Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Is it really Thursday??? How did this happen? Where did the week go?

As I write, I'm sitting in our study, our "school room." The sun is just peaking out over the houses, and outside the french doors of our study I can see school children with their backpacks in tow, making their way to the corner where the school bus stops. Oh, how I pray they've had a good week! Each morning this week I have been working in our school room and three times each morning the bus rumbles by. Back to school! What an exciting time! For us, that will be next week, after Labor Day. (That was my birthday present to myself: T-I-M-E. I needed more time to get our school all together!)

As I'm sitting here planning school, sipping my La Madeleine coffee (SO good!) and listening to the neighbor kids chat on the way to the bus stop, my heart is naturally very thankful. Not just for a beautiful morning and great coffee, but for so much more! And it's Thursday! Time to write it down. Thank you Iris!

Today I'm thankful for....

  • God's lovingkindness. That word has been recurring over and over in my quiet times for the past couple of weeks. It seems as though God is trying to impress that on my heart. "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness." Psalm 103:8 Abounding in lovingkindness. Oh, how I don't want to forget that. How I need that!

  • God-honoring curriculum for my kids. As I've been planning our school, I have been gripped with gratitude for textbooks and materials, such as my daughter's Geography book which says: "Bible verses such as the one above (Prov. 3:19) remind us that God created our world. Every mountain and valley is exactly where He wanted it to be. This planet did not "just happen." As we behold the earth's amazing design and provisions for life, our hearts should praise the Creator." Wow! I just do not think we can hear or read statements like that enough, even as adults. That awareness should permeate every aspect of our lives, but especially our kids' as they are learning. There is no neutral ground in any area, school subjects included.

  • My sweet sister-in-law Mary, and what God is doing in her life. Many of you stopped by to offer her prayer support back in December. She has gone through an unspeakable time of grief in the months following the death of her boyfriend, and she has allowed it to lead her straight into the arms of her Heavenly Father who loves her. She is a set-apart young woman, and I've known it since I met her. God is doing a mighty work in her life, and it is a privilege to see it and be a small part of it. She, along with my sweet mother-in-law, myself, and my daughter all started attending Beth Moore's "Jesus the One and Only" study this week, and Mary is going to volunteer in our Awana Club this year with our jr. high girls. It's so awesome to see her responding to God's love for her by wanting to go deeper in His Word and to serve in a ministry. God is good. All the time.

  • A new mission opportunity. We are looking at a trip as a family in November. I'll post more about it (including the location!) soon. God is so faithful to bring about these opportunities to serve Him as a family.

There is oh-so-much more I could write about. (For instance, I'm still thankful for my "maidservants" who will be hard at work for me today and tomorrow as we end our week and head into the weekend!) I've been giving them their portions this morning already. :)

I hope this day finds you experiencing God's lovingkindness like never before. Have a terrific Thursday, and thank you so much for stopping by!

To read more Thankful Thursday posts or to add your own, please head on over to Sting My Heart.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Menu and Maidservants

"She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants."
Proverbs 31:15

Happy Monday! I hope you had a fun, productive, restful-- whatever-you-needed-it-to-be- weekend! I know we did. August is coming to a close this week, and it's hard to believe! Where did summer go? I don't know, but as it leaves, I hope it takes the 100+ degree heat indexes with it. Whew!

Last week we really enjoyed this Cheesy Beef Potato Bake. I'd made it before, but I'd forgotten how much everyone loved it. It's super easy and makes great leftovers. (Two of my favorite qualities in a recipe!)

Here's what I'm stirrin' up this week:

Monday: Baked Potato Soup, garlic bread, Caesar salad
Tuesday: Mini Meat Loaves, Broccoli Cheese casserole (Fix It and Forget It p. 224)
Wednesday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole (Fix It and Forget It p. 190) <--- told you I love this book!, black beans, corn
Thursday: Leftover buffet
Friday: Order Pizza
Weekend: Leftovers, out-to-eat after church, and going to my Grandmother's house for my b-day weekend (I know there'll be some good eating there!)

