Monday, May 31, 2010

Spend Your Summer...Not Your Sanity!

A few weeks ago I asked you to chime in on your favorite ways to enjoy passing the time with your kids during the summer. I was hoping for some great low-cost ideas and you did not disappoint me. So when someone asked if I would share your responses, of course I said yes!

So here they are:

Terri said:
We go to the city pool ALOT during the summer! We also go skating and to the movies(when there's something good on!) Water balloons are always fun! Basically anything that has to do with water is always a winner!
Kat said:
Lots of water play, sprinklers, pools, lakes, beaches, waterslides, water parks and movie matinees.

Felicia said:
We take every day a bit slower. We watch movies at home, sleep in, play in the water in the back yard, nothing too extravagant. Bubbles are fun!

Kathy said:
We don't have a pool, but we have a great sprinkler system that works well in a pinch! We also head north to the beautiful creek about 2 hrs from our home. This year, we'll add in swimming lessons. Additionally, a local church here has a rec center/roller rink, and for $3 per person you can skate for a few hours in a slightly dimmer air conditioned room. May have to go out and purchase some elbow pads, and enjoy! : )
A few more ideas include:

Vacation Bible School at your area church
Arts and Crafts
Children's Museums
Talent Shows
Neighborhood Bible Clubs
Activities at your local YMCA
Indoor playhouses
Make Homemade Ice cream
Make Homemade Popsicles

Hope this helps as you plan for the long, hot summer! We're nursing our first sunburn tonight...and I am sure it won't be the last! Chime in here if you have more ideas on how to spend your summer....not your sanity!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beauty in the Garden

Stand in the Gap

The unknown can be scary. You remember don't you? When you were smaller and you would run and jump into your bed, not just because it was fun, but because you didn't want the boogie man to grab your ankles? ---okay...maybe that was just me, but you get the picture. More recently my big scaredy cat moments have been financial issues, health concerns for my mother in law and my cousin, a young person who I have come to love who wandered from the Lord, a suspicious spot on my get the picture. Not knowing what's going to happen, who will be affected and how it is all going to pan out can get us all worked up. Yet as a Christian, I am abundantly blessed to be learning about the glory of walking in HIS (Christ Jesus') presence.

Walking with Christ does not mean the way will not be uneventful. Every person in the Bible who had any sort of walk with God had a story. It is part of the reason we find such a connection with them...Job, Moses, Paul, Peter. We connect with them, we identify, we raise our hand and say "I've felt that way...I've walked that road". The great thing about these characters is that right or wrong, their stories make it easier for us. We see their faithfulness, or not, and learn valuable lessons about the character of our Lord. His faithfulness, His holiness, His Constancy. We learn that walking with Him doesn't mean life will be boring...instead we are given lots of different exercises to prove our faith, to rest in Him, and practice His presence.

My friend KAT is entering a season of unknown in her own life. Her husband has been laid off. What I love about KAT is that she's immediately turned to her spiritual family and sent out a prayer SOS. She knows about the presence of God. Read about her story here. Leave her a comment and let her know you'll be praying...and then do it. In this family it's a blessing to get to share in the burden bearing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's that time of the week again....time to think about all you have to be thankful for. I am reminded daily of the many blessings I enjoy in life. are a few I'm thanking the Lord for:

1. The blessings of being raised with a Christian heritage and worldview. My parents were consistent, smart, godly parents, who weren't afraid of hurting my feelings or disciplining me. I'm thankful for the tools they equipped me with by living out their faith.

2. Air's already well over 90 here in the afternoon! Inside and in the car...thankful for the cool air!

3. My pastor and his wife.

4. A great sale at the Children's Place...and a coupon!

5. A hard working husband who takes care of his family....and knows how to have fun too!

Link up over at Women Taking a Stand to participate or read other Thankful Thursday posts...or leave a comment and tell us what you are thankful for here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More from Download N Go!!!!

The Adventure Begins Giveaway!
I wanted to let you all know that DNG has decided to offer a coupon code for 20% off multiple packs of the DNG units! Wow - 20%. The code is: DNG20PKS - just use that code at check out and receive 20% off any multiple pack purchase!

