Friday, June 30, 2006

What a man!

My precious husband sent me this email and article today. I want to sing the praises of God's grace and my sweet man, but the following speaks for itself.

From my man:
I particularly enjoyed this devotional. It reminds me of Christ’s deep love for us and is a good reminder for me in how I am to treat you- as you are my bride. May I represent Christ in our marriage and may you be able to enter every room of my life and enjoy all that I have.

The devotional:
"The glory that You gave me, Father, I have given to them."--John 17:22Take a good and long look at the overwhelming generosity of the Lord Jesus for He has given us His all. Although a tenth of His possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all comprehension, He was not content until He had given us all that He had. It would have been surprising grace if He had only allowed us to eat the crumbs of His bounty beneath the table of His mercy; but this isn’t how He operates. He provides us with a seat next to Him at the feasting table! Had He given us some small pension from His royal coffers, we would have a good enough reason to love Him eternally. But no! He makes His bride as rich as Himself, and He will share ALL of his wealth with her.He has been content with nothing less than making us joint-heirs with Himself so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all that He owns into the coffers of the Church, and shares all His wealth with those He loves. There isn’t a single room in His house that His people can not enter and enjoy. He gives them full liberty to take all they want from His treasury, and they can draw from His all- sufficiency as freely as they breathe the air around them.Christ has put the cup of His love and grace to the believer's lips and invites him to drink forever— a cup that will never be empty. [M&E]

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mommy award

Today was full of mischief and interesting quotes from the children. I admit, I was on the phone a lot today and that contributed to the mischief. I had almost a dozen calls to return, some quick and some long (Angela). :) But I got to talk to everyone that I needed to and catch up with a few friends. Here are some of the adventures the boys found during the process:

*Soapy water splashed from the sink on to the walls and floor
*Bad attitude for being asked to clean up water
*"I'll wun away if you spank me!", dramatically delivered by #2 when his attitude was followed up with discipline
*Somehow they got the tivo to replay "So you think you can dance" and I came in just in time to hear #2 say. "I fink dey are gonna kiss" as they watched a pair do ballroom dancing
*Sand poured into hair
*About 50 books were brought to me from the bookshelf to read and then put in a reject pile when I pointed to the phone to say that I could not read to them
*#2 got his foot stuck in the cushion as he dangled upside down off of the sofa
*#2 got out a ton of train tracks, not to play trains, but to use as "bones" as he was pretending to be a doggy, which he carried all around the house and "buried"
*And finally, beautifully, #1 found 3 good books, put #2 in his lap and read to him

Do I get the mommy award today or what?

Monday, June 26, 2006

My prayer today

"If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.If I only have time for waxing and polishing, my children will learn of cleanliness, not godliness.Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on the newly cleaned window.Love wipes up the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection;but now, I glory in God's perfection of my child." -Family Life Magazine, May 1982

Jesus, keep my focus on YOU today. I pray that you are glorified in how I spend my time. Change the hearts of each of us in this little family to your likeness!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

How deep the Father's love for us!

Today was a real "pick me up" day. I was exhausted and a little down when I went to bed last night. We had been cleaning the house all day for an Open House today. I was feeling discouraged about the house not having any offers yet. Basically, I was having a pity party! But this morning we woke up and went to a beautiful service at church. The music was captivating and my heart was soaring as I basked in the love and grace my Father has for me! The message was a beautiful reminder of the meaning and personification of mercy. I needed to hear it. And then after church we saw our dear friends who invited us to come over to their house during our Open House. We were so thrilled to have something to do from 2-5 when we had to be out of the house. I love the fellowship we have with this couple and their children. I came home refreshed and I felt like God, once again, knew what I needed when I didn't even know. I needed to feel His love through His people. I needed to feel hugs and hear funny stories and talk about similar interests and just rest! I feel alive and ready for the busy week ahead of us.

Thank you, sweet Father, for answering my heart's desire when I couldn't even articulate it. Thank you that you care so much for me that you can bless me, even after my big pity party. Thank you that in your great love for your creation, you have given me people who love me so much, in spite of myself!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Share your thoughts

I should be cleaning the house in preparation for whoever may decide to come and look this weekend, but...I am struggling to be in the mood and find the energy! My man took the kids out for donuts and then they came by to get the Gator and ride to the park. It is so quiet and peaceful and I just want to lounge. So here I am...

More details on the beach trip...I enjoyed so much the fellowship we had with each other and with the Lord. We have decided to take #1 out of the Christian school where he is enrolled for the fall, take #2 out of the preschool where he is enrolled for the fall and homeschool. I really must admit that I do it wondering how it will out work out, but I can honestly say that I am confident that the Lord wants me to set my fears aside and trust Him. He would not let me release my desire to homeschool! No matter how many obvious advantages there are to putting them in school (i.e. having a new baby, moving to a new house, husband starting new company at home). I know my family and some friends may think I am crazy, but being in His will really is the best place in the world to be, isn't it?

