Monday, December 22, 2008

Once Upon a Holy Night

I was looking over my much-neglected blog recently and realized I've made a shift. Originally, I started blogging as an outlet for my creative writing. I love to write, but hardly make time for it anymore.

Over time, it's turned more into a mish-mash of my favorite things, opinions, songs, and links. Which is fine, but I really would like to start writing creatively again.

Something I wrote recently was the narration for our Christmas musical. Granted, most of it came straight from the Bible, but I'll post it anyway... to get me back into the creative writing mode... (It wasn't read straight through, but was surrounded by music, dance, and acting.)

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!

Narrator: Once Upon a time… or as the sacred scriptures say… In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. God looked at everything He made and declared it to be very good. Everything was as it should be – perfect. No sickness. No sadness. No death. God and man lived perfectly together. Tragically, in an act of rebellion, mankind chose to follow their own desires and disobey their Creator. Their punishment for this was death – eternal separation from God and all things good. However, their loving God did not treat them as their sins deserved. He took the initiative to design a plan to bring mankind back to Himself. The whole world rejoiced, looking forward to the arrival of the Savior – The One who was promised to come and restore the once perfect relationship between the Creator and His Creation..

To accomplish His plan, the Creator God chose the nation of Israel to be His people, and He would be their God. Time and again, God proved Himself faithful, and time and again, His people proved themselves to be faithless.

In the heat of Israel’s sin, a man named Isaiah heard the call of God on His life and responded with, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” While serving as an advisor to the kings, Isaiah became the spokesperson for Almighty God, declaring a message of hope, restoration, and forgiveness… telling mankind the way back. Back to that once perfect relationship with God.

Isaiah boldly proclaimed the word of God, speaking of this future savior, messiah who was to come out of the people of Israel and restore the relationship between God and men.

Isaiah: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Narrator: Israel waited hundreds of years for God to fulfill his promise of a Messiah, and once again, He was faithful. An angel appeared to a young Jewish girl named Mary. The angel said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled, but the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Mary asked the Angel how this could be possible, since she was a virgin. The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." Mary went and stayed with her cousin throughout her pregnancy, and praised God with her saying,

Mary: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.

Narrator: During the time of the Roman emperor, Augustus, a decree went out for a census to be taken of the Roman Empire. That meant everyone returned to the towns of their ancestors to register for this census. Because Mary was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of Israel’s King David, they had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. They traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them to stay in the inn. The Promised One – The Messiah – had been born, not in the way you might imagine heaven’s king to be born – but that didn’t keep all of Heaven’s hosts from exploding in celebration, rejoicing at His arrival!

Before they had left for Bethlehem, when Joseph found out that Mary was expecting a baby, he had actually planned to divorce her quietly. He was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace as an unwed pregnant girl. However, God had other plans for this special family.

Joseph: It seems so long ago, now that our baby is here. As I was considering what to do about Mary’s pregnancy, an angel of the Lord appeared to me in a dream and said that I shouldn’t be afraid to take Mary home as my wife, because the baby conceived was from the Holy Spirit. He said she would give birth to a son, and we should name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. The angel explained that all this had to happen to fulfill what the prophet had said. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, God with us. So when I woke up, I obeyed the angel, and the Lord has brought us here, to this humble manger. It wasn’t how I would have planned it, but as I held Jesus in my arms, and contemplated He would become, all of my questions and fears faded away.

Narrator: The night of Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks of sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Shepherd 1: The night had been so quiet, and then suddenly, out of no where…
Shepherd 2: The noise, the light, the brilliance! Something from another world. It was so Heavenly.
Shepherd 1: But the angel said not to be afraid because they had good news for us.
Shepherd 2: Not just for us, but everyone!
Shepherd 1: Yes, he said to go to the town of David…
Shepherd 2: …Bethlehem…
Shepherd 1: And we’d find there a baby all wrapped up in cloths and sleeping in a manger.
Shepherd 2: And then more of them came! They filled the sky! And they praised God and sang the most beautiful songs of praise…
Shepherd 1: So of course when they had left, we stood there in the dark, not knowing what to do.
Shepherd 2: That’s when I said, “Let’s go!”
Shepherd 1: And we went, and it was just as they said…there he was, in a manger.
Shepherd 2: Which I didn’t understand, because I’d never seen a baby in a barn before…
Shepherd 1: But regardless of his humble position, we bowed, knowing we were in the presence of the King of Kings.
Shepherd 2: Looking into his little face, there was a peace, a stillness… I couldn’t say a word. (a moment of silence.)
Shepherd 1: Well, since we met him, none of us have ever been the same.

