Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wise Words

I'm working on our school lesson plans for the week, and since I have some time to myself to do so (!!) I'm listening to some wonderful messages from some spiritual giants like John MacArthur, Jerry Bridges, John Piper, Helen Roseveare and Randy Alcorn speak at the 2007 Desiring God Conference. All I can say is "wow."

Oh, if you get time (or want to multitask!) please take the opportunity to watch or listen to all of the sessions here. Powerful, powerful stuff!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Where Am I?

Happy Friday!

In case you're looking for me, today I'm at the cafe where I have shared a story that I originally posted a few months ago here, about entering His courts with praise. Grab a water bottle, put on your sandals and join me in Ghana for this wonderful memory and a lesson I learned from a dear Ghanaian sister!

I've also posted some pictures from our school week and birthday fun and a post about making maple candy over on my homeschool blog.

Have a terrific Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Dust of Rejection

"But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the Kingdom of God has come near." Luke 10:10-11

"The One who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me." Luke 10:16

These words made me stop in my tracks this morning after I read them. I realized how often I don't speak out for Christ, for truth, because of my fear of rejection. Oh, I hear others be bold, not just on a computer screen where I think we all feel a certain cyber-courage, but in real life situations, in social situations and sometimes even on mission trips. While I've had my nervy moments, I certainly wouldn't count myself among those who boldy, consistently speak out. And that frustrates me about myself. Today I asked God why. Why, at age 40, when I know where my security lies and I don't really think I've got anything to prove... why don't I just say what needs to be said more often? When too much O*prah-theology creeps into conversations in groups of women, when someone is obviously buying a lie of the enemy couched in the latest Christian fad, when some trite saying is spoken as truth, to which everyone else nods but inside I'm thinking "Chapter and verse... where is that?? Does that line up with Scripture?? I don't think so!" But, so often I sip my Diet Whatever and decide not to cause a stir. I don't want to hurt her feelings. I don't want to draw attention to myself. Besides, maybe I'm wrong... Yes, perhaps I'm mistaken... I'll go home later and look that verse up with my Greek lexicon or see what John Piper says, maybe I shouldn't speak too soon...

And then the moment's gone.

Yep. That's bold alright!

Why am I like that? I think I've still got the dust of rejection clinging to my sandals. I never shook it off. Over the years I've put myself "out there" (though the times are pretty few and far between, if I'm honest) but the rejections have happened. I can even go back to childhood and think of times I was subtly and not-so-subtly rejected- as all kids are at one time or another. There was dust to shake off and I didn't do it. I let it cling to me into my adolescent years, and apparently right into my forties. This morning I read Christ's words, "...the one who rejects you rejects Me..." Even as a child, if anyone rejected me, they were rejecting Him for He also said, "Whoever receives one child in My Name receives Me" Mark 9:37

I didn't really think much about it until today, but as I read those verses by God's grace I was convicted that I've been dragging rejection and its resulting insecurity around with me for years. It's not noticeable to everyone, because after all, it's just dust particles clinging to my spiritual sandals, but it's there.

And I think it's time to shake it off.

Works-for-me Wednesday: Ironing

Ironing. Yes, the very word conjures up images of either the 50's housewife in black and white, ironing her husband's crisp, white shirts. OR, it makes me think of a big basket of wrinkled clothes, and me chained to the ironing board all afternoon... For years and year I didn't iron. Oh, we pressed things just before we put them on, but I didn't "do the ironing" in a big batch like other women I know. And for the most part, I still don't, except that I figured out what a true blessing it is for my husband to have his clothes hanging in the closet ready for work. I can't always get to it every week, but when I can it really blesses him.

The main reason I've never really "done the ironing" is that our closets are relatively small, and by the time you press something and then "mush" it in there with everything else, it's going to need a going over before you wear it anyway. But during the week, my husband's pressed for time (oh look! I'm being punny!) and the press-and-go maneuver takes too much time. What I've begun doing for my husband's work clothes is ironing them ahead of time and hanging them on a different kind of hanger in the closet.

