Thursday, April 29, 2010


I've got a headache. It hit me at about 11:30 this morning when my class came in from the outdoors. Today was day 2 of "Chuckwagon Days" at my school. We have a local farm bring over a bunch of animals. The kids get to go out & pet them, ride the horses, feed goats, paint a horse (yes, they really do PAINT it) ....that sort of thing. It's great fun! Later, we go back outside & have a hot dog picnic before we play a lot of western-themed games. This morning, the wind was blowing like crazy. It made for a great day to be outside (temperature-wise) but I think between the animals, the hay, squinting a lot from the sun being in my eyes & the blowing pollen, my allergies & sinuses got fouled up & boom...headache. When we came inside after seeing the animals, I took a Tylenol. It was just a dull ache at that point. I really hoped to kill it before it became a full-fledged headache. I really didn't have much choice but to buck up & move on, so I did. But by the time I left work, my head was really achy. I stopped & got a Dr. Pepper on the way home & took another Tylenol. It didn't help much.


After picking up the kids from school, I layed down on the couch & rested for a while. The headache eased a little, but came back slowly when I got up & started moving around again. Especially once we went to the funeral home for a visitation of a friend who very unexpectedly died on Tuesday night. We didn't find out until today. What a great loss...such a beautiful man with a precious family. My heart, and my head, ached for his sweet widow.

When we got home, I took MORE Tylenol and did a sinus wash. Some of the pressure is gone, but the headache's still here. Sigh.

We've got a camping trip scheduled for this weekend. Have I told you how much I love camping? (Can you hear the dripping sarcasm?) I really don't MIND camping if we're talking about staying inside a shelter. With a roof. And a bathroom nearby. And an electrical outlet to plug in a fan. And maybe a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. You know...not really "roughing it". I enjoy the time w/ my family, but the whole outdoorsy experience is not really my 'thing'. I'm more of a hotel girl. I will gladly make the sacrifice for my kiddos and the Cub Scouts, but I'm not exactly looking forward to it.

Storms are forecast for tomorrow. And this weekend. That means we'll have to stay inside tomorrow at school if it's wet. And then I'll get to go camping in the rain. Yipee.

AND, I have a visitor scheduled to arrive any day now. You know....the visitor who stops by once a month.


Did I mention I have a headache?

I think I'm going to grab a book & go find a bubble bath. I'm going to soak til my toes are pruney.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Braggin' on my babies!

Lots of brags here, so hold on tight!

Savannah first!
Savannah has been an amazing reader since she was 5. She stunned her Kindergarten teacher by finishing entire Junie B. Jones chapter books to the tune of 1-2 per day. She took AT LEAST one trip to the school library daily. As soon as she learned how to really write, she began doing that really well, too. A few years ago, she got a journal & never kept up with it, so last spring I challenged her. I gave her a new journal & told her that if she could keep it going for 1 month, I'd buy her a milkshake. She did it (and got her milkshake) and she's never looked back. She began writing stories several years ago, but she's gotten really good at writing since then. So good, in fact, that she began publishing stories online last year. So good, that she's begun writing to publishing companies & seeking out someone to publish her first manuscript. She has gotten a few responses, but so far no one is willing to take her on without an agent. Oh well, we'll keep trying. It'll be fun to see if she can get a book published at 13!

Samuel next!
Early in 3rd grade, Samuel & his buddy, B, began a club at school called "Trash Men". It really began as a response to a club some girls started called "Green Girls". The idea of both clubs was to pick up trash, encourage recycling, etc. Larry and I, as well as Samuel's teachers, figured it would fizzle out within a couple of weeks. Most third grade clubs do. But these guys were serious about their trash pick-up! Months later, Samuel was wanting to create "Trash Men" Tshirts and buy a van to haul trash in. (I know...I giggled about that, too.) I loved his ambition, but still thought the enthusiasm would die soon. Surprisingly, at the end of school, Samuel's teachers presented he & the other little boy with an award for organizing & maintaining a service-oriented club. We were pleased to see them stick with something all year long, especially something for a good cause!

