Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let us pray...

Tonight  I just need to say that I am weary!  I am tired from hearing of so many people, especially children, who are sick with serious things like cancer lately, and tired from all of the creation groanings going on in such a short period of time.  Earthquakes, the tsunami, tornadoes, destruction from this and that.  If these things don't all point to the fact that the Bible is true and Jesus is coming soon, I don't know what does!  Today I was in my car alone with God, listening to two different radio programs, and I found it interesting that both hosts said the same thing.  And I mean the exact same words!  All of these things that seem to be disasters going on around us have at least one positive thing that we can see.  They shout to us that LIFE IS FRAGILE.  They both used those three words.  And they pointed out that it takes these types of tragedies to make it sink into us sometimes that we all need to remember how fragile life really is.  Be ready, friends!
I am so thankful that the National Day of Prayer is going to happen this year as it always has in the past.  As I sat in the car today thinking and listening to the Lord, I felt Him telling me that what is really important right now is PRAYER.  I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Ukraine on a missions trip when I was in college.  It was in 1993, and the wall had  recently fallen, leaving those believers free to worship as they chose.  I could not believe my eyes and ears as I worshiped with those precious brothers and sisters in Christ, packed like sardines in the church with many more worshiping outside.  They sang and prayed and cried out to God like I had never seen.  And when they spoke to you about Jesus, tears would stream down their faces, or their eyes would light up with joy.  They would not dream of placing a Bible on the floor.  I remember thinking that if they came to America, they would be shocked at our brand of Christianity.  I am ashamed at the small amount of time I really spend on my knees in fervent prayer to Him for our broken world. I honestly don't think I am that different from most American Christians today, although I do hope I'm wrong.  How would things be different if we would ALL devote our entire lives to Him and really pray every day?!

I am looking at these sad happenings around us as my wake up call to pray, pray, pray while there is still time.  Let's pray for our families, our children, our nation, and our lost world, because life is so fragile!  And I just know that Jesus is coming soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

He Lives!  He Lives!  Christ Jesus lives today!! 

I hope you had a wonderful, blessed Resurrection Day!  Just knowing Christ has defeated death makes it a wonderful day, because He has power over anything we may be going through.  Praise His Name!!

And here is our weekend in pictures, in case you would like to peek...

 Cassandra making Sarah's egg into Humpty Dumpty--next to Itsy Bitsy Spider and the mouse who ran up the clock, he is her main man!

Humpty had a sad face and a happy face...and Sarah thought he was just grand.  She especially got a kick out of the crack on his head.  : )

Ben showcasing some of the masterpieces.

Then, after a wonderful morning worshiping at church, it was picture time.  The boys do not enjoy picture time unless it's pictures like this...

 Not sure what this was about...

 My handsome boys. : )

 Sarah's gorgeous Easter dress came with a matching one for a doll, which Grandma supplied for her.   : )

Aren't my girls beautiful?! 

The whole crew

Here's all of us!

Then of course it was egg hunt time.  We finally had a nice day after so many cold and rainy ones.  Thank you, Lord!  This year was nice because Jacob wanted to hide the eggs.'s nice having big kids.

Cute Sarah, even from the back...

And we ended the evening with the Easter story told with Resurrection Eggs.  A family tradition. : )

Happy Easter from us to you!! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guilty, guilty, guilty...

I was sitting drinking some coffee and reading a book today.  I had a few short moments to try to relax after school time and before the dinner preparations.  And as I sat there, I listened to the sounds of my boys laughing and playing together like they didn't have a care in the world.  And really, aside from being forced to do math and chores, they really do not have many cares in this world. 

At times like these, I  realize again how much we can learn from our children.  I wish I could trust, forgive, and love unconditionally the way they do.  But something else made me pause and wish I could be more like children today.

