Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Did you know...?

You can watch Beth Moore teach from her book "Get Out Of That Pit" on the Life Today website here. She is also teaching a really good series now called, "Who Do You Trust?"

Really, really good stuff.

Have a blessed day!

Works-for-me-Wednesday: Clear Plastic Cups

Several years ago we were at a children's museum where they had different stations set up for children to "discover," "experiment kinesthetically," and "manipulate objects." Those were the days when I would join every museum within 50 miles of my house so that my kids could have as many "tactile experiences" as possible somewhere besides our house! (Oh, our poor carpet in those days!)

One day there was a station set up with gobs of these 9 oz. clear plastic cups for the kids to build with.
I could not tear my son away from them! I bought a 200 count bag of them the next time I was at Sam's, and they still get played with!

They have mostly been used to build towers and walls, which are then promply knocked down- the fun part! (They have survived many a radio-controlled car!) We have also used them for science projects, for planting seeds(and watching the roots), and for mixing paint.

Tons of fun, for less than $8. Works for me!

For more fun tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Hope your Wednesday stacks up to be a great day!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oh, I already know the answer to this...

Answer: NO

Question: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

The show premiers tonight after American Idol. I think I'll watch it! As a homeschooling mom to a fifth grader, I'm an unwitting contestant in this particular "game show" every day at my house... It'll be interesting to see how the contestants do!

Informed and Chic

"If I'd abandon all that seeks to make my faith informed and chic, could You, would You, show Yourself to me?"

~ Nichole Nordeman~

Last spring I was on a mission. A new Bible study had come out, and I wanted it. I had my heart set on it. My "mission" was to actually find it. It had sold out at every store I went to. It seems that women's Bible study groups all over the tri-county area had reserved large quantities of them, so when they came in they were already spoken for or were gone by the time I got there. But...but... I wanted it! So, I drove around. I called. I waited a few days. I called and drove around some more. ( I could've ordered it online, I suppose, but then there's the whole "thrill-of-the-hunt" rush that comes from actually going to find it.)

For the umpteenth time (it seemed) I went to a Christian bookstore looking for this particular study, when my not-thrilled-with-shopping-son finally asked me, "What is it we're looking for?" I replied, "A Bible study I want, son." He paused for a few moments, then looked me right in the eye and asked, "Can't you just, you know, study the Bible?"

I stood there, without my fun, hip, new study, and without an answer. As we left the store ,empty-handed, to go buy a Slurpee, I thought about what he had said. I knew he was speaking from the point of view of a ten year old boy who was simply tired of shopping, but he had a point. So often I feel like I need to have a "Bible study," or be "in" a study. And, goodness knows I can look back at my BSF years, my time in Precepts, and the Beth Moore studies I've done and remember some profound things I learned from some truly gifted teachers. (Not to mention what I've gleaned from the seminarians who are beamed into my iPod each week...) I've been "informed" by some of the best! But my deepest, most embedded truths from God's Word are what He has taught me when I "just" study the Bible. When I have prepared my heart in prayer, come clean before Him, humbly gotten up from my knees and have searched the Scriptures for myself. There are days when certain passages seem to just leap off of the page! I ask Him out loud at times, "Was this always here??"

Yes, I finally got my trendy, new ("chic") study. Yes, it was wonderful. But I haven't forgotten what my wise son said. God has a Word for me, from Himself. He is more than willing through His Word and through His indwelling Holy Spirit to "show Himself" to me. Though it's certainly enriching, I don't have to depend on what He's shown to others. I am still somewhat of a Bible study junkie, and at times I need the accountability that a group study affords.

But mostly I just, you know, study the Bible.

To read more "In Other Words" participants, visit Christine at Fruit in Season. Thanks for hosting us, Christine!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ummm... He's not THERE!

What's different? The cave.

What's the same? It's sealed and posted with guards.

What's different? Two thousand years have passed.

What's the same? HE'S STILL NOT THERE. He is risen!

Nevertheless, they think they've found His casket.

"Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' " John 20:29

Menu Plan Monday

Are y'all ready for a great week? I am! We've got a full week planned, with lots of activities, school work, and house projects brewing. The weather's been "spring-like" the past few days, and that always gets me in the mood to do housework and cooking. (I typed that really small -sort of a "cyber-whisper"- out of respect for all of you who are still digging out from the snowstorms. I'm praying for y'all!) Anyway, in the midst of my closet cleaning and organizing this week, here's what I'll be stirring up:

Monday: baked potato soup, garlic bread, salad (I didn't make this last week due to our trip, so I moved it to this week)

Tuesday: Bar-b-cups, green beans, corn-on-the-cob

Wednesday: Ritz Cracker Chicken (one of my kids' favorites!), scalloped potatoes, steamed vegetables

Thursday: (We'll be at the zoo all day. Fun!) Crock Pot beef stew, cornbread

Friday: YOYO -"you're on you're own"- leftovers

Saturday: church night, out to eat

Sunday: (lunch) spaghetti, caesar salad, veggies, garlic bread

"Ritzy Chicken"
(there are bunches of recipes for this on the web, here's the one I use because it is SO simple!)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sour cream
1 stack Ritz crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dip chicken in sour cream and roll in cracker crumbs with pepper mixed in.
Place chicken in a greased shallow baking dish.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 55 minutes.
For more menu plans (and some awesome organizing tips!) visit Laura at Organizing Junkie.
Whatever you've got cookin', have a happy Monday and a yummy week!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beth Moore Simulcast


It was SO good! I wished for you so many times yesterday!

