Monday, July 31, 2006

Out of the Loop!

Man! Have I been out of the loop! It was such a busy week last week, I didn't get to blog or read anyone's blog! Please forgive me!

It was really an incredibly wonderful week! It began with an unexpected visit from Just Peachy. We had a late night gab session that was so sweet! We used to have these more frequently, and it was so good to get to do it again!!

The next three days I was busy with "Thelma"! It was her last week off from surgery and we spent a lot of time together - rocking and talking on the porch, and shopping! We had a great time bargain hunting at the mall (and found some really great deals!). It was so good to spend the time together before she goes back to work ... and before we move.

No, it hasn't sold yet, but we are still trying. I think we are getting ready to put an ad in the newspaper for it...

On Wednesday, I got Princess enrolled in preschool. Then I went to a meeting that connected my church to the Community for Healthy Babies team. I'm so excited about that! The women at my church are going to be taking on a project by helping with the Community Baby Showers that I've been a part of for a couple years! Wooo-hooo!!

I went to the doctor for a check-up on Thursday. Enough said about that...

Friday, I went to my church for our monthly scrapbooking crop. I got 6 pages done and had a nice catch-up evening with AnnieBeth (which was overdue).

Saturday was one of the best days of my life! I'll have to tell you more about that one later! So much fun, I'm still reeling from it!!

Sunday was church and out to my parents to swim!

I feel like a zombie today! I'm cleaning house and doing laundry. Well, no, actually I'm blogging, aren't I? Well, the laundry is going....

Friday, July 28, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Animals

This week's Photo Hunt theme is animals/pets.

Here is "Freddie the frog"! He lives in the pond at my parent's house. We frequently hear him, but don't see him. He made a rare appearance for me this week - and allowed a photo shoot!

A few more zoo animals...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Surprise! Surprise!

How cool is this? I'm still on a high from this weekend! It was full of fun surprises!

On Saturday, Papa called from Atlanta where he'd spent the week at Mega-fest. He had rode down with a friend and they were planning on coming home on Sunday. Their conference was over and he was ready to come home. He asked if I would drive halfway to get him. I said, "Hmmmm...could I come a little farther than halfway!?"

So we did! We met up in Calhoun, GA. Then drove a short 20 miles off of I-75 to see Just Peachy!!! Of course, she had just moved to Rome, GA on Thursday! We got to see her sweet new home and all go out to dinner together in downtown Rome. It was an absolutely wonderful visit! I can't even express how thankful I am for that short time with them!! I miss that girl so much! I'm so glad that she is just 2 1/2 hours from me now! We must get together again soon, Peach!! (And notice that I honored your request not to post your picture yet - I'll let you do the "unvailing" on your blog!!)

Then, on Sunday after church, we had a surprise birthday party for my friend Melanie (who has been through losing her 3 yr old son just 2 years ago, and now is fighting breast cancer)! I hadn't seen her for a month and enjoyed getting updated on her cancer treatments, etc... We really surprised her - with about 15 adults and uncounted children! I think she loved all the attention!

Please pray for her as she continues to take radiation and another experimental drug. She's made it through chemo-therapy and is trying to live somewhat a normal life now. She needs all the prayers for healing that she can get!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"Restore to me the joy
of your salvation and
grant me a willing spirit,
to sustain me."
--Psalm 51:12

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Action

This week's Photo Hunt theme is action!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Everyday Things...

"...For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
Philippians 4:11

The busiest time in our day is always bedtime. Trying to coordinate three children in baths, books, and beds - when they really just want to play - can be a challenge. In addition to that, I'm tired and ready for them to go to bed so that I can have some alone time (by myself or with Papa). These are the moments I tend to rush!

Candy Man never lets us forget to pray. Even if they're all tucked in and had their last drink, potty, etc... he'll get everyone up because we forgot to pray. This has been going on for 2 months now. It is a shame that I have seen this time as "another stall tactic". God convicted me of this in the last few weeks.

