonged to him. 

Churches are gaining greater unity as they work together in serving the Lord. 

Lives are being transformed.

This may sound melodramatic, but I don't think it is overstated.

For where two or three are gathered together in my
 name, there am I in the midst of them. 
Matthew 18:20

There will be thousands of drop-off locations open this week with their two or three gathered in the name of Jesus and He will be there in each one of those locations and His power will be displayed across this nation. 

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season
 we shall reap, if we faint not.
Galatians 6:9

I believe with all my heart that God is working through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan's Purse and I am so thankful that He has allowed me to be a part of this ministry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a reason to get involved - updated

I only have a few minutes before leaving for our monthly book report meeting, but I wanted to share a video about Operation Christmas Child.  I could talk for hours about why I am involved in this wonderful ministry, but I think hearing from those impacted by the boxes might be even more effective.  Enjoy.



Here is another video that I absolutely love to watch and share.  It is the story of Oksana Nelson, told in her own words as she has come full circle from receiving a shoe box in an orphanage in Russia and now works with Operation Christmas Child.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

a belated birthday post

D's 5th birthday came and went last month in the midst of a flurry of activity helping with the completion of the new church building and my Mama's birthday and all the other fall busyness that has contributed to my lack of time for blogging.  We did celebrate around here, twice actually.  Before I share some pictures, I have to tell you a funny story about my little guy. 

His birthday was Wednesday, October 20th.  We had planned to have his party on the Friday following his birthday, but we ended up moving it to the next Friday, the 29th.  So, all day long he kept telling us that he wasn't 5 yet and it upset him every time someone told him that he was already five ... which, of course, made it more fun for his older siblings (especially JW) to tell him repeatedly that he was 5 years old.  The long and short of this story is that he would not tell anyone or let anyone tell him that he was 5 years old until we had his party ... a full week and a half after his actual birthday.  He is one stubborn little guy!


Rie's daughter, Shelby, made this cake for D, who loves anything Thomas the Train. 
He did have 2 problems with the cake, first, it doesn't have a #1 on it, a fact that Ronnie enjoyed pointing out to Shelby when he saw her last night ;-).  Second, and the thing that was funniest to me, he had a hard time eating Thomas!  As a matter of fact, Thomas' face is still in my refrigerator because no one has been allowed to eat it!  Even if Thomas is a person in the eyes of my 5 year old, he tasted really good!





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a good excuse

I haven't been blogging much lately, but I have had a good excuse.  I have been working on a gift for my Mama.  I would have loved to have finished it by her birthday, but it came and went a couple of weeks ago and I have just finished the gift tonight.  I think I am happy with it, though I am tired of looking at it, but most of all, I think she is going to like it and isn't that what matters?

So, for those of you who haven't seen this yet ... I have been crocheting like a crazy woman for 2 weeks to finish this:  the pattern name is Simply Shawl by Caron - which is the brand of yarn I used.  I think it turned out pretty good, except that it is a little smaller than I pictured it to be.  What I liked about the pattern is that the rows in the body of the shawl are identical from row 2-98.  This made it easier since I didn't have to keep looking at the pattern to see what to do next.



I really struggled with the decorative stitches that make up the two outside rows of the border.  I had never heard of the stitches before I started this project, so I had to learn how to do them ... the tall ones are called double treble stitches and they are very hard to keep going correctly, at least for a beginner like me.  The smaller stitches on the outside edge are called picot stitches and they are relatively easy to make, but much harder to keep even.


I had thought that since I couldn't give this to Mama for her birthday that I would save it for Christmas, but I'm not.  I plan to give it to her tomorrow, if I can get to her house.  The weather we are having now is much more suited to this kind of shawl than it will be after Christmas, so I just can't see waiting.  Besides, I don't think that I would be able to keep it to myself for that long.

Monday, October 18, 2010

broken into beautiful

As I sit here, looking at the blank page before me, I realize that I have no idea how to write about this topic in a way that will do it justice.  So often when this realization comes to me, I give up, but not today.  I may not be able to write eloquently, but today, I am going to share what is on my heart anyway.