There was a sweet young woman who sat in front of me who started crying on the first downbeat of the first praise song and cried all the way through all three sessions of Beth. (Oh my WORD that has been me before!) She had friends with her and didn't need anyone else hovering or patting on her, but boy I prayed for her the whole day, and for all the women (150,000!) who were attending all over the country. Everybody brings a story with them. Whoa, what a powerful time.

Her message was wonderful, though it was hard to hear her... you know she's kind of quiet and soft spoken. (LOL... just kidding!) Her focus scriptures were Psalm 18 and Psalm 40. I wish I had lots of notes to share, but I really just listened and absorbed... not a lot of writing (unusual for this voracious note-taker!) If you haven't read the book, Get Out of That Pit, I encourage you to pick it up. There are lots of women posting their reactions to the conference at the LPM blog as well. I'm heading over there myself to see what everyone thought.

For now, just so we can feel like we were there together, click "play" below, crank the volume, and dance with me! Along with Beth, I pray that all of us would be "ruined for anything else but complete liberty!"

Sunday Funny

These are some bloopers that have actually appeared in church bulletins:

  • The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience.

  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.

  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

  • Weight Watchers will meet a 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

  • Don't let worry kill you--let the church help.

Aren't these great? There are more! You can find them here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Here's Where I'll Be Today...

Our church is one of the telecast sites... I can't wait! I wish all of us "sistas" could go together, wouldn't that be the most fun?

Have a great Saturday, friends!

Friday, February 23, 2007

5 Reasons I Blog

Laurel tagged me for this meme. I haven't done a meme in awhile, so this is fun!

1. To keep family and friends up on our "doings." I originally started a blog on Xanga, to keep people updated while we were traveling (if we happened to be somewhere there was internet service.) Almost exactly a year ago my daughter and I were in France and I was blogging daily on my Xanga for praying friends and family back home, and I realized that I actually liked to write. That was genuinely a shock to me, as I never really wrote anything except in a prayer journal (and pretty infrequently at that.) Once we returned from France I still had the "itch" to blog, so I moved over to the big-grown-up-world o' html over here at Blogger.

2. It keeps me accountable for my words. I never blog anything that I don't actually do. If I say I'm reading it, I read it. If I say I'm cooking/have cooked it, I cook it. I realize that in this cyber-interweb we can "be" just about anyone, it can be tempting to be sort of an online "glamour shot" of myself. This is where having real-life family and friends reading my blog is helpful, because they KNOW if I represent myself as anything other than what/who I am in real life. Also, once you hit "send"... it's out there. My posts are there for weeks, months and years to come, so I must choose my words carefully. (Something I need to work on in my speech as well!)

3. It's a community. I had NO. IDEA. that y'all were out there. The "Cyber Sistas" I have met through blogging are dear to me. You're real. You're digging in and raising your kids just like I am. You're trying to be the best wife you can be, just like I am. You're looking for a good pork chop recipe just like I am... It's great! Dianne at Unfinished Work wrote a post last month that I think sums this up just perfectly: We're chatting "over the back fence." And I just love it!

4. It challenges me. I know NOTHING about computers, other than if it messes up, turn it off and then back on. I have no idea how what I type gets posted here (and looking so "professional" and all! All website-ish and everything!) I know enough to click, highlight and paste things and make them into hyper-links. I know how to type something and click "publish." I know how to "browse" the pictures in my computer and on a day when the planets are all aligned just right, Blogger uploads them. So, I'm learning. And it's good for me. I can just feel the synapses in my brain, new dendrites forming with each blog post. Holding dementia and Alzheimer's at bay, that's what I'm doing!

5. It purges my brain. The Bible says that "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." For me, "out of the overflow of the brain, the fingers blog." I always read, read, read. I think, pontificate, mull and wonder. There is always a hodge-podge of issues floating around in my head, from pondering the Trinity to learning a new Greek Word, to wondering how to get a stain off of my couch or hoping someone is as behind on their laundry as I am. Blogging helps me at least follow one rabbit trail for a time. Often as I'm typing a post, I get clarity on something that I didn't have before. People who journal often say that's how it feels- the process of writing something slows their thoughts down long enough to really think about the issue. That's sort of how it is for me at times... and then I hit "publish." :)

If you have thought of any of the reasons you blog while reading this post, PLEASE consider yourself tagged and post about it on your site. (I'm not sure who to tag, because I haven't read everyone this week.) I'd love to know why you blog!

If you're reading this and you don't have a blog... start one. It'll bless your socks off!

Some Pictures From Our Week

I had tears in my eyes as I read some of the comments y'all left on my last post. I love how the qualities I described struck such a chord with so many of us, and that it brought so many of your own sweet grandmothers to mind. Since I was posting from her computer, I didn't have pictures loaded. I think it's kind of appropriate that my last post didn't have a picture with it, since the "picture" I wanted to paint was of her character qualities, not her physical features. But, since I always like to see a picture of who I'm reading about, here she is:

Her sweet friend came over to practice with her for their weekly "gig" at the Senior Center. They invited my daughter to play along with them as they practiced, and it was a precious sight to me. The violin fiddle Grandmother is playing was brought back from Japan by my grandad when he was there during WWII. She has learned some notes on it and can play a few hymns, and she harmonizes with her friend Clara as she plays "lead guitar" (Clara has played for years.) They are a great team!