Everything else we hang is on wire hangers because it all fits better. But when I press a week's worth (or more) of his work clothes, I hang them on these plastic, colored hangers and push the other clothes away from them, so they stay fresh, and he can quickly tell which clothes are pressed and ready to go.

He's got a double row of bars in his side of he closet, shirts on top and pants/jeans on the bottom. I'll spare you a picture of the inside of our closet, but if you walk in there right now, you can tell at a glance which shirts and pants have been ironed because they are set apart by these hangers. (Of course, if what I've ironed is not what he wants to wear, he's free to choose another shirt and iron it himself, but I'm noticing that week in, week out the shirts I've ironed and hung on the plastic hangers are the ones to be worn!)

I don't iron all of our clothes, and the rest of us "press and go" most days, but for my husband's clothes this "hanger system" works for me!

To read more of what works for others, or to share what works for you visit Shannon. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a wrinkle-free Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Girl!

Fourteen years ago today, your eyes opened on this earth...

First, you looked into the eyes of your precious earthly father, who would point your heart to your Beloved Heavenly Father. We couldn't have imagined on that day the things God had ordained for your eyes to see.

That just ten years later those eyes would go across the world to look into the eyes of those He came to save, and those eyes would close in prayer as you prayed with those who would receive Him.

That you would look out into the South China Sea and stand on those shores while new sisters and brothers "went swimming."

And on the shores of the Mediterranean, where a dear new sister in Christ would be baptized, in part because of your heart to share the love of Jesus with her...

Yes, your beautiful eyes have seen great things already. And I know there's more to come!

I pray most of all, no matter what your fifteenth year brings, that you will fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith... (Hebrews 12:2) And I pray that "the eyes of your heart will be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Because of you, my own eyes are getting a first-hand glimpse at something God Himself is doing, and it is my privilege to be your mother. Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Just Love It...

...when we're doing my daughter's school work and we come across a great quote like this:

"When God calls a man He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favourites and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits no alteration. God's call is founded on His decree. His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out His people's sins, but not their names." Thomas Watson

Oh, the irreversible grace of our sovereign God! I just had to share this with you today.

Menu Plan Monday

Well, there's our smiley friend again with his knife and fork, reminding us that it's Monday! Time for a look at the week ahead in the kitchen! Our kitchen will be a place of celebration this week, because my daughter's birthday is tomorrow. We will be enjoying a birthday dinner and the best treat of all- our friends from China who are stateside (the precious family my daughter lived with in China for part of the summer of '06) will be joining us for chicken enchiladas. We are so excited! We are having a fun week of food, with birthday cake and Tex-Mex, as well as continuing our "food tour" of the United States for our geography study. This is our last week in the New England states. Last week we loved corn chowder and making maple candy. Very fun!

Breakfast choices this week:
Croissants with jam/spreadable fruit
Apple turnovers
Fruit and toast
(or some combination of the above)

Lunch: grilled chicken wraps, corn chowder <-- SO good. Left from last week's New Hampshire dinner. You've got to try this recipe!
Dinner: The guys are baching it with BBQ and Monday Night Football, my daughter and I are meeting another mother and daughter for dinner before Bible Study.

Tuesday~ Happy 14 th Birthday Bethany!
Lunch: Out for Chinese food after we enjoy the Palace of Wax and Ripley's Museum (Birthdays are a field trip day at our school!)
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas, corn casserole, black beans, Coca Cola cake (the b-day girl's request)

Lunch: Bagel Bites, salad
Dinner: New England Pot Roast (EYWTUSA p. 22), mashed potatoes, green beans

Lunch: hamburgers on the George Foreman grill, sweet potato fries
Dinner: Leftovers

Lunch: Leftover Lunch Buffet
Dinner: Rhode Island Red Clam Chowder (EYWTUSA p. 88) and cornbread Later we're going to a dessert fellowship and I think I'm taking Fruit Pizza because that goes with whatever everyone else brings. :)

Leftovers, YOYO ("You're on you're own") lunches, out-to-eat after church/Awana.