Visit Laura's for more menus, or to add your own. Thanks Laura!

SO... what about that Proverbs 31 woman? Have you ever read the above verse and come to the part about "her maidservants" and thought, "Well, good for her! No wonder she can do all that. She has a staff! I could be a Proverbs 31 woman, too, if I just had maidservants. But, mine didn't show up today!"

I thought about this over the weekend as I was catching up on household chores and caring for my maidservants. Oh, yes, I have them. I bet you do, too! They're called "household appliances." Most of our homes are staffed with them to some degree!

My "laundry woman" (aka: washing machine and dryer) worked for at least one other family before she came to us. She is old and weathered-looking but she shows up faithfully to work just about every day. She doesn't have a large capacity, and due to her age isn't really "high tech," but I love her just the same for faithfully washing the dirt and grime out of my husband's work clothes each week, cleaning and freshening our linens, and keeping our clothing ship-shape for our activities. I just couldn't do without her! I hope she stays around awhile longer, as she would be expensive to replace!

My Head Dish Washer (aka: dishwasher) is just a few years old, having joined us when this house was built. She is a noisy one, though. She definitely makes her presence known! If she's washing dishes, she wants the whole house to know it! Often I have to "shush" her when the phone rings or if the kids and I want to read a book in the family room. But, oh how I'm glad she's washing the dishes instead of me, as I hear those dishes clank-clanking,the water loudly swishing, and her cycles loudly switching from washing to rinsing. While she's doing that, my hands are free to pursue other tasks that she's not made for. I'm really glad I have her!

My Floor Cleaner (aka: vacuum cleaner) is really cute. Her name's Eureka, and she's blue and perky. She's one of the newest additions to the staff, having just come from Target a couple of years ago. She has some "attachment" issues that we had to figure out initially, but now we work together just fine. She needs a push to get going, but when she knows one of us is behind her she really does her job, often multiple times per day. With two dogs in the house, she's really got her work cut out for her, especially in the family room! She always stands at the ready in the closet under the stairs, and leaves the room looking great after she's done her work. I love seeing her "tracks," around the house! She works well with both of the kids, who get to take turns with her each day. She really lights up a room while she's working! Couldn't do without her.

I've got many other maidservants I could go on about. They bless me everyday by heating my water, cooling my house, drying my hair, cooling our perishable food, cooking our dinner and keeping things frozen. One of them even has my coffee ready for me "while it is yet night." Isn't that great? They each require a "portion" of something to do their jobs- portions of water, electricity, detergent, filters,coffee, vacuum cleaner bags, and even portions of human energy. But with those small "portions" my "maidservants" accomplish great tasks and serve us everyday.

SO, have a great Monday, and don't forget to love on those "maidservants" as you go about your household work this week. We are blessed to have them, aren't we?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pleasant Boundaries

As I sit at my breakfast table typing this post, the smell of cinnamon rolls is wafting from the oven. Also in the oven is a quick cake I whipped up for dessert tonight. The kids are still lazily snoozing upstairs, enjoying one of their last mornings of summer. I have long-since kissed my sweet husband goodbye for work, handing him his lunch and sending him off with a prayer in my heart for his safety. I have had a wonderful quiet time this morning, enjoying hymns from my iPod and soaking up God's promises to me from the Psalms and reflecting on Hebrews 4:16, how we can approach the throne of grace with confidence! A busy day awaits me, as I mentioned in my post on Monday, as this is my final big work day at the church in our Awana office, preparing for our new Awana year. I look back on a week full of "to-do's " I've gotten done, lists I've checked off, all part of a busy week as a wife and a mother. "How do you do it all?" I've often been asked, and just as often, wondered about others.

A wise woman would answer, "I don't."

The truth is, as long as the list of "to-do's" was for this week, my list of things I didn't do is even longer. And that's as it should be! It's wasn't all for me to do this week!

