Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today I would like to wish my mom a very happy birthday. Mom, thanks for being such a great friend, confidant, and sister in Christ. I love you dearly! Hope today's a great day and that you know how very much you are loved and cherished by your family. Thank you for being YOU!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm not sure how many of you out there read the Living Proof Ministries Blog (Beth Moore's blog), but they shared that Beth's dad passed away this week. You can go there to express your condolences if you wish, or just read a great post by her daughter Amanda about the legacy of her late grandfather.

There's also a really cool thing underneath it called The Columbia Commission that another blogger created in its honor. I had never read this before and found it to be particularly encouraging to me today. I wanted to share it here, but you can see a bigger version and learn more about it from the artist herself.

Blessings to you all today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh what a beautiful weekend!

Suffice it to say that the lawn is mowed, the garden almost ready for planting and the yard primed for summer fun. The weather was absolutely goregous (right now, it looks as though the sky is going to dump buckets of rain to bring those May flowers).

On Friday afternoon, Cody, Caden, Ozzie and I enjoyed a little picnic out on our front lawn and then walked down to the park so Cody could burn some energy. He ended up meeting several his friends from school there and then played with them until the early evening hours. He had a blast. Saturday, after teaching a couple of hours, my friend Charity came over and we all (yes, Ozzie came along too!) went to a forest preserve and had another picnic together. (Daddy stayed home to work on his master's project, but he did his work outside!). After dropping off the boys, Chair and I headed off to IKEA in search of some new chair pads for our patio furniture. Unfortunately, I didn't see any I fell in love with, but ended up with some that were orange (I'm not a fan of orange, but they were only $6.50 a piece!). I'm sure Charity will never go shopping with me again, as I was incredibly indecisive and must have gone up and down the escalator five times changing my mind and putting things back. She found a cute kitchen rug, so I suppose not all was lost!

Yesterday, after church, we did yard work and got things looking nice on the outside. Ozzie spent most of the day out with us and his snout is green from rolling in the grass.

Last night after dinner, we took a nice long walk with Ozzie to McD's where we all feasted on vanilla ice cream cones and french fries. So much for a calorie-burning walk! We had a really nice weekend...productive and fun. Can't ask for any more than that!

P.S. I would post pictures, but I can't find our camera charger and the thing is dead. I'll update soon...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Son....the Budding Conductor and Pianist

I'm so thrilled. My son Cody has taken an interest in playing the piano. I couldn't be happier. I have tried very hard, not only as his mom, but also as a piano and voice instructor, to not push him into playing. I have tried to nurture his desire to play by only giving him a lesson when he asks. So far, we've had three formal lessons. The rest of the time he is playing songs by ear. His favorites are the "Superman" theme, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "America the Beautiful" and "Jesus Loves Me." He spends much of his time playing and plunking out (by ear) whatever the song choice is for the day. Like mother like son.
My studio will be holding a recital in May, and I made sure I didn't ask Cody to participate...on purpose. I didn't want him to feel pushed and I figured he'd tell me if and when he was ready to perform. A couple weeks ago he approached me and said he wanted to play in the recital. Again, BURSTING with excitement, but acting like it's no big deal. I walk a very fine line!

So my little Cody will be performing the Superman Theme. However, he's been very explicit in his instructions. "Mom. Make sure the people watching know that this is not a words song. No one is going to be singing along. I'm just going to play it. "
Okay, buddy. Sheesh! He's already becoming a temperamental musician! : )

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Divine Appointment

Well, I'm sure all my faithful readers are did the audition go?

Okay, you probably haven't given it a single thought. After all, you do have lives.

But just in case you were wondering....

It was a divine appointment. This sweet woman walked through my front door, sat on my couch, pulled out her digital voice recorder, and listened to me serenade her to the best of my ability.

After I was done, she said I was hired. Unless of course, upon hearing my audition, her mother-in-law ("mil") decided otherwise. This woman, we'll call her "R", is married already. She and her husband were married a couple of years ago by the court and have decided, now that they are Believers, to get married in the church. That is the happy part, but in other areas, she's really struggling. And R cried. And cried, and cried. Suffice it to say that she does not have an easy life. She and her husband are living with her mil currently, and mil is paying for the wedding. Mil has made every decision about this wedding, including what dress R will wear. She has decided to pull them out of their church home and place the entire family (they have four children between them) into a completely different church for silly reasons I won't even get into here. R has an eight year-old daughter and triplet two year-olds, and her mil spends every waking moment telling R how she can do a better job raising them. And I am only barely scratching the surface here.

