Thursday, November 29, 2012

days 28 & 29

Yesterday was the twenty-eighth, and on that day, I am thankful for our beautiful (to me, at least!) home.  So many people in our world, even in our own city, don't have this privilege.  We have lived in our home for nine years now, and I loved it the minute I saw it.  Have I ever told you the story of how we got into it?  We closed on our house one day in November, and the next day, we had scheduled to leave for a week in Gatlinburg. 

I was a nervous wreck about all the moving I had to do with four kids in tow.  We left on our trip, and while we were away, my sisters Lisa and Tricia, my mom, dad and step-dad were busy little bees.  Lisa hired someone to paint some rooms for us and she had the upstairs carpet cleaned.  She also hired movers for the actual day that all our stuff moved.  While we were away, our neighbor called Todd and asked him why there was a moving truck in our driveway if we were out of town.

My family was bummed that he gave up the surprise, but we had really sweet neighbors.  :)  Todd did good with the secret, though, and didn't tell me.  In fact, he did the opposite~he added to my anxiety by pretending he was dreading the move with all the kids.  Keep in mind, at this time, they were four, three and eight months old.  On the day when we came home, the closer we got to Memphis, the longer Todd took.  (My family wasn't done yet!)  I was so ready to just get home...and the babies were simultaneously screaming in their car seats. 

We finally got home to our (old) house, and imagine my shock when we went in and saw that all our furniture was gone!  There was a note with a garage door opener that said, "Come home" or something like that.  So, we loaded the kids back up and drove to our new home.  My sisters and parents had not only moved all of our stuff from the old house to our new house, they had decorated and Lisa had even bought us new living room furniture!  My mom had made curtains and hung them, as well.  Everywhere I looked, there was something new.  It took me months to find all the new things. 

My family is the greatest in the world.  Have I mentioned that?  So, along with my beautiful home, I am still and everyday so thankful for my precious family. 

Today is the twenty-ninth, and today I am thankful for my homeschool mom's group.  We're called Renewed Moms, and boy, do I ever feel renewed when I walk out of that church on Thursdays.  We have fellowship, a little refreshments and sweet time spent in God's word.  I love it and I love all these new friends God has given me through this group.  I am also thankful for how much Jonah and Noah love going to school each Thursday.  This is their favorite day of the week.  :)

Love to all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a favorite Christmas tradition

Have I mentioned how much I adore our sweet little town?  I simply love The Ville.  Last night was our annual Christmas tree lighting on the town square.  As big as we do it up here in The Ville, you would think we were on Rockefeller Plaza!  We might not be New York savvy, but I wouldn't trade my hometown for all the money in the world.

We had a simple dinner (hot sandwiches and leftover potato soup) and I made plans to meet up with my best friend so we could stand together and listen to the CHS choir sing.  Before we got to our meeting place, though, I had to stop for our required Christmas picture.


I took another one with lights in the background, but their cheeks and eyes were red.  The flash was turned on on my phone's camera, and we don't get along, that flash and I.  I love this picture, though.  This is in front of the Methodist church's side door.  I like the brick and the wreath, plus it's different from where I usually take it. 

I took this and about ten minutes later, met up with this amazing lady.


I love her so much!  I'm so blessed to have her in my life.  She was my best friend throughout my middle school years, and I was heartbroken when she and her family moved back to her home state of Georgia.  Imagine my delight when she, her hubby and their two sweet kids moved back!  She is the kind of friend that will be there forever.  F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  No matter what happens and where life takes us.  We can communicate with only our eyes, and I know what she's thinking before she utters a word.  Nobody can make me laugh like her, either.  And she sings!  We used to sing together.  Have you noticed I have this thing for friends who sing?  Weird. 

Anyway, we had a blast.  The boys ran into friends from school and ran around to their heart's content.  And at seven o'clock, our beautiful town square lit up like a Christmas tree. 

Speaking of, here's a picture:



I also ran into this sweet lady, Shari.  She is one of my closest friends, and while we haven't known each other very long, it seems like we've been friends forever!  We don't see one another all that often, but she's the kind of gal that it doesn't matter.  We always pick right back up from where we left off.  I thought I was going to squeeze the daylights out of her when I hugged her!


Her dad took this picture of us.  :) 

It was a magical night.  In other news, Ralphie the Elf has been enjoying himself. 


He loves marshmallows!

We're still enjoying our Christmas tree...even the dogs.  Today I snapped this of Crash.


So peaceful!

And yesterday, thanks to another sweet friend who gave me a Target gift card, I bought this for myself:


This music makes me so incredibly happy!  I love this show, and the new season is the best in my opinion!  Their voices are amazing and I love all the new characters. 

How's your week going so far?  Share the love!

Love to all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

days 26 and 27

Yesterday was crazy around here.  I thought of my "thankful" list all day but never got the chance to sit down and write.  Aside from the monstrous sized picture post, that is.  ;)

Yesterday was the twenty-sixth and it was cool and rainy.  I decided that day how blessed I am to be able to stay at home.  I have never been a "stay at home wife and mom", at least not unless I had just birthed children.  I always went back to some type of part time work.  And that part time was wonderful!  I loved being out and about, my kids got to attend a mom's day out program because of it, I made new friends~all of it was really nice.  And the money was, too!

