Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Updates

Unfortunately, we will not be welcoming our 4th child in July. Sadly, I miscarried last week. It has been a long hard road and we were very connected to this baby, especially after seeing him (or her) on the ultrasound.

I am, honestly, still struggling with God's purpose in all of this. I don't understand and sometimes the pain is practically unbearable.

I have found some refuge in the following verse:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made unto God
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7
Thank you all for your prayers.

My Christmas List


'Tis the season for my children to start working on their Christmas wish lists. Usually it is full of the latest toys and electronics. Nerf guns and Nintendo games, dolls and dress up clothes. When I was a child I made a list every year, and always asked for a pony (I never got it, but I asked anyways!).


This year I have a list of my own.






Lord,

  • grant me the ability to "do good and not evil all the days of my life" (Prov. 31:12)
  • let me "willingly work with my hands" and "bring my food from afar" (Prov. 31:13-14)
  • give me the ability to "rise while it is yet night, and provide food for my household" (Prov. 31:15)
  • let me be wise in my purchases, "she considers a field and buys it", and use them for Your glory and for the good of my family, "from her profits she plants a vineyard" (Prov. 31:16)
  • let me "gird myself with strength and strengthen my arms" (Prov. 31:17) for I am but weak and frail human, my strength is only in You
  • let my "lamp not go out by night" (Prov. 31:18), let me continue my work at home until it is complete
  • "extend my hand to the poor" (Prov 31:20), remind me that there are those in need and give me the ability to give what I can and do what I can
  • let me "not be afraid of snow" (Prov. 31:21), let me be wise in my preparations for winter, whether it be seasonal, spiritual, or financial
  • let my "clothing be of fine linen and purple" (Prov. 31:22), let me take pride in my appearance, my hygiene and care for myself as I am Your temple and my husband's
  • give me "strength and honor as my clothing" (Prov. 31:25)
  • let me "open my mouth with wisdom" and let the "law of kindness be on my tongue" (Prov. 31:26)
  • let me "watch the ways of my household" and not "eat the bread of idleness" (Prov. 31:27)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet Sounds

"I love you Lord
and I lift my voice
to worship you
oh my soul rejoice
Take joy, my King
in what You hear
let it be a sweet, sweet sound
in your ear."

Are my words a sweet sound in God's ear? All of them?

When I am frustrated with my kids...

When I am sarcastic with my husband...

When I gossip and backbite...

I know I need to work on thinking about everything that passes my lips, does God take joy in what He hears?

I have been having a bit of a "mouth" problem with my oldest, and it made me think of this song. He learns to speak from the way we (my husband and I) speak to each other and those around us. I have been trying to teach him to act as if Jesus were always with him, because He is! But am I a good model of that behavior-not always.

Lord, let my words and thoughts be sweet sounds to You always.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recent Events

You may have noticed I have been quiet on the blog-front lately. We have a lot going on....okay, the big news is we are expecting our 4th child. However, this has not been an easy road these past 7 weeks. We thought I had miscarried a couple of weeks ago, but found out that our baby was still doing well at 6 weeks and 2 days on 11/11/2010.

Then, yesterday (11/16/10), I started heavy bleeding again (don't worry, I won't get too graphic). Short story of a LONG 24 hours is, 2 hospital visits, 3 ultrasounds, and 1 OB consult later...the baby is still there and they can determine a faint heartbeat. Unfortunately, there are some signs that miscarriage may still be forthcoming.

The bottom line in all of this, is that we are a firm believers that God is the creator of all life, and the decision as to whether this child will join our family here on earth on at home in heaven is entirely in His hands. We are blessed to have a good Christian physician overseeing our care and many dear friends praying that God's will be done.

Stay tuned for further updates...God bless!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Memories


I have been thinking about my grandparents this evening, remembering what it was like to be a little girl and visit them on their farm (which was really just 10 wooded acres with a small house, a garage, and a large garden). Both of Gama and Papa have been gone for many years, but my memories of them are some of the fondest I have.

I remember walking into the house through the kitchen door (no one used the front door) into a tiny kitchen. My grandfather used to get onion bagels from O'Brienstein's in Richmond, he would cut them in half and load them up with butter then broil them for 5 minutes in the oven, they were incredible! And I remember hand cut fries (with potatoes from the garden, of course) and applesauce sandwiches that my Gama would make me.

From the kitchen into the living room, the 2 recliners flanking a console table on which always stood 2 glasses of sweet tea, Gama's in her Waterford crystal and Papa's in his big orange plastic cup. There was a TV and a teal velvet sofa (which I slept on when I visited until they built the bedroom addition). The heart of the room was the wood burning stove that kept the whole house cozy in the winter and even cooked most of a Christmas dinner one year when the transformer blew and there was no electricity. Then onto the formal dining room, which seemed out of place in the tiny farmhouse with it's huge Queen Anne table and chairs, the china cabinet filled with Waterford and fine china, and the crystal chandelier.

When I was very small, there was only 1 bedroom, with a 4-poster bed that my Gama slept in...Papa slept on an air mattress in the living room. There was 1 small bathroom with a stand up shower in which I used to bathe with Life Buoy soap after long walks in the woods to rid my body of any ticks or chiggers I may have brought back with me.

When I was older, they built an addition of 2 large bedrooms, one for each of them, and turned the old bedroom into a room for my Gama's home dialysis machine. There was a small twin bed in Gama's room for me when I came to visit. I loved her big 4-poster bed the best as it was covered in down quilts and pillows. She always kept a table-top Christmas tree up in her room covered in silver tinsel as well.

Papa's room was smaller, but had his HUGE oak roll-top desk and library of VHS tapes...there was no cable out in the country back then so I would watch hours of movies. I was introduced to John Wayne, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and many other classics during my time there.

I have so many fond memories of that place and the people there. I am sad to have lost them, but glad to have had the time I did with them.

Hug your kids, your parents, your grandparents, or grandchildren extra close tonight. I know I would if I could!

Friday, November 5, 2010


"Lead me with strong hands
stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
chasing dreams,
what about us?
Show me you're willing to fight
that I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home,
but I still feel alone"
-Sanctus Real-

I have been thinking on these lyrics lately and how they apply to my marriage and my husband. I have come to realize how amazingly blessed I am to have a husband who, although is not perfect, strives for perfection in Christ.

"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." -Matthew 5:48
Jesus teaches us to strive for the perfection of God, although we can never be perfect, He is calling us to be constantly maturing and growing.

As the wife of a godly man, I can trust in the Lord that, though Rick is not perfect and makes mistakes and has wrong attitudes, God has the ability to change these things and my husband is a man who heeds His instructions.