She can pick out hymns on the piano as well, and was playing a duet (of sorts) with my son in this photo. He was playing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and she was playing her version of it- "Rabbit Ain't Got No Tail At All".

I'm back to laundry, school books and life. (Most of all, back to my cute husband and my little dog!) I can't wait to spend some time this afternoon catching up on everyone's blogs that I've missed this week. I want to know what y'all have been up to! Thanks so much for reading, my sweet bloggy friends. Have a blessed Friday!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I once heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss say that she always wanted to grow up to be a "Godly older woman." At the time I heard her say that I was in my twenties, and it really struck a chord with me. I remember thinking, "Yes! That's what I want to be, too!" It became a goal of mine, as real as wanting to be a teacher or a mother. As long as I can remember I have always loved being in the presence of Godly older (elderly) women. I loved listening to their voices, watching their mannerisms. The way their voices sometimes quaver made what they were saying sound so sage and wise (which it usually was!). As I mentioned in my post, being with my Grandmother feeds my soul. This week my soul has had a feast! I have learned so much, as I always do.

I am a very "visual learner," and walking through my 84-year-old grandmother's days when I get to visit her teaches me how I want to be as I grow older. Here are some of the qualities I have observed in her this week, and what we "younger" women can learn from a Godly mentor like her.
  • Stay active. She stretches and and exercises everyday, starting before she even gets out of bed. She has a routine of stretches she does while lying in her bed that help "get her going" before her feet even hit the floor. When the weather is nice, she goes for a walk each morning as well. She greets her neighbors as she's out, stopping to check on those who can't get out and even stopped awhile back to pray with a woman who stopped her, who just felt like she could confide in her even though she didn't know her very well. She's available like that.

  • Stay in the Word. She has taught her Sunday School class for years. I sat this week and gingerly thumbed through her taped-up, wrinkly-paged, well-worn, marked-up Bible. I can only imagine how those living and active words have been soaked up by her all these years. She has bookshelves full of classic Christian books that I know she has read repeatedly. She attends Bible seminars and listens to pastors young enough to be her grandsons and always takes notes.

  • Keep giving of yourself. She volunteers at two local nursing homes. We went on her "rounds" with her on Monday. She has creatively worked out something with the local grocery store manager to donate a big stack of those free weekly magazines with the TV listing, crossword puzzles and small articles. She takes those up to the residents and walks around, looking into their faces with a smile, greeting them by name and lovingly touching them. Some of them brighten the minute they see her, others look at her blankly... but her manner is the same with all of them. She talks to them whether they seem to be aware of her presence or not. It's just precious. Many of them are younger than her, too! She's also involved in an apartment ministry in her town through her church. She goes once a week and shares the gospel with those who are so much different from her. There is a young woman who has only been "clean" for four weeks from her drug habit and she seeks Grandmother out at these meetings and asks her questions.

  • Stay teachable. I wish I had a recording of what I am listening to right now. She is in the other room playing hymns on the old violin my grandad brought her from Japan during World War II. She never knew how to play it until a couple of years ago. She began "fiddling" with it, just to see if she could do it. She has a dear friend that has taught her how to play, and now they play together at the Senior Citizens Center each Thursday, leading hymns. (They are practicing right now. I stopped writing this post and went in to listen and join them. I couldn't help going in to sing "There is a Fountain" and "Because He Lives." It is beautiful!) She also has become quite techno-savvy, having a computer and a digital camera. She even sent me an e-card for Valentines Day! That's something for someone who grew up in a world with no electricity or phone!

  • Include others. She plays her "fiddle" in a group with three other ladies. Someone at the Senior Center named them the "Fantastic Four" which evolved into the "Funtastic Four." She had them change it to "The Funtastics" because that way they could leave room for anyone else who wanted to join. When she's going to a church get-together or out for a hamburger with a friend, she always invites someone to go. She hates to see anyone feeling left out. There has always been room for one (or 5 or 10) more at her table for dinner.

  • Live in fellowship with others. Even though my sweet Grandad went to be with the Lord almost 10 years ago and her kids don't live in her town, she has not allowed herself to become a "loner." A few years ago she started a system with some of the other widow women in town, where they call each other every morning to check on one another. In the mornings here, starting at around 8:00 AM her phone starts ringing and she starts calling. It is so precious to hear her morning greetings, listening to those dear women touch base, telling their plans for the day. A short greeting and a "how are you feeling today?"... it's practically a hug through the phone. What a great way to start the day!

  • Laughter is the best medicine. It's true! She's always been a "cut-up." Those who know my "humor" and have been around my grandmother frequently have told me "I see where you get it." We have laughed and laughed this week.

  • Work hard. She has never worked outside the home (except during WWII when so many women went into the work force, she and her sister ran a gas station together) but she always works very hard at home. Her home reflects the fact that she takes good care of it and takes pride in it. In fact, the first thing I noticed when I went into her kitchen when we first arrived were new handles on her all her (many) kitchen cabinets and drawers. When I asked her about it, she was told me how she did it and proudly showed me her favorite battery-powered screwdriver! This morning she was investigating a leak under her kitchen sink. She has rewired lamps and light fixtures. She is quite handy around the house, and has always done all of her own painting and wallpapering. She is the epitome of the "keeper at home" and always has been, since the days before all of the modern appliances which make it so easy for us today.

