Thursday, March 31, 2011

hearing Him through His word

I have failed miserably at the morning routine thing.  :(  I started off in such high hopes this school year, and it went on for the whole first semester.  But then came the downhill slide.  I was doing morning devotions with my kids, and then we would end by praying...by me for their day and anything else they needed to add in. 

I'm not thrilled with the devotions I have, though.  I am in search of two different devotional books...one for middle school aged kids, and the other for elementary aged kids.  Feel free to recommend, by all means!  Someone told me one...but for the life of me, I cannot remember it or where I put the little note I made at that moment.  I know.  It's pitiful.

Anyway, I am challenging myself.  (Feel free to join me.)  I am giving up my morning computer.  I am going to make better use of my mornings...whether it's doing a devotion with them, or reading some of the Word, or just plain 'ole talking.  I am determined to make mornings better at our house...not because they're horrible, but because I think their day goes much better when started off right. 

So...that being said, I've been praying about it.  And I've been searching God's word for a treasure for today.  I came across some great words this morning and thought I would take this time to share.  I even changed the verse and inserted my kids' names and prayed it out loud to God.  I love doing that...and I think He loves it.  His word is so powerful...and so is praying it out loud to Him. 

So, here goes. 

Colossians 1:9-14  "We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.  10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will bear every kind of good fruit.  All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.  11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.  May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father.  He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light.  13 For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins."

That part that says "every kind of good fruit" is talking about the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  

Colossians 2:2-3, 6-7  "I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love.  I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself.  3 In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (6)  And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.  7 Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."  


Colossians 3:12-17  "Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  13 Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.  16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.  Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.  Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

I love the part about singing...because I love to sing.  I have some awesome praise and worship time in my kitchen after everyone has left the house.  That being said, I thought I would post a video of one of my favorite worship songs.  It's by Kari Jobe and it's called "Oh the Blood".  I hope you enjoy it.  And I hope you all have a wonderful, happy Thursday.  Smile...He loves you.  Love to all. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reliving the Past?

I wouldn't call it that.  I think that in walking through a difficult time with a friend, it's sparking my memory about a long ago time and place I was in.  One that I don't ever want to return to.  I have always loved to write and have filled journals and journals with entries from the past six or seven years of my life.  I pulled them out this morning and re-read some of them.  I was looking for one entry in particular.

I found it.  And with it came a flood of emotions.

It was interesting to see what state of mind I was in during that time...one of the darkest times of my life.  And you know what I found?  I was shocked, really, because I don't remember being this way at all.  I remember being angry, hurt and bitter.  But what I found amidst the bad days were words of praise.  I couldn't thank and praise God enough for what He was doing in my life at that time.  I was living life literally one day at a time, and He was carrying me most of those days.  Because I sure couldn't stand, much less walk, on my own two feet.  It's like the footprints in the sand story...when the man looked back and saw the one set of prints, he questioned God.  And God said, "My son, it is during those days that I picked you up and carried you."  Or something like that.

God truly carried me through that time.  Perhaps someday I'll share on here what this time was and what it was like, but not today.  What I do want to say is this: I don't know if any of you are going through something difficult right now.  Maybe you are slowly trying to move past hurt bestowed upon you by a loved one.  Maybe you're finding out something really scary that you're about to have to endure physically.  Maybe you are lonely and discouraged.  Maybe you're depressed.  And I don't know what to tell you about those things...but I do know this: the God of all comfort is with you.

His word says so.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

And He is with you, because His word says:


Deuteronomy 31:6 "So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you."

I saw in that same journal that I made notation of Job...and was prompted to read it this morning.  I read in the first chapter that every morning, Job would purify his children.  He would say to himself, "Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts."  And that statement reminded me of another thing I found in my journal: all the prayers I had in my heart, I wrote out on paper.  One of the reasons I like to journal is so that my kids will have something that I've written to them.  Long after I'm gone, they can pull these out and see how I prayed about every little bitty thing.

There is power in prayer.  When we pray over our husbands, our kids...there is something so powerful about praying for them.  It is the single most important thing we can do.  And it's a privilege that we have here in America that many of us take for granted...myself included.  When I know it's the first thing I should do, often, it ends up being the last thing I do.  It's so simple...but our minds make it so difficult.

When we pray, when we earnestly seek Him...He is there.  He hears our prayers.  He listens...pretty intently, I would imagine.  Jeremiah 29:12 says that He listens to us.  When we look for Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him.  Jeremiah 29:13 says that.