But these past few months I've been able to be home have been a HUGE blessing to me.  I love, love, love getting to have "pajama Monday" and cooking to my little heart's content.  I love being a homemaker.  I love the laundry, the cooking, the shopping, the cleaning of the house, all of it.  (As crazy as that may seem!)  Overall, I just love taking care of my family.  And it was amazing to be at home on a dreary, rainy Monday.  Money is tight around here, but we're making it and will continue to do so.  We've found ways to cut back on our expenses, and we've had tons of together time because of it. 

Today is the twenty-seventh, and I am so thankful for music!  I love music, any and every single kind.  Seriously...a day without music would be torture for me.  I have this radio in my kitchen that's installed under my cabinets that I love.  Every time I'm in there it's on.  Do you know how much more pleasant that makes unloading an over-stuffed dishwasher?  Or folding clothes?  Or cleaning the kitchen after a family dinner?  I love it. 

I've listened to nothing but Christian music for the past few years.  As my kids have gotten older, though, their music tastes have changed and they've subjected me to what they love.  With the exception of Justin Beiber, I love their music!  It's fast and upbeat and super catchy.  I love it!  However, when they're not around, I still keep it tuned to KLove or a CD I have in my cabinet. 

So, thanks for reading all these thankful posts.  I have MUCH to be thankful for~we all do, and I never want to take a day for granted. 

Love to all. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

a few of my favorite things (the first of many Christmas editions 2012)

We always spend the Friday after Thanksgiving decking our halls.  Not necessarily with boughs of holly, but with lots and lots of merry and bright things.  :-) 

I thought I would share some pics. 


Well, he's not part of the decor, but he had to have a nap before we could start.  Someone shopped from midnight Black Friday morning until about nine a.m.  He was pooped. 


My mom gave me this cute snowman.  Hopefully that plate will gain some brightly colored ornaments, but for now, he's pretty cute sitting there empty.


I've never made this recipe, but the boys have decided that we will be baking these this year.  Why not?


Mr. Santa used to light up, but his lights burned out.  I cut the light cord and still hang his jolly old self. 


I adore Christmas books!  Imagine that.  This is one of our favorites.  I have Christmas books lying out all over the downstairs, that way if the kids want to read one or be read to, they just grab one from among the many I have displayed. 


I couldn't resist this picture of Drew.  He's merry and bright, is he not?  Such a ham, this middle child of mine!


Is there any such thing as an ugly Christmas tree?  I think not.  Mine is very traditional, complete with colored lights (our favorite!) and ornaments that are either handmade or handed down from a family member or given to us as gifts.  This one is quite possibly my favorite.  My friend Shea gave me this on my birthday last year as a thank you gift.  Is it not beautiful?  What makes it even more special is that she picked it out knowing I love blue and that I collect crosses.  :-)


Noah was given the job of setting up the nativity.  He spent a good hour doing exactly this.  He couldn't get it just the way he wanted, but finally, he was satisfied.  This will be played with over and over by the boys...I remember my mom letting me play with it when I was this age, and I let them do the same.  I will say that this is THE most important decoration in our house.  And sweet Noah has always loved it the most. 


I love our Christmas tree.  I literally stare at it all day long.  We have it in a new spot this year, too, because of our homeschool supplies.  I need to be able to access those very easily, and where the bookcase sits is where the tree used to go.  But you know what?  I like it better in the new spot.  We can all see it as we sit in the living room together.  :-)


I like it at night, too.  And I love that Andy was fast asleep sitting by the light of the tree.  So peaceful.




My mom got wind of how much Noah was wanting an Elf on the Shelf and bought this for all the boys to enjoy together.  I don't know how much of it the younger boys believe, but they love finding where he lands each night as they sleep.  I named him Ralphie, from The Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!").  I don't know that I love all that he supposedly does and I don't know how much of that Jonah and Noah believe, but he does definitely add to the magic and enjoyment of our Christmas season. 

I did also promise myself not to go overboard with him.  He is what you make him...and I don't want my boys to get too caught up in the wrong things. 


He hung around all day Sunday. 


Jonah was mesmerized by him this morning and just sat and did this for a long time.  Ralphie loves marshmallows so much that he started nibbling on a couple. 

What are some of your favorite things of Christmas?  Share the love!

Love to all. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

days 24 and 25

Yesterday, day twenty-four, we celebrated a cherished Christmas tradition with my dad and step-mom.  So, I am thankful for family traditions.  We went to dad's house at four to eat an early Thanksgiving dinner, then the kids got to see the fruits of their labor from last Saturday, when we helped him put up his Christmas lights.  We ended the night at the Memphis Zoo Lights spectacular.  It was cold, it wasn't too crowded, and they had a new ride~an old fashioned Ferris wheel that they boys rode with my dad and Todd.  It was Dad, Sandy, Todd, Graham, Drew, Jonah, Noah, Trish and me.  Such sweet, precious times!  We truly enjoy our traditions each year, and this is one that I hope to enjoy for a long time to come.

Today is day twenty-five, and after a sweet time of fellowship in Sunday school, I am thankful for just that~our small group and Collierville First Baptist.  After years of not fitting in anymore at our old church, I am so thankful we have found our spot!  We visited four different classes at church before landing in this one, and I love it.  We haven't been super faithful in our attendance each week, but it's nice that they don't seem to mind. 

Today, especially, I just felt this sweet sense of belonging as we listened to our teacher's wife speak on thankfulness.  I felt like I was surrounded by kindred spirits, and in that moment, I was flooded with thanksgiving to our sweet Lord and Savior. 

Love to all!


Friday, November 23, 2012

day 23

On behalf of my children, today I am thankful for grandparents.  Not only grandparents, but the involved, amazing grandparents that my kids are so blessed to have! 

