Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Memory Lane

Each year, 3 friends and I take pictures of our oldest kids at the same place at a park. We have 5 pictures already! That really makes time seem like it's zooming by. Here they are...

2003














2004














2005














2006














2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lite Brite

(This is from an old blog of mine I ran across today, written on 02/06. I thought it was worthy of a re-post here) :)


This afternoon at my parent’s house, my mom pulled out my old Lite Brite. (You know, where you stick the pegs in the black paper to make designs, and they light up.) Abby and I had a great time making all sorts of pictures! It was a lot of fun. I’ll get back to this.

I’ve been contemplating pride lately. It affects everyone. We can be prideful of our abilities, giftedness, appearance, position, talents, children, acts of kindness, apparent righteousness, status, whatever!

And as I played Lite Brite, I realized I am a peg. Plain, boring, and dull. However, when the light shines through me, I’m bright and colorful! Imagine if a yellow peg said to the blue peg, “I’m so much brighter than you! Look at how shiny I am! I’m the best peg!” It would seem ridiculous. They’re both equally boring and plain and dull. The light is what makes them shine. It has nothing to do with them.

Everything I am – talents, possessions, abilities, giftedness, lack of ability even – it all came from God. He created me for a purpose. When I’m connected to Him, He makes me shine. It’s not my own doing, and to brag about it, even in my innermost heart, would be absurd.

Now I see even more clearly what Jeremiah meant, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” Amen to that!

Of course, the analogy can go even further. If I’m not in Christ, I’m in darkness. There is no in between. I praise God for sending Jesus, His Light, to our dark world so we don’t have to live in the dark anymore!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cobwebs in the Soul

Today I'm having one of those days. I didn't get up when my alarm told me to, I had to rush right into the day w/ the kids, I didn't have a quiet time, I still haven't showered, I'm tired from staying up too late, I have dishes left over from yesterday, I didn't get my laundry put away yesterday, and I'm still not unpacked from our weekend in Ohio, so it's spilling all over.

I'm at the sink this afternoon trying to get some dishes put away so I can have space to make lunch and throw some food in the crock pot for dinner when I start thinking, "I have got to make sure I get up earlier! If I would have had time in the morning with God, this day would be better." My thoughts continued, "And I've GOT to make sure this kitchen is all cleaned up before I go to bed, no matter how tired I am, or I start out behind and the rest of the day is ruined." "And I absolutely have to go to bed earlier."

Then it hit me. And I said it out loud. "That is a lie!" My peace is not dependent entirely on what I do or what the circumstances are around me. Peace in a trial is sometimes easier because it's BIG. But peace amidst the ordinary isn't earned by routines and orderliness. Of course I believe that cleanliness helps! LOL! But really, God's peace is available to me all the time, no matter where I am.

So I prayed, "God, I need your peace and joy, because I've been in a rotten mood all day."

Nathan was jumping off the couch onto a big stuffed dog shouting "Look! Look!" So rather than "mmhmm-ing" him, I turned and watched. It really was funny, the way his little body would bounce and roll. I actually let out a genuine chuckle. Rest time came, and as I laid him down he asked to read a book. We read "Moo, Baa, La La La." Watching him make all the noises brought out another genuine and not forced smile.

I'm still feeling sort of all tied up inside. But I'm smiling, because I know that God will help me unravel the cobweb of emotions that sometimes makes a nest in my soul.

Time to go upstairs, unwind, and spend some time meditating on truth.

Even things that sound good can sometimes be a lie, and we miss out on all the blessings around us.


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does."
John 14:27-28

Monday, December 10, 2007

Eureka! I've solved my laundry problem!

As many of you know, my biggest nemesis in the home has always been laundry. As a kid, the laundry would pile a foot high in my room. When I got married, I was more sophisticated - I used the guest bedroom! And now that I have three kids, it almost got to the point of complete chaos.

I tried many systems that work well for others. Doing a load a day, doing a certain color each day, doing it all one day and putting it away the next. Each system left me with piles and piles of clean laundry because the folding and putting away was the part my brain never learned. Then, the clothes that needed to be hung would get so wrinkled I'd have to rewash them. OR the other tragedy - I'd forget I had a load going and leave in the wash until it started to smell, and then I'd have to rewash it. I hate the "Re" word.

The last time I complained to my friends about laundry, I showed a picture of my entry way covered in dirty clothes, stacked 3-4 feet high. I was overwhelmed and frustrated, so I decided I wouldn't hide away from my laundry, I'd face my fear and tackle it head-on. That day I did all of the loads, probably a zillion or so, and didn't quit until everything was put away. Whew! I even did the random things like sweaters that I usually never wear because they sit in a "need to be done in a delicate wash" pile all winter.

Ever since then, that has been my system. On Mondays I do laundry - all day and night. I don't hide it when it is dry - I set it out in my family room so it stares at me in plain sight. Every time my dryer buzzes, I switch the load. Once it is all finished, usually after dinner, I gather the kids and we sort and put away all the laundry. Even mismatched socks must find a home and not linger in a laundry basket until next week.

I've hesitated posting about this success for fear it was a short-lived victory, but I'm proud to say I've been lovin' laundry for eight months! Hooray!