For everything I did this week, there is another thing I chose not to do. A phone call I didn't make. A blog post I didn't write. Blogs I didn't read. TV shows I didn't watch. A lunch date I didn't schedule. A sale I didn't shop. A room I didn't decorate. A scrapbook I didn't scrap. A meeting I didn't go to. The list of things the Lord had for me was just long enough for the strength He's given me to complete it. I have found such rest and simplicity in simply tackling what I know I'm supposed to be doing, nothing more. How do I know? I see if it fits into the categories, in order of importance, that I know are in my life. First, is it part of my ministry to my husband? Is it part of my ministry to my kids? My home? Does it take away time from them, or most importantly, my time with the Lord? Is it fulfilling my role as a home schooler? As the Awana secretary? As a daughter? A friend? Does this need to be done right now, by me? Am I sure God asked me to do this, or is it somehow feeding my own selfish ambition?

Throughout my life as a wife and mother, I have read and reread the Proverb that says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down." (Pr. 14:1) There have been times in my life when, with my own hands I have torn down my house piece by piece with an overscheduled, frantic, undisciplined pace of life. Ministries, meetings, Bible studies, classes, play groups, homeschool association meetings, supper clubs, sales, errands, etc... all "tools" to build a godly home, but when wielded by my undisciplined hands and for lack of a blueprint (or plan), I was unknowingly, for a season, doing more damage than good. As I've gotten older (and I guess, more tired!) I've realized that it's not all for me to do. It's certainly not all for me to do right now. I don't agree with the popular statement that I hear a lot of women say, "You can have it all, just not all at once." I can't have it all. Furthermore, I don't need it all! Not even spread out across my lifetime! And, that's not a bad thing. What I can have is all that God has apportioned me. And that is always enough. Abundant, even!

Yesterday my daughter received two phone messages asking for babysitting tonight. I decided to let her decide what to do with her schedule, so I left it up to her. What she did was go to our family calendar and see that the next few evenings (including our church night) she (or our family) already had somewhere to be. Friday night would be our family time at home, and she didn't want to miss it. So, she declined the babysitting jobs. She prioritized her roles and scheduled her time accordingly. I think she acted wisely in this situation, and I pray that is evidence that she's learning what I've been learning. (Oh, how I wish I'd learned it as a teen!)

I know there are time management books galore, and how-to-be-a-highly-effective-purpose-driven-Christian books and websites by the hundreds, so this post isn't meant to offer any advice that isn't readily available in many other places. I'm just reflecting on how good it feels, at the end of a busy week, to know and rest in the fact that...

"the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places."(Ps. 16:6)

I hope you have had a wonderful week!

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kitchen, Catch-Up, and Cafe


Happy Monday! First, our menu for the week. I've decided that when we start school I will add what we're having for breakfasts and lunches, too, but for now I'm keeping it simple by just listing dinners. This week I've included a recipe that my 11 year old chef-in-training created a few months ago, which he adapted from this Hay and Straw recipe. Fun!

Monday: Cheesy Beef Potato Bake, green beans, yeast rolls
Tuesday: Teriyaki Chicken (Fix It and Forget It, p. 178), stir-fried veggies, rice
Wednesday: Pizza Pasta (a recipe created by my son! See below.) garlic bread, Caesar salad
Thursday: Leftover buffet
Friday: Take Out Chinese
Weekend: Sandwiches, leftovers, eat out after church


"Pizza Pasta" (A Culinary Creation by Kyle)

1 16 oz package elbow macaroni
1 T butter or margarine
2 C pepperoni, cut into quarters
3 C frozen green peas
1 1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute pepperoni. Add peas and heat through. Drain pasta, transfer to a large serving dish and toss with pepperoni and pea mixture. In a sauce pan, combine Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and cream. Add salt and pepper. Toss with pasta mixture. Serve immediately.


To read more weekly menus or to post your own, head on over to Laura's.



Y'all. Guess what happened after my last post, in which I was so thankful for air conditioning??? You guessed it. We spent Thursday night camping out in the kids' rooms (the only rooms with a/c) and Friday morning with the air conditioner repairman getting our main downstairs a/c unit fixed. Can you believe it? (The same thing happened with my washing machine once after I posted a Thankful Thursday about it!) But, I still went to bed thankful for a/c that night... and thankful that we have two units!