So in those moments that I am frustrated with Rick's anger or negative attitude (or when he leaves his shoes everywhere but where they belong), I know it is not my job to change him or chastise him, that is God's job. My job is to trust in God that He will make the necessary changes in me and my husband as we continue to seek His wisdom and guidance.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Can It Hurt?


Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue, if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me,
these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
-Philippians 4:8-9



The hit TV show "Glee!" seems harmless, right? A series about a high school glee club. Okay, so the cheerleader is pregnant out of wedlock and the teacher's wife fakes a pregnancy to stay married to him while he is lusting after another teacher....so maybe not so harmless. Then there are the photos. A recent photo shoot (no I will not post any of them nor a link to them...if you must see, then I am sure you can search and get plenty of hits) for GQ Magazine of the cast of Glee! has caused some amount of controversy. The photos are of the scantily-clad cast (at least the ladies are scantily-clad) in provocative and compromising poses. The argument is that these are not high school students in real life, they are actors and actresses in their mid-twenties and that gives them the right to do whatever they want with respect to posing and wardrobe, what can it hurt?

So we ask our tween and teen children to believe that these are peers, kids their own age, when watching the show....but then expect that they will understand that they are really actors that are much older and are able to do things that are not appropriate for the characters they portray on TV.

I think we are overestimating the ability of 12-17 year old childrento be discerning and underestimating the influence these TV stars have on our children.

It makes me think, how often do we say "what does it hurt, just this one time?" or "it's not THAT bad." How bad does it have to be for us to say "STOP", "ENOUGH"? God makes it clear that we are to guard ourselves from the influence of the world. We are to focus on noble and true. In a world that pushes young girls to grow up and dress older like small adults and value physical beauty and material things, we are called to keep our focus on Him and the treasures of heaven.

The wonderful thing is that this commandment comes with a promise...the peace of God! That is the beauty of our Lord and Savior, he demands much, but promises so much more than this world can ever give us.

So I challenge you to draw the line, to say "enough", to see that it DOES hurt, even just this once and it is THAT bad. Draw nearer to God and away from the world and enjoy the promise of peace!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peace


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,

with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God; and the peace of God,

which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts

and minds through Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-8


These are such familiar and reassuring words, but how often do we actually put them into practice. "Be anxious for nothing"...I know for me that is a huge obstacle! How often do I worry about finances, my children, health, work, all kinds of things. So often I turn things over to God in prayer only to take them back moments later.


Recently I have been facing an issue in my personal life that I have desperately needed to trust God with. Yet daily, I try to take it back and solve it myself. I worry over what may happen, even though I know I cannot control the future, only He can. Even though He has shown me over and over that He is in absolute control in my life, I let the lies of the enemy creep and foster doubt and worry in my mind.


That's the real truth of worry and doubt...it is spawned by the lies of Satan. The Great Deceiver will allow thoughts to infiltrate our minds and turn into worry and anxiety. Often they are disguised as the opinions of "experts" or even friends. The world does not encourage us to rely on God, it encourages us to rely on self, which is a prime opportunity for Satan to do his work.


But God has a beautiful plan for your life and mine. He does not want us to be anxious about our future, he has numbered our days and knows everything about our lives...past, present and future. He promises us peace, not happiness, not worldly things, but true and lasting peace. He wants to carry our burdens for us...will you let Him?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Falling in Love


"It oughta be....

more like falling in love

than something to believe in

more like losing my heart

than pledging my allegiance."

-Jason Gray


Lord, I want to fall in love with You every day of my life. I want to lose my heart to You each and every moment. Let me meet you in the living room of my heart daily to fellowship with and learn from You. Fan the flames of desire in my heart for You. Let me choose You over all else.
-amen-

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lessons from a Sponge


Okay...so I admit, I have let my children watch the dreaded of all cartoons...Spongebob Squarepants. But recently, I learned a lesson from our little yellow friend.

My husband and I determined over the summer that we would begin homeschooling our three children this Fall (ages 8, 5 and 2). However, with my husband attending Bible college full-time and working 3/4 time and me still working outside the home full time, we decided to send Logan (8) and Emma (5) to the local elementary school instead. We came up with a variety of excellent "reasons"...but looking back, they were really excuses. Needless to say, we are spending this year preparing to home school next year.

One of the many things I dislike about public education, perhaps the biggest one, is the drive to put children in a "normal" box. Standardized tests, large class sizes, and unbending teaching techniques encourage sameness, often referred to as "equality" (it sounds less intimidating that way). And if my child doesn't fit into that box? Well, we can label him or her with a disorder and medicate them until the do fit!

Don't misunderstand...I am not saying all teachers try to "equalize" their students. In fact, I think there are many teachers that encourage individuality and uniqueness in their students. However, those teachers are not supported by the administration of the education system in our public schools. I also don't think that ADHD and ADD are "fake" disorders, but I think they are over-diagnosed and medication is over-prescribed to make children more compliant and less active in the classroom.

So back to my lesson from Spongebob...on a recent episode he had a desire to become "normal" to fit in with his friend Squidward. So he changed his appearance, his living arrangements, his clothing, his job, his voice, virtually everything about him that made him an individual. The end result was that he was to "normal" for even Squidward!

So the lesson learned is..."normal" is not always better. In fact, God calls us to be outside the mainstream, to be "abnormal". We are sanctified by God, set apart as His children. I don't want to relate to a worldly culture, I don't want my children to fit inside a nice, normal box. I want people to look at me and my family and say..."what is different about them?". I want that difference to be GOD!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

To My Husband


Thank you, my love, for

...never leaving the toilet seat up

...always making sure my gas tank is full

...taking out the trash and cutting the grass

...killing spiders and wasps and bugs of all sorts

...running out to the drugstore to purchase things that most men haven't got a clue about and would die of embarrassment if they did

...going to the grocery store 3 times in one day to make sure I have all the ingredients for some new recipe I want to make

...eating that new recipe, even if it tastes as bad as it looks

...honestly telling me that my new recipe tastes as bad as it looks

...being a constant and steady presence in the lives of our children

...holding my hand, and my heart when we suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage

...holding my hand, and my heart when we learned we were pregnant again and I was paralyzed with the fear of losing another

...holding my hand, and my heart when we welcomed our 3 beautiful gifts from God into this world

...patiently waiting for me to understand things when you have explained them more than once

...not saying "I told you so" when you were completely entitled to

Thank you, my love, for all of the beauty, joy, pain, laughter, tears, and love that has happened in our lives for the past 10 years. Thank you for the effort you put into our marriage daily to not only maintain, but make it better. Thank you for your faith in God and faith in His plans for our marriage.