Anyone can call on Him.  Anyone.  You don't have to be "good enough", either.  He used the most unlikely people to do work in His kingdom...David, Moses...and the Bible tells about some of the things they STILL did wrong!  Nobody has to be perfect....thank the precious Lord that we are all works in progress!  

Well, my time if officially out.  I hope you all have a blessed day...remember that no matter what you are facing, God is right there, waiting on you to call out to Him.  Try it...you might be surprised.  Love to all.

*She Speaks Conference is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God and that your heart is to serve Him and His daughters, as He leads.  That is the exact reason why I am applying to win a scholarship to this summer's She Speaks conference.  Please consider praying for this opportunity...that if this is what God wants in my life, that He will fling open the doors to this opportunity.  He has given me a dream...and it's about time I take it out of my back pocket and blow the dust off of it.

To read more about this conference, click here

And if you're interested in what this conference has to offer, you can read about it here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Sweet Daddy

This has been an ahhhh-mazing weekend.  As you know, we all played hooky from school (and work!) on Friday so that we could go to the zoo.  And I am so glad we did it that way...because it rained here all day yesterday.  We had a wonderful time together at the zoo...cold as it was!  I actually prefer it that way.  It beats getting hot and sweating to death. 

Anyway, our trip there lasted all day long and we didn't leave until almost 4:00.  We just went straight to my Dad's house afterward.  Before we sat down to eat dinner, my dad wanted to make a speech.  He's not a speech-maker, so he pulled out a letter he'd written to us all.  OH MY GOODNESS.  He read the title and started to cry.  Needless to say, Daddy doesn't really cry, so the fact that he started doing just that made us all join him.  Thank Heavens my sister in law Teresa had the good sense to bring out the boxes of tissue.  This that he was reading was his life story, starting at birth. 

I know, right?  Priceless.  I don't have words to describe just how precious this is to me.  He even had copies made and gave them to each of us.  And the way he signed it was so precious...Dave/Dad/Daddy/Pappaw/Grandpa Lloyd.  How he signed it for each of us was determined from what we each call him.  I am telling you...this is priceless to me.

We ate dinner and then presented him with his birthday gift.  Paul came up with the idea of giving him a scrapbook as his gift.  We loved the idea, so we each sent Terri letters to Daddy and pictures from our childhood.  Terri put the whole thing together and did a beautiful job.  The grandkids were included in it, and then we all signed the last page. 

It was a tear-jerker kind of a night.  For all of us. 

But it was so special...just like my Daddy.  Yesterday we all stayed home until later in the afternoon, then we all met again at his house for dinner.  This morning we're missing church and going back to his house at 10:30 for one last visit with Terri, Wes and Marty.  They're all leaving at noon to head back home.  Amanda, Mike and Claire are leaving tomorrow, and Paul, Teresa and William are here until Tuesday. 

So...that's about it.  It's been a great weekend.  Graham and Drew are going to be thrilled that their Lacrosse game is on today...after all the rain yesterday, we thought for sure that it would have been canceled. 

Alright, well, laundry is calling my name, plus I have to start getting dressed.  I hope you all have a wonderful day.  Love to all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

just thoughts

Today is my Friday.  :)  We're celebrating my sweet Daddy's birthday all weekend.  And not just any birthday, but his 80th birthday.  I cannot even believe he's turning 80...he looks amazing for his age and is in great shape. 

All of the family is coming in town for the big shindig.  They started arriving last night...my brother Paul, his wife Teresa and their son William landed at 9:45 last night.  Today my sister Teri and her husband Wes arrive, along with her son Marty, and her daughter Amanda...who comes with her husband Mike and their daughter, Claire.  WHEW!  There are going to be so many people around, but I can't wait to see them all. 

I haven't seen Marty in over 14 years, and it's been almost that many with Amanda.  I've only met Mike once, and that was when they were dating.  It's been 2 years since I've seen Teri, Wes, Paul, Teresa and William.  We visited with Paul and his fam while we were in Florida a couple summers ago...he's who gave us the grand master tour of both the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  I tell him all the time that he should write a book...especially on the ins and outs of all the Disney Orlando parks.  His wife works at Epcot, so going there is equivalent to us going to the Memphis zoo. 

Anyway, I'm taking tomorrow off and keeping my kids out of school.  We'll be going to the zoo and then having the big bash tomorrow night.  But the festivities continue all weekend.  I can't wait to see my Dad open his gift from all of us...and in case he's reading this, I won't tell you about it until after the fact.  I don't want to ruin his surprise. 