Throughout the summer, Samuel talked about his plans to improve Trash Men when school began. Sadly, about a month after school started, his coleader moved out of state, so he was left as the sole leader of the group. Since he decided to let girls join him, he had to remove "Men" from the group's title & the club became (wait for it.........) TP. That stands for Trash Patrol, but the first time he told me I busted out laughing. He had no idea that other people would think TP might stand for something else! Anyway, TP has continued this year & blossomed. He's added quite a few more boys to the group and has been trying to get me to print up a 'test' he could give to the other kids to determine who will be able to lead TP when he's not at this school anymore. (I's exactly do you test someone? Hey you, see that trash? This is a test. What do you do with the trash? picked it up! You're IN! ha ha)

A few weeks ago, one of the PE coaches approached Samuel about having a representative from a local environmental organization come meet with him about the club. He came home, all excited about that, but really had no clue what they'd meet with him about! On Thursday, the coach sent home a note saying that the group's rep would be at the school on Monday to meet w/ Samuel. He stayed after school to meet them & then excitedly told us how they'd asked a lot of questions to enter him into a state contest where they award young people for making efforts to do things that are good for the Earth. The prize is $100. He's super excited & already has plans for the money if he wins! We're proud of all he's doing and for the ambition & initiative he's putting into all of this, even if some of it sounds kind of silly. Way to go, Buddy!

And now Sarah:
Every year, the schools in Texas administer a test. One of those awful standarized tests where the kids are forced to sit in their desk all day long & stare at little bubbles with their pencil in hand. The test is called TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills). It's pretty brutal, too. The teachers hate it too. There are so many rules & regulations they must follow, it's insane. At the 3rd grade level, the math portion of the TAKS test is HUGE. And I don't just mean lengthy. It's super tricky, but it's also one that carries a giant weight. If the kids fail this part of the test, they fail the 3rd grade! They're allowed a couple of tries to retake it, but if they still fail it in the end, they have to call a big group session with teachers, principals, counselors, etc and decide whether or not to allow the student to pass the grade. It's an enormous pressure on the teachers to make sure the kids know every little detail of the information...and it's an enormous pressure on the kids to pass. Such a scary, stressful time for these little ones!

Today was the Math portion of the TAKS test. Samuel & Sarah's grades both took it. Sarah's in 3rd grade, where the kids feel the most pressure to pass. Sarah's always done great in school, but she's also a very anxious kid who stresses over things. I was SO pleased to see her NOT stressed out today! And when she got in the car this afternoon, I asked her how she felt like she'd done. She said "I think I may've missed one problem. But that's not a big deal!"

I love that confidence! Way to go, baby girl. ROCK the TAKS!

Tomorrow, Samuel & Sarah's grades will each take the Reading portion of the TAKS. This will be the hardest part for Samuel. He struggles in reading, so if you see this before Wednesday, April 28th, I'd appreciate it if you lift a prayer for him. Savannah's grade level will take the TAKS test on Thurs & Fri of this week.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Color me happy!

When digital cameras first hit the market ages ago, I was resistant to change. I always am. Once I figure out a way to do something, I like to stick with it til it is so stinkin' obsolete that I'm forced to change. I'm like that with everything. (In fact, I'm feeling that tonight with AOL...I've been having some issues with it, but I hate to change b/c I love AOL! Anyway...that's a whole other post!) I think we were the last people in America to own a CD player. And a DVD player. And ya know what? To date, we still don't have a DVR/Tivo. Or iPhones. Or any other sort of 'fancy' phone that you can do more than call someone with. So with all that said.....I did finally make the switch to digital vs film cameras.

A couple of years ago, my camera died on me. In a panic to replace it so I could take pictures of Sarah's baptism, I put out a request for one on Freecycle. I thought maybe someone was upgrading & would be willing to share their "outgrown" one. I had several offers, but ended up getting one my sister had stuck in a closet somewhere from her last upgrade. I took it & fell IN LOVE. It was as simple as my old camera had been, but took MUCHHHHH crisper, sharper, brighter pictures. I used that camera to death. death. I accidentally knocked it off the counter in my classroom on the day of my first Thanksgiving party back in November. I was devastated. We were in the middle of serious financial stress and I had *very few* dollars to spend buying a new one. I had another Thanksgiving party with my other class on the next day & I needed (or at least wanted!) another camera. On top of everything else, Christmas was coming & I knew I'd want to be able to take pictures of the kids & everything else related to Christmas. I asked friends & family, once again, if they were upgrading & had a spare camera I could borrow for a few months or buy cheap.