And then there's a contest!!!! This contest is geared toward Homeschooling moms - but does include Starbucks, Baskin-Robbins and gift certificates (that would appeal to non-homeschoolers too)!


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and Amanda Bennett Unit Studies have teamed up to celebrate the successful launch of Download N Go™ with a Sweet Treat Prize Package in The Adventure Begins ... Giveaway!
They're offering one lucky winner the SWEET chance to go EXPLORING this FALL!
The entire FALL curriculum lineup of Download N Go™ (Wow! That's 19 studies!).
A $25 gift certificate to Baskin-Robbins (yummy ice cream).
A $25 gift certificate to (for those back-to-school supplies).
A $15 gift certificate to Starbucks Coffee (a special treat just for the teacher).
A full year's subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (encouragement and resources all year long).
A "sweet" blue and brown Homeschooling With Heart tote bag (THE must-have accessory for FALL!).

Contest will run May 24 and through June 12!

Enter HERE

Download N Go - Homeschool Curriculum Review

Recently I was approached to do a review/blog tour for Download N Go. I wasn't familiar with this curriculum before, but the concept of downloadable curriculum for unit studies was very appealing to me. So, I signed up and was delighted when a few weeks ago I received my Download N Go unit on wales.

I loved it! First of all, it was extremely easy to save and download. No computer mumbo jumbo that was difficult to understand. Secondly, the content was clear and child-friendly. There was plenty of color and up to date graphics. It's clear someone took great thought to create something that my 4-8 year old student would be happy to dive into. Thirdly, it's a unit study so there are various subjects covered, from art projects and Bible stories to reading and writing activities...Download N Go covers it all. There are also hyperlinks throughout the curriculum so if you decide never to print it out you still have computer generated reasons to follow the links to more valuable information.

At the end of the week they give you precise directions on how to design a lapbook with all the things your child has created during the unit study. There are extra hyperlinks with tutorials to show beginner lapbooking teachers how to assemble the book.

Overall, I'd give this two thumbs up!

Connect with them on Facebook or learn more about them HERE .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Me and My Crew

The problem with taking pictures at home....
there's no one there to take one of us all together!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm linking up with Laurie for Thankful Thursday this week. Need some through a few of these linked posts and you'll be quick to remember we all have so much to thank our Father for. Here are a few of my blessings this past week:

1. I am thankful for the preschool my son attends at our church. It's just 2 days a week but he has learned so much. His wonderful teacher, Ms. Ali, has been an angel. We managed to only have one note home all year she also has the patience of Job!

2. I am thankful for the heart our church has for missions. It's evident during every service. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to hear about faithful servants of God who are working around our country and the world. It's encouragement and motivation!

3. I am thankful for Savannah making a 99% on her math final this week. She's worked hard and it really paid off to see her so proud of herself!

4. I'm thankful that our church has hired a new youth pastor. They'll be moving here on June 6th.

5. I am thankful for God's Word...always speaking to me.

So....what are you thankful for today?


Tucker's at it again....

After he did something pretty funny the other day I said, "Tucker, what am I going to do with you?"

His reply...

"Send me to prison?"

I have no idea where he has even heard about prison!

I said "No!"

Thinking he'd give another suggestion he said. "Send me to public school?"

Oh....that boy....he's pretty funny!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Talk To Me Tuesday

I'm thinking about the summer....dreaming of July 1, when mine really starts (last day of work!) But just as soon as I start turns into a nightmare...You know. It goes something like this:

We sleep in a little later, eat a leisure breakfast, do a few chores, play outside before the blistering temperatures get the best of us. Then we eat lunch, read a little....and then........WHAT? It's 2 in the afternoon and 150 degrees outside. What do we do?

That's what I want to know. How do you beat the summer afternoons (or mornings) of boredom with your kids? I want to know!

Talk to me....(AKA...leave a comment)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some things I learned at my garage sale

As stated previously I hosted a garage sale on Friday. Here are a few things I learned:

1. When you say your sale starts at means your sale starts at 6:30am.

2. Price all the kids clothes at 25 cents and they will sell.

3. Live on the corner....ideal for garage sale traffic

4. Older women who like flowers, might stop and ask if they can dig some up....or perhaps nearly fall into your pond in order to get the right colored water lily.

