Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”



Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


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



 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.


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



Merry Christmas!
Luke: 2:8-20





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Rich" Is Not What You Have

I've heard many people say this year they had to cut back. What would their children think when "Santa" didn't deliver as many Christmas gifts as they normally receive. When their children don't get everything on their list Christmas morning....I can't help but think how perfect a time it is to explain that Christmas is not about things, gifts, Santa & elves.

Christmas is about Christ. That is what "Christmas is all about". Christ was born humbly for us. He left His throne to come to save us. To live and walk among the sin, sadness and sickness we have caused ourselves by disobeying Him. He came to tell us that He loves us, no matter what we do wrong, just as we love our children when they do wrong. If we would only ask for forgiveness for the failures and mistakes we make every day. If we would beleive that Jesus is God's son.

God gave his Son for us! Can you imagine sacrificing your child for this world? How He loves us!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Luke 12:15

Dr. James Moore wrote, "During World War II, four
young American soldiers who had been on the front
lines of battle for some time, were sent back to a
small French village for a little R & R.

When they arrived in the village, they realized that it was
Christmas Eve. They began to discuss how they would
like to spend Christmas. One of the soldiers said,
"You know, as we were coming into town earlier today,
I noticed an orphanage on the outskirts of the
village. Why don't we go there in the morning and take
some Christmas joy to those children?" The others liked
the idea and the more they talked about it, the more
excited they became. So they went out and bought all
kinds of toys, candy, clothing, food, books, and games.

Early the next morning they showed up at the
front door of the orphanage with wonderful Christmas
presents for all the children.
"The orphanage director was pleased and all the
children were delighted as they opened their gifts.
All the children that is, except for one little girl
who stood quietly off to the side. She appeared to be
5 or 6 years old and her face looked very sad. One of
the soldiers noticed that she was not participating,
so he asked the orphanage director about the little
girl. 'Bless her heart,' said the director, 'we just
got her last week. Both of her parents were killed in
a car wreck. There was no one to take her in, so we
brought her here.'

"The soldier went over to the little girl and gently
he said to her, 'It's Christmas morning and we have
wonderful Christmas presents here: toys, clothes,
candy, food, books, and puzzles. Which would you like?
What do you want most for Christmas?' And the little
girl said, 'I want somebody to hold me.'

"Maybe that is the best Christmas gift of all--someone
to hold us. As somebody once put it, 'Rich is not what
you have. It's who you have beside you.' Well, this
sacred season comes along once each year to remind us
that 'Love Came Down At Christmas,' that God is even
now reaching out to us with open arms, and that He
wants us to accept His love and to pass it on to others."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas

Love,
God

Ephesians 2:8 (New International Version)
 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Next Stop, Broadway

Poor Luke, he was a hunter in the Thanksgiving program at school, well, before Thanksgiving. And still, no pictures posted.

Tonight, he made his debut as an elf. He was supposed to be a singing elf. But he opted for the cute, silent elf instead. He sat still for 20 minutes. And that's good enough for me!

So here he is, my favorite son, in all his dressed up, preschool cuteness on Thanksgiving. He really enjoyed this program. His teacher had told me he was the loudest & most focused in practice.

That is Ricky to the left. They were to dress in camo, green or brown. No hunter orange. Oops!
Luke's friend Cade is to the right, he was the silent hunter that day.



And here he is tonight. I missed him singing "Jingle Bells" (that I beleive was the only song he knew) because I was on the other side of the sanctuary. What we could see from afar was he & Cade head butting each other. ahhh. But aren't those the cutest ears you've ever seen?




Thursday, December 9, 2010

Autographs Available From 2-4

Last week I rounded up the little family to go look at lights. Our town's light display had been moved from another park, to the one near our home. It was the opening night.

When we rounded the corner, a man was squatted down taking our picture. He asked our names & where we lived and said he was with The Advocate. I joked to Patrick that our house would probably be robbed when we got home, since this stranger with a "photographer" name tag had all our information!

I had forgotten about it until my Mother in Law called this morning to say we were on the front page of the local section!


So today, we are signing autographed copies from 2-4 for a minimal $5.00 each. Hurry, we'll sell out fast!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

~Butterfly Breakfast~

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snuggle Buddy


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Without further slacking - here are our Thanksgiving pictures.
This year we went to my Aunt & Uncle's home.

Erin & Luke both got to ride their own personal choice of transportation. We were so thankful for the nice weather since they had been looking forward to this for so long!

Erin & I got to sit atop a horse. I can't really say it was riding, since we were led around. Good enough for the both of us anyway!