My sweet girlfriend came to the rescue. She had a garage sale a couple weeks prior & had attempted to sell a cheapie point & shoot camera. It hadn't sold & it was still sitting in the box in her storage building. I intended to BUY it from her, but forgot my checkbook when I went over to her house. She said to just borrow it or pay me later if I really felt like keeping it. Months went by before our finances improved & we both forgot about exchanging money for the camera. It's served its purpose, but the pictures it takes are not really clear or sharp, so I've been anxious to get a replacement for the old camera. I've looked at sale ads and checked a few in the stores. Lots of them caught my eye, but the pricetags were a little too steep for us right now, so I've looked on eBay for a duplicate of my old camera.

And guess what? I've found, and bid on, MANY of them. I've lost soooo many auctions, but finally last week, I got lucky & WON!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't tell you how excited I was to rip into this box today & pull out my "new" camera!

It's identical to my old one so I know exactly how to use it, I've already got memory cards for it, the USB cord, etc. In fact, tucked away in some drawer in our desk, I have the manual for it, too! It was missing the lens cap & carrying strap, but I was still holding onto the old camera so I swapped those out, and voila....I'm sooo excited to have "my" camera back! Just in time for a big week at school this coming week, too!

Here's a pic of the old/new camera.

And the one I've been using since November.
Yeah, I's still nothing fancy AT ALL, but it's clear & crisp & it makes me happy. So that's all that matters, right?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This site is so much fun. I've been asked all sorts of funny/silly questions and a few serious ones. There's always a box/link for it over at the right side of the page, but once in a while I like to repost about it so you can make sure you check it out.

Go HERE & send me a question. Check back in a day or two & find your answer.

Ok, I'm curious..........

If you read this blog regularly, lurk once in a while or just accidentally stumbled onto the site, please let me know who you are. Leave a comment & say "Hi, I'm ___ from ___." or whatever!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beautiful, the mess we are....

This morning I drove home from dropping the kids off at school and listened to a new song on the radio. I had not heard it before but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'll get to that in a minute.

Let me rewind a bit...
A few years ago, the Christian singer Amy Grant walked out on her family. She left for another man, Vince Gill. I was devastated that this woman of great faith would do that. She had represented so many things for me as a little girl. My older sister had a few of her tapes (back in the old day, we didn't have CDs youngsters!) and I remember listening to "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" over & over & over. The instrumental parts to that song blew me away...and still do. But when she left her family for another man, I was shocked. It knocked the breath out of me & left me so discouraged. Somehow, much of the rest of the Christian music world seemed (at least to me) to not blink over it. She was out of the music industry for a short time, but then started producing records again. WHAT? How could I ever listen to her again & get the same blessing from it? I was looking at her through a whole different pair of eyes...the eyes that saw her flaw & her sin and just couldn't let it go. I've never quite gotten over that, I guess.

Fast forward...
On the eve of Andrew & Kourtney's departure from our home, I was a mess. A glorious, ugly mama cry sort of mess. I was hurting and so very brutally vulnerable. I was horrified about the choices we were having to make, the way this might affect A&K later on down the road, how hard it would be for them. And then it happened. A girlfriend of mine sent me an email that shook me to the core. She told me that she didn't feel the least bit sorry for me. She told me that we were adding to A&K's traumatic childhood & I should be ashamed of myself for (in her words) "kicking them out". The blow of reading that email was like a kick in the stomach when I was already curled in a ball on the floor. I was devastated. The timing was horrible. If I'd read the same words 2 months later, I probably would've handled it better, but in that moment, I was crushed by a person who I thought was a dear friend. I tried to defend our choice that night & explain to her what was going on, but ultimately that conversation destroyed our friendship & we've barely spoken since.

It's been 3 years since the kids moved out. Up until very recently, any time that particular girlfriend's name came up, I felt it all over again -- the pain & hurt she caused. I wasn't so much ANGRY as I was just hurt. She & I tried to work things out about a year ago, but the conversation was very emotional & our words became daggers very quickly. I had to just walk away & say "nevermind". The truth is, the wound had never really fully healed & talking to her about the whole thing just tugged at the perimeter of those scars til the whole thing came open again & the pain spilled out.

