Sunday, December 30, 2012

Project 365, days 59 & 60

It's been lovely around my house this weekend.  Kind of busy at times, loud at some points, quiet at others.

I started and finished one book and started another.  I'm so thankful for good authors.  I do love to read, and the book I finished this morning was amazing. 



I have lots of books I plan on reading this coming year. What books would you like to read in 2013?  Do share the love, since it seems you've forgotten how.  ;) 

Love to all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

wonderful weekend

Friends came over.

We all slept in until 9:30.

We don't have much going on today, just a trip to Costco, to Pet Smart, to Kroger and to the library. 

We're staying home tonight, so I'm whipping up a big pot of Pioneer Woman's Simple, Perfect Chili for us to enjoy. 

The weather outside is frightful, so we're all staying inside (well, most of us), all bundled up.

I'm enjoying having my new candle lit~Christa and Jason gave us a candle for Christmas, and it smells so good.

We have church tomorrow, and I can't wait!  We didn't go last week because of Todd and Graham being so sick.  I'm looking forward to worshiping on the last Sunday of the year.

We don't really have plans tomorrow night, either.  I love the family time!

It's most definitely a wonderful weekend.  :)

Love to all.


Friday, December 28, 2012

project 365, day 58 (A.K.A. "she")

She...

loves to cuddle, just like me.
holds my hand sometimes when we sit near one another.
gives the greatest hugs.
loves to laugh.
is carrying my precious little "niece" or "nephew".
is celebrating her third Christmas as a married woman.
has been away for long enough!
is one of the ladies that holds the title for "best friend".
makes me so thankful for God's gift of friendship.
is an iron-sharpening-iron friend.
is the female version of my "Jonathan" from 1 Samuel.
came over tonight with her sweet hubby.
is my lurve forever and ever.
gets it when I go all Madea.
makes my heart so happy.
is Christa.  :)






Thursday, December 27, 2012

project 365, day 57

Happy birthday to my sweet hubby!  Who just got home...and has a migraine-type headache that was so bad that he got sick on the side of the road.  :(  Poor thing.  I hate to see anyone that sick...I just hope this passes before ten o'clock tonight.  He and the boys are going to a middle school lock-in at Incredible Pizza.  Drop off is at ten, pick-up is at six a.m. 

Makes me tired just thinking about it!  I don't know who has more fun, he or the boys. 

It's been a great day here in our house.  I have three extra boys today~my neighbor's kids and Drew's friend.  They rocked at helping me tear down all the Christmas decorations today!  I'm so grateful for their help.  It is so nice having older boys who help out so much...whether it's what we did this morning, or taking out all the Christmas trash. 

It's nice having all those extra hands! 

They worked so hard alongside me.  To celebrate, we had lunch at Chick Fil A and did this after we ate:


Will, Graham, Drew and Jonah played  football while Myles, Zander and Noah rolled around on the turf.  Literally. 


Will and Jonah fell down in exhaustion after running the length of the entire football field. 

It was a fun day, and it's not even over yet.  I'm so thankful for helping hands...and for little acts of kindness. 

I told the three extra boys that they didn't have to help, but they all wanted to.  I appreciate things like that so much!  It's nice to know when kids do things that are nice without anyone watching them, ya know?

One of my favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:23~Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.

These boys did that today.  And Graham did that at Chick Fil A today~there was an elderly man with a walker trying to balance himself and his trey, so Graham jumped up to help him.  He put his trey on the table for him, then went and got him napkins, a straw, ketchup and sauce for his sandwich.  Before we left, he asked the man if he needed anything before he had to go. 

I had a little talk with Graham, Drew and Drew's friend about always being kind to others.  I pray that if my dad is ever in that condition that some kind young man would jump up and offer him assistance. 

And thinking of that made me cry.  So while amidst all the crumbs on the table and milkshakes and laughter, this mama sat and bawled her eyes out in the middle of the restaurant.  It's funny how little moments like these are eye-openers. 