  • Be frugal and content with what you have. She shops the grocery store sales and the end-of-season department store sales. Her home is full of things she has used and reused for years in her effort to conserve and be a good steward. She also takes care of her things so they will last. She clips coupons and watches for bargains, rarely paying full price for anything. She is thrifty when she decorates and a dollar store aficionado. But she always looks like a million bucks!

  • Attitude is everything. She has all the aches and pains that aging brings. She wears a hearing aid in both ears, deals with glaucoma, and has other medical issues that must be monitored. But throughout all of her medical check-ups and issues, she remains thankful for her health and prays each day to be used by the Lord. She smiles and laughs, even when you can tell she's hurting or tired.

  • Be strong when others need you. Recently she was on the scene minutes after her brother-in-law collapsed in his yard and later died. She was so strong for her sister-in-law and their family throughout the ambulance ride and hospital stay. She has buried her parents, her husband, brothers and sisters. She is not afraid to enter into other people's painful experiences alongside them. She mourns with those who mourn.

I could go on and on. Someday I might. I am so blessed to have her in my life, and pray that I could be a fraction of the godly woman she is. All of us have so much to learn from the older generations. In fact, it is biblical to seek out relationships with older women and prioritize learning from them. If you don't have a godly older woman in your life, I encourage you to pray that God would provide you with a relationship where you can be mentored and encouraged by one. I believe it is His will for each of us "younger" women. (Yes, I'll be forty soon. Forty is still young to an 84 year old!) I believe praying to have a godly older woman in our lives is to pray in God's will. And I know that praying to be one someday definitely is. I pray that for all of us, whatever our ages!

If you have lessons you have learned from godly older women, please share them in the comments, or if you post on your blog let me know. I think it is invaluable to share what we are learning from those precious Titus 2 women whom God has sovereignly placed in our lives.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What about now?

I sat prayerfully on the couch with my calendar yesterday. I opened it up and thumbed through it, asking God when would be a good time to visit my sweet Grandmother (just 3 or so hours from here, in west TX) As the weeks progress, the calendar is dotted with babysitting jobs to which my hard-working daughter has committed, missions meetings, homeschool field trips, Awana ministry responsibilities, and classes. Something inside me kept whispering, "What about tomorrow?" So, "tomorrow" has turned into "today," and we're going. I love, love, LOVE visiting my grandmother. Time with her really feeds my soul. The idea of stealing a few days away for a visit had been brewing in my mind for a week or so, then I read a post over at Linda's about a sweet visit with her mother, and it so beautifully described how blessed I feel when I go see Grandmother. Thank you, Linda, for that inspiring post!

My daughter came in yesterday while I was getting ready for Awana and I told her we were leaving town. She said, "Mom, this... this just isn't like you. You like things so planned!" Well, we do have a plan. The plan is to throw some outfits in a bag, put a crate o' school in the car, and go. My sweet husband has topped the gas tank and washed the van. He'll be fine for a couple of days (and may actually enjoy the quiet!).

I may get to blog while we're gone. She may be 80- something but she's techno-savvy! I blogged from her computer last summer here and even composed my humble addition to Buttprints in the Sand during my visit there, LOL.

So, my "What about tomorrow?" has come. How about you? Is there someone you'd like to visit or call, but can't find the time? Prayerfully search your calendar. I bet it's in there!

What about tomorrow? What about now?

Love y'all!

Menu Plan Monday

As I just posted, the kids and I are leaving town for a couple of days. My husband is quite self-sufficient and knows his way around the kitchen as well as I do, but I've made sure the fridge is stocked with yummy snacks and left-overs and I baked a new marble cake yesterday. He's set for meals until we come back. When I told my son we were going to visit my grandmother he commented (after he stopped cheering) "Well, get ready for pancakes the size of your plate!" In other words, we won't be starving, either!

But, I do have a plan for once we return, so here it is:

Wednesday: Chili, baked potatoes and salad

Thursday: Crock pot BBQ chicken, steamed veggies

Friday: Beef enchiladas, black beans, guacamole (I didn't make this last Friday, hubby and I ordered pizza for the kids and went out on a date!)

Saturday: Church and out to eat

Sunday lunch: Baked Potato Soup, garlic bread, salad

For some well-planned menus from some of the best cooks on the web, visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. Have a yummy week!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Stay Your Soul On God"

"Blessed are the single-hearted,
for they shall enjoy much peace.
If you refuse to be hurried and pressed,
if you stay your soul on God,
nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.
In that stillness you will know what His will is."
~Amy Carmichael

Sunday Funny

A certain preacher had all of his remaining teeth pulled and had new dentures made. The next Sunday, he only preached 10 minutes.The following Sunday he preached only 20 minutes. But, on the third Sunday, he preached 1 hour and 25 minutes!

When asked about this by some of the congregation, he responded this way: "The first Sunday, my gums were so sore it hurt to talk. The second Sunday, my dentures were hurting a lot. The third Sunday, I accidentally grabbed my wife's dentures... and I couldn't stop talking!"