Happy 10th Anniversary to the love of my life, my best friend, and soul mate.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Easy Button


When I am frustrated and at the end of my rope, I sometimes joke with my husband and say "Where is my Easy Button?"-implying that if I just had this big, red button to push, all my troubles would go away, just like on TV (because everything on TV is true, right?).

I think as Christians, we often think God is supposed to be our "easy button". If we believe and have faith, go to church, do good works, and live according to His word, life is supposed to be easy, right? But God's word tells us different...

"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future."
-Ecclesiastes 7:14

Solomon is telling us to remember that both good and bad times are from God. He is always in control, not just when things are going well in our lives, but even in times of trouble and strife. But he also says "consider"...this implies that we are to take time, to ponder, to think deeply. God wants us to consider the bad times and linger in them, not always be looking for a way out or the next good thing to come along. Some of His greatest blessings come in time of trouble. To sum it up...God wants us to struggle.

I know...crazy, right?! Why would a God who loves us and cares for us want us to struggle? Shhhh...don't advertise that Christians don't always have it easy, it might discourage people from believing! Make sure you put on a smile and act like everything is perfect in your life according to the world's standards, regardless of what is true. Wait, what was that? Perfect according to whose standards? Oh...now I see, many Christians spend so much time putting on an image of perfection by the world's standards that they miss the plan God has for them! God does not want us to have the perfect, cleanest, most well-decorated house, the perfect, most well-behaved, clean and polished children (phew...that's a relief to me!), the best holiday meal, the newest car, the most prestigious job or title. He wants us to strive for His perfection...to be like Him!
"You therefore must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect"
-Matthew 5:48

This scripture is telling us 2 things...one obvious and one not-so-obvious. It's like the law of science that says "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". The "action" is that we are to strive for perfection in God's eyes, a spiritual perfection. The "reaction" is that we are NOT to strive for worldly perfection. God is not impressed by your car or your job title or even your ability to keep it all together when everything around you is falling apart. He wants you to fall apart, because only in the moment of desperation when you finally realize that you don't have it all together, do you realize you need HIM!
So there it is...no more Easy Button references in my house. No more looking for a way out of the current situation, no matter how much I may struggle in it. It is time to linger in tribulation, to cry out to Jesus and lean on His strength where I lack strength, to strive for the perfection of my Heavenly Father.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thankful


It has been quite some time since I last blogged. I have been going through some challenging times and have felt.......well, uninspired. But lately I have been reminded how amazing and wonderful my God is. I don't have any words of wisdom or eloquent prose to share tonight, just pure, heartfelt gratitude to my Lord and Savior.

Recently I have been touched, indirectly, by several families experiencing illness or loss of a child and I am reminded daily how blessed I am to have 3 beautiful, healthy, strong children. But it has amazed me even more that through their trials, these families have remained not only faithful, but thankful. Then, over the past couple of days, I have been blessed with the most amazing gift from God, the ability to see Him working in every situation in my life and those around me.

Rick and I have been working with the children to help them see how God works in their lives daily, how He cares for every part of them, every aspect of their lives. We have been thanking God for our daily blessings...."thank you, God, for giving me the energy to get up and work all day even though I didn't feel so great this morning", "thank you, God, for giving me the ability to study my spelling words and do well on my test." Through this effort, I am learning to see where God is so good in every area of my life and the lives of those around me.

I am especially encouraged following the story of Matt and Sarah Hammitt (Matt is the lead singer of Sanctus Real) whose little baby boy, Bowen, was born with a severe heart defect and had to undergo open heart surgery at 1 week old. Their open and honest way of sharing their story, the good and the bad, has humbled me and inspired me to see my life through new eyes, thankful eyes. I have posted a link to their blog if you would like to share in their experience.

I have so far to go, but am so grateful to be on this journey and to be walking with a God who created the heavens and the earth--and a God who cares about my laundry and spelling tests!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never
without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your
doing,my darling)i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for
beautiful you are my world,my true)and it's you are whatever a moon has always
meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows(here is the root of the
root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings


Happy Birthday to my dear and wonderful husband.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When....?


When does it stop? When do I finally get it?


I have prayed and begged, read my Bible, studied the scripture, sought advice from wiser, more godly men and women....when will I finally get it and start to feel like I am becoming the woman God wants me to be.


I am so wretched and sinful, selfish and angry and easily led astray. I hate those things about me that keep me from my God.


I am jealous of my friends who are pregnant...so much that it is hard for me to go to baby showers. All I can think about is the loss of my recent pregnancy (not so recent anymore...April 2010, but it is still so fresh and painful). Why can't I just be happy with the 3 wonderful children I have, and be happy for my friends who are experiencing this wonderful blessing from God? What is wrong with me?


I am so selfish with my husband....I expect so much of him, and he gives so much as it is, but I want more. What is wrong with me, why can't I see the blessing God has given me in a husband who cares for our children and works and goes to school? Why must I demand more and how much is enough?


I know that my walk with God is a continual journey and that I will never be "good enough", but will I ever feel less wretched, will I ever stop feeling worthless? When will I feel compassion and love instead of jealousy and anger?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit



I have recently been struggling with a situation at work that has exposed me to some negative attitudes in the workplace. I have long suffered with how to bring my faith into my work life. I often feel as though I have a split personality....Corporate Meridath & Regular Meridath. But Pastor Tim said something on Sunday that made me realize that the best way to show my faith and God's love at work is through the Fruits of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 6:22-23.






"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control.

Against such there is no law."


We can't always quote scripture, or pray in public, or even give our testimony of God's love to those we work with. But we can live according to His instructions and by doing so, people see that we are set apart from the rest of society. These characteristics usually result in the opposite reaction of what people have come to expect. When an employee breaks the rules or fails to perform at the expected level and we react with anger and retribution, that is what they expect from the world; but if we react with gentleness and self-control, it is not what they expect and they will possibly want to know what makes us different.

I know I have a lot of work to do on myself to make sure that I exhibit these qualities in the workplace, but I am so grateful to God for providing me a guide to show me the way.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gentle Reprimands


We are studying the Doctrine of Sin on Sunday mornings at church and today's verses, Genesis 3:8-9 hit home with me in regards to how we deal with our children and reprimanding them for mistakes and misbehavior.

"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?'." -Genesis 3:8-9

How often do we react in anger and frustration when our children sin? I know in my house, more often than not, we quickly react with angry words, raised voices and negative attitudes to our children's transgressions. But God did not react that way to Adam and Eve...he was calm and quiet. He sought them out and gently asked "Where are you?"...knowing full well they were hiding in shame. Should we not treat our children the same way? Calmly and gently seeking them out, clearly explaining what their transgression was and firmly applying appropriate consequences.