But no matter how many times I've mentally or verbally forgiven her for the hurt she caused, I've never told HER that I have forgiven her. I've heard sermon after sermon & read umpteen devotional book entries about forgiveness in the 3 years that have passed. Every single time without fail, her name comes to mind. Not because I haven't forgiven her, but because God has nudged me to seek her out & tell her that all is forgiven & it's time to move on. I think the truth of the matter is that I know, in the pit of my stomach, if I forgive her & say "let's try this friendship thing again", I'm opening myself up to her. And opening myself up to her again is allowing her a chance to hurt me all over again.

In praying about this recently, I told God that. Father, I am afraid. I don't want to be hurt again. I know that what she said that night was said out of ignorance to the situation. She didn't full grasp what was going on. I think her motives were pure---she was trying to make me see something that she didn't think I'd thought through....but it hurt like hell, Lord. If I try to make good with her now, she may hurt me all over again and I'm just not ready for that.

You know what He said to me?
Beloved, how do you think I feel? I forgive you day after day, time & time again...and you hurt me over & over. But I open myself up to you completely each time you come to me and I forgive you knowing that you'll hurt me again.

Yeah, I know. Talk about a knife to the heart. Ouch. I get it.

I tried to seek out my girlfriend a couple weeks ago but I can't get my hands on her mailing address. I don't have an email for her anymore. Her phone number was long since removed from my phone book. I really don't have a way to tell her that I forgive her....but somehow, in reaching that place, God's released me from the bondage of carrying around that burden. Just coming to a point of being WILLING to say "I was wrong to hold onto this for so long" has been so freeing.

I forgive you, M. I hate that things got so ugly between us. I was hurt and I didn't know how to let go of that for a long, long time. But I'm ready to forget the past & move on.

This morning, as I drove home, I heard this beautiful song on the radio. The video & lyrics are below. It was such a good song. It ministered to my heart and left me singing along with raised hands in my front yard. And ya know what?

Amy Grant is the singer.

Looks like it's time for me to let go of another hurt & forgive her & move on. If Jesus can, why can't I?

The lyrics:
God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Recent Reading List

I seem to go in spurts where reading is concerned. I read voraciously and then I go through a season of really dragging & taking weeks to finish one book. I'm kind of at an in-between point recently. As the school year winds down, I'm very busy getting end of the year stuff ready for my class and helping Samuel work on his homework every day and then just your regular every day stuff. But I've been wanting to read more, so I'm getting it done in little blips & blurbs, here & there throughout the day. There's the potty-time reading (ya know, the 3 minutes here & 2 minutes there). There's bedtime reading. There's the "I just need a break from everything else...give me 10 minutes". There is bubble bath reading time. And of course, once everyone else is in bed & occupied at night (before I actually crawl into bed myself). So...what have I been reading lately? Let's see if I can make a list.

A few weeks ago, I went into the local Dollar General & stumbled on these first two books.

When God Winks at You is about the idea of 'coincidences' in life that show you God's presence, stories like those times when you were overwhelmed by a situation & suddenly felt unmistakable peace in the midst of the chaos...and 2 hours later you find out that your girlfriend halfway around the world woke up in the middle of a nap & you were on her heart so she prayed for you. And then you discover that it happened at exactly the moment you God's strength & peace. I love stories like that!

I will admit, however, that although this book was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company, the overall view I got from the book was a touchy-feely one.....not one that draws you back to God over & over. Nothing wrong with that, but it just wasn't quite as 'deep' as I'd expected it to be. Then again, I did buy it at the Dollar General....maybe it wasn't exactly a bestseller.

I have not read The Ten Year Nap yet. The summary on the back sounded interesting & for $2, I can afford to be disappointed if it doesn't turn out well. The basic idea is that a group of ladies have grown up together, went to college at the same time, started a career, married & had babies all around the same time. Each one decided to put their careers on hold to stay home with their children and now, 10 years later, they're all reentering the workforce & feeling like they're coming out of a 'ten year nap'. While the idea of the story intrigues me, I have to laugh at the idea of the title. Any stay at home mom will tell you....naptime is the last word we'd use to describe our job at home!

The reason I haven't finished the first book above (& then haven't started The Ten Year Nap) is because I got THIS ONE in the mail. I had preordered it four or five months ago. Last week I got an email saying that it was on the way! I can't tell you how excited I was. I arrived on Friday. I wasn't able to start it til Saturday evening. I finished it last night. Twenty-four hours is all it took me. I sort of figured it would go pretty quick.