Well, I just thought I'd catch up for a few moments, but it's that lovely time of day when I have to begin the daunting task of waking my sleepy children.  I hope you all enjoy this glorious day.  Love to all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Revelation?

I am doing a new Bible study...have I mentioned that?  My goal is to always be immersed in one.  God speaks to me through His word, and it happens more frequently when I set aside the time to study and do my homework. 

Anyway, I'm doing (for the 2nd time) the book of Daniel by Beth Moore.  You all know she is my favorite word-artist.  That is what she does...paints pictures with words so that it comes alive.  I love the way she writes out the homework, too.

In this study, she asked us to memorize a small portion of Daniel.  Chapter 2, verses 20-23.  Those of you who know me, know that I am working on memorizing Scripture right now.  Why?  So that no matter what, God's word is first and foremost in my mind.  When I'm having "a moment", I can recall these verses that I have to come to know and love. 

Needless to say, I jumped all over it when she asked us to memorize these 4 verses.  I'll write them out for you, so you can get a visual on what I'm about to say.

Daniel 2:20-23

Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are His.  He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.  I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power.  You have made known to me what we asked of You, You have made known to us the dream of the king. 

I have this habit of going back and reciting all the verses I've committed to memory thus far...it helps me remember them better, and I like to quiz myself.  I've even been known to involve my kids in quizzing me...it helps hold me accountable.  When I did this yesterday with Jonah, he let me have it for using "God" instead of "Christ" in one of the verses.  I told him it was okay...I didn't mess it up that bad.  ;)

So this morning, I was going over these verses in Daniel.  I could not remember the first word of this passage to save my life.  I was even saying in my mind, "Lord, help me to remember!"  As soon as I thought those words, the word "praise" jumped into my mind.  The whole passage started with the word "praise". 

I like the thought of that...how everything should start with praise.  Our day should definitely start this way!  If we wake up and climb out of bed, the first thing we should do is praise Him for another day of life.  Too often, I do not do this.  I immediately start going about my day.  In my chaos and routine, do I praise Him enough? 

That's one thing I love about the way our Moms in Touch group prays...we start with reading some Scripture, then we immediately begin praising God for His attributes...who He is.  Faithful, loving, forgiving, gracious, gentle, kind, patient...you get my drift.  It's taught me so much in my own personal prayer time, and it's changed the way I pray. 

The thing I'm striving for through this Bible study is having a more Daniel-like life.  I want to live an honorable life, one that is pleasing to my heavenly Father.  I want to have integrity in this God-forsaken day and age we live in.  Whereas the world has taken Him out of most things, I want Him to be at my very center...my very core.  I want to be like a sponge soaked through with water...I want Him to pour out of me.  I want to praise Him more.  I want to pray more.  I want to be a better example of a Godly leader.  I want people to see Him in me.

And if I can just remember to put praise at the top of my priority list...then maybe, just maybe, some of this will start to happen more often. 

These are just some thoughts I'm having this morning.  And I thought I would share, since it's been sweet forever since my last blog.  Anyway, my time is up...I have to run.  Happy Wednesday and love to all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ummm.....

Stupid title pressure.  There it is again. 

I know it's been a while.  Are you shocked?  I've had lots to write about...just not the want to. 

We're going on a little trip tomorrow...it's my first time camping.  I am praying that I love it every bit as much as I think I'm going to, and that I will want to turn around and do it all over again in a month.  I might get a little freaked out...crawly bugs creep me out (the spider variety) and I don't plan on wearing makeup. 

Yikes. 

Anyway.  Just thought I'd let y'all know where I was going to be over the next few days.  You might want to say a prayer.  Or twelve.  And God help the little creature that tries to come near me.  :)

Love to all. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jonah and Noah!!!

I took a really cute picture of them this morning, but for some crazy reason, this blog won't allow me to put it on here.  I don't know why.  Anyway...this one was from a month or so ago, on one of our many snow days.  

Happy birthday to my sweet twins!  It's been a great day for them, and I am pretty sure they have been made to feel very special and loved.  