Proverbs 22:3 says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Training means to teach and explain, to educate; we must gently teach our children the correct way to live by calm and firm reinforcement. Ephesians 6:4 tells us "and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Anger breeds more anger and eventually resentment. If we react to our children, who are young and impressionable, with anger, that is what we will teach them and eventually they will grow to resent us for it.

I was troubled by an episode I recently witnessed between a mother and small child where the child came to her mother with tears of remorse for something she had done wrong and her mother's response was to react by spewing words of anger at her. Later, after putting the child in time out, the mother was kind and sweet explaining that the child had done wrong and had to pay the consequences of her actions. But I wonder what lesson that child really learned? I am by no means judging anyone for how they choose to parent or punish their children and I am certainly guilty of reacting with angry words, but seeing it outside of my home brought my own transgression of anger into clear focus.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family Update

It has been a while since I have posted an update on the happenings in our home and with our family. It is shaping up to be a busy, busy summer! We have re-planted our garden into pots as the spot we chose in the backyard turned out to be too shady. We have already harvested some tomatoes and the herbs are doing great, still waiting to see how the rest will turn out.


Rick is doing a great job at home all day with the kids, keeping them happy, healthy and entertained! Water play is a big part of every day since it has been brutally hot here in Central NC. We are working to prepare for Vacation Bible School at Edgefield later in July. After that the two oldest children are headed to Virginia to spend some time with their grandparents. Logan is also very excited about the prospect of spending a few days with his Uncle Sean on Ocracoke Island this summer.

Rick and I have purchased our first mini-van! I am now a proud member of the "swagger wagon" club...and I love it! More exciting--Rick starts classes at Piedmont Baptist College on July 5th. I am so proud of him and anxious to see where this journey takes him and our family.

That is pretty much all that is happening right now. We are grateful to God for every day that He gives us to enjoy one another!

Love & Prayers..

Monday, June 21, 2010

Becoming A Woman Of Excellence


Becoming A Woman Of Excellence


A woman of excellence
Is what I long to be
Filled with Your Godly wisdom
So it is part of me

A woman of integrity
No matter what I face
Standing up for righteousness
And for Your saving grace

A woman of destiny
Living out Your plan
Knowing where You'd have me walk
Being guided by Your hand

A woman of promise
Standing on Your word
Holding on to all the truths
While carrying out Your work

A woman of compassion
For the ones in the dark
Those that do not know Your love
And have darkness in their hearts

A woman that will never
Compromise the faith
With what the world may offer
But will keep the narrow way

A woman who loves Jesus
And will follow only Him
Gladly to give up the world
So His light can shine within

Lord, this is my earnest prayer
As a daughter by Your grace
Grow in me these qualities
As I walk with You in faith.

~M.S. Lowndes~

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Five Things I Learned From My Dad


My father is not a man given to frequent or overt displays of affection. Until recently, I could probably count on one hand the number of times he had said the words "I love you" to me. But my father has given me more than hugs and kisses and pretty words can ever provide. Much of what I learned, I learned from my father. Not to minimize the role of my mother, but it is Father's Day and I am a daddy's girl at heart. I could write for days on everything I have learned from him, but I will keep it to the Top 5 tonight...


1) Take care of your family.


My dad has always worked hard to provide the things my mother and I needed (and, for the most part, wanted). His top priority was making sure his family was taken care of and safe at any cost.


2) Be honest in life and business.


In a day and age where honesty and moral values are often sacrificed for the almighty dollar, my father taught me that these are vital to good business practices and life in general. How you treat your fellow man, be it your neighbor or business partner, is more important than your net worth because it speaks to the value of your character. Even in situations where you are not treated with the same respect, my father taught me that you rise above the situation and never compromise your character. He always compared his behavior not to others in a similar situation, but to the best behavior that could be expected of anyone in that situation.


3) The right decision is not always the most popular decision.


I remember as a teenager several...okay many...times when I complained to my parents, "but my friends parents let her have that of do that!". But Dad stood his ground and did not give in (okay..maybe sometimes, but not often!). He taught me that what is good for others is not always good for me, and what others are doing may not be good for them either. He taught me to make my decisions based not on what was popular at the moment, but what was in the best interest for my life (and now my families life) in the future.


4) Save for a rainy day.


I did not learn this lesson until recently...very recently. I am of the firm belief that God provides for His children, both our spiritual and physical needs. But He also expects us to be good stewards of what He provides. Until recently, I had never considered what would happen if the next paycheck never came, I always assumed that someone (usually my parents or in-laws) would help us out if we ever became desperate. But I have seen that is an irresponsible and inconsiderate way to live. My father always saved for emergencies and just life in general...I am glad that lesson has finally sunk in!


5) People change.


Growing up, I did not receive a large amount of physical affection from my father. He was not a man given to hugs and kisses or even frequent "I love you" 's. But 3 grandchildren have changed my Dad! It is the joy of my adult life to see him interact with my children. They laugh and play and I see more hugs and kisses from him than ever before.


I pray daily for my father, both thanking my Heavenly Father for providing me with the blessing of a wonderful earthly father, and asking Him to open my father's heart to God's love and salvation.


Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hard Lessons


I often wonder why it takes me so long to learn the lessons God has for me....I am pretty sure He wonders as well. I grew up in a home where I had everything I needed, and pretty much everything I wanted as well. But my parents were not born into privileged families or given all of the best opportunities growing up, they worked and sacrificed for many years to be able to provide the lifestyle that we enjoyed when I was at home.


Unfortunately, that lifestyle often leads to expectations of ease and wealth in one's adulthood that are not entirely realistic. Although my parents tried to instill a sense of gratitude for what we had and understanding for how we got it in me....I never really caught on. I have been through years of financial struggle (and I am not sure when those years will come to an end!) because I never understood the "value of a dollar" (great...I just channeled by Dad!). I made risky decisions based on my personal, selfish desires without any thought to how they would impact me or my family financially.

My Mom and Dad are frugal---and that is putting it mildly. I used to tease my Mom about re-using plastic bags and tin foil (now there are 3 plastic bags in my sink waiting to be washed and re-used!). I never understood that it was because of their frugality that they could provide for me the way they did. I never grasped the concept of "saving for a rainy day" because I would rather spend it NOW! Even after I came to Christ and started reading my Bible and learning what He intended for me, I criticized my budget-conscious parents for putting their faith in money rather than God. But I was wrong....

Yep, I said it...I WAS WRONG! God does provide for His children, and I believe that with all my heart and soul and being, but God expects us to be responsible with what He has provided us. Our "back-up plan" has always been dependent upon the charity of our family and friends and I have come to realize that is not only selfish (incredibly selfish), but it goes against God's teachings regarding provision.

