Monday, December 20, 2010

God Moment


My Dear and I have been encouraged to look for God Moments! God is at work, we need to be watching for that work, join in, and praise Him for it!




Last week, our AWANA ministry hosted Hope For the Holidays for families who send their children to us but do not attend church with them. Many of these families have financial needs as well. It was such a cool night! Families had their pictures made together and a delicious spread of food laid in front of them. A church member was seated at their table to build relationships, carols were sang, craft and the Christmas story for the children, and a message of Hope from the Manger for the adults. It was one of those nights when you wondered who was blessed most, those served or those serving!




I had asked my friend "Co Co" to be a table host. Co Co sings-beautifully I might add. She is in front of people often using that gift. She really wanted to be behind the scenes because of that. I tried to convince her otherwise wanting her to be a table greeter. She agreed but then I talked with her again, she just was not comfortable with coming, sitting, and eating while others served. I agreed she needed to do what she felt she needed to do.




That night, Co Co went behind the scenes to sort through some gifts that were donated. While doing so, she had a gift bag rip and the contents spill on the floor. She began to pick it up and her heart sank. She revisited her childhood when gifts were used and missing pieces because her mom was unable to provide new toys and clothes. She faced feelings of insignificance from her childhood. As she held the gifts in her hands, God told her to go! She grabbed the arm of a teen girl and said what do preteen girls like? So much activity going on in the building and there was a women fleeing frantically to go shopping at Wal Mart for a preteen girl she had never met. Wrapping paper was flying in the room and the gifts were ready at time for pick up.




The child that would receive the gift had come that night but her parents had not come with her so a friend and I delivered the gifts. When I got home from the delivery and others, Co Co had sent me a message to double check that what she did was alright. When I had walked into the child's home with the gifts that night, the silly bag ripped again but out fell beautifully wrapped gifts appropriate for a preteen girl. I was so glad Co Co had followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit.




I had seen the gifts in the bag and thought nothing of it. God had prompted Co Co to be behind the scenes because He had already prepared her for this night.....it was a God Moment!




Saturday, December 18, 2010

A 3 year old's View into the Manger

When my parents moved south leaving my brother the blessing of their "stuff." I asked about the nativity my mother set up when we were children. No one knew exactly where it was, but had their ideas. This summer, I ventured into my brother's attic to find Barbie, Little People, and Strawberry Shortcake that my mother had saved for her grandchildren. But among the rubble, I saw the old nativity. It was so beautiful to me as a child and was always placed higher then our little hands could reach. My mom was there, so I immediately asked if I could have it.

The nativity is not expensive. It is not exactly Biblically accurate, but I love that I only found 2 magi because we know of 3 gifts does not mean that there were 3 men. The men are not in this picture because they did not see the baby at the birth spot but at his home. I enjoyed setting up the nativity. I looked at each piece noting the price tags of simple amounts on the figures and displaying it as accurate as I could.


The day the big kids began unloading the Christmas tubs, I called for B. to clean up a mess. When she did not come, I went looking and found her, chin on the table looking at the toy nativity set. She said, "Wook at this!!" Needless to say, I left her in awe and went to clean up the mess.

The figures get played with and end up in odd places. Today, I asked her if she would put the figures back in the stable. She went right to work, placing each figure where it goes. This is what I found.................




I think she gets it! Yes, B. it is ALL about that Baby!! Now, to fix my nativity and my heart!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's A Dad's Life

Anybody else married to "the dad life." (minus that awesome lawn mower!)



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

20/20


When I went to test for my driver's permit, I failed the vision test. I did not know I had a visual impairment. I had always had it and did not know my vision was "different."




Since My Dear and I have only been married to one another, we did not know marriage could be different. We would both agree that we have a good marriage because we truly love and care for one another and.... that is all we know.




As I begin to unload my baggage, it is like I am sitting in the courthouse for the driver's vision test. I see there is a problem. With each passing week, I am able to shovel up another heap and pitch it! As I dig, I unearth 20/20 vision! I see this precious gift that has always been there but the blurry vision of my past has kept it hidden. But no more!




What is weighing you down? Do you believe that the God of every good and perfect gift has something better for you? I know He does! I am proof!

Friday, December 3, 2010

HELLO out there!

So much for being a blogger! I guess my post are now once a month!

We are still here! Life has taken over and my hobby of blogging is taking a back burner. My heart and head get full and there are notes jotted with what to blog but it does not always happen.

So, here is what is going on.....

We just returned from a trip south to visit precious friends and their cherubs....10 people in a house keeps the kitchen and the dishwasher busy. I sure love those people and am awaiting the arrival of a package containing the items we left at their house. That package will be full of all kinds of surprises and a pair of little, pink, fuzzy boots. How can a person over look packing pink, fuzzy boots?

From there we went to the grandparents. Our children are blessed with 3 biological sets of grandparents all living in different parts of the south as well as a couple of adopted sets living in the North. We enjoyed our time with family and My Dear always get some fishing or golf in regardless of temperature. We end up at an indoor fun park when we visit and each time the grandparents agree that we are not going back...well, it is habit now since we have been there the last 3 visits. The kids love it! I teased my mother in law that she really is horrible at saying no. She agreed!

When Billy was born, My Dear and I adopted the Grandparent Clause. The clause gives permission for the grandparent to allow the child to do things that would normally not be allowed -within reason of course! Along with the clause is that I will be the "bad guy" and say no. Because, I for one, am well seasoned in doing so! Some grandparents are better at no then others and that is just fine!