I hope you're cooking up some fun with your family this week, whether it's sandwiches for two or take-out for ten... just being together is what's important! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you have a wonderful Monday and a blessed week!

Be sure to stop by Laura's for some great menu ideas, or to share yours. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thankful Thursday

How? How can it already be Thursday? It was just Monday! I really think the days are out of order this week or something, LOL. But, okay! If it's Thursday, then it's a great day to be thankful, so I'll just jump right in!

*I'm thankful that "the name of the LORD is a strong tower and that the righteous runs into it and is safe." Prov. 18:7

*I'm very thankful that God is teaching me that "the fear of the LORD leads to life so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil." Pr. 19:23

*I'm thankful I can lean on, fully trust in, place the weight of my confidence on God. And as I lean on Him He faithfully teaches and counsels me. I'm thankful for scriptures like John 13:23, Prov. 16:20, Ps. 143:8, Ps. 56:3, Isaiah 12:2, and Is. 26:3,4 reminding me to lean fully on Him.

*I'm thankful for time in His Word each day where He has been teaching me all of the above. It's my most precious time of the day, whenever I can get it. And He makes it happen by His grace!

*I'm thankful for a very productive week of school with my kids. We've really cranked out the schoolwork this week and have done some fun projects as well. I'm thankful that today there is a nice, beautiful gym that is letting homeschoolers have it for 2 hours for "open gym" time. And I'm thankful that mine are old enough to leave. there. And I'm thankful for the pedicure place nearby. :)

*I'm thankful for two really great phone conversations with godly women this week. I try to limit my phone time and not spend much time "chatting" but God opened up two really great chunks of time for me this week to talk to two friends and really have some edifying conversations. SO refreshing!

*I'm thankful that you stopped by my blog today! I hope you are thankful, too!

Be sure to stop over at Iris' and read more thankful posts or link your own. Have a terrific Thursday!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Menu Monday

Now, isn't this just a cheery picture? Happy Monday!

I hope you had a great week last week and enjoyed time around your table with your family. We started "eating our way through the USA" beginning with the New England states. We enjoyed a lobster casserole and a Boston cream pie. (I couldn't believe how much lobster cost! I got ONE lobster tail and had them steam it for me. The recipe I used called for 1-2 cups cooked lobster meat, so one $10 lobster tail had to do it for us. It was a great recipe, though!) This week we continue in New England enjoying recipes from New Hampshire and Vermont.

I'm also still loving my crock pot. In the summer I love it because it doesn't heat up the kitchen. During the school year I love it because it cooks dinner while I'm teaching. It's great for any season! Last week I made a lasagne recipe from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook, and it was the best. lasagne. ever. (I cook so much from that book that I've affectionately given it the nickname "Fifi" - the initials that I put in my menu plan notebook. "Fifi" and I cook together just about every week!)

Here's our menu for the week:

Breakfast choices:
Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
breakfast burritos
cinnamon toast/ toast with jelly

Lunch: Baked potatoes with all the fixin's
Dinner: Baked fish, Broccoli Cheese Casserole, spinach salad, bread

Lunch: turkey hot dogs, pita chips, fruit
Dinner: Chicken Chimichangas ( from a recipe my fun friend Sandy left in the comments of this post), corn, Mexican salad

Lunch: Lean Pockets
Dinner: New Hampshire dinner- Slow-Cooked Corn Chowder, wheat rolls, salad, orange cake

Lunch: grilled chicken wraps
Dinner: Left-over buffet

Lunch: Leftover lunch buffet (from this week's lunches)
Dinner: French Dip Sandwiches (FIFI p. 103), spinach/parmesan pasta, caesar salad, Vermont maple candy

Leftovers and out-to-eat after church

Oh, won't you hop on over to Laura's and check out everyone else's menus or, even better, add your own if you've never done it before. There are some great ideas over there and I know some of yours would bless the rest of us!

