Friday, January 30, 2009

A Set-Apart Week

First of all, thank you to all who have commented, emailed or Facebooked me to let me know you are praying for Luke and the team (Andrew, Craig, Dave, Jill and the others) in Ethiopia this week. It has apparently been an indescribably awesome time for them over there.

The first thing I heard, through a friend, when I found out that Luke had arrived safely was that he had met the Seay family, who is over there now bringing home their two precious kids, one of whom was Minte's best friend at the Children's Home. I have corresponded with them via email for months, and I am so jealous that Luke got to meet them. And in Ethiopia during this precious time! So, so fun.

I finally got to talk to Luke for the first time Sunday morning our time. We were texted a phone number as we were on our way to my niece's baptism. I had no idea if my phone would call ET (we usually use Skype from our computer at home, and all of my Africa calling cards were at home also... so who knows how much it cost!) I sat in my car, as people were streaming into the church, soaking up every word and detail. What an interesting day that was, as I took a mental step back and looked at the whole picture. Luke, across the world, having attended a long, loud, charismatic and lively Ethiopian church service (3+ hours long) and so different than our home church. Us, attending a formal, full-length Catholic mass, the boys in coats and ties... also so different than our own church. How God was seeing fit for us to have such completely different worship experiences on the same day... I just love it. Just like heaven. Glory to God.

We had a long day Sunday with a post-baptism family gathering, then doing what Luke usually does to facilitate/coordinate our Awana club at church. All the while missing him and wondering what he was doing, all the while not knowing a time-bomb was ticking in our own family. For it was just 24 hours later after we had returned from the King Tut exhibit at the museum for a school field trip that we were struck with the violent stomach flu virus that has been sweeping through entire schools and communities here lately. That completely knocked us off our feet for Monday and Tuesday. Oh, man. We subsequently found out that 20+ people who were at the family party on Sunday were sick, too, complete with fainting and all manner of illnesses. Not good. But, we are fine now and I think everyone has gotten over it. I kept thinking that I was just glad it was not Luke... that he was well and where he needed to be. And how glad that I was home and not out of the country. I have been that sick in another country and there is just nothing like that. :::shudder:::

So, that, coupled with the fact that time on the internet is very limited and unpredictable in Ethiopia, and Luke doesn't spend time on the computer typing up his thoughts... in fact, many of them are probably still "brewing"- explains why there have been no updates from me during this week. I have talked to him each morning (via Skype) to tell him goodnight and get a short recap of their day, and late at night our time to tell him good morning and pray over their activities for the new day. I have been ever so grateful that we have been able to talk that much, as that is a first. We have never been in such frequent contact when one of us is gone. That was a blessing.

For the most detailed, written-from-the-heart updates, read some posts written by fellow team members here.

As for what I've heard from Luke during the week...

They have visited some different programs, such as a school for street kids, a vocational training center for boys who formerly lived on the streets, a home for former p*rostitutes through the Win Souls For God Ministry. Very touching, very impressive what God is doing through them in these vital areas.

The team visited different orphanages, with children at various stages of the adoption process... those who have yet to be referred, those who have been referred and are awaiting passing court so they can be brought home, those who are simply orphans who may or may not have the necessary paperwork to ever be referred... It's all James 1:27. It's all God-ordained, and it's been an unspeakable privilege for them to be with those precious children. I remember when Minte was still at his orphanage and had been referred to us, but we hadn't passed court yet... he technically had a family, it was just a matter of time, but he was blessed beyond measure by those who came to visit him on mission teams. He still remembers many of them by name: Steve, Josh, Amy and others who have taken the time to email me... They were agents of God's love and grace to him, and his face lights up when he is reminded of them. (In fact, he recognized some faces waiting for him at the airport, and he was so happy to see them again!) For that slice of time there was someone to play hot wheels cars with him, jump rope with him, blow bubbles or run relay races, laugh and love. The minutes that otherwise might have seemed to crawl by for him while he waited for his family could fly by for a time, until we could be united. They were "visiting him in his distress." At that point he was anxiously awaiting his new family, having lost his first family. By definition that is most certainly a time of "distress" and by God's grace there were willing hearts who journeyed to go and be with him during a time when we couldn't. We have always been so thankful for that, and what joy it has been for Luke and the others on the team to be able to do that for other children. I have been praying for all of those children and their future families throughout this week. And, of course, the blessing goes both ways. Our team members have been forever changed.