We took Tgiving day to travel so lunch at McDonald's and dinner at Waffle House.....pretty sure I do not want to eat at either of those places for awhile. Because we went to friend's first for the REAL meal, Dolly was in practice of saying, "Ms. Nancy." When we got to the grandparent's house she would say, "Ms. Grandmother." Made me smile every time!

When we arrived at our friend's house, I unloaded some "hand me downs" for their new daughter. I looked in the van and could not find the trash bag of clothes I brought. Miss B. pretty much totaled out her outfits because she was so small and wore them longer. That along with the drooling made her a swiffer wet jet for our floors and her clothes rags! I was able to find some that did survive to share. BUT when I asked My Dear about them he said he did not pack them but he DID take a bag of trash out to the trashcan! OH MY!!! I recycle! Like, I recycle everything I can! I try not to throw anything away that might be usable. I even take a ragged clothes to an auto mechnic in town to use as oil rags. Here is a mama that needs clothes and I have perfectly good clothes in a nasty trashcan ready to be picked up and hauled off!

After talking with My Dear the following morning, I learned he did not pull the can to the curb and a neighbor came and got the bag out of the can. Yes, our neighbors are that good! So, looks like our friends will be getting their own goodie box after I do a bit of laundry!!

Oh my! It is so hard being us!



I have been trying to watch the amount of sweets I eat. Sometimes watching means that I watch myself eat them! I came home from a meeting to find this......





Talk about accountability! Billy's note says if I eat any of them, I owe him a dollar! So, I didn't! It totally worked for me! We took these sweet treats to our friend's to help us get rid of them...they were the mama curse and we celebrated when they were finally gone!

Since we were leaving town, I did not go to the grocery. My Dear asked that I pick up some cereal at least. On my way home from the meeting, I did just that. BUT so did he and the children. We were in cereal heaven!


Lucky for me, cereal does not count as a sweet for me....just yet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dirty Work


Last week, I was kneeling at my washer and dryer doing laundry and thinking about the people who wear the clothes I was handling. I would very much like to protect them from ANY hurt in the world. But then God showed me how shallow their faith would be if they never had to rely on Him.




I am going through a time where I have to rely on God for healing. Because of the "dirty work", I am falling even more in love with God as He shows more of who He is. His mercy and grace overwhelm me! It is because of the hard times, that I have fallen into this communion with God. Why would I want to keep my children from this type of relationship! I wish they could just have it, but I know it comes from God revealing Himself. So I prayed that He would protect their hearts, bodies, and minds as He grows them in deep faith in Him.




Last night, tummy troubles made Billy anxious. He was probably more scared then hurting knowing that 2 things would likely happen to ease the pain in his belly. He did not want either one! He was afraid to go to sleep. As he laid in bed, I put my hand on him to pray. He would doze in and out trying his best to stay awake. When I finished praying, his little eyes came open. He said, "You know what I just realized? I realized that I don't trust God enough. God is in control of all germs. If He wanted to, He could just take them away." I reaffirmed what he was saying and reminded him that the same power that brought men back to life is the same power that can control germs. He continued about that power saying, "and can move mountains." He then peacefully feel asleep for awhile.




Not until this morning did I realize that God wanted to show me that He can teach through the hard times and they may just be tummy troubles. I thank God that He loves us enough to grow us. He can challenge and grow us even on a tender scale. I am thankful that even a child can stop and listen and maybe he will be able to avoid some of the dirty work by getting the lessons early.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Library Fun!

What an exciting weekend! Dolly enjoyed her first sleep over. We ate and laughed with our small group and I got to share once again about what I saw God doing in VNam and in my life while I was there.

AND the girls took their stuffed animals to have a sleep over at that library. No, the girls did not sleep over but the animals did! B. chose to take Sharky. She took a BB type blanket along with Sharky for the night. She did not like the idea of leaving Sharky there but, did not realize we had done so until it was too late . Mental note, 3 year olds are more then willing to take their toys places but they want to come home with them as well.

The girls made picture frames while they were there. They returned this morning to get their animals and the picture frames they made along with a little treat! (sorry for the poor scanning job.)



Surprisingly, Sharky likes the very same book B. does! He also sat at the computer and listened to Mercer Mayer's Just My Grandma and Me while he was at the sleep over. I guess since Sharky is from Florida and was given to B while she visited her grandma the beach scene in this book was perfect! They say, pets become like their owners, I think, we have a very observant children's librarian.




Dolly's spoiled Annie went as well along with her bed! By no surprise, Annie was reading Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy! Dolly knows to go to the O section for Fancy Nancy books and then to nonfiction for dog books. If ever there were a Posh Puppy, Annie would be it! What a little treat for the girls and for me....the event and our sweet librarian!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


A lady in our church had a vision for her neighborhood and the hurting people in it. She went door to door inviting children to AWANA. She said with each door the kids got excited and then followed her to the next door. She said she looked like the Pied Piper! At the end of the walk, she realized she needed help and enlisted, a more then willing, bus driver to collect the children to bring them to church.

One specific family has 4 little boys whose names all start with the same letter. Last week, only one little boy came. I had those leaders asking me if I knew where the others were. This week I prayed specifically for that family.

This morning at church, I popped into KIDS Church to help cover for teachers who would not be there. I was reading over the scripture preparing a lesson when I head the "NEWBIES" announced-those are the kids that are there for the first time. I heard a familiar name paired with another familiar name and then another-I turned around quickly, much to my DELIGHT were 3 of the 4 boys!!!! They were at church on a Sunday!! The fourth little boy was in our preschool department!

