Saturday, December 29, 2007
When I was a little girl and I wasn't feeling well, my Nana would ask me, "Are you feeling puny?" If she were here today to ask me that, I would have to say yes!
We had a wonderful pre-Christmas weekend. I had everything bought, wrapped, arranged, cooked, prepared, packaged, and tied-with-a-bow. Christmas Eve day the kids made beautiful gingerbread cookies for Santa before we went over to my father-in-law's house. We had our usual fun time at his house on Christmas Eve, complete with a Santa sighting (and Santa tripped the trap and got away, like he does every year... he's very sneaky!) Christmas morning we had a wonderful time here at home as a family seeing what Santa brought and opening our gifts, enjoying our traditional breakfast of sausage balls and muffins. Then we headed over to my parents' home where Mom had outdone herself preparing a beautiful Christmas lunch of turkey and all the trimmings. We went from there over to Luke's mom's where we enjoyed time around her HUGE tree with all of the siblings and cousins. It's always so much fun! But... BOY was I tired! In addition, my throat was beginning to hurt, bad. And I had a toothache. Always a fun combination.
The next day, I woke up feeling not-so-good, so I purposed that I would spend the day in my flannel PJ's, staying in and staying warm, taking it easy while the kids had time to finally stay in one place and enjoy their presents. I had put a lot of energy into the preceding days and I decided I needed a break. I had nothing on the schedule. I had it all planned out... and then the phone rang. It was my dentist's office. They had a cancellation and would I like to come in and let him get started on my root canal? There I sat in my comfy PJ's with my hair all up in a ponytail, thinking to myself, "You know, when I got up this morning with a sore throat, tired from our Christmas Tour 2007 (and looking oh-so-good I might add) I thought to myself how much I would love to go have a root canal today!"
So, of course I went. Not only was my tooth hurting, it really helped to go while it could go on our 2007 insurance. Meanwhile, the rest of the family began coughing and sniffling. I knew by the next day that I had a sinus infection for sure, and I have decided that a sinus infection with a side of root canal is NOT a fun way to spend one's anniversary (which we celebrated Thursday.) I wasn't feeling all that cute, but my sweet husband looked at me like I was anyway. I was reminded that that's one of the hundreds of reasons I married him. :)
And here we are. Everyone's taking their medicines and I am so hopped up on cold medicine and Darvo*cet that the kids are keeping track on a little tablet in the kitchen when they take medicine, so I don't OD someone.
Happy New Year, indeed! :)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
This is my grandmother's foil tree that she always had in her home and then in her little apartment. I inherited it and it is such a treasure to me. It sits on the glass table in my entry way with the lights under it. Someday maybe I'll get a color wheel!
This is one of my favorite new decorations, a gift from a friend. I love plugging it in each morning while the house is still dark.
This is a rug I picked up this year. Everywhere I see the word "Joy" and it's catching my eye more than ever, as we have pretty much decided that will be our new daughter's middle name. I love seeing this rug with the little African chairs on either side.
Here is my little Christmas village on my cookbook shelf in the kitchen. I just love Dollar Tree!
Here are our gingerbread houses in the china cabinet, where they live each year. We learned our lesson one year when our dog helped himself...
I haven't collected the whole Willow Tree set yet, but I found this stained glass Bethlehem last year and I think it looks great with the pieces I do have.
My daughter's tree
My son's tree
The view from upstairs. Notice the sleeping Dachshund curled up on the couch cushion. It's his birthday today!
Each new candle brings us one week closer to Christmas Day! I just love this time of year.
Thanks so much for stopping by our home, and thanks, Boomama , for hosting us.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Friday, December 14, 2007
We've been caught up in the Christmas busy-ness around here, so I thought I would get "caught up" on my blog as well.
I made a decision recently to focus more on relationships, especially during the month of December. It has been a wonderful, "relational" week or so for us. As a result, I've had to play "catch up" on some housework and I'm a bit behind on my Christmas shopping (!!) but I believe God will bless my efforts to focus more on... people.
Last Friday we spent the day at a friend's house just being together. I can't think of when we've done that. It's been just forever. Our boys soaked up time running around outside together and our girls enjoyed chatting, making crafts and... more chatting. That's just what the moms were doing (minus the crafts!) I realized that day that I needed to spend more time just being with people.
Saturday Bethany and I headed over to my niece's "princess party." We both wore our tiaras and had a fantastic time being with all the other princesses. It was so fun to get caught up with my brother and his sweet family. The kids are all growing so fast.
We started our week "back to business" with school, after our busier-than-usual Awana night the night before. Tuesday as we were starting our day, my daughter said in her usually bright sing-songy voice, "Hey! Christmas is two weeks from toDAY!!" Well, oh my word. That got me going. We hadn't bought any presents! So after some reading that morning, we did the only thing I knew to do. Went shopping. (We ended up getting all of the gifts for my nieces and nephews, and one thing for my cute husband!)
While we were out, we saw some dear friends and we stopped and... just talked. There we stood with our shopping carts amid the shoppers whirring all around us, talking about our adoption, the mission opportunities that are on our hearts, what our kids are up to, good books, fun memories... The blur of holiday busy-ness and buying was interrupted by... relationship.
Before I could even get the packages to the car, my cell phone rang and it was my cute husband asking if I thought we could make it to an adoption meeting that night. He really felt it was one we should go to, and since my prayer each day is that he'll be directing us in this area I said, "Sure!" (while glancing at my watch, wondering how I'd get the gifts and groceries home in time to meet him.) Our kids enjoyed going to their Grandma's house and decorating her (HUGE) tree with their cousin and aunts, laughing, eating and enjoying... relationship. Luke and I enjoyed a wonderfully informative meeting, forging ahead in our adoption process. We stopped for soup afterward on the way to pick up our kids and enjoyed some precious time together alone to "compare notes" about what we're each thinking. I love time like that with my husband! I just love our relationship.
