Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Summary

Quiet Time
Breakfast bar
Blog hopping
Mac N Cheese and Chicken Nuggets
Chicken in Slow Cooker
Channel Surfing
Packing Bruce for camp
Corn, Broccoli, Baked Beans and Chicken
Family Game Night
Popcorn and Fruit Punch
Nighty Night for Kids
Quiet Time Again

I needed a day like today....home and nothing pressing to do. In fact, I stayed in my jammies all day. Really nice.

If you had a nothing pressing day, what would you do?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I am linking up with Thankful Thursday this week to express my appreciation to God for a few of the wonderful things He's done for me recently.

1. I am thankful for my husband's relationship with the Lord. His leadership in our family and with his responsibilities on staff at our church reflect his walk with the Lord. I am thankful God is using him.

2. I am thankful for a new very part time job beginning in September with Kid Central....the school at our church. It's just 3 days a week...4 hours each day....but exactly what I needed. The job will still allow me to homeschool Savannah, plus she will get to experience 2 days attending school each week. Thank you Lord for knowing what we needed before we did!

3. I am thankful for modern technology. I got to SKYPE with my friend Miriam, missionary to Peru the other night....we had a few technical difficulties...but all in was so nice to see and hear her! 

4. I am thankful for a night at home tonight. We've been running the roads for different things, and really need a family meal and time together. Tonight's the night!

5. I am thankful for some great deals at Old Navy last week for my kids. Stretching our budget makes me happy and also reassures me that God is still in the business of providing and blessing us. 

So, tell me, what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'll Pray for You

I feel like I've been saying "I'll pray for you" a lot lately. Friends hurting, sick kids, grieving loved ones, health issues...and the list goes on. There's really nothing else I know to say that comforts the heart more than those words..."I'll pray for you".

But how many times do we say those words and then never do it! As I reflected today on the many times I've recently expressed my concern about things to God in prayer, I was reminded of the great confidence and comfort that people gain from knowing others pray for them. I know personally that it encourages me to know others pray for my requests. It's also a blessing to hear how God answers the prayers we pray for others.

I guess today I just needed to be reminded that people count on me (you too) to bring their heart's cries to the Lord. For those who are hurting too deeply to speak the words God already knows, we can speak for them. We can be the echo of a mother's heart as she pleads to the Lord to bring her child back to Him.  We can be the urgent message to the Savior for the cancer diagnosis of a friend when she can't find the words. We can be the joyful shout to the Lord when He answers our prayers for healing or forgiveness or provision. We can have a part in a glorious conversation with a King who knows us by name.

Really, is there any greater privilege?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When you have a few extra minutes..

This weekend I've been blessed to have a few extra minutes to stop, catch up with friends, check my email, answer my email (!), browse online and think about totally random and not so important things. It's been nice.

Sometimes I am so focused on what I need to get done in a day that I don't allow myself any downtime. My mom raised us kids with the understanding that for at least 1 hour a day we would have quiet time in our room. Quiet time....most of us moms would give up caffeine or chocolate (OK, maybe not) to have an hour of uninterrupted quiet time. I've seen a few of my FB and bloggy friends mention that they too observe the "Quiet Hour" (which might just become my own personal Happy Hour without the alcohol!), and it reminded me that I had hoped to establish that at my home this summer too.

Just think of all the things you could do during your "Quiet Hour"! Here are a few of my own ideas:

1. Read- a book, my Bible, a magazine
2. Craft- scrapbook, stamp, crochet, cross stitch
3. Listen to music....not Disney, kidsbop or Imagination Movers!
4. Blog
5. Browse
6. Call my out of state family or a friend
7. Take a shower or long bath
8. Spend some time in the garden

I'm getting HAPPY just thinking about how I am going to spend my hour each day this next week. Aren't you? How would you spend your time?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Change is Comin'

When I quit my job in June I dreamed of days of organized living, the smell of clean wafting through the air, children who were clean and neatly dressed, regularly vacuumed floors, weeded gardens, and clean closets. Then I woke up! Really? What was I thinking?

Reality is: kids who are covered in the most recent art project we have tackled....usually glue or paint, a son who finds no relevance in wearing anything but his underwear (when does this end?), floors that haven't seen a vacuum in a week, closets that must get cleaned out before they explode and a garden that is fried from our 100 degree heat. Yep...that's the Polaroid of my house.....BUT...

I figure after working from home for several years and my kids hearing "Not now.", "In a minute," and "Are you crazy? No! you can't climb the pantry shelves to get the cereal." ---It's time we had some fun. But July slips away, it's time to regroup, and get the house in order before school starts back.