I hugged each of them and asked if "the Pied Piper" had brought them. They said no. I asked if their mom dropped them off and went back home. They said no. I asked if she brought them and stayed and they said YES!!! THERE MOM WAS AT CHURCH!!! I plopped myself right between those kids. I know there are needs in the family so I attempted to "fill them out" so to speak. I looked at one child and he had on ADIDAS tennis shoes. Our Billy had,had shoes just like those but had grown out of them. I then looked at the feet of the oldest of the children. To my surprise, he was wearing my old shoes! I had gotten rid of the shoes because they were worn out with missing tread on the bottom. Billy has to wear an orthopetic insert so none of his shoes have insoles in them.

I had to leave the room to cry...those precious boys were wearing our discards! They were not even fit for Good Will so I had taken them to the recycling center to be given away. Now, I looked at my old shoes-3 sizes too big for the feet they were on.

I was completely humbled. I thought I was doing a good job of getting rid of the "stuff" in my life. Those things we consider needs are often wants for others.

Several months ago, I bought Billy a pair of tennis shoes off clearance. Well, they just do not work for me. I attempted to take them back but I had no receipt and, well, it apparently was a long time ago when I bought them. They offered me $4 for them to which I said, "No thank you." I saw those shoes tonight in the closet- size 3-just the size the little guy told me he wore! I think I know a little boy is about to get a brand new pair of shoes that FIT!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Family Circus

There was a little confusion at our house recently....this strip sums up a similar conversation that I had with Miss B.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Written In the Sky




While we were in FL, we went to Orlando to meet Lien, a young woman I met in Vnam. We had to drive through all of the entertainment excitement. In doing so, the children noticed a skywriting and we guessed at each letter. They were thrilled to read "Jesus Loves U!" I wished I had taken a picture but I did not. Thankfully, a friend on Facebook had been there too and gave permission to use her picture. (Thanks Betsy!)

Again and again, this plane would minister to all of those folks scurrying to get to what is likely to be the family entertainment capital of the East coast....all of those people!

This pilot used what God had given them to go about their Father's business. Makes me think of 1 Corinthians 12, that we are all a part of the body with a different role. In Romans 12, we are reminded that we all have different gifts. No need for me to want to be a skywriter in FL, cause someone is already taking care of that and I will be real honest, I am so THANKFUL it is someone else cause I sure love where God has me right now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Laying It Down





We usually leave our shoes at the door when we get home. All three of the children, as toddlers,made note of this and would ask us where we were going if we had our shoes on. I recall them telling My Dear to take his shoes off as soon as he got home to insure he would not be leaving.

With cooler temperatures, the tile was cool yesterday and I wore flip flops in the house. As I was seated with my flip flops on, Miss B. sat at my feet and asked me to take my shoes off. She has been a bit needy and I knew she wanted me to stay put. She was so needy in fact that she had hauled her precious blanket around all day. The blanket is small and was pink, once upon a time. She calls it B.B. It is the essential tool for boo-boos, hurt feelings, and for a sleepy little girl.

I explained to her that the floor was cold on my feet and I would continue to wear my shoes. She again asked me to take my shoes off. I repeated why I had my shoes on. She then took her precious BB and laid it at my feet and said, "Now, take your shoes off." This may seem like no big deal to you, but to me, it was extremely humbling. You see, BB is her treasured possession. She took BB and laid it on the ground for my feet to be warmed.

I thought of Jesus washing the feet of the 12. What a humble act of service to them especially since He knew the choices they had and would make. Our Miss B. was giving of her precious BB, what I am willing to give? Am I ready to lay down my treasures? Am I willing to be like Jesus and serve even those who I have been hurt by? (ouch!)What is my BB and am I ready to lay it down? Are you ready to lay yours down?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall...So Far, So Good!

This is what we have been up to this Fall....so far, so good!



Dolly lost her first tooth. She actually pulled it herself! It is that time of year, especially because it did not happen this spring-window cleaning!



As a family, we participated in the Walk For Life fundraiser! Dolly's BFF and her mom joined us to make the walk even more fun (esp. for Dolly and me.) We, by far had the cutest wagon load there!



The night before a birthday, we take some fun pictures of the birthday child while they are still "young." Miss B. turned 3!! She is still trying to form her little fingers into 2 for her last pictures as a 2 year old.



This is my favorite picture of that night! She is about to be "caught" by daddy in a game of "You can't get me." Love that face! She and Dolly now have bunk beds and no more toddler bed.



For our 3rd annual B Day, Miss B. chose to go to Monkey Joes! This picture is a reminder of why those inflatables are not always for adults. But the darlings had a blast with their cousin Alex. Such a fun place to play! Monkey Joes is a chain so you may be able to find a location of inflatable fun close to you! Hope your fall is a harvest of fun too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just a Closer Walk

A lady invited me join her for prayer once a week. We met a few other ladies and since we live close to one another and the location. We decided that we would walk together to meet the others and pray. Our walk is about 30 minutes so we have that time there and back to talk with one another.
As we joined together to pray, we share what we see God doing and what is on our hearts. We then pray-aloud together.

Praying aloud seems so intimate. It is listening to someone else communicate with God-just them and their Savior and Lord. There is something about praying with a person, you begin to see their heart. In walking and prayer time with this lady, I have grown to love her.