5. Said woman, might also try to pay you for water lilies and other flowers, and if you graciously refuse, she could possibly end up groping you when she tries to put the money down your shirt. Say it with me...."AWKWARD!"

6. Old family friend of husbands might show up. Complete stranger to you and ask your age and the age of your believe he is a complete stranger until he mentions your father in law's toupee flying through the air years ago....and then you know he must know your husband's family.

7. Garage sales are much more fun if your friends stop by to hang out.

8. When your friends kids and your kids decide to play in the pond....chances are you are going to end up with some dead fish.

9. When the weather man says 50-70% chance of thunderstorms...he doesn't always know what he is talking about.

10. Sometimes you should just give something away.

Really it was a great day for a sale. We all made a little extra cash....but the fellowship and laughs were worth so much more!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Gaggle of Girlfriends

I am one of those girls that has struggled over the years with friendships. Being in the ministry and close friendships often don't mix and after a few failed relationships with other women, I had just about decided that it would be better if I was just a "nice" person who cultivate many surface relationships. If you've been hurt or have caused hurt in a relationship you probably get what I am saying. If you haven't, please don't judge me.

So, when we moved back to Bruce's hometown almost a year ago, I was not prepared for the onslaught of friendly women. At first I resisted, feeling quite overwhelmed but also believing...this will pass, it's just the newness of the move, nobody...especially other women could possibly be this open to another gal stepping into their friendship circles.

It started with a Bible study with women of many different decades. It continued with invitations of hospitality into each other's homes, if was followed by church activities, game nights and GNO's, then there were Sunday School Christmas parties and children's birthday parties and homeschool fieldtrips. And now, I find myself on any given day surrounded by a gaggle of girlfriends who I love being with, talking, laughing, crying, sharing and struggling.

Each girlfriend represents and bring something different to the table....a role model, a mother, a working gal, a teacher, church staff wife,  but each of my 10's of friends share common elements. Kind, giving, listening, helping, praying, encouraging, loving. All a girl like me has to do is put out a quick SOS and I know someone will be there. While some may have one special friend. I feel blessed to love and be loved by so many. I'm thankful that God has done a work in my heart to hopefully make me a better friend to someone who needs that encourager, cheerleader, prayer partner, laugh til it hurts friend.

I'd love to hear what it is that you value in friendships with other women. Leave a comment!

New Blog

My friend Wendy and her husband Mitchell are going to Vietnam to visit for 3 weeks this summer. She's started a blog documenting their prep work as they get ready for their trip...check is out here .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holding on...

Tomorrow I am scheduled to have a garage sale. I opened my big mouth and set the date....and invited friends to join me so now I HAVE to do it. Funny thing is that I could really care less about selling anything...I really just enjoy hanging out with my friends. But as I was scanning the closets for things outgrown, worn out or rarely used I came across a few things that I thought twice about giving up. The sweet dress, the old toy, the unread book, the old purse....sometimes you just want to hang on to things even though you know you will never use them again.

I've recently found myself in the same spot spiritually. I've hung on to some misfit bad attitudes. words and even actions that I don't need to ever pick back up again. Some people wouldn't find any offense to them, but I know they don't belong in the life of someone who is striving to live holy. They belong in the discard pile....never to be part of my life again. No matter how comfortable, broken in or easy they are, there really isn't room for them in my new house. Spiritually speaking I got everything new when I accepted Christ. Why in the world would I hang on to the old?

So, I'm letting go. Discarding. Purging. And I will have to do it again tomorrow...and the next day, because this house doesn't stay clean on it's own. It takes the precious forgiveness and cleansing from the Savior to spruce me up. Thankfully...His mercies are new every morning....great is His faithfulness.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I have so much to be thankful for this week. Head over to Women Taking a Stand to link up with this week's Thankful Thursday bloggers.

This week I am thankful for:

1. Making the final payment to the credit card company.

2. For the opportunity to have worked from home the last 3 1/2 years with a Christian PR firm.

3. For the opportunity to quit that wonderful job and focus on my family and their needs right now....I know crazy...with the economy and all...but I am thankful for the still small voice that tells me "do this".