I thought I would share some fun twin facts.  For all you singleton's out there.  ;)

Twins:
hardly ever fight

literally feel the pain and happiness of each other

are known to take a third child down if the need arises (only if another child is messing with one of them)

are always best friends

there is always a leader and a follower (and in case you can't figure it out, Jonah is the leader of them)

sometimes just feel the need to love on each other and will spontaneously show their affection
do NOT like to dress alike once they're past a certain age

never outgrow sharing a room

take showers together for a very long time (mine still do, at least)

never outgrow trying to scheme up ways to sleep with each other

don't always like doing the same thing or playing the same sport, but sometimes try to coerce the other one into thinking that maybe they should, after all (I'm sure you cannot imagine anyone doing that in my house, right??)

This is about all I have time for...I have to leave to go pick up Graham and Drew from Lacrosse practice.  And then we have to eat and clean up a little bit, and then the fam is all coming over for birthday cake!  Jonah and Noah have had an amazing day and have felt so loved and special all day long.  I have amazing friends who wished them well on facebook this morning, and the majority of the school knew it was their birthday, as well.  Just think...we get to start all over tomorrow with Graham!

Love to all!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

a few (more) of my favorite things

~being enthusiastically hugged by my sweet Drew when he finds out what I'm cooking for dinner
~Dirty Jobs (the show)
~elementary aged children (well, on most days ;)
~my chamilia bracelet
~my private jet (if you know me, you should know what this is)
~my house shoes that Todd bought me for Christmas...they are furry boots and I love them
~my "comfy" clothes, which consist of lounge pants from Chico's and my almost 15 year old GAP hoodie
~words with friends
~rainy nights spent at home with nothing to do
~facebook...especially because it helps me stay in touch with family and friends that I haven't seen in forever
~watching my kids play with toys that put their imaginations to work...Lego's, wooden blocks...
~the sound of mardi gras beads being rubbed together
~the smell of a new book
~the smell of coffee
~the first sip of coffee in the morning
~pickle juice
~williams' sonoma meyer's lemon soap and lotion...I could eat it, it smells so yummy
~carmex
~a freshly scrubbed (Mom, if you're reading this, I promise I don't scrub.  I lightly rub and pat.  :) face
~clean smelling boys
~my husband's soap
~the sound of him walking in the back door when he gets home from work
~lovingly picking out my family's favorite treats from the grocery store
~folding clothes...I know I must be nuts on this one, but I LOVE folding clothes and am very picky about the way that I do it.  If you don't believe me, ask my mother-in-love and my sister, Trish.  Neither one are allowed to touch my laundry basket.  (Lol...kinda)
~writing
~flipping through my Bible...I highlight and mark all through my Bible and I love going back and reading why I loved a particular verse so much.
~Bible study homework
~school supplies
~making a dinner that ALL of my family enjoys, and one that is facebook-worthy of a compliment from the hubs
~the people I work with
~cold weather
~Wednesday nights (choir practice)
~learning a new (really great) choir song
~reality television

I could go on, but if I did, I wouldn't have another one of these posts to write.  :)  G'night.  Love to all.

thoughts of Spring break

My friend Rene wrote about this and it got me to thinking...what are your favorite things to do on Spring break?

I pray that the weather is nice, for starters.  It stinks being on Spring break when the temps are cold.  I think it was like that last year.  The boys and I went to Spring Hill (near Nashville) to visit my BIL and SIL Tim and Tracy and their boys, and it was freezing!!

That was a fun trip...I'll never forget the day that Nathan had us stop the Target basket and had me pray over him getting his first round of allergy shots.  I so felt like a Pentecostal that day...if you're from my church, you know I say this statement with love.  It was the sweetest thing...he was nervous and had cried that morning and I told him I would pray with him right before he went in, and instead, he just wanted me to do it it Target.  Lol...

Anyway, I thought of that to tell you that last year it was cold on our break.  Hopefully that will not be the case this year.  And I pray that it doesn't rain...however, if it does, we will sure make some great memories!  We're leaving on Sunday to go camping at Natchez Trace.  Hopefully with friends, too, which makes it even better!  So far there's a 20 and 30% chance of rain on Sunday and Monday...which means there's a 70 and 80% chance that it won't.  The temps are supposed to be good, too.  Mid sixties in the day, lower fifties at night.  I am so excited at the thought of a campfire...and s'mores!!!

We'll come back on Tuesday, and that will give us the rest of the week to relax.  I plan on doing just that, too...with not much of a schedule to occupy us, I figure we'll have friends over, hang out at some of our favorite parks, have picnics, maybe go to the zoo...I can't wait.  Just the thought of no structure thrills me.