I love this system because I look at laundry only one day a week, on a day when I'm usually home, and I don't have to look or breath or smell or touch or think about my least favorite chore the rest of the week!

It may not work for you - since most of your systems don't work for me :) - but I'm so glad I no longer have this to complain about! And I'm sure you are too. Now... if only I can get my juicer to clean itself...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Nearly Free Dates

I love going on a date with my husband! Last night I was thinking, we are in such a great city, there should be dozens of nearly-free dates available. This takes creativity because it goes beyond dinner and a movie. (And a trip to Target - we always end up shopping at Target...) I made them nearly-free because you still might want to get a coffee, bring a picnic lunch, or get something for dinner. And then there's always the babysitter.

Speaking of, some friends of mine do monthly date night swaps. Twice a month one family watches the kids while the other couple goes out. I think it's brilliant! Especially if you don't have grandparents close by.

As I started brain storming, I realized that it was harder than I thought! That's where you come in - add your ideas to the comments! Here is the list so far:


INDOOR:
Art Museum on Thursdays
Play Chess or another game at Starbucks
The Library
Walk around the mall, people watch
Make your own movie
Cook something new together

OUTDOOR:
Hike at Cool Creek Park, or another park
Walk the Canal
Free Summer Concerts all over the place
Bike, Rollerblade, or walk the Monon
Swim
Play Tennis
Outdoor at the Art Museum

Ok, this needs some work! Ideas, please! :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Keep Moving Forward!


I was recently inspired by the movie, "Meet the Robinsons." I don't want to give away the plot that literally brought a tear or two at the end, but there's a motto throughout the show, "Keep Moving Forward."

There's a time in the movie when our under-dog genius makes another bad invention, and the zany cast of characters begins applauding and cheering for him, making comments like, "Good failure!" "Way to go!" and "If you have a success the first time, you learn nothing, but if you fail, you learn a lot... Keep moving forward!"

It was inspired by the Walt Disney Quote:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Disney wasn't the first to come up with this saying. It started around 2000 years ago when Paul wrote in a letter to the Philippians,

3:10-14 "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."


We are to forget what is behind us and keep moving forward toward the goal to win the prize that God has called for us, looking to Heaven.

Do we as Christians still sin and mess up? Every day. Angela Thomas wrote in her book "A Beautiful Offering" that it's like turning in a paper at the end of every day. Some days we hand in an A-. Other days it's a D. If we're connecting with God, he takes the paper, sets it down, and says, "Get a good night sleep. We'll go at it again tomorrow." His mercies are new every morning!

Another passage I love about this is Pslam 37:23-24:

The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

Did you notice the "when he falls?" We are going to mess up and fall, but we shouldn't stand still for fear of falling. We should walk confidently in the path God has for us because he's the one holding onto us. Hebrews calls Jesus the anchor of our soul. We have not been given a Spirit of fear, but of Power.

The enemy wants us to live in the past in fear and regret, but God has an amazing future set out in front of us. So rent the movie, pick up your Bible, and Keep Moving Forward!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Tree Hunt

The 10th Annual Tree Hunt

A tradition we've had since we've been married is to cut down our tree the day after Thanksgiving. Each year we head out in search of a tree farm. We never go the same way twice, and we usually end up somewhere new.

This year was no exception. We headed into town, knowing that there was a tree farm we hadn't been to. It was actually easy to find, which was pleasantly surprising.

We found the perfect tree, made sure it was straight, decorated it with memories, and sat back to gaze at the lights. Peaceful. It was a perfect evening with our family. The girls hung most of the ornaments, while Nathan played with everything breakable.

Nothing profound happened, but that is what made the night so special. It reminds me of the night Jesus was born. There was nothing profound or amazing about the hay, manger, and the smell of animals.

The profound and amazing part was Jesus himself. He was Divine. That's what makes the night so special. And I guess that is why ours was special too.

May your family truly enjoy the real meaning of Christmas this season!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What to do with Santa?


What are we, as Christians, supposed to do with Santa? There are many theories, but this being my blog, I'll share mine.

I did not grow up believing in Santa, so the idea of teaching my children that a large man comes down the chimney carrying presents seems rather foreign. I know some people gave my parents a hard time, but I think I'm a well-adjusted adult despite that lack of fantasy in my life.

So what am I doing about Santa? I've explained to my kids that there is a big game everyone plays in December. We pretend about Santa, Rudolph, Elves, and Snowmen that come alive. The key is - there is no Santa for real, and I tell them that, but because of the game, we are not to tell anyone that he is not real. This keeps them from spilling the secret to other kids on the playground.

It's a part of December that I touch on very briefly, and they have an answer to strangers who ask, "What did Santa bring you for Christmas?" But most importantly, we spend the majority of our time in December focused on the Greatest Gift from the Greatest Giver.

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Christmas Games and Crafts

Here are a few Christmas Games and Crafts I have gathered from different sites. I like putting things like this into one place.

Christmas Games:

Dance!

Dance to Christmas Music. Slow & Fast.

Freeze
Begin playing Christmas music, everyone moves and dances until the music stops then they must "freeze" in whatever position they happen to be in.

Hide and Seek

Cut out Christmas Ornaments and hide them for others to find.

Let it Snow

Play let is snow with the snowflakes you made.