Friday, February 16, 2007

God's Site Meter

Here are some questions I've been asking myself this week:

  • If the Bible were a blog, would you be on God's site meter today?
  • Would His site meter show that you were reading early in the morning? (first thing)
  • Would it show multiple page loads?
  • How many minutes of reading would it show?
  • Do you read the posts, or just the comments? (His Word vs. books about His Word.)
  • Are others who show up on His site meter showing you as the referring site? (In other words, are you linking others to His Word?)
  • Would His site meter show just one brief check each day, or would it show that you refer to His Word multiple times throughout the day?
  • Do you just lurk or actively comment (pray) as you read?
  • Do the amount of times you show up on His site meter reflect a hunger for His Word?

God doesn't need a site meter, of course. He knows. And He doesn't need to know I've been reading His Word as some sort of "ego boost" for Himself. I need what He has to say more than anyone needs what I have to say. And although His Word is complete and unchanging, His Word is very much alive, active, and applicable to my ever-changing circumstances. In that sense there are "new posts" daily, and they are a lifeline like no other. He is the Ultimate Blogger.

Let's spike God's site meter today!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I want to play! I have had some "down time" this evening to click around on some of my favorite blogs, and came to Iris's and read her "Thankful Thursday" list. I just love this, and I love reading what others are thankful for. I truly think thankfulness is contagious, because after reading two or three I began to nod my head more and more, being both thankful on behalf of the person who wrote the post, as well as sensing a growing thankfulness for so much in my own life. Isn't this the way it's supposed to be? That must be partly why we are instructed so often in the Bible to be thankful. It has such a tendency to permeate our circumstances as well as the hearts of others.

So, here's what I'm thankful for this week:
  • My loving husband, who God has used to bless my life on every level, on Valentine's Day and everyday.
  • My hard-working kids who have done whatever they were asked to do for school this week, with excellence and diligence.
  • A fresh coat of paint on much of our downstairs. Oh how it soothes me to see it looking so beautiful!
  • My weenie dog, Zacchaeus, who I received for a Valentines Day present 7 years ago. We've had an "anniversary" of sorts this week. He makes me smile everyday.
  • An increasingly "uncluttered" mind, thanks to a recent re-alignment of my priorities.
  • Wise friends who God uses to speak truth into my life and encourage me toward excellence.
  • My electric blanket. So cozy.
  • House chores which remind me that we have an active family, dirty dishes which remind me that we have food, and laundry which reminds me that we have clothes.

Visit Iris at Sting My Heart to read more Thankful Thursday participants. It's contagious...You will be blessed!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Works-for-me-Wednesday: Gatorade Ice Chips

Last week I didn't participate in WFMW because I had the joy of participating in a violent stomach virus that has been making the rounds in our area. So fun. Not.

Here's what worked for me last week: Gatorade ice chips. Laurel was so sweet to remind me "sips not gulps," as it is SO important to replenish your fluids when you are dehydrated due to, well, you know. But there are times when even sips aren't feasible. It's moments like that when "ice chips, not sips" are best. And sports drinks are better at replacing electrolytes than water, as water tends to dilute the salts inside the body's cells. My sweet husband froze Gatorade (Or Powerade. Something blue. :) in zip-loc bags so it would freeze more quickly, and so it would be easy to make into little ice chips. Perfect! Oh, how it worked for me!

I've still got some in the freezer, praying no one else in this house will need them...

For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer. Have a wonderful Wednesday, and a Happy Valentine's Day!

He Likes You

"He likes you."

"Shut. UP! He does???"

"Yes! Kevin told Mark, who told Brandon. He told Ashley and she told Brittany while I was at my locker and I overheard. Can you believe it? You're SO lucky!"

Remember finding out "he likes you?" Either it was someone you had had a crush on, and finally his attentions turned to you, or you had never given him the time of day until you found out he noticed you, and well, that changed everything! "He likes me." :::sigh:::

Oh, how I'm glad days are (long) behind me. I have a cute guy who comes home to me every single day, grabs me up and plants a big one on me and tells me "he likes me" in a million little ways by his actions and words. I wish the "me" from 7th grade could've seen the "me" now, married to such a cute boy. Maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time in middle school and high school worrying about it. Or would I have?

I say 7th grade, because I've been in 7th grade all year. It seems I am in whatever grade my daughter is in. Not just because I homeschool her, which means I am very much entrenched in pre-algebra, life science and Texas history. But because I am reliving the emotions and feelings of whatever age she is, which right now is 13. Some days I relive them with the knowledge and perspective of an almost-40-year-old, and some days I don't. Some days I am that little insecure girl I was back in 1980. Oh, my word. (Do most moms do this? Or do we have some sort of codependent Gilmore Girls thing going on?)

So, the mother part of me has been counseling not only my own daughter, but the 7th grade part of myself as well. In the evenings, the three of us (me, my daughter, and the 7th grade me) curl up on the bed and read together. And we all learn something. This week we've been reading Authentic Beauty, by Leslie Ludy. I read this book a couple of years ago, and at the time I thought I'd wait to read this book with her in high school. But, as I've found out, the world does not "wait" to send its message to little girls. The messages about what is "pretty" and about "boy/girl" stuff are coming through loud and clear, and it's time for some words to the contrary.

Here's a chapter summary:

"Found within the antiquated folds of girlish fairy tales is the secret key to unlocking feminity. From Snow White to the Little Mermaid there is found this sublime theme: Behind every storybook princess is a noble and gallant prince. But far beyond winsome tales of fictional romance, there exists a breathtaking reality- the noble Hero of our long-lost girlish dreams is real! His name is Jesus. This Prince is not just your average Joe with baggy shorts and a patchy goatee-- He is a man unlike all others, with a kiss of life on His lips and a castle far way. With a twinkle in His eyes, He calls us to "come away" with Him and become His princess. He asks us to give up everything to be His girl. And the secret to unlocking the magnificent dimensions of our femininity, much like our fairy-tale princess counterparts, is found in our response: to give up everything we possess to follow our gallant Knight.