You may remember me telling you about Todd & Angie Smith's blog, about the difficult journey they were on when they got a fatal prenatal diagnosis. Their sweet baby girl, Audrey Caroline (pictured on the cover), was born April 7, 2008 and lived for just a little over 2 1/2 hours before she slipped into the hands of God. The journey through that pregnancy, the birth, and the time since is chronicled both on her blog & in this book. Having walked through the whole thing with Angie while reading her blog, it only made sense that I'd grab up a copy of the book when it was available. And grab I did! It's beautifully written and as inspired and amazing as Angie's blog.

I've only gotten about a chapter into Sacred Parenting so far. It's a really cool book. The idea is that this is not a how-to parenting book. It's not about how to care for your kids or how to teach them about God like the title sounds. It's about just the reverse---all the things we learn about ourselves & God as we parent our children. Those lessons you learned from your 3 yr old when Aunt Ellie died....the brilliance & inspired that comes from the mouth of your 10 yr old when put in a tough situation. That is what this book is about & I'm excited to get started on it!

Today at a local church library we visit regularly, I FINALLY got my hands on a copy of Sheet Music. It's not about music, folks. It's about sexuality in marriage. I'll leave it at that because I do have younger folks reading my blog. If you want to hear more about it, email me or look it up on amazon for customer reviews.

And of course, I'm reading my favorite blogs!!!

So what are you reading lately?

(NOTE: ALL of the books above come *after* I read my Bible every morning!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Fever

I've come & looked at my blog every day for the past week & have visited all my links to the other blogs I stalk (read) and I've had a couple posts run through my head, but those were mostly all the day to day 'what we did' sort of posts. I try to save those for summertime when I count out the days of summer. The rest of the year, it just seems boring to make everyone else read our daily journal of events. After all, summertime is FUN around our house!

You know, FUN after all the nit-picking & whining & fighting is stopped.

So the truth is....I have Spring Fever. I'm reaching that point in the year when it's harder & harder to get out of bed. And when I do, I'm dragging. And then I take the kids to school in my pajamas (with a jacket to cover them!) half the time & come home to veg a little longer before I get moving & run out the door at the last minute, only to arrive at work "just in time".'s time for school to be out! Honestly, I love my job but I'm tired & ready for a break, and I'm sure all my students & their families are feeling it too.

So I suppose the Spring Fever thing is running over into my blog. I'm drawing a blank on something creative to write about. Anybody got any ideas? Requests? Top ten lists? Comment & let me know!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I've Got You

The song I mentioned in my post last night...I've played & replayed it since then. Seriously, I have it minimized right now & I play it over and over. Each time the song ends, I maximize the page, restart it & minimize again.

It's one of those songs that will resonate with me for a long time. Not because I know the author & singer. Not because of the story that inspired it. All of that does make it special, but that's not why.

I listen to the lyrics again and again and I feel tears welling up. I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself -- throughout my adult life, God has again & again thrown us one monkey wrench after another. He's given & He's taken away, He's had to teach us the same lesson in trusting Him over & over. He's removed people & situations from our lives. Our bank account has certainly seen the rise and fall of our financial tides. Friends have come & gone. Jobs have come & gone. Yes, Larry's been there for me through it all....but more than Larry, God has been. Larry sleeps at night and goes to work (and I'm grateful that he does both!) but God has been the one constant. Through bankruptcy, children with birth defects, marital issues, job loss, illnesses & injuries, ONLY God has remained steady & faithful.

No matter what life throws at us, we've got God.


I’ve Got You
Words and music by Shaun Groves
Copyright 2010 Simplicity Street Music/ASCAP

Got nothing in my hands to part these waves
Got nothing in my bank account that saves
Got no more might left to muscle through
But Oh, I’ve got you
I’ve got you

Got demons gather ’round oh laugh it up
Spreading doubts a plenty I can’t drink this cup
Got no one left who thinks I’ll make it through
But Oh, I’ve got you
I’ve got you

Got faded memories of better days
Got a prayer that they’ll come back around my way
You’ve got me and oh that gets me through
Oh, I’ve got you
I’ve got you
Oh, I’ve got you
I’ve got you

If you missed hearing the song last night, go to this site & hit the play button.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


When I was a kid, we went to a Southern Baptist church. That church was also home to a contemporary Christian musician....we just didn't know it at the time. Shaun grew up to become a celebrity with his great voice. His music made him famous, but his heart for mission work is what makes him 'famous' in my mind.