Luke finally got to drive the digger. Now his life is complete.
And yes, my son wore his slippers to Thanksgiving dinner. You really can't argue about everything.



Erin got to eat her pumpkin pie. At least I think that is what is under the pile of cool whip.


Thanks Aunt Di & Uncle Mel!

We spent the night at the camp that night, roasted marshmallows, woke up to an awful storm & came back home. Silly faces along the way...



We are very thankful the Lord watches over us and my scatterbrain-ness as we came home to an oven that had been on for 24 hours. I'm thankful He doesn't sleep!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh Give Thanks To The Lord

"It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night." Psalm 92:1-2

"Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden
hair; I envied her--she seemed so happy, and how, I
wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to
leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one
foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet--the
world is mine.

"And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who
served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good
cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, 'It's
nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find';
he turned and said, 'Oh, thank you sir.' And then I
saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I
whine, I have two eyes, and the world is mine.

"Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child
with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others
play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a
moment, then I said, 'Why don't you join the others,
dear?' He looked ahead without a word, and then I
knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I
whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

"With feet to take me where I'd go / with eyes to see
the sunsets glow / with ears to hear what I would know
/ I am blessed indeed / The world is mine / oh, God,
forgive me when I whine."

Courtesy of: http://www.actsweb.org/encounter/daily.php

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25 Day of Thanks

Thanksgiving day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. E.P. Powell

Day 1: Customers who have become friends.

Day 2: The right to vote and bring my children to experience it with me.

Day 3: A daughter who always gets green smiles at school and loves going every day. Almost. :)

Day 4: Warm, comfy beds for all my family. And although the garbage truck wakes us up early some mornings, I am thankful for garbage service.

Day 5: A great day with Ms Erin on her field trip - a play, the park & a bowling birthday party.

Day 6: Quiet Saturday at home with no where to go, beautiful weather courtesy of our Creator.

Who does not thank for little, will not thank for much. Estonian proverb 

Day 7: A great worship service and opportunity to learn more about God, waking up to the sun, mending fences.

Day 8: A proper working washer & dryer for mounds of laundry, flu vaccinations, Erin & Luke playing so well together, children who forgive me, a God who uses those same children to remind me of my faults, a supportive husband who helps with sick children. whew!

Day 9: The chance to go early Christmas shopping with my little man.

Day 10: A healthy family. And I may retract that statement about the flu vaccine. It was a doozy.

Day 11: I am thankful for the veterans who served. I am thankful for not having the desire for a bigger car, bigger house, bigger notes. Contentment and the Lord who provides it.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Day 12: I am thankful for my husband (who is also celebrating his birthday today) just the way he likes it best. All by himself! :)

Day 13: No rain on our girl scout zoo trip. Nosespray for the stuffies. My grandma who is 80 years old today.

Day 14: Sunday dinner, cooked by someone other than me!

Day 15: A Mom who always helps me out with the the kids, a husband who will go to Wal Mart with me in the rain because our cupboards are bare. My oh so comfy bed.

Day 16 - 18: I am a slacker. A few rough days and I completely fell off the thankful wagon. I am thankful God isn't so easily discouraged with me!

Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Galations 6:9
Day 19: I am thankful for a daughter who brings encouragement to others who may not receive it often. Thankful for a little man who is "happy mama came to my school today".

Day 20:  Early Christmas shopping and a honey who helps me sneak gifts to the car. The kids excited to see early Christmas decorations and the little people nativity to play with.

Day 21: The opportunity to live in a country that I can get on my knees to give thanks and not be persecuted for it.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. W.J. Cameron

Day 22: A week of no school!

Day 23: I'm thankful for washable paint and for teachers. I don't know how they take care of other peoples children every day. Also for little snuggles in the morning.

Day 24:  I'm thankful that after FOUR HOURS in the kitchen, I am done and dishes are clean. I'm also thankful I don't have to go shopping Friday!

Day 25: I'm thankful for a day with my family. For Jesus who loves me in spite of all my faults. And for dressing. Happy Thanksgiving!

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5

~Fall In South LA~

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sink Sank Sunk

There is a little girl in Erin's kindergarten class. I'll call her Amy. Amy is not a good student. She has no social skills. She always has a runny nose. She won't sit in her chair. Or listen. Or do her work correctly. She gets her conduct card pulled nearly every day. She frequents the office. Word is she has never been to Wal-Mart. I'm certain her home life is not ideal. One day I was at school to pick Erin up a bit before the bell rang. Amy had escaped. No one knew where she was, she snuck out of her class and was no where to be found. Turns out she was on the bus already. All by herself.