I read a question the other day, on one of my favorite blogs, about how God speaks to us as individuals.  The author of this blog asked her readers to think about the ways that God has spoken to us and the first answer that came to my mind was music.  I have always loved to sing, and even though my best efforts are simply a "joyful noise,"  I still find myself, almost unconsciously, singing the words to a hymn when I am feeling empty and I realize that it is no coincidence that a song just popped into my mind.  It is a gift from my Father, who wants me to focus on Him rather than on my circumstances.  This shouldn't surprise me, the Bible tells me that God hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:3)

Knowing that music is powerful in the lives of many Christians is part of why I enjoy singing in the choir.  Having the opportunity to praise God through song is only part of why I sing.  One of my favorite parts of singing in the choir is getting to see the faces of the congregation while we sing.  Sometimes, you can look at them and know that they aren't just listening to us, they are worshiping the Father with us as we sing.  It has nothing to do with how well we present the song, it is simply that the words resonate with them and point them to the Savior.  We experienced this true worship yesterday morning with a song from our Easter musical, Broken Into Beautiful.  The song was sung by my friend, Amy, with a little ~very little~ help from the choir and it felt as if the congregation was collectively holding their breath while she sang the words that seemed to touch every heart in the sanctuary.

She's smiling on the outside, but she's hurting on the inside,
it's hard just living anymore, and the shadows she has clung to,
painful things that she has been through have left her feeling worthless, Lord.

I have loved this song from the first time I heard it.  We read this woman's story in Luke 7:36-50.  She is the one who anointed Jesus' feet with ointment and wiped them with her hair, but this story is so much more than just a story

It is the reality that has been experienced by every person who has come to the feet of the Savior asking forgiveness and accepting the love He offers. 

The first few times I listened to the song I couldn't help but think of the line the shadows she has clung to, painful things she has been through have left her feeling worthless, Lord ... this is personal, the shadows that I have clung to ... have left me feeling worthless and alone at times and, like the woman in the song, I know how to put on the smile for everyone to see.  Of course, I am not unique and thankfully the story doesn't end with the fake smiles and feelings of failure.

But You change worthless into precious, guilty to forgiven,
hungry into satisfied, empty into full and all the lies are shattered
and we believe we matter when You change broken into beautiful.

Again, I am not unique in my personal connection with this song.  As I looked out over the congregation as Amy sang, I could see that same connection on many of the faces.  I know the story behind some of those faces ... each story is different and yet they are all the same when they are poured out at the feet of Jesus.

We live with accusations, sometimes heavy expectations
that tell us that we can never measure up. 
 And yet You repeat with mercy and in Your eyes we are
worthy, until at last we see how much we're loved.

But You change worthless into precious, guilty to forgiven,
hungry into satisfied, empty into full, and all the lies are shattered
and we believe we matter, when You change broken into beautiful.

_________________________________________

I found this video on YouTube if you would like to listen to the song ...
don't forget to pause the blog music!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

our day at the fair

Today was our day to work at the MS State Fair in the Operation Christmas Child booth.  I have done this for several years and always enjoy talking to the people as they come through.  The traffic seemed to be a little less this year, possibly because the weather was really pretty (even if it was way too hot to be called "fair weather").  This year was also different because we took the kids with us and four hours is too long to expect them not to get bored.  Still, it wasn't too bad, Ronnie and I just took turns taking the kids around the Trade Mart to look at the various booths and exhibits.


Following our shift in the booth, we took the kids walking around the fair.  I must admit to not being a fan of the fair ... I don't like crowds, I don't like to ride the rides, and I don't like paying hugely inflated prices for greasy food cooked in places of questionable sanitation.  Okay, I know, I'm a party pooper!  The kids wanted to play games or ride something, but we didn't do any of that.  We did watch a circus act perform ... we all enjoyed the family of trapeze artists and the guys on motorcycles inside the great big metal ball were pretty cool in a "man I hope they don't kill themselves" way.


The highlight of the day, at least for LB and me, was getting to see our arts and crafts displayed.  LB couldn't wait to see if she had gotten any blue or red ribbons and was thrilled with the results.  She entered four items in the arts and crafts youth division and received 3 blue ribbons and 1 red ribbon.  I think she was most proud of the blue ribbon on her crocheted scarf.  I only entered two arts and crafts items, a scarf and a decoupaged clipboard.  We both entered jars of tomatoes, pickles, and green beans.  Our tomatoes received blue ribbons, while the others got red ribbons.

hers is the purple scarf hanging behind her


I have to confess that I underestimated how much fun it would be to see all the items displayed with ribbons hanging from them.  I had been satisfied with how much fun LB and I have had making these items, working together with our Keepers at Home group.  But, seeing the results of our hard work and picking out the things we knew had been made by other members of our group, was a perfect way to cap off the fun of making the items.  I am feeling pretty inspired right now to work harder next year to have more items to enter.  I might as well find my own inspiration because my daughter is already chomping at the bit to get busy on things for next year and even JW is thinking that this might not be such a "girlie" thing after all.