I pray that the boys never outgrow getting excited at seeing them~whether it's here at our house or at their house. 

I pray that the boys never act in a way that turns away people~especially their grands.  I pray they always want to be involved and active with them. 

I am thankful that as a result of some pretty amazing grands, that Todd and I got to enjoy a date night tonight. 

Here are a couple of pics of our Range U.S.A. date:



And me? 

I was concentrating on not having a panic attack somewhere behind him.  And covering my ear protection.  They didn't work good enough and every time someone fired a gun, I would jump.

Thanks, Nana and Big Daddy!  We love you! 

Love to all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving & Day 22



Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!  I pray that your day is immensely blessed and that you are surrounded by people you love.

I know that not all of us have the honor of being with our families on Thanksgiving, so today, I am extra thankful for that gift.  I am thinking of my friend Sharon, who just recognized the second anniversary of two of her sons dying.  Today she's experiencing empty nest in a way she thought she never would~away from her surviving son and missing the two that were killed in a plane crash.

I'm thinking of our soldiers who are overseas.  And what they would give to be at home today stuffing their bellies and laughing with family and friends around the dinner table.  I'm praying for them today~for their safety, their morale, and for their families at home.  I pray that God comforts them and surrounds them with peace on this day and everyday.

Today, our soldiers are the people I am thankful for.  How selfless of them to serve our country and sacrifice their own time with family, so that you and I can have the freedoms we enjoy.  When the natural reaction is to run away from danger, they flee to it.  With everything in me, I give thanks to these men and women.

I pray that each of you enjoy this beautiful day.  I pray that you cherish your moments with family and friends, and I pray that you recognize the One who gave us life~my sweet Jesus Christ.  He died for you and for me, so that we might live with Him forever someday in Heaven.  He is the giver, creator and author of life, and He loves you.

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

Happy Thanksgiving and love to all.  May God bless you today and everyday. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving

I am feeling very blessed tonight, my friends.  I know it's cliche, but Thanksgiving really brings it out, doesn't it?  And why wait for just one day a year?  Why not be purposefully thankful each and every single day?

I love that thought~being purposefully thankful. 

There was a story somewhere in the Gospels in the New Testament that told of a group of men that Jesus healed of leprosy.  When He had healed them, only one turned back to thank Him.  Only one. 

I want to be that one.

Between tomorrow's celebration of Thanksgiving and an amazing video I watched on Thanksgiving this morning, I am feeling doubly blessed for what God has given me. 

I pray that your day be blessed, that your tables are filled with love and laughter and that your bellies are full as you revel in the gift of spending time with family tomorrow. 

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.  Love to all. 

day 21

On the opposite end of the totem pole from yesterday, today I am thankful for a noise-filled home.  I don't really want to think about the days when my kids will be grown. 

There are moments when the noise drive me bonkers, I'll be honest, but I try to remember that someday I will miss it. 

Last night Graham spent the night with Mimi and Papa.  Drew had a friend spend the night and Jonah and Noah had a friend spend the night.  Even though one of mine was missing, it was still plenty loud, trust me!

I love that they are the types of kids who love to have friends over.  They're always, always asking if so-and-so can come over, and though I don't always say, "yes", I try to say it as much as possible. 

I'm thankful, that along with this noisy house of mine, comes health and laughter.  Many families don't have those things, and I am grateful beyond words, to God for what He has blessed us with.  Because life isn't about the stuff you use to fill up your living space.  Life is about the memories you create with the people you share it with. 

Love to all. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

question

Just out of curiosity, what are your kids asking for, for Christmas?

One year, Jonah asked for an outfit just like Santa's.  It's a good thing my mom is an amazing seamstress. 

I think the same year, Noah asked for cupcakes. 

Drew usually lists candy among the ninety-nine other items.

Graham is the more normal of the bunch, and asks for things like fish and fish tanks.

Well, I guess that doesn't sound that normal after all, does it?

So, what are YOUR kids asking for?  Share the love, please.  If you have grown kids, what is the craziest thing they ever wanted for Christmas?

Love to all.

day 20

Today I am thankful for quiet moments.  With a house full of boys, quiet is never usually going on around me.  In fact, the opposite is going on, but you know what?  I love it.  However, every once in a while, quiet does a body good. 

I usually spend quiet moments reading my Bible.  That seems to be when God most draws me to Him, and speaks to me through His word.  I live for these moments. 

I'm getting some unexpected quiet time this morning.  Today is Dad's day for the eighth grade, so Todd is taking the boys to school since he'll be going with Graham.  And last night, Jonah and Noah decided they wanted to spend the night with their Mimi and Papa.  So, here I am.  I'm going to catch up on my Bible reading, then I'll have to get dressed so I can take Andy the Wonder Dog for his laser treatment at the vet's office. 

I will take any and every quiet moment that comes my way, because these are the moments when I can just be.  The boys are really good about leaving me alone during this time, and I appreciate that fact.  The more I read of God's word, the more He changes me and molds me into who I'm supposed to be.  It's through the reading of His word that I learn how to be a wife and mom. 

For these reasons, I am thankful. 

Love to all. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

days 17, 18, & 19

Day 17:  I am thankful for the health of those I love in my family, the ones in my house and all of our extended families.  I hear of so many people that have cancer or kids that have cancer, and each time I pray for that person, I thank the Lord for the health of my precious family.  I sincerely try to never take it for granted, too.  I remember when Todd was going through all of his health issues, I was so scared.  At the same time, I had the peace of mind that no matter what, God would be there for me.  I remember reading His word almost nonstop while I sat in the hospital room with him, waiting on him to wake up from surgery. 

