Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lord Help Me!

As promised, in a very transparent way, I will now reveal my list of goals for the new year.

1. Rest and Walk in the Lord. (Surely this will affect all other goals!)

2. Spend purposeful time investing in my family. Bruce first...then kids!

3. Do some very intentional things in my community to share Christ love.

4. Host weekly dinner for 3 couples in our church

5. Have more home-cooked meals that don't involve the microwave!---or a large square box with a frozen disc. (the people in #4 will be glad for this one)

6. Parent Responsibly- Follow Through- Be a Godly example.

7. Carried over from last year....get more organized!

8. Become more healthy...better choices... (will be reading the book Guided By Him by Julie Morris)

9. Potty train Tucker.....ok...he's three...if this doesn't happen by next January I will probably need medication!

10. Learn some new skills for blogging and work. I'd love to learn some web design.

That about sums it up....plenty to do...Lord help me!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It's the dreaded time of year...everyone's asking "what's your new year resolution?" and even when they aren't asking somehow...I feel compelled to tell them what I will be working hard to achieve over the next 12 months.

Last year, I made the #1 resolution people in America make. To lose weight. I failed. I am still the exact weight I was then. This year the resolution will be different. I am going to (with God's help) live more healthy, to take better stewardship of this one body God has given me.

Last year, I resolved to be better organized for sanity's sake. So I worked hard and then hired a housekeeper. She is a God-send and ministers to me in countless ways. So, I am better organized...thanks to me a little and her a lot!

I also deeply desired to be able to stay home with my kids. God answered that prayer and in August, provided my part-time work at home job to develop into more hours and I was able to quit my other 2 part time jobs. This has been a huge blessing all around. God's provision and answer to my prayers has been such a blessing. Plus...I get to do something that I love!

So...this year what's it gonna be for you? What are you resolving, promising, aiming, hoping and wishing to accomplish? I will be posting mine tomorrow. For now, I would love to hear yours! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Smells of the season

Gingerbread, pumpkin pie, apple cidar, roasted turkey, fresh breads and homemade cookies..the smells of the season. My most favorite smells include vanilla and sugar cookies and include even the occasional pine aroma from a live tree.

This Christmas Eve started like most of the rest since we have had children. We were busy getting things ready for Santa's arrival...reindeer food, cookies, pepermint stick (because it's in some old song that Savannah heard on the radio) and milk. We were wrapping last minute gifts, making our last emergency trip to the local Dollar General store and pretty much trying to keep the kids under control. It was hurried and crazy but at 4pm things took a turn...we left for church. Seems like focusing on the true meaning of Christmas has a calming effect. We enjoyed fellowship, music and communion with our church family and returned home to welcome more friends for Christmas Eve finger foods.

When everyone was tucked in bed and Bruce and I were finishing last minute preparations for Santa's arrival, we decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and cook the ham throughout the night, leaving the oven open for more food to be cooked in the morning....we really are a genius pair. You should have seen us in action, preparing the ham, placing it carefully in the aluminum pan, covering the pan with foil, preheating the oven to 325 degrees and then, placing the ham in the oven. We appeared as skilled kitchen help.

By the time Bruce had finished assembling some "no assembly required" toys, it was 2am and we turned in.....

At 3am I woke up and needed to go to the bathroom. I noticed the aroma of the ham baking was beginning to fill the house....AHHH pork..the other white meat.

At 4:30 I woke up again....potty break #2 (might have something to do with the fact that I drank 1 gallon of diet coke before bed). As I stumbled to the bathroom my eyes were very blurried...but I chalked it up to being tired. When I exited the master bath, the light caught it....the hazy fog filling the house...the smell hit me...this time...not so pleasant...something was burning!

I quickly squirried to the kitchen and immediately noticed the smoke coming through the stove top burners...I opened the oven....smoke filled the kitchen....I gasped...hoping the ham wasn't on fire...then I discovered....

The liquid from the ham was spilling over into the oven....and BURNING!!! Not to mention the fact that when I opened the door to the oven, that same liquid was spilling onto my kitchen, greasy, burnt smelling liquid.

I removed the ham from the oven. Disturbed that our genius idea had gone so far south. Ironically, it was about this time that Bruce showed up on the scene "I thought I smelled something" were his first words. HA...yay...something alright!

Together, we cleaned up and then glazed our little pork product and then went back to bed....

When I got up later...the smell still lingered in the fact it is still here now...So, I guess for the Stinson's we have a new smell of the season to throw in our memory bank.