So now I am learning to find the joy in frugality. I love seeing how far I can stretch my groceries and how creative I can be in the kitchen preparing meals for my family. I enjoy seeing how much I have saved on my receipts when I use coupons or buy on sale. I have learned so much in the past year about what I truly need and what I truly just want. I pray that this financial drought will pass for us, but it may not...and that's okay, for I am content with what God has provided for us and am much more aware of what a true blessing it is!


"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' " Hebrews 13:5




Monday, May 31, 2010

Prayer of the Busy Wife and Mother


Having a Mary Heart and a Martha Mind


Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I’ve no time to be

A saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee,

Or dreaming in the dawn-light, or storming Heaven’s gates,

Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.


Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind,

And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.

I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor:

Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;

Forgive me all my worrying, and make my grumbling cease.

Thou who didst love to give men food, in room or by the sea,

Accept this service that I do -— I do it unto Thee.


—Cecily Rosemary Hallack (1898-1938)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Letter to My Husband



"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24



Dear Husband,

I am but a mere mortal woman, flawed in many ways. I make many mistakes and errors in my attempt to navigate this life with you and our children. I am weak and afraid sometimes. I need you to guide me spiritually to become a woman of virtue. But I am resilient and strong as well. I am easily hurt, but quick to forgive. I need to hear that I am of value to you as well as loved by you. I am demanding, but I would give my last breath for you. I often wrong and mistaken, I need your guidance. I am also often right, and I need your acknowledgment. I fail miserably a hundred times before I get some things right. I often pick myself up and try again on my own, but sometimes I need you to pick me up and encourage me. I get angry and frustrated with you, and though I try, I cannot always hold my tongue when I know I should. But most of all, most importantly....I LOVE YOU. I love everything about you and every moment with you.

Love,

Your Wife






Monday, May 24, 2010

A Quiet and Gentle Spirit


Recently, I have been convicted by God (through several people) of my propensity to dominate a conversation. He has opened my eyes to the fact that I often lack a quiet and gentle manner when I have something I feel is important to say. I have discussed this before regarding listening, but apparently I have failed to completely change my spirit...so here I am again.

"The words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools." Ecclesiastes 9:17

Did God just call me foolish? Maybe...if so, I probably deserve it. Proverbs 31:26 tells us that a virtuous woman "...opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue are the laws of kindness." So this is telling me that speaking in wisdom, also means speaking quietly. Proverbs 29:11 says "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." So not only should we speak quietly, but consider carefully before venting our feelings. Words spoken in anger cannot be unspoken. We can apologize and be forgiven, but we cannot undo the hurt those words cause.

Our society is very "feeling" oriented. Humanism is defined by Wikipedia as "a worldview and moral philosophy that considers humans to be of primary importance." Our media is full of "self-actualization" and "self-esteem" and "self-discovery". People are encouraged to vent their feelings, no matter the cost to those around them. This philosophy has even found its way into our churches, carefully disguised in church doctrine, it is there nonetheless.

This attitude of "self" is the major contributor to moral decay in our country and our churches today. We open our mouths without thinking of the consequences to others, only considering serving our immediate need to share what we consider important. I am guilty of this...I have fallen into the trap of thinking that I have to have an opinion about everything and everyone needs to hear it.

But God teaches us to deny self, to die daily to self. The Bible teaches humility and servitude, characteristics not often appreciated in our culture today. We live in a culture that wants to take credit for all the good and place blame elsewhere for all the bad. Self-actualization does not include taking responsibility for one's actions. But my Bible tells me that I have no worth in self...my only value is in my personal relationship with God.

Elizabeth George uses a term "God"-confidence rather than self-confidence in her book "A Woman After God's Own Heart". Women are taught from a young age in our humanistic society to rely on themselves and to be self-confident. Parents spend unreal amounts of money for therapy for their children to build their self-esteem. But we fail to focus on the One who is the source of all confidence, value, and esteem.

I heard on K-LOVE this afternoon of a challenge to spend the next 30 days only speaking uplifting, positive and edifying words to others and to yourself. I would take it one step further and challenge you to not only speak positively, but to hold your tongue when you would normally not. Don't always be the one to share your opinion or comment on a conversation. Sit quietly and listen to those around you and you may gain more wisdom than you know!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God's Presence


Last night I had a scary, but wonderful experience. Around 12 am, Mackenzie (my 2-year old) woke up wheezing and coughing and struggling to breathe and crying hysterically. She has had upper respiratory problems in the past so we have a rescue inhaler in her room, but typically her breathing problems are related to bronchitis in the winter. As I sat in our bathroom with the lights out and the hot water running in hopes that the steam would help clear her airway, she began to calm down and laid her head on my shoulder and said "sing, Mommy".



The song that came to mind was Amy Grant's "Better Than A Hallelujah"


God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a hallelujah sometimes

In that moment, singing those words and praying earnestly to God to protect my baby and help her breathe, I felt a calm, quiet voice say "I am with you". I knew that my Savior was there in that steamy bathroom, holding me in His arms as I held Mackenzie in mine. As I write this, tears are streaming down my face. I have never been so terrified one moment and so peaceful the next as I was last night.

"God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What We Can Learn From a Duck



Last night, as I was sitting in the parking lot at Harris Teeter, I observed a pair of mallard ducks...male and female. A couple (human) stopped to feed them some bread crumbs. I watched as the male duck cautiously eyed the woman scattering the crumbs then slowly backed away to let his mate eat. While she was eating, the gentleman (human, not duck) leaned down to take a picture at which time the male duck made it clear that he was too close to his mate. Once the gentleman (human, not duck) backed away, the male duck waited until his mate finished eating and then ate what she did not want.


What a beautiful illustration of a husband caring for the needs of his wife and protecting her from threats.

"So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife, loves himself." Ephesians 5:27-29

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Impressions


I overheard a conversation today in which a woman was furious with a new acquaintance's husband for implying that she was not appropriate company for his wife because she appeared to be "high maintenance". Her argument was that he had only met her once and that was at a social gathering for which she had taken time with her appearance, more than she would on a typical day at home.

But it made me think...how often are we judged on appearances and within a few moments of an initial meeting. While it is not necessarily fair, it is a fact of life. I want my appearance to reflect who I am all the time, which means being careful to make sure I am reflecting God's image both inside and out.

"in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." Timothy 2:9-10

The instructions here are clear, our outward appearance should be indicative of our inner godliness and reflective of our good works. It is important to remember that the way we conduct ourselves and our appearance not only reflects on us, but on God and His people. I want to promote a positive, modest, respectful image of my God.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heaven's Nursery


HEAVEN'S NURSERY

In Heaven there must surely be
A special place, a nursery
Where 'little spirits' not fully grown
Go to live in their Heavenly home.