Thursday we went over to my mom and dad's house and helped "deck the halls." We had a great time looking at all of her pretty Christmas decorations and finding creative ways to display the many beautiful things she has collected over the years. The kids jumped right in helping Gram get out boxes and arrange things. My dad has a spur-of-the-moment business trip to Korea next week, so we listened as he was making his plans and learned all about what he'll be doing. He was in Korea for a year when he was in the army before I was born, so the kids listened to some of his stories and some of the Korean phrases he remembers. I'm so glad we got to see them before he leaves. And their house looks beautiful, if I do say so myself!
This morning we went to our church where they were having a Christmas shop for some of the economically disadvantaged people in our community. There were wonderful new gifts that parents could come and buy with vouchers (that they had received, based on their situations). We enjoyed talking to the people who came to shop and we gift-wrapped their presents for them and invited them to our Christmas Eve services. It was a wonderful time of being with friends and enjoying blessing others in our community. As I was wrapping Dora the Explorers, new tennis shoes, and bottles of perfume, I was praying for the givers as well as the recipients of those gifts. It was a wonderful time! The coordinators of the Christmas shop treated us all to Chick-Fil-A sandwiches for lunch and we got to enjoy chatting with friends we haven't seen in awhile. Such fun relationships!
As I type this I can hear the chatter coming from my daughter's room... Her sweet friends who are "missionary kids" in China are staying with us for the weekend. What a treat! I can hear laughter, expressive conversation, and the strumming of a guitar. Across the room from me, my son and husband are playing a fun game of Yahtzee. The sounds of relationship are all around me and I just love it!
We've been lighting our advent candle each night and enjoying focusing on the most important relationship of all, and the One who makes all of these other relationships possible.
Isn't this a wonderful season?
Monday, December 10, 2007
We hosted our annual Awana Leader Christmas Dinner last night, and had the Christmas party for the leaders' kids who are school-aged. I spent last week gathering goody-bag goodies, craft materials, etc. for the kids party and door prizes and decorations for the "grown-up" party. We ended up with close to 150 adults and about 80 kids. That's a lot of folks! And, I have to admit... I was a bit stressed. And yesterday when we had to leave the house and miss yet another Cowboy game, on a cold and semi-rainy afternoon when it would've been so much more comfy to stay in and stay warm, I have to admit... I complained. Maybe not with words but in my stressed-out attitude. I don't know if anyone (besides my family) could tell, but that doesn't matter. God knew. He would know no matter how I behaved outwardly, for He hears the unspoken complaints of the heart.
Monday, December 03, 2007
This is a picture of one of the most memorable things we did. Here we are, filling out the paperwork to begin the process to adopt a little girl from Africa!!!!!
Our kids are so, so excited. Our son watched his Dad fill out the papers, and as we were driving home a couple of days later he was at the table reading and re-reading them!
We've spent the past week telling our family, our praying friends (who knew this was something we were moving toward), and this weekend we told our Sunday School class. I was wondering when I should post it on my blog, and this morning when I saw the People Group of the Day (in my sidebar), I took it as a "sign" that it was time to tell the news to my dear blogging friends!
This is something we have been praying about for some time. I can't say we always knew we would adopt, or even that it is something we have always wanted. This is just one example of all the ways God has been working in our family over the years, transforming us by His grace. I looked it up in my daily Bible over the weekend and the first time I noted in my Bible that we were praying seriously about adopting was January 12, 2004.
I've got so many more thoughts swirling around in my head and heart... I go back and forth between wanting to tell everyone I know and talk about it with whoever will listen, and just wanting to "ponder these things in my heart." I've got so much to share about what lead us to this point and the unique ways God has confirmed that it was His will for our family, including which country. But, I've got lots of months of waiting that I can spend blogging about those things... For now I just wanted to share our JOYous news with you, and humbly ask you to be praying with us, whatever God puts on your heart to pray. As I mentioned during our most recent trip to China, the prayers of my blogging friends have been a lifeline to me. God is so good.
Have a blessed, blessed day!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
A couple of people asked in the comments a couple of posts ago about what I suggest for celebrating Advent with preschoolers. There are so many great ideas out there in blogland and all over the web, and while I don't have any earth-shattering new ideas, I have written a post on my homeschool blog about what we used to do.
Celebrating Advent with Preschoolers
Oh, how I pray that today begins a blessed season for your family!
Come, thou long expected Jesus....
"One often hears people say, "the first question I'm going to ask God when I get to heaven is..." During His final discourse with the disciples before He went to the cross they were asking Him many questions. Jesus said to them, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything" (John 16:22-23). The King James Version says, "You will ask me no question." May not the sight of Jesus Himself in His glory make all our questions seem redundant, if not simply foolish?"
That's a great point. I, too, have imagined myself arriving in heaven someday with a long list of questions for God... Questions, that if I'm honest with myself, call into question His judgement or sovereignty in certain situations. "Why did You allow that?" "What was I supposed to do about that?" "What possible good was this situation?" Even Biblical questions. I have a list of scriptures that I just. don't. understand. and I picture myself plopping a Bible in front of Him and asking Him "WHAT does this MEAN???" But, the reality is, when I finally see Jesus, the Word Himself, I won't have those questions because at that moment I will be beholding the very fulfillment of Scripture.