Narrator: This child born to Mary - Jesus, the Son of God - lived a perfect life, committing no sin as the rest of God’s creation had done. He taught the crowds about His Father’s story and showed them how to live in His perfect Kingdom. God planned that His Son would die to take the punishment that mankind deserved. After his death on the cursed cross, Jesus didn’t remain buried in the tomb – three days later he fulfilled prophecy by coming back to life, defeating death!

But the story doesn’t end there. Still today, God’s story continues, moving through each of our lives as God works in and through us to reconcile mankind back to Himself. Even now, He is offering this gift of His son to us. We are all broken people apart from God and experience pain in broken relationships with others, our own broken bodies, broken hopes, and brokenness for the wrong things we have done. We cannot measure up to God’s standard or earn His favor. But we can have new life and forgiveness by believing in the one He sent on that blessed Christmas Night - Jesus. That is why we celebrate! Because though we were far away from God, now, through His son, we can know Him again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Read Alouds

Hi! I'm currently reading, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to my kids. In talking about it to friends, we're all reading that this year! What other read aloud chapter books are out there for Christmas time? I know of good, shorter picture books, but not longer novels.

I'd welcome any ideas! TIA!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thankfulness Election of 2008

As a Conservative Christian, it comes as no surprise that the candidate I voted for yesterday did not win. And how are we to respond?Well, I’m responding with thankfulness. Not thankfulness for a loss… that is out of the question. But thankfulness for the freedoms I have been blessed to enjoy in this country.

I’m thankful for my right to vote! That at the end of the day, we get to choose. I was teaching my children about Germany this week, and Hitler came up. Though I oppose Obama in so many ways, he isn’t Hitler.

I’m thankful for peaceful voting. There will be no battle or war fought over who is the next leader of our country. The winner will rise to the top, and the one who lost will step back and let him lead. Wow, peaceful. And rare in the world’s history.

I’m thankful for the right to worship my God as I please, where I please, how I please.

I’m thankful for the right to teach my children at home with the values and educational standards I see fit.

I’m thankful for my right to pray! I remember Daniel – even that simple right – of silently praying to our God – his government tried to strip from him.

I’m thankful for my right to have freedom of speech. I can talk to others about my faith in Christ without fear of governmental persecution. I can blog about it. I could write a book about it. I could start a TV or Radio show about it. That is a freedom most people in our world do not have.

I’m thankful that I can have my own business in whatever I set my mind to do, and I don’t have to ask permission.

I’m also thankful that I can take measures to help the poor, give to widows, aid the sick, stop abortion, and overall do many good things without the government’s permission.

In the end, I have so much to be thankful for. Mostly, I’m thankful for something no governmental authority or ruler on earth can give – my Eternal Home, that God is preparing for me. I’m glad to be a part of His eternal kingdom.

I pray that regardless of what the government does to my money, our taxes, the environment, the economy, our freedoms, or my personal situation, I will remember that I am free in Christ, and I pray I will live a life personally worthy of the calling I have received from our great and mighty God, and serve Him faithfully until the end.

Philipians 1:27, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In The Waiting

Last year, I blogged a lot about waiting. I think I mentioned the song Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin. Well, I just heard another great song about waiting while watching Fireproof, a movie I HIGHLY recommend!!! (For so many more reasons beyond the fact that my childhood crush is in the move :)

John Waller, "Serve You While I'm Waiting"

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

In the Waiting, FFH

I’ve seen the red sea part, I’ve seen the mountains move
But now it seems so dark, I can’t even feel You
If You chose to be silent I’ll be silent too
I will worship in the waiting, quiet before You

Until Your voice like manna from the sky falls
I will worship in the waiting
I will walk with this sand beneath my feet
Though the winter wind is blowing

The ground is not frozen underneath
I will worship and not grow bitter
'Cause I know You see the end of it all
And with the spring will come the rain
And I'll see what was gained

In the waiting
I’ve seen the blooms of spring, new life in everything
But now it seems so grey, bright colors fade away
This winter seems much longer and colder than before
But I will worship in the waiting, expecting something more
Until the sun shines warm upon my face again

He Leadeth me, He leadeth me
By His own hand, He leadeth me
His faithful follower I would be
For by His hand, He leadeth me


Friday, September 12, 2008

Be Still My Soul

A Hymn that grew to one of my favorites recently:

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future, as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow for forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Homeschooling Curriculums

A friend from high school recently asked for my thoughts & some information about homeschooling. I am by no means an expert, having just 7, 5, & 3 Year Olds, but I'll be happy to share what I've gathered so far! Keep in mind that Indiana has different laws than other states, and it's important to find out what your state requires.