I am good at feeling guilty about things.  I guess we women are typically great at that.  I feel guilty if I don't spend enough time with my kids or my husband, guilty if all the laundry's not done or if the house isn't clean enough, guilty for not cooking more nutritious meals, guilty for this, and guilty for that.  And if I do something that is a bona fide sin...well, I have got the repentance part DOWN.  No problems realizing that I am guilty.  My problem resides sometimes in remembering that I am forgiven! 

Well, one of my boys did something wrong the other day.  I know, it's suprising that my children are not perfect, but it's true.  It happened to be a pretty big deal, and a great teaching moment came out of it.  Scott talked to him, and I talked to him.  We talked about the importance of repentance, and assured him of our forgiveness and God's forgiveness.  We also used the opportunity to teach about temptation, and how we have to be prepared to fight against it, using our greatest weapon, God's Word.  He truly was repentant, and we prayed together, and I was thankful for that part of it. 

And then I kept thinking about it.  I began to be haunted by thoughts like, "What could I have done to have helped him to avoid that mistake ahead of time?"  And "How could he have done such a stupid thing?"  And I kept thinking and thinking about it, and feeling somehow responsible, and sorry for my son, because certainly this might ruin his sense of self worth or something... 

And my boy?  He went off and played.

It's not that he wasn't truly sorry.  We could tell he really was.  It was because he gets it that when God says it's done, it's done.  If He says we are forgiven when we ask, then we are.  It's not rocket science.  Part of having an abundant life is knowing that God loves us no matter what, that He does not keep a record of wrongs, and that things are great between us again, every time we come to Him and tell Him we know we blew it and we are sorry.

Today is Good Friday...the day we remember the amazing thing God did for us.   The fact that He loved us so much, even knowing we were dirty rotten sinners, that He came down here to be one of us, putting up with all the junk down here, and giving everything He had--His very life--To pay the penalty for our sins, and to give us the gift of a relationship with Him, here on earth, and forever!  Such amazing love.  Oh, how I hope you can grasp it!  And invite Him into your life if you haven't already.

This is abundant life, friends.  It doesn't mean that we will always be perfect, or that everything will always go our way.  I am laughing just thinking about that!  What it means is that even on our worst days, when we feel guilt ridden, or down in the dumps, or angry or pouty or whatever...we can remember that God loves us and died for us--even though we are downright ugly sometimes, and He knows it!  And if we remember that, we simply can't stay down for long. 

We might as well grab someone and go play.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.  John 8:36

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two precious treasures...

I normally use my blog to share something about my life.  But today I want to share about two different lives.  Two precious little angels who both need a mommy and daddy like every child does.


Last year, our Cassandra went to China.  She spent six months over there pouring her life into the lives of some very special babies.  These babies live in The Morning Star Children's Home, run by a family and nannies dedicated to taking care of babies who are in need of some special medical help.  The link to their website is on the side of my page, or you can access it HERE.

Well, Cassandra loves all babies, especially orphans, but she certainly fell in love with the babies in the home. 

And most of all, she fell in love with Corrie.

I can honestly say that Cassandra talked about Corrie (and still does a year later) with almost reverent tones.  She just loves that little girl with all her heart.  She can't even mention her name without smiling, saying how much she misses her,  how much she longs to see her again, and how she would adopt her if she possibly could.  All the babies she worked with are adorable and sweet.  Corrie does not seem to stand out in the pictures, and she has many special needs.  But Cassandra insists that there is something so special about her.  She said that Corrie charms everyone who comes to visit, and many of them claim her as their favorite. 

And now, Corrie has the possibility of finding a family of her very own!  Her orphanage is working on her paperwork to release to adoption agencies!  It is exciting, and I am so certain that God is going to bring the perfect family to this sweet angel.  Could it possibly be you?  Or maybe someone you know? 

HERE is the link to the post her "mommy" in China wrote about her.  If you cannot adopt her, please pray that she finds her family soon!

 Cassandra and her precious Corrie

 I love this picture of her and her "daddy"

 Another one of my favorite pictures of her.  Looking so stylin', ready to shop!

 With all her friends!  (Pretty in pink back there)  : )

Sweet Corrie : )

And next, meet Vanya.

