Tuesday, September 28, 2010

~Under Pressure~

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Good Am I? What Can I Do?

Well, here is one thing I can do:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have already started a little bit of my Christmas shopping. The kids are making lists and Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas decorations.

But there are 6 gifts ready to go in my closet. Just waiting. Gifts who will find 3 boys & 3 girls who we do not know. The only gifts those children will probably receive this year.

Our church is hosting a packing party on November 13th this year along with K-Love for these children.  Children who will be excited to receive a small doll, a toothbrush, crayons, a single hot wheel car.

If you can help, if you can donate items for the drive, you can make a difference.

September 5-18-Boys Toys
small cars, balls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, travel games, etc.

September 19-October 2- Girls Toys
small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, barrettes, head bands, plastic jewelry, etc.

October 3-16 School Supplies
pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, stickers, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

October 17-30-Hygiene Items
toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.

October 31-November 12-Other Items
Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

~Honda, Don't Fail Me Now~

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Latest Project

For a while now I have been looking for a "sleepover" friendly bed for Erin. A bed that doesn't take up half of her floor space, and something more comfortable than a pallet on the floor for company.

I finally found it last weekend! I was searching Craigslist (and fyi - don't list something without a picture, that's just frustrating), anyway, I found one listed (no pic) 2 miles down from my house at a storage building / flea market.

I looked at it twice, and still couldn't decide. I didn't want to just give away my hard earned thirty dollars! Patrick, being my wonderful husband, said "It's just $30, lets try it and see."

So we scooped it up.
What a prize, right?

Next, I borrowed my brother in laws' hand held sander. And I was thankful for every second of it! I also discovered the headboard part was heavy duty pressed board with laminate on top. And - that laminate is second on the hardness scale, closely behind a diamond. It did not want to rough up!

And lucky for the neighbors, I was in the backyard so I could not be seen!

Since the headboards were pressed, I figured I better get some oil based Kilz instead of using the water based we had. And because I am lazy when it comes to priming, I bought 2 cans of spray kilz instead of a can. $10. The reduction in time was SO worth it!

Next, I painted them up with some leftover paint, and it turns out I didn't have a drop to spare.

I lightly scuffed up the detail with a fine sandpaper to give it a little depth and so I wouldn't freak when it actually does get scuffed up!

I also found this cute decal at the Dollar Tree, and thought it would be great.

Here it is as a single, Patrick had to repair a rail for the top bunk.

And the bunks I finished up today!

We do actually have to find another twin mattress for it, so this was not functional, I just couldn't help myself & had to see how it would look! Patrick is also going to work on a rail & ladder for the top.

Not so bad for $40 !

Friday, September 17, 2010

Note To Self

Every once in a while, I come across a really great article, something that I would like to share with you, as well as keep for myself in a "safe" spot that won't be thrown away on a cleaning binge. This is one of them from an organization I love, Focus on the Family.

The Four Phases of Parenthood
Your role changes as your child grows. What’s yours right now?
by Bob Hostetler

It came as a shock. In the course of telling a story to my friend Jon, I mentioned that I had gone into my son's room to wake him up. Jon interrupted me.

"How old is Aaron?"
We both knew very well how old he was, but I told him. "Sixteen," I said.
"Why are you still getting him up in the morning?"

I had no answer. I felt like a bald man who's just been asked why he carries a comb in his pocket. Somehow, in the busyness of parenting two teenagers, I had held on to a habit that made sense when my children were preschoolers but now was far from appropriate.

That's when I decided to give more careful attention to the different phases of parenthood and to acknowledge areas where I'd lagged behind in parenting my daughter, Aubrey, and my son, Aaron. In doing so, I not only introduced a little more sanity to my life, but also prepared them — and me — for their fast-approaching independence.

Phase One: Commander
In the first years of a child's life, a parent does everything for him. The parent functions as a benevolent dictator, telling the child who to listen to, what to eat, when to go to bed, how to perform a task.

In this phase of parenthood, the task of the loving parent is to encourage a child's growth from discipline to self-discipline. As paraphrased in The Message, "A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them" (Proverbs 13:24).

During my children's early years, I repeatedly used the parenting phrases "Yes, because . . . " or "No, because . . . " I not only dictated my children's actions, but also took pains to explain the reasons a certain thing was prescribed or prohibited.

Phase Two: Coach
I used Aubrey and Aaron's summer break to teach them about work and wages — interviewing, hiring and even occasionally firing them from jobs around the house and garden. The idea was not only to teach but also to encourage their growth from direction to self-direction, giving them more responsibility with each new job.

I often tried to help clarify — rather than dictate — my children's choices for them. I found myself repeatedly using the phrase, "Would you rather do this . . . or that?" Obviously, I never tempted them to choose something wrong or foolish; the phrase was simply a tool to help them gain experience in making their own decisions. For example, I might ask, "Would you rather leave now for church and have time to talk to your friends, or leave a little later and go straight to your class?"

Phase Three: Counselor
If you haven't yet experienced it, you will soon: The day dawns for every parent when he or she is no longer the driving influence in a child's life.

The task of the loving parent is to encourage a child's growth from dependence to independence; it is especially important in this phase of parenthood. This is the phase — usually in the teen years — when a child can reasonably be expected to understand what is right, just and fair.

Too many of us continue to parent our teenagers in much the same way we parented them as toddlers or grade-schoolers. When our kids begin to strain against the reins, like a horse that's eager to run, we pull back hard — as though it's wrong for them to seek independence. But that's exactly the purpose of the teen years. In fact, we should encourage that drive for independence and channel it in the right direction.