  




my scarf
snowmen made by some of our Keepers friends

LB's wreath


my decoupaged clipboard


LB's decoupaged wooden shopping bag ~
she has done a couple of these as birthday gifts for her friends.


LB's woven paper basket ~ we were both surprised that she got a blue ribbon
since she has used the basket a lot since she made it and it looks a little worn.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

boys and sticks

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I'm linking up with Katharine again this week with a Thursday is for Simple Things post.  Choosing something simple this week was extremely easy.  We have spent the last two Thursdays at the Clinton Nature Center with our home school group.  I am planning an entire post about what the kids have done there over on my other blog, but here I just want to share a couple of pictures of the boys and their favorite collectors' items from the nature center.

JW and his friend J

D looking tough with his stick

D and Max "working"
 One stick and a little boy's imagination can create many useful tools:
knife
gun
sword
bat
walking stick
building material
fuel for a fire

It really is simple:
boys and sticks really do go together.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

appreciation and clarification

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the comments and e-mail regarding my earlier post.  Just knowing that so many of you understand my emotions and are praying for us helps tremendously.

I do want to point out that, in my overly dramatic rant, I may have made our situation seem worse than it really is.  Nothing actually changed today, except that we now have an even greater confirmation that the opportunity for advancement is virtually non-existent as long as he continues to work for his current employer.

We aren't sure exactly what we need to do with this new information, if anything.  For now, we will continue to move forward and trust that the hand of God is leading us ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

keeping it real

I'm not even going to try and fake anything today.

I am frustrated. 

I am angry. 

Mostly, I am discouraged.

For nearly eleven years I have watched my husband go to work almost every week day.  He works hard.  He doesn't complain (at least not at work).  He is the only one left of the three people (other than his boss) who worked in the department when he started.  They never replaced the other two after they quit.  Do the math ... three positions, one person doing the work.  The only reason the company could get away with this is because Ronnie came in and quickly realized that the work could be done much more efficiently if they used the computers that were already sitting on their desks for something other than e-mail.

Over the last several years the company has changed hands several times.  Unfortunately, one of the co-owners was the infamous thief of World Com.  About the time Bernie got his fingers in the pie, things started going sour and what was once a good company to work for has become a place for the "good-ole-boy" system to thrive.  The honest, hard working guys twist in the wind while others manage to work little, talk a lot, and still get promoted.

This isn't the way it is supposed to work ... at some point in time, hard work is supposed to be rewarded.

But, today is not that day.

Yes, I am frustrated and I am not feeling much like the kind of person that I profess to be. 

My heart is heavy as I feel the war inside of me.

I know the answer, but to be completely honest, I am not ready to give up my anger yet.

I suppose, it would be better to keep this venting of frustration to myself, but I am sharing because I am asking you to pray for us as we make decisions about our future.  We seem to have reached a crossroads and in all honesty, we don't know which direction to choose.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

simple things

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When I read about Katharine's new Thursday is for Simple Things, I absolutely loved the idea.  Our world tends to be way too crazy busy and I know that I am guilty of focusing on the problematic parts of my days and ignoring the everyday blessings that are the things on which I should be focusing (Philippians 4:8).  So today, I am going to share one of my most favorite simple things.  When you finish reading this post, I hope you'll take a moment to visit Katharine and maybe even join in with your own simple thing.

Nothing reminds me more quickly of why I love homeschooling than my time with the kids in the morning.  It doesn't happen every morning, but on a fairly regular basis one or more of my children will end up on my bed as I wake up D (who still sleeps with us on a regular basis).  Now, D is my very best cuddler ... this child loves to be held, hugged, and snuggled in just about any setting.  And, I love to be the one holding, hugging, and snuggling him any chance I get, so I take advantage of his sleepy times in the morning and cuddle with him on my bed.  As soon as the other two realize what is happening, they almost always come join in the fun.  At this point the cuddling usually turns into a time of tickling and giggling and pillow-fighting.  I love this time because the children all love it and it rarely ends in any kind of argument until I tell them that we must stop and get on with the day. 

On the surface, there is nothing profound about this time together, but in a way that I cannot completely explain, this time is the fuel that I need to get through the frustrating times in the day when one kid or the other doesn't want to do their work or they are fighting or someone (often me) has a bad attitude.  I am so often reminded of how quickly these children are growing up and I am so thankful for these few moments every once in a while that help me to relax and enjoy homeschooling and, I think, allow the kids to relax and just enjoy being a family.

So, what about you?  What are the simple things that you are thankful for this week?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

wishes . . .

Happy Birthday

to two of my favorite blogging buddies!

and

Happy Belated Birthday

to another blogging buddy!