I want to look for more opportunities like this~for the boys and for myself.  I want to love more like Jesus. 

Love to all. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

project 365, day 56

My mom and step-dad came home today from Colorado.  The boys and I went to the airport to pick them up.  It's always so much fun going there.  They've never flown before, the boys, so it's all super fascinating to watch the planes land and take off.  I'm always amazed at how something so huge can fly so effortlessly through the sky.

Anyway, here are some pics from our time there today.


I don't know what Jonah has going on with his facial expression, but I assure you, he's not in pain.  Contrary to what his face looks like in this picture.

They were guessing which planes Nana and Big Daddy were on as they looked out here:


And wouldn't ya know it, we were getting hit with the smell of coffee from Starbucks.  So I spent some of my Christmas money and bought them all these:


Two mocha fraps, one with peppermint flavor added, two peppermint hot chocolates and one salted caramel mocha.  :)  Everybody was happy, happy, happy!

I snapped this of Jonah people watching:


I do love these boys of mine.

Today I am thankful for how close we are to all of the grandparents.  Trust me, there are times when I would love to live far away from Memphis, but what a gift my kids have in enjoying their grands, as I affectionately call them.  Today Noah said he was so glad we lived close to them all, so they could see them anytime they wanted.  This was as we were waiting on their plane to land. 

I couldn't agree more, Noah.  I was so glad to have them back home. 

Love to all. 

Wednesday Random

Today is December 26th, and I am ready for my Christmas decorations to come down!  Is that weird?  As much as I adore Christmas and the cozy feeling it gives me, come the day after, I am over it.  I think it's the clutter.  Everywhere I look, I see clutter.  I need neat and orderly again.  But it will have to wait.  My Mom and step-dad come home from Colorado today, so we're celebrating Christmas with them tonight.  You'd better believe that tomorrow, it's all coming down!

I need to clean. Unfortunately, that won't happen until the above happens. 

I hate the Disney channel.  HATE IT.  I have three kids who like the shows on it, and it's almost unbearable to me.  Currently the show Jessie is on and it's horrible.  Give me the National Geographic channel or A&E any day. 

Look what we woke up to this morning:


Snow!  Well, just a little dusting of it, but this made my boys so happy!  And it's beautiful to look at.  :)  I'll take it.

One of my best friends is coming over Friday night with her sweet hubby.  Christa and Jason have been in town for a few days, and I'm ready to see her!  My sweet friend just so happens to be expecting, too...their little gift is due in late June.  :)  I can't wait to pull out my new Crockin' Girls cookbook to whip up something yummy!  She hasn't been to my house in at least two and a half years, so I'm excited.  As are the boys.  

I've been in a movie-watching mood.  Last night I watched Facing The Giants while Todd and the boys were playing video games, and when he came down, we watched Fireproof.  I love that movie.  LOVE it.  I can't watch either of those without crying. 

Well, I need another cup of coffee and I need some Jesus time.  So I'm going to go handle those things, then get started on some of the never-ending laundry.  I've got to leave in a couple hours to head to the airport!

Love to all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

project 365, day 55

Christmas day.  The day we celebrate the birth of my sweet Jesus.  The day I thank Him for sending His one and only Son...to die for my sins...so that I may have life with Him in eternity.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men on whom His favor rests.  Luke 2:14

I cannot say enough how thankful I am for family.  For this:


And not just for them, but also for this:


Family.  And not just the ones pictured, but those who are far away.  Togetherness.  Making memories. 

I don't know what a year holds, but for these moments, I thank God and give Him all the praise and all the glory.

Amen. 

Love to all...and merry Christmas from our home to yours. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

merry Christmas

We celebrated Christmas at my Daddy's house tonight, the home that I grew up in.  I have memories there that I don't have anywhere else.  When I walk through the door of that place, I feel like I've stepped into "home". 

It was a special night, as we went around the dinner table, sharing something about Christmas.  My Daddy cried.  I cried.  It was a memorable night. 