We went over to a friend's house and had a small High School Musical 2 watching party, It was cute! I wrote about it, as well as the new musical I think Disney should write, here.

I hope you had a great weekend! I know some of you are returning from last-minute before-school vacations. I hope everyone had a relaxing time! I wouldn't exactly call our weekend "relaxing" but it was wonderful. On Saturday we enjoyed our niece's 4th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. We hadn't been there in years! It was fun to see her and all of her little friends enjoying the games and fun (but they weren't quite so happy to see Chuck E. the giant mouse when he showed up! Oh, the tears! They either love him or hate him, I've found!) Here's a picture of the older cousins clowning around. I didn't get a picture of the birthday girl, though!

After the party we did some work around the house and then spent Saturday evening after church unpacking our 15+ Awana boxes at the Awana office. (Whew!) It was fun to restock our shelves of all of the t-shirts, vests, jewels, handbooks and supplies that we will need during our Awana Club year. It always makes me excited about the upcoming year, much like buying school supplies does! As usual, we couldn't do it without our faithful kids, diligently working alongside us.

Then, yesterday evening we had our annual Awana leader orientation. We had over 100 people there! We enjoyed some wonderful words from our new teaching pastor, who really encouraged us in our roles to point these little ones to Christ and help them love Him more as they learn to love His qualities that they see in us. While our faithful leaders were enjoying sandwiches, inspiring words, door prizes and training sessions, the leaders' kids upstairs were enjoying our annual "Wild About Awana" party. I love having those parties for the leaders' kids when we have leader meetings. I tell ya, if you want to love on me, love on my kids! That's the philosophy I have when I want to show our leaders how much we appreciate them... I love on their kids! We had food, games and prizes for them, and they all had a great time! We had a great team of older kids and moms upstairs running the party while I ran back and forth between the big meeting and the party, checking in.
Whew! I didn't get to snap any pictures at the kids' party, but I wish I had. It's so fun to see those smiles! I did snap this one of my cute husband, "Commander Luke" speaking to the leaders. ("Commander" is the Awana term for the person who leads the entire club. To me, it seems like more of a "scout-y" term from back when it seemed to resemble more of a scouts-type organization. Our church is more relaxed, and Luke and I prefer calling ourselves the "coordinators" but once someone called me the "Lt. Commander" and, I have to admit... I sort of like it, LOL!)

This week I am continuing to flesh out our school plans. We have our big homeschool association meeting tonight, and I am officially passing the baton of "librarian" to someone else. Our fun friends that are "m's" in China are stateside so we are hanging out with them tomorrow. My hard-working daughter is working at the church cafe on Wednesday helping to cater an event. Friday is my final, major Awana work day in the office to finalize everything for the year. Add to the above a zillion errands and that's my week!



Lastly, (as if you haven't read enough of my rambling if you've made it this far!) join me at the Internet Cafe today where I'm talking about how God hears us, even when it seems like He doesn't. How can we know? Come find out!

Well, I'm all menu-planned and caught up. And, I'll be at the cafe all day!

I'm so very blessed that you stopped by, and have a terrific week!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Oh, how refreshing in the midst of the heat of 105-109 degree days to stop and be... thankful. It is truly a cool, refreshing breeze against the oppressive discontent that can so easily settle in my spirit!

Today I'm thankful for:

~air conditioning. Truly. I have been praying for those who have nowhere to go to escape the scorching heat.

~a forecast of cooler temperatures through the weekend and next week.

~that the city library was kind enough to send our church their library book that we accidentally turned in there last week. (I knew that would happen if we checked out a book about sharks at church... that it would end up in the wrong basket!)

~ for my sweet cyber-smart mother-in-law who sends me e-cards. I'm also thankful for her wonderful, new job that she will be starting soon. Going to work a few years ago was a season of transition for her after being home so many years raising six kids. I am thankful that God helped her to hone marketable skills (not to mention tenacity and people skills) while she was home caring for those precious babies all those years.