God spoke to my heart so clearly when I thought of this "grown" love. He said, "This is what I want....this love....this loves that grows from time spent with Me." God wants us to love Him, to know His heart, to enjoy fellowship with Him. For me to be in that love, I have to Show-Up! God is there and waiting to share that time with me.

I was challenged by the thought that I need to make an appointment with God and then show up! Set the time and have study, prayer and fellowship with Him just like I do with my friend and then DO IT!

Last week, I allowed satan (lower case s cause he does not deserve a capital one) to push my meeting time back and I showed up late and tired but not this week. Cause I am looking at the clock and I have 2 minutes to post this "puppy" cause I have an important appointment to keep!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Backdoor to Ministry

My Dear and I have supported our local Pregnancy Care Center since moving to this community. We have donated items, we walk in the Walk for Life, and host a table at the banquets. We get their newsletter and try to know what they are up to. My Dear has volunteered time teaching and has used the center's educators for youth events. We pray for the centers and with church members working there, we have learned even more about this ministry. With all of that being said, we know about this organization!

Today, I joined the staff of this ministry for my first meeting as a part time team member. It is way cool! God has been preparing me for this ministry for years, although I was unaware of it. In fact, if the opportunity to work for them had been handed to me at any other time in my life, I likely would have walked away.

Well, let me tell ya! Today as I sat at the table, for the first time with these amzing people, I heard testimony after testimony of the WONDERFUL things that God is doing in and through this ministry! These are people who are simply serving to educate another generation. They LOVE what they are doing and it shines through them. They become people who the young, scared, and "at their whits end" depend on and seek out for help. They are in our schools, churches, and in our communities. They are even sitting in their homes emailing questions and we may never see their faces. They are hurting. This organization is there for them!

So, I thought I knew about this ministry, but I did not know the impact they are having on our world one baby at a time. I know now that this position is not something I can do on my own but will be all about what God can do through me!

I am hanging on! Ya'll know how I like a little adventure!
Oh, and yes, Darla, you are a blog post!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Settling


Nana purchased the children sand pails and shovels to have at the beach while we were there. The kids were looking forward to using them. They used them in the house holding their goodies but B. really wanted to go to "Nana's sandbox."


We went to the beach and the parking area of course had sand in it. The children hopped out of the car and grabbed their buckets while My Dear and I unloaded the rest of the comforts for the afternoon. They collected sand into their buckets and were content to play with this small amount of sand.


They were completely satisfied with the sand in the parking lot but an entire beach of sand was just beyond their sights. Made me think of how long God has been waiting for me to come to the beach instead of "settling" for the sandy parking lot. What about you? What is it that He is calling you to do, to step out and trust Him? What is it that you are throwing into your sand bucket when He has a beach waiting for you? Wait no longer! Kick off your flip flops, grab your bucket, and join me! The journey may be bumpy but the view is AMAZING!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heart Full

I know I have not be around much but God has been busy blessing me and teaching me. I wonder if I will look physically different soon! More on that later...

When God calls couples to ministry it often means that we are to leave our extended families behind. We miss out on Sunday lunches and holidays together. We miss out on the free babysitting services. Birthday gifts are mailed and since your time together is limited it is sometimes hard to know what to purchase for one another. God fills those gaps for me. We have friends that fill in those roles for our children. They hug, cheer, congratulate, babysit, and one even baptized for our family! So thankful for those people but they do not replace our family.

My Dear went to Puerto Rico this summer. On the way back, the flight was overbooked. So My Dear and a few others opted to stay the night in a hotel and give their seats up. My Dear was rewarded some sky miles so we put those to use. God blessed us by allowing our family of 5 to fly south for about $250 out of pocket. So we could go see...........


Nana and Pa!!
The children were excited about the flight and enjoyed talking with those around them. Miss B. proceeded to sing the B I B L E to those who were seated around us. She did so in the only volume she knows-LOUD! Folks were entertained by her questions and comments on the flight. Billy and Dolly were seated by a kind gentleman on one flight. I assured him he was about to know more about our family then he ever wanted to know. He responded with telling me where we were from and why we were traveling. Dolly had not wasted any time!

Pa reliving the days of taking care of little girls. I am not sure who enjoyed this more me or Pa.
I was also able to visit my grandmother who is still beautiful! She accepted Christ in the past 10 years and is growing in her faith. She hugs and kisses on our children and adores our Man Cub in a family over ran by little girls. Billy did well with all of the hugs and such. We were blessed with a home to stay in for free. The children had plenty of room and My Dear had cable television for football season. Billy called it his dream home. Dolly told my cousin she would cry when we left. My cousin confirmed that it was hard to leave grandparents. Dolly said, "No! I don't want to leave this house!" We swam, napped, watched cable television (what a treat!), fished, explored the ocean, rode bikes and spent time with family.
Besides seeing my parents and making memories with them, my heart was full to a weekend of answered prayers. Two babies I had been on my knees for arrived-healthy and beautiful! It is medicine for the heart to see prayers answered in such a precious form. The other answered prayer was that........



Lien is in the U.S.! I met Lien in Vnam while there and fell in love with her. I learned she was engaged to a pastor in the U.S. but could not get her Visa. My Dear and I have prayed and communicated with her and her love in attempt to assist them getting her to the U.S. We emailed one another details while I reminded God that I would be in their area on these dates if He would allow me to see her. They were home and My Dear arranged for it to happen. (That boy loves me!) I wept as soon as I saw her and we stood in the parking lot embracing....what a journey of prayer. Now wonder what God will do with some Sky Miles so I can head back for a wedding and maybe another hug or 2 from my mom and dad!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just Us

The little ladies enjoyed a picnic lunch this weekend. We awoke to cooler weather and both girls were excited about wearing jackets. The hood was likely not necessary but hey, they are excited about jacket weather!