"There are not many new questions in our very human hearts. When I examine my own heart and find that I am tempted to say to the Lord, "Yes, but--" or "What about--" or "How can I possibly--?" I find that He has questions for me:
Are you willing to understand?
To rearrange your life?
To be healed?
To lose your life for My sake?
Do you want solutions or holiness?
Answers or orders?
The light of Christ or your own logic?"
What got me today was this quote from Evelyn Underhill..."It is only disguised pride that makes us fret over what we can't understand." Ouch. Disguised pride. I must continually check for pride- disguised or not- in my life. And even in my questions.
A final quote from Ms. Elliot: "God will see to it that we understand as much truth as we are willing to obey."
On this foggy Sunday morning reading these words has brought one of my favorite hymns to mind:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Sure, I will continue to have questions. But if I hold them up to the "light of His glory and grace" they will be put in their proper perspective, and quite likely disappear altogether. And in that moment I will have just the tiniest glimpse of heaven.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
- God is my Father. In this chapter Jesus repeatedly refers to Him as "your Father." I'm so glad He emphasizes that. I need to remember that.
- He is in heaven. (v. 1) He is in His rightful place. He is on His throne.
- He sees what is done in secret (v. 4) There is such freedom in knowing that He knows. He knows.
- He will reward me (v. 4) He will. I need not concern myself with the form that reward will take, but I can know that it is coming.
- He knows what I need before I ask Him. (v. 8) Not just what I want but what I truly need.
- He will forgive me (v. 14). He enables me to forgive others and offers that blessed forgiveness to me. What a thought!
- He is in secret (v. 18). His word says not only that He sees what is done in secret, but that He is in secret. He is there.
- He clothes the grass of the field (v. 30) and how that reminds me that He will clothe me as well.
- He knows that I need all "these things" (v. 32) He knows my true needs and is poised to meet them each day.
I have found such peace, stability and quietness of mind throughout each day when I stop and periodically focus on what is true about God. He never changes, and for that I am most thankful.
To read more Thankful Thursday posts or to link your own, visit Laurel Wreath, our sweet hostess for today. Have a terrific Thursday!
Monday, November 26, 2007
We had a wonderful week! The weather was crisp and cool (and downright cold at times) but as you can see, we constantly had a fire going thanks to my two resident
Here's our table (we ate inside- it was a bit nippy!) set with our placemats and our five kernels of corn.
We used those placemats all weekend, it was great to sit down to a constant reminder of God's faithfulness, and to keep us focused on being thankful each time we came out of the cold and gathered in the warmth around the little table in the camper. And now we have some fun souvenirs from our "week in the woods!"
The past two years I have decorated for Christmas before we left for Thanksgiving so we came home to "decked halls", but this year Thanksgiving was so early I just didn't get to it. Right about now, I'm wishing I would have! Once I get all of our camping laundry sorted and put away I'll be dragging down Christmas boxes. Joy, joy, joy!
Which makes me think of Advent... which begins this weekend! This year we will be using the book, The Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader. I found it and ordered it this summer, and it looks really good. We have also enjoyed the Jotham's Journey trilogy for the past several years. They are currently out of print, but they are *so* good- if you come across any of the three titles (Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels) you should snatch them up. We began reading these when our kids reached upper-elementary age, and they really hold their attention. We all have loved them. My son has already asked if we will be reading through those this year. (Amazon has some great reviews on them if you're interested.) I just love well-written stories and books that keep us focused on the true meaning of the season and cause us to s-l-o-w down, light candles and read together.
I hope your family had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday. Once I get my laundry finished (and before I fall headlong into the Christmas tubs) I'll take some time to visit blogs and get caught up on everyone. :) I'm so glad you stopped by!
And now, back to the laundry room......
The laundry has been swishing and whirring all morning, and I have been working to restore some sort of order around here... Isn't that the way it always is after a vacation? (or most weekends in general!) We had a wonderful "week-in-the-woods" last week. It was truly a time of thankfulness for our family. I'll save all my musings and pictures for another post, but since this is a food-related post, I'll share a couple of pictures of how we ate last week:
As you can probably tell, it was a good week of eating for us last week, not counting our big thanksgiving meal! Here's what we've got in store this week:
Monday, November 19, 2007
Oh, I'm JUST so happy. This week is finally here! And it's the week I've been praying for... a week OFF. Off of school, off of housework, off of the phone and computer, off of errands, off of ministry responsibilities, and off of kitchen duty! I know, Thanksgiving seems an odd time to be out of the kitchen, but that's where I'll be-- out! We're spending the week RV'ing in a beautiful state park in Oklahoma. This will be our third year to enjoy time away- just the four of us- enjoying time outdoors and being thankful, especially thankful to our sweet friends who are so graciously loaning us their RV.
Today I'm baking some of the things we love to take- sausage balls, banana bread, pumpkin pie and cookies. Dinner tonight will be a leftover buffet, and then tomorrow we're off! I've got my"camping style" Thanksgiving dinner all ready to go. I've got a smoked turkey which we'll do in the dutch oven over the fire. The stuffing is simply two boxes of Stove Top stuffing, some chicken broth, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of chicken soup in the Crock Pot (my kids LOVE this!). I've got another can of cr. of chicken soup for our "gravy" and some potato flakes to mix up mashed potatoes, some green beans and some rolls to heat up over the fire as well. (The "old me" would not have considered this a proper Thanksgiving dinner at all... I like the "new me" much better!) Take my word for it, eaten outside by a campfire, this is the best Thanksgiving dinner ever!