We are headed out on a new adventure this year. I'll be teaching a 4 year old class, from 8:30-11:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at our church school. Tucker will attend the 5 day program and Savannah will go to school there 2 days a week, while we continue to homeschool. I'm looking forward to it....but beware, there could be lots more talk about crayons, glue and art projects ahead!

So, if you are a teacher- homeschool, preschool, elementary or high school- I'd love to hear one tip you have for classroom management. Share them here and I will repost them with a link to your blog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Heat is On!

We are enduring the hottest days of summer. I got in my car the other day and the inside thermostat read 113 degrees....HOT! HOT! HOT! So, since it's almost unbearable outside we've been spending lots of time indoors...playing games, renting movies, Full House marathons, crafting, and for

I'm doing all the dreaded out behind the dryer, wiping windowsills out, baseboards, dusting the tops of the bookcases, refrigerator and whatever else I can't easily reach. We're getting there. I had promised myself to do a room a day until it was completed...and we have three rooms down.

I've been thinking a lot about these chores and home responsibilities and while I do not ever plan on having the perfectly clean home, I sure am enjoying the order around me. Let's see how long it last!?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Watching Your Parents Hurt

Something I don't hear much talk about these days is how adult children can help their parents cope with the pain of losing their own parents, siblings and spouses. As recent as today I hugged a friend who shared this concern. As distant as 19 years ago I experienced this firsthand. While I was busy mourning the death of my own father, I think I mourned for my mother even more. 

It's tough when you watch someone strong and somewhat invincible, in an instant, become broken hearted and distraught, sad and teary-eyed. The pain of watching a parent grieve, coupled with the grief you might feel yourself can be burdensome and heart wrenching. 

As I watched my mom grieve for my dad I remember trying to help her do things to get her mind off of it. Now, years later I realize how wrong this was! I should have asked her to share special memories she had of him instead of asking her to do the impossible. What on earth did I know at just 18 anyway!

So for all those out there who have experienced this second hand grief, what's your advice? How do we help our aging parents as they lay to rest those closest to them? I'd love to hear your answers!

Friday, July 16, 2010

What Men Don't Understand

Recently I've been reminded of a few things that men just don't understand....

1. That even when women are not pregnant the sudden need for chocolate at 11:30pm can still happen.

2. That when we say "I'll be back in a little bit", that could mean 15 minutes, or 5 hours, depending on the amount of peace and quiet we are desiring at that time.

3. That when we go over to help a friend out with a garage sale, it's more about catching up than about how much money we make.

4. That is does matter whether or not the entire family matches for the family picture....after all what will happen if we don't coordinate!!! What does this say about the type of mother and wife I am???!?!??!??

5. That when I go out to eat with friends...chances are this will be an event....a drive out of town, dinner somewhere, dessert somewhere else, coffee somewhere....and if the need be a little shopping in between.

6. That it does matter if you wash the towels and the Sunday dress shirts together.

7. That allowing your kids to have a swim in the lake isn't the same as a bath on a Saturday night.

8. That educational television does not include ESPN

Disclaimer: Please note that I am vividly aware that some men DO understand these concepts, but those surveyed for this poll indicated these top 8 MISunderstandings amongst men. This blog is just here to provide help for the common good. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dead Things

Recently my back covered porch was invaded by water roaches...big, long, really ugly bugs. It startled me one night when I went to turn on the porch light and open the door as our dinner company was leaving and  I noticed their mad dash for cover. I don't mean a few either. Let's collectively say "gross".  So in an effort to not gag every time I opened the back door after dark, I have been spraying bug spray daily around the parameter of the porch. Now....we have dead roaches all over the porch every morning. I do have a point to make...please stick with me.

Our next door neighbors have a dead tree in their front yard. It's at least 50 years old. HUGE...I'm talking honkin' big. Anyway, during the last few storms we have had, remnants of the dead tree have been scattered all over our yard, their yard and the street. Today the tree trimmers came to get it under control. For 8 hours they trimmed the dead branches. My yard was covered in tiny twigs (great opportunity to discuss a good-old-fashion-switching tale or two with my kids) and sticks. Dead things aren't so pretty. The tree is grey, black, new life is growing...and honestly it looks like the sore thumb of the neighborhood. I don't like it so much.

Dead things. Ugly, dried up, nasty things. I've been thinking about the things that should be dead in my life recently. As a Christian I am called to die daily to this selfish, fleshly being that cries out to live. I struggle with bad attitudes, ingratitude, a complaining spirit, a "woe is me" outlook, pride and so much more. But these things are suppose to be DEAD! Whether it takes spiritual bug spray or a chainsaw these attitudes gotta's not healthy! It's downright UGLY!