My Everyday Thing is bedtime prayer! I've started taking the initiative and gathering them all together in one of their beds and taking turns praying and thanking God for our day. How sweet are the prayers of children! Even Game Master, who's been avoiding praying aloud recently, has taken to praying with earnest again! It ends our day, and our busy evenings, with a sweet time together. We all give hugs and kisses and head to bed after that. I'm so thankful to God for opening my eyes and helping me to better appreciate this time with my little ones!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #15 (filling up the tank with thanks)

What a busy week! With deciding to sell the house, getting it ready, and showing it. Plus we started school on Monday! Today, I'm going to tell you why I'm thankful for homeschooling my children!

"Teach them to your children,
talking about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up."
--Deuteronomy 11:19

I am thankful for:

1. Structure - It provides us with a schedule for our day and keeps us from being too idle.

2. Direction - We are always moving forward towards our goal.

3. Purpose - We have definite purpose in learning as God wants us to learn.

4. Fun! - Many days we have so much fun together!

5. Laughter - Especially when we've taken a break from school, we are more relaxed and can be silly together!

6. Time alone - I get more time one-on-one with each of my children while the others are working alone. They thrive on this!

7. Time together - We don't have "homework" in the evening, which gives us lots of time to spend together as a family!

8. Accomplishments - Each of us (myself as teacher included!) experience a sense of accomplishment as we learn something or get better at something. The best part is getting to share this as a family!

9. Yummy foods - We frequently cook with younger students (it's math, science - whatever you make it!). Today, I'm smelling a pumpkin pie in the oven!! Mmmmm!

10. My children - I like my children more when they are homeschooled! Seriously! They are kinder, gentler, and more loving! I think they feel more secure!

It is full of sacrifice - homeschooling, but the rewards are great! My children are worth it!

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live in him,
rooted and built up in him,
strengthened in the faith as you were taught,
and overflowing with thankfulness."
--Colossians 2:6,7

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Curb appeal!

My good friend, D-too, called this morning and gave me a good tip! She's heard Dave Ramsey on the radio encourage people when selling their home to have good "curb appeal". D-too suggested to me that I could buy some annual flowers pretty cheap right now and spruce up the front flower beds, giving our home more "curb appeal".

So today, I did just that! A little trip to Lowes, about $20 bucks, and I have purty flowers in my front yard! Plus, I'll enjoy them while we are here!

I did show the house this afternoon to a college student. He seemed interested and felt we had it very reasonably priced compared to other houses he'd looked at. Very encouraging!

Thanks D-too for your advice!

Moving right along...

Well, things are moving right pun intended!

I had told you that our house was for sale and that we had found a house we'd love to purchase as well. The owner of that house called us Sunday night! We are very excited about that call! We returned to the home yesterday for an indoor tour for Papa. The greatest news is that they are willing to wait for us to sell our home!

We did get a call yesterday evening and a lady came to look at our house that we are trying to sell. I don't think she was interested, but it gives hope just showing it!

So things are "moving" right along! Every step along the way, we've been able to see God's Hand in the plans. I am thankful for that! Everytime we make a big decision like this, I always feel the need for God's confirmation that we are in His will. I feel good about that right now!

For those of you that know us personally and have been asking... the new house is here! We are NOT leaving town! And thank you for your concern that you'd miss us! We love you!

Monday, July 17, 2006

House for sale!

It is official!

The house has been cleaned. Repairs have been made. The sign is in the yard. We are as ready as we're going to be. After much prayer and deliberation, our house is for sale. It has been a LONG two years here (you can read about it in my memorable 6 part post called "Where I live"). We feel like it is time to move on.

I am relieved. There are other factors going on that I haven't shared with you, due to safety & privacy issues. Typically, Papa and I come to conclusions/decisions at different times (me first, then him 3-6 months later). This wasn't quite as difficult as all that, and I'm thankful!

I am anxious. I'm trying to be content. I really don't know why I feel this urgency, except that whenever God leads me in a direction, I want to jump forward and "be there" already. There is the possibility in this situation that He has laid the urgency on our hearts for a reason...

I am excited! We've actually found a house in our dream location! A cul-de-sac with only 2 houses in the circle! It isn't on the market yet. We are praying for a timely sale on our home, so that we can purchase that home before they have to sell to someone else...