Christmas Wreath
Suspend a large Christmas wreath in a doorway at a convenient height from the floor. Prepare in advance "snowballs," made of cotton batting covered with white tissue paper.

The players stand about eight feet from the wreath, and take turns, one at a time. Each is given three "snowballs," and the one who succeeds in throwing all three, one at a time, through the wreath, is given the prize.

To make it more exciting, sides may be chosen, and each one of the three snowballs numbered, one being 5, the other, 10, and the third, 20. If the ball numbered 5 goes through, it counts 5 for that player's side. If it does not go through, it is a loss, and so on. The side scoring the most points is victorious.

The Night Before Christmas Musical Chairs

Another amusement is playing "The Night before Christmas" like "Musical Chairs ." Give each child the name of some part of Santa Claus' outfit, the sleigh, the reindeer, etc. The hostess then reads the well-known story, "The Night Before Christmas." As she mentions the names, the players having them, rise, turn around, and sit down again. When she mentions Santa Claus, all change places, and she tries to secure a seat. The one left out continues the story, and so on, until completed.

Santa Says
Play like "Simon Says" but replace the phrase "Simon Says" with "Santa Says." For instance, leader Elf says: 'Santa says, "Put your hands on your head."' All players should be their hands on their head. When the leader Elf gives an instruction without saying "Santa Says" and the followers do the action anyway, the leader Elf says "HO! HO! HO!" and the player must sit down. The last player left standing is the winner and can then be the leader Elf.

Hot “Stocking” Potato

Big & Little Christmas Trees

Call out big, medium, and little and have your children to be that size of Christmas Tree.

Big: stand up with feet together and put hands above head in a point

Middle: Squat knees together and put hands above head in a point

Little: Sit down with legs crossed and put hands above head in a point

Santa, Santa, Reindeer

Play just like duck, duck, goose

Pin the Star on the Nativity

Play just like pin the tail on the donkey.

Nativity Popsicle Puppets

Draw and Color the characters, put on a show!

Christmas Crafts


  1. Finger Paint
  2. Clay Candy Canes/Candy Cane Beaded Necklaces
  3. Paint nativity scenes
  4. Standup Nativity Craft
  5. See templates below
  6. Peppermint Wreath tacky glue, peppermint candies, cardboard, ribbon. Cut out a circle shape from the cardboard. Then cut out the center to make a wreath form. If you don't have cardboard, you can use an empty cereal box. Spread the glue over the wreath form. Then have the children place the candies all around the wreath. You have the option of leaving the wrappers on the candies, or taking them off. Make a bow with the ribbon and glue to the top center. Let dry. Then depending on the size of the wreath, you can place a magnet on the back to hang on the fridge, or you can tie a ribbon hanger around the top to put on the tree or display.
  7. Gingerbread Dough (Index)
    1. 2 cups flour
      1 cup salt
      2 T ground cinnamon
      1 T ground cloves
      water (about 1 cup)
    2. Mix everything together. If making ornaments for Christmas time, have the children form the dough into desired shapes or use cookie cutters, then lay them down to dry.
  8. Play Dough (Index)
    1. 1 cup flour
      1 cup water
      1 Tblsp. oil
      1/2 cup salt
      1 tsp. cream of tartar
      food coloring
    2. Mix ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and becomes doughy in consistency. Knead until cool.
    3. Not edible! Can be used over and over again. Store in air tight container. Keeps 3 months unrefrigerated.
    4. Glitter Dough: Sprinkle glitter on a tabletop. Work the glitter into the dough.
      Spicy Dough: Add ground cinnamon or nutmeg to the dough.
      Peppermint Dough: Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the dough.
  9. Star Ornaments
    Precut star shapes out of heavy poster paper, two identical shapes for each child. Punch holes around the edges and have children "sew" their stars together with ribbon or yarn. Decorate with sparkle glue and glitter. A clothespin glued onto the back clips the star to the top of a Christmas tree.

  1. Pipe Cleaner Ornaments
    Have the children thread pipe cleaners with tri-colored beads so that they nest together. Bend and shape the pipe cleaners to make a wreath, candy cane, star.....tie on a ribbon loop to hang!

  1. Hole-punched Christmas Trees
    For window displays..let the sun light up the trees.
    You will need: 1/2 shets of 9X12" black construction paper; scissors, small pieces of assorted colors of tissue paper, hole punchers, glue, glitter, yellow construction paper (star).
    Fold black paper in half lengthwise. Cut along open edge to resemble one side of a Christmas tree. Leave paper tree folded in half and punch numerous holes all over tree. Unfold tree. On one side, glue assorted colors of tissue paper over holes. Turn tree over. Finish decorating with glue and glitter to make garland scallops. Add a yellow construction paper star on top.

  1. "Hand-some" Trees
    Everyone can lend a 'hand' to help with this display project. Have the children tracae th eoutline of each of their hands onto three shades of green construciton paper and cut out. Starting at the top, work your way down the tree, stapling one additional hand cutout in each row. After the greenery is in place, add a brown paper trunk and child-made ornaments. A "Hand-some" Tree!