First, I talk about basic information, and then I'll share how I've applied it and what I've done and plan to do.

The biggest, #1 piece of advice I’ve heard over and over and over from seasoned home schoolers is this: Don’t burn out too fast. Until your child is seven, teach them to read and count to 100. Focus on character in the younger years. Everything else is extra.

The biggest #1 thing
that took me way too long to figure out: For the most part, there are 3 categories to subjects for homeschooling: Reading, Math, and Everything Else. People generally have a Math Program, A Reading Program, and then fill in with either a curriculum that covers the rest or whatever suits them.


There are 4 main styles of Math, that I’ve found.

  1. Work-book style.
  2. Hands-On Approach.
  3. Some combination of workbook/hands on.
  4. Practical Life only, with no actual lessons until they’re 10.


I haven’t figured this all out yet! So far, what I’ve done works, but I haven’t explored all the options. You need to teach them the fundamentals of how to read, then build with a phonics program, and eventually work on spelling, advancing to writing and grammar and always including copywork.

Everything Else:” They all seem to teach the same things, with a different focus.

- You can choose to learn through history, and then get your science from that time period and literature from that time period and language from that time period, geography from that time period…

- You can choose to learn through literature. And from that good literature, you’ll draw out biographies, history, science, geography, etc.

- You can choose to learn through Bible Passages, and from that, pull out science, historical context, biographies that relate, geography of the area.

- You can choose to learn through geography, and from that location, learn about biographies in the area, literature of the area, missionaries in the area, animals (science) in the area, the history of the area…

- Or you can break it all up. For example, learn American History. Do a few unrelated sciences books. Read literature from a good book list…

Then there are 2 main choices within these, that I think you should choose based on your teaching style:

1 Daily Lesson Plans. These break down each day what you are to do. “Monday: Read pages 3-7 in Book A. Read pages 15-24 in book B. Do workbook pages 8-10.” Sometimes these are restricted to a certain age of child and are not able to be taught at multiple levels. (It depends on the curriculum)

2 Unit Studies. These are more free flowing. They usually list a whole slew of ideas and you pick and choose when and what you do. These can usually be taught with children of many ages.

My Personal Experience:

I agree w/ much of what Charlotte Mason taught, that young children need to be allowed to play outside for many hours a day and have good literature read to them. There is a summary of her writings here:

I am a Unit Study Girl. I prefer to make up my own thing, but I appreciate having a guide from people who’ve already been through it.

I am also a relaxed home schooler, though not to the point of unschooling. As you’ll see below, I haven’t tried to teach every subject from the beginning, but have prayerfully had a very narrow focus that is slowly expanding as they get older.


Preschool: My focus was the Bible and Fun. Abby loved to do “school” so from birth we’ve done school type things. My first reference book was “Slow and Steady Get Me Ready.” When she was a bit older, I used for preschool activities and games. We went through the letter of the week program twice. It took around 30 minutes/day, 2-3 days/week. We also read many Bible Story Books and focused on character and training.

PreK/Kindergarten: My focus was the Bible and Reading. When she was 4, we started “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” It took us two years to finish, simply because I didn’t want to push her. She’d get to a point where she would be antsy, and we would take a break. We’d also memorize a passage together as a family and break it out verse by verse. Each day she’d have a copywork passage and a page to color, and usually a craft, simply because she loved doing them. We’ve done all sorts of things, like animal themes, creation themes, Easter Themes, Christmas Themes, Medieval Themes, Obedience Themes, Psalm 23, Psalm 1, etc… In the summers, we do “Handwriting Without Tears (HWOT).” Then during the year, we reinforce it with copy work.

1st Grade: My Focus was the Bible, Reading, and Math. To our Bible lessons explained above I added Shiller Math, a Montessori-based hands-on approach, and finished book 1. We also did Explode the Code books 1 & 2, HWOT, and some Phonics Pathways for drill. We also started “First Language Lessons” which is a gentle introduction to Grammar.

2nd Grade: My Focus is the Bible, Reading, Math, and Geography. We’re continuing with HWOT, Shiller Book 2, Explode the Code books 3-6 (using the teacher guide lesson plans), and 1st Language Lessons . We’re also using “Galloping the Globe” Unit Study. We’re going around the world, studying 3-6 countries per continent. In each continent, we are reading literature from the area, doing a science lesson (like an animal from the area or volcanoes), reading a Biography, learning about a Missionary, memorizing a Bible Verse that applies, doing an art activity from the area, and cooking a meal from the area. We’ll also continue to learn larger Bible Passages together. Our first one will be Colossians 3:1-11. (We learned 12-17 last year). I also purchased a typing program for her to use.