The rest of the week's cooking is being done by my fun husband who came home with this over the weekend. Yes, our menu consists of whatever can be cooked over a fire (steaks, hot dogs, stew, biscuits, and of course, s'mores!)
(Those of you with a more "refined" palate should stop by Laura's to read other people's menus or to link your own!)
We're also taking some ideas/activities from Family Life's Thanksgiving resources. I'm adapting the Rainey's "five kernels of corn" activity to also correspond with this reading. I'm also taking some scriptures on thankfulness so that we can apply those scriptures as they pertain to God's faithfulness to the Pilgrims as well as to our family. I want to also pray those scriptures- thanking Him in advance for the way He will be faithful to us in the year to come.
I'll leave you with some pictures of what we'll be looking at this week...
God is good, all the time.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I missed "Thankful Thursday," but any day is a time to be thankful, right?
Next week those of us in America will be pausing to give thanks. Oh, how I pray that it will truly be from our hearts! Lately I have been noticing that when I interweave gratitude into my thoughts and prayers that it literally transforms negative, sinful emotions and thoughts. I'm seeing now why Paul says in Philippians 4:6 that we are to pray "with thanksgiving." My prayers become what they ought to be when they are prayed with thanksgiving. John Piper speaks here of praying with thanksgiving and describes it as "the humble, non-demanding mindset that flavors all of prayer. Making requests thankfully means that we will be content and thankful with whatever God wisely and lovingly gives us. And we know that he will hear our prayer and wisely and lovingly give us what's best for us."
This week I am thankful for:
- a successful and safe business trip for my husband. He hasn't had to travel for business purposes in years (it used to be a way of life for us when the kids were younger) so it took me back in time this week to see him leave for work with a suitcase. :::sigh:::
- a productive week of school with my kids. I have prayed for a long time that they would each develop God-honoring diligence in their schoolwork and I'm seeing that quality really shine in them this year. I'm SO thankful for that.
- Bright, sunny days. The sun streaming through the windows so cheerful.
- a neat time with my brother last night. He popped over on his way to do a church service at a church in our area, so he stopped for dinner at our house. He's so fun! (And he didn't mind that it was "leftover night." :) I am so thankful for our relationship. He is so good for me!
- a long, late-into-the-night chat with my daughter a couple of nights ago. She is so precious. I love, love, LOVE being her mother. Typing that sentence just made me cry.
- dear, generous friends who have offered for us to borrow their RV next week for a Thanksgiving camping trip. They have no idea how much our family looks forward to that and how much it blesses us. The past two Thanksgivings have become some of our favorite family memories!
- my sweet son who I see taking on so many of the qualities of his dad. He sees what needs to be done and does it, whether it's load the dishwasher, kill something with 8 legs, or give me a hug. He's going to be an awesome husband someday!
- a full week (almost) behind me and a full day ahead. God is so faithful to give us things to do to be productive and opportunities to honor Him with the stewardship of our time. Each day is a chance to do that.
These are just a few of the things that have blessed me this week. I hope you have had a wonderful week!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The message from Pastor Kwaku this weekend was so good, I wanted to share part of it with you. He spoke out of Isaiah 6:1,
"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the LORD, sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple."
King Uzziah had reigned for over 50 years and it had been a prosperous time for Judah. The economy was good, there was a time of relative peace with Israel, there was the security that accompanies those times when things are going very well... and then the king died. Those who had looked to the king were hit hard, for he was gone. Pastor Kwaku asked a very powerful question, "Who is your King Uzziah?" I suppose that "who" could be a "what," too. To whom or what am I looking for security? I think it blew them away when King Uzziah died, maybe in much the same way as it hit everyone so hard when JFK died. "Now what are we going to do?"
What did Isaiah do? He went to the temple. He went into the presence of the Lord. He took it straight to God. He cried out to Him. And guess what, he saw Him. He not only saw Him, he saw where He is-- high and lifted up, exalted, on His throne, in His rightful place, sovereign over all that was taking place. Isaiah had been in the temple before, obviously. He had been serving the Lord. He "knew" the Lord. But after the king's death, God revealed Himself to Isaiah in a new way.
Are you in a time of loss? Maybe it's the loss of a person, a dream, or a change in circumstances. Anytime we lose someone or something significant to us, it can shake us. But, may those be times we can say:
"In the year of _____'s death, I saw the LORD sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted..."
In those times of loss, may we do what Isaiah did, go to the temple, going not only into the presence of the Lord but into the presence of His people. In those times of loss and change, God is ready to reveal His glory to us in powerful, new ways. And He will show us that He is right where He's always been: on His throne. We can receive His comfort, His cleansing, and go forth (as Isaiah did) in His power, forever changed.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend! We're jumping back into our weekly routine full force after a very full and fun weekend, so I'm a bit late getting my menu posted, so if you've stopped by from Laura's thanks for visiting me this far down the list! (::::waving from down here in 150's-ville::::::)
Here's what we're having this week at our house:
oatmeal applesauce muffins
Lunch: pita pocket sandwiches, chips
Lunch: chicken pesto paninis (my simplified version with shaved chicken and no peppers/onions)
Dinner: slow-cooked corn chowder (my family LOVES this!), crusty bread, salad
Lunch: La Madeleine Tomato Basil soup & grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: Geography dinner night... We're in the southern states now, I feel so "at home!" Country Style steak and squash casserole (NC) and "Pea Picking Cake" (VA) from the EYWTUSA cookbook
Lunch: macaroni and cheese, fruit
Lunch: leftover lunch buffet
Dinner: Chicken Enchilada Casserole (FIFI p. 190) , black beans, corn
Whatever you've got cooking this week at your house, I hope you and your family enjoy time together around your table. Have a wonderful week!