God is in control. God is good. I will trust Him to lead us exactly where He wants us.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know his master's business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
for everything that I learned
from my Father
I have made known to you."
--John 15:15

Friday, July 14, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - doors

This week's Photo Hunt theme is doors.

This is my front door.

It was broken when we bought the house.

It has been abused - by many slams from children trying oh-so-hard to get it shut all the way!

It has welcomed - family, friends, neighbors, Papa home from a long day at work.

It is home!

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." --Revelation 3:20

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Everyday Things...

"...For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
Philippians 4:11
Well, like I said last week, God is working on me to be more content. I am a work in progress. It is a long progress....
My biggest complaint in the summertime is the heat! I don't like the heat - anything above 72 degrees is too warm for me. Of course, I don't want anything below 58 degrees either. But, I would rather take the cold than the hot! (See, lacking contentment - I told you so.)
Last year, while attending an in-depth Bible study, I answered the question "What things in this world are you thankful for?" by saying "air conditioning"! Yes, I said my hubby, children, family, friends, church, Bible, etc... first. But honestly, I answered "air conditioning"!!
I try to be content with the heat and I think that I have gotten much closer this summer than ever. I've just made a truce and decided that makeup is not meant to be worn in the summer time! I've taken a vacation from beautification (not that there was any hope to begin with!). I've stocked up on the most-potent deoderant I can find. I even purchased some smell-good body spray and placed it everywhere I can think of - including the car! I have packed away any clothing item with any material covering the arms, shoulders, neck, legs, ankles, or feet.
I'm okay with the heat this summer! Well, as long as I can retreat to my ice-crusted, ceiling-fan-blowing bedroom to sleep in at night...
(Sorry about all the ----! I can't get blogger to let me space my paragraphs!)

Thursday Thanks Tank #14 (filling up the tank with thanks)

Once again it is time to express thanks to God for His blessings this week! Join us in giving thanks! (I can't get the Thursday Thanks Tank tag to come up today!!)

I am thankful for:

1. Phone conversations with a good friend! I got to speak with Peach TWO times in the last week over the phone. I love hearing how God is working in the details of her life right now!

2. An evening with "Dtoo" (you know, "frog loaner")! Oh, it was so good to visit with her and hear what God has been doing in her life lately! Even after several hours of talking, there was still more we didn't get to say. We must get together again soon, Dtoo!

3. Vacation Bible School - This is giving the kids a fun week of evenings!

4. Kid Friends - The kids are getting to spend more time around other kids their ages.

5. Papa's leadership - I'll take it when I can get it! I expressed a frustration that I was having and he pointed out my own mistakes in the matter and how I was mostly responsible for my frustration. He made suggestions for aleviating the frustration and after a little cry, I agreed.

6. Being needed - We all want to feel needed, especially by God. Can He use me? Certainly, He can use you! He's shown me this week that He can use me too!

7. God's aligning of hearts! Papa and I had a big talk yesterday and we both agree God is leading us in a new direction. I love it when He speaks to both of us - and at the same time!!

8. Kid's flexibility - When we told the kids about the changes we feel God wants us to make, they were actually excited! We weren't sure how they'd respond, but they took it and ran (perhaps too far ahead! They are so much like their mother, making plans like they do!).

9. A night out with Thelma - Yes, we did dinner and the mall again. It was so fun! I enjoyed spending the evening with her!

10. Good bargains! I found some real deals when we were shopping that I'm so excited about! Two shirts for Papa (both $4.99!), and a pair of jeans for Game Master (for just $4.99) - all name brand stuff! Cool!

God is good! He has whispered in my ear this week and made His presence known. Of course, I prefer neon signs, but I can grasp hold of the small whispers and trust that He is there!

What are you thankful for?

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever"
--1 Chronicles 16:34

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Works for Me: laundry bags

Everybody does laundry, right? I must have more laundry baskets than anyone in the world - and we can never find an empty one! What is with that? Hmmm....maybe they've abducted all those socks we can't find!

A couple of months ago, Papa was complaining that he couldn't help me fold and put away the boy's clean laundry because he didn't know whose clothes were whose! Well! I'm sure I HAD to find a solution to that problem!