And if I had to choose today, this would be my future plan:

3rd Grade: My focus will be the Bible, Phonics/Spelling/Grammar, Math, and American History.

4th Grade: My focus will be the Bible, Spelling/Grammar, Math, and starting the 4-Year History Cycle (starting with Ancients)


She’s following pretty much the same routine, however she didn’t do the preschool activities. She did whatever I did with Abby. Here path has looked like this:

Preschool/PreK: HWOT, Explode the Code books A, B, & C, and whatever Bible Lessons/Themes I was teaching Abby. We also made it through lesson 60 in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and will finish later.

Kindergarten: My focus is the Bible & Reading, but she’ll also do Geography with Abby and a little math. We’ll do Explode the Code books 1 & 2, we’re reading through Sonlight’s “I Can Read It” Program, and we’ll do Shiller Math book 1, as long as her interest is there.

1st Grade: I plan on focusing on the Bible, Reading, Math, & US History (because Abby’s already there.)

Ok, that’s probably more information than you cared to know, but feel free to ask questions!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Indianapolis Children's Museum

Does this look familiar? This is how my kids spend at least 15 minutes of the day whenever we go to the museum. Hey, whatever makes them happy, right?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Read Alouds

Here is a list of some of our favorite read aloud books so far. (That means we made it all the way through and they really liked it. There were many, many books that we abandoned along the way...)

Charlotte's Web
The Trumpet of the Swan
The Magicians Nephew
The Dangerous Journey
The Toys Go Out
The Secret Garden
Alice in Wonderland
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Thimbleberry Stories
Pippi Longstocking
The Fairies Series
Babe - The Gallant Pig
Little Women - illustrated
Keep the Lights Burning, Abby

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I will praise you in the Storm by Casting Crowns

I thought this was appropriate, considering my last blog entry:

Peace, Be Still

I'm reading a book about Fear. What am I afraid of?

If you've been reading my blog, you'll remember that I talked about this last spring too. If you'd seen me last night, clenching my teeth and curling my toes, tucked in tightly under my covers, you'd know. Really bad thunderstorms at night that can lead to tornadoes.

The storm lasted all night, and I don't think I slept a wink. I just listened to it get closer, then farther away, then closer... on and on it went. Some of the Booms shook the house, making me feel like the little pig in the house of sticks. We are in the noisiest room too, because the rain bounces off of our neighbor's roof and pelts our bedroom wall.

I sat awake, waiting for the sound of the siren, making plans for how to get my children downstairs and in a safe place, just in case.

Have I ever been in a tornado? No. Then where do these fears come from, that seem to get worse at night in the dark?

I was sitting at the window, watching the trees blow in circles. The thunder was so loud I actually jumped. It just looked like God was angry, bellowing out his fierceness on our city. His power. His might.

I'm almost 30 years old, and I'm afraid of thunder. What is my problem?

Then I remembered when God gave the Israelites the law. He came upon the mountain, and it trembled and quaked and there was thunder and lightening. I don't think the flannel graphs in Sunday School did this scene justice! If it was anything like what I was watching outside, I would have ran away in fear too! And I'd imagine it was even worse!

How did Jesus react to the storms? When the boat was on the water, and the disciples were running around, getting soaking wet, fighting the wind and pelting rain just to stand erect, Jesus was sleeping. With three words, he calmed the sea. "Peace, Be Still."

Being God, Jesus knows who controls the sea. Who tells it to stop. Who commands the thunder to yell from the heavens. Who directs the lightening bolts. Who spins the air and lets loose the hail. He knows where the snows are stored and how fast the floods will rise. He knows all this, and with this knowledge, He slept.

Oh, to have that kind of faith! To rest in the knowledge that God is in control, even in the thunderstorm. I tried to focus on that last night, although the random loud bursts occasionally started me awake.

So I guess I'm more like the Israelites. When confronted with the mightyness and power of God, like the hymn writer, "Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble."

I'll end this entry with a great hymn: I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ahhh.. Grocrey Shopping

Riddle: What do Jalapeno Peppers and Sparkling Grape Juice Have in Common?