I noticed this little Barbie shoe in the back window of My Dear's car. Made me smile! We would have never dreamed we would have a single Barbie shoe in our possession 10 years ago and that it would be on display in our car window.


I know it is fuzzy but for some reason I love this picture! Took several pictures of those tiny hands wrapped around the neck of her hero but just could not capture the innocence of them. The little girls sure loves that man, but so do I!
Proof that even princesses need an education. It was way fun to go to a couple of yard sales dressed as royalty. Seeing that Dolly has never met a stranger, she and her dress made lots of friends. Each child had a dollar that they received in the mail.
Billy bought ski gloves for a quarter. Dolly bought a new dog collar and a baby bottle and B. bought a used cell phone for 75 cents. Sometimes it is so easy to please them.



Enjoying these small details of our lives.... for this season.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mama's Prayers

I have used The Power of a Praying Parent as a guide to pray over our children. But God has spoken to my heart specific prayer request for each of them.

For Billy, I pray that he will have a love and deep understanding of the Word. I recall when I saw it being answered. Billy was reluctant to do his school work. I began reading the next chapter we had been reading in the Bible. Billy begged me to read more even though he had finished his handwriting assignment. By no means, is this prayer fulfilled but I see it playing out in Billy's life.


When she was just an infant, God spoke to my heart on Dolly's behalf. My prayer for Dolly is that people would be attracted to her so that she could share salvation found through Jesus. We pray that God will use her pretty face and beautiful heart for His purposes.


My prayers for Miss B. are that she will love people with the love that only Christ can give and that she looks upon people with compassion. As you can see, in her attempt to get herself loose of her cousin, God has a big job but He is already chipping away!















Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The First Days of homeSchool!

Before I homeschooled, I wondered how it worked-what does it look like? Now, I wonder from year to year, what it will look like with Miss B. in tow!

So here is a shot from the first day!


She wanted to be like the big kids. So she has her own journal, stickers, markers and a shelf of activities that are just for her. Yesterday she learned that, she has to put one thing away before she can get another out. (I hope that information transfers to her room and the rest of our home.) As I looked her journal, she also taught herself same and different. She placed colored smiley face stickers in her journal-yellow with yellow, blue with blue and red with red. I am glad I stepped out of her way so she could show me what she is learning.

Today when Dolly finished part of her work, she helped B. with this activity to add to what she did yesterday. It was so easy and kept this little one busy. Both big kids wanted to work with her as well.
Dolly chose a sticker for B. B. took the sticker and matched it to the paper on the wall. Each time Dolly gave B. a sticker, Dolly would name the color. This was fun for all of us and B. said several times that "daddy will be so 'boud' (proud.) The colors were mixed up so she had to find the correlating paper while she heard the name of the color.
This morning we were greeted by a beautiful butterfly on the carport. We had read about moths and butterflies this summer so we are of increased interest. We caught the butterfly in a garage sell butterfly cage. The kids studied it for awhile then I handed them journals. I have wanted to have Nature Notebooks since I began schooling, it just never happened.
Billy piped up that they could draw a picture and then write about what they found. They did just that. Please do not tell Billy that is exactly what I wanted them to do with the books. It always goes over better when it is there idea!
Dolly had a friend to play later that day and she and Dolly recorded a "nut" that they found in the yard. I love this little notebook and pray they continue with it.
Billy thinks they should do it every morning, I think it is a great idea! B. of course wanted to be in on the action. So we traced her fancy flower sandals into her notebook creating 2 wings for her to color. She thought that was pretty fun and she liked adding to her journal as well.

After the journaling was complete, we headed to the library to pick up The Nature Handbook. It is suggested for those who teach with Nature Notebooks and the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. We are trying to learn the name of the butterfly we found but the search continues.
I love when learning just shows up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Beauty

For our anniversary, My Dear and I set out to shop for a new fridge. Our chest freezer had died while we were saving money to go to Israel so it did not get replaced. Out little fridge was getting the job done but sometimes the door would not catch when we shut it. It is likely an easy fix but we were out of room. We bought the fridge 14 years ago when it was just the 2 of us. It has served us well. We have a kitchen of mixed matched appliances as well. Not that we would run to the store just for that, but it would be nice. We also would love to have an easy way for the children to drink purified water and not have to buy gallon jugs of water at the store.

With all of that in mind, we thought we would shop. We decided a side by side, black with water and ice in the door would work best for our wallets and our needs. BUT we left the store without it. Neither one of us could handle the price tag. I am sure it was a good price, but that was a lot of dough for us!

My Dear bought some home improvement store gift cards on an internet auction and we began to save money that way to be a new fridge. We had very few conversations about a fridge after our shopping trip.

One morning, I got a FB message from a new friend (one I already adore!) I have only known her a month or two and we usually talked about church and our children. She had noticed our fridge was small for our growing family. She said she had a black, side by side in the garage that was there when they bought the house. She wondered if we might be interested.

Knowing my heart got all excited, I thought I would "test" this one out. So I messaged her back asking if it happened to water and ice in the door and how much they wanted for it.

Indeed it has water and ice. I love when God shows off! She then told me she felt as if God was telling her to give it to me. She said, "why else would I notice the size of your refridgerator?" She asked us to take a look at it first because a handle had been damaged.