The angels must attend with love
Tiny spirits on wings of doves,
The choir of angels must sing lullabies
Maybe quieten their tiny cries.

The Father must come by each day
To cuddle and play in a special way
These tiny spirits left earth too soon
Little ones called Home from the womb.

These sparks of life did not perish
But came to the Father's love to cherish,
To grow and be taught in His own arms
Safely away from all earthly harm.

The comforter was sent to earth at once
To the parents who lost their little one
Their hearts so ache, their arms feel empty
The question 'why' seems so tempting.

Then all at once in the midst of tears
There comes a peace that stills the fears
The parents share the Father's own need
To hold their tiny spirit being.

They relinquish their own desperate hold
And release their baby to the Father's fold,
Then comes an angel to whisper the truth
Of a nursery in Heaven bearing rich fruit

Of tiny spirits chosen to worship the Father
A place that couldn't be filled by another,
Called to be spared from the struggles of earth,
Chosen to be one of Heaven's births.

So Father, whisper words of love from me
To our unborn 'life' in your nursery.

(From Above Rubies website)

Book Review


Check out this book review at http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/?p=304. New book by Steve & Candace Watters "Start Your Family". I won't spend too long on it since you can read the review yourself, but it looks like a great guide to God's plan for families.


"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings. There is something wrong with this picture." Doug Phillips (Vision Forum Ministries)


Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves.
To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story,
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid"
And the voice of truth says "This is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

("Voice of Truth" lyrics by Casting Crowns)

I have recently been feeling God's call to change some things in my life. In fact, over the past year, I have more and more often heard God's voice in answer to some of my many questions about what to do in my life. Questions regarding the size of our family, work, finances, church, education, and many others.

But recently I was faced with a conflict, a challenge to what I feel has been God's message to me and my husband regarding some of these issues. It made me think...what do we do when someone we love and respect and seek advice from, gives us advice contrary to what we feel is God's answer or God's calling in our lives?

I find many passages in the Bible regarding advice and listening to one's elders. Proverbs 19:20 says "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." I believe this is instructing us to listen to those older and wiser than ourselves, but I also believe that man is just man, no matter what, God should be our ultimate guide. The next verse in Proverbs 19 says "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel, that will stand." (v.21). This tells me that I should seek guidance from people I trust, my parents, my Pastor, older church members, etc. But my final word should come from God, through studying His word and prayer.

Love & prayers....

Friday, April 30, 2010

Family Movie Night

Three weeks ago we instituted "Death Family Movie Night" on Friday nights. Logan and Emma get to stay up late and watch a movie of their choice (with Mom's approval!) and lay on the air mattress blown up in the living room and eat popcorn. Even though we miss Dad being a part of it, we have a wonderful time together.


I just wanted to take a few moments to remind everyone that you don't have to take expensive vacations or pay for outings or buy lots of toys. The joy of parenting is found in these everyday moments we share with our children. Sometimes we just have to turn off the computer (yes....I know, I am on the computer now) and turn off the phones (how ever many you have...I have 3, which is really 3 too many!) and enjoy some family time with each other! (Just added pic of Emma's ducky slippers because they are TOO CUTE!)



Love and prayers...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Listening


I am a talker. I know...those of you who know me are stunned! But, alas, it is true. I love to talk. In fact, blogging is just another outlet for my incessant chatter. I just have so many ideas and thoughts that beg to be shared...not always great ones, but they want to be shared nonetheless! But today I was reminded that the most important thing I can do, as a friend, a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a child of God, is listen.



"Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear" Psalm 45:10


God's word is full of instruction and most of it requires that we listen to what we are told. The word "listen" or "hear" is used over 500 times in the Bible (KJV)! God wants us to listen to Him! He has an important message for us!

"Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth." Proverbs 7:24

I have been studying prayer in my current Bible study, but I think often we forget an important piece of the "prayer puzzle"...and that is listening. Listening for God's response to our pleas and cries for help. Sometimes we are so caught up in the asking that we forget to listen for the answer!

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

I have also been convicted of not listening to my children. I talk to them...a lot, I yell at them...more than I like to admit, but I don't often listen to them. We often complain that we don't understand our children, why they do what they do, but how often do we listen to them? How often do we sit down and ask them what they think or want?

I had a great weekend this past weekend...especially Sunday when our new friends, Laura & Matthew, from church came over and spent the afternoon at our home. But today I realized that I talked and talked and talked (somewhat desperately I fear), but did I listen? Did I ask about them, their lives, their past, their dreams, their challenges? Did I take an interest in them and their lives by asking questions and then listening to the answers? That brings up another good point...how often do we ask a question and think we already know the answer so we tune out the response? I find myself moving ahead in the conversation while the other person is speaking, formulating my response to their next questions, or my rebuttal to their response.


So my goal and challenge to you for this week is to listen....be a good listener, take an interest and reign in my tongue. To not speak while someone else is speaking, to really listen to their problems, thoughts, questions, stories, and so on and take a genuine interest in what others have to say.


Love and prayers....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Storms


"And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm"
-Mark Hall


Sometimes it is hard to see God's plan when we are in the midst of a storm, but just knowing that He has me in His arms during trying times and is my shelter and rock is enough. I know that He will see me through the storms in my life, even though right now, I don't understand them.

Sunday, our pastor talked about adversity. That we should not only not run from it, but actually seek it out and linger in it, learning all that we can from the storms in our lives. Often our mentality in adversity is like that of a ship in a storm, hunker down and wait it out. Hide in the driest, safest corner and wait for the worst to pass. But that is not always what God intends for His children. He wants us not only to look back on the storm and say "what a lesson I learned", but we should see the lesson during the storm.

It is easy to look back when the storm has past and see the good that came from it, but it takes faith, rock solid faith, to say...even though you have not reached down and wiped my tears, stepped in and saved the day...I will praise you DURING this storm.

Rick and I are experiencing some storms right now in our lives and would like to ask for you to pray for us if you feel led to do so.

" O Lord my God, I cried out to You and you healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name." Psalm 30:3-4


Friday, April 23, 2010

Conflicted



Like everyone, I often find my carnal side and spiritual side at odds with one another. Recently the subject of this conflict has been my role in our home. I long to fill the traditional role of wife and mother, staying at home, raising my children and keeping house. Currently, however, I am filling the role of bread-winner.

Since moving to Greensboro last year, Rick has not been able to rebuild the very successful business he had in Virginia Beach. Looking back, I see that our move to Greensboro, while it was a decision we all made together, was entirely centered on me and my job. I failed miserably in my duty to support my husband in his endeavor to rebuild his business here...unfortunately it has taken me over a year to see the folly of my ways.