~ for my hard-working husband who leaves the house at dark:30 in the morning to provide for our family. And calls me to thank me for the balogna sandwich I sent with him. :) How I love it when he comes in the door in the evenings and we all share a meal together. It's one of my favorite things in this life.

~ for the sound of Legos rattling in the bins upstairs as I write. I love my creative 11 year old boy and the creatures, ships and robots that he proudly shows me. While he builds with plastic bricks, God is nurturing and fostering his creativity, preparing him for the many ways He'll have him use it for building the Kingdom for God's glory throughout his life.

~ for my sleepy teenager who I'm letting "sleep in" during her last few days of summer. She works so hard for others, babysitting, working at our church cafe, teaching a gymnastics class, and helping me at the Awana office and around our house. I can see that God is building a strong work ethic in her, and I know it will serve her (and most of all, her Heavenly Father) well.

~ for the energy and creativity God is granting me as I prepare for our upcoming schoolyear. Homeschooling is one of the privileges for which I remain supremely grateful everyday. Each year as the task seems to grow more daunting, God's grace increases all the more to meet me in my weaknesses and help me rise to the responsibility. Believe me, it's all Him!! Thank You, Lord!!

~ for all of the volunteers we have so far in our Awana club. It takes about 150 volunteers to run a club our size, and God Himself is assembling a top-notch team who He will use this year to bless so many households in our community. I love the mental image of His Word being poured into those homes and little hearts. Lives are being shaped and transformed, and it's such a privilege to serve in this ministry. It's a lot of work at the moment, but He is showing me that it's worth it.

Please stop by Iris's to share your thanks or to visit others to see what they're thankful for. Be warned... it's contagious! :)

I'm thankful that you stopped by! Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Busy Day Ahead?

"If I am going to have a busy day, I spend one hour with the Lord. If I am going to have a very busy day, I spend two hours with the Lord."
~Martin Luther

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Morning Meditations

"May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord." Psalm 104:34

Yesterday I awoke before dawn as I heard my husband stir to get ready for work. For some reason, I spent the next few moments remembering a horrible sin. An almost decade-old sin that has long since been confessed, repented of, and forgiven. But, yesterday morning, out of the blue (or "black" since it was still dark!) here it came. I lay there feeling so guilty, so regretful, and remorseful. Where did that come from? I don't know, but I can tell you where it went. Straight to the Father. Right there I prayed, thanking Him for His grace and mercy, and for the ready forgiveness He had offered for that sin all those years ago. I asked Him why that random thought had popped into my head, and asked Him to please take it (along with the familiar "pang" in my stomach) away, if it was not of Him. No matter where it was from, I asked Him to accomplish the purpose for which He had allowed it. Oh, how I want my heart changed! If He uses my past poor choices as warnings for me, I welcome those warnings! There are some places I never want to go again!

As I prayed silently, under that momentary burden of guilt, I remembered something my pastor had said in last weekend's church service. He was speaking of Christ's accomplishing work on the cross, and the unbearable physical pain our Savior had endured. Then he said, "But, that was nothing compared to what He went through mentally. As He hung there, He felt like a murderer. A thief. A child abuser." I thought of the pangs of guilt I was feeling and realized anew the tiniest, most miniscule fraction of what Christ felt- except that the guilt I felt was from something I had actually done! He felt guilt, shame, and remorse for things He had never even entertained the idea of doing. He endured the shame of the pain and isolation of the Father turning His face from Him, because a Holy God could not look upon such sin. He did that so that I could lay there in the early morning hours and know mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing.

I went through my day yesterday, knowing that God sees me as righteous, despite the horrible sin in my life, because for that moment so long ago, Jesus willingly took on that sin, plus all the ones I've ever committed before, plus all I'll ever commit, and all of every believer's past, present, and future sins throughout all of history and into the future.

And I was just feeling the weight of that one.

Oh, thank you Jesus.

"Sing O Sing, of my Redeemer
With His blood, He purchased me,
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt and made me free."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Happy Monday! I've been in and out of "MPM" this summer, but I've been planning menus each week just the same. I find that knowing what we're having for dinner each night helps anchor our afternoons and make everyone feel like there's a little bit of structure, even during these free-flowing summer days (which are all-too-quickly coming to a close!)