I have a grocery shopping plan that I implemented last fall. I do a major shopping trip the first of the month, usually at Aldi and Costco, I buy my meat ahead of time through farmers, and I have my produce delivered weekly through Farm Fresh Delivery. This way, other than an occasional loaf of bread (which I don't like to eat frozen...), I can avoid grocery shopping the other 29 days of the month!

So today was the day - the large grocery shopping day. The nice part of it is that we have food again in our pantry! But the actual trip is usually quite an ordeal, buying food for 4 weeks.

This time was no exception. The kids are great helpers, but today God used them to teach me patience.

Answer: So what do those two items have in common? They sound the same when crashed on the grocery store floor!

The juice broke when Nate was trying to help down the aisle. He was promptly put back into the cart seat. The jalepenos broke when Katie was helping me bag the groceries.

The man who cleaned up was very nice, and that helped. I just kept thinking, "My goal is to grocery shop and not sin," taken from an illustration from our Pastor a few weeks ago.

Overall, we remained calm and made it home in once piece. The groceries are just about put away, and I'm ready to relax. Maybe with a glass of juice!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One of those days

It's a cookie dough day. I'm eating it right now for lunch.

There are dirty dishes in my sink and the dishwasher is full.
I'm halfway through laundry, so it's still all over the place.
My kitchen floor is sticky.
The carpets need a vacuum to come and rescue them.
You can't even see the carpet in the play room.
There is toothpaste all over the kid's sink.
My "file pile" is getting too large and will soon topple over.
Random creative art projects are strewn around the school room.
There's a large pile at the bottom of the stairs of things that should go upstairs.
We're out of milk, bread, and juice.
My "to do" list of things that aren't even house related is growing beyond the page.

I'm caught up on my blog reading.
I've played a little facebook scrabble.
My children finished all their school work today.
The cookie dough really is delicious.
I've chatted with my mom on the phone.
My bed is made!
I've replied to a few emails.

I'll have to give you an update on my day tomorrow.

Because I know that if a little adrenaline kicks in, I will run around and clean up the house. So until it hits, I think I'll go read a magazine outside while the kids play on the playset.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Housework Dillema Solved!

I just had this forwarded to me:

Always keep several get well cards on the mantle...

So if unexpected guests arrive,

They will think you've been sickand unable to clean!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Turtle on a fence

I just heard an interesting quote supporting the idea of Intelligent Design.

If we saw a turtle sitting on a fence post, everyone would ask, "How did it get there?"

I think that is very clever.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cinderella - my slideshow

I created this slideshow for a Daddy & Daughter Date Event at my church. The song is "Cinderella" by Steve Curtis Chapman. I used pictures I had, pictures people emailed me, and a few fillers I found online.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Who am I?

Ahh, that's a good question.

According to the experts, I'm an ENFP. In my opinion of myself, the description below fits me perfectly, which explains a lot of my writings. So if you want to know the scoop behind the person writing this blog, here it is:

The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.

ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.

ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They're constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP's life, and because they are focused on keeping "centered", the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.

An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving.

Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships. ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be "gushy" and insincere, and generally "overdo" in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level.

Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP's family members.

An ENFP who has "gone wrong" may be quite manipulative - and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems.

ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions.

ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.

Having an ENFP parent can be a fun-filled experience, but may be stressful at times for children with strong Sensing or Judging tendancies. Such children may see the ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. Sometimes the ENFP will want to be their child's best friend, and at other times they will play the parental authoritarian. But ENFPs are always consistent in their value systems, which they will impress on their children above all else, along with a basic joy of living.

ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they're doing.

Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves.

ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum. They have many gifts which they will use to fulfill themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centered and master the ability of following through.

Personality Page

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book It!

Have you heard of "Book It" from Pizza Hut? It's a reading program. The sign up has begun. We've heard about it, but have never done it. It sounds like fun.

Here's the description from the website:

About BOOK IT!
BOOK IT! motivates children to read by rewarding their reading accomplishments with praise, recognition and pizza. BOOK IT! is simple for the teacher to use, flexible because goals match reading ability, and fun because achieving a goal is a great reason to celebrate.

A literacy activity that parents can participate in, BOOK IT! was created in 1985 and has since grown to 22 million students strong.

BOOK IT! runs every school year from October through March. The teacher sets a reading goal for each child in the class. A tracking chart and reproducibles are included to make it that much easier. As soon as a child meets the monthly reading goal, the teacher gives him or her a Reading Award Certificate.

BOOK IT! goals are based on reading ability. Number of books, number of pages, or number of minutes – they all work. BOOK IT! can also be used with the reading curriculum or as support for comprehension or intervention programs. For children not reading independently, the goal can be set where a parent or others read to the child.