Have a yummy week!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are You Doing It?

A seminary professor feels that every one the students at his seminary should be required to do this in order to graduate.

Another highly-regarded professor and author characterizes it as the one spiritual discipline that is "absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation."

Chuck Swindoll says that there is "no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking" than this.

We should all be doing it. Are we? What is it? Join me at the Internet Cafe today and find out!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Brownie Recipe

I'm making brownies with my son this afternoon, and it reminded me of this recipe, similar to the one I used to use years ago when my kids were younger. I thought I'd share it with you today.
If you don't have a small child you may not be able to follow the recipe exactly. Pass this along to a mom with toddlers.

Mom's Brownies Recipe

Remove teddy bear from oven and preheat oven to 375. Melt 1 cup margarine in saucepan.

Remove teddy bear from oven and tell Jr "no, no."

Add margarine to 2 cups sugar.

Take shortening can away from Jr. and clean cupboards.

Measure 1/3 cup cocoa.

Take shortening can away from Jr. again and bathe cat. Apply antiseptic and bandages to scratches sustained while removing shortening from cat's tail.

Assemble 4 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 1-1/2 cups sifted flour. Take smoldering teddy bear from oven and open all doors and windows for ventilation.

Take telephone away from Billy and assure party on the line the call was a mistake. Call operator and attempt to have direct dialed call removed from bill.

Measure 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup nuts and beat all ingredients well. Let cat out of refrigerator. Pour mixture into well-greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake 25 minutes.

Rescue cat and take razor away from Billy. Explain to kids that you have no idea if shaved cats will sunburn. Throw cat outside while there's still time and he's still able to run away.


Mix the following in saucepan: 1 cup sugar, 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, and 1/4 cup margarine .

Take the teddy bear out of the broiler and throw it away -- far away. Answer the door and meekly explain to nice policeman that you didn't know Jr had slipped out of the house and was heading for the street. Put Jr in playpen.

Add 1/3 cup milk, a dash of salt and boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Answer door and apologize to neighbor for Billy having stuck a garden hose in man's front door mail slot. Promise to pay for ruined carpet.

Remove burned brownies from oven.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Works-for-me Wednesday: Safely Killing Ants

(Safe for your kids and pets, not safe for the ants of course!)

With the recent heavy rains we've had, I've noticed the ants marching two-by-two in their little trails twice in my house in the past couple of days. With children and pets around, I don't want to go just grab a can of Raid and start spraying, but I want the ants to, well, die.

SO, what works for me is a spray bottle of dish soap (Dawn or whatever I have on hand) and water that I keep under my kitchen sink. Yesterday we had quite a few ants right outside our back door who had found an unfortunate worm that had been washed up from the rain. Ants were everywhere. I sprayed them with my trusty dishsoap water, including the threshold to our backdoor where they were beginning to come in the house, and they were gone in seconds. I didn't have to worry about my dogs tracking through ant spray on their way in or out. For an ant trail across the carpet, a light mist of the spray kills them, then I just dab it with a paper towel and it's dry.

There's no formula, I just squirt some dish soap into the spray bottle and fill it about halfway with water, swish it all together and voila. I also love this because it's safe, doesn't stink, and it's made with two things I always have on hand- dish soap and water!

Works for me! Head on over to Shannon's to read what works for other moms, and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday! Isn't this a fun, new MPM banner? It adds sunshine to an otherwise dreary, rainy Monday here. We are beginning our second week (first full week) of school today. I know many of you are several weeks into your school routine. I hope things are humming along smoothly for you by now, that your kids are enjoying their school and activities, and that you are getting to enjoy time together around the table as a family.

I'm late getting my menu up today because I had to put the finishing touches on my kids' school assignments for today, then I whipped up some Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins. That's the way to start the week! Something for breakfast that tastes like a cookie! Yum! If they were attending school outside of our home, I probably wouldn't give them something so sweet first thing in the morning. In a little while I'll give them a snack of crackers and cheese or some carrot sticks to help balance it out.