I didn't intend on getting into so many details...but my heart really went out to her. She feels powerless to control anything about her life, let alone her wedding. Her husband is supportive, but it seems he too has to bow down to mil's authority on pretty much everything since she is footing the bill for everything.

I prayed with her, attempted to encourage her, and just tried to listen as she poured out her heart in frustration and sadness.

We closed our conversation with her saying, "Well, once my mil hears this recording of you singing, we'll get back to you and let you know for sure if you've been chosen to sing in the wedding. If it were up to me, I'd hire you on the spot." We talked about price, how many and which songs she'd want done, but again said she had to defer to her mil on this.

My parting words to her were:

"Well, be sure to let her know that I only deal with the bride on these matters. Be sure to tell her that I will only talk to the bride. "

She gave me a coy smile, wiped her tears away, and I haven't heard from her since.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chamomille tea....a Godsend

I know, another random post. Let's just say this week has been a bit rocky. Our van had a gas leak (fixed for free! by our sweet children's pastor who is a certified mechanic...I know, how convenient is that?), the baby was refusing to sleep (day or night), our refinance still has not closed (and there's no date in sight of it happening as of this morning), my hubby and I didn't have the greatest week of our married life...I guess I'll just leave it at that, and I'm, well, stressed.

To make matters worse, I have a bride-to-be coming to my home in just a little while so that I can audition for her. It's not that I mind auditioning. It's just that I don't think I've done a formal vocal audition in about ten years. Why am I so nervous? It's really not a big deal. I just, loathe...auditions. She goes to our church and I'm sure she's heard me sing at one time or another, but she says she doesn't think she has any idea who I am or how I sing. And so, I will wait for her to arrive so I can show her my very best vocal stylings.

I am sipping chamomille tea. My stomach is in knots today, even though things seem to be finally calming down. I have learned something about me. I tend to stress out AFTER things happen. Maybe it's just my God-given coping mechanism to help me handle stress at this given time in my life. He has allowed me the ability to stay calm when it counts and then freak out afterwards. Fantastic.

I rest assured that God continues to be in control. There are many out there who have so many things going on in their lives that are truly BIG in nature. What I have listed above doesn't comapre. But it's my world right now and I know I can choose to stay calm or choose to be stressed. And so I continue to sip my tea...

On a different note, my favorite Boomama gave me the best news on her blog today. Beth Moore has a blog! (pausing for oohs, ahs, and applause) I'm so psyched. I love Beth. I feel like I know her, which is why I feel I can call her Beth. In fact, many of her readers call her Siesta Beth. So Beth, if you ever happen upon my blog, I love you, siesta!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Friends, Discipline, and Snow (and other random thoughts!)

If you read the comments on my previous post, you'll find some wonderful news there from my dear friend, Melissa. I couldn't be happier to hear that she is expecting a baby sometime around Christmas. I know that she and her husband have been anxious to report such great news, and so to her, I say: CONGRATULATIONS, mommy! Our family couldn't be happier for you!

I can't think of a better stocking stuffer.

In other news, as we sat around the dinner table last night feasting on chicken and wild rice, the baby decided it would be fun to throw as much of his meal on the floor as possible. The dog, of course, didn't mind, but daddy had to send a message that he was not pleased with this behavior. After a couple times of being told "NO!" and still continuing to throw the food overboard, his little hand was smacked. Immediate tears followed, not just by Caden, but Cody as well. Soon, I had two little boys crying over spilled food and smacked hands.

I later told Cody that I love his compassionate little heart. That is a quality I pray he takes with him throughout life. We explained to him that we had to smack his little hands when he was little like Caden too, to teach him the difference between right and wrong, to help protect him from danger, and to train him. We explained that God calls us to this. Through sniffles and leftover tears, he shook his head that he understood, but I could tell he was having a hard time understanding why his little brother had to feel pain when he did something wrong. The following verse is one of 49 in the bible talking about discipline. Who doesn't want a peaceful home and soul?

