Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sounds

I am loving our summer break. We've slept in 'till 8 every morning (sorry, Todd, I will TRY to get up and make your lunch at least once this week!), we've relaxed, we've spent time in the water, at the park, and in general, we've just had some fun.

While I am writing this, I am listening to my boys play museum. This is a new one for them. When I asked them what that was, they told me they had set up some marbles to view. They're charging 5 cents to enter, and you have to be the age of 5. Drew also gave me a lucky marble to keep forever. I told him I would. =)

It's kind of rainy here today, so we're hanging out at home for a while so I can do some light housework (laundry and mopping the wood floor clean of Andy's paw prints), then if it's not raining after lunch, we're heading to the park again. Hopefully our friends are meeting us there.

Well, I don't have much to say...I just had to write about what they were playing. You never know what they're going to come up with next. One thing is certain: there is NEVER a boring moment in our house. Until next time, goodbye.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

As we're in the beginning throes of summer, and spending time with our families, I hope you all take a moment and thank God for this country we live in. I praise Him that we have the freedom to worship Him, and to write about Him, like I'm doing right now. I also hope while we're thanking God for this wonderful country we're so honored to live in, that we'll also take a moment and say a prayer for our country, her leaders (and soon to be new leaders), and our troops. I know I am thanking God for each new young man or woman that joins our military. I pray for His protection to be over them, and their families. I also pray that He will give their families endurance they need to be without them. I know several military families, so this is easy for me to do. Join me, also, in having a few moments sometime tomorrow, telling our kids about why this day is a holiday. I've already told the boys that we celebrate this day to honor the people who are fighting for our freedom now, and the ones who did so in the past. I also explained to them that many young people died during protecting us, and that we should take a few moments of silence out of our respect for them. I hope all of you enjoy this day together with your families and with your friends. Join me in remembrance of all the ones we've lost. Love to all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Drew



Well, if I haven't called to tell you about the character award ceremony in Drew's class, it's because if I talk about in person, I will cry. His teacher is just the most precious little thing ever. She is going through a really tough situation, I promised not to say anything, but she needs prayer so bad. And she is moving to East Tennessee after school is over. Which is probably why I am so emotional. She put so much time and thought into these character traits for all her students, and I cannot tell you how meaningful it is to hear a teacher say these things about your child. It just warms my heart. I am going to write what she said about Drew.


Drew Goodwin: "The character trait I chose to honor Drew with is joy. 'Joy is being happy inside and out.' Drew comes in every morning with a contagious smile on his face. He is so fun to be around whether you are a teacher or a friend. Other boys and girls enjoy sitting next to Drew because he is so kind, caring and brings joy to their lives. Thank you, Drew, for displaying the character trait of joy in this classroom. A person who spreads joy will make a difference in many lives."


I am crying AGAIN. I love and appreciate this special lady so much. Aside from loving Jesus with all her heart, she loves her kids. We will be very sad to see her go. :( On the up side, I feel as if I have made a new forever friend. We plan on staying in touch. It stinks getting so attached to these teachers, I cry just about every year, but this year has by far been the worst. Can you believe what she said about my baby?!?!?! Drew loves her every bit as much as she loves him. She was the reason he got up so great every morning. She instilled in him the passion to learn more and try harder. You should see what she would write on his papers, especially when it pertained to penmanship. She loved praising him, because it made him do better. Above are the two today at the ceremony. Isn't she precious? The other is the class picture. I'm going to go cry some more. Oh, and for being the room mom, she gave the most BEAUTIFUL book of scripture...it's called Footprints for Women, and is filled with scripture. Amazing...

Fireproof

There is a new movie coming out in September called Fireproof. It's about a marriage that's worth saving. I'm going to post the website so you can go to it and take a look. Below is the Casting Crowns video for the opening song in the movie, Slow Fade. Enjoy.

http://fireproofthemovie.com/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eagles

I read a story once about eagles that I would like to share. Eagles mate with only one partner. They mate for life. They never leave each other's side during this time. Even if one is unable to fly, or is weak, the mate will stay with it and protect it. Once the eagle nears death, and cannot fly on its own anymore, the other eagle will actually carry its mate on its back. Once one of the eagles dies, the now alone mate, WILL NOT ever mate with another eagle.

Isaiah 40: 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

God is good, all the time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Isaiah

Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, our sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Verse 24: This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself.

Chapter 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Verse 5: I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting, men may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things. 8 "You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it."

Chapter 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Verse 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God , and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: my purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

Psalm 3: 3 But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. 4 To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. 7 Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. 8 From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Blustery Day

Isn't that a Winnie the Pooh title? I think I remember that movie from my nephew, Devin, when he was a little boy. It is gorgeous outside!!! It was really cool this morning, but after the rain stopped, the sunshine came out and the wind started blowing, and it turned into such a gorgeous day! Jonah, Noah, and I packed a picnic and went to Johnson Park with Sunny and Andy. What was supposed to be a short while, turned into 2 and 1/2 hours. We ate and played and talked, and had so much fun.

