Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driveway Delight

I wish I wrote this, but I did not.  Still, ENJOY!

I was driving down the same winding road from my house that I always take. Clearly, the school bus was due to come along at any minute because at practically every third driveway there was a parent and child, standing, waiting, watching, perhaps talking. But not much else.    I continued around another blind curve. There I’d see another child-parent pair looking like statues.   Another curve. Another pair.

Then. . .I went round one more curve and was suddenly greeted by a mom and her son, dancing wildly on the driveway. They held onto each others’ hands, and dipped hard to the side. It looked like a jitterbug fest had broken out. They were oblivious to us. They only had eyes for each other. And there was some serious joy going on at that house.

I smiled for a good half mile. I kept thinking back to them. Swirling and giggling. Dipping and laughing. I loved that mother for what she had given that child. What a send-off before heading out to school. What a great positive mindset to give this child before he got on the bus. What a home to want to come back to. What a love language. Her simple moment of Driveway Delight said...I just like being with you.

Determine that you will do something with your child PURELY for the delight factor. It only has to take a few seconds. Nothing has to be learned. Nothing has to be made. It has to be something that delights your child. All it has to say is I just like being with you. And if you don’t get it done by the time bedtime rolls around, then make bedtime special. Blow bubbles on his belly. Tell a bedtime story with her stuffed animals. Do a goodnight dance, holding your child tight while you sing a good night song. Let them know that even when there’s nothing to do, you like sharing that little bit of nothing with them, because you just like being with them. --Carol Barnier

Don't you just love this??!! 

I really have more to add to this, but it will have to wait until I have more time.  It is after 1, and I think I remember making a New Year's Resolution to go to bed earlier this year....  Ahem...  : )

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A heart full of praise

Just thinking about thankfulness tonight...

I am thankful that God has blessed me with the gift of being the kind of person who is thankful by nature.  I normally don't have to fight against taking things for granted.  I am continually thanking the Lord for the sunshine, the rain, the scents of nature, animals and trees, the beauty in everything around me...

My beautiful family and the blessings I enjoy every day simply because of them...

My home, our full cupboards, our full closets, and even full toy boxes... 

Conveniences that are so helpful like automatic dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, cars, telephones, computers...

Digital cameras and video cameras, Craigslist....(some of my very favorite things)

People-----and especially the ones who make this world a better place.  You know the kind I am talking about...

Advancements in medical care...hospitals, doctors, nurses, volunteers, researchers, generous givers...

Children and the joy they bring...

Blogs, and Facebook... : )

People who give their lives for the cause of Christ...missionaries here and abroad, pastors, Sunday School teachers, food pantry workers, foster parents and children's home workers...

Friends...  Isn't friendship one of God's greatest blessings?


I am thankful that even though we are blessed with so many "things" here in America and other well-off countries around the world,  true joy does not come from these things.  If they all went away tomorrow--and someday, many of them honestly could.....   in Jesus we would still have perfect peace.

I am thankful most of all for Him.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He is truly all we need. 

My heart overflows with praise to Him.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  God bless you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Plants in Jeopardy! And other news...

I have several ideas for things to share with you running around in my head, but I thought tonight I would just share about our day because it was fun, and also interesting.

The first exciting news is...it snowed!  Well, it actually happened yesterday, not today, but around here it was very, very exciting, so I thought I would add it.  The kids went outside, and we actually got a little bit of accumulation--enough to throw a few snowballs!  We had a fire going in the fireplace, and this year I have decided to break my cardinal rule of not playing Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  There is just something about the first snow that still makes me happy to this day.  But then.....I get over that reeeaaally fast.  And I would not mind if we did not see any more snow at all, thank you.