We loaded up and checked it out! It is exactly what God had laid on our hearts!


The children are so proud of it! They have told their friends and showed it off to anyone who will come in and look at it. I find cups of water sitting around all the time but know that fame will die away and they will be more responsible with using the water.

This fridge is a constant reminder of God our provider! How can I look at it and not be thankful for the way that God continues to DELIGHT me!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Please Stand If You Are Humble

While at camp, I was asked to entertain the campers while the staff had a meeting. The camp dean came to me afterwards and asked if I was a teacher. I smiled but had a sense of pride from his comment. He liked what I had done with the kids.

God began to remind me of humility. He has spoken it to me several times over the past couple of weeks. I needed to turn my pride into praise to Him and thank Him for what He was doing through me.

The last day of camp, the Dean recognized the volunteers. He called them by position and thanked them. Bible Study leaders, cabin leaders, camp nurse, the music team, the craft lady....I know my position would be named too and I would stand and the kids would cheer wildly-cause what kid does not LOVE game time!?

After all of those were recognized, he announced that the next person had done more to make camp a success that week then anyone. I thought that was pretty strong to say but I would take the compliment. Then he said, "and that person is..." NOT ME! I could not help but sit and smile. God sure knows how to keep me humble! The Dean did not mention my position at all. I smiled with a little chuckle and thanked God for making humility so easy for me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

He knows!

Dolly and I were heading to camp. Billy did not want to go so he thought he might like to stay with his cousin in another state. I drove him and the little sisters there while My Dear was away at another camp. We had a quick, but fun visit! Billy had been so excited, but when it was time to leave....he did not want to stay. He was caught between wanting to stay and wanting his family.
We headed home-with Billy in the backseat, head hung in disappointment and questioning his decision. Poor little man is struggling with growing up.
We hit city traffic at rush hour so I pulled off to eat dinner. Billy's stomach was too upset to eat so he ate a piece of bread and sat quietly. The girls and I finished our meal and the server brought our ticket. When she laid it on the table she looked at Billy and said, "Remember, no matter what, you momma loves you." I quietly thanked her for speaking the truth to my little Man Cub who needed to hear that.
The children chose treats for the ride, I paid with cash, and we were off! Only when we reached another state did I realize that I did not tip that wonderful server! We were at Cracker Barrel but who knows what city it was!?
I prayed and asked God to please bless our server in a special way. I continued to pray and asked the children to join me as well.
This week at camp, we put the campers to bed and then I sat in my van with a flashlight to have some time with God. As I was studying I bent down for some reason and picked up a piece of paper off the floorboard. It was the receipt from our dinner-address and server's name included!!! I gave a big THANK YOU GOD and will be putting in the mail, a nice tip and a note to thank that sweet server for the way she blessed us!
Thank you God putting me in my van, in the woods, in the dark, all by myself to find the receipt that you had waiting on me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

from Vnam to a New Land


I fell in love with the most precious woman in Vnam. Lien is in her early 20s and is engaged to a minister here in the states. Whenever we talked about him, she lit up!

Mr. Lien, her soon to be husband, sent me a friend request on Facebook so we could get to know one another.


I knew that Lien was having trouble getting her VISA to come to the states. I asked Mr. Lien why that was. Turns out that he did not make enough money to be her sponsor and he needed a co-sponsor. I gave Mr. Lien My Dear's phone number and we were in business! During the process, I realized I did not know Mr. Lien. But God reminded me I needed to trust Him to take care of Lien.


Mr. Lien had asked me to help prepare Lien for being a pastor's wife. I had no idea what to tell her because I did not know what it was like to be a pastor's wife in Vnam. I did know that those wives (in rural churches) prepared lunch for their entire church prior to service-yeah....no kidding! I am good to feed our tribe of 5 and sometimes Pizza Hut does it for me!


I began to become fearful for Lien. She is coming to a new place to live, new people, new roles, and to be a wife-WOW what transitions. I wondered who would be there to hold her hand, to be her friend? Did God want me to go and help her transition? Oh, even the changes her body will make when she comes....I feel for her already!


Last week, on my Facebook feed a status showed of someone who is not my friend but the spouse of a friend. I knew the state they lived in but not the city. The feed showed the name of the city. I quickly posted a message and learned that God not only heard my prayers but he supplied the scoop of ice cream on top. B. tells us she loves us more than oxygen with a scoop of ice cream on top-Dolly added the ice cream part but God scooped it out on this one!


This sweet young woman lives in the same city my Lien will be moving to. My friend Brooke is not only close to Lien's age, she is a pastor's wife! Not only is she a pastor's wife, she is passionate about her relationship with Christ. This chic is no pew sitter!!! Just like my Lien! It is a God of details that both young women are beautiful and oh so precious!


Brooke is so excited about meeting Lien and loving on her! Here, we live in this small town. I get to know this young women for a few years before God calls her to serve Him elsewhere. In the mean time, I am on another continent and meet a young woman who will need my little town friend. The prayers of my heart have been in His will and planning all along. He just blesses my socks off! AND that is just one of the things He showed me this weekend! So, when Lien arrives...ROAD TRIP and I will get to see 2 precious women!




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So Long....


Dear nap time,

Thank you for the precious couple of hours each school day that I could focus my attention on 2 sweet students. Thank you for the opportunity to hide away in the tiny classroom away from the phone, computer, door, and the dishes. Thank you for all of the exploring and discussions we had as we dove into books, charts, and maps. Thank you for the "pin drop" silence as we read through the wanderings of Moses and the battles of Joshua.