I cannot WAIT for school to be out!!!! I have started thinking about making some sort of plans of what all the boys want to do this summer, and I'm getting very excited! I don't know where we'll be going on vacation, or even if we are going on vacation with the gas prices, but I know that whatever we do, they will have fun. I am thinking of days filled with sleeping in, playing outside, swimming, staying out late talking to neighbors in the street, catching fireflies in Mason jars, hanging out with friends, going to parks, going on bike rides, eating picnic lunches anywhere and everywhere we can, going to the zoo, the library for summer reading, does any of this sound good or what?!? I am overwhelmed with giddiness. This is my very FAVORITE time of year!!!!

I read in a magazine article that if you actually take the time to sit down with your kid(s) and ask them what they would like to do over the summer, then commit it to a calendar, that actually seeing in writing what is planned for that day, will keep them from asking ( over and over and over and over and over and over...) "Mom, what are we doing today?" This article said to schedule days like sleep late, and lounge in pajamas most of the day. The writer also suggested giving each child their own special day. Some recommendations were breakfast in bed, that child getting to pick that day's activities, or if it was a rainy day then picking what games to play, or shows to watch. I really liked that idea. Especially when all your little ones are so close in age like mine, I thought it really gave them that feeling of being special.

Of course the thing with doing this is allowing room for change. If a friend calls at the last minute, or if a grandparent wants one of them, then we'll have to adjust, but that's okay. The point was that seeing something in writing helped them feel more structured. My kids like structure and organization. This is also really good for older kids. I know with Graham and Drew, most of the fun of summer is looking forward to the next day.

But right now, our schedule is wide open, and trust me when I say that I cannot wait to schedule things like, go to the park and fly a kite. Or if it's rainy, read one of the classic novels together that I bought today, like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Moby Dick. I plan on doing some family reading this summer. Even Jonah and Noah can get into that. I'll read a chapter a day, or more if time allows, and they aren't ready to put it down. I love the freedom that summer brings, and I love having all my boys at home together for some un~interrupted time! They will be gone for one week, though, to Kids Camp, and we'll all be doing VBS for a week, but that will give them some much needed time alone.

Only eight more days on the school countdown.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I was blessed enough today, to be able to spend the day praising my God, spending time with family, and being thankful for all that He has given me. My day was a little strange, to tell you the truth, but I feel good about "going with the flow". Except for tonight at my sister's house, I was not with all my kids at the same time today.

Graham's friend is moving to Chicago in a couple weeks, and last night was his birthday sleepover. We let him stay there and miss church this morning, given the circumstances. We ate out after church, then headed back toward home to pick him up. We had to make a quick stop at Target first. While there, we ran into my nephew "Bubba" and niece "KK". Drew, Jonah and Noah wanted to go home with them. Since we were going to their house in a couple hours, I let them. We went and got Graham, then came home and played dominoes and then Phase 10. At which point I BEAT THEM!!!! Of course none of our friends were here to see me actually win. Go figure.

We went to my sis Lisa's house, and cooked out. Then we sat around drinking coffee, eating lemon meringue pie, and talking about weddings. How much fun can a soul have?!?!?! Of course the best part was that I spent my day with all the many people I love. I hope you had a blessed Mom's Day. I know I did.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Mother's Day a little early!!!

What is a Mother?

Somewhere between the youthful energy of a teenager and the golden years of a woman's life, there lives a marvelous and loving person known as "mother"

A mother is a curious mixture of patience, kindness, understanding, discipline, industriousness, purity, and love. A mother can be—at the same time—both "lovelorn counselor" to a heartsick daughter and head football coach to an athletic son.

A mother can sew the tiniest stitch in the material for that dainty prom dress, and she is equally experienced in threading through the heaviest traffic with a mini van.

A mother is the only creature on earth who can cry when she's happy, laugh when she's heartbroken, and work when she's feeling ill. A mother is as gentle as a lamb and as strong as a giant. Only a mother can appear so weak and helpless, yet be the one to put the fruit jar lid on so tightly that even Dad can't get it off.

A mother is a picture of helplessness when Dad is near, and a marvel of resourcefulness when she's all alone.

A mother has the angelic voice of a member of the celestial choir, as she sings a lullaby to a baby cradled in her arms, yet she can dwarf the sound of an amplifier when she calls her boys in for dinner.

A mother has the fascinating ability to be almost everywhere at once, and she alone can somehow squeeze an enormous amount of living into an average day.