So for you all who homeschool or are thinking of doing so, here is the curriculum I am using for #1. For phonics, writing and literature we will use Veritas Press. (It's a classical curriculum that is rich in literature and humanities.) For math I am deciding between Horizons and Math-U-See. For music we will use Classical Kids once a week and maybe start piano. For art I am using Drawing With Children and a series of books from Veritas Press on various artists. I am going to follow the read-aloud program mapped out by Sonlight. For Science and History I am creating my own units. I got on such a kick at the beach that I have August through November planned already! We are studying animals in August, including birds, farm animals and zoo animals. We will take field trips to the farmer's market, a farm and the zoo. In September we study the ocean and apples. We will go to the aquarium and an apple orchard. In October we study fall things, leaves, harvest, pumpkins, scarecrows, etc. We will have a fall party and take our annual trip to North Carolina to see the fall folliage and go to the pumpkin patch, etc. In November we will study nursery rhymes and Thanksgiving. We will have a Thanksgiving party. I am excited about all of the curriculum, but I am most excited about the unit studies. As a former teacher, it is exciting to plan my own units. Each day mainly consists of reading a book on the topic and then doing a project. Sometimes the project involves building or artwork or a game. For example, we will make a barn out of a refrigerator box and write a play when we study farms. When we study apples we will go apple bobbing. When we study birds the kids will make bird houses with their Daddy. I hope we can do all of the fun things that I have imagined in my head!

So here is our schedule. **If I am boring you to death I am so sorry! I just know that I love to see other homeschooler's ideas and I am on a kick, so I am sharing it all!

8:00 Breakfast and Bible time with the kids(We should all be showered, dressed and have beds made by now!)
8:30 Morning chores (Laundry, bills, email, dishes)
9:00 School
-pray
-fine motor activity (lacing, beading, legos, etc.)
9:15 Math lesson
-#2 will listen to lesson, do his own workbook
9:45 Snack/Mom read-aloud
10:00 Phonics/Writing lesson
-#2 will do his own workbook and practice beginning writing
10:30 Literature
-#1 will read-aloud to #2 and then answer comprehension quesitons
11:00 Go outside and play or ride bikes
11:30 Unit study and project
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Free play/Mom folds laundry
1:00 Rest
2:00 M-Drawing lesson
T-Errands
W-Field trip or playdate
H-Music lesson
F-Mercy ministry or library
The rest of the day is for play, play, play!!! I am looking into a support group and classes at this church. These classes offer fun ways to get together with friends who are homeschooled. They have p.e., music, art, etc. We will probably not play a sport until the spring. Both the boys want to baseball. Any way, there you have it...our fall in a nutshell. We will be starting school on August 7th so that we can take a 2 week break to welcome our sweet #3 into the mix. We'll see how that transition goes and if 2 weeks is enough! If you homeschool, share your thoughts and ideas with me!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back from the beach

We had the most wonderful time. I try not to have unrealistic expectations of vacation. I never know when someone will come down with a virus or when it will rain out all of our plans. All I knew was that I needed time to pray, rain or shine, sick or well. God graciously gave me that time and so much more!

I'll post more pics later, but this week went off without a hitch! The weather was beautiful. Somewhat mild for the beach, but plenty of sun. And the kids had a blast. Everyone was happy and well. The highlights for us as a family were playing with the sand and ocean, finding sand dollars, catching crab at night, exploring the fort, fishing with Daddy, and becoming fearless in the ocean. We also enjoyed a beautiful restaurant where the entire center of the facility is a big sand hill with toys for children to play. #1 learned how to drive his own go-cart and #2 got a crash course in mini-golf. I got to sleep in a lot and have quiet time alone when the boys napped. And my man got to go fishing every day. All in all, we all had time to do what we wanted to do and relax.

God was gracious also to answer my prayers and give me direction for this coming year (I refer to the coming year as beginning in September). I enjoyed reading many Psalms, Proverbs and the book of Matthew. We sang lots of praise songs together, my man brought his guitar. What a week! I'll post more specifics later. I hope you all are also having a nice summer!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Leaps

Today we are gearing up for a quick trip to the beach. We go to this same area most years. We rent a small house, it is secluded, and it is near a fort where the kids can play at the "castle" for hours on end. My man goes fishing, the kids swim and look for crabs, and I paint or scrapbook and bask in the sun. We'll take long walks and play dozens of board games. We usually read a book together and ten million to the children.

Our agenda is really special this year, though, and I am so excited. My husband wants to go and really focus on a vision for our family (beginning after the baby comes...we are on cruise control until then!). We have been working on this "vision" for the past year. God is at work in the life of our little family. He has been so gracious to reveal where our gifts are at church and then allow us ministry opportunities in those areas. We could sense His desire for us to have another baby and he has blessed us with this pregnancy. We could sense His calling my man to quit his job, as I talked about in an earlier post, and we have just enjoyed his first week of working at home. And now we are making decisions about other ministries he would have us to be involved in, including homeschooling. We had made a decision to put #1 in school at our church where there is a small K-8 school. I felt pretty good about it, although I had many doubts. (Not about the school, but about the "fit".) And then one day a couple of weeks back, my man says, "This school decision is not "us".)