  1. Make Snow Flakes with Tissue Paper

  1. String Popcorn

  1. Make Paper Chain Decorations

  1. Hand print/Foot Print Angel

  1. Foam Tree Ornament

  1. Dangling Snowman Foam Ornament

  1. Nativity Craft Gift Kit (Oriental Trading)

  1. Snowman Door Hanger Gift Kit (Oriental Trading)

Christmas Idea: Luke 2:1-20

I'm going to post the plan I have for my children this Christmas Season. In the past, we've done a version of a Jesse Tree leading up to Christmas. I've created a different plan this time based on Luke 2:1-20.

I'll post the general outline below. If you want a copy of the worksheets I have to go along with each day, give me a comment with your email address and I'll send it your way!

This is also where those of us who are doing this together can post comments and ideas to further expand on mine.

Verse per day

Ideas

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

Word: Census

Where is Rome?

What is a census?

Take a census of our family’s favorite things.

2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Word: Governor.

Who is our governor? What does he do?

Make a Christmas Card for our governor.

Trace Indiana

3And everyone went to his own town to register.

Word: Town

Learn about our home town. Zionsville.

Read a map.

Draw a map of our street.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Word: Joseph

Where is Nazareth?

Who is in our family tree? Make a family tree.

Make a card for Daddy,

5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Word: Mary

Mary and Joseph traveling.

Transportation, then and now.

Write a card for mom, grandmas…

6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

Word: Birth

Send letters to pregnant friends.

Look through kids’ baby books, read birth stories.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Word: Inn

Act it out – no room in the Inn.

Making room for Jesus in our hearts.

Taking care of a baby.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Word: Shepherds

What do shepherds do?

Play follow the shepherd game w/ rod, make sheep masks

Jesus is the Good Shepherd

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Word: Glory, praise and honor to God.

Sing praises to God.

GLORY – Acrostic Poem

10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Word: Joy

All the people – everywhere.

Pray for those who haven’t heard of Jesus.

Do something good to someone to give joy.

Go Caroling?

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.

Word: Savior

What did Jesus save us from?

Cross activity. candy canes and tell about red representing the blood Jesus shed and the white being the forgiveness we get because of Him dying on the cross. We have those red beads and white beads that are kind of triangular and they put them on red pipe cleaners and then shape them into candy canes. Or, you could just eat candy canes, etc.

12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Word: Sign

Read about the signs of Jesus’s birth.

Road signs – hunt outside for them.

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Word: Angel

Praise God.

Angel Craft

14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Word: Peace

How can we be at peace with God?

Be Peacemakers

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

Word: Bethlehem

Obedience. What if they had waited?

Play Simon Says

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Word: Manger

Nativity Scene Craft

Hurry – play tag or a game where you have to hurry.

17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

Word: Spread

Spread Paint on Paper. Spread Peanut butter on crackers.

Tell others about Jesus.

18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Word: Amazed

Practice telling others what Jesus did.

Make a puppet show to share the story of Jesus.

19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Word: Ponder

How do we ponder about God? Read our Bibles, pray, go to Church, talk with others.

20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Word: Praise

Write a letter to God, praising Him.

Make a rubberband guitar.

Play musical instruments in a parade.

Go Caroling?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Power of Advertising


Our kids don't watch TV except for movies and occasionally PBS. I appreciate PBS because there are no commercials. A recent experience made me realize just how thankful for this I really am.

My girls started talking to me endlessly about this fold-and-go carseat. You can fold it up and easily take it with you anywhere. They just had to have one!

The Go Anywhere carseat was a sponsor of one of their PBS shows, so a quick demonstration of how it worked was placed in between their programming. This one mundane ad sent them into a tizzy of excitement. I can only imagine what regular commercials showing talking babies and toy cars that climb walls would do!

I was reminded of how good advertisers are at their jobs. That's what they get paid for - to make us think we need something. If a carseat ad excites my children, I can only imagine what else there would be out there to get them all riled up about.

So for now, our TV-less living will continue! And I'm more convinced of that than ever.

Philippians 4:12-13, NIV
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peace

Where does my peace come from? It is a miracle of God. Unexplainable. I could try and write a whole blog about how real God is in my life, but it really just shows by the peace that is in my soul that flows out after spending time talking with my Creator.

Not all days are peaceful. Last week we moved, and my books were packed, and I'd misplaced my Bible amidst the boxes. I was staying up late at night, giving me a good excuse to sleep in later than usual and skipping my chats with God. At first it was ok, I was sailing along on a reserve tank. But as the week progressed, I grew irritable, judgmental, overwhelmed, self-righteous, impatient, and unrealistic. (I'm sorry if it spilled out on any of you!)

Saturday night I put my bedroom together and found my books, journals, and ahhh, my Bible. So God and I sat down together. He had to show me quite vividly how rotten my heart had gotten in such a short amount of time away from Him.

It's no wonder He teaches us to pray, saying, "Give us our DAILY bread." Just as I get hungry every day, I need to be hungry for Him daily as well.

Yes, I'm feeble and frail. I am not super woman. But I serve a Super God who has promised to be faithful and enable me to do all the works He's prepared for me. That is where my peace comes from.

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you."
James 4:8

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Time


I've always loved thinking about Time.