 She needs prayers.

Proverbs 22:9
He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.

Needless to say Amy is not the most popular. Most of the children grow impatient with her. Erin & I have talked about her situation and how Jesus wants us to treat everyone the same, with love. Even when they are different. Even when they are not the nicest to us, we should still be nice to them.

Yesterday morning I stopped by the school to drop off water bottles for Erin's class and before I left Erin's teacher stopped me.
 
She said, "I just wanted to tell you that you have a special little girl. Erin is so patient and compassionate when it comes to Amy. When I am at my end and have long grown frustrated with her along with many of the students, Erin is still encouraging. She says "Look! Amy sneezed into her elbow! She did her work and is still in her chair!"
 
"Erin helps other children with their work when I am not yet able to get to them. When another teacher came in a few days ago, Erin got a book from the bin and started reading to the class. She is my "student teacher"."

Psalm 116:4-6
Then I called on the name of the LORD: “LORD, save me!”

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.

So, even when we think things are not sinking in....They are listening, watching, learning. Have patience. God is patient with us every single day.



Monday, November 15, 2010

~Cypress & Squirrel~

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friendly Competition

This summer Erin decided she finally wanted to swim underwater...
After she saw her friend Hallie doing it so well.

This summer Erin also learned to ride her bike with no training wheels...
Because Anna could.

Today, Erin mastered the monkey bars at the zoo.
Motivation? Erica & Aleicyn.

Sometimes, all the girl needs is just a little inspiration to do just as well as others. She gets that from her Dad.
All it took was a little determination & competitive nature. She had the skill all along.





This also happened to be our first ever Girl Scout outing. About half of our troop came.
We also had a tagalong. Oh wait, cookie reference.


We saw a newborn giraffe, less than 24 hours old. We were told to walk quietly around her & the mom giraffe. She was a new mom. That's all we need to say about that. I pictured her charging us if we disturbed her little one napping.


Luke obviously still has some unresolved goat issues leftover from our last trip.


We had a good time. And as always, it's just not a good day until someone leaves crying.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Surprise Visitor

If Jesus Came to Your House

"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with
unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of
the Lord, are being transformed into the same image
from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the
Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV)

"If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two, If
He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you'd do. Oh, I
know you'd give your nicest Room to such an honored
Guest, And all the food you'd serve to Him would be
the very best, And you would keep assuring Him you're
glad to have Him there--That serving Him in your home
is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming would you meet Him at the
door, With arms outstretched in welcome to your
Heavenly Visitor? Or would you have to change your
clothes before you let Him in, Or hide some magazines
and put the Bibles where they'd been? Would you turn
off the radio and hope He hadn't heard, And wish you
hadn't uttered that last, loud, hasty word? Would you
hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?

And I wonder ... if the Savior spent a day or two with
you, Would you go right on doing the things you always
do? Would you keep right on saying the things you
always say? Would life for you continue as it does
from day to day? Would your family conversation keep
up its usual pace, And would you find it hard each
meal to say a table grace? Would you sing the songs
you always sing and read the books you read, And let
Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you'd planned
to go? Or would you maybe change your plans for just a
day or so? Would you be glad to have Him meet your
very closest friends, Or would you hope they'd stay
away until His visit ends? Would you be glad to have
Him stay forever on and on, Or would you sigh with
great relief when He at last was gone? It might be
interesting to know the things that you would do If
Jesus came in person to spend some time with you."

- Author Unknown


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Power Of Thankfulness

The scriptures urge believers to maintain a spirit of thanksgiving to God in all circumstances. He doesn't need our thanks, but we desperately need reminders that we are created beings dependent upon our Maker. Acknowledging God as the source of all things frees us from the lie that we won't need Him.

Unfortunately, children are born with a propensity toward discontent. Parents can help their children guard against that propensity by encouraging gratitude and explaining that we give thanks because it...

Makes us rich: The endless pursuit of more creates artificial poverty. The discipline of gratitude, by contrast, brings natural wealth by freeing us from the snare of comparisons and unrealistic expectations.

Cures our bent: According to the apostle Paul, contentment is a discipline we learn, not a feeling we experience. It is impossible to be truly grateful and discontent at the same moment.

Gives us joy:  A major part of joy in life is expressing gratitude to the One who meets our needs. Like helium fills a deflated balloon and lifts it to the heavens, thankfulness connects our spirit to the Source of all joy.