As we prayed, thanking God for all He has done for us, I couldn't help but think of Mary on this night so many years ago.  She's been told what was going to happen.  I love what Luke 2:19-29 says:

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Cherish the time you spend with your loved ones, my friends.  Be there for them, in the moment.  Especially if you have young kids.  Make memories with them.  Not just tomorrow, but everyday. 

I know I will. 

Merry Christmas, and love to all. 



 

Project 365, day 54





Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for these gifts You have given me...Todd, Graham, Drew, Jonah and Noah.  I thank You for their health, and for the many times You've kept us safe.  I thank You for each moment I get with them.  Help me to never take even one minute for granted. 

I ask this in Your precious name.  Amen.

Merry Christmas from my house to yours.  Love to all. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Project 365, Day 53


I could sit here and stare at this, in the quiet, for hours.  Last night, I was the last one awake, so my house was silent as I finished up the Christmas movie I was watching.  I just sort of get lost in the twinkling lights, and the calmness all around me.

Often, I sit in my chair and look at this and just think.  Or pray.  There are so many hurting hearts that I know of right now.  I take advantage of the quiet and pray for them. 

I'm so thankful for my sweet family and for all our moments.  And though the Christmas clutter is starting to get to me, I will enjoy it while I can.  After the tree is gone, I will miss this view.

Love to all. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22/Project 365, Day 52

I'm thinking of continuing this past Christmas.  Into the New Year and the next 360-something days.  I can call it "project 365"...and idea I got from a fellow blogger.

That would make today day 52.  I started on November 1 and today is December 22.  52 days.

I'm going to share in pictures what I am thankful for today.












Time with these people I love.

Merry Christmas, my friends, and love to all. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 19, 20, 21

On December 19th (Wednesday), I am thankful for modern medicine.  Graham has really been struggling with strep throat since Sunday night, along with a bad sinus infection.  He's on an antibiotic and is feeling much better, although not quite normal yet.  I'm thankful that he had something that could be treated with medicine.  I was so glad it wasn't the flu or a stomach bug. 

On December 20th, I am thankful for what is quite possibly my kids' favorite day of the year~Christmas goodie-making day with my sweet friend, Marcia.  Yesterday was our fourth year of doing that...I'd say that it's a time-honored tradition that I love as much as the kids.  And it's the day I never want dinner.  ;)  Because we eat all day!  Yesterday we made sausage balls, cheese balls with olives, hot crackers, puppy chow, peanut butter fudge and peanut butter crackers dipped in chocolate. 

Today, on December 21st (Happy Winter Solstice!) I am thankful (again) for family.  Today is our Christmas with Todd's family.  We're celebrating with Phyllis, Wiley, Tim, Tracy, Nathan, Joseph, Zeke and my crew.  It's a houseful of people that will hopefully end with a visit from Santa.  ;) 

Will you continue to join me in praying for the family of Memphis' fallen Officer Lang?  She is being laid to rest today, a week after being killed in the line of duty.  Todd participated in the sea of blue last night and today he's going to her funeral.  Also, as always, please still be in prayer for those in Newtown, Connecticut.  I still can't quite wrap my mind around all that horrific violence in an elementary school.  And at Christmastime...my heart still breaks for the families. 

Just take a moment today and think of them.  Thank you, and love to all. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 17 & 18

December 17th, Monday, I was thankful my older boys had their last day of school.  Well, really, it was just Drew.  Graham was sick and had to stay home.  I'm more than ready to have a two week break from waking up early and making lunches. 

On December 18th, yesterday, I was thankful for the perseverance God gave me throughout this year.  I finished reading my 365 day chronological plan of reading the Bible.  I started on December 30th of last year and finished yesterday.  God has blessed me again and again through this year, all as a result of being committed in reading His word.  Sure, I missed some days, and some days I read lots and lots, but I never got more than five days behind.  I couldn't let myself.  I prayed that God would help me to be faithful to Him in this commitment, and only by His strength was I able to keep reading away. 