Don't get me wrong, we have been blessed by God in ways we could never have imagined and many of those blessings came because of our struggles with Rick's employment and the lack of financial stability that resulted. I don't know that Rick would have heeded God's calling into ministry had he been able to re-establish his business here.

But the more I study my Bible and His guidance for women, I realize that God has called me to a ministry as well. The ministry of wife, mother, and homemaker. I need to be at home with my children. I want to be here when Rick gets home from work, with dinner prepared and ready to enjoy our time together as a family. I want to go to the grocery store, take them to doctor appointments, and run the numerous errands associated with running a household.



I also feel called to home school my children. I am less and less impressed with the quality of education in our schools today. Don't misunderstand, I have many dear friends who are teachers and I admire them and I know that hey have the best interest of the children in their hearts. However, I also feel that schools are so regulated by government now that it is more about test scores, numbers, and rankings than it is about truly developing the minds of children as individuals.

So, my friends, I ask that you pray. I know that God does not put something in our hearts without providing the way to make it happen. However, right now, He is choosing to keep the "how" of all of this to Himself. Pray that we will be patient and seek His guidance in our choices.

Love & prayers...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Down Time


So here we are on Tuesday night, soccer night, and Emma, Mackenzie & I are all sick. I am so blessed to have wonderful friends that offered to take Logan to soccer so I did not have to take my girls out. It's not even 6 pm and they have both had baths and chicken soup and are snuggled up on the couch watching cartoons.

As much as I hate for them to feel bad, I love the cuddly, snugly, sweet demeanor of my girls when they don't feel well. It's a nice cool, rainy night to cuddle up together and relax in front of the TV.

So....no earth-shattering epiphanies tonight. Just a reminder to enjoy every moment together, even when it's not the moment you had planned.

Love & Prayers...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cup Half Full?

Someone recently told me that, although my blog description claims to share all the aspects of my life, I tend to be less than forthcoming with the negative parts. I realize that I often don't share my feelings of fear, hurt, anger, frustration on my blog. I suppose the reason is two-fold, I usually blog at night after everything has calmed down and I have had a chance to put the day in perspective (at that point it doesn't seem as bad as it did when I was in the middle of it!), but I also have always struggled with the concept that showing these emotions is a sign of weakness.

Truth be told, I am a big chicken. I say that with a smile, but it is an accurate description of me. I am nervous about taking my daughter to school tomorrow (usually Rick does this)...will I get lost, will I get in the right car line, will I be able to get out of the parking lot, will I know how to sign her in. Silly, insignificant things like this can paralyze me with fear. It is not so much those individual items, but the overall fear of looking stupid, of humiliation, of appearing to not be in absolute control at all times.

I have been down lately. Hurt, angry, frustrated. I have cried and cried out to God to save me from this place that I am in. I have strayed far from the path that God has laid out for me and I have been lost. Only in the past couple of days have I seen the beacon of light leading me back to shore. I have gotten back into His word and that is where I need to be. But I wanted to share my feelings with you all to let you know that I am not always happy. I am often not fine when I say I am fine.

I have been overwhelmed with life lately and have been feeling inadequate as a wife and mother and even at my job. I have frequently felt inadequate as a wife and mother, but usually I am pretty secure in my job performance...it is the one thing I do well. Having a wonderful husband like mine is often a double-edged sword, especially when you pair him with someone like me-who is afraid of everything. For a long time, he has made up for my deficits, he handles the aspects of parenting that terrify me (birthday parties with people I don't know, school drop off and pick up, soccer practice & games, etc.). But recently, recognizing that I need to put aside my irrational fears and participate in life, he has begun turning over many of these things to me...some out of necessity (he works evenings) and some not out of necessity. Unfortunately, I do not feel I measure up to him in the performance of these tasks.

I am surrounded by women who lament their husbands who don't help with the kids, don't do any housework and some that don't even work at all. I, on the other hand, am married to the male version of June Cleaver! Not only does he do these things, but he does them better than me. That is a tough pill to swallow, and it often leaves me feeling inadequate and useless. Don't get me wrong, I am perfectly capable of and do contribute equally to our household, but he has often picked up where I am afraid to go on.

So there it is....all my ugly, dark, negative feelings. The walls are down, the floodgates open. I need friends and family to talk to sometimes. Someone to understand where I am and just say "It's okay, I have been there too." Moving to Greensboro was one of the best decisions we have made, but it has not been without challenges. One of those challenges is finding a network of friends that can see me at my worst and still love me. Friends that can come over when my house is a mess and my kids are nasty and I am not at my best and not judge. Hopefully this will give you some insight into me as a person and peel away another layer of protection around my heart.

Love & Prayers.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Prayer of Betty Scott Stam

I wanted to share this prayer with you. This was the daily prayer of Betty Scott Stam, a missionary in China who was executed alongside her husband while her 3-month old baby slept in a mud hut.

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life.
I give up myself, my time, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.
Use me as Thou wilt, send my where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."



I am humbled by the strength and faith of this young missionary mother who sacrificed herself to share God's word.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crazy Beautiful Life

What a crazy, amazing, busy week! I can't believe this week went so fast...although it seems like it has been much more than a week since Easter.


I was out of town for business on Monday & Tuesday which always throws a wrench in our schedule. Tuesday night Logan had his first soccer practice...he had a great time and I think this will be a fun season! Wednesday night I got to just relax with the kids, a welcome break from our busy lives. Thursday night we had 2 overnight guests (Sierra, 4 & Grayson, 8) so I took 5 kids to soccer practice (for Emma & Sierra) and then fed them all and got them all to bed by 8:30, it was pretty awesome, but very exhausting.


Somehow through all of this activity we have fallen behind in laundry and housework, so today (a beautiful Saturday!) I am cleaning bathrooms and folding laundry! But that's okay-I am glad to have the time today to do it!


The weather has been beautiful. Last Sunday, the kids helped me clean the outside toys, which turned into a water fight! Our garden is coming along nicely, the strawberry plants already have little green berries. I am ready to get more plants for the garden.


All in all, life is good. Not without it's challenges, but overall good. I have, lately, found myself spending more time in worldly pursuits rather than focusing on my walk with God. I committed last night to spend time studying His word every day. I have also neglected the Love Dare which I am going to be re-focusing on as well. I definitely know when I am straying from the path God has chosen for me...and I definitely need to get back there, quickly!


Love & Prayers

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Springtime!


I love Spring...it is one of my favorite seasons. I love the new growth on the trees and plants, the beautiful colors of the flowers, and the birds singing. Yes, I know...cheesy, but I love it! Especially after a particularly cold and wet winter here in NC, it is nice to have warm breezes and bright sunshine to lift my spirits.