I pray we never have to go through that again, but I also know that God is here for us if we do.

Day 18: I am so thankful for a place we can go and worship with fellow believers.  We uprooted our family from our church home a year and a half ago, and while it's been really hard at times, it was necessary for our kids.  Although no church is perfect, all of us are happy and adjusted.  Especially the kids.  Graham and Drew love their youth leaders, and Jonah and Noah love their kids' leaders.  We've made some really sweet friends and we've reconnected with some old friends.  Our church is very family oriented, and I love that. 

Day 19:  I am thankful for God's provision.  Our home, our car, the clothes on our back, the food in our fridge and pantry, running water, air in the hot weather, heat in the cool weather, all the many amenities we might take for granted.  We were without water part of this weekend due to a leak, and I couldn't help but think of people in certain parts of our world that don't have clean drinking water nearby.  They have to hike to the water for miles, then carry it back in heavy containers.  I pray I never take these blessings for granted.  I love James 1:17, which reminds me, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change." 

Love to all. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday

Today was beautiful in The Ville.  The sun was out, the temperature reached sixty and we finished with school work before my dad came over.  I thought I would share some pics.


The boys wanted to tour this train.  Did you know that you can tour Monday through Friday from 9-4?  You can. 


Of course, I had to have them pose for photo ops.  :-)


They were excited because they were able to climb on this high platform by themselves.  Monkeys.


This cord hanging down is from a telephone.  They asked what it was...I cannot believe they've never seen a phone with a cord!


Jonah said if he could sleep in here, he and Andy would sleep in this spot. 


They look so tall in this picture.  Especially Noah. 


And this is what Drew did after school today.  His friend Canon won a limo ride and trip to Ghengis Grill for selling the most coupon books at their school.  Canon and ten friends got to go.  Tonight all the boys are sleeping over at Canon's house. 

How was your day?  Where are all my commenting friends?!?!  I'm feeling like I'm in a black hole again.  Love to all!

days 14, 15 & 16

Day 14 was Wednesday, and as I dropped Graham and Drew off that morning, I thanked God for teachers, administration and a school that sponsors Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Bible Club.  I'm also thankful that my kids want to go a whole hour early on those two days each week.  Both clubs start at 7:10, but Graham and Drew like to be there right at 7:00. 

On day 15, I am thankful for my fellow homeschool moms.  I don't know a lot of them, since there are about sixty of us, but the ones in my small group are amazing.  I'm so blessed to be a part of such an awesome group, and I am thankful for the support that I get from them each week.  (We meet each Thursday.)  Along with this, I'm also thankful that Jonah and Noah are a part of a great group of kids.  They love it as much as I do. 

Today is day 16, and I am so incredibly thankful for my friends.  God has blessed me richly in this area of my life, and I have lots of precious friends whom I love.  These amazing, beautiful women in my life are Maria, Aimee, Sharon, Bryna, Sunny, Marcia, Shari, Jennifer, Katie, Christa and Amanda.  These are the ladies that I can count on for anything...and I do mean anything.  Whether it's for help with the boys, or the need to vent on someone, someone just to talk to, someone to lean on, a meal that I might need cooked, someone to pray for me or just someone to hang out with for a little girl's night out, I can call on these ladies.  I am so thankful for each and everyone of them, and in each of them, I see God's gift of friendship and love. 

My precious best friend is sweet Amanda.  I have known her forever, or what seems like forever anyway, and the older we get, the closer we get.  We first met when we were in middle school, but she moved back to her home state, Georgia.  She stayed there until five years ago, and she, her husband and two kids moved here for his work.  I pray that no matter what happens, whether she stays here forever or moves away again, that we stay as close as we are right now.  We're the kind of friends who can tell an entire story without ever saying a word.  We just click, and always have.  She was my companion last night as I stayed up way too late to see the movie Breaking Dawn Part II.  ;)

I hope I haven't bored anyone with my rambling.  Happy Friday!  Love to all. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

random

Did you know that any time I have the television turned on, it's either on HGTV or the Food Network?  Or maybe the Cooking Channel.  My kids love it because I am often inspired by what I'm watching.  Sunday night, for example, we were getting caught up on The Pioneer Woman.  I got up and made two things she had made on one of her episodes~rice krispie treats and coke floats.  My kids were in Heaven.

We have a house guest the next couple of days.  My friend's hubby is having surgery in California, so her son who is Drew's age is staying with us until Friday.  Will you join me in praying for my friend and her hubby?  His surgery is Friday morning, and she has to navigate around San Francisco for the ride home (it's outpatient surgery) and for his post-op checkup the next day.  They fly home Sunday.

I made almost 48 cheesy sausage biscuits for an appetizer tonight and the house full of boys that I had this afternoon ate almost all of them.  I managed to save several for Todd, Jonah and Noah.  They were starving!

Did you know that I am not of much use when the sun isn't shining?  Add to that cold, dreary weather, and I'm practically comatose.  We got to work early this morning with school stuff and finished before lunch.  Thank the good Lord!  After lunch we had a pretty easy afternoon.  I might have watched a couple shows on the Food Network.

I have a new favorite OPI color.  Wanna know what it is?  You Don't Know Jacques.  It's this gray, taupe neutral-y color.  I love it.