A mother is "old-fashioned" to her teenager; just "mom" to her third-grader; and simply "Mamma" to the little two-year-old sister. But there is no greater thrill in life than to point to that wonderful woman and be able to say to all the world, "That's my mother"

Frederick E. Kruse

Being Thankful

I am having a thankful day. I feel like I ask God to do too many things, and I feel like I don't give Him the thanks He deserves. I know that we have prayer requests (who doesn't?!?!), and there are needs within our families, our church, our small groups or Sunday school classes, other people we know of, friends, the list is endless. But God knows all those needs. I'm not saying not to pray for needs, but don't we get a little carried away sometimes?

I had a situation a couple years ago that I was constantly praying about and I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to "trust Him, that He knew all my needs, that if He cared for the birds of the air, didn't He care that much more for me?" I stopped praying for that need, and instead turned all my fears and doubts into praise, and guess what happened? He answered my need. I put ALL my trust into Him, and just like that, He met the need. He won't do that every time, but He will work it around to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Isn't God good?

As a mom, I am also trying to instill this virtue into my children, as well. It just gets all over me when I hear kids say they hate school. I don't allow the boys to say that. I explain to them that all over the world, like Africa, for example, that kids do not get to attend school. They have to spend their days working for their families, or walking miles and miles just to bring water to their villages. (No, no one is paying me to plug World Vision, but we heard this at a Casting Crowns concert last week!) I tell them how school is a privilege, and they should be honored that they are fortunate enough to be able to attend. I also think that when parents are positive about school, kids are positive about school. It also helps when you're up at that school almost as much as they are. They see that you're active and involved in all areas of their life, and they appreciate it more.

As a stay at home mom, we go without a lot of luxuries other people have. And I would not have it any other way. We try to teach the boys about money, and that in order for all of them to play two sports, that it costs several hundreds of dollars. We then use the example that while they only get to play one sport each, would they rather play more sports, or would they rather have me home with them? And able to come and read, or work in the health room, or do cafeteria duty at their school? They always answer that they want me home. And luckily, I have a husband who wants me home. That being said, I am very thankful and blessed to get to be the one who raises my children.

I am so thankful for the man I married. And I saved him for last, because he is the best. We have been through a lot together, and while not everything has been peachy keen, we've been blessed to be children of God. Up until last year, we've always been perfectly healthy, and as you know, they discovered Todd had a tumor. Let me tell you, that rocked my world. They were throwing words like tumor, radiation, biopsy and surgery around like crazy. There is nothing quite like a medical situation to get your attention. I think we've taken the value of our lives for granted up until that point, and it is something we will NEVER do again.

I can honestly say that we live each day like it's our last. And, God forbid, something should happen to either one of us tomorrow, I would take comfort in the fact that we would have eternal life, but also in the fact that we'd created such wonderful memories for our children. We may not be wealthy in monetary values, but we are very wealthy in the way of the legacy we've built for our kids. We spend quality time with each one of them, and we have given them values by which we want them to live by. We've also encouraged them in their faith with the Lord. They love going to church, they love hearing Bible stories, and they are all little preachers when it comes to praying. All four of them have been known to ask Jesus to do something, right then and there. Whether it be Mommy's head hurt, or for Him to heal a boo~boo, or for guidance on a test.

Bottom line: I am thankful for all that God has blessed me with. He's given me many many blessings, and I never want to take one for granted. I am thankful that He loves me so much, and that in spite of whatever we face, He is there, and in control. What do you have to be thankful for? Have you taken the time today to reflect on your blessings?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Casting Crowns

Oh my word, we went to see them in concert last night and it was an awesome time of praise and worship!!! That is one thing about Christian concerts that I enjoy: they take all focus off them and put it all onto the Lord. They always have the words up behind them, too, and I think that's another way they take the attention off themselves. Many of you know that this is my favorite group. I love all their songs, particularly Praise You In This Storm, because it holds special meaning to me. I'm posting the lyrics at the bottom of this, for those that have never heard it or didn't know the words. I actually used to carry the lyrics around with me in my purse, and when discouragement would set in, I would read them (sing them, actually) and choose to praise Him.

These tickets were my early Mother's Day present from my wonderful, excellent, and adoring husband. We also took some good friends with us who were at the last concert we went to (Third Day and Jars of Clay), so it was great to get to go with them! AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!! Enjoy the lyrics....love to all!!!!

Casting Crowns - Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say Amen, and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

Chorus:
I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

Chorus:

(2x�s)
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

Chorus:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Buildings

I got this in an email from a dear friend. How many of us have ever felt like this? But what truth there is to this...what we are building is the most important thing we will ever do! Especially if we put God at the center of it all!!! Bless you all!

I'M INVISIBLE


It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking,
or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner,
because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more:

Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being.

I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'

I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of > God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird
into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self centered~ness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my sons to tell the friends they're bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to their friends, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot see if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals , and friends, for this blog post.  We've had a great week around ...