Stop by Laura's to read more menus (and do us "latecomers" a favor... start at the bottom of the list! ;)
Friday, November 09, 2007
There's a reason we all get to see what we see... whether personally or through someone else's camera lense. It's not for nothing. It's not merely for "personal enrichment." It's not just data. And it's certainly not just so we can realize how "blessed" we are as Americans. I've seen what I've seen so I can act. It's not real love if I just "feel" it, nor is it true compassion if I merely momentarily shed tears. What wonderful opportunities are out there everyday for us to demostrate the love of Jesus!
"Your courage asks me... what am I afraid of?
Your courage asks me... what I am made of
And what I know of love...
And what I know of God..."
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(If you're not an iTunes junkie like I am,you can listen to a sample of the song or purchase it here.)
"One Heartbeat at a Time"
You're up all night with a screaming baby
You run all day at the speed of life
And every day you feel a little bit less
Like the beautiful woman you are
So you fall in bed when you run out of hours
And you wonder if anything worth doing got done
Well, maybe you just don't know
Or maybe you've forgotten
That you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
With every "I know you can do it"
And every tear that you kiss away
So many little things that seem to go unnoticed
They're just like the drops of rain over time
They become a river
And you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
How you're changing the world
Yeah, you're changing the world
You, you are changing the world
One little heartbeat at a time
Making history with every touch and every smile
Oh, you, you may not see it now
But I believe that time will tell
How you, you are changing the world
Oh, I believe that you
You are changing the world
One little heartbeat
At a time
And you're changing the world
I know sometimes it seems like we're only changing dirty diapers...changing the TV channel (to something appropriate!)...changing the roll on the tp... changing plans... or changing our minds- and all the while changing shape! But this song put a smile on my face and a tear in my eye today as it reminded me that by God's grace (and with His guidance) I am changing something else, something far more significant. And that privilege is worth whatever changes come with it!
Monday, November 05, 2007
The kids and I read this quote by Charles H. Spurgeon in our devotional this morning, and I just wanted to share it with you today:
"Christ has been pleased to make us new people. His saints are the "new creatures in Christ Jesus." They have a new nature...... This new nature is conscious of new emotions. It loves what once it hated; it hates what once it loved. It finds blight where once it sought for bliss, and finds bliss where once it found nothing but bitterness. It leaps at the sound that was once dull to its ears- the name of Jesus. It rejoices in hopes that once seemed idle as dreams. It is filled with a divine enthusiasm that it once rejected as fanatical. It is conscious now of living in a new element, breathing a fresh air, partaking of new food, drinking out of new wells not dug by men or filled from the earth. The new person is absolutely new- new in principles and new in emotions."
We are absolutely new! I just loved this thought today, on this new morning of a new week (in a new time-change!) full of new possibilities. We have a new chance to make ourselves available for God to do great new things in all our lives this week for His glory... to continue the new work He started in us.
Have a wonderful week!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
*I'm thankful for my family. And when I say that I mean my f-a-m-i-l-y. The far-reaching, extended family that goes beyond those who live within our four walls or my immediate family. I was with them last weekend-parents, brother, sister in law, nieces, nephew, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins-by-the-dozens... I feel so blessed!
*I'm thankful for my forgiving children. Honestly, I blow it with them just about daily, and they are so quick to forgive. I am definitely not a model of "perfect" mothering, but hopefully a model of repentant mothering! I just love them so.
*I'm thankful for Iris, who not only created Thankful Thursday, but who also gave me this sweet award a few weeks ago and I just remembered about it!!
When I first read the name of this award I thought it said, "Math-letes," as in the math team I remember from high school. I thought, "Wow! Apparently I've really snowed them on my blog into thinking I'm good at math!" (I assure you, I'm not... though in true "I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ" fashion I am teaching Algebra to my daughter!) Actually the award states "Mathetes" is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) is to make more disciples. I am beyond honored that someone would associate a word meaning "disciple" with me. Since this award has gone the rounds, I would love to point you to the blogroll in the sidebar of my homepage for examples of those whom I consider to be disciples. They inspire me every time I visit them. If your blog is in my blogroll, consider yourself a recipient of this award!
*I'm thankful for my husband, who is praying about some bold new steps for our family. I feel so confident in his godly leadership of our home, he has my complete trust and support. I count it such a HUGE blessing to have a husband who so closely walks with the Lord and listens for His direction. I'd follow him anywhere! (And as an added bonus, he's totally cute!)
*I'm thankful for a change in the weather. The cool, fall weather has finally made it's way to our little corner of Texas and it is so refreshing. "Summer and winter and springtime and harvest.... join with all nature in manifold witness, to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love..." Even the changing of the seasons is a testimony of God's goodness.
*I'm thankful for the godly, godly women in my life. I cannot tell you how inspired and emboldened I am by their faith. If you're reading this, most likely I'm talking about you. :)
*I'm thankful for the music I'm listening to right now. It's from the Classical Praise series. Y'all. Click on a sample and listen. If you love hymns and praise music and have an ear for classical music too, this will bless you! I found it on iTunes and it's become the soundtrack for my day.
*I'm thankful that God is in control... not me! I was reminded of that this morning as I read the name of the blog that is hosting this week's Thankful Thursday. Thank you, Crystal, for reminding us of this, and for hosting us at your beautiful site! Visit her blog to read more participants or to link your own.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
We took some time yesterday (finally!) to go to the "pumpkin patch" in our town and look for the perfect pumpkins.
SO, this is what we're doing this morning... The strainer is for the pumpkin seeds which I will roast later. We love those!