4. I am thankful for a husband who knows my heart and allows me to be who I am....even when I am not sure who that is!

5. I am thankful for a God who knows the path ahead and makes the way clear one step at a time.

So...what are you Thankful for this Thursday?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tickling the Ivories

Savannah started private piano lessons in January. Here's a sampling of what she's learned so far:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Proverbs 31

Her children respect and bless her;

her husband joins in with words of praise:

"Many women have done wonderful things,

but you've outclassed them all!"

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.

The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
From Proverbs 31- The Message
Happy Mother's Day Mom. You're beautiful inside and out!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Moms

I was thinking today of all of the girls who we have had through our youth ministries over the last 16 years and how that so many of them became mommies over the last year. I'm showcasing two special mommies here today: was my first daughter by heart. We met when she was in middle school and now she is a pastor's wife and mommy of Sam. God used her in my life more than she could ever help fill barren arms....funny how the year she went off to college was the year I got pregnant with Savannah. God knows what He's doing. On a side note...Elizabeth's sister, Melissa (also a sweetie) is expecting her first baby later this year.

Lacey... if you told Lacey that she would get pregnant during her first year of marriage, I am sure she would have laughed in your face.....but that's what happened! Lacey is a youth pastor's wife and mommy who blogs over at . She's a missions-minded momma...and I personally can't wait to see how God directs her family in the future.

These girls led dedicated lives for the Lord long before they married. One of my favorite memories was a small Bible Study I had with 6 or so teens. They came faithfully, studied and lived out what they learned. Striving...yes! We enjoyed many years of youth camp together, retreats, late night talks and lots of prayers, tears and laughter.

Elizabeth and Lacey are excellent examples of young women who are raising kids with knees to the earth. Praying and seeking God's guidance each step of the way. You can tell by the way they blog of their struggles, their victories, their hearts and their families. I'm so proud of them and what sweet mommies they are....I just wish we all lived closer so we could get together for a play date!

Favorite Mom Moments

In honor of Mother's Day I'd like to list my top mommy-moments (so far):

1. The birth of both my kids.....incredibly different since one was full term and one was at 27 weeks...but they both rank right up there as a couple of the most beautiful moments in my life.

2. Savannah's first smile

3. Tucker's first round of stitches...and then second round 10 days later!

4. The fact that Tucker (4yo) still wants to "snuggle up" first thing in the morning

5. Homeschooling Savannah (7yo) and watching her eyes light up when something finally clicks

6. Watching my kids learn about Jesus

7. The first time Savannah worked at The Mission helping to sort food for the needy.

8. Tucker's first hair cut....a buzz cut....he was only 20 days old. (His hair was about 5 inches long and sticking straight up before the haircut!

9. Bedtime prayers

10. In the kitchen cooking with the may be much messier....but some great memories have been made with us around a bowl of cookie and bread dough!

What are some of your Most Memorable Mommy Moments? Share please!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mom Guilt....

The four year old, Tucker, decided to try his hand at some mom know the kind that happens when you're in the middle of walmart and they want something and you say "no" and then they proceed to react in whatever way embarrasses you the most (am I the only one this happens to?). Anyway here's the scenario recently with Tucker.

Tucker was waking up one morning and did his customary holler at me or Bruce. For some reason he likes to be greeted while he is still waking up. So I casually glance into his room to say good morning. I'm happy, smiley and upbeat. He says "get me some apple juice". I wait. He hasn't used the magic word yet, so I lean against the door frame and wait. He repeats himself...louder this time. I say, "Tucker you aren't asking nicely, you're not using your manners."

He says in his loud exasperated voice...."Mom, you're tearing this family apart, really you are."

Long pause...and stifled laughter slipping out of my mouth. I am cracking up on the inside....Where has he heard this? Where did it come from?

I say, " I'm tearing this family apart because....?"

He says..."You won't get me my apple juice."

I continue to wait....finally the word I had been waiting for.....PLEASE....then the sweet hugs and kisses that usually start out our morning....then lots of laughter over me tearing our family apart....He is one funny kid!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday snuck up on me...and just about got away!'s never to late to take time for thanksgivings in my life.