The operative phrase during these years is, "That's a decision you can make." When my children came to me for permission, I would often quiz them about what decision they would make if I gave them that freedom. I encouraged them to take responsibility in decision making, and they responded. I offered suggestions and warned them about the potential consequences of poor decisions, but I tried to leave the decision up to them as often as possible.

Of course, the risk I took was that my children would make poor choices, and sometimes they did. But little by little, they became capable of finding the right course.

Phase Four: Consultant
No words adequately describe the jumble of emotions a parent experiences driving away from a child's freshman college dorm. It's frightening on so many levels. But it's less frightening if the parent has successfully navigated the first three phases.

The task of parenting isn't done at this stage; it is no longer one of proactive involvement but of patient availability. Like Solomon, who told his son, "Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart" (Proverbs 27:11), the parent in this phase must hope, pray and wait.

Each phase has its own challenges, but phase four can be the most difficult because it requires letting go. For nearly two decades, the parent has been the child's commander, coach or counselor, but trying to prolong any of those roles will invite resistance and perhaps even resentment.

As I did in the other phases, I found a phrase that has helped my interactions with my children: "Let me know if I can help." It allowed me to affirm my availability while respecting my children's independence.

You'll find that the phases of parenthood aren't entirely measurable or scientific. The phases overlap each other; one phase begins long before the previous phase passes completely. And different children will demand differing degrees of flexibility in moving from one phase to the next.

But overall, I found that just a little attention to my current (and coming) phases produced a healthy perspective on my task as parent.

This article first appeared in the June, 2007 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2007 Bob Hostetler. All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Army of One

I recently received this "daily encounter" email from this organization, Acts International and I thought it would be great to share. I have been thinking of sowing seeds lately, and sometimes wonder how many find fertile soil. Here's to optimism.

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
Romans 1:16

Have you noticed that whenever God has a work to be done on Earth, he so often chooses an individual to get his work started and achieved? Think of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Mary, Peter, Paul, etc. The
good news is that God, today, still chooses and uses individuals to accomplish his work on Earth.

Furthermore, throughout history, one person has made an incredible impact with his or her life. I've shared this before, but as the unknown poet said:

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.

One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.

One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam can light a room.

One candle can wipe out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.

One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.

One life can make the difference,
You see, it's up to me and you.

To get God's work done on Earth, "if it's going to be, it will be up to YOU and ME!"

As Edward Everett Hale so eloquently said, "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."

Let's never forget how very important you and I are to God in our world. "When many people each do a little, together we can accomplish great feats for God."

Again, most of God's work on Earth has been started by one person. Will you be one that God is looking for today to have a share in doing his work in your world?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fort Walton ~ Day 2 & 3

We all slept until nearly 8am Sunday morning. I didn't know that could actually happen.
I think I may have been the first to put on my swimsuit to get down to the beach.

Honestly, how beautiful is this?

Patrick fulfilled my request to get his swimshorts wet on the trip.

We dug for clams and saved enough to stink up the sand bucket.
Erin looked nearly horrified when we later read that seagulls eat them.

And we I built a sandcastle.

Later, we walked across the street for a family first. Miniature Golf! We had been wanting to take the kids all summer, and just never did. I'm so glad we did it this time, we had so much fun!

Erin & Luke each got a lesson from the resident pro. Erin caught on pretty quickly...

Luke looked a bit like Happy Gilmore, pushing the ball around with his club like a hockey puck.
But his kind heart made up for it - when another lady lost her ball in the water,
Luke said "I can give her my ball."

Look at that form.

Honestly, Mr. Hole in One, contain yourself. ;)

Day 3 ~
I didn't take any pictures, but Erin & I were finally brave enough to swim in this pool. This pool that must have been filled with melted ice. cccccc-cold!

Thankfully, there was another one, although not as pretty, but much warmer we filled in the gaps with.

It was a great trip, the water, sand & weather were beautiful...And I for one, was not ready to come back home!

Glitter Dollars & Teeth

This girl lost her first tooth at school Tuesday!
(and her second today, thanks to the dentist)

She also woke up to find these: glitter dollars!

I would imagine there are two more drying on the window sill right now, just waiting to be delivered.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fort Walton Beach ~ Day 1

This past week Patrick & I decided Labor Day weekend was "now or never" to take the kids to the beach this summer. Not that we I would wait until the last minute to plan such a thing. Because I would never chance Pensacola being sold out of rooms. ahem.

But really, if Pensacola was nice, then Fort Walton should be better. So there. Maybe it was my little plan all along.

Our first day ~ Saturday
The kids made sand angels.

And we visited the Splash Garden at the hotel.

Luke's favorite was the huge whale tongue. Or maybe it was a crab.

Erin was a pirate. ARRRGGH!
And I can not get this song out of my head. Because I have Mom brain.

We also had a friendly visitor outside our room.

We ate dinner at The Black Pearl.
Luke tried a lemon and liked it.
Then he dropped it on the floor and nearly cried. The waiter brought him a plate full, Luke said he was a good man. :)

After dinner we went back to the room. Someone was a bit tired, and clearly not on the mood for smiling for the camera.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Weekend Preview

Here is a sneak peak of our great weekend in Fort Walton...

I think I took about 150 pictures, these were some of my favorites.
What in the world did we do before digital cameras?

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's That Time Of The Year

I have a picture of Erin when she was about this small (a picture I can't find on my pc)...

She was not quite 2 years old, squatted down on the carport in an unbuttoned onesie, peering at a cicada who was fresh out of his shell...

Thankfully, some things don't change..

I REALLY have to encourage the "catch & release" program around here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

~See You Soon~