What we were doing: The boys had one dirty laundry basket in their room that they shared. This did make sorting clean laundry necessary. Despite the 3 1/2 years difference, they are closer in size than you think. Plus Candy Man is wearing the clothes that were Game Masters not too long ago - which makes it all the more confusing!

What works for me: I bought material off of the $1/yd table at WalMart and made laundry bags! I made a simple seam and put in a drawstring out of inexpensive roping. I let them choose their own fabric. It was very simple and inexpensive. Plus the bags hang in their closet taking up less floor space. And it helps keep their clothes seperate! Now, I just empty the bag into the washer - and throw in the bag to wash too!

Has Papa started helping with laundry? Well, I didn't say I was a miracle worker, now did I?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another
and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
--Hebrews 10:25

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Signs

This week's Photo Scavenger Hunt theme is "signs".
Here is my summer sign!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Everyday Things...

"...For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
Philippians 4:11

Okay, well I'm learning to be content. Well, I'm trying to be content. Okay, I'm not really content, but I know that I should be. Does that count?

I wanted to participate in Everyday Mommy's Friday meme called "Everyday Things", in my quest for contentment! This week it seems I've been reflecting on when my children were babies. Therefore, I will show you my everyday thing:

Yes, it is a thumb! See, I've been the fortunate mother of three thumb-suckers! My children have all been able to comfort themselves. In the age of toys-galore (which we have too!), they've been easily comforted by their thumb! Our world seems so crowded and so complex. So much in our lives is overwhelming. How wonderful that God thought to give us a thumb - a perfect fit in our mouths that gives us comfort!

How to calm that fussy baby? The thumb! How to temporarily ease that hungry baby? The thumb! How to help that baby go to sleep? The thumb! How to still a fearful toddler? The thumb!

Now, I know what you are thinking? Braces! I was worried about that too - until I talked to my dentist! He told Game Master (when he was 4 and I was pushing for him to stop sucking his thumb) that almost every child needs braces, regardless of whether they suck their thumb or not! He told me to relax and not worry about it. (This dentist would not benefit in anyway from my children having to wear braces, by the way!)

And so, relax, I did! Game Master stopped when he was ready. Sucking their thumbs has been something that they enjoy! I don't have to take it away from them! This makes them content... and thus makes mommy content!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday Thanks Tank #13 (filling up the tank with thanks)

I've got to do a quick Thanks Tank today. Papa has been lovingly complaining/teasing me about my blogging lately. He's gone to Home Depot and now is my chance! ;) And of course, I can't get blogger to cooperate and let me post Peach's cute tag at the top! Oh well!

I'm thankful for:

1. My country - United States of America. We have so many opportunities here.

2. My freedom - especially my freedom to worship Jesus! I can't imagine living in a country were this is forbidden!

3. Those who fight for my country! Thank you to all who do and have ever fought to keep our country safe!

4. Fireworks - being over! They make me a nervous wreck when the young kids are shooting them at each other, etc... I like the pretty ones, but they can be so dangerous!

5. God's provision. Sometimes I get so concern about our finances and not being able to pay what we need to pay next week. Somehow, He always takes care of us! I must trust more!

6. Time off. We will start school again soon, but I'm enjoying these days off - sleeping in, playing more games, reading more books, and just doing pretty much whatever we want to do!

7. Discipline charts! This is a funny one, I guess. We decided that it was time to have a "crackdown" once again at our house. This always works wonders around here! We define what areas the kids need to work on and we determine what the consequences will be for those things and we "crackdown". Every time they do those things, they get the consequence. The good thing is, we don't get impatient or angry with them. We can calmly refer to the "crackdown chart" to see what is their consequence. This puts the focus on their choice to do the behaviors.

8. Organization. I really love to be organized! Papa, not so much (to say the least!). I've managed to get a little area in our bedroom (my desk) cleaned off and a bit more organized. It feels good to have at least a little area under control! I've been re-organizing the office at work too. It's good for everyone!