For the record...the ham was delicious. Everyone loved it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What's on your Christmas menu?

Here's our menu for Christmas...I'd love to hear about yours (I'm always looking for new ideas!)

Glazed ham
Green Bean Casserole (new spin)
Corn Souffle'
Broccoli Salad
Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Lemon Bread (more like a cake)
Homemade Rolls
Banana Pudding


Favorite Christmas Song

These are the lyrics to my new favorite Christmas song. You can listen to How Many Kings on my playlist at the bottom of this screen, but more important than each note of the song is the message of the bottom line of this song. I'm posting the lyrics so you can see how beautifully written it is...and see the message along with hearing it when you come to my site.


Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?
(It’s who we’ve waited for)

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

Friday, December 19, 2008


I've been part of some kind of on-line group for women in ministry for over 10 years now. I can tell you that I have experienced endless support, encouragement, counsel, correction and love by being a part of a large group of women who walk in the same kind of shoes, live in the same kind of fish bowl and love the ministry that God has given them, the same way I do.

A friend of mine started a yahoo group for women who are in ministry (women's, children, music, missionaries...) or who are married to someone in ministry. It's become a great source for idea exchanges, prayer support and just overall ministry encouragement. We share experiences and heartaches and women share wisdom and bear each others burdens.

If you're interested in learning more about WHIM (Women's Hearts in Ministry) check it out at You'll need to join the group and the moderator will email you confirmation information.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Philosophy of Education

A homeschooling mom friend shared these quotes on her site at
These are fantastic quotes not only as we teach our children, but as we work in our churches and communities. Enjoy!

1. The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men. ~Bill Beattie

2. Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it. ~William Haley

3. All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth. ~Aristotle

4. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle

5. To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge. ~Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

6. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. ~Confucius

7. The aim of education is the knowledge not of fact, but of values. ~Dean William R. Inge

8. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. ~Epictetus

9. Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~John Cotton Dana

10. The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. ~Mark Twain

11. I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. ~Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

12. If I ran a school, I’d give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for being good parrots. I’d give the top grades to those who made a lot of mistakes and told me about them, and then told me what they learned from them. ~R. Buckminster Fuller

13. Merely to stuff the child with a lot of information, making him pass examinations, is the most unintelligent form of education. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mission News

Thrilled! Excited! Head over Heels! --- All just a few of the emotions and expressions I am feeling about what God is doing through the Mission Gunter. We are getting ready to do our food distribution for Christmas on Saturday. Each church in the community volunteered to get involved by providing something for our food distribution. One church is providing 40 gallons of milk, another church is providing meat, and another church is providing brand new blankets for each box. Someone else called and said they are donating bread!!!!

I wish you could know what an answer to prayer this is for The Mission. It has taken one solid year of praying, working hard and talking about The Mission for us to see this kind of involvement in our community. IT's ALL GOD!!!

I can't help but think about the huge impact the church (in general) in the community will make this Saturday and beyond. Baptist, Church of Christ and non-denominational coming together to help meet the physical needs of our community...and who knows maybe even plant the seed that will be watered for spirtual growth in the future.

Tucker's grammar isn't that good (he's only 3...don't panic) and one phrase that he says is "I can't know"....what he means is "I don't know". This phrase came to my mind when I was thinking about the marvelous plans God has for the Mission..."I can't know" the extent that God is going to use us, but I know this weekend will be a timy glimpse of a dream come true. God's people being the church.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Figuring things out....

So by now you've seen enough mistakes on my blog to know that I am so very green at this whole blogosphere journey! I changed my background the other day and I have no idea what I did but I disable any comments readers could leave! So, if you've been wondering why you couldn't leave me a comment....things have been fixed and you can comment away again!

Monday, December 15, 2008

10 Favorite things about my birthday boy

Tucker is 3 are some of my favorite things about him:

1. His laugh
2. That whenever there is a mouse on TV he holds my hand because he knows I am horrified of them!
3. The way he says Savannah--- SAWANNA
4. That when we wants to be rocked, he tells me to hold him like baby Jesus.
5. His smile
6. That he loves his friends
7. When he calls me his "best buddy"
8. That he has a good sense of humor
9. He recently has started asking if he can say the prayer before meals
10. That he shares my love for Resee's Peanut Butter Cups


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Three R's

Barely noticeable are the new small words under my blog title. I've been thinking for some time about what I am really striving to accomplish by keeping these journals (now Blog). Running seemed to define what I do most days from before sun up to long after dusk. Reaching seemed to identify my dependence and walk with God and Rest is that quality of life that I hope to embrace each day as I Run and Reach. Does this make sense? Hopefully.