Well...so I'm sitting here typing this, not watching the time and Graham almost missed his bus.  No joke.  He had to run down the street to catch up with his friend, Kari, so the bus driver would see him!  Lol...whoops...poor kid.  Oh!!!  And speaking of running, they had a make up Lacrosse game last night.  They only lost by one point!  They played really good (said the hubs) and they were very aggressive...which is what the coach has been trying to teach them.  I'm so proud!  I heard Drew made a great move, too...

Well, I have to run.  Laundry and breakfast and lunches are all calling my name...love to all!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Monday!

Now that I have something to look forward to on Monday mornings, it's become one of my favorite days of the week.  However...I'm having to miss for the 2nd week in a row, and I'm bummed about it.  Last week I had to miss because of a huge catastrophe involving a crying almost 8 year old, a gallon of milk and our garage floor.  :(  It made my whole morning run late...and even Drew had to miss Safety Patrol that morning.  I'm telling you, it was not a great way to start the week. 

I'm having to miss today because of Drew's annual IEP meeting.  I wish I would have paid attention to the day of the week it was scheduled for, but I didn't, so now I'm having to miss MIT again.  I'll survive, though.  I'm sitting at my kitchen table listening to Travis Cottrell Jesus Saves Live, enjoying some quiet and some worship and the maple syrup oatmeal and toast I just finished eating.  It's a good morning. 

I'm listening to these words right this minute: 

"You're worthy of worship
You're worthy of praise
 You're worthy of honor"...

He is.  So worthy...even my most heartfelt worship doesn't hold a candle to all that He deserves.  He is so good to me...He is so faithful.  He blows my mind.  Every minute that I spend with Him is even better than the last, and I never want to live even one second without Him in my life.  I have a cross that I wear a lot...it's a necklace that my dad and Sandy bought me while they were in Israel.  I love it...love where it came from and what that trip did to them.  It set them both on fire for God and for the first time in my then 32 years (it was 2 years ago), I saw my dad shed tears.  He is a different man because of that trip.  It took him to new levels in his relationship with the Lord, and it was by God's grace that my dad even went.  Because what came in those next few months after that trip were completely unexpected and it sustained my dad through the tough times.  I've heard Israel does that...that's why I want to go so bad, but with the way our world is at this moment, it might not ever happen. 

Anyway...about the cross...on the back it says simply, "Jerusalem".  And all over Jerusalem, my dad told me there are signs that remind us to pray for Jerusalem.  Those were and still are God's chosen people...and that used to confuse me.  But now that I think about it, I wonder if those people are symbolic of all His believers and followers.  Why not?  It makes sense in my brain, but I'm not sure if it really does, or not.  I know that we are God's chosen ones...and that He has our names written on the palms of His hands.  He loves us...He truly loves us, and He wants us to pursue Him. 

Doesn't that just catch your heart?  He wants YOU to pursue Him.  He wants you to want to have a deeper walk with Him.  He wants you to know Him and to love Him...and He wants to shower you with His blessings.  I used to think that Christianity was kind of boring.  No partying, no seeing certain kinds of movies, no clubs...these were all the things I did back then.  But you know what?  Being a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ is the furthest thing from boring.  It's an amazing adventure...and each day is a brand new day full of possibilities.  I never know what I will be doing that day.  I never know in what way God is going to use me that day.  I never know what He has in store for me.  It's a great mystery, for all you book-lovers.  I love the newness of each moment, and I love the possibility of packing it all up and going where He calls, if that is what He so desires. 

I am constantly being humbled.  I am constantly amazed at all He does in protecting me and my loved ones.  (Like when your kids' school gets struck by lightning...like mine did last Friday.)  I am always being stretched and pulled and used way beyond my own capabilities.  He is forever showing me that He is in control of my life...and it's my privilege to be able to allow Him full access to me.  I have given myself to Him as a vessel for Him to move through, speak through and use...all for His glory. 

All this might seem foreign to you...it's okay.  It was to me, too.  All of my life I was raised in church.  I was always faithful in attendance.  But then I let the world take over my life.  I gave in to peer pressure, I made horrible decisions, I disobeyed my parentals when I was in high school, and even on into my early child bearing years, I was not living my life in a way that pleased my sweet Jesus.  But He called me back to Him...He reminded me that He still loved me, and that He wanted me to have a relationship with Him.  So in a massive series of events (attending one church, working in the nursery, leaving and attending another church for a year, coming back to my previous church, joining the choir, going on a choir retreat, quitting smoking, and almost giving up on my marriage) He gently and lovingly called me home. 