September is a busy birthday month and I hope that I am not missing any other of my friends whose birthdays are this month ... but, if I missed you, happy birthday to you, too!

For the ones I am sure of ... and who just happen to be my friends in the real world as well ...

Marie @ Just Call me 'Rie
Donna @ Mississippi Mama
and
Betsy @ Handwoven Dreams
who, coincidentally, loves birthdays more than any other adult I know ;-)

I hope you ladies have (or had) a wonderfully blessed day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

another hymn for another week

A few weeks ago, our church held a dedication service for our new hymnals.  I was skeptical when I first heard that Lifeway was coming out with a new hymnal, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the excellent mix of old and new.  Today we sang several of my favorite hymns, but the one I want to share is a new one we learned in choir tonight.  If you haven't heard the song, you can listen to it here.

I don't know what else to say, except that as we sang tonight I just found myself praying these words and thinking how appropriate they are for the beginning of a new week.  I hope it speaks to you, as well.


Holy Spirit, Rain Down
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down;
O Comforter and Friend,
How we need Your touch again.

Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down;
Let Your power fall, let Your voice be heard,
Come and change our hearts as we stand on Your Word.
Holy Spirit, rain down.

Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down;
O Comforter and Friend,
How we need Your touch again.



Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down;
Let Your power fall, let Your voice be heard,
Come and change our hearts as we stand on Your Word.
Holy Spirit, rain down.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
No mind can know what God has in store;
So open up heaven, open it wide
Over Your church and over our lives.

Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down;
Let Your power fall, let Your voice be heard,
Come and change our hearts as we stand on Your Word.
Holy Spirit, rain down.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.  John 14:26 & 27

Words and Music by Russell Fragar ~ Hillsong Publishing ~ from the Baptist Hymnal

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i am afraid

Friday is LB's 11th birthday.

But that isn't why I am afraid.

I struggled last year as she entered double digits, but 11 is not so bad. 
Certainly not like 10 was or, I am sure, that 13 will be.

No, this fear stems from a much more tangible source and I really think that you will understand where I am coming from.

On Friday afternoon, seven ... yes 7 ... girls will descend on my Mama's living room for LB's first pajama party.  The My original plan was for 2 or 3 girls, but after much discussion with a distraught  overly dramatic child and a moment of temporary insanity, I caved and agreed to allow her to invite 6 of her friends.  In the back of my mind, I have been hoping that at least one (or better yet, 3 or 4) would be out of town or otherwise occupied, but alas ... they all said yes. 

YIKES!

The upside is that LB is thrilled and even though our little house won't accommodate that many girls, my parents happen to have an empty living room in a house that isn't attached to the rest of their house, so basically, the girls get their own private party house.   We are still negotiating the menu, but I think that I have the activities pretty well in hand and LB and I will have a meeting of the minds about the menu before I make a trip to the grocery store on Thursday.  It is unfortunate that we aren't allowing any boys 'cause my Daddy makes the best hamburgers anywhere on his Waffle House style griddle.  Oh well, we'll just have to settle for pizza (my vote) or sandwiches (LB's choice).

To be honest, I didn't do sleepovers much as a kid and when I did it was almost always just one or two girls.  The only time I had more was for my 16th birthday and there were four of us ... me and my two best friends and then the other girl who begged to come so that she could spend the evening flirting with my older brother ... but that is a story for another day.  I guess the point is that I have no idea what to expect from seven giggling girls.  This may be our first and last sleep over, but we shall see.  If I survive it, I promise to post about our experiences sometime next week.

In the mean time, any advice would be appreciated!  Oh, and any ideas for appropriate movies would be helpful, too.  I haven't seen a kids' movie since Charlotte's Web came out 4 years ago!  I am so completely out of touch that I don't even know where to begin!

Maybe we'll just skip the movie and do a puzzle instead!

Monday, September 13, 2010

a hymn for the coming week

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not,
nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God,
he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee,
nor forsake thee.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Be Strong in the Lord

Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Defender is always the same.
Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;
Vict'ry is sure when you call on His name.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And be of good courage, for He is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And rejoice, for the vict'ry is yours.

So put on the armor the Lord has provided,
And place your defense in His unfailing care.
Trust Him, for He will be with you in battle,
Lighting your path to avoid ev'ry snare.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And be of good courage, for He is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And rejoice, for the vict'ry is yours.

Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Commander will vanquish the foe.
Fear not the battle, for the vict'ry is always His;
He will protect you wherever you go.

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And be of good courage, for He is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And rejoice, for the vict'ry is yours.
Linda Lee Johnson from the Baptist Hymnal


Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate
of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery
darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.  Ephesians 6:10-17