Pizza Hut is proud of all BOOK IT! readers! The restaurant manager and team congratulate every child for meeting the monthly reading goal and reward them with a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza, BOOK IT! card, clip and sticker. On each subsequent visit, the child is rewarded with another sticker. Every child who meets their reading goal in all six months of the program receives a BOOK IT! All-Star Reader Award from Pizza Hut.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Time to get controversial! This is my blog, so here comes my opinion.

This weekend, as we celebrated Easter, I was inspired again by Jesus rising from the dead! How amazing! He defeated death with a victorious Life!

I’ve been in dialogs with a few people recently about this issue of LIFE. Life is the opposite of Death. Life was in the Garden, Death was the result of the fall. We are Dead in our sins but are made Alive in Christ. God declared that we should not Murder, and Christ came that we might have Life!

So as I look to this election, there is no way I can vote for anyone who opposes Life. Yes, there are many, many others issues. However, they pale in comparison to the issue of Life. Abortion, Partial Birth Abortion, the Morning After Pill, Euthanasia…

Why does the issue of whether or not every poor child has health insurance matter if we don’t value every child? Why do we want to push for tax cuts for seniors and the middle class when we don’t even value the lives of the older people in our society? Why are we so adamant to “bring our sons home” when we don’t even value the 3,000 sons that are killed every day by abortion in the US, a number greater than the tragic 2819 who died on 9/11?

The main arguments I’ve heard recently:

1. “We shouldn’t impose our moral standards on those who believe differently.”
If we are opposed to imposing Biblical Mandates on non-believers, where do we draw the line? Why not allow everything from drugs, prostitution, incest, rape, armed robbery, cheating on taxes, sexual molestation... Should we allow all of that and not impose our morals on people? Do we want to live in a country where it's ok to do what we want with no moral standard? There has to be a standard.

I like living in a place where there is no porn on PBS and Billboards have decency restrictions. Men cannot walk around naked and G moves can't have certain cuss words. Child Porn is prosecuted and Sexual movies are placed behind a wall at the movie store. It's illegal to come into my home and take my stuff, the bank can't run off with my money, and motorists are required to stop at stop signs. Those are all "imposed morals" that our country agrees with, for now.

So how far should we go?

As far as the law allows, as far as the majority allows. We are a government of the people and for the people. As long as the majority believes that life is important, I say we vote to make that a priority! It's our right, our vote, our choice. To not do so is to give in.

2. “Making abortion illegal does not express Christ's love to the world.”

Could we have loved our country out of slavery? Or was that an issue worth fighting for?

Love women who've had an abortion? Yes! But love the issue away? No.

3. “There are other moral issues to think about.”

Yes, there are other moral issues. Life is full of them. Like don't cheat on your taxes and don't spend more than you make. But some definitely make more of an impact than others.

Presidents can do little to change the economy, but they can elect judges who rule in favor of not breaking the "Thou Shalt Not Murder" commandment. If we believe that life begins at conception, then there is just one issue that stands far above the others. 3000 people murdered each day. Over 1,000,000 each year. Less than one percent is from the exploited reason of rape.

The issues runs even deeper still. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which Barak Obama opposed, tried to keep people from going even further, killing a baby that has amazingly survived an abortion. This isn’t a question of “when is a baby a baby,” this is about a baby that was alive and well, but not wanted, and is therefore murdered. And allowing Partial Birth Abortions of late-term pregnancies where the children are potential genetically imperfect shows that only full-term, perfect children are wanted by some people in this country. That's a very powerful statement!

For that reason, I have prioritized the issues. It is not up to us to decide who is or isn’t wanted in this world. If it were, murder would be as commonplace as coveting your neighbor’s car.

If you think there's nothing wrong with abortions and euthanasia, fine. Vote accordingly. We have that right. But for me, I’m voting for a president who supports LIFE. And I pray that those who agree with me do the same.

Cinderella by Steve Curtis Chapman

Have you heard this song by Steve Curtis Chapman?

Here's a quote from his website: "This Moment: I want to remind people that God is more concerned with our day-to-day than we might think. He is not just in the valley or on the mountaintop. He's on the straight open road, too. I hope we can begin to really experience what he's doing in this moment."