I recommitted my life to Him and it has been the greatest thing I've ever done.  He has brought me out of so much, He has healed, He has provided, He has restored, He has changed my life.  I am more in love with Him everyday.  I cannot get enough of Him or His word or praising Him.  That is what I was made to do...worship Him.  My favorite thing in the world is to help lead worship at my church.  It's an honor to lead people into His presence and set the tone for the rest of the service.  I love it...and it brings Him glory. 

Well, I was going to write more, but I am officially out of time.  More later?  Maybe.  Love to all...and happy Monday.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

the end of another weekend

Am I the only one who can't keep up with time anymore?  Every time I blink it seems as if yet another week has gone by.  I guess the better question would be, am I doing all I can to make sure I live a life worth living?

For me, this is two things.  One, I want to make sure that I live a life that stands out to people.  I might be the only Jesus some people ever see.  I want to live a life that brings Him glory, one that honors Him.  He died for me...so that I can spend all of eternity with Him, and He takes all my worries and cares away.  My life isn't trouble-free, I assure you, but He gives me a new perspective on things that happen daily.  Are people seeing Him in me?  Is my life one that will lead others to Him?  Am I following all of His commandments?  And in those times of trouble and persecution, how am I responding?  Am I freaking out, or am I releasing it all to Him?  Am I showing that through whatever may come, I have the faith in Him to deliver me from it?  Regardless of how that will be?

It's worth thinking about.  I hope I am doing all of these things.  There are times that I have to take the time and evaluate my life.  I have to make sure that I'm doing my part in this little slice of time I've been given.  And in the grand scheme of eternity...what are my priorities?  Truly...what are they and do I have them in the right order?

The other thing I wonder about is if I'm creating enough good memories for my boys.  My parents gave me such an amazing childhood, and I want to make sure that I give that to them.  And you know what's funny?  All the things that I had the most fun doing...watching Saturday ice skaters with Dad, going to flea markets with Mom, camping with friends, swimming, having friends sleep over...were free.  It shows you that in today's world, you do not have to spend money to have fun.

I guess it's the simple person coming out in me.  Well, that and the fact that we don't have lots of money.  But you know what else?  I wouldn't trade all the money in the world for the life that I live.  I love that we love to hang out together.  I love that we watch all our favorite shows on tv together.  I love that when Todd and I have nights together at home, we don't go out, but spend that time as a family.  Because nights like that don't happen very often.  I love that we eat at home most nights.  I love that we have quality time around our kitchen table...it's the very heart of our home.  I love that for fun, we don't go to movies and restaurants, but we hang out with friends and play games or cards.  I love that we get tons of family time.  Not just with our six, but with our extended families.  God has blessed my kids (and us) with amazing parents and siblings, so our kids have all these amazing people investing their love into their hearts.  This is what I mean when I say that I am blessed...not monetarily, but in all these amazing people God has given us.

I feel overwhelmed with gratitude right now.  I am so thankful for each moment I get with my family...our six and our extended branches.  It's great having all that support and love around us...it's what makes us us.  I know my kids love it, too.  They know how fortunate they are to have most of our family all around us. 

That being said, we don't waste much time over things that don't matter.  We are different.  Not cut out of a mold.  We are us...and this is what makes our family work.  Please know that this is only me sharing what makes our family tick...I am in no way bashing anyone else's way of life.  The most amazing thing is how different all of us are.  Think of how boring we'd all be if we were just alike!   We are not perfect by any means and we are a constant work in progress.  We are always learning what works and what doesn't in our family. 

Just thought I'd share a little of what's on my heart tonight.  Love to all. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

This is a glorious day!  I can't wait to get out and run my mundane errands.  And yes, I am writing this at 11:05 in the morning...Graham came home sick yesterday.  I took him to the dr. and he tested positive for strep.  No surprise there...anytime he runs fever and has a sore throat, it's usually strep.  But, this is one illness I don't mind...medicine makes it go away and after 24 hours on the antibiotic, he's a new kid.  So...Jonah's and Noah's birthday party is still on for tonight.

I know, I know...we did contact all of the parentals and let them make the decision as to whether or not to let their kid come.  Since strep is only contagious by contact, they weren't worried.  Those were the words out of the dr.'s mouth.  So...party on!!!  Birthday week isn't until next week, but Jonah and Noah celebrate the weekend before and Graham celebrates the weekend after.  In case you don't know...Jonah and Noah turn 8 on March 10 and Graham turns 12 on March 11.  Fun times at the Goodwin's house!  This is our other Christmas season...dubbed "birthday season". 