"Pray and let God worry."
Have a blessed day!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Lunch: YOYO (You're on you're own! Mom's still getting over the weekend, LOL)
Dinner: Mini Meatloaves, green beans, carrots
Lunch: Pizza Pancakes
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas, black beans, corn casserole
Lunch: grilled chicken sandwiches with organic onion rings (that I found at Super Target)
Dinner: Southwestern Pumpkin Soup (this is SO good!), crusty bread, salad, and lots of candy...
Lunch: turkey hot dogs, chips
Dinner: Ham and Scalloped potatoes (Fix-it and Forget-It, p. 142)
Dinner: Crab Cakes (we didn't have this for our "Geography dinner" for Maryland and Delaware last week- we had a spur of the moment "out-to-eat" night, which I LOVE!)
Weekend~ Lots of great leftovers
For more menus and some organization inspiration, please visit Laura. Have a great week!
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (8 oz.) can whole kernel corn
1 (8 oz.) package corn muffin mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in the order listed; mix well. Pour into greased 9x9" baking dish. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Nancy Leigh DeMoss, from her current series, Seeking Him- Obedience: the Acid Test of Love
Monday, October 22, 2007
We had a wonderful week last week. Just wonderful. At the end of it I realized it had been one of the busiest we've had in a long time, but it was just so great... it fed my soul in so many ways it just didn't "feel" busy. Have you ever had weeks like that?
Monday my daughter and I went to our weekly Bible study with some other mothers and daughters. We are enjoying the study greatly, and especially spending time with my fun mother-in-law and sister-in-law who are attending it, too. And this is the second week in a row my sweet mil has brought us Starbucks! I'm starting to get spoiled! The next morning, speaking of Starbucks, I met with a wonderful, godly, precious young woman who, along with her husband and another couple, head up our church's college ministry. We met for the first time in China when our team joined up with their team over there. I felt drawn to her from the moment I met her, and she asked me about the possibity of mentoring some of the college girls she works with. She is clearly walking with the Lord and has such a heart for Him and for these precious girls. I have been praying about getting involved in that ministry somehow, so she and I met for coffee and prayer and had a wonderful meeting. That night I went to the college ministry (along with my daughter, who already knows some of the people, as she traveled with them for the past two summers... they asked me to please bring her, and she was excited to go!) and it was such a worshipful, rich time of praise and scriptural teaching. I really felt energized! (And... I felt forty. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Otherwise there wouldn't be that whole Titus-2-older-woman-younger-woman thing going on...)
The next evening we had dinner with some fun friends. We first met them when they were church planters in France. I am always so inspired by them and enjoy our time together, usually laughing my head off! They asked us to bring over pictures from Ghana because they are praying about going as a family as well, so after a delicious London Broil, we relived some of our Africa experiences. Oh, how I loved it! After being out for three evenings, we enjoyed some cozy time at home as a family Thursday and Friday evenings, then spent the day Saturday volunteering at an adoption conference. All I can say is, "wow." God is doing something great through this miracle of adoption. I was blessed just to be in the same room as some of those precious families and the speakers! Their stories are amazing. I am convinced that if you walk closely enough with the Lord, eventually you find yourself with orphans. They are so near to His heart. It was a precious day for our family.
And I can't even describe Saturday evening to you. I don't know how. Luke and I were privileged to be invited to a banquet/dinner for some of the candidates for the presidential election in Ghana. It was such fun! Some of the party candidates were there, we heard presentations about the political "goings on" in Ghana, we met some of the most interesting people and just had a wonderful time soaking up some Ghanaian culture, which we've missed so much. In a huge ballroom full of people, we were the only white faces in the crowd and I felt right at home! Oh, and the people and their clothing were so beautiful. They always are. (I'm keeping my eye on Ghanaweb.com for the pictures, I'll link it if they post some!) Sometimes when I'm in certain places I wonder how or why God ordains that we have certain experiences...and I thank Him for it. Wow!
Oh, and last night! It was "missionary visitor" night at our Awana club, and our precious friends who are "m's" in China (stateside until January) came and spoke to our high schoolers, Sparkies, and T&T'ers. It was so wonderful! The kids loved it and they gave each of them some chopsticks that said "Pray for China." Our time with them is always so limited on the other side of the Pacific, so having them here just thrills me. I'm soaking them up while I can until they leave. It was so precious to listen to them tell those little eager faces all about China and inspire them to come over to China themselves and tell others about Jesus. I have no doubt that some of those kids will do just that!
Like I said, a busy week! And very, very interesting. God is up to some fun things in our family, for sure... In the midst of it, we had a great week of school, which I posted about over on my homeschool blog. We're having a bit of a relaxed morning at our house while I "regroup," and then, it's another fun week ahead. I've got to get our house straightened up today, as we have a realtor friend coming over in the morning to discuss going forward with selling our house. (That's one of those aforementioned "fun things" we've got going on, LOL.)
I hope yours is wonderful as well, and that God is up to some great things in your family too. I just know He is!
The wind is whipping outside my window this morning, blowing in some cooler air... maybe fall is finally here! Oh, that would be so nice! I bought some new boots a couple of weeks ago, and they have been sitting in the closet watching the flip flops get chosen everyday. I'm sure they're wondering when they'll get their turn!
We are excited to go to my Grandmother's house at the end of the week to join ALL of my wonderful aunts, uncles and cousin, along with my brother's family and my parents, to celebrate Grandmother's 85th birthday. We are looking forward to a visit with everyone, and I have a shorter week in the kitchen!