"Our Prince is eager to begin a heavenly love story with us. He desires to spring from the pages of Scripture and dance with us in our real day-to-day life. He gave His very life on a cross for this opportunity to share life intimately at our side. The defining question of our femininity is this: Will we be willing to give our very life to Him in return? He eagerly awaits our reply."

We are discussing what it means to be a "set apart young woman." The book not only deals with countering the message our girls get from our culture, but practical ways to draw closer to Jesus as a young woman. Oh, how I wish I'd have read this book when I was a teenager (of course, this particular author was probably in preschool at the time...) A book like this could've been just the Teflon-coating my soul needed during those confusing years. It is a very candid book, startlingly so at times. (I've changed a few of the words as I read!) But, as I've found out the hard way, our girls can hear things from Christian friends at sleepovers (and :::gasp::: even homeschool co-ops) so I'd rather her hear them from me, wrapped in the context of the truth.

And the truth (both for her and for the 7th grade me) this Valentine's Day, is this: it's not about a boy. It's not about an earthly romance at all. It's about our true Prince, and our relationship with Him. It's about building your life around Him, preparing the sanctuary of your heart for Him, craving time with Him...

"He likes you."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The True Me

How are you in times of great distress? Do you make your best choices? Say the most brilliant things? I know I don't. I can look back at moments of great grief or trauma in my life and I can't believe some of the things I've said, or didn't say. Some people have the gift of knowing just what to say at key, pivotal moments. I am not one of those people.

Neither was Peter. I always chuckle when I read how Peter interrupts Jesus' conversation with Moses and Elijah during that glorious moment on the Mount of Transfiguration. And, of course, he was the one who rashly cut off the servant's ear in the Garden of Gethsemane. Today I read with such heaviness in my heart for him as he denied even knowing Jesus. Repeatedly. And with cuss words.

After his denial of Christ, though, Matthew 26:75 records that Peter "went out and wept bitterly." John MacArthur's notes in my Bible this morning said something that I just love:

"The true Peter is seen not in his denial but in his repentance."

What a statement! A few years ago our teaching pastor pointed out that David's life, though filled with sin of every kind, was not characterized by sin, but rather characterized by brokenness and repentance. (And praise!) Sin is such a daily battle, isn't it? Praise God that our lives need not be characterized by our poor choices, bad decisions or rash words. But, the key is repentance. In the moment that Jesus made eye contact with Peter, he was brought to a place of brokenness and repentance. That's how he went from the Matt. 26 Peter to the bold, Spirit-filled Acts 4 Peter. The same can be true for me. I must make eye-contact with my Savior. Repentance is the key.

Even as Peter was in the midst of sinning against his Lord, Jesus was on His way to bear the punishment for it. I shared a few months ago a technique that I believe God gave me for prayer, to help me be thorough in my confession. It is based on the word "scars," because He bore those scars for me, and still bears them even as He sits at the right hand of the Father. I need to be reminded of this daily.

I know as I go throughout my day today I will sin, but oh how I pray that the true "me" will be seen in my repentance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I'm inspired! I always read everyone's menu plans, and while mine are posted in my kitchen on the island I never post them here. I love to post my menu plans in the kitchen each week, even if it's "Leftovers" or "O.T.E." (out to eat), or my son's favorite: "YOYO" (You're On Your Own) night. It keeps me on track and lets everyone know what to look forward to. I'm sitting here surfin' blogs while waiting for our dinner to "ding!" in the oven and I just got inspired to post my first ever "Menu Plan Monday."

Here's what we've got cookin' at our house this week:

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie, fried okra

Tuesday: Out for burgers at a local burger joint where our Awana club high schoolers are having a mission trip fundraiser

Wednesday: Koko (Chicken) Congolaise and rice (recipe below) This is an African chicken dish that I found in my mom's church's cookbook that looks SO good, the ingredients remind me of our favorite west African peanut soup. (I thought it would be fun to have something African on Valentine's Day, there are so many people we love there.)

Thursday: (gymnastics night) Leftovers

Friday: Beef Enchiladas, guacamole, black beans

Saturday: Church night and O.T.E.

Sunday lunch: A beef casserole recipe I found, or maybe a roast, I haven't decided. (We always go to Taco Bell after Awana on Sunday night.)

(For desserts I usually keep a pan of brownies or a cake baked, a big bowl of banana pudding, or make a batch of cookies for the week. Currently we're munching on a batch of cookies. I also keep a bagged salad ready to pull out to put with dinner through the week.)

Koko (Chicken) Congolaise

1 chicken, cut up
2 T. oil
1 sm. onion, chopped
2-3 T. peanut butter
2 c. water
2 T. flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cilantro, chopped, to taste
2 splashes Tabasco sauce
Cooked rice

Brown the chicken in oil. Remove from the pan. Cook onion until soft. Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter with some of the water in a small bowl. Add flour to remaining water and mix well. Pour both mixtures into the pan and cook until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season to tase with spices. Return chicken to pan and simmer until tender. Serve with hot rice. Note: For "Bagara (Beef) Congolaise," substitute beef stew meat for the chicken. ~ from Chef Aleme- Adi, Congo

I'll let you know how it is!