Some things we've enjoyed the past couple of weeks have been:

Baked Zucchini Chips
Rachel Ray's Corn Bacon Muffins
Hawaiian Meatballs
Asian Beef and Noodles
Chicken Pesto Paninis
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Here's what we're having this week:

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday: Shrimp Scampi, rice pilaf
Wednesday: Crock Pot Tater Tot Casserole (from my Fix it and Forget it cookbook)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Order pizza with friends (and watch High School Musical 2, of course!)

Be sure to stop by Laura's for more menu plans, or to share yours!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What Do You See?

My sweet Grandmother, about whom I've posted before, is a vivacious 80-something year old woman with a heart for others. She volunteers in the two nursing homes in her town each week. Many of the people she visits are younger than her! Everytime we visit her, we accompany her on her "rounds" and always enjoy our time with the patients. The way their faces light up when she walks in the room speaks of the loving rapport she has with them, born of the hours she has spend looking into their eyes and getting to know them.

My son has become very interested in volunteering in a retirement facility in our town, running BINGO games once a week and helping some of them grocery shop at WalMart. I'm so glad he has a heart for these dear older people, and I believe it has stemmed from our visits to the nursing homes with my Grandmother. There is so much to be learned from them!

Recently my Grandmother came across this poem and gave it to the staff at each of the facilities in which she volunteers. I read it before our most recent visit, and it really changed how I saw these precious, precious people. It was written by an old woman in a geriatric ward in a hospital in Scotland. It was assumed she hadn't left anything "of value" when she died, but upon going through her things, this poem was found:

"An Old Lady's Poem"

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,,with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.....
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten ...with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty-my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman ...and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years ....all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
..Not a crabby old woman; look closer ...see ME!!

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thankful Thursday: Little Things

I haven't done a Thankful Thursday in just forever! I have been trying to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in recent months and today I thought I'd post some of the "little things" for which I'm grateful, that came to mind as I was getting up and around this morning:

~All of my houseplants are currently alive.
~My car passed inspection yesterday.
~My pedicure is still intact.
~There was enough of my favorite cereal for breakfast this morning.
~I went to Target yesterday.
~While there, I ran into a dear friend and got to chat.
~And I ran into someone who wants to be a leader in our Awana club.
~A sweet, fun friend is having my kids over to play today, while I go to a conference.
~All of our appliances are working, and even at this moment are washing our stuff and keeping our food cold.
~I know what I'm going to wear today.
~Despite the 105 degree heat index, I'll need a jacket at the conference.
~We have leftovers.
~We're having them for dinner tonight.
~I got up really early.
~The kids didn't.
~My bed is made and waiting for me to fall back into it tonight.

What "little things" are you thankful for today?

Visit Iris for more Thankful Thursday posts.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We Don't Always Need to Pray for Peace

Or to feel peace. Sometimes, it's perfectly appropriate to pray for the Lord to "disturb us" about certain things! Join me today at the Internet Cafe where I share a prayer that has had a profound effect on me.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

66 Things I Love About My Mom

(Why 66? Oh, just a, um, random number...)