They were privileged to visit those who are sick and dying of HIV/AIDS. They were profoundly affected by their time with those precious souls, and privileged to pray over them. They were able to visit schools and villages. They met with a top government official (though their meeting with THE top government official didn't happen due to the African Union Summit taking place.) Like I said, TIA= This Is Africa. But, the fact that it was even on the schedule is a testimony to our big God. And it was not for nothing, I just know it. I believe in my heart that it was an open door to something in the future and there is greater glory in the making.

Our organization has made some very good contacts and ministry connections over the course of the week, including bringing someone on board there do continue several facets of our work there. I just love how God brings us together with people. These are precious working relationships.

He got to witness Jill be united with their precious daughter. The photo I received in email last night took my breath away. Amazing. Simply amazing.

He got to visit with Minte's friends who are still waiting for families. He gave them the gift bags that Minte had lovingly prepared, and saw them literally jump up and down when they saw them.

One of the most amazing things happened just this morning. I didn't set my alarm for dark:30 because I am still getting over the bug, but for some reason I bolted awake just after 6:00 AM. I felt the sudden compulsion to go call Luke. I hadn't been able to get him last night at all (sometimes phone connections are tricky.) After several attempts this morning I was able to reach him on his cell which was at around 3:30 PM his time. When he answered I could hear a garbled swarm of voices around him. At that very moment he was standing in front of Minte's former home, surrounded by neighbors, friends and relatives who knew and remembered Minte. He had been showing them Minte's photos and taking pictures of them as well. They were so happy to see how Minte is doing and to meet his new Dad. What a precious time! And God saw fit to wake me up so I could be part of it! Amazing, isn't it? A relative took Luke to where Minte's family member/caregiver (prior to his going to the orphanage) worked, and she was so excited to see photos as well, and Luke was able to video a wonderful message from her to Minte. Minte was so excited to learn all of this this morning. These connections are so meaningful to him. The love he has received from his Ethiopian family has really paved the way for him to receive love from us, and most of all his Heavenly Father. There is no such thing as a child having too many people love him. It is wonderful! He has seen that those who loved him there know us who love him here, and we are all connected. He has seen us embrace those who have loved and cared for him in his past, thereby acknowledging the important, God-ordained part they have had in his life and recognizing that his life didn't just begin when he came to our family. All of this is very important for his emotional and spiritual stability, and we are so blessed to have this opportunity to nurture these relationships to his family and culture of origin. We understand that this is a rare blessing, and we don't want to take it for granted or miss chances to foster this connection. God was so good to provide this, just hours before Luke was to go catch his plane to come home.

At this moment he is zipping up his bags and on his way to the airport to begin the long journey home. Thank you, THANK YOU to those of you who have been praying. He has stayed well, which in itself is a miracle. As a Crohn's patient, we never thought he could ever travel like this, and to travel without major health issues is Ephesians 3:20-21. Truly. We don't take that lightly. He will be arriving home tomorrow afternoon to three kids and a wife who can't wait to see his precious face. Speaking of that face, here are two photos that I received from a team member yesterday that blessed my heart:

Visiting with one of Minte's friends at the Children's Home. (I can't show the whole pic, but believe me, this child is precious. Just precious. In fact, when Minte found out Luke was going to ET he asked, "To bring C. home?" Uh, it's not that easy baby...

Luke and a precious girl in Bole Bulbula. I asked Minte about her clothes and he said those are for "Bet Christian"- church. They handed out soccer balls to the children, and it looks like the boy behind him must've put his in his shirt!