Here's what I rewarded with when I finished yesterday's reading plan:


I used the Youversion ap on my phone.  I had a daily reminder to read for each day, and when I was doing really well at keeping up, they send you encouraging messages like, "We noticed that you're doing great at staying on track.  Way to go!".  How could I not be encouraged to keep going? 

I also had a support system on Facebook.  A friend of mine created a page for a bunch of us who were doing this together.  God is so good.  So faithful.

I about bawled my eyes out when I read in Revelation yesterday about a rider on a white horse with the name Faithful and True on Him.  He is.  He has been.  He always will be. 

I don't do New Year's Resolutions, but I do a "word of the year" each year, and I try to commit to do something to grow me closer to God for that year.  May I challenge you to do the same?  It's important to take care of ourselves, our bodies, and lots of friends of mine commit to getting healthier in the New Year.  But how much more concerned should we be with our inside?  The condition of our heart? 

So much more so.  We should be growing constantly in our relationship with the Lord.  We should never be content to staying the same.  We are all works in progress, are we not?  And this isn't about committing to being in church, although that's majorly important.  It's about what we do when we're not in church.  How we live.  What we say, what we think, what we read. 

I challenge you~look to your inside appearance for one year.  Just try it and see what God does.

Love to all. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day of Silence

Day of Silence

I know all of you share my sadness over what happened yesterday.  As a mother - I can't FATHOM how those parents must feel. I hope you will all be praying for the people of CT.  They need our prayers.




On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

 We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.

ANY DONATIONS MADE TO NEWTOWN YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES WILL BE DONATED DIRECTLY TO THOSE EFFECTED BY THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING."


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

 We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

 Love,
The Blog World

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.

words of comfort

Are you like me, and can't stop thinking about what the families of lost loved ones must be going through this morning?

Call it obsessed, whatever, I cannot stop thinking about them.  One thing I do know: I'm paying extra attention to my kids, loving them a little harder, hugging them more often.

I saw these images on Facebook this morning and thought I would share them with you.



What a comforting thought...that those sweet babies are at Jesus' side. 


He hears our prayers.  He knows our thoughts.  I love this mental picture, how He stores them in glass jars. 


Love to all. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16

The dinner table. 

What does your represent? 

Hurried breakfasts? 

A spot to do homework, or pluck away at the laptop? 

Long dinners, spent laughing at the conversations taking place?

A place to dump the grocery bags, or a catch-all for backpacks and papers?

 All of those things are good.  They mean life. 

Mine represents all those things.  I can't help but wonder what the parents of those precious babies must be going through tonight. 

Are they sitting at theirs crying? 

Thinking that their life will never be the same? 

I would imagine that they are experiencing a kind of hurt that people wouldn't wish on their worst enemy.  I would think that they're asking, "Why us?  Why my family?"

I would be, too. 

I wish I had answers.  I wish I had comforting words.  But, I don't.

My comfort comes from God, and the words that He gave to the writers of the Bible. 

Tonight, I remembered one of the verses I memorized a couple years ago. 

2 Chronicles 30:27 "And God listened, listened as the sound of their ascending prayers entered His holy Heaven." (The Message)

God hears us, my friends.  He hears our cries.  He knows our hearts and what we mean to pray, when words fail us.  He knows our thoughts.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

Tonight, I am thankful that there was life around my dinner table.  I pray that continues for years and years to come.  I thank God for every moment of life we're given with our sons.  

And I am ever-praying for those who have lost loved ones this week, or any other time.  I know their hearts are heavy tonight.  

Love to all.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14 & 15

Yesterday was my thirty-sixth birthday.  It was such a great day...my husband does a phenomenal job of making me feel loved and treasured.  Not only by him, but by the boys.  They wrote me poems, made me things, bought me my favorite things...I couldn't be more blessed.  I'm thankful for my health on this day...that I have an able body and mind, and I am capable of loving on and enjoying this amazing family God has blessed me with. 