In other news...Cassandra and Sarah tried a new nail polish color.  Sarah's got done first, and then she kindly returned the favor so nicely, don't you think?  And, notice her HAIR...Yes, she is wearing BRAIDS!!!!  : )  : )

This is the kind of scene that I come across sometimes around our house.    Makes me happy. : )

We got a hot tub!!  Hubby found one for a good price on Craigslist.  He has always wanted one, and now his dream has come true.  We just got it the other day, and tonight, Sarah got in for the first time.  Now our water baby can enjoy the winter.  (And no, the water is not that hot.  It is safe for kids!)  : )

And yes, we finished another unit in our humble little home school.  Tonight we played....Plants in Jeopardy!!  Do you recognize Alice Trebeck?  She is looking lovely, don't you think?  Love that hair-do.  We had three very clever contestants, and they won quite a bit of money.  I believe Mr. Jacob in the middle seat there was the winner with $3,700.  All three of them are experts at the subject of plants, I can assure you.  The show was recorded in front of a live studio audience including a little girl and a dog.  I hope you got to see it.  Oh, you missed it?  That's too bad. 
(Oh, and those messy shelves?  All part of my little ploy to help you feel better about yourself.  You're welcome.)

And in other news, although I don't have a picture to show you, I took Sarah to the Ear Nose and Throat doctor today.  A couple weeks ago, our pediatrician had suggested we go get her checked because her voice is very unusual.  If you know her, you know right away what I am talking about.  It's low and kind of raspy. She's been called everything from a COPD patient to a robot, to an elf.  It's so cute, though, and we love it about her, and we just assumed it was just her normal voice since it has been that way since we got her.  Anyway, the doctor said that sometimes it could signal that there is a problem.  Maybe there was some damage to her vocal chords along the way before we got her, or sometimes acid reflux could be going on without any noticeable symptoms.  So, we went today, and he had to numb her nose and throat and stick that rubber tube with a camera down there, which was not fun...but he found redness and swelling, and little bumps.  All signifying irritation from acid reflux!  She has never once complained or seemed uncomfortable at all, so we were shocked!  So, we will be having that treated, and then we will see how her voice might change.  That will be very interesting... 

And that was our day!  Tomorrow we are going up to visit my wonderful second parents.  If you remember, my father-in-law has cancer, and very recently we were given bad news about the severity of it.  He starts aggressive treatment for it on Monday.  We would so appreciate it if you would pray.  If you didn't already see this post, you could read it now and see what kind of person he is.  Thank you so much.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just a couple of quotes, courtesy of my kids...

The other day, my Josh was in his sign language class that my friend teaches at a nearby elementary school.  It is just a twenty minute class that meets during recess time.  So, Josh had gone inside, and I normally wait out in the car reading until he gets back. This time I had Ben with me.  Soon, all the kids came running outside for recess.  Ben looked out the window, and exclaimed, "Mom!  There are like a thousand kids at that park!"    .....Yeah....it is kind of sad that my son had never seen what recess looks like up close and personal!


The other night I was tucking Sarah into bed.  I was smiling at her and singing to her, and we were saying silly things and talking about the day.  She reached up and touched my eyelashes and said, "What's this?"  "It's my eyelashes."  I kept smiling and gazing at her....  Then, "What's this?"  "It's my eyelid."  And then she pointed to the side of my eye. "What's this?"  "What?"  She pointed again.  "What's this?"  "What?"  She paused.   "....Whiskers?"    I never thought of crows' feet looking like whiskers!  Lol. : )

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our little red light

We just passed Halloween, of course!  We spent some time in the morning learning about the sordid history of the day, and the reasons why we don't decorate with or dress up like ghosts and goblins and witches...and we learned about how Christians decided to try and do something to help change things by switching "All Saints' Day" which had been celebrated in May, to November 1, thus making October 31 "All Hallows' Eve."  It is a day to honor those great people of God who have gone on before us, and we read about George Muller as a special tribute.  Then, we talked about how to the world, Halloween is all about witches and ghosts, graveyards, and DEATH, but Christ gives us the exact opposite...Goodness and Holiness, Resurrection and LIFE! 

And finally, we carved our pumpkins and went trick or treating, and had a great time. Again, it was extra special this year because it was Sarah's first time enjoying it!  Her first year with us, we had JUST gotten back from China, she was little, and it was freezing, so we just bundled her up in her stroller, and came back home within no time.  And last year, she was still in the hospital with that pesky bone marrow transplant.  Also, some cousins came to join us, and that made it twice the fun!  And I think Sarah had the BEST costume in the neighborhood...