I am most happy when my house of full of life.  Today after school, there were my four boys and two extra here.  The house was filled with noise and energy (the good kind), and I could hear lots of laughter from the upstairs.  I love it.  I also love all their stories about the kids they have class with.  Let's just say that Drew and his friend that is staying with us had some very interesting stories about one boy in particular.  ;)

Can I also take a moment to vent, since it's my blog?  I am so over all the political articles I see floating around on Facebook.  It's done and over with, people.  He won another term in office.  Deal with the fact he won and move on.  I don't want to spend the next four years reading about the things he's doing that I don't agree with!  I'd rather focus on God getting me through these tough times.   I guess I would prefer to be blissfully unaware, instead of aware and annoyed.  It doesn't help anything by reading about what's going on.  Although I guess I can see that people want to be informed and that's fine, but stop sharing it!

Speaking of Facebook, between the issue I have above and another couple of little issues, I decided to delete the Facebook application from my phone.  I am probably on it too much, anyway, so it's definitely a good thing.  I'm seriously trying to cut down my computer time.  I might get on in the morning and in the evening, but I'm aiming for not being online much more than those times.  (Except for right now.  My kids are upstairs playing, they're not hungry for dinner yet and the older boys are all at church.) 

Speaking of church, Graham is helping lead worship tonight!  I'm so proud of him.  I can't wait to hear how it goes!  Tonight he's singing, but he's also helping with playing the drums on other nights.  :)  Proud mama moment. 

Well, I'll go for now.  I'll probably post again tonight before I go to bed.  I need to write my day 14 entry. 

Love to all!


day 13

I'm thankful for God's guidance in my life.  I'd been thinking about homeschooling the boys since Jonah and Noah were in kindergarten, but it wasn't until the end of their third grade year that I had the faith to jump out and just try it.  I prayed and prayed over this decision, because I didn't want to do anything outside of God's will.  I also didn't want to make a decision that I felt like might harm Jonah and Noah, or their confidence. 

Can I tell you how good and faithful God is, though?  I wish I had written down each time that God has shown me that Todd and I made the right decision in pulling them out of their elementary school after ending on a good note in third grade.  Last year was the best year for us to end on because of their sweet teacher.  I'm thankful that we ended so strongly.  Because, for them, this decision wasn't an academic one.  It was more of a feeling I had in the pit of my stomach that I didn't care for the direction I felt like the school was heading. 

Please don't think I'm knocking the public school.  On the contrary, I am thankful for the years of education that the boys have had!  God has blessed us with one amazing teacher after another, and I always felt like my kids were taken care of.  This decision we made was entirely personal.

I'm thankful for God guiding us through this homeschooling adventure.  Yesterday (day 13) we went on a field trip to Chucalissa with our homeschool group.  It's kind of scary getting there (it's in a bad part of town), but they really enjoyed themselves.  My mother-in-love went with us, and I'm pretty sure she enjoyed herself as well. 

God has guided me through every area in my life, and for that I am so thankful.  I love Proverbs 16:3.  It says, "Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed." 

I've committed every area of my life to Him, and can I just tell you what a stress reliever that is?!  No matter what happens, even when things don't go my way, I know and trust that God is at work.  I would like to encourage you to do this...commit every area of your life to Him.  I pray about every little thing, and while that might seem silly, to Him it's not.  Or to me, for that matter.  I am not a stressed out person...I walk in confidence that God will provide.  No matter what. 

Love to all. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

thoughts (again)

It is twenty-seven degrees as I write this!  Hallelujah!  I love me some cold weather!  I love everything that goes with this weather~comfy sweatshirts, warm fleece pj's, fires in the fireplace, cuddling up with blankets, the yummy flavored coffee creamer I only buy in these cold months, the feeling of Christmas, you name it, I love it! 

I do not love the early sun setting.  Neither do my kids, especially when it's nice outside. 

I'm reading through the chronological Bible in a year, and today I start in Acts!  You would not believe the things God has taught/shown me throughout this year of Bible reading and spending good, quality time with Him.  He's taken me out of my comfort zone so many times that I've lost count.  I am so thankful for this year I've had~it'll be over before I know it, and then I'll get to decide what Bible reading plan to do for 2013.  I don't think I'll do the chronological again.  I'm open to suggestions for good devotions, too, so if you have one for me, send it my way!

We had the most amazing little sliders for dinner last night.  I seasoned the meat with French onion soup mix, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.  And a few dashes of hot sauce.  I cooked them on our electric griddle and topped them with havarti cheese.  OH MY WORD.  Heaven in a single bite. 

Tonight I'm going to Paint-A-Piece for the first time.  :)  I love crafty things, especially when it involves painting.  I'm going with my mom-in-love and a bunch of ladies from my old church.  I'm so excited to go and see everyone!  It's been over a year since I've visited that church, and I really miss some of friendships I had while I was there. 

I also have a "date" with my best friend and her daughter this Thursday night/Friday morning.  We're going to see the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn Part II.  I can't believe we're all the way to the last movie.  We've been doing this for ages, and it's always something I look forward to doing with her and her daughter.  :)  I need to go buy our tickets today.

Well, it's almost time for me to take my boys to school.  I wish they were homeschooled and could stay home with us.  Jonah, Noah and I are going on a field trip to Chuccalissa today.  We're studying Indians in history, so it all goes together really great.  I can't wait!  I just need to figure out how to get there and I'll be good.  ;)

Love to all!