Not just my immediate family, ALL of my family. 

Today, the fifteenth, I am in a quiet mood.  In the midst of all this week's tragedies around our nation, I honestly don't have many words for this post.  I am thankful for a God who loves us, who comforts us, who is always with us, and who comforts me through His word.  I've gleaned much encouragement through KLove today.  They've been reading Bible verses when songs aren't playing.  One of those songs was by Third Day, and it's called Cry Out To Jesus.  I thought I would share it with you. 



Please join me in praying for all those affected by the tragedy around us.  Love to all. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13

I had the thought today that I am so thankful that I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home wife and mom.  Ever since Graham was a baby, I have always done something outside of the house, even if only part time.  For the first time in thirteen and three-quarters years, I have arrived at the place my heart longed to be. 

Home. 

I think I enjoyed being home in the past, but until things got stressful at my work last year, and until we made the decision to homeschool Jonah and Noah, I wasn't quite "there" yet.  And as much as I did enjoy our days off of school and work together, I didn't fully ever take into consideration the responsibility and joys of staying at home. 

For the first time in...well, forever...I am one hundred percent fully committed and involved in being a stay-at-home wife and mom.  I enjoy it so much!  I wasn't sure how I'd feel after a couple months.  ;)  But I love getting our school work done fairly early, then shopping with Jonah and Noah for groceries, coming up with ideas for dinner together with them, cleaning, having all the time in the world to accomplish laundry...I enjoy every single bit of it. 

I love making sure the house is (somewhat) neatened when Todd gets home.  I love (on most nights) having dinner ready for us to eat together as a family shortly after he arrives home.  I love making the boys their favorite treats...from scratch!  I love to cook, but with working part time for the last four years, it was hard to make things extra special, the way I like for them to be.

Sure, our money has been tight, but here we are four months later, and we're making it.  More than making it.  We have enjoyed more home-cooked meals, more homemade treats, and we've had so much quality family time.  I am so richly blessed, and I'm forever grateful to my wonderful husband for being supportive of me. 

That being said, today was one of the days that I really am thankful for the fact that I can stay home.  I had so much on my to-do list, it wasn't even funny!  We took a day off from school because of all that I had to do.  We had to grocery shop for dinner tonight, Jonah and Noah got started on making their gifts, I went ahead and got dinner ready, I needed to paint my fingernails (I know, I am such a girl), and I needed to clean a little.  My in-law's and Dad and Sandy are coming over for cheesecake after Graham's band concert tonight to celebrate my birthday. 

Oh, and I'm also thankful for God's protection...but that's another story for another day.  Perhaps tomorrow.  I have to run and finish up on dinner for tonight!  Love to all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

images from around the web

Do you know how much I love reading blogs?!  I love them.  I do.  I also love friends, and it makes me feel like I have so many!  Especially because the writers of the blogs I love are Christians.  They're just so nice...and they always communicate back with you.  I thought I would share some images I saw on the World Wide Web today. 

I love this saying!


This is the most true statement I might have ever read.  Sometimes Todd and I are like boxers in a ring, and we can both tend to forget that we're supposed to be on the same team.  When we remember this, our world is so much nicer.  Is this a parent-of-kids thing?  Tell me it is, so I don't feel so bad! 


This one kind of hurts, doesn't it?  Our actions tend to speak louder than our words...and there are eyes watching our every move.  I need to attach this to something in my home and in my car so I'll always remember it.


This took me to the link of another blog that I love.  It's Lisa Jacobson, from Club 31 Women.  Her post today was really, really good.  Definite recommended reading.  :) 

Have a great night, and love to all!

December 12, 2012

I hear that this is the last repeating date we'll experience in our lifetime.  Hmmm.  Strange thought, huh?  Not really, though.  It's just another day.  But a really good one!