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;

he will bring delight to your soul.

Finally, this is the scene out the window this morning. Since then, we've gotten even more. I would guess there's about three inches out there:

These are my neighbor's daffodils, and they are really taking a beating.

Oh please, Spring. Do not delay any longer!!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

In Celebration of Easter

This past week was a good one, full of reflection, a renewed appreciation for my sweet Jesus and His love for me, and a good time spent with our church family and friends. We normally go to visit my family in Indiana for Easter, but we felt that we would have been stretched a little too thin with all of our responsibilities at church. So, early in the week, we decided we should stay home.

It was a good thing too. When we arrived home from church, Jerry smelled gasoline outside the van and noticed a leak. When he put his hand underneath, it was definitely gasoline. Upon further inspection, he realized that it wasn't just an occasional drip. It was a consistent drip.

We had been invited to the home of some friends today for a meal after church. Now, I must preface this by saying that we don't know these people very well, but we'd been wanting to get to know them and felt it was a nice gesture to be invited to share a meal with them. We had called them prior to arriving to let them know what was going on and that we would be late as we switched cars and car seats and got changed and ready to go.

God is always so gracious to us and He continues to be faithful in every detail. Before we even arrived, these kind people called us back to say that they had an extra car sitting around that they weren't using at all and offered to let us borrow it this week until ours was fixed.

It may seem like a small thing, but at this season in our lives, this kind gesture was truly a gift from God. He is so good....all the time.

Here are a few highlights from our week and weekend. We hope you all had a blessed Easter as you celebrated with those you love and the One who loves you.

Our Easter cookies (thanks again, Diane!). I just love how the little duckies turned out.

Below: Cody singing in the kids choir at church this morning. What a treasure to see him sing, sign, and share the word of God through music. I was so amazed at how grown up and handsome he looked in his suit and the way he has grown in his faith.

Caden in his Easter "digs."

What a cutie! Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
~Isaiah 53:3-6

Monday, April 02, 2007

Passion Week

Yesterday at church, our pastor preached a great message about the Passion Week. It was so interesting to revisit this story that I so often take for granted. I never forget Christ's sacrifice, of course, because it is the pinnacle of the Christian faith. It's just that I don't always stop and concentrate on it. One of the things that struck me about my pastor's message was that he said that many of the people in the street waving palm branches and declaring Jesus "Lord and King" were the same people that just several days later were shouting, "Crucify Him!"

I already knew this, but it really made me think. How often do I declare Christ "Lord and King" of my heart and life and then turn around and do something completely UN-Christlike in my conduct, speech, or behavior? Even though we don't live in Jesus' day when he walked on the earth, I still betray Him, just like Judas did. I don't enjoy admitting this...I'd love for everyone reading to believe that I have it all together. But as I listened yesterday, I realized that I'm sometimes no better than those who where shouting to have Christ killed when I turn my back on Him and behave in a way that doesn't bring honor and glory to Him.

After all He did for me on the cross, it is my God-given responsibility to represent Christ in all I do and say. It is also my job as a Believer to share Christ with others. I also look at the passage in Matthew 16 differently after yesterday. Jesus is talking with the disciples asking them the question, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" And the disciples began to reply with various things..."John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." And then Jesus asked them a very DIRECT question. He said,"Who do YOU say I am?" Peter was the one who answered, and he responded well. He said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

I believe Jesus asks us this question often. "Who do YOU say I am?"

Easter brings many unbelievers and luke-warm church goers through the front doors of your sanctuaries. They are all around you, every day. These people are often clinging to false doctrine and the notion that Jesus was simply a great teacher, a prophet, a nice man. The world has lulled them into a false sense of reality. They have no idea who He REALLY is and that He laid down His life because of the great love that He has for them.

Will YOU tell them? Will you be the one to share the good news? Will you put your faith on the frontlines and be bold when given the opportunity? Or will you be like one who betrayed Him, denying that you ever knew Him, whether in your conduct, or in your silence? Let us not be afraid to tell them the Truth.

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this ALL men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 13:34-35