Monday, November 12, 2012

day 12

On this day, I am thankful for our freedom of speech.  There are lots of freedoms I take for granted, the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion being two.  I am thankful that even though I don't always love social media, I have the right to write about my Savior.  I pray that the verses I write impact those that read them.  All for the glory of God. 

These freedoms we have go along with our observing Veteran's day today.  We attended a really nice program held at our YMCA in The Ville.  The speaker was a Vietnam vet, and he talked about freedom having a face.  

I think of another face, though, one that had a crown of thorns sitting on top and blood running down.  I think of the tears He might have shed as He suffered and bled.  I think of Him crying out right before He committed His spirit to God, then died.  

And because of that mental picture, I will continue to write about my Savior.  Even though it might make people mad.  Even when someone disagrees.  And especially when someone might not know Jesus.  I pray that what I might put out there will reach the person God means it to reach...and all for His glory.  His word never returns to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  

I pray that my spiritual eyes and ears always be open and sensitive to His leading...like in reaching someone on Facebook that might not know Him.  

Love to all.  



just a boy

The boy talks to his parents and tells them his lifetime dream of joining the military.  I can imagine them sitting around the kitchen table, talking about this, nursing cups of coffee.  And all the while the young man is talking, the mom is thinking, "But he's just a boy." 

I'm sure there's also pride in their hearts (the good kind), as he tells them of his plans.  I can almost feel their emotions, proud of their son, but torn as to whether or not they should support him or talk him out of it. 

But as hard as it must be, I imagine their encouragement.  Because isn't that what good parents do?  Encourage their kids along the way? 

But he's just a boy

I imagine that it's in this moment that Mom realizes that maybe, just maybe he's not just a boy.  

Maybe overnight, before her eyes, he's become a man.  The kind of man who is confident, one who knows what he wants to do and decides to set out to do it. 

I imagine Mom looking at her son in a new light.  And I imagine an inner peace, the kind that we cannot fathom, filling her body.  I imagine her gaining strength moment by moment, almost second by second.  I imagine her deciding to put her faith into action and trusting God with her precious child, this one that God has trusted her with. 

And I imagine her conveying all this to him with a tearful smile.  I imagine her reaching out and holding his hand and saying, "If this is what you're sure you want to do, we'll support you."

Even though he's just a boy

*********************************************************

Even though I imagined all the above, I cannot fathom the kind of strength it would take for a mom to let her son or daughter feel her support as that child signs up for the military.  But I know countless moms have done just that, my own Grandma Lloyd being one of them.  I know it's probably the hardest thing she'll ever do, but I also know how crucial it must be for that young person to have the parental support he/she needs.  

As a mom to boys, I imagine all this taking place with one of my sons.  Because all of them, at some point or another, have said they would like to be in the military.  I don't know what God has in store for them, and as hard as it may be for that day to come, I know without a doubt that I will support whatever decision my sons make.  

I know of a mom whose son joined the marines.  I know it was the hardest day of her life, saying goodbye to him.  I also know that as hard as that day was, her future would soon be consumed with even more goodbye's.  

As he went on his first tour to Afghanistan.  As he would come home to visit, then go back to his new home in California.  Then again, as he came home once more before his second tour in Afghanistan, this time with his new wife.   Then, one final time as his body was sent back home for his burial.  

He was her only biological son.  

I think of her often, this mom I talk about.  She's the sister of my best friend from when I was a young girl, and I sometimes cannot stop thinking about what kind of day she must be having, knowing she'll never see him on earth again.  I know she has been given strength for the moment, but I also know that there are days when she calls her dad and says, "Daddy, I need you."  

He was just a boy. 

Today, as Veteran's day is observed, join me in praying for the families of our boys who are deployed right now.  I know of at least two families who are in Afghanistan right now; one is a friend of Graham's at school.  Her older brother is deployed, and another family we used to go to church with, my elderly friend's son is overseas right now.  

They need our prayers.  

I'll be observing this day with my boys, my dad and my sister.  We're attending a Veteran's day program here in Collierville, one that Graham's concert band is performing in.  It's just a token of appreciation, this attending this program, but it's one that means a lot to me. It's important to me that my boys know what holidays mean, so we have always appropriately celebrated whatever holiday is being observed.  This is one we always celebrate with my favorite veteran, my sweet daddy.  He is a Korean War veteran.

Will you join me in praying for our troops?

Love to all. 




Sunday, November 11, 2012

days 9, 10 & 11

One of these days, I'll do one a day.  But for now, I have to keep playing catch up!  This is the story of my life...

On day nine, I am thankful for my in~love's.  They have always called me their "daughter-in-love" instead of the less endearing, "daughter-in-law".  Isn't that sweet?  Wiley and Phyllis are two of the nicest, most selfless people you will ever meet.  We have a wonderful relationship, and they've always said if anything ever happened to Todd and me, they would support me one hundred percent.  ;)  Not that that's going to happen, but you get the picture of how sweet they are. 

Poor Todd. 

;)  They're really sweet grandparents, too, and we are definitely blessed to live near not just them, but all of our grands!  God has been so faithful and good to our family. 

On day ten, I am thankful for my sisters and brother.  Have I told you that I have four sisters and one brother?  From oldest to youngest, the lineup is Paul, Terri, Lisa, Debi, Tricia and me.  There are halves in this lineup, but I was raised to never view them that way.  These precious gifts to me are my flesh and blood, and though miles and time might separate us, we always pick right back up where we last left off.  I'm thankful to have great relationships with all of them, and I thank God for each and every one of them.  And not just for them, but for their spouses and their kids.  Our family is huge and continually growing, it seems. 