Today I am thankful, once again, for God's gift of friendship.  My sweet friend Aimee invited the boys and me over for lunch today.  I always see her very briefly, but we never seem to be able to stop and chat.  So today was really nice. 

We help each other out each week, with carpooling.  I sometimes take her son home, and sometimes she'll bring my boys home.  It's nice to have a friend like that to depend on, and God has blessed me with several of those. 

How has your week been?  I've had lots of comments lately, so if you're one that has left a comment, thank you!  Enjoy your midweek night.  Love to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11 & Tuesday Unwrapped

 On this, day eleven of December, I am thankful for the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  He is our friend, our Counselor, our Advocate, and I believe that He gently nudges us to say something or do something.  I think of Him almost as our "conscience", except that it's the Holy Spirit. 

We had to run a few errands today, and before leaving, Jonah and Noah cleaned out their closet.  They discovered some old Power Rangers that they no longer play with, so we thought we'd take them to Goodwill.  When we got in the car to go, as I was going through the backpack that held these toys, I immediately thought of a friend and neighbor nearby who has a precious Autistic son. 

Because of working at the school for many years and because I've kind of watched him grow up (they are neighbors, after all), I just love this boy.  He's absolutely beautiful with a heart of gold.  For the past several years, much to his mom's dismay, he's dressed up as a Power Ranger on Halloween. 

So, on our way to do our errands, we pulled up to her house and Jonah got out and placed the backpack next to her minivan, with a note attached to it.  I didn't want her to think some random kid had left his backpack at her house, hence the note.  And I didn't sign it.  I just wrote, "For H....." with a smiley face next to it.

We ran our errands and came home to do our school work and eat lunch.  I quickly got onto Facebook and saw that my friend had posted a picture of her sweet boy playing with these toys.  The caption under the picture said something like, "Whoever dropped off your old Power Rangers, THANK YOU!!!  You have made a very sick little boy so happy today."

I wasn't even thinking of being a blessing to someone today.  I just hate taking so much stuff to Goodwill.  If someone else could use it, why not give it to them instead?  That's all that was on my mind.  But evidently, that wasn't on God's mind.  I truly believe He had me do that today...to show His love...to be His hands and feet. 

Which brings me to my first Bible verse: 

Romans 10:15 says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings!" (Amplified Bible) 

And one more, which is totally appropriate during this season:

Acts 20:35, which says, "You'll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, 'You're far happier giving than getting'." (The Message)

I'm so thankful for the Holy Spirit and His gentle nudges.  May my spiritual eyes, ears, mind and heart be forever open to His prompting.  And may He consider my feet ever beautiful. 

Love to all. 

*I'm linking up with Emily over at Chatting At The Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

another fun tradition (are you tired of them yet?)

If you are tired of them, I'm sorry!  I thought I would share some pictures with the non-Facebook peeps that might (or might not) read this. 

We went to the Enchanted Forrest today after Graham and Drew got out of school.  Our favorite Santa, Phyllis' cousin Kenny, is the Santa there.  He's amazing at what he does, and just so happens to take after his dad who passed away almost two years ago.  Every time I think about him, I get choked up, because he, too, was a sweet man.  






 I love the looks on Jonah's and Noah's faces!  So precious...these sweet boys that still believe.  I pray it lasts for another year, but I'm doubtful.  I LOVE how Noah has his hands clasped.  :)

I remember going to see this when I was a little girl.  It was my favorite thing then, too.  Here's all my favorite toys:






 It wouldn't be a night out if I didn't beg my favorite man for a quick snap shot...


 We both have such goofy smiles, but right up until I snapped this, he had been sticking his tongue out at my camera.  He's my lobster.  :)


Since they informed me I'd already gotten my "required one photo of the night out", they said they would pose for one more, but only if could be silly. 

I like it.  I like them even more.  My heart is so full. 

Thank You, Lord, for yet another night out...for another amazing year full of priceless memories...and for the gift that You gave us~life eternal with You.  Let me never take even one second for granted. 

He's been so good to us.  Love to all.