For more menu plans, visit Organizing Junkie. Have a yummy week!

Near the Cross

One of my first posts when I started my blog described my "not-so-quiet-times" each morning. Oh, how the Lord has used His Word to speak to me this morning, weaving the gospel message through my Old Testament reading where I found myself at the foot of Mt. Sinai, learning of the sacrifices to the New Testament reading where I sat with Christ at that final supper where He turned the Passover Meal into a remembrance of His atoning death. God used the perfect hymn to tie it all together for me this morning, and I just had to share its words with you.

Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain,
Free to all- a healing stream- flows from Calv'ry's mountain.

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever;
'Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star shed its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day with its shadow o'er me.

Near the cross I'll watch and wait, hoping trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.

May the day and week ahead find you near the cross, my dear friend.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Seeds of Character

"Sow a thought, reap an act.
Sow an act, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny."
George Dana Boardman, The Younger
American Clergyman (1828-1903)

Yesterday we were working around the house (Yey! I finally felt like working! I have never been happier to scrub a bathtub in all my life...) My best-house-painter-in-the-west husband, Luke, was scaling the 20 ft. heights of our family room painting and our son, his faithful sidekick, was helping him. I was on the other side of the bar/sink area working in the kitchen. Every request that Luke made of Kyle was met with a cheerful "Yes, sir" as Kyle diligently and obediently did whatever his Dad needed him to do: take off the plates around the electrical sockets, bring him supplies, reload his paint roller and hand it up to him. Finally, I said from the other side of the counter, "Kyle, you are working so hard. I really love how hard you are working to help your Dad." "Thanks," he replied from down below. A few moments later I said, "You know, it really honors God for you to work so hard." There was a long pause while he kept rolling paint onto the wall. Finally he asked, "It does?" "Certainly," my husband added, and began explaining to him how it glorifies God to work hard.

As I was scrubbing and listening to a father sweetly teaching his son, I realized that Kyle had been pleasantly surprised to learn that his behavior was honoring and glorifying God. I realized that perhaps all along he thought he was simply pleasing his parents. I really want him to know it's bigger than that; he is pleasing His Heavenly Father. I want to start looking for other ways to let my children know that their goal is not just to honor and please me, but to look at how they can honor God. I want them to know the life-long, abiding peace and joy that comes from a life filled with daily, minute-by-minute choices that honor the God Who made them, saved them, and loves them so dearly.

Something so simple yesterday, but hopefully a seed was sown.

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's Not About Me

"For the life of me, I believe Satan trains battalions of demons to whisper one question in our ears: 'What are people thinking of you?' "
Max Lucado

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This makes me feel better!

If you are interested in reading any Deep and Meaningful (or perhaps Thought-Provoking) posts this week, I'm afraid you'll need to click around in my archives or click one of the bloggers in my blogroll. This virus has hit me like a ton of bricks. It may last for 48 hours, but it's taking me at least an additional 48 to get back on my feet and feel like "me" again.

Since I can finally read without feeling too dizzy, I've been catching up on some of my favorite blogs, including my newest favorite where I saw this. Since I don't feel like myself at the moment, I decided to see who I might look like.

Just. LOOK!!

I look like WONDER WOMAN! (I actually bought a Wonder Woman t-shirt last spring because I always wanted to be her...) I resemble The First Lady! Oh, how I wanted to be Andie McDowell (the beautiful doctor) in "St. Elmo's Fire" when I saw it in high school. And (my daughter-the-Gilmore Girls-addict) will be so proud that her mom looks like Lorelai Gilmore! And -bonus- it didn't tell me I look like any men.

I'm starting to feel perkier already...

::::off to find my Wonder Woman shirt:::

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Being sick is no reason to neglect using one's time wisely. With that in mind, I have now watched every commercial that aired during the Super Bowl and I have chosen my favorite:

Speaking of commercials, all of these daytime commercials have inspired me. I'm seriously considering attending ITT Tech or possibly pursuing a rewarding career in the automotive industry. I've also jotted down a few numbers of some law firms, in case I suspect I caught this virus due to someone else's negligence...

(Okay, I need to just put down the remote and step away slowly...)

Two Words:

"stomach virus."


I'm finally able to sit upright, but that's about it. I'll be back in a few...

Love y'all!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday Funny

A small country church voted to refurbish their sanctuary. In the interest of frugality and good stewardship, the deacons volunteered to paint the walls themselves. They carefully calculated their budget and purchased the necessary supplies. Early on a Saturday morning, they began to paint. As the work progressed, they began to realize that they had not bought enough paint for the entire job, so they began to thin the remaining supply. As they continued, the paint grew thinner and thinner. They finished that evening, straightened up the sanctuary, turned out the lights and left to let the paint dry overnight.

When the congregation arrived the next morning, they were quite disappointed with the results. The sun streamed through the windows of the sanctuary, revealing the streaky, thinned-out paint job which showed the old paint underneath. The preacher took his place behind the pulpit and silently studied the walls for a few moments, the congregation anxious to hear what he would say. He then turned to the deacons, pointed his finger, and declared in his best preacher-voice, "Repaint! Repaint! Thin no more!"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Call it what you will...