Be Courageous, Mr. President

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Returning to Ethiopia

The above photo was taken during our adoption trip to Ethiopia this past September. During a rainy/hail-stormy day we stayed in and had fun with some colored pipecleaners we had brought (for just such an occasion). This is one of my favorite photos... Luke and Minte, new father and son, clasping hands, both wearing bracelets they had made with with the colors of the Ethiopian flag. So many thoughts run through my mind when I look at this photo.

Especially today.

As I write this post, my sweet husband is about two hours from landing back in Ethiopia for a week of mission work there. Little did we know just over four months ago when we were there as a family that he would get to return so soon. God is so faithful! Oh, how I wish you could've heard what I heard yesterday. We gathered as a family to pray together one last time before Luke's ride to airport arrived at our house, each one of us taking a turn to pray. When it came to Minte, he prayed in Amharic as he usually does. There was something extra tender in his voice as he prayed for his Daddy. I didn't understand all of what he said (I can pick up a few words here and there) but his voice would rise and fall with emphasis and he would insert words I did recognize... "airplane." "Guest House." "Baby Home." "Jesus." And the names of his friends still living at the orphanage, who Luke will get to visit once again and for whom Minte lovingly put together presents to send. What a precious time.

So, Minte is excited, as we all are, that his Daddy is returning to his birth country. He is, as we all are, missing him like crazy already. He is, as we all are, mindful each moment that someone is missing here, and imagining what Daddy might be seeing. It's an exciting time, but also an emotional one. (Any of you with traveling spouses can relate to that, I'm sure!) For the past several years, we have taken as many mission trips as possible as a family (to Ghana and now Ethiopia) but due to finances and time off from work, sometimes we have to go separately. It is hard. But, it's worth it and we believe it is our call. So, we go. I have come to understand that God does BIG things, not just where the mission team is but back home where the family remains. He is at work on both sides of that big ocean.

Luke is traveling with two other men (and dear friends) from here, on behalf of our non-profit organization. Also joining them will be another precious friend who found out last week that their adoption court date had been pushed back a month. So, God ordained that there would be a spot left on this trip and now she is having the amazing opportunity to meet their beautiful daughter and spend some time with her this week. God is so good! The trip is coordinated by our friend who owns the Ethiopia Guest Home, which is where they will be staying. Once in country, they are meeting up with a larger group of about 20 people made up of the leadership of various non-profit organizations and ministries. They will be "visiting orphans in their distress" (James 1:27) and also visiting various ministry projects, both new and ongoing, to see what the needs are in the coming year and to discern the best and most effective ways to get involved as organizations and as individuals.

Here is what's on the agenda for the week for our team, some of which will occur with just our small group and some with the larger group. Keeping in mind that TIA- "This Is Africa"- and plans change, they hope to:

Sunday: Attend a church service

Monday: Have a meeting with the Social and Labor Affairs Minister (or his representative) to learn more about the initiative towards the rehabilitation of the 70,000 beggars who are on the streets of Addis. Also a visit to the Buckner Orphanage (where Minte used to live! And where Baby Ellie is!)

Tuesday: Visit the Bantu model school run through Buckner/Bright Hope.

Wednesday: Meet with the president of ET to hear from him the extent of the needs. (In case you missed that last sentence, you might want to read it again. Can you believe this opportunity???) Then, meet with a group of foster children and families, as well as those on the waiting list who desperately need a loving family either nationally or internationally.

Thursday and Friday: Tour with the large group, meet to discuss and pray about what's been learned and future plans, leave margin these last two days to visit other ministry projects we have going, etc. Our small team departs to come home Friday night at 10:45.

I would be so blessed if you would join me in prayer for my sweet husband and this God-assembled team as they seek to glorify Him in Ethiopia this week. Would you please pray for their health, opportunities to serve, that they would be Jesus' hands and feet to the hurting, that they would see people and opportunities through the eyes of our Heavenly Father, and for all of our hearts to remain tender toward the ways that God would get all of us involved in what He's doing in our world. Most of all, that God would be glorified in all things both here and there in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for following our journey! (To learn more about our non-profit organization, please email me privately from my profile and I will send you a link to our website.)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Loaves and Fish, Days and Weeks

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Matthew 14:15-20 NIV)


As evening approached, I came to Jesus and said, "I don't remotely have enough time to get everything done this week. It's getting late. Please tell me which commitments to let go of! I know you brought these people and ministries into my life as a result of prayer, but it's obvious that I can't handle all of this. Can't someone else do it?"