1. She used to feed and care for me when I couldn't.
2. She cared for my grandmother (her mother) when she couldn't care for herself.
3. She is a good friend to many.
4. She has generations of past school students who remember her as one of their favorite teachers.
5. She comes to see my clean house and must remember the pile that was my teenage bedroom...
6. She worked really hard while I was in college so that I wouldn't have any student loans.
7. She always stays in the Word. No matter what.
8. She brings beautiful music into people's lives.
9. She loves a good joke. And laughs politely at the dumb ones.
10. She taught me how to skin and debone a chicken. A skill I've never used, but at least I know how!
11. She taught me how to drive a stick shift... AND not roll back when stopped on a hill! A skill I needed when I drove in France last year.
12. She can say "Cyn-thi-a!" in a tone that no one else can.
13. She can accomplish much with one raised eyebrow. Move over, Yoda.
14. She has never met a dog she didn't love.
15. She sews better than anyone I know.
16. She can make gravy with anything, and taught me the "ways of the force" in this area.
17. She'll try anything once.
18. She has a heart for mission work.
19. She has scrapbooked every. single. picture. she owns.
20. She thinks every woman she meets is "just the cutest thing you've ever seen!"
21. She thinks her church is "just the sweetest bunch of people you've ever known!"
22. She's not afraid of hard work.
23. She made all my (CUTE!) maternity clothes in an era when all of the maternity clothes had sailor collars and big bows. I had women stop me and ask where my clothes were from.
24. She is convinced that all her grandchildren are gifted and talented. Really. They are.
25. She is convinced that my brother and I are gifted and talented. Really. We are.
26. She is shocked at some of the things my brother and I tell her we did when we were little. Like, I think she thought we were nice.
27. She faithfully endured years of dinner table conversations about bodily functions. ("Every time we sit at the table, it degenerates into this!")
28. She has adopted some of my grandmother's sayings. "Oh, law!"
29. When she sees homeschooling moms out and about, she stops them and tells them what a wonderful thing they are doing.
30. She shops 'til she drops, then she crawls.
31. She believes in daily naptime. I didn't appreciate this as a child, but now I see the beauty of it!
32. She has watched "As the World Turns" since the world actually started turning.
33. She can make a devotional out of anything. A rock. A tree. A pipecleaner. Dryer lint.
34. She has no greater joy than to hear that her children walk in the truth. (III John 4)
35. She can play anything on the piano. While making a row of 5th grade boys behave.
36. She never made us eat liver or lima beans, even when she made them for Dad.
37. She cheers the loudest at games of any kind, any team, anywhere.
38. She laughs with those who laugh.
39. She weeps with those who weep.
40. Whatever emotion you're going through, I guarantee you she understands.
41. She sets specific goals and achieves them.
42. She loves her big brothers so much, just saying their names makes her cry.
43. She's married to her best friend.
44. You can hear her a mile away at a theme park. ("Yep, that's mom on the log ride...")
45. She taught me how to, um, take care of restroom needs on a steep incline on the side of a mountain. (Oh, those Colorado summers... And, yey for hiking boots.)
46. She told me I was pretty even when I wasn't.
47. She told me I was good at math even when I wasn't.
48. When I finally was relatively pretty and good at math, she said, "See? I told you so!"
49. She says "You can always do more than you think you can."
50. She also says that if you say "I can't" you must follow it with the word "yet."
51. She feels that chocolate cake is a perfectly healthy breakfast, as long as you have milk with it.
52. No matter what it is, if she has it and you need it, she'll give it to you.
53. She has sung the showstopper in musicals and waiting for the applause to die down did stop the show momentarily!
54. She makes a church lady face when she sings solos in church and she's not afraid to own that fact.
55. She sat in the ICU waiting room for days with my dear (young, scared) husband when I had heart surgery.
56. She endured years of a very realistic fake spider ("Spidey") being placed strategically on her pillow, in her underwear drawer, etc. when she would least expect it. I can still hear the shrieks. Her poor heart.
57. She always helped me decorate my dorm rooms and apartments so they were just the cutest. For nine months. Until it was time to take it down and move it somewhere else. Year after year.
58. She knows every hymn ever written.
59. All four stanzas. (None of this skip-stanza-3 business.)
60. She accompanied me for UIL competition when her piano part was much harder than my french horn part, and then jumped up and down for MY "one" rating.
61. She would do cartwheels in the yard for my good grades in elementary school.
62. She loves her son-in-law and daughter-in-law like they were her own children. Maybe even more... ;)
63. She's artistic.
64. She's computer-savvy.
65. She is a living testament to those immortal words, "What separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."
66. She knows that His eye is on the sparrow, and she knows He watches her.

I know God is watching her with love and rejoicing over her with singing today.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Praying for Minneapolis

As I mentioned it at the end of my previous post, my prayers (and I'm sure yours as well) are going out to the families of those affected by the Minneapolis bridge tragedy. If you or anyone you know have been touched by this, please know that I am praying.