Thank you for summer when school was eased to reading and relaxing on the couch. Thanks for the 2 days that I actually took a nap myself! Oh, thank you nap time! I saw what I was missing! I did not care to miss out on the free movie at the theater or the school aged activities at the library because nap time was well worth it.


Thank you for allowing me some one-on-one time with a sweet little blond and instructions in Legos from our Man Cub. Thank you for the clean floor that I was able to find within those sweet hours. Thank you for the yummy dinner I was able to prepare all while the little darling rest.


But I see now that my prayers are being answered. Our little B. is growing. In the growing, the nap disappears. There will no longer be a squeaky rocking chair after lunch, a weary toddler requesting "Amazing Grace" or a momma plopping in a computer chair in search of some contact from the adult world. Looks like my employer has just adjusted my hours!


Thanks nap time for the sanity you brought but we no longer need you. I think I can handle it from here.


Parting with sweet sorrows,

Melanie

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pierced

This Friday Nana (who was visiting from the Sunshine state) and I took a pink haired Dolly to get her ears pierced. Seemed like the perfect time to do it since another BIG event was to happen in her life. This piercing was to remind her of this.......

Isaiah 53:5
But He was PIERCED for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.



Dolly was baptized on Sunday. Daddy was in the water but Dolly asked "Mami" to baptize her. Since we have no family around, Mami and Dolly kinda adopted one another while Dolly was in the nursery.

I could not help but thing of Mami'a past year. The word cancer leaked into Dolly's vocabulary and came out in prayers and then celebration! Thank you God! We told Dolly as little as possible so that her hugs and behavior toward Mami would not change but be medicine to her. This celebration of one life became the celebration of 2 lives and a testimony of ministry even to a baby!
Look at that smile! There were 2 more of those smiles right behind her! She picked a favorite shirt to wear. My sister says this shirt is a direct reflection of Dolly's personality, I think she is right!




My Dear then baptized Dolly's buddy. Dolly immediately applauded when her friend went under the water! Precious stuff! Those little darlings were giddy with excitement! Dolly wanted everyone to be there! She wanted everyone to know! I think we adults could learn a thing or 2 from Dolly and her little friend.
Do you know what Dolly knows? Are you giddy about your salvation? If not, leave me an email address in the comments and it will be my pleasure to get in touch with you! Otherwise, get giddy!!!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Confessions of a Piler

I am a child of a piler so I guess I can say I inherited it! I will be honest, the piles on the bar in our kitchen make me nutty but there is always stuff there! My friend commented on how clean the drawers are in our home but her counter tops are always clean. She finds a spot for things but I have to put them in THEIR spot. But many times I don't know where that place is...therefore, I pile.

I am reading all kinds of teaching inspiration-organizing for homeschoolers, Cathy Duffy just to make sure I am on the right path, and Diane Hopkins of Love to Learn. I am dreaming big! I have materials to do for Social Studies and pulled books off the bookcase to read with the children on related topics we have in Science and Social Studies. Thus, I have created another pile! By the way, I am loving reading this summer and PRAISE GOD my reluctant reader has become a bookworm!!!! We are doing more Social Studies and Science this summer and it is totally working for us and drives our reading as well.



This is one angle of the pile on my desk. It includes the book I just finished reading, Thin Places a memoir by Mary E. DeMuth. I have become a nonfiction junky but this reading was not the record the facts kinda book but more like, watch my God kinda book. It was given to me by a family member and I wondered how she knew how messed up I am to give it to me. It then occured to me, that I am not the only one! God loves my mess! It gives Him plenty of opportunities to shine through if I let Him! That is exactly what DeMuth does with this book.

This is the scene in my bedroom today. I LOVE laundry baskets! One is odd socks that I tackled last night, another clean laundry that is now put away. The white basket is hand-me-downs from my niece to be stored. The odd blue basket is homeless stuff that goes to the basement to find their home. I am about to turn those frames into white frames for the girls' artwork to be displayed in their room. When that gets done, I will send you a picture. Just need the frames painted cause the artwork is obviously in a pile on my desk!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soap Box (cause that is where I am standing!)

When I step out our door in the afternoon, I know it is hot.

The children want to check the thermometer in our trusty 'ole van.

Everyone is saying, "IT'S HOT!"

But when I look at the numbers it is still cooler than what it was in Vnam this Spring.
It is much, much cooler then it was indoors of the churches and the training centers where we served and were served.

We complain about the heat and head into our air conditioned homes. While.....

my friend Lisa is sweating it out in Haiti right now along with 100s (if not 1000s) of other volunteers.

Hai and Quang are traveling Vnam hosting Bible Schools with enough children to represent the adults that would fill the seats on a Sunday morning.

a young mom receives chemotherapy.

youth leaders and camp staff are giving all of themselves to teach your children about missions and leading them in Bible Studies.

children in the US are going without lunch because there is no school.

children, around the world, are being treated as adults in too many ways.

Christians are being killed-willing to die for the cause of Christ.

military families are waiting and praying for their loved ones to return home.

my friend is driving an hour, one way, everyday, to a medical facility to be treated for depression.

women give up their homes and time with their own families, to live with, care for, and nurture orphans.

family members have lost track of what day it is as they pace hospital floors.

Nashville flood victims are still trying to put the pieces together.

all the while folks in my town are complaining about the heat and the WalMart remodel cause they can't find anything.

