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