I remember working at an office job where, at the beginning, there was very little to do. Piles and Piles and Piles of paperwork awaited me every morning, begging to be filed. Although I know my ABC's, filing for 8 hours is not enough brain stimulation to keep me awake, regardless of the amount of coffee I consumed. Those days were longer than summer days as a kid. A close second was the day I got a temp job where I had to sit in front of a paper shredder and - yes - shred paper for 8 hours. Oh my goodness. Great memories.

I also remember when my oldest daughter was around 2 months old, still in the blob stage. I was sitting over her, shaking a rattle thinking, "Is this it?" The day droned on and on. I knew I was supposed to be enjoying it because "it goes quickly, my how they've grown, and you'll blink and they'll grow up," but I have to admit and be honest that it was challenging to savor every moment when my brain was falling asleep standing up.

But then there are other days, like when my friends come over. We have a play group that meets almost weekly with 11 kids combined ages 6 and under. By the time we have arrived, made lunch, eaten, cleaned up lunch, had snacks, done an activity, and kept things under control, it is time to go home and our conversations have been little more than 2-3 sentences in a row. I wonder where the few precious hours went. Then our husbands are amazed when we go out alone without kids and talk until 2 in the morning. "But you see each other all the time!"

I began thinking about this recently after having a dream in between snooze alarms. I know that the dream in reality was only 7 minutes, but in dreamland it spanned over days. Upon first awakening, the dream was very clear and specific and there were very solid details filled into those days. In only seven minutes.

As a finite creature, I often have trouble fathoming the idea of time and eternity. Forever. No beginning or end. No constraints or barriers. Just always. It helps me to think that God is the creator of time and is therefore not contained by his creation, just as he is not subject to gravity which he also created for us.

He is separate from it, Holy, apart.

When I have dreams like that, it helps me realize that there is more to time (or the lack of real time) than our minds can fathom. God gave us the sun to make days and nights so that the small portion of our brain that we actually use can have something tangible to go off of with boundaries we can easily understand.

I'm actually fully satisfied that I don't understand. I'm thankful that I have a God who is bigger and more complex than me. I don't have to have it all figured out, that is His job. I want to trust Him and thank Him that although He is awesome and huge and big and "Oh Wow!" and all the other words like that, he cares for me personally and has a plan for my life and loves me... all the time - and beyond it.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Break Time

I take a break from our previously scheduled program of moving and packing to say...

"AHHHHHHH!"

So not fun.

We've spent the last 3 full days painting the new house. Ok, that was fun. And today, we're moving appliances. Tonight, after trick or treating, I'll be cleaning the kitchen and adding shelf paper.

But the boxes, stuff, and more stuff, after already haven gotten rid of so much - just a bit overwhelming.

Ok, break time is over. Bye!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Facebook 2

I lied. I'm totally and completely hooked. *sigh* Oh well! I should have known.

Do you want to get hooked too? It's easy! See you out there! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My hobby, my plague!

I want to take a moment out of my packing to shout out a loud "Thank You" to Shutterfly and the Digital World!

While packing my office, I discovered yet another tub FULL to the top of photo albums. Huge Ones. I already have these packed up elsewhere. This tub is about 4x3x2, no kidding. It's so heavy I can't even drag it across the room. It has been sitting there just about forever.

I HATE PHOTO ALBUMS! I've always been picture crazy, and it shows. I have my entire life documented in pictures. Add them to my journals, and you have a long, boring script for a 3 part epic length movie. Sheesh, I have so many pictures you could probably skip the filming process and just flip them like a flip book to make a movie.

And they plague me, because I just can't throw them away, but I know in my mind that my children will never want to sit down and look through a hundred albums of old mom. I need to consolidate my life into one book. What a cute baby, yes I styled my hair like that in middle school, that's my first boyfriend, the gold sash at graduation means I was in the top 10% of my class in high school, this is when daddy and I got married, and here you are.

So what to do with them now? Move them, I guess, until I get a spare, oh, month with nothing to do but sort through pics, scan them in, and make a cute book.

So why do I want to thank Shutterfly? Because now for the last few years I've had them make my books digitally and I have such cute, thin little books that barely take up any space on a shelf. I still get my yearly album in, but it's ever so much smaller!

So thank you for simplifying my present - just need to figure out how to clear out the past...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Facebook

Well, I finally joined Facebook. It stinks to hear about something and not be able to check it out without being a member. So I did a quick profile and began looking around.

My review: It's only been a few hours, but I don't think it is something I plan on getting addicted to anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Home for Coco

We are looking for a new home for our adorable pet bunny, Coco. I tried listing him on Petfinder, but because he is not neutered, they won't accept my post.

Here is a picture of him playing outside on his harness:



Coco is a one year old brown and white Mini Rex. He has been greatly loved in our basement by our children. However, we are moving to a home w/o a basement and are afraid Coco won't be safe from our dog. He'll come with toys and accessories, but no cage.

He is a very playful bunny who loves to run, but then gets tired and likes to be cuddled. He is not a fat and lazy rabbit.

Do you know of anyone who would like another member of the family? Let me know!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Declutter Challenge

I was looking up decluttering websites for a friend (and myself) and came across a really cute one. You can read the whole article here: Real Simple Article

Here was my favorite line:
“You can’t move forward into the future when you’re constantly sucked back into the past.” I always get down when I look through my memory box. All emotionally constipated. Not sure why. I narrowed it down to just one box this time around! YEA for me! But I see where she’s coming from. Anyway, it’s a short cute article.