Over the course of the past year or so, I've been able to reconnect with him over the internet. He's a couple years older than me but he remembers our family from all those years at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. I've watched him (via live video stream) while he was on mission trips with Compassion International, a Christian child-sponsor organization. He works closely with them, taking well-known bloggers on trips to the neediest countries to love the children there, play games with them, hold them & hug them and find sponsors for them. Each of the bloggers can post throughout their trip & "advertise" in a way for the organization. I've been honored to "watch" these trips the last couple of years & watch Shaun's heart. I am honored to know him & call him a friend. Even if it's been 15 or so years since I last layed eyes on him in person, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Shaun Groves is a man of honor with a passion for Jesus.

Tonight on Facebook, he posted a link to his 2 new radio hits. I went to the site & played one of them over & over & over & over. Before you hear it, read the story behind the song:


I met Kiran a few months ago, but if I live a hundred years I’ll still remember her. Her house is a box six feet wide and four feet deep with a roof made from sheets of plastic held in place with rocks and sticks. There’s not enough room for Kiran’s two brothers and father to sleep inside so they bed down on the street. There’s also no room for furniture or a closet. All they own is pinned to the ceiling by a sheet stretched tight overhead and pegged to the walls with sticks jammed into holes.

Kiran’s house was about four and a half feet tall so the neighbors all came out to laugh at the giant Americans cramming themselves through the miniature doorway. Once inside, my friends and I sat on the ground asking questions and listening to Kiran’s story. Then it was Kiran’s turn to ask us a question.

She stood straighter than before, a big smile on her face. “How do you like my home?” she asked.

We all held tears behind wide grins. “It’s beautiful,” we said.

Then Kiran took Keely by the hand and walked us through her neighborhood. The sudden presence of white faces had drawn a handful of beggars to Kiran’s street. There they sat, one with hands and feet eaten by leprosy, pleading for food. The shifting winds blew the unmistakable smell of human waste into our noses then mercifully pulled them away. Together we crossed a bridge that spanned polluted waters shimmering in the midday sun.

As we stepped off the bridge Kiran began to cry.

“I’m just so very happy,” she said.

What could make a girl living in twenty-four square feet so happy? What could make an eleven year-old without a closet, a car, a television or a cell phone so happy? What could make a girl who walks past beggars and through so much filth every day so very happy?

“I have God and my sponsor,” she said.

Then we turned a corner into a brothel where women tricked and trapped into prostitution stood waiting to pleasure sweaty strangers for fifty cents an hour. Men stared at us. At Kiran. Seemingly oblivious to the danger and lust all around us on the crowded street, Kiran began to sing.

“Lord, I lift your name on high.”

She swung Keely’s hands in hers.

“Lord, I love to sing your praises.”

Almost skipping, Kiran floated through the darkness like a firefly.

“I’m so glad you’re in my life. I’m so glad you came to save us.”

I don’t believe God loves the poor more than he loves rich folks like me. But I do believe they’re often better at loving him back. “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus said. To those with nothing Jesus is everything. That’s something to sing about.

I remember this story. It was from one of the Compassion trips. And out of that, he wrote this amazing song that will no doubt become a major hit. Go to THIS site & click play. I promise you will be blessed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sometimes it takes so little to make me happy.

Last week when I went grocery shopping I bought a cheapie raspberry scented air freshener for the van.

I get the same kind every summer. The smell reminds me of a snowcone stand.

We don't hang out at snowcone stands during the summer by any means, but we do visit it 1 or 2 times over the course of the summer. Something about that smell takes me back to childhood. I vividly remember going to the lake with my mom & sisters in the summer, then stopping at the snowcone stand on the way home. Those high fructose corn syrup concoctions of summery goodness were such a treat for us. Today I got in the van after work & that smell overwhelmed me. I had to run some errands & the pollen covering my van had finally shoved me over the edge. I had to get it off the car, so I drove through a car wash. As I sat there in the peaceful quiet van, listening to the spray of the jets & smelling the wax and the raspberry snowcone scented air freshener, I was just about pushed over the blissdom threshold. Such a peaceful moment. I thought about reclining my chair & taking a nap right there in the car wash, but I figured I might get kicked out.