9. Friends moving closer! I'm not saying who, but someone I love very much is moving closer to me! Instead of like a 9 hour drive, it will be a 3 hour drive, with a lovely city halfway between! I miss her so much and can't wait to see her again...

10. Things to look forward to! Like VBS next week (and possibly a date night with Papa?), like a trip to Ohio to see my grandmother in August (although, I will be taking my 3 children and traveling alone...).

What are you thankful for this Thursday in July?

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." --Hebrews 12:28

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Works for Me: baby beds

I'm new at this - and excited to be doing it! I've got lots of ideas! (well, today at least!) I'll start with my favorite baby advice!

Some of the best advice I got when pregnant with my first baby was not parenting advice! (I just love practical advice, don't you?) I have never forgotten the sweet lady who recommended this to me, and I highly recommend it!

You know how baby always spits up, or the diaper leaks or some kind of mess always occurs in the crib? Of course, it's always in the middle of the night when you are trying to wake up, balance the baby in one arm and change the sheets with the other! And of course, you have to take off the mobile and the crib bumper and any other fun & stimulating toy that is attached. Of course, they make these really neat things that you can tie across the bed, but that only works until they baby can't move! Here's my Works for Me! (Well, it worked for me, since I have big kids now!)

Layer the crib mattress as such: crib liner, sheet, crib liner, sheet. Then when you need to change the sheet, you just pull off the top layer and voila! You have a clean bed!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Where I live (part 6)

I know, this is getting a bit long. It’s therapy, cheap therapy. Bear with me… This should be “the rest of the story”…at least as far as I’ve lived it so far!

God broke me and set me free at our new church. Each Sunday, through the music and worship and word, he kept reminding me that He was there and that He did love me. He told me that I was free to believe whatever I wanted, to do whatever I wanted, but that He wanted me. He keeps telling me and must keep telling me, because I am weak.

I didn’t realize how much I depended on my family of believers to hold me up in my faith, until they were gone! I still don’t have that and sooo desperately desire it. Be sure to be thankful for those Christian friends around you! Don’t take them for granted like I did! I miss them so much now!

And so, now here we are. We have been talking about moving. After two years, I still don’t know why I am here. We felt like God was going to do big things through us when we came. I was ready to bust in here and turn this place upside down!

Have I made a huge impact on this place like I thought we would? No.

Have I made a small impact on a few people? I certainly think so. And it is worth it for one person!

Has God made an impact on me through us living here? Oh. Maybe that is why I live here….

Monday, July 03, 2006

Where I live (part 5)

This is a continuation of the story from last week. You might want to go back and "catch up".

Yes, it was hard to leave our church family in January 2005. But remember, God knew this was coming. It was His plan for us and He prepared us for it.

We began searching for a church in the area of our new home. We looked and looked. We couldn’t find one that was racially diverse, Bible based, and nearby. It was very frustrating for me at times. Again, comes the question, “God, why do you have us here?”

That summer, several families moved away from our street, including all the children! At least half of the houses on our street were empty. Those that were full, mostly had single disabled or elderly. And so, we began having street parties! We had a barbeque, a holiday dinner…

It took until August 2006 to get us to the church we are now at. It is diverse and Bible-based, but it is not nearby. It is actually very close to our old church! It has fulfilled a need for our family to be in a church where we can worship and hear a steady word of truth. We immediately built a relationship with their small group pastor – he expressing his willingness to help us with our ministry here. And then it was announced one Sunday that he was gone and was not coming back. Again, “God, why do you have us here?”

Something that I have left out, that needs to be said, is our marital problems during these two years! This became the most difficult times in our marriage. We have never fought like we did in a certain 6 month period. It was just awful. This hurt my walk with the Lord more than anything else. I felt like He had picked me up and put me where I wouldn’t know anyone, where no one would be there for me and just abandoned me. This was the most difficult struggle in my whole life. I questioned everything I thought I believed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Scripture

"Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time." Deuteronomy 4:40

Happy Birthday, America!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Automobile

This week's theme is "automobile". I had a hard time finding a picture for this and decided on one I already had! I like this picture because somehow it looks like they are actually moving (maybe it is my bad cropping!?).