I only see Paul once every few years, and Terri usually once a year, or maybe a little less.  Debi lives in Colorado, so I see her at least once a year, sometimes two or three times, if we're lucky.  It just depends on how much she gets to travel...one of these days, I would love for us to go see her.  I know the boys would love the amazing scenery.  I'm so thankful that Lisa and Tricia live here.  We might not talk all that often, but we all know that we're loved by one another. 

On day eleven, Veteran's day, it seems appropriate to make this the day to be thankful for those who have fought for our freedom in the great United States of America.  My dad is eighty-one, and he is a veteran of the Korean War.  I'm thankful, not only to him, but to all of the ones who so selflessly served God and our country.  Freedom is something I pray we never take for granted.  We are so fortunate in this country, and I pray that God continues to have mercy on us as a nation. 

If you're tired of my "thankful" posts, stick around.  I plan to get started on all the blog ideas I've got rolling around in my brain tomorrow.  Hopefully.  Love to all!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Days 7 & 8

On day seven, I wrote that I was thankful for Noah.  He is the sweetest, most kind boy you will ever meet.  He might seem kind of quiet, and he usually is, because he doesn't like to compete to talk around our dinner table.  However, get him alone, and he loves to talk.  One of his most favorite things to do is to climb.  He climbs our walls and doorjambs nonstop.  His little foot prints are all over the place.

He's also really good with animals, and he's always loved them.  He used to always ask me if he could go pet such and such dog that he saw.  I could totally see him being a veterinarian when he grows up.  He has a quiet, gentle way about him that definitely does not go unnoticed.  He is also our "baby" of the family.  :)

On day eight, I wrote that I am thankful for my parents and their spouses.  I have such a great relationship with both my mom and my dad.  It's no secret that I spend (almost) every Friday with my sweet dad.  I am so thankful for that time that we share.  I never in a million years would have dreamed that we would be so close.  I can tell him anything, and he never judges me.

The same is true for my sweet mom.  I am blessed to get to see her at least once every week, sometimes more.  Ever since Todd and I first got married, we have eaten dinner with them on a weekend night.  Now that the boys are older, I really love that we started that tradition.  I love that the boys look forward to this night every week.  I know that as they get older, that won't be the case, so I try not to ever take it for granted now.

Along with my parents, God has blessed them each with some pretty amazing spouses.  My step mom, Sandy is among the ones that I'm thankful for.  She loves and cares for my dad so well.  I know that she is part of the reason why my dad, at eighty-one years old, is in such excellent health.  I thank God for the day that He brought her into his life.

My mom is married to an amazing man, my step dad, Bill (a.k.a. "Big Daddy").  They met right after Todd and I first married sixteen years ago, and have been married now for almost thirteen (fourteen?) years.  Bill is a HUGE reason why the boys love Saturday nights.  He is the most awesome chef ever, and he cooks things he knows they want.  Tonight, for example, we are having catfish, requested by Noah.  Bill also genuinely loves spending time with the boys, and they love spending time with him.  Plus, he lets them drive his cool tractor. 

I am among the blessed~I have two amazing sets of parents.  I love spending time with all of them, and try to do just that as much as possible.  I pray I never take any of them for granted.

Love to all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

gratitude, days 5 & 6

I'm doing pretty good at keeping up in my journal, but not so much on here.  In case you're still reading these posts, here are days five and six.

On day 5, I am thankful for my middle child, Andrew Myles.  God gave us the gift of joy when He gave him to us.  From a very young age, Drew has always been happy, full of joy.  In the second grade, his teacher gave him the character trait of...

Can you guess?

Joy!  People are drawn to him.  They want to sit by him, they want to be his friend.  And does he have a lot of friends!  Life is one huge social event to him.  I pray that he always uses that to the ability God has given him.  Just this morning (Wednesday), Drew and two of his friends stood up in front of the FCA club and delivered a devotion on internal vs. external.  (Appearance)  I am so proud of them.  It takes courage to do that in front of about a hundred kids!  Drew came up with this topic on his own, and together, we found Bible verses to go along with it.

Psalm 16:11 says, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." 

Proverbs 15:13 says, "A happy heart makes the face cheerful...".

I pray that Drew always walks with the Lord.  I pray that God always fills him with joy in His presence, and that others are drawn not to him, but to WHO they see in him. 

On day 6, I am thankful for Jonah.  Jonah used to call himself "Daddy's little buddy", and is he ever.  He loves anything that Todd loves.  That list of things includes Alabama football, all things law enforcement, and anything that has to do with the state of Alaska.  Jonah is a hard worker and the way he best loves on people is by giving. 

Proverbs 25:21 says, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink." 

2nd Corinthians 9:7 "For God loves a cheerful giver."

I pray that God continue to make Jonah a servant.  He Himself came to this earth to serve us, and what better way to give back to Him by giving to others. 

On both of these days, the attribute of God I am looking at is His love.  I am forever grateful for the love that He shows to us, though we do not deserve it.  I pray that He allows my family to love on others.  Because He first loved us.

Love to all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

gratitude, days 3 & 4

Once again, the Facebook statuses are blessing me!  I love all these thankful posts, and I love that some of them are so shocking to me.  You never know what someone might say. 

On day three (Saturday), I wrote that I was grateful that God gave me my husband.  I say "God gave me him" because He creates for us our perfect-for-me mate.  I started my relationship with my husband as a friend.  I'm glad we started that way because when the kids are grown and married, we will still have something in common.  We got along great before our kids, and that will continue afterward.  We married young, and started our family young.  For us, it's worked great and we are on year sixteen of being married!