Needless to say, an unexpected day at home today is a relief.  I have a gillion things to do (grocery shopping, cupcake baking, sign hanging, vacuuming and mopping the floors downstairs, and spending time with my sweet Daddy), so this will be a busy day. 

Did I mention I will have six extra boys in my house tonight?  Well, I will.  We don't do birthday parties, but sleepovers.  And have since everyone was old enough to have friends spend the night.  They love it...it's a little crazy for a few hours, but totally worth it.  And who in the world doesn't love a sleepover??? 

Well...I need to run.  I am starving and need to get a jump on my big to-do list!  Love to all...happy Friday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Version of Things I Love

Jesus...that never changes.  I just become more amazed at Him everyday.
My husband.  Again, this never changes, but my love for him is constantly growing and maturing.
My kids waking up happy (and yes, I love them even when they're not happy!).
Breakfast with friends.
The first cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Riding in my suburban with all the windows down.
A good song on the radio.
Painted fingernails.
Reading blogs.  Seriously...this could take up an entire day.
A clean, organized, clutter-free home. 
A freshly cut yard.
A newly painted room.
Friday's.  Saturday's.  Sunday's.  Wednesday's. 
The sound of keys being typed on.
Friendly faces...and catching up with people that I don't get to see often. 
Singing, "Good morning" to my kids...and hearing them sing it back. 
Hearing Jonah sing in his sleep.
Singing, period.  Helping lead worship, specifically. 
Walking into my church on a Sunday morning.  Feels like I'm walking into my home.
Good friends...especially when the whole family meshes...wives, husbands and kids.  Rare, but sweet.
Writing. 
Not saying goodbye. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just a Little Somethin' Somethin'

My attitude has stunk the past couple days.  I've been moody and angry at things that are beyond my control (not at home but at that other place I inhabit).  I don't know why I let things get to me like I do...except that it's my flesh.   Thankfully, God has removed my sin as far from me as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and He looks past all of my imperfections. 

Today is a new day...and like His mercies are new every morning...so are mine.  And I am moving on and past it all...and I am going to do what He has called me to do for this time in my life, and that is to love on all the hundreds of kids that are in my care for 30 minutes every day.  I thank God for each and every one of them, and how their smiles turn my bad day into a brighter one, and I pray that through me, they will see the love of Jesus. 

That being said, I was flipping through my beloved Bible this morning, and these are the verses that jumped out at me.  I thought I would share them with the bloggy world and the facebook world.  I hope they jump out at you in a new way today.  I love how God's word does that...it comes alive in different ways all the time.  Today I obviously needed this familiar passage, and the one I'm working on memorizing (more on that in a minute).  I thank God that He shows me the ways that He cares for me and loves me...it's all through His word. 

Psalm 103


1  Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
2  Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.  
3  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
4  He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5  He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagle's!
6  The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7  He revealed His character to Moses and His deeds to the people of Israel.
8  The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9  He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.
10  He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11  For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  
12  He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
13  The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
14  For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.
15  Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16  The wind blows, and we are gone-as though we had never been here.  
17  But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.  His salvation extends to the children's children
18  of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments!
19  The Lord has made the heavens His throne; from there He rules over everything.
20  Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out His plans, listening for each of His commands.
21  Yes, praise the Lord you armies of angels who serve Him and do His will!
22  Praise the Lord, everything He has created, everything in all His kingdom.  Let all that I am praise the Lord. 

Isn't He good?  I am overwhelmed with Him this morning.  I hope you are as well.  Love to all...and happy Wednesday!

I'll get to that "in a minute" part later today or tomorrow.  I'm out of time!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Function-Ality of my House

I don't know if that's a word, by the way.  Functionality, I mean.  Apparently it is, because spell check isn't red-lining it.

I cleaned some today.  And de-cluttered.  And re-purposed some of the really cute things I forgot I have.  I thought I would share the stuff I did on my blog.  Because I know you are dying to see the inside of my house, right?  That is said with major sarcasm, by the way.  I've been itching to re-do stuff in my house and have made some progress.  I also happen to read too many decorating blogs.

So for your enjoyment, here goes.