Jesus replied, "The responsibilities I have ordained for you do not need to go away. You fulfill them."

"I have here only five weekdays and two weekend days," I answered.

"Bring them here to Me," He said. He directed me to sit at His feet. Taking the five weekdays and two weekend days, and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them into moments. Then He gave them to me, and I gave them to my precious family as well as to the duties and ministries He has faithfully entrusted to me. Each obligation that week was fulfilled, each responsibility carried out with joy. And I found that I had some moments (and a little energy) left over!

Oh, what abundance we experience when we yield our moments and our days to the One Who spoke them into being! The touch of Jesus is all it takes to transform "meager" into "bountiful." Let's go before Him today, offering Him our loaves and fish-- the days and weeks that we clutch in our baskets, which so often don't seem like enough. He will take them, bless them, and make them enough to satisfy His perfect will... feeding and nourishing all- including us! When I relinquish all I have to Him, I can be certain that what He places back into my hands will be more than sufficient to accomplish His purposes.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

(Originally posted at the Internet Cafe, April 20, 2007)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Menu Monday and Giving Mom a Cookie

Hello to anyone who still comes by! I know I've not been posting much "new" in awhile... I didn't announce a "blog break" or anything like that, because that implies that I have "readers" which feels a bit strange to me for some reason. But, I've taken a week or so away from the computer except to reply to pressing email or send brief encouragements on Facebook. I do that periodically when I really need to devote time to pray about something, and also just to check the computer's "place" in my life. So, that's where I've been.

I feel like I've been so scattered lately! I remember reading in Martha Peace's book, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman, a simple statement included in a list on p. 117 of Practical Tips on How to Be Organized:

"With the exception of beginning a load of laundry, completely finish one task before you go on to another."

It's a simple statement, really, and not all that earth shattering or groundbreaking. But it's been rattling around in my head in recent weeks because for some reason I canNOT do that lately! It's been a bit like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Mom Edition. I start one thing, and that makes me think of this other thing. On my way to the other thing, I remember a third thing. Meanwhile the first thing is sitting half done. Then a child comes to ask me a question or the phone rings, and I completely forget what I was on my way to do. And on and on it goes. Ack!! So, that's what I'm working on right now. It sounds simple, even perhaps ADD-ish, but that's what happens when I've got a lot on my mind. I started to do an entire If You Give A Mom A Cookie post, but I Googled it and it's been done. (Alot!)

And then I got busy doing something else.

Before I go on to this week's menu, which I would've completely forgotten to post, except for the fact that I already inserted the graphic below (See?? Don't give me a cookie!) , I will share a couple of things we had last week that were yummy. (Or, as Minte says, "yahmmy." I love having an African accent in the house!) One was a Chicken Dijon recipe out of my Cooking with 4 Ingredients book... super easy with a mixture of lowfat mayo, dijon mustard and then dredging each piece in breadcrumbs. Everyone "beeg lahved" it! Also, we enjoyed this Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe which I got off of the American Heart Association website. Very healthy and so good! I still make soup just about every Friday.

And speaking of Friday, this Friday my cute husband leaves for Ethiopia. Which could start me on a whole other post (cookie alert!) but I'll wait and do that later in the week.

Oh, and last week I made a yellow cake with this awesome chocolate sauce. Which I'm pretty sure is not approved by the American Heart Association. So, it all averages out.

On with this week's menu:

Monday: creamed beef, biscuits, macaroni and peas
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Wednesday: Chicken Tamale Casserole, black beans, salad
Thursday: leftovers/ YOYO (You're On You're Own)
Friday: Probably out

For more menus and awesome organization tips, visit Laura at OrgJunkie.