 Her dream to be a red light came true!  (Okay...she's a traffic light-red, yellow and green.)  :)

CUTE HAIR!  (Done by big sister, Cassandra)

 Not so sure about the pumpkin guts...


 Here we go...



 Cassandra and Sarah did one together..a face on the front, and a face on the back. : )

 Lego head!

 Spin on the traditional

 Fun with cousins!

 Our own adorable red light.  I could eat her all up. (And isn't my husband incredibly talented??)

 Sisters ready to go!

 Hooray for candy!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How do we do this??

I remember years ago, I was part of a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.  I was raising two, or maybe all three of my boys at the time, and they were all preschool/baby age.  Three.  BoysPreschool age.  And my life was very hard.  I remember being shocked at how really difficult it was, and I felt unprepared for the sheer amount of raw energy it took on top of very little sleep.  My journal entries from those days are filled with dramatic accounts of feeling like I was treading water-- and sometimes drowning-- in cleaning, laundry, loving, feeding, disciplining,  changing diapers, and wiping runny noses. Many entries include quoting Scripture and begging God to help me.  Yes, I was joyful and happy with my precious little flock, but I was tired too, and often feeling run down.  At MOPS, we would deposit our children in classes around the church where the meetings were held, and gather together for some breakfast and coffee, listen to a speaker we could relate to, and then divide into groups to pray and discuss the topic for the day.  I remember crying sometimes at those meetings.  Not out of sadness, but out of joy, because I was someplace where PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD what I was going through.  It was so encouraging just to know that I was not alone in my journey as a mom.  That it really is hard, and I was not crazy, but we could all make it through with God's help.

That was many years ago, and those boys are older, but they are still boys. : )  I still also have a preschooler, and I am also homeschooling.  I am not sure my life is any easier than it was then, but at least I am used to it!  : )

Anyway, I was thinking today about my life as a wife and mom.  About the many hats I wear, and how I feel the need to wear all of them well.  I took time today to really think about everything that I do.  Everything that is on my plate...all of the plates I have to keep spinning.  And I am quite sure that YOU are a whole lot like me!

As Christian wives/moms, We are expected to:
-Have a vibrant relationship with God.  Most important!
-Be a good wife.  In many different ways....
-Keep an orderly house including...
-Cleaning the kitchen, cleaning it again, and cleaning it again.
-Train our children in the way they should go...in our house we have devotions together and memorize verses
-Provide nutritious meals and snacks each day, and make sure those meals get cleaned up after
-Grocery shop on a budget
-Make sure all the children have clothes to wear for all the different seasons, shopping for and rotating them when needed.
-Schedule and accompany kids to doctor and dentist appointments
-Make sure everyone has clean clothes in their drawers--mounded up on the couch doesn't count--or does it?
-Discipline the kids in love, and not anger : )
-And for homeschool moms--plan for the kids' education, including shopping for and buying all materials needed and...
-Teach all or most of the subjects to multiple aged kids
-Supervise music practice and endure any whining 
-Chauffer kids around to Gymnastics, Speech Class, Violin, etc...
-Clean up all manner of messes made by children and animals
-Do fun things as a family
-Plan and spend quality time with each child
-Be a good friend and neighbor
-Serve the Lord in various ministries in and out of church
-Reach out to people in need
-I am sure I am forgetting some!

Yes, the family helps with some of these things, but the responsibilty really feels like it rests with us in the end, doesn't it?  I promise I am not having a pity party.  The point of this post is to encourage you, not discourage you!  Just like at MOPS, I want us all to be reminded that we are all in this together.  It makes me feel exhausted just thinking about that list, and yet, I do it.  Well, kinda, sorta not really....but I do it!  How do we do it???  I'm honestly not sure, but I do know that it is ONLY by God's mighty hand that it happens at all. 

I am amazed at the list of things I do, because I know that in my own strength I certainly could not do it all.  Somehow God gives me the energy, the patience, the stamina I need to keep going--and the grace, forgiveness, mercy and encouragement I need when I really mess up. 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.--  Philippians 4:13

Sweet, tired mom, you are doing a great job!  Keep up the good work!!