Since John Piper's church is located there, I knew that he would have some powerful and (and much-needed) words to say in the wake of this.

His initial response is here, titled, "Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed." There have since been other posts on the Desiring God Blog, and I'm sure others will follow in the days to come.

This n' That

Okay, Target a couple of days ago was wonderful. I spent over half a day there. Not because I bought a LOT of stuff, but because it took, you know, awhile. And it was air conditioned. And there are groceries. And a Pizza Hut place for the kids. And the aforementioned Starbucks. Not a bad place to spend an afternoon!

First, I must say that before I had a blog, I never came home and took pictures of my purchases. But, I know you'd do the same for me... ;)

We picked up a couple of these fun chairs for only 12.00 apiece for Bethany's room. She enjoys having friends come over and "hang out" in her room, but there's no seating besides the bed. These chairs perfectly match her decor, fold up to be out of the way, and then provide a great way to sit comfortably on the floor. Fun!

I had to buy one of these for some of the fun Rachel Ray recipes I'm trying. I'm do not particularly enjoy standing out in the 104 degree heat index grilling on the patio, and sometimes things just sli-i-i-de off the George Foreman. (Or I don't want them grilled on both sides at the same time.) There were other pans with Panini presses that were much more expensive. But, I was being budget conscious, what with the chairs and coffee and all. :)

And, have you seen all of the Crayola Total Tools? Talk about fun! My son got the talking ruler (which really works great), the erasable highlighters, the Ultimate Cutter (which ultimately cuts into counter tops, I've discovered...), glue roller (very cool), and the staple-free stapler.
Those, plus this airplane that's a ruler, pen, and a bookmark have begun to start to initiate the process of getting him in the mood for back-to-school.

In the dollar section I picked up some "Build-a-Story Flip books" that we thought were fun. There are different sections of sentences that "flip" together to make nonsense topics for writing, like... "Imagine you are on your way to school and you find... a shoe... that can leap over mountains." or "What would you serve for dinner if your visitor was... a hippo.... that could sing rap music?" or "What if a king... wrote a famous speech... while perched on a cliff on the side of Mt. Everest?" Kyle and I made up stories for most of the afternoon using those. And they were a dollar! And I didn't have to make them!

I got this magnetic dry-erase board with an Old World map on it in antique colors, that matches our school room decor perfectly. (We used it later that night to keep score when my husband skunked us all at Guesstures.) It will eventually go in my about-to-be-repainted-and-reorganized schoolroom.
I also picked up one of these to go by our calendar in the kitchen. I like the main family calendar, but sometimes I just need to focus on the week at hand!

Oh, and as a public service, I will just tell you do not buy this paper shredder in your Target back-to-school section. We shredded a few papers in it this morning before it pooped out. SO, now I have to go back. :::rubbing my hands together::::

Today I'm cooking Mexican food for my parents, brother, nieces and nephew who will be coming over tonight to celebrate my Mom's birthday. I can't wait to see everyone! In a bit I'm going to go work in the Awana office for awhile. Friday is officially "Awana Day" around here for me each week. It's starting in just a few weeks, and there's lots to be done!

I don't watch the news at all, really (it's not good for my stress level) but yesterday I turned it on to get a glimpse of the Minneapolis situation. It seems so trivial to post pictures of what I bought at Target and talk about little details of my week, when others are going through such an unspeakable tragedy. My prayers go out to all involved, whose families were touched by this and who are in the ongoing recovery efforts at the bridge. I can't imagine. I know you're praying, too.

Well, if you've made it this far, thank you! Have a blessed day and weekend!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I have so much that I want to post about...


what I learned at the Rebelution conference.

what I heard on my John MacArthur podcast this morning.

what I've been reading lately.

what recipes I'm making this week.

what we've been up to in the last few days.

and my oh-so-Deep-Thoughts on a myriad of topics.

But, we just got one of these:

And it has this:

And I must... go... there... now....