Lunch: Chicken Pesto Panini's (I simplify these greatly- shaved deli chicken, grated cheese, pesto, and the George Foreman grill... they turn out great every time!)
Dinner: Crock Pot Lasagna (This is the BEST lasagna ever, and so easy! From Fix It and Forget It)
Dinner: Geography dinner- Crab Cakes (Maryland), Broccoli Cauliflower casserole (Delaware) from the book Eat Your Way Through the USA
Lunch: YOYO (You're On You're Own!)
For more menus (and some GREAT organizing tips!) visit Laura, our resident "Organizing Junkie." Thanks for hosting us, Laura!
Have a great week around your table!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Elizabeth George, Life Management for Busy Women
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
But there's something more contagious that often we don't guard against: fear.
Amy Carmichael says, "Have you ever thought how infectious fear can be? It spreads from one person to another more quickly and certainly than any of the fevers we know so well.
You can refuse the spirit of fear, which never comes to us from God. (And if He does not send it to us, who does?) Instead, open your heart wide to the Spirit of "power and love and a calm and well-balanced mind, and discipline and self-control." (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified). Because fear is so infectious, let us, for the sake of others and ourselves, refuse it."
I think we, as women, often don't "refuse it." We share it! We sit in groups having coffee while our kids play and discuss our fears, sharing what we're most afraid of, and... exposing each other to it. When someone shares a fear with me, I usually do one of two things: I think to myself, "Oh, I've never been afraid of that. That's not a struggle of mine." (Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 1 Cor. 10:12) Or I think, "Oh, you're right! That could happen. Wow, I never thought of that..." and fear takes root. At both points, I can refuse it... take that thought captive to Christ, resist the fear.
It's not that we shouldn't ever share, but that we should take care how we share and with whom, I think. When I have an illness I cancel appointments with my friends but I make one with the doctor. I limit exposing those who might be vulnerable to it, and go to someone like a doctor who is not only equipped for exposure, but able to help. Maybe instead of broadcasting my fears far and wide at gatherings of friends, I should share them with someone who I know is walking firmly with the Lord, who can commit to pray with me about it or offer advice from his or her own victory.
Carmichael says, "Thank God courage is as "infectious" as discouragement. Haven't you often felt the cheer and strength that seem to flow from a person whose mind is fixed and firm on God? I have." I have, too. Not only do I want to be around that type of person, I want to be that person. Sometimes I am. I have been in the past. But repeated exposure to the fears of others can weaken me, I've found, if I don't regularly inoculate myself with Truth and limit my exposure to the "fear virus."
She says, "When we are downhearted or fearful or weak, we are saying to everybody (by the way we look and by our timidity, if not by our words), 'After all, the Lord can't be absolutely trusted.' "
And that is more dangerous than any virus that's out there right now. We must, for the sake of ourselves and others, refuse fear and not spread it. Let's remind each other of our Savior Who has never, not once, failed us.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Happy Monday! Another week to be grateful for the way God has provided for our families and to be good stewards of those provisions. He is so, so good!
Here's a quick kitchen tip: My favorite way to bake potatoes is in the microwave inside paper lunch sacks! I wash and brush the potatoes, poke a few holes in them, then twist them up in either a brown or white sack (whatever I have on hand) For large baking potatoes you set the time for about 7 minutes per potato, for smaller ones it takes about 4-5 minutes per potato.
To read more menus or to share yours, visit Laura. Have a great week!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The author, A. J. Jacobs, who describes himself as an agnostic, spent 52 weeks living as "Biblically" as he could. Right down to wearing robes, growing out his beard, playing the lyre, changing his eating habits, and of course, following the Ten Commandments. (He even stoned an adulterer! Seriously!) The whole thing is interesting to me on so many levels, and I'm sure there will be much discussion of his book in the blogosphere, but one thing I heard him say struck me yesterday:
Matt Lauer asked him "On your average day did you find that you were unable to fulfill this or were there days where you could absolutely fulfill it for 24 hours at a time?" His response was, "Never. You're always going to break rules. Especially the rules like coveting, gossiping, and lying. I was astounded by how much I sinned once you start to pay attention." "Really?" Matt replied, "So in other words you had a rude awakening that on a daily basis you covet and you lie?" A.J. responded, "Absolutely, and I never really followed all the rules, but you can try. You can try to become a better person... hopefully."
"I was astounded by how much I sinned..."
What a statement! This interview, and his book which details his "experiment," highlights the need for Christ, the need for a Savior. He looked into the law and it reflected back his own iniquity, and he saw it! He described himself at the end of the interview as still an agnostic (a "reverent agnostic," actually) and that he has incorporated certain Biblical principles into his life, like the Sabbath and thankfulness. He found that there are things that just... work. Things that bring peace. But what I think is the most amazing thing is that he showed that even those who don't acknowledge God realize they fall short. We can't keep the commandments on our own. We sin daily, all day. We are fallen.
At the end of the interview, Matt says, "Think fast, when's the last time you broke one of the Ten Commandments." A.J. replied, "Probably during this interview." Matt, laughing, asked, "Which one?" to which he said, chuckling "I don't know... it's hard to keep track..."
It sure is.