By: Kurt Bruner

Can't we all put this into practice and record one thing we are thankful for each day?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Watcha Doin' Tuesday?

A special word of advice from Noah Webster, 1882:

Exodus 18:21 (NIV)
But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the
government will soon be corrupted ... If our
government fails to secure public prosperity and
happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the
Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and
administer the laws."


What's on the ballot?
 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Princess Pajama Pants

Last Saturday was Erin's 6th birthday. She wanted her friends to wear pajamas, and for a craft we painted pillowcases which I thought was really fun, even if a bit messy.

She also agreed to sacrifice store bought cake for a pinata. I didn't have any pinata experience, but we were quite certain to shield the patiently waiting children from the bat being wielded around their heads!

This is when the girls were all jumping, but stopped for me to take a picture. I love how they got progressively sillier!


Present time! Can you tell the princess' are what she had been wanting for nearly a year? Thanks Granny & Paw!


Self explanatory goodness!


And the unicorn slaying. Can you see everyone's mouth dropped when Anna busted open the pinata?


It was a super fun day!
 No pictures of the painting, there was no time, but we used fabric paint, stencils & sponge brushes.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Wonder...

This Halloween, Luke has deserted his soldier costume we bought on sale last year. No amount of talking will change his mind. Nothing will do but for him to be a "Daddy".

I wonder where he gets the idea....


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Recipe To Share

I made these for Erin's birthday party this weekend and they were so gooood!

(Photo from Life in a Peanut Shell)

The only mistake I made was cooking them a bit too long. I found the recipe at Life In A Peanut Shell . Her description says "muffins", but there is nothing muffin about these. This is not breakfast food. Although I did eat one in the morning anyway!

Click on the link for the recipe, you won't be sorry!
The only modification I made was using milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Enjoy!

~Drenched~

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23, 2004 ~ 8:02 AM

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger

May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance


I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance

Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking

Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider

Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shenanigans

Mr. Luke has kept us on our toes lately, to say the least.

He hasn't slept a full night in who knows when....

I overheard him having a conversation with my Mom & Aunt just the other day, and I'm not sure one word of truth came out of his mouth...

I mistakenly thought we would be spending the night at the camp a few weeks ago, because Luke told me "Daddy said yes". I believed his dimpled smile.

Here are some of his latest activities.

Me: Luke! What are you doing?

 Luke: Washing my hands.



He also has an unending love for blueberries...




He gets frustrated with me when I pull his undies & pants up a bit too much...
But he thinks it hilarious to do this:



It's a good thing he's funny, sweet, silly and thoughtful, so we'll continue to provide room and board.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stuffed

Last week we received our first letter from Adriana! I had forgotten to check the mail earlier in the day, and thought about it when Erin got off the school bus. So....we got to open & read it together. The letter was written from her Mom, since Adriana is just 6. She has a pet cat, and plays with her cousin, who is 1 year old. She does very well in school and her favorite subject is math. She also goes to Sunday school. Then I turned it over & saw a picture that brought tears to my eyes. A beautiful, fridge worthy picture drawn by Adriana. She even draws apple trees like Erin :) I was so thankful God had me wait to check the mail so we could open it together!




So today, my house was quiet and I got a chance to respond. And I tried to see how much love I could stuff into a standard envelope. Math worksheets, coloring sheets, a picture from Erin, some stickers and our letter. We are also sending a financial gift to her family, which we can do twice a year. I know they use these to buy things that we take for granted. A Bed. Food. Clothes.



It is stuffed with goodies. I pray the love makes it there too.


Matthew 14:18-20 (New International Version)
"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

Jesus can take little and make it much in His name.

Friday, October 15, 2010

School Is Her Bag Baby!

This morning I had my very first parent/teacher conference. At 8:15.
Nevermind the kids were out of school & actually slept past 7:00am.

We knew Erin was doing great, she always does the bonus questions on her tests and loves her teacher.

So when the kids & I got to our appointment, this is what we were presented with.



Her teacher said she is a great student (of course). She is always willing to help in any way she can, and loves to look around the class for words to write. Her teacher said even though she knows the information is sometimes repetitive for Erin, she never loses interest.

Erin's reading level is also the best in her class. Some students are reading the same books she is, but not as easily. Erin is reading so well, in fact, her teacher wants her to go to a first grade class for her reading lesson!

It would be about 30 minutes a day, and they have to get their schedules together, but I'M SO PROUD!
And - she may even get to skip naptime! Wahooo! No more staying up late!

Way to go Erin, we are all so happy for you!