Economical excursion...
Nominally-priced night out...
Reduced rate rendezvous...
Stingy soiree...
On-sale outing...
Depreciated departure...
Discount diversion...

I call it a great idea!

Have you seen what Shalee's got going on next week?

Get all the details here, then visit her site on Tuesday to post your ideas. I can't wait!

One in a MIL

Chris at Come to the Table wrote about Love and Acceptance this week. It was such a great post, and it really made me think. Oh, how I want to be characterized by those words. I want people to look forward to being around me because they know they are loved and accepted. There are so many people I just love so much I wonder if there is any way they can know how much I love them. Oh, how I hope that love comes through in my words and actions.

But one person came into my mind when I read Chris's post: my mother-in-law (MIL), Nancy. From the moment I started dating her oldest son 20 (::gasp::) years ago, I felt her acceptance. We started dating in November, and in December she made me a stocking to hang with the others. With six kids, boyfriends, girlfriends (now spouses), and friend-friends she always makes each one of us feel like we're her favorite. (I just love it! I'm her favorite!) Years ago when the kids were little she came over and my house was an absolute wreck. She walked in, took one look around at the debris and her face lit up. She exclaimed, "Good for you! You've been spending time with those babies!" Oh how I needed someone to acknowledge that that day (and put a positive spin on how my house looked!) Every year on my birthday she calls my mom and thanks her for giving birth to me. Isn't that cool?

I'm thinking of her this morning because last night she came over. My house was a mess. It's been a busy week, laundry is all over, and with painting, stuff isn't where it usually "goes." I loved it because... it just didn't matter. I felt like I could have her come right over and plunk down right in the midst of it, which she did. Then she told me how beautiful our house is. She told me how great my food was. She acted like it's the most beautiful paint color she's ever seen. She thinks her son is the best painter in the world. She loved on all of us and enjoyed s'mores and family Bingo night with us (and won a prize!)

I wanted to write this this morning because she told me yesterday that every day she gets up and reads my blog first thing. (She told me as she came in the door last night I was the Best Blogger In The World! "If you don't write a book someday, it'll be a shame..." :) So I wanted to write this first thing. Nancy, this is for you and for all of bloggy-ville to read because I want to let you know how your love and acceptance have touched me for the last 20 years. You're the kind of person I want to be. I love you!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Without a shadow of a doubt...

Spring is coming early!

Phil didn't see his shadow. (I didn't either, when I went outside.)

Well, some think that Groundhog Day should be outlawed, anyway...

Happy Groundhog Day!

A Good Tired

It's Friday, and I am tired. I'll bet you are too! Moms are busy.

But is it a good tired? For me, it is. Last week I felt so stretched and so pulled, my sweet husband and I were making some decisions and in so many areas I just felt... out of control. This week, I decided to go back to what I KNOW. I know that God loves me and wants His best for me. I know He is holding my family in the palm of His hand. I know that He has good works for me to do that He planned before I ever took my first breath. I know that those good works are to be a wife to my husband, and to mother my children at home. So this week, I got back to the heart of those good works, first and foremost loving and supporting my husband. I started last weekend taking a new look at just what it is that Luke needs from me. I didn't make a formal list, but sort of just clarified some things in my mind. Then I took a good hard look at what my children need from me. I ordered my week accordingly. I left out the things I was hoping to get done for myself or around the house, or what might look good to other people. I simply narrowed my focus to the three other precious souls who live in this house and endeavored to pour myself out for them in a new way.

I realize that many, many women live this way already. You probably do. I know them. I read your blogs. But for me, it doesn't come naturally (and "How To Pour Yourself Out For Your Family" is not the latest topic on Rachel Ray, Oprah or The View to be sure!) I have to work at putting others first and serving them above all, or I naturally default into what I want to commit to do, what I want to read or decorate or what might most fulfill me or make me look good, whether or not that would do a hill '0 beans worth of good for the other three in my family.

SO, this week I spent extra time looking into the eyes of my children as they spoke to me. I worked extra hard on their schoolwork with them. I made meals that they loved each night, and had them ready when Luke was coming in the door (oh, how he's worked so hard this week!) I made sure that my busy Bethany got to her job at the church and to her classes, I made sure that my book-loving Kyle got to dig through lots and lots of books at the library and that he and I are enjoying a new read-aloud together. I bought their favorite snacks at the grocery store. Everyday my focus was them, not in some back-of-hand-on-forehead martyr way, but because I love them more than anyone else on the face of this earth. Of course, this wasn't so new to me, like I usually don't take them where they need to go, feed them, or read to them. I just chose this week to really do these things with great love and "be all there" whatever we were doing. Sometimes I just run here and there with and for them like some sort of robot (mom-bot?) but this week I chose to see it differently. I didn't just wait around like a servant to see what they asked for, either, of course. Our days are purposeful, planned, and full. I just filled those days with what would most bless them.

And you know what? The rest of it happened. I got that haircut that I've so desperately needed. I finished two books I was reading. I blogged. The house is really coming together (we are painting). I got together with one friend and had great phone conversations with two others. I took care of ministry needs. Everything else that I was so frantically trying to accomplish... fell into place. And if it didn't, I have decided that it must not have needed to. It will happen another time. Yes, it's been a lot of work but since it was SO clearly what God had for me to do, and not what I simply added to my own plate the energy was there. His energy.

God is teaching me so much. It's been a good week.

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I Peter 4:11

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matt. 6:33