Now... what was I doing?...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Returning to Holiness

I originally posted this in November of 2006, but this is an issue that I have been revisiting during my morning quiet times. I have pulled these books back off of my shelf and have been reminding myself of these truths, and of the profound power of confession: true confession and repentance, and acceptance of the cleansing God offers. I so need to walk in the freedom of forgiveness. I am SO thankful for the Lord's grace and mercy. I am in such need of it throughout each day. I have often reminded myself that "His mercies are new every morning," and by His design, it's always morning somewhere! I need it every hour!

I needed this reminder today and wanted to share it with you as well.


A few years ago, a dear, Godly, pastor's-wife friend of mine recommended some books to me that have had a tremendous impact on my life: Returning to Holiness and How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life, both written by Dr. Gregory Frizzell. Both of these books have forever changed the way I pray, but I keep "returning" to Returning to Holiness. He states that " today's highly programmed church, deep spiritual cleansing is either ignored entirely or quickly glossed over in a surface manner. As a result, God's people are largely unaware of the subtle, unconfessed sins that daily quench Christ's full power in their lives."

I have to admit, before I read the book I really didn't think much about daily confessing my sin. As I would pray, certain "biggies" would cross my mind and I'd ask God's help to change, but I was not inviting God to do a systematic, thorough search of my heart and mind. Of course, truth be told, that doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Laying it all out there before Him, discussing all of the ways I fall short... aren't I under grace anyway? Why dwell on the negative? So, for most of my Christ-following years, I ignored the issue of sin as it pertains to my daily walk.

Dr. Frizzell points out, however, that "Even elaborate prayer strategies will have very limited power without an accompanying move of profound repentance. According to Scripture, only cleansed hearts have mighty power with God (Hosea 10:12, Psalms 66:18, James 5:16)." This doesn't point to some daunting, legalistic exercise, however. God is calling us to a loving relationship with Him! Frizzell continues, "Genuine holiness is not about morbid introspection, but about miraculous biblical cleansing that turns us into joyful Christians, dynamic soul winners and mountain-moving intercessors."

He categorizes the sin in our lives into 7 basic categories:
  • Sins of Thought- sin begins in the heart and mind
  • Sins of Attitude- God is deeply focused on the attitude of our hearts
  • Sins of Speech- Oh, what an impact our words have!
  • Sins of Relationships- people we have hurt, grudges we still hold, improper relationships
  • Sins of Commission- any act of breaking God's law or doing something God forbids
  • Sins of Omission- not doing what we know we should
  • Sins of Self-rule and self-reliance- living according to our desires or trying to do things in our own strength

As I began to examine all of those areas in my life, praying through the scriptures that pertain to each one, I began to sense a powerful change. (I actually wore my book out and had to get it hole-punched to put in a binder!) I have found that bringing all my "stuff" before God is not some negative, awful experience to be avoided. You know why? Because He promises forgiveness! (1 John 1:9) What a release! Talk about an effective weight-loss program! After time in prayer of this nature, I get up... lighter!

After a period of incorporating daily, personal confession and cleansing into my prayer life I was still having trouble remembering the categories. Not to be legalistic, but to be thorough. One day I was kneeling in prayer and I glanced down at my hands, which I held open in front of me. I thought of how I was bringing all of my "junk" to Him, laying it down at the foot of the cross. Then I thought of His hands, and they were nailed to that cross for my transgressions. I rearranged the letters of the categories and made a little sketch in my prayer journal of a hand, spelling out the word SCARS- a letter on each finger. This visual image has really helped me remember:

  • Speech
  • Commission and Omission
  • Attitude and Thought
  • Relationships
  • Self-rule and Self-reliance

Whatever sins I lay before Him, He bears the scars for them. "But He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on Him; and by His wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 Praise You, Lord!

Confession is not about condemnation, it's about victory.It's about being conformed to Christ's image. It's about breaking strongholds. It's about freedom. It's about fellowship with our Heavenly Father. We are invited to "boldly" come before the throne of grace because of what Christ has done for us, "that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16 I am His dearly-loved child. He wants me to walk in holiness and righteousness before Him. He has already done the work. I simply need to come... not to "get blessed" but because I love Him.