Motherhood at this stage is pretty exhausting! It really doesn't matter if the kids are sick or well or if a day of homeschooling is studious or a waste or if the church is running 20 or 200. It takes a super-hero amount of energy to get through any day. I admit this is a journey that I embrace and sometimes am exasperated by! It's hard work!

I'm hoping by finally identifying what I am about will help me put things into perspective better and will keep me focused on the goals God sets before me. I know this: I have the special privilege of guiding two precious children to adulthood. I know I am not alone. I have a God who will guide them, a father who adores them, Grandparents who will pray and support us and a host of loving and supportive friends and family that will be there to cheer them on their walk. SO...I need to get it together...Do my best...jumpstart each day in HIS Word...Keep focused and realize that learning doesn't always happen at a desk in school. The most important lessons are caught in the moments of each day, at dinner with the family, baking cookies in the kitchen, riding in the car, saying prayers at night and loving each other...after all the greatest of these...the greatest...the absolute greatest thing I can teach and LOVE.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Most Memorable Christmas Gifts I've Received

1. Holly Hobby dollhouse
2. Little House on the Prairie Collction of books
3. Anne of Green Gables Collection
4. Kitchen Aid Mixer
5. Tickets to Josh Groban
6. $100 pinned to the Christmas tree when I was 19 and in college and dirt poor!

It's funny to me that the price of these items ranges from a couple of dollars to hundreds of dollars. I guess things just mean different things to different people. God's always been more than generous to me and has blessed me with many things that aren't on my "need" list. He gives me my wants much of the time. I'm reminded of that as I look at this blessing list of nothing terribly 'need" worthy!

He blesses us beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My last 24 hours have been CRAZY! My friend from Beaumont came to stay with us 2 days while in the area working. While here, she had a horrible reaction to some medication she is on and we ended up spending 4 hours in the ER. When I got home, Tucker, who has been sick for 3 days, was worse than ever...fever, vomitting, coughing, stuffy nose....YUCK! Anyway, we had a pretty sleepless night.

Isn't it funny how much can change in 24 short hours. The house was clean, we had company over, we were talking about a staff dinner we were to host tonight, we were making PLANS. Needless to say....all those plans...and the clean house changed pretty quickly!

Somehow, in the chaos that transpired, I imagined how it must have been 24 hours before Christ was born. My mind has been dwelling on the nativity story lately so I pondered there for a while. What was Mary thinking. Knowing the Savior of the World was on his way in just hours. What about Joseph? Do you think he felt the weight most father's feel when they are about to become a parent. I also thought about Mary's parents, how do you think they felt knowing their daughter was soon to deliver and was heading out of town! (I know my mom wouldn't have been happy!) This quiet little world where Joseph and Mary lived was soon to explode with the activity of baby...our Savior. 24 hours...changed the world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handmade Gifts

I'd like to hear your opinion on this:
Do you enjoy receiving handmade gifts at the holidays? Something as simple as a tin of muffins from a girlfriend, or something handmade like pillowcases from an aunt...I'm just wondering if they have the same value they have had in past generations and I'm also wondering if there will be a resurgence since the economy is declining and more people will be affected financially.
I personally love handmade gifts. I love the idea of someone thinking of me as they made muffins or pillowcases. I love a good story to go with a good handmade gift. I love the idea of the time invested in a handmade gift. I love the idea of someone's hands working to make me happy.
Just wondering how you feel about it..let me know!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Clean House...

On Mondays my wonderful housekeeper/friend comes and cleans my home. It's awesome. By the time she leaves my house is looking and smelling good. I have often told Bruce if I had to choose between him and her...he better watch out! The clean look doesn't last long with 2 kids home all day though and usually by Thursday we are doing lots of 5 minute clean-ups throughout the day.

In the past I have worried about what others would think of me if my house wasn't perfect when they came for a meal or even just popped in unannounced. I've decided this is something I am not going to worry about too much anymore. I feel like I have missed out on some wonderful memory making visiting opportunities because I am trying to be super-mom, employee extraordinaire and pastor's wife....all the while....not able to keep things together at home. So I've decided that I am going to do my best to keep things tidy. I am going to do my daily sprucing up...and if someone pops in or I want to invite someone over for dinner at 4pm....I'm gonna do it by golly! I'm not going to stand in the foyer hoping no one sees past me.

So....when are YOU coming for dinner?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Unto Us...