Her challenge - get rid of 50 things, and make a list, writing down what you're getting rid of. Magazines, even a hundred of them, only count for 1.

So, I'm going to give it a try. Here goes! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Becoming a Runner

Here’s the excerpt out of “A Beautiful Offering” by Angela Thomas. She’s going through the Beatitudes, and this is in the chapter of “Blessed are the Pure in Heart.”

“I have always wanted to be a distance runner. Three miles without heavy breathing would be long distance for me. I had tried in the past, but the intense pain underneath my ribs would always sideline me in a matter of minutes. I used to joke that I don’t run because I want to be sick when I die. But that was a joke and I still really wanted to run. All my friends run, and it seems like the perfect exercise for a woman who can’t find an hour to get to the gym.

So, it finally dawned on me that I probably won’t wake up one day and be a runner. Nothing will happen unless I actually get out there and do whatever it takes to become one. About a month ago, I started trying. I wish I could tell you that it happened in a matter of weeks. But I am forty, and becoming a runner is going to take a little more time. I walk fast to warm up, run until that side thing is unbearable, walk it out, and then run a little more. I feel like such a pansy. But if I give up again, I will still never become a runner. I want to run. I have dreamed that I am a runner all my life. I could quit, but something inside me doesn’t want to this time.

The path of my offering is very similar. I want to bless God with my life. I could dream about what God could do with a woman who was devoted to Him. I could talk about being pure in heart. I could intensely desire a righteous life. But until I get my shoes on and try, I will never know the great blessing of running alongside God.

Getting your shoes on to try means getting on your knees when you’d rather just run out the door. It means being accountable when it’s embarrassing. It means telling the truth to others and to God even when it makes you uncomfortable.

Sometimes I will have to press through my fears and respond to God and people with a humbling vulnerability. Running alongside God means that I am learning to confess immediately and cut out the days of waiting for restoration and forgiveness. It means that I try to push through my hesitancy and do the right thing before God. It means that I make an effort to keep asking God to make me pure.

There are so many ways I could spiritually run faster, and I don’t want to get older without trying. I don’t want to just dream about being godly. I want to keep moving in the direction of God, running toward maturity instead of away from it.”

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stuff



Have you ever seen the Veggie Tales Movie, "Madame Blueberry?" It's about a blueberry who wants more stuff to make her happy and goes on a shopping spree at Stuff Mart. In the end when the stuff weighs down her treehouse, all the stuff falls in the river and her home sling-shots over the forest and crashes.

The show is really designed for adults because the stuff she is tempted to buy is adult stuff - new dishes, air compressors, bungee cords... you name it. I'd probably say my Stuff-Mart is Target. I walk in and the lights compel me to look and ooh and ahhh over stuff I didn't think I needed.

We have this thing in us that is looking for satisfaction. Fulfillment. Completion. We know we won't get it in stuff, but it's like we get a high off of the feeling of getting it for a moment. But it wears off, and we look for the next high. An addiction to the feeling of happiness.

The Bible says God has placed eternity in the hearts of men. We want something eternally satisfying. Lasting enjoyment. Not the fleeting stuff... but we keep trying the fleeting stuff, filling our lives with more stuff.

Sometimes it isn't physical stuff. It's a vacation, or decorating a room, or a big event, or a ministry opportunity, or.... you name it. Whatever the next high is we are trying to achieve. And we struggle living in the normal quietness of everyday life.

Two more thoughts on this, that actually spurred this to begin with. My sister in law just went overseas where the people have nothing yet share everything - they open their doors, welcome you in, and treat you like a King. They serve tea, sit and talk, and enjoy you. They aren't plagued by the stuff of life so they can spend their time on what matters - relationships.

And then I was at another family member's home today who has way too much stuff. There's a path through the home where the carpet is worn from walking, and there are piles and piles everywhere. It is not as bad as some stories I've heard, but given time, it will probably get there. Hoarding, buying, not purging....

Stuff - less is more. What if I tried to not buy another non-consumable thing for one year? I wonder if I could do it? It would certainly be a challenge. I'm not sure how I'd handle Christmas. Or maybe I could do something where we only get new things at birthdays and Christmas. I'm just talking off the cuff here. What are your thoughts on that?

Like a buying fast. Fasting from buying anything non-consumable. Maybe it would be better to start with a month.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Beautiful Offering


I'm reading a great book, "A Beautiful Offering," by Angela Thomas. (Author of another book I've mentioned, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful.") It's about the beatitudes. I'm through 'Blessed are the Peacemakers' and am loving it. I think it's a book I could keep beside my bed and re-read occasionally. I'll let you know when I finish it. (You know I'm bad about finishing books...)

I'm still trying to finish a few others... but this one I'm more inclined to get to the end of. I just love her writing style. I think we'd be good friends. :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Abby and Santa

Abby got the commercial she auditioned for earlier this month. The shoot went very well, I was so proud of her. I don't know many children who would sit on Santa's lap for 2 1/2 hours under the hot lights without complaining!

I couldn't have been a more proud Mom!