I love my kitchen color.  What I do not love is the way it looks with my cabinets.  I never even gave it a thought as to how orange-y it would make them look.  I plan to remedy that someday.  I want to paint the cabinets black.  Yup.  Black.  It will be French-country looking (which is my decorating style, in case you were curious) and it will hide all the little smudgy hand and finger prints.  :)  Oh, and yes...those are pictures you see on my cabinet doors.  I love my kids and love to display their cuteness...and will eventually get around to framing these.  But for now, they live on my cabinet doors. 


These cute canisters were on top of my fridge.  I cleaned them off and moved them over to the counter top under my spice cabinet.  And yes, I need to move the spice rack you see (or cannot) behind them.


Nothing new here.  I just love my light fixture, the curtains my amazing mom made sweet forever ago, and the flower arrangement.  The light fixture is new-ish (like in the last year and a half) and it totally changed my kitchen.  I also love my table...lots of meals are shared here and lots of memories rest on top of it.  Like the time Aunt Trisha and I took four and a half hours to make a simple Lowes' kids' project and hammered the heck out of some nails...thus damaging the surface of the table.  What do I care???  I have some great memories etched in this thing.


The fridge that I wish was black.  I cleaned off the top and put the rooster tray on top of it, instead of where it used to be on the counter top where my radio sits at home.  I also had this canister thing somewhere else...I can't remember, but I thought it looked nice on the fridge.



I talked to my best friend this morning.  While doing so, I cut the fabric chain covers off the top of my pot rack.  My mom made them a long time ago (to match the black on my curtains) but I was sick of them.  I know some people hate pot racks, but I love this thing.  The pans NEVER stay on it for very long...and I have nice pans, which were a gift from my sweet in-loves our 2nd or 3rd Christmas.  Why not show them off?


I know it's not cool to cover your fridge with stuff, but this is the exception.  Jonah and Noah made Todd and I these things when they were 3 years old.  And it will forever be on my fridge.  I love it...I love seeing their sweet little hand and feet prints, and remember how adorable they were!!  And still are...


This is my most favorite thing in my house, other than the people who inhabit it.  This is my ever-growing cross collection.  I've added lots in the past few months...crosses that I found or were given by people that I love.  :)  This makes my heart all happy.  I also love the staircase.  I'm pretty sure that's the main thing I loved about this house.  Painted black stairs with a runner going all the way up.  LURVE IT


This is our tornado closet hall.  And 2 ginormous peg racks that house the kids' backpacks, our blue rays and dvd's and our jackets.  Please excuse the vacuum.  It stays out because I am constantly vacuuming the dog hair up off the floor.  This is another favorite area of my house.  It stood empty forever, but when we did our big living room re-do last year, my amazing husband hung these for me.  All that wasted space now gets all the clutter that the dining room table and chairs used to get.  And now my dining room can stay pretty again.  Well...when it's not cluttered with Todd's stuff.  Notice it will not be pictured tonight.  Because of all that clutter on top of the table. 


My favorite word sign in the entire world.  


A little thing I did last week.  All the stuff on this table was on top of my hutch in the dining room.  There used to be a lamp that sat here, but I moved it to the desk the kids sit at to do their homework.  Duh...sometimes I'm a little slow.  


See?  It's much better here on this desk...and this is Jonah about to sit down to do his homework for the night.  I also happen to love the saying above the picture I painted last summer.  :)  


The beginning of the wall I'm starting a collage on.  I've been slowly adding to it every few weeks.  I can't wait to go digging around tomorrow when I drop the kids off.  I have tons of stuff just dying to be hung that's sitting in our playroom closet.  :)

Todd's favorite thing ever...his birthday gift from my mom and stepdad.  And yes.  It adorns our living room walls.  Because what is a living room if it's not filled with the things I love??? 


The piano my dad bought my mom.  It's been at my sister's house, but now it lives with me.  I hung this iron thing last week, even though what I really want to hang above it are some painted canvases (done by me) with musical notes and scales on them.  I'll get to that someday...but for now, this works.  I also love this lamb thing.  A girl I went to high school with made it, and it reminds me of my boys.  


Our downstairs half bath.  This was remodeled a few years ago, thanks to our leaky pipes.  There's a lamp on the counter that you can't see that I love, and this little flower thing my mom gave me.  I also love the curtains in here.  Another thing that makes my heart happy.  

Well...that's all for now...now that I've quite possibly bored you to death.  Steven Tyler and American Idol are calling my name.  

Love to all!!!  And happy decorating...if you are so inspired!  I can't wait to do more tomorrow! 

things that make me happy

Yesterday's post was long and detailed.  Today's will be short and sweet.  Here are some random things I've loved this week. I...