So there we were, dazed and confused. But decision time is now. So we are going to go to one of our favorite quiet spots and listen to God. Isn't it a thrill to be in His presence and listen? I have a feeling we will be taking another leap of faith. I pray that God will be glorified as we seek to honor Him. So...signing out until Wednesday!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Magical

Tonight was a wonderful summer night. After a cookout with burgers, corn on the cob, beans and pickles, we went outside. The boys ended up running in the sprinkler, playing catch with the older neighbors and riding bikes. #2 rode his tricycle all the way to the cul-de-sac, which is a long way for him. My man played his guitar on the porch and I sat in a lawn chair and soaked it all up. We got to see the sun set and the moon appear. We saw our first fireflies. It was sortof magical. *Sidenote: I am convinced that #1 needs to succumb to a regular afternoon nap. We go swimming most mornings and if he will nap in the afternoon then we can enjoy many more evenings together like this. I'm not sure how to convince a five year old that he needs to revisit the nap era, but we were all glad that he did today.

Anyway, the kids were enjoying dessert in the yard when #1 told me a funny story. He is always making up stories in his head and telling them to himself or whoever will listen. This one was about our house. He named the house "Jackie", which just so happens to be the name of our current real estate agent. Well, he tells me that our house is really a house person. The roof is her hair, the windows are her eyes, the bricks are her skin, and the door is her mouth. When we go inside Jackie, we are really inside her body. He ends with, "My bedroom is her brains. I think the playroom is her heart. The pipes are her blood vessels." The story took a turn for the worse at this point when he said in an eery voice, "And the trees in our yard are monsters...and they grab Jackie, and..." Then my husband started playing eery music on the guitar and they came up with a song about our house, Jackie.

I'm not sure why I shared all of that except that it may prove once and for all what has come out of our mouth several times this week. We are a crazy family! Oh, and I love early summer. Have I mentioned that already?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mapping out our course

The past two weeks have been full of ups and downs. I feel like I need a vacation! My man turned in his resignation at work. He plans to work at home doing the same type of consulting. He chose to do this to cut back on his work hours so that he can teach a few science classes at a homeschool co-op, begin to fundraise for the retreat center that we dream of opening, and spend more time with us. All in all, this career change is something we have dreamed of for several years and knowing that the time is finally here is a strange feeling. To make a long story short, his boss went from being fuming angry to completely supportive of his career change. It is awesome to see God work in the hearts of others! So anyway, today is his last day at the office.

We have seen God open major doors in providing us the opportunity to pursue our big dream of having a retreat center. Several extremely wealthy people have expressed an interest in hearing our vision and contributing financially. I am biased, but I believe the passion and determination that my man speaks with when he is talking about this dream of his is enough to convince anyone to want to be on board. So now we are trying to decide how to steer our family in that direction. (We realize that we may not see this longing fulfilled for many years, but we still believe we need to be working toward it.) We need to pray about where to live and how to school the children. There is a lot on our decision-making plate and the time to make these decisions is now! I could go into great detail, but I guess the point is that we need to be covered in prayer. In a month, all of these decisions will be made and we will be living somewhere else preparing for the school year. I am excited and thrilled to see what God has waiting for us this year. I feel more anxiety about unmade decisions than actual changes. Once we have a clear vision of where we are going and what this year will look like for our family then I will be more at peace. It feels so incredibly encouraging to know the God of the universe has our future mapped out and that he is truly going to give us the best thing for our relationship with Him. I keep thinking of the verse in Proverbs, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

So if you think of it, pray for our family today!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The lazy days of summer

I had a "girls night out" with two of my closest friends last night. Our conversation spurred on some thoughts and reflections that I will share soon. But tonight I feel lazy and just want to find my favorite blue blanket and soft pjs.

First, I need to say that I love summer. I am six months pregnant and will probably be hating this hot season soon. But right now spending time with the boys at the pool (I secretly love to go down the water slide as much as they do), eating popsicles, reading the day away and seeing their beautiful blue eyes sparkle against their freshly tan faces is enough to overshadow the heat.

So, here is my quote for the day. It is taken from #1. I was cleaning his ears with q-tip after bath time and he shouted, "Momma, please don't scoop all my brains out. I will die." He was actually serious and not making a joke. I think he's been reading too many Magic School bus books!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Potter's bench


Here's the potter's bench. Read my entry below for explanation.

#3's nursery...give me your advice!





Today our house was peaceful and quiet. The boys went hiking with my sweetie. I cleaned the house and then headed out to shop. I am buying tidbits for #3's nursery. Sidenote, I am really not good with computers and can not figure out how to create a link, so there are a ton of pictures up top. Sorry!

Anyway, I pictured above what I have bought or picked out so far. My question is, see the potter's bench below? I know it is normally found in the yard for gardening, but what do you think about my husband making a similar one for a changing table? I can just picture it with pails and baskets of toys, diapers, etc. We would paint is white with maybe a yellow backing. Is that weird? So far the theme of the room seems to be garden-ish, flowers, songbirds, butterflies. I thought the potters bench would be unique and fun. I am also planning to create a large butterfly painting in oils and a little painting of a nest with robin eggs as well. The walls will be pale pink. Any other suggestions? This girl stuff is fun!!