Oh, how I'm unspeakably grateful that it's not my ability to keep the commandments that has brought me into a relationship with God, but that it was Christ's sinlessness and payment on my behalf that make me righteous before a holy God. I am thankful every. single. day. that I'm not simply trying in my own power not to sin, or to prove myself worthy. Thank you God, for drawing me. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Here's our menu:
Pumpkin bread (I made some yesterday... C'mon fall!)
toast & jam or jelly
various combinations of the above
Lunch: tuna salad and crackers
Dinner: New Jersey Chicken Casserole (EYWTUSA p. 70) (We didn't have this last week), green beans, red velvet cake
Lunch: french bread pizzas
Dinner: Baked Potato Soup, hot bread, salad
Lunch: turkey wraps, Flat Earth chips
Dinner: Spaghetti, caesar salad, grean beans, garlic bread
Lunch: Frito pie
Dinner: Leftover Dinner Buffet
Lunch: Leftover Lunch Buffet
Dinner: Crock Pot pork chops (envelope of golden onion soup mix + can of cr. of celery soup + pork chops = yummy), pasta, mixed veggies
Last week we had so many yummy leftovers we had two leftover nights (yey!). One thing I like to do when we're having leftovers since I'm not cooking a whole meal, is to whip up a new dessert. (And I'm talking s-i-m-p-l-e, like a box cake or even slice and bake cookies if I'm pressed for time.) Last week I made a family favorite- a yellow (box) cake and my Nana's chocolate sauce. This chocolate sauce recipe is SO yummy and easy, I encourage you to try it!
Nana's Chocolate Sauce
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour (generous)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (generous)
pinch of salt
Stir dry ingredients well.
Add 2 cups milk. Use a whisk to stir while cooking in saucepan. After sauce cooks and thickens a bit, add:
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Our family has always enjoyed this sauce over yellow cake, but I suppose you could serve it with any type of cake, ice cream or fruit. Enjoy!
To read more menus or to pick up some awesome organizing tips, stop by Laura's. Have a great week!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
It's been a fun, busy week at our house. Have you ever had that feeling that God is up to something big? Enough to make your "tummy tickle" and make you feel a rush of adrenaline? There have been three distinct times in my life when I've had that feeling, and all three of those times He has, in fact, been up to something big. (I'm finding out, of course, that He always is, and the degree to which I "feel it" is the degree to which I'm on board, LOL)
Well, I've got that feeling again. He is definitely at work in our family, bringing about some exciting changes, all of which are "post-worthy" but are still in the works so... not yet. ;) One change that we learned last week is that we will be welcoming a new niece or nephew next spring! Our extended family is just the most fun, and welcomes new little ones with such joy, this new little bundle is so blessed that God hand-picked this wonderful crew as his or her earthly family, and Amy and Randy as parents. S/he has NO idea how blessed s/he will be, but his or her Aunt Cyndi will gladly tell him/her. (Okay, these slash marks just have to go... Amy, please find out what s/he is at your earliest opportunity, 'kay?) :)
I sat down to post this morning with nothing- and everything- on my mind. As I type I have no idea what will make it onto the screen and get posted, but I felt like posting anyway. So, if you're blog-hopping in search of some well-written, cohesive, Deep and Meaningful posts... this ain't one. This is your opportunity to keep on hoppin' and come back on another day. Which I'm not sure when that will be. (Deep and Meaningful just seem to "come upon" me and can't necessarily be planned for!)
For those of you still reading, bless your heart. You've hung on for my ramble! Thank you! Let's see, what we've been up to this week:
Monday I received a phone call that my dear aunt and uncle from South Carolina were in town visiting my parents. I had forgotten that this was when they were coming, so this was a nice surprise! (I wake up! In a new world! Every day! So lots of things! Come as a fun! Surprise to me!) We went over and had wonderful burgers that my dad cooked out and visited with them. Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lois are a HUGE part of who I am. They always lived in another state, so I didn't get to see them often, but when I did, they had such an impact. I even went and spent time with them in the summers during high school. Aunt Lois always put me to work in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, or picking peaches (good for her!) but then she always took time to take me to great sales and outlets (good for me!). There was never a time when I was growing up that I felt pretty, but after I would get ready each morning and come down the hall, Uncle Jerry would sing "There She Is... Miss America" to me. And for just that moment, I would believe him. Such a sweet memory! They love, love, love my kids too and that just blesses me so much. SO, it was a great visit Monday.
Wednesday evening we had just the most fun theme party ever, with our above-mentioned extended family. My daughter and her cousin have birthdays 5 days apart (they are a year apart in age) so for the past few years we have been combining parties for them into one BIG family party. It started a few years ago with a 50's party, then the 60's... Last year I posted pictures of our 70's party. Well, this year, it was back to the 80's! It was fun and scary at the same time! Fun because it was, well, fun. Scary because getting my hair back to its 80's height came all too naturally for me. Yep, scary! I didn't have any 80's -looking clothes (thank goodness, really) and didn't take the time to go to thrift stores and put together Desperately-Seeking-Susan -esque attire like my fun sisters-in-law did, so I did the only thing I knew to do... I sent my cute husband to the attic. He came down with our old suitcase full of our fraternity and sorority shirts. Oh, MY. The 80's came right down into our dining room when we opened that up! So, we sported our greek letters and I used a can of hairspray on my hair and we looked just exactly ::cough::: like we did in 1987.
Two decades and two kids later... here we are! I didn't get many good pictures of the rest of the family, but as soon as I can snag them off of one of my sil's Myspaces, I'll share some. What fun! It's hard to believe I can't remember all of the "Thriller" dance anymore. I was so disappointed in myself... But I'm convinced if I could purge my brain of some of those 80's lyrics I could memorize more scripture. Or at least remember where my car keys are.
Speaking of hard to believe, here are the birthday girls at age 13 and 14!
Time marches (or moonwalks) on, doesn't it? Well, it's been a great week here, and I hope you've had a good one as well. I guess I better get on with this day and see what it holds. Thanks so much for stopping by today and getting caught up with us!
Have a wonderful weekend!