Here are a few pictures:

Kat, our wonderful hair and makeup artist, Abby twirling in her dress while she waited, sitting with Santa, and about half of the crew. The rest were behind me.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Poem: Our Hope

I wrote this back in high school and just found it while going through old papers this week. I had forgotten about it.

Our Hope

Before roses had thorns, and women had pain, God walked with men.
In a Perfect Paradise, free from troubles, God laughed with men.

No sadness to mourn, no trial to battle, no worries or cares.
No sickness to bare, no burden to carry, no dangers to fear.

No heart-broken lovers, no unloyal friends, no questions of why,
No purposeless living, no sin to regret, no reason to cry.

In a world with everything, the lie of all lies, that God's plan is not good,
it tricked humankind - deceived us to death - it still reigns in our world.

That He's not enough, that we need something more than His good Will allows.
That if we run extra hard, look very close, happiness will follow.

Just around the corner. Behind door number three. Over the next pass.
Reach that next goal. Stray from the path. Fulfillment at last.

I know it will be in the next human being,
Then I'll be happy - If I had just one more thing.

But it's never enough.

A vicious cycle of running around, opening new doors.
For what do we live? We "know" it is Christ - what do we really live for?

Looking Christ-like for others? Obeying the rules? Just playing the game?
So we feel good, so they think we're it, but it's just a charade.

"To live is Christ... and do die is gain." Is that true in our life?
If we only knew - really knew - the Way aside from this strife!

Don't you see?

We are forgiven, free from our burden, and saved by His blood.
God wins in the end! He's made us a Home! He calls us his sons!

We're not of this world, where treasure turns dust and thieves come to steal.
We're children of God! Co-heirs with Christ! There's hope that is real!

The knowledge of God, and Christ's love for us - There's true joy in this!
When we've left this place, when we're done passing through, we'll be where there is...

No sadness to mourn,
No trial to battle,
No worries or cares.

No sickness to bear,
No burden to carry,
No dangers to fear.

No heart-broken lovers,
No unloyal friends,
No questions of why.

No purposeless living,
No sin to regret,
No reason to cry.

A Perfect Paradise, talking and laughing with God, As when the rose had no thorns.
Then we'll be happy. Then we'll be fulfilled. When we're with our Lord!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Abby in the Flowers

I caught this picture of Abby today. My goodness, she is growing up...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Girls

The girls have an audition today, so I had to throw together some Comp Cards from pictures I've taken recently. Here they are!





Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alan Keyes for President, 2008

http://www.alankeyes.com/

I just spent an hour watching videos on Alan Keyes' website. I didn't write this, it is a form letter, but I figured my blog was a good place to post it:

Because the 2008 election is one of the most important in our nation's history, we can't afford to let the elites who control the political process dictate our choices for president. Instead, grassroots Americans need to step forward and support a true conservative leader who represents the values and priorities most Americans share.We need a proven statesman, constitutional authority, and national moral leader to lead and unify our country in these difficult times! We need ALAN KEYES!

I encourage you to SIGN THE PLEDGE supporting Alan Keyes for president -- and FIND FIVE OTHERS who will do the same: http://www.alankeyes.com/pledge.php I'd also like to invite you to join the Keyes Team and get involved in the movement to elect this superbly-qualified, courageous advocate of moral principle: http://www.alankeyes.com/join.php

You can view streaming videos of Dr. Keyes at www.alankeyes.com -- to see, firsthand, Alan's inspiring speeches and interviews, and to learn more about his moral-based positions.


Alan Keyes -- who served as Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, and who wrote his Harvard dissertation on the Constitution -- is unparalleled among the candidates for president. Please support this outstanding statesman.

Singing the night away

I was an hour of entertainment for my kids tonight, singing and acting out every disney song I knew - especially the princess songs. That was how I used to entertain the kids I babysat. I can remember countless children in different families who would dance with me as I sang about dreams, wishes, and far away lands.

The girls decided we should be Disney Princesses. Abby suggested we make our own movie! The story line so far is that I'm the queen (surprisingly, a good queen) and they're the princesses and we get separated. Nathan is going to be the knight that saves us. Maybe he rides in on his princely electric train set? :) I don't know where the story is going, but Abby's composing the music and Katie's doing the dancing!

I just love singing that kind of music. We watched "Barbie and the Island Princess" tonight. I just don't think I'll ever outgrow a good romantic fairty tale. I thank God every day that he gave me girls to enjoy this with!

Anyway, there's no real reason I'm sharing this, except that maybe one day we will all be singing together in something - even if it's a movie we make ourselves. I love seeing their excitement, especially in something I enjoy so much too!

Good night, and sweet dreams!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Photo Painting

I have a new hobby - painting - and it isn't messy! I'm learning via online tutorials how to do it in photoshop. Here's my first attempt.

First, here is a picture of my friend's little girl Kate. Isn't she sweet?




Then she asked if I could put Kate on a yellow brick road. Turning the sidewalk into a yellow brick road was very hard and didn't look very good, so instead I super imposed her into a picture I found.



And then I painted it.



What do you think? I like painting because it doesn't have to be exact! And since I'm not a perfectionist, I think it's perfect for me :) I think you can click on them to see the images larger.