I have been thinking a lot about the Christmas season and what it is beginning to look like in my family as our children grow. In my quiet time this week I was reading in Isaiah:
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given....and the chastisement of our sin was upon him."
This passage of scripture hit me like a ton of bricks. It is SO very personal. These personal pronouns in the passage emphasis the individual gift Jesus is to each person on earth. He is like the perfectly selected gift you search for at Christmas. He's not the bulk packaging you find at SAM's or Costco. This very individual Savior wants a personal, intimate, one on one relationship with me. I've known this for most of my life, but reading about it in the Old Testament, through the prophecy of our coming Savior, brought things full circle for me. There's been some talk recently about the song "Above All" that we sing at church. The song talks about when Jesus was hanging on the cross that He was thinking of me "above all". Well, I don't know about when He was on the cross...but I certainly think that people are the most important thing to him and that his relationship with me is personal and that perhaps in his omniscience I am what he thinks about....after all He came to us (me)...given in the package of a tiny baby to us (me), to take our (my) sin and yours on himself. How much more personal, individual and perfect a gift could there be to share this season.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Memories

During the Christmas season when I was growing up, I remember a couple of memorable moments that have impacted me as an adult. One memory is of my dad. He passed away when I was 18, so this is one of my most special holiday memories.

I had a friend who came from a large family. Becky's dad was a part-time preacher and carpet layer. They struggled to make ends meet. It was sometime in the 1980's when I my dad did something I will never forget. Before I go on, you must understand, my family was not "rich". We had what we needed and some of what we wanted, my parents taught us three kids a strong work ethic and before I was thirteen I had already realized that I could make some cash doing different odd jobs...babysitting, cleaning...Anyway, that is what makes this such a special memory. We were at church when I saw my dad walk up to Becky's dad and hand him a bundle of money. It was exchanged during a handshake. I knew what dad was doing. I saw Becky's dad's eyes well up with tears and I watched 2 men embrace in a strong manly way. I will never forget.

What I learned that day is that needy people are all around us. Some are needy because of generational poverty...their parents were needy, their grandparents and so forth. Some are needy because times are tough. With the economy going south I am seeing more of this everyday. People who could normally take care of their family but because of the economy, a job loss, health concerns...they can't. And then there are those who don't want to do better for themselves. They aren't motivated, don't care, use excuses.... I don't have to look far in my town to see each one of these scenerios played out.

What my dad did was put feet to action. He saw a need and did something about it. I also saw the response of a grown man wanting to care for his family and seeing hope and gratitude in his eyes jumpstarts me to action. I learned you don't have to have a lot to do a lot. My family didn't have money to throw away. There were three kids and my uncle and my parents living in a modest home with one income, yet, God placed a burden on my dad's heart to help meet the needs of others. I doubt anyone else besides my mom saw what happened that day at church, but it was one of the loudest sermons ever preached to me in church.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Little Known Facts

I've noticed a few of my blogger friends do some creative "getting to know you" posting periodically. Here's my attempt at giving you a sneak peak into a few little known facts about me:

1. I have recently become a night owl.
2. My favorite book of the Bible is Proverbs
3. I love Pizza Hut deep dish pizza
4. I have a pet peeve about tardiness
5. I have jammy days with my kids at least once every 2 weeks
6. I would have loved to have lived during the early 1900's
7. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday
8. My favorite character quality is loyalty
9. I love rainy days
10. When I was a child I loved watching TGIF on Friday nights.

There will be more to come....I'd love to hear a few little known facts about them below or leave your own blog link!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What's In Your Wallet?

I've been thinking of some ways our family can cut back in 09 recently. We are probably like most Americans our age. We have a little saved, college funds for the kids, a little in retirement and make ends meet each month, but with the recession word being tossed around like a pillow at a pillow fight, I'm thinking change is coming!!!..and I don't mean our President elect!

I was thinking of ways I could be more frugal and came up with a few:

1. Meal planning and coupon cutting
2. Planting my own veggies
3. Plan trips to town to be more strategic
4. Make dinner at home on Sundays instead of our traditional "eat out" meal
5. Use the Fireplace more this winter instead of running the heat so much
6. Request items on Freecycle that I want instead of going and buying them new
7. Second hand shop for the kids and keep a good eye out for sale items
8. Turn lights out when not in the room
9. Scale down on TV we really need 300 channels..most of which we don't watch!
10. Tithe....God takes care of those who obey Him.

Lest you think I am worried that we won't make it during this recession...FEAR NOT! I've been thinking about a simpler lifestyle for a long time. This will just make it easier.