I can't write as much about him, because I don't know as much.  But, a fellow blog friend, Adeye, is doing an awesome thing for this sweet boy who so desperately needs a family.

As I write this, there is not a family committed to bringing him home.  But Adeye felt the Lord leading her to do something for him to help change that!  She is having an amazing fundraiser over at her blog site, raising funds for his adoption.  And, there is a cool give-away you can get in on too as a bonus!  Already in the short time she has had it running, she has raised over $15,000!  That was her goal...but the adoption expenses will top that figure.  Please go over there and check out how you can get involved.  I was so excited to be part of something so close to God's heart!  Here is the LINK.

Dear friends, I believe with all my heart that caring for orphans is one of the most important things we can do while we have time here on earth.  I hope you will pray about what God would have YOU to do to help a precious little boy or girl today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So many books...So little time...

I do not profess to be really great at many things.  Truly I am not, although my mother, I know, would disagree.  But the facts are, I am not a great cook or housekeeper. I am not crafty or super creative.  I am not very organized, I can't sew, drive a stick shift, fix anything that breaks unless duct tape counts, I do not like to bake.  Hmmm...I forget to send thank you cards.  How horrible is that??  I am hoping I am making you feel better about yourself.  Is it working? ; ) 

Really, I'm not the greatest at much of anything!  BUT...I do really, really, really love God and my family, and if they go through life and to the grave knowing that, then I will feel like I succeeded! 

However, in spite of the things I haven't done very well, there are a few that I am really happy I've done.  And one of those is, I read to the kids.  Just about every night.  Since the kids have been very little, I have chosen a book and read it to them, and for a long time now, we have been reading through children's novels.  It is one of my (and their) favorite times of the day.

I thought I would share some of our favorites with you, to give you some ideas about where to start in case you would like to start this tradition, or if you already read, to add to your list.  I am going to list them from memory, so in most cases I do not remember the author right off the top of my head.  I don't have time to go hunting on my shelves for the books right now, and some were from the library.

So, here you go for a start:

Mr Pudgins  This was one of my absolute favorites when I was a kid!  I highly recommend you find this, although it is difficult to find.  Full of zany adventures of a family of children and their eccentric babysitter, Mr. Pudgins.  I know you will be glad you got it.

Pinnochio  I do not mean the Disney version.  There really is a classic book with this title, and it is such a good story about making right choices.  We read it years ago, and I am going to check it out from the library again.

The Trumpet of the Swan  Some of the books I've picked, I've chosen because they stand out in my mind from when I was a kid.  I remember our librarian at school read this to us, and it was a fun story to read to my boys.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School  Some books we read are just plain  fun and silly.  This is the first book in a series like that.  I loved them when I was little, and I still do, and so do my kids. 

The Indian in the Cupboard  This was a great book, well written and interesting.  However, I was annoyed that there was a bad word in it!  So I was glad I was reading it TO the kids, and I could edit that out, and that I hadn't just handed it to them to read. 

The Boxcar Children Series  I loved the first one in the series.  After that, I could have taken or left these, but my boys liked them, and one of them really LOVED them.  So, give them a try.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn  I don't remember the exact titles, but these two books were excellent.  We read the real ones, and not any watered down kids' versions.  They use more difficult language, but the kids got used to the writing style, and I felt it was really good for them to stretch their brains a bit. 

The Littles  Cute series.  So far we have just read one of these

Lemony Snicket--a Series of Unfortunate Events  We love these books!  Enough said.

The Wizard of Oz  We just got finished reading this oldy but goody for the second time.  Much better than the movie!

Eric Liddell  I want to read more biographies to the kids, but so far I have had trouble finding ones that hold their interest that well.  Eric Liddell (and I might have that spelling wrong) is a great hero of the faith, and just happens to be the main character in "Chariots of Fire." 

The Chronicles of Narnia  Please read these books if you haven't already.  They are excellent literature for children (and I loved them too!) and they present truths of Scripture in such a compelling way. 