Spring is a season of growing. We have done a lot of growing in our home and we have a lot more to do. We are growing our first garden here in NC...we have planted tomatoes, strawberries (I found the first little green berries today!) and kohlrabi & I have my kitchen herb garden as well....oregano, rosemary & thyme so far. We have grown together as a family, less selfish, more helpful to one another. Rick and I have grown as a couple..again removing "I" from many of our conversations. We are eating healthier and exercising more...as a family. We have found a wonderful church home at Edgefield and are growing in our faith daily.

Today we had an Easter Egg at EBC....it was so much fun. The kids had a great time hunting for eggs and they heard the Easter story and got their picture taken with the Easter bunny. It is wonderful to have a church family like Edgefield to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior with.



We are going to check out the Greensboro Trails this weekend and take a nature hike as a family..something I would like to make a regular weekend occurrence. Logan and I did some gardening this afternoon while Rick and Emma checked out a new (to us) natural/organic grocery store.

We are definitely keeping busy. Lots going on in the next couple of months...EBC Yard Sale in a couple of weeks and our Disney Trip in May. So stay tuned for more pictures and funny tales of our kids!

One final thought...I think perhaps my favorite smell of spring/summer is sunscreen on my kids. Mackenzie had such a wonderful sun-kissed, sunscreen smell after the egg hunt today-I wish I could bottle it and put it in one of those scented oils or something!

Love & Prayers...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going Green

Lately, Rick and I have realized that we need to change our lifestyle...in a BIG way! (Okay...we have known this for years, but have now decided to take action). The general idea is to live a healthier lifestyle-more fresh foods, more exercise and activity, less processed and packaged and less time in front of the TV and computer (yes, I know I am in front of the computer right now).

But another part of this "healthier lifestyle" is reducing our "carbon footprint" and using our resources more responsibly. By being responsible consumers of our natural resources, we show our children that it is important to take care of our bodies, our spirits, and our environment. So my goal is to make changes, small & big, one at a time, towards living a more healthy and organic life.

No, I am not a "tree-hugger" or "environmental extremist". I still drive a Tahoe that gets terrible gas mileage (although I would like to trade that in on a mini-van soon), I am not throwing away all non-organic foods and I won't be paying $34/lb. for grass-fed beef. Life is about balance, the challenge (as in many aspects of my life) is deciding what is important and what can be compromised.

So for now, we are learning to use less water, turn off electronics, and grocery shop in a whole new way-in fact, I am hoping to hit the Piedmont-Triad Farmer's Market next week to pick up some fresh, locally grown, organic fruits and veggies.

Love & Prayers...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Updates


It has been a busy week at the Death House...the weekend flew by and suddenly Monday & Tuesday are also gone. Not to mention that we are headed to Virginia Beach this coming weekend so I am trying to make sure we have clean clothes and get packed for our trip. All of this activity can escalate stress levels, especially mine, which results in short tempers. Tonight was one of those nights that I was just aggravated and cranky.

So now the kids are in bed and all is quiet and I will take some time to reflect on my day and the week so far.

Emma has another loose tooth. Mackenzie is actually using the potty at least a couple of times each day. Logan is....well, Logan is a typical 7-year old boy forced to grow up in house where he is outnumbered by girls. The weather has been spectacular the past few days and we have definitely enjoyed it. Today I also enjoyed the benefits of being able to work from home on occasion. It is nice to go and sit outside and play with your kids when you need a break from the office.

Tomorrow starts the downhill speed-race to the weekend. I have to go to Fayetteville, NC (about 2 hours) for work, and then as soon as I get home, Rick will be off to work until 12 or 1 am. We still need to reserve a rental car (our Tahoe does not have legal tags yet...yes I do procrastinate on some things!) for this weekend and pack and clean up the house.

Crazy crazy crazy....

Our garden is coming along nicely...we were a little worried that we planted too early, but the weather has been good and not too cold at night. The herbs are looking great on my back porch and I recently found a big galvanized steel tub that I am going to transplant them too as it is big enough to hold all of them and looks really cool! I have even remembered to water the plants....impressive, I know. Next weekend Rick will be putting a fence around our little garden patch to keep the animals out...I love that we live in an area that we actually have seen deer in the backyard!



Very exciting things happening in our house...but most of all, we are just enjoying the life that God has given us!

Love & Prayers...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Approval

People seek approval. We work for it, desire it, demand it, need it. We search it out in all the wrong places. From birth, we are constantly seeking the approval of parents, teachers, peers, playmates....later in life, co-workers, bosses, spouses, friends. Women are particularly driven to obtain approval, but men want it too-don't deny it! But sadly, we often overlook the One we should desire approval from the most, the only One, in fact, that we should desire approval from.

I am learning and studying on being a "woman after God's own heart" and having a "heart devoted to God." I have been reading the story of when Jesus came to Martha & Mary's home for dinner. Martha busied herself preparing the meal, cleaning and cooking...all of which would gain her great approval among her peers and would even be expected of a "good homemaker". Mary, on the other hand, stopped her activity an sat and listened to the teachings of Jesus. When Martha rebuked Mary....Jesus rebuked Martha. Mary had a heart devoted to God. A heart that desired to hear His word and was devoted to spend time worshipping Him.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" Proverbs 3:6

I desire to continually choose God, in every aspect of my life. I desire a heart that seeks Him in every decision, every day. I daily commit myself to stop and pray each time I come to a crossroads in my day, so that my path will always be in His direction.

Love & Prayers...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Growing Season

Spring is finally here. Time for new life and growth, purging and cleaning, wiping out the cobwebs and dust to reveal the beauty and shine beneath. Today has definitely been a day to welcome Spring at our house. We started our vegetable and herb garden today....planted tomatoes, kohlrabi, and strawberries, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, and rosemary. Still have some more planting to do, but it is a good start. We cleaned up the back yard and driveway (we are challenged for outside storage space-especially for the multitude of bikes, scooters, and power wheels we own!).

The kids had a great time digging in the dirt and planting. Logan was even a big help to Rick spreading the dirt and even helped with the tiller a bit! We all had our share of sun and fresh air after what feels like the longest, coldest, grayest winter of my life! I am exhausted, but invigorated!

To top off a wonderful day of new life and growth in the garden, we went to church tonight for a Praise and Worship to celebrate new life and growth in God. It was a sweet and special time of song and prayer and fellowship at Edgefield and we enjoyed it immensely. It is wonderful to get together with our Christian brothers and sisters to renew our spirit and praise God together!

So, I pray that you have growth and new life and love in your life this happy Spring season. Get out and enjoy the sunshine and beauty of nature that God made for us!

Love & Prayers...