1. A wonderful time of fellowship with friends on Saturday. The weather was perfect and we were able to spend most of the day outside under the porch. The kids played and we lingered over leftovers. It was so nice.

2. Thankful for the great job my kids did in AWANA this year. They both made me so proud. Savannah received a really special award as the outstanding Spark for the year. Made this momma a little teary eyed!

3. Thankful for a few projects that got tackled and finished this last week. It finally looks like we are completely unpacked! (It only took us 7 months!)

4. Thankful for my sister who sent my kids a special little gift out of nowhere this week. Really thoughtful!

5. Thankful for clear direction God has given me regarding some decisions that needed to be made. His timing is perfect.

So, what are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What not to do in the garden....

It's probably a good idea to follow the directions on weed killer spray....I'm talking about following them all the way to the end.

Several weeks ago I sprayed an area in my garden for weeds, thinking at the time that the space wouldn't be used. But then, because I can't pass up a sale on plants, I ended up planting in that area 6 days later. Thing is...the side of the bottle says....wait 7-10 days before planting in the treated area.

There's a reason for this. Evidently they've tested this. You know...they are the experts.

The reason: it's still killing stuff. If you plant something too's gonna die....cause the treatment is still treating!

I know you probably can't imagine how I could have missed this...but alas.....2 dead tomato plants later I have learned that following directions doesn't end in school. Luckily because of the great sale on plants I have 34 more tomato plants doing just fine!

I Saw A Man With Holes in His Shoes

A few weeks ago I was sitting at church and noticed the man in front of me had a gaping hole in the side of his boots. His white sock was sticking out showing obvious contrast to the black boot. I quietly got Bruce's attention and as I sat there for the entire service my mind was on the shoes.

Some thoughts that flooded my mind were:

1. I wonder what size shoe he wears?
2. I wonder if he would be insulted if he was given money to purchase new boots?
3. I wonder if the boots Bruce has in his closet will fit him?
4. How much do new boots cost?

So I sat there...contemplating my options. Wondering what God would want us to do. Surely, God wouldn't allow me to see a need like this and then not move to do SOMETHING about it. How many times am I guilty of that?! I don't even want to think about it.

The purpose of this post isn't to draw attention to what my family did...but to draw attention to PAYING attention and listening to God's voice when He gets your attention regarding someone in need. I am SO guilty of seeing something or someone that needs help and thinking...I don't have the money to do something, but how many times is money not the issue....some people just need a moment of your time, an encouraging word....eye contact,  a pat on the back of a listening ear. I want to pay better attention! I want to see and do. Because if I don't, someone else will....someone else will get the blessings of paying attention, someone else will get the blessing of knowing this person, someone else will be used by God to meet an emotional, spiritual or physical need. Someone else will get to share Jesus....I want to be a part of that....I want to be the one....I want to be used.

Don't you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Take Time to Watch This!

Take a look at THIS terrific's only 1 min. 44 seconds. But the message is eternal!


Anish is my cousin's husband. They've been married....for a while. He's forty-ish. Last week, after a series of what the drs. thought were unrelated illnesses, the drs found something terribly wrong. After a blood test at the office, Anish got a call 2 hours later to admit to the hospital in Fort Worth. After a few more tests it was determined that his kidneys were functioning at only 18%. Then they found a blood clot on his lung. Then his vitals started deteriorating. Seems the drs have determined he has a terrible auto-immune disease. There is treatment....only problem is, it has been known to also cause bladder cancer.

Things look bad to be honest. His breathing is labored and we are waiting to hear about whether or not he had to be placed on a ventilator. On Friday the drs. started the process of removing all the plasma from his blood and the putting the blood back in his body. He also started chemotherapy.

Please pray for Anish and for my cousin, Raven. They are such a sweet couple. Also be in prayer for Raven's daughter.  Most of all, I am praying for them to know that God loves them, He is in control and that He wants a relationship with them. My Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve (Raven's mom and step dad) could use your prayers to. Anish's family is from India and plans were being made over the weekend for them to come to America. Thing is...there is a huge language barrier...and so communication will be difficult.

Thanks for praying!