Speaking of yum, last week I made this Coca Cola Cake recipe. Oh my word! It was impossibly good, and so easy! Well, I guess you can tell I have a sweet tooth. ;)

This week we are starting something fun. To go along with our United States geography study this year in school, we will be making recipes weekly that go along with the states we are studying. With my son's love of cooking, I thought this would be a fun way to enjoy geography! I found the book Eat Your Way Through the USA by Loree Pettit. This week we begin in the New England states with Maine and Massachusetts, so we will be making a lobster recipe (for Maine) and a Boston Cream Pie from that book. Doesn't that sound fun?

Here's our menu for the week:

Daily Breakfast choices~
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Eggs and Toast
Sausage biscuits
Cereal or oatmeal

Lunch: Tomato Basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (we didn't have this last week), salad
Dinner: Chili and mashed potatoes (My husband loves this combination, a favorite memory from his childhood!)

Lunch: corny dogs, macaroni and cheese, carrot sticks
Dinner: Chicken Pesto Panini's, caesar salad, stir fry veggies

Lunch: chicken nuggets with orange sauce (easy to whip up from this recipe), mixed veggies
Dinner: Lobster Casserole with Water Chestnuts and Bacon, Roasted Asparagus, and Boston Cream Pie (EYWTUSA p. 46,52)

Lunch: tuna salad pita pocket sandwiches, Flat Earth chips
Dinner: Leftovers

Lunch: leftover lunch buffet
Dinner: Lasagne, green beans, salad, garlic bread

Stop on by Laura's for more menus and recipes or to add our own. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

"Week-In-Review" and My Son's Top 40

Happy Saturday! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend doing whatever energizes you and brings joy to you. I love having time like this to catch up on what needs to be done, get "recharged," and be with my family. It is a hot, Texas early-September afternoon and I am sitting downstairs, in my kitchen. Why is this notable? Because over a week ago our downstairs air conditioning unit died and we've been without a/c. Yesterday evening a guy came and put a new compressor in our existing unit and fixed it for less than a fourth of what we thought we were going to spend on a new unit. (Luke called him a "good guy." He doesn't use that term lightly!) I have been so thankful that God brought a "good guy" to us for this repair, and that we were able to do it affordably. It made it worth the wait! I've been cooking dinner in the mornings so that I'm not cooking in the heat of the day in the kitchen. Now I can cook in the evenings! (Oh, the little things we learn to be thankful for!)

We had a wonderful week. We started the week at my Grandmother's, where we celebrated my birthday and enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day. After we returned home on Tuesday, I worked to get ready for our first day of school, which was Wednesday. The latter part of our week was swallowed up in getting back into our school routine and by my working on our Awana preparations for our first club night tomorrow night. SO, it felt like a short but busy week! I took one of the best naps ever at my Grandmother's house early in the week. Yesterday I was wishing I could've bottled it up and transferred it to Friday!

Earlier in the week I shared my daughter's list of "40 Reasons Why I Love My Mom" and I said I'd share my son's later in the week. Well, here it is! It blesses me so to read what they think, and to get their "take" on me. They mentioned things I didn't think they noticed! Very interesting... (Note: Never to be one overly encumbered by the "shift" key, I am leaving his lower case letters and typos because I love it. It helps me read it in his "voice." ;) I added [some notes] in brackets where I felt explanation was necessary!