I am definitely a sensory girl and the smells, tastes & sounds of things from my childhood are the things that bring me the most vivid memories.

"Deep Woods" scented Off at church camp....

Love's Baby Soft at the same church camp....

that pina-colada scent of our Suntan Oil (you know, back before we were all concerned about skin cancer & oiled ourselves up to get a tan while we layed on a big piece of foil)....

the taste of my mom's red velvet cake...

plums straight off the tree from our orchard...

and here's a weird one. My dad worked in a mechanic's shop now & then when I was a kid. He was a fireman by trade, but on his days off, he wore a number of hats, mechanic being one of them. To this day, when I smell a greasy garage, I think of my dad. Sure, it's kind of a gross smell, but it reminds me of my Daddy!

I realize these are mostly scents & tastes. Sounds are a little harder for me to pinpoint, but I think the biggest ones are the theme songs to the shows my parents & I watched. Do any of these take you back?

Miami Vice:
Hawaii 5-0:
Magnum PI:
(I must add Tom Selleck...purrr)
Knight Rider:
TJ Hooker:
Love Boat:
Fantasy Island:
Mork & Mindy:
Brady Bunch:
One Day at a Time:
Bosom Buddies:
Laverne & Shirley:
Happy Days:
Ok, I'm just going to stop........I could go on & on!!!!

There are sooo many sound/scent/smell memories I could name. I know that most of these are only special to me. What are some of your favorite sensory-related memories?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter at our house

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that Easter is a special day at our house. It's one of the many things in life that was changed when A&K lived with us. You see, prior to their moving in, my kids had never done anything for Easter that wasn't Christ-centered. We preferred to focus them on the truth of the holiday & not bring in anything 'worldly'. At that time, Savannah & Samuel were the only ones who had been to school & heard about egg hunts & bunnies & baby chicks. I wasn't so much opposed to them doing that AT SCHOOL but I didn't really want to go there at home. Like so many other things in my life, I'm an all or nothing sort of girl. I couldn't see how there could possibly be a balance between the spiritual & the worldly stuff, so I just completely skipped the worldly stuff.

And then Andrew & Kourtney joined our family. These two precious babies who had been through, well, Hell & back....their dad was in prison, their mom was gone, they'd been homeless & witnessed some of the most God-awful stuff you can imagine. They had so little in their life that had been constant and when Easter approached, they talked with excitement about the upcoming day...with egg hunts & bunnies & all those things. I cringed. I wrinkled my nose. My eyebrows furrowed. And then I went to Walmart & bought 5 Easter baskets, a bunch of plastic eggs & candy and a heap load of that plastic grass stuff.

Having the kids with us that year led me to seek out a way to find a balance between the spiritual & the worldly stuff. New traditions were formed and we found a way to make it work...and even though A&K moved out in March of 2007, three years later, the balance is still working. While I never imagined my kids would learn about dying eggs and chocolate bunnies, I am sooo very happy to say that if asked to tell you the REAL Easter story, all three of my kids could do it without a second's hesitation!

One of my favorite 'tools' for our Easter celebration are the Resurrection Eggs created by FamilyLife. You can find & buy them by clicking here.

The eggs are a great visual tool to share the Easter story with kids. Each egg contains one small item that represents something from the story. For example, one egg contains a few (fake) coins. These represent the coins Judas was payed by the government to lead them to Jesus. Another holds a tiny plastic donkey (the triumphal entry), another one holds a little piece of leather (the whip). As you go through each egg, there are Scriptures to read to explain the story to the children. The final egg (Sarah's holding it above) is empty--to symbolize the empty tomb. Our kids hunt eggs as well, but before they dig into those eggs, we open the Resurrection Eggs. It is important to us to help them remember the real reason for this holiday before they go head-first into a sugar high.

This morning we went to church. We came home & had devilled eggs with ham and cheese sandwiches before we hunted eggs. Yesterday, we dyed eggs. (Those became the devilled eggs that we ate today!)

I'll leave you with a few pictures we took this morning of everyone in their Easter clothes. Enjoy! I hope you & yours had a fabulous Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Samuel's birthday sleepover

We had a ball Friday night with our sweet little friend, Coleman. We went bowling, ate yummy junk food, watched movies & hung out to play video games. Perfect night for my favorite 10 year old!