Yep....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What God Has Been Up To!

A dear sister in the faith hopped on an airplane this week to take care of herself. She found herself in a hospital that carried the name of Christian but had no Bibles. She used a few of her minutes for phone calls to call me to send Bibles for others there. I KNEW it was a God thing....all of it! I posted the need for 17 Bibles on Facebook. A family member had already stuck a check in the mail to help out (I am so blessed with my family!!) Got a message to contact a lady in our church. She had boxes of new Bibles stored at her home that the manufacturer was unable to sell due to damage to the boxes. Right there God handed me 18 Bibles! " FOR FREE!" (that was a joke in Vnam that our Vnam Pastor would say in his limited English.)
They are leather bound, study Bibles. I am sure those Bibles cost about $50 a pop! When the boxes were handed to me, I physically felt the concern of shipping such a heavy box. Even if I paid $50 a box for shipping, there was still a considerable savings! That week, God provided a babysitting job that would pay for at least one box and with the other check coming in, I did not think I would have to dip into our budget....not that My Dear and I were not willing! I prayed that God would "lighten" the boxes before they went on the scale. My Dear reminded me to ship Media Rate. I did and it cost $16 a box!!! I actually had change left over from the loved one's check and did not have to use the other money. By no surprise, when I messaged Pops to tell him about the over payment, he said, "Keep it Movin'!" Will be interesting to see what God lays on my heart for that money!

Today, I joined this little darlin' in the waters! She prayed at home with her family to ask Jesus into her heart! Her mom drove her to each family member's house so she could tell them and each celebrate over her! I love when families celebrate this HUGE decision! I will be honest and say that this sweetie was disappointed thinking My Dear would do the service but since I was there, she snagged me.

Now these 3 ladies, I had the privilege of sitting beside them and their family's when they asked Jesus into their hearts. One little girl was at AWANA and the two sisters were the results of a conversation on Facebook. Carolyn, a former youth who we love, teases that Facebook is blessed by God and all the minor prophets! Who am I to disagree?! The girls were four of the 13 people that were baptized today!

Another man that was baptized is a coworker of a church member. When his family welcomed a baby 3 years ago, our class prepared meals and delivered them to this family in attempt to love on them-strangers. I love seeing how this was a link in the chain. Praying that his wife will see her need for a Savior as well. She did attend church with him and the children today!
This past week we concluded Sports Training Camps. There is a huge emphasis on sports in our community. We traded in Vacation Bible School for Training Camps-art, dance, basketball, and football. Myself and a host of sweet youth ladies danced it up all week! Twenty-one children prayed to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior!
One of the little girls to pray that prayer is a niece of one of my first friends in this town. She is the friend that will push the dried mac-n-cheese out of your kitchen chair with her hand just so she can sit and chat. The decision by this little redhead has been the prayers of my friend since she first heard this baby was growing in her mama's womb. She knows that God is going to use this child to bring a family to the Lord. YEE HAW!!!
Yep, it has been a busy week for our God! Hope you are watching to see Him move and joining in!


Monday, June 7, 2010

This Glorious Life

I am still here! Not so much writing, but living. Tis summer ya know!

Friday night had us going in 2 different directions (probably because there are just 2 adults to get 'em there!) Billy had a ball game while Dolly and B. and I were in charge of the end of the year program for our school group. My Dear put some time into it as well. It was fun to look over our school year and recognize a mom who is graduating from Homeschooling. A sweet friend had a humorous but love filled tribute for what to do with a homeschooling mom when she is no longer a homeschool mom. B. has not even started school but I had the sore throat and watery eyes through this part of the ceremony.

Directly after, we jumped in the vehicle to get to KY to love on My Dear's "brother." He and Jesse met in college and his family became ours....adopted by love! Jesse reported for duty to be a military chaplain. They usually have about 80 in a class but his class will be 188! How cool is that! Bitter sweet that they will relocate farther away. Please pray for his family while he is in training for 3 months and his wife is home with 2 children and ready to deliver Jr. in 3 months...yep, I can do the math.

Sunday AWANA award night....I love me some AWANA Clubbers!!! Dolly and Billy had a great year!

Monday through Friday...Training Camps (instead of VBS)-art, soccer, basketball and I have the little dancers! They were so stink'n sweet tonight.

A few pictures of a few days in this glorious life.....



My Dear and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. We have literally grown up (and out) together. We snagged a sweet sitter and headed out to eat on an old gift card. Oh, My Dear is no longer growing out! He lost 31lbs in a Biggest Loser competition! Lucky for him, the last weigh in was the morning of our anniversary so no salad for this supper!
Our Man Cub has us at the ball field about 2 times a week. He is one of the older kids on the team this year. It is amazing what a year can do.


My Dear helps with Billy's team but coaches Dolly's. They may not be the best team out there but they are for sure the cutest! Dolly loves being with the other kids and I believe she has gotten a bit faster! This picture would represent one or two of the other nights of the week.

Our AWANA program is 2.6 years old. Billy completed 3 books, did almost 3 reviews, and 2 workbooks...the most any clubber has completed. He can out recite me for sure. He came home and displayed his award on the wall beside his hanging vest. He moves to another group next year. So thankful their minds are like sponges and want to take advantage. I feel like an old dog trying to memorize but keep at it!




It is all clean, it is now all put away, and amazingly no one went naked for the benefit of this picture.....so goes this glorious life! (truly, I love it!!)