40 reasons why I love my mom
(by Kyle, age 11)

1. She is the GREATEST mother any child could want.
2. She agapes me and fileos the things I make. [We recently discussed the different Greek words/meanings for "love."]
3. She home schools us.
4. She talks to the dogs.
5. She makes the best chicken enchiladas.
6. She is a faithful Christian, mom and wife
7. she knows exactly how to painlessly remove splinters with the "magic needle"
8. she never says "I told you so"
9. She takes us on field trips.
10. She never gets mad when we spill something.
11. She knows just what to do to make cuts disappear.
12. talking stops and attitudes change when she makes her "teacher face"
13. She tells the cheesiest jokes.
14. She speaks "franish" [french + spanish. I am tres bueno at it...]
15. she will accept any challenge to a card game
16. she always laughs at the mention of "Big Tex". [Private joke. I'll spare you. ]
17. she has been driving the same van for ten years.
18. She picked the best husband.
19. She has a deep love for missions.
20. She reads us the bible every morning.
21. She is committed to awana and church.
22. She is never a slave to the phone.
23. She loves a good comedy show.
24. she is extremely "techno savvy"
25. She has many good Christian friends.
26. A simple hug can brighten her whole day.
27. She's very supportive.
28. You can't help laughing when you are around her.
29. She is patient with us.
30. She explains things better than the "math guy" [A video guy in the math curriculum we use.]
31. She'll answer questions faster than you can ask them.
32. she makes math fun (or at least bearable)
33. Sometimes it seems like she knows everything.
34. The first thing she reads in the morning is gods word.
35. She always has time for us.
36. She can comprehend long words like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
37. She has taught me almost everything I know.
38. She can plan an entire year in one month.
39. She always understands exactly how we feel.
40. Whatever we go thru she's been there before.

I love you mom!!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day holiday, and that this finds you smack in the middle of a productive, joyous week! We returned home from my Grandmother's yesterday evening. (Here's a picture of my sweet cake that the kids decorated for me.) While my cute husband retrieved my cute weenie dog from the place where we board him, I unpacked here and began putting the final touches on my lesson plans for today. Today is our first day of school. Fun! I put together the ingredients for our special first-day-of-school breakfast (cinnamon streusel muffins and sausage balls.) I made the sausage balls last night so Luke could take some with him at dark:30 when he leaves for work.

We woke up in the middle of the night (on the futon upstairs where we are still sleeping until we get a new a/c unit downstairs. Such an adventure...) when we heard our power go off. We like to sleep with a fan going, so we heard that stop and something beep downstairs. Once the fans were off we could hear the hamster in Kyle's room running on her wheel for the rest of the night. Not as peaceful as a fan, ha ha! It has been storming off and on since about 2:30 am, and our power was out for about 2 and a half hours. I used our French press to make coffee by candlelight, thankful that we have a gas stove so I could heat the water. The power came on just in time to heat a few sausage balls up for Luke and send him off with some strong, boiling hot coffee, out into the sideways-blowing rain to leave for work. Oh, how I prayed for his safety as I watched him get into his truck.

The power has been flickering a bit since, but not going out completely. I realized how dependent I am on electricity and technology! I had to hop on my laptop while the power was on and print off our lesson plans for today! (Well, now that I think of it, my battery would last long enough for them to copy their assignments into their agendas... I can stop panicking now.) And of course, blog. (I'm posting first-day-of-school pics and "stuff" on my homeschool blog, if you're interested.)

Since we have electricity for the moment, I quickly just put our muffins in the oven. The kids will wake up soon and we will start our day enjoying breakfast and Bible reading before they start their assignments. My mom-the-best-music-teacher-in-the-world is stopping by later to give them a music lesson, too. Fun! Music class is always one of the most fun classes! And if it's your fun "Gram" teaching it, all the better!

I'm so glad you stopped by today! I'm taking a blog-reading break later during my "conference period." I can't wait to see what you've been up to while I was gone! I just love my bloggy friends!

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Daughter's Top 40

Oh, it's been a wonderful birthday! We've had a refreshing visit with my sweet Grandmother, enjoyed some card games, relaxing, and going through my Grandad's workshop. When I get back I'll have to share some pictures with you!