The greenness of a life that is flourishing with growth is so much more attractive. In contrast to the dead life, where no one wants to touch or be near the dead thing, the ALIVE life in Christ is something that others want more of. I think about a botanical garden when I think of something beautifully alive. I'd do just about anything to take a pair of gardening sheers and gather a big bunch of beautiful flowers if they'd let me! I don't know if I would ever get enough!  It's the same for those around us. This full, abundant life in Christ should attract others to HIM....they should want more and more of HIM because of being with us. WOW....what a huge responsibility!

More of Him. Less of Me.

Now, if you'll excuse's time to find the bug spray....literally and spiritually speaking!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My God Shall....

Supply my needs
Carry my burdens
Dry my tears
Do great things
Victoriously come again
Bring joy in the morning
Be exalted
Answer prayer
Encourage the Disappointed
Love the unlovable
Keep His promises
Make His way known
Be reverenced

....because HE IS.

I was reminded yesterday of His care for me. After stepping out by faith to do something scary, He proved Himself the provider, friend, supplier and encourager. Why do we ever doubt Him when He asks us to do something? I think of all the times I have wasted and missed the special blessings of obedience and hope that each time has brought me a little closer to trusting God more easily and fully. Thank you Lord for our patience with me...a slow learner in this walk of faith.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reflections of Vacation

Over the weekend I am planning to post more pictures than most of you could possibly want to see of our vacation. But, because the camera is in the car and I am too lazy to go get it  I am tired, I will just post a quick wrap up of our wonderful week at Broken Bow.

1. We stayed in the Stephen's Gap area and it was absolutely gorgeous. Who knew mountains were just an hour and a half away from Texas! We MUST go back in the Fall.

2. We never set an alarm. One morning we all slept until 8:30.....heavenly!

3. We ate outside at a wonderful place inside the park where Tucker threw a french fry to a scampering squirrel and the squirrel caught it right in its mouth. Needless to say that was way too cool to Tucker!

4. My kids swam in a lake for the first time ever. Thankful we had water shoes to help soften the rocky bottom water.

5. Go-carts = nauseated kids and husband.

6. We grilled out every night we were there...which means I didn't cook at all.

7. We spotted chipmunks and 10 deer. And 36 roadkill items (sorry...I know it's gross, but it does help pass the time in the car)

8. Fishing... we found a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours (pictures coming)

9. We drove an hour and a half north to Arkansas to more mountains and scenic byways. God's handiwork was abundant. We ate lunch at a mountain top restaurant and the view was stunning!

10. Family time....need I say more?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Please Don't Let Me Forget

Before we leave for our vacation please don't let me forget:
  • to turn the thermostat up in the house 
  • to make sure the Justin Bieber CD does NOT make its way into the car (If I hear Baby Baby one more time....)
  • to pack sunscreen and bug spray (do they make this in a combo?)
  • to color my hair....I want to be sure that the light color hair that shows up in my pictures is sun kissed...not...well, you know.
  • that all the bags actually make it into the car
  • that Bruce does not pack any socks that can be pulled up to his knees. 
  • that Tucker (4yo) understands that parading around in his underwear all day is not going to be acceptable on vacation
Thanks for your help!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Decisions Decisions.....

I'm a planner....most of the time. We leave for vacation in 3 sleeps and we changed our plans for the 4th time late last night. Gee Wilickers! At first we were headed to Branson, but when we checked availability at our top 50 choices, there was nothing available for the week of July 4th. Seems lots of people like to Silver Dollar City it on the 4th. So we decided on Dallas. I mapped out a whole weeks worth of costly fun for the family to enjoy and then Bruce is reminded about a great deal San Antonio's Sea World is offering. This summer all kids can get in for $5 with each full price adult ticket. So we were San Antonio bound for 24 hours....until Hurricane Alex decided to hit. We figure heading South isn't going to be a good idea. So we were back to plan D (as in Dallas). I was good with were the kids. Until Bruce talked to someone about Broken Bow, Beaver's Bend area. He's sold on it. So today will be spent getting all arrangements made. You'd think we were very indecisive people....thing is....we don't usually have this problem!

I share all that to say....I've spent countless hours searching the Internet to make vacation plans. It hit me last night that some of the more crucial decisions in my life deserve that same time. So many times we feel rushed into making decisions that are forced or reckless. They may not be bad decisions but they really require extra thought, evaluation and PRAYER. Sometimes we just don't take the time to pray it through. We rationalize the pros and cons list and decide what's best for US. What I've found out recently is that what I may think is best for me isn't always what is God's best for me. There's a difference! God's best stretches us sometimes, it might be uncomfortable, and it might even be scary....but I'd take His plan over mine any day of the week.