There are times when I look at him, and his face is more familiar to me than my own.  Our marriage is not perfect, but it does improve each day.  I pray that we never be idle.  I pray that we always be growing closer and closer to one another, all with the Lord in the middle of us.  I once heard a pastor say that we should think of marriage as a triangle, with the couple at the two bottom corners and God at the top point.  As the couple moves up that triangle, they grow closer to God, and they grow closer to each other.  That is how I picture us.  

On day four, I wrote that I was thankful for my firstborn son, Graham.  I will never forget the overwhelming love I felt for him as I first laid eyes on him.  I used to pick him up out of his crib while he was sleeping, just so I could cuddle him.  He was perfectly beautiful.  The same rings true today, thirteen and a half years later.  The cool thing is that he is also perfectly beautiful on the inside. 

When he was in second grade at the elementary school, one day in walking to his classroom, he noticed a special needs' little girl crying.  There was aid next to her and Graham asked the aid what was wrong.  When the aid told Graham that she was upset because her mom had forgotten to pack her a snack, without even blinking, Graham handed the little girl his snack.  I love that has always been like that; one who puts the needs of others above his own. 

The attributes I've studied on these two days were the wisdom of God, and once again, the love of God. 

I don't think I can say enough on the love of God.  Not only on His love for us, but for us to reflect that love to others.  His greatest commandment is for us to love one another.  Over and over and over His word says that in the New Testament.  I pray that God will give me the wisdom to reach out to those around me and to love them like He loves me.

Whether that be through this blog, through my Facebook account, over the phone or in a hug I might give my loved ones, I pray that He uses me to reach those around me.  It's my challenge for myself today, and everyday. 

Love to all. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

attritubes of God

I love, love, LOVE seeing all the "thankful" posts on Facebook!  I'm so lovin' this gorgeous month of November so far.  It's good to see some good, positive stuff after a whole lot of negative political junk the past several months.  It's refreshing to my soul!

I started my gratitude journal Thursday.  I thought I would share days one and two with you. 

Day one

I am thankful for my Savior. I don't ever have to be "good enough" to receive His love.  He loves me just as I am; imperfections and all. 

I immediately thought of the hymn, Just As I Am.  I thought I would share the lyrics.
  1. Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  2. Just as I am, and waiting not
    To rid my soul of one dark blot,
    To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  3. Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt,
    Fightings and fears within, without,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
    Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  5. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
    Because Thy promise I believe,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  6. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
    Hath broken every barrier down;
    Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
 Isn't that beautiful?  I also wrote down John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the word that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The attribute I focused on for this day was on the love of God.  I'm using Bible.org for my information on the attributes of Him.  On that website, I found this verse to go along with this attribute:

Psalm 103:11 "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him."

His love is infinite, limitless, eternal, immutable, holy, sacrificial, bestowed by grace. 

Day two:

I am thankful for the Word of God.  Through the reading of His word, I grow closer and closer to Him. 

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against You."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." 

Attribute of God for this day: the nearness of God (omnipresent). 

Psalm 73:28 "But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." (King James Version)

I haven't done day three yet, but I'll share with you when I do.  Happy Saturday!  Love to all. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November?! Already???

I flipped over my calendar to November this morning.  I was struck by how fast this year has gone by.  I even voiced that to my husband.  It seems like just yesterday that I sat down to fill in all the birthdates for 2012 on our new calendar.  I can't be the only to think time is flying.  Can I?

Thanks to Facebook, I feel like a complete and total failure.  In scrolling through the pictures of perfection statuses last night, it dawned on me that I did not snap even one picture of my kids dressed up for Halloween.  How in the world does that happen?  Especially from this girl, who is ALWAYS taking pictures?  It's ridiculous.  The fact that I forgot.  I will say, though, that Graham and Drew didn't dress up.  Well, Graham put on a ski mask and Drew got a baseball bat (???) to trick-or-treat with, but they were in the puppet show at our church's Fall festival, so that hindered their dressing up.

On a positive note, while other moms were snapping pictures, I was making memories and helping my kids carve pumpkins.  Well, I helped Jonah and Noah.  Graham and Drew did theirs by themselves.  I was proud of them for doing such a great job.  Those suckers are not easy to carve! I also roasted some pumpkin seeds.  I wasn't that impressed, though.  They turned out kind of rubbery.  I baked them at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring in fifteen minute intervals.  I cooked them with butter, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce.  It sure did smell good in my kitchen!

In other news, today was a fun day for Jonah and Noah.  Our homeschool group had a Fall festival/field day today after classes.  They did a craft and had some crazy scarecrow relay races.  While they ran their little hearts out, I kept toddlers.  :)  I'd forgotten how much work young kids are!  It makes me thankful that mine are all older now.  Although, part of me misses their cute little toddler selves.  But a bigger part of me is thankful for their age. 

I'm starting a thankful journal tomorrow.  I have a nice, new notebook all ready and waiting.  Someone told me that they did this last year and they were so encouraged by it, so I thought I would give it a try.  I think I've started one before, but I've never completed the full month.  I think I'm going to do mine all the way through Christmas, though.  I would like to take one thing each day to concentrate on and also take one attribute of God and do them side by side.  I can't wait to get started!

Well, my book is calling my name, and it's almost time for me to call it a night.  Love to all!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals  (and friends) for this post. This time last week, I was waking up in ...