My kids each did the sweetest thing! They each wrote "40 Reasons Why I Love My Mom." (They had to know they would go straight on my blog!) I got some sweet gifts, but none as precious as their words:

Forty Reasons Why I Love My Mom
by Bethany
(age 13)

1. She has raised me in a godly home.
2. She sets a wonderful Proverbs 31 example to me by being an amazing and spiritual mom, wife, teacher and friend.
3. She will stay up past midnight talking to me about everything on my mind, even when she knows she won't be able to sleep the rest of the night.
4. She always sends her "famous" ;-) cookies with me when we go to friends' houses or to events.
5. She homeschools me, and takes the time to strategically plan out everything so that it's not just something I'm forced to learn, but also so that it's something I will enjoy.
6. She cooks fun, delicious, heaping full meals for us each week. YUM!! She is an awesome cook.
7. She talks to her dog, and he talks back. He has a very distinctive voice, surprisingly similar to hers. =)
8. She faithfully drives me everywhere I need to go each week with minimum complaints.
9. She has a love for missions and ministry throughout our church and around the world.
10. She shows love, joy, peace, *patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness to each of us continuously everyday, even when we don't make it very easy to do. *Especially during school!!
11. She has a heart for music and singing which she has graciously passed down to me.
12. She let me go away to China for 6 weeks without her, an opportunity I will always be thankful I got to take part in. (Not the w/o her part, the China part!)
13. She's a "hip" mom, and all of my friends tell me how cute, young, cool, and fun she is. They're not lying either!
14. She knows ALL of the chat slang nearly every teen uses. Probably more than I do! LOL.
15. She supports me in everything I do.
16. She's a testimony to the fact that you can never have too many shoes!
17. She starts her day with God's word. (And coffee. :-p)
18. She'll make a spreadsheet for anything and can figure out whatever you ask her to on the computer. She's very computer savvy!
19. She knows the need for cuteness on everything.
20. She lets me help pick out my school books and doesn't just shove things at me that I won't like.
21. She has nearly everything imagineable in her iPod. From Van Halen to Sandi Patti, she's got it. Even *gasp* my music!
22. She picked an awesome husband, who is my awesome Dad.
23. She has different voices she doesn't even know about. She has her teacher voice, her prayer voice, and many more. (And I love all of them; none of them are a bad thing!)
24. She loves anybody and everybody even when they don't love her back.
25. She is a GREAT writer.
26. She suffered through months upon months of getting no sleep because of my crying when I was a baby. (Not to mention diaper changes!)
27. She sees the "big picture" when I can't.
28. She gets a pedicure right before mission trips to go right along with the "Beautiful Feet" verse.
29. She buys cute clothes, accidentally shrinks them in the dryer, and then passes them down to me. =)
30. She would do anything for anybody in her family.
31. She planned the best 13th birthday party for me, and it was a blast!
32. She completely re-did my room while I was in Africa on my first trip. I mean, completely!! I LOVE IT to this day.
33. She has brought tons of fun and exciting ideas to our Awana club, and I know that it would not be the same without everything she has come up with. The things she comes up with make it so fun for all of the kids.
34. She is a great nurse when need be.
35. She has so many creative ways to do things for school, and to organize things. She is very creative!!
36. She doesn't freak out if I fall off of something at gymnastics. Freak outs only come when necessary!
37. She gave me the idea for making this because she has done it for two other people turning 50 and 66. She is a very loyal friend to everyone.
38. She has a great way of explaining things that don't always make it to the part of my head which can actually comprehend things.
39. She's not afraid to preach at us if needed.
40. She makes the best iced tea in the world. Everybody loves her iced tea!
41. And one to grow on--- She will always be whoever I need her to be. My mom, my teacher, my best friend, my preacher ;-), my nurse, my shopping bud. She is the best, most godly woman I know!

Well. Reading this had me in a heap! So, so precious. (I especially loved that she realizes I chauffer her around with "minimum" complaints, and that I only have "freak outs" when necessary. Oh, and I'm "hip." ::ahem:: :) Later in the week I'll share my son's list!