The emerald city looks a little like it's melting, but I like the landscape better, especially the cliffs.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The ultimate story

I need to write the ultimate story for my kids. It needs to include puppies (or other animals), a prince and a princess, and lots of trucks, trains, tractors, or cars. That would cover all three of my children! Here are some ideas:

- A Prince and a Princess from a faraway land get mysteriously transported to the future, with flying cars, trains, etc and they get separated. Only with the help of the magical talking puppies do they get reunited.

- A poor boy saves up all his money to ride the train - his dream. He does it by raising puppies and selling them to good homes. While on the train, he meets an unexpected person - a young princess, running away so she doesn't have to live in the palace. After the train ride, he brings her back to his farm and his family teaches her about farm life. She rides tractors, milks cows, collects eggs. After her adventure, she decides it is time to go home, only she's stronger and has learned to appreciate her family and what she has.

More to come...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Meow

When I was in high school we had a cat named Monti. He was an orange and white cat that acted more like a dog. While getting ready for school in the bathroom at the top of the stairs, I would throw down Q-Tips. He would fly after them and "fetch" the Q-tips, bringing them back to me.

At first we wondered where the Q-tips went when he tired of the game, but we later discovered he had buried his treasures under the hallway rug! What a great cat!

Monti slept with me for awhile, but that ended when I threw him across the room accidentally. I awoke, suffocating, with a cat on my head, and I sent him sailing with out even thinking. I lost my bed-mate after that!

My parents thought I might be allergic to Monti so they gave him away. I always missed him. I did, that is, until now!!

Have you heard of Webkinz? I bought one for each of my girls, and I had so much fun playing, I bought one for myself! (To play with them, of course...) I chose an Orange and White cat and named him Monti. I let the girls play with the stuffed animal, but I can now see my beloved cat again online whenever I wish. I can even buy him clothes, decorate his room, and give him a bubble bath. It really is cool...

I'm glad I have little girls so I can enjoy things like this!

Here he is, sleeping in the little bed I bought him. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Butterfly or Moth?

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference? I have. So today I looked it up with the girls. We caught a bunch in their butterfly net and then brought them to the wonderful world of Google. Here's what we found:

1.) Antennae: All butterflies have small rounded clubs at the end. A moth's can be thin or thick, but are usually feathery with no club at the end.
2.) Color: A butterfly's colors are usually brighter than a moth's.
3.) Resting: A butterfly keeps its wings closed when resting. A Moth's are open.
4.) Sleep: Butterflies are active during the day, but moths are active at night.

Here's one of the butterflies we found:


And do you want to know how to spot a little boy? His feet are muddy...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location... that saying is true when buying a house, but it is also true when playing Barbies.

When I was a girl, I loved to play Barbies, but I rarely played them in my room. There were much cooler locations! The table in the hallway was a great apartment. The couches provided plenty of space to spread out. My closet, with all of my stuff removed, provided room for an entire town to be set up!

And the same is still true today. Although my daughter does like her Barbie House, the dolls do end up vacationing frequently in other rooms. They go to the family room for the ball, the loft for picnics, and on and on it goes.

So we have Barbie paraphernalia all over the house. I'd like to stop it and make a rule that all Barbie stuff should stay in the play room. It would be easier to keep track of all the little pieces, and we'd probably do a better job of keeping both pairs of the shoes.

But the thing is, I remember vividly how exciting it was to be somewhere different - so for now I'll keep quiet. Besides, it won't be long before they'll be boxed up again until she one day has a daughter. And hey, maybe I'll even play with her and show her a new location or two that she hasn't thought of yet.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Waiting - Part 4

I think our pastor must have been reading my blog because he spoke about waiting this Sunday! I'll have to ask him! LOL We''re starting through Nehemiah, and the time period from when he heard and grieved over the destruction of Jerusalem to when he actually asked the king to go was from around November to April (ish). That's a lot of waiting! While he waited I'm sure he prayed and planned, but still, he couldn't take any action in the waiting time.

So I guess that's ok. Not only is it ok, I'm kind of starting to gather that it is GOOD.

The other questions I haven't really touched on from my earlier post:

3.) How do I wait? (I tend to get restless and impatient)

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am to wait patiently and without anger.

4.) What am I supposed to be waiting for?

Apart from the day to day things we are all waiting for, I'm also supposed to be waiting for Him to return.

2 Timothy 4:8
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

1 Corinthians 1:7
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

Romans 8:23
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

I Thessalonians 1:10
...wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Titus 2:13
while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ...


We have something better than this life to be waiting for!! I need to keep that perspective constantly on the forefront of my mind. I might not know the future in regard to our family, but I do know the future when it comes to my eternity, and in that alone I can find joy in the midst of anything.


5.) When will we be done waiting?

I'm not a scholar on this or anything, but in Revelation 6:11 there is a group of people who are told to "wait a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed."

Will there be any waiting after that? I don't know... it is just a question I enjoy pondering, because if Adam had to wait for Eve before the fall, and there are saints in Heaven still waiting, then waiting in and of itself isn't bad. So I need to change my perspective appropriately.

Conclusion:

I guess waiting is ok, I'm supposed to be patient and obey in the process, and be ready when God says "Go." To stay focused, I should look to the future that I do have confidence in - our Perfect Eternity with God! And that's something worth waiting for!