Stories of the Pilgrims  by Margaret B. Pumphrey I often try to read something that goes along with what we are studying.  When we were learning early American history, I pulled this out, and I thought it was just excellent.  It tells the Pilgrims' story in much more detail than is normally told, from their beginnings in England until their days in the new colony.

Scout  Forgive me if this is not the entire title, but I think this is it.  It's a riveting tale of a boy and his dog during the Nazi era in Europe.  A great book for boys!

I am sure there have been many more, but these are the ones that are coming to mind right now, so that's a good start for you!  I must confess that one of my favorite parts about being a mom is that I get to enjoy all these great children's books again without feeling silly.  It's a great excuse to read them!  : )   I will probably write another post someday as I think of more great books we have read, and by all means, if you have favorites you've read, please leave a comment and share! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I'm here, I'm here!

I'm tardy, but I'm here.  : )

I have been wanting to write a post about our biggest boy, Jacob.  He turned twelve a little over a week ago. 


We had a wonderful time celebrating.  Picture a Star Wars cake, fun at the local laser tag place with the family and a friend...Legos and a remote control tank, a real man's watch, and cash from grandparents were his awesome gifts..... I just love birthdays.  And especially when I am celebrating the birth and life of one of my precious treasures. 

I would like to tell you a little about Jacob.

Jacob was born with a claim to fame.  He was my first child, and he came into the world weighing in at 11 pounds even!  I should have known right off the bat that this boy was going to be special.  Actually, what am I saying?  I DID know that he was going to be something special.  He was precious from the very first day.

Jacob had another claim to fame those first few days in the hospital nursery.  He could cry.  A LOT.  Those poor nurses kept bringing him to me thinking that little boy must have been really hungry since he was about 4 pounds bigger than all the other babies.  It turns out that being hungry didn't have much to do with it.  My poor baby just cried and cried--a lot--in the hospital, and for months after we brought him home.  It wasn't non-stop, but he did an unusual amount of crying. It was a very difficult time--for him, and for his daddy and me.  It was definitely the hardest time of my life up until that point.  I just didn't know what to do to help him, and to this day, I don't know what was wrong...but I remember knowing in my heart that this boy had a very sweet temperament.  And I couldn't have been more right.

Jacob grew into a hyper--I mean healthy, very active two year old, and a loving older brother to our new baby, Joshua.  He would say, "I LOVE her!"  (Yeah, it was a boy, but babies all look the same, right?)  When he was five, and baby brother number 2 was on his way, he was ecstatic.  He has always had such a tender heart toward babies and little kids. 

Jacob grew and grew, and his love for all things "boy" did too.  He loved construction equipment and balls.  Hot wheel cars and race tracks, trains and transformers, filled our home.  He got frustrated easily like any self respecting first born child, and he was still very ACTIVE-- and that little boy was so sweet to his momma.  : ) He would tell me I was beautiful and how much he loved me, more often than the other two boys told me those things put together. 

And Jacob continues to show his sensitive, tender heart as he grows into a young man.  When all of the swings were full at the park and a little girl wanted to get on, he jumped off of his to let her have it.  When friends are over, he is so careful to make sure no one's feelings get hurt.  If there is a problem in the house between brothers, Jacob is normally the first one to give in in order to keep the peace.  He is kind and patient and fun with his little sister.  And I have noticed so many times that when I am feeling grouchy, Jacob is quick to forgive my bad attitude, to come over and give me a hug and tell me he loves me--at exactly the time when I certainly don't deserve it.

Jacob really is a precious gift to us.  I know that God has some great plans for him!

He loves his little sister : )

 Relaxing and chatting with Grandpa

 So happy to be 12--sitting in the front seat!

 His awesome flying adventure this past fall..

He said he wanted to carve this pumpkin for Lego lovers everywhere.

 Goofing around with brothers...

Such a great birthday present!

We just love this boy to the moon and back.  We are so thankful for him!