You can hear the story behind the song here:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Tonight I'm thankful for...

my three kids that showered me with kisses when I tucked them in bed; the cool spring night and the family walk we had around the neighborhood; the internet and being able to connect with so many good friends; my grandma who plays Scrabble with me on Facebook; fresh air; laughing; smiles; my husband's strong arms; and a God who loves me enough to give me His all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In My Heart

My kids and I were looking through a children's anatomy book today. When we got to the page with the inside view of the heart, Katie asked innocently, "Where is God?"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saying 'Cheese' 14,000 Times

This weekend I received my 2007 Family Photo Album in the mail. For the past 4 years I've abandoned my previous passion of scrapbooking and have used Shutterfly Albums. They look like yearbooks. In less than a week I can finish an album and have it at my house in a few days. This sure beats the year-long scrapbooking process that I just don't have time for, not to mention the room the large books take up on the shelves. These tiny, neat little books fit perfectly!

I take too many pictures. Everyone will tell you that. I have 31.7 gig of pictures from 2007. My camera does take large pictures, but that is over 14,000 files! And, I have have to point out, these do not include my business pictures from weddings and portrait sittings. A hobby? A passion? An obsession?

I'm getting better, though. Although I will still, occasionally, take a series of 100 pictures of the same thing, I've learned to take one or two pictures per event right away. Doing that quickly frees me up to actually use my hands for something other than pushing a shutter button. I can go across the monkey bars, jump on the trampoline, and light the birthday candles.

I've also learned to take convenient group shots. Baby Shower? Get a picture of the whole group. Family outing? Set the timer. A few group shots help easily capture the moment in the scrapbook without necessitating the need for a family paparazzi.

I'm getting myself into the album! After being the one behind the camera and never in the pictures over the last few years, I decided to work harder at being pictured. That means I say, "Hey, can you take a picture of me doing this with so and so?" It worked! I actually exist in 2007.

I'm also teaching photography to my kids. I love the photos Katie captures. They are at her level, so I can see what a crowded restaurant table looks like when you barely make it above the ketchup. They got a kid tough digital camera for Christmas and are having fun running around the house with it. They've also caught quite a few non-flattering pictures of me, but thankfully I know where the delete button is.

I love it! I don't see myself giving up the hobby any time soon. So before we're together next, it might be wise to start practicing your "Cheese!"

QUIZ: Do you know where in Indianapolis I took the self-portrait above?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When I grew up...

I just got my new passport in the mail. I look so grown up, especially compared to my old one from when I was only 16 years old.

"Only" sixteen. At 16, I felt completely grown up. Confident. Independent. Not swayed by popular opinion.

At times I think I was more grown up at 16 than I am at 29.

I think I was the most grown up at 9 years old. I remember that year vividly. We moved from Chicago to Indiana, and I merged into the school very well. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Amos, and I quickly made a few best friends. I was comfortable talking to adults, I did well in school, and I was happy with my talents.


It's a nice place to be. It's a place to where we can never return.

Tonight, my 6 year old decided after watching American Idol that she's going to try out when she's sixteen. She then starts singing "Hallelujah" and asks if she can make it. Of course, I praise her and say she's amazing, and yes, she can sing that song on stage.

My mind instantly took me back to the age of nine when I would watch Star Search and practice my audition with some Amy Grant song. Visions of crowds, lights, cameras, and rolls of applause.


Of course I love my daughter and would never tell her that she was "pitchy" or her song choice was "horrid." I give her a hug, smile as she bats her eyes, but I know in my heart that her chance of making it on American Idol, if it is even still around in ten years, are one in a million.

Because that's what my parents did. They smiled, told me I was great, and let time just go on.

I guess I'm a little envious, seeing her as she grows in her very small world. Everyone is a new friend to meet. Jesus lives in her heart, and no one argues with her about it. Life is full of questions waiting to be answered (usually by me.) And her future is wide open, not yet written.

One day she wants to be a dog walker. Another day a singer. Another day a painter. Another day she says she never wants to grow up and wishes she could stay my little girl.

But unfortunately, she will keep growing, and I guess in a way I am happy for that. I just pray that the days take their sweet time, and that the world is gentle on her little heart.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Life's lessons continued

For me, 2007 was a year of waiting, as you can read from my blog series last year about, well, waiting. Without going into details, we were finally turning a corner and approaching a calm phase after the storm. Barely a month into 2008, we are now considering going to India for 6 months to a year with a business opportunity Lee is exploring.

There are a few opportunities I'd like to get involved in this summer, and when talking with a friend, I said, "But I can't make any decisions yet until I know if we're going." And she wisely replied, "You're in limbo again! You had two weeks out, and you're right back in!"

I laughed. She's right! Lee's heading out soon to India for a 12 day trip to check it out, and we won't be making any decisions until after he returns.