Thank you so much for my birthday wishes. It's truly been a wonderful day!

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday!
Happy Labor Day!
Happy Birthday to me!

We're at my grandmother's house today, where I have spent most of the birthdays in my life. Growing up in my bird hunting family (I typed it small, in case it offends anyone!) if your birthday was anywhere near September 1st (opening day), you pretty much found yourself somewhere in west Texas. Well, since that's where my sweet grandparents lived, I couldn't imagine a better place to spend my birthdays as a child. I've turned some pretty important ages here, including double digits, teenager, and now..... the big 4-0! My sweet grandmother used to always decorate a beautiful cake for me. When I got bigger I thought it was fun to decorate it myself, so she would always have the cake and all of the icings ready for me. What a treat! Now, my kids do it for me. I guess I've come full circle!
I hope you're enjoying a wonderful Labor Day holiday, wherever you are. :)

Here's our menu the rest of the week (once we get back). With school starting for us, I have included our breakfast choices and lunch menus as well. I'm not sure if I'll do that every week, but I thought I'd give it a go this time. I'm listing breakfast as "choices" because I just make certain things available for them each week and they like to get up and see what they "feel like." We've done lunches this way in the past, but for awhile I'm going to try having a certain thing each day and see if that helps streamline our lunch break during the school year.

Breakfast choices this week:
Cinnamon streusel muffins
Bagels with either blueberry or strawberry cream cheese
Sausage balls
(or some combination of the above)

Lunch:Make-your-own pizza (English muffins + pizza sauce +mozzarella + pepperoni = fun and yummy)
Dinner: Taco Soup, Mexican salad, and Slow-Cooked Praline Apple Crisp for dessert

Lunch:Chicken Stir Fry
Dinner: Crock Pot Ham, baked beans, salad, yeast rolls

Lunch: Tomato Basil Soup (La Madeline- yum!), grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: fried chicken (my family LOVES this and I don't make it very often!), mashed potatoes, gravy, peas

Weekend: LOTS of good leftovers, out to eat after church (and Taco Bell after our first night of Awana!)

Be sure and stop by Laura's for more menus or to add your own.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Brunch

... at the cafe! Please join me today. I've got a seat (and hopefully some "apt" words) just for you!

We're on our way out of town, heading to west Texas to visit my Grandmother. I've spent most of the Labor Day weekends of my life there. And I usually come back a year older! (Funny how that works... ;)

One of our "maidservants" quit for good two days ago. Our beloved air conditioner. She was just not cool anymore! (And neither are we as long as we are downstairs... ) She started out a couple of weeks ago by blowing breakers and causing some of our other maidservants not to work. (Those attitudes are often contagious, you know...) After a good talking to and a bit of "attitude adjustment" done by a repairman, she worked for another couple of weeks. But two days ago she let us know she just couldn't handle the work load anymore. She quit. Yesterday after the repairman came and gave us the news, I knew what I would be getting for my birthday. And I was seeing dollar $ign$! Well, hmph. Then my husband and kids went out to his sister's new house for the afternoon where they have a unit just sitting there that someone had given them but was too big for their house, and could we use it? We'll be contacting our air conditioner man to see if this new "maidservant" will be a good fit. If so, what an amazing answer to a prayer that wasn't even all the way out of my mouth! If not, and we still have to buy a new one, it's a reminder that God does provide. I still count us beyond blessed to live in the small percentage of homes in the world that have the capability to control the inside temperature. That's something not to be taken for granted! I know that now better than ever!

While my husband and kids were out at his sister's yesterday, I stayed home and worked on our school plans as we will start this week. I love, love, LOVE the beginning of school. I did as a public school teacher and I do as a homeschool mom. I hope we settle quickly into a productive routine. I'm looking forward to it! I've been posting some of my homeschool preparations on my homeschool blog, if you're interested.

Oh, how I hope you'll stop by the cafe! And
I'll be back here tomorrow with my "Monday Menu" post to start out our week.

Love y'all!