Oh, how I continue seek unbroken fellowship with Him, and how I earnestly pray that for you as well.

"If My people which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Monday, January 05, 2009

Motion, "Minte-ism," and Monday's Menu

Well, it's true. Newton's first law of motion: "An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

I have enjoyed being "at rest" during this holiday break, but it's time to get it back in motion and I am tending to want to "stay at rest!" How about you? The momentum, or "unbalanced force" of school and activities will force many of us back into motion this week... back into our routines. And that's a good thing! But, it sure is hard for me on this rainy, cold Monday morning!

I have one quick food-related "Minte-ism" to share this morning, just to kick off my menu. For those of you just popping in on my blog, Minte is our precious newly-adopted 10 year old son from Ethiopia. He loves pasta. "Beeg-loves" it. Especially spaghetti. Spaghetti fried with a fried egg. So, yesterday I was whipping that up for him for lunch while he was bouncing around the kitchen singing... something I love SO much. Sometimes he sings in Amharic (his native language) but often he sings songs he's learning here. Many times he substitutes different words/sounds (like we all do!) . I have a notepad and I'm going to start writing them all down. Why I haven't already been doing that, I don't know! But, here was yesterday's, while I was boiling pasta:

"Ess spaghetti to look a lock lie Chreesma-a-a-a-as! Eh-eh-eh-bry where you go-o-o-o! "

Isn't that fun? I've never thought of spaghetti as a particularly Christmas-y food, but now I will! Speaking of which, Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) is this Wednesday. I just may have to make some spaghetti for lunch...

Anyway, here's our menu for the week:

Monday: homemade pizza using this recipe for crust and this one for the sauce
Tuesday: Mini Meatloaves, baked potatoes, peas
Wednesday: Slow-Cooked Corn Chowder, salad, hot bread
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Chicken Spaghetti, green beans, salad, garlic bread

For more recipes and some great ways to get organized in the new year, visit Laura at

I hope your new year is off to a good start, and that you can get in motion and stay in motion for all you have to do!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A December to Remember

Happy New Year!

"You crown the year with Your goodness." Psalm 65:11

Happy 2009! I hope you have had a wonderful week celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, gathering with family and friends, and now welcoming in a brand new year. This is always such a special time for us, as we have not only many family gatherings during this time, but also our anniversary on the 27th. This time of year always brings with it such a range of emotions... not just Christmas memories, but also nervous-bride and newlywed ones as well! It's been a great week and a wonderful holiday for us.

Of course, we were able to see it through new eyes this year with Minte here. He has loved every bit of Christmas and all that it entailed. He eagerly awaited Santa Claus, but also reverently and prayerfully reflected on the birth of Christ and loved lighting the advent candles each night. Having him with us was something I couldn't even have imagined a year ago, as we had just started the adoption process just before Christmas last year. It was such an Ephesians 3:20-21 answer to prayer that he was here with us by this Christmas... beyond what we could've asked or imagined!

Here is our tree... that poor thing. Each year we end up decorating it with party hats and streamers for New Year's. Last night the party poppers were aimed at it so the streamers would land on it. We went for real trees this year, so it's all dried out and bedecked with paper streamers. Not a fire hazard at all, I'm sure. ;) Ethiopian Christmas is next Wednesday, January 7th. Last year we left our tree up until then, but it was our artificial one. This year, I'm not sure we can make it that long! One thing I like to do, though, when we get a real tree is to save the top of it when we take it down, and use it for an Easter tree. There's something so meaningful to me about decorating an old, dead, dry piece of wood for Easter... something that was so alive at Christmas. But, that's another post, I guess.

So... today it's bowl games, chili, cheese dip, black bean dip, black eyed peas, toll house cookie pie, Wii games, naps, catching up on blogging and a bit of email, and looking forward to the year ahead. Tomorrow and the weekend will be filled with housework, lesson planning, and putting away Christmas. I pray you are having a great day and are enjoying all that comes with a fresh start and a new year!