So limbo it is. You know, the limbo and waiting isn't as hard as it was last time. I guess I'm learning - slowly - that I can trust God with my future. It's ok not to know. He's omniscient and I am not. It's still hard, but it's getting a bit easier.

I love the words to this song by Chris Tomlin that we sang at a prayer service tonight. I especially love that it's almost as though the writer is declaring something he inspires to do, as though it will be hard but he is determining in his heart to do it:

Everlasting God

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God You reign forever
Our hope, Our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint, You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

God, You are everlasting

Monday, February 4, 2008

Leader of the Pack

I was upstairs playing with Nathan on his train set. He decided to be a mean motorcycle, knocking all the trains off the track. It was funny and he wasn't hurting anyone, so I let him explore the idea of being a bully. My trains ran from him, and though they sometimes resisted, he successfully became king of the train track.

Not long into the game, Lee came in. I left to dry my hair, and Lee took over. But did Dad let the mean motorcycle bully him around? No way! You can imagine the scene. Dad found a bigger, silver train that was easily able to stand up to the little biped.

I started laughing as I heard what was going on. As a mom, I was letting him act out his little scenario, exploring and playing and learning. But as the dad, he wasn't about to let him be king of the hill with out earning the spot on top!

I'm reading the Jungle Book to the girls (full version, kind of over their heads...), and we had just finished a chapter where the wolves were vying for their leadership position. I guess that's what guys do! And I'm still getting a good laugh out of it.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Usually I have a whole slew of blog ideas running through my brain, I just don't have the time to put them into words. But tonight, I have a free minute, and I can't think of anything to say.

It was a good day. I really love Mondays. I don't go anywhere, I do laundry, we get all of our school finished, I clean up the house, make a nice dinner. It's probably the most peaceful day of the week. It probably helps that we've all been refueled by an awesome Sunday, and are ready for a new week.

Yes, Monday is my favorite day. I'll bet not many people say that. It wasn't that way when I was working, having to get back to work. But I guess that means I really like my work now! You know you like your "job" when you look forward to Mondays!

Of course I love weekends and having Lee home! But it's nice too when he can come home from work Monday night to a peaceful, unhurried home. He's not feeling well tonight, so he's watching a movie and eating popcorn with Katie and Nate. Abby's practicing her typing (It's a game she loves to 'play'), and I'm here typing myself.

Did I ever mention that Abby thinks my favorite hobby is typing? LOL! Well it's not, but I do spend a lot of time here.

Ok, well, that was a nice break. Now I'm going to get a few more things done on here that are more pressing than my blog.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Happy" New Year!

How have you started your year?

Here's how we have spent the past week:

Yes, they look great, don't they? We had the fever/cold virus fly through our home. It hasn't left yet, stubborn thing. Thankfully they all have it at once, so it might not drag on for all of January. (Notice they are all holding their medicine cups for pain reliever.)

Ahh, winter. Some might think of snowball fights, hot cocoa, snowmen, and warm fires, but for a mom of three, I think of Stain-Free Motrin, late-night baths to reduce fevers, disinfectant, and vitamin C!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Enough is Enough!!!

I can put up with political correctness to a point. Go ahead and say Happy Holidays, put Santa in the malls, and air "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV. Fine with me. I'm not complaining. I know what Christmas is really about, so I'm not offended.

But I draw the line at changing the words to tried-and-true, familiar CHRISTmas songs!

I recently took my girls to the Yuletide Celebration downtown for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Abby was in their commercial, so I thought it would be fun to see the show together.

The African Children's Choir was wonderful, Sandy Patty, the hostess, wore more outfits than I have in my closet, and overall the show was cute and light hearted. That is, until they sang "Oh Come All Ye Faithful."

It was a large number, with a majority of the cast included. The orchestra was brilliant, and right at the end, in a large, grand crescendo of a finale, they sang:

"Oh come let us adore Him.... Joy to the world!"

And with their arms in the air and smiles beaming, I was about ready to be ill.

"What?" I almost yelled to the people next to me. "Joy to the World? Those aren't the words!"

(In case you don't know, the song is supposed to end with "Christ the Lord.")

I didn't complain about the tap-dancing Santas or the Up on the Housetop songs. I thought it was cute when they showed Santa going down the Chimney and then flying away with his reindeer. I'm not asking for a religious experience when I go and see a secular holiday show. But, and I emphasize this GREATLY, if you're going to sing a song about MY LORD, then sing it right!

